Book of Revelation: Christ’s glorification

The Book of Revelation opens the mysteries of Christ’s glorification in a series of visions which reveal mysteries of purification in the Lamb, illumination as the Bride of the Lamb and glorification in the Holy City, New Jerusalem,  initially unveiling Christ in the midst of the Spirit’s seven lamps (Rev 1: 12-20), his revelatory vision of God the creator (Rev 4:1-11) and wisdom’s illumined vision of Christ the glorified redeemer (Rev 5:1-14).  In the Macarian Homilies, the desert was taught throne vision awakening illumination to deifying winged chariot vision of the mysteries of glorification (Homily 1 on the mysteries of Ezekiel 1 and 10) .  The seer of the Apocalypse first sees Christ in the midst of the temple menorah, the seven golden temple lamps, which he sees as Christ in the midst of the sevenfold completeness of glory unveiled by the Holy Spirit.  Christ in the midst then speaks through his angel to seven angels of seven churches of Asia in seven letters (Rev 2:1-29 and 3:1-22).  Wisdom’s sevens are everywhere in the Book of Revelation, showing it to be the Book of glory’s ineffable completeness as well as the Book of illumining glorification.  Seven spirits, seven letters, seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets with seven woes, seven bowls, with other sevens, such as the seven sealed, unspoken thunders (Rev 10:4), sevens which unveil the completeness of the Kingdom of God and of the New Jerusalem, the completeness of glory discerned by wisdom.  

The seer then ascends with Christ to behold Christ’s own vision of heavens opened and God enthroned in the midst of ineffable, winged, Cherubic presences, surrounded by the rainbow radiance of wisdom’s translucent awareness (Rev 4:1-11).  Seven spiritual flames burn before the throne of glory, signifying the sevenfold completeness of the Holy Spirit present and aware here in the midst.  Twenty four elders surround the throne, angelic and prophetic seers, who represent the royal and priestly powers of heaven.  They are the glorified, who are awake to the mysteries of Christ’s glorification.  The Cherubic Hymn of the four presences is answered by the heavenly gathering of hallowed elders, whose glorification of God in self-emptying prostration casts their crowns before the throne of glory (Rev 4:1-5:14).  Wisdom’s rainbow vision of God enthroned is Cherubic in its expansive scope, but winged, Seraphic flame of boundless, healing love is present too.  Visionary sight, as seen by seers, is not mere sight only but burning insight.  Glory is heard not as sound only but as all-expansive, oceanic resonance, imparting winged, all-eyed insight, resounding as thunderous, renewing wisdom song.  Vision of God the creator then mutates into vision of Christ the redeemer, the Lion of Judah unveiled as a slaughtered Lamb, seated in the midst of glory’s throne, with seven rays or seven spirits revealing the ineffable completeness of his wisdom and glory (Rev 5:1-14).  

Christ’s wisdom, as the slaughtered Lamb, opens scrolls and breaks their seals in every age, inspiring a new, renewing wisdom song, washed pure with the redemptive life-renewing blood of the Lamb’s ineffable love.  The Book of Life belongs to the Lamb slaughtered from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8).  Heavenly liturgies of the awakened heart still include the prayers of the saints, represented by incense, but also the eternal gospel of redemptive grace, the timeless sacrifice of the Lamb, whose saving Name purifies the heart.  The wisdom of the cross, love’s ineffable glory, still shines in the unveiled face of Christ, the slaughtered Lamb.  The opening of the seventh seal has always been wisdom’s vision of the glorified Church, martyred like the Lamb, disclosing an unnumbered multitude from every nation who are being delivered from great ordeals and tribulation (Rev 7:9-8:5).  These are those who are being cleansed and purified in love’s life-blood of the Lamb enthroned, receiving his revelation of glory through prayer in the Spirit, the holy incense of their illumined hearts.  The Lamb in the midst of ineffable glory is the shepherd of wisdom, guide to wisdom’s living springs.  His wisdom is their hallowing bread of life and the life-giving waters that quench their thirst.  Glorification embraces all these mysteries, which the Book of Revelation transmits as prophecy, to be received in the heart by spiritual prayer.  When the seventh seal is opened, heaven is plunged into silence, the silence which wisdom extends to earth as the stillness of prayer in Spirit and Truth (Rev 8:1).

Christ unveiled continues to indwell the awakened hearts of prophets, elders and saints, revealing light of glory, God’s Holy of Holies, in their midst.  Another of Revelation’s visions is of the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies, unveiled now as a woman clothed with the sun (Rev 11:19, 12:1-6).  She has the moon beneath her feet and she is crowned with twelve stars.  She is wisdom’s glory, the fulness of grace, giving birth to a child of unquenchable light.  The child is enthroned with God in heaven, as are all wisdom’s children, enthroned in him with him, but this mystery is hidden with Christ in God until revealed, through illumination in glorification.   She is opposed by the dragon of seven heads, parody personified, who having failed to steal the child, is cast down to earth by the Archangel Michael.  Vision succeeds vision in Christ’s Book of Revelation, as hallowing of God’s Name unveils his Kingdom come, as glorification proceeds from light of glory to glory through glory.   As wisdom ascends to unveil veil after veil, seers become what they see.  This is wisdom discerning glory, as glory unveils glory, as the hallowed Name reveals the Kingdom come, from glory to glory.  Glorification is always a Lamb’s war with demonic powers, experienced anew as the Name is hallowed and the Kingdom comes in glory.   The Book of Revelation is not about glorification, it is itself an unfolding of glorification, glorification unveiling the Kingdom, wisdom unveiling glory, glorification as Christ reveals it in his own resurrection, ascension and glorification, as Christ knows it and shares it as his grace with the saints.

Glorification is uncreated light, certainly, but also uncreated sound.  The hallowing resonance of the revelatory Spirit still resounds as wisdom’s thundering waters.  It still thunders as glory’s searing lightning pierces the heavens with uncreated light.  Light still awakens hearts to light, but to glorification’s heavenly sound as well as light, to God’s triple Hallelu Yah, welcoming the marriage feast of the Lamb (Rev 19:1-10).  Glorification unfolds from one mystery of glory to another, releasing one demonic temptation after another, described in the Book of Revelation as doxological theophanies and deifying christophanies, each unveiling glory beyond the glory it already knows.  The dragon of seven heads is thrown into a lake of fire and brimstone, tormented by the very same glory it had confused with itself, but which now burns, purges or condemns, because glory belongs to God alone, consuming what pride presumes.  The Book of Revelation reveals how glory, as uncreated fire, consumes confusion to reveal mysteries of purification through the Lamb, illumination as the radiant Bride and glorification as the New Jerusalem of glorified saints.

The glorified seer witnesses the book of life being opened on a great white throne, the slaughtered Lamb condemning hell itself to hell (Rev 20:14).  The city’s twelve pearl gates of transfigured suffering are all opened wide, because purity of heart, suffered in secret, sees God.  Sun and moon are eclipsed by uncreated light, extinguishing night, the moon descending as the purity of pearl when wisdom’s twelve stars descend to become the foundations of the city’s walls.  Golden streets are as transparent as glass, transmuting seas of confusion into seas of limpid purity in deifying flame, transforming vainglory into enlightening glory in the light of the Name.  Rivers of life-giving waters nurture the Holy City, moreover the tree of life is the wisdom of glory illumining the saints, its fruits being wisdom’s vision of God, blessing light with timeless glory (Rev 22:1-5).   The Book of Revelation reveals the Holy of Holies to be a timeless Bridal Chamber of ineffable mysteries, wisdom wedding glory, descending as Bride to wed the Lamb, a Holy City of wisdom conjoined with glory that ascension unveils as descending glorification.

Of course, from the standpoint of linear time, the glory of the age to come remains in the future, but the Name, which is not in linear time, reveals glory’s timeless nuptial mysteries to the extent that wisdom is lived, already now, awareness loved and presence known.  The Name deifies sons by grace in the Son, unveiling ineffable words or logoi in the Logos, renewing prophecy, inspiring prayer in the saints.  Faith lays hold of future glory indirectly, like a mirror does, but wisdom beholds the timeless presence of glory, presence unveiled as wisdom’s glorifying love, face to face.  These are the mysteries of glorification, which beckon to us through the Book of Revelation, calling us to come, turn and see, to ascend with Christ to behold with him, in his wisdom, the mysteries of his ascending, descending  glorification.  The Holy City is his Bride, the Holy of Holies unveiled as a Bridal Chamber of hallowing mysteries which wisdom unveils in the sanctuary of the heart (Rev 21:9-27).  The Holy City is an earthly heaven united with a heavenly earth, wisdom embracing glory with Christ at centre as a tree of timeless life, whose fruits are seeds of glorification in the saints (Rev 22:1-5).

The unfolding of glorification is wisdom’s holy work, releasing mysteries of Christ’s ascension into mysteries of his glorification.  This is what the Book of Revelation does with prophetic power, which is why desert Hesychasm reminds us to treasure it as a Book of Name hallowing, of revelatory mysteries beloved by saints, unfolding in them Christ’s own personal yet all-embracing vision of the mysteries of enlightening ascension and deifying glorification.  The Book of Revelation has, of course, been read in countless different ways over the centuries, but when wisdom opens hearts to glory, it reveals how mysteries of glorification are unveiled in the midst, revealing the slaughtered Lamb’s ineffable, long-suffering love and the ineffable completeness of wisdom and glory unveiled at centre in the Name.