Sunday, September 26, 2021
The Book of Revelation and the Work of the Priest. Lecture 8 of 18
Rudolf Steiner, Dornach, Switzerland, September 12, 1924:
If, as it were, we place the main centers in which the Apocalypticer lets the description of his views culminate before our souls, as we have already done with a few things, the whole composition and the ongoing content of the Apocalypse will become disclosed to us in a very short time. Therefore, we will have to continue our contemplation of its main points and centers today, and tomorrow we will begin to explain its other contents.
Yesterday I pointed out that the Apocalypticer sees something which is breaking in upon what he feels is the real Christianity, something which wants to make Christians renounce Christianity and lead them back to the Father principle that can only take on materilistic and naturalistic forms if it wins through in this epoch.
The Apocalypticer sees and feels the secrets which are connected with a number like 666 more or less consciously, for he sees things and processes in accordance with the secret of numbers, or it would be better to say that he feels them like a musician feels the connection between tones in accordance with the secret of numbers, but who at most only becomes aware of this at certain places. What we'll have to do is to look into the cosmos so that we can get more secrets about 666 from it.
We should consider that the entire Christian revelation is really a sun revelation, and that Christ is a being who comes from the sun. Christ sends Michael and his hosts before him, as Jehova used to send Michael before him in a different way. If we consider that we are living in a Michael age, it will be possible to place the sun mystery which is connected with the Christ impulse before our souls in a very profound way.
The main thing for something deep down in human souls which are combatting Christianity will always be to oppose the idea that the really spiritual part of Christianity is connected with the sun. The opponents of Christianity would like nothing better than if people would completely lose their view about the sun as a spiritual being and only retained the view about the sun's physical existence, as I said in a previous lecture. And in fact the breaking in of Arabism gave rise to the great danger that the secret of the sun as the secret of Christ himself would be forgotten and that the whole evolution of humanity would be deflected away from the Michael direction which should always only as it were prepare for men's Christ-evolution and give them their human understanding.
What happens outwardly in the world order occurs on the background of supersensible processes for the Apocalypticer, who sees behind the scenes of outer historical developments. And so we will try to get an idea of what these supersensible processes which the Apocalypticer sees behind the outer events look like.
If we look at the planets and the sun in our solar system, we have a gathering of beings in each of them. Evolving human beings are assembled upon the earth, and if we want to make a mental image about men on earth which goes deep into our soul, we can, for example, place the Vulcan evolution which will follow earth evolution before our souls, since there is an evolution in time and since we can look at a later point in time when mankind will have reached a much higher stage just as well as we can look at the present one.
You can imagine the spiritual idea someone would have to get of the earth as a world body with a gathering of Vulcan men in it if he had it before him, and yet it would only be the earth with its men at a different stage. It is very important for the human soul to think of the earth as a whole in this way, so that it doesn't take the present stage of humanity upon earth, but what is already contained in this present state in a germinal way, namely, the Vulcan condition which man bears within him, and therefore also is. If we look at the other planets we will find such gatherings of beings everywhere. We have to say that the earth is meant to be the place where human beings evolve, and that's why it's located at the center. We have other planets like present-day Jupiter which shows us that it has an entirely different kind of beings. We meet these beings when we work out our karma between death and a new birth. The same applies to each of the other planets, including the sun. If we think of the totality of beings which are at work in connection with the individual planets we get what is conceived of as the present-day spirituality of each one of these planets, which the teachers in the catholic church called the intelligence of the planet up till the 14th century. We can definitely speak about the intelligence of a planet as a reality, just as we can speak of earth men as a whole as the intelligence of the earth. And up till the 14th, 15th centuries the church teachers knew that each one of these planets not only has an intelligence but also a demon. The totality of the opponents of the intelligences on planets are demons. This also applies to the sun.
Now if we mainly have to look upon Christianity as an evolution which is in accordance with the impulses of the sun genius or sun intelligence, we have to see the sun demon in what opposes the evolution of Christianity. And this is what the Apocalypticer saw. He saw the mighty counter principle of Arabism breaking in behind the scenes of the Christianity which was threatened by maya in two directions as Christianity fled from Rome towards the east and as Christianity had taken on other cognitional forms. But when he looked behind the scenes of the outer Arabian and Islamic deeds it was obvious to him that the sun demon was working there against the sun genius or sun intelligence. Hence he had to present the sun demon as something which works against the actual Christian principle in man, so that if he yields to the sun demon he will not want to make the connection with the divinity of Christ, but he will want to remain in the subhuman element. If the Apocalypticer had been asked what kind of human souls were devoted to the sun demon, he would have pointed to the supporters of Arabism in Europe. It was clear to him that everything which brings men in the direction of bestiality in their views and also gradually in their will impulses has arisen from Arabism. And this is obviously, in them.
The things which happen in the world in a very real way are such that one doesn't always see cause and effect side by side, — the object and that which has the object in view. Therefore, one can ask oneself: What would happen if Arabism or the teachings of the sun demon would gain a complete victory? Mankind would then be unable to have an experience of the conditions which have to be experienced if the working of karma from previous incarnations are to be grasped. When it comes right down to it, everything which flowed out of Arabism was directed against an understanding of transubstantiation. To be sure, it doesn't look like it from an outer point of view, but the sun demon only acknowledges the old Father principle and natural connections, and he wants to make men forget about the kinds of connections that are particularly active in a sacrament like transubstantiation.
And so the Apocalypticer sensed that the sun demon was particularly active around the year 666. He describes him in such a way that every initiate can recognize him. For each of these spiritual beings which one calls the intelligences of the planets, the intelligences of the sun, the demons of the planets and of the sun has a key symbol in the mysteries, and they are also actually present in the. latter on special occasions. The sun demon has this sign: The Apocalypticer describes him as the two horned beast. The kind of reading which interprets numbers had become somewhat externalized during the Latin period where one combined Greek and Latin in the mystery language, but it could still interpret them.
The Apocalypticer uses the special kind of reading which was customary at his time. He writes the number 666 = 400, 200, 60, 6. He writes it with the Hebraic letters: ת taw, ד daleth, ר resh, ס samekh. He writes these letters with their numerical values and one reads them from right to left. After one adds the corresponding vowels to the consonants they give the name of the demon who has this sign, the sun demon: S o r a d t. At that time Soradt was the name of the sun demon, and he describes this sign and we know it very well. The Apocalypticer looks upon everything which works against Christianity in the way that Arabism does as an emanation from those spiritual forces which are represented by Soradt the sun demon.
However, 666 was there once at the time when Arabism shot into Christianity in order to press the seal of materialism upon western culture. It is there a second time after another 666 went by as 1332 in the 14th century. There we have another rising of the beast from the waters of world events. To someone who sees like the Apocalypticer does, world events seem like a continual surging of the 666 epoch. It rises and threatens Christianity's search for true humanity, asserting beast-hood against manhood; Soradt makes his move. In the 14th century we see Soradt the adversary rising up again.
It is the time when the Templar order in Europe wanted to establish a solar view of Christianity which came from the depths of their souls than from orientalism. They wanted to found a view of Christianity which looked upon the Christ as a sun being and a cosmic being again, a view which knew something about the spirituality of planets and stars and of how the intelligences of worlds which are far apart, and not just the beings on one planet, work together in world events. This view knew something about the mighty oppositions which arise through such disobedient beings like the sun demon Soradt, one of the mightiest demons in our solar system. It is basically possession by sun demons which is at work in the materialism of human beings. Of course from a certain point of view it is justified to speak about what would have become of European civilization if the inwardly and outwardly powerful Templar order — although they took their treasures away from them had been able to carry out its intentions. During the destruction of this order Soradt came to life again in the hearts and souls of those who were the adversaries of the cosmic Christ or of the Christ who looks out into the cosmos, and they weren't satisfied until Jacques de Molay went to his death in 1312.
Soradt mainly came to life again in such a way that he used the views of the Roman church to exterminate the Templars. The emergence of this Soradt at that time was already more visible, for an overwhelming secret hovers around the downfall of this Templar order. If one looks at what went on in these human beings and Templars as they were being tortured before they were executed, one gets an idea of how what had been instigated by Soradt lived in the visions of the tortured Templars, so that they denied their beliefs and so that one had a reasonable accusation from their own mouths. Mankind witnessed a terrible spectacle; the people who advocated something quite different were unable to speak about it while they were being tortured, for various spirits from the hosts of Soradt spoke out of them instead and said the most disgraceful things about the order out of its own members. 666 was fulfilled a second time. It was a time during which all preparations were being made in the spiritual world by Soradt and other recalcitrant demons to prevent the sun principle from coming to the earth. They were at war with Michael and his hosts as Michael prepared for his new reign. He was the earth regent before the Mystery of Golgotha during the time of Alexander and was then relieved by the other archangels, — by Oriphiel, Anael, Zachariel, Raphael, Gabriel, and he is now reigning on. earth again since the last third of the 19th.century in order to go on working for the Christ, in his. own particular way. He had worked for the Christ until the end of his previous reign until about the end of Alexander's reign. One could say that Michael is now on the earth, but this time in order to become of use in the preparation for Christianity and for the deeper Christian impulse.
I have described how this Michael impulse was introduced from a spiritual viewpoint at various times and places. I mentioned some of this recently in a lecture, where I pointed out that a really Christian impulsivity was introduced by the individualities of Alexander and Aristotle in 869 under the regency of Michael. And this continued. We have a marvelous spectacle at the beginning of the new age when the consciousness soul took hold, as I mentioned before. If we look up at spiritual events which belong to earth humanity and which go parallel with physical events, we find a supersensible school with Michael as a teacher. Those beings who are supposed to be active for a real further development of Christianity, whether they be souls who weren't incarnated at the time or whether they be other spiritual beings, are gathered around Michael in large numbers in a great, supersensible school in the 14th to 16th centuries, where souls are being prepared who are then supposed to appear on earth at the beginning of the 20th century during Michael's reign. If one looks at what was prepared there, one can see that the Anthroposophical world conception wants to work along the lines of this evolution.
When one looks at ancient mystery wisdom, it follows from what was and is mystery teaching for the prophetic vision of future wisdom that the human beings who as it were accept inner Christianity and spiritualized Christianity and who look towards the sun genius in connection with Christianity will accelerate their evolution and reappear at the end of the 20tn century. For everything we can do now in this age is of great importance if we look at it from the viewpoint of eternity; it is of great importance if we grasp spirituality for the teachings and deeds of human beings in this age; it is a preparation for the great, extensive and intensive spiritual deeds which should be done at the end of the century. After a great deal will have come before, which will be contrary to the spiritualization of modern civilization — after the second 666 stood in the sign of that great upheaval in Europe which was begun by the crusades and which had its outer fact in the appearance and destruction of the Templar knights, everything from the sun genius which is trying to create true Christianity works on, as does everything from Soradt which is trying to work against it. And we have the age of the third 666:1998. We are coming to the end of this century, when Soradt will again lift his head from the waters of evolution very strongly, where he will be the adversary of that vision of the Christ which prepared human beings will already have in the first half of the 20th century through the appearance of the etheric Christ. It will then take almost two thirds of a century until Soradt raises his_ head in a mighty way.
When the first 666 went by Soradt was still hidden in the evolutionary course of events; one didn't see him in an external form; he lived in the deeds of Arabism, although initiates could see him. When the second 666 came he already showed himself in the thinking and feeling of the tortured Templars. He will show himself before the end of this century already, and he will appear in a great many people as a being by whom they will be possessed. One will see people coming up to one and one will not be able to believe that they are really human beings. They will develop in a very strange way even outwardly. They will be intensive, strong natures outwardly with fierce features and a destructive rage in their emotions; they will have a face in which one will see a kind of a beast's face outwardly. Soradt men will also be recognizable outwardly; they will be those who not only ridicule spiritual things, — they will fight it in the most terrible way and they will want to thrust it down into a cesspool. One will see that what is concentrated in a small region in present-day Russian communism will be inserted into the whole earth evolution of humanity.
This is why it is so important that everything which can strive towards spirituality should really do so. Everything which opposes spirituality will be there, for this does not work in accordance with freedom but in accordance with determinism. This determinism is moving in the direction where Soradt will be loose again at the end of this century, when a striving to sweep away everything spiritual will be present in the intentions of a large number of earth souls, whom the Apocalypticer prophetically sees with their bestial faces and their strength of a tiger with respect to the execution of their adversarial deeds against the spiritual. Outbursts of rage against the spiritual are already here today: but they are only the first seeds.
And so we see, if the Apocalypticer saw all of that, and he did see it, for he saw that the true unfolding of Christianity is a sun event, and he saw the development of this abominable possession by sun demons. That hovered before him. And the entry of Michael into the spiritual evolution of humanity at the end of the 19th century and the appearance of the etheric Christ in the first half of the 20th century, will be followed by the appearance of the sun demon before the end of this century. We are living in the Michael age, and if we want to work in the theological field, in religion, we have every reason to learn how to think and feel in an apocalyptic way, especially from the Apocalypse, and not to remain stuck to the mere outer facts but to raise ourselves to the spiritual impulses which stand behind them.
The path is being prepared for the entry of demons who are the followers of the great Soradt demon. For instance, one only has to speak to intelligent people who know, something about the starting point of the world war. No one will object if one says that almost all of the 40 or so people who were responsible for' the outbreak of this world war had a dulled consciousness at the moment when it broke out. However, this is always a portal for Ahrimanic, demonic powers to enter. One of the greatest of these is Soradt. These are the attempts from Soradt's side to at least temporarily penetrate human consciousnesses and to wreak havoc and confusion. What is striven for by the Soradtic spirits who are pressing into the soul of humanity is not the world war, but what followed it; this is terrible and will become ever more terrible, for instance, look at the present condition of Russia.
We must know that this is the case, for what has the work of priests signified during the ages when true spirituality was on the earth? Never anything else than a standing in the spiritual world with full consciousness and a dealing with the world of gods, and not just a working within earth events. This was the spirit in which the Apocalypticer wrote his Apocalypse. Anyone who wants to lead men into the spiritual must see into the spiritual. Every age must do this in its own way. We only have to look at the inner lawfulness — which no doubt in a somewhat externalized way — makes the succession of Egyptian pharaohs look so logical, and we will see that these pharaohs didn't follow each other in an accidental way, but that each one in the line had his task spelled out for him in ancient writings, and that the impulse for the formulation of his task proceeded from what was later called the revelation of Hermes, although this distorts the Egyptian nomenclature somewhat. This Hermetic revelation was not the one we know today, for this wisdom belongs to the great mysteries where one could speak of revelation as a threefold, holy one — a revelation from the Father, a revelation from the Son and a revelation from the Holy Spirit. All of this points to the fact that it was always a question for the priesthood everywhere of working out of the spirit and into the material world, and this was also the way everyone looked upon the priesthood.
This must become an impulse for priests again, after work out of the spiritual world could not be felt as a reality for a while. People were very far removed from being able to grasp something like the mystery of transubstantiation and therewith the spiritual secrets of Christianity through the education and culture which had gradually been accepted by humanity in the consciousness soul age, and which had taken on such materialistic forms in all fields. For individuals who had to work in a priestly way it was. really a kind of a lie with respect to this culture of the age to speak about the deep mystery contents which are connected with something like the transubstantiation. This resulted in the rationalistic discussions about transubstantiation which began during the second Soradtic attack and which continued until the third Soradtic attack. It's pointless to just give commentaries on the Apocalypse and to make remarks about it. It only makes sense if one becomes an Apocalypticer oneself through this Apocalypse and if one begins to understand one's age through this process of becoming an Apocalypticer to such an extent that one can make the impulses of this age into impulses for one's own work.
However here present-day human beings, including people who are active as priests, must look at the rise of Michael in the seventies of the last century, at the appearance of Christ in the first half of the 20th century and at the threatening rise of Soradt and the Soradtians at the end of the 20th century. Let us arrange our lives in accordance with these three mysteries of our time, the Michael mystery, the Christ mystery and the Soradt mystery as understanding human beings who know how to interpret the signs of our time, and we will be able to work in the right way in the field into which karma has led us, as for instance, the priest in his priestly field. We will go on from here tomorrow.