The misunderstanding multitude and the defiled temple
“The Jewish paschal feast time came and Jesus left his mother in Capernaum and journeyed to Jerusalem. And he abode with one a Sadducee, whose name was Jude. And when he reached the temple courts the multitudes were there to see the prophet whom the people thought had come to break the yoke of Rome, restore the kingdom of the Jews, and rule on David’s throne. And when the people saw him come they said, All hail! behold the king!
“But Jesus answered not; he saw the money changers in the house of God, and he was grieved. The courts had been converted into marts of trade, and men were selling lambs and doves for offerings in sacrifice” (Aquarian Gospel 72:1-6).
The people had no idea what Jesus really was. They thought he was going to be a political hero, and after he began working miracles–especially the multiplication of food–they figured he was going to establish a welfare state as well, with nobody having to work and earn anything. They thought he would serve their selfish, greedy, and lazy egos. When he did not, then he had to die. This is the way of today in relation to religion: if it gives people what they want then it is wonderful, but if it not only does not give them everything they want, but says that some of what they want should be laid aside for their own good, they denounce it as evil. Things never really change.
The temple staff was equally material and greedy. Nothing could be offered that was not purchased from the temple itself. The temple made its own money, and so everyone had to change their money into temple money at a cut-throat rate of exchange. Then if any money remained to them after their offerings, they had to change the temple money back into regular money at an even more cut-throat rate. It was shameless racketeering. Wealthy people found themselves robbed in this way, and poor people could make no offerings at all. Any person with a conscience would be outraged at this situation. As a vegetarian Essene, Jesus was even further outraged at the slaughter of sentient beings in the name of God.
“And Jesus called the priests and said, Behold, for paltry gain you have sold out the temple of the Lord. This house ordained for prayer is now a den of thieves. Can good and evil dwell together in the courts of God? I tell you, no.
“And then he made a scourge of cords and drove the merchants out; he overturned their boards, and threw their money on the floor. He opened up the cages of the captive birds, and cut the cords that bound the lambs, and set them free. The priests and scribes rushed out, and would have done him harm, but they were driven back; the common people stood in his defense.
“And then the rulers said, Who is this Jesus you call king? The people said, He is the Christ of whom our prophets wrote; he is the king who will deliver Israel” (Aquarian Gospel 72:7-13).
Good and evil cannot dwell together in us who are temples of the Holy Spirit lest the evil destroy the good. The Communists used to burble on hypocritically about “peaceful coexistence” and so do hypocritical religionists in relation to good and evil in the lives of their supporters. But the wise know that evil must be eliminated thoroughly from their minds, and set about to do so–not by gentle, compromising diplomacy, but by a head-on attack and expulsion of evil and folly from every aspect of their life. The ego, and those who are slaves of ego, will be horrified at this and challenge it in hope of stopping it, but the worthy will keep right on till they are purified in life and heart.
“The rulers said to Jesus, Man, if you be king, or Christ, then show us signs. Who gave you right to drive these merchants out?
“And Jesus said, There is no loyal Jew who would not give his life to save this temple from disgrace; in this I acted simply as a loyal Jew, and you yourselves will bear me witness to this truth.
“The signs of my messiahship will follow me in words and deeds. And you may tear the temple down (and you will tear it down) and in three days it will be built again more glorious than before. Now Jesus meant that they might take his life; tear down his body, temple of the Holy Breath, and he would rise again.
“The Jews knew not the meaning of his words; they laughed his claims to scorn. They said, A multitude of men were forty and six years in building up this house, and this young stranger claims that he will build it up in three score hours; his words are idle, and his claims are naught” (Aquarian Gospel 72:14-20).
These verses tell us a significant truth. “The signs of my messiahship will follow me in words and deeds” carries a very important message. Many people have a deluded idea about their spiritual status and many more simply lie, claiming to be enlightened and even incarnations of God. (The “avatars” I have met have all been mentally unbalanced but managing to not be locked up.)
A great deal of evil and foolishness is covered up by the claim that ordinary people cannot understand highly evolved beings who are beyond the comprehension of unenlightened people. “Crazy wisdom” is a term coined by the contemporary scoundrels in America who pass themselves off as enlightened “advaita” or “non-dual” teachers. But Christhood is revealed in a Christ’s words and deeds. And it must be the same with us who seek Christhood. We should examine our thoughts and actions carefully to detect our actual spiritual status. That is why Jesus said: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:15-20). And this applies to us, as well.
“And then they took the scourge with which he drove the merchants out, and would have driven him away; but Philo, who had come from Egypt to attend the feast, stood forth and said, You men of Israel, hear! This man is more than man; take heed to what you do. I have, myself, heard Jesus speak, and all the winds were still. And I have seen him touch the sick, and they were healed. He stands a sage above the sages of the world; and you will see his star arise, and it will grow until it is the full-orbed Sun of Righteousness. Do not be hasty, men; just wait and you will have the proofs of his messiahship” (Aquarian Gospel 72:21-25).
Philo was the greatest of Jewish philosophers. His home was in Alexandria, which after the destruction of Jerusalem became the center of Christianity. His spiritual writings are still available in English translations. Actually, they set the tone for subsequent Christian writings in which the scriptures are seen as both historical and symbolic, the symbolic being the most important as it reveals the development of the questing consciousness and the principles to be followed in that quest.
“And then the priests laid down the scourge, and Jesus said, Prepare, O Israel, prepare to meet your king! But you can never see the king while you press sin as such a precious idol to your hearts. The king is God; the pure in heart alone can see the face of God and live.
“And then the priests cried out, This fellow claims to be the God. Is not this sacrilege! away with him! But Jesus said, No man has ever heard me say, I am a king. Our Father-God is king. With every loyal Jew I worship God. I am the candle of the Lord aflame to light the way; and while you have the light walk in the light” (Aquarian Gospel 72:26-31).
Prepare, O Israel, prepare to meet your king! But you can never see the king while you press sin as such a precious idol to your hearts. The idea that preparation is necessary for sustained spiritual life and experience is not new in the Aquarian Gospel, but here we have the crux of spiritual blindness: the love and fostering of wrong. And wrong need not be some glaring faults or evil deeds, but such things as selfishness, pettiness, jealousy, material attachments, and such like. Whatever clouds our inner spiritual vision is a great evil, however small it may appear to the world and our ego-moulded mind.
The king is God; the pure in heart alone can see the face of God and live. Yogananda often spoke of the absolute necessity of purifying and developing our inner consciousness and also our physical bodies. He said that just as a high voltage current will destroy a low-wattage light bulb, in the same way the body of one who is not prepared and purified would be incinerated if God was just touched momentarily.
Sri Ramakrishna gave exalted spiritual experiences to those who were purified. One day a priest of the Kali temple where he lived demanded that he give him some experience as well. Because the priest kept insisting and would not lieae him alone, Sri Ramakrishna reached out and touched him. Immediately the priest fall down and began rolling around screaming: “I’m burning! I’m burning!” Sri Ramakrishna touched him again and the priest stopped thrashing around and screaming. With a smile, Sri Ramakrishna said: “Perhaps in another life.” In Eastern Christian theology it is said that eventually God will withdraw the veil of material existence that hides the Face of God and each person will react according to his spiritual status–that the same Light that will be the rejoicing of the saints will be the fire of hell to the wicked. That God will not be punishing them at all–their torment will be entirely of their own doing.
And then the priests cried out, This fellow claims to be the God. Is not this sacrilege! away with him! But Jesus said, No man has ever heard me say, I am a king. Our Father-God is king. With every loyal Jew I worship God. Here we see the truth about Jesus. He is not God but god–as are we. When Saint Paul wrote: “Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (I Corinthians 15:29), he was speaking spiritually, not about the resurrection of Jesus’ body. All humanity sleeps “the sleep of death” (Psalms 13:3) until they awake and arise into “newness of life” (Romans 6:4) through spiritual resurrection as did Jesus. That is why Saint Paul also refers to human beings as Jesus’ brothers (Hebrews 2:17).
I am the candle of the Lord aflame to light the way; and while you have the light walk in the light. Jesus, being illumined by the Light of God, shows us the way to the same enlightenment, saying: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). The Beloved Disciple said: “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (I John 2:6), and said that “we walk in the light, as he is in the light” (I John 1:7). This is a high ideal, but it is really only the natural conclusion when we realize that we are essentially part of the Divine Life, as a wave is part of the ocean. This is the Christine Gospel, the Good News of Christ.
Read the next section in the Aquarian Gospel for Yogis: What Is A Messiah?