CHAPTER VII: THE IMMORTAL TWELVE
Jesus chose the Twelve before He came into the world. He chose twelve
powers, receiving them from the twelve Saviors of the Light-Treasure. When He
descended into the world, He cast them as sparks into the wombs of their
mothers, that the whole world might be saved.
The twelve Disciples represent the twelve principal attributes to be
developed in man through the awakening of the Christ power within, which
unfold through many stages, exemplified in the events in the lives of the
Twelve as recounted in the New Testament. These events are not to be
understood as the mere personal record of each individual Disciple; all that
is written of them is true of every disciple in every age when treading the
Way of Attainment. The Bible is of universal significance; it is only
secondarily a biographical record. Primarily it outlines the path of spiritual
development for all mankind.
This does not mean that the story of the Disciples has no historic
significance. The twelve "Sparks" who incarnate in the twelve Disciples refer
to cosmic powers emanating from the zodiac; but they also point to the twelve
great religions of the world and their Teacher-founders, who are Saviors. Thus
according to the Gospels and the correlative material of esoteric documents
such as the Pistis Sophia, the Christ sent to earth the Saviors or Founders of
twelve world religions, who circled about Him as the zodiacal signs circle
about the sun. Biblical students often fail to see in the passage quoted from
Pistis Sophia the esoteric truth, namely, that all of the great world Saviors
were forerunners of the Christ. They went before Him to prepare the Way, and
then when he was to incarnate in the Master of Nazarethg, they were reborn to
be His immediate personal helpers and emissaries to the entire world.
The lives of the Disciples therefore have meaning not only for the
Christian world but for all the religions of the world.
"Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed
me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his
glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of
This verse points to the eventual attainment on the path of discipleship
when, by means of regeneration or Initiation, as shown in the life of Christ,
the carnal nature is laid aside, having been transmuted into powers of the
spirit. It is then that the old gives way to the new, the natural to the
supernatural. For the first Disciples this attainment occurs on the Day of
Pentecost, and it is in the fires of Pentecost that we learn the true and
essential significance of all those events in the life of aspirants which
would otherwise remain obscure, for Pnetecost is their end and fulfillment,
today as in the time of Christ on earth.
The Zealots were a Galilean sect, patriotic in nature, who hated with a
terrible intensity everything Roman. They were banded together in a grim
determination to rid their beloved land of this hated Roman tyranny, using
fire and sword to accomplish their purpose. Simon was among their number. He
was of a fiety disposition, dedicated body and soul to the task the Zealots
had set themselves, and had become a ringleader of the sect. Like most
patriotic and revolutionary bands it had degenerated into a mob, and attracted
to its ranks many robbers and outlaws whose motives were not always patriotic,
yet they held a common aim of freeing their nation from the Romans.
Now there came into Simon's life the influence of the gentle Nazarene. His
life changed. On finding Christ he, who until that time had held bitter
animosities and racial hatreds, surrendered them to the nobler impulses that
awakened within him. He now inscribed upon his heart the law of the New
Regime: Love your enemies, resist not evil, but overcome evil with good.
Such is the law that will govern the New Age that is yet to be, whose
keynote is Love. It is the degree to which this Love is applied to the
problems of daily life that will determine the disciple's fitness to enter
into the Aquarian phase of the Christ Dispensation which is being ushered in
at this time.
The Master, like all great spiritual Teachers, taught the necessity of
transmuting evil into good and gave instructions toward its accomplishment.
Acting on this instruction toward its accomplishment. Acting on this
instruction, every Mystery School celebrates a ritual at midnight of every
night in which the evil miasma of the globe is gathered up and transmuted into
good. This is not an allegorical statement, but a literal one. The work is
done each night, and as midnight is present at one place or another on the
globe throughout all of the twenty-four hours, this work is continuous, unceasing, as suggested in the black-and-white pavement of the Masonic Mystery Temple.
The Disciple Simon Zelotes, the fiery zealot, beheld the work of
transmutation performed by the Christ and His circle of Initiates, and it was
this which changed the resentful patriot into the loving, tender Disciple who
was willing to receive and bear the ridicule, contempt and persecution of his
former friends and associates in order that he might give his life only in
love for his fellowmen.
Judas is a symbol of the limitation and incompleteness which act as
a negative spur to progress. "Nature abhors a vacuum," and every human soul,
when it becomes sensitive to its spiritual emptiness, seeks for self-
fulfillment. All things work together for good, St. Paul said; the greatest
sinner may become the greatest saint, as Paul also demonstrated.
Judas represents the lower nature in man, which ever betrays the higher of
Christ within. This betrayal causes the great pain or Passion and must always
take place in the Garden of Agony. In the path of spiritual progression it is
a necessary prelude to the Crucifixion which brings liberation, freedom, and
attainment. This can be accomplishment only by evil or limitation (Judas)
destroying itself so that the divine nature may show forth. Matthias, a holy
man, is then chosen to replace him.
Legends state that the mother of Judas was warned in a dream that he was to
become the son of perdition. She therefore placed him in a chest or ark and
set it out to sea. There he was discovered by a king, who adopted the
beautiful boy and reared him with his own son; but Judas murdered his foster
brother and was compelled to flee. He became a page for Pontius Pilate and
later tried to follow the Christ.
Judas represents acquisitiveness, the love of the power which accrues from
the possession of material things. He was the Disciple who carried the money-
bags. Intense, passionate, his eyes filled with weird lights and his hair like
crimson flame, he was accused from childhood of having a devil. He is also
linked, in some accounts, with Mary Magdalene in bonds of sensual love, the
two representing the path of transmutation whereby the lower or mortal nature
is cast aside in favor of the new and Christed life.
A poet sings of the youth of the beloved Disciple John, "coming to manhood,
he was like a beautiful swift storm." "Sons of Thunder," the Master called
John and his brother James. That terrific inner intensity which led James to
be the first to lay down his life won for John the place of best-beloved of
the Master in the sense that his spiritual advancement brought him closest to
the Christ Spirit. From early childhood John's eagle eyes had visioned the
radiance of angels and his heart had listened to their glorious singing. In
the shadow of their wings the white flame of love was born within him, and
that love became power, and was later poured into hi Book, making it the most
treasured of the memorabilia of Christ's ministry on earth. Through this love
he was able to view the glory of those manisons which the Master has prepared
for those who love Him and make themselves worthy to inhabit them. It was in
the spirit of this love, which is such as the angels know, that he was able to
strike that keynote of ecstasy sounded in the injunction, "LOve one another as
I have loved you," and in His promise, "If I be lifted up I draw all men unto me."
It was in Ephesus that John prepared himself for the great work of healing
and teaching which he accomplished after the dispersion of the Disciples.
There he lived and there he taught the wondering multitudes of the inner
meaning of LOVE AS A POWER.
Angel bands were chanting hosannas when first he met his Lord, and these
hosannas were prolonged when his radiant spirit left the earth to rejoin his
beloved Master in the heaven worlds. The fragrance of his parting words to his
disciples still lingers like the breath of rare, exotic flowers: "Little
children, love ye one another."
James, the brother of John, was accounted the first of the Disciples until
the time of his martyrdom. He was among the first to be called and he was the
first to follow his Master to martyrdom.
"And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James, the son of
Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending
their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their
father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the
ship and their father, and followed him.
The fisherman's net, in esoteric symbology, refers to the wisdom extracted
from the experiences of daily living, the fisherman being one who has awakened
spiritually to the meaning and purpose of physical existence. The New
Testament contains many references to the Disciples' work with nets. Sometimes
these are broken, and again they are being mended. They represent the
substance out of which the soul body, the etheric body of the New Age man is fashioned.
James represents the supreme quality of hope which "springs eternal in the
human breast." It was by the power of hope that James was able to leave his
father despite his remonstrances, saying: "I must go, for Jesus has come."
Bathed in this white light of hope from the osul's high altar, James was able
to pass calmly through the bitter experience of persecution and martyrdom.
Before the power of Herod reached out to "kill James by the sword," the
Disciples had planted the seed of the new Christian faith in the land. Mystic
legends aver that after the martyrdom of James the other Disciples had placed
his body in a boat which was propelled by angels until it reached the coast of
Spain, and there a great rock opened of its own accord to receive it--a
reference to the truths of Initiation and the new white stone of which he
taught. In this legend we have another facet of the Mystery of the Grail,
whose castle, bult by men and angels, stood somewhere in the mountains of
Spain before it graced the altars of Glastonbury in the time of King Arthur
and his knights; but some say that it was in Britain first.
Jude means praise. This disciple represents, therefore, one of the most
important qualities to be developed by one who is seeking the inner light. All
true spiritual instruction emphasizes the need to cultivate the spirit of
praise. The law of praise is the law of increase; hence what we praise we
multiply. The more spiritually illumined one becomes, the more one is given to
the daily practice of praise. This is exemplified in the Book of Psalms. As
the Psalmist became increasingly attuned to the music of the spheres, the more
ardent became his songs of praise, until his very life resounded with the
starin: "Praise the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me praise His
Praise it is, then, that we associate with Jude, the cousin of Jesus and
son of that Mary, who was a sister of the Virgin and a co-worker in the
Mystery cult of the Essens, the Community of the Elect.
Thomas represents doubt and skepticism which arise inseparably from
intellectual training. Doubt and skepticism are two of the greatest deterrents
to the acquisition of first-hand knowledge by modern aspirants. The Master's
words to Thomas, "Be ye not faithless but believing," are still echoing
through the ethers. We need not expect to progress far on the Path until the
Thomas stage of development has been passed.
Thomas was on the very threshold of understanding, as for instance when he
witnessed the raising of Lazarus; but on the occasion of the Master's arrest
in Gethsemene he was overwhelmed by the old doubt and conflict, and at the
Crucifixion he fled. In his tortured mind he carried the memory of the broken
body and pierced side, but in his heart, like hidden music, he retained the
cadences of the divine prayer: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what
At the end of the long dreary week of the Master's Passion he returned to
Jerusalem, where already the ethers were vibrant with the joyous rhythms of
the Resurrection initiatory hymn: "I am the resurrection and the Life." Here
his dedication was complete. With the words, "My Lord and my God," a new
Thomas went forth into the world, his heart aflame and his lips touched with
that Light which is born from attunement with the love which is eternal.
In India there is a sect numbering several thousand members who call
themselves "St. Thomas Christians," testifying to this day to the great works
and miracles of the holy and illumined Disciple who founded their Order.
The life story of Matthew is that of the publican and sinner who, through
finding Christ, became one of the most glorious of the saints and Apostles and
the writer of the Gospel which bears his name.
Matthew, the tax-gatherer, symbolizes acquisitiveness, possessiveness. This
quality he manifested first on the physical plane, but its transmuted
equivalent he later manifested to a corresponding virtue in the alchemy of
spiritual illumination. Through sorrow and suffering the quality of
acqusitiveness and possessiveness was lifted from one level to another, until
it became the power by which he was a collector, through experience, of
wisdom, its essence.
In his luxurious villa beside the blue waters of the Galilean lake, Matthew
celebrated his renunication of the old life and his dedication to the new by
holding a great feast. This feast was attended by many publicans and sinners,
friends and companions of the old life, and was also graced and blessed by the
presence of the gracious Lord Himself. For this was in truth a spiritual feast
at which the attributes of the former unregenerated self were lifted up and
transformed by the presence and the power of the Christ.
The transformation of Matthew was effected through the glorious experience
accompanying the Master's Sermon on the Mount. Ever afterward his eyes were
lit with a strange mystery, and from his lips sounded the warmth and power of
the new words of Spirit and Life.
In contrast to his former luxurious mode of life, Matthew became a most
abstemious and ascetic person, until gradually there emanated from his face
and form that transcendent light and glory which was like unto the divine
radiance of the Master.
His great work centered largely in Ethiopia where he labored for
approximately twenty-three years. Matthew signifies the great purpose and
power of transmutation in human life.
Andrew is the Disciple who represents humility and self-effacement; the
first to be chosen, yet never becoming one of the innermost circle. He was
content always to shine in the reflected glory of his younger brother, Peter.
Dreams and longing for the things of the spirit led him, in the early days,
to become one of the followers of John the Baptist; and so he was prepared for
a further and higher service under the Supreme Master. The Bible mystically
describes his preparation by saying that he was casting nets when Jesus came.
Andrew was one of those chosen by the Great Initiator to serve in the
miracle of the loaves and fishes. The purpose of this miracle was to teach the
Disciples how to manifest physical substance from a given nucleus, as well as
to demonstrate the fellowship of sharing.
After the great powers conferred on the Disciples at Pentecost, they
dispersed over the world in furtherance of the Great Work. Andrew journeyed
over all of the seven seas, and the mystic legends relate that he was the
first to give Scotland the new and blessed Word of Life. St. Andrew's Cross is
an X, symbol of sacrificial blood, drawn in fiery red:
Where tortured and martyred,
Fair flowering trees beheld him standing there,
With blossoms decked where he had shed his blood.
Throughout Masonic and esoteric Christian symbology we find it repeatedly
represented that where sacrificial blood has flowed a living memorial has
arisen in the form of a flowering tree. The bloody path drawn by the
staggering footsteps of Hiram Abiff, according to Masonic writers, describes
this X of St. Andrew's Cross, and the flowering tree sacred to his memory is
the Acacia. The symbol aptly illustrates the process of Initiation.
Peter, the uncertain, the vacillating, "the wave man who was later to
become the rock man, "is an example of one who achieved mastery over great
personal weakness and indecision; and his record shows him to have had more
failings and shortcomings than any of the other disciples. Yet he finally
succeeded to develop the transcendent spiritual attributes to which every true
Peter received his first discipline in the esoteric school of John the
Baptist. When the Christ found him, he was busily engaged in mending his nets.
He typifies action and service, and at last achieved to that high place
wherein he symbolizes faith--faith as a power, not merely an abstraction. it
is upon that new-found power of faith, that the Church of the New Age, or body
of the Initiate, is builded.
When love, faith and hope become manifest as workable powers within the
consciousness of modern aspirants then they, too, will be able to accompany
the Christ in His greatest wonder-workings as did Peter, James and John, the
Disciples symbolizing these qualities.
Our greatest failures may become our stepping-stones to the greatest
unfoldment, as in the case of Peter. He could never forget his denial of the
Christ, and at his own execution he asked that he be crucified head downward,
as unworthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.
Peter's most treasured memory was his meeting with Master in that luminous
dawn sson after the Resurrection when once more he was permitted to renew and
rededicate his life, as a further reply to the Master who had asked Him:
"Lovest thou Me?"
Magnificently he fulfilled the Master's command to feed His sheep. Holy
legend has it that even his shadow, falling upon the sick, had power to heal;
yet we know that it was not his shadow which healed but the wonderful soul-
emanations of Christ-like love which did this, falling upon all who came near
Peter's life was limned in light and shadow, the darkness of conflict and
failing, of trials and weakness, yielding to intermittent shafts of glory
until at last he surrendered himself to death in the white radiance of a faith
which was truly divine. All that was weak and human was obliterated at the
last in one great burst of spirit fire which consumed the flesh. His life
illustrates, as perhaps no other does, the truth of the saying of a modern
seer: "There is no failure save in ceasing to try." More than any of the
Disciples, Peter is the apostle of the unceasing effort.
It is because of his many and varied experiences, and the wisdom and
understanding these brought him, that Peter is said to hold the keys of heaven
and hell. The student of inner things realizes that the real purpose of life
is not happiness but experience.
Nathanael was the dreamer and mytic among the Twelve; "an Israelite in whom
there is no guile" were the words the Master used in describing him. He was
Nathanael, the son of Thalmai, and so he was called Bar-Thalmai, or
Bartholomew, his name being Nathanael Bar-Thalmai. His father was a tender of
vineyards, and it was amid the cool shadows and rich fragrance of his hillside
home that Nathanael dreamed his dreams, until for him the songs of birds were
intermingled with the chorusing of angel voices and the gleams of stars were
torch lights beckoning him from the stairways of heaven. Thus musing and
living in dreams that were scarcely less real to him than the lovely world
around him, this young Galahad of the spirit was prepared for the eternal quest.
Philip, his friend, knowing Nathanael's deep longing for the coming of an
illumined one to guide him on his quest, burst in upon him one day in burning
eagerness and enthusiasm to announce that he had "found the Messiah."
Nathaneal standfs for purity. He had accomplished the great overcoming of
the lower man in preparation for the coming of the Great Teacher.
Throughout the Bible the fig symbolizes generation. "Whilst thou wast under
the fig tree I saw thee," said the Master in the first moment of greeting; and
he predicted: "Thou shalt see the gates of heaven and the angels of the Lord
ascending and descending," referring to the powers of Initiation which he
would later develop. Purity is the supreme requisite of Initiation and no true
spiritual power can be attained without it. Nathanael became one of the most
wonderful healers among the disciples, and it was for this reason that he was
stoned to death by the priests of the old religion, for they feared his power.
The healing forces are life forces, and purity such as Nathanael's, which
is the fruit of living the regenerated life, increases the healing forces a
thousandfold; for the personal powers are augmented by cosmic forces which
align themselves with the disciple's own universalized, because purified, potencies.
Phillip was the Disciple from Beth-Saida, which in Hebrew means a house of
nets. Esoterically it means to awaken or to infuse with spirituality. The life
story of Phillip contains the process or formula for spiritualizing the mind.
This is a long and arduous process, and Phillip was long in accepting the
divinity of the Lord. Many times during this process of spiritual awakening
the mind cries out in protest: "Show us the Father and it sufficeth us."
Difficult is the attainment whereby we learn to comprehend the Master's reply:
"Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me?"
Phillip was the son of a Hebrew father and a Grecian mother. He became the
first evangelist to the Grecian world. His was the hand that opened the door
to Christianizing Europe; and so he has been well named the Hermes of Christ.
The greatest influence in his life, with the exception of the Master, was
his friendship for Nathanael. They constitute the inseparable two, the David
and Jonathan of the New Testament. They were inseparable in life and together
they faced martyrdom. Phillip brought Nathanael to Christ, and Nathanael saw
the passing of the luminous spirit of Phillip from the martyr's cross to his
reuniting on the inner planes with the Master.
Phillip had journeyed over the land, sharing the light of the great new
truths of the Messiah which he had so ardently espoused, and because of the
multitudes of his followers and the many wonderful healings he performed, he
was bound to the cross in front of the Temple and crucified. Strengthened by a
vision of the glorious Christ and by the earthly presence of his beloved
Nathanael, the radiant spirit of Phillip left its earthly tenement, winging
its way upward in the joy of those who remained faithful unto death.
JAMES THE LESS
James and Jude were the sons of Mary, a sister of the virgin, and Cleophas.
Their childhood was spent in the same household with Jesus in an Essene
community, but it was not until that mystic interval between the Resurrection
and the Ascension that they accepted without reservation the eveidence of His
divinity and mission.
James received from his mother the tidings of the Resurrection and declared
that he would neither eat nor drink until he had seen the risen Master. Soon
the Savior appeared before him saying, "Bring table and food and drink as
evidence of the new life."
James became one of the most devoutly believing of the Disciples, and until
his death was head of the new church in Jerusalem. So noble and fine was his
character that he was highly esteemed even by those who had no reverence for
the new Messianism, and it is believed that he may have been head of the
Essenes in Jerusalem before he became head of the new church.
Enemies of the new Christian sect inveigled the holy James to appear upon
the parapet of the Temple before the assembled multitude during Passover week,
on the plea that he should tell them something of the Master whom he so much
loved; and always eager to discourse upon this them he willingly complied. As
he spoke fervently of Jesus as the Messiah of God, the mob took up stones and
began to stone him; he fell to the terrace far below, where he died, bearing
no malice toward his persecutors, like his Master before him.
Thus his great spirit passed into the higher realms with the words of that
sublime prayer upon his lips: "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do."
So greatly had this Master Essene been loved by the populace that panic and
horror swept over the city with the news of his death, and devout men
everywhere said that Jerusalem would suffer great sorrow because of this
crime. During this time, or soon after that the Roman armies came and
destroyed the city, and Jews as well as Christians said that it was the murder
of the saintly James which had brought this catastrophe as a punishment from God.
CHAPTER VIII: THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
Schools of Initiation, both ancient and modern, have graded the instruction
and disciplines required of aspirants into three major steps, and among the
early Christians these were known as Dedication, Purification and
Illumination; or Preparation, Purification and Perfection. These outline the
work of Probation, Discipleship and Initiation as known in modern schools.
Saint Paul, one of the most illustrious of the early Christians, has given
much information on the experiences that mark the progress of the aspirant on
the Path of Holiness. For Saint Paul it was the Road to Damascus that led to
the glorious summit of Illumination. It is rightly said that the Bible has an
allegorical significance; and so the Road to Damascus has come to mean the
Path of Light, because of Paul's initiatory unfoldment on that Road. Yet this
does not mean that the story of Paul is a myth or that it never happened as
described. It was a true story, and its truth is emblazoned upon it at every
point, but it may also be taken as apicture showing the experiences of
illumination as they come to every aspirant.
This is true of every human being. The life of the humblest may be taken in
its entirety and sublime mysteries deduced from its numerous events, from
birth to death. We understand how this can be when we realize that the life-
pattern exists in the heavens, and the life on earth is the shadow which is
cast in time and space by that divine pattern. Imperfect as the life may be,
the divine pattern may yet be inferred from the shape of the shadows.
The Road of Damascus was the beginning of the Path for Saul, who became
Paul. If anyone is skeptical of the fact that the Bible teaches the Truths of
Initiation and of the mysteries leading thereto, let him study carefully the
Three Journeys of Saint Paul as recorded in the Book of Acts and in his
Epistles in the New Testament. Then he will find new depth of meaning in
Paul's words: "There is milk for the babes and meat for the strong."
Truly it has been said that "Paul was one of the greatest voices that the
world has ever heard. For forty years after the Transfiguration, his life was
a sublime and terrible adventure."
His life was a mighty kaleidoscopic picture of stirring events. We see him
as Saul, guarding the cloaks of those who were stoning Stephen; his first
encounter with the disciple Peter; we observe his great illumination on the
road to Damascus; later, as Paul the Apostle, we see him stoned and scourged
at one time, worshipped as a god at another. We hear him pleading with the
Athenians on Mars Hill, and then rise with him on the wings of inspiration as
he sings his immortal song in which love takes precedence over faith and hope;
an ecstatic hymn that translates for us the songs of the angels, and is
charged with a beauty and power which assures it a place in the hearts of all
men for all time to come.
Later we follow Paul to the Sanhedrin. We see him casting the viper into
the fire, and finally, in the dim purple shadows of the great pine trees of
Rome, see his noble head laid beneath the headman's ax. Thus we view Paul, the
intrepid, the courageous, the victorious, whose life maxim, adopted hundreds
of years later by a great occult fraternity as the sesame into its Temple, was
contained in his words: "I desire nothing but Christ Jesus and Him crucified."
Each of the pictures in the life of Paul strikes a distinctive keynote and
marks a specific phase of development. A similar progression from soul-step to
soul-step characterizes the aspirant who attains to Paul's exalted status.
Saul, the persecutor of Stephen, bears little resemblance to Paul, the author
of the divinely inspired song of love, excepting only in the fervor of his
temperament. it was the change in character and consciousness that changed the
name of this eager, arduous spirit from Saul to Paul, for esoterically names
are the vibratory expression of the spiritual idea that they represent.
The Saul of Tarsus is far removed in consciousness from the Paul who penned
the final Epistle to Timothy--that Epistle which describes the high goal for
every modern disciple, his sons in spirit: "I have fought the good fight, I
have kept the faith, I have finished the course."
Paul placed mystic keys in each of his Epistles as an aid to all disciples
who enter upon the Way in search for a deeper understanding of the mystery of
life. Fourteen of the twenty-seven Books comprising the New Testament testify
to the work of the great evangelizer, and "every letter of Paul is a picture
of Paul." (Adolf Deissman). When arranged in their chronological order, the
thriteen Epistles of Paul may be classified in four groups:
A.......I and II Thessalonians
Written during the Second Journey 51 A.D.
B....I and II Corithians, Galatians, and Romans
Written during the Third Journey 52 to 56 A.D.
C....Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon
Written during the Roman imprisonment 59 to 61 A.D.
D....Titus, I and II Timothy
Written just preceding the martyrdom
GLORY LIGHT OVER DAMASCUS
Saul was born in the city of Tarsus, province of Cilicia, during the most
stirring days of the Roman Empire. He was of the tribe of Benjamin (Cancer)
which always remained faithful to Judah (Leo). At approximately the same time
that Saul was born, angels proclaimed the birth of the Holy Child in
Bethelehem. The world was passing through a state of transition in preparation
for a New Dispensation, the coming of Christ Jesus. Saul, the youth, was
trained in accordance with the strictest Pharisaical tenets. His first visit
to Jerusalem was made at the age of thriteen, when he was sent there to study
with Gamaliel, the greatest of the doctors of the Law. Note his age, and
compare it with that of Jesus, who at the age of twelve taught in the Temple.
The years are those of adolescence, which on a higher plane of development
mark the awakening of the emotional soul. Loyal to the sect of the Pharisees,
disdainful and contemptuous of the teachings of the new cult of the Nazarenes,
he was outraged at their presumptuous claims on behalf of their Master and
determined to exterminate them as whatever cost. Such was the attitude
instilled into Saul of Tarsus by inheritance and precept, such was the
background of him who became Paul, the Christian, whose life, after
conversion, was dedicated to one purpose: "That they might all be filled with
the fullness of God."
Appointed by the Sanhedrin to prosecute those Jews who had become followers
of the Nadarines, Saul was travelling to Damascus to drive the heresy out of
the communities of Jews who were living there. He had almost completed his
journey, and was nearing the ancient city, when the event occurred which
changed him into another man and set his life upon a new and perilous course.
"And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined
round about him a light from heaven:
And he fell to earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, 'Saul, Saul why
persecutest thou me?'
And he said, 'Who art thou, Lord?' and the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom thou
persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.'
And he, trembling and astonished, said, 'Lord, what wilt thou have me to
do?' And the Lord said unto him, 'Arise, go into the city, and it shall be
told thee what thou must do.'
And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but
seeing no man.
And Saul arose from the earth; and though his eyes were opened, he saw no
man; but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was
three days without sight, and neither did eat or drink.
It is of the utmost significance that this event took place in the auric
environment of the city of Damascus. Even at that time Damascus was one of the
world's oldest continuously living cities, a city which had never known death.
Many great and powerful and beautiful cities flourished in anitquity. Damascus
outlivfed them all.
Eastward of Damsascus, in the wilderness, there were mystic communities
where the Initiates communed with God within the heart and with the hosts
of heaven without, the rulers of the elements and the glorious and mighty
Angels and Archangels. Their hymns echoed the music of the spheres, and it is
said that one of their chants of the dawning light has come down to us in the
opening verses of John's Gospel. They were communities similar to that of the
Essenes of the Dead Sea in Palestine, and there was constant communication, a
journeying to and fro of member-saints, between them.
In the city of Damascus there was a community of householders, as the Book
of Acts intimates, such as had also been the background of the Ho,ly Family at
Nazareth; and in their homes the sacred Mysteries were venerated, from before
the coming of Christ Jesus and in preparation for Him. To them Saul was led
and they watched over him during his three-day period of outer blindness
during which his inner or soul-Self was awakened.
Damascus is a lovely, mystic city which every aspirant approaches when
making the illumined contact with the Christ. Abram, like Saul, was moving
towards this particular city when preparing for the inner realization which so
altered him that his name was changed to Abraham even as Saul, after the great
downpouring of spiritual power, became Paul.
Saulos, a famous Jewith name, and Paulos, a Latin name of greek origin and
form, represent the two natures of man, namely, the lower (carnal) and the
higher (spiritual). Saul of Tarsus, the intolerant, the revengeful, the
persecutor, came forth from his experience as Paul, the new man. The old Adam
in him died and the Christ within him was born. His ambition became humility;
his bigoted sectarianism was transformed into an all-embracing fellowhsip and
compassion. His intense zeal for the family of Israel was engulfed in love for
all mankind. His brilliant future was exchanged for a career uniting suffering
and renunciation, while honors and adulation were gldaly exchanged for
scourging and imprisonment. He willingly renounced all that this world offered
in order that he might become even the least among the Apostles of the Christ,
and "if by all means he might save some."
In what manner was this complete transformation effected? In his work on
the life of Paul, Adolf Deissman is near to occult truth when he says that
Paul's religion is "Christ Mysticism" and that the journey to Damascus marked
for him the beginning of the indwelling Christ. Fro three days and three
nights Paul neither saw light with his eyes nor partook of fodd or drink.
During this mystic interval, his sight was lifted and his consciousness was
focussed upon the inner or spiritual plane. During this timew his light was
not that of the physical world but of the higher or heavenly realms.
It was the illumination which his great and glorious vision brought to Paul
that led to his dedication of body and soul, without reservation or
hesitation, to the furtherance of his chosen work. It was to this stupendous
event that he referred when he said, "I was never disobedient to the heavenly
THE WAY TO THE LIGHT WITHIN
Many attempt to walk the way that leads to the mystic city of Damsscus, but
few succeed in entering its portals. The light from heaven is, first, the
flame of the awakened spirit within; this is that light that never fails to
attract the Teacher who comes to open the way for further instruction and
The acquisition of first-hand knowledge concerning the life and conditions
of the superphysical worlds, and a contact with the Great Ones who guide the
destiny of mankind from these inner realms, and obedience to their instructors
are the necessary requirements for true spiritual Initiation. Such
illuminations are possible today, but a higher spiritual status than that of
the majority is essential, and few there are who can meet the requirements of
a clean diet, constructive and harmonious thinking, and the chaste, pure life.
These are fundamental and cannot be ignored or overpassed.
During the sublime interval of blindness to outer-world conditions, Paul
was enlightened concerning the real esoteric mission of Christ Jesus and the
ushering in of the new Christian Dispensation. After the years of
misunderstanding and persecution of the followers of the gentle Nazarene, the
lightning-flash of illumination stripped his soul clean, and he was privileged
to glimpse vistas reaching down the centuries. He saw the new heaven and the
new earth in which fellowship and brotherhood were a reality; a time which
Isaiah, another Initiate, had declared would come to pass, when men would beat
their swords into pruninghooks and their sabres into plowshares; when--in
words echoed by a later prophet--the knowledge of spiritual law (the Lord)
would cover the earth as waters cover the sea.
After his initiatory experience in the community at Damascus, Paul went
into the desert of "Arabia," as it is said, where he stayed for three years.
We understand by this that he went out into the wilderness known as the
Peraea, to some of which he has referred obscurely in his Epistles. He
undoubtedly made pilgrimage to the community of the Dead Sea also, and to
During his Arabian retirement Paul communed unceasingly with the Risen
Christ and with the Great Ones who direct and govern the evolution of mankind
in its advance toward emancipation. This was truly Paul's novitiate in God's
School, the School of the Universe and its divine Mysteries. He learned to
read in the great Book of God's Remembrance described by Enoch, which is
located in the etheric stratum of earth's aura, and in the still more
marvellous Book which is found in the higher heavens. These he saw and
understood the wondrous formula of Initiation which was enacted for the world
in the life of Christ Jesus, in his Death, Burial, Resurrection and Ascension.
In the same wondrous Book of God he read the future events pertaining to his
own life-term on earth.
"But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which
dwelt in Damascus, proving that this is very Christ."
"But the Lord said unto him, 'Go the ways for he is a chosen vessel unto
me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of
Israel; for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my names'
Paul's experience in the superphysical realms for the three days and night
at Damascus left their impress in various ways on each of his Epistles, whose
letter spells immortality, and whose every page glows with the splendor of
life eternal. Each one of his Epistles contains both an inner and an outer
message. Within each of them he has placed milk for the babes and meat for the
THE JOURNEYS OF PAUL
The principal work of Paul is divided into three phases or journeys. There
are always three steps leading to the final culmination of the Great Work, as
they are outlined in any school of Initiation. We have shown that these three
steps were anciently termed Preparation, Purification and Perfection; which
correspond to the modern steps of Probation, Discipleship, and Initiation.
Paul has veiled these steps in his description of the events of his three
journeys and the works he accomplished therein.
The first journey occupied two years, the second three years, and the
third, four years, which totals the number nine, again a mystic key referring
to the nine steps or degrees of Apprenticeship, Fellowcraft and Master, in
Masonry. In the life of the Supreme Initiator these steps are represented by
the Birth, the Baptism and the Transfiguration. After these experiences there
always follows the great works, or ministry, for others. The "trials," which
confront every neophyte upon the Path find historical correspondence in the
life of Paul as the trial before Felix, the trial before Festus and the trial
before Agrippa. It was the manner in which Paul passed these tests that gave
him the authority to declare: "There is laid up for me a crown of
righteousness, and not for me only, but unto to all them that love His
It was during the work of the second journey that Paul began writing the
matchless Epistles, the first of which was sent to the church of Thessaly. The
love indicative of the close bond which exists between the spiritual teacher
and his pupils is expressed in the lines: "Ye are become very dear to us; ye
are our glory and our joy."
The Epistle to the Thessalonians contains the message of the Resurrection
to the New Life in all its inner meanings, namely: the ability to function
consciously apart from the physical body, which none other has described more
accurately than this great Christian Initiate.
The Way of Initiation he makes very plain.
I Thessalonians IV:13,17
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which
are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in
the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the
One who has acquired the ability to function in the finer or etheric
realms, knows the truth of the immortality of the spirit, the continuity of
life. Death he finds to be but a transition from one plane of activity to
another. It was this joyous realization which caused Paul to declare: "O
death, where is thy sting? O, grave, where is thy victory?" (I Cor:XV:55) No
longer does one who has reached this place have to say, "I believe," or "I
think,"--he may triumphantly proclaim with Paul, "I know, for I have seen."
Then comes the realization that "Death hath not touched it at all; dead though
the house of it seems."
This realization will bring to mankind one of the chief blessings that
await it in the new Etheric Age that lies before us.
Corinth, the city of frivolous and idle pleasures, signifies the subtle
temptations of the senses. The gay and dissolute life of this city revolved
around its beautiful Temple of Venus. Every sort of pleasure, both innocent
and evil, flourished there. In no other city was a center bearing the
influence of the new Christ Dispensation more needed.
"Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision. 'Be not afraid, but
speak, and hold not thy peaces for I am with thee, and no man shall set on
thee to hurt thee; for I have much people in this city.'
And he continued there a year a six months, teaching the word of God among
The Epistles to the Corinthians are filled with inner, mystic meanings,
understandable in their full significance only by those who are following this
same way and striving for a similar attainment. The First Epistle to the
Corinthians teaches the neophyte to die daily in the subjugation of the body,
or the lower nature;for this is always the first and fundamental teaching
given by any school of true mysticism. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians
contains a deeper message, given only for those who have found transformation
through LIVING THE LIFE.
II Corinthians V:17
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are
passed away; behold, all things are become new."
In the teachings given by the Thrice Great Hermes there is a similar
instruction to that of Paul in Corithians XV, wherein he speaks of bodies
incorruptible, of natural bodies, and of celestial bodies. Hermes says,
inreference to this transformation: "For that we have a stream of earth and
water, of fire and of air flowing into us, which renovates our bodies and
keeps our tents together."
"Five times received I forty stripes save one." Here Paul is recounting,
for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, the process and the number of
His Initiations. Forty save one equals 39, which numerically yeilds 3, and 3
times 3, or 9--the steps of attainment pertaining to the third journey, or
degrees of the Master. Again he is describing this same attainment of
Mastership when he says:
II Corinthians XII:2-4
"I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whewther in the body, I
cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an
one caught up to the third heaven.
And I knew such a man (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot
tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard
unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."
In the Epistles to the Galatians, perhaps the most deeply esoteric of all
the Epistles, Paul proclaims that he "confers not with flesh and blood."
"Neither went I up to jerusalem to them which were apsotles before me; but
I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus."
These verses refer again to the inner plane Mystery Temple teaching and to
the work of the Illumined Ones who minister there. Paul tells us that these
teachings which were revealed to him could be given only privately to those
who were "of reputation," meaning thereby to those who were qualified to
receive them. This is but a restatement of the Master's injunction not to cast
pearls before swine. The Epistles to the Galatians closes with that most
mystic of Paul's utterances:
"From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the Lord
These words do not refer to physical marks from beatings, stonings and
scourgings, but to certain marks of light, discernible only by spiritual
vision. Those bearing these marks are among the Christed Ones, the elect of
the Lord, who take their seats at the holy table in communion with the Savior.
The Epistle to the Romans was written near the close of the third journey.
The glorious confirmation of Paul's testing through the three great labors, or
journeys, was then nearing its close. Standing in the white light of
Mastership, he sounds the keynote of this high work in the words: "Present
your bodies in A LIVING SACRIFICE, holy, acceptable unto God." (Rom. XII:1)
Allen R. Brown, in his volume entitled "Paul the Sower" which is a study of
the purpose and meaning of the Epistle to the Romans, comes very near the New
Age Bible Interpretation when he says: "The words, 'in Christ,' Paul uses over
150 times; these words do not refer to the historical Jesus, but denote a
continuing relationship with the Christ present in the heart; Paul is not
completing Christ's suffering (Colossians I:24), but is carrying out in his
body his own Christ-sufferings."
All New Age Interpretation deals with the awakening of the Christed powers
within man himself. "Let the Christ be formed in you." This declaration of the
great Christian Initiate contains the solution to all the problems of the
universe and will, when fully understood and developed, usher in the New
Heaven and the New Earth. When Paul came to take his last journey, to meet his
final trial and to liberate his bright and glorious spirit in death, he was
completely absorbed in intersting the centurion (who, together withg a band of
soldiers accompanied him to the Ostain Gate of Rome) in the work of the New
Christ Dispensation. To the last the thought uppermost in his mind was to
bring others into the service of the Christ.
Arriving at his destination, under the great shadowy pine trees, he asked
for a time of meditation and prayer. They who watched saw him assume the form
of a cross and, with arms outstretched, address in Hebrew some invisible
presence. That glorious Being, who had given His benediction to Paul's first
illumination, was present to bless him and speed him on his way as he laid
down his body in His name, in a dedication total and unswerving to the nd. He
was ever faithful to his own words: "If we are to live in Christ, we must
forsake ourselves and die with Him."
The thyrsus-bearers are many, but the mystics are few.
Straight is the way and narrow is the gate, and few there be that find it.
This is the Way to that mystic City of Damascus, with its spiritual
treasures. It is only for those who, with the great Paul, have learned "to die
PART III: THE CHRIST MYSTERY IN THE COSMOS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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