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The Mystery of the Two Jesus Children & Descent of the Spirit of the Sun

Bernard Nesfield-Cookson

ARJ2 Chapter: Spiritual Science
Published by Temple Lodge Publishing/UK in 2005
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2010


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For hundreds of years, established scientists held that the process of combustion occurred by the material phlogiston leaving the wood, e.g., when it is burned. All the evidence that began to pile up to the contrary was not enough for their hardened convictions, so the phlogiston theory thrived in spite of its many inconsistencies. Now we know the truth and we can smile at those respected scientists who were claiming that phlogiston was a substance with all the properties of what we would have to call, "negative oxygen," today! Oxygen combines with materials being burnt and if you weight all the combustion products, they will weigh more than the material did unburnt. Yes, it sounds silly to us who know the truth about oxygen which is added during combustion and we laugh at the idea that phlogiston is subtracted during combustion.

Similarly, when the truth about the two Jesus children is revealed, we find that all the inconsistencies of the multiple accounts of Jesus's birth disappear. One cannot explain how one Jesus child could have two different birth accounts. It's as difficult to explain the presence of two different genealogies as to explain combustion by conjuring up phlogiston it's very difficult and yet, as history proves, it's not impossible. Once an explanation is accepted, no matter how full of holes, a mindset arises to defend it against all comers.

One need only read Thomas S. Kuhn's classical exposition of the subject in his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions to understand how pervasive such a mindset, which Kuhn labels a paradigm, can be. It was Kuhn who promoted the word paradigm from an obscure, seldom-used word meaning "model" to its ubiquitous usage to describe various mental encrustation of concepts we find in the world today. Using his word, we would say that the current paradigm for understanding the birth of Jesus in the various Bible accounts, mainly the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, suffers from bad translations. Talk to almost any theologian about this matter, and you will confront a spectacle about equivalent of that suffered by oxygen-thinking chemists when they tried to explain the errors made by phlogiston-thinking chemists to them. Likely you will be inundated with explanations and derision for your effort.

It is with this caveat, I undertake to write this review about a book in which Bernard Nesfield-Cookson attempts to reveal the truth about the two Jesus children, an attempt which, if rightly understood, will overturn the clumsy and inaccurate paradigm which insists on only one Jesus child.

This is the second book devoted to this subject that I have studied carefully. The first book was The Incredible Births of Jesus by Edward Reaugh Smith. Here are two scholars who have independently come to the same conclusion after studying the matter and argue for overturning the current paradigm of one Jesus child because it simply does not fit the facts.

Does it not make sense that the greatest event in the history of the Earth, the birth of the man who would incarnate the great Sun Spirit, the Christ, into himself would be a special man? The process of incarnation by an ordinary human spirit into one's present lifetime, a process you went through, dear Reader, and I went through, involves several hundred years of selecting and monitoring one's ancestors, and following them down to the generation into which you have chosen to incarnate at exactly the right time to perform the deeds you have set for yourself. These deeds include the balancing of karma with those with whom you lived through previous incarnations, as well as new deeds chosen for the current world conditions. To provide the Hebrew man to become the receptacle required even more generations than usual, going back to King David himself (and further, in the Luke Gospel, to Adam). Two Hebrew men were prepared for the Christ, even though only one would receive the Christ: one man descended from the kingly line of David, King Solomon, and the other from the priestly line of David, Nathaniel. That both were named Jesus and had Joseph as his father and Mary as his mother is not remarkable given the popularity of the names at the time.

The Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew has a genealogy that is traced back to Solomon and the Jesus in Luke back to Nathaniel. Clearly if the birth stories of these Gospels were of the same Jesus, the genealogies would have to be identical. The Solomon Jesus was born with the Ego of the great leader Zarathustra, who in pre-historical times of 6,000 B.C. taught the ancient Persians of Ahura Mazdao, the Sun Spirit, who resides in the Sun, who is invisible, has the rays of the Sun as His vestures. The Mystery School he founded trained its students to await the coming of the great Spirit which would be signaled by a Star in the East these initiates when graduated were called Magi or Kings. It is their story which is narrated in the Gospel of Matthew. They visit the large house of Joseph and Mary, no mention is made of a humble stable or manger. After their son Jesus's birth, Herod orders all male babies killed, and so his parents flee with him to Egypt. Note that no mention of Egypt is made in the Luke Gospel, only in Matthew, in the story of the Solomon Jesus's birth and aftermath.

The Jesus in the Gospel of Luke has a genealogy traced back to Nathaniel, and this Jesus was born in a humble stable or manger, while equally humble shepherds were guarding their flocks on the surrounding hillsides. Luke makes no report of them seeing the Great Star, nor of seeing the Magi rather they experience some ineffable phenomenon which they liken to a host of Angels singing and praising God, like a cordon of priests celebrating a High Mass singing Gregorian chants perhaps. This befits the Jesus descended from the priestly line of Nathaniel, a priest and son of David. These are the facts as presented in the two Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

There is another salient fact which appears only in the Gospel of Luke, and it is the only event between birth and 29 years old which is narrated in the two Gospels of Luke and Matthew. Something important must be occurring spiritually to warrant relating this story, something whose importance has been lost over the two millennia since the event. That is the story of the Nathaniel Jesus staying behind in Jerusalem for several days and teaching the elders in the Temple. How could the Jesus of such humble beginnings, born in a manger, have come into this vast knowledge of the world that he could keep the wise men of the Temple in rapt attention, answering their many questions? Not one word of how this was possible is mentioned by Luke, except to relate that Jesus answered his mother saying, "Did you not know that I must be about my father's business?" Clearly it was not the business of carpentry that he was referring to, and therefore definitely not of Joseph's business. He could have only been referring to his Heavenly Father's business, the business which brought him to Earth, the business of being ready for the advent of the great Sun Spirit, the Christ, to enter him at his baptism in the Jordan, the event after which He would be named, Christ Jesus.

How did the Matthew Jesus end up in Bethlehem? His father and mother evacuated to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod upon their son, but when they returned, they apparently thought it best not to return to Bethlehem.

[page 4] On their return from Egypt, however, instead of returning to Bethlehem the Solomon family took up residence in the rural community of Nazareth. Life there called for a number of adjustments on their part. In Bethlehem this family had enjoyed certain privileges due to education, wealth and social standing; in Nazareth, a close knit community, the Solomon family had to adjust to an ascetically simple lifestyle and relinquish the trappings of social privilege, if they were to live and work in harmony with the Nazarenes. We may then, perhaps, conjecture that the Solomon Joseph joined the Nathan Joseph in his carpenter's workshop, also that the educated and gifted Solomon Jesus boy would occasionally, or perhaps often, join the younger Nathan Jesus boy in the fields tending the sheep.

How do we know that the Nathan Jesus was younger? Because Herod was prominently mentioned in the Matthew Gospel and only his son Herod Antipas is mentioned in the Luke Gospel.

[page 8] . . . the Luke holy family were clearly in no hurry to flee from Israel, for according to the religious law of the people of Israel, it was ordained that, after giving birth to a man-child, a mother must go through a period of purification for 40 days: 'She shall touch no hallowing thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled' (Leviticus 12:4) and, in the case of this holy family, there was no reason not to obey this law. Herod the Great's decree no longer threatened the life of the Jesus of the Nathan line for he had died before the child was born.

We see clearly that there must be two different Jesus families: one which was forced to flee to Egypt because of Herod, and one which had to no need to flee because Herod was dead and they had every reason to stay put.

There is a salient difference between the Matthew and Luke Mary which is captured and thus revealed in many classical paintings of the Madonna, and that difference Nesfield-Cookson delineates for us: the Matthew Mary is shown with an older Jesus standing or sitting on her lap whereas the Luke Mary is shown with a younger Jesus as a baby lying on his back. Consider the differences in how each Mary is portrayed in the two Gospels.

[page 8, 9] We do not know who were the parents of the Mary of Luke's Gospel. Regardless of whether Mary grew up in Nazareth itself or in the verdant Galilean surroundings, we can picture her as a young girl growing up in an area which Emil Bock describes as being 'an earthly replica of the Garden of Paradise. . . . From Luke's Gospel we can sense that Mary was a pure and innocent young soul, imbued not with intellectual knowledge nurtured from early childhood by temple priests, but with a wisdom springing from a selfless, love-filled heart. In two places, following the Adoration of the Shepherds and after the twelve-year-old Jesus had been found in the temple, Luke's Gospel says: 'But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart' (2:19, 51).

The Luke Mary led a hidden life in the small hamlet of Nazareth while the Matthew Mary led an open life in the cosmopolitan city of the time, Jerusalem. She was taken to the temple there by her parents when she was only three years old where she, a precocious young girl, was taught and grew in wisdom for about ten years. (Pages 9, 10) One can easily interpret "precocious" as an indication of an old soul.

[page 10] Early on, the Mary of the Gospel of Matthew manifested as an 'old soul [. . .] she represents the polar opposite to the young Mary of the Gospel of Luke'.

The author also reveals that the "ass" as a beast of burden represented the physical body of the human being whose task is to carry our higher human natures (soul and spirit) during our Earth existence. The image of Christ Jesus entering the holy city of Jerusalem riding on an ass represents the human body of Jesus carrying the Christ Spirit within it like the body of the ass is carrying a human being upon its back. These two levels of understanding had been intermixed in prophecies for hundreds of years before the event occurred in the time of Christ Jesus.

[page 11] Rudolf Frieling reminds us, moreover, that the ass was always the symbol of the human physical nature, whose task it is to carry the human being's higher natures on earth. St Francis of Assisi called his body 'Brother ass'. The prophet Zechariah foretells that the Messiah will come riding on an ass (Zechariah 9:9), meaning that he would descend into the realm of corporeality. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Christ entered the holy city of Jerusalem riding on an ass (Matthew 21:5).

In the Matthew Gospel, an angel appears to Joseph, the father of Jesus, whereas in the Luke Gospel, an angel appears to Mary. In Matthew the angel appears to tell Joseph to take his family to Egypt to escape Herod's persecution.

In Luke the angel appears to tell Mary that her cousin is pregnant with a son. Mary, already pregnant herself, visits Elizabeth who greets her, telling Mary that she is twice blessed, one by the pre-Fall "male etheric body withheld from Eve" which had entered into Mary and two by pre-Fall virginal female etheric body withheld from Adam which was inside the Jesus baby in her womb.(1) It was this pre-Fall etheric body which made Mary a virgin, and gave to her the name Blessed Virgin for all time. Elizabeth's deed gave us the lines from ubiquitous Catholic prayer, the Hail Mary, "Blessed are Thou among women, and Blessed is the fruit of Thy Womb, Jesus." Elizabeth was acknowledging what she could see directly with her ancient clairvoyance in her old age, the two pre-Fall etheric bodies which formed her cousin Mary's body.

[page 12] We then learn that the baby leapt for joy in Elisabeth's womb at the sound of Mary's greeting. What we see here is John the Baptist's instantaneous recognition of the significance of the child in Mary's womb.
      This momentous event not mentioned by Matthew foreshadows what was to take place 30 years later in the River Jordan, when John baptizes and recognizes Christ. He it is of whom John the Baptist has already declared: 'I indeed have baptized you with water, but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost' (Luke 3:16). In Matthew's Gospel we hear that when Jesus comes to John to be baptized, the Baptist exclaims that he rather needs to be baptized by Jesus Christ (3:13-14).

To understand rightly the event known as the Mystery of Golgotha, how Christ came to the Earth, entered the body of Jesus of Nazareth, and died on the cross, one must understand that the Great Spirit the one we have come to call Christ and have appended that name to Jesus, either as Christ Jesus or Jesus Christ had been known for hundreds and thousands of years before Jesus was born, and that Christ Spirit had been approaching the Earth and had been worshiped from the beginning of human times. None other St. Augustine, the great church father himself, spoke of this as fact.

[page 40] It has been mentioned already that in the early years of the twentieth century Rudolf Steiner spoke on many occasions of Christ as the Spirit of the Sun, and that over a long period of time this Spirit gradually descended out of the cosmic heights to incarnate in a physical body. For instance, he indicated this in a lecture in 1911. He quoted the following few words of St Augustine: 'That which we now call the Christian religion already existed among the ancients and was never absent from the beginning of the human race up to the time when Christ appeared in the flesh; from that time forward the true religion, which was already there, received the name of the Christian religion.'

Essential to the Christ Spirit's appearing on Earth in the flesh were the Nathan and Solomon Jesus children. One was filled with grace and the other with the wisdom of the Magi.

[page 47] Luke, in his Gospel, speaks of this child as being 'filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him. One could, perhaps, say that it was the kind of wisdom with which a person is endowed, who lives and works in harmonious communion with nature, a person who does not intellectually probe and analyze, but 'knows' with the forces of his heart. Thus in the Nathan Jesus we see a child with infinite depths of feeling, wisdom of the heart.
      In contrast to the Nathan child we could say that the Solomon Jesus child possessed the wisdom of the Magi, of the Three Wise Men from the East. 'He was an individuality of exceptional maturity, having profound understanding of the world, wisdom of the head.

In a miraculous event in the Temple in Jerusalem, there would emerge one child, the Nathan Jesus who would later receive the Christ Spirit during his Baptism by John in the Jordan.

[page 51] Steiner describes how, in the temple in Jerusalem, the Nathan Jesus child, all soul and heart, received into himself the spirit and thinking power of the Solomon Jesus child. As a consequence of this Mystery event, the Solomon child was depleted of his life-forces and died shortly after it had taken place. The Nathan Jesus, on the other hand, was now so wise that the learned men in the temple 'were amazed at his intelligence and the answers he gave' to their questions (Luke 2:47).94 The keenest capacities of wisdom of the head, of the brain, such as only a descendant of the house of Solomon could develop, were united with the purest love forces of the heart of the Nathan Child. The kingly and the priestly powers were united in the Nathan Jesus child and formed the chalice into which, 18 years later, at the Baptism by John in the River Jordan, the Christ Being descended or, as Luke describes this moment, 'the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased' (Luke 3:22).

This three-day event in the Temple can be seen as an early initiation event for the Nathan Jesus during which his future mission is revealed to him.

[page 51, 52] The twelve-year-old Nathan Jesus became aware of his future mission on earth during the three days in the temple. We remember that in answer to his mother's troubled questioning when he was found in the temple he answered her, according to Luke, with two questions: 'How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?' His true Father, the twelve-year-old is saying, is not Joseph but God. He was already aware of the reality of the divine message which would issue from the heavenly heights at this baptism.

The perfected human who was to become the earthen vessel of the Christ Spirit would have to combine the wisdom and reverence of the Magi with the humility and piety of the shepherds. The Two Jesus children would have to become One in the Temple, "and qualities that had been entirely inward [would become] outward." (Page 53) The process by which the two become one was first described by Rudolf Steiner in 1909 and is illustrated in the cover art of this book. It is from a painting by Bergognone which "shows Mary leading a second Jesus boy away, even while the twelve-year-old Nathan Jesus boy is still speaking from the podium." (Page 65) Why should we believe these are two Jesus boys? The author gives us a threefold reason.

[page 65] First, Bergognone is not representing continuity within a story by depicting two or more actions of one and the same person, for the convention of continuous representation requires that actions that are separated chronologically must also be given their individual, separated spaces. Bergognone has not complied with this requirement. Indeed, as Ovason(2) points out, 'the device of continuous representation was outmoded by Bergognone's time'. Second, although the two boys resemble each other in appearance, they are not the same. The boy on the left of the picture, upon whom Mary is gazing down with loving concern, appears depleted of energy. We notice that both are clothed in red shifts. However, the shift of the boy leaving the temple is paler in colour than that of the twelve-year-old seated in the center. Both are making similar gestures, though those of the departing Jesus boy are much weaker; his left arm is not held up and outwards but, palm downwards, hanging limply towards the ground. This weakened gesture is reflected in his face. In comparison with the Jesus boy in the chair of the teacher, the departing boy appears wan and ailing. We notice, too, that the halo of this boy, the Solomon Jesus, is far less brilliant than that of the teaching Nathan Jesus. And, thirdly, the two Jesus boys are clearly aware of each other. In particular, we can recognize the bond between the two boys by the way in which the Nathan Jesus looks down upon the departing Solomon Jesus with what Ovason calls 'a strange mixture of love and wistfulness'(3)

Rudolf Steiner gave his indications of the reality of the two Jesus children before any of the substantiating evidence found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and other apocryphal scriptures. He saw the events with his own native clairvoyance and his descriptions simply add details and veracity to the artworks of the Renaissance and other scriptures unearthed since Steiner's time.

[page 65, 66] He [Ovason] goes on to say: 'The Solomon child seems to have sacrificed something of his spirit, something of his being to the Nathan child, and consequently is suffering.' According to Steiner the Solomon Jesus died very shortly after this event in the temple. It is clear that it is not solely the Nathan boy who is aware of his departing friend, for nearly all, if not all those learned men who a moment before had been discoursing with the twelve-year-old on the podium, now have their attention directed towards the boy who is about to leave the temple with Mary and Joseph.

None of these descriptions, paintings, or scriptures can convince you that there were two Jesus children it is a conclusion you only arrive at by carefully considering all the evidence as indicating a deeper reality than is commonly accepted by established historians, so-called experts of Christian artworks, and Church dogma as revealed to the public.

[page 68] We have seen that the idea of two Jesus children, spoken about by Rudolf Steiner as early as 1909, is supported in some of the Christian apocryphal gospels, in Gnostic texts and, above all, in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls first discovered at Qumran. We have also seen that there was present a line of Essene secret teaching which continued within Christian circles and that a tradition of the existence of two Jesus children prevailed in Christian art up to the Renaissance. There is therefore some justification in seriously suggesting an affirmative answer to the question 'Were there two Jesus children?' the one spoken of in Matthew's Gospel the other in that of Luke.

"Were there two Jesus children?" can only have a personal answer to anyone studying the matter objectively and with spiritual insight. Simply saying, "Oh, that's foolish!" is not an answer to the question of whether there were two Jesus children as much as it is an expression of one's ignorance and willingness to remain ignorant on the matter. If you insist on rejecting the idea of two Jesus children, you will be in good company with the majority of the people in the world and that thought may be comforting, but you will be left with the unanswered questions posed by the dramatic discrepancies in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. If you cavalierly ignore these differences you will have throw out one of the two Jesus babies with your bath water of indifference.


---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------

Footnote 1. I quote here from Edward Reaugh Smith's book, The Incredible Births of Jesus.

Return to text directly before Footnote 1.


Footnote 2. See David Ovason's The Two Jesus Children here:

Return to text directly before Footnote 2.


Footnote 3. See Rudolf Steiner's Lectures in Christ and the Spiritual World, GA#149 here: He relates how the Nathan Jesus-child's spirit was instrumental in all four sacrifices of Christ, three of them preceding the events described in the Bible.

Return to text directly before Footnote 3.


Any questions about this review, Contact: Bobby Matherne


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