Matthew 1:8 (RSV) "Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way." This is how the story begins, and right away we have a footnote that explains, "Other ancient authorities read 'of the Christ'". So let's use the footnote and see what we have."Now the birth of the Christ took place in this way." The outer form of Christianity wants us to believe that Jesus was the only Christ and thus feels justified in replacing 'of the Christ' with 'Jesus Christ'. While we have no doubt that Jesus was a Christed being; we certainly dispute the idea that he was the only Christed being.
Christ is a title, the recognition of a highly elevated state of consciousness, which we refer to as 'The Christ Consciousness'. Clearly, from our study of the inner form of Christianity, known as Gnosticism, and the mystery school system, that Jesus was not the exception, but the rule in the upper levels of the Gnostic training system. The whole Gnostic system was designed to create Christed beings. This was not a 'men only' practice in the Gnostic organization; women were also trained and brought through the Christing process, known as the apostle level or the apostleship program.
Mary, the wife of Joseph, is used as an example in this case."When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit." This is precisely as it should be. But we are not talking about a physical baby here; we are talking about a child of the Holy Spirit. The outer form of Christianity with its perspective of male supremacy, can only conceive of a physical child when it comes to a woman. To admit that women are equal spiritually to men and can become Christed beings would be a heresy of the highest order.
We have to keep in mind that the entire Gnostic society we are dealing with was geared to creating Christed beings on a regular basis. So we need to take a closer look at Joseph and Mary. In Laurence Gardner's book "Bloodline of the Holy Grail" (Element Press) Pg. 35, the concept of Joseph as a carpenter is explained. The word translated into English as 'carpenter' represents the much wider sense of the ancient Greek ho tekton, which is in turn a rendition of the semitic word naggar. As pointed out by the Semitic scholar Dr. Geza Vermes, this descriptive word could perhaps be applied to a trade craftsman, but could equally well define a scholar or teacher. It certainly did not identify Jesus and Joseph as woodworkers. More precisely it identifies them as men with skills, learned men, who were the masters of what they did. Indeed, one translation of the Greek ho tekton, relates to 'a master of the craft', as may be applied to modern Freemasonry."
Jesus was constantly referred to as 'Teacher'. Could his father have also been a teacher, a spiritual teacher? The outer form of Christianity would like us to believe that the spiritual nature of the teachings of Jesus are a result of his being the only Son of God, or in some cases, God Himself. But what if Jesus grew up in a family of spiritual teachers, a family highly placed in a Gnostic community, a family of Christed beings? Would this change our view of who Jesus was? What if Joseph and Jesus were 'masters of the craft' with full knowledge of the spiritual principles and practices and had acquired all of the spiritual powers that are a part of that experience?
If Joseph was a Christed being, it would only make sense that his betrothed would also need to be a Christed being. And what do we have? Mary was with child of the Holy Spirit. Mary had gone through the entire Gnostic process, and was becoming a Christed being herself. For most people, this is a very radical statement, and it's not something that will stand by itself. So is there something else that helps to support this virgin birth concept?
There is a whole set of interesting statements that are related to the virgin birth concept, including being born again, and a lot of bride and bridegroom terminology. In our experience of everyday life we have a pattern of bride and bridegroom, marriage, conception and birth. Because it is so familiar to us it makes sense to use the same pattern to describe spiritual things as well. So let's start at the beginning of the pattern and see what we can find.
Matthew 9:15 (RSV) follows a question about fasting. "And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.'"The next several lines help us to determine the context of the statement that Jesus is making. And no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; if it is, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved." (The same statement appears in Mark 2:19 and Luke 5:34.)
Is this really about garments, wine and wineskins? Of course not, it's about consciousness. A new consciousness will not work with an old belief system. That is what the statements are about. You cannot marry a new consciousness to an old belief system; the results are disastrous. This is why the unshrunk cloth on an old garment, and the new wine in an old wineskin were used as examples. People knew from their own experience what would happen. If the last three quarters of the statement is about consciousness, isn't the first quarter as well? It sure is.
Matthew 25:1-13 (RSV) sheds a little more light on the subject."Then the Kingdom of Heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom (footnote - Other ancient authorities add 'and the bride'). Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all of those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, 'Perhaps there will not be enough for us and you; rather go to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know not the day nor the hour."
Here it is clear that we are talking about consciousness. The Kingdom of Heaven is the Christ Consciousness. Here too we have the slumbering, sleeping theme that relates to the consciousness of the world. The opportunity to awaken only comes from time to time. When we think we are ready, the opportunity is delayed, as the bridegroom is in the story. Only those that have truly prepared for spiritual awakening and enlightenment will experience it. We do not know when the time of awakening will come for us, but we do know that we must be completely prepared; if there is even one small thing left to do, we will miss our opportunity.
John 3:27-36 (RSV) adds to our information, "John answered, 'No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegrooms voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full. He must increase, but I must decrease,'" This is the condition we find ourselves in as we approach our spiritual awakening; our ego, represented by John the Baptist, admits it is not the Christ, the awakened spirit, the living light within, and realizes that it must decrease so the spirit can increase and awaken, thus entering into the Kingdom of Heaven, the Christ Consciousness. The bridegroom and the bride represent the crossing over point from the earthly ego to the divine spirit and its entrance into the Christ Consciousness.
John continues on, "He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth belongs to the earth, and of the earth he speaks; he who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony; he who receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for it is not by measure that he gives the Spirit; the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him."
"He who comes from above" is the spirit, the living light within each of us. "He who is of the earth belongs to the earth," this is the ego, "and of the earth he speaks." It cannot be any other way. The ego cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven, nor can it enter within. The ego is locked into the world. The awakened spirit bears witness to the things of God, for only it can see and hear them. Our ego does not want to hear it; it does not want to receive the testimony of the spirit. But something happens, as we get closer to the point of awakening; the ego begins to see that it is not what the spirit is, that it must sacrifice itself for the greater good, for the Spirit. It becomes the friend, standing near the spirit and hearing its voice. This becomes the greatest joy the ego can experience, to hear the spirit as it awakens and is prepared to take on its Christhood. The ego's joy is now full.
At this point the ego receives the testimony of the spirit and comes to realize that God is real. Then the ego 'believes' in the 'Son'. Until then, the ego does not believe in the Son, the spirit within each of us, and does not obey the spirit; consequently the ego does not see real life, but the wrath of God; the death, sickness, crime, and brutality of the world. Once the ego believes in the Son, the awakened spirit within, then it is willing to make the sacrifice, to decrease so the spirit can increase. It's the caterpillar and the butterfly thing. It is the conversion of lead (the ego) into gold (the awakened spirit within).
"It is not by measure that he gives the Spirit; the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand." This is the unconditional love that is the true nature of God. There is no measure, no limitation; all of it is given to us. "The Father loves the Son", God loves you, the spirit, the living light that you really are. The ego is not real, so it's like it never was, and isn't now. God sees and loves the spirit that is the real you, not the silly things of the ego. And it is the real you that God wants to see grow into the mature, empowered spiritual being that He had in mind when He created you.
The story is completed in the Book of Revelation 21:9 (RSV) "'Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the lamb.' And in the Spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal." The New Jerusalem represents the full Christ Consciousness coming down from God. This is the Bride of the Lamb, and the lamb is the true self without the ego. It is the lamb because without the ego we have no anger, hatred, fear, guilt, shame, resentment, bitterness or envy. We have become "pure in heart" and are ready to see God. We have become the kindest, gentlest, most loving people in the world. The lamb is the most descriptive word in this case.
This is what the apostleship program was all about; bringing about the Christ Consciousness within the individual person. A person becomes so changed by the process that a new name is given to them upon completion of the process. The birth of the full Christ Consciousness is referred to as being born again, or being born from above. The Christ Consciousness is the child of the Holy Spirit, the result of establishing our 100% full conscious contact with God.
Revelation finishes with 22:17 (RSV) "The Spirit and the Bride say 'Come.' And let him who hears say 'Come.' And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price." The 'Spirit' is God, and God says, "Come." The 'Bride' is the full Christ Consciousness, and it says, "Come." This is the ultimate spiritual journey, to cleanse and purify ourselves of the ego, become as gentle and harmless as the lamb, become pure in heart as the virgin, and take the water of life and give birth to the full Christ Consciousness within. This is the Gnostic virgin birth.