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The Imprisonment of John the Baptist

Hoffman's portrait of ChristPart 102 of the Aquarian Gospel for Awakening

Setting the stage

“Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Paraca and of Galilee, was dissipated, selfish and tyrannical. He drove his wife away from home that he might take as wife Herodias, the wife of one, a near of kin, a woman, like himself, immoral and unjust. The city of Tiberius, upon the shores of Galilee, was Herod’s home. Now John, the harbinger, had left the Salim Springs to teach the people by the sea of Galilee; and he rebuked the wicked ruler and his stolen wife for all their sins. Herodias was enraged because the preacher dared accuse her and her husband of their crimes; and she prevailed on Herod to arrest the harbinger and cast him in a dungeon in the castle of Machaerus that stood beside the Bitter Sea. And Herod did as she required; then she lived in peace in all her sins, for none were bold enough to censure her again. The followers of John were warned to speak not of the trial and imprisonment of John. By order of the court, they were restrained from teaching in the public halls. They could not talk about this better life that Herod called the Heresy of John” (Aquarian Gospel 85:1-10).

This is basically a business-as usual-picture of life in this world.

First, Herodias is the type of guilt-ridden person who denies his inner misery and insists, hysterically and even violently, that he is not guilty. These are the types that continually say: “I have never done anything of which I am ashamed.” This is of course absurd, unless they are psychotic narcissists and sociopaths of the worst sort, because every normal person has done something which they regret and know was a mistake and even wrong. But they do not stop there. They hate anyone who believes that their actions were wrong, insisting that those people are “harsh,” “hate-filled,” “bigoted,” “judgmental,” “oppressive,” and “repressive.” Religion is their pet hate in this diatribe, especially “Judeo-Christian morality” which they sometimes try to escape by joining or identifying themselves with some other religion, especially Hinduism and Buddhism. Their delusion is that what they are doing is not wrong if no one says or even thinks that it is. So the only way to not be guilty is to silence or destroy anyone who says or thinks their actions are wrong. As we read in the gospel: “Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved” (John 3:20). There we have it.

Second, religious people dare not speak the truth about the evils and foibles of government, especially wrongs that are committed against them. This was classically so in the Soviet Union, but is common today throughout the world, including covert interference in religious affairs.

Third, religious people are denied freedom of expression by the types I have just described. This is especially true in politics where the morally degraded insist on “separation of church and state” unless the churches are speaking or keeping silence in their favor.

No fear

“When it was known that John had been imprisoned by the tetrarch court, the friends of Jesus thought it best that he should not remain in Galilee. But Jesus said, I have no need of fear; my time has not yet come; no man can stay me till my work is done” (Aquarian Gospel 85:11, 12).

In the Bible we find this: “They sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come” (John 7:30). “Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above” (John 19:11). “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53).

These citations are very dramatic, but this is true of us, as well–at least the first two are. All things in the universe operate by precise laws. Until the law of karma, of cause and effect, so directs, nothing whatsoever can happen, not even the dropping of a pin. This is why there are “freak accidents” that kill people and “freak survivals” in which people live that normally would have died. Here are two interesting examples. A man shot at a tree, and the bullet was embedded deep in it. Years later lightning struck the tree and the bullet flew out and struck and killed the man. Even stranger is this following incident. During the Civil War a hospital tent had been set up on a battleground. During an operation, a bullet from the Confederate side pierced a side of the tent, passed through the testicle of the doctor doing the operation, and penetrated into the ovary of the assisting nurse. The nurse conceived and gave birth to a child. Obviously a soul needed her and the doctor as its parents and this was only way to manage it at that time. There is perfect order in the universe, even when it produces seeming chaos.

The lesson here is for us to be fearless, as well. As the creed says: “We believe in the law of good which rules the world,” so only good can happen to us, whatever the outer appearance may be. Even misfortune is an impelling toward good fortune. Without this understanding the world is ever unstable and human society a madhouse. The twin laws of karma and rebirth alone make things clear. Those who do not know and accept these laws can have no reliable ideas about their life and themselves. A religion that does not teach them is incompetent in practical matters, and usually in spiritual ones, as well. Telling people that God is doing everything to them because He wills it, is not only untrue, it is a defamation of God and a denigration of man.

The why and wherefore

“And when they asked why God permitted Herod to imprison John, he said, Behold yon stalk of wheat! When it has brought the grain to perfectness, it is of no more worth; it falls, becoming part of earth again from which it came. John is a stalk of golden wheat; he brought unto maturity the richest grain of all the earth; his work is done. If he had said another word it might have marred the symmetry of what is now a noble life. And when my work is done the rulers will do unto me what they have done to John, and more. All these events are part of God’s own plan. The innocent will suffer while the wicked are in power; but woe to them who cause the suffering of the innocents” (Aquarian Gospel 85:13-18).

This continues the previous subject: all is according to Divine Law–not Divine Whimsy, but Divine Order in we are all participating, for we and we alone create our karma.

The death of holy people naturally causes us pain as does the death of those we hold dear. But our pain is purely ego-based, therefore we speak of “our loss.” The ancient monks of Egypt used to say: “Grieve for them when they are born and rejoice for them when they die” because what we think is birth is really entry into the realm of perpetual death, and what we call death is really re-entry into the realm of everlasting life. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalms 116:15). “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 labours; and their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:13). The festivals of Christian saints, East and West, are usually observed on the day of their passing from this world. But they are called their “birth days” because they were born into a higher world than this.

No one suffers if it is not a result of his own will and the karma it created for him. So no one is really innocent absolutely, but the wicked oppress them even though there is no rational justification for it externally, and in this way create for themselves the same karma those they oppress are now reaping. It all moves on in a perpetual cycle. That is why Solomon said: “That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past” (Ecclesiastes 3:15). When we pair this with Saint Paul’s assertion: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7), we have karma in a nutshell. So karma is a part of authentic Jewish and Christian doctrine, as is reincarnation. (See May a Christian Believe in Reincarnation?.)

“All these events are part of God’s own plan.”

Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: In Jerusalem

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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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