When we tell the story of the United States, it begins with the British Empire. The colonial empires were bound to collapse under the burden of distance, and in Asia and Africa it was only in fomenting division that the colonial powers maintained control until the 20th century. In North America, where the settlers quickly became more numerous than the natives, the Imperial strategy of division was weak, and so failed earlier than it did elsewhere.
Of course, the United States had its own divisions – the greatest being the belief that people could be held as property. The traffic in human flesh funded the growth of the British Empire, and nowhere was that more profitable than in the American South. Prior to the Civil War, Southern slaves were not only essential labor, they were also the collateral for infrastructure development. Our struggle to eliminate our “peculiar institution” consumed the entire culture.
But that culture itself is composed of smaller parts: the North, the South, and the two principal races, white and black.
I was first taught the story of slavery from the national perspective. I was raised in the era of the Civil Rights movement and witnessed the struggle of the two races to achieve reconciliation. It has only been recently that I understood the centrality of slavery in the formation of the British Empire. But certain events are shared among those perspectives: American and British history both cover the Revolutionary War; whites and blacks alike see the Civil War as a watershed.
Now Jesus proclaimed that he was going to die for the forgiveness of sin, and in doing so remake heaven and earth. The Bible is dominated by the human side of the story. But in John’s Revelation, we are told that he was brought to heaven.
In reading that book as an adult, I chose to hew to the faith that the Most High loves us as his children, and took seriously the thought that His love extends to all aspects of reality. Liberated from the idea that the book was about human history, I noticed that repetitive elements are scattered around the book. The 144,000, the gathering under the great tent which is the New Jerusalem, the opening of the Temple of the Most High. What I realized is that these elements occur more than once because the story is being told from more than one perspective.
Rev. 4-7 describes how the Most High healed the angels of their divisions. Rev 8-11 shows the great and painful work done during the evolution of the Living Creatures. Rev 12-14 describes the resistance of Sin in the form of the dragon, and the great support given to humanity from the Sacred Mother. Revelation 15-18 considers the deep convulsions brought by the partnership of Sin with tyrannical government. Finally, Rev. 19-22 documents the healing of the ultimate division – the division between masculine and feminine principles – that cements the victory of virtue over sin.
The terrible sorrows of our age are explained in Rev. 12, where we learn that simultaneous with Christ’s victory on the cross, Michael and the angels threw sin out of heaven. The angel cries “Woe! Woe unto the Earth, for the Devil has gone down to you!” The secret resource, hidden in the desert, is the Sacred Mother whose love sustains and guides her children.
We live in a dark age, and the temptation is to believe that the Most High must be punishing us. I hope that these ideas restore hope in our worthiness to receive love. Our work is difficult, and as described in Rev. 15, receives the full attention of the Most High. He shields us from the worst of the devil’s energies, and turns our losses into gain.