Jesus of Nazareth

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Giotto di Bondone: Jesus with the Torah Teachers, Cappella degli Scrovegni (Padua)

Jesus of Nazareth (GreekἸησοῦς Iēsoûs; Aramaicישוע Jeschua or Jeschu; in the Koran Isa ibn Maryam - Arabic عيسى بن مريم, DMG ʿĪsā b. Maryam ‚Jesus Sohn der Maria‘) was, according to the current state of historical research, probably born between 7 and 4 BC in Bethlehem and died in Jerusalem in 30, 31 or 33. From an anthroposophical point of view, this is the Solomon Jesus whose birth is recounted in the Gospel of Matthew. According to Rudolf Steiner, his I later passed into the body of the Nathan Jesus described in the Gospel of Luke when the latter had reached the age of 12.

The Two Jesus Boys

Raffael's Madonna Terranuova with John the Baptist and the two boys Jesus
Main article: Two Jesus boys

Rudolf Steiner has pointed out that at the turn of time in Bethlehem not only one, but two Jesus boys were born, both of whom came from the lineage of David, which is why the term "Son of David" is used several times in the New Testament. The Solomon Jesus boy, whose parents lived in Bethlehem, came from the royal line of the house of David, as the Gospel of Matthew reports. The Nathan Jesus, on the other hand, whose parents, according to the Gospel of Luke, lived in Nazareth and had only come to Bethlehem for the census, came from the priestly line. Rudolf Steiner writes about this in his 1911 book "Die geistige Führung des Menschen und der Menschheit" (CW 15):

„First of all, consider Jesus of Nazareth. He had very special conditions of existence. At the beginning of our era, two Jesus boys were born. One came from the Nathanian line of the house of David, the other from the Solomonian line of the same house. These two boys were not born at quite the same time, but approximately. In the Solomon Jesus boy, whom the Gospel of Matthew describes, the same individuality incarnated that had previously lived on earth as Zarathustra, so that in this Jesus child of the Gospel of Matthew we have before us the re-embodied Zarathustra or Zoroaster. Thus, as Matthew describes him, the individuality of Zarathustra grows up in this infant Jesus until the twelfth year. In this year Zarathustra leaves the body of this boy and passes over into the body of the other Jesus-boy described in the Gospel of Luke. That is why this child suddenly becomes something completely different. The parents are astonished when they find him again in Jerusalem in the temple after the spirit of Zarathustra has entered into him. This is indicated by the fact that the child, after he had been lost and was found again in Jerusalem in the temple, spoke in such a way that the parents did not recognise him, because they only knew this child - the Nathanian Jesus boy - as he had been before. But when he began to speak to the scribes in the temple, he was able to speak in this way because the spirit of Zarathustra had entered into him. - Until his thirtieth year, the spirit of Zoroaster lived in the young Jesus, who came from the Nathanian line of the House of David. In this other body he matured to a still higher perfection. It should also be noted that in this other body, in which the spirit of Zarathustra now lived, the peculiar thing was that the Buddha allowed his impulses from the spiritual world to radiate into its astral body.

The Oriental tradition is correct that the Buddha was born as a "Bodhisattva" and only ascended to the dignity of Buddha during his time on earth, in his twenty-ninth year.

Asita, the great Indian sage, came crying to the royal palace of the Buddha's father when Gotama Buddha was a small child. This was because, as a seer, he could have known that this royal child would become the "Buddha", and because he felt that he was an old man who would not live to see the son of Suddhodana become the Buddha. This sage was reborn in the time of Jesus of Nazareth. He is the same one who is presented to us in the Gospel of Luke as the temple priest who sees the Buddha revealed in the Nathanian Jesus boy. And because he saw this, he said: "Let your servant go in peace, Lord, for I have seen my Master!" What he could not see in India at that time, he saw through the astral body of this Jesus-boy, who confronts us as the one of the Gospel of Luke: the Bodhisattva who has become the Buddha.

All this was necessary so that the body could come into being, which then received the "baptism of John" at the Jordan. At that time the individuality of Zarathustra left the threefold body - physical body, etheric body, astral body - of that Jesus who had grown up in such a complicated way so that the spirit of Zarathustra could be in him. The reborn Zarathustra had to pass through two possibilities of development which were given in the two Jesus boys. Opposite the Baptist stood the body of Jesus of Nazareth, and into this the cosmic individuality of the Christ worked. In another human being the cosmic-spiritual laws work only in such a way that they bring him into earthly life. Then, in opposition to these laws, those which originate in the conditions of earthly development come into play. In the case of the Christ Jesus, after John's baptism, the cosmic-spiritual forces alone remained active, without any influence from the laws of earthly evolution. While Jesus of Nazareth walked on earth as the Christ Jesus in the last three years of his life, from the thirtieth to the thirty-third year in Palestine, the whole cosmic Christ Being continually worked in him. The Christ was always under the influence of the whole cosmos; he never took a step without the cosmic forces working into him. What happened here with Jesus of Nazareth was a continual realisation of the horoscope; for at every moment that happened which otherwise happens only at the birth of man. This could only be so because the whole body of the Nathanian Jesus remained influenceable in relation to the totality of the forces of the cosmic-spiritual hierarchies directing our earth.“ (Lit.:GA 15, p. 74ff)

As surprising as these findings by Steiner may seem at first glance, the different birth stories in the Gospels already give a clear indication of this. Above all, the gender registers that are given in both Gospels - and which were usually very conscientiously maintained in the Jewish cultural sphere - are also substantially different. Conventional theology is aware of these obvious discrepancies, but ultimately minimises them. Benedict XVI, for example, writes:

„How can one explain this? Apart from elements taken from the Old Testament, both authors have worked with traditions whose sources we cannot reconstruct. It seems to me simply superfluous to hypothesise about this. What matters to both evangelists is not the individual names, but the symbolic structure in which Jesus' place in history is presented...”[1]

In fact, the mystery of the two Jesus boys cannot be solved by theological speculation. Admittedly, there are numerous biblical (cf. e.g. Zechariah 4:14) and extra-biblical sources that indicate that there was a twofold Messiah expectation in Judaism. For example, the Qumran community rule also speaks of two Messiahs[2][3]. The basis is the saying of Balaam in Numbers 24:17: "A star rises in Jacob, a sceptre rises in Israel." But no clear interpretation can be derived from all this.

A deeper understanding opens up only to direct spiritual insight, which is based on the capacity for imagination, inspiration and intuition. Rudolf Steiner's descriptions are based on such spiritual experiences. They throw an illuminating light on why it was necessary at all that two Jesus boys had to be born at the turn of time in order to prepare for the incarnation of the Christ, which only began with the baptism in the Jordan. Rudolf Steiner has repeatedly illuminated this event, which is central to the whole development of the earth and humanity, again and again from new angles in order to awaken understanding for it.

An essential aspect is the following: through the Solomonic Jesus of Matthew's Gospel, a suitable physical body and etheric body was to be prepared for the Christ, and through the Nathanian Jesus of Luke's Gospel, a corresponding astral body and I-bearer.

„But in a human being, also in the one who was to become the bearer of the Christ Being, there are not only the physical body and the etheric body, but also the astral body and the I. So not only did everything have to be done for the appropriate preparation of the physical body and the etheric body, but everything also had to be done for the appropriate preparation of the astral body and the I. For such a great event this could not at first be effected in one personality, but had to be done in two personalities. The physical body and the etheric body were prepared in the personality of which the Gospel of Matthew first tells us. And the astral body and the I were prepared in the personality which we know from the Gospel of Luke as the Nathanian Jesus. This is a different personality for the first years. While the Jesus of the Gospel of Matthew received the corresponding physical and etheric body, the Jesus of the Gospel of Luke was to receive the corresponding astral body and the corresponding I-bearer.“ (Lit.:GA 123, p. 102)

Steiner further reports that in the body of the Solomonian Jesus lived the re-embodied I of the great Persian initiate Zarathustra, while the Nathanian Jesus was that innocent part of the Adam soul that had been retained in the spiritual world after the Fall and first embodied itself in an earthly body at the turn of time. That is why he did not have a properly formed individual human I, because this only develops gradually in the course of repeated earthly lives.

The two Jesus boys belong to completely different spiritual currents. The nature of the Solomonian Jesus is directed towards practical activity in the outer world, whereas that of the Nathanian Jesus is entirely directed towards internalisation, which springs from the Buddhist spiritual current. Accordingly, the birth of the Solomonian Jesus was announced to Joseph, but that of the Nathanian Jesus to Mary. The polarity of the male and female element becomes clear in this, which Goethe characterised so aptly in his well-known saying:

My father gave me the stature,
The serious conduct of life,
My mother the cheerfulness
And joy to fabulate.

The Nathanian Jesus was born of the very young mother Mary and he remained the only child, while the Solomonic Jesus still had six siblings (Mark 6:3). The parents of the Nathanian Jesus lived in Nazareth and only went to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, for the estimate and went home again after the presentation in the temple.

The Solomonic Jesus boy, whose parents were also named Mary and Joseph and lived in Bethlehem, was born some time before the Nathanian one and had to be saved from the Bethlehemite Infanticide by fleeing to Egypt.

After returning from Egypt, the parents of the Solomon Jesus settled in Nazareth in the neighbourhood of the family of the Nathanian Jesus boy and the two families lived in close contact with each other. Then, at the age of 12, the I of Zarathustra, that is, of the Solomon Jesus, passed into the body of the Nathan Jesus. Since the Nathan Jesus boy did not have a trained human I embodied in the body, therefore no I had to go out when the individuality of Zarathustra crossed over into the body of this Jesus in the 12th year of his life. (Lit.:GA 15, p. 74)

Thus, concretely, the spiritual current of Buddha united with that of Zarathustra. Soon afterwards, the young mother of the Nathanian Jesus died, as did the Solomonic Jesus who had been abandoned by his I. Only from this point on can we rightly speak of the one Jesus of Nazareth.

Joseph, the father of the Nathanian Jesus, married the mother of the Solomonic Jesus, who in the meantime had also become a widow, whereby the I of Zarathustra, which now dwelt in the body of the Nathanian Jesus, was brought back into the circle of his original family. Luke hints at this when he says in the accounts around the Jordan baptism that he was thought to be the son of Joseph - but not that he was.

The Jesus of Nazareth who emerged from this double lineage is not at first identical with the Christ. The spirit of the Christ only entered the Jesus around the age of 30 with the baptism in the Jordan.


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
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  1. Benedikt XVI: Jesus von Nazareth: Prolog - Die Kindheitsgeschichten. Verlag Herder. Kindle-Version. p. 19
  2. 1QS IX, 11
  3. Sung-Ho Park, p. 160 [1]