Article on how there were many "revelations' back in the day, which were discussions about the mystical experience of direct contact with god/the universe/oneself/whatever name you choose.
Organised Christianity chose one above the others and confused it with real world events rather than internal personal events:
....[the] Book of Revelation wasn't unique. At the time, countless others—Jews, pagans and Christians—produced a flood of "books of revelation," claiming to reveal divine secrets. Some have been known for centuries; about 20 others were found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945.
So what do the other revelations tell us, and how did John's come to trump the others? Unlike the Book of Revelation, the great majority of the others weren't about the end of the world, but about finding the divine in it now. Many offered encouragement to seek direct contact with God—a message that some early Christian leaders ultimately chose to suppress.
The Revelation of Zostrianos, found in 1945, tells how the young author, tormented by questions and overwhelmed by depression, walked alone into the desert. Finding no place "to rest my spirit," Zostrianos says he had resolved to kill himself. But he says that suddenly he became aware of a being radiating light, who "said to me, 'Zostrianos…have you gone mad?' "
This divine presence, Zostrianos says, released him from despair and offered illumination. Then, Zostrianos says, "I realized that the power in me was greater than the darkness, because it contained the whole light."
......The Secret Revelation of John opens, again, in crisis. The disciple John, grieving Jesus' death, is walking toward the temple when he meets a Pharisee who mocks him for having been deceived by a false messiah. These taunts echoed John's own fear and doubt. Devastated, John turns away from the temple and heads toward the desert, where, he says, "I grieved greatly in my heart."
Suddenly, he says, he saw brilliant light as the heavens opened, and the earth shook beneath his feet. Terrified, John says he saw a luminous presence that kept changing form, and then heard Jesus' voice: "John, John, why do you doubt, and why are you afraid?…I am the one who is with you always. I am the Father; I am the Mother; I am the Son."
The Jesus who appears in the Secret Revelation doesn't look as he does in the Book of Revelation. Instead of a divine warrior leading heavenly armies to "strike down the nations," he appears as the apostle Paul says he saw him—in blazing light and a heavenly voice, and then in changing forms: first as a child, then as an old man, then—and here scholars disagree—either as a servant or as a woman. Through a series of visions and imagery, the Secret Revelation suggests that what is revealed to John is potentially available to all people—or, at least, to all who are receptive to what the spirit teaches.
In the fourth century, bishops intent on establishing "orthodoxy" labored to suppress writings like the Secret Revelation. Although they didn't deny that Jesus was human, they tended to place Jesus on the divine side of the equation—not only divine but, in the words of the Nicene Creed, "God from God…essentially the same as God." Orthodox theologians insisted that the rest of humankind were only transitory creatures, lost in sin—a view that would support what would become their dominant teaching about salvation, offered only through Christ, and, in particular, through the church they claimed to represent.
From the second century, Christian leaders, who saw their close groups torn apart as Roman magistrates arrested and executed their most outspoken members, felt that John's Book of Revelation spoke directly to these crises because it prophesied God's victory over Rome. Such Christians championed this book above the rest. Some challenged other books of revelation, with their more universal visions, calling them illegitimate and heretical.
Full article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... lenews_wsj