Late Night Classic Rock

Stumbling back to our commercial rock station, late night gives them liberty to play the excellent stuff, most of which is older than Tom Petty. Manfred Mann is on now, and I just got to re-consider Stairway- for in your thoughts, have you too not seen rings of smoke through the trees? And they did “Magic Carpet Ride,” and “Refugee.” Nice background for reading Newtoin on the Revelation. This silence reminds me of “And there was silence in heaven for about a half an hour.” What a great sentence!

But yesterday, they were playing that stupid 80’s stuff, “Right to Party,” and such. I was too tired to get up to change it back to NPR. Until they play AC/DC on Sunday!

They used to have the nicest “Sunday Morning Over Easy,” where they would do the softer acoustic stuff, usually with more spiritual lyrics.

Isaac Newton on Scripture

Newton is one of the best readers of scripture, and I had not gotten around to downloading the PDF. Reading on Daniel- and now the synopsis of the Gospels putting together 4 or 5 Passovers and the chronology of the ministry of Jesus- is good reading. His account of the writing of the Old Testament might also be the best I have seen. I have to go slow and write out what he is saying- a sign of learning, from a mind superior, and of needing to read it a few more times. He’s on the right track about the 10, and at least got me caught up on what was going on in France just before Arthur, like when Gildas the Wise wrote from Brittany- at the origin of the nations of Europe.

This blog, then, might be updated a few times.

One notes, though, that the horn of some beast is not likely to say “Glory be to the Father.” Or again, p. 135, “…Nor any god- “and therefore it would seem that Daniel is not describing some conventional and artificial Christian political order. Hence, whatever the Catholic church might be or have been, it is not the Beast referenced in Daniel. That is, whatever flaws came along with temporal powers and presumed spiritual authorities, the table is yet set in Remembrance to this day. The things of the beast are not the traditional or the corrupt religious orders of the West, but more along the lines of twentieth century totalitarianism. Prior to 20th century totalitarianism, even in 1733 when Newton is writing, people could not imagine the dangers of modern tyranny. We see martyrs under the throne in the Fifth Seal, and then this. It is as a scourge of God for our hypocrisy, but is not itself that hypocrisy. Changing the heathen to the Christian image could not transform the city, but the beast attacks Babylon, and these are two different things. Neither could the change from Catholic to Protestant customs end persecution or transform the cave that is the city and the usual human soul.

He writes of the ten and Charlemagne, (the first annointed Christian King?), based on an assumption, that this in the text is that in our world- though his hypothesis seems partly correct. Readers could not- and cannot- imagine the unfolding of millennia.

Newton is best on the significance of the Israelite Temple an the seventh feast of Tabernacles to the images in the vision. The animals of the four Zoa are explained by connection with the arrangement of the four tribes (in Numbers 2), and the animal images make sense as references to the angels of peoples 3 tribes each, dropping the beings down one level for the analogy, as in the Book of Enoch. Otherwise, angels would appear as men, if men as animals. And if archaeologists dug up anything pertaining, they might say our religion includes, as Egypt, the worship of animals!

Newton is involved at the beginning of the free reading of scripture that emerged in the Protestant nations and America after 1517, and, in 1733, is in touch with the readers then about England. The Baptist reading of the Revelation seems to derive from a similar source, where the five parts of the statue in the dream interpreted by Daniel are empires, not particular rulers. Van Impe adds Egypt and Assyria, referring then to seven heads of the beast, 7 that ruled over Jerusalem. Hence “Babylon” is all 7, including Rome, i.e., five had fallen, one then was…. We do not, though, know what to do with the Ottoman and British empires, which also ruled over Jerusalem, but without the claim to world empire or universal dominion.

Newton is flatly wrong about every particular reference, as to a Roman or Christian empire, except that the 10 nations do arise from the old Roman Empire. I will have to go more slowly over his account from Daniel 11 on- that section that appears as post-diction. He totally misses the two legs of the statue of Daniel, not to mention that odd little new nation Israel. He fails to distinguish the contrasted women of chapter 12 and 17. But as he says well, these things are unsealed as they develop, and could not then be imagined. The purpose of prophecy is to marvel in hindsight, more than by foreknowing, to appear to ourselves as prophets!

Having arrived at the end, and one of his few calculations, it sure seems he is not serious about all the political identifications. Now I have to go back to his stuff on Daniel 11, where I left off to go see what he says about John. And I wonder where he says, “not till 2060,” apparently adding 1260 to 800 AD. Good to review some history, though! I’m trying to read Bulfinch on Charlemagne.

Surely the Barbarian invasions that destroyed Rome or the conquest of Constantinople are significant, and the vision does pertain to things after the things told to the seven churches of Asia in the seven letters. But we think these things are addressed primarily to the church, and concern penance.

Well, there it is: After Newton had said about 5 times that Imperial church had instituted the worship of images and Mahuzims, I finally looked it up. It is the very word “fortresses” that I had wondered about in the translation of Daniel 11. Newton reads “The souls of dead men.” Christians too often base certainties upon a string of hypothetical readings. Does he mean the cult of saints, and even addressing Mary? Granted, one does not worship even angels. But we have some work to do on the translation here!

Einstein too seemed to me no where close to understanding marriage. But Newton got the five Passovers in the gospel, the library of Ezra, and a few other things ahead of Einstein.

There is a nice essay by Stephen Snobelen, chapter 7 of his book Millennarianism and Messianism in Early Modern European Culture, “The Mystery of the Restitution of all things: Isaac Newton on the Return of the Jews.” Another is “Cosmos and Apocalypse, in the New Atlantic, and here is the study of the roots of the American reading of the Revelation, in this study around Cambridge including Mede and More.

II

Newton is impressive on the criticism of the veneration of the saints and the belief that they cause things such as healing in our world. Prayers work by making us better, setting the soul straight, so that is more clear to think of things like seat belts. Hence, it is especially through the souls of the living that the divine enters our world- the more direct way being unknown and wrapped in mystery. The miracles are done so that we believe he has authority to forgive sins. Jesus teaches that the “Our Father” is to replace prayers for things and events, as the Fathers already knows what we need. But Newton shows how, coincident with the spread of Imperial Christianity, the old gods were simply painted over anew, with the people subject to the same superstitions and pre-occupation with the body and dead relatives. Mohammed, then, may be partly correct to accuse the Christians of idolatry, and to the extent that this is so, one can see how Islam arose in contrast- though here again there are things that appear similar, the people remaining un-transformed by either custom. It is quite possible to leave these things- the opinions on the causes- aside, as not our business, following Socrates. But that it was simply assumed that men could be obligated by men to this or that opinion of things may itself be an idolatry.

Granting that the feast days, calendar and much else is not instituted by Jesus, nor a part of following the Christ, the question is what is to be done with these things. The assumption that Christianity can become a nomos, the fundamental law of an empire, nation state or even a city, is simply assumed, though it is false. One cannot for instituting Protestantism institute pure piety, because it is not made by man. Nor did Protestantism end the shedding of religious blood, the making of martyrs. Paul asks the Galatians, Now that they have come to know God, or rather be known by God, “how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits? You observe days and months and seasons and years!” (Galatians 4: 8-10). It is not as Christian that we even observe these these things, but that does not mean they should not be observed. Nor does Christianity tell one what should be done with these, the in-between things of the three-part cosmos for the human beings. What sorts of things should be honored even with days? For there is a middle way between taking these things as divinely instituted and banishing them entire. We need not believe Santa is a “god” or is taught by Jesus in order to appreciate the analogy and enjoy the season, setting us in mind for the reading of the Christmas story. Nor was it ever said by the Church that one ought worship the saints, though admittedly there may be some question for some about the things of Mary. What should be done with the law and fundamental orders, if, as we teach, the Christ is not a legislator, while every sect wants to legislate? The Creator goes with the legislator, but the redeemer is something else! These things are not made at all, let alone made by man. In a sacred place, things made by man can serve their recollection, as we feed his lambs, tend his sheep, and feed his sheep. This, too, is the question of the in-between things addressed by Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Newton draws a sharp distinction between primitive and post-Constantine Christendom, when heathen practices and certain definite doctrines became prominent. We ask: What if the Christ is true, and Plato’s Socrates correct about the allegory of the cave? One would expect the artifacts held in the light of the cave fire to project its shadows as always- and yet there is an outside the cave. One wonders, though, about that claim to universal dominion including obligating opinion and belief, even if we do seem to know that piety is to worship and serve only God Most High, and not any creature in heaven or on earth.

Still we honor Mary and Magdalene and all the Saints, but of course we do not adore or worship these- just as John is taught by the angel not to bow before a fellow servant of the Father.

Jesus is, though, worshiped in the scriptures, as by Peter when it is said “on this rock…,” and that is the mystery and the point.

But imagine the issue between Trinitarian and Unitarian descriptions of the Most High being taken as capital crimes! By the opposite of the freedom of religions, the same became obvious. These men have never seen demonic evil in their lives, unless it is in their cruelty to one another for such causes. No wonder girls could hang at Salem, Mass. And no wonder that the Lilliputians described by Johnathan Swift is an allegory, as putting off the Papacy could not end persecution. Even Muslims and Unitarians admit they think there is a difference and sameness between God, His word and His Spirit, yet none can explain how they do not then hold that there are two or three gods. Yet the question of the “what” of the Messiah remains. And what if there is also the Bride?

“Come out of her, my people,” says the Lord. ALL those slain.

Comment on Snobelens “2060” 2003 essay:

Newton’s reading is based on an assumption, and we try to get at why he would see scripture through history- rather than the reverse, continually examining the assumption. The calculation is also not embedded in a reading of the text, but once the assumption is made, the numbers are simply carried off. Why not 307, or 313, Constantine rather than Charlemagne? In a second note, he considers Gregory VII as an alternative date for the conjunction of church and state.

Next I’ll look to see if his thinking about light influenced his thinking about light!

Now Isaac has me reading Mede and More. Mede gets right to it with his synchronisms, sticking to things intelligible, building a reading by coherences within the text. But what if there are two 3 and 1/2 year periods, and two of his first four synchronisms refer to each? Some of the times, as the 3 and 1/2 days the witnesses lay dead, might be sevenths within the seventh. The 42 months may be literally 3 and 1/2 years and not 1260 years. For 300 years the Roman Empire martyred Christians, then the Empire itself became Christian, yet continued to persecute according to the same principle, mitigated but not transformed by taking on the Christian images, beliefs and practices. Even when the Empire split and the West crumbled before the barbarian invasions, the assumption continued as the barbarian kingships became Christian. Protestantism too could not bring an end to this idea of empire, and simply replaced one set of compulsory doctrines with another, the idea of compulsory doctrine itself remaining little effected. From Constantine to Jefferson, the political sovereignties made martyrs and enforced orthodoxies, participating in Babylon, the cause of all those martyred on the face of the earth.

Marijuana and Federal Law

Georgia might get to decide this one. The law was never constitutional. The states never gave the fed that power, when it enumerated the authorities in Article 1. A crime in America basically requires the violation of the rights of another which government has the job to secure. “To secure these rights” is the purpose of government here, not to shape private virtue according to prejudice.

Cicero’s 28 Proofs of the Immortality of the Human Soul — Christian Platonism

John Uebersax

MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO (109−43 BC) was a great Roman statesman and philosopher, a contemporary of Julius Caesar. As a young man he studied in Athens and Rhodes with many of the greatest Greek philosophers of his times, including Platonists, Aristotelians and Stoics.  In addition to his political, legal and rhetorical accomplishments (he served, for example […]

Cicero’s 28 Proofs of the Immortality of the Human Soul — Christian Platonism

NPR: UK: Police Used Long Term Romantic Relations to Spy on Citizens

The Guardian too has a story on this. I’m just glad such things cannot occur in the US, because Congress oversees the unelected branches of the executive- NOT! Reps and Senators, take note.

One sort are called “Confidential Informants,” persons sometimes entrapped into slavery by threat of prosecution for petty crimes- without benefit of a lawyer. One such case led to the death of a girl caught dealing weed in her college dorm. They had her wear a wire while meeting with drug and gun guys.

The violations of our Bill of Rights involved in this practice are too many to count, but we begin with the violation of marriage involved in the use of love. And friendship.

One wonders if Frank Serpico would report on this to Congress.

II: Since this tactic was hitherto unthinkable, it is rarely discerned by its victims. In the few cases reported, Congress has ignored them, just as was done for so long with priests. Congress defers to the usefulness of the tactic. But here again, as with the “sources and methods” argument for keeping their crimes secret, the executive will learn the hard way that when they abuse instruments, the people will take these away from them. The confusion caused by these little projects is decisive for many a life and soul. And if it is discerned, great efforts are taken to hide it such as having one perceiving diagnosed as insane. Covert actions are of course difficult to demonstrate in court, as are harms to the soul and mind. One method, for example, is to set a prostitute between two friends (which gets them to accuse one another before her fair judgement.) So those who orchestrate these things have felt free of any critical view.

It will be interesting to see these harms detailed in courts, and how these might be compensated. That our government will prostitute its citizens to spy even on the innocent might make some impression, Were it ever apprehended by the voters. But as we have told them, “Don’t set women on people, asshole!”