in the very first remark made by Jesus about John the Baptist, we find him stating that he is "Elias, which was for to come." This assertion, if it is not a later interpolation for the sake of having a prophecy fulfilled, means again that Jesus was a kabalist; unless indeed we have to adopt the doctrine of the French spiritists and suspect him of believing in reincarnation. Except the kabalistic sects of the Essenes, the Nazarenes, the disciples of Simeon Ben Iochai, and Hillel, neither the orthodox Jews, nor the Galileans, believed or knew anything about the doctrine of permutation. And the Sadducees rejected even that of the resurrection.
"But the author of this restitutionis was Mosah, our master,
* See the "Israelite Indeed," vol. ii., p. 238; "Treatise Nazir." f "Epiph. ed. Petar," vol. i., p. 117.
upon whom be peace! Who was the revolutio (transmigration) of Seth and Hebel, that he might cover the nudity of his Father Adam — Primus," says the Kabala. J Thus, Jesus hinting that John was the revolutio, or transmigration of Elias, seems to prove beyond any doubt the school to which he belonged.
Until the present day uninitiated Kabalists and Masons believe permutation to be synonymous with transmigration and metempsychosis. But they are as much mistaken in regard to the doctrine of the true Kabalists as to that of the Buddhists. True, the Sohar says in one place, "All souls are subject to transmigration . . . men do not know the ways of the Holy One, blessed be He; they do not know that they are brought before the tribunal, both before they enter this world and after they quit it," and the Pharisees also held this doctrine, as Josephus shows (Antiquities, xviii. 13). Also the doctrine of Gilgul, held to the strange theory of the "Whirling of the Soul," which taught that the bodies of Jews buried far away from the Holy Land, still preserve a particle of soul which can neither rest nor quit them, until it reaches the soil of the "Promised Land." And this "whirling" process was thought to be accomplished by the soul being conveyed back through an actual evolution of species; transmigrating from the minutest insect up to the largest animal. But this was an exoteric doctrine. We refer the reader to the Kabbala Denudata of Henry Khunrath; his language, however obscure, may yet throw some light upon the subject.
But this doctrine of permutation, or revolutio, must not be understood as a belief in reincarnation. That Moses was considered the transmigration of Abel and Seth, does not imply that the kabalists — those who were initiated at least — believed that the identical spirit of either of Adam's sons reappeared under the corporeal form of Moses. It only shows what was the mode of expression they used when hinting at one of the profoundest mysteries of the Oriental Gnosis, one of the most majestic articles of faith of the Secret Wisdom. It was purposely veiled so as to half conceal and half reveal the truth. It implied that Moses, like certain other god-like men, was believed to have reached the highest of all states on earth: — the rarest of all psychological phenomena, the perfect union of the immortal spirit with the terrestrial duad had occurred. The trinity was complete. A god was incarnate. But how rare such incarnations!
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