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Baptism – Jesus and John

Hoffman's portrait of ChristPart 81 of the Aquarian Gospel for Awakening

Jesus’ witnesses about John
The news reached Galilee, and Jesus with the multitude went down to where the harbinger was preaching at the ford. When Jesus saw the harbinger he said, Behold the man of God! Behold the greatest of the seers! Behold, Elijah has returned! Behold the messenger whom God has sent to open up the way! The kingdom is at hand” (Aquarian Gospel 64:1-3).

Jesus is referring to the first verse of the third chapter of the prophet Malachi: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.” Jesus tells the people that John is the reincarnation of Elijah–something they had been looking for as a prelude to the appearance of the Messiah. So obliquely he is telling them that the Messiah is at hand.

John’s witnesses about Jesus

“When John saw Jesus standing with the throng he said, Behold the king who cometh in the name of God!” (Aquarian Gospel 64:4).

Minutes before opening the computer file to begin commenting on this verse, I came across a website about the Sinai Codex, the oldest complete text of the Bible that was written over three hundred years after the birth of Jesus. The site rhapsodized about what an important text this was and how necessary it was that the complete text be made available to scholars throughout the world. One of the main reasons given for its importance was that fact that it was “heavily corrected.” What it should have said was “heavily altered”–in other words, corrupted. The Aramaic Bible, the Peshitta, is a similar result of outrageous “corrections” to hide the original teachings of Jesus. For example, in all earlier texts the Holy Spirit is referred to as “She,” but in the Peshitta the Holy Spirit gets a sex change. After all, how could God be a female? Never! The words of Emily Dickinson certainly apply to the textual vandals and their admirers: “What confusion would cover the innocent Jesus to meet so enabled a man!”

In Dostoyevsky’s story The Grand Inquisitor the head of the Inquisition meets Jesus, who has reappeared on earth, and tells him that it has taken centuries to correct his religion and make it acceptable and workable. Therefore he will have Jesus executed as a heretic. So it is.

Here we see that John calls Jesus “king,” but he does not mean “king” in the contemporary Christian meaning of the word when applied to Jesus. Rather, he means that Jesus is the ruler of his own inner kingdom, just as each one of us must become master of his own being, not servants or slaves of anyone. Jesus taught: “Ye are gods” (John 10:34), but “corrected” Christianity teaches: “Ye are sinners.”

Baptism

“And Jesus said to John, I would be washed in water as a symbol of the cleansing of the soul. And John replied, you do not need to wash, for you are pure in thought, and word, and deed. And if you need to wash I am not worthy to perform the rite. And Jesus said, I come to be a pattern for the sons of men, and what I bid them do, that I must do; and all men must be washed, symbolic of the cleansing of the soul. This washing we establish as a rite–baptism rite we call it now, and so it shall be called. Your work, prophetic harbinger, is to prepare the way, and to reveal the hidden things. The multitudes are ready for the words of life, and I come to be made known by you to all the world, as prophet of the Triune God, and as the chosen one to manifest the Christ to men” (Aquarian Gospel 64:5-10).

Our example
I come to be a pattern for the sons of men, and what I bid them do, that I must do. If we were not all gods, as Jesus said, how could he be a pattern for all humanity? Many years ago, when I was in grade school, I attended a Sunday evening “youth meeting” at my parent’s church. The subject of forgiveness came up, and when I pointed out that Jesus even forgave those who killed him, an older girl snapped at me: “Jesus was divine, we are human beings!” What a convenient rationalization for not accepting Jesus’ example. No wonder she eventually quit coming to church and indulged her “humanity.”

Jesus is our pattern because he is exactly what we are: an individual spirit. He has finished his evolution and manifested his divinity, whereas we are still working toward what he has achieved. But we will all get there eventually. That is why Jesus consistently referred to himself as “son of man” even though he had perfected his eternal status as Son of God. Saint John wrote: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (John 3:2, 3).

Right now we are essentially divine, but we need to develop and manifest that divinity. When those who are disciples of the Master Jesus meet him face-to-face they will not find that he is infinitely beyond them, that he is holy and they are not, pure and they are not. No. Saint John tells us that we shall find that we have become exactly what he is, for we shall not only “see him as he is,” we will see ourselves as we are, and see we are the same. We will not be “sinners saved by grace,” we will be gods revealed by grace. That is why in the mass rite formulated by Bishop James Wedgwood, who believed in non-dual reality, the priest says: “Under the veil of earthly things now have we communion with our Lord Jesus Christ; soon with open face shall we behold Him, and rejoicing in His glory be made like unto Him. Then shall His true disciples be brought by Him with exceeding joy before the presence of His Father’s glory.” For Jesus was acting as our example when he prayed: “O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5). The “self” of God is our Self, otherwise this petition would be nonsense. We are all Christs in essence, which is why Saint Paul wrote about “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). If we were not already Christs in our inner nature, these words would be meaningless.

Purification
All men must be washed, symbolic of the cleansing of the soul. This washing we establish as a rite–baptism rite we call it now, and so it shall be called. Immediately after his declaration that we are sons of God, just as Jesus, the Apostle John continued: “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:3). Simple washing in water is meaningless if there is no internal cleansing. The act of will which we make when choosing to be baptized itself begins the purificatory process, but it must go on long after the rite has been done. Jesus is speaking of those who shall be his disciples. Later on, in chapter seventy-eight, Jesus will refer to baptism as a pledge of discipleship. It is not discipleship itself–that is the purification we must all engage in until we are pure “even as he is pure.”

Our work

Your work, prophetic harbinger, is to prepare the way, and to reveal the hidden things. For those of us who seek the revelation of our own Christhood, this is our work as well. We must prepare the way through purification of our inner and outer life. That purification will result in a clarity of awareness in which the “hidden things” become revealed. Esoteric consciousness is dominant in the Christine (one seeking Christhood), whereas exoteric consciousness is not just secondary, it is reduced to a minimum that is always subordinate to the spirit. That is why Saint Paul wrote: “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:16, 17). The Greek word epithumia is better translated as “desire” or “craving,” and is the equivalent of the Sanskrit word raga which means intense desire and attraction for external objects. Only in the spirit are the fires of craving extinguished, for total satisfaction is to be found in the spirit alone.

Jesus’ work
I come to be made known by you to all the world, as prophet of the Triune God, and as the chosen one to manifest the Christ to men. The Trinity is not just a dogma of belief, but a principle of reality. Both God and man are triune in their nature. God is managing all right, but human beings have lost control of their nature and need to understand just what it is if they are to regain mastery of it. Original Christianity taught that human beings have three parts to their present incarnate status: physical being, psychic being, and spiritual being. One of the reasons the Western religions are so hopeless is their dualism, the insistence that there is only spirit and matter. The theology that follows from this is simplistic, blinding and destructive. For spiritual practice to be effective we must be aware of all three aspects, and the practice must transform the physical and psychic aspects in order to reveal and liberate the spirit. So Jesus did not come to teach a doctrine but a practical understanding of both divine and human natures.

Jesus is a Christ, but his mission was “to manifest the Christ”–both the divine Christ-aspect of God and the inner Christ that is the true Self of all sentient beings. Jesus himself will explain this more fully in chapter sixty-eight. Here is the essence of what he will say: “Men call me Christ, and God has recognized the name; but Christ is not a man. The Christ is universal love, and Love is king. This Jesus is but man who has been fitted by temptations overcome, by trials multiform, to be the temple through which Christ can manifest to men. Then hear, you men of Israel, hear! Look not upon the flesh; it is not king. Look to the Christ within, who shall be formed in every one of you, as he is formed in me” (Aquarian Gospel 68:11-13).

Divine witness about Jesus as Christ

“Then John led Jesus down into the river at the ford and he baptized him in the sacred name of him who sent him forth to manifest the Christ to men. And as they came out of the stream, the Holy Breath, in form of dove, came down and sat on Jesus’ head. A voice from heaven said, This is the well-beloved son of God, the Christ, the love of God made manifest. John heard the voice, and understood the message of the voice” (Aquarian Gospel 64:11-14).

We, too, must hear and understand.

Continuing ministry

“Now Jesus went his way, and John preached to the multitude. As many as confessed their sins, and turned from evil ways to ways of right, the harbinger baptized, symbolic of the blotting out of sins by righteousness” (Aquarian Gospel 64:15, 16).

It is not enough to stop evil ways; we must live in the ways of right, for spiritual life is positive good, not just an absence of evil. It is we ourselves who must blot out sin by our righteousness, by turning from the unreal to the Real, from darkness to the Light, from death to Immortality.

Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: Self-Examination and Temptation

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The Aquarian Gospel—Commentary and Text

The Aquarian Gospel for Awakening—A Commentary on the Aquarian Gospel
by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri)

  1. The Mother of Jesus
  2. Prophecies of the Births of Saint John the Baptist and Jesus
  3. The Birth of Jesus
  4. Revelations in the Temple
  5. Coming of the Wise Men
  6. Herod’s Reaction
  7. Revelations in Egypt
  8. The Two Selfs
  9. Deliverance From Gods and Demons
  10. About God the Tao
  11. From India to Chaldea
  12. The Wisdom of Buddha
  13. God and Prayer
  14. The Mission of Jesus and John the Baptist
  15. Sin and the Forgiveness of Sin
  16. The Universal Law of Man’s Free Will and the Divine Will For Man
  17. Understanding Death
  18. The True Teacher
  19. The Value of Ritual
  20. The Law Behind All Laws
  21. Opening To The Truth
  22. In the Temple at the Age of Ten
  23. Revelation to the Teachers and People in the Temple
  24. Jerusalem to Nazareth
  25. Nazareth to India
  26. What is Truth?
  27. What Is Man?
  28. What is Power?
  29. Understanding
  30. Wisdom
  31. Faith
  32. Healing and Healers
  33. Conflict Over Caste
  34. The Destiny of All Men
  35. God and Man
  36. The Voice in the Heart
  37. Seeing the Unseeable
  38. To God Through Man
  39. Who Is Jesus?
  40. The Real Versus The Apparent
  41. The Brotherhood of Life
  42. God…and Man
  43. Relating To God
  44. The Worthy Host
  45. Come to the Light
  46. The Kingdom Revealed
  47. The King Revealed
  48. Perspective On Death
  49. Fire and Sword
  50. Evolution: The Path of Glory
  51. The Real Heaven
  52. Getting to the Essence
  53. New Perspective on Religion
  54. In Tibet and Ladakh
  55. Words to the Worthy
  56. The Thirty-Eighth Chapter
  57. The Origin of Evil
  58. The Silence
  59. The Source of Healing
  60. The Fivefold Gospel
  61. Homecoming
  62. In Athens
  63. The Oracle of Delphi
  64. The Real God
  65. Return to Egypt
  66. First Steps to Wisdom
  67. Strong in Will and Intent
  68. Here Comes the Ego
  69. Blessed are the Merciful
  70. Claiming Our Freedom
  71. The Great Test
  72. Comprehending Death
  73. The Christ!
  74. The Asembly of the Masters
  75. The Seven Pillars of the Aquarian Age – I
  76. The Seven Pillars of the Aquarian Age – II
  77. The Declaration of Jesus
  78. John the Baptist – I
  79. John the Baptist – II
  80. John the Baptist – III
  81. Baptism – Jesus and John
  82. Self-Examination and Temptation
  83. The First Disciples Follow Jesus
  84. Jesus’ First Sermon
  85. The King and the Kingdom
  86. Dealing With Challengers
  87. The First Miracle of Jesus
  88. Kings and Kingdoms
  89. The Temple of God
  90. What Is A Messiah?
  91. The Laws of Healing
  92. Nicodemus Finds The Kingdom
  93. The Prince of Peace
  94. Dealing With Spiritual Opposition
  95. The Opened Gate
  96. John the Baptist Speaks of the Christ
  97. John Speaks Further About Jesus
  98. The Woman at the Well
  99. The Disciples and Samaritans at the Well
  100. Jesus in Sychar
  101. More Wisdom In Samaria
  102. The Imprisonment of John the Baptist
  103. In Jerusalem
  104. The Insights of Jesus
  105. Sabbath Wisdom
  106. Prayer and Good Deeds
  107. Divine Laws and Principles for Seekers of the Divine
  108. A New Understanding of the Ten Commandments
  109. Aspects of the Higher Law – 1
  110. Aspects of the Higher Law – 2
  111. Aspects of the Higher Law – 3
  112. Aspects of the Higher Law – 4
  113. Chapter One Hundred One
  114. Chapter One Hundred Two
  115. Chapter One Hundred Three
  116. Chapter One Hundred Four
  117. Chapter One Hundred Five
  118. Chapter One Hundred Six
  119. Chapter One Hundred Seven
  120. Chapter One Hundred Eight
  121. Chapter One Hundred Nine
  122. Chapter One Hundred Ten
  123. Chapter One Hundred Eleven
  124. Chapter One Hundred Twelve
  125. Chapter One Hundred Thirteen
  126. Chapter One Hundred Fourteen
  127. Chapter One Hundred Fifteen
  128. Chapter One Hundred Sixteen
  129. Chapter One Hundred Seventeen
  130. Chapter One Hundred Eighteen
  131. Chapter One Hundred Nineteen
  132. Chapter One Hundred Twenty
  133. Chapter One Hundred Twenty One
  134. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Two
  135. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Three
  136. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Four
  137. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Five
  138. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Six
  139. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Seven
  140. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Eight
  141. Chapter One Hundred Twenty Nine
  142. Chapter One Hundred Thirty
  143. Chapter One Hundred Thirty One
  144. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Two
  145. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Three
  146. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Four
  147. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Five
  148. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Six
  149. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Seven
  150. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Eight
  151. Chapter One Hundred Thirty Nine
  152. Chapter One Hundred Forty
  153. Chapter One Hundred Forty One
  154. Chapter One Hundred Forty Two
  155. Chapter One Hundred Forty Three
  156. Chapter One Hundred Forty Four
  157. Chapter One Hundred Forty Five
  158. Chapter One Hundred Forty Six
  159. Chapter One Hundred Forty Seven
  160. Chapter One Hundred Forty Eight
  161. Chapter One Hundred Forty Nine
  162. Chapter One Hundred Fifty
  163. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-One
  164. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Two
  165. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Three
  166. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Four
  167. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Five
  168. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Six
  169. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Seven
  170. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Eight
  171. Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Nine
  172. Chapter One Hundred Sixty
  173. Chapter One Hundred Sixty One
  174. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Two
  175. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Three
  176. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Four
  177. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Five
  178. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Six
  179. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Seven
  180. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Eight
  181. Chapter One Hundred Sixty Nine
  182. Chapter One Hundred Seventy
  183. Chapter One Hundred Seventy One
  184. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Two
  185. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Three
  186. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Four
  187. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Five
  188. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Six
  189. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Seven
  190. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Eight
  191. Chapter One Hundred Seventy Nine
  192. Chapter One Hundred Eighty
  193. Chapter One Hundred Eighty One
  194. Chapter One Hundred Eighty Two

The Text of the Aquarian Gospel—by Levi Dowling

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