Theosophical University Press Online Edition
The word Chrestos existed ages before Christianity was heard of. It is found used, from the fifth century B.C., by Herodotus, by Aeschylus and other classical Greek writers, the meaning of it being applied to both things and persons.
Thus in Aeschylus (Cho. 901) we read of pythochresta the "oracles delivered by a Pythian God" (Greek-English Lexicon) through a pythoness; and Pythochrestos is the nominative singular of an adjective derived from chrao (Eurip. Ion, 1218). The later meanings coined freely from this primitive application, are numerous and varied. Pagan classics expressed more than one idea by the verb [chraomai] "consulting an oracle"; for it also means "fated," doomed by an oracle, in the sense of a sacrificial victim to its decree, or — "to the WORD"; as chresterion is not only "the seat of an oracle" but also "an offering to, or for, the oracle.'' (18) Chrestes is one who expounds or explains oracles, "a prophet, a soothsayer;" (19) and chresterios is one who belongs to, or is in the service of, an oracle, a god, or a "Master" (20); this Canon Farrar's efforts notwithstanding.(21)
All this is evidence that the terms Christ and Christians, spelt originally Chrest and Chrestians [chrestianoi] (22) were directly borrowed from the Temple terminology of the Pagans, and meant the same thing. The God of the Jews was now substituted for the Oracle and the other gods; the generic designation "Chrestos" became a noun applied to one special personage; and new terms such as Chrestianoi and Chrestodoulos "a follower or servant of Chrestos" — were coined out of the old material. This is shown by Philo Judaeus, a monotheist, assuredly, using already the same term for monotheistic purposes. For he speaks of theochrestos "God-declared," or one who is declared by god, and of logia theochresta "sayings delivered by God" — which proves that he wrote at a time (between the first century B. C., and the first A. D.) when neither Christians nor Chrestians were yet known under these names, but still called themselves the Nazarenes. The notable difference between the two words [chrao] — "consulting or obtaining response from a god or oracle" (chreo being the Ionic earlier form of it), and chrio "to rub, to anoint" (from which the name Christos), has not prevented the ecclesiastical adoption and coin age from Philo's expression [Theochrestos] of that other term [Theochristos] "anointed by God." Thus the quiet substitution of the letter, [i] for [e] for dogmatic purposes, was achieved in the easiest way, as we now see.
The secular meaning of Chrestos runs throughout the classical Greek literature pari passu with that given to it in the mysteries. Demosthenes' saying [o Chreste] (330, 27), means by it simply "you nice fellow"; Plato (in Phaed. 264 B) has [chrestos ei hoti hegei] — "you are an excellent fellow to think . . ." But in the esoteric phraseology of the temples "chrestos," (23) a word which, like the participle chrestheis, is formed under the same rule, and conveys the same sense — from the verb [chraomai] ("to consult a god") — answers to what we would call an adept, also a high chela, a disciple. It is in this sense that it is used by Euripides (Ion. 1320) and by Aeschylus (l. c.). This qualification was applied to those whom the god, oracle, or any superior had proclaimed this, that, or anything else. An instance may be given in this case.
The words [chresen oikistera] used by Pindar (pp. 4-10) mean "the oracle proclaimed him the colonizer." In this case the genius of the Greek language permits that the man so proclaimed should be called Chrestos. Hence this term was applied to every Disciple recognized by a Master, as also to every good man. Now, the Greek language affords strange etymologies. Christian theology has chosen and decreed that the name Christos should be taken as derived from [chrio, chriso], "anointed with scented unguents or oil." But this word has several significances. It is used by Homer, certainly, as applied to the rubbing with oil of the body after bathing (Il. 23, 186; also in Od., 4, 252) as other ancient writers do. Yet the word Christes means rather a white-washer, while the word Chrestes means priest and prophet, a term far more applicable to Jesus, than that of the "Anointed," since, as Nork shows on the authority of the Gospels, he never was anointed, either as king or priest. In short, there is a deep mystery underlying all this scheme, which, as I maintain, only a thorough knowledge of the Pagan mysteries is capable of unveiling. (24) It is not what the early Fathers, who had an object to achieve, may affirm or deny, that is the important point, but rather what is now the evidence for the real significance given to the two terms Chrestos and Christos by the ancients in the pre-Christian ages. For the latter had no object to achieve, therefore nothing to conceal or disfigure, and their evidence is naturally the more reliable of the two. This evidence can be obtained by first studying the meaning given to these words by the classics, and then their correct significance searched for in mystic symbology.
Now Chrestos, as already said, is a term applied in various senses. It qualifies both Deity and Man. It is used in the former sense in the Gospels, and in Luke (vi., 35), where it means "kind," and "merciful." [chrestos estin epi tous] . . .; in I Peter (ii., 3), where it is said, "Kind is the Lord," [Chrestos o Kurios]. On the other hand, it is explained by Clemens Alexandrinus as simply meaning a good man; i.e., "All who believe in Chrest (a good man) both are, and are called Chrestians, that is good men." (Strom. lib. ii.) The reticence of Clemens, whose Christianity, as King truly remarks in his Gnostics, was no more than a graft upon the congenial stock of his original Platonism, is quite natural. He was an Initiate, a new Platonist, before he became a Christian, which fact, however much he may have fallen off from his earlier views, could not exonerate him from his pledge of secrecy. And as a Theosophist and a Gnostic, one who knew, Clemens must have known that Christos was "the WAY," while Chrestos was the lonely traveler journeying on to reach the ultimate goal through that "Path," which goal was Christos, the glorified Spirit of "TRUTH," the reunion with which makes the soul (the Son) ONE with the (Father) Spirit. That Paul knew it, is certain, for his own expressions prove it. For what do the words [palin odino, achris ou morphothei Christos], or as given in the authorized translations, "I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you" mean, but what we give in its esoteric rendering, i.e., "until you find the Christos within yourselves as your only 'way'." (Vide Galatians iv., 19 and 20.)
Thus Jesus, whether of Nazareth or Lud (25), was a Chrestos, as undeniably as that he never was entitled to the appellation of Christos, during his life-time and before his last trial. It may have been as Higgins thinks, who surmises that the first name of Jesus was, perhaps, [chreistos], the second, [chrestos], and the third [christos]. "The word [chreistos] was in use before the H (cap. eta) was in the language." But Taylor (in his answer to Pye Smith, p. 113) is quoted saying "The complimentary epithet Chrest . . . . signified nothing more than a good man."
Here again a number of ancient writers may be brought for ward to testify that Christos (or Chreistos, rather) was, along with [chrestos] = Chrestos, an adjective applied to Gentiles before the Christian era. In Philopatris it is said [ei tuchoi chrestos kai en ethnesin], i.e., "if chrestos chance to be even among the Gentiles," etc.
Tertullian denounces in the 3rd chapter of his Apologia the word "Christianus" as derived by "crafty interpretation" (26); Dr. Jones, on the other hand, letting out the information, corroborated by good sources, that "Chrestos ([chrestos]) was the name given to Christ by the Gnostics, and even by unbelievers," assures us that the real name ought to be [christos] or Christos — thus repeating and supporting the original "pious fraud" of the early Fathers, a fraud which led to the carnalizing of the whole Christian system. (27) But I propose to show as much of the real meaning of all these terms as lies within my humble powers and knowledge. Christos, or the "Christ condition," was ever the synonym of the "Mahatmic-condition," i.e., the union of the man with the divine principle in him. As Paul says (Ephes. iii. 17) "[katoikesai ton Christon dia tes pisteos en tais kardiais humon]." "That you may find Christos in your inner man through knowledge" not faith, as translated; for Pistis is "knowledge," as will be shown further on.
There is still another and far more weighty proof that the name Christos is pre-Christian. The evidence for it is found in the prophecy of the Erythrean Sybil. We read it in [IESOUS CHREISTOS THEOU HUIOS SOTER STAUROS]. Read esoterically, this string of meaningless detached nouns, which has no sense to the profane, contains a real prophecy — only not referring to Jesus — and a verse from the mystic catechism of the Initiate. The prophecy relates to the coming down upon the Earth of the Spirit of Truth (Christos), after which advent — that has once more nought to do with Jesus — will begin the Golden Age; the verse refers to the necessity before reaching that blessed condition of inner (or subjective) theophany and theopneusty, to pass through the crucifixion of flesh or matter. Read exoterically, the words "Iesous Chreistos theou yios soter stauros," meaning literally "Iesus, Christos, God, Son, Savior, Cross," are most excellent handles to hang a Christian prophecy on, but they are pagan, not Christian.
If called upon to explain the names IESOUS CHREISTOS, the answer is: study mythology, the so-called "fictions" of the ancients, and they will give you the key. Ponder over Apollo, the solar god, and the "Healer," and the allegory about his son Janus (or Ion), his priest at Delphos, through whom alone could prayers reach the immortal gods, and his other son Asclepios, called the Soter, or Savior. Here is a leaflet from esoteric history written in symbolical phraseology by the old Grecian poets.
The city of Chrisa (28) (now spelt Crisa), was built in memory of Kreusa (or Creusa), daughter of King Erechtheus and mother of Janus (or Ion) by Apollo, in memory of the danger which Janus escaped. (29) We learn that Janus, abandoned by his mother in a grotto "to hide the shame of the virgin who bore a son," was found by Hermes, who brought the infant to Delphi, nurtured him by his father's sanctuary and oracle, where, under the name of Chresis Janus became first a Chrestis (a priest, soothsayer, or Initiate), and then very nearly a Chresterion, "a sacrificial victim," (30) ready to be poisoned by his own mother who knew him not, and who, in her jealousy, mistook him, on the hazy intimation of the oracle, for a son of her husband. He pursued her to the very altar with the intention of killing her — when she was saved through the pythoness, who divulged to both the secret of their relationship. In memory of this narrow escape, Creusa, the mother, built the city of Chrisa, or Krisa. Such is the allegory, and it symbolizes simply the trials of Initiation. (31)
Finding then that Janus, the solar God, and son of Apollo, the Sun, means the "Initiator" and the "Opener of the Gate of Light," or secret wisdom of the mysteries; that he is born from Krisa (esoterically Chris), and that he was a Chrestos through whom spoke the God; that he was finally Ion, the father of the Ionians, and, some say, an aspect of Asclepios, another son of Apollo, it is easy to get hold of the thread of Ariadne in this labyrinth of allegories. It is not the place here to prove side issues in mythology, however. It suffices to show the connection between the mythical characters of hoary antiquity and the later fables that marked the beginning of our era of civilization. Asclepios (Esculapius) was the divine physician, the "Healer," the "Savior," [Soter] as he was called, a title also given to Janus of Delphi; and IASO, the daughter of Asclepios, was the goddess of healing, under whose patronage were all the candidates for initiation in her father's temple, the novices or chrestoi, called "the sons of Iaso." (Vide for name, Plutus, by Aristoph. 701).
Now, if we remember, firstly, that the names of IESUS in their different forms, such as Iasius, Iasion, Jason and Iasus, were very common in ancient Greece, especially among the descendants of Jasius (the Jasides), as also the number of the "sons of Iaso," the Mystoi and future Epoptai (Initiates), why should not the enigmatical words in the Sibylline Book be read in their legitimate light, one that had nought to do with a Christian prophecy? The secret doctrine teaches that the first two words [IESOUS CHREISTOS] mean simply "son of Iaso, a Chrestos," or servant of the oracular God. Indeed IASO is in the Ionic dialect IESO and the expression Iesous — in its archaic form, [IESOUS] — simply means "the son of Iaso or Ieso, the "healer," i.e., [ho Iesous] ([uios]). No objection, assuredly, can be taken to such rendering, or to the name being written Ieso instead of Iaso, since the first form is attic, therefore incorrect, for the name is Ionic. "Ieso" from which "Ho Iesous" (son of Ieso) — i.e., a genitive, not a nominative — is Ionic and cannot be anything else, if the age of the Sibylline book is taken into consideration. Nor could the Sibyl of Erythrea have spelt it originally otherwise, as Erythrea, her very residence, was a town in Ionia (from Ion or Janus) opposite Chios; and that the Ionic preceded the attic form.
Leaving aside in this case the mystical signification of the now famous Sibylline sentence, and giving its literal interpretation only, on the authority of all that has been said, the hitherto mysterious words would stand; "Son of IASO, CHRESTOS (the priest or servant) (of the) SON of (the) GOD (Apollo) the SAVIOR from the CROSS" — (of flesh or matter). (32) Truly, Christianity can never hope to be understood until every trace of dogmatism is swept away from it, and the dead letter sacrificed to the eternal Spirit of Truth, which is Horus, which is Crishna, which is Buddha, as much as it is the Gnostic Christos and the true Christ of Paul.
In the Travels of Dr. Clarke, the author describes a heathen monument found by him.
Within the sanctuary, behind the altar, we saw the fragments of a marble cathedra, upon the back of which we found the following inscription, exactly as it is here written, no part of it having been injured or obliterated, affording perhaps the only instance known of a sepulchral inscription upon a monument of this remarkable form.
The inscription ran thus: [CHRESTOS PROTOS THESSALOS LARISSAIOS PELASGIOTES ETON IH]; or, "Chrestos, the first, a Thessalonian from Larissa, Pelasgiot 18 years old Hero." Chrestos the first (protos), why? Read literally the inscription has little sense; interpreted esoterically, it is pregnant with meaning. As Dr. Clarke shows, the word Chrestos is found on the epitaphs of almost all the ancient Larissians; but it is preceded always by a proper name. Had the adjective Chrestos stood after a name, it would only mean "a good man," a posthumous compliment paid to the defunct, the same being often found on our modern tumular epitaphs. But the word Chrestos, standing alone and the other word, "protos," following it, gives it quite another meaning, especially when the deceased is specified as a "hero." To the mind of an Occultist, the defunct was a neophyte, who had died in his 18th year of neophytism (33), and stood in the first or highest class of discipleship, having passed his preliminary trials as a "hero"; but had died before the last mystery, which would have made of him a "Christos," an anointed, one with the spirit of Christos or Truth in him. He had not reached the end of the "Way," though he had heroically conquered the horrors of the preliminary theurgic trials.
We are quite warranted in reading it in this manner, after learning the place where Dr. Clarke discovered the tablet, which was, as Godfrey Higgins remarks, there, where "I should expect to find it, at Delphi, in the temple of the God IE," who, with the Christians became Jah, or Jehovah, one with Christ Jesus. It was at the foot of Parnassus, in a gymnasium, "adjoining the Castalian fountain, which flowed by the ruins of Crisa, probably the town called Crestona," etc. And again: "In the first part of its course from the (Castalian) fountain, it (the river) separates the remains of the gymnasium . . . from the valley of Castro," as it probably did from the old city of Delphi — the seat of the great oracle of Apollo, of the town of Krisa (or Kreusa) the great center of initiations and of the Chrestoi of the decrees of the oracles, where the candidates for the last labor were anointed with sacred oils (34) before being plunged into their last trance of forty-nine hours' duration (as to this day, in the East), from which they arose as glorified adepts or Christoi."
In the Clementine Recognitions it is announced that the father anointed his son with "oil that was taken from the wood of the Tree of Life, and from this anointing he is called the Christ": whence the Christian name. This again is Egyptian. Horus was the anointed son of the father. The mode of anointing him from the Tree of Life, portrayed on the monuments, is very primitive indeed; and the Horus of Egypt was continued in the Gnostic Christ, who is reproduced upon the Gnostic stones as the intermediate link betwixt the Karest and the Christ, also as the Horus of both sexes. ("The name and nature of the Christ." — Gerald Massey )
Mr. G. Massey connects the Greek Christos or Christ with the Egyptian Karest, the "mummy type of immortality," and proves it very thoroughly. He begins by saying that in Egyptian the "Word of Truth" is Ma-Kheru, and that it is the title of Horus. Thus as he shows, Horus preceded Christ as the Messenger of the Word of Truth, the Logos or the manifestor of the divine nature in humanity. In the same paper he writes as follows:
The Gnosis had three phases — astronomical, spiritual, and doctrinal, and all three can be identified with the Christ of Egypt. In the astronomical phase the constellation Orion is called the Sahu or mummy. The soul of Horus was represented as rising from the dead and ascending to heaven in the stars of Orion. The mummy-image was the preserved one, the saved, therefore a portrait of the Savior, as a type of immortality. This was the figure of a dead man, which, as Plutarch and Herodotus tell us, was carried round at an Egyptian banquet, when the guests were invited to look on it and eat and drink and be happy, because, when they died, they would become what the image symbolized — that is, they also would be immortal! This type of immortality was called the Karest, or Karust, and it was the Egyptian Christ. To Kares means to embalm, anoint, to make the Mummy as a type of the eternal; and, when made, it was called the Karest; so that this is not merely a matter of name for name, the Karest for the Christ.
This image of the Karest was bound up in a woof without a seam, the proper vesture of the Christ! No matter what the length of the bandage might be, and some of the mummy-swathes have been unwound that were 1,000 yards in length, the woof was from beginning to end without a seam. . . . Now, this seamless robe of the Egyptian Karest is a very tell-tale type of the mystical Christ, who becomes historic in the Gospels as the wearer of a coat or chiton, made without a seam, which neither the Greek nor the Hebrew fully explains, but which is explained by the Egyptian Ketu for the woof, and by the seamless robe or swathing without seam that was made for eternal wear, and worn by the Mummy-Christ, the image of immortality in the tombs of Egypt.
Further, Jesus is put to death in accordance with the instructions given for making the Karest. Not a bone must be broken. The true Karest must be perfect in every member. "This is he who comes out sound; whom men know not is his name."
In the Gospels Jesus rises again with every member sound, like the perfectly-preserved Karest, to demonstrate the physical resurrection of the mummy. But, in the Egyptian original, the mummy transforms. The deceased says: "I am spiritualized. I am become a soul. I rise as a God." This transformation into the spiritual image, the Ka, has been omitted in the Gospel.
This spelling of the name as Chrest or Chrest in Latin is supremely important, because it enables me to prove the identity with the Egyptian Karest or Karust, the name of the Christ as the embalmed mummy, which was the image of the resurrection in Egyptian tombs, the type of immortality, the likeness of the Horus, who rose again and made the pathway out of the sepulcher for those who were his disciples or followers. Moreover, this type of the Karest or Mummy-Christ is reproduced in the Catacombs of Rome. No representation of the supposed historic resurrection of Jesus has been found on any of the early Christian monuments. But, instead of the missing fact, we find the scene of Lazarus being raised from the dead. This is depicted over and over again as the typical resurrection where there is no real one! The scene is not exactly in accordance with the rising from the grave in the Gospel. It is purely Egyptian, and Lazarus is an Egyptian mummy! Thus Lazarus, in each representation, is the mummy-type of the resurrection; Lazarus is the Karest, who was the Egyptian Christ, and who is reproduced by Gnostic art in the Catacombs of Rome as a form of the Gnostic Christ, who was not and could not become an historical character.
Further, as the thing is Egyptian, it is probable that the name is derived from Egyptian. If so, Laz (equal to Ras) means to be raised up, while aru is the mummy by name. With the Greek terminal s this becomes Lazarus. In the course of humanizing the mythos the typical representation of the resurrection found in the tombs of Rome and Egypt would become the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. This Karest type of the Christ in the Catacombs is not limited to Lazarus.
By means of the Karest type the Christ and the Christians can both be traced in the ancient tombs of Egypt. The mummy was made in this likeness of the Christ. It was the Christ by name, identical with the Chrestoi of the Greek Inscriptions. Thus the honored dead, who rose again as the followers of Horus-Makheru, the Word of Truth, are found to be the Christians, on the Egyptian monuments. Ma-Kheru is the term that is always applied to the faithful ones who win the crown of life and wear it at the festival which is designated 'Come thou to me' — an invitation by Horus the Justifier to those who are the 'Blessed ones of his father, Osiris' — they who, having made the Word of Truth the law of their lives, were the Justified — [hoi chrestoi], the Christians, on earth.
In a fifth century representation of the Madonna and child from the cemetery of St. Valentinus, the new-born babe lying in a box or crib is also the Karest, or mummy-type, further identified as the divine babe of the solar mythos by the disk of the sun and the cross of the equinox at the back of the infant's head. Thus the child-Christ of the historic faith is born, and visibly begins in the Karest image of the dead Christ, which was the mummy-type of the resurrection in Egypt for thousands of years before the Christian era. This doubles the proof that the Christ of the Christian Catacombs was a survival of the Karest of Egypt.
Moreover, as Didron shows, there was a portrait of the Christ who had his body painted red! (35) It was a popular tradition that the Christ was of a red complexion. This, too, may be explained as a survival of the Mummy-Christ. It was an aboriginal mode of rendering things tapu by coloring them red. The dead corpse was coated with red ochre — a very primitive mode of making the mummy, or the anointed one. Thus the God Ptah tells Rameses II that he has "re-fashioned his flesh in vermilion." This anointing with red ochre is called Kura by the Maori, who likewise made the Karest or Christ.
We see the mummy-image continued on another line of descent when we learn that among other pernicious heresies and deadly sins with which the Knights Templars were charged, was the impious custom of adoring a Mummy that had red eyes. Their Idol, called Baphomet, is also thought to have been a mummy. . . . The Mummy was the earliest human image of the Christ.
I do not doubt that the ancient Roman festivals called the Charistia were connected in their origin with the Karest and the Eucharist as a celebration in honor of the manes of their departed kith and kin, for whose sakes they became reconciled at the friendly gathering once a year. It is here, then, we have to seek the essential connection between the Egyptian Christ, the Christians, and the Roman Catacombs. These Christian Mysteries, ignorantly explained to be inexplicable, can be explained by Gnosticism and Mythology, but in no other way. It is not that they are insoluble by human reason, as their incompetent, howsoever highly paid, expounders now-a-days pretend. That is but the puerile apology of the unqualified for their own helpless ignorance — they who have never been in possession of the gnosis or science of the Mysteries by which alone these things can be explained in accordance with their natural genesis. In Egypt only can we read the matter to the root, or identify the origin of the Christ by nature and by name, to find at last that the Christ was the Mummy-type, and that our Christology is mummified mythology." — Agnostic Annual
The above is an explanation on purely scientific evidence, but, perhaps, a little too materialistic, just because of that science, notwithstanding that the author is a well-known Spiritualist. Occultism pure and simple finds the same mystic elements in the Christian as in other faiths, though it rejects as emphatically its dogmatic and historic character. It is a fact that in the terms [Iesous ho Christos] (See Acts v. 42, ix. 34; I Corinth. iii. 11, etc.), the article [ho] designating "Christos," proves it simply a surname, like that of Phocion, who is referred to as [Phokion ho chrestos] (Plut. v.). Still, the personage (Jesus) so addressed — whenever he lived — was a great Initiate and a "Son of God."
For, we say it again, the surname Christos is based on, and the story of the Crucifixion derived from, events that preceded it. Everywhere, in India as in Egypt, in Chaldea as in Greece, all these legends were built upon one and the same primitive type; the voluntary sacrifice of the logoi — the rays of the one LOGOS, the direct manifested emanation from the One ever-concealed Infinite and Unknown — whose rays incarnated in mankind. They consented to fall into matter, and are, therefore, called the "Fallen Ones." This is one of those great mysteries which can hardly be touched upon in a magazine article, but shall be noticed in a separate work of mine, The Secret Doctrine, very fully.
Having said so much, a few more facts may be added to the etymology of the two terms. [Christos] being the verbal adjective in Greek of [chrio] "to be rubbed on," as ointment or salve, and the word being finally brought to mean "the Anointed One," in Christian theology; and Kri, in Sanskrit, the first syllable in the name of Krishna, meaning "to pour out, or rub over, to cover with," (36) among many other things, this may lead one as easily to make of Krishna, "the anointed one." Christian philologists try to limit the meaning of Krishna's name to its derivation from Krish, "black"; but if the analogy and comparison of the Sanskrit with the Greek roots contained in the names of Chrestos, Christos, and Chrishna, are analyzed more carefully, it will be found that they are all of the same origin. (37)
"In Bockh's Christian Inscriptions, numbering 1287, there is no single instance of an earlier date than the third century, wherein the name is not written Chrest or Chreist." "The Name and Nature of the Christ," by G. Massey, The Agnostic Annual.)
Yet none of these names can be unriddled, as some Orientalists imagine, merely with the help of astronomy and the knowledge of zodiacal signs in conjunction with phallic symbols. Because, while the sidereal symbols of the mystic characters or personifications in Puranas or Bible, fulfill astronomical functions, their spiritual anti-types rule invisibly, but very effectively, the world. They exist as abstractions on the higher plane, as manifested ideas on the astral, and become males, females and androgyne powers on this lower plane of ours. Scorpio, as Chrestos-Meshiac, and Leo, as Christos-Messiah antedated by far the Christian era in the trials and triumphs of Initiation during the Mysteries, Scorpio standing as symbol for the latter, Leo for the glorified triumph of the "sun" of truth. The mystic philosophy of the allegory is well understood by the author of the Source of Measures; who writes:
One (Chrestos) causing himself to go down into the pit (of Scorpio, or incarnation in the womb) for the salvation of the world; this was the Sun, shorn of his golden rays, and crowned with blackened (38) ones (symbolizing this loss) as the thorns; the other was the triumphant Messiah, mounted up to the summit of the arch of heaven, personated as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. In both instances he had the Cross; once in humiliation (as the son of copulation), and once holding it in his control, as the law of creation, he being Jehovah —
in the scheme of the authors of dogmatic Christianity. For, as the same author shows further, John, Jesus and even Apollonius of Tyana were but epitomizers of the history of the Sun "under differences of aspect or condition." (39) The explanation, he says,
is simple enough, when it is considered that the names Jesus, Hebrew [JSH] and Apollonius, or Apollo, are alike names of the Sun in the heavens, and, necessarily, the history of the one, as to his travels through the signs, with the personifications of his sufferings, triumphs and miracles, could be but the history of the other, where there was a wide-spread, common method of describing those travels by personification.
The fact that the Secular Church was founded by Constantine, and that it was a part of his decree "that the venerable day of the Sun should be the day set apart for the worship of Jesus Christ as Sun-day," shows that they knew well in that "Secular Church" "that the allegory rested upon an astronomical basis," as the author affirms. Yet, again, the circumstance that both Puranas and Bible are full of solar and astronomical allegories, does not militate against that other fact that all such scriptures in addition to these two are closed books to the scholars "having authority." (!) Nor does it affect that other truth, that all those systems are not the work of mortal man, nor are they his invention in their origin and basis.
Thus "Christos," under whatever name, means more than Karest, a mummy, or even the "anointed" and the elect of theology. Both of the latter apply to Chrestos, the man of sorrow and tribulation, in his physical, mental, and psychic conditions, and both relate to the Hebrew Mashiac (from whence Messiah) condition, as the word is etymologized (40) by Fuerst, and the author of The Source of Measures, p. 255. Christos is the crown of glory of the suffering Chrestos of the mysteries, as of the candidate to the final UNION, of whatever race and creed. To the true follower of the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, it matters little, therefore, whether Jesus, as man and Chrestos, lived during the era called Christian, or before, or never lived at all. The Adepts, who lived and died for humanity, have existed in many and all the ages, and many were the good and holy men in antiquity who bore the surname or title of Chrestos before Jesus of Nazareth, otherwise Jesus (or Jehoshua) Ben Pandira was born. (41) Therefore, one may be permitted to conclude, with good reason, that Jesus, or Jehoshua, was like Socrates, like Phocian, like Theodorus, and so many others surnamed Chrestos, i.e., the "good, the excellent," the gentle, and the holy Initiate, who showed the "way" to the Christos condition, and thus became himself "the Way" in the hearts of his enthusiastic admirers. The Christians, as all the "Hero-worshippers" have tried to throw into the background all the other Chrestoi, who have appeared to them as rivals of their Man-God. But if the voice of the MYSTERIES has become silent for many ages in the West, if Eleusis, Memphis, Antium, Delphi, and Cresa have long ago been made the tombs of a Science once as colossal in the West as it is yet in the East, there are successors now being prepared for them. We are in 1887 and the nineteenth century is close to its death. The twentieth century has strange developments in store for humanity, and may even be the last of its name.
18. The word [chreon] is explained by Herodotus (7,11,7,) as that which an oracle declares, and [to chreon] is given by Plutarch (Nich. 14.) as "fate," "necessity." Vide Herodotus, 7, 215; 5, 108; and Sophocles, Phil. 437. (return to text)
19. See Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon. (return to text)
20. Hence of a Guru, "a teacher," and chela, a "disciple," in their mutual relations. (return to text)
21. In his recent work — The Early Days of Christianity, Canon Farrar remarks: — "Some have supposed a pleasant play of words founded on it, as . . . . between Chrestos ('sweet' Ps. xxx., iv., 8) and Christos (Christ)," (I. p. 158, footnote). But there is nothing to suppose, since it began by a "play of words," indeed. The name Christus was not "distorted into Chrestus," as the learned author would make his readers believe (p. 19), but it was the adjective and noun Chrestos which became distorted into Christus, and applied to Jesus. In a footnote on the word "Chrestian," occurring in the First Epistle of Peter (chap. iv., 16), in which in the revised later MSS. the word was changed into Christian, Canon Farrar remarks again, "Perhaps we should read the ignorant heathen distortion, Chrestian." Most decidedly we should; for the eloquent writer should remember his Master's command to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. His dislike notwithstanding, Mr. Farrar is obliged to admit that the name Christian was first INVENTED, by the sneering, mocking Antiochians, as early as A.D. 44, but had not come into general use before the persecution by Nero. "Tacitus," he says, "uses the word Christians with something of apology. It is well known that in the N. T. it only occurs three times, and always involves a hostile sense (Acts xi. 26, xxvi. 28 as it does in iv. 16)." It was not Claudius alone who looked with alarm and suspicion on the Christians, so nicknamed in derision for their carnalizing a subjective principle or attribute, but all the pagan nations. For Tacitus, speaking of those whom the masses called "Christians," describes them as a set of men detested for their enormities and crimes. No wonder, for history repeats itself. There are, no doubt, thousands of noble, sincere, and virtuous Christian-born men and women now. But we have only to look at the viciousness of Christian "heathen" converts; at the morality of those proselytes in India, whom the missionaries themselves decline to take into their service, to draw a parallel between the converts of 1800 years ago, and the modern heathens "touched by grace." (return to text)
22. Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Lactantius, Clemens Alexandrinus, and others spelt it in this way. (return to text)
23. Vide Liddell and Scott's Greek and English Lexicon. Chrestos is really one who is continually warned, advised, guided, whether by oracle or prophet. Mr. G. Massey is not correct in saying that " . . . . The Gnostic form of the name Chrest, or Chrestos, denotes the Good God, not a human original," for it denoted the latter, i.e., a good, holy man; but he is quite right when he adds that "Chrestianus signifies . . . . 'Sweetness and Light'." 'The Chrestoi, as the Good People, were pre-extant. Numerous Greek inscriptions show that the departed, the hero, the saintly one — that is, the 'Good' — was styled Chrestos, or the Christ; and from this meaning of the 'Good' does Justin, the primal apologist, derive the Christian name. This identifies it with the Gnostic source, and with the 'Good God' who revealed himself according to Marcion — that is, the Un-Nefer or Good-opener of the Egyptian theology." — (Agnostic Annual.) (return to text)
24. Again I must bring forward what Mr. G. Massey says (whom I quote repeatedly because he has studied this subject so thoroughly and so conscientiously).
"My contention, or rather explanation," he says, "is that the author of the Christian name is the Mummy-Christ of Egypt, called the Karest, which was a type of the immortal spirit in man, the Christ within (as Paul has it), the divine offspring incarnated, the Logos, the Word of Truth, the Makheru of Egypt. It did not originate as a mere type! The preserved mummy was the dead body of any one that was Karest, or mummified, to be kept by the living; and, through constant repetition, this became a type of the resurrection from (not of!) the dead." See the explanation of this further on. (return to text)
25. Or Lydda. Reference is made here to the Rabbinical tradition in the Babylonian Gemara, called Sepher Toledoth Jeshu, about Jesus being the son of one named Pandira, and having lived a century earlier than the era called Christian, namely, during the reign of the Jewish king Alexander Jannaeus and his wife Salome, who reigned from the year 106 to 79 B.C. Accused by the Jews of having learned the magic art in Egypt, and of having stolen from the Holy of Holies the Incommunicable Name, Jehoshua (Jesus) was put to death by the Sanhedrin at Lud. He was stoned and then crucified on a tree, on the eve of Passover. The narrative is ascribed to the Talmudistic authors of Sota and Sanhedrin, p. 19, Book of Zechiel. See Isis Unveiled, II. 201; Arnobius, Adv. Gentes, I, 43; Eliphas Levi's Science des Esprits, and "The Historical Jesus and Mythical Christ," a lecture by G. Massey. (return to text)
26. "Christianus quantum interpretatione de unctione deducitas. Sed ut cum preferam Chrestianus pronunciatus a vobis (nam nec nominis certa est notitia penes vos) de suavitate vel benignitate compositum est." Canon Farrar makes a great effort to show such lapsus calami by various Fathers as the results of disgust and fear. "There can be little doubt," he says (in the Early Days of Christianity) "that the . . . . name Christian . . . . was a nick-name due to the wit of the Antiochians . . . . It is clear that the sacred writers avoided the name (Christians) because it was employed by their enemies (Tac. Ann. xv. 44). It only became familiar when the virtues of Christians had shed luster upon it " This is a very lame excuse, and a poor explanation to give for so eminent a thinker as Canon Farrar. As to the "virtues of Christians" ever shedding luster upon the name, let us hope that the writer had in his mind's eye neither Bishop Cyril, of Alexandria, nor Eusebius, nor the Emperor Constantine, of murderous fame, nor yet the Popes Borgia and the Holy Inquisition. (return to text)
27. Quoted by G. Higgins. (See Vol. I., pp. 569-573.) (return to text)
28. In the days of Homer, we find this city, once celebrated for its mysteries, the chief seat of Initiation and the name of Chrestos used as a title during the mysteries. It is mentioned in the Iliad. ii., 520 as "Krisa." Dr. Clarke suspected its ruins under the present site of Krestona, a small town, or village rather, in Phocis, near the Crissaean Bay. (See E. D. Clarke, 4th ed., Vol. viii, p. 239, "Delphi.") (return to text)
29. The root of Chrestos and Chrestos is one and the same; [chrao] which means "consulting the oracle," in one sense, but in another one "consecrated," set apart, belonging to some temple, or oracle, or devoted to oracular services. On the other hand, the word [chre (chreo)] means "obligation," a "bond, duty," or one who is under the obligation of pledges, or vows taken. (return to text)
30. The adjective [chrestos] was also used as an adjective before proper names as a compliment, as in Plat. Theaet, p. 166A, "[Houtos ho Sokrates ho chrestos]"; (here Socrates is the Chrestos), and also as a surname, as shown by Plutarch (V. Phocion), who wonders how such a rough and dull fellow as Phocion could be surnamed Chrestos. (return to text)
31. There are strange features, quite suggestive, for an Occultist, in the myth (if one) of Janus. Some make of him the personification of Kosmos, others, of Coelus (heaven), hence he is "two-faced" because of his two characters of spirit and matter; and he is not only "Janus Bifrons" (two-faced), but also Quadrifrons — the perfect square, the emblem of the Kabbalistic Deity. His temples were built with four equal sides, with a door and three windows on each side. Mythologists explain it as an emblem of the four seasons of the year, and three months in each season, and in all of the twelve months of the year. During the mysteries of Initiation, however, he became the Day-Sun and the Night-Sun. Hence he is often represented with the number 300 in one hand, and in the other 65, or the number of days of the Solar year. Now Chanoch (Kanoch and Enosh in the Bible) is, as may be shown on Kabalistic authority, whether son of Cain, son of Seth, or the son of Methuselah, one and the same personage. As Chanoch (according to Fuerst), "he is the Initiator, Instructor — of the astronomical circle and solar year," as son of Methuselah, who is said to have lived 365 years and been taken to heaven alive, as the representative of the Sun (or God). (See Book of Enoch.) This patriarch has many features in common with Janus, who, exoterically, is Ion but IAO kabalistically, or Jehovah, the "Lord God of Generations," the mysterious Yod, or ONE (a phallic number). For Janus or Ion is also Consivius, a conserendo, because he presided over generations. He is shown giving hospitality to Saturn (Kronos "time"), and is the Initiator of the year, or time divided into 365. (return to text)
32. Stauros became the cross, the instrument of crucifixion, far later, when it began to be represented as a Christian symbol and with the Greek letter T, the Tau. (Luc. Jud. Voc.) Its primitive meaning was phallic, a symbol for the male and female elements; the great serpent of temptation, the body which had to be killed or subdued by the dragon of wisdom, the seven-voweled solar chnouphis or Spirit of Christos of the Gnostics, or, again, Apollo killing Python. (return to text)
33. Even to this day in India, the candidate loses his name and as also in Masonry, his age (monks and nuns also changing their Christian names at their taking the order or veil), and begins counting his years from the day he is accepted a chela and enters upon the cycle of initiations. Thus Saul was "a child of one year," when he began to reign, though a grown-up adult. See 1 Samuel ch. xiii. 1, and Hebrew scrolls, about his initiation by Samuel. (return to text)
34. Demosthenes, De Corona, 313, declares that the candidates for initiation into the Greek mysteries were anointed with oil. So they are now in India, even in the initiation the Yogi mysteries —various ointments or unguents being used. (return to text)
35. Because he is kabalistically the new Adam, the celestial man, and Adam was made of red earth. (return to text)
36. Hence the memorializing of the doctrine during the MYSTERIES. The pure monad, the "god" incarnating and becoming Chrestos, or man, on his trial of life, a series of those trials led him to the crucifixion of flesh, and finally into the Christos condition. (return to text)
37. On the best authority the derivation of the Greek Christos is shown from the Sanskrit root ghrish = "rub"; thus: ghrish-a-mi-to, "to rub," and ghrish-ta-s "flayed, sore." Moreover, Krish, which means in one sense to plough and make furrows, means also to cause pain, "to torture to torment," and ghrsh-ta-s "rubbing"— all these terms relating to Chrestos and Christos conditions. One has to die in Chrestos, i.e., kill one's personality and its passions, to blot out every idea of separateness from one's "Father," the Divine Spirit in man; to become one with the eternal and absolute Life and Light (SAT) before one can reach the glorious state of Christos, the regenerated man, the man in spiritual freedom. (return to text)
38. The Orientalists and Theologians are invited to read over and study the allegory of Visvakarman, the "Omnificent," the Vedic God, the architect of the world, who sacrificed himself to himself or the world, after having offered up all worlds, which are himself, in a "Sarva Madha" (general sacrifice) — and ponder over it. In the Puranic allegory, his daughter Yoga-siddha "Spiritual consciousness," the wife of Surya, the Sun, complains to him of the too great effulgence of her husband; and Visvakarma, in his character of Takshaka, "wood cutter and carpenter," placing the Sun upon his lathe cuts away a part of his brightness. Surya looks, after this, crowned with dark thorns instead of rays, and becomes Vikarttana ("shorn of his rays"). All these names are terms which were used by the candidates when going through the trials of Initiation. The Hierophant-Initiator personated Visvakarman; the
father, and the general artificer of the gods (the adepts on earth), and the candidate — Surya, the Sun, who had to kill all his fiery passions and wear the crown of thorns while crucifying his body before he could rise and be re-born into a new life as the glorified "Light of the World"--Christos. No Orientalist seems to have ever perceived the suggestive analogy, let alone to apply it! (return to text)
39. The author of the Source of Measures thinks that this "serves to explain why it has been that the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, by Philostratus, has been so carefully kept back from translation and popular reading." Those who have studied it in the original have been forced to the comment that either the "Life of Apollonius has been taken from the New Testament, or that New Testament narratives have been taken from the Life of Apollonius, because of the manifest sameness of the means of construction of the narrative." (p. 260). (return to text)
40. "The word shiach, is in Hebrew the same word as a verbal, signifying to go down into the pit. As a noun, place of thorns, pit. The hifil participle of this word is Messiach, or the Greek Messias, Christ, and means "he who causes to go down into the pit" (or hell, in dogmatism). In esoteric philosophy, this going down into the pit has the most mysterious significance. The Spirit "Christos" or rather the "Logos" (read Logoi), is said to "go down into the pit," when it incarnates in flesh, is born as a man. After having robbed the Elohim (or gods) of their secret, the pro-creating "fire of life," the Angels of Light are shown cast down into the pit or abyss of matter, called Hell, or the bottomless pit, by the kind theologians. This, in Cosmogony and Anthropology. During the Mysteries, however, it is the Chrestos, neophyte, (as man), etc., who had to descend into the crypts of Initiation and trials; and finally, during the "Sleep of Siloam" or the final trance condition, during the hours of which the new Initiate has the last and final mysteries of being divulged to him. Hades, Scheol, or Patala, are all one. The same takes place in the East now, as took place 2,000 years ago in the West, during the MYSTERIES. (return to text)
41. Several classics bear testimony to this fact. Lucian, c. 16 says [Phokion ho chrestos], and [Phokion ho epiklen] ([legomenos], surnamed) [chrestos]. In Phaedr. p. 226 E; it is written, "you mean Theodorus the Chrestos." "[Ton chreston legeis Theodoron]." Plutarch shows the same; and [Chrestos] — Chrestus, is the proper name (see the word in Thesaur. Steph.) of an orator and disciple of Herodes Atticus. (return to text)