Menorah as Chalice
… The Book of Revelation can be described
as a book of arcane symbolism.
It seems to me astonishing that such a work should have been
accepted into the recommended canon when so many
other far less controversial texts are regarded as apocryphal –
this word which now has connotations of spuriousness or falsity
is derived from the Greek word for ‘hidden’ –
Apocryphal works, then, can be regarded
as those books which possess hidden wisdom.
It will be useful to consider the opening few paragraphs
of Revelation and compare them to Daniel’s vision of Michael
“It was on the island of Patmos.
I was meditating on the seventh day
when I heard behind me a voice as of many waters,
“I am the beginning and end, first and the last.”
I turned to see who it was that spoke,
and I saw a figure resembling the Son of Man.
He was standing in the middle of seven golden candlesticks.
His beard and his hair were like white wool.
His eyes were flames of fire.
His countenance was bright, as the sun when it shines at its height.
He was clothed in a long white robe.
About his breast went a golden girdle.
In his right hand he held seven stars.
His words rang out of his mouth clearly
with the poignancy of a double-edged sword:
“I am he that lives and was dead.
I possess the keys to death and hell.
I shall live forever more.”
I fell down at his feet and they were like fine-brass forged in a furnace.
He laid his hands upon me, “You must write down all you see in a book,
and send it to the Seven Churches of Asia.
Let all the churches know that I am he who searches
the reins of the heart and gives to every one, according to their works.
Tell them to remember from whence they have fallen,
to return to their first love lest I come upon them like a thief
and remove their candlestick from its place,
thus speaks the ‘Amen’: ‘I know your works, I know that you have a name,
I know that you live, and yet, you are as the dead!'”
It might be difficult for St Michael to be described as the,
‘one who is living but was dead’, but
he could certainly lay claim to being regarded as
‘the first and the last’ and also as possessing,
‘the keys to death and hell’…
In the Book of Daniel, we may recall,
St Michael was described as a Great Prince,
as a Chief Prince, and as Daniel’s Prince.