Last night, before I went to sleep, I read the bible. The Book of Revelations to be exact. Now, I’m not a very religious person but I am deeply spiritual. And I do believe in a Higher Power. Whenever I’m troubled and need the understanding of this strange world we live in as black folks, I read the bible.
My favourite book is the book of Job. I liken my experiences to Job but on a lesser scale. I’ve lost loved ones, had a house fire and nearly lost my life ( NO ONE can explain with reason how I survived, including the fire marshal ), had deep heartbreak, lost my job when my medical agency closed, been hungry and had a mental break, which I may add, opened my eyes to amazing clarity. Sometimes when I look at the sky, I can almost feel the changes in the wind, the smell of the air, the taste of the diminishing quality of the food and sense the desperation of my brothers and sisters.
Being born a woman of my grandmother’s soul, I’m deeply empathetic. I pick up on the feelings of others and if I’m not careful, I internalize them and begin to fall into myself. Living in AmeriKlan, in brown skin, traps me in ways I can never articulate. I want to scream but have no voice…so I write to purge myself and acquire some form of sanity.
Last night, in the quietness of my burnt-orange coloured bedroom, I snuggled up with my favourite blanket and let myself imagine with utmost honesty and fright, what is going on in the world. Why we are suffering so much and filled with depression and anger. It was then that the Spirit told me to read the Book of Revelations…so I did:
Revelations Chapter 13
13:1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads. On his horns were ten crowns, and on his heads, blasphemous names.
13:2 The beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
13:3 One of his heads looked like it had been wounded fatally. His fatal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled at the beast.
13:4 They worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
13:5 A mouth speaking great things and blasphemy was given to him. Authority to make war for forty-two months was given to him.
13:6 He opened his mouth for blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his dwelling, those who dwell in heaven.
13:7 It was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. Authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation was given to him.
13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been killed.
13:9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
13:10 If anyone has captivity, he will go. If anyone is with the sword, he must be killed. Here is the endurance and the faith of the saints.
13:11 I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon.
13:12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. He makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.
13:13 He performs great signs, even making fire come down out of the sky to the earth in the sight of people.
13:14 He deceives my own people who dwell on the earth because of the signs he was granted to do in front of the beast; saying to those who dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast who had the sword wound and lived.
13:15 It was given to him to give breath to it, to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause as many as wouldn’t worship the image of the beast to be killed.
13:16 He causes all, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, and the free and the slave, to be given marks on their right hands, or on their foreheads;
13:17 and that no one would be able to buy or to sell, unless he has that mark, the name of the beast or the number of his name.
13:18 Here is wisdom. He who has understanding, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is six hundred sixty-six.
Now what does that all mean? My interpretation:
The beast: Society
The sea: Nations or large groups of people
Speaking great things and blasphemy: Lying to the people and brainwashing them to have control. If you can make any large group of people believe that their neighbour is the enemy whilst using them for your own purposes…mission accomplished.
13:7: Speaks volumes without me having to say one word.
The life of the Lamb: All that believe in Christ/ Goodness/ Fairness/ Equality
13:9 …let him hear: Listen and understand to what society is telling you directly and indirectly. They mean it.
13:10 My absolute favourite! I read this over and over to gain patience and understanding. I believe the saying goes: As ye sow, so shall ye reap!
The rest of this passage, for me anyway, deals with the lying, deceit and enslavement of God’s children for power and profit.
13:16 and 13:17 deals with the mark of the beast. Did you know that during slavery, it was not uncommon for slavemaster’s to “brand” their slaves much like the way you brand your cows? That “mark” meant you were their property.
As I descend further and further into my African roots and learn the history of this country and what was done to my people, I vacillate between rage, pity, contempt and forgiveness. I know deep down whites are just as burdened as we are by their sins. They wear the heavy strain of guilt and shame like a thick cloak wrapped around their shoulders. That’s why denial is such a potent defense mechanism. We wear our depression, anger and resentment on our sleeves and faces. To be frank, I pity them. Honestly. For they have lost all humanity with the ghosts of ancestors past.