THE AQUARIAN GOSPEL
A Summary of a Contemporary Pseudo-Scripture
by M. Kurt Goedelman
The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ contains a variety of
New Age thought disguised as an updated Christian Gospel. This
"gospel" begins with the birth and early life of Mary, the mother
of Jesus, and concludes with the events surrounding Pentecost. In
between is, among other things, "a complete record of the 'lost'
18 years [of Jesus] so strangely silent in the New Testament."
The purported author of this work is Levi H. Dowling. However,
a publisher's note in the book says "the book was transcribed
between the early morning hours of two and six," indicating
spirit-induced automatic writing or, as described in the book's
introduction, "wireless telegraphy" (pg. 17). The introduction
tells the reader that Dowling's commission was to "take up your
pen and write," a command he "received from Visel, the Goddess of
Wisdom or the Holy Breath." (pp. 14-15)
Dowling, who preferred to be addressed as "Levi," was born in
1844. He was the son of a Disciples of Christ preacher. However,
it appears he strayed from Christian belief early. It is claimed
that at age 13, Levi debated a Presbyterian elder on the issue of
everlasting punishment for the wicked. It also is claimed that
young Levi became a student of world religions and "entered into
a deeper study of etheric vibration, determined to solve the
great mysteries of the heavens."
Perhaps Dowling's motivation in life came from a vision he is
said to have experienced. Three times he was told to "build a
white city." After 40 years of "study and silent meditation,"
Dowling is said to have "reached a state of spiritual conscious-
ness that permitted him to enter the domain of these superfine
ethers and interpret their mysteries." Thus he was able to build
his "white city," The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ.
First published in 1907, four years prior to Dowling's death,
The Aquarian Gospel claims as its source the Akashic records.
These are said to be the "imperishable records of life ...
[which] are wholly in the domain of Supreme Intelligence, or
Universal Mind." Dowling is purported to have contacted, under
the Spirit of Supreme Intelligence's direction, the tones and
rhythms of such biblical figures as Enoch, Melchizedek and Jesus
of Nazareth. The volume further says all of Dowling's "transcrip-
tions are true to the letter." (Introduction, pg. 17)
The Aquarian Gospel gets its name from astrology. During the
rise of the Roman Empire and Jesus' earthly ministry, the sun ð3Ð/
Šentered what astrologers call the sign of Pisces, ushering in the
"Piscean Age." Nineteen hundred years later, the sun is in the
sign of Aquarius, ushering in the "Aquarian Age," which is sup-
posed to bring an advanced stage of spiritual consciousness,
wherein the spiritual side of Jesus' lessons may be understood by
If the Aquarian Age was a time when many did comprehend Jesus'
message, it would be a blessing to the whole world and a time of
great revival. However, the message of The Aquarian Gospel is far
removed from that of what is found in Scripture.
The 35 The Aquarian Gospel tell a story of Jesus' childhood,
early education and travels. None of this is found in the Bible.
The Aquarian Gospel says Jesus' youth was filled with "traveling
and learning from the masters, seers and wise men in the temples
and schools of Tibet, Egypt, India, Persia and Greece." All this
"learning" gives the book its pantheistic "New Age" flavor.
Along the way, The Aquarian Gospel expounds a theology of a
multifaceted God, "the One, the Three, the Seven. ...:
"Before the worlds were formed all things were One; just Spirit
Universal Breath. And the Spirit breathed, and that which was not
manifest became the Fire and Thought of heaven, the Father-God,
the Mother-God. And when the Fire and Thought of heaven in union
breathed, their son, their only son, was born. This son is Love
whom men have called the Christ. Men call the Thought of heaven
the Holy Breath. And when the Triune God breathed forth, lo,
seven Spirits stood before the throne. These are Elohim, creative
spirits of the universe. And these are they who said, Let us make
man; and in their image man was made." (Chapter 9, verses 15-20)
Jesus' teachings as told in The Aquarian Gospel seriously con-
flict with those recorded in the Bible. For example, Christ's
deity, which is at the very heart of the Christian message, is
dismissed as a teaching developed after the time of Christ and
his disciples. The book's introduction states that "Orthodox
Christian ecclesiastics tell us that Jesus of Nazareth and the
Christ were one; that the true name of this remarkable person was
Jesus Christ. They tell us that this man of Galilee was the very
eternal God clothed in flesh of man that men might see his glory.
Of course this doctrine is wholly at variance with the teachings
of Jesus himself and of his apostles." (pg. 13)
In addition, the introduction says the "Aquarian Masters in
council" deny the biblical teaching that Jesus, from his birth in
Bethlehem, was the Christ. (Luke 2:11) Rather than accepting the
scriptural position, it says: "Jesus was not always the Christ.
Jesus won his Christship by a strenuous life ... We recognize the
facts that Jesus was man and that Christ was God, so that in very
truth Jesus the Christ was the God-man of the ages." (pg. 14) The
Christship bestowed upon Jesus, making him the "God-man," is in
no way unique for the reader is told to "look to the Christ
within who shall be formed in every one of you, as he is formed
in me." (pg. 14)
The Aquarian Gospel further disparages Christ's nature in this
passage, where Jesus isn't even given the title "a god.": "And
all the people were entranced, and would have worshipped Jesus as
a God; but Jesus said, 'I am your brother man just come to show
the way to God; you shall not worship man; praise God, the Holy
Further heresies from this Aquarian "Jesus" include his denial
of a literal heaven and hell: "God never made a heaven for man;
he never made a hell; we are creators and we make our own." ...
"your heaven is not far away; and it is not a place of metes and
bounds, is not a country to be reached; it is a state of mind ...
the devil and the burning fires are both the works of man, and
none can put the fires out and dissipate the evil one, but man
who made them both." (33:8-9; 39:18)
The Aquarian Jesus also expresses a belief in reincarnation.
This gospel tells of an encounter between Jesus and a band of
wandering musicians. This Aquarian Jesus comments:
"From whence this talent and this power? In one short life they
surely could not gain such grace of voice, such knowledge of the
laws of harmony and tone ... These people are not young. A thou-
sand years would not suffice to give them such divine expressive-
ness, and such purity of voice and touch ... And they have come
again to learn still other lessons from the varied notes of
The Aquarian Gospel tries to present an imaginative account of
the events of four biblical Gospels and the opening chapters of
the Book of Acts but anyone with the slightest knowledge of the
Bible will recognize that The Aquarian Gospel plays fast and
loose with the facts given in Scripture.
Take the crucifixion, for example. Dowling reinterprets
Matthew's and Mark's narratives of Jesus' cry from the cross,
"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani ("My God, my God, why have you
forsaken me?" Matthew 27:45-46; Mark 15:33-34). The Aquarian
Gospel reads: "Now, at the sixth hour of the day, although the
sun was at its height, the day became as dark as night;... And
when the sun refused to shine and darkness came, the Lord ex-
claimed, Heloi! Heloi! lama sabachtani (Thou sun! thou sun! Why
hast thouforsaken me?)" (171:1,3). The biblical account of Jesus'
cry illustrates the agony Jesus felt in bearing the weight of ð3Ð/
Šmankind's sins and his Father's abandonment. The Aquarian Gospel
omits any reference to Christ's atoning work on the cross, reduc-
ing his cry of anguish to a complaint that it had suddenly become
The Aquarian Gospel's account of how Christ died also contra-
dicts Scripture. All four Gospels agree that when Jesus died, he
cried out with a loud voice and gave up his spirit (Matthew
27:50, Mark16:37, Luke 23:45, John19:30). However, The Aquarian
Gospel says "A Roman soldier in compassion said, 'This agony is
all too great; relief shall come.' And with a spear he pierced
his heart and it was done; the son of man was dead." (171:10)
The Bible accounts say that the Roman soldiers broke the legs of
those crucified with Jesus to ensure death, but did not break
Jesus' legs because he already was dead. The Bible does say that
when a soldier pierced Jesus' side with a spear, a mixture of
blood and water poured from the wound, further evidence that he
already was dead (See: Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Vol. I,
by Josh McDowell, pp. 203-208; Passport Magazine, April-May 1987,
"A Medical Report: On The Physical Death of Jesus Christ," by
William D. Edwards, M.D.; Wesley J. Gabel, M.Div.; and Floyd E.
Hosmer, M.S., AMI, pp. 3-6, 10-11.)
The Aquarian Gospel also contradicts the Bible in its account of
Christ's resurrection. Like many cults, The Aquarian Gospel
teaches a spiritual, not bodily, resurrection, of Christ. In the
resurrection, Christ made good his claim when he said, "Destroy
this temple and in three days, I will raise it up ... He spoke of
the temple of his body." (John 2:19,21) A spiritual rather than
bodily resurrection would make Christ a false prophet and would
cast doubt on all his other claims.
The Aquarian Gospel says the soldiers guarding the Lord's tomb
"saw the body of the Nazarene transmute; they saw it change from
mortal to immortal form and then disappear." (172:39) The Aquar-
ian Gospel also tells of many appearances by the resurrected
Christ to his disciples, family and followers plus Caiaphas,
Annas and other ruling Jews (177:1-19), and the various "masters,
seers and wise men" in India, Persia and Greece (chap. 176, 178).
In each post-resurrection appearance, chapter headings in The
Aquarian Gospel announce Jesus' manifestations to be "fully
materialised," making way for the Lord to offer as proof of his
resurrection his hand, feet and side and to partake of food.
To both the cautious reader or one who may not be as discerning,
The Aquarian Gospel has no redeeming value. The careful reader
will be alerted to such errors as found in the opening statement
that "Augustus Caesar reigned and Herod Antipas was ruler in
Jerusalem." As Dr. Edgar J. Goodspeed has stated, "This opening
sentence of the new gospel does not encourage any high hopes as
to its historical value. It is generally accepted that Antipas
never ruled in Jerusalem but in Galilee." (Strange New Gospels,
Not just Bible scholars and historians will be put off by this
book's innacuracies. For example, in a post-resurrection appear-
ance of Christ to Mary, The Aquarian Gospel identifies Mary not
as Mary Magdalene but as Mary the mother of Jesus. (173:13-20) If
Dowling, in writing The Aquarian Gospel, was simply recording
information given to him by the spirit entities, one has to
question the reliability of the "spirit guides" he used.
It brings to mind a recent cartoon advertisement that lampooned
the New Age concept of spirit "channeling," saying "Just because
they're dead, doesn't mean they're smart." The ad went on to
describe that "there are idiot entities," and offered a product
which will help people test to see if their spirit contact is
truly "a brilliant mind from afar or just another astral couch
It is not difficult to imagine, in the New Age realm of think-
ing, that if Dowling's work was provided from spirit messengers
from beyond, he got in contact with "astral couch potatoes."
However, such practices cannot be made light of considering the
biblical injunctions against them (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).
The Aquarian Gospel will be useful only to those looking to find
validation for their denial of the biblical Jesus, in favor of
one who is conformed to their hollow and deceptive philsophies.
The latter, "Aquarian," Jesus and his teachings are those of
which the Apostle Paul warned, as he instructed the Corinthians
to be alert because there would be those who would come preaching
another Jesus, another Spirit and another Gospel, from the ones
which he preached. (II Corinthians 11:4).
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