Two Jesus Boys

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Giotto di Bondone: The Nativity of Jesus with two Jesus boys
Raffael's Madonna Terranuova with John the Baptist and the two boys Jesus
Bernard van Orley (?), Holy Family (San Francisco)
The Family Tree of Jesus, depiction from the Hortus Deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg (c. 1180)
The Great Conjunction in 7 BC as it appeared in the sky of Jerusalem on 12 November, looking south.

Through his research based on spiritual perception, Rudolf Steiner came to the conclusion that not only one, but two Jesus boys were born in Bethlehem around the turn of time, the Nathanian and the Solomonian Jesus, both of whom came from the lineage of David. At the age of twelve, the I of the Solomonian Jesus passed into the body of the Nathanian Jesus. Steiner spoke in great detail about the further life of this Jesus of Nazareth from the 18th to the 30th year of life, which is not reported in the four Gospels, in his lectures on the so-called fifth Gospel. In it, Steiner describes how the earthly incarnation of the Christ was prepared, which actually only began in the 30th year of life with the Jordan baptism and was completed with the Mystery of Golgotha. Only this human figure, permeated by Christ, formed by the union of the two Jesus boys and having passed through rich experiences, may rightly be addressed as Jesus Christ, as a third Messiah, as it were.

Rudolf Steiner's explanations throw an illuminating light on the two contradictory genealogies of Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew 1:1–17, Luke 3:23–38), which for a long time presented biblical scholars and theologians with seemingly unsolvable riddles. Apocryphal texts, and especially the writings of the Essenes discovered at Qumran near the Dead Sea, now seem to support Steiner's views through external documents as well, by also pointing to two messianic figures descended from the royal and the priestly line of the House of David. Recent discoveries and interpretations of the Essenes' scrolls, moreover, show that they expected not just one or two, but even three Messiahs, which fits in well with Steiner's accounts, as indicated above.

„12 And David knew that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. 13 And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he came from Hebron, and more sons and daughters were born to David. 14 And these are the names of those who were born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.“

The Ancestors of the Two Jesus Boys

In his lectures on the Gospel of Luke, given in Basel in September 1909, Rudolf Steiner revealed for the first time the mystery of the two Jesus boys. The birth of the Solomonian Jesus boy is reported in the Gospel of Matthew.

„There was within the ancient Hebrew people the Davidic family. Those whom we call the "Davidic families" all traced back to their progenitor David. You can see from the Bible that David had two sons, Solomon and Nathan (2 Samuel 5:14). Two lineages, the Solomonic line and the Nathanic line, are therefore descended from David. If we therefore disregard the intermediate links, we can say: At the time when our era begins, the descendants of both the Solomonic line and the Nathanian line of the Davidic family are present in Palestine. And there is a descendant of the line which we call the Nathanian line of the Davidic family, a man named Joseph, living in Nazareth. He has for his wife a Mary. And there is a descendant of the Solomon line of the Davidic family living in Bethlehem, who is also called Joseph. It is no wonder that there are two people from the family of David, both named Joseph, and that both are married to Mary, as the Bible calls her. So we have two pairs of parents at the beginning of our era in Palestine; both bear the names Joseph and Mary. One set of parents traces their descent back to the Solomonic line of the family of David, that is, to the "royal line"; the other set of parents, the one in Nazareth, traces their descent back to the Nathanian line, that is, to the "priestly line" [...] At that time, when the child was to be born, this set of parents from the Nathanian line went from Nazareth to Bethlehem - as Luke says - "for the estimation" (Luke 2:4–5). This is what the genealogical register of Luke's Gospel tells us.

The other pair of parents, who did not originally live in Nazareth - one only has to take the Gospels literally - lived in Bethlehem, and this is described to us by the writer of the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:1). The Gospels always tell the truth - there is no need to be clever - and through Anthroposophy people will again come to take the Gospels literally. To this pair of parents of Solomon's line a child is born who is also called Jesus. This child also has a powerful individuality within its body. But this child first had another task - the wisdom of the world is profound - this child was not to be called to deliver the youthful powers to the astral mother's womb, but it was called to bring to humanity that which one can only bring if one is a mature soul. This child was so guided by all the forces that came into consideration that it could be the embodiment of that individuality which once taught Ahura Mazdao in Persia, which once could give up its astral body to Hermes and its etheric body to Moses and which reappeared as the great teacher of Pythagoras, as Zarathas or Nazarathos, the great teacher in ancient Chaldea: it is no other individuality than the individuality of Zarathustra. The I of Zarathustra was re-embodied in the child of whom Matthew the Evangelist tells us that he was born of a pair of parents, Joseph and Mary, who came from the royal line, from the Solomonic line of the Davidic family, and who originally lived in Bethlehem.

Thus we find in Matthew one part of the truth, in Luke the other part of the truth. Literally we must take both, for the truth of the world is complicated.“ (Lit.:GA 114, p. 92f)

Rudolf Steiner was well aware that at first glance his statements about the two Jesus boys could appear not only perplexing and disconcerting, but even offensive:

„Especially offensive to many people is what spiritual science has to say about the Christ Being. And yet this too is only based on a misunderstanding. If, for example, someone says that spiritual science maintains that Jesus did not mature into the Christ from a young age under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but that in the first thirty years of his life he only prepared the bodily shell into which the Christ settled at his baptism by John, he distorts the results of spiritual science on this point. Spiritual science investigates what actually happened through John's baptism, which, according to the Bible, is undoubtedly an important event in the life of Jesus. (There are translators of the Gospel who reproduce the important passage in Luke: "This is my much beloved Son; today I have begotten him".[1]) And this research finds that the Christ-Spirit, which guided Jesus of Nazareth until his thirtieth year as if from without, then moved into the innermost part of his being in that year. Biblical research in the future will certainly recognise that on this very point the Gospel, too, does not prove the opponents of spiritual science right, but this one.“ (Lit.:GA 35, p. 167f)

A closer look reveals very clearly that two very different birth narratives are given in the Gospels. The birth narrative in the Gospel of Matthew differs significantly from that of the Gospel of Luke; moreover, the genealogies given in both Gospels - which were usually very conscientiously maintained in Jewish culture - are also significantly different.

Furthermore, the Gospel of Matthew tells of the visit of the Magi from the East led by the Star of Bethlehem and of the infanticide ordered by Herod the Great (* around 73 BC; † probably in March 4 BC in Jericho), from which the Solomonian Jesus could only be saved by flight into Egypt. The Star of Bethlehem is associated, among several other astronomical-astrological interpretations, with a great conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces, which took place in the years 7 to 6 BC. The historical and astronomical evidence suggests that the Solomonic Jesus was born well before the turn of the times.

A similar narrative is not found in the Gospel of Luke. According to Rudolf Steiner, the boy Jesus of Luke's Gospel, the Nathanian Jesus, was born some time after the Solomonic Jesus, when the Bethlehemite infanticide was already over.

Already in early Christianity the inconsistencies in the birth stories were noticed and discussed, for example by the Church Fathers Ignatius of Antioch (2nd century), Irenaeus of Lyons (135-202) and Justin the Martyr (100-165), but the sources are too uncertain to allow a clear interpretation. Since the problem seemed unsolvable from a theological point of view, it was decided to ascribe a merely symbolic meaning to the two genealogies.[2] 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 make hypotheses about this. What matters to both evangelists is not the individual names, but the symbolic structure in which Jesus' place in history is presented...“[3]

In fact, however, there are other biblical and extra-biblical sources besides the Gospels that indicate that there was a twofold expectation of the Messiah in Judaism. In the Old Testament, for example, Zech 4:1–14 speaks of a lampstand consisting of a golden bowl and seven oil lamps, surmounted by two olive trees standing to the left and right of the bowl. An Angel instructs Zechariah that these are the two anointed ones who stand before the Lord of all the Earth:

„1 And the angel who talked with me came again and woke me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep. 2 And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. 3 And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” 4 And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” 5 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” 6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. 7 Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” 8 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. 10 For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. “These seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range through the whole earth.” 11 Then I said to him, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the lampstand?” 12 And a second time I answered and said to him, “What are these two branches of the olive trees, which are beside the two golden pipes from which the golden oil[1] is poured out?” 13 He said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” 14 Then he said, “These are the two anointed ones[2] who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”“

The Qumran community rule also speaks of two Messiahs[4][5]: "... and they (the men of the community) will be judged by the former laws by which the men of the community began to submit to chastening until the coming of a prophet and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel"[6]. The basis for this is the saying of Balaam in Numbers 24:17:

„13 ‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will. What the Lord speaks, that will I speak’? 14 And now, behold, I am going to my people. Come, I will let you know what this people will do to your people in the latter days.” 15 And he took up his discourse and said, “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened, 16 the oracle of him who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down with his eyes uncovered: 17 I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Seth.“

Gospel of Matthew

„1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. 12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.“

Gospel of Luke

„23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.“

If one wants to take the Gospels seriously and not just take them for imaginative poetry, there is at least a certain need for explanation here. Rudolf Steiner's account may seem very complex and confusing in detail - but this is perhaps hardly surprising, since we are dealing here with the most central events in the development of humanity, which are not so easy to grasp in all their depth.

The two Jesus boys: The Twelve-Year-Old Jesus in the Temple, School of Borgognone (c. 1450-1523), Tesoro di Sant'Ambrogio (Milan)

Rudolf Steiner sums it up succinctly like this:

„First 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 Solomonic line of the same house. These two boys were not born at quite the same time, but approximately. In the boy Jesus of Solomon, whom the Gospel of Matthew describes, the same individuality incarnated that had formerly lived on earth as Zarathustra, so that in this child Jesus 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 Buddha-dignity during his time on earth, in his twenty-ninth year.

Asita, the great Indian sage, when the Gotama Buddha was a small child, came to the royal palace of the Buddha's father weeping. 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 had 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.“ (Lit.:GA 15, p. 74ff)


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: URL:
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 - 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. Carl Heinrich von Weizsäcker: Das Neue Testament, Verlag von J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), Tübingen 1904, p. 65; cf. Luke 3:21–22
  2. Elsbeth Weymann: Zwei Jesusknaben und die Zweifache Messias-Erwartung in Qumran, Berlin 2013, p. 1 online
  3. Benedikt XVI.: Jesus von Nazareth: Prolog - Die Kindheitsgeschichten. Verlag Herder. Kindle-Version. p. 19
  4. 1QS IX, 11
  5. Sung-Ho Park, S. 160 google