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Revelation Opens Doors to Heaven

Getting irritable because you don't understand the Book of Revelation is "exactly missing the point", because it's meant to challenge our way of perceiving. Paul Ashdown reports for the Episcopal News Service.

The Book of Revelation has befuddled Christians for centuries because its vivid language and symbolic richness is intentionally disorienting, the 132nd bishop of London told some 140 participants at the annual Bowen Conference at Kanuga Conference Center in North Carolina.

"The difficulty of this book is part of the point," said the Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres, the keynote speaker at the March 19-22 conference. "Getting irritable because it is not possible to understand it absolutely and tie it up is exactly missing the point."

Revelation, he argued, is nothing less than a vision of the structure underlying the universe.

"There are constant doors opening in Revelation, doors to heaven, doors into the future. These symbols are presented in a way that is meant to reverberate, to lead us on, to take us to a different way of being aware, of thinking and perceiving in the world," he said.

We can, Chartres said, therefore be re-inspired by St. John's method, using the imagery of Revelation "to unlock the deep structure of enduring patterns of life."

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