Where Does the Phrase “As Above, So Below” Come From?
Steve, do you know where the phrase “as above, so below” originated? You used it in your study on demons. Thank you. — Judith
Good question. Let me explain why I used that phrase in my Bible study on Demonic Activity.
New Agers and Kabballists claim the phrase “as above, so below” was first used 2,000 years ago, in a text called the Emerald Tablet, allegedly written by Hermes Trismegistus.
Others claim an ancient Egyptian priest-king (or demi-god) called Thoth wrote that tablet some 34,000 years ago, which can’t possibly be true as man was not on this earth 34,000 years ago, at least, not in human form (basically, they pull this one from the Atlantis theory).
Still others claim Hermes Trismegistus was the reincarnation of Thoth, the ancient “god” of writing, religion, and of the arts and sciences.
All of those claims, of course, are occult nonsense, as the principle “as above, so below” is indeed quite Biblical, when understood and applied correctly.
The Biblical Principle
I contend the principle behind “as above, so below,” was hijacked from the Word of God, turned into a catch-phrase, and has ever since been misused by the occultists, Kabbalists, New Agers, etc. for their own self-aggrandizing purposes.
The principle denotes the idea that what happens on one level of reality, for example, the heavenly level, also happens on every other level, including the earthly; the microcosm and macrocosm ultimately behave alike, or perhaps better put, the microcosm reflects what’s happening in the macrocosm, and the macrocosm reflects what’s happening in the microcosm.
It’s a take-off on the Biblical principle of “As then, so again.” In other words, as it happened in the distant past, so it happens again in the present. The distant past is a reflection of the present, and the present is a reflection of the distant past.
Here’s a quick Biblical example of the principle of “as then, so again:
In Jeremiah’s time, God’s people Israel went into Babylonian captivity under Nebuchadnezzar. And in the end times, God’s people will, once more, go into Babylonian captivity (under Satan).
Very simple. The two Babylonian captivities – the first in Jeremiah’s time, and the latter in the final days of this flesh age — reflect each other (“as then, so again”), which is why so many of the teachings about Babylon in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, for example, apply directly to the teachings about worldwide end-days Babylon in New Testament book of Revelation.
What’s important to understand is that the “as above, so below” principle is often embodied within the Biblical “as then, so again” principle.
For example, in heaven, during the first age, at Satan’s rebellion against God’s throne, one-third of the angels of heaven went into the captivity of confusion under Satan (Revelation 12:4). In other words, they were deceived into worshiping Satan instead of God.
But the rebellion in heaven failed when God overthrew His entire creation. And in the final days of this second age – the flesh age — that very same one-third of God’s children will once again enter into the captivity of confusion under Satan, this time, here on earth, when he arrives in his role as the false messiah. “As above, so below.”
Here’s what happened during the first age, in heaven:
Revelation 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
Revelation 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth:
Of course, we know that the “stars of heaven” are God’s angels (Job 38:7). One-third of them fell for Satan’s deception, “in heaven.”
And now, here on earth, in the final days of this second age the same thing must happen, once again, to that very same one-third of God’s children.
Through the deception of Satan, that same one-third of God’s children who went into captivity in heaven, in the first age, will go into captivity to Satan and his beast system on earth, in this second age.
It’s both “as then, so again,” and “as above, so below” at the very same time.
The book of Revelation demonstrates for us, in symbolic language, that this same one-third of God’s children who fell to Satan in heaven will once more, on earth, be spiritually slain by Satan’s deception:
Revelation 9:15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
Revelation 9:16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
Revelation 9:17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.
Revelation 9:18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
In the final days of this flesh earth age, it’s deception that comes streaming from the mouths of Satan’s hordes, which is symbolized by the fire, the smoke and the brimstone.
And by that overwhelming deception, the one-third of God’s rebellious children who fell to Satan’s deception in the first age, will once again fall for it in this second age.
So, their captivity to Satan, which started in heaven, must now be reflected here on earth, i.e., “As above, so below.” What took place in heaven is ultimately reflected in what takes place on earth.
The Lord’s Prayer
But perhaps the most obvious Biblical elucidation of the principle of “as above, so below” can be found in the opening words of the Lord’s prayer:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth, as it is in heaven.
So, even God’s will (i.e., which is to save His children – II Peter 3:9), is embedded simultaneously in heaven and on earth. The one reflects the other. “As above, so below.”
God presides over activities in heaven that are designed to save His children. And God presides over activities on this earth that are designed to save His children. Again, “as above, so below.”
And, in the end, the will of God – i.e., to save His children — will be accomplished in both heaven and on earth. “As above, so below.”
So, as you can see, “as above, so below” is something we’re even supposed to pray for – at least, as Christ taught it.
The Many-Membered Body In Heaven and On Earth
Also, consider the fact that just as there’s a many-membered elect body of Christ residing on earth, so there’s a many-membered elect body of Christ residing in heaven. Right?
For example, each truly faithful Christian on this earth who dies and returns to the Father becomes part of the heavenly many-membered body of Christ that will return to this earth with Christ at His Second Advent.
And the two – the earthly and the heavenly elect — will then be joined into one for the eternity. As it’s written:
Mark 13:23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
Mark 13:24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
Mark 13:25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
Mark 13:26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
Mark 13:27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
All of God’s elect will be gathered together, as one, from the “uttermost part of heaven” to the “uttermost part of earth.” “As above, so below.” And we will live together with the Lord, throughout the eternity.
More Biblical Examples
Also, consider the fact that we humans are made “in the image of God.” Therefore, God’s very image in heaven is reflected, through us, on earth. Again, “As above, so below.”
Another way of looking at the “as above, so below” principle is this: What’s expected of God’s children in heaven, is what’s expected of God’s children on earth.
Or, what happened to God’s children in heaven in the first age, is reflected in what happens to those very same children on earth in this second age.
For example, if you stood against Satan in heaven in the first age, that pro-God stance will be reflected in your present experience here on earth; or contra wise, if you sided with Satan in heaven in the first age, that pro-Satan stance will be reflected in your present experience here on earth It’s both “as then, so again” and “as above, so below” in the same breath.
Even the fact that angels serve God’s purposes in heaven, and also serve God’s purposes on earth, is reflected in the “as above, so below” principle.
And here’s another interesting example:
John 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
Now, think about that for just a moment, keeping in mind that God’s mercy seat resides in the heavens: Whoever’s sins you forgive (on earth), are forgiven to them (in heaven). And whoever’s sins you retain (on earth), are retained (in heaven).
That’s the “as above, so below” principle, by Biblical example.
Occult Hijacking and Re-Purposing
Of course, the occult, rabbinic and New Age movements (which are actually one-and-the-same, in purpose, at least) have hijacked the “as above, so below” principle from the Bible, and use it constantly, for their own occult purposes.
You might have noticed, for example, the frequent use of “reflection” images like the one below, particularly in television shows dealing with the occult or other dark matters.
This image of the swan and its perfect reflection in the water both symbolizes and visually demonstrates the “as above, so below” principle. What’s happening in heaven is reflected on earth.
As another example, a recent TV show, The Outsider, used the same kind of reflective “as above, so below” visual theme to imply that the show’s murderous villain was “other-worldly.” They also used the occult “circle” theme, tied directly to the “as above, so below” theme.
The occultists consider “as above, so below” to be some kind of dark knowledge possessed and understood only by themselves and the “initiated.”
But of course, they steal most of the stuff they claim to believe straight from the Bible, and then twist it a bit – re-purpose it — to fit their own doctrines and ongoing purposes.
So, the general Bible principle that things happening in heaven are either now, or eventually, reflected on this earth, and vice-versa — is what the occultists stole the principle “as above, so below” from.
But what you might not realize is that the occultists ultimately twist this basic Biblical principle to mean we’re all becoming “little gods” on this earth.
You see, God is in heaven. Therefore, they claim, God must simultaneously be on earth (i.e., “as above, so below”). Therefore, we earthly dwellers are becoming gods, they claim.
Our very presence on this earth constitutes His presence, they claim. In essence, they blasphemously extrapolate from this principle that we are evolving into gods. We, collectively, are becoming the great “I am”.
But I would answer the New Agers and occultists, in their arrogance and blasphemy, by saying “If indeed you’re indeed a little god, try to keep yourself alive past your expiration date.”
Listen, the very name of our heavenly Father, YHVH, means “the self-existent one.” This is what distinguishes Him from His entire creation.
There is none like unto Him, because none of us are self-existent. We’re all dependent for our lives…upon Him. Even the angels in heaven.
In other words, our heavenly Father is dependent upon no one for His existence. But every single one of us – indeed, His entire creation — are completely dependent upon Him for our existence.
We can’t keep ourselves alive, as He can. We all die in this flesh, and there’s nothing we can do about it. And without the salvation of Christ, we can’t keep our souls alive eternally, either.
So, we’re hardly “little gods.” Yes, Father resides in heaven, and simultaneously on earth, via the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit in all faithful Christians. “As above, so below.”
But that doesn’t make us little gods. It simply makes us blessed by the Most High God with the “earnest of our inheritance” – the down payment on His promise of eternal life in Christ being the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The New Agers and occultists, on the other hand, being under the influence of the Satanic spirit, take Satan’s false promise to Mother Eve – “ye shall be as gods” – and try to make it a reality through the “as above, so below” principle.
They believe humans are now, and have always been, going through an alchemical process of “turning straw into gold,” which is symbolic of evolving from humans into “gods” via a process they call “enlightenment.”
But it’s the same “enlightenment” Satan offered to Mother Eve. As it’s written:
Genesis 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Genesis 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
In the end, the New Agers and occultists are just waiting for Satan and his fallen angels to return so they can attempt to repeat the events of the garden of Eden, and the events of Genesis chapter 6:1-5, both of which resulted in a sexual hybridization of humans with angels.
Through that hybridization they hope to finally achieve their alchemical “as above, so below” world – in essence, combining the heavenly with the earthly through hybridization — which is why the Lord warned us that the days before His second advent would be just like the days of Noah:
Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Matthew 24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
Matthew 24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Yes, they (God’s children) were “marrying and giving in marriage” with the fallen angels. Just read the first five verses of Genesis chapter 6. Or better still, obtain and read the book of Enoch.
The result of this “marrying and giving in marriage” were hybridized giants of enormous size, strength and appetite – yes, the great demi-gods of ancient mythology were actually quite real. They were half human and half angel.
This is what the occultists await to happen once again: A union between that which resides above, and that which resides below, resulting in humans becoming “gods.”
They twist everything godly – including the principle of “as above, so below,” into something decidedly blasphemous and ungodly.
Therefore, in hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have used the phrase “as above, so below” in that study on Demonic Activity, since its occult context is more widely known than its Biblical context.
It’s just that I very much hate it when the enemy steals Biblical principles, casts them as their own principles, and then subtly changes them to suit their own nefarious purposes.
I prefer to reclaim what’s been stolen from the Father and put it back into its original and proper context. But sometimes that can cause confusion for others. Which, of course, is never my intention. Quite the opposite.
Regards in Christ,
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