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  Interpretating the Revelation

  by John Van Auken

How the church held onto the story of the Revelation and allowed it into their final authorized canon is about as amazing as the vision it records. All the original manuscripts of the New Testament have been lost. Much of our knowledge today comes from second- to eighth-century Greek manuscripts, some surviving translations of the first-century material into other languages, and early church writers who were recording from memory what they had read or had been told to them from first-century sources. The most important and oldest manuscripts of all or parts of the New Testament that survive today are written on papyrus and parchment, and date back only to the second century. We have no written manuscripts of the Gospels, Epistles, or Revelation dating from the first century. There are several reasons for this.

  The Presence
    In Our Father's House
    Spiritual Mysticism

  The Light of an Idea

    Evil & the Devil

  Egyptian Gods as Metaphors

    God & the Godlings

  Interpretating the Revelation



Back then, all literary work had to be copied by hand; there was no printing with movable type (that did not come until 1450 A.D.). Also, the scrolls that were used limited the size of a manuscript. Though there are records of Caesar cutting scrolls into small sheets and stacking them like a modern book, it wasn’t until the second century that page-books were developed. This development allowed the many scroll manuscripts to be converted to sheets and bound into large books (still handwritten). Even then, many early churches did not include the Revelation in their sacred literature. The earliest Christian Bible included the Old Testament, the four Gospels, the Acts, thirteen letters of Paul, 1 Peter, and 1 John. Seven books that ultimately became part of the present day New Testament were generally unrecognized in the first and second century: Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude, and the Revelation. Interestingly, the Letter of Barnabas, or the Shepherd of Hermas, was accepted as Scripture, only to be rejected later. It wasn’t until the fourth century that we saw the first authoritative pronouncements listing the acceptable canon we have today. The criterion for being included in this list was twofold: 1) was the work written by an apostle, and 2) was it in general harmony with the Old Testament and the rest of the New Testament. The introduction to the Revelation identifying the work as being that of the apostle John’s and its general harmony with the Books of Ezekiel and Daniel won it inclusion into the final authorized canon of the New Testament. The first time the twenty-seven books of the New Testament we have today were listed, including the Revelation, was in St. Athanasius’ Festal Letter of A.D. 367.

There are apocalyptic passages in the Gospels: Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21, but the Book of the Revelation is the prophecy book of the New Testament, as the Book of Daniel is for the Old Testament. The original name of this most mysterious book of the Bible is Apokalupsis, which in Greek literally means "to take the cover off" or "uncover." The Apocalypse or Revelation is the uncovering of a spiritual message from God. It may be called an uncovering, but few readily understand it.

The Revelation is addressed to the seven churches in Asia Minor, mentioned in its chapters 2 and 3. It was written at a time of great persecution for those struggling to hold to the tenets and practices of this fledgling faith, particularly during the reigns of Nero in A.D. 37 to 68 and Domitian in A.D. 81 to 96. Domitian actually declared himself dominus et deus, lord and god, which the faithful simply could not affirm, and so began the persecutions that resulted in the often repeated saying, "Rome became drunk on the blood of the saints." This was a departure from Rome’s earlier position, which was protective of the fledgling faith, allowing it to develop among the other Jewish sects, as noted in the Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s Epistle to the Romans.

Scholars consider the author of the Revelation to be the apostle John (Rev. 1:1,9; 21:2, 22:8), who also wrote the Gospel and the three Epistles of John. He had been arrested along with the apostle Peter. They were tried and convicted of activities subversive to the authority of the land. Peter was sentenced to death by crucifixion. John was sentenced to banishment to the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. According to Edgar Cayce, before they were parted, Peter promised John that he would endeavor to come to him after his death and communicate with him from heaven. In Cayce’s interpretation this promise is an important one, for it is Peter’s angelic spirit who later appears to John twice during his Revelation in the form of an angel (Rev. 19:10 and 22:9). In these two appearances the angel clearly identifies himself as one of John’s brethren, "I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren," but his appearance is so wonderful that John can only see an angel.

Traditionally, there are four approaches to interpreting Revelation: 1) preterist, 2) historicist, 3) symbolic, and 4) futuristic.

As the term implies, the preterist approach places the events and visions in the past, particularly to the Roman Empire of the first century A.D. The proponents of this view believe that the primary purpose of the Book is to encourage the faithful that God will intervene in their immediate struggles. The preterist view explains the symbolic nature of the text as a conscious attempt by the disciple John to hide the real meaning of the text from the authorities and the general public, keeping its message available only to the faithful. The faithful would know that the great whore of Babylon seated upon the seven hills was none other than Rome. The lamb that was slain was Jesus Christ. The bride adorned for her husband was Jerusalem, which God would soon rescue from the beast’s (Rome’s) control.

The historicist interpretation approaches the Revelation as a panoramic view of history from the first century A.D. to the Second Coming of Christ. This is the view of most of the Protestant Reformers. They believe that various symbols can be associated with various nations and events throughout time to the present and the near future, when Christ will return in glory and power.

The symbolic view maintains that the Revelation portrays the conflict between good and evil throughout the entire span of human history. The Book attempts to encourage the faithful to keep up the fight because, despite the magnitude of the challenge and depth of suffering involved in this fight, good overcomes evil in the end and reigns forever. This view does not attempt to associate the symbols with nations or events in history, but simply with the various forces that make up the good influence and the evil influence in humanity’s journey.

The futuristic view holds that from Chapter 4 on, Revelation deals with events at the "End Times," as spoken of in the Book of Daniel by the angel Gabriel. According to this view, Chapter 1 deals with the past, chapters 2 and 3 tell of things that were present and shortly followed at the time of its writing, and chapters 4 through 22 tell of things that will follow the Age of the Church during the Second Coming of Christ.

Edgar Cayce approaches the Revelation most closely to the symbolic view, but even here he takes it far beyond the normal symbolic interpretation. In fact, Cayce teaches that the whole Bible is a story that is both historic and symbolic on two levels: one very personal to each soul and the other for all souls as a group. According to Cayce, the Bible tells of our souls’ journey (individually and as a group) from our creation in the image of God for the purpose of being eternal companions to God, through the fall from grace and the loss of the Garden, up through the struggles to regain that glory that was ours "before the world was." The Revelation, according to Cayce, is a very special part of the great biblical story and should be studied as a kind of roadmap for the final spiritualization of our bodies and minds. The symbols and scenes in this mysterious book represent experiences and stages through which we pass in our struggle to awaken again spiritually and regain our close connection with God and the Garden we once shared. Cayce says that some symbols and places in the Revelation actually represent glands within our bodies and thought patterns within our minds. He explains that "the visions, the experiences, the names, the churches, the places, the dragons, the cities, all are but emblems of those forces that may war within the individual in its journey through the material, or from the entering into the material manifestation [i.e., physical body and world] to the entering into the glory, or the awakening in the spirit...."

This is quite a unique approach to the Revelation. Most interpreters believe that it is a story about the forces in the outside world. Cayce acknowledges that it does have that content, but its greater purpose and message is to each individual soul as a map of the spiritual path we travel within our bodies and minds to reach the ultimate purpose for our being: oneness and companionship with God and one another. For Cayce, the outer activities and commandments are important, but the inner work is the key to understanding the Revelation. The symbols "represent self; self’s body-physical, self’s body-mental, self’s body-spiritual...and they are one in thee -- even as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is one in Him."

Why then was it written in such a cryptic manner? According to Cayce, it was to keep its spiritual secrets for "those that were, or will be, or may become," through their spiritual seeking, initiated into an understanding of "the glories that may be theirs if they will but put into work, into activity," the guidance and calling found in the text. As the Spirit comes to each church and speaks to them, so Cayce wants each of us to ask ourselves: "What is lacking in self? Are ye cold? Are ye hot? Have ye been negligent of the knowledge that is thine? Are ye stiff-necked? Are ye adulterous in thought, in act, in the very glories that are thine?"

In every line of the Revelation, every activity, every symbol, we find good and evil rising in a struggle. This struggle, according to Cayce, is within us and is because we were created to be heirs, joint heirs with Christ, as sons and daughters of God, to that everlasting glory that my be ours with Him in God. But the material, physical forces, and self-satisfying interests take strong hold of us, and we forget our spiritual destiny. Yet, Cayce does not see the physical as evil or a stumbling-block to spiritualization; rather as a tool, a steppingstone to aid in our spiritual struggle if we use it properly, as the Revelation reveals.

Here are some examples of Cayce’s interpretation of symbols, scenes, and characters found in the Revelation:

The Seven Churches: These represent the seven spiritual centers within the body. In classical Hinduism and Buddhism these centers are called "chakras," which means "wheels," spinning wheels of energy located in specific areas of the human body. Cayce correlates these centers to the endocrine glands, which secrete the powerful hormone messages directly into the bloodstream, affecting all parts of the body. Each of these churches represents a specific spiritual center. The virtue and the fault of each church symbolizes the virtue and fault of that spiritual center within us. These powerful centers affect the soul and mind inhabiting the body. Therefore, the Spirit moves through each church, calling on it to overcome its weaknesses and to do what it knows to do, so that the final glory may be achieved, helping us to prepare for the spiritualization of the mind and heart described in subsequent chapters of the Revelation.

The Seven Lamps of Fire: These represent the helpful influences that destroy hindrances to the spiritual awakening. They are inner messengers, aids, who stand between the forces of good and evil and become as powers within the nature of man to overcome. This idea may be an extension of the teaching that angels watch over us. An example of this can be found in Psalm 91:11 "For he will give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways." It may also be the power of our inner conscience, that helps us along the way. But with Cayce, it may also be our inner thoughts and chemistry: What thoughts and hormones are we releasing most often? Those that fire up the carnal or violent forces of the body or the gentler, calmer, more uplifting ones, that make the body a temple for the soul?

The Four Beasts: These are the four fundamental physical natures (desires) of man which must be overcome. They are also the four destructive influences that "make for the greater desire for the carnal forces." The Revelation’s description of each adds to our understanding of these forces and how we may subdue their negative qualities. These also represent urges and forces in the four lower, more earthly glands in our bodies. Cayce equates the four lower glands with earthly forces and the three upper glands with heavenly forces. More on this in a later chapter.

The Great Red Dragon: This symbolizes that powerful urge within ourselves that originally so separated us from the Source of Life that we would fight with those very influences that would bring the spiritual awakening. The Great Red Dragon is the serpent from the Garden in Genesis (Rev. 12:9) who first aided in our souls’ separation from God’s presence and the Garden -- symbolic of a serpent-like willfulness and reasoning within ourselves, when we were heavenly teenagers with the keys to the car. Now this influence has grown strong and powerful in the form of a great, red dragon, ready to devour any new, heaven-centered intentions we bring forth in our hearts and minds.

Mark of the Beast: This strange mark, 666, represents vows and obligations we have made to the work of the Beast and how we condemn rather than help any effort to overcome the Beast’s influence. The Beast is like our ego and egocentric interests. It represents the work of self alone, without God’s influence. The mark is erased when the work of our hands and thoughts of our minds are cooperating with God, rather than simply being self-driven. The Beast is our lower nature at our most selfish, self-centered, self-gratifying, self-glorifying point of existence.

New Heaven and New Earth: These represent a new mind and a new heart. Through out the Old Testament you may have noticed that the Lord makes occasional reference to giving us new hearts or "circumcising" our hearts. Here, in the final book of the Bible, we have received our new hearts. These also represent a new vibration in the seven spiritual centers. The "wheels" are spinning with a new purpose, a new life-force; one that is spiritualizing. Therefore, we have a new body, too. One that helps the heart and mind maintain higher consciousness.

Water of Life: This is the transformative, rejuvenative influence of the Spirit of God flowing through our purposes, which have been made pure in "the blood of the Lamb -- which is in Jesus, the Christ, to those who seek to know his ways." Ingesting this water is cleansing, making us new and reborn. But, once again, it is not actual water that we are talking about. It is the essence of water from within us, as Jesus meant when he said, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water," John 7:38. Jesus’ reference to the scriptures is to Isaiah 58:11 where we find a similar comment about the inner water: "And the Lord will guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in dry places, and make strong thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."

Tree of Life: This represents "the sturdiness of the purpose of the individual in its sureness in the Christ." The tree’s leaves represent our activities that are as healings to others and ourselves in the material life. The fruits of this special tree are the "fruits of the spirit." Cayce listed them in many of his discourses as: kindness, patience, joy, understanding, gentleness, longsuffering, forgiveness, etc. The tree’s ability to bear fruit each month indicates the continuousness of the influence of this sturdiness and these activities that bring forth the spiritual fruits in our lives.

Cayce’s interpretions call each of us to participate in a great struggle to be born again in the Spirit and spiritualize our lives, bodies, and minds.

In chapter 1 verse 10 of the Revelation, the disciple John tells us that he was "in the spirit on the Lord’s day." Cayce says that he was in deep meditation. In this deep state he was caught up in the Spirit of God and "turned" (Rev. 1:12) away from the outer world. He began viewing the inner, heavenly world, and was told to write what he saw and heard. Cayce says that what John perceived was for his own personal spiritual development as well as for other souls who, by their own development, could sense the true meaning of this story and its strange imagery, and use it to benefit their own journey. Again, the journey we are speaking of is the journey from being a predominantly physical, material being to a predominantly spiritual, celestial being, sojourning temporarily in the physical world.

The process John went through to have his revelatory experience, combined with the content of the experience, reveals a spiritual, mystical approach to life. The mystical approach is founded upon a belief that each of us can have an immediate, intuitive perception of spiritual truths that transcend ordinary intellectual understanding by experiencing a direct, intimate union of our soul with God, through the power and grace of the intercession of Jesus Christ on our behaves, which resulted from his sacrifice and resurrection. Because of Christ’s sacrifice and current oneness with the Creator, the veil has been rent in the temple of consciousness. A way is now opened to experience the Spirit of God and truth directly, not for one or two selected people, but any and all who seek. As Revelation 1:5-6 states it: "...Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and released us from our sins by his blood; and he has made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father...." In Jewish tradition, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies and experienced direct contact with God. Now, anyone who asks, will receive; who seeks, will find; who knocks, it will be opened to them (Matthew 7:7 and Luke 11:9).

When we look at John’s Gospel and Epistles we find the foundations for his mysticism. The disciple John was the youngest of the twelve apostles and the last to be chosen. Interestingly, his gospel is more about what Jesus said than what Jesus did, very different from the synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which are similar in content and sequence. Certain concepts, discussions, and events appear only in John’s Gospel, such as the "Word" being incarnate in the flesh in the opening chapter, the Samaritan woman at the well in chapter four, and Jesus’ extensive comments and prayers at the Last Supper in chapters 14-17. The Gospel’s literary style is also unique. It is uncomplicated, easy to read, with no attempt to tie it all together; each narrative is presented as though it is an isolated event or statement. It is a book of striking contrasts: light and darkness; truth and falsehood; good and evil; life and death; God and Satan. His gospel is saturated with symbolic representations from ordinary life. For example, Jesus uses common things such as water, bread, light, wine, a vine, branches, a shepherd, and so on, to convey spiritual truths. And though it contains little to no prophecy (surprising, since the other gospels do and John later writes the Revelation), it is the most mystical of the four gospels.

For example, in the Gospel of John, chapter 1:1-13, we have the wonderful description of the incarnation of the Word. And, if we translate it as closely to the original Greek as possible, we actually get a better understanding, mostly because we have too narrowly translated a key word in the text. That word is "word"! John uses the Greek word "logos," which means so much more than the English word. For example, in chapter 8:43 of the gospel, John recounts Jesus actually using two different Greek words for "word" to explain to the authorities why they so often do not understand his teachings; in so doing he gives a key insight into the importance of the word "logos": "Why do you not understand my words [lalian]? It is because you cannot hear my word [logon]." Logos means the rational principle that governs and develops the whole universe. If we use this definition in the English translation, then it reads much more powerfully. John is trying to convey to us that not only the message or word of God is incarnate in Jesus, but so is the essence of the whole cosmos, the power behind all of creation. Also, in the original text of this chapter there is no masculine pronoun "He" in several passages, as the English versions suggest. It’s actually written in the early Greek as "this one," not "He." Here is the text with these adjustments:

1 In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.

2 This one was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made through this one; and without this one was not made anything that has been made.

4 In this one was life; and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shined in the darkness; and the darkness did not comprehend it.

6 There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John [the Baptist].

7 The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him.

8 He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light.

9 There was the true light, even the light which enlightens every man coming into the world.

10 This one was in the world, and the world was made through this one, and the world did not know him.

11 This one came unto his own, and they that were his own did not receive him.

12 But to as many as received him, gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

In this same gospel we also have the mind-opening discussion with the Samaritan woman at the well in which we learn of the "living water" that later appears in the Revelation, and the nature of God and how best to attune to God, which John certainly needed to know in order to have his great revelation. The first of these two teachings begins in chapter 4:7-15, the second in verses 19-26.

7 There came a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink."

8 For his disciples were gone away to the city to buy food.

9 The Samaritan woman therefore said to him, "How is it that thou, being a Jew, ask drink of me, who am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, ‘Give me to drink,’ you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water."

11 The woman says to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where then do you have that living water?

12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?"

13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Every one that drinks of this water shall thirst again;

14 but whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life."

15 The woman saith unto him, "Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come all the way here to draw."

In this scene we learn of another water, a living water, that once we have received, we will never thirst for water again, and we will be like a well of our own with water springing up within us, bringing eternal life.

Then, after telling the woman of events in her life that he could not physically have known, she then addresses a key issue about worshiping God that surely helped John to get into the Spirit for his revelation:

19 The woman says unto him, "Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain; and your people say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."

21 Jesus saith unto her, "Woman, believe me, an hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father.

22 You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews.

23 But an hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such people the Father seeks to be his worshipers.

24 God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth."

The idea that God is a spirit and seeks us to worship Him in spirit is fundamental to understanding the Revelation. We cannot approach these teachings from an intellectual, physical perspective. They require that we evoke or receive the Spirit of God, and that this Spirit will left our spirits up to a level of consciousness from which we can understand the teachings. Jesus touches on this need in his teachings to Nicodemus, "We speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and you do not receive our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you don’t believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things?" Another scripture concerning the Spirit of God that is relevant to our study of the Revelation is from Joel, chapter 2 verses 28-31:

28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

29 and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.

30 And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.

From the need for spirit to worship the Spirit, the woman at the well turns to the promise of a Messiah that will help us all. It is always easier if one descends from heaven to help than if we are asked to lift our minds and hearts up to heaven to receive help. Therefore, many we waiting for a special one to descend from heaven, even this Samaritan:

25 The woman saith unto him, "I know that Messiah comes (he that is called Christ): when that One comes, he will declare all things to us."

26 Jesus said to her, "I that speak to you am he."

This ordinary woman, not of the chosen people, draws more out of Jesus than many others who asked questions of him. In her discussion with Jesus we learn of the water of life, of the nature of God, the way to worship God, and that the fulfillment of the prophecy in Daniel is Jesus of Nazareth. In a rare self-testimonial, Jesus acknowledges to the woman that he is indeed the prophesied Christ. "Christ" is a transliteration of the Greek word "christos," which literally means "anointed one," a stage in the preparation of the high priest to enter the Holy of Holies to meet God directly. The priest’s head was to be anointed with oil, usually olive oil: Exodus 29:7, "Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him." This process may also have been experienced by ordinary people, as written in the Psalms; one good example is Psalm 23:5, "Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup runneth over." A better translation of this term might be "a consecrated one," as in Exodus 29:29, "And the holy garments of Aaron shall be for his sons after him, to be anointed in them, and to be consecrated in them." The anointing was to consecrate one for a special service. The corresponding word for christos in Hebrew is "mashiyach," which we transliterate to messiah. This very specific term is only found in Daniel 9:25-26. Messiah means exactly what christos means, just two different languages. There are several scriptural references to the coming of a special one to help the people. The first and most important one is directly from the Lord; as His creation falls from grace in the Garden, He prophesies that the woman’s seed will become the redeemer of this situation and will subdue the influence of the serpent and the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:15). The Samaritan woman was obviously familiar with the prophecies and looking for the messiah to come in her lifetime. John’s use of Logos lends support to the Messiah-Christ nature of this one.

Many prophets had come and gone, and many roamed the Holy Land in the days of this Samaritan woman. But the truth had gotten lost in the troubles and confusions of the times. For the preceding four hundred years, little had gone well for the faithful among the several sects of the Jews. They had been taught for generations that God would guide, protect, and speak to them. As a group, the chosen people had a history of mystical connection with God and God’s immediate participation in their lives. Mystical teachings and tales throughout the scriptures taught, supported, and gave living examples of this relationship. One is found in Deuteronomy chapter 4:35-36, "Unto thee it was shown, that thou might know that the Lord is God; there is none else besides him. Out of heaven he made you to hear his voice, that he might instruct you; and upon earth he made you to see his great fire; and hear his words out of the midst of the fire." What impact these words must have had. God is oneness and there is nothing beyond this oneness. We were first made in heaven to hear God’s voice and learn directly from Him and then made again upon earth to see his great fire and hear his words in the fire -- the fire of His spirit upon us, as John notes in the beginning of the Revelation. In 1Kings, chapter 19:9-14, Elijah has a direct experience with God that reveals an inner and outer quality to our spiritualization process. As you read it, notice the symbolic nature of some of the elements in the story: mountain, cave, wind, earthquake, fire, and silence -- these same symbols occur in the Revelation.

9 And he [Elijah] came there [Horeb, the mountain of God] to a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said unto him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

10 And he said, "I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, torn down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword. And I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away."

11 And He said, "Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord." And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake;

12 and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entrance of the cave. [Note that he had not actually left the cave to experience the mountaintop with the Lord in verse 11. Therefore, he must be experiencing this within his mind.] And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

14 And he said, "I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, torn down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword. And I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." [Later, in verse 18, the Lord informs Elijah that he is not the only one left; 7,000 others remain faithful.]

15 And the Lord said to him, "Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, thou shalt anoint Hazael to be king over Syria;

16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in your place." [Elijah had earlier asked to be replaced.]

The important points in these verses are the outer places that represent inner ones: the cave of consciousness; the mountain of God within the cave. It is also so helpful to realize that the voice of God is not that of thunder from the sky, but rather the still, small voice within. Furthermore, God’s voice speaks from within but guides Elijah to outer actions. This is an important point in the Cayce interpretation: inner attunement is to be applied and lived in the outer world among one another. Living the contact with God in our outer lives is a fundamental teaching that is too often forgotten. There is a wonderful moment in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 12:28-34, when a scribe from the Temple is listening to Jesus’ discussion with some Sadducees, Pharisees, and Herodians. The scribe was so impressed with Jesus’ answers that he speaks up and asks a question which draws an answer key to our spiritual journey -- the oneness of it all and its inner and outer nature:

28 And one of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together, and knowing that he [Jesus] had answered them well, asked him, "What commandment is the first of all?"

29 Jesus answered, "The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one;

30 and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.’

31 The second is this, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these."

32 And the scribe said unto him, "Of a truth, Teacher, thou hast well said that He is one; and there is none other but He.

33 And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is much more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices."

34 And when Jesus saw that the scribe answered wisely, he said unto him, "Thou art not far from the kingdom of God."

To love God (the Oneness) with all our being and our neighbor as ourselves sums up the whole of the laws and prophets. Notice how the scribe’s ability to perceive this truth from within himself results in Jesus’ statement that the scribe is not far from fully realizing the kingdom of God.

The mystical, inner approach to God and to realizing our ultimate nature and destiny is an important key to interpreting the Revelation in a manner that is truly meaningful to us today.

In the vast body of Edgar Cayce’s work, he first mentioned the Revelation in a physical health reading for a twenty-year-old female suffering from seizures (2501-6). In the course of analyzing her problem and suggesting a course of action to help her, Cayce casually mentioned that it would "be very good for the doctor here to read The Revelation and understand it! especially in reference to this body!" Three years later, at an evening gathering of some fifty people in the living room of a close friend, Cayce gave the first reading on the Revelation. It took all of fifty minutes, but everyone was amazed at the approach Cayce was taking. His stenographer recorded the reading as follows:


This psychic reading given by Edgar Cayce at the Edmonds' home, 611 Pennsylvania Ave., Norfolk, Va., this 13th day of March, 1933, in accordance with request made by Norfolk Study Group #1, for their opening meeting at which approximately fifty people were present.


Edgar Cayce; Gertrude Cayce, Conductor; Gladys Davis, Steno. Hugh Lynn Cayce, the Misses Edmonds, other members of Group #1, the Prayer Group, visiting members of other groups, etc.


Time of Reading 9:00 to 9:50 P. M. Eastern Standard Time.

1. GC: You will give at this time an interpretation of the Book of Revelation as recorded in the King James version of the bible, explaining the general plan and theme, the significance of the Book, and give such explanations of the symbols used as will make this book of personal value to those present seeking to awaken and develop the inner life. You will then answer the questions which will be asked regarding various parts of this Book.

2. EC: Yes, we have the text written in the Revelation, as recorded in the King James version of same.

3. In making this worth while in the experience of individuals who are seeking for the light, for the revelation that may be theirs as promised in the promises of same, it would be well that there be considered first the conditions which surrounded the writer, the apostle, the beloved, the last of those chosen; writing to a persecuted people, many despairing, many fallen away, yet, many seeking to hold to that which had been delivered to them through the efforts and activities of those upon whom the spirit had fallen by the very indwelling and the manifestations that had become the common knowledge of all.

4. Remember, then, that Peter - chosen as the rock, chosen to open the doors of that known today as the church - had said to this companion, "I will endeavor to keep thee in remembrance; even after my demise I will return to you." [II Peter 1:15]

5. The beloved, then, was banished to the isle, and was in meditation, in prayer, in communion with those saints who were in that position to see, to comprehend the greater needs of those that would carry on.

6. And, as given in the beginning, "I was in the Spirit on the

Lord's day, and beheld, and heard, and saw, and was told to WRITE."

7. Why, then, ye ask now, was this written (this vision) in such a manner that is hard to be interpreted, save in the experience of every soul who seeks to know, to walk in, a closer communion with Him?

8. For the visions, the experiences, the names, the churches, the places, the dragons, the cities, all are but emblems of those forces that may war within the individual in its journey through the material, or from the entering into the material manifestation to the entering into the glory, or the awakening in the spirit, in the inter-between, in the borderland, in the shadow.

9. Hence we find, as the churches are named, they are as the forces that are known as the senses, that must be spiritualized by the will of the individual made one in the very activities in a material world.

10. And the elders and the Lamb are the emblems, are the shadows of those acceptances or rejections that are made in the experiences of the individual.

11. As we find, in the various manners and forms that are presented as the vision or visions proceed, every force that is manifest is of one source; but the soul, the will of the individual, either makes such into a coordinating or cooperating influence in bringing about more and more manifestations in the material world of those experiences that are seen from the spiritual conditions, or the opposite.

12. Why, then, is it presented, ye ask, in the form of symbols? Why is there used those varied activities? These are for those that were, or will be, or may become, through the seeking, those initiated into an understanding of the glories that may be theirs if they will but put into work, into activity, that they know in the present.

13. In seeking, then, do individuals find from the beginning that there is presented, in every line, in every form, that good and bad (as termed) that arises from their activity, in what they do about that knowledge they have respecting law, the love, the mercy, the understanding of the wherefore of the Lamb's advent into the world that they, through His ensample set, may present themselves before that throne even as He, becoming - as given - heirs, joint heirs with Him, as the sons of God, to that EVERLASTING glory that may be had in Him.

14. Then, seek to know what self is lacking, even as given in the first four chapters (as divided in the present).

15. What is lacking in self? Are ye cold? Are ye hot? Have ye been negligent of the knowledge that is thine? Are ye stiff-necked? Are ye adulterous in thought, in act, in the very glories that are thine?

16. Then, again - may ye not have had through the varied experiences those presentations before the throne, even as the elders twenty and four that are represented by the figures within thine own head, that which is shown in the physical forces of self? Has it not been given to thee, or has not the message come as the rider of the pale, the black, the white, or the red horses that are the figures of the messages that have come to thee in thine varied experiences? Or, art thou among the figures represented in the Babylon, or in the rivers of blood, or in the trees of life?

17. These we see, then, represent SELF; self's body-physical, self's body-mental, self's body-spiritual; with the attributes of the body-physical, attributes of the body- mental, attributes of the body-spiritual, and they are ONE in thee - even as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is one in Him.

18. Then, dost thou seek to enter into the glories of the Father? Whosoever will may come, may take of the water of life freely - even as flows from the throne of the Lamb. For, the very leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations, and - if ye will accept - the blood cleanses from all unrighteousness. How? From what? Saves self from what? To what are ye called? To know that only from the falling away of self may ye be saved. Unto the glorifying of self in Him may ye be saved.

19. Then, whosoever will, come!


21. (Q) Please interpret the fall of Babylon as referred to in the 14th, 17th, and 18th chapters of Revelation.

(A) Babylon represented the individual; those periods through which every soul passes in its delving into the varied mysteries that are the experiences of the carnal- mental, the spiritual-mental forces of the body; and, as viewed from that presented, may come to the knowledge only through the CLEANSING that is shown must come to those that would be saved from the destructions that are given there.

22. (Q) What did the angel mean when he said: "I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her"?

(A) That which is understood by those that follow in the way of the Lamb, that come to know how man separates himself through the desires to become as the procreator in the beasts; which made the necessity of the shedding of blood for redemption, for it brought sin IN the shedding - and only through same may there be the fulfilling; and as given, the heavens and the earth may pass, but His law, His love, His mercy, His grace, endureth for those who WILL seek to know His will.

23. (Q) Where are the dead until Christ comes? Do they go direct to Him when they die?

(A) As visioned by the beloved, there are those of the saints making intercession always before the throne for those that are passing in and out of the inter-between; even as He, the Christ, is ever in the consciousness of those that are redeemed in Him.

The passing in, the passing out, is as but the summer, the fall, the spring; the birth into the interim, the birth into the material.

24. (Q) In what form does the anti-Christ come, spoken of in Revelation? (A) In the spirit of that opposed to the spirit of truth. The fruits of the spirit of the Christ are love, joy, obedience, long-suffering, brotherly love, kindness. Against such there is no law. The spirit of hate, the anti-Christ, is contention strife, fault-finding, lovers of self, lovers of praise. Those are the anti-Christ, and take possession of groups, masses, and show themselves even in the lives of men.

25. (Q) Will we be punished by fire and brimstone?

(A) That as builded by self; as those emblematical influences are shown through the experiences of the beloved in that builded, that created. For, each soul is a portion of creation - and builds that in a portion of its experience that it, through its physical-mental or spiritual-mental, has builded for itself. And each entity's heaven or hell must, through SOME experience, be that which it has builded for itself.

Is thy hell one that is filled with fire or brimstone? But know, each and every soul is tried so as by fire; purified, purged; for He, though He were the Son, learned obedience through the things which He suffered. Ye also are known even as ye do, and have done.

26. (Q) Is this the period of the great tribulation spoken of in Revelation or just the beginning, and if so just how can we help ourselves and others to walk more closely with God?

(A) The great tribulation and periods of tribulation, as given, are the experiences of every soul, every entity. They arise from influences created by man through activity in the sphere of any sojourn. Man may become, with the people of the universe, ruler of any of the various spheres through which the soul passes in its experiences. Hence, as the cycles pass, as the cycles are passing, when there IS come a time, a period of readjusting in the spheres, (as well as in the little earth, the little soul) - seek, then, as known, to present self spotless before that throne; even as ALL are commanded to be circumspect, in thought, in act, to that which is held by self as that necessary for the closer walk with Him. In that manner only may each atom (as man is an atom, or corpuscle, in the body of the Father) become a helpmeet with Him in bringing that to pass that all may be one with Him.

27. (Q) What is meant by the four beasts?

(A) As given, the four destructive influences that make the greater desire for the carnal forces, that rise as the beasts within self to destroy. Even as man, in his desire to make for companionship, brought those elements within self's own experience. These must be met. Even as the dragon represents the one that separated self so far as to fight with, to destroy with, those that would make of themselves a kingdom of their own.

28. (Q) What is meant by " - a new heaven and a new earth"?

(A) Former things have passed away, when there is beheld within self that the whole will of the Creator, the Father, the place of abode the forces within and without, make for the NEW heaven, the NEW earth.

29. We are through.

Three years later, members of the Glad Helpers prayer healing group who had been handpicked by Cayce and worked closely with him, initiated the first of a series of readings on the Revelation. That series covered 10 readings (281-28 through 281-37) and took just under a year to complete, from October 26, 1936 to September 8, 1937. Later, the same group picked up on Cayce’s connection between the churches in the Revelation and the endocrine glands in the human body, and several more readings were given specifically on the endocrine glands (281-46 through 49, 281-51 through 55, 281-57 & 58, and 281-63). That first Glad Helpers’ reading on the Revelation was recorded by his stenographer as follows:


This psychic reading given by Edgar Cayce at his home on Arctic Crescent, Virginia Beach, Va., this 26th day of October, 1936, in accordance with request by those present.


Edgar Cayce; Gertrude Cayce, Conductor; Gladys Davis, Steno. Helen Ellington, Esther Wynne, Hannah Miller, Frances Y. Morrow, Edith & Florence Edmonds, Elizabeth Perry, Sallie Jones, Margaret Wilkins, Ruth LeNoir, Myrtle Demaio & Hugh Lynn Cayce.


Time of Reading 11:55 to 12:25 A. M.

1. GC: You will have before you the Glad Helpers, members of which are present here. First you will give affirmations to be sent those on the prayer list; next you will consider the study which has been made by this group for several weeks on the Book of Revelation in attempting to follow the suggestions given through this channel that the references in this book should be applied to experiences in the physical, mental and spiritual bodies of individuals. [See 2501-6 on 3/24/30.] You will answer the questions which will be presented on Revelation.

2. EC: Yes, we have the group as gathered here, as a group, as individuals; their work with others, which - first - we would commend. For there has been, is being and may be accomplished, a great deal of hope, of cheer, in the lives and in the experiences of individuals.

3. And in this manner may this group find within themselves that peace, that harmony, that is the promise from Him who hath given, "That as ye ask, as ye seek in my name, that may the Father do, that I may be glorified through you in the material world."

4. Be then faithful to that thou hast purposed in thy heart. For many there be who are weak, discouraged, troubled, that ye may aid. And as ye do it unto the least of thy brethren ye do it unto thy Maker. For as He hath given, "Ye that minister to the sick, to the disconsolate, to those in prison, to those in turmoils and strife, minister unto me."

At this point in the reading, several affirmations were given for use by those on the prayer list, which was a normal procedure for this group. Then, the reading continues addressing their study of the Revelation.

15. In considering then the studies that have been made with this group, in the understanding of the Revelation as given by the beloved of Him: These as we find have been well, and as you each become conscious in your own experience of the movement OF the influences THROUGH the body upon the various stages of awareness, there comes a determination, a desire, a longing for the greater light. To him, to her that is faithful, there shall be given a CROWN of light. And His Name shall be above every name; For ye that have seen the light know in Whom thou hast believed, and know that in thine own body, thine own mind, there is set the temple of the living God, and that it may function in thy dealings with thy fellow man in such measures that ye become as rivers of light, as fountains of knowledge, as mountains of strength, as the pastures for the hungry, as the rest for the weary, as the strength for the weak. Keep the faith. Ready for questions.

16. (Q) Are we using the correct methods of breathing and intonation in our group meditations?

(A) As has been given in Meditation, to some, THIS then is the correct manner: As has been given so oft of old, purge ye your bodies, washing them with water, putting away those things of the mind and of the body; for tomorrow the Lord would speak with thee.

Hence in this group make thy mind, thy body, as a fit subject for a visit of thy Lord, thy God. Then as ye seek YE KNOW, as He hath given, that the wedding feast is prepared and thou hast bid the guests, and that ye have come with the garments of the feast with thy Lord, thy Master, thy King, thy Savior. For lowly as He was in His earthly ministry, He honored all such that gathered for the commemoration of a union of body, a union of mind, a union of strength for their worship, their sacrifice, their meeting with their God. So do ye in thy meditation. For thy prayer is as a supplication or a plea to thy superior; yet thy meditation is that thou art meeting on COMMON ground! Then prepare thyself! In breathing, take into the right nostril, STRENGTH! Exhale through thy mouth. Intake in thy left nostril, exhaling through the right; opening the centers of thy body - if it is first prepared to thine OWN understanding, thine OWN concept of what YE would have if ye would have a visitor, if ye would have a companion, if ye would have thy bridegroom! Then, as ye begin with the incantation of the [Har-r-r-r-r-r- aum] Ar-ar-r-r-r - the e-e-e, the o-o-o, the m-m-m, RAISE these in thyself; and ye become close in the presence of thy Maker - as is SHOWN in thyself! They that do such for selfish motives do so to their own undoing. Thus has it oft been said, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom, then, is fear to misapply knowledge in thy dealings with thyself, thy fellow man. For as ye are honest, as ye are patient, as ye are sincere with thyself in thy meeting with thy God, thy Savior, thy Christ, in thy meditation, ye will be in thy dealings with thy fellow man.

17. We are through for the present.

The Glad Helpers were used to prayer and meditation sessions. It was part of their normal process, ultimately leading to laying on of hands. A major Cayce teaching identifies prayer with lifting oneself up and calling upon God, and meditation with actually entering into direct, conscious contact with God, as the disciple John had done in receiving his revelation. In the very next reading on this subject Cayce explained why John was able to take his prayers to a new, deep meditation level:

"the body of the Christ represented to the world a channel, a door, a mediation to the Father. Hence this then may become as the study of self in its relationship to the material world, the mental world, the spiritual world. And this is the manner that has been presented as the way through which each individual would make application of same, of the life of the Christ in his or her own experience."

John’s experience is made possible because Christ is a channel, a door, a mediation to the Father; and each of us can apply this in our lives. The Revelation represented a new connection between God and each of us through Christ. John’s vision reveals the transitions, passages, and stages he went through and we may go through to make a new relationship with God, similar to the one we originally had in the Garden where we walked and talked with Him. Remember, in the Cayce paradigm, characters and events in the Bible not only represent individual souls but also all souls as a group. Adam therefore is an individual and a group. The experiences recorded in the Bible are those that all souls experience. Therefore, my soul and yours were created by God in the beginning, in God’s image, and walked and talked with Him in that primeval Garden of the original consciousness. Today, in this present incarnation which so captivates us, it is hard to believe that somewhere within each of us is a godling created in the image of God, who once had regular, conscious contact with its Creator.

In the latter half of the 1950s and early ‘60s, a group at the A.R.E. New York Center, then located at 34 West 35th St., began a seven-year study of Cayce’s interpretation of the Revelation. It was their intention to produce a readable interpretation that everyone could use. Their work was later combined with twenty-four of Cayce’s readings on the Revelation and published in book form by A.R.E. Press, located at the Virginia Beach, Virginia headquarters of Cayce’s organization, the Association for Research and Enlightenment, "A.R.E." The book is still in print and is titled, A Commentary on the Book of the Revelation, with a descriptive line saying that it is "Based on a Study of Twenty-Four Psychic Discourses by Edgar Cayce."

In the late 1960s and early ‘70s, Shane Miller, an artist on the animated feature film Gulliver’s Travels, completed a series of color slide-transparencies outlining the key parts of Cayce’s interpretation of the Revelation. A soundtrack was added to these and it became a frequently shown film around the A.R.E. community. Black and white reproductions of some of these slides appear throughout this book. Throughout the 1970s and early ‘80s, Everett Irion, a long-time student of the Cayce readings, came from Texas to Virginia Beach to work at A.R.E. and ultimately led another Revelation study group based on Cayce’s approach. This resulted in the publication through A.R.E. Press of another book on the Revelation. In the 1980s, David McMillin came from the Midwest to Virginia Beach to start a Revelation study group, which continues today, focusing on the original Cayce instruction that the Revelation could help healthcare workers better understand how the body works. He was joined in Virginia Beach by four others: Douglas Richards, Ph.D., who had been Research Director at A.R.E. for several years and was deeply involved in improving his own health through guidance that came through Cayce; Carl Nelson, D.C., who has a large and popular chiropractic practice; Karen Kluge Waller, the mother of a handicapped daughter who simply wanted the best for her child; and Eric Mein, M.D., who had pursued his medical degree because of his love of Cayce health concepts and a hope that these could be added to the healthcare models used today. McMillin, Douglas, Nelson, Waller, Mein, and myself united to form Meridian Institute, which devotes itself to in-depth health research based on the Edgar Cayce concepts, some of which include concepts in the Revelation.

In 2000, another New York student of the Cayce readings, Lynn Cole, produced a reformatted edition of the original Cayce book on the Revelation. The interest in the Revelation and the desire of so many to better understand it continues to stimulate groups and publications.

I have studied and applied the readings and Revelation material in the Cayce legacy for thirty years. I find the Cayce material to be one of the greatest collections of wisdom that I have encountered, and an excellent suppliment to the Biblical stories and lessons. What also impresses me is that Cayce’s concepts are so in tune with Western and Eastern spiritual, mental, and physical teachings, from the ancient to the latest discoveries. But the real proof of this work’s value has come in the results I have realized in my life by applying these teachings in the little things every day. Early in my study of Cayce’s work I read his comments on the Revelation. They were so profound and meaningful to me and my development as a spiritual person, that I never stopped rereading them and discussing them with others who were also seeking to awaken spiritually. In the course of these thirty years I have written six books based on Cayce’s concepts and methods, and my intention in writing this book is to add to the body of existing works on the Revelation, focusing on the spiritualization process in this strange but captivating book of the Bible. I’ve divided the book into three sections: interpretation, personal revelation, and the original material. It is my hope that this book will help us to experience God directly and live as co-creators and companions forever! A monumental task, yes; but as you and I know and have heard before, even the longest journey begins with one little step, and proceeds step-by-step. Fortunately, we all have moments of spontaneous enlightenment, even though we must still continue the ongoing development. Those moments give us the strength to continue the spiritualization process.

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