The Gospel of John. Lecture 5 of 12.
Rudolf Steiner, Hamburg, May 23, 1908:
In a consideration of the Gospel of St. John we should never lose sight of that most important point which was brought out in the lecture yesterday, namely, that in the original writer of the Gospel we have to do with the “beloved disciple,” initiated by Christ Jesus Himself. One might naturally ask if, aside from occult knowledge, there exists, perhaps, some external proof of this statement by means of which the writer of this Gospel has intimated that he came to a higher order of knowledge about the Christ through the “raising,” through the initiation which is represented in the so-called miracle of the raising of Lazarus. If you will read the Gospel of St. John carefully, you will observe that nowhere previous to that chapter which treats of the raising of Lazarus is there any mention of the “disciple whom the Lord loved.” In other words, the real author of the Gospel wishes to say: What precedes this chapter does not yet have its origin in the knowledge which I have received through initiation, therefore in the beginning you must disregard me. Only later does he mention the “disciple whom the Lord loved.” Thus the Gospel falls into two important parts, the first part in which the disciple whom the Lord loved is not yet mentioned because he had not yet been initiated, and that part which comes after the raising of Lazarus, in which this disciple is mentioned. Nowhere in the document itself will you find any contradictions of what I have presented in the previous lectures. Naturally, anyone who considers the Gospel only superficially will easily pass this by, will not notice it, and at the present time when everything is popularized, when all manner of knowledge is forced upon us, we can often experience as an extraordinary spectacle much of a very doubtful character in this knowledge.
Who would not consider it a blessing if all kinds of knowledge could be brought to the people through such inexpensive literature as the Reclam'sche Universal Bibliothek. Among the last volumes, one has appeared on the Origin of the Bible. The author entitles himself a Doctor of Theology. He is, then, a theologian! He believes that throughout all the chapters of the Gospel of St. John, from the 35th verse of the 1st Chapter, John, the author of the Gospel, is the one referred to. When this little book came into my hands, I really could not believe my eyes and said to myself: there must be something very extraordinary under consideration here that repudiates all previous occult points of view that the Beloved Disciple is not mentioned before the “raising of Lazarus.” Still, a theologian ought to know! In order not to pass judgment too quickly, take up the Gospel of St. John and see for yourselves what stands there: “Again the next day after, John stood and two of his disciples.” Here John the Baptist and two of his disciples are spoken of. The most generous point of view that one can take toward this theologian is that his consciousness was filled with an ancient exoteric tradition which declares that John, the author of the Gospel, is one of these two disciples. This tradition is supported by Matthew 4:21. But the Gospel of St. John cannot be explained by means of the other Gospels. A theologian therefore was responsible for introducing into popular literature a very harmful book. And if one knows how such a thing which is brought to the people in just this way continues to spread, it is possible to measure the harm which arises out of it. This is just an interpellation, in order that a certain protective wall may be erected against all kinds of objections which might perhaps be brought forward in refutation of what has been said here.
Now let us hold in mind that what preceded the “raising of Lazarus” is a communication of weighty matters, but that the writer has reserved the most profound matters for the chapters subsequent to that event. Nevertheless, he wished throughout to indicate that the content of his Gospel is something which will be thoroughly understood only by one who has attained a certain degree of initiation. Therefore he indicates in various passages that what is communicated in the first chapters has to do with a certain kind and degree of initiation. You already know that there are different degrees of initiation. For example, in a certain form of Oriental initiation, seven degrees can be distinguished, and these seven degrees were designated by all sorts of symbolical names. The first was the degree of the “Raven,” the second that of the ”Occultist,” the third of the “Warrior,” the fourth that of the “Lion.” Among different peoples, who still felt a kind of blood relationship as the expression of their group-soul, the fifth degree was designated by the name of the folk itself; thus among the Persians, for example, an initiate of the fifth degree was called in an occult sense a “Persian.” When we understand what these names signify, then the justification of these titles will soon be evident.
An initiate of the first degree is one who constitutes an intermediary between the hidden and the outer life, one who is sent from place to place. In this first degree the neophyte must devote himself with complete resignation to the outer life, but what he ascertains there, he must bring back into the Mystery places. One speaks of the “Raven” when words have something to communicate to the inner world of the Mystery places from the world outside. Just call to mind the ravens of Elias, or the ravens of Wotan, even the ravens of the Barbarossa saga, that had to discover when it was time to come forth. The initiate of the second degree stood fully within the occult life. One who was of the third degree was allowed to defend occult knowledge. The degree of the “Warrior” does not mean one who fights, but one who defends occult teaching, what the occult life has to give. One who is a “Lion” embodies the occult life within himself in such a way that he defends occultism not only in words but also in acts, that is, with deeds of a magical sort. The sixth degree is that of the “Sun-hero,” and the seventh that of the “Father.” The fifth degree is the one we shall now consider.
The human being of ancient times was especially a part of his community and therefore when he was conscious of his ego, he felt himself more as a member of a group-soul than as an individual. But the initiate of the fifth degree had made a certain sacrifice, had so far stripped off his own personality that he took the folk-soul into his own being. While other men felt their souls within the folk-soul, he took the folk-soul into his own being, and this was because all that belonged to his personality was of no importance to him but only the common folk-spirit. Therefore an initiate of this kind was called by the name of his particular folk.
Now we know that in the Gospel of St. John it is said that Nathaniel also was one of the first disciples of Christ Jesus. He was brought before the Christ. He is not so highly developed that he is able to comprehend the Christ. The Christ is, of course, the Spirit of all-inclusive Knowledge, which cannot be fathomed by a Nathaniel, an initiate of the fifth degree. But the Christ could fathom Nathaniel. This was shown by two facts.
How did Christ designate him? “This man is a true Israelite!” Here we have the designation according to the name of the folk. Just as among the Persians an initiate of the fifth degree is called a Persian, so among the Israelites he is called an Israelite. Therefore Christ calls Nathaniel an Israelite. He then says to him: “Even before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee!” That is a symbolical designation of an initiate like the Buddha sitting under the Bodhi Tree. The fig-tree is a symbol of Egyptian-Chaldean initiation. He meant with these words: I well know that thou art an initiate of a certain degree, and can perceive certain things, for I saw thee! Then Nathaniel recognized Him: “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel!” This word “King” signifies in this connection: Thou art one who is higher than I, otherwise thou could not say, “I saw thee when thou sattest under the fig-tree.” And Christ answered, “Thou believest in me because I said that I saw thee under the fig-tree: thou shalt see greater things than these.” The words “verily, verily” we shall speak about later. Then He said: “I say unto you, ye shall see the angels of Heaven ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” Yet greater things than they had already seen would be seen by those who were able to recognize the Christ. Again, one may ask: What significant words are these?
In order to make this clear, let us call to mind what the human being really is. We have said that he is a different creature by day than by night. During the day his four human members — physical body, ether body, astral body, and ego — are bound closely together. They react upon each other. We may say that when the human being is awake during the day, in a certain way his physical and etheric bodily parts are permeated and cared for by his astral and ego spiritual parts. But we have also shown that something else must be active within the etheric and physical bodily parts in order that the human being be able to exist at all in his present phase of evolution. For we have called attention to the fact that every night he draws out those members which care for this physical and ether body — namely, the astral body and ego — thus leaving his physical and ether bodies to their own fate. You all, as astral body and ego, faithlessly desert your physical and ether bodies every night. Hence you will see that Spiritual Science points out with a certain correctness that divine-spiritual powers and forces stream through the physical and ether bodies during the night so that they are, as it were, invested by these divine-spiritual forces and beings. We have also pointed out that when the astral body and ego were outside the physical and ether bodies in those periods which we call the Jahve or Jehova epochs, that Jehova was active as an inspirer. But it was the true Light, the Fullness of the Godhead or of the Elohim, the Pleroma, that was also constantly radiating through the physical and ether bodies. However, the human being, not having yet received the necessary impulse from the Christ-principle before the appearance of this principle upon the earth, was not able to recognize it. Those principles which are to come to expression in the physical body dwell in the higher spiritual regions of Devachan. The spiritual beings and powers which work upon the physical body are at home in the higher heavenly spheres, in higher Devachan, and those powers which work upon the ether body are in their own sphere in the lower heavenly realms. So we may say that in this physical body there are, constantly active, beings from the highest regions of Devachan, and in the ether body, beings from the lower devachanic regions are active. Men can recognize them only after having received the Impulse of the Christ into themselves. “If you truly understand the Son of Man, you will perceive how the spiritual forces descending from and ascending to the heavenly spheres work upon mankind. This you will know through the impulse which the Christ gives to the earth.”
What now follows was mentioned in the lecture yesterday. The Marriage at Cana in Galilee is often called “the first of the miracles” — it were better to call it “the first sign” which Christ-Jesus made. Now in order that we may understand the stupendousness of the significance of the Marriage at Cana, we shall need to consider, as a whole, much of what we have been hearing in the last lectures.
In the first place we have here a marriage — but why a marriage in Galilee? We shall understand why it is a marriage in Galilee if we call to mind once more the whole mission of the Christ. His mission consisted in bringing to mankind the full force of the ego, an inner independence in the soul. The individual ego should feel itself fully independent and separate, existing completely within itself, and people should be united in marriage because of a love which they freely and voluntarily bestow upon one another. Through the Christ-Principle there should come into the earth-mission a love that would rise ever higher and higher above the material and constantly mount toward the Spirit. Love had its beginning in its lowest form which was bound up with the senses. In the earliest periods of human evolution, those who were bound together by the tie of blood loved each other and they made a great deal of the idea that love was based upon this material blood relationship.
The Christ came in order to spiritualize this love; in order, on the one hand, to loosen the bonds in which love had been entangled through the blood-relationship and on the other hand to give force and intensity to spiritual love. Among the followers of the Old Testament we still see expressed most completely what we may call membership in the group-soul acting as the foundation of the individual ego within the Universal Ego. We have seen that the expression “I and Father Abraham are one” had a definite meaning for the adherents of the Old Testament. It meant that they felt themselves safe in the consciousness that that blood which ran through the veins of Father Abraham flowed on down even to themselves. Therefore they felt themselves secure within the whole, and only those were considered members of the whole who came into being through human propagation maintained by means of this blood relationship. In the very beginning of human evolution upon the earth, marriage took place only within very narrow circles, within families related by blood. Endogamy (marriage within the tribe) was closely adhered to. Then the narrow blood-circle gradually widened and men began to marry outside the family, but not yet within other peoples or folk. The folk of the Old Testament held fast to the idea that the folk blood relationship should be maintained. One is a “Jew” who in his blood is a Jew.
Christ Jesus did not advocate this principle. He appealed to those who had broken this principle of mere blood relationship, and the important thing He had to demonstrate He demonstrated not in Judea, but outside in Galilee. Galilee was the region where peoples of every race and tribe had mixed together. The term Galilean means “mixed-breed,” “mongrel.” Christ Jesus went to the Galileans, to those who were most mixed. Out of a human reproduction such as this, brought about by a mingling of blood, something arose that was no longer dependent upon a physical basis of love. Therefore what He wished to say was said at a marriage. But why at a marriage? Because at the time of a marriage reference can be made to the reproduction of human beings. And what He wished to demonstrate He did not wish to show at a place where marriage took place within narrow boundaries, within the blood-bond, but where it was entered into independently of the tie of blood. Therefore what He had to say was said at a marriage — and at a marriage in Galilee. If we wish to understand what is expressed here, we must again turn our attention to the whole of human evolution.
It has often been said that for the occultist there is no such thing as the merely external, the purely material. All materiality is for him the expression of something of a soul-spirit nature, and just as your face is the expression of something of a soul-spirit nature, so too is the light of the sun the expression of a soul-spirit light. All that occurs apparently only in the material physical world is at the same time the expression of deeper spiritual processes. Occultism does not deny matter. For it, even the grossest matter is the expression of a soul-spirit something. Thus material facts correspond to the spiritual evolutionary processes of the world, always running parallel with them.
If in spirit we look back over human evolution to the time when mankind still lived upon an ancient continent lying between Europe and America, upon ancient Atlantis, passing over from there into the later post-Atlantean period, we can see how generation after generation has at last led right up to ourselves. If we consider from the standpoint of race the whole significance of human evolution from the 4th to the 5th Root-race we can see, as it were, that out of an Atlantean humanity wholly or completely immersed in the group-soul, the individual ego of the human personality gradually evolved and slowly matured in the post-Atlantean period. What the Christ brought spiritually through His powerful spiritual impulse had to be prepared gradually through other impulses. What Jahve did was to implant the group-soul ego in the astral body and by gradually maturing it, prepare it for the reception of the fully independent “I AM.” But men could only comprehend this “I AM” when their physical body also became a fit instrument for sheltering It. You can easily imagine that the astral body might be ever so capable of receiving an ego, but if the physical body is not a fit instrument for truly comprehending the “I AM” with a waking consciousness then it is impossible to receive it. The physical body must also always be a suitable instrument for what is imprinted upon it here upon the earth. Therefore when the astral body had been matured, the physical body had to be prepared to become an instrument of the “I AM,” and this is what occurred in human evolution. We can follow the processes through which the physical body was prepared to become the bearer of the self-conscious, ego-endowed human being.
Even in the Bible it is pointed out that Noah, who in a certain sense was the progenitor of his race in the post-Atlantean period, was the first wine-drinker, the first to experience the effect of alcohol. Then we come to a chapter which may be really very shocking for many people. In the post-Atlantean period an extraordinary cultus arose; this was the worship of Dionysos. You all know that this worship was connected with wine. This extraordinary substance was first introduced to human beings in the post-Atlantean period and produced a certain effect upon them. You know that every substance has some effect upon the human creature, and alcohol had a very definite action upon the human organism. In fact, in the course of human evolution, it has had a mission. Strange as it may seem, it has had the task, as it were, of preparing the human body so that it might be cut off from connection with the Divine, in order to allow the personal “I AM” to emerge. Alcohol has the effect of severing the connection of the human being with the spirit world in which he previously existed. It still has this effect today. It was not without reason that alcohol has had a place in human evolution. In the future of humanity, it will be possible to see in the fullest sense of the word that it was the mission of alcohol to draw men so deeply into materiality that they become egoistic, thus bringing them to the point of claiming the ego for themselves, no longer placing it at the service of the whole folk. Alcohol performed a service, the contrary of the one performed by the human group-soul. It deprived men of the capacity to feel themselves at one with the whole in the spirit world. Hence the Dionysian worship, which cultivated a living together in a kind of external intoxication, a merging into the whole without observing this whole. Evolution in the post-Atlantean period has been connected with the worship of Dionysos because this worship was a symbol of the function and mission of alcohol. Now, when mankind is again endeavoring to find its way back, when the ego has been so far developed that the human being is again able to find union with the divine spiritual powers, the time has come for a certain reaction, an unconscious one at first, to take place against alcohol. This reaction is now taking place, and many persons today already feel that something which once had a very special significance is not forever justified.
No one should interpret what has been said concerning the mission of alcohol at a special period of time as, perhaps, favoring alcohol, but it should be understood that this has been stated in order to make clear that this alcoholic mission has been fulfilled and that different things are adapted to different periods. In the same period in which men were drawn most deeply into egotism through alcohol, there appeared a force stronger than all others which could give to them the greatest impulse for re-finding a union with the spiritual whole. On the one hand men had to descend to the lowest level in order that they might become independent, and on the other hand a strong force must come which can give again the impulse for finding the path back to the Universal. The Christ indicated this to be His mission in the first of His signs. In the first place He had to point out that the ego must become independent; in the second place, that He was addressing Himself to those who had freed themselves from the blood relationship. He had to turn to a marriage where the physical bodies came under the influence of alcohol, because at this marriage wine would be drunk. And Christ Jesus showed how His mission had to proceed in the different earthly epochs. How often we hear extraordinary explanations of the meaning of the changing of water into wine. Even from the pulpit one hears that nothing else is meant than that the insipid water of the Old Testament should be superceded by the strong wine of the New. In all probability it was the wine-lovers who always liked this kind of an explanation, but these symbols are not so simple as that. It must be kept constantly in mind that the Christ said: My mission is one that points toward the far distant future when men will be brought to a union with the Godhead — that is, to a love of the Godhead as a free gift of the independent ego. This love should bind men in freedom to the Godhead, while formerly an inner compelling impulse of the group-soul had made them a part of It.
Let us now grasp in accordance with the prevailing thought of that time what men then experienced. Let us especially understand the thoughts that they held. It was declared that people were at one time united with the group-soul and felt their union with the Godhead. Then they developed a downward tendency and this was considered as an entanglement in matter, as a degeneration, a kind of falling away from the Divine, and the question was asked: Whence came originally what the human being now possesses? From what has he fallen away? The further we go back in earthly evolution, the more we find the solid, earthly matter passing over into a fluidic state under the influence of warmer conditions. But we know that when the earth was much more fluidic than it became later on, human beings also existed, but they were much less detached from the Godhead than at a subsequent period. To the degree that the earth hardened, human things became materialized. At the time the earth was in a fluidic condition, the human being was contained within the watery element, but he could only walk about upon the earth after it had already deposited solid portions. Therefore, people felt the hardening of the physical body and could say: the human being was born out of the earth when it was still in its fluidic state, but at that time he was still wholly united with the Godhead. All that brought him into matter defiled him. Those who are to remember this ancient connection with the Divine were baptized with water. This was its symbol: Let yourself become conscious of your ancient union with the Godhead, conscious that you have become defiled, that you have descended to your present condition.
The Baptist also baptized in this way in order to bring mankind into a closer union with the Godhead. And this is what all baptism signified in ancient times. It is a radical expression, but one which brings to our consciousness what is meant. Christ Jesus had to baptize with something different. He had to direct men not to the past, but to the future through the development of a spirituality in their inner being. Through the “holy,” the undimmed and undefiled Spirit, the human spirit could be united with the Godhead. Baptism by water was a baptism of remembrance; that of the Holy Spirit is one of prophecy pointing to the future. That relationship which has been wholly lost, and which baptism by water recalls to mind, has also been lost in all that was expressed in the symbol of the wine, of the sacrificial wine. Dionysos was the dismembered God who was drawn into the individual souls, separate parts no longer knowing anything of one another. Humanity was split into many pieces and thrown into matter through what alcohol has brought to the world, alcohol the symbol of Dionysos. In the Marriage at Cana a great principle was preserved, the instructive principle of evolution. There are, to be sure, absolute truths, but they cannot at all times be revealed to men without preparation. Each age must have its special function, its special truths. Why is it that we can speak today of reincarnation, etc.? Why are we able to sit together in such an assembly as this and foster Spiritual Science? We can do so because all of the souls which are present within you today have been incarnated upon the earth in so and so many bodies and so and so many times. Very many of the souls which are within you now lived at one time in the Germanic countries where the Druid priests walked among you and brought to your souls spiritual wisdom in the form of myth and saga. And because your soul received it in that form at that time, it is now in the position to receive it in another form, the Anthroposophical. At that time it was in the form of pictures — today it is in the form of Anthroposophy. But then it would not have been possible to impart truth in its present form. Do not imagine that the ancient Druid priest would have been able to impart the truth in the form in which it is presented today. Anthroposophy is the form befitting the humanity of the present or of the immediate future. In later incarnations truth will be proclaimed and men will work for it in quite different forms, and what is now called Anthroposophy will be related as something remembered, just as we now relate the sagas and fairy tales. Anthroposophists should not be foolish enough to say that in ancient times there existed only stupidities and childish ideas, and that we alone have advanced the world so gloriously. Those, for example, who pretend to be monists do this. But we are working in Spiritual Science in preparation for the next epoch. For if our present age were not here, the next would likewise not come. No one should, however, make the future an excuse for present conduct. Much nonsense is indulged in also in respect of the teaching of reincarnation. I have met people who said that in their present incarnation they did not need to be respectable human beings, because for this they had time enough later on. If, however, one does not begin with it today, the consequences will appear straightway in the next incarnation.
So we must understand clearly that there is nothing absolutely fixed in the forms of truth, but that what corresponds to a particular epoch of human evolution always becomes known. That greatest impulse of evolution had, as it were, to descend even into the life customs of that time. For it had to clothe the highest truth in language and functions befitting the understanding of the particular period in question. Therefore by means of a kind of Dionysian rite or wine sacrifice, the Christ had to tell how mankind could raise itself to the Godhead. One should not fanatically ask why Christ changed the water into wine. The age should be taken into consideration. Through a sort of Dionysian rite, Christ had to prepare for what was to come.
Christ goes to the Galileans, who are jumbled together out of all kinds of nationalities that were not bound by the blood-tie, and there He performed the first Sign of His mission and He adapted Himself so fully to their habits of life that he turned water into wine for them. Let us hold clearly in mind what the Christ really wished to say by this: Those who have descended to the stage of materialism, symbolized by the drinking of wine, will I also lead to a union with the Spirit. — So He will be there not alone for those who can be raised by means of the symbol of baptism, by water. It is very significant that we are shown at once that there are six vessels of purification. We shall return to this number. Purification is what is accomplished by means of baptism. If in those epochs in which the Gospel had its origin one wished to express the fact of baptism, it was spoken of as a purification. The word “baptism” was never actually used, but they said “to baptize,” and what resulted through baptism was called “purification.” Never will you find in the Gospel of St. John the corresponding ΒαπτιζΩ, except in verb form. But when it is used as a noun, it is the cleansing that is always meant, the process through which the human being is reminded of his state of purification, his relationship with the Godhead.
Even to the symbolical vessels of the rite of purification, Christ-Jesus undertook the Sign through which He indicated His mission as far as it was possible at that time. Thus in the marriage at Cana in Galilee, something of the profound mission of the Christ is expressed. He said: “My time will come in the future, it is not yet come. What I have to accomplish here has to do in part with what must be overcome through My mission.” He stands in the present and at the same time points to the future, thereby showing how He works for the age, not in an absolute but in a cultural, educational sense. It is the mother, therefore, who besought Him and said, “They have no wine.” But He replied: “What I have now to accomplish has still to do with ancient times, with me and thee, for My proper time has not yet come, when wine will be transformed back again into water.” How could it have had any meaning at all to say “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” when He then complied with what the mother had asked! It only has a meaning if we are shown that the present condition of humanity has been brought about because of the blood relationship and that a Sign has been performed in accordance with ancient usages which still needs the employment of alcohol in ordcr to point to the time when the independent ego shall have risen above the tie of the blood; it has a significance only when we are shown that for the present we must still reckon with ancient times which are symbolized by wine, but that a later time is coming which will be “His time.”
And chapter after chapter of the Gospel reveals to us two things. First it shows that what was communicated was for those who, in a certain way, were able to comprehend occult truths. In our times, exoteric Spiritual Science is presented in lectures, but at that period spiritual-scientific truths could only be understood by those who had been in a certain way actually initiated into this or that degree. Who were those who were able to understand something of what Christ Jesus was saying about profound truths? Only those who were able to perceive outside of the physical body — those who could withdraw from the body and become conscious in the spirit world. If Christ Jesus wished to speak to those who could understand Him, it had to be to those who were in a certain way initiated, those who could see spiritually. When, for example, He speaks of the rebirth of the soul in the chapter concerning His conversation with Nicodemus, we see that He is revealing these truths to someone who perceives with spiritual senses. You only need to read the following words: —
But there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; the same came to Jesus by night.
Let us accustom ourselves to accuracy in dealing with words. We are told that Nicodemus came to Jesus “by night;” this means that he received outside of the physical body what Christ Jesus had to communicate to him. “By night” means that when he makes use of his spiritual senses, he comes to Christ Jesus. Just as in their conversation about the fig-tree Nathaniel and Christ Jesus understood one another as initiates, so too a faculty of understanding is indicated here also.
The second thing shown us in the Gospel is that Christ has always a mission to perform that has nothing to do with the mere blood-tie. That is very clearly shown by His approaching the Samaritan woman at the well. He gave her the instructions which He gave those whose ego had been lifted above the common blood-tie:
Then cometh He to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus, therefore, being wearied with His journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, “Give me to drink,” for His disciples were gone away into the city to buy meat.Then saith the woman of Samaria unto Him, “How is it that thou, being a Jew, asketh drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria, for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”
Here is indicated that it was something very strange that Christ should go to a people whose egos had been withdrawn, uprooted from the group-soul. That is the important thing.
In the narrative about the nobleman, we read further that the Christ not only breaks the bond of blood that binds men together in a marriage within the folk, but he breaks also that bond that separates them into classes. He came to those whose ego had been uprooted. He healed the son of the nobleman, who according to the interpretation of the Jews was a stranger to Him. Throughout the Gospel it is pointed out that Christ is the missionary of the independent ego which is present in every human individual. Therefore, He could say: — “When I speak of Myself in a higher sense, of the I AM, I do not at all refer to my own ego residing within me, but to a being, to something which everyone possesses within himself. My ego is one with the Father, but in general the ego present in every personality is also one with the Father.” That is also the deeper meaning of the instructions which the Christ gave to the Samaritan woman at the well.
I should like to call your attention especially to a passage which if rightly understood will enable you to come to a deep understanding. It is the passage from the 31st to the 34th verse of the 3rd chapter, which naturally must be read so that the reader is conscious of its being John the Baptist who speaks these words: —
He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly and speaketh of the earth; he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, to that he testifieth: and no man receiveth his testimony.But he that hath received his testimony hath set his seal that God is true.For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
I should like to meet anyone who understands these words according to this translation. What a contradiction! “He whom God hath sent, speaketh the word of God, for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” What is the sense of these words?
In countless utterances, Christ says: “When I speak of the Ego, I speak of the Eternal Ego in men, which is one with the spiritual foundations of the world. When I speak of this Ego, I speak of something which dwells in the innermost depths of the human soul. If any man hears Me (and now He is speaking only of the lower ego which feels nothing of the Eternal) he receiveth not My testimony. He understands nothing of what I say, for I can speak of nothing that flows from Me to him. Otherwise he would not then be independent. Everyone must find within himself as his own eternal base the God which I proclaim.” A few verses back we find the passage: —
And John also was baptizing in Enon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came and were baptized.Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purification (this means about the form of baptism).
When such a question was raised in these circles, they were always speaking of the union with the Divine and of the submersion of humanity into matter and of how, according to the old idea of God, union with the Divine took place through the group-soul. Thus others came and said to John: “Jesus also baptizes!” And John had to make it clear to them that what had come into the world through Jesus was something very special, and this he did by saying that Jesus does not teach that union symbolized by the ancient form of baptism, but teaches how men will be their own guides through the free gift of the now independent ego. And each individual must discover the “I AM,” the God, within himself. Only in this way is he in the position to find the Divine in his inner being. If these words are read thus, then the reader will be aware that He, the “I AM,” was sent from God. He who was sent from God, who was sent to enkindle the Divine in this way, also preached God in the true sense, no longer according to the blood-tie.
Let us translate these passages according to their true meaning, for we have now the basis for such a translation, if we understand how the teachings of the ancients were presented. They were poetically portrayed in many books. We need only recall the Psalms of the Old Testament, where in beautifully constructed language the Divine was proclaimed. At that time the ancient blood-relationship was spoken of only as a relationship with a God. This could all be learned, but all that was learned through it was nothing more than that one was related to this ancient divinity. But if there was a desire to comprehend the Christ, then all the ancient laws, all the ancient artificialities, were unnecessary. What the Christ taught could be understood to the degree that men understood the spiritual ego within themselves. At that time, it is true, it was not possible to have full knowledge of Divinity, but one could understand what was heard from the lips of Christ Jesus. The preliminary conditions for understanding were there. The Psalms were not then necessary, nor all the poetically constructed teachings, for all that was needed was the simplest means of expression. One needed only to speak in halting words to become a witness of God. Even in the simplest, stammering words it was possible to become a witness of the Divine; it need be only single words, without metre. Anyone who felt in his ego that he was sent from God, even though he were halting in his speech, could understand the words of the Christ. Anyone knowing only the earthly relationship with God speaks in the poetic measure of the Psalms, but all his metre leads him to nothing but the ancient gods. However, anyone who felt himself deeply rooted in the spirit worlds is above all, and can bear witness of what has been seen and heard in those worlds. But those who accepted a testimony only in the accustomed way did not accept His. If there were those who accepted it, they showed by their acceptance that they felt themselves sent from God. They not only believed, they understood what the other one said to them, and through their understanding they bore witness of their words. “He who feels the ego, reveals even in his stammering words the Word of God.” This is what is meant, for the spirit here referred to does not need to express itself in metre, in any form of syllabic measure, but it can declare itself in the simplest, halting manner. Such words can easily be taken as a license for folly. But whoever refuses wisdom just because, in his opinion, the most sublime mysteries should be expressed in the simplest form possible does so, although often quite unconsciously, merely from an inclination toward psychic ease. When it is said “God giveth not the spirit by measure” (metre), it only means that the “measure” or metre does not help towards the spirit. But where the spirit really exists, there also is “measure.” Not everyone who has “measure” has the “spirit;” but one who has the “spirit” will come most certainly to “measure” or metre. Naturally, certain things cannot be reversed. It is not an evidence of possessing the “spirit” if one has no “measure;” nor is the possession of “measure” a proof of the “spirit.” Science is certainly no sign of wisdom, nor is a lack of science a proof of it.
So we are shown that Christ appeals to the independent ego in every human soul. “Measure” you must consider here as metre, poetically constructed speech. Then the foregoing sentence will read: “He who finds God in the ‘I AM' bears witness of Divine Speech or God's language, even in his stammering words” — and he finds the way to God.
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