While we enter the Holy of holiest of the heavenly temple, all what rests of the physical Earth collapses with great roar.
And the great city was divided in three parts, and the cities of the heathen fell, and Babylon, the great, came in remembrance for God to give her the cup of the wine, the cup of his wrath. The great city breaks in three parts and the cities of the heathen fall, as well as Babylon.
And every island fled away, and the mountains were no longer found and there fell upon men great hail stones, every stone about the weight of a talent; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because the plague was overwhelmingly great. This is the phase where the further spiritualized earth comes to completion and the part of Earth that is not spiritualized goes under. Soon a time will arrive where a new earth emerges, the Jupiter earth, the new Jerusalem.
Babylon, the great city
Schult (p.273) holds the opinion that what is called ‘the great city’, does not refer to Babylon, but to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is divided in three parts and subsequently it is mentioned that the cities of the heathen fall, and finally that Babylon has to drink the cup of wine of God’s wrath. The earthquakes, the collapsing rocks, as well as the hail stones of a talent (a talent equals some 26 kilograms) indicate major changes in the earth element. Earth is an expression of God the Father, which is now worked through with divine love which results in being broken away from death, while man acquires the resurrection body (Schult, p.274). The earthly Jerusalem is divided in three parts in order to let emerge the heavenly Jerusalem. All forms resulting from mixed elements pass away and only the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness remain. The Son of man is coming to the final unification with God the Father, with the Ensoph of the Kabbalah. The seventh vial marked with ‘It is done’ the completion of time and the transition to eternity. Past, presence and future have become a unity in the eternal simultaneousness of God.
The seven great visions that end the Apocalypse
After the outpouring of the seven vials of wrath, we arrive at the seven great visions, which finalize the Apocalypse (Schult, 275). First, John sees a woman, seated on a scarlet red beast with seven heads and ten horns. The second great vision presents us the fall of Babylon. The third great vision shows us the heavenly multitudes which are invited to the marriage dinner of the Lamb. In the fourth vision, the beast and the false prophet are taken by the white horseman, the Lord of lords, the Christ, and cast alive in the sea of fire. In the fifth great vision, the great dragon, diabolos-satan, is bound a thousand years. After satan is untied, he prepares for battle but fire out of heaven from God devours him and his armies and he is also cast in the sea of fire. The sixth great vision brings us to the throne of God for the last judgement. The last great vision shows us the new heaven and earth, the heavenly Jerusalem.
Purification in three stages
Steiner (GA 346, p.153 and following) gives an extended interpretation on the fall of Babylon at 15 September 1924. Mankind is purified in three stages, before it can enter the higher spiritual world; it concerns the purification of our thinking, feeling and willing or our mind, heart and hands. He refers for these three soul qualities to what the Apocalypse calls, firstly, the fall of Babylon, secondly, the fall of the beast and the false prophet, and thirdly, the fall of the highest demonic counter-force, frequently described as satan. He foresees that these three counter-forces will break into human evolution after the moment (1933) that the etheric Christ can be clairvoyantly experienced by man. He warns that mankind has to be prepared to be able to overcome the threefold fall of these counter-forces without damaging the human soul. Each time such a fall occurs, John describes the descent from heaven of an angle who is praising God for all what happens. This has a specific reason, which is explained below.
The first fall
Babylon represents the first fall. The temptations of Babylon include those related to man’s nature, all that makes him descent below his spiritual level, his kingship. Man is really human when his spiritual and materialistic parts are in balance. Emotions certainly are part of his being but should be controlled by his spiritual part. John calls everything which is not controlled by the spiritual: the city of Babylon. Babylon is the symbol of declining spirituality that results if one is following one’s passions and desires (Steiner, GA 346, p.155). John uses Babylon as example because this city once knew high mysteries, where the priests were able to experience through clairvoyance the secrets of the world of the stars. But these priests evolved gradually from speakers of the truth to liars (Steiner, GA 346, p.157). In this way Babylon became symbol of moral corruption. Later, the whole of humanity became a Babylon, as everywhere the temptation to ignore the existence of the spiritual world became dominant. And this attitude has to fall when the final stage of spiritualization arrives. Steiner characterizes the Babylonian corruption as an ahrimanic principle. And opposite tot his ahrimanic corruption we find a luciferic impulse which John describes as the jubilant angels that sing when Babylon falls (Rev. 19). Luciferic angels do not favor man to be in balance, they want evolution of man to be dominated by the spiritual realm. And at the moment that the parts of earth, that are overtaken by Ahriman, are falling off, the luciferic angels have the satisfaction that this ahrimanic part is excluded from further spiritual development. John gives a very honest description of matters, in the eyes of Steiner.
The second fall
The first fall, the fall of Babylon, is caused by men themselves, by falling back into uncontrolled egoistic desires. This animalistic part of mankind will, for the time being, stay behind. The second fall does not concern these men, but concerns the from the fall resulting influence of superhuman beings. The beast and the false prophet, distributing the doctrines of the beast, are not part of the kingdom of men. They make people possessed of them. This is not the result of I-weakness, which can occur in mediums. It is the result of superhuman forces which promote in men the impulse to do evil. This second fall, coming after the fall of Babylon, concerns Ahriman which aggressively attacks people who have no longer their I in their body. The I is taken over by ahrimanic forces which can act directly through them. These people transform into demons walking on earth (Steiner, GA 346, p.160). At present this is already among us in an early stage. An example of such a person was Nietzsche in the period that he wrote ‘Antichrist’ and ‘Ecco homo’. In this period it was not his own I that was active in him, according to Steiner. Ahriman will use people as his instruments more often in the future. They are the victims of the second fall.
The third fall
There is also a third fall, the fall of satan. In the case of the second fall we met powers which want to guide people in the wrong direction, seen from a moral and intellectual point of view. In the case of the fall of satan, a much bigger evil is at stake. This force not only wants to disrupt the evolution of men, but aims at disrupting the Earth and the whole Solar system. It is a great adversary of the godhead. Steiner does not explicitly mention here Sorat, but he must have implied Sorat. Steiner adds, that archangel Michael is not powerful enough to be able to overcome satan. Michael can battle with Ahriman but not this higher counter-force which is of the hierarchy of the archai. Michael and other archangels have decided long ago to join the Christ in serving as planetary spirits the stability and evolution of our Solar system. But this does not apply for satan. At the background, he continuously looks for possibilities to disturb the planetary constellations in the Solar system by comets and disrupt the regular planetary orbits around the Sun. In this way he can force new conditions in the Solar system and on Earth. Overcoming satan has to wait till the final battle, in which God the Father will prevail.
In the case of the fall of Babylon, people denying the spiritual world have to leave behind their physical bodies. Although their physical bodies fall away, their I and astral body remain part of the evolutionary pathway of human karma. In the case of the fall of the beast and the false prophet ahrimanic spirits live in the physical envelopes of groups of men. Here, Ahriman acts directly as a demonic Übermensch. Also these groups of people have to stay behind. The third fall of satan-Sorat will result in a change of the laws of nature on Earth and in the Solar system. At a future moment satan will succeed in creating disorder in the Solar system. Men will have to learn to deal with these new conditions using improved spiritual abilities. The result of the third fall will be that the disrupted Solar system will have to be left behind as well (Steiner, GA 346, p.163).
The whore of Babylon and the New Jerusalem
This all gives an impression of the major developments that follow the outpouring of the seventh vial and is visualized in the last seven visions.
In the coming fragment we will first see what happens to the whore of Babylon that thrones on many waters. This reveals the events, that follow after the collapse of the kingdom of the earth. The whore of Babylon is the contrast of the New Jerusalem. Descent and ascent of human souls are dramatically presented to us.