Gnostic Doctrine

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Christ's Own Need Of Salvation

Christ's Own Need Of Salvation

Now the angels were baptised in the beginning, in the redemption of the Name which descended upon Jesus in the dove and redeemed him. And redemption was necessary even for Jesus, in order that, approaching through Wisdom, he might not be detained by the Notion of the Deficiency in which he was inserted, as Theodotus says.

Not only do humans need redemption, but also the angels, too, need redemption, along with the image and the rest of the Pleromas of the aeons and the wondrous powers of illumination. So that we might not be in doubt in regard to the others, even the Son himself, who has the position of redeemer of the Totality, needed redemption as well, - he who had become man, - since he gave himself for each thing which we need, we in the flesh, who are his Church. Now, when he first received redemption from the word which had descended upon him, all the rest received redemption from him, namely those who had taken him to themselves. For those who received the one who had received (redemption) also received what was in him.

Gospel of philip

Jesus revealed himself [at the] Jordan River as the fullness of the Kingdom of Heaven. He who was begotten before everything, was begotten anew. He who was once anointed, was anointed anew. He who was redeemed, in turn redeemed others.

This shows that the some gnostic groups understood that Jesus first needed redemption for himself before he could redeem those for whom he came to die for. Jesus is thus the redeemed redeemer coming in our sinful nature the savour himself was in need of redemption

78. The Lord was conceived (born again) from what is imperishable, from God. The [Lord arose] from among the dead. But [He did not come into being as he was. Rather [his body] was [completely] perfect. It was of fleshand this [flesh is indeed] true flesh.¹ [Yet our flesh] is not true, but rather a mirror-image of the true [flesh]. (¹Jn 1:14, 20:27, II-Jn 7; NHS p. 174

This passage shows that the spiritual body is corporeal (tangible) and it has flesh and this flesh is true flesh, which is called spiritual flesh thus spiritual body but our flesh is only a shadow of the true like Adam who was only a type of him who was to come/

Ode 8
20) Pray and increase, and abide in the love of the Lord;
21) And the beloved ones in the Beloved, and those who are protected in Him Who liveth, and those who are saved in Him Who was saved.
22) And ye shall be found incorrupt in all ages, on account of the Name of your Father.

The interpretation of Knowledge::
 And through the one who was reproached and the one who was redeemed we receive grace.


He included himself in the living offering, together with your offspring. He offered them up as an offering to the All. For it is not cattle that you will offer up for sin(s) of unbelief, and for the ignorances, and (for) all the wicked deeds which they will do NHS p. 601

He included himself in the living offering, together with your offspring

Here this passage teaches that Christ the high - priest offered his own body for his own redemption He offered himself for himself and his brothers his offspring in the living offering that is his life as a living sacrifice

Adam was "sentenced to return to the ground from whence he was taken - a sentence which defiled and became a physical law of his being, and was transmitted to all his posterity" (Clause 5);

Jesus Christ "though wearing the condemned nature, was to obtain a title to resurrection by perfect obedience, and, by dying, abolish the law of condemnation for himself, and all who should believe and obey him" (Clause 8);

Jesus was "a sufferer, in the days of his flesh, from all the effects that came by Adam's transgression, including the death that passed upon all men, which he shared by partaking of their physical nature" (Clause 10); that the offering of Jesus’ body was "a propitiation to declare the righteousness of God, as a basis for the remission of sins" (Clause 12).

Because of his human nature, Jesus experienced minor illnesses, tiredness etc. just as we do. It therefore follows that if he had not died on the cross, he would have died any way, e.g. of old age.

In view of this, Jesus needed to be saved from death by God. Intensely recognizing this, Jesus "offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him (God) that was able to save him out of death, and was heard for his godly fear" (Heb. 5:7 A.V. mg.).

The fact that Christ had to plead with God to save him from death rules out any possibility of him being God in person.

“this body of death” (Rom. 6:24 mg.) needs 'redemption' (Rom. 8:23) which comes on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice (Rev. 5:9) when we are 'clothed upon' with our house from heaven (2 Cor. 5:2) which results in mortality being swallowed up of life (2 Cor. 5:4)"

(The Lord’s own body was redeemed on this same basis – (Heb. 9:12, 23 etc.).

After Christ's resurrection, death had "no more dominion over him" (Rom. 6:9), implying that beforehand it did.

Many of the Psalms are prophetic of Jesus; when some verses from a Psalm are quoted about Christ in the New Testament, it is reasonable to assume that many of the other verses in the Psalm are about him too. There are a number of occasions where Christ's need for salvation by God is emphasized:-

- Ps. 91:11,12 is quoted about Jesus in Matt. 4:6. Ps. 91:16 prophesies how God would give Jesus salvation: "With long life (i.e. eternal life) will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation."- Ps. 69:21 refers to Christ's crucifixion (Matt. 27:34); the whole Psalm describes Christ's thoughts on the cross: "Save me, O God...Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it...Let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high" (vs. 1,18,29).

- Ps. 89 is a commentary upon God's promise to David concerning Christ. Concerning Jesus, Ps. 89:26 prophesies: "He shall cry unto me (God), Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation."

Christ's prayers to God for salvation were heard; he was heard because of his personal spirituality, not because of his place in a 'trinity' (Heb. 5:7). That God resurrected Jesus and glorified him with immortality is a major New Testament theme:-

- "God...raised up Jesus...Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour" (Acts 5:30,31).

- "God...hath glorified his Son Jesus...whom God hath raised from the dead" (Acts 3:13,15).

- "This Jesus hath God raised up" (Acts 2:24,32,33).

- Jesus himself recognized all this when he asked God to glorify him (John 17:5 cp. 13:32; 8:54).

If Jesus was God Himself, then all this emphasis would be out of place, seeing that God cannot die. Jesus would not have needed saving if he were God. That it was God who exalted Jesus demonstrates God's superiority over him, and the separateness of God and Jesus.

We do not believe that the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ was not required for the cleansing of his sin nature. [The Lord's sacrifice was necessary for his own redemption. His sacrifice was a public demonstration that his flesh was rightly related to death and a declaration of the righteousness of God that required the offering of his life in devotion to Him. By his sacrifice the ungodly propensities (diabolos) of his nature was destroyed (Heb. 2:14; 9:12; 7:27), thus providing for the granting of immortality


Monday, 27 August 2018

The Greater and Lesser Yahweh Exodus 23:21

The Greater and Lesser Yahweh

'two powers in heaven' (shtei rashunot ba-shammayim)

During the second temple period an idea developed within a number of Jewish texts, about a second divine figure, either beside YHWH or beneath him this lead to the idea that there are many powers in heaven Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 - Sefaria or two powers in heaven (shtei rashunot ba-shammayim).

these two powers are referred to has the Greater and Lesser Yahweh

In the gnostic works Pistis Sophia and the Book of Jeu we encounter the "Great Iao" and the "Little Iao" (Pistis Sophia, chs. 7 [twice], 86, 140; Book ofJeu, ch. 50). These may correspond to the titles "greater YHWH" and "lesser YHWH" found in the Merkabah texts (3En 48B:1[44]; 48D:1[90]) (cf. Odeberg, 3 Enoch, pt. 1, app. 2, pp. 188-92)

Two Yahwehs in the bible 

 The teaching first comes from Exodus 23:20,21 

Exodus 23:
20 “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him.

There is an angel who is called Yahweh (Exodus 23:20,21)

in Exodus 24:1-2, we see one Yahweh who instructs Moses to go to another Yahweh

24:1 And to Moses he (that is Yahweh) said: “Go up to Yahweh

However these two Yahweh's are angels or elohim one is "the Lord God" or "Yahweh Elohim" (that is the archangel Michael the Lesser Yahweh). Read chapter 23 and 24 together to see this. 
EL and Elohim
Gen 35:1 ¶ And God <0430> said unto Jacob , Arise , go up to Bethel , and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God <0410>, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother .

Gen 35:1 Then Elohim (or an angel) said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to the El, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother."
2 And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments.
3 Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to the El, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone."

ESV: Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven.

here one Yahweh engage in conversation with another Yahweh

In Genesis 19:23, for example, we see the "Yahweh who was Sent calling up to His Elohim or Yahweh the Greater who SENT Him to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Amos 4:11 "I overthrew some of you, As Elohim overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a burning stick plucked from the burning; Yet you have not returned to me," Says Yahweh.

Who is the “I” and who is the “Elohim”

The "I" is Michael the Lesser Yahweh and the Elohim is Yahweh the Greater

This angel is the chief angel or archangel Michael whose name means who is like the Divine One (God) EL or power

Yahweh is the head angel in the O.T....right?

Thus, Yahweh is said to have appeared to Abraham as he sat in the door of his tent. (Gen. 18:1) When he first saw the visitor, though, he did not see the Lord but “three men” or Elohim, of whom one was the chief. Read all of Genesis 18 to 19:29 and you will see that the Everlasting Deity talks and acts by or through these Elohim, but chiefly through one of them called the Lord God or Yahweh Elohim.

Second Century Jewish Literature

In 3 Enoch, Metatron is called the lesser YHWH.

The Third Book of Enoch

CHAPTER XII God clothes Metatron in a garment of glory, puts a royal crown on his head and calls him "the Lesser YHWH" 

 R. Ishmael said: Metatron, the Prince of the Presence, said to me: (1) By reason of the love with which the Holy One, blessed be He, loved me more than all the children of heaven. He made me a garment of glory on which were fixed all kinds of lights, and He clad me in it. (2)And He made me a robe of honour on which were fixed all kinds of beauty, splendour, brilliance and majesty. (3) And he made me a royal crown in which were fixed forty-nine costly stones like unto the light of the globe of the sun. (4) For its splendour went forth in the four quarters of the Araboth Raqia', and in (through) the seven heavens, and in the four quarters of the world. And he put it on my head. (5) And He called me THE LESSER YHWH in the presence of all His heavenly household; as it is written (Ex. 23:21): "For my name is in him"
Philo of Alexandria

in Allegorical Interpretation, II (2.86), God is said to be the supreme power and His logos the second one.

But the most universal of all things is God; and in the second place the word of God. But other things have an existence only in word, but in deed they are at times equivalent to that which has no existence. (Allegorical Interpretation, II)

And the most ancient word of the living God is clothed with the word as with a garment, for it has put on earth, and water, and air, and fire, and the things which proceed from those elements. But the particular soul is clothed with the body, and the mind of the wise man is clothed with the virtues. (111) And it is said that he will never take the mitre off from his head, he will never lay aside the kingly diadem, the symbol of an authority which is not indeed absolute, but only that of a viceroy, but which is nevertheless an object of admiration. Nor will he "rend his clothes;" (112) for the word of the living God being the bond of every thing, as has been said before, holds all things together, and binds all the parts, and prevents them from being loosened or separated. (ON FLIGHT AND FINDING)

John 1:1 In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. 

the Word or Logos was the chief or the firstborn among all the other angels whom the bible call elohím or “gods.

Fragment 1, on John 1:3 (In John 1:3, “All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made.”) The sentence: "All things were made through him" means the world and what is in it. It excludes what is better than the world. The Aeon (i.e. the Fullness), and the things in it, were not made by the Word; they came into existence before the Word. . . “Without him, nothing was made” of what is in the world and the creation. . . "All things were made through Him," means that it was the Word who caused the Craftsman (Demiurge) to make the world, that is it was not the Word “from whom” or “by whom,” but the one “through whom (all things were made).”. . . It was not the Word who made all things, as if he were energized by another, for "through whom" means that another made them and the Word provided the energy.

Philo of Alexandria
 Now this disposition stands in need of two powers to take care of it, the power that is of authority, and that of conferring benefits, in order that in accordance with the authority of the governor, it may obey the admonitions which it receives, and also that it may be greatly benefited by his beneficence. But the other disposition stands in need of the power of beneficence only; for it has not derived any improvement from the authority which admonishes it, inasmuch as it naturally claims virtue as its own, but by reason of the bounty which is showered upon it from above, it was good and perfect from the beginning; (1.163) therefore God is the name of the beneficent power, and Lord is the title of the royal power.



The Symbolism of The Cherubim

The Symbolism of The Cherubim

Symbolical figures used in the Scriptures to represent the majesty and ruling power of God; also His attributes (Exod. 25:18-22).

The word "Cherubim" of Genesis 3:24 symbolise protection, or sacred life. The inner spiritual life is protected from the outward senses, the carnal mind. The "flame of a sword" is the divine logos or Word of God. Believers must unite with the inner Word, or sacred life, through spiritual thought, meditation, and prayer and bible study.

The Word is made flesh, or is brought into manifestation, when we transform our minds to the ideas of the Divine Mind and set up the activity of the divine will, which is perfect thought and corresponding perfect action. The "way of the tree of life" is the narrow path referred to by Jesus Christ; it is the way of unfolding the divine consciousness by studying the word of God the bible.

The fact that these cherubim had the face of a man to the front went nicely with the fact that they had the hands of a man under their wings and also that the cherubim had, in general, “likeness with the appearance of a man.” The heavenly cherubim also have the God-given quality or attribute of love, just the same as man has, the first man Adam having been created in the image and likeness of God. (Genesis 1:26-28) The face of a lion, in being on the right side of the head of each cherubim, emphasized the quality of rightousess, justice. This justice has power as its support, which is well pictured in that opposite the lion’s face there was, to the left, a bull’s face. In his later description of the cherubim, Ezekiel calls the bull’s face the “face of the cherub.” (Ezekiel 10:14) Doubtless, cherubim are creatures of great power, like that of the bull.

the eagle’s face to the rear of the cherub’s head points to wisdom, the heavenly wisdom, which corresponds with the heavens in which the high-flying eagle soars. This face fits in nicely with the fact that the cherubim had each four wings, enabling them to match the eagle in its flight. The eagle’s face, as well as the man’s face, the lion’s face and the bull’s face, is found among the faces of the four cherubim living creatures that were seen in vision about seven hundred years later by the John, these latter cherubim being located around the throne of God in heaven.—Revelation 4:6-9.

Thus, consistently, down through the centuries, the same symbols represent God’s wisdom (the eagle), power (the bull), justice (the lion) and love (the man). These four attributes, are in perfect balance with one another, Yahweh has gifted his heavenly creatures and his earthly human creatures with the suitable measure of these four attributes.

these attributes must always be present in the holy of holies within our minds. we have this holy place and these cherubim with their wings spread over the whole Ark. No matter how great a backslider you may be, the presence of the Spirit of God is not far away from your conscious mind.  engraved on the very substance of your being (two tables of stone).

If we do not have this higher realization before us constantly, we shall drop down to the physical plane and our religion will become a mere phenomenal display.

We are to become Cherubims

We are to become Cherubims

Now a Cherub is an angel or they are called the four beasts or 4 living ones in Ezekiel and Rev of John they are also symbolic of the redeemed representing the 4 fold camps of Israel 12 is % by 4

"The cherubim" of Eden (Gen 3:24 -- R.V.) are the angels (compare Num.22 : 31); those of Moses and Solomon were manufactured figures of divine specification, that ritually represented men of God made one in Christ and "equal unto the angels". The cherubim and living creatures of Ezekiel and John represent this "one body"

Rev 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

From this it is evident that the cherubim, etc., represent the total of those redeemed from the nations in their resurrection state. The Lamb, the four cherubs, and the twenty-four elders are a symbolical representation of what is expressed by the phrase, "them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints“; that is, those who have been constituted the righteousness of God in Christ in a glorified state.

The cherubim are the Corporate symbol; and the eyes, representative of the individuals constituted in him who is signified by the Cherubim. The Lamb is introduced to represent the relationship between the holy eyes, or saints, and the Cherubic Faces; that is, between them and the Lord Jesus; while "the twenty-four elders" are indicative of their constitution as "the Israel of God". There are twenty-four, because the Kingdom of God, being an Israelitish Commonwealth, is arranged with the twelve sons of Jacob as its gates ; and with the twelve apostles of the Lamb as its foundations; (Rev. 21:14; Eph. 2:20) the former being the entrance into present life of the fleshly tribes, or subjects; and the latter, the foundations of the adopted tribes, or HEIRS of the kingdom; so that twenty-four is the representative constitutional number of the spiritual Israel of God; for without the natural the spiritual could not be;

But how are we to become Cherubims?

1 ¶ Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Lk 20;36 Neither <3777> <1063> can <1410> (5736) they die <599> (5629) any more <2089>: for <1063> they are <1526> (5748) equal unto the angels <2465>; and <2532> are <1526> (5748) the children <5207> of God <2316>, being <5607> (5752) the children <5207> of the resurrection <386>.

So the true believers will be equal unto the aggelos or angels

To be a partaker of the divine nature means to become like the Lord Jesus is now to have all the fullness of the Deity dwell in bodily form Col 2:9

Jn 10:30 I and my Father are one. Yes that’s right Jesus and the father are one but he also wants all true believers to have the same oneness

Jn 17:20 ¶ Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

This multitudinous manifestation of the one Deity - one in many, and many in one, by His spirit - was proclaimed to the Hebrew nation in the formula of Deut. 6:4, "Hear, O lsrael, YAHWEH our ELOHIM is the ONE YAHWEH;" that is, "He who shall be our Mighty Ones is the One who shall be." Certain Mighty Ones are promised to Israel - pastors according to YAHWEH's heart, who shall feed them with knowledge and understanding; - they will be spirit, because "that which is born of the spirit is spirit." He, the Spirit, the AIL, or Power of the universe, self-styled YAHWEH, is their Divine Father. His nature will be theirs; so that they will be consubstantial with Him, as all children are consubstantial with their parents. The Deity will then be manifested in the Sons of Deity; He in them, and they in Him, by the one spirit. And this company of sons, led to glory by the captain of their salvation, is "the ONE who shall be," or "the ONE YAHWEH." Eureka vol 1

All the true believers who have been immersed into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit - not three names, but the One Name of the DIVINE MANIFESTATION - are a manifold unit - One in many, and many in one. They are "the one who shall be" - the Yahweh echad, the One Yahweh, not yet perfected and glorified; but when so, to be "King over all the earth" (Zech. 14:9; Apoc. 5:10). Eureka vol 1

All this development: of an earthborn family of Sons of God, who shall take their stand in the universe as Seraphim and Cherubim of Glory, is through and on account of Jesus Christ. He is the foundation, the chief and precious corner stone of this new manifestation of the Father-Spirit.

It is not "One God in three Gods," and "Three Gods in One;" but one Deity in a countless multitude revealed in the memorial name, and expounded in the mystery of godliness. The knowledge of this mystery was lost sight of by the Babel-builders of the third and fourth centuries; who, as a substitute, invented the Athanasian conceit of three persons in the Divine Essence, coeternal and coequal. They bound up the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, three distinct persons, into one person, or body; and called the fiction "the Triune God." They did not perceive that the Deity was but one person, and one substance, peculiar to himself. One Deity and not three; that Holy Spirit is an emanation from His substance, intensely radiant and all pervading; and that, when focalized under the fiat of His will, things and persons without limit, as to number or nature, are produced. Eureka vol 1

God is Spirit John 4:24

God is Spirit John 4:24

John 4:24  "God is spirit; and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (RSV) 

PROBLEM: This verse is quoted to show that God is not tangible.

Most people misunderstand this verse and assume or declare that Spiritual beings are immaterial.

SOLUTION: Jesus is not saying that God is immaterial

Jesus is concerned with redemption and worship that is acceptable not with a description of whether God is tangible or not. cf. v.7 - 23.

It is in the framework of this purpose that men must worship the Father4. Jesus was teaching the woman that in the redemption he had brought, he had living waters5 to offer so that they could worship God "in spirit".

4 "To be spiritually minded is life". (Rom. 8:6).

5 the teaching of the Spirit (i.e. Word of God) (cf. v.14).

The verse does not say that we must have received some divine effluent from God into our hearts before we can worship correctly. The context shows that: 
correct knowledge ("in truth") is one necessity, "salvation is of the Jews". (v. 22). 
attitude of mind ("in spirit" i.e. sincerity, Josh. 24:14) is the other necessity6. 
"Ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father." (v. 21). 

6) It was not where the worship occurred (empty tradition or letter) that mattered but the attitude of the worshipper that mattered i.e. a positive response showing love and zeal for the truth. cf. 2 Cor. 3:5, 6.
God is Corporeal
"We should not assume that anything we cannot see or hear or touch is by nature, by its basic character, silent, immaterial or invisible. We cannot see God who is Spirit. We cannot, today, see angels who are spirits. We hear no voice from heaven. Yet we know that some men heard, saw and touched things which are eternal, things which may be described as eternal." 2

Stephen saw the "heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God",3 while those around saw nothing. So we cannot argue that God, Jesus and the angels are immaterial because we by our limited senses cannot see or touch them.4

That conception of God which thinks of Him as mere abstract power, intangible, universal, without person or locality is not true. We cannot worship abstract universal power and claim we worship God.

The phrase "God is Spirit" is sometimes offered as evidence that He is immaterial but Jesus (whom we know to be a corporeal being) is called the Lord the Spirit in 2 Cor. 3:17,18. "He is now no longer flesh and blood; but Holy Spirit Nature a flesh and bones embodiment of Spirit."

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” (John 20:27).

"And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish,....and he (Jesus) took it, and did eat before them" (Luke 24:43).

Dr. Thomas’ comments as follows: 

"The spiritual body is constituted of flesh and bones energized by the spirit. This appears from the testimony concerning Jesus. On a certain occasion, he unexpectedly stood in the midst of his disciples, at which they were exceedingly alarmed, supposing they beheld a spirit, or ghost, as at a former time. But, that they might be assured that it was really he himself, he invited them to handle him, and examine his hands and feet: "For", said he, "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have". He gave them further proof by eating a piece of fish and. Thomas placed his hand into his side, and was convinced that he was the same who had been crucified. What stronger proof can we need of this that the spiritual body is corporeal and tangible in nature? It is the animal body purified, not evaporated into gas, or vapour. It is a bloodless body; for in the case of Jesus he had poured out his blood on the cross. The life of the animal body is in the blood: but not so that of the spiritual body: the life of this resides with the Father." (Elpis Israel)

Since Jesus has flesh and bones it seems inconsistent that his Father would not. The writer to the Hebrews says that Christ was "the very image of his substance"

The angels are "ministering spirits" but they were seen by men many times.

Many passages in scripture show that God is corporeal and shares emotions that we do:

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." (Gen. l:26).

"God created man, in the likeness10 of God made he him" (Gen. 5:1, 3).

"He that sitteth in the heaven shall laugh" (Psa. 2:4).

"Hide not thy face . . . incline thine ear unto me" (Psa. 102:2).

"He hath looked down from the height of His sanctuary" (Psa. 102:19).

" ... sat on the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19).

"Man... is the image ... of God" (1 Cor. 11:7).

"Christ, who is the image of God"11 (2 Cor. 4:4).

"Men, which are after the similitude of God" (James 3:9).

Jesus is not saying that God is immaterial nor is he just referring to the nature of God, but is stating that God is acting in a specific manner for the redemption of man, as he once acted in the past. 

We should continually remember that to Israel God was Spirit, an Angel bearing His Name. This statement can be verified by an analysis of Isaiah 48:16, 17, 20.
"The Lord Yahweh, and his Spirit hath sent me. Thus saith Yahweh, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am Yahweh thy God ... which leadeth thee the way that thou shouldest go."

Note that the Spirit is "the Holy One of Israel".

In this Spirit activity of redemption, there was to be corresponding spirit in their worship.

So if God is spirit - and the Bible emphatically declares this truth - it does not mean that he does not have material form! It is consistent to say that God, *in the sense of an individual person* has a body of spirit

The fact that Israel believed God has a human form is quite clear from Gen 1:26 where God makes man in their image (demut), and their likeness (tselem). That this image and likeness refers to *genetic* resemblance is made clear from Gen 5:1,3 where Adam begets a son after his own likeness (tselem) after his image (demut) and called his name Seth.

2nd Century Understanding 
Also for early Christians like Origen, Heracleon, and Theodotus understood God to be Corporeal:

Heracleon understands this verse to refer to the nature of worship and not the nature of God:

Fragment 24, on John 4:24 (In John 4:24a, it says,) “God is spirit.” Undefiled, pure, and invisible is his divine nature. (In John 4:24b, it says,) “Those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." Worthily of the one who is worshipped, in a spiritual, not a fleshly fashion.....and they worship in truth, not in error, as the Apostle teaches when he calls this kind of piety “ a rational service.” (Romans 12:2) (Heracleon: Fragments from his Commentary on the Gospel of John)

Theodotus understood the spirit world to have shape and body: 

10 But neither the spiritual nor the intellectual things, nor the archangels <and> those created first, nor even he is shapeless and formless and figureless and incorporeal, but he also has his own shape and body proportionate to his superiority over all spiritual things, just as also those created first (have their own shape and body) proportionate to their superiority over the beings beneath them.

For in general what has come to be is not without substance, but unlike the bodies in this world, they have form and body. For male and female here differ from each other, but there the Only-Begotten and uniquely intellectual one has been furnished with his own form and substance that is utterly pure and sovereign, and he has the immediate benefit of the Father’s power. The ones created first, even if in number they are distinct and each is bounded and delineated, in any case the likeness of their deeds demonstrates their unity, equality, and likeness. (Extracts from the Works of Theodotus)

14 The demons are said to be incorporeal, not because they have no bodies (for they have even shape and are, therefore, capable of feeling punishment), but they are said to be incorporeal because, in comparison with the spiritual bodies which are saved, they are a shade. And the angels are bodies; at any rate they are seen. Why even the soul is a body, for the Apostle says, “It is sown a body of soul, it is raised a body of spirit.” And how can the souls which are being punished be sensible of it, if they are not bodies? Certainly he says, “Fear him who, after death, is able to cast soul and body into hell.” Now that which is visible is not purged by fire, but is dissolved into dust. But, from the story of Lazarus and Dives, the soul is directly shown by its possession of bodily limbs to be a body. (Extracts from the Works of Theodotus)

The Comforter: An Angel?

The Comforter: An Angel?

The point has been made by several expositors that as Israel were led by a special Angel through the wilderness, whom Isaiah 63 associates with God's Holy Spirit, so the new Israel were led by a Holy Spirit Angel, the Comforter, who was sent to the church by Jesus after His assuming of all power over the Angels on His ascension. A summary of the reasons for thinking this is now attempted:

- Is. 63:7-11 describes the Angel that guided Israel through the wilderness as the "Holy Spirit"- which is the Comforter.

- The Comforter was sent in God and Christ's Name (Jn. 14:26)- the Angel was sent in God's Name (Ex. 23:21)

- The Comforter would teach (Jn. 14:26), guide (16:13), be a judge (16:8) and prophesy (16:13); the Angel guided Israel through the wilderness, taught them God's ways, judged Egypt and the Canaanites, gave prophecies, and represented God to Israel as the Comforter represented Jesus to His people. As the church began a new Exodus and was constituted God's Kingdom in prospect as Israel were at Sinai, it was fitting that it should also have an Angel leading them, representing God to them.

- The Comforter would "shew you things to come" (Jn. 16:13)- fulfilled by the Angel giving the Revelation to John.

- The Angel testified to the churches (Rev. 22:16)- "the Comforter. . shall testify of Me" (Jn. 15:26).

- The references in Acts to the Holy Spirit as a person are now easier to understand - e. g. "The Holy Spirit said, Separate Me Barnabas. . " (Acts 13:2). Similarly the frequent occurrences of the ideas of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit together fall into place if the Holy Spirit has some degree of reference to a personal being in the form of an Angel. The error of the doctrine of the trinity is not in identifying the three common forms of God manifestation (i. e. through God Himself, Jesus and the Holy Spirit Angel), but in the blasphemous inter-relationships between them which it proposes. This idea is worth applying to our understanding of the baptismal formula.

- The work of the Comforter Angel may have been confined to the first century, in the same way as the Angel was particularly evident to the ecclesia in the wilderness during the initial Exodus period. Thus the words 'Angel' and 'Spirit' are obviously interchangeable in the book of Acts (e. g. 8:26,29; 10:3,19,20).

- In the same way as the angel of Israel dwelt in the temple after delivering them, so perhaps it is through Christ's Comforter Angel that He dwells in the spiritual temple of the New Israel.

- The Angel in Revelation "like the son of man" (i. e. representing Him but not Him personally) was this same Comforter Angel representing Jesus (Rev. 1:11 cp. 22:13,8,16). He carried the titles of Jesus, who carried the titles of God- e. g. "Alpha and Omega".

- We have seen that our prayers are presented to God through Christ by an Angel (Rev. 8:4) and that God answers prayer through commanding His Angels (Num. 20:16; Dan. 9:20,21). This perhaps allows us to interpret the 'Spirit' of Rom. 8:26,27 as having some reference to Jesus manifested in the Comforter Angel; whilst remembering that Jesus is ultimately the only mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) it may be that the mechanical presentation of the incense of our prayers to Him is done by the Comforter Angel.

- The Comforter is called “the spirit of truth” (Jn. 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). In the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls literature, this phrase describes an Angelic Spirit who is the leader of the “good forces” and ‘in whom’ the righteous walk [Testament of Judah 20, 1-5]. The Aramaic translation of Job, and the targums on it, uses the term prqlyt to describe the Angelic spokesman [the malak melis] who makes a testimony in Heaven in Job’s defence (Job 16:19; 19:25-27; 33:23).

- Otto Betz, Der Paraklet (AGJU, 1963), brings out many connections between the Comforter and the Angel ‘Michael the Spirit of truth’ in contemporary Jewish writings.

- When we read of the “spirit of the Lord” snatching away Philip, it seems logical to interpret this as the same Angel already mentioned earlier in the chapter (Acts 8:26,29,39). But this Angel is defined as the Lord’s Angel- and the Lord in Acts is nearly always the Lord Jesus. Clearly we are led to understand the Lord Jesus as being associated with a specific Angel.

"He, the Spirit (Angel) of truth. . . will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come" (John 16:13). As the present writer understands it, the work of the Holy Spirit Comforter was initially achieved through the miraculous gifts, and now through the spiritual strength we receive from the written word. Thus nearly all the statements made about the Comforter are also made concerning the written word (e. g. Jn. 15:26; 16:13 cp. 17:17; 16:8 cp. 2 Tim. 3:16; 4:2; Titus 1:9; 16:8 cp. 12:40). The Angels being closely associated with inspiration, notably of the Revelation, the Comforter Angel now largely achieves His aims through the written word He has inspired. "Things to come" were shown us by the Comforter Angel inspiring Revelation, the ultimate prophecy of the future. The Comforter was to make known everything that was told Him. It therefore follows that even the mighty Comforter Angel only has the same words of prophecy to study regarding the future unfolding of God's purpose as we have. Therefore they with us earnestly look into these things, and search "what manner of time" must elapse before the final fulfilment of God's word.

Article taken and adapted from Angels by Duncan Heaster (Christadelphian)

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Christian Gnostic Views on Hell

Christian Gnostic Views on Hell

What do the Gnostic Gospels say about Hell?

Before we can answer this question it is best to find out what does the bible really say about Hell

Hell is not a word used in the original manuscript it is an old English word which has lost its original meaning over time

Webster's Third New International Dictionary, unabridged, under "Hell" says: "from 'helan' to conceal." The word "hell" thus originally conveyed no thought of heat or torment but simply of a 'covered over or concealed place.' In the old English dialect the expression "helling potatoes" meant, not to roast them, but simply to place the potatoes in the ground or in a cellar. In old English literature, we read "the helling of a house" – covering/thatching a house. Putting a thatch roof on a house was called “helling” the house, but it didn’t mean to set the house on fire.

Hell, to conceal, to hide, to cover. 

There are four words translated hell in the bible in this study we will look at Hades and Sheol 

Hades (Greek.)--not to be looked upon; outer darkness.

Sheol (Hebrew)--hollow; cavernous; empty; outer darkness; place of unquenchable, consuming desires.

Sheol meaning “ask; request.” The common grave of mankind, gravedom; not an individual burial place or grave (Heb., qever, Jg 16:31; qevurah´, Ge 35:20), nor an individual tomb (Heb., gadhish´, Job 21:32). Sheol the grave, which is as it were always asking or craving more. This would indicate that Sheol is both a place and condition that asks for or demands all without distinction, as it receives the dead of mankind within it. —Ge 37:35, ftn; Pr 30:15, 16 (Insight into the Scriptures)

In the Authorized Version, in many places in the Old Testament sheol is interpreted grave or pit. For examples see Genesis 37:35; 42:38; I Samuel 2:6; I Kings 2:6; Job 14:13; 17:13, 16, and there are others. In the American Standard Version the word sheol is used in these texts. Please compare the two, and then look up the places where the translation hell is given.  
(Charles Fillmore)

“Hades,” perhaps meaning “the unseen place,” appears 11 times in the Textus Receptus on which the King James Version is based , namely, in Mt 11:23; 16:18; Lu 10:15; 16:23; Ac 2:27, 31; 1Cor 15:55 Rev 1:18; 6:8; 20:13, 14.

In Acts 2:27, Peter’s quotation of Ps 16:10 shows Hades is the equivalent of Sheol and is applied to the common grave of mankind (in contrast with the Greek word ta´phos, an individual grave). The Latin word corresponding to Hades is in·fer´nus (sometimes in´fe·rus). It means “that which lies beneath; the lower region,” and well applies to the grave. It is thus a fitting approximation of the Greek and Hebrew terms. (Insight into the Scriptures)

The Bible record shows that Sheol refers to mankind’s common grave as a place where there is no consciousness. (Ec 9:4-6, 10) Those in Sheol neither praise God nor mention him. (Ps 6:4, 5; Isa 38:17-19) 
(Insight into the Scriptures)

Rev 20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (AVKJ)

Notice also that hell is not the same as the lake of fire but will be cast into the lake of fire.

Strange! Is hell itself to be tormented? And how can death, a condition, be thrown into a literal fire? 

Hell (Hades, Sheol) Is Not a literal place of fiery torment suffering Job prayed to go there. Job 14:12-14

it is a place of inactivity. Ps 6:5; Ec 9:10; Isa 38:18, 19
Jesus was raised from grave, hell. Ac 2:27, 31, 32; Ps 16:10
Hell will deliver up other dead, to be destroyed. Rev 20:13, 14
Fire is a symbol of annihilation Cutting off in death is symbolized by fire. Mt 25:41, 46; 13:30
Unrepentant wicked destroyed forever as by fire. Heb 10:26, 27
The Soul
In the Old Testament Hebrew, the original word for soul is nephesh. In the New Testament Greek it is psuche. Both mean the same thing and are used Interchangeably. One is used to translate the other.

The Hebrew word ‘Nephesh’ of the Old Testament has the same meaning as the Greek word ‘Psuche’ of the New Testament.  They mean “a living animal being” and are applied to both man and beast as shown from biblical quotations and notes given below.  The men who translated the original manuscripts into the English Bible believed in the immortality of man’s souls, and so translated these words to conform to their own belief wherever possible.  They translated ‘Nephesh’ 428 times “soul”; 119 times “life”; 15 times “body.” They translated ‘Psuche’ 58 times “soul”; 40 times “life”; 3 times “mind.”

Ezekiel 18:4 & 20:
"Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die."

"The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself."

Matthew 10:29:
"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

Heracleon a member of the Valentinian Christian Gnostic School did not believe in the teaching of the immortality of the soul

Fragment 40, on John 4:46-53 By the words “it was at the point of death,” the teaching of those who claim that the soul is immortal is refuted. In agreement with this is the statement that “the body and soul are destoyed in Hell.” (Matthew 10:28) The soul is not immortal, but is possessed only of a disposition towards salvation, for it is the perishable which puts on imperishability and the mortal which puts on immortality when “its death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54) (Heracleon: Fragments from his Commentary on the Gospel of John)

The soul is temporary.

The Odes of Solomon not part of the nag hammadi library however it is an important document since it is a early christian hymn book from the second century CE

Ode 6:14) They have refreshed the parched lips, and have aroused the paralysed will. 
15) Even souls who were about to expire, they have seized from death. 

And when we heard these things, we became elated, for we had been depressed on account of what we had said earlier. Now when he saw our rejoicing, he said: "Woe to you who are in want of an advocate! Woe to you who are in need of grace! Blessed are those who have spoken freely and have produced grace for themselves. Make yourselves like strangers; of what sort are they in the estimation of your city? Why are you troubled when you oust yourselves of your own accord and depart from your city? Why do you abandon your dwelling place of your own accord, readying it for those who desire to dwell in it? O you exiles and fugitives! Woe to you, because you will be caught! Or perhaps you imagine that the Father is a lover of humanity? Or that he is persuaded by prayers? Or that he is gracious to one on behalf of another? Or that he bears with one who seeks? For he knows the desire and also that which the flesh needs. Because it is not the flesh which yearns for the soul. For without the soul the body does not sin, just as the soul is not saved without the Spirit. But if the soul is saved when it is without evil, and if the spirit also is saved, then the body becomes sinless. For it is the spirit which animates the soul, but it is the body which kills it - that is, it is the soul which kills itself. (The Apocryphon of James)

The Treatise of the Resurrection:

"From the savior we radiate beams, and we are held in his arms until our own sunset, our death in this life. We are drawn to heaven by him, like beams, by the sun, and nothing holds us down. This is the resurrection of the spirit, which swallows up the soul and the flesh."

Tripartite Tractate:

"They became flesh and soul, that is, eternally which (things) hold them and with corruptible things they die. "

The Gospel of Philip:

"Adam’s soul came from a breath. The soul’s companion is spirit, and the spirit given to him is his mother. His soul was [taken] from him and replaced with [spirit]. "

Apocalypse of Peter:

"For evil cannot produce good fruit. For the place from which each of them is produces that which is like itself; for not every soul is of the truth, nor of immortality"
Hell is this World
Origen and theologian Gregory of Nyssa thought of hell as a place of separation from God—of spiritual suffering

The Authors of the Nag Hammadi library have the same understanding that the world itself is Hell.

And he put to shame the ruler of Hades; he raised the dead, and he destroyed his dominion.
Then a great disturbance took place. The archons raised up their wrath against him. They wanted to hand him over to the ruler of Hades. Then they recognized one of his followers. A fire took hold of his soul. He (Judas?) handed him over, since no one knew him (Jesus?). They acted and seized him. They brought judgment upon themselves. And they delivered him up to the ruler of Hades.
And they handed him over to Sasabek for nine bronze coins. He prepared himself to go down and put them to shame. Then the ruler of Hades took him. And he found that the nature of his flesh could not be seized, in order to show it to the archons. But he was saying: "Who is this? What is it?
His word has abolished the law of the aeon. He is from the Logos of the power of life." And he was victorious over the command of the archons, and they were not able by their work to rule over him.

For the Son of Man clothed himself with their first-fruits; he went down to Hades and performed many mighty works. He raised the dead therein; and the world-rulers of darkness became envious of him, for they did not find sin in him. But he also destroyed their works from among men, so that the lame, the blind, the paralytic, the dumb, (and) the demon-possessed were granted healing.And he walked upon the waters of the sea. For this reason he destroyed his flesh from [...] which he [...]. And he became [...] salvation [...] his death ... ... (4 lines unrecoverable) [The Testimony of Truth]

In the book called Thomas the Contender fire is a symbol of the fiery lustful and sexual passions of the natural body that makes the mind drunk the the soul deranged. the main theme of the text is ascetic (the passions of the body versus the tranquility of wisdom and self control):

Then the savior continued and said, "O unsearchable love of the light! O bitterness of the fire that blazes in the bodies of men and in their marrow, kindling in them night and day, and burning the limbs of men and [making] their minds become drunk and their souls become deranged.

"Woe to you who hope in the flesh and in the prison that will perish! How long will you be oblivious? And how long will you suppose that the imperishables will perish too? Your hope is set upon the world, and your god is this life! You are corrupting your souls!
Do not fear the flesh nor love it.
If you fear the flesh it will gain mastery over you.
If you love the flesh it will paralyze and engulf you. (Gospel of Philip)

Hell is being trapped and controlled by your emotions

And so he dwells either in this world or in the resurrection or in the middle place. God forbid that I be found in there! In this world, there is good and evil. Its good things are not good, and its evil things not evil. But there is evil after this world which is truly evil – what is called “the middle”. It is death. While we are in this world, it is fitting for us to acquire the resurrection, so that when we strip off the flesh, we may be found in rest and not walk in the middle. (The Gospel of Philip)

Hell, to the Cathars, was not a remote place under the Earth. For them Hell was here and now. The world itself, the creation of the Bad God, was the only Hell they knew. Torture, pain and misery of this life was all the Hell they needed to contemplate.

Hell is a Condition of the Mind

As a condition Hell would symbolize consuming desires

One does not have to die in order to go to hell, any more than one has to die to go to heaven. Both are states of mind, and conditions, which people experience as a direct outworking of their thoughts, beliefs, words, and acts. If one's mental processes are out of harmony with the law of God, they result in trouble and sorrow; mental as well as bodily anguish overtakes one, and this is hell.
(Charles Fillmore)

'Hell' is our separation from God's love, which leads us to reason judgmentally, and, in turn, live barren lives. 

"Hell is the fire that burns in our conscience, the fire of despair because of our separation from God." (Paul Tillich, A History of Christian Thought, (Harper & Row, 1967), p. XXVII, p. 64.) 

"Fire symbolizes consuming desires and ignorance of God." (Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Paul, p. 61) In effect, for Paul, hell is living in the thinking of the flesh our judgmental reasoning separates us from God and the understanding that we have fellowship with our heavenly father.

Hades refers to the outer darkness, the consciousness of the carnal mind, in contrast to the inner or spiritual consciousness of light. To live in the outer darkness is to live according to the flesh 

Hades denotes the burying out of sight, out of thought and mind, of that above which the overcomer has risen, of that which has become inactive in his consciousness. (Charles Fillmore)

What the Hell is Gehenna?

Jesus Is a Hidden Name The Gospel of Philip

The Meaning of the Christ

Jesus is a hidden name, Christ is an open one.

So Jesus is not a word in any tongue but a name they call him. 

The messengers  who were before us had these names
for him: Jesus, the Nazorean, messiah,
that is, Jesus, the Nazorean, the Christ.

The last name is Christ,
the first is Jesus,
the middle name is the Nazarene.

Messiah has two meanings, both “Christ” and “measured.”
Jesus in Hebrew is “redemption.”
Nazara is “truth.”
Christ has been measured.

The Nazarene and Jesus are they who have been measured.

The Gospel of Philip

Most think of 'Christ' as Jesus' last name. Christ, however, is the Greek term for Messiah. Jesus, the Christ, is Jesus, the Messiah.

The word "Christ" signifies anointed. Anointing means designation to official position in God's arrangement. The Christ is the instrument or channel for the blessing of mankind. The Christ is composed of Jesus, the great and mighty head, and 144,000 members. (Revelation 7:4) Christ Jesus is the head and the church his body. We ofttimes hear the expression, a body of men with a general at their head. Of the Christ the apostle says: "And he [Christ Jesus] is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell." — Colossians 1:17-19.

The Apostle Paul uses a human body to illustrate the Christ, the great mystery class; the head representing Jesus, and the other members of the body those who are of his church. "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." — 1 Corinthians 12:12, 27.

Because we are members of his body and we are of his flesh and of his bones. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church

For as many as have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ ... ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and HEIRS according to the promise" (Gal. 3:26-29). A community of such individuals as these constitutes the mystical body of Christ

the term Christ refers to the anointed message that Jesus of Nazareth taught; i.e. Jesus' teachings. When Paul called the "Christ, the 'wisdom of God' in 1Co 1:24, he assumes that the Corinthians know that the divine Sophia [wisdom] has been reinterpreted as Christ,
In 1Th 5:18, Paul said, "the saving will [logic] of God is in Christ Jesus…this use of the phrase emphasizes…the cooperation of the Father as initiator and prime cause with the Son as agent/instrument."

What can be assumed here is that Jesus brings the will (logic) of God to man in his anointed teachings. (See Jn, Chapter 1)

"To be in Christ is to be a new creation [person] (2Co 5:17)…God has reconciled man with himself through Christ [i.e., through Jesus' anointed teachings]…. Christ is not an external principle of law or doctrine, but a life and a state in which and only in which the fullness of Christian grace and virtue and the love of God is possible. Hence this phrase 'in Christ' appears to designate the element or atmosphere in which the Christian lives and acts;

In Col 1:16f 'in Christ' designates Christ the wisdom/will of God in man

In short, We think of Christ not as Jesus, but rather as Jesus' wisdom, logos, Sophia, or simply, anointed teachings.

In himself Christ has everything, be it human or angel or mystery and the father.  The Gospel of Philip

Christ is the divine-idea. Jesus is the name that represents an individual expression of the Christ idea.

Christ is the one complete idea of perfection in the Divine Mind. He is the embodiment of all divine ideas, such as wisdom, life, love, substance, and strength. In the architect's mind there may be one masterpiece, but that masterpiece is the sum of all the beautiful ideas that have come to his mind. This Christ, or perfect idea existing eternally in the Divine mind is the true, spiritual, higher self of every believer. or the Christ Consciousness. Each of the true believers has been Anointed with the spirit of Christ thus each of the true believers has within them the Christ, just as Jesus had.

Some do not realize the nearness of this Christ Consciousness , because they have not found their real selves. which is Christ in you the hope of glory

The birth of the Christ Consciousness in the life of a believer is the bringing to consciousness of the spiritual idea of the Christ of God--through the quickening power of the word of Truth

we are renewed by knowledge” (Col. iii. 10). In this, however, he does not contradict himself, but rather makes the one phrase explanatory of the other; as if he had said, “we are renewed by the Holy Spirit through knowledge.” The Holy Spirit renews or regenerates man intellectually and morally by the truth believed. “Sanctify them by thy truth,” says Jesus; “thy word, O Father, is truth” (John xvii. 17). “Ye are clean,” said he to his apostles, “through the word which I have spoken to you” (John xv. 3). God’s power is manifested through means. His Spirit is His power by which He effects intellectual, moral, and physical results. When He wills to produce intellectual and moral effects, it is by knowledge revealed by His Spirit through the prophets and apostles. This knowledge becomes power when received into “good and honest hearts”; and because God is the author of it, it is styled “the Knowledge of God” (2 Pet. i. 2), or “the word of truth” (James i. 18), by which He begets sinners to Himself as His sons and daughters. “The word of the truth of the gospel,”” the gospel of the kingdom.” “the incorruptible seed,” “the word,” “the truth as it is in Jesus,”” the word of the kingdom,”” the word of reconciliation,” “the law and the testimony,” “the word of faith,” “the sword of the spirit which is the word of God,” “the word of Christ,” “the perfection of liberty,” etc.-are all phrases richly expressive of” the power of God” by which He saves His people from their sins, and translates them into the Hope of the kingdom and glory to which He invites them. The truth is the power that makes men free indeed (John viii. 32, 36). Hence Jesus says, “My words are spirit, and they are life.” The prophets, Jesus, and the apostles were the channels through which it was transmitted to mankind; and the spirit the agent by which the knowledge was conveyed to them. Hence, the knowledge or the truth being suggested to the prophets by the spirit is sometimes styled “the spirit” (Rom. ii. 20). The spirit is to the truth as cause and effect; and by a very common figure of speech, the one is put for the other in speaking of them relatively to the mind and heart of man. So that the phrase “renewed by the holy spirit” is equivalent to renewed by the belief of the truth testified by the Holy Spirit (John xv. 26: xiv. 13-14)