THEOSOPHY, Vol. 56, No. 12, October, 1968
(Pages 371-375; Size: 17K)
(Number 12 of a 36-part series)

THE CHRISTIAN SCHEME(4)

GNOSIS AND CHRISTIANITY: ORIENTAL KABALA

THE "Christ," then, and the "Logos" existed ages before Christianity; the Oriental Gnosis was studied long before the days of Moses, and we have to seek for the origin of all there in the archaic periods of the primeval Asiatic philosophy. Peter's second Epistle and Jude's fragment, preserved in the New Testament, show by their phraseology that they belong to the kabalistic Oriental Gnosis, for they use the same expressions as did the Christian Gnostics who built a part of their system from the Oriental Kabala. "Presumptuous are they (the Ophites), self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of DIGNITIES," says Peter (II Pet. 2:10), the original model for the later abusive Tertullian and Irenæus. "Likewise (even as Sodom and Gomorrah) also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise DOMINION and speak evil of DIGNITIES," says Jude, repeating the very words of Peter, and thereby expressions consecrated in the Kabala. Dominion is the "Empire," the tenth of the kabalistic sephiroth.(1) The Powers and Dignities are the subordinate genii of the Archangels and Angels of the Sohar. (According to the Kabala, Empire or Dominion is "the consuming fire, and his wife is the Temple or the Church.") These emanations are the very life and soul of the Kabala and Zoroastranism; and the Talmud itself, in its present state, is all borrowed from the Zend-Avesta. Therefore, by adopting the views of Peter, Jude, and other Jewish apostles, the Christians have become but a dissenting sect of the Persians, for they do not even interpret the meaning of all such Powers as the true kabalists do. Paul's warning his converts against the worshipping of angels, shows how well he appreciated, even so early as his period, the dangers of borrowing from a metaphysical doctrine the philosophy of which could be rightly interpreted but by its well-learned adherents, the Magi and the Jewish Tanaïm. "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind," is a sentence laid right at the door of Peter and his champions. In the Talmud, Michael is Prince of Water, who has seven inferior spirits subordinate to him. He is the patron, the guardian angel of the Jews, as Daniel informs us (5:21), and the Greek Ophites, who identified him with their Ophiomorphos, the personified creation of the envy and malice of Ilda-Baoth, the Demiurgus (Creator of the material world), and undertook to prove that he was also Samael, the Hebrew prince of the evil spirits, or Persian devs, were naturally regarded by the Jews as blasphemers. But did Jesus ever sanction this belief in angels except in so far as hinting that they were the messengers and subordinates of God? And here the origin of the later splits between Christian beliefs is directly traceable to these two early contradictory views.

Paul, believing in all such occult powers in the world "unseen," but ever "present," says: "Ye walked according to the ÆON of this world, according to the Archon (Ilda-Baoth, the Demiurg) that has the domination of the air," and "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the dominations, the powers; the lords of darkness, the mischievousness of spirits in the upper regions." This sentence, "Ye were dead in sin and error," for "ye walked according to the Archon," or Ilda-Baoth, the God and creator of matter of the Ophites, shows unequivocally that: 1st, Paul, notwithstanding some dissensions with the more important doctrines of the Gnostics, shared more or less their cosmogonical views on the emanations; and 2nd, that he was fully aware that this Demiurge, whose Jewish name was Jehovah, was not the God preached by Jesus. And now, if we compare the doctrine of Paul with the religious views of Peter and Jude, we find that, not only did they worship Michael, the Archangel, but that also they reverenced SATAN, because the latter was also, before his fall, an angel! This they do quite openly, and abuse the Gnostics(2) for speaking "evil" of him. No one can deny the following: Peter, when denouncing those who are not afraid to speak evil of "dignities," adds immediately, "Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusations against them (the dignities) before the Lord" (II Pet. 2:11). Who are the dignities? Jude, in his general epistle, makes the word as clear as day. The dignities are the DEVILS!! Complaining of the disrespect shown by the Gnostics to the powers and dominions, Jude argues the very words of Peter: "And yet, Michael, the Archangel, when contending with the devil, he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee" (1:9). Is this plain enough? If not, then we have the Kabala to prove who were the dignities.

Considering that Deuteronomy tells us that the "Lord" Himself buried Moses in a valley of Moab (34:6), "and no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day," this biblical lapsus linguœ of Jude gives a strong coloring to the assertions of some of the Gnostics. They claimed but what was secretly taught by the Jewish kabalists themselves; to wit: that the highest supreme God was unknown and invisible; "the King of Light is a closed eye"; that Ilda-Baoth, the Jewish second Adam, was the real Demiurge; and that Iao, Adonai, Sabaoth, and Eloi were the quaternary emanation which formed the unity of the God of the Hebrews -- Jehovah. Moreover, the latter was also called Michael and Samael by them, and regarded but as an angel, several removes from the Godhead. In holding to such a belief, the Gnostics countenanced the teachings of the greatest of the Jewish doctors, Hillel, and other Babylonian divines. Josephus shows the great deference of the official Synagogue in Jerusalem to the wisdom of the schools of Central Asia. The colleges of Sora, Pumbiditha, and Nahaidea were considered the headquarters of esoteric and theological learning by all the schools of Palestine. The Chaldean version of the Pentateuch, made by the well-known Babylonian divine, Onkelos, was regarded as the most authoritative of all, and it is according to this learned Rabbi that Hillel and other Tanaïm after him held that the Being who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, on Mount Sinai, and who finally buried him, was the angel of the Lord, Memro, and not the Lord Himself; and that he whom the Hebrews of the Old Testament mistook for Iahoh was but His messenger, one of His sons, or emanations. All this establishes but one logical conclusion -- namely, that the Gnostics were by far the superiors of the disciples, in point of education and general information; even in a knowledge of the religious tenets of the Jews themselves. While they were perfectly well-versed in the Chaldean wisdom, the well-meaning, pious but fanatical as well as ignorant disciples, unable to fully understand or grasp the religious spirit of their own system, were driven in their disputations to such convincing logic as the use of "brute beasts," "sows," "dogs," and other epithets so freely bestowed by Peter.

Since then, the epidemic has reached the apex of the sacerdotal hierarchy. From the day when the founder of Christianity uttered the warning, that he who shall say to his brother, "Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire," all who have passed as its leaders, beginning with the ragged fishermen of Galilee, and ending with the jewelled pontiffs, have seemed to vie with each other in the invention of opprobrious epithets for their opponents. So we find Luther passing a final sentence on the Catholics, and exclaiming that "The Papists are all asses, put them in whatever form you like; whether they are boiled, roasted, baked, fried, skinned, hashed, they will be always the same asses." Calvin called the victims he persecuted, and occasionally burned, "malicious barking dogs, full of bestiality and insolence, base corrupters of the sacred writings," etc. Dr. Warburton terms the Popish religion "an impious farce," and Monseigneur Dupanloup asserts that the Protestant Sabbath service is the "Devil's mass," and all clergymen are "thieves and ministers of the Devil."

The same spirit of incomplete inquiry and ignorance has led the Christian Church to bestow on its most holy apostles, titles assumed by their most desperate opponents, the "Hæretics" and Gnostics. So we find, for instance, Paul termed the vase of election "Vas Electionis," a title chosen by Manes,(3) the greatest heretic of his day in the eyes of the Church, Manes meaning, in the Babylonian language, the chosen vessel or receptacle.

Christian theology, getting the doctrine of the archangels and angels directly from the Oriental Kabala, of which the Mosaic Bible is but an allegorical screen, ought at least to remember the hierarchy invented by the former for these personified emanations. The hosts of the Cherubim and Seraphim, with which we generally see the Catholic Madonnas surrounded in their pictures, belong, together with the Elohim and Beni Elohim of the Hebrews, to the third kabalistic world, Jezirah. This world is but one remove higher than Asiah, the fourth and lowest world, in which dwell the grossest and most material beings -- the klippoth, who delight in evil and mischief, and whose chief is Belial!

In the religious metaphysics of the Hebrews, the Highest One is an abstraction; he is "without form or being," "with no likeness with anything else." And even Philo calls the Creator, the Logos who stands next God, "the SECOND GOD." "The second God who is his WISDOM." God is NOTHING, he is nameless, and therefore called Ain-Soph -- the word Ain meaning nothing. But if, according to the older Jews, Jehovah is the God, and He manifested Himself several times to Moses and the prophets, and the Christian Church anathematized the Gnostics who denied the fact -- how comes it, then, that we read in the fourth gospel that "No man hath seen God AT ANY TIME, but the only-begotten Son ... he hath declared him"? The very words of the Gnostics, in spirit and substance. This sentence of St. John -- or rather whoever wrote the gospel now bearing his name -- floors all the Petrine arguments against Simon Magus, without appeal. The words are repeated and emphasized in chapter 6: "Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he (Jesus) hath seen the Father" (46) -- the very objection brought forward by Simon in the Homilies. These words prove that either the author of the fourth evangel had no idea of the existence of the Homilies, or that he was not John, the friend and companion of Peter, whom he contradicts point-blank with this emphatic assertion. Be it as it may, this sentence, like many more that might be profitably cited, blends Christianity completely with the Oriental Gnosis, and hence with the KABALA.

While the doctrines, ethical code, and observances of the Christian religion were all appropriated from Brahmanism and Buddhism, its ceremonials, vestments, and pageantry were taken bodily from Lamaism. The Romish monastery and nunnery are almost servile copies of similar religious houses in Tibet and Mongolia, and interested explorers of Buddhist lands, when obliged to mention the unwelcome fact, have had no other alternative left them but, with an anachronism unsurpassed in recklessness, to charge the offense of plagiarism upon the religious system their own mother Church had despoiled. This makeshift has served its purpose and had its day.


Next article:
THE CHRISTIAN SCHEME
MAGIC IN THE CHURCH
(Part 13 of a 36-part series)

Back to the
"Christianity in the Light of Theosophy"
complete list of articles.

Back to the full listing containing all of the
"Additional Categories of Articles".


FOUR (4) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:

(4) NOTE.--"The Christian Scheme," begun in November, 1967, is collated from the works of H. P. Blavatsky. It recounts the historical background and early development of Christianity.
Back to text.

(1) The types of the creation, or the attributes of the Supreme Being, are through the emanations of Adam Kadmon; these are: "The Crown, Wisdom, Prudence, Magnificence, Severity, Beauty, Victory, Glory, Foundation, Empire. Wisdom is called Jeh; Prudence, Jehovah; Severity, Elohim; Magnificence, El; Victory and Glory, SABAOTH; Empire or Dominion, ADONAI." Thus when the Nazarenes and other Gnostics of the more Platonic tendency twitted the Jews as "abortions who worship their god Iurbo, Adunai," we need not wonder at the wrath of those who had accepted the old Mosaic system, but at that of Peter and Jude who claim to be followers of Jesus and dissent from the views of him who was also a Nazarene.
Back to text.

(2) It is more likely that both abused Paul, who preached against this belief; and that the Gnostics were only a pretext. (See Peter's second Epistle.)
Back to text.

(3) The true name of Manes -- who was a Persian by birth -- was Cubricus. He was flayed alive at the instance of the Magi, by the Persian King Varanes I. Plutarch says that Manes or Manis means Masses or ANOINTED. The vessel, or vase of election, is, therefore, the vessel full of that light of God, which he pours on one he has selected for his interpreter.
Back to text.
 


Main Page | Introductory Brochure | Volume 1--> Setting the Stage
Karma and Reincarnation | Science | Education | Economics | Race Relations
The WISDOM WORLD | World Problems & Solutions | The People*s Voice | Misc.