According the witness of the Gospels, Jesus not only does not refuse Old Testament expectations of "earth kingdom of God", but confirms them. Opponents of this idea often refer to words of Jesus:
"My kingdom is not of this world". They do not want to notice the conditional sense of this statement which proceeds (in the same phrase) so:
"if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence" (In. 18:36).
Evidently the word "now", changes the sense of phrase to opposite. The Catholic church, in avoidance the "confusion of minds», has removed this word from Latin translation ("Vulgata"). But it is contained in the most ancient and reliable Greek texts of the gospel (νυν). This word is preserved in translations on new-Greek and church-Slavonic. It also is kept (according to the Greek text) in the Bible of the King of James (now) and in the Luther Bible (nun).
Thus Jesus asserts that only at present, now, nowadays His Kingdom on the earth is impossible, but so will be not always.
Before Jesus ascension apostles ask Him the last, most for them important question:
"Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"
And they receive the answer:
"Not your business to know times or terms which the Father has put in The power" (Acts. 1: 6-7).
It is not rejection of the Messianic kingdom on the earth, but is the testimony that it is indispensable, but only «times and terms» are not opened yet by God.
It is difficult to find other prophecy in all Scripture which would be expressed so directly and unambiguously as prophecy about the earth Kingdom of the Messiah.
Apostle John bears witness about "the saints beheaded for Jesus":
"They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished" (Rev. 20: 4-5).
The destiny of this prophecy in a Christian history was difficult: disputes about it have begun already in the end of an apostolic epoch. At this time the gnostic and ascetic doctrines of east origin were aggressively taking root into Christian consciousness. In 132 year St. Justin the Philosopher spoke concerning the doctrine of thousand-year kingdom:
«There are between us the believers with sincere and devout mood who don't adopt this doctrine … But I and others reasonable Christians know that there will be a resurrection of body and millenary in Jerusalem which will be arranged, will be adorned and will become famous, as declare that the Ezekiel, Isaiah and other prophets» St. Justin, the Philosopher and the Martyr. Ì. 1995. P. 265-266.
Despite gnostic trends which were spoken by St. Justin, in apostolic and early christian church chiliastic (millenarian)
expectations obviously prevailed. Many written testimonies of it have remained in messages and theological works: apostle (from seventy) Barnabas, Justin the Philosopher, Irinaeus of Lyon, Methodius of Patara, Laktantius, Hyppolitus of Rome.
There is an erroneous opinion that the Church has condemned the doctrine about thousand-year kingdom as heretical. But the Second Ecumenical Council had denounced this doctrine only in connection with a fallacy from it which was made by Apollinaris of Laodicea. He tried to prove that the Son is less than Father because the kingdom of Father will be eternal, whereas the kingdom of Son will be only temporary (thousand years). In a counterbalance to this thesis, concerning the kingdom of Son the Council has accepted an addition to the Nicene Creed: «Whose kingdom shall have no end» (see 17)
Connection of doctrine of the thousand-year kingdom with heresy of Apollinaris will be completely broken off if to recognize that "Christ" mentioned in 20th chapter of Revelation is not Jesus the Pantocrator, but only His true assistant and deputy on the earth. This view proves to be true because in the most reliable primary sources the Greek word "Christ" has no grammatical limb, characteristic for proper names, and means simply a title – "the annointed sovereign". It should be written on translations with a small letter: "christ". This "christ" of thousand-year kingdom is the same "a man child who was to rule all nations" (Rev. 12: 5). It will be not yet the eternal kingdom of the Son, but only the preliminary, the preparation to it.
Most powerfully and consistently the doctrine about a thousand-year kingdom is developed by the great fighter against gnostic heresies Irinaeus of Lyon (130 - 202); the first of "Fathers of Church". His teachers were Papias of Hierapolia and Polycarp of Smirna (+ near 155). Polycarp personally knew apostle John and has kept in memory all what the author of Revelation has informed him in oral conversations. Quoting narratives of his teachers, St. Irinaeus writes:
"For it is just that in that very creation in which they toiled or were afflicted, being proved in every way by suffering, they should receive the reward of their suffering; and that in the creation in which they were slain because of their love to God, in that they should be revived again; and that in the creation in which they endured servitude, in that they should reign". Against Heresies. Book V. Ì. 1996. P.514.
"For as it is God truly who raises up man, so also does man truly rise from the dead, and not allegorically, as I have shown repeatedly. And as he rises actually, so also shall he be actually disciplined beforehand for incorruption, and shall go forwards and flourish in the times of the kingdom, in order that he may be capable of receiving the glory of the Father". P.523.
These words – "to disciplined beforehand for incorruption" – we have possibility to interpret in the spirit of Fedorov doctrines. It is natural to expect that those who have experienced "the first resurrection", will do the utmost for preparation of universal resurrection. This image faced N.Fedorov mind's eye when he searched for its features in the Russian kingdom of that time. It is impossible to reproach him for it: N.Fedorov who foresaw the seeds of future in the present time, as all the prophets, thereby brings closer and prepares this future.
The greatest Fathers of Church cardinally differed among themselves with interpretation of these lines. Undoubtedly Nikolay Fedorov perfectly knowing Scriptures was deeply pondering over them. He even uses the term "the first resurrection", certainly with his own interpretation. It would seem, the doctrine of the Thousand-year Kingdom is deeply conformable to the Fedorov doctrine: here is the "period of mature age" about which he speaks so often, here is the time of realization of creative cooperation of the man with God for which he constantly calls! However there is no reference to this place of Revelation in Fedorov works, and he never discussed the doctrine of earthly Kingdom of the Christ.
Such loudly sounding silence demands an explanation. We will try to give it in the end of article, but for now we will try to prove that the Fedorov doctrine in its spiritual essence is deeply "chiliastic" (millennarian). This doctrine quite often is named as utopian, and it is partly true. But it is true as well that the Fedorov project is rather the prophecy under the pretext of utopia. This prophecy should be understood not only as comprehension and proclaiming of the Divine plan about the future, but also as an appeal to its practical realization.
Millennarism of Fedorov is manifested first of all in his categorical rejecting of historical pessimism and final catastrophism.
So about "Three conversations" of Vladimir Solovyev, published shortly before demise of N.Fedorov, and in particular about the «Poems about Antichrist», he throws the rebuke to author in discrepancy to spirit and letter of the Revelation:
"In all work of Solovyev is only antichrist and his servants, but the Christ is absent, i.e. there is the negative, is the destruction, but there is no restoration. Where the Lamb who should open the book with seven seals?" Works. 4,72
S.G.Semenova in the preface to N.F.Fedorov collected works, expounding the essence of his religious views, writes:
«Transcendental catastrophism practically deprives the history of any sense whereas the idea of joining of human and divine energies in work of salvation, the belief in the new religious creative epoch opening "the eighth day" of creation, confronts such depriving of sense» 1, 20.
with preachers who forecast the "end of the world", the destruction of all earthly world and realisation of God Kingdom only "in heavens", Fedorov confirms:
«Supramoralizm demands paradise, Kingdom of God, not otherwordly but this-wordly, demands the transfiguration which are extending on all heavenly worlds and bringing us closer with the other world … Kingdom of God or paradise, there is a product of all forces, all abilities, all people in their totality … such is, so to speak, paradise for people of full age. It can be product of only people themselves, product of completeness of knowledge, depth of feeling, power of will; paradise can be created only by people themselves, to execute will of God …"My Father worketh hitherto and I work" – this is perfection» 1,404.
The history according Fedorov is deeply substantial process: "education of human race" (I, 208), its gradual transition from the childhood to majority. Final aim this increase: likening of the man and the human society to Triune God. First sign of maturity of the person – understanding and conscious acceptance of this superior purpose of Divine pedagogics. With achievement of this maturity the history enters qualitatively new stage.
Fedorov develops this thought so:
"There will be no already the history what it nowadays is, the history will not be the fact made unconsciously, the history will be execution of the project consisting in likening of the human race to Divine Tri-Unity, it will be history not as the fact, but as the project … active history as expression of cumulative will" 2,32.
Of course it is possible to hear the consonance with the Marxist doctrine about "end of prehistory", about "jump from a kingdom of nessesity in kingdom of freedom" – but such consonance should not compromise Fedorov in any measure.
The Marxism also is chiliastic in the bases, and it just represents the strong side – it explains the huge, though temporary influence of this doctrine. The success of Marxism only proves the known truth: "the future casts a shadow" which we paraphrase so: "the future radiates light". So deep agitation which millenarian idea evokes in mankind, even in its defective and distorted form, convincingly proves: the Thousand-year Kingdom is at hand.
It is known that young Engels has been enthusiastic about preaching of Millenary with which Schelling's accomplished the final of his long philosophical way. Engels has infected his friend Karl Marx with this enthusiasm. Certainly, in Marxism the God "has dropped out" from Divine Kingdom, and the "Kingdom" has been replaced by social democratic republic in the West and by totalitarian despotism in the East. But nevertheless there was a vague and powerful impulse to realisation of "brotherhood of all mankind", i.e. to that "overcoming
of non-kinship" which so flamingly proclaimed Fedorov.
Improbable narrowing of spiritual horizon, small-minded purposes, violent methods of Marxism – all this is absolutely not peculiar to the Fedorov project. On the contrary, if with something amazes Fedorov it is grandness and depth of vision of the world. According his conviction, no external economic and political transformations can eliminate the radical reasons of tragic element of human life. Instead of a problem of "overcoming of exploitation" he sets as the purpose the overcoming of the death, which is primary source of sufferings, in full accordance with the Scripture: "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1 Cor.15:26).
Here is Fedorov formulation of this task:
Following to spirit-filled creators of the "Philokalia" who considered the sober vision of their own sin as the deepest and difficult knowledge, Fedorov calls for achievement of such knowledge as the first condition of human maturity and transition to a new epoch.
"The History has lost count of attempts to arrange a brotherhood, without paying attention to the reasons of non-brotherhood. There were also such attempts which paid attention to the reasons, but were unsuccessful because they were one-sided. For achievement of purpose, it is necessary that all science instead of the knowledge of the reasons at all, would the research of the non-brotherhood reasons; it is necessary that all people have taken part in this research and have directed all their forces to brotherhood restoration. Consolidation of all people in work of cognition of blind external force will destroy this evil outside us, which hinders the establishment of God Kingdom inside us" (underlined by me, Ë.Ð.) 2, 363.
In full accordance with the Gospels, Fedorov does not separate one from another the kingdom of God "inside us" and the kingdom of God "among us". The common work on overcoming of death should lead to internal transfiguration, but at the same time such transfiguration is a condition at which teamwork becomes possible and productive. Fedorov makes the highest demands on personal morality, not less strict than were established by Saint teachers of "inward spiritual work". Seeing in voluptuousness an enormous force, egoistical and therefore destructive, he proclaims:
"The full triumph over carnality is necessary, to reach such condition, when guiltiness would be impossible, to free oneself from any unclean wish, i.e. not only not to be born, but also to become unbegotten one" 1,280.
Thus, Fedorov gives the deep answer to a question which so tormented Dostoevsky: about origins of voluptuousness in the human – this origin consists in the very character of the birth, i.e. in the way of conception of the man. "I was conceived in iniquities, and in sin did my mother bare me," – the Psalmist
David speaks. We cannot change this way of birth, but the Creator gives the chance to us to correct its sinful consequences.
"To become unbegotten" fully coincides with Christian understanding of baptism sacrament as dying of the "our old man" (Rom.6:6), born "from male lust" and the birth of the new man "from water and Spirit". What is given in sacrament as the promise and deposit, should become the reality of psychic and corporal life. It is the task not yet executed by Christianity: to become religion of Holy Trinity in practice , to transform in practice our egocentric essence. "The doctrine of the Trinity is the sample of such highest virtue which Christianity has far not yet reached" – asserts Fedorov I, 382.
Achievement of this goal demands the whole historical epoch: images by which Fedorov describes this epoch expose, that he behold by internal look the God Kingdom on the earth, i.e. the Thousand-year Kingdom.
However, as well as almost all prophets, he was not able and did not want to postpone execution of the promises to the far future: he seriously believed that execution of his project should begin already at his life and with his direct participation. In this aspect he practically does not differ from his "obstinate" pupil – Vladimir Solovyev who believed that his own "project": association of the Russian tsar and the Pope under direction of the free prophet (can't guess, who!) it can be executed "during 10-15 years". It is possible to bring also other example: Christianity would not become what it became if apostles and their pupils did not believe seriously that Jesus Christ will return with victory during their own life. As well the great inspiration of Saint Sergius and his followers was connected with expectation of soon (in 1492) the Christ Coming and establishment His kingdom on the earth.
Many aspects of the Fedorov doctrine which now seem naive or simply erroneous, are caused by this desire to "bind" the resurrection project to realities of current time. But the project without this "binding" would lose the features of concreteness and, the main thing, the passionate moral imperative would have been sharply weakened: to start affair immediately, here and now! But, though in the end of his life Fedorov recognises that his affair "has failed", in the sense of immediate execution, however it has not lowered his activity in preaching of the ideas which he already adress to future generations.
The greatest danger to the affair of resurrection, which was understood by Fedorov as indispensable Divine commandment, he saw in "mysticism" which he considered as "sickly phenomenon" (4, 388). He especially reproached F.M.Dostoevskogo on whom he at first has pinned very much hopes. Making comments on one of his letters, Fedorov wrote:
letter the twice repeated statement is worthy, about resurrection real, literal, personal. This however will come true on the earth (and on the earth), instead of will be made by efforts of all people. But his reasonings about resurrected bodies are extremely naive.
… Corporal resurrection in itself if not to understand it metaphorically or allegorically, is direct negation of mysticism" (Underlined by N.Fedorov) 4,14.
Aspiring to practical realization of the project, Fedorov leant against that science which has developed by then, leant on contemporary to him reality of political system and national psychology. From here, after Slavophiles, his accent on cenobitic aspects of rural life, on deep consciousness of the soldier's duty peculiar to Russian people and, of course, on strength and authority of the autocratic power. Fedorov is reproached for this in political reaction and obscurantism by many modern critics.
However, if we will read his texts more attentively we would see that here the matter is not about real image of Autocracy, but about its ideal image, i.e. the philosopher is again directed towards the times of the future. Really, how is it possible to understand such moral demand made by him to the Empire power:
"The autocracy presumes the existence of such person which, 'being responsible only before God and his own conscience', does not need any supervision for execution of duty placed on him. He does not need in supervision from elected representatives, nor in public accusations. The duty of the autocrat consists to make the all persons similar to him, i.e. responsible only before God and their own conscience, capable to live without supervision and incapable to the infringement of duty, incapable to escape the duty; hence, only full maturity can be the sample for the state". 2,21
The matter is here obviously about the people maturity, achievement of which will be the beginning of the new epoch – the beginning of execution of Triunity and resurrection commandment.
"The autocrat anointed on a kingdom receives messianic value both in the field of knowledge, and in the field of affair. He becomes the initiator (founder) of the new knowledge which is possible to be named as philosophy of autocracy, inseparable from religion as the most ancient revelation" 2,32.
"The History as the project is the very Christianity, i.e. all languages (peoples, nations) which are collected and taught in the name of Triune God - the very Christianity going over from thought to affair, from the justifying only, or mysterious redemption, to obvious rescue, or to resurrection. The autocrat is anointed specially for the realization of project, which is commandment of the Holy Trinity" 2,37.
Fedorov tells here directly about a "messianic" image of the Tsar, and though he hopes to inspire the execution of this role to the now existing tsar, however
actually he speaks about the Tsar of the future, about that "christ" who according to Revelation, should head the Thousand-year Kingdom. We will remind that in the primary sources of Revelation the Greek word «christ» is used as a common instead of a proper noun, i.e. does mean not Jesus, but only "anointer", as we told above. Thus, in the doctrine about messianic autocracy Fedorov actually again acts in the role of the prophet, irrespective to his own knowledge of his role. If it is possible in this connection to reproach Fedorov in something so not in "obscurantism", but in "futurism" – the rebuke which can be made to any biblical and Christian prophet.
That fact that Fedorov saw the image of the Tsar in apocalyptic perspective, can be proved for example by following tirade about V.Solovyev:
"The essay about Anti-Christ should be supplement by the description of the Christian Emperor which, after overthrow of Anti-Christ, could give other course to historical process, to prevent the end of the world. Execution of apocalyptic threats could be canceled, and John would give thanks God for such non-executing, because he is not the Jonah". 4,72F
But "other course of historical process" after overthrow of Anti-Christ – it is the Thousand-year Kingdom. And that Christian Emperor who overthrows him obviously is the same "anointer sovereign" or "christ" of this kingdom. We will note one mistake of Fedorov in his interpretation of Scripture: Revelation does not speak about end of the world. Here the philosopher has followed to the ordinary erroneous opinion about "end of world" by which ostensibly the earth history should be finished. The main apocalyptic calamities in the time before overthrowing of Anti-Christ, they are heavy but temporally. These disasters are caused by action of forces of darkness and are allowed by God only for the purpose of awakening of mankind from a sinful sleep. Similar thoughts about calamities were not alien also to Fedorov who considered that in the absence of death and sufferings, in the conditions of full and universal pleasure, the person never would reflect about goal and sense of life and would not be imbued with compassion to the died generations. Overcoming of sufferings will become possible only after completely resurrected mankind will make itself the image of the Holy Trinity. Then the highest aspirations and goals will become the basis of human nature and any additional stimulus for their awakening will not be required any more.
* * *
According to principle "of application of prophecies to up-to-dateness", we will try to find in Revelation the words which can encourage us, today's, to specify the purpose of spiritual work. Apostle John repeatedly and in detail says that the thousand-year kingdom cannot come until the spiritual
avant-guard of the mankind will be gathered to pave way for all the rest people:
"And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. And they sung ... and no man could learn that song but the hundred forty four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth... These were redeemed from among men, the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God" (Rev.14: 1-5).
There is almost no Christian sect which would not try to adapt this prophecy to themselves, having pretension to the role of "firstborns" of God. Probably, there is no sin in aspiration to enter their number, but it is necessary to recognize that this goal is unachievable without the radically changing of oneself. It is necessary to learn not simply to overcome the bad thoughts, aspirations and instincts, but become such one's that these thoughts did not arise at all, such one that egoistical instincts have ceased to operate. Moreover, relations of trinitarian love should become primary, subconscious aspiration of soul. What else can mean the words: "they are without fault before the throne of God"? Confirmation of their being chosen they receive from "Angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God"; he lays "seals" on foreheads of saints (Rev.7: 2-3; 14: 1).
It is necessary to reject possible rebuke in "elitism" which undoubtedly is alien to gospel spirit. It is obvious that number 144.000 – purely symbolical and that representatives of all nations and peoples of the Earth will enter into this number. It is told in other text of Revelation:
"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands" (Rev.7:9).
The door is really opened for everyone, but the question is: will be many ones who want and able to enter it? For "chosen" the "others" became sense of life – those who has not yet passed through their way to trinitarian love. The chosen are named as "firstborns" just because they will be followed by these "others".
The theme of messianic kingdom is immense and many-sided. One of its important aspects (which we may show only by dotted line) is a question on how this theme can be inserted in the context of real historical process. N.Fedorov well understood that the future will be created not only in silence of offices and monastic cells, but also in research laboratories, and under a family shelter, and on fields of battles, both in public gatherings, and before thrones of sovereigns. Therefore N.Fedorov carefully analyzed not only spiritual, but also
social and political history of mankind
From the view point of conservatism, which is characteristic both for catholicism, and for orthodox church, chiliastic (millennial) idea looks rather dangerous. Conservatism itself is quite justified: the further development is impossible without preservation of the reached, there is no future without taking roots in the past. In epoch of holy-fathers the empire-church synthesis was result of grandiose reform as Empire and Church. To collect plentiful fruits of this synthesis, it was necessary to provide the relative stability of life. However this would be absolutely impossible, if the people every day would be expected the approach of kingdom of God on the earth. The person is not able to postpone his expectations to the far future – for him everything that does not occur here and now, will not occur at all. To avoid peoples unrests, but not refuse the letter of prophecy, fathers of Church have found the wise decision. They declared that "concordance (symphony)" of Empire and Church already is the same "thousand-year kingdom", and it is wrong to expect any another Kingdom.
Such interpretation of Revelation which have been suggested by St. Augustine and St. John Chrisostom (Golden-mouth), became absolutely dominating idea. However in understanding of church-imperial synthesis various accents were placed: «the kingdom of God» in the west is domination of Church over Empire, in the east – Empire domination over Church. This difference in thoughts (or more likely difference in feelings), supported with historical circumstances, became the real reason of the Great East-West Schism, cleavage of Christianity on Catholicism and Orthodoxy.
Only in ÕII - ÕIII centuries the idea of a future thousand-year kingdom has started to be revived in catholic theology. Joachim of Floris developed the doctrine about an epoch of the Third Covenant (Testament) – as the future kingdom headed by monastic orders. In ÕV century the similar "millennarism" has inspired the Czech Taborites to the terrible mutiny against Latin church and worldly authorities. The pioneering of North America also was accompanied by millennarian inspiration: the European emigrants, with the Bible in hands, desiring to construct "new earth under new heaven" (Rev. 21: 1). Also communistic movements of Europe were imbued with chiliastic pathos; the mad Bolshevik idea to construct "kingdom of God" without God was the perverted manifestation of subconscious people expectations of Divine Kingdom.
The true revival of early-Christian chiliasm has occurred only once in history – in a brotherhood of Sergius Radonezhsky, who has headed the mighty spiritual movement in Russia of ÕV century. Let's remember that "7000 years from creation of the world", according to Byzantine (and Russian) church chronology, will be expired in 1492 and "the eighth millenary"
should begin. Some believers had been understanding it as the beginning of eternal life after the "end of world", others – as starting of Divine kingdom on the earth. The second view had been expressed in widely extended the Apocrypha (oral and written); in them holy and happy life in future kingdom was described in detail. These Apocrypha were perceived by orthodox Christians of that time with full confidence. In spiritual atmosphere of chiliastic expectations also Sergius of Radonezh and all his pupils was brought up. Character of their activity witness about their faith – encouragement and participation in creation of temples, monasteries, cities, state. Church art of that time is imbued with bright, joyful tones. All this would be impossible if Christians had expectation of the fast end of earth life, but all this gets deep sense as preparation for the kingdom of God on earth.
Chiliastic Apocrypha of ÕIV-ÕV centuries have often named "the prince of Michael", as head of the future kingdom. He was twice mentioned in the book of prophet Daniel widely known in Russia (Dan. 10: 13; 12:1). The image of the man (prince) Michael quite often was merged in consciousness of the church people with "archangel Michael", which is mentioned in one of the key episodes of Revelation of John Divine (Rev. 12: 7).
The well-known icon "Archangel Michael with acts" was created by unknown icon-painter soon after demise of St. Sergius. The unusual history of its occurrence, according to the legend, looks so. Princess Eudoxia – the widow of prince Dmitry Donskoy and spiritual daughter Sergija Radonezhsky – have seen in vision the image of the future icon. The woman has lost speech from shock, and she was able only by signs to explain to the icon-painter the divine command about an embodiment of all that she has seen. Only after third attempt of painter to create the icon, Eudoxia got speech ability and has confirmed the accuracy of image. Survivability of this legend is the testimony of extreme significance which in Russia was given to this icon. Why?
The unusual theological content of icon "Michael with acts" is underlined by numerous and considerable deviations from traditional iconographic canons. Here Michael is represented with a sword not lowered as usual but lifted; it means the approach of apocalyptic battles. The testimony of chiliastic expectations is such important feature of icon, as carved on gesso ("levkas") the vegetative ornament which creates a background of its central part. Nothing similar does not meet in icons of that epoch, and this nonpluses the best experts in iconography. The color symbolics of clothes and topics of "acts" underlines combination of human and angelic features of the main character.
One more remarkable peculiarity of an icon: in its top left corner, in the most important border scene, we see at first time in the history the image
of the Trinity of "Rublev" type (instead of traditional "old-testament Trinity" with Abraham and Sarah, receiving divine visitors. Three figures of this border scene differ from Rublev image by turn of head of interlocutors: left (from us) and the central character together look at the right interlocutor, showing by this that he play the main role in the icon content as a whole. In addition it is underlined by initiative hand gesture which belongs to the right interlocutor, instead of left, as on Rublyov icon. As the left top border scene, according to usual canon, expresses the main idea of icon, and the icon is devoted to Archangel Michael, from here follows – the right interlocutor is the same Michael. Definitively it proves to be true by range of clothes colors of this character: the same, as Michael on central part of icon.
10-15 years later Andrey Rublev will expand this small border scene on icon "Archangel Michael with acts" to his well-known "Trinity". Who on this icon symbolises invisible Holy Trinity, which in principle may not be depicted? We are convinced that on this icon are presented not three angels but three human – because the supreme creation of God is the human being, not the angel. Wings in icon – no more than the standard symbol of highest spirituality; with wings quite often represented John the Forerunner and holy monks – skhimniks. There was iconographic tradition to use the images of patriarchs of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (James) – to underline the unity of God in three Faces (according to the biblical formula "God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob"). It is established that Andrey Rublev followed this tradition in wall-paintings of Vladimir Cathedral. According to our interpretation on his icon "Trinity" are presented others, even more considerable Persons: in the centre –Forefather Adam, at the left – "new Adam" Jesus Christ. Then who may be the third person of commensurable scale represented on the right? During the epoch of chiliastic expectations Andrey Rublev, the follower of Sergius Radonezhsky could imply only Michael, the future prince of thousand-year kingdom. Thereby Rublev icon of Holy Trinity gave the visible image of "soborny" (conciliar) unity and simultaneously it was prophecy about messianic kingdom led by prince Michael.
It is possible to bring variety of arguments in favor of such interpretation. Jesus is seated in the left corner of table (according to canon, it is the most honourable place); behind his back – the building symbolizing the Church, with an inscription I H (anagramme of name Jesus the Nazarene, i.e. Jesus as Man). Forefather Adam is placed in the table centre; it is remarkable that his halo is smaller in size, than those of two his interlocutors (despite traditional reverse perspective of icon). Adam feet are hidden from our eyes, underlining his earth roots; behind his back is a tree, the standard
symbol of genealogical tree (in this case, of all mankind). Near to the right figure – a rock, reminding about "miracle of archangel Michael in Honah" (the widespread theme of icons and frescos of that time).
The color symbolics of clothes of three interlocutors on Rublev icon also proves the offered identification. So, the dark blue color which is present at all three, symbolizes their common human nature; the gold-orange tunic of the left figure shows the second, divine nature of Jesus; brown color in clothes of the central figure reminds about the earth from which Adam is taken; at last, green color in clothes of the right figure means presence of the angelic nature in the prince Michael.
Position of hands of three interlocutors means: Jesus rules, Adam agrees with Him and transfers this command to Michael, who expresses readiness to execute it. The command content is the sequence of great fulfillments lain ahead of Michael: to overthrow dragon from the heaven, to put the seals to foreheads of chosen ones, to throw Satan in abyss and, at last to become the head of a thousand-year kingdom on the earth.
New and unusual to church tradition in our expounding of "Trinity" plot is not so much the prophecy about acts of Michael, how many Adam exaltation to "equal in honor" interlocutor of Jesus. The figurative thinking of Golden Age of iconography was symbolical, but quite concrete: if three persons sit together and partake of the food, it means all of them are live, i.e. abide in full unity of soul and body. Hence before us on "Trinity" icon is alive Adam in thousand-year kingdom, before common resurrection. Prophecy about Adam resurrection (as real person and generalised image of all our fathers) is the key content of Rublev icon and Fedorov doctrine.
Mythological aspect of the project
According to N.Fedorov the history should be "execution of the project consisting in likening of human race to Divine Triunity" N.F.Fedorov. Works Vol.2. We will say more precisely: creation of trinitarian person who has defeated death is the primary Divine project. Therefore we should realize this as Creator task which is yet not executed, the task which has reached us through many generations of ancestors. Memory of this sense of history is kept in mythological consciousness of mankind, but this sense is out of sight of modern historical science. The objective, passionless description of events of the past speaks nothing neither to the mind, nor to heart of person; such history ceases to be our history.
Unlike a fairy tale, the myth bases on real events and facts which were taking place actually. Here is depth of myth roots, but the same makes it vulnerable and helpless in the front of modern science. The collision between science and live memory of mankind reaches extreme tension in case of biblical myth. The faith and knowledge contradicts each other so
strongly that contradiction seems unsoluble. As the biblical myth has the status of Divine Revelation the objective scientific criticism of basic facts of this myth can become destructive for faith. It is enough to remember, what devastation in souls of believers has made Copernicus and Darwin discoveries.
If the events narrated in Bible are not more than fairy tales with moral meaning, maybe the God Himself is the same fairy tale? Maybe true dignity of person is courageous readiness to live in the adult, not fairy world – maybe harsh and cold, but full of fascinating intellectual adventures? The one who hopes to overcome such crisis by means of compromises and half measures, he does not take seriously the science or does not take seriously the Bible. If the exit is possible, it should be discovered not by means reciprocal yielding of faith and knowledge, but on the way of fundamental deepening both of them. To this as urgent and practical affair – N.Fedorov passionately appealed:
"If the science possessed feeling she would hear … a voice of God of our fathers, Adam, Noah, fathers alive for God, dead for us; for us dead because inside us is not yet a similarity of God" (P. 306).
Biblical doctrine about creation of the world and especially the human being is on cutting edge of conflict. Recently has been offered and convincingly proved the theory of origin of the Universe as result of a Big Bang. Joyful voices of theologians at once have begun to sound: here, the science has confirmed the biblical picture of creation of the world! Is it truly so? Diligent perusal of the Bible text of six days of creation (so-called "the Hexameron") convinces that this text has no relation to a Big Bang.
"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" (Gen. 1:1)
In front of us is a picture of the planetary catastrophe accompanied by huge flooding and hurricanes, and also by some processes leading to full opacity of atmosphere. Super-power eruption, falling of meteorite or turn of lithosphere concerning an axis of rotation of the Earth (so-called "turn of poles") could be the reasons of such catastrophe. All this has not any relation to Noah deluge described in Bible by several chapters further. The events depicted in the Hexameron can be connected with legends of "ruin of Atlantis". If to believe to Platon, this event has occurred not so long ago: 9-10 thousand years BC, and memory of the catastrophe quite could remain in mythological consciousness of mankind. The Moses and his contemporaries could not comprehend this otherwise as creation of the world. The religious sense of the revelation received by Moses is that the former world which had vanished in catastrophe, should be buried into oblivion of non-existence. Biblical cosmogony, in difference for
example from Egyptian, cut the ground from under the pagan astral cults inherited from "angelolatric" civilisation of Atlantis. Attempts to find in the biblical Hexameron the conception of creation of the world as Big Bang are connected with inevitable strained interpretation. At the same time this concept can be well agreed with cosmogonic myth of "breath of Brahma" in Vedanta. The Mankind cannot experience the Big Bang as ITS past, as creation of OUR world.
The modern science operating in grandiose space and time scale, removes us from limits of the HUMAN world into open expanse of the world ANGELIC. Without new deepening into the human essence we are threatened with danger to disturb the Divine design of relations between angel and human.
According to Scripture and Church fathers, for the true angels who have kept fidelity to the God, the deepest and thrilling mystery is the human with his organic unity of soul and body, grown from one seed. However not all the angels are of such sort. St. Grigory Palama has well told about all this:
"The Son of God became the human to show to what height He exalts human; … to show that the nature of human, unlike all creatures, is created in the image of God; … to have revered the flesh, namely the mortal flesh; that haughty spirits did not dare to consider and think of itself that they are more worthy than the human, and that they can get theosis owing to their bodiless and seeming immortality" Archimandrite Cyprian (Kern). St. Grigory Palamy's anthropology. Ì., 1996. P. 309.
«Haughty angels» though despise the flesh, but willingly use it for expansion of their experience and increase of power. Moreover, they even had tried to create ostensibly "human being" as some kind of symbiosis of advanced animal and angel. This symbiosis could result also some biological changes – for example, the increase in the sizes of body and physical power of these beings (on what E.Blavatskaya insists).
As result of the natural evolution being directed by impulses of "minimum necessary divine intervention", the being arose biologically identical to the modern human. Within the limits of biblical myth we name it as "preadamit". Its extremely plastic, "children" mentality was not capable to resist intrusion of angels which have completely enslaved it. The program of installation of angels into preadamites has not had time to extend on all the tribes of the Earth; it has been executed only within advanced magical civilisation of Atlantis, which was only local. This civilisation as whole has ruin in planetary catastrophe whereas the considerable part of preadamic tribes has survived. Gradual returning of the earth to stable state is described in the Hexameron as "creation of the world". It was creation of that world in which the true human could live and develop. Thus, in our interpretation the main intention of the
biblical myth is preserved: the world is created by God for the sake of the human and for the human. The history of Atlantis ruin in the reduced scale has repeated at the time of "Noah deluge". About the reasons of "God wrath" the Bible speaks:
"There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare [children] to them" (Gen.6:4)
We consider that here is described a new attempt of "haughty angels" to seize the planet. The race of giants has had time to occupy only small part of the Black Sea coast of Caucasus, therefore disposal of them needed only local catastrophe. In this time Black sea was the lake with level much lower, than of world ocean. Noah deluge has resulted from sudden bursting of Bosphorus isthmus and Mediterranean waters gushing in Black Sea pool. The author's conception suggested here is in detail stated and well-founded in monography: L.Regelson, I.Hvarzkia. The mystery Message of the Bible. The Land of Adam. Sukhum. 1997.
Now we should turn our eyes upon the central question of biblical myth: who is the Adam and how he has been created?
First of all, Adam cannot be considered as biological father of all mankind. We may name him "the father of mankind" in the same sense as we names Abraham ""the father of believers": "They which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham" (Gal.3:7). Creation of Adam the Bible describes so: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground" (Gen. 2: 7). Biblical Hebrew instead of word "man" uses here word "adam", and instead of "dust of the ground" – "afar adama". According to our interpretation with use of proto-abkhazian ("adamistic") language, "adama" is one of preadamic tribes ("afar adama" means "mountain adama, or adama from mountains"). It means that God has created Adam from one representative of tribe adama. The biological nature of preadamit has not been subjected to changes, reorganisation was needed only for his mentality (psychic). Contrary to opinion of the majority of interpreters, we are convinced that for reorganisation of preadamistic soul into human soul (such as it is now) nothing other is required, except bringing up. But "bringing up" we understand in generalized sense – as total combination of obvious and implicit influences from the tutors (love, attention, dialogue, training, education, mysteries and sacraments).
Let's not go deep into question on external, tangible forms of Divine bringing up. Maybe God-Trinity communicated with Adam in the same image of "three men" (Gen. 18:2) as He subsequently had had a talk with Abraham and Sara. Adam has acquainted Eva with the new experience of human existence received from God, later – their descendants who
in their turn have started to pass on this experience to the neighbor tribes. The preaching of "adamism" in result of which all Earth tribes became "adopted children" of Adam, was carried out by descendants of the patriarch Noah only after "Black Sea deluge". These adamistic missionaries became sacrificers, chiefs and "cultural heroes" of the peoples to which they gave their names, knowledges and faith ("the primary monotheism"). So our human race was formed and human history has begun.
According to the Bible, execution of the divine plan about the human has become extremely complicated because of forbears Fall. The human as "image and likeness of God" is such human who shows the image of the Trinity in all layers of his psychic, as the mentality and the feeling so the primary vital impulses and instincts. However, according to our interpretation, Adam as any animal, has emerged from fertilized egg-sell, – therefore his psychic in its base should be "monadic". Any bringing up can influence only on the top layers of soul, i.e. on emotion and mentality. Only the bringing up, ever Divine, was insufficient for transformation of the instinctive psychic base. To partake of "body and blood" was necessary – of such Human Being who would be trinitarian already from birth. In real history such Human – Jesus Christ was born several thousand years later from Virgin Maria. If the Fall of forbears was not, He should be born already in the Edem garden. But Eve was not the Virgin Mary: according the plan of God (as we understand it) Adam and Eve should execute a role of venerable Joachim and Anne – to become Maria's parents. To give birth and bring up the Most-Pure Virgin, Adam and Eve should have reached the necessary level of spiritual maturity.
In one of the nearest generations by natural way would be born also Michael; he too, following Adam, would become "trinitarian human" – by means of bringing up and partaking to Jesus. Adam, Jesus and Michael, in relations among themselves, should make visible for all people the image of inner life of Holy Trinity. If these three highest human (and their direct descendants) have headed the process of pteadamits adoption, this process would be executed quickly and in all trinitarian completeness. Also the Angels should be involved in trinitarian relations through the human; it is a special mission of Michael. Namely in Michael should begin the true, agreed with God purpose the joining of human race with the angelic world. Because the angelic world is closely connected with the Cosmos, the task of Cosmos exploration by mankind would be filled with the true sense and got the true perspective.
There is the God plan concerning multiplication of mankind and overcoming of natural death. A commandment "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth" (Gen. 1: 28) had been given before Fall. But the natural
way of conception with inevitability leads to "monadic structure" of base layers of psychic. Owing to this the growth and development of the person is from the very beginning accompanied by process of his ageing and dying. After the finish of trinitarian transformation of these base layers the process of dying should not only stop, but also should reverse back: connection of soul with body should become stronger and body will become not subject to degradation.
Unlike a natural birth which does not depend on will of the person, his "new birth" in quality of trinitarian person should be the act of his free decision and result of his own efforts. The Monadic stage, irrespective of Fall, is necessary for the formation of such human being who is capable to conscious transition to trinitarian level. Monadic stage is accurately subdivided in two steps. At the first step the individual by means of bringing up is accustomed to certain samples of behavior, of thinking and feeling; by such way he becomes ("is trained to be") the Human. The second step is "process of personification": all these stereotypes inculcated from outside should be organically acquired as the own content. Immersion in patrimonial and social generality is necessary on the first step, but the step of personification demands certain independence, internal freedom and responsibility only before the own conscience. It means to be able to present oneself before God without intermediaries, and begin the personal dialogue with Him.
The monad which has grown to level of Person, inevitably carries inside itself a number of acute contradictions: between requirements of conscience and involuntary inclinations, between emotional aspirations and desire to evade them, between consciousness of own nonentity and thirst to become like God in creative power. However the strongest strain in human soul arises owing to incompatibility of monadic and trinitarian ways of life. But just this strain generates personal motivating and gives energy for own "new birth".
Thus, all necessary for passage of all this way is given to the human. However in a core of Divine design about the human lies his freedom. The human can long evade from personification task, of becoming the Person, can make a conscious choice in favor of the monadism. Adam had this freedom, and also his descendants, and preadamits adopted to him.
As the Bible tells, God has put Adam in situation motivating him to become adult and responsible. Absolute serenity and security of existence in paradise under the care of Creator excluded any thought about possibility of own death. And suddenly this loving God speaks about one of paradise trees: "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2: 17). For the first time and suddenly awaked the fear of death should make
the deepest shock in souls of our forbears. The tormenting question was born: "Who are we – children of immortal God or we are only the mortal animals?" If they have made creative effort, overcome internal panic, and adress God with former trust, they would hear the answer: "You are both that, and another. And who you become finally, depends on you".
It would be the chose of growth, i.e. formation of responsible person. But they have not entered this way and did not adress God. Therefore they became defenceless before temptation of "an original sin" when somebody adressed them (named in the Bible "the snake") with words: "Ye shall not surely die… ye shall be as gods" (Gen. 3: 4). Thereby he has acted as the rival to God as the tutor. But this tutor aspired to leave forbears in children's conditions, with goal to dominate over them. With that goal he strengthens in them the base feeling of an animal monad:
"I was, I am and I will be, I am immortal" (this feeling expressed, in particular, in Hindu religious dogma of reincarnation.
Having not dared to become Persons, having remained on habitual position of obedience, forbears have led themselves as children, refusing to be responsible for their own acts. Adam helplessly justified himself: "The woman whom thou gavest [to be] with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat"; Eve said: "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat”(Gen. 3:12-13).
What has changed as result of the Fall? After exile of forbears from paradise they have repented, i.e. consciously have returned on the way of execution of the God's plan. But now the death was coming earlier, than transition to trinitarity had time to be fulfilled, – even thousand-year period of life of patriarchs (Adam direct descendants) was already insufficiently. Since then the vague hope had being passed from generation to generation, the hope that our children can finish what we were not able to fulfill in time, and they will come to the rescue also to us, for the present doomed to pine in the kingdom of dead.
After forbears have gone off from direct way, the divine plan has not changed, but its execution became tormently slow and difficult. Uncountable victims and huge moral work of many generations and numerous divine interventions were required, before the natural birth of the Most-Pure Virgin has became possible. Only She was capable and ready to become the Birth-Giver of God, i.e. to conceive the human from trinitarian divine Energy.
Despite the Fall of forbears, they pass on us through many generations imbued into them by Creator the trinitarian element (though by incomplete and defective kind). It is expressed in ability of the person to follow the moral commandments which are the basis of all human cultures. These precepts are always directed against animal egoistical instinct, i.e. against natural monadism.
we are obliged to ancestors by the very fact of our "humanity", we should as reciprocal gift return to them the all completeness of this humanity. N.Fedorov spoke with inspiration about execution of this duty. What may add to this the trinitarian meditation about "a new birth"? The essence of this meditation: we repeatedly experience the act of our own conception from Divine Energies – like Jesus Christ. The formating work of Trinitarian Energy is executed inside egg-cell which I at one time was (more precisely, over its "print" in my psychic).
But my individual genom consists of set of genes of my ancestors. The soul of each person who now is in kingdom of dead, keeps the deep, intimate connection with those genes which he had passed on the descendants. And contrary, meditation of the live person over his own genom responds with infinitely diverse echo in souls of multitude of relatives – as the died so the alive ones. Creating integrity of own psychic-corporal organism, we by the "gene resonance" involve all human family in this process. Certainly, freedom of the person cannot be cancelled: the one who has definitively resolved to refuse corporeal life, will always find the way to extinguish the action of any resonance …
Though after Jesus Christ birth many centuries have already passed, we, His pupils and partakers, we do not want or we do not dare to take seriously His example and His appeal – to begin the affair of complete likening to the Holy Trinity. Therefore the death still reigns, and children recant from the fathers, and the enmity divides not only brothers in Adam, but also brothers in Christ, and Michael cannot be born, and the Kingdom of God does not sprout neither "inside us", nor "in the middle of us". Position could become hopeless if the prophets similar to Nikolay Fedorov were from time to time arisen who do not give rest to our conscience and who constantly torment us by words of an ancient wise man: "if not we, who then; if not now, when then? ".
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Now we finally can try to answer a question put in the beginning of section "chiliastic aspect of doctrine N.F.": how to explain the mysterious fact of Fedorov silence about Thousand-year Kingdom of Revelation?
Apparently he was directed by the same motives that Augustine or John Chrisostomus, who have removed this doctrine from the church this apostolic teaching: unwillingness to subject to threat the foundations of Empire.
Fedorov very negatively concerned destructive revolutionary moods: in particular he ruthlessly criticized Lev Tolstoy for the spreading of such moods. Moreover, Fedorov rested serious hopes on the existing monarchic power which only, on his belief, was capable to lead behind itself all people in affair of realization of the grandiose project. However the monarchism of Fedorov
is extremely democratic: he negatively voiced about idea of "knightly order of resurrectors" and he hoped that the project will be carried out in unanimous national effort following the personal appeal of Sovereign. High hopes he assigned to specifically Russian perception of life as ministering to God, Tsar and fatherland, as consciously taken up the "burden" which example was the military service.
In this connection Fedorov, probably, should be confused by Revelation words about "priests of God", which "shall reign" in the Thousand-year Kingdom; about 144 thousand chosen which will be the basic participants of "the first resurrection"; and moreover "the rest of the died lives not again until the thousand years were finished" (Rev.20:4-6). Anyway, these prophecies needed the interpretations compatible with universal, democratic spirit of Fedorov. Probably, he did not manage to find the decision of these questions, which would be so convincing, as his decision of paradox of "the Doomsday": how the God love to all creation is combined with division on "sheep and goats" (Mt.25:33)? Fedorov understands the prophecy about the Last Judgment only as pedagogical threat: if the mankind does not unite and will not be morally cleared in affair of common resurrection, then resurrection will be executed by the unilateral divine act, with condemnation of sinners. Goal of the Creator: common salvation, apocatastasis, according Gregory of Nyssa. Thus all the prophecies in their negative aspect are conditional, in analogy to conditional prophecy about destruction of Nineveh which has been given to the prophet Jonah.
In principle these ideas could be developed concerning concrete forms of the Thousand-year Kingdom but Fedorov however does not do this. Probably, one more reason of his silence about this Great Biblical Prophecy consisted in unwillingness to postpone for the indefinite future the beginning of project realization. He dreamt to start immediately, using existent political forces and traditions. As we already mentioned, in this "utopism" he shares the fate of almost all prophets.
But it is clear that those inspired pictures and images which draws Fedorov in connection with "affair of common resurrection", are obviously faced absolutely new historical epoch. He writes about it directly:
"If to look at history as bringing up of human race, it certainly should terminate; but this end is only an exit from school or transition from knowledge to affair, from minority to maturity. Only since then the history of common conscious affair will begin or, being expressed more definitely, transformation of unconscious process of birth (giving by parents their life to children) in conscious affair of resurrection, returning the life to our fathers" 1,208.
But the most difficult question: how concretely this
great "transition" can be made, is not solved by Fedorov, and it could not be solved in his time – the subsequent generations will solve this.
For all who is sincerely convinced in insistent necessity to find decision of the task of overcoming of sin and death, in necessity of active human participation in this affair – for them Nikolay Fedorov exciting appeals will remain sealed in mind and heart. In conclusion we will bring great excerpt from his late records which it is impossible to name differently, as hymn of resurrection and Divine Kingdom on the earth.
This text Fedorov vests with the special heading with capital letters:
"THE ORPHANHOOD END; BOUNDLESS RELATIONSHIP.
Day desired, looked for from all eternity, the immense heaven rejoicing will come then only, when the earth, which swallowed up heaps of generations, movable and operated by heavenly filial love and knowledge, will begin to return absorbed ones and to occupy with them heavenly star worlds, nowadays soulless, looking at us coldly and as though sadly; when, collecting and reviving the ashes of them, who have given or more true have donated their life to us, we will not any more turn these ashes into food to ourselves and descendants, to what we were urged by dissociation of the worlds and necessity to live by the means stored by ours not big planet.
Restored past generations which already will be capable by knowledge of substance and its forces to re-create the body from primary elements, will occupy the worlds and will destroy their discord… Then the sun will leap up, as now the people thinks to see truly in paschal morning of Bright Anastasis; then also numerous choruses of stars will rejoice. But personification or – more exact – patronification will not be any more the thought or imagination but affair. Preliminary patronification, living in folk and non folk poetry proclaim that desired day is expectation of the epochs and the peoples, the day looked for from time immemorial.
This day which Lord will create through us, will be made by cumulative action of the sons who will have loved God of fathers and will have been imbued with deep compassion to all who went away. The Earth will be first star in the sky, which move not by blind force of falling, but by the human mind, which will restore all ruined and warn falling and death. There will be nothing distant when in aggregate of the worlds we will see the totality of all last generations. All-embracing meeting: it is the great future which expects the past when the present time will understand its appointment, affair, goal. All will be native, not alien; and nevertheless for all will be opened breadth, height and depth immense but not overwhelming but capable to satisfy the boundless desire, will be opened the life everlasting, the life boundless which so frightens contemporary exhausted, sickly, buddhisizing generation.
It is life eternally new, despite
its antiquity, it is spring without autumn, morning without evening, youth without old age, resurrection without death. However then will be not only autumn and evening, will be also dark night as will be also hell of sufferings, which was in present and former life of mankind, but there will be only in representation, as the experienced grief which will ennoble the value of bright day of rising. This day will be marvellous, wonderful, but not miraculous, for the resurrection will be not affair of miracle but affair of knowledge and common work. Day desired, day looking for from eternity, will be at command of God and at human execution" (Italics of N.Fedorov). 2, 202-203.
In this inspired hymn Nicolay Fedorov expresses his innermost dream of those times when it will be already impossible to tell that Divine Kingdom ostensibly is "other-wordly" when it will become the tangible earth reality.