Gnostic Doctrine

Monday, 24 April 2023

Mary Magdalene is a symbol of wisdom and the church The Gospel of philip

Mary Magdalene is a symbol of wisdom and the church The Gospel of philip

Literal meaning of Mary:

Mary, ma'-ry (fr. Heb.)--contradiction; rebellious outcry; bitter complaint; bitterness; myrrh; bitter waters; aromatic spirits.

Mary Magdalene is a figure of wisdom and the church the bride of Christ she is also a leader of the early church

Mary Magdalene is an inspired leader of the early church

Mary Magdalene is seen as one of the most important of Jesus' disciples

Mary Magdalene is honoured as one of the first witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus, and received a special commission from him to tell the Apostles of his resurrection
Mary Magdalene, who according to John 20:17–18 and Mark 16:9–1 was commissioned by the risen Jesus to inform the disciples of his resurrection, is called "the apostle to the apostles".

Matthew 28:1–8 and Luke 24:10 speak of women (in the plural), including Mary Magdalene, carrying out this function. An early Christian commentary on the Song of Songs, has Christ speak of two women, whom it calls Mary and Martha, as apostles to the apostles: "Christ showed himself to the (male) apostles and said to them: ... 'It is I who appeared to these women and I who wanted to send them to you as apostles.

Jesus could have appeared first to Peter, John, or one of the other male disciples. Instead, he chose to favour these women by making them the first eyewitnesses of his resurrection and by commissioning them to bear witness about it to his male disciples

Symbolic meaning of Mary: 

The feminine, the soul, the affectional and emotional phase of man's being, both when seemingly bound and limited by sensate thought, and in its freed, exalted state.

Through Jesus seven demons were cast out of Mary Magdalene. This means the releasing of the mind and heart (soul) from the emotional errors that have their existence in the unregenerated feelings, and establishes peace and poise in the consciousness raised to divine understanding and power,. As the soul is purified and lifted day by day out of the bondage of the errors (demons), it pours out upon the whole consciousness. Both soul and understanding (love and wisdom) must enter into our affirmations of Truth if those affirmations are really to become substance and life to us.

There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. For Mary is his sister and his mother and his companion. (The Gospel of Philip)

The sentence suggests that there is only a single Mary one who is his mother, his sister, and his companion. The Gospel of Philip wants us to see these figures are more than literal historical characters

Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way. There is rebirth and its image. The Gospel of Philip

Mary a symbol of repentance from the vanities of the world.
Mary is also an image of a greater spiritual truth:

As for the Wisdom who is called "the barren," she is the mother of the angels. And the companion of the Saviour. Mary Magdalene she is the one the Saviour loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples they said to him "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Savior answered and said to them,"Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness." (The Gospel of Philip)

Isaiah 54:1 "Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband," says Yahweh.

Gal 4:26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labour! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.”

if we understand Mary as wisdom this explains how she is at once mother, sister and his companion
she is the mother of the angles and his spiritual sister since the son does not have children but siblings and his female counterpart

Mt 12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Mr 3:35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Luke 7:35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.

This helps to explains how Mary is at once Mother his spiritual sister and companion

The word angel means messengers this could be divine or human messengers. However I would understand that the angels are human messengers begotten by spiritual wisdom the word of God
with a spiritual kiss

Kissing refers to the close acceptance of spiritual teaching for not only does the Lord suggest that the male disciples should seek to be loved by him in the same way, but he also says:

We are nourished by the promise of heaven, from the mouth of the word. If the word emanated from the mouth, it is perfect. For it is by a kiss that the perfect conceive and give birth. For this reason we also kiss one another. (The Gospel of Philip)

This again explains how Mary is at once Mother for she conceives and gives birth to spiritual teaching through the kiss, his spiritual sister and companion. This shows the special relationship of Mary Magdalene to Jesus based on her spiritual perfection

I would argue that Mary Magdalene is a figure for the bridal archetype of the Church. That is, she is a symbol or sign for the Church that is called into relationship with it’s spiritual spouse, Christ the Divine Bridegroom.

Then, “Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17).

“Do not touch me” or “do not hold me.” It is here that the Song of Songs continues to inform us of what is happening, “when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go.” (Song 3:3-4).

Jesus wasn’t holding Mary away at arms length, as some would imagine. In fact, she was embracing him, and he tells her she has to let him go now, and fulfil her mission: to be a witness of this encounter and an “apostle to the apostles.”

Mary Magdalene therefore not only models the courageous and faithful disciple who remained with Jesus through his crucifixion, but she also reveals the Church as a missionary Bride to us. Each member of the Body of Christ, must encounter the Lord, as she did. We must embrace him with love (something we can do every time we pray and remember his sacrifice). But, no faith, no matter how powerful and personal is ever private. We cannot simply cling to Jesus for ourselves. He sends us forth, the Good News of our Risen Lord is meant to be shared and lived out by loving others with his tender love.

Aeon Spiritual Time Psalm 90:4 2Peter 3:8

spiritual time Odes of Solomon Ode 9

Ode 9 

1 Open your ears and I will speak to you. Give me your souls that I may also give you my soul,
2 The word of the Lord and His good pleasures, the holy thought which He has devised concerning his Messiah.
3 For in the will of the Lord is your salvation, and His thought is everlasting life; and your end is immortality.
4 Be enriched in God the Father, and receive the thought of the Most High.
5 Be strong and be redeemed by His grace.
 6 For I announce to you peace, to you His saints;

Philo speaks of "aeon" as being in the life of God what "time" is in the life of Man. Time is measured by physical motion, but aeon by spiritual motion. Spiritual motion can only be conceived of, by us men, as "Thought". It is God's Thought. 

God's Thought as is reiterated throughout the Odes is a Thought, Plan, or Design, of Redemption for Man. This Thought was revealed by God's Word or Son moving and expressing Himself in the sons of Man, more especially in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

These three Philo calls "measures of aeon," that is to say, phases of God s Thought of Redemption as it was developed through Faith, Joy, and Righteousness

Philo says (i. 277) that "time,", being measured by the motions of the physical Cosmos, may be called son of Cosmos, but only the grandson (not the son) of God, who is the Father of Cosmos.

Aeon, he says, is the archetype of Time. We might be disposed to say that it must be measured by the motions of God's Thought; but he thinks of God's Thought as never past or future but always present: (id.) "In aeon, nothing has passed away, nothing is future, but everything simply subsists."

Ps 90:4  For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

2Pe 3:8  But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

 The Hebrew view is that God combines past, present, and future, in a motion that is also rest. 

Elsewhere Philo says that the race of Wisdom produced (i. 455) "the threefold fruits of him that seeth, [namely], Israel." These are "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," and he calls these three "measures of aeon" i.e. apparently of divine Time. According to Philo (i. 342),

 "aeonian" does not mean "infinite in time" but "He that is graciously giving always and continuously...," in other words, "infinite in His scope of graciousness," so that no limit of space, time, or thought, can be attached to it.

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

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

With Abraham began the aeon of Faith.

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

Now the divine Aeons are not in time and space the Aeons of the Father they always have been and they are and they always will be as they are part of God just our thought or gnosis of the existence of the true Father brings about the creation of those things the beginning of those things for us you see but they always were those vital forces or those essences always existed.

The Repentance and Restoration of Sophia Genesis 3:16

The Restoration of Sophia

The restoration of Sophia

opening reading from the gospel of Philip

When Eve was still with Adam, death did not exist. When she was separated from him, death came into being. If he enters again and attains his former self, death will be no more.

If the woman had not separated from the man, she should not die with the man. His separation became the beginning of death. Because of this, Christ came to repair the separation, which was from the beginning, and again unite the two, and to give life to those who died as a result of the separation, and unite them. But the woman is united to her husband in the bridal chamber. Indeed, those who have united in the bridal chamber will no longer be separated. Thus Eve separated from Adam because it was not in the bridal chamber that she united with him. (Gospel of Philip)

Israel surely would not have been visited by god and brought out of the land of Egypt and the house of bondage if it had not sighed to god and wept about its oppressive labors. Again in the Psalms it is written, (the Exegesis of the soul)

This whole account is an allegory of what is occurring in the heavens (to include the earth). The Father separated a part from within Himself (“Ruach”, the feminine spirit that moves in all creation) and infused it into the body of Adam (mankind). This resulted in the beginning of the first death for the spirit became “individualized” (i.e. was given free will) in the foreknowledge that we might learn through experience all of the facets of the Father’s love and wisdom. It was the only way our heavenly Father could introduce to us the complete knowledge of good and evil that we might come to know the power of agape’ (love).

“Israel” represents the wife who was separated from Him by the veil of flesh that they might learn obedience through suffering (something they could not achieve any other way).

Lamentations 2 New International Version
2:1 How the Lord has covered Daughter Zion with the cloud of his anger!
He has hurled down the splendor of Israel from heaven to earth;
he has not remembered his footstool in the day of his anger.

Jesus was the “firstborn in many brothers” who rent the veil of flesh and by doing so He became the head of the bride of which each body part is being united in the bridal chamber(s) (through the image, our hearts) one member at a time until the whole body is completed. Then shall the dead all be raised in Christ and those who belong to Him at His coming that they be caught away to be with Him for the grand ceremony!

Eve is the mother if all living also a symbol of wisdom and the tree of life

Gen 2:20 ¶ And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

Pr 3:18 She [is] a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy [is every one] that retaineth her.

Reading again now from the Gospel of Philip with commentary notes

When Eve [holy spirit (mother of everyone living)] was still with Adam [still in the creative thoughts of the Father], death did not exist [God does not die, hence His image and likeness would not die as long as it continued in Oneness with the Father]. When she was separated from him [when she was manifest in creation as individual spirit consciousness (i.e. was able to make independent choices)], death came into being [by making the wrong choice to follow a path contrary to Gods Law causing double mindedness – it is the separation of the will of the Father from the will of individual spirit]. If he enters again [into harmony with the will of the Father] and attains his former self [brings body, soul and spirit back together as One], death will be no more [this is victory over death] (Philip 56)

The separation of Eve from Adam happened at the fall:

Eve, through her presumptuous action, had lost her equality, her "one-ness" with her husband, and her restoration to this position was made subject to him.

Genesis 3:16 And to the woman He says, "Multiplying, yea, multiplying am I your grief and the groaning of your pregnancy. In grief shall you bear sons. "Yet by your husband is your restoration, and he shall rule over you. (Concordant Literal Version)

Some read teshuwqah, return, instead of teshuwqwah, desire. The Concordant Version reads: "By your husband is your restoration, and he shall rule over you."

The Septuagint and Syriac are similar, and render "turning or returning." The Septuagint renders by the Greek apostrophee, "a turning oneself, an escape, a place of refuge from evil" (see Liddell & Scott Greek Lexicon).

"Desire" is "teshuwqah", found in the OT only here and in Gen 3:16; 4:7; Song 7:10. Eve’s desire was for what she had lost, but hoped to regain it through him. This expresses a desire to return, a desire for oneness, a desire that the individual will (even HIS will!) should be subordinated to the needs of the unit which is the couple: "And the two will become one flesh" (Eph 5:31; cp Jn 17:21; Act 4:32; 27:23; 1Co 6:19,20). Instead "teshuwqah" some read "teshuwbah" return. Thus the Concordant translation renders: “By your husband is your restoration and he shall rule over you”. the LXX and the Syriac also render it as “return.” all these meanings are most significant. 

Spiritually, this state of equality between man and woman is restored in Christ (see Gal. 3:28), for both have equal privileges and status in him. But this is only a token of the complete restoration to equality with "the man" Christ Jesus in the age to come, to which the Lord referred in his prayer: "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me" (John 17:21).

As for the Wisdom who is called "the barren," [the little wisdom (Phi 28)] she is the mother of the angels [those who were anointed as men of "God" i.e. the righteousness seeking people who overcome the world and become prophets and guides to the royal line of Israel]. And the companion of the [...Christ was called] Mary Magdalene.  [...He] loved her more than all the disciples [she represents those with a pure heart who are willing and able to hear what the spirit is saying], and used to kiss her often on her mouth [this is a euphemism for passing on the deeper meanings of the Word in love (see Philip 32) – Mary obviously had a pure and unadulterated heart which is what Jesus loves most in people so He was willing to answer her deeper questions, ones the disciples would not ask]

Eve being the mother of all living she is justified by her children

Luke 7:35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.

The restoration of Sophia begins with her children Believers justify or vindicate Sophia

Wisdom or Sophia could be used collectively of the ecclesia the Bride of Christ we can see this from The Exegesis on the Soul it is at the end of the text when we get a clear understanding of who or what the soul is.
Reading now from the The Exegesis on the Soul:

Israel surely would not have been visited by god and brought out of the land of Egypt and the house of bondage if it had not sighed to god and wept about its oppressive labors. Again in the Psalms it is written,

I was greatly troubled in my groaning. I will bathe my bed and my cover each night with my tears. I have become old in the midst of all my enemies. Depart from me, all you who work at lawlessness, for look, the lord has heard the cry of my weeping and the lord has heard my prayer.

If we repent, truly god will heed us, he who is long-suffering and abundantly merciful, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (The Exegesis on the Soul)

The text seems to be referring to the nation of Israel or the Israel of God the ecclesia collectively has the soul which needs to repent this can be seen at the end of the document:

If we repent, [we like Israel need to ask for forgiveness] truly God will listen to us, he who is long suffering and abundantly merciful, to whom is the glory for ever and ever. Amen! (Exegesis on the Soul )

The word repent is a Jewish or Hebrew term and would be understood by Jewish-Christian readers

"If we repent, truly God will listen to us,"

The soul is used collectively for the nation of Israel and the church or the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:16) The author of the Exegesis on the Soul is using figurative language the soul is symbolic of a group of people (
Genesis 14:21 Genesis 23:8 Jeremiah 48:6)

In the phrase "If we repent, truly God will listen to us" It is obvious "We" is the members of the Church or the spiritual Israel. It also shows the text is addressing a group of people calling them to repentance.

Just as the soul is an allegory for the sons of Israel or the church so is Wisdom or Sophia
So our repentance is also the repentance of Sophia remember wisdom is justified of all her children.
The Restoration

Song of Solomon 7:10 New International Version
I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me.

When the Bride exclaims: "His desire is toward me," she means that the promised restoration is directed to her, that she has been chosen to enjoy this privilege. It is significant, that immediately upon making this statement, she launches into a description of labor to be performed in mutual cooperation: "let us go forth," "let us lodge," "let us get up early," "let us see." When her Lord returns she shall be united to him, and will experience that glorious unity promised, including a restoration of that state of fellowship and equality that existed before sin entered into the world.

Therefore, Christ came to correct the separation that was from the beginning. There was both unity and equality in Eden before sin made its ugly appearance. The man and the woman were as one rejoicing together before God, which was brought to an end by the seductive suggestion of the serpent, and its terrible fruit of sin. 

The unity in Eden was broken, and because the woman was first in the transgression, she was brought into subjection to her husband (1Tim 2:12-14). After God told the serpent, He would provide a Redeemer who would bruise its head and release man from its power (sin). sentence was than pronounced upon the woman: Gen 3:16 And to the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy pains and thy groanings; in pain thou shall bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Your desire... to Your husband: Woman's desire to man, Christ: Song 2:16; 6:3. Man's pre-eminence over his wife: Eph 5:22-24. 

Eve was reminded that her restoration, return, was subject to her husband, and that he must exercise the rule over her. Eve, however, was typical of the bride of Christ, and these words spoken to her have an added significance when related to the bride. The restoration of the bride is subject to her husband (Christ), and he must bear rule over her, if she would attain unto it.

What is the restoration?

That unity for which Christ prayed the Father when he declared: John: 17:20,21 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

This expresses the complete union of marriage; that oneness that shall only be experienced when the marriage of the lamb hath come. For the moment, the bride is espoused as a “chaste virgin” to Christ, and in this relationship, there is partial restoration. Thus, Paul wrote: Galatians: 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 

Paul taught that in Christ there is a restoration of oneness. We experience that initially at baptism, for no matter of which sex we might be, we are than made personally responsible to Christ. But the “oneness” there indicated, is but a token of the complete restoration in the future, when Christ’s prayer will be fulfilled, and when, taking her to himself in the bridal chamber, he will acknowledge that they are “one flesh” (Eph 5:31). Meanwhile, the second Eve remains in subjection to her husband (1Tim 2:11-12 Eph 5:22 Col 3:18)

The Marriage
Reading again from the Exegesis on the Soul

Then, by the will of the father, the bridegroom came down to her in the bridal chamber, which had been prepared. And he decorated the chamber.

This marriage is not like carnal marriage, in which those who make love with each other become satiated in their lovemaking. And as if it were a burden, they leave behind the annoyance of physical desire. They turn their faces from each other. In this marriage once they join they become a single life. As the prophet said about the first man and woman,

They will become a single flesh.

They were originally joined to each other when they were with the father, before the woman led the man astray, who is her brother. This marriage brings them together again, and the soul joins her true love and real master, as the scriptures tell us :

The woman’s master is her husband.

Then gradually she recognized him and was again happy, weeping before him as she remembered the disgrace of her former widowhood. She adorned herself abundantly so he might be pleased to stay with her.

And the prophet said in the Psalms,

Hear, my daughter, and see me and bend your ear, and forget your people and your father’s house, for the king has desired your beauty, and he is your lord.

He has her turn her face from her people and the gang of her adulterers with whom she had mingled, to devote herself now to her king, her real lord, and to forget the house of the earthly father with whom things were bad for her, and remember her father in heaven. So Abraham was told,

Leave your country and kin and your father’s house. (Exegesis on the Soul)

Thursday, 20 April 2023

The Gnostic Priesthood or Do Gnostics Need Priests?

The Gnostic Priesthood
Do Gnostics Need Priests?

Since the Jewish priesthood is referred to in some texts of the Nag Hammadi we should look at the Jewish priesthood normally referred to as the the Levitical priesthood

The idea of a Priesthood comes from the Old Testament

In the Bible we can read how a priesthood was set up for the people of Israel in Old Testament times, by God's command to their leader Moses. A considerable proportion of the priests' duties was in connection with animal sacrifices which the people offered to God for the forgiveness of sins, or as an act of thanksgiving. The offerings were only accepted if offered through the service of a priest. 

In the New Testament it is made very clear that for the Christian, Christ has taken over the function of High Priest and that in offering himself on the cross, for the sins of the world, he has removed the value of any other sacrifice. He has also removed the need for any other priest. as we can read in the apostle Paul's letter to the Hebrews :

"Consequently he is able for all times to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them" (Heb. ch 7 v 25 RSV)

The need for no other mediator except Christ is put very strongly by the Apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy:

"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. ch 2 v 5 AV )

Wherever we look in the New Testament it is clear that the early churches did not have priests. We read in Acts chapter 3 verse 46, that they went from house to house breaking bread and praising God.

Later on in time, Paul writing to the church in Corinth said that:
". . . . God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets,. third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues". ( 1 Cor. ch l2 v 28 NIV )

He makes no mention of the need for priests.
Bishop and Deacons
elders, sometimes called "bishops" (meaning shepherds or overseers had, as we have seen, responsibilities towards their fellow believers. The bishop's role was that of a shepherd. He was not in Jesus' place in the community, but had to display the same concern for the "flock" - of which he was also a part. 

Other tasks, also of service, were entrusted to men and women qualified to fulfil them. Whereas elders' responsibilities were directed more to the spiritual needs of believers, "deacons" were involved with their physical needs. In the New Testament only the Lord Jesus Christ is recognised as a priest. Nor do any of the descriptions of the work of elders, bishops or deacons suggest that these had any priestly function. None of the other church "offices" are Bible terms either: they have all been invented by men. 

“All you are brothers,” Jesus had said to his disciples. “Your Leader is one, the Christ.” (Matt. 23:8, 10) So there was no clergy class within Christian congregations of the first century. As to organization, each congregation was supervised by a body of overseers, or spiritual elders. All the elders had equal authority, and not one of them was authorized to ‘lord it over’ the flock in their care. (Acts 20:17; Phil. 1:1; 1 Pet. 5:2, 3) However, as the apostasy unfolded, things began to change—quickly. (The Watchtower)

Yet by A.D. 200, the situation had changed. Christianity had become an institution headed by a three-rank hierarchy of bishops, priests, and deacons, who understood themselves to be the guardians of the only "true faith." (The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels)

The author accuses them of having misinterpreted the apostles' teaching, and thus having set up an "imitation church" in place of the true Christian "brotherhood." Other gnostics, including the followers of Valentinus, did not challenge the bishop's right to the common apostolic tradition. Nor did they oppose, in principle, the leadership of priests and bishops. But for them the church's teaching, and the church officials, could never hold the ultimate authority which orthodox Christians accorded them. All who had received gnosis, they say, had gone beyond the church's teaching and had transcended the authority of its hierarchy. 
(The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels)

Gnosis offers nothing less than a theological justification for refusing to obey the bishops and priests! The initiate now sees them as the "rulers and powers" who rule on earth in the demiurge's name. The gnostic admits that the bishop, like the demiurge, exercises legitimate authority over most Christians—those who are uninitiated. But the bishop's demands, warnings, and threats, like those of the demiurge himself, can no longer touch the one who has been "redeemed." (The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels)

Speaking about the organisation of the Valentinian church Einar Thomassen writes 

The community would meet on Sundays (whether before sunrise or in the evening—or both—we do not know).

Valentinian initiates took turns performing the various liturgical tasks ensuring a high degree of participation by the membership. According to Tertullian, "Today one man is bishop and tomorrow another; the person who is a deacon today, tomorrow is a reader; the one who is a priest is a layman tomorrow. For even on the laity they impose the functions of priesthood." ( Tertullian Against the Valentinians 1) He goes on to relate that even women could take the role of bishop, much to his horror.
The Priesthood in Gnostic Gospels
The Gospel of Thomas and the Apocarphon of John refer to the Pharisees

Pharisee a Jewish religious party Josephus claimed that Pharisees received the full support and goodwill of the common people, apparently in contrast to the more elite Sadducees, who were the upper class. 

Sadducees represented the authority of the priestly privileges and prerogatives established since the days of Solomon, when Zadok, their ancestor, officiated as High Priest.

only those of the family line of Arron could be a priest who would serve at God’s altar, this is called the Levitical priesthood. 

The word priest is used in the gospel of Philip in relation to the Jewish priesthood:

If some are in the tribe of the priesthood, these shall be permitted to enter within the veil (of the Temple) with the High Priest. Therefore the veil was not torn at the top only, else it would have been opened only for those who are above; nor was it torn at the bottom only, else it would have been revealed only to those who are below. But rather it was torn from the top to the bottom. Those who are above opened to us who are below, in order that we shall enter into the secret of the truth. (Gospel of Philip)

the word priest is used again in the second apocalypse of James

This is the discourse that James the Just spoke in Jerusalem, which Mareim, one of the priests, wrote. (second apocalypse of James)

And I was with the priests and revealed nothing of the relationship, since all of them were saying with one voice, 'Come, let us stone the Just One.' And they arose, saying, 'Yes, let us kill this man, that he may be taken from our midst. For he will be of no use to us.' (second apocalypse of James)

Mareim: Scribe said to have written down the words of James the Just in the Second Revelation of James.

Some Gnostic texts refer to the Catholic Priesthood: 

The Gospel of Judas

THE DISCIPLES SEE THE TEMPLE AND DISCUSS IT They [said, “We have seen] a great [house with a large] altar [in it, and] twelve men— they are the priests, we would say—and a name; and a crowd of people is waiting at that altar, [until] the priests [… and receive] the offerings. [But] we kept waiting.” [Jesus said], “What are [the priests] like?” They [said, “Some …] two weeks; [some] sacrifice their own children, others their wives, in praise [and] humility with each other; some sleep with men; some are involved in [slaughter]; some commit a multitude of sins and deeds of lawlessness. And the men who stand [before] the altar invoke your [name], [39] and in all the deeds of their deficiency, the sacrifices are brought to completion […].” After they said this, they were quiet, for they were troubled. 

JESUS OFFERS AN ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION OF THE VISION OF THE TEMPLE Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled? Truly I say to you, all the priests who stand before that altar invoke my name. Again I say to you, my name has been written on this […] of the generations of the stars through the human generations. [And they] have planted trees without fruit, in my name, in a shameful manner.” Jesus said to them, “Those you have seen receiving the offerings at the altar—that is who you are. That is the god you serve, and you are those twelve men you have seen. The cattle you have seen brought for sacrifice are the many people you lead astray [40] before that altar. […] will stand and make use of my name in this way, and generations of the pious will remain loyal to him. After him another man will stand there from [the fornicators], and another [will] stand there from the slayers of children, and another from those who sleep with men, and those who abstain, and the rest of the people of pollution and lawlessness and error, and those who say, ‘We are like angels’; they are the stars that bring everything to its conclusion. For to the human generations it has been said, ‘Look, God has received your sacrifice from the hands of a priest’—that is, a minister of error. But it is the Lord, the Lord of the universe, who commands, ‘On the last day they will be put to shame.’” [41] Jesus said [to them], “Stop sac[rificing …] which you have […] over the altar, since they are over your stars and your angels and have already come to their conclusion there. So let them be [ensnared] before you, and let them go [—about 15 lines missing—] generations […]. A baker cannot feed all creation [42] under [heaven]. And […] to them […] and […] to us and […]. Jesus said to them, “Stop struggling with me. Each of you has his own star, and every[body—about 17 lines missing—] [43] in […] who has come [… spring] for the tree […] of this aeon […] for a time […] but he has come to water God’s paradise, and the [generation] that will last, because [he] will not defile the [walk of life of] that generation, but […] for all eternity.” (Gospel of Judas)

The Apcapsel of Peter

And as he was saying these things, I saw the priests and the people running up to us with stones, as if they would kill us; and I was afraid that we were going to die. 
And he said to me, "Peter, I have told you many times that they are blind ones who have no guide. 
If you want to know their blindness, put your hands upon (your) eyes - your robe - and say what you see." 
But when I had done it, I did not see anything. I said "No one sees (this way)." 
Again he told me, "Do it again." 
And there came in me fear with joy, for I saw a new light greater than the light of day. Then it 
came down upon the Savior. And I told him about those things which I saw. 
And he said to me again, "Lift up your hands and listen to what the priests and the people are 
And I listened to the priests as they sat with the scribes. The multitudes were shouting with their voice. 
When he heard these things from me he said to me, "Prick up your ears and listen to the things they are saying." 
And I listened again, "As you sit, they are praising you". 
And when I said these things, the Savior said, "I have told you that these (people) are blind and deaf. Now then, listen to the things which they are telling you in a mystery, and guard them, Do not tell them to the sons of this age. For they shall blaspheme you in these ages since they are ignorant of you, but they will praise you in knowledge." (The Apcapsel of Peter) 
The Priesthood of the New Covenant
On Pentecost day of the year 33 C.E., the Law covenant came to an end and the “better covenant,” the new covenant, was inaugurated. (Heb 8:6-9) On that day God made manifest this change by the outpouring of holy spirit. The apostle Peter then explained to the Jews present from many nations that their only salvation now lay in repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ. (Ac 2; Heb 2:1-4) Later, Peter spoke of the Jewish builders rejecting Jesus Christ as the cornerstone and then said to Christians: “But you are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession.’”—1Pe 2:7-9. (Watchtower)

Peter explained also that the new priesthood is “a spiritual house for the purpose of a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1Pe 2:5) Jesus Christ is their great High Priest, and they, like Aaron’s sons, make up the underpriesthood. (Heb 3:1; 8:1) Yet, different from the Aaronic priesthood, which had no part in kingship, kingship and priesthood are combined in this “royal priesthood” of Christ and his joint heirs. (Watchtower)

Wisdom summons you in her goodness, saying, "Come to Me, all of you, O foolish ones, that you may receive a gift, the understanding which is good and excellent. I am giving to you a high-priestly garment which is woven from every (kind of) wisdom." What else is evil death except ignorance? What else is evil darkness except familiarity with forgetfulness? Cast your anxiety upon God alone. Do not become desirous of gold and silver, which are profitless, but clothe yourself with wisdom like a robe; put knowledge on yourself like a crown, and be seated upon a throne of perception. For these are yours, and you will receive them again on high another time. (The Teachings of Silvanus)

In the Teachings of Silvanus from the Nag Hammadi Library we find the author speaking about a "high-priestly garment"  which is "woven from every kind of wisdom." 

Let Christ alone enter your world, and let him bring to naught all powers which have come upon you. Let him enter the temple which is within you, so that he may cast out all the merchants. Let him dwell in the temple which is within you, and may you become for him a priest and a Levite, entering in purity. (
The Teachings of Silvanus)

Revelation 7:7 12,000 from the tribe of Levi,

In the list of 12 tribes in Revelation 7 Joseph replaces Ephraim, suggesting that it is the Israel of God (Gal. 6:16), and not natural Israel, to which reference is made. Levi is listed as possessing a tribal inheritance whereas under the Law he had none, suggesting that the Melchizedek priesthood has replaced the Levitical (Ezek. 44:15; Rev. 5;9-10).

The Temple, the naos, only priests could lawfully enter. Both the individual believer (1 Cor. 6:19), as well as the Ecclesia (Eph. 2:21; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16) are treated as the Temple, or naos.

In the Valentinian Exposition from the Nag Hammadi Library Jesus is the "true High Priest" and "the one who has the authority to enter the Holies of Holies"

When he willed, the First Father revealed himself in him. Since, after all, because of him the revelation is available to the All, I for my part call the All 'the desire of the All'. And he took such a thought concerning the All - I for my part call the thought 'Monogenes'. For now God has brought Truth, the one who glorifies the Root of the All. Thus it is he who revealed himself in Monogenes, and in him he revealed the Ineffable One [...] the Truth. They saw him dwelling in the Monad and in the Dyad and in the Tetrad. He first brought forth Monogenes and Limit. And Limit is the separator of the All and the confirmation of the All, since they are [...] the hundred [...]. He is the Mind [...] the Son. He is completely ineffable to the All, and he is the confirmation and the hypostasis of the All, the silent veil, the true High Priest, the one who has the authority to enter the Holies of Holies, revealing the glory of the Aeons and bringing forth the abundance to <fragrance>. The East [...] that is in Him. He is the one who revealed himself as the primal sanctuary and the treasury of the All. And he encompassed the All, he who is higher than the All. 
(A Valentinian Exposition)

According to Herakleon, the Fullness is "the Holy of Holies, into which only the High-Priest enters, into which the spiritual go" (Herakleon Fragment 13). The Gospel of Philip links the opening provided by Christ with the tearing of the veil at the time of Jesus' death (Matthew 27:51). According to Philip,

"If others belong to the order of the priesthood they will be able to enter within the veil with the High Priest. For this reason the veil was not torn at the top only, since it would have been open only to those above; nor was it torn at the bottom only, since it would have been revealed only to those below. But rather it was torn from top to bottom. The upper realm was opened to us in the lower realm, in order that we may enter into the hidden realm of Truth....The Holies of the Holies was uncovered, and the Bridal Chamber invites us in. " (Gospel of Philip 105).

there are a lot of Roman Catholics who are are pretending to be gnostics

Yeah, I get the same sensation. Of course, I can't prove it. But the way they talk and belittle people, it really seems like the are undercover agents, lol.

I suppose a lot of Gnostic use the rosary because the majority are former Catholics.

I would honestly go further, really warn people about pseudo-Gnostics, and do some listing of groups that have "proven" themselves in religious extremism. Peter, there will be more and more of these fake Gnostics, but they need to be warned against. Thank you for bringing the article to the Gnostic network and I believe enough people will catch on.

Been to that church several times. They consider themselves to be Gnostic-Catholics, which, to be sure, is a contradiction. They borrow a lot from orthodox Christian liturgies (both Roman or Protestant) and remold them to better fit the Gnostic heresy.
Of course, it’s all anachronistic confusion.
Ancient gnostics had their own liturgical practices and elaborate rituals. And, of course they were basically corruptions of the Christian liturgies of that time.
Gnosticism is not Christianity though, no more than Islam is Christianity.

I held a high opinion of Stephan Hoeller for a long time, but after a while I came to understand that he is a false light teacher. Most who are attracted to Gnosticism end up following the demiurge's false light, thinking it's the true Light. He teaches on all manner of false light occult topics. I own many series of his lectures and have read much of his writing. This is indeed "the error of the angels, demons, and stars"...the occult knowledge that was taught to humans by archons under various guises and for the purpose of distracting and misleading so that we are unable to find our way out of the demiurge matrix.
"The Law Versus the Truth
Now, I shall speak to those who understand how to listen with spiritual ears and not with their physical ones. For many have sought for the truth but have not been able to find it, because of the old leaven of the Pharisees and scribes of the law has overcome them. By “leaven” is meant desire for the error of the angels, demons, and stars. As for the Pharisees and scribes, they belong to the archons who have authority over them. For no one living under the law is able to lift his gaze to the truth, for they cannot serve two masters."
The Testimony of Truth

Modern Gnostics are mostly just Christians who think the world is imperfect and therefore evil and that it was not created by “God” proper because God is perfect and incapable of creating imperfection.
They’re basically nihilists.

most of them are Catholics who have never read the Bible they think they are gnostic just because they say Hail Sophia on the rosary

I agree with you about Victor Manual (pseudo gnosis), and Crowley and other forms of 'gnostic church' of modern times. It's a poor imitation. This garments that Stephan Hoeller wears give me goose bumbs, it reminds me of catholic bishops and I see the original gnostics as much more 'simple' pratcitcioners.
however i like hollers books and ideas..
But I agree we should avoid believing we are 'gnostics' just because we attend some meeting in a self proclaimed 'gnostic group'

anyone can perform a baptism or do a Eucharist service if you have gnosis why do you need a priest?

There's a lot of fake teachers out there only after money and even more that don't understand Gnosticism or its many schools of thought. I had a debate with a lady claiming to be a Gnostic and her way was the only way lol. She got very angry at me when I said there were different forms of ancient Gnosticism and Gnosticism isn't about tarot cards. I think the miss conception of Gnosis is done on purpose because of the positive change it can bring to the world

they are lots of fake gnostics gnosis is about self knowledge so why would you need a Priest? And how much money do you friends charge people for their gnosis

 I don’t think being a Priest is necessary, but I wouldn’t deny that it is someone else’s path either. I know quite a few of them and none of them charges money for anything 

A gnostic priest with the cross of tammuz behind his head? So tell us what a gnostic knows that no one else knows?

The religions of man have devised so many names and titles for themselves and those who lead them along, to elevate their personas and the offices they hold. They all have one thing in common. With everything they do, they all cause the believer to break the first four commandments with false names, false Sabbaths, pagan holidays, forbidden graven images and icons, and deceitful doctrines that suit their deceitful agenda.

in his gnostic catechism he speaks about the Catholic Trinity instead of the emanation of the Aeons

I disagree with Catholic teaching it's not true gnosis

As Above, So Below Matthew 6:10

As Above, So Below 
A Saying Of Jesus

when you make the below 
like the above

The Gnostic Implications of The Message “Bible’s” “As Above, So Below” Matthew 6:10 comes from  many ancient Christian documents which speak of a above and below.  

The Acts of Peter 
"Concerning this the master says in a mystery, 'If you do not make what is on the right like what is on the left and what is on the left like what is on the right, and what is above like what is below, and what is behind like what is before, you will not recognize the kingdom.'"

Gospel of Philip 
For this reason, the veil was not rent at the top only, since it would have been open only to those above; nor was it rent at the bottom only, since it would have been revealed only to those below. But it was rent from the top to bottom. Those above opened to us the things below, in order that we may go in to the secret of the truth.

The Acts of Philip
139 And Philip, still hanging, spoke to them and told them of his offense 140 And some ran to take him down: but he refused and spoke to them . . . . " Be not grieved that I hang thus, for I bear the form (type) of the first man, who was brought upon earth head downwards, and again by the tree of the cross made alive from the death of his transgression. And now do I fulfil the precept. For the Lord said to me: Unless ye make that which is beneath to be above, and the left to be right (and the right left), ye shall not enter into my kingdom. Be like me in this: for all the world is turned the wrong way, and every soul that is in it."

Odes of Solomon
Ode 34 There is no hard way where there is a simple heart, nor barrier for upright thoughts,
Nor whirlwind in the depth of the enlightened thought.
Where one is surrounded on every side by pleasing country, there is nothing divided in him.
The likeness of that which is below is that which is above.
For everything is from above, and from below there is nothing, but it is believed to be by those in whom there is no understanding.
Grace has been revealed for your salvation. Believe and live and be saved.

"From above." This probably implies, as often in Jewish literature, that there is no dualism between "above" and "below." Comp. Ode 34:4 5 there is nothing that is divided, the likeness of what is below: He is the one that is above";

below and above the spiritual and the natural the worlds

likeness  the Syr. might perhaps be better translated "pattern" (instead of "likeness"} as it is in Exod 25:9 "according to all that I shew thee, the pattern of the tabernacle," alluded to in Heb. 8:5 "See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern that was shewed thee in the mount." 

"likeness, pattern, image--"A mental representation of anything not actually present to the senses" (Webster). Everything that is manifested was first a mental picture and was brought into expression by the forming power of the imagination.

pattern--The divine manifestation of Jesus is the divine pattern for all men who are seeking the Christ way of life.

What the poet means is "The pattern (i.e. type, or idea) of everything [that is real] below is above [in the Mount of God]." This makes the next words clear, " For everything [that is real] is above [in the Mount of God, or, in the Mind of God]. What is below [so far as it differs from the pattern above] is nothing: it is [mere seeming] what seems to those in whom know ledge has no existence." 

ODE 34.
1 No way is hard where there is a simple [undemanding/meek] heart [this one is malleable and easily moved wherever the spirit guides him]. 2 Nor is there any wound [affliction in one's conscience] where the thoughts are upright [toward the heavenly things]: 3 Nor is there any storm [turbulence that arises] in the depth [the lower/outward (fleshly) forms] of the illuminated thought [the higher/inward (spiritual) substance]: 4 Where one is surrounded on every side by beauty [this one sees the beauty of God's plan in every work], there is nothing that is divided [to this one the outward becomes the inward in One Spirit, One Truth, One Master, One Way]. 5 The likeness [image] of what is below [the outward (visible) traditions, ordinances, festivals etc. that are conducted in by those of the first birth hoping to gain life by them] is that which is above [they are only a picture of the inward (hidden) struggle that anyone who truly has Christ in them must endure i.e. they eat a physical loaf of bread and drink a physical cup of wine saying they are the body and blood of Christ in ignorance not knowing that the bread (the body of Christ) is now His faithful, obedient followers who not only eat the true hidden manna from heaven but become that bread and that the cup, the blood of His covenant is the persecution and suffering His True Disciples must endure while "in the world"]; for everything is above [all what you see whether in the image or in your spiritual body is of God]: what is below is nothing but the imagination of those that are without knowledge [religion that "do not see what is in front of them"]. 6 Grace has been revealed [by the Word, the Truth] for your salvation. Believe [first step (even the demons do this) so one must also have (true) faith which included obedience] and live [find the resurrection in Christ while still in the earth by learning obedience through suffering (crucify the flesh) and be saved. Hallelujah.

The Gospel of Thomas 

saying 22 Jesus saw some little ones nursing. He said to his disciples, "These little ones who are nursing resemble is those who enter the kingdom." They said to him, "So shall we enter the kingdom by being little ones?" Jesus said to them, "When you (plur.) make the two one and make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside and the above like the below, and that you might make the male and the female be one and the same, so that the male might not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye and a hand in place of a hand and a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image - then you will enter [the kingdom]."

22) ##Jesus saw infants [the Elect] being suckled [by their true spiritual mother]. He said to His disciples, "These infants being suckled are like those who enter the Kingdom." They said to Him, "Shall we then, as children, enter the Kingdom?" Jesus said to them, "When you make the two [the higher/inward (spiritual) substance and the lower/outward (fleshly) form)] one, and when you make the inside [where the Kingdom of God actually is] like the outside [where they allege it to be - you make it this way by your fruit] and the outside like the inside [replacing their image with the Fathers which is spread out over the earth - see v-113], and the above [heavenly] like the below [earthly], and when you make the male [spirit] and the female [soul] one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female [you become One in spirit]; and ##when you fashion eyes [two levels of seeing] in the place of an eye [one level], and a [right] hand [which knows what Jesus is doing (in His Power)] in place of a [left] hand [which doesn't (in your own power], and a [right] foot [which walks in the Way, the Truth and the Life] in place of a [left] foot [which doesn't], and a likeness [image of God] in place of a likeness [image of man]; then will you enter [the Kingdom]."

above and below see John 8:23

'make that which is above like that which is below' (saying 22). Yet the kingdom is not really a place above (saying 3) but a state of consciousness in which the Mind and the Heart are in harmony with the Mind of God.

The Message, intended as a "version of the New Testament in a contemporary idiom",uses the maxim in its translation of the Lord's Prayer from Matthew 6:10. (The prayer's phrase is traditionally rendered "on earth, as it is in heaven".)

Matthew 6:7-13 The Message (MSG)

7-13 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Tuesday, 18 April 2023

God is Corporeal Spirit John 4:24

John 4:24  "God is spirit; and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (RSV) 

PROBLEM: This verse is quoted to show that God is not tangible.

Most people misunderstand this verse and assume or declare that Spiritual beings are immaterial.

SOLUTION: Jesus is not saying that God is immaterial

Jesus is concerned with redemption and worship that is acceptable not with a description of whether God is tangible or not. cf. v.7 - 23.

It is in the framework of this purpose that men must worship the Father4. Jesus was teaching the woman that in the redemption he had brought, he had living waters5 to offer so that they could worship God "in spirit".

4 "To be spiritually minded is life". (Rom. 8:6).

5 the teaching of the Spirit (i.e. Word of God) (cf. v.14).

The verse does not say that we must have received some divine effluent from God into our hearts before we can worship correctly. The context shows that: 
correct knowledge ("in truth") is one necessity, "salvation is of the Jews". (v. 22). 
attitude of mind ("in spirit" i.e. sincerity, Josh. 24:14) is the other necessity6. 
"Ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father." (v. 21). 

6) It was not where the worship occurred (empty tradition or letter) that mattered but the attitude of the worshipper that mattered i.e. a positive response showing love and zeal for the truth. cf. 2 Cor. 3:5, 6.
God is Corporeal
"We should not assume that anything we cannot see or hear or touch is by nature, by its basic character, silent, immaterial or invisible. We cannot see God who is Spirit. We cannot, today, see angels who are spirits. We hear no voice from heaven. Yet we know that some men heard, saw and touched things which are eternal, things which may be described as eternal." 2

Stephen saw the "heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God",3 Acts 7:56 while those around saw nothing. So we cannot argue that God, Jesus and the angels are immaterial because we by our limited senses cannot see or touch them.4

Angels appeared as ordinary men to Abraham ("three men stood by Him", Gen.18:2).
In the future the "inhabitants of Jerusalem ... shall look upon me (Jesus) whom they have pierced". (Zech. 12:10). They will say unto him, "What are these wounds in thine hands?" 

That conception of God which thinks of Him as mere abstract power, intangible, universal, without person or locality is not true. We cannot worship abstract universal power and claim we worship God.

The phrase "God is Spirit" is sometimes offered as evidence that He is immaterial but Jesus (whom we know to be a corporeal being) is called the Lord the Spirit in 2 Cor. 3:17,18. "He is now no longer flesh and blood; but Holy Spirit Nature a flesh and bones embodiment of Spirit."

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” (John 20:27).

"And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish,....and he (Jesus) took it, and did eat before them" (Luke 24:43).

Dr. Thomas’ comments as follows: 

"The spiritual body is constituted of flesh and bones energized by the spirit. This appears from the testimony concerning Jesus. On a certain occasion, he unexpectedly stood in the midst of his disciples, at which they were exceedingly alarmed, supposing they beheld a spirit, or ghost, as at a former time. But, that they might be assured that it was really he himself, he invited them to handle him, and examine his hands and feet: "For", said he, "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have". He gave them further proof by eating a piece of fish and. Thomas placed his hand into his side, and was convinced that he was the same who had been crucified. What stronger proof can we need of this that the spiritual body is corporeal and tangible in nature? It is the animal body purified, not evaporated into gas, or vapour. It is a bloodless body; for in the case of Jesus he had poured out his blood on the cross. The life of the animal body is in the blood: but not so that of the spiritual body: the life of this resides with the Father." (Elpis Israel)

Since Jesus has flesh and bones it seems inconsistent that his Father would not. The writer to the Hebrews says that Christ was "the very image of his substance"

The angels are "ministering spirits" but they were seen by men many times.

Many passages in scripture show that God is corporeal and shares emotions that we do:

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." (Gen. l:26).

"God created man, in the likeness10 of God made he him" (Gen. 5:1, 3).

"He that sitteth in the heaven shall laugh" (Psa. 2:4).

"Hide not thy face . . . incline thine ear unto me" (Psa. 102:2).

"He hath looked down from the height of His sanctuary" (Psa. 102:19).

" ... sat on the right hand of God" (Mark 16:19).

"Man... is the image ... of God" (1 Cor. 11:7).

"Christ, who is the image of God"11 (2 Cor. 4:4).

"Men, which are after the similitude of God" (James 3:9).

Jesus is not saying that God is immaterial nor is he just referring to the nature of God, but is stating that God is acting in a specific manner for the redemption of man, as he once acted in the past. 

We should continually remember that to Israel God was Spirit, an Angel bearing His Name. This statement can be verified by an analysis of Isaiah 48:16, 17, 20.
"The Lord Yahweh, and his Spirit hath sent me. Thus saith Yahweh, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am Yahweh thy God ... which leadeth thee the way that thou shouldest go."

Note that the Spirit is "the Holy One of Israel".

In this Spirit activity of redemption, there was to be corresponding spirit in their worship.

So if God is spirit - and the Bible emphatically declares this truth - it does not mean that he does not have material form! It is consistent to say that God, *in the sense of an individual person* has a body of spirit

The fact that Israel believed God has a human form is quite clear from Gen 1:26 where God makes man in their image (demut), and their likeness (tselem). That this image and likeness refers to *genetic* resemblance is made clear from Gen 5:1,3 where Adam begets a son after his own likeness (tselem) after his image (demut) and called his name Seth.

Notice that "Adam begat a son in his likeness, after his image." If this language is understood, then surely it can be seen that we are created in the image of God even as Jesus was the express image of Him. 
If we are to be one with God even as Jesus is one with the Father (John 17:22) then we must be physically and morally like Jesus was after his glorification. 

2nd Century Understanding 
Also for early Christians like Origen, Heracleon, and Theodotus understood God to be Corporeal:

Heracleon understands this verse to refer to the nature of worship and not the nature of God:

Fragment 24, on John 4:24 (In John 4:24a, it says,) “God is spirit.” Undefiled, pure, and invisible is his divine nature. (In John 4:24b, it says,) “Those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." Worthily of the one who is worshipped, in a spiritual, not a fleshly fashion.....and they worship in truth, not in error, as the Apostle teaches when he calls this kind of piety “ a rational service.” (Romans 12:2) (Heracleon: Fragments from his Commentary on the Gospel of John)

Theodotus understood the spirit world to have shape and body: 

10 But neither the spiritual nor the intellectual things, nor the archangels <and> those created first, nor even he is shapeless and formless and figureless and incorporeal, but he also has his own shape and body proportionate to his superiority over all spiritual things, just as also those created first (have their own shape and body) proportionate to their superiority over the beings beneath them.

For in general what has come to be is not without substance, but unlike the bodies in this world, they have form and body. For male and female here differ from each other, but there the Only-Begotten and uniquely intellectual one has been furnished with his own form and substance that is utterly pure and sovereign, and he has the immediate benefit of the Father’s power. The ones created first, even if in number they are distinct and each is bounded and delineated, in any case the likeness of their deeds demonstrates their unity, equality, and likeness. (Extracts from the Works of Theodotus)

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. (Extracts from the Works of Theodotus)