Article in Stretton Focus, May 2019
The ‘end of days’ is deeply rooted in Christian thinking. That extraordinary late addition to the Bible, the Book of Revelation, offers the vision of a certain John (not the apostle) living on the isle of Patmos. His final apocalypse is full of startling horror images accompanied by the promise of redemption and is deeply rooted in western culture. Literalists (they do exist) yearn for that day, the end of days, to arrive. Evangelical sects in the USA, plus many Jews and Moslems, associate the exclusive rule of Jerusalem by Jews with the arrival of the apocalypse. Hence a subtext of the long-running Middle East crisis and a hidden driver behind US foreign policy.
Like many biblical stories the truth is in the allegory, not in literal acceptance of the words. The ‘end of days’ is about each of us as individuals. The visions of John on the isle of Patmos were just that, his visions. The graphical images are nothing more than imagination, whether you think it was divinely inspired or not. I do not think that when he died he caught sight of the four horsemen hanging around waiting for the trumpet call.
What the ‘end of days’ is all about is us, each of us, and the departure that is inevitable. We can regard the apocalypse and the need to stand before the ultimate judge as a complete fiction, an unlikely event, or accept it, as we wish. A judgement which is meaningful to us can only come in our lifetime and we are each our own real judge. There is one certainty, regardless of when our personal ‘end of days’ comes, the time of judgement is now.
The stories Jesus told and left as a guide to us all, were about life and living, about making connections spiritually, about demonstrating love in practical ways, about feeding and listening to our own living spirit. He showed us that the temptations of evil come from within. The voice promising absolute power was no demon sent by a devil, it came from within, driven by doubts, fears, ambitions, prejudices, opportunity etc. Jesus showed us that what overcomes the tempting voice is the spirituality which stems from God and lives within each of us.
So it is with the end of days. There is no great divine filing system. When we each reach the end of life we are the only being which knows our whole life record. The scales of judgement are ours to balance within us and our spirit holds us to account.