Apocalypse of John
>I have selected this chapter to present, and hope that I can spur some discussion from my personal reflections ..Steiner begins with the messages to the "seven" communities. Let me outline the seven messages below (as taken from the Book of Revelation):1. The first community had allowed its original love of the Christ impulse to wither2. The second community had suffered tribulation from slander and poverty; this was a test of their faith3. The third community clung to false teachings that caused them to oppress their fellows4. The fourth comminity clung to false teachings that led to lascivious behavior5. The fifth community appeared vibrant, while being inwardly dead6. The sixth community enjoyed the grace of God: "Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut (3:8)" .. and, "I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world (3:10)"7. The seventh community was complacent in its blessings: "So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth (3:16)."Steiner places particular emphasis on the message of the first angel (to the first community), saying that the message to the first of the communities must serve as an example to the rest. Steiner seems to neglect discussing the other messages, but actually subsumes them in his assertion that "the [first] angel is urged not to fall short of the "highest love" through lapsing into any sort of error, and is shown the possibility of going astray through such errors." In this, I think that he is saying that the rest of the seven messages serves as a sort of checklist of spiritual errors that we encounter in our struggle for spiritual development. Steiner does emphasize the importance of persistence as being the main message of the first angel.The rest of the chapter offers the reader the fruits of combatting one's spiritual complacency - the divinization of consciousness soul into Spirit Self. I will attempt to explain this below.Steiner began by explaining that complacency is the result of resting content with one's understanding of the original Christ impulse that was received .. following the path opened up in this moment of grace, but failing to remain alert to the corrections offered by reality and the possibility of further inspiration. It is like the seed that was cast in shallow soil. Steiner implies that the failure to attain one's "highest love" is the laziness of not taking the knowledge derived from the senses and the intellect to a higher plane; in not letting it become spiritualized and made divine.This dance is properly performed between the consciousness soul and the spirit self. The human spirit incarnated in its Earth evolution as "I" - the evolved astral body in dialogue with the hierarchy of Ego. The Ego whispers to us in intuition .. but the path we have chosen here on Earth is to walk on earth as "I" .. and this means that we must tirelessly walk a path which leads Thought to Wisdom. This spiritual struggle is currently leading humanity out of Intellectual Soul and into Consciousness Soul .. and the promise of the next incarnation is the reality of Spirit Self. This "shadow" or "echo" aspect of the Spirit Self being present, yet not yet present, is what Steiner discusses for the rest of the chapter on the Apocalypse of John.Steiner tells us that Knowledge, or human wisdom, is as perishable as everything else if it does not undergo that transformation into "divine wisdom." He says that each Community represents a way to the divine from a certain limited point of view .. in other words, many paths to tread in our tireless walk. This is the struggle that protects us from complacency and the loss of our Light.Steiner underlines the importance of the passage in Revelation: "And I was dead, but see! I am alive throughout all the cycles of time. And I hold the keys of Death and the underworld." This I embrace as being the picture of this echo of Spirit Self in the world and in ourselves. John beheld his visions "in the spirit" .. experiencing spiritually in the present what will be realized in the course of time to come. This means that we can live now, in spirit, with the spiritual organs of the Spirit Self, though we may not fully manifest spirit self in the present Earth incarnation - and it is our task to develop these organs now - but that the Earth must pass away, just as did the Saturn, Moon, and Sun incarnations .. so that the next sheath of Man can be bestowed.Steiner concludes the chapter with a description of Christianity as the primary tool of the Consciousness Soul in its upward evolution: 'The truth of Christianity is accessible to everyone who "has ears to hear." The mystai of the ancient world were singled out from the multitude; but the Christian Trumpets sound for all who are willing to hear them.' This is in fact where the whole book Christianity As a Mystical Fact was leading .. that the mystery traditions throughout history served the sentient soul and the intellectual soul when mankind was at such point in its journey; but that the Modern path has led to the priesthood of the individual. Because of the event of Golgatha, divine wisdom is the gift and the command of us all.