08/09/19 Esoteric beliefs and mystery religion
In the Bible, a mystery is something that is not known or understood by those not associated with the Bible, but may be understood by all God’s people. That is, those with inside knowledge (as a Christian) may know the mystery. And not just those at higher levels (the more initiated) may know but all can know, from top to bottom. Knowledge of biblical mysteries is available to all Christians, not just a privileged few.
Ephesians 3:3-4 – 3How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
Esoteric belief systems limit special knowledge to the upper echelons of their religion. Many religious organisations today are based on esoteric belief systems. This includes all cults and even many allegedly “Christian” churches. Esoteric belief systems effectively create organisations where only those higher up in leadership positions are permitted to make decisions because those lower down are not permitted the knowledge to make decisions. The leaders rule! The common masses obey!
So what is an esoteric belief?
Definition of esoteric
1a : designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone
b : requiring or exhibiting knowledge that is restricted to a small group
What is the Opposite of esoteric?
The opposite of esoteric is exoteric, which means “suitable to be imparted to the public.” According to one account, those who were deemed worthy to attend Aristotle’s learned discussions were known as his “esoterics,” his confidants, while those who merely attended his popular evening lectures were called his “exoterics.” Since material that is geared toward a target audience is often not as easily comprehensible to outside observers, esoteric acquired an extended meaning of “difficult to understand.” Both esoteric and exoteric started appearing in English in the mid-1600s; esoteric traces back to ancient Greek by way of the Late Latin esotericus. The Greek esōterikos is based on the comparative form of esō, which means “within.”
History and Etymology for esoteric
Late Latin esotericus, from Greek esōterikos, from esōterō, comparative of eisō, esō within, from eis into; akin to Greek en in
Esoteric – Pssst… do you know the secret handshake? If you haven’t been brought into the inner circle of those with special knowledge, esoteric things will remain a mystery to you. In the olden days, achieving esoteric knowledge meant getting initiated into the mystical arts, learning secrets unknown to regular folks. https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/
And talking about secret handshakes and freemasonry:
The degrees of Freemasonry retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of Apprentice, Journeyman or fellow (now called Fellowcraft), and Master Mason. The candidate of these three degrees is progressively taught the meanings of the symbols of Freemasonry, and entrusted with grips, signs and words to signify to other members that he has been so initiated. (Wikipedia)
As you progress through the levels of freemasonry you are initiated into further knowledge and behaviour which then defines the level of approval (and thus the level of knowledge permitted) you have reached. Freemasonry is a belief system, a religion, no matter how hard it might try to disguise this fact.
To achieve it (salvation) the Mason must first attain a solid conviction, founded upon reason, that he hath within him a spiritual nature, a soul that is not to die when the body is dissolved, but is to continue to exist and to advance toward perfection through all the ages of eternity, and to see more and more clearly, as it draws nearer unto God, the light of the Divine Presence. (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogmas, P. 854ff)
In the opening of the lodge, the Great Architect of the Universe must be worshiped, and his blessings upon the work about to be done must be supplicated; at the same time, prayer should be offered for peace and harmony in the closing of the lodge. (Mason’s Bible)
Failure to mention any deity by name is not denial, but merely the practice of a gracious courtesy, so that each man for whom prayer is offered can hear the name of his own deity in the all inclusive title of Great Architect. (Short Talk Bulletin, Vol. 36, No. 8, p. 7, Masonic Service Association of Northern America)
Belief systems that permit the member to have a level of knowledge commensurate with the level of initiation are esoteric. That is, the further you are initiated into the system, the more knowledge that may be given to you and the more permitted you are to use such knowledge. 32o freemasons are permitted far more knowledge than any of the first 3 levels, and the 3rd level (Master mason) is permitted to know and use more knowledge than the 2nd level (Journeyman/Fellow) and 1st level (Apprentice). The higher your degree the more you will be permitted and expected to know and use and the fewer mysteries in your understanding, while the lower your degree the less you will be permitted and expected to know and use and the more the mysteries required in your understanding.
All occult belief systems (including freemasonry) rely upon esoteric knowledge layers to build and control their members. You get given information only on a need-to-know basis, and the amount of knowledge you are permitted for your level is effectively your license to operate at that level of belief. That is, not only are you limited in what you are permitted to know and use, you are also forbidden to access (and use) any knowledge that is above your “licensed” level. On level 1 you will be expected to know and use the knowledge for level 1, and any other knowledge that is reserved for higher levels must remain a mystery to you. Even if you happen to know things reserved for higher levels, you must never make use of them unless you are initiated into the level that permits you to know them. Effectively you will not know forbidden knowledge if you know what’s good for you!
Satan and his demons work on a system of gaining and maintaining control over mankind in order to gain some de facto dominion over the earth. To make this work, there must be some people who are aware of the control of satan over their lives but accept this as the cost for the benefits satan grants to them, such as fame, riches, power etc. These people are committed worshippers of satan and know it, too, although they are unlikely to advertise this to the general public. Once again, esoteric knowledge applies, where only those who need to know such information are permitted to know the satanic background of these people. Those who don’t need to know – or rather, should remain ignorant – are kept from such knowledge. Even if they do find out, they may be forced to “not know”, to look the other way when necessary. This behaviour may often be seen in mafia type organisations where the less you know the longer you’ll survive. This gave rise to the saying “Don’t get cute!” which simply meant “Don’t try to work out what’s really going on!” It derived from “acute” which meant sharp-thinking or intelligent. Better to act dumb than to end up wearing concrete boots in deep water! Don’t be cute!
And so, mysteries are encouraged by those in charge to prevent those lower down from “knowing” and therefore correcting them, or even informing on them. The lower levels had to know how to keep their mouths shut if they wanted to live to see another day. It reminds me of what A W Pink (a calvinist writer much quoted by calvinists today) says of the taking of Jericho in “The Life and Times of Joshua” (Studies in the Scriptures) that The forbidding of “the people” to open their mouths signified that the rank and file of Christians are to have no part in the oral proclamation of the truth―they are neither qualified for nor called to the ministration of the Word. Nowhere in the Epistles is there a single exhortation for the saints as such to engage in public evangelism, nor even to do “personal work” and seek to be “soul winners.”
Does this explain why so many calvinist pastors, like dictators, lay down the law and refuse to be questioned on it? If they teach it, then it must be so? The common masses are to not test all things? Only the leaders are to be able to rightly divide the word of truth? But, being esoteric, the mystery has to be in place in order to protect the privileged position of the leaders. Their authority and “rightness” must never be questioned! Like MacArthur, they can never be wrong!
In the same way, what tempted Adam and Eve was the promise (by satan, of course) that they would learn some of the mysteries that eating the fruit would give them. The carrot was to offer them a promotion to a higher level and therefore the opportunity to learn of the mysteries that God as their creator was hiding from them on the lower level (according to satan). It was only after they sinned that they realised that they had been deceived, that yes, they knew things that they hadn’t known before, but such knowledge, instead of building them up, only ended up destroying them. Lusting after esoteric knowledge was what caused Adam and Eve to sin; if only they’d realised before it was too late that the promised esoteric knowledge taught them nothing new at all; it was all emptiness (vanity). And that’s what esoteric knowledge is today, still a promise of greater understanding, yet it’s vanity, all vanity, based upon lies that destroy. It is that vanity which is merely the illusion of pleasure in sin (or, in this case, esoteric knowledge) Note its use here –
that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind (Ephesians 4:17) Esoteric knowledge promises to build greatness yet those who get there usually end up disillusioned; the closer they get to absolute esoteric knowledge, the more they realise that it is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: impossible to attain!
Of course, the use of esoteric knowledge to control those under you is not new; it was in use in the OT (Eg mystery Babylon) and was the basis for the beliefs of the pharisees after the Jews brought their version of mystery Babylon back to Israel.
the Talmud was the centerpiece of Jewish cultural life and was foundational to “all Jewish thought and aspirations”, serving also as “the guide for the daily life” of Jews.
The term “Talmud” normally refers to the collection of writings named specifically the Babylonian Talmud. (Wikipedia) The Talmud wasn’t always presented as esoteric, yet the related writings of the Kabbalah are always seen as esoteric.
Kabbalah is also usually seen as Jewish. Kabbalah (Hebrew: קַבָּלָה, literally “reception, tradition” or “correspondence”) is an esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought of Judaism. ….. According to the traditional understanding, Kabbalah dates from Eden. (Wikipedia)
The esoteric nature of knowledge clearly labels the Kabbalah (and therefore the Talmud by association) as occultic, and therefore a means by which satan and his demons may take control of a society, in this case, the Jewish society. Today we have 2 branches of Jews, a small branch (including Sephardic) who are almost certainly the genuine Jew today, while the larger branch (probably 90% of Jews in Israel) are the Ashkenazis (who claim to be Jewish but are actually satanic counterfeits, being Khazars according to their ancestry).
The occultic foundations of the catholic church may be seen clearly in its use of esoteric knowledge such that only those initiated into the faith may possess the higher knowledge of the church, and those “uninitiated” lesser beings were not only refused that knowledge, but forbidden on pain of torture and death from ever seeking or using such knowledge. This enabled the priests (that is, those initiated into the higher levels of their belief system) to say what they wanted to concerning the Bible and who would be able to argue back? If anyone argued, then the priest could shut him up by saying that only the priests could know what the Bible actually said. And if the “commoner” said that he knew what the Bible said, then he was admitting to the possession of forbidden knowledge, a crime punishable by torture and/or painful death. Therefore, arguing with the priest was at the very least to invite ridicule, or even to be arrested, tortured and executed for the crime of knowing too much.
The official catholic Bible was the Latin Vulgate (or the Vetus Latina upon which the Vulgate was based) which was required to be used by all priests.
The Vulgate is a late-4th-century Latin translation of the Bible …… The translation was largely the work of Jerome, who in 382 had been commissioned by Pope Damasus I to revise the Vetus Latina (“Old Latin”) Gospels then in use by the Roman Church. Jerome, on his own initiative, extended this work of revision and translation to include most of the books of the Bible; and once published, the new version became widely adopted; and over succeeding centuries eventually eclipsed the Vetus Latina, so that by the 13th century it had taken over from the former version the appellation of versio vulgata (the “version commonly used”) or vulgata for short. (Wikipedia)
The Vulgate (along with its predecessor the Vetus Latina) existed without much competition for around a thousand years (from its beginnings in 382AD to Wycliffe’s translation into English in 1382).
In 1382 he (Wycliffe) completed a translation directly from the Vulgate into Middle English – a version now known as Wycliffe’s Bible. (Wikipedia)
If you wanted to read the Bible, then it was only officially available in the Latin language; no other language was permitted. This meant that those entering the priesthood had to learn Latin in order to read and “interpret” the Bible. Schools and universities therefore had to teach Latin which was considered to be a classical language (along with Greek which was also considered a classical language). Such languages were considered necessary in order to study the classics, which for Latin included the Bible and related writings of the church fathers etc, and for Greek included much of the ancient Greek writings such as the epic poems and the philosophers. Such learning of the classical languages could also establish you as an academic who could teach others.
In the context of traditional European classical studies, the “classical languages” refer to Greek and Latin, which were the literary languages of the Mediterranean world in classical antiquity. (Wikipedia)
In order to control just who could learn the classical languages, the catholic church established its own universities and placed its own approved academics in charge. Only those who were approved to learn Greek and particularly Latin were permitted to study them. The esoteric nature of the catholic church meant that only those who were initiated into higher levels (this included the priesthood) were permitted to learn Latin. Academics (who also had to be approved by the catholic church) were permitted as well. (Many Jesuits in later years took over both roles of educators and religious leaders; they became a class of educator-priests. Note the number of calvinist leaders who like to label themselves as pastor-teachers, or teaching elders.)
It was a very effective method of control of those lesser-initiated lower masses in the church. Those who broke the rule were dealt with harshly and thus very few ventured to question anything. “Test all things” became “Don’t ask any questions and you won’t be told a lie!” And if you couldn’t read the Bible for yourself, you had no real way of testing anything at all, other than common sense. It was largely common sense that told the common masses in the middle ages that simony (the selling of higher church offices for money) and indulgences (money paid to the church to have the punishment for sin reduced for loved ones who had died) couldn’t possibly be biblical. But both simony and indulgences had been established by papal bull (proper term; see below!) and you couldn’t argue with the pope on anything, either, or else you were imprisoned or tortured and executed. After all, he could read Latin and you couldn’t!
A papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Roman Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden seal (bulla) that was traditionally appended to the end in order to authenticate it. (Wikipedia)
Academics were rarely tempted to beat the system either; losing your job was a big issue for them, and the threat of getting burned at the stake was an added incentive to obey the church rules. Private universities were not the answer either, as they were likely to be shut down, burned down etc and the people there imprisoned or put to death. If you weren’t one of the initiated ones (priests etc) then you were forced to accept that there were mysteries that you couldn’t understand (and were not permitted to understand, either). Esoteric belief systems run in much the same way as a dictatorship; don’t argue, don’t question anything or else.
All forms of satanism and false-god worship rely to some extent on esoteric knowledge and the acceptance of mysteries of their religion by the lower masses. People are discouraged from checking things out for themselves, or if they do check things out, they are required to find the same conclusions that their leaders have ordained that they should find. The higher levels of the esoteric belief system will determine what the lower masses should know, and what they are not permitted to know. They will only be taught sufficient to be able to process the words of wisdom from their revered leaders and no more. The watchtower society uses the same control over the JWs, as do all the cults that have ever existed. Only those higher up in the system may have greater knowledge. This ensures their continued control.
Even the calvinists use the esoteric knowledge system to control the lower masses. (This defines the satanic nature of their belief system.) Only those qualified (both spiritually and academically) may have the knowledge to teach. If you are not a calvinist, you are not considered spiritual enough to have access to the higher knowledge, and if you haven’t been to an approved Bible college or similar, you also will not be permitted to have access to that higher knowledge which is the right only of those with higher initiation. Those with higher initiation may determine what is and isn’t true doctrine, and what must be left alone (to be declared a mystery). Anyone from the lower masses may not question those who are permitted higher knowledge. If you persist, then you will be ignored as unfit for those higher beings to communicate with you. As Calvin said: Let us not be ashamed to be ignorant in a matter in which ignorance is learning. (Institutes, Bk 3, Ch.21, Section 2)
The Bible clearly teaches that its mysteries have been revealed to Christians, that they should not be ignorant of them. All Christians are meant to know all manifested or revealed mysteries, not just the leaders! But esoteric mysteries are for control, not edification. The leader may know a mystery which the lower masses are forbidden from knowing! The Bible though says that we should not be ignorant of such mysteries.
1 Corinthians 15:51 – Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed
Romans 11:25a – For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery
Ephesians 1:9a – Having made known unto us the mystery of his will
(also see Ephesians 3:3; 3:9; 6:19)
Colossians 1:26 – [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
Esoteric knowledge denies the truth; yet it’s knowing the truth that shall set us free!
John 8:30-32 – 30As he spake these words, many believed on him. 31Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed; 32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.