Gnostic Doctrine

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

The Twelve Apostles as a type of the Twelve Aeons Matthew 10:1-4

The Twelve Apostles as a type of the Dodecad
The Twelve Apostles as a type of the Twelve Aeons

Matthew 10:1 And he called unto him his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of disease and all manner of sickness. 
10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 
10:3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
10:4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

There are four lists of the apostles -- in Matthew 10, Mark 3, Luke 6 and Acts 1. The order of names is not the same, but each list is divisible into three quaternions. In each of these groups the order varies, but the names are the same. Thus, Peter and Andrew, James and John are always together. Next come Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, whilst the last group is James the son of Alphaeus, Simon Zelotes, Judas of James, also called Lebbaeus and Thaddaeus, and, always last, Judas Iscariot, replaced in Acts.1 by Matthias.

apostles--Those sent forth (emanations); messengers; ambassadors; active spiritual thoughts (aspects of the divine mind). Jesus conferred this title on the Twelve whom He sent forth to teach and to heal.

From the writings of Irenaeus of Lyons we learn that some Gnostic Sects understood the Twelve Apostles as a type of the aeons:

He chose the apostles with this view, that by means of them He might show forth the Aeons who are in the Pleroma (Irenaeus of Lyons)

Jesus saw the twelve Apostles as a figure of the twelve faculties of the Divine Mind which expanded from the Deity

Now it is to the twelve apostles that you shall go, for they are elect spirits, and they will greet you." (The Coptic Apocalypse of Paul)

The apostles, as emissaries or messengers, sent forth by Jesus to teach and heal, representing active spiritual thoughts or aspects of the divine mind "for they are elect spirits". 

First the aeons are aspects or attributes of the Father which emanate from the mind of the Father. The aeons are also separate spiritual beings which emanate from the Father's substance 

Altogether there are 30 aeons collectively called the Triacontad the last group of emanations is called the Dodecad meaning Twelve

According to the Gnostic interpretation of the New Testament, Jesus chose the twelve apostles to represent the twelve Aeons, which are aspects or attributes of the Father that emanate from his mind. The Aeons are also seen as separate spiritual beings that emanate from the Father's substance. 

The group of thirty Aeons is collectively called the Triacontad, and the final group of twelve Aeons is called the Dodecad.

In Gnosticism, the aeons are viewed as emanations or attributes of the ultimate divine being, often referred to as the Father or the Monad (The One). These aeons exist within the Pleroma, a term used to describe the fullness or completeness of the divine realm. The aeons are seen as spiritual beings that emanate from the Father's substance and collectively they represent the fullness of the divine qualities or aspects. The last group of emanations is known as the Dodecad, which represents the twelve primary aspects of the divine mind. In this context, the twelve apostles can be seen as representing these twelve aspects of the divine mind, which Jesus used to reveal or manifest the fullness of the divine to humanity.

The Twelve
Twelve. The patriarch Jacob had 12 sons, who became the foundations of the 12 tribes of Israel. Their offspring were organized by God under the Law covenant as God’s nation. Twelve therefore seems to represent a complete, balanced, divinely constituted arrangement. (Ge 35:22; 49:28) Jesus chose 12 apostles, who form the secondary foundations of the New Jerusalem, built upon Jesus Christ. (Mt 10:2-4; Re 21:14) There are 12 tribes of “the sons of [spiritual] Israel,” each tribe consisting of 12,000 members.—Re 7:4-8.

Joshua had taken 12 stones out of Jordan, as a token of Israel's dedication to turn the Land of Promise into God's Kingdom. Jesus ("Joshua") now selects 12 men (the first, Peter, a "stone"), baptized in Jordan, to become foundation stones of a new Jerusalem (Rev 21:14). 

New Jerusalem (Rev. 21) Twelve gates, twelve angels, twelve foundations.
Measurement of New Jerusalem, 12,000 furlongs.

Twelve is the number of orderly government and spiritual fulfillment.

Understanding Times and Seasons 
Then, in this aeon, which is the psychic one, the man will come into being who knows the great Power. He will receive (me) and he will know me. He will drink from the milk of the mother, in fact. He will speak in parables; he will proclaim the aeon that is to come, just as he spoke in the first aeon of the flesh, as Noah. Now concerning his words, which he uttered, he spoke in all of them, in seventy-two tongues. And he opened the gates of the heavens with his words. And he put to shame the ruler of Hades; he raised the dead, and he destroyed his dominion. (The Concept of Our Great Power)

Just as the present aeon, though a unity, is divided by units of time and units of time are divided into years and years are divided into seasons and seasons into months, and months into days, and days into hours, and hours into moments, so too the aeon of the Truth, since it is a unity and multiplicity, receives honor in the small and the great names according to the power of each to grasp it - by way of analogy - like a spring which is what it is, yet flows into streams and lakes and canals and branches, or like a root spread out beneath trees and branches with its fruit, or like a human body, which is partitioned in an indivisible way into members of members, primary members and secondary, great and small (The Tripartite Tractate)

Therefore our aeon came to be as the type of Immortal Man. Time came to be as the type of First Begetter, his son. The year came to be as the type of Savior. The twelve months came to be as the type of the twelve powers. The three hundred and sixty days of the year came to be as the three hundred and sixty powers who appeared from Savior. Their hours and moments came to be as the type of the angels who came from them (the powers), who are without number (Eugnostos the Blessed)

"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so ... in blessing I will bless thee and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the (1) stars of heaven and (2) as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies," (Genesis 1:14-15, Genesis 22:17).

What is time? Time is the motion of the sun, moon, and stars in relationship to one another. God Himself is the Great Light which the earthly sun symbolizes. Mother Wisdom is symbolized by the moon, and the stars are human beings. And in that regard, the figure of a man is shaped like the familiar 5-pointed star.

Our numbers and our "work" constitute "days, seasons, and years". In our world men use clocks, watches, sun dials, and hourglasses to mark "TIME". Spiritually speaking each son and daughter (sun/moon) pair as one day of spiritual "TIME" is the equivalent of 1000 earthly years. No man has made it alive down here for a full "day". Adam and Methuselah came closest, but their time was cut short because of the introduction of "sin". One looks at a "watch" in order to tell the time. Heavenly "Watchers" look at men below to observe our motions (works).

all men are "watched" by the Heavenly Hosts, we are all "human watches" designating time. Watches "tick" and so do fleshy watches. Our hearts beat daily as time goes by. When our hearts stop beating, the watch stops and time is up h. An hourglass is filled with sand which trickles downward as the hour passes. When all the sand is in the lower part of the glass, one hour has expired. Man's body is the "sands of time". When a certain number of human bodies have been lowered in their graves, one spiritual hour has passed. And in regard to this time analogy, when Jesus warned us in parable "not to build a house on sinking sand", he was teaching us not to build our doctrines and place our confidence in the teachings, traditions, and opinions of men, because man's mind and thinking is also under the influence and regulation of devils, Proverbs 16:25; Daniel 7:4; Revelation 13:4-7

Believers are symbolized as time or aeons in various ways in the texts provided. In one of the texts, believers are described as spiritual clocks or watches that designate time, and their hearts beat daily as time goes by. The ticking of a watch is compared to the ticking of the hearts of believers, and when their hearts stop beating, the watch stops and time is up. 

In another text, Philo speaks of "aeon" as being in the life of God what "time" is in the life of Man. Time is measured by material motion, but aeon by immaterial or spiritual motion. Spiritual motion can only be conceived of, by us men, as "Thought". It is God's Thought, and God's Thought is a Thought, Plan, or Design, of Redemption for Man, expressed in human beings who are, as Philo says, "measures of aeon." In this context, the heroes of Israel are incarnate thoughts of God, and his series of illustrations represents spiritual lives that are phases of God's foreordained redemptive Purpose.

Philo speaks of "aeon" as being in the life of God what "time" is in the life of Man. Time is measured by material motion, but aeon by immaterial or spiritual motion. Spiritual motion can only be conceived of, by us men, as "Thought". It is God's Thought. God's Thought as is reiterated throughout the Odes is a Thought, Plan, or Design, of Redemption for Man. This Thought was revealed by God's Word or Son moving and expressing Himself in the sons of Man, more especially in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These three Philo calls "measures of aeon," that is to say, phases of God s Thought of Redemption as it was developed through Faith, Joy, and Righteousness

For him the heroes of Israel are incarnate thoughts of God. His series of illustrations is a picture-book of the progressive phases of God's foreordained redemptive Purpose expressed in human beings. It represents spiritual lives (which are, as Philo says, "measures of aeon 1"],

Philo says (i. 277) that "time," xpuvos, being measured by the motions of the material Cosmos, may be called son of Cosmos, but only the grandson (not the son) of God, who is the Father of Cosmos. Aeon, he says, is the archetype of Time. We might be disposed to say that it must be measured by the motions of God's Thought; but he thinks of God's Thought as never past or future but always present: (id.) "In aeon, nothing has passed away, nothing is future, but everything simply subsists." The Hebrew view is that God combines past, present, and future, in a motion that is also rest. Elsewhere Philo says that the race of Wisdom produced (i. 455) "the threefold fruits of him that seeth, [namely], Israel." These are "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," and he calls these three "measures of aeon" i.e. apparently of divine Time. According to Philo (i. 342), "aeonian" does not mean "infinite in time" but "He that is graciously giving (6 x n P l C"f Ji(l "^--- always and continuously...," in other words, "infinite in His scope of graciousness," so that no limit of space, time, or thought, can be attached to it.

The Jews believed that all through the generations, from Adam to Abraham, God was waiting for the latter that He might begin to build His Habitation. Before Abraham, all was swamp. When he came, the rock rose to the surface, and building became possible. In effect, the Building was begun when Abraham "believed." 

When Abraham "believed." Nothing outward and visible took place then. But inwardly and invisibly a new spiritual period began, the period, or age (aeon), of "Faith." Such an age is not measured by days or years or by "time" at all. For time depends on material, acoti on spiritual, motion

With Abraham began the aeon of Faith.

Then after the aeon of Joy typified by Isaac, and the aeon of Hopeful Endurance typified by Jacob, and after the silent aeons of the Egyptian oppression during which the patriarchal seed was being prepared to grow up into the tree of national life came Moses

The passage suggests that believers are the time aeons of God, represented by the twelve months of the year, which are the twelve powers of God. In this context, the "psychic aeon" is the present time, and the man who knows the great power is a reference to Christ or the enlightened ones who will receive the knowledge and proclaim the aeon to come.

The passage also suggests that time itself is a creation of God, with the First Begetter being the source of time and the Savior being its representation in the year. The three hundred and sixty days of the year are representative of the three hundred and sixty powers that appeared from the Savior, with their hours and moments being the angels that came from them.

Moreover, the passage draws on the imagery of light and stars to convey the idea that believers are the time aeons of God. The stars are compared to believers, and the sand on the seashore represents the multitude of believers who will possess the gate of their enemies. The earthly sun symbolizes God, and the moon symbolizes Mother Wisdom, with believers being represented by the stars. The passage suggests that just as the sun, moon, and stars mark time, so do believers in their daily lives and work.

In summary, the passage suggests that believers are the time aeons of God, and the twelve months of the year represent the twelve powers of God. The idea is that time is a creation of God, and believers mark time in their daily lives and work, just as the sun, moon, and stars do in the heavens.

In these texts, believers are not explicitly referred to as symbols of time or aeons. However, there are references to time and aeons as being connected to spiritual concepts such as redemption, the Word of God, and the Thought of God. In one passage, believers are described as "human watches" designating time, and in another passage, spiritual lives are referred to as "measures of aeon." Overall, the texts suggest that time and aeons are spiritual concepts that are intimately connected to God's plan for redemption, and believers may be seen as participating in this plan.

The Zodiac
The twelve apostles are also type of twelve signs of the Zodiac. One of followers of Valentinus identified the twelve apostles with the twelve signs of the Zodiac:

25 The followers of Valentinus defined the Angel as a Logos having a message from Him who is. And, using the same terminology, they call the Aeons Logoi.
The Apostles, he says, were translated into the twelve signs of the zodiac, for as
birth is managed by them, so too is rebirth <overseen> by the Apostles. (Extracts from the Works of Theodotus)

To these same Valentinians the Decad is indicated by seven circular bodies, an eighth heaven encircling them, and the sun and moon. The zodiac indicates the Dodecad.

The Ogdoad the heavenly world was within the compass of the Twelve Zodiacal Signs, that is to say, it extended from the moon upwards to the Boundary or Firmament.

The heavenly bodies excited the interest of early man. It is obvious that astronomy was a subject in which Job had delighted (Job 9:9; 38:31-32; see also Amos 5:8). Gesenius suggests that the word Mazzaroth (Job 38:32) relates to the Zodiac, and this is supported by the margin of the A.V.
The twelve signs of the Zodiac, answering to the twelve months of the year, are connected with different seasons, and these, in turn, speak of Yahweh's purpose. For example, winter is often related to death, and springtime to resurrection. (Gospel of Philip)

It should also be noted that the Greek Deity Aion was linked to the zodiac. Aion is usually identified as the nude or seminude young man within a circle representing the zodiac, or eternal and cyclical time. The "time" represented by Aion is unbounded, in contrast to Chronos as empirical time divided into past, present, and future. He is thus a god of the ages

This would also link the apostles with the twelve aeons of the Dodecad since the Apostles were put in place of the twelve signs of the Zodiac as birth is governed by the signs so is rebirth governed by the Apostles

The signs of the Zodiac, which are like the Dodecad:

They (the signs of the Zodiac) are a type of the twelve disciples and the twelve pairs (The First Apocalypse of James)
The Twelve Apostles Are a Type of the Aeons
Colossians 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity dwells in bodily form.

Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Jesus came full of the Aeons this fullness of the aeons was poured out upon all those of the Church by the Spirit on the day of Pentecost

Christ the Verifier who stood as the sonship in their midst. this Christ bore twelve aspects which were manifest in the twelve apostles (The Untitled Text in the Bruce Codex)

Then Thomas said to him: "Lord, Savior, how many are the aeons of those who surpass the heavens?" The perfect Savior said: "I praise you (pl.) because you ask about the great aeons, for your roots are in the infinities. Now when those whom I have discussed earlier were revealed, he provided ....
"Now when those whom I have discussed earlier were revealed, Self-begetter Father very soon created twelve aeons for retinue for the twelve angels. All these are perfect and good. (The Sophia of Jesus Christ cp. Rev 4:4,6,7)

For this cause have I chosen you verily from the beginning through the First Mystery. Rejoice then and exult, for when I set out for the world, |11. I brought from the beginning with me twelve powers, as I have told you from the beginning, which I have taken from the twelve saviours of the Treasury of the Light, according to the command of the First Mystery. These then I cast into the womb of your mothers, when I came into the world, that is those which are in your bodies to-day. For these powers have been given unto you before the whole world, because ye are they who will save the whole world, and that ye may be able to endure the threat of the rulers of the world and the pains of the world and its dangers and all its persecutions, which the rulers of the height will bring upon you (Pistis Sophia chapter 7)

The Christ, has twelve powers of spiritual perception or mental ideas emanations from the Divine Mind these twelve powers or attributes are represented in the history of Jesus by the Twelve Apostles. So each of us has spiritual perception or attributes to make manifest, to bring out, and to use in the attainment of his ideals.

In order to command our powers and to bring them into unity of action, we must know what they are and their respective places on the staff of Being

The twelve apostles function as counterparts of the aeons they make up the body of truth or duodecad
The Dodecad
The Dodecad is group of twelve aeons they are the emanations of Anthropos and Ecclesia 

The Names of the aeons of the Dodecad are: 

  • Paracletus (Comforter)  and Pistis (Faith) 
  • Patricas (Paternal)  and Elpis (Hope) 
  • Metricos (Maternal)  and Agape (Love) 
  • Ainos (Praise) and Synesis (Intelligence) 
  • Ecclesiasticus (Son of Ecclesia)  and Macariotes (Blessedness)
  • Theletus (Perfect)  and Sophia (Wisdom) 

In the Dodecad, the masculine aeons’ names describe the functions of the aeons of the Ogdoad (especially Mind); the female aeons’ names describe virtues in a partially recognizable sequence (Faith, Hope, Love: 1 Corinthians 13.13).

The dodecad are forces and energies of the psychical universe or the material universe. They are the product of Anthropos and Ecclesia and are related to our states of being. The genders pairs refer to “form” and “substance,” so the Aeons of the Dodecad describe tangible actions and reactions

According to Irenaeus, the Valentinians say that the production of the Duodecad of aeons corresponds to the election of the twelve apostles. The twelfth emanation, the suffering Sophia, corresponds with Judas the twelfth apostle

Irenaeus writes that they think that Sophia's suffering points to Judas' apostasy because both were associated with the number twelve. He reiterates this by saying that the Valentinians relate the suffering Sophia to the betrayal of Judas. Thus her suffering was her error, when she did what was forbidden. It is Sophia's betrayal that results in her suffering which the Valentinians said corresponded to Judas' betrayal of Jesus

It is Sophia's betrayal that results in her suffering which the Valentinians said corresponded to Judas' betrayal of Jesus

Judas was replaced by Matthias this corresponds to the restoration of Sophia

The twelve sons of Jacob and the twelve tribes also signal the Dodecad (Against Heresies 1.18.4). So too the twelve stones on the breastplate and the twelve bells.[Genesis 35.22–26, 49.28; Exodus 28.21, 36.21. (Justin Martyr Dialogue with Trypho 42.1) 

The concept of the Twelve Aeons, also known as the Dodecad, is a central component of Gnostic cosmology. According to this belief system, the Aeons represent emanations of the divine and are arranged in pairs of male and female. Together, they form a system of twelve interconnected and complementary powers that emanate from the divine source.

The Twelve Apostles of Christianity are often seen as symbolic of the Twelve Aeons. Each of the apostles represents an aspect of the divine, and together they embody the fullness of God's power and wisdom.

Here is a breakdown of how each apostle may be associated with an Aeon:

  1. Paracletus (Comforter) - Represents the Holy Spirit, who comforts and guides believers.
  2. Pistis (Faith) - Represents the principle of faith and trust in God.
  3. Patricas (Paternal) - Represents God the Father as the source and origin of all being.
  4. Elpis (Hope) - Represents the principle of hope and optimism in the face of adversity.
  5. Metricos (Maternal) - Represents the nurturing and caring aspect of God, as a mother cares for her children.
  6. Agape (Love) - Represents the all-encompassing love of God, which transcends human understanding.
  7. Ainos (Praise) - Represents the power of praise and worship in connecting with the divine.
  8. Synesis (Intelligence) - Represents the principle of knowledge and understanding.
  9. Ecclesiasticus (Son of Ecclesia) - Represents the Church, as the community of believers.
  10. Macariotes (Blessedness) - Represents the state of being blessed by God.
  11. Theletus (Perfect) - Represents the perfection and completeness of God.
  12. Sophia (Wisdom) - Represents the principle of wisdom and the knowledge of God.

the twelve apostles are seen as symbolic of the twelve Aeons of the Dodecad. Here is a breakdown of how each apostle may be associated with an Aeon:

  1. Paracletus (Comforter) - This attribute could be associated with the Apostle Peter, who is often seen as a representative of the divine Comforter, providing support and guidance to believers.

  2. Pistis (Faith) - The attribute of faith can be linked to the Apostle Andrew, who displayed faith and trust in the teachings of Jesus.

  3. Patricas (Paternal) - This attribute, representing fatherhood and protection, could be associated with the Apostle James (son of Zebedee), who was one of the prominent disciples and had a close relationship with Jesus.

  4. Elpis (Hope) - The attribute of hope can be aligned with the Apostle John, who emphasized the hope and expectation of eternal life through Jesus' teachings.

  5. Metricos (Maternal) - This attribute, symbolizing motherhood and nurturing, could be associated with the Apostle Philip, who is said to have cared for and nurtured the early Christian community.

  6. Agape (Love) - The attribute of love can be linked to the Apostle Bartholomew, who demonstrated selfless love and devotion in his discipleship.

  7. Ainos (Praise) - The attribute of praise can be aligned with the Apostle Thomas, who is often remembered for his expression of praise and devotion to Jesus.

  8. Synesis (Intelligence) - This attribute, representing intelligence and understanding, could be associated with the Apostle Matthew, who was known for his background as a tax collector and his ability to comprehend and articulate Jesus' teachings.

  9. Ecclesiasticus (Son of Ecclesia) - This attribute, symbolizing community and belonging, could be linked to the Apostle James (son of Alphaeus), who was part of the close-knit group of disciples forming the early Christian community.

  10. Macariotes (Blessedness) - The attribute of blessedness can be aligned with the Apostle Thaddaeus, who is believed to have experienced the joy and blessedness of being a follower of Jesus.

  11. Theletus (Perfect) - This attribute, representing perfection, could be associated with the Apostle Simon the Zealot, who dedicated himself to the pursuit of righteousness and perfection in his discipleship.

  12. Sophia (Wisdom) - The attribute of wisdom can be linked to the Apostle Judas Iscariot, who, despite his unfortunate betrayal, may be seen as representing the potential for growth and redemption through the pursuit of wisdom.

Moses and Joshua built altars made of twelve stones, twelve men carried the ark of the covenant across the Jordan, and Elisha placed twelve stones around the bull when he contended with the priests of Baal.[Exodus 24.4; Joshua 4.9, 4.20, 3.12; 1 Kings 18.31]