THE FIFTH GOSPEL
There is in addition to the above three Chronicles, both a Fourth Chronicle and a fourth book. Here they do not have the same correspondences because they are based, not upon the human memory and principles, but upon the historical "Life of Christ." This book of the "Life of Christ" was first introduced to us by Dr. Steiner who called it the FIFTH GOSPEL. However, Steiner left the impression that this 5th Gospel was generally drawn from the Akashic record, without further distinction. In fact, the 5th Gospel forms a higher fourth chronicle and knowledge of it is very important to the understanding of the spiritual foundations of Christianity.
As is well known, the reason for the universally accepted religious practice of "waking the dead" comes from the occult fact of the dispersal of the etheric body immediately after death. In India, we still see the tradition of placing rice balls around the casket of the deceased in a room that has caged birds. The body is not cremated or buried until the birds, recognizing that the etheric body has fled the corpse, go to the casket and eat of the food placed there. A similar practice in the ancient Mediterranean cultures has a documented historical basis, but practiced with dogs instead of birds.
After death, the etheric body expands and slowly disperses into the etheric sphere over a period of about three days. During this time, like the familiar tales of the drowning man, the entire life-tableau of the deceased person passes before the soul's eye, in a series of pictures in reverse order. A holographic kernel of this life tableau, as eternal moral memory, remains over to accompany the soul into kama-loka or purgatory.
In STUDIES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT Valentin Tomberg explains the source of the distinct life of Christ with an explanation never touched upon by Steiner. He says that Jesus at His death renounced the vision of His life tableau. "He gave it up to humanity" and it later became the content of what the apostles saw in vision during the Pentecost event. This description gives many very important insights.
First, it explains the "source" of the "Life of Christ" that the apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, used to write down their gospel stories. A very strong argument has always been made by critics of the New Testament that how could the apostles write in the gospels about the passion and crucifixion of Christ if they (except John) were admittedly, not present to watch these events? This is a very poignant criticism.
However, at the Pentecost event, when the Holy Spirit descended, the flame, first raised the consciousness of the apostles from a human/angelic level to that of an arch-angelic level. Second, by the light of the flame of the Holy Spirit, the apostles saw in Imaginative vision, the entire life of Christ as reflected in His etheric life tableau, that did not disperse back into the etheric sphere at His crucifixion, but was preserved and "given back to humanity."
For the ordinary man, our etheric body after death, disperses back into the general etheric sphere and our life tableau becomes part of the lower, historical Chronicle. But for the Christ, His etheric life tableau did not disperse back into the etheric sphere and become part of the lower Chronicle . His life tableau was preserved intact and given back to humanity as a separate higher Chronicle, known as the 5th Gospel. The effect of this occult fact serves three important purposes.
First, the 5th Gospel, when shown to the apostles at Pentecost, allowed them to write their separate accounts of the life of Christ without actually being present for such events as the passion and the crucifixion. This explains neatly why there are four different approaches to the life of Christ as reflected in the four gospels. Each apostle, writing with an arch-angelic intelligence, observed and transcribed what was symbolically important to each from their own individual perceptions. This is the real reason why the gospel accounts are all slightly different in account and in events and not all the same as if from one single observer.
Second, the 5th Gospel serves in vision as a source of inspiration to all great saints of Christianity. No person ever become a great saint without first, experiencing very personally a portion of the life of Christ during prayer and meditation, and second, without seeing in Imaginative vision, scenes from the life of Christ as preserved in the 5th Gospel.
For example, the stigmata occurs in great saints only because they have, first, personally experienced the pain of the passion of Christ thru prayer, meditation and spiritual exercises and, second, personally seen in Imaginative vision the scenes of the passion from the 5th Gospel. How do we know this to be true? In her biography, Sister Christian's author relates that,
"One day about noon, she was kneeling in contemplation...she beheld in vision the tabernacle door open and (Christ) issue from it in the form of a radiant youth. In His left hand, he held a garland, in His right hand, a Crown of Thorns, which He graciously presented to her in choice. She choose the Crown of Thorns. Then Jesus laid it lightly upon her brow and she pressed it firmly down. From that instant, she experienced inexpressible pains in her head."
Several days later, the blood from her stigmata began to flow and never stopped again during her lifetime.
Not all saints receive the gift of the stigmata from Christ a did Sister Christian. This is because not all saints decide to experience the passion and crucifixion. For different saints, different parts of the life of Christ are more important for personal and karmic reasons. But all great saints view some portion of the 5th Gospel. Those who write down their experiences are well known to Christianity, such as, St Theresa of Avila, St.John of the Cross, St. Bridget of Sweden, and the Ven. Mary of Agreda, Hildegard of Bingen and the Ven. Sister Emmerich. And there are others who do not write down their vision but simply say, as did St. Joan of Arc, that they have "read from the Book of God."
The last purpose served by the 5th Gospel is reserved for the future. As we discussed above, when the Judgment Day of the Apocalypse arrives, the Book of the Prophets will be opened and viewed before the souls in their Final Judgment. but, whereas the moral truths of the third Chronicle change during the life of each manvantara, the truths of the Book of God never change. What passes over as eternal truths of the human moral history from each of the future Earth, Jupiter, and Venus manvantaras, will change as does human history itself. However, the one time events of the life of Christ will never change and will always serve as the ideal life from which all our human lives will be compared.