Rudolf Steiner: "...Ahura Mazdao himself, the Leader of the Sun, had to descend to Earth to bring light into this icy separateness. He had to become a human being in the physical world in order to help both the living and the dead. He had to be a human among humans! The high and the magnificent that lives in the Sun descended to Earth and revealed itself in and to humanity. Previously, it had revealed itself in the elements, for example to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and in the lightning on Sinai. The Israelites were to make no graven image of their God. Why? Because no external name can be given to “Me,” the Divine Being; only an entirely different name can express the “I am the I am!” The only possibility of discovering the Spirit of the Sun's name is to seek it in the human being. That which lives as “I” in human beings is the Christ-Being.
The Jehova revelation precedes the Christ. That was at the time when the Christ-Being could gradually descend to the Earth. What had Zarathustra once vowed to the high Sun-Being? What sacrifice did he want to make to him? His body, senses, life, and speech. Zarathustra was reincarnated as a contemporary of the great Buddha. He could then build up the etheric and astral bodies that he had sacrificed. He was reborn as Zarathas or Nazarathos, and he became the teacher of Pythagoras, who himself was reincarnated as one of the three Wise Men of the East and became one of the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth. Zarathustra, who had once sacrificed his etheric and astral bodies, was also able to give up his external sheath to Him whose coming he had once announced. As the Jesus of Nazareth of Western occultism, he could place his physical body at the disposal of the Sun Spirit and was then able to say, “I am the Light of the World!”
The Christ-Being was known in all the mysteries. In ancient India, at the time of the Seven Rishis, the being who represented Christ was called Vishva Karman. Zarathustra named him Ahura Mazdao, and in Egypt he was known as Osiris. The Jewish people called him Jahve or Jehova, and then in the fourth cultural epoch this very same being lived for three years on our physical Earth. This is the being who will in the future reunite the Sun with the Earth. Mystically, the Christ united Himself with the Earth when the blood streamed from His wounds at Golgotha. At that time He appears in the aura of the Earth, and He has been in it ever since.
Who was the first man to see Christ in the aura of the Earth? It was St. Paul, who did more than anyone else for the dissemination of Christianity. What caused Saul to become Paul? Neither the teachings nor the events that took place in Palestine, but the event at Damascus, which was of a supersensible nature. Before that experience, Paul could not believe that the one who had died so disgracefully on the cross had been the Christ, but as an initiate of the cabala he knew that the Christ would be visible in the aura of the Earth once He had appeared on Earth. That was the experience of Paul, which transformed him from Saul to Paul. Paul said of himself that he was born prematurely, and the same is also said of the Buddha. This means that such an individuality does not descend too deeply into the physical realm. When Paul became clairvoyant before he came to Damascus, he saw and knew who Christ was.
The Christ was working in Buddha as a bodhisattva, and it was He who was now the planetary spirit of the Earth since the event of Golgotha and who could since be found in the physical aura of the Earth. Through the Christ-Principle a new light has been kindled in this world and beyond. The body of Jesus of Nazareth — the etheric and astral bodies and the ego of Jesus of Nazareth — exist in many copies in the spiritual world. Such a statement expresses something of great significance, and for a better understanding of it we can draw on nature for a number of enlightening examples. Just think of a grain seed that grows into a stalk and multiplies itself many times in the process. This apparently simple natural process is a parable of the events in the supersensible world that are governed by certain laws. Many copies of the etheric and astral bodies and of the ego of Jesus of Nazareth exist in order to be incorporated in the preliminary bearers of the Christ-Principle. Everything connected with the Christ-Principle is so momentous that humanity can grasp it only little by little.
St. Augustine, for example, bore within him a copy of the etheric body of Jesus of Nazareth; and once you know that, you will be able to appreciate his life, his errors, and his accomplishments. His ego and his astral body were left to their own resources, and only in his etheric body did his great mystical gift come to life. St. Francis of Assisi and Thomas Aquinas had copies of the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth woven into their souls, and it is this fact that allowed them to be such dynamic teachers. They worked from a sphere in which Christ had once lived.
In some cases external events such as natural catastrophes or similar things enhance this weaving of spiritual bodies into the soul of the recipient. It is said of St. Thomas Aquinas that lightning struck and killed his little sister in the room where he happened to be standing, but spared him. He interpreted this lightning bolt next to him to the effect that elemental forces were necessary to help him take up the copy of the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth. Elisabeth of Thüringen also had an imprint of the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth in her soul.
Zarathustra, or Jesus of Nazareth, is one of the three Masters of the Rosicrucians. Many copies of his ego — that is, of the ego in which the Christ Spirit Himself had dwelt — can be found in the spiritual world. The copies of the ego of Jesus of Nazareth are waiting for us in the spiritual world to be utilized for the future evolution of humankind. People who endeavor to strive upward to the heights of spiritual wisdom and love are candidates for these copies of the ego of Jesus of Nazareth. They become bearers of Christ, true Christophori. On this Earth they shall be heralds of His Second Coming.
We derive strength for our future work from the knowledge of which individualities are behind the missions of important human beings. It is possible to test these facts. Not everyone is able to investigate what goes on behind the curtains of the physical world, but everyone can examine the results of such investigations by looking at the Holy Scriptures written before and after Christ. These facts can illuminate the way to understanding; and if they do, they change within us and become spiritual lifeblood."