Rudolf Steiner gave many lectures in which he announced and elaborated upon a prophecy that Christ would return to earth in about 1933, but not as an incarnate but instead in the etheric realm; where he would be perceptible only to those of spiritual discernment.
To me, this prophecy was wrong in so many levels that my inclination is to reject it outright. For example, I do not believe for a moment that God unfolds his plans according to pre-specified dates, and it seems crystal clear from the gospels that the second coming cannot be foretold.
But given my basic respect for Steiner, my preference is to try and make sense of this prophecy in terms of him having sensed something true, but misinterpreted its meaning because of his personal quirks relating to numerology and his fixed conviction that Man's destiny was pre-specified in terms of sequential eras of fixed length and function, extending over millennia...
What I infer happened, was that - by his sensitive spiritual discernment, and his profound understanding of the history of Man's consciousness - Steiner realised that it was God's hope, and the time was ripe, for modern Western Man to move to a new kind of intuitive spirituality of thinking, of which Goethe's life gave a foretaste.
It was therefore Man's destiny to move forward from the dominant materialism, and spiritual blindness, of the modern era; and if this happened then there would be new and expanded possibilities of direct, intuitive knowing.
One vital and crucial aspect of this was that If Man developed this new spirituality, Then he would come to experience Christ as a living and active personal presence in the world - not by seeing, hearing or touching Christ in a body (this would have to be an imagined Christ, an hallucinated Christ); but instead by a direct, intuitive knowing of Christ in thinking.
What this means, in practice, is that for modern Man it is more important to become spiritual than to become 'a Christian' because to become a non-spiritual Christian is not enough; while to become truly spiritual (in the intuitive, thinking-based way described by Steiner) will also, inevitably, sooner-or-later, lead to becoming a Christian by direct personal experience.
To be clear: this is not what Steiner actually said, but my interpretation of what underlay it, but could this be true?
Could it really be that - here and now, in this modern world - well-motivated sincere spirituality of the true self will lead to true Christianity for any serious, seeking individual, without any other input being necessary?
Yes, I think so.
This sounds outrageous at first; but it is clear that merely 'being a Christian' in the usual sense is not enough now (if it ever was).
Modern Christians are often terribly lacking in discernment, and wide-open to demonic deceptions, corruptions and inversions.
The traditions of the churches are wrecked, Biblical interpretation deeply distorted, philosophy riddled with false assumptions; the general culture is one of lies, ugliness and sin-enforced as virtue; many or most church leaders, priests and pastors are primarily secular Left materialists working strategically to harness Christianity to politics; Good to evil...
There are so few safe and reliable sources of Christianity that it seems we must have direct knowledge of the truth - or else what we learn may be worse than nothing.
If that is what we absolutely need, then that is what God will surely have provided. We need direct knowledge of spiritual truths, and that is now available to us; and the method by which this is made possible should therefore be our first priority.