Esoteric Christianity and Exoteric Christianity
Jesus was familiar with the Cabbalah; this Science was an integral part of the Judaic tradition in which he was brought up and it was he who revealed it to St John. This is why we find so many cabbalistic elements in St John's Apocalypse. In all spiritual traditions there is an exoteric teaching which is given to all the faithful, and an esoteric teaching which is revealed to a small minority of initiates. The exoteric aspect of Christianity is represented by St Peter and the esoteric aspect by St John. In the Gospels, St John is called 'the disciple whom Jesus loved', and his closeness to Jesus sometimes aroused some jealousy on the part of the other disciples, particularly St Peter. After the Resurrection St Peter questioned Jesus about St John and Jesus replied, 'if I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?' And the Gospels adds, 'Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die.? This is the source of that long-lived tradition according to which St John is still alive and he dwells with other Inititates in Agartha, waiting until that the old legends about the mysterious kingdom of Prester John originated in these words of Jesus and the fact that the early Christians took them to mean that St John would not die.
Jesus, therefore, prepared St John and St Peter for two different missions. Why did he divide his work in two in his way? Those who are familiar with the history of Initiations in the past know that all great Masters did the same thing. Moses, himself, gave one body of teaching and rules for the masses, but to the seventy elders chosen from amongst the wisest and most faithful of his followers, he entrusted the keys of his five books, the Pentateuch, and it was thanks to these keys that they were able to decipher the hidden meaning of those books. Certain truths were kept secret either because they were beyond the comprehension of the weak or because they would have put power into the hands of the wicked. This is why Jesus said, 'Do not cast your pearls before swine.' And, when his disciples asked him why he spoke to the multitude in parables, he replied, 'Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but to them it has not been given'. All the established churches, whether Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant, are exoteric churches; they teach certain truths but their primary concern is with rules and regulations for the masses. They are unable to reveal the deepest and most mysterious truths, for only those whose minds have been tempered and made ready can accept and digest secret apspect of reality.
Jesus gave his exoteric teaching to St Peter, therefore, and his esoteric, Initiatic teaching to St John. This is how St John received the keys to the Old Testament and, in particular, to the deeply mysterious Book of Genesis. You are all familiar with the Word' which seem to echo the first words of Genesis, 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.'
I know that a great many people have difficulty in accepting the idea that Jesus was familiar with the Cabbalah, but we find at least one proof that this was so in the Gospels. Do you remember the episode of the woman taken in adultery? Some Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery before Jesus. The Law of the Jews decreed that such a woman should be stoned to death and they wanted to get Jesus to tell them what they should do about it, in the hope of getting him to lay himself open to charges of breaking the Law. The Gospels says, 'But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with his finger, as though he did not hear. So when they continued asking him, he raised himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." And again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 'Nobody has ever explained what it was that Jesus wrote on the ground. Was he making idle marks in the dust like someone who doodles on a scrap of paper when he is bored? Was he pretending to be thinking of something else so as to avoid their questions? Neither of these, of course. Although no one has ever revealed this before, I will tell you what he was doing: he was tracing certain Cabbalistic signs and symbols with which the Scribes and Pharisees were as familiar as he was, having been schooled in the same tradition. Jesus took this way of telling them, 'If you are pure and blameless, you are free to apply the Law and punish this woman. but if you, yourselves, are guilty of the same sin, be careful what you do for, by virtue of these Cabbalistic signs you will be condemned and struck down'. Seing these – and because they understood perfectly well what they meant – they withdrew and left him alone with the woman. How can you explain that the Scribes and Pharisees, who had every justification in law for putting this adulterous woman to death, gave up their intention so readily if not because Jesus threatened them in some way?
Yes, there is no doubt about it: Jesus was familiar with the Cabbalah, and St John's Revelation cannot be interpreted without some of that same knowledge. Take, for instance, the passage about the scarlet Beast with seven heads and ten horns on which sat the Harlot, holding the golden cup full of abdominations and filth: this is obviously a reference to the evil, adverse Sephiroth known in the Cabbalah as the Kliphot. But how can anyone who does not possess the key to the secret meaning of the Apocalypse hope to interpret it correctly? St John wrote, for instance, that the number of the Beast was 666 and, failing to grasp the symbolism involved, a great many people have tried to decide to whom he was referring. Every imaginable interpretation has been given to this wretched number; it has been attributed to all the most hated tyrants of history: Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, etc. But that is plainly ridiculous.
Christianity did not suddenly appear out of nowhere. It is the outcome of several different traditions, the most important of which is the Judaic tradition contained in the Cabbalah. This is why it is so important to have some knowledge of the Cabbalah in order to understand the Bible. Christianity possesses a vast philosophy, a science of tremendous richness but, unfortunetly, for several centuries the Church has been content to transmit only scraps of incomplete, superficial information to the faithful. Is it any wonder that they are flocking for inspiration to Japanese, Tibetan, Hindu and Sufic philosophies? The answers they receive from Christianity seem so poor and inadequate, whereas others have such a wealth of knowledge. The clergy should be ashamed of their inability to communicate the deep truths of Christianity to the faithful; they have been content to preach at them without teaching them anything, and it is only now that they see the results! It is high time that Christians began to reflect about these things, otherwise Christianity will finally disappear altogether. for my part,I am not opposed to Christianity, quite the contrary. Iwish that Christians would return to Christianity; they have no idea what it really is at all. If priests and pastors understood my attitude they should be the first to come and embrace me. But it is just the opposite: they think that I am working against Christ and against their interests. There is a great deal of misunderstanding here.
Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov