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The Messenger of the Christ

   Each Book of the Bible deals with its own specific phase of Initiation, or outlines particular stages in the neophyte's progress toward it. Thus, the Books of Nehemiah and Malachi stress the Cleansing of the Temple by purification and redemption — the spiritual meaning of Scorpio as symbolizrd by the Eagle.

   In the life of Christ Jesus the particular Rite of Cleansing the Temple occupied a most prominent place. It is described in detail in each of the four Gospels, varying only with the different phases of development dealt with by their authors. In all four accounts a most important event occurred in the life of the Master before and after the cleansing. Similarly, Nehemiah concludes his mission with the cleansing work, the great ideal given to all who are ready to receive it: "Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil unto the treasuries . . . And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also . . . Thus cleansed I them from all strangers, and appointed the wards of the priests and the Levites, every one in his business; and for the wood offering, at times appointed, and for the first-fruits. Remember, O my God, for good." (Nehemiah 13:12,22,30,31)

   Names of biblical prophets and Initiates are not always personal names, as is popularly supposed; they are often in the nature of a title which reveals the kind of work they came to accomplish. Students who do not understand this find it difficult to explain the Hebrew custom whereby many later Israelite teachers wrote under names of those long since passed. It must be remembered that when a writer speaks in the name of a former Initiate-Teacher, and writes in the first person, he is at least a disciple of that Teacher on inner planes and may be transmitting his Teacher's esoteric instruction. Again, he may be the Teacher himself, reborn after a lapse of centuries in order to bring some special work to a conclusion. fie therefore has every moral right to use the name under which he was formerly known. In Moses de Leon's Zohar, written in the name of Rabbi Simeon, we have a medieval example of this practice; so also in the "Arabian" Teacher of Paracelsus — who obviously was the Elias of the Mysteries, tor this second Elias meets every disciple at the gee of the Rose Garden.

   Malachi, the last prophet of the Restoration Period, lived in the time of Artaxerxes. There is a tradition which associates him with Ezra, for Malachi means my messenger. The book of Malachi is anonymous It was written in the fifth century B.C. and is contemporaneous with the the messenger, or whether this was some unknown prophet of the same period, the Book certainly summarizes the entire purpose of Ezra's work work of Ezra and Nehemiah. Whether or not Ezra actually called himself in the Holy Land. Therefore, it might well have been Ezra himself who speaks as the messenger of the Messiah. The tradition clearly conforms to the portrait of Ezra given in II Esdras, for there were actually two Ezras', living a century apart, who appeared in the Restoration Period: one at the very beginning, as is shown in the Book of Ezra; the other — at its close. It was the second Ezra who collected and restored the sacred Scriptures for the new Messianic nation, thus completing the work begun centuries earlier by the first Ezra.

   Like Nehemiah, Malachi centered his message in the Rite of Cleansing the Temple, that a new race might be made ready to receive the Christ — He who was to come with healing in his wings that He might demonstrate the Way of Redemption for all mankind. Restoration Teachers set upon this Door before the Israelite nation at the close of the Old Testament Dispensation, after centuries of intense social, political and religious preparation. Malachi stood midway between the Old and the New Dispensations.

   Astrologically, this prophet represents Scorpio, sign of both the Scorpion and the Eagle. His message sounds the two-note chord of Scorpio, corruption and redemption. Scorpio, as we have seen, figured prominently in the Old Testament, particularly in the Book of Genesis where hidden origins of the earth and of men are shown under the veil of allegory. This constellation represents the lowest and the highest phases of human nature.

   Throughout Malachi's writings are reiterated the reform slogans of Ezra: injunctions to purify the Temple, to put away foreign wives, and so forth. His words were not directed to the returned Remnant only. He spoke to the great mass of people who had remained in their homeland and among whom many ancient and strange practices were rife. Some of these were authentically Hebrew and some of alien importation; for, as has previously been shown, in the absence of the ruling and religious castes during the Exile the old religion flourished anew. The Levites were involved in these popular cult movements. This is not to be wondered at since from ancient times they had been attendants of Israel's shrines, many of which were actually pre-Israelitic shrines of Canaanite gods. Some of the Levitical families lived in or near Jerusalem, but countless others were widely scattered among various Levitical cities with their places of worship.

   The prophets of the Restoration changed all this. They were responsible for rebuilding the Jerusalem Temple and for restoring its ritual according to the purified version of King Josiah, but they carried the reforms much further.

   Exoteric Masonic tradition has it that Ezra and King. Darius were intimately associated in the Mysteries of Persia; and we are told of the trials and purification endured by Ezra prior to his taking up his work in Palestine. Hence, the sympathy for the Gentiles as revealed in the statement that they will offer a pure sacrifice unto the Lord and "my name shall be great among the heathen."

   What is the unblemished sacrifice that the Law demands of a neophyte? To repeat, it is the sacrifice of his lower nature, which must be brought to perfection and laid on the altar of service. So long as his physical body bears the blemish of disease, so long as he harbors criticism, envy and hatred, his offering at the altar will be a corrupt thing, not acceptable unto the Lord (Law). "Life of my life, I shall ever try to keep my body pure, knowing that thy living touch is upon all my limbs. I shall ever try to keep all untruths out from my thoughts, knowing that thou art that truth which has kindled the light of reason in my mind."

   It was in 444 B.C. that the returned Exiles and other unnamed groups bound themselves by vows to live in accordance with the Book of the Law as read to them by Ezra. Their purpose was to make preparation for the coming of the Messianic Age. They constituted themselves leaders of the new state and recapitulated the ceremony of reading Deuteronomy as it had been done a hundred and seventy-seven years previous, after the Book was discovered during Josiah's reign. In a still earlier cycle their ancestors had voluntarily pledged themselves to achieve the purpose of the great cosmic Law as given to them through Moses.

   Subsequent failure of the Israelites to keep the Law of Moses caused them to lose the Ark of the Covenant from the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle. Under Josiah the failure to understand and obey the Laws of Deuteronomy resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and of the first Temple, and in seventy years of captivity. When the Law was disregarded for a third time, and the Messiah was rejected, Jerusalem fell to the Roman legions, whereupon the second Temple and the city were destroyed in 70 A.D., the stately city of Jerusalem becoming a military camp for its conquerors.

   The pinnacle of Hebrew history was the coming of Christ Jesus, the flower of the race and the subject of its intensive preparation during the centuries following the Restoration. Therefore Malachi, in his closing vision, makes this prediction: "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall." (Malachi 4:2)

   He issued a clarion call to all who would to qualify for leadership in the new Messianic civilization: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." (Malachi 3:10,3)

   The eternally abiding love of God for erring humanity is shown in the words "For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Malachi 3:6) God is Law, unchangeable and eternal; yet God is Love. The ultimate goal of man is to become a Christed One; to realize in himself the image and likeness of God.

   The Old Testament opens with a description of the perfect man, followed by a record of his Fall into materiality and his long weary cycles of darkness, sorrow, disease and death. It describes man's repeated struggles to rise, only to fall into apparently deeper material and spiritual darkness. Then the Old Testament closes with the glorious promise of a coming Dispensation in which all things shall be made new.

   The Law of Moses embraces the great cosmic Laws defined for man's guidance and enlightenment until the time shall come when this explicit Law shall yield to a Law engraved by the spirit upon man's mind and heart. Truth will then be discovered at the inmost center of one's own consciousness.

   This is the work of the Christian Dispensation. When it is accomplished, redeemed man — symbolized by the Eagle, the bird that flies nearest the Sun — will be worthy to greet the Sun of Righteousness, who bestows healing on the earth and to all that dwells therein.

   It is most interesting to note that Malachi predicts the return of Elijah — the Elias of the Hebrew Mysteries — four hundred years before his re-embodiment as the great messenger and forerunner of the Piscean Dispensation whom we know as John the Baptist.

   Malachi's reading in God's Book of Remembrance closes with a glorified picture of the coming of the Supreme Messenger for whom the world waited, the Blessed Lord Christ, who was to "turn the heart of the fathers (Initiates) to the children (the little ones, or neophytes), and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." In common with other prophets, Malachi possessed the spiritual gift of being able to read the Akashic Record, wherein Truth is inscribed in eternal language.

   The Christ Theme sounds like a glorious symphony throughout the pages of the Old Testament. From Moses, who was so inspired by and enfolded in the glory of the descending Christ Light that he gave forth eternal utterances, to their sublime climax in the Book of Malachi, the Christ Theme rises ever clearer and more triumphant.

   The Old Testament is the Book of Promise; the New Testament is the Book of Fulfillment. The one theme is continuous. Either Testament is incomplete without the other, but together they form the most glorious text ever given to mankind.

   Once again the glory of the Christ Light is descending to a troubled and sorrowing world. Many persons are already beginning to sense its beauty and power; and some who have eyes to see have been caught up to receive His blessing and His benediction. This Sun of Righteousness, the highest Archangelic Initiate, descended to earth to assume regency of this planet and, by his supreme sacrifice on Golgotha, to bring redemption to the entire human race. Down through the ages there have been those who realized this mighty truth and have dedicated their lives to its dissemination. In the vision of St. John they bear the mark upon their foreheads, for they have been anointed with the seal of Christ. As the descending Christ Light grows increasingly brighter with the passing years, those who have ears to hear may again catch the prophetic words of Malachi: "The Sun of Righteousness (shall) arise with healing in his wings."

 — Corinne Heline

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