The Bible Is a Parable: A Middle Ground Between Science and Religion
The article had given me the date of AD 680 and left me with the question of why
Mohammed‘s grandson Ali had been slain. The article‘s quick synopsis of the history that
had preceded that most important Shi‘ite date added two others, when Mohammed had
died in AD 632 and when he had started his real estate acquisitions in AD 625.
The encyclopedia added an additional date of AD 622 as the traditional start of his
prophetic office and their calendar, and it had, in addition, explained that AD 625 was the
date of the first wounding of their leader in one of the early but significant victories.
Readings from other histories are rife with the rivalries of ruling families within
which competition and conflict regarding succession of leadership are a major concern,
especially in the beginning of dynasties.
Death appeared to have removed Mohammed, in mid-stride, from his ministry and
his marauding manner of conquests. Before it happened at age fifty-two, there had
evidently been little thought given to succession. For a few short busy years (either seven
or ten) he had been its founder and unchallenged leader. He‘d only had time to write the
verses that established him as a prophet in the eyes of many, organize a new paradigm of
success in battle, and surround himself with able commanders selected largely from
family and tribally related affiliations. Because of them, his mission was successfully
carried forward long after his untimely departure.
But also (I was to find out later), because of family and tribal rivalries his movement
was to split, only twenty-nine years after his passing, into the tribal faction who became
the Umayyad dynasty of Sunni Moslems and the familial faction who became the Shia
Something had happened between AD 632, the date of his death, and the
assassination of his grandson in AD 680. I pictured it as a time similar to what had
happened after the death of Alexander the Great, where able generals carved out their
own spheres of influence. But, unlike them, Mohammed‘s military leaders had much of
their history of conquest ahead of them.
So, these two competing groups, able to negotiate the allegiance of at least some of
these powerful military commanders began the dance around an ethereal throne where
only one would be able to sit when the music stopped. What had happened during the
time that the music had played on, I wondered?
Like a bolt out of the blue, a mental impression communicated itself to me. -Six-six-
six is the mark of the beast! | It had never occurred to me until that moment in time, that
Revelation‘s message might have had an historical interpretation!
At first it was a somewhat revolting thought. I couldn‘t understand how I could have
been afflicted in such a manner considering the theme of what I was beginning to write
about, a new way to view the biblical story of the Exodus.
Largely because of this feeling, I had lain that article and experience aside for a time,
giving only an occasional thought and /or verbal witness to it among close friends.
Within those occasional thoughts began to grow a curiosity. What might have happened
while the music played on, especially with the 666 date practically in the middle of the
other two? The question went unanswered for some time, during which 9-11 happened!
I remember tuning in, as I usually did, for the morning news when a reporter came
on, excitedly talking about a fire in one of the twin towers, those two American
equivalents to Egypt‘s towering obelisks. I‘m sure that many others had tried to
contemplate the impossibility of fighting a fire in any of such extremely tall buildings.