An Epochal Discovery

Chapter XVI

The general proposition herein advanced that the Bible is a literary work executed in accordance with ancient patterns of design and method which are scarcely as yet envisaged in relation to their significance receives an astonishing confirmation and reinforcement from a source that came to hand only recently and as it were by accident. It has to do with the literary form-structure of the Bible books and not with their contents. But so startling is this revelation of a definite arrangement of material according to one or more peculiar form-patterns that the conviction of a hidden purpose and cryptic significance far beyond the recording of mere history in the Bible is overwhelmingly stamped on the mind. The form of this peculiar structure is so organically articulated that its claims on the attention reduce the content almost to secondary significance. This discovery has been released to the world by N. W. Lund in a book bearing the non-revealing and uninspired title of Chiasmus in the New Testament. With great detail and system and no little ingenuity the author has segregated portions of material in both Old and New Testaments into unit or constituent groups and then systematized the phrase and sentence elements of each group into the scheme of a surprisingly methodological arrangement, which roughly forms when diagramatically represented the Greek letter "Chi," whence the word Chiasmus, the name of the scheme. (For practical purposes the letter "Chi" is our "X.") The attempt to diagram it gives something like the following result:

There is a progressing succession of elements (words, phrases, constructions, whole sentences) more commonly numbering three (A, B, C or 1, 2, 3) reaching a climactic culmination in the fourth member, D, from which there is an anti-climactic recession through the same or repetition of the same or similar elements in the reverse order, D, C, B, A, or 4, 3, 2, 1. The author has succeeded in making an unbelievably large amount of Bible material fit this model structure without the usual necessity of stretching it to make his thesis hold good. Perusal of his work fixes the inexpugnable conclusion that this strange arrangement is not fortuitous and that a very large portion of the whole of the Bible was cast in the mold of this diagram or variants of it! Indeed as one finishes his work one stands pretty close to the persuasion that form was almost the primary consideration of the Bible writers and content secondary. There seems to have been a greater concern with the poetic mechanics of the writing than with the message or meaning. There is indeed something bordering on a suggestion of an eerie element in all this, as if the purpose of scriptural writing was to impart a conception of structure as an integral element in the total message, or as a cryptic haunting of a cosmogonic design behind the flowing content. Students have labored and claimed to uncover such woven-in patterns in the plays of Shakespeare.

We are challenged to adduce some theory as to the significance of this remarkable formation. It seems obvious that it is an attempt to introduce what the Hindus call "mantric force," a power of suggestion much like, but greater than, that of rhyme and meter in poetry, into the recital of verses chanting the import of cosmic creation and the life movement. If it was possible to sing of creation in the identical analogue and symbolic lines of that creation, a magically powerful psychological efficacy might be superinduced upon the mind.

Now the ancients conceived of divine spirit as descending into matter through three and one half kingdoms (see the number three and a half in the exact middle chapters, 11 and 12, in the Book of Revelation), reaching its nadir of full manifest expression in the middle of the fourth (the Gospels’ "fourth watch in the night"), and then returning with its fruits of experience to its celestial home through the same three kingdoms, in reverse order. From top down these three and one half kingdoms might be denominated the Nirvanic, Atmic, Buddhic and Intellectual (in Hindu nomenclature), or perhaps Super-Spiritual, Spiritual, Intuitional and Mental. The outward or downward progress of spirit through these three and a half states of consciousness was the emanation of soul into matter or embodiment of which all the ancient scriptures speak. It was the Greek "descent of the soul." At the same time the life in the still inchoate atom began an evolution from below upward, and it, too, progressed onward through three and one half kingdoms of nature, the mineral, vegetable, animal, and the animal-human, landing in the middle of the fourth or human, where it met and conjoined its physical energies with the unit of divine potency that had come down from above. Here at a common meeting place the two forces, spirit and matter, pressing ahead in opposite directions but toward each other, combine in what the old scriptures universally denominate a marriage, from which is to come the progenation of the next surge or cycle of ongoing life. It is at this meeting point of spirit and matter, soul and its body, that all meaning and all experience-value are localized. Soul descends half way from the summit of being and matter and rises half way from the bottom, and the two meet at the only place their energies can be synchronized and eventually harmonized, which is just exactly at the middle point in the seven levels of the gamut of being. For man the meeting point is right in his body and brain.

Again this is diversion into exegesis, which is not the quest in this work; but it may be of great value if it reveals to the detractors of the esoteric and symbolic systems of Biblical construction how far they are off track and how far they must penetrate into the scorned intricacies and subtleties of the obvious esoteric methodology of the ancients who wrote the scriptures if they would unlock the doors leading to the buried treasures of a manifestly cryptic bibliology. To chant the verses in measured cadence and lift, or in successive crescendo and diminuendo, with the movement of the creative life waves expressed and felt through the miniature imitation of that cosmic rhythm would be to sway mind and soul in rapport with the cosmic pulse. It would be to join in living grasp of their fundamental meaning the two mightiest symbols of all religion, the cross and the number seven, in one dramatic and tonic linking, that would powerfully stir the ritualistic instinct in human nature. Nothing less than this is indeed the genius of ritualism: a small measured action of body and voice while symbolic emblemism tugs at the mind, copying in miniature the basic structural movement of the universe of life. When the little action of man falls into exact rapport with the beat and rhythm of the pulse of life and the movement of the cosmic creation, something in the creature’s natures rises in strong joy to acknowledge the harmony. It is a synchronization of beat and wave-length that provides a wireless channel for the free discharge of a higher force. This is the ground of the mantric efficacy of all music and poetry. Then when to this perfect accord of the swing there is joined the intellectual perception that goes with full appreciation of the meaning of the accompanying symbols, the combined mental-emotional effect is something of grandeur in man’s inner life that has been lost out of religious experience since ancient days. The loss came through the vitiation of the esoteric significance of rite and symbol; so that one half the elevating power of its own ritual and emblemism has been lost to Christianity as the result of the debacle in esotericism in the third century.

In connection with Lund’s important disclosure may be noted his own statement that the study of folk-lore is especially valuable from the consideration that it presents a similar development to that of the Gospel tradition. This is a discernment almost if not quite equal in significance to his discovery of the chiasmus. Lord Raglan’s The Hero had hinted at this same perception and Massey had been working in the spirit of it for forty years. The incredulous reader may well demand to be shown the nexus of relationship between folk-lore and the Gospel tradition, for it is superficially not apparent. However, things not connected by visible links may be united subterraneously. It is so here. The cord of linkage lies deep and runs far back in time, in fact to the very origins of human culture. In reality folk-lore and the religious deposit emanated from the same source. They represent but two divergent streams from the same fountain. The one took the path of intellectual studiousness and remained couched in philosophic, symbolic and dramatic esotericism; the other advanced outward toward popular expression and took the form of legend, hero-tale and nature-cultism, frequently becoming entwined with local reference. The first maintained itself on the mysticism of the intellect, the other on the mysticism of nature, and hence the latter included the activity of nature spirits, elementals, sprites of forest, hill and vale. One needs but to go back far enough in the analysis of the folk-tale to find that it runs at last into the same sub-vein of meaning as that from which the Bibles sprang. New and again most significant testimony to this same effect is advanced by the eminent psychologist, C. G. Jung, who says that he finds the same alphabet of symbolic characters appearing in the type-dreams of his clinical patients as appears in the folk-lore and religions of the nations. Some of the characters in this symbolic alphabet are the cross, the tree, numbers, the serpent, the star, the bee, fish, water, fire and the rest.

Of great pertinence, then, is Lund’s statement (p. 17) that what he calls form-history is a preliminary study to the history of literature. The critical interest of form-study is not the Gospel content, or the Gospels as they now stand, but it lies in the small component units of Gospel formation. These portions--which can be strangely cut off from the context and stand unsupported--Lund says have had a long history before they entered the written Gospels! As astonishing corroboration of earlier statements to the same effect made in this work, this pronouncement of Lund merits all possible emphasis. Our declaration that the Gospels were re-editions of material of venerable antiquity in the first and second centuries may have sounded like the veriest raving of insanity and heresy. But here is an orthodox spokesman who, in the wake of one of the most sensational discoveries in all Bible study, asserts that whole sections of what now purports to be Gospel writing of the first century had a long history before they became a part of canonical scriptures! And that which was proclaimed herein in the very teeth of all Christian opinion to the contrary is additionally confirmed when Lund goes on to assert that the writer of the Gospel does not create these sections; they were, he avers, the product of the folk-spirit operating unconsciously in the shaping of the material. The Gospel writer acted merely as an editor, the material handled lying already at his hand in the popular tradition. And still further strength is lent to previous assertions of this work when he says that the parts revamped by the Gospel "editors" are not now in their original pure form, having been surrounded with introductory and supplementary comment in the editing.

There is one point, however, in which Lund’s analysis does not coincide with the view here taken. This is his assignment of the origin of the Gospel sections spoken of to the folk-spirit operating unconsciously. Lord Raglan has so capably shown that the intricate, well-articulated and artfully dramatized constructions that made up the general body of national folk-lore could not have been produced in the first place by countryside illiteracy and cultural inadequacy. They must have been the products of advanced intellectual and dramatic sagacity. This conclusion of Raglan’s is one of the greatest determinations in the field of world literature in modern times and it vastly alters the aspect of all such study.

It is clear now that Gospels, Revelation, the Epistles and the folk-tales must now be approached from the same point and with the same dramatic motivation and all carrying the same basic purport. Likewise they must at last be recognized as the work, not of merely general grades of human intelligence, but of that intelligence exalted to the point of knowing and dramatically portraying the experience and the deepmost significance of the world of life.

But Lund’s study in chiasmus will definitely add new strength to the perception that the element of form in ancient literary construction held an importance in the eyes of scripture compilers which has never hitherto been recognized. To us all now comes the sobering reflection that it took us two thousand years to make even this discovery, which, once seen as Lund illustrates it by diagram and graph, is so manifest before our eyes that the possibility of our having missed it for centuries heavily underscores our stupidity. Yet right now it is fitting to ask how many more centuries it may take before we will awake to the true recondite significance of the ancient’s employment of such a signal and unique formalism.

Out of these considerations there takes shape the concluding realization, itself of weighty import, that it is now beyond the scope of reason longer to hold the claim of the Gospel’s authorship by any writer as a first-hand literary creation of his brain and pen. Authorship of course they had, but in no sense authorship as we understand it today. It was more nearly in the sense in which we would understand the authorship of a new geometry text, or a geography or even a work on the history of philosophy. The "author" of such a work does not produce the content, but takes old established content and simply readapts it to some new scheme of presentation or elucidation. In this prescribed editorial sense only were the Gospels ever "written." They were just fresh editions of the sublime "old, old story," republished and, falling into the hands of the populace with their mysteries cryptically concealed, turned eventually into literal nonsense.

The sudden discovery that the divine or divine-human authorship of the ancient scriptures laid an emphasis heretofore never dreamed of upon literary form-structure must cause a drastic revision in the standards of appraisal, evaluation, appreciation and interpretation. The Old and New Testaments alike will stand in a totally new character, aureoled in a brilliant and beautiful glow of something that is more than mere meaning, something that is indeed the apotheosization of meaning. It is something that transcends sheer intellectuality and rises to a realm of appreciations that belong to a higher order of consciousness. In transcending the intellect, however, it does not become the negation of the intellect but its complete vindication and consummation. It is as if the intellect, struggling through mists and tangled labyrinths of darkened paths, came out on a height from which all locations and directions could be clearly viewed. The ancient sages, it now seems clear, worked in the glow of a great inner light. They were indeed called "Illuminati." It required no small genius to create voluminous scriptures and great dramatic recitals in which the scheme of cosmic truth was inwoven into constructions which themselves were molded in the form of creational procedure. This attempt to synchronize the consciousness of man, the microcosm, with the lilt and tempo of the macrocosmic movement, has dropped totally out of human ken for two thousand years. It has never had the remotest touch of recognition or apprehension in Christian intelligence. The custodians of Christian scriptures have never had the least inkling that their own sacred texts harbored this new-found evidence of so majestic a lost art as the chiasmus indicates. Words are of course a feeble instrumentality by which to convey the sweep and swell of such conscious afflatus as was experienced by those whose mind and sensibilities were attuned to the register of those loftier and subtler emotions produced by participation in the mighty ritual-drama of the Mysteries. Yet this inadequacy of words alone to convey high values is undoubtedly one phase of the reason why ancient esotericism resorted to the complementary agencies of dance, ritual, rhythm and chiasmic structure in the effort to solemnize both the spoken and the written representation of evolutionary truth. The Greek envisagement of catharsis holds deeper intimations of prime value for the modern world than anyone has yet seen. The drama was designed to throw the individual man’s mind into the sweep, the swing, the stride and the roll--the feel of the movement--of cosmos, and thus induce repercussions that would sift out the dross of unworthiness and accentuate the elements of rich veritude in the personal life. Beneath the superficial consciousness wrapt up with the concerns of ordinary existence in each mortal there slumbers the unawakened energy of a divine nature. To cause this dormant virgin energy to awake and exert its powers there is needed the impact or incidence of a vibration that for it is analogous to the vibration of the rising warmth and sun of spring to the latent energies in seed, plant or tree. And this magical efficacy was known and operated by the ancients. It was produced and effectuated by the combined elements of movement, music and meaning in a masterly blending. It was in brief the rational meaning of the universe set to the movement of the universe. It reached inner depths of mind and psyche and there bestirred into conscious activity the slumbering powers of man’s latent divinity. The dance in the Mysteries repeated the rhythmic pulse of creation and the chorus accompanying it duplicated the "music of the spheres." And this composed the mighty choral dance, the bewitching song of the divine enchanter, designed by adept wisdom from the foundation of humanity to keep the race in memory of its lost divine birthright. It is the kiss of Eros that awakens the sleeping Psyche to her new life. The continual reproduction of this sanctifying and purifying influence for the cultural refinement of humanity throughout its history was the pristine motive and function of all religion. In most religions it has been obscured, lost, corrupted, smothered. The cultural salvation of the race may depend upon the quick recovery of this essential instrumentality for revivifying the "dead" divine spirit in the whole world.

After a disquisition of this sort a great deal more significance than would otherwise have been sensed can be discerned in a sentence glimpsed in A History of Jewish Literature, by Meyer Waxman (p. 2). He observes that in the so-called prophetic books symbols are only occasionally used as a means of enforcing the message; whilst in the apocalyptic books allegory occupies the most important place, and a regular symbolic mechanism, in which annual sober symbols predominate, is built up. Here is a hint that meaning was aimed at through a fixed system of symbols and allegories, and that the purpose back of the writing was not directly to communicate a simple message, but to intrigue the mind by imagery and dramatism into subtler realizations.

We have noted Burton Scott Easton’s rejection of "the mount" as a geographical localization. He displays forthright sense and courage in going further and declaring that as an actual discourse the Sermon on the Mount was never delivered at all, and that "the mount" is mere rhetorical or theological decoration; even in the Sayings it may have been--as in Matthew it certainly is--a Christian counterpart of Sinai. Such an utterance is indeed a notable step in the direction of sane exegesis. But the plaudits that spring forth to greet it are somewhat tempered by the thought that it is still a long way from this recognition to the understanding that both Mount Sinai and the Mounts of the Temptation, of the Sermon, of Transfiguration and of Crucifixion are all in the ultimate rendering just this good earth, no less.

Further refreshing candor as to the obvious non-historicity of much in the Gospels is displayed by Easton. The final verdict as to the authenticity of the miracles, he writes, must on the whole be a non liquet. We do not know that special miraculous forces were at work or that they were not. We can hardly think that Jesus would have expected to find figs on a tree in March, nor that he would think it sane to curse the poor plant because it did not violate the due order of nature. We must doubt the story of the fish that despite the stater in its mouth could still take a hook. We can not be expected to take literally the tale of a star standing over a house. In all such cases we would be recreant to our duty as rational beings if we did not look beneath the surface of the narratives to the underlying motive. The same principle must be carried into the analysis of the miracle stories, to an extent to be determined by the special circumstances in each case. But this author does not seem to think that this version of the miracles makes further damaging inroads into what little strength remains to the historical foundations of the Christ life.

A realistic view is taken by him in regard to the maps of Jesus’ journeys constructed by following mechanically the topography described in the Gospels. He says they represent quite literally nothing whatever. Nor, he adds, are we better off in the chronology, except in the broadest outlines.

Again, he declares himself in agreement with what has been demonstrated earlier in this treatise, that Jewish and Christian literature from, roughly, B.C. 250 to A.D. 250, teems with pseudepigraphs of all sorts.

And he asks if we are to class the writers of Daniel, Enoch and II Peter as outright dishonest men. Oddly enough the answer to such a query can not be given until our whole view of ancient writing has been reoriented in the direction of understanding the methods of esoteric motive. When that orientation has been made it will be found that the question need not be answered, because the question itself will not need to be asked. The "pseud-" in the pseudepigraphs can be dropped when it is esoterically understood. From the exoteric or historical standpoint nearly all cryptographic writing is "pseudo." But this is only because it is supposed to be something--history--that it was never intended to be. The only false thing in the situation is the judgment that mistakes it for history.

In discussing Mark Easton comments that of course this Gospel is not held up as a model of historical precision; his story already contains palpable allegorical elements. He adds that the naïve character of John’s historical writing is still more clearly seen in the account given in John 6:22-26. Again he says that the paragraph detailing the ferrying of so many thousands of people across the lake from Tiberias to Capernaum can surely be taken as a mere literary device, without historical foundation. In another place he protests that in any case we should certainly understand that, whatever may have been John’s purpose, it was surely not to write history, as we understand that term. Later he says that if the Gospel is really by an eye-witness, he has written with but little regard for what he actually saw and heard. This general observation would seem thoroughly warranted with regard to the whole of the four Gospels. It would be hard to conceive of any writing purporting to be history that sounds less like it than the Gospels.

Another rather remarkable confession is made by Easton when he says that as a matter of fact many of the second and third century Christian rites have long defied explanation. No one knows, he avers, why oil was poured into the baptismal water, or why a candle or a staff of olive wood was dipped into it. It can be said, however, that these two ceremonial transactions are not only known, but are among the easiest and clearest of symbolic riddles. Water was the universal type of the lower natural man or animal, carnal nature; fire was the equally general emblem of the higher or spiritual nature; the introduction of fire into a moist material, to dry it and set it on fire, was the broad symbolic dramatization of the transforming power of spirit upon the carnal nature of the first Adam, man unregenerate. As the natural man, he is baptized with water; as the spiritual man he undergoes the higher baptism of fire (intellect or spirit) precisely as John declares. Oil, as the fuel for fire, carries the connotation that went with it. So the pouring of oil into baptismal water typified the injection of fire of mind and spirit into the baser, "moister" part of man’s nature, to transform and light it up. It certainly does not detract from the force of the symbology that when oil is introduced into water it floats on the surface. To dip a candle--the agent of fire again--or a staff of olive wood (either itself inflammable or the tree from which oil--olive--is produced) into the water would indicate in slightly variant form the same basic process. Our modern orthodox theologians, with minds bound down to the "history" theory of scripture, cry out in irritation and impatience over such alleged flimsy fol-de-rol of the ancient mythical construction and the modern interpretation. They will not brook it for a moment that the men inspired of God to write Holy Scripture would descend to such indirection and mental frivolousness. As to this, what must be observed is that if this emblemism is fol-de-rol, then the bulk of Holy Writ is fol-de-rol. And this does not necessarily convict the "inspired" amanuenses of Deity of writing a lot of ridiculous drivel. For symbolism, when apprehended by minds not bound to gross realism, can impress deeper meanings and awaken more powerful intimations than can words. If theology will return to its pristine origins in symbolism, it may lay hold again of the dynamic force of human worship and regain its forfeited influence in human life. Easton’s final comment in this connection is to the effect that we have not only to explain the appearance of certain ceremonies in Christianity; we have also to explain their almost universal acceptance there. Massey located the identic sources of explanation in the books of ancient Egypt; later study has authenticated that explanation. But unyielding habits of mental obduracy prevent recognition of the true elucidation even when it is presented. This is a world tragedy. Our titanic holocaust of mechanical fury may be one of its repercussions.

On the question of chronology he advises it is needless for us to waste time; whether Jesus was executed on the Passover or the eve of the Passover we shall never know. One account gives the date as the 14th of the Hebrew month Nisan, the other account puts it on the 15th. Here again it is symbolism that holds the key to the answer, since the 14 was determined by lunar typology and the 15 by solar. The full moon of a symbolical lunar month falls on the fourteenth day, and of a solar month on the fifteenth. History has nothing to do with it.

Taking Jesus’ statement that if they destroyed this temple he would raise it up again in three days, John, says Easton, explains it as pure allegory.

There are several expressions and statements in the New Testament that have always baffled comprehension or at best offered only a semi-rational meaning, because they were taken literally. One such is the designation "the poor," as used in the two passages: "The poor ye have always with you," and "the poor have the Gospel preached unto them." Literal rendering of the word "poor" (in the economic sense) makes the received meaning of these two passages ridiculous. Especially is this the case in the one which rates the preaching of the Gospel as a compensatory balance against the misfortune of being (economically) poor! In the opinion of many, if the "poor" had to listen to the Sabbath droning from the average pulpit, they might be understood if they regarded it as an added hardship and no blessing or comfort. Obviously the term here refers to the spiritually as yet unregenerate, the undivinized mortal, the first or natural man. They doubtless shall be with us to the end of the aeon; and they in time shall have the consolation of having the Gospel (not the sheer material of the Bible books, but the essence of the divine tidings from deity to man on earth) preached unto them, until they pass from the poverty of ignorance to the richness of the kingdom’s spiritual treasures.

Then there is the matter of Jesus’ proclaiming himself as Messiah and as King. There are many angles to this line and it is difficult to handle as an argument. But again it is as clear as a case as many another in revealing that what is silly if taken literally and historically resolves back into the highest rationality when taken in deeper meaning. Indeed it does this in unusually striking fashion.

Easton and other writers are at pains to show that Jesus was crucified on the charge of claiming to be king and Messiah. The Sanhedrin judged the declaration by Jesus as to his kingship strictly according to Jewish law. A claim to be a prophet was, if proven false, a capital offense; a claim to be Messiah was a crime of blacker stain; but a claim to be the celestial Messiah, to sit on God’s right hand, was a blasphemy beyond pardon. That Jesus made claims to be both king and Messiah is supported by appropriate texts cited and by inferences from his acts and statements. Easton says that this brings us face to face with the basic question of all: Jesus’ claim to be not only Messiah, but celestial Messiah, Messiah in the most exalted sense, the heavenly and cosmic Son of Man. And he thinks that Jesus used the term "Son of Man" in its fullest apocalyptic force. As far as such claims constituted criminality, Jesus was guilty of both violating religious law and, in the eyes of his fellows, blaspheming God.

It requires but a moment’s clear thinking and a realistic visioning of the case to enable us to see at once that the assumed unconscionable arrogance and personal self-exaltation implied by these claims made for himself by himself inheres in Jesus’ position only when he is taken in his historical personality. It drops away the moment he is taken in his true original character as the Christ spirit in man. Of course the Christ consciousness is Messiah, long awaited by the teeming sons of men, who by his visitation in their hearts will be changed into the Sons of God and released from earth to eternal liberty. The dramatic figure of the Christos in the Mystery ritual could appropriately utter these declarations as to his status and role in the human drama, for it would be his part to announce his nature and mission. But if he is conceived as a man in the flesh such claims as to himself are too preposterous and unnatural; and besides are psychologically unthinkable as emanating from any sane human. No soul under the limitation of tiny human body could possibly so think of himself, much less proclaim it.

Warschauer represents Jesus as wrestling with his own spirit and intelligence to determine whether he should be a political king of the nations or exercise his kingship only in the silent motivations of the human heart. He represents this as the deeper inner meaning of "the temptation." Blind credulity prompts unthinkable devotees to assume that in actual history the carpenter had but to forget his divine mission and say "yes" to an actual Satan’s proposition and the throne of the Caesars would have been his. Whether as God or man, the imputation to him (as an actual person) of such a chimerical thought as a serious consideration makes of him a hallucinated dolt. The whole situation can be seen in its flaming preposterousness only when the true sense of the "temptation" is brought to light. Of course when the soul migrates to earth from celestial mansions, there is before it the choice of throwing all its interests and energies into the delights of sense, the acquisition of riches and the things of this world, or of rising above these to the rulership of the things of the heart, mind and spirit, in remembrance of the covenant and its divine mission. Satan is man’s lower animal sense nature, and of course this Satan offers the higher Ego the riches of the world and its kingdom of enjoyment. But see what egregious travesty this all becomes when the soul is historicized and carnalized!

He was charged with proclaiming himself king and the title "King of the Jews" was on the cross above his martyred head. This title or phrase has been the culprit in misleading all theology along a false trail into the wilderness of error. The phrase never had a historical reference, to begin with. The "Jews" in it were in no sense the historical racial group. In the Mystery ritual the Christos personage was announced and designated as the king, in the spiritual sense, of course, of those mortals who had adopted the nature and mind of the Christ and had become the divinized and the elect. To denominate this grade of perfected men a term derived from Egypt and its Mysteries was employed. It is the same term that the Hebrews early in their history adopted and appropriated to themselves, as Gesenius tells us in his Hebrew Grammar, "in token of their descent from an illustrious ancestry." The "illustrious ancestry" were none other than the graduates or adepts of the highest rank in the Mystery discipline, or in fact the divinized humans. The Hebrews at an early date simply took to themselves the exalted and illustrious title of the class of men who had risen to shining divinity. The Egyptians called them the short name that was the first element in the name of their Christ Messiah character for thousands of years. This great name was Iu-em-hetep. Iu in Egyptian is ‘the Coming One," or "He who comes," meaning the power that comes as our divinity. The highest adepts in the Mystery ranks then were called the "Iu’s." They were those in whom the Christ had come. In Latin the "Iu" form shifted to "Ju," as seen in the name of the Romans’ King of the Gods, Ju-piter. The Hebrews took to themselves this exalted name and called themselves the Jus, which became in English spelling later, Jews. The Jesus character in the various Mysteries had for centuries borne the title of King of the Ius, or Jus, with never the most remote historical reference attaching to its meaning. But when the historization of the drama took place, the Messiah figure had to be saddled with the claim that he was King of the Jewish nation.

In this light it is of interest to note Easton’s observation that what the twentieth century Occidental deems mental sanity is not a fair criterion to apply to first century Galileans. He says that many now expect a proximate millennium without losing their mental balance; and in first century Palestine every sign of the times pointed irresistibly to the fulfillment of God’s promises to interpose in the course of this earth’s normal progress. As to this, if good folk in the first century were any more gullible or hallucinated about the coming (first or second) of a personal Messiah than large numbers of folks are at this present epoch, it speaks ill for the level of intelligence at that time. If many among us expect the millennium, as, sad to say, they do, without losing their mental balance, the unfortunate implication must be that mental balance has already been pitiably disturbed. For none but religiously hypnotized minds can think seriously of a millennium in realistic historical terms occurring in any near future on this earth. The sects and cults holding millennial views are almost universally regarded with indulgent contempt by intelligent people. According to nearly all Christian writers, the people of Jesus’ day were all a-tremble with expectation, being assured of the immediate coming of Messiah and his millennial kingdom. Modern equally certain tremblers are just as certainly deluded. The spirit of charity and wisdom that is Christos is no doubt slowly spreading his gracious rulership over the lives of men on the planet; and the gradual increase of that spirit until it divinizes all the race is the only millennium anywhere visioned in ancient scripture. That it will ever be marked off historically with definite beginning and precise date of end, and only for one thousand short years, is a crazy idea for people to hold in first, tenth or twentieth century.

As has been noted earlier, the odd thing about millennial advent theory is that its visionary and enraptured anticipators have declared in every century since at least the tenth that the particular century then in course exhibited those precise signs of the times, mentioned in the Bible, that indicated the approach of the crack of doom. This indeed shows the whole concept to be emotional fol-de-rol, with cap and bells. Yet Jesus himself is written down as having announced it would come before his generation had passed away! And so it turns out that the only-begotten Son of Omniscient Deity committed a blunder in historical judgment that no ordinarily intelligent person would make at any time. For nineteen hundred years have elapsed and the Savior’s prediction is still unfulfilled. His miscalculation has put his apologetic followers who write books about him to no end of exertion in casuistry to "explain" his error. There is sorely needed a comprehensive survey of the entire theme of Messiahship in religion. It will be undertaken in the last chapters.

The discussion of Gospel historicity could not well skip the item of the casting out of demons, evil spirits, demoniacal obsessions. It may not be feasible to wash the whole subject away as impossible history, though in the end it must come close to that. The practice and the very fact of it are thrown out of court in sane psychological quarters today. Christians would not themselves be found committed to a credence in such things, nor would they be caught indulging in any countenance of them or traffic in them. The matter is held to be outside the pale of normal Christian activity, and is left to the unorthodox cults of Spiritualism to deal with. But in books on Jesus it would not do to charge the Master with being involved in unorthodox and spurious religionism of any sort. So the writers report the exorcisms as legitimately within the province of Christian healing. To be sure, modern psychology studies the phenomena of dual or multiple personality, schizophrenic possession and other varieties. But this is still a great deal softer than blunt assertion of obsession by the power of Satan. This is diabolism pure and unrelieved. The question raised was by what authority and in whose name did he cast out the devils. His Messianic credentials were indeed supposed to be established or refuted by the answer he could give to the question put to him by his enemies. The argumentative strategists accused him of casting out devils by Beelzebub, the Prince of Demons. If he said he did it by God’s authority, they would have him on the claim of being God’s Son. The Christians have been in much the same dialectical predicament as was their Master. If they credit the miracles of exorcism, they authenticate a disclaimed superstition; if they refuse standing or reality to the phenomenon of obsession, they discredit their Founder-Teacher. To uphold the paragon, they must accept an unpleasant rider on the bill.