Gnostic Doctrine

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The Gnostic Redeemed Redeemer Doctrine

 The Redeemed Redeemer 

or
The Gnostic Redeemer Myth




If anyone has read any books on Gnosticism they may of come a cross the term(s) redeemed redeemer or saved savior I find it strange that this called a myth by many 
scholars instead of a teaching in a belief system. I believe this is a doctrine not a myth we find this teaching in many Gnostic texts and in the Bible itself.   

Karen L. King writes in her book What is Gnosticism


Reitzenstein had argued that a key feature of the Gnostic redeemer myth was the shared identity of the savior with the saved....the term redeemed redeemer itself never appears in any primary text and its content was determined only by reference to the Gnostic salvation myth constructed by Reitzenstein, Bultmann, and Jonas. What is Gnosticism p 143

Speaking on hymn of the pear the acts of Thomas Hans Jonas writes: 

We can confidently take the King's Son to be the Savior, a definite divine figure, and not just the personification of the human soul in general. Yet this unique position does not prevent him from undergoing in his own person the full force of human destiny, even to the extent that he the savior himself has to be saved. Hans Jonas Gnostic Religion

Some quotes from the The Gnostic Bible


He who was redeemed redeemed the world. The Gnostic Bible p 282
You are saved in him who was saved. The Gnostic Bible 364

Speaking on hymn of the pear the acts of Thomas 
The son has a double or twin role, for he appears to be both savior and the soul that he
saves; he saves and must himself be saved. The Gnostic Bible 387

In this fable of redemption, as Hans Jonas points out, the savior himself must be saved—or rather, must save himself. The Gnostic Bible 387


The Redeemed One becomes the Redeemer Michael Lattke The odes of Solomon 244


From this we can see that the Redeemed Redeemer refers to the savior who was saved from death

As I have said above this is not myth but a doctrine this teaching can be found in the Bible and the Nag Hammadi Library, the Odes of Solomon, the hymn of the pear in the acts of Thomas

In some Gnostic texts, the man Jesus is separate from the heavenly Christ (or Logos) which descended into him during his baptism in the Jordan.


However there are a few christian denominations like the Christadelphians who rejects the doctrine of Substitutionary atonement in favour of the true bible doctrine of representative atonement. 


The Redeemed Redeemer is not a myth but a doctrine or teaching. 

So why would Jesus need to be saved the bible answers this because of sin and death. His body was as unclean as the bodies of those for whom he died; for he was born of a woman, and "not one" can bring a clean body out of a defiled body; for "that", says Jesus himself, "which is born of the flesh is flesh" (John 3:6)


 And John the Baptist bears record of this saying: "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode (or rested) upon him." The Spirit Dove was the seal or mark of the Father; the form or shape assumed by the Divine Effluence (emanation) in the anointing of Jesus. John saw this Spirit Dove, and so did all the surrounding multitude; for Jesus said to them: "Have ye not at any time heard the Father's voice, or have ye not seen His form? Or have ye not his declaration abiding in you; that him whom he hath sent, to this one ye should not give credit"? In these inquiries, he referred to what was well-known to all who attended John's proclamation. The Father's symbol was the Dove, and "the voice," the declaration, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." They had seen and heard this, the sealing and acknowledging the prophet the Father bearing witness to the Son -- yet did they not give credit to the doctrine he set forth.

(By effluence we mean that which flows from, or out of The substance of the Eternal Father. We use it in the sense of the phrase Spirit of. .  (Dr. Thomas)-- 


Why should Jesus be baptized?

By this act, then, Jesus associated himself openly with the sinners he came to save. By it he proclaimed the essential one-ness of his nature with theirs. He too needed this baptism, inasmuch as he also was a member of this fallen race needing redemption. It was an acknowledgement that the great truth taught by John: “all flesh is grass”, applied to him also. He needed the benefits of his own sacrifice. Now, as well as at the end of the days of his flesh, he was “numbered with the transgressors” (Is. 53: 12). Harry Whittaker, Studies in the Gospels

Jesus's sanctification started at his baptism and ended with his resurrection after his death on the cross:

Hence, in the First Apocryphon of James, Jesus says to James that, during the time of his crucifixion, his (Jesus’) redemption ‘will be near’. Jesus: “Behold, I shall reveal to you everything of this mystery. For they will seize me the day after tomorrow. But my redemption will be near.” (First Apocryphon of James)

Further light is thrown on these baptismal records by the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, where the anointing of the Messianic Priest-king is described in these terms : " The heavens shall be opened, and from the Temple of glory shall come upon him sanctification, with the Father's voice as from Abraham to Isaac. And the glory of the Most High shall be uttered over him, and the spirit of understanding and sanctification shall rest upon him [in the water]." The bracketed words are a Christian interpolation. The quotation is from Test. Levi. xviii, 6-7 (Cf. Test. Judah xxiv, I-3,\rhich is to the same effect). The Testaments, according to Charles, date from the second century B.C Hugh j. Schonfield  according to the Hebrews  p245 

"And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the Truth” (Jno. 17:19).

The Master, according to himself, had to be sanctified in order to sanctify his brethren. The principles of his redemption laid down the foundation for ours, namely, the condemnation of sin in the flesh, and the declaration of the Righteousness of God. In him, God was declared Right to require the destruction of the diabolos through death, and we must seek to likewise crucify the flesh (Gal. 5:24), and die daily (1 Cor. 15:31) in our endeavours to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness.

Each year on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest entered into the Holy of Holies, offering a sacrifice for himself first, and having been sanctified, he offered to the people. These two aspects foreshadowed the work of Messiah, for speaking of these things, the Apostle wrote:

“For such an high priest became us … who needeth not daily, as those high priests to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once when he offered up himself.” (Heb. 7:26, 27).

The Scriptures could hardly be more explicit: just as the High Priest offered for himself and then for the people, “this he did once …” when he offered up himself. Of course, Messiah had no committed sin to be forgiven for—but he did have the root cause of sin within himself. He was “the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3), as it is testified of him:

“… be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Every High Priest taken from among men ... for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins" (Heb. 5:1-3).

Heb 5:7  Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;


Here we have Jesus the Savor who was saved from death this is the bibles teaching of a Saved Savor or Redeemed Redeemer who was saved from death.

The fact that Christ had to plead with God to save him from death rules out any possibility of him being God in person. After Christ's resurrection, death had "no more dominion over him" (Rom. 6:9), implying that beforehand it did.



"Such an High Priest became us ... who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's, for this he did once, when he offered up himself" (Heb. 7:26-27).

If Christ's offering did not comprehend himself how are we to understand the statement of Paul (in Heb 7:27)



The Jewish high priest had to make an offering firstly for his own sins, and then for those of the people (Heb. 5:1-3). Christ's sacrifice had this same two-fold structure. Although he did not have any sins personally, Jesus was still of human nature, and needed salvation from death. This salvation was provided by God on account of Christ's own sacrifice; thus Jesus died both to gain his own salvation, and also to make ours possible.


Early Christian teaching on the saved savior or Redeemed Redeemer

The first thing I think we should look at is identity does the savior of the Gnostic text have a shared identity with the saved


The Nag Hammadi Library text of Melchizedek:

Furthermore, they will say of him that he is unbegotten, though he has been begotten, (that) he does not eat, even though he eats, (that) he does not drink, even though he drinks, (that) he is uncircumcised, though he has been circumcised, (that) he is unfleshly, though he has come in the flesh, (that) he did not come to suffering, <though> he came to suffering, (that) he did not rise from the dead, <though> he arose from the dead. NHS p. 600

This is a remarkable passage, which speaks out about the false doctrine of doceticism (docetic heretics those who will deny the physical reality of Jesus's nature) 
and confirms orthodox teaching on life death and resurrection of Jesus. 

It also shows that Jesus had a shred identity with the saved he was circumcised he came in the flesh

The Gospel of Thomas saying 28

28 Jesus said: I stood in the midst of the world, and I appeared to them in the flesh. I found them all drunk; I found none of them thirsting, and my soul was afflicted for the sons of men; for they are blind in their heart, and they do not see that they came empty into the world, (and) empty they seek to leave the world again. But now they are drunk. When they have thrown off their wine, they will repent


Here Jesus came in the Flesh his soul was afflicted for the children of men.  

"I appeared to them in the flesh" is translated by LAYTON to read "I was shown forth incarnate" 

Incarnate means “having a bodily form.” ... The prefix in- means “in” and caro means “flesh,” so incarnate means “in the flesh.”


We should compare this saying with saying 101 to find out the meaning of the word flesh Jesus has 2 mother's his birth mother after the flesh and his true mother the holy spirit


The Gospel of Thomas saying 101


Jesus said, "Those who do not hate their [father] and their mother as I do cannot be [disciples] of me. And those who [do not] love their [father and] their mother as I do cannot be [disciples of] me. For my birth mother gave me [death, or falsehood.] But my true [mother] gave me life." April Deconick translation


The words death or falsehood come from the April Deconick translation.Jesus's birth mother could only give him death or falsehood which we understand to be our sinful nature. 


Here in saying 101 death or or falsehood is an equivalent expression for human nature. So here again in the Gospel of Thomas we have Jesus the Savior identitied with those he came to save by birth and natural nature the flesh


His body was as unclean as the bodies of those for whom he died; for he was born of a woman, and "not one" can bring a clean body out of a defiled body; for "that", says Jesus himself, "which is born of the flesh is flesh" (John 3:6)

Sin, is an equivalent expression for human nature.


Jesus needed to be saved from human nature or sinful flesh



The Redemption of Jesus is the Archetype for Redemption 

In the Tripartite Tractate, the Son (Jesus) is in need of redemption, because he had become a man. It is the heavenly Word which ‘descended upon him’ that offered him ‘redemption’: “Not only do humans need redemption, but also the angels, too... 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.” (Tripartite Tractate)

The interpretation of Knowledge::


The man ... (11 lines missing)... this is the name. The [...] he emitted himself and he relinquished his majesty, taking scorn in exchange for  the name. for our sakes he endured the scorn. He appeared as flesh, and came as a provider.  He has no need of the glory that is not his; he has his own glory with the name, which is the Son. Now he came that we might become glorious through his humiliation as he dwelled in these humble places. And through him who was reproached we receive the forgiveness of sins. And through the one who was reproached and the one who was redeemed we receive grace.

The Nag Hammadi Library text of Melchizedek:

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


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.


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


Now we come to the Gospel of Philip

The 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 Savor 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 flesh, and 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 (Romans 5:14)


So before his resurrection from the dead Jesus had human flesh or human nature which is called in the text "our flesh is not true flesh" but after he arose from among the dead he had a new body imperishable, from God 



the Odes of Solomon 


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.

address of the Redeemed Redeemer with a Christological doxology

Ode 17


Then I was crowned by my God, and my crown was living.
And I was justified by my Lord, for my salvation is incorruptible.
I have been freed from vanities, and am not condemned.
My chains were cut off by His hands, I received the face and likeness of a new person, and I walked in Him and was saved.
And the thought of truth led me, and I went after it and wandered not.
And all who saw me were amazed, and I seemed to them like a stranger.
And He who knew and exalted me, is the Most High in all His perfection.
And He glorified me by His kindness, and raised my understanding to the height of truth.
And from there He gave me the way of His steps, and I opened the doors which were closed.
And I shattered the bars of iron, for my own shackles had grown hot and melted before me.
And nothing appeared closed to me, because I was the opening of everything.
And I went towards all my bound ones in order to loose them; that I might not leave anyone bound or binding.
And I gave my knowledge generously, and my resurrection through my love.
And I sowed my fruits in hearts, and transformed them through myself.
Then they received my blessing and lived, and they were gathered to me and were saved;
Because they became my members, and I was their Head.
Glory to You, our Head, O Lord Messiah.
Hallelujah.
Ode 42

17 And open for us the door by which we may come out to You; for we perceive that our death does not touch You.

18 May we also be saved with You, because You are our Savior.
19 Then I heard their voice, and placed their faith in my heart.
20 And I placed my name upon their head, because they are free and they are mine.
Hallelujah.

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