The Book of Revelation is the mysterious manifestation of the revelatory imagination, rooted in the living flame of glorification in the Name. The function of the revelatory imagination is to communicate the uncreated energies of light and glory, opening the heart to glorification. For the Johannine tradition, the Name is a door into heaven, the mystery of the Name that opens heavens to the throne of glory in the midst. The awareness of God’s presence in his Name opens the heart to the throne of grace in the heaven of heavens, until it turns into a winged throne upholding Christ enthroned. The throne is winged by glory and Christ glorified enthroned as Prophet, Priest and King.
The Book of Revelation is a Book of hallowing glorification, of doxological reciprocity, of apocalyptic openings and glorifying theophanies, but since glorification itself is widely neglected, interpretations of Revelation are often very wide of the mark, sometimes utterly inconsistent with the experience of glorification, which means this Apocalyptic book of Holy Scripture is one of the most difficult to interpret. The revelatory imagination needs wisdom’s insight into what the revelatory imagination is expressing in order to interpret it, not blind, wayward fantasy or sophisticated speculation. The key to Revelation’s mysteries is the Johannine witness to the Name ‘I AM,’ ‘He who is, who was and who is to come, the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last’ (Rev 1: 8). The Pauline witness to the Name above all names is, of course, pertinent too (Phil 2: 9-10). From beginning to end, ‘I AM’ is Christ’s revelation of himself and the Book of Revelation is the revelation of his mysteries in our hearts, which is why the Apocalypse says it is the ‘testimony of Jesus Christ and the things he saw’ (Rev 1: 2).
Glorification is an experience of glory that opens the heart to the timeless mysteries of the age to come and it is this experience which grounds the hermeneutics of the Apocalypse within the sound Patristic traditions of purification, illumination and glorification. The revelatory imagination is the theophanic imagination which is the regenerated imagination of the purified and illumined heart. These mysteries are imageless but are nevertheless the key to the interpretation of the Apocalypse, not vain speculation or fantasies of a feared future. It was these mysteries that inspired the Church’s liturgical and iconographical tradition and it is these mysteries that continue to renew the roots of all healthy, living Orthodoxy. The glorification of the saints plunges them into the midst of the same glory that was revealed to the prophets and apostles, the same glory that inspired both Testaments and revealed God’s Kingdom in the hallowed Name. Elders do not stray from glorification when they interpret the Apocalypse, which means they do not neglect the purification and illumination of the heart. Many elders drew on Johannine readings of ancient, temple wisdom but also on Pauline interpretations of temple wisdom in their witness to glorification among the saints, seeing through verbal differences to the oneness of wisdom with glory.
The Book of Revelation addresses the heart, not the speculative mind, communicating light of glory in images and symbols that transcend themselves even as they open hearts to glorification. Nobody is invited to replace pure prayer with elaborate fantasies of thrones and precious stones. Rather, the Apocalypse inspires hearts to become like radiant, winged thrones in a Holy City of precious stones through glorification. The Apocalypse is not interpreted literally but spiritually, avoiding a multitude of fantasies and heresies. A regenerated imagination is pure like the seeing heart, creative like the uncreated imagination, illumined like radiance of uncreated light, glorified like the prophets and apostles with the uncreated glory of the age to come. When hearts are like winged chariot thrones, glorification of God turns into glorification by God through God, wisdom of Holy Trinity. This is the living experience of glorification that purifies and illumines hearts. The Name ‘I AM’ reveals the ineffable oneness of wisdom and glory, awareness and presence, inmost union that sets hearts alight. Apocalyptic doors open as the Name weds wisdom and glory and the Bride weds the Lamb in the Holy of Holies. The union of wisdom and glory in the Bridal Chamber of the heart unveils the mysteries of the Apocalypse, restoring God-centred glorification of God through God. These are the mysteries of Holy Trinity which unite wisdom and glory, regenerating the revelatory imagination, deifying the whole Adam in uncreated, creative glory.