The Universal Human
2. The God Within and the God of Outer Revelation
7 December 1909, Munich
As you know from the spirit of our anthroposophical work over the years, our work is not based on a striving for sensations. Instead, we want to calmly examine the facts of spiritual life that are important in our lives. It is not by speaking of what lies on the surface of daily life that we serve our age spiritually, but by gaining knowledge of life's larger connections. Our individual lives are closely connected with the great events of existence, and only when we judge our own life on the basis of the greatest phenomena of life can we assess it rightly. That is why we have tried in the last three years to deepen our fundamental views in relation to universal questions. We spent the first four years in this first seven-year cycle in the existence of the German Section of the Theosophical Society establishing our views and insights. From what you heard in the various lecture cycles, you will have realized that the lectures on the Gospels are part of the work of these last three years. Those lectures not only helped us understand the contents of the Gospels, but also showed what we can learn from them about human nature. Today, we will talk more about how the Gospels can be applied to our personal lives.
Conventional science is less and less willing to consider the Gospels historical documents about the greatest individuality ever to intervene in human evolution, Christ Jesus. The attitude toward the Gospels in the first Christian centuries and even in the Middle Ages was quite different from what it has become in modern times. These days, the Gospels are indeed seen as four mutually contradictory documents, and nothing seems more natural than to ask how they can be considered historical records when they contradict each other as much as they do in giving an account of what happened in Palestine at the beginning of our era.
Now, if people did not love to overlook the most important things, their thinking would inevitably have to lead them to the following realization. They would have to admit that it does not really take much to see that the Gospels contradict each other in our modern sense of the word. One could say that even a child can see the contradictions. But we could also add that nowadays the Gospels are available to everybody, and everybody can read them. However, before the invention of printing, they were not available to all people but were read only by a few people. These few were spiritual leaders. The content of the gospels was then taught to other people in a way they could understand. Now we have to ask if those few people who read the gospels, the spiritual leaders, were really such tremendous fools that they did not realize what every child can see these days, namely, that the gospels contradict each other.
When we investigate this matter, we soon notice that people's whole world of feeling toward the Gospels was different in the past. Today it is the critical intellect, trained in outer sensory reality, that has a field day with the Gospels. It has no problem at all finding the intellectual contradictions there; this is, after all, child's play.
How, then, did those leaders of spiritual life, who were reading the Gospels, come to terms with these contradictions? On account of the Gospels, people in ancient times had a tremendous reverence we can't even imagine today for the great Christ event. Indeed they felt that precisely because they had four Gospels they should revere and appreciate the Christ event all the more. This is because these early readers of the Gospels thought quite differently than we do today. Modern readers are no cleverer than somebody who photographs a bouquet of flowers from one angle. Then he has a picture of the bouquet and shows it around. People look at it and remember the picture, thinking they now have a clear idea of what the bouquet looked like. But then someone takes a picture of the same bouquet from another angle and gets quite a different picture. He also shows it to everyone but now people say it cannot possibly be the same bouquet because the two photographs contradict each other. And if the bouquet is photographed from all four sides, the four pictures will not be at all similar; yet they will be four pictures of the same thing.
This was how the early readers of the four Gospels felt. They believed the four Gospels are four different representations of one event, each taken from another point of view. They provide a complete picture of the event precisely because they are not alike. It is only when all four sides are combined that a complete idea of the event in Palestine emerges. People back then felt they had to look up to the Christ event with even more humility precisely because it was presented from four perspectives, for clearly this event is so great that it cannot be understood if it is presented from only one point of view. They felt they had to be grateful to have four Gospels describing this event from four points of view. However, they saw they had to understand how these four different points of view originated. Then they could develop an idea of what the individual can derive from the four Gospels.
What we call the Christ event is a tremendous, mighty event in the spiritual evolution of humanity. What place does that event in Palestine have in this evolution? We can say that everything humanity had previously experienced spiritually merged in this event in Palestine and from then on continued in one common stream. For example, the ancient Hebrew teaching, as it is recorded in the Old Testament, is one part of this common stream. It flowed in as the event in Palestine took place. Another stream proceeded from Zarathustra. This, too, entered into Christianity, which then flowed through the world as a kind of mainstream. Likewise, what we might call the oriental spiritual stream, which found its most significant expression in Gautama Buddha, also joined the one great mainstream. All these various streams are now contained in Christianity. You do not learn what Buddhism is nowadays from people who warm over the teachings of Buddha from 600 B.C. Those teachings have flowed into Christianity. Likewise, you do not learn what Zarathustrianism really is from people who want to explain its nature on the basis of ancient Persian documents. For the one who taught in ancient Persia what was recorded in these ancient documents has evolved further. He has let his contribution to the spiritual life of humanity flow into Christianity, and we will have to look for it there.
To get a clear picture of the facts, let us consider how these three streams, Buddhism, Zarathustrianism, and the ancient Judaic stream, flowed into Christianity. To understand how Zarathustrianism flowed in, we should remember that the individuality we call Zarathustra was the great teacher of the second post-Atlantean epoch who first taught among the ancient Persians and was then incarnated again and again. Through each incarnation he ascended higher and higher, and finally he appeared around 600 B.C. as a contemporary of Buddha. He appeared in the secret schools of the ancient Chaldean-Babylonian culture and was the teacher of Pythagoras, who had gone to Chaldea to perfect himself. Then this Zarathustra, who in 600 B.C. was known as Zarathas or Nazarathos, was reborn at the beginning of our era to parents called Joseph and Mary, as described in Saint Matthew's Gospel. This child of Joseph and Mary, the so-called Bethlehem parents, was one of the two Jesus children born at the beginning of our era. Thus, we see the individuality who was the bearer of Zarathustrianism — one of the significant streams mentioned above — transplanted to ancient Palestine.
This was not the only spiritual stream that was to revive and in a new form flow on in Christianity. Many different things had to come together to bring this about. For instance, Zarathustra had to be born in a body so organized that it was possible for him to develop further the faculties he had acquired through ascending from incarnation to incarnation. We must keep in mind that no matter how highly developed an individuality is, if it descends into an unsuitable body because it cannot find a suitable one, this individuality cannot express his or her soul-spiritual faculties because it lacks the necessary physical instruments. It takes a certain kind of brain to express such faculties as Zarathustra possessed. That is, he had to be born into a body that had inherited the qualities making it an appropriate instrument for such faculties. Thus, the Jesus child described in Saint Matthew's Gospel had to have a high soul-spiritual organization in his reincarnating I, which would allow him to have the powerful effect that was necessary, and he also had to have a perfect physical organization, which was inherited, for his soul to be born into. Zarathustra had to find a suitable physical brain.
This perfectly adapted physical organization was the contribution of the ancient Hebrews to Christianity. A suitable physical body for Zarathustra, a body with the most perfect imaginable physical instruments, had to be created in the Hebrew people through purely physical heredity. This had to be prepared far back in the past through many generations so that the right qualities were passed on and then inherited by the body that was born at the beginning of our era.
Let us look at how this life flowed into the mainstream of our present spiritual life. Just as we have seen the mission of Zarathustra in relation to Christianity, so we will now find out about the mission of the ancient Hebrews. Here I must tell you that the more spiritual-scientific research progresses, the more it has to admit that the Bible, not outer cultural history, is right. What cultural history digs up appears childish in comparison with what is written in the Bible and what only needs to be read properly to be understood. For spiritual science the Bible is more correct than historical research. For example, it is true that Judaism descended, in a sense, from a common forefather called Abraham or Abram. It is indeed absolutely correct that as we trace the generations back into the past, we come to a forefather who was endowed with very special powers by the spiritual world. What were these powers? To understand what special capabilities were given to Abraham, we must recall various things we have already spoken about here.
As we have said, when we look at ancient times, we find that people had other faculties of soul than we have today; these can be called a kind of dim clairvoyance. Back then, people could not look at the world in the self-confident, intellectual way we do, but they were able to perceive the spiritual around them, spiritual phenomena, facts, and beings. Since this seeing took place in a state of dimmed consciousness, it was like a living dream, but a dream that had a vital connection to reality. This ancient clairvoyance had to become weaker so people could develop our modern way of thinking and our intellectual culture.
Human evolution is a kind of education through which the various faculties are gradually developed. For example, in our present way of seeing, we perceive, let's say, a flower without seeing its astral body winding all around it. The ancients, however, still saw the flower and its astral body. We had to be trained in our modern perception that sees objects with the sharp contours of the intellect; this training required that the ancient clairvoyance vanish. Now, there is a certain law that prevails in spiritual evolution. According to this law, every capacity humanity acquires must have its beginning in one individuality. Faculties that are to become common to a large number of people must first appear in one person. Thus, the faculties having to do with reasoning not related to clairvoyance, with evaluating the world by measure, number, and weight — faculties that aim not at seeing into the spiritual world but at understanding sensory phenomena — were first implanted by the spiritual world in the individuality known as Abraham or Abram. He was chosen to be the first to develop the powers that are especially bound to the physical brain. It is not for nothing that Abraham is called the discoverer of arithmetic, that is, of the capability to quantify the world and calculate it according to measure and number. In a sense, he was the first of those in whose soul the ancient dreamy clairvoyance was extinguished and whose brain was prepared so that the faculty using the brain as instrument could become effective. Thus, the mission given to Abraham was a significant and profound one.
Now this faculty that had been given to Abraham in rudimentary form was to become more and more perfect. As you can imagine, everything in the world must develop, and the ability to perceive the world through the physical brain was no exception. This faculty was developed through being transmitted from Abraham to the succeeding generations. However, something different had to happen in this case than is usual when a mission is passed on from the older generation to the younger. After all, other missions, especially the greatest ones, were not connected to a physical instrument, the physical brain.
For example, let us look at Zarathustra. He gave his disciples a higher, more advanced clairvoyant vision than other people had. It was not bound to a physical instrument but was transmitted from teacher to pupil. The pupil then in turn became a teacher and gave this higher clairvoyant vision to his pupils, and so on. Abraham's mission, however, was not a teaching or method of clairvoyant perception but something bound to the brain. Thus, it could be transmitted to later generations only through physical inheritance. The mission given to Abraham depended on being transmitted physically from one generation to the next, that is, the perfected organization of Abraham's brain had to be inherited by his descendants generation after generation. Because Abraham's mission consisted in perfecting the physical brain, the latter became more and more perfect from generation to generation. In other words, the mission of Abraham depended on procreation for its gradual perfection in the course of physical evolution.
There was yet something else connected with this contribution of the ancient Hebrew people, and we will understand what it was when we consider people in other civilizations who had dim clairvoyance. We can ask how they received what was most important to them, what they revered most in all the world. They received it as inspirations that lit up within them. They did not have to do research as we do. Nowadays, we establish sciences by investigating the world outside us, by experimenting and deducing laws from the external facts. The ancients did not gain their knowledge in this way; rather, it lit up within them as an inspiration like a flash of lightning. They received their knowledge in their inner being; their souls had to give birth to it within them. They had to turn their gaze away from the outer world in order to allow the highest truths to blossom forth within them as inspirations.
This was to become different for those who derived their mission from Abraham. Abraham had to bring to humanity precisely the results of observation and reasoning. When people in those civilizations that were built on ancient clairvoyance looked up to the highest, they felt, “I am grateful to the God who reveals himself to me within me. I turn my gaze away from the outer world, and the Godhead is most present to me when, without looking at the outside world, I let his inspirations light up within me.”
However, the descendants of Abraham were to renounce inspirations coming from within themselves and prepare themselves to turn their gaze to the world around them. They were to observe what is revealed in air and water, in mountain and plain, and in the starry world, and to ponder how all things exist side by side. They were to connect external things with one another and to gain an all-embracing thought from this. When they condensed what they saw in the outer world into one single thought, they called what the outer world told them Yahweh or Jehovah. They were to receive the highest through a revelation that speaks through the outer world.
In contrast to what other peoples were to contribute, the mission of the Abrahamic people was to give humanity what came as revelation from outside. Therefore, the instrument of spiritual life had to be inherited so that its organization was appropriate for the revelations from outside, just as earlier the inner powers of soul had to be adapted to the revelations from within.
Let us look at what happened when the clairvoyants of ancient times yielded to revelations from within themselves. They turned their gaze away from the outer world because what was revealed there could tell them nothing about the spiritual world. They even turned their gaze away from the sun and stars and listened only to what was within. There, a great inspiration about the secrets of the world was revealed, and they had a picture of the structure of the cosmos. What these ancient clairvoyants knew about the stars and their movements, about the laws of the starry world, and about the spiritual worlds was not acquired through external observation. Rather, the ancients knew something about Mars, Saturn, and so on because they had revealed themselves within these people. The laws of the universe, which are inscribed in the stars, were also inscribed within the human soul and revealed themselves there in inspirations. Just as the laws of the universe, which rule the stars, were revealed in the soul, so the laws that rule the world were now to be revealed to the Abrahamic people through outer reasoning and deduction — that is, those laws had to be grasped through outer revelation.
For this purpose, heredity had to be guided in such a way that the brain could acquire the qualities enabling it to perceive the right relationships between things. This wonderful lawfulness was implanted into the predispositions transmitted to Abraham, predispositions that developed through the generations in such a way that their organization corresponds to the great cosmic laws. The brain had to be transmitted so that its inner capabilities and its structure developed like the laws of numbers in the stars in the universe. This is why Jehovah said to Abraham, “You will see generations descend from you that will be ordered and arranged in accordance with the numbers of the stars in the heavens.” The generations following Abraham were to be arranged in harmonious numerical relationships just as the stars in the sky are ordered in harmonious relations. In other words, these generations were to bear within them laws that are like the laws of the stars in the heavens.
In the heavens, there are twelve constellations. An image of this was to appear in the twelve tribes of descendants of Abraham so that the faculties that were implanted in rudimentary form in Abraham could be carried down through the generations. In the organic structure of this people, developing further from age to age, an image was to be created of number and measure in the heavens. In one Bible translation this is rendered as, “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore.” In truth, however, the passage should read, “Your descendants shall be grouped regularly in their blood relationships so that their arrangement is an image of the laws of the stars in the heavens.” The Bible is profound, but the way it is presented these days is colored by the modern view of the world. Thus, we read, “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore,” while a true translation would be, “Your descendants shall be so regularly grouped that, for example, twelve tribes will arise that correspond to the twelve constellations.”
Thus, the individual characteristics had to express that the Abrahamic people was to realize that their mission was a gift from outside, not something that came to life within them. They had to know that what they have to bring to the world is given to them from the outside. The Bible wonderfully expresses that Abraham's mission comes to him from outside in contrast to the old revelations that were given from within. What was this mission? Abraham's mission was to provide what flows through the blood up to the time of Christ Jesus. The entire spirituality of a certain stream had to be placed into this. It was to work as if it came as a gift from outside. Abraham had to give to the world the ancient Hebrew people. That was his mission.
If this people was to be in keeping with this mission, it had to be given to Abraham as a gift from outside. Abraham had a son, Isaac, and he was asked to sacrifice this son, as the Bible tells us. As Abraham was about to carry out the sacrifice, his son was given back to him by Jehovah. What was Abraham given there? The entire Hebrew people descended from Isaac. If Isaac had been sacrificed, it would not have come into being. Thus, the whole Hebrew people was given to Abraham as a gift. The sparing of Isaac wonderfully expresses the nature of this gift. It was Abraham's mission to father the Hebrew people, and with Isaac he received it as a gift from Jehovah.
This is how profound the stories in the Bible are; all of them correspond in their impressive details to the inner character of the progressive development of humanity. The Old Testament Hebrews gradually had to relinquish the ancient clairvoyance that continued within the other civilizations. This clairvoyance was connected to faculties coming from the spiritual world, which were designated according to their nature by expressions taken from the names for the constellations. The last faculty to be given up in exchange for the gift of the Hebrew people was connected with the sign of the Ram. Therefore, a ram was sacrificed in place of Isaac. This is the external expression of the sacrifice of the last clairvoyant power, making it possible for Abraham to receive the Hebrew people as a gift. The Hebrews were chosen to develop the faculties for observation of the outer world. Nevertheless, every new development contains also atavistic remnants of earlier things. That is why everything that was not purely in the blood and still recalled ancient clairvoyance had to be excluded for the sake of the transmission of the new outer-directed faculties. Thus, the Hebrews always had to exclude what came as an inheritance from other peoples.
We come now to a subject that is difficult to discuss because it contains a truth far removed from modern thinking. Nevertheless, it is a truth, and those who have worked for a while in anthroposophical groups may be able to accept a truth that is foreign to the conventional modern thinking. We must be aware that certain classes of people in ancient times retained their earlier faculties into later ages, especially faculties related to knowing. Clairvoyant powers lived in human souls, and people were closely connected with spiritual beings who revealed themselves in their souls. In certain people, who were the products of the decline of these ancient times, there developed ultimately a lower form of this connection to the spiritual world around them. While the actual clairvoyants were connected with the whole universe through spiritual intuition and inspiration, those who were part of the process of decline and who developed this connection to the spiritual in a phase of decadence were actually lower types of people. They were not independent because their I was undeveloped, and at the same time their clairvoyant faculties were already declining. Such individuals appeared throughout history, and in them we can see the relationship between certain physical organs and the clairvoyant organs.
Now we arrive at the truth that will sound strange to you. What we call ancient clairvoyance, this lighting up of the cosmic secrets within human souls, had to enter the soul somehow. We have to picture this as streams flowing into human beings. The ancients did not perceive them, but when these streams had occurred and lit up within them, people perceived them as their inspirations. In other words, certain streams flowed into people from their environment; in later periods these streams were transformed. In the distant past, these streams were purely spiritual, and clairvoyants could perceive them as purely astral-etheric streams. But later these purely spiritual streams dried up, as it were, and condensed to etheric-physical streams. What became of them? They developed into hair. Our hair is the result of these ancient streams. The hair on our body was formerly spiritual streams that flowed from outside into human beings. Our hair is nothing else but dried up astral-etheric streams.
Such facts are preserved only where the old truths have been retained externally in writing or through tradition. In Hebrew the characters for the words “hair” and “light” are approximately the same because people were conscious of the kinship between the light streaming in astrally and hair. In general, the greatest truths are contained in ancient Hebrew literature in the words themselves.
So, we can say human evolution is progressive. However, in those people whose ancient faculties were declining the incoming streams changed and dried up, but no new faculties appeared to take their place. Those people were connected with the new in an old way, yet unconnected because the streams were dried up. Such people were very hairy, while those who developed further were less hairy because new powers replaced those that later condensed into hair.
It will take a long time for science to arrive at these significant truths. Nevertheless, they can be found in the Bible. The Bible is far wiser than our science, which is still at the stage of a child beginning to learn his ABC's. Read the story of Jacob and Esau. Jacob was the one who progressed a step further and developed the new faculty; Esau, on the other hand, remained at an earlier stage, and compared to Jacob he was a simpleton. When they were presented to their father Isaac, their mother had covered Jacob with false hair to make Isaac confuse his younger son with Esau. This shows us that the Old Testament Hebrews still had retained something that was inherited from other cultures and that had to be discarded. Esau is cast out, and what was to live on as sense-based reasoning is transmitted through Jacob. Here, what had remained in a retarded form was expelled in Esau. Similarly, the ancient clairvoyant faculties, an atavistic inheritance, appeared in Joseph, who was consequently expelled by his brothers to Egypt. Joseph had dreams through which he could interpret the world — this faculty was not to be developed in the mission of the Abrahamic people. Therefore, Joseph was cast out and had to go to Egypt.
There we see how a stream evolved in the Hebrew people that is built on the blood relationships of generations and from which the remnants of the old inheritance are gradually expelled. It was the special faculty of the ancient Hebrews to turn what is inherited down through the generations into a more and more perfect instrument so that finally a body could be produced that could be the instrument for Christ who would incarnate in it. If the Hebrews could no longer receive revelations from within, they had to receive them from without. They had to receive through external revelation even those things other peoples received through direct inspiration. That is, the Jews, led by Joseph, had to go to a people that still possessed the old inspiration. There, Joseph was initiated into the Egyptian mysteries, and the Jews attained through external means the knowledge they needed about the spiritual worlds. They even received their moral laws from the outside rather than as something lighting up within them. After they had assimilated what they had to take in from outside, they returned to Palestine.
We must now show how the Hebrews gradually developed from generation to generation so that finally the body of Jesus could be produced, and the ancient Hebrew stream flow into Christianity. Remember our discussion of the development of rudimentary characteristics in individuals. The life of an individual can be divided into periods of seven years. The first period, in which the physical body simply builds its forms, extends from birth to the change of teeth at the age of seven. The second period, in which the etheric body is active in growth and forming, continues until puberty. The forms are defined until the age of seven and the already-defined forms are then enlarged. From fourteen to twenty-one the astral body is especially predominant, and at twenty-one the true I is born and becomes independent. The life of the individual runs its course in certain periods until the birth of the human I.
In the same way the gifts of the people that was to provide a body for the most perfect I had to develop gradually. What takes place over years in an individual, however, develops in a people over generations. Each successive generation must further develop the characteristics of the preceding one. To explain the occult reasons for this would lead us too far afield, but you might recall a quite ordinary phenomenon. Just remember that certain qualities are inherited not directly, but skip a generation. For example, it is the grandson who resembles the grandfather in those characteristics. It was the same in the inheritance of qualities in successive generations of the Hebrews; every other generation was skipped.
What is one period of seven years in an individual's life corresponds in the successive generations of a people to two periods or fourteen generations. We can therefore say the Hebrews developed in twice seven or fourteen generations, which corresponds to the period from birth to the change of teeth in the individual. The following period corresponds to that between the change of teeth and puberty and again comprises twice seven generations. A third period of twice seven generations corresponds to the years between fourteen and twenty-one, when the astral body is especially prominent. It was then possible for the I to be born in the Hebrew people after three times twice seven or three times fourteen, that is, forty-two generations.
To describe the body that became Zarathustra's instrument, I had to show how the seed given to Abraham developed through thrice fourteen generations so that the I could be born, just as in the individual the I is born into the threefold corporeality after thrice seven years. The writer of Saint Matthew's Gospel shows this. He describes thrice fourteen generations — the generations from Abraham to David, from David to the Babylonian Captivity, and from the Babylonian Captivity to the birth of Jesus. Here, from the profundity of knowledge Saint Matthew's Gospel points to the mission of the Hebrews, showing how the forces were gradually developed that made it possible for the perfect I attained by Zarathustra to be born in a body produced by this people.
Looking at the destiny of the Hebrews, we find that the Babylonian Captivity occurred at the period when the individual, after the age of fourteen, prepares for life, when the hopes of youth to be realized later take root. The Babylonian Captivity was the time when the astral body of the Hebrews developed, and what gives this astral body its impulse in the final fourteen generations of the forty-two was implanted into it then. That is why the Hebrews were led into the Babylonian Captivity where, six hundred years before our era, Zarathas or Nazarathos was incarnated as the teacher in the Mystery schools of the Babylonians. There, the most prominent Hebrew leaders came in contact with Zarathas, the great teacher of that era. Zarathas joined them and became their teacher. From him the Hebrew leaders received the impulse that, in their last fourteen generations, prepared them for the birth of Jesus.
History as we know it then unfolded, and we see the writer of Saint Matthew's Gospel take into account a law in the spiritual sphere that will be recognized more and more as significant for all life. This is the law that whatever has happened earlier is repeated at a higher stage. This is expressed in science in a somewhat distorted form in the axiom that what occurs at a lower stage of the species throughout long epochs is repeated in brief in each individual. The writer of Saint Matthew's Gospel shows this in a magnificent way by saying that the I of Zarathustra was to incarnate in a body that was gradually developed within the Abrahamic people.
Abraham proceeded from Ur in Chaldea, the place where Babylonian civilization originated, through Asia Minor to Palestine. Through the dreams of Joseph, his descendants were led farther south to Egypt, and after they had received the Egyptian impulse, they returned to Canaan. This was the fate of the whole people. First, they were led through Canaan to Egypt, and then back again to Canaan. This fate of the whole people was to be repeated in brief. After all that had originated in Abraham had been developed, after the sheaths had been prepared, Zarathustra's I again took Chaldea as its point of departure. His spirit was connected with Chaldea, and in his last incarnation he was the Mystery teacher there.
What path does Zarathustra's soul take when it incarnates in Bethlehem? He had remained connected with the Magi, who had been initiated in the Chaldean Mystery schools. They remembered that they had heard him say he would reappear and that his soul, which had always been called “the golden star,” would proceed at a particular time to Bethlehem. When the time came, they followed the path his soul took, thus repeating the path of the Old Testament Hebrews. As Abraham traveled the road to Canaan, so this star, the soul of Zarathustra, also followed it. The three Magi followed the star of Zarathustra, and he led them to the place where he was born into the body from the Abrahamic people that was destined for him. Thus, the I of Zarathustra repeated in spirit the path Abraham had taken to Palestine.
The Old Testament Hebrews then had to seek the way to Egypt. They were led there by Joseph's dreams. Now the I that was born in the Jesus-child of Bethlehem was led through the dreams of another Joseph to Egypt along the same path the Abrahamic people had followed earlier. Zarathustra's I repeated in Jesus' body the ancient Hebrews' destiny, going first to Egypt and then returning to Palestine. Here, we have a recapitulation in spirit through the I of Zarathustra, reflecting the earlier fate of the Hebrews.
Based on his knowledge of the spiritual law that what appears at a higher stage is a brief repetition of what has occurred earlier, the writer of Saint Matthew's Gospel faithfully describes all this. How profoundly these Gospels record the event that inaugurated our era! That event is so great that the four evangelists found that each of them could only describe it from his own standpoint. Each of them has described this event according to his own limited powers. When we see someone from one of four sides, we get only one picture, and only by combining mutually contradictory pictures do we get an overall idea of the person. Similarly, the writer of Saint Matthew's Gospel described what he knew through initiation about the law of thrice twice seven, the law of forty-two, and about the preparation of the body for the great I of Jesus of Nazareth. Through his initiation, the writer of this gospel knew the Mysteries according to which Jesus’ body was prepared as the mission of the Hebrews. The writer of Saint Luke's Gospel described, on the basis of his initiation, how the stream of the Buddha flowed into Christianity. The other evangelists have described the event on the basis of their initiations. The event they recorded is so profound that we must be grateful to find it described from the point of view of four initiates.
Today I just wanted to mention a few details of the spiritual origin of Christianity to show how our knowledge of the world and of humanity grows when we study this greatest of human events. I wanted to give you an idea of how deeply this event should be taken and how the Gospels really are when we know how to read them.