Preface to Revelation
 
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Preface

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Chapter 1
 

Preface

If I knocked on your door and heralded with great joy, 'Messias has returned; come and see,' would you jump up and prepare to follow me, would you be curious, or would you think I was mad? If I told you that the appearance and confirmation of the promised Comforter is documented in a book that was written almost two thousand years ago, would you settle back in your seat, suspect I was trying to deceive you, turn away, and go back to what you were doing? Christian and Jew alike are waiting for someone to come and save them from the prison of ignorance while all this time the door has been unlocked!

Jesus promised his disciples in his day: "This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled" (Luke 21:32). This book explores the best evidence we have that Jesus kept his promise when he delivered the Comforter to all mankind in the book called The Revelation.

True to historic precedent, the answers are neither the handout nor the form that we expected.

  "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20, 21).

John waited expectantly for sixty years to realize the substance of these statements, confirming Jesus' provocative comment to Peter about him: "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me"
(John 21:22). According to several records, John's enemies did everything they could think of to destroy him, including lowering him into a pot of boiling oil, but he turned every attack into a blessing. Instead of dying as they expected, he was invigorated by the ordeal. Never giving in to malice, witnesses said they could hear him singing hymns amidst the flames. John's reputation grew so powerfully that the news could not be contained, so he was removed to the island of Patmos, which was a rock-quarry prison. Through his harassment, defamation of character, attempted murder, and confinement, he rejoiced. He said that he was on Patmos "for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." It was there that he received and faithfully recorded the unveiling of Jesus Christ.


Was this John's reward for such faithful service, that he would be the first to document the appearance of the Comforter? Is it possible that his preparation and revelation represents a pattern that must repeat itself in every individual who hungers and thirsts after righteousness? If so, it is a universal phenomenon and one worth pondering.

  "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb 9:28).

If the Children of Israel, four hundred years enslaved in Egypt, had known in advance the pathway out of their own depravity, perhaps they would not have taken so long to achieve that objective. If Christians today know the end from the beginning, perhaps they will strive for it more vigorously by following Jesus in the Way - healing the sick, rousing the dead, cleansing contagion, and casting out devils. Christ promised us that 'I will come to you' - the 'I,' Christ, will reveal all things to you. Six decades after his ascension, Jesus' presence returned to John. Are we dismayed because the description of that vision is not easily apprehended? Do we read it once, close the book and walk away, waiting for our ignorance to be forgiven? Jesus demanded us to work it out, not wait it out! Revelation is written in Spirit language and requires spiritual insight to be understood.

Revelation is the unveiling of Life, Truth, and Love that dawns on each one of us as we realize our proper place and identity as sons and daughters of God.

SCRIPTURAL EVOLUTION

Scripture traces the evolution of man's spiritual quest to find reality. Like artists painting grand scenes, the prophets translated holy visions into physical symbols and written metaphors, which gradually became clearer and more detailed as the truth of being was better understood. Abraham built an altar on a mountaintop and prepared it for human sacrifice to illustrate his conviction that God is Father. Noah built an ark to preserve life. Jacob built a rock pillar as a reminder that God was there. Moses built a temple in the wilderness where the holy of holies and the ark of his testament presented evidence of the Mind of God. Mary conceived the idea of man as Messiah, and brought forth Jesus, who subsequently presented the clearest idea of Christ to mankind. Jesus offered direct evidence of man's divine nature and immortality by his resurrection and ascension. At the conclusion of the New Testament, The Revelation presents the supreme example of spiritual insight as the Bible reveals it. The apostle John was the first to record Jesus' presentation of himself, which includes a description of man's journey from ignorance and sin to beholding New Jerusalem and the cessation of time. Once we begin to see the holy purpose behind the symbols we can reflect back and see, for example, that Moses' temple was really a symbol for man-fleshy, ignorant, and opaque if viewed from the outside, as a mortal, and wholly inspired consciousness if viewed from the inside as the center of divine intelligence.

The nature and character of God is accurately depicted in all the symbols that inspired man has enlisted, but the interpretations are obscure until a way is opened that enables one to understand the message.

  "And the Lord said unto Moses, . . . I will make all my goodness pass before thee, . . . and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen" (Exod. 33:17,19,23).

In this communication, Moses understood that he would see evidence of God but not the cause underlying it. Honesty would appear because Truth passed by, affection would manifest itself as the product of divine Love, thoughtfulness would be understood to be the product of the Mind of God, and so on, but Moses would not see Truth and Mind with human eyes.

THE TRUE COMFORTER

  "… no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation (II Pet. 1:20).

Being "in the Spirit on the Lord's day" as John was on Patmos, turning and seeing it for oneself, is the only way to receive the true interpretation of Scripture. From this standpoint, translating the symbols back to their original spiritual language is easy. We begin with a meek and contrite heart, looking away from a physical sense of earth and man and standing mentally still like Moses at the Red Sea. We must be willing to give up all-everything of this world-in order to gain the peace, joy, and life we are seeking. The Revelation assures us that there is no question of our redemption. We have no choice; we are the manifestation of God now. What it takes for us to realize this fact is symbolized in Jesus' book. We will either turn and behold the truth of being, or we will experience all the plagues written in this book until we are forced to admit the truth of being. As we discover the key to opening it, the Revelation of Jesus Christ becomes an open book.

  "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: …" (Rev. 20:12).

LITERAL INTERPRETATIONS

Sometimes questions arise about whether to literally interpret the Revelation of Jesus Christ and whether the accompanying symbols refer to historic places and people.
For centuries prior to Jesus' arrival, the Jews were expecting a messiah: one who would come and fight their immediate enemies and restore Jerusalem and the Promised Land politically and beneficially back to them exclusively. Very few people in Jesus' day recognized him as the Messiah or the Christ because he was not what they were expecting. Today, as then, the human mind is still trying to petition God to intervene in the affairs of this world. There is not a shred of evidence that Jesus concerned himself with who governed Rome or who owned what piece of land. The great exemplar owned nothing, sought no political or religious office, and held none. Why would he, sixty years after his ascension, be concerned with such things? Here on earth, he played the part of an elder: serving the needs of the local people by transforming them from within, teaching them to love impartially, and encouraging them to leave all and follow in the Way. Should not we suspect that his Revelation would continue preparing the hearts of his students with higher and more spiritual lessons?

  "… I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: … " (Rev. 2:23).

Revelation is presented to us as a Christ help meet. Attracting and gathering lost sheep requires two strategies: first, we are drawn by the sweetness and comfort of the message; and second, we are bridled to keep us from our propensities (wicked inclinations) until we learn to live by grace alone and to love it. The great Teacher taught both the beauty of holiness and the wretchedness of evil.
He "loved righteousness, and hated iniquity" (Heb. 1:9).

  "And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey" (Rev 10:9).

Do not be discouraged if you do not comprehend the full meaning of the book of Revelation at your first perusal. You must know the end from the beginning, so read through to the end and then begin again. We all must discover that Revelation is the unveiling of one's real self.

THE NATURE OF REVELATORY WRITING

If you think of the book of Revelation as if it were written on a sphere and you were to scan it from side to side, you would see a horizon on one side, a middle section, and a horizon on the other side. It may appear to have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but if you were to look again at the sphere from a different vantage point, a new beginning, a new middle, and a new end would appear; the message is the same and yet new because of the way you are looking at it. This makes the prophetic writing style unique in that you can open the book at random, start at almost any sentence, and begin reading. Needless to say, this rare type of prophetic writing is replete with meaning and needs to be thoughtfully and thoroughly studied.

Now, think of this sphere as if it were woven with concentric threads. It would be possible to follow one thread, or idea, all the way around the sphere, learning as you go, and arrive back where you started. If you were to start again, following around the sphere and retaining what you learned, new meanings would arise that were not apparent before. When you were satisfied, you might select another thread of truth to follow, and so on. This ascending pathway of divine wisdom and its attending grace is the nature of the human pursuit of revelation until it is delivered directly and instantaneously as it was to John.


PATTERN WITH A PURPOSE

Revelation is not written like a novel designed with a surprise or mysterious climax. The end is clearly stated at the beginning although we may not recognize it at first. To prepare our thought for each spiritual lesson, prophetic reminders are offered along the way. Like a scientific investigation, each vision magnifies the previous one as though we were repeatedly peering through a microscope with ever more powerful lenses until the mystery of evil is uncovered and man's true identity is revealed.

Revelation is divided into an introduction, seven letters to seven churches, seven visions, a conclusion, and a recapitulation. Symbols abound, including mathematical prowess. For example, seven is a prime number and stands for indivisibility. The sequence from one through seven is also significant, and the seven days of creation in Genesis sets the standard. Each primary element builds upon the previous one as if colors were being added to a rainbow or instruments to an orchestra. The sixth point, event, or vision is a climax, key, or compound concept, which inevitably brings on an epoch change or a grand mental chemicalization. The seventh in the sequence presents the solution, a new state of being and wholeness, or a mirror opposite of these.

In the first chapter of Genesis, creation begins with light and gradually develops over six days into higher forms of goodness until the highest state-man made in the image and likeness of God-is seen and acknowledged. "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day " (Gen. 2: 2).

It is most significant that the first record of creation in Genesis presents the universe from God's point of view.

  "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Gen. 1:31).

Therefore, man made as image and likeness of the divine 'I' or 'Us' is a God-projected man.

Beginning in Genesis 2:4, a second, distinctly different record presents creation as an inverted image of the first. Here, man is created at the beginning and is made of dust from beneath rather than light from above. In this usage, Lord God, Jehovah, is God from man's vantage point: a composite of beliefs and conclusions drawn from the experiences of the Jewish nation. This is a man-projected God knowing good and evil.

Revelation restores creation to its original record, exchanging man's view of God for God's view of man. Is this not the Comforter bringing all things to our remembrance? As the prophetic pattern is fulfilled in each one of us and the original view is restored in consciousness, we will acknowledge God's vision and rest in this grand fact on the seventh day.