THIS IS A DRAFT, A WORK IN PROGRESS
Welcome: This Blog Booklet traces The Evolution of Conscience from its beginning and loss in Genesis to a section on The Patriarchs, followed by the restoration of conscience during the Mystery of Golgotha and the Resurrection. Soon to come is Exodus.
Learn Now What Became of Adam and Eve After The Fall
The Evolution Of Conscience I (Revised December 2017) How Our Likeness Of God Was Lost
Adam and Eve are the first mortal beings created by Yahweh. They’re gifted with free will and made in His image and likeness, placing them above all other species. These gifts are a legacy for their progeny, but when they disobey Yahweh’s command by eating the fruit of the Tree of the Wisdom of Good and Evil, they lose this Likeness of God (Yahweh) and with it Original Justice. This conscience-like quality enables mortal beings to use their free will to make decisions in alignment with Yahweh. Our aim is three-fold: to clarify our Likeness of God; to discover how it has been lost and found; and to discover a deeper identity of Adam and Eve before and after “The Fall.”
The Tree of Wisdom and Good and Evil is not evil in itself: Its name defines the challenges faced by those who disobey Yahweh’s restriction of the tree and find themselves subject to death. Unfortunately we learn in the Old Testament how Eve’s eagerness for the wisdom of the divine beings draws the attention of a wily serpent in the Garden of Eden intent on proving she and Adam unworthy of the high place they hold with Yahweh. The serpent notes how Eve’s light is dimmer than Adam’s, making her an easier target–and quells her fear of death by assuring her Yahweh forbids the tree to prevent her from gaining the wisdom she so desires.
Eve is at a crossroads–the first of many to be faced by mortals. She can call upon Yahweh for advice or eat the fruit risking death for wisdom. (Genesis 3:1-6) Eve is out of her element. Life is gentle in Eden, an idyllic garden totally protected. There she enjoys the company of Yahweh and the Divine Beings who only base decisions on good or better and carrying the Likeness of God, she can call on Yahweh at any time to help her make decisions aligned with His purpose. But as she lingers with the serpent, her desire for the forbidden fruit grows and she fails to call Yahweh. Instead she allows temptation to overtake reason, picks the fruit and eats some; Enamored by its aroma and taste, she convinces Adam to taste it too. (Genesis 3:7)
When Eve was presented to Adam they were naked and knew no shame. Eating the forbidden fruit–actually disobeying Yahweh’s direct command–has stolen their innocence demonstrated by their new physicality as mortal beings. Ashamed to face Yahweh they quickly gather leaves to cover themselves.
Shame and fear, outcomes of “the Fall”, rapidly diminish self-worth, so when Yahweh confronts them, instead of apologizing and accepting the consequences, Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent Nevertheless Yahweh imposes their punishment, dooming the serpent to everlasting abuse by women; committing Eve to intense pain in childbirth yet yearning for her husband; and charging Adam to painfully eke food from the now cursed earth. What’s more, these consequences are inherited by all mortal beings. (Genesis 3:14-20)
A Glimpse Beyond Genesis
In Christ and Sophia Valentin Tomberg shares these conclusions based on Rudolph Steiner’s Outline of Esoteric Science. It “speaks of the various inner structures of the human soul as well as its various paths in the cosmos at the time of the event described in the Bible as the fall of humanity. Seven communities arose in the history of human destiny…only the Sun Souls had the power to remain on earth and of those, only two souls survived. Yahweh placed them within Adam and Eve, representing the destiny of humanity…
The Fall brought about changes that effected Adam and Eve, who as all mortals, are more complicated than their physical bodies, which are surrounded by energies making up the auric field. The etheric body is about an inch beyond the physical body. According to Joshua Stone, Ph.D. in Soul Psychology: Keys to Ascension, “the etheric body governs and conditions the physical body. The function of the etheric body is to store the rays of radiant light and heat from the sun and transmit them via the spleen to all parts of the body.” About three inches beyond is the astral/emotional body. This body includes all the colors of the rainbow, changing as the emotions change. Beyond this, the mental body, the third layer, has to do with mental activity and effects personal power and power imbalances or mental distortions.”
At “the Fall” changes were triggered effecting Adam and Eve’s etheric, astral and physical bodies and initiated human karma, known in Biblical literature and Christianity as original sin. However, while certain characteristics of Adam and Eve represented “fallen humanity,” other untarnished characteristics were raised and protected, united with beings in the spiritual hierarchies.
The immaculate astral nature of Eve (her emotional body) was united with the spiritual being Divine Sophia, worshipped in Egypt as Isis, by the Chosen People as the Shekinah and among Christians as Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven.
Adam was united with the archangel called Jesus.
Eve’s Relationship To The Divine Sophia
After “the Fall” the Divine Sophia, carrying the protected etheric energy of Eve, entered the inner earth at a place called Shamballa. There she paid restitution for Eve’s role in “the Fall” and awaited her own release.
I’ve had a waking-dream experience of Shamballa, where I’m standing on the bank of a crystal clear body of water under a tree. Entering a large root, I slide downward, coming upon a beautiful being sitting in a niche in semi-darkness. She invites me join her, where I experience the most exquisite nurturing energy. Soon my attention is drawn to a space engulfed in bronze-tinged golden light. The Divine Sophia asks if I want to enter the space, warning me to stay only a short time. I enter and floating above are uncountable bronze-tinged crystal orbs. The place, called Shamballah, is enchanting, but I soon realize there’s no clear pathway out. Instantly I’m back with Sophia, and in a flash am under the tree where this journey began.
I see the aspect of Shamballa shared with me as an analogy to Eve’s struggle as she attempts to balance free will with the temptation of gaining the wisdom of the divine beings. The bronze-tinged crystal orbs represent the many meaningless distractions designed to move us off our spiritual path.
The Evolution of Conscience II: How We Lost our Image and Likeness of God
To clarify our heritage as beings made in the Image and Likeness of God–and if and when we lost either–I went to the Shorter Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas. In it both he and St. Bernard of Clairvaux concur how our Likeness of God was lost at “The Fall of Adam and Eve” and further explain how mortal beings struggled exercising the remaining gift of free will without the virtues contained in the Likeness of God. (Virtues: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety; and fear of the Lord)
St. Bernard born in 1090 AD and St.Thomas Aquinas in 1272 AD agree how the Image of God is our essential structure, our physicality; our Likeness of God is our decision-making function which includes Original Justice, the seat of these virtues. Here’s a mini-summary of their belief:
“God implanted a hierarchy of behavioral safeguards within Adam and Eve so their bodies were completely subject to their souls, and the lower powers of their souls were completely subject to reason; man’s reason itself was subject to God. In consequence, the soul had complete domination over the body and no passion could arise therein to conflict with the domination of the soul and neither death nor illness had any place in man. Consequently man knew complete peace of mind, for human reason was not troubled by inordinate passions. Finally, owing to the submission of man’s will to God, man is to refer all things to God as to the last end, and in this his innocence prevails.”
“Original Justice is not earned by mortal beings. It is a gift contained within the inherited Likeness of God; as such it could only be acquired if passed down by Adam and Eve. When they lost their Likeness of God at “the Fall” they had no legacy to pass on.”
“A further consequence of this loss is a defect which allows the human body to experience corruption. When the mortal soul became unable to sustain the body forever by conferring life on it, man became subject to suffering and death.”
Other Consequences of “The Fall”
When Eve was presented to Adam they were naked and knew no shame. Eating the fruit — actually disobeying Yahweh’s direct command — has stolen their innocence and their new physicality as mortal beings makes their error obvious. Ashamed to face Yahweh they quickly gather leaves to cover themselves and hide their disobedience.
Shame and fear, outcomes of “the Fall,” rapidly diminish self-worth, so when Yahweh confronts them, instead of apologizing and accepting the consequence, Adam blames Eve, Eve blames the serpent, and Yahweh imposes their punishment. Eve is committed to intense pain in childbirth, yet yearns for her husband; Adam is charged for as long as he lives to painfully eke food from the soil cursed because of their actions; and the serpent is doomed to everlasting abuse by women; What’s more, these consequences of Adam and Eve’s behavior are inherited by all their progeny. (Genesis 3:14-20)
The Divine Beings no longer trust Adam and Eve, sharing these feelings with Yahweh. “Man, now like one of us knowing good from evil, must not be allowed to pick from the Tree of Life and live forever.” So Yahweh clothes Adam and Eve in tunics and expels them from the only home they’ve ever known. (Genesis 3:14-20)
Evolution of Consciousness II: The Consequences of “The Fall”
Eve is the first mortal being to exercise free will, opening the door to the outside world in which mortal beings face the challenges of using this gift without the benefit of the virtues within their Likeness of God.
In this single incident of “the Fall”, we see how the initial error of Adam and Eve leads to other seemingly unrelated errors: pride in believing themselves as worthy as God and the divine beings; coveting and envying wisdom beyond reason; so lusting after the delicious aroma and taste of the fruit that Eve shares it with Adam, who readily accepts it; not taking the time to consult Yahweh (sloth); and for the first time, experiencing through Yahweh’s reaction, what anger is like. Adam is guilty of disobeying Yahweh’s direct command not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Wisdom of Good and Evil; being too self-involved to recognize Eve’s struggle; and attempting to cover-up their disobedience by covering themselves with leaves. These are among the many challenges mortal beings face balancing free will with temptation.
How Guardian Angels Come to Our Rescue
St. Bernard of Clairvaux tells us God, knowing the struggle mortal beings would experience without the benefit of the Likeness of God and Original Justice, called upon a group of angels who became guardians, one assigned to each mortal being. “Guardian Angels substitute themselves for functions lost with the likeness of God. These angels guard, cherish, protect, visit and defend their protege. They also preserve the tableau of memories so each soul’s lifetime can be seen as a continuum of actions moving toward eternal life.”
Aquinas concurs adding a condition for being assigned a Guardian Angel, “If the divine image has not undergone weakening, and if the divine likeness has been subjected to habits lending towards evil, a Guardian Angel is assigned to accompany the individual as a faithful ally.” Guardian Angels may not call upon their proteges; They must wait in the darkness until their protege calls them.”
I often call my Guardian Angel, a habit carried over from childhood. There was a day when in teeming rain my car hydroplaned off a highway during rush hour. As the car headed across the median toward oncoming traffic, I called my angel for protection. Then time stood still. When I regained awareness, my car was on the left shoulder of the road, its rear fender caught on a guard rail, cars speeding by. There were no other guard rails for hundreds of feet in either direction. It’s an experience I’ll never forget — and a daily reminder to take my Guardian Angel with me wherever I go. (For more on Guardian Angels, see Meditations on the Tarot by Valentin Tomberg, Letter XIV, Temperance)
Years after being expelled from Eden, Yahweh visits Adam and Eve and is presented with gifts by their sons, Cain and Able. Cain presents Yahweh with a gift from his garden and his brother Able presents the best of his lambs, which pleases Yahweh. Seeing a darkness hovering over Cain, Yahweh warns him it is not too late to escape its temptation. Ignoring Yahweh, he invites Able to join him on a walk, where Cain murders his brother out of jealousy. Adam and Eve are essentially childless until Seth is born when Adam is 150 years old. (Genesis 4) Through Seth, the bloodline of Adam is enriched with physical longevity; and prophetic beings, among them Enoch, who was so closely aligned with Yahweh he was bodily assumed into heaven.
The Evolution of Consciousness III: Yahweh Sends a Great Flood to Cleanse the Earth
Years later, a myth is told summing up “the wickedness of the land.” (Genesis 5:6) Divine beings, likely fallen angels, find the daughters of men very beautiful. They consort with as many as they choose without any resistance from the girls’ fathers. When God hears this He calls the actions of man an abomination and limits the mortal lifespan to 120 years. This behavior must have continued, because a note in New Jerusalem Bible (Genesis 6a) tells us it provoked The Flood. Truth or myth, the story emphasizes the importance Yahweh places on His established order, prohibiting the mixing of mortal and Divine beings.
These behaviors continued, leading Yahweh to cleanse the earth of all living things except Noah and his family with The Great Flood in 2348 BC (from The Time Chart History of the World). Noah is described as “a good and upright man among his contemporaries, one who walks with Yahweh. He fathers three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth.” Noah builds an ark to Yahweh’s specifications and as the time of the flood draws near, Noah’s wife uproots and stocks every useful plant growing near their home, food and water. At God’s instruction Noah then leads pairs of every clean animal named by Adam at their creation onto the ark and his wife calms them with incense. Yahweh then shuts the family in to wait out the storm.
For 40 days and nights waters spring from the earth and rain down from heaven, lifting the ark until it drifts over the waters. As the water finally maintains its level for 150 days, Yahweh sends a wind to gradually dry the earth. Once the waters subside Noah and his family step out onto Mount Arafat. After releasing all the animals, Noah builds an altar and presents burnt offerings to Yahweh, who “smelt the pleasing smell and makes the first covenant with Noah” called The New World Order.
“Never again will I curse the earth because of human beings, because their heart contrives evil from their infancy. Never again will I strike down every living thing as I have done. As long as each endures: seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease. -Genesis 8-21
In this covenant with Noah, Yahweh sets out to protect all He has created, first acknowledging a flaw in mortal beings from birth (This refers to the loss of the Likeness of God.) His next step as a loving father is to forbid the shedding of another’s blood, protecting mortal beings from one another, “for in the image of God man was created.” Yahweh Himself no longer describes mortal beings as made in His Likeness. Recognizing their flaw He begins to nurture their development with rules and establishes a sign as a reminded that He remembers this covenant.
And this God said, “is the sign of the covenant which I now make between myself and you and every living creature with you for all ages to come. I now set my bow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I gather the clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I shall recall the covenant..and I shall see it and call to mind the eternal covenant between God and all living things. That, God told Noah, is the sign of the covenant I have established between myself and all the living things on earth. Be fruitful and multiply, teem over the earth and subdue it!” -Genesis 9:9-17
After a hundred years, Noah’s sons and their families disperse over the land, Shem to Asia; Ham to Africa; and Japheth to Europe.-From The Time Chart History of the World.
The Evolution of Consciousness IV The Patriarchs
Noah and his family successfully established The New World through covenants with Yahweh. It’s now 400 years since the Great Flood and Yahweh has a new vision of “a promised land” for “chosen people.” This first Jewish community is to draw together like-minded people, faithful in their belief of Yahweh as the one true God. Living together in “the promised land” they can support one another as they continue to make righteous decisions free from the temptations of the outside world. To accomplish this, Yahweh seeks a new Noah, one sharing the same bloodline and an inner awareness since boyhood that there is but one God. That man is Abram, the eighth great grandson of Noah.
Abram is living in Ur the capital of the ancient Chaldean Empire where many gods are worshipped. At a young age, he expresses to his father Terah his belief in one God to be worshipped to the exclusion of all others. For no stated reason, likely Divine Intervention, Terah moves the family from Ur to Canaan including his son Abram and sister-wife* Sarai; and his grandson Lot. They make a planned temporary stop in Haran but remain there for several years after Terah’s death.\.
(*Sister-wife was a custom of Upper Mesopotamia among the aristocracy allowing a husband to adopt his wife as his sister so she may enjoy greater protection and social status.)
Yahweh first speaks to Abram in 1921 BC, making the first of two covenants with him.
“Leave your country, your kindred and your father’s house for a country I shall show you; you are to be a blessing! I shall bless those who bless you, and shall curse those who curse you, and all clans on earth will bless themselves by you.” -Genesis 12: 1-4
Abram immediately packs the family possessions for the journey to Canaan, taking Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all the people acquired in Haran. They pass through Damascus in Aram (Syria) and continue southward toward Canaan. When they arrive Canaanites are still in the country so Abram goes only as far as at the holy place at Shechem. Yahweh reveals his promise for Abram and his progeny to inherit the land of Canaan. Stage-by-stage Abram, Sarai and Lot survey the land making way to the Negev, the southernmost and largely uninhabited part of what we know as Israel, more than 4,000 square miles in area.
A famine forces them west into Egypt where food is plentiful. When approaching the Pharaoh’s household Abram asks Sarai to say she’s his sister, not his sister-wife, fearing he will be killed when Pharaoh’s men see the beautiful Sarai. Abram’s plan succeeds and Sarai is taken into the Pharaoh’s house. Things go well for Abram, but but no so well for the Pharaoh. Believing Sarai is unmarried, Pharaoh takes her for his wife and soon after plagues rain down on his household. He suspects Abram, who confesses Sarai’s status as his sister-wife. Angered, Pharaoh orders his men to send them on their way with their possessions and more, making Abram rich in livestock, silver and gold. -Genesis 13
While traveling with Abram, Lot’s herds have increased and crowding causes disputes among the herdsmen. Abram offers a solution for sharing the land, giving Lot the choice of going either to their right or left. Lot looks at the verdant well-irrigated land to his right and heads there, pitching his tents on the fringe of the city of Sodom.
As Yahweh often does He gives Abram greater definition of the land promised to his progeny.
“Look all around from where you are, to north and south to east and west, for all the land within sight I shall give you and your descendants forever. I shall make your descendants like the dust on the ground; when people count the specks,they will be able to count your descendants too!”
The next time they meet, Yahweh gives Abram his most important assignment:
“On your feet! Travel the length and breadth of the country for I mean to give it to you.”
As Abram walks the land he establishes ownership and step-by-step co-mingles his and the earth’s astral energies, sanctifying the land as home to the chosen people and a place for the worship of Yahweh. Where inspired by Yahweh, Abram stops and has wells dug and groves of trees planted.
The message of Yahweh lives in Abram and he becomes “a magnet attracting people of various tribes who gathered around Abraham having one thing in common, an understanding of the new revelation of one true God who is worshipped to the exclusion of all others. These faithful form the nucleus of a new people, who become the first Jewish community.” -From Christ and Sophia by Valentin Tomberg
Ishmael, Abram’s First Son
Having prepared the site for “the promised land” Abram moves his tent to the Oak of Mamre in Hebron where he builds an altar to Yahweh who comes to him in a vision
“Do not be afraid, Abram! I am your shield and shall give you a great reward.” -Genesis 15 :1-2
Abram tells Yahweh he doesn’t seek rewards, but an heir to inherit all Yahweh has promised. “Your heir will be the issue of your own body,” states Yahweh, making reference to what is about to happen. Sarai wants a child as much as Abram wants a legitimate heir. After ten years in Canaan she’s given up hope of conceiving, so she encourages Abram to take her handmaid Hagar to his tent. -Genesis 16
Once Hagar conceives, she looks down on her mistress and when Sarai responds harshly, Hagar runs away. Found in the woods by an Angel of the Lord, she’s encouraged to return. The angel foretells how Hagar will give birth to a boy she is to call Ishmael, who will become “a wild donkey of a man, his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him, living his life in defiance of his kinsman.” Hagar returns to Sarai and when the infant is born she names him Ishmael as the angel told; As time passes his personality also develops as the angel said. Abram was 87 years old when Ishmael was born. -Genesis 16
The Evolution of Consciousness: Circumcision, The Second Covenant
Fourteen years later, Yahweh announces a covenant changing Abram’s name to Abraham and instituting the rite of circumcision:
“…When Abram was ninety-nine years old Yahweh appeared to him and said ‘I am El Shaddai. Live in my presence, be perfect, and I shall grant a covenant between myself and you and make you very numerous.’ And Abram bowed to the ground. ‘For I am making you into nations and your issue will be kings. And I shall maintain my covenant between myself and you, generation after generation as a covenant in perpetuity to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And to you and to your descendants after you, I shall give the country where you are now immigrants, the entire land of Canaan, to own in perpetuity. And I will be their God.” -Genesis 17:1-9
Yahweh shows his confidence in the gathering of the chosen people, which will require circumcision as clear identification of commitment to Him. He further explains to the men of Abraham’s household how the circumcised flesh of the foreskin is a sign of the covenant between Him and Abraham. On that day Abraham circumcised all the males of his household including himself and Ishmael, who was 13 years old.
“As soon as he is eight days old, every one of your males, generation after generation, must be circumcised, including slaves born within the household or bought from a foreigner…The uncircumcised male…that person must be cut off from his people: he has broken the covenant.” -Genesis 17:9-14
A Child Is Promised To Abraham And Sarai
“As regards your wife Sarai, you must call her Sarah. I shall bless her and moreover give you a son by her and she will become nations: kings of peoples will issue from her. I shall bless her and she will become nations: kings of peoples will issue from her. …Sarah will conceive a son to be called Isaac, and Yahweh will have a covenant with him in perpetuity to be his God and the God of his descendants after him.” -Genesis 17:15-19
The changing of the names of Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah signifies their total alignment with Yahweh by adding the H sound from the formal name of Yahweh, Ya He Vau He. Yahweh also grants Abram’s request for Ishmael to be the father of twelve princes and a great nation… -Genesis 17:20-22
“But my covenant I shall maintain with Isaac, whom Sarai will bear you at this time next year.” -Genesis 17:21-22
The Evolution of Consciousness: III Why Three Patriarchs: Abraham: The Mind of the Patriarchs
The Patriarchs are three generations of extraordinary men selected by Yahweh to establish The Promised Land. The meaning of the number three tells us Yahweh seeks the perfect completion of this covenant through men carrying the bloodline of Noah and many notables in The Old Testament. Abraham is the first Patriarch chosen by Yahweh to be followed by his son Isaac and grandson Jacob. The qualities carried in their bloodline are complemented as each man brings his own personality to fulfill Yahweh’s vision.
Abraham has the mindfulness and insight to bring Yahweh’s vision of The Promised Land into reality. He carries a strong evolved spiritual energy essential to true ownership of the land to become Israel, sanctifying it without weakening himself. He also finds practical solutions to problems; never wavers from his course; and carries out Yahweh’s instructions even at the price of those he loves, putting aside the comfort of his family, who follow him on his journey’s throughout the land.
In Christ and Sophia Valentin Tomberg tells us “the career of Abraham is as lines of force in the astral organization of the earth, representing the general directions of the future history of the Children of Israel. Consider its special ground, Palestine, Egypt and Mesopotamia, the three lands in which the drama of Israel’s destiny was enacted from the beginning up to the Mystery of Golgotha.”
Isaac: The Heart of the Patriarchs
Isaac is born through the intercession of Yahweh when his father Abraham is 100 years old and his mother, the previously barren Sarah, is 90. In The Legends of the Jews Louis Ginzberg tells how “Isaac was a faithful reflex of the life of his father. Abraham had to leave his birthplace and was exposed to the risk of losing his wife, so also Isaac. Abraham long remained childless and begot one pious son and one wicked son, so also Isaac. The Philistines were envious of Abraham, so also of Isaac. And finally, as in the time of Abraham, a famine came upon the land, so also in the time of Isaac..”
Their difference rests in their temperaments. Abraham’s mission requires his comfort with aloneness as he focuses his intention on infusing his spiritual energy into the earth as he walks. This requires Abraham to move about quietly, uninterrupted by distractions. As the elder, he also models behavior for his progeny to carry on after him. Above all, Abraham is fastidious in honoring and observing the instructions of Yahweh.
By contrast to the more rigid Abraham, his son Isaac is born with an open heart and a joyful disposition. He’s cherished as a child born to aged parents often is and provides a welcome lightness to his family.
The Sacrifice of Isaac
For all his lightness, Isaac proves to be a serious and courageous believer in Yahweh on the journey to his own human sacrifice when he is 33 years old. This ritual is at first surprising, since Yahweh doesn’t believe in human sacrifice. Isaac’s consciousness of what is to occur is raised when he asks Abraham where the sacrificial lamb will come from for the offering. Then there is a spiritual conjoining, both men seemingly in an altered state accepting the gravity of whatever is to come.
As the altar is prepared, Isaac climbs on it without resistance; and the moment Abraham raises his arm to bring the sword down, an angel of the Lord intercedes. A synchronicity then occurs as a sacrificial ram becomes visible, its antlers caught in tree branches not once, but twice, enabling Abraham to reach out and catch it as a burnt offering.
“The sacrifice of Isaac justified the prescription for the ritual of the firstborn of Israel Like first fruits, these belong to God; they are not to be sacrificed, but brought back.” -Genesis 22
Jacob: The Will of the Patriarchs
Abraham is the mind, Isaac the heart and Jacob the will and future of the Patriarch’s. From pre-birth Jacob struggles with being deceived and deceiving, His inner life is a torment of not speaking up for himself, but harboring feelings reflected in dreams depicting his struggle accepting his own worth and as a result, his suspicion of others. But nothing interfers with his significant contribution to the growth of the Jewish people demonstrated when he arrives in Egypt with 66 of 75 progeny, forming The Twelve Tribes of Israel. The challenges of his life are described further on in detail.
The Death of Sarah
Abram’s beloved wife Sarah dies when 127 years old at Kiriath-Arba, now Hebron in the land of Canaan. Abraham mourns and bewails her, and then negotiates a family burial site from the Hittites at Machpelah. Abraham set his sights on a cave in a field facing Mamre, with all the trees anywhere within the boundaries. There Abraham buries his wife Sarah in the cave.
Sarah was a strong support for Abraham. She willingly left the cities of Ur and then Haran to follow Abraham over the land we know as Israel and Egypt. Her longing for a child was delayed until she was 90 years old, when Yahweh interceded and Isaac was born. Imagine what she felt when hearing of her beloved son Isaac becoming a human sacrifice to Yahweh. Some stories say she was so shocked she never fully recovered even after Isaac returned home safely. Sarah is an inspiration to all women.
The Evolution of Consciousness IV: The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah
Before Sarah’s death she and Abraham agree that Isaac not marry a Canaanite. When very old Abraham instructs his senior servant to go to his brother Nahor in Aram Naharaim to find a suitable wife for Isaac now 40 years old. Unaware Abraham is certain the girl will be identified through Divine Intervention, the fearful servant prays, “God of my master Abraham, give me success today to show faithful love to my master Abraham. When the girls come to the well for water, I’ll make the camel kneel nearby as I say ‘Please lower your pitcher and let me drink.’ If one responds, ‘Drink and I’ll water your camels too’ let her be the one.”
The plan succeeds as the beautiful virgin Rebekah gives the hoped for response. She’s the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. The servant puts a gold ring in Rebekah’s nose and two gold bracelets on her wrists. Rebekah senses the rightness of the marriage offer and her parents are pleased but encourage her to think about it at least over night. Rebekah doesn’t feel it’s necessary and hastens to Canaan with Abraham’s servant. When she and Isaac meet, there’s an instant rapport and Isaac takes Rebekah to his tent. “Isaac married Rebekah and in his love for her, he was consoled for the loss of his mother.” -Genesis 24
Abraham Marries Keturah
Soon after Abraham marries Keturah and they have six sons, Zimram, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah, who are the ancestors of many Egyptian tribes.-Genesis 25:1-7
“When Abraham had breathed his last, dying at a happy ripe age of 175, old and full of years, he was gathered to his people. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him with his beloved Sarah in the cave at Machpelah. Abraham left all his possessions to Isaac.”-Genesis 25:8-11
The Evolution of Consciousness: V Isaac and Rebekah Carry On
Yahweh fulfills His promise, giving Canaan to Abraham’s progeny, announcing to Isaac
“To you and to your seed I give all these lands…And I will cause your seed to multiply as the stars of heaven.” -Genesis 26-2-4
There’s a famine in the country different from the famine in the time of Abraham. Isaac and Rebekah go to the Philistine King Abimelech at Gerar, where Yahweh appears cautioning Isaac “Do not go down to Egypt, stay in the country which I shall point out to you. Remain for the present in that country:
“I shall be with you and bless you, for I shall give all these countries to you and your descendants in fulfillment of the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I shall make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven, and I shall give them all these countries, and all the nations on earth will bless themselves by your descendants in return for Abraham’s obedience, for he kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes and laws.” -Genesis 26:1-7
As instructed by Yahweh, Isaac and Rebekah stay in Gerar during the famine. In these passages we’re presented with the repetition of the Abraham-Sarai sister-wife story. When the people of Gerar ask Isaac about his wife he replies,”She’s my sister.” Soon after, Abimelech the Philistine king looks out of the window, sees Isaac fondling Rebekah and summons him. “Surely she must be your wife! How could you have said, ‘She is my sister.” Isaac replies, “Because I thought I might be killed on her account.” Abimelech says, “What a thing to do to us! One of the people might easily have slept with your wife. We should have incurred great guilt thanks to you.” Then Abimelech issued an order “Whoever touches this man or his wife will be put to death.”
Isaac sows his crops and reaps a hundredfold. The Philistines begin to envy him and Abimelech tells him to leave “for you have become much more powerful than we are.” So Isaac moves on, pitching camp in the Valley of Gerar and there he stays, reopening the wells dug by the servants of his father Abraham that were blocked by the Philistines after Abraham’s death, giving them the same names his father had given them.” From there Isaac and Rebekah go up to Beersheba and God appears to them saying:
“I am God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid for I am with you. I shall bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham’s sake.” -Genesis 26:24-26
There Isaac builds an altar, invokes the name of Yahweh and pitches his tent, and there his servants sink a well. That same day, his servants bring news about the well they had been digging. “We have found water!” So Isaac called the well Sheba and hence the town is named Beersheba to this day.
“This well of spring water is a picture of Isaac’s life work;…Isaac’s mission in life was to live what Abraham had learned…to absorb into the life body all Abraham had borne in his astral body. The life body bears memory, and Isaac created living tradition, the “springing water” that would quench the thirst of generations…but also penetrates into the present to discover wells of springing water.” The spiritual life of Israel involved more than recording the sacrifices made by Abraham and transmitting it from generation to generation; it also included the appearance of many prophets who found the ‘springing waters’ of inspiration, each in his own time.” -From Christ and Sophia by Valentin Tomberg
The Evolution of Consciousness: VI Jacob, The Future of the Patriarchs
As you read through these events in the life of Jacob, you’ll discover how of the three Patriarch’s, Jacob best represents the struggle of mortal beings continuing to this day. His story is filled with the twists and turns of life within the family and follow him wherever he goes, right up until his last years. The theme of his struggle is deceit beginning in utero, putting his right to the blessing of the firstborn in question; deceiving his father to ensure he receives that blessing; being deceived for 14 years by his father-in-law; and even in his last years, being deceived by his sons who sell their brother Joseph to the Ishmaelites out of jealousy, telling Jacob his beloved Joseph is dead.
Jacob’s wife Rachel believes her unborn twin son Esau pulled himself into the position of firstborn while she was in labor. Knowing the blessing of the firstborn was meant for his twin brother Jacob, she devises a ruse to pass Jacob off as Esau. This was not difficult, since Esau suffers from gluttony and Isaac’s vision is dimmed with age. Jacob simply offers Esau a bowl of pottage in exchange for the birthright. When Esau leaves the house to eat it, their mother Rachel puts animal skins over Jacob’s arms so Isaac believes he is his hairy brother. Isaac remarks how the voice is Jacob’s but the arms are the arms of Esau. “Come closer and kiss me son.” Jacob goes closer and kisses his father, who sniffs the smell of his clothes. Then he blesses Jacob.
Esau hates Jacob for this deceit and promises to kill him. Fearing for Jacob’s life, Rebekah and Isaac arrange for him to leave their home in Beersheba and go to Paddan-Aram in the city of Haran to choose a wife from the daughters of Jacob’s Uncle Laban. -Genesis 25:28-34; 27:1-46
On the way he stops for the night and dreams of a ladder planted in the ground reaching to heaven with God’s angels climbing up and down. Standing beside Jacob, Yahweh confirms his place as firstborn and extends Jacob the promise of the covenant. An interpretation of the dream in The Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg is that it’s Yahweh’s intention to save the whole world through the sacrifice of His only son, who would be a descendant of Jacob’s, the Jewish Messiah.
Another interpretation is how the dream reflects the state of Jacob’s mind, uncertain of gaining his birthright by deceiving his father and brother, represented by the angels moving downward; and Yahweh legitimizing the birthright, represented by the angels moving upward toward heaven. Jacob’s confusion about his future is further reflected in his unusual response to Yahweh’s covenant: “If I return having had food to eat and clothes to wear then Yahweh will be my God.”
Soon after the dream, Jacob is deceived by his Uncle Laban, who tricks him into marrying his eldest daughter Leah instead of the love-of-his-life, Rachel. When their seven year work agreement ends, Laban reneges demanding another seven years from Jacob. Jacob finally takes control of his life and creates a strain of livestock with unique markings to distinguish them from Laban’s. These bring him the security he needs to move his family back to Canaan. When all is ready, he packs his family belongings and prepares his livestock for the journey, leaving Laban’s home in the dark of night. Laban later catches up with them and they reconcile, kissing good-bye.
Jacob Wrestles With An Angel
“That same night someone wrestles with Jacob until daybreak. When the stranger cannot master Jacob, he strikes him on the hip socket dislocating Jacob’s hip. ‘Let me go, for day is breaking,’ requests the stranger. Jacob replies, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob asks again.’ With that, he blesses Jacob. During the night angels minister to Jacob healing his wound. Dislocating and healing this hip is a sign of bringing Jacob’s foundation into balance. Jacob names the place Peniel, ‘Because I have seen Yahweh face to face and have survived.” -Genesis 32:26-32
Jacob and Esau Meet
Early the next morning, Jacob’s suspicions arise as he sees Esau in the distance with what Jacob describes as four hundred men. Some describe this as a mirage from his fear of their meeting. The brothers approach each other and Esau runs toward Jacob, taking him in his arms, throwing himself on his neck and weeping as he kisses Jacob. They’re then joined by Jacob’s family who were across the stream fearing for their safety. The meeting of the brothers is brief as Jacob anxiously moves his family toward Canaan to be reunited with his father. -From The Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg.
Jacob Arrives at Shechem
When finally arriving safely at Shechem in Canaan, where our story of the Patriarchs began, Jacob camps opposite the town and for 100 pieces of silver buys the land. He erects an altar and calls El, God of Israel. Some time later, Yahweh instructs him to “go to Bethel and settle there, making an altar for the God who appeared when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.” This refers to the night of the Jacob’s Ladder dream after which Jacob declared “If I return having had food to eat and clothes to wear, then I shall make Yahweh my God.” Before moving on the Bethel, Jacob declares Yahweh as his God in a way typical of Jacob with this announcement to his family and all others with them “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, cleanse yourselves and change your clothes. We must move on to Bethel to make an altar for the God who heard me when I was in distress and gave me his help on the journey I made.” It all was done and they broke camp with none pursuing them on their way. (This is a precursor to the golden idol created by the people while Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments from Yahweh.)
Rachel Dies Giving Birth to Benjamin
After they arrive in Bethel Yahweh again appears to bless Jacob.
“Your name is Jacob, but from now on you will be called not Jacob but Israel…I am El Shaddai. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation, indeed an assembly of nations will descend from you and kings will issue from your loins. The country which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I now give to you, and this country I shall give to your descendants after you.”-Genesis 35:9-13
While traveling from Bethel Rachel goes into labor. As she breathes her last breath she names the infant Ben-Oni, later renamed Benjamin by Jacob. Rachel is buried in Ephrath now Bethlehem and Jacob raises a monument on her grave. The Prophet Jeremiah refers to Rachel as “the loving mother of the people of Israel who grieves for their exile and pleads for their return.”
Jacob’s Final Deception
It’s 215 years since Yahweh’s first call to Abraham, Jacob’s grandfather. After Rachel’s death, Jacob lives in Canaan with his twelve sons until his favorite, Joseph, disappears. Joseph, born when Jacob was very old, was his favorite and he made a decorated tunic for him (The Coat of Many Colors). A young seventeen years , Joseph gave bad reports of his brothers behavior while they were shepherding and they came to hate him.
Joseph made a serious error, repeating a dream he had of them binding sheaves of wheat in the field. Joseph’s sheaf rose and stood upright and his brothers gathered round and bowed to Joseph’s sheaf. “So you want to be king over us,” said his brothers, “you want to lord it over us.” In a later dream, Joseph reports the sun, moon and eleven stars bowing down to him. He told his father who scolded him, “A fine dream to have! Are all of us, myself and your mother and your brothers to come and bow to the ground before you? His brothers held it against him, but his father pondered the matter. -Genesis IV 1-11
The brothers were pasturing their father’s flock at Shechem…Jacob tells Joseph “Come, go and see how your brothers and the flock are doing and bring me word.” When they seeJoseph in the distance, they plot against him. “Here comes the dreamer…Let’s kill him now and throw him down one of the storage-wells; we can say a wild animal devoured him. Then we shall see what becomes of his dreams. But Reuben hears and saves Joseph with an alternative plan, knowing the well is dry: “Shed no blood, throw him down that well, but do not kill him yourselves” — intending to rescue him later. Soon after, they see a group of Ishmaelites returning to Egypt. “What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? Come, let us sell him to , then we shall not have laid hands on him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, and our own flesh. His brothers agreed.
However, some Midianite merchants were passing and pulled Joseph out of the dry well. and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver and took Joseph to Egypt. When Reuben returns to the well, there is no sign of Joseph. The brothers then take Joseph’s tunic, slaughter a goat, dip it in the blood and send it back to Jacob. Jacob is devoted and refuses to be comforted, going down to Sheol to mourn Joseph. Meanwhile, the Midianites had sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharoah’s officials and commander of the guard.
Jacob continues to grieve for Joseph and decides to settle in Egypt. They travel with 66 of the 75 offspring of Jacob’s sons. These make up The Twelve Tribes of Israel. Soon after they discover Joseph is Pharaoh’s second-in-command. At peace, Jacob dies when 147 years old and is taken to the patriarchal burial place at Machpelah.
The Youngest Becomes the Most Wise
Joseph’s brothers fear him having left him for dead. Now they throw themselves at his feet and ask him to take them as his slaves. But Joseph replies, “Do not be afraid; Is it for me to put myself in God’s place? The evil you planned to do me has by God’s design turned to good to bring about the present result: the survival of a numerous people. So there is no need to be afraid; I shall provide for you and your dependents.”
Joseph remains in Egypt with Jacob’s family. When about to die he says to his brothers, “God will be sure to remember you kindly and take you out of this country to the country He promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” And Joseph put Israel’s (Jacob) sons on oath, saying, “When God remembers you with kindness, be sure to take my bones away from here.”
FILL THE GAP: MOSES, flight from egypt show evolution OF CONSCIENCE before 650 BC
The Evolution of Consciousness VII Prophecy of Jeremiah
Through this prophesy of the Prophet Jeremiah, Yahweh promises a time when the Children of Israel will be born with an inner knowing required to make decisions good and pleasing to God. From what we’ve learned from Saint Thomas Aquinas and St. Bernard of Clairvaux, he speaks of the reinstatement of the Likeness of God and the virtues within mortal beings.
“The House of Israel will know true freedom comes with absolution from transgressions from The Lord. They will all know me from the least to the greatest, since I shall forgive their guilt and never more call their sin to mind. And this shall be the covenant I will make with the House of Israel; After those days, saith The Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts.: Jeremiah 31:31-33
Jeremiah was born around 646 BC to a priestly family living in Jerusalem. The covenant he’s transmitted is new in three ways: (1) God’s spontaneous forgiveness of sin (2) individual responsibility and retribution and (3) interiorisation of religion, where the law is to be no longer a code regulating external activity, but an inspiration working on the human heart.
Through the Prophet Jeremiah, Yahweh promises to reinstate his Likeness within mortal beings and Divine Justice, virtues guiding mortal’s use of free will toward righteous decisions–true freedom. As a loving Father, the promise includes atoning for the sins of Adam and Eve and their progeny, removing these sins from his children’s memories.
In the writing of Saints Bernard of Clairvaux and Thomas Aquinas, we learn how this covenant requires a special course of action. At the creation, Yahweh Himself established a strict separation of the mortal and divine kingdoms, preventing His personal involvement in the atonement of these sins. If Yahweh cannot atone for mortals, how will this New Covenant be fulfilled?
In His Infinite Wisdom and love for the children of Israel, Yahweh deems it fitting for God the Son to incarnate as a mortal man to atone for the sins of mortals.
Extraordinary Plans Are Fulfilled By Extraordinary People
Devout, strong, thoughtful Children of Israel are chosen by Yahweh to carry out the plan for the conception of Jesus, to nurture and support him through this extraordinary gift to mortal beings: The Virgin Mary, her parents Anne and Joachim; her cousin Elizabeth, husband Zachariah and their son John, both children conceived through the intercession of the Holy Spirit;Mary Magdalene and her family; and many more we meet as we follow Jesus path to bring us true freedom.
Anne and Joachim
It takes time to prepare a perfect being to become the mother of Jesus, one without the blemish or inclination to sin. When time moves near for Jesus conception, Yahweh responds to the longing for a child by an older devout couple and the Holy Spirit intercedes. Anne was born in Bethlehem, her husband Joachim is a shepherd from Jerusalem. The high priest at the temple rejects Joachim’s sheep as offerings for the burnt ritual because he has no children.
Hearing himself ridiculed Joachim goes into the desert to pray for a child. After fasting and praying forty days and nights, an angel of the Lord announces he and Anne will have a child they are to name Mary and dedicate to Yahweh at the Temple of Jerusalem. Joachim is over-joyed. His wife Anne receives the same message as she kneels in her garden praying for a child. She, too is overjoyed.
Soon after Mary’s birth, Anne and Joachim take their beloved child to the temple as instructed, name her Mary and dedicate her to Yahweh. Mary spends much of her childhood at the temple preparing for a life she could not then imagine. When fourteen years old, her parents arrange her betrothal to Joseph, a mature man much older than Mary, known to be devout, righteous and just. Joseph is a widow with several children. As the 25th great grandson of King David, he fulfills the lineage foretold in the covenant of the Prophet Jeremiah.
The Annunciation To Mary And Joseph
Mary continues living in her parents’ home and sits quietly in the garden when the Archangel Gabriel appears announcing “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with thee.” Mary reflects for some time on the greeting, leading the angel to explain how she was being asked to conceive and bear a son she must call Jesus. As he awaits Mary’s reply, he remarks how Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, in her eighties and barren has conceived a son to be called John. Mary responds by asking how her conception can come about, since she is a virgin. “The Holy Spirit will cover you with its shadow. And the child will be holy and will be called Son of God…” Gospel of Luke 1:26-48
Understanding the significance, joy, pain and sorrow of what is asked, Mary humbly replies, “You see before you the Lord’s servant. Let it happen to me as you have said.” Pope Benedict calls Mary’s yes “the moment when God’s will and Mary’s will align and the young virgin is prepared within for what is known as the virginal birth (both a birth through Mary, a virgin, and a conception that does not alter her virginity.)”
Of Joseph, chosen by Yahweh as the legal father of Jesus, Pope Benedict tells us in The Infancy Narrative “That Joseph received his message of Mary’s pregnancy in a dream shows us an essential quality of the man. Only a man inwardly watchful for the divine, only someone with a real sensitivity to God and His ways, can receive God’s message in this way…From the angel’s words Joseph understands the child Mary carries is the Messiah described in the prophesy of Jeremiah many years before, this Messiah coming from the House of David.”
I takes some time for Joseph to work through this. A mana for a reputation for being fair and just, he first considers sparing Mary from scandal by releasing her from their betrothal. When Yahweh intercedes, Joseph realizes he is essential to establishing Jesus birthright and influencing the child’s upbringing. Like Mary, Joseph says yes.
The question often asked is “How can Joseph pass his lineage on to Jesus?” In the legal custom of the time, a man became a child’s legal father when he presented the child at the temple to be named. When Mary and Joseph bring the infant Jesus to the temple for his naming and circumcision ceremonies he receives all the privileges of Joseph’s lineage as one from the House of David.
Elizabeth’s Conception Paves The Way For Jesus
Knowing how her cousin Elizabeth in her eighties and barren conceived and was in her sixth month, Mary is filled with joy and sets out to the hill country of Judah to care for her. When Zachariah, Elizabeth’s husband and a priest learned from the Archangel Gabriel they were to have a child to be called John, he is overcome with fear and refuses to believe it. When he rejoins his friends outside the Temple, he has lost his speech and is making signs.
Mary Arrives To Be With Elizabeth
Elizabeth greets Mary with great joy, the child within her seeming to understand the significance of the moment. To Mary she says, “Of all the women you are most blessed and blessed is the fruit of your womb..Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.” -Luke 1:43-45
Mary humbly replies “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” Elizabeth’s words of greeting and Mary’s response become two of the most familiar Catholic prayers, the Hail Mary and The Magnificat.
A son is both to Elizabeth and Zachariah and on the day of his circumcision it was assumed by their friends he would be named after his father Zachariah when Elizabeth intercedes, “No, he is to be called John.”…Zachariah asks for a tablet and writes “His name is John…and all were astonished.” At that instance, his power of speech returned and he spoke and praised God. All who heard of this wondered “What will this child turn out to be?” Filled with the Holy Spirit, Zachariah speaks a prophesy of this Son,
“Little child you shall be called Prophet Most High for you will go before the Lord to prepare a way for Him; to give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins because of the faithful love of our God…” -Luke 1: 46-79
The Nativity Of The Lord
Jesus came to earth as the savior to atone for the errors of mortal beings; by sacrificing himself he also reinstated our Likeness of God and with it Divine Justice, the seat of the virtues of wisdom, understanding, council, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord, gifts lost at the fall of Adam and Eve. This virtues enable us to use our free will to make righteous decisions.
The Birth of Jesus and Visit of the Shepherds
There is a magical quality in the gospels of the Nativity, which are quoted here, first from Luke 2:1-20
“Now it happened that at this time Caesar Augustus issued a cede that a census should be made of the whole inhabited world. This census–the first–took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria, and everyone went to be registered in his own town. So Joseph set out from the torn of Nazareth in Galilee for Judaea, to David’s town called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s House and line, in order to be registered together with Mar, his betrothed, who was with child.
“Now it happened that while they were there the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the living space. In the countryside close by there were shepherds out in the fields keeping guard over their sheep during the watches of the night. An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terrified, but the angel said, ‘Do now be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’ And all at once with the angel there was a g great throng of the hosts of heaven praising God with the Words.
“Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace for those he favors.”
“Now when it happened that when the angels had gone from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this event which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child, they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds said to them. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.
The Visit of the Magi from The Apostle Matthew 2:1-12
“After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, suddenly some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east asking ‘Where is the infant king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.’ When Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of where the Christ was to be born. They told him ‘At Bethlehem in Judaea, for this is what the prophet wrote
‘And you Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are by o means the least among the leaders of Judah, for from you will come a leader who will shepherd my people Israel.’
“Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared and sent them on to Bethlehem with the words, ‘Go and find out all about the child, and when you have found him, let me know, so I too may go and do him homage.’ Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And then suddenly the star they had seen rising went forward and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary and falling on their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. But they were given a warning in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to their own country by a different way.”
(Develop the Slaughter of the Infants)
WATCH FOR THE BOOK OF EXODUS
I. The Liberation From Egypt – to be followed by Moses
Evolution Of Conscience VIII: John the Baptist Paves The Way For Jesus
It has been thirty years since Jesus and John meet. Jesus has begun his ministry and as prophesied, John’s life work is to prepare the way for Jesus’ mission to redeem mankind. Pope Benedict helps us see the difficulty surrounding this: “Israel is in a period of unrest; the Holy Land is divided into princedoms beholding to the pagan Rome; David’s kingdom is in ruins; the prophets no longer speak; God has stopped fulfilling the promises made to Abraham and David; and the Pharisees (priests) protect the Torah teachings by refusing to conform to the Roman influence.” This unrest plays a significant role in the missions of both John and Jesus.
The meeting of Jesus and John takes place in __________________ where John is living an ascetic life in the wilderness, wearing clothes of camelhair with a loincloth around his waist. He preaches redemption through baptism to a growing number of followers and directly criticizes the debauched behavior of the ruling class.
Part of John’s baptism ritual is for the believer to confess any offenses against God before submitting to baptism in the River Jordan. John often talks to his followers of another to come after him. “I am not fit to kneel down and undo the straps of his sandals. I have baptized you with water but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” He speaks of Jesus and his message gives hope to people living through a long, dark period. (From the Apostle of Matthew 3:13.)
Jesus Is Baptized In The River Jordan By John
Before going further, let’s review how Jesus went through His baptism and all the events until His resurrection. Valentin Tomberg, a respected author on Christianity, Catholicism and Hermeticism, describes the incarnation of the Son of God as Jesus to be part of a divine plan. To redeem mankind Jesus goes through each event as a man, sublimating all of His divine powers. Jesus humanity in facing temptation models the capacity of human beings to use their free will to make righteous decisions.
Thirty some years have passed since Jesus and John, then unborn, acknowledged each other from the wombs of their mothers. Jesus arrives at the River Jordan while John is performing a baptismal ritual and asks John to baptize him. John resists, feeling less worthy than Jesus, but is finally convinced and Jesus falls into line among John’s many followers.
Four epic events follow: (1) Jesus takes upon himself, as a man, all the sins of the world as John performs the baptism. (2) As He emerges from the water, the Holy Spirit descends and anoints Jesus, as the sign of a dove appears in a cloud. This is an initiation sign designating Jesus as Christ and/or Messiah, names to become instrumental in His crucifixion. (3) As Jesus emerges from the water, God the Father calls out in a thunderous voice, “Today you are my son in whom I am well pleased.” (4) The blessed trinity, comprised of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, is visibly at work in Jesus’ baptism. This mystery of a triune God becomes a central Christian doctrine. (From Christ and Sophia, The Mystery of Golgotha, Valentin Tomberg and The Encyclopedia of Catholicism.)
Jesus Undergoes The Temptation In The Wilderness
The Holy Spirit then leads the mortal Jesus Christ into the desert. He fasts for forty days and nights and is then subjected to the temptations of satan, who says to him: “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to turn into loaves. Jesus replied ‘Scripture says: Human beings live not on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
Setting Jesus on a parapet of the Temple in the holy city He was told, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for scripture says ‘He has given his angels orders about you and they will carry you in their arms in case you trip over a stone.” Jesus said to him “Scripture says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
Next, taking him to a very high mountain, satan shows him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he says to him, “I will give you all of these, if you fall at my feet and do me homage.” Then Jesus replied, “Away with you! For scripture says: The Lord your God is the one to whom you must do homage, Him alone you must serve.’
Then satan left him, and suddenly angels appeared and looked after Jesus.” (From the Gospel of Matthew 4-1:11)
There is a cause and effect between the errors of Adam and Eve and the temptations Jesus endures in the wilderness. In Eden Eve falls sway to Satan who convinces her that she will not die if she disobeys Yahweh command that she not eat the fruit of the trees of wisdom and knowledge. He finally persuades Eve of this by telling her Yahweh’s motivation is to prevent he from become like God. Instead of becoming like God, Eve and Adam lose their likeness of God for themselves and their progeny. In the wilderness, Satan attempts to convince Jesus to disrupt God’s divine order about mixing things from mineral and plant kingdoms to make bread. Eve succumbed to the lies of Satan because she wanted to be like God and the divine beings, an order not to be disrupted by mortals; God’s command to Adam and Eve, and His orders to the angels to support Jesus if He should fall, were not to be challenged by Satan. And finally, there is nothing in the material world of greater value than our relationship with God.
There are esoteric explanations of each of these temptations you also may want to review. You’ll find them addressed in great detail in Christ and Sophia, available through Steiner Books, The Anthroposophic Society or through Amazon.com
Gathering The Disciples
After the Baptism in the Jordan, Jesus hears of John’s arrest and withdraws, settling in Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee in Palestine. On the way He gathers his first four disciples, Simon, whom he called Peter; James and John, sons of Zebedee, who He re-names Beanerges or Sons of Thunder; and Andrew. After a time, Jesus and the four quietly leave and travel through Galilee healing the sick and preaching a message of salvation. As word of the healings spreads, people fall down before Him shouting, “You are the Son of God.” But He warns them strongly not to make Him known. -The Gospel of Mark 3: 7-19
Soon after, Jesus goes up onto a mountain and summons eight others He wants as apostles to be his companions, and to proclaim the message,\ with power to drive out devils. These are: Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphas, Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot.
John The Baptist Completes His Mission
But what of John the Baptist? Some are saying Jesus is John the Baptist, risen from the dead, and miraculous powers are at work in him. Others say, “He is Elijah, he is a prophet, like the prophets we used to have.” When Herod hears this he says, “It is John whose head I cut off; he has risen from the dead.”
Now this was the same Herod who had John arrested and chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife whom he, Herod, had married. John told Herod it was against the law to have his brother’s wife — and referred to this marriage when preaching about debauched behavior. As for Herodias, she was furious with John and wanted to kill him.
The revenge of Herodias occurred on Herod’s birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, his army officers and the leading figures in Galilee. Herodias’ daughter came in and danced. She delighted Herod and his guests; so the king offered her with an oath anything she asked for. Her mother instructed her to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a plate. Having made the oath in public, Herod fulfilled the girls’ request in spite of his fondness for John. When John’s disciples heard this, they took John’s body and laid it in a tomb. (From the Gospel of Mark 6:17-29)
John’s mission was fulfilled. He paved the way for Jesus.
The time of the Passover drew near, but before traveling to Jerusalem, Jesus climbed up the mountain to pray taking Peter, John and James with him. “As he was praying, the aspect of his face changed and his clothing became sparkling white. Suddenly there were two men talking to him, Moses and Elijah, appearing in glory (surrounded by light) and speaking of Jesus passing, which was to occur in Jerusalem.” When Peter and his companions awoke they saw Jesus and the two men standing with him. As they were leaving, a voice came from a cloud saying, “This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.” The disciples kept silent, telling no one what they had seen.” (From the Gospel of Luke 9:28-36)
Jesus Enters Jerusalem
Jesus, the apostles and a small group of women from Galilee travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Among them are Mary, Jesus mother and Mary’s sister, also named Mary; Mary Magdalene; Joanna, the wife of Herod’s chief steward; Susanna; Mary, wife of Cloepus; Salome, mother of Zebedee’s two sons; and other yet unnamed women who believed in Jesus heart-centered teachings. Referred to in the gospels as “the women who followed Jesus,” they are of independent means and often travel ahead securing lodging and provisions for Jesus and the apostles.
Now five days before the Passover, Jerusalem is over-crowded with tens of thousands of pilgrims. Before entering the city, Jesus sends two of the apostles to the nearby village of Bethany for a donkey and a colt, which they find tethered there. The animals are draped with clothing and Jesus rides the donkey toward Jerusalem, fulfilling the prophesy of Isaiah of the Messiah to come.
The road is lined with crowds of pilgrims and others hearing of Jesus teachings and miracles, especially the raising of Lazarus from the dead. They lay palms on the road as Jesus approaches, chanting “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest heavens.” (Matthew 21:1-11) This, too, fulfills the prophesy of Isaiah. He is also being called King of the Jews and Messiah. While he has many supporters, there are also other on-lookers viewing Jesus with suspicion. It’s the power of the words King of the Jews and Messiah and the passion of his followers raising fear among the high priests for their own positions.
Jesus Cleanses The Temple
After the procession, the women walk back to their lodging in Bethany while Jesus and the apostles go to the Temple. Upon arriving, they must pass through merchants and money changers. Jesus riles against them, forcing them out of the temple. While they are licensed to operate there, Jesus is indignant at their disrespect for Divine law and all the faithful, who have traveled distances to celebrate Passover at the Temple.
Jesus And Mary Prepare For What Is To Come
For the next three mornings Jesus teaches crowds in the Temple. In the evenings he walks to Mount Olivet with the apostles to prepare them for what is to come. (Luke 21:37-38) People continue referring to Jesus as the Messiah, King of the Jews, further inflaming the high priests and elders. As the women hear of threats they fear treachery against him. Mary prepares herself through prayer then soothes her companions.
Saint Augustine writes of Mary, “The divine motherhood would have been of no value to her had Christ not borne her in his heart with a destiny more fortunate than the moment when she conceived him in the flesh.” Pope Benedict tells us that “In her heart Mary continued to treasure, to piece together, the subsequent events of which she was to be a witness and protagonist, even to the death on the cross and the resurrection of her son, Jesus.” It is after the crucifixion that we see the strength of Mary as she comes forward to lead the apostles through their grieving and despair so hey can fulfill the commitment they made to carry Jesus’ message far and beyond.
Jesus Performs The First Holy Eucharist
At the Passover meal, Jesus performs the first Eucharist. He takes a cup, gives thanks and says, “divide it among yourselves for I tell you from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he takes bread, gives thanks and says, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood poured out for you” During the meal he prophesies that Judas Iscariot will betray him. When this occurs, the apostles remember what Jesus had said. (Matthew 26: 20-25)
Treachery And Trial
After sharing bread and wine, Jesus and the apostles go to Gethsemane to pray. When Jesus rises from prayer, Judas Iscariot leans forward to kiss him — a sign arranged with the on-looking priests and captains in exchange for thirty pieces of silver. Jesus is captured and brought to the high priest’s house, followed by the apostle Simon Peter, who denies knowing Jesus three times, also prophesied by Jesus. The accusers find no corroborating testimony against Jesus, so when morning comes, they bind him and take him to Pilate. (Luke 22:47-53)
After questioning, Pilate, too, finds no crime against Jesus and cannot come to a decision, especially since his wife had a prophetic dream of Jesus as a righteous man and warns Pilate not to harm him. When Pilate discovers Jesus is from Herod’s jurisdiction, he sends Jesus there. Herod, too, can find no crime and returns him to Pilate.
Although Pilate does not believe Jesus guilty, he lacks the will to defy the demands of the high priests and elders. To protect his own standing , Pilate takes advantage of a custom allowing the governor to release a prisoner of the crowd’s choosing on Passover: Pilate puts Jesus’ fate in their hands. The crowd, inflamed by Barrabas supporters, calls for the release of this outlaw — and Jesus is left to be crucified between two criminals.
Carrying The Cross
“Then the soldiers took Jesus into the Palace. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, a crown of thorns they put on his head…And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.” (Matthew 27:27-31)
After the rigors of the trials before Herod and Pilate and this abuse by Pilate’s battalion, Jesus is exhausted and weak. A man called Simon from Cyrene is commandeered to help carry the cross.
Click Below for Audio of Imagery Carrying the Cross
As Jesus struggles toward Golgotha, the site of the crucifixion, women mourn and lament Him. Among them is a compassionate woman who pushes through the crowd as in a trance. She comforts Jesus by wiping the sweat from his face with her veil. She later discovers it bears an image of Jesus. This is said to be the only authentic picture of the face of Jesus. The woman’s true name is not known; but over time she becomes Veronica, from “vera icon,” meaning true image. She is canonized as Saint Veronica by the Catholic Church in 1828.
Jesus mother Mary and the other Galilean women watch the crucifixion from a distance and pray. “There is darkness over all the land when Jesus cries out with a loud voice, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?…After a moment, He cries out again saying, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit’… Having said this, he breathes his last breath. At that moment, an earthquake shakes the land, splitting rocks, opening tombs and raising saints who had fallen asleep. The will of the Father has been fulfilled by the Son. (From the Gospels of Matthew 27:45:56 and Luke 23:44-47)
….It was the third day when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read The King of the Jews.” (From the Gospel of Mark 15:33-41)
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In his book Maria, Pope Benedict describes Mary after Jesus is taken down from the cross with these words. “And in her immaculate soul, she herself was to be pierced by the sword of sorrows, thus showing how her role in the history of salvation did not end in the mystery of The Incarnation, but was completed in loving and sorrowful participation in the Death and Resurrection of her Son.”
The Burial And Resurrection Of Jesus
Soon after Jesus is removed from the cross, Joseph of Arimathea arrives and comforts Mary. Joseph is a wealthy member of the Temple Council. He believes in Jesus and has received permission to remove Jesus body from the site of the Crucifixion and give Him a proper Jewish burial.
“And he took the Lord and washed him and wrapped him in a linen shroud and brought him to a tomb where no one else had lain, a mark of respect.” (According to St. Peter)
Joseph first places the body of Jesus on a shelf carved into the stone tomb. He then removes the stained shroud, cleans Jesus wounds and anoints the body with myrrh, spices and aloe. Joseph then begins wrapping the body in linen, adding ointment as he goes. After praying, Joseph backs out of the tomb and has a large rock rolled up to the entrance.
Click Below For Audio Of The Burial And Resurrection Of Jesus
Jesus Open Tomb Is Discovered
“It was very early on the first day of the week, still dark when Mary of Magdalene came to the tomb. She saw the stone had been moved away and came running to Simon Peter …’They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,’ she said, ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’ So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb…’Till this moment they had still not understood the scripture revealing he must rise from the dead, so the disciples went back home.
But Mary Magdalene was standing outside the tomb weeping. As she stooped to look inside the tomb, she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been…’Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ She tells them the body of her Lord had been taken away. As she says this she turns and sees Jesus standing there, realizing who it is until He speaks her name. She turns round and says ‘Rabbuni!’ which means Master. Jesus tells her not to cling to Him because he had not yet ascended to the Father. He then asks her to find his brothers and tell them he was ascending to his father, to their father, to his God and their God. So Mary tells the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.” -From the Gospel of John 20:1-18
Click Below For Audio Of Mary Of Magdalene Discovers Jesus Open Tomb
Note: Breathe out three times then click on the audio. When the audio ends, breathe out one time.
Mary Of Magdalene Meets The Transformed Jesus
Soon after his death, Jesus begins the transformation of a light body, in preparation for the ascension to His Father. When Mary Magdalene had last seen Jesus, he bore the agony of the ordeal on his face and his flesh was bloody with wounds. After Joseph of Arimathea completed the burial ritual, Jesus’ transformation was complete and he bore the countenance of who He is, the Son of God, who had inhabited a physical body for our salvation. From then until the Feast of Pentecost, Jesus could only be seen by those he chose, among those Mary Magdalene, Mary his mother and the apostles.
Mary Becomes Mother To The Apostles
Mary’s work is not yet done. In the weeks after the glorious resurrection of her son, Mary must minister to the apostles who receive teachings from Jesus as they sleep. They experience exhaustion and despair without Jesus among them. It is Mary who brings them through their grieving, comforting them with prayer, and moving them toward fulfilling their ministry–to go out into the world and preach the word of God as they have been taught by Jesus.-From Christ and Sophia
Blessings on this holy and beautiful season, Barbara