The Tzaddik of the Messiah John the Baptist

Yeshua may have had any number of spiritual teachers, both incarnate and disincarnate. According to all authentic wisdom traditions, all who have attained full self-realization have, to one degree or another, relied upon a spiritual teacher. In the Sophian teachings, it is said that Yeshua had three principle spiritual teachers, though only one was his holy tzaddik," which is to say his true spiritual teacher. One taught him the law,

I I Tzai ik. a Hebrew word literally meaning righteous one, is used to indicate a spiritual adept or master, it is a common term for an elder or tau in the Sophian tradition the prophets, and the contemplative and mystical Kabbalah; another taught him the secrets of the magical Kabbalah. John the Baptist, who was his true holy ' iddik, completed his spiritual education and training and facilitated the initiation through which Yeshua attained Christ consciousness—hence the rite of baptism spoken oi in the Gospels. Yeshua is said to have been the inmost disciple of John the Baptist and part of John's inner circle before becoming Christed. Thus, in Sophian teachings, John the Baptist is more than merely the herald of the Christ-bearer,- he is also the tzaddik of the Messiah—the spiritual teacher or the Anointed One.

The connection between John and Yeshua is said to stem from a previous incarnation. As stated in the Gospels, John was the reinci: nation of the prophet Elijah. According to sages of the tradition, Yeshua was the reincarnation >f the soul or Elisha, the remarkable disciple and protégé of Elijah. 2 Kings relates a fascinating tale of a key event that transpired between Elijah and Elisha. There it is written:

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, 'Tell me what 1 may do for you, before i am taken from you." Elisha said, "Please let me inherent a double share of your spirit." He responded, "You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you,- if not, it will not." As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and cried out. "Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!"12

The promise of a double portion of the spirit of Elijah (Ruach Ha-Elijah) is significant. This is the spirit of the prophets, a "double portion" of which would represent another manifestation of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of Enoch (Ruach Ha-Enoch), which is the spirit of the initiates. Thus, Elishr. requests that the blessing of the spirit of the

prophets and spirit of the initiates rest upon his soul. According to the i«tuition, these two manifestations of the divine Spirit joined together ate the Spirit of the Messiah .Ruach Ha-Messiah). This promise is not fulfilled in the lifetime of Elisha, but is said to be fulfilled in what transpires between John the Baptist and Yeshua—the event of the baptism of Yeshua by John in the River Jordan, in the very place the promise was originally made.

If we wonder at this connection between John and Yeshua, we merely need to consider a passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew, where it is written:

As thev went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: "What did you go into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes. 1 tell you, and more than a orophet. This is the one about whom it is written, 'See, 1 am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' Truly I tell you, among those born O! women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in-the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist imtil now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force For all of the prophets and the law prophesied until John came,- and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen!""

Even- if one were to believe that Yeshua was not the son of Joseph and Mary, but believed in a literal interpretation of the immaculate conception and virgin birth, Yeshua was also born of a woman. Therefore, in effect, Yeshua praises John the Baptist above himself, which is typicai of a disciple speaking of his or her holy tzaddik. Likewise, in

speaking about John as more than a prophet, and openly proclaiming John as the reincarnation of Elijah, he hints at himself as the reinc.ir nation of Elisha, especially if he was at one time known to be a disci. '<• of John. In any case, a very powerful and intimate spiritual connecti n between John and Yeshua is clearly stated, along with clear reference to a doctrine of reincarnation. Thus, even in the canonized Gosp.ls there is clear indication of the mystery of the light-transmission spanning lifetimes and the events of the Gospel as the fruition of things that had previously transpired.

Quite obviously, if John drew great crowds out into the wilderness to see him, like his disciple, Yeshua, he must have offered something more than merely words and a symbolic ritual of purification—he, too, must have displayed the divine presence and power of a realize J individual and worked wonders. Likewise, to his inner circle of disciples, he also must have imparted inner and secret teachings, much of which became integrated and reflected in the teachings of Yeshua.

In the oral tradition among Sophians, it is said that John was given over to the assembly of prophets to be raised and that he was recognized as a Baal Shm." master of the assembly of prophets, at a very young age. Essentially, the soul incarnate as John the Baptist was equal to the soul incarnate as Yeshua, and was equally integral to the divine revelation as Master Yeshua. Indeed! Who else but a very great and powerful soul could serve as the tzaddik of the Messiah and bring about the initiation through which Yeshua became the Anointed One? Because of this, John the Baptist is revered and honored among Sophians as much as Lord Yeshua and others who play a central role in the Mystery drama of the Gospel, such as Mother Mary, Lady Mary Magdalene and St. Lazarus. Though Yeshua becomes the center of divine activity in the revelation of the light-presence and light-continuum, the light-presence was embodied through a matrix of souls, including

14 Literally, ".Master of the Name," specifically the divine name Yahweh and all associated divine names joh.i the Baptist and the circle of disciples that formed around Lord Yeshua.

"This is a very different view of the Christ-bearer and Christos than the picture painted by orthodox theology, which attempts to place Yeshua in a vacuum and make the Christos something isolated to him, thus making an idol out of a man. From a Gnostic perspective, however, Yeshua is a wisdom teacher or sage, a mystic or prophet, a very skilled healer, and a magician. Indeed, he is a light-bearer or Christ-bearer. yet before speaking of a complete unification of the Christ and Christ-bearer, one must first and foremost understand a distinction between .iie Christ-bearer and Christos. Only ii this way is the path to enlightenment as taught and demonstrated by Lcrd Yeshua understood, so that one does not fall into the folly of worshipping a man, however holy and self-realized as God, the All in All. Understanding Yeshua as a holy man, a human being, the story of his life and the events that transpire become a revelation of the path to Christ consciousness. It is a spiritual allegory of the self-realization process in which we are all involved.

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