Apocalypse (5) Human Evolution in the Apocalypse of John1

The Babylon chapter (18) is followed by the vision of the white rider and its hosts [within the Sixth and last Throne Vision]. Christ, called by his most exalted name, “The Word of God”, is followed on white horses by “the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure” (19:13-14). Already the name “Armageddon” has prophetically occurred as the place of the decisive battle (16:16), and a preview of the battle itself has also been given (17:14). There, the same title appears as in 19:16: “Lord of lords” and “King of kings”, and “those with him are called and chosen and faithful”. These are the “idioi” of which the prologue of John’s Gospel speaks, the “idioi” to which Christ came: “his own” (Jn 1:11) who, for the very reason of their awakened ego-power, “did not receive him” (Jn 1:11). But this rejection was not total: “all who received him…” as the great selfless Ego, in their innermost being are truly “his own”.

The warriors of Christ are characterized as “called and chosen and faithful”. “Called and chosen” reminds us of the end of the parable of the royal Marriage Feast (Mt 22:14). Here, too, the words are used in connection with a “marriage”, with the “marriage of the Lamb” (19:7) which is proclaimed earlier. “The heavenly Bridegroom” (writes Rudolf Frieling) “joins Himself to mankind on earth. The union is expressed in the picture of a marriage and a meal. ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb’ (19:9). The Bride’s gown is described as ‘fine linen, bright (lampros) and pure’, a degree brighter than the white (leukos) robe mentioned before. The adjective ‘lampros’, radiantly bright, is also used for the crystal river of the water of life in the heavenly Jerusalem (22:1) and for the brightness of the morning star (22:16) – as well as already before, in the description of the angels with the seven plagues who come out of the temple ‘robed in pure bright linen’ (15:6). Christ’s armies are ‘arrayed in fine linen, white and pure’ (19:14). The word ‘byssinos’ here used for linen has not so far been used for the white robes of the blessed souls. It means an especially fine linen. This is again an enhancement, and it is the same word used shortly before for the marriage robe of the Bride of the Lamb (19:8).” (p 108). It is remarkable, that that “fine linen” of the Bride’s robe for the marriage (the material of which the garments of the warriors are made, too) is made from the “righteous deeds of the saints” (19:8), that is actually: from “that which made [their deeds] righteous”.

These three descriptions together (17:14; 19:8 and 19:14) allow us to divine a continuous development in the important contribution that must come from human beings, if the redeeming deed of the Lamb is to be truly beneficial. The existence of Christians in the other world is truly enhanced. They have produced the wedding garment, of linen which is only produced in a laborious process. They ride on white horses – those animals which in the imagery of myths and fairy tales are related to intelligence – thus showing how Christ at His “second coming” will be borne by the power of spiritualized thinking. And knowledge of the spirit (in the sense of the Holy Spirit), wields the powerful sword of the Logos. “As there is an ‘eternal feminine’ so there is also an ‘eternal masculine’. Both should serve the Christ.” (Rudolf Frieling, p 109)

A last stage of advancement of the excarnated souls is described in the following chapter, where the promise of the last of the Seven Letters begins to be fulfilled (3:21). “As in the great vision of the throne in the 4th chapter, the seer lets us follow in his words the gradual development of the vision: first the ‘thrones’; then figures appear which take their seats on the thrones; finally they can be recognized for what they really are – the souls of Christian martyrs.” (Frieling, p 109) Once more the word psychai is used (6:9 and 20:4), as in the beginning of the whole series of pictures: souls “under the altar”, then those robed in white with palms in their hands, then the harp players and singers of the New Song, then the riders on the white horses; finally, once more “souls”, blessed because sharing in the “first resurrection” (20:6). This is “the life though one dies”, the overcoming of the “second death” which would darken the soul after death, overcome by Christ on the Saturday of Holy Week. Within soul existence, the souls of the saints have gained an ego-consciousness and active existence in the other world. Here, at the beginning of the 20th chapter, the final goal of the “second resurrection” overcoming the “first death”, the death of the body, has not yet been reached – death as the last enemy is still wielding power.

Those experiencing the first resurrection “‘live and reign with Christ as kings’ for a long time (20:4). They are privileged to serve Christ as priests (20:6). By distinguishing between ‘poor souls’ and ‘saints’, Christians have shown themselves aware of the fact that excarnated souls may go through very different conditions. Poor souls are those dead whose loss of the body is not made up for by spiritual riches. The saints are those who live in the light of the spirit and who are able from their blessed existence to send forth help to human beings on earth.” (Rudolf Frieling, p 110) To souls active as kings and priests “judgment is committed” – “just by being what they are they become a measure by which other souls can judge themselves. On beholding a more exalted humanity, some souls experience judgment. This judgment through looking at the wholly righteous ones is, then, only a preliminary stage of the Last Judgment. The picture of the thrones for the saints is metamorphosed into the powerful image of the ‘great white throne’ (20:11).” (Frieling, p 110)

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