The view on the throne opens a new round of events, that is depicted in the breaking of the seals of the book that the One on the throne holds in his right hand. The book shows the way to the highest wisdom (Steiner, GA 8, p.120). The seals reflect the eternal world thoughts. In order to reveal these divine world thoughts, the seals have to be broken. This book on the lap of the one on the throne discloses the mystery of the rescue of man and the sacrifice of the Christ (Schult, p.103).
The Seal epoch
Our present Post-Atlantean epoch will end with a battle of ‘all against all’, according to Steiner (21 June 1908), a battle between strongly opposing egos and opinions. After this phase man will develop a different appearance. In that future, people will be able to read directly on somebody’s face if he or she has good or evil intentions. The body language will, more clearly than now, mirror what is living in the soul. On 25 June 1908, Steiner adds that in the new epoch things, now visible in the astral body for the clairvoyant eye, will be externally visible. This will result in a division of people in two streams. One is the spiritualizing mankind and the other a mankind rejecting spirituality and clinging to materialism. The root cause for this division lays in self-love, which results from the inspiration of Lucifer, the spirit described as the seducing snake in the story of the book of Genesis. The luciferic influence is particularly active in the human soul since 800 BC, a time in which the universal love principle of the Christ was not yet available to act as counter force (Steiner, GA 104a, p.78). The brotherhood impulse comes from the Christ which incarnates exactly between the catastrophes of the downfall of Atlantis and the battle of all against all, which ends the Post-Atlantean epoch. Each individual will fight with other individuals at the end of the seventh cultural period of Laodicea and only a small part of humanity will develop the community building brotherhood love, which leads man to an upward movement. How this will take shape in the sixth epoch will be shown when the seals of the book are opened. That is why the sixth epoch is called the Seal epoch.
The sealed book
The sealed book contains God’s plan for world evolution, the purpose of history. In antiquity the vault of heaven and the stars, the macrocosm, was often compared to an opened book scroll. The rolled up and sealed book represented the microcosm, man (Schult, p.103). Before the Fall of man, man did rest in God and the cosmos did rest in man. All spheres of the cosmos were open for man. Then man was a heavenly man, Adam Kadmon. The book was not yet sealed. But because of the Fall from the heights of heaven, man has lost his cosmic consciousness, the book of heaven was rolled up and sealed by seven seals. All seven heavenly spheres now are no longer accessible to us. If man develops again the spirit in himself and regains a vivid connection with the image of Man-in-God, then man can return in the cosmos (Schult, p.103). But how can this return get started?
Heaven, earth and under earth
Text fragment 12 refers to a world-concept that we are not so familiar with. It speaks of heaven and earth and a sphere under earth. These three layers remind us that we live in a sphere between light and darkness, between lightness and heaviness, between good and bad, and precisely in this middle earth area we have the freedom to choose between both.
The opening of the book
Bock (p.90) experiences this part of the Apocalypse as a moment full of tension. It seems as if we arrive at a time of stagnation. Man is not on the path towards the spirit and the light. Will all have been in vain and end in failure? Nobody seems to be able to remove the seals of the book at the end of the Post-Atlantean epoch. A dramatic tension has built up in the cosmos as a whole. John feels the anguish of the stagnation of the creative stream and weeps. Even in the light world there is no being that can open the book. The strong angel, – according to Schult (p.104) this points again at archangel Michael-, expresses the will of God to bring the threatening stagnation again in flowing movement. Only the impulse of love of the Christ, the Sun Lion, is able to open the seven seals and make free the way for man to a spiritual future. By the descent of the Sun being to the Earth, the real cosmic man, Man-in-God, becomes again part of man and the world. The Sun Lion from the tribe of Judah says: ‘In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33). The Messiah opens the book as Lamb that went through the mystery of life and death.
We have paid a price for the growing self-consciousness in the Post-Atlantean epoch. This price was the darkening of the spiritual world. But, by putting the acquired self-consciousness at the service of the love forces which are emanated by the Christ, new spiritual sensory organs will be opened in us. In this way we will re-obtain the entrance to the light world, now as self-conscious beings. The transforming power of the sacrifice of the lower self in favor of the higher self will open for us the ‘book of life’. Nobody else but I self can make for me that choice. It is up to each of us to connect with the love impulse and in this way to open the sealed book.
‘Book’ should be interpreted, according to Steiner, as a chronicle, a book of life in which the main events of the successive cultural periods during the Post-Atlantean epoch are described in their consequences during the Seal epoch.
Lion and Lamb
After the descent from the Sun sphere into life on Earth and the resurrection of Christ, the image of only the Lion is no longer fitting. Besides the Lion appears the Lamb. The Lamb represents the image of the Son of the Father God, it represents the cosmic love that is willing to sacrifice itself without a need to do so. Schult (p.105) says that the Messiah is as well the Lion of the Sun, the triumphing hero and king, as the sacrificing Lamb, the suffering servant of God. He is the son of king David and the son of Joseph who was sold as a slave. The Lion of the Sun conquers the power of darkness and cannot appear as Lion on Earth but only in the image of the Lamb with the wound of the sacrifice. The Lamb is the sign of being without sin, and just because of that, the Lamb can set free mankind and the Earth. Man can sacrifice by replacing an involuntary death, to which we all are in the end subjected, by a voluntary death to save others. But Christ, as Lion of the Sun, has no part in the unavoidable death. His voluntary death by sacrifice as Lamb opens the way for man to become reunited with God (Schult, p.106). The magic power to conquer death and stagnation, lays in the divine act of sacrificing himself and emanating love (Bock p.94).
The vernal point of the Sun shifts around the time of the incarnation of Jesus Christ from the zodiac sign of Taurus, honored in the Egyptian mysteries, to that of Aries or the Lamb. In this period the active thinking starts among the Greek, Jewish and Roman people. The increased I-consciousness expressed itself in Roman rights of the individual, Greek philosophy and science, and Jewish religion. The I-consciousness further alienates man from God. The twilight of the gods becomes reality (Schult, p.106). The earlier picture-consciousness transforms in the abstract way of thinking in ideas and concepts. Man has to choose between the I or God. But as a result of the coming of the Christ which gives back to man his true God-I, the Man-in-God image, God and the I are no longer adversaries. Christ says: ‘I and the Father are one.’ Uniting the forces of head and heart makes that the thinking fills itself again with divine love.
Seven eyes and seven horns
The Lamb has seven eyes and seven horns. The number of seven reminds us of the seven light spirits, the Elohim, before God’s throne. The seven eyes point at the plenitude of God’s wisdom and the seven horns indicate the plenitude of God’s power (Schult, p.108). The Son reveals himself by the sacrificing love, the Holy Spirit by the wisdom and the Father by the power. In this way the Lamb becomes an image of the trinity as a whole. The Lamb receives the book describing the cosmic evolution, the book of man, from the Father on the throne. The Lamb directs the developments in time and keeps the balance between different spiritual impulses, as represented by the seven eyes, and the way these impulses are materialized, as represented by the seven horns. These horns are related to the materialized human organs. The Lamb is the fifth animal of the throne, which appears as the highest in the post-Atlantean epoch. From here it leads mankind upwards, back to its spiritual source.
Steiner (GA104a, p.20) gives in addition another meaning of the seven eyes and horns. He points at the occult sign for the Lamb.
Occult sign for mystical Lamb; source: https://anthrowiki.at/Datei:Mystisches_lamm.gif
In this sign the seven corners are the seven horns, and in these corners the seven eyes are indicated as the names of the ‘planets’. Starting at the bottom left we find Saturn, then following the path upwards we first go to Sun, and then down to Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter and Venus. The Lamb includes all seven ‘planetary’ spirits, which influence the Earth and human life. The days of the week are named according to these ‘planets’.
A new hymn of praise
Then the angels in heaven sing a new hymn. Ten thousand times ten thousands, and thousand times thousand angels sing this new hymn. This means that a new creative word is spoken which will lead to the creation of a new world. Thousand is the number of the large world year (Platonic year or appr. 25,700 earth years), indicating that a cosmic cycle is completed. Ten is the number for eternity and the divine completion. Dante describes 10 spheres in his Divina Comedia (Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Fixed Stars, Primum Mobile or the crystal heaven, and Empyrean or the fire heaven of God). The Kabbalah knows 10 sephiroth (divine emanations or attributes by which the Infinite expresses itself). The tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is ‘Jod’, the prototype of all letters and all zodiac signs (Schult, p.110). Thousand and ten thousand indicate that (part of) the divine plan comes to its completion.
The content of the new hymn is that God and the human being with the I-consciousness were adversaries in the old time. The Roman emperors even started to deify their human self. In Christ the human I opens up again for God (Schult, p.109). The new hymn proclaims the revelation of God in the free I of man.
The seven streams of force from the planet spheres
The angel hierarchies sing of the seven heavenly gifts which stream towards the Earth: world power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength of the I, and worthiness of the soul, and light of the spirit, and force of the life-giving blessing. Schult (p.110) recognizes in these descriptions the transformed and purified streams of force that are emanated by the seven planet spheres. World power from Saturn, riches from Jupiter, wisdom (as Manas) from Mars, strength of the I from Sun, worthiness of the soul from Venus, light of the spirit from Mercury, and force of the life-giving blessing from Moon. But the original image of man is free of the power of time and all time rhythms and cosmic processes and has its center in God self.
The number four in all that is created
In the final part of text fragment 12, the One on the throne and the Lamb, the creating logos and redeeming God, which are one, are praised by the whole creation. In antiquity the world of physical creation was connected with the number 4. It appears either as fire, air, water and earth or as man, animal, plant and stone, or as south, east, west and north, etc. In the Apocalypse four types of beings are mentioned: beings in heaven, on earth, in water and under earth. They sing to the Creator and Redeemer the four spiritual forces that correspond to the lower planet spheres, and to the four lower aspects of the human being: the force of blessing (Moon), the light of spirit (Mercury), the dignity of the soul (Venus) and the power to direct of the I (Sun) (Schult, p.111).
With these promises the removal of the seals start. The seals will show us what is hindering us to follow the way of initiation and of the revelation of the spiritual world. All forces in us of a moral or intellectual kind will be revealed with the seals and will become visible on our forehead (Steiner, GA 104a, p.109).