Tuesday, October 1, 2013
"Mani, John the Baptist, and the Nathan Jesus" by Richard Distasi
[Rudolf Steiner states:] “At the head of the Sun Oracle to which the other Oracles were subordinate was the greatest of the Atlantean Initiates, the Sun-Initiate, who was also the ‘Manu’, the leader of the Atlantean peoples. When the time of the great catastrophe was approaching, the Manu assumed the task of leading to the East those whom he found suitable for his mission — which was to establish a starting-point for the civilizations of the post-Atlantean epoch. This Initiate gathered around him men who always included the most direct descendants of ‘Adam and Eve’, the first ancestral pair who had survived the Earth's winter. These men were brought up and trained in the immediate environment of the great Initiate. The whole of the teaching imparted to them was organized in such a way that at the appropriate point of time in evolution it was always possible for the right influences to be sent forth from the sanctuary* led by the Manu, the Initiate of the Sun Oracle. Let us suppose that at a certain point in evolution a rejuvenation of civilization was necessary; traditions preserved in humanity had become antiquated and required a new impetus; a new culture needed to be inaugurated. Provision for this had to be made — and was actually made, in many different ways — in the sanctuary under the great Initiate of the Sun Oracle.” [*Author's note: It is possible to interpret the word 'sanctuary' to mean the Sun Altar of Christ amid the Bodhisattvas; the leading World Teachers].
In the same lecture Rudolf Steiner makes the following statement:
“Zarathustra was a great and unique Individuality, an altogether exceptional case. Yet not even Zarathustra himself could have ensouled the body of Jesus up to the time of puberty in such a way as to enable the discarded astral sheath to unite with the Nirmanakaya of Buddha. Whence, then, came the great vivifying, vitalizing power of the Nathan Jesus-child?
“It came from the Mother-Lodge of humanity directed by the sublime Sun-Initiate, the Manu. A great individualized power (eine grosse individuelle Kraft) had there been nurtured and fostered. This individualized power, this ‘Individuality’, was then sent down into the child born of the parents called ‘Joseph’ and ‘Mary’ in the Gospel of St. Luke. Who was this Being?
“To answer this question we must go back to the time before the Luciferic influence had penetrated into the astral body of man. This influence approached humanity at the time when the ancestral human couple were living on the Earth. This ancestral couple had been strong enough to master human substance and to incarnate, but had not been strong enough to resist the Luciferic influence. The effects of the influence extended into the astral bodies of this couple too, with the consequence that it was impossible to allow all the forces that were in ‘Adam and Eve’ to be transmitted to their descendants. The physical body had necessarily to be transmitted through the generations, but the leadership of humanity held back a portion of the etheric body. This was expressed by saying: ‘Men have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil’ — that is to say, they have partaken of the Luciferic influence; but it was also said: ‘The possibility of eating also of the Tree of Life must now be taken from them.’ This means that certain of the forces of the etheric body were kept back and did not pass on to the descendants. Thus after the Fall, certain forces were no longer in ‘Adam’, and the still guiltless part of his being was nurtured and fostered in the great Mother-Lodge of humanity. This was, so to speak, the Adam-soul as yet untouched by human guilt, not yet entangled in what had actually caused the ‘Fall’ of man. These pristine forces of the Adam-Individuality were preserved; they were there and were then led as a provisional ‘Ego’ to the child born to Joseph and Mary. Thus in his early years this Jesus-child bore within him the power of the original progenitor of earthly humanity.
“This soul had remained young in the truest sense. It had not been led through incarnations but had been kept at a very early stage — like the child in our hypothetical educational experiment. Who, then, was the Being in the child born to Joseph and Mary of the Nathan line? The progenitor of humanity, the ‘old Adam’ as a ‘new Adam!’ This secret was known to St. Paul and lies behind his words. And St. Luke, the writer of the Gospel — who was a pupil of St. Paul — knew it too. For this reason he speaks of it in a special way. He knew that a very definite process was necessary in order that this spiritual substance might be led down to humanity; he knew that a blood-relationship reaching back to ‘Adam’ was necessary. Hence for Joseph he shows a lineage reaching back to Adam who issued directly from the spiritual world and in the words of the Gospel was a ‘son of God’. The sequence of generations is traced back to God himself.”
Lecture IV from Rudolf Steiner's Luke Gospel cycle.
In Lecture V Rudolf Steiner then speaks of the quickening of the Ego of the unborn John the Baptist when Mary and Elizabeth meet:
"It will seem strange to you that a soul without a truly developed Ego could be guided from the great Mother-Lodge to a certain place. But the same Ego that was withheld from the Jesus of the Gospel of St. Luke was bestowed upon the body of John the Baptist; thus the soul-Being in Jesus of the Gospel of St. Luke and the Ego-Being in John the Baptist were inwardly related from the beginning. Now when the human embryo develops in the body of the mother, the Ego unites with the other members of the human organism in the third week, but does not come into operation until the last months before birth and then only gradually. Not until then does the Ego become active as an inner force; in a normal case, when an Ego quickens an embryo, we have to do with an Ego that has come from earlier incarnations. In the case of John, however, the Ego in question was inwardly related to the soul-Being of the Nathan Jesus. Hence according to the Gospel of St. Luke, the mother of Jesus went to the mother of John the Baptist when the latter was in the sixth month of her pregnancy, and the embryo that in other cases is quickened by its own Ego was here quickened through the medium of the other embryo. The child in the body of Elizabeth begins to move when the mother bearing the Nathan Jesus-child approaches; and it is the Ego through which the child in the other mother (Elizabeth) is quickened. (Luke 1: 39-44). Such was the deep connection between the Being who was to bring about the fusion of the two spiritual streams and the other who was to announce His coming!”
Also from the same lecture:
"Thus it was the Nirmanakaya of Buddha which now stirred the Ego force of John into activity, having the same effect as spiritual forces that had formerly worked upon Elijah. At certain times the Being known as Elijah had been rapt in states of ecstasy; then the God spoke, filling his Ego with a force which could be communicated to the outer world. Now again a spiritual force was present - the Nirmanakaya of Buddha hovering above the head of the Nathan Jesus; this force worked upon Elizabeth when John was to be born, stimulated within her the embryo of John in the sixth month of pregnancy, and wakened the Ego. But being nearer to the Earth this force now worked as more than an inspiration; it had an actual formative effect upon the Ego of John. Under the influence of the visit of her who is there called `Mary', the Ego of John the Baptist awoke into activity. The Nirmanakaya of Buddha was here working upon the Ego of the former Elijah - now the Ego of John the Baptist - wakening it and penetrating right into the physical substance.”
After reading the above excerpts from Rudolf Steiner it becomes clear that John the Baptist and the Nathan Jesus were actually one and the same Being existing in two separate bodies. This goes beyond understanding them to be sister souls in a more generic sense. Jesus of Nazareth was the untainted etheric aspect of John the Baptist which descended to earth. They were of the same soul which became divided and split but nonetheless emanated from the same spirit Being whom we recognize as John the Baptist. And it is imperative to understand that it was Mani, the leading Bodhisattva of the Mother-Lodge, who provided a 'provisional Ego' for the Nathan Jesus 'soul aspect'. The Nathan Jesus was Jesus of Nazareth who was born of Mary whom we read in the Luke Gospel. It is also significant to consider the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth who is said to be a “kinswoman” to Mary. It is not clear as to what the actual relation is of Elizabeth to Mary. It is when both are pregnant that Mary visits Elizabeth and it is recorded that John, “leapt in the womb,” of Elizabeth. The resonance that transpired between the Nathan soul and John is indicative of the impact of John's own soul elements upon himself but were partially harbored within the Nathan Jesus. Throughout the entire life of John the Baptist it was a journey of becoming one with the entirety of his own soul elements which is what resulted after he was executed to which he then united with Christ-Jesus. This soul unification was then brought to its highest expression on Easter morning when John the Baptist appeared to the women as the young man in the tomb. These same soul elements are what awakened the I of John. What is of great significance is that the embryo of John the Baptist was quickened not by his own I. Rather, it was quickened by the presence of the embryo of the Nathan Jesus to which the Nirmanakaya of Buddha hovered above. Moreover, what was also active in the embryo of the Nathan Jesus was a provisional I essence gifted to it by Mani. This was not a fully developed human I as we would commonly understand it. We can liken it to a small petal of a rose but not the entire rose bush itself. It would seem logical to assert that both the Nirmanakaya of Buddha and a provisional I essence of Mani were key factors in stirring the embryo and the I of John the Baptist. As the Nathan Jesus was the soul element of the descending Christ in his three pre-earthly deeds of sacrifice, throughout this entire time the Nathan soul was always an aspect of the soul of John the Baptist. Rudolf Steiner refers to the Nathan Jesus as, “The progenitor of humanity, the ‘old Adam’ as a ‘new Adam'!”
Another point of interest is that we can discern how this narrative of the Luke Gospel is similar to the process of the meiosis of a living cell but not to a mitosis process in the separation of a cell.
“Meiosis is a special type of cell division. Unlike mitosis, the way normal body cells divide, meiosis results in cells that only have half the usual number of chromosomes, one from each pair.”
These biological phenomena of cell division that are found in nature serve as archetypal examples for studying John the Baptist and the Nathan Jesus. We can clearly see that John the Baptist is much more developed in soul and I qualities than the Nathan Jesus. The Nathan Jesus soul is the etheric meiosic separation from the Being of John the Baptist. What should not be overlooked in these matters is the deep significance of Mani/Manu supplying a provisional I for the Nathan soul. Not only are John the Baptist and the Nathan soul one yet divided, it becomes possible to begin to study whether Mani and John the Baptist are often a composite Being on occasions though they themselves are two different Beings.
At this point the following question becomes paramount: When did John the Baptist initially become the human prototype of the new Adam? Is it possible to consider that this transformation may have begun on Golgotha and then culminated in the tomb on Easter morning. John the Baptist had been united with Christ from the time of his execution. Immediately after his execution he became the unitary consciousness of the Twelve Apostles. He became their unitary surrogate consciousness who would be the one to follow Christ all the way through the Event of Golgotha; to experience all that Christ experienced in terms of the death, the descent into the sub-realms of the earth and the resurrection of Christ-Jesus. It was imperative that at least one human Being would experience all of this in every detail to which he would become a seed force for the future evolution of all humanity.
Taking into consideration that the body on the cross was that of the Nathan Jesus we again begin to see a connection streaming from Mani to the Adam soul. At the beginning of the birth of this body there was in place a provisional Ego provided by Mani. In complimentary fashion is it possible to say that at the last hour of its life on earth it comes full circle that now John the Baptist provides a provisional Ego to the body of Jesus of Nazareth after Christ had left the body. Rudolf Steiner remarks that after Christ left the body, Christ then proclaimed, “My god, my god you have glorified me!” These words resounded from a higher spiritual sphere. However, Rudolf Steiner also remarks that after Christ had taken leave of the body and the body of Jesus had then become devoid of the spirit of Christ, the body of the Nathan Jesus through its special qualities was able to cry out the following on the physical plane: “My god, my god why have you forsaken me.” This needs to be examined closely.
In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark they speak of bystanders who thought that Christ was crying out to Elijah in the words, “Eli, Eli lama sabachtani.” The fact that Elijah is mentioned at this point in the Gospels should not be easily dismissed and disregarded. It should not be determined that the bystanders were simply misunderstanding these words emanating from the body of Jesus. The writers of the Gospels of Mathew and Mark constructed these passages in such a way as to direct our attention to Elijah at this particular moment of the crucifixion. This event was unfolding at multiple levels: “But the rest said, 'Wait, let us see if Elijah is coming to save him'.” (Matthew 27:49). In the Gospel of Mark we read, “And some of the bystanders on hearing this said, 'Behold, he is calling Elijah'.” (Mark 15:35). It should be noted that in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark these verses immediately follow the words, “Eli, Eli lama sabachtani.” It becomes plausible to posit that it was Elijah who trumpeted these words. Afterwhich, he cried out in a 'loud voice' and withdrew from the body of Jesus. If we accept Rudolf Steiner's assertion that Christ had already left the body of Jesus prior to, “My god, my god why have you fosaken me,”* then it becomes reasonable to say that the Matthew and Mark Gospels are providing a deeply profound mystery in the mentioning of Elijah in relation with the words, “Eli, Eli lama sabachtani.”[*December 30, 1904; GA 60].
In this mystery we find the Adam soul uniting with Christ at some time before Christ left the body of Jesus. And since John the Baptist was already united with Christ soon after his beheading it becomes possible to assert that John the Baptist accompanied Christ to Golgotha. In addition, it is appropriate to suggest that the actual departure of Christ from the crucified body of Jesus is most likely to be found in Luke's account of the crucifixion. This happened at the time when Christ uttered the words, “Father into your hands I commend my spirit.” The Luke Gospel then immediately records that he expired; that is, he leaves the body of Jesus. It also should be noted that this transpires prior to the utterance of the lamentation, “My god, my god why have you forsaken me.” This lamentation is not found in the Luke Gospel. Nor is it found in the Gospel of John. This lamentation is spoken after Christ had left the body of Jesus. It is the Matthew and Mark Gospels that record these words of profound grief to which they continue the narration of the crucifixion beyond the departure of Christ. This resolves the seemingly contradictory narrations between the Luke Gospel and the Gospel of John. In the Gospel of John the last words of Christ are recorded as, “It Is Finished.” This is different from what we read in the Luke Gospel. This is so because the Gospel of John carries his Gospel to the end when the Adam soul leaves the body of Jesus which is after Christ had already departed. In a sense the Adam soul was following the path of the Passion in the same manner as Christ and continued to do so all the way through to the Resurrection when he appeared as the young man in the tomb on Easter morning. It is for good reasons that we find two nativity narratives that do not comport with one another in the Matthew and Luke Gospels. This is so because each one identifies two distinctly different Jesus infants. In a similar fashion we find in the Luke and John Gospels two different versions narrating two separate death events on Golgotha. The Luke Gospel narrates the departure of Christ followed by the departure of the Adam soul which we read in the Gospel of John. What seem to be contradictions among the Gospels actually serve as gateways into deeper truths.
According to Rudolf Steiner when the two thieves were nearing the loss of consciousness they were assumed by Lucifer and Ahriman; the repentant thief and the non-repentant thief respectively. In a somewhat similar fashion it is possible to conceive that John the Baptist at some time during the crucifixion incarnated into the body of Jesus of Nazareth, his twin soul, in order to personally experience the human death of Christ. As John the Baptist united with the etheric and astral bodies of the Nathan Jesus at the time of the Resurrection on Easter morning which is discussed later it becomes possible to consider that on Good Friday he united with the physical mineral body of Jesus before Christ left the body. Christ began the process of redeeming the phantom body at the time of the Baptism in the Jordan when he became loosely connected with the skeleton of the body of the Nathan Jesus. The process of incarnating into the bone structure of Jesus of Nazareth was not fully completed until the final moments on the cross. Thereby, in order for John the Baptist to assume a replication of the phantom body of the Nathan Jesus on Easter morning similar to that of Christ he too would have had to infuse his Being within the bone structure of the Nathan Jesus both momentarily and simultaneously with Christ. In Rudolf Steiner's lecture cycle, “The Study of Man,” he says the following: “Thus human limbs are not merely head bones metamorphosed, they are even more, head bones turned inside out.” [GA 293; Lecture X]. Drawing from this we can say that the skeletal limbs are an outgrowth of forces that emanate from the skull. Thereby, the beginning stage of transmuting the old Adam forces into the new Adam forces was the point at which the head-skull of John the Baptist was severed. Following this is when Christ and John the Baptist began to unite with one another. Rudolf Steiner says the following regarding John the Baptist after he was beheaded: “When he was in prison and then beheaded by Herod, what happened then to his soul? This we have already indicated. His soul left the body and worked on as an aura; and into the domain of this aura Christ Jesus entered. Where then is the soul of Elijah, the soul of John the Baptist? The Mark Gospel indicates this clearly enough. The soul of John the Baptist, of Elijah, becomes the group soul of the Twelve.” [GA 139; Lecture VI – The Gospel of St. Mark]. The eventual culmination of Christ and John the Baptist becoming one was at the crucifixion on Golgotha; the place of the skull. This is when both Christ and John the Baptist fully entered into the depths of the skeletal bone structure of Jesus of Nazareth. They were both able to then reverse these calcifying forces and extract a redeemed phantom body from these forces.
Does it become possible to consider that when, in those final moments, Christ had already withdrawn from the body of the Nathan Jesus it was John the Baptist who cried out, “My god, my god why have you forsaken me.” It would have been later after these words that John the Baptist also withdrew from the body which gave up the spirit. John the Baptist is then received into the Christ Being to which they descend together into the sub-realms of the earth. As John the Baptist was taken into the physical body of Jesus on the cross he is then subsequently taken into the Being of Christ as they descend into the depths of the earth.
Before this, however, we come to the final act of the crucifixion prior to the Adam soul's departure when the body of Jesus which is animated by the Adam soul takes the wine from the stalk of hyssop. When we read in the Gospel of John that Christ speaks to Mary and to the beloved disciple Lazarus-John we should understand that Christ had already left the body of Jesus. Christ speaks to them from out of the Elijah aura mantel which envelops the cross. Continuing to be outside of the body of Jesus, Christ speaks down into and through the Adam soul and exclaims, “It Is Finished.” It was at this point that the Fall of humanity dating far back into the distant pasts of Lemuria had now reached its nadir and conclusion. From this point forward the ages long hereditary forces of the old Adam are to be converted into the Son of God forces of the new Adam. (John 1: 12-13). A Son of God is understood to be one who has attained Manas. It is at this point that the Adam soul departs from the physical mineral body of Jesus of Nazareth which had inherited the old Adam forces. Later within the tomb this body is consumed in a flash, converted into ashes and received into the depths of the earth by means of a fission which opened momentarily in the ground. It is of interest to note Matthias Grunewald's Isenheim Altarpiece in which he places John the Baptist at the scene of the crucifixion and who is pointing to the body of Jesus on the cross. John the Baptist is accompanied by a sacrificial lamb. The lamb carries the staff of John the Baptist while it is bleeding into a chalice from its heart. In the background behind the image of John the Baptist are the following words which translated from the Latin read: “He must increase as I must decrease.” (John 3:30). These words are indicative of the transition in human evolution from that of the old Adam forces to the new Adam forces wrought by the simultaneous consolidation of Christ and John the Baptist within the skeletal body of Jesus of Nazareth on Golgotha.
Returning to the narrative of John the Baptist and Mani, in the Gospel narrations of Luke and Matthew, Christ indicates that John the Baptist is the highest among human Beings. Also, Rudolf Steiner claims that Mani is the leading World Teacher/Bodhisattva at this time. The question becomes: Does any human Being eventually succeed Mani as the leader of the World Teachers? Does Mani fully complete his sacrificial mission alone which would culminate in his return to the hierarchy of the angels as we transition into the 6th epoch? Or does he accomplish this task in unison with the Adam soul. Keep in mind that Noah/Mani is from the hierarchy of angels; he is not from the human hierarchy. In order for a human Being to succeed Mani it would only seem proper that it would have to be one who is the highest among human Beings. It would have to be John the Baptist.
In the lecture, The Manicheans (GA 93), Rudolf Steiner says the following: “What is the meaning of the utterance of Manes that he is the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, the Son of the Widow? It means that he will prepare for that epoch in which the men of the Sixth Root Race will be led by themselves, by the light of their own souls. Manes will create an overlapping stream, a stream which goes further than the stream of the Rosicrucians. The stream of Manes goes over to the Sixth Root Race which has been in preparation since the founding of Christianity. Christianity will appear in its perfected form in the Sixth Root Race.”
Does Rudolf Steiner mean to suggest that leaders of masses of people have been precluded. It would seem that this is so. We become our own leaders. We become our own initiators. What role then will the World Teachers have. It begins to redefine the term Manu. The term Manu is twofold. It means one who has attained Manas; and one who leads masses of people. These two qualities together comprise a Manu.
In lecture III of, The Bhagavad Gita and the Epistles of St. Paul, Rudolf Steiner offers a description of a Manu: "Let us suppose that in olden times there was a man who, in the truest sense of the words, had brought Manas to expression within him, who had certainly in himself experienced Ahamkara, but had allowed this as an individual element to retire more into the background and on account of his external activity had cultivated Manas; then according to the laws of the older, smaller, human cycles - and only quite exceptional men could have experienced this - such a man would have had to be a great law-giver, a leader of great masses of people. And one would not have been satisfied to designate him in the same way as other men, but would have called him after his prominent characteristic, a Manas-bearer; whereas another might only be called a senses-bearer. One would have said: That is a Manas-bearer, he is a Manu. When we come across designations pertaining to those olden times, we must take them as descriptive of the most prominent principle of a man's human organization, that which most strongly expressed itself in him in that particular incarnation. Suppose that in a particular man what was most specially expressed was that he felt divine inspiration within him, that he had put aside all question of ruling his actions and studies by what the external world teaches through the senses and by what reason teaches through the brain, but listened instead in all things to the Divine Word which spoke to him, and made himself a messenger for the Divine Substance that spoke out of him! Such a man would have been called a Son of God. In the Gospel of St. John, such men were still called Sons of God, even at the very beginning of the first chapter."
If we look closely at the beginning of the Bible in the Book of Genesis, we ask: Who are the very first two major Patriarchs that are mentioned? They are: Adam and Noah; the highest human Being and the highest World Teacher respectively as we understand that Noah was an earlier incarnation of Mani. Is it possible to postulate that the Book of Genesis was alluding to this eventual coalescence of complimentary missions in human evolution between Mani and the Adam soul at such a distant time ago. Following the story of Adam and his descendants the Book of Genesis immediately takes leave of the Adam lineage and begins to narrate the story of Noah and his descendants. Rudolf Steiner has mentioned that when reading scriptures one should be attentive to not only the context of the scripture but also the structure. Juxtapositions of names and events can reveal some of the deepest truths.
In furthering the premise that John the Baptist will become a Manu it should be noted that the resurrection of the 'young man' of Nain during his burial (Luke 7: 11-17) whom Rudolf Steiner denotes as Mani correlates in tone with the young man in the tomb of whom we only read in Mark's Gospel. The same story also correlates in tone with the raising of Lazarus. In all three accounts we can see the connection of John the Baptist, Lazarus and Mani. In the Luke Gospel we defer to the 'juxtaposition' principle again in order to discern a deeper mystery. Following the account of the raising of the widow's son whom we understand to be Mani/Manu the Luke Gospel immediately shifts its focus to John the Baptist. It is then that Christ Jesus acclaims the following: “I say to you among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
Within this averment of Christ we can see how Christ references John the Baptist and also alludes to Mani. We remind ourselves that Mani is of the angel hierarchy who remained behind in his evolution for the sake of guiding human evolution as Noah/Manu and Melchizedek.
Rudolf Steiner had spoken of the Ark of Noah as the whole body of Noah; his physical, etheric and astral bodies. We can understand Shem, Ham and Japheth to be his sons while they are also representative of allegorical expressions to Noah's ark body consisting of the physical, etheric and astral bodies. This body was in accord with the whole of the animal kingdom as well. It was Noah whom we understand to have been Manu and who later incarnated as Mani in the third century A.D. In the deeply allegorical and apocryphal text, The Book of Adam and Eve, we read that Methuselah tells Noah to take the body of Adam and place it in the ark until the waters have subsided. This is an allegorical depiction of the coalescence of Mani with the entelechy of the Adam soul. It should be especially noted that this transpires at the end of the Atlantean epoch as well as the beginning of the 5th post-Atlantean epoch. It marks the beginning of the eventual succession of Noah by the Adam soul as the Adam soul becomes the Manu who succeeds Mani as the FIRST HUMAN to stand in the place of that which Mani currently occupies among the leading World Teachers. This would most likely transpire sometime during the 6th post-Atlantean epoch after the War of All Against All. The period of transition from Noah/Manu to the Adam soul as the leading World Teacher extends throughout the entire 5th post-Atlantean epoch.
Though it seems that Rudolf Steiner never explicitly stated that Noah/Mani incarnated later as Melchizedek, E.R. Smith, B. Lievegoed and S. Prokofieff in some of their writings proffered that Rudolf Steiner alluded to it. This becomes exceedingly intriguing as Melchizedek appeared to Abraham not as a man but as an angel. Rudolf Steiner discloses that it was a copy of Shem's etheric body into which Melchizedek incarnated. Rudolf Steiner discusses this in the first three lectures from: Christianty in Human Evolution. GA-109. It is at this point that it can be asssumed that Mani, then appearing as Mechizedek, did not incarnate any lower than an etheric body. When we look upon Melchizedek we are presented with Mani in his angelic form. Melchizedek then becomes a figure to whom all other humans are to evolve in likeness throughout the remaining course of earthly evolution. Moreover, Melchizedek was to Abraham as the entelechy of John the Baptist was to Mary Magdalene on Easter morning. It becomes possible to consider that Mani was the angel of John the Baptist. In addition, we note that in Luke's Gospel Christ refers to Elijah as a Widow's Son* (Luke 4:26) to which the correlation draws our attention to the bond between the Adam soul and Mani.
Continuing this study of John the Baptist and his Nathan soul aspect we ask at what point did John the Baptist and the Nathan soul portion of himself momentarily reunite in its highest essence. It was on Easter morning briefly when the young man in the tomb spoke to Mary Magdalene and the other women. The first Easter morning was not only indicative of the Resurrection of Christ, it was also indicative of the resurrection of the New Adam in the unified composite Being of John the Baptist and the Nathan soul. This was only momentary as the soul aspect of John the Baptist, to which we refer as the Nathan soul, reunited with Christ as both together appeared as one to Mary Magdalene in the likeness of a gardener at the tomb. Mary Magdalene first sees the futuristic prototypal human archetype of the New Adam in the figure of John the Baptist and the Nathan Jesus combined as the young man in the tomb. She later sees the Christ archetype of the New Adam in the Risen Christ as a gardener at the tomb. The scene of Mary Magdalene and the other women arriving at the tomb early Easter morning unfolds at various levels.
All three synoptic Gospels have different versions from one another though similar in other respects as well. In the Matthew Gospel, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary arrived at the tomb and witnessed an angel descend from heaven to roll away the stone and then sat upon the stone. He tells the women that Christ has risen. What he imparts to the women is similar to what Mark's young man in the tomb imparts to them. However, in Matthew's Gospel this scene takes place outside the tomb. The Luke and Mark Gospels move the narration inside the tomb. In the Luke Gospel the women encounter two angels. According to Rudolf Steiner's research these two angels are the etheric and astral bodies of the Nathan Jesus. These 'angels' also tell of the resurection of Christ to the women. However, when we read Mark's account it seems that his account assimilates both Matthew's account and Luke's account. Mark's account presents the young man in the tomb as both the angel that we read in the Matthew account along with the etheric and astral bodies of the Nathan Jesus in Luke's Gospel that are now combined with the entelechy of John the Baptist. Though it is possible to assert that John reunited with his own 'unfallen' etheric body in the tomb can we truly say that the astral body of the Nathan Jesus was the astral body of the Adam soul. Only to an extent can this be assumed but not wholly. The etheric body does eventually become the astral body in the long course of human evolution. And in this moment the whole future of human evolution is displayed in the configuration of John the Baptist as the young man in the tomb on Easter morning. However, this astral body is not of John the Baptist alone. It also holds traces of the astral body aspects of the Luke Mary-Anthroposophia, Zarathustra and the Nirmanakaya of Buddha.
Another means of accounting for the astral body of the Nathan Jesus could be that the etheric body of the Nathan soul was also extended into both the physical and astral elements of the pre-earthly deeds of Christ which were not only involved in the etheric elements of all human Beings but also the physical and astral elements as well.
“This was a first stage of the Mystery of Golgotha. The consequence was that in that old Lemurian epoch — but in etheric spiritual heights — the being who later became the Nathan-Jesus, and who otherwise would have had the form of an angel, took on human form (not of flesh, but a human etheric form). In the super-earthly region Jesus of Nazareth is to be found as an etheric angel-form. Through permeation with the Christ he then assumed etheric human form.”
Throughout this lecture Rudolf Steiner describes the Nathan soul during all three pre-earthly deeds as being comprised of a human etheric form. [http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/19140307p01.html The Pre-Earthly Deeds of Christ Pforzheim March 7, 1914]
In an earlier lecture on the pre-earthly sacrificial deeds of Christ, Rudolf Steiner also speaks of Christ ensouling himself with an archangel during each sacrifice. An example is the following:
“Once more the Christ Being ensouled Himself in an archangel, and the power thus generated in the spiritual world made possible the harmonization of thinking, feeling and willing.”
In the same lecture Rudolf Steiner seems to allude that this archangel was Michael:
“Mankind has preserved some memory of how human passion and human thinking were harmonized at this period by forces that descended from supramundane worlds, but the sign of this memory is not rightly understood. St. George who conquers the dragon, or Michael who conquers the dragon, are symbols of the third Christ event, when Christ ensouled Himself in an archangel. It is the dragon, trodden under foot, that has brought thinking, feeling and willing into disorder. All who turn their gaze upon St. George or Michael with the dragon, or some similar episode, perceive, in reality, the third Christ event.”
[http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/19140601p01.html The Four Sacrifices of Christ: Basel June 1, 1914]
The lowest element of an archangel is an astral body. Christ would ensoul himself in an astral essence that was sacrificed by Michael during all three sacrifices. In the above lecture in Basel, Rudolf Steiner makes it clear that Christ did not incarnate into an archangel. Rather, Christ ensouled himself with an astral body essence gifted to him by an archangel. It would seem highly probable that this 'gifted' astral essence became the astral body of the Nathan soul and is so today. It is the same astral essence which Paul experienced on the road to Damascus. Thereby, the etheric body of the Nathan soul is deeply intertwined with the astral essence of whom we may assume to have been the archangel whom Christ enveloped himself: Michael the archangel. In addition, we find in The Book of Adam and Eve, there are passages which narrate the apocryphal accounts that Michael was given charge of burying Adam. This allegorical imagery can be interpreted to indicate that the Adam soul is always closely unified with Michael. This also assists us in understanding the alliance of Naboth and the spirit of Elijah. That is, the Adam soul was primarily embodied in the etheric body of Naboth while Elijah was the embodiment of Michael impressing his Being throughout the astral body of Naboth. This helps us in understanding the seemingly overt contradiction between the words of Christ and those of John the Baptist in regard to Elijah.
After the Transfiguration, Christ opens the understanding of Peter, James and John that John the Baptist was Elijah who had come again. (Matthew 17: 9-13). In John's Gospel, John the Baptist is asked if he is Elijah and he answers that he is not. (John 1:21). At that time the Michael-Elijah astral essence was in the possession of Christ who was soon to incarnate within the body of the Nathan Jesus. It was when Christ incarnated into Jesus of Nazareth that Elijah had come again. Moreover, throughout the scene of the Transfiguration the three Apostles did not recognize Elijah as John the Baptist and for good reason. This afforded Christ the opportunity to reveal to the three Apostles the mystery of reincarnation. The scriptures of antiquity conveyed that the events regarding the Messiah would come to pass only after Elijah had come again. The three Apostles question Christ about this. Christ in response opens to them the mystery of the reincarnating I AM of Elijah in John the Baptist. Christ had also spoken publicly to crowds in regard to the reincarnation of the soul of Elijah in John the Baptist. We can read this in Matthew 12: 7-19.
The name Elijah means, 'my God is Yahweh'. The name John derives from an earlier Hebrew name 'Yochanan' which means, 'Yahweh is gracious'.* The name Elijah is indicative of understanding one's I AM as the god within one's Beingness. Standing within the entrance of a cave which may have been similar to the tomb of Easter morning Elijah comes to perceive the 'still small voice' within himself as his own I AM. This is similar to the event of Moses on Mt. Horeb. Moses ascends the mountain and transends to a symbiotic relation with Christ who reveals himself as 'I AM the I AM' which is what is expressed in the name: Yahweh.
In the Gospels, John the Baptist pronounces that the kingdom of heaven is near at hand. Christ later echoes this by telling the Pharisees that the kindom of heaven is within. This was anathema to the Pharisees. What we find in devachan or heaven we find in our own I AM. What we find in our I AM we find in Christ also. The Mystery of Golgotha is the Mystery of the ever eternal incarnating human I AM. Of further interest is the region called Wadi Kharrar. It is believed to be the location along the Jordan river where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. This area is also associated with the hill from which Elijah ascended to heaven. The hill is named 'Tell Mar Elias'.
Chapter XXV of The Book of Adam and Eve narrates an intriguing correlation of Adam and Michael with the story of the ascension of Elijah. Adam tells Seth of an event that had occured to him after he and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. While Adam was in prayer Michael the archangel appeared in a chariot the likeness of which was that of a whirlwind. Its wheels were of fire to which he was taken to higher realms. He then saw the face of God (Christ) which consisted of fire. Of course, the depictions of this event are allegorical. They return us to the assertion that an astral essence of Michael is inseparably connected with the Adam soul and with Christ. Moreover, throughout the ages of time and throughout all the various incarnations of the Adam soul there has always been a cosmic spiritual connection between the Adam soul and the Nathan soul as both are ultimately One. In the final analysis one can conceive of a four point square configuration of interconnecting Beingness consisting of Christ, Mani, the Adam soul and an astral essence of Michael the archangel. In our time this is what now presents itself in the center of the sanctuary of which Rudolf Steiner mentions in his fourth lecture on the Gospel of Luke. This is the Sun Altar of Christ amid the leading World Teachers which is ever present and now stands before us all here on earth.