Feb 132015
 

fountain_tree_of_lifeAt the very end of the New Testament John described the holy of holies that he saw in his vision. There was the throne of God and the Lamb, there was the river of the water of life, and there was the tree of life. The servants of God and the Lamb saw his face and had his name on their foreheads. They stood in a place of perpetual heavenly light, needing neither lamp no sun, and the reigned fore ever (Rev.22.1-5). For the first Christians, this was their vision of heaven.

They were standing in the temple, but not the temple rebuilt by Herod and completed only a few years earlier. They were standing in the temple as it should have been, as it had once been and as they hoped it soon would be, because in their vision they  were standing in the true temple. The temple they knew – or had known, since there is no way of dating this vision – had  neither the heavenly throne nor the tree of life in the holy of holies. Josephus says that at the end of the second temple period, the holy of holies was empty.

In another part of the vision of the temple, John saw the ark (Rev.11.19) which had been lost for centuries. Later tradition remembered it had disappeared in the time of King Josiah, during the temple purges of 623 BCE. It would be restored in the time of the Messiah, along with the other things that had been in the first temple but not in the second: the fire, the menorah, the Spirit and the cherubim. Since the first temple furnishings symbolised the temple teachings, this was saying that the faith of the second temple was very different from the faith of the original temple.

Margaret Barker, The Mother of the Lord

Jan 032011
 

It is recorded that, at the hour of his death, “the veil of the temple was rent in twain” (Mark 15.38); this indicated that a new karmic balance had been established between good and evil when the curtain was lifted from Hell. Then, too, the curtain (or “veil”) was lifted from the “Holy of Holies”.

Now, however, the consequence of this new karmic relationship is this: when the mystery of good and the secret of evil have both become available to human experiential knowledge, goodness gains by being known, while evil loses by being recognised as such. This is the essential difference between good and evil: good gains by being recognised; evil loses when it is recognised.

The most sublime act of cognitive courage occurred when Jesus Christ renounced the “veil of Hell” and (instead of witnessing the life tableau) descended with his whole being into the darkness of the subterranean spheres. That “descent into Hell” was an event that no human speech can describe. There is nothing more unsettling than the disappearance of Jesus Christ into the darkness of the lower spheres, out of sight of he beings watching from the spiritual world.

A breathless expectation was maintained in expectation of either the most triumphant victory or the most disastrous catastrophe. During those days, only one thought and one question filled the whole world of the hierarchies: Will he return? Will he emerge from the abyss? Again, all human speech is powerless to give even the faintest reflection of the cosmic exultation that ensued when the risen Christ reappeared from the darkness of that abyss in the realm of twilight. Cosmic Easter was celebrated in the realms of heaven, a cosmic festival that continues for all time as the archetype of all human festivals on Earth.

Valentin Tomberg, Christ and Sophia (The Mystery of Golgotha)