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Were the teachings of Jesus "esoteric" teachings...

only to be revealed to the "initiates"?

A guest document by Ricardo de Valencia


In this document we will examine the following false allegation that is representative of some "esoteric researchers":

“For the teachings of Christ were occult teachings, which could only be explained at the initiation. They were never intended for the masses, for Jesus forbade the twelve to go to the Gentiles and the Samaritans (Mt 10:5-6), and repeated to his disciples that the 'mysteries of Heaven' were for them alone, not for the multitudes (Mk 4:11).”

Many Christians know that that is not true, but can they reason it out based on the Gospel? Because it is really true that Jesus explained many things in parables and only to His apostles did He explain the meaning. But, at the same time, we know that the mission of the apostles was not to keep secrets but to preach the Gospel openly. How to reconcile these ideas that seem to go in opposite directions?

Here we will show how this apparent contradiction can be unraveled in the light of the Gospel.


First, about Matthew 10:5-6:

Jesus sent these twelve out and commanded them, saying, “Don’t go among the Gentiles, and don’t enter into any city of the Samaritans. Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.[Mt 10:5-6]

Jesus did not commanded them to act this way forever. The simple and correct explanation is that the Good News had to be preached first to the Jews. After that, Jesus instructed their apostles to:

“Go into all the world and preach the Good News to the whole creation.” [Mk 16:15]

“You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.” [Acts 1:8]

Some disciples and apostles found it hard to understand, but they ended up understanding that "the whole world" included the Gentiles:

“They of the circumcision who believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out on the Gentiles.” [Acts 10:45]

Paul and Barnabas understood this perfectly from the beginning, and they said so when addressing the Jews who rejected the Gospel:

It was necessary that God’s word should be spoken to you first. Since indeed you thrust it from yourselves, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.” [Acts 13:46]

Now, about the alleged concealment of "occult teachings out of the reach of the masses"

Let us keep the alluded passage at hand:

He said to them, “To you is given the mystery of God’s Kingdom, but to those who are outside, all things are done in parables, that ‘seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand, lest perhaps they should turn again, and their sins should be forgiven them.’ ” [Mark 4:11-12] [Similar: Matthew13:10-13; Luke 8:9-10]

First of all, an important distinction must be made: "hidden" is not the same as "occult" or "esoteric".

There will always be "hidden" mysteries about God, since He —in whose Mind the whole Universe is contained— can never be contained in a human mind. Does this mean that the Christian Faith is "esoteric" knowledge? No! Absolutely not! For "occult" as in "hidden in parables" or as in "they will see and not perceive" is very different from "occult" or "esoteric".

Implicit in the meaning of the words "occult" and "esoteric" there is, as a first step, a rejection to God.

The appeal to the "occult" and the "esoteric" is an invitation to pursue knowledge by means of an intellectual and spiritual research with aids different than the recourse to God — "secret wisdom of the ancients", study of magic as if it were "wisdom", "transcendental meditation" (without God, and therefore open to spiritual influences), "seeking (divinity) in oneself", consultation of spirits... And that is precisely the opposite of the Christian Faith!

And, regarding those who undertake the study of the Christian Faith as an esoteric intellectual study (as if the mission of the apostles was to keep secrets of human wisdom that the Gospels have not revealed), St. Paul has a message for them:

“When I came to you, brothers, I didn’t come with excellence of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. .... that your faith wouldn’t stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” [1Cor 2:1-5]

That Jesus' parables were "not meant for the masses"? Really? Think about this:

* If the explanations to the parables told by Jesus were meant to be forever hidden and only revealed to the "initiated", then the apostles did a poor job because anyone can read today in the Holy Scriptures the explanations to the parables.

* If what Jesus communicated in intimacy to the apostles was "esoteric" knowledge that was not to be made known to the multitudes, then the long discourse of intimate revelations that Jesus, in His farewell, explained to His apostles (John, chapters 13-17) would never have been made public.

In the face of this, one may ask: And why did Jesus' explanations of the parables and intimate teachings end up being public? Did he not say that to "those who are outside" it is not given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven?

The answer: The Word of God was not intended to be forever locked up in parables or in the mouths of a few. At the appropriate time —after His Resurrection— it had to be explained openly so that: (a) the whole world would have the opportunity to receive or reject it and (b) all His Chosen Ones scattered throughout the world could benefit from it:

I have spoken these things to you in figures of speech. But the time is coming when I will no more speak to you in figures of speech, but will tell you plainly about the Father.[John 16:25]

What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in the ear, proclaim on the housetops.” [Mt 10:27]

Just as there was a time when His apostles were, first, to go "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" and then "to the whole world", so too there was a time when Jesus, first, "spoke in parables" and then asked them "What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light".

Even after the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven have been openly explained, many still "see and not perceive, hear and not understand". It can be said that still "everything comes to them in parables". God takes care of that. What do some of them do, then? They look for substitute and "more deeply hidden" explanations that do not pertain to the true Christ.

Is there any "occult/esoteric" knowledge that, being "denied to the masses", prevents them from benefiting from the Kingdom of Heaven?

The mysteries necessary for Salvation have already been revealed to all mankind. Because they have been revealed, they are no longer "mysteries". They are not "occult" or "esoteric". That Jesus Christ rose from the dead is not a secret — it is a matter of faith, but not a secret guarded by his disciples. His role in our redemption is a revealed mystery, what "many prophets and righteous men desired to see" [Mt 13:17] before the apostles and was revealed in Jesus.

We do not know the physical-spiritual mechanism of the Resurrection, but that is not necessary for our Salvation (on the contrary, it would be worthless if an act of faith were not necessary). Likewise, each one is free to accept the revealed commandment "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God" as the key to his/her life or to reject it.

Are there still "hidden secrets" to be revealed? Were the apostles guardians of some of these secrets?

Secondary to the already revealed mysteries which are necessary for Salvation, of course there are still "secrets" — an infinite number of them! There will always be mysteries about God, since He —in whose Mind the entire Universe is contained— can never be contained in a human mind. But it is one thing to say that there are secrets that God prefers to reveal only to a few and quite another to say that the mission of the apostles is "to keep secrets of wisdom that the Gospels have not revealed".

What God further decides to reveal to anyone depends on our response to His Love, not on our capacity for intellectual or "esoteric" research. The pure and simple mechanism is: Only after a child has accepted the fact that the Father really loves him/her, then He will be moved, out of pure love, to share the details of His Love.

You can call it "initiation" if you wish, but it is not an "initiation" that depends on an elite accepting you after a probation. Will you call "initiation" the act of lovingly embracing your father after a bitter separation and this act opening the door for your father to talk to you with love? The mission of the apostles is not to transmit "hidden knowledge", it is to instruct you in very simple truths so that you feel moved to accept the invitation to meet your Heavenly Father.

Any other knowledge apart from the necessary for that encounter is secondary. However, the more His creature loves Him, the more He will be moved to share. The key to the mysteries of Heaven is love —accepting like a child the Love of God for us—, not human wisdom:

“I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you hid these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to infants.” [Mt 11:25]

“Let no one deceive himself. If anyone thinks that he is wise among you in this world, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” [1Cor 3:18-19]

“For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks...” [1Cor 1:22-23]


The consequences of pursuing an "esoteric" science to know the mysteries of God

As we have said before, the pursuit of the "occult" and "esoteric" carries implicitly, as a first step, a rejection of God.

The problem is that, from the moment one rejects God in his/her search for wisdom about the affairs of Heaven, God will allow unclean spirits to influence his/her "research", since in the spiritual realm there is no such thing as "emptiness": either one fills his/her "space" with God or it will be occupied by "others". If one leaves God out of the equation, what one will get will be only filth, since He is the ONLY source of True Wisdom.

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En Español:  ¿Eran las enseñanzas de Jesús enseñanzas 'esotéricas' que solo debían revelarse a los 'iniciados'?

Published on June 30th, 2022

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