The Concept of Time in Christianity
The Concept of Time in Christianity
The tying together of historical time and spiritual events is distinctive to apocalyptic religions, mainly Christianity. Pantheists will, of course, emphatically disagree. Yet there are no such utterances as Golgotha (existing in the historic time-element) in any other religion. Neither Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, infuse time elements escalating into anything similar to the New Jerusalem or the Last Judgment. We must look to other apocalyptic religionsin which Destiny is involvedto feel the beat of time. Close examination of Paul's Epistles shows us that Christianity is an urgent call for "non-believers" to wake up and face the on-coming time elements: Time is short, Be prepared, Seek salvation, Renounce your sins, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!
To say that Christianity's aim is purely moral is a misunderstanding, as Oswald Spengler noted in Decline of the West.
"[Jesus] was no moralizer, and to see in moralizing the final aim of religion is to be ignorant of what religion is. Moralizing is nineteenth century Enlightenment, humane Philistinism. To ascribe social purposes to Jesus is blasphemy. . . His teaching was the proclamation, nothing but the proclamation, of those Last Things with whose images he was constantly filled, the dawn of the New Age, the advent of heavenly envoys, the last judgment, and a new heaven and a new earth."
Christianity is apocalyptic, which is a picture language signifying events lived and experienced on a historical planenot mentally on the Astral Plane. We experience St. John's Apocalypse in our lives, not in a dream state; our lives themselves become modes of initiation, in which we awaken our divine imagination in a wakeful state of consciousness.
Hundreds of events fill the Apocalypse, the primary one being the Event of Golgotha. Others include the incarnation of Ahriman, the Seals, the Trumpets, the Vials, the Event of Babylon. An event of major importance emerges out of Revelation 10:1 when the air brightens when down from heaven appears a "mighty angel." Steiner claims it is none other than Michael. . . an archetype whose presence is felt throughout the Apocalypse but is rarely mentioned by name. This time Michael is shown with "his right foot upon the sea, and left foot on the earth. . ."
Revelation's picture of Michael bares a strong resemblance to the fourteenth card of the Tarot, where Michael is shown in a similar stance: with his legs straddled over earth and water. He is "clothed with a cloud and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. . ." Michael's two fire-pillared columns form a gateway into the supersensible realm.
Michael is the Guardian of the Threshold ushering in a new epoch. Through him, Christ, the Sun Genius, is revealed. Christ is rarely experienced in a more direct manner. Always we experience Christ through His Time spirits: the Archangels, of which Michael belongs. We are led to believe that the intensity of a direct experience of Christ would overwhelm, even blind the onlooker, rather than illuminate. The great cosmic power of Christ is revealed through angelic Time spirits who express the personality and character of an Age. Thus, Christ is revealed incrementally, one age at a time, with increasing power.
A slow maturation process is required to fully integrate Christ into the Consciousness Soulages, Steiner admits, referring to the Book of Revelation which covers thousands of years. The Four Horseman take us through the Springtime of Christianity (ch.6 vr.2), carries us into the rise of Orthodoxy (ch.6 vr.4), forward into the inner and outer conflicts permeating the Holy Wars, and with each forward movement, often abrupt, another seal is broken and another mystery previously contained reveals itself to our eyes.
Mankind's spiritual landscape, we realize, is constantly changing shape. The conditions are never static. They are ever changing, going from the age of the Four Horseman to the spiritual atmosphere streaming down to the earth from the angels of the seven trumpets. Afterwards a whole host of macro and microcosmic changes take place in a rapid succession of pictures. We as readers and recipients of Saint John's Revelation realize that time is speeding up. Events unfold themselves with ever-increasing frequency as we immerse ourselves deeper and deeper into our journey through apocalyptic space. Contemporaries called it the "quickening." An appropriate term. For Jesus himself, speaking of the Christ within him, states that he will "shorten the days," meaning he will accelerate consciousness, so where Time is experienced at an ever quickening evolutionary tempo drawing the `elect' into God.
And if the Lord had not shortened the days, no human would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. [Mark 13:20]