Revelation: The Difficult and Helpful Mysteries

The book of Revelation is exciting and interesting. It is also disturbing. It is written by “the disciple that Jesus loved,” John, who was an eyewitness to the ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.

The most difficult image for me in the text involves the marking of 144,000 people from all the tribes of Israel (Rev 7:4). I find this difficult because I do not understand it, and although I know that these persons represent Jews, I have no idea what role John (Christ) is saying of these “144,000” Jews or of the Jews generally. It is difficult to know if this prophecy has already come to pass or is yet to come to pass. While I have my own opinions on many of the mysteries of Revelation, the unknowable dreams of Saint John, presented in the book of Revelation, leave the modern mind frustrated.

The image that is most helpful to me involves the active and glorious role of the Blessed Mother. Mary, queen of all saints and the mother of God, who has been justly glorified, and who, through apparitions, has been involved in the lives of so many billions of Christians throughout the world for two millennia, is rarely mentioned elsewhere in the bible. Indeed, the prayer “Hail Mary” pretty much quotes most of what there is explicitly in the bible about Mary and the Annunciation. In Revelation, however cryptically, Mary is depicted as a central figure in the spiritual realm, a woman attacked by Satan (whom she defeats, as he is then cast out of heaven). In Revelation 12:1, Mary is depicted as being clothed by the sun, with the moon under her feet, “and on her head a crown of twelve stars.”

I find the central role that Mary plays in Revelation helpful to me because I have a strong personal devotion to the Blessed Mother and these passages provide me with biblical justification— from a primary source— for this devotion. Although faith alone should be enough to guide me on these matters, logical support from a source as great as John gives me solace.


2 thoughts on “Revelation: The Difficult and Helpful Mysteries

  1. Thanks for this: I did not know, and I enjoyed studying this subject yesterday. It has always baffled me that Mary seemed almost a minor person in the bible (only the Annunciation, the wedding, the cross, the disappearance of Christ’s body), but so present in my life and in the lives of others. I learned that she is indeed a very prominent figure in the bible this semester– thank you. I enjoyed your class very, very much.


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