The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne.
JOHN MORLEY once said to the priests--"We shall not attack you, we shall explain you." The Book of Revelation, properly Re-Veilings, cannot even be approximately explained without some knowledge of astrology. It is a purely esoteric work, largely referring to woman, her intuition, her spiritual powers, and all she represents. Even the name of its putative author, John, is identical in meaning with "dove," the emblem of the Holy Ghost, the female principle of the Divinity.
This book came down from old Egyptian "mystery" times, and was one of the profoundly "sacred" and profoundly "secret" books of the great temple of Luxor, the words "sacred" and "secret" possessing the same meaning during the mysteries. All knowledge was anciently concealed in the mysteries; letters, numbers, astrology (until the sixteenth century identical with astronomy), alchemy, the parent of chemistry, these, and all other sciences were hidden from the common people. Even to all initiates the most important part of the mysteries was not revealed.
It is not then strange that such a profoundly mystic book as Re-Veilings should be so little understood by the Christian Church as
to have been many times rejected from the sacred canon. It did not appear in the Syriac Testament as late as 1562. Neither did Luther, the great reformer of the sixteenth century, nor his coworker, Erasmus, respect it, Luther declaring that for his part he would as soon it had not been written; Calvin, also, had small regard for it. The first collection of the New Testament canon, decided upon by the Council of Laodicea (A. D. 364), omitted the entire book from its list of sacred works; Jerome said that some Greek churches would not receive it. The celebrated Vatican codex in the papal library, the oldest uncial or Biblical manuscript in existence, does not contain Revelation. The canon of the New Testament was fixed as it now is by Pope Innocent I., A. D. 405, with the Book of Revelation still in dispute.
Its mystic character has been vaguely surmised by the later Church, which, while claiming to be the exponent of spiritual things, has yet taught the grossest materialism, and from no part of the Bible more fully than from Revelation. It asserts a literal coming of Christ in the literal clouds of heaven, riding a literal horse, while Gabriel (angel of the moon), with a literal trumpet sounds the blast of earth's destruction. A literal devil is to be bound for a thousand years, during which time the saints are to dwell on earth, "every man to have a farm," as I once heard a devout Methodist declare. "But there will not be land enough for that," objected a brother. "O, well, the earth is now two-thirds water, and that will be dried up," was the reply. To such straits have Christians been driven in their efforts to comprehend this book.
But during the centuries a few students have not failed to apprehend its character; the Abbé Constant (Eliphas Levi), declaring it to be one of the masterpieces of occult science. While for even a partial comprehension of Re-Veilings, some knowledge of astrology is required, it is no less true that the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation demands a knowledge of astrology, of letters, and of numbers, with their interchangeable values as they were understood by those who wrote it, "a book written by initiates for initiates." Sir William Drummond proved that all names of places in the holy land of the Hebrews were astronomical.
Not only were Hebrew feasts and seasons based upon that science, but many Christian ones, as Easter and Christmas are due to the same cause. The festival of St. John the Baptist takes place at the time of the sun's lowest southern declination, December 22. In like manner the festival of St. John the Evangelist occurs at midsummer day, when the sun reaches its highest northern declination. All those church periods are purely astronomical or astrological in character. The "Alpha" and "Omega" of Revelation contain profound evolutionary truths, significative of spirit and of matter, or God unmanifested and manifested.
The famous seven churches of Asia, to whom this book was largely addressed, were all astrological and based upon. the seven planets of the ancients. Of these seven churches that of Ephesus stood first. On the shores of Ægean Sea, it was famous for its magnificent temple to the moon-goddess Artemis, or Diana. This temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, nations vieing with each other in their gifts to add to its splendor. The moon being the emblem or "angel" of Ephesus, the cry of the multitude when Paul spake there, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" was an astrological recognition of the power of the moon over human affairs. It is to be noted that none of the seven churches of Asia received the writings of Paul. In the astrology of Chaldea, as in that of Asia Minor, the moon was first among the planets. It must be remembered that the numbers seven and twelve, so frequently mentioned in Re-Veilings, are of great occult significance in relation to the earth.
The angel of the church of Smyrna, to whom the second letter was addressed, was the sun, "the only sun" dying and rising each day; that of Pergamos, the beneficent Jupiter, who became the supreme god of the Greek world. The angel of Thyatira, the lovely and loving Venus, by some deemed the most occult of the planets, sustained her old-time character for lasciviousness in her connection with that church. The fiery, warlike Mars, angel of the church of Sardis, called "the Great King," and Saturn, the angel of the church of Philadelphia, are astrologically known as malefic planets. Saturn identified with Satan, matter and time, is for occult reasons looked
upon as the great malefic. The angel of the church of Laodicea, Mercury or Hermes, the ambiguous planet, is, next to Venus, the most occult of all the planets; it is, masculine or feminine, the patron of learning or of thieves, as it is aspected. Most profound secrets connected with the spiritual interests of the race during the middle portion of the fifth round are hidden in the letter to the angel of the church of Laodicea.
M. J. G.
This book is styled the Apocalypse or Revelation, and is supposed to have been written by John, called the Divine, on the Island of Patmos, in the Ægean Sea, whither he was banished. Professor Goldwin Smith, in a recent work entitled "Guesses at the Riddle of Existence," thinks that we have but little reliable information as to the writers of either the Old or the New Testaments. In this case the style is so different from that of John, that the same Apostle could not have written both books. Whoever wrote The Revelation was evidently the victim of a terrible and extravagant imagination and of visions which make the blood curdle.
18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience.
20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophet, to teach and to seduce my servants.
21 And I gave her space to repent; and she repented not.
22 Behold, I will cast her into great tribulation.
23 And I will kill her children and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the hearts; and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
The town of Thyatira lay to the southeast of Pergamos. The epistle to the church was sent by John, with some commendations; but it was said that there was a worm at the root of its prosperity, which would destroy the whole unless it were removed. It is not agreed whether the expression Jezebel, is to be understood literally or figuratively. From the reading of some manuscripts it has been thought, that the wife of the presiding minister was intended, that she had obtained great influence in the affairs of the church and
made a bad use of it; that she pretended to have prophetic gifts, and under that sanction propagated abominable principles.
The figurative meaning, however, seems more suited to the style and the manner of this book; and in this sense it denotes a company of persons, of the spirit and character of Jezebel, within the church under one principal deceiver. Jezebel, a Zidonian and a zealous idolater, being married to the King of Israel (Ahab) contrary to the Divine law, used all her influence to draw the Israelites from the worship of Jehovah into idolatry. Satan and woman are the chief characters in all the frightful visions; and the sacred period of maternity is made to illustrate some of the most terrible upheavals in national life, as between the old dragon and the mother of the race. Whatever this book was intended to illustrate, its pictures are painfully vivid.
E. C. S.