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Lesson 11 Revelation 11:1-16:21

Lesson 11 Revelation 11:1-16:21
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A Spiritual Interpretation of Revelation

As taught by:
Unity School for Religious Studies
Unity Village, MO 64065

Lesson Outline

  1. Symbolism of the beast and the bottomless pit.
  2. The contradictory nature of the beast.
  3. The metaphysical idea of "pangs of birth" or "travail."
  4. The metaphysical meaning of the birth of a new male child.
  5. Symbolism of the number 666.
  6. The self-destructive nature of error and evil.
  1. Rev. 11:1-16:21
  2. Be Ye Transformed 240-253
  1. Metaphysically, what does the beast stand for?
  2. Give a metaphysical commentary on a "bottomless pit."
  3. How are the "pangs of birth" or "travail" different from ordinary suffering?
  4. What is the metaphysical meaning of the birth of a new male child?
  5. What is the significance of the number 666?
  6. What is the one point all metaphysical schools of thought agree upon in regard to error and evil?

Lesson Text

Rev. 11:7 (and elsewhere) THE BEAST AND THE BOTTOMLESS PIT

Who and what is this "beast that ascends from the bottomless pit?" What is it that temporarily kills our two witnesses and causes so much anguish and harm? The beast of Revelation is the metaphysical symbol of negativeness and violence still in existence in human nature.

Where does this negativity come from? In Revelation, it is symbolized as a "bottomless pit."

  1. There is NO BOTTOM to it, which means there is no basis of reality to it.
  2. It is an ENDLESS HOLE, which means there is no real substance to it. Figuratively speaking, it is "nothing" coming from "nowhere." Yet it does manifest; it has its terminus point at three dimensional existence on Earth. The paradox is that it has no starting point, but it has an ending point, which is the realm of outer appearance.
  3. Perhaps a summing up could be: The bottomless pit symbolizes the enigma of unreality brought into an appearance of reality, of nothingness being cast into a mold of somethingness. It is an age-old mystery. And the mystery is not solved by simply saying, "It doesn't exist." The beast does exist, but not for much longer!

The beast in Revelation stands for generalized evil or error in human experience. It is the greatest mystery and most infuriating paradox in human thinking. No one has ever been able to explain it. Some have tried to "explain it away" by simply claiming that "there ain't no such thing." But intelligence knows better. It exists. Our greatest authority on things metaphysical and Spiritual is Jesus Christ. Jesus only goes so far as to say this about "the devil": "a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44) Jesus does not say that it does not exist. He says that it exists as a lie which produces other lies.

Further on in Revelation, there are additional references to this paradox:

Rev. 17:8 "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to perdition... it was and is not and is yet to come."

Rev. 17:11 "As for the beast that was and is not, it is... and it goes to perdition."

All this strange, seeming double-talk is actually illustrating one of the most subtle and difficult ideas for human thinking to comprehend. Evil, error, sin, and negativity (beast) come out of unreality (bottomless pit) and eventually must go back into ineffectiveness (perdition). It is the energy generated by the mind of man which gives temporary form to evil for a time (beast that was), but this is not permanent (yet is NOT). Therefore, even when negativity is being formed into temporary existence, it is a part of the process what will take it back into the nothingness from whence it came.

NOTE: It is very important to remember that all we are dealing with here TAKES PLACE IN MAN'S CONSCIOUSNESS!

Rev. 12:1-2 "And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth ("travailing in birth" KJV), in anguish for delivery."

Here we are presented with the idea of "pangs of birth" or "travail," which refers to the experience of productive or useful suffering. The woman stands for our illumined feeling nature that is committed to things spiritual. The child she is to deliver refers to our bringing forth a higher, finer development of our own nature.. To successfully become a finer and better person often originates with a feeling of "travail" or useful suffering. This is never agonizing, nor is it ever unbearable. It is of short duration, and it resolves into the most rewarding of all human accomplishments, THE NEW BIRTH, or "becoming a better human being."

Rev. 12:4 "... And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth."

The habits of negativity and violence in human nature constantly appear as threats to our efforts at self-improvement and spiritual unfoldment. Each new birth shortens the days of the "ascendency of the beast," so it assumes the role of enemy toward our own self-improvement.

Rev. 12:5-6 "...she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days."

Once our new birth process begins, it will continue. Error and negativity may try to interfere, but they cannot prevail. Divine law gives our feeling nature protection and strength to enable us to continue this great process of self-evolution into higher consciousness. The woman (our feeling nature) gives birth to the male child (improved self) and is under the laws of divine guidance and divine protection throughout and after the event.

Rev. 13:4 "... who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?"

Error and negativity can assume a bewildering number and variety of shapes and forms in our human experience. We often tend to evaluate the seriousness of an error by the form it assumes. But this leads to many false conclusions. Error is simply error. Negativity is simply negativity. Regardless of the form it assumes, or the numbers involved in its appearances, it is always OVERCOME BY TRUTH THINKING. Error thinking believes in "safety in numbers," but Truth thinking realizes that all safety and strength lie in ONE source of help, which is God.

The "beast worshippers" represent a strange tendency in human nature. Human thinking can become strongly impressed and influenced by the vast number of appearances of error and negativity in the world. So much so that, in a sense, a person may begin to "worship" it, for the reason that he may believe that it is dangerous not to. Large numbers in outer appearances have a widespread hypnotic effect on people.

Rev. 13:18 "This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of this beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six." (666)

Error is symbolized by the number 666. Six is twelve divided. Twelve is the number symbolizing wholeness and completeness in the true sense of the word. (As contrasted to the number seven, which symbolizes completeness only on the manifest plane.) Six--half of twelve. Six--half whole, not whole, un-whole, unholy.

All sin, error, evil, and negativity are the result of lack of true understanding, with or without the accompaniment of malice or violence. Sin and evil are words which refer to ANY HUMAN ATTEMPT TO NEGATE ANY DIVINE IDEAS. Six, repeated three times, could symbolize repeated attempts to negate the meaning of twelve, the number symbolizing spiritual wholeness or rightness, (12)

Rev. 14:1 "Then I looked, and lo, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads."

This sentence refers to the "redeemed" part of our human nature. The meaning of 144,000 is directly the REVERSE of 666.

  1. 12--The twelve divine ideas implanted in the soul of man.
  2. The twelve spiritual faculties or powers.
  3. The wholeness and perfection with man's soul.
  4. Man's spiritual nature.
  1. 12 X 12--The twelve powers combined with one another to expand and (144) multiply the effectiveness of each in a perfect pattern of wholeness.
  2. The spiritual nature of man expressing fully through the soul

NOTE: Zeros following a number (any number of zeros) always symbolize unlimited but unspecified expression. 144,000 stands for our twelve powers combined with and multiplied by one another, giving expression to our spiritual potential in an unspecified and unlimited number of ways.

Rev. 14:9-11 "And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If any one worships the beast and its image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also shall drink the wine of God's wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and he shall be tormented with fire and sulpher in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.'"

In these verses, we have a classic example of the violent imagery of much of Revelation. It is in regard to that in us which has "the mark of the beast." This refers to all tendencies in our human nature to cling to error, sin, violence, and negativity. These simply cannot be allowed to remain in us indefinitely. They will always be detected and eventually cleansed from us (shall have no rest day or night). The detecting of error is called "tormenting," and its dissolving and elimination are called "burning." This great, beneficial purification process within us is described as going on "forever and ever." It is part of eternal law.

NOTE: It is in passages such as this that taking the Bible literally may cause a person's metaphysical understanding to go "haywire." If this passage were talking about actual human beings going through an almost indescribable torment, we have a barbaric return to the Old God of revenge and cruelty. Revelation is not about such a concept of God. It is a metaphysical-symbolic vision of the eventual neutralizing and eliminating of sin and error from human nature.

Rev. 16:16 "And they assembled them at the place which is called in the Hebrew Armageddon."

This is the only time the name Armageddon is mentioned in the Bible. It is not listed at all in the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary. Yet, for some reason, it has assumed a place of tremendous importance in certain religious groups in our world today.

Metaphysically, Armageddon appears to stand for that place in consciousness where there is a struggle between our negative impulses and our faithfulness to Truth thinking. There is nothing unusual about this struggle, but it does occur daily in most persons.