Gnostic Doctrine

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Covenant Relationship With God

Covenant Relationship With God
A Personal Relationship With God




covenant--A solemn agreement or compact between two or more parties. "My covenant shall stand fast with him" (Psalms 89:28).


Gen 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, Jehovah appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 17:2And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly

What is the significance of God’s covenant with Abraham? This covenant represents the development of faith from so-called “blind” faith to faith that becomes great through spiritual understanding.


The most oft repeated feature of the promises to Abraham can be easily overlooked. Notice how the personal pronouns are the key words: " I will establish my covenant…between me and you and your descendants…to be your God…I will be their God" (Gen. 17:6-8).

God Almighty is committing Himself to Abraham and Abraham's seed in a way so insistent and so awesome that only contemplation of it can invoke the true sense of wonder which we ought to have at being in covenant relationship with God Almighty.

The fact that the basis of our relationship with God is an eternal covenant means that we do not drift in and out of fellowship with God according to our awareness of Him. We are His people. Every hour of every day.


What is indispensable to the proper observance of a covenant? A substantial understanding and a willingness to observe the terms and provisions of the covenant. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”


Gen 17:9 And God said unto Abraham, And as for thee, thou shalt keep my covenant, thou, and thy seed after thee throughout their generations. 17:10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee: every male among you shall be circumcised.

What significance to us has the rite of circumcision? “Circumcision is that of the heart in the spirit not in the letter.” It signifies clean, upright, unselfish, faith-centered life, with everything that would interfere with its proper functioning eliminated.

53. His disciples asked him: "Is circumcision useful or not?" He replied: "If it were useful then they would be born already circumcised. On the other hand, true circumcision in the spirit is entirely beneficial.' (The Gospel of Thomas Saying 53)


Jeremiah, one of the greatest of the Prophets has the vision of God making a covenant with man. And he says, “I will put my law in their inward parts and in their heart while I write it, and I will be their God and they shall be my people.” It was probably the first awareness of the law of consciousness, the law of mind action, the law of cause and effect.




Jeremiah, for example, prophesized that the new covenant will not be written on tablets of stone (externally recorded) but rather on the heart, meaning within the mind. See Eph 1:18 Note S. "Jeremiah sees the terms of the new covenant written not on tables of stone, i.e., promulgated externally, but written upon the heart, i.e., understood by the mind of each member of the restored Israel (31:22f)." (244)

“I WILL BE WITH YOU”

There are two other things promised to Abraham and his descendants: “I will be their God…I will be with you” (Gen. 17:8; 26:3; 28:15 cf. Ex. 6:7). The Lord Jesus Christ is ‘God with us’ (Emmanuel, Is. 7:14).




In what way did Jesus Christ become the “mediator of a new covenant”? Jesus proved anew that, by loving the things of spiritual significance and seeking to express them, man enters into a vital relation with God and finds the satisfaction that is “life indeed.” This bringing of life and immortality to light gave men a new understanding of God and led them to enter into a new relation with him.



Third, Paul illustrates that an oath of God stands behind Jesus' priesthood. "Another distinctive mark of the new covenant is that an oath (of God) accompanied its establishment. Priests in the Levitican order took their office without an oath. The high priest of the new covenant was addressed with an oath. Through the prophetic scriptures PS 110:4, God assured him [Jesus] that his appointment was firm and unchangeable. God is not going to change his mind [Paul concluded]. Jesus is, therefore, the surety of a better covenant because behind him and his mission stands the determination of God himself, who has bound himself with an oath and thereby firmly established his promise to men" GEN 7:20-22


Monday, 10 May 2021

The Gnostic Resurrection

 The Gnostic Resurrection

The Gnostic Understanding of the Resurrection










O Rheginos, do not lose yourself in details, nor live obeying the flesh for the sake of harmony. Flee from being scattered and being in bondage, and then you already have resurrection. If you know what in yourself will die, though you have lived many years, why not look at yourself and see yourself risen now? You have the resurrection, yet you go on as if you are to die when it is only the part destined to die that is moribund. Why do I put up with your poor training? Everyone finds a way, and there are many ways, to be released from this element and not to roam aimlessly in error, all with the end of recovering what one was at the beginning. (The Treatise on the Resurrection)

Resurrection, according to Paul in Romans 8:10-11, is when the logos/mind of God "dwells in you". Simply said, resurrection is reaching the Christ-Consciousness of the pleroma because here you awaken to your true perfect god-self.

Resurrection implies intellectual renewal made possible by understanding Jesus' Christ message. "The 'old man [henos anthropos] must be 'put off' (Colossians 3:9-10) in order to 'put on' the new spiritual man [pneumatic anthropos].

However some may claim but the apostle saith, we are saved by “the renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

He also says, we are "renewed by knowledge” (Colossians 3:10). 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).


In this light, resurrection means the transition of our judgmental ego-consciousness to our nonjudgmental Christ-Consciousness .

This transition is made possible by understanding Jesus' knowledge teachings.

The raising of man's mind and heart from the carnal mind to the higher Christ consciousness. This is accomplished by the quickening power of the Holy Spirit. "If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you" (Rom. 8:11).

The resurrection is the lifting up of the whole mind and heart into the Christ consciousness. The resurrection lifts up the seat of reasoning and emotion of the mind and heart until they conform to the mind of God, and this renewal of the mind makes a complete transformation of the carnal mind or ego.

The resurrection is a transformation that takes place daily in all who are conforming their lives to the regenerating teachings of Jesus' anointed message. The resurrection takes place here and now in all who conform their lives to the spiritual law under which it works.

Now is the time of the resurrection. "The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God" (John 5:25).

The power of the resurrection is the Christ. "I am the resurrection, and the life" (John 11:25). This resurrection is not of the future, "but hath now been manifested by . . . our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light" (II Tim. 1:10).

Resurrection, in the above sense, does not rule out life after death in the kingdom of God on earth, only that we can raise to a higher consciousness the Christ consciousness in the here and now before we entering the restored kingdom of God.

The resurrection takes place in us every time we rise to Jesus' realization of the perpetual indwelling life that is connecting us with the Father. A new flood of life comes to all who open their minds and their bodies to the living word of God.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

The Pythagorean Symbols or Maxims

 The Pythagorean Symbols or Maxims


The Pythagorean Symbols or Maxims are gnomic sayings whose meaning is not obvious at first glance. The symbols are excellent examples of 'akousmata' ('things heard') representing for the most part Pythagoras's basic teachings on the conduct of life. As Neoplatonist philosopher Iamblichus observes, Pythagorean views were 'not composed in popular or vulgar diction, or in a manner usual to all other writers, so as to be immediately understood, but in a way not easily apprehended by their readers.'


1: Go not beyond the balance. (Transgress not Justice).

2: Sit not down on the bushel. (Do not loaf on your job).

3: Tear not to pieces the crown. (Do not be a joy-killer).

4: Eat not the heart. (Do not grieve over-much).

5: Do not poke the fire with a sword. (Do not further inflame the quarrelsome).

6:  Having arrived at the frontiers, turn not back. (Do not wish to live over your life).

7: Go not by the public way. (Go not the broad popular way, which leads to destruction).

8: Suffer not swallows around your house. (Associate not with those who chatter vainly).

9: Wear not the image of God on your ring. (Profane not the name of God).

10: Do not unload people, but load them up. (Encourage not idleness, but virtue).

11: Not easily shake hands with a man. (Make no ill-considered friendships).

12: Leave no the least mark of the pot on the ashes. (After reconciliation, forget the disagreement).

13: Sow mallows, but never eat them. (Use mildness to others, but not to yourself).

14: Wipe not out the place of the torch. (Let not all the lights of reason be extinguished).

15: Wear not a narrow ring. (Seek freedom, avoid slavery).

16: Feed not the animals that have crooked claws. (To your family admit no thief or traitor).

17: Abstain from beans. (Avoid farcineous food causing flatulence, avoid democratic voting).

18: Eat not fish whose tails are black. (Frequent not the company of men without reputation).

19: Never eat the gurnet. (Avoid revenge).

20: Eat not the womb of animals. (Avoid what leads to generation, to lowest affections).

21: Abstain from flesh of animals that die of themselves. (Avoid decayed food). 

22: Abstain from eating animals. (Have no conversation with unreasonable men).

23: Always put salt on the table. (Always use the principle of Justice to settle problems).

24: Never break the bread. (When giving charity, do not pare too close). 

25: Do not spill oil upon the seat. (Do not flatter princes, praise God only).

26: Put not meat in a foul vessel. (Do not give good precepts to a vicious soul). 

27: Feed the cock, but sacrifice him not for he is sacred to the sun and the moon. (Cherish people who warm you, sacrifice them not to resentment).

28: Break not the teeth. Do not revile bitterly. (Do not be sarcastic).

29. Keep far from you the vinegar-cruet. (Avoid malice and sarcasm).

30: Spit upon the parings of your nails, and on the clippings of your hair. (Abhor desires). 

31: Do not urinate against the sun. (Be modest).

32: Speak not in the face of the sun. (Make not public the thoughts of your heart).

33: Do not sleep at noon. (Do not continue in darkness). 

34: Stir up the bed as soon as you are risen, do not leave in it any print of the body. (When working, hanker not for luxurious ease).

35: Never sing without harp-accompaniment. (Make of life a whole).

36: Always keep your things packed up. (Always be prepared for all emergencies).

37: Quit not your post without your general’s order. (Do not suicide).

38: Cut not wood on the public road. (Never turn to private use what belongs to the public).

39: Roast not what is boiled. (Never take in ill part what is done in simplicity and ignorance).

40: Avoid the two-edged sword. (Have no conversation with slanderers).

41: Pick not up what is fallen from the table.(Always leave something for charity).

42: Abstain even from a cypress chest. (Avoid going to funerals). 

43: To the celestial gods sacrifice an odd number, but to the infernal, an even. (To God consecrate the indivisible soul, the body to hell).

44: Offer not to the gods the wine of an unpruned vine. (Agriculture is a great piece of piety).

45: Never sacrifice without meal. (Encourage agriculture, offer bloodless offerings).

46: Adore the gods, and sacrifice bare-foot. (Pray and sacrifice in humility of heart).

47: Turn round when you worship. (Adore the immensity of God, who fills the universe). 

48: Sit down when you worship. (Never worship in a hurry).

49: Pare not your nails during the sacrifices. (In the temple behave respectfully).

50: When it thunders, touch the ground. (Appease God by humility).

51: Do not primp by torch-light. (Look at things in the light of God). 

52: One, Two. (God and Nature; all things are known to God). 

53: Honor marks of dignity, the Throne, and the Ternary. (Worship magistrates, Kings, Heroes, Geniuses and God).

54: When the winds blow, adore echo. (During revolts, flee to deserts). 

55: Eat not in the chariot. (Eat not in the midst of hurried, important business). 

56: Put on your right shoe first, and wash your left foot first.(Prefer an active life, to one of ease and pleasure).

57: Eat not the brain. (Wear not out the brain, refresh yourself).

58. Plant not the palm-tee. (Do nothing but what is good and useful).

59: Make thy libations to the gods by the ear. (Beautify thy worship by music).

60: Never catch the cuttle-fish. (Undertake no dark affairs, intricate affairs, that will wound you).

61: Stop not at the threshold. (Be not wavering but choose your side).

62: Give way to a flock that goes by. (Oppose not the multitude).

63: Avoid the weasel. (Avoid tale-tellers).

64: Refuse the weapons a woman offers you. (Reject all suggestions revenge inspires).

65: Kill not the serpent that chances to fall within your walls. (Harm no enemy who becomes your guest or suppliant).

66: It is a crime to throw stones into fountains. (It is a crime to persecute good men)

67: Feed not yourself with your left hand. (Support yourself with honest toil, not robbery).

68: It is a horrible crime to wipe off the sweat with iron. (It is a criminal to deprive a man by force of what he earned by labor).

69: Stick not iron in the footsteps of a man. (Mangle not the memory of a man).

70: Sleep not on a grave. (Live not in idleness on the parents’ inherited estates).

James the Just

 James the Just, Apostle Brother of Jesus 


James (Ya'aqov) the Just was the Apostle brother of Jesus (Yeshua) the Nazarene who became the leader of the early Jewish-Christian community in Jerusalem. James and the other brothers initially didn't approve of Jesus' ministry. But they did become followers later, and were members of the early community of believers who lived in Jerusalem after Jesus departed. 


James was one of the three Apostles who were always with the Savior in the most intimate moments of His inner life and exaltation (James, John and Peter). Among the three he was the more learned on the formal side. James and the other early followers in Jerusalem still regarded themselves as Jewish and followers of The Way taught by Jesus. They worshiped regularly in the main Jewish Temple, and continued to adhere to many of the old Jewish laws and traditions. Outsiders regarded them as a new Jewish sect and refered to them as Nazarenes.


After Paul began to convert non-Jews to the faith, a dispute arose over whether these new converts had to follow the old Jewish religious laws and traditions. Around 48 CE, Paul traveled to Jerusalem to try to resolve the issue. According to the Canonical 'Book of Acts', it was James who made the final decision. The fact that James made the final decision indicates that at this time he was the highest authority in the existing Christian community in Jerusalem. 


According to Apostolic tradition, James was the author of the Canonical 'Epistle of James.'

Further evidence for the importance of his role was uncovered hidden in a cave in Egypt in 1945, with the discovery of 13 leather-bound codices containing 52 Apocryphal treatises buried in a sealed jar. Written in Coptic and Greek during the 3rd and 4th centuries the leather-bound codices became known as 'The Nag Hammadi Scriptures.' A passage found in 'The Gospel of Thomas', indicates that Jesus designated his brother James to take over the leadership after he departed. And 'The Secret Book of James' (Apocryphon of James) a letter attributed to James of esoteric revelations which Jesus made only to Peter and himself. Singled out at a time when the Apostles were together writing down their books of what they remembered of Christs words and life. 


But ultimately the overall leadership gradually shifted from James to Paul. This happened because the number of converts in other cities grew rapidly, and soon far outnumbered the members of the original group in Jerusalem. James died in 62 AD, as a result of conflicts with the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem. According to the 1st century Roman Jewish historian Flavis Josephus, a Jewish council condemned him 'on the charge of breaking the law,' then had him executed by stoning. Another account of James' death was reported by 3rd-4th century early Christian historian Eusebius of Caesarea. It says that the Pharisees, upset by his teachings, threw him from the summit of the Temple, stoned him, then broke his skull with a fuller's club. 


In 2002 an ancient ossuary (stone box which Jews used as a storage vessel for the bones of dead relatives) was discovered in Jerusalem bearing an Aramiac inscription 

'Ya'aqov bar Yosef akhui Yeshua' 

(James son of Joseph brother of Jesus) 

The ossuary was discovered empty and dates between the 1st century BC and 70 CE. And currently belongs to a private antiquities collector, its authenticity is still being questioned. If aithentic as indicated, the inscription would be the earliest surviving written reference to Jesus (Yeshua) the Nazarene. 


~“The Lord imparted the gnosis (knowledge) to James the Just, to John and Peter, after His Resurrection these delivered it to the rest of the Apostles, and they to the Seventy.”


-Clement of Alexandria


~"We are aware that you will depart from us, who will be our leader?"

Jesus answered "No matter where you come from, it is to James the Just that you shall go, for whose sake heaven and earth have come to exist." 


-The Gospel of Thomas


~You have asked me to send you a secret book revealed to Peter and me by the master, and I could not turn you down, nor could I speak to you, so I have written it in Hebrew and have sent it to you, and to you alone. But since you are a minister of the salvation of the saints, try to be careful not to reveal to many people this book that the savior did not want to reveal even to all of us, his twelve students. Nonetheless, those who will be saved through the faith of this treatise will be blessed.


~Now, the twelve students were all sitting together, recalling what the savior had said to each of them, whether in a hidden or an open manner, and organizing it in books. I was writing what is in my book. Look, the savior appeared, after he had left us, while we were watching for him. Five hundred fifty days after he rose from the dead, we said to him, 

“Did you depart and leave us?”

Jesus said, “No, but I shall return to the place from which I came. If you want to come with me, come.”

They all answered and said, 

“If you order us, we shall come.”

He said, “I tell you the truth, no one will ever enter the kingdom of heaven because I ordered it, but rather because you yourselves are filled. Leave James and Peter to me that I may fill them.”

When he called the two of them, he took them aside and commanded the rest to keep doing what they were doing.


~Again after this we wished to send our spirits up to the majesty. When we ascended, we were not allowed to see or hear anything. The other students called to us and asked us, 

“What did you hear from the teacher? What did he tell you? Where did he go?”

We answered them, “He ascended. He gave us his right hand, and promised all of us life. He showed us children coming after us, having commanded us to love them, since we are to be saved for their sakes.”

When they heard this, they believed the revelation, but they were angry about those who would be born. Not wishing to give them reason to take offense, I sent each of them to a different location. I myself went up to Jerusalem, praying that I might acquire a share with the loved ones who are to come.

I pray that the beginning may come from you. This is how I can be saved. They will be enlightened through me, by my faith, and through another’s that is better than mine. I wish mine to be the lesser.


-The Secret Book of James


~But after Paul, in consequence of his appeal to Cæsar, had been sent to Rome by Festus, the Jews, being frustrated in their hope of entrapping him by the snares which they had laid for him, turned against James, the brother of the Lord, to whom the episcopal seat at Jerusalem had been entrusted by the apostles.The following daring measures were undertaken by them against him.

Leading him into their midst they demanded of him that he should renounce faith in Christ in the presence of all the people. But, contrary to the opinion of all, with a clear voice, and with greater boldness than they had anticipated, he spoke out before the whole multitude and confessed that our Saviour and Lord Jesus is the Son of God. But they were unable to bear longer the testimony of the man who, on account of the excellence of ascetic virtue and of piety which he exhibited in his life, was esteemed by all as the most just of men, and consequently they slew him. Opportunity for this deed of violence was furnished by the prevailing anarchy, which was caused by the fact that Festus had died just at this time in Judea, and that the province was thus without a governor and head.

The manner of James’ death has been already indicated by the above-quoted words of Clement, who records that he was thrown from the pinnacle of the temple, and was beaten to death with a club. But Hegesippus, who lived immediately after the apostles, gives the most accurate account in the fifth book of his Memoirs. He writes as follows

“James, the brother of the Lord, succeeded to the government of the Church in conjunction with the apostles.He has been called the Just by all from the time of our Saviour to the present day for there were many that bore the name of James.

He was holy from his mother’s womb and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh. No razor came upon his head he did not anoint himself with oil, and he did not use the bath. He alone was permitted to enter into the holy place for he wore not woolen but linen garments. And he was in the habit of entering alone into the temple, and was frequently found upon his knees begging forgiveness for the people, so that his knees became hard like those of a camel, in consequence of his constantly bending them in his worship of God, and asking forgiveness for the people."

Because of his exceeding great justice he was called the Just, and Oblias, which signifies in Greek, ‘Bulwark of the people’ and ‘Justice,’ in accordance with what the prophets declare concerning him.

Now some of the seven sects, which existed among the people and which have been mentioned by me in the Memoirs, asked him, ‘What is the gate of Jesus?’

and he replied that he was the Saviour.

On account of these words some believed that Jesus is the Christ. But the sects mentioned above did not believe either in a resurrection or in one’s coming to give to every man according to his works. But as many as believed did so on account of James.

Therefore when many even of the rulers believed, there was a commotion among the Jews and Scribes and Pharisees, who said that there was danger that the whole people would be looking for Jesus as the Christ. Coming therefore in a body to James they said, 

‘We entreat thee, restrain the people for they are gone astray in regard to Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all that have come to the feast of the Passover concerning Jesus for we all have confidence in thee. For we bear thee witness, as do all the people, that thou art just, and dost not respect persons. Do thou therefore persuade the multitude not to be led astray concerning Jesus. For the whole people, and all of us also, have confidence in thee. Stand therefore upon the pinnacle of the temple, that from that high position thou mayest be clearly seen, and that thy words may be readily heard by all the people. For all the tribes, with the Gentiles also, are come together on account of the Passover.’

The aforesaid Scribes and Pharisees therefore placed James upon the pinnacle of the temple, and cried out to him and said

‘Thou just one, in whom we ought all to have confidence, forasmuch as the people are led astray after Jesus, the crucified one, declare to us, what is the gate of Jesus.’

And he answered with a loud voice, 

‘Why do ye ask me concerning Jesus, the Son of Man? He himself sitteth in heaven at the right hand of the great Power, and is about to come upon the clouds of heaven.’

And when many were fully convinced and gloried in the testimony of James, and said, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ 

these same Scribes and Pharisees said again to one another, ‘We have done badly in supplying such testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, in order that they may be afraid to believe him.’

And they cried out, saying, ‘Oh! oh! the just man is also in error.’ And they fulfilled the Scripture written in Isaiah, ‘Let us take away the just man, because he is troublesome to us therefore they shall eat the fruit of their doings.’

So they went up and threw down the just man, and said to each other, 

‘Let us stone James the Just.’ 

And they began to stone him, for he was not killed by the fall but he turned and knelt down and said, ‘I entreat thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’

And while they were thus stoning him one of the priests of the sons of Rechab, the son of the Rechabites, who are mentioned by Jeremiah the prophet, cried out, saying, 

‘Cease, what do ye? 

The just one prayeth for you.’

And one of them, who was a fuller, took the club with which he beat out clothes and struck the just man on the head. And thus he suffered martyrdom. And they buried him on the spot, by the temple, and his monument still remains by the temple. He became a true witness, both to Jews and Greeks, that Jesus is the Christ. And immediately Vespasian besieged them.

These things are related at length by Hegesippus, who is in agreement with Clement. James was so admirable a man and so celebrated among all for his justice, that the more sensible even of the Jews were of the opinion that this was the cause of the siege of Jerusalem, which happened to them immediately after his martyrdom for no other reason than their daring act against him.

Josephus, at least, has not hesitated to testify this in his writings, where he says,  

“These things happened to the Jews to avenge James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus, that is called the Christ. For the Jews slew him, although he was a most just man.”

And the same writer records his death also in the twentieth book of his Antiquities in the following words “But the emperor, when he learned of the death of Festus, sent Albinus to be procurator of Judea. But the younger Ananus, who, as we have already said, had obtained the high priesthood, was of an exceedingly bold and reckless disposition. He belonged, moreover, to the sect of the Sadducees, who are the most cruel of all the Jews in the execution of judgment, as we have already shown.

Ananus, therefore, being of this character, and supposing that he had a favorable opportunity on account of the fact that Festus was dead, and Albinus was still on the way, called together the Sanhedrim, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ, James by name, together with some others, and accused them of violating the law, and condemned them to be stoned.

But those in the city who seemed most moderate and skilled in the law were very angry at this, and sent secretly to the king, requesting him to order Ananus to cease such proceedings. For he had not done right even this first time. And certain of them also went to meet Albinus, who was journeying from Alexandria, and reminded him that it was not lawful for Ananus to summon the Sanhedrim without his knowledge.

And Albinus, being persuaded by their representations, wrote in anger to Ananus, threatening him with punishment. And the king, Agrippa, in consequence, deprived him of the high priesthood, which he had held three months, and appointed Jesus, the son of Damnæus high priest.”

These things are recorded in regard to James, who is said to be the author of the first of the so-called catholic epistles. But it is to be observed that it is disputed at least, not many of the ancients have mentioned it, as is the case likewise with the epistle that bears the name of Jude, which is also one of the seven so-called catholic epistles. Nevertheless we know that these also, with the rest, have been read publicly in very many churches.


-Eusebius 

-Church History

The Initiations of the Pythagoreans

 The Initiations of the Pythagoreans


The ancient Mystery schools were renowned for their tightly guarded esoteric knowledge of the scared Mysteries and sciences, where all was taught orally, and the difficult levels of initations, which took many years to complete and an advanced level of education before being allowed acceptance. The great Greek philosopher Pythagoras (born around 500 BC) was initiated in all the Grecian, Barbarian and Phoenician sacred Mysteries during his youth, before being initiated in the Egyptian and Chaldean sacred Mysteries, spending 22 years in Egypt then a further 12 years in Babylon. Most notably in the Egyptian mystery schools Pythagoras had to win the respect of the priests before being allowed initiation and was given the most difficult precepts, which he performed so swiftly that he won their admiration and was granted initiation in all the most scared Egyptian sciences, a honor never before granted to a foreigner. He was 56 years old before he returned to Samos then onto Crotone, Italy were he founded his Mystery school most famously remembered for perfecting mathematics, geometry, astronomy, philosophy and metaphysics along with having a powerful political influence. 


The initiations of the Pythagorean Mystery school were among the most difficult of the ancient world and many failed or were rejected, (which ultimately lead to Pythagoras's death at the hands of some of those he did not accept as disciples). He did not allow his followers to attend his lectures and teachings in the person until they had successfully acomplished 7 years of initiations, beginning by examining the candidates judiciously and observed their mannerisms and disposition, neglecting

then for 3 years while subjecting trails and tests upon them. After this they were compelled to not speak a word for 5 years before becomig known as esoterics and deemed worthy to share in his doctrines in the person. Prior to this they were taught by the second hand teachings of his disciples. Those who failed initiations or were rejected were given double the wealth the came with and sent away, a tomb was then erected to symbolically represent their deaths and they were forbidden to associate with any Pythagoreans whom considered them as dead.


The following accounts of the initiations of the Pythagoreans and those prior of Pythagoras in Egypt and Babylon are sourced from the writings of Neoplatonic philosophers Porphyry, Iamblicus and Diogenes Laertius.


~As he was a young man, and devoted to learning, he quitted his country, and got initiated into all the Grecian and barbarian sacred mysteries. Accordingly, he went to Egypt, on which occasion Polycrates gave him a letter of introduction to Amasis, and he learnt the Egyptian language, as Antipho tells us, in his treatise on those men who have been conspicuous for virtue, and he associated with the Chaldaeans and with the Magi.


Afterwards he went to Crete, and in company with Epimenides, he descended into the Idaean cave, and in Egypt too, he entered into the holiest parts of their temples, and learned all the most secret mysteries that relate to their gods. Then he returned back again to Samos, and finding his country reduced under the absolute dominion of Polycrates, he set sail, and fled to Crotona in Italy. And there, having given laws to the Italians, he gained a very high reputation, together with his scholars, who were about three hundred in number, and governed the republic in a most excellent manner; so that the constitution was very nearly an aristocracy.


~He was the first person, as Timaeus says, who asserted that the property of friends is common, and that friendship is equality. And his disciples used to put all their possessions together into one store, and use them in common and for five years they kept silence, doing nothing but listen to discourses, and never once seeing Pythagoras, until they were approved, after that time they were admitted into his house, and allowed to see him. They also abstained from the use of cypress coffins, because the sceptre of Jupiter was made of that wood, as Hermippus tells us in the second book of his account of Pythagoras.


~And he was so greatly admired, that they used to say that his friends looked on all his sayings as the oracles of God. And he himself says in his writings, that he had come among men after having spent two hundred and seven years in the shades below. Therefore the Lucanians and the Peucetians, and the Messapians, and the Romans, flocked around him, coming with eagerness to hear his discourses; but until the time of Philolaus, there were no doctrines of Pythagoras ever divulged; and he was the first person who published the three celebrated books which Plato wrote to have purchased for him for a hundred minae. Nor were the number of his scholars who used to come to him by night fewer than six hundred. And if any of them had ever been permitted to see him, they wrote of it to their friends, as if they had gained some great advantage.


~Pythagoras died in this manner. When he was sitting with some of his companions in Milo's house, some one of those whom he did not think worthy of admission into it, was excited by envy to set fire to it. But some say that the people of Crotona themselves did this, being afraid lest he might aspire to the tyranny. And that Pythagoras was caught as he was trying to escape, and coming to a place full of beans (of which he considered scared), he stopped there, saying that it was better to be caught than to trample on the beans, and better to be slain than to speak, and so he was murdered by those who were pursuing him. And in this way, also, most of his companions were slain being in number about forty but that a very few did escape, among whom were Archippus, of Tarentum, and Lysis, whom I have mentioned before.


-Diogenes Laertius

-The lives and opinions of eminent philosophers


~Antiphon, in his book on illustrious Virtuous Men praises his perseverance while he was in Egypt, saying, Pythagoras desiring to become acquainted with the institutions of Egyptian priests, and diligently endeavoring to participate therein requested the Tyrant Polycrates to write to Amasis, the King of Egypt, his friend and former host, to procure him initiation. Coming to Amasis, he was given letters to the priests of Heliopolis, who sent him on to those of Memphis, on the pretense that they were the more ancient. On the same pretense, he was sent on from Memphis to Diospolis. From fear of the King the latter priests dared not make excuses but thinking that he would desist from his purpose as result of great difficulties, enjoined on him very hard precepts, entirely different from the institutions of the Greeks. These he performed so readily that he won their admiration, and they permitted him to sacrifice to the gods, and to acquaint himself with all their sciences, a favor theretofore never granted to a foreigner.


~Later he sent him to Anaximander at Miletus, to learn geometry and astronomy. Then Pythagoras visited the Egyptians, the Arabians, the Chaldeans and the Hebrews, from whom he acquired expertery in the interpretation of dreams, and acquired the of use frankincense in the worship of divinities. 

In Egypt he lived with the priests, and learned the language and wisdom of the Egyptians, and three kinds of letters, the epistolic, the hieroglyphic, and symbolic, whereof one imitates the common way of speaking, while the others express the sense by allegory and parable. In Arabia he conferred with the King. In Babylon he associated with the other Chaldeans, especially attaching himself to Zoroaster by whom he was purified from the pollutions of this past life, and taught the things which a virtuous man ought to be free. Likewise he heard lectures about Nature, and the principles of wholes. It was from his stay among these foreigners that Pythagoras acquired the greater part of his wisdom.


-Porphyry

-The Life of Pythagoras


~Here in Egypt he frequented all the temples with the greatest diligence, and most studious research, during which time he won the esteem and admiration of all the priests and prophets with whom he associated. Having most solicitously familiarized himself with every detail, he did not, nevertheless, neglect any contemporary celebrity, whether sage renowned for wisdom, or peculiarly performed mystery he did not fail to visit any place where he thought he might discover something worth while. That is how he visited all of the Egyptian priests, acquiring all the wisdom each possessed. He thus passed twenty-two years in the sanctuaries of temples, studying astronomy and geometry, and being initiated in no casual or superficial manner in all the mysteries of the gods. At length, however, he was taken captive by the soldiers of Cambyses, and carried off to Babylon. Here he was overjoyed to associate with the Magi, who instructed him in their venerable knowledge, and in the most perfect worship of the gods. Through their assistance, likewise, he studied and completed arithmetic, music, and all the other sciences. After twelve years, about the fifty-sixth year of his age, he returned to Samos.


It is said that while he was in Egypt he very much applied himself to geometry. For Egyptian life bristles with geometric problem since, from remote periods, when the gods were fabulously said to have reigned in Egypt, on account of the rising and falling of the Nile, the skillful have been copelled to measure all the Egyptian land which they cultivated, wherefrom indeed the science’s name, geometry, was derived. Besides, the Egyptians studied the theories of the celestial orbs, in

which Pythagoras also was skilled. All theorems about lines seem to have been derived from that country. All that relates to numbers and computation is said to have been discovered in Phoenicia. The theorems about the heavenly bodies have by some been referred to the Egyptians and Chaldeans in common. Whatever Pythagoras received, however, he developed further, he arranged them for learners, and personally demonstrated them with perspicuity and elegance. He was the first to give a name to philosophy, describing it as a desire for and love of wisdom, which latter he defined as the science of objectified truth. Beings he defined as immaterial and eternal natures, alone possessing a power that is efficacious, as are incorporeal essences.


~As he therefore thus prepared his disciples for culture, he did not immediately receive as an associate any who came to him for that purpose until he had tested them andexamined them judiciously. To begin with he inquired about their relation to their parents and kinsfolk. Next he surveyed their laughter, speech or silence, as to whether it was unreasonable further, about their desires, their associates, their conversation, how they employed their leisure, and what were the subjects of their joy or grief. He observed their form, their gait, and the whole motions of their body. He considered their frame’s natural indications physiognomically, rating them as visible exponents of the invisible tendencies of the soul. After subjecting a candidate to such trials, he allowed him to be neglected for three years, still covertly observing his disposition towards stability, and genuine studiousness, and whether he was sufficiently averse to glory, and ready to despise popular honors.  After, this the candidate was compelled to observe silence for five years, so as to have made definite experiments in continence of speech, inasmuch as the subjugation of the tongue is the most difficult of all victories, as has indeed been unfolded by those who have instituted the mysteries. During this probation, however, the property of each was disposed of in common, being committed to trustees, who were called politicians, economizers or legislators. Of these probationers, after the quinquennial silence, those who by modest dignity had won his approval as worthy to share in his doctrines, then became esoterics, and within the veil both heard and saw Pythagoras. Prior to this they participated in his words through the hearing alone, without seeing him who remained within the veil, and themselves offering to him a specimen of their manners. 


If rejected, they were given the double of the wealth they had brought, but the auditors raised to him a tomb, as if they were dead, the disciples being generally called auditors. Should these later happen to meet the rejected candidate, they would treat him as a stronger, declaring that he whom they had by education modeled had died, inasmuch as the object of these disciplines had been to be turned out good and honest men. Those who were slow in the acquisition of knowledge were considered to be badly organized or, we may say, deficient, and sterile. If, however, after Pythagoras had studied them physiognomically, their gait, motions and state of health, he conceived good hopes of them; and if, after the five years’ silence, and the emotions and initiations from so many disciplines together with the ablutions of the soul, and so many and so great purifications produced by such various theorems, through which sagacity and sanctity is ingrained into the soul, if after all this even, someone was found to be still sluggish and

dull, they would raise to such a candidate within the school a pillar or monument, such as was said to have been done to Perialus the Thurian, and Cylon the prince of the Sybarites, who were rejected, they expelled him from the auditorium, loading him down with silver and gold. This wealth had by them been deposited in common, in the care of certain custodians, aptly called Economics. Should any of the Pythagoreans later meet with the reject, they did not recognize him whom they accounted dead.


~Generally, however, it should be known, that Pythagoras discovered many paths of erudition, but that he communicated to each only that part of wisdom which was appropriate to the recipient’s nature and power, of which the following is an appropriate striking illustration. When Abaris the Scythian came from the Hyperboreans, he was already of an advanced age, and unskilled and uninitiated in the Greek learning. Pythagoras did not compel him to wade through introductory theorems, the period of silence, and long auscultation, not to mention other trials, but considered him to be fit for an immediate listener to his doctrines, and instructed him in the shortest way, in his treatise on Nature, and one on the god this Hyperborean Abaris was elderly, and most wise in sacred concerns, being a priest of the Apollo there worshipped. At that time he was returning from Greece to his country, in order to consecrate the gold which he had collected to the god in his temple among the Hyperboreans. As therefore he was passing through Italy, he saw Pythagoras, and identified him as the god of whom he was the priest.


~When Pythagoras tested a novice, he considered the latter’s ability to hold his counsel, “echemuthein” being his technical term for this. Namely, whether they could reserve and preserve what they had heard and learned. Next, he examined their modesty, for he was much more anxious that they should be silent, than that they should speak. Further, he tested every other quality, for instance, whether they were astonished by the energies of any immoderate desire or passion. His examination of their affectability by desire or anger, their contentiousness or ambition, their inclination to friendship or discord, was by no means superficial. If then after an accurate survey these novices were approved as of worthy manners, he then directed his attention to their facility in learning, and their memory. He examined their ability to follow what was said, with rapidity and perspicuity and then, whether they were impelled to the disciplines taught them by temperance and love. For he laid stress on natural gentleness. This he called culture. Ferocity he considered hostile to such a kind of education. For savage manners are attended by impudence, shamelessness, intemperance, sloth, stupidity, licentiousness, disgrace, and the like, while their opposite attend mildness and gentleness. These things then he considered in making trial of those that came to him, and in these the Learners were exercised. Those that were adapted to receive the goods of the wisdom he possessed he admitted to discipleship endeavoring to elevate them to scientific knowledge but if he perceived that any novice was unadapted to them, he expelled him as a stranger and a barbarian.


-Iamblichus 

-The life of Pythagoras

Salome

 Salome and The Gospel of the Egyptians


Salome is named as one of the female followers of Jesus (Yeshua) in the canonical Gospels, who was present at his crucifixion and more importantly as one of the three female disciples along with Mary Magdalene (Mariam of Magdala) and Joanna, who found his tomb empty. Salome (not to be confused with Salome the daughter of Herod) is identified as the wife of Zebedee, the mother of the Apostles James (the Great) and John. (And in some traditions the older sister of Jesus, or in medieval tradition as the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus). 


Her Importance as a disciple is further stressed in the Apocryphal and Gnostic Gospels were she features often among the 12 Apostles in conversations with Jesus. Including in the now lost 'Gospel according to the Egyptians' known by Apostolic literature to have been one of the earliest Gospels written in Greek in Egypt during the late 1st or early 2nd century CE and used by the Christian Gnostic sects the Naasenes and Sabellians. The Gospel survives today only in quotations by Egyptian Apostolic church father Clement of Alexandria (150 - 215 CE) followed by his own allegorizing interpretions. Salome is also mentioned by Clement as one of the disciples in Jericho in 'The Secret Gospel of Mark,' (another early lost Gospel quoted by Clement), and asks a question to Jesus in 'The Gospel of Thomas,' and in 'Pistis Sophia' along with Mary Magdalene who answers Salomes question with the approval of Jesus.


Salome appers as one of the Hebrew midwives present at the birth of Jesus in various Infancy Gospels including 'The Protoevangelium of James,' 'The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew' and 'The Latin Infancy Gospel.' Similar to the canonical account of doubting Thomas, she at first does not believe Mary being a virgin has given birth and refuses to believe until she inspects Mary herself. When she inspects Mary her hand immediately becomes disfigured from her lack of faith and she falls to her knees praying to God for forgiveness, when a angel appears and tells her to worship and touch the baby Jesus, which she does and her hand is instantly healed. Later on her journey back home a voice tells her not to talk about the miracles she witnessed until the child enters Jerusalem. 


~the words addressed to Salome which I mentioned earlier. They are handed down, as I believe, in the Gospel of the Egyptians. For they say the Saviour said,

"I have come to undo the works of the female."

by the female meaning lust, and by the works birth and decay.


~Salome asked correctly when the Logos spoke of the end, 

" How long will death prevail?"

 Wherefore the Lord very aptly answered,

"So long as women bear children."


~And why do not they who walk by anything rather than the true rule of the Gospel go on to quote the rest of that which was said to Salome for when she had said, 

"I have done well, then, in not bearing children?,' imagining that it is not permitted to bear children." 

the Lord answers and says,

"Eat of every herb, but the bitter one eat not."


~When Salome inquired when the things concerning which she asked should be known, the Lord said,

"When ye have trampled on the garment of shame, and when the two become one and the male with the female, neither male nor female." 

In the first place, then, we have not this saying in the four Gospels that have been delivered to us, but in that according to the Egyptians.


~For the Lord himself, being asked by someone (Salome) when his Kingdom would come, replied, 

"When two shall be one, that which is without as that which is within, and the male with the female, neither male nor female."

Now, two are one when we speak the truth one to another, and there is unfeignedly one soul in two bodies. And 'that which is without as that which is within,' means this. He calls the soul 'that which is within,' and the body 'that which is without.' As, then, your body is visible to sight, so also let your soul be manifest by good works. And 'the male with the female, neither male or female,' this he said, that brother seeing sister may have no thought concerning her as female, and that she have no thought concerning him as male. 'If you do these things,' he says, 'the Kingdom of my Father shall come.'


-Clement of Alexandria

-The Stromata


~Jesus said, 

"Two will recline on a couch, one will die, one will live."

Salome said, 

"Who are you mister? You have climbed onto my couch and eaten from my table as if you are from someone."

Jesus said to her, 

"I am the one who comes from what is whole. I was granted from the things of my Father."

"I am your disciple."

"For this reason I say, if one is whole, one will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one will be filled with darkness."


-The Gospel of Thomas


~"And he comes into Jericho," the secret Gospel adds only, "And the sister of the youth whom Jesus loved and his mother and Salome were there, and Jesus did not receive them." But many other things about which you wrote both seem to be and are falsifications. Now the true explanation and that which accords with the true philosophy...


-Clement of Alexandria

-The Secret Gospel of Mark


~And when the Saviour had said this, Salome started forward and said, 

"My Lord, if our parents are the rulers, how standeth it written in the Law of Moses, 'He who shall abandon his father and his mother, let him die the death'? Hath not thus the Law made statement thereon?"


And when Salome had said this, the light-power in Mary Magdalene bubbled up in her and she said to the Saviour, 

"My Lord, give commandment unto me that I discourse with my sister Salome to tell her the solution of the word which she hath spoken."


It came to pass then, when the Saviour had heard Mary say these words, that he called her most exceedingly blessed. The Saviour answered and said unto Mary, 

"I give commandment unto thee, Mary, that thou speak the solution of the word which Salome hath spoken."


Mary removeth the doubt of Salome. And when the Saviour had said this, Mary started forward to Salome, embraced her and said unto her, 

"My sister Salome, concerning the word which thou hast spoken, It standeth written in the Law of Moses, 'He who shall abandon his father and his mother, let him die the death,' now, therefore, my sister Salome, the Law hath not said this concerning the soul nor concerning the body nor concerning the counterfeiting spirit, for all these are sons of the rulers and are out of them. But the Law hath said this concerning the power which hath came forth out of the Saviour, and which is the light-man within us today. The Law hath moreover said, Every one who shall remain without the Saviour and all his mysteries, his parents, will not only die the death but go to ruin in destruction."


When then Mary had said this, Salome started forward to Mary and embraced her anew. Salome said, 

"The Saviour hath power to make me understanding like thyself."


-Pistis Sophia


~And the midwife cried out, and said,

"This is a great day to me, because I have seen this strange sight. And the midwife went forth out of the cave, and Salome met her. And she said to her,

"Salome, Salome, I have a strange sight to relate to you, a virgin has brought forth a thing which her nature admits not of."

Then said Salome,

"As the Lord my God lives, unless I thrust in my finger, and search the parts, I will not believe that a virgin has brought forth."

And the midwife went in, and said to Mary, "Show yourself for no small controversy has arisen about you."

And Salome put in her finger, and cried out, and said,

" Woe is me for mine iniquity and mine unbelief, because I have tempted the living God, and, behold, my hand is dropping off as if burned with fire."

And she bent her knees before the Lord, saying, "O God of my fathers, remember that I am the seed of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, do not make a show of me to the sons of Israel, but restore me to the poor, for You know, O Lord, that in Your name I have performed my services, and that I have received my reward at Your hand." 

And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood by her, saying to her,

"Salome, Salome, the Lord has heard you. Put your hand to the infant, and carry it, and you will have safety and joy." 

And Salome went and carried it, saying,

"I will worship Him, because a great King has been born to Israel." 

And, behold, Salome was immediately cured, and she went forth out of the cave justified. And behold a voice saying,

"Salome, Salome, tell not the strange things you have seen, until the child has come into Jerusalem."


-The Protoevangelium of James


~And Joseph said to the blessed Mary,

"I have brought thee two midwives, Zelomi and Salome and they are standing outside before the entrance to the cave, not daring to come in hither, because of the exceeding brightness. And when the blessed Mary heard this, she smiled and Joseph said to her,

"Do not smile but prudently allow them to visit thee, in case thou shouldst require them for thy cure."

Then she ordered them to enter. And when Zelomi had come in, Salome having stayed without, Zelomi said to Mary,

"Allow me to touch thee."

And when she had permitted her to make an examination, the midwife cried out with a loud voice, and said,

"Lord, Lord Almighty, mercy on us! It has never been heard or thought of, that any one should have her breasts full of milk, and that the birth of a son should show his mother to be a virgin. But there has been no spilling of blood in his birth, no pain in bringing him forth. A virgin has conceived, a virgin has brought forth, and a virgin she remains."

And hearing these words, Salome said,

"Allow me to handle thee, and prove whether Zelomi have spoken the truth."

And the blessed Mary allowed her to handle her. And when she had withdrawn her hand from handling her, it dried up, and through excess of pain she began to weep bitterly, and to be in great distress, crying out, and saying,

"O Lord God, Thou knowest that I have always feared Thee, and that without recompense I have cared for all the poor, I have taken nothing from the widow and the orphan, and the needy have I not sent empty away. And, behold, I am made wretched because of mine unbelief, since without a cause I wished to try Thy virgin."


And while she was thus speaking, there stood by her a young man in shining garments, saying, 

"Go to the child, and adore Him, and touch Him with thy hand, and He will heal thee, because He is the Saviour of the world, and of all that hope in Him."

And she went to the child with haste, and adored Him, and touched the fringe of the cloths in which He was wrapped, and instantly her hand was cured. And going forth, she began to cry aloud, and to tell the wonderful things which she had seen, and which she had suffered, and how she had been cured, so that many through her statements believed.


-The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew