Gnostic Doctrine

Monday, 17 August 2020

The Gospel of Philip and Transubstantiation

The Gospel of Philip and Transubstantiation










Does the Gospel of Philip teach the doctrine of Transubstantiation?

A superficial reading of the the Gospel of Philip may lead one to conclude that it teaches Transubstantiation with sayings like "The eucharist is Jesus" but this is not the case as we will see below

The master [did] everything in a mystery: baptism, chrism, eucharist, redemption, and bridal chamber.[For this reason] he said, “I have come to make [the lower] like the [upper and the] outer like the [inner, and to unite] them in that place.” [He spoke] here in symbols [and images].

Here the word mystery is musthrion 3466: μυστήριον meaning means ‘something hidden or secret’ – our word ‘mystery’.


a secret, of which initiation is necessary; in the NT: the counsels of God, once hidden but now revealed in the Gospel or some fact thereof; the Christian revelation generally; particular truths or details of the Christian revelation.

The word does not mean a "sacrament(s)"

The language surrounding ‘sacraments’ did not develop in the Church for some time. We hear of a ritual of baptism in the Christian community of the Acts of the Apostles, and of the ‘breaking of bread’ – the Eucharist (Acts2:38, 41- 42). These celebrations were called by their name, there was no generic term for these experiences.

The Lord [did] everything in a sacred secret: a baptism, and a anointing, and a eucharist, and a redemption, and a bridal chamber. [For this reason] he said, “I have come to make [the lower] like the [upper and the] outer like the [inner, and to unite] them in that place.” [He spoke] here in symbols [and images].

The Greek word musthrion, translated “sacred secret,” has reference primarily to that which is known by those who are initiated.

GPh 67:27–30:“The Lord did everything like a mystery: baptism, chrism, Eucharist, redemption and bridal chamber.”

It is clear, however, that this text does not speak about “mysteries” in the sense of sacraments, but about the hidden, symbolic meaning of the Saviour’s deeds in the world. (Einar Thomassen)


Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world cannot receive truth in any other way. There is a rebirth and an image of rebirth. It is necessary to be born again truly through the image. How is it with the resurrection and the image? Through the image it must rise. The bridal chamber and the image? Through the image one must enter the truth: this is the restoration.
Flesh and Blood Symbolic 
24 Some are afraid lest they rise naked. Because of this they wish to rise in the flesh, and they do not know that it is those who wear the flesh who are naked. It is those who [...] to unclothe themselves who are not naked. "Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Co 15:50). What is this which will not inherit? This which is on us. But what is this, too, which will inherit? It is that which belongs to Jesus and his blood. Because of this he said "He who shall not eat my flesh and drink my blood has not life in him" (Jn 6:53). What is it? His flesh is the word, and his blood is the Holy Spirit. He who has received these has food and he has drink and clothing. I find fault with the others who say that it will not rise. Then both of them are at fault. You say that the flesh will not rise. But tell me what will rise, that we may honor you. You say the Spirit in the flesh, and it is also this light in the flesh. (But) this too is a matter which is in the flesh, for whatever you shall say, you say nothing outside the flesh. It is necessary to rise in this flesh, since everything exists in it. In this world, those who put on garments are better than the garments. In the Kingdom of Heaven, the garments are better than those that put them on.

Ignatius identifies the flesh with faith and the blood with love (Trall 8 Ign Rom 8:3)

The Gospel of Philip in particular shows that Valentinians understood the flesh and the blood of the Savior to be symbolic thus, for instance, the “flesh” is the Logos and the “blood” is the Holy Spirit

For more information on this saying from the Gospel of Philip see:

Valentinian Teaching on the Resurrection
What is the blood and Flesh of Christ


57 The eucharist is Jesus. For he is called in Syriac "Pharisatha," which is "the one who is spread out," for Jesus came to crucify the world.

eucharist literally thanksgiving, actually the Lord's Last Supper

this saying does not prove much Jesus the eucharist is turned into the actual flesh and blood of Jesus

Jesus often used metaphor in order to communicate a point. For example, he says “I am the door,” “I am the vine,” “You are the salt of the earth,” and “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14) but people know that we don’t take such statement literally. After all, who believes that Christ is literally a door swinging on a hinge?

Men too walk long distances but do not get anywhere, When evening came for them, they saw neither city nor village, neither creation nor nature, power and angel. In vain have these miserable men taken trouble over the Eucharist'

Segelberg suggests that this passage 'might be a criticism of the eucharistic practices of the Church,' and renders 'Men too walk long distances but do not get anywhere' (15-17) and 'In vain have these miserable men taken trouble over the Eucharist' (20-21). This interpretation is certainly valid in that the passage is a condemnation of unproductive effort. (Gospel of Philip, R. McL. Wilson)

The Eucharist of the Churches lacks pneuma or spirit it does not give life. Therefore those who have frequently taken communion have nevertheless not received anything but when the evening of life comes then they are as un-spiritual as when they began life. Their church is a donkey church. ( Segelberg)

For more information on this saying from the Gospel of Philip see
Jesus the Measurement Spread Out

,106 The cup of prayer contains wine and water, for it represents the blood for which thanksgiving is offered. It is full of the holy spirit, and it belongs to the completely perfect human. When we drink it, we take to ourselves the perfect human. The living water is a body, and we must put on the living human. Thus, when one is about to go down into the water, one strips in order to put on the living human.

The cup represents Jesus at the last supper
Priest or Holy Man
114 The priest is completely holy, down to his very body. For if he has taken the bread, he will consecrate it. Or the cup or anything else that he gets, he will consecrate. Then how will he not consecrate the body also?

In the Coptic the word "priest" is not used, the word used is a "holy man" or a "saint" it is a dishonest translation to use the word "priest" it changes the meaning of the text. The Valentinians did not have a priesthood. According to Tertullian, "Today one man is bishop and tomorrow another; the person who is a deacon today, tomorrow is a reader; the one who is a priest is a layman tomorrow. For even on the laity they impose the functions of priesthood." ( Tertullian Against the Valentinians 1) He goes on to relate that even women could take the role of bishop, much to his horror. 

From the Quote from Tertullian we can see that the Valentinian congregations were organised autonomously.

The correct word to be used is "holy man" or "saint" this is seen from the translations by Thomas Paterson Brown and R. McL. Wilson:

The holy man is holy altogether, down to his body. For if he has received the bread he .will make it holy, or the cup, or anything else that he receives, purifying them. And how will he not purify the body also? (Gospel of Philip R. McL. Wilson Translation)

How does a person purify the body? The answer is given in the Gospel of Truth: 'Through the unity shall each one find himself Through knowledge he will purify himself from diversity into unity, swallowing up the matter in him like a flame, darkness by light, death by life.' He who is holy is capable of making everything holy, even to the body. (Gospel of Truth)

according to Philip a believer becomes 'not a Christian but a Christ at the anointing

The saint respresents Jesus' flesh He must consecrate the bread which is his body. Likewise the saint represents the blood of Christ  the saint or holy person must consecrate the blood


Eating Blood

Eating or drinking blood is forbidden

Acts 15:19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

When they had said these things in the prayer, they embraced each other and they went to eat their holy food, which has no blood in it. (The Prayer of Thanksgiving The Nag Hammadi Library)


104. Furthermore, thus it is regarding the Bread with the Chalice, and the Chrism: there is nonetheless another (sacrament) exalted over these (Gospel of Philip)



Holy communion

communion, kept secret--There are times when it is to our own spiritual benefit and to God's glory to keep things concealed and, like Mary, to ponder them in our heart until due time for expression. There are joys of the Spirit that are secret between a man and his Lord. One feels a sense of condemnation and depletion if he talks too freely about his communion with the Lord.

Christians have lost the mystical meaning of the communion service. The object of the ritual was to enable the worshipper to establish oneness with the Deity, to symbolically die and rise again from the dead and have a new life with the Deity in a new world. This was a well-cultivated theme in many religions of the day. The people believed that by drinking the blood and eating the bread it would be possible to absorb the qualities of the Deity.


But what is the mystical meaning that Jesus was seeking to convey to us? Communion is union in consciousness with God. It is more than an intellectual thought or a feeling even though these are included. In a moment of union the soul is quickened and we are exhilarated both mentally and emotionally. This is especially true when an individual first begins the practice of communion or silent meditation.


The communion service that Jesus instituted is contained in His words, “When you pray, go within your closet and shut the door and pray to your Father Who is in secret.” Many people reach out in thought and feeling to a god they think is out in space. But the true God, the Source of Creativity and Intelligence, is within you. Of course, God is omnipresent, but your place of contact or communion with Him is within your consciousness. What happens or can happen in a true communion service? The soul can experience a feeling of security and peace even though outer circumstances may seem to indicate turmoil and instability.





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