What Revelation Reveals

What Revelation Reveals

Joined: May 4th, 2005, 1:31 pm

March 22nd, 2012, 6:21 pm #1

<a href="">http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 02848.html
">What Revelation Reveals</a>
It is the Bible's strangest book. Even stranger, it was only one of many now-forgotten 'books of revelation'
ELAINE PAGELS
March 2, 2012

The Book of Revelation is the strangest book in the Bible, and the most controversial. Instead of stories and moral teaching, it offers only visionsdreams and nightmares, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, earthquakes, plagues and war. In the climactic battle scene, Jesus appears as a divine warrior, Satan is thrown into a pit, and all humans who had died faithful to God reign over the earth for 1,000 years.

The author, John of Patmos, was a Jewish prophet and a follower of Jesus who probably began to write around the year 90 after fleeing a war that had ravaged his homeland, Judea. But his Book of Revelation wasn't unique. At the time, countless othersJews, pagans and Christiansproduced a flood of "books of revelation," claiming to reveal divine secrets. Some have been known for centuries; about 20 others were found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945.

So what do the other revelations tell us, and how did John's come to trump the others? Unlike the Book of Revelation, the great majority of the others weren't about the end of the world, but about finding the divine in it now. Many offered encouragement to seek direct contact with Goda message that some early Christian leaders ultimately chose to suppress.

The Revelation of Zostrianos, found in 1945, tells how the young author, tormented by questions and overwhelmed by depression, walked alone into the desert. Finding no place "to rest my spirit," Zostrianos says he had resolved to kill himself. But he says that suddenly he became aware of a being radiating light, who "said to me, 'Zostrianoshave you gone mad?' "

This divine presence, Zostrianos says, released him from despair and offered illumination. Then, Zostrianos says, "I realized that the power in me was greater than the darkness, because it contained the whole light."

Another 1945 find, the Revelation of Peter, similarly opens in a desperate moment. Peter says he was standing in the temple with other disciples when "I saw the priests and the people running up to us with stones, as if they would kill us." Terrified, he says, he heard Jesus tell him to "put your handsover your eyes, and say what you see." Peter sees nothing. Jesus tells him to do it again. Peter says: "And fear came over me, [and] joy, for I saw a new light greater than the light of day. Then it came down upon the Savior, and I told him what I saw."

Although such revelations might not change outward circumstancestradition tells us that, just as Peter feared, he was caught and crucifiedthe Revelation of Peter suggests that what Jesus revealed enabled him to face his death with courage and hope.

These other revelations, written several generations after Jesus' death, were often written by anonymous followers of Jesus under the names of disciplesnot to deceive their readers but to show that they were writing "in the spirit" of those whose names they borrowed. Many were probably not written by Christians at all. Some of the revelations drew upon sacred traditions of Egypt and Greece and, in some cases, on the Hebrew Bible. Others included practices similar to Buddhist meditation techniques.

The Secret Revelation of John opens, again, in crisis. The disciple John, grieving Jesus' death, is walking toward the temple when he meets a Pharisee who mocks him for having been deceived by a false messiah. These taunts echoed John's own fear and doubt. Devastated, John turns away from the temple and heads toward the desert, where, he says, "I grieved greatly in my heart."

Suddenly, he says, he saw brilliant light as the heavens opened, and the earth shook beneath his feet. Terrified, John says he saw a luminous presence that kept changing form, and then heard Jesus' voice: "John, John, why do you doubt, and why are you afraid?I am the one who is with you always. I am the Father; I am the Mother; I am the Son."

The Jesus who appears in the Secret Revelation doesn't look as he does in the Book of Revelation. Instead of a divine warrior leading heavenly armies to "strike down the nations," he appears as the apostle Paul says he saw himin blazing light and a heavenly voice, and then in changing forms: first as a child, then as an old man, thenand here scholars disagreeeither as a servant or as a woman. Through a series of visions and imagery, the Secret Revelation suggests that what is revealed to John is potentially available to all peopleor, at least, to all who are receptive to what the spirit teaches.

In the fourth century, bishops intent on establishing "orthodoxy" labored to suppress writings like the Secret Revelation. Although they didn't deny that Jesus was human, they tended to place Jesus on the divine side of the equationnot only divine but, in the words of the Nicene Creed, "God from Godessentially the same as God." Orthodox theologians insisted that the rest of humankind were only transitory creatures, lost in sina view that would support what would become their dominant teaching about salvation, offered only through Christ, and, in particular, through the church they claimed to represent.

From the second century, Christian leaders, who saw their close groups torn apart as Roman magistrates arrested and executed their most outspoken members, felt that John's Book of Revelation spoke directly to these crises because it prophesied God's victory over Rome. Such Christians championed this book above the rest. Some challenged other books of revelation, with their more universal visions, calling them illegitimate and heretical.

Throughout the ages, Christians have adapted John of Patmos's visions to changing times, reading their own social, political and religious conflicts into the cosmic war he so powerfully evokes. Yet his Book of Revelation appeals not only to fear and desires for vengeance but also to hope. As John tells how the chaotic events of the world are finally set right by divine judgment, those who engage his visions often see them offering moral meaning in times of suffering or apparently random catastrophe. Many poets, artists and preachers have claimed to find in these prophecies the promise, famously repeated by Martin Luther King Jr., that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

The Book of Revelation reads as if John had wrapped up all our worst fearsfears of violence, plague, wild animals, unimaginable horrors from the abyss below the earth, lightning, hail, earthquakes and the atrocities or torture and warinto one gigantic nightmare. Yet this worst of all nightmares ends not in terror but in a glorious new world. Whether one sees in John's visions the destruction of the whole world or the dark tunnel that propels each of us toward our own death, his final vision suggests that even after the worst we can imagine has happened, we may find the astonishing gift of new life. Whether or not one shares that conviction, few readers miss seeing how these visions offer consolation and that most necessary of divine giftshope.

Excerpted from "Revelations: Visions, Prophecy and Politics in the Book of Revelation" published by Viking

Kindle Edition $14.99:
http://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Proph ... konformist

Hardcover $16.25:
http://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Visio ... konformist

Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged $22.70:
http://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Visio ... konformist

Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $21.44 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial:
http://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Visio ... konformist

A version of this article appeared Mar. 3, 2012, on page C3 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: What Revelation Reveals.

If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.
~ Gensha, Zen Master


House of Love


Last edited by Oscar50 on March 23rd, 2012, 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Iceman
Iceman

March 22nd, 2012, 6:44 pm #2

Was crazier than a Hoot Owl. And I'm suspicious of the sanity of anyone reading and believeing such trash.
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Joined: December 8th, 2003, 1:16 am

March 22nd, 2012, 11:19 pm #3

<a href="">http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 02848.html
">What Revelation Reveals</a>
It is the Bible's strangest book. Even stranger, it was only one of many now-forgotten 'books of revelation'
ELAINE PAGELS
March 2, 2012

The Book of Revelation is the strangest book in the Bible, and the most controversial. Instead of stories and moral teaching, it offers only visionsdreams and nightmares, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, earthquakes, plagues and war. In the climactic battle scene, Jesus appears as a divine warrior, Satan is thrown into a pit, and all humans who had died faithful to God reign over the earth for 1,000 years.

The author, John of Patmos, was a Jewish prophet and a follower of Jesus who probably began to write around the year 90 after fleeing a war that had ravaged his homeland, Judea. But his Book of Revelation wasn't unique. At the time, countless othersJews, pagans and Christiansproduced a flood of "books of revelation," claiming to reveal divine secrets. Some have been known for centuries; about 20 others were found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945.

So what do the other revelations tell us, and how did John's come to trump the others? Unlike the Book of Revelation, the great majority of the others weren't about the end of the world, but about finding the divine in it now. Many offered encouragement to seek direct contact with Goda message that some early Christian leaders ultimately chose to suppress.

The Revelation of Zostrianos, found in 1945, tells how the young author, tormented by questions and overwhelmed by depression, walked alone into the desert. Finding no place "to rest my spirit," Zostrianos says he had resolved to kill himself. But he says that suddenly he became aware of a being radiating light, who "said to me, 'Zostrianoshave you gone mad?' "

This divine presence, Zostrianos says, released him from despair and offered illumination. Then, Zostrianos says, "I realized that the power in me was greater than the darkness, because it contained the whole light."

Another 1945 find, the Revelation of Peter, similarly opens in a desperate moment. Peter says he was standing in the temple with other disciples when "I saw the priests and the people running up to us with stones, as if they would kill us." Terrified, he says, he heard Jesus tell him to "put your handsover your eyes, and say what you see." Peter sees nothing. Jesus tells him to do it again. Peter says: "And fear came over me, [and] joy, for I saw a new light greater than the light of day. Then it came down upon the Savior, and I told him what I saw."

Although such revelations might not change outward circumstancestradition tells us that, just as Peter feared, he was caught and crucifiedthe Revelation of Peter suggests that what Jesus revealed enabled him to face his death with courage and hope.

These other revelations, written several generations after Jesus' death, were often written by anonymous followers of Jesus under the names of disciplesnot to deceive their readers but to show that they were writing "in the spirit" of those whose names they borrowed. Many were probably not written by Christians at all. Some of the revelations drew upon sacred traditions of Egypt and Greece and, in some cases, on the Hebrew Bible. Others included practices similar to Buddhist meditation techniques.

The Secret Revelation of John opens, again, in crisis. The disciple John, grieving Jesus' death, is walking toward the temple when he meets a Pharisee who mocks him for having been deceived by a false messiah. These taunts echoed John's own fear and doubt. Devastated, John turns away from the temple and heads toward the desert, where, he says, "I grieved greatly in my heart."

Suddenly, he says, he saw brilliant light as the heavens opened, and the earth shook beneath his feet. Terrified, John says he saw a luminous presence that kept changing form, and then heard Jesus' voice: "John, John, why do you doubt, and why are you afraid?I am the one who is with you always. I am the Father; I am the Mother; I am the Son."

The Jesus who appears in the Secret Revelation doesn't look as he does in the Book of Revelation. Instead of a divine warrior leading heavenly armies to "strike down the nations," he appears as the apostle Paul says he saw himin blazing light and a heavenly voice, and then in changing forms: first as a child, then as an old man, thenand here scholars disagreeeither as a servant or as a woman. Through a series of visions and imagery, the Secret Revelation suggests that what is revealed to John is potentially available to all peopleor, at least, to all who are receptive to what the spirit teaches.

In the fourth century, bishops intent on establishing "orthodoxy" labored to suppress writings like the Secret Revelation. Although they didn't deny that Jesus was human, they tended to place Jesus on the divine side of the equationnot only divine but, in the words of the Nicene Creed, "God from Godessentially the same as God." Orthodox theologians insisted that the rest of humankind were only transitory creatures, lost in sina view that would support what would become their dominant teaching about salvation, offered only through Christ, and, in particular, through the church they claimed to represent.

From the second century, Christian leaders, who saw their close groups torn apart as Roman magistrates arrested and executed their most outspoken members, felt that John's Book of Revelation spoke directly to these crises because it prophesied God's victory over Rome. Such Christians championed this book above the rest. Some challenged other books of revelation, with their more universal visions, calling them illegitimate and heretical.

Throughout the ages, Christians have adapted John of Patmos's visions to changing times, reading their own social, political and religious conflicts into the cosmic war he so powerfully evokes. Yet his Book of Revelation appeals not only to fear and desires for vengeance but also to hope. As John tells how the chaotic events of the world are finally set right by divine judgment, those who engage his visions often see them offering moral meaning in times of suffering or apparently random catastrophe. Many poets, artists and preachers have claimed to find in these prophecies the promise, famously repeated by Martin Luther King Jr., that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

The Book of Revelation reads as if John had wrapped up all our worst fearsfears of violence, plague, wild animals, unimaginable horrors from the abyss below the earth, lightning, hail, earthquakes and the atrocities or torture and warinto one gigantic nightmare. Yet this worst of all nightmares ends not in terror but in a glorious new world. Whether one sees in John's visions the destruction of the whole world or the dark tunnel that propels each of us toward our own death, his final vision suggests that even after the worst we can imagine has happened, we may find the astonishing gift of new life. Whether or not one shares that conviction, few readers miss seeing how these visions offer consolation and that most necessary of divine giftshope.

Excerpted from "Revelations: Visions, Prophecy and Politics in the Book of Revelation" published by Viking

Kindle Edition $14.99:
http://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Proph ... konformist

Hardcover $16.25:
http://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Visio ... konformist

Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged $22.70:
http://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Visio ... konformist

Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $21.44 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial:
http://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Visio ... konformist

A version of this article appeared Mar. 3, 2012, on page C3 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: What Revelation Reveals.

If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.
~ Gensha, Zen Master


House of Love


... that people 2000 years ago were probably not all that much different from people today.

We tend to think of those people as being quite a ways down on the evolutionary ladder -kind of "more monkey content" than people today- but ... from reading their philosophical authors and seeing their amazing logical deductions in mathematics and geometry ... they were every bit as cognitively developed as we are today. They simply hadn't had as many miles on their human odometer as we have now ... to have made as many discoveries as we have today.

When you understand that -that they were no more superstitious or stupid than people are today- ... and apply it to the religious developments going on at that time ...

Think about it ...

How easy would it be for a person to show up on the scene today and claim to be God?

Pretty hard ... right? Sure, there would be a small percentage of people who'd believe it immediately and "worship" that person but ... the majority of people wouldn't buy it. They'd want to put such a person through a series of very tough tests to prove himself. Even then ... I doubt the guy would be accepted unless he could magically disappear and show up a thousand miles away the next second.

So -if people were no more gullible 2000 years ago than they are today- do you think a guy like Jesus would have CLAIMED to be God .... or that ANYONE would have openly claimed to be God?

No. They wouldn't have gotten away with that.

But ... if the guy claimed to be speaking on behalf of God or that his message was no different than a message from God himself ... or that believing in him WAS the will of God ... that he and "the father" are absolutely in total agreement ...

Well ... that goes on today too. People make such claims and get followers with no problem.

The main difference between believing that a person IS GOD and/or that a person REPRESENTS the will of God ... is that people can evaluate the MESSAGE such a person delivers ... without necessarily believing anything about the messenger himself.

-Vince
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Joined: May 4th, 2005, 1:31 pm

March 23rd, 2012, 2:52 am #4

And read about. I mean, these folks built the Pyramids, and some other technologically advanced structures. The hanging gardens. They knew the Earth revolved around the Sun and was spherical. Way back, maybe not "these folks" as in the writers of the Bible.

Today if people hear voices from God, others mainly think they're nuts. Back then I'd guess it was similar.

Don't get me wrong, I know people have experiences and don't doubt their experiences, maybe I doubt their interpretations etc. But the majority of us discount that type of thing without thought.

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Joined: January 13th, 2010, 2:50 pm

March 23rd, 2012, 3:37 am #5

<a href="">http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 02848.html
">What Revelation Reveals</a>
It is the Bible's strangest book. Even stranger, it was only one of many now-forgotten 'books of revelation'
ELAINE PAGELS
March 2, 2012

The Book of Revelation is the strangest book in the Bible, and the most controversial. Instead of stories and moral teaching, it offers only visionsdreams and nightmares, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, earthquakes, plagues and war. In the climactic battle scene, Jesus appears as a divine warrior, Satan is thrown into a pit, and all humans who had died faithful to God reign over the earth for 1,000 years.

The author, John of Patmos, was a Jewish prophet and a follower of Jesus who probably began to write around the year 90 after fleeing a war that had ravaged his homeland, Judea. But his Book of Revelation wasn't unique. At the time, countless othersJews, pagans and Christiansproduced a flood of "books of revelation," claiming to reveal divine secrets. Some have been known for centuries; about 20 others were found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945.

So what do the other revelations tell us, and how did John's come to trump the others? Unlike the Book of Revelation, the great majority of the others weren't about the end of the world, but about finding the divine in it now. Many offered encouragement to seek direct contact with Goda message that some early Christian leaders ultimately chose to suppress.

The Revelation of Zostrianos, found in 1945, tells how the young author, tormented by questions and overwhelmed by depression, walked alone into the desert. Finding no place "to rest my spirit," Zostrianos says he had resolved to kill himself. But he says that suddenly he became aware of a being radiating light, who "said to me, 'Zostrianoshave you gone mad?' "

This divine presence, Zostrianos says, released him from despair and offered illumination. Then, Zostrianos says, "I realized that the power in me was greater than the darkness, because it contained the whole light."

Another 1945 find, the Revelation of Peter, similarly opens in a desperate moment. Peter says he was standing in the temple with other disciples when "I saw the priests and the people running up to us with stones, as if they would kill us." Terrified, he says, he heard Jesus tell him to "put your handsover your eyes, and say what you see." Peter sees nothing. Jesus tells him to do it again. Peter says: "And fear came over me, [and] joy, for I saw a new light greater than the light of day. Then it came down upon the Savior, and I told him what I saw."

Although such revelations might not change outward circumstancestradition tells us that, just as Peter feared, he was caught and crucifiedthe Revelation of Peter suggests that what Jesus revealed enabled him to face his death with courage and hope.

These other revelations, written several generations after Jesus' death, were often written by anonymous followers of Jesus under the names of disciplesnot to deceive their readers but to show that they were writing "in the spirit" of those whose names they borrowed. Many were probably not written by Christians at all. Some of the revelations drew upon sacred traditions of Egypt and Greece and, in some cases, on the Hebrew Bible. Others included practices similar to Buddhist meditation techniques.

The Secret Revelation of John opens, again, in crisis. The disciple John, grieving Jesus' death, is walking toward the temple when he meets a Pharisee who mocks him for having been deceived by a false messiah. These taunts echoed John's own fear and doubt. Devastated, John turns away from the temple and heads toward the desert, where, he says, "I grieved greatly in my heart."

Suddenly, he says, he saw brilliant light as the heavens opened, and the earth shook beneath his feet. Terrified, John says he saw a luminous presence that kept changing form, and then heard Jesus' voice: "John, John, why do you doubt, and why are you afraid?I am the one who is with you always. I am the Father; I am the Mother; I am the Son."

The Jesus who appears in the Secret Revelation doesn't look as he does in the Book of Revelation. Instead of a divine warrior leading heavenly armies to "strike down the nations," he appears as the apostle Paul says he saw himin blazing light and a heavenly voice, and then in changing forms: first as a child, then as an old man, thenand here scholars disagreeeither as a servant or as a woman. Through a series of visions and imagery, the Secret Revelation suggests that what is revealed to John is potentially available to all peopleor, at least, to all who are receptive to what the spirit teaches.

In the fourth century, bishops intent on establishing "orthodoxy" labored to suppress writings like the Secret Revelation. Although they didn't deny that Jesus was human, they tended to place Jesus on the divine side of the equationnot only divine but, in the words of the Nicene Creed, "God from Godessentially the same as God." Orthodox theologians insisted that the rest of humankind were only transitory creatures, lost in sina view that would support what would become their dominant teaching about salvation, offered only through Christ, and, in particular, through the church they claimed to represent.

From the second century, Christian leaders, who saw their close groups torn apart as Roman magistrates arrested and executed their most outspoken members, felt that John's Book of Revelation spoke directly to these crises because it prophesied God's victory over Rome. Such Christians championed this book above the rest. Some challenged other books of revelation, with their more universal visions, calling them illegitimate and heretical.

Throughout the ages, Christians have adapted John of Patmos's visions to changing times, reading their own social, political and religious conflicts into the cosmic war he so powerfully evokes. Yet his Book of Revelation appeals not only to fear and desires for vengeance but also to hope. As John tells how the chaotic events of the world are finally set right by divine judgment, those who engage his visions often see them offering moral meaning in times of suffering or apparently random catastrophe. Many poets, artists and preachers have claimed to find in these prophecies the promise, famously repeated by Martin Luther King Jr., that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

The Book of Revelation reads as if John had wrapped up all our worst fearsfears of violence, plague, wild animals, unimaginable horrors from the abyss below the earth, lightning, hail, earthquakes and the atrocities or torture and warinto one gigantic nightmare. Yet this worst of all nightmares ends not in terror but in a glorious new world. Whether one sees in John's visions the destruction of the whole world or the dark tunnel that propels each of us toward our own death, his final vision suggests that even after the worst we can imagine has happened, we may find the astonishing gift of new life. Whether or not one shares that conviction, few readers miss seeing how these visions offer consolation and that most necessary of divine giftshope.

Excerpted from "Revelations: Visions, Prophecy and Politics in the Book of Revelation" published by Viking

Kindle Edition $14.99:
http://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Proph ... konformist

Hardcover $16.25:
http://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Visio ... konformist

Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged $22.70:
http://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Visio ... konformist

Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $21.44 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial:
http://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Visio ... konformist

A version of this article appeared Mar. 3, 2012, on page C3 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: What Revelation Reveals.

If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.
~ Gensha, Zen Master


House of Love


I can't find any justifiable means to subscribe to any of the wealth of interpretations that exist on this writing. From literal, to symbolic, to its fulfilled, to its yet to happen, to all the rest. Every interpretation boils down to nonsense, rationalization, or simply blind belief without any substantial supporting logic, reason, data, or facts.

It is rather fascinating that amongst all that, it still drives the beliefs of many at a passionate and emotional level. I can't deny the reality of that, nor the curious nature of it, and the possibilities that are implied.

In my experience, every "revelation" has been epiphany in understanding of self, not really the world, the universe, God, or anything else. Given that context, reading the book of Revelation is rather profound in many ways; which is an ironic paradox of sorts.
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Tim
Tim

March 23rd, 2012, 8:01 am #6

<a href="">http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 02848.html
">What Revelation Reveals</a>
It is the Bible's strangest book. Even stranger, it was only one of many now-forgotten 'books of revelation'
ELAINE PAGELS
March 2, 2012

The Book of Revelation is the strangest book in the Bible, and the most controversial. Instead of stories and moral teaching, it offers only visionsdreams and nightmares, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, earthquakes, plagues and war. In the climactic battle scene, Jesus appears as a divine warrior, Satan is thrown into a pit, and all humans who had died faithful to God reign over the earth for 1,000 years.

The author, John of Patmos, was a Jewish prophet and a follower of Jesus who probably began to write around the year 90 after fleeing a war that had ravaged his homeland, Judea. But his Book of Revelation wasn't unique. At the time, countless othersJews, pagans and Christiansproduced a flood of "books of revelation," claiming to reveal divine secrets. Some have been known for centuries; about 20 others were found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945.

So what do the other revelations tell us, and how did John's come to trump the others? Unlike the Book of Revelation, the great majority of the others weren't about the end of the world, but about finding the divine in it now. Many offered encouragement to seek direct contact with Goda message that some early Christian leaders ultimately chose to suppress.

The Revelation of Zostrianos, found in 1945, tells how the young author, tormented by questions and overwhelmed by depression, walked alone into the desert. Finding no place "to rest my spirit," Zostrianos says he had resolved to kill himself. But he says that suddenly he became aware of a being radiating light, who "said to me, 'Zostrianoshave you gone mad?' "

This divine presence, Zostrianos says, released him from despair and offered illumination. Then, Zostrianos says, "I realized that the power in me was greater than the darkness, because it contained the whole light."

Another 1945 find, the Revelation of Peter, similarly opens in a desperate moment. Peter says he was standing in the temple with other disciples when "I saw the priests and the people running up to us with stones, as if they would kill us." Terrified, he says, he heard Jesus tell him to "put your handsover your eyes, and say what you see." Peter sees nothing. Jesus tells him to do it again. Peter says: "And fear came over me, [and] joy, for I saw a new light greater than the light of day. Then it came down upon the Savior, and I told him what I saw."

Although such revelations might not change outward circumstancestradition tells us that, just as Peter feared, he was caught and crucifiedthe Revelation of Peter suggests that what Jesus revealed enabled him to face his death with courage and hope.

These other revelations, written several generations after Jesus' death, were often written by anonymous followers of Jesus under the names of disciplesnot to deceive their readers but to show that they were writing "in the spirit" of those whose names they borrowed. Many were probably not written by Christians at all. Some of the revelations drew upon sacred traditions of Egypt and Greece and, in some cases, on the Hebrew Bible. Others included practices similar to Buddhist meditation techniques.

The Secret Revelation of John opens, again, in crisis. The disciple John, grieving Jesus' death, is walking toward the temple when he meets a Pharisee who mocks him for having been deceived by a false messiah. These taunts echoed John's own fear and doubt. Devastated, John turns away from the temple and heads toward the desert, where, he says, "I grieved greatly in my heart."

Suddenly, he says, he saw brilliant light as the heavens opened, and the earth shook beneath his feet. Terrified, John says he saw a luminous presence that kept changing form, and then heard Jesus' voice: "John, John, why do you doubt, and why are you afraid?I am the one who is with you always. I am the Father; I am the Mother; I am the Son."

The Jesus who appears in the Secret Revelation doesn't look as he does in the Book of Revelation. Instead of a divine warrior leading heavenly armies to "strike down the nations," he appears as the apostle Paul says he saw himin blazing light and a heavenly voice, and then in changing forms: first as a child, then as an old man, thenand here scholars disagreeeither as a servant or as a woman. Through a series of visions and imagery, the Secret Revelation suggests that what is revealed to John is potentially available to all peopleor, at least, to all who are receptive to what the spirit teaches.

In the fourth century, bishops intent on establishing "orthodoxy" labored to suppress writings like the Secret Revelation. Although they didn't deny that Jesus was human, they tended to place Jesus on the divine side of the equationnot only divine but, in the words of the Nicene Creed, "God from Godessentially the same as God." Orthodox theologians insisted that the rest of humankind were only transitory creatures, lost in sina view that would support what would become their dominant teaching about salvation, offered only through Christ, and, in particular, through the church they claimed to represent.

From the second century, Christian leaders, who saw their close groups torn apart as Roman magistrates arrested and executed their most outspoken members, felt that John's Book of Revelation spoke directly to these crises because it prophesied God's victory over Rome. Such Christians championed this book above the rest. Some challenged other books of revelation, with their more universal visions, calling them illegitimate and heretical.

Throughout the ages, Christians have adapted John of Patmos's visions to changing times, reading their own social, political and religious conflicts into the cosmic war he so powerfully evokes. Yet his Book of Revelation appeals not only to fear and desires for vengeance but also to hope. As John tells how the chaotic events of the world are finally set right by divine judgment, those who engage his visions often see them offering moral meaning in times of suffering or apparently random catastrophe. Many poets, artists and preachers have claimed to find in these prophecies the promise, famously repeated by Martin Luther King Jr., that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

The Book of Revelation reads as if John had wrapped up all our worst fearsfears of violence, plague, wild animals, unimaginable horrors from the abyss below the earth, lightning, hail, earthquakes and the atrocities or torture and warinto one gigantic nightmare. Yet this worst of all nightmares ends not in terror but in a glorious new world. Whether one sees in John's visions the destruction of the whole world or the dark tunnel that propels each of us toward our own death, his final vision suggests that even after the worst we can imagine has happened, we may find the astonishing gift of new life. Whether or not one shares that conviction, few readers miss seeing how these visions offer consolation and that most necessary of divine giftshope.

Excerpted from "Revelations: Visions, Prophecy and Politics in the Book of Revelation" published by Viking

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A version of this article appeared Mar. 3, 2012, on page C3 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: What Revelation Reveals.

If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.
~ Gensha, Zen Master


House of Love


and I know you don't understand that it is a road map.

Rev is not Johns weird imagination.

I don't feel like explaining it again.

Take care.
Bro Tim

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Tim
Tim

March 23rd, 2012, 8:09 am #7

Was crazier than a Hoot Owl. And I'm suspicious of the sanity of anyone reading and believeing such trash.
And I'm suspicious of the sanity of anyone reading and believeing such trash.
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Hay your taking to me Ice.

So what in the writings makes you think John was wrong?

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Joined: May 4th, 2005, 1:31 pm

March 23rd, 2012, 1:02 pm #8

and I know you don't understand that it is a road map.

Rev is not Johns weird imagination.

I don't feel like explaining it again.

Take care.
Bro Tim


It is open to interpretation. It's inclusion in the Bible was controversial and it just barely made it in.

To me it sounds like an hallucination. Which is fine, I know lots of fine people and writers who have had hallucinations, and interactions with the other reality.

http://www.philipkdick.com/new_ex-thereisadirect.html

http://www.philipkdick.com/new_exegesis.html
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Tim
Tim

March 25th, 2012, 8:57 am #9

Just to set the record straight.
Your the BONEHEAD Mondo

And historians claiming who wrote what is guess work at best.

Bro Tim

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