The Reappearance of the Christ booklet
By Alice A. Bailey
GOD Transcendent, greater, vaster and more inclusive than His created world, is universally recognised and has heen generally emphasised; all faiths can say with Shri Krishna (speaking as God, the Creator) that "having pervaded the whole universe with a figment of Myself, I remain." This God Transcendent has dominated the religious thinking of millions of simple and spiritually minded people down the centuries which have elapsed since humanity began to press forward towards divinity.
Slowly, there is dawning upon the awakening consciousness of humanity, the great paralleling truth of God Immanent--divinely "pervading" all forms, conditioning from within all kingdoms in nature, expressing innate divinity through human beings and--two thousand years ago--portraying the nature of that divine Immanence in the Person of the Christ. Today, as an outcome of this unfolding divine Presence, there is entering into the minds of men everywhere a new concept: that of "Christ in us, the hope of glory." (Col: 1.27.) There is a growing and developing belief that Christ is in us, as He was in the Master Jesus, and this belief will alter world affairs and mankind's entire attitude to life.
The wonder of that life, lived two thousand years ago, is still with us and has lost none of its freshness; it is an eternal inspiration, hope, encouragement and example. The love He demonstrated still holds the thinking world in thrall, even though relatively few have really attempted to demonstrate the same quality of love as He did--a love that leads unerringly to world service, to complete self-forgetfulness and to radiant, magnetic living. The words He spoke were few and simple and all men can understand them, but their significance has been largely lost in the intricate legalities and discussions of St. Paul, and in the lengthy disputation of theological commentators since Christ lived and left us--or apparently left us.
Yet--today Christ is nearer to humanity than at any other time in human history; He is closer than the most aspiring and hopeful disciple knows, and can draw closer still if what is here written is understood and brought to the attention of men everywhere. For Christ belongs to humanity, to the world of men, and not alone to the churches and religious faiths throughout the world.
Around Him--in that High Place on Earth where He has His abiding place--are gathered today all His great Disciples, the Masters of the Wisdom, and all Those liberated Sons of God Who, down the ages, have passed from darkness to Light, from the unreal to the Real, and from death to Immortality. They stand ready to carry out His bidding and to obey Him, the Master of all the Masters and the Teacher alike of Angels and of men. The Exponents and the Representatives of all the world faiths are there waiting, under His guidance, to reveal to all those who today struggle in the maelstrom of world affairs, and who seek to solve the world crisis, that they are not alone. God Transcendent is working through the Christ and the Spiritual Hierarchy to bring relief; God Immanent in all men is standing on the verge of certain stupendous Recognitions.
The great Apostolic Succession of the Knowers of God is poised today for renewed activity--a succession of Those Who have lived on Earth, accepted the fact of God Transcendent, discovered the reality of God Immanent, portrayed in their own lives the divine characteristics of the Christ life and (because They lived on Earth as He did and does) have "entered for us within the veil, leaving us an example that we too should follow His steps" and Theirs. We too belong eventually in that great succession.
The Buddha Himself is standing behind the Christ in humble recognition of the divine task which He is on the verge of consummating, and because of the imminence of that spiritual accomplishment. Not only are all those who are functioning consciously in the Kingdom of God aware of His Plans, but those great spiritual Beings Who live and dwell in the "Father's House," in the "centre where the will of God is known," are also mobilised and organised to assist His work. The spiritual line of succession from the throne of the Ancient of Days down to the humblest disciple (gathered with others at the feet of the Christ) is today focussed on the task of helping humanity.
The great moment for which He has so patiently waited has almost arrived; the "end of the age" to which He referred when speaking to His small group of disciples: "Lo! I am with you all the days even unto the end of the age" has come. Today He stands and waits, knowing that the hour has come when He will "see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied." (Is: LIII: 11.)
Right through the spiritual succession of the Sons of God, there is naught to be seen and felt but expectancy and preparation. "The Hierarchy waits". It has done all that is possible from the angle of the present opportunity. The Christ stands in patient silence, attentive to the effort that will make His work materialise on Earth and enable Him to consummate the effort He made 2000 years ago in Palestine. The Buddha hovers over the planet, ready to play His part if the opportunity is offered to Him by mankind. Everything now depends upon the right action of the men of goodwill.
From the Father's House (the "centre where the will of God is known" or Shamballa of the esotericist) that fiat has gone forth: The hour has come. From the Kingdom of God where reigns the Christ, the answer has been flung back: "Father, Thy will be done." Down in our struggling, bewildered, unhappy world of men, the cry is ceaselessly rising: "May Christ return to Earth." For the three great spiritual centres: the Father's House, the Kingdom of God, and awakening Humanity, there is but one purpose, one idea and one united expectancy.
It is essential that today there should be a measure of fuller knowledge concerning the "centre where the will of God is known." The public should possess some understanding of this highest spiritual centre to which -- if we believe the Gospel story -- Christ Himself was always attentive. Frequently we read in The New Testament that "the Father spoke to Him" or that "He heard a Voice," unheard by others, or that the words were heard, "this is my beloved Son." Several times, we read, the seal of affirmation (as it is spiritually called) was given to Him. Only the Father, the planetary Logos, the "One in Whom we live and move and have our being" (Acts XVII.28), the Lord of the World, the Ancient of Days (Dan. VII.9) can speak this final affirmative word. There are, as well we know, five crises or initiations which concern the Master Jesus--the Birth at Bethlehem, the Baptism, the Transfiguration, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection--but lying behind this obvious and practical teaching, lies an undercurrent or thought of something much higher and of greater importance--the affirmative Voice of the Father, recognising that which the Christ has done.
When Christ completes the work during the next two thousand years which He inaugurated two thousand years ago, that affirmative Voice will surely again be heard and divine recognition of His coming will be accorded. Then the Christ will take that stupendous initiation of which we know nothing except that two divine aspects will blend and fuse in Him (love-wisdom in full manifestation, motivated by divine will or power). Then the Buddha and the Christ will together pass before the Father, the Lord of the World, will together see the glory of the Lord and eventually pass to higher service of a nature and a calibre unknown to us.
I write here in no fanatical or adventist spirit; I speak not as a speculative theologian or an exponent of one phase of religious, wishful thinking. I speak because many know that the time is ripe and that the appeal of simple, faithful hearts has penetrated to the highest spiritual sphere and set in motion energies and forces which cannot now be stopped. The invocative cry of distressed humanity is today of such a volume and sound that--united to the wisdom and the knowledge of the Spiritual Hierarchy- it has given rise to certain activities in the Father's House. These will result in the glory of God, in the transformation of the divine will-to-good into human goodwill, and resultant peace on Earth.
A new chapter in the great book of spiritual living is about to be written; a new expansion of consciousness is an imminent happening; a fresh recognition of divine attentiveness is now possible to humanity and a revealing expectancy will prove the accuracy of the Biblical statement, "every eye shall see Him." (Rev. 1.7.) The religious livingness or spiritual history of mankind can be summarised for us by a series of recognitions--recognition of Those Who, down the ages, have consituted the Apostolic Succession, culminating for us in the great religious leaders who have come out among us since 70O B.C. and founded the great modern world faiths, and--above all else--in the Christ Himself Who embodied the perfection of God Immanent, plus awareness of God Transcendent; recognition of those major spiritual concepts of love, life and relationship which have hovered ever in the background of man's thinking and which are now on the verge of right expression; recognition of the true brotherhood of man, based on the one divine life, working through the one soul and expressing itself through the one humanity; recognition, therefore, of relationship both to the divine life throughout the world and to mankind itself. It is this developing spiritual attitude which will lead to right human relations and eventual world peace.
Today, another recognition is becoming possible. It is the recognition everywhere of the imminent return of Christ (if such a phrase can be true of someone Who has never left us!) and of the new spiritual opportunities which this event will make possible.
The basis for this recognition lies in the deep-seated conviction, innate in the human consciousness, that some great Teacher, some Saviour, Revealer, Lawgiver or divine Representative must come forth from the world of spiritual realities, because of human need and human demand. Always down the centuries, at the hour of man's greatest need and in response to his voiced demand, a divine Son of God has come forth and under many different names. Then the Christ came and apparently left us, with His work unfinished and His vision for mankind not yet consummated. For two thousand years it has seemed as if all His work had been blocked, frustrated, and of no avail, for the growth of the churches during the centuries is no guarantee of the spiritual success at which He aimed. It needed more than theological interpretations and the numerical growth of the world religions (including Christianity and Buddhism) to prove His world mission successfully carried forward. It all seemed impossible, necessitating three conditions; under these a test of His work could be attempted; today these three conditions are proven facts. First, as we have seen, a general planetary condition which has unfortunately (owing to man's selfishness) proved to be so catastrophic in nature that humanity has been forced to recognise the cause and source of the disaster; secondly, a spiritual awakening which would have its impulse in the deepest depths of man's consciousness and such is the case today as a result of the World War (l9l4-l945); thirdly, a steadily mounting invocative cry, prayer or demand, directed toward high spiritual sources, no matter by what name such sources may be called.
Today, these three conditions have been fulfilled and humanity faces renewed opportunity. The disaster which has overtaken mankind is universal and widespread; no one has escaped and all men are involved in some way or another--physically, economically or socially. The spiritual awakening of men everywhere (within or without the world faiths, and largely outside of them) is general and complete and a turning to God is to be seen on every hand. Finally, these two causes have aroused--as never before--the invocative cry of humanity; it is clearer, purer and more selfless than at any other time in human history because it is based on clearer thinking and a common distress. True religion is again emerging in the hearts of men in every land; this recognition of a divine hope and background may possibly take people back into the church and into the world faiths, but it will most certainly take them back to God.
Religion is the name, surely, which we give to the invocative appeal of humanity which leads to the evocative response of the Spirit of God. This spirit works in every human heart and in all groups. It works also through the Spiritual Hierarchy of the planet. It impels the Head of the Hierarchy, the Christ, to take action and the action which He is taking will lead to His return with His disciples.
The idea of the return of Christ is a most familiar one, and the concept of the Son of God returning in response to human need has its place in the teaching of the majority of the world faiths. Ever since He apparently departed to the sphere where the faithful have put Him, little groups of these people have reasoned themselves into the belief that on such and such a date He will come back, and ever their prophecies and expectancies have been deemed to failure. He has not come. Such people have been laughed at by the crowd and rebuked by the intelligent. Their eyes have not seen Him and there has been no tangible indication of His Presence. Today, thousands know that He will come; that plans for His coming are already set on foot, but they set no date or hour. The time is known only to the two or three, but "in such an hour as ye think not, He will come." (Matt. XXIV.44)
A truth hard for the orthodox thinker of any faith to accept is the fact that Christ cannot return because He has always been here upon our Earth, watching over the spiritual destiny of humanity; He has never left us but, in physical body and securely concealed (though not hidden), He has guided the affairs of the Spiritual Hierarchy, of His disciples and workers Who are unitedly pledged with Him to Earth service. He can only reappear. It is a spiritual fact that those who have passed from the cave of the tomb into the fullness of the resurrection life can be seen and at the same time evade the vision of the believer. Seeing and recognition are two very different things, and one of the great recognitions of mankind in the near future is the recognition that always He has been with us, sharing with us the familiar usefulness and peculiar characteristics of our civilisation and its many gifts to man.
The early signs of His approach with His disciples can already be discerned by those who note and rightly interpret the signs of the times. There is (among these signs) the coming together spiritually of those who love their fellowmen. This is in reality the organising of the outer physical army of the Lord--an army which has no weapons but those of love, of right speech and right human relations. This unknown organisation has proceeded with phenomenal speed during the aftermath of war, because humanity is sick of hate and controversy.
The general staff of the Christ is already active in the form of the New Group of World Servers; they are as potent a body of forerunners as has ever preceded a great world Figure into the arena of mankind's living. Their work and influence is already seen and felt in every land, and nothing can destroy that which they have accomplished. The spiritual and organising effect of expressed and voiced invocation has been also attempted since 1935, and the energy of the invocative cry of humanity has been directed into those channels which reach from Earth to that High Place where dwells the Christ. From there, it has been transmitted to those still higher spheres where the attention of the Lord of the World, the Ancient of days, the Father of all, plus the Creative Energies and Living Beings Who dwell there with Him, can be focussed on humanity and those steps can be taken which will embody more rapidly the Purposes of God.
For the first time in human history, the demand of the people of the Earth is so potent and so in line with divine direction, in time and space, that the end is inevitably sure; the looked-for spiritual Representative must come forth; this time He will not come alone but will be accompanied by Those Whose lives and words will evoke recognition in every department of human thinking. The symbolic prophecies found in all the world Scriptures anent this imminent event will prove their veracity; their symbolism will nevertheless elicit re-interpretation; circumstances and happenings will not necessarily be exactly as the Scriptures would appear to indicate. For instance, He will come indeed in the "clouds of the air" (Matt. XXVI. 64), as the Christian Scriptures say, but of what great interest is that when millions come and go in the clouds, each hour of the day and of the night? I mention this as one of the outstanding prophecies and one of the most familiar; it is, however, one which means little in our modern civilisation. The fact of importance is that He will come.
The Wesak Festival [see footnote following list] has heen held down the centuries in the well-known valley in the Himalayas (if the faithful would only believe it) in order:
1. To substantiate the fact of Christ's physical existence among us ever since His so-caIled departure.
2. To prove (on the physical plane) the factual solidarity of the Eastern and Western approaches to God. Both the Christ and the Buddha are present.
3. To form a rallying point and a meeting place for those who annually--in synthesis and symbolically--link up and represent the Father's House, the Kingdom of God and Humanity.
4. To demonstrate the nature of the work of Christ as the great and chosen Intermediary, standing as the Representative of the Spiritual Hierarchy and as the Leader of the New Group of World Servers. In His Person, He voices their demand for the recognition of the factual existence of the Kingdom of God here and now.[FOOTNOTE: 2. The Wesak Festival is the Festival of the Buddha and is held each year at the time of the full moon of May, or more correctly the full moon in the sign Taurus, (Aprox.: April 21st to May 20th.]
Perhaps one of the major messages for all of us who read these words is this great truth and fact of the physical Presence on Earth at this time of the Christ, of His group of disciples and executives, of Their representative activities on behalf of mankind and of Their cl2ose relationship. This relationship comes out at certain of the great spiritual festivals where the relationship demonstrated includes not only the Kingdom of God but also the Father and the Father's Home. There is the Festival of Easter, the Festival of the Buddha Who in physical Presence expresses the spiritual solidarity of our planet, and the Festival in June, peculiarly the Festival of the Christ, when He--as leader of the New Group of World Servers--employs the new Invocation on behalf of all men of goodwill in all lands; at the same time, He gathers up the inchoate and unexpressed demands of those masses who seek a new and better way of life. They want love in daily living, right human relations and an understanding of the underlying Plan.
It is these physical happenings which are of moment and not the vague hopes and promises of the theological faiths. It is the physical Presence upon our planet of such recognised spiritual figures as the Lord of the World, the Acident of Days; the seven Spirits Who are before the throne of God; the Buddha, the spiritual leader of the East, and the Christ, the spiritual leader of the West--all of Whom are brought at this climaxing time to our attention. The vague belief in Their existences, the dreamy speculations as to Their work and Their interest in human welfare, and the unconvinced, yet hopeful, wishful thinking of believers (and also unbelievers), will soon give place to certain knowledge, to visual recognition, to provable signs of executive work and to the reorganisation (by men of unusual potency) of the political, religious, economic and social life of humanity.
All this will not come as the result of some proclamation or some stupendous planetary event which will force human beings everywhere to say: "Lo: He is there! Lo: Here are the signs of His divinity!" for that would evoke only antagnism and laughter, resistance or fanatical credulity.
It will come as a recognition of potency in leadership, through dynamic but logical changes in world affairs, and through action taken by the masses of the people from the depths of their own consciousness.
Many years ago, [see A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, Lucis Publishing Co., page 756] I indicated that the Christ would come in three ways, or rather, that the fact of His Presence could be proved in three distinctive phases.
It was pointed out then that the first move which the Christ would make would be the stimulation of the spiritual consciousness in man, the evocation of humanity's spiritual demands on a large scale and the nurturing--on a worldwide scale--of the Christ consciousness in the human heart. This has already been done and with most effective results. Of the factual nature of this process, the vociferous demands of men of goodwill, of welfare workers and of those pledged to international cooperation, to the relief of the world distress and to the establishment of right human relations, are the undeniable expression. That phase of the preparatory work which is indicative of His coming has now reached a stage where nothing can arrest its progress or slow down its momentum. In spite of appearances, this uprising of the Christ consciousness has been successful and what may appear as reverse activity is of no importance in the long run, but is only of a temporary nature.
The second indicated move of the Hierarchy would be the impressing of the minds of enlightened men everywhere by spiritual ideas embodying the new truths, by the "descent" (if I may so call it) of the new concepts which will govern human living and by the overshadowing of all world disciples and the New Group of World Servers by the Christ Himself. This planned move of the Hierarchy is progressing well; men and women everywhere and in every department of life are enunciating those new truths which should in the future guide human living; they are building those new organisations, movements and groups--large or small--which will familiarise the mass of men with the reality of the need and the mode of meeting it. This they are doing because they are driven thereto by the warmth of their hearts and by their loving response to human distress; without formulating it thus to themselves, they are, nevertheless, working to bring into visibility the Kingdom of God on Earth. No denial of these facts is possible, in view of the multiplicity of organisations, books and speeches.
Thirdly, we are told that Christ might come in Person and walk among men as He did before. This has not yet taken place but plans are being laid which will enable Him to do so. Those plans do not involve the birth of some nice child in some nice home on Earth; they will not produce the wild claims and the credulous recognition of the well-meaning and the unintelligent as is so frequently the case today, nor will someone appear and say: "This is the Christ He is here or He is there." I would point out to you however, that the widespread appearance of such tales and claims, though undesirable, misleading and wrong, nevertheless demonstrates human expectancy of the imminence of His coming. Belief in His coming is basic in the human consciousness. How He will come and in what manner is not yet stated. The exact movement has not yet arrived nor has the method of His appearance been determined. The factual nature of the two earlier and preparatory moves, already made by the Hierarchy under His direction, are the guarantee that He will come and that when He does, mankind will be ready.
Let us summarise certain aspects of the work He set in motion two thousand years ago, because they hold the clue to His future work. Some of it is well known to you, for it has been emphasised by the world faiths and particularly by teachers of the Christian faith. But all of them have made His work appear difficult for man to grasp, and the undue emphasis laid upon His divinity (an emphasis which He himself never made) has made it appear that He and He only and no one else could possibly do the same works. Theologians have forgotten that He Himself stated that "greater things shall ye do, because I go unto my Father" (John XIV.12). He here indicates that this passing to the Father's House would result in such an inflow of spiritual strength, insight and creative accomplishment for man, that their deeds would surpass his; because of the distortion of His teaching and its remote relation to man, we have not yet done those "greater things." Some day, we assuredly will and--along certain lines--we already have. Let me relate some of the things He did which we can do, and which He will aid.
1. For the first time in human history, the love of God was embodied in a man and Christ inaugurated the era of love. That expression of divine love is still in the making; the world is not yet full of love and few there are who understand the true meaning of the word. But--speaking symbolically--when the United Nations has emerged into factual and actual power, the welfare of the world will then be assured. What is that welfare but love in action? What is international cooperation but love on a world scale? Those are the things which the love of God in Christ expressed and those are the things which we are working here today to bring into being. We are attempting to do it on a vast scale and this in spite of opposition--an opposition which can only temporarily succeed, such is the potency of the awakened spirit of man. These are the things which the Hierarchy, in its already successful procedures, is aiding and will continue to aid.
2. Christ taught Also that the Kingdom of God was on Earth and told us to seek that Kingdom first and let all things be of secondary importance for its sake. That Kingdom has ever been with us, composed of all those who down the ages have sought spiritual goals, liberated themselves from the limitations of the physical body, emotional controls and the obstructive mind. Its citizens are those who today (unknown to the majority) live in physical bodies, work for the welfare of humanity, use love instead of emotion as their general technique, and compose that great body of "illumined Minds" which guides the destiny of the world. The Kingdom of God is not something which will descend on Earth when man is good enough! It is something which is functioning efficiently today and demanding recognition. It is an organised body which is already evoking recognition from those people who do seek first the Kingdom of God and discover thereby that the Kingdom they seek is already here. Christ and His disciples are known by many to be physically present on Earth and the Kingdom which They rule, with its laws and modes of activity, is familiar to many and has been throughout the centuries.
Christ is the world Healer and Saviour. He works because He is the embodied soul of all Reality. He works today as He worked in Palestine two thousand years ago, through groups. There He worked through the three beloved disciples, through the twelve apostles, through the chosen seventy, and the interested five hundred .... Now He works through His Masters and Their groups, and thereby greatly intensifies His efforts. He can and will work through all groups just insofar as they fit themselves for planned service, for the distribution of love, and come into conscious alignment with the great potency of the inner groups.
Those groups who have always proclaimed the physical Presence of the Christ have so distorted the teaching by dogmatic assertions on unimportant details and by ridiculous claims that they have evoked little recognition of the underlying truth, nor have they portrayed a kingdom which is attractive. That Kingdom exists but is not a place of disciplines or golden harps, peopled by unintelligent fanatics, but a field of service and a place where every man has full scope for the exercise of his divinity in human service.
3. At the Transfiguration, Christ revealed the glory which is innate in all men. The triple lower nature--physical, emotional and mental--is there shown as prostrate before the glory which was revealed. In that moment, wherein Christ Immanent was in incarnation, wherein humanity was represented by the three apostles, a voice came from the Father's Home in recognition of the revealed divinity and the Sonship of the Transfigured Christ on this innate divinity, upon this recognised Sonship, is the brotherhood of all men based--one life, one glory which shall be revealed, and one divine relationship. Today, on a large scale (even when bypassing the implications of divinity), the glory of man, and his fundatnental relationships are already a fad in the human consciousness. Accompanying those characteristics which as yet remain deplorable and which would appear to negate all claims to divinity, is the wonder of man's achievement, of his triumph over nature. The glory of scientific attainment and the magnificent evidence of creative art--both modern and ancient--leave no room to question man's divinity. Here then are the "greater things" of which Christ spoke and here again is the triumph of the Christ within the human heart.
Why this triumph of the Christ consciousness must always be spoken of in terms of religion, of church-going and of orthodox belief is one of the incredible triumphs of the forces of evil. To be a citizen of the Kingdom of God does not mean that one must necessarily be a member of some one of the orthodox churches. The divine Christ in the human heart can be expressed in many different departments of human living--in politics, in the arts, in economic expression and in true social living, in science and in religion. It might be wise here to remember that the only time it is recorded that Christ (as an adult) visited the Temple of the Jews, He created a disturbance! Humanity is passing from glory to glory and, in the long panorama of history, this is strikingly observable. That glory is today revealed in every department of human activity, and the Transfiguration of those who are on the crest of the human wave of civilisation is very close at hand.
4. Finally, in the triumph of the Crucifixion or (as it is more accurately called in the East) the Great Renunciation, Christ, for the first time, anchored on Earth a tenuous thread of the divine Will as it issued from the Father's House (Shamballa), passed into the understanding custody of the Kingdom of God and, through the medium of the Christ, was brought to the attention of mankind. Through the instrumentality of certain great Sons of God, the three divine aspects or characteristics of the divine Trinity--will, love and intelligence--have become a part of human thinking and aspiration. Christians are apt to forget that the crisis in the final hours of the Christ was not that spent upon the Cross, but those spent in the Garden of Gettuemane. Then His will-in agony and almost despair--was submerged in that of the Father. "Father," He said, "not My will but Thine be done." (Luke XXII.42).
Something new, yet planned for from the very depth of time, happened then in that quiet garden; Christ, representing mankind, anchored or established the Father's Will on Earth and made it possible for intelligent humanity to carry it out. Hitherto, that Will had been known in the Father's House; it had been recognised and adapted to world need by the Spiritual Hierarchy, working under the Christ, and thus took shape as the divine Plan. Today, because of what Christ did in His moment of crisis hundreds of years ago, humanity can add its efforts to the working out of that Plan. The will-to-God of the Father's House can become the goodwill of the Kingdom of God and be transformed into right human relations by intelligent humanity. Thus the direct line or thread of God's will reaches now from the highest place to the lowest point, and can in due time become a cable of ascension for the sons of men and of descent for the loving, living spirit of God.
Let us forget distance, remoteness and vagueness and realise that we are talking of exact and literal happenings on our planet. We are dealing with recognitions and occurrences and with factual events which are the conscious possession of many. The Christ of history and the Christ in the human heart are planetary facts.
There is one aspect of this return of the Christ which is never touched upon and to which no reference is ever made. It is the factor of what this coming out again among men, this return to outer everyday activity will mean to the Christ as He faces it. How will He feel when the hour of His appearance arrives?
There is a great initiation spoken of in The New Testament to which we have given the name of the Ascension. Of it we know nothing. Only a few items of information are brought to us in the Gospel story; the fact of the mountain top, of attendant watchers, and of the words of Christ, assuring them that He was not leaving them. Then a cloud received Him out of their sight (Acts 1.9). There were none present who could go further with Him. Their consciousness could not penetrate to the place where He had chosen to go; they even misinterpreted His words and only in a vague and mystical sense has humanity ever understood His disappearance, or the significance of His persistent but unobserved Presence. The watchers were assured by two of the Knowers of God Who were also present that He would come again in like manner. He ascended. The cloud received Him; today the clouds which cover our planet are waiting to reveal Him.
He is now waiting to descend. This descent into our unhappy world of men can present Him with no alluring picture. From the quiet mountain retreat where He has waited, guided and watched over humanity and where He has trained His disciples, initiates and the New Group of World Servers, He must come forth and take His place prominently on the world stage; take His part in the great drama which is there being played. This time, He will play His part, not in obscurity as He previously did but before the eyes of the entire world. Because of the smallness of our little planet, and because of the prevalence of the radio, of television and the rapidity of communication, His part will be watched by all and the prospect must surely, for Him, hold certain horror, must present its tests and major adjustments, plus painful unavoidable experience. He does not come as the omnipotent God of man's ignorant creation, but as the Christ, the Founder of the Kingdom of God on Earth, to complete the work He started, and again to demonstrate divinity in far more difficult circumstances.
The Christ suffers, however, far more from those in His Own household than from those in the outer world; His work is more impeded by the advanced aspirant than by the intelligent thinker. It was not the cruelty of the outer world of men which caused the depths of sorrow to the Christ; it was His Own disciples, plus the massed sorrow--spread over the entire cycle of living--past, present and future - of humanity.
He comes to correct the mistakes and the misrepresentations of those who have dared to interpret His simple words in terms of their own ignorance, and to recognise those whose faithful service has made His return possible. He too is facing a major test, preparatory to a great initiation and when He has passed the test and fulfilled His task, He will pass to a still more exalted position in the Father's House or to some distant place of service where only the most exalted can follow Him; His present position will then be taken by the One Whom He has prepared and trained.
But before all this can happen, He must again enter the public arena, play His part in world affairs, and prove the scope of His mission. He will gather round Him, in the flesh, His chosen associates and advisers; these will not be the ones who gathered around in those earlier simpler days but those members of our human family who today recognise Him and are preparing to work with Him as far as in them lies. It is a different world to which He is now planning to return and this is largely due to the intellectual development of the mass of men. This presents Him with stupendous difficulties, for the intellects of men must now be reached and not just their hearts (as in the earlier days) if the Will of God is to be intelligently carried out on Earth. His major task is surely the establishing of right human relations in every department of human living. I would ask you to use your imagination and endeavour to think out what must be the implications of the task which confionts Him; I would ask you to ponder on the difficulties which He must inevitably face--the difficulty, above all, of mass intellectual wrong emphasis.
He, the Representative of the love of God, is asked to work again in the world arena wherein His earlier message has been negated, forgotten or misinterpreted for two thousand years, and wherein hate and separativeness have distinguished all men everywhere. This will plunge Him into a foreign atmosphere and into a situation wherein all His divine resources will be needed and will have to be tried out to the uttermost. The generally accepted idea that He will return as a triumphant warrior, omipotent and irresistible, has surely no basis in fact. That He will ultimately lead His people, humanity, into Jerusalem is in fact, founded on a secure foundation, but it will not be into a Jewish city called Jerusalem but into "the place of peace" (as the word "Jerusalem" means). A careful consideration of the world situation today and a dedicated use of the imagination will reveal to the sincere thinker of how appalling is the task which He has undertaken. But He has again "set His face to go to Jerusalem." (Luke IX. 51). He will reappear and guide mankind into a civilisation and a state of consciousness in which right human relations and worldwide cooperation for the good of all will be the universal keynote. He will--through the New Group of World Servers and the men of goodwill--complete His association with the Will of God (His Father's business) in such a manner that the eternal will-to-good will be translated by humanity into goodwill and right relations. Then His task will be done; He will be free again to leave us, but this time not to return but to leave the world of men in the hands of that great spiritual Server Who will be the new Head of the Hierarchy, the Church Invisible.
The question now arises: In what way can we be of service? How can we aid during this preparatory stage?
What the members of the Spiritual Hierarchy are doing is much indeed; those disciples who are in conscious touch with the Masters of the Wisdom--or, if you prefer the term, with the senior disciples of the Christ--are working day and night in order to establish such confidence, correct attitudes and an understanding of the divine spiritual "push" or enterprise that His way will be made easier. They and their groups of lesser disciples, aspirants and students of the realities stand unitedly behind the Christ and can thus enable Him to accomplish His purpose. Their major realisation is that of a cyclic crisis in the spiritual life of our planet; it is one which has been anticipated in the Father's House (Shamballa) for thousands of years. They have registered the fact that, for the first time in human history, all the three spiritual centres or groups through which God works are unitedly focussed on the same objective. Shamballa, the Spiritual Hierarchy and Humanity (the Father's House, the Kingdom of God and the World of Men) are all striving in one vast movement for an intensification of the Light of the World. This Light will irradiate (in a fashion unknown before) not only the Father's House, which is the source of all our planetary light but also the spiritual centre from which have come all those Teachers and World Saviours Who have stood before men and said, as did Hermes, the Buddha and the Christ: "I am the Light of the World." This light will now flood the world of men, bringing illumination to men's minds and light into the dark places of human living.
It is light and--above all else--"life more abundantly" which Christ will bring, and until He brings it we know not what it signifies; we cannot realise the revelation which this will entail and the new possibilities which will open up before us. But through Him, light and life are on their way, to be interpreted and applied in terms of goodwill and of right human relations. For this the Spiritual Hierarchy is preparing. This time the Christ will not come alone for His co-workers will come with Him. His experience and Theirs will be the reverse of the previous one, for this time every eye will see Him, every ear will hear Him and every mind will pass judgment upon Him.
We can freely aid in the reconstruction work which the Christ proposes, if we will familiarise ourselves and all men whom we can contact with the following facts:
1. That the reappearance of Christ is imminent.
2. That the Christ, immanent in every human heart, can be evoked in recognition of His appearance.
3. That the circumstances of His return are only symbolically related in the world Scriptures; this may produce a vital change in the preconceived ideas of humanity.
4. That the major required preparation is a world at peace; however, that peace must be based on an educated goodwill, which will lead inevitably to right human relations, and, therefore, to the establishment (figuratively speaking) of lines of light between nation and nation, religion and religion, group and group and man and man.
If we can succeed in presenting these four ideas to the world at large, and thus in overcoming the intelligent criticism that all that is said is too vague, prophetic, and visionary, we shall have done much. It is possible surely that the ancient truism that "the mind is the slayer of the real" may be fundamentally true where the mass of humanity is concerned and that the purely intellectual approach (which rejects the vision and refuses to accept the unprovable) may be far more at fault than the anticipation of the Knowers of God and the expectant multitude.
The intelligence of divinity is vested in the Spiritual Hierarchy, and that Hierarchy is today composed of Those Who have united in Themselves both the intellect and the intuition, the practical and the apparently impractical, the factual way of life and the way of the man who sees a vision. There are also people who must be found in the market place of daily life; these are the people who must be trained in the divine recognitions which are essentially physical plane responses to the newer expansions of consciousness. The Christ Who will return will not be like the Christ Who (apparenfly) departed. He will not be a "man of sorrow"; He will not be a silent pensive figure; He will be the enunciator of spiritual statements which will not necessitate interpretation and receive the wrong interpretation, because He will be present to indicate the true meaning.
He has been for two thousand years the supreme Head of the Church Invisible, the Spiritual Hierarchy, composed of disciples of all faiths. He recognises and loves those who are not Christian but who retain their allegiance to their Founders--the Buddha, Mohammed and others. He cares not what the faith is if the objective is love of God and of humanity. If men look for the Christ Who left His disciples centuries ago, they will fail to recognise the Christ Who is in process of returning. The Christ has no religious barriers in His consciousness. It matters not to Him of what faith a man may call himself.
The Son of God is on His way and He cometh not alone. His advance guard is already here and the Plan which they must follow is already made and clear. Let recognition be the aim.
[The text of this pamphlet is taken from Chapter III of the book The Reappearance of the Christ by Alice A. Bailey, published by the Lucis Press Limited of London and the Lucis Publishing Company of New York. The book is also published in Bulgarian, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish editions.]