Pentecost of the World
back over the history of human evolution one meets with
greater or lesser events that have played a part in the life of
humanity as a whole. The greatest of all of these is that event
which we call the Mystery of Golgotha, through which
Christianity entered the evolution of man.
This Mystery of Golgotha was understood very differently at the
time in which it took place than was the case later, and in our
day it must again be understood in a new way. The right
understanding of this Mystery is the mission of Anthroposophy.
order that we may do this we must transport ourselves into
ancient times, when the consciousness of men was entirely
different to what it is to-day.
we go back some three or four thousand years we find that men
had an instinctive consciousness that before they came down to
earth in physical bodies they had lived in the spiritual world.
Every man was then aware that he had within him a soul and
spirit-being that was sent down into earthly existence by
divine powers. Men's consciousness of death was also entirely
different at that time, and because they could look back in
memory to a spiritual existence before life on earth, they also
knew that that part of them which had lived before their life
on earth continued after death.
There were schools at that time which were also religious
establishments — they were called Mysteries — where
men were instructed in what they were able to know regarding
their life before they came down to earth. By this means they
learnt that before this earthly existence they had lived among
the stars, and among Spiritual Beings, as on earth they lived
among plants and animals, mountains and rivers.
said: I have come down to earth from that world of the stars.
He was aware that the stars were not merely physical, but that
each one was the dwelling place of Spiritual Powers with whom
he had been in touch before his descent to earth; and he knew
that when he laid his physical body aside at death, he would
return to the world of the stars — that is to the
looked on the sun as the greatest of all the stars, and of all
the Beings belonging to the sun he called the greatest the
the Mysteries men learnt that before they came to earth the
great Sun Being gave to them the power by which they were able
to enter the starry world again in the right way after
pupils of the Mysteries were told, and these repeated it again
to others: It is the spiritual power of the Sun, the spiritual
light which carries you beyond death, and this power you
brought with you when at birth you entered earthly
Many prayers, many exalted teachings, came from the teachers in
the Mysteries; and these were all in praise, in glorification,
of the high Sun-Being, and gave instruction concerning Him.
Teachers in the Mysteries instructed their pupils, and these in
turn told the rest of humanity that when man passed through the
gate of death, he had first to penetrate the lower sphere of
the stars and to meet with the lower Beings of the stars, and
that then he might penetrate to the Sun. He could not, however,
go beyond the Sun if the power of the Sun-Being was not given
came to pass because of this instruction that the hearts of
those men who understood the teaching were especially filled
with warmth when they prayed to the Spirit of the Sun who gave
poems and religious exercises of devotion that were directed
towards the Sun had, as regards the feelings of men, a
very specially penetrating value; men felt themselves united
with the God of the universe when performing their acts of
Sun-worship. Among those peoples where such a Sun worship was
customary, cults and ceremonies took place which were specially
directed towards acts of Sun-worship or devotion.
This worship consisted, as a rule, of ceremonies in which the
image of the God was laid within a grave, and after a day or
two was taken from the grave again as a sign that a God —
a Sun-God — was in the world, who would always raise men
up again when they had succumbed to death.
When performing these ceremonies the sacrificing priest told
his pupils, and they told the rest of mankind: “This is
the sign that before your descent to earth you dwelt in
spiritual realms in which the Sun-God also dwells. Look
upwards,” he said, “to the sun which gives us
light; this sun is but the outer manifestation of the
Sun-Being; behind the light of this physical sun is the eternal
Sun-God who insures to you immortality.”
Thus those who received this teaching knew that they had come
down to earth from spiritual worlds, and had forgotten that
world in which the Sun-God dwells. “Through birth,”
the priest told the faithful, “you have forsaken the
kingdom of the Sun-God; you have to find it again through the
power He implants in your hearts when you pass through
was known to the initiated priests of the Mysteries that the
great Sun-Being of whom they spoke to believers was the same
Being of whom men would speak at a later day as the Christ.
Before the time of the mystery of Golgotha people were told if
they desired knowledge of the Christ that they must not seek
Him on earth, but must rise to the Mysteries of the Sun, for
only beyond the earth were the Mysteries of the Christ to be
was comparatively easy for men to accept such a teaching,
because they retained an instinctive recollection of the
kingdom of Christ from which they had descended to earth.
Mankind has, however, to pass through evolution, and the
instinctive memory of a pre-earthly spiritual life was
gradually lost. Eight hundred years before the Mystery of
Golgotha only a very small number had any instinctive memory
remaining of their pre-earthly spiritual life.
Think for a moment of a man who is passing through death. He
goes forth into starry spaces. Gradually he comes to a place
where he sees the stars from the other side. From earth we see
the sun as we are accustomed to see it; after death we go forth
into space and see the sun from the other side; it is not seen
as a physical globe but as a realm of Spiritual Beings. Before
the Mystery of Golgotha had taken place men beheld the Christ
in the sun; they beheld Him from the other side in the time
between death and birth.
instructors in the Mysteries were able to recall this aspect of
the Christ to their pupils; they were able to arouse in them
the conception of what they had seen before they came to earth
— how they had seen the Sun from the other side. This
took place in ancient times, before the Mystery of
time came, however, when such a remembrance could no longer be
aroused, and about 800 years before the Mystery of Golgotha the
possibility of stimulating it had grown less and less. No
longer could the teacher in the Mysteries say: Look up to the
sun, behold in it the manifestation of Christ! Men would no
longer have understood them.
time came when men were no longer able to evoke the memory of
spiritual worlds; it seemed as if they were utterly forsaken by
the power of Christ. It was then that there first arose in man
what we may call the fear of death. Before this they saw the
physical body die, but they knew that as souls they belonged to
the kingdom of Christ, and were immortal.
now became greatly troubled over the fate of their immortality
— of the eternal beings within them. It seemed as if the
body uniting them with the Christ were severed. This was
because they could no longer look into the spiritual world
— they could nowhere find the Christ.
was in this time, my dear friends, when men could no longer
find the Christ in super-sensible regions beyond the sun that
through His infinite mercy and pity He came down to earth so
that men might find Him there.
Something now took place in the evolution of the world which
cannot be compared with anything within the whole field of
those beings that are higher than man, the Angels, Archangels,
Archai, etc., up to the most exalted of the divine Beings in
the spiritual world, experience metamorphosis only. They are
not born, neither do they die. Thus it was said in the
Mysteries: Man alone knows birth and death. The Gods do not
know death, they only know metamorphosis.
men were no longer able to reach up to the Christ, the Christ
came to them on the earth. Because of this it was necessary
that as God He should experience that which Gods had
never experienced before — birth and death. Christ in the
soul of a man, Jesus of Nazareth, experienced birth and death.
This means: For the first time a God passed through human
most essential thing in the Mystery of Golgotha is that
it is not merely something that concerns humanity; it is also a
concern of the Gods. The Gods decreed: One of us, the high
Sun-spirit Himself, has to unite His destiny so closely with
that of mankind that He must pass through birth and death. Ever
since that time men have been able to look to what occurred on
Golgotha, and have been able to find on earth that which
otherwise would have been lost to them, because their
consciousness was no longer capable of reaching up to heaven
— the Christ.
Those who participated first of all in the Mystery of Golgotha
— the Disciples and Apostles of Christ, still retained a
last remnant of instinctive consciousness of what had then
taken place. They knew that the same Being, who formerly could
only be found when men were able to look spiritually upon the
Sun, was now to be found on earth if they knew how rightly to
understand the birth, the life, and the suffering of
There were very few at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha who
were aware: He Who dwells in Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ is
the mighty Sun-Spirit Who has come down to earth.
to the fourth century after Christ it was always known that the
Christ Who was the great Sun-Spirit and the Christ Who dwelt in
Jesus of Nazareth were the same. This was known until the
feelings are profoundly stirred when, by means of Spiritual
Science, we are able to hear how the men of the early Christian
centuries prayed: Thanks be to the Christ for having come down
to us on earth from spiritual worlds, otherwise we would have
been separated from Him.
After the fourth century had passed people were no longer able
to grasp the fact that the high Sun-Being and also the Christ
was that same Divinity Who secures immortality to us as
From the fourth century until our own age men had only the
external words of the Gospels, which relate historically that
the Mystery of Golgotha had indeed taken place, but the effect
of the words of the Gospels still worked so powerfully
throughout the centuries that through them men were able to
unite their hearts with that great event.
confront an age to-day, however, in which men, having learned
so much of the secrets of nature, would have become entirely
estranged from the words of the Gospels if a new path to the
Christ had not been opened up. Anthroposophy has facilitated
the entrance of men on this path by leading them back to a
knowledge of the spiritual world.
the Christ event, let me tell you, is only to be comprehended
spiritually — as a spiritual fact. Those who do not
understand the Christ event as a spiritual fact do not in any
way understand it.
means of Anthroposophical knowledge we can carry ourselves back
to the times when Jesus Christ walked in Palestine and
experienced His earthly destiny.
can look within the hearts of the Disciples and Apostles, who,
with the help of their instinctive knowledge, were aware:
That Being Who formerly dwelt only on the Sun has now come down
to earth and has walked among us. He Who has thus walked among
us as Christ Jesus — who has trodden the earth —
was aforetime only to be found on the Sun. The Disciples
said further: From the eyes of Jesus of Nazareth shines forth
the light of the Sun, from the lips of Jesus of Nazareth speaks
the power of the warmth-giving Sun. When Jesus of Nazareth
walks among us it is as if the Sun itself sent forth its light
and power into the world.
Those who had a perception of this said among themselves: The
Sun-Being walks among us in the form of a man, He Who formerly
could only be found when our gaze was turned from the earth and
directed to the spiritual worlds.
When the Disciples and Apostles spoke in this way their
relationship to the death of Christ was the right one. They
were, therefore, able to continue to be His pupils after He had
passed through death on earth.
Through Spiritual Science we know that when Christ had forsaken
the body of Jesus of Nazareth He walked among His pupils
spiritually and continued their instruction.
power that came to the Disciples and Apostles when the Christ
appeared to them in His spiritual body in order to teach them
was gradually lost to them. A time came in the lives of these
men when they said: We have beheld Him, and now behold Him no
more. He came down to us from heaven to earth. Where is He
gone? This point of time when the Disciples believed that they
had lost the presence of the Christ is preserved for us in the
festival of the Ascension. In the consciousness of the
Disciples the fact was registered that the high Sun-Spirit Who
had walked the earth as Jesus of Nazareth had once more
withdrawn from them. When they experienced this a sorrow came
over them with which no sorrow that is experienced on earth can
the olden Mysteries, during the celebration of the Sun-Cult,
when the image of the God was laid within the earth in order
that in three days it might be raised again, great sorrow for
the God was felt in the souls of those who took part in the
Such sorrow is not, however, to be compared with the greatness
of the sorrow which filled the hearts of the Disciples of
truly great knowledge, my dear friends, is born out of sorrow
When by those means of knowledge, which Anthroposophical
Spiritual Science describes, an entrance into the higher worlds
is sought, the goal can only be reached by passing through
pain. Without having suffered, suffered much, and through
suffering become free from the depression of pain, one cannot
know the spiritual world.
During the time indicated by the ten days following the
Ascension the Disciples suffered dreadfully, for the Christ was
withdrawn from their sight. And out of this infinite pain and
sadness sprang that which we know as Pentecost. After that the
Christ had been lost to their outward instinctive clairvoyance,
the Disciples found Him again, through suffering and sorrow, in
their inner being, in their perceptions and inner
us look back once more into early ages before the Mystery of
Golgotha, when there was still a memory of a pre-earthly
existence. We know that in that pre-earthly existence men
received power from the Christ which gave them immortality.
Then came the time when men knew that through their own human
power they were not able any longer to look back into their
pre-earthly existence in spiritual worlds.
the time of which we are speaking, the Disciples turned back in
memory to all they had experienced in connection with the
Mystery of Golgotha, and out of their memory, and out of their
suffering and their sorrow, there arose again in their souls
the power which they had lost when instinctive clairvoyance
said of old: Before we were born on earth we were with Christ;
He gave to us the power of immortality. Ten days after the
external aspect of the Christ was lost to them the Disciples
said: We have seen the Mystery of Golgotha. It has given to us
the power to feel our immortal nature once again. This power
was represented symbolically by the tongues of fire.
Thus, with the help of Spiritual Science, we are able to see in
the Mystery of Pentecost that the Mystery of Golgotha had taken
the place of the ancient Sun-Myth Mystery. That this was a case
of the Sun-Spirit in the Christ was made very clear to Paul
when he received the revelation of Damascus. Paul was a pupil
of the ancient Initiates of the Mysteries. He realised clearly
that the Christ is only to be found when, through clairvoyance,
the spiritual world is reached. Now he said: Here are certain
Disciples who assert that the Sun-Being has dwelt in a man and
has passed through death; this cannot be, for the Sun-Being can
only be seen beyond the earth. So long as Paul believed this,
through knowledge gained in the Mysteries, he fought against
the Christ not come to earth, had He remained God only on the
Sun, men on earth would have fallen into decay.
would have believed more and more only in the existence of
material things. They would have said: The Sun is a material
thing; the stars are material also. For mankind had utterly
forgotten that they themselves had sprung from a pre-earthly
existence, from the spiritual realm of the stars. Such a
materialistic type of thought as asserts “all is
matter,” can endure only for a time. If, for instance,
all men for a hundred years were to believe that everything was
only matter they would lose the inner power of the spirit
within them; they would become as if crippled — as if
ill. And this is what would in fact have happened to humanity
if the Christ in His infinite mercy had not come down from
spiritual worlds to earth.
might reply to this: Yes, but many people do not wish to know
anything of the Christ; they do not believe in the Christ. How
is it with them? Why are they not crippled, or weak or ill?
this I reply: The Christ appeared on earth as the Mystery of
Golgotha drew near, not merely to give a teaching to men, but
in order to carry through the facts connected with His
appearance on earth. He died for all men. The physical
constitution of all men, even of those who do not believe on
Him, was saved and improved through the Event of Golgotha.
to the present time a man might be a Chinese, a Japanese, or an
Indian, and wish to know nothing of the Christ, yet the Christ
died for him and for all men. The physical constitution of all
men, even of those who did not believe on Him, was saved
through that which took place on Golgotha. In time to come this
will not be possible to the same degree; for in the future what
we call knowledge will be much more important for humanity than
has been the case until now.
necessity will arise ever more and more in human evolution that
men should acquire a certain knowledge of spiritual Beings, and
of spiritual life.
Such a knowledge, as will lead all men to the spiritual world,
is the goal towards which Anthroposophical investigation
strives. Through this knowledge, the Christ can again be
known, but in such a manner that when anyone has true
Anthroposophy he will be able to represent the Christ in a way
that will be comprehensible to all men.
Christianity that has been taught up to now might, if taken to
Africa or Asia, be perhaps accepted by a few who would believe
in the Christ, but the great mass of the people would reject
it, for they would not understand what the missionaries
What kind of religion had these people? They had religions that
had arisen within the nation, and which could only be
understood by the different people, because some holy place or
holy person was reverenced among them.
long as the Egyptians worshipped their Gods in Thebes, so long
had the people to go to Thebes, there to worship in the sacred
temples of their Gods. So long as Zeus was worshipped in
Olympia, men had to go to Olympia in order to worship him
there. In the same way the Mohammedans have to go to Mecca.
Something of this is yet retained in Christianity. If
Christianity is rightly understood, men know: The sun shines
for all men, it shines in Thebes, it shines in Olympia, it
shines on Mecca. The sun can be seen everywhere physically in
the same way, and so the high Sun-Being, the Christ can be
Anthroposophy seeks to show that the Being who before the
Mystery of Golgotha could only be reached by instinctive
super-sensible faculties can since that event be reached by the
powers of understanding, which can be developed by man on the
earth itself. The saying will be understood once more —
The Kingdom of Heaven is come down to earth and here no
thousand year old kingdom is referred to in an uncertain mystic
manner, but men will understand by these words that what was
formerly to be found on the Sun is, since the Mystery of
Golgotha, to be found on earth. We have the Christ, men will
say, since the Mystery of Golgotha, for He then came down to
earth and dwells on earth among us.
What the Disciples experienced as the Mystery of Pentecost will
be experienced ever anew. People will feel that the Christ
Himself has come down to earth — a power is dawning in
our hearts, they will say, that assures immortality to man.
words of Christ must, however, be then accepted in all
earnestness, such words for example as — I am with you
always, even unto the end of the world-age.
when such words are accepted in all their deep spiritual
significance men will rise also to the knowledge that the
Christ was not only there at the beginning of our era —
He is always there, and speaks to us if we will but hear
must also learn through Spiritual Science to see spirit in
everything material, spirit behind the solid stone, the plant,
and man; spirit behind the clouds and the stars, spirit behind
the sun. When through the substance we find the spirit in its
reality, we also open our human soul to the voice of Christ,
Who speaks to us if we will but hear Him.
Anthroposophy can tell of the spirit behind all nature. Hence
it also ventures to speak of spirit in all the historical
earthly events of humanity, and of how the earth first acquired
“meaning” through the Mystery of Golgotha. That
which imparted meaning to the earth before the Mystery of
Golgotha was on the sun, since that time it has been united
with the earth itself.
Anthroposophy presents this to humanity as an everlasting
Pentecostal mystery, and when, prepared by Anthroposophy, men
again seek out the spiritual world, they will find it in a way
that is needful for the present age, and they will also truly
find the Christ as ever present with them. If in this age men
do not turn to spiritual knowledge the Christ will be lost to
till now Christianity did not lay stress on
understanding. Christ died for all men; He did not disown
them. If men reject Him to-day with their understanding,
their intelligence — then they disown the Christ.
we have met together here exactly at the season of Pentecost, I
desired to speak to you of the Christ-Mystery in connection
with this mystery.
People often speak of Anthroposophy as if it were an enemy of
Christianity. If you really enter into the spirit of
Anthroposophy you will find that precisely what it does do is
to open the ears, the hearts, the souls of men once more to the
Mystery of Christ.
might indeed consider the destiny of Anthroposophy to be the
same as that of Christianity; for this, however, it is
necessary that men should not at the present day merely look
towards the dead words that tell of the Christ, but that they
turn to a knowledge which leads them to the light in which the
living Christ Himself dwells, looking not to the historic
Christ Who lived on earth some hundreds of years ago, but to
the living Christ, Who now, and in all future times, lives
among men on earth, because from their God He has become their
Among our thoughts on Pentecost let us realise the following:
That through Anthroposophy we desire to seek the way to the
living Christ. Let us feel that in each Anthroposophist the
mystery of the first Pentecost may be renewed — that the
knowledge of the Christ may dawn in his heart, that he may feel
himself enwarmed and enlightened through the flaming tongues of
universal Christ-like knowledge.
our way to that which is spiritual, through Anthroposophy, be
at the same time our way to Christ through the Spirit.
a handful of men earnestly make this knowledge their own, the
Mystery of Pentecost will take root ever more firmly among them
at the present time and still more so in the future.
Then that will come which is so badly required for the healing
and health of humanity, then it will be possible for the Spirit
to speak to a new human understanding, the Spirit that
heals the sickness of the souls of men — the Spirit sent
by Christ. Then will come that of which humanity has so great a
need — the Pentecost of the World.
Christiania, 17th May, 1923.