reported by John-Peter Gernaat
The Gospels do not speak anywhere of the Second Coming. The words that occur in the Gospels are:
Traditionally, Christians refer to three statements of faith:
In the Act of Consecration of Man these statements of faith are reframed. They must live in us as a present reality: “Christ’s suffering and death”, “His resurrection” and “His revelation through all ages of the earth to come”.
Our understanding of the Gospels and of Christ comes through the worldview of Anthroposophy. Rudolf Steiner first spoke of the next appearance of Christ in a lecture in Stockholm in December 1909, but there is no record of this lecture. He next spoke of the appearance of Christ in a lecture in Carlsruhe in June of 1910, this lecture was titled: “The Event of the Appearance of Christ in the Etheric World”. On 7 March 1914 he spoke about the Deeds of Christ before his incarnation into Jesus of Nazareth at the Baptism in the Jordan. These Deeds worked into the development of the human being at various stages of the Earth Cycle of Time and he will continue to work at specific points in the future ages of time. These deeds can be represented in time as an extended U descending to the central deed of Golgotha and ascending again in the next three deeds. The deeds of Christ before the present are so much a part of humanity that they are recapitulated in the development of each person. This recapitulation is experienced as:
The Christ worked into human evolution through the etheric body of a human spirit that had not yet incarnated. This human spirit is the twin spirit of Adam who remained in the worlds of spirit when Adam incarnated on the earth and was expelled from the Garden: Adam Kadmon. This soul then incarnated into the child described in the Gospel of Luke to receive the incarnation of Christ at the baptism.
The first Deed of Christ occurred during the Lemurian Epoch when human beings could be described as ‘fiery beings’. In this deed Christ wrested the spiritual forces of human beings from the forces of Lucifer and Ahriman that would bind us to earth. In this deed the human being became vertical as a being between heaven and earth. The Christ worked from the “starry aspect of the Sun”and so from the Cosmic Realm of the Zodiac when he performed this deed for humanity.
The second Deed of Christ was in the Atlantean Epoch when humans ‘swam’ through a watery atmosphere as cartilaginous beings. By this time Christ had approached nearer to Earth and worked from the sphere of the spiritual Sun. The human being acquired the power of audible speech.
The third Deed of Christ had brought Christ even nearer to Earth and was accomplished from the spiritual realm of the Moon. This deed made human speech objective and hence created the possibility of meaning being expressed by one person and comprehended by another.
The fourth Deed of Christ was performed in the physical body on Earth at the death on the cross and the resurrection. This brought the I-organisation of the human being into the physical material constitution of the human being.
The fifth deed of Christ is in the realm of the Etheric. This is the appearance to which the Gospels allude and Christianity has ascribed the concept of the Second Coming. It is a reality that can truly be experienced in the 20th and 21st centuries. However, the experience of this appearance of Christ is not automatic for human beings. The Archangel Michael is tasked with taking hold of human development so that human beings will ever more experience this appearance of Christ. Whether this real appearance becomes a true experience for humanity will depend entirely upon our inner working under the influence of Michael.
The sixth deed of Christ will occur in the lower Astral Realm in the time when the Earth and the Moon have reunited. And the seventh deed of Christ will occur when the Sun too is reunited with the Earth-Moon and will occur in the higher Astral Realm. Our constitution will be very different when these deeds of Christ occur and are not of interest to us yet.
The words of John the Baptist that the Kingdom of God is drawing near is based on his experience of the first three deeds of Christ. Christ changes everything for the human being and is able to declare that the Kingdom of God is now within. This is an experience that must grow stronger and become a living reality for humanity with time.
As we move from the time of St John’s Tide to Michaelmas we are asked to take on board the reality that only under the influence of the Spirit of our Time, Michael, will the deed of Christ in the Etheric become an experience for us in the spiritual formation of an organ of perception through our inner development. The idea of our experience in The Christian Community is to come to know the reality of the appearance of Christ in the Etheric and not just to be able to speak of it.
We are thus being encouraged in this time of the approach to Michaelmas, and for the duration of a year until the next approach of Michaelmas, at which time The Christian Community will celebrate one hundred years of the first celebration of the Act of Consecration of Man, the new ritual that carries all of this insight, not as a party, but as a unified endeavour, to read the extracts of the writings of Hans Werner-Schroeder on the subject of The Second Coming of Christ. This is a central aspect of our Movement for Religious Renewal and in working together in small groups for a year we can gain a sense for this understanding so that we can experience the Christ in the life-forces around us. The presencing, the movement, the revelation, the manifestation in the life-forces is now. It is not some hoped-for future event.
reported by John-Peter Gernaat
Humanity and the earth experience an ebb and flow of the presence of the Christ. Sometimes his presence is felt more intensely and sometimes that which his presence brings into earthly human evolution unfolds. The Deed of Christ in this Earth Cycle of time is really one deed with seven interventions that unfold. The Mystery of Golgotha was the central of these. We are living in the unfolding of those interventions.
In order to appreciate the Deed of Christ it is necessary to gain a picture of the imagination of the human being “in beginning”, and we can gain this from Genesis chapter 1. The human being “eating” of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil prematurely had a consequence that needs to be understood. This act on the part of humanity is not something unknown to the Divine. The Divine works into the evolution of creation to restore that which creation influences in a way that is different to the original conceptualisation. The restoration in the development does not take things back to the way they were; development is always a progressive movement, and restored creation is on a higher level than before the restoration became necessary.
It is as a result of The Fall, eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil when humanity was still in the Garden, that the Deed of Christ which we experience became necessary in the development of the human being.
Rudolf Steiner describes matter as: “matter is Spirit burst into visibility”. This is what was conceived by the Elohim and occurred at the beginning of Creation of the Earth Cycle. Spirit became visible to Itself in matter.
We can gain an understanding of the Creation as conceived in Genesis chapter 1 from Spiritual Science. The human being is created in the Imagination of the Spirits of Form, the Elohim or Exusiai. This form provides a structure in which Spirit can be housed. This form is then permeated by the Inspiration of the Spirits of Movement. This places the human being is our own special place above the animals. The human being is further permeated by the Intuition of the Spirits of Wisdom. The Second Hierarchy of the Spiritual World was tasked to work in harmony to create the human being. The human being was then gifted by the Thrones, the Spirits of Will, with an aura that provides the human being with a space. This is a gift from the First Hierarchy.
When, as the human being, we ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we became conscious of our physical nature. The result is that the human being became bound into the physical. The physical body gained a bony skeleton that bound the form. The Imagination of the Spirits of Form became bound in the bones. The Inspiration of the Spirits of Movement became bound in the muscles of the physical form. And the Intuition of the Spirits of Wisdom became bound in the nerves.
The first Deed of Christ was therefore to endow the bony skeleton with the capacity of being upright. The second Deed of Christ was to loosen the muscles of the larynx in order to develop speech. This also shaped the mouth and teeth, for our teeth are not primarily instruments for eating, but for the development of speech.
In the unfolding of the human being from the first post-Atlantean Epoch until the middle of the fourth post-Atlantean Epoch, the human being experienced the Ego, or I-constitution, as an accompaniment in life, not as something indwelling in the human being.
In the Gospels we see how the Christ takes hold of the human constitution in all its aspects. The Mystery of Golgotha begins with the Baptism in the Jordan when a Cosmic Being begins to permeate the entire constitution of a human being. Immediately after the Baptism there is a period of forty days during which the Christ takes hold of the astral body in order to be able to withstand temptation. The Christ has completely taken hold of the etheric body when it radiates with light at the Transfiguration. The death on the cross and dematerialisation of the physical body in the tomb is the Christ taking hold completely of the physical body to rematerialise as Spirit Human. This is a new expression of physical existence. It is the complete mastery of the Spirit over Matter. This is the condition of Creation on a new level.
Christ permeated the astral body and established a new balance between the Ego and the astral and, as a result, can face the temptations. Christ permeates the etheric body and a fully transformed etheric body radiates light and is in energetic conversation in a stream of time with Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration and a balance is restored between the astral and the etheric. The balance between the etheric, the living formative forces, and the physical, material condensation, is established in death in the decomposition and resurrection of Christ. In the grave the physical body can dematerialise as a result of the three years in which the balance that was disturbed between the four members of the human constitution is re-established.
“Matter is spirit burst into visibility” and this reality is restored by Christ in the appearance and dis-appearance in the physical. Spirit that was frozen in material form is freed to transform matter. The body that Christ reconstructed is no longer the Imagination of the Spirits of Form, the Inspiration of the Spirits of Movement and the Intuition of the Spirits of Wisdom, it has become something more, something the human being can now truly master, at will. This is the new Spirit Human constitution.
This idea was alive in the thinking of early Christians. Paul speaks of the Second Adam as a quickening spirit. In the First Adam humanity died into matter while in the Second Adam we are quickened into life. This is the redemptive capacity that provides a future for the human being. We are no longer bound into further and further death into matter.
With the advent of the Holy Spirit, the Christ infused human Ego became incarnated into human beings, fully incorporated into our being. We operate from within, no longer through a companionship from without. This reality, that is the gift of the fourth Deed of Christ, unfolded while Christ was withdrawn from perceptible involvement in the development of humanity, so that humanity is ready for the reappearance of Christ in the Living Space, the fine space between the etheric and the physical, imagined as the realm of the clouds. It is a refined space where life is experienced within the dead physical reality. The nature of the physical reality is that nature disintegrates the body. Through the etheric the disintegration is held at bay and life forces continue to unfold.
The reappearance of Christ in the etheric can be experienced as a period in history when in a different, transformed way a renewed presence or renewed full pressure of Christ near to us can be expected. Experiencing this reality depends on our work and on us taking hold of the Michaelic impulse. It means that we feel in the formative life forces the full power of Christ. While the Christ works in the whole constitution, it is in the life forces that we experience within ourselves and in the world of nature that we can feel the renewed presence of Christ.
In a very real sense, we are now starting to feel ourselves at the moment of the Transfiguration, where we can become aware of the life force of the Christ that makes it possible for living bodies to ray forth light. We can begin to experience that this is how we are constituted. It is the way that the world is constituted. Science concurs with this in that in the subatomic structure of the atom is a photon of light and it is through this photon of light that the atom can remain intact and actually exist. The photon of light holds the relationship between the protons and electrons which, because of the opposite charges, should annihilate each other. Ralph Waldo Emerson describes the human beings as thickened light which is an etheric reality that also manifests as a physical reality.
The question is how to hold our form and dematerialise the physical so that the light can shine. This is the great development of the human being that is to come. Humanity has reached a point in our evolution where this process is beginning to occur. We can begin to enter into the transitional space that will lead to this evolutionary outcome.
In the Gospel there is a concept that aligns with this appearance of the Christ. In the translation from the Greek this word has become translated as ‘judgement’ and has even had the ‘last’ or ’final’ connected to it. Yet, Christ clearly states “I have not come to judge the world”. The judgement is not that of a Cosmic Being standing in judgement, but rather the Christ forces in me – in each one of us – allowing me to discern that which I have not managed. I will, and each one of us, will discern for themselves, judge themselves through the Christ-in-me. This discernment is the correct use of the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Since the I-constitution has become an integral part of the human being the human being has become the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the fruit thereof is ours to ‘eat’. The Greek word has come into the English language with its correct meaning, is ‘crisis’. With the presence of Christ in the etheric comes crisis.
A crisis is not an external event, like a war or a pandemic. It is, correctly, the reaching of a critical point at which we recognise that we must take hold of ourselves in a challenge. The conditions of the world may challenge us, but the crisis we experience is within. We enter into a transitional space at a threshold when we enter a crisis. The transition of recognising the power or force of Christ in the living formative forces puts us into crisis.
A journalist, whose identity is not pertinent to this explanation, said that the Bible as we have it is “written in the heavily embroidered draperies of puritanical Jacobean English, very beautiful, completely out of date and tremendously misleading”. The Bible, every translation of it, is an interpretation and it can be misleading. By thinking of the appearance of Christ in the Etheric as the ‘Second Coming’ we are robbed of the history of the great Deed of Christ which manifests as seven parts. The central Deed of Christ is the Mystery of Golgotha for us, because what came before cannot continue without it and what flows on will not occur.
It is now possible to place the Deed of Christ into a context. This context takes into account that the deed is not simply to restore the created order but to extend it.
The Lord’s Prayer can therefore also be used to understand the evolving reality of the future three stages of the Deed of Christ. The appearance of Christ in the Etheric allows the human being to move into a space where we can ask for forgiveness of our debts and forgive others their debts. We are entering into that space where we can ‘give’ to the other: “for-giving”. By giving we come into a new realisation of ourselves and of the other. We will be able to overcome temptations as Jesus, imbued with the full forces of Christ, could overcome temptations. In our baptism into becoming Spirit Human we can overcome, or be delivered, from the Evil, from The Fall and the evil that inspired it. This brings humanity not back to the point of Creation, but to a new Creation: not in the Garden, but in the New Jerusalem.
We are not waiting for Christ to appear in the etheric but rather we should be working in such a way that we can recognise Christ in the etheric. That is our challenge. It is a central understanding of The Christian Community, Movement of Religious Renewal, that we renew our concept of what it means to engage with Christ. We are not a people waiting, in prayer, for an event in the future, we are a people, actively working with the current effect.
The aim is to unpack all of this understanding over the course of the next year by working in groups with the writings of Hans Werner Schroeder.
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