|This Book is attributed to Saint John, but was probably written by his followers after his death on the basis of his oral teaching. It is an essential piece of Christian fantastique litterature.|
The story is perfectly gripping and inspiring. The symbols are very complex. The numerology is fundamental.
God is heavily defined as binary : the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, He-is-and-He-was. In only one instance is he ternary, when he is defined as ý He who is, who was and who is to come ý.
The second figure that is essential is seven : it is the symbol of God's power, God's punishment, God's cleansing of the world with the seven angels, the seven trumpets, the second set of seven angels and the seven bowls containing the seven plagues.
Yet God is not only 2. He is also the multiples 4 and 8. And what is important too is the definition of the New Jerusalem as being square with three doors on each side, hence twelve doors. 12 is the figure of perfection, the absolute perfection of the City of God on earth.
When we read this book with these simple ideas in mind we find that the story is thrilling, with the pregnant woman chased by the dragon, and then again the woman representing God, pregnant again, confronted to a second dragon. This symbolic image is fundamental. This ý woman adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars on her head for a crown ý is the representation of perfect knowledge, of the solar year and calendar, of the lunar year and calendar and of the twelve signs of the Zodiac. The dragon represents the negation of knowledge (idolatry), wisdom (fornication) and perfection (Babylon/Rome sitting on its seven hills).
To conclude we must understand that this vision is the basis of all romanesque art and especially romanesque churches that will join under the influence of the Benedictines, the knowledge/wisdom/ science of old from the ancient Egyptians to the modern Greeks or Romans via le linking Celtic tradition. And then we understand why these churches are situated facing the East, with a North-South transept, and why these churches are the pilgrimage of the faithful from the West, the world, to the East, God, crossing the transept to enter the realm of God himself. These romanesque artists will only add Solomon's symbol, the two cups, one receiving (man's), one pouring (God's) God's light, the two triangles building a star, hence 3x2=6.
Please, if you don't believe this Book of Revelation is the whole Christian wisdom in twenty pages, please visit the Benedictine abbey-church for women in Lavaudieu, France, and you will understand how this Book became the acme of Christian inspiration. It is so true that the leaves of the tree of knowledge that grow along the river that crosses the New Jerusalem is the cure for pagans (and not their punishment).
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU