The Divine Sabbath


How does the living one reveal himself in this interlude between the opening of the sixth and the seventh seal? The Apocalypse is a book of hints and allusions, smudged connections and subliminal evocations of myth and history in which vague metaphors are often given concrete historical meanings. Mythological frameworks allow the transcendent to become embedded in memory through narrative means. Consequently, meanings begin to generate and give shape to reality. John is in the throne room of the divine where he is having these visions. Perhaps this is not an extra-mundane dimension, and is merely a literary technique of narrative that facilitates the passing of the revelation from the divine through the medium, John. John’s mind at its several levels conveys the message through his own framework of meanings. It is through his unconscious stirrings that the vague connections to myth and history are conveyed to his churches. What we know of the living one is what John lets us know through his own understndingĀ of his religous history. In all likelihood, John could not have failed to note, even at a subliminal level, that there is a break in the narrative of creation after the sixth day. He certainly was aware of the other narrative of creation where Noah leads the redeemed from the ark and celebrates the redemption in sacrifice and praise. These allusions allow us to see the continuity between the divine of old and the living one of the Apocalypse, and to conclude with John that this is one and the same. We can perhaps conclude that the opening of the first six seals, that is, the dismantling of creation, is a prelude to the calling forth of the new creation. This is indicated in the invocation of the living one as the “Amen!” in chapter 7, who shelters the redeemed with his “presence.” This presence is the gathering place of the past and the future. Presence is a place of reconciliation of what has gone and what is to come, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega, the one who was, and is, and is to come. The presence of the living one is the new creation to be unveiled shortly. The living one is always the self-transforming one, the Lion that is really the Lamb, and the Lamb that is really the Shepherd. The Shepherd will wipe away tears, waters of mourning, and lead the redeemed to springs of living water, waters of hope. John presents the living one as the one who through myth and history has brought about the renewal of creation, and the resurrection of hope. The seventh chapter of the Apocalypse is a Divine Sabbath, a pause before the beginning of the new dawn, the first morning of the first day of the new humanity.

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