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A READER'S JOURNAL
The Incredible Births of Jesus
Edward Reaugh Smith
Published by The Anthroposophic Press/NY in 1998
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2001
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This small book covers in detail a subject that I first encountered during my reading of Rudolf Steiner's lectures on the Gospel of St. Luke, namely, the two Jesus's of the Bible. The Bible doesn't say that there were two Jesus's blatantly, but if you encounter two people with the same name, but with different genealogies, one obvious implication is that these were two different people. The biblical scholars who use textual criticism as their method of analysis would have us believe that the discrepancies between the Jesus birth story in St. Luke's Gospel and the one in St. Matthew's Gospel are due to misinterpretation of words and mistranslation of various texts from one language to another. Read Ed Smith's comprehensive explanation of the births of the two Jesus's and decide for yourself.(1) He quickly dispels the textual analysis criticism.
[page 8, from Introduction by Will Marsh] The descriptions of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection are nearly identical in the synoptic Gospels and are very similar in John; the same is true for the Baptism. Many other events of the ministry of Jesus Christ are described in similar terms in the synoptic Gospels. Why is it that not the case for the Nativity?
Not convinced? How about a quotation from the Dead Sea Scrolls (see page 17) that predicts there will be two messiahs, one of the kingly line of David and the other of the priestly line of David? One can inspect the mind map in my Gospel of Luke review and see that the Matthew Jesus came from Solomon (Son of David, the King) and the Luke Jesus came from Nathaniel (Son of David, the Priest). For this reason they are also referred to as the Solomon Jesus and the Nathan Jesus. Other evidence uncovered in recent times was the Nag Hammadi library containing ancient Gnostic texts such as The Apocalypse of Adam. Before that discovery the only writings on gnosticism not destroyed by the Church fathers in an effort to cleanse the doctrine of heresy came from those who considered gnosticism to be a heresy. Imagine if the only history of the Russian Revolution available had been written by the heirs of the deposed Czar Nicholas.
[page 20, from Introduction by Will Marsh] Before the Nag Hammadi discovery, the Gnostics were known mainly through the writings of Church Fathers, such as Hippolytus, who quoted Gnostic writings only to show how heretical they were. Now for the first time the Gnostics were allowed to speak for themselves.
Smith explains the approach of "Christianity's adulthood" using Steiner's description of how humans progress from childhood to adulthood, but multiplying the time scale by one hundred so that a century in Church life corresponds to a year in human life.
[page 30] For instance, the infancy of the Church up to the time of its recognition as the Roman Catholic Church (roughly 0 to 300) compares to the child who at three years of age recognizes its own identity and begins to say "I play" instead of "Johnny play." From 0 to 700, the period the Church was guided by the Church Fathers, compares to the child until the second dentition at seven years of age; from 700 to 1400, the period of the Holy Roman Empire, to later childhood; from 1400 to 2100, to the period of rebellion and conflict within the Church - its period of youth or adolescence; and from 2100 onwards, the flourishing of true Christianity in its adulthood. Christianity's twenty-first century is upon us.
As a mirror to my own life, it works: I was Baptized shortly after birth, until I reached age 3 I was a still an undifferentiated part of my mother, until age 7 I learned only from my father (and mother) and followed their rules exactly as they knew best. At 7 I entered school and encountered a hierarchy of teachers, principals, and administrators whose rules I had to follow as they knew best for me at that time. By age 14 I knew a few things on my own and rebelled from those things of my parents or the Church that I disagreed with. When I reached 21 I was married and had my first child and began making decisions for a entire family. I also began to seek for some adult understanding of things that I took for granted and never questioned as a child, things about life that went much deeper than the superficial things I rebelled against as a teenager. Christianity reaching adulthood in the twentieth century required a source for adult understanding if it was to mature and grow out of its teenage centuries of divisiveness, conflict, and rebellion.
[page 31] The seed for that adult understanding was sown in the first quarter of our century. But it has lain germinating in its original German language. Only in the last few years has its tender shoot pierced through to any exposure in America. I speak of the spiritual revelations of Austrian Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Characteristic of the truly prophetic, it was not widely recognized in its time or place. Its germinating seed lay hidden until now when, at its right time, it has broken forth in newness of life.
Smith points out on page 32 that the "spiritual Sun must have been born on the day the Sun is born each year, December 25" because the chronographers of ancient times placed the winter solistice, the return of the Sun to its fullnes, on the 25th of December. My guess is that the accuracy of their primitive instruments caused them to wait four days to be sure that the Sun was staying around longer after its shortest day on the 21st.
One of the basic principles one learns as one studies Steiner's cosmology is that the events of the spiritual world and the physical world run parallel to each other. Lacking this understanding many writers about the spiritual world use as metaphors events in the physical world to help describe events in the spiritual world. Rightly understood, in many cases the two events are happening at the same time. Smith explains the non-literal, metaphoric statement "one must become blind in order to see" as meaning one must become blind to the physical world in order to see the spiritual world(2). (page 40) Looking at the rending of the veil of the Temple upon Christ's death, we see the parallelism of the physical and spiritual worlds. Humans, ordinary humans, not just high priests, were thenceforth going to be able to see what lay behind the veil of the physical world.
[page 40] The rending of the veil of the Temple by Christ meant the eventual rending of the veil of the mineral-physical body so that spiritual reality could again be seen, but in a higher, transformed way.
There was another kind of veiling that went on, which mirrors what happens in a stage play or a movie. A mask was used during the early periods of stage plays and the play spoke through the mask. The mask, sona, was spoken through, per, and thus came into being from those roots our words persona and personality. The other veiling event was that after the Fall into materialism by humans, "the spiritual beings progressively 'hid their face' as the Bible tells us over and over." (page 41) What did they hide their faces with? Masks of the physical world! Thus we have arrived at the adulthood of Christianity having lost sight of our important spiritual companions, up until now. By the processes of spiritual science, we can begin once more to perceive, behind the masks of our physical environment and materialistic sensory apparatus, the lively workings of the spiritual world from now on.
[page 42] The Bible is sacred, and is literally true, but only if it can be understood in its deeper prophetic sense. The day for understanding it otherwise is past. Our times are demanding new comprehension.
And two important aspects of that new comprehension were hidden from us during our maturation by the well-meaning Christian authorities: reincarnation and karma. It was as if we were too young to learn about those things that we would only need after we were to leave home at 21. Well, here we are in the 21st Century and that time has come. We must learn to remove the dirt from the "souls" of our shoes before we can re-enter our Father's house. Smith says it this way, "Only through this process of being born again and again can it (our human soul) attain to the eventual perfection required to fully return to its heavenly home." (page 43)
When I studied the Huna Code as described by Max Freedom Long, I was impressed by the thought that the ancient race who taught the Polynesian peoples their language designed the language so that the essential teachings were safely hidden in the very structure of the words. "Ka-hu-na" meant the "chief keeper of the secret code" for example. It would seem very strange indeed if there were not equivalent "essential teachings" hidden in our everyday words, wouldn't it? One place to look is in the names of the days of the week. Smith points out on page 44 that the first three days of the week, Satuday, Sunday, and Monday represent the first three stages of evolution of our cosmos: Old Saturn, Old Sun, and Old Moon, with Earth being the fourth and present stage of evolution. Humankind as well as its physical masks evolved through those stages to the world we find ourselves enmasqued or enmeshed in today. In those three previous stages represented by Saturday, Sunday, and Monday the human being was like three measures of flour into which leaven was placed. Smith points to the parables in Matthew and Luke that refer to the three loaves. In Matthew  the kingdom of heaven is likened to leaven. The woman places the leaven into the three measures of flour (the threefold human being, each body of which was formed during those three successive periods or epochs of evolution), to make ready for the Ego that is to operate on the lower three bodies to create their three higher counterparts and only then will heaven be attained again. In Luke, Smith says:
[page 46] . . . a friend on a journey . . . arrives at the midnight hour seeking "three loaves," which are "loaned" to him for his further journey. Our three bodies are indeed "loaned" to us in a sense, for they do not move from one life to another. Only the journeying soul does that. It is like Cain and Job, wandering on, suffering but unable itself to die.
This eternal soul or Ego is our individuality that can not be destroyed; it is "the burning bush that is not consumed." Our personality, however, the mask through which we speak while upon the Earth in our physical body, we leave behind in the prop room when we have "strutted and fretted our time upon the stage" and move on to the next play, the next personality. Individuality survives as the burning bush survives the fire, while the props from our previous play are destroyed in the eternal fire. (paraphrased from page 47. First quote from Smith, second one from Shakespeare, Macbeth.)
One does not usually think of the Buddha as having a role in the typical Christmas pageant or having any role at all in Christianity. Let's look at the root of our circadian word for compassion, "kind." Hidden in that word is its root word, "kin," which means to be related by blood. When you treat someone as "kin" you are being "kind" by its original meaning: you are treating them as if they were blood relations. The current mayor of New Orleans was involved in a recent political flap in which he explained to the news media about his aunt, "She is not related to me - she is married to my uncle. She is not a blood relative." And he said this as if to exonerate himself from any connection to this woman. He was not being kind to his aunt, was he? He was not treating her as kin, even though she was his legal aunt. This distinction still exists to this day. And yet some 2600 years ago, one man taught us for the first time about a compassion and love that transcended blood relationships, Buddha. Smith tells us that this great insight of Buddha was "totally Christ inspired."
[page 58] Until then, morality was introduced through revelations given from without, as in the Ten Commandments. Such inwardness as the Buddha revealed had to be withheld from the Hebrew people until the right time.
To demonstrate to my good readers the wonderful job that Smith does explaining otherwise obscure quotations from the Bible, take the following quotation from St. Paul, "For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members."One cannot rightly comprehend this passage without understanding the physical, etheric, and astral bodies that constitute the lower members of the human body as Paul rightly understood them during his time. Smith explains that the Fall from the Garden was a metaphor for the onset of the infection of the human being's astral body, etheric body, and physical bodies, bringing us "earthly pain, toil, and death." Because of this infection, when the time came for the separation of the human body into a male and female, the spiritual powers held back from it a portion of its etheric nature or body. (page 59)
With all this as prologue, read in these next two excerpts how the anima and animus of Jung as well as the virginity and Immaculate Conception of Mary derive from this holding back a portion of the etheric body.
[page 59-60] The etheric body held back from Adam by the creating powers is what Paul calls "the Second Adam." The sexual nature of the human being's etheric body is opposite that of its physical. Thus the male has a female etheric body [Jung's anima ], and conversely the female a male etheric body [Jung's animus ] . . . . The virginal female etheric body withheld from Adam entered into the Nathan Jesus child of Luke's Gospel, and the unspoiled male etheric body withheld from Eve enter into the Mary of that Gospel.
[page 62] While these deeper insights have long been lost to Roman Catholic theologians, they nevertheless explain why there is validity to their doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and Perpetual Virginity of Mary. Nathan Mary's etheric body, not having gone through the Fall, was immaculate at the very time it was itself conceived and it remained immaculate through her conception of the equally immaculate "Second Adam," the Nathan Jesus child, and thereafter until her early death.
With so many mysteries explained, it is only left for us to describe how the Solomon Jesus and the Nathan Jesus end up in one Jesus during the time recorded in Luke's Gospel when the 12 year old Nathan Jesus suddenly begins to teach the elders in the Temple. To summarize, the great spirit known in previous incarnations as Zarathustra abandoned the Solomon Jesus for the Nathan Jesus and took up his teaching in the Temple. In this Nathan Jesus infused with the great spiritual body of Buddha since birth and now the great spirit of Zarathustra, the formation of the Hebrew body to become the purified human chalice to receive the great Christ spirit in Baptism was complete. The Solomon Jesus and his mother Mary died shortly thereafter and the father of Solomon Jesus became the step-father of the Nathan Jesus who was destined to become Jesus the Christ at age thirty. The details are fleshed out in Smith's book which I heartily recommend for a fuller exposition than I am able to do with my sketchy review. And a word of warning, if you feel incomplete in some particulars after reading Smith's book, be aware that a 786-page volume of further explication awaits in Edward R. Smith's classic book, The Burning Bush.
As I close this review, I am reminded of the words of St. Paul in 1Corinthians 13:11-12:
"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
In the adulthood of
Christianity it is time to put away our childish things and face the adult facts of reincarnation and
karma: we are born with infections in our lower members and are captive to those lower members
and only by moving through the masks of successive personalities and burning the dross from those
lower members will we become purified so that once more we may walk with purified "souls" into
our Father's house once more.
See also these two reviews for more information on the Two Jesus Children stories:
The Two Children by David Ovason
The Gospel of St. Luke by Rudolf Steiner
--------------------------- footnotes -------------------------
1. I prepared a mind map, a linkage diagram, for my review of the Gospel of Luke of the two births. The
mind map summarizes and links the important items. You may find it useful to refer to diagram while reading this
current review to keep the two Jesus's straight in your mind.
2. This is the basic process of spiritual science that Steiner describes in "Knowledge of Higher Worlds."
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