with viewpoints of many fields of
research and experience.
Ways of Jesus Christ in human consciousness and in the changes of the world.
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This is the first part: the chapters concerning the steps in the Gospels:
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For 2000 years, - including previous prophecies several thousand years more – people have vouched for their manifold and direct experiences with Jesus Christ again and again. In spite of their varying characters and various religious, philosophical and scientific contexts, they show some mutual perceptions, independently from each other. They also speak about the possibility for others to prepare themselves for similar experiences. New abilities for people and the world can also be seen through Jesus Christ, far exceeding mere cultural and historical bounds. Here these steps of growth are explored in a new way. Along the steps which Jesus himself went through, their significance for different fields of life shows itself.
In the 12th century the Abbot Joachim di Fiore prophesied an "Era of the
Holy Spirit", in which such individual relationships to God, independent of
institutions, would become common property. Today, several endeavours are
spreading worldwide that not only search for Christ taking shape in the
individual, but also see the individual as a cell more and more consciously in
the "body of Christ".
In this context the awaited "Second Coming" and our "apocalyptic" time cannot be understood as a simple reincarnation with its circumstances, but as a much more comprehensive scenario. Nevertheless one can suspect
Especially these days,
• when the phenomenon Jesus Christ is claimed by many different theologies (see extra window) and dogmas, by linguistic, historically-critical, archaeological and palaeographical, religious-sociological and psychological, scientific, political ways of looking at it,
• when, as in the time of early christianity, a manifold spiritual scene rose in society beside an old materialistic mainstream – that created both bridges and frontiers between them and christianity,
• when the most confusing situations occur,e.g. several reputedly incarnated "Jesus Christs"; and when problematic and negative incidents occur in the name of Christ,
it can be interesting, to investigate, what the real contribution of Christ might be:
This project starts with some of our own inner experiences and other mystic sources, etc. The viewpoints used are interdisciplinary ones, from many areas of knowledge and experience - not only theological ones. From this spiritual point of view, no attempt is made to distract people from social and political consciousness with some kind of pseudo-inwardness. Of course the dogmas of the mechanistic scientific thought of the 19th century cannot be accepted as limitations of view; neither can the eastern considerations, that there is nothing, which has not already been described in the ancient Indian vedic scriptures and that Jesus is nothing but a - probably third class – teacher of them, cannot be accepted as a limitation of thought. These realizations are not derived from the books compared in the text or in a list of other books for more theologically interested persons; reading "Ways of Christ" does not require knowing these books or having previous theological knowledge. Nothing is meant as a dogma or as an opinion of any religious organisation in the world. Nothing is directed against any church, religious or spiritual group, or against the Apostles' Creed. People who relate themselves to another religious or ideological background, but who are positively interested in new insights of a Christian approach , neither trivial nor superficial, can find this here too. It also points out the relationship between a Christian Path and other inclinations. Just as John's Gospel portrays the specific Christian way in a language understandable for the seekers of wisdom of that time, this work makes Christianity similarly accessible from various sides. The style of this document also lets the mind of the reader be free. Research & exploration are different to missionary work. Nevertheless, also Christians who prefer a simple belief to profound considerations may learn from this text, e.g. how to communicate with the people of other beliefs without constant misunderstandings.
The text should speak for itself.
"I still have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of the truth comes, he will guide you into all truth" (John 16:12-13). Ways of Christ draws inspiration from this spirit.
This wording was not used initially for the displacement of Jesus* as a human example; but it indicates his deeper connection to God and to the way of creation. The nature of this connection then may still be seen in various ways. But to explain it away from the start as incomprehensible and not authentic, is simply inadmissible. This kind of formulation can be found in St. John's Gospel (John 1, John 5, John 6:69, John 7 ...), in the letters to the Colossians and the Ephesians, in Matthew 16:16 etc.; and "lived" also still in old church teachers, in mystics like Jakob Boehme, in Rudolf Steiner (Helsingfors 1912), and comes back to life in the "esoteric teachings" of the Christian wise man "Daskalos", as well as in the books of the American theologian Matthew Fox: "The coming of the Cosmic Christ. The healing of mother earth and the birth of a global Renaissance", and "The great blessing"; also in meetings of the "Evangelische Akademie at Bad Boll" concerning the question of the Cosmic Christ; and at other places.
In the Catholic church and parts of the protestant church an attempt was made
to preserve the faded proximity to this level of tradition using pure doctrines.
Other parts of protestant churches that recognized the social work of Jesus more
strongly, thought they had to drop this as a "divine exorbitance" of
Jesus. In teachings of Hindu origin the term "Avatar(s)" of different
stagesis compared with that, meaning people who are not on earth for their own
progress but voluntarily, to contribute to the progress of a nation or mankind;
as a drop "of divine perfection". However, the differences between
this type of consecutive "Avatars" in such opinions often become a
blur; while the Jewish and Christian opinion stresses the "God of
history", the aspect of the development and the special role of the Messiah
in this connection.
Here it is noted that the Koran accepts Jesus Christ as a prophet sent by God, and as the "Word" of God, "created like Adam" (mentioned in several places). This is more than some modern Christian theologians accept, who see only the social reformer Jesus! Only Jesus as God's Son - Christians at the time of Mohammed imagined this very physically - in the context of the later doctrine of the trinity was not accepted by the Koran. At that time, there were hardly any Christians left who werecapable of explaining this authentically to someone of another faith.
At this point it should be emphasized, that this level of the mystery of
Christ does not mainly originate from speculative thinking, but from visionary
experiences, e.g. clearly visible in the work of Jakob Boehme; who also
shows a rare ability, to assimilate his experiences conceptually. All
experiences of a spiritual kind need indeed (self-) critical digestion; but an
appraisal of its results without considering the existence of such a level of
perception is no proper method, leading nowhere.
Neither can people with a recognisably mystical or spiritual mission really be understood if they are historically and critically only seen from their external socialisation, instead of including their independent inner spiritual development.
*) The existence of Jesus is relatively well documented in history. Historians from the 1st Century A.D. such as Josephus and Tacitus confirm his actual emergence. In the biblical gospels too, the times and places of numerous events are mentioned. For example, several rulers and officials (e.g. Luke 3:1, 2, 23), can be identified by the year in which Jesus began his ministry. These same people were again to be found in historical documentation. Hence the biblical reports do not have the character of mere mythological stories. The "Apocrypha", e.g. additional Christian gospels, including texts from the early centuries after Christ, which are not part of the bible, often place less emphasis on exact reporting, but more on certain interpretations of isolated events by the various authors.
text of the beginning of John 1
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In the sequence within the gospels we come now to more human events. Traditionally, the birth of Jesus is connected with Christmas - although this may not be noticeable in many of the Christmas activities. (Luke 1, 26-56; Matthew 1-2). Faced with the central importance of the later 3 teaching years - one may ask why some present-day theologians have laid such emphasis on denying the virgin birth of Jesus. While the earth-shunning early "gnosticism" found it necessary to believe that Jesus only had an "apparent body", other streams of thought are of the opinion that Jesus had to go through the various steps of physical life of a human being, in order to express a certain model path. If a real search for truth were really the motivation for this discussion, more flexibility might be helpful. At a time in which connection with the transformation of sexuality and love new aspects emerge, e.g. extracted from eastern practices and reminding us of old temple customs, it (should) not be farfetched to accept a core of truth in the tradition. Buddhists – also ascribing extraordinary birth circumstances to Buddha – would have no difficulties either with the assumption of the virgin birth, or with a virginity in a mainly psychological sense, as described by R. Steiner for instance. The Koran speaks about Jesus as a being "created" by God "like Adam" in the virgin Mary, similar to the bible, reporting about the angel coming to Mary.
It could turn out that this characteristic of Jesus, which does not match any of the fixed ideas we have about him, is already being hinted at. However we are more likely to recognize specific qualities rather in the further course of his life. We will also encounter the importance of the possibility of being "born again" with Christ during this life *.
Right from the beginning, the life and the ministry of Jesus were interwoven with the course of world history. That already becomes apparent in the census, which was decreed by the Roman emperor, which caused Jesus’ parents to travel to the prophetically significant town of Bethlehem where Jesus was born. That fact was taken into account in theological literature when it came to the debate on the worldwide significance of Jesus.
*) Extra window: Bible quote
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If I have not yet experienced it, can I wish for an inner renewal from God as the source of everything?
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Nothing in the life of Jesus is without significance, but this part of his life has been given a slightly disproportionate amount of importance, especially by some modern spiritual writers. The Bible itself only reports the song of the sage Simeon and the amazement of the scribes with the twelve-year-old Jesus (Luke 2, 29-51). The most authentic of the non-biblical "childhood gospels" existing in fragments and retellings, the "St.Jakobus' Gospel", contains symbolic events and meetings., but nothing to support the modern thesis that Jesus learned everything from the Essenes or from the partially related community of Qumran; or in Egyptian or Greek temples; or in India, etc. Some of these hints might be helpful in activating the creative fantasy, but also led to jumping to conclusions or creating new dogmas. This would show an outline of a Jesus that encountered not just the one or the other, but all essential spiritual teachings of his time intensely; and who unfolded in each case, what he had to unfold, guided inwardly; - which was not necessarily identical with the way others thought it had to be. That is a basic experience that is comprehensible in smaller measures in the lives of several people, sometimes beginning in early childhood. This experience goes beyond all psychological ideas of "mould" and behaviour. For marked individuals and mystics it is almost typical, see, e.g. the life of the well known Indian Yogi Ramakrishna with his many teachers, who were soon no longer able to teach him anything. As some illustration for this kind of development concerning Jesus, see Levi´s so-called "The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ" (published in USA 1908 and later by L.N.Fowler &Co.Ltd., London). But this book may be looked on as a slightly fantastic portrayal and is not needed as a basis for this chapter.
R. Steiner describes a scene in "The Fifth Gospel", just before the baptism in the Jordan, in which Jesus made it distressingly plain that in the new age, the working methods of esoteric orders such as the Essenes, sealing themselves off from the outside world, can be counter-productive. Their religious zeal - with a lot of physical and ethical / intellectual cleansing rules – protected them from negative influences, but their environment was affected all the more. Especially in the further course of Jesus’ life we also find a biblically based impulse of "to be in this world, but not of this world", thereby including the world in his own development. So some of Jesus’ teachings would have been regarded as secret in prechristian times and are now directed to all open people in the world., which is no contradiction to the teachings basically taught to the better prepared disciples.
This is indeed apparent when compared with the old mystery traditions based on strict secrecy, as a new historical element. Interestingly enough, there was a similar tendency in new branches of Mahayana Buddhism, in which compassion for all beings is stressed strongly, in spite of spiritual goals beyond this world. (The old Hinayana branch of Buddhism stresses the goals beyond this world.) But only now in modern times has the possibility for everyone to access spiritual depths become obvious. Nobody can say they have never heard of it. Since the contemporary railway station kiosk esoteric books are still very superficial, one can assume that this tendency is not yet fully translated into action. It is clear, that, e.g.the secretive practices of the Vatican library are of a pre-christian nature as far as this point is concerned.
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Here R. Steiner´s interpretation of the different lists of forefathers in Matthew and Luke as "two boys named Jesus " may also be mentioned. Since there is no denying that the divine nature of Christ manifested only in one human being, it is amusing to note that the human intellect got anthroposophists and theologians alike involved in a major matter of dispute namely: "1 or 2". The real question was rather, how Christ’s incarnation and the context of his life were accompanied by powers of wise men of various cultures (like Adam, Krishna, Buddha, Zarathustra). Since spiritual subjects of investigation can be even more complex than the earthly mind can imagine, concrete statements in literature are often less exact than such general viewpoints are.
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Baptism in its original form was neither a symbolic act nor was it a declaration of membership to a religious community. The submersion by an experienced person, in this case John the Baptist, was often something close to drowning and therefore quite a frightening experience. It resembled in this respect antiquated forms of "Initiations" and/or. "Initiation tests". But in this case the possible psychological experiences were not the main reason or a means of overcoming the fear of death. Baptism signified the call to "repent" (better translated: "to change one’s ways"); namely to the will of the creator, whose "Heavenly Kingdom" had been announced (cf. Matthew 3, John 1).
When Jesus asked John to baptize him, John did not feel worthy to help him. He agreed, but had no control over the event and could only observe a far greater change in Jesus than he was accustomed to bringing about. He had already anticipated the possibility of a higher kind of baptism through the fire of the spirit, through One that comes after him. He then saw the "Spirit of God" descending on Jesus. Christian esoterics saw here the actual "birth of Christ in Jesus". However, this does not require the idea of Jesus and Christ as two separate beings that had not had anything to do with each other before.
Baptism In general and and especially the "baptism in spirit" - the term is used in various ways, e.g. in free churches – can be looked upon as a lead-in to a "New Birth" of man. (John 3) The term "rebirth", more customary in Christian literature, is avoided here because of possible confusion with "re-incarnation". This does not mean that the question of re-incarnation does not appear in the Bible: Matthew 11,14 may be interpreted along these lines.
Instead of wishing to resolve theoretical, theological quarrels about the nature of baptism, the interest could be directed towards what this "New Birth" could really mean for people. We can start, feel, and investigate our entire lives again from a new viewpoint, from a deeper hidden (higher) layer of being, one which is turned toward God. God can take shape in the human being, allowing men and women to become more clearly recognizable as "God's images", or, as mystics express, "Christ's spark" in the heart becomes filled with life and begins to grow. The person who deals with that meditatively can also observe this in the image of a child that really unfolds, or that of a child with the mother as an image of the soul. Unlike a fleeting mental picture, created at will during some exercise, it reflects the person’s stage of spiritual development, which cannot become produced at will by the ego. This inner child will become adult later and is even later continuously present in consciousness.
For the less imaginative, the same phenomenon may express itself more through inner feelings or mental impressions, or simply through transformations in life. Works of art such as the Sistine Madonna might also have arisen from visions and therefore helpful, in finding access to inner realities.
In the book "The ways to spiritual rebirth" published by Lorber (german) three stages of rebirth are distinguished in another manner.
A similar way of supporting this development is the meditation on St. John's gospel, a practice almost forgotten today. After a chapter or so, something of the inner content may begin to twinkle in meditative images or in dreams and it may even be felt too and can be taken up in daily life. Then one goes on with the next chapter of the gospel. The chapters of this website may help to do this work. The meditation itself can include learning and speaking the text aloud, or looking at and meditating on the context without speaking. See "methodical tips" in the Introduction.
A further essential feature of a path in the sense of Jesus can become apparent here: the development and its measure is present within each individual. One can develop everything within oneselfand in exchange with life, without the urgent necessity of an institution to endow them with grace. That does not exclude advising each other in a brotherly way. The way is given for the "imitation of Christ".
The "inner" kind of experience itself is not considered to be a substitute for praying to the "external" God: " Remain in me and I in you" (John's Gospel 15)
There was no great necessity to continue with the water baptism after Jesus had begun his teaching activities, or even after the "spiritual baptism" of the Whitsun experience. Jesus already saw it as an external sign of a new development phase that had already matured inwardly. While the baptist movement still taught: "Repent and let yourself be baptized!", after the fusion with this movement the disciples of Jesus taught: " Believe", that means to open oneself for the power of the conviction, "and let yourself be baptized". This part was a concession to the supporters of the baptist; but they started with a positive attitude. They both baptized adults who were able to decide consciously. That does not necessarily exclude the fact that there might also be some kind of blessing for newly born children as their right since 2000 years; but presumably it would have been more expedient to distinguish this from the actual baptism and also from the question of the affiliation to a specific church. This would have resolved many of the quarrels regarding this matter.
Inevitably dependent on the interpretation of the announced Messiah as a king that was prevalent in old Israel, people also understood baptism as an entry into the new kingdom. It did not help to explain that it would be neither a physical kingdom, nor an external church organization, but the community of all those who accept God as their father and themselves in their souls as sons and daughters newly born from this father. This belief, combined with the brotherly attitude of "brothers" and "sisters" among each other and with the human and divine son Jesus as the elder brother formed the core of the teachings that were offered to people to comprehend. In old Israel, the idea of God as a father already existed, as well as the old idea of God as something inaccessible. However, in this case he was considered to be more the father of Abraham and the nation descended from him. God was only the father of the individual through the nation. At the most, a few individuals may have experienced God as a direct father of the individual. This teaching was first brought by Jesus to the public at large; of an individual who feels guided by God in the soul and who could at any time seek communication with God. This was a person who could already feel the eternal part of their own being by this connection with the eternal God. That is already there, and is anchored more clearly in the further course of the way of Jesus.
Note: It is possible, that the following description of Jesus’ experiences in the desert - along with relevant experiences with God not handed down in the Bible - is one of several such phases of seclusion.
Liberal theologians have portrayed the baptism of Jesus as a vocational experience. Seen from a traditional theological point of view, however, the calendrical and prophetic embedding in world history was also an issue (e.g. Luke 3:1-4 including the reference to Isaiah 40:3-5; ): the prophecy deals with a redemptive act of God.
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If I haven't already, can I give my life into God's hands ?
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At the beginning of his work as Christ* he is alone. The baptism and the 40 days in the desert e.g. Mark 1,12-13) with the temptations appertain to that. Subsequent to that the appointment of his disciples took place.
Both externally and internally, the desert represents a seclusion that allows one to become increasingly conscious and to attune oneself to the universal God more strongly. This preparation for everything that follows is indispensable for every serious religious path, which means the renewed connection with the divine origin - even if this is not the whole way. On his own level of experience Jesus also passed a stage exceeding setting aside time for daily contemplation.
The churches, even those that often speak of "inwardness" – sometimes misused as an apparent contradiction to the demonstrations for peace in the outer world - do hardly anything to show the people a practicable way to this inner peace. We did not find the element of silence, of quietly watching oneself, of waiting for what "answers" may come after a prayer to be sufficiently considered in the services of more than 30 different churches. A song, the sermon, prayers, a song - almost without a pause, possibly even collecting money at the same time as some distraction, - this is almost a copy of the hectic pace of modern society, in which people distract themselves from their unexplored inner self, either unconsciously or consciously. Only very recently, faced with the search of many people for almost any kind of experience, there have been some small advances, e.g. that some weekend contemplation seminars take place for especially interested people in the church, or that interested people are informed of bible circles or possibilities at home, etc. But even there, direct instruction is often missing. Some might recognize that a greater proximity to God requires solitude and others that their social values like self-criticism, tolerance and the ability to find peace also presuppose the effective temporary shutdown of external activity. Of course it would be hardly satisfactory for this to take place occasionally in a divine service, but it could be stimulating to recognize it as a frequently suppressed need.
The mystic Jakob Lorber wrote of Christ’s advice to the people on the
"short way to rebirth", - that can be named "New Birth",
to avoid misunderstandings, as described in the chapter about Jesus´ Birth. -
"Vom Inneren Wort – Stimme der Stille" (The inner word, voice of
silence) from the Lorber publisher (Germany). This inspired practice is
this: "If somebody wants to be born again of Christ, first he must
recognize his sins", - that means everything separating him from God, which
is something completely different to being talked into having sins by churches.
"Then one must regret internally and externally with deep feeling and
intend seriously to change one’s ways". Furthermore he must intend,
"to break with the world fully" - meaning the entanglements of
the ego, not the active life in the world - and "to hand over
oneself completely to Me" (to Christ), "and in his love have a great
longing for Me, and must withdraw in this great longing daily from the world and
its business; and at least seven quarter hours behind shut doors and windows
neither pray nor read anything, but spend this time in absolute peace, only
occupying himself with Me in his innermost core." After an inviting
address to Christ "Retreat into peace and grow in longing and love of Me!
Even if you practice this for only a short time, so I say, you will soon see
lightning and hear thunder, however, then do not be frightened and do not become
anxious! Because first I come to everyone as judge in tempest, lightning and
thunder, and then in gentle holy waves as a father! Look, that is the shortest
and most effective way to pure rebirth, the only way in which eternal life is to
be gained. Every other way takes longer and is less safe, since there are many
dangerous ways, ... he who is not armo(u)red and well-armed will hardly reach
It is possible to pray for purification and enlightment by his spirit.
Yogis for instance, know that people think they, "do not have any time". In such cases they use to cut the meditation time down from several hours to half an hour, and finally to 11 minutes – that means until nobody can continue to say he hasn't got the time. Even a short time of silence, when other thoughts, feelings and sensations are not suppressed, but only watched, without getting caught up in them, has its effect, particularly when combined with some attunement to God. However, it does not have the full effect of a longer period of silence. In the eastern church - for instance on Mount Athos in Greece - the "Kyrie (Greek: Lord; while breathing in) - eleison (Greek: have mercy, while breathing out)" is used as a concentration aid. Later in one’s (his/her) development it is felt in the throat without spoken words. Another step is, while holding one's breath, to feel it in one's heart centre... See, for instance Kreichauf: "Als Pilger auf dem Berg Athos" (As pilgrim on Mount Athos; possibly only in German).
It is also a great challenge to be silent all the time, even beyond the meditation cycles, while eating etc., during a hard approx. Six-day Zen-Sesshin - a Zen sitting meditation, which is meanwhile also being offered in some Christian monasteries. After usually around three days a lot of inexperienced people can no longer resist it. Around the fourth day - comparable with the effect of the fast - they utter a sigh of relief and understand the benefit that words can only inadequately describe.
Silence creates openness. A relationship to God also protects this openness. After a meditation it is useful to accustom the mind again to the circumstances to come, meaning to be less open.
However, it is also important to carry something into the world from the silence, to learn, to maintain a certain consciousness and clarity. That means, first of all for each individual, in intuitively felt intervals and/or after complicated experiences, or just as soon as it is possible after that to take a moment to collect one’s thoughts. The contents of what happened before can be taken into this concentrated silence of the mind instead of simply escaping from it. But this does not meanone should continue thinking, but simply to watch what has happened, including what happened in the mind and how it feels now; (and to note down things, which don’t become cleared so quickly, and which must be investigated later more carefully.) One also lets the various parts of the body relax one after the other, - maintaining the consciousness as a whole being, and not getting caught up in special feelings. If the mental relaxation has been done properly, the body will relax automatically.
For meetings, job, congresses and other things the same point of view means not stringing one topic on to another in a tiring way, but to take short breaks, - which should not only be used for conversations and so forth, but for observing and digesting, what has happened. After that it is easier to concentrate consciously on a new topic. Finally one can learn, to remain in the present all the way through a meeting. Similarly it is useful, to consciously perceive the contents of a meal while eating . Many similarities between "nutrition" and psychical and mental input can be found.
The process, that can be called "letting previous events calm down", that allows strength to grow for the present and future is not an empty "floating" above the problems (which is also an ability the mind has). It creates a new starting point, from which it becomes fruitful to do deeper work on the psyche. In external matters too, time is not lost through that practice, but actually saved because everything is easier and better than before. Many spiritually thinking people hardly notice what escapes them without this inner rest.
Even this most simple of spiritual experiences, the silence, already contains secrets of greatest spiritual heights. This height presupposes, however, a way to it. Christ stresses that man’s simplicity should be laid open first. His path then leads to increasingly larger and more complicated horizons. In this complexity then the basic simplicity again becomes apparent.
For instance, freshly elaborated or received inner progress can anchor itself more deeply in the concentrated silence, in the sense of an ability that can not become "eaten by moths", see Matthew 4. An ability of this nature can integrate itself into the mosaic of other previously gained abilities etc. This silence can reach a point where the life of the entirety of everything in us, which has become more similar to the divine archetype, now becomes perceptible. This is a way of experiencing the "Born of God anew" within us. We get an inkling of what this means when, with conscious rest, the head feels freer – perhaps combined with a certain insight - the power of the heart becomes more perceptible and the feet become more relaxed. Then something is "through", whatever small partial aspect of life it may be. On the other hand, without this nothing is "through", essential things remain stuckand not worked out. This can cause problems, not only in dreams – that can only be incorporated there in a limited way - but also health problems, among others.
* Christ is a title. In Early Christianity there were different versions. The most wellknown one is "Christos" (Greek), which is the "Messiah" (Hebrew) = "The anointed one". There was also "Chrestos" (Greek) = the good one, the holy one; and - infrequent - "Chrystos" (from Greek "chrysos" = golden /shining).
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Jesus had to learn too, and had to turn his human qualities to God more and more. After 40 days fasting in the desert the "Tempter *" appeared (e.g. Matthew 4, 1-11).
Even in "normal" life negative powers appear, both inwardly and in everyday life. They can also be looked on as something with form, i.e. as real entities. First of all, there are retarded and isolated tendencies in humans themselves - when active without the connecting heart; these isolated thoughts and subsequently isolated will is one meaning of "eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge" (Genesis).
On one hand these are hardening qualities that bind us to practical constraints and because these qualities are more deeply anchored in the unconscious , they are the last things to be fully overwhelmed. But it is possible however, to do something about it and to recognize its nature. A conscious ability to renounce and be able to have instead of a "must have", and a creative and ethical dealing with it is training in overcoming these negative forces.
On the other hand, the opposite wishes lead to escaping from physical problems and to indifferent and scornful "taking off" into spiritual areas. We sometimes overlook the fact that this is only the other side of the same "negative" coin, - related to the other side, just like a pendulum swinging in both directions. This second area is already more open today and therefore easier to clear up. One way of changing this is through compassion, a free giving of love. A further quality to be found in connection with both would be combined with greed for power. Changing this illusion requires the courage of unconditional truthfulness, the tolerance based on that and free solidarity in all contact with others.
Generally in all such fields a strong but - in spite of that - altruistic individuality of concerned people that could fill these areas is missing, instead of the tendencies slipping into negative extremes.
In Matthew 4 Jesus is exposed to these three distracting impulses, here named "Satan" or "Devil". He does not refer simply to the respective opposite, but reaches for something beyond the oscillations of the various negative tendencies. What he does, is based on "the word of God", on "God the Lord", and "worshipping and serving him exclusively". Christ is beyond the duality of darkness and (apparent) light and overcomes both through his third, superior way, as many further events also show.
Short annotation: It is often wrongly written that the Zarathustrian (Zoroastrian, Parsee) religion and Christianity and/or "the middle east religions" are dualistic. This is not fully correct with respect to their origins. (You can find more information on the extra page "Zarathustra… ").
R.Steiner described the two main negative principles as separate entities as they can both be experienced in the world of spiritual visions. As mentioned, although it may be useful to consider both effects, outside of this kind of experience it is not completely justified for anthroposophists to think that Christian ideas of a single negative being do not include both sides. The tendencies are also often so mixed that "anti-divine" tendencies can be treated as a whole. The contrary should not be seen as several Gods, but the God of Christ with all related qualities… There are, however, other spiritual branches of thought that close one eye and regard every spiritual tendency as divine.
Both modern protestant theologians and some other spiritual thinkers close
both eyes and explain ideas of negative beings away, reasoning, for instance,
that they only occur in a few places in the Bible. They overlook the fact that
these are not just considerations, but solid experiences.
Some smaller Christian groups thought, the term "prince of the world" - e.g. John 14:30 - would mean, the world "belongs" to him for a long time, and man could only overcome his influence. But the New Testament describes only his tempting and usurping role. See John 12:31 too.
Without fears and other negative feelings, negative forces do not have any direct power. "Not to paint the devil onto the wall" (German idiom), not thinking the worst can also work as a protecting mechanism - even against ecclesiastical scaremongering. Today, spiritual perception could show that supposed "increases" in negative circuits represent hidden potential that has been lying dormant there for a long time . Really positive abilities on the other hand can still grow, even though they grow towards an archetype that also already exists.
However, such personal "sore points" can also represent a point of response for similar external forces. Traces of this can be found in all societies, e.g. – in the west in situations in which money and egotism are considered to be of the highest value - especially in the old form without any type of social system; in the possible one-sidedness of nationalism and fascism, this is especially true wherever there was arrogance and indifference to the rest of the world; in destructive "religious" activities and in the extremes of Stalinism, specifically in its brutal rule over a faceless society. But this is not a condemnation of everything and everybody in such societies.
Jesus does not teach so much to directly "oppose evil" nor does he maintain the necessity of evil for the sake of a "balance" (as some eastern schools think). He also sees no absolute necessity for negative forces in order to recognize the divine good. Not even some - often necessary - direct psychical processing of negative qualities is necessary for everyone. For some people at least, a way like the "Christian Science" generally recommended by Mary Baker-Eddy can work. That does not prove, however, that negative forces do not exist; but they can be indirectly changed through that. With Christ there is also no eternal damnation. All destructive forces can be converted in the end, up to the time of the last chapter of St. John´s revelation, promising that darkness will cease to exist (cf. the chapter "The New Earth"....
After those experiences in the desert Jesus called the disciples (John 1, Matthew 4, 18 - 22, Matthew 10).
* Again in the story of the Temptations, theology traditionally considers the symbolic connection with the history of mankind: the desert with its dangerous animals is seen as the antithesis of the world of Adam’s paradise handed down to us and therefore as a condition that needs to be overcome by Jesus as the "new Adam". In the first Temptation, turning stones into bread, the story deals with the question of whether the Material or God should play the leading role. (Later, in stories dealing with the feeding and awakening of a great mass of people, we no longer see it as a temptation.) In the second Temptation, to jump from the roof of the temple, the story deals with overcoming pride concerning the burdens of human life. Jesus went through everything that was imposed upon him (until it was dissolved by the Resurrection). The third Temptation deals with the power of existing worldly kingdoms, or the God-given "kingdom of heaven". (In the further course, however, the worldly relevant, predicted "kingdom of peace" could also bring about the conversion of worldly striving for power by God.)
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Here (John 2, 1-12) we encounter, first of all, an example of how misunderstandings are not so much caused by wrong translations, or by the early, papally instructed "corrections" of the gospels, but simply by one-sided emotional and patriarchal interpretations. When Jesus said to Mary "Woman, why do You involve me?" (Luther: "Woman, what do I have to do with You?"), was evaluated later as disparaging. By going into the text and regarding how Jesus then does everything that was wanted by Mary, one can easily recognize, that the sentence has a rather admiring nature, which might be expressed better this way: "Woman, how many things do I have to do with You!" From Greek one can work out the original wording of the simple aramaic language: "Woman, I with you" - so even at the time of Jesus himself the precise meaning was often not recognizable without understanding the context..
From here up to the cross the gospels show a creative connection between the experiences of Jesus and Mary. She supports inspiration (more about that later in the chapter about the Whitsun events) experiences the essential "stations" of his life with him, leading to a psychological transformation.
Even though the term "bride of Christ" for nuns is now often only taken to have a formal meaning, it initially pointed out a real kind of experience.
The "form" of Christ in man merges with the masculine aspect of the soul (animus**), as previously mentioned in the chapter about the baptism in the Jordan. This masculine aspect can enter into an "inner wedding" with the "feminine" parts of our psyche, in this case under divine circumstances. This can have an alchemistically changing effect even on the vitality and the body. The image of Mary can touch the feminine aspect of the soul (anima**) in the same manner.
A way for men via Mary - the mother of Jesus - and/or Mary of Bethany and Mary of Magdala now suggests itself. However it is possible for either sex to take both the path of Jesus or thatof Mary, because from the soul to the hormones neither man nor woman is bound completely by the reaction patterns of their own sex, or has to remain bound to them. Some people, however, find the first way easier and others the second. But in the end, the inner entirety will become evident. In the Catholic Church the earlier practice of the adoration of the heart of Jesus and of the pure heart of Mary has almost been forgotten today. This inner development does not ask, for instance, whether one is a Catholic or not - and while possibly lacking in formal knowledge of Mary, but also not prejudiced, as is the case with many people through contact with the external worship of Mary.
Only those who take such a transforming path can succeed in developping "alone" without suppression. But this does not need to be a lonely path. From a position of greater inner freedom a relationship to the opposite sex would be possible or even more perfect.
In this context, that which we have received from father and mother needs to become integrated into one's (his/her) personality. Elements of depth psychology can indeed have a relationship to religious experience. Eugen Drewermann´s books are another way of looking at this. When looked at more closely, basic religious experiences might become apparent on a separate level, from which they affect psychological processes. Today there are tendencies to see religious search as "holistic vital impulse within all human beings, seeking the higher purpose of life, and searching for unlimited experience." See e.g. Hubertus Mynarek: "Möglichkeit oder Grenze der Freiheit", (German 1977). One needs to differentiate, however, between an unshaped, general spiritual impulse and a religious impulse more directly re-ligious (Latin: re-connecting), connecting oneself with the divine origin, the "Father", - which practising Christians find possible through Christ.
God, as the world’s greatest secret, is less likely to be penetrated by a single science, one kind of experience or a single phenomenon, - revealing at best single aspects; but by trying to accept several approaches and to view everything as a whole. This has only happened toa very small degree till now. If Christians used the alchemistic process in their way and therefore also used the left and right brain hemispheres together (today tried by many people), the "battles" between the theologians would end soon. The result would be "creative loving realization (recognition)". In spite of that it would still be possible to look especially at single aspects, but this would be recognized as such and not claimed exclusively. People would become more aware that they supplement each other.
He who is able to follow the universal principle of Jesus’ "Love Your neighbour as Yourself", is also able to achieve the same and more by that alone. He who strives for this simultaneous love of oneself and of his "neighbour", will note, however, that exactly this has to be learned first. The inner "becoming more complete" can facilitate his love.
(The question of the "miracles " of Jesus, starting with the wedding at Cana, is investigated later in a special chapter. Concerning the divine aspect of "Mary-Sophia" see later the chapter "The Whitsun event".)
Traditional theology saw this event as replacing the Greek Dionysus cult, or as a symbolic tie with the meeting of Israel with God ("on the third day..." 2nd Moses 19:16) as well as in anticipation of the Passion of Christ, in which the wine takes on a deeper significance.
**) The concepts of "anima and animus" are not a question of faith. For instance, it is the experience of many people, whether they are Christians or not, that men and women have both ‘male’ and ‘female’ aspects to their psyche, stemming at least in part from the father and mother who brought them up; and which they can learn to integrate into their personality. The terms anima / animus, used by depth psychologists, may not correspond exactly to this reality; however, it is.their approach to understand it.
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It is a good idea, immediately after the chapter about the "Wedding at Cana" (John 2, 1-12) to deal directly with the contemporary problems in the field of love. (You can find a more detailed extra page on the homepage/ "Questions, Answers...".)
Christ addresses people’s hearts and the chance they have of becoming whole, of becoming complete, which is the prerequisite for real freedom. He does not support the further falling apart of that in man which is already crumbling; no ecstatic experiencing of everything, but rather a new integration in the "wisdom of the heart".
Christ represents the responsibility of people for each other. However, he does not believe in "inherent necessities", of external forms or of overrating them, or even the abuse of the terms responsibility, faith and honesty for the veiling of envy, jealousy and "taking possession of s.o." For him it is all a question of the spirit which people act in. In marriage too, not everything is automatically alright, which is considered as unfavo(u)rable outside.
To love God and your neighbour as yourself also means to love yourself. This rule of Christ, superseding the prohibitive logic of the Old Testament, is a universal attitude that goes through all these three areas and combines them all (see Mark 12:33; John 13:34; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8). In this context charity is then something more than just instinctive care for relatives and so forth; however, although it does not exclude them - in a free way. Due to this role of man as a loving helper, wherever appropriate, self-love is not of an egoistic kind, but goodness of the heart, actually directed towards loving oneself as an instrument for serving others and/or God, including the body.
The highest love is unconditional love. Cf. even loving "enemies" Matthew 5:43-48 - which does not exclude wisdom
For contemporary Europeans etc. something of a transformation of sexuality can be experienced, especially then when two people meet first intellectually and psychologically during mutual enterprises, but then learn to deal with emanations of antipathy and sympathy. These things, not mainly, but among others, should be taken into consideration when seeking contacts which also make sense for the outside world. The unity on the physical level comes later and is not automatically a part of every friendship or meeting. And getting to know someone must not mean leaving the existing partner. But a loving mood goes with it. The power of the heart can attract sexual energy, and one does not always have to work it off explosively, as so often happens today through cultural conditioning.
Sexual love -"Eros" - is a special case of universal love -"Agape". So this is not necessarily a contradiction. The new Encyclica "Deus caritas est" of Pope Benedict XVI accepts this too.
Many spiritual traditions teach a transformation of sexuality instead of suppression or continuous living it up, - which is more than Freud's "sublimation". There were also similar approaches in the Christian world which are missing today and need to be elaborated on again; the heritage of the minnesingers and troubadours portrayed this type of knowledge.
Since sexuality can cause subconscious involvement between people, most religions see it as a balancing act linked to a partnership in which both are able to handle the consequences. Those who want to avoid sexual activities before marriage , can do so successfully, if both people are clear about what they want and don’t want and support each other accordingly.
Jesus accepted this old approach, right up to the negative characterization of a covetous look for instance, at someone elses partner. But this does not necessarily exclude an enthusiastic meeting between two people who just met from happening more frequently than one may think. This is not always understood, even by the two people concerned: "When two or three meet in my name (i.e. "in connection with my spirit"), I am among them" (or, translated correctly too: "in them"). This does not require an official ecclesiastical gathering, no special preparation, but can come about everywhere where the "spirit of Christ" connects two people for any reason. To take this up, even if they are man and woman and if they like each other too (sympathy), to maintain in this case the clear consciousness that is the origin may be difficult, but it is necessary for the world. It need not be a question of partnership or of sex, but those concerned have to find out honestly what this is about if they want to master this situation. Sometimes the one moment "was it" already, if one was open for it.
The life of Jesus on earth already showed how amazingly unconventional he was. It may turn out that conventions are only necessary as long as "he is not among them".
A prerequisite for appropriate meetings between people, which one can improve oneself naturally, is a study of our own individuality including the "aura" and/or "charisma". Even as a couple, people still remain individuals and an absolute dissolution of the two people in the couple is not that which Christ wanted.
*) Mankind is a complex network, which may become clearer in the next chapters .
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In John 2, after the wedding at Cana the "clearing of the temple" is described. Jesus zealously drove the traders and money changers out of the temple with violence. Here he wanted to set a clear sign against the hypocrisy of the world, designating the temple as a place of worship and not as a place of mere haggling. In this situation he knew he could not expect anything of urban or clerical officials and so he used his own hands as the only one who still felt responsible "in his father's house". This was a non-violent act of social resistance. "To obey God rather than people" is Jesus’ unobsequious attitude in general . Also where he says: "Give to the emperor, what is the emperor's (and to God, what is God's)", there is no obsequious attitude as sooften wrongly interpreted, but rather the aim is to spare the disciples pointless friction with social powers irrelevant for them. Religion and politics have their own laws. To serve their fellow men and to want "the best for the city" is not servility either.**
In this context the question of how to deal with emotions could arise, because not everyone's emotions are on such a high level as Jesus'. He lived continuously in "positive trembling before God" and compassion for people and his zeal were based on conscious good intention. In normal human beings nearly all emotions are initially mixed at least with unconscious stimulation - response mechanisms that vary biographically and vary in strength, but are quite similar in their basic pattern. Looking at this oneself, without being satisfied with the interpretation of others and to continue to find these mechanisms in our own reactions, to look at them and finally master them and/or to deliver them to God is a long learning process.
Although we are dealing here with the psyche, the usual psychological analysing and/or therapy procedures are not very appropriate for seekers of God and of truth.
Psychology can even stop us from developping spiritually if we have one-sided interpretation models in the back of our minds that seek to reduce psychological problems to those of sexuality and childhood moulding; furthermore, "causes" of weakness can become "justifications" for remaining how one is instead of stressing the human ability to develop, as mentioned by Erich Fromm. Where psychology stimulates looking into psychological processes and when the psyche / soul is seen as more than just a chemical-electrical brain function –which rarely occurs -, their study could also be a helpful bridge. This science would develop better if knowledge and/or contentions of alternative psychological schools were accepted as material for their own research. It does not usually help much to work on whole complexes of problems at one go. It would be more effective to first search for components of this complex; and to then distinguish whether it is a "beam in one's own eye" or a "splinter in the eye of someone else, who is responsible for it. Jesus and some Christian schools stress the "beam in one's own eye", because to look at one's own problematic deeds is more difficult, has to be learned and because one should start by correcting one's own mistakes; so hearing someone's confession has - besides the spiritual aspect - a therapeutical effect too. Psychological schools sometimes prefer the other point of view (viewpoint) as that of a victim. One may notice, that one finally looked at both. For instance, eastern spiritual teachings would stress the connection between both sides in life as the source of "karma", fate.
Concerning the elimination of after-effects caused by difficult daily routines , a means brought to light again by R. Steiner could help, i.e. a daily retrospective, starting with the evening and looking back towards the morning. This makes it easier to be in the present again. This practice also facilitates a similar process after death, as reported from many "near-death-experiences".
It is also possible to produce a "mirror of the psyche", a list of our own negative qualities to be improved on and with qualities to strive for. One goes through this often, controlling one's own development - a well-tried practice used by mystics.
Psychological progress can have the effect of improving conversation between people too. People are less prejudiced and less likely to jump to conclusions when they themselves have become more transparent and been able to let go of burdens. When Jesus stresses the non-judgmental attitude and the importance of "what comes out of the mouth", he is not talking about an unfulfillable moral claim, but a request to begin learning. This may require to stop quarreling, take a break - see the chapter "The silence in the dessert" - and then having a frank talk with each other.
In this context there are European spiritual paths which include nerve or consciousness centers known in Yoga as "chakras" (Anthroposophy, Universal Life - not to be confused with the Universal Life Church -, and others). One cannot automatically describe these ideas as being non-Christian, as some churches would have us believe, but were already known to the Christian theosophists in medieval times (J. G. Gichtel*), and can now be recognized as really existing in each of us - just as the acupuncture points, especially well known in China, are not automatically "taoist", because these points and lines can be measured electrically and viewed histologically in human flesh
**) The "zeal" in this sense differs from "Zeal without understanding" (Romans 10:1-3)
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* Medieval picture from J.G.Gichtel
In a broader context see also the extra page "...ethics"
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A lot has been written about the reversal of the values of (both old and contemporary) society brought about by the Sermon on the Mount. Some appreciate it in connection with social activities. Others try to invalidate an application to world affairs by the term "ethics of fundamental attitudes" - and favo(u)r the so-called "ethics of responsibility" with old-testamentary threats of punishment, of military and other types. Some simply attempt to live according to this sermon. Beyond Christianity the Sermon on the Mount is also appreciated (e.g. by Gandhi).
Seen from the viewpoint of the investigation of consciousness, it is clear that the Sermon on the Mount is directed in particular towards people who understand that consciousness can be more than intellectual analysis and grasp that life does not end with themselves. The "spiritual poor", who know that they know nothing (or not much) and who are willing to think in relative terms, to see that God knows more than they do and that he can teach them a lot in all things, they are blessed, the "kingdom of heaven is theirs". This attitude can prove to be a continuous and powerful step forward in one's development, more than any other attitude generally considered as "clever".
"Those who suffer" do not just have to bear their own fate alone - and therefore their part of the state of the whole instead of passing over everything carelessly . Some also help to bear the burden of persons in their context and finally the fate of nations and mankind. Instead of statesmen, these are often social movements these days. And who gives them the necessary compassion? Who prays for them, instead of always just for the powerful, famous and economically great?
The "meek" are most clearly those who are voluntarily meek (and not simply those who are afraid). They "shall inherit the earth" and only under their control can the earth be preserved and develop.
"Those who hunger and thirst for justice": - not envy, but the fair search for justice for themselves and for others opens people for what is "above" them. Sooner or later an answer will come, although not always as they had imagined. "The merciful " carry their brothers and sisters and fellow creatures up with them voluntarily and in the same way they are carried by God too.
"Those who have a pure heart" and who have noticed and put aside their intellectual eyeglasses and prejudices, "will see God". This is the more comprehensive meaning of the words "Do not judge".
"The -peaceful", also "the Peacemakers", in the sense of the peace prayer of Francis of Assisi, also let others recognize that another force must be at work here, than those forces that otherwise determine life. So those "will be called sons (and daughters) of God."
"Those who are persecuted because of righteousness", "theirs is the kingdom of heaven", and those who are defamed and persecuted by others because of Jesus are blessed too. This was often their feeling too, while their external being was suffering. This does not mean that suffering is a goal in itself.
Those addressed are also supposed to take up their roles as "The salt of the earth" and as "The light of the earth". Especially in this chapter he refers to the "laws" and the prophets of the Old Testament. He talks about that which had been right before his time and makes it fruitful in a new way for a new time, in which the laws themselves can no longer be in the foreground, but their source. A time in which every human being can re-create the inner principles of life anew.
He who "strives for the Kingdom of God, will get everything else". Also here it may be noticed, that indeed the level of intellectual thinking is not supposed to be destroyed, but opened, to be able to accept that which originates from a higher, spiritual logic. However, the speech is not meant to cause us to shun earthly "constraints" for the benefit of feasting in higher spiritual states of consciousness. Higher insights are supposed to be confronted with earthly consciousness and life until the world is converted. Clarity remains, or can only develop in relationship to man’s understanding of certain questions ranging from ignorance to speculation, presumption, theory and belief, finally ending in knowledge. That is an important basis for growth. That is different to that striving for bliss which can be found in some old spiritual schools of thought.
This higher level of thought portrayed in the Sermon on the Mount (see also next chapter) is especially addressed to people who want to do more than simply use it to reorganize their individual spiritual lives. The path is mainly addressing individual life, in which someone can search for a partner or for "closest ones", as described in the chapters "The baptism" and "The silence in the desert". The expansion of consciousness includes the level of masculine-feminine relations and feelers are stretched out in the direction of additional psychological interaction between several people. That was pointed out in the chapters "The wedding at Cana" and "…Love". Here the Sermon on the Mount appeals to this psychical and ethical level which again opens the way for the more comprehensive spiritual goals, capable of forming a community from relations of people. This corresponds, in a primitive way, to the relationship of sounds to intervals, of intervals to triads and of triads to the scale, which seems to be the real pattern for everything - the whole.
In theology the connection to Old Testament revelations has been appraised: e.g. Psalms 1 and Jer. 17:7f. According to 4th Moses 12:3 in connection with Mt. 11:20, Jesus was seen as the new Moses. The prophesy in Zechariah 9:9f. "...his kingdom stretched from sea to sea" speaks of the worldwide significance of the promulgated kingdom of God. There was no overlooking the fact that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly transformed laws from the Old Testament into something new: "…but I say unto you…", i.e. he did not speak as a rabbi interpreting scripture, but from the awareness of a divine mission. Exactly this prophetic and messianic characteristic was disputed by those who only believed in the Old Testament.
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Many of Jesus’ deeds are the symbolic external signs of the inner "transfiguration", starting from the conversation with Nicodemus (John 3), continuing with the Sermon on the Mount, right up to the cure of a person born blind and the feeding of the 5000 on the mountain. This transfiguration is partially related to the eastern term great enlightenment. The human spirit is enlightened. However, that refers here to a closer connection with God and his spirit. God is understood here not only as the absolute principle, but as a being too, being real for Jesus and those who follow on his way.
Just "positive thinking" - if not egoistic, not megalomaniacal and without technical manipulations - could indeed change thoughts into a state more close to what comes from God. It might open us for God this way. However, the literature of this school of thought has not discussed this carefully enough. and that can often lead to self-deception.
Anyway, this is not yet "Transfiguration". Transfiguration does not simply add positive affirmations to the confused variety of mental "programs" all people own, so that in total a surplus of positive ones arises - which is a possible exercise. But Transfiguration unravels everything by an ability to look at the spiritual origins, made free of distortions of the mind and of misleading emphasis. A higher divine order in everything becomes visible. Regarding this kind of maturity, it is a higher level of the psychological cleaning process mentioned in the chapter "The holy zeal". From a more basic level of insight everything becomes clear. Direct recognition or insight is not thinking; it just comes, with or without thinking. It cannot be forced and makes us free. The world of thought does not need to be suppressed any longer in order to achieve higher wisdom, as some other schools of thought have attempted.
Our thinking is freed from instinct-like reaction patterns and the controllable analytical and synthetic thinking becomes more easily a tool of higher reason. Then one understands too, which behaviour may be suitable in which circumstances.
One can assume that Christ himself did not have to eliminate all that dullness, which separated the normal human being from this level of consciousness. Nevertheless he must have also experienced an increasing level of clarity. Later, in the so-called high-priestly prayer, he asked for that clarity which he had had with God before creation.
Some theologians see the Transfiguration and the professing of Christ by Peter in the light of the simultaneous Jewish day of atonement or the subsequent Feast of Tabernacles. (The day of atonement was the only time in the year when the priest uttered the name of God in the inner sanctum of the temple.) Others saw a connection with Moses climbing Mount Sinai (2nd Moses 24:16).
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Jesus did not act in order to satisfy anyone’s thirst for sensation. Neither did he act to force people to believe through external events. His entire path was guided by an inner clarity that told him what he had to do in each case - and not "because of this or that circumstance, in order to achieve this or that effect". Cures were often "signs" that stood for something larger and more fundamental. During the healing of the person born blind at the Sabbath Jesus answered, that the reasons are not sins, "but that the works of God be seen". (John 5, 6-9; John 6; John 9, 3 ...).
At the same time, a disruption of obsolete ways of thinking and a pondering over the deeper importance of such actions were definitely desired side effects. Jesus recognized the fact that there are people who need to be able to monitor, count, measure and weigh as in the case of Thomas, who represents "the scientific type" among the disciples. When he got the opportunity to test whether in fact Jesus Christ was standing in front of him, Jesus said: "Be not unbelieving, but faithful" (John 20, 19-29). Jesus wanted Thomas to apply his new experience by pondering so honestly and deeply that the root of his doubt disappeared and something dawned on him. The fact that Jesus still had to say this afterwards, does not mean, that Thomas was a sceptic, now "slain" by the external reality and "forced to believe", even by fear of punishment. It rather means that even after that, Thomas kept his ability, to reach new convictions autonomously . This kind of dealing with facts and thoughts is not condemned here, as some interpreters misunderstood because of lacking knowledge of human consciousness. In spite of that, Thomas still had to learn that there are other ways of convincing oneself apart from considering the physical facts.
Jesus knew what was right for Thomas. He did not want to force anybody. That would have been too much like a court and there is no intention to provoke him into refusing something that he was not mature enough to decide on.
It is worth reading the "St. Thomas’ Gospel" too. it is an apocryphal collection of precise quotes of Jesus, no matter if it was written by Thomas himself or not. This text was also accepted by spiritual Christians in Egypt and elsewhere, but not by some teachers of the early Church.
Correspondingly the "miracles " of Jesus were not the main point of his activity either. Often he only did it in order to help, after being asked, without crowds gathered, and he "threatened" people not to tell anything.
When today, however, theologians and others from the school of Bultmann's "theology of demythologizing" still try to explain away these miracles as symbolic descriptions, it is clear that they are simply adapting their ideas to the mechanistic view of the world and human nature usual in the 19th century and that they did not even take later scientific activities into consideration. Later trends in quantum physics, in biology and biophysics, innatural healing and parapsychological investigations, in astrophysics and so forth have long since reached a stage of development that remove the "inconceivability" of biblical events. This does not have to represent a search for a "proof of the existence of God": other levels of perception would be responsible apart from the scientific ones.
One thing that remains correct on this theological school is that it does not consider a scientific verifiability as a necessary condition for having faith.
The time of one-sidedness, of the old French "philosophy of enlightenment" is over. Also scientists are now able to have faith without becoming schizophrenic. In a time where the people do not hesitate to believe the facts known from parapsychology, such as individual abilities to bend spoons from a distance - in spite of some charlatans enough facts remain. It would be absurd to deny such abilities in the case of Jesus Christ. Jesus worked for other reasons and not simply for the fun of bending spoons, Today however, many different experiences suggest that Jesus was actually able to penetrate all natural forces - and that it is just important in the present time to contemplate this phenomenon; for our contemporary view of human nature, for a holistic, integrated, or Christian healing and so on. Such a spiritual viewpoint of Jesus is not contrary to the perception of Jesus as the "Son of Man", who wanted to give a visible example for the individuals and their social relations or the community. Often, it was only this apparent contradiction that led to the refusal to accept the "miracles ", because those concerned then think they have to ward off wrong tendencies that lead away from a human and social Christianity. In reality, it would take both of those things to show an approximate picture of the real (constructive) "radicalism" of Jesus and his connection to the will and therefore also the power of the creator.
Looking at the healing activities of Jesus we can also study another specific aspect of his teachings. He not only refers, as some healers of the present, to "cosmic energy", that they feel running through themselves, but he also refers to the belief in becoming healthy through him, ultimately by God through the visible person of Jesus. The energy is not an abstract force here; at the same time it is an effect of Christ’s being. For example, in the eastern Yoga, energy is often considered as something isolated. Today healing can also be accomplished in the initial sense by prayer and with regard to that innermost part of the human being, connected with Christ, who wants people to be healed and become more complete, - who then can do even "greater things than he" (John 14,12-13).
But the spiritual healing itself and the psychological and spiritual advance combined with that still depend on God’s grace, which no one can force, no matter how much we try to prepare for it.
Concerning the "gifts of the Holy Spirit" see also 1. Corinthians 12, 7-11; Acts 2, 17-20; and the chapter "The Whitsun event" in this book.
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From the beginning of his teachings to this step Christ redefined all those levels of the human beingwith which the ancient mystic schools had been struggling for thousands of years. This enabled the "super-conscious" inner self to manifest itself in the life of the body, the psyche and the mind of every human being who follows the way. On the other hand, the ability to clear, to integrate, and to expand increasingly deeper and older parts of the subconscious becomes increasingly apparent.
The ancient Egyptian mysteries knew a path from the mind and psyche down to consciously taking up the physical will to live. With the "raising of Lazarus from the dead" - John 10.39 - 11 another "deepening" appears. First of all, some details are obviously similar to that Egyptian knowledge. This concerned an old practice where the human being spent three days in a state known in modern parapsychology as an "Out-Of-Body-Experience", just like in a dream of flight, but consciously. The body lay there, apparently dead. On re-awakening, the initiated person had the inner certainty, that he would exist as a psychological-mental being after physical death. The "Hierophantos" (initiating priest) had to make sure that the person re-awoke in the physical body after 3 days at the latest before it began to decay. However, that is exactly what we are told in the story of Lazarus - after four days it "already stank". So the awakening power now had to go deeper, influencing the material substance itself too, in order to get him back again. In biblical events there is a tendency to show, that the spirit of Christianity can be especially recognized in the physical world and in external action. This tendency is something which is only being taken up again in our time, after the mysticism of former centuries in most cases only penetrated the intellectual-psychological parts.
The teachings of all religions about life after death are more likely to stem from such experiences of feeling oneself outside the material body, than from philosophical speculations, which were not appropriate to the state of consciousness of the people of prehistory, early history and antiquity. For a more adequate explanation see Jean Gebser "Ursprung und Gegenwart" ("origin and present time" - exact English title not checked). He distinguishes an archaic, a magical and a mythical stage of consciousness prior to the one of the theoretical intellect and a later integrated consciousness. Whether the breaks between these stages, were inevitable, is another question. They can, however, be understood today. R. Steiner also stresses the incomparability of older stages of consciousness with modern consciousness. Only reminiscences of that can be found in the various stages of individuals growing up today.
By the way, the comparison with antiquated initiation rites - which are no longer possible in the old manner - does not mean the raising of Lazarus from the dead was a ritual action arranged externally between all participants as in Egypt. Jesus often freed his actions from cultic rules of the chronological - e.g. sabbath, the spatial - e.g. temple, or the situation-related kind. From this position of independence he sometimes voluntarily used such circumstances positively nevertheless, e.g. Pessah (Easter), temple… . So he can be an example of how to deal e.g. with certain trends, like the assumption of astrological aspects, "power places", and rites. (See also books of Marko Pogacnik: "Healing of the Heart of the Earth", "Christ Power and Earth Goddess" etc. about geomantic work, Findhorn Press, U.K.Scotland)
Because of the raising of Lazarus (John 11) Jesus and the people around him also became more visible as a whole for the world outside. Here one can see an expanded consciousness of Jesus, which also includes the circle of disciples, and so inseminates society. A similar expansion of consciousness can also result today, when people’s group activities radiate outwardly, emulating Jesus.
Now the account of the passion follows. The high priest of the Jews speaks about a relationship between what is supposed to happen to Jesus and the fate of the nation (John 11). In his prophetic view he observes correctly that Christ would die for all of them, but he wrongly interprets that Jesus would harm the nation by remaining alive. This requires a level of consciousness beyond thoughts, capable of grasping processes and their contexts simultaneously. This ability must be acquired. One is not usually born with it and schools do not teach it. It is not identical with instinctively emerging mental pictures . Deep causes can be uncovered, dissolved, and created. Negative or other thoughts are no longer stored up semiconsciously. They can no longer accumulate problem structures, which influence both deeper and physical processes. Even retrospectively, this problem can be solved slowly if people follow these laws. The way to a free, creative future is then open.
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Some time before the foot washing, those connected with Christ were compared with "Sheep" (John 10, 11-18); just as Christ himself was elsewhere called the "Lamb of God". The existing openness of the disciples, or that which they had regained, is stressed here - especially pertaining to that which comes from Christ - similar to the relationship between Christ and God. Altough mature, a person can now feel like a blank page, or like a child. Real progress leads to modesty - even if pride has to be overcome again and again. The insight grows, that all people have a significant, but in the end a small role in relation to God. This can be called humility in a free and spiritual meaning, however, and not as some servile behaviour toward earthly authorities. This is something which was often misunderstood .
It is no accident that Christ says in the same chapter "I am the door". Whoever opens his being / his heart for Christ becomes open like a door that leads to God, which is a requirement for everything what follows.
Jesus also contrasts "sheep" with "goats" (for instance Matthew 25:32-33).
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The rest of the Gospel reports show more and more symbolic events, whereas more detailed concurrent lessons are missing. At this point, if not earlier, we can forget the commercially trimmed "Everything about Jesus - disclosure-stories", at the end of which we still don't know anything. Although some outward knowledge can be helpful at this point, only meditative contemplation can lead to any decisive insight anyway. The results, however, can be of some stimulation to others in their own efforts to gain insight and no priest or historian can save us this search.
The foot washing (John 13, 1-20) is paraphrased in the Bible text as a purification. Since the meaning of such "esoteric" passages was later hardly understood, one did not wish to change it, and so at least they were left uncensored. The person concerned is "completely pure", so this does not mean the feet only, but the symbolic significance for the entire person. In many cultures this type of thinking in analogies was common. The same functions can be found in the human organism, that is the Micro- or mesocosmos (meso = middle) and in the surrounding nature, which belongs to the macrocosm. The feet are pointed towards the ground and their movement follows the will. Whichever way a person "goes", it requires a decision of the (free) will. A purification of this will- here by God - and its contradictory somersaults - here by Christ - is shown in the content of the foot washing. Jesus also values good deeds much more highly than Christian lip service (Matthew 25, 31-43...).
However, this action, like all the events that followed, did more than represent a mere repetition of the impulses already given in the years preceding, for the purification of the various spiritual parts of a human being. Everything was governed by the fact that Jesus knew that his time had come and that his disciples should become mature enough to spread the "certain something" independently to wider sections of the population. No longer just their own personal qualities - in this case their good will - under the increasing supervision of their inner selves is the goal, as it had been up to now. This higher, non-egoistic "I" - now united with the "person", can now increasingly become one with that "Christ, who took shape in us" like a "self of selves". Life is no longer mere "personal destiny".
This experience could initially be described like this: the inner comprehension of this action can result in such purity, that everything can now be controlled more directly from the innermost source itself through the various layers of our being. However it is initially an act of will. Feeling and recognition will gradually become perfected, so that the human being is then able to explain more directly the "why" of his impulses. Within us, God also follows a sequence analogous to the steps of learning a child follows on its level. That does not mean that this new stage of evolution should develop without thought. The development of ethical feeling and clear recognition has already been strongly activated. All that is still lacking is a further perfection of this feeling and thinking in the spirit of Christ, as the will now receives it.
Another way of experiencing these hardly describable stages might be related to becoming conscious of our own consciousness, or the view of the (guardian) "Angels" or the Higher Self, when looking at human life. The (angelic) Higher Self - as it is today often named outside the churches - can now show itself united with Christ and is also going through a transformation. Experiences with angels are quite usual in parts of new spiritual movements today; while Christians often doubt their existence in spite of the Bible, to say nothing of the question, what is our "own guardian angel" of the vernacular about - and how this connection could look like. But the Christ represents the shaped, personal human being, and the keeping of the achievements of the life, also when opening oneself for the impersonal worlds of energies of the "angels" . A human being, who has such experiences, is not yet complete. Christ gave the disciples first insights of that already in the event of John 1. Some spiritually oriented ones think, the experience of the own angel(s) would be the most important one, and after that they could withdraw from the earthly affairs; in reality the exploration of this areas would be based on much stability already achieved, if it should not end in illusions. The more comprehensive penetration of the life on earth by the spirit may just start. As a clue here is mentioned, that for instance R. Steiner as a researcher in spirit still ascribes the human beings long ages of evolution on earth; and some other schools too. In addition: practices like the hypnotic -spiritualist "necromancy" are something else than this archetypical basic experience of angels. But in the meantime there are many efforts of people, which must be taken serious, to be in contact with angels in their daily life.
The connection between the washing of the feet and John 12, where Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus symbolically and dries his feet with her hair was hardly noticed. Does she simply do this as a person, or does she actually represent feminine aspects of God, as it could be ascribed to Mary, the mother of Jesus or to Mary Magdalene – who is probably not identical with Mary of Bethany? Why does this precede the "washing of the feet"? For these - albeit contradictory - approaches of feminist theology of experience there are certainly some undiscovered or only partially discovered treasures. The "last anointing" e.g. of the Catholic Church can be looked at as a reminiscence of that incident.
Furthermore, it is remarkable that the washing of the feet was not unique to Jesus, but that the disciples too were encouraged to wash each others’ feet (just as the last supper was - for the time being - given to the early community - in the sense of a universal priesthood. This will to live in God, refined by the washing of the feet, is expanded over and above one’s own being onto those around him, firstly to the person whose feet are being washed and then onto others and all the disciples, with whom he is sharing responsibility.
Washing the feet can also be understood as a service to others With this foot washing alone they "take part in him" (in Jesus), as Jesus calls it. This underlines the comprehensive significance of this step. This can be compared with young people saying, he/she "goes with me" (German, meaning "is my girl/boy friend") which is, at least at that moment, most important for them. However, the "washing of the feet" is no longer a matter of "having a relationship" but of " being in a living relation". The washing of the feet is only comprehensible as "a step forward". Details of how to practice this externally are less important. But in the sense of the alchemist’s practice of using external actions for making inner attitudes and processes in man more imaginable, this action is reasonable - if the related inner attitude is existent. Even a conceivablly correct attitude of an active priest would not be enough; the consciousness of the one concerned is the most important. This is also true for the last supper (see also the next chapter) - the schools of theologians do not agree about the various aspects of it. They may even be right in their viewpoints; however, this very viewpoint of the conscious transformation of the person concerned is not appreciated properly, neither by the Catholic nor by the Protestant Church.
Although in the case of simpler teachings 5000 people were still able to grasp the meaning and later 500 or 70 that could still participate in the more difficult steps; in the washing of the feet only the eleven disciples took part. Those who had learned a lot from Jesus and were well enough prepared so that they could understand. Perhaps Judas was not yet able to. Jesus did not give all his lessons for everyone straight away, but step-by-step. However, in the meantime several individuals may effectively start their meditative practice with the events leading up to the crucifixion. The Christian Rosicrucians attempted this. Washing the feet, whipping, crowning with thorns, crucifixion and laying in the grave, resurrection, ascension they called the Christian Initiations. Translated into the depth of understanding of a later age, the dream pictures of the seven days of the "alchemist wedding" also resulted from that. ( "Chymische Hochzeit des Christian Rosenkreutz", 1616 written by the Lutheran theologian J. V. Andreae, disguised as some kind of satire or fairytale.)
In most cases such a step is certainly not completed when experienced for the first time in life, either in meditation or as a dream. Human existence with all its abilities can extend in many directions. Other steps may follow and overlap with preceding steps, but new qualities will only be "rounded off" after the preceding steps have been rounded off that serve as a basis for it.
The anointing at Bethany is followed in John 12 by the triumphal Entry of Jesus at Jerusalem as the Messiah. After the Washing of the Feet, John 13-17, the prediction of the betrayal by Judas Iscariot is handed down; then come the Last Speeches and the prayer of Jesus for himself and the disciples.
In the Washing of the Feet, theologians have often seen a symbolic act that points to the upcoming crucifixion of Jesus; or an example of serving with the purifying love of God. However, it was also heralded as a deed with direct impact.
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Jesus had a triumphal entry into Jerusalem, hono(u)red as the promised Messiah(John 12, 12-19) The hardened priestly castes knew how to press the "psychological buttons" of the people, to partially turn their mood into a negative one. Individuals who are aware of their own negative moods and indifference and try to convert these influences are capable of being more stable and closer to God. They are no longer so easy to manipulateby mass-suggestion and external negative forces. The reality of mass-suggestion was also found in some of the mass movements of 20th century.
During the arrest (Joh. 18) the soldiers were knocked over at first. Christ showed that he was not under their control. Nevertheless he let everything happen to him willingly after that.
The "whipping" (Joh. 19, 1) strikes the back of Jesus. The "middle" of the human being, his feeling and his power toovercome emotional suffering are qualities that can emerge during meditative comprehension - it's not passive, despairing suffering. Nevertheless all Christian mystics report of Jesus' pain they voluntarily or compulsorily experienced in their soul. So Christ did not flee from this pain anxiously, although he surely could have done - like Indian masters who practise "Pratjahara", which means "to withdraw the senses". Rather one can feel an expansion of the consciousness towards the suffering of others.
It was not the whole truth, to make, as mentioned, the whipping the symbol of
a specific "step of initiation", a stage of development of
contemporary people on the way to greater completeness. It seems that Jesus
already initiated this step at the Last Supper following the anointing at
Bethany (Matthew 26, 26-29). This Last Supper is the better symbol
for what Jesus gives to suffering mankind. The bread represents the substance (and
the soul) of Jesus Christ, the "Word of God". The wine
represents the divine spirit of Christ, which gives
life to this Word of God for altruistic work. The Catholic Church stressed the
change of the substance of the bread and wine to the pure flesh and blood of
Jesus, while the Protestant Churches stressed the remembrance of Jesus. On one
hand both are right. Scientists found out that even the simple "holy
water" of the Catholic Church shows that the angle of the water molecules
had changed. However, the most important viewpoint would be the change within
the person taking part , by attuning to what really radiates from the
transformed and transforming "flesh and blood" of Jesus Christ. So it
would be good to do this practice in the churches with great concentration. Some
even tried to do this directly in spirit only - without the visible help of
bread and wine – and still felt the effect, which is a lot more difficult to
achieve. For those who want to practice a blessed meal without claiming it to be
a "Holy Sacrament" of the church, it can be called "Agape" -
supper of love.
The whipping can be understood as a caricatured answer from ignorant powers to that which had in fact already happened and does not have to play a central role in the Meditation. This can also be said of the following crowning with thorns. The old Christian esoteric teachings with their sometimes one-sided accentuation on suffering relate similarly to these newer insights, just as some teachings of John the Baptist relate to the newer teachings of Jesus and his disciples. Each person is free to choose which one of these ways he wants to go.
Theologians also discussed whether the Last Supper represented their own form of the Jewish Passover feast, or whether Jesus replaced the old feast by heralding himself as the actual "Lamb of God". The new covenant of God with the people (the New Testament) through Jesus (Luke 22:20) was seen as being connected to 2nd Moses 24:8; Jer. 31:31-33; Isaiah 53:12. The bread was seen more as the person of Jesus and the blood as the complete healing devotion. Others have doubted the originality of that which has been handed down (so-called words of institution), which is not very likely when one considers that they belong to some of the earliest of scriptures.
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Since whipping was a minimum punishment customarily used by the Romans, an interpretation in the symbolism of pre-Christian mystery cults is not so obvious. The crowning with thorns, however (Joh.19, 2-3), a later symbol from these mysteries, was not a component of the normal Roman law **. It can, of course, be seen as irony - thorns instead of gold. Nevertheless the question remainsas to how the soldiers made exact use of mysteries, even though they may not have done this consciously at the time. Many Roman soldiers were adherents of mysteries. Even if they had seen the outward similarity of what they were doing, they still would not have been able to reduce Christ to the kind of experience they knew.
While the golden crown would have been a symbol of outward domination - not necessarily meant in a negative way - for Christ the crown of thorns was a symbol of a kind of mastery that did not count in the world. The thorns pricked into his head. This does not only concern pain, but the strength to overcome all mental despair, which Christ did not show any sign of. These signs can only be seen at the moment before he finally decided that he did not want "this cup" (of sorrows) to pass him by . With the whipping and crowning with thorns we find something suggested that is a continuation of the the way, which started with the foot washing; the feeling and the insight - braving all obstacles - appear sanctified too.
The previously mentioned continuous tendency to surpass himself, seen in the foot washing, whipping and crowning with thorns, also has a relation to new movements, like the peace movement, ecological movement and spiritual movements that want "to heal the earth".
Just as it was in the case of the "whipping", the crowning with thorns was a reaction, a poor copy of that which had already taken place. This very point, which from the positive point of view expressed this spiritual opening, enabled him to mentally surpass himself. This is contained in the farewell speeches* of Jesus - e.g. John 13,31 - 17 and in the meetings with Pilate, e.g. John 19,5*. (*"See, The human being", which can be experienced in meditation like Pilate’s feeling for Jesus Christ as the model of redeemed human beings). Not only the foot washing and the supper as such, also the words of Jesus were "deeds" at the same time.
In the light of these realisations, it might be worth considering these positive basics in a more decisive way when we speak about "Christian initiations or stages of development".
**) However, in the history of religions there existed a figure of derision or a king of mockery, who was made to bear the brunt of public anger. In the Old Testament there was the scapegoat, who was meant to atone for the sins of the people (3rd Moses 16:15). In both cases it was meant as a kind of symbolic ritual. For that reason, traditional theology has made an effort to illustrate that only Jesus was capable of making a really effective sacrifice for mankind. Some critical theologians were of the opinion that due to this harking back to old sacrificial cultures they could question the basic idea of a victim. That may have been frivolous but, as illustrated above, the events contain far more than the aspect of sacrificing oneself. His goal is also important.
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Today's views of the crucifixion and death of Jesus - e.g. John 19, 12-37 - vary even more than those of other stations in his career, firstly because of the significance attributed to it by churches and secondly because of the interpreters wanting to classify everything according to their respective ideology.
Although Gnostic(ist)** beliefs on the fringe of early Christianity were indeed willing to deal with Christ, because of their ancient Greek background they were not able to believe that such a great enlightened being could have been born of a woman and then died. Therefore they thought he must have made himself visible through an "apparent body" like an angel or as the spirits of some eastern spiritual masters did for a short time, if we are to believe their disciples. This apparent body would not have been mortal, but simply dissolved again. In their teachings the physical world and matter were judged to be eternally evil and for that reason nothing could be further from their thoughts than to assume that he went through the usual stages of earthly life or penetrated these stages with his light. **)The term "Gnostic(ist)" is used here differently to the "Apostolic Gnosis", which was even validated by the sect critic F. W. Haack . However, there were many common points in such teachings; for example the Gnostic "Gospel of the truth" acknowledged, that Jesus was nailed to the cross.
People of the first centuries with more material or negative attitudes also spread legends, e.g. that Jesus was an illegitimate son of a roman soldier, which would have been extremely bad, judging by the moral ideas of the times. There are also speculations that Jesus never died and that he was nursed back to health. Some people still try, for example, to relate the grave of an old man in Kashmir with the name Jesus to the biblical Jesus. Also another, "not yet discovered European sepulchre of Jesus" emerges in modern literature. Here we should note that "Jesus" (or also Yehoshua, Jeschua, Jesat) was not a unique name. For instance, in apocryphal books, (writings not included in the biblical "canon") some other Jesuses appear, e.g. Jesus Sirach, Jesus ben Pandira;apart from the fact that even the actual Jesus seemed to be interpreted by R. Steiner as two different boys named Jesus, who were connected with each other (see the chapter about this.)
Partially connected with such theses, contradictory investigation results concerning the "shroud of Jesus" at Turin appeared. Once the cloth was supposed to have contained pollen from the time and country of Jesus; others say it originated "in the Middle Ages". Some say that only sudden high-energy radiation and sudden dissolving of the body would have been able to cause the print; others say trails of blood indicate that Jesus was still alive as he was taken down from the Cross. An assessment of the latest state of investigation again suggests that the cloth is genuine and that the image was caused in an unusual way. This may help people (see the earlier remarks on the path of the disciple Thomas in the chapter "The miracles"), to reach an understanding of what happened to Christ. According to the mystic Lorber, (only) the "body skirt of Trier" is said to be falsified; with the obvious intention of encouraging people to search for the belief inwardly and not to be dependent on discoveries and theories about relics.
Such investigations, however, can prompt us to make our own meditative investigations. This suggests that here is something, which does not fit into any known schemeof life and death. (See also Groenbold "Jesus in Indien - das Ende einer Legende" - German; and the photocopied writing of Margarete Eckel, Austria, "Am Kreuz gestorben".)
As already stated, reports of the mystics are often helpful in finding out something about the nature of former events and their significance for the current development of people. The more experience one has, the more one understands. The perceptions of Christian mystics and stigmatists - bearers of the stigmas of Christ - are similar, although they did not have contact to each other. In such reports there are also similar additional details about the experience of Jesus not given in the bible, from Francis of Assisi to Padre (Father) Pio and Therese of Konnersreuth. They all agree that the crucifixion and death of Christ is really and deeply imprinted into this world and that an unexpected or also conscious connection with this event causes them to experience inconceivable suffering, but also an inconceivable power that does not pull down, but "pulls up" everything. The existential nature of the crucifixion, concerning the whole being totally, is certainly closer to the life of such extraordinary persons than to those with a purely intellectual approach. On the topic of life and death it is a question of more than just single levels of being which are mutually involved, including the "causal" level of producing principles and fate. Even people with less mystical connection with God can use the events meditatively as a bridge to reality, as imperfect as that may be. Jesus told the criminal crucified with him, he would soon be with him "in paradise". This suggests that a rapid comprehension of his way is also possible.
The conscious penetration of the deepest processes of human existence, those related to depression, suffering and degeneration, can show itself as a real current possibility - to a greater or lesser degree. Although this possibility is not bound by the season or the geographic places where the ancient events took place, Easter seems to make it easier to experience. It is as if a new "octave" has been imprinted on the old traditional and seasonal rhythm of decay and renewal.
The case of Lazarus already shows that Jesus no longer supports the old agreement, that physical matter offers insurmountable barriers to the spirit. Nothing except God is eternally valid from his point of view, no matter how slow moving or negative; everything is finally transformable.
The lower or the more unconscious the subject is, the more difficult it is to influence.
During the crucifixion and at the events immediately before, apart from the power to overcome suffering, a universal consciousness is also indicated; for example in the words at the cross, that culminate in the sentence "It is accomplished!" The universally helping "sacrificing love", which can be felt there is also not expressed sufficiently by that old, almost juridical formula of the "ransoming of mankind by the sacrifice of Jesus". This is an approach to help the intellect understanding the significance. However, initially the Christians may have suited this style to the mind of ancient Jews and other ancient peoples, who thought, that sacrificing animals etc. would put God in a favo(u)rable mood. See below too.
In the same way those other theologies, which for example laid the emphasis on Jesus' keeping his basic principles up to death, don't give a sufficient explanation either - neither for their material concomitants like bearing the stigma of Christ and not eating. See e.g. Thurston "The physical concomitants of mysticism" (title retranslated; it should exist in English), and Höcht "Von Franziskus zu Pater Pio and Therese Neumann" (German) and the following chapter.
Rupert Sheldrake, a biologist known for his integrated approach, e.g. in new spiritual movements, developped the theory of a "morphogenetic field". When monkeys developped a new skill on an island, monkeys of the same kind were able to develop the same skill on other remote islands soon afterwards, without any physical contact. Beyond randomness, an influence by a field of force had to be there, connecting animals of the same species with each other. Rupert Sheldrake, once asked whether he could imagine that, for example, the development of Jesus up to the crucifixion and resurrection might have radiated a similar field of force onto the whole mankind, he said after thinking about it with astonishment: "Yes; however not the morphogenetic field, but a spiritual field of force would have to be assumed for that."
Even this is not a "proof of the existence of God", but some new scientific lines already supply better possible approaches to this hardly understandable context than the theologies that either observe the old teachings dogmatically, or explain away things that are hard to understand.
The crucifixion was also reminiscent of , - although it had no identity with - old initiation rites. The cross or the tree from which the person was hanged can also be found in the north, e.g. in the myths of Odin, who hanged nine days on the tree and had higher experiences during that time. The motif of the grave as an initiation place was widespread in the megalithic age, in the Celtic age too and was particularly distinct in the pyramid culture of Egypt. The pyramids, if in fact they actually were burial places - which has not proved because a mere inscription says little - they were used anyway in a cultic way, just like Celtic grave mounds. Since in the meantime it would require ignoring many factsin order to deny that, we don't need to go further into that at this point. R. Steiner notes that both spiritual paths, the cross (or tree) and the grave flow together anew in the path of Christ.
Today, inwardly re-experiencing the crucifixion or the "midnight of the soul", the "mystical death", the transition through a "desertedness", without anything a person could cling to - something that all known Christian mystics have felt in one way or another - - also has a certain similarity to the peak experience of Yoga, Nirvikalpa Samadhi or the experience of the emptiness of "Nirvana". However, Christian mysticism supplied the experience that in or behind this emptiness "something" exists, i.e. Christ or God. Aurobindo showed that it is possible to exceed "Nirvana" into what is behind - also in an Indian way. On the Christian path, however, something of the abundance of God behind everything may remain from the first moment onwards because Christ, having passed through the earth represents a bridge.
When somebody like Aurobindo is confronted with powers seeming to have connections to the development of Christ, but this background is not there, it gives the impression of a difficult balancing act. It is not impossible by any means, however; some may remember the case of the Hindu boy Sadhu Sundar Singh, who did not know anything about Christianity, but who, after intensively asking inwardly for God, suddenly had an experience of the living Christ, later written down in books. Also during Hindu Tantric practices people, who would have expected to see Indian Gods, suddenly had a vision of Christ. "The spirit moves wherever it wants".
It may hardly be relevant for a theology bound to Christianity as a religious
community, but all the more interesting for other cultural areas: the hint of R.
Steiner of seeing Christ as a sun-like being known to some higher sages before
his coming down to earth. See the chapter "In the beginning was the word…"
in this text and the extra - page "The Old Testament and pre-Christian
During one station of his coming down to earth, according to other sources too, arose e.g. the experience of "Yehovah"/YHWH. This experience probably became obscured later, as elsewhere too,which does not mean that each old testament event can be evaluated from viewpoints of our contemporary society. God knows better than we do what he does and why.
Later, 2000 years ago we see the physical incarnation of Christ on earth, as a yardstick, at a turning point of the world’s evolution, taking this and mankind on himself, including them again in his life. The old cults were partially degenerated, just as Christianity later also became superficial, although an investigation in this direction would also be interesting. Christ would show himself to be something which does not match the role sometimes intended for him as a power guarantor of a special religious community - a being that just represents renewed humanity, the "new Adam" of Golgotha.
In the context of the crucifixion, theology speaks about forgiveness of sins (cf. John 1:29). What can really be had however, is, that this "redemption" as an "embryonic" possibility needs the conscious decision and emulation of Christ ("imitation of Christ"), in order to become really expressed in one's life. This is real work. One can really experience that life becomes more of an organic whole if one has the attitude of being guided through life by God as conveyed by Christ. If one instead has an attitude of mechanically effective laws of destiny or of the balance of "Karma", then life will indeed happen according to these principles. Christ also speaks of repayment "down to the last penny", but he does not say that this has still to be in terms of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". The new task of the person is in the foreground - whatever is fruitful for him and his environment will be chosen from his abilities and done. Coping with the past is no longer an end in itself and it is no longer a motive for development. Help "from above" in the interaction of people’s various possibilities can be observed today.
Studying R. Steiner here may give the impression that Christ is only dealing with the fate of mankind and that each individual has to work out his own fate himself. But many Christians have experienced that Christ also helps peopleindividually while they are working on their own fate. He can lead to its transformation with regard for the rest of mankind too, instead of to the complete realisation of everything inherent. The power of forgiving between people is also a real experience that is one of the specific Christian characteristics. The eternal vicious circle, for example, of violence and counter-violence is "lifted off its hinges" by that. This is not only a teaching for the release from earthly entanglements or for the non-identification with them - in this respect there are some similarities to the teachings of Buddha. A deeper meditation on that makes it clear that it is also a real power that allows the entanglements to dissolve from within and in spite of that not to withdraw, although it would now be possible, but to have the strength to remain in the widest sense "in the world" at the same time - as a "worker in the vineyard".
Even on this ambitious level the individual obviously does not
"liquefy" like a drop in the ocean. It is not enough to describe that
one leaves behind thousands of suddenly dissolved particles of previous parts of
the person, including psychical and mental ones. That would be like a
description of the consequences of the "crucifixion" in the
theosophical field and what is similarly described by Castaneda from the
shamanistic field without the term "crucifixion", which are real
A cell within the whole that maintains its responsibility for everything connected with it is still a better description of a human being that "took up his cross" and whose previous efforts now become involved in mastering the existential core of life.
In spite of all the attempts to exhaust the event and the symbolism of the crucifixion for spiritual purposes in the present time, we should not overlook the fact that several things are combined here:
- that Jesus had to pass through all the stages of human existence, from birth to death, changing everything with a new attitude;
- that the crucifixion, which - independent of other old meanings of the cross - is also simply recognisable as a former secular kind of penalty and which was also caused in this case unambiguously by fraudulent, illegal and materialistic methods of his opponents. It was as it was and it could not have happened any differently and so no cross fetishism can be based on that. It was a last, rearing reaction of the frozen, unconscious powers of that time, which turned negative. In turn it was a caricature of the really transforming consciousness of Jesus. The beneficial effect of the events did not depend on this violent action against Jesus, and is connected with the resurrection too. It's the work of God.
- The cross as a symbol includes the former context, even when it later became a general symbol for the most sacrificing love, in which sense it can still be used reasonably today - as contrary to indifference, hate and so forth.
- A more neutral picture for the inner processes going on in Jesus beyond the context conditioned by that time, would be his last words on the cross: "Into Your Hands I give my spirit"; as well as the grave, that does not represent a completely separate "step", unlike older esoteric depictions, but is connected to the crucifixion. The sense of the death of Jesus is not in death itself, but in overcoming the "death programs" within human beings.
This writing deals so fully with the "last events in the life of Jesus", because they have not been as mentally imbued than the more easy-to-understand events prior to them. For this reason, the more confusing theories arose about that, - which need more efforts to disentangle them. This can help to proceed to a more direct experience. This should not be misunderstood, as if the death by crucifixion would have been the most important event in Jesus’ life, as certain theological schools have defined it.
Similar to the first disciples of Jesus after the Crucifixion and Resurrection, traditional theologians realised that several Old Testament texts, right down to the fine details, could be read as allusions to the later Passion of Jesus and its saving turnabout (Luke 24:27; Psalms 22; Psalms 40:7ff.; Psalms 69:22; Isaiah 52:13-14 and 53; Zechariah 12:10 and 13:1; Wisdom 2:10-20, etc.) Again in the traditional writings on Jesus’ years of ministry, there were several allusions to the later Crucifixion and Resurrection – which are partly somewhat difficult to recognise and particularly for that reason cannot be explained away as late additions. Moreover, the pre-Christian Greek philosopher Plato sensed that his ideal image of a completely just person in this world would end in a crucifixion (in Politeia II). It is noticeable that these occurrences must have also made quite a deep impression on the Romans (e.g. Mark 15:38). Despite the perceptibly major significance of this sacrifice in the greater biblical scheme of things, some critical theologians were not particularly impressed by it. Right from the early days of Christianity, various groups took the very steps that people of their groups had experienced, or those which they were able to comprehend, which led to varying religious focuses.
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We could now deal with some further questions connected with the crucifixion. Firstly, there is the question of the empty grave (John 19, 38 - John 20, 10). We already mentioned that it was not simply a question of healing a living person with herbs . Nicodemus also applied substances known to be useful for embalming the dead. A simple corpse robbery with a funeral elsewhere can be ruled out from a not purely materialistic viewpoint. This will become obvious through the discoveries connected to the "resurrection" that are to be described in the next chapter. Further details can be deduced from working on rare formulations of questions:
One can, for example, look into the general question of what happens to human beings at and after death and whether it varies. This has often been done on the basis of religious manifestations and traditions and also due to philosophical speculations, further with the aid of, for example, parapsychological investigations, humanistic and transpersonal psychology as well as clinical and individual experiences (e.g. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, …)
Nearly all religions ultimately state that man not only "lives on in his
descendants and through cultural after-effects" but that he continues to
exist as a conscious individual. Even the worship of ancestors by (so-called)
"primitive peoples" does not only mean the ancestors "living
on" in the descendants; but they are convinced of the real mental or
psychical existence of the ancestors in present time and even of their possible
real presence in the cult life, or in the normal life of the descendants too.
Even where ideas arose that humans could enter or incarnate in other life forms
like animals or even stones or something else, the rule of the continued
existence as a spiritual being was accepted. The newer "high
religions" also stress continued existence. They see these even more
unambiguously on higher levels of existence than the physical one. Some speak of
possible contact between these levels of existence, but also of its problems.
For the conscious ascent into higher spheres, precise ceremonies were
developped, see for example "The Tibetan book of the dead" which,
for example, C. G. Jung dealt with too. Concerning questions like reincarnation,
very different experiences and ideas were reported.
Today there are some theologians, who don't believe in life after death, or in "Eternal Life"* through the experience of Jesus (*see the last paragraph in "The question of life after death..." too). They had adapted their thoughts to the long since outdated science of the 19th century.
One might get spiritual experience by asking oneself frequently "what is behind?".
In the field of the medicine there are not only cases of anaesthetized or apparently dead people who came back and reported on their experiences in other fields of consciousness. There are also scientific investigations e.g. about a decrease in weight of approx. 21 grams that always occurs at the moment of death. In Anthroposophy and Theosophy one would speak of the detachment of the "I" or the "mental body" and of the "astral or emotional body", along with the "ethereal or life-energy body", and the "phantom body" from the physical body. After that a further withdrawal into the emotional, and after that into the "I" alone and the causal world- this is not yet the "heaven" - follows - always with the higher Self above.
This might also lead to the question of how the dying person deals with the stored abilities, experiences, and substances in his various "layers"; and how are differences dealt with. Literature on this subject exists too, e.g. by Father Roesermüller (Germany), which points out that "essentials" from all elements of the being are "taken with one"; and that burial is better than cremation, because of this process. Even an unexpectedly observed sudden substance dissolution in a grave was reported. There are also reports about "corpses not decaying" observed by churches, from several centuries right up to the present time. Today, e.g. Bernadette Soubirius at Lourdes. There are many reports about "empty graves" too. In such cases it was frequently stated that these people had lived "very close to God".
Apparently, no one thought about a relationship between this and the empty grave of Jesus.; This thought, astonishingly enough, first seems to have appeared in the later esoteric magazines. There are several other peculiar events which are more difficult to check, but to generally put them down as frauds would be much too sweeping a statement. However, we know that physical matter still contains considerable secrets. Investigations from the field of chemistry and physics shake the picture of the putative, relatively constant atoms in the body even more. This can only be mentioned here in passing, since it covers a chapter in itself.
The apocryphal writings of early Christianity are also worth mentioning (not considered to be "heretical" by the churches, but also not considered to be a hundred percent correct and therefore not included in the canon of the Bible). A part of the so-called Gospel of Nicodemus describes "Jesus' descent down to hell" after his death and his influence on the beings there, who go through a - presumably emotional - cleaning. His meeting with the people of the Old Testament is also described - in some kind of "paradise", here meant as some kind of mental/ spiritual realm above. On the one hand such ideas seemed reasonable, but they can very presumably be genuine visions, which may be partly direct, partly symbolic.
As an image, the grave phase as a stage on the path of Christ shows on the one hand a last transformation of the corpse of Jesus, which was already "spiritually refined" during life; and parallel events of the higher being released from the physical body consciousness. The new beginning of a holistic (integrated) "New Adam" is touched on here. It is also full of symbolism because according to corresponding traditions "Adam and Eve" are supposed to have been buried below that area of "Golgotha" ("place of Skulls").
The importance of reports about Mary Magdalene being the first to discover the empty grave are not yet exhausted., Apparently, she recognized Christ in some kind of an intermediate stage* - "do not touch me " -. In the mental context, here she seems to symbolize the role of Eve. - *"Do not touch me, because I have not yet gone up to the father." This is different from the later appearance as a "resurrected being", where he e.g. explicitly permits Thomas to touch him. The dead body seemed to be animated by spirit in a new manner. However, the stories handed down do not lend credence to the speculations about Jesus "only having been injured and subsequently cured to health". His appearance had completely changed and the reactions of Mary Magdalene do not indicate that these changes were obviously caused by wounds or scabs. The two herbal substances used by Nicodemus, were also suitable (effective) in this combination for the embalming of the dead. What came about here does not fit into the scheme of death and life in the classical sense. Neither does it match with any of the borderline experiences between life and death which had been known about before. This also has a certain importance for the future, see our chapters concerning "The Revelation ".
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The empty grave and the Resurrection of Christ are an incredible challenge for the consciousness of many people. Their background - they experienced, that people must die -; the understandable tendency to suppress inexplicable things; one-sided materialistic ways of thinking about life - antiquated but still taught in the schools -, are some of the predominant causes for that. (E.g. John 20, 11- Joh. 21).
Nevertheless there are voices among historical-critical interpreters who say that the Resurrection reports are the best testified ones in early Christianity, even better substantiated than all other reports about the life of Jesus. Here they mean reports concerning the appearances of Jesus at different places in a new figure with several new qualities, not always recognized immediately, but perceptible for everyone with physical eyes. This would imply consequences.
One consequence would be, to look at the portrayal of Jesus in the bible, requiring real transformation of the corpse of Jesus - spiritualized in life - and/or of the after-death "body" of Jesus (so-called "ghosts" are usually invisible). The development of states of consciousness that had fallen apart in the sequence of human evolution could lose their separation: "separation " is the literal meaning of the word "sin". This separation was also a separation of man from God, the origin. So the "lower part", i.e. the body, can be included again into the other parts of the being of Christ. See previous chapter: "and the grave was empty".
"'In 3 days I will re-build this temple'. He spoke, however, of the temple of his body". -–After the rising of his being into other worlds of consciousness or into his innermost core - in this respect similar to others - (see last chapter), a new creation of the levels of being including a physical body could follow, without areas of unconscious; because Jesus no longer had separating qualities and everything within him obeyed his core.
Also in the anthroposophic view of Rudolf Steiner, the "resurrected body" of Christ, the "new Adam" - 1 Cor 15:45-47 - is seen as a re-creation and is available for all people since then, as a way for personal development (the so-called physical "phantom body"). Even in Theosophical circles (A. Bailey, there for instance named "Revelation" or "5th initiation"), Jesus' resurrection is seen as a real re-creation. Although the Theosophical viewpoint may be inaccurate in some details, Christian theologians should still ask themselves why they did not develop such ideas - or even better approaches? The hesitation of some theologians to take the resurrection seriously does not even fulfil the basic criterion of good general knowledge.
Here is noted that the "resurrected body" as really belonging to
the being cannot be fully equated with the "apparent body"
(Mayavirupa) of esoteric literature, which some masters are said to produce like
some kind of clothing for making themselves visible. However, this also shows
their mastery of spirit over matter.
The modern teachings, sometimes unclearly formulated, about " bodies of light" also show some similarities. This concerns the resonance of the higher bodies in the physical body. This is a bridge for entering the realities beyond physical consciousness without leaving the physical body, also named "Merkabah" in Hebrew. Its fundamentals can be found in Prof. J. J. Hurtak "The Keys of Enoch" and "The synoptic gospels", Academy for Future Science, P.O.Box FE, Los Gatos, CA 95030, USA. Now a manifold movement for "lightwork" has developped, which is not limited to any organisation. These lightworkers want to help the earth in this difficult period of time. But there is a temptation to think that some new exercises would fulfil all hopes for the so-called "ascension" alone. Actually nothing works without a holistic development, including growth in character. See the next chapter too.
That ideas about re-incarnation, that is re-personification of the soul in a new body, as found in all kinds of religions in one form or the other, would be a lower, more imperfect "octave" of the new resurrection event, and not identical with it. Teachings of a pre-existence of the soul prior to fertilization and also the teachings of the re-personification were also widely held in early Christianity and, according to Ruffinus, even generally held. However, it is interesting to note that later no special emphasis was laid on this concept. That is not only due to the circumstance that people were supposed to be concentrating on life on earth - as R. Steiner writes; and not only a possible aim of power-hungry Popes to make people more dependent by the limits of one life - as other spiritual authors presume. More meaningful phenomena can also be found to underline that. The most important thing is for people to anchor the concept of resurrection in themselves. (See also e.g. 1.Cor.15:53; Philippians 3:21; ). Even if this seems to be pie in the sky, re-incarnation would start to look like a process that had been overtaken by Christ. The resurrected Christ did not have to be born again in order to reappear to the people. Many - although not all - Christian groups criticize ideas of reincarnation. It can be acknowledged that the idea of inflexible "psycho-mechanical" laws of fate, death and re-incarnation, at least if seen as an end in itself, do not correspond to the example of the life of Jesus. That does not mean, however, that re-incarnation could never have existed or that it could not exist today. Many former and contemporary so-called "reincarnation experiences" cannot be explained away - even though not all of these experiences are necessarily based on real reincarnation, but often on certain other factors. But indeed in the Christian field the reported experiences seem to be special cases, for instance the case of John the Baptist. Instead of taking over the function of Elia - as mostly interpreted - Jesus said simply "It is he". That would be, however, the role of a being sent again for a special task, in order to help the people and not a mandatory circuit of a prisoner in the wheel of rebirth (of the Hindus). Furthermore, in the field of Christian mysticism, even where reincarnation is accepted as a fact (for instance Lorber), the greater importance of new ways of learning after death in other dimensions is often stressed. Today people can learn enormously in one life. Reincarnation for normal purification and development, possibly with new tasks to match the situation, does not necessarily need to have the old, automatic nature. Those old ideas may have been a cause for seeing the teachings about reincarnation suspiciously as non-Christian. Apart from that, the ideas of other religions about reincarnation did not consider the role of God and Christ. The nature of all people in body, mind and spirit is basically the same and therefore comparisons can help everyone to learn from each other - without egalitarianism.
The effect of mechanical conceptions of fate and reincarnation was already written about in the chapter "The Crucifixion".
Today one often finds that strong personalities are quite dissimilar to their physical parents, even as young adults. Sometimes they appear as if their form had been more strongly impressed by another, or an earlier culture than is normally the case. This could be connected with the greater importance of the psychological-intellectual being compared with the connection with ancestors and inheritance. R. Steiner thinks of a connection of this phenomenon with the work of Christ.
In spite of this phenomenon there is no reason to ascribe to Jesus a one-sided accentuation of the psychological-mental parts only. In the long-term work of Christ there is rather an impulse, to refine all parts including the body and to bring these fields into unison again .(Spirit,) the person and the body are supposed to match (which has certainly not been achieved everywhere today). Especially the way to resurrection is no mere spiritual work "free of the body", but the "body" becomes spiritual and spirit becomes physical - the begin is beyond all one-sided intellectual arbitrary. Cf. for instance Luke 24:36-43.
The motto of Christ is "Behold! I make all things new". Even though he is ultimately addressing the core of the individuality, where man is "neither Jew nor Greek…" but a human being; even so, we are not meant to have any bare homogeneous human super-consciousness, but the thought God thinks or realizes through the individual human being. From a position of individuality, we can then start to form new communities, which are not the old close ties to family, profession etc. Among the new relationships made in spirit, there can also be, however, "old" ones, freed from old unconscious compulsions, changed into free decisions.
In connection with the remarks on worldwide effects through fields of force, for instance in the chapter about the crucifixion, we should consider here that after Christ had already been through all (of) these steps, these are in total and simultaneously "there". Even though the steps of Christ and its sequence remain, "experiencing the crucifixion" is something different, after the resurrection impulse already shines through. It is not a matter of course that even with most profound comprehension the material death would have to occur, before the "force of resurrection" can take effect. Mystic experiences support this. The resurrection force can be experienced as a current attractive power behind all, even the simplest steps. In some other way R. Steiner stated that the happenings of Easter still work as a unit today; appending further discoveries, such as "etherization of the blood".
Today abilities develop(p)ed on the way of the "emulation of Christ" during the centuries - are relevant too.
In this context it is interesting that new ideas exist which do not agree with the general assumption of the natural, compulsory mortality of the body anymore, like Christ:
The Indian philosopher and Yogi Aurobindo worked in a similar direction after his transition through the Nirvana experience and attempted "to bring down supra-mental powers into life on earth." His spiritual partner, "Mother" Mira Alfassa could penetrate unknown layers of the physical body in this way, e.g. of the cells containing memory, which are related to the old programs of death. She experienced this as "working on the one body of mankind".
In a different way, Rudolf Steiner spoke
of newly forming higher elements of being or bodies in these fields above the
mind, which would later allow to work out the older emotional, the ethereal and
the material parts of the human being willingly one after another down to the
fine details., . He names these new parts: "spiritual self, life spirit,
spiritual human" (own translation from German without checking the
translation in the English books.) The impression could arise that this
prediction is only going to be realized after long periods of time. A comparison
with the current development / evolution shows however, that this can already be
relevant in parts today.
A motto of the Christian Rosicrucians was "Born in God, died in Christ, resurrected (Latin: reviviscimus) in the Holy Spirit.
In esoteric Buddhism these higher "bodies" were also suggested at least as a possibility for a Buddha: "Dharmakaya, Sambhogyakaya, Nirmanakaya". Indeed the aims, means or results in these different schools are not quite the same, but it becomes clear that different people address the same fields of activities independently of each other; so one can ascribe a high degree of reality to it.
Here a further experience from our century is appended: Carl Welkisch, "Im Geistfeuer Gottes" (= in the fire of the Spirit of God). As a physically unusually sensitive mystic he felt, confirmed by visions, called to perform a task to do with the fact that bodily matter can now also be changed by God and that he was a tool for this purpose. Since it more often occurs however, that people with extraordinary "tasks given from above" may think they are the only ones - while God's allocation of tasks tends to be complicated - it is often easy to dismiss them as "lunatics". Those who are familiar with this kind of mystic experience can recognize that these experiences as such are genuine. The same thing goes for Welkisch.
"Immortality" is especially preached by certain new spiritual-therapeutic groups, mainly in the USA. They attempt "to cure the ideas of mortality ". They also try to contribute breathing techniques like Rebirthing - for the processing of the birth trauma - healthy nutrition etc. in order to promote a real prolongation of life, a life radiating positivity. Even if Christ often emerges only on the fringe in these circles, Christians like the Mormon Annalee Skarin are also known there, who wrote about their own insights concerning de- and re-materialisation of the body - based on her connection with God.
Others, in the field of medicine, investigate hormonal means to reach a certain rejuvenation. This development contains reasonable motives. Not all (of) these approaches can be suspected as some kind of megalomania.
The resurrection force experienced with Christ, who started it visibly and in an integrated way, seems to represent the actual "enzyme" of a harmonious development in this direction. A lot of things he gave us as a "seed" stillhave to be completed. That is why it makes sense to consciously refer to him about that.
However, we should remember that Christ would have wished us to consider the whole human being (person), and not just a cult regarding the life of the physical body as an isolated and highest value. He would also not recommend an isolated practice to liven up the cells, but a united sanctification of the body - including its organs, cells etc. and the spiritual life of man. It is also a question of the freedom to live and not of a compulsion to live. This is only mentioned as a possible source of trouble during this difficult "balancing act" and not to imply that these groups always go to extremes.
Meanwhile "resurrection" is not only a spiritual experience. It can permanently renew everything in life, for which a little known new-revelation group, the "Lichtzentrum Bethanien" (centre of light Bethany) at Sigriswil, Switzerland has coined the phrase "resurrection life" in their journal "Lichtbote" (Messenger of the light). After the "narrow gate" of the cross, abundance will come. Jesus stressed that his way can only become clear through deeds. Only progress on the personal path, i.e. "emulating Christ" can begin to make this more advanced step understandable. As we have seen, this way is not uniform, increasing steadily up to a peak, but rather becomes apparent in those concerned as the divinely guided structuring of an extensive building in which each new stone is built upon the preceding one. The stones are abilities in the being of man which survive his externally constructed buildings. Just as prehistoric man was created to be perfect, according to various sacred writings, so can he/she again become "complete like the Father in Heaven" after the transition through the drama of the imperfect world, Christ promised the people. That is not only valid for the simplest steps on the way, but even for the resurrection. He did not set any boundaries and did not declare today's limited comprehension to be the standard. He himself sets new standards, see the "I am...wordings" in the gospels: "I am the bread of life", "I am the light of the world…"; "I am the door"; "I am the good herdsman" and also "I am the resurrection and the life", he who has faith "will live eternally, even if he should die now". This means do not wait for the general dispensation of the "Last Judgement", as certain Christian groups maintain. "I am the way, the truth and the life"; "I am the right vine, and my father is the wine grower, …you are the grapes…"; I am a king, I am born and have come into the world, that I shall testify the truth". Christ is the actual "I Am" in man, which should be well distinguished from the everyday ego.
In the Jewish belief there was a resurrection or a raising from the dead, but only at the end of time. In traditional Christian theology, however, the Resurrection is seen as a new opportunity through belief in Christ, but without having worked it out beyond the Last Supper. Within modern, critical theological considerations, it can already be seen as progress - compared with a more materialistic form of theology, which wanted to simply explain away anything that was difficult to envisage -, that the Resurrection is again being picked up as a "metaphor"= in a figurative, allegorical sense. (Hans Kessler, anthology "Resurrection of the Dead"). Some may need an approach of this kind to that which is difficult to imagine, but not necessarily those who are able to directly believe in the Resurrection as both an internal and an external reality. In some respects, this belief of simple Christians corresponds more to today’s level of research and knowledge in many fields, as it is taken up in today's studies. For those who see everything as simply "metaphorical", according to our studies, they are only likely to gain the benefit of spiritual edification – and the healing effect, which can have an impact right into the physical body, even today, can be at least delayed or lessened.
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Annotation: In English modern spiritual movements and lightworkers use the word "ascension" for another process, which is related to the power of Resurrection, as described in the previous chapter.
Just as Jesus Christ began with 40 days seclusion in the desert prior to his teaching activity, he also concluded his visible activity on earth with the 40 days after Easter, in which he appeared to people at various remote places.
After a last meal and conversation "he led them out towards Bethany, raised his hands and blessed them. And it came about, as he blessed them, he departed from them and went up to heaven" (Luke 24, Mark 16). "…He was lifted up more and more and a cloud took him away, in front of their eyes. Two men stood with them in white clothing, who said: "... This Jesus, who has been taken up into heaven will come, as you saw him going up to heaven" (Acts 1). The apostles obviously distinguished very clearly between those 40 days in which Christ was suddenly among them and always disappeared again and the time after that, in which they also felt assembled in his spirit, but without his personal presence.
Christ had already announced that he would be going to the father. Only after the ascension he was said to "sit to the right of the father", therefore with God on a level beyond the humanly attainable "hereafter". A state appears in outlines, where Christ is universally with God. God is: "I am the I Am". He is omnipotent and nevertheless he gives man free rein; he is the living origin of all powers and beings and nevertheless alone; he is outside space and also omnipresent; he is eternal and also a reality concealed in every moment. This does not mean that Christ dissolved himself into nothingness, but rather that he is now everywhere. That bridge between man and God could still be experienced in life by attuning oneself to Christ - "Pray to the father in my name" (John 15,16). That is a reality of its own kind, independent of the respective ideas concerning the events 2000 years ago.
The disciples now became aware of their importance as apostles on earth for Christ. Christ now appeared more strongly within them and through them. It would be incorrect to evaluate this state from an external point of view as if nothing else had happened except that the teacher had disappeared, leaving them to carry on the project alone. If the autonomous role of the ascension is also included here, one could describe it as a universalisation of the work of Christ. A comparison of this would be a hologram, in which each splinter of the picture contains the whole image. Remark: This comparison does not intend to take up that kind of holographic philosophy, according to which man would be like God in any case, with the consequence, that no effort would be necessary to become like him. That would be similar to the kind of redemption idea that forgets that redemption is like a bud that needs to be taken by individual decision and by emulation (going the same path) - as Christ decided consciously for us.
In addition to human relationships one also receives the relationships of Christ. Basically, the impulse started by Jesus during his life as a possibility was sealed at the ascension for the use of his disciples and ultimately for everyone. , The possibility of Christ taking shape in man was pointed out in the chapter about the baptism in the Jordan. This means that that which Christ brought or had worked for now has an extended nature compared to the work of human beings. It is anchored in God, not only in a "morphogenetic field" – see "The crucifixion". Another approximation of this would be "God attracts everything towards him".
Today, St. Paul is often known for some of his traditional "rough edges". Although this may be sometimes overemphasized by one-sided interpretations, his visionary experiences are authentic. In his own way, he was able to recognize, like St. John in his Gospel etc. that the role of Christ goes far beyond a role for Judaism and that Judaism was actually chosen as a starting point for the Universal Christ, for his contribution to all people. Understandably, this was a reason for one of the first quarrels among the disciples.
Ecclesiastical statements tend to equate the church with the "Body of Christ", even if the rest of mankind was actually meant in a broad sense. Anthroposophical statements see mankind unambiguously as a body of Christ. Theosophical schools of thought, which do not have an exclusively Christian basis, also see the role of Christ for mankind, even if only that of "The World Teacher".
Modern Christian new revelation networks, especially the "Universal life" - not to be confused with the Universal Life Church - also see a role of Christ today for the non-human living beings; coming to the conclusion that the future fate of the earth will not be placed in man’s hands. However, people who did not cause the problems on earth, but are a part of the "solution", will surely have their role, as mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount.
In fact, whenever anybody has done anything "in Christ", it has also been done for Christ and therefore for the world.
Those who really connect themselves with Christ and the direction of his work - which cannot be arbitrarily modified - would simply not be able to accept many of the theories that were quite usual in churches for many centuries. According to experienced mystics, Christ is not open ('cannot be broached'), neither consciously nor unconsciously, for anything that goes against his teaching.
So, it can be left up to the churches themselves to explain in their own
terminology where they took the strength to make war, to persecute and hate -
and furthermore, most of it was done in the service of secular powers. .
According to experiences generally known in spiritual movements, light may also
stir up dark things that exist. To make oneself the tool of darkness however -
as it often happened in the past - instead of working on these shadows within
oneself and others, makes a mockery of Christian ethical claims.
But still, later reports, e.g. the final document of the European oecumenical board „Peace in justice for the whole of creation" in 1989, shows that attempts are being made to come to terms with past mistakes. The text is available at the Hanover EKD, and elsewhere.
The "Ascension" can also become really significant within the "imitation of Christ". Rosicrucians, for instance, experienced a descent of the cloud from the sky to them in pictures and dreams. A unique or even repeated experience of this kind does not mean, however, that this person has fully realized such a step in life. Initially, it simply means that this quality has begun to take effect within the person concerned.
To feel the meaning of "Ascension", requires a lot of spiritual
development and is therefore not to be confused with a technical transportation
by "UFOs" (unidentified flying objects). In the case of stories handed
down describing various kinds of "taking away" of biblical prophets,
this is not very probable considering the other spiritual possibilities (see the
chapter "The resurrection"). However, this viewpoint is not being used
here to deny the probable existence of these "UFOs"* which, according
to the profusion of international sightings, may be the appearance of partially
extraterrestrial astronauts and that some legends may be referring to similar
phenomena of both positive and negative kinds from the past. They may also have
a role in the future. But the attempts of "Ancient astronaut research"
circles to identify every spiritual rock drawing with rings and so forth with
spaceships is completely excessive and originates from a fantasy limited by our
technical and materialistic civilisation. Even though mankind needs divine aid
of manifold kind, it will have to carry out the saving breakthrough itself in
the end. Through advances in the existence, action and consciousness the people
on earth will be able to survive, find their task and fulfil it. No external
achievement, and no own technical achievement can replace growth into further
stages of consciousness. That attempt, which led to the Challenger shuttle
and their warning accident for instance, is like a distracting and poor copy of
what is really necessary.
Note: from the Catholic church, for example, the theologian Monsignor Corrado Balducci (Vatican) has often voiced a corresponding view. Otherwise, the officials of the various churches often assumed merely a psychic or sociological phenomenon. Nevertheless, in May 2008 the official Vatican newspaper "Osservatore Romano" reported: "The universe consists of billions of galaxies, each of which is made up of hundreds of billions of stars. How can one exclude the possibility that life has also developed somewhere else? We cannot limit the creative freedom of God. If, like Francis of Assisi, we see the creatures of the Earth as our brothers and sisters, why shouldn’t we then also speak of an extra-terrestrial brother? It is possible that other intelligent creatures still live in complete harmony with their creator. "
This does not mean to ignore the fact, however, that technical developments are also necessary, for instance to replace technologies hostile to life such as nuclear energy, other kinds of electromagnetic radiation, "genetic engineering" and other technologies. However, even this can only come about on the basis of a higher consciousness. That growth mentioned in a more comprehensive consciousness in the sense of Christ would, however, have to bean organic growth and not another technical manipulation. No spiritual "technique" can force "salvation". Practices of various kinds are only good for preparations, and need to be put aside again after having served their purpose. Only that which has become one's own really counts in the end. It is quite impossible to "consume" God passively with today's "brain-machines".
Primarily, Christ has been handed down in his special role on earth, but manifestations in other levels of existence and other places in the cosmos are also possible: "The Urantia Book"/ USA may stimulate imaginations; but his special task on this very dense physical earth is not being questioned; and the books "Analekta" 1 and 2 ("Analekta" only in German, some copies can still be obtained from Mag. Alois Thurner, Staudach 103, A-8230 Hartberg, Austria.)
Theologians have related the Ascension of Jesus in a "cloud" to sections of the Old Testament (2nd Moses 13:21 and 40:34). They handled the subsequent joy of the disciples as a clearly experienced new type of presence of Christ, some of them as something extremely real and others as something subjective.
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Before the crucifixion Jesus had announced that he will go to the Father, and therefore the Holy spirit/ the "Comforter"/ the "Spirit of the truth" will be sent by the Father (John 14,15,16).
About ten days after the ascension, the early Christian community assembled at Jerusalem for prayer. "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house... They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues …" (Acts 2). Nobody describes a normal feeling of being fulfilled after prayer in such words. It sounds more similar to the practices of the Pentecost Churches and the Quakers. That first Whitsun event follows here as an externally perceptible sign of what has been described in the chapter about the ascension, the distribution of the power of Christ to the disciples and those around them. With this "sending down" the Spirit of truth we see again something of a mutual effect of God and Christ. In this respect the first Whitsun event can also be seen as a first sign of the beginning of a "Second Coming of Christ" or at least of an approach. Even from this viewpoint we can expect that the prophesied "Second Coming of Christ" does not only mean a second personification as a human being.
Annotation: The "Comforter" or "Counsellor" or the "Spirit of truth" (John 15:26) must not - strictly speaking - be equated with the "Holy Spirit"; see below: "Sophia".
- "The Spirit of truth" appears like a piece of Christ himself, which reminds of the community of him and his words and now enables the disciples to continue his work on earth. Since then it is basically no longer respectable to deal with religious and philosophical questions as a mere historical and literary adoption or mental derivation. A lot has been written about that viewpoints. Other factors are also at work, within people too and the main object of this text is to help people to "feel for" these factors.
The heritage of the creator, of the father in man, provided he is "born of God" (John 1) is offered in the life of Jesus, given for everyone to make it one's own consciously; and now since the Whitsun event the heritage of Christ himself is anchored in those who remained on earth.
- The Holy Spirit as a "feminine, maternal" spiritually intelligent divine quality and energy was found in different levels of existence and manifestations already before Jesus' life on earth, - outside of man and in his inspiring effect on the people as well.There are even relations to the "manna" (Exodus, Deuteronomy, Numbers, Psalms, Nehemiah, Joshua, John, the Letter to the Hebrews, Revelation.)
But it is not completely wrong to equate the terms "Spirit of the truth" and "Holy Spirit", as is often the case, with respect to practical experiences. It may happen more and more frequently that divine powers work together and finally as a unit like man, who was initially "created in the image of God", can have the experience of the differentiation of consciousness and then again the integration of his being.
Through that, the life shared between mankind and the earth will really be able to appear in a way which is still hardly noticeable today. This will be looked at in the coming chapters in connection with the revelation of John - without thinking that this future could be in any way adaptable to the contemporary imagination.
The "Holy Spirit" is not simply spirit or breath of life or vitality. It can be quite useful to pursue this seemingly gradual occurrence on the path of Christ. It is named in connection with the conception of Mary, therefore at least as participating in an individual event.
It can also be found in that reference where Christ, being personally present in his resurrected body, "blows" on the disciples, saying "Take the Holy Spirit" (John 20, 22) - which therefore performs through him here. A purification of their ability to perceive or, in the deeper meaning, of their conscience can be seen as a prerequisite for the responsibility that is transmitted to them or that is made conscious to them: "to forgive sins or not (to do anything)". This conscience, according to J. Lorber defined by Christ as an effect of the Holy Spirit, is not that mixture of biographically moulded fears, often wrongly confused with conscience, behind which however a piece of genuine conscience may sometimes be concealed. Conscience in the purest sense is also a conscious inner guidance of the individual.
In the first Whitsun event the Holy Spirit seems to be impersonal, even "cosmic". However, in diverse ways, depending on the various situations of the people penetrated by it, or according to the varying conditions of those addressed by it, and of the world, it is able to hit sore points in the mind - and to clean those points, if one looks at it in the light of spirit. To recognize essential differences and truths increasingly better, are other features of a consciousness that seems to be activated by the Holy Spirit. Where the cleaning up of confusion is not so much important, the same power shows itself more as creatively forming, community forming, perfecting - leading to God.
The 19th century, with its various revival movements in churches and its new revelation movements, as also in the 20th century also shows us new waves of the Holy Spirit and its resulting effectswhen looked at more closely. Anyway it suggests that Christian impulses and the Holy Spirit turned more and more to the larger matters of the book of Revelations.
In these sections of the Acts of the Apostles (Acts) Mary and the other female disciples are "united in praying and beseeching God" with the male disciples. The role of the women - whether talking or "silent" as said by Paul - ought to be indispensable for various reasons. They were, for example, emotionally more receptive to fine influences and were certainly capable of passing it on, verbally or non-verbally, to the people around. Even today in meetings of every kind, also spiritual ones, one can see the difference when both men and women participate. Without masculine display behaviour many events can progress in a more inspiring and enthusiastic way, as long as the inward participation in the event is sufficient. In Anthroposophical and Rosicrucian areas Mary, the mother of Jesus, is even seen as the actual source through which the Holy Spirit was able to come down onto the disciples.
Here we also encounter the secret of the „Sophia", the "Wisdom" of the Old Testament, a feminine expression of divine power. In the eastern Orthodox Church Mary was often identified with Sophia. The "Sophiologian" and visionary Solowjoff experienced her as a being of our time - this is also ascribed to Christ (e.g. Steiner's lectures about an "ethereal Second Coming" about (around) 1909, or other teachings.) As it was with Jesus and Mary on a small scale, so the "Cosmic Christ" and "Sophia" as a heavenly mother can be experienced apparently on the large scale by mystics, etc. See also Hildegunde Wöller "Ein Traum von Christus" (German, "A Dream of Christ" - not known, if available in English). The context may also be described like this: the "maternal" aspect of God helps creation to grow towards the creator, just as the creator approaches his creatures.
Feminist theologians have pointed out that the Holy Spirit was called female in the former language. Mary and Sophia might be seen more precisely as a form in which the Holy Spirit takes shape, as in the symbol of the dove.
However, in various feminist movements in west and east "Sophia-like" influences can also be found, see Dr. Susanne Schaup in the record of the "Evangelische Akademie" (Protestant academy) at Bad Boll, Germany for the meeting "New Age 3: Sophia". Similarly also "Christ-like" influences can be found not only in new worldwide Christian model projects like the "Universal life" or in renewal movements in the churches, but also in other, even secular movements. Comment of the New Testament: "The wind (spirit) blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the spirit." (John 3).
That which is coming has a masculine-feminine nature, is neither patriarchal nor matriarchal.
While something of the work of Christ is in every individual, as described in preceding chapters, this can be amplified now by the external Christ and the Holy Spirit anew, also by his words - however, not only by these.
The Grail knighthood also presumed that there was something left of the work
of Christ on earth 2000 years ago, that people could search and find - the
"Grail". This legend reported that some of the blood of Jesus had
dropped onto the earth at the cross and been collected in a bowl. Joseph of
Arimathea (John 19:38) and his companions were supposed to have saved it and
brought it to France or England and always assembled in front of this
"miracle-producing Grail" for prayer and inspiration. See, for
example, Robert de Boron "The story of the Holy Grail", written
down about (around) 1200. Although this legend can be based on an external
reality, it is noticeable that the golden Grail bowl with its cup above, its
thickening in the middle and its broadening or opening below symbolizes man, who
from his middle or his heart opens himself upwards for the Holy Spirit and
downwards for the "redemption of the earth."* It is a "redeemed
human being", which "the creature waits for" (Letter to the
Romans 8, 18-28). On the large scale it can also be seen as a symbol of the
earth opening to God there. The Catharians and Albigense people, minnesingers
and troubadours formed groups in the context of this movement. Some of them had
become a little detached from the world. Several million of these
"esoteric" Christians were exterminated by the papacy as putative
"heretics". Anyway, the deeper significance of the Grail is not
exhausted by the other legend that physical descendants of Jesus in royal
families are supposed to have been the Grail.
*Extra window: sketch of the Holy Grail.
John 4: "... woman, believe me, the time will come when you will not worship the father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem... The time will come and it is already now, that the true worshippers will worship the father in the spirit and in the truth; because the father wants to have those who worship him this way. God is Spirit and they who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." Churches would only be able to cope with this self-conscious, free attitude of a Christianity interested in recognition, if they had the courage to renew themselves on the basis of free Christian men and women. Since such schools of a spiritual Christianity were decimated so that it is even difficult to reconstruct their teachings, the church removed its own substance of spiritual tradition, which is gradually being recognized as a mistake today. After a lot of sometimes doubtful offers from other cultures attempting to fill this gap, churches are also now searching for this missing Christian spiritual practice.
The famous abbot, Joachim di Fiore - about (around) 1100 - spoke of the era of the Father - the era of the religious law of the Old Testament; as well as the time of the son with the help of the church; and prophesied a 3rd "Era of the Holy Spirit" - ="Zeitalter des heiligen Geistes", title of a German book of the Turm-Verlag (publisher), in which the people’s individual connection to God increases. From this prophecy too, whose significance we are just starting to recognize, various elements flowed directly and indirectly into all sorts of movements, from Luther via Marx up to Hitler, where it became misunderstood and respectively misused. There is also usually a reasonable archetype from such misunderstandings.
Here is also an annotation about the distinction between the spirituality of the Holy Spirit and spiritualist practices: "Being deeply stirred by the Holy Spirit", in the ideal case a conscious taking of the Holy Spirit, goes via the innermost core of man. Hypnosis or ecstatic trance states and "possession" by "spirits" of deceased ones don't happen here; never mind "calling up spirits". Neither for those concerned nor for others in the gathering does this experience rob strength as in spiritualist sessions. The consciousness is not narrowed, but broadened. Extraordinary perception may be possible, but then consciously and without amnesia.
The effect of the Holy Spirit would be compatible, both with meditative silence - in western churches almost always missing - and with the opposite attempts to achieve the same by more and better communication, as is particularly the case in the west or in America. If silence and communication were connected - a chance especially for the central European mentality - - the intention of the Spirit could become very clearly recognisable. It often manifests "a third way" beyond eastern and western extremes. However, only if the aspiration is not egoistic, i.e. unethical. Christ can only be understood with modesty, ethics and the purpose which he gave to the world as a history of salvation, stressing God's saving grace.
The Holy Spirit can not be considered ascompletely separated from Christ or his requests. Christ ascribed to the Holy Spirit the quality, that it will remind the disciples "of everything I told you". He added: "I still have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of the truth comes, he will guide you into all truth" (John 16:12-13).
Whatever is purified towards the truth could unite itself with the Holy Spirit and the entirety of those powers that want to save the earth.
In the teachings of Christ there is man with his subjectivity - but not that unlimited relativism that, according to some modern philosophical ideas, no longer allows objective truth.
Help: a self-examination for the work with the main text
What has God already helped to develop within me, and what is coming to me from God today?
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For those who would like to have a clearer idea of how Jesus looked, here at
the end of the gospels we point out that image which can be regarded as most
genuine - although no generally accepted portrait exists:
The so-called only real "Bild unseres Heilandes", available from the Lorber-Verlag (Publisher, at 74321 Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany). According to tradition it was included by command of the Emperor Tiberius from a portrait on an emerald and from the treasury of Constantinople given by the sultan of the Turks to Pope Innocent VIII. for ransoming his brother. That is combined with a description of the figure of Jesus by Publius Lentulus, at that time governor of Judea, for the senate and the roman nation .
"At that time a very virtuous man appeared, named Jesus Christ, who lives still among us, looked at as a prophet of the truth by the pagans, but named Son of God by his disciples. He raises people from the dead, heals all illnesses. A medium-sized man, powerfully built and of venerable appearance; so those, who look at him, must love and fear him as well. His hair is colo(u)red like a ripe hazel nut, almost straight down to the ears, from there down over the shoulders a little curly, with oriental style, as usual with the Nazarenes parted in the middle. His front is open and smooth, his face without blotches and wrinkles, beautiful, of agreeable red. The nose and mouth is formed faultlessly. The beard is not thick, the colo(u)r matching the hair, not very long. His eyes are dark blue, clear and lively. His body is well shaped and erect, his hands and arms are proportioned. His reprimand is terrifying, his exhortation friendly and likeable, his speech moderate, wise and modest, mixed with dignity. Nobody can remember having seen him laughing (at sb.), but many saw him weeping. A man, surpassing the people in his curious beauty".
(In the German
printed text the picture was added with permission of the editor from 1992.)
Concerning the imprint of Jesus' corpse on the "holy shroud of Turin" - see our chapter "Crucifixion ...". There is another cloth with the face of Jesus with open eyes, i.e. the "veil of Manoppello", which is being investigated by P. Prof. Dr. Heinrich Pfeiffer and Sister Blandina Paschalis Schlömer ever since 1979. http://voltosanto.com . This image is difficult to explain too. For instance, one cannot paint on mussel silk. The face measurements on the two cloths are congruent. Cf. John 20: 5-7. These pictures both influenced the paintings of the early centuries. The veil, which seems to have been wrapped around the head of Jesus, shows a frontal view of an oval face with the hair. There are also some similarities to the above described picture, which shows the living Jesus from the side.
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To part 2: The steps of the Revelation, Prophecy click here
A table "Archetypes (models, symbols) from the earliest history - elucidated by the Bible - to Jesus, and to the future".
A painted sketch of the life of Jesus
Final chapter of both parts: "The Christian spirit", with a table "A Christian Attitude..."
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