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New Thought and Armageddon

Now, there’s a combination you don’t see very often. Who brought them together? Actually, I did; I’ve been watching the news too much lately, and the scary term kept coming into my mind. I mentioned it to a fundamentalist friend, and he said that he didn’t know whether we were experiencing it or not, but if we were, he figured that he’d have a mezzanine seat from which to watch it all in comfort! That sounded like a pretty good perspective for New Thought as well, and my curiosity was aroused, so I decided to check it out.

Hastings Dictionary of the Bible defines Armageddon (Har-Megiddo) as "the name of the place in which according to Rev 16:16, the kings of the lower world are to be gathered together by the Dragon, the Beast and the false prophet, to make war upon God." But here’s the joke: "The most generally accepted location makes this to be the mountains of Megiddo, that is to say, those surrounding the plain of Megiddo, in which so many great battles of the past were fought. The difficulty with this explanation is that one would expect the plain rather than the mountains to be chosen as a battle-field." Hastings continues, "The word perpetuates Megiddo as the synonym of the battle-field—whether above the earth or in the under world—on which the final victory over evil was to be won." The Interpreter’s One Volume Commentary adds, "There is no evidence of a mountain named Megiddo and the supposition that the term refers to some mountain in the neighborhood of Megiddo is not wholly satisfactory." Well, a mountain symbolizes uplifted consciousness. Hmmm....

Then I tried Harper’s Bible Commentary, where William Neil identifies the Beast as the Roman empire: "[John’s] picture is of the overweening power of a world-state . . . a false faith bearing all the outward marks of genuine religion, and claiming for itself the total allegiance of its subjects. If John had set out to describe the character of the twentieth-century totalitarian state and its diabolical power over its people, he could not have penned a more apt indictment (Rev 13:1-18)." And what we’ve seen of the twenty-first century so far is even worse, with efforts to stamp out Christianity altogether, even forbidding our schoolchildren to pray and removing the Ten Commandments from our courtrooms! Neil continues, "The seven vials of the wrath of God are poured out bringing fresh disasters—all of them representing the inexorable consequences of the abuse of power by a godless civilisation. The stage is set for the final clash between good and evil at Armageddon (15:1-16:21)." Let’s see: lately, we’ve had earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, terrorist attacks, a giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico almost as bad as the one from the Mexican well that spewed for nine months, drug-related gangs from another country killing and kidnaping people, continuing high unemployment, and several states bankrupt. Other than that, things are just fine.

I needed to try some New Thought literature. In Unity author Elizabeth Sand Turner’s Be Ye Transformed: Bible Interpretation: Acts through Revelation I found:

The name Babylon was used repeatedly by the Old Testament prophets as a symbol of all that is unlike God, that is earthly power and wickedness in its most degraded form. It has the same significance here, and the belief it represents must be annihilated so that we may be prepared to receive our Lord ("prepare the way for the kings from the east"). . . . The use of Armageddon is a clear indication that the approaching war is to take place on the heights, or is to be a battle between spiritual and satanic combatants. . . . This chapter is a turning point for the initiate. "It is done!"; that is, the tests which it has been so difficult for him to meet are now over. He sees evil for what it is, an accumulation of erroneous beliefs in his own consciousness. He realizes that there is no outer power opposing him, nothing to deter his onward march except himself. And though he has not fully conquered his inner foes, from now on the remaining ones are displayed clearly. He is able to view them in a more detached frame of mind and is finally able to let his Christ cast them out.

Revelation: the Book of Unity is a book based on a series of dialogues between Unity minister J. Sig Paulson and Ric Dickerson, M.D., Ph. D.. Paulson mentions that the city set on seven hills

is believed by some to be Babylon and by others to be Rome. But of course we are talking about states of spiritual awareness, and this city represents something within us. . . .The truly pitched battle takes place at a place called Armageddon. This is the battle in which the forces of light, or Spirit, meet the forces of darkness, or the devil. . . . It is a lot closer than the Near East. It takes place right within us. There is a tremendous struggle (or perhaps we should call it an unfoldment) within our own consciousness.

Dickerson agrees that it is a struggle,

But we are . . . above it, watching from a high vantage point, and although the going may get rough, we know what the ultimate outcome will be—for we are simply watching the forces of nature balance out creation and bring everything into harmony once again. Armageddon is an individual process that we undergo in consciousness daily. Armageddon goes on each and every time we meet a situation in life that does not fit our idea of what should be. . . . In fact, these situations occur for the purpose of showing us where our own personal Armageddon needs to take place, and that is when we need to take a stand for Truth and allow things to move into a better relationship.

Paulson remarks that Armageddon can also occur in the healing of a physical disease: "But we are learning that the work is done in consciousness—the battle is the Lord’s—and we can step back and watch it happen."

So we are primarily observers, above the fray. That sounds like a mezzanine seat, all right!

Finally, I tried Unity’s Metaphysical Bible Dictionary and couldn’t find Armageddon at all, but I did find Megiddo:

Meta. The gathering together of the hordes of error thoughts in consciousness (which sometimes seem to be countless) to make war against the truer and higher thoughts and ideals of the individual. . . . If the higher thoughts are not true to their spiritual ideals they are sometimes overcome by these errors, as is suggested by the metaphysical significance of the kings of Judah who were slain at Megiddo, yet it is really a most fortunate place, because it affords an excellent opportunity for the individual to obtain a great and sweeping victory over error . . . and thus to bring forth precious fruit (place of great abundance) for growth in righteousness and Truth.

Now I’m getting somewhere. We certainly face "hordes of error thoughts" in today’s culture, gathering to "make war against the truer and higher thoughts and ideals" that are being suppressed by those erroneous thoughts. We must establish truth in our own consciousness first. But here also is an "excellent opportunity" for us as individuals to draw together and defeat these rotten ideas, replacing them with an abundance of "precious fruit" supplied by the founders of our nation. We can do this at the ballot box and help restore our abundant land of opportunity.