Book of Revelation

From Anthroposophy

The Book of Revelation - also referred to as 'the Apocalyps of St.John' is a book in the Bible written by John the Evangelist (see Mystery of John).

It describes the future evolution of humanity and the earth in symbolic language and imagery or pictures from clairvoyant vision. Rudolf Steiner states that John, the writer of the Gospel of Saint John, was the first and only human being to be initiated by the Christ (re raising of Lazarus-John), and had the highest degree of clairvoyance called 'intuition' or vision into the Higher spirit world (see Stages of clairvoyance).

In different lecture cycles between 1904 and 1924 and some 60 lectures, Rudolf Steiner explained the images and meaning of the Book of Revelation from his own clairvoyant vision, mapping it to the 'modern' spiritual scientific evolutionary framework as used in theosophy and anthroposophy (see Schema FMC00.258 below).

The seven apocalyptic seals were made by esoteric and rosecrucian schools, and depict images of the Revelation and stages of Man's development and the purpose of evolution, ao the group soul (2nd seal), the reunion of Sun and Earth (5th seal), the purified human being in Michael and the dragon (6th seal), and the Mystery of the Holy Grail (7th seal)


  • The Seven Apocalyptic Seals of 'Revelation'
    • were designed by Clara von Rettich for the 1907 congress in Munich on the basis of earlier drawings by Eliphas Levi
    • Arid Rosenkrantz (1870-1964) painted the seals for the first time in 1923 under the personal guidance of Rudolf Steiner. They were published in 1924 in black and white in an English portfolio edition 'Occult Seals and Columns'.
    • Rudolf Steiner's own interpretation of the seals from 1907 can be found in John Fletcher's 'Art inspired by Rudolf Steiner” (1987), see also Volume GA284 'Rosicrucianism Renewed: The Unity of Art, Science and Religion. The Theosophical Congress of Whitsun 1907'


Schema FMC00.258 links the structure and chapters of the Book of Revelation


Schema FMC00.259 depicts the seventh seal with short description.

The letters around the seal refer to the Rosicrucian: Ex Deo Nascimur (EDN) • In Christo Morimur (ICM) • Per Spiritum Sanctum Reviviscimus (PSSR).


See Schema FMC00.228 on Golden Legend for a description of the fourth seal

Lecture coverage and references

Book of Revelation

Chapter 4

See: Seven creative spirits

Rudolf Steiner's coverage of the Book of Revelantion

1902-03-22-GA087 and 1902-03-22-GA087(p287, 301)

1904-05-21-GA090A (p150)

1904-10-03-GA090A (p323)

1904-11-01-GA090A (p384)

1905-03-19-GA090B (p286)


Man had to go through four group-souls until he attained individual consciousness and thereby perfected four kinds of bodily members: four heads corresponding to the four parts of the body: the horns, densifications of the etheric system of force. After the I-man receives the Christ-principle no more animal heads are formed. Man has become man-like and appears in white raiment. The seven heads and ten horns which are brought over from Atlantean times are overthrown. One who rejects Christ would bring the old form to view: the beast with the seven heads as at the time of the seals, so now in the time when the vials of wrath are poured out and the earth divides into two parts.


The form-conditions also pass through seven stages and give race- or culture-conditions. We live in the fifth; the sixth is indicated in the Apocalypse through the seven seals, the seventh through the seven trumpets. Then the physical passes over into the astral.

1908-06-29-GA104 and 1908-06-30 -GA104 describe Future Jupiter as 'the New Jerusalem'


The hardening of matter is shown to the Apocalyptist in the Great Babylon

The seals and their symbolic meaning


The seven pictures that decorate the hall are symbolic expressions for quite specific ancient truths. They represent the so-called seven seals of ancient, and ever new, wisdom. This is spoken of in the Apocalypse of John, and this Apocalypse is a kind of interpretation of an esoteric symbol language.

Whoever studies the seals will recognise the images in the visions of the writer of the Apocalypse. Every letter, every colour of the seals means something. When we look at them together in the right way and sense the connection, quite specific feelings are released, which can engender an inner strength.

1907-09-16-GA101 commentary on the fifth seal

The time will then draw near in which great changes will take place in the cosmos.

When men will have attracted the sun power, the sun will once again be united with the earth.

Men will become sun beings, and through the power of the sun, they will be able to bring forth suns.

Hence, the woman that bears the sun in the fifth seal. Mankind will be so far along morally and ethically that all destructive forces resting in his lower human nature will have been overcome. This is represented by the animal with the seven heads and the ten horns. At the feet of the sun woman is the moon, which contains all those base substances that the earth could not use but had not tossed out. Everything in the way of magical forces that the moon still exerts on the earth at present will then be overcome. When man becomes united with the sun, he will have overcome the moon.


Related pages

References and further reading

  • Emil Bock: 'The Apocalyps of Saint John' (original in DE: 'Apokalypse. Betrachtungen über die Offenbarung des Johannes' (1951); in EN a.o. 1957, 1986, 2012)
  • Fred Poeppig: 'Die Apocalypse des Johannes als Schulungsbuch' (1970, 1985)
  • Alfred Heidenreich: 'The Book of Revelation' (1977)
  • Charles Kovacs: 'The Apocalyps in Rudolf Steiner's lecture series' (2013)
  • Edward Reaugh Smith:
    • Terms & Phrases Vol 1. (The Burning Bush), (1997, 2001) p. 393-400 in 2001 edition on 'Trumpets'
    • Terms & Phrases Vol 2. (David's Question What is Man?), (2001) p. 54-67, essay on 'Revelation'
    • 'Revelation: a cosmic perspective' (2015)
  • Friedrich Benesch: Apocalyps - the transformation of Earth (an esoteric mineralogy) (2015)
  • Edgar Cayce:
    • A Commentary on the Book of Revelation Based on a Study of 24 Psychic Discourses by Edgar Cayce (1969)
    • The Book of the Revelation: A Commentary Based on a Study of Twenty-Three Psychic Discourses by Edgar Cayce (1995)
    • John Van Auken: Edgar Cayce on the Revelation (2000)