[RSArchive Icon]
Rudolf Steiner Archive Section Name Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib



Highlight Words

The Gospel of St. Matthew

Schmidt Number: S-2275

On-line since: 15th January, 2017

LECTURE FOUR

Berne,
September 4, 1910

We have seen that there is a significant difference between knowledge of the spiritual world such as has existed through all the ages and the particular form of knowledge of the Divine-Spiritual to which the organic constitution of the Hebrews enabled them to aspire. Through their progenitor Abraham they had inherited a physical constitution in which there had been implanted an organ whereby, to, the extent possible through knowledge transmitted by way of the senses, men were to be able to have actual experience of the Divine-Spiritual, not merely vague inklings. Knowledge of the Divine-Spiritual has existed everywhere and at all times, but this knowledge of the Eternal was attained in the Mysteries, on the path of Initiation. A distinction must be made between knowledge acquired as the result of individual development through specially devised methods and knowledge of the spiritual world that is normal in some particular epoch and connected with the fulfilment of a definite mission in the evolution of humanity.

In Atlantis the normal form of knowledge was astral-clairvoyant perception of the Divine-Spiritual. But in the times of the ancient Hebrews the normal form of exoteric knowledge of the spiritual world became dependent upon a particular physical organ. It has already been said that in the people of Abraham this knowledge arose in the form of a feeling that the Divine was united with their inmost being. It was therefore inner knowledge, a realisation of the Divine in the deepest core of being that had been made possible.

But this inner realisation of the Divine-Spiritual did not immediately enable a man to say: When I sink into my own being, striving to fathom its depths, I find the drop of the Divine Spirit that can give me knowledge of the Divine-Spiritual by which the outer world too is permeated. — This experience was not immediately possible — not, indeed, until the appearance of Christ in the evolution of humanity. The Hebrew people could experience the Divine only through participating in their Folk-Spirit. When a man felt himself to be a member of his people as a whole, as distinct from a separate individuality, when he felt that through his blood he belonged to a sequence of generations — then he became aware of the presence of the Divine; his consciousness of Jahve lay in the Folk-consciousness, in the very blood of his people. Hence in the spiritual-scientific sense it is not correct to speak of the God Jahve or Jehovah merely as the God of Abraham. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — he is the Being who passes on from generation to generation, manifesting himself in the Folk-consciousness in and through individual men.

The great advance of this form of knowledge to thc Christian form lies in the fact that the latter recognises in each single individual what ancient Hebrew knowledge could reach only by contemplation of the Folk-Spirit, of the Spirit flowing in the blood of the generations. Thus Abraham might have said: According to the covenant that has been made with me, I shall be the founder of a people through my descendants; in the blood flowing down the generations descending from me there will live the God we venerate as the Highest, who reveals himself to us in our Folk-consciousness. — This became the normal experience of that time.

As already said, at all times and through all the epochs there has existed higher knowledge of the Divine-Spiritual. This knowledge, acquired in the Mysteries, is not dependent upon any of the other, special forms of cognition. In ancient Atlantis every human being was endowed with a certain astral-etheric clairvoyance enabling him to gaze into the divine-spiritual ground of existence; by developing his inner faculties he could then acquire knowledge that was. available in the Mysteries or Oracles. Also during the epoch when the spiritual knowledge characteristic of the Hebrews was the normal form, it was still possible in certain sanctuaries for man to experience the Divine while out of the body but not while in the body as in the case of the people of Abraham; in the eternal part of his being a man could rise to vision of the Divine-Spiritual.

You can readily imagine that one thing was essential for Abraham. He had experienced the Divine-Spiritual in his own special way, through knowledge acquired by means of a physical organ; this was how he had learnt to know the supreme God. To become a living power in evolution, however, it was infinitely important for him to know that the God revealed in the Folk-consciousness of the Hebrew people was identical with the God venerated in the Mysteries of all ages as the creative Deity. It was therefore necessary for Abraham to be able to identify his God with the God revealed in the Mysteries, and that was only possible upon one very definite premise. Upon one very definite premise the certainty could be given him that the powers manifesting themselves in thc Folk-consciousness were identical with those ma.nifesting in a higher form in the Mysteries. To understand what this certainty implied, we must turn our minds to a fact closely connected with the evolu-tion of humanity.

In the book Occult Science you can read that in ancient Atlantis there were Initiates known as “Priests of the Oracles” — the actual names are not of essential significance. One of these great Initiates was the leader of all the Atlantean Oracles; he was the Initiate of the Sun-Oracle, in contrast to the subordinate Oracle-centres to which the Mercury-, Mars-, Jupiter-, Initiates, and so forth, belonged. I have said too that this great Initiate of the Sun-Oracle was also the leader of the civilizing colony which, having moved from the West across to the East, from Atlantis to the interior of Asia, spread out from there to inaugurate post-Atlantean culture and civilization. This mighty Initiate — for such he was, already at that time — withdrew to secret centres in the heart of Asia, and made it possible for the wise men known as the holy Rishis to become such illustrious Teachers of their people. And it was he, this great and mysterious Initiate, who conferred Initiation upon Zarathustra.

The Initiation conferred upon Zarathustra was not the same as that received by the Rishis, for their tasks were different. Through their Initiation the Rishis were able, when their inner faculties had further developed, to give utterance as it were out of themselves to the great secrets of existence. Thereby they became the illustrious Teachers of pre-Vedic, ancient Indian culture. Though their powers were awakened by means specially devised, they were otherwise on a par with thc old Atlantean clairvoyant faculties, but they were distributed among the seven Rishis individually. Like the leaders of the several Oracle-centres, each of the seven Rishis had his own particular sphere and task. But a whole collegium spoke when any onc of the seven voiced what he knew of the primeval wisdom. The grcat Sun-Initiate who brought the old Atlantean wisdom from the West across to the East passed it on in a particular form to those who were to become the bearers of post-Atlantean culture. He imparted it to Zarathustra in a different form, enabling him to speak in the way I have already indicated.

The Rishis declared that in order to reach the highest realm of divine-spiritual existence, everything in the surrounding world, everything presented to the outer senses, must be regarded as maya or illusion; man must turn away from this outer world and sink into his inner being: then there will dawn in him a world entirely different from the one out-spread before him in everyday life. — To ascend into the spheres of divine-spiritual existence by turning away from the illusory world of maya, by developing the inner life — such was the teaching of the Rishis of ancient India.

In contrast to this, Zarathustra did not teach men to turn away from what is outwardly manifest. He did not say: everything external is maya and we must turn away from it. He said : this maya is the revelation, the actual garrnent of divine-spiritual existence. We may not turn away from it — on the contrary, it is our duty to fathom it. We must conceive of the Sun's body of light as thc outer texture in which Ahura Mazdao lives and weaves!

In a certain sense, therefore, the gist of Zarathustra's teaching was the opposite of that given by the ancient Rishis. The essential significance of post-Indian civilization lay in the fact that its task was to impress upon the outer world the fruits of man's spiritual activity. As we heard, Zarathustra transmitted to Hermes and to Moses the greatest gifts that were his to bestow. In order that the wisdom of Moses might become fruitful in the right way and work as a seed, it had to take root in the people who were the descendants of Abraham. Abraham was the first into whom was implanted the organ for acquiring consciousness of Jahve; but it was essential for him to know that the God who could announce his presence inwardly to physical faculties of cognition, was speaking with the same voice as the eternal, all-pervading God of the Mysteries, save that he was revealing himself here in the form in which Abraham was able to understand him. It is not possible for a Being of such lofty rank as the great Atlantean Sun-Initiate to speak without more ado in words that are intelligible to those who live at some particular time and have a special mission. An Individuality as exalted as the great Sun-Initiate is one who leads an eternal existence, of whom it was truly said — indicating the hallmark of eternity — that he was without name or age, ‘without father, without mother, having neither beginning of days nor end of life’. (Heb. VII, 3). A figure of this eminence in the evolution of humanity is only able to manifest by assuming a form whereby he can establish relationship with those to whom he is to reveal himself. Thus in order to impart the necessary enlightenment to Abraham, the great Teacher of the Rishis and of Zarathustra assumed a form in which he bore the etheric body of Abraham's original forefather; it was the etheric body of Shem, the son of Noah, and it had been preserved as the etheric body of Zarathustra had been preserved for Moses. The great Initiate of the Sun-Mystery used the etheric body of Shem in order to reveal himself to Abraham and be understood by him. This meeting between Abraham and the great Sun-Initiate is referred to in the Old Testament as the meeting of Abraham with Melchisedek, or Malek-Zadek as it has become customary to call him — the ‘king and priest of the most high God’. (Gen. XIV, 18; Heb. V, 6, 1o ; VII, 1-3). It was a mecting of supreme, world-embracing significance. In order that Abraham should not be utterly dumbfounded, the great Sun-Initiate manifested himself in the etheric body of Shem, the progenitor of the Semites. And the Bible points, most significantly, to something that is unfortunately all too little understood, namely, to the source of that which Melchisedek was able to impart to Abraham. What was this? He could impart the mystery of Sun-existence which Abraham could naturally only under-stand in his own way. The same mystery lay behind the revelation that had been announced, as a prophecy, by Zarathustra.

To his chosen pupils Zarathustra spoke of Ahura Mazdao, the spiritual Being behind the Sun's body of light, saying in effect: Direct your gaze to a power that is behind the Sun, that is not yet united with the Earth but will onc day descend to the Earth and pour into Earth-evolution! — Realising that Zarathustra could only make a prophetic announcement that Christ, the Sun-Spirit, would come in a human body, we shall be aware that even greater profundities of the Sun-Mystery had to be revealed to those who were to prepare for and subsequently be instrumental in bringing about the incarnation of Christ on the Earth. This deeper revelation was made possible because, at the meeting referred to, the same Being who had been Zarathustra's Teacher brought influence to bear upon Abraham from the same source as that from which Christ's influence was eventually to pour. This again is indicated symbolically in the Bible where it is said that Melchisedek, king of Salem, this ‘priest of the most high God’, brought to Abraham bread and wine. (Gen. XVI, 18). Bread and wine were dispensed on another, later occasion — when for those who were believers the Christ-Mystery was given expression in the institution of Holy Communion. The emphasis laid upon the similarity of the sacrificial acts points to the fact that the source of the impulses given by Melchisedek and by Christ was one and the same.

Thus through Melchisedek an influence emanating from a Power that would subsequently come down to the Earth was to be brought to bear in advance upon Abraham, the great preparer of the later event. As the result of this meeting the realisation dawned upon Abraham that the source of the power he felt within him and venerated under the name of Jahve or Jehovah as the loftiest reality of which he could conceive, was also the source of the consciousness of the supreme, all-pervading Godhead — consciousness such as was gained by Initiates in the realm of earthly knowledge too. Abraham was now able to carry this consciousness to a further stage. — A new and different experience came to him. He realised that in actual fact the blood flowing through the generations of the Hebrew people was to contain something only to be compared with what was revealed in the Mysteries when clairvoyant vision was directed to the secrets of cosmic existence and the language of the Cosmos understood.

I have already spoken of how, in the Mysteries, secrets of the Cosmos were expressed in terms derived from the stars and constellations. There were times when the teachers in the Mysteries made use of words and images taken from the courses of the stars and their mutual relationships. Such images were a means of expressing what man experiences spiritually when he attains consciousness of the Divine-Spiritual.

What was it that the Mystery-wisdom was able to read in this stellar script? The secrets of the Godhead pervading the world! The order of the stars was the visible expression of the Godhead. Men turned their gaze to the heavens, saying: There the Godhead reveals himself; the order and harmonies of the stars are for us the manifestation of the Divine. According to this view, therefore, the God of all the worlds was made manifest in the order of the stars.

Thus if the same God were to be made manifest in a special way in the mission of the Hebrew people, the manifestation must necessarily be an expression of the same order as that governing the courses of the stars in the Cosmos. Through the blood of the generations as the outer instrument of the Jahve-revelation, there must be expressed the same order as that made manifest in the courses of the stars. To put it differ-ently: in the sequence of the generations, in the blood-kinship of Abraham's descendants, there must be a mirror-image, a reflection, of the stellar script in the heavens. Hence the promise made to Abraham: The ordering of thy descendants shall be that of the stars in heaven! (Genesis, XXIII, 17.) Such is the correct version of the sentence that is usually rendered to mean that the descendants would be as numerous as the stars in heaven. — This implies number only and is not the true meaning. The true meaning is that the line of the descendants was to be in accordance with an ordcr perceptible in the groupings of the stars, which in turn arc an expression of the speech of the Gods. Looking upwards, mcn beheld an order such as is manifest in the Zodiac. The positions and relation-ships of the planets in the Zodiac formed constellations from which was drawn the language used to proclaim the deeds of the Gods in the Universe. The firm bond demonstrated in the Zodiac and in the relations of the planets to the twelve constellations was to come to expression in the blood-kinship of the descendants of Abraham.

The twelve sons of Jacob, also the twelve tribes of the Hebrew people are therefore images of the twelve constellations of the Zodiac. Just as the language of the Gods is pressed in these twelve constellations, so does Jahve manifest himself in the blood flowing through the generations of the Hebrew people, divided into thc twelve tribes descending from the twelve sons of Jacob. Conditions established in the Zodiac are designated by the name of the planet concerned — Venus, Mercury, Sun, as the case may be. And we have heard how certain parallelisms can be drawn between particular periods in the historical life of the Hebrew people and the paths of the planets through the Zodiac. Thus there is a parallelism between the age of David, the royal minstrel, and Hermes or Mercury; similarly, between the period of the Babylonian captivity — when we see the forrn taken by the Jalive-revela-tion six centuries before our era as the result of a new impulse — and the planet Venus.

It was to be indicated to Abraham that there is a parallelism between the place of a personality such as David in the line of generations, and the position of Mercury in the Zodiac. The tribe of Judah corresponds to the constellation of Leo and the advent of David into that tribe would correspond, in the history of the Hebrew people, to the cosmic phenomenon of the occultation of Leo by Mercury (Mercury in Leo). Such occultations are indicated in many places: in the actual succession, in the conferments of kingly or priestly offices, in the battles or victories of one tribe or another, indeed in the whole history of the Hebrews. All this was implicit in the momentous words: Thy descendants shall be ordered in accordance with the harmony of the stars in heaven. — We must never accept the trivial interpretations so often placed upon records founded on occultism but realise their immense profundity.

Thus there is actual evidence of order prevailing in the generations enumerated in the Gospel of St. Matthew. This evangelist has shown how the blood of the body that was to receive the Zarathustra-Individuality was prepared in a very special way to be instrumental in bringing about the manifestation of Christ on the Earth.

What bad been achieved through the forty-two generations from Abraham to Joseph was that blood, blended in accordance with the laws of the stars and of the holy Mysteries, had finally been produced. In the composition of this blood — which was needed by the Zarathustra-Individuality for the fulfilment of his great mission — there was inner order and harmony, reflecting one of the most beautiful and significant principles manifest in the heavenly constellations. The blood available for Zarathustra was therefore an image of the Cosmos, having been prepared through generations in accordance with cosmic law. The basis of the record we now possess in a modified form in the Gospel of St. Matthew is this profound mystery of the evolution of a people as the image of cosmic evolution.

Those who were the first to know something of the sublime Christ-Mystery felt that the very blood of Jesus of Nazareth of whom the Gospel of St. Matthew tells was a reflected image of the Cosmos, of the Spirit holding sway in the Cosmos. And they expressed this secret by saying: The Spirit of the whole Cosmos lived in the blood wherein was to dwell the Ego who then became Jesus of Nazareth. — This physical body must therefore have been an imprint of the ruling Spirit of the Cosmos. Hence it was said originally that the power underlying the composition of the blood in the body of Zarathustra when incarnated as Jesus of Nazareth, was the Spirit of our whole Cosmos, the Spirit which, in the primal beginning, after the Sun had separated from the Earth, brooded over and permeated with warmth what had emerged into manifestation in the course of the evolution of worlds. From the lectures given in Munich to which reference has already been made, we know that the sentence with which Genesis begins — B'rescht bara elohim et haschamayim w'et et ha'arets' — should not be translated into the trivial words of modern language which no longer convey the ancient meaning. Instead of ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’, the rendering should convey the following meaning: In what has come over from Saturn, Sun and Moon, the Elohim pondered, in cosmic soul-activity, the outwardly manifesting and the inwardly active, throughout which darkness prevailed; but there spread out and into this, brooding over it, permeating it with warmth — as a hen radiates warmth into the egg — the creative Spirit of the Elohim, Ruach-Elohim. — This same Spirit created the heavenly order that is expressed in a certain way in the constellations of the stars. The original Initiates of the Christ-Mystery felt that the blend of blood in Jesus of Nazareth was an image of the work accomplished by Ruach-Elohim throughout the Cosmos. And of the blood that had been prepared in this way for the great event, they said: it was ‘created by the Spirit of the Universe, the spiritual Being called “Ruach” in that significant passage in Genesis beginning "B'reschit bara ...” ’. [ Note 01 ]

Such is the sacred meaning, infinitely greater than any superficial interpretation, of ‘the conception by the Holy Spirit of the Universe’; it is also the basis of the saying: ‘And she who gave birth to this Being was filled with the power of the Spirit of the Universe.’ — If we feel the sanctity of such a Mystery we shall realise that in this way of presenting it there is something infinitely higher than any of the exoteric interpretations of the Virgin Birth. Consideration of just two points in the Bible will enable us to avoid trivial interpretations of this ‘immaculate conception’. The one point is this: Why should the writer of St. Matthew's Gospel have enumerated the whole sequence of generations from Abraham to Joseph if he had wished to indicate that the birth of Jesus of Nazareth had no connection with this line of descent ? He is at pains to show how the blood was led down the generations from Abraham to Joseph; how, then, could he possibly have intended to indicate that the blood of Jesus of Nazareth had nothing to do with this blood? And the other point of which account must be taken is that in the Hebrew language the gender of ‘Ruach-Elohim’ — rendered ‘Holy Spirit' ’ the Bible — is feminine. — We shall speak further of this. I only wanted now to call up a feeling of the sublimity and grandeur of the thought originally underlying this Mystery.

What took place at the beginning of our era, known only to wise men who were initiated into the secrets of cosmic existence, was expressed in the Aramaic language in the original record upon which the Gospel of St. Matthew is based. And it is possible to prove, not only through occultism but through actual philological investigation, that this record was already in existence in the year 71 A.D. The actual way in which the Gospels originated is set forth in my book Christianity as Mystical Fact. [ Note 02 ] By proceeding with exactitude, however, it is possible to show, even through philology, that statements attributing a later date to the Gospel of St. Matthew are not correct, for there is evidence that an original Aramaic script of this Gospel was already extant in the year 71 A.D. comparatively short time, therefore, after the events in Palestine. But as I am concerned here with facts of spiritual science, not of philology, I will quote only one reference in Talmudist literature, the authenticity of which is accepted by Hebrew scholars.

There is a passage in this literature to the effect that Rabbi Gamaliel II was involved in a dispute with his sister over the estate left by their father who had been killed in a fight with the Romans in the year 7o. It is narrated that Rabbi Gamaliel II appeared at the timc before a judge who, according to the account, was a so-called Jewish Christian. (Such men not uncommonly occupied offices in the judiciary courts set up by the Romans for the jews.) A strange incident occurred during the proceedings. The dispute between the Rabbi and his sister was over the inheritance of their father's estate. And before a judge who certainly had some knowledge of Christianity, Rabbi Gamaliel insisted that according to Jewish Law it was only a son, not a daughter, who could inherit, and that the estate therefore passed to him. The judge replied that in the circle where he officiated, the Thora had been set aside, and that as Gamaliel was seeking justice and a verdict from him, he would not give judgment in accordance with Jewish Law but with the Law that had superseded the Thora. As already said, this happened in the year 71 — the year after the death of the father of the litigants during the persecution of the Jews. Rabbi Gamaliel's only loophole now was to bribe the judge. This he did, and the following day the judge quoted from the original Aramaic script of St. Matthew's Gospel, to the effect that ‘Christ did not come into the world to destroy the Law of Moses but to fulfil it’. The judge believed he could still his conscience for deflecting the Law by maintaining that in allotting the estate to Gamaliel his judgment was in accordance with Christian tenets.

Here we have evidence that in the year 71 A.D. there existed an original Christian script from which words now contained in the Gospel of St. Matthew were taken. The passage in question was actually quoted in Aramaic and thus we have external proof that this original text of St. Matthew's Gospel, part of it at any rate, was then in existence. We have yet to consider the findings of occult investigation on the subject. The above episode has been quoted merely in order to show that when the aid of external scholarship is sought, it is not right to adopt the usual procedure which is to collect all the literature available for a.cademic study but leave out of account the Talmudist writings which are exceedingly impor-tant for knowledge even of the exoteric aspect of these things.

Thus there are very good grounds for affixing a comparatively early date to the Gospel of St. Matthew. This alone provides certain exoteric proof that the men who participated in its compilation were living at no great distance of time from the actual happenings in Palestine; the outer circumstances in themselves, therefore, are evidence that nobody could simply have lied to people, saying that Christ Jesus did not live at the beginning of our era. For as not even half a century had yet elapsed, it was a mattcr of speaking to those who had been actual eye-witnesses and therefore could not be persuaded that certain events had never happened. Exoterically these things are important and they are mentioned here merely as evidence of that aspect of the subject.

We have seen how measures founded on mysteries of cos-mic existence were taken in the evolution of humanity in order to prepare from the 'filtered' blood of the Hebrew people — blood in which the order of the Cosmos itself prevailed — a body in which the great Initiate Zarathustra could reincarnate. For it is of the Zarathustra-Individuality, of him and no other, that the Gospel of Matthew speaks in the first place.

It must not be imagined that everything brought to light here from profound secrets of world-evolution took place quite openly, before thc eyes of all men. Even for contemporaries the events were veiled in deep mystery and comprehensible only to a very few Initiates. Hence it is understandable that such complete silence should have been maintained concerning what came to pass at that time as the greatest of all events in the evolution and history of humanity. And when historians to-clay, basing their views on the records available to them, point out that no mention whatever is made of this event, we shall not be at all surprised but on the contrary regard it as a matter of course.

Having characterized the part played by Zarathustra in the preparation of this great event, we must now consider the many other currents and influences at work immediately before and also immediately after the coming of the Christ, and all the happenings that took place around Him. Prepara-tion for the event had been in process for a long time. We have heard that preparation for the development of the outer sheaths of Jesus of Nazareth had been made by Hermes and Moses as the emissaries of Zarathustra, and by Melchisedek, the bearer of the Sun-Mystery, but there had also been preparation in a different form, constituting as it were a sub-sidiary stream. But subsidiary though it was, it nevertheless played a part in the wider stream of happenings originating with Zarathustra. This contributory stream came slowly into existence in centres of which external history informs us by calling attention to certain religious sects where men, named by Philo the `Therapeutae', were endeavouring by inner paths to purify and develop their souls, to expel any elements cor-rupted by outer concerns and external knowledge, in order thereby to rise into the sphere of pure Spirit. An offshoot of the sect of the Therapeutae, where this subsidiary stream undenvent still further development, was the community of the Essenes in Asia. All these men in the sects both of the Therapeutae and the Essenes were under a common spiritual guidance. A brief account of them is contained in my book Christianity as Mystical Fact.[ Note 03 ] To have any exoteric knowledge of this spiritual guidance we must remind ourselves of the lectures given last year on the Gospel of St. Luke and published with that title. [ Note 04 ] Reference was there made to the mystery of Gautama Buddha, the exoteric aspect of which is also presented in oriental writings, and it was said that one who is to attain Buddhahood in the course of evolution must, to begin with, be a Bodhisattva, as in the case of the Being known in history as the Buddha. He too was a Bodhisattva until the twenty-ninth year of his life as the son of King Suddhodana, and it was not until then that through his inner development he rose to Buddhahood. Many Bodhisattvas work in the course of the evolution of humanity and the Bodhisattva who became Buddha six hundred years before our era is one of those who guide and direct evolution. An individuality who rises from the rank of Bodhisattva to that of Buddha does not again incarnate in a physical body on the Earth. From the same lectures on the Gospel of St. Luke we have heard how from the day of the birth of the Jesus of the Nathan line of descent, the power of the Buddha radiated into the etheric body of this child. And we heard that this is not the same Jesus as the Jesus with whom the Gospel of St. Matthew is primarily concerned.

An ancient phase of evolution came to a conclusion svith this attainment of Buddhahood by thc Bodhisattva, the son of King Suddhodana. In point of fact, this phase of evolution belonged to the same stream as that of the holy Rishis of India; but it was brought to a certain culmination when that Bodhisattva attained the rank of Buddhahood.

When a Bodhisattva becomes a Buddha, his successor takes his place. This is also narrated in the old Indian legend where it is said that in the spiritual realms, before desccnding to his final birth, the Bodhisattva who was born as the son of Suddhodana and then rose to Buddhahood, handed to his successor the crown belonging to the office of Bodhisattva. Thus since that time the Bodhisattva who then became Gautama Buddha has been succeeded by the new Bodhisattva who had a par-ticular mission to fulfil in the history of mankind. The task allotted to him was the spiritual guidance of the movement represented in the doctrines of the Therapeutae and Essenes and it was in these communities that his influence worked. During the reign of King Alexander Jannaeus (about 103 to 76 B.c.), a certain Individuality was sent by this Bodhisattva into the communities of the Essenes to be their guide and leader. This Individuality — he is well-known in occultism and also in exoteric Talmudist literature — was the leader of the Essenes about a hundred years before the appearance of Christ Jesus on the Earth. [ Note 05 ]

Thus a hundred years before our era there lived a personality who is not to be confused either with the Jesus of St. Luke's Gospel or with the Jesus of St. Matthew's Gospel; he was a leading figure in the Essene communities and is known in occultism as a herald of Christianity among them. He is also known in Talrnudist literature under the name of Jesus, the son of Pandira, Jeschu ben Pandira. He was a great and noble personality, about whom inferior Jewish literature has woven all kinds of fables that have been recently revived, and he must not be confused, as some Talmudists have confused him, with the ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ of whom we are speaking in these lectures. This herald of Christianity among the Essenes is known to us too as Jesus, the son of Pandira; we also know that he was accused of blasphemy and heresy by those to whom the teachings of the Essenes were anathema, and after being stoned was hanged on a tree, in order to add to the punishment the stigma of infamy. This is an occult fact, also recorded in Talmudist literature.

In Jeschu ben Pandira we have to see a personality stand-ing under the guardianship of the present Bodhisattva. The facts are therefore clear. — A stream, as it were accessory to the main Christian stream, originated from the Buddha's successor, from the present Bodhisattva who later on will become the Maitreya Buddha and who sent his emissary into the Essene communities, where in executing his mission he achieved what we shall come to know in the following lectures.

The name ‘Jesus’ is that of the Individuality of whom the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke tell; but it was also the name of that noble personality — regarding whom everything contained in inferior Jewish literature is calumny — who worked in the Essene community a hundred years before our era, was accused of blasphemy and heresy, stoned and finally hanged on a tree.

 

Notes:

1. See Genesis. Secrets of the Bible Story of Creation. Study of this cycle, particularly of the first two lectures, is indispensable in connection with the above passage.

2. Chapter VII.

3. Chapter X.

4. Notably Lectures Two and Three.

5. Appendix II, p. 236.



Last Modified: 15-Nov-2017
The Rudolf Steiner Archive is maintained by:
The e.Librarian: elibrarian@elib.com
[Spacing]