April 29th, 2002
Received by H.
My dear brother, at the beginning of this message, it is necessary to establish a definition, that is: What does the word “Christ” mean?
It is not as obvious as it may seem at first glance. You have been asked at times how Jesus could sign his messages with the words “your brother in Christ,” when he himself is the Christ.
Of course, I know that you are aware of the difference between the person “Jesus of Nazareth” and the concept of “Christ,” but it is worthwhile dedicating a few lines to this topic.
Jesus of Nazareth was born as any other man is born in this world. He was a man, a mortal. He was not born as the Christ, but only through his later development, the “Christ principle” was conferred upon him. What does this mean?
Jesus’ continuous efforts to obtain God’s Love, his life in prayer and meditation, and principally, the practical application of his spiritual gifts allowed his soul to become transformed from a purely human soul into a divine soul, changed by Divine Love. All this happened when Jesus was still relatively young; it was not the product of the so-called “wisdom of age.”
The word Christ means “anointed one,” exactly the same as the word Messiah means. Ordinary people, in Hebrew tradition, became kings or priests through their anointment; that is to say, they became very special people, according to the criteria of mortals.
In the spiritual sense, the “Christ principle” converts ordinary people (the natural human souls) into something very special (into divine souls, transformed by the Divine Love). The Christ, therefore, is an external essence, conferred from outside, by God and by means of the Holy Spirit, upon anyone who asks for it in the correct way.
In other words, Jesus and Christ are not synonymous expressions. Jesus of Nazareth was a mortal, as millions of mortals exist. Christ is an attribute, an external essence, which was conferred upon Jesus. But it has also been conferred, later on, upon many other people, who achieved the complete transformation of their souls by means of the Divine Love. When we use the word “Christ” for people who have been transformed by the “Christ principle,” that is to say, by God’s Love and Grace, then there are millions of Christs, and the first among them was Jesus of Nazareth, and he continues being the most developed spirit in the universe, whose at-onement with God is the most intimate among all spirits.
Primitive Christianity developed in diverse communities which usually maintained good communications with each other. The were also more isolated groups with their own traditions. One of the last mentioned groups was the Johannite community, which developed in northern Palestine, in those regions consisting today of Galilee, the Lebanon and parts of Syria. This community was comprised of Jews and Samaritans, and it maintained few contacts with orthodox Judaism. It even strongly opposed the Temple cult, very contrary to the original attitude of the principal Judeo-Christian church in Jerusalem, and because of its proximity to the Hellenistic world of the oriental empire, it incorporated eventually many of the Hellenic tendencies of the diverse churches, which flourished in the east, for example, Gnostic and Docetic traits. What I am presenting here as a simple fact, was actually the product of a long development.
This community of Jewish origin had been able to live together with orthodox Judaism, as one of its sects, but suddenly, when the Christian congregations (that is to say, Judeo-Christian congregations) were expelled from the synagogues by means of the “Birkat ha-Minim,”1 the fraternal love between Jews and Christians turned to hatred. Frustrated and embittered, the Johannite community would incorporate many anti-Jewish elements into its gospel, into its liturgical writings, which would in the future be fatal for the relationship between the powerful Christian church and the Jews.
The gospel of this community was based originally on the apostle John’s scarce and short writings, and several other writings, attributed to the same author, which were circulating, such as the three epistles and the Book of Revelation.
I will not deepen now upon this topic, because we will do so when we will talk about the development of the ancient Christian church. But now we come to a concept which is found just there, in the literature of the Johannite community: “The antichrist.” The question we will try to develop is: What is the antichrist?
This word is composed of two parts: We have already defined the expression “Christ,” and the other part, “anti,” means “against” or “instead of” something.
The antichrist, therefore, is a person or doctrine acting or pronouncing itself against the Christ (depending on what one understands by this expression), or somebody who claims to be the Messiah.
It is easy to see that for Johannite Christians Simon bar Kokhba, the leader of the Jewish revolution against the Romans in the second century, was an antichrist. It is also clear that the Jews, as a people, were antichrists. In other words, any person or doctrine opposed to their own doctrines were considered as antichrists.
This concept has suffered changes in the course of the centuries, of course. When the heresy of gnosticism was spreading ever more over vast extensions of the Roman Empire, the Johannite community, feeling threatened, used the word “antichrist” for attacking gnosticism. Later on, the idea that the antichrist was “the devil’s right hand” would win more and more ground, forming the background at the present time for many horror movies.
Even politics has taken on this concept, and now many politicians share the doubtful honor of joining the illustrious ranks of the antichrists through the mouths of preachers, mainly of the fundamentalist and apocalyptic sects.
The antichrist concept also brought problems for many thinkers in the churches. On the one hand, the Johannite canonical literature warns of the presence and coming of antichrists, who would deceive people and lead them to their doom. On the other hand, believers are expected to believe blindly in the doctrines of their churches. However, especially in the past, when love was notoriously absent in the ecclesiastical powers on all sides, one group called the others antichrists. The Pope was the antichrist for the Protestants, the reformers were the antichrists for the Catholics, etc.
You remember that meeting during whose course a lady spoke to you of the devilish Lutherans and their false doctrines. And you replied, “Lady, had you been born not here but in Sweden, you can almost be certain that you would now be a Lutheran, speaking in the same way of the papists. Don’t you believe so?” And she looked at you gasping and with contempt.
Now we face the situation that there is a vast number of churches, all of which claim to be owners of the truth. And therefore, all the others, in some way, are “antichrists.” But how can you know which one of them is the owner of the truth, if there should really be an owner of the truth in this world?
Jesus said to Thomas: “Is it because you have seen me that you believe? Happy are those who have never seen me and yet have believed!”
Why did he say this? Because God has not put us blind or deaf into this world, in the spiritual sense, but with “pre-installed” perceptions in our souls, perceptions that allow us to discover and to know for ourselves. The development of these perceptions and faith or sure knowledge which result, are definitely both the obligation and the great satisfaction for all of us. You already know how you may develop your perceptions. This development is the result of the development of the soul in the Divine Love.
Remember what Mary once told the children of Medjugorje: “Open yourselves to prayer so that prayer becomes a need for you!”
When people, through prayer, experience how their soul perceptions become keener, they live with so much happiness, and it is exactly then, when it is no longer a question of “not forgetting to pray,” that prayer becomes “as sweet as the honey,” a pleasure, a necessity and a fulfillment at the same time.
There is only one way to overcome the “phantom of the antichrist”: Reach spiritual maturity, trust fully in what God grants you to know, without having to trust in what others may present to you as the truth.
Therewith, I hope I have dealt with the topic of the “antichrist” to your satisfaction.
Now, my dear brother, I wish you a day filled with love and fulfillment. See you soon.
Your brother in Christ,
1 H.: Min (plural minim) indicates “heretic,” that is to say, the Jew who had converted to Christianity or a form of Jewish Gnosticism. They were called “minim,” because they were still considered Jews, but aberrant ones. The text of the Shemone Esre Berakot (18 blessings, which are in fact 19, through the addition of the so-called Birkat ha Minim: the heretics’ blessing, which actually is a curse): “May the nazareans (Christians) and the minim (heretics) disappear in the twinkling of an eye.”
© Copyright is asserted in this message by Geoff Cutler 2013