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One of the central concepts required for the comprehension of the Book of Revelation is that it is made up of archetypes. It is failure to comprehend this concept that causes confusion for most people trying to understand The Book of Revelation.
What then is an archetype? The dictionary definition is -
An archetype is the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies. A prototype. A perfect example.
Relating to or constituting a procedure that can repeat itself indefinitely or until a specified condition is met.
Later in Chapter Six the seals of the seven religions are opened.
And then again is Chapters eight and nine there is told what happens with the Seven Angels (the Seven Churches) at the 'time of the end'.
Still again in Chapters Eleven through Thirteen, and still again in Chapter Sixteen, the same theme of the Seven Angels is repeated regarding the events in Islám, represented there as seven plagues which we again see applied in Chapter Eighteen in the fall of Babylon the Great.
Some may wonder if just one event is being described repeatedly or whether these are different events being described and the answer is that both concepts are true - which is sometimes difficult for a limited mind to comprehend. But let us look at some analogies.
Events happen in cycles. They repeat themselves. Spring, summer, fall, winter come year after year. To describe any one season is to describe something that will repeat itself. To describe any one year is to describe seasons that have occurred before and that will occur again.
We often observe a recursive theme in a musical composition. The melody reappears, although in variations, throughout a sonata. A very modern example is that of a hologram. One can look at a hologram from many sides and most amazing of all, if one breaks off a piece of a holographic crystal they will still see in that piece, although not so distinctly, the whole image.
This is the nature of the Book of Revelation. The whole image is about 'the time of the end' - the fulfillment of all the religions of God, but if one is to look at any one of the religions individually one sees that each have gone through their seasons - spring, summer, fall and winter and that each has a part of the image of the whole in that each has had to attend with the vials of plagues that have attacked the others.
Each of our lives, and the lives of religions, are different, but each of us goes through birth, childhood, puberty, adulthood, and perhaps parenthood and old age before we pass on. So, in the Book of Revelation we see the seven stages applied to each of the seven major religions of the world. Because of the time at which it was written, (prior to Islám which would be next religion to appear - and in preparation of the 'end of the age' which would then follow that) the Book of Revelation deals in large part with Islám and the end of the age.
Five Major Parts to the Divine Melody of the Book of Revelation.
The first part is in Chapters 1-3 with the history of the Worlds Seven Major Religions and then chapters 4-5 introduces how they will be unified into one religion and the announcement of two religions for the Time of the End which will make up the Nine United Religions.
The second part in Chapter 6 and 7 describes the spiritual challenges that occur for each religion and how these must be resolved while Chapters 8 and 9 explains how these will apply in particular to the first six of the Seven Prophetic Religions at the Time of the End.
The third part describes the special spiritual challenges of Islám beginning with recognition of the Bábí in Chapter 10 and in Chapters 11-13 particularly applies the vials of the Seven Angels to Islám presenting Muhammad and Ali as an archetype for the Bábí and Bahá'í religions of fulfillment. This latter concept is further explored in the appendix on "The Most Conclusive Proof".
The fourth part in Chapters 14-19 deals with the catastrophic events of 'the time of the end'. Chapters fourteen and fifteen present both the problems and the solutions (one world religion and the unification of mankind). Chapter 16 focuses on the role that Islám plays once again using Islám as archetype for the vials and plagues that will befall Babylon and the whole of mankind in Chapters Seventeen and Chapter Eighteen.
The fifth part, Chapters 19-22, is then about the concluding fulfillment of the Promised Eighth and Ninth Religions to unite all the religions in one universal religion for mankind and to establish peace and harmony on the earth for One Thousand Years.
As with all classical ideas, prophecies can be repeatedly re-examined at different stages in life as one's own spiritual understanding, spiritual maturity, and experience develops and they come to have a broader view of history and other religious cultures. Deeper and additional understandings do not necessarily discount those of others who are at a different stage or are coming to the subject from a different perspective. What is offered here is one perspective within the framework of the world's religions and the spiritual destiny of humankind.
In the same way, the record and the mention of a thing in the Book does not become the cause of its existence. The Prophets, through the divine inspiration, knew what would come to pass. For instance, through the divine inspiration They knew that Christ would be martyred, and They announced it. Now, was Their knowledge and information the cause of the martyrdom of Christ? No; this knowledge is a perfection of the Prophets and did not cause the martyrdom.