“The Gospel of St. John contains the wisdom of “the God in man,” Theosophia, and the more that men devote themselves to the study of this document, the more will they receive wisdom and enlightenment from it.”
“A true interpretation of the Gospel of St. John enables us to gain insight into the meaning of all life.”Rudolf Steiner
The Gospel of St. John as Mystery Wisdom
The Gospel of St. John is seen as the most poetic and beautiful description of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, as told by “the beloved disciple”, the “one the Lord loved” to whom Jesus commended his mother under the cross. The Gospel of John is significantly different from the Synoptic Gospels in the selection of its material, its theological emphasis, its chronology, and literary style, with some of its variant stories amounting to contradictions with the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
The authorship of the Gospel of St. John, the Epistles of St. John, and the Book of Revelation (also called the Apocalypse of John), is debated by scholars but is assumed to have arisen out of the Johannine community which refers to an ancient Christian community in Ephesus, which placed great emphasis on the teachings of Jesus, particularly as revealed through the Gospel of John. Their version of Christian belief and practice is referred to as Johannine Christianity. This community in Ephesus was the home to the Mother of Jesus for eleven years before her assumption into heaven. Ostensibly, St. John the Beloved was there with Mary (Sophia) throughout those years. Later, St. John was imprisoned on the island of Patmos where he wrote, or inspired, the Book of Revelation.
Rudolf Steiner tells us that St. John was previously called Lazarus before Jesus Christ raised Lazarus from the dead. This raising from the dead was an initiation, making St. John the Beloved, the first Christian initiate. That is why St. John’s gospel is like the secret teachings of the Gnostics. St. John incorporates Hebrew, Greek, Persian, Egyptian, and Gnostic ideas as he demonstrates how Jesus of Nazareth was the fulfillment and culminate of those secret teachings.
In the prologue of the Gospel of St. John, the Beloved Disciple identifies Jesus as the Logos or Word. In Ancient Greek philosophy, the term logos meant the principle of cosmic reason. It was similar to the Hebrew concept of Wisdom, God’s companion and intimate helper in creation. Another connection is that the title ‘Logos’ is based on the concept of the divine Word found in the Targums. Targums are Aramaic translations recited in the synagogue after the reading of the Hebrew Scriptures. In the Targums, the concept of the divine Word was used in a manner similar to Philo, namely, for God’s interaction with the world from creation to the present salvation of humanity.
The teachings of Jesus found in the Synoptic Gospels are very different from those recorded in the Gospel of St. John. Biblical scholars have almost unanimously accepted that these Johannine discourses are less likely than the Synoptic Gospels to be historical and were probably written for theological purposes. The Gospel of St. John is not seen as chronological nor historical, but is told from the first person perspective. Scholars also agree that certain sayings in John’s writings are as old or older than their synoptic counterparts: his representation of the topography around Jerusalem is often superior to that of the synoptics; his testimony that Jesus was executed before, rather than on, Passover, might well be more accurate; and his presentation of Jesus in the garden and the prior meeting held by the Jewish authorities are possibly more historically plausible than their synoptic parallels. Thus, it is hard to reject St. John’s version as more spiritually accurate and in better alignment with reality.
The Signs Gospel is a hypothetical gospel account of the life of Jesus Christ which some scholars have suggested could have been a primary source document for the Gospel of John. It is now widely agreed that the Gospel of St. John draws upon the tradition derived from the Miracles of Jesus, which is substantially independent of the three Synoptic Gospels. Other scholars find similarity with John’s gospel in the Book of Zoroaster and the Apocryphon of John. The Apocryphon of John, also called the Secret Book of John or the Secret Revelation of John, is a 2nd Century Sethian Gnostic Christian text of secret teachings. It describes Jesus appearing and giving secret knowledge (gnosis) to John the Apostle.
Gnostic influence on the four Gospels of the New Testament is clearly acknowledged. When you examine the existing Gnostic texts, you can see the ancient wisdom of Egypt, Persian, India, Hebraic, and Greek ideas being synthesized into a response to the teachings of Jesus Christ and his followers. The authors of these texts were not the Apostles or Disciples of Jesus. They were Gnostic writers struggling with the spiritual reality that Jesus Christ’s life and mission seemed to be reflected in their ancient writings. Thus, they subsumed Christianity into a plethora of interpretations. Just examining the titles of these works makes you wonder why they did not make it into the Bible as we know it today. Closer examination will reveal that these works are all attempts at understanding the Mysteries of Jesus Christ from an ancient perspective.
Gnosticism taught that salvation came from gnosis, secret knowledge. There were many books of “secret knowledge” attributed to the Apostles of Jesus Christ. These works were perhaps inspired by the teachings of the individual Apostles, but certainly Gnostic ideas were woven into the stories that used the authority of an Apostle to validate the content. Some of the titles found in the Qumran Scrolls (Dead Sea Scrolls) and the Nag Hammadi Library are:
- Gospel of Thomas
- Gospel of Philip
- The Sophia of Jesus Christ
- Apocalypse of Paul
- Apocalypse of Peter
- Apocalypse of Stephen
- Apocalypse of Thomas
- Apocalypse of James
- Apocalypse of Paul
- Apocalypse of James
- Apocalypse of Peter
- Apocalypse of Abraham
- Apocalypse of Adam
- Apocalypse of Adam
- Aramaic Apocalypse
- Dialogue of the Savior
- The Gospel of Judas
- The Gospel of the Savior
- The Gospel of Truth
- The Gospel of Thomas (a “sayings” gospel)
- The Gospel of Philip
- The Secret Gospel of Mark
- The Gospel of the Egyptians
- The Gospel of Truth
- Acts of Peter
- Acts of Thomas (The Hymn of the Robe of Glory)
- The Acts of John (The Hymn of Jesus)
- The Wisdom of Jesus Christ
- The Prayer of the Apostle Paul
- The Secret Book of James
- The Book of Thomas the Contender
- The Dialogue of the Savior
- Gabriel’s Revelation
Another characteristic of the Gospel of St. John is the use of initiation knowledge that Jesus utilized to describe Himself and His mission. In John’s Gospel, these are known as the “I am discourses” that appear in each chapter, just as the “seven miracles” show the powers, mights, and dominions (hosts of angels) behind Jesus Christ. These “Mystery Wisdom Sayings” may have been around before Jesus’ time, but He transformed them and “became” them in His personal nature and life. Jesus Christ became the fulfillment and accomplishment of the mystery schools of India, Persia, Egypt, Chaldea, and Greece.
These pre-Christian (pagan) beliefs were all a preparation for the Mystery of Golgotha, as Rudolf Steiner calls the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All of the prophecies predicted Jesus under many different names depending on the culture. Christ is a Solar Deity called: Logos, Ahura Mazdao, Adonis, Horus, Vishnu, and many other deities who were predicted to descend from the Sun to redeem the Earth. That is why Jesus Christ could pronounce the seven “I Am” statements that fulfill the prophecies of all of the mystery schools of the past.
The seven “I am” discourses found in the Gospel of St. John:
- “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
- “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
- “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).
- “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
- “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).
- “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
- “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1).
The Gospel of St. John also includes the “signs” and “wonders” that Jesus accomplished as miracles. These signs are the proof of a prophet that must be accomplished before they can be believed as a voice that speaks for God. These signs are a clear path showing the authentic nature of Jesus as a prophet and teacher according to ancient traditions. Throughout all of the chapters of John’s gospel we hear again and again that numerous people proclaim that Jesus is the awaited messiah.
The seven “signs” culminating in the raising of Lazarus:
- Water into wine (2:1-11)
- Official’s son healed (2:12, 4:46-54)
- Catch of 153 fish (21:1-14)
- Feeding the 5000 (6:1-14)
- Walking on water (6:15-25)
- Blind man given sight (9:1-8)
- Healing at the Pool of Bethesda (5:2-9)
The Raising of Lazarus (11:1-45) The first Christian initiation
It matters a great deal that all of the writings of older traditions were fulfilled through Jesus Christ. And afterwards, the writings of the Gnostics and many other traditions had to acknowledge that Jesus was the Solar Deity they all predicted and were waiting for with open hearts. This is one of the reasons that Christianity spread so quickly and was taken up quite naturally throughout lands and countries that Jesus did not visit.
The followers of Jesus integrated the way, the truth, and the life of Jesus Christ into the mystery traditions they encountered in the many cultures they proselytized with Christianity. John’s Gospel was a bridge connecting the past with the future of human spiritual development. No other work is so valuable as a tool for spiritual development that needs no priest to administer. Each person can approach the Gospel of St. John and gain what they need to know about Jesus Christ as the savior of our world.
The Works of Rudolf Steiner Concerning St. John
The great mystery of the “two Johns of Jerusalem” is revealed in its clearest form through the works of Rudolf Steiner. Steiner gives commentary on all four Gospels of the New Testament but focuses especially on the Gospel of St. John. Steiner gives the highest praise for the poetic presentation of the ancient mysteries, in a new form found in John’s writings. The first 14 lines of John’s gospel comprise a path of self-development that Steiner refers to many times. The identity of John as “Lazarus Raised” is now considered by scholars to be quite likely. Steiner’s clairvoyance makes his remarks much more than scholarly speculation.
Steiner’s broad reaching Christology is second to none if you read all that he has said about the Mystery of Golgotha. We present in this section a few quotations of Steiner’s from different lecture cycles that illuminate John’s gospel and John himself. After the selections about the Gospel of St. John we present a condensed version of the gospel for consideration and meditation.
Esoteric Christianity: The Gospel of St. John and Ancient Mysteries, Rudolf Steiner, Dusseldorf, November 27th, 1906
The Mysteries must find a way to tell what cannot be expressed in words. Through the power and might, through the magical power of the Gospel of St. John itself, these things can be experienced. Whosoever allows the St. John gospel to work upon him, develops the inner eye.
If we understand the Gospel of St. John as a Book of Life, so that we wish to live with it, and let it come to life within us, then we shall come to know esoteric Christianity. Such esoteric Christianity has always existed, it has always been active wherever Christianity has been able to manifest in a worthy and noble way, wherever Christianity has brought the blessings of culture and civilization to mankind.
The Gospel of St. John, Rudolf Steiner, 12 Lectures, Hamburg, May 18-31, 1908, GA 103
Thus it is possible today to discover the great cosmic facts presented in the Gospel of St. John by means of the forces slumbering within the human soul without knowing anything about the Gospel itself.
If previously equipped with knowledge about the higher worlds, we take up this Gospel and inquire into what is disclosed therein concerning the spiritual history of mankind, we find that the deepest mysteries of the spiritual world are concealed within a book, are given to mankind in a book, and because we already know the truths concerning the divine spiritual world, we can now recognize the divine-spiritual nature of this document, this Gospel of St. John.
Thus the very prologue to this gospel becomes something very difficult for the theologians imbued with materialism. The teaching about the Logos, or the Word, has caused great difficulties — speaking of such lofty philosophical things, such as the ‘Logos, of Life, of Light!’
Those who understand the Logos-doctrine in its earlier significance press forward to the divine creative Word which is the beginning of existence and to which the writer of the Gospel of St. John refers.
Where is the physical body of the Logos, of which the Gospel of St. John speaks? In its purest form, this external physical body of the Logos appears especially in outer sunlight. But the sunlight is not merely material light. To spiritual perception, it is just as much the vesture of the Logos, as your outer physical body is the vesture of your soul.
In the Gospel of St. John the truths of Spiritual Science can be found again. However, it must be very clear that in order to discover these truths, it will be necessary to weigh every word thoroughly.
The Lord Himself had initiated Lazarus and as an initiate Lazarus arose from the grave, which means from his place of initiation. This same expression “Whom the Lord loved” is always used later in connection with John, or perhaps we should say in connection with the writer of the Gospel of St. John, for the name “John” is not used. He is the “Beloved Disciple” to whom the Gospel refers. He is the risen Lazarus himself and the writer of the Gospel wished to say: — “What I have to offer, I say by virtue of the initiation which has been conferred upon me by the Lord Himself.” Therefore the writer of the Gospel of St. John distinguishes between what occurred before and what occurred after the raising of Lazarus. Before the raising, an initiate of the old order is quoted, one who has attained a knowledge of the spirit, one whose testimony is repeatedly announced to be true.
We have in the first part of the Gospel of St. John, the testimony of the old John — in the second half, the testimony of the new John whom the Lord Himself had initiated, for this is the risen Lazarus. Only thus do we grasp the real meaning. These words are written there because John wished to say: I call upon the testimony of my super-sensible organs, my spiritual powers of perception. What I have related I have not seen in the ordinary physical world, but in the spiritual world in which I have dwelt by virtue of the initiation which the Lord has conferred upon me.
Thus we are told in the Gospel of St. John that the Christ is the great bestower of the impulse which gives to men what is needed to make them feel themselves forever within their own separate, individual egos. This is the transition from the Old Testament to the New, for the old had always something of a group-soul character in which one ego felt itself associated with the others, but in reality never felt either itself or the other egos. Instead, it experienced the folk or tribal ego within which they all had a common shelter.
Therefore in almost all of the events and allusions, we shall see that John — or the author of the Gospel bearing his name — really has a super-sensible perception; he sees at one and the same time the outer events and the manifestation of deep spiritual truths.
In a consideration of the Gospel of St. John, we should never lose sight of that most important point that in the original writer of the Gospel we have to do with the “Beloved Disciple,” initiated by Christ-Jesus Himself.
If you will read the Gospel of St. John carefully, you will observe, that nowhere previous to that chapter which treats the raising of Lazarus is there any mention of the “Disciple whom the Lord loved.” In other words, the real author of the Gospel wishes to say: What precedes this chapter does not yet have its origin in the knowledge which I have received through initiation, therefore in the beginning you must disregard me. Only later does he mention the “Disciple whom the Lord loved.” Thus the Gospel falls into two important parts, the first part in which the Disciple whom the Lord loved is not yet mentioned because he had not yet been initiated, and that part which comes after the raising of Lazarus in which this Disciple is mentioned.
Indeed, we have seen that we find again in the Gospel of St. John the most profound teaching concerning Christianity, a teaching which we can also call the teaching of Universal Wisdom.
When they spoke of Him who revealed Himself spiritually, as Isaiah spoke of the “Lord,” they were referring to the Logos of which the Gospel of St. John speaks. The writer of this Gospel means nothing more nor less than that the One who could always be perceived in the spirit became flesh and dwelt among us!
That such a document as the Gospel of St. John has not, up to our own age, been understood is due to our whole materialistic evolution. Such a materialistic culture could not fully understand this Gospel. The spiritual culture which must begin with the Anthroposophic Movement will understand this document in its truly spiritual form and prepare what will then lead over into the sixth epoch.
By continually meditating upon passages of the Gospel of St. John, the Christian pupil is actually in a condition to reach initiation without the three and a half day continued lethargic sleep. If each day he allows the first verses of the Gospel of St. John, from “In the beginning was the Word” to the passage “full of devotion and truth,” to work upon him, they become an exceedingly significant meditation. They have this force within them, for this Gospel is not there simply to be read and understood in its entirety with the intellect, but it must be inwardly fully experienced and felt.
The author of the St. John’s gospel regarded the physical, historic Mother of Jesus in her most prominent characteristics and asked himself, — Where shall I find a name for her which will express most perfectly her real being? Then, because she had, by means of her earlier incarnations, reached those spiritual heights upon which she stood; and because she appeared in her external personality to be a counterpart, a revelation of what was called in esoteric Christianity, the Virgin Sophia, he called the Mother of Jesus the “Virgin Sophia;” and this is what she was always called in the esoteric places where esoteric Christianity was taught.
There had to be something there for the Christian whereby he could make his astral body gradually more and more like a Virgin Sophia, and through it, receive into himself the Holy Spirit which was able to spread out over the entire earth, but which could not be received by anyone whose astral body did not resemble the Virgin Sophia. There had to be something which possesses the power to transform the human astral body into a Virgin Sophia. What is this power? It consists in the fact of Christ Jesus entrusting to the Disciple whom He loved — in other words to the writer of the Gospel of St. John — the mission of describing truly and faithfully through his own illumination the events of Palestine in order that men might be affected by them.
If people permit what is written in the Gospel of St. John to work sufficiently upon them, their astral body is in the process of becoming a Virgin Sophia and it will become receptive to the Holy Spirit. Gradually, through the strength of the impulse which emanates from this Gospel, it will become susceptible of feeling the true spirit and later of perceiving it. This mission, this charge, was given to the writer of the Gospel by Jesus Christ.
The Mother of Jesus — the Virgin Sophia in the esoteric meaning of Christianity — stands at the foot of the Cross, and from the Cross the Christ says to the Disciple whom He loved: “Henceforth, this is thy Mother” and from this hour the Disciple took her unto himself. This means: “That force which was in My astral body and made it capable of becoming bearer of the Holy Spirit, I now give over to thee; thou shalt write down what this astral body has been able to acquire through its development.” “And the Disciple took her unto himself,” means he wrote the Gospel of St. John. And this Gospel of St. John is the gospel in which the writer has concealed powers which develop the Virgin Sophia.
At the Cross, the mission was entrusted to him of receiving that force as his mother and of being the true, genuine interpreter of the Messiah. This really means that if you live wholly in accordance with the Gospel of St. John and understand it spiritually, it has the force to lead you to Christian katharsis, it has the power to give you the Virgin Sophia. Then will the Holy Spirit, united with the earth, grant you illumination according to the Christian meaning.
The Gospel of St. John in Relation to the Other Gospels Especially that of St. Luke, Rudolf Steiner, 14 Lectures, Cassel, 24th June to 7th July, 1909, GA 112
Above all, the soul must become more and more conversant with and understand the legacy of the writer of the Gospel of St. John, the great school of the Virgin Sophia, the St. John’s gospel itself. Thus the mystery of the Rosy Cross may be regarded as a continuation of the Gospel of St. John.
The sublime power which, during the evolution on Saturn, furnishes the germ of the human body from out of cosmic Chaos, is called by the writer of the Gospel of St. John the ‘Logos.’ The author of the Gospel of St. John definitely indicates that the deepest Being enfolded in Jesus of Nazareth was the Being out of which all beings proceeded; that it was the living spirit, the living Word, the Logos Himself. John emphasized still more strongly that there was something divine in man and that this divinity appeared in its supreme form as the Logos Himself.
Who was Lazarus after he had risen from the dead? He was none other than the writer of the Gospel of St. John, the Lazarus who was initiated by Christ. Christ poured into the soul of Lazarus the tidings of His own existence, so that the message of the fourth gospel — the Gospel of St. John — might resound through the world as a description of Christ’s own being. This is also why the disciple John is not mentioned in the gospel before the story of Lazarus.
The resurrected Lazarus was John, the writer of St. John’s gospel — he, that is, who could bring into the world the “Gospel of the Being of Christ”, as the first initiate in the Christian sense.
In St. John’s gospel, we catch the echo of ancient Persia and of expressions used in ancient Persian initiation. The impulse which was in Christ passed over to His disciple, to the resurrected Lazarus. Thus it is as though the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth were speaking to us through St. John in his gospel; no wonder that we catch the tone of much that is Persian, and that expressions are used which recall the old Persian initiation and its forms of thought.
In Persia, they did not address the spirits that are connected with the Sun only as ‘Ahura Mazda’; the expression ‘Vohumanu’ was also used, that is, the creative Word or the creative Spirit. The ‘Logos’ in the sense of ‘creative power’ was first used in Persian initiation, and we meet it again in the very first verse of the Gospel St. John. Many other things in this gospel will be intelligible to us when we know that Christ Himself spoke through an astral body that had served Jesus of Nazareth for thirty years, and that this individuality was the reincarnation of an old Persian initiate. It could be clearly shown in many instances how the Gospel of St. John, this most intimate of the gospels, by using words derived from the secrets of initiation, thereby reflects the old Persian mode of expression transmitted into later times.
Where in the world could we find a lyrical document so magnificently composed? No other writer has produced such a work. Who could do otherwise than bend in reverence before this description of events, rising to a climax from step to step, in so marvelous a way. Considered alone from the standpoint of its artistic composition, the Gospel of St. John moves us to bow our head in reverence before it. Herein everything waxes great from stage to stage and reaches its climax. This is not merely the cosmology of spiritual science, it is what we need in order to fathom the full depth of St. John’s gospel. Its writer, having described therein the most sublime truths, could say: ‘In this gospel are contained truths from which mankind will obtain nourishment for all time to come. Inasmuch as man gradually learns to understand and practice these truths, he will acquire new wisdom and ascend by a new way into the spiritual worlds.’ But this will take place only in the course of time and by degrees.
It is the mission of anthroposophical spiritual investigation to lead men upwards to the understanding of the “Gospel of Gospels” — that of St. John. The other gospels are to be considered as complementary to St. John’s; the latter contains the grounds for the others, and these can be understood aright only if considered as built up on the groundwork of St. John.
The study of the Gospel of St. John will guide mankind to the fullest comprehension of the scene which was enacted on Golgotha, and will help men to understand the Mystery by which death in its untrue form was overcome in the evolution of humanity.
The Gospel of St. John, Rudolf Steiner, 8 Lectures, Basle, January, 1908
St. John’s gospel takes quite a special place among the four gospels. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke give us an historical picture of Jesus, but St. John’s gospel is regarded as a kind of apotheosis, a wonderful poem. There are many contradictions when we compare it with the statements made in the other gospels, but these contradictions are so apparent that it cannot be supposed that the old defenders of St. John’s gospel did not perceive them also.
At the present time, St. John’s gospel is considered to be the least worthy of credence. The reason for this attitude lies in the materialistic frame of mind of the men of our time.
The Gospel of St. John is a book of life. No one who has merely enquired into it with his intellect has understood this book; he alone who has experienced it really knows it. If a man meditates upon the first fourteen verses day after day for some time, he will discover the purpose of these words. They are really words which, when one meditates upon them, awaken in the human soul the capacity to see the various parts of the Gospel of St. John, such as the marriage at Cana in chapter two, the conversation with Nicodemus in chapter three, as one’s own experiences in the great astral tableau. Through these exercises, clairvoyance develops in the human being and he can then experience for himself the truth of what is written in St. John’s gospel. Hundreds have experienced this. The writer of St. John’s gospel was a great seer who was initiated by Christ Himself.
The disciple “John” is never mentioned by name in this Gospel. We read of him as “the disciple whom the Lord loved,” for example in Chapter 19:26. This is a technical expression and signifies the one who was initiated by the Master Himself. “John” describes his own initiation in the story of the “raising of Lazarus” (Chapter 11). It was only through the writer of St. John’s gospel being initiated by the Lord Himself that the most secret connections between Christ and the evolution of the world could be revealed. As we have already said, the old initiations lasted for three and a half days; hence the raising of Lazarus on the fourth day. It is also said of Lazarus that the Lord loved him (John 3:35-36).
While the body of Lazarus lay as if dead in the grave, his etheric body was lifted out in order to undergo the initiation, and to receive the same force that is in Christ. Thus the one whom the Lord loved, the one to whom we owe St. John’s gospel, was raised, he was awakened. Not a line in St. John’s gospel, contradicts this fact; the process of initiation is represented in a veiled way.
Those human beings who had brought the Spirit Self to birth within them, were called “Children of God”; in such men “the light shone into the Darkness and they received the light.” Outwardly they were, men of flesh and blood, but they bore a higher man within them; the Spirit Self had been born within them out of the Spiritual Soul. The “mother” of such a spiritualized man is not a bodily mother, she lies within him; she is the purified and spiritualized Spiritual Soul; she is the principle who gives birth to the higher man. This spiritual birth, a birth in the highest sense, is described in the Gospel of St. John. The Spirit Self or the Holy Spirit pours into the most highly purified Spiritual Soul. This is referred to in the words, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him” (John 1:32).
As the Spiritual Soul is the principle in which the Spirit Self develops, this principle is called the “Mother of Christ,” or, in the occult schools, the “Virgin Sophia.” Through the fertilization of the Virgin Sophia, the Christ could be born in Jesus of Nazareth. In the occult school of Dionysius, the Intellectual Soul was called “Mary,” and the Sentient Soul “Mary Magdalene” (truth is called aletheia or Spirit Self, devotion is called charis or Life Spirit, and wisdom is called sophia or Spirit Man [Human]).
The Gospel of St. John shows the way to the historical Christ, to that Sun which enkindles the inner light in man, just as the physical Sun has enkindled the light of the eyes.
The explanations here given must not give rise to the idea that the descriptions in St. John’s gospel are to be looked upon as symbols only. In ancient times, names were not given arbitrarily, they were strictly adapted to the person’s character. It is true that the three women who stood by the cross of Jesus represented the three souls, the sentient soul the intellectual soul and the spiritual soul; but it is also true that these three persons stood there in the body at the foot of the cross. When we read St. John’s gospel we look at the symbolical pictures of what will be realized on this Earth in the next age of civilization; but we also see what actually took place at the beginning of our era. All the historical facts are presented by the wise powers that are guiding humanity as symbols of the future evolution of humanity.
In St. John’s gospel we have a presentation of the principles of initiation, such as were to be found in various places in ancient times. Therefore the writer of St. John’s gospel could only describe the life of Christ in the way it is described in the codex of initiation. This gospel is a book of life, and whoever lives it through will awaken within himself the power to see spiritually. It is a seer’s book, and was written for the training of spiritual vision. Whoever lives it through, sentence by sentence, will experience the great and mighty result, that he meets Christ spiritually face to face. It is not so easy to convince people; they must themselves work up to the stage at which the knowledge dawns upon them that the Christ is a reality.
The Gospel of St. John is the way that leads to Christ, and the writer desired to give everyone the opportunity to understand it. Whoever develops the Spirit Self will experience within himself the dawning of that wisdom through which he can understand what Christ is. Christ Himself indicates this: He hangs on the Cross; at His feet stand His mother and His initiated pupil, whom He loves. This pupil is to bring to men the knowledge of the significance of Christ, therefore Christ Jesus points to the mother Sophia with the words: “This is thy mother, whom thou art to love!” The spiritualized Mother of Jesus is the gospel itself; it is the wisdom that leads men up to the highest knowledge. This disciple has given us the Mother Sophia; that is to say, he wrote for us the gospel which enables those who search into it to know Christianity, and to comprehend the origin and goal of this great movement.
The Gospel of St. John
“We must describe the Gospel of St. John as the greatest revelation which has originated in humanity, which can exercise the most powerful effect.”Rudolf Steiner
The following is a condensed version of the mystery wisdom found in the Gospel of St. John. The selections are chosen by their relationship to the theme of this article – the path of spiritual initiation of Jesus Christ which is also available to anyone who approaches these words with reverence for Christ and a loving heart seeking wisdom.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.
17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
48 I am that bread of life.
49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
53 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever.
63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
30 I and my Father are one.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
6 I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
23 If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
The Wisdom of the Book of Revelation of St. John the Divine
“It was the intention of the writer of the Apocalypse to use all his occult knowledge in order to explain the Event of Golgotha.”Rudolf Steiner
The Apocalypse of St. John, Rudolf Steiner, 13 Lectures, Nuremberg, 17–30 June 1908,
In the secret Book of Revelation of John is contained that which cannot be seen and heard in the sense world, and cannot be perceived with external senses; and it is given in the way in which it can be imparted to the world through Christianity. In the Apocalypse of John we have therefore the description of an initiation, a Christian initiation.
Thus the neophyte is led step by step upward into the spheres of initiation. In the seven letters of the Apocalypse of John we have that which belongs to the seven categories of the physical world, in the seven seals that which belongs to the astral imaginative world, in the seven trumpets that which belongs to the higher world of Devachan, and in the seven bowls of wrath that which must be cast aside if the pupil wishes to rise into what is spiritually the highest to be attained in our world, because this spiritually highest is still connected with our world.
The Apocalypse of John prophetically points to the cycle of human evolution lying between the great upheaval upon our earth which the legends of various peoples describe as a flood, and geologically, the glacial period on the one hand, and that event which we designate as the War of All against All on the other. In the epoch between these two events lies everything prophetically referred to in the Apocalypse of John – that book which reveals to us the beings of past ages in order to show what is to fire our will and our impulses for the future.
To such a man as the writer of the Gospel of St. John, all that he knew, all that he could grasp with spiritual vision, was a summons to understand the greatest event in the Earth’s evolution. It was the intention of the writer of the Apocalypse of John to use all his occult knowledge in order to explain the Event of Golgotha. Whatever he could learn from occult science was regarded by him as a road to wisdom, helping him to understand this event which he has placed before us in such a wonderful way, and regarding which we shall see what it signified for him.
Then, when man withdraws from his physical and etheric bodies at night, these effects remain in the astral body, and he who during the day has been able to immerse himself in the pictures and feelings of the Gospel of St. John has produced something in his astral body which during the night appears in it as a powerful effect. In this way man works today during the waking consciousness upon his astral body.
The Apocalypse, Rudolf Steiner, 18 Lectures, Dornach, September 5-22, 1924, GA 346
However, the one who wrote John’s apocalypse felt that his fully conscious ego was united with the content which he had given the apocalypse. In the deeper sense of the word, this also amounts to an understanding of the words: Christ has ordained us to be priests. The writer of the Apocalypse of John says that Christ Jesus anointed him to be a priest; one becomes anointed as soon as one feels how the content of the apocalypse arose in John and as soon as one feels that people want to become priests today by creating the apocalypse in themselves so that they experience that their ego is in the apocalypse. If the ego becomes apocalyptic, the ego is priestly.
If you imagine John as priest in this way, with the vision of Jesus Christ before him, disappearing selflessly, if you see him receiving the letter of God that is sealed with seven seals from the angels, and if you see the resolve arising in him to unseal God’s letter and to communicate its contents to mankind – you have the picture or Imagination which stands at the beginning of the John’s apocalypse. So that as John writes, he actually feels that he is taken hold of by a being who is higher than an angel.
This Christ impulse has a strong influence upon man’s etheric body every night when the astral body and ego are outside of the physical and etheric body, except that the average person is usually not able to find the Christ impulse which is contained in the etheric body when he returns to the physical body in the morning with his ego and astral body. But when John’s pupils take in the content of the John’s apocalypse, it becomes inscribed in the ether of the Earth’s aura. What is inscribed there then works upon the human etheric body between the time of going to sleep and waking up. It was inscribed there already through the great, significant impressions which the receiver of the apocalypse got from divine, spiritual beings, so that people who have an inclination to relate themselves to the Mystery of Golgotha can expose their etheric body to the content of the John’s apocalypse during their sleeping condition. Through the necessary Christ sentiments one can bring about such a condition of sleep that what is brought about in the Earth’s ether by the content of the John’s apocalypse and what lies in the direction of Christ-evolution is inscribed in man’s etheric body. This is what was present as the deed of the Apocalypse of John’s revelation which continued to have an effect.
It is quite natural and a matter of course that John sees heaven open for that which is descending from the spiritual world. The whole culture must be arranged in such a way that it comes down from the spiritual world to the physical world. Now if we place this before our soul correctly, then of course the condition which must precede this is that John looks into the spiritual world. But this means: heaven is opened for him. However, he wants to indicate a future situation which will exist for human beings.
It is really true that a real understanding of the Apocalypse of John leads deep down into the region where one has the greatest imaginable prospects of meeting John and then the Christ himself.
The Book of Revelations of St. John the Divine
Our age is often referred to as the “end times” of the apocalypse, as described by John in the Book of Revelation. Even though this text was part of an ancient tradition of initiation, both Hebrew and otherwise, it also has descriptions that look like the milieu of the modern age complete with the horrifying scenes of beasts, dragons, and bowls of wrath. But what is often ignored, or read over, is the beautiful story of spiritual initiation and redemption also found in this text. The beautiful heavenly descriptions are forgotten between the lines of hell-fire and judgment. In the story, the true believer is given a new world to rule over with an eternal gospel and a new song that brings peace for a thousand years.
Eventually, the ones who are called to the throne of God are given the chance to see New Jerusalem descending from above and the wedding of the Lamb to Sophia as the fulfillment of all cycles of time. Humanity is saved and brought up to the next level – they get their wings, like an angel. These elements of wonder and redemption are obscured by the battle of good and evil depicted throughout this the Apocalypse of John.
Anyone searching for what lies at the “end of the road” of spiritual development and enlightenment can find it in the spiritual descriptions of the Book of Revelation. We have again condensed this book into a selection of poetic lines that sing the beauty, truth, and goodness depicted in this initiation. These images are the icons that will conquer the evil of materialism and the worship of the dragon and the beasts of the Book of Revelation. Between the Gospel of St. John and the Book of Revelation of St. John the Divine, we find the inspiration to see through the illusion of the material world to the sources of life in the spirit.
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches.
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore; and have the keys of hell and of death.
19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that over-cometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that over-cometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
26 And he that over-cometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
28 And I will give him the morning star.
5 He that over-cometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.
10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
12 Him that over-cometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that over-cometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
4 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a bull, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
9 And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints.
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.
13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, were heard saying; Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12 Saying, Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.
19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
12 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ:
14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
14 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.
2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
4 These are they which were not defiled; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.
5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.
14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
6 And I heard the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his bride hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. These are the true sayings of God.
10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.
20 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7 He that over-cometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the Holy New Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;
20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it.
25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
26 And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
22 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the Tree of Life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
8 And I, John, saw these things and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last.
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
17 And the Spirit and the Bride say, come. And let him that heareth say, come. And let him that is athirst, come. And whosoever will, let him take the Water of Life freely.
St. John’s Wisdom as Antidote to Materialism
To understand the nature of the Word, as referenced by St. John, is to see through physical matter to the spirit of creation and life that stands behind Maya and the delusion of time and space. Traveling the path of the signs, wonders, and miracles that Jesus Christ performed loosens the ties of material delusion. Understanding the stages of initiation displayed in the Gospel of St. John heals those parts of the soul that have been damaged by fallen angels. The antidote to selfishness is shown through the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.
The end goal of this path of spiritual development (initiation) is depicted in the Book of Revelation. Then, adding the personal path of “Lazarus raised”, St. John the Divine, the Beloved of the Lord, we have the path to heaven through the Holy Spirit (the comforter). Christ’s initiation and John’s initiation give us the sign-post and topology of spiritual development.
Many prayers, mantras, holy scriptures, and sacred teachings are all rolled into one if we utilize the works of St. John. The seeker can find single passages that will continue to inspire and illuminate the path up the holy mountain. If the spiritual seeker were to chose just one author to inform his/her self-development, if could be St. John. Further study of Steiner’s indications about the two Johns of Jerusalem will provide an endless wealth of wisdom that will surprise the reader with its depth and wisdom. St. John was not only the first Christian initiate, he also continues to be a spiritual leader of humanity in our own times. St. John is one of the great masters who lead the Western world through these difficult times that often resemble our own personal apocalypse.
For those who want to continue studying this topic, we offer the selections below. The Apocalypse of St. John by Rudolf Steiner is one of our favorites. It is available in print, but below we offer it as an audio book reading: