The Apocalypse of St. John
29 June 1908, Nuremberg
We have followed the evolution of our earth so far that we have seen how, after various important events which are described by the opening of the seven seals and the sounding of the seven trumpets, in the future the earth with all its beings will pass into a kind of spiritual condition, with the exception of those who refuse to receive the Christ-principle; this refusal we have to understand as a malevolent and unintelligent spiritual opposition energetically exercised. Of course, when the earth has taken on its astral, its spiritual form, these beings too will be unable to exist in a dense material form — shall we say — in earthly substance; in the epoch following after the sounding of the trumpets, the epoch characterized by the outpouring of the vials of wrath, they will also pass over into astral forms. But the lower nature they will have acquired through not having accepted the Christ-principle will be expressed in the astral by their having essentially the animal form we have characterized, with the seven heads and ten horns. Now from all that has been said you will be able to gather what the relation is between what we call “heads” and what we call “horns”; but in connection with this the question may arise in your mind: Why is it that just certain organs which appear is the physical body are called “horns”? Why does one designate as horns the physical organs and their vestiges in the astral when the earth shall have become astral? It can easily be understood that those who have not taken up the principle of Christ must fall back again into the condition in which man was before he could partake of the Christ-principle. Man was formerly a non-individual being with a group-soul; and we have seen that during the first four ages of the Atlantean epoch he was furnished with the group-souls which are correctly symbolized by the lion, bull, eagle and human heads, but the last must be conceived of as an animal human head. We must imagine that when man reappears in the spiritualized earth and has failed to take in the Christ-principle during our epoch, he will then again appear in the old form, because he has contributed nothing towards the highest development of his previous group-soul nature; and not only in this form but with three heads more, which were added during the ages. Before the great flood of Atlantis three further ages followed after the first four.
In these three ages those who later received the Christ-principle had in a certain way the possibility of taking up three further group-soul heads; but they have transformed them, they have raised the animal nature in man to a higher stage. They will appear in a spiritualized form when the earth is spiritualized. The others, who have rejected the Christ-principle, will appear with seven heads, because there were before the flood seven ages during which the animal nature was developed. And because in the last three Atlantean ages there was bi-sexuality in contra-distinction to the first four, each head, so to speak, appears with two possibilities towards the animal nature, with male and female possibilities, so that in these three later ages each head appears with two horns; that is man with ten horns altogether. Some one might now say, “I quite understand that those who do not work upon themselves so as to strip off the form which they have and lift it up to the human, will reappear in the animal form; but I do not understand why horns are spoken of! It is quite comprehensible when heads are spoken of, but why horns?” I will now explain why one not only speaks of horns, but must speak of them. The expression is not merely to be understood symbolically, it is reality. Those who fail to take up the Christ-principle into themselves will actually appear in astral form also, but because they have so shaped their instincts that they have held fast, so to speak, to the animal group-soul, the corresponding instincts appear in the astral body which men will then have, in the form of horny protuberances. It is an actual form.
I will explain by means of a single organ how it comes about that the man who does not receive the Christ-principle will actually appear with horns when the earth has become spiritualized. Take the organ of the human larynx and the windpipe. You are continually breathing air in and out through this wind-pipe. This is an activity which man exercises. In a person who spiritualizes himself, this activity is in the service of the spiritual; but in one who does not incline towards the Christ-principle it takes on the character of the old forces belonging to the seven heads. Suppose we illustrate it in this way:
The air continually passes in through the larynx from outside. But you know that the astral body of man surrounds him. The stream of air which passes in will always be in connection with the astral. Now when the earth is spiritualized it can be seen whether the breathing of a man was the servant of the Christ-principle or the servant of the lower forces already in the world before the Christ-principle. If it was the servant of the Christ-principle it loses the form adapted to the present body. Man himself has the power to transform everything which is astral into a higher spiritualized form. If he does not take up the Christ-principle he is unable to draw out of this fleshly form that which is suited to it, and the consequence is that after the fleshly form has fallen away and disappeared, after the physical larynx has gone, this form of the astral body remains, which always comes into the larynx with the breath. This form remains in the shape of a horn. Wherever the external astral forces go in and out of man they remain adapted to the preceding animal form when man passes over into the astral form, that is, he then appears with true astral horns; these are actual astral shapes. They correspond exactly to the penetration of the astral substantiality during the earth life. These pictures do not present random symbols, they present the true form of what will one day appear. This must be clearly understood.
Let us now determine our present position in evolution in accordance with what we have already considered, in accordance with that somewhat uncongenial diagram of many numbers. We now clearly understand that the forty-nine great transformations of Saturn have passed away, the seven conditions of life belonging to Saturn (which in theosophical books are also called rounds), each with its seven conditions of form (globes); and that, further, the forty-nine corresponding Sun-conditions and the forty-nine Moon-conditions have also passed away. Man has so far passed through these 147 conditions in his earlier evolution. Added to these now come the conditions which man has already passed through during our Earth period. The first three conditions of life, which are also called the first three rounds, are behind us, and we are now living in the fourth condition of life, in the fourth round. Now as each of these rounds includes its seven conditions of form, we have completed 3 x 7 conditions during the first three earth-rounds; therefore to the 147 we must add another twenty-one. We have not yet completed the fourth condition of life, but part of it is behind us; we have finished the first three conditions of form, the almost formless spiritual conditions, the arupa, the rupa and the astral conditions, and are now in the physical. So to the 147 plus twenty-one we must add three more. Thus we have completed 171 conditions of form out of the 343 of the seven planets. You must particularly bear in mind that we are now in the 172nd condition of form, which is the physical earth. During this 172nd condition all that we have described has taken place. When this condition began, the earth was united with sun and moon. During this condition the sun and moon withdrew, and after these events man appeared as he now is upon the physical earth. Then began the Atlantean epoch, of which we have spoken. We have also said that we must again divide this condition of form, which is the 172nd, into seven epochs. The first lies in the far distant past. When it began the sun was still united with the earth. Somewhat figuratively we have grown accustomed to call this epoch the Polarian human race. It is difficult to form any idea of this epoch. Then during the withdrawal of the sun comes the race of the Hyperboreans; then, during the exit of the moon, a third, the so-called Lemurian human race. The fourth epoch within the 172nd condition of form is the Atlantean race. The fifth is the one in which we are living. Following the fourth was the great Atlantean flood. After our own will follow the epoch expressed in the Apocalypse of John by the seven seals; and then comes the one typified by the seven trumpets.
Now we know that each of these seven epochs is again divided into seven ages. Our own epoch, the fifth within the 172nd condition of form, is divided into the ancient Indian age of civilization, the ancient Persian, the Assyrian-Babylonian-Chaldean-Egyptian-Jewish, the Graeco-Latin, our own, a sixth and then a seventh age of civilization. Then follows the great War of All against All. The succeeding epoch is again divided into seven parts, expressed by the seven seals; and the epoch expressed by the seven trumpets is again divided into seven parts. If you now consider that 171 conditions of form will be added to those that have already passed away, you will have 342. One more added to this gives 343 in all; but we are living in this one, it stands in the middle. Some one might now say: “It is really a very wonderful thing that we have the good fortune to be living exactly in the middle of evolution.” This must indeed seem a curious fact to those who do not reflect further upon it, that we are living in the middle of evolution! But to one who understands the whole matter it is by no means strange. It is no more wonderful than if some one, standing in an open field in level country where he sees equally far behind and in front, finds himself in the middle of the field of vision. If he goes some distance further, he again sees equally far behind and in front. There would be entirely different conditions in evolution if we were to take our stand at another point. We are always in the middle. Man can always see equally far behind him and before him, even with the highest spiritual vision. Something else might perhaps strike one. Some one might say: “How is it that you do not say that we are exactly in the middle in other respects? For now it is no longer the case. We are in the 172nd condition of form. The exact middle would be in the fourth epoch of this, but we are now in the fifth, that is, somewhat beyond the middle. This does not exactly agree with the statement that we are actually in the middle.” Underlying this there is a remarkable fact, you may understand it by a comparison. If you comprehend this clearly, you will see that it is an important fact. It is really the case that in regard to the great main conditions we are in the middle; but in regard to the conditions which concern us immediately, we stand somewhat beyond the middle. Why is this? Imagine you are travelling through a very level country in a special railway carriage from which you can have a clear view in every direction. Suppose you are able to do this for some length of time. You have a perfectly clear view, and if at any one point in your journey you could rapidly make a sketch of the whole of the surroundings, this picture would be absolutely circular. There is only one case in which this would not be so. Imagine you are sitting in the rapidly moving train and you note the picture you see. At this moment you fall asleep and travel for a time while sleeping. During this time you are unaware of the way in which the picture is changing. You awake. Imagine that at this moment the picture you saw on going to sleep again quickly arises. It does not now agree. The reason is that you have been asleep for a certain length of time. Your picture does not now coincide with the view which is equal in every direction, for there is in addition the part you have slept through.
Let us now ask: “Is it perhaps the case that man has slept from the middle of his evolution up to our age?” It might be explicable to us that the picture would have to agree up to that point. Now, as we have come beyond the middle, it would be possible, if we have slept, that the picture may have altered a little. Has man been asleep? In the occult sense humanity has been asleep since the middle of the Atlantean epoch, because that was the time when the whole human race, as such, lost the ancient dim spiritual vision. From the spiritual point of view man sank as if into a state of sleep. He began to turn his attention to the sense world, and thus, from the point of view of the spiritual world, to pass into a state of sleep; and only when he has regained the higher vision will he have a free view, so to speak, in every direction. There will then no longer be this disarrangement of evolution, there will be the same distance behind and in front. Since the middle of the Atlantean epoch man has, in fact, been asleep, by reason of his being unable normally to participate in the sight of the spiritual worlds if we leave Initiates out of account — somnambulists also, if you will — we have to say that man does not see; for seeing means really to look into the world. As regards the spiritual world humanity is asleep, and it will continue to sleep for a time. For the period since the Atlantean epoch the statement of John's Gospel holds good: “The light shone into the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not.”
Thus in this division there is hidden an important truth, the truth that humanity is living in a dark age, the age of darkness, and the Christ-principle has come in this age in order that humanity might be led forth into the age of light. For this reason it was correct to put the present position of evolution not in the middle, but beyond the middle, because in Atlantis begins the dark age which will continue into our sixth age, when the elect appear in white garments, when they appear as the first of those who are again able, under ordinary normal conditions, to have the spiritual world around them and the age of darkness will have passed away. Then appears the age of which it must be said, “The light shines in darkness and the darkness comprehends the light.“ For this reason the dark age will also be called the time when man directs his gaze only to the physically material world in the normal condition and does not see the spiritual world behind it. We shall now connect this with what has already been said regarding evolution. When evolution has progressed beyond the seventh epoch, beyond the epoch indicated by the sounding of the trumpets, the earth then spiritualizes itself and passes over first into the astral, then into the lower devachanic and finally into the higher devachanic condition. Afterwards it returns to the same conditions by condensing more and more from the finest spiritual; and the condition comes which usually is described as the fifth round, which again will have seven conditions of form, and in the middle will again pass through a development of what must be characterized as seven successive epochs, or, shall we say, race conditions.
Now let us, even if it be somewhat difficult, look a little more deeply into the following conditions of our earth evolution. Let us turn our gaze to a quite definite point in our future evolution just as we have been considering the present stage. Let us start with our present, namely the 172nd condition. Prior to this 172nd condition the Earth had already completed three sub-conditions; the 172nd condition is the Earth itself. Three have already been completed and it is now in the fourth of these conditions. First, however, we are considering only the conditions of form. We reckon that we are in the fourth condition of life or fourth round. Granted this is so and we say: In this fourth condition of life or round we have already passed through three conditions of form and are now in the fourth. Now we ask further how many of the sub-conditions have we passed through? The first, second, third and fourth. The last was the Atlantean epoch. This is now completed. We have passed through four conditions and are now in the fifth, the post-Atlantean. Of this fifth epoch we have again passed through four sub-conditions, namely, the ancient Indian, the ancient Persian, the Egyptian and the Graeco-Latin, and are now in the fifth age. So that we can say: before our immediate present stage of evolution we have completed 344 conditions. These 344 conditions which we have completed are described is Apocalyptic language as the number of evolution. When, therefore, it is asked: What is the number of evolution, our evolution, the answer is 344. This is not read according to the system of ten, but according to the system of seven. Three conditions (out of the seven) have been gone through, and four conditions (out of the next smaller seven) have been gone through, four conditions (out of again the next smaller seven). That is what is really meant by the 3-4-4. One must not simply read it like other numbers, but it contains, written side by side, the number of stages passed through.
When the earth is spiritualized and has developed to its next conditions, then more and more stages will have been gone through. And the time will come, when six conditions of the first kind, six of the second and six of the third will have been passed through. Just as we now have the 344 as the number of evolution, in the future when six conditions of life, six root-races and six sub-races have been gone through, the number 666 (six six six) will apply, read in the manner above described, which is the method used by the writer of the Apocalypse. Thus a time will come when the number 666 is the number of evolution. This will only be in a very distant future, but this future is already being prepared at the present time. Three great main conditions have been completed and we are now living in the fourth. But when we have reached the great War of All against All, and the epoch indicated by the seven seals has passed away, we shall have gone through six of the middle kind. When the first trumpet sounds we shall have passed through six such main races, and when the first six trumpets are over, we shall have experienced 66. By then humanity will have had opportunity to prepare for the terrible time which will follow much later, when not only 66 but 666 will be reached. All that lies in the future is already being prepared now. The time following the War of All against All, the time after the seventh trumpet is sounded, will see men who, through excluding themselves from the Christ-principle, will have attained a high degree of evil, of the tendency to sink into the abyss. By then these men will have sunk so low that when the point of time 666 comes they will be able to descend very low into evil, into the abyss of evil. Men will have taken into themselves, already in the period after the great War of All against All, when the seventh trumpet sounds, the germs of this descent into the abyss in the far-distant future. It will, indeed, for a long time be possible for those who have taken these germs into themselves to turn round and be converted, to tarn back in their development in order even then to receive the Christ-principle. But the first predisposition will have been formed, and those who retain this tendency will no longer be able — when that distant future has come which is indicated not by 466, but by 666 — to change this tendency into good. They will succumb to the frightful fate of which we have still to speak.
Thus we see that with this number six, whether it is simply six, or six six, or six six six, there is connected something bad for human evolution. We are now living in the fifth main period and the fifth sub-period. After the great War we shall pass into the sixth epoch; but before the great War there comes, immediately after our fifth age, the sixth age, described as the community of Philadelphia. We know that we are now living in the age in which materialism has spread abroad in humanity. We have seen that throughout the past centuries man has become more and more materialistic; but this materialism is such that a person can turn back from it at any time. The materialist still has opportunity to turn back. It is, however, necessary that at the present time a spiritual conception of the world should gain ground, a conception which leads a small group of people to this spiritual view of the world. This group will comprise those who will lay the first foundation of the great bond of brotherhood in the sixth age, which will follow ours, and is, therefore, not very far distant, whose beginning lies in a period which can be counted in millennia and these will bring about the very first division in humanity. Those who persist obstinately in materialism, and also the others who will be inclined to accept a spiritual conception, who in the small group develop a bond of brotherhood, both these will appear in the sixth age. This simple 6 can already be fateful to many, but not finally binding, for a turning back will still be possible. But mankind will continue beyond the great War of All against All. Five epochs will have passed away; the number 6 will appear again. Afterwards the allurements and temptations will come again in order further to develop the materialistic tendencies and to carry them over into the epoch of the sounding of the trumpets, and when six great periods and six smaller periods have passed away, after 66, there will already be very considerable tendencies in humanity which will not be so easy to put increasingly right as they are at the present time. Thus we see that actually the world of bad tendencies works within humanity and that the good men separate from the evil more and more clearly and definitely, in accordance with the description of the writer of the Apocalypse. The last great separation will be when the number six will be fulfilled not only for the shorter periods but for the longer ones. This will be the case when our earth has completed its six kingdoms of life or six rounds, and within the seventh. round, again six conditions of form. When the earth has finished this, the tendencies of humanity to evil will have developed to a frightful form. Nothing but evil will then appear, with frightful devastating power, in those who have remained evil.
How often, therefore, during our earth period, does humanity have the opportunity to succumb to the enticement of evil? First of all in the age after the present one, before the great War. Then man has a second and a third opportunity as well. This descent into evil is gradual. In the period when the earth has passed over into a spiritual condition, we have to deal first of all with two possibilities. When the earth reunites with the sun, those who have received the Christ-principle will then be ripe to rise into the forces of the earth which unite with the sun; those who have received the possibility of evil will be excluded. These are, as it were, in such a position that they thrust the sun away from themselves, they thrust away that which would enable them to unite with the forces of the sun. They are opponents of this union. For this reason the Apocalypse rightly designated the power, the Being, who leads men so to spiritualize themselves that they can unite with the sun as the Christ, and — as we shall hear — as the Lamb. One describes the Christ-Being as the genius of the sun who unites himself with the earth and becomes also the genius of the earth. He has already begun to be this since the event of Golgotha. But there is also an opposing principle to the Lamb, there is also a Sun-Demon, the so-called Demon of the Sun, that which works in the evil forces of man, thrusting back the force of the Lamb, and it works un such a way that a certain amount of the human race is thrust out of the evolution which leads to the sun. These are the opposing forces of the sun, they are in opposition to the sun; at the same time they are the forces which have the tendency to be entirely thrown out of our evolution when the 666 stages have passed away; they will then be finally cast into the abyss. So that we may say: At the time when the earth is united with the sun there will be excluded, not only that which is symbolized by the beast with seven heads and ten horns, but also that which is furnished with forces which are in opposition to the sun. All this is destined to disappear into the abyss when the 666 is fulfilled.
Now this 666 has always been written in a very mysterious way; we shall see later on that there is every reason to wrap in mystery the facts with which we are now dealing. And for this reason it was written 666. In the mysteries from which the writer of the Apocalypse received his initiation, they wrote 400 200 660. This is written in such a way that the laity cannot understand it. This 666 was hidden; it was to remain a secret. By having 200 here and by the other figures being transposed, an illusion is produced. Now in the kind of writing used by the Initiates there is a certain principle which consists in letters being expressed by corresponding numbers. Several of the remarkable people who, in the course of the nineteenth century wished to unravel the mystery of the number 666, hit on the principle of expressing letters by numbers, but they have come upon it in such a way that one can say: they have, indeed, heard sounds but not in unison. For they have acquired in an unclear way that which I have now explained and which has always been taught esoteric-ally. They have found out that when one sets letters of the Hebrew alphabet in place of these numbers the result is “Nero,” thus they have concluded that 666 signifies Nero. This is not the case. 666 must first be written: 400 + 200 + 6 + 60, and then one can arrive at the meaning. Then one must write 400 as ת (Tau), 200 as ר (Resh), 6 as ו (Vau), and 60 as ם (Samech). These four letters express the four numbers 400 + 200 + 6 + 60. In a wonderful way they have been drawn into this mystery, wonderful through the ingenuity of those who have drawn them in because at the same time the sounds of these four letters have again a special occult significance. What must the number 666 actually mean if it is to express what we have explained? It must mean the principle which leads man to complete hardening un the external physical life, so that he simply thrusts from him that which enables him to strip off the lower principles and to rise to the higher. That which man has obtained as physical body, etheric body, astral body and lower “I,” before it rises to the higher — these four principles are at the same time expressed by these four letters, by Samech, the physical body, Vau, the etheric body, Resh, the astral body and Tau, the lower “I.” Thus we see that that which is hardened in these four principles before they begin their divine evolution is expressed by the four letters. The writer of the Apocalypse can truly say, “Here is Truth!” For wisdom is contained in it. “Let him who hath understanding consider the number 666.”
And now we will read it. We read it in this way, from right to left.
We have then to supply the vowels and it reads: Sorath, Sorath is the name of the Sun-Demon, the adversary of the Lamb. Every such spiritual being was described not only by name but also by a certain symbolical sign. For Sorath, the sun-demon, there was this sign:
a thick stroke bent back upon itself and terminating in two curved points.
Now we must understand the writer of the Apocalypse rightly. At the very beginning he makes a remarkable statement, which is usually wrongly translated. The beginning of the Apocalypse runs, however “This is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him to spew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.” “Signified it.” By this we must understand that he gives the important, the real content of the mystery hi signs. He has put that which 666 expresses in signs. What he describes is the sign, and he describes it thus (Rev. xiii. 11): “And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb.” These are nothing else than the two strokes at the upper part of the sign, and in order to conceal this he simply calls the two strokes here “horns.” It was always the case in the use of the mystery language that one uses a word in more than one sense so as to make it impossible for the uninitiated to understand without special effort. That which he describes here: “It has two horns like a lamb,” is the symbol of the sun-demon, which in the mystery language is expressed by the word “Sorath,” and this, if we convert the several letters into their numbers is expressed by the four numbers, 400, 200, 6 and 60. This is a very veiled way of expressing 666. Thus we see that the writer of the Apocalypse is referring to the adversary of the Lamb. When the earth passes over into the spiritual, the forms of men appear below in such a way that they receive their old animal form. The beast with the seven heads and ten horns appears. But there also appears their seducer, the adversary of Christ, who has the great power to prevent their returning to the sun. Man himself cannot be the adversary of Christ, he can only let slip the opportunity to take the Christ-principle into himself, through what dwells in him as false power; but there is such an adversary, the sun-demon. This appears as soon as there is something that can become his prey. Before the prey is there, before the men are there with the seven heads and ten horns, there is nothing to lead astray, the tempter has nothing to seek there; but when men appear with such inclination, then comes the tempter, and he appears as the second beast and seduces them!
Thus at the moment when the earth passes over into the astral condition there appears that in man which existed in him when the earth was still clothed with a covering of water. The human animal appears. From the water one sees the beast with seven heads and ten horns raise itself. Through this human animal having left the earth unused, Sorath, the adversary of the sun, the tempter, can now arise out of the earth, through this he can approach man and tear him down with all his might into the abyss. Thus from this time on we see a being drawing close to man, which has a fear-fill power! What, then, does this being do in order to lead man into the most horrible things one can think of? For man to be led into what is merely immoral, what is already known to normal man, it did not need this monster which appears as the sun-demon. Only when that which in a good sense distinguishes the beings who bring salvation to the human race, only when spiritual eminence is turned to its opposite, only when spiritual power is placed in the service of the lower “I”-principle, can it bring humanity to the point when the beast represented with two horns gains power over it. The misuse of spiritual forces is connected with that seductive power of the beast with the two horns. And we call this abuse of the spiritual power black magic, in contradistinction to its right use, which is white magic. Thus through the separation of the human race there is prepared at the same time the power to attain greater and greater spiritual conditions on the one hand, and thereby to obtain the use of the spiritual forces, and arrive at white magic; while on the other hand abuse of spiritual forces is a preparation for the most fearful kind of power of the two horned beast — black magic. Humanity will finally he divided into beings who practise white magic and those who practise black magic. Thus in the mystery of 666 or Sorath is hidden the secret of black magic; and the tempter to black magic, that most fearful crime in the earth evolution, with which no other crimes can be compared, this seducer is represented by the writer of the Apocalypse as the two-horned beast. Thus there appears on our horizon, so to speak, the division of humanity in the far distant future; the chosen of Christ, who finally will be the white magicians, and the adversaries, the terrible wizards, the black magicians who cannot escape from matter and whom the writer of the Apocalypse describes as those who make prostitution with matter. Hence this whole practice of black magic, the union which takes place between man and the hardening in matter is presented to him in the spiritual vision of the great Babylon, the community made up of all those who carry on black magic; in the frightful marriage, or rather, unrestrained marriage, between man and the forces of prostituted matter. And thus in the far future we see two powers confronting each other; on the one hand those who swell the population of the great Babylon, and on the other hand chose who rise above matter, who as human beings unite with the principle represented as the Lamb. We see how on the one hand the blackest ones segregate themselves in Babylon, led by all the forces opposing the sun, by Sorath the two-horned beast, and we see those who have developed front the elect, who unite with Christ, or the Lamb, who appears to them; the marriage of the Lamb on the one hand, and that of Babylon, the descending Babylon, on the other! We see Babylon descend into the abyss, and the elect, who have celebrated the marriage with the Lamb, rise to the exercise of the forces of white magic. And as they not only recognize the spiritual forces but also understand how to operate then magically, they are able to prepare what they possess in the earth for the next planetary incarnation, Jupiter. They sketch out the great outlines, so to speak, which Jupiter is to have. We see the preparatory forms, which are to survive as the forms of the next earth incarnation, as Jupiter, come forth by the power of the white magicians: we see the New Jerusalem produced by white magic. But that which is described as Sorath — 666 — must first be expelled. That which has succumbed to the principle of the two-horned beast, and hence has hardened itself into the beast with the seven heads and ten horns, is driven forth. The power by which the sun-genius overcomes those who are expelled, which drives them down into the abyss, is called the countenance of the sun-genius and the countenance of the sun-genius is Michael, who, as the representative, so to speak, of the sun-genius, overcomes the beast with the two horns, the seducer, which is also called the great dragon. This is represented to the seer in the picture of Michael who has the key, who stands by the side of God and holds the opposing forces chained.
Thus is characterized in the Christian-Rosicrucian esotericism the casting out of those who belong to 666, and the overcoming of the dragon, the seducer. Thus before our gaze to-day there appears that which the writer of the Apocalypse has enveloped in mystery, which one must first discover by removing the veil, and of which he says, “Here is Wisdom.” “Let him who hath understanding count the number of the beast” (that is, the two-horned beast); “for this number is 666.”
Those who have connected this with Nero have made a poor response to this challenge of the writer of the Apocalypse. For you see from what cosmic depths the wisdom must be drawn which leads to the explanation of the number 666. Although to-day you may have to make efforts to understand this passage, you must not forget that it is necessary to make efforts to understand the deepest mysteries. And the Apocalyptist has veiled these deepest mysteries of cosmic evolution. He has veiled then because it is good for man that the most important mysteries should be expressed in symbols. For apart from all the rest, through the powers exercised to decipher the signs is gained much of that which at the same time lifts us up to the good powers themselves. Let us not be cast down because we have to wind our way through a scheme of numbers. If you had had to grasp what was given secretly in the ancient schools in such numbers, before anything else was given, you would have had to go through very much more. There the pupils were obliged in be silent for a long time and quietly listen when nothing but numbers, 777, 666, etc., were explained again and again, at first in their formal meaning. And only when they had grasped this meaning were they allowed to know its actual significance.