Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse

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Reading the Pictures of the Apocalypse

Notes from 16 lectures, Munich and Oslo, Apr. 22, 1907–May 21, 1909(CW 104a)
1 lecture in Paris, June 14, 1906 (CW 94)

“In the New Testament it says that the second coming of Christ will occur in the realm of the clouds. What Steiner’s lectures make clear is that some of these clouds will be very dark, bringing thunder and lightning.” — James H. Hindes

We can be overwhelmed by the fearsome pictures of our current world situation, which reflect powerful spiritual events taking place today. This book is based on notes written down at 16 lectures given in 1907 and 1909, presenting Rudolf Steiner’s masterful account of the meaning of the most esoteric book in the Bible. They instruct a practice and inner training in reading the signs of the times, so that we can prepare responsibly and in full consciousness to meet the challenges that humanity is facing now and in the future.

In aphoristic, intense sections, Steiner surveys the sweep of world history on a cosmic scale. His penetrating interpretation of the Apocalypse shows how the human soul will evolve and change through the present and coming great conflagrations.

Themes include

• the nature of the third millennium;
• Sorat and the significance of the number 666;
• the War of All against All;
• the Second Coming of Christ;
• the true nature of the “I”;
• how future possibilities will depend on our present actions.

“The Apocalypse of Saint John, when properly understood, expands our conception of Christianity to cosmic proportions again. It reveals in images―in a kind of picture language―the deepest secrets of earthly and human evolution. These images contain the power of the Word, the Logos. Taken into the soul, they transform; over time, they can initiate. This is the connection between the Apocalypse and the work of Rudolf Steiner, who said that simply hearing and reading the results of anthroposophical research can gradually transform the human soul and awaken in us  the ability to perceive the spirit.” (from the introduction)

This volume is a translation from German of Aus der Bilderschrift der Apokalypse des Johannes (GA 104a); the added lecture in Paris is from Kosmogonie. Populäre Okkultismus. Das Johannes-Evangelium. Die Theosophie an Hand des Johannes-Evangelium (GA 94).

About the Author

Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.

Virginia Sease was born in Pennsylvania and earned her doctorate in German from the University of Southern California. She taught in a university and a Waldorf school in Los Angeles and has been a member of the Executive Council of the Goetheanum since 1984. She directs the English language Anthroposophical Studies Program at the Goetheanum.

Rev. James H. Hindes was a Christian Community priest for more than thirty years, serving as pastor for congregations in England and Germany, as well as in New York City, Massachusetts, Los Angeles, and Denver. Rev. Hindes is the author and translator of several books.

Additional information

Weight 14 oz
Dimensions 5.5 × 0.5 × 8.5 in


James H. Hindes


Virginia Sease


James H. Hindes




April 2021






CW 94, CW 104a


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