Table of Contents
- The symbolism of the number 7
- The image of the colored horses
- The image of “be patient a little longer, until the roll was complete”
- The image of “you pass sentence and take vengeance for our death”
- The image of “the stars of the sky fell”
- The image of “put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God”
- The image of “robes being washed white in the blood of the Lamb”
This is class number 4 on the apocalypse archetype. The jury of the night is chapter 6 and 7. I’ve got 6 items I wanna talk about in some sort of order in the great sea of imagery that’s inundating us.
The symbolism of the number 7
The first item is the symbolism of the number 7. You remember from last time that there was a little book translated as a scroll with 7 seals on it and these seals are now to be opened one by one. We’ve been hit with the image of 7 again and again and the time has finally come when I wanna talk about it at some length. In fact one could say that the whole book of revelation is a bombardment with the archetype of 7. It goes on and on and on endlessly. We’ve already encountered:
- 7 lamps before the Throne of God
- 7 stars in the hand of the apocalyptic Christ
- 7 angels and 7 churches
- and now we are dealing with 7 seals on the scroll and very shortly
- in fact we’ve already heard about the Lamb with 7 horns and 7 eyes
- and very shortly we’ll learn that the 7th seal of the series of 7 leads then into
- 7 trumpets
You see it’s being shouted it you pay attention to the imagery that’s presented the number 7 is being shouted at us, so I want to talk a little bit about it.
I think it’s very hard for the modern mind to appreciate the way that ancients thought of numbers. Jung tells us that numbers are archetypes and as one makes some connection with the Unconscious you can begin to sense the numinosity that accompanies numbers especially certain ones. The origin of numbers was not as remote to the ancients as it is to us, so that they had more of a sense of their numinosity and what we now call the qualitative aspect of numbers as opposed to the quantitative aspect, that’s almost been totally lost, the sense of a qualitative aspect of numbers.
One of the best inc… on the number 7 that I’m familiar with is Philo’s. You may remember in the Greek philosophy course we talked about Philo and even used one of his texts, we used Glatzer’s Essential Philo text. That text translated the essay I have in mind on the creation but it edited out this extensive excursus on the number 7. See, that’s characteristic to the modern mind, it considered it irrelevant because it’s so picturesque and bizarre to the modern mind to pay homege to a number, but that’s an indication of the awareness of the qualitative aspect to the numbers. Philo is writing an essay on the creation of the world and it’s a commentary on the the account in Genesis and he’s talking about the 6 days of creation followed by the 7th day of rest and then that gets him in to talking about the number 7, so he says:
"But after the whole world had been completed according to the perfect nature of the number six, the Father hallowed the day following, the seventh, praising it, and calling it holy. For that day is the festival, not of one city or one country, but of all the earth; a day which alone it is right to call the day of festival for all people, and the birthday of the world. And I know not if any one would be able to celebrate the nature of the number seven in adequate terms, since it is superior to every form of expression. But it does not follow that because it is more admirable than anything that can be said of it, that on that account one ought to keep silence;"
So he then proceeds to talk about it for about 20 pages or so.
"he number seven displays also another beauty which it possesses, and one which is most sacred to think of. For as it consists of three and four, it displays in existing things a line which is free from all deviation and upright by nature. And in what way it does so I must show. The rectangular triangle, which is the beginning of all qualities, consists of the numbers three and four, and five"
I hope you remember that from geometry, that’s the Pythagorean theorem, 3, 4 and 5.
"which are the essence of the seven, contain the right angle."
"But if the right-angled triangle is the beginning of all figures and of all qualities, and if the essence of the number seven, that is to say, the numbers three and four together, supply the most necessary part of this, namely, the right angle, then seven may be rightly thought to be the fountain of every figure and of every quality."
"And such great sanctity is there in the number seven, that it has a pre-eminent rank beyond all the other numbers in the first decade."
Within the series of 10.
"But seven alone, as I said before, neither produces nor is produced"
What he means by that very simply is that 7 is a prime number. It has no factor, so it’s not begotten and it doesn’t beget, because within the series of 10 there isn’t room for it to beget, that will be beyond the series of 10. You see the way the ancient mind is still in touch with the living symbolism that can think of numbers as being begotten or begetting.
I had to slip that in even though it’s only marginally relevant to the Book of Revelation as part of the symbolism of 7, because we must ask ourselves what is it mean to be assaulted by the number 7? Just to cover a few of the items that 7 comes up in:
- as mentioned there were 7 days of Creation
- there is the 7 days of the week
- that comes from the 7 planets as understood in the Ptolemaic-system
- there are thought to be 7 stages of life, you remember Shakespeare’s passage on that, but that goes all the way back to Solon in ancient Greece
- 7 wonders of the world
- 7 deadly sins
- 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit
And it goes on. The most important reference I think for understanding the number 7 is the 7 planets of antiquity which were thought of as a planetary ladder. The ascending soul had to ascend the 7 steps of this planetary ladder in order to reach the 8th step which is the spirit of fixed stars which would be the eternal realm.
Some of you may remember in “Psychology and Alchemy” couple of dreams come up in the dream series that he (Carl Jung) talks about involving the number 7. In one dream the father calls out anxiously where is the seventh? And the question is brought up, why should he be anxious about it? But that of course fits apocalypse imagery very well to being anxious about being assaulted by the number 7.
The connection with the planetary ladder together with alchemical parallels the 7 basic metals of alchemy were associated to the 7 planets. Plus initiation symbolism from all over indicates that one of the basic symbolic meanings of the number 7 is that it’s a number referring to the process of transformation, movement through a series of stages as part of an initiation process. It’s an image of development. In Proverbs for instance in the 24th chapter you read:
"24:16 For though the virtuous man falls seven times, he stands up again; the wicked are the ones who stumble in adversity."
That illustrates the same point that it’s a transformational image and as Philo pointed out one of its features is that it’s the sum of 3 and 4. I discuss the symbolism of 3 and 4 in one of the chapters in “Ego and Archetype” and there I consider the symbolism of number 3 very often to refer to Egohood, because it refers to processes in time and space, which go through a 3-fold sequence: past, present, future. Beginning, middle and end. Whereas 4 is the number of wholeness beyond space and time which are the categories of consciousness and it thus tends to represent static eternity and the same considerations that apply between the number 3 and the number 4 Jung points out can also be applied to the number 7 and the number 8. 7 is next to the final image of the totality of 8, but 7 like 3 is a sequence of stages in a life-process.
Now, to oversimplify a bit, but just in hopes it will stick in your mind I would suggest that 3 refers to a process of a complete Ego-based operation that has the possibility of leading on to the experience of the Self from the standpoint of the Ego’s and I would think of 7 then as referring to a process of a Self-based dynamic sequence leading to an experience of the Self from the standpoint of the Self. That’s a rough and kind of a thumbnail sketch but if it strikes you as something to hold on to then it might be useful, because as I’ve indicated earlier the basic theme of the whole apocalyptic process is the coming of the Self into conscious realization and that characteristically brings a good bit of anxiety with it and the voice that says anxiously that the 7th is on its way will then be quite understandable if it’s understood that the number 7th is the process whereby the Self comes into realization through its own terms.
One other thing I’ll mention about the number 7, I put it on the sketch on the blackboard, is something that Jung discusses in Mysterium Coniunctionis beginning with paragraph 8. It’s a text that speaks of a hidden magical septenary and carries with it a diagram such as the one on the board. The diagram Jung equates to the fountain in the Rosarium pictures. It’s a 7-fold entity A B C D E F G and the net result of it taken as a whole then is a complete mandala.
The image of the colored horses
Let’s turn on now to the next item. Starting in chapter 6 we read:
"6:1 Then I saw the Lamb break one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four animals shout in a voice like thunder, ‘Come’.
6:2 Immediately a white horse appeared, and the rider on it was holding a bow; he was given the victor’s crown and he went away, to go from victory to victory.
6:3 When he broke the second seal, I heard the second animal shout, ‘Come’.
6:4 And out came another horse, bright red, and its rider was given this duty: to take away peace from the earth and set people killing each other. He was given a huge sword.
6:5 When he broke the third seal, I heard the third animal shout, ‘Come’. Immediately a black horse appeared, and its rider was holding a pair of scales;
6:6 and I seemed to hear a voice shout from among the four animals and say, ‘A ration of corn for a day’s wages, and three rations of barley for a day’s wages, but do not tamper with the oil or the wine’.
6:7 When he broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth animal shout, ‘Come’.
6:8 Immediately another horse appeared, deathly pale, and its rider was called Plague, and Hades followed at his heels. They were given authority over a quarter of the earth, to kill by the sword, by famine, by plague and wild beasts.[*a]"
Look what’s been happening, I’ve just been talking about an assault by the septenary and out of this 7-seal septenary volume it’s just given birth to an assault by the quaternity, a quaternity of the 4 horsemen. There’s a parallel to this passage in the 6th chapter of Zechariah, Zechariah’s vision:
"6:1 Again I raised my eyes, and this is what I saw: four chariots coming out between the two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of bronze.
6:2 The first chariot had red horses, the second chariot had black horses,
6:3 the third chariot had white horses and the fourth chariot had (vigorous) piebald horses."
And they were identified as the 4 winds of Heaven and they were going to patrol the world. One of the things we have here is a color sequence that we know from alchemy. The characteristic alchemical sequence is: black, white, red. Nigredo, albedo, rubedo. Sometimes there was a 4th one, the citrinitas, the yellowing or the gold color, but typically it was 3-fold. You’ll notice in both of these texts, the Revelation text and the Zechariah text, 3 of the colors are straightforward and the 4th is ambiguous. The Revelation text does not follow the alchemical sequence, if we assume the alchemical sequence to be the natural order then the sequence in Revelation reverses the red and the black. That would refer to the general negative appraisal that all things red were receiving at about this time in religious history.
My point here is that in the sequence in Revelation you’ve got 3 straightforward colors and then a pale one. Now, that word is actually χλωρός – “chlorós”, it actually means “green”, it’s the same as in our word “chlorophyll”, but it also had the usage of “cadaver-like color” and that’s how the paleness got into it. The other sequence in Zechariah, again 3 straightforward colors and then the spotted 4th. That corresponds to the axiom of Maria, the problem of the 3 plus 1 that Jung has made us so familiar with and that we now understand to refer to the 3 functions plus the 4th, which is so very troublesome. The 3 plus 1 issue also comes up in another way when one considers the nature of these 4 horsemen, who are going to wreck havoc on the world. See, the 2nd, 3rd and the 4th horsemen are clearly of the same nature. They all dispensing various kinds of calamity. Number 2: people are going to be killing each other; number 3: famine; number 4: plague, but number 1 is not clearly a calamity. It’s a white horse and the associations to the white horse are usually quite positive, in fact, we will later come to an image in the Book of Revelation itself where the apocalyptic Christ is riding a white horse.
It’s very interesting to observe what the various commentators through the ages had done with this material. You know, because it has been around for so long, that countless psyches have had the chance to reflect on it and bring their own fantasies to it and that gives very interesting and significant auxiliary material when one’s considering what this imagery means psychologically. There are 3 main opinions as to what the 1st rider on the white horse means:
- Some have decided that the figure on the white horse is the same as the figure described later as Christ in Revelation 19, so it’s the apocalyptic Christ itself joining these other plagues. That’s one view.
- The second view is that the horseman is an imitation of the apocalyptic Christ and is therefore Antichrist. He is riding the white horse to deceive people.
- The third major view is that he’s just another avenging angel, like the others, and that he represents some kind of war or domination.
And then you got other views Quistall’s who has a praeterist viewpoint – you remember what that is, it refers to recent historical events that is just happened – according to him all these horsemen refer to the Parthians who are waiting on the border to attack the Roman Empire. In any event, my basic point is the same that here again, you have 3 horses that have clearly the same function and a 4th one who’s ambiguous, who people can have a lot of disagreement about. The 3 plus 1 issue is here again and if you’re alert to it, you’ll find it in patient-material all the time.
The image of “be patient a little longer, until the roll was complete”
Alright, my next item, starting on verse 9:
"6:9 When he broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of all the people who had been killed on account of the word of God, for witnessing to it.
6:10 They shouted aloud, ‘Holy, faithful Master, how much longer will you wait before you pass sentence and take vengeance for our death on the inhabitants of the earth?’
6:11 Each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to be patient a little longer, until the roll was complete and their fellow servants and brothers had been killed just as they had been."
When you stop and think about this, this is a kind of a rather amazing response: “wait a little longer until the roll has been finished”. The program hasn’t been quite carried out yet, it have to kill a few more people. Now, what does that mean? Does that mean that God is subservient to pre-determined programs? There is a very similar passage in the apocryphal Jewish apocalypse that’s usually called 4th Ezra, sometimes called 2nd Esdras, in the 4th chapter of that work we’re told that “God has weighed the age”. Oh, I should have preceded by saying that God is asked by the what’s called the “chamber of souls”, those who are waiting for salvation, the dead souls: “how much longer?”. They’re getting impatient just as the souls in Revelation are getting impatient and the response was: “God has weighed the age in the balance and with measure He has measured the times and by number has numbered the seasons neither will he move nor stir things until the measure appointed be fulfilled”. In another words there’s a pre-existent pattern that’s already present and that God seems to be obliged to follow. That corresponds to a remark that Jung makes in Answer to Job. He’s talking about the fact that the Yahweh was considering the possibility of incarnating, but then Jung said, “he had to find a pattern, what pattern will he use to incarnate?”. Because then Jung goes on to say: “nothing can happen without a pre-existent pattern”. That was a very revealing remark when I first came across it, because it told me to what an extent Jung considers the archetypes, the ancient pre-existent patterns of the psyche to be determinant, you see. God himself can only operate through the patterns that are already laid down and that seems to be an implication if you reflect on it of this particular passage: “you have to wait until the roll is complete”, the program is already laid out, the pattern requires certain more things to be done so, we’d rather have some more killings.
The image of “you pass sentence and take vengeance for our death”
This passage brings up the whole question of vengeance. Vengeance, the mode of the revenge in the souls of those waiting under the altar and the whole question of vengeance in the Divine Mind. That’s the very idea that Homer brings up on the first page of the Iliad. Can the Divine Mind entertain such vengeance as was being expressed towards certain heroes in the Iliad? Well, there isn’t any doubt that Yahweh is an avenging god, and I bring this all up to reflect on the psychology of vengeance, of revenge, because it’s a psychology that’s so rampant in the world today. Terrorist organizations of all kinds and the cycles of revenge that go on and on call out desperately for a psychological understanding of what’s going on. The issue comes up right here. Let me just give you some quotes concerning Yahweh and that quality.
Deuteronomy 32, Yahweh’s speaking:
"32:40 “Yes, I lift up my hand to heaven, and I say: As surely as I live for ever,
32:41 when I have whetted my flashing sword I will take up the cause of Right, I will give my foes as good again, I will repay those who hate me.
32:42 I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall feed on flesh: the blood of wounded and captives, the skulls of the enemy leaders.”"
"46:10 Now, this is the day of the Lord Yahweh, a day of vengeance for his revenge on his enemies: his sword will eat them up and have its fill, will grow drunk with their blood. Yes, the Lord Yahweh Sabaoth has a sacrifice to make in the north country, by the river Euphrates."
Nahum, chapter 1:
"1:2 Yahweh is a jealous and vengeful God, Yahweh avenges, he is full of wrath; Yahweh takes vengeance on his foes, he stores up fury for his enemies.
1:3 Yahweh is slow to anger but immense in power. Most surely Yahweh will not leave the guilty unpunished."
"In storm and whirlwind he takes his way, the clouds are the dust stirred up by his feet."
"1:5 The mountains tremble before him, the hills reel;"
"the earth collapses before him, the world and all who live in it."
"1:6 His fury – who can withstand it? Who can endure his burning wrath?"
"His anger pours out like fire and the rocks break to pieces before him."
I think that’s enough to make the point. Now you see what we’re dealing with here as I said at the beginning the Book of Revelation is largely Jewish, it’s just got a superficial Christian overlay, because this is a far cry from the doctrine of Christ in the Gospels. The first advent of Christ was meant to transform Yahweh. The second advent, which is what the Book of Revelation is about, clearly brings back the untransformed God-Image. Let me remind you what Jung says on this matter in Answer to Job in paragraph 708, he’s talking about the opening of the seals, we haven’t gotten to the 6th seal yet, we’re just on the 5th seal, but he says:
" The sixth seal brings a cosmic catastrophe, and everything hides from the “wrath of the Lamb,” “for the great day of his wrath is come.”15 We no longer recognize the meek Lamb who lets himself be led unresistingly to the slaughter; there is only the aggressive and irascible ram whose rage can at last be vented. In all this I see less a metaphysical mystery than the outburst of long pent-up negative feelings such as can frequently be observed in people who strive for perfection."
So he then goes on to say that this imagery has something to do with the personal psychology of John, but go on to paragraph 730, 3 pages farther and he expands:
" Let us be psychologically correct, however: it is not the conscious mind of John that thinks up these fantasies, they come to him in a violent “revelation.” They fall upon him involuntarily with an unexpected vehemence and with an intensity which, as said, far transcends anything we could expect as compensation of a somewhat one-sided attitude of consciousness."
" I have seen many compensating dreams of believing Christians who deceived themselves about their real psychic constitution and imagined that they were in a different condition from what they were in reality. But I have seen nothing that even remotely resembles the brutal impact with which the opposites collide in John’s visions, except in the case of severe psychosis."
" The purpose of the apocalyptic visions is not to tell John, as an ordinary human being, how much shadow he hides beneath his luminous nature, but to open the seer’s eye to the immensity of God, for he who loves God will know God. We can say that just because John loved God and did his best to love his fellows also, this “gnosis,” this knowledge of God, struck him. Like Job, he saw the fierce and terrible side of Yahweh. For this reason he felt his gospel of love to be one-sided, and he supplemented it with the gospel of fear: God can be loved but must be feared."
The point being then that Christianity as it is consciously assimilated constructs a layer – I wanna say veneer, because I wanna inject a dubious aspect to it – a veneered layer onto the individual psyche in which the primordial Yahwistic libido has undergone a certain amount of transformation through education and experience and the application of certain symbolic images consciously applied. However, break that veneer, scratch below it, and the primordial psyche is just as it is described in these passages that I’ve gone through.
Vengeance or revenge is a very prominent dynamism in the operation of the Unconscious deriving from the untransformed Self. It’s a great problem for humanity and it’s not to be glossed over by ineffectual preaching on Christian humility, rather as Jung says somewhere, I put that quotation onto that part that has Jung’s painting on it, it’s not through holding up images of light that is effective but rather being conscious of the darkness, that’s what has the transformative effect. It doesn’t banish the darkness but it means it’s being mediated by consciousness that knows what it’s true nature is and what we’re looking at here in the quotations I read and in the text of the Revelation we’re looking at the facts of the objective psyche. They’re not metaphysical facts, they’re psychic facts and it doesn’t do any good to fuss about them, that they shouldn’t be that way, that’s the way they are, and everyone that goes deeply enough within himself will discover them right there, because they’re part of the collective psyche and we’re all grounded in that same foundation.
The image of “the stars of the sky fell”
OK, item number 4, Revelation 6:12.
"6:12 In my vision, when he broke the sixth seal, there was a violent earthquake and the sun went as black as coarse sackcloth; the moon turned red as blood all over,
6:13 and the stars of the sky fell[b] on to the earth like figs dropping from a fig tree when a high wind shakes it;
6:14 the sky disappeared like a scroll rolling up and all the mountains and islands were shaken from their places.
6:15 Then all the earthly rulers, the governors and the commanders, the rich people and the men of influence, the whole population, slaves and citizens, took to the mountains to hide in caves and among the rocks.[c]
6:16 They said to the mountains[d] and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us away from the One who sits on the throne and from the anger of the Lamb. 6:17 For the Great Day of his anger has come, and who can survive it?'[e]"
I don’t have time to go into every aspect of this symbolism, obviously, so I have to pick and choose. Let me pay particular attention to the image of “stars falling from Heaven”. This is an image of the upper of spiritual aspect of the Collective Unconscious irrupting into consciousness. The stars would signify archetypal entities that fall down to Earth, they fall into the Ego in effect. What we have is an invasion of consciousness by the Collective Unconscious. This is one of the features of the coming of the Self.
Some of you may remember a very impressive dream that I report in the Creation of Consciousness, page 28. I might bring it up in more detail later. At the beginning of that dream the dreamer is standing on the Palisades on the opposite side of the Hudson river from Manhattan and he is watching Manhattan being invaded by outer space aliens who were great giants. Great balls of fire were descending onto Manhattan as the space ships and then the giants were exiting from them. That’s a variation of the same theme of stars falling from Heaven.
There’s another dream that I quote in the Anatomy of the Psyche on page 90 in which a woman described a piece of Moon falling down to Earth into her apartment. I won’t go into that any further but it’s an example of how this basic image can express itself in the process of an analysis. Of course the image is a very common one in the phenomenology of psychosis when the Collective Unconscious bursts wide-open and inundates the Ego with transpersonal images that the Ego can’t handle. As we’re going to see when we proceed that this invasion by the Unconscious happens from 2 directions simultaneously. There’s an invasion from above and there’s an invasion from below. Both sets of images are directly applicable to what come up when the Unconscious starts to open up.
The image of “put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God”
My next item comes from chapter 7. I’ll read verses 1 to 8.
"7:1 Next I saw four angels, standing at the four corners of the earth[a], holding the four winds of the world back to keep them from blowing over the land or the sea or in the trees.
7:2 Then I saw another angel rising where the sun rises, carrying the seal of the living God; he called in a powerful voice to the four angels whose duty was to devastate land and sea,
7:3 ‘Wait before you do any damage on land or at sea or to the trees, until we have put the seal on the foreheads[b] of the servants of our God’.
7:4 Then I heard how many were sealed: a hundred and forty-four thousand,[*c] out of all the tribes of Israel.
7:5 From the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand had been sealed; from the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand; from the tribe of Gad, twelve thousand;
7:6 from the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand; from the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand; from the tribe of Manasseh, twelve thousand;
7:7 from the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand; from the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand; from the tribe of Issachar, twelve thousand;
7:8 from the tribe of Zebulun, twelve thousand; from the tribe of Joseph, twelve thousand; and from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed."
This has quite close parallel to the 9th chapter of Ezekiel. Jerusalem is about to be attacked by divine vengeance:
"9:2 Immediately six men advanced from the upper north gate, each holding a deadly weapon. In the middle of them was a man in white, with a scribe’s ink horn in his belt. They came in and halted in front of the bronze altar.
9:3 The glory of the God of Israel rose off the cherubs where it had been and went up to the threshold of the Temple. He called the man in white with a scribe’s ink horn in his belt
9:4 and said, ‘Go all through the city, all through Jerusalem, and mark a cross on the foreheads of all who deplore and disapprove of all the filth practised in it’."
This is the New Jerusalem Bible, it’s a Catholic Bible, and other translations don’t say “cross”, I think the original Hebrew says ת – “tav”, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, although I’ve seen it claimed that the early Hebrew “tav” was written as a cross. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know. Let’s say: “mark a tav”.
"9:4 and said, ‘Go all through the city, all through Jerusalem, and mark a 'tav' (cross) on the foreheads of all who deplore and disapprove of all the filth practised in it’.
9:5 I heard him say to the others, ‘Follow him through the city, and strike. Show neither pity nor mercy;
9:6 old men, young men, virgins, children, women, kill and exterminate them all. But do not touch anyone with a 'tav' (cross) on his forehead. Begin at my sanctuary.’ So they began with the old men in front of the Temple."
Same idea you see, a sealing for purposes of protection from divine vengeance. The annotator and commentator for the Anchor Bible of Revelation J. M. Ford has an interesting speculation that I want to pass on concerning the nature of this seal. She says:
"It might be possible to connect the 'tav' of salvation or preservation with the judicial proceedings involving the Urim and Thummim the objects, probably sacred vats, by which the priests gave an oracular decision in the name of Yahweh. These were set into the breastplate of the high priest, but they were originally small stones of the same size or shape but with different marks on them, such as 'alef' and 'tav' respectively the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In judicial proceedings the decision 'alef' would mean guilty, and 'tav' would mean innocent, to be blameless. If the author of Revelation is influenced by this knowledge the mark for the beast-worshippers then would be 'alef'."
We’ll come up to that mark later on in the text. That’s an interesting speculation because if it has any validity it would apply a developmental standard to those marked. It they all the way through the psychological alphabet then they get marked out as special.
Another amplification of this image of being sealed is a kind of ambiguous and mysterious one and it’s the mark the Cain received when he went out to the world. He was banished but then he remonstrated with Yahweh that whoever met him would kill him and Yahweh said, very well, I’ll mark you with a seal so that if anyone were to kill you he would get 7-fold vengeance. There’s 7-fold again, you see. The mark of Cain then became a protection for him just as it is a protection in Revelation. I’m not gonna say any more about it other than to indicate how profoundly ambiguous these images are if you dig deeply enough into them. They’ve got dimensions of meaning that open up ambiguities that aren’t easily resolved.
Another aspect of the seal is that it separates out the 144.000 from the great multitude that is described immediately following. This could be understood as separation between the elect and the laity. In all religious traditions there is a distinction made between the what’s esoteric knowledge and what’s exoteric knowledge for those with different levels of development and that seems to be alluded to in the distinction made between the 144.000 which is the number 12 magnified you see. “144.000” – that’s just the archetype of “12”, underscored.
The image of being marked comes up in dreams and it’s almost always quite significant I usually see it as indication of vocation, of being called for the individuation process. You know not very many people are called, only a 144.000 to use that analogy. One gets clear dreams of being marked or being called out that it suggests that anyway.
The image of “robes being washed white in the blood of the Lamb”
Our next item is from chapter 7 starting with verse 9. Well I’ve already referred to that great multitude, so I’ll go on a little bit, going on verse 13.
"7:13 One of the elders then spoke, and asked me, ‘Do you know who these people are, dressed in white robes, and where they have come from?’
7:14 I answered him, ‘You can tell me, my lord’. Then he said, ‘These are the people who have been through the great persecution,[*d] and because they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb,
7:15 they now stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his sanctuary; and the One who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them."
What a striking image. Robes being washed white in the blood of the Lamb. We have to pay some kind of attention to that image. First of all it’s baptism imagery. After early Christian baptism the neophyte was dressed in a white robe. It pertains the to whole symbolism of solutio but kind of a peculiar kind. When you examine this imagery in any gap it becomes rather complex. This is a baptism in blood that’s being referred to. I’ve written a whole chapter on the symbolism of the blood of Christ, you’ll find it in Ego and Archetype, but there are a couple of significant Biblical references. One is from Genesis 49, verse 10:
"49:10 The sceptre shall not pass from Judah, nor the mace from between his feet, until he come to whom it belongs, to whom the peoples shall render obedience.
49:11 He ties up his young ass to the vine, to its stock the foal of his she-ass. He washes his coat in wine, his cloak in the blood of the grape;"
That’s generally agreed to be a messianic text, to refer to the coming messiah and it’s a reference to “robe washed in the blood of the grape”, it’s not the exact image but it’s getting close.
There’s another messianic text is Isaiah 63:
"63:1 Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah in garments stained with crimson, so richly clothed, marching so full of strength? – It is I, who speak of integrity and am powerful to save.
63:2 – Why are your garments red, your clothes as if you had trodden the winepress?
63:3 – I have trodden the winepress alone. Of the men of my people not one was with me. In my anger I trod them down, trampled them in my wrath. Their juice spattered my garments, and all my clothes are stained.
63:4 For in my heart was a day of vengeance, my year of redemption had come.
63:5 I looked: there was no one to help; aghast: not one could I find to support me. My own arm then was my mainstay, my wrath my support.
63:6 I crushed the people in my fury, trampled them in my anger, and made the juice of them run all over the ground."
That’s a text generally connected to the vengeance of the coming messiah. You see according to these texts which are really the only ones that use this exact imagery as in Revelation. Washing one’s robe in the blood of the Lamb would mean to join in the slaughter of one’s enemies. That’s what I mean by the ambiguity of this imagery. That’s one of its meanings, if you look below the surface.
That’s not the surface meaning. The surface meaning is martyrdom in which somebody else reaped his vengeance on them but the imagery itself and the associated textual connections indicate that’s one of its latent meanings. J.M. Ford, who I mentioned earlier suggests that the great multitude entered into battle alongside of Christ as the warrior-Lamb or messiah and thus washed their robes in the blood of their enemies. The more usual meaning is martyrdom and according to that understanding then these individuals who have washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb have shared the sacrificial death of Christ by enduring martyrdom for His name and thereby experienced a baptism with the blood generated by the archetypal drama that their martyrdom lived out.
You see if one is just speaking personally if one dies a martyr’s death his robes is washed in his own blood but if it’s stated that his robes are washed in the blood of the Lamb or in the blood of Christ that means that the solutio, the baptism that takes place is an archetypal drama and the blood derives from the archetype, it derives from the Self and that indeed I think is the basic idea. Such individuals, the martyrs did live out the fate of the archetype. This is the idea behind Pascal’s remark that I came across: “Christ’s agony will continue until the end of the world because it’s re-living itself all the time”. It’s the same idea that one found in certain Gnostic notions what’s called the “passable Christ”, the idea is that Christ is continually undergoing his sacrificial death in all of nature, he hangs on every tree. That drama is living itself out everywhere, always. Well, that’s a fairly accurate picture as a matter of fact. It is something like that.
Psychologically speaking I think this imagery all refers to the fact that suffering, when experienced consciously, as part of the archetypal drama of transformation of the godhead, is redemptive. All suffering that is conscious of that context is redemptive because it is a participation in the self-sacrifice of the God-Image whereby the latter is undergoing transformation by virtue of the fact that there is a conscious participation of an Ego in the event that knows what’s going on. Suffering itself has no value at all unless it’s accompanied by the level of consciousness I’m referring to. There’s no psychological value I mean. It may have other value, it may have political value, but psychologically speaking it has redemptive value only when it’s accompanied by consciousness of the archetypal context at that level. That’s what I get out of Answer to Job, nothing original but this, needless to say, this is straight Jungian doctrine.
Well I’m going to stop with that. I’m gathering questions here and there and those who have submitted them be patient, all in due time, when the roll is completed.
I’ll see you next week.