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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Which Written Records about Jesus Are Trustworthy?

Don Stewart :: What Is the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ?

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What Is the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Which Written Records about Jesus Are Trustworthy? – Question 19

Throughout the history of the church many documents have surfaced that have claimed to have been written by the Apostles or those intimately familiar with the life of Jesus Christ. A number of these works have surfaced in the last few hundred years. Because they have gained some sort of popularity they must be addressed. One of the most prominent is known as “The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ.”

The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ

The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ was written by a Civil War chaplain named Levi H. Dowling (1844-1911). It was based upon alleged communication he received from a “universal mind.” The Aquarian Gospel attempts to fill in some of the missing years of Jesus’ youth as well as explain His wisdom by attributing it to contact with holy men of other religions. The result is a contradictory mixture of Christian Science and occultic thought.

The name is derived from the astrological idea that a new Aquarian age has come upon us, bringing with it the need for a new spiritual gospel, the Aquarian gospel.

The Content of the Aquarian Gospel

The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ attempts to fill in some of the blanks in the life of Jesus. Some of the material in the Aquarian Gospel is borrowed from the ancient Gospel of James, a well-known forgery in the early years of the church. The most prominent part of the book deals with the education and travel of Jesus.

According to the Aquarian Gospel, Jesus first studied under the Jewish teacher Hillel and then went to India to spend time with their holy men; the Brahmins and Buddhists. His learning experience also supposedly took Him to Tibet, Persia, Assyria, Greece, and Egypt.

According to the Aquarian gospel, it was in Egypt that Jesus was said to have joined the sacred brotherhood. He passed through seven degrees, and emerged as the “Logos.” In Alexandria, Egypt, a council of seven sages was held where they formulated seven great religious postulates and ordained Jesus for the work of the ministry.

The Aquarian Gospel rewrites the four gospels according to its own particular viewpoint. The end of the story has Jesus appearing in a materialized body to people in India, Persia, Greece, and other countries.

Dowling claimed to have received this information about Jesus from Akasha which he alleged was an immense spiritual field that surrounds the earth. In the Aquarian Gospel, Jesus is not the unique Savior or Son of God. He is merely the prototype of what every human being can be, the Christ.

Evaluation of the Aquarian Gospel

Like many previous attempts, the Aquarian Gospel attempts to give an explanation of the wisdom and character of Jesus apart from the biblical depiction. Dowling’s reconstruction shows obvious borrowing from the ancient “Gospel of James,” as well as familiarity with a nineteenth century works, Novotitch’s “Unknown Life of Jesus Christ.”

The book begins with an historical inaccuracy: It reads, “Augustus Caesar reigned and Herod Antipas was ruler in Jerusalem.” This is an historical error. Herod Antipas ruled in Galilee, never in Jerusalem. Thus the fraudulent nature of this work is evident from the beginning.

The Source of Jesus’ Teachings

A crucial problem with the Aquarian Gospel concerns its idea as to the source of Jesus’ teachings. If Jesus obtained His wisdom from the masters of India, Greece, and other countries, then why doesn’t His teaching reflect it?

The teachings of Jesus, as recorded in the four Gospels, are in direct conflict with every central belief of Hinduism, Buddhism, and the other religions with which He supposedly came into contact!

It Gives a False Portrait of Jesus

The simple fact is this: we have in the four Gospels a first-hand account of the life and ministry of Jesus. The Aquarian Gospel is a false portrait of the life of Christ. It is not based upon any historical records or eyewitness testimony, but rather upon the recollections of an ancient forgery and the imagination of a nineteenth-century writer. In the Aquarian gospel, Jesus is a master magician who believed in reincarnation. It has no value whatsoever in providing new or accurate information on the life of Christ. Consequently it should not be taken seriously.

Summary – Question 19
What Is the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ?

The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ was written by Civil War chaplain Levi Dowling to give a picture of the “real” Jesus. Like so many other writings of its kind, it is historically worthless.

This nineteenth century work attempts to fill in Jesus’ missing years as well as explain where He obtained His great wisdom. It has Jesus traveling to different lands to gain wisdom from certain “holy men.” Upon His return, He imparted that newly gained wisdom to the people of Israel. The end result is a Jesus who is a prototype of what all of us can become, the Christ. This insightful truth about Jesus was supposed communicated to Levi Dowling by some spiritual force field which surrounds the earth.

While there have been those in the general public who have believed this work to be genuine, there is no historical basis whatsoever for it. While no scholar takes this work seriously, it has been used by certain “new age” groups to promote the idea that Jesus discovered truth about Himself that we also can discover about ourselves.

Like all other such works, it gives a false portrait of Jesus Christ while robbing Him of His unique identity. Indeed, the Bible says that Jesus is God the Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. He became a human being to show us what the one true God is like. Thus, Jesus is unlike anyone who has ever lived or ever will live.

Furthermore, we can indeed become God’s children. This happens by placing our faith in Him. However, none of us will become “the Christ.” He alone has that honor.

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