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The Apocalypse of St. John

Apocalypse of John: Lecture IX


IN our description of the evolution of man we have now reached the point when, after the epoch characterized by the sounding of the seven trumpets, the earth with all its beings passes into another condition, when the physical dissolves, so to speak, and changes into spiritual, but first into astral. An astral earth arises and into it pass all the beings who are ripe for it, that is, who have become capable of overcoming even their material part, and using it in the service of the spiritual. On the other hand, those who are unable to spiritualize the bodily, material part, who cling to the material, are thrown out and form a sort of secondary earth, the study of whirls is very instructive for gaining knowledge of the future destiny of humanity. But to this end it is necessary that we clearly understand what has become, during this astralizing of our earth, of those who have reached the necessary degree of maturity, who have taken the Christ-principle into themselves and allowed it to become active. We shall now occupy ourselves with what can develop out of man.

We shall best understand this if we have the patience again to consider what man has become and what possibilities of development lie within him for the future. At present man consists of four principles. The first is the so-called physical body; this is the principle man has in common with all the present creations of the mineral kingdom; this part of man one can see with the eyes and grasp with the hands; it is the lowest principle of human nature, which alone remains as the corpse at death. But this physical body would every moment have the same fate as the corpse at death, it would fall to pieces were it not permeated by what we call the etheric body or life body. This etheric body man no longer has in common with the mineral kingdom, he has it in common with the beings of the earthly vegetable kingdom. In every man the etheric body is a combatant which between birth and death holds together the parts of the physical body which continually have the tendency to disintegrate. What is the physical body of man, in reality? It is that which, when death has destroyed the form, after a short time becomes ashes. It is a little heap of ashes, so wonderfully arranged in the life body that the whole man makes the impression he now does upon those who look at him. The second principle, then, is the ether or life body. The third principle, which man has in common with the animals, is the so-called astral body, the vehicle of instincts, desires, passions, thoughts, ideas, etc., all that is usually called the soul in main. Finally we have the fourth principle in human nature, that which makes man the crown of earthly creation, which makes him stand out above all the other beings, and enables him to develop as “I,” as an individual self-conscious being in earthly existence. In the future the evolution of man will unfold in such manner that he will gradually work from his

Diagram 1

“I” upon the lower principles, so that the “I” becomes their ruler. When the “I” has thoroughly worked upon the astral body and taken possession of it, so that in this astral body there are no more unconscious and unguarded impulses, instincts and passions, then the “I” will have developed what we call Spirit Self or Manas. Spirit-Self is none other than the astral body, only the astral body is the third principle before it is transformed by the “I.” When the “I” transforms the etheric body also, Life-Spirit or Budhi is produced; and when in the remotest future the “I” transforms the physical body so that this is completely spiritualized by the “I” itself (this is the most difficult work, because the physical body is the densest), then the physical body develops into the highest principle of human nature, namely, Atma or Spirit-Man. Thus, if we conceive of man in his seven-fold nature, we have the physical body, the etheric body or life-body, the astral body and the “I.” Further, we have that which man will develop in the future; Spirit-Self or Manas, Life-Spirit or Budhi and Spirit-Man or Atma. That is the sevenfold being of man. However, he will only develop these higher principles in the far-distant future. It is not yet in man's power while on the earth to work so far upon himself as to bring all these higher spiritual parts to full development.

If we consider the sevenfold man in this way we shall, however, not fully comprehend the man we see before us to-day. It is indeed true that if we survey man as a whole we may speak of these seven principles, but if we wish to understand the present man we must be more exact. You will remember that the physical body was developed on Saturn, the etheric body on the Sun, the astral body on the Moon, and that the Ego is to be developed on the Earth. It has already developed to a certain high degree.

We must now observe this earthly evolution of man somewhat more closely. The greater portion of humanity will only have gained the power to work quite consciously in the Spirit-Self, in the transformed astral body, at the close of the earth evolution. On the other hand, during our earthly evolution man had to pass through a kind of preparation which made it possible for him to work half-consciously and half-unconsciously, as it were, on his three lower principles.

This half-conscious and half unconscious work began in the Lemurian epoch, to which we have already referred. At that time the “I” began to work in a very dim consciousness, and at first, in fact, on the astral body. If therefore, you follow the earth development from the Lemurian epoch into the first portion of the Atlantean, you will find the “I” worked at first in a very dim consciousness, half unconsciously only on his astral body. That which then appeared on the earth as the product of the transformation of the astral body, we call sentient-soul. Then during the Atlantean epoch, when the air was filled with dense volumes of water-vapour, the “I” worked in dim consciousness on the etheric body and produced what we call intellectual-soul or mind-soul; and from the time when, from the country in the neighbourhood of the present Ireland, the great impulse came which drove the peoples from the West towards the East and led beyond the great Atlantean flood to our new culture, from the beginning of the last third of the Atlantean epoch, the “I” worked unconsciously on the physical body. It worked into what one calls the consciousness-soul, that which gave man the foundation to work out of the group-soul nature a more or less self-conscious “I” which first received the great impulse towards complete individuality with the appearance of Christ Jesus. Then only did we really become capable of what one may call working more or less consciously on the astral body. Really only since the advent of the Christ impulse on earth have we begun to work consciously on our astral body. So that if we speak of man to-day we have to say that he has developed physical body, etheric body, astral body, then sentient-soul (the astral body which was formerly transformed in dim consciousness); the intellectual-soul (the etheric body which was dimly trans-formed in the Atlantean epoch); and the consciousness-soul (the physical body which was dimly transformed in the later portion of the Atlantean epoch), so that he gradually matured to where he could develop Spirit-Self (Manas) as far as it can be observed in man to-day.

All men now possess the rudiments of the Spirit-Self, but one has more, another less. Many will still have to go through many incarnations before they have developed the Spirit-Self far enough to become aware of what they are working upon within their human nature. But when the earth has reached its goal, when the seventh trumpet begins to sound, the following will he observed: that which exists of the physical body will be dissolved like salt in warm water. The human Spirit-Self will be developed to a high degree, so that man will repeat again and again the words of Paul, “Not I, but Christ in me does everything.” This will enable him to dissolve the physical nature and make the ennobled etheric into a being which can live in the astralized earth. Thus man, a new being, will live over into this spiritualized earth.

We might say that the important stage of passing over into the earth which has become spiritualized, is wonderfully expressed in the Bible where it says that everything which man now accomplishes within himself in the physical body during the earth period is like a sowing whose fruit will appear when the earth has become spiritual. “And that which thou sowest is not the body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat or of some other grain. But God giveth it a body as it bath pleased him, and to every seed his own body” (1 Cor. xv. 37), That is, the body which is the expression of the soul of the individuality. “There are also celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial, but the glory of the celestial body is one, and the glory of the terrestrial body is another.” The earthly bodies will be dissolved, the celestial will appear as the luminous expression of what the soul is. “It is sown corruptible and will rise incorruptible.” The incorruptible body will then be resurrected. “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” Paul calls the etheric or life-body, spiritual body, after the physical has dissolved and the etheric passes into the astral earth. Paul here sees beforehand the incorruptible spiritual body, as he calls it.

And now let us consider what it is that man will embody as the expression of his capacity for receiving the Christ. It is the same that hovered before Paul in spirit, and that he calls “the last Adam,” while he calls the first man who entered into existence in a physically visible body “the first Adam.”. At the end of the Lemurian epoch we already find various animals below, but man is not yet visible to external eyes; he is still etheric. He condenses, and absorbs mineral constituents and appears in his first form; the physical man gradually appears, just as water condenses into ice, Physical evolution then proceeds so far that what is earthly can dissolve and eventually disappears. Hence the man who has the etheric body appears as the last Adam. The first Adam has the capacity of seeing the earth in the physical body through the physical senses; the last Adam, who assumes a spiritual body, is an expression of the inner capacity for receiving the Christ. Hence Christ is called by Paul the last Adam. This comprises the whole of human evolution; in spirit we sec what man will become in the future, whereas before we saw how he descended to the earth.

Now to understand the following we must look a little more deeply into the mysteries of becoming man. If you could observe man before his body became physical, that is to say, when he was still invisible to physical eyes, when he first descended from the etheric, so to speak, by becoming first an airy, watery structure, then a cartilaginous structure — if you could follow him thus you would see that our earth was also quite different. In the time before the descent of man there was really no mineral kingdom. The earth only possessed the heritage of the Moon. The lowest kingdom was the vegetable kingdom, and the earth was much softer. The distribution of the watery and gaseous substances was quite different. If you had looked at the earth before man had descended from the surrounding atmosphere to the solid ground it would not have appeared to you as the abstract product described in modern geology, etc.; one might say that our earth as a whole was at that time more like an organism. It was permeated with all kinds of ordered currents, and was more like a living being than it is now. And man, who existed in that ancient time more as a spiritual etheric being, was not born as he is to-day, but he was, so to say, brought forth out of mother earth herself. It was mother earth herself that produced man, that still spiritually

Diagram 2

etheric being. Before man separated front the whole earth, he was a being who was really bound up with the whole earth. imagine a body which is soft, and in it hardened parts appear; this will give you a picture of how men were at that time born from mother earth. They were connected with the earth by all kinds of currents, and remained connected with it. Hence man had an entirely different life; for example, the circulation of the blood, which is now confined within the limits of its skin, extended everywhere into the surrounding earth — it existed in the form of natural forces. If we wished to draw a picture of what it was like at that time we should have to say: there arose within the earth — not perceptible to physical eyes, but to spiritual vision — a part which was raised and could be distinguished from the rest of the environment; but the forces in it were connected by innumerable threads with the rest of the whole earth. That was the beginning of a physical human being. There was a time when the human beings were connected in this way by threads with the rest of the earth.

As we have said, we are now touching upon an important and deep mystery, the last traces of which may be seen in the fact that when man is born at the present time, the connection with the maternal organism made by the umbilical cord is severed. This connection with the organism of the mother is the last remains of the connection man had with mother earth. And just as to-day man is a son of man, born from man, he was once a son of earth, born from the earth, when the earth was still a living being. He became independent through the umbilical cord — by which he was connected with the whole earth — being severed, so to speak; he thereby became a being born from his like. We must clearly understand that the paths of the blood now existing in man are nothing more than continuations of currents which in the ancient condition of the earth permeated the whole earth, it is the same with the nerves. All the nerves extended into mother earth. These are now sundered, as it were, from that which streamed through the whole earth as nerves. And the other parts of the human being in the same way. Man is born out of mother earth. That which is now enclosed within the skin has been drawn into him from the whole earth. The being of man is taken from the earth, the forces of the whole earth are in him. Before he became a son of man, he was a son of earth. The name Adam really means son of earth. All these ancient names point to important secrets. But when we are aware of this we shall understand that before the visible man appeared on the earth, the latter already contained within it all the forces of this visible man. Before man became a human being the earth was the bearer of all the human forces. Thus the earth is the mother of the human race. Just as little as you can imagine that man could ever grow out of the present stony earth, just as little could he spring forth from the earth, unless it were a living being. What we have just briefly indicated took place in the Lemurian epoch.

This earth was extremely important to man, for in its original form it contained all that man later possessed within him. In one part the heart was prepared, in another the brain; in our earth every nerve fibre was prepared. And just as our inner being was prepared in the earth, in the same way, in that which we shall have developed as our new body when the earth has reached its goal, do we carry within us the form which the future planet, the future embodiment of our earth must assume. To-day man works upon his soul; in this way he makes his body more and more like the soul, and when the earth has arrived at the end of its mission his body will have become an outward image of the soul which has taken Christ into itself. Such a man will survive and implant in the next embodiment of our earth the forces he has thus developed. Jupiter will have an appearance such as men are able to bring about by constructing it out of their own bodies. This Jupiter will, to begin with, receive its form from that which man has made for himself. Imagine that all the bodies you have fashioned are united in a single cosmic globe; that will be Jupiter. In your soul you have the germs of the future form of Jupiter, and of the forces it will contain. And out of Jupiter will be born the Jupiter beings. Thus man is now preparing for the birth of the Jupiter bodies.

What, therefore, must man do in order to give a worthy form to the future embodiment of our earth? He must take care that the work he can now do consciously is done in the Christine way, so that the etheric body which will be an image of this work will enter worthily into the spiritualized earth. All the parts of this body will be just as man has made them. He will bring into this spiritual earth what he has made of his physical body, and this will be the foundation for his future evolution. Just as your present soul develops in your present body, which you have inherited from the Moon, the future soul will develop in that which you yourselves make out of your own body. Hence the body is described as that which envelops the soul, which clothes the “I,” which is inhabited by the “I,” as the temple of the selfhood within, the temple of the Divinity dwelling in man, the temple of God. When, therefore, you form this body, you are building a future temple, that is to say, the new incarnation of the earth. You build up Jupiter in the right way by shaping the human body in the right way.

What, therefore, must appear when the earth has reached its goal? A temple of the soul harmonious in all its measurements. Hence the Initiate is commissioned to examine this temple which man will then have built. When this temple of God is measured it will be made manifest whether the soul has done what is right. “And there was given use a reed like unto a rod, and the angel said: Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But leave out the outer court” (Rev. xi. 1). This means, all that was there as a preparation must be thrown out of the temple. Man had first to have physical body and etheric body before he could work on them. These bodies are the outer court, and must fall away, they must be thrown out. That alone which man has made does he keep. That is the temple in which are to live the new beings in the Jupiter period.

We shall live, then, in an earth which has become spiritual. We see how the pattern of this Jupiter period is already being prepared. We see foreshadowed how men bring with them the fruits of their earth existence. And now we must clearly under-stand that all that was there before reappears in this spiritual condition on the earth, in a higher state of evolution. Most prominent are the bearers of the spiritual currents upon which the earth is founded, and from which it has proceeded. The bearers of these currents appear in living form. If we follow Christian tradition we shall see in Elias and Moses the personal representatives of what we found in yesterday's lecture in the two pillars. In Christian esotericism Elias and Moses are looked upon as those who give the teachings of the two pillars. Elias was the one who brought to man the knowledge and message of the one pillar, the pillar of strength, Moses the one who brought the message of the pillar of wisdom. Moses means wisdom or truth, and Elias means the directing force, that which gives the impulse — it is difficult to express the words in ordinary language. Thus we see these two appear in the spiritualized earth und, indeed, at the stage of evolution they will then have reached. In the Transfiguration of Christian tradition Chris appeared between Moses and Elias, and this entire procedure appears again at the end of the earth evolution in such a way that the sun, the spiritual sun of love, the manifestation of the earth mission of love appears supported by Sun-Mars, and Moon — Mercury, by Elias and Moses. Just as yesterday we saw the two pillars which at first appear before the Initiate as the symbols of strength and wisdom, and above the sun of love, so we may now picture the evolution of the earth a stage further, and the one pillar will appear in its living nature, in its personal form, as Elias, and the other as Moses, and what is above, as the veritable Christ-principle.

If we now turn our attention away from the earth itself and what is upon it, and consider it in connection with the whole space of heaven, we shall find we have arrived at a very important matter at the time of which we are now speaking. Earth and Sun comprised one body. The earth has developed out of the sun, and the moon has split off. We have said that this had to take place to obtain the right speed of evolution. But now, when man has passed through these stages of development, after he has spiritualized himself, he is ready to unite again with the forces upon the sun, he can proceed at the same tempo as the sun. An important cosmic event now takes place; the earth reunites with the sun. While that of which we have spoken is taking place, the earth unites with the sun. We said that the sun-spirits descended to the earth at the event of Golgotha, that this Christ-principle will be the means of bringing evolution to the point we have described. The earth will then be ready to unite with the sun; and that which was necessary in order that evolution should not proceed too quickly, namely, the moon, will be over-come, for man will no longer need it. The forces of the moon will be overcome. At this stage man can unite with the sun; he will live in the spiritualized earth and at the same time be united with the force of the sun; and he will be the conqueror of the moon. This will be seen on examination to be represented by the symbolical figures of the fifth seal; the woman who bears the sun within her and has the moon under her feet. [The fifth seal in Dr. Steiner's Seals and Symbols.]

Thus we have arrived at the moment when man is spiritualized, when he reunites with the forces of the sun, when earth and sun form one body and the moon forces are overcome. Now, we must remember that only the most advanced beings, who have been impregnated by the principle of Christ, have passed through this development. They have reached thus far; but those who have hardened in matter have fallen away and formed, so to speak, a kind of secondary planet of hardened, flesh-like matter. Now remember what man looked like to astral vision before he descended to the earth as a physical being. We pointed out that he appeared in the four types of his group-soul, in the form of the Lion, the Eagle, the Bull and the Man. These four types of the group-soul meet us, so to speak, before man descends into the physical, before he is individualized. These four typical forms which man had before he entered into the physical body are invisible in the present physical human being. They arc in the soul-force, pressed, as it were, into the human form like india-rubber. It is, in fact, the case that when man loses control over himself, when his soul becomes silent either by going to sleep, or otherwise falling into a more or less unconscious condition, then one still sees to-day how the corresponding animal type comes out. But, on the whole, man has overcome this animal type by having descended to the physical plane. When did he receive the power to overcome in the astral world the animal type?

Now you will remember that we spoke of the seven ages of the Atlantean evolution. These seven ages comprise the first four and the last three. In the first four man was completely group-soul. Then in the fifth age the first impulse to the “I-soul” originated. Therefore we have four stages of development in Atlantis during which man first progresses as group-soul, and each of the first four Atlantean races corresponds to one of the typical animal forms — lion, eagle, bull and man. This passes over into the human stage in the fifth age. These typical forms are then lost. Now imagine that in the present epoch man permeates himself with the Christ-principle and thereby conquers his animal nature more and more; but if he does not permeate himself with the Christ-principle, he does not over-come the animal nature. The four typical heads, lion, eagle, bull and man, remain, so to speak, as something which assumes its form again as soon as it has the opportunity, and in addition come three others, those of the last three races of the Atlantean epoch, when man had already begun to be man. These three also remain if man does not work in his soul so that this animal nature disappears. How then will a man appear on the spiritualized earth who during our epoch has not taken into himself the Christ-principle? He will appear in materiality; he will reappear in the shapes from which he has come. He has had these animal forms and has passed through three others as well. He has left unused that which could have overcome the animal nature. The animal nature springs forth again, and, indeed, in seven forms. As once in Atlantis there emerged the four heads, the animal man, so out of the transformed earth, the astralized earth, seven such typical heads will again emerge, and the drama that took place at that time will again be enacted. The germ of the spiritual man was there, but he could not yet develop an individual form; he developed the four animal heads. The embryo human being of that epoch is also represented by the woman who brings forth man. The man of the future is also represented by the woman who gives birth to the spiritual man. But that which has remained in the flesh is represented on the secondary earth by the animal with seven heads, just as there were four heads in the period before man had the possibility of overcoming the animal nature, so those who have remained in the animal nature will appear as one entity, as the beast with the seven heads. Thus in the future, after the earth has united with the sun, while the spiritualized earth is above, there actually appears below, all that has not taken into itself the spiritual principle. The animal heads reappear which were there formerly, except that now they are out of their time. They are now the “adversary;” previously they were in the right period, the period of preparation. Thus we see that as at that time there arose from the physical, there now arises from the astral sea — the sun is also astralized — the monster with the seven heads, the seven-headed beast. All that was deposited in man by the etheric body is called in the mystery language — which the Apocalyptist also uses — a head, because when seen clairvoyantly it produces a typical form of head, e.g. a lion's head.

The etheric forces have to work upon it. If we follow the Atlantean evolution we find that the etheric body was still outside the head. That disposition in man due to the etheric is called in the language of the Apocalyptic mysteries “head.” This, therefore, refers to what is seen by clairvoyant vision chiefly as a head. But that which is brought about physically in man through some part of the etheric body is called a “horn.” Thus in the language of the mysteries a horn is a very mysterious thing. For example, that which has been brought about physically in man through his having passed through that race of the Atlantean epoch in which the lion was the typical group-soul, is called a horn. Thus the physical part which comes from some member of the etheric body is called a horn. A horn is the organ which is the external physical expression for something etheric. I will now speak to you in a concrete manner. All the physical organs of man are really densified etheric organs, they have proceeded from the condensed etheric body. Let us consider the human heart; to-day it is a physical organ, but it has condensed from an etheric organ. This present human heart received its rudiments when man went through the group-soul nature designated as the lion. Thus the heart is the horn of the lion head, for when the etheric body had progressed so far that man appeared with the group-soul symbolized by the lion's head, the rudimentary foundations were formed for that which later developed into the human heart. From this germ of the lion-mast originated the present human physical heart. While, therefore, we trace back the origin of the etheric body to the changing of one head into another, to the addition of one head to another, we understand the human physical body as the addition of one horn to another. The human etheric body actually consists of “heads,” the human physical body of “horns.” That is the language of the mysteries. All the organs of man have developed out of the etheric body, they are, therefore, nothing but horns.

We have now to reflect upon all that we have heard; for this is something of which even the Apocalyptist says: “Here is wisdom.” We shall only understand this wisdom, which the writer of the Apocalypse has put into the appearance of the seven-headed beast with ten horns, if we carefully ponder over what “horn” really is in relation to “head” in the language of the mysteries. We shall see that the beings who have kept these seven heads, because they have remained behind in evolution, have, in fact, acquired in the abyss a physical body which consists of ten hardened members of the physical body.

Last Modified: 15-Nov-2017
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