One of the main features in the charismatic movement is that they claim to have extreme, completely vivid and realistic or lengthy visions. Some of them I think bring to mind the book of Revelations, although I am not sure if even the charismatics generally have such extremely detailed visions. However, it seems like in the modern Orthodox church this is a rare phenomenon. I am not saying that any visions at all are nonexistant, but particularly the lengthy, extreme kind in the Pentecostal churches. For example, in the Orthodox church over the last few centuries there have been saints who have had visions of Jesus or the Theotokos and have even conversed with them and with angels. Nonetheless, the modern ones that I am familiar with don't seem to be as long and detailed as the Book of Revelations. However, please correct me if I am wrong about that.
So my first question is whether the kind of visionary revelation in John's "Apocalypse" is continuing in the Orthodox Church today.
My second question is whether John's apocalypse can be explained as literary that John consciously, voluntarily, intentionally, and directly thought out himself, or whether he actually and literally experienced what he claimed to have experienced. Namely, was John writing a parable about having an experience and visions, or did Jesus literally come to him and touch John, appearing to John looking as if an actual sword was coming out of his mouth, etc.
Revelations 1 describes this mix of an extreme vision and physical interaction:
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
In the beginning of the chapter, John says that this happened when he was "in the spirit" on the Lord's Day. The elements described like the menorah bring to mind the elements of the liturgy. Fr. Alexander Mileant (I think he became a bishop) suggested from those circumstantial facts that this occurred after the liturgy or in that context.
The reference to having a vision while "in the spirit" brings to mind Peter's reference about the Pentecostal speaking in tongues as the apostles being in the spirit, and about Paul's mention in Ephesians about being drunk in the spirit.
Fr. Tarazi (or at least this secondhand portrayal of his views) portrays the Book of Revelations as if it was deliberately thought out by its writer:
Seeing persecution begin to drive people away from the Faith, he wrote a searing commentary of apostasy and glorification of martyrdom (Revelation).
Apocalyptic literature was typically written in response to persecution. It was an attempt to exhort believers to remain true to their faith even at the cost of their own lives.
The seven letters to seven churches is merely a literary device. In reality the apocalypse is itself one letter to each and every church. John had to convince his readers that physical pain and suffering and death would be worth choosing when a normal, comfortable life was the alternative.
I understand that the Book of Revelations can serve as a reaffirmation of hope and confidence in the face of persecution, however from this excerpt as if the writer of John's "Apocalypse", deliberately wrote Revelations in order to meet this need for reaffirmation. That is, it was not actually a matter of having a vision imposed on him in which he literally saw flaming swords, angels, heaven etc. Instead, it sounds like this excerpt sees it more as a parable written in an "Apocalyptic genre", somewhat like Dante's Divine Comedy, in which the Italian Durante degli Alighier proposed the narrative of himself being shown what heaven and hell were like.
According to conventional thinking, one of the proofs that someone was sincerely having a real vision and not just deliberately making something up is if they were undergoing persecution for it. In the case of the author of the "Apocalypse", he was exiled to the island of Patmos for his Christianity. So based on conventional thinking, wouldn't that be proof positive that his vision was a literal one in which he literally had visions of heaven, hell, angels, the New Jerusalem, etc.
However, the visions of the "Apocalypse" cover 22 chapters and they are often rather detailed. That would mean at least what, 30 minutes of visions? So did he have two visions - one with Jesus about the letters to the seven churches in chapter 1-3 and then another vision iin chapters 4-22? In that case it would mean that he would have had to have relied on an excellent, detailed, precise memory. Alternately, did he have a series of numerous visions that flowed together in a series of images and experiences like he described, and then after each one he recorded the vision?
Later, in the second half of the second century, a heresy arose called Montanism. The Montanists claimed to have major visions and they emphasized John's "Apocalypse". However, the Church did not accept the Montanists. One of the reasons, as I understand it, was that the Montanists had mistaken theological views. However, did the Church at some point propose that the Montanists might have been consciously imagining or inventing the visions that they claimed to have had?