16th Sermon of Jesus… The Feeding of the Five Thousand
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(February 17, 1872)
“After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred penny-worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”
Here you have one of those deeds which created a great sensation among the Jews, even to such an extent that those who witnessed it wanted to proclaim Me king, thus forcing Me to evade their intentions by withdrawing alone to the solitude of a mountain.
For Me, the Lord and Creator, the act as such was not so great and important, when I caused the five barley loaves and two fishes to continuously be replaced or complemented out of the substances of the air in such a way that they easily sufficed for five thousand people and of the bread there still remained twelve baskets full of leftovers. For the people encamped around Me it certainly was a miracle that strikingly proved My divine descent and might. However, by the Jews it was not regarded spiritually but according to their material interests, since following this act they wanted to proclaim Me king. I had to withdraw from them, for first of all, that was not the purpose of My life on earth and besides, My time for “being lifted up” had not yet come. That expression, whenever I used it, was likewise never understood until the crucifixion explained it and My ascension fulfilled the “being lifted up” also spiritually.
The act of distributing the barley loaves and fishes had, however, its spiritual correspondence which actually is the essential. I told you already on another occasion that my whole earthly sojourn, especially My years of teaching and My words and deeds during that time, will be repeated at My Second Coming, although spiritually.
Therefore, also this act is one of those now taking place in their spiritual correspondence. What once applied to the five thousand people, now applies to mankind in general. Then My sphere of action was the Jewish people, My contemporary and more receptive part of mankind, also its land as the world chosen for My activity. Now that My teaching has spread over the whole earth, although followed only by few whilst known to many, – each act from those days must now be regarded in the greater, spiritual, sense when repeated as I already mentioned to you earlier.
First of all we must ask: What is the meaning of the barley loaves and the fishes? Why were there only five barley loaves and two fishes? You see, in God’s actions everything has a deep spiritual meaning, and it is not as with you people who often talk much, even act, but have no idea what you are saying or doing.
In order to answer the question as to what the barley loaves and the fishes represented, I must first point out to you from where the one and from where the other originated.
The barley loaves come from the earth, made from corn that growing out of the darkness of the soil strives towards the higher consecration of the sunlight, thus causing that which it has drawn from the earth to ripen into fruit through light and warmth. This fruit then, containing more spiritual elements, becomes suitable in the form of bread to change these earthly substances into the spiritually higher ones of the human body.
Hence, the loaves are the result of processes of both – earth and heaven.
The fishes are products of substances in the water, born out to become living beings.
The water itself is a most supple element; it is condensed air. And as the air is condensed ether and the ether the birthplace of all elements, the air is the producer of the material substances in the water and the water itself again is the producer of the solid land and the plants and animals thereon. Water was and is the great mother out of which your earth globe developed. And you can see still today when you chemically analyse the bodies of living beings, including your own, that water is the carrier, nourisher and preserver of your body.
What birds are in the air, fishes are in water; they are the birds in the condensed air. As the barley- corn, struggling from the gross material to a higher spiritual level, becomes fit to be absorbed by the human body as an adjustment substance, the fish likewise is a component of the substances dissolved in the water which, having formed into a solid material body, can be made suitable for assimilation with the components of the human body. But first its more solid parts must be separated from the parts of light through the warmth of air or fire, that is, the fish must be dried or cooked before it can be useful in the human organism, just as the grain of barley, after it has been ground, kneeded into dough and through warmth freed of its watery parts, can serve humans as healtyh nourishment.
Having discussed the components of the bread and the fish, we shall now examine the numbers. Why were there just five loaves and two fishes?
If you add up these items, you get the number Seven, a number which is more or less present in all things, always constituting a factor with the number Three which is needed in the creation, preservation and transformation of every thing if this is to progress to higher levels.
The number Seven, just as the Three, is one of My basic numbers which I represent within Myself as God, Creator and Lord. Behold, if you have a close look at the number Seven you will find that there are three numbers on one side, three on the other and the fourth standing in the middle. This means that the divinity number Three is contained twice in the divine number Seven, arranged in such a way that the fourth number in the middle, combined with the three on each side, gives as a result the holy number Seven which expresses My spiritual Self.
Whilst in every created being the number Three is essential as the principle of its existence, this number is twice present within the Deity with an addition in the centre around which everything else is assembled.
Created beings’are capable of attaining the number Three in its highest perfection, as do the angelic spirits, – but the Deity will always have twice this number and a forever inaccessible centre which marks It as Lord of all created things. That you find the number Seven in so many things in creation has its explanation in the fact that these things, in which this number particularly stands out, are closest to the Creator of all that exists and are pure emanations from Him. Thus you discover, for instance, the number Seven in the colours and sounds because the light-rays in their refraction include materially the seven attributes of the Creator and the seven notes include the seven great harmonic laws of spiritual life. If you now want to see this number Seven of the loaves and fishes expressed in words, this would read: Love God above / all and / (thy) neighbour as thyself!
The first four words signify the barley loaves, which spiritually nourish man and are meant to mature him for a higher spiritual existence, the first three words expressing the degree of love for God, whilst the other three the measure of love for one’s fellowman. The word “all” and the conjunction “and” however signify the centre of divine love, that is, love for God shall be above all else, but this can only be effected in conjunction with the three following words – (thy) neighbour as thyself. For you cannot love Me as God without love for your neighbour; you cannot love Me above all, unless you love your fellowman as yourself.
Hence, the three first words may be attained as well as the last three, but the one in the middle, “all”, together with the conjunction “and”, signify unattainability, although eternal progression is possible. For what is “all” and where does the love of one’s fellowman end?
The “all” as well as the greatest love for one’s fellowman and the fatherlove culminate in Me! I alone am completely filled with this love and represent the “all” in its endlessness. And in My boundless forbearance and patience you see the love for the fellowman, the brotherly love and father-love in its supreme state of perfection united within Me. As I told you before that the barley grain, out of the dark earth pushing towards the light, brings its fruit to maturity, so it is also with the love of God, which shall lift and guide material man out of his dark passions towards the higher moral light.
And as I explained to you that the fishes are products of condensed air, therefore of a lighter element than the solid earth, thus the love of your fellowman shall express its similarity with the love of God by drawing you away from the firm material and open your hearts to more spiritual emotions replacing your concern for yourselves. For, only in the love of your fellowman can you show how you love God, and the never-to-be-attained “all” receives an approximate yardstick in the words “as thyself”. Just as bread is made from crushed corn under the influence of water and warmth, so the love of God shall arise from the destruction of the material warmed by My teaching. And as fish is dried or cooked, so also the love for your fellowman, relinquishing all its subordinate selfish thoughts in the sun of eternal love, shall devote itself with great zeal to the welfare of the brother and a person shall adopt the words “for you, and not for me” as the sole yardstick for his actions. Already for quite some time the road has been open on which to follow the only laws I have given men to obey with these few words.
The impulse to obey these two laws will keep growing, and the time will come when, filled with the meaning of these seven words from heaven, all mankind will proclaim Me king. However, then I shall not hide, as I once did, to evade the intentions of My children, but come in full glory and might to all who searched, struggled and found Me.
Yet they will not find a king, but a shepherd who will guide His sheep to the pastures of light, where every material striving has ceased and in everlasting spiritual progression the forever growing love of God and the fellowman will bring about a never-ending succession of delights and beatitudes. This will prove to you that what I once did with five barley loaves and two fishes I have now accomplished with seven words of the greatest spiritual significance, namely, that what was once the material feeding of My listeners and followers, is now the satisfying of My spiritualized children. Thus always, even in the smallest word from My earthly life, another stone is laid for the future great spiritual edifice, wherein all things will find their final conclusion, which in the centre between the triads is My Self with My spiritual and material creation representing the “all”, out of which everything has gone forth and to which it again will and must return. Amen.
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