“If we now stop to consider another of the fundamental dogmas of Christianity, the doctrine of atonement, we may trace it as easily back to heathendom. This cornerstone of a Church which had believed herself built on a firm rock for long centuries, is now excavated by science and proved to come from the Gnostics. Professor Draper shows it as hardly known in the days of Tertullian, and as having “originated among the Gnostic heretics.”
We will not permit ourselves to contradict such a learned authority, farther than to state that it originated among them no more than their “anointed” Christos and Sophia. The former they modeled on the original of the “King Messiah”, the male principle of wisdom, and the latter on the third Sephiroth, from the Chaldean kabala, and even from the Hindu Brahma and Sara-asvati, and the Pagan Dionysus and Demeter.
And here we are on the firm ground, if it were only because it is now proved that the New Testament never appeared in its complete form, such as we find it now, till 300 years after the period of apostles, and the Sohar and other kabalistic books are found to belong to the first century before our era, if not to be far older still.
The Gnostics entertained many of the Essenean ideas, and the Essenes had their “greater” and “minor” Mysteries, at least two centuries before our era. They were the Isarim, or Initiates, the descendants of the Egyptian hierophants, in whose country they had been settled for several centuries, before they were converted to Buddhistic monasticism by the missionaries of King Asoka, and amalgamated later with the earliest Christians; and they existed, probably, before the old Egyptian temples were desecrated and ruined in the incessant invasions of Persians, Greeks, and other conquering hordes.
The hierophants had their atonement enacted in the Mystery of Initiation ages before the Gnostics, or even the Essenes, had appeared. It was known among hierophants as the BAPTISM OF BLOOD, and was considered not as an atonement for the “fall of man” in Eden, but simply as an expiation for the past, present, and future sins of ignorant but nevertheless polluted mankind.
The hierophant had the option of either offering his pure and sinless life as a sacrifice for his race to the gods whom he hoped to rejoin, or an animal victim. The former depended entirely on their own will. At the last moment of the solemn “new birth”, the initiator passed “the word” to the initiated, and immediately after that the latter had a weapon placed in his right hand, and was ordered to strike. This is the true origin of the Christian dogma of atonement.”
H. P. Blavatsky