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Old Testament

H. P. Blavatsky tells us that the Old Testament is not a homogeneous

composition; that Genesis alone is of immense antiquity; that it is

prior to the time when the Libra of the Zodiac was invented by the

Greeks, for it has been noticed that the chapters containing the

genealogies have been touched up so as to adapt them to the new

zodiac, and this is the reason that the rabbis who compiled them twice

repeated the names
of Enoch and Lamech in the Cain list. The other

parts seem to be of a comparatively recent date and to have been

completed about 150 B.C.

The first part of the Book of God--as the Scriptures were then

called--was written by Hilkiah, jointly with the prophetess Huldah; this

disappeared at a later date, and Ezra had to begin a new one which was

finished by Judas Maccabaeus. This was recopied some time after, with the

object of changing the pointed letters into square ones, and in this way

was quite disfigured. The Masoretes ended by mutilating it completely.

The result is that the text we now possess is one not more than nine

hundred years old, bristling with premeditated omissions,

interpolations, and perverted interpretations.[145]

By the side of this initial difficulty we find another, quite as

important. Almost every page of the Old Testament contains veiled

meanings and allegories, as is frankly confessed by the rabbis


"We ought not to take literally that which is written in the story of

the Creation, nor entertain the same ideas of it as are held by the

vulgar. If it were otherwise, our ancient sages would not have taken

so much pains to conceal the sense, and to keep before the eyes of the

uninstructed the veil of allegory which conceals the truth it


Does not Saint Paul, speaking of the hidden meaning of the Bible, say

that Agar is Mount Sinai?[147] Origen and Saint Augustine are of the

opinion that the Old Testament must be regarded as symbolical, as

otherwise it would be immoral; the Jewish law forbade anyone to read

it who had not attained the age of thirty years; Fenelon would have

liked it to be thrust away in the recesses of the most secret

libraries; the Cardinal de Noailles says that Origen, so full of zeal

on behalf of the Holy Scriptures, would not allow anyone to read the

Old Testament, unless he were firmly anchored in the practice of a

virtuous life; he affirms too that Saint Basilius, in a letter to

Chilon, the monk, stated that the reading of it often had a harmful

influence; for the same reasons, the Index expurgatorius forbids the

publication of the Bible in the vulgar tongue, and orders that no one

be allowed to read it without the written permission of his


A third difficulty arises from the fact that the Old Testament--its dead

"letter" and its commandments, at all events--is no longer suitable to

our own race. It was intended for a nation that was composed of young

souls, at a low stage of evolution, for whom nothing more than the

rudiments of instruction were necessary, and on whom stern rules of

morality, suitable for advanced souls, ought not to be imposed. This is

why divorce,[149] polygamy,[150] slavery,[151] retaliation, lex

talionis,[152] the blood of sacrifice[153] are instituted; it is the

reason God is represented as a being to be dreaded, punishing those who

do not obey him, wicked, jealous, bloodthirsty.[154] Bossuet understood

all this when he said that the primitive Hebrew race was not

sufficiently advanced to have the immortality of the soul taught to it.

This, too, is the only explanation we can find for the sensual

materialism of Ecclesiastes.[155]

Consequently one need not be astonished to find that the Old Testament

nowhere deals--directly, at all events--with the doctrine of Rebirth.

All the same, here and there we come across a few passages that point

in this direction. For instance, we read in Genesis, chapter 25,

regarding the birth of Jacob and Esau:

"And the children (of Rebecca) struggled together within her.

"And the Lord said unto her: Two nations are in thy womb, and two

manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels, and the one

people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall

serve the younger.

"And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold there were

twins in her womb."

This passage has been the occasion of lengthy commentaries on the part

of certain Fathers of the Church--more especially of Origen. Indeed,

either we must acknowledge divine injustice, creating, without any

cause, two hostile brothers, one of whom must submit to the rule of

the other, and who begin to strive together even before birth, or we

must hark back to the pre-existence of the human soul and to a past

Karma which had created inequality in condition.

David begins the ninetieth Psalm with a verse which only a belief in

reincarnation can explain:

"Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations...."

The dwelling-place of the soul, at death, is in heaven, whence it

returns to earth when the hour of rebirth has struck; thus, in all

generations, that is, from life to life, "the Lord is our


In Chapter 8 of the Book of Wisdom, Solomon says in more explicit


"For I was a witty child, and had a good spirit, yea, rather, being

good, I came into a body undefiled."

This clearly points to the pre-existence of the soul and the close

relation that exists between the conditions of its rebirth and the

merits or demerits of its past.

Verse 5 of the first chapter of Jeremiah is similar to verse 23 of

the twenty-fifth chapter of Genesis:

"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou camest

forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a

prophet unto the nations...."

It is the deeds done in the past lives of Jeremiah that accompany him

on his return to earth; God could not, in an arbitrary fashion, have

conferred on him the gift of prophecy had he not acquired it by his

efforts in a past life; unless, here too, we altogether abandon reason

and go back to a capricious or unjust--consequently altogether