What does dread, coupled with fear and bound to terror, look like? John colors that image in for us today. Even as the woman in his vision enters into labor and is giving birth to the Human One, the dragon is breaking forth from whatever had bound it up.
|Wm. Blake's "the Lady and the Dragon"|
But that sign is red like fire itself. That sign has seven heads and ten horns, with seven royal crowns on its head. It fills the sky, and its tail sweeps down a third of the stars of the sky and throws them to the earth. It crouches, waiting to devour the child as the woman gives birth...and she is giving birth to a male child who is to rule the earth with an iron rod.
And that is just the beginning.
This is bigger than 3-D, bigger than I-MAX. The visions of John of Patmos are becoming overwhelming, filling our thoughts and imaginations with a sense of portent that divests us of neutrality. We either reject these visions as fever dreams, or we tumble into an apocalyptic fervor...seeing images of the end-times all around us. Jungians might point to these images as being archetypal of the soul's struggle for meaning. That might be an out! It's just John working his "stuff" out.
In the end, what is happening in John, with Ezekiel, and what we will soon see in the writings of Daniel and the prophets should not be discounted--nor should it be seen as foreshadowing or forecasting events in our near future. Yes, they are frightening and disturbing, but are they any more unnerving than Sodom and Gomorrah perishing in a hail of fire and brimstone? Are they any more disturbing that Pharaoh and the hosts of Egypt perishing in the Reed Sea? Are they any more awe-inspiring than the first sight of the Presence of God descending onto the mercy seat of the sanctuary after Sinai?
|Blake's "Michael Binding the Dragon"|