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A READER'S JOURNAL
The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved
Edward Reaugh Smith
Unveiling the Author of Johnís Gospel
Published by The Anthroposophic Press/NY in 2000
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2002
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Who was the disciple that Jesus loved? Who was the rich young man? Who was the young man dressed only in a linen cloth? Who wrote the Book of Revelation? Who wrote the Gospel of John? What happened to Lazarus after Jesus brought him back to life? Why did Jesus not go immediately to Lazarus when notified that his friend was dead? What is a "sickness unto death" mean? To one used to reading biblical exegeses, the idea that one small book of 76 pages could answer all these questions definitively would be inconceivable. And yet, in my opinion, that is exactly what Ed Smith has done within the covers of this book. The answer is Lazarus, or John as he came to be called after his re-birth initiation by Christ Jesus.
Who graduated with honors from law school and managed to obtain and became a licenced CPA while doing so? Who bought a cemetery on the outskirts of town, built a funeral home on it and turned made it into a premiere funeral and burial facility? Who at 46 Ĺ years of age ran in the Boston Marathon and finished in the middle of the qualifying pack? Who became a concert pianist and played Beethovenís Third Piano Concerto with an orchestra before a full auditorium? Who taught a couples Sunday School class for his Methodist church for 25 years, going through the Bible three in the process? Who wrote The Burning Book, David's Question: What is Man? and The Incredible Births of Jesus ? The answer is Edward Reaugh Smith, the author of this book.
Each time Ed taught through the Bible, instead of resolving the difficulties he had with so many of the conventional interpretations, he only had more and more questions. This book contains the answers he found to the perplexing questions, a few of which in Johnís Gospel are listed in the first paragraph above.
The Foreword contains a caveat which bears repeating here:
[page xiv] Readers accustomed to more conventional theological approaches may find portions of the "Background" material unsettling at first. It will be helpful in those cases to accept these concepts tentatively until the whole story unfolds. As that happens one can thrill to the sense of the Bible taking on the image of one beautiful, integrated spiritual account consistent from beginning to end, unveiling its mysteries with wonderful new (while in fact old) meaning.
If I had read these words several years ago before I met Ed, I would have thought, "The only other person I know of who talks about the Bible this way is Rudolf Steiner." I had read books containing Steiner's lectures on each of the four Gospels plus his numerous other lecture series on the spiritual realities portrayed in the Bible. So it would come as no surprise to discover that the answers to Ed Smith's questions about the Bible began to arrive when he started to investigate Steiner's spiritual science, called anthroposophy.
That, strange-looking, polysyllabic word anthroposophy deserves an explanation and definition, and Ed does a great job of handling that. He tells us that it is the combination of anthropos and sophia. Sophia meaning "knowledge or thought" as in philosophy. But the essence of the word lies in the word anthropos which is often translated simply as "man" or "human".
[page xv] Anthropos should be distinguished from homo, a Latin word referring to a two-legged primate. We should think of homo as referring to the body, and anthropos as referring to what sets the human being above the animal. It represents the higher aspect, the soul, or the soul and the spirit, of the human being. Thus, "anthroposophy" is the wisdom of the soul of the human being.
Is it not fitting that in order to truly understand the Bible that one must understand the "wisdom of the soul of the human being?" Steiner had already identified Lazarus as the author of the Book of Revelation, calling him Lazarus-John. That being known, why did Smith have to write this book? Ed knew the Bible. He also knew people who studied the Bible. Those people would not be likely, as Ed did, to study Rudolf Steiner enough to be able to comprehend in Steiner's anthroposophy the unified story of the Bible. Ed knew he had to piece the story of Lazarus-John together from the Bible itself and make the case primarily on the basis of biblical citations. And that is what he has done admirably within the covers of this slim volume. In addition to the Bible he also uses material from the Secret Gospel of Mark (recently discovered), the writings of Rudolf Steiner, and other biblical scholars.
What distinguishes anthroposophy from anthropology is that the former is the study of the evolved human being and the latter the study of an evolved two-legged primate. Anthropology, as a materialistic science, based only on the evidence of the sensory world, accepts the Darwinian version of evolution of the human being from a two-legged primate. It calls our species homo sapiens, i. e., the smart two-legged primate that descended from its less smart primate ancestors. In other words, anthropology holds that humans descended from the animal kingdom. Anthroposophy is a spiritual science, based both on the evidence of the sensory world and the super-sensory world, and is able to provide a comprehensive explanation for the evolution of the human being. It shows that animals descended from the human kingdom. Given the current interest in creationist evolution, this is no small distinction, nor is it to be taken lightly. The implications are deep and pervasive.
[page 7] This is the meaning of the taking of all the animals and plants by Noah into the ark (Gen 6, 19-22). This original ark is the post-Atlantean human body that has within it the residual nature of all the lower kingdoms that fell away into materiality at earlier stages of its evolution.
In a footnote Ed tells us a story that explains the communication with the dead. This is taken from an actual event in Steiner's life and allows us to imagine a "spiritual internet" existing among the dead.
[page 11, fn 14] His wife, Marie, was lamenting how few people were present to hear one of his very important lectures. He comforted her by saying she was taking into account only those physically present at the meeting while he assured her that those in the spiritual world who heard it were numerous.
Why has it taken so long for us to come to know that Lazarus and John were one and the same person with the Evangelist John? This has come about because of the regency of Michael [Mi-cha-el] the Archangel that has returned since 1879 for the first time since the time of Christ Jesus. We are in the first third of his current regency which lasts till 2233 A. D.
[page 12] The prophet Daniel purports to have spoken during the prior regency of Michael when he, in effect, called him the Spirit of Truth saying, "I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince" (Dan 10,21).
This gives us an identification of Michael as the "Spirit of Truth" which appears also in Revelation 12,9 as well as 1 Enoch, which "speaks extensively of Michael and in such a way that his stature as the spokesman for the highest spiritual Truth is clear."
[page 12, 13] Surely, when Christ spoke of the Spirit of Truth coming, he was referring to that time when the Archangel Michael would again be in charge of the evolution of human understanding (the time of the Consciousness Soul) when he could bring the Divine Intelligence down to Earth.
The two aspects of Divine Intelligence that Michael has helped to bring down to Earth is 1) the understanding of human evolution as described in the Noah reference above, and 2) the understanding of what the Bible refers to as destiny and the Orient refers to as karma.
[page 13] Inherent in the very concept [of karma] is the spiritual reality that souls can attain the necessary perfection only through many lives -- they must reincarnate. . . . Even the passage in Heb 9,27 that "it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment," seemingly so devastating to the idea of reincarnation, is not contrary to it.
To understand what is meant in this biblical passage is no mean task and is fully discussed and documented in Smith's The Burning Bush. To summarize: each human being has a personality in this present lifetime, but an Individuality, an "I", that transcends lifetimes, that is perfected in each succeeding lifetime, until it dies once and receives the judgment of the Father. Until that final death, the personality in each lifetime dies once and receives the loving judgment of the Son. Let us read Ed's comments in a footnote on this point.
[page 14, fn 18] The Individuality is lovingly judged by Christ as the Lord of Karma and suffers between lives for its failures in the given Personality, but returns again as a completely different "person" over and over until its karmic imperfections have been eliminated. This is portrayed in Luke's account of Christ's answer to the Sadduces (Lk 20,34-38) in which he refers to the perfected who "cannot die any more" (vs 36) but who prior thereto, as the burning bush are raised again and again (vs 37).
Steiner once said something to the effect that it should be no surprise that the greatest mystery in the universe described by the material in the Bible should be very complicated and difficult to comprehend to the fullest. The next item, Lazarus's temple sleep, his Initiation by Christ, requires considerable background before one can understand what happened in that salient event in Lazarus's life when he apparently died and was brought back to life by Christ Jesus. First one has to understand that the physical body is a phantom, like a mannikin form, which holds the granules of minerals into what in the current epoch comprises our mineral body. The etheric body is what gives life to or takes it away from our mineralized physical body. The astral body holds our senses, passions, desires, and thinking among other things. During sleep the astral body and our Individuality, our eternal "I" spirit, separate from and leave the etheric body and physical body lying in our bed. During death the same thing happens, except that the etheric body also leaves the physical body. The physical body, unable to hold itself together by its own physical and chemical processes (the same ones, btw, that scientists of the material world would have us believe are the sole forces of life), begins to dissolve, and its mineral constituents separate out in preparation for a return to their original earthen form.
In temple sleep the initiate was prepared to have their etheric body removed for a period of three to four days, during which their heart stopped beating, their breathing stopped, and yet, at the end of the temple sleep, the high priest or hierophant called the initiate back to life. As humankind approached the time of Christ Jesus, the etheric body became more and more imbedded in the physical body -- so much so that it became progressively more dangerous for a hierophant to initiate someone using the temple sleep. Simply put, most of them died and never returned from the initiation. As a result, few were brave enough to volunteer for temple sleep and few priests dare risk it with a favored pupil.
These were the conditions existing at the time when Lazarus volunteered to be initiated by Christ Jesus, and it is no mystery that his sisters and friends and even Christ's disciples were convinced that Lazarus was dead. Everyone, it seems, was convinced but Christ Jesus, who made otherwise paradoxical statements like this: "he is not dead", "he sleeps", "his sleep is not unto death", and "I will go there in a couple of days." When Lazarus arose from the "dead" he returned from a sojourn in the spiritual world where his etheric body, the agent of memory had been impressed with all that he had seen. He returned filled with God's grace, namely, the visions that he had experienced in the spiritual world -- the entire evolutionary history of humankind -- and he later wrote about these things in the Book of Revelation and the Gospel of John. Not surprisingly the name "John" stems from the name johann which comes from jehovah meaning God and anna meaning grace.
Lazarus became the new disciple of Christ, replacing Judas after his betrayal of Jesus, at which time Lazarus could refer to himself as the "disciple whom Jesus loved" which phrase graces the cover of this book. Smith points out that an initiate was usually called the "one the Master loved" in the mystery schools of the time. But what about Matthias? What happened to Lazarus-John when Matthias became the 12th disciple? We may recall that from the cross Christ Jesus charged his most highly initiated disciple, his beloved disciple, the only one who made it to the cross with him in consciousness, now called John, to take care of his mother and to record for posterity those things John had seen during his temple sleep and had been told in private by Jesus.
[page 33] He then stepped aside when Matthias was elected to take Judas' place, for John's mission was to take the Mother of Jesus and to then write his unique Gospel for the future time when it would make the coming of Jesus clear.
There is much more to uncovered in the 76 pages of this book, but one thing stands out clearly: the Apostle John who wrote the Gospel of John and the Apocalypse is one and the same as the rich young ruler, the one initiated by, the disciple whom Christ loved, Lazarus. One can have no doubt when one reads the Book of Revelation that this Evangelist had seen the beginning and ending of the world and lived to write about it.
Any questions about this review, Contact: Bobby Matherne
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