We are repeatedly asked what role Jesus of
Nazareth plays in Qabbalah. We made this video for all those who want to
know more about it. The text for this video is the result of a
cooperation between a Jewish Qabbalist and a Christian theologian. Brotherhood of the eternal light, teaching the western mysteries Who was Jesus?
Who was Jesus? Already at this point, opinions differ because, depending on
the religious point of view and position, the answers could be very different:
Was Jesus a gifted prophet, magician and faith healer, was he a rabbi endowed
with special spiritual gifts, who wanted to reform and renew Judaism of his
time, was he the son of the highest and eternal God, was he an impostor, who
pretended to be a god, or was he simply a religious idealist who ultimately had
to fail with his thoughts, or merely a fictitious figure without historical
background who was fabled according to the model of antique myths? And also the handling of his names and titles
shows clear contradictions: Was he simply Yehoshua ben Yosef, Yosef’s
son, was he Jesus of Nazareth, or was he Yehoshua ha-Mashiach, Jesus the Messiah, who
later became Jesus Christ in the Latin translation of Christian theology? In Christian theology there were and are again
and again more or less successful attempts to distinguish and differentiate
the so-called Historical Jesus, that is the original historical
person, from the Kerygmatic or Dogmatic Jesus that is the Jesus Christ, as
he is seen in the teachings Christian theology. But what is historically comprehensible and
verifiable and what is myth and legend? First of all, it has to be stated
and this is a broad consensus that the historical person we call Jesus (if he ever
existed) was born as a Jew, lived as a Jew and respected and obeyed the religious
laws and died as a Jew. There are very few historical sources. Most
of what we know about him today comes from the so-called Gospels. Outside
these scriptures there is very little evidence that makes the historical person
visible and graspable at all. Strictly speaking, therefore, very little
is known about his life and work. The statements and intentions of the Gospels,
which emerged not until decades after his death, differ greatly. Already the stories about the circumstances
and background of his birth are very different in the four gospels: Reports
about the virgin conception and the birth in Bethlehem only exist in Matthew and
Luke and they differ strongly from each other. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus
first appears as an adult and the Gospel of John begins with a prologue that
is strongly based on the history of creation, which is the beginning of Genesis,
the first book of the Hebrew Bible: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word
was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that
was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light
shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1,1-5)
So even among Christian theologians, for example, due to the different
statements and reports in the Gospels, it is disputed today whether Jesus came
into the world through a virgin birth and whether Bethlehem really is his
birthplace. And this brings us to a very important point,
namely the question of how the texts of the Gospels are to be interpreted
and understood at all, and which ancient mythological images and ideas may
have influenced the authors of the Gospels and shaped their imaginations. The Levels of Interpretation of the Bible
In BOEL, according to the tradition of the Qabbalah, we do not understand the
tales of the Torah (the 5 books of Moses) as worldly and historical stories. Let
us have a look at the Zohar Rabbi Simeon said: Woe to that son of man
who regards the Torah as a book of mere stories and profane matters. For if this
were so, we might even today write a Torah of ordinary words, one better
than the other. In regard to earthly things, the kings and princes of the world
possess more valuable materials. We could use them as a model for composing a
Torah of this kind. But in reality the words of the Torah are higher words and higher
mysteries. Observe the perfect balancing of the upper
and the lower world. Israel here below and the high angels above, of whom it
says: “He makes His angels as winds” (Ps. 104,4). For the angels in
descending on earth put on themselves earthly garments, as otherwise
they could not stay in this world, nor could the world endure them. Now, if thus
it is with the angels, how much more so must it be with the Torah – the
Torah that created them, that created all the worlds and is the means
by which these are sustained. Thus had the Torah not clothed
herself in garments of this world the world could not endure it. The stories
of the Torah are thus only her outer garments, and whoever looks
upon that garment as being the Torah itself, woe to that man -such a
one will have no portion in the world to come.
Woe to those sinners of the world who say that this Torah is nothing but an
ordinary story. They look at the garment and no farther. Happy are the
righteous ones who regard the Torah properly. (Zohar III 152 a
And precisely in this sense we do not view the reports and narratives of the
Gospels as worldly or historical stories, because there is much to suggest that
they are variations of stories, reports, parables and ancient archaic myths,
which existed and exist in a similar way in all cultures of mankind, and which
need interpretations adapted to their respective time and circumstances. Much has already been said and written by
others around the repeated question on whether one has to understand
the bible literally; therefore we will not address this here in detail. However
there is a belief that the literal interpretation of the bible is the absolute
and irreversible truth. We are aware of this problem and of the understanding of
those who are firmly convinced that everybody is obsessed by the devil who
does not take the bible literally and does not consider it in the verbatim way
as an absolute and irreversible truth – including many Christian ministers
and theologians, who, according to this point of view, seemingly turned apostate
anyway in the first place. Just in case there was someone who firmly
and irrevocably assumed and were convinced that all living beings that exist
on our earth today are descended from Adam and Eve and those beings that were
in Noah’s ark and who equally firmly believed that dinosaur bones were deceptive
attempts of the devil, this video would not be suitable for them!
If you are not of the opinion just described, but rather think that you want and
should use your God-given mind in matters of faith and that you are also
allowed to do so, then stick with it and find out how we understand and
interpret the biblical texts and what ideas are important to us in the Qabbalah!
We hope that this video may be helpful for you to introduce to you new points
of view and new knowledge and that it may enhance your perspective!
We are convinced that the narratives of the Bible are parables of higher
mysteries and that the figures of the Bible even those who are documented as
historical persons can serve as metaphors for universal principles or
archetypes. The Myths and Archetypes of the Torah and
the Gospels Thus, the main myth of the Torah is the Exodus
from Egypt, a parable for an active path of spiritual development. For
our reflection, it does not necessarily matter whether the Exodus took place historically
as it is described in the 2nd book of Moses. The question of history is
just the garment of the Torah. Here, Exodus means to go actively on to a path.
The main myths of the gospels are the suffering and the crucifixion of Jesus,
which stand as parables for a passive way of suffering, but also for the Divine
power over life and death in the resurrection. Therefore, this way of suffering
would be the act of submitting oneself onto a path passively.
From this perspective, Jesus represents the archetype of the sacrificed God, as
we find in ancient mythology such as the stories of Osiris, Adonis, Balder and
many others. The image of the sacrificed God is one of the archetypes of the
Sefirah Tiferet. Another is the king of the universe. Both archetypes can be
found within Jesus. Many Qabbalists, who come from a Christian background,
therefore repeatedly emphasize the center of Christ in Tiferet, which
everyone must discover for themselves in order to advance spiritually.
However, it has to be considered that the Jewish or non-Christian Qabbalist can
fully understand the symbolism of Tiferet even without Jesus. And it is further
important to understand that besides Tiferet all other centres on the Tree of
Life the so-called Sefirot also have an equally important function for our
spiritual progress. No Sefirah is more important than the others – none should
remain underdeveloped or be overemphasized We also find the archetype of the sacrificed
God in the tarot. It is identical with the hanged man. From all that has been said,
then, we can clearly see that the described image of the sacrificed God is a
manifestation of many higher principles. In addition, Jesus also embodies more and
other archetypal aspects, such as the aforementioned Divine king. In Christian
religious practice there is a strong focus towards the passive devotion to suffering.
This aspect is expressed in the crucifix and given special consideration on
Good Friday. So the Christian path remains mostly passive and is not actively
continued, as the believer should accept everything as given. Closely connected
to this is the idea of sacrifice: in the Christian myth Jesus on the cross took
all guilt and carried it, therefore the sins are forgiven and God is reconciled. So,
many Christians remain in a spiritual sense passive and only few make the step into
spiritual activity and come into active spiritual development.
This would also mean that a Christianity that is dominated by dogma and
practiced dogmatically may not be able to go beyond the sphere of Tiferet. Easter The Divine King appears in the contemplation
of the Risen One, which is expressed in the celebration of Easter: through
God’s power Jesus has conquered death in the Christian myth. Active
Christian faith could thus show itself in the overcoming of suffering and
death and the conscious devotion to life, thus the transformation as we find it
also described in the Tarot. Therefore, action should find expression in the use of
the intellect, the conscious devotion to human beings and the will to serve the
Divine. From a spiritual point of view, all these aspects should occur in Christian
faith practice. Unfortunately the focus often remains on the suffering, the
cross and the passive acceptance, so that the active aspects remain in the background. Christmas But what about Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, which the
Christian churches celebrate on December 25th Strictly speaking, Christmas
is a Christian reinterpretation of the Roman feast of the invincible sun god “sol
invictus” and it has only been celebrated since the 4th century. The first
Christians, who regarded themselves as a religious community within Judaism,
did not celebrate the birth of Jesus at all. And what about the virgin birth? The archetypal
depiction of the heavenly child and the special circumstances of his birth
can already be found in Egyptian mythology, like depictions of Isis and the
young Horus. Jesus was a Jew with all the consequences,
he was born a Jew, circumcised on the eighth day after birth, kept the Jewish
laws and lived by them. And he died as a Jew, executed by the Roman occupying
power. He very often spoke of himself as the Son of Man, he never called
himself Messiah, Christos, the Anointed one, all these titles were given
to him later. The Messiah? And so we come to the question whether Jesus can be the Messiah in the sense
of the Jewish idea at all: Most aspects of Jesus that are described in
the Gospels are attempts to make him appear as the Jewish Messiah, although
essential factors are not correct. The Jewish Messiah is prophesied in the Bible
as the descendant of King David, therefore he is called in Hebrew: Mashiach
ben David thus Messiah son of David. Jesus is described as the descendant
of King David, but for that David would have to be his ancestor in the paternal
line (Hebrew: ben asher ben / son after son). But since Joseph, according to
the description of the Gospels, is not at all the biological father of Jesus, Jesus
cannot be the Messiah either, for otherwise it would contradict the Divine prophecy.
With regard to this criterion, Joseph could be the Messiah, but
not Jesus. Jesus also does not fulfil numerous other conditions which the Jewish
Messiah must fulfil. Active or passive representation? But let us come back to the Christian festivals. So, we can see that the both
most important Christian festivals are rather passive and Jesus is not portrayed
there as an active figure. Even at Easter, when one celebrates the resurrection
of Jesus from the dead, the events themselves remain very passive,
whereas the Jewish Passover that takes place at the same time celebrates the
active exodus from Egypt In most Christian churches and places of wor-ship,
the cross or the crucifix, which represents the passively suffering Jesus,
is one of the cen-tral elements. In contrast to this, there are only very few
representations, which show the resurrected one. Is that a reason why the
Easter bunny and the Easter Egg hunt are more present in the consciousness of many
people than the resurrected Jesus? The whole Easter symbolism is about
the new life: The light, the awakening of nature and the transformation
are in the centre, but they are often not integrated into the practical life
of faith and transformed into activity! In contrast to Jesus, Osiris is always portrayed
as the Risen One; in the Egyptian pictures and drawings there are never images
of the murder or suffering of Osiris! Another archetype in which Jesus is depicted,
is the heavenly child or the special circumstances of his birth. This motif
also appears several times in the Hebrew Bible with Isaac, Moses, Samson, Samuel,
David and Solomon. Whereby the heavenly child, as long as it
is still a child, also remains rather passive. But some of the mentioned persons
will be much more active as adults. The iconography of Jesus, like many
elements of Jesus as a sacrificed God, originates from the Egyptian Osiris myth,
such as Isis and the Horus child, whereby Horus approaches his fate much more
actively as an adult. It often becomes clear how different ideas
and mythological traditions were brought together in the Gospels. The thought
of supernatural conception is also taken from the Osiris/Horus/Isis myth,
but as mentioned before, as an adult he is not as passive as Jesus in his
main aspect as a sacrificed God. Let us stay briefly with the Osiris myth:
Osiris is sacrificed first, followed by the magical birth (which is no longer possible
by natural means because of the sacrifice – so a logical sequence of two mythological
motifs is created that is linked together in terms of content), with
Jesus it is exactly the other way round, whereby the younger Jesus would correspond
to Horus and the older Jesus corresponds to Osiris. But this is a
theme in its own right and plays a subordinate role in our discussion. Overemphasis on the passive aspect So, from a Qabbalistic point of view it is absolutely important not to emphasize
the passive aspect so much and but to actively strive for spiritual development
and advancement. Passive acceptance is indeed also an important aspect, it is
already found in the Hebrew Bible in figures like Jonah or Job, and Jesus is one
of many in this list. Nevertheless, a particularly strong emphasis on passive
suffering is not desirable. Esoteric Christians see in Jesus a spiritual
master, some would say a magician, because according to the story he could heal
in the name of God, cast out demons and do perform miracles. He saw in
God the Father (Abba or Aw) of all human beings. Closely examined, The Lord’s
Prayer is a completely Jewish prayer, which, when we translate the final
part into Hebrew, even contains Qabbalistic terms: For Thine is the
Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, for ever and ever. Unfortunately it took quite long until the
Jewish aspect in the life of Jesus has been noticed by the institutionalized churches.
And also the antisemitic basic attitude (often up to the present time) shows
the aberration and, from a spiritual point of view, the wrong understanding
of Jesus and what his will and his mission were. Antisemitism, hatred and lack of charity For there are elements in the Gospels which
were explicitly presented in such a way as to devalue Judaism, since the newly
emerging Christianity saw itself as a competitor to Judaism, which it wanted to
replace. Contemptuous terms such as “Old Testament” for the Hebrew Bible
are everyday examples of this. For instance, let us have a look at the traitor
in the myth, Judas, who likewise is not a historical figure, but takes motifs
from the Egyptian Seth. The naming of the traitor as Judas,
thus as a Jew, and the accusation of the Jews for the crucifixion, which is not verified
outside the Bible, are signs of an antisemitic attitude. This is absurd, if one
considers that even in representations of the Gospels, not the Jews,
but the Romans condemned and killed Jesus. Why are the Romans not accused?
Because in the fourth century, the Catholic Church was elevated to the status
of the Roman state religion, took over the secular and spiritual power
of the declining Roman Empire, and chose Rome as its seat. Therefore, anti-roman
allusions were utterly undesirable for the politics of the church.
All the hate-fuelling elements associated with the crucifixion myth are
religious-political propaganda which has to be deeply rejected. And this is even
more ironic and at the same time sad because: This hate-fuelling propaganda is
associated with a symbolic figure that represents the concept of love.
Many people believe that Jesus invented the concept of charity. This is
absolutely wrong because it comes from the Jewish Torah:
“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself!” (Leviticus/3. book of the Torah
19:18). Jesus used this scriptural passage for his proclamation and
reinterpreted it. By the way, until today the existence of Jesus
as a historical figure outside Christian texts is not at all scientifically
proven, because there is NO text from his time that could certainly prove the existence
of Jesus. There are NO independent witnesses. The best are questionable
mentions a half or whole century later. Among historians, these mentions
are still partly under the suspicion of being manipulated. So if it is
not certain whether Jesus existed at all, then it is nonsense to say that it is
certain that the Jews are somehow to blame for his execution. Because under these
circumstances it is NOT sure whether the execution happened at all. Spiritual Practice Now what role does Jesus play in the practice of the Western mystery
tradition? In the tradition of the Golden Dawn (one of our origins) there was
some spiritual practice which, apart from the Egyptian symbolisms – which
were felt to be more original – also referred to Jesus (e.g. the IAO formula). On
the Jewish-Qabbalistic side of our tradition, which is also an important source
of our work, Jesus of course plays no role. This is on the one hand because he
plays no role in Judaism and on the other hand because of the anti-semitic hate
elements of the Christian church history, which simply cannot be separated
from the traditional Jesus myth in the form of the Gospels.
Because of the strong emphasis on a passive attitude, which may seem right
and good for many Christians, because they are used to it, we see the Jesus
mythology rather critically. This does not mean that there are not also
elements in it that can be valuable and helpful. Some good additional thoughts
have been handed down from Jesus and some, like the commandment to love
one’s neighbour, have not been reinvented by him at all, but are old Jewish
beliefs handed down from generation to generation. If someone, through the focus on Jesus, becomes
a better, loving and objectively higher standing person who develops
more tolerance for others, then that is good. But if he describes people
who follow a different spiritual path as devil worshipers, as it was often
done with the Jews because they obey the 4th commandment and sanctify the Shabbat,
then that is something really evil that is done in the name of Jesus and
that would certainly not be in his sense. How do you think about that?
Now we ask you: What is your point of view? Can you understand the thoughts
in this video? It is quite possible that some people who pretend to
acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Savior will write hate commentaries under
this video. They are probably the same ones who also try to missionize Jews
and deny faith to reasonable and tolerant Christians.
If they were at least authentic, they would react with love and turn the other
cheek. We are not saying that they have to do this, but if they want to seriously follow the example of Jesus, then they should.
After all, Jesus proclaimed love for one’s neighbour and enemy and called
everyone to do the same. But perhaps these Christians should first
inform themselves about the Jewish background of Jesus and realise that the words
of his Sermon on the Mount were addressed to Jewish people, to whom he
wanted to make it clear that turning the other cheek (he also mentions
other examples) had nothing to do with passivity and weakness, but with a strong
attitude towards the other person, who continues to wrong himself with
further blows. Anyone who claims love, tolerance and acceptance for
himself should also accept this for others, because what you do not want others
to do onto you, do not do onto others either. After all, this so-called golden
rule is the ethical principle for Judaism and Christianity and is biblically
well documented! If you have followed us up to this point,
then you will now recognize that we certainly appreciate the figure of Jesus,
insofar as he distinguishes himself through his ethical life and actions, and
his work as a healer and magician. You will find that tolerant and reasonable
people with a Christian background can find a home here. But the dogmatic
and kerygmatic Jesus of the Christian churches and communities cannot find a place
in the Qabbalah. Nor must Qabbalah itself be used to lead people of
the Jewish faith to Christianity and thus demonstrate the alleged Christian superiority,
just as it was tried again and again with half-truths in earlier times.
This is not the Qabbalah that we want and that is taught here! All serious seekers are very welcome here.
We welcome all seekers who want to go a western way – no matter if Jews,
Christians, Muslims, Neo-Pagans or any other faith, or people without
denomination. Every now and then we even have participants who originally
come from an eastern path and want to get to know the western path. The Brotherhood of the Eternal Light (BOEL)
is close to liberal Judaism and open to all seekers on the Path of Light.
In our courses we have many participants who have grown up with Christian
influences, including those who see themselves as practicing Christians and
want to know more about Qabbalah. Among our students and members are
also Christian theologians. There are also people in our ranks who grew
up in Islam or other religions, as well as those who do not confess to any religion.
In religious questions we therefore treat all people with respect, tolerance
and stand for the variety of religious imprints that a person brings with
him in order to develop spiritually. But we cannot expect this openness and tolerance
from fundamentalist and radical Christians. Therefore we would like
to point out here emphatically that there are numerous Christian groups that have
set themselves the goal of converting Jews to Christianity, especially
because they firmly believe that Jesus will return when all Jews have converted
to Christianity. And some of these groups try to proceed by skilful deception,
appearing to be Jewish groups. For example, they call themselves
Messianic Jews referring to Jesus. In this way they first try to win the trust
of Jewish people, only to communicate their true intention very gradually, instead
of immediately revealing themselves as missionary Christians with proselytising
zeal. Due to the large and confusing number of Christian communities in the world,
it can easily happen to someone who is looking for a Jewish topic on the Internet
that he ends up on a crypto- Christian page and is then offered pseudo
Jewish information with small and sometimes even bigger mistakes, which should
then gradually lead him closer to Jesus and the corresponding Christian
sect. From our point of view, it is absolutely no
problem if a Christian is interested intensively in Judaism, occupies himself with
Jewish symbolism and celebrates Jewish festivals or joins them. If, however,
he deliberately conceals his true intentions for the reasons mentioned above,
he does not have a place in the Mysteries. That is why we warn our students and all Qabbalah-interested people urgently
against such practices! Also, the Christian theologians in our ranks can only
shake their heads about such practices and explicitly distance themselves from
them. Many people, although not being Christians,
are confronted with church dogmas and the churches’ exclusive claim
of beatification. Or zealous Christians actively try to missionize them. This is,
as already said, in our eyes reprehensible and to be condemned! Jesus in the Qabbalah – now you have got
to know our positions and views, you know what we stand for and what our views
opinions are and what we vehemently reject and condemn.
Perhaps someone who does not like some critical aspects of this video, might
point out that there are problematic views in other religions as well. This may
be so, but that is not what this video is about. This video is about a critical
examination of Jesus and his role in Qabbalah. Why this topic? Because we are
asked about it again and again. So far, nobody has asked us yet what role
Buddha or Mohammed play in Qabbalah. So far, nobody on this channel has
asked about Moses or maybe about the Jewish concept of the Messiah, which
would make a lot of sense – and maybe we would even make a video about
it. This video was not about all that, but about
Jesus from a Qabbalistic point of view. We are happy to receive any constructive
comments from anyone who is willing to seriously engage himself in the
thoughts of this video, and, if necessary, take appropriate steps. Even for Christians, the dogma of the church
is not necessarily the answer to everything.
As the Catholic theologian Alfred Loisy once said:
Jésus annonçait le royaume, et c’est l’Église qui est venue.“
Or in English: “Jesus announced the kingdom of God and the Church came.”
In summary, it can be stated that: One can understand and practice Judaism and
thus also the Jewish Qabbalah without needing Jesus for it, but one cannot
really understand Jesus without understanding the Judaism in which he lived
and to which he felt connected. In this sense, access to Qabbalah is an important
key to an esoteric understanding of Christianity.
If the inner connection to Jesus is important to you, the Qabbalah can give you
a better understanding of how to deal with it wisely.
Those who do not feel connected to Christianity may just as well be wise
Qabbalists without reference to Jesus. Finally, we would like to tell you an anecdote
by Martin Buber, who is said to have suggested to Christians with a wink: We are all waiting for the Messiah.
You believe that he has already come, has left and will come back again someday. I believe
that he has not come yet, but that he will come sometime. That is why I
make you a proposal: let us wait together. When he will come, we will simply
ask him: have you been here before? And then I hope to stand very close
to him to whisper in his ear: “Please do not answer.” Thank you for watching this video! If you
enjoyed it, please give us a like and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.
Please also activate the alerts, if you wish to be notified of new releases! See you!