Book of Revelation: Mysteries of Glorification

The Book of Revelation unveils the glory of the life, death and resurrection of Christ in the light of his ascension and glorification, opening the prophetic imagination to the mysteries of his glorification, which are the consummating completion of Biblical prophecy.  As the only work of Christian canonical prophecy in the New Testament, the Apocalypse is also the culmination of Christian prophetic witness to the glorious reign of God.  Wisdom gathers all nations, peoples, cultures and sacred traditions into this reign of uncreated glory, purifying and illumining the prophetic imagination to embrace God’s God-centred glorification of God in Holy Trinity.  Christ is wisdom unveiling glorification through his life, death, and resurrection, together with his ascension and glorification, overthrowing, with crucified love, the worldly powers of deception and division.  Exposing the imperial pretensions of reigning ideological powers, Pharaonic, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian and  Roman, Christ’s prophetic re-imagining of God’s reign of glory communicates love’s glorification as the illumining heart of Christian wisdom.  The Book of Revelation gathers Biblical prophetic traditions into hallowing wholeness as the completeness of comprehensive glorification, timely glory releasing temporal incompleteness into timeless completeness.  The prophetic imagination is renewed as it expands to embrace every nation, culture, language and tradition, transcending but fulfilling all that the reign of glory includes.

Desert wisdom completes temporal incompleteness in the timeless reign of glory, the ever-present presence of God that exposes and overcomes subtle deceit that usurps the throne of God.  Every totalitarian, imperial absolutism is emptied of its parodies of glory when God’s reign of glory is revealed, bearing costly witness to the glory that martyrs disclose.  Totalitarian absolutism includes post-modern, absolute relativism and absolute nihilism, which parody wisdom by rationalising all-invasive vain-glory.  The glory unveiled by prophecy is glory lived out in martyrdom, uniting prophets and martyrs with the grace of purification, grounding  illumination in the uncreated light of glory, deifying the saints.  When the Emperor Constantine baptised imperial power, predatory economic and political power began to wear Christian vestments, forcing prophetic martyrdom into the desert to await and partake of the revelatory parousia of deifying presence.  Since the prophetic imagination always exceeds any and every temporal fulfilment, wisdom points beyond time to the timeless presence of the glory of completeness.  This excess is not expendable, but presses on beyond temporal incompleteness toward the completeness of timeless glory beheld by wisdom.  The language of prophecy forever transcends itself, including past prophecy in such a way as to complete it.  The Eternal Gospel embraces all nations (Rev 14:6), contesting the reign of predatory, ideological powers, welcoming the reign of glory unveiled by the saving Name.  There is delay whenever glorification is not yet wholly welcomed, just as there is dazzling, realised presence whenever glorification is gladly embraced.  

The Book of Revelation purifies and illumines the Christian imagination so that it is enabled to welcome God’s reign of glory with whole-hearted, trusting glorification.  It deconstructs the dominant ideologies that serve to maintain the power of the rich and powerful, empowering the poor and powerless to bear witness to the reign of God.  The desert is always countercultural in that it resists the predatory reign of economic and military power, but wisdom’s vision of the presence of glory is countered by the incapacity of incompleteness to embrace the completeness of the glory of wisdom.  Desert elders hold together the critical tension between the presence and absence of glory, living between the times of temporal incompleteness and timely, timeless completeness.  The end is always already come when glory dawns, but is not yet come when temporal incompleteness re-asserts itself.  Saints experience this tension in the same way that the Book of Revelation and the Gospel of the Beloved Disciple embrace the paradox of glory ‘now,’ but also ‘not yet.’  The moment time divides into past and future, stripping the present of the completeness of presence, glory is ‘not yet.’  When timeless presence ends time in every moment, there is glorification.  When time re-imposes temporal succession with separation of past and future, there is illumination that has not yet embraced the Eternal Gospel, when empirical knowing in time is ‘no longer’ or ‘not yet’ ineffable communion with God, abiding through God in the timeless glory of wisdom.

Glorification is theocentric through and through, so it does not reduce divine difference to subjective personal preference, for which divisive difference spawns nihilistic dissipation.  Glorification is not an exclusive personal preference, but a radical dethronement of personal preference, whether self-obsession takes the form of consumerist greed, militaristic control or economic oppression.  Deification undoes the many idolatries of worldly self-divenisation that breed totalitarian systems of oppression.  Wisdom liberates glory from the past but also releases every kind of imagined future into the ever-present presence of glory, inspiring prophecy that reaches beyond all ethnic sectarianism.  Wisdom also cures whole-some Name-hallowing of all sectarian exclusion, generating a regenerating glory that hallows God’s Name in every domain.  Prophetic collision with collusive systems of power and control explodes into radical openness, unveiling wisdom’s dazzling insight into glory.  The Spirit of Truth purifies and illumines conventional religion by opening it to angelic doxology, spiritual martyrdom and hallowing witness.  The Book of Revelation founds the poetry of prophecy on hallowing glorification of the revelatory Name, restoring the tradition in the uncreated light of glory, regenerating imaginal symbolism in the mysteries of glorification, sustaining elders in the desert so that wisdom is securely transmitted to the saints.

Demonic parody accuses all wisdom of pride so as to paralyse the energy of the glory of grace, whereas wisdom knows that whilst pride does indeed subvert all worldly wisdom, it cannot pervert the genuine wisdom of Christ, since pride cannot seduce God.   The Book of Revelation employs many different symbols to expose worldly pride, symbols like the beast, dragon, serpent and Babylon itself, but they are all provisional because Satan loves to change shape with every deception.  Demonic delusion is bound to accuse wisdom of pride in order to separate wisdom from glory, by plunging both into vainglory.  But since is is wisdom that sees through this deception, devilish temptation has to divide wisdom from glory so as to preserve vainglory from exposure.  The Book of Revelation wrestles with all these discernments so that the prophetic imagination is purified and illumined, sustaining sound glorification through God’s own glorification of God in God: Holy Trinity.  If wisdom is confused with pride, the heart is cut off from right-glorification, depriving Holy Orthodoxy of its heart, reducing the Holy Trinity to a nominal dogma that has neither power nor glory.  The Book of Revelation still remains the key to all mysteries of hallowing glorification, securing wisdom from pride’s insinuations, undoing the confusion between wisdom and pride whilst exposing pride at the heart of every worldly wisdom.

Demonic delusion colludes with diabolical division to separate wisdom from glory, confusing wisdom with pride and glory with vainglory.  The Apocalypse exposes these confusions in order to heal collusive divisions with wholesome glorification.  The Book of Revelation gave Holy Orthodoxy its conclusive prophetic revelation that informed its liturgies and its prophetic wisdom, renewing the uncreated roots of the creative imagination so that the wisdom of the prophets and martyrs continued to restore the wisdom of glorified saints.  Wisdom is never separated from glory when pride and vainglory cannot interfere with them, which is when wisdom sees through the pretensions of pride and purifies glory of vainglory.   Spiritual warfare employs in the desert the same strategy as the Book of Revelation, refining tactics of radical discernment that the Patristic tradition continues to employ.  This is crucial if glorification is to flourish as the fulfilment of purification and illumination, because without it, pride and vainglory seduce wisdom and glory, which descend into narcissism and nihilism.  The Apocalypse continues, however, to communicate the wisdom that is the culmination of prophetic martyrdom under both covenants, informing the radical culture of desert wisdom in every generation.

The Book of Revelation is, therefore, the Book of Glorification, the Book of right-glorifying, hallowing Orthodoxy, being the last book of the Bible through which the whole Bible is summed up and completed.  It purifies and illumines the imagination so that glorification genuinely arises when the practice of wisdom is lived and loved, glory beheld and known with the awakened eye of the heart.  It was neglected by many generations that knew little or nothing of the practice of wisdom, disdaining glorification as if only pride would presume to consider it.  In an age of narcissism and nihilism, however, these mysteries attract those who do indeed presume to adorn themselves with vainglory, making it essential to clarify the difference between pride and wisdom, glory and vanity.  This holy work was never neglected by hesychast elders, making wisdom sustainable even in very degenerate conditions, enabling glorification to remain wholesome even in an age of unbridled narcissism.  If the Book of Revelation had not been included in the Scriptural canon, the Church would have been deprived of the prophetic witness that inspired its liturgies, its creative imagination, and its doxological culture.  Although neglect does in practice deprive it of its wisdom in conventional circles, that wisdom was never destroyed, but rises again and again in the ashes of gross forgetfulness.  The remembrance of God restores prophecy by remembering the unceasing prayer of the Spirit in the heart, witnessing Holy Trinity in glory at the heart of every mystery of glorification, every Baptism, Chrismation, and Eucharist, every glorification of the Name of glory, every revelation of wisdom.  The Book of Revelation regenerates every mystery of glory in the revelatory Name, restoring the prophetic imagination so that prayer of the heart is renewed.