Fra Angelico “Transfiguration”
Jesus Christ together with three disciples, Peter, James and John, go to Mount Tabor to pray. Here the Transfiguration takes place on Mount Tabor:
Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James and John, his brother, and led them on a high mountain. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the Sun and his clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, and talked with him. Then Peter took the word and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to stay here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah. He was still speaking when a luminous cloud enveloped them with its shadow. And there was a voice saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am pleased. Listen to him.” Upon hearing this, the disciples fell face-down on the ground and were seized with great fear. But Jesus approached them and, touching them, said: “Rise up and be not afraid. Lifting their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus alone. – Matthew 17:1-8
Here it is proclaimed that Christ is the Son of the Father. Moses and Elijah appear next to Christ Jesus. Elijah means “Way”, Moses “Truth” and Jesus “Life”, so that it is said in spiritual guise: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. Christ shows Himself as the light of the Sun, that is, from the celestial sphere from which He comes as Eloah, the Spirit of the Sun. The light that emanates from the face, the Sun, and from the white garment, the crown of rays, reveals the essence of Christ. The face is the semblance of the Ego, the garment of the etheric body. The etheric body of Jesus is completely penetrated by Christ, so that instead of absorbing the solar etheric radiance, it is now the etheric body that radiates from itself.
At the same time as transfiguring Christ, he transfigures the consciousness of the only three disciples who can participate in this sublime event of solar revelation: Peter, James and John. These four figures form a unit of a higher order, that is, each of them represents a limb of the occult constitution of man in four members. Peter corresponds to the earth and therefore to the physical body and to the will, he perceives everything as an external event, even thinking of having to make three tents. James corresponds to water and therefore to the etheric body, in which the life of the Logos flows, as well as to feeling. John corresponds to the air, to the astral body and to thinking, and therefore he is the one who is best able to understand the event in which he participates. Finally, Jesus himself, in whom the Sun-Christ dwells, represents the fire and therefore the Ego that directly experiences the transfiguration.
Peter represents the body from which the Solar Mysteries are hidden before the Maya, James the soul who receives them in reflection and John the spirit who can remain awake in contemplation of the Solar Mystery, then even under the Cross. John is the beloved disciple, the one who can share in the Mystery of Golgotha in full awareness of waking under the Cross. Finally, John will be entrusted with the Sophia and thus represents the new initiation through the Baptism of Fire of the Holy Spirit.
At the moment of the transfiguration the Logos of Christ completely penetrated the etheric body of Jesus of Nazareth, which was derived from Moses, having been given to him by the Jesus of the Gospel of Matthew, the Jesus descended from the lineage of King Solomon. Elijah also appears, that is Adam, whose heavenly soul lives in Jesus himself, having been given to him by the Jesus of Luke’s Gospel, the Jesus who descends from the priestly stripe of Nathan, the soul who was never incarnated and who was spared by the Expulsion from Paradise after the temptation of Lucifer. In the Transfiguration, the ego of the Logos transfigures the etheric body into the Vital Spirit: the life of the etheric body is elevated to spiritual life and through this the blood is etherized allowing first the fulfillment of the Mystery of Golgotha and then the return of Christ to the Resurrection Body, that is the archetype of the physical body, the so-called “phantom”, restored to its original splendor, before the Luciferic Temptation. In that moment Lucifer and Ahriman are expelled from the physical body.
This event as a whole corresponds to the end of the mission that another very high initiate, Gautama Buddha, with the achievement of Nirvana in Samboghakaya, or body of perfection. Where the earthly mission of the Buddha ends, the mission of Christ Jesus begins. In fact, an ancient legend tells that the Buddha did not die, but his body was transfigured into light: he then becomes the “Light of the World”.
Thus the Buddha, 500 years before Christ, conquers the stage of the Vital Spirit, that is, the conjunction with the flow of spiritual life, at the very end of his earthly mission. The event of the Transfiguration marks the end of the Buddha’s human life, but for Jesus Christ it is but the beginning of his spiritual mission which will be fulfilled with the Mystery of Golgotha and the Resurrection. The Buddha is the one who brings the doctrine of compassion to the world, the doctrine of love and liberation from pain. The Christ is the incarnate love, the one who does not carry doctrines but carries out actions, sacrifices himself for the evolution of humanity and the Earth.
Here we are faced with a great mystery in which the spiritual current of Buddhism prepares the coming of the Christian current. In fact, as we know from Steiner’s esoteric commentary on Luke’s Gospel, it is the Buddha himself who presides over the birth of Adam’s heavenly soul in the Nathanic Jesus, the Jesus of Luke’s Gospel who is born in a cave. In his nirmanakaya, the body of transformations, the Buddha appears as a host of angels: having transformed his astral body he ascends to the same rank as the Angels, the Buddha lives in their sphere. He illuminates the Second Adam, the first soul of all humanity who had never experienced the incarnation before. It is the Buddha who protects the innocence of the heavenly soul of Jesus leading him to the final sacrifice, it is the doctrine of love that heralds the coming of love in the flesh and that will resurrect the flesh from the world of death.