PDF updated 2/15/21
Last Updated 11/8/20
“The charm of knowledge would be small, were it not so much shame has to be overcome on the way to it.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
From early childhood I was raised as a Christian. I went to both Catholic and Christian schools as a young boy, but my parents never ingrained me with strict religious character. My father taught my sister and I to never attend church service—to not believe the doctrines bestowed on the masses but rather to ask the right questions and seek our own truth. We did not celebrate Christmas or Easter, we were raised to believe they were pagan holiday’s and had nothing to do with Jesus Christ.
My grandfather had left a bad religious taste in my fathers mouth. As a boy, his parents had joined a Christian cult known as “Grace Communion International”. There was an annual meeting in the rocky mountains where the leader of the group would fly in via jet. My dad would explain in detail the loud boom it would make breaking through the mountain pass. The same man, Herbert Armstrong, would be escorted via Cadillac from airport to his church service.
Before the separation of my parents, my father saw to it that I was given all of his theosophical pamphlets from the Academy of Scriptural Knowledge (ASK). Most of the pamphlets were written by Dr. Ernest L. Martin. Some of his works included “The Divine Mandate for Human Government”, “The Use and Abuse of the Holy Scriptures”, “The Tithing Dilemma”, and “The Hoax of Modern Christian Commissions.” I enjoyed these pamphlets because they questioned common convention with rational evidence that could be supported and further corroborated. From here on I observed religious factions as mere institutions incapable of change, held to their own doctrine and unwilling to question or look beyond what they were given.
Eventually I would go on to pursue a degree in English. That path lead me through important eras of thinking, like the Romantic and Victorian ages of writing, all of which contained religious and mystical elements that struck me as fascinating simply because of the mystery and imagination—the idea of more. It was then that I discovered a slew of soon to be favorite authors of mine; William Blake, Rumi, Percy and Mary Shelley, and William Butler Yeats to name a few.
While pursuing my next degree, I had taken to Stoicism, philosophy, history, and slowly became intrigued to the mysteries of the occult. Eventually I would stumble upon the Cross of Hendaye, pointing toward astronomy. I took upon myself to read A Vision by W. B. Yeats, his ‘book of books’ as he put it. There I learned unequivocally that we are bound by a celestial clock.
Although my final discipline of study was international business, the humanities courses I had taken fed my interests into the theosophical and philosophical. Leading me further into the study of theosophy was Dr. George Leonard of SFSU who opened up the ‘idea’ of God and how we perceive the most high. Having open discussions on Jesus, what he actually did and did not say, and Eastern philosophy including ‘The Way and It’s Power’ (Tao Te Chin). Another class I had undertaken was the Philosophy of Science which works included Emanuel Kant who riddled my mind with further questions of this reality and the nature of God, the mysterious source of All.
“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Mathew 10:16)
Since then, I’ve been endlessly searching for truth. I knew that the entirety of all that I sought would be self discovery, for there was no one I knew that possessed such knowledge. And so, this is my research on the origins of Christianity, the words of Christ, theosophical truths, the creation of Humanity, and the ancient unknown source of esoteric knowledge. From studying other religions, critically analyzing contextual translations, observing the courses of both man and history, we can truly understand what this existence is. Although we remain mindless now, rise we shall as Sons of the Morning.
Never has it been easier to access information. Whether research online, e-books, articles, or even physical books, the acquisition of knowledge is readily available for anyone willing to seek it out. And so here I am, presenting to you, only what I deem a scratch of the surface.
I will make no claim that any of these discoveries are factually based (although some are), everything is hearsay; that includes all annals of history, nothing can ever be truly proven and that is perfectly okay because we should question everything, always. So, if there are naysayers, negative comments, or anyone claiming that I am liar, nothing I present is scientifically, academically, institutionally corroborated, etc. then I challenge you to present me with counterarguments. After all, that is how we reason, leaving no stone unturned, and how we evolve as a collective human race. Don’t fabricate claims without doing any research yourself. I’ve spent years developing these ideas and contemplating who we are, where we are going, and where we are from—so if you are a seeker like myself, then seek that which seeks you!
Christianity: Origins and Rome
During the life span of Christ, Romes republic was just beginning to enter its decline and exit the world stage. In the years before his birth, the classical world included Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe (and British Isles), was aggregated by the Roman Empire under Julius Cesar. The Western Roman conquerers decided to Annex the province of Judea, which also included Samaria, Idumea, Galilee, and Phoenicia. It was then declared a client kingdom of Rome. Client kingdoms were set in place to pay taxes to the empire, supply resources for Romes population, create military alliances, and if they couldn’t—they were at the whims of their conquerers. Romans often sacked cities and took slaves if bounties could not be paid. King Herod I was recognized by the Senate as the King of the Jews (Judea). Before this, Judaism was recognized as a legal religion under Julius Caesar somewhere between 45-40 B.C.
Prior to Caesars rule, Rome was a tiny city state along the Italian peninsula. From the 8th century B.C. to its rise, Rome has always been a nation of war. Wars with the Sabines, the first Latin wars, and wars with the Samnites and Celts, hill tribes of the North, were minor. Then came the first Punic wars. Much like the United States before to WWI and WWII, Rome had much to gain from a world on fire, especially if they were setting and controlling the flame.
After the conclusion of the Punic and Macedonian wars, the Romans had an influx of land, resources, loot, and most importantly—slaves. A mixture of all types of foreign people entering the Roman regions. The magnitude of slaves coming in created cheap labor, thus making the rich elite even wealthier as they now had slaves to do most of their farming and labor. Politicians such as the Gracchus brothers (2nd Century B.C.) foresaw the instability; witnessing foreign slaves working in place of free Roman citizens. They championed the cause of the public by demanding reforms on land directly to the people, and were both consequently killed in cold blood, their supporters and followers bodies were thrown into the river.
The following decades of Romes continued rise to power saw two civil wars, more political killings, dictatorships, and conversely showed the rising generation of Romans how power and wealth can be attained. When Caesar was but a child, a civil war erupted resulting in political assassinations and a restructuring of political doctrines. This tyrant, named Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix, also wished for the execution of a young Caesar, having seen the twinkle of ambition in his eyes. Romes greed for carnage and consumption was unmatched. Political and judicial corruption was rampantly increasing.
The Roman mobs were kept poor and entertained by gladiatorial games. History podcaster Dan Carlin retells Will Durant’s description of what sort of events they presented to the crowds at the arena: “Animals might be merely paraded in bright and humorous colors. Usually however, they were made to fight one another, or with men, or they were hunted to death with arrows and javelins. In one day, under Nero, 400 tigers fought with bulls and elephants. On another day under Caligula, 400 bears were slain. At the dedication of the Coliseum, five thousand animals died. Claudius made a division of the praetorian guard fight panthers. Nero made them fight 400 bears and 300 lions. ” Animals were made to dance, do tricks, hunt, and be hunted. Those sentenced to die in the games were even at the whims of the suggestions the mob shouted out to the punishers. The most common method of death was being mauled to death by any animal. Other accounts included women being forcibly raped by bulls before being put to death.
Then came Caesar, an overtly ambitious outlier in the whole Roman system. He was a ruffian, cultured, charming, genius and was looked down upon by his elders for being so different. “Beware of that boy with the loose clothes,” the prior Dictator Sulla said, “in him goes a thousand Marius.” Having almost been executed by the previous civil wars political killings, he climbed the political ranks into the Senate, then eventually created the First Triumvirate, an informal secret alliance between Crassus, the wealthiest man in Rome, and Pompey the Great, one of the most successful military commanders at that time. Crassus and Pompey were both vying for the top job in Rome, the consulship, which awarded the honor of marching off to war and gaining access to all the glory, wealth, and power that follows. They were sworn political enemies until the very clever Caesar arranged a pact between the three of them.
When Pompey’s wife, also Caesars daughter, had died, the triumvirate began to fall apart. Thereafter came Romes 2nd civil war between the two parties of Pompey and Caesar. After Julius’ decisive victories against his political enemies, he declared himself dictator, and controlled much of the known world. After the assassination of Caesar, came his heir Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome. He, along with Mark Antony, and other conspirators, waged a series of civil wars against the assassins of Caesar, who were also politicians and powerful elites of Rome. These events marked the end of the republic and the beginning of the shadow of its former self.
Judaism was recognized as a legal religion under Julius Caesar somewhere between 45-40 B.C. King Herod I was recognized by the Roman Senate as the King of the Jews (Judea). According to Jack Miles, author of Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God (2001), Herod and his temple organization are the “work of a Roman puppet, an Idumaean married into a collaborationist Jewish clan.” (p. 19)
The Jews were “an oppressed people living in an occupied land.” (p. 20) Miles goes on to say. During John’s Baptisms, there also came Roman officers and Tax collectors to seek atonement. “There were tax collectors too, who came for baptism, and they said to him, “Teacher (Rabbi), what must we do?” He said to them, “Exact no more than the appointed rate.” Some soldiers questioned him as well: “What about us? What should we do?” He told them, “No intimidation! No extortion! Be satisfied with your pay.” [Luke 3:12-14]
After the death of Christ, Jesus himself became manifest to one of those aimlessly persecuting Christians. Paul the Apostle, or Sauul the Jewish/Greek Roman citizen, was not considered of the first 12 apostles and yet has been well renowned for spreading the word of Christ to gentiles (non Jews/Romans) and Jews alike. He was successful in spreading a religion of forgiveness and atonement through the death of one man, the son of God, so that our sins may be wiped clean, and our souls be forever atoned—the sins of soldiers, a nation of war and corruption, occupying foreign soils, enslaving and taxing the conquered.
Christ was officially put to death by the Roman Empire via crucifixion. It is the account of Tacitus, from Rome, who details the first hand accounting of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem, where we get the earliest non-Biblical reference of Christ Jesus, confirming that Jesus in fact existed. After his passing, his brother James ‘the Just’ was bestowed Jesus’ ecclesia. Followers of Christ were niche and few, often consisting of a mixture of humbled poorer Jews and Greeks. They were persecuted and hated for believing and following in what the Jews took to be a false messiah. A protomartyr of Christ was Stephanos (Greek for ‘Crown/Wreath’ and and extensively ‘Reward/Honor’) who upheld that Christ was upholding the Law of Moses, words of blasphemy to the Sanhedrin. During his speech, the crowd was unable to contain their anger much longer and drug Stephanos to the streets where he was stoned to death. He died 34 years after the death of Christ, Stephanos was 29 years old. One of the witnesses of the event held some jackets and garments of the wealthy citizens who were throwing stones—his name was Paul.
“Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him.” Protomartyr Stephanos [Acts 7:51-53]
After the death of Christ, Jesus himself became manifest to one of those aimlessly persecuting Christians. Paul the Apostle, or Sauul was a Jewish/Greek Roman citizen, he was not considered to be of the first 12 apostles and yet has been well renowned for spreading the word of Christ to gentiles (non Jews/Romans) and Jews alike. He was successful in spreading a religion of forgiveness and atonement through the death of one man, the son of God, so that our sins may be wiped clean, and our souls be forever atoned—the sins of soldiers, a nation of war and corruption, occupying foreign soils, enslaving and taxing the conquered.
“Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the Jews I became a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law – though I myself am not under the law – to win over those under the law. To those outside the law I became like one outside the law. To the weak I became weak to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.” (1 Cor 9:19-23; see also 1 Cor 10:33, Rom 15:1)
Of course when Sauul speaks of the law he is mentioning how he operated within the parameters of the Roman legal system. Did Paul spread the word because of his faith, or to gain a place in history?
During Nero’s reign, he initially tolerated the Christians, only to aimlessly persecute them when the great fire burned most of Rome. Nero had many Christians, and/or Pagans, rounded up, tortured, and killed because the blame of the fire befell the followers of Christ. From Tacitus’ Annals (15.44): The passage describes the great fire that burned Rome for 6 days under the reign of Nero in July of 64 A.D.
‘Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed.’
The Romans at this time viewed Christianity as a grotesque religion, as rumors spread of the consumption of the blood and body of their God (The Lords Supper).
Much later after Christ, Constantine (272-337AD) waged a civil war against a political adversary. After having a revelatory dream, he adopted the letters ‘Chi Roh’ on the shields of his soldiers, as a means to be victorious in battle. His mother, being a Christian, supported this claim. After a decisive victory over his political opponent, he became sole emperor and conversely ended the persecution of Christians, along with more reformative tolerance for other religions. Then from May to August in 325 A.D. the first Council of Nicaea aggregated all writings of Christ into four canonical Gospels.
Issues discussed included the relationship of Christ to the Father, who was most exalted over the within the trinity, and which gospels were to be considered synoptic and which were apocryphal. The overall objective was to reach a consensus and establish promulgation of law which resulted in the first Christian doctrine called the Nicene Creed.
And so the institution of the Roman Church was established. In the following centuries other Christian sects and ideologies were persecuted, knowledge that did not fit the consensus was eradicated, doctrines were burned, and wars were waged in the holy name.
“Perhaps people think that I have come to impose peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to impose conflicts upon the Earth: fire, sword, war.” —Jesus, The Gospel of Thomas
Post Roman Empire, the Catholic Church assumed imperial control of Italian states, and even waged personal wars as Bishops. Although it states specifically in I Timothy 2:5 that there can be no mediator between God and his children, the Pope, bishops, clergymen, priests, and even later the King of England, these human leaders of these institutions claim precisely that. Even today we have such ignorant blasphemous remarks coming from our own elected leaders of government.
Historical Jesus & Factual Yeshua
Prior to the New Testament, there was no mention of Jesus, or Joshua directly, only reference to a savior like messiah that would bring salvation for the Jewish peoples. But what we find in the New Testament is a worldly Jesus who has come for the salvation of mankind, rather than just one race of peoples. A contradictory version of God in the flesh in comparison to the old testament Yahweh. He heals the sick, be it gentile or Jew. He brings no judgement to those who have sinned. Jesus reluctantly performs miracles, he speaks in parables and is rarely understood even by his own disciples.
The Old Testament includes: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel 1, Samuel 2, Kings 1, Kings 2, Chronicles 1, Chronicles 2, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
Within the New Testament we find: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (The Four Gospels), Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, and Revelations.
One of the more renowned names throughout the worlds is Jesus; however, this was not his true name. “Jesus bore, ironically, the name of the greatest warrior of his people. That we call him Jesus is an accident of Latin translation. Iesous in the original Greek of the Gospels translates Hebrew yehoshua’ or yeshua’, alternate forms of the name Joshua, a name compounded of Hebrew words meaning ‘The Lord is salvation.” (Miles, p. 11) The name Yeshua has also been used in Hebrew historical texts to refer to other Joshuas recorded in Greek texts such as Jesus ben Ananias and Jesus ben Sira. Even in the film Passion of the Christ, which was filmed in Aramaic, the name Yeshua is used in reference to Jesus Christ.
Of the 4 Gospels found in the New Testament, they detail the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. However, we are discovering discrepancies in the four gospels. In 1993, a team of theologians— revered, respected, international academia’s banded together and meticulously debated what Jesus had actually said, and what was added for effect or further after the fact. They retranslated the four gospels along with the Gospel of Thomas and created a “Scholars Version”. The collective group was referred to as the Jesus Seminar.
“The Five Gospels has many authors. They have been trained in the best universities in North America and Europe. Together and singly, they first of all inventoried all the surviving ancient texts for words attributed to Jesus. They then examined those words in the several ancient languages in which they have been preserved. They produced a translation of all the gospels, known as the Scholars Version.”-Preface to The Five Gospels.
The synoptic gospels have many authors. In truth, all original gospels circulated anonymously. The canonical names we know now were given by the early church. In most cases they are guesses or rather ‘pious wishes’ according to the Jesus Seminar. Jesus’ first disciples likely did not remember the particular occasion of which a saying was first uttered. Therefore they invented narratives and imported Jesus as an authoritative figure. The Documentary Hypothesis theory shows there are many authors of the Bible, some having the same source, such as “Q”, others borrowing and building off others. The “Q”, or Quelle, source theory was suggested by a German theologian who theorized there is a common unknown source that the four gospels borrow from.
The Jesus Seminar does say that the Gospel of Mark is attributed to John Mark, a companion of Paul (Acts 12:12, 25; 13:5, 15:36-41; Phlm 24; Col 4:10, 2 Tim 4:11), a cousin of Barnabus (Col 4:10) and perhaps an associate of Peter. Mathew is named the author of the first gospel by Papias, as reported by Eusebius. Mathew may have another name of Levi, given to the tax collector in Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27 but who is also called Mathew in the following line Matt 9:9. Although the tradition is that Luke is a physician and companion of Paul, the Jesus Seminar found this “doubtful and fanciful.” John was composed by an anonymous author in the last decade of the first century. Irenaeus attribute the book to John of Zebedee, while others to John the elder, and some others to the actual disciple. The seminar found it likely produced by a school of disciples in Syria.
The Jesus Seminar concluded that 82% of the words attributed to Jesus were not actual words spoken by him. Not only that, but they detail that the Gospel of Mathew reproduces about 90% of the Gospel of Mark and Luke reproduces about 50% of Mark. The Apostle Paul also created an overtly divine figure of Jesus by “smothering Jesus” and “Superimposing this heavenly figure on him.” [Five Gospels] Not to suggest Jesus was not divine, but rather to stimulate a figure that outreached the other canonical gospels. The early orthodox church then “..began to search the sacred writings or scriptures-which it seems to have known in Greek rather than Hebrew-for proof that Jesus was truly the messiah.”(The Jesus Seminar).
Most of Jesus’ sayings, that is the more truer ones identified by the Jesus Seminar, are parables or metaphors regarding the bridegroom and seeds. The Evangelists occasionally borrowed from common lore, “The followers of Jesus borrowed freely from common wisdom and coined their own sayings and parables, which they then attributed to Jesus.” (The Jesus Seminar) Those voted to be the true words of Christ in the flesh include:
- “Pay the emperor what belongs to the emperor, and God what belongs to God.” (Mark 12:17; Mathew 22:21; Thomas 100:2-3)
- “Don’t react violently against the one who is evil: when someone slaps you in the right cheek, turn the other as well. When someone wants to take your shirt, let that person have your coat along with it. Further, when anyone conscripts you for one mile, go an extra mile. Give to the one who begs from you.” (Mathew 5:39; Luke 6:29-30)
- “Love your enemies.” (Mathew 5:44; Luke 6:27)
- “Heavens imperial rule is like leaven which a woman took and concealed in fifty pounds of flower until it was leavened.” (Mathew 13:33, Luke 13:20-21)
- “For heavens imperial rule is like a proprietor who went out first thing to hire workers…” (Mathew 20:1-15)
- “Congratulations, you poor! Gods domain belongs to you. Congratulations, you hungry! You will have a feast. Congratulations, you should weep now! You will laugh. (Luke 6:20-21; Thomas 54:1)
- The story of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35)
- The story of the shrewd manager and his masters debtors. (Luke 16:1-8)
- “It’s like a mustard seed. It’s the smallest of all the seeds, but when it falls on prepared soil, it produces a large plant and becomes shelter for birds in the sky.” (Thomas 2-:2-4)
If we believe this to be true, then there are actually less than four gospels, according to what documents have been provided to us by the orthodox Bibles. The synoptic gospels, Mathew, Mark, and Luke, are referred to as ‘synoptic’ because they display a common view of Jesus.
Jesus was a laconic Sage. He did not initiate dialogue or debate, did not offer to cure people. Rarely spoke of himself in the first person. Made no claims to be the anointed or the messiah. He was actually quite reluctant to help, and even helped non Jews primarily. Paul cites an old hymn regarding Jesus:
“[he] counted himself as nothing and took the form of a slave. He assumed human likeness, appeared in human form, humbled himself, and in obedience accepted death—even death on a cross.”
The concept of Kenosis is present in Christ; he emptied himself of his divine nature, taking on a lower form, in the material world. Jesus despised establishment, cherished community of humanity, and occasionally acted out against evil.
“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN” [Mathew 21:12]
Images of Christ depict a light skinned beautiful man with long flowing hair dressed fine untouched garments. When in fact the ancient world was diverse, mixed, thus well aggregated by the Mediterranean Sea and the ability to travel by ship. The tribe of Dan was a Jewish tribe that included Greek peoples as well. But by all accounts Jesus was most certainly born a common Hebrew from Nazareth, Galilea.
“Truly, any man be a fool who is surprised at anything in life.”-Marcus Aurelius
There are many controversies about who Jesus was. He was at odds with the religious environment (specifically in matters such as fasting and sabbath observance), he didn’t really get along with his own family, his disciples were “dense, self-serving, stubborn—unable to fathom what he was really about.” (TJS, p. 1) To King Herod he was a troublemaker, to the Romans a mild political threat.
- “First I spoke with you in parables, and you did not understand. Now I am speaking with you openly, and you do not grasp it. Nevertheless, you were for me a parable among parables and a discourse among things revealed.”-The Secret Book of James
- ”Woe to you who are in need of an advocate. Woe to you who stand in need of grace. Blessed will they be who have spoken out and acquired grace for themselves.”-The Secret Book of James
- “Peter responded to these comments and said, “Sometimes you urge us on toward heaven’s kingdom, but at other times you turn us away, master. Sometimes you encourage us, draw us toward faith, and promise us life, but at other times you drive us away from heaven’s kingdom.”-The Secret Book of James
With the discovery of the Book of Thomas, attributed to Didymous (translated: ‘twin’) Judas Thomas, they found that it contains 114 sayings and parables ascribed to Christ. And because it was a sayings gospel, and did not account of his trial, death, resurrection, birth, nor the public ministry in Galilee and Judea, it was unfortunately not recognized by the institutional Church.
The Gospel of Thomas has 47 lines from Mark, 40 to the “Q” source, 17 to Mathew, 4 to Luke, and 5 to John. But unfortunately the truth is the history of the Greek gospels is lost in time. “From their creation in the first century until the discovery of the first copies of them at the beginning of the third, remains largely unknown.” (TJS) Earliest supposed dates for the Greek Gospels creation can be dated from 66 -110 C.E. (about 30 years after the death of Christ).
In Christ: A Crisis In the Life of God by Jack Miles, the author makes a distinction between the Lord YHWH and Jesus Christ incarnate. Jesus is peaceful, although he bears the name of Israels greatest warrior Joshua, he is mostly passive during his life on Earth. The old testament version of the Lord God Yahweh is menacing in comparison to Christ.
In the Bronze Age of mankind, between 30-20 B.C, the Canaanites were a nomadic tribe located in southern Levant. Other nations within the region of the near East at the time included Phoenicia, Israel, Philistia, Ammon, Tjeker, Geshur, Edom, and Moab. Most of these were Semitic speaking cultures with their own kingdoms, politics, and religious deities.
The origins of the name Yahweh are largely unknown. Although the Israelites were originally Canaanites, there is no reference to the name Yahweh within their pantheon. The Israelites originally worshipped Yahweh alongside Ba’al, El, and Asherah until El and Yahweh were conflated in the later iron age. In fact, the name ‘Israel’ gives praise to the god El. In Deuteronomy 32:8-9 the Most High, referenced as El, separates the nations, gives them boundaries, and ascribed deities—Yahweh receiving Israel.
In the time of Judges, a monotheistic religion was consecrated with the conflation of El and Yahweh. In the 9th century B.C. a monetheistic religion is created for Israel and YHWH became the sole creator of all things in the universe as well as a warrior god for the Judaic peoples in Judah and Israel. The Judaic peoples separate themselves from their Canaanite heritage by condemning Ba’al worship and other practices such as worshipping the sun and other gods.
The chosen people of God are like children he continually punishes, but occasionally feels guilt for doing so. “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me; They kept sacrificing to the Baals, and burning incense to idols.” And so God “Let the sword rage against their cities, consume their limbs and devour their bonds.” But then God is filled with remorse and petty, “How can I give you up. O Ephraim! How can I hand you over, O Israel! My heart recoils within me, my pity stirs.” (Hos. 11:1-2, 5-6, 8-9)
The old testament God portrayed has a conflicting reputation with the people of Israel. Although they are the chosen race among Gods children, he reflects extensively on their betrayal to him, often speaking in metaphor referencing the tribes of Israel to adulterers and whores for worshipping other Gods than he. Many of the old testament scriptures depict Yahweh as a war God of Israel who will spill the blood of its enemies who worship other Gods than he.
[know thyself]-Yeshua the Nazarene
Further on, the author makes the connection to Christ as our ‘lamb’ and savior, for the sins of humanity. All human misfortune stemming from our fall from paradise, the garden of eden. Our original sin is to be forgiven with God speaking himself aloud as a human being in the flesh, to suffer and die in a suicidal martyrdom to atone for our original sin. Of course the symbol of a lamb was confusing to the traditional Jewish patronage because lambs were sacrificed in the case of your menstruating wife/daughter, or because you had recently expelled semen. Even in Exodus 24, Moses fills basins with the blood of slain oxen and flings the blood over the heads of the masses. So sacrifice has been part of the Jewish tradition for thousands of years.
Unfortunately this world was handed over to the Devil. When Christ is tempted by the devil in the desert, he is offered power and dominion of this world by Satan. “To you will I give all this power…for it has been handed over to me.” God has given the devil dominion over the Earth, as he has shown to give power to others before. “I by my great power and outstretched arm made the earth and the people and animals that are on the earth, and I give them to whom I please. Now I have handed all these countries over to Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, my servant.” (Jer. 27:4-6)
Gods chosen people is Israel, but he chooses other countries to be a weapon of abuse. Assyria was also his “club of [his] anger, the cudgel of [his] rage” (Isa. 10:5) but when given to boasting the Lord threatens the Assyrians with ‘the light of Israel’ (Isa. 10:17). Jack Miles states “Babylonia defeated Assyria, Persia defeated Babylonia, Greece defeated Persia, and Rome Greece, but each time Israel simply changed hands as part of the spoils of war. Taking the gods of those nations to be, as in the Book of Daniel, demons with national assignments.” (Miles)
The First Christians
The birth and death of Christ created a religious revolution. Many religions and movements stemming from Christianity had been reported sprouting up from the 1st century onward. The earliest followers of Christianity, identified themselves with the symbol of the ‘Chi’Rho’ (pronounced ‘Kye Row’). This logo, or word, in Greek was the earliest form of christogram identifying the followers of Jesus Christ. They also used the fish symbol known as ‘Ichthys’ as a secret symbol at the beginning fo the 2nd century A.D.
The Greek ‘P’ and ‘X’ in this early christogram represents the first two letters of ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ translated Kristos (conversely Christos), meaning anointed or blessed. The X represents the”Chi” band, alluding to the solar ecliptic path & the celestial equator. According to Plato [Timaeus] two crossing lines form the World Soul or Spiritus Mundi (the world collective conscious) like a band. Similarly, Chi in astronomy is the 22nd star in the “Chi Opiuchi”. Qi, also known as Chi or Ki, is the circulating life force found in Chinese philosophy and medicine, the word means air, and to breath. Air of course most relating to Spirit.
The followers of Christ at this time are not what you would imagine a modern Christian to be. They were labeled Pagan, but certainly hellenized Jews and Gentiles—but above all they were Gnostics, as was Christ himself. They recognized the Law of Nature, sacred geometry, placed emphasis on the stars and planets, and moons above, they had a pantheon of deities that made up physical creation along with realms beyond, and at the head of all creation, The Most High—a unified House consisting of a Father, Mother, and a Son, which made the whole of the single source of all there is, the Godhead. Most of these varying forms of Christianity were later considered heretical and blasphemous by the later established Roman Church. These religious sects believed Christ to be a savior, a healer, and the Son of God.
Christmas was only correlated with Jesus until the 5th century A.D. and before then it was originally a celebration of Sol Invictus, the Roman sun god and patron of soldiers who originated from Syrian cults. The ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia also falls around the same dates in December. Of course we can neither conceive factually if this was taken or a part of a shared cultural environment. Conclusively however, there are comparative mythologies and stories throughout almost every global culture.
Zoroaster was a Persian Messiah that existed before Buddha, Mohamed, and Christ. The Zoroastrian religion is a monotheistic religion based on the worship of “Ahura-Mazda,” or “All Knowing Lord.,” who no form, shape, or color is given to. As architect and ruler of the universe, he rewards the good and punishes the wicked. Zoroastrianism is based on three core concepts:
- Good thoughts.
- Good words.
- Good deeds.
Unlike other religions, fasting is condemned as a foolish act as it is perceived to injure the body. Other sins and abominations include the fly Skaitya which stings and kills cattle, corn eating ants, atheism, refilling the virgin Earth by burying corpses, burning a corpse, witchcraft and wizardry, illness of women, and excessive heat and cold.
“Therefore, we may consequently state that: this world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence…a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related.”-Plato
Gnosticism & The Nag Hammadi Scriptures
The Nag Hammadi Scriptures were discovered in the 1970’s by a local villager who stumbled upon sealed jars in a hidden area of the Nag Hammadi desert of upper Egypt. His desire for treasure outweighed his fear of Djinn and so smashed one open, revealing a collection of papyrus bound books. Theologians were finally able to compare and contrast new scriptures dating back to the years of Christ. Within these codices are 41 undiscovered writings on early Christian, Neoplatonic, Hermetic, Sethian, and Valentinian thought. Most of the texts can be dated back to the 2nd or 3rd centuries C.E. (101—299 years after Christ).
The people who had buried the books are unknown, but there are indications that they may have been buried around 260-350 CE, coinciding with an edict from the Pachomian Monastic order (an Egyptian Coptic Roman/Christian sect) in 367 to eliminate all apocryphal writings from the libraries. These philosophical religious teachings were gathered by a community of Gnostics who sought to preserve this knowledge that was deemed to be excluded from Christian teachings. This edict comes 42 years after the first Counsel of Nicaea. Irenaeus of Lyon, writing from 160 C.E., denounced passages from the Secret Book of John and specifically mentions the Gospel of Judas. Another early Christian writer from Rome Hippolytus quotes opening lines from the Gospel of Thomas. Other mentions include the Gospel of Truth.
These alternative Gospels were seen as illegitimate by the Bishop Irenaeus who said “the heretics say they have more gospels than there really are; but really, they really have no gospel which is not full of blasphemy.” (Against Heresies 3.11.9.) Because of his writings denouncing these other Christian sects, we can affirm that there were many other Gospels in circulation in the ancient world, one such mention from the Bishop includes a rural Gaulic Christian sect also practicing these alternative Gospels. Irenaeus went on to insist that there could only be Four Gospels because there are four corners of the universe, four principal winds, “there cannot be more than four gospels, nor fewer.” (Against Heresies). He further went on to ascribe Gnostics with dualists that believed the physical universe was created by an evil power, which in turn gave them a negative view of the world and the creator of the material world. Much of the Gnostics were seen as heretical nihilists by the growing establishment the Church of Rome.
It is suspected that these texts were translated from Greek to Coptic by early Christian monks in Egypt who treasured them as sacred texts. Acting against the Archbishop of Alexandria, Athanasius, they collected, translated, and hid the books to protect themselves against certain heresy and preserve the ancient knowledge of which is undoubtedly a combination of PreDynastic Egyptian (Hermetic), Ancient Greek (Neoplatonic), and of the earliest known Christian/Gnostic teachings. The Jesus Seminar writes that the Nag Hammadi library is “related to a Christian gnostic sect that once thrived in Egypt.”
Much of the Nag Hammadi contains secret revelations given to the apostles after the resurrection of Christ. These contain similar themes related to pre creation cosmic events, descriptions of angels, deities, heavenly realms of existence, and the creation of humanity and other deities. Considered holy by some and blasphemous by others, there are substantial differences between each scripture. A general understanding by most is that all of the Nag Hammadi are considered ‘Gnostic’ texts. But to call them all “gnostic”(knower) would be incorrect because they themselves never referred to themselves as such.
Christian Books included:
The prayer of the apostle paul, the secret book of James, the gospel of truth, the secret book of John, the gospel of Thomas, the holy book of the great invisible spirit, the gospel of Philip, the wisdom of Jesus Christ, the dialogue of the savior, the revelation of Paul, the revelation of Peter, the gospel of Mary, and the gospel of Judas.
Whereas others include:
The nature of the rulers, on the origin of the world, exegesis of the soul, the concept of our great power, an excerpt from Plato’s republic, Zostrianos, the thought of Norea, the interpretation of knowledge, Allogenes the stranger, Hypsiphrone, and the three forms of first thought.
The Gnostic ideology consists of a few shared and borrowed ideas:
- The material world was created out of ignorance and is ruled over by a malicious lower level deity
- Humankind comes from a higher spiritual existence but we are currently imprisoned in bodies where we must suffer in the flesh. The material world is a false reality in which we must awake from.
- There is reincarnation and rebirth, also a return to the one ineffable source of creation.
Prior to the discovery of the Nag Hammadi, a German Scholar named Carl Reinhardt had purchased Coptic texts from a dealer in central Egypt in 1896. The Berlin Gnostic Codex consists of the Act of Peter, the Gospel of Mary, the Secret Book of John, and the Wisdom of Jesus Christ. Other scriptures were known to exist simply because of their mentioning in passing.
Varying other forms of Gnosticism include, but not limited to, Syrian-Egyptic Gnosticism (Hermeticism, Valentianism, Thomasine, Sethians, and Basilidians), Persian Gnosticism (Manaeanism, Sabians, Astati), Christian Gnosticism (Cerdonians, Lucianists, Simonians, Menandrians), Cainites, Angelici, Alogians, Secundians, Ophites, and Seleucians.
There are four identifiable schools of thought in the Nag Hammadi and they include Thomas Christianity, Sethian Gnosticism, Valentian Gnosticism, and Hermeticism.
Thomas Christianity originally came into creation in early Christian Syria. The central figure is of course none other than Thomas, or Judas Thomas. He is also known as Didymous (Greek for ‘twin’) Judas Thomas being that he was considered Jesus’ twin brother. According to Mathew 13:55 and Mark 6:3, Jesus is said to have had several siblings, one of which was named Judas. Although James the ‘Just’ was Jesus’ revered brother who carried on after his death, in this sect of Christianity Thomas receives the better praise. Thomas became a patron saint of the Syrian Christian community and an apostle to the Parthians. Legend has it that Thomas journeyed off to India to preach where he was martyred.
Jesus had four brothers. According to dialogue in Mark 6:3 it is mentioned that James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon are his siblings, along with some sisters. James the Just, carried on the name and teachings of Christ after his death. Yet James could have been only a half brother of Jesus, as insinuated in The Second Revelation of James. The author makes a note regarding the relationship between James and Jesus “..the relationship is unclear. It may be thought that Jesus is James’s step brother, foster brother, or cousin.” (Wolf-Peter Funk, NHS) Other such examples of Jesus’ relationship to James:
- “One of the priests told it to Theudas, the father of this just man, since he was a relative of his. He said, hurry and come with Mary your wife and your relatives…”
- “Don’t be afraid, my son, because he said to you, “My brother.” You were bother nourished with the same milk. That is why he says to me,
- “My mother.” He is not a stranger to us; he is your stepbrother.” (The Second Revelation of James, 50,4-51,13)
- “Your father is not my Father, but my Father has become a father to you.” [Could also be in reference to the Most High of Fathers](The Second Revelation of James, 51,14-54,15)
- “Do not cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and tell My brothers, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.” (John 20:17)
- Gospel of Thomas 55:101
In some cases, like the Gospel of John, Thomas is known for his lack of faith and insight in Christ. But in saying 13 of the Gospel of Thomas he has the most insight into who Jesus actually is, unlike the assumed Simon Peter or Mathew. The GoT was likely composed in the vicinity of Edessa or Syria, although fragments have also been found in Egypt. The GoT are simply sayings from Jesus, it does not detail his life. It is suggested that Thomas’ mystical lessons on self knowledge came to the attention of the famed preacher of Valentius of Alexandria, who is also the founder of the Valentinian school of gnostic thought and the speculated author of the Gospel of Truth.
Here are some sayings from the Gospel of Thomas:
- “Do not lie, and do not do what you hate,”
- “If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves,”
- “Perhaps people think that I have come to impose peace upon the world.
- They do not know that I have come to impose conflicts upon the Earth: fire, sword, war.”
- “If the owner of a house knows that a thief is coming, he will be on guard before the thief arrives and will not let the thief break into the house of his estate and steal his possessions. As for you, then, be on guard against the world. Arm yourselves with great strength, or the robbers might find a way to get to you, for the trouble you expect will come.”
- “The Pharisees and the scholars have taken the keys of knowledge and have hidden them. They have not entered, nor have they allowed those who want to enter to do so. As for you, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
- “Whoever does not hate father and mother as I do cannot be a disciple of me, and whoever does not love father and mother as i do cannot be a disciple of me. For my mother gave me falsehood, but my true mother gave me life.” [Comparably Mathew 10:37, Luke 14:26, Mark 8:43]
- “Blessed are you when you are hated and persecuted, and no place will be found, where you have been persecuted.”
- “Blessed is the womb that has not conceived and the breasts that have not given milk.”
- “Let one who has become wealthy reign, and let one who has power renounce it.”
- “If you have money, do not lend it at interest. Rather, give it to someone from whom you will not get it back.”
- “The Father’s kingdom is like a person who wanted to put someone powerful to death. While at home he drew his sword and thrust it into the wall to find out whether his hand would go in. Then he killed the powerful one.”
- “Whoever knows the father and the mother will be called the child of a whore.”
- “The Kingdom is like a person who had a treasure hidden in his field but did not know it. And when he died, he left it to his son. The son did not know about it. He took over the field and sold it. The buyer went plowing, discovered the treasure, and began to lend money at interest to whomever he wished.”
Although referred to as “Sethian Gnosticism”, the truth is the followers never referred to themselves as Sethians, nor Gnostics. They did refer to themselves as a separate part of humanity known as the great generation, strangers, another kind, the immovable, the incorruptible race, the seed of Seth, the living and immovable race, the children of Seth, the holy seed of Seth, and those who are worthy. Most of the writings seemed to play on the seed of Seth as “another seed” entirely. Adams third born Seth was given the status of ‘restorer’ as he resembled Adam in likeness and was to redeem the authentic image of Adam prior to the Fall.
‘And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another seed…(Genesis 4:25) When Adam had lived a hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, after his image…(Genesis 5:3)’
Sethian treatise from the Nag Hammadi include the Secret Book of John, Nature of the Rulers, Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit (AKA the Egyptian Gospel), Revelation of Adam, Three Steles of Seth, Zostrianos, Melchizedek, Thought of Norea, Marsanes, Allogenes the Stranger, the Gospel of Judas and Three Forms of First Thought.
Seth plays a role of Savior in this case, representing the Child (Autogenes/the self generated/Jesus), the Mother (Barbelo), and the Father (the Invisible Spirit). The trinity then goes on to create the Four Luminaries (realms) Harmozel, Oroiael, Daveithai, and Eleleth. In the last realm, a feminine deity Sophia conceives a thought of her own, a son without consent from the higher realms, resulting in the creation of the Demiurge, the chief archon Yaldaboath/Saklas/Samael who he and his demons are the rulers of the material universe and try to destroy the seed of Seth by flood and fire but are thwarted by the intervention of the Mother.
Sethian Gnosticism has roots in the Jewish function of Sophia, the Divine Wisdom, whom the Jews personified as the instrument by which God creates, nourishes, and enlightens the world (Proverbs 1-8; Sirach 24; Wisdom of Solomon 7). Barbelo (Pronoia/Protennoia/First Thought) acts as the ultimate savior who appears at pinnacle moments for primordial mankind. She appears first as spiritual Eve/Epinoia who awakens Adam from his ‘sleep’ and provides him with self knowledge of his divine nature. Adams third son Seth is the preserver of this genome that is within mankind to ensure humans have knowledge of our divine spiritual selves despite the archons attempts to suppress our divine being. Salvation arrives when we are awakened and have knowledge of our fallen divine selves here in this lower physical plane of existence.
The Sethian treatises are divided into two forms of attaining salvation or enlightenment. One group of sayings (Secret Book of John, Revelation of Adam, Holy Book, Three Forms of First Thought, Gospel of Judas) believe salvation occurs through successive descents of saviors into the physical in which humankind may be rectified through Christ, Seth, or the Mother. The other form of salvation occurs through meditative/contemplative mental accent into higher levels of being, and even those beyond being itself. Gnostics were to enter these trances either alone or in audience of other adepts.
The Valentinian School of Gnostic Thought
Founded by Valentius around 140 A.D, the Valentinian’s were considered the most successful Christian Gnostic sects. Even Irenaeus of Lyon regarded them as the most dangerous of all Gnostic heretics. Followers would go on to exist even until the 4th century in parts of the Eastern Roman Empire where by that time were victims of persecutions. Prominent Valentinian leaders include Heracleon, Ptolemy, Marcus “the Magician”, Axionicus, and Theodotus. Clement of Alexandria, an early Christian theologian and philosopher in Egypt, depicts Valentius as being taught by Theudas, a disciple of Paul. Valentius had hopes of becoming an early bishop with the early Catholic Church, but passed on the position and broke from the church.
“Valentinian theology can be described as the earliest attempt to formulate a comprehensively theoretical interpretation of Christianity” says Einar Thomassen in the epilogue of the Marvin Meyer edition of the Nag Hammadi Scriptures. The Valentinian’s created a clear distinction between the physical and divine Savior, separating the son into the spiritual, psychical, and material; which is also in conjunction with the mind, body, and spirit of Christ. God transcended into a body (a lower corrupted form to the Valentinian’s), his spirit was already redeemed and divine, but his human psyche was to be transcended beyond that of humanities.
The proto-orthodox church clashed with many early Christian sects. The word Church itself derives from Ecclesia, its original translation meant ‘assembly’ or ‘community’—the early followers of Christ discussed and made decisions as a collective, rather than a single authoritative figure. So the Church naturally despised the fact that these people met without their consent, preached, provided sacraments, and thought as individuals. The institutional church preaches that salvation is found by simply accepting Christ and joining their Church masses. The Valentian’s preached that salvation was found within by achieving gnosis, or divine knowingness. They referenced themselves as true Christians, and so the Church denounced them as heretics.
Just as in Neoplatonism, the Valentinian’s believed the ineffable source of God emanated a creator architect who fashioned the flawed material world along with mankind. This was a monotheistic faith that had many lower levels, or aeons/dimensions, of existence—all of which stemming from the source: God.
Walter Scotts introduction to the Corpus Hermeticum begins with an explanation as to who the Hermeticist’s were: “These men were, some of them certainly, and probably almost all, Egyptians by race, though Greek by education.” Either they were Greeks living in Egypt, or conversely Egyptians who were culturally Greek. Scott dates these authors anywhere between 100 B.C. to 270 A.D, but he eventually narrows it down to the 3rd century after Christ, although some may be older.
“Little known and almost solitary thinkers, came to choose Hermes Trismegistus as the name best suited for their purpose, and in their writings gave out as taught by Hermes what was really their own teaching.” Scott is very apocryphal when it comes to the origins of these teachings by suggesting that some of the authors may have attributed the name of Hermes to gain notoriety, although the name Hermes doesn’t dictate a specific personage. He goes on to imply that these small circles of philosophers could have passed writings outside of their circle to people who believed the teachings to be of actual secret Egyptian teachings translated into Greek.
However, we find there is little mention of the cultural religion of Egypt, aside from theological names ascribed to student and teacher. Scott says it “may be possible that what the writer says was suggested to him by phrases that were in use in the Egyptian cults.” For example, the saying ‘God is self-generated, God is hidden, nameless, yet innumerably named; that God is bisexual, is life, the source and author of all life.’ Much like Islam, God has no name, yet has many names. God is so far beyond human comprehension he is utterly unreachable, and yet around us always.
He continues by explaining the authors source of their ideas; “the Influence of Platos is manifest in almost every page. Most of the Hermeticist’s were probably not much given to reading,” implying they relied on discussion rather than books for teaching, and yet they somehow imbedded Plato’s own teaching with a modified Stoic touch.
“Knowledge of the beginning of the Book of Genesis is clearly shown.” Scott says. However there is nothing derived from Christianity, no mention of a Savior. Hermes acts as a man, a teacher. In Asclepius Lat. III (also Corp. IX) there is mention of Christianity, but in the form of a deadly enemy, foreseeing its victory of the Pagan cults ‘with intense distress and horror.’ He continues, “the Hermeticist’s in general appear to have considered Christianity either a thing too hateful to be spoken of, or a thing too contemptible to be worth mention.”
Another translation of the Corpus Hermeticum exists by G.R.S. Mead. John Michael Greers interdiction of the Mead translation describes how his translation came with great scrutiny at the time. Mead was a member of the Theosophical Society at the time, which he was also a close associate of Helena Blavatsky. His translations were considered the best in English, while those of Walter Scott were labeled useless, they “garble the text severely,”(cite?) and are part of the “new criticism” of the age Mead stated.
Greer points out again the unknown authors are in Egypt sometime before the end of the 3rd century. “This literature came out of the same religious and philosophical ferment that produced Neoplatonism, Christianity, and the diverse collection of teachings usually lumped together under the Gabe of “Gnosticism”: a ferment which had its roots in the impact of Platonic thought on the older traditions of the Hellenized East. These are obvious connections and common themes linked each of these traditions, although each had its own answer to the questions at the time.” (J. M. Greer, Corpus Hermeticum)
The Corpus Hermeticum consisted of operate treaties that were aggregated into one volume during the Byzantine era. Later, it is known Lorenzo de Medici would land himself a copy in the 15th century. “The Hermetic philosophy was seen as a primordial wisdom tradition, identified with the “wisdom of the Egyptians” mentioned in Exodus and lauded in Platonic dialogues such as Timaeus.” Plato is known to have been taught in Egypt, in fact it was very common for the philosophers and mathematicians of ancient Greece to make an educational pilgrimage to Egypt.
There is no mention of a malicious demiurge portraying YHWH, no mentions of lower level demons inhabiting our beings, and no mention of Christ as a savior with his apostles. The hermetic teachings are primarily a sort of philosophical, theosophical, and metaphysical explanations given through dialogues. Creation stories, etymologies, and cosmological revelations are given.
Similarly to Gnostic thought the Hermeticist’s believed the material world was of a lower creation, a place souls are reborn into for not completing the ‘contest of life’ and recognizing their higher spiritual path.
“And he who has recognized himself has entered into that Good which is above all being; but he who, being led astray by carnal desire, has set his affection on the body, continues wandering in the darkness of the sense-world, suffering the lot of death.” -Poimandres to Hermes Trismesgistus (Corpus Hermitcum: Libellus I)
There are 7 rulers, or lords, of material creation. Each having its relation to a planet, a zodiac, a color, mentions of legions of their own. “Another body of literature attributed to Hermes Trismegistus was made up of astrological, alchemical, and magical texts.” (Greer) Within Poemandres, the Shepard of Men, Greer continues “The seven rulers are the archons of the seven planets, which also appear in Plato’s Timaeus (and Gnosticism). Their role is an oddly ambivalent one, power of Harmony who are nonetheless the source of humanity’s tendencies to evil.”
Women In Gnosticism
In most ancient societies, women were beneath many in many aspects. They could not own a business, property, could not divorce, and were mostly submissive to their husbands or any male role in a given society. Even in Judea while Christ walked incarnate, women were treated unjustly compared to their male counterparts. For example if a married man had sexual relations with an unmarried, unbetrothed woman, he was not guilty of adultery; however if the same act of defilement came from a married woman, she was stoned to death. Further, a woman’s chastity was treated as property by the father, or male family figure. Women who did not bleed during consummation on their wedding were also subject to death by stoning. If there were no solid proof of her sexual deeds, they were required to drink the water of bitterness in the presence of a priest. If the Lord struck her ‘genitals’ then she would have a painful unitary tract infection, and thus falling under the Lords curse of adultery (Num. 5:12-31)
Just as Jesus did not condemn the adulteress by uttering the famous lines “Let him among you who is without sin cast the first stone at her,” so did Daniel when two men raped Susanna while she bathed in her garden. Daniel defended her against the accusations of adultery and the two respected elders were stoned to death instead (Dan. 13).
In ancient Egypt, women were on equal standing with men. They could own businesses, divorce their husbands, and were even obligated to be songstresses for the temples. Although they could not hold positions as rulers, there are accounts of women doing just that in the annals.
Within Gnostic literature, the female plays an important role. In Sethian treaties, Adam is saved by ‘Zoe’, or Eve as she represents Life and the feminine Enlightened Insight. “Sophia of Jesus Christ” is a gnostic treatise in the form of a revelation of the risen redeemer to the twelve disciples and seven women. (Eugnostos the Blessed) Women in Valentianism were also considered to have somewhat equal standing with men; there were women prophets, priestesses, evangelists, teachers, and healers.
A most interesting gospel within the Nag Hammadi library includes the Gospel of Mary. In this account of her time with Jesus, Mary is portrayed as one of the most spiritually endowed of the apostles. In one instance, the apostle Peter portrays his envy for Mary. “Simon Peter said to them, “Mary should leave us, for females are not worthy of life.” Jesus said, “Look, I shall guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter heaven’s kingdom.” (Thomas 114)
Neo-Platonism and Gnosticism
Neoplatonism began as a religious philosophical movement in the 3rd century A.D. It combined concepts from Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Stoicism, as well as Eastern mysticism. Neoplatonism spread into pagan Europe where it was successful, even drawing in some of the early Christian church authors. It had influenced countless religions like Islam, Sufism, Kabbalism, Byzantine education, and of course Gnosticism.
Basic ideals of the Neoplatonist’s include the idea of a singular source of all creation. This being is benevolent, ineffable, unknowable, and all encompassing. From this One source are emanations of lesser beings. There is also a world soul that is illumined by the higher realms, but is in direct relation to the physical. From the source emanates the Nous, or intellect, the perfect image and copy of the source—creator of the physical universe. Also known as the architect or later deemed demiurge.
The idea of the archon originally comes from Platonic thought and was later coined ‘Demiurge’ by Gnostics. The term comes to mean “creator” or “fashioner” and was first spoken of in Platos Timaeus as a benevolent entity. However, because the universe was created out of Chaos, it remains imperfect. Ultimately, it is an emanation, or casting out, from the ineffable Monad of creation. Many stones and metals depicting Abraxas, one of the many names attributed to the demiurge, were in circulation in the ancient world. These Abraxas stones were innumerable in variety—they contained engravings with Greek, Egyptian, Gnostic, and Jewish deities, Persian, Grecian, Gnostic, and Egyptian deities, different depictions of Abraxas holding a trident, with lion, hawk, or eagles skins, reversed, with or without inscription. Later the Catholic Church would label Abraxas as a demon of the Basilidians.
The ruler of the physical realm is an overarching character in the Nag Hammadi. In some scriptures he himself is foolish, makes mistakes, and is maliciously jealous of humanity and constantly seeking to keep mankind in darkness. In other instances he is simply a large cog in Gods created cosmology, acting not out of malice but instead to create order from chaos. But in most mentions he is a copy of God, creating order, and making the material universe by using the heavens as inspiration. His names include Saklas (the foolish one), Samael (blind God), Yaldabaoth (son of chaos), Ariel (lion of God in Hebrew), Abraxas, and Nebro.
Within the Gospel of Judas, twelve angels are created to rule over chaos and the underworld. From a cloud appears an architect who’s face is ablaze with fire and fouled in blood. In some scriptures he creates six angels, or seven, and they producing their own in all producing twelve; each receiving “a share in the heavens.” A material monotheism, within are themes of polytheism and higher dimensions of creation.
Other religions have even borrowed the Gnostic idea of an evil creator God. Manichaeism, Valentianism, and even the Cathars hold that the creator of the world ‘Satanael’ usurped the name of God.
“..for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God,”
(KJV, Deut. 5:7)
The Allegory of the Cave
Plato begins a discussion with people who were born in a cave chained to the wall. They cannot look around at each other nor themselves. There is a fire behind them along with a stone wall, between the two are people casting shadows of puppets and objects. Each shadow and sound they give a name to. This is the reality for these individuals who do not know they are prisoners and that their reality extends much further than they can comprehend.
If one prisoner were freed, he would see the fire and it would hurt his eyes, his vision and reality would change. This prisoner would then return to his shadow world, for this shadows would be clearer than the reality being shown to him. Plato then goes on to suggest that if someone were to forcibly drag a prisoner up from the steep ascent of the cave out to the real world, the prisoner would be angry, blind, and in pain. His eyes would finally adjust to the outside world, the blurry shadows becoming, people, trees, bodies of water. He then would lay sight on things in the water, the stars, the moon, and finally he would eventually be able to look at the sun directly.
This newly awakened prisoner would now believe this world to be superior to the cave world. He would take pity on his once fellow prisoners and would try to the free them. The journey back into the dark cave would again blind the freed prisoner, whereas those chained to the wall would see that he had been harmed exiting the cave, and so they would kill or harm anyone who would try to the free them and bring them up to the outside world.
There are ultimately many metaphors for the dialogue. Reference to the physical reality, our limited sense perception, ignorance, truth, and our relationship with darkness and light. Few prisoners escape the cave, as it is a difficult task to free oneself from bondage. The true philosopher, in this case, would be able to escape the cave into the outside world. Most of humanity, existing at the bottom of the cave, is entertained by artists and celebrities who wield the puppets near the fire. They exist at a slightly higher plane of existence, but more importantly they continue the cycle of illusion.
Plato believed that there was an ineffable source of creation, all knowing, powerful, and from which everything else emanates. He believed in a returning to this source, pre-existences, and immortality of the soul. Plato also believed that our souls possessed ‘lower’ and ‘higher’ irrational and rational minds; consciousness vs. subconscious.
The Neoplatonist’s and Gnostics both believed that this one source created a perfect image of itself to create, organize, and rule over the material world. This ‘Demiurge’, later dubbed by the Gnostic scriptures, is pure intellect and is cast out by the source (or God) to manifest the ideal world. Similar to how Satan (Adversary in Hebrew) was cast out of heaven and by which the New Testament claiming he has been given dominion over the Earth.
Some, if not most, of the Gnostic writings contain a negative image of both the demiurge and of their own incarnate existence. They perceived Earthly existence as a form of imprisonment, that life was a descent into a lower world before ascending back to a higher, or even descending further downward.
“We don’t know all that we don’t know.”
Although the canonical gospels include none of the Nag Hammadi scriptures (aside from lines shared with the Gospel of Thomas), the parables Jesus communicates with are in fact esoteric references to gnostic themes. Examples include the bridegroom and spiritual asexual state of existence (Thomas 36:3-4) “The notion that humans will return to the the primordial state of sexual non-differentiation when they put off the body (their clothes) is congenial to the developing gnostic trend.” (the Jesus Seminar)
It is my understanding that the Hermeticist’s foresaw the institution of the Roman Church becoming a great enemy that would eventually eradicate them. In the Nag Hammadi scriptures there are several mentions from Christ himself forewarning of a time where they will use and abuse his name—‘hold on to the name of a dead man.’
“And they also praise people who praise this falsehood, people will come after you. They will hold on to the name of a dead man, thinking that in this way they will become pure, but instead they will become more and more defiled. They will fall into a name of error and into the hand of an evil deceiver with complicated doctrines, and they will be dominated by heresy.
Some of them will blaspheme the truth and proclaim evil teachings, and they will speak evil against each other. Some of the will give themselves a name, for they stand in the power of the rulers.”
-The Revelation of Peter on Some First Follow the True Savior, but Then Turn Away to Worship a Dead Man
The Fall: The Biblical Telling of Humanities Exodus from Paradise
In the original story of the garden of Eden, God creates Adam, the animals, and then eventually Eve. After being enticed by the snake, played by the devil, Eve convinces Adam to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God comes down from Heaven, confronts his creation for betraying him, then consequently punishes and banishes them.
Although the Secret Gospel of John was discovered in 1896, it had not been published until 1955. This specific text is a Sethian dialogue of teachings revealed to John after the resurrection of Christ. It begins with pre-Genesis realities and events, the flawed creation of the physical world, and the jealous domination of inferior powers. Interestingly enough, within the text are references to independent cultural and religious figures such as Zoroastrianism, Greek mythology (Plato’s Timaeus), Egyptian deities (such as Atum), and many other cosmic attributions assigned to rulers and archons. There are at least 3 various other versions of these Coptic texts. “The Secret Book contains what purport to be secret teachings revealed by Christ in a post resurrection appearance to the apostle John the son of Zebedee.”(Meyer, Turner)
Much like other Gnostic texts, the origin of the world begins with creation of the Demiurge out of Chaos by his mother Sophia. He along with 7 other archons fashion the material world, then eventually first man, or Adam.
Alchemy & Egypt
In the early 15th century, there existed a German philosopher, doctor, and scholar. One year, he had made a pilgrimage to the holy lands. Father Brother Christian Rosenkreuz was of weak physique, and thus could not travel to Jerusalem, but rather stayed among the Turks and Arabs in Damascus, from what I have gathered to be the ‘Kingdom of the Wise’ (also spoken by Yeats in A Vision). “there the Wise received him (as he himself witnessseth) not as a stranger, but as one whom they had long expected” [The Rosicrucian Manifesto). After gaining much knowledge in Mathematics, Physics, Philosophy, and the Laws of Nature, his spirit had been stirred. Leaving these Sufi Masters and Zoroastrians behind, he then travelled to Egypt where he remained not long but “took better notice there of the Plants and Creatures.” In the Manifesto, there is mention of an older tradition in which the Arabians and Africans would share art, magic, and cultural knowledge.
In ancient times, renowned Greek thinkers would make pilgrimage to Egypt and the East. Herodotus, Thales, Parmenides, Empedocles, and Orpheus.It is widely known that both Pythagoras and Plato had both studied in Egypt. It is speculated that they had studied alongside the Egyptian priests, whom had ancient books only they had access to. These books were attributed to Thoth, the Egyptian moon god of wisdom, justice, and writing. Even Jesus was said to have fled to Egypt with his family when he was but a child (Mathew 2:13-23).
Sir Isaac Newton had created a translation of the Tabula Smaragdina, a cryptic alchemical sayings piece attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, a hellenized combination of the Greek God Hermes and the Egyptian God Thoth. This translation was found among his other alchemical works.
In fact the Arabian name for Egypt was Khemet, meaning “The Black Land.” Alchemy was originally known as “Al-Khemet” or “from the Black Land.” Historically speaking, alchemy also stems from Gnosticism, which of course has its roots in Christianity, Neoplatonism, and Hermeticism.
When Carl Jung began to practice alchemy, he found there was in fact a connection between Gnosis and the medieval practice of alchemy. “As fas as I could see, the tradition that might have connected Gnosis with the present seemed to have been severed, and for a long time it proved impossible to find any bridge that from Gnosticism-or neo-Platonism- to the contemporary world. But when I began to understand alchemy I realized that it represented the historical link with Gnosticism.” (Jung, Memoirs, Dreams, Reflections)
When Carl Jung had received a copy of The Secret of the Golden Flower, a Taoist book with alchemical symbolism, he began to express more interest in alchemy. “Finally I realized that the alchemists were talking in symbols…I had very soon seen that analytical psychology coincided in a most curious way with alchemy.” (Jung, Memoirs, Dreams, Reflections) Jung then discovered that alchemy was a form of a religious philosophy. Frankfurt was a center for alchemical philosophy around the 16th and 17th centuries. One of the later founders of Rosicrucianism was Michael Maier, famous alchemist and author of the Atalanta Fugiens.
Jung’s family was Masonic, belonging to the Swiss lodge. The family arms, of a cross and grapes, was Masonic and Rosicrucian. The Free Masons of course also deriving their knowledge from alchemy and Egypt. Free Mason translate from the Egyptian Phree Messen, or “Children of Light.” This of course is taken to be the literal “Child of Lucifer” by the modern critiques, for Lucifer translates from Latin to ‘light bringer’ or ‘light bearing’ and even ‘son of the morning’. But I believe it is more closely associated with the Platonic philosophy that there is no evil in the world, just as there is no true darkness, just a lack of light, or goodness.
While the late psychologist dove deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, Jung found even deeper connections with Christ, alchemy, and ultimately the human psyche. He goes on to mention how Jesus represented a collective mentality, an archetypal human being. In one hand the deep Messianic cultural root, of a messiah, a martyr combined with the Egyptian Horus myth. “It was essentially conceded with the son of man, gods own son, who stood opposed to the deified Augustus, the ruler of this world. This idea fastened upon the originally Jewish problem of the Messiah and made it a world problem.” (Jung, Memoirs, Dreams, Reflections)
When Jesus spoke in parables, it often frustrated and confused his closest followers. Jesus would typically say “let he who has ears listen,” meaning whomsoever has the wisdom to understand the metaphors I use, listen up. There are certainly Gnostic elements found within the Bible including the bridegroom and androgynous ideologies (Thomas 36:3-4). “The notion that humans will return to the primordial state of sexual non-differentiation when they put off the body (their clothes) is congenial to the developing gnostic trend.” (The Jesus Seminar).
The references to the bridegroom has multiple deep connections. One being the alchemical idea of unifying both the soul and spirit, the duality incarnate within us all. With the union of the feminine and masculine energies, one attains ‘wholeness’. The other is idea death, as Jung had seen it. “..from another point of view, however, death appears as a joyful event. In the light of eternity, it is a wedding, a mysterious coniunctionis. The should attains, as it were, its missing half, it achieves wholeness. On Greek sarcophagi the joyous element was represented by dancing girls, on Etruscan tombs by banquets. When the pious Cabbalist Rabbi Simon ben Jochai came to die, his friends said that he was celebrating his wedding. To this day it is the custom in many regions to hold a picnic on the graves on All Soul’s Day.” (Jung, Memoirs, Dreams, Reflections)
Jung, C. G. (1961) Memories, Dreams, Reflections
De Jong, H. M. E. (2002) Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens: Sources of an Alchemical Book of Emblems
Miles, J. (2001) Christ: A Crisis In The Life Of God
The King James Bible
The Oxford Study Bible
Funk, Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar. The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say?
Meyer, Marvin. The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The International Edition. Harper Collins. 2007.
The Secret Book of John; The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The International Edition. Harper Collins. 2007.
The Dead Sea Scrolls
The Tao Te Chin
The Book of the Dead (Papyrus of Ani)
A Vision by William Butler Yeats
Blavatsky, Helena. Isis Unveiled (Volumes 1 & 2). (1877)