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Evangelist symbols (7th century)
Codex Amiatinus

Gospel, derived from gōdspel (gōd "good" + spel "news"), the Old English translation of Ancient Greek εὐαγγέλιον eu-angélion, means "good news" or "glad tidings". This term usually refers to the four Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament of the Bible, which describe the earthly life of Jesus Christ, culminating in the Mystery of Golgotha. In addition, other Gospels have been handed down that do not belong to the biblical canon and are counted among the Apocrypha of the New Testament.

The four evangelists

The four evangelists have been represented in Christian iconography since the 4th century by four winged symbols: A man symbolises Matthew, the lion Mark, the bull Luke and the eagle John. These symbols, which until the 13th century were also combined into a single entity bearing the designation tetramorph taken from the Greek, are also found as attributes in figurative representations of the evangelists.

According to Rudolf Steiner, both the Synoptics and John the Evangelist were initiates, each coming from different schools of initiation. Only John was an eyewitness. The other Gospel writers (= Synoptics) took the material from the Akasha Chronicle.[1].

„Thus the Gospels are a renewal of the old descriptions of initiation, of the old initiation rules, and the writers of the Gospels said to themselves: Because that which otherwise only took place in the depths of the Mysteries once took place on the great plan of world history, therefore it may be described in the same words as the initiation rules are written. But that is why the Gospels are never meant as external biographies of the Christ-bearer. That is precisely the misunderstanding of modern Gospel research, that one wants to look for such an external biography of Jesus of Nazareth in it.“ (Lit.:GA 131, p. 31)

„When I myself approach the Gospels, no matter how often, I always have a very definite feeling, namely that in the Gospels, no matter how far one may have understood them, what one may have thought and said from them and about them - and one may, I emphasise this explicitly, approach them no matter how often - one always encounters something new. You never stop learning about the Gospels. But this learning about the Gospels is connected with something else; it is connected with the fact that the more one occupies oneself with them, the more admiration one feels for the depth of the content, precisely for, I would like to say, the immensity into which one is immersed and which actually evokes the feeling that there is no end to this possibility of immersion, that this admiration grows with every time one delves into the Gospels. However, one has some difficulties with regard to this path, which consist in the fact that when one has taken a few steps into the Gospels - I say "into" explicitly - one stumbles over the (textual) tradition. This is less of an obstacle for the actual spiritual scientist, because he is confronted with something like the Gospels with their, one might almost say, wordless text, and that makes it easier not to stumble over the tradition. Admiration, however, seems to me to be an indispensable element if the reading of the Gospels is to provide the basis for a religious teaching activity for the individual.“ (Lit.:GA 343, p. 190f)

Eternal Gospel

The Eternal Gospel (LatinEvangelium æternum; ItalianVangelo eterno) will be proclaimed, according to the Apocalypse of John, when the hour of judgement has come and the 144,000 saved have gathered who bear the sign of the Lamb and the Father on their foreheads. But those who worship the two-horned beast, whose number is 666, and bear its mark on their hand or on their forehead, will fall to the wrath of God (Rev 14:6–13).

Joachim of Fiore († 1202) interpreted the historical course of the Old and New Testament in his writing Concordia novi et veteris Testamenti in the sense of salvation history by dividing it into three ages, which he associated with the Trinity: the time of the Father, which encompasses the Old Testament, the time of the Son, which begins with the New Testament and, according to his prediction, ends around 1260 or 1300 and then passes into the time of the Holy Spirit. This third, happy age would be enlightened by the intelligentia spiritualis and offer all the joys of the Heavenly Jerusalem (Rev 21). This third and last age, which will be characterised by the Evangelium aeternum promised in Rev 14:6, is at the centre of the Joachimite view of history, which also influenced Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) considerably. It is no coincidence that Dante lets his "Divine Comedy" begin on Good Friday in the year 1300. The anthroposophist and profound Dante connoisseur Arthur Schult even interprets the name of the saviour of Italy longed for by Dante, the "Veltro", literally the "greyhound", about whose name, origin and meaning there has been much puzzling, as a shortening of Vangel eterno deliberately chosen by Dante, which formed the spiritual basis of his poetry as well as of Templar esotericism:

„They say of this hunting dog, this Veltro:

He shall not be satisfied with gold and lands,
For wisdom, love and virtue shall feed him,
And between the two Feltros he shall dwell.

Sapienza, amore, virtute, wisdom, love, virtue will characterise the essence of the Veltro, that is, he embodies in spirit, soul and body, in thinking, feeling and willing the light, divine essence of man, the holy spirit of God in the I .

Who is historically meant by this Veltro who will dwell between the two Feltros? The numerous, questionable interpretations that have found these enigmatic words are not mentioned here. The most probable interpretation would be the following, which is also held by the well-known Romanist Karl Vossler. According to this, Veltro is a secret cipher for Vangel eterno. Take the V, the E and L, the T, the R and the O from this word and you get the secret cipher: Veltro. Vangel eterno is the Italian name for the "Evangelium aeternum" of the Calabrian abbot and seer Joachim of Fiore, who prophesied the beginning of the age of the Holy Spirit in 1260 or 1300. This "Evangelium aeternum" was enthusiastically received by the disciples of St. Francis. Veltro, written with a V, means "hunting dog", Feltro, written with an F, has the meaning of "felt". As feltro, the Franciscans were called Feltro. The Franciscan Order split into two parties after Francis' death, the Conventuals who were faithful to the Church and the radical Franciscan Spirituals. If the coming leader and saviour is to dwell "tra feltro e feltro", "between felt and felt", this means: he will mediate between the two parties of the Franciscans and realise the "Eternal Gospel", the "Evangelium aeternum", the Vangel eterno, i.e. bring about the age of the Holy Spirit. Just as Virgil here in the "selva oscura", "the dark forest", predicts the coming of the Joachite priest of humanity in the new age, so later (Purgatorio 33, 40 ff. ) in the "divina foresta", "the divine forest" of the Earthly Paradise, Beatrice prophesies the coming of the Joachimite monarch of humanity under the symbol of the number 515 (DXV), because in the year 515 B.C. the Temple of Solomon, which the Babylonians destroyed, was completed and consecrated anew by Zorobabel. The Joachimite monarch of humanity will be the renewer of the Templar esotericism in the age of the Holy Spirit, therefore his secret cipher is the number 515, the year of the dedication of the new Temple of Solomon (Purgatorio 33, 43).“ (Lit.: Schult, p. 84f)


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: verlag@steinerverlag.com URL: www.steinerverlag.com.
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold
steinerbooks.org - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.


  1. Cf. Friedrich Göbel: Die Evangelisten. Eine biographische Betrachtung, Vlg. Edition Die Pforte, Dornach 1995