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The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place; and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near. Rev 1:1-3
We can read and contemplate the bible in many ways. We should certainly take notice of the literal meaning of its stories. This becomes a most difficult task when we read the Revelation to John. The imagery is shocking, mystifying and bizarre, especially when we place it outside ourselves. It more closely resembles our dream life rather than our waking life.
If we place this Revelation within us and use it to chart the development of our consciousness, it will speak to us quite differently. If we accept the idea that our consciousness evolves, that we haven’t always been able to think the way we do today, then we realise that we tread a path towards becoming increasingly conscious. What does it mean to be conscious? In essence it means that we know ourselves fully and completely. We become aware of every part of our consciousness thereby knowing why we think, feel and act the way we do. Naturally, as we become aware of ourselves this insight changes us. We understand ourselves and can be more forgiving of ourselves. As a consequence we are less harsh in our judgement of others. To be conscious therefore means to see clearly and to understand what makes us tick and what makes the world tick. Inherent in this is tremendous freedom.
We might ask why we can’t see ourselves clearly already. Simply because we are not strong enough! We do not have sufficient control of our will to be able to know ourselves fully. Just think about how we react towards criticism or opposition to our ideas. It is through the mastery of our will that we can face ourselves with understanding. This path of mastery is revealed in the Revelation to John.
If we compare St John’s Gospel with his Revelation, we can see that in his Gospel, St John carefully maps out the ways in which human beings connect up with the I AM. The I AM is that fourth member of our being which is the essential tool to become fully conscious. St John also shows us how we human beings receive the Christ impulse into our physical body as Jesus did.
Then, through the crucifixion of the physical body, St John shows how we can be reborn – resurrected – into a different level of awareness.
St John, through his Revelation, shows us in detail what happens to our consciousness as we awaken and integrate this Christ Impulse that has been slumbering deeply within most of us since the Mystery of Golgotha. He shows us how our consciousness is transformed by this Christ Impulse. Step by step, through the chapters, he shows us how we move from living our lives as if we were just a physical body to learning how to use our total being; body, soul and spirit. If we think that we are just a physical body then we see ourselves as a car without an engine or a driver. In fact, far too many people are like remote controlled cars and they don’t even know who has the remote!
The Revelation of Jesus Christ to John (the beloved) is the revealing of these two principles within the human being. The Jesus principle, which is the I AM, and the Christ principle which makes human beings Gods. John specifically records this fact in his Gospel,
The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? Jn 10:33-34
This Revelation could only be given to John, the beloved. Only in the presence of immense love that passed between Jesus the Christed One and his beloved disciple John could such a Revelation be unravelled. When two people love each other deeply, respectfully and without self-interest, this love cannot be contained within their beings. It flows out from them and changes, not just the immediate environment but also the cosmos; the universe in which dwell the angels and all manner of spiritual beings. Only when we are able to express and receive this depth of love, this intensity of love will we be fully able to understand the Revelation of Jesus Christ to John.
If any one has an ear, let him hear: If any one is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if any one slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. Rev 13:9-10
Our lives are going to become increasingly difficult in the years ahead, not so much because of the increased activity of the dragon and the beast, but because of the increased activity of Christ. Whenever Christ steps up his activity, in us as well as in the cosmos, the forces of resistance come to meet him. Christ will prevail; how quickly depends on us. Each human has the personal responsibility to awaken the Christ force within them. John reminds us that this can only be done through endurance and faith, through patience with self and others, and through the faith that knows what the future requires of us.
John’s words here speak of karma, of the cause and consequence that underpins each moment of our lives. The Greek words do not say “is to be taken into”, they say, if any one is for captivity then he must experience captivity; not that we need to take this literally. Captivity is about restraint. If we want to restrain someone from acting in a certain way, or from feeling something, or from thinking certain thoughts, then at some later stage we will be unable to act or feel or think. If we kill others, perhaps by acting towards them as if they didn’t exist, or speaking about them in a deadly way, then we can expect to be ignored.
There are so many moments in our lives each day where the consequences of our actions in this life or past lives are replayed. In these moments we have the opportunity to be patient because our faith tells us that the future depends on our passing the test. Whenever we respond to a situation with understanding we balance out the karmic moments in our lives. As Orland Bishop, founder of the Shade Tree Foundation, puts it, “How must I be in order for you to be free, how do I host the freedom of the other, the development of the other and the greater truth of the other?”
Sergei Prokofieff, in his book, The Occult Significance of Forgiveness, writes about the epitome of patience, faith and freedom through the experiences of George Richie, an American Psychiatrist, who visited a Nazi concentration camp in 1945 after the liberation, and came across Wild Bill Cody. “But though Wild Bill worked 15 and 16 hours a day, he showed no signs of weariness. While the rest of us were dropping with fatigue, he seemed to gain strength. ‘We have time for this old fellow,’ he’d say. ‘He’s been waiting for us all day.’ His compassion for his fellow-prisoners glowed on his face … For six years he had lived on the same starvation diet, slept in the same airless and disease-ridden barracks as everyone else, but without the least physical or mental deterioration.”
George Richie discovered the secret of Bill Cody’s patience and faith, which explained why he seemed so free even though he had been imprisoned by the Nazis. It is a most powerful story about karma. The Nazis shot Bill’s wife, two daughters and three sons right before his eyes. They didn’t kill him because he spoke German and would be an asset in the concentration camps. George Richie recorded Bill’s conversation in this way: “He paused, perhaps seeing again his wife and five children. ‘I had to decide right then,’ he continued, ‘whether to let myself hate the soldiers who had done this. It was an easy decision, really. I was a lawyer. In my practice I had seen too often what hate could do to people’s minds and bodies. Hate had just killed the six people who mattered most to me in the world. I decided then that I would spend the rest of my life – whether it was a few days or many years – loving every person I came in contact with.’” George G. Ritchie, Elizabeth Sherill, Return from Tomorrow.
While this is a story of great forgiveness, it is also a story of karma. In the Bible there are quite a few quotes similar to the Revelation text we are considering. They speak vividly about karma. In Genesis we find: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image.” Gen 9:6 Matthew says, “Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” ” Mt 26:52
Note that in the Revelation text John hears the risen Christ say, “If any one has an ear, let him hear:” So what is there to hear in George Richie’s story about Bill Cody? One possibility is the likelihood that Bill Cody violently put people to death in a past life, either physically or mentally. What needs to be heard here is that if he hadn’t, he might never have been able to forgive the Nazis in that instant. He might never have been the example of compassion and freedom that undoubtedly upheld hundreds of people in the appalling conditions of the Nazi concentration camps. Indeed, at the very time that the risen Christ was manifesting himself, at least some people could see him through the presence of Bill Cody.
We could ask ourselves whether we are committed to exemplifying the risen presence of Christ in our lives. For in this way others may catch a glimpse of him through our patience and faith, prompting them to seek their own personal experience of him. We have the opportunity to do this whenever we feel badly treated, disrespected, devalued, misunderstood, ignored and so forth. Unimaginable freedom awaits us if we have the ear to hear this story and put it into action in our lives.
“Things are no longer ‘done’ to us; they happen within us.”
Kristina, I am about halfway through your work on The Book of Revelation. I am finding your rendition to be exceptionally insightful and fruitful. You take a much different approach to this great work of John by examining it from an inner perspective. The Book of Revelation is seen from within the human Being. All that transpires in the course of John’s book is paralleled in the evolution of the human I AM and its impact upon the human soul and body. All of that is then extrapolated in how it affects human and world evolution as a whole. The external is the result of what is achieved from within the human Being.
There are so many ways to approach the Book of Revelation which only attests to the greatness of the book itself. The grand archetypal images that are presented to us can be deciphered from many different angles and levels. The only limit to its copious wisdom is our own limit of understanding and purview. R.