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Isaiah
The Prophet of Holiness

   Isaiah was a prince of the House of Judah who, though close to the throne, was nevertheless heedful of the people's suffering. He so valiantly exerted himself in their behalf that he incurred the enmity of his own class, and his wise advice was often ignored by the king.

   The name Isaiah means salvation. Ancient Jewish tradition says that Amos, the father of Isaiah, was a brother of King Amaziah of Judah. It was during his childhood that the prophet Amos was boldly denouncing oppression of the poor and the prevailing injustice in the land, both in the North and South Kingdoms. It seems clear that the lad's sensitive soul was deeply marked by the words of his father.

   Isaiah lived for ninety years, his work covering the reigns of five kings of Judah: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah and, legend has it, Manasseh. According to tradition, during the reign of the wicked Mannasseh Isaiah was placed between two planks and sawn asunder. Reference is made to this in Hebrews 11:37-38, wherein is recorded sufferings of the prophets: "They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth." If comforts. of this world meant moral corruption, the prophets would have none of them; they willingly embraced poverty and loneliness. If Isaiah lived amidst the luxuries of the court he compensated for them with his life, laid down for God and his people.

   He was particularly identified with court circles during the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah. His wife, who was completely in harmony with his work, was called "The Prophetess." His two sons, Shear-jashub (a remnant shall return) and Maher-Shalah-hash-baz (spoil hastens), bore names symbolic of the speedy downfall of Samaria and Damascus. The "remnant" which should return was to be the nucleus of a New Order of the Ages, the Messianic Dispensation and the establishment of a new heaven and a new earth by the Messiah. The name of the second son has symbolic reference to the destruction or loss of the many who refused to ally themselves with the New Order. Esoterically, the two sons are the lower and the higher natures within individuals.

   Writings of the historical Isaiah have been preserved in the first forty chapters of the Book of Isaiah. Chapters forty to fifty-six are said by scholars to be the work of an anonymous Seer who wrote at the end of the Exile. This may well be; but an esotericist recognizes therein the Seal of the Prophet, whereby the initiatory vibration of the First Isaiah was carried over by a beloved disciple, the Second Isaiah, who writes in his predecessor's name and power. Or it may be that the second was a re-embodiment of the prophet himself.

   Esoteric Christians understand that the inspiration of the prophets was based upon their ability to read from God's great picture book, the Memory of Nature, which contains indelible records of all past, present and future events. Hence, the words of Isaiah's first vision are as applicable to our present day as they were to the days they were written. When a new phase of religion is being inaugurated there are brought to birth strong egos whose illumination gives the new movement its initial forward impulse. The most noteworthy exemplification of this is the gathering of the Disciples in support of Christ Jesus. Towards the end of an epoch the religion that has served in the past is but a shadow of its original light. Its spirit is lost in form and ceremonial, its adherents are followers of the letter only, so it no longer has power to transform life.

   The working of cosmic Law is infallible, unalterable — the same yesterday, today and forever.

   Man's persistent refusal to obey the law of, righteousness, and the results of such rebellion as enunciated above, find ample verification in the conditions suffered by humanity at the present time.

   Parallel with the picture of destruction and doom for the masses who do not turn to things in the spirit, Isaiah repeatedly introduces in running tones of light a vision of the new race, the "remnant" to be saved. "In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. (Isaiah 4:2) "But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a tall tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof." (Isaiah 6:13)

Isaiah's Great Illumination

   Isaiah passed through a certain preparatory period before beginning his ministry upon the death of King Uzziah of Judah in 740 B.C. During the reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah, his was the most powerful voice in the whole choir of prophets.

   This vision marks the lofty spiritual status of him who received it, for it depicts an Initiation that lifts the candidate into realms of highest spirituality. The Seraphim are the Lords of Gemini, the celestial Hierarchy that awakened within man the third aspect of the ego, sometimes designated the human spirit. They are great and glorious Beings, far beyond the ken of this earthly sphere. Isaiah was here reviewing in the Memory of Nature the work of the Third Creative Day of manifestation, known occultly as the Moon Period of earth's evolution.

   Tremendous impulses are poured forth by the starry Guardians. The more highly sensitized one becomes through initiatory processes, the more amenable he is to these forces. Unless he is well poised they may easily overbalance him; hence, Ancient Wisdom has always taught equal development of head and heart.

   In ancient Mystery Schools the physiological foci of Black Forces were the generative centers and the solar plexus. In modern Mystery Schools the head and larynx serve as foci for these forces, trying the candidate to the uttermost. Temptations come through the four symbolical elements of Fire, Air, Earth and Water. On the lower levels, when there is yet much malice and coarseness in a person's nature, temptations come from the Black Forces; on higher spiritual levels the subtlest of all temptations comes when a candidate is tempted by means of his virtues. Such trials or testings, however, are given only after long and careful preparation by Initiate Teachers and angelic Guardians, when the candidate has a reasonable chance of passing them successfully.

   Both Isaiah and Ezekiel attained to the sublime Degree which unfolded to them a vision of Cosmic Records — not only of human evolution on the planet Earth but of all that went before, even from the First Creative Day. Until mankind at large has attained to this Degree and is able to contact these glorious Beings through Initiation, the earth must remain lost to the divine harmony. Redemption of the planet follows the redemption of man; the two processes are inseparable. Such redemption is possible only when mankind learns to labor consciously and voluntarily with those great Archangelic Intelligences who govern the universe, and who are represented astronomically in the constellations of the Zodiac. Isaiah's vision recounts the works of the Lords of Gemini, the Seraphim; Ezekiel, in a like rhapsody of spirit, sings of the Lords of Cancer, the Cherubim.

   The life story of Isaiah is one replete with contrasting pictures of conflict, sorrow, travail and disappointment on the one hand, while on the other there is the joy, praise and exaltation that accompany the overcoming of the adversary, from which he emerges spiritually triumphant.

   The true purpose of life is not happiness, but experience. Measured by this standard, the life of Isaiah was rich and full indeed. He was born in the city of Jerusalem and prepared from early childhood for his life's work. He shared the intimacy of kings and the splendor of courts, yet he walked the streets barefoot and in a mantle of sackcloth as a protest against the degradation of the people. Finally, bereft of all royal prestige and favor, he came to know a martyr's death.

   Whether he served as friend and counsellor of kings and nobility or as a persecuted outcast, through sorrow and through gladness this great prophet and Seer kept his eyes unwaveringly upon the purpose that actuated every moment of his life, namely, the proclamation of spiritual truths and the teaching of higher laws to those ready to receive them.

   Within the holy precincts of the Temple Isaiah received his call to service and made his dedication. To the gloriously inspiring strains of initiatory hymns and amid golden clouds of incense, the Gates of Cedar opened wide for him. The veil that shrouded the Holy of Holies was lifted and Isaiah was admitted to a place among the Elect. No longer did he belong in the ranks of those who hear but understand not, who see but perceive not.

   In this verse Isaiah is recounting an experience of his Illumination and his dedication to spiritual law. Henceforth he thinks of himself as nothing; he realizes that the only purpose of man's existence upon the physical plane is to serve as a channel for Great Ones who guide human progress from behind the scenes. The higher a person's spiritual attainment, the more complete is the selflessness of his dedication. "He that is greatest among you, let him be the servant of all" is an occult maxim given in earliest Temple Teachings.

   When an aspirant reaches this high place he takes upon himself the physical form of a great servant, as did the Christ when He came "fashioned in the likeness of a man." This holds true though the aspirant occupy a throne, direct the destiny of a nation, or wield vast influence through the power of wealth. Whatever station he occupies he lives only to serve, recognizing that of himself he can do nothing. True spiritual greatness can be acquired on no other terms, for such is the law governing the Way of the Temple Gates. Complete compliance is difficult because few there are who attain to true humility.

   Astronomy and mathematics received special attention in Temple Teachings given the people whom Isaiah addressed. The Sun was worshipped as Samas; Mercury as Nebo; Venus as Ishtar, the Ashteroth of Palestine; Saturn as Adar, the Adarmalek of Scripture and in the Canaanite form shortened to Moloch; Jupiter as Merodach or Bel, the "Lord;" Mars as Nergal. Dagon,'the Great Fish, was worshipped as the God of Fecundity; he presided over the productiveness of Nature. He was another symbol for the powers represented by Taurus, the Bull.

   Ahaz ascended the throne at the age of twenty. Together with his people, he continued the decadent Taurean modes of worship. Worship of the Sun and Moon was adopted by royal authority in Jerusalem. Magnificent chariots, drawn by snow-white horses, were used by members of the court in festivals observing the Four Seasons. These celebrations, having long since lost their original holy meanings, had degenerated into mere orgies. Roofs of the palace and of many private residences were converted into altars for obscene ceremonials that were the very antithesis of sacred stellar science as understood by neophytes of the Mystery Schools.

   Isaiah's deeper message was for the few who chose to walk the Way of Righteousness. To this day there is no promise more beautiful, more comforting, more inspiring than was given over twenty-five hundred years ago by this great Judean prophet:

   Isaiah's message stresses the danger of pride, which he counts to be man's cardinal sin, and the quality of humility, which he emphasizes as man's paramount virtue.

   Possessing the extended vision and knowledge of a Seer, he knew he was engaged in a hopeless labor so far as the people were concerned; he also knew that complete destruction of the land and long years of exile would be their lot as the result of their evil-doing.

Isaiah: Prophet of Aquaria

   Isaiah predicted the capture of Babylon by the Persians more than one hundred and fifty years before it occurred, and the birth of the Master Jesus seven hundred years before that momentous Event. He looked still farther into the future. There cannot be found a more beautiful description of the life and conditions that will obtain in the Aquarian Age. Despite the terrible oppression and injustices of the times in which he lived, Isaiah lifted his consciousness to the high exaltation of spiritual realms, and there he found joy and inspiration for singing of the glorious Age to come. To illustrate:

   The Bible is also a splendid textbook favoring a bloodless diet, beginning with Gen. 1:29 and continuing through Rev. 5:13. Note Ps. 148, 150; Prov. 23:20; Rom. 14:21; 1 Cor. 8:13 — to list only a few admonitions on the subject.

   In his first chapter Isaiah, God's wonderful singer, denounces blood sacrifices. In ecstasy over his vision of the New Day, he chants of a glad time when atrocities of blood and pain shall end; when the lion and the lamb shall. lie down together and a little child shall lead them.

   The animal kingdom stands so near to man that it easily reflects his thoughts and actions. Man's cruelty and rapacity have led animals to prey upon one another. Human exploitation of the weak by the strong is reflected in our younger brothers of the animal world. Had man remained humane in his attitude toward them, leading and guiding them instead of betraying and butchering them, there would have been complete concord between the two kingdoms.

   Metabolism is the process whereby body cells gain experience that advances their evolution. The force (life) resident in food is the agent of manifestation. When man learns the secret of extracting this force from the Sun he will no longer need to partake of physical food. He will then recapitulate experiences of the First and Second Root Races whose sole nourishment was solar energy. Corresponding races of the future are the Sixth and Seventh Root Races; they will achieve this desideratum, to which Christ Jesus referred when He said, "I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come."

   Every bodily cell assimilates thought force in addition to food substance. Emanations of fear, pain and death permeate flesh foods. Neither they nor false excitation of the senses by alcohol can be incorporated into New Age physical bodies. Everyone who renounces alcohol, meat and nicotine is developing a finer vehicle of increasing sensitivity which will enable him to take his place among pioneers of the New Day.

   "Many be called, but few chosen." One has only to observe the habits of average humanity even in times of crisis to realize how few pioneers there will be.

   From the shining scrolls of these illumined heights, Isaiah projected inspired pictures of the Redeemer's coming to both earth and mankind.

   The Book of Isaiah represents astronomically the Spring Equinox. Appropriately, its songs are prophecies concerning the King of Glory who shall come through the eastern gate to reclaim the new earth. In the fourteenth chapter is a song of Israel's triumph over Babylon which, astronomically interpreted, is the conquest of summer over winter, light over darkness; in the fifteenth chapter is a description of the lamentable state of Moab (Water), Syria (Air), Israel (Fire), and Ethiopia (Earth). Esoterically, it describes the lack of polarity between the elements as they have manifested themselves upon the earth since man's Fall. This inharmonious relationship results in the change of seasons, variations in temperature, and disturbances in Nature such as storms, rains, floods, and fires which, in turn, are all a reflection of man's own discordant and incomplete nature. All inharmonies will pass away in the New Age, when man has learned to blend the four elements within a glorious new body of Initiation. "Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound." (Isaiah 30:26)

   Chapter thirty-four is a lament because the earth has fallen under the domination of passionate impulses from Lucifer, once "the bright and morning star."

   Chapter thirty-five is a song of gladness for the eventual redemption of the earth and its inhabitants:

   Chapter twenty-six is a song of Judah (the highest aspect of Leo). It pictures the manifestation of Love as a power, both on the earth and in the life of man, and the travail which leads to heart awakening. Superseding the dispensation of Law by that of Love is the great work to be accomplished in the New Age under Aquarius, its exoteric ruler, and the polar opposite of Leo, the heart sign and esoteric ruler over this development.

   Chapter twenty-seven envisions the transmutation of the fallen martial force and the building of an Initiate-body through its uplifted power:

   The prophets often compare Israel to a vineyard; that is, perhaps, the reason why Jesus emphasized the esoteric meaning of wine, grapes and vineyards in His teachings.

   Esoterically, however, the meaning is somewhat different. Here Isaiah draws a contrast between the terrestrial body composed of the two lower ethers and the celestial body composed of the two higher. The former are the dense Chemical and Life Ethers, which have to do with physical functions only. The slogan of those whose consciousness is focused primarily in the terrestrial body is "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die." Of them Isaiah says:". . . ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen. For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water." (Isaiah 1:29-30)

   In the modern Western Wisdom Teachings the celestial body is called the "soul body" because it is the avenue through which purely spiritual forces flow into the personality. It consists of Light and Reflecting Ethers, channels for mental and egoic powers. As these ethers grow strong and abundant they organize themselves into a body wherein an Initiate can function apart from his physical vehicle. This Celestial Body is the beautiful spiritual Double mentioned in many mystical stories. Its development results in close and continuous communication with great Intelligences that guide cosmic processes; also attunement with one's Higher Self, the Christ Within, for wise counsel concerning the problems of life. Of this unfoldment Isaiah says: "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand and when ye turn to the left." (Isaiah 30:21)

   Chapter twenty-one contains instructions regarding awakening the great Heart power, the Jerusalem Citadel in Judah and the forerunner of Initiation:

   When Sargon died in the year 705 B.C. he was succeeded by his son Sermacherib. Egypt, Babylon and Philistia then besought the assistance of Judea in revolt against Assyria. Isaiah, by reason of his place and position among the patrician class, was a counsellor of state. He advised against this revolt, predicting its failure, but the king did not heed him. He joined the revolt, and Isaiah's prediction of failure was fulfilled.

 — Corinne Heline


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