THE ESOTERIC CHARACTER OF THE GOSPELS
[The superior numbers appearing at various places through out this Essay refer to Compiler’s Notes immediately following it, on pages 217-239.]
[Lucifer, Vol. I, No. 3, November, 1887, pp. 173-180]
“. . . . . Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy presence, and of the consummation of the age?” * asked the Disciples of the MASTER, on the Mount of Olives.
The reply given by the “Man of Sorrow,” the Chrêstos, on his trial, but also on his way to triumph, as Christos, or Christ,† is prophetic, and very suggestive. It is a warning indeed. The answer must be quoted in full. Jesus . . . said unto them:—
Take heed that no man lead you astray. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray. And ye shall hear of wars . . . . but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places. But all these things are the beginning of travail . . . . . And many false prophets shall arise, and shall lead many astray . . . then shall the end come . . . . when therefore ye see the abomination of desolation which was spoken through Daniel . . . Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or there; believe him not . . . . If therefore they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the wilderness, go not forth: Behold, he is in the
* St. Matthew, xxiv, 3, et seq. The sentences italicised are those which stand corrected in the New Testament after the recent revision in 1881 of the version of 1611; which version is full of errors, voluntary and involuntary. The word “presence,” for “coming,” and “the consummation of the age,” now standing for “the end of the world,” have altered, of late, the whole meaning, even for the most sincere Christians, if we exempt the Adventists.
† He who will not ponder over and master the great difference between the meaning of the two Greek words— and must remain blind for ever to the true esoteric meaning of the Gospels; that is to say, to the living Spirit entombed in the sterile dead-letter of the texts, the very Dead Sea fruit of lip-Christianity.
inner chambers; believe them not. For as the lightning cometh forth from the east, and is seen even unto the west: so shall be the presence of the Son of man, etc., etc.
Two things become evident to all in the above passages, now that their false rendering is corrected in the revision text: (a) “the coming of Christ,” means the presence of CHRISTOS in a regenerated world, and not at all the actual coming in body of “Christ” Jesus; (b) this Christ is to be sought neither in the wilderness nor “in the inner chambers,” nor in the sanctuary of any temple or church built by man; for Christ—the true esoteric SAVIOUR—is no man, but the DIVINE PRINCIPLE in every human being. He who strives to resurrect the Spirit crucifed in him by his own terrestrial passions, and buried deep in the “sepulchre” of his sinful flesh; he who has the strength to roll back the stone of matter from the door of his own inner sanctuary, he has the risen Christ in him.* The “Son of Man” is no child of the bond-woman—flesh, but verily of the free-woman—Spirit,† the child of man’s own deeds, and the fruit of his own spiritual labour.
On the other hand, at no time since the Christian era, have the precursor signs described in Matthew applied so graphically and forcibly to any epoch as they do to our own times. When has nation arisen against nation more than at this time? When have “famines”—another name for destitute pauperism, and the famished multitudes of the proletariat—been more cruel, earthquakes more frequent, or covered such an area simultaneously, as for the last few years? Millenarians and Adventists of
* “For ye are the temple [“sanctuary” in the revised N.T.] of the living God.” (II Cor., vi, 16.)
† Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, was feminine with the Jews, as with most ancient peoples, and it was so with the early Christians. Sophia of the Gnostics, and the third Sephiroth Binah (the female Jehovah of the Kabalists), are feminine principles—“Divine Spirit,” or Ruach. “Achat Ruach Elohim Chayyim.” “One is She, the Spirit of the Elohim of Life,” is said in Sepher Yetzirah. [chap. i, sect. 9.]
robust faith, may go on saying that “the coming of (the carnalised) Christ” is near at hand, and prepare themselves for “the end of the world.” Theosophists—at any rate, some of them—who understand the hidden meaning of the universally-expected Avatars, Messiahs, Sosioshes and Christs—know that it is no “end of the world,” but “the consummation of the age,” i.e., the close of a cycle, which is now fast approaching.* If our readers have forgotten the concluding passages of the article, The Signs of the Times,” in Lucifer for October last, let them read them over, and they will plainly see the meaning of this particular cycle.1
Many and many a time the warning about the “false Christs” and prophets who shall lead people astray has been interpreted by charitable Christians, the worshippers of the dead-letter of their scripture, as applying to mystics generally, and Theosophists most especially. The recent work by Mr. Pember, Earth’s Earliest Ages, is a proof of it. Nevertheless, it seems very evident that the words in Matthew’s Gospel and others can hardly apply to Theosophists. For these were never found saying that Christ is “Here” or “There,” in wilderness or city, and least of all in the “inner chamber” behind the altar of any modern church. Whether Heathen or Christian by birth, they refuse to materialise and thus degrade that which is the purest and grandest ideal—the symbol of symbols—namely, the immortal Divine Spirit in man, whether it be called Horus, Krishna, Buddha, or Christ. None of them has ever yet said: “I am the Christ”;
* There are several remarkable cycles that come to a close at the end of this century. First, the 5,000 years of the Kaliyuga cycle; again the Messianic cycle of the Samaritan (also Kabalistic) Jews of the man connected with Pisces (Ichthys or “Fish-man” Dag). It is a cycle, historic and not very long, but very occult, lasting about 2,155 solar years, but having a true significance only when computed by lunar months. It occurred 2410 and 255 B.C., or when the equinox entered into the sign of the Ram, and again into that of Pisces. When it enters, in a few years, the sign of Aquarius, psychologists will have some extra work to do, and the psychic idiosyncrasies of humanity will enter on a great change.
for those born in the West feel themselves, so far, only Chrêstians,* however much they may strive to become Christians in Spirit. It is to those, who in their great conceit and pride refuse to win the right of such appellation by first leading the life of Chrêstos; † to those who haughtily proclaim themselves Christians (the glorified, the anointed) by sole virtue of baptism when but a few days old—that the above-quoted words of Jesus apply most forcibly. Can the prophetic insight of him who uttered this remarkable warning be doubted by any one who sees the numerous “false prophets” and pseudo-apostles (of Christ), now roaming over the world? These have split the one divine Truth into fragments, and broken, in the camp of the Protestants alone, the rock of the Eternal Verity into three hundred and fifty odd pieces, which now represent the bulk of their Dissenting sects. Accepting the number in round figures as 350, and admitting, for argument’s sake, that, at least, one of these may have the approximate truth, still 349 must be necessarily false.‡ Each of these claims to have Christ exclusively in its “inner chamber,” and denies him to all others, while, in truth, the great majority of their respective followers daily put Christ to death on the cruciform tree of matter—the “tree of infamy” of the old Romans—indeed!
* The earliest Christian author, Justin Martyr, calls, in his First Apology, his co-religionists Chrêstians, —not Christians.
† “Clemens Alexandrinus, in the second century, founds a serious argument on this paronomasia that (lib. III, cap. xvii, p. 53, et circa—Psal. 55, D), all who believed in Chrêst (i.e., in a good man) both are, and are called, Chrêstians, that is, good men” (Stromata, lib. II, ch. iv, quoted in Higgins’ Anacalypsis, I, 568).2 And Lactantius (Divine Institutes, lib. IV, cap. vii) says that it is only through ignorance that people call themselves Christians, instead of Chrêstians: “Sed exponenda huius nominis ratio est propter ignorantium errorem qui eum immutata littera Chrestum solent dicere.”
‡ In England alone, there are over 239 various sects. (See Whitaker’s Almanac.) In 1883, there were 186 denominations only, and now they steadily increase with every year, an additional 53 sects having sprung up in only four years!
The worship of the dead-letter in the Bible is but one more form of idolatry, nothing better. A fundamental dogma of faith cannot exist under a double-faced Janus form. “Justification” by Christ cannot be achieved at one’s choice and fancy, either by “faith” or by “works” and James (ii, 25), therefore, contradicting Paul (Heb., xi, 31), and vice versa,* one of them must be wrong. Hence, the Bible is not the “Word of God,” but contains at best the words of fallible men and imperfect teachers. Yet read esoterically, it does contain, if not the whole truth, still, “nothing but the truth,” under whatever allegorical garb. Only: Quot homines tot sententiae.
The “Christ principle,” the awakened and glorified Spirit of Truth, being universal and eternal, the true Christos cannot be monopolized by any one person, even though that person has chosen to arrogate to himself the title of the “Vicar of Christ,” or of the “Head” of that or another State-religion. The spirits of “Chrêst” and “Christ” cannot be confined to any creed or sect, only because that sect chooses to exalt itself above the heads of all other religions or sects. The name has been used in a manner so intolerant and dogmatic, especially in our day, that Christianity is now the religion of arrogance par excellence, a stepping-stone for ambition, a sinecure for wealth, sham and power; a convenient screen for hypocrisy. The noble epithet of old, the one that made Justin Martyr say that “from the mere name, which is imputed to us as a crime, we are the most excellent,” † is
* It is but fair to St. Paul to remark that this contradiction is surely due to later tampering with his Epistles. Paul was a Gnostic himself, i.e., a “Son of Wisdom,” and an Initiate into the true mysteries of Christos, though he may have thundered (or was made to appear to do so) against some Gnostic sects, of which, in his day, there were many. But his Christos was not Jesus of Nazareth, nor any living man, as shown so ably in Mr. Gerald Massey’s lecture, “Paul, the Gnostic Opponent of Peter.” He was an Initiate, a true “Master-Builder” or adept, as described in Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, pp. 90-91.
† ". . .. . . " (First Apology, iv).3
now degraded. The missionary prides himself with the so-called conversion of a heathen, who makes of Christianity ever a profession, but rarely a religion, a source of income from the missionary fund, and a pretext, since the blood of Jesus has washed them all by anticipation, for every petty crime, from drunkenness and lying up to theft. That same missionary, however, would not hesitate to publicly condemn the greatest saint to eternal perdition and hell fires if that holy man has only neglected to pass through the fruitless and meaningless form of baptism by water with accompaniment of lip prayers and vain ritualism.
We say “lip prayer” and “vain ritualism” knowingly. Few Christians among the laymen are aware even of the true meaning of the word Christ; and those of the clergy who happen to know it (for they are brought up in the idea that to study such subjects is sinful) keep the information secret from their parishioners. They demand blind, implicit faith, and forbid inquiry as the one unpardonable sin, though nothing of that which leads to the knowledge of the truth can be aught else than holy. For what is “Divine Wisdom,” or Gnosis, but the essential reality behind the evanescent appearances of objects in nature—the very soul of the manifested LOGOS? Why should men who strive to accomplish union with the one eternal and absolute Deity shudder at the idea of prying into its mysteries—however awful? Why, above all, should they use names and words the very meaning of which is a sealed mystery to them—a mere sound? Is it because an unscrupulous, power-seeking Establishment called a Church has cried “wolf” at every such attempt, and, denouncing it as “blasphemous,” has ever tried to kill the spirit of inquiry? But Theosophy, the “Divine Wisdom,’’ has never heeded that cry, and has the courage of its opinions. The world of sceptics and fanatics may call it, one—an empty “ism”—the other “Satanism”: they can never crush it. Theosophists have been called Atheists, haters of Christianity, the enemies of God and the gods. They are none of these. Therefore, they have agreed this day to publish a clear statement of their
ideas, and a profession of their faith—with regard to monotheism and Christianity, at any rate—and to place it before the impartial reader to judge them and their detractors on the merits of their respective faiths. No truth-loving mind would object to such honest and sincere dealing, nor will it be dazzled by any amount of new light thrown upon the subject, howsoever much startled otherwise. On the contrary, such minds will thank Lucifer, perhaps, while those of whom it was said “qui vult decipi decipiatur”—let them be deceived by all means!
The editors of this magazine propose to give a series of essays upon the hidden meaning or esotericism of the “New Testament.”4 No more than any other scripture of the great world-religions can the Bible be excluded from that class of allegorical and symbolical writings which have been, from the prehistoric ages, the receptacle of the secret teachings of the Mysteries of Initiation, under a more or less veiled form. The primitive writers of the Logia (now the Gospels) knew certainly the truth, and the whole truth; but their successors had, as certainly, only dogma and form, which lead to hierarchical power at heart, rather than the spirit of the so-called Christ’s teachings. Hence the gradual perversion. As Higgins truly said, in the Christologia of St. Paul and Justin Martyr, we have the esoteric religion of the Vatican, a refined Gnosticism for the cardinals, a more gross one for the people. It is the latter, only still more materialized and disfigured, which has reached us in our age.
The idea of writing this series was suggested to us by a certain letter published in our October issue, under the heading of “Are the Teachings Ascribed to Jesus Contradictory?”5 Nevertheless, this is no attempt to contradict or weaken, in any one instance, that which is said by Mr. Gerald Massey in his criticism. The contradictions pointed out by the learned lecturer and author are too patent to be explained away by any “Preacher” or Bible champion; for what he has said—only in more terse and vigorous language—is what was said of the
descendant of Joseph Pandira (or Panthera) in Isis Unveiled (Vol. II, p. 201), from the Talmudic Sepher Toldoth Jeshu. His belief with regard to the spurious character of Bible and New Testament, as now edited, is therefore, also the belief of the present writer. In view of the recent revision of the Bible, and its many thousands of mistakes, mistranslations, and interpolations (some confessed to, and others withheld), it would ill become an opponent to take any one to task for refusing to believe in the authorised texts.
But the editors would object to one short sentence in the criticism under notice. Mr. Gerald Massey writes:
What is the use of taking your “Bible oath” that this thing is true, if the Book you are sworn upon is a magazine of falsehoods already exploded, or just going off?
Surely it is not a symbologist of Mr. G. Massey’s powers and learning who would call the Book of the Dead, or the Vedas, or any other ancient Scripture, “a magazine of falsehoods.” * Why not regard in the same light as all the others, the Old, and, in a still greater measure, the New Testament?
All of these are “magazines of falsehoods,” if accepted in the exoteric dead-letter interpretations of their ancient,
* The extraordinary amount of information collated by that able Egyptologist shows that he has thoroughly mastered the secret of the production of the New Testament. Mr. Massey knows the difference between the spiritual, divine and purely metaphysical Christos, and the made-up “lay figure” of the carnalized Jesus. He knows also that the Christian canon, especially the Gospels, Acts and Epistles, are made up of fragments of Gnostic wisdom, the groundwork of which is pre-Christian and built on the MYSTERIES of Initiation. It is the mode of theological presentation and the interpolated passages—such as in Mark, xvi, from verse 9 to the end—which make of the Gospels a “magazine of (wicked) falsehoods,” and throw a slur on CHRISTOS. But the Occultist who discerns between the two currents (the true gnostic and the pseudo-Christian) knows that the passages free from theological tampering belong to archaic wisdom, and so does Mr. Gerald Massey, though his views differ from ours.
and especially their modern, theological glossarists. Each of these records has served in its turn as a means for securing power and of supporting the ambitious policy of an unscrupulous priesthood. All have promoted superstition, all made of their gods blood-thirsty and ever-damning Molochs and fiends, as all have made nations to serve the latter more than the God of Truth. But while cunningly-devised dogmas and intentional misinterpretations by scholiasts are beyond any doubt, “falsehoods already exploded,” the texts themselves are mines of universal truths. But for the world of the profane and sinners, at any rate—they were and still are like the mysterious characters traced by “the fingers of a man’s hand” on the wall of the Palace of Belshazzar: they need Daniel to read and understand them.
Nevertheless, TRUTH has not allowed herself to remain without witnesses. There are, besides great Initiates into scriptural symbology, a number of quiet students of the mysteries of archaic esotericism, of scholars proficient in Hebrew and other dead tongues, who have devoted their lives to unriddle the speeches of the Sphinx of the world-religions. And these students, though none of them has yet mastered all the “seven keys” that open the great problem, have discovered enough to be able to say: There was a universal mystery-language, in which all the World Scriptures were written, from Vedas to Revelation, from the Book of the Dead to the Acts. One of the keys, at any rate, the numerical and geometrical key * to the Mystery Speech is now rescued; an ancient language, truly, which up to this time remained hidden, but the evidences of which abundantly exist, as may be proven by undeniable mathematical demonstrations. If, indeed, the Bible is forced on the acceptance of the world in its
* “The key to the recovery of the language so far as the writer’s efforts have been concerned was found in the use, strange to say, of the discovered integral ratio in numbers of diameter to circumference of a circle,” by a geometrician. “This ratio is 6561 for diameter and 20612 for circumference.” (Cabalistic MSS.) 6 In one of the future numbers of Lucifer more details will be given, with the permission of the discoverer.—Ed.7
dead-letter meaning, in the face of the modern discoveries by Orientalists and the efforts of independent students and kabalists, it is easy to prophesy that even the present new generations of Europe and America will repudiate it, as all the materialists and logicians have done. For, the more one studies ancient religious texts, the more one finds that the ground-work of the New Testament is the same as the ground-work of the Vedas, of the Egyptian theogony, and the Mazdean allegories. The atonements by blood—blood-covenants and blood-transferences from gods to men, and by men, as sacrifices to the gods—are the first key-note struck in every cosmogony and theogony; soul, life and blood were synonymous words in every language, pre-eminently with the Jews; and that blood-giving was life-giving. Many a legend among (geographically) alien nations ascribes soul and consciousness in newly-created mankind to the blood of the god-creators Berosus records a Chaldean legend ascribing the creation of a new race of mankind to the admixture of dust with the blood that flowed from the severed head of the god Belus. “On this account it is that men are rational, and partake of divine knowledge,” explains Berosus.* And Lenormant has shown (The Beginnings of History, etc., p. 52, footnote) that “the Orphics . . . said that the immaterial part of man, his soul [his life], sprang from the blood of Dionysos Zagreus, whom these Titans had torn to pieces. . . .”8 Blood “revivifies the dead”—i.e., interpreted metaphysically, it gives conscious life and a soul to the man of matter or clay—such as the modern materialist is now. The mystic meaning of the injunction, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves” [John, vi, 53], can never be understood or appreciated at its true occult value, except by those who
* Cory’s Ancient Fragments, p. 59. So do Sanchoniathon and Hesiod, who both ascribe the vivifying of mankind to the spilt blood of the Gods. But blood and soul are one (nephesh), and the blood of the gods means here the informing soul.
hold some of the seven keys, and yet care little for St. Peter. * These words, whether said by Jesus of Nazareth, or Jeshua Ben-Panthera, are the words of an INITIATE. They have to be interpreted with the help of three keys—one opening the psychic door, the second that of physiology, and the third that which unlocks the mystery of terrestrial being, by unveiling the inseparable blending of theogony with anthropology. It is for revealing a few of these truths, with the sole view of saving intellectual mankind from the insanities of materialism and pessimism, that mystics have often been denounced as the servants of Antichrist, even by those Christians who are most worthy, sincerely pious and respectable men.
The first key that one has to use to unravel the dark secrets involved in the mystic name of Christ, is the key which unlocked the door to the ancient mysteries of the primitive Aryans, Sabeans and Egyptians. The Gnosis supplanted by the Christian scheme was universal. It was the echo of the primordial wisdom-religion which had once been the heirloom of the whole of mankind; and, therefore, one may truly say that, in its purely
* The existence of these seven keys is virtually admitted, owing to deep research in the Egyptological lore, by Mr. G. Massey again. While opposing the teachings of Esoteric Buddhism—unfortunately misunderstood by him in almost every respect—in his Lecture on “The Seven Souls of Man and their Culmination in Christ,” he writes (p. 21):—
“. . . this system of thought, this mode of representation, this septenary of powers, in various aspects, had been established in Egypt at least seven thousand years ago, as we learn from certain allusions to Atum [the god ‘in whom the fatherhood was individualised as the begetter of an eternal soul,’ the seventh principle of the Theosophists] found in the inscriptions lately discovered at Sakkarah. I say in various aspects because the Gnosis of the Mysteries was at least sevenfold in its nature—it was Elemental, Biological, Elementary (human), Stellar, Lunar, Solar, and Spiritual—and nothing short of a grasp of the whole system can possibly enable us to discriminate the various parts, distinguish one from the other, and determine the which and the what, as we try to follow the symbolical Seven through their several phases of character.” 9
metaphysical aspect, the Spirit of Christ (the divine logos) was present in humanity from the beginning of it. The author of the Clementine Homilies 10 is right; the mystery of Christos—now supposed to have been taught by Jesus of Nazareth—“was identical” with that which from the first had been communicated “to those who were worthy,” as quoted in another lecture.* We may learn from the Gospel according to Luke, that the “worthy” were those who had been initiated into the mysteries of the Gnosis, and who were “accounted worthy” to attain that “resurrection from the dead” in this life . . . . “those who knew that they could die no more, being equal to the angels as sons of God and sons of the Resurrection.” In other words, they were the great adepts of whatever religion; and the words apply to all those who, without being Initiates, strive and succeed, through personal efforts to live the life and to attain the naturally ensuing spiritual illumination in blending their personality—the “Son”—with the “Father,” their individual divine Spirit, the God within them. This “resurrection” can never be monopolized by the Christians, but is the spiritual birth-right of every human being endowed with soul and spirit, whatever his religion may be. Such individual is a Christ-man. On the other hand, those who choose to ignore the Christ (principle) within themselves, must die unregenerate heathens—baptism, sacraments, lip-prayers, and belief in dogmas notwithstanding.
In order to follow this explanation, the reader must bear in mind the real archaic meaning of the paronomasia involved in the two terms Chrêstos and Christos. The former means certainly more than merely “a good,” an “excellent man,” while the latter was never applied to any one living man, but to every Initiate at the moment of his second birth and resurrection.† He who finds Christos
* “Gnostic and Historic Christianity.” 11
† “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John, iii, 5). Here the birth from above, the spiritual birth, is meant, achieved at the supreme and last initiation.
within himself and recognises the latter as his only “way,” becomes a follower and an Apostle of Christ, though he may have never been baptised, nor even have met a “Christian,” still less call himself one.
H. P. B.
[Lucifer, Vol. I, No. 4, December, 1887, pp. 299-310]
The word Chrêstos existed ages before Christianity was heard of. It is found used, from the fifth century B.C., by Herodotus, by Aeschylus and other classical Greek writers, the meaning of it being applied to both things and persons.
Thus in Aeschylus (Choëphoroe, 901) we read of : (pythochresta), the “oracles delivered by a Pythian God” (Greek-Engl. Lex.) through a pythoness; 12 and Pythochrêstos is the nominative singular of an adjective derived from chraô, (Euripides, Ion, 1218).13 The later meanings coined freely from this primitive application, are numerous and varied. Pagan classics expressed more than one idea by the verb , “consulting an oracle”; for it also means “fated,” doomed by an oracle, in the sense of a sacrificial victim to its decree, or—“to the WORD”; as chrêstêrion is not only “the seat of an oracle” but also “an offering to, or for, the oracle.” * Chrêstês, , is one who expounds or explains oracles, “a prophet, a soothsayer”;† and chrêstêrios, is one
* The word is explained by Herodotus (7. 11. 7) 14 as that which an oracle declares, and is given by Plutarch (Lives: Nicias, xiv, b) as “fate,” “necessity.” Vide Herod., VII, 215; V, 109; and Sophocles, Philoctetes, 437.15
† See Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon.
who belongs to, or is in the service of, an oracle, a god, or a “Master”; * this Canon Farrar’s efforts notwithstanding †
All this is evidence that the terms Christ and Christians, spelt originally Chrêst and Chrêstians, ,‡ were
* Hence of a Guru, “a teacher,” and chela, a “disciple,” in their mutual relations.
† In his recent work, The Early Days of Christianity, Canon Farrar remarks:—“Ps. xxxiv, 8, , ‘sweet’ (Aug. dulcis, Vulg. suavis). Cf. Luke, v, 39; vi, 35. Some have supposed a pleasant play of words, founded on itacism, between chrêstos (sweet) and Christos (Christ) . . .” (Vol. I, p. 158, fnote). But there is nothing to suppose, since it began by a “play of words,” indeed. The name Christus was not “distorted into Chrêstos,” as the learned author would make his readers believe (I, p. 19), but it was the adjective and noun Chrêstos which became distorted into Christus, and applied to Jesus. In a footnote on the word “Chrêstian,” occurring in the First Epistle of Peter (iv, 16), in which in the revised later MSS. the word was changed into Christian, Canon Farrar remarks again, “. . . perhaps we should read the ignorant heathen distortion, Chrêstian . . .” (I, p. 171, fnote). Most decidedly we should; for the eloquent writer should remember his Master’s command to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. His dislike notwithstanding; Mr. Farrar is obliged to admit that the name Christian was first INVENTED, by the sneering, mocking Antiochians, as early as A.D. 44, but had not come into general use before the persecution by Nero. “Tacitus (Ann., xv, 44),” he says, “uses the word ‘Christianos’ with something of an apology. It is well known that in the N. T. it only occurs three times, and always involves a hostile sense (Acts, xi, 26; xxvi, 28), as it does in iv, 16” (Vol. I, p. 147, fnote). It was not Claudius alone who looked with alarm and suspicion on the Christians, so nicknamed in derision for their carnalizing a subjective principle or attribute, but all the pagan nations. For Tacitus, speaking of those whom the masses called “Christians,” describes them as a set of men detested for their enormities and crimes. No wonder, for history repeats itself. There are, no doubt, thousands of noble, sincere, and virtuous Christian-born men and women now. But we have only to look at the viciousness of Christian “heathen” converts; at the morality of those proselytes in India, whom the missionaries themselves decline to take into their service, to draw a parallel between the converts of 1,800 years ago, and the modern heathens “touched by grace.”
† Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Lactantius, Clemens Alexandrinus, and others spelt it in this way.
directly borrowed from the Temple terminology of the Pagans, and meant the same thing. The God of the Jews was now substituted for the Oracle and the other gods; the generic designation “Chrêstos” became a noun applied to one special personage, and new terms such as Chrêstianoi and Chrêstodoulos, “a follower or server of Chrêstos”—were coined out of the old material. This is shown by Philo Judaeus, a monotheist, assuredly, using already the same term for monotheistic purposes. For he speaks of (theochrêstos), “God-declared,” or one who is declared by god, and of (logia theochrêsta), “sayings delivered by God”—which proves that he wrote at a time (between the first century B.C., and the first A.D.) when neither Christians nor Chrêstians were yet known under these names, but still called themselves the Nazarenes. The notable difference between the two words, , “consulting or obtaining response from a god or oracle” ( being the Ionic earlier form of it), and (chrio), “to rub, to anoint” (from which the name Christos), have not prevented the ecclesiastical adoption and coinage from Philo’s expression of that other term , “anointed by God.” Thus the quiet substitution of the letter 4 for 0 for dogmatic purposes, was achieved in the easiest way, as we now see.
The secular meaning of Chrêstos runs throughout the classical Greek literature pari passu with that given to it in the mysteries. Demosthenes saying (De corona, 318 ), means by it simply “you nice fellow”; Plato (in Phaedrus, 264 C) has — “you are an excellent fellow to think. . . . . ” 16 But in the esoteric phraseology of the temples “chrêstos,” * a
* Vide Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon. Chrêstos is really one who is continually warned, advised, guided, whether by oracle or prophet. Mr. G. Massey is not correct in saying that “. . . . . The Gnostic form of the name Chrêst, or Chrêstos, denotes the Good God, not a human original,” for it denotes the latter, i.e., a good, holy man; but he is quite right when he adds that Chrêstianus signifies “sweetness, goodness, or benignity; an early version of Matthew Arnold’s ‘Sweetness and Light’.” “The Chrêstoi, as the
Word which, like the participle Chrêstheis, is formed under the same rule, and conveys the same sense—from the verb (“to consult a god”)—answers to what we would call an adept, also a high chela, a disciple. It is in this sense that it is used by Euripides (Ion, 1320) 18 and by Aeschylus (I C).19 This qualification was applied to those whom the god, oracle, or any superior had proclaimed this, that, or anything else. An instance may be given in this case.
The words used by Pindar (Odes: Pythia, IV, 6) 20 mean “the oracle proclaimed him the coloniser.” In this case the genius of the Greek language permits that the man so proclaimed should be called (Chrêstos). Hence this term was applied to every Disciple recognized by a Master, as also to every good man. Now, the Greek language affords strange etymologies. Christian theology has chosen and decreed that the name Christos should be taken as derived from (Chrisô), “anointed with scented unguents or oil.” But this word has several significances. It is used by Homer, certainly, as applied to the rubbing with oil of the body after bathing (Iliad, XXIII, 186; also in Odyssey, IV, 252) 21 as other ancient writers do. Yet the word (Christês) means rather a white-washer, while the word Chrêstês () means priest and prophet, a term far more applicable to Jesus, than that of the “Anointed,” since, as Nork shows on the authority of the Gospels, he never was anointed, either as king or priest. In short, there is a deep mystery underlying all this scheme, which, as I maintain, only a thorough knowledge of the Pagan
Good people, were pre-extant. Numerous Greek inscriptions show that the departed, the hero, the saintly one—that is, the ‘Good’—was styled Chrêstos, or the Christ, and from this meaning of the ‘ Good ‘ does Justin, the primal apologist, derive the Christian name. This identifies it with the Gnostic source, and with the ‘ Good God ‘ who revealed himself according to Marcion—that is, the Un-Nefer or Good-opener of the Egyptian theology.”—(Agnostic Annual.) 17
mysteries is capable of unveiling.* It is not w-hat the early Fathers, who had an object to achieve, may affirm or deny, that is the important point, but rather what is now the evidence for the real significance given to the two terms Chrêstos and Christos by the ancients in the pre-Christian ages. For the latter had no object to achieve, therefore nothing to conceal or disfigure, and their evidence is naturally the more reliable of the two. This evidence can be obtained by first studying the meaning given to these words by the classics, and then their correct significance searched for in mystic symbology.
Now Chrêstos, as already said, is a term applied in various senses. It qualifies both Deity and Man. It is used in the former sense in the Gospels, as in Luke (vi, 35), where it means “kind;” and “merciful,” , [and] in I Peter (ii, 3), where it is said, “Kind is the Lord,” . On the other hand, it is explained by Clemens Alexandrinus as simply meaning a good man: “All who believe in Chrêst (a good man) both are, and are called Chrêstians, that is good men” (Strom., lib. II, ch. iv).23 The reticence of Clemens, whose Christianity, as King truly remarks in his The Gnostics and Their Remains, was no more than a graft upon the congenial stock of his original Platonism, is quite natural. He was an Initiate, a new Platonist, before he became a Christian, which fact, however much he may
* Again I must bring forward what Mr. G. Massey says (whom I quote repeatedly because he has studied this subject so thoroughly and so conscientiously).
“My contention, or rather explanation,” he says, “is that the author of the Christian name is the Mummy-Christ of Egypt, called the Karest, which was a type of the immortal spirit in man, the Christ within (as Paul has it), the divine offspring incarnated, the Logos, the Word of Truth, the Makheru of Egypt. It did not originate as a mere type! The preserved mummy was the dead body of any one that was Karest, or mummified, to be kept by the living; and, through constant repetition, this became a type of the resurrection from (not of!) the dead.” 22 See the explanation of this further on.
have fallen off from his earlier views, could not exonerate him from his pledge of secrecy. And as a Theosophist and a Gnostic, one who knew, Clemens must have known that Christos was “the WAY,” while Chrêstos was the lonely traveller journeying on to reach the ultimate goal through that “Path,” which goal was Christos, the glorified Spirit of “TRUTH,” the reunion with which makes the soul (the Son) ONE with the (Father) Spirit. That Paul knew it, is certain, for his own expressions prove it. For what do the words , or, as given in the authorised translations, “of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you,” mean, but what we give in its esoteric rendering, i.e., “until you find the Christos within yourselves as your only ‘way’.” (vide Galatians, iv, 19.)
Thus Jesus, whether of Nazareth or Lüd, * was a Chrêstos, as undeniably as that he never was entitled to the appellation of Christos, during his life-time and before his last trial. It may have been as Higgins thinks, who surmises that “the first name of Jesus may have been , the second , and the third . The word was used before the H [cap. eta] was in use in the language.” 25 But Rev. R. Taylor (in his answer to Pye Smith, p. 113) is quoted saying “The complimentary epithet CHRÊST . . . . . signified nothing more than a good man.” 26
* Or Lydda. Reference is made here to the Rabbinical tradition in the Babylonian Gemara, called Sepher Toldoth Jeshu, about Jesus being the son of one named Pandira, and having lived a century earlier than the era called Christian, namely, during the reign of the Jewish king Alexander Jannaeus and his wife Salome, who reigned from the year 106 to 79 B.C. Accused by the Jews of having learned the magic art in Egypt, and of having stolen from the Holy of Holies the Incommunicable Name, Jehoshua (Jesus) was put to death by the Sanhedrin at Lüd. He was stoned and then crucified on a tree, on the eve of Passover. The narrative is ascribed to the Talmudistic authors of Sotah and Sanhedrin, p. 19, Book of Jechiel. See Isis Unveiled, II, 201; Arnobius [Adv. Gentes, I, 43]; 24 Éliphas Lévi’s La Science des Esprits [pp. 23-40], and “The Historical Jesus and Mythical Christ,” a lecture by G. Massey.
Here again a number of ancient writers may be brought forward to testify that Christos (or Chreistos, rather) was, along with == Hrêstos, an adjective applied to Gentiles before the Christian era. In Philopatris, 17, it is said: , i.e.,“If chrêstos chance to be even among the Gentiles,” etc.27
Tertullian denounces in the 3rd chapter of his Apologeticus the word “Christianus” as derived by “crafty interpretation”; * Dr. John Jones, on the other hand, letting out the information, corroborated by good sources, that Hrêstos () “was the usual name given [to Christ] by the Gnostics, and even by unbelievers,” assures us that the real name ought to be or Christos—thus repeating and supporting the original “pious fraud” of the early Fathers, a fraud which led to the carnalizing of the whole Christian system.† But I propose to show as much of the real meaning of all these terms as lies within my humble powers and knowledge. Christos, or the “Christ-condition,” was ever the synonym of the “Mahatmic-condition,” i.e., the union of the man with the divine principle in him. As Paul says (Ephes., iii, 17):
* “Christianus vero, quantum interpretatio est, de unctione deducitur. Sed et cum perperam Chrestianus pronunciatur a vobis (nam nec nominis certa est noticia penes vos), de suavitate vel benignitate compositum est.” 28 Canon Farrar makes a great effort to show such lapsus calami by various Fathers as the results of disgust and fear. “. . . . . There can be little doubt,” he says (in The Early Days of Christianity, Vol. I, p. 60), “. . . that the name ‘Christian’ . . . . . . was a nickname due to the wit of the Antiochenes . . . . . It is clear that the sacred writers avoided the name [Christians], because it was employed by their enemies . . . . . . . (Tac. Ann., xv, 44). It only became familiar when the virtues of Christians had shed lustre upon it . . . .” This is a very lame excuse, and a poor explanation to give for so eminent a thinker as Canon Farrar. As to the “virtues of Christians” ever shedding lustre upon the name, let us hope that the writer had in his mind’s eye neither Bishop Cyril of Alexandria, nor Eusebius, nor the Emperor Constantine, of murderous fame, nor yet the Popes Borgia and the Holy Inquisition.
† Quoted by G. Higgins (See Vol. I, p. 570). 29
"” “That you may find Christos in your inner man through knowledge,” not faith, as translated; for Pistis is “knowledge,” as will be shown further on.30
There is still another and far more weighty proof that the name Christos is pre-Christian. The evidence for it is found in the prophecy of the Erythraean Sibyl. We read in it .31 Read esoterically, this string of meaningless detached nouns, which has no sense to the profane, contains a real prophecy—only not referring to Jesus—and a verse from the mystic catechism of the Initiate. The prophecy relates to the coming down upon the Earth of the Spirit of Truth (Christos), after which advent—that has once more nought to do with Jesus—will begin the Golden Age; the verse refers to the necessity before reaching that blessed condition of inner (or subjective) theophany and theopneusty, to pass through the crucifixion of flesh or matter. Read exoterically, the words “Iêsous Chreistos theou huios sôtêr stauros,” meaning literally “Iesus, Christos, Son of God, Saviour, Cross,” are most excellent handles to hang a Christian prophecy on, but they are pagan, not Christian.
If called upon to explain the names IÊSOUS CHREISTOS, the answer is: study mythology, the so-called “fictions” of the ancients, and they will give you the key. Ponder over Apollo, the solar god, and the “Healer,” and the allegory about his son Janus (or Ion), his priest at Delphi, through whom alone could prayers reach the immortal gods, and his other son Asclepios, called the Sotêr, or Saviour. Here is a leaflet from esoteric history written in symbolical phraseology by the old Grecian poets.
The city of Chrisa * (now spelt Crisa), was built in memory of Kreousa (or Creüsa), daughter of King
* In the days of Homer, we find this city, once celebrated for its mysteries, the chief seat of Initiation, and the name of Chrêstos used as a title during the mysteries. It is mentioned in the Iliad, II, 520, as “Krisa” (). Dr. Clarke suspected its ruins under the
Erechtheus and mother of Janus (or Ion) by Apollo, in memory of the danger which Janus escaped.* We learn that Janus, abandoned by his mother in a grotto “to hide the shame of the virgin who bore a son,” was found by Hermes, who brought the infant to Delphi, nurtured him by his father’s sanctuary and oracle, where, under the name of Chrêsis () Janus became first a Chrêstês (a priest, sooth-sayer, or Initiate), and then very nearly a Chrêstêrion, “a sacrificial victim,” † ready to be poisoned by his own mother, who knew him not, and who, in her jealousy, mistook him, on the hazy intimation of the oracle, for a son of her husband. He pursued her to the very altar with the intention of killing her—when she was saved through the pythoness, who divulged to both the secret of their relationship. In memory of this narrow escape, Creüsa, the mother, built the city of Chrisa, or Krisa. Such is the allegory, and it symbolizes simply the trials of Initiation ‡
present site of` Krestona, a small town, or village rather, in Phocis, near the Crissaean Bay. (See E. D. Clarke, Travels in various Countries of Europe, Asia and Africa. 4th ed. Vol. VII, chap. vi, “Lebadéa to Delphi,” p. 239.)
* The root of (Chretos) and (Chrêstos) is one and the same: which means “consulting the oracle,” in one sense, but in another one “consecrated,” set apart, belonging to some temple, or oracle, or devoted to oracular services. On the other hand, the word means “obligation,” a “bond, duty,” or one who is under the obligation of pledges, or vows taken.
† The adjective was also used as an adjective before proper names as a compliment, as in Plato’s Theaetetus, 166 A,"" 32 (here Socrates is the Chrêstos); and also as a surname, as shown by Plutarch (Vitae: Phocion, ch. x, sec. 2), who wonders how such a rough and dull fellow as Phocion could be surnamed Chrêstos..33
‡ There are strange features, quite suggestive, for an Occultist, in the myth (if one) of Janus. Some make of him the personification of Kosmos, others, of Coelus (heaven), hence he is “two-faced” because of his two characters of spirit and matter; and he is not only “Janus Bifrons” (two-faced), but also Quadrifrons—the perfect square, the emblem of the Kabbalistic Deity. His temples were built with
Finding then that Janus, the solar God, and son of Apollo, the Sun, means the “Initiator” and the “Opener of the Gate of Light,” or secret wisdom of the mysteries; that he is born from Krisa (esoterically Chris), and that he was a Chrêstos through whom spoke the God; that he was finally Ion, the father of the Ionians, and, some say, an aspect of Asclepios, another son of Apollo, it is easy to get hold of the thread of Ariadne in this labyrinth of allegories. It is not the place here to prove side issues in mythology, however. It suffices to show the connection between the mythical characters of hoary antiquity and the later fables that marked the beginning of our era of civilization. Asclepios (Esculapius) was the divine physician, the “Healer,” the “Saviour,” , as he was called, a title also given to Janus of Delphi; and IASO, the daughter of Asclepios, was the goddess of healing, under whose patronage were all the candidates for initiation in her father’s temple, the novices or chrêstoi, called “the sons of Iaso.” (Vide for name, Plutus, 701, by Aristophanes.)
four equal sides, with a door and three windows on each side. Mythologists explain it as an emblem of the four seasons of the year, and three months in each season, and in all of the twelve months of the year. During the mysteries of Initiation, however, he became the Day-Sun and the Night-Sun. Hence he is often represented with the number 300 in one hand, and in the other 65, or the number of days of the Solar year. Now Chanoch (Kanoch and Enoch in the Bible) is, as may be shown on Kabalistic authority, whether son of Cain, son of Seth, or the son of Methuselah, one and the same personage. As Chanoch (according to Fuerst), “he is the Initiator, Instructor—of the astronomical circle and solar year,” as son of Methuselah, who is said to have lived 365 years and been taken to heaven alive, as the representative of the Sun (or god). (See Book of Enoch.) This patriarch has many features in common with Janus who, exoterically, is Ion but Iao kabalistically, or Jehovah, the “Lord God of Generation,” the mysterious Yodh, or ONE (a phallic number). For Janus or Ion is also Consivium, a conserendo,34 because he presided over generation. He is shown giving hospitality to Saturn (Chronos, time), and is the Initiator of the year, or time divided into 365.
Now, if we remember, firstly, that the names of IESUS in their different forms, such as Iasius, Iasion, Jason and Iasus, were very common in ancient Greece, especially among the descendants of Jasius (the Jasides), as also the number of the “sons of Iaso,” the Mystoï and future Epoptai (Initiates), why should not the enigmatical words in the Sibylline Book be read in their legitimate light, one that had nought to do with a Christian prophecy? The secret doctrine teaches that the first two words mean simply “son of Iaso, a Chrêstos,” or servant of the oracular God. Indeed IASÔ () is in the Ionic dialect IÊSÔ ( ), and the expression (Iêsous)—in its archaic form, [— simply means “the son of Iaso or Iêsô,” the “healer,” i.e., . No objection, assuredly, can be taken to such rendering, or to the name being written Iêsô instead of Iaso, since the first form is Attic, therefore incorrect, for the name is Ionic. “Iêsô” from which “ho Iêsous” (son of Iêsô)—i.e., a genitive, not a nominative—is Ionic and cannot be anything else, if the age of the Sibylline book is taken into consideration. Nor could the Sibyl of Erythrae have spelt it originally otherwise, as Erythrae, her very residence, was a town in Ionia (from Ion or Janus) opposite Chios; and that the Ionic preceded the Attic form.
Leaving aside in this case the mystical signification of the now famous Sibylline sentence, and giving its literal interpretation only, on the authority of all that has been said, the hitherto mysterious words would stand: “Son of IASÔ, CHRÊSTOS (the priest or servant) (of the) SON of (the) GOD (Apollo) the SAVIOUR from the CROSS”—(of flesh or matter).* Truly, Christianity can never hope
* Stauros became the cross, the instrument of crucifixion, far later, when it began to be represented as a Christian symbol and with the Greek letter T, the Tau (Lucian, Judicium Vocalium).35 Its primitive meaning was phallic, a symbol for the male and female elements; the great serpent of temptation, the body which had to be killed or subdued by the dragon of wisdom, the seven-vowelled solar Chnouphis or Spirit of Christos of the Gnostics, or, again, Apollo killing Python.
RUINS OF THE TEMPLE OF THE SIBYL
Tivoli (anc. Tibur), Italy.
to be understood until every trace of dogmatism is swept away from it, and the dead letter sacrificed to the eternal Spirit of Truth, which is Horus, which is Crishna, which is Buddha, as much as it is the Gnostic Christos and the true Christ of Paul.
In the Travels of Dr. E. D. Clarke, the author describes a heathen monument found by him.
. . . . . within the sanctuary, behind the altar, we saw the fragments of a marble Béma, or Cathedra; upon the back of which we found the following inscription, exactly as it is here written, no part of it having been injured or obliterated; affording, perhaps, the only instance known of a sepulchral inscription upon a monument of this remarkable form:
This inscription ran thus ; or, “Chrêstos, the first, a Thessalonian from Larissa, Pelasgiot, 18 years old Hêro,” Chrêstos the first (protou), why?36 Read literally the inscription has little sense; interpreted esoterically, it is pregnant with meaning. As Dr. Clarke shows, the word Chrêstos is found on the epitaphs of almost all the ancient Larissians; but it is preceded always by a proper name. Had the adjective Chrêstos stood after a name, it would only mean “a good man,” a posthumous compliment paid to the defunct, the same being often found on our own modern tumular epitaphs. But the word Chrêstos, standing alone and the other word, “protou,” following it, gives it quite another meaning, especially when the deceased is specified as a “hêro.” To the mind of an Occultist, the defunct was a neophyte, who had died in his 18th year of neophytism, * and stood in the first or highest class of discipleship, having passed his preliminary
* Even to this day in India, the candidate loses his name and, as also in Masonry, his age (monks and nuns also changing their Christian names at their taking the order or veil), and begins counting his years from the day he is accepted a chela and enters upon the cycle of initiations. Thus Saul was “a child of one year,” when he began to reign, though a grown-up adult. See I Samuel, xiii, 1, and Hebrew scrolls, about his initiation by Samuel.
trials as a “hêro”; but had died before the last mystery, which would have made of him a “Christos,” an anointed, one with the spirit of Christos or Truth in him. He had not reached the end of the “Way,” though he had heroically conquered the horrors of the preliminary theurgic trials.
We are quite warranted in reading it in this manner, after learning the place where Dr. Clarke discovered the tablet, which was, as Godfrey Higgins remarks, there, “where I should expect to find it; at Delphi, in the temple of the God called IE,” who, with the Christians became Jah, or Jehovah, one with Christ Jesus. It was at the foot of Parnassus, in a gymnasium, “adjoining to the Castalian fountain which flowed by the ruins of CRISSA, probably the town called Crestona, into the Crissaean Bay.”37 And again: “In the first part of its course from the [Castalian] fountain, it [the river] separates the remains of the GYMNASIUM, where the Monastery of Panaja now stands, from the village of Castri, as it probably did from the old city of Delphi. . . .”38—the seat of the great oracle of Apollo, of the town of Krisa (or Kreousa) the great centre of initiations and of the Chrêstoi of the decrees of the oracles, where the candidates for the last labour were anointed with sacred oils * before being plunged into their last trance of forty-nine hours’ duration (as to this day, in the East), from which they arose as glorified adepts or Christoi.
. . . . . in the Clementine Recognitions it is announced that the father anointed his son with “oil that was taken from the wood of the Tree of Life, and from this anointing he is called the Christ”; whence the Christian name. This again is Egyptian. Horus was the anointed son of the father. The mode of anointing him from the Tree of Life, portrayed on the monuments, is very primitive indeed; and the Horus of Egypt was continued in the Gnostic Christ, who is reproduced upon the Gnostic stones as the intermediate link betwixt the
* Demosthenes, De Corona, 259, declares that the candidates for initiation into the Greek mysteries were anointed with oil. So they are now in India, even in the initiation into the Yogi mysteries—various ointments or unguents being used.
Karest and the Christ, also as the Horus of both sexes. (“The Name and Nature of the Christ.”—GERALD MASSEY.) 39
Mr. G. Massey connects the Greek Christos or Christ with the Egyptian Karest, the “mummy type of immortality,” and proves it very thoroughly. He begins by saying that in Egyptian the “Word of Truth” is Ma-Kheru, and that it is the title of Horus. Thus, as he shows, Horus preceded Christ as the Messenger of the Word of Truth, the Logos or the manifestor of the divine nature in humanity. In the same paper he writes as follows:
The Gnosis had three phases—astronomical, spiritual, and doctrinal, and all three can be identified with the Christ of Egypt. In the astronomical phase the constellation Orion is called the Sahu, or mummy. The soul of Horus was represented as rising from the dead and ascending to heaven in the stars of Orion. The mummy-image was the preserved one, the saved, therefore a portrait of the Saviour, as a type of immortality. This was the figure of a dead man, which, as Plutarch and Herodotus tell us, was carried round at an Egyptian banquet when the guests were invited to look on it and eat and drink and be happy, because, when they died, they would become what the image symbolised—that is, they also would be immortal! This type of immortality was called the Karest, or Karust, and it was the Egyptian Christ. To Kares means to embalm, anoint, to make the Mummy as a type of the eternal; and, when made, it was called the Karest; so that this is not merely a matter of name for name, the Karest for the Christ.
We are able to get beyond a Greek word signifying the anointed, or greased; we can here identify a determinative in the domain of things.
This image of the Karest was bound up in a woof without a seam, the proper vesture of the Christ! No matter what the length of the bandage might be, and some of the mummy-swathes have been unwound that were 1,000 yards in length, the woof was from beginning to end without a seam. . . . . . . Now, this seamless robe of the Egyptian Karest is a very tell-tale type of the mystical Christ, who becomes historic in the Gospels as the wearer of a coat or chiton, made without a seam, which neither the Greek nor the Hebrew fully explains, but which is explained by the Egyptian Ketu for the woof, and by the seamless robe or swathing without seam that was made for eternal wear and worn by the Mummy-Christ, the image of immortality in the tombs of Egypt. . . . . .
. . . . Further, Jesus is put to death in accordance with the instructions given for making the Karest. Not a bone must be broken. The true Karest must be perfect in every member. “This is he who comes out sound; whom men know not is his name.”
In the Gospels Jesus rises again with every member sound, like the perfectly-preserved Karest, to demonstrate the physical resurrection of the mummy. But, in the Egyptian original, the mummy transforms. The deceased says: “I am spiritualised. I am become a soul. I rise as a God.” This transformation into the spiritual image, the Ka, has been omitted in the Gospel, and, as a result, the Christian Christ is neither physical nor spiritual; the Gnostic types having been continued without the Gnosis. [pp. 9-10.]
. . . . This spelling of the name as Chrest or Chrést in Latin is supremely important, because it enables me to prove the identity with the Egyptian Karest or Karust, the name of the Christ as the embalmed mummy, which was the image of the resurrection in Egyptian tombs, the type of immortality, the likeness of the Horus, who rose again and made the pathway out of the sepulchre for those who were his disciples or followers. Moreover, this type of the Karest or Mummy-Christ is reproduced in the Catacombs of Rome. No representation of the supposed historic resurrection of Jesus has been found on any of the early Christian monuments. But, instead of the missing fact, we find the scene of Lazarus being raised from the dead. This is depicted over and over again as the typical resurrection where there is no real one! The scene is not exactly in accordance with the rising from the grave in the Gospel. It is purely Egyptian, and Lazarus is an Egyptian mummy! Thus Lazarus, in each representation, is the mummy-type of the resurrection; Lazarus is the Karest, who was the Egyptian Christ, and who is reproduced by Gnostic art in the Catacombs of Rome as a form of the Gnostic Christ, who was not and could not become an historical character.
Further, as the thing is Egyptian, it is probable that the name is derived from Egyptian. If so, Laz (equal to Ras) means to be raised up, while aru is the mummy by name. With the Greek terminal s this becomes Lazarus. In the course of humanizing the mythos the typical representation of the resurrection found in the tombs of Rome and Egypt would become the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. This Karest type of the Christ in the Catacombs is not limited to Lazarus. [pp. 12-13.]
By means of the Karest type the Christ and the Christians can both be traced in the ancient tombs of Egypt. The mummy was made in this likeness of the Christ. It was the Christ by name, identical with the Chrestoi of the Greek Inscriptions. Thus the honoured dead, who rose again as the followers of Horus-Makheru, the Word of Truth, are found to be the Christians , on
the Egyptian monuments. Ma-Kheru is the term that is always applied to the faithful ones who win the crown of life and wear it at the festival which is designated “Come thou to me”—an invitation by Horus the Justifier to those who are the “Blessed ones of his father, Osiris”—they who, having made the Word of Truth the law of their lives, were the Justified=, the Christians, on earth. [p. 12.]
In a fifth century representation of the Madonna and child from the cemetery of St. Valentinus, the new-born babe lying in a box or crib is also the Karest, or mummy-type, further identified as the divine babe of the solar mythos by the disk of the sun and the cross of the equinox at the back of the infant’s head. Thus the child-Christ of the historic faith is born, and visibly begins in the Karest image of the dead Christ, which was the mummy-type of the resurrection in Egypt for thousands of years before the Christian era. This doubles the proof that the Christ of the Christian Catacombs was a survival of the Karest of Egypt.
Moreover, as Didron shows, there was a portrait of the Christ who had his body painted red!* It was a popular tradition that the Christ was of a red complexion. This, too, may be explained as a survival of the Mummy-Christ. It was an aboriginal mode of rendering things tapu by colouring them red. The dead corpse was coated with red ochre—a very primitive mode of making the mummy, or the anointed one. Thus the God Ptah tells Rameses II that he has “re-fashioned his flesh in vermilion.” Besides which, the Initiated in the Greek mysteries were daubed or anointed with clay (Demosthenes, De corona, 313). This anointing with red ochre is called Kura by the Maori, who likewise made the Karest or Christ.
We see the mummy-image continued on another line of descent when we learn that, among other pernicious heresies and deadly sins with which the Knights Templars were charged, was the impious custom of adoring a Mummy that had red eyes. Their Idol, called Baphomet, is also thought to have been a mummy. . . . . . . . . The Mummy was the earliest human image of the Christ.
I do not doubt that the ancient Roman festivals called the Charistia were connected in their origin with the Karest and the Eucharist as a celebration in honour of the manes of their departed kith and kin, for whose sakes they became reconciled at the friendly gathering once a year.
It is here, then, we have to seek the essential connection between the Egyptian Christ, the Christians, and the Roman Catacombs.
* Because he is cabalistically the new Adam, the “celestial man,” and Adam was made of red earth. [Footnote by H. P. B.]
These Christian Mysteries, ignorantly explained to be inexplicable, can be explained by Gnosticism and Mythology, but in no other way. It is not that they are insoluble by human reason, as their incompetent, howsoever highly paid, expounders now-a-days pretend. That is but the puerile apology of the unqualified for their own helpless ignorance—they who have never been in possession of the gnosis or science of the Mysteries by which alone these things can be explained in accordance with their natural genesis. In Egypt only can we read the matter to the root, or identify the origin of the Christ by nature and by name, to find at last that the Christ was the Mummy-type, and that our Christology is mummified mythology. [pp. 13-14.] (Agnostic Annual.) 40
The above is an explanation on purely scientific evidence, but, perhaps, a little too materialistic, just because of that science, notwithstanding that the author is a well-known Spiritualist. Occultism pure and simple finds the same mystic elements in the Christian as in other faiths, though it rejects as emphatically its dogmatic and historic character. It is a fact that in the terms (See Acts, v, 42; ix, 34; I Cor., iii, 11, etc.), the article Ò designating “Christos,” proves it simply a surname, like that of Phocion, who is referred to as (Plutarch, Vitae).41 Still, the personage (Jesus) so addressed—whenever he lived—was a great Initiate and a “Son of God.”
For, we say it again, the surname Christos is based on, and the story of the Crucifixion derived from, events that preceded it. Everywhere, in India as in Egypt, in Chaldea as in Greece, all these legends were built upon one and the same primitive type; the voluntary sacrifice of the logoi—the rays of the one LOGOS, the direct manifested emanation from the One ever-concealed Infinite and Unknown—whose rays incarnated in mankind. They consented to fall into matter, and are, therefore, called the “Fallen Ones.” This is one of those great mysteries which can hardly be touched upon in a magazine article, but shall be noticed in a separate work of mine, The Secret Doctrine, very fully.
Having said so much, a few more facts may be added to the etymology of the two terms. being the verbal adjective in Greek of , “to be rubbed on,”
as ointment or salve, and the word being finally brought to mean “the Anointed One,” in Christian theology; and Kri, in Sanskrit, the first syllable in the name of Krishna, meaning “to pour out, or rub over, to cover with,” * among many other things, this may lead one as easily to make of Krishna, “the anointed, one.” Christian philologists try to limit the meaning of Krishna’s name to its derivation from Krish, “black”; but if the analogy and comparison of the Sanskrit with the Greek roots contained in the names of Chrêstos, Christos, and Chrishna, are analyzed more carefully, it will be found that they are all of the same origin.†
In “Böckh’s Christian Inscriptions, numbering 1,287, there is no single instance of an earlier date than the third century wherein the name is not written Chrêst or Chreist. [“The Name and Nature of the Christ,” by G. Massey, The Agnostic Annual.] 42
Yet none of these names can be unriddled, as some Orientalists imagine, merely with the help of astronomy and the knowledge of zodiacal signs in conjunction with phallic symbols. Because, while the sidereal symbols of the mystic characters or personifications in Purânas or Bible, fulfil astronomical functions, their spiritual anti-types rule invisibly, but very effectively, the world. They exist as abstractions on the higher plane, as manifested
* Hence the memorialising of the doctrine during the MYSTERIES. The pure monad, the “god” incarnating and becoming Chrêstos, or man, on his trial of life, a series of those trials led him to the crucifixion of flesh, and finally into the Christos condition.
† On the best authority the derivation of the Greek Christos is shown from the Sanskrit root ghrish, “rub”; thus: gharsh-â-mi-to, “to rub,” and ghrish-˜a-s, “flayed, sore.” Moreover, Krish, which means in one sense to plough and make furrows, means also to cause pain, “ to torture, to torment,” and ghrish-˜a-s, “rubbing”—all these terms relating to Chrêstos and Christos conditions. One has to die in Chrêstos, i.e., kill one’s personality and its passions, to blot out every idea of separateness from one’s “Father,” the Divine Spirit in man; to become one with the eternal and absolute Life and Light (SAT) before one can reach the glorious state of Christos, the regenerated man, the man in spiritual freedom.
ideas on the astral, and become males, females and androgyne powers on this lower plane of ours. Scorpio, as Chrêstos-Meshiac, and Leo, as Christos-Messiah, antedated by far the Christian era in the trials and triumphs of Initiation during the Mysteries, Scorpio standing as symbol for the latter, Leo for the glorified triumph of the “sun” of truth. The mystic philosophy of the allegory is well understood by the author of The Source of Measures, who writes:
. . . . . One [Chrêstos], as causing himself to go down into the pit [of Scorpio, or incarnation in the womb], for the salvation of the world; this was the sun shorn of his golden rays, and crowned with blackened * ones (symbolizing this loss), as the thorns: The other was the triumphant Messiah, mounted up to the summit of the arch of heaven, personated as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. In both instances he had the cross; once in humiliation (or the son of copulation), and once holding it in his control, as the law of creation, He being Jehovah. . . .43
in the scheme of the authors of dogmatic Christianity. For, as the same author shows further, John, Jesus and even Apollonius of Tyana “were but epitomizers of the
* The Orientalists and Theologians are invited to read over and study the allegory of Viśwakarman, the “ Omnificent,” the Vedic God, the architect of the world, who sacrificed himself to himself or the world, after having offered up all worlds, which are himself, in a “Sarva Medha” (general sacrifice)—and ponder over it. In the Purânic allegory, his daughter Yoga-siddha, “Spiritual consciousness,” the wife of Surya, the Sun, complains to him of the too great effulgence of her husband; and Viśwakarman, in his character of Takshaka, “wood cutter and carpenter,” placing the Sun upon his lathe, cuts away a part of his brightness. Surya looks, after this, crowned with dark thorns instead of rays, and becomes Vikarttana (“shorn of his rays”). All these names are terms which were used by the candidates when going through the trials of Initiation. The Hierophant-Initiator personated Viśwakarman, the father, and the general artificer of the gods (the adepts on earth), and the candidate—Surya, the Sun, who had to kill all his fiery passions and wear the crown of thorns while crucifying his body before he could rise and be re-born into a new life as the glorified “Light of the World”—Christos. No Orientalist seems to have ever perceived the suggestive analogy, let alone to apply it!
history of the same sun, under differences of aspect or condition.” * 44 The explanation, he says,
is simple enough, when it is considered that the names Jesus, Hebrew : *, and Apollonius, or Apollo, are alike names of the sun in the heavens; and necessarily the history of the one, as to his travels through the signs, with the personifications of his sufferings, triumphs, and miracles, could be but the history of the other, where there was a wide-spread, common method of describing those travels by personification.45
The fact that the Secular Church was founded by Constantine, and that it was a part of hid decree “that the venerable day of the Sun should be the day set apart for the worship of Jesus Christ as Sun-day,” shows that they knew well in that “Secular Church” that the allegory rested “upon an astronomical basis,” as the author affirms.46 Yet, again, the circumstance that both Purânas and Bible are full of solar and astronomical allegories, does not militate against that other fact that all such scriptures in addition to these two are closed books to the scholars “having authority.” (!) Nor does it affect that other truth, that all those systems are not the work of mortal man, nor are they his invention in their origin and basis.
Thus “Christos,” under whatever name, means more than Karest, a mummy, or even the “anointed” and the elect of theology. Both of the latter apply to Chrêstos, the man of sorrow and tribulation, in his physical, mental, and psychic conditions, and both relate to the Hebrew Meshiach (from whence Messiah) condition, as the word is
* The author of The Source of Measures thinks that this “serves to explain why it has been that the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, by Philostratus, has been so persistently kept back from translation and from popular reading. Those who have studied it in the original have been forced to the comment that either the Life of Apollonius has been taken from the New Testament, or that the New Testament narratives have been taken from the Life of Apollonius, because of the manifest sameness of the means of construction of the narratives” (p. 260).
etymologised * by Fuerst, and the author of The Source of Measures, p. 255. Christos is the crown of glory of the suffering Chrêstos of the mysteries, as of the candidate to the final UNION, of whatever race and creed. To the true follower of the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, it matters little, therefore, whether Jesus, as man and Chrêstos, lived during the era called Christian, or before, or never lived at all. The Adepts, who lived and died for humanity, have existed in many and all the ages, and many were the good and holy men in antiquity who bore the surname or title of Chrêstos before Jesus of Nazareth, otherwise Jesus (or Jehoshua) Ben Pandira was born.† Therefore, one may be permitted to conclude, with good reason,
* “The word : shiach, is in Hebrew the same word as a verbal, signifying to go down into the pit. As a noun, it also means pit, place of thorns; also, the complaining word. The hifil participle of this word is ( * : /, or Meshiach, or the Greek Messias, or Christ, and means ‘he who causes to go down into the pit’” 47 (or hell, in dogmatism). In esoteric philosophy, this going down into the pit has the most mysterious significance. The Spirit “Christos,” or rather the “Logos” (read Logoi), is said to “go down into the pit,” when it incarnates in flesh, is born as a man. After having robbed the Elohim (or gods) of their secret, the pro-creating “fire of life,” the Angels of Light are shown cast down into the pit or abyss of matter, called Hell, or the bottomless pit, by the kind theologians. This, in Cosmogony and Anthropology. During the Mysteries, however, it is the Chrêstos, neophyte (as man), etc., who had to descend into the crypts of Initiation and trials; and finally, during the hours of which the new Initiate has the last and final mysteries of being divulged to hi. Hades, Scheol, or Patala, are all one. The same takes place in the East now, as took place 2,000 years ago in the West, during the MYSTERIES.
† Several classics bear testimony to this fact. Lucian (Iupp. Conf., 16) says surnamed) .48 In Phaedrus, 266 E, it is written, “you mean Theodorus the Chrêstos.” . Plutarch shows the same; and ––Chrêstos, is the proper name (see the word in Thesaur. Steph.)49 of an orator and disciple of Herodes Atticus.
that Jesus, or Jehoshua, was like Socrates, like Phocion, like Theodorus, and so many others surnamed Chrêstos, i.e., the “good, and excellent,” the gentle, and the holy Initiate, who showed the “way” to the Christos condition, and thus became himself “the Way” in the hearts of his enthusiastic admirers. The Christians, as all the “Hero-worshippers,” have tried to throw into the back-ground all the other Chrêstoi, who have appeared to them as rivals of their Man-God. But if the voice of the MYSTERIES has become silent for many ages in the West, if Eleusis, Memphis, Antium, Delphi, and Crêsa have long ago been made the tombs of a Science once as colossal in the West as it is yet in the East, there are successors now being prepared for them. We are in 1887 and the nineteenth century is close to its death. The twentieth century has strange developments in store for humanity, and may even be the last of its name
[Lucifer, Vol. I, No. 6, February, 1888, pp. 490-496]
No one can be regarded as a Christian unless he professes or is supposed to profess, belief in Jesus, by baptism, and in salvation, “through the blood of Christ.” To be considered a good Christian, one has, as a conditio sine qua non, to show faith in the dogmas expounded by the Church and to profess them; after which a man is at liberty to lead a private and public life on principles diametrically opposite to those expressed in the Sermon on the Mount. The chief point and that which is demanded of him is, that he should have––or pretend to have––a blind faith in, and veneration for, the ecclesiastical teachings of his special Church.
“Faith is the key of Christendom,”
saith Chaucer, and the penalty for lacking it is as clearly stated as words can make it, in St. Mark’s Gospel, Chapter xvi, verse 16th: “He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
It troubles the Church very little that the most careful search for these words in the oldest texts during the last centuries, remained fruitless; or, that the recent revision of the Bible led to a unanimous conviction in the truth-seeking and truth-loving scholars employed in that task, that no such un-Christ-like sentence was to be found, except in some of the latest, fraudulent texts. The good Christian people has assimilated the consoling words, and they had become the very pith and marrow of their charitable souls. To take away the hope of eternal damnation, for all others except themselves, from these chosen vessels of the God of Israel, was like taking their very life. The truth-loving and God-fearing revisers got scared; they left the forged passage (an interpolation of eleven verses, from the 9th to the 20th), and satisfied their consciences with a foot-note remark of a very equivocal character, one that would grace the work and do honour to the diplomatic faculties of the craftiest Jesuits. It tells the “believer” that:––
The two oldest Greek manuscripts, and some other authorities omit from ver. 9 to the end. Some other authorities have a different ending to the Gospel*
––and explains no furhter.
But the two “oldest Greek MSS.” omit the verses nolens volens, as these have never existed. And the learned and truth-loving revisers know this better than any of us do; yet the wicked falsehood is printed at the very seat of Protestant Divinity, and it is allowed to go on, glaring into the faces of coming generations of students of theology and, hence, intot hose of their future parishioners. Neither can be, nor are they deceived by it, yet both pretend belief in the authenticity of the cruel words worthy of a
* Vide “The Gospel according to St. Mark,” in the revised edition printed for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, 1881.
theological Satan. And this Satan-Moloch is their own God of infinite mercy and justice in Heaven, and the incarnate symbol of love and charity on Earth––blended in one!
Truly mysterious are you paradoxical ways, oh––Churches of Christ!
I have no intention of repeating here stale arguments and logical exposés of the whole theological scheme; for all this has been done, over and over again, and in a most excellent way, by the ablest “Infidels” of England and America. But I may briefly repeat a prophecy which is a self-evident result of the present state of men’s minds in Christendom. Belief in the Bible literally, and in a carnalised Christ, will not last a quarter of a century longer. The Churches will have to part with their cherished dogmas, or the 20th century will witness the downfall and ruin of all Christendom, and with it, belief even in a Christos, as pure Spirit. The very name has now become obnoxious, and theological Christianity must die out, never to resurrect again in its present form. This, in itself, would be the happiest solution of all, were there no danger from the natural reaction which is sure to follow: crass materialism will be the consequence and the result of centuries of blind faith, unless the loss of old ideals is replaced by other ideals, unassailable, because universal, and built on the rock of eternal truths instead of the shifting sands of human fancy. Pure immateriality must replace, in the end, the terrible anthropomorphism of those ideals in the conceptions of our modern dogmatists. Otherwise, why should Christian dogmas––the perfect counterpart of those belonging to other exoteric and pagan religions––claim any superiority? The bodies of all these were built upon the same astronomical and physiological (or phallic) symbols. Astrologically, every religious dogma the world over, may be traced to, and located in, the Zodiacal signs and the Sun. And so long as the science of comparative symbology or any theology has only two keys to open the mysteries of religious dogmas––and these two only very partially mastered, how can a line demarcation be drawn, or any difference made between the religious of say, Chrishna
and Christ. between salvation through the blood of the “first-born primeval male” of one faith, and that of the “only begotten Son” of the other, far younger, religion?
Study the Vedas: read even the superficial, often disfigured writings of our great Orientalists, and thing over what you will have learnt. Behold Brahmans, Egyptian Hierophants, and Chaldean Magi, teaching several thousand years before our era that the gods themselves had been only mortals (in previous births) until they won their immortality by offering their blood to their Supreme God or chief. The Book of the Dead teaches that mortal man “became one with the gods through an interflow of a common life in the common blood of the two.” Mortals gave the blood of their first-born sons in sacrifice to the Gods. In his Hinduism, p. 36, Professor Monier Williams, translating from the Taittiriya Brâhmana, writes:––”By means of the sacrifice the gods obtained heaven.” And in the Tandya Brâhmana:––”The lord of creatures (prajâ-pati) offered himself a sacrifice for the gods.” . . . And again in the Satapatha Brâhmana:––”He who, knowing this, sacrifices with the Purusha-medha, or the sacrifice of the primeval male, becomes everything.”
Whenever I hear the Vedic rites discussed and called “disgusting human sacrifices,” and cannibalism (sic), I feel always inclined to ask, where’s the difference? Yet there is one, in fact; for while Christians are compelled to accept the allegorical (though, when understood, highly philosophical) drama of the New Testament Crucifixion, as that of Abraham and Isaac literally,* Brahmanism––its philosophical schools at any rate––teaches its adherents, that his (pagan) sacrifice of the “primeval male” is a purely allegorical and philosophical symbol. Read in their dead-letter meaning, the four gospels are simply slightly altered versions of what the
* Vide “The Soldier’s Daughter,” in this number, by the Rev. T. G. Headley, and notice the desperate protest of this true Christian, against the literal acceptance of the “blood sacrifices,” “Atonement by blood,” etc., in the Church of England. The reaction begins: another sign of the time.50
Church proclaims as Satanic plagiarism (by anticipation) of Christian dogmas in Pagan religions. Materialism has a perfect right to find in all of them the same sensual worship and “solar” myths as anywhere else. Analysed and criticised superficially and on its dead-letter face, Professor Joy (Man before Metals, pp. 189-190) finding in the Swastika, the crux ansata, and the cross pure and simples, mere sexual symbols––is justified in speaking as he does Seeing that
The father of the sacred fire [in India] bore the name of Twashtri, that is the divine carpenter who mad the Swastika and the Pramanthâ, whose friction produced the divine child Agni (in Latin Ignis); that his mother was named Maya; he himself, styled Akta (anointed, ) after the priests had poured upon his head the spirituous soma and on his body butter purified by sacrifice. . . .
seeing all this he has a full right to remark that:
. . . . . the close resemblance which exists between certain ceremonies of the worship of Agni and certain rites of the Catholic religion may be explained by their common origin, at least up to a certain point. Agni in the condition of Akta (anointed) is suggestive of Christ; Maya, Mary, his mother; Twashtri, St. Joseph, the carpenter of the Bible.
Has the professor of the Science Faculty of Toulouse explained anything by drawing attention to that which anyone can see? Of course not. But if, in his ignorance of the esoteric meaning of the allegory he has added nothing to human knowledge, he has on the other hand destroyed faith in many of his pupils in both the “divine origin” of Christianity and its Church and helped to increase the number of Materialists. For surely, no man, once he devotes himself to such comparative studies, can regard the religion of the West in any light but that of a pale and enfeebled copy of older and nobler philosophies.
The origin of all religions––Judaeo-Christianity included––is to be found in a few primeval truths, not one of which can be explained apart from all the others, as each is a complement of the rest in some one detail. And they are all, more or less, broken rays of the same Sun of truth, and their beginnings have to be sought in the archaic records of the Wisdom-Religion. Without the
light of the latter, the greatest scholars can see but the skeletons thereof covered with masks of fancy, and based mostly on personified Zodiacal signs.
A thick film of allegory and blinds, the “dark sayings” of fiction and parable, thus covers the original esoteric texts from which the New Testament––as now known––was compiled. Whence, then, the Gospels, the life of Jesus of Nazareth? Has it not been repeatedly stated that no human, mortal brain could have invented the life of the Jewish Reformer, followed by the awful drama on Calvary? We say on the authority of the esoteric Eastern School, that all this came from the Gnostics, as far as the name Christos and the astronomico-mystical allegories are concerned, and from the writings of the ancient Tanaïm as regards the Kabalistic connection of Jesus or Joshua, with the Biblical personifications. One of these is the mystic esoteric name of Jehovah––not the present fanciful God of the profane Jews ignorant of their own mysteries, the God accepted by the still more ignorant Christians––but the compound Jehovah of the pagan Initiation. This is proven very plainly by the glyphs or mystic combinations of various signs which have survived to this day in the Roman Catholic hieroglyphics.
The Gnostic Records contained the epitome of the chief scenes enacted during the mysteries of Initiation, since the memory of man; though even that was given out invariably under the garb of semi-allegory, whenever entrusted to parchment of paper. But the ancient Tanaïm, the Initiates from whom the wisdom of the Kabala (oral tradition) was obtained by the later Talmudists, had in their possession the secrets of the mystery-language, and it is in this language that the Gospels were written.* He alone who has mastered the esoteric cypher of antiquity––the secret meaning of the numerals, a common property at one time of all nations––has the full proof of the genius
* Thus while the three Synoptics display a combination of the pagan Greek and Jewish symbologies, the Revelation is written in the mystery language of the Tanaïm––the relic of Egyptian and Chaldean wisdom––and St. John’s Gospels is purely Gnostic.
which was displayed in the blending of the purely Egypto-Jewish, Old Testament allegories and names, and those of the pagan-Greek Gnostics, the most refined of all the mystics of that day. Bishop Newton proves it himself quite innocently, by showing that “St. Barnabas, the companion of St. Paul, in his epistle (ch. ix) discovers . . . . the names of Jesus crucified in the number 318,” namely, Barnabas finds it in the mystic Greek I H T––the tau being the glyph of the cross. On this, a Kabalist, the author of an unpublished MS. on the Key of Formation of the Mystery Language, observes:51
But this is but a play upon the Hebrew letters Jod, Cheth, and Shin, from whence the I H S as the monogram of Christ coming down to our day, and this read as : or 381, the sum of the letter being 318 or the number of Abraham and his Satan, and of Joshua and his Amalek. True it is also the number of Jacob and his antagonist as could be shown. Godfrey Higgins gives the authority for the number 608. It is the number of Melchizedek’s name, for the value of the last in 304 and Melchizedek was the priest of the Most High God, without beginning nor ending of days.
The solution and secret of Melchizedek are found in the fact that.
It has been said in the ancient Pantheons the two planets which had existed from eternity [aeonic eternity], and were eternal, were the sun and the moon, or Osiris and Isis, hence this term of without beginning nor ending of days. 304 multiplied by two is 608. So also the numbers are in the word Seth, who was a type of the year. There are a number of authorities for the number 888 as applying to the name of Jesus Christ, and as said this is in antagonism to the 666 of the Anti-Christ. . . . . The stable value in the name of Joshua was the number 365, the indication of the solar year, while Jehovah delighted in being the indication of the lunar year––and Jesus Christ was both Joshua and Jehovah in the Christian Pantheon. . . .
This is but an illustration to our point to prove that the Christian application of the compound name Jesus-Christ is all based on Gnostic and Eastern mysticism. It was only right and natural that Chroniclers like the initiated Gnostics, pledged to secrecy, should viel or cloak the final meaning of their oldest and most sacred teachings. The right of the Church fathers to cover the whole with an epitheme of euhemerized fancy is rather
more dubious.* The Gnostic Scribe and Chronicler deceived no one. Every Initiate into the Archaic gnosis––whether of the pre-Christian or post-Christian period––knew well the value of every word of the “mystery-language.” For these Gnostics––the inspirers of primitive Christianity––were “the most polite, the most learned and most wealthy of the Christian name,” as Gibbon has it.52 Neither they, nor their humbler followers, were in danger of accepting the dead letter of their own texts. But it was different with the victims of the fabricators of what is now called orthodox and historic Christianity. Their successors have all been made to fall into the mistakes of the “foolish Galatians” reproved by Paul, who, as he tells them (Gal., iii, 1-5), having begun (by believing) in the Spirit (of Christos), “ended by believing in the flesh,”––i.e., a corporeal Christ. For such is the true meaning of the Greek sentence, “ .”†53 That Paul was a gnostic, a founder of a new sect of gnosis which recognized, as all other gnostic sects did, a “Christ-Spirit,” though it went against its opponents, the rival sects, is sufficiently clear to all but dogmatists and theologians. Nor is it less clear that the primitive teachings of Jesus, whenever he may have lived, could be discovered only in Gnostic teachings; against which discovery, the falsifiers who dragged down Spirit into matter, thus degrading the noble philosophy
* “The Claim of Christianity to possess Divine Authority rests on the ignorant Belief that the Mystical Christ could and did become a person, whereas the Gnosis proves the Corporeal Christ to be only a counterfeit Presentment of the Trans-Corporeal Man; consequently, Historical portraiture is, and ever must be, a fatal mode of falsifying and discrediting the Spiritual Reality.” (G. Massey, “Gnostic and History Christianity.”)
† This sentence analyzed means “Shall you, who in the beginning looked to the Christ-Spirit, now end by believing in a Christ of flesh,” or it means nothing. The verb has not the meaning of “becoming perfect,” but of “ending by,” becoming so. Paul’s lifelong struggle with Peter and others, and what he himself tells of his vision of a spiritual Christ and not of Jesus of Nazareth, as in the Acts––are so many proofs of this.
of primeval Wisdom-Religion, have taken ample precautions from the first. The works of Basilides alone––”the philosopher devoted to the contemplation of Divine things,” as Clement describes him––the 24 volumes of his Interpretations upon the Gospels––were all burned by order of the Church, Eusebius tells us (Hist. Eccles., Book IV, chap. 7). 54
As these Interpretations were written at a time when the Gospels we have now, were not yet in existence,* here is a good proof that the Evangel, the doctrines of which were delivered to Basilides by the Apostle Matthew, and Glaucias, the disciple of Peter (Clemens Alexandrinus, Strom., VII, ch. xvii), 56 must have differed widely from the present New Testament. Nor can these doctrines be judged by the distorted accounts of them left to posterity by Tertullian. Yet even the little this partisan fanatic gives, shows the chief gnostic doctrines to be identical, under their own peculiar terminology and personations, with those of the Secret Doctrine of the East. For,
. . . . . Discussing Basilides, the “pious, god-like, theosophic philosopher,” as Clement of Alexandria thought him, Tertullian exclaims: “After this, Basilides, the heretic, broke loose.† He asserted that there is a Supreme God, by name Abraxas, by whom Mind [Mahat] was created whom the Greeks called Nous. From her emanated the Word; from the Word, Providence; from Providence, Virtue and Wisdom; from these two again, Virtues, Principalities,‡ and Powers were made; thence infinite productions and emissions of angels. Among the lowest angels, indeed, and those that made this world,
* See Supernatural Religion, Vol. II, chap. “Basilides.”55
† It was asked in Isis Unveiled “were not the views of the Phrygian Bishop Montanus, also deemed a HERESY by the Church of Rome? It is quite extraordinary to see how easily that Church encourages the abuse of one heretic, Tertullian, against another heretic, Basilides, when the abuse happens to further her own object.” [IsisUnveiled, II, 189, fnote.]
‡ “Does not Paul himself speak of ‘ Principalities and Powers in heavenly places’ (Ephesians, iii, 10; i, 21), and confess that there be gods many and Lords many (Kurioi)? And angels, powers (Dunameis), and Principalities? (See I Corinthians, viii, 5; and Epistle to Romans,viii, 38)” [Isis Unveiled, II, 189, fnote.]
he sets last of all the god of the Jews, whom he denies to be God himself, affirming that he is but one of the angels.” * (Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, p. 189.)
Another proof of the claim that the Gospel of Matthew in the usual Greek texts is not the original gospel written in Hebrew, is given by no less an authority than St. Jerome (or Hieronymus). The suspicion of a conscious and gradual euhemerization of the Christ principle ever since the beginning, grows into a conviction, once that one becomes acquainted with a certain confession contained in Book II of the Comment. to Matthew by Hieronymus. For we find in it the proofs of a deliberate substitution of the whole gospel, the one now in the Canon having been evidently re-written by this too zealous Church Father.† He says that he was sent toward the close of the fourth century by “their Felicities,” the Bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus to Caesarea, with the mission to compare the Greek text (the only one they ever had) with the Hebrew original version preserved by the Nazarenes in their library, and to translate it. He translated it, but under protest; for, as he says, the Evangel “exhibited matter not for edification, but for destruction.” ‡ The “destruction” of what? Of the dogma
* Tertullian, Liber de praescriptione haereticorum.57 It is undeniably owing only to a remarkably casuistical, sleight-of-hand-like argument that Jehovah, who in the Kabala is simply a Sephiroth, the third, left-hand power among the Emanations (Binah), has been elevated to the dignity of the One absolute God. Even in the Bible he is but one of the Elohim (See Genesis, iii, 22, “The Lord God” making no difference between himself and others).
† This is history. How far that re-writing of, and tampering with, the primitive gnostic fragments which are now become the New Testament, went, may be inferred by reading Supernatural Religion which went through over twenty-three editions, if I mistake not. The host of authorities for it given by the author, is simply appalling. The list of the English and German Bible critics alone seems endless.58
‡ The chief details are given in Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, pp. 180-83. Truly faith in the infallibility of the Church must be stone-blind—or it could not have failed being killed and—dying.
that Jesus of Nazareth and the Christos are one—evidently; hence for the “destruction” of the newly planned religion.* In this same letter the Saint (who advised his converts to kill their fathers, trample on the bosom that fed them, by walking over the bodies of their mothers, if the parents stood as an obstacle between their sons and Christ)—admits that Matthew did not wish his gospel to be openly written, hence that the MS. was a secret one. But while admitting also that this gospel “was written in Hebrew characters and by the hand of himself” (Matthew), yet in another place he contradicts himself and assures posterity that as it was tampered with, and re-written by a disciple of Manichaeus, named Seleucus . . “the ears of the Church properly refused to listen to it.”60
No wonder that the very meaning of the terms Chrêstos and Christos, and the bearing of both on “Jesus of Nazareth,” a name coined out of Joshua the Nazar, has now become a dead letter for all with the exception of non-Christian Occultists. For even the Kabalists have no original data now to rely upon. The Zohar and the Kabala have been remodelled by Christian hands out of recognition; and were it not for a copy of the Chaldean Book of Numbers there would remain no better than garbled accounts. Let not our Brothers, the so-called Christian Kabbalists of England and France, many of whom are Theosophists, protest too vehemently; for this is history (See Munk). It is as foolish to maintain, as some German Orientalists and modern critics still do, that the Kabala has never existed before the day of the Spanish Jew, Moses de León, accused of having forged this pseudograph in the 13th century, as to claim that any of the Kabalistical works now in our possession are as original as they were when Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai delivered the “tradition” to his son and followers. Not a single [one]
* See Hieronymus, De viris inlustribus liber, cap. 3; H. Olshausen, Nachweis der Echtheit der sämmtlichen Schriften des Neuen Testaments, p. 35.59 The Greek text of Matthew’s Gospel is the only one used or ever possessed by the Church.
of these books is immaculate, none has escaped mutilation by Christian hands. Munk, one of the most learned and able critics of his day on this subject, proves it, while protesting as we do, against the assumption that it is a post-Christian forgery, for he says:
It appears evident to us . . . . that the compiler made use of ancient documents, and among these of certain Midraschîm or collections of traditions and Biblical expositions, which we do not now possess.61
After which, quoting from Tholuck (l.c., PP. 24 and 31 ),62 he adds:
Hây Gaôn, who died in 1038, is to our knowledge the first author who developed the theory of the sephiroth, and he gave to them the names which we find again to be among the Kabalists (cf. Jellinek, Moses ben Schem-tob de Leon, etc., p. 13, note 5); 63 this doctor, who had frequent intercourse with the Syrian and Chaldean Christian savants, was enabled by these last to acquire a knowledge of some of the Gnostic writings.
Which “Gnostic writings” and esoteric tenets passed part and parcel into the Kabalistic works, with many more modern interpolations that we now find in the Zohar, as Munk well proves. That Kabala is Christian now, not Jewish.
Thus, what with several generations of most active Church Fathers ever working at the destruction of old documents and the preparation of new passages to be interpolated in those which happened to survive, there remains of the Gnostics—the legitimate offspring of the Archaic Wisdom-religion—but a few unrecognisable shreds. But a particle of genuine gold will glitter for ever; and, however garbled the accounts left by Tertullian and Epiphanius of the Doctrines of the “Heretics,” an occultist can yet find even in them traces of those primeval truths which were once universally imparted during the mysteries of Initiation. Among other works with most suggestive allegories in them, we have still the so-called Apocryphal Gospels, and the last discovered as the most precious relic of Gnostic literature, a fragment called Pistis-Sophia, “Knowledge-Wisdom.”64
In my next article upon the Esoteric character of the Gospels, I hope to be able to demonstrate that those who
translate Pistis by “Faith,” are utterly wrong. The word “faith” as grace or something to be believed in through unreasoned or blind faith, is a word that dates only since Christianity. Nor has Paul ever used this term in this sense in his Epistles; and Paul was undeniably —an INITIATE.
(To be continued) *
* [As far as could be ascertained, this essay was never completed.—Compiler.]