The Book of Revelation – a Kaleidoscope of Images
In the final book of the Bible we find a kaleidoscope of striking images: a dragon that sweeps the stars from the sky, a locust army with scorpion stings, a golden city of light, a tree with leaves that can heal the nations. These are word-pictures, frequently multi-layered and quite startling, especially in the way different images are combined. The visionary, who simply calls himself John, describes his experience of the risen Christ. This took place on the island of Patmos in the eastern Mediterranean around AD 81 – 96, probably during the reign of the persecuting Roman Emperor, Domitian.
This apocalyptic vision of the risen Christ still challenges its readers, centuries after John was told:
"Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this." Revelation 1:19
In seeking to understand the relevance of this book to our present-day spiritual experience, a group enthused by Emanuel Swedenborg’s insights on the subject wanted to engage more directly with the personal relevance of the vision.
To do this the group suggested that the dynamic of thoughts and emotions in each person is to be seen as corresponding to a 'church' in miniature on its own transformational journey. This approach opens helpful spiritual insights in John's vision. He offered it to the church he knew but now it can be recognised that the relevance of his vision is timeless. It has universal application to the challenges we all face in our inner life.
Creating the Illustrations
In a desire to make a more effective connection with the energy of the vision's imagery, the gifted artist and graphic designer, G Roland Smith, was invited to portray some of the key scenes in the vision. This proved so helpful in gaining an overview of the book, making meaningful life-related connections, that the project was extended to twenty-five detailed images. These now cover themes right across the whole narrative of the book and form a truly outstanding artistic and spiritual achievement.