As my variegated existence has unfolded here, for more than half a century, I have on occasions sampled some of the cultural offerings available to me as a dividend of my American citizenship. Many of these Hors de ouvre have been the plethora of films that have been proffered generously by Tinseltown and others; a good deal of apertifs have come from the music industry. The dish that provided some of my most intense pleasures, however, was the RPG, or Role Playing Game, the grand-daddy of which was D&D. A good amount of my creative energy went into the boundless adventures it provided, which were limited only by the mind.
The success of Dungeons and Dragons opened a plethora of avenues for new formats to emerge, ranging from space, old west, and superhero games. All of them had a common characteristic: you would generate a character using the rules, and enter him into the imaginary world created by the Referee, who acted as the arbiter of decisions in the game. Along with these games, I brushed up against a rather unique experiment: Vampire the Masquerade. In this genre, you made an actual Vampire to play, complete with powers to use, and disadvantages to overcome.
This introduction, while arcane, is necessary to explain our good Mr Montgomery, for he strikes me as one of the main orders, or bloodlines, of Vampires, the Malkavians, who bear the name of their sire, Malkav. This breed has a power available only to them: dementation. This investment allows them to use madness itself, to see what no one else can. And that is what I experience frequently when listening to Herb.
I am sure he means no harm; he seems like a good soul. But his theories possess a quality of frenetic circumambulation that I have only seen Peter Parker perform while exerting his famed acrobatics. Herb pulls verse after verse from the Scriptures, darting like a mamba from point to point, charged with obsessive dynamics that were once labeled ‘religious ecstasy’. All the while, he is drawing you in, mesmerized by the sheer magnitude both of his passion, and his detachment from reality.
At times, he goes into raw madness, uttering the patently absurd, that cannot survive a cursory examination of the whole Bible. Many are the times I have been struck by the Dementation of Malkav, unable to comprehend how he could transcend mere factuality with so little effort. Then, just as I am scoffing (scoff, I tell you! harumph!), he detonates in a quasar of sheer brilliance, effulgent in its’ superlativity to mere intellect. Bathed in the scintillation of the infant star, I stand diffused from comprehension, as I rasp from my throat “Hey-that was actually right”.
This does not occur on regular points: it emerges on complex, machinated hypotheses and theories, that require massive cogitation to master. Ideas born of years of study, deliberation, and scrutiny by the Scientific and Socratic methods suddenly strike forth, from a mouth that had only a moment before committed sophomoric inaccuracy. Thus, my quandary: how can this be? How can they proceed from the same mind? The answer, I have concluded, lies with Malkav.
Herb has reached genius conclusions at times: he is absolutely correct in decrying empire, in the age of Constantine dooming the Church, and in the rotten behavior of the Church making the Gospel anathema to mankind. In fact, it is right to say that anyone touched by John Calvin actually helped Satan destroy the world. His observations on the dark side of the American super system, based on the Swift system domination of Earth, are quite accurate. His compulsion to follow Jesus, even against cultural norms, is Biblically accurate. These are not trivial achievements: these conclusions are the product of massive sums of data being studied intently over long periods of time.
So, when he utters the incongruities so prevalent in his theory-such as Yahweh not being violent-I cannot explain the disparity in modality, except as a side effect of his Malkavian dementation, which is both a power and a curse to his line. In some cases, like this one, Herb is utterly wrong in reality, but his theory absolutely correct. El would never be violent, in a world where humans never fell. It is El’s desire to withhold judgment and destruction. But humans have a nasty streak that, on occasions, require Yeshua to get ugly with them. I am using the divine terms interchangeably, since we know Yahweh is One.
Mr Montgomery’s primary notion-that the Book of Revelation is a missive designed to convince Christians not to long for Nero, or the resurrection of his Rome, is just to baffling to contemplate. Further, he suggests that many of the phrases refer to events already gone by. This simply cannot make sense. For Herb’s theory to be correct, the following must be so.
One, Jesus called John to write down a history lesson. This is ruinous to consider. Why would the Messiah appear, in glory, to tell John to write and exhaustive drama, when it would been simpler to reiterate the actual of recent history? Half the book disappears if John writes ‘Nero was a bad guy, but he’s gone. Since we know the history of Rome, we know what happened.” Okay, but Herb says that the legend of Nero might be frightening people. That might, actually, have been true.
Even so, John could excise the other half of the book by saying “If Nero returns, follow the Lamb. Nero is a man, so he cannot return from the dead. So stay steadfast in what you have been taught. The Kingdom of the Lamb will prevail.” Other than the letters to the churches, his entire ‘revelation’ can be summed in a paragraph or two. Also, no one in the upper class was impressed by Nero. He was a drooling imbecile, noted for his corruption, ineptitude, and lack of redeeming character. He might have impressed the plebians, but the power set regarded him as an embarrassment to Rome and Romanism alike.
Herb says that the ‘revelation’ is a passion play for the Christians, using the Scriptures to create a high drama of sorts. That condemns Christianity to oblivion. If the Revelation is not, if it is bunk, a sham, a conceit, then the men of Nicaea made an erroneous testament. They warped the Word of God, and threw mankind into darkness. Without an accurate product emerging from the councils, over seven decades of study and review yielded a lie. We simply, at this point, cannot know God, if His Word is corrupt.
My heart goes out to Herb. He is passionate, driven, obsessed with an ideal, and these help him to spin wildly through the Scriptures to create his grand illusion. What he teaches people is ethical and upright, without regard to his accuracy or sanity. Therefore, I am content to let great Malkav peer into the darkness, and in his madness, forge genius. His labyrinthine convocations are as vivid as what he claims John’s ‘revelation’ was; they have dizzied and subjected to vertigo my mere Greek reasoning, many, many times. But I have also learned much in his presentations, and therefore do not hold them valueless. So, as Malkav peers into the beyond, I will listen still, for that moment of apotheosis that makes the madness worth enduring.