Thursday, March 10, 2005

River of Fire and "Living Water"

In the Bible, the motif of the holy volcano is first associated with Eden, but later gets localized until eventually in a highly-converted form, one sees it even transfered to Zion and/or the Mount of Olives.

In some cases, we see preserved the destructive attributes of Pinatubo in the images of a river of lake of fire:

I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened. I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame.

Daniel 7:9,10

And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.

Revelation 15:2

The lake of fire later became associated with the Underworld, although it is stated that even Hades is cast into the lake.

Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Revelation 19:20

And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:9-15

These great judgements are prophesied for the "end times" when a messianic savior comes to the world. This savior is sometimes portrayed as a king or sometimes as God himself. Isaiah often refers to an eastern king in verses that some believe refer to the future messiah described as "one from the rising sun who calls on my [the Lord's] name. He treads on rulers as if they were mortar, as if he were a potter treading the clay." (Isaiah 41:25)

Apparently the very same river and lake elsewhere are portrayed in a less threatening manner.

Zechariah refers to the Mt. Olives splitting asunder but not in the sense of a disaster but rather to open up the springs of "living waters." However, these same waters are said to cause a plague against those "who fought against Jerusalem."

And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea And half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur. And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths. It shall come to pass in that day that a great panic from the LORD will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor, and raise his hand against his neighbor's hand.

Zechariah 14:4,8,12-14

The Apostle John saw the waters of the river and lake as a type of crystal that comes to adorn the New Jerusalem.

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:1,2

Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal.

Revelation 4:2-6

We can see there that the fiery mountain of Eden mentioned in Genesis, Ezekiel and Enoch is converted to Mt. Zion. The river that "came out from Eden to water the paradise" in the second chapter of Genesis now flows either from the temple or from a newly-created valley that splits the Mount of Olives.

Indeed the creation of the valley reminds us also of the creation of the double volcano or the double peaked volcano, each possessing its own crater with another large crater between them. This middle crater is sometimes visualized as a third peak or mountain which has collapsed creating a valley.

Isaiah tells us that before the great judgement a ruler shall be called from the "isles" and from the East.

Be silent before me, you islands! Let the nations renew their strength! Let them come forward and speak; let us meet together at the place of judgment. Who has stirred up one from the east, calling him in righteousness to his service. He hands nations over to him and subdues kings before him. He turns them to dust with his sword, to windblown chaff with his bow."

Isaiah 41:1, 2

And in what may even be an illusion to the bird clan, we have:

From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.

Isaiah 46:11

In some cases, it is the Lord who comes as savior in person from the east into the eastern gate.

Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east; and it was shut. And he said to me, "This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut. Only the prince may sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way.

Ezekiel 44:1-3

"...the gate that looketh toward the east: And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east."

Nehemiah 3:29

In the 26th chapter of Ezekiel, Eden is described together with other nations involved in the great mercantile trade. We often see in the Bibilical prophecies that nations from the direction of "Tarshish and Ophir" play an important role. These may be the "kings of the east" referred to in the Book of Revelation who cross the Euphrates in preparation for the great apocalyptic battle.

And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

Revelations 16: 12

The apocryphal Testament of Dan even appears to equate the "New Jerusalem" with Eden: "And the saints shall rest in Eden, and in the New Jerusalem shall the righteous rejoice, and it shall be unto the glory of God for ever."

The Parsis and Zoroastrians also believed in a savior king who would come from the East. In the Zand-i-Vahuman, he is described as coming from the direction of China and the Indies.

O Zartosht the Spitaman [Zoroaster]! When the demon with dishevelled hair of the race of Wrath comes into notice in the eastern quarter, in the direction of Chinistan [China], it is said - some have said among the Hind - is born a prince; it
is his father, a prince of the Kayanian race, who approaches the women, and a religious prince is born to him; he calls his name Warharan [Bahrám] the Varjavánd, some have said Shahpur.

The vision of heaven and hell as existing in the same place is explained perfectly by the volcano of the lush tropical forests. Where, sometimes with little warning, paradise is transformed into a fiery hell.

However, the newly-formed krater from the eruption will if the conditions are right, provide a lake and rivers filled with the "living waters" of immortality, and the land will be duly blessed again.

Paul Kekai Manansala