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Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Revelation to John

The main reason why my story, Murphy's Law, hasn't updated in nearly a year is because I am currently working on a novel.  It is something I've been working on for about 2 years now and I am getting very close to the end of the rough draft.  Now, when I write, I tend to plot out every plot point ahead of time, work out all the details so that I do not inadvertently miss something vital.  I know that not all writers do this.  But even though I draw out story arcs, write outlines, map out my Action/Reaction (Scene/Sequel to some), and keep extensive notes for that which I must change or be aware of during revisions, I still end up going off track from time to time.

During one of these little unscripted adventures, I realized that I had a potential sequel.  Already, a sequel, and I haven't finished the first book.  I'm not sure how many sequels I can pump out of this thing, or want to, but the more I thought about this sequel, the more I want to write it as well.  It's not well-developed yet, but I have plans.  And knowing these plans allows me to integrate what happens in this sequel into the first book, so that, although they could be seen as stand-alones, they tell one story.

I will try not to spoil anything.  However, in my preliminary research for the second book, I re-read all of The Revelation to John (also known as The Book of Revelation.  Singular.) and began to take notes.  And I noticed something... unusual.

Ask anyone what "Revelation" is about, and they will tell you that it's about the end of the world.  A select few might mention the four horsemen of the apocalypse, or the seven seals, or even the Beast and his number.  Only those who have actually read it will tell you that it also involves a 1500-mile-long-1500-mile-wide-1500-mile-high city of Jerusalem descending from the clouds in all its glory and splendor.

Some of this is true.  There is the city of Jerusalem with golden streets.  Some of this is half-true.  There are actually 2 Beasts.  Along with the Seven Seals, there are also Seven Trumpets and Seven Bowls.  And if you count the horsemen, it can be argued that there are in fact 5, and pestilence is not one of them.  But one wide-believed aspect of Revelation is not true at all.

Nowhere in the Book of Revelation does it mention the end of the world.

The Revelation to John starts with St. John writing to the seven "churches" of the early Christian world, and these messages are very specific.  He then jumps straight away into his Revelation, with no real introduction other than "After this, I looked..."  It is quite conceivable that the entirety of Revelation was a warning to early churches steeped in thick metaphor and symbolism, the meaning of which has been utterly lost over time.  In this case, Revelation bears nearly no importance to the modern world at all.  If it had any, we've forgotten how to decipher it.

But, for the sake of argument, let's assume that this is not the situation.  It is still quite possible that some of the events of Revelation already happened, and that they are very out of order.  There is the story of the Fall of the Angels right there in Revelation 12.  He was defeated by St. Michael, the Archangel, and 1/3 of the angels were thrown down the Earth with him.  This is after the 7 Seals have been opened, and after all 7 trumpets have been blown.  Does this mean that all which was written before this point happened in our distant past?  Has "the Dragon" not fallen yet?  Or is it out of order?  

Again, let us assume that it is in order, and that things have not happened yet.  What is it that Revelation actually tells us?  That lots of people die?  Well, yes.  But lots of people (more than the 144,000... much more) don't die, and in fact are revered.  Revelation is not telling us about the end of the world.  It is telling us about the Beginning.  The Beginning of something wonderful and holy and inclusive and nonjudgemental and beautiful.  The last chapter, 22, begins with the River of Life flowing through the great city, with a Tree of Life on either side bearing a different fruit for each month.  The leaves of the trees heal nations and nothing accursed can exist there.  Then Jesus, the Spirit, the Bride, and all who reside there, welcome you, the reader, to join them there and take the water of life as a gift.

Revelation is about hope and life.  So, how is it that it has come to be known by the opposite?

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