Religious Anthropology: The Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) all have messianic prophecies that share many common elements. WRL investigations reveal that when these religious prophecies are combined and viewed as a whole, an apparent error in logic is observed that may be perceived by some as preventing their potential realization and the subsequent arrival of their respective heroic messianic characters—the fulfillment of which could lead to peace among these three dominant religions. This error in logic can be reversed with a simple architectural action that, if enacted, could lead toward armistice, negotiations for peaceful treatises and, ultimately, the reconciliation of the religions of Abraham as a singularity.
One of WRL’s paramount goals is to expand human awareness and understanding through its investigations into the potential natural origins of myth. It is our earnest hope that from the new understanding, seeds of compassion and empathy will be sown which grow into the nourishment necessary for a strong and lasting peace among the diversified peoples of Earth.
Since WRL embraces the broad spectrum of peaceful humanism seeded by a long list of original Greek thinkers that received a gradual resurgence during the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment, and since we in the West exist within secular societies, in our attempt to discuss the following issues with sensitivity, we have assumed an independent voice seeking clarity of the profound mysticism of prophecy. For answers to a few frequently asked questions, click the FAQs tab in the right margin.
Mahdi and the Messiah: Blocked by Süleyman’s Paradox?
–a new interpretation on the relevance of prophecy
Question: When, if ever, is religious prophecy relevant in our secular society?
Answer: When its fulfillment could inspire world peace.
The Abrahamic religious traditions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—are the foundation upon which several billion of the faithful around the globe base their understanding of life on Earth. While there is, and has been, great conflict and bloodshed among these various Abrahamic religions in an apparent struggle for ideological dominance, their trampled and ignored meek remain remarkably hopeful of deliverance from the oppression and violence by heroic characters written about in prophecy.
Many influential Abrahamic religion authors, irrespective of affiliation, and apparently drunk on the shed blood of their respective martyrs, have historically interpreted these prophecies, often under the guise of fiction, to be indicative of militaristic war between the various religious, sectarian and secular belief systems—war that can now include atomic or nuclear weapons; weapons which are clearly a profound threat to all of humanity, not just their intended victims.
While history has only once witnessed a powerful secular society, strongly influenced by ‘just war’ advocates, detonate such weaponry over cities filled with multitudes of innocents–in an apparently angry retribution for aggressive military acts by an opponent–many other governments around the planet ruled and/or influenced by adherents of various religious and political ideologies are known overtly, or covertly, to also possess these tragic weapons with intent for their use. For those radical religious groups whose violent voice is increasingly heard around the world in terms of terror, flying the black flags of destruction and death, acquisition of such horrific devices is apparently a paramount goal.
Rationally, most of us will surely agree, interpretation of prophecy is at best subjective, even for well trained scholars. So, when the ‘religious authorities’ of a few of the more prominent groups appears to promulgate a specific ijtihad, or eisegesis, which involves exacting extreme violence upon such a great multitude, based entirely on interpretation of certain prophecies, it is time for a sober objectivity to be given expression.
Even as secular societies, we are keenly cognizant that the prophecies of the religions of Abraham have profound meaning for the majority of faithful believers, wherever they live and regardless of tradition. But, for this proposed sober objectivity to be in agreement with the fundamental principles of Love implicit in the anthropomorphized persona of a nurturing, forgiving, and loving “God” apparently espoused by these three religions (even if not always by their everchanging leaders), it must necessarily be free and independent from the human debilitation of bloodlust historically, and presently, infecting the mind of those who would offer their interpretation as though it is the word of the God. Thus, it is incumbent on religious and secular political leaders to accept and tightly embrace the realization that these prophecies can actually be understood to presage the honorable path toward peace, not wretched war.
Looking beyond the Judeo-Christian messianic biblical books like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation familiar to those of us in Western societies, intellectual interest in the topic of Muslim prophetic writing has led some of us generally unfamiliar with it to reach into Islam in an effort to fully represent thought from the Abrahamic religions. Many Muslim prophetic writings are included in sayings known as hadiths ascribed to Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, the founding prophet of Islam. Several of these hadiths record Muhammad foretelling the arrival of a Muslim Messiah, Mahdi. For many of us in the West, it may come as a surprise to learn Muhammad was thought to have prophesied the Muslim Mahdi would join with the Christian Messiah Isa (Jesus)—upon his anticipated return—to reveal hidden truths, to eliminate tyranny and oppression, and to usher in a lasting peace for the religions of Abraham.
When observed together, these overlapping Abrahamic religious prophecies present what seems to be a perplexing error in logic that can be called the Süleyman Paradox. This paradoxical contradiction appears to create an impediment to the pandemic peace a reunification of these religions will surely bring. It can be argued that the Süleyman Paradox appears to be quite effectively blocking the prophesied arrival of both the Muslim Mahdi and the Judeo-Christian Messiah. Let us quickly explain.
According to widely accepted interpretations of Isaiah and Ezekiel, upon arrival the Jewish Messiah was, and is, expected to enter the temple gardens of Old Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate; a passage known by many names, but variously as the Golden Gate, the Beautiful Gate, and the Gate of Mercy. In following these prophetic books, Christian tradition records Jesus passing through the gate ceremoniously almost 2,000 years ago as the incarnation of Messiah. Moreover, in anticipation of Jesus’ return, and in continuity with Isaiah and Ezekiel, Christians are now awaiting the return of their Messiah while Jews simultaneously await the arrival of their Messiah, with both religions sharing the common belief in the prophecy that their respective messianic figures, even if ultimately one and the same, must pass through this sacred ancient gate.
Problematically, around 1540, Süleyman the Magnificent—a brilliant Sultan of the Ottoman Empire who had only recently wrested control of Jerusalem—nobly dispatched his architects and engineers to reconstruct the old city of Jerusalem; but then also, some detractors say, ignobly ordered them to seal with blocks the undamaged inner and outer portals of the Eastern Gatehouse structure. Antagonists have derisively suggested Süleyman sealed the Gate of Mercy out of fear, in a quixotic effort to prevent the Jewish Messiah from fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy by passing through the gate, therein challenging his victory. Following the closure, in a second measure of defense against an advancing Messiah’s entourage, Süleyman constructed the cemetery located directly in front of the Eastern Gate’s façade, exemplifying the belief that death made certain graveyards too unclean for a proper Jewish holy man to pass through.
By sealing the Gate of Mercy, Süleyman not only ostensibly prevented the arrival of the Jewish Messiah, but he also blocked the Christian Messiah and the Muslim Mahdi when he rejected and ignored Muhammad’s apparent prophetic hadiths about the relationship between them—both joining efforts to rid the world of the deceptive heinous false imagery that fosters the tyrannical, oppressive, and intolerant corporative ideologies currently enslaving human love. And, since it appears as though many Muslims today, throughout all branches of Islam–Sufi, Sunni and Shia alike–generally accept the authenticity of these prophetic hadiths (even though this authenticity may be repeatedly questioned by a few Muslim scholars along the standard ideological and political divide), then the actions of Süleyman, closing the Eastern Gates, can be considered a peculiar paradox that is strongly contrary to the hadiths attributed to Muhammad. Indeed, one may need to question, in the terms of the faithful, is this not an unequivocal blasphemy?
Given that the Eastern Gate is now closed, many Christian’s believe that if the gate is ever reopened, then it will be a sign that their Messiah is nigh and the insightful Apocalypse of John of Patmos is about to begin, or by then, has already begun (though surely, it can be said, the apocalypse, or revelation, could be a staggeringly powerful and emotionally shocking exposé of hidden truth, remember when discussing the requisite altruistic, benevolent and compassionate nature of deity above, the prophesied events at the hill of Megiddo, or “Armageddon”, can not by definition describe wretched war). In fact, in anticipation of such an eventful opening, cameras are currently focused on the Gate of Mercy from across the Kidron Valley on the Mount of Olives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
When seen from a secularist view, though most of us can’t seriously pretend to really understand what all of these religious books and hadiths mean (incidentally, nor can Abrahamic theology scholars agree), it seems evident that an unprecedented opportunity exists for Muslims to reveal that the phrase “Gate of Mercy” could have a pertinence that transcends both the figurative and the literal, entering the divine; Muslims are empowered to eliminate the obstacles forming the dichotomy of Süleyman’s Paradox, to remove the blocks emplaced by him.
It does indeed appear as though Muslims can be a ‘comforter’ to Christians, Jews, and the secular world, while walking together toward world peace. With the Noble Sanctuary, or Temple Mount, of Jerusalem today under the politically agreed authority of the Muslim community’s Waqf, they can choose to act. Given the far reaching implications such a simple action could have (it could really be this simple) in nurturing the trust, forgiveness and respect necessary for the eventual peaceful reunification of the religions of Abraham, you may wonder, will the error in Süleyman’s Paradox be recognized, will the passage be prepared for the heroic characters Mahdi and the Messiah,…will the Gate of Mercy be reopened by Love?
In conclusion, in our attempts as human beings to comprehend life on Earth, we have developed through our experiences–some inexplicably mystical–understanding and systems of belief that are by necessity, given the gradual advance in the accumulation of knowledge, modifiable and to some degree evolutionary. One arguable premise gleaned from this investigation posits that there is an extricable false image integrated, manifested in the persona of god, God, or the deity associated with many religions; id est, mispercieved ancient events that were determined by individuals in positions of authority to be indicative of jealousy, anger, wrath and punishment, but which are now demonstrably measurable natural catstrophic events. With negation of the false image, by exorcising it, if you will, from the persona of “God”, we can evolve our understanding focusing on emulation of Love as the pure essence of the divine ideal. Therefore, it can be said: Love knows not religion; religion knows of Love. Worship only Love.
An Ode to Abrahamic Prophecy
Throughout the following poem, embracing a distant Greek tradition, the reader is encouraged to ponder the depth of emotion and motivation accompanying purposeful prophecy, and the passion of prophets of yore. While this lyrical piece is manifestly provocative, it may be demonstrable of existential angst, of profound ignorance, and…of hope.
In the Cloud
By G. J. Wells
Come gather ‘round, that infamous field,
where warriors of legend their power wield,
elementary truths will here be unsealed,
and government by corrupt mortals then repealed.
The place is Megiddo, a prophecy of battle,
where humans will be freed, and so too cattle.
Of our evil ways, no longer so much chattel?
Indeed, and more, have I here to tattle:
The time is now surely here,
held by many so utterly dear,
when all will be made crystal clear,
and nothing is left for us to fear.
This hour was much earlier foretold,
by the ancients, very, very old,
to the brazenly bold seeking gold,
with sentiment bitterly cold.
And to the ascetic and meek,
who are only poetically weak,
for they do earnestly seek,
the wisdom about which I speak.
Are we really ready for this,
that something is truly amiss?
Admittedly, more than many will hiss,
but take note, ignorance is not bliss!
Listen, my siblings, to this soothing sound,
put your ear upon the ground,
rumors aplenty do now abound,
about the revelation I here expound.
Mine is an age old apocalyptic story,
about grace, Love and golden glory,
where fools are full of pitiful sorry,
with transgressions piled high on laden lorry.
Be it then now known,
that their iniquitous seeds been sown,
to the reaper can they only bemoan,
and salacious finds he their groan.
Instincts called Satan anthropomorphize,
pursuit of Self can not we civilize!
Now look my friends up to the skies,
from celestial gate comes our demise.
Quakes, waves, lava, darkness and more,
we have for us these horrific things in store.
Complacency, apathy, Self-interest galore,
have brought us to this shore we abhor.
That justice is blind to innocents is true,
yet fear not death—as elders imbue,
For time will again start anew,
remember, most of all, Love is god for you!