Wednesday, June 19, 2013
The Second Coming of Christ: "My kingdom is not of this world"
Rudolf Steiner, February 6, 1917: "He is here; He makes His presence felt in such a way that we know clearly that He will now expect more of His human children than in centuries gone by. Till now the Gospels have spoken an inner language to man. They had to lay hold of the soul — men were satisfied with faith alone and did not have to progress to knowledge. That time is now over, it lies behind us. Christ has something different in view for His human children. His present purpose is that the kingdom to which He referred when He said ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ should really draw into that part of the human being which is not of this world but which is of another world. In each one of us there is a part which is not of this world. That part of man which is not of this world must fervently seek that kingdom of which Christ spoke, of which He said that it was not of this world.
We are living at a time when this must be understood. Many such things in human evolution announce themselves through contrasts. In our own age something great and significant is announced by a great contrast. For with the coming Christ, with the presence of Christ, will come the time when men will learn to enquire of Him not only concerning their souls, but concerning their immortal part on Earth. Christ is not merely a ruler of men, but their brother, Who, particularly in the near future, wishes to be consulted on all the details of life. In anything we undertake today we act in the opposite way. Events seem to be accomplished today in which men appear to be as far removed as possible from any appeal to Christ. We must ask ourselves this question: Who is there today who stops to enquire: ‘What would Christ Jesus say to what is now taking place?’ Who puts such a question to himself? Many say they do, but it would be sacrilegious to believe that they put the question in the form in which it is put here, addressing it directly to Christ Himself. Yet the time must come, and cannot be far distant, when men's souls will, in their immortal part, ask of Christ, when they think of undertaking something: ‘Ought we to do this, or not?’ Then human souls will see Christ standing by them as the beloved Companion and they will not only obtain consolation and strength from the Christ-Being, but will also receive instruction from Him as to what is to be done. The kingdom of Christ Jesus is not of this world, but it must work in this world, and human souls must be instruments of the kingdom that is not of this world. From this point of view we must consider the fact of how few today have asked themselves the question which, as regards individual acts, as well as events, must be put to the Christ. Humanity must, however, learn to ask of Him. How is that to come about? It can become possible only if we learn His language. Anyone who comprehends the deeper purpose of our spiritual science realizes that it not only gives out a theoretical knowledge about different problems of humanity, the principles of human nature, reincarnation and karma, but that it contains a quite special language, that it has a particular way of expressing itself about spiritual things. The fact that through spiritual science we learn to hold inner converse with the spiritual world in thought is much more important than the mere acquiring of theoretical thoughts. For Christ is with us always, even to the end of the Earth-epochs. And we must learn His language. By means of the language — no matter how abstract it may seem — in which we hear of Saturn, Sun, Moon, and Earth and of the different periods and ages of the Earth, and of many other secrets of evolution — we teach ourselves a language in which we can frame out the questions we put to the spiritual world. When we really learn inwardly to speak the language of this spiritual life, the result will be that Christ will stand by us and give us the answers Himself. This is the attitude that our work in spiritual science should bring about in us, as a sentiment, a feeling. Why do we occupy ourselves with spiritual science? It is as though we were learning the vocabulary of the language through which we approach the Christ. If we take the trouble to learn to think the thoughts of spiritual science, and make the mental effort necessary for an understanding of the cosmic secrets taught by spiritual science, then, out of the dim, dark foundations of the cosmic mysteries will come forth the figure of Christ Jesus, which will draw near to us and give us the strength and force in which we shall then live. The Christ will guide us, standing beside us as a brother, so that our hearts and souls may be strong enough to grow up to the necessary level of the tasks awaiting humanity in its further development.
Let us try, then, to acquire spiritual science not as a mere doctrine but as a language, and then wait till we can find in that language the questions which we may venture to put to the Christ. He will answer — yes, indeed, He will answer! Plentiful indeed will be the soul-forces, the soul-strengthening, the soul-impulses which the student will carry away with him from the grey spiritual depths through which humanity in its evolution is now passing, if he is able to receive instructions from Christ Himself — for, in the near future, He will give them to those who seek."