Raising of Lazarus

From Anthroposophy

The raising of Lazarus is the seventh miracle of Christ, and the turning point leading to Jesus Christ's arrest and crucification because performing the initiation ritual in public was a betrayal of the ancient mysteries.

It represents the single unique event of initiation by a human being by the divine being Christ-Jesus.

Lazarus is the same person as the later John the Evangelist, writer of the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation. After this initiation, the writer of the Gospel of John writes from his newly acquired clairvoyant or spiritual perception.

The Mystery of John covers how the Individuality of John the Baptist (see The being of Elijah) was involved in the initiation of Lazarus-John or John the Evangelist. Discussion Note [2] on The being of Elijah points out this was it was the Adam sister soul that provided the consciousness soul for John during that process.


Lecture coverage and references

1908-05-22-GA103 (read full lecture, as always, for context) positions the raising of Lazarus as a betrayal of the Mysteries

This took place always in the greatest secrecy and the outer world knew nothing of the occurrences within these ancient Mysteries. Through Christ-Jesus a new initiation had to arise to replace the old, an initiation produced by means of forces of which we have yet to speak. The old form of initiation must end, but a transition had to be made from the old to the new age and to make this transition, someone had once more to be initiated in the old way, but initiated into Christian Esotericism. This only Christ-Jesus Himself could perform and the neophyte was the one who is called Lazarus. “This sickness is not unto death,” means here that it is the three and a half day death-like sleep. This is clearly indicated.

You will see that the presentation is of a very veiled character, but for one who is able to decipher a presentation of this kind it represents initiation. The individuality Lazarus had to be initiated in such a way that he could be a witness of the spiritual worlds.

An expression is used, a very significant expression in the language of the Mysteries, “that the Lord loved Lazarus.” What does “to love” mean in the language of the Mysteries? It expresses the relationship of the pupil to the teacher. “He whom the Lord loved” is the most intimate, the most deeply initiated pupil. The Lord Himself had initiated Lazarus and as an initiate Lazarus arose from the grave, which means from his place of initiation.

This same expression “Whom the Lord loved” is always used later in connection with John, or perhaps we should say in connection with the writer of the Gospel of St. John, for the name “John” is not used. He is the “Beloved Disciple” to whom the Gospel refers. He is the risen Lazarus himself and the writer of the Gospel wished to say: — “What I have to offer, I say by virtue of the initiation which has been conferred upon me by the Lord Himself.”

Therefore the writer of the Gospel distinguishes between what occurred before and what occurred after the raising of Lazarus.

  • Before the raising, an initiate of the old order is quoted, one who has attained a knowledge of the Spirit, one whose testimony is repeatedly announced to be true.
  • “However, what is to be said concerning the most profound of matters, concerning the Mystery of Golgotha, I myself say, I the Risen One; but only after I have been raised, can I speak concerning it!”

And so we have

  • in the first part of the Gospel, the testimony of the old John
  • in the second half, the testimony of the new John whom the Lord Himself had initiated, for this is the risen Lazarus.

Only thus do we grasp the real meaning of this chapter. These words are written there because John wished to say: I call upon the testimony of my super-sensible organs, my spiritual powers of perception. What I have related I have not seen in the ordinary physical world, but in the spiritual world in which I have dwelt by virtue of the initiation which the Lord has conferred upon me.

Thus we must attribute the characterization of Christ-Jesus, which we find in the first chapters of the Gospel of St. John as far as the end of the loth Chapter, to the knowledge which might be possessed by any one who had not yet, in the deepest sense of the word, been initiated through Christ-Jesus Himself.

GA265 contains additional research by Hella Wiesberger on what was recorded by friends who asked Rudolf Steiner about the last address of 1924-09-28-GA238, see also Mystery of John

At the awakening of Lazarus, the spiritual being of John the Baptist, who since his death had been the overshadowing spirit of the disciples, penetrated from above into Lazarus as far as the Consciousness-Soul. The being of Lazarus himself, from below, intermingled with the spiritual being of John the Baptist from above. After the awakening of Lazarus, this Being is Lazarus-John, the disciple whom the Lord loved. ... Lazarus could only develop fully out of the earth-forces at this time as far as the intellectual soul; as the Mystery of Golgotha took place during the fourth post-Atlantean period and at that time the intellectual soul was being developed. Therefore another cosmic being had to lend him the forces from the consciousness soul upwards: manas, buddhi, and atman. [editor note: see Man's higher triad]


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References and further reading