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Florin Mihaescu - Initiatory Aspects in the Gospels

Florin Mihaescu - Initiatory Aspects in the Gospels

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Published by: Otto Rank on Jun 17, 2011
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Volume 2 Number 1-2
ORIENS
February 20051
Initiatory Aspects in the Gospels (I)
Florin Mihaescu
a. Death and Resurrection
In the discussion that Jesus had with Nicodemus, a well known Pharisee, the first saidto the latter:
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see thekingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? canhe enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily,verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God 
(John 3: 3-5). Obviously this is not about a bodily birth, but oneinto spirit, that is, realized by baptizing. Indeed, soon after this discussion
came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized 
(John3: 22). Concerning the initiatory character of the original baptize, we will take it intoaccount later on. The birth that Jesus is referring to is possible only after the death of theindividuality at the level of the profane life, and man’s resurrection, not only purified, butspiritualized, at the level of spiritual life.Another passage having as subject death and spiritual reborn is found in Jesus’sayings:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit 
(John 12: 24). Symbolically,Jesus is referring to the death of the corn’s exterior skin, so that the inner kernel canflourish. Jesus is much more clear when He says:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life
(John 5: 24). Here goes thatdeath can be overtaken still in this life, securing soul’s rebirth in eternity for those wholisten, meaning that they obey and believe, in the sense of identification, Jesus’ word asthe messenger of the Father (Matthew 16: 28).The most eloquent example of death and resurrection is that of Jesus himself, whodies in order to resurrect, dies as Son of man in order to resurrect as Son of God.As I said before, the death for this life, while still being in this life, is a resurrection –a gift that is not for every common believer; because Jesus, after the example with thecorn of wheat, says:
 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in thisworld shall keep it unto life eternal
(John. 12: 25). Let us remark that almost all theseexamples are to be found in John’s Gospel considered the most profound and the mostsymbolic one.
 
Initiatory Aspects in the Gospels (I)b. The Chosen Ones
(initiatory qualifications)Like I said, the initiatory path – to die for this life in order to win the other one – is adifficult one, which cannot be followed but only by few people, namely the chosen ones.In the Gospels these few are chosen by Jesus himself, who says
Ye have not chosen me,but I have chosen you
(John 15:16).And, indeed, Jesus chooses the 12 Apostles, to whom He said that they where chosenbecause
 Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man
(John 1:51). And later on, He told them
 ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel
(Matthew 19:28).And if Jesus has chosen his 12 Apostles, after the descent of the Holy Ghost, in theirturn they chose their own disciples who will spread Christ’s teaching. And not only theteaching, but His grace also, which has been transmitted on till this day and till the end of times.
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven:and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven
(Matthew 18:18).Moreover, among the chosen ones three disciples can be found that are chosenamongst chosen. They are Peter, Jacob and John who witness both the death and theresurrection of the daughter of Jairus and Christ’s Transfiguration, the uncreated light,not shown to the others. But, anyway, at the request of Zebedee’s sons to sit on the rightand the left side of God’s throne, Jesus tells them:
to sit on my right hand, and on my left,is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father 
 (Matthew 20:23). There is thus a higher level for which fewer are chosen.A third and much bigger group of the chosen ones includes the 70 disciples. Thesethree groups show the fact that, even among the chosen ones degrees of spirituality canbe found, depending on their realization and on the grace received, that is, on the spirituallevel attained.Beside the three groups, Jesus is referring to other chosen ones when He says:
 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till theysee the kingdom of God 
(Luke 9:27). And in any case, to end this subchapter, do not wefind in the Scripture:
multi vocati, electi pauci?
 
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Volume 2 Number 3-4
ORIENS
April 20051
Initiatory Aspects in the Gospels (II)
Florin Mihaescu
c. The Secret or the Mystery
What may seem strange is the fact that, though Jesus says at the Sermon on themountain that the light should not be hidden under the tub (Matthew 5:15), still He addslater on, after explaining to the Apostles the parable of the sower:
 Because the mysteriesof the kingdom of heaven are revealed to you, but they are not revealed to them
(Matthew13:11), them being the crowd that listens to him. This is also one of the reasons whyJesus talks using parables and symbols, also paradoxes, which are not accessible but onlyfor the few chosen ones, those gifted with the capacity of knowledge and understanding, because this is all about higher truths (inner and esoteric truths, we could say,if this lastterm had not been altered and avoided so much by the Christian theology).
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For Jesussays again:
 I will speak to you in parables and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world 
(Mathew 13:35). It is true that generally speaking the light shouldnot hide under the tub, but there are secret hidden things that are reserved for the fewchosen ones.Yet, speaking about secret things, Jesus repeats many times, mostly after some wonders,and especially the wonders of resurrection: do not tell anybody. But most of all, after theTransfiguration, Jesus tells the three chosen among the chosen Apostles:
Tell the vision tono man, until the Son of man is risen again from the dead,
death and resurrection beingfacts connected with initiation. The same thing after Jesus confesses to the Apostles thatHe is the Son of God and calls Peter the rock of foundation of His Church:
Then he gavethe disciples strict orders not to tell anyone that he was the Christ 
(Matthew 16:20).These are thus high truths of metaphysical or ontological nature, which Jesus does notreveal but only to the chosen ones.
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It is worth noting that this term has been used apparently for the first time by the Apostle Paul, who saysabout hope that it is what “…we have an anchor for our soul, as sure as it is firm, and reaching rightthrough beyond (
έσώτερον
, esoteron) the veil” (Hebrews 6:19).

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