Introduction the Book of Revelation and the Letters to the Communities by Rev. Michaël Merle
Report by John-Peter Gernaat
The aim of these talks in advent is to embrace a picture from the Book of Revelation that is relevant to the preparation for Christmas. In the talk given a few weeks ago introducing the Book of Revelation Michaël spoke about how unusual it is that this book made it into the Canon of scripture at all. The imagery that is presented is not immediately obvious. The rest of the New Testament seems to make up a comprehensive whole to which the Book of Revelation has been added as an additional attachment. Yet the Book of Revelation presents a comprehensive picture that allows everything else to find its context in the big unfolding of all of the activity of the Divine. What is the activity of the Divine? We hear in the Act of Consecration of Man that God, with Christ, creates, heals, and ensouls. This is another way of saying ‘creation, salvation, and sanctification’. This is an understanding that Christians have had for centuries that the activity of the Divine is the act of creation, the act of making whole (healing), and the act of making holy. We experienced the entire span of this activity in the Book of Revelation.
The Book of Revelation is written very consciously and precisely by its author, John, and he writes as an initiate, someone who has been initiated and is writing about a new process of initiation. It is important to understand that John is not just an individual but is a community within an individual. Living within John, the writer of the Book of Revelation, is the initiate experience of John the Baptist. Rudolf Steiner tells us that the initiate capacity of soul that grew within John the Baptist poured into John the gospel writer, John the writer of the Book of Revelation. John, the gospel writer, himself has gone through an initiation. Rudolf Steiner reminds us that this is not the young John who was the disciple of Jesus, part of the Twelve, but Lazarus who has undergone, one can say, the last of the real temple sleeps, three days in the tomb, and has come out having gone through this initiation. Living within this community of John Lazarus is the enthusiasm of spirit of the young John, the disciple. This community of John (the last of the great prophets, the last of the great initiates and one initiated as an apostle) goes through a new initiation. These are stages of initiation that John goes through in this experience. He writes not dreaming about the heavenly world but actually being in the heavenly world. He is given the opportunity to experience the heavenly world and then to return to write about it before finally crossing that threshold in death in his old age.
The Book begins very clearly: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must take place”. This is the full revelation of where Christ is in the great activity of Divinity, the great activity of God. In the second verse we get a very important statement that reveals three things: “Who bore witness to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ even to all that he saw.” So, John is an eyewitness to three things: the word, which is Christ who comes from God. This is a consistent theme of the New Testament: “I have been sent by the Father”. This means that Christ is fulfilling something beyond himself, there is a purpose with the one who sends, that Christ fulfils. Christ came to earth on a greater mission not just his own mission. John is an eyewitness to the word, which is Christ who has been sent by God, he is an eyewitness to the sacrifice of Christ, and he is an eyewitness to everything that he sees in the heavens. Then John tells us three things: “Blessed is he who reads aloud the word of the prophecy and blessed are all those who hear and keep what is written therein for the time is near”. So, happy is the one who reads and ponders; happy is he who reads aloud (with others); and happy those who have the ears (of the soul) to hear it. Then in verse four we read: “John to the seven churches that are in Asia” (Asia Minor). These were communities of Christians that had established themselves and they became the archetype of communities. They are more than just the community that was living there, they become representative, through the qualities that lived in those communities. As soon as we are dealing with seven, we are dealing with an unfolding of time. This is a big theme in the Book of Revelation. The Book of Revelation is written in three tenses: past, present, and future. It applies to what has been, to what is now, and to what is to come. In verse four it says: “John to the seven churches that are in Asia: grace to you from Him who is, who was, and who is to come.” The establishment of three phases of time is clear. “And from the seven spirits who are before his throne, Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.” John is sending the message from a three-foldness: from the everlasting God, from the seven spirits at the throne of God and from Jesus Christ the true and faithful witness. Who are the seven spirits who are before the throne of God? These seven spirits can mean more than one thing. They are, in the way that they are described later, as the seven spirit breaths, most appropriately the Seraphim, the beings of love. These are the seven spirits that are always at the throne of God. There is a seven-foldness about the Seraphim, and this is interesting as they, together with the other angels of the first hierarchy, were created before time. They have a relationship to the unfolding of time, yet they were before time and now they manifest, one can say, in time, for us. There is also the possibility of seeing these seven spirits before the throne of God as the seven creative spirits of our time. In this picture too, we can see time past, the time now – in which case they would be the seven spirits of the Elohim – those creative spirits that created the world as we experience it now, and the seven spirits around the throne of God is also a reference to the seven spirits of the future, to which we are aligned: the seven manifested aspects of the human being when we become filled with the seven great gifts of the Holy Spirit. So, this is also a picture of us, the Future Human Being, at the throne of God, manifesting the great gifts of knowledge, wisdom, etc. These seven gifts are mentioned in the Prophet Isaiah. The picture is what was, what is and what is to come. This carries through the Book of Revelation.
In the first chapter of the Book of Revelation we have the incredible picture of the Son of Man – Son of The Human Being, the child that is the future human being to which we give birth in the future. Our future becoming realises the ideal of the human being that we see in Jesus Christ as the Son of Man. The resurrected Jesus Christ is for us a picture of the future human being. The picture of the Son of Man stands with seven golden stands that bear light and seven stars. John is told to write what is and what is to be hereafter. The mystery of the seven stars and the seven lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the lampstands are the churches themselves, the seven archetypes of community. John now has to write a letter to the angel of each church community. The letter from the Son of Man to the angel that cares for that community. This is the concept of having epistles in the Act of Consecration: the opening and closing prayer that is read from the right of the altar – the only activity that should take place from the right of the altar is the reading of the epistles, because it is from that place that we can speak to the spiritual world and can hear from the spiritual world; it is the place of being grounded on the earth. We are lifted to the heights of heaven with the Word which is read from the left of the altar. Everything else is central to the altar as it has to do with the activity of Christ, in and through us. The epistle is a two-way communication: it is our letter to the angel, and we receive the same letter from the angel. It is what we acknowledge and also what is revealed to us.
Each letter brings something that explains what was, what is and what is to come. Whenever we are in seven, we are in a cycle of time. We see in these seven letters the unfolding of consciousness in human activity as described by Rudolf Seiner in the post-Atlantean cultural epochs. It is the developing of a kind of consciousness that records something of itself. The seven cultural epochs are referred to by name, but belong to the whole earth, even though they may be pinpointed to a location as the source from which they spread to become a global reality. They are referred to as the Ancient Indian, the Ancient Persian (more accurately the Ancient Mesopotamian), Egypto-Chaldean, Greco-Roman, our period (the fifth), to be followed with the essential soul qualities that exist in seed form in the way that some Russians have spoken and written, and finally an American epoch, the seed form of which is still difficult to discern today. The seven letters to the seven angels describe what unfolds from each of these cultural epochs, but we can also see in these letters a much greater, ancient spanning of time from Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon: the span of time as we as human beings move ever closer to an incarnation on earth. We can also see in these letters a much wider scope, also a planetary scope, Saturn, Sun, Moon, Mars/Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Vulcan. We can see in these letters the way in which things develop in any and every cycle of time, be it our cultural cycles of time, the wider span of all of creation or the descent of the human being through the planetary spheres onto the earth. It is the process of breathing, warming, digesting, secreting, maintaining, growing, reproducing. It is the inner experience of uprightness, thought, speech, blood, glands, respiration and reproduction. All the seven-folds are included in this. We see it in the Act of Consecration of Man as the lighting up of the archetypal community stages, when the candles are lit at the very beginning. We light up all the stages of development: that have been, those that are and those that are still to be. We relate to the seven stages – to the seven letters – they tell us that we undergo a rhythm. No matter the metrication of the world, time cannot be metricised: 60 seconds, 60 minutes, 7 days of the week, and 12 months of the year. The seven days of the week are an opportunity to feel the cycle and rhythm of the span of time. We should proceed through the week in a developmental stage that lifts us from one Sunday to the next, not proceed as from the rest of Sunday to the exhaustion of Saturday. This is the difference of working with time only from the material world around us as opposed to the conscious rhythm of an inner spiritual place. Therefore, think of the seven letters as the lighting up that takes us into a rhythm and cycle. We will see the unfolding of our future becoming as we continue through the Book of Revelation in the next three Sundays, our becoming as beings of Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition.
The Book of Revelation is connected to becoming, it is truly connected to Advent where we hear the Divine Might of Worlds say: “Become.”
Deepening our understanding of the Book of Revelation - The 7 Seals - Imagination by Rev. Michaël Merle
Report by John-Peter Gernaat
Every image and everything that unfolds in the Book of Revelation can be viewed in a threefold way, as speaking about what has been, what is currently happening and what will be. All three elements of time are present in every picture.
The idea of image and imagination can be experienced in The Act of Consecration of Man, The Act of the Consecration of The Human Being. We speak of imagination as something that has to do with the development of thinking. It is not a fantasy but the development of a clear, spiritually endowed, picture thinking. It is the capacity to hold the picture in its full reality; to understand it and to work with it. We experience in The Act of the Consecration of The Human Being the seven golden stands bearing light on the altar; a priest dressed as a picture of the Son of the Future Human Being with vestments representing that which is to develop in the human being; the opening epistle as the letter to the angel of the congregation. The Act of Consecration of The Human Being can be divided into two parts: Gospel and Eucharist, stemming from the Ancient Hebrew practice of Word and the practice of Sacramental Sacrifice. The Eucharist has three parts: Offering, Transubstantiation and Communion. In the Offertory is established the Imagination we need; the transubstantiation is the Inspiration or the words that can change things; and the feeling at one with, or Intuition, that is the idea of Communion. The idea of Imagination is strong in our Offertory. It is in the Offertory that we hear that “our thinking should live in the life of the Holy Spirit through all ages of the earth to come”. The preparation looks at how we think about ourselves, about our relationship to the Divine. We recognise our failings and our weaknesses. We recognise that we can bring all of our best thoughts and intentions before God while also recognising that we are the ones who stray from him. We deny His being by not living up to our full potential. We recognise that all who are born into this life are called to this fullness of humanity, which involves a new type of thinking; and all who have died have to hold to the thought that their eternal being is what their whole creative span is about and not lose sight of that by investing only in their temporal being.
There are images that are used universally, that when they are used speak to a fundamental sense of ourselves as human beings. An example is the image of a tree. The tree symbolises something of growth and development, of a capacity to leaf, flower, fruit, and bear seed for the future. We identify strongly with trees in so far that we call ourselves a tree: the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. Another symbol that is strongly held, particularly in the parts of the world that have carried the myths and stories of our whole world human culture, is the symbol of the horse. The horse is used in many myths as the symbol for our capacity to think. The horse becomes a symbol for carrying our thoughts forward, carrying our thoughts swiftly into action, to be one with our thinking. There is also the mythological winged horse that symbolises that our thoughts can fly.
An image is presented of a book with seven seals. The seals close the book, and each seal must be broken before the book can be opened. The image that one could imagine is that of a scroll on which the book is written that is rolled up and bound in a cloth and the cloth is sealed with seven wax seals that hold the scroll in place. As each seal is broken, one can imagine, that something is revealed until all seven seals have been broken. This image appears in chapter five with the question: “Who can open the seals?” No one is worthy or capable of breaking the seals and thereby revealing the continuation of the story. John says that he wept much that no one was found to open the book or to look into it. Then one of the Elders – when John speaks of the Elders he is speaking of a Spiritual Hierarchy, the Thrones – says to him: “Weep not, for lo the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the rod of David, has conquered so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” The Lion of Judah is associated with the idea of the Messiah coming from the House of David with the strength (capacity, courage) of a lion. “And between the Throne and Four Living Creatures and among the Elders I saw a lamb standing.” The Lion of Judah appears as a Lamb. It is standing as though slain. It means that the Lamb has already been sacrificed, but the sacrifice has not ended it, the sacrifice has rather enlivened it into another stage. John describes the Lamb as standing as though slain with seven horns and seven eyes. The seven horns indicate that it has the capacity to draw in everything that can be drawn in from the cosmos. The horn symbolises a connection to the Spiritual World, drawing in and raying out. The seven eyes represent a clarity of vision. John describes the seven horns and seven eyes as the seven spirits of God sent out over all the earth. Here is a connection not only with the sevenfold Seraphim but also with the sevenfold Elohim; the form that goes out across the whole earth, that can really see what needs to happen. We realise that only Christ can open the seven seals. Then we go into the opening of the seals.
When the first four seals are opened horses appear. However, the seals must be opened before the horses can appear. The first horse that appears when the first seal is broken is a white horse and the rider wears a crown and carries a bow in his hand. The white horse represents pure, spiritual thinking and the rider has the capacity to wear the crown. The bow symbolises that the rider rides out with an intention towards which he can aim. He rides out conquering. This is a clear image of spiritual thought.
When the second seal is opened a red horse appears and the rider is given permission to take peace from the earth so that the peoples of the earth will fight each other, and he is given a great sword. One must note that the rider is given the sword after the fighting has broken out, it is not the sword that causes the fighting. The sword is the same image symbol as the double-edged sword that comes from the mouth of the Son of Man; it is the word that can reconcile. The red horse is the individual thinking that is the reality of the human being. As soon as there is individual thinking there is conflict in thinking. It is the experience of egoism that leads to confrontation and conflict. The red colour reflects the blood of the human being that carried iron which gives us the capacity to stand for who we are. There is no growth for the human being without becoming individual. We find our common humanity out of our individualised humanity.
When the third seal is broken a black horse appears and the rider has a balance in his hand, not the balanced scales carried by Michael, this is the balance for measuring the world. The descriptions given are about commercial goods and money. The balance scale is there to find that balance of one thing to another and knowing the cost of everything. The horse is black because it has to do with the thinking of materialism. Without this kind of thinking we do not come to understand ourselves. However, this thinking can lead from the spiritual thinking to individual thinking to material thinking to the fourth horse.
When the fourth seal is broken a pale horse rides forth. It is dying and in a process of disintegration. The rider’s name is ‘Death’, and Hades (the world of the dead) follows the rider. This rider is given the power to kill with the sword. This symbolises the kind of thinking that can lead to death.
But this is not the end of the seals. We have seen the journey from the spiritual heights of thinking before earthly incarnation through our discovering our sense of self in earth incarnation in a physical way right up to the point of death. That is not the end of the picture. The fifth seal reveals all those who have died and are seeking the protection of the altar. Those who have passed through death seek the altar and gather in the sheltering shadow of the altar. We have taken the journey of thinking that has brought us to a different space.
When the sixth seal is broken there are earthquakes and the sun turns blood red and the moon falls from the sky. It is an image that is similar to the image we read in Luke chapter 21. Even after enduring death and finding the shelter of the altar we face a time that feels chaotic. It feels as though the sky is rolled up and every mountain and every island is removed from its place. Mountains are places that we climb to feel connected to the Divine. An island is a place where we feel isolated and alone. Both the ability to ascend spiritually to the heights and our sense of isolation are removed from their place. These polar opposites are removed and we find ourselves, possibly, in a new space. In the midst of this chaotic experience, just as in Luke 21, we read that a new capacity is born. It is in the turmoil that something new can come for the human being – we do not develop without resistance. Then we hear about the 144 000, which is a symbolic number that represents the full picture by the full picture (twelve by twelve) and the fullness of dimension (ten by ten by ten). It is a dimensional capacity that is a number so great that no one can count it. Following this is a picture of the human being: “And all the angels stood in a circle about the Throne and the Eldars and the Four Living Beasts, and they fell on their faces before Throne and worshipped the Divine Ground of the World and said: ‘Amen’ which is ‘Yes, so be it’ (‘Yes, so it shall be’, and ‘Yes, so it has been’ are all good translations of the word ‘amen’, again spanning the three dimensions of time). This is the word that can now be spoken which is the seven-fold character of the human being: blessing, revelation, wisdom, thanks-offering, dignity of soul, strength of worlds, and the power of the spirit before our God in all ages, amen.” More traditional translations of these words are: blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honour, power and might. These words describe the human being from the spiritual heights to the physical reality. Working upwards: might – the strength of the physical body; the power of the etheric life-force; the honour of a well-balanced astral body; the thanks-offering capacity of an I-organisation – the capacity to offer and to give (eucharist); the wisdom of spirit-self; the glory of life-spirit; and the blessing of spirit-human. The word ‘blessing’ is eulogy. In koine Greek is means to speak the blessing of consecration upon a human life. We become a eulogy – our very being speaks to the world that we are consecrated. That is what the Act of the Consecration of The Human Being is about: we come so that the future human being is consecrated. This full, beautiful picture of the human being emerges so that the seventh seal can be opened. It is only when the human being is fully present that this last seal can be opened and now we have the openness of true imagination. What happens when the seventh seal is broken? Silence for half a span of time (half an hour). This is our capacity, in silence, to hold the image, to carry the picture in us. The outer chaos is over. The picture exists in us, and we hold it for half a span of time before the seven trumpets sound. Life exists with a moment of stillness in between; between each beat of the heart. Half of our lives is active when the sun is in the sky and half of our lives is at rest, in spiritual reflection – the essential self at one again with the spirit – when the sun is below the horizon. During sleep we gain the insights needed to navigate the waking half of our day. This is the half cycle of time. In the Act of Consecration of Man there is something between the Offertory and the Transubstantiation, there is a silence during which the altar is incensed. The altar appears because it has been completely demarcated and blessed in its length, its width and its height.
The Seals open up inspiration and thinking. The White Horse with its rider crowned and with the bow, the Red Horse with its rider given the sword as a way of harmonising the conflict, the Black Horse with the rider with the scales, the Pale Horse with a rider that is Death and Hades following, and then the fifth seal with all those who have died in Christ in the shadow of the altar, and the sixth seal with a great turmoil and chaos of life where the fullness of the human being is beautifully expressed, and then to rest in silence which comes with the seventh seal where we hold the image. There is nothing more to add.
Deepening our understanding of the Book of Revelation - The 7 Trumpets - Intuition by Rev. Michaël Merle
Report by John-Peter Gernaat
If we look at the liturgy of the Christian Church we inherited two aspects from the ritual practices of Judaism. One is the ‘Word’, turning to scripture, and the other is the ‘Ritual of Sacrifice’, which for the Christians came in the commemoration – the re-membering and the re-living – of, what we refer to as the Last Supper, which is linked to the Sacrifice on the Cross (the Mystery of Golgotha). The ritual of sacrifice in the Christian liturgy is made up of three parts: the Offering, the Canon or the Transubstantiation, and Communion. The ritual of sacrifice is also referred to as the Eucharist. In the Act of Consecration of the Human Being one can see the three parts of the Eucharist linked with the Seven Seals, the Seven Trumpets and the Seven Bowls of God’s Passion, not because there is a direct reference to Seals, Trumpets or Bowls, but because the Seals open up for us a picture of the human being descending onto the earth, living here in the reality of earth existence, and having to reconnect with the Spirit and the Offering ends in silence – the silent censing of the altar. What happens in the Book of Revelation is that after the Seven Seals have presented a picture of how things unfold and the silence, the Trumpets sound. There is big difference between pictures and sound.
The Creation Myth (it is written as a myth in its style) has Divine speech creating the world; the Elohim speak: “Let there be …” and so it is. Only the human being has to learn a language to communicate. Through language we give meaning to our inner life, unlike animals who can express, through sounds, their feeling life. The Trumpet sounds move us from Imagination to Inspiration. We use this word, inspiration, in our common language, but we do not recognise that this word has something to do with our future development. The Seven Seals have something to do with us and the change in our astral constitution into what we call Spirit Self, becoming fully dignified in our likes and dislikes, coming to a sense of ourselves so that the persona that we all create and our essential self actually become one. The persona will become an expression of our essential self and no longer a mask.
When we consider the development of Life Spirit we are moving into Inspiration. This is where there is power in the words that we speak. Our speech becomes divine in that it becomes creative. This means that there is a transformation or transubstantiation of our life forces, our formative forces, our etheric body. This becomes the capacity to inspire through what we say, and to hear the inspiration of the Spiritual World.
The Trumpet blasts shift something. Consider again the Rider on the Red Horse that appears with the opening of the second Seal. He is given the two-edged sword of the Word. Words form and cut, and delineate and distinguish. When we take the time to compose our words, they carry weight and can create something in the mind of the listener or reader. This brings us to the expression: the pen is mightier than the sword.
With the first Trumpet blast a third of the earth is burned up, with the second a third of the sea is turned to blood, with the third a third of all springs and streams of water dry up, with the fourth a third of the lights in heaven – sun, moon and stars – are darkened. We are losing a third. This means that something has been transubstantiated. Something new arrives, but for this to arrive we lose something. As the power of Christ in the I-organisation of the human being is able to transubstantiate the etheric body, to bring a renewal of its existence into Life Spirit the connection to the physical disappears, is loosened and we lose a third of ourselves. We lose our connection to the physical as we become spiritualised. We become beings of soul and spirit whilst being earthly beings. Our dependence and the unhealthy attachment we have to the material physical body is transformed.
This is the power of the middle part of our Eucharist when we consider the picture language that is present in the Offering. Consider the power of the Word (filled with the power of Christ) so that there is transubstantiation. This transubstantiation does not happen at hand of silent prayer, it happens at hand of spoken word. This is the power of Inspiration and the power of the Trumpet blasts.
Before we can consider the Bowls of God’s Passion we must have a new picture. The new picture is that which we offer. What are we offering and how are we offering ourselves; what new picture do we have of ourselves in this offering, and then what changes? The Transubstantiation in The Act of Consecration of The Human Being is not only the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, it is the power of transubstantiation for that which must change in us; the change of the very substance of us into that which it must become. This is the power at hand of word; it does not happen in silence, it is creative.
The images that are presented with the Trumpet blasts contain a sense of woe. We are losing something. However, the question is what are we gaining? We lose bread and wine at the altar; when one takes Communion it is the Body and the Blood of Christ. We lose something in order to gain what it has become. We may lose our connection to the material physical, but this is so that we may gain our connection to the last stage of spiritual development, Spirit Human, which is the fully transformed physical form into what we are to become. These are the great mysteries that appear to us in The Act of Consecration of The Human Being, and they are in the Book of Revelation. This explains the importance of this book which contains so much. But we need the eyes and ears well attuned to be able to read it for what it is saying, otherwise it is easy to misunderstand this book as a fantasy. It is about the development and the transubstantiation of the human being and of the earth. It is about our future becoming. Our future comes at hand of challenges and being able to see when things are changing and being renewed in the becoming that we are aiming to achieve. The real change happens at hand of word, not silence.
Consider that in Advent we hear about the “eternal Divine, wielding Word”, the extraordinary power that we also hear in Luke 21: “My Logos, my Word-Power, will remain and carry”. This is the power of Christ. These Trumpet blasts are drawing us directly into the power of the Word, not only to recreate but also to renew; to bring about the new creation and renew our forming capacities into something that is alive and able to bring about the change that we are looking for.
There are many ways to interpret the picture that comes with the Trumpet blasts; one that is preferred for these talks is the picture of the future human being. That is the theme that we have been following. There are elements in the future human being that are Christ-like, there are elements that are Michaelic. If we read carefully, it is a picture of the future human being that we read in chapter 10 of the Book of Revelation. We have seen the picture of the future human being – the Son of Man – who is immediately recognised as the Christ, Jesus transformed by the Christ. This is the picture of the future human being, the Son of Man, with the seven golden stands bearing light and the seven stars. We read this picture in the opening chapter.
In chapter 10 we read: “And I saw another Angel of great strength descended from Heaven, clothed in a cloud. About his head the rainbow shone. His face was like the sun and his feet were like pillars of fire. In his hand he held a small open book. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on firm ground. And he called out with a great voice which is like the roar of a lion. The Seven Thunders answered his call with their voices, and when the Seven Thunders spoke I wanted to write down their words. Then I heard a voice from heaven which said: “Do not write it down, take hold of it in yourself”. The normal translation is “seal it up”, but, to place a seal on something is to take ownership of that on which you place your seal. The instruction is to not keep a record of what is heard, but to become it. That is the power of word. That is the power of the voice of the Seven Thunders. This is where we are with Inspiration. It means that we have a responsibility as human beings. How much of what we say inspires other towards their growth and development, and how much of what we say diminishes? Words carry great power. Through words that instil doubt and fear we can create a picture of ourselves that is false. The words of The Act of Consecration of The Human Being are very important, because they build a true picture, and they sound a true change. In The Act of Consecration of The Human Being we are presented with a living experience that becomes a new living image in our imagination. We see at the altar a journey in living real time, that is more complete than any images we may review on paper. We can learn to read The Act of Consecration to know what is unfolding. Even without a full reading of The Act of Consecration it is possible to have a sense for what is unfolding.
Deepening our understanding of the Book of Revelation - The 7 Bowls of God's Passion - Intuition and the Heavenly City by Rev. Michaël Merle
Report by John-Peter Gernaat
This is the last part of what is being revealed to John in the heavenly experience that he records in the Book of Revelation. The veil has been lifted and John sees the great events unfold. Thus far we have looked at the Seven Seals as a picture of the opening up of the future capacity for Imagination in the human being and how that relates to the Offertory in The Act of Consecration of The Human Being, out of the picture that comes to us from this part of the sacrament. We have looked at the quality of transformation and transubstantiation at hand of sound, of the power of word, what happens when there is vibration. If we consider the Trumpet blasts of the angels as the voice of the angel rather than the musical sound of the Trumpet, so that the Trumpet is an extension of the voice of the angel, in the resounding and re-sounding there is a creation that happens. We considered this at hand of our future capacity for Inspiration and in terms of the Canon of The Act of Consecration of The Human Being, the Transubstantiation. In this talk we will look at the Seven Bowls of God’s Mighty Will, of God’s Passion, at hand of Communion and our future capacity for Intuition.
The translation of chapter 15 of the Book of Revelation is often poorly rendered as the Bowls of God’s Wrath and the angels pour what appear to be plagues over the earth. These are not plagues but trials, they present a challenge for our growth and development. They present something that the human being must overcome. These trials are not intended to destroy, they are intended to purify, to bring about a healing. We come to understand that illness comes to us so that we can face it and through it come to something, even if the illness results in death, as the person can come into a new relationship to themselves in crossing the threshold through the illness. Trials and illnesses are all about our ability to take responsibility in the situation.
Read, at this point, John Madsen’s translation of Emil Bock’s translation of chapter 15 of the Book of Revelation (or the translation you have at hand). It introduces the Seven Bowls at hand of the Song of Moses, and one understands that the Seven Bowls of God’s Will are loving. Those who are sent the trials are sent them in order to overcome, in order to thrive. “And a new great and amazing sign was revealed in heaven to my sight: seven angels with the seven last trials with are the fulfilment of God’s mighty will.” The fulfilment of God’s will for our development is that after a new capacity for Imagination and Inspiration we can work with Intuition: discerning clearly how to work with that which approaches. We then read that those who have overcome have the harps of God; they have joined the orchestra of God as a part of the orchestral working of Creation. The song that they sing is the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. That which Moses prefigured closely matches that which is fulfilled by the Lamb. We have to go through the sea and get to the other side and then go through the period of forty, which is the period of gestation and the number of initiation, during which we wander, and after the journey we are born into a new relationship into the Promised Land, into where we are to be. One can sense through this song that something is revealed that was not fully revealed before. God is revealing something to Himself. This revelation happens through our becoming. The angels who appear are beings of light that we can understand through the white of their garments. They are girded which means that are held in their task. The smoke of incense is connected with the rising, quickening of soul life activity. In reading the pouring out of the third trial there is a response from the Altar: “… your judgement leads to the Truth and to the Good”, and one realises that these trials are not a punishment but a loving gesture that creates awareness so that something can shift. Once we have been purified through these experiences that strengthen us for the Good and for the True it is time to make the seed, to ensure that there is an evolving, continuing stream. The seed is the New Jerusalem.
It is the amazing square-shaped, cube seed. It is a platonic solid with the height and the length and the breadth all the same. The power of the cube is quite something. The numbers of the measurement of this cube are very significant and will be discussed in the future study of the Book of Revelation in the Gospel Study. We do not often think of the New Jerusalem as being linked to the seven Bowls but in chapter 21 we hear: “Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven Bowls with the seven last trials, and he said to me: ‘Come! I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb’”. The invitation to see the seed comes when the human being has the Intuition to see it. “And he led me up to the Spirit, to a great and lofty mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem descending out of the Heaven, out of the realm of the Godhead. It shone in the light of the revelation of God. Its radiance was like that of most precious stone, it was like a crystal-clear jasper.”
Jasper is a silicate that with impurities has a variety of colour. In the ancient world 'iaspis' was heliotrope or blood-stone: green silicate with red blood inclusions. The combination of red and green is used in the Advent Wreath and as the seasonal colours of Easter. This colour combination has a very specific reality. The ancient world had a sense that this stone had these colours because of something within the stone. Today we know that it is iron oxide that provides the red colour while the green colour is provided by inclusions of other minerals. Therefore, if the iron oxide and inclusion of minerals are removed the jasper will be clear, it will be a clear silicate-like glass.
Then follows the description of the City with its high wall and twelve gates and then: “he who spoke to me, one of the seven angels (the last angel with the last of the Bowls of the passionate will of the Divine) had a golden measuring rod to measure the City” and its gates and its walls. The angel measures the entire City and “this is the measure of the human being and equally that of an angel”. In this we realise what our future is all about: we develop our Imagination, our Inspiration and our Intuition – this is what is revealed to us in The Act of Consecration of The Human Being, so that we can be consecrated as the future human being; the human being that has become the angel. The Act of Consecration blesses our unfolding. The Act of Consecration of The Human Being is in so many ways a manifestation of the reality we find depicted and described in the Book of Revelation. Here it is for us to deeply muse upon and divine the Spirit.
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