Putting selfishness behind us, we are offered in Revelation 21 and 22 a vision of unity, an experience of life that joins the feminine and masculine virtues under the service of love. Heaven is remade, and becomes the repository for the best of human intentions.
When done in love, no act of creation is more beautiful than the act of conception. Two people surrender the most vulnerable and sensitive parts of their bodies to each other. The masculine principle parts the boughs of the feminine garden, and a spirit enters to take root and flourish. Inside the child finds the gift of the father’s intentions. The father gains meaning and purpose. And through the mother, both are joined and sustained.
This will be the last of this video series, for the last two chapters or Revelation should be read as a single scene.
Understanding begins with a return to the throne room of Chapter 4. John saw the Most High on his throne, shielded by glass and surrounded by the living creatures. Outside, twelve masculine and twelve feminine elders sat proudly on their thrones.
But none approached to God, or related to each other.
With the defeat of the dragon, these relationships undergo a great and glorious transformation.
Most important is this:
Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
[NIV Rev. 21:3]
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
[NIV Rev. 21:22-23]
And in Chapter 22:
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
[NIV Rev. 22:3-4]
We will have learned to discipline ourselves to the service of love, and so receive its limitless power. First it is Jesus who announces:
To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.
[NIV Rev. 21:6]
Repeated in Chapter 22 by Holy Couple:
The Spirit and the Bride say “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
[NIV Rev. 22:17]
By these invitations, John is drawn close to the presence of the Bride, the Sacred Mother who nurtured virtue during the reign of the dragon. He sees first her residence, the New Jerusalem.
Most of Chapter 21 is a description of the dwelling place of the saints, but what we need note is only that its gates and foundations are twelve, and that those elements are masculine. They are the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve Apostles, and the twelve pearls which are the masculine elders in their unveiled glory. The gates never shut, because the virtue of the elders prevents corruption from entering:
Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
[NIV Rev. 21:27]
These masculine elements are familiar to John, for he himself was one of the Apostles. But what of the twelve feminine elders?
Now some will be scandalized by this, but everything given to us by God is sacred, even things that in our shame humans do only in hiding. In its carnality conception can be ugly, but when rendered in pure spirit, it appears to John thus:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit each month.
[NIV Rev. 22:1-2]
Here are the twelve feminine elders, the twelve crops of fruit, sustaining the virtuous in heaven as they did with food on earth. Even more, for the passage continues:
And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
[NIV Rev. 22:2]
From this, I see the river not as a stream that runs to a sea, but as a circulation, entering into the tree and exiting through the feminine virtues to the masculine virtues. The masculine virtues cherish and guard feminine virtue. In turn, the masculine virtues are sustained and inspired by the feminine. Their accomplishments are gathered up in offering to the Lamb. As it says:
The nations will walk by light [of the city], and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
[NIV Rev. 21:24]
What will this life be like? That is difficult to say, for John focuses on what it is not:
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
[NIV Rev. 21:4]
But I have this vision to offer.
Before Eden – before the Most High brought us the gift of love – to be alive was to be like a person in the Matrix movies. At any moment, any stronger spirit could take control of your body, using it until it was destroyed, rendering your spirit to death.
But after Eden, Satan cannot take power over your body unless you surrender to selfishness. Through the power of the love that is the Most High, your bond to your bodies is secured. Even more, when we chose to love, our love anchors the beloved in their bodies, and their gratitude anchors us in ours. When we learn to do that as a community, each regarding every other in loving gratitude, the power of love is what sustains us. We no longer need food – though we can joyfully share it. We no longer need air – though we may vibrate with song.
How does this work?
Let’s return to Daniel’s description of this same event:
…there before me was one like the son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power.
[NIV Dan. 7:13-14]
The Ancient of Days is not the Most High, but the angel that inhabits the sun. It is the god worshiped first by all nations, the bringer of light and life.
A billion times as much power flows from the sun as warms the earth. That power is not blind and uncaring as the scientists believe, but responsive to our loving will. That power can enter directly into us to both maintain and transform our physical self.
The problem is that we can’t guide that power into ourselves. Standing inside our bodies, we can’t see them clearly. It is only a lover’s eyes that can bring to us that gift of power.
I have been emphasizing this to my Christian friends. Jesus taught us:
Love the Lord your god with all your heart and all your mind and all your strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as your self.
[NIV Matt. 22:37-39]
Someone is left out there. It is you. That might seem unfair, but actually it is wisdom. There is no point to loving yourself, for you can only give what you already have. To be recreated and transformed requires the contribution of another. When Jesus is saying is: “Forget yourself! Be glorified by the love of others, just as you glorify them!”
Let’s summarize our study of Revelation.
The Most High loved the angels, though they were crippled by selfishness. Coming three billion years ago to the barren earth, the Most High conceived a plan to free the angels from their bondage. Selfishness was allowed to work its will on the earth. Fortunately, its seven vices – domination, conflict, opportunism, death, vengeance, wrath and destruction – competed with each other, weakening their potency until they no longer were recognizable as angels. They became the dragon.
During the long era of evolution, 144,000 masculine angels worked to establish constructive relationships between the creatures of the earth. That work was fully realized in human beings. Recognizing our potential, the Most High came down to earth to bring us the gift of love.
This was not an easy choice for the Most High, for then came the most painful part of the struggle against selfishness. The dragon was cast out of heaven, and fights us now for control of the earth. As in every other age of life, however, it will waste its strength.
Many among us have succumbed to the dragon’s rage, and reject or even denounce God as the cause of our struggle.
Humble people recognize that we were never truly alive before the Most High gave us the gift of love – we were puppets that could be twisted and broken at any moment by selfishness. The humble also recognize that the Most High suffers with us as the Lamb and the Sacred Mother. The Lamb was slain so that in resurrection he could prove that selfishness has no power. The Sacred Mother shares in our struggle, working quietly to celebrate and sustain our virtue.
In the last seven books of Revelation, we saw evidence that our journey into love is almost complete. I think, in fact, that we need only one more thing: to thirst. To choose to go without the pleasures and diversions of this world, so that we may finally partake of the undying gift that I am happy to offer as my last words to you, the gift offered first by the Lamb, and then by both Spirit and Bride:
To all who are thirsty we will give to drink for free from the springs of the water of life.