Phillip Medhurst

Wisdom from a Gnostic Sage

Tag: symbol

The Apocalypse Revealed 14

As in the case of Abraham, faith – in a promise of immortality as yet visibly unfulfilled – is superior to obedience to the Law. While access to the Commandments was through the procreative line of Israel, faith involved a renunciation of all rights proceeding from membership of that procreative line – as in Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac and his faith in an implied promise of resurrection. The New Israel of the 144,000 sealed in Revelation are described symbolically as virgins undefiled by women. That is, they have renounced salvation by means of the procreative line. It is these who will reign with Christ on earth for 1000 years – that is, for a time equivalent to the post-lapsarian life-span of Adam, thereby putting right his flawed dominion.

The Apocalypse Revealed 11

The remnant saved by the “old” covenant is symbolised in Revelation by the 144,000 sealed; those saved by the “new” covenant in Jesus (who offers himself as a new Passover lamb and by so doing reveals his understanding of God’s plan, and is therefore alone worthy to open the seals hiding the scroll of history) is represented by the “great crowd” (Revelation 7:9). Both are symbolised by the 24 elders seen in the initial tableau beyond the door opened onto Heaven for John at the beginning of Revelation. The “old” covenants are brought about by physical movement from an old geographical place to a new one: to Ararat, Haran, Sinai, Gilgal and Jerusalem. The ”new” covenant is effected by Jesus’ physical passing into Heaven at his Ascension.

The Apocalypse Revealed 2

One incarnation of the underground stream of Truth is the Apocalypse of John of Patmos. Unsurprisingly, visions here of the end-time are reflections of dreams of the beginnings. In both, the number seven is key as the time-sequence of the primal story, and light is the symbol by which all other symbols are seen. And yet, as if to emphasise the fact that Truth is not located in sequential order and rational lucidity, the Apocalypse constantly subverts sequence and reason in its presentation of material: the orderly and light-filled procession of the story of creation has become a nightmarish jumble, a reflection of the creation-story seen in a glass darkly – as darkened by sin and as rendered a counterfeit of God’s intended order.

The Apocalypse Revealed 1

Man has the Divine within him. Spiritual Truth is located within the deeper recesses of the mind rather than on the shallow surface of consciousness. It manifests itself as story or tableau the meaning of which is not always easy to articulate in rational terms. Indeed, such Truth may be altered and so distorted by “worldly” considerations – such as the material needs of a professional priesthood, the maintenance and upkeep of buildings, and the requirement of hierarchies to be seen to be historically consistent in their utterances. But the spring cannot be dammed: the underground stream of stories, images and symbols – dreams dreamed, remembered and re-incarnated in word, paint or stone – will continue to gush forth.