After the resurrection

From Anthroposophy

Central in the study of the Christ is the Mystery of Golgotha and the Resurrection, placed in context of the gospels.

This topic page follows what happened after the events at the Cross at Golgotha and the Resurrection at Easter, and covers the aspects of:

  • Ascension
  • Pentecost and the entry into the sphere of the Earth
  • Christ becoming the spirit of the Earth


  • after his death and resurrection, Christ-Jesus stayed on the Earth and taught to the apostles (short quotes below, and furthermore see 'Lecture references' section below for 1904-11-01-GA090A, 1916-01-02-GA165)
    • "Jesus Christ remained on the earth for ten years after His death" (1904-06-10-GA093)
    • "when Christ had forsaken the body of Jesus of Nazareth he walked among his pupils spiritually and continued their instruction (1923-05-17-GA226)
    • "the disciples who had preserved a remnant of ancient clairvoyance, could still have the Christ as their teacher when He dwelt among them after the resurrection in the spiritual body" (1923-05-20-GA226)
    • "after his resurrection, Christ engaged his disciples in esoteric instruction and gave them many significant teachings." (1924-09-13-GA346)
  • the cosmic Christ impulse
    • referenced in the gospel of Mark as the 'youth', the youthful Christ Impulse: "the youth who slips away from the people at the moment when they condemn the Son of Man, who is there again when the three days are over, and who from now onward is active as the cosmic principle of the Earth" (1912-09-23-GA139) - more on Easter#Fleeting youth

Inspirational quotes

1916-07-11-GA244 - Q&A 285.6

On John 20:17 where Christ-Jesus said: "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father"?

.. what Christ has become in and for the evolution of Earth and humanity, this he only became after further events such as the Mystery of Pentecost and other things had unfolded. The Mystery is just not complete before that and until then.


Schema FMC00.083 presents the earthly phases of the Christ being mapping with the life of a human being:


Schema FMC00.429: provides various versions of the drawing made by Rudolf Steiner in Q&A sessions in 1909, with a description of how to imagine Christ's 'descent' to Earth, and the working of the cosmic influence of the Christ impulse on Earth and humanity.

Though the Christ being took hold of and lived in the body of Jesus of Nazareth, his being was not physically limited to this. This is described by Rudolf Steiner in various ways, ao the structure of the Christ being on the two Jesus children (see Schema FMC00.080A), the relation between the physical body of Jesus and his working through a wider aura (see ao lectures of the fifth gospel GA148, see Schema FMC00.017), the loosening between the 'Son of Man' and the cosmic Christ (see Fleeting youth in Gospel of Mark), and finally Christ working as the spirit of the Earth.

provides various versions of the drawing made by Rudolf Steiner in Q&A sessions in 1909, with a description of how to imagine Christ's 'descent' to Earth, and the working of the cosmic influence of the Christ impulse on Earth and humanity. Though the Christ being took hold of and lived in the body of Jesus of Nazareth, his being was not physically limited to this. This is described by Rudolf Steiner in various ways, ao the structure of the Christ being on the two Jesus children (see Schema FMC00.080A), the relation between the physical body of Jesus and his working through a wider aura (see ao lectures of the fifth gospel GA148, see Schema FMC00.017), the loosening between the 'Son of Man' and the cosmic Christ (see Fleeting youth in Gospel of Mark), and finally Christ working as the spirit of the Earth.

Lecture coverage and references

Overview coverage

  • 1913-10-02-GA148 and 1913-11-16-GA148 both cover the eclipse and earthquake

Reference extracts


We will begin to-day by turning our thoughts to the event known as Pentecost.


To begin with, there arises before the gaze of clairvoyance something that seems like an affront against the conceptions of modern science. Nevertheless I feel compelled to put into words what presents itself here to the eyes of soul — as far as I am able to do so. I cannot help it if what has to be said finds its way to inadequately prepared hearts and souls and if the whole thing is mooted as untenable in face of the scientific views by which the present age is entirely dominated. The gaze of clairvoyance lights, to begin with, upon a picture that represents an actual happening, one that is hinted at in other Gospels too, but is a particularly striking spectacle when one sees it emerging from the myriad pictures arising before the backward-turned eye of vision.

This clairvoyant gaze actually beholds a kind of darkening of the earth. And one feels, as it were in aftermath, that deeply significant moment when, as in a solar eclipse, the physical sun was darkened over the land of Palestine, over the place of Golgotha.

And one has the impression, which vision schooled in the sense of spiritual science can still confirm when an actual, physical eclipse of the sun casts shadow over the land: that to the eyes of soul the whole environment of man looks quite different during the time of an eclipse. I shall refrain from dealing with the spectacle presented during a solar eclipse and with all those things that are the creations of human artifice and technique. To be able to endure the spectacle of those demonic powers and entities which during an eclipse of the sun rise out of the creations of art-forsaken, technical science, requires great courage and the realisation that all these things were inevitable. I do not propose, however, to go further into this particular matter but merely draw attention to the fact that a vision, at other times only to be reached after very difficult meditation, lights up and reveals that during a solar eclipse all plant-life, all animal life, every butterfly, take on quite a different appearance. It is an experience that in the very deepest sense brings the conviction of how intimately a certain form of cosmic-spiritual life belonging to the sun and having its physical body in the visible sun, is connected with life on the earth. And when the physical radiance is darkened by the intervening moon, this is different from when, during the night, the sun is merely not shining. The spectacle of the earth around us is quite different during an eclipse of the sun from what it is during an ordinary night. During an eclipse of the sun one feels the group-souls of the plants and of the animals lighting up ... all the physical embodiments of the animals and plants seem to pass into shadow, while the group-souls become radiant.

All this presents itself very vividly when the backward-turned gaze of seership contemplates that moment in the earth's evolution when the Mystery of Golgotha took place. And then comes an experience which may be described by saying: one learns to read what this remarkable phenomenon of nature perceived in the Cosmos really signifies! I cannot help it if — in defiance of all contemporary materialism — I am obliged to read in the occult script at this particular point in the earth's evolution, a purely natural event, one that has also occurred, of course, both before and since, and to speak of the direct impression it makes. It is like opening a book and reading the script ... one feels when this event is there before one that what one should read comes out of the very script itself. This cosmic script compels one with a kind of necessity to read something that mankind must come to know. It appears before one like a word inscribed in the Cosmos, like a sign in the Cosmos. And when one opens the soul to it, what is it that one reads?

In the lecture yesterday I spoke of how by the time of Greek culture, mankind had evolved to the point where, in Plato and Aristotle, a very high development of the human soul, a very high level of intellectuality had been attained. In many respects the intellectual knowledge attained by Plato or Aristotle has never since been surpassed. Intellectuality in mankind there reached a certain zenith. A vast store of knowledge had been acquired. And if one pictures this intellectual knowledge to which humanity had attained, which at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha had been spread abroad by wandering preachers far and wide over Greece and Italy, if one pictures how this knowledge had spread in a way incomprehensible to-day — then it is possible to receive the impression which seems to be like a reading of that occult script out in the Cosmos. And when clairvoyant consciousness has been mustered, one realises: all this knowledge, gathered and garnered by humanity in pre-Christian times, has its symbol in the moon, as for earthly sight it passes through the Cosmos. The moon is the symbol, because for all higher stages of human cognition this knowledge has acted, not as a light-bringer or solver of riddles, but rather as a bringer of darkness, just as the moon darkens the sun during a solar eclipse. That is what one reads. All the knowledge existing at that time shed darkness, not illumination, upon the riddle of the universe. And as a seer one feels the higher, truly spiritual regions of the world darkened by the intellectual achievements of antiquity which placed themselves like a screen in front of the real knowledge, just as the moon screens the sun during a solar eclipse. And the external event becomes a symbolic expression of the fact that human evolution had reached a stage where the knowledge born of man's own mind placed itself in front of the higher knowledge, like the moon before the sun during an eclipse. In that eclipse of the sun one feels the darkening of the sun of humanity in earthly evolution, engraved into the cosmos in a stupendous sign of the occult script. I have said that the modern scientific mind may take this as an affront, because it has no understanding of the sovereign power of the spirit in the universe. I do not want to speak of miracles in the ordinary sense of the word, of any infraction of the laws of nature, but I cannot do otherwise than convey to you how one can read that darkening of the sun — read with the eyes of soul what it is that this happening of nature expresses. With the moon-knowledge, darkness crept over the higher message of the sun.

And then there actually comes before the clairvoyant consciousness, the picture of the cross raised on Golgotha, of the body of Jesus hanging upon it between the two thieves; the picture, too, of the body being taken down from the Cross and laid in the grave ... And here I will add that the more one tries to prevent it, the more forcibly does it present itself.

And now comes a second mighty sign, whereby again there is written into the cosmos something that one must read in order to discern it as a symbol of what has actually transpired in the evolution of humanity. One contemplates the picture of Jesus taken down from the Cross and laid in the grave, and then, while the gaze of the soul is thus directed, one has the experience of being shaken through and through by an earthquake which spread through that region.

One day, perhaps, people will understand — in the scientific sense too — more about the connection between that darkening of the sun and the earthquake, for certain theories which are already current in the world, but somewhat haphazardly, indicate that there is a connection between solar eclipses and earthquakes, and even fire-damp in mines. That earthquake followed upon the eclipse of the sun. It shook the grave in which the body of Jesus had been laid, and the stone covering it was wrenched away; a fissure was rent in the earth and the corpse was received into it. Another tremor caused the fissure to close again over the corpse. And when the people came in the morning the grave was empty, for the dead body of Jesus had been received into the earth. The stone, however, still lay where it had been hurled. Once again let us follow the sequence of pictures! Jesus dies on the Cross of Golgotha. Darkness breaks in upon the earth. The corpse of Jesus is laid into the grave. A tremor shakes the land and the corpse is received into the earth. The fissure caused by the tremor closes; the stone is hurled aside. These are all actual happenings. I cannot describe them in any other way. Let those who wish to approach these things from the basis of natural science form what opinion they like, bring forward all kinds of contrary arguments: what the gaze of clairvoyance perceives is as I have described it. And if anyone were to say: it is impossible that from the Cosmos there should be set up, as it were in a mighty language of signs, a symbol of something New having entered into the evolution of mankind; if anyone were to say: the Divine Powers do not write into the earth in such signs a happening like an eclipse of the sun and an earthquake ... then I could only answer: You believe in all sincerity that such things are impossible. Nevertheless they actually happened. I can imagine someone like Ernest Renan, the author of that strange work, The Life of Jesus, saying that such things are incredible, because one only believes in what can at any time be re-confirmed by experiment. But this thought is not tenable ... for would a man like Renan not believe, let us say, in the Ice Age, although that cannot be confirmed by experiment? It is quite impossible to reconstruct the conditions prevailing in the Ice Age and yet all scientists believe in it. Equally impossible is it that this unique cosmic sign can ever appear again to men — yet for all that, the sign was there.

We can only be led to these events when, as seers, we find the way to them as I have indicated, when we sink in deepest contemplation into the soul of Peter or of one of the other Apostles who at the time of Pentecost felt themselves quickened by the all-prevailing Cosmic Love. Only when we contemplate the souls of those men and discern the nature of their experiences, is it possible in this indirect way to gaze at the Cross raised on Golgotha, to behold the darkening of the earth at that time and the subsequent earthquake. It is not denied that in the external sense this darkening and earthquake were ordinary happenings of nature, but one who having induced the requisite conditions in his soul, follows and reads these events with clairvoyant sight, will be emphatic that they were as I have described them. For in the consciousness of Peter, what I have now described was, in very truth, an experience that crystallised out of the long sleep. Among the manifold pictures crossing Peter's consciousness, those of the Cross raised on Golgotha, the darkening and the earthquake, for example, stood out in vivid relief. These experiences were for Peter the first result of the quickening by the Cosmic Love at Pentecost. And he now knew something he had not really known before: that the event of Golgotha had taken place and that the body on the Cross was the very same body with which he had often gone about together in life. Now he knew that Jesus had died on the Cross, that this dying was in reality a birth: the birth of that spirit outpoured as the all-prevailing Cosmic Love into the souls of the disciples assembled at Pentecost. Peter felt it as a ray of the primordial, aeonic Love ... born when Jesus died on the Cross. And this stupendous truth sank down into Peter's soul: It is only illusion that on the cross a death took place. This death, preceded as it had been by infinite suffering, was in truth the birth of the ray now penetrating the soul. The all-prevailing Cosmic Love which had previously been present everywhere outside and around the earth, had, with the death of Jesus, been born into the Earth. In the abstract, such words seem facile, but one must for a moment actually be transported into the soul of Peter to realise what he experienced then for the first time: When Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross, at that moment there was born for the earth something that was previously to be found only in the cosmos. The death of Jesus of Nazareth was the birth of the Cosmic Love within the sphere of the earth.

This is, so to speak, the first knowledge we are able to read from the Fifth Gospel. What I have now been describing begins with what is called in the New Testament the coming, or the outpouring, of the spirit. The nature and character of the souls of the spostles at that time did not make it possible for them to participate in the real sense in this event of the death of Jesus of Nazareth otherwise than in an abnormal state of consciousness.


is a key lecture from the Fifth Gospel, the only lecture held in Hamburg

quote A

.. we can perceive how, at the death on the cross, the Christ Impulse passes through this darkness and unites with the Earth's aura. In this darkness before his death, we behold the union of the cosmic Christ Impulse with the Earth's aura.

We receive a great, mighty impression of how the being who had lived in the body of Jesus now pours himself out over the Earth's aura of spirit and soul, so that human souls are drawn into it from now on.

To spiritually behold the cross on Golgotha in this way, and to see the Christ pouring himself out over earthly life through the darkened Earth, is a tremendously overwhelming impression, because what we behold in image form is the actual enactment of an event that was a necessity for the evolution of humanity on Earth.

I have just described what the apostles, looking backward, .. experienced as the MoG after the resurrection. At Pentecost, they first experienced for their consciousness what they had gone through as if in a dream.

in DE here, with internet translation below as a basis to share this important lecture in English


It is now incumbent upon me to speak of things that have arisen in the course of our anthroposophical life, of the spiritual-scientific researches that have been gained from the Akashic Chronicle and relate to the Jesus life. In Kristiania I have already compiled some information about the life of Christ Jesus. I have also shared various things in other cities, and to you I will also speak some things, from certain points of view. In general, I emphasize that it will not be easy to speak about it, because direct results are still quite badly noted in the present, even if it is generally admitted that there is a spirit of which one speaks abstractly. But if one gives concrete communications from the field of the spiritual development of the world, one finds not only good-natured critics, but wild-eyed ones, as it was with the communication about the two Jesus lions, which is very obvious for the objectively thinking one. Therefore, I ask to treat today's messages reverently, because if they are presented outside of our context, they could be misunderstood and could meet with evil opposition.

But there are also points of view according to which one feels obliged to communicate these things.

  • One point of view is that in our time a renewal of the understanding of Christ Jesus is necessary, a renewed insight into what actually happened in Palestine, what took place as a mystery on Golgotha.
  • But there is another point of view. This is that occult insight is interwoven with the whole attitude which flows from spiritual science, and which brings us the knowledge of how infinitely healthy and strengthening nourishment it is for the souls of men if they can think more often of what they can regard as belonging to the greatest events. It can be a help for these souls to remember the Mystery of Golgotha, of the concrete things, of what can still be investigated in detail today. And one can still investigate things today with an occult view. So I would like to emphasize the spiritual value of remembering such events, and I would like to go into some of the things that emerge from the Akashic Chronicle as a kind of Gospel, as the Fifth Gospel. The other four are also not written at the same time; they are written out of inspiration from the Akashic Chronicle. We live today in an age where the Christ Jesus word is being fulfilled, "I am with you always." In special times he is especially close to us, speaking out new things that took place at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha.


Today I want to speak about what is called the Pentecost event. For me, it was the starting point of the Fifth Gospel. I first looked into the souls of the apostles and disciples, who were not only gathered according to tradition, but were really gathered at the time of Pentecost. There you could see that there was something in their souls which they felt like a strange coming together. For they knew something that had happened to them. They said to themselves: We have experienced something in a strange way. - For they looked back on experiences which they had gone through as in a higher dream, in another state of consciousness. In a higher sense it was like it is in a lower sense for the individual person when he has experienced something in a dream and remembers it and says to himself: I have gone through this dream and now afterwards it becomes clear to me before the waking consciousness. So it was also at the Pentecost festival that they said to themselves: It was as if the ordinary consciousness had fallen asleep. Events appeared as if in their memory, which they knew they had experienced, but they had not experienced them with the ordinary consciousness of the day. They knew that now. This is how they remembered now: We once walked around with the one who was so dear to us, so dear and valuable. Then, at a certain point in time, it was as if he had been raptured away from us. It seemed to them as if the memory of walking with Jesus on the physical plane had faded away, and as if they had experienced what followed as if in a dream.

Going back, they experienced what is described in evangelical teaching as the Ascension, and going further back, they experienced being together with Christ Jesus in a certain way. They knew now: We were together, but we were then as if dreamwalking; only now can we fully know how we were together with him. - They experienced the time they had gone through with him after the resurrection as if dreamwalking. They experienced that event in memory. Then they went back and experienced for themselves what the resurrection and death on the cross was. I can say that it makes a tremendous, profound impression when you first see how the souls of the apostles look back on the event of Golgotha at Pentecost. And I confess that I first had the impression, not looking directly at the Mystery of Golgotha, but looking in the souls of the apostles, as they had seen it, looking from Pentecost: They had not actually gone through it with the physical eye, they had not experienced it in the physical consciousness, but they only found out afterwards that the Mystery of Golgotha was there, because their physical experience of consciousness had already ceased a while before the Christ Jesus had to go through all that is described as scourging, crowning with thorns and crucifixion. If the expression is not misunderstood, because it is trivial in relation, I would like to use it: the disciples were lost, dreamy about what had happened.

It was touching to see Peter, for example, accomplish what is described as a denial. He denies Christ, but not out of any moral defect, but as if dreamwalking. In front of his ordinary consciousness, in fact, the connection with Christ is not there. He is asked: Do you belong to Christ Jesus? He does not know it at that moment, because his etheric body has undergone such a transformation that he does not know the connection at that moment. He goes through the whole time and walks around with the Risen One. What the Risen One does in his soul penetrates deeply into his soul, but it becomes conscious only at Pentecost in retrospect.

Now the meaningful words spoken by Christ Jesus sound differently in one's soul, the words he speaks to Peter and James as he takes them up the mountain: "Watch and pray!" And indeed, they fell into a kind of other state of consciousness, a kind of dream trance.

When they were together and discussed, Christ Jesus was also among them in the etheric body, without their knowing it, and he talked with them and they with him, but with them it all happened as in a dream change. It became a conscious event only on the feast of Pentecost in retrospect. First they wandered along, then the consciousness disappeared and afterwards they woke up again. They thought: First he went to the death of the cross and died on the cross, then what is the resurrection took place, and he came again in his spiritual body, negotiated with us and let trickle into our souls the secrets of the world. Now all that we experienced in the other state of consciousness is presented to us.

Above all, two impressions are deeply significant. There are the hours before death. Of course, it is obvious to make all kinds of scientific objections; but if you imagine that by directing the gaze to the Akashic Chronicle, the events are objective reality, you may relate them.

  • First of all, one thing presents itself. Before the death one sees an eclipse spreading over the earth for hours, which makes the impression of a solar eclipse for the clairvoyant look; however, it could also have been an eclipse of clouds. Then one can perceive how at the dying on the cross the Christ-impulse, passing through this eclipse, connects with the earth aura. sees the connection of the cosmic Christ-impulse with the earth aura during this eclipse before his death. Then one has that great, tremendous impression, how this entity, which lived in the body of Jesus, now pours itself out over the spiritual-emotional earth aura, so that the souls of men are henceforth drawn into it as if into it. To see the cross on Golgotha in the spirit, and to see the Christ pouring out through the darkened earth over the earthly sieve, is a tremendously overwhelming impression; for one sees in the picture that which had to take place for the development of the earthly humanity.
  • And now the entombment: There, of course, one can follow - I have already mentioned this in the Karlsruhe cycle - how a natural event presents itself as an outer expression of the spiritual event. When Christ lay in the grave, a mighty earthquake with a whirlwind came over the earth. There it was particularly significant that it turned out also by consideration of the Akasha Chronicle, what we call today the Fifth Gospel: that after the whirlwind the cloths lay in the grave, as it is described faithfully in the Gospel of John.

What I have now described is what the apostles, looking backward, experienced in their own encounters with Christ after the resurrection, as the Mystery of Golgotha. At Pentecost, they first experienced for their consciousness what they had gone through as if in a dream.

Christ Jesus, when he accomplished the Mystery of Golgotha, was really alone, because his disciples had not only fled away; their consciousness had also fled away. They were in a kind of dream state and experienced the events in such a way that they had a review in full consciousness only on Pentecost. In a peculiar way they experienced this meeting with Christ after the resurrection, so that they saw the following in pictures: There and then we were with him, he spoke; this becomes clear to us only now. But now they experienced something strange. They saw the images of their experiences with Christ again in the same way as it corresponded to their being together after the resurrection. But it was to them as if always in alternation another one showed up: Always a picture showed up, which gave them a memory of a physical being together, which they had experienced as in dream trance. But always two events presented themselves to them: a togetherness after the resurrection and a togetherness before they had fallen into trance, since they were still together with Christ in the physical body, recognizable for the physical consciousness. The events appeared to them like two superimposed images. The one showed a memory of a physical event, the other a reawakening of what they had experienced before. The two images were superimposed on each other, and it became clear to them what had actually taken place in time. Through this overlapping of two images it became clear to them what had actually taken place in time. What had taken place for the development on earth was clearly visible to them on the feast of Pentecost. If one wants to describe what they went through, one is confronted with two grandiose and profound events. What had happened, that stood before their sensation, triggered by the Pentecost event. But that what used to be in the cosmos is now on earth, that was presented to them. All this becomes clear to us only when we have it before our eyes in the Akashic Chronicle.

[Mapping Man's cycle of life to the three years of Christ-Jesus on Earth]

Let us start from the experiences that man has. Man first experiences, before he descends to a new earthly incarnation, spiritual facts. He then undergoes the germinal state and birth, passes through the material body into the physical earthly life and finally returns to the spiritual world. Such is his soul development. For each being these stages are different. We will try to transfer them to the Christ being.

Christ goes through his states in a different way. From baptism to the Mystery of Golgotha, there is a kind of germinal state. The dying on the cross is the birth, the life with the apostles after the resurrection is a wandering on earth. The transition into the earth aura is what the transition into the spiritual world is for the human soul. Exactly the reverse occurs for Christ. He seeks the reverse for his destiny. The human soul passes from the earth into the spiritual world, the Christ passes from the spiritual world into the earth sphere, unites with the earth to pass into the earth aura through the great sacrifice. This is the transition of the Christ to the Devachan. And now in the earth aura the Christ lives his self-chosen Devachan. Man descends from earth to heaven; the Christ descends from heaven to earth to live with man. This is his devachan.

The fact that God has thus entered his earthly existence, which occurred to the apostles in the image of the Ascension, actually of the Ascension to earth, is a fact.

The last events of the earthly evolution were presented to the disciples and their spirits at Pentecost. Thus it was clear to their senses what had happened, what a lot of earthly development had fallen. At the feast of Pentecost, the apostles felt transformed and filled with a new consciousness: this was the descent of the spirit, the inner illumination of a spirit-filled knowledge.

Of course, one can appear to be a dreamer or a dreamer when recounting these events, but on the other hand, it is understandable that nothing ordinary can express the great events that happened in earthly life. Then the disciples, looking backward, only now understanding, saw the three-year life of the Christ Jesus from the baptism of John to the Mystery of Golgotha. I would like to give some hints about this life.

I would like to start from a description of the events as they appear to the observer of the Akashic Chronicle.

Before the baptism of John in the Jordan, the spiritual vision falls on an event of a very special kind into the life of Jesus, into which the Christ had not yet poured. In his thirtieth year, Jesus had a conversation with his stepmother or foster mother. From his twelfth year on he was not with his bodily mother, but an ever deeper bond had developed between Jesus and his stepmother. The experiences of Jesus from his twelfth to his eighteenth, to his twenty-fourth, to his thirtieth year I have already told. They were profound events. Here I would like to continue with an event that took place before the baptism of John. It is a conversation with the foster mother. It was a conversation in which Jesus of Nazareth let everything pass through his soul to his mother that he had experienced from the age of twelve. There he could tell now, so that his words were permeated by deep, powerful feelings, what he had experienced, actually basically more or less lonely, in his soul. He told it vividly and forcefully.

He spoke of how in those years, from his twelfth to his eighteenth, like an illumination, the high teachings of God had entered his soul, which had once been the Hebrew prophets had been revealed. For this was what had come upon Jesus like an inspiration in the time from his twelfth to his eighteenth year. It had begun when he had been in the temple among the scribes. It was an inspiration such as was once revealed to the prophets in the great ancient times. It had happened that he had to suffer pain under the impression of these inner realizations. Deeply it had been deposited in his soul: the old truths had been given to the Hebrew people at a time when their bodies were in such a way that they could understand it. Now, however, their bodies were no longer capable of receiving it, as they had been in the time of the ancient prophets.

A word must be pronounced which characterizes the tremendously painful experience in the life of Jesus; abstractly trokken it must be said, although it is a tremendously incisive word. In the Hebrew times there was a language that came down from the spiritual-divine realm. Now, shining forth from the soul, the old language rose again, but there was no one to understand it. Deaf ears would be preached to when one spoke of the greatest teachings. This was the greatest sorrow for Jesus; this is what he described to his stepmother.

Then he described a second event he had experienced on the wanderings during his eighteenth to twenty-fourth years in the regions of Palestine where Gentiles dwelt. He moved around and worked at the carpenter's trade. In the evening he sat down with the people. It was a gathering such as the people had never experienced with anyone else. Through the great pain, something had developed in him that finally turned into the magic power of love that flowed through every word. This magic power of the words worked in the conversation with the people. What was so great was that something like a mysterious power poured out between his words. It was so significant that long after he was gone, the people of the evening sat together again and it was as if he was still there, more than just physically. The people sat together and had the impression, had the common Vision, as if he appeared again. Thus he remained in numerous places as if alive among the people, he was spiritually there.

Once he arrived at a place where an old pagan cult altar stood. The sacrificial altar had fallen into disrepair. The priests had left, for a terrible disease had taken hold of the people there. When Jesus came there, the people ran together. Jesus already announced himself as something special by the impression he made. The pagan people had rushed, gathered around the altar and expected that now a priest would offer sacrifices again. Jesus told this to his stepmother. He saw clearly what had become of the pagan sacrificial service. He saw, looking over the people, what the pagan gods had gradually become: evil, demon-like entities, that's what he saw then. Then he fell down and experienced ever in another state of consciousness what was going on with the pagan 0victims. The old gods were no longer there, as in earlier times, but demonic entities appeared, which ate away at the people and made them sick.

He had experienced this in another state of consciousness after he had fallen down. Now he told all this, also told how the people had fled, but how he also saw the demons depart. Theoretically it can be stated that the old paganism had decayed and no longer contained the great wisdom of the former times. Jesus, however, experienced this in direct vision. Now he could tell his mother: "If the voice of heaven would come down again to the Hebrews, as it once came to the prophets, no man would be there to understand it; but the heathen gods no longer come either. Demons have taken their place. Even the pagan revelations today find no man who could receive them. This was the second great pain.

In moving words he described to his mother the third great pain he had experienced when he had been admitted to the Essaean community. This community wanted to work its way up to the vision through the perfection of the individual human souls, and in this way to be able to draw from the divine

In the first world, the Jews and pagans could experience what was otherwise impossible for them to perceive. But only individual people could experience this, and this was to be attained by that way of life which had taken hold among the Essaeans. But Jesus had united himself for a time with the occult community of the Essaeans. When he left them, he saw Lucifer and Ahriman flying out of the Essaean gate into the rest of the world. He had also had a visionary conversation with Buddha in the enclosure of the Essaeans. And now he knew: there is a possibility to ascend to the place where one unites with the divine-spiritual, but only individuals can reach it. If all wanted to attain it, all would have to renounce. At the expense of the great multitude, only some can attain it by freeing themselves from Lucifer and Ahriman; but then Lucifer and Ahriman go to the other humanity. Neither according to the Jewish way, nor according to the Gentile way, nor according to the Essaean way, it was possible to open to the general mankind the essential connection with the divine-spiritual world.

While this conversation took place, the whole soul of Jesus was united with all the pain. The whole power of his I was in these words. Something went away from him and over to the adoptive mother, so strongly was he connected with what he told. With the word his being went over to the mother, so that he was as if outside of his ego> had stepped out of his ego. The mother thereby became something completely different. While something had gone out of him, the mother had received a new I, which had sunk into her, she had become a new personality.

If one now investigates and tries to find out what the process consisted of, a strange thing turns out: the bodily mother of this Jesus, who had been in the spiritual world since his twelfth year, had now descended with her soul and completely spiritualized and filled the soul of the adoptive mother in such a way that she became another. But he felt as if his I had left him: Zarathustra's I had gone over into the spiritual world. Under the urge to do something, Jesus, driven by the inner necessity, went to the Jordan to John the Baptist, the Essaeans. And John performed the baptism in the Jordan. The Zarathustra I had gone out and the Christ being had descended: he had been permeated with the Christ being. The adoptive mother had been permeated by the soul of that mother who had dwelt in the spiritual world. But he now walked around on earth, in the bodies of Jesus, he, the Christ. This connection was not immediately complete, both happened gradually.

I will recount the individual events from which it can be shown how the Christ was at first only loosely connected with the body of Jesus and gradually became more and more firmly connected with it. If one got to know the sufferings and pains of Jesus from the twelfth to the thirtieth year, only now one gets to know the tremendous increase of these pains of Jesus, now that in the following three years the God connected himself more and more with the man. This continuing, more and more intensive connection of the God with the man was an equally intensive increase of the pain. The unspeakable that had to happen in order to make the ascent to the spiritual powers of origin possible for mankind is shown by the sufferings of the god during the three years he stayed on earth.

It is not foreseeable that one will have much understanding for these events in the present. There is a book that should be read because of its paradox: "Of Death", by Maurice Maeterlinck. In this book it is said that the spirit cannot suffer, only the body can suffer. In fact, the physical body can suffer no more than a stone. Physical pain is mental pain. Only what is spiritual, what has an astral body, can suffer. Therefore, a god can suffer much more than a human being. The Christ experienced sufferings until death, the most intense ones during the connection of the Christ with the Jesus entity. He overcame death by passing into the earth aura.

[Reflection on fifth gospel]

Earlier I described in a more abstract way how the Christ event stands in the center of the earth evolution. This most important event loses nothing when viewed in its concrete factuality. Everything emerges vividly when all the facts are seen in the right way. Once the Fifth Gospel will be there - mankind will need it, perhaps only after a long time, then this most important event will be looked at in a different way. The Fifth Gospel will be a book of comfort and health, a book of strength. At the end of the fourth gospel there are words that indicate that there is more to come: The world would not contain the books to be written. This is a true word. One can get courage in another way, then, when new facts about Palestine arise, because also the four Gospels actually originated in the same way as the fifth, only that this fifth appears two thousand years later.

Once the Fifth Gospel will be there, it will not differ from the others in terms of the way it was created. However, there will be people who will not recognize it because the human soul is egoistic. Suppose Shakespeare's work "Hamlet" was unknown and "Hamlet" appeared today: today people would scold him. This is how the Fifth Gospel will have to fight its way through. People need something that those who want to understand will really understand. One will only have to acknowledge that, as before, the revelations can come from the spirit alone. But the means and ways for this are different. In this respect our time has special tasks.

Into which time did what I have described fall? It could not fall into any other time than the one into which it fell: into the fourth post-Atlantean period. If it had fallen, for example, into the third or into the second, then there would have been numerous people who were instructed in the primeval wisdom of the Indians, for whom the wisdom would have been there quite naturally. One would have understood Christ less in the Persian, still less in the Egyptian time. But completely past was the understanding in the fourth period. Therefore the teaching could enter the minds only as a fact of faith. It was the worst period for understanding, from which people were most distant. But the effects of the Christ do not depend on what people can understand. For Christ was not a world teacher, but the one who performed something as a spiritual entity, who flowed into the earth aura to live among men. Symbolically, this can come before one's soul when the women came to the tomb and were told by the spiritual being: The one you are looking for is not there!

This was repeated when a great crowd of Europeans went to the Holy Sepulcher in the Crusades. There the people crossed over to the physical sites of Golgotha. They were also told: "The one you are looking for is no longer here! because he had moved to Europe. While the pilgrims were driven out of their hearts to Asia, Europe began to awaken intellectually, but the understanding of Christ began to wane. It was not until the 12th century that the desire for proofs of God appeared. What does this testify to us for more modern times? Do you ever need to prove who the thief is when you have caught that thief in your garden? You need proof only when you do not know him. Proofs of God were sought when you lost understanding; for what you know you do not need to prove to yourself.

Christ was there, passing through the souls. Everything that has happened historically has happened under the influence of the Christ, because the souls lived in the Christ-impulse. Now humanity must enter into a conscious grasp of the events of time. Therefore, mankind must get to know the Christ even better. Connected with this is the knowledge of the man Jesus of Nazareth. This will become more and more necessary. It is not easy to speak about this, but in a certain respect it is something that presents itself in the present as a higher duty: to speak precisely about the man Jesus of Nazareth to some souls, to speak about what we can call the Fifth Gospel.



is a lecture called '(the epiphany of) Ascension and (the mystery of) Pentecost'

explains the picture and meaning of ascension, see long/full lecture on Christ Module 16 - During sleep#1923-05-07-GA224

very concise phrase:

To turn now to the biblical event of the Ascension, we must realise that at that time the disciples had become clairvoyant to a degree at which they were able to behold what is, in truth, a deep secret of earthly evolution. ...


... the urge of the etheric bodies of men to draw towards the sun is perceived by the disciples in clairvoyant vision. But they also perceive how Christ unites Himself with this urge, restrains it, holds it fast. The mighty scene of the Ascension is that of the rescue of the physical-etheric nature of man by Christ.


ascension and transition to pentecost

The disciples, who had preserved a remnant of ancient clairvoyance, could still have the Christ as their teacher when He dwelt among them after the resurrection in the spiritual body.

Yet this power gradually fell away from them. And its complete disappearance is symbolically represented through the Festival of the Ascension.

The disciples sank into profound sadness, because they were forced to believe that the Christ was no longer among them. They had taken part in the event of Golgotha. Now, however, they had to believe that the Christ had moved away from their consciousness, that the Christ was no longer on earth. Thus they were plunged into deep sorrow, for they had seen the Christ-figure disappear in the clouds, that is, move away from their consciousness.

But every genuine knowledge is born out of sorrow, of suffering, of grief. True, profound knowledge is never born out of joy. True, profound knowledge is born out of suffering. And out of the suffering, which encompassed the disciples of the Christ at the Festival of the Ascension, out of this deep soul-anguish arose the Mystery of Pentecost. The disciples could no longer view the Christ by means of their outer, instinctive clairvoyance. But the force of the Christ unfolded within them. The Christ had sent to them the spirit enabling their soul to experience the Christ-existence in their innermost depths.

This experience gave meaning to the first Festival of Pentecost occurring in human evolution. The Christ, Who had disappeared from the outer, clairvoyant view still clinging to the disciples as a heritage of ancient evolutionary periods, appeared at Pentecost within the disciples' inner experience. The fiery tongues signify nothing but the arising of the inner Christ in the souls of His pupils, the souls of the disciples. Out of inner necessity, the Festival of Pentecost had to follow the Festival of the Ascension.

The resurrected Christ-Jesus after MoG

G.R.S. Mead 'Pistis Sophia, A Gnostic Gospel' (1896)

On the first sentence in the lecture extract of 1904-06-10-GA093 below, the note to the lecture says Rudolf Steiner assumed his audience was familiar with the work of theosophist G.R.S. Mead 'Pistis Sophia, A Gnostic Gospel' (1896), which begins with the words:

It came to pass, when Jesus had risen from the dead, that he passed eleven years speaking with his disciples ...

For more info on Pistis Sophia, see the discussion area of Sources of Spiritual Science


First the remarkable explicit quote (longer extract on the topic page of Rakshasas.)

You know that Jesus Christ remained on the earth for ten years after His death. The Pistis Sophia contains the profoundest theosophical teachings, it is much more profound than Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism. Jesus incarnated again and again. His task was to renew the mystery wisdom. This is no mere fact of cultural or historical interest, but it is the fact I have described to you, which is well known to all occultists, namely, the struggle against the Rakshasas. You see there is a deep and important occult secret lying hidden therein.


(p394 in first DE edition)

states that Christ-Jesus still taught after the resurrection, teachings that are included in the Book of Revelation


contains the prayer given by Christ to his apostles after his death and resurrection, for longer quote see Lord's Prayer#1916-01-02-GA165

What I have just repeated to you is not simply an invented prayer, but it was thus that Christ taught those to pray who were able to understand Him after He had passed through the Mystery of Golgotha, during that time when He still lingered among His most intimate disciples.


These things were learnt by the intimate disciples of Jesus Christ during the time I have indicated. They were well aware how all things I have mentioned were brought about, and were instructed in all these matters during the time that Christ held intercourse with them after the Mystery of Golgotha.

1916-07-11-GA244 - Q&A 285.6

What is the occult meaning of John 20:17 where Christ-Jesus said: "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father"?

Rudolf Steiner's answer covers four pages in volume GA244, extract:

One has to take the above statement in all its subtility, as describing a transition state. That what Christ has become in and for the evolution of Earth [and humanity], this he only became when alle these things such as the Mystery of Pentecost and other things had unfolded. Before that, the Mystery is not ready.


So that is what Christ Jesus wants to point out: I am currently still in a state, where I cannot really be understood, first everything still needs to happen. Hence this is pointing to this delicate, still intermediate state. [in german: labile, noch schwebende]

He goes on to explain how much explanations are required in order to sketch and explain the facts that happened, and so that one should not try to understand such statements from a superficial broad or coarse approach, but in all subtle phrasing based on a finer, deeper understanding. He stresses one needs to use fine subtle concepts to try and come to an understanding of such matters.


When the Disciples and Apostles spoke in this way their relationship to the death of Christ was the right one. They were, therefore, able to continue to be His pupils after He had passed through death on Earth.

Through Spiritual Science we know that when Christ had forsaken the body of Jesus of Nazareth he walked among his pupils spiritually and continued their instruction.

The power that came to the disciples and apostles when the Christ appeared to them in his spiritual body in order to teach them was gradually lost to them.


Let's suppose that right after the Mystery of Golgotha was accomplished, human beings were there who experienced what happened and who could communicate their direct impressions of the Mystery of Golgotha to others.

And in fact Christ gave his apostles an esoteric training and a number of important teachings after his resurrection.

All of this was handed on and it continued in the first decades after the Mystery of Golgotha had been accomplished. At a certain point this had to come to an end. And we can see how it gradually died down in certain circles. It's correct to say that there were tremendous esoteric teachings about Christianity in the writings which were denounced for being gnostic and in other writings of old church teachers who were apostolic students or pupils of apostolic students, which were then eradicated by the church, because the church wanted to get rid of the cosmic elements which were always connected with these teachings. The church destroyed very important things. They were destroyed; a reading of the akashic records will restore them to the last dot on the “i” when the time has come to restore them again.


Related pages

References and further reading

  • Friedrich Benesch:
    • Das Ereignis der Himmelfahrt Christi (1974, in NL 1976 as 'De hemelvaart van Christus als werkelijkheid : op zoek naar de ruimte waarin Christus op aarde werkzaam kan zijn ; natuurverschijnselen als sleutel tot een begrijpen van hemelvaart')
    • Das Ereignis der Himmelfahrt Christi : Die vierzig Tage (edition 1980)