The inner spirit, or soul, of man can undergo spiritual transmutations from the gross or profane, to the higher, noble state, in a similar way that the alchemist tried to change lead into gold.  Charlatans have given alchemists a bad reputation, but spiritual development is what we are all seeking by any name.





The Pieta, by Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1499, marble statue, Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican.

There is a time to take things emotionally, literally, symbolically, and spiritually.  The Pieta emotionally shows Mary mourning the dead Jesus.  Pieta means piety or respect.  Our word pity, meaning compassion, also comes from it. 

John 3: 13-18  “No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man... so the son of Man must be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life...For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.... indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him....Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
The Ascension, by William Blake, 1805, Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, California. blake ascent

Many Christians believe in the name of Jesus quite literally.  A few believe in the symbolic message of the path, and some may believe in the Mystery School model that we must experience our own spiritual death, redemption and rebirth.  Earlier we have seen the heresies of the early Church centered around the nature of Jesus and Christ.  And these choosings are still with us. 
Romans 5:8-9  "But God proves his love for us in that while we were sinners Christ died for us.  Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God."  Christ died for our sins!  But this makes sense only if we know Christ taught us how to live, die and live again.  Romans 6: 8  "But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him."  Somehow, in our mainstream Christianity, we hear only part of the message - “the awesome gift that Jesus gave us”.  And ignore the part that we must die with Christ.

We can not know what the Kingdom really is, even though many people have told us.  But it is only speculation.  There are several metaphors by Jesus about the nature of the Kingdom such as a great banquet, and the mustard seed and the great net and that it is within and near by.  It may be the Pearly Gates, it may be nirvana, or enlightenment, or another step in reincarnation and evolution of our being.

Jacob's Ladder, by William Blake, 1805, watercolor, British Museum, London.

In the painting of Jacob’s ladder by William Blake, Jacob is depicted as asleep and dreaming of a spiral staircase by which angels commune between Man and God. This dream is a metaphor for the soul's desire to be reunited with God.  And this is as beautiful a depiction of the path to the Kingdom as any.  This envisions Christ Consciousness and the way.

blake ladder

The Ascent of the Soul Through the Spheres, Hermetic Woodcut from the 12th Century.

The Ascent of the Soul through various levels or trials is a common mystical theme.  In the woodcut, Hermetic refers to alchemical or occult and esoteric teachings.  The spheres are based on the geocentric theory with earth at the center. 

Christ is at the top with the words “Creator omium Deus - Causa prima” or the God creator of all - the prime cause.  Some of the levels represent the Heavenly Hierarchy of Angels, Archangels,  Cherubims and Seraphims.

In Jesus’s teachings we see Jesus as the gatekeeper, the way and the light.  And they are understandable on several levels.     

John 10: 9  "I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture."
     John 10:30   “The Father and I are one.” 
John 8:12  “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”   
John 14: 6 and 11   Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.... If you know me, you will know my Father also....Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, ..."  

It should be obvious that there is a mystical component to spiritual matters and that the nature of Christ is mystical with use of such terms as “light of the world” and “keys to the kingdom”.

We may or may not enter the Kingdom when we die.  There may or may not actually be a Kingdom.  But it is a goal worth pursuing, and is the best and healthiest goal.  Christ Consciousness exists for us whether or not the virgin birth or resurrection occurred.  Some Christians will say that if the resurrection did not happen then everything Jesus said is a lie.  That is one reading.
Ascension to higher states, or rebirth, or redemption can occur on earth in many ways and many times.  If we love God and love our fellow people, we will have life, we will have the Kingdom of God.  Jesus taught us how to live, how to die and how to live again.   
Some thought that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet and that their present age was controlled by forces of evil and would be destroyed at the end of times, when God intervenes to bring his kingdom.  But that did not come about (yet).  Rather Jesus’s message was (and is) that the kingdom is at hand and the keys are within -
Matthew 6:24 Seek ye 1st the kingdom of Heaven .
Mark 4:10-12  When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them. “To you has been given the secret of the Kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that they may indeed look, but not perceive,...”
Matthew 16: 19  “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Bind means forbid and loose means permit.  We must be humble to unlock and use the “keys to the kingdom”.  Even though we may have seen a small part of the kingdom, the world of literature is full of stories of those that have had power and then fall like Adam.

The Next Reformation will allow us to find our own gnosis of Christ and the Kingdom and also to keep Jesus the Christ as our standard, and not St. Paul or the other Church Fathers. There may be many paths to eternal life accepted in the Next Reformation.   Salvation through Christ Consciousness and evolution, will lead to a healthier world.

The Fall ~