Chapter 15

Jesus of Galilee

THE APOSTLES

The twelve disciples typify the twelve important centers of spiritual power within man's physiological holy of holies. The ascent of the spinal or Christed fire stimulates all twelve centers, represented by the twelve disciples in sacred anatomy. There is a spiritual essence sent forth from both the cerebrum and cerebellum which unites with the spinal fire in illuminating the pineal and pituitary glands.

 

Our universe is numerically attuned to twelve and one. The solar system is surrounded by the twelve Zodiacal Hierarchies and its central focus is the Archangelic Christ in the Sun.

 

The Christian Mystery Temple called the New Jerusalem has twelve gates guarded by twelve Angels, (the twelve Hierarchies.) This new city is also known as a Temple of Initiate Consciousness.

 

In the heavenly Jerusalem, the twelve foundations of the city wall are inscribed with the names of the twelve apostles, while the twelve gates are given the names of the twelve tribes or Patriarchs of Israel. The twelve apostles are its foundation stones and the Lamb of God its focal center. Beside the twelve entrance gates stand the twelve disciples to receive and instruct those proven "qualified and worthy" to be admitted into the glory of the Christian Mysteries.

 

Twelve is akin to seven in its sacred importance, seven being the sum of three plus four, and twelve the multiplication of three times four; three representing inner spirituality, and four, outer activity. There is a correlation also with alchemical and astronomical lore -- the heavenly governance of stones and metals; and the twelve astrological mansions of the Sun.

 

In the book of Joshua, with reference to the Promised Land or New Age, twelve men were chosen to set up twelve stones and they "remain to this day." These twelve stones signify latent power within the human body temple which await spiritualization.

 

Not only Peter but all twelve apostles hold "keys to heaven and hell" -- the ability to confer powers of Initiation in the Christian Mysteries. Each one bears keys fitting his own particular gate. The symbols generally assigned to each of these revered disciples who followed the Master are:

 

Peter: Keys or Fish

Andrew: Traverse or X-Cross

James: Pilgrim's Staff

John: Eagle, Book, or Cup with Departing Serpent

Philip: Staff with Cross on top

Nathanael-Bartholomew: Large Knife

James the Just (or Less): Club or Bat

Jude or Thaddeus: Lance or Halberd

Matthew (Levi): Purse, Book, or Pen, or Winged Man

Thomas: Builder's Rule or Square

Simon Zelotes: Large Saw or Cross

Judas Iscariot: (No conventional symbol)

(Matthias, his later replacement: A Lance)

 

Matthias was one of the many disciples who was with Jesus from the time of his baptism to his crucifixion (see Acts 1: 21 - 26), but he was not one of the original Twelve Apostles, chosen by Jesus. The number twelve was of such significance that after the departure of Judas, the disciples felt it mandatory to elect another to take his place and retain intact the original number.

 

In the New Testament, there are four separate lists given of the Twelve Apostles, one in each of the Synoptic Gospels, and one in Acts. These agree fairly well, with certain variations which can be explained. Briefly, the twelve are described in the following paragraphs:

 

1. Andrew, the first of the apostles to be called by Jesus. He was a fisherman of Bethsaida and Capernaum, with his brother Simon Peter. By nature quiet and unassuming, he was traditionally said to be "great of stature," with round shoulders and heavy brows. Andrew is a Greek name, meaning "manly."

 

2. Peter, the brother of Andrew. He was originally named Simon Bar-Jonah, or Simon the son of John (or Jonah). Jesus changed his name to Cephas, or Peter, the Hebrew and Greek words for "stone" or "rock." Upon this Stone, Jesus later said, he would build his Church. He was a loyal, but impetuous man of leadership, decisive in action.

 

3. James, whose name means "supplanter." He was also, as was his brother John, a fisherman neighbor of Peter and Andrew.

 

4. John: this was the brother of James, both sons of Zebedee. Jesus sometimes called them "sons of thunder," suggesting that they were rather forceful or loud spoken. Yet one usually thinks of John as gentle, being the "beloved disciple" of Jesus, and the youngest of the disciples. He wrote both the fourth Gospel and Revelations. Some wonder at this, since Acts 4:13 calls him and Peter both unlearned, common men. But this was in the eyes of the scholars of Judaism, who did not recognize that one need not hold university degrees to give a forceful report of what he has heard and seen, or to teach the Truth. John lived to a great age, being the only one of the apostles who was not martyred in some way.

 

5. Philip was a Greek name, meaning "loving" or "lover of horses." He may have been partly Greek, or at least have known the tongue, for later when a Greek delegation came to see Jesus in Jerusalem, they first approached Philip to speak for them. His native town of Bethsaida was near the edge of Galilee, in an area occupied by many Greeks, and under the present rulership of the tetrarch Philip, brother of Herod. An Apocryphal Gospel has been found in Egypt attributed to Philip. It is Gnostic in character.

 

6. Nathanael, or Bartholomew: it is believed that Nathanael was the given name, and Bartholomew the family name of the same man. Bartholomew (or Bar-Tolmai) means "son of Tolomeus." He is usually coupled with Philip when they are mentioned. The apocryphal legends assert he had curly black hair, a ruddy complexion, large eyes, and a regular nose.

 

7. Matthew, or Levi: both seem to be the same person, a tax- collector, who may have changed his name after the call, to express the new life. He was a native of Capernaum and is supposed to have been the author of the first Gospel. It is believed that his skill in the keeping of books for his previous trade inclined him to make certain notes of Jesus' ministry, which were later shaped into the Gospel.

 

8. Thomas: the name means "twin" in Hebrew; and the Greek version of his name, Didymus, also means "twin" or "joined." This symbolizes, in his case, one in whom the twins of faith and unbelief were joined; he was best-remembered for his doubting of Jesus' resurrection and requiring visible proof. But later, having actually touched the wounds, he gained a certain prestige among those he taught in many lands. A Coptic version of a Gospel of Thomas has been found and widely circulated. He may have been a twin brother of Matthew.

 

9. James the Less. (Actually the Greek word means "small" or "little," rather than "less.") He was probably so called to distinguish him from the taller James, the son of Zebedee. James the Less has also been called the son of Alpheus, which may have been added to the text later, as he was also called the brother of Jesus. In any case, this James became head or bishop of the church of the early Christians in Jerusalem after the crucifixion of Jesus.

 

10. Thaddeus, sometimes used as a term of endearment, appears interchangeable with Judas, the brother (or son) of James. Little is said of him. Matthew calls him Lebbaeus, also a term of endearment.

 

11. Simon Zelotes, the Zealot, or the Cananaean, all mean the same thing. "Cananaean" is the Aramaic word applied to those of the Zealot nationalistic Hebrew party.

 

12. Judas Iscariot: He was the only non-Galilean in the group. The term Iscariot is thought to indicate his place of origin, Kerioth in Southern Judea. Judas was not unworthy when called, but avarice, jealousy, ambition and the loss of faith in the Lord led him to apostasy. Judas' end was the result of distrust. He saw so much, but could not approve or understand what he saw.

 

When the transformation occurs, when the terrestrial has been transformed into the celestial, Judas has been exchanged for Matthias, (meaning like Matthew, "gift of the Lord).

 

All of the disciples were afire with great love and enthusiasm for him, but within their own respective personalities they were much the same as other men, and taken together more or less represented all of humanity. That is why there had to be a traitor among them. In a sense these people of the New Testament represent all people who even now come in touch with Christ:

 

John, the mystic; Peter, the impulsive; Andrew, the missionary; Philip, the inquirer; Thomas, the cautious; Nathanael, the guileless; James, the "Zealot"; Judas, the obscure; Judas, the traitor; John the Baptist, the austere; Nicodemus, the seeker; Pilate, the worldling; Martha, the anxious; Mary, the worshipper; Mary Magdalene, the devoted; Lazarus, the lowly; Caiaphas, the unscrupulous; Joseph of Arimathaea, the brave; Mary of Clopas, the follower; Annas, the intriguer; Barabbas, the robber; Mary the Virgin, the Blessed; the woman of Samaria, the insensible; the nobleman, the believing; the paralytic, the helpless; "a woman," the fallen; the blind man, the forthright; his parents, the cowards; Jesus' aunt Salome, the ambitious; Simon Iscariot, the unfortunate father; Malchus, the victim; Herod, the carnal. Each of these individuals portrays a vivid portrait in a few words, their life and vigor still shining after 2,000 years.

 

The twelve disciples were divided into three groupings according to their preparation and development in discipleship. These three were as follows:

 

The Three Pillars of the Masters Degree were: James, Peter and John. These composed the innermost circle of the disciples, so-called "pillars" because sufficiently advanced to receive the deepest esoteric teaching given by the Christ.

 

The five Followers of the Fellowship Degree were: Andrew,

Thomas, Matthew, Philip and Nathanael.

 

The Four Apprentices of the Apprentice Degree were: James, Judas, Thaddeus and Simon.

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