Gnostic Doctrine

Thursday, 29 July 2021

By grace are ye saved Ephesians 2:8




Ephesians 2:8, 9 "By grace are ye saved . . . it is the gift of God . . . not of works, lest any man should boast.


This passage is used by some Christians to justify their doctrine of "eternal security" when "Jesus comes into the heart". This "eternal security" is said to be independent of subsequent works. 

Let it be said at the outset that one cannot obtain salvation as a return for works done. The law taught this lesson. (Gal. 2:21; Rom. 3:21; 5:21).

There are two sides to salvation. The divine side which is grace and the human side which is obedient faith. some Christians argue that if one "works" for salvation then the reward is paid as wages rather than a gift. This is an over-simplification. God gives us food, but we must work for it. God gave Joshua the city of Jericho, but he was still commanded to march around the walls for seven days. (Josh. 6:2, 4). Likewise salvation is the free gift of God, but man must comply with the conditions.

It is true to say that no man can ever be saved without the grace of God, but there are other characteristics required in the receiver of grace, for salvation. The following is a list:
"For we are saved by hope." (Rom. 8:24).
"Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God . . ." (Rom. 5:1).
"And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all men that obey him." (Heb. 5:9).
"The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us . . ." (1 Peter 3:21).
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7).
". . . Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Phil. 2:12).
"Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." (James 2:24).
"Save yourselves from this untoward generation." (Acts 2:40).
"By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you . . . " (1 Cor. 15:2).

Grace involves three things: a giver, a gift, and a receiver. From these passages it is clear that the receiver must demonstrate hope, faith, obedience, baptism, works, and that he also saves himself.

The question as to which single characteristic saves the man is an abstraction. An illustration is helpful. A man who has fallen into the river screams for help. A man on the bank runs with a rope and throws it to the man in the river. He catches hold and is pulled to safety. What saved him? Was it his scream? Was it the rope? Was it the man on the bank? Did he save himself? Or was it all of these working together?

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Philippians 2:12

Ultimate salvation is not now a present possession. The following passages indicate this:
". . . he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (Matt. 10:22).
". . . the gospel . . . by which ye also are saved if ye keep in memory what I have preached unto you . . ." (1 Cor. 15:1, 2).
". . . give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." (2 Peter 1:10).
"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God . . . lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end." (Heb. 3:12-14).


The logic of Calvinism has a superficial impressiveness. When examples are cited of "saved" members who have fallen away (e.g. drunkards, who will be excluded from the kingdom, Gal. 5:19-21), these Christians reply by stating that such individuals never were really "saved". This is not logical since security has been purchased at the price of truth.


Almost without exception, those who are quick to stress Eph. 2:8 are the very ones who dismiss baptism as a mere outward sign of an inward change. When such occasions arise Gal. 3:27 ("For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ"), should be emphasized. It is also impressive to cite the baptism of Paul, since it can be shown that a man can be "converted" (Acts 22:10), but does not have his sins washed away until baptized. (Acts 22:16 cf. Acts 2:38, 41).

Conditional Grace
God’s grace has been offered to the entire human family. “For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men . . .” (Titus 2:11). This cannot mean that every soul will be saved. Such a conclusion would contradict numerous other passages.

What this does suggest is that God’s grace is potentially available to all who care to access it by means of the divine plan of redemption (cf. Romans 5:1; 6:3-4,17).

The receiving of God’s grace is conditional. Some Christians get this wrong asserts that grace is bestowed unconditionally by the sovereign will of God. The Bible negates this concept.

The principle is illustrated by the example of Noah, who “found grace in the eyes of Yahweh” (Genesis 6:8); and yet, as the writer of Hebrews shows, Noah and his family were saved by preparing an ark in obedience to God’s instruction (11:7; cf. Genesis 6:22). Yahweh proffered the grace. Noah, by faith, obeyed Yahweh, and so was blessed. While God extends grace, human beings must be willing to “receive” the favour (2 Corinthians 6:1).

Grace is conditional and requires something on our part: faith.

Justification– “A man is justified by faith” (Romans 3:28)
Sanctification– “sanctification by…faith in the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
Glorification– “[Jesus will] present you before Him (God) holy and blameless and beyond reproach— if you indeed continue in the faith.” (Colossians 1:22)
The Grace/Knowledge Connection

1 Corinthians 1:4-7

4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,
5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all discourse and all knowledge,
6 just as the witness about the Christ has been made firm among you,
7 so that YOU do not fall short in any gift at all, while YOU are eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ

Grace is expanded into "discourse and all knowledge,” v5 endowments with which the Corinthians were especially favoured

The access to God’s grace is by means of an objective body of revelation. Paul noted: “For the grace of God hath appeared . . . instructing us . . .” (Titus 2:11-12). Christianity is a taught religion. Isaiah, speaking of the kingdom age, proclaimed: “. . . he will teach us of his ways . . .” (2:3). Jesus himself declared: “It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and has learned, comes unto me” (John 6:45).

God’s grace is not dispensed apart from an instruction that requires both understanding and obedience. In these days when there is a tendency to “stampede” folks into the church, with little  comprehension of what they are doing, this is a crucial matter to emphasise.
Grace Is Not Earned
Grace excludes merit. We must constantly remind ourselves that humanity is not deserving of salvation. No one can “earn” pardon by works of human merit. If such were the case, we could boast regarding our redemption; however, that is impossible (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Even if one were able to perform everything God commands, he still must regard himself as an “unprofitable servant” (Luke 17:10). Jesus taught that our sins have put us head-over-heels in debt, and no person has the ability to liquidate that obligation (cf. Matthew 18:24-27).

When this concept is truly comprehend, service to Almighty God will flow with a freshness and zeal that invigorates the soul. Doubtless a failure to comprehend fully the true significance of grace is the reason many church members are spiritually inactive.


"Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17); that is, the real saving, redeeming, transforming power came to man through the work that Jesus did in establishing for the race a new and higher consciousness in the earth. We can enter into this consciousness by faith in Him and by means of the inner spirit of the law that He taught and practiced.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

infant baptism

Infant baptism





History
The origins of infant baptism are uncertain.

The first incontestable evidence for the practice of infant baptism comes in the writings of Tertullian. He asks,Why should innocent infancy be in such a hurry to come to the forgiveness of sins? Let them come while they are maturing, while they are learning, while they are being taught what it is they are coming to. Let them be made Christians when they have become able to know Christ. (On Baptism 18.5 quoted in Pelikan, 290)

Cathar teachings shared by the Waldensians became defining features of Protestant belief. Many of these teachings follow from the rejection of Roman Catholic "tradition" in favour of scripture. Examples include the rejection of a priesthood, the rejection of graven images and the idolatry associated with them, rejection of the cults of saints and relics, denial of Purgatory, and a rejection of the Roman Church's sacraments.

Protestants, like Cathars, rejected the medieval Roman doctrine of transubstantiation and infant baptism.

For the Cathars, infant baptism with water was not merely unscriptural, it was an appanage of the bad god Jehovah, and had been expressly rejected by Christ. (Taken from https://www.cathar.info/cathar_legacy.htm)

The doctrine of baptism
BAPTISM is an act of obedience required of all who believe the Gospel. It is a bodily immersion in, and not a face-sprinkling or head-pouring with, water. Its administration to infants, in any form, is unauthorized and useless;* it is only enjoined on those who have intelligence enough to believe the glad tidings of the kingdom of God and the things concerning the name of Jesus Christ. To such, it is the means of that present (legal) union with Christ, which is preparatory to perfect assimilation at the resurrection. It is, therefore, necessary to salvation.

If the reader of the New Testament will substitute for the words 'baptise' and baptism'wherever used, the words *pour' or ' sprinkle,' or their substantives, he cannot fail to perceive that such construction is frequently senseless and incongruous: but if he will use the words to immerse' or 'immersion,' he will readily perceive that they harmonise in every instance with the sense and figure


The evil effect of inquiring of God's word in order to sustain an adopted theory, is manifest in the pertinacity with which theologians wrest the scripture, in order to build up one of their imaginations—infant baptism. The Saviour says, Mat. xix. 14, " Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." If the kingdom of heaven be sinless, then little children are sinless, for such as they compose it the Lord himself hath declared. Paul asserts, Rom. iv. 15, "Where no law is, there is no transgression;" and John says, I. Epis. iii. 4, " Sin is the transgression of law." But the wildest theorist has never yet pretended that infants can transgress or be amenable to any law, human or divine. No transgression no sin, say the apostles, and thus with their Great Master bear testimony to the innocence of children. Baptism is instituted by the Lord for remission of sins. Surely nothing but a strong delusion could persuade mankind to take from the penitent believing sinner this gracious institution, this balm for all his fears, and confer it on those who can neither believe nor sin.

Infants are made the subjects of a religious ceremony to regenerate them because of original sin; on account of which, acoording to Geneva philosophy they are liable to the flames of hell for ever! If original sin, which is in fact sin in the flesh, were neutralized, then all "baptismally regenerated" babes ought to live for ever, as Adam would have done had he eaten of the Tree of Life after he had sinned. But they die; which is a proof that the "regeneration" does not "cure their souls"; and is, therefore, mere theological quackery. 

Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized  shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
-*Maarrkk xvi, 16, l<f.

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.—/no. iii, 6. Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ. * * * Then they that gladly received his word were baptized.
—Actt ii, 38, 41.

And when they (the people of Samaria) believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both MEN AND WOMEN.—Acts viii, 12.

And he commanded the chariot to stand still; and they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and HE BAPTIZED HIM.—Actt viii, 39.

Paul (after his conversion) arose and WAS BXTTizvD.—Acts ix, 18.

Lydia was BAPTIZED, and her household.—Acts xvi, 15.

The keeper of the prison (at Philippi) * • * v a s BAPTIZED, he and all his straightway, * * * believing in God with all his house.—Acts zvi, 27, 33, 34.

When they (twelve men at Ephesus) heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.—Acts xix, o.

The like figure whereunto even BAPTISM DOTH ALSO NOW SAVE us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.—1 "Peter iii, 21.

At what age should one be immersed?

Preferably when one has reached the age of reason, however infant Baptisms or baby sprinkling, are meaningless and useless.

We reject that infant baptism or baby sprinkling is a doctrine of Scripture. [Baptism is only valid upon a confession of understanding the complete Will and purpose of God. It is the outward manifestation of an inner conviction — Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12.]


We reject that baptism is not necessary to salvation. [Baptism establishes a covenant-relationship, and is an act of obedience required for salvation — Acts 2:38.]

We reject that a knowledge of the Truth is not necessary to make baptism valid. [Baptism is only valid upon a knowledge of God’s revealed will and purpose, and an open declaration and confession thereof — Acts 8:12.]

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

The Trinity Test

 The Trinity Test



Here is a simple but effective test.

Replace the word 'God' in the bible with 'Trinity' (or Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and then read a random collection of verses that have the word God in them.

E.g., John 14:1
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

OK, so trust in the (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and also in me. That makes 4. Who is 'me', if the son is already mentioned?

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

So the Trinity so loved the world that the Trinity gave his son. That makes 4. Given this reasoning there must be 2 sons.

Colossians 1:3
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,

So the Trinity is the Father of Jesus. But wait isn't Jesus part of the Trinity?

All verses that mention God and his son are rendered meaningless with a Trinitarian understanding. But Trinitarians do actually interpret God in these verses as the Father out of necessity, but not in the verses that do not mention the son.

E.g., 1 John 2:17
The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

A Trinitarian would most likely say that this was the Father, Son, & Spirit.

But they would also probably say that the following verse is only the Father.

Revelation 1
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

Isn't that the weirdest thing. God is the Trinity except when the son is also mentioned. Coincidence or simply picking and choosing the meaning depending on what their itching ears want to hear?

I leave you with the following verse:

1 John 5
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 

The Soul is Temporary

The Soul is Temporary


Next the psychic aeon. It is a small one, which is mixed with bodies, by begetting in the souls (and) defiling (them). For the first defilement of the creation found strength. And it begot every work: many works of wrath, anger, envy, malice, hatred, slander, contempt and war, lying and evil counsels, sorrows and pleasures, basenesses and defilements, falsehoods and diseases, evil judgments that they decree according to their desires. (The Concept of Our Great Power)

This realm of things made, or consciousness of condition, is termed the soul. The body is the outer court of the soul, and an exact representative, in form, of the ideals that are revolving in the inner realms of its domain.

soulduality of the--That phase of the soul named subconsciousness, which draws its life from both the earthly side of existence and the spiritual; it answers to both good and evillight and darkness.


I believe both canonical and gnostic text support the teaching that the soul is temporary.

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

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

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

Revelation 6:9:
"When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne."

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

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

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

Apocalypse of Peter:
"For evil cannot produce good fruit. For the place from which each of them is produces that which is like itself; for not every soul is of the truth, nor of immortality"


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

The Apocryphon of James

Heracleon: Fragments from his Commentary on the Gospel of John Fragment 40

Fragment 40, on John 4:46-53 (In John 4:46, “So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose child was ill.) The official was the Craftsman, for he himself ruled like a king over those under him. Because his domain is small and transitory, he was called an “official,” like a petty princeling who is set over a small kingdom by the universal king. The “child” “in Capernaun” is one who is in the lower part of the Middle (i.e. of animate substance), which lies near the sea, that is, which is linked with matter. The child’s proper person was sick, that is, in a condition not in accordance with the child’s proper nature, in ignorance and sins. (In John 4:47, “When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his child , for it was at the point of death.”) The words “from Judea to Galilee” mean ‘from the Judea above.’. . . By the words “it was at the point of death,” the teaching of those who claim that the soul is immortal is refuted. In agreement with this is the statement that “the body and soul are destoyed in Hell.” (Matthew 10:28) The soul is not immortal, but is possessed only of a disposition towards salvation, for it is the perishable which puts on imperishability and the mortal which puts on immortality when “its death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54) Heracleon: Fragments from his Commentary on the Gospel of John

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

The Scriptures give spirit, soul, and body as constituting all of man.

12 For the word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul [ ψυχή psykhḗand spirit [ πνεῦμα pneuma], and of joints and [their] marrow, and [is] able to discern thoughts and intentions of [the] heart (Hebrews 4). Compare Php 1:27; 1Th 5:23.

The “spirit” (Heb., ruach; Gr., pneuma) should not be confused with the “soul” (Heb., nephesh; Gr., psykhe´), for they refer to different things.


Paul the Apostle used ψυχή (psychē) and πνεῦμα (pneuma) specifically to distinguish between the Jewish notions of נפש (nephesh) and רוח ruah (spirit)


So the soul and the spirit are two different things, and the difference between them is explained by the bible.


7 And Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground [he made the body] and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life [he put a spirit in the body], and the man came to be a living soul [body + spirit = living soul] (Genesis 2).



1 Corinthians 15:44  It is sown a body of the soul, it is raised a body of the spirit; if there is a body of the soul, there is also of the spirit:--

45  Thus, also, it is written--The first man, Adam, became, a living soul, the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.
46  Howbeit, not first, is the body of the spirit, but that, of the soul,--afterwards, that of the spirit. (Rotherham's Emphasized Bible)


1 Corinthians 15:53  For this corruptible must needs clothe itself with incorruptibility, and this mortal, clothe itself, with immortality.
54  But, whensoever, this mortal, shall clothe itself with immortality, then, shall be brought to pass the saying that is written--Death hath been swallowed up, victoriously; (Rotherham's Emphasized Bible)

Definition: A Body is a physical or spiritual vessel. In other words a human or angelic body.
Definition: A Soul is a human or angelic body.
Definition: A Dead Soul is a dead body
Definition: A Spirit is a character, a personality. It is 'you'.

Human Person = Spirit + Physical Body = Lining Soul (human)
Corpse = Physical Body with no Spirit = Dead Soul (human)
Angelic Person = Spirit + Angelic Body = Soul (angelic)
Second Dead angel = Spirit with Shared angelic Body = Spirit with no individual Soul (angelic).

The Meaning of Transfiguration

The meaning of transfiguration






The transfiguration--Supernatural change of appearance that takes place as one experiences the full flow of divine power through his being. A lifting up of the consciousness into a state that transfigures the mind causing it to shine by the illumination of the word of god.

The transfiguration of Jesus described in Matthew and Mark took place when Jesus went with three apostles up into a mountain. There the three beheld Him transfigured.

The Treatise on the Resurrection shows that the transfiguration was not a vision but a reality
This treatise is thought to have been written in the second century (The Nag Hammadi Library James Robinson). It appears to us to be true. Here is what is says about the transfiguration...

For if you remember reading in the Gospel that Elijah appeared and Moses with him, do not think the resurrection is an illusion, but it is truth! Indeed it is more fitting to say that the world is an illusion, rather than the resurrection which came into being through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (From The Treatise on the Resurrection)

So the author plainly believes as we do that the 3 apostles Peter James and John say the risen Elijah and the risen Moses.


What is represented by Jesus' taking Peter, James, and John, “up into a mountain apart by themselves?” This represents the raising of faith, wisdom, and love to spiritual consciousness, a state in which these faculties are mentally separated from the carnal mind.

What is represented by the appearance of Elijah with Moses and the conversation with Jesus? In periods of spiritual exaltation the higher faculties are quickened. Elijah represents the ability to give forth revelation or prophesy; Moses represents understanding of the divine law. Their conversation with Jesus represents the expression of these abilities in the mind of a believer.



Moses and Elijah represents the power of spiritual discernment to bring about rapid changes on the mental plane, these changes being later manifested in action.



Can the transfiguration of Jesus be explained in terms that have practical meaning for us in our life? It is known that prayer brings about a rapid outflowing of mental energy, and when faith (Peter), love (John), and discernment (James) are present, there follows a lifting up of the mind into the Christ consciousness that electrifies the new life of a believer.



Of what is the Transfiguration proof? Of the transcendent understanding of the Christ consciousness. Light represents spiritual Truth and understanding. for the fruit that the light produces consists of every form of goodness, righteousness, and truth.



'Light' refers to moral reasoning in which leads to a higher experience of reality


Can true enlightenment be gained anywhere except in the Christ consciousness? True enlightenment comes only from God through the activity of His Spirit indwelling in us. True enlightenment develops in us understanding, compassion, and zeal to serve God or express what we know of the Gospel.

What do angels represent? They represent our thoughts, and they are described also as “ spirits” they represent the seat of wisdom and understanding. Man is “but little lower than the angels,” or our actual expression is a little lower than the scope of our aspiring thoughts.

The Christ body is a transfigured one. We perceive it when we ascend into a high place spiritually, into the secret place of the Most High; when we lift up our thoughts. The apostles of Jesus represent the consciousness of the spiritual man. When we lift up our mental capability, we behold spiritual reality and we see the body of Christ as it is in Truth.

When, therefore, the revelation of the multitude of the Sons of God, represented by John's similitude of the Son of man, shall be manifested, being all like to Jesus in transfiguration, the aspect of the Body will be "as the sun when he shines in its power."

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Do the AEONS describe a path?

Do the AEONS describe a path?




Article by William Charnock taken from https://www.nockwoodcards.com/single-post/beyond-archetypes-do-the-aeons-describe-a-path


Beyond archetypes: Do the AEONS describe a path?

And then it struck me.

The origin mythos of the Gnostics describes the emanations of the Aeons that start with the ineffable being and roll out through the different aeons to the youngest of the Aeons Sophia. The bridge between the earthly and divine domains. This journey from the ineffable, via the knowable forces of the Aeons, to the chaos of our material world, is referenced in chapter 6 of the Pistis Sophia.

Then Jesus, the compassionate, said unto them: "Rejoice and exult from this hour on, for I have gone to the regions out of which I had come forth… From this hour on will I not hide anything from you of the [mystery] of the height and of that of the region of Truth. For authority hath been given me through the Ineffable and through the First Mystery of all mysteries to speak with you, from the Beginning right up to the Fulness, both from within without and from without within. Hearken, therefore, that I may tell you all things. Pistis Sophia.

Because the story was always told from the origin out, I had never really thought about the pathway “from the Beginning right up to the fullness”. The beginning in this instance being the repentance and rejection of the realm of darkness and created by the lion headed Demiurge.

While I had written much about the syzygies (link) of the decad and the dodecad. The 22 aeons (24 if you include Anthropos and Ecclesia) [Editor's note see Revelation 4:4]. I had not seen them as a pathway before with a beginning and an end. Where the journey of enlightenment starts and the fulfillment is realized.

Jesus said “Have you discovered, then, the beginning, that you look for the end? For where the beginning is, there will the end be. Blessed is he who will take his place in the beginning; he will know the end and will not experience death.” Book of Thomas, Saying 18.

In this direction it makes sense that the path of enlightenment starts with Sophia for she was the Aeon who transgressed the realm of the Aeons and in doing so created the chaos. (It also explains why the symbol of Sophia is on the cover of the AEON book).

I elaborate on all of these steps in the Syzygies of Aeon but not as a linear progression but here for anyone interested is the reversed path.

Starting from the Earthly realm:

Step 1: Sophia (Wisdom) and Theletus (Perfection): The desire of Gnosis and improvement. The realization that the material realm is imperfect and must be rejected.

Step 2: Ecclesiasticus (son of the church) and Macariotes (Utopia): To do what is right and true to ourselves so that we might be blessed. The power to give and receive. Communion

Step 3: Ainos (Praise) and Synesis (Understanding): To find the divine in ourselves so that we might know the divine in others. Rites and Sacraments.

Step 4: Metricos (Mother) and Agape (Love): To give of yourself, to create and bring forth love. The power to renew and fuel new life. Resurrection.

Step 5: Patricos (Father) and Elpis (Hope): Responsibility to protect and die for a legacy and future you believe in. Transcendence of self.

Step 6: Paracletus (Helper) and Pistis (Faith): To build reciprocity and trust. Faith in self and others comes before faith in God.


Moving into the realm of the divine:


Step 7: Monogenes (Originality) and Macaria (Happiness): The power to create what makes you happy. Explore your True nature. Build your inner compass.

Step 8: Acinetos (Immovable) and Syncrasis (Intercourse): The power to combine our true nature with others to find new potential. Revealing new understanding of our self in different combinations and contexts.

Step 9: Autophyes (Self-Made) and Hedone (Pleasure): The power to find self satisfaction and the satisfaction of others. What we bring forth is not only for ourselves but for others.

Step 10: Ageratos (Eternal) and Henosis (Union): The power of our intimacies. The secret of eternal life comes only from our togetherness.

Step 11: Bythos (Depth) and Mixis (Stir-up): The power of infinite growth comes from both the deeper understanding of your own being and the agitations and reactions with others of equal depth of knowledge.

Step 12: Anthropos (Mankind) and Ecclesia (Congregation): The two modes of being (personal and social) for which we must achieve cohesion and coherence. Personal wholeness reveals our true nature, body, mind and spirit. Integrated self-ness. Social and collective ‘ wholeness’ from which we find harmony and balance within our environment and society.

Friday, 23 July 2021

The Five Seals

The Five Seals


 







- The Five Seals are mentioned in the Sethian Gnostic texts such as The Gospel of the Egyptians, The Trimorphic Protennoia and The Apocryphon of John.

Before we look at the Five seals in the Sethian Gnostic texts we will first look at the meaning of sealing and the number five

Five

Number 5 is a symbol of God’s grace. It is also one of the most widely mentioned words in the God’s word. It is also a number that symbolizes God’s kindness and favor to humankind. 25 is 5*5 and it makes “grace upon grace”. (John 1:16).

The instruction given by God in order to build a “tabernacle in the wilderness” were all centered around number five, everything was made out of five components, like 5 curtains, 5 pillars, 5 bars, etc. Also there were 5 ingredients in the holy oil, which was needed to sanctify the tabernacle.

Five Pentad, quintet; realm of the divine father, consisting of Barbelo and four personified attributes (foreknowledge, incorruptibility, life eternal, and truth) in Sethian texts. Since the five is androgynous, it is also called the ten, and it constitutes the divine father in emanation. In the Mother of Books the divine realm of five includes Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hasan, and Husayn, and ten is a perfect number. In the Valentinian Gospel of Philip there are five sacraments. Five trees of paradise are referred to in Gospel of Thomas 19, Manichaean sources, and the Mother of Books. In Manichaean and neomanichaean texts many things are presented in groups of five
Seals




"Having the seal of the living God"—The Truth is the seal of God (Job 33:16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22). As the image on a seal is impressed upon soft wax, so the Truth of God makes its impressions on the heart, which is seen by the manifestation of a changed life (Eph. 2:10; Col. 3:10; 2 Cor. 4:6-7). Christ was thus sealed by the Father (John 6:27).

People perceived in his words, his works, his character, a manifestation of Yahweh. His teaching, therefore, had the stamp of Divine authority. As a person in authority who wished to communicate his mind, or purpose, to someone at a distance authenticated the written message with his seal, so the Father die in communicating to men through the Son (Heb. 1:1). The saints are referred to as a sealed community (Song 4:12; 8:6), being mentally sealed with divine teaching (Rev. 14:1; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 1:13), manifested in action (Rom. 4:11; 10:17; Eph. 2:10; Col. 3:10). As the sealed of God, they are known of Him, though they may be unkown to others as such (see 2 Tim. 2:19). The seal of the living God, therefore, describes the Truth in action.

"And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea"—The loud" voice suggests the urgency of the request.

"Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees"—The angel is represented as praying for peace in order that the preaching of the Gospel might be advanced. This is the attitude of the Ecclesia in the midst of the world (Matt. 10:13; 1 Tim. 2:1-2).

"Till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads"—The expression is derived from Ezek. 9:4. The priests of Israel were "sealed" in their foreheads with a gold band bearing an inscription ascribing Holiness to Yahweh (Exod 28:36-39). Those sealed in the forehead, are mentally impressed with the things of God; and this characteristic is required of all those who will be saved (Rev. 14:1).

The Apocalypse was specifically given for the illumination of the "servants of God" (Rev. 1:1; 22:6). The prayer requests a delay in judgment whilst a certain work is accomplished. It therefore appealed to the "longsuffering of God" which in previous ages "had waited" for a similar purpose (2 Pet. 3:15; 1 Pet. 3:20). Christ will not return until this work of sealing is completed.

Rev. 7:2-4 "Then I saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God ... saying, 'Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.' And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, out of every tribe of the sons of Israel."

The twelve tribes of Israel symbolize the twelve spiritual faculties of man. The "seal of God" symbolizes the identity of the Christ consciousness. The twelve faculties originate as emanations from the divine mind.

144,000 is twelve times twelve, followed by three zeros. Zeros always symbolize "unlimited or unspecified." Here we have reference to the perfected human consciousness, which would be the twelve faculties combined and blended and integrated so that they, in a sense, "multiply one another to an unlimited degree (144,000)."

The rite of baptism is sometimes called a seal and recognized as a seal. (The author is contending against Christian baptism): “There are some, who upon entering the faith, receive a baptism on the ground that they have it as a hope of salvation, which they call the "seal", not knowing that the fathers of the world are manifest (in) that place. But he himself knows that he is sealed.” (Testimony of Truth)
The Five Seals


Five seals form part of the Sethian ritual of baptism. 
- By receiving the Five Seals, the Gnostic could ascend to the Upper Aeons.

- The Five Seals exist in the uppermost light (i.e. the Upper Aeons?): 

“These are the glories that are higher than every glory, that is, the Five Seals...” (Trimorphic Protennoia 49:26)

- The Five Seals come from the Father in the Upper Aeons: 

“the five seals which the Father brought forth from his bosom” (Gospel of the Egyptians)

- Christ gives the seals: 

“There is a sonship in their midst, which is called Christ the Verifier. It is he who verifies each one, and he seals him with the seal of the Father as he sends them in to the first Father, who exists in himself.” (Untitled Bruce)

- Through the Five Seals, the saviour (here, Protennoia) dwells in the Elect, just as they will come to dwell with the saviour in the Upper Aeons - Protennoia: 

“And I proclaimed to them the ineffable Five Seals in order that I might abide in them and they also might abide in me.” (Trimorphic Protennoia 50:9)

In the Trimorphic Protennoia, the Five Seals are granted during a five-fold ritual that resembles a baptism and visionary ascent to the Upper Aeons. Five orders of angels (with three angels in each order) initiate the initiate.

- First, the initiate receives water (presumeably in a baptism) which ‘strips off’ from him the psychic and material garments before ‘putting on’ him a garment of light (which is knowledge of the Father): “I gave to him from the Water of Life, which strips him of the chaos that is in the uttermost darkness that exists inside the entire abyss, that is, the thought of the corporeal and the psychic. All these I put on. And I stripped him of it, and I put upon him a shining Light, that is, the knowledge of the Thought of the Fatherhood.” (Trimorphic Protennoia)

In Trimorphic Protennoia, we find a key passage which gives the names of various angelic beings, and the acts they perform in the rite. The section is spoken by Protennoia (“Forethought”):

- During the visionary portion of the baptism, the initiate is delivered to five orders of angels: ‘those who give robes of light’, ‘the baptizers’, ‘those who enthrone’, ‘those who glorify’, and ‘those who snatch away’:  The section is spoken by Protennoia (“Forethought”):

“And I delivered him to those who give robes - AMMÔN, ELASSÔ, AMÊNAI - and they covere him with a robe from the robes of the Light; and I delivered him to the baptizers, and they baptized him - MIKHEUS, MIKHAR, MNÊSINOUS - and they immersed him in the spring of the Water of Life. And I delivered him to those who enthrone - BARIÊL, NOUTHAN, SABENAI - and they enthroned him from the Throne of Glory. And I delivered him to those who glorify - ARIÔM, ÊLIEN, PHARIÊL - and they glorified him with the glory of the Fatherhood. And those who snatch away snatched away - KAMALIÊL, [...]ANÊN (this name has not survived, but other texts give ABRASAX), SAMBLÔ, and the servants of <the> great holy luminaries - and they took him into the light-place of his Fatherhood. And he received the Five seals from the Light of the Mother, Protennoia, and it was granted him to partake of the mystery of knowledge, and he became a Light in Light.”

From this passage we may deduce that the 5 “seals” are the actions here described, symbolically performed by the 5 triads of 15 angels: donning of ceremonial robes (probably after undressing), baptism in ‘living water’ (i.e. running water in a river, spring or stream), enthronement (possibly crowning or anointing with oil symbolizing kingship), and a “snatching away”, which probably refers to an ecstatic visionary ritual at the culmination of the ceremony.

 Thus, the five-seals consists of the five actions mentioned in the rite of baptism   :
1. Receiving a robe of light
2. Baptism in the water of life
3. Enthronement on the throne of glory
4. Glorified in the glory of the Father
5. Snatched away (visionary ascent)


Presumably, each of the 5 Seals involved an invocation to the respective triad of angels; in other Gnostic texts which are rich in rituals, such as the Pistis Sophia, and Books of Jeu, such angelic beings are an integral part of most ceremonies and baptisms, and they are usually invoked in the name of God to descend and perform their respective duty on the initiate. E.g., in the Baptism of Water (Books of Jeu), the formula involves the recital of secret names of God, followed by a prayer to Him to send angelic beings (“helpers”) to baptize the disciples. Interestingly enough, these ‘helpers’ are also 15 in number, just as in the ritual of the 5 Seals:

“Hear me my Father, thou father of all fatherhoods, thou infinite light who art in the Treasury
of the Light. May the fifteen helpers come, which serve the seven virgins of the light which are
over the baptism of life, whose unutterable names are these: ASTRAPA, TESPHOIODE,
ONTONIOS, SINÊTOS, LAKHON, PODITANIOS, OPAKIS, PHAIDROS, ODONTOUKHOS,
DIAKTIOS, KNÊSION, DROMOS, EUIDETOS POLUPAIDOS, ENTROPON. May they come and baptise my disciples in the water of life, of the seven virgins of the light and forgive their sins, and purify their iniquities….”

The baptismal portion of the 5 Seals is described in greater detail in the Gospel of the Egyptians, wherein a prayer\adoration seemingly from it has been preserved. Presumably, it is to be recited by the initiate right after the baptism:

“IÊ IEUS ÊÔ OU ÊÔ ÔUA! Really, truly, O IESSEUS MAZAREUS IESSEDEKEUS, O living water, O child of the child, O glorious name! Really truly, AIÔN O ÔN, IIII ÊÊÊÊ EEEE OOOO UUUU ÔÔÔÔ AAAAA. Really, truly, ÊI AAAA ÔÔÔÔ, O existing one who sees the aeons! Really, truly,AEE ÊÊÊ IIII UUUUUU ÔÔÔÔÔÔÔÔ, who is eternally eternal! Really, truly, IÊA AIÔ, in the heart, who exists, U AEI EIS AEI, EI O EI, EI OS EI. This great name of Thine is upon me, O self begotten

Perfect one, who art not outside me. I see thee, O thou who art visible to everyone. For who will be able to comprehend thee in another tongue? Now that I have known thee, I have mixed myself with the immutable. I have armed myself with an armour of light; I have become light! For the Mother was at that place because of the splendid beauty of grace. Therefore, I have stretched out my hands while they were folded. I was shaped in the circle of the riches of the light which is in my bosom, which gives shape to the many begotten ones in the light into which no complaint reaches. I shall declare thy glory truly, for I have comprehended thee, SOU IÊS IDE AEIÔ AEIE OIS, O aeon, aeon, O God of silence! I honour thee completely. Thou art my place of rest, O Son, ÊS ÊS O E, the formless one who exists in the formless ones, who exists raising up the man in whom thou wilt purify me into Thy life, according to Thine imperishable name. Therefore, the incense of life is in me. I mixed it with water after the model of all archons, in order that I may live with Thee in the peace of the saints, Thou who exist really truly forever.”
The baptism itself was probably done in the name of the Father, Mother, and Son, and the angels MIKHEUS, MIKHAR, MNÊSINOUS, as well as SESENGENPHARANGÊS a spirit or angel (frequently mentioned in the magical papyri) who is said to preside over the “baptism of the living”. According to the above invocation, part of the baptism may have included the initiate folding his\her hands and stretching them forward in a circle, symbolizing his divine part; according to late antique philosophers, especially Neoplatonists, the Soul was circular or spherical in shape, and thus this gesture may be a reflection of that concept.

The Gospel of the Egyptians also mentions “renunciations” as being part of the rite. This probably involved similar declarations as conventional Catholic baptism, where the person baptized (or their sponsor) has to renounce Satan and sin. In the Sethian version, it may have entailed renouncing the various Archons and the Demiurge. The same text also talks about the 5 Seals as being the triad of the Father, Mother, and Son, plus the angels IOUÊL (called “Male Virgin”), and ÊSÊPHÊKH (“The Child of the Child”).

The “enthronement” portion of the ritual probably involved an anointing with oil and\or a crowning of the initiate (both gestures symbolic of kingship, and used in enthronement ceremonies in the ancient world), rather than a real enthronement. This is supported by the rituals of the Mandeans, an Iraqi Gnostic group that still exists today, and whose baptism ceremony has many striking parallels to its Sethian counterpart.

Mandaean baptism involves immersion in a river several times, drinking from the water,
crowning with a myrtle wreath, sealing with specific angelic and divine names, anointing with
oil, and a ritual handshake on leaving the water (among other steps I have not mentioned here). It is thus quite probable that Sethian and Mandaean rituals can be traced back to a common source. The oil used in the anointing was most likely aromatic oil or balsam, or olive oil mixed with myrrh. Some scholars have proposed that the anointing involved a sealing of the 5 organs of sense as symbolic of the 5 Seals.

- The complete rite may be recomposed as follows:
- First, the initiate was ritually ‘stripped’ of certain garments, which symbolized his material and psychic existence.
- In the preliminary rite of ‘the renunciation’, he received secret names and signs to protect him against the Archons. This may have been during a visionary ascent through the Lower Aeons, which was recited aloud with the aid of a sacramental text. Otherwise, the demons and Archons may have been cursed aloud and execrated (as still occurs in the Roman Catholic rite of baptism, where ‘enrobing’ also occurs).
- In the preliminary rite of ‘the invocation’, more names and signs were recited to gain the protection of the angels. This would also have been during a visionary ascent through the Upper Aeons. Otherwise, the initiate would have confessed his belief in the existence of the angels.
- Since Gnostics practised multiple baptisms, the initiate may have been baptized a first time at the end of the renunciation, and second time at the end of the invocation, to prepare him for a third and final baptism.
- The final baptism was experienced as an immersion into the watery light of the Upper Aeons. The initiate may have received a special sign or signet, which symbolized that his unique image had been ‘sealed’ or impressed in the watery light that moment. Through this image, the Father would reflect upon himself. The initiate may also have received a special name, which symbolized that the Father himself had uttered this name to name himself.
- Along with an image and a name, the initiate also received his ‘garment of light’. This garment would protect him for the rest of his life in this world and also during his ascent through the aeons after his death.
- Since baptism was understood as an immersion in the watery light of the Upper Aeons, the initiate emerged from the glowing baptismal waters with his ‘garment of light’. Such a baptism was interpreted, at the same time, as a union or marriage with the light in the Bridal Chamber. The initiate was seen to be the feminine soul and the Father was the masculine light. These two were ‘united in the Bridal Chamber’, and from that time onward, the soul wore the ‘garment of light’ in remembrance of her union with the Father. Hence, the rite of the Bridal Chamber may have followed the baptism, in the form of a ritual kiss to welcome the initiate into the community of Gnostics. 
- In conjunction with the baptism, the initiate may have been anointed with holy oil in the rite of the chrism. 
- At the end, the rite of the eucharist may have been celebrated with all those present. 
- In this way five different rites were granted over the course of one complex rite, which granted the initiate Five Seals: the redemption, baptism, bridal chamber, chrism and eucharist. The initiate emerged from this rite with a name, an image, and a garment of light.

6. EXAMPLE OF A COMPLEX RITUAL
- In the Acts of Thomas, Judas Thomas performs four of the rites mentioned above: chrism, baptism and the eucharist, as well as the enrobing. Through this complex rite, the initiate (a woman named Mygdonia) receives her ‘seal’: “And when Narcia had brought these things, Mygdonia stood before the apostle with her head bare; and he took the oil and poured it on her head, saying: Thou holy oil given unto us for sanctification, secret mystery whereby the cross was shown unto us, thou art the straightener of the crooked limbs, thou art the humbler (softener) of hard things (works), thou art it that showeth the hidden treasures, thou art the sprout of goodness; let thy power come, let it be established upon thy servant Mygdonia, and heal thou her by this freedom. And when the oil was poured upon her he bade her nurse unclothe her and gird a linen cloth about her; and there was there a fountain of water upon which the apostle went up, and baptized Mygdonia in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. And when she was baptized and clad, he brake bread and took a cup of water and made her a partaker in the body of Christ and the cup of the Son of God, and said: Thou hast received thy seal, get for thyself eternal life. And immediately there was heard from above a voice saying: Yea, amen. And when Narcia heard that voice, she was amazed, and besought the apostle that she also might receive the seal; and the apostle gave it her and said: Let the care of the Lord be about thee as about the rest.” (Acts of Thomas 121)