Book with seven seals
The book with seven seals is described in the 5th chapter of the Apocalypse of John. According to Rudolf Steiner, the seven seals point to the cognitive level of imagination.
„1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” 6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.“
When the Lamb of God opens the first four seals, the four apocalyptic horsemen appear. Afterwards, at the opening of the fifth seal, the souls of those who had been killed for the word of God and for their testimony appear.
„1 Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer. 3 When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4 And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword. 5 When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!” 7 When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8 And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth. 9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.“
With the opening of the sixth seal, the great breakthrough into the spiritual world takes place, which is announced by an earthquake. The earthly-sensual world with sun, moon and stars above disappears before the spiritual gaze. The whole sky recedes like a scroll that is rolled up.
„12 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”“
Then the 144,000 sealed ones from the people of Israel appear. They receive the seal of the Holy Spirit, i.e. they take into themselves the spirit self (Manas), the astral body transformed by the I (Rev 7:1–8). Then comes an uncounted multitude from all the tribes and peoples of the earth, clothed in white robes, carrying palm branches in their hands and worshipping God and the Lamb (Rev 7:9–17).
Finally, with the opening of the seventh seal, there is a great silence in heaven for half an hour. Then the angels appear with the seven trumpets. The imaginations disappear and, after a period of complete emptiness and silence of consciousness, pass into inspiration (Rev 8:1–5).
According to occult tradition, however, the seven seals that have to be broken when the book is opened are not identical with the seven apocalyptic seals that were designed by Clara Rettich according to Rudolf Steiner's designs for the Congress of the Federation of European Sections of the Theosophical Society in Munich 1907. These seals rather span a much wider arc and represent the imaginatively seen astral archetypes of the entire development of humanity on earth in symbolic form. The opening of the book with the seven seals and the transition into the age of the trumpets is represented here by the third apocalyptic seal.
- Rudolf Steiner: The Apocalypse of St. John, CW 104, rsarchive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse. Foreword by Virginia Sease, Introduction by James H. Hindes, Translated by James H. Hindes. CW 104a. Anthroposophic Press 2021. ISBN 978-1621482581 rsarchive.org
- Rudolf Steiner, Christopher Bamford, Marsha Post (Translator): Rosicrucianism Renewed: The Unity of Art, Science & Religion: The Theosophical Congress of Whitsun 1907. CW 284. SteinerBooks 2006. ISBN 978-0880106115
- Rudolf Steiner, Johanna Collis (Translator): The Book of Revelation: And the Work of the Priest. CW 346. Rudolf Steiner Press 1999. ISBN 978-1855840522; eBook ASIN B07N9LY1VB (2013) rsarchive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Lucifer – Gnosis, GA 34 (1987), ISBN 3-7274-0340-3 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Die Apokalypse des Johannes, GA 104 (1985), ISBN 3-7274-1040-X English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Aus der Bilderschrift der Apokalypse des Johannes, GA 104a (1991), ISBN 3-7274-1045-0 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Bilder okkulter Siegel und Säulen. Der Münchner Kongreß Pfingsten 1907 und seine Auswirkungen., GA 284 (1993), ISBN 3-7274-2840-6 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Vorträge und Kurse über christlich-religiöses Wirken, V: Apokalypse und Priesterwirken, GA 346 (2001), ISBN 3-7274-3460-0 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner, Alexandra Riggins: Die sieben apokalyptischen Siegel, Triskel Verlag 2005, ISBN 978-3-905893-02-1
References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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