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The Planetary Christ

   The all-prevading Cosmic Love which had previously been present everywhere outside and around the earth, had, with the death of Jesus, been born into the earth . . . When Jesus of Nazareth died on the Cross, at that moment there was born for the earth something that was previously to be found only in the Cosmos. The death of Jesus of Nazareth was the birth of the Cosmic Love within the sphere of the earth.
   — Rudolf Steiner

   Who I am thou shalt know when I depart. What I now seem to be, that I am not. But what I am thou shalt see when thou comest.
   — Echoes from the Gnosis, The Hymn of Jesus

   The planetary Christ is a glorious Archangel, supreme among the archanglic Host. The Hierarchy of Capricorn is the home of the Archangels; but during the period of His mission to this planet, Christ and His ministering Hosts makes their home in the spiritual sheath of the Sun — for each heavenly body has a spiritual sheath extending far into space beyond its visible form. In the same way every human being has a spiritual extension beyond his physical vehicle.

   From the very beginning of civilization the most primitive religions paid homage to this great Being Who dwells in the Sun. High priests of Mystery Temples taught their most advanced disciples the truth relative to this glorious Sun Being, and they looked forward to a time when He would descend to earth and become the world's Redeemer. Those who were clairvoyant could see the Solar Lord to whom they paid homage. But there came a day when they could no longer see Him, and then they knew that His human embodiment was imminent. From country to country, from prophet to master, from master to teacher, from teacher to disciple passed the glad tidings that the Blessed Lord, He who was to be the Saviour of the world, was close to earth.

   In pre-Christian time Zoroastrians worshiped the Sun. However, theirs was not obeisance to the visible orb in the heavens but to the Sun Spirit, the Solar Logos, Whom they called Ahura Mazda, the Golden Aura or light — to be known later as the Christ. In the words of Dr. Rudolf Steiner: "Through great cosmic processes this exalted Being drew ever nearer to the earthsphere and His approach could be clairvoyantly traced ever more clearly. A clear recognition," he continues, "of Christ was forthcoming when His great forerunner Moses received His revelation in the fire of lightning on Mt. Sinai."

The Baptism

   At last the great day came. An intense silence pervaded all things. The very heartbeat of nature seemed stilled by the peace that passeth all understanding. The high exaltation of the celestial Hosts seemed very near. Then the heavens opened and the pure white dove of the Holy Ghost rested upon the head of the Master Jesus, as the voice of God was heard proclaiming: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The most wondrous of all events had come to pass, for the Lord Christ had taken possession of the body which had been so lovingly and painstakingly prepared to receive Him. The vehicle of the Master Jesus, the fairest and most perfect this earth could produce, now became the abode of the Lord Christ for the three years of His earthly ministry. Wonder of wonders, the most exalted archangelic Being had incarnated to walk and talk with men! Three wondrous years they were, years which left their ineffable impress upon the entire human race and upon this planet for all time to come.

   To again quote Dr. Rudolf Steiner, "Before the Baptism in the Jordan, the Christ Being did not belong to the earthly sphere. From worlds beyond the earth, from super-earthly spheres He had come down to earth. And the experiences between the Baptism in the Jordan and Pentecost were necessary in order that Christ, the heavenly Being, might be transformed into Christ, the earthly Being. . . A higher, non-earthly Being comes down into the earth-sphere — until, under the influence of this Being, the earth-sphere shall have been duly transformed. Since the days of Palestine the Christ Being has therefore been a power in the earth itself."

   After the Baptism and the Crucifixion, the most important event in Christ's earthly sojourn was the Transfiguration. To briefly recapitulate the status of the Lord Christ in relation to the divine Trinity: The God of our solar system, which includes the earth, operates through the triune powers of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the three aspects of which are Will, Wisdom and Activity.

   At the time of the Transfiguration the Christ, operating through Wisdom, the second principle of the solar Godhead, was lifted into at-one-ment with the Word, the second principle of the Supreme Being. This divine attunement caused His countenance to shine with a radiance brighter than the Sun, while His raiment became whiter than snow.

   A number of World Teachers have attained on the glory of transfiguration. This was the climax of their earthly lives, after which they passed into other spheres. Not so in the case of Christ Jesus. With Him the Transfiguration took place early in His ministry. Not until after this sublime occurrence did the most important phase of His ministry take place.

Golgotha

   As previously observed, there are some who assert that the Crucifixion of Christ is to be understood as a symbolical presentation of a major step in the initiatory process. It is that. But it is also an historical enactment. It cannot be stressed too often or too emphatically that the uniqueness of Christ's redemptive mission was the manifestation in a human embodiment and in the physical realm of something that had hitherto been enacted only in initiatory rituals held in Mystery Temple — rituals correspondingly experienced in the life of every disciple upon the Path leading to Illumination. The full significance of Christ's incarnation is lost if its historical aspect is not accepted. The Golgotha event was the most momentous the earth has ever known, for it marked the turning point in evolution for both man and the planet.

   This planet, in common with man, is composed of a physical core with sheaths of increasingly finer texture: etheric, astral, mental and spiritual. These sheaths permeate the physical body and they also extend beyond its surface. Man must create his own vehicles from the substance of these auras. The name Adam means red earth. "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou return" is the biblical edict regarding the physical body. Literally, the planet we live on is our Mother Earth.

   Just prior to the coming of Christ mankind had reached the nadir in evolution. History will bear out this statement. Evil, lust, selfishness and general wickedness had so charged the psychic atmosphere that there was available to man no suitable substance wherewith to build clean desire (emotional) bodies. Christ's mission was to transmute this condition; otherwise it would have rendered humanity incapable of spiritual progression, During the interval between His Crucifixion and Resurrection, the Lord Christ labored at cleansing and purifying the astral (desire) envelope of earth, and He has continued this cosmic work ever since. When His spirit left the body it entered into the heart of earth, at which time the light of His aura was so brilliant that, as the biblical record states, "the earth was darkened." This golden Christ light spread throughout the whole planetary orb, raising its vibratory tone.

   The historical event that occurred at Golgotha has never been repeated, but His sacrifice for the redemption of humanity did not, we repeat, begin or end with that immolation. The sacrifice continues on a planetary scale and is repeated annually in His recurring cyclic ministry. In the fall of each year the Cosmic Christ, the Sun Spirit, descends from on high — whereto He ascends at the Summer Solstice-and initiates His re-entry into the earthly sphere. Starting from its outer sheath, He descends by degrees until He reaches the very heart of the planet at the Winter Solstice. Between the Autumn Equinox and the Spring Equinox He operates within the body of earth, recharging it with a life-giving impulse that aides humanity on its upward course. During the other half of the year, from the Spring Equinox to the Autumn Equinox, He ministers from beyond the confines of earth, meanwhile replenishing His spent energy at the throne of the Father preparatory to another release of redemptive force into the life stream of man and planet.

   Each time the Lord Christ enters the earthly sphere He increases quantitatively its two higher spiritual ethers. One of these is the beautiful golden ether of the heavenly realm. St. Paul states that on the Christ's return man is to meet Him in the air — which means in the etheric realm, the lowest realm to which He will descend at His second coming. By virtue of the spiritual assistance received by humanity since the Lord's descent to the physical plane, it is now possible for "all who will" to meet Him part way up the "ladder"; but to do this it is necessary for man to incorporate into his very being the higher ethers that compose his soul-body. The shortest, safest and quickest way to develop these higher ethers is through living a life of loving, self-forgetting service to others. Thus man fashions his soul-body out of the two higher blue and golden ethers. It is now possible for all to prepare such a vehicle to meet the Christ at His second corning.

   Each year, as the Christ infuses earth with the energies of life, light and love, the rhythm of the entire planet is accelerated. Gradually it is being attuned to its own musical keynote as sung by Angels each Christmastime: "On earth peace, good will toward men." Someday men will learn to "beat their swords into plowshares: and their spears into pruninghooks," and there will be no more war. The mystic Christian is not dismayed by the chaos and dissolution appearing to take place throughout the world, for he realizes that the darkest hour is always just before the dawn. Across the horizon is seen the bright bow of promise. Thus he knows that each year, as the Christ spirit permeates the earth, lines of demarcation between race and race, nation and nation, are being obliterated. The glad day will yet dawn when the planet will domicile a unified humanity, and the ideals of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man will be a reality.

   Adam and Eve of the biblical record represent early humanity, which lived in the Garden of Eden situated in etheric realms. When its members came under the spell of the sense life through the influence of the Lucifer Spirits, their vibratory rate was lowered to the condition of dense physical matter. In this way infant humanity lost Paradise. It was not driven out of the etheric Garden by an avenging Deity; rather, it forfeited that abode by yielding to an influence that aligned it with the desire realm. The Fall and its dire consequences resulted from the operation of a fixed law, not by any arbitrary decree of the Creator.

   Unrestrained indulgence in animal propensities that followed upon Lucifer's injection of his impulse into the desire nature of man had the effect of hardening his etheric body and externalizing its material counterpart — taking on "coats of skin," as the Bible phrases it. The descent into physical existence brought sorrow and suffering, disease and death. Humanity's harkening to Lucifer's temptations and departing from the disciplined way of life ordained by Jehovah for its stage of development is recorded in the biblical statement that Adam and Eve ate of the tree "of the knowledge of good and evil." Prior to this the children of earth knew good only. Afterwards they were fated to work their way back to this good which, when attained, will be on a higher level of manifestation because of lessons learned through painful experiences.

   The etheric body is composed of four ethers of varying density. The two lower ethers take care of bodily functions while the two higher ones build soul qualities. As a result of man's descent into materiality the two higher ethers are largely latent, thus preventing him from immortalizing his imperfect physical vehicle. For this reason it is much easier for him to live a worldly existence than a spiritual life. This preponderance of lower ethers attune his etheric body to worldly vibrations, so it requires intensive effort for him to develop such soul qualities as discrimination and will power.

   In His annual descent to earth, the Lord Christ brings reinforcements of the two higher spiritual ethers. Also, during the course of His re-entry into the planet He cleanses its entire desire envelope, so desire substance of ever-increasing purity is available to man for incorporation into his astral body.

   The Lord Christ is building in the etheric realms the New Jerusalem, which is to be the home of humanity in the Christ Dispensation. Many persons possessing extended (etheric) vision are able to contact Him therein, and to observe the wonderful preparations being made. As already said, the physical body cannot function in the etheric world; so those who would meet Him "in the air" must build their soul-bodies from the two higher ethers. Nor do disease, sorrow, old age or death have any place in the etheric world, that realm of light wherein mankind will be reunited with its Lord. It is known that He is even now making His appearance to those who are able to contact Him at that level, a fact which marks the beginning of His second coming.

 — Corinne Heline


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