Rosicrucian Writings Online


The Duality of Jesus the Christ

  AN INTERESTING CONCEPTION OF THE
PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL
 
By Frater Paul Beckett
 
[From The Rosicrucian Digest February 1931]
 
 
TO ONE who is willing to enter into an open-minded study of religious matters as postulated by so-called Christians the controversy that has arisen in past few years between one group of men calling themselves Fundamentalists and another group styled as Modernists is "much ado about nothing." But unfortunately both of the groups aforesaid are headed by men who in religious matters apparently "speak with authority," and the effect of their bickering has been not only to settle nothing but it has proved a very deciding factor in placing the church of today in a position of defense before the world at large. Especially is this apparent to the members of the younger generation, for should their religious teachers be advocating fundamentalism, they wonder if those equally strong leaders who are teaching modernism are Christian or heretic, and vice versa. Such a condition cannot but have a baleful effect upon those whom the church is striving to reach, and if it does not drive them from the church completely it at least doubles the task sought to be performed. To a larger extent is this true today than it was in times past, for the differences of opinion are not limited to separate denominations, as in days gone by, but have arisen and much animosity is shown between members of the same sect and believers in the same creed.
 
In support of all of these differences of opinion there have been advanced many reasons, many interpretations, each adding more mud to the troubled waters. Perhaps the opinion offered herein will but make matters worse, but it is proffered to you because the thoughts expressed have served the writer in clearing up for him many apparent inconsistencies and seeming incongruities in the records as presented by the New Testament.
 
Is there any difference between Jesus and the Christ? Are the two words properly used synonymously? It would seem upon close analysis that there is a very great difference, nor is Jesus Christ properly used as the name of our Master.
 
Our records regarding the birth of Jesus show that it was ordered he be so named even before his birth, and further show that that order was carried out and that he was at the proper time named Jesus. So, too, it is recorded that Joseph and Mary took the child Jesus into Egypt; further, at the time of His appearance in the temple at the age of two He was still known only by the name of Jesus. Thus in the four Gospels from the time of His birth until the last recorded episode of His childhood at no time is He directly referred to as the Christ, nor does it appear up until that time that His name is other than Jesus. Only in one instance in all that period is the word "Christ" mentioned, and in that it is not a direct reference but is in a narrative as given by the author of a book, which book was written long afterwards when the Christ had appeared and had been recognized.
 
The next recorded appearance of Jesus was at the River Jordan with John the Baptist; and upon His baptism there (not the water baptism) by the outpouring upon Him of the Spirit and the proclamation of Him as the "Beloved Son of God," then and then only and by that spiritual baptism did Jesus become Christ, the Anointed One. He became the Christ as a reward for His overcoming and attainment.
 
His given name of Jesus was not changed when He attained Christhood; He did not then acquire the name of Christ as a surname to be added to His given name, but He did become known as one Jesus who had attained Christhood by overcoming the world, sin and temptation. So we have His name Jesus, to which is added that title of honor, that badge of merit, that outstanding spiritual designation, the Christ; but without recognizing Christ as a title we have shortened the appellation to Jesus Christ, which to my belief, is literally incorrect.
 
From another angle Jesus was the human or animal side of our Master. He was Jesus before He became our Lord and, without entering into any discussion as to the truth or otherwise of the Immaculate Conception, so far as our records go He was born and raised as other boys of His time were born and raised. In the physical makeup of Him who was Jesus He was even as you and I, of the earth earthy, but when the Great Soul of God, which we call the Christ, took possession of the physical vehicle that was named Jesus then truly was the composite whole Jesus the Christ; and using the same mature physical body that had been called Jesus from His birth this Soul of God, which I have mentioned, manifested therein and adopted this body as a medium of expression for its great truths to the peoples of the earth.
 
Verily, the Christ of God is our Master and Lord, but not the physical Jesus. Today our immortal souls, which are the real individuals, can only express through the means of our physical body.
 
Even the most literal among us today will hardly contend that when the words uttered by Jesus, "Before Abraham, I was," that it was meant that he, the physical Jesus, existed before Abraham's time, but all will most readily admit that what was meant by this utterance was that the spiritual Christ, that at the instant moment was using the body of Jesus, had existed and did exist before Abraham. To a Rosicrucian it is not difficult to conceive of this, because with our belief in and knowledge of Reincarnation we can readily understand what Jesus meant when he said "Before Abraham, I was," but to the religionist who has not had the advantages given by the Order, Reincarnation is an ununderstandable thing, an unbelievable thing. They will not accept the word of their Lord. And, verily, when it comes to religious concepts are we obstinately blind.
 
It was not the virgin birth of the physical Jesus that gave Him the authority to speak the truth as He did speak it, but it was the incarnation of the Christ, of the Spirit of God, within the physical body of Jesus that spoke these truths and which claimed to be "at one with God, the Father."
 
With any other conception of Jesus the Christ we find that we are worshiping as our Lord that physical being named Jesus who lived some 2000 years ago and who, it is recorded, died and was buried. In like manner we are aware that those who claim to be looking for the second coming of Christ are in reality mistakenly expecting the second coming of Jesus, the physical man. While the second coming of Christ is altogether possible and probable (although it is my opinion that He did not go away) if we think of the Christ as Spirit, such second coming is impossible of belief do we conceive of the Christ as being a physical body which was known to the ancient world as Jesus.
 
The immutable Law of Duality was operating in the instance of Jesus the Christ even as it operates today, in that we, as immortal souls, have and use a physical body. In common parlance we speak of having a soul--in other words, we magnify the body, a physical, perishable thing, as the possessor of a soul in all of its imperishability and immortality; we do but speak that which we do not believe.
 
If we differentiate and say that the Christ possessed the physical body of Jesus and spoke its great truths through the medium of the voice of the earthly Jesus, then have all of our bitter controversies about the Virgin Birth and the Second Coming faded into insignificance and our tragic differences have been stirred up by what might be termed non-essentials. Is it possible to believe that Jesus could have spoken the truth as He did without having become controlled and possessed by the Spirit of the Christ?
 
There is an example recorded in our Bible wherein the physical Jesus and the spiritual Christ were in conflict, each striving for the mastership. The scene is laid in Gethsemene. Jesus the Christ is in prayer. Note the prayer--how Jesus, or the physical side, dreading the agony He knew was to come on the cross, prayed, "If possible, let this cup pass from me;" but immediately did the Spirit, the Immortal Christ, triumph with the words that follow, "Not my will, but thine be done."
 
Jesus was crucified and spent three days in the tomb, but before that did He utter the words, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." If we persist in our worship of the physical Jesus, then to be consistent we must admit that for three days the Way was closed, the Truth and the Life were dead and buried. But the physical Jesus was not "the Way, the Truth and the Life," this could only refer to the Immortal Christ direct from and of God.
 
Jesus himself was a Gallilean. Christ knew and knows no nationality. We have our direct record of the birth and time of the birth of Jesus, and we celebrate that birth date at Christmas time. Christ has no birth date--He always was--the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Before time was Christ was. I think it was St. Augustine who said that the Christian religion has always existed, but received its name as such only after the beginning of the ministry of Him known as Jesus the Christ.
 
It seems to me that many of the apparent and seeming inconsistencies in the life and sayings of Jesus the Christ can be cleared up by a conscious recognition of the quality of this personality commonly known as Jesus Christ if we will but recognize the physical man Jesus and also the Immortal Soul, the Christ, using the body of Jesus as its medium of expression to the peoples of all time, and with this conscious acceptance new vistas will open to us in our study of life as recorded in the Scriptures. Until these new vistas are opened and explored through the teachings of our Order, or otherwise, mankind need never hope for the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
 

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