Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Revelation Chapter 1
Revelation 1:1-8: Introduction and Salutation
1:1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show unto his servants, even the things which must shortly come to pass: and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John; 1:2who bare witness of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, even of all things that he saw. 1:3Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein: for the time is at hand.
1:4John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits that are before his throne; 1:5and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by his blood; 1:6and he made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
1:7Behold, he cometh with the clouds;
and every eye shall see him,
and they that pierced him;
and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn over him.
Even so, Amen.
1:8I am the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
Revelation 1:9-20: A Vision of Christ
1:9I John, your brother and partaker with you in tribulation and kingdom and patience which are in Jesus, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 1:10I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet 1:11saying, What thou seest, write in a book and send it to the seven churches: unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamum, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
1:12And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And having turned I saw seven golden candlesticks; 1:13and in the midst of the candlesticks one like unto a son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about at the breasts with a golden girdle. 1:14And his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 1:15and his feet like unto burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace; and his voice as the voice of many waters. 1:16And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
1:17And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not; I am the first and the last, 1:18and the Living one; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. 1:19Write therefore the things which thou sawest, and the things which are, and the things which shall come to pass hereafter; 1:20the mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks are seven churches.
June 11, 1905: Rev. 1:10-20
Lesson 11: THE MESSAGE OF THE RISEN CHRIST
In our last lesson it was stated that the universal invisible astral substance, or ether of physical science, is the substance of Divine Mind. This may suffice in a general statement of things invisible, but it is not strictly correct. The substance of Divine Mind is not a space-filling element, which the akasa is described to be, but an idea of substance. All of God’s creations are ideal, and have neither form nor space-filling quality. They are like the rules of mathematics and music; always present, yet not limited in any way by matter or material laws. In the use of these Divine Ideas the Lord God, or I AM, makes the “Garden” or invisible substance. That is what we see as points of light in the Silence, and it is actually alive with a force and intelligence imparted to it by thought.
When man crucifies the personality and kills out all human selfishness, his thoughts are resolved into Divine Ideas, and his body takes on its true character – which is a manifestation of Divine Intelligence. In this estate man is not confined to a body of form and shape. He has centers of consciousness around which he can make a form, if he so desires, but this is to bring his presence to the comprehension of the sense man only.
The resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ showed himself to John in symbolical form, and then explained to him the symbology in verse 20. The purpose of the body is to demonstrate the presence of God. It is thus likened unto a church by prophets and Scripture writers. When Jesus commended the spiritual discernment of Peter, who saw him as the Son of God, and said, “Upon this rock will I build my church,” he referred to his body. He also compared it to the temple in Jerusalem, which was a church.
But the body is not one church, but seven. These seven bodies are not discerned until the light of Divine Intelligence is turned upon them. This is represented by seven golden candlesticks. In the midst of this light is one “like unto a son of man.” The description which follows is wholly symbolical, and represents the developed powers of which are latent in every man.
When the seven nerve centers in the organism are quickened, purified, and transmuted into Spiritual Intelligences, they may be compared to relay batteries, through which the Divine Live, Love and Intelligence manifest. Fire flashes from the eye, the feet glow as burnished brass, and the voice like the music of flowing streams. The seven stars of the right hand is the sevenfold powers of man in intelligent action, and his countenance as the sun in his strength – the wisdom and warmth of Divine Mind poured forth in unlimited splendor.
This mighty being scared the disciple of Love to whom he appeared, and he “fell at his feet dead.” He was not assured that there was nothing to fear. It was not an angel nor a god which he beheld, but a live man. He had been in sense consciousness, and had passed through all the stages of death, and had the keys to the various thought states that are represented by “death and hell.” He had risen above them and is “alive for evermore.”
It is well for us to understand that all men who are not like Jesus may be considered dead. They are “dead in trespasses and sins,” and, though they for a season walk about in what is called living bodies, they are not truly alive. Those bodies are not under the complete dominion of the I AM – they go through a further process of dissolution, known as death to the flesh. But it is possible for man to make his body as truly alive as that of Jesus, and that is the problem set before every one of us. It is very important that we begin at once to make this “Life eternal” ours right now and here. This is where Jesus is – he is in our midst helping us and judging of our work day by day.
Dr. A. J. Gordon, late of the Clarendon Baptist Church, Boston, had a dream in his early ministry that was as real to him as the vision which Peter saw, when he saw the sheet let down from heaven.
It was Saturday night, when wearied from the work of preparing Sunday’s sermon. I was in the pulpit before a full congregation, just ready to begin my sermon, when a stranger entered and passed slowly up the left aisle. Nearly halfway up the aisle a gentleman offered him a seat in his pew, which was quietly accepted. Excepting the face and features of the stranger, everything in the scene is distinctly remembered. After service, approaching with great eagerness, the gentleman with whom he sat, I asked “Can you tell me who the stranger was who sat in your pew this morning?” In the most matter of course way he replied: “Oh, did you not know the man? It was Jesus of Nazareth.” With a sense of the keenest disappointment I said: “My dear sir, why did you let him go without introducing me to him? I was so desirous to speak with him.” And with the same nonchalant air the gentleman replied: “Oh, do not be troubled. He has been here today, and no doubt he will come again.” And now came an indescribable rush of emotion. What was I saying? In what spirit did I preach? What did he think of our sanctuary? How was he impressed with the music and order of worship? A lifetime, almost in eternity of interest, crowded into a single moment.”
This dream of the personal coming of Jesus had such an effect upon Dr. Gordon that it changed his life, and his ministry, and his church.
November 14, 1915: Rev. 1:10-20
What do these texts in Revelation symbolize? They are a symbol or picture of the redeemed man.
What are the seven golden candlesticks? The seven quickened and redeemed nerve centers in the human body.
What are the seven stars? The sevenfold powers of man in expression.
What is the two-edged sword? The Word of God.
When and where does the redemption of the body take place? Here and now; as soon as man consecrates himself to the redeeming power and obeys it.
MONDAY, MARCH 14, 1920: Rev. 1:4-18
Subject: John on the Isle of Patmos
What is the meaning of the book of “Revelation”? The book of “Revelation” means an unveiling of the character of the manifest Christ. It reveals the summing-up process through which the fruits of the Word are brought forth from the invisible into visibility.
Through what agency is the great truth contained in this book revealed? Through the disciple, John. After traveling the rocky, barren path of a pioneer soul, who has cleared a way to the inner kingdom, the outworkings of Spirit from the depths of being were revealed to him, in the truth he has lovingly given to humanity.
What is the meaning of Jesus Christ being “the firstborn of the dead”? Jesus Christ died unto sin. Through this so-called defeat, his body demonstrated the presence of God. Therefore, he was resurrected, glorified. To him belong all honor and dominion. He manifested God.
Of what is His church composed? The church of Jesus Christ is composed of redeemed souls; souls in which Divine Life, Love, Faith, Wisdom, Power – all that God is – have unhindered sway. Jesus Christ himself, being the chief corner stone.
Is Jesus Christ with us today? Yes. He is never absent from us. He is the Alpha and the Omega of all time. His illuminating light shines on all alike. The angels of his Presence protect and uplift all who are members of his church.
SUNDAY, MARCH 29, 1925: Monday – Rev. 1:9-18
What is the general theme of the book of Revelation? The theme of the book of Revelation is the redemption and the ascension of man from the natural to the divine plane of existence.
Metaphysically, what does John, the writer of the book of Revelation, represent? John, the revelator, represents that quality in man which discerns both the spiritual and the evolutionary laws that are involved in creation.
What is represented by the sentence: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet”? Being “in the Spirit” refers to the inspiration that comes to one when one has entered into the Lord or master degree of the mind. The great voice that sounded like a trumpet is the Logos or Word of God, of which Scriptures bear witness.
What do the seven churches represent? The seven churches represent the faculties of the divine natural man.
What is represented by the one “like unto a son of man”? The one “like unto a son of man” was the glorified body which Jesus had attained and brought to perfection in conjunction with the divine natural body. It is also a representation of what we shall be when we become like him in manifestation, as we are like him in Spirit.
What do the seven golden candlesticks represent? The seven golden candlesticks represent the seven nerve centers in the organism quickened and lighted with spiritual intelligence.
When man has spiritually quickened and transmuted his body to the spiritual plane, how will he appear? “This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” That having been done, man will appear as a new creature; his body will look like what John has, in a more or less crude way, given us as an illustration of his vision of the redeemed man: “And ... his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto burnished brass, ... and his voice as the voice of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars; and out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.”
Why did John fall at the feet of this glorified man? John had not yet attained the understanding that the redeemed Jesus represents all men in their transformed or glorified state. “We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is.”
December 13, 1931: Rev. 1:4-18
In truth, what was the picture that John saw, as recorded in the 1st chapter of Revelation? The picture that John saw, and that he gives in the 1st chapter of Revelation, is a picture of the Man, Jesus, as He exists today in His glorified, redeemed body. It is also a picture of what we shall be when we shall become like Him in outer manifestation, as we are now like Him in the inner.
Explain how the work of redemption in man’s consciousness is carried forward. As man crucifies the personality and redeems human selfishness, his thoughts are resolved into divine ideas and his body takes on its true character, which is a manifestation of divine Intelligence.
In the Scriptures, it is recorded that Jesus said to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church.” Explain what this means. When Jesus commended the spiritual discernment of Peter and said, “Upon this rock I will build my church,” He referred to His body. He also compared His body to the Temple in Jerusalem, which was a church. In truth, Jesus was making it clear to Peter and the other disciples that the purpose of the body is to demonstrate the presence of God.
How may the body temple be likened to “the seven churches”? There are seven nerve centers in man’s organism, and when these are quickened and purified, and their psychic and sense intelligence transmuted into pure spiritual intelligence, they become spiritual stations, where man’s thoughts aggregate – thoughts of unselfish love at one place, of divine wisdom at another, and so on.
John fell at the feet of this mighty being “as on dead, but he was assured that there was nothing to fear. Explain this. John beheld not an angel or a god, but a live man, One who had been in sense consciousness, and who had passed through all the stages of spiritual transmutation. He had risen above death and the grave, and was “alive for evermore.”
What is the real destiny of man? The real destiny of man is to make his body as truly alive as is that of Jesus Christ. To do this is the work set before every one of us. It is important that we begin at once to make “life eternal” ours right here and now.
December 13, 1936: Rev. 1:4-18
Is spiritual vision easily described or imparted? It is difficult to make clear to another what one discerns spiritually, for words are inadequate to describe a transcendent experience. The language of symbols is often resorted to for this purpose.
What does the church of Christ represent in the individual? The church of Christ is represented in his mind by an aggregation of spiritual ideas.
Name some of these ideas, and give the symbols by which they are represented. Desire is represented by Ephesus (constructive thought), substance by Smyrna (myrrh), intelligence by Pergamum (intellectual consciousness), zeal by Thyatira (the intense desire of the soul for the higher expressions of life), joy by Sardis (the riches of power), love by Philadelphia, and judgment by Laodicea.
What is the kingdom of man? The kingdom of man is the realm presided over by the I AM. The Christ Spirit makes this a kingdom of spiritual power.
How do we learn to live unto God? By training ourselves to dwell in consciousness (church) on the things of God we learn to live unto Him. Helps in this training are prayer, meditation, intuition, and all other intangible but real expressions of spiritual power.
“Behold, he cometh with the clouds.” What is the metaphysical meaning of this statement? Man takes his ideas from the realm of spiritual substance and gives them form by means of his I AM faculty.
What is the “great voice, as of a trumpet” that we hear behind us when we are “in the Spirit” (engaged in meditation and prayer)? Meditation and prayer quicken in us an understanding of the meaning of life as revealed in the history of the race, as well as in individual experience. History then speaks to us with a great voice, and so does our own experience.
Is any practical help to be had heeding the voice of past experience? By studying the past man learns to know what to expect in the future, and by changing his thinking and actions he can create effects at will.
In John's vision Jesus Christ declared Himself "alive for evermore" and in possession of "the keys of death and of Hades." What meaning [has] this statement for us? This is the message of eternal life and I AM dominion through the Christ. As Jesus overcame so can we: "In Christ shall all be made alive."
June 24, 1951: Rev. 1:9-11
As brought out in the text of this lesson, why are sufferings and tribulations mentioned as the first necessity? Because we must, as far as possible, undo the errors we have committed while in sense consciousness before we can learn to keep the divine law and reap the benefits of such observance. The dissolving of errors that have been allowed to become part of our consciousness or subconsciousness involves suffering.
What is the purpose of the body? The purpose of the body is to demonstrate the presence of God and to house the Spirit that animates it.
Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh,
“And knit me together with bones and sinews.”
“I am body, soul, and spirit, and, as I demonstrate the presence of God, I become one and indivisible.”
What is represented by the seven churches to which John “was [*** ***] the book he was told to [***]? The seven churches represent the undeveloped powers that are latent in the body, such as judgment, desire, and so forth, which need to be developed spiritually.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 10-19-2013