The Gospel of Matthew
5 September 1910, Bern
Jesus ben Pandira and Initiation among the Essenes. The secret of numbers. Reflection of cosmic conditions in human evolution. The secret of the blood in the line of descent, and the secret of cosmic space
Ww have to realize that Jesus ben Pandira was in no way related to the personality or individuality of either the Jesus of the Gospel of Matthew or of the Gospel of Luke, or any other Gospel; he lived a hundred years before the Christ Event, and was stoned and hanged upon a tree. It is most important that he should not be confused with the Jesus of the Gospels.
Of Jesus ben Pandira it need only be stated that neither occult knowledge nor any clairvoyant faculties are necessary to prove his existence, for information in regard to this can be had from the Hebrew Talmud. Confusion with the actual Jesus has occurred at various times, even as early as the second century of the Christian era. Having stated emphatically that Jesus ben Pandira is not to be identified with the Jesus of the Evangelists, it is nevertheless necessary to establish the real historical connection of these two personalities. This is only possible by means of occult investigation; the connection between them only emerges after a study of the evolution of mankind and those who guide it.
Gazing upwards to those beings who lead human development, we come at last to a group of high individualities who, according to Eastern terminology, are called Bodhisattvas — for it is in the East where knowledge of them has been established. There are many Bodhisattvas; they are the great teachers of mankind. From the spiritual worlds they infuse into humanity through the Mystery schools what according to the degree of human ripeness is appropriate to each epoch. Bodhisattvas succeed one another throughout the ages. Two of them are of special interest to present humanity, one, who as son of King Sudhodana became Buddha; and the other, his successor in this dignity, who is still a Bodhisattva. Both Oriental wisdom and clairvoyant investigation agree that the latter's mission will extend over the next two thousand five hundred years, when this Bodhisattva will rise to the higher rank of Buddha as did his predecessor. This, the present Bodhisattva will then be exalted to the dignity of Maitreya Buddha. In the long line of Bodhisattvas we have to recognize the great guiding teachers of evolution, but they should not be confused with the source of their teaching, the source from which they themselves draw what they bestow upon humanity. Rather we have to picture a collegium of Bodhisattvas, and the centre of this collegium is the living source whence this teaching is derived. This living source is none other than He Whom we call the Christ, from Whom all Bodhisattvas receive what in due course they hand on to humanity. A Bodhisattva devotes himself principally to teaching, but upon attaining Buddha-hood he ceases to descend into incarnation, and his mission becomes different. In accordance with all Eastern philosophy it can be said that Gautama Buddha, who, in his last incarnation, was the son of King Sudhodana, has since then only experienced incorporation as far as the etheric body. In the course of lectures on the Gospel of Luke we explained what the next task of this Buddha was.
When the Jesus of the Gospel of Luke was born — the Nathan Jesus of whom Luke tells, and who is not to be confused with the Jesus of the Gospel of Matthew — the Being of the Buddha, who was then incorporated as far as the etheric body, entered into the astral body of the Nathan Jesus. It is therefore possible to say that having incarnated as Gautama Buddha, this Being did not come again as a teacher, but was henceforth present as a living force. He had become an actual force working from the spiritual world into our physical world.
To teach is one thing; to work as a living force with the forces of growth is something quite different. A Bodhisattva is a teacher up to the moment he attains Buddha-hood, from then onwards he becomes a vital force, filling with constructive power everything with which he is concerned. In this way the Buddha entered the organism of the Nathan Jesus as described by Luke. From the sixth century B.C. it is to the Buddha's successor, the coming Maitreya Buddha, that humanity must look for its teacher. His chosen instrument was the circle of the Therapeutæ and Essenes, and he poured down his inspiration especially through his disciple, Jesus, the son of Pandira, the purest, the most noted, the most exalted of them all. Thus we have to realize that the content of this Bodhisattva-teaching streamed forth into humanity through the Essenes.
The actual sect of the Essenes, as regards its profounder teaching, disappeared comparatively soon after the Christ Event, as external history testifies. Hence it need not sound improbable when I say that they were employed as a means for bringing down from the spheres of the Bodhisattvas what was necessary to prepare humanity to grasp the mighty event of the coming of Christ. The most important teaching man had received to aid him in the understanding of the Christ Event had its source in these communities. Jesus ben Pandira was chosen to receive inspiration from that Bodhisattva who was destined to become the Maitreya Buddha, and whose influence was active among the Essenes; he was inspired to impart a teaching that was to make comprehensible the Mystery of Palestine — the Mystery of Christ. External history knows little of the Essenes, more exact information regarding them is only possible with the aid of occult investigation; hence in a society like this I can speak without hesitation of secrets known to the Essenes and Therapeutæ that are needful to an understanding of the Gospel of Matthew.
These communities flourished a hundred years before the Christ Event, and taught how preparation was to be made for it. Their most important feature was the manner of their initiation. It was specially adapted to evoke an understanding, through clairvoyant perception, of the significance of Hebraism and Abrahamism as connected with the Christ Event. This was a mystery peculiar to these communities. The very purpose of their initiation was to impart clairvoyant perception in this connection. A follower of the Essenes had in the first place to attain full appreciation of the significance of what had come to pass in the Hebrew race through Abraham. Through his own individual vision, an Essene had to see in Abraham a true forefather of the race, one in whom a seed had been implanted which then, by means of the blood, percolated from generation to generation, as explained in the last lecture.
To understand how something of such great importance in human evolution could take place through a personality like Abraham, we must keep in mind a most important saying. This saying shows that whenever a man is destined to be a special instrument for human evolution he must be in direct contact with some divine spiritual being.
Those who attended the performance of the Rosicrucian Mystery Play, given at Munich, and those who have read it, know that one of the most important dramatic manifestations occurs where the hierophant informs Maria that her mission will only be possible after such an influx from a higher being has taken place. This was actually accomplished in her. What then took place may be called a separation of the higher from the lower principles, which made it possible for the latter to be possessed by a subordinate spirit. All this is to be found in the Rosicrucian Mystery Play, and if allowed to act on the soul, and not accepted lightly, it directs our attention to mighty secrets of human evolution.
Abraham having been selected for his great mission, the Spirit that had been recognized in early Atlantis as the Spirit who moved and lived in all the surrounding world had to enter into his inner organism. This happened for the first time in the case of Abraham, and therefore a change in man's spiritual perception then became possible for the first time. A divine Being implanted as it were a germ in Abraham's organism that was to enter all the other organisms descending from him in the direct line.
An Essene of that time would have said: The seed which actually formed the Hebrew people so as to fit them to be the vehicle for the mission of Christ, was first implanted in them by the mysterious Being only to be discovered when they looked back through the generations to Abraham. This Being worked as a kind of Folk-spirit from out the inner organism of Abraham in the blood of the Hebrew people. To reach some understanding of the crowning mystery of human evolution, it is necessary to rise to the Spirit who implanted this seed, and seek him where he was before he had entered into Abraham's organization. In order to rise to this Spirit who had organized and inspired the Hebrew people, to know him in his purity, the Essenes felt it to be necessary to pass through a certain training; they felt they must purify themselves from all that had come to human souls from the physical world since the time of Abraham. And further, an Essene would declare: The spiritual being which man bears within him, and all the other spiritual beings concerned with his development, are only to be seen in their purity in the spiritual world. As found in man, they have become defiled by the forces of the physical world.
From the point of view of the Essenes (which in a certain sphere of knowledge is absolutely correct), every single person then living had impurities in his soul from early times which disturbed his free vision of the Spiritual Being who had implanted the attribute in Abraham which has been described. Every Essene sought in his soul to be purified from what had entered him in this way, and which dimmed his vision of the Being who dwelt in the blood passing through the generations, the Being who could only be rightly seen after much purification. All the methods of their training were directed towards freeing the soul from its inherited tendencies and influences that clouded its vision and hid the spiritual inspirer of Abraham. Not only had man a spiritual being within him, but this being had been sullied through these inherited tendencies.
There is a law in Spiritual Science which was perceived by the Essenes through their clairvoyant investigation and spiritual vision: that hereditary influences only cease to be active when a man has passed through forty-two stages in the line of descent; only then has he purged his soul of inherited influences. What is inherited by man from father and mother, from grandfather and grandmother, and so on, becomes feebler the farther back the line is traced; beyond forty-two generations nothing more of this could be found, which means that the influence of inheritance is then lost. By careful training and inner exercises, the Essenes directed their attention towards eliminating the impurities of the forty-two generations. This meant a severe training on a mystical path of forty-two clearly defined degrees or stages. Once these were passed, the Essene knew he was freed from the influences of the world of sense, and had reached the point where he experienced his inner self; where he felt the centre of his being to be united with Divinity. Therefore said he: ‘In going through these forty-two stages I ascend to God — to the God with whom I am concerned.’
The Essenes and the Therapeutæ had a clear vision of man's path to a divine Being who had not as yet descended into matter; they alone knew the truth of the fact which can be described as the ‘Event of Abraham’ they knew it at least in so far as it was concerned with inheritance. They also knew that if a man was to rise to a Being who was to enter the line of inheritance he must reach a place where he was no longer steeped in matter he must pass through forty-two stages of development corresponding to the forty-two generations; then he would find that Being. The Essene knew something more; he knew just as man has to rise through these forty-two stages to reach Divinity, so this Divine Being must descend, in the reverse direction, through forty-two generations if He was to enter into physical humanity. If man required to rise through forty-two stages before attaining to God, God had to descend through forty-two stages in order to become a man among men. So taught the Essenes, and so taught above all Jesus ben Pandira, who was inspired by the Bodhisattva. Having learnt this we know the source whence flowed the knowledge given out by the writer of the Gospel of Matthew, and exactly why he traces back these forty-two generations.
Jesus ben Pandira, who instructed the Essenes in these matters, lived a century before these forty-two generations could be completed. He taught them that advance beyond a certain point on their journey through the forty-two stages was only possible if an historical event were connected with it, that any further achievement could only come by grace from above. A time, however, would come, he told them, when this would be a natural event; a man would be born who, through the power in his own blood, would be able to rise so high that divine Spiritual Forces could descend into him, which he had need of in order that he might make fully manifest the Spirit of the Race — the Spirit of Jahve — in the blood of the Hebrew people. Jesus ben Pandira taught them further; that if Zarathustra, he who would bring Ahura Mazdao, were to incarnate in human form, this could only come to pass if this human form had been so prepared that the Divine Spirit ensouling it had passed down through forty-two generations.
It is now apparent that the teaching concerning the descent through the generations with which the Gospel of Matthew begins had its origin among the sect of the Essenes. If these facts are to be fully understood we must refer to something still deeper in this whole connection.
Everything concerned with human evolution confronts us, as it were, from two sides, for the simple reason that man is a two-fold being. Seen during waking consciousness, when the four members of his being are united, the reason for man's dual nature is not at first discernible. But it is easily seen at night when one part, consisting of physical body and etheric body, remains in the physical world, and the other, composed of the astral body and ego, leaves it. Man is made up of these two parts. The human qualities and attributes of the physical world belong to the physical and etheric bodies alone, although the other members have a share in them during the waking state. When awake, man functions by means of his astral body and ego in the other two members; when asleep he leaves them to themselves. The moment that he falls asleep, however, the beings and forces of the cosmos begin to function in, and to permeate, the forsaken members, so that there is a constant influx from the cosmos into the physical and etheric bodies of man. That part of him, however, which is left sleeping in bed, is actually limited to the forty-two generations, during which time it is under the law of inheritance. Beginning with the first generation and taking all that then belonged to physical nature, we shall find at the end, if we trace this through forty-two generations, nothing of what was the most essential in the first case. Thus in six times seven generations are comprised all the active characteristics of the physical and etheric bodies of a man. The inherited tendencies found in these two bodies must be sought for among his ancestors, but only in the forty-two preceding generations; beyond that time they cannot be traced, all belonging to an earlier generation has disappeared.
Human evolution in time is based on a certain numerical relationship. If we consider this more closely we find everything concerning the physical body is limited to forty-two generations, because everything connected with evolution in time is connected with the number seven. The Essenes knew this. An Essene said to himself: ‘Thou must pass through six times seven stages — that is forty-two — thou wilt then have arrived at the last seven which complete the sevenfold count, making forty-nine stages in all.’ What lies beyond the forty-two stages cannot be attributed to the forces and beings active in the physical and etheric body. The whole evolution of these bodies is finished — in accordance with the sevenfold law — after seven times seven generations, but during the last seven of these a complete change has taken place, and nothing of the first generation remains. What we are now concerned with is something entirely new in the realm into which man enters after the forty-two generations. We are now no longer concerned with a human existence but with a superhuman one. The six times seven generations, therefore, are connected entirely with the earth, and the seven times seven that follows is connected with what is beyond the earth; that is fruit for the spiritual world.
Hence the people from among whom the Gospel of Matthew had its origin, expressed their thoughts somewhat in this way: ‘The physical body used by Zarathustra had to be so ripe at the end of forty-two generations that it was already on the verge of becoming spiritualized; it was at the point where deification could take place.’ This could have taken place at the beginning of the forty-third generation, but it did not; this body allowed itself to be used by another being, who, as the spirit of Zarathustra, incarnated on earth as Jesus of Nazareth. In the events capable of providing a fitting body and fitting blood for the soul of Zarathustra, in Jesus of Nazareth, everything was fulfilled in accordance with this mystery of numbers. Everything relating to the physical and etheric body in human evolution has been prepared in this way.
Now, however, there are in man — and hence too in him who was to be the bearer of the Christ-being — not only a physical and an etheric body, but also an astral body and ego. Preparation therefore had to be made not only for a suitable physical and etheric body, but what was needful had also to be done to prepare a suitable astral body and ego. For such a mighty Event not one, but two personalities were necessary. The physical and etheric bodies were prepared in the case of the personality described in the Gospel of Matthew; the astral body and ego were prepared in another personality — the Nathan Jesus, of whom the Gospel of Luke relates. For the early years this was another personality. While the Matthew Jesus received a suitable physical and etheric organism, the Luke Jesus received the appropriate astral-body and bearer of the ego.
How could this come to pass? We have seen that the forces of the forty-two generations had to be prepared in order that the sheaths might come about which were necessary for the Jesus of the Matthew gospel. The astral body and ego had also to be prepared in order to appear later in the appropriate manner. How this happened we shall now explain.
As an introduction to the understanding of the Jesus of the Gospel of Luke, for whom special preparation had also to be made, let us consider the nature of sleep. The notion, derived from the assertions of lower clairvoyance, that the whole astral and ego-nature of man is contained within the nebulous appearance seen near the body of a sleeping man, is entirely erroneous. For it is a fact that during sleep, when man forsakes his physical and etheric sheaths, he expands, and is spread abroad through the whole cosmos. The mystery of the sleeping state is contained in the fact that the astral body expands through the whole stellar world, attracting towards it the purest cosmic forces; and these forces man brings with him when at the moment of awakening he plunges once more into his physical and etheric bodies. Hence he emerges from sleep strengthened by what he has derived from the whole cosmos.
If man were clairvoyant to-day in the highest sense — and this was the same at the time of Christ Jesus — what must then take place in him? Modern man is normally unconscious during sleep when with his astral body and ego he goes forth from his physical and etheric bodies; clairvoyant consciousness must, however, become capable of perception by means of the astral body and ego, without the aid of the physical and etheric bodies. It will then belong to the world the stars, and will not only perceive this world but actually enter into it. Just as the consciousness of the Essene had to rise through successive stages (at the root of which lay the number seven), so man must surmount the stages which enable him to perceive universal space clairvoyantly.
The dangers attending both courses of development I have often pointed out.
The development of the Essenes was fundamentally a penetration into the physical body and etheric body, that they might find their God. With them it was as if a man on awakening did not see the world around him, but plunged into his physical and etheric bodies in order to realize their forces; therefore to see what was external from within. Man's descent into his physical vehicles on awakening is not a conscious act, for at that moment consciousness is attracted to the environment, and is not directed to the forces within his physical and etheric bodies. The essential fact for the Essene was, that, disregarding his environment, he should dip down into his own physical vehicles and perceive all the forces that in the sense of occult science had their rise in the mystery of the six times seven generations.
Similar and even mightier exertions are necessary if a man is to ascend into the cosmos and discover its secrets. In penetrating into his own inner being he is only exposed to the danger of being overcome by the forces of this being, the desires and passions of its depths, of which he is ordinarily unaware and of which he does not dream. Ordinary training usually prevents knowledge of these forces—his attention being attracted to the emergence of the outer world on awakening, so that he should not be overcome by this. Another danger meets him when he experiences ‘expansion over the whole cosmos.’ He who experiences this moment, by retaining his consciousness during sleep, he who is able to perceive the spiritual world through the instrumentality of his astral body and ego, is confronted by a great danger. Like a man attempting to gaze at the sun, he is blinded and bewildered by the overwhelming grandeur of his experiences.
Just as the different stages of wisdom striven for by the Essenes, in order to learn of the hereditary tendencies in the physical and etheric bodies, were connected with the mystery of numbers (six x seven), so there was a secret number in the Mysteries of the Great World, showing how knowledge of these could be acquired. The best approach to these mysteries is through the stars themselves which, in their movements and groupings into constellations, provide a form of expression — a language. As, by passing through six times seven stages man attains the key to the mysteries of his own inner being; twelve times seven or eighty-four stages are necessary before he can rise to the spiritual mysteries of universal space. When we have surmounted the eighty-four stages we are no longer blinded by the complexity of these spiritual cosmic forces. Beyond these eighty-four stages we have attained that calm wherein a way may be found through the mighty labyrinth.
This was taught to a certain extent among the Essenes. A person having attained clairvoyance during sleep, as just described, could pour his being forth into something that is expressed in the mystery of numbers as twelve times seven. Anyone who has attained to the ‘twelve times seven’ degree is already in spiritual realms, for when he has completed the eleven times seven, he has already reached the verge of the Mysteries. As in the other, the seven times seven, he is already in the spiritual realm; so he is in the twelve times seven. On the latter path the spiritual realm is beyond the eleven times seven stage. Such are the number of the stages to be passed through by the astral body and ego. All this is imprinted in the starry script, seven is the number derived from the planets; they are seven in number; what man has to pass through in cosmic space is derived from the number twelve, the number of the Signs of the Zodiac.
As the seven planets group themselves within, and pass through the twelve signs, so if man is to live into cosmic space he must pass through seven times twelve, or rather seven times eleven stages, to attain spirituality. The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac may be pictured as forming a spiritual periphery in the centre of which is man himself. Now man does not reach the spiritual realm spread around him simply by advancing from a centre outwards; he must expand in spiral form; he must advance, as it were, in seven spiral movements. Each time he completes one spiral turn he has passed through all the twelve signs; he has in this way to pass through seven times twelve points. Man gradually expands in spiral form through the cosmos — this is naturally only an image for what man experiences—and in circling thus, on the seventh journey through the twelve signs, spirituality is reached. Then instead of regarding the cosmos from the central point of his own self; he regards it from the spiritual circumference — from twelve points of view— and from these different aspects he views the external world. It is not enough to see things from one point only, they must be considered from twelve aspects.
He who is in quest of what is divinely spiritual must guide his astral body and ego in this way through eleven times seven stages, and at the twelfth he is in the spiritual world.
If Divinity wished to descend and assume a human ego, it would likewise have to pass down through eleven times seven stages. So when the Gospel of Luke wished to describe the spiritual forces that prepared a human astral body and ego to be the bearer of the Christ, it had to relate how the divine force descended through eleven times seven stages. This is truly told in the Gospel of Luke. Because this Gospel tells of the personality for whom the astral body and ego were prepared, it is not concerned, like the Gospel of Matthew, with six times seven generations, but with eleven times seven successive stages through which is traced down, from God Himself; that which dwelt in the individuality of the Luke-Jesus. These seventy-seven different human stages can be counted in the Gospel of Luke.
Because the Gospel of Matthew describes the mystery of the descent of the divine force which worked constructively within the physical and etheric bodies, the ruling number in it must be six times seven. In the Gospel of Luke, because it describes the descent of the divine force which built the astral body and ego, the number must be eleven times seven. Such is the infinite depth of the origin of these facts as related in the Gospels. These Gospels of Luke and Matthew reveal the secrets of initiation; the descent by certain stages of the Divine Spirit into a human individuality, and correspondingly the successive stages by which an individual can reach forth into the cosmos.
It will be explained in the next lecture how a table of descent is also found in the Gospel of Luke; and why, in an age when the Mystery of Christ was imparted only to a few, it should have been demonstrated that there were seventy-seven generations from God and from Adam, down to the Jesus of this Gospel.