That expression, "Ye are gods," which, to our biblical students, is a mere abstraction, has for the kabalists a vital significance. Each immortal spirit that sheds its radiance upon a human being is a god — the Microcosmos of the Macrocosmos, part and parcel of the Unknown God, the First Cause of which it is a direct emanation. It is possessed of all the attributes of its parent source. Among these attributes are omniscience and omnipotence. Endowed with these, but yet unable to fully manifest them while in the body, during which time they are obscured, veiled, limited by the capabilities of physical nature, the thus divinely-inhabited man may tower far above his kind, evince a god-like wisdom, and display deific powers; for while the rest of mortals around him are but overshadowed by their divine SELF, with every chance given to them to become immortal hereafter, but no other security than their personal efforts to win the kingdom of heaven, the so chosen man has already become an immortal while yet on earth. His prize is secured. Henceforth he will live forever in eternal life. Not only he may have "dominion"* over all the works of creation by employing the "excellence" of the Name (the ineffable one) but be higher in this life, not, as Paul is made to say, "a little lower than the angels."+
The ancients never entertained the sacrilegious thought that such perfected entities were incarnations of the One Supreme and for ever invisible God. No such profanation of the awful Majesty entered into their conceptions. Moses and his antitypes and types were to them but complete men, gods on earth, for their gods (divine spirits) had entered unto their hallowed tabernacles, the purified physical bodies. The
* Psalms viii.
f This contradiction, which is attributed to Paul in Hebrews, by making him say of Jesus in chapter i., 4: "Being made so much better than the angels," and then immediately stating in chapter ii. 9, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels," shows how unscrupulously the writings of the apostles, if they ever wrote any, were tampered with.
disembodied spirits of the heroes and sages were termed gods by the ancients. Hence, the accusation of polytheism and idolatry on the part of those who were the first to anthropomorphize the holiest and purest abstractions of their forefathers.
The real and hidden sense of this doctrine was known to all the initiates. The Tanaim imparted it to their elect ones, the Isarim, in the solemn solitudes of crypts and deserted places. It was one of the most esoteric and jealously guarded, for human nature was the same then as it is now, and the sacerdotal caste as confident as now in the supremacy of its knowledge, and ambitious of ascendancy over the weaker masses; with the difference perhaps that its hierophants could prove the legitimacy of their claims and the plausibility of their doctrines, whereas now, believers must be content with blind faith.
While the kabalists called this mysterious and rare occurrence of the union of spirit with the mortal charge entrusted to its care, the "descent of the Angel Gabriel" (the latter being a kind of generic name for it), the Messenger of Life, and the angel Metatron; and while the Nazarenes termed the same Abel-Zivo,* the Delegatus sent by the Lord of Celsitude, it was universally known as the "Anointed Spirit."
Thus it is the acceptation of this doctrine which caused the Gnostics to maintain that Jesus was a man overshadowed by the Christos or Messenger of Life, and that his despairing cry
from the cross "Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani," was wrung from him at the instant when he felt that this inspiring Presence had finally abandoned him, for — as some affirmed — his faith had also abandoned him when on the cross.
The early Nazarenes, who must be numbered among the Gnostic sects, believing that Jesus was a prophet, held, nevertheless, in relation to him the same doctrine of the divine "overshadowing," of certain "men of God," sent for the salvation of nations, and to recall them to the path of righteousness. "The Divine mind is eternal," says the Codex, + "and it is pure light, and poured out through splendid and immense space (pleroma). It is Genetrix of the ^ons. But one of them went to matter (chaos) stirring up confused (turbulentos) movements; and by a certain portion of heavenly light fashioned it, properly constituted for use and appearance, but the beginning of every evil. The Demiurge (of matter) claimed divine honor.} Therefore Christus ("the anointed"), the prince of the ^ons (powers), was sent (expeditus), who taking on the person of a most devout Jew, Iesu, was to conquer him; but who having laid it (the body) aside, departed on high." We will explain further on the full significance of the name Christos and its mystic meaning.
f Ibid., preface, p. v., translated from Norberg.
J "According to the Nazarenes and Gnostics, the Demiurge, the creator of the material world, is not the highest God." (See Dunlap, "Sod, the Son of the Man.")
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