Hi FTL, thanks for sharing Greg Carey's articles from Huffington Post.
He explains the modern scholarly consensus, which interprets Revelation with no reference to astrotheology. As such, I question whether this consensus presents an accurate reading of the intent of the authors. My view is that the astral vision of salvation embedded in Revelation actually does point to a real long term vision of the nature of time for our planet. So this is a stumbling block for me when I read arguments such as Carey's which try to exhaust the meaning of the text in their political message to the churches of the Roman Empire. This political reading may well be a surface message, but the original intent most definitely also covers a deeper longer millennial eschatology.
There is also a 'modern scholarly consensus' that Jesus Christ existed as a real man, and anyone who questions this consensus is shunned as a lunatic. Consensus in religion is not a good guide to truth. We find that there are deep cultural assumptions that guide which ideas may be interpreted as acceptable. The deep ideas in the modern world include the legacy of Christendom and the modern vision of the scientific enlightenment. Christendom tells us that Jesus is real, and has an enduring power in that idea, with the ability to ignore anyone who questions it. Science gives us a vision of progress, and tells us that the ancients were backward primitives who could not predict the future, so puts Revelation in its box as a limited political message. Both of these dominant readings are seductive but dubious.
Carey conveniently ignores the abundant astral symbolism in revelation because it does not fit with his political interpretation. The twelve stars in the crown of the blessed virgin, the match between the sevens and the sun, moon and five planets, the match between the first beast and the precession of the north celestial pole, the holy city as the Great Year of precession with its twelve jewels as the twelve Ages of the zodiac, the river of life as the Milky Way Galaxy and the tree of life as the zodiac are obvious astral symbols in the text of Revelation. All these ideas are clear if you care to look, but Carey is fixated on a shallow vision of Christianity as in conflict with paganism, and these symbols do not fit that reading.
Carey wishes to adopt a modern condescension towards conventional apocalyptic thinking. This is fair enough as regards conventional magical imagery, but it is not reasonable as regards the conventional time line. On the day-millennium principle from Psalms and Peter, conventional eschatology claims there is a seven thousand year period from Adam to the millennium. Against that conventional vision we are now entering the sabbath age of restoration, but face an apocalyptic transition. Of course there is much in the folk tradition that is wrong, especially young earth creationism. But rejecting eschatology as simply a creationist fantasy throws the baby out with the bathwater, as there is a deeper cosmic truth in the millennial vision.
With an expected nine billion people on our planet in this century, we can readily see that death, war, famine and disease, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, are stalking on a scale never before seen. The shift to sustainability is a shift of ages and worldviews, including a recognition of the deep natural meaning of Revelation as a new heaven and new earth. Carey would have us ignore all this modern symbolism, in favor of an effort to put the Bible back in its ancient box and ignore any rational ethical message it may have for us today. Far better to see this mysterious text as encoding deep meaning with a real vision of how events on our planet can be expected to unfold.