Biblical Exegesis

The Children of Satan

This post will be a series of notes I’ve taken from my research into the controversy between Jesus Christ and the Jewish Pharisees from chapter 8 from the Fourth Gospel.

31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

In John 8, Jesus tells the Pharisees, point blank that they are slaves to sin, and that such a slave to sin does not abide in the house forever. However, according to Jesus, the Son abides or act in accordance with the house, who is written in the inheritance, in the Kingdom of God (compare this to Luke 13:22-30). It is the Son or the Logos that imparts the Word to to the believer to be set free from sin. The Jews claim they are descended from Abraham, the Old Testament patriarch (that was commanded to sacrifice his son by Yahweh, to test his devotion), and they were not born out of carnal fornication but by God. Jesus rebuttals this by saying they belong to the Devil, as children and spiritual descendants from him, meaning that their origins are not the same.

The God for Jesus Christ is completely alien and unknown to the Jews and perhaps the vast majority of fleshy mankind, since they do not belong to Him. For the Jews, Yahweh/Jehovah is their god, while the God, Jesus speaks of is the heavenly Father. Also note that not once does Jesus call his Father “Yahweh,” nor do any of the New Testament writers ever mention the tetragrammaton. While the Demiurge or “public worker” is a Platonic concept, it can be found directly in the Fourth Gospel, in which the Johannite Jesus is obviously speaking of. This is the same power that Paul also speaks of in Galatians 3 and 2 Corinthians 3.

37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with[l] your father.”

39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”

Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.”

Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

It is obvious from a literal reading of these verses that Jesus Christ himself is speaking of two gods, commonly found in later Gnostic theology: the God of the Jews who’s nature is evil and the nature of Jesus’s God, is of love. In the Old Testament, we see that the Angel of the Lord, is actually Satan, who is also a genocidal murderer that goes around influencing the wholesale onslaught of the Canaanites, Amorites, Jebusites and Hittites as Exodus 33:2 tells us:

I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

Exodus 11:4-7 also tells us that the God of the Jews tells Moses that he will send an angel of death to pour out his wrath against the firstborn children of Egypt.

About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals.  Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.  But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.

Jesus tells the Pharisees that they seek to murder him and of course, this happens in his eventual crucifixion. April DeConick in Who Is Hiding in the Gospel of John? Reconceptualizing Johannine Theology and the Roots of Gnosticismtells us that the original Greek text of John can be directly translated in this fashion:

“You are from the father of the Devil.” If the statement were to mean, as the standard English translation renders it, “You are of the father, the Devil…”

She also goes on to write:

I found that this verse functioned as a calling card for Gnostics who used it as plain evidence that Jesus taught that the Jewish God was the father of the Devil. A number of Gnostics employed this verse to prove that Jesus himself instructed them that there existed a god in addition to Jesus’ true Father. This other god is the God of the Jews and is responsible for the generation of the Devil and evil.

They insisted that this verse demonstrates that determinism plays a role in human nature, especially in terms of the most wicked people, the apostates. According to these Gnostics, it is a wicked deity – the Jewish god – who fathered both the apostates and the Devil. The early catholics faced a real dilemma when it came to explaining this verse.

In order to neutralize it, they insisted that the Greek be read appositionally, “you are from the father, the Devil” even though they confess that reading it this way would be clearer if the genitive article before father were erased. Their ultimate concern is that the scripture cannot say “from the father of the Devil” so they plead that another reading of the text is necessary, a reading that they regard as ‘better’ than the plain reading. They are so certain that that text means “from the father, the Devil” that they freely render it, “You are sons of the Devil,” and attribute these words to Jesus instead of the words found in the scripture. They are uneasy about quoting the Greek in the form it appears in the biblical passage itself. So they tend to substitute for it what they think the passage should say by paraphrasing the passage whenever they reference it.

In 1 John 3-11, the author contrasts the love of the heavenly Father with the actions of the children of the first humans created by Yahweh and his angelic Elohim, back in Genesis.

11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

In the Valentinian Heracleon’s commentary (Fragment 46) on the Gospel of John, he has this to say about this conundrum:

The verse “You are of your father the Devil” is to be understood as meaning ‘of the same substance as the Devil.’ On “and your wish is to do your father’s desires”: The Devil has no will, but only desires. . . This was said not to those who are by nature children of the Devil, but to the animate people who have become children of the Devil by intent. Some who are of this nature may also be called children of God by intent. Because they have loved the desires of the Devil and performed them, they become children of the Devil, though they were not such by nature.

The word “children” may be understood in three ways: first, by nature; secondly, by inclination; thirdly, by merit. (A child) by nature means (the child) is begotten by someone who is himself begotten, and is properly called “child.” (A child) by inclination is when one who does the will of another person by his own inclination is called the child of the one whose will he does. (A child) by merit is when some are known as children of hell, or of darkness and lawlessness, and the offspring of snakes and vipers. For these do no produce anything by their own nature; they are destructive and consume those that are cast into them; but, since they did their works, they are called their children. . . He now calls them children of the Devil, not because the Devil produces any of them, but because by doing the works of the Devil they became like him.

Conventional Christian theology understands the “god of this world” in the Gospel of John as the devil. But according to April DeConick’s research, the devil or the angel of death, actually has a father, who is the Jewish God, Yahweh, the creator and ruler of the world. It is Jesus’s origin that stems above the Lord of the Law and his son the Devil. The territory of the Lawgiver is “this world,” including the earth herself and the atmosphere and firmament. The God that Jesus preached is a different God, a God of the Heavens, a supreme Father, who’s Kingdom is completely alien and radically different to the world of matter and flesh. The devil merely functions as Yahweh’s attack dog. To all you Satanists out there, you’re actually worshiping a dog. 

While Yahweh is clearly parodied in the Satanic figure of Yaldabaoth, the lion-headed god of chaos, who’s eyes burns with fire, some Gnostics would actually attempt to rehabilitate Yahweh as the redeemed Archon Sabaoth who repents to Sophia in the Hypostasis of the Archons and On the Origin of the World. He is also syncretized with the astral lion-headed Chnoubis and the infamous Gnostic anguipede Abrasax of Basilides, in which Yahweh or Jehovah is demoted to one of the chief angels under the “Great Ruler” of Abrasax as per Hippolytus. And it is this God that rules at the top of the universe and functions as the veil between the world of matter and the spiritual kingdom beyond, or where the supra-mundane God dwells. Interestingly, in the Gnostic text, On the Origin of the World, we see that the Gnostic author equates Jesus Christ, as being a manifestation of the Savior in the Eighth Heaven and sits at Sabaoth’s right upon the heavenly throne.

Thereafter he created a congregation of angels, thousands and myriads, numberless, which resembled the congregation in the eighth heaven; and a firstborn called Israel – which is, “the man that sees God”; and another being, called Jesus Christ, who resembles the savior above in the eighth heaven, and who sits at his right upon a revered throne. And at his left, there sits the virgin of the holy spirit, upon a throne and glorifying him.

The redeemed god and daemon, Sabaoth is also associated with ritual magic, exorcisms and the torment of demons, as seen in the Testament of Solomon and the PGM. Anyway, that’s it for now. Have a blessed day.

Guest Post: Understanding the Truth of the Crucifixion by “Colorbas”

Hey, folks. Here is the first guest post of 2017. This is by a friend of mine but who wants to remain anonymous through the pen-name “Colorbas”. This one is about the concept of the “abortion” in reference to Demiurge being a malformed aborted fetus which eventually grow up into a blundering “god of the void,” when he stole a portion of Sophia’s power. This connects to the Eucharist, the Gospel of John, and Epiphanius’ slanderous and lurid description of a Gnostic cannibalistic practice. Yeah. Read on to find out more!

Before learning what the truth of the crucifixion actually is, one must first understand the same theology that the Ancients understood. It is a prerequisite because today we live in a 2000 year old smoke screen theology of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches which has only served to provide a false foundation which corrupted a proper understanding of the true meaning of the crucifixion.

So for the first part we shall learn the story of Sophia (Wisdom), her fall, her birth of a male child first called “Yaldabaoth,” then also called “Samael.” But this child was the one who was the architect of this world. His servants call him Jehovah or Yahweh. But what one must learn is what Sophia and her child must do to have Sophia’s error corrected. So let us begin with this: Who was Sophia? Sophia (“Wisdom”) was the youngest of the emanated divinities (or “Aeons”). Here is an explanation of the Aeons derived from the Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis – Section 31:

These are the 30 Aeons … which have been kept secret and are not known. This is their invisible, spiritual Pleroma, with its triple division into “Ogdoad”, “Decad” and “Dodecad”. … “First-Progenitor” is known only to “Only-Begotten”, that is to “Mind”, who originated from him. To all the rest he is invisible and incomprehensible. Only “Mind” … enjoyed the contemplation of the Father and rejoiced in the perception of his immeasurable greatness. And he intended to communicate the greatness of the Father to the remaining Aeons, what he was like and how great he was, and how he was without beginning, uncontainable and impossible to see. But by the Father’s will Silence restrained him, because she meant to arouse them all to an intent and yearning to seek after their “First-Progenitor”.

Similarly the other Aeons also had a sort of silent yearning to see the originator of their seed, and be informed of their root which had no beginning. Sophia, the youngest of the Aeons (emanated divinities), was the one who was responsible for the “Fall”. Sophia (“Wisdom”) attempted to know the “First-Progenitor;” although this was impossible for the Aeons who had come after the first “Ogdoad.” (Male-female pairs are called “Syzygies.” Two such Syzygies are called a “Tetrad.” Two such Tetrads are called an “Ogdoad.”)

How did Sophia Fall?

“And … Sophia (Wisdom) … being an Aeon, conceived a thought from herself with the reflection of the Invisible Spirit and Foreknowledge. She wanted to bring forth a likeness out of herself without the consent of the [Invisible] Spirit … and without her consort… And because of the invincible power which is in her, her thought did not remain idle and a thing came out of her which was imperfect and different from her appearance, because she had created it without her consort… And when she saw the consequence of her desire, it had changed into a form of a lion-faced serpent. And its eyes were like lightning fires… She cast it away from her, outside that place [the Pleroma], that no one of the immortal ones [the other Aeons] might see it, for she had created it in ignorance… And she called his name Yaldabaoth…” [Apocryphon of John, from the Nag Hammadi Library]

Yaldabaoth is the negative and/or inferior world-architect (“Demiurge”). The Cosmos is the result of a celestial error. The only perfect existence is the Pleroma. The Cosmos is not the result of a deliberate act of a supreme God (as is taught by most modern versions of Christianity) but rather the result of an error made by the lowest of the emanated divinities. Sophia’s passion generates an “abortion,” a “formless entity,” which she cast outside the Pleroma. As a result of this error, the Father emanates a new Aeon-pair (a new “syzygy”), Christ and Holy Spirit, to take care of the “formless entity” which had resulted from Sophia’s passion. And a new, unpaired Aeon, Jesus, is emanated, who is the “perfect fruit of the Pleroma”, and expresses in his being the full attributes of all the Aeons.

As it says in Colossians, “For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”. The Christ Aeon re-shaped the “formless entity,” which then became the Demiurge. And Sophia becomes known as “Achamoth,” a lower Sophia. She becomes the spiritual essence hidden in the soul; and even unknown to her child the Demiurge. The “Fall” actually Preceded “Creation.” The Demiurge, upon,

“opening his eyes, he saw a vast quantity of matter without limit; and he became arrogant, saying, “It is I who am God, and there is none other apart from me”. When he said this, he sinned against the entirety. And a voice came forth from above the realm of absolute power, saying, “You are mistaken, Samael” – which is, ‘god of the blind’. [The Hypostasis of the Archons]

***

“And our sister Sophia is she who came down in innocence in order to rectify her deficiency. Therefore she was called Life, which is the mother of the living, by the Foreknowledge of the sovereignty of heaven. And through her they have tasted the Perfect Knowledge.” [The Secret Book of John]

Warning: The following last part is VERY GROTESQUE!

But it is necessary in order to come to a proper understanding of the crucifixion! How the Error of Sophia is Corrected Holy Communion, the bread and wine, from the earliest of times has always been understood to literally be the body and blood of Christ. Early Christians believed that the body of Christ was the dead body of that “formless entity” which emanated from Sophia. It was the “Abortion” which Sophia cast outside the Pleroma! If you are of the Spiritual you have true life within you. You must return that “formless entity” back to Sophia by eating it. Eating the body of Christ means to eat Sophia’s abortion! And this, the early Gnostic Christians called the “Perfect Passover.”

« But even though one of them should accidentally implant the seed of his natural emission prematurely and the woman becomes pregnant, listen to a more dreadfulthing that such people venture to do. They extract the fetus at the stage which is appropriate for their enterprise, take this aborted infant, and cut it up in a trough with a pestle. And they mix honey, pepper, and certain other perfumes and spices with it to keep from getting sick, and then all the revellers in this [herd] of swine and dogs assemble, and each eats a piece of the child with his fingers. And now, after this cannibalism, they pray to God and say, “We were not mocked by the archon of lust, but have gathered the brother’s blunder up!” And this, if you please, is their idea of the “Perfect Passover.” » (Panarion 26.5,4-6)

Gnostic Christians understood that having children is an error because all flesh in this world is the flesh of the archon who created the world and it really is a taking part in the Heavenly error made by Sophia when she gave birth to the abortion. The error is corrected by Sophia taking the archon/abortion back into herself. We take part in this correction by eating the aborted body and thus taking it back into ourselves. The Body of Christ is the dead body of this archon/abortion! This is the original understanding of Holy Communion and the Body of Christ on the Cross. Yes indeed! This theology is very grotesque! Christ gave the rite of Holy Communion to spare our minds from experiencing the consumption of human flesh and blood, which would only serve to set our minds on the flesh, rather than set our minds on the spirit. As it is recorded in the Gospel of John, “It is spirit who gives life; flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63).

“Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me, he also will live because of me” (John 6:52-57).

***

« “The Lord hath shown me what my soul must say on its ascent to heaven, and how it must answer each of the powers on high. ‘I have recognized myself,’ it saith, ‘and gathered myself from every quarter, and have sown no children for the archon. But I have pulled up his roots, and gathered my scattered members, and I know who thou art. For I,’ it saith, ‘am of the ones on high.’ “ » [From the Gospel of Philip – not the one in the Nag Hammadi Library, but rather the real one!] (Panarion of Epiphanius 26.13,2-3)

This quote is from the real Gospel of Philip, I say, because it is quoted by Epiphanius as such. And, the Gospel of Philip in the Nag Hammadi Library not only does not have this verse, but – in reading it – there is a lot of Catholic-like verses contained in it. The verse here quoted relates to the early Gnostic Christian understanding of how to correct the error of having children, i.e. “sowing children for the archon” (the archon is Jehovah). – The correction is by “gathering your scattered members.”

Epiphanius comments:

“But if it turns out to have fathered a son, it is detained below until it can take its own children up and restore them to itself.”

Conclusion

Now it becomes clear why they Apostle Paul referred to the “Cross” with the words the “offense of the Cross” (Galatians 5:11)! “As a result of this many of his disciples withdrew and were not walking with him anymore” (John 6:66). After Jesus left the Christ on the Cross, and the Christ said to Jesus, “My God my God why have you forsaken me,” the Second Man sacrificed his body on behalf of all bodies of flesh, so that by eating we spiritually we take part in the Perfect Redemption! “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32). “Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).

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Henotheology!

Welcome to 2017! In previous posts, especially this one, I’ve noted that the Old Testament and even the New Testament are rife filled with references to other gods, or a plurality of gods (which are actually angels or archons, according to the Christian and Gnostic traditions). This is especially evident in the apocrypha like the Books of Enoch, Jubilees, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library. Many are brainwashed by such dogma as the Nicene Creed of Orthodoxy and Catholicism into thinking that Moses taught monotheism on Mount Sinai from Yahweh. He didn’t. They tell us that the Judeo-Christian tradition has always believed in only one God since the beginning. It didn’t. In fact, monotheism wasn’t even part of church doctrine until well into the Middle Ages. It didn’t even exist in the minds of the ancient Hebrews or Egyptians until the late 600’s BCE, long after Moses and the early Prophets. As we saw, the Bible is one of many places that the tradition of “many gods” can be found.

In the Dead Sea Scrolls for instance, the War Scroll 1:10 tells us:

On the day when the Kittim fall, there shall be battle and terrible carnage before the God of Israel, for that shall be the day appointed from ancient times for the battle of destruction of the sons of darkness. At that time, the assembly of gods and the hosts of men shall battle, causing great carnage; on the day of calamity, the sons of light shall battle with the company of darkness amid the shouts of a mighty multitude and the clamour of gods and men to (make manifest) the might of God. And it shall be a time of [great] tribulation for the people which God shall redeem; of all its afflictions none shall be as this, from its sudden beginning until its end in eternal redemption.

In the Nag Hammadi Codices, a rather curious and long, late Valentinian text, called the Tripartite Tractate, the author goes on a long-winded diatribe about how some Jews were not monotheists:

By interpreting them, they established many heresies which exist to the present among the Jews. Some say that God is one, who made a proclamation in the ancient scriptures. Others say that he is many. Some say that God is simple and was a single mind in nature. Others say that his activity is linked with the establishment of good and evil. Still others say that he is the creator of that which has come into being. Still others say that it was by the angels that he created.

Back in the Dead Sea Scrolls, specifically in the War Scroll (IQM, 1Q33, 4Q491-7, 4Q471), it mentions a church of gods, and that Michael reigns over a kingdom of gods. They also specify that these are living gods, indicating their real existence outside the imagination.

Be strong and fear not; [for they tend] towards chaos and confusion, and they lean on that which is not and [shall not be. To the God] of Israel belongs all that is and shall be; [He knows] all the happenings of eternity. This is the day appointed by Him for the defeat and overthrow of the Prince of the kingdom of wickedness, and He will send eternal succour to the company of His redeemed by the might of the princely Angel of the kingdom of Michael. With everlasting light He will enlighten with joy [the children] of Israel; peace and blessing shall be with the company of God. He will raise up the kingdom of Michael in the midst of the gods, and the realm of Israel in the midst of all flesh. Righteousness shall rejoice on high, and all the children of His truth shall jubilate in eternal knowledge. And you, the sons of His Covenant, be strong in the ordeal of God! His mysteries shall uphold you until He moves His hand for His trials to come to an end.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were written by the Essenes, who, as many other authors have stated, were in many ways similar to Jesus, and were the only major denomination of Judaism that Jesus did not criticize. One must ask: if Jesus were so adamantly opposed to the Pharisees and the Sadducees, who believed in only one God, yet was tolerant toward the Essenes, who believed in many gods, then does it not stand to reason that Jesus Christ himself may have also believed in many gods? In fact, Jesus Christ did believe in many gods. This is implicitly stated within his commentary on Psalm 82 in the Gospel of John! The Jews were criticizing him for calling himself the Son of God, because they thought it was blasphemy. In response, Jesus pointed out that Psalm 82 in the Bible says that there are many gods, and so therefore it is not blasphemy for Jesus to assert that he is one of these gods, as he put it (John 10:33-38):

The Jews answered Him, “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods’”? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came–and Scripture cannot be set aside–what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

By saying this, Jesus affirmed the real existence of more than one God and affirmed his own divinity at the same time. Michael S. Heiser writes in The Unique Son of the Most High: The place of Jesus in the divine council, Part 1 of 4 John 10:22-42 (Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6):

6 I (the speaker is God) have said, “You are gods (Myhl); )eloh|4m); and all of you are children of the most High (!Ayæl.[, ynEßb.; be ne, (elyo4n). 7 But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.

To whom is he speaking? The Jews at Sinai? No – the other elohim of the council in verse 1 of Psalm 82 are the audience. When Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6, he is mouthing the words of Yahweh (the original speaker in 82:6) and quotes the passage as it originally reads – God speaks to the other elohim. Jesus is not using the verse to say that Psalm 82 had God speaking to the Jews at Sinai.

Verse 7, the next verse, confirms this interpretation, since it says that these gods to whom God was speaking would “die like men” – if they were already men, this makes no sense. Who are the princes? See Daniel 10 – divine beings (the same Hebrew word for Michael and Gabriel beings “princes” is used here in Psalm 82:7 – r#o – sar).

POINT: Jesus does not view the plural elohim of Psalm 82:1 as mere humans, and there’s a reason this is so. The reason he quotes this verse is NOT to claim he’s just a man who can call himself a god like other men – it’s to claim deity as a son of the Most High, and to DISTINGUISH himself from the other sons. The former is the direct impact of John 10; the latter requires taking John 10 in the context of Jesus and John’s prior descriptions of Jesus in this same gospel as the “monogenes” – the UNIQUE son.

There are many other references to “many gods” in the Nag Hammadi as well. In the text On the Origin of the World, 2:97, it tells us:

Seeing that everybody, gods of the world and mankind, says that nothing existed prior to chaos, I, in distinction to them, shall demonstrate that they are all mistaken, because they are not acquainted with the origin of chaos, nor with its root.

And it is these gods that are actually subservient to what the text calls “Yaldabaoth,” the child of chaos or the Satanic demiurge and material principle.

And when Pistis Sophia desired to cause the thing that had no spirit to be formed into a likeness and to rule over matter and over all her forces, there appeared for the first time a ruler, out of the waters, lion-like in appearance, androgynous, having great authority within him, and ignorant of whence he had come into being. Now when Pistis Sophia saw him moving about in the depth of the waters, she said to him, “Child, pass through to here,” whose equivalent is ‘yalda baoth‘.

Since that day, there appeared the principle of verbal expression, which reached the gods and the angels and mankind. And what came into being as a result of verbal expression, the gods and the angels and mankind finished.

In the Books of Jeu, the Untitled Text, of the Bruce Codex, it tells us about a Heavenly, Pleromic City in which all manner of divinities dwell:

And in the place of the indivisible one there are twelve springs, and upon them twelve fatherhoods, surrounding the indivisible one in the manner of the deeps or these veils. And there is a crown upon the indivisible one in which is every species of life : and every triple-powered species; and every incomprehensible species : and every endless species ; and every unutterable species; and every silent species ; and every unmoved species ; and every first-visible species ; and every self-begotten species ; and every true species ; all being within it.

And in this is every species and every gnosis. And every power receives light from it.And every mind is revealed in it. This is the crown which the Father of the All gave to the indivisible one, in which there are 365 species, and they shine and fill the All with imperishable and inextinguishable light.

In the Gospel of Thomas, Logion 30, Jesus seems to indicate the reality of the divine mystery of the Trinity. But as in due course, we will see this mystery is anything but.

Jesus said, “Where there are three gods, they are gods. Where there are two or one, I am with him.”

In the Gnostic text Melchizedek, it differentiates between the gods, the archons and the archangels:

Death will tremble and be angry, not only he himself, but also his fellow world-ruling archons, and the principalities and the authorities, the female gods and the male gods, together with the archangels.

In the Hermetic-Stoic text Asclepius 21-29, it says that certain Gnostic human beings or Hermetic sages have expanded their spirits enough to be indeed enlightened dual beings–being of both spirit and matter and actually contain in themselves the ability to create gods through their theurgical rituals which taps into the realms of the imaginal, in which I will discuss later.

“And it happened this way because of the will of God that men be better than the gods, since, indeed, the gods are immortal, but men alone are both immortal and mortal. Therefore, man has become akin to the gods, and they know the affairs of each other with certainty. The gods know the things of men, and men know the things of the gods. And I am speaking about men, Asclepius, who have attained learning and knowledge. But (about) those who are more vain than these, it is not fitting that we say anything base, since we are divine and are introducing holy matters.

“Since we have entered the matter of the communion between the gods and men, know, Asclepius, that in which man can be strong! For just as the Father, the Lord of the universe, creates gods, in this very way man too, this mortal, earthly, living creature, the one who is not like God, also himself creates gods. Not only does he strengthen, but he is also strengthened. Not only is he god, but he also creates gods. Are you astonished, Asclepius? Are you yourself another disbeliever like the many?”

The Gospel of Philip tells us something very similar:

That is the way it is in the world – men make gods and worship their creation. It would be fitting for the gods to worship men!

Returning to the Hermetic text, Asclepius, it also states that “the gods are derived from pure matter.” Here, the gods are not spiritual entities, but material entities, and therefore may be biological in nature like humans are. Yet the same passage also asserts that the gods are immortal. Perhaps certain biological entities that are much more intelligent than mankind have figured out a way to cheat death indefinitely, and thus become “pure matter.”

For the gods, since they came into being out of a pure matter, do not need learning and knowledge. For the immortality of the gods is learning and knowledge, since they came into being out of pure matter. It (immortality) assumed for them the position of knowledge and learning. By necessity, he (God) set a boundary for man; he placed him in learning and knowledge.

The depths of hell are also filled with distinctly different entities, including at least four different types, according to the Trimorphic Protennoia:

I am the life of my Epinoia that dwells within every Power and every eternal movement, and (in) invisible Lights and within the Archons and Angels and Demons, and every soul dwelling in Tartaros, and (in) every material soul. I dwell in those who came to be. I move in everyone and I delve into them all. I walk uprightly, and those who sleep, I awaken. And I am the sight of those who dwell in sleep.

In the Platonizing Sethian text, Allogenes, it ruminates on whether or not the “Summum Bonum”, or the Highest Good actually has angels at his beckoning call:

We do not know whether the Unknowable One has angels or gods, or whether the One who is at rest was containing anything within himself except the stillness, which is he, lest he be diminished.

In Genesis 3:5, the Serpent tempted Eve saying:

For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

In other words, the fruit from the tree of knowledge would give Eve the perspective and “knowledge” of the Elohim. The Hebrew word elohim can mean either “God” singular or “gods” plural, depending on the verb. The Hypostasis of the Archons clarifies the matter, explicitly saying that Eve would become like the gods but the “chief ruler” or Yaldabaoth/Yahweh, out of jealousy, damned the primal couple, when they were expelled from the Garden of Eden.

And the snake, the instructor, said, “With death you shall not die; for it was out of jealousy that he said this to you. Rather your eyes shall open and you shall come to be like gods, recognizing evil and good.” And the female instructing principle was taken away from the snake, and she left it behind, merely a thing of the earth.

Moreover, the book of Jubilees (3:19) found among the Dead Sea Scrolls also confirms that “gods” plural is the original meaning.

And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that on the day ye shall eat thereof, your eyes will be opened, and ye will be as gods, and ye will know good and evil.

Moreover, it seems like the God of Genesis doesn’t really know everything when he asks:

And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

The Testimony of Truth has this to say about the Genesis account:

But what sort is this God? First he maliciously refused Adam from eating of the tree of knowledge, and, secondly, he said “Adam, where are you?” God does not have foreknowledge? Would he not know from the beginning? And afterwards, he said, “Let us cast him out of this place, lest he eat of the tree of life and live forever.” Surely, he has shown himself to be a malicious grudger! And what kind of God is this? For great is the blindness of those who read, and they did not know him. And he said, “I am the jealous God; I will bring the sins of the fathers upon the children until three (and) four generations.” And he said, “I will make their heart thick, and I will cause their mind to become blind, that they might not know nor comprehend the things that are said.” But these things he has said to those who believe in him and serve him!

The Genesis account presents us with one single all powerful Creator God and yet has a few references to the Elohim in regard to both the Trees of Knowledge and Life. Does Jesus say anything in reference to Genesis? Actually, Jesus never does affirm that the earth was literally created in six days nor does he affirm the literal creationist timeline as creationists might have you believe. There is only one reference out of the entire New Testament that discusses the creation account in the 7 day period including the day of rest in Hebrews 4:3-7, a text, by the way, which had a hard time entering into the traditional cannon and is kept out of eastern church cannons.

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

“So I declared on oath in my anger,

    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world.For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”

Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.”

Moreover, the opening verse of John’s gospel, “In the beginning was the Word,” presents a creation account that appears to be aimed at competing against Genesis 1. The Greek word Logos implies logic, order and reason, which is the exact opposite of what Genesis 1 says about the earth being “without form and void.” This indicates that the Logos was sort of a demiurgical force that gave some sort of semblance of order from the chaotic abyss, from which Yaldaboath, the god of the void, also emerges from.

Henotheism, not monotheism, is the theology of Moses and the Prophets. It is the chief theology of Jesus Christ himself as well. This fact is generally accepted by scholars, as any number of authorities can attest. So, what exactly is Henotheism? Nothing better defines Henotheism than what St. Paul the Apostle told in 1 Corinthians 4-8:

So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

Henotheism is the belief that many gods exist, but that only one God should be worshiped. Unlike monotheism, there are truly many gods and they really do exist. Yet unlike polytheism, not all the gods are worshiped. Only one of them is worshiped, and the rest are profane and are to be shunned. Henotheism explains why James the brother of Jesus and Saint John the Apostle, together with all the Prophets, were so thoroughly against idols and eating meat sacrificed to idols, even to the point where it was one of the few regulations of the Old Testament that they insisted non-Jewish Christians must keep in full as stated in Acts 15:29.

You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.

This is because sacrifices to idols serve profane entities that truly do exist, according to 1 Corinthians 10:19-22:

19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

Henotheism explains why idolatry is the most frequently mentioned offense in the entire Bible–for if God is all powerful, then an idol is nothing, and it would only be an inconsequential joke and hardly worth the mention. But if idolatry truly serves other gods that truly do exist, and if sacrifices to idols truly feeds those gods, then this explains why Yahweh and his Prophets are so vociferously against idolatry. For if there are other gods, then these gods are truly a threat to Yahweh and to his Messiah, and therefore it is particularly important that idolatry does not infiltrate the ranks of the faithful, for it truly gives enemies a foot in the door by which they can infiltrate the armies of Yahweh. The God of Henotheism is actually competing against other gods who are real. Worshiping other gods is serving other gods, and serving other gods undermines the power of your covenant God, and this is tantamount to adultery against your God and treason against your nation. In such terms the Prophets speak of idolatry. This line of thinking only makes sense in light of Henotheism.

If God were Almighty, then the overarching importance of the prohibition against idols makes no sense at all, because in a monotheistic system, and idol has no power. Which is worse, praying to rocks and dead trees, or committing murder?  In a monotheistic system, the first is laughable but the second is quite heinous. But in a Henotheistic system, idolatry is even more heinous than murder, for murder can only kill the body, but idolatry kills both body and soul, for it puts the soul at the mercy of gods who care not for humanity. Only within the framework of Henotheistic thinking does it make sense that idolatry is a worse crime than murder, theft, sexual perversion, or any other infraction. Seeing that the Bible condemns idolatry more frequently than any other sin, this is a case for Henotheism. Idolatry is also considered the same as adultery by Jesus as well in Matthew 5:27-28.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

In other words, if you are worshiping God but then praying to other pagan gods, then in reality, you are already committing adultery. In the Old Testament, we actually the first instance in which a foreign god actually humbles himself before Yahweh–that being is Dagon, the fish god in 1 Samuel 5:2-4:

Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon.When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained.

In the text Ruth 1:15-17, we have Naomi who was a Hebrew who believed in Yahweh, but here she sanctioned the worship of other gods besides Yahweh, but only for those outside the Hebrew nation.

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely,if even death separates you and me.”

In Jeremiah 48:7, the Moabite god Chemosh is said to be bound in chains like an actual person, thanks to Yahweh’s invasion.

Since you trust in your deeds and riches, you too will be taken captive, and Chemosh will go into exile, together with his priests and officials.

As stated in earlier posts, we saw that many of the western Semitic peoples, including Hebrews, Canaanites, and the more archaic city of Ugarit, believed in a Father-God called El, which corresponds to the Greek Ouranos. The name El and its variants are known throughout the Bible, El, Elyon, El-Shaddai, and Eloah. They believed El spawned a brood of sons called bn-Ilm (Ugaritic) or beni-ha-Elohim (Hebrew), which means “sons of El” or “sons of the God,” and that these sons of El participated in some kind of divine government called “the congress of the gods.” Mark S. Smith in the book The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Textstells us that the Psalms 82 reference of the “divine council” scene, doesn’t actually portray Yahweh as the head of the assemblage.

One biblical text that presents Yahweh in an explicit divine council scene does not cast him as its head (who is left decidedly mute or undescribed, probably the reason why it survived the later collapsing of the different tiers). This text is Psalms 82, which begins in verse 1:

“God (elohim) stands in the divine assembly of El, among the divinities (elohim) He spronounces judgment.”

Here the figure of God, understood as Yahweh, takes his stand in the assembly. The name El was understood in the tradition – and perhaps at the time of the original text’s composition as well – to be none other but Yahweh, and not a separate God called El.

This is the origin of the title “Standing One” of Simon Magus. It indicates that a divine power has decided to stand up and forge his own divine kingdom and even wage war against the other gods. The operations of this congress are implicit within such Biblical stories as the Tower of Babel, where Yahweh consults with the other gods – “Let us go down and confuse their language” Genesis 11:7 – and in Job, where “the sons of God came to present themselves before Yahweh.” Job 1:6, 2:1. El and his wife Asherah had a total of 70 sons in the Biblical and Ugaritic traditions, or 77 in the Hittite tradition. These were the “sons of God,” and to each of them El gave a nation as an inheritance. Yahweh was one of these sons of El, and his inheritance was Israel, as stated in an earlier article. Consequently, each nation was supposed to worship one of the sons of El as its appointed God. Canaan worshiped Baal, Moab worshiped Chemosh, Ammon worshiped Molech, and Israel worshiped Yahweh. They all paid homage to El as the Father-God. This can be seen in Jubilees, where Shem,

“blessed the God of gods, who had put the word of the Lord into his mouth, and the Lord for evermore.” Jubilees 8:20-21.

In this passage, it sounds as if Shem was blessing two distinct divine entities – El and Yahweh, Father and Son. We already saw that in Deuteronomy 32:8, Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint tells us:

“When Elyon divided the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, he set the boundaries of the nations according to the number of the sons of Elohim.

What this passage means is this: The Father-God Elyon divided the nations according to the number of sons he had, and so each nation got its own god. Your Bible might say “sons of Israel” in place of “sons of Elohim,” but both the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint attest that the Bible originally said “sons of Elohim” not “sons of Israel,” as does Irenaeus also (Against Heresies 3.12.9). Many scholars believe that the Hebrew Bible was intentionally corrupted by the monotheists to read “sons of Israel” because later Judaism evolved to become monotheist.

Often, even in early times, the national god was combined with the Father-God El to form one entity, hence the term “Yahweh Elyon” (the LORD Most High) in Genesis 14, and “Yahweh Elohim” (the LORD God). Hence, the two deities were collapsed into one long before monotheism was invented. This also is the origin of Trinitarian thinking – that Jesus Christ, as an entity, can be collapsed into a single entity with the Father and the Spirit, thus making God three-in-one. Today, theologians often refer to the Trinity as a “mystery,” but there was no such “mystery” in the minds of ancient Christian Trinitarians. They took it for granted, because it was consistent with the same way they had thought for centuries. Only with the general acceptance of the monotheistic heresy did the Trinity become a seemingly self-contradictory “mystery.”

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This brings us to the violent activities of the God of Israel. Psalm 82:6-8 tells us:

“I said, ‘You are “gods”;

    you are all sons of the Most High.’

But you will die like mere mortals;

    you will fall like every other ruler.”

Rise up, O God, judge the earth,

    for all the nations are your inheritance.

In other words, the God of Israel’s rightful destiny is to ultimately conquer the other gods and appropriate their inheritances. In a world filled with warfare and hostile nations, the logical thing to do is to have your nation and the god that rules over it, top dog. That is exactly how the ancient Israelite’s viewed such things. Yahweh should be president in the congress of the gods and should have the power to make war with the other gods and take away their power.

This is especially evident when we study the Psalms and the life story of King David. David’s covenant or pact with Yahweh was simple: you keep me from being killed by my enemies, and I will conquer all Israel’s neighbors for you. The covenant was a contractual obligation between two parties for their mutual benefit. The benefit to David was a long life. The benefit to Yahweh was the conquest of Edom, Moab, Philistia, Syria, Ammon, and the national unity of Israel. Once this is understood, David’s Psalms make sense. His frequent mention of the underworld and his intense fear of death–coupled with his description of Yahweh as a god of war with nostrils filled with fire, riding on thunderclouds, sword in hand, hurling lightening bolts, and shooting arrows at his enemies, along with multiple songs of victory–these features are consistent with David’s incessant wars of conquest against all Israel’s neighbors.

In this god-eat-god cosmic system, David wanted to ensure Yahweh was the top dog or the king of the jungle–hence the image of the lion and the serpent associated with the Jewish god. This sort of alliance system between gods and humans is what Old Testament covenant theology is all about. When Israel went to war, they carried the throne of Yahweh into battle, the Ark of the Covenant, because Yahweh was their commander and ally. Before they attacked, they consulted with Yahweh, to make certain he approved of the military action. Every war was a holy war against some other competing nation and its god. Expanding the boundaries of your nation meant expanding the empire of your covenant god, and your god would reward you for it.

Jesus himself acts like a warring Son of God with words like:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword?” Luke 12:51, Matthew 10:34.

Jesus, is in essence, a holy warrior. Jesus says things like this because he knows he is in an all-encompassing cosmic battle with the chief principle of matter of this world–Satan–as well as his hordes of demons. Jesus Christ made friends with the poor and the wretched, the prostitutes, and social outcasts. He was not looking for ethical or self-righteous people. He was looking for loyal people, worthy to his cause. He was looking for people in the dregs of society or the worst of sinners who would fight for him–who would risk everything for him, because they had nothing to loose anyway. Jesus is presented as not an all-powerful being but a god among gods, who must fight his way to become chief of the gods, or else he would become a slave to gods more powerful than himself–at least in this world anyway. He wants violent people, red hot for their faith and devotion to his cause rather than embrace a universalistic religious message as espoused by more pacifist saints. That is why Jesus says he will vomit out the lukewarm in Revelation 3:16.

Jesus continually talks about the the wicked hearted hypocrites and calls them vipers and perverse. He also referred to gentiles as dogs. The Lord wasn’t some friendly hippie that the New Age makes him out to be. He’s too much of a truth teller so they killed him for it. Jesus continually told his disciples to count the cost of being loyal in his service. In Luke 14:25-33, he tells them to properly anticipate all the costs of being associated with the Son of God in terms of building towers and warfare strategies similar to those devised by Sun Tzu.

25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

However, very few make it past the veil and are indeed victorious over the world.

13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

If I’m right, and all these deities have competing interests and are recruiting followers on earth for unseen cloak-and-dagger conspiracies on the other side, Jesus could be some opposing force that steals their recruits and diminishes their ranks, which would explain why they hate him so dearly. Jesus, in essence, would be like the “get out of jail free” card of the spirit world. This also explains why the other gods also hate Yahweh, because he is in constant war and competition with them. So, were the Gnostics right in saying we are in a prison house or insane asylum ruled by multiple cosmocraters and demonic archons? And that Jesus chooses to baptize those who he wants to be his disciples? The Excerpts of Theodotus say something to this affect.

Now, regeneration is by water and spirit, as was all creation: “For the Spirit of God moved on the abyss.” And for this reason the Saviour was baptized, though not Himself needing to be so, in order that He might consecrate the whole water for those who were being regenerated. Thus it is not the body only, but the soul, that we cleanse. It is accordingly a sign of the sanctifying of our invisible part, and of the straining off from the new and spiritual creation of the unclean spirits that have got mixed up with the soul.

Some of the archons would undoubtedly be less evil than others. Some might not even be evil and may be, in fact, good, but their ultimate intentions may not be so pure. They could, perhaps, all desire power, worship, and honor, even the good ones, so even if you serve the good archons, you’re still a slave. Jesus is some formerly unknown alien infiltrator who showed up out of nowhere and began zapping people out of the sphere of the archons. Yahweh would be one of the archons, not the true father of Jesus Christ. Maybe he’s a good archon, but he still wants power, glory, and submission. This is the Gnostic belief. Sabaoth, the “Lord of Forces” would essentially be Yahweh as we think of him today. The malicious aspects of the OT deity could be Yaldabaoth or Satan. They would all be part of the Elohim or the original pantheon of divinities worshiped in ancient Mesopotamia.

The Marcionites believed that the ones who would be saved were those who were cursed by the demiurge and were unfairly treated in this world, i.e., sinners and outcasts, kind of like Cain, Korah, Balaam, and other so-called bad guys of the Old Testament. Because these sorts of people were so unfairly mistreated in the world, the Marcionites thought, they would be the only ones who would be opening to receiving the radical gospel about the alien God of Jesus Christ. They were the perfect soldiers for Jesus’ controversial and exclusive message of his divine sonship, the redemption of the believer and the coming judgment and destruction of the cosmos through the fiery conflagration.

This is perhaps where some mythicists go wrong. They are right in saying that Jesus shares many similarities with other pre-Christian gods and their dramatic stories. Jesus also shares similarities with other enigmatic and magical figures in the Bible like Simon Magus, etc. But to say that Jesus was simply invented in the twisted, archonic minds of the Roman rulers or invented by some unknown cabal is exactly what the controllers want you to believe. This is exactly what Gnostic texts like On the Origin of the World is refuting!

“Now the Word that is superior to all beings was sent for this purpose alone: that he might proclaim the unknown. He said, “There is nothing hidden that is not apparent, and what has not been recognized will be recognized.” And these were sent to make known what is hidden, and the seven authorities of chaos and their impiety. And thus they were condemned to death.

So when all the perfect appeared in the forms modelled by the rulers, and when they revealed the incomparable truth, they put to shame all the wisdom of the gods. And their fate was found to be a condemnation. And their force dried up. Their lordship was dissolved. Their forethought became emptiness, along with their glory.”

I definitely don’t think it’s mythology. I know it’s not mythology. These entities are real. Once you conjure to manifestation, you know of their reality forever. And of course, they know that you know of their reality forever. You get marked, essentially. Whether by Jesus Christ or some other demonic being. And we have to decide which team to side with since they are all fighting for our souls.

And as Christopher Knowles over at the Secret Sun once said in his series explaining why he is not a mythicist:

But believing Jesus or Paul were real people doesn’t mean you need to buy into the tenets of orthodox Christianity, or of any other kind of Christianity, for that matter.

And finally, the Neoplatonists taught the idea of a world-soul, or the Anima Mundi, in which they acquired from Plato. This is the divine, noetic realm from which emerged the gods and daimons. It is also the equivalent of Dr. Carl Jung’s collective unconscious and Dr. Henry Corbin’s Imaginal Realm. All gods, daimons, angels, heroes, fairies, devils, monsters, and myths originate from there as well. This is the very subject of focus in Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld by Patrick Harper. In fact, that is what the On the Origin of the World is telling us, explicitly:

Now the eternal realm (aeon) of truth has no shadow outside it, for the limitless light is everywhere within it. But its exterior is shadow, which has been called by the name ‘darkness’. From it, there appeared a force, presiding over the darkness. And the forces that came into being subsequent to them called the shadow ‘the limitless chaos’. From it, every kind of divinity sprouted up […] together with the entire place, so that also, shadow is posterior to the first product. It was <in> the abyss that it (shadow) appeared, deriving from the aforementioned Pistis.

The Soul of the World, collective unconscious, or Imaginal Realm, is the very source of which all the gods emerge from, like droplets from a wave. In other words the gods, daimons, and myths of the Imaginal Realm are not in the Imaginal Realm etc.–they are the Imaginal Real. It is this dynamis or power from which many Gnostics drew their strength from to create the gods through occult means similar to that of creating egregores as hinted at in the Hermetic text, Ascelpius. In fact, it is a dynamic, tempestuous place that constantly branches into “our” world–its tendrils leaping into the physical plane, the mental plane (our thoughts/imagination) and our psychological complexes and dreams.

The Anima Mundi, the daimonic reality in which our spirits also originate from, also exists within each of us–it is a plan of being that is as much “out there” as it is “within us,” as as opposed to how the “unconscious” part of the collective unconscious suggests as area of being that can be reduced to psychological factors. It is also connected to the idea of the “vault of heaven” as per Genesis or the demiurgical “womb” of the Cainites per the church father Epiphanius. And it is the means by which we can create physical reality and impress our will upon (e.g) the law of attraction–a subject and direction that will be explored further in depth, this year in 2017.

New Project Alert: The Megas Aeon Podcast

So, here is the very first episode of the Megas Aeon Podcast on my spruced up Youtube channel. It is a new podcast and talk show that I decided to finally embark upon–featuring special guest, Michael Eleleth/Janus. In this episode, we discuss my newest article, High Priests of the Heavenly Temple: Jesus, Melchizedek and Metatron of 3 Enoch.

We also discuss other pertinent topics such as the ambiguous, gloomy nature of the Demiurge, Sabaoth–the redeemed daemon, ancient Abrasax gems, Jesus Christ as the heavenly revealer and high priest in the New Testament and Gnostic literature, Melchizedek of Genesis and Hebrews, Metatron of 3 Enoch and Kabbalistic lore, Adam & Eve, Hermetism, Carl Jung, the Nephilim, the Greek Titans and the fallen angels/archons, euhemerism vs. astrotheology, the meat of gnosis and, much, much more. Hope you enjoy!

High Priests of the Heavenly Temple: Jesus, Melchizedek and Metatron of 3 Enoch

In the book, The Great Angel: A Study of Israel’s Second Son by Dr. Margaret Barker, she discusses in depth on how the angels Metatron of 3 Enoch, the god of Jews, Yahweh, the High Priest of El Elyion, Melchizedek, and Jesus Christ as presented in the Gospels and Hebrews, may actually describe one and the same being. Margaret Barker, in the same book, showed how the first Christians recognized Jesus as YHWH, the LORD, the Son of God Most High. And yet, YHWH is denied as the true god by other Christians, including the Sethian Gnostics and it is also vigorously denied that Jesus was also the god of the Old Testament by other Gnostics like Valentinus, and early Christians like Marcion. Why is there such a differentiation of opinion on this matter? The answer to this mystery will be answered in due course.

Be warned: This will be an admittedly lengthy article, and not for the faint of heart

Margaret Barker argues in this book that the more traditional understanding of rabbinic Judaism that emerged after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.C. is not as monolithic as understood today. In fact, Barker argues that the Gnostic understanding of the Old Testament is largely derived from a much earlier tradition of pre-Deuteronomic Israelite polytheism rather than a dualistic mutation of early Christianity into multiple “heresies”.

While her work is popular with the Mormon church, I have no reason to think she herself is a Mormon. In the Great Angel, Barker claims that the term “Son of God” in the Old Testament, meant that they were some sort of divine power, like an angel:

It is customary to list the occurrences of “son of God” in the Old Testament, and to conclude from that list that the term could be used to mean either a heavenly being of some sort, or the King of Israel, or the people of Israel in their special relationship with God. (p. 4).

But Barker remarks that these studies have ignored the distinction between two different words for God in the Old Testament:

All the texts in the Hebrew Bible distinguish clearly between the divine sons of Elohim/Elyon and those human beings who are called sons of Yahweh. (p.10)

For example, numerous theologies are preserved in the Bible that does not simply reflect one monotheist god. In Deuteronomy 4:35, it says that “the Lord is God: there is none else besides him.” However, Psalms 82 says that “God stands in the company of the gods” and judges among them; and that “God” shall inherit all nations (v. 8). Deuteronomy 32:8-9, as preserved in both the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint (LXX), it tells us:

When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds according to the number of the angels of God. For the Lord’s portion is his people. Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. (LXX)

Here, there is an obvious distinction made between Yahweh and the Most High, where Yahweh is simply the “son” or “great angel” of the “Lord” being El Elyon. Clearly this passage says that the “Most High” grants the inheritance and that YHWH has received “Jacob” (read: Israel) as his “lot.” The later Masoretic text in which the traditional KJV and Catholic translations rely on says the following:

“When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds according to the number of the sons of Israel. For YHWH’s portion is his people. Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” (MT)

apparition-to-the-shepherds

The words “sons of Israel” mask the reference to the “sons” or “angels of God” that appears in older manuscripts and covers the true theological implications of the passage. Clearly these translations contradict each other in that the “sons of Israel” meant human beings and the “sons” or “angels of God” meant divine beings or messengers. According to Stephen Peter at Bridal Chamber, in his article, “The Rule of the Shepherd Angels,” the Shepherds mentioned in Jeremiah (25:34-36), are in fact, angelic rulers rather than human gentile kings. This also extends to the Babylonian King, e.g. Lucifer, the rebel angel and fallen star, seen in Isaiah 14:12-15. These are the same beings as the rebel angelic, “Watchers” described in the Book of Enoch. Stephen Peter goes on to write:

The appointment of the seventy was itself the result of man’s disobedience. Man had turned away from Yahweh to worship idols of wood and stone. So in his anger Yahweh turned man over to the authority of the fallen angels or demons that had corrupted him. Yet at the same time he made a compact with man.  The rule of the demons was not to last forever. Yahweh would redeem mankind by sending the Messiah, the Christ to end the rule of the demons. At this time the demons themselves and all who had been corrupted by them would be cast into the abyss. Most of the early followers of the Jesus movement, including Paul, thought that they lived during the reign of the seventieth angel and that this final reckoning would happen in their lifetime.

The fallen stars and the Shepherds may have been originally the same group – in the book of dream visions both are judged at the same time and in the same manner and both meet with identical punishments. The scriptural authority for the story of the fallen angels is a few lines in Genesis –

the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.  There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.  And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:2-5).   

As a result of the failings of man Yahweh decides to send the flood. There is nothing here about the punishment of the ‘sons of God’. But there is a great deal in Jeremiah about the punishment of the Shepherds.  Did some of the proto-gnostics equate the sons of God in Genesis with the Shepherds in Jeremiah? There is a certainly a deep connection between the events of the flood and the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians.  Both are disasters which are inflicted by Yahweh in response to the wickedness of men and both result in a new covenant between man and Yahweh.

But the most important piece of evidence linking the Shepherds to the fallen stars is the extraordinary taunt against the Babylonian king in Isaiah 14.  This seems to compare the king to Satan –

How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you weakener of nations! And you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most high.’ Only into Sheol you are brought down, to the sides of the pit (Isaiah 14:12-15).

It is easy to see that the proto-gnostics would have made the connection that the King of Babylon was another name for the chief of the fallen stars.  We see in this passage that the fate of the king of Babylon is to be brought into the pit of Sheol. This agrees with the punishment of the stars and the Shepherds in Enoch.

The significance of the morning star is that it reigns in the sky in the pre-dawn hours. Although it is splendid and rules the sky in the hours of darkness the coming of dawn shows that it is feeble and easily extinguished by the light of the true sun.  In the same way the King of Babylon shall rule the earth only to be extinguished with the coming of the messiah.

In other words, these seventy Shepherd angels are also the “sons of the Most High,” in which they are judged. The Ancient Hellenistic Jews like Paul, Philo and many other Gnostic teachers like Simon, Marcion, Carpocrates, Basilides, Saturninus, etc., would have read the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) would have read that the nations were divided among the “angels of God” and that Jacob and Israel were the “Lord’s inheritance,” meaning the nation belonged to YHWH.

Both translations agree that the Kurios or the “Lord” has dominion over Jacob, but the “sons of God” were modified later to mean the “sons of Israel” instead. Luke 1:32 calls Jesus the “Son of the Most High” while Mark 5:7 narrates a demon calling Jesus “Son of the Most High God.” Elsewhere, we read Deuteronomy 6:5 “You shall love Yahweh your God…” Luke 10:27, tells Jesus’s disciples to, “You shall love the Lord [Kyrios] your God…” And Jesus is not ever called the “son of Yahweh” or the “son of the Lord” but called the Lord himself. These angels or Shepherd of God, are the same as the “archons” of Gnosticism.

It is clear that Babylon stands for the rulership and dominion of the angels, archons and demons over the world–especially Israel and Jerurselm–the apple of Yahweh’s eye. These Shepherds and their dominion over the world would one day be destroyed, which is prophesied in many Gnostic texts (On the Origin of the World, the Concept of Our Great Power, 1 Enoch) as well as the Book of Revelation. Jesus also calls himself the “good shepherd” of the sheep in Gospel of John, which indicates, he came to “replace” the seventy angelic rulers as the chief ruler and head high priest of the chosen elect as well as all of the heavens and all of creation itself–even holding the keys to Hades!

Margaret Barker further remarks:

This suggests that the Gospel writers, in using the terms ‘Lord’ and ‘Son of God Most High’, saw Jesus as an angel figure, and gave him their version of the sacred name Yahweh. (p.5)

Paul himself believed that the Lawgiver god was merely a chief angel or a lesser god/lower manifestation of the Supreme being, as I stated in earlier articles. In fact, Paul makes a distinction between the law of his mind or heart that corresponds to the Most High and the law of the flesh connected to YHWH, as stated in Romans 2:15:

15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

And so Paul claimed that the Law of Moses had no role in the divine plan for salvation and that there was more than one divine power at play here. This claim of divinity came from Jesus himself, who had attained the ultimate mystical experience of the high priesthood, seen the divine throne and been transformed by that experience. The messianic titles “Son of Man” and “Son of God,” and the role of the mysterious Servant, resulted from that experience, as did the realization that the coming of the LORD to his people meant the great Day of Atonement when he took upon himself the sins and sicknesses of the Creation as stated in Matthew 8:17:

17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”

This is much like how Azazel bares the sins of Israel in Leviticus 16, as the “serim” scapegoat–imagery associated with the goat-demon, Baphomet. The Lord Jesus Christ takes on the sins of the elect or “the world”, and becomes a “scapegoat” like Azazel, as well. Thus it was that Peter could say in Acts 3:14-16:

You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate,though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

Once Jesus is placed within the temple tradition, there is a whole new landscape for the study of Christian origins. The pre-existent, docetic and later adoptionist Christologies are contingent on temple symbolism that originates to the temples of Moses and the first temple of Solomon, which are themselves, replications of the Garden of Eden of Genesis. The Temple symbolism and theology of the Old Testament is also replicated in the New Testament, particularly in the Gospel of John, Paul’s epistles and Revelation of St. John, the Divine.

The “knowledge” characteristic of the non-canonical gospels would have originated in esoteric teaching such as was characteristic of priestly groups, and perhaps even underlying Isaiah 53.11.

11 After he has suffered,

    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;

by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,

    and he will bear their iniquities.

The central themes of sacrifice, redemption and atonement can be seen in their original setting, and Jesus’ disregard for the purity laws can be seen as the practical enactment of priestly atonement in his own sacrifice on the cross by bringing the excluded sinner unto redemption.

Before Jesus’ experience of becoming the Great Angel, the LORD, he taught as a wise man and a healer, like many others of his time, warning of the judgement to come. For many, this is what he remained. We see references to Jesus as the the Great Angel, the Son of Man, and even as a High Priest in texts such as 2 and 3 Enoch, Hebrews and the canonical Gospels. Once Jesus had achieved his transforming vision, he spoke as the “Son of Man,” or the “Divine Man” who had passed beyond the gates of Hades and rose back again, becoming an emissary from the other world as a heavenly revealer (the Gospel of John, Gospel of Thomas) and the future judge of the world that separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew, Revelation of St. John, the Books of Enoch, Luke, etc). The Gospel of John (14:9) tells us that whoever had seen Jesus had the transforming vision:

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

In the Epistle of the Hebrews, the letter is addressed from a Hellenistic/Pauline wing to the Hebrew Christians, who place emphasis on Moses and the Law over and above Grace. The writer of Hebrews claims that the Law of Moses is the “word spoken by angels” and he makes a distinction between the Law and the plan for salvation which was revealed by the Lord with God bearing witness “with signs and wonders” (Hebrews. 2:2-4). Interestingly, the author draws a distinction between the priesthood established through Moses, and another priesthood, established through “Melchizedek”, who was known as the “priest of the Most High God” or “El Elyon.”

In Hebrews, we see Jesus depicted as the High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, and not after the order of Aaron, which was established by Moses–according to the Law. Jesus and Melchizedek follows after the Most High, while Aaron and Moses represent the Lawgiver, Yahweh. Melchizedek, the high priest of the Most high God, is actually a part of ancient Semitic history that predates the nation of Israel. In Genesis 14, Melchizedek is portrayed as a priest-king of Jerusalem, which was controlled by the Canaanites, and the city was originally called “Salem.”

18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,

    Creator of heaven and earth.

20 And praise be to God Most High,

    who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Here, Melchizedek, the King of Salem, is presented as the chief archetype of the High Priest that distributes the Holy Eucharist to the Church. Melchizedek is in actuality, the priest of the Most High God, being El Elyion/Ouranos, and is really a part of the ancient Semitic history that predates Israel, where the Canaanite/Jebusite tribe lived in the city of Salem. According to Joshua 15:63, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin are said to have conquered Jerusalem but could not defeat the Jebusites as they merged with the Iraelites. Thanks to the Jebusites, Melchizedek is intimately part of the Hebrew and Christian traditions. In Psalms 110:1-4, it reads:

The Lord says to my lord:

“Sit at my right hand

    until I make your enemies

    a footstool for your feet.”

The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,

    “Rule in the midst of your enemies!”

Your troops will be willing

    on your day of battle.

Arrayed in holy splendor,

    your young men will come to you

    like dew from the morning’s womb.

The Lord has sworn

    and will not change his mind:

“You are a priest forever,

    in the order of Melchizedek.”

Here, King David writes that Jehovah places Jesus’s enemies under his feet, and that Jesus will be made a priest after the “order of Melchizedek.” The Jebusites are the source of the high priest, Melchizedek. This name derives from the Canaanite pantheon, being the god “Zedek.” Zedek is actually, the Phoenician name for the Roman god, Jupiter! According to Varchive, the name Zedek means “righteousness.”

The meaning of the name Melchizedek is “Zedek is [My] King.” Zedek, as said, is the name of the planet Jupiter, remaining so in the astronomy of the Jews in later ages. In the Talmud Zedek refers to Jupiter. Zedek also has the meaning of “righteousness” or “justice.” It is beyond the scope of this work to find which of the meanings—the name of the planet or a word in common usage—preceded and which followed. It is conceivable that this planet was worshipped in that remote time and that, in the days of the patriarch Abraham, the cult of Jupiter was prominent in the Salem of the high priest Melchizedek. Melchizedek, “priest of the most high,” was, it follows, a worshipper of Jupiter.

Even from biblical evidence, ancient Israelite history and culture was polytheistic. The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, are rabid devotees of YHWH, while guys like King Solomon are accused and blamed for worshiping and bringing in foreign gods to worship, as we see in 1 Kings 11:4-9. In Psalms 82, we see a clear references to a pantheon of gods, or the Elohim, being the sons of the Most High God, who judges them. Clearly, the Old Testament is making references to an older pagan tradition, being the Canaanites, the Egyptians, etc. For the Gnostic, Melchizedek represents a higher spiritual order, above YHWH, as he is after the priesthood order of Jesus Christ, who is the face or angelic representative of the Supreme God, El Elyion.

In the Pauline Hellenist, Epistle to the Hebrews (1:2), the writer makes some curious statements as he addresses the Hebrews, being the followers of the Law:

“Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;”

“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” (1:3).

“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. (1:5-7)

In other words, Jesus is actually the High Priest and Leader of the aeons and the various archangels, who “ministers a flame of fire” that worship Jesus Christ! The Greek word for “worlds” as the KJV writer used is actually “aeon” or “aion” which are references to Saturn, as well as the primeval aeons of the Pleromic world of light that existed prior to the creation of the physical universe, and it is the “Son” who is involved in the creation of these aeons, being the Logos, or Christ.

Hebrews 2:5, makes it clear, however, that Jesus is not simply one of the angels:

For unto the angels has he not put in subjection the world to come, of which we speak.

In fact, it is Jesus who rescues those subject under the dominion of the Law of Moses, given by the angels as well as the power of the devil (diabolon):

“For truly he did not give aid to angels but he took on the seed of Abraham…that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil. And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:14–16.

Paul says similar things in Galatians 5:4, in that the Law was ordained by angels and throughout 2 Corinthians 3, the Law of Moses is derided as the “ministry of death” and that Moses himself is a deceiver and a liar that hid the Glory of God from the children of Israel! Margaret Barker in the article, “Who was Melchizedek and Who Was God?” explains how the Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo connects Melchizedek with that of the Logos, that prefigures Jesus. In the Clementine Homilies (3.II), Simon Magus and the Apostle Peter have a lengthy debate about Scripture and the multiplicity of the gods, as Peter says:

I wish you to know that those who, according to our arrangement, associate with Simon that they may learn his intentions, and submit them to us, so that we may be able to cope with his variety of wickedness, these men have sent to me, and informed me that Simon today is, as he arranged, prepared to come before all, and show from the Scriptures that He who made the heaven and the earth, and all things in them, is not the Supreme God, but that there is another, unknown and supreme, as being in an unspeakable manner God of gods; and that He sent two gods, one of whom is he who made the world, and the other he who gave the law. And these things he contrives to say, that he may dissipate the right faith of those who would worship the one and only God who made heaven and earth.

Elsewhere, in another chapter, (16.VI) Simon Magus explains the polytheistic nature of Scripture:

Peter then said:  “I am ready to do as the umpire of our discussion has said; and straight-way without any delay I shall set forth my opinion in regard to God.  I then assert that there is one God who made the heavens and the earth, and all things that are in them. And it is not right to say or to think that there is any other.” And Simon said: “But I maintain that the Scriptures believed in amongst the Jews say that there are many gods, and that God is not angry at this, because He has Himself spoken of many gods in His Scriptures.

For instance, in the very first words of the law, He evidently speaks of them as being like even unto Himself. For thus it is written, that, when the first man received a commandment from God to eat of every tree that was in the garden, but not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the serpent having persuaded them by means of the woman, through the promise that they would become gods, made them look up; and then, when they had thus looked up, God said, ‘Behold, Adam has become as one of us.’

When, then, the serpent said, ‘You shall be as gods,’ he plainly speaks in the belief that gods exist; all the more as God also added His testimony, saying, ‘Behold, Adam has become as one of us.’ The serpent, then, who said that there are many gods, did not speak falsely.

Again, the scripture, ‘You shall not revile the gods, nor curse the rulers of your people,’ points out many gods whom it does not wish even to be cursed. But it is also somewhere else written, ‘Did another god dare to enter and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, as did I the Lord God?’

When He says, ‘Did another God dare?’ He speaks on the supposition that other gods exist.

And elsewhere: ‘Let the gods that have not made the heavens and the earth perish;’ as if those who had made them were not to perish. And in another place, when it says, ‘Take heed to yourself lest you go and serve other gods whom your fathers knew not,’ it speaks as if other gods existed whom they were not to follow. And again: ‘The names of other gods shall not ascend upon your lips.’

Here it mentions many gods whose names it does not wish to be uttered. And again it is written, ‘Your God is the Lord, He is God of gods.’ And again: ‘Who is like unto You, O Lord, among the Gods?’

And again: ‘God is Lord of gods.’ And again: ‘God stood in the assembly of gods: He judges among the gods.’ Wherefore I wonder how, when there are so many passages in writing which testify that there are many gods, you have asserted that we ought neither to say nor to think that there are many. Finally, if you have anything to say against what has been spoken so distinctly, say it in the presence of all.

Peter then goes on to explain how he is grieved that Simon believes such things (3:III-IV):

When I heard this, how was I not disheartened! Wherefore I wished you also, my brethren, who associate with me, to know that I am beyond measure grieved in my soul, seeing the wicked one awake for the temptation of men, and men wholly indifferent about their own salvation. For to those from amongst the Gentiles who were about being persuaded respecting the earthly images that they are no gods, he has contrived to bring in opinions of many other gods, in order that, if they cease from the polytheo-mania, they may be deceived to speak otherwise, and even worse than they now do, against the sole government of God, so that they may not yet value the truths connected with that monarchy, and may never be able to obtain mercy. And for the sake of this attempt Simon comes to do battle with us, armed with the false chapters of the Scriptures. And what is more dreadful, he is not afraid to dogmatize thus against the true God from the prophets whom he does not in fact believe.

And with us, indeed, who have had handed down from our forefathers the worship of the God who made all things, and also the mystery of the books which are able to deceive, he will not prevail; but with those from amongst the Gentiles who have the polytheistic fancy bred in them, and who know not the falsehoods of the Scriptures, he will prevail much. And not only he; but if any other shall recount to those from among the Gentiles any vain, dreamlike, richly set out story against God, he will be believed, because from their childhood their minds are accustomed to take in things spoken against God. And few there shall be of them, as a few out of a multitude, who through ingenuousness shall not be willing so much as to hear an evil word against the God who made all things. And to these alone from amongst the Gentiles it shall be vouchsafed to be saved. Let not any one of you, therefore, altogether complain of Simon, or of any one else; for nothing happens unjustly, since even the falsehoods of Scripture are with good reason presented for a test.

After this Peter drops a bomb that should shock many Christians, Peter explains to Clement that:

Worthy, therefore, of rejection is every one who is willing so much as to hear anything against the monarchy of God; but if any one dares to hear anything against God, as trusting in the Scriptures, let him first of all consider with me that if any one, as he pleases, form a dogma agreeable to himself, and then carefully search the Scriptures, he will be able to produce many testimonies from them in favour of the dogma that he has formed. How, then, can confidence be placed in them against God, when what every man wishes is found in them?

Therefore Simon, who is going to discuss in public with us tomorrow, is bold against the monarchy of God, wishing to produce many statements from these Scriptures, to the effect that there are many gods, and a certain one who is not He who made this world, but who is superior to Him; and, at the same time, he is going to offer many scriptural proofs. But we also can easily show many passages from them that He who made the world alone is God, and that there is none other besides Him. But if any one shall wish to speak otherwise, he also shall be able to produce proofs from them at his pleasure. For the Scriptures say all manner of things, that no one of those who inquire ungratefully may find the truth, but simply what he wishes to find, the truth being reserved for the grateful now gratitude is to preserve our love to Him who is the cause of our being.

In other words, Peter is saying that the scriptures have “books which are able to deceive” and that the only people Simon Magus will be able to convince are polytheist Gentiles, “who know not the falsehoods of the Scriptures”!!! Peter also says that these falsehoods of scripture are presented for a test. So, why would Peter say such a thing? Does he not believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God? Peter actually derides the Scriptures as simply an incoherent mish-mash of contradictory doctrines. And this is coming from the “mouth” of the supposed founder of the Roman Catholic Church!!!

Peter also says that the scriptures were written in such a manner that each person who reads the texts would find whatever they are predisposed to believing in, as in projecting their theological bias. That Peter’s warning is correct, is overwhelmingly proven by the modern church and even biblical criticism and scholarship, in that many intelligent minds and astute biblical students have studied the scriptures and continue to hold conflicting opinions that oppose what the next person sees very clearly represented in the Bible!

We have many cults and factions within Christianity that have contradictory doctrines, as we see with the Jehovah’s Witness who do not believe that Jesus is God and instead is the archangel Michael, while denying the Trinity. Meanwhile, the Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists believe that Jesus is God and have many scriptural proofs to back up their claims. The Mormons believe in the pre-existence of the soul and that the faithful Mormons will one day inherent their own worlds to rule over as gods with their extended families. The Seventh Day Adventists believe that the Sabbath should be strictly observed whereas Paul clearly says Sabbath-keeping is simply works and of the Law. The Roman Catholic Church and the sister Orthodox Church, also have contradictory views on scripture and ritual. So, how can we trust such a book that has so many contradictions interwoven throughout, as Peter says, “what every man wishes is found in them”?

The answer to this conundrum, perhaps may be found in Hebrews (6:1-3) itself:

Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting,we will do so.

Even the Jewish Zohar says similar things about Scripture:

“The narratives of the Doctrine are its cloak. The simple look only at the garment — that is, upon the narrative of the Doctrine; more they know not. The instructed, however, see not merely the cloak, but what the cloak covers.” (The Zohar, iii., 152; Franck, 119.)

Could you imagine a Christian minister preaching this on his own from the pulpit, to his congregation? I don’t think so. The author is saying that these teachings are actually elementary principles for beginners or “babes in Christ.” But the end of the Christian walk is initiation, where one achieves the spiritual realization or gnosis, where the deeper, esoteric doctrines are taught and embraced. The initiates in the order of Melchizedek possesses a knowledge of God which transcends faith and belief, and as the wisdom to distinguish the Good god from the binding evils of the angelic powers that rule over the world. The high mysteries of the Gospel are realized by the Gnostics, who have uncovered the polytheistic roots of the Old Testament, the false god of this world exposed, the triumph over the power of the devil, and the Good father made known, through the face of the Son of Man.

So why exactly did Jesus choose the title, the “Son of Man” for himself? Jesus chose the title of “Son of Man” to launch his public ministry from the Book of Enoch, because (1) it recognized his pre-existence before the world was created as it is stated in the Prologue of John’s Gospel, and (2) it also foretold that Jesus will be the light of nations.

The title is is not from the Book of Daniel. In Daniel, the Son of Man’s role is that of the sovereign of all people. The only relevant reference is from Daniel 7:13. Not much insight or inspiration can be gleaned from this meager description.

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. – Daniel 7: 13

It was from the Book of Enoch, which was widely used by the early Christians, and the second Similitude (written c. 2nd Century BC) was available during Jesus’ time. For instance, Jude mentions Enoch. It was also about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying:

“See, the Lord is coming with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all, and to convict everyone of all the deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” – Jude 1:14-15

The Book of Enoch was highly regarded until the 4th century AD. For example, Epistle of Barnabas regards it as Scripture. Early church fathers like Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian regarded it highly. Since the 4th century, the manuscripts and any mention thereof disappeared, probably to stamp out heresies. Ethiopic manuscripts of the Book of Enoch was discovered by Bruce in 1773.

There are three “similitudes” (parables) attributed to Enoch. First Similitude (38 – 44) deals with final judgment. The Second Similitude (45 – 57), the Son of Man is one who was given that name before Time itself. He would become a light to the Gentiles, and will be worshiped throughout the earth. Son of Man is also known as Messiah or Elect One.

In Chapter 48, the Son of Man’s name was invoked in heavenly court, in the presence of the Lord of Spirits and the Ancient of Days. This event occurred during the time before time, i.e., before the sun and the stars were formed and before the world was created.

In that place I beheld a fountain of righteousness, which never failed, encircled by many springs of wisdom. Of these all the thirsty drank, and were filled with wisdom, having their habitation with the righteous, the elect, and the holy.

In that hour was this Son of man invoked before the Lord of spirits, and his name in the presence of the Ancient of days. Before the sun and the signs were created, before the stars of heaven were formed, his name was invoked in the presence of the Lord of spirits. A support shall he be for the righteous and the holy to lean upon, without falling; and he shall be the light of nations. He shall be the hope of those whose hearts are troubled. All, who dwell on earth, shall fall down and worship before him; shall bless and glorify him, and sing praises to the name of the Lord of spirits. Therefore the Elect and the Concealed One existed in his presence, before the world was created, and for ever.

This is consistent with John’s description of Jesus’ existence before the world was created.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life,a and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. – John 1:1

The Lord of Spirits chose the Son of Man to come to the earth to reveal the concealed treasures (e.g., eternal life), and he will overthrow the kings and their dominions, as stated in Enoch 46. The main result of the advent of the Son of Man is that he will be the light of the nations.

There I beheld the Ancient of days, whose head was like white wool, and with him another, whose countenance resembled that of man. His countenance was full of grace, like that of one of the holy angels. Then I inquired of one of the angels, who went with me, and who showed me every secret thing, concerning this Son of man; who he was; whence he was and why he accompanied the Ancient of days.

He answered and said to me, This is the Son of man, to whom righteousness belongs; with whom righteousness has dwelt; and who will reveal all the treasures of that which is concealed: for the Lord of spirits has chosen him; and his portion has surpassed all before the Lord of spirits in everlasting uprightness.

This Son of man, whom you behold, shall raise up kings and the mighty from their dwelling places, and the powerful from their thrones; shall loosen the bridles of the powerful, and break in pieces the teeth of sinners.

He shall hurl kings from their thrones and their dominions; because they will not exalt and praise him, nor humble themselves before him, by whom their kingdoms were granted to them. The countenance likewise of the mighty shall He cast down, filling them with confusion. Darkness shall be their habitation, and worms shall be their bed; nor from that their bed shall they hope to be again raised, because they exalted not the name of the Lord of spirits.

The title “Son of Man” is combined with glory as 1 Enoch 69,29 says: “For that Son of Man has appeared and has seated himself upon the throne of his glory.” Jesus talks about “the Son of Man coming in his glory,” in Matthew 24,30. “To him was given dominion and glory…” Daniel 7:13. The Son of Man is this human appearance of God, the likeness and visible image of the invisible God and therefore identified with the “first-formed man” created “in the image of God” (Genesis. 1:27).

According to the late, great Gnostic scholar, Gilles Quispel, the notion of a heavenly “man” as the icon of God’s glory is heavily emphasized in literature mentioned earlier like Enoch, Daniel, Jude, Ezekiel, as well as Paul’s “Heavenly Man” or “Second Man” contra the earthly Adam humiliating himself in original sin in Eden, discussed in 1 Corinthians, the Corpus Hermeticum’s heavenly Anthropos breaking through the spheres of the archon administrators, the “Primal Man” of the Persian Manichaeans and the Adam Kadmon of the Kabbalah. The Apocryphon of John of the baptizing Johannite Gnostics, states similar things:

“And a voice came forth from the exalted aeon-heaven: ‘The Man exists and the son of Man.’ And the chief archon, Yaltabaoth, heard (it) and thought that the voice had come from his mother. And he did not know from where it came. And he taught them, the holy and perfect Mother-Father, the complete foreknowledge, the image of the invisible one who is the Father of the all (and) through whom everything came into being, the first Man. For he revealed his likeness in a human form.

“And the whole aeon of the chief archon trembled, and the foundations of the abyss shook. And of the waters which are above matter, the underside was illuminated by the appearance of his image which had been revealed. And when all the authorities and the chief archon looked, they saw the whole region of the underside which was illuminated. And through the light they saw the form of the image in the water.

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So it would follow that the “Son” of “Man” is the same as Jesus, who is the exalted “Son” of God, who is also called “Man” or the Divine Father. The “glorious Son of Man” is closely connected to the visions quoted earlier. In Revelation 1,12 the Son of Man is seen with the characteristic features of the Ancient of Days, Daniel 7,9: “hair like wool”, “white as snow.” His appearance is like the blazing light of the sun and he is seen together with the mystical symbol of the sevenfold light per Revelation 1,16, known from the visions of Zechariah where the divine light is seen as a seven times sevenfold flame. We also see that the Son of Man in 1 Enoch 62:7 is only revealed to the chosen few. How? In visions I presume! Otherwise he is hidden until the day of judgement, with the “powerful kings” of the earth who abused the Lord’s chosen are punished and sent into the pit of Sheol, the same hellish pit that the Shepherd angels are condemned in chains in eternal ruin:

For formerly the Son of Man was hidden, and the Most High preserved him before his power, and has revealed him to the chosen. And the congregation of the holy and the chosen will be sown, and all the chosen will stand before him on that day. And the congregation of the holy and the chosen will be sown, and all the chosen will stand before him on that day. And all the powerful kings and the exalted and they who rule the earth will fall before him upon their faces, and will worship and will hope in this Son of Man, and will petition him and ask him for mercy. And that Lord of the spirits will only press them, that they hasten to leave his presence and their countenances will be filled with shame, and darkness will be heaped upon their countenances. And the angels of punishment will receive them to take vengeance on them, because they have abused his children and his chosen. And they will be a spectacle for the just and for his chosen; they will rejoice over them, because the wrath of the Lord of the spirits rests upon them, and the sword of the Lord of the spirits is drunk with them.

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Seal Cube of Metatron. Taken from here. Please note the black cube of Yahweh is also a symbol of Saturn.

Enoch is also sort of a proto-Messianic figure and even has many similarities with Hermes and Thoth as well, noted in our book. In 2. and 3. Enoch the culmination of Enoch’s fate is his transformation to a high-ranking angelic being, in 3.Enoch, to Metatron, the “lesser YHVH”, God’s viceroy, sitting on a throne next to God. In 2 Enoch, he is made to stand by God’s left hand and receiving secrets hidden even to the angels. In 1.Enoch 71, Metatron is put on God’s throne of glory to reign in eternity on God’s behalf.

Enoch is also sort of a proto-Messianic figure. In 2. and 3. Enoch the culmination of Enoch’s fate is his transformation to a high-ranking angelic being, in 3.Enoch, to Metatron, the “lesser YHVH,” God’s viceroy, sitting on a throne next to God. In 2 Enoch, he is made to stand by God’s left hand and receiving secrets hidden even to the angels.

The Valentinian Prayer of the Apostle Paul tells us:

Grant what no angel eye has seen and no archon ear (has) heard, and what has not entered into the human heart which came to be angelic and (modelled) after the image of the psychic God when it was formed in the beginning, since I have faith and hope. And place upon me your beloved, elect, and blessed greatness, the First-born, the First-begotten, and the wonderful mystery of your house; for yours is the power and the glory and the praise and the greatness for ever and ever. Amen.

In 1.Enoch 71, Metatron is put on God’s throne of glory to reign in eternity on God’s behalf. In the article, Third Enoch and the Mystery of “Metatron by William F. Dankenbring, he writes that Metatron is in actuality, simply another guise of none other than, the Son of Man! 

The name “Metatron” itself has prompted much speculation as to its meaning.  The Latin metator was used of “anyone who prepares the way.”  The Greek word metaturannos means “one next to the ruler.”  The Greek meta thronon means “next to the divine throne,” “the second throne.”

Says P. Alexander, “The powerful ‘angel of the Lord’ in the Old Testament (who is sometimes hard to distinguish from God himself) may be the prototype of 3 Enoch’s Metatron” (p.246). In a Dead Sea scroll (11Qmelch) the personage known as  Melchizedek “appears as being exalted over all the angels,” and it is stated that He will “preside over a heavenly assize and exact punishment, with the help of the other angels” (p.249). The Qumran community apparently regarded Melchizedek as the high priest of the heavenly Temple – the same role in which Metatron is pictured in 3 Enoch.

Thus Metatron is the same personage as Melchizedek – and the apostle Paul identifies Melchizedek as none other than the One who became Jesus Christ!  Paul writes that Melchizedek, to whom Abraham paid a tithe of all (Gen.14:18-20), was “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but MADE LIKE the Son of God, REMAINS a priest continually” (Heb.7:1-3).

Notice!  This person had no parents, humanly speaking.  He was KING of Salem, or Jerusalem, meaning, “king of peace” (verse 2).  His name, itself, means “King of righteousness.”  He pre-existed the Universe, having no “beginning of days.”  He is an ETERNAL being, having “no end of life.”  Thus His beginning had to be BEFORE CREATION, as “days” are defined as a product of the earth turning on its axis causing night and day. 

So, it is Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of Man and Son of God, who is also the supra-angelic Metatron that is also, interestingly, has seventy names that corresponds to the seventy angelic sons of God, chosen by the Most High to rule over the nations. William F. Dankenbring further writes:

Now let’s notice what 3 Enoch reveals about this mysterious figure known as “Metatron” in Jewish apocalyptic, mystical literature of the early centuries of the present era!  Let us examine how this being’s pre-existence compares with the stated pre-existence of the Christ, the Nazarene – Jesus, the “Son of God” and the “Son of man.”

In 3 Enoch, Rabbi R. Ishmael begins with a vision wherein he ascended to behold God’s chariot in heaven.  He prayed for God to protect him, as he felt very insecure in this awesome place.  He relates, “At once the Holy One, blessed be he, summoned to my aid his servant Metatron, Prince of the Divine Presence” (3 Enoch 1:4).  In 3 Enoch, the overwhelming majority of chapters begin with a reference to “Metatron, Prince of the Divine Presence.”

In chapter 3, the Rabbi asks Metatron, “What is your name?”  He replies, “I have seventy names, corresponding to the seventy nations of the world, and all of them are based on the name of the King of the kings of kings; however, my King calls me ‘Youth.’” (3:1-2) Compare this with Proverbs 8, where Solomon speaks of Wisdom as being “brought forth” in the beginning.  Solomon quotes Wisdom as saying, “When He appointed the foundations of the earth, then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him:  and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him” (Prov.8:22-25, 29-30).

Metatron was called “Youth,” by God the Father, the Ancient of days.  This implies that as compared to the Father, the super-archangel Metatron has a beginning, a time when He was “youthful.” Yet He became the Prince over all God’s Creation, and Co-ruler of the Universe!

What we are seeing here is a complex multiplicity of gods, aeons, and angels that is most prominent in the Old Testament scriptures, many of which are considered “apocrypha” today but back in the time of the ancients and after the time of Jesus, was considered canonical and openly accepted until the reign of Roman Orthodoxy came into fold around the fourth century, CE, and later with the Protestant reformation of Catholicism with the (Masonic) King James Version of the Catholic Latin Vulgate.

As it follows, Metatron of 3 Enoch, Melchizedek, the High Priest of El Elyion and Jesus Christ as a “High Priest” in Hebrews, are all the same being. Metatron is depicted as the lesser “YHWH”. Perhaps Jesus was the replacement “Great Angel” for Yahweh, just like how Seth (being of “another seed”) is the replacement for Cain and Abel in Genesis and Sabaoth (Jupiter) is the replacement for Yaldabaoth (Saturn) in texts like the Hypostasis of the Archons. And El Elyion is the “Lord” in the Old Testament, while Yahweh is simply one of many “sons of the Most High” or the Elohim angels. Yahweh is probably just a Hebrew reiteration of Dyaus Pitar/Jove and the Caananite Ba’al and El.

According to Irenaeus in Against Heresies (1,30:10-11), the Ophites saw multiple powers embedded in the Old Testament as well, and the prophecies associated with Jesus are attributed to Sophia, who is also called “the Lord,” the “Mother” and the “Heavenly Jerusalem” while Ialdabaoth (YHWH/Satan) turned Abraham’s seed from Egypt into Jews!

Ialdabaoth himself chose a certain man named Abraham from among these, and made a covenant with him, to the effect that, if his seed continued to serve him, he would give to them the earth for an inheritance. Afterwards, by means of Moses, he brought forth Abraham’s descendants from Egypt, and gave them the law, and made them the Jews. Among that people he chose seven days, which they also call the holy Hebdomad. Each of these receives his own herald for the purpose of glorifying and proclaiming God; so that, when the rest hear these praises, they too may serve those who are announced as gods by the prophets.

Moreover, they distribute the prophets in the following manner: Moses, and Joshua the son of Nun, and Amos, and Habakkuk, belonged to Ialdabaoth; Samuel, and Nathan, and Jonah, and Micah, to Iao; Elijah, Joel, and Zechariah to Sabaoth; Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel, to Adonai; Tobias and Haggai to Eloi; Michaiah and Nahum to Oreus; Esdras and Zephaniah to Astanphæus. Each one of these, then, glorifies his own father and God, and they maintain that Sophia, herself has also spoken many things through them regarding the first Anthropos (man), and concerning that Christ who is above, thus admonishing and reminding men of the incorruptible light, the first Anthropos, and of the descent of Christ.

And as we already saw, Simon Magus in the Clementines argues with Peter that polytheism/henotheism is the real undercurrent of the Old Testament, which underscores a pagan origin or perhaps even an anticipation of the revelation of the coming of the Son of Man into enemy territory of the ruler rebel angels to extract and save his elect, chosen before the foundation of the world. The more one investigates into the scriptures, even the “false ones” per Peter in the Clementines, monotheism isn’t exactly the ruling theology of the Old Testament writers had in mind.

Render unto Caesar: Paying the Last Penny

In both Matthew 22:15-22, and Mark 12:13-17, have two separate but similar accounts that have Jesus giving the famous phrase “Render unto Caesar”. Here is Matthew’s account:

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said.16 So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21 They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”22 When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

And here is Mark’s:
13 Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? 15 Should we pay them, or should we not?” But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it.” 16 And they brought one. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were utterly amazed at him.
Elsewhere in the Gospel of Matthew (5:25-26), we read:
Reconcile quickly with your adversary, while you are still on the way to court. Otherwise he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
The Gospel of Thomas also has a similar but much shorter account:
(100) They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him, “Caesar’s men demand taxes from us.” He said to them, “Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give God what belongs to God, and give me what is mine.”
What exactly is going on here? Why is Jesus so adamant about settling one’s debts with the ruling class and your enemies when he was all about dismantling the world system and his kingdom not being “of this world”? Notice Jesus does not mince words with the Pharisees in that they are nothing more than “hypocrites” and that Jesus saw the coin of Mammon and said it should be paid to Caesar, while paying God homage with the things that belong to Him, which are basically “eternal fruits” that John 4:35-37.
Do you not say, ‘There are still four months until the harvest?’ I tell you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ripe for harvest. Already the reaper draws his wages and gathers a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may rejoice together. For in this case the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true.…
There is another way to look at this story featured in the Gospels. In the Gnostic Testimony of Truth, we find an interesting exegesis built from the last quote:
For no one who is under the Law will be able to look up to the truth, for they will not be able to serve two masters. For the defilement of the Law is manifest; but undefilement belongs to the light. The Law commands (one) to take a husband (or) to take a wife, and to beget, to multiply like the sand of the sea. But passion, which is a delight to them, constrains the souls of those who are begotten in this place, those who defile and those who are defiled, in order that the Law might be fulfilled through them. And they show that they are assisting the world; and they turn away from the light, who are unable to pass by the archon of darkness until they pay the last penny.
This passage reflects the gnostic doctrine that human souls must “pass by” the various archons of the spheres of the universe with the right “password” before escaping to the wold of light, just as we see in Celsus descriptions of the Ophite diagram discussed in previous posts as well as the book, Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled.
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In Irenaeus’ Against Heresies (1.25.4) we read about the Carpocratian Gnostics and how they saw Jesus’ words about “paying the last penny” to Caesar, in which they interpret to mean that their initiates must experience every sort of action, whether it be sin and/or holiness, while alive in the world so that they may be eventually released back to God, above the creators of this world, being the archons and the Demiurge. In essence, the Gnostic must learn to master every aspect of his reality while experiencing “everything” as much as possible, in this life (and perhaps in other lives as the Carpocratians taught a form of reincarnation), in order to escape it and its coming judgments.
They deem it necessary, therefore, that by means of transmigration from body to body, souls should have experience of every kind of life as well as every kind of action (unless, indeed, by a single incarnation, one may be able to prevent any need for others, by once for all, and with equal completeness, doing all those things which we dare not either speak or hear of, nay, which we must not even conceive in our thoughts, nor think credible, if any such thing is mooted among those persons who are our fellow citizens), in order that, as their writings express it, their souls, having made trial of every kind of life, may, at their departure, not be wanting in any particular. It is necessary to insist upon this, lest, on account of some one thing being still wanting to their deliverance, they should be compelled once more to become incarnate. They affirm that for this reason Jesus spoke the following parable:— Whilst you are with your adversary in the way, give all diligence, that you may be delivered from him, lest he give you up to the judge, and the judge surrender you to the officer, and he cast you into prison. Verily, I say unto you, you shall not go out thence until you pay the very last farthing. (Matthew 5:25-26; Luke 12:58-59)
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They also declare the adversary is one of those angels who are in the world, whom they call the Devil, maintaining that he was formed for this purpose, that he might lead those souls which have perished from the world to the Supreme Ruler. They describe him also as being chief among the makers of the world, and maintain that he delivers such souls [as have been mentioned] to another angel, who ministers to him, that he may shut them up in other bodies; for they declare that the body is the prison. Again, they interpret these expressions, You shall not go out thence until you pay the very last farthing, as meaning that no one can escape from the power of those angels who made the world, but that he must pass from body to body, until he has experience of every kind of action which can be practiced in this world, and when nothing is longer wanting to him, then his liberated soul should soar upwards to that God who is above the angels, the makers of the world. In this way also all souls are saved, whether their own which, guarding against all delay, participate in all sorts of actions during one incarnation, or those, again, who, by passing from body to body, are set free, on fulfilling and accomplishing what is requisite in every form of life into which they are sent, so that at length they shall no longer be [shut up] in the body.
Now Caesar is what we would call an “earthly” ruler. In Romans 13:4, Paul tells us that these earthly rulers and governments are God’s servants.
“4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”

Jesus himself appears to contradict Paul’s teaching in Romans 13 when he says in John 18:36:

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

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Paul says that earthly government authorities are God’s servants. Jesus says that earthly government authorities are in opposition to Jesus’s servants. Why would Jesus’s servants be fighting God’s servants? The gospel of Luke (5:4-7) says that earthly rulers and governments are Satan’s servants.

5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

We also find that in 1 Corinthians 2, Paul is talking about demonic rulers in heavenly realms or the realm of Ouranos. Paul’s Jesus lived and died and lived again in the “heavenly realms,” the Hebrew equivalent of Mt. Olympus of the Greeks. But as many mythicists point out, like Earl Doherty and Richard Carrier, all of this is possible in Paul’s universe because Paul’s Jesus did not live or die or rise again in the world of flesh and was crucified by demonic archons but through his death and resurrection, outside of the dome, he put the works of the rulers to shame in Colossians 2:15:

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

1 Corinthians 2:6-9 tells us:

Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him’—

Why is there such a difference in opinion between Paul in Romans and in 1 Corinthians over the Roman government that just executed the “Lord of Glory”? The rulers of this age, however, may be interpreted to mean, the demonic archons that rule over the cosmos. Acts 4:25-29 tells us that ALL earthly rulers and governments belong under the authority of the Devil, while depicting the apostles of Jesus as overcoming the threats of the earthly rulers and “speak your word (the gospel) with great boldness.”
25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:
“‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.’ 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.

How could the earthly rulers of this age be “coming to nothing” if, as Paul says in Romans 13, the earthly rulers of this age are “God’s servants”? Actually, Paul is not contradicting himself. He’s contradicting Jesus in the Gospels, albeit unknowingly since Jesus’ life recounted in the Gospels, hasn’t even been written yet. In Romans 13, Paul is talking about earthly rulers. In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul is talking about demonic rulers in heavenly realms.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

Paul’s Jesus was a spiritual entity that did much of his activity in the heavenly realms and not exactly so much on earth, and revealed the Gospel directly to Paul. Galatians 1:12 tells us:

For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.

As noted by many others, Paul never mentions Pilate or the Sanhedrin or the crucifixion on Golgotha or the trial or any other extra details about Jesus because Paul never heard of such a story. But as some mythicists will argue, Paul’s Jesus was crucified in the astral “lower heavens” where the archons and rulers reside and lord over the world. He also conferred upon us a blessing in these same realms:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

Paul also calls this demonic heavenly realm where Paul’s Jesus was crucified by the “rulers of this age” the “kingdom of the air” in Ephesians 2:2.

“in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”

Paul’s Jesus didn’t visit the earth when he resurrected. In fact, Paul’s Jesus ascended straight out of hell to the heavens in Ephesians 4:7-10:

But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said, ‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.’ (When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.)

What? Paul’s Jesus did not ascend from earth to heaven? The Gospels gives us a different picture in that Jesus spent 40 days on earth walking through walls, and performing even more amazing miracles, after his death. This is probably the reason why docetic Christology existed in the first place–because it was founded on Paul’s very words! Philippians 2:5-8 tells us:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Paul’s Jesus is also not coming to earth during the second coming or the advent. In Paul’s second coming of Christ, Christians are to meet Jesus “in the air,” that same heavenly realm where Paul’s Jesus lived, died and now lives again. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 tells us:

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

In other words, Jesus will give the Christians or the chosen elect, docetic bodies just like his! It is those who are reborn through the Holy Spirit that are “caught up” in an entirely different and higher dimension that that of physical reality. Luke 21:35-37, tells us that the second coming of Christ is the same event that is intertwined with the judgment of the world, that has rejected God and his Son:

35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

37 And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.

Those who saved have been purchased by Christ through his divine blood from the Law or the Lawgiver, which for the author of the Testimony of Truth is the Demiurge, as Paul says in Galatians 3:13-15:

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Indeed, according to Jesus, Caesar must be given his due, as well as God, while even the Devil must be paid as well, as we note in Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled.

There is the need to somehow pay that “price,” charged by God that is for some inexplicable reason connected with sin. This is because “the wages of sin is death,” and if death (Hades) is identified as the abode of the Devil, we should note that, as in the Yom Kippur ritual, and the aforementioned sacrifices to the End of All Flesh, the Devil is given his “due” along with the offerings to God.

In any case, giving payments and settling karmic debts while alive, seems to have many correspondences throughout the Gospels, Pauline literature and even the Gnostic tradition. If you don’t pay what was owed in your current life, you’ll have to pay it back in the next, which can have harsher consequences. Maybe you’ll be forced to serve under a specific higher spirit for a certain duration of time. Whatever the case, your ascent will be halted, and you’ll get stuck in places you don’t necessarily want to be. Some afterlife realms are better than this one, some are worse.

The goal, then, is to live a very morally upright, unreproachable life, so that when you die, you owe nothing and can ascend back to the highest creator without interference. If you botch the job and don’t make it this time around, you get stuck doing something else for a while. Maybe you reincarnate on earth. Maybe you get to ascend to a higher realm, but not the highest. Or if you really screwed up, you get downgraded to a hellish realm. Once you’ve descended even further, then getting out becomes particularly problematic. This is perhaps what Jesus, Paul and the later Gnostikoi (with their magical maps of the other-side, in the quest to ascend past the multiple archons) were getting at. For the later Carpocratians, to escape the world and its judgments was to pay both the Devil and God, each of their dues, by experiencing both sin and righteousness. And it is Jesus, the Logos, who purchased the elect from the thralls of the cosmos and hell.

In Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, the gist of the story goes on to say that you have to experience every aspect of reality to attain enlightenment. Pure depravity leads to destruction, but pure chastity also leads to entrapment. Siddhartha only attains enlightenment after he’s experienced both facets of reality, after he’s been an austere monk but also a wanton sinner.

Epiphanius mentions the Carpocratians and the Cainites in that they also clearly believed this. They had a Gnostic gospel of Mary that supposedly detailed Jesus giving instructions to Mary to do these things. Epiphanius doesn’t quote any significant portions from the text, but he claimed that it detailed an account of Jesus instructing Mary to fornicate and consume menstrual blood mixed with semen a la Thelema. Epiphanius lied so much, though, that this may have been a total fabrication.

Ouranos: Lord of the Dome

In a previous post, I discussed about the “Secrets of Saturn” and how Saturn reflects many different aspects of many different religions, esoterica and the Holy Grail mythos. According to the ancient Greek writers such as Hesiod, Ouranos was born from Gaia, the “mother of all living,” much like Eve in Genesis. Others claim Ouranos came from the primeval god Aer or Aethyr. Ouranos is first equated with our terrestrial blue sky and is later equated with “heaven” and even later, associated with constellations. Uranus is first called “the brazen (bronze) expanse of sky.” Ouranos is also the grandfather of Cronos or Saturn and ruled over the primordial chaos and had no parentage or father. This god has many other correlations that are far too long to list hereTheo.com tells us this exactly:

OURANOS (or Uranus) was the primeval god (protogenos) of the “sky”. The Greeks imagined the sky as a solid dome of brass, decorated with stars, whose edges descended to rest upon the outermost limits of the flat earth. Ouranos was the literal sky, just as his consort Gaia was the earth.

Uranus, is “the brazen sky” is simultaneously known as a the “brazen laver” in the Jewish Temple, as we see in Exodus 30:17:

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 18  Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and HIS foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. 19 For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: 20 When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD:

Note the laver is personified as a “he”. And also note “he” only has one foot, not two. What was in the brass laver which is the “Sky Upside Down” representing the “waters from above”? In 2 Chronicles 4:6, 4:10 and 4:15, we read:

2Ch 4:6  He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them: such things as they offered for the burnt offering they washed in them; but the YAM (Sea) was for the priests to wash in.
2Ch 4:10  And he set the YAM (sea) on the right side of the east end, over against the south.
2Ch 4:15  One YAM (Sea), and twelve oxen under it.

In the brazen laver which is Uranus/Ourianos/the brazen sky was the “molten sea” who is also called “Yam” or the “Leviathan”. Yam is the ancient Semitic word “sea”, which is the Canaanite god of rivers and the sea, as well as the deity of the primordial chaos. He represents the power of the tempest sea, untamed and raging. Yam was given kingship over the other gods by the other gods by the chief god El. When Yam’s rulership turned tyrannical and he possessed El’s wife Asterah, Baal actually challenged and defeated Yam in a battle but Yam lost.

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The ancient Hebrews thought that the heavens was like the sea (the waters above and below). The brass laver in the Temple was between the altar and the high priest, in which they had to wash their hands in the “Leviathan” or “Yam” before one could go to the altar inside the Holy of Holies–hence the Levite Priest was also considered to be a “Leviathan” Priest. In Judaism, the first heaven is called the firmament, the vault or the “dome”. The Hebrews believed there were three heavens: 1. the terrestrial sky, 2. outer-space, and 3. the abode of the gods. The Hebrews actually believed that the sky/firmament was Uranus or Shamiym. Deuteronomy 28:23 tells us:

“And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.”

What is going on with brass? Numbers 21:9, tells us:

“And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”

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The Sea is labeled as Yam, who is the Leviathan, is in the Brass laver that represents Ouranos–however, the Ouranos isn’t the serpent but is the molten sea. The laver has his own foot, while the “sea” is held up by “12 oxen” which represents the the Zodiac or the constellation as well as the 12 tribes of Israel. The Leviathan also has many similarities with the Ouroboros, which represents the procession of the planetary cycles. The “aeons” were equated with the rule of the planets in their respective constellations or procession cycles. There are actually so many planets and before long, the procession recycles. For example, we are in the Age of Aquarius. What planet rules over Aquarius? Ouranos/Uranus does because we just went through a cycle of processions and its repeating with the first planet in procession. Thus, the “time eats itself” (Ouroboros). The Ouroboros is the procession of the gods or the “cosmocrators” through the twelve classical constellations, which are of course, the celestial archons of Gnosticism. In Revelation of St. John, the Leviathan rises up out of the Yam/Sea, and in Chapter 12, the Leviathan is depicted as having seven heads with crowns that seek to devour. In Sumerian myth, we have the Abzu, which is the primordial sea of the abyss, or the Sumerian equivalent to Khaos (Chaos), which is the very first deity in Greek myth.

“3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.”

As we know Ouranos simply means “sky” in Greek. Hesiod in Theogony (“the genealogy or birth of the gods) (126-138) tells us that Ouranos and Gaia were lovers:

Gaia first bore equal to herself starry Ouranos so that he may cover her all over like a veil, to be always the unshakable seat for the blessed gods. She bore the large mountains, pleasant haunts of the goddess Nymphs who dwell up along the woody mountains, and he produced the unplowed (?) open waters raging with swell, Pontos, without philotês. But then bedded by Ouranos, she produced deep-eddying Okeanos and and Koios and Kreios and Hyperion and Iapetos and Thea and Rheia and Themis and Mnemosyne and golden-garlanded Phoebe and lovely Tethys. And after them born last Kronos of the crooked scheme, most fearful of children, and he hated his lusty father.

According to Aristophanes in the comedy Birds (690f), both Gaia and Ouranos originated from the chaotic abyss:

At the beginning there was only Chaos, Night, dark Erebus (Darkness), and deep tartarus. Earth (Gaia), Air (Aer) and Heaven (Ouranos) had no existence. Firstly, blackwinged Night laid a germless egg in the bosom of the infinite deeps of Erebus, and from this, after the revolution of long ages, sprang the graceful Eros with his glittering golden wings, swift as the whirlwinds of the tempest. He mated in deep Tartarus with dark Chaos…

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Orphic theogeny has Uranus part of the “proto-Genesis” myth being born of the “night” or “Nyx.” In Genesis 1:1-8, we see very similar ideas expressed from Hesiod’s Theogony. Keep in mind Hesiod’s text predates the Bible, and especially the book of Genesis by a few hundred years.

One might point to the power of the mind and to what extent thought might actually be able to influence reality. This brings us to the Biblical firmament that holds up the sky. While these things may seem very much unrelated, perhaps they may not be. The Biblical firmament could very well be an amplifier for thoughts that can crystallize into reality. Needless to say, this is all very far-fetched and hypothetical. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, there’s the computer generated environment in the Holodeck. The Holodeck is controlled by the Arch. Perhaps this Arch is somehow symbolical of the firmament.

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Another name of the firmament is the vault of heaven. A vault is basically a kind of arch. Arches are a fairly commonly used symbol we see associated with the Royal Arch Freemasonry and other famous sites like Arc de Triomphe in Paris. I suggest that the meaning of the arch may be a very significant one: it creates physical reality. Let’s take a look at Genesis 1:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

In other words, Genesis 1:1: might as well read, “In the beginning, the Khaos created Ouranos/Shamiym and the Gaia/Earth.” At first God creates and heaven and earth, there already is water in the world, and then he creates light and divides it from the darkness. Note that the sun and the moon are created later. Light exists before the sun. The creation of heaven and earth essentially means the idea of the division between the spiritual and the profane. Division of the light from darkness is creation of Yin and Yang or the binary system of 0 and 1. Although water is a physical object, it is often portrayed as a conduit between the spiritual and the physical as we see in the baptisms of John the Baptist and Jesus in the Gospels, which is immersion into divine wisdom, the remission of sins and the anointment of salvation. The firmament is essentially the first physical object to exist and the rest of creation comes into fruition, including the land, flora and fauna (plants and animals, etc.) Perhaps God him/her/itself made the firmament as a tool to create the physical world we live in. Psalms 19 says:

1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

According to the ancient Sumerian text Enuma Elish (The Babylonian Epic of Creation), Tablet I, it tells us that it was the Apsu who gave rise the demiurge, Tiamat:

1   When the heavens above did not exist,
2   And earth beneath had not come into being—
3   There was Apsû, the first in order, their begetter,
4   And demiurge Tia-mat, who gave birth to them all;
5   They had mingled their waters together
6   Before meadow-land had coalesced and reed-bed was to he found —
7   When not one of the gods had been formed
8   Or had come into being, when no destinies had been decreed,
9   The gods were created within them:
10   Lah(mu and Lah(amu were formed and came into being.
11   While they grew and increased in stature
12   Anšar and Kišar, who excelled them, were created.

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The myths and stories associated with Uranus and even Uranus himself are far older than even the “Golden Age” myths and stories associated with Kornos/Saturn, and has been fused with the later figure, much later in history. Uranus begins as the “first” god of the planets in the Greek myths. In the end, he is robbed, usurped, castrated and forgotten and all of his strong attributes are taken on by Saturn and Kronos and his sons. Hesiod in Theogony (176-190) tells us further:

Great Ouranos came, bringing the night, and spread out around Gaia, desiring philotês, and was extended. His son reached out from ambush with his left hand, and in his right he held the sickle, long and serrated and the genitals of his father he quickly reaped and threw them behind his back to be carried away. But they did not flee from his hand fruitlessly. As many drops of blood spurted forth, all of them Gaia received. In the revolving years, she bore the powerful Erinyes, and great Giants, gleaming in their armor, holding long spears in their hands, and the nymphs whom they call the Ash Tree Nymphs across endless Gaia. As soon as Kronos lopped off the genitals with the sickle, they fell from the mainland into the much-surging sea, so that the sea carried them for a long time.

Uranus is also equated with the “sky” only because of the proximity with Gaia in the myth as its said Uranus would “come upon Gaia at night” by force. Gaia is only Uranus’s wife “by proxy” because Uranus raped Gaia (as some sources point to her being his mother–hence incest), hence why she wants him castrated and gets Saturn to do it! In actual Euhemerist history, kings following the “divine right” of kings tradition could take any women of the land he desired by royal decree. That’s why El, the prototype Yahweh, in the Ugarit texts, is a drunk god, who quite literally falls in his own shit:

This tale from Ugaritic concerning the god El, a precursor to the Judaic God, is well-known amongst students of Ugaritic. The contemporary summary is that El holds a party with all the gods, at which the moon disguises itself as a dog and runs about under the tables begging for scraps. El gets very drunk, has to be helped to court, and is attacked by a strange creature in his drunken stupor. El defecates and falls in his own shit. The story then concludes with what has been widely regarded as a hangover cure.

Uranus is left with a name that in English literally means, a flaming asshole! Uranus is “Ur” which means “flame” in Hebrew and “anus” which speaks for itself. Ouranos also ties with Anu, and you can see the linguistic connection The cuneiform character for “An” is also the same as “ilu,” the word for “god.” According to the Wikipedia of Anu, it reads:

Anu existed in Sumerian cosmogony as a dome that covered the flat earth; Outside of this dome was the primordial body of water known as Nammu (not to be confused with the subterranean Abzu).

In Sumerian, the designation “An” was used interchangeably with “the heavens” so that in some cases it is doubtful whether, under the term, the god An or the heavens is being denoted. The Akkadians inherited An as the god of heavens from the Sumerian as Anu-, and in Akkadian cuneiform, the DINGIR character may refer either to Anum or to the Akkadian word for god, ilu-, and consequently had two phonetic values an and il.

Even more fascinating is that there are in fact, two main competing deities in the Old Testament. Margaret Barker in the book The Great Angel: A Study of Israel’s Second Son, points out that the term “sons of God” were sometimes used for angels and sometimes used for kings or the people of Israel. There are actually two different words for God in Hebrew–El Elyon and Yahweh. The Elohim are the heavenly beings, or the angels, which are the sons of God, while the sons of Yahweh, are always humans. This indicates that Yahweh isn’t the Most High God, but rather, one of the sons of El Elyon! This seems to support the Gnostic account of creation and Eden, where the archons or fallen angels create Eden, and pull Adam and Eve from a higher spiritual dimension, into the lowest depths of matter. In the New Testament, Jesus is called the son of the Most High, that is the son of El Elyon. Luke 1:32 tells us:

He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.

Please note that Jesus is not called the “son of Yahweh,” anywhere in the New Testament. In fact, Jesus is called “Lord” himself, which is a term used for Yahweh in the Old Testament. Yahweh is presented as being the most prominent son of El Elyon. He is essentially the “chief” of the angels, who, like Lucifer in Isaiah, stole the throne for himself and becomes a jealous god of wrath. He is simply one of the sons of Elyon, who fathered children with human women as we see in Genesis 6:2-4, and 1 Enoch 6:7 and 59:2. As Barker points out, in the Qumran version of Deuteronomy 32:8-9, El Elyon divides the world up into different nations, one for each of his sons. Yahweh gets Israel, while other gods/angels get other nations. Yahweh, however, gets incredibly haughty and jealous of the other angels and becomes the most power hungry. In Daniel 10:13-14, these angels are called “princes,” where they fight against Yahweh and the archangel Michael.

13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.

These rival gods challenge Yahweh in Job 1:6:

Now there was a day when the sons of El Elyon set themselves against Yahweh and Satan came also among them.

Here, we learn that Satan is one of the other sons of El Elyon, making him Yahweh’s brother and fellow god! Yahweh asks Job in 38:7:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? […] when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of El shouted for joy?”

The creation of the other sons of El (angels) are mentioned in Jubilees 2:2.

For on the first day He created the heavens which are above and the earth and the waters and all the spirits which serve before him -the angels of the presence, and the angels of sanctification, and the angels [of the spirit of fire and the angels] of the spirit of the winds, and the angels of the spirit of the clouds, and of darkness, and of snow and of hail and of hoar frost, and the angels of the voices and of the thunder and of the lightning, and the angels of the spirits of cold and of heat, and of winter and of spring and of autumn and of summer and of all the spirits of his creatures which are in the heavens and on the earth, (He created) the abysses and the darkness, eventide <and night>, and the light, dawn and day, which He hath prepared in the knowledge of his heart.

In other words, El Elyon is the Jewish equivalent of Ouranos, El is Kronos/Enlil/ and Yahweh is the Jewish equivalent of Zeus/Marduk. The Sumerian god Enki is more like the serpent of Genesis, and strangely enough, even Jesus Christ and John the Baptist! Jesus is really the son of Ouranos, or the deity that is above and controls the dome. El Elyon also corresponds to the Sumerian Anu, as well. El Elyon is basically the “Ancient of Days.” The description of Yahweh that Ezekiel provides is that this god is bronze from the waist up and made of fire from the waist down with a rainbow surrounding him (Ezekiel 1:27-28). This matches with Ouranos’s description of being “bronze” or “brazen.” However, when you look up in the sky, it is not brazen. Interesting, no?

Astronomically speaking, Uranus is also the strangest planet in the solar system as its sitting on a 98 degree angle on its side! Scientists believe Uranus was “knocked over” via an impact that happened before Uranus settled in its now stationary orbit. In all mythologies, Saturn usurps the position of the Sun (Helios) in eminence which is associated with highest divinity, and he also does with the first planet in the mythos, Uranus, who just so happens to be the seventh planet from the sun. So in Greek mythology, the “first god” being Uranus is left “dead” in mythos, castrated, impotent, forgotten as being “up there.”

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Jesus in Matthew 14:22-33, performs a miracle of walking on water and calming the storms, which is similar to the idea of the Leviathan/Yam who traverses the brazen laver or Ouranos. Jesus essentially brings order to the chaotic waters of the sea–indicting his structural powers as the Platonic Logos as discussed in the Gospel of John’s prologue. Such an idea reminds us of Philip K Dick’s comment about this subject in his seminal essay, How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later.

In Plato’s Timaeus, God does not create the universe, as does the Christian God; He simply finds it one day. It is in a state of total chaos. God sets to work to transform the chaos into order. That idea appeals to me, and I have adapted it to fit my own intellectual needs: What if our universe started out as not quite real, a sort of illusion, as the Hindu religion teaches, and God, out of love and kindness for us, is slowly transmuting it, slowly and secretly, into something real?

Now, flip the picture upside down and you can picture the Leviathan/Yam under the celestial sea/firmament. Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun, while Saturn is the sixth. Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun and Saturn is the sixth. In Judaism, the seventh planet is actually Saturn, because the celestial luminaries begin with the Sun as being the first body or “head” of the Solar System. The Jewish Menorah represents the Sun and the six classical planets, from Mercury to Saturn. The Middle stick represents the Sun or “Shamash.” The seventh letter in Hebrew also has phallic connotations, as it represents the erect penis or sword. More on this later…

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Perhaps “the heavens” are analogous to a computer CPU or hardware, and the firmament is like a 3D printer or a projection screen. God inputs a program into the computer, pushes start and the firmament prints out or projects the physical additions to the world. In 1 Enoch 18:1, it has the following to say about the firmament:

I saw the treasuries of all the winds: I saw how He had furnished with them the whole creation and the firm foundations of the earth. 2. And I saw the corner-stone of the earth: I saw the four winds which bear [ the earth and ] the firmament of the heaven. 3. And I saw how the winds stretch out the vaults of heaven, and have their station between heaven and earth: these are the pillars of the heaven . 4. I saw the winds of heaven which turn and bring the circumference of the sun and all the stars to their setting. 5. I saw the winds on the earth carrying the clouds: I saw the paths of the angels. I saw at the end of the earth the firmament of the heaven above. And I proceeded and saw a place which burns day and night, where there are seven mountains of magnificent stones, three towards the east, and three towards the south. 7. And as for those towards the east, 〈 one 〉 was of coloured stone, and one of pearl, and one of jacinth, and those towards the south of red stone. 8. But the middle one reached to heaven like the throne of God, of alabaster, and the summit of the throne was of sapphire. 9. And I saw a flaming fire. And beyond these mountains 10. is a region the end of the great earth: there the heavens were completed. 11. And I saw a deep abyss, with columns of heavenly fire, and among them I saw columns of fire fall, which were beyond measure alike towards the height and towards the depth. 12. And beyond that abyss I saw a place which had no firmament of the heaven above, and no firmly founded earth beneath it: there was no water upon it, and no birds, but it was a waste and horrible place.

Enoch saw the abyss, “a waste a horrible place”, that didn’t have the firmament above, nor earth beneath it. Perhaps there was nothing there as there was no vault or 3D printer there to create anything. In other words, this was the primordial chaos that existed before creation was kick-started in the Big Bang, which is essentially a brutal Demiurgical act.

I realize I am probably being too liberal with my interpretations of these texts and myths but thought I’d put them out there regardless. Perhaps this “vault” may be influenced on some level through the collective consciousness or will of the human race but not on the level of the God or the gods, or whatever demiurgical force used the firmament or Ouranos to create reality. This is all reminiscent of the sci-fi film Dark City, in which the main character uses his tuning powers to influence the reality of the false noirish 1950’s styled city, built on a space ship disc that looks like a “flat earth” that keeps its human hosts in a state of constant night and unreality, where the “Strangers” being alien creatures inhabiting pale dead humans have been secretly influencing them and study their subjects due to their jealousy of them containing immaterial souls and spirits. On a side note, I suppose many will accuse me of being a flat earther now, as I am not. Many of those types are insanely dogmatic about it. But let’s just go with the flow with the information presented here. So how does all of this connect to Saturn?

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We already saw how Saturn hacked off Uranus’s genitals and goes missing. Before this incident, Uranus would in essence urinate on Gaia as the rainmaker, which gave rise to her fertility, manifesting in the form of flora and fauna. Since Uranus ruled and wore the crown, the urine was golden–hence the Golden Age! The Greek historian Plutarch in On Isis and Osiris, states that Set/Typhon steals and dismembered the corpse of his brother Osiris into fourteen pieces, only after Isis has retrieved it. Isis then finds and buries each piece of her husband’s body, with the exception of the penis, which she reconstructs with magic, because the original was eaten by fish in the river. Plutarch states this is the reason the Egyptians had a taboo against eating fish.

From this idea, we can surmise that when Saturn hacks of Ouranos’s genitals and castrates him, he in essence, strips his grandfather, or the “firmament” that hovers over Gaia (being the Earth) of his creative powers. Now, Saturn/Kronos has the ability to create and shape reality on his own accord, much like the Gnostic Demiurge Ialdabaoth does in the Gnostic literature. In other words, Saturn has the phallic prowess/crown/sceptor or the admantine scythe to wield with might against all of creation. And yet, he too is overthrown by his divine descendant–this time being Zeus–down into Tartarus. In Hesiod’s Theogony, we next read that Ouranos’s dismembered genitals actually gave rise to the majestic and beautiful goddess Aphrodite! This reminds us when in Genesis 2:22, God creates woman or Eve from Adam’s rib.

Around them a white foam from the immortal skin began to arise. In it, a maiden was nurtured. First, she drew near holy Kythera, and from there she arrived at Kypros surrounded by water. From within, a majestic and beautiful goddess stepped, and all around grass grew beneath her slender feet. Aphrodite [foam-born goddess and fair-wreathed Kythereia] gods and men call her because she was nurtured in foam. But they call her Kythereia because she happened upon Kythera, and Kyprogenes because she was born in much-surging Kypros, and Philommeides because she appeared out of genitals.

Genesis 19:13 tells us:

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

In Genesis 17:11, it tells us further:

And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.

And finally in Exodus 13:16, it tells us:

16 And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt.

The circumcision of the head of the penis symbolizes the covenant between Jehovah and his slave race–humanity. It in essence, symbolizes the castration of Ouranos by Saturn/Kronos! The top of the penis is the head, and has only “one eye” and must be circumcised because of the Glory of Jehovah. Do it or you are toast! Genesis 17:14 reads:

And the uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

Why is this so? Because Saturn/Jehovah recognizes the circumcision or self-sacrifice of the Israelites as a covenant in that they too are in a sense “castrated” much like Saturn’s grandfather. In fact, the very word “covenant” means “to cut” and “to eat/consume” in Hebrew! Circumcision was a covenant of “cutting” and “consuming”! Does that mean Jehovah was literally consuming the cut penis parts of the Israelites? A very bizarre concept indeed but it correlates to the idea that Saturn ate many of his children that could potentially become the next generation of gods. Perhaps this indicates that Saturn was trying to prevent a new reality, or the beginning of time that we exist in now, from taking place. Also keep in mind that Satan in many medieval depictions of Hell is often illustrated with consuming the souls of the damned.

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Ritual sacrifices done to the god Saturn in Rome were done in this regard, according to the Wikipedia entry on Saturn.

Sacrifices to Saturn were performed according to “Greek rite” (ritus graecus), with the head uncovered, in contrast to those of other major Roman deities, which were performed capite velato, “with the head covered.” Saturn himself, however, was represented as veiled (involutus), as for example in a wall painting from Pompeii that shows him holding a sickle and covered with a white veil.

The Holy of Holies or the Ark of the Covenant guarded by the Seraphim in the Temple of Solomon or the First Jewish Temple are also veiled from the public as well as the High Priests of Levite (Leviathan) for most of the year. Adam and Eve’s genitals were also covered by skins to cover their shame in the Garden of Eden, after they consumed the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. We are speaking here about the phallus and the creative power of God or the gods, which is mirrored in all creation–especially in humanity. In the Heliopolitan Egyptian creation myth, Atum was considered to be the first god, which is the equivalent to the Sumerian Abzu or the Greek Khaos or even the Hindu Brahman. It is said that Atum created a pair of a god and goddess, by spitting from his mouth, and also used a metaphor of masturbation and ejaculating lower divine powers! This is why there are so many landmarks and monuments with overt phallic imagery like the Washington monument or the Eiffel tower. Yahweh also does his best to hide his glory from the Israelites in Exodus 33:22:

21Then the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; 22and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23“Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”…

Next, we will be heading into stranger territory. We read in 1 Samuel 18:27:

Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king’s son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife.

Next up in 2 Samuel 3:14, King David does something unthinkable:

And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth Saul’s son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines.

Now, let’s see–kill them first then cut off their foreskins or purchase a wife for a hundred of these foreskins? What the fucking fuck? In Leviticus 19:23, God tells his people that (yet again), they cannot eat of the fruit of the trees while being uncircumcised:

And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised : three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of.

In Greek myths, Saturn quite literally ate his own children. Yahweh doesn’t eat the uncircumcized, he just consumes the circumcised, which is essentially his branding of the Israelite herd. Bon Apetite! Now, after the great war between the Olympian gods and the Titans, Gaia takes revenge by making a pact with Tartarus (the Underworld) to create a devastating monster meant to destroy Zeus and take his place and call him “Typhoeus” or Typhon, which corresponds to Set/Seth of the Egyptians. In Hesiod’s Theogony, we read:

When Zeus drove the Titans from Olympus, monstrous Gaia bore her last child Typhoeus in philotês with Tartaros through golden Aphrodite. His hands were strong (?)–corrupt line– The feet of the powerful god were weariless. From his shoulders were a hundred head of a dreadful serpent dragon, licking with dark tongues. The eyes on the monster’s ineffable heads flashed fire beneath their brows [From all the heads, as he looked, burned fire.] Voices were in all his dreadful heads, emitting sounds of all sorts, unutterable by gods. Sometimes they spoke so gods could comprehend. Sometimes they emitted the cry of a bull, unchecked in might, proud of voice, sometimes the cry of a lion having a shameless spirit, sometimes sounds like puppies, a wonder to hear, sometimes he hissed, and the lofty mountains rumbled. A unmanageable deed would have been done that day, and Typhoeos would have become lord for mortals and immortals, had not the father of men and gods keenly attended. He thundered harsh and strong, and all around, Gaia resounded awfully, and the wide Ouranos above and the sea and streams of Okeanos and Gaia’s Tartaros.

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We see Typhon attack and wage war against the heavens, with trowing flaming rocks at it, while hissing and screaming and gushing with dragon like streams of fire from his mouth. The sight alone of Typhon was enough for the Olympian gods to flee with terror. But the mighty Zeus is unwavered by the hellish monster and decides to fight back, reminding us the moment Yahweh struggles against the primal sea monster, Leviathan as recorded in Job 41, Isaiah 27:1 and Psalm 74.

Beneath the god’s immortal feet as he moved ` was quivering great Olympus. Gaia was groaning. Heat from both of them gripped the violet-like sea, heat from the thunder and flash and fire from the monster and thunderbolts and winds and scorching lightning. All the earth boiled and Ouranos and the sea. Huge waves raged along the shores round and about, at the fury of the immortals, and an endless quaking arose. Hades, lording over the wasted dead men, and the Titans under Tartaros who around Kronos, trembled with the endless din and terrible battle-strife. When Zeus lifted up his might and seized his weapons, thunder, flash, and gleaming lightning, he leaped up from Olympus and smote them. All about he set fire to the dread monster’s divine heads. But when he had subdued him, flogging him with blows, Typhoeos collapsed, crippled, and monstrous Gaia was groaning. From the lightning-smote lord, a flame shot forth in the mountain glens dark and craggy as he was struck. And monstrous Gaia was burning all over with an ineffable blast and melted like tin heated beneath the skill of craftsmen in bellowed crucibles or iron, which is the strongest of all things, being subdued in the mountain glens by blazing fire, melts in the shining earth beneath Hephaestos’ hands. In this way, Gaia was melting from the flame of the blazing fire. And Zeus in terrible anger threw Typhoeus into wide Tartaros.

Greek Gods.com remarks further about this harrowing episode:

When Athena, the goddess of wisdom, accused Zeus for cowardness, he decided to confront Typhon. Armed with thunder and lightnings, he struck at the monster with a sickle and then chased him until Mount Casion, which rises over Syria.

Seeing Typhon severely wounded, Zeus engaged him in a hand-to-hand combat. But all at once,Typhon wrapped Zeus in his coils, held him firmly and wrested the sickle from him. Typhon soon left Zeus helpless by cutting the tendons from his hands and feet. Then he took Zeus to the Corycian Cave, on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, and appointed his sister Delphyne, a she-dragon that was half beast and half maiden, to guard Zeus.

However, Hermes, the son of Zeus and the goat-footed Aigipan managed to fit the tendons back into Zeus without being observed. Immediately after Zeus recovered his strength, he made a sudden descent from heaven on a chariot drawn by a winged horse. Hurling thunderbolts, he pursued Typhon strongly and when they reached the island of Sicily, Zeus threw the enormous Mount Aetna at the monster, pinning him underneath.

And so we have, Zeus who uses the sickle or scythe of Saturn against Typhon–the very weapon forged from Ouranos’s genitals! And another thing about Zeus is that his father Saturn is fooled into thinking he ate Zeus when a rock was thrown into Saturn’s mouth.

In the Gnostic text, Hypostasis of the Archons, we see the same thing happen with Sabaoth, with the help of Sophia and Zoe, supplanting and usurping Yaldabaoth’s rulership, while casting him into Tartarus, the same prison where the titans were condemned to stay in.

This ruler, by being androgynous, made himself a vast realm, an extent without limit. And he contemplated creating offspring for himself, and created for himself seven offspring, androgynous just like their parent. And he said to his offspring, “It is I who am god of the entirety.”

And Zoe (Life), the daughter of Pistis Sophia, cried out and said to him, “You are mistaken, Sakla!” – for which the alternative name is Yaltabaoth. She breathed into his face, and her breath became a fiery angel for her; and that angel bound Yaldabaoth and cast him down into Tartaros below the abyss.

Now when his offspring Sabaoth saw the force of that angel, he repented and condemned his father and his mother, matter. He loathed her, but he sang songs of praise up to Sophia and her daughter Zoe. And Sophia and Zoe caught him up and gave him charge of the seventh heaven, below the veil between above and below. And he is called ‘God of the forces, Sabaoth’, since he is up above the forces of chaos, for Sophia established him.

Revelation 13:3-4 tells us:

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?

And Revelation 14:14 tells us that the Son of Man’s second coming will be displayed with a golden crown and a sharp sickle!

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

Matthew 24:30 might as well read:

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of [Saturn] in heaven [The Crown/Bow/Phallus/Penis] and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of [Saturn] coming in the clouds of [Ouranos] with power and great glory.

I am not sure what to make of all this information. Perhaps what all these ancient myths are pointing to is that according to what the ancients thought, that there were several ancient gods and powers that held great authority and sway over the world, and are all vying for power over reality itself. The line of usurped succession being Ouranos, Kronos and finally Zeus underscores this fact. I do think that these pagan deities overlap, though. They’re too similar to be coincidental. I think we may be dealing with the same group of deities manifested in different forms to various peoples and cultures throughout history. From the looks of it, Yahweh is simply another one of these beings, part of the same ancient pantheon of deities from which all these pagan deities ultimately derive. He may or may not be higher up in the chain of being, but I still don’t consider him anywhere near the absolute god. It is no secret that these same pagan gods are reduced to mere archons, fallen angels, principalities and powers in the post-Christian and proto-Gnostic worldview as we see in Ephesians 6:12:

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 2:1-3, Paul tells us also that the prince of the power of the air, which the same as the Greek primeval god/Titan Aer, which is a lower manifestation of the goddess Titan, Khaos:

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

Paul clearly also equates outward circumcision of the foreskin with being bereft of Christ in Galatians 5:2:

Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

Was Paul and the later Gnostikoi reacting against the traditional Roman/Greek/Jew myths with their own revelations of a higher god beyond the dome? It is clear that Kronos/Jehovah is not exactly a benevolent deity and is always seeking to expand his dominance over the face of the world with his constant demands of sacrifice to him and in effect steal the creative power of Ouranos. Genesis tells us that this same God created the “heavens and the earth,” making him higher than Ouranos and Gaia. And yet, the Orthodox narrative has Yahweh sending his own Son (the Messiah) to be brutally tortured and executed as a convict as well as a blood atonement for the sins of the world. Kronos created the prison mankind find themselves in, and cut mankind off from everything outside, being the dome or Ouranos that covers over the world. Kronos cut off the phallus of Ouranos, and Yahweh demands his followers cut off the foreskin of their penises–symbolizing the covenant between the gods and mortals in that the Jews and the rest of the human race submit to their influence. They are essentially prison wardens, and the chief archons guarding as Paul puts it, the “aion of the kosmos,” which is essentially a reference to Saturn. They feed off of their followers like vampires or parasites–because without the help, belief, and sacrifices of humanity, the gods might as well not even exist and dissolve back into primordial chaos! Perhaps this is what the Gospel of Philip is telling us:

That is the way it is in the world – men make gods and worship their creation. It would be fitting for the gods to worship men!

I realize how insane, fantastic and delusional how all of this might sound to a secular humanist/atheist but I’m not here to pander to Dawkins/militant atheist types. In a general sense, the difference between pagan religions and Gnosis, though, is that the pagan religions were very naturalistic and animistic. They revered and worshiped nature, contrary to despising it. Gnosticism, in that sense, is kind of an inverted paganism. It acknowledges the existence of these pagan deities, and their involvement in the creation of the world, but deems them evil/imperfect and to be avoided. That is not to say that many Gnostic sects like the Naasenes and Ophites often referred to many of the pagan mysteries in their exegesis and rituals, as church fathers like Hippolytus were hell-bent on emphasizing this fact. The famous Ophite Bowl also has many references to many pagan Orphic powers and deities, as well. The idea of creating and shaping one’s reality to your will is something that is worth exploring further in future posts. Anyway, I think I’ve gone long enough so here are just some thoughts I have on all this.

The Faustian Grail

Since the early 16th century, a tragic and sinister story has weaved its way through western culture and even today in pop culture and science—the legend of a man who makes a pact with the devil and then has to come to terms with the contract he signed. It’s the legend of Johannes Faustus. Faustus makes a deal with the devil to gain more intellectual enlightenment even though he is at the top of his intellectual studies in society’s standards but for some reason, it did not satisfy him. The main logistics of the deal was that the devil would serve Faust while he is alive to help him find this enlightenment and in return Faust would have to give up his soul and be the devil’s servant in hell.

And yet, both versions of Faustus present us with a highly unconventional representation of both the sinner/sorcerer (Faust) and the devil in the figure of Mephistopheles. He is a malevolent force, yet brings about good despite himself. Aware of this, he still performs his duty in Faust’s corruption, and in his eventual salvation (or damnation in later accounts). This devil-as-savior motif is perplexing from the standpoint of traditional Christian doctrine, though it did correspond with contemporary but radical ideas expressed in the writings of William Blake (1757-1827) and Lord Byron (1788-1824). Unsurprisingly, Faustus has a lot of crypto-gnostic underpinnings.

Yet to truly understand the role that Mephistopheles plays in Faust we must look deeper still, into the shadowy light of the alchemical and Gnostic sources that were so influential in the crafting of these legends. Mephistopheles is inextricably connected to the Ouroboros serpent, the alchemical motif of a snake devouring its own tail. We find this in Cleopatra the Alchemist’s Chrysopoeia as well as the Ophite cabalistic-like diagram described by Celsus and Origen. This interpretation not only helps us to understand Mephistopheles’ individual role in the drama of Faust but can shed new light on the entire structure of the Faustian narrative.

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But before we explore Mephistopheles, we must examine Faustus himself. Since Faustus has already exhausted the known sciences, he wishes to obtain, with the assistance of Mephistopheles, a complete knowledge of the universe. It is in the black arts that he finds what he believes will satisfy his search for the ultimate gnosis, as well as the power that he believes will accompany it:

These metaphysics of magicians And necromantic books are heavenly; Lines, circles, letters, characters- Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires. O, what a world of profit and delight, Of power, of honor, and omnipotence Is promised to the studious artisan!

Faustus was apparently a historical character who lived in Germany during the early 16th century. A student of divinity, Faustus claimed to have extraordinary powers. In his imagination, he was a necromancer (someone who communicates with the dead) and a practitioner of black magic and sorcery. Although this version of Faustus was nothing more than a braggart and a charlatan, his legend flourished.

The earliest collection of the tales of Faust came in 1587 in an anonymous work titled the Historie of the Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Dr. John Faustus. The legend was soon picked up by English playwright Christopher Marlowe, a contemporary of Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth. According to rumor, Marlowe was an agent of Her Majesty’s Secret Service—much like John Dee, the pious and famous Renassiance man who would engage in various occult operations in channeling “angels”. Marlowe’s version of Faust’s story, the play The Tragicall History of D. Faustus (1604), soon became the model for the many versions of Faust’s story that followed. It is the story of a man who trades his soul to the devil in exchange for a period of ultimate knowledge and power.

The original story of Johannes Faust, was first translated into English by an unknown author in 1592. As it is known that the author of Faustus, Christopher Marlowe studied with English Catholics at Rheims (possibly spying on them), as references are to the Latin Vulgate (also called St. Jerome, after its original translator in the fifth century) and the Catholic Douay-Rheims version. It is also possible that he used the Protestant Geneva Bible, but all the references he makes are to Jerome.

Marlowe’s Faust is not simply a charlatan. He is a tragic hero, a superman, the archetype of the Renaissance man. Where did Marlowe get the idea to depict Faust as a powerful sorcerer whose willingness to do anything for knowledge and power leads him to the dark side? Perhaps from the apocryphal legends of Simon Magus, the first-century magician who challenged God (like Lucifer) and clashed with Peter in magical feats of sorcery. This connection may derive from Simon’s use of the Latin sir-name Faustus, meaning the “favored one,” meaning that he was the “chosen one” to continue John the Baptist’s tradition, according to the Clementine’s.

There were many sources available to Marlowe concerning the life of Simon Magus. Probably the most important was The Golden Legend (Legende Aurea), a popular collection of tales of the saints by the 13th-century archbishop of Genoa, Jacobus de Voragine.

Simon, of course, is portrayed as a sorcerer who fooled Samaria into believing his divine powers and at one point even claimed he was the holy trinity, being the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We already saw in a previous post that, according to Justin Martyr’s Apologia, he went to Rome in the time of Claudius (who was the fourth Emperor of the Roman Empire and ruled between 41 and 54 BCE) and was so convincing at being a God, the nebulous “they” erected a statue to him, under the god “Semo Sancus” being the equivalent to Mithra, Apollo or Helios. He follows Phillip around for a bit before running into Peter and John for trying to bribe them for Holy Spirit power and apostleship (Simony) but those two chastise Simon rather severely before heading back to Jerusalem. But as we’ve already saw in Johnny Mercury, this story seems suspect and reads more like a parody of a Simonian anointing ritual than a genuine account. But, if what Irenaeus says is true about Simon feigning to be the Holy Trinity then this is probably tantamount to blasphemy.

As literary critic Beatrice Daw Brown in Marlow, Faustus, and Simon Magus writes, the careers of the two magicians, Simon Magus and Marlowe’s Faust, follow the same pattern, and their lives have many parallels. Both are extremely powerful sorcerers able to withstand fire, to move objects without touching them and, most importantly, to evoke the spirits of the dead. Both defy God in their own way, Faust with his pact with the Devil and Simon with his arch-heresy of proclaiming himself the Christ and the Standing One. Both travel to Rome, both perform their miracles before the emperor and both have demons at their beck and call. Simon Magus has demons who aid and carry him (shown licking and tormenting him in a relief from the St. Sernin Cathedral in Toulouse, France).

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Faust has Mephistopheles, a servant of Lucifer, who gives him the power to do his magical acts. Simon Magus and Faust both attempt to fly, Faust in Venice and Simon at Rome, and both fail.

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(Mephistopheles peers menacingly over Faust’s shoulder in the statue from the Villa Borghese in Rome, celebrating Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who penned his own version of the Faust legend.)

Faust like Simon, has a semidivine female companion, who is also named Helen. According to many church fathers, Helena is a reincarnation of Helen of Troy. In the Faust legends, she is also Helen of Troy. In Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and in the famed poetic drama of Goethe, Mephistopheles employs the most beautiful woman in antiquity to seduce Dr. Faust into the occult realms in Faust’s search for wisdom. Thus Marlowe writes:

“Was this the face that launched a thousand ships / And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?”

And finally Simon Magus and Faust both meet an inglorious and violent death. Simon Magus tries to fly but crashes to the ground with broken limbs. Faust’s body is found the morning after his pact ends, mangled and torn to pieces.

In Marlowe’s play, Faust’s final soliloquy, the most moving of the entire work, evokes the fall of Simon Magus. In the last hour before his payment comes due, Faust laments:

“The starres move still, time runs, the clocke wil strike, / The deuil wil come, and Faustus must be damned / O Ile leape up to my God: who pulles me downe?”

Faust is also reminiscent of the fall of Adam and Eve in Paradise Lost by John Milton. In a way, Eve’s mistake of eating the fruit of the Tree of knowledge of good and evil to gain more knowledge is somewhat similar to the Faustian Bargain. First, in both cases, the serpent initialized the interactions with the humans. In later traditions, as in Revelation of St. John the Divine and the Books of Adam and Eve, Satan manifests a form of a snake with Eve and in a dog and a nobleman for Faust. In Paradise Lost, it was more to tempt God’s precious recreations to sin for vengeance. By offering the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, Eve did gain knowledge (cabbalists would say sexual knowledge which led to birth and death in the world), but in return, she and Adam were also banished from Garden of Eden for her disobedience to God, in which they were no longer under the rulership of Jehovah and his gods.

In Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled, we wrote:

In Genesis 3:22, Jehovah declares, clearly to other gods (or Elohim divine council found in Psalms 82:1), that “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” Jehovah expresses fear, “lest he reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” The creator seems concerned that, with the wisdom they gained from the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve will realize that he’s not the only god, and also that, if they gain immortality by eating from the Tree of Life, they will become gods as well, no longer under his control.

In another chapter, we also note:

In mythology, there is an archetypal scenario in which a person travels from one realm to another, and becomes stuck there upon eating the food of the other realm. This happened to the Greek figure of Persephone when she ate the food of the underworld. Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge and it changed the universe, or perhaps it created a new universe, and she became trapped in it. Jesus told us to eat his flesh and drink his blood to live forever in the New Jerusalem (the “Kingdom of God”) after death. In the New Jerusalem everyone drinks of the waters of life from the rivers of Paradise and becomes immortal. So perhaps there are other recipes involving similar ingredients that likewise could affect the universe around you upon consumption.

Satan, according to some interpretations, is God’s firstborn son, who came before Adam. But Adam was his favorite, and when his firstborn son refused to honor his younger brother, God sacrificed or expelled him. Satan embodied the forbidden wisdom that Adam was not allowed to have, and God told him not to eat of that “tree.” Was this “fruit” the product of sexual union? The carnal knowledge that Eve was endowed with, according to the cabalistic legends, came from her having carnal knowledge of the Serpent, which bred Cain (and perhaps others, according to some stories). What happens when a human and a spirit of the chaos realm mate? Better yet, what happens when you eat the child that was born of such a union?

And so, Adam and Eve were sent away and their children would be born with, according to Catholic tradition, the “original sin”. In this sense, the serpent gave Eve what he promised her: knowledge, but Eve did not know that in the end she would become a person under the authority of the Serpent or Satan and entered in a new universe of sex, birth and death (which is symbolized as the Ouroboros) because of her disobedience to God or the Elohim, the angels of order and creation. In Genesis (1:28), it is Adam who originaly has managerial authority over the world and perhaps even the universe:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

John Milton would write in Paradise Lost:

“Of Man’s first disobedience and the fruit / of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste / Brought death into the world, and all our woe” (1.1-5).

As Sherman Hawkins in The Education of Faust points out, “Faustus’s sin is that of Adam – he seeks by knowledge to be as God.” In fact, the Bad Angel that tempts Faustus to pursue the dark arts says:

“Go forward Faustus, in that famous art Wherein all nature’s treasure is contained. Be thou on earth as Jove is in the sky, Lord and commander of these elements!” (Marlowe).

This statement is a parallel for the serpent who tempts Eve by telling her, “God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything both evil and good” (Genesis 3:4-5). Eve and Adam became the followers of the Serpent and yet their relationship is wholly antagonistic as history flows from their deed. This is personified as the “Seed of the Serpent.”

In Gnostic parody accounts, the Serpent was sent by Sophia to awaken Adam and Eve, and in Manichaean accounts, the Serpent was actually an incarnation of Jesus, the Splendor (this is probably connected to John 3:14). According to Hippolytus in Refutation of All Heresies (V. 14), the Sethians equated the Serpent with the Logos in which it entered the virgin womb and produced the perfect man of Jesus Christ:

The perfect Word of supernal light being therefore assimilated (inform) to the beast, (that is,) the serpent, entered into the defiled womb, having deceived (the womb) through the similitude of the beast itself, in order that (the Word) may loose the chains that encircle the perfect mind which has been begotten amidst impurity of womb by the primal offspring of water, (namely,) serpent, wind, (and) beast. This, he says, is the form of the servant, and this the necessity of the Word of God coming down into the womb of a virgin. But he says it is not sufficient that the Perfect Man, the Word, has entered into the womb of a virgin, and loosed the pangs which were in that darkness.

In Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve was the representation of humanity as they were the first to be created by God. They committed a sin and that is why every infant, according to Orthodox tradition is said have that original stain of sin and have to be baptized because under the laws of God, we are their descendants.

The Faustus story much like Paradise Lost, is about the “temptation” and desire, which is not different from any other human cravings of being more than human. His sinful wish is not different from that of Adam and Eve, only his channels are dissimilar. Faustus conjures up the Devil himself, that is why it is quite doubtful to speak about a real temptation in his situation. We can risk saying that Faustus is already a “fallen angel” or rather a “fallen man” at the beginning of the drama.

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“A Fairy under Starry Skies” by Luis Ricardo Falero

The main difference between a sinful human being and a “fallen angel” is in the later one’s incapacity to regret. Both Dr. Faustus (and even Shakespeare’s Macbeth) are in a situation where repentance is almost impossible. Faustus for example is unable to step further to the next station of penitence, namely humiliation. Consequently, he commits the sin of hardening of heart, which is gradually followed by the futile agony of despair. Faustus’ lack of belief in his salvation, his incapacity to regret, which makes him similar to “fallen angels.” Faustus’ free will plays an important role in the tragedy, since if he was predestined to be damned, we would not have any right to speak about tragedy at all.

Mephistopheles makes a vow with the Lord that he himself as the Devil can win the soul of Faust. Many have dealt with the Faust legend dating from Marlowe to Berliez. Faustus was a man who like Shakespeare and Emanuel Swedenborg was well versed in almost every art and science. This story more than likely originates in Job of the Old Testament where Satan challenges Jehovah he can steal the soul of Job.

The Old Testament also condemns the pagan gods of competing religions in the surrounding areas of the Mediterranean. It condemns sacrifice to them, divination and prophecy through those gods, worshiping them, etc. But if you closely scrutinize Yahweh/Jehovah, he operates virtually identically to the pagan gods. He makes pacts with Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and Moses: they worship Yahweh in exchange for material blessings on themselves and their descendants. He demands animal sacrifices and burnt sacrifices. He demands submission. He wants temples and altars erected in his honor. And if the descendants of those who originally made the pacts, i.e., the Jews, renege on those pacts, he takes away everything that he has blessed them with and curses them. Sounds an awful lot the Faustian Devil, doesn’t it? Jehovah really isn’t that much different than Faust’s Mephistopheles.

In a sense, Christ’s death on the cross can be considered a “contract” between the Father (according to Marcion is above Jehovah) and Satan for the souls of mankind, signed with Christ’s own blood. This is very much like how Faustus signs his own contract with blood, a contract in which Dr. Faustus is in fact promising his soul to Satan. Mephistopheles tells Faustus that he “must bequeath it solemnly And write a deed of gift with thine own blood, For that security craves Lucifer.”

Marlowe makes the connection between Faustus and Christ again when Faustus says, “Consummatum est!” Here Faustus quotes Christ’s dying words, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) when he has signed his own contract with Satan, and in doing so, his contact is compared to Christ’s shed blood on the cross. Images of the alchemical crucified serpent also come to mind. Edmund Siderius in Faust and Alchemy, specifically connects Mephistopheles with the alchemical serpent of the Ophite Gnostics:

In the first part of Faust, Mephistopheles is twice directly connected with the serpent, in the Prolog im Himmel and then in Wald und Höhle. In the Prolog im Himmel he brags that he will quickly return to heaven and declare his victory. No doubt; it’s a short journey anyway.

“/ I’ll win my wager without much delay. / And when I do, then, if I may, / I’ll come back here and boast of my success. / I’ll make him greedy fort he dust, the way / The serpent was, my famous ancestress!”

For Alice Raphael, author of “Goethe and the Philosophers’ Stone”, this is the first indication that we should see Mephistopheles’ role as something other than that of the traditional devil, but rather as that of the Ouroboros in both its destructive as well as constructive qualities. According to her, Goethe knew of the Gnostic Naassenes, or Ophites, probably through Geschichte der Schlangenbrüder by J.L. von Mosheim. As she says, they worshiped the Naas, which in Hebrew was Nachash (serpent) and was the numerological equivalent of Messiah. The serpent as savior motif comes from texts like On the Origin of the World and assorted Manichaean texts. In this regard the Naas was:

“…in primitive times a cult object, later a matriarchal power, and finally a symbol of wisdom. [There is a hidden reference to the Serpent in Faust, Part I] not as the traditional temptress of Genesis, but as ‘Frau Muhme,’ Goethe’s allusion to the female divinity of the Ophites.”

In this scene Mephistopheles describes his motion as circular (from heaven to earth to heaven), and his serpent ancestor’s hunger for dust. On the one hand this could be seen as referring to the bible, yet given his later confession that he seeks to specifically destroy all matter it could instead be interpreted in terms of the Ouroboros’ symbolic role of breaking down matter in the alchemical vessel into prime matter, so that it may be purified.

The next time Mephistopheles makes an appearance alongside a serpent he does so in his role as instigator and agitator of yet more circular action in the play. Faust, after a moment of calm reflection, is yet again driven by the “fire” of desire to pursue the maiden Gretchen for his pleasure. Before he does so, however, he curses Mephistopheles for disturbing his quietude with the insult: “Snake! Snake!”

This in and of itself will come as no surprise, for even in orthodox Christianity the serpent is seen as being a sign of the devil. What is perhaps more telling in this scene is its thematic circularity, a circularity which, when seen in light of the whole work, is a fundamental component of Faust’s redemption. It occurs almost immediately after Faust, in a high point of spiritual reflection, muses to the Erdgeist, the earth spirit:

“You added a companion, who already / Is indispensable to me, although / With one cold mocking breath he can degrade me / In my own eyes, and turn your gifts to nothing.”

The image of the serpent as savior, in the most blatant of alchemical formulations, had already appeared in Goethe’s Das Märchen, published in 1795, thirteen years before the publication of Faust: One. According to Ronald Gray in his text Goethe the Alchemist, Goethe encountered the destructive-creative principle of the Ouroboros in numerous forms. As he says:

“The self-destruction implicit in the rotating serpent was identical with the ‘putrefaction’, or death to self, spoken of elsewhere. Only when man’s lust had completely consumed itself ‘by revolution’ […] could he appear again in his former angelic splendor […]. It was necessary to yield all personal desires and become one with the universe.”

Seen in this light, the excesses that Mephistopheles leads Faust to on Walpurgisnacht can be made sense of in terms of the logic of the Ouroboros, for only when Faust’s lust has consumed itself will he able to become “one with the universe” or “Mr. Microcosm”, his soul purified like alchemical matter through a successive series of decompositions and reconstitution.

We must stop here to comment. In the Hymn of the Pearl, it presents things like the serpent, the sea and Egypt as symbols of worldly bondage. The serpent for the Ophites was a pneumatic symbol, but to the authors of Hymn of the Pearl and the Pistis Sophia, the serpent is presented as an earth-encircling dragon from the original chaos, the ruler or evil principle of this world. This is the same as the Babylonian Tiamat, the chaos-monster slain by Marduk in the history of creation. Hans Jonas in The Gnostic Religion, quotes a little known text called The Acts of Kyriakos and Julita and comments on this situation:

The closest gnostic parallel to our tale is to be found in the Jewish apocryphal Acts of Kyriakos and Julitta (see Reitzenstein, Das iranische Erlosungsmysterium, p. 77), where the prayer of Kyriakos relates, also in the first person, how the hero, sent out by his Mother into the foreign land, the “city of darkness,” after long wandering and passing through the waters of the abyss meets the dragon, the “king of the worms of the earth, whose tail lies in his mouth. This is the serpent that led astray through passions the angels from on high; this is the serpent that led astray the first Adam and expelled him from Paradise. . . .” There too a mystical letter saves him from the serpent and causes him to fulfill his mission.

Egypt as a symbol for the material world is very common in Gnosticism (and beyond it). The biblical story of Israel’s bondage and liberation lent itself admirably to spiritual interpretation of the type the Gnostics liked. But the biblical story is not the only association which qualified Egypt for its allegorical role. From ancient times Egypt had been regarded as the home of the cult of the dead, and therefore the kingdom of Death; this and other features of Egyptian religion, such as its beast-headed gods and the great role of sorcery, inspired the Hebrews and later the Persians with a particular abhorrence and made them see in “Egypt” the embodiment of a demonic principle. The Gnostics then turned this evaluation into their use of Egypt as a symbol for “this world,’* that is, the world of matter, of ignorance, and of perverse religion: “A11 ignorant ones [i.e, those lacking gnosis] are ‘Egyptians,'” states a Peratic dictum quoted by Hippolytus (V. 16. 5).

And so Egypt, being the well-spring and source for Alexandrian mysticism that greatly inspired many Gnostic sects is also (ironically) symbolic of the dark world that all lost souls inhabit. It is this serpent’s circle that we find ourselves entrapped in, as a sort of Eternal Reoccurrence, as the atheist philosopher Nietzsche often wrote about. Again, Edmund Siderius successfully connects the Encircling Serpent with Mephistopheles:

…it is possible to gain a better grasp of Mephistopheles’ role, and where it may have come from. If we see Mephistopheles as the Ouroboros of the Alchemists and Gnostics (and not merely as the Christian Satan) he maintains the traditional associations of the devil, such as destruction, the obsession with the material, fire and the serpent, but gains all the other roles he plays in Faust. The destruction he brings is inextricably bound with creation, which is purified through cycles of fire, be they physical or metaphorical. These cycles tend to be brought about either directly though his catalyzing acts or through pharmakon which share in his inherent ambiguity. It is in this way that Mephistopheles as the Oroborus can serve Faust as Vergil did Dante, allowing him to explore the whole circle of creation: “And with swift steps, yet wise and slow. [Go] [f]rom heaven, through the world, right down to hell”!

So, if Faustus is simply modeled after the Simon Magus myth, then it is Simon, who makes a deal with the Ouroboros for knowledge and occult powers (like Eve and Adam), much like how Paul makes a deal with Satan in 1 Corinthians 5. And as Amanda Myers writes in Biblical Parallels in Marlow’s Faustus, there are parallels between St. Paul and Faustus and even Mephistopheles:

Mephistophilis is first summoned by Dr. Faustus, he quotes St. Paul’s query upon converting to Christianity: “What wouldst thou have me do?” (Holy Acts 4:9). By putting the words of a venerated saint into the mouth of a devil, Marlowe contrasts Paul’s decision to accept Salvation with Faustus’ decision to reject it (O’Brien 4). Later, when Marlowe has Faustus ask, “When Mephistophilis shall stand by me What power can hurt me?” (Marlowe 19), which is an adaptation of Romans 8:31’s “…If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”, he points out the grave error in Faustus’ thinking. By replacing “God” with “Mephistophilis,” Faustus deludes himself into thinking that through a minor devil he could access the omnipotence of God.

The Clementine Homilies (XXXII) also presents many of Simon Magus’ magical abilities which includes shape-shifting into a serpent as well as a goat, reminding us the imagery associated with Baphomet. (Please see our book for more surprising connections between Simon Magus and Baphomet). Simon also has the ability to cast illusory banquets. According to Celsus, Christ could summon banquets and in the medieval grimoires, one can do exactly this by the aid of demons.

Aquila having thus spoken, I Clement inquired: “What, then, are the prodigies that he works?” And they told me that he makes statues walk, and that he rolls himself on the fire, and is not burnt; and sometimes he flies; and he makes loaves of stones; he becomes a serpent; he transforms himself into a goat; he becomes two-faced; he changes himself into gold; he opens lockfast gates; he melts iron; at banquets he produces images of all manner of forms.

The name “Faustus” also belongs to the two twin brothers (Faustus and Faustinianus) as well as the father, of Pope Clement, the supposed author of the Clementines. The name Faustus also is given to a Manichaean Bishop who debates St. Augustine in Confessions  and Reply to Faustus the Manichaean over various theological issues, much like how Simon debates Peter in the Clementines.

Throughout the play, Dr. Faustus sins deliberately over and over again. And yet he also doubts his commitment to the devil, but always deliberately and systematically rejects God and reaffirms his contract with Satan:

“What boots it then to think on God or heaven? Away with such vain fancies, and despair Despair in God and trust in Belzebub!”

Faustus’ heart is so hardened that he rejects outright the guidance of the Good Angel, the wise and sympathetic Old Man, and even the warnings of Mephistopheles himself, who describes his own eternal damnation to Faustus:

“Why this is hell, nor am I out of it. Think’st thou that I who saw the face of God And tasted the eternal joys of heaven Am not tormented with ten thousand hells In being deprived of everlasting bliss?”

There is a part in Marlowe’s Faust where Faust asks Mephistopheles how it is possible that a demon can manifest itself on earth, since demons have been condemned to hell, and Mephistopheles explains that earth is merely an extension of hell. This is not so dissimilar to how the Gnostics viewed the world.

“We can say that Faustus makes a choice, and that he is responsible for his choice, but there is in the play a suggestion—sometimes explicit, sometimes only dimly implicit—that Faustus comes to destruction not merely through his own actions but through the actions of a hostile cosmos that entraps him. In this sense, too, there is something of Everyman in Faustus. The story of Adam, for instance, insists on Adam’s culpability; Adam, like Faustus, made himself, rather than God, the center of his existence. And yet, despite the traditional expositions, one cannot entirely suppress the commonsense response that if the Creator knew Adam would fall, the Creator rather than Adam is responsible for the fall; Adam ought to have been created of better stuff.”

But as Amanda Myers reveals, Faustus, in the end, is actually saved—at least in Marlowe’s version:

And just as Jesus forgave the thief on the cross, telling him, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise,” Marlowe provides subtle evidence that Dr. Faustus, too, is saved. Many would find it hard to believe that Faustus could obtain salvation after consciously selling his own soul to the devil, but despite his previous transgressions, “what Faustus has dared or done, seems now irrelevant, because, according to doctrine, he need only repent and have faith to be saved” (Ornstein 1380). And that is exactly what he does. Upon a hasty reading of the play, it would appear that this is not so. The final scene is most commonly interpreted as describing the fulfillment of Faustus’ contract with Satan: as the clock strikes twelve, the devils enter and drag a screaming Faustus away. But a careful reading reveals several instances where Mephistophilis threatens “I’ll in piecemeal tear thy flesh” (Marlowe 73), and Dr. Faustus expresses his fears that the devil will in fact “tear me into pieces if I named God” (Marlowe 77).

What Amanda Myers does not acknowledge is that although Faustus’ final act of repentance nullified his contract with Satan, the Devil is forced to act on his threat to tear Faustus apart:

“His faith is great. I cannot touch his soul. But what I may afflict his body with I will attempt, which is but little worth.”

And so because Faustus finally repented at the 11th hour, such an act will guarantee entrance into paradise. This is very much like how St. Paul inflicts a magical death curse upon a member of his own congregation in 1 Corinthians 5, as we saw in the previous post. And so we come to the end to this sordid tale and realize that it doesn’t take a seminary student to realize Marlow’s Dr. Faustus is still a very powerful work and morality cum tragedy play that reminds its readers to consider their own convictions about the soul, eternity, and God.

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The occult legends of Faustus and similar tales associated with Cornelius Agrippa and the Knights Templars with Baphomet may also be compared to the sin of Sophia in the Gnostic Gospels, since occultism, in many ways (as demonstrated in the Faustus story), separates the occultist from God because they are dedicated to gratifying the self or self-worship instead of unifying with God by rendering yourself in obedience to his will. This also seems to the prevalent attitude in Western culture as of 2016, especially in the United States (in various forms)—which indicates to me it is on the verge of cultural collapse. We also see a wide variety of rumors associated with Hollywood celebrities, musicians and gangsta rappers who sell their souls for success to the “Illuminati” and sacrifice the non-compliant as well.

In the Gnostic myth, Sophia wanted to separate from the Monad and be her own goddess, and as a result, she was expunged from the pleroma and birthed the demiurge. Even most of the great Christian occultists throughout history, like Cornelius Agrippa, Eliphas Levi and John Dee, eventually realized this and disowned it. Agrippa makes a chilling renunciation of it all in the vanity of arts and sciencesBut fear not, there is still time to reflect on your spiritual life and see the Light. This is what the Holy Grail cycle is ultimately about. Here are some parting words taken from the Apocryphon of John:

And I said to the savior, “Lord, will all the souls then be brought safely into the pure light?”

He answered and said to me,”Great things have arisen in your mind, for it is difficult to explain them to others except to those who are from the immovable race. Those on whom the Spirit of life will descend and (with whom) he will be with the power, they will be saved and become perfect and be worthy of the greatness and be purified in that place from all wickedness and the involvements in evil. Then they have no other care than the incorruption alone, to which they direct their attention from here on, without anger or envy or jealousy or desire and greed of anything. They are not affected by anything except the state of being in the flesh alone, which they bear while looking expectantly for the time when they will be met by the receivers (of the body). Such then are worthy of the imperishable, eternal life and the calling. For they endure everything and bear up under everything, that they may finish the good fight and inherit eternal life.”

Christian Magicians: The Gospel and the Magical Papyri

(The above image is taken from Asterion Mage’s Occult Art Website)

In Johnny Mercury, we explored many different connections between John the Baptist with Mercury/Hermes as well as other wisdom gods and Zodiacal signs. Simon Magus’ and Jesus’ connection with Egypt were also explored. In this post, we will explore more aspects of ritual magic and its relationship with Christianity, the rumors of Templar faustian pacts with the devil Baphomet, and how it all relates to Faustus, the man who would trade his soul to the Devil for universal knowledge and ritual black magic. As many other scholars have pointed out, the legend of Faustus comes down to us directly from the myths and legends associated with Simon Magus. And it is Simon Magus who also gives us the lore associated with the Holy Grail and alchemy.

As we point out in the book, Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled, Jesus was accused of possessing the spirit of dead John the Baptist as a “familiar” servitor spirit. Ancient Christians were also accused of being sorcerers who utilized the spirit of Christ, as well as daimons to perform their miracles (see Celsus’ “The True Doctrine”). On this issue, Morton Smith in Jesus the Magician writes:

If a magician could call up and get control of, or identify himself with such a spirit, he could then control inferior spirits or powers. (In third-century Smyrna, Christians were believed to do their miracles by just such necromantic control of the spirit of Jesus, because he had been crucified.) More frequent are spells by which spirits of the dead are themselves given assignments. Particularly interesting in relation to Mark 6:14 is a prayer to Helios-Iao-Horus to assign to the magician, as perpetual “assistance and defender,’ the soul of a man wrongfully killed. This would establish approximately the sort of relation Jesus was believed to have the soul of John. In the light of these beliefs it seems that Mark 6:14 should be understood as follows: “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead <by Jesus’ necromancy; Jesus now has him>. And there <since Jesus-John can control them> the <inferior> powers work <their wonders> by him (that is, by his orders).” A little later, after Jesus had been executed, the Samaritan magician, Simon, was similarly thought to “be” Jesus. The Christians, of course, maintained that the spirit of which Simon did his miracles was not Jesus, but merely a murdered boy.

Later Morton Smith continues discussing the ancient Christian tradition of magic:

One of the greatest figures of antiquity, a man of incalculable influence of the thought and history of the western world, himself claimed to be possessed by, and identified with, the spirit of an executed criminal, and to do whatever he did by the power this indwelling spirit. By its power he could even hand over his opponents to Satan. This man and his claims are known from his own correspondence—he is Saint Paul, who asserted, “I live no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20), and “I dare speak of nothing save those things which Christ has done through me, by word and deed, by the power of signs and miracles, by the power of <his> spirit, to make the gentiles obedient” (Rom. 15.19). He wrote the Corinthians about a member of their church that, “Being absent in body, but present in spirit, I have already judged <the offender> … uniting you and my spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus, to give this fellow over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh” (1 Cor. 5.3ff). If Paul thus proves the possibility of ancient belief in such a relationship as that supposed to have existed between Jesus and the spirit of the Baptist, he also provides the strongest evidence that this was not, in fact, the source of Jesus’ power.

Christian and Johannite sorcery, as Morton Smith writes, was quite a staple, even around the time of Paul. Mark 6:14 tells us that Herod claims that John the Baptist has risen from the dead and that Jesus has his powers. This sort of thing could be done by necromancy and would be dangerous, since according to sources like the Greek Magical Papyri the demon of a man killed violently is powerful and easy to control. As stated above, Morton Smith says the end of Mark 6:14 could be translated, “the inferior powers work by his orders,” implying that Jesus now possessed John as his daimonic slave, just like how King Solomon controlled 72 demons under the authority of a magical ring engraved with the divine name of Sabaoth. In the Acts of the Martyr Ponius (13.3) it said that Jesus was a mere man who died as a convicted criminal under Roman and Jewish decree.

For you have heard that the Jews say: Christ was a man and he died as a “biothanes” (convicted criminal).

Unsurprisingly, as Smith mentions, there are reports of magicians vying for control of Jesus’ spirit following his crucifixion now that he died as a “convicted criminal” as a type of familiar spirit, and was readily accessible through invocations. Interestingly, the earliest depictions of Jesus are as a magician. Jesus was commonly depicted as resurrecting Lazarus with the use of a magic wand. The image below is an ancient Christian amulet depicting Christ with a magic wand.

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Then there is the infamous magical cup, which reads “DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS” or “Chrestos, the Magical One” or “magician”. The inscription on the cup is meant to bind the spirit being evoked, so CHRESTOU must be in reference to a benign spiritual force that can tame lesser spirits. Chrestos means good one, as opposed to Christos, which means anointed one. I’ve noticed a few scholars have a tantrum over this issue in that something from ancient antiquity references Christ as a magician, or more specifically, a demon-summoner. As I stated earlier, on another post about Simon Magus, a “goistais” would be closer to a necromancer/nigromancer than an ordinary magician, as the term implies someone who calls up infernal spirits! It’s where the term “goetia” comes from. They’re from the same root. The earliest inscription to Christ is of one who evokes demons. That’s great. I love it.

All of this brings us to yet again, Simon Magus. If the recorded accounts by the church fathers (including the Clementines) of Simon are accurate, he was quite the evil dude. If he’s a cipher for Paul, we could get conspiratorial and say that the archons inspired the orthodox to create him to hide the real Paul and snuff out Gnosticism. It could very well have been either. There are undeniable parallels between the two, like Simon offering Peter money for the Holy Spirit, just like Paul offered Peter, James, and John money for the poor when he went to Jerusalem to announce his apostleship to the church in Jerusalem. However, it’s not implausible, either, to say that Simon may have been a first-century Aleister Crowley who imitated Jesus and feigned to be God with Satanic occult powers, just as Satan imitates the Holy Spirit. The Clementine Homilies (XXI) tells us this exactly:

He having disciplined himself greatly in Alexandria, and being very powerful in magic, and being ambitious, wishes to be accounted a certain supreme power, greater even than the God who created the world. And sometimes intimating that he is Christ, he styles himself the Standing One.

One thing I have a hard time believing is that Paul was involved in sorcery. He’s so condemning of anything that operates outside faith. The only hint of possible diabolism in Paul is when he hands the Corinthian man over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, as quoted by Morton Smith. This would make sense, considering Satan is considered one and the same with Samael, the angel of death or the destroying angel, according to 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles. That always read weird to me, and I’ve always been curious if he simply meant that he was to be ostracized from the church, or if he performed some sort of magical curse that the Devil might torment the man until he repented. In the church fathers, Simon is described as working with different types of spirits, as well. But one can hardly imagine Paul conjuring Satan to curse somebody. It just seems quite out of character. It’s an odd little verse, that one is (1 Corinthians 5).

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. … As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

This is reminiscent of the sacrificing of two goats—one for the Jewish god Yahweh, and one for the fallen angel, Azazel (Leviticus 16:10). Similarly, St. Cyprian was a pagan magician who converted to Christianity. Legend has it, according to some of the grimoires attributed to him, that he was tormented by Satan for the rest of his life. We are also reminded of Doctor Faustus and his pact with Mephistopheles, who is a constant reminder of the torments that await him on the other side in later versions of the story, Faustus. (More on this in a following post). And yet, in Galatians 5:19, sorcery is listed as being a part of the “works of the flesh” and those who practice such things “will not inherent the kingdom of God.”

Morton Smith reports in Salvation in the Gospels, Paul, and the Magical Papyri, that Paul’s crucifixion mysticism can be seen quite close to that of the Greek Magical Papyri:

First, how do we get the spirit? If immediately when we hear the gospel and believe (Gal 3:2), then, since the spirit is Christ, we should at once become participants in Christ’s death and resurrections and new life. How, then, can we account for Paul’s description of baptism as a magic rite by which one who has already believed is at least made to share the death and resurrection of the god (Romans 6:3)?

Another question raised by Paul’s account concerns the consequence of receiving the spirit. If the baptized believer adheres to the Lord so that the two become one and he thenceforth lives no longer as himself, but Christ lives in his body (1 Cor 6:17; Gal 2:20), then to whom is Paul talking when he urges his converts to side with the spirit against the flesh (Gal 5:16; Rom 7:14-25)?

Getting spirits is one of the major functions of the magic of the magical papyri. Without counting, I should guess that about 70% of the longer texts in PGM deal with ways of getting spirits and things one can hope to do with their help. In many of these rites the magician, to control an inferior spirit, declares, especially at the climax of a spell, [69] that he “is” a greater one: Iao, or the headless daimon, or Moses, or some other supernatural entity (PGM 5.110, 145, 147; et passim). These identifications are even more transient than Paul’s No consequences are drawn from them save for that which they are asserted—to compel the obedience for the inferior power.

As we said, most of the magical papyri are concerned with salvation in the synoptic sense—attaining, improving, or perpetuating our good life in this world. Consequence, when they call up spirits it is usually for one or another particular task, most often prophecy. These are strictly “ministering spirits” which must be kept in their place and made to obey (PG 1.80; 3.288; etc.), as Paul insists that “the spirits of (sc. Called up by) the (Christian) prophets are to be subject to the prophets (1 Cor 14:3). It was for dealing with such spirits that the gift of discerning (i.e. Distinguishing, knowing the nature of spirits” was important in Paul’s churches (1 Cor 12:10; 14:29). Here, too, the spirits spoke through those who called them up—that is why they are called the “spirits of the prophets,” i.e. of those who through whom they speak. The practice was evidently like that of modern “mediums” and represents another form of combatively brief, auto-hypnotic “possession”.

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There are Jewish accusations made against Jesus in Babylonian Talmud, of cutting magic Egyptian marks into his flesh, which could be a reference to either scarification or tattooing. (Matthew admits that Jesus was visited by magi (magicians) and lived in Egypt, although only in his infancy.) Magicians of the time did write spells on their flesh and instructions for doing so are found in magical papyri of the time. Paul tells us he was tattooed or branded with the marks of Jesus in this way, as well (Galatians 6:17). The spirit of Jesus Christ is specifically invoked in the Greek Magical Papyri as well under the name of the Marcionite “Chrestos” or the good one, while also calling upon Helios (although some think the mention of “Chrestos” is a Christian interpolation). Here is Eleni Pachoumi’s translation of the text from An invocation of Chrestos in Magic. The question of the orthographical spelling of Chrestos and interpretation issues in PGM XIII.288-95:

Releasing from bonds. Say; ‘Hear me, Chrestos, in tortures, help in necessities, pitiful in times (throughout the years), who died violently, very powerful in the world, who created compulsion and punishment and torture. Twelve days hissing thrice eight times, say the whole name of Helios from Achebycrom. ‘Let every bond, every force be released, let every iron be broken, every rope, or every strap, every knot, every chain be opened, and let no one subdue me by force, for I am’ (say the name).

Jesus is described in the PGM as “the god of the Hebrews” as well. In Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power by Marvin Meyer & Richard Smith, they list two spells taken from the PGM which also specifically calls on the Markian exorcist power of Christ in explicit terms, in the Spell for Protection Against Evil Spirits:

[Christ! I adjure] you, 0 lord, almighty, first-begotten, self-begotten, begotten without semen, [ • • • ) as well as all-seeing are you, and Yao, Sabao, Brinthao: Keep me as a son, protect me from every evil spirit, and subject to me every spirit of impure, destroying demons-on the earth, under the earth, of the water and of the land-and every phantom. Christ!

In another spell, called the Spell for protection against headless powers, it reads:

0 angels, archangels, who hold back the floodgates of heaven, who bring forth the light from the four comers of the world: Because I am having a clash with some headless beings, seize them and release me through the power of the father and the son and the holy spirit. 0 blood of my Christ, which was poured out in the place of a skull, spare me and have mercy.

Amen,

Amen,’

Amen!’

In Mark 3:7-12, it presents unclean spirits or demons as being subservient and under the authority of Jesus, who have no choice but to acknowledge him as the Son of God. Perhaps this is where Christian magic, found in the PGM, is based on:

7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed; also from Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idume’a and from beyond the Jordan and from about Tyre and Sidon a great multitude, hearing all that he did, came to him. 9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they should crush him; 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

Please note that in the above quotations, Iao or Yao is invoked. This term is often used interchangeably with that of Abraxas. We’ve already seen how the Ophites, among many other Gnostic and Christians sects were accused of being a secret society involved in diabolical rites by their Roman enemies. Another sect, who revered the figure of Abrasax or Abraxas, were also considered to be perhaps, the first secret society within the framework of early Christianity, anticipating the much later Templars, Rosicrucian’s, Freemasons and Illuminati. We discuss this in Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled but here is some more juicy gossip. The early Church Father Irenaeus, who flourished late second century CE, wrote as quoted by Charles William King in The Gnostics and Their Remains:

“The disciple[s] of Basilides remain unknown to the rest of mankind… and nevertheless must live amongst strangers, therefore must they conduct themselves towards the rest of the world as beings invisible and unknown. Hence their motto, ‘Learn to know all, but keep thyself unknown’ and for this cause they are accustomed to deny the fact of their being Basilidans [Basilidians or Basilideans]. Neither can they be detected as Christian heretics because they assimilate themselves to all sects. Their secret constitution, however, is known to but a few, perhaps one in a thousand or two in ten thousand…  Their doctrine is contained in a sacred book, and likewise in Symbolic Figures. The Supreme Lord, the head of all things, they call Abrasax, which name contains the number 365.” (Quoted in King, pp. 262-263.)

There are also many engraved gems bearing the symbolic figure of Abraxas, which worked as sacred amulets and talismans, and also served as secret tokens, the possession of which allowed the bearer into clandestine gatherings of followers of the Abraxas cult.

It is said that the Great Work of the magician is to recognize that they are in fact, an immortal daimon, awakening from the lower, mundane world, and arising to become as Heraclitus would say, “One and the same thing, present [in us] living and dead and the waking and the sleeping and young and old….” Philosophers such as Empedocles and Parmenides, would declare themselves immortal daimons, because of their connection with certain Orphic deities, in that they become the “children” of that deity. According to many scholars, the Stele of Jeu or the Rite of the Headless One from the Greek Magical Papyri (PGM) is an exorcism or sanctification rite. Such imagery of a “headless one” reminds us of the decapitated John the Baptist, as well. And yet, we see another spell that calls upon Jesus to protect the user from the evils of the “headless powers.” Acharya S in Christ in Egypt, also equates John the Baptist with the “headless god” that is also equated with Set/Seth, who apparently has a demiurgical role in creation. This is delineated very neatly in the Rite of the Headless One. First, you call on that god:

I summon you, Headless One, who created earth and heaven, who created night and day, you who created the Light and the Darkness; you are Osonnophris whom none has ever seen; you are Iabas; you are Iapos; you have distinguished the just from the unjust; you have made female and male; you have revealed seed and fruits; you have made men love each other and hate each other.

Then you identify yourself:

I am Moses your prophet to whom you have transmitted your mysteries celebrated by Israel; you have revealed the moist and the dry and all nourishment; hear me.

“I am the messenger of Pharoah Osoronnophris; this is your true name which has been transmitted to the prophets of Israel. Hear me, ARBATHIAŌ REIBET ATHELEBERSĒTH ARA BLATHA ALBEU EBENPHCHI CHITASGOĒ IBAŌTH IAŌ; listen to me and turn away this daimon.”

Then you lay down the request:

I call upon you, awesome and invisible god with an empty spirit, AROGOGOROBRAŌ SOCHOU MODORIŌ PHALARCHAŌ OOO. Holy Headless One, deliver him, NN, from the daimon that restrains him, ROUBRIAŌ MARI ŌDAM BAABNABAŌTH ASS ADŌNAI APHNIAŌ ITHŌLETH ABRASAX AĒŌŌY; mighty Headless One, deliver him, NN, from the daimon which restrains him. MABARRAIŌ IOĒL KOTHA ATHORĒBALŌ ABRAŌTH, deliver him, NN, AŌTH ABRAŌTH BASYM ISAK SABAŌTH IAŌ.
“He is the Lord of the Gods; he is the Lord of the Inhabited World; he is the one whom the winds fear; he is the one who made all things by command of his voice.”
“Lord, King, Master, Helper, save the soul, IEOU PYR IOU IAŌT IAĒŌ IOOU ABRASAX SABRIAM OO YY EY OO YY ADŌNAIE, immediately, immediately, good messenger of GodANLALA LAI GAIA APA DIACHANNA CHORYN.”

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It is the Lord of the Gods, the one whom the winds fear, which is full of aerial daimons. And yet here is this Headless One, who not only can control gods and daimons around as he chooses but he is the one who made all things by command of his voice. Even the Gnostic-slandering and hating Neoplatonists like Plotinus would admit that the sublunary realm of the world, bound up by fate and providence, is a mixture between God and daimonic, and the passions are the daimonic part, “And so [the All] is a God when that [the highest divine soul] is counted in with it, but the rest, he [i.e. Plato] says, is a great Daimon, and the passions in it are daimonic.”

Then:

“I am the Headless Daimon with sight in my feet; I am the mighty one who possesses the immortal fire; I am the truth who hates the fact that unjust deeds are done in the world; I am the one who makes the lightning flash and the thunder roll; I am the one whose sweat falls upon the earth as rain so that it can inseminate it; I am the one whose mouth burns completely; I am the one who begets and destroys; I am the Favor of the Aion; my name is a Heart Encircled by a Serpent; Come Forth and Follow.”

Preparation for the foregoing ritual: Write the formula (AOTH ABRAOTH BASYM ISAK SABAOTH IAO) on a new sheet of papyrus, and after extending it from one of your temples to the other, read the six names, while you face north saying, Subject to me all daimons, so that every daimon, whether heavenly or aerial or earthly or subterranean or terrestrial or aquatic, might be obedient to me and every enchantment and scourge which is from God. And all daimons will be obedient to you.

The magician as the Headless-One embodies his divine qualities while commanding those daimons that afflict the soul (either his own or another’s) to come out, and rather than dismissing them, he commands them to follow him. This is all reminiscent of Zosimos and in his advice to a lady, Theosebeia in Final Quittance, Fest. p. 367, ll. 24-27.

“But be not thou, O lady, [thus] distracted, as, too, I bade thee in the actualizing [rites], and do not turn thyself about this way and that in seeking after God; but in thy house be still, and God shall come to thee, He who is everywhere and not in some wee spot as are daimonian things. And having stilled thyself in body, still thou thyself in passions too—desire, [and] pleasure, rage [and] grief, and the twelve fates of Death. And thus set straight and upright, call thou unto thyself Divinity; and truly shall He come, He who is everywhere and [yet] nowhere. And [then], without invoking them, perform the sacred rites unto the daimones,—not such as offer things to them and soothe and nourish them, but such as turn them from thee and destroy their power, which Mambres taught to Solomon, King of Jerusalem, and all that Solomon himself wrote down from his own wisdom. And if thou shalt effectively perform these rites, thou shalt obtain the physical conditions of pure birth. And so continue till thou perfect thy soul completely. And when thou knowest surely that thou art perfected in thyself, then spurn . . . from thee the natural things of matter, and make for harbour in Pœmandres’ arms, and having dowsed thyself within His Cup, return again unto thy own [true] race.”

So, what is going on here? Zosimos is clearly appealing to the Hermetica in his advice on being baptized or “dowsed” with Poemandre’s cup. It relates directly to rebirth as described in Corpus Hermeticum XIII (with the 12 tormentors of the zodiac which must be transcended), as well as the symbolic cup or krater of knowledge of the Demiurge in Corpus Hermeticum IV (where the enlightened ones immersed themselves). Here is what the scholar Kyle Fraser has to say about this in Zosimos of Panopolis and the Book of Enoch: Alchemy as Forbidden Knowledge:

Zosimos here shows his familiarity with the folk legends of Solomon as a magus and exorcist, who holds divine dominion over daimons. One wonders whether he has read the Testament of Solomon, in which Solomon describes how he harnessed the powers of the daimons, with the aid of their angelic superiors, in order to complete the construction of the Temple. Solomon, through the divine power of his ring, commands each demon, in turn, to reveal its name, its distinctive activity, its planetary or zodiacal designation, and the angelic or divine power that thwarts it. So long as he maintains a pious relation to God, he is able to control the demons, through their divine superiors, and harness their powers for sacred ends. But when his piety is compromised, and he sacrifices to pagan gods, his control over the demons is lost, and he becomes enslaved to them: ‘. . . my spirit was darkened and I became a laughingstock to the idols and demons.’ (Testament 26.7-8).

As K. von Stuckrad argues, one sees in the Testament a monotheistic response to the problem of the malevolent astral powers. Of special interest is the manner in which the Egyptian decan gods are demoted to daimons, now held under the dominion of the Jewish angels and, ultimately, the Jewish God (Testament, 18). If Zosimos does have this Solomonic tradition in mind, then he may be suggesting to Theosebeia that the daimons which are attempting to control and seduce her can, in turn, be controlled and made subject to the spiritual work of the alchemist—just as Solomon was able to harness the daimons toward the spiritual ends of the Temple.

As we noted in previous posts, being a “Son of God” was not a Jewish title but a magical one, insinuating that those who bore the title were magicians or theurgists who sought apotheosis. It also implies the one who bares this title was a supernatural being cloaked in human form, performing miracles by his own divine power. This is how Zosimos sees the Son of God as well as “becoming all things for holy souls, that he may draw her forth from out the region of the Fate into the Incorporeal [Man].” It also denotes doceticism. And without the salvific role of the Son of God in man, much like the role of Hermes in the Hermetica, Hans Jonas puts it succinctly in The Gnostic Religion:

In a rather late source, we even encounter, as the contrast-term to spiritual man, the expression “demonic man” instead of the usual “psychic” or “sarkic” (fleshly). Each man, so the text explains, is from birth possessed by his demon, which only the mystical power of prayer can expel after the extinction of all passions. In this voided state the soul unites with the spirit as bride with bridegroom. The soul which does not thus receive Christ remains “demonic” and becomes the habitation of “the serpents.”

If Paul is to be believed, he placed something not terribly Jewish called “the spirit” before the Law (Romans 7: 6; 2 Corinthians 3: 6). Even the rituals of baptism, exorcism and prayer have their roots in ritual magic—specifically in Egyptian magic, as Morton Smith reveals, again in Salvation in the Gospels, Paul, and the Magical Papyri:

In Egypt sanctification was effected by drowning; even an animal or an insect could be “made an Osiris” by being properly drowned, mummified, and worshipped (PGM 1.5 [hawk]; 3.1 [cat]; etc.). This may be the background for the equation of baptism with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection—a problem generally neglected, but not negligible. Immersion in water does not resemble crucifixion at all, nor burial closely, so the probably pre-Pauline interpretation of baptism as a means of acquiring Jesus’ spirit/nature through participation in Jesus’ death by crucifixion and burial, is odd. The deification points to Egypt, and the earliest connection between Christianity and Egypt may be Rabbi Eliezer’s report, about A.D. 80 (?), that Jesus had gone to Egypt and learned magic there. I argued in Jesus the Magician (1978), p. 48, that this was supported by Matthew’s legend of the light into Egypt (made up to “explain” Jesus’ having been there; it is also supported by the many Egyptian elements in Jesus’ magic, particularly the Eucharist, to which the closest parallel is in the Demotic Magical Papyrus (DMP).

Indeed, deification of the magician was a stable in Egyptian religion, as testified in the Pyramid Texts, to the Coffin Texts, to the Book of the Dead. In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Paul goes on to boast about the visions and revelations from the Lord:

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of it I do not know, but God knows. And I know that this man — whether in the body or out of it I do not know, but God knows — was caught up into Paradise. The things he heard were too sacred for words, things that man is not permitted to tell.…

In the Mithras Liturgy, we see an immortalization or deification rite, where the magician in a postmortem journey translates into the heavens:

Draw in breath from the rays, drawing up three times as much as you can, and you will see yourself being lifted up and (540) ascending to the height, so that you seem to be in mid-air. You will hear nothing either of man or of any other living thing, nor in that hour will you see anything of mortal affairs on earth, but rather you will see all immortal things. For in that day (545) and hour you will see the divine order of the skies: the presiding gods rising into heaven, and others setting.

In Paul, we see that the gifts of the spirit of 1 Corinthians 12 (miracles, discernment of spirits, spirits of knowledge and wisdom, prophecy, tongues, interpreting tongues, healing, demon exorcism, baptized in a spiritual body under the headship of Christ, etc.) are quite similar to that of those described in the PGM. But as Morton Smith notes, the most important element of Pauline Christology lacking in the PGM is the reference to life after death, which brings us to Faustus, who, like Paul (under the authority of Jesus, strangely enough) in 1 Corinthians 5, makes a deal with the Devil.

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Marcion and Empedocles: The Gnosis of Love and Discord

The Church Father and Pope Hippolytus in Refutations of All Heresies (1.3) writes about the pre-Socratic and Orphic philosopher Empedocles:

But Empedocles, born after these, advanced likewise many statements respecting the nature of demons, to the effect that, being very numerous, they pass their time in managing earthly concerns. This person affirmed the originating principle of the universe to be discord and friendship, and that the intelligible fire of the monad is the Deity, and that all things consist of fire, and will be resolved into fire; with which opinion the Stoics likewise almost agree, expecting a conflagration. But most of all does he concur with the tenet of transition of souls from body to body, expressing himself thus:–“For surely both youth and maid I was, And shrub, and bird, and fish, from ocean stray’d.”

This (philosopher) maintained the transmutation of all souls into any description of animal. For Pythagoras, the instructor of these (sages), asserted that himself had been Euphorbus, who sewed in the expedition against Ilium, alleging that he recognised his shield. The foregoing are the tenets of Empedocles.

Hippolytus makes it clear that it is his mission to expose many Gnostic heresies is fueled by also explaining the doctrines and ideas of the philosophers and the pagan mysteries, including Empedocles and his master Pythagoras, which he connects to Marcion. In a nutshell, Hippolytus was trying very hard to say that all the Gnostic mystery schools were nothing more than clever rip-offs of the pagan myths, legends and philosophy. According to some mythicists, the same can be said for Christianity in general. Hippolytus also makes it clear that his main argument in Refutation (V11. 29-31) is that Marcion is a parasite of Empedocles’s mysteries, who is also treated as a follower of Pythagoras. While much has written about Marcion and his heresy and doctrines, there isn’t much written in regards to how and why Hippolytus compares him to the pre socratic philosopher.

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Bust of Empedocles

Hippolytus writes about Marcion’s heresy and apparent plagiarism from Empedocles:

This (heretic) having thought that the multitude would forget that he did not happen to be a disciple of Christ, but of Empedocles, who was far anterior to himself, framed and formed the same opinions, — namely, that there are two causes of the universe, discord and friendship. For what does Empedocles say respecting the plan of the world? Even though we have previously spoken (on this subject), yet even now also, for the purpose, at all events, of comparing the heresy of this plagiarist (with its source), we shall not be silent.

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, it states how Empedocles went astray from sticking to his Pythagorean roots when he was suddenly exiled from a “blessed life” since he spilled animal blood and ate animal flesh as part of a ritual sacrifice:

In the opening lines, the narrator of the poem, who is presumably Empedocles, describes himself as a god, received as such by the cities to which he travels. To them he dispenses advice, prophecies, and cures (B 112). This god is actually a spirit—a daimôn—who has been exiled from the blessed life of the other spirits by breaking an oath and shedding blood (by killing and eating animals: see below). He wanders throughout the natural world, rejected by the very elements, because he put his trust in raving Strife (B 115). Exiled daemons are reincarnated into all sorts of living forms, finally coming to be as prophets, poets, physicians, and leaders among men.

So the ultimate aim of a daimonic philosopher is to journey back to a state of purity by siding with Love instead of Strife. This applies to the shedding of blood and to live a conscious life. Marcion was also known to tell his fellowship to abstain from meat and wine as well and forbade his followers from sexual intercourse and marriage. Love or Friendship leads the punished souls inside the realm of Strife and Discord (compared with the Demiurge) out from the world and into a realm of unity as Hippolytus says.

The souls, then, thus detested, and tormented, and punished in this world, are, according to Empedocles, collected by Friendship as being a certain good (power), and (one) that pities the groaning of these, and the disorderly and wicked device of furious Discord. And (likewise Friendship is) eager, and toils to lead forth little by little the souls from the world, and to domesticate them with unity, in order that all things, being conducted by herself, may attain unto unification. Therefore on account of such an arrangement on the part of destructive Discord of this divided world, Empedocles admonishes his disciples to abstain from all sorts of animal food. For he asserts that the bodies of animals are such as feed on the habitations of punished souls.

Not only is there similarities between Marcion and Empedocles, but also the later and the Prophet Manes. For Manes or Mani, the Two Roots or universal principles (Do Bun in Persian) are Light and Dark. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Death. It is said that the teachings of the Greek scholars, Empedocles and Pythagoras were passed down to Mani by the teacher Scythianus, whom it is said, lived at the time of the Apostles (although there is no evidence that Scythianus even existed). Empedocles is a source for the doctrine of the four elements (fire, water, air, earth), even as it manifests itself in Hippocrates and Galen’s teaching of the four humours. This is a very practical doctrine which is used widely even today. Empedocles also taught that the universe is composed of the forces of Neikos: Strife/Discord and Philia: Love/Friendship. Here is another source for the Manichean Two Roots in the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus who is quoting probably from the Kephalaia:

The difference between these two Principles is like that between a King and a pig: Light dwells in a royal abode in places suitable to its nature, while Dark like a pig wallows in mud and is nourished by filth and delights in it.

To be sure, preoccupation with the problem of evil did not originate with Manichaean dualism or its predecessor in Gnosticism. The Greek philosophers had long devoted considerable attention to the nature and source, of evil. In the Platonic Academy, in particular, the close links between evil and matter were emphasized as the Hellenistic world emphasized the transient and hostile nature of the natural world despite what some consider to be simply “marginal” beliefs of the world’s first “chaos magicians” (being the Gnostics) who hate and reject matter (as if any person can reject matter in the first place!). This simplistic view however, when one researches the subject in depth can easily be dispelled since many Gnostic groups were actually involved in the great medical schools of the first and second century and had much more nuanced views on matter when one reads Gnostic texts from the Nag Hammadi Library.

Returning back to Marcion, he was a well known Gnostic in whom the Church Fathers dedicated the most vehement hatred and disgust, out of all the heretics of the ancient world. The Apostle Paul was the figurehead for his church, who during the second century was a fierce Hellenistic competitor with the Apostolic Orthodox church. Marcion once had a principle text called Antitheses.  

In Adolf Harnack’s sympathetic study on Marcion in Marcion: The Gospel of the Alien God (more than Bart Ehrman’s Lost Christianities), he writes that Antitheses, was intended to be a bedrock for the Marcionite faith, indeed as a “creedal book.” A reconstruction of Antitheses is not possible, Harnack informs us, in part because “not even the arrangement of the work is clear,” but a number of things can nonetheless be determined or gleaned based upon quotes from it found in the works of the church fathers. The purpose for this book was to “demonstrate the irreconcilability of the Old Testament with the gospel,” along with the latter’s origin from a different God (p. 17).

We also know its opening lines: “O wonder upon wonder! Rapture, power, amazement! We can say nothing about the gospel message, not even compare it with anything else.” Here, Christ was saying that Christ came from another realm altogether with a wondrous message of deliverance in ecstatic terms. Moreover there seems to have been a special emphasis on one word in particular—“new.” We can find references to “new God,” “new deity,” “the new kingdom,” “new and unheard of kingdom,” “new master and proprietor of the elements,” “novel doctrines of the new Christ,” “new works of Christ,” “new miracle,” etc, etc, as opposed to the old wine skin of the Old Testament.

It looks like Marcion was struck with astonishment, bowed down in awe before a revelation so utterly prodigious of the Gospel. Clement of Alexandria felt equally exalted:

Christ shines. He shines more brightly than the sun. Night flees before him, fire is afraid, death departs. He presents the believing soul to the Father to keep in heaven for all eternity. O true sacred mystery! O clear, pure light!”

Marcion referred to this “new,” supreme God as “the Stranger.” The Marcionites also could call themselves “strangers,” much like other Gnostics did as not a pejorative term but an endearing one, as they proclaimed a strange or foreign gnosis or knowledge, a term that reveals some of their philosophy of existence.

The Latin Church Father Tertullian accused Marcion of deism (then called Epicureanism, since Epicurus the philosopher was technically a deist) in Against Marcion 1.24.

If (Marcion) chose to take any one of the school of Epicurus, and entitle him God in the name of Christ, on the ground that what is happy and incorruptible can bring no trouble either on itself or anything else (for Marcion, while poring over this opinion of the divine indifference, has removed from him all the severity and energy of the judicial character), it was his duty to have developed his conceptions into some imperturbable and listless god…

But (once for all) let Marcion know that the principle term of his creed comes from the school of Epicurus, implying that the Lord is stupid and indifferent; wherefore he refuses to say that He is an object to be feared.

Tertullian also makes fun of the idea of there being a “new God,” exposing his hopeless rhetoric and red-hot Catholic love for the Old Testament (1.8).

In the first place, how arrogantly do the Marcionites build up their stupid system, bringing forward a new god, as if we were ashamed of the old one! So schoolboys are proud of their new shoes, but their old master beats their strutting vanity out of them.

Tertullian was comparing Marcion’s conception of god to Epicurus. Tertullian says Marcion’s metaphysical beliefs are closer to Stoicism and Platonism. The reason he accuses him of Epicureanism is because Epicurus was a deist who denied that the gods had any involvement or concern with the affairs of man. Marcion’s supreme god was similar in that he had no involvement with creation and was entirely complacent, although he did eventually intervene as Jesus Christ. Irenaeus writes in Against Heresies (V.26):

Let those persons, therefore, who blaspheme the Creator, either by openly expressed words, such as the disciples of Marcion, or by a perversion of the sense [of Scripture], as those of Valentinus and all the Gnostics falsely so called, be recognised as agents of Satan by all those who worship God; through whose agency Satan now, and not before, has been seen to speak against God, even Him who has prepared eternal fire for every kind of apostasy.

Tertullian also says something very interesting in Against Marcion (3.12):

You will find that among the Hebrews there are Christians, even Marcionites, who use the name Emmanuel when they wish to say God-with-us…

Tertullian is saying that there were Jewish Marcionites. Isn’t that kind of important, since Marcion is constantly being accused of anti-Semitism? So, let us sort this mess out. Marcion, as far as we know, had nothing against Jews. His Romans retained most of the verses sympathetic to Jews. He even felt pity for the ancient Israelites, always going so far as to blame their god, and not them, for the atrocities of the Old Testament. And he even inspired Jews themselves to convert to his religion. Yet he is accused of being an anti-Semite.

Irenaeus also posed this question to Marcion (Against Heresies 4.33.2):

…how can he be good who draws away men that do not belong to him from him who made them, and calls them into his own kingdom?

Plotinus likewise objected to the Gnostic propensity to find fault with the universe and its cause (the creator). Porphyry’s title for Plotinus’ tractate against the Gnostics is: Against those who say that the demiurge of the universe and the universe are evil. Simon Magus in the Clementine literature accuses the God of the Old Testament of creating evils, being unmerciful, not being good, and being subject to harsh passions.

The Gnostics and other similar groups believed and based their cosmological systems on the idea that various powers identified with numerous figures from Greco-Roman, Egyptian and Biblical traditions do feature in some astrological content—especially with the notion of astrological fate which early Christians and Gnostics regarded as demonic. They taught that the antithesis of belief in astrological fate was freedom of the will. Therefore, since astrological fate as a demonic power, non-Gnostic humanity was seen as being completely subservient to fate, having lost their freedom under the bondage of the law, flesh and the counterfeit spirit all orchestrated by the wicked goddess Heimarmane.

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These beings were often tied with the “the authorities of the universe and the spirits of wickedness” of St. Paul’s Ephesians 6:12, which directly corresponded with the Archons of Gnosticism. These beings were also said to be the astral lords of fate and were assigned many other terms in both the Nag Hammadi Corpus and the New Testament, such as the “governors”, “guardians”, “gate keepers”, “robbers” , “toll collectors”, “judges”, “pitiless ones”, “adulterers”, “man-eaters”, etc.

These beings will that every “star” or soul would “go astray on the way” as the Gospel of Philip puts it. Each Archon could have also been associated with a planet (no Gnostic text makes this association explicit). And each Archon, according to the Apocryphon of John, has an adjunct or ‘power’ with the head of a beast or predatory animal. Thus, the seven rulers also corresponded to the planetary spheres, the same powers that helped the Demiurge create the world and humanity. As mentioned earlier, zealous church fathers like Hippolytus confirm these accounts in the discussion of Empedocles, in which Hippolytus claimed that the much reviled arch-heretic Marcion had derived his system of dualism from in Book VII, Chapter 17 of Refutation of All Heresies. Hippolytus quotes Empedocles of saying:

Of these I also am from God a wandering exile.

Hippolytus also wrote that Empedocles taught that the first principle, being God or the ineffable Monad existed in a sublime unity before the eventual and furious “Discord” that is a chief characteristic of the Demiurge, the creator of the world and it is this “Discord” that “forcibly severs from unity, and (which it) fashions and operates upon”. Plotinus (or really Porphyry, since he is more likely the author the Enneads), the father of Neo-Platonism grumbled that the Gnostics took a pessimistic view on the world, with continual complaints against providence and the design of the world (Enneads 2.9.8). They cite how there is a constant inequality in wealth and that passions dominate humanity rather than reason (2.9.9). Above all, the material world and all its faults are considered a consequence of the World-Soul’s fall (2.9.4).

Much like the Cynics and the Epicurians, the Gnostics disparaged the glorious celestial lights of the Planets and taught they produced “tragic dramas” and tyranny over the lives of humanity because of the cosmic spheres’ influence. This is much like the “tormentors” of the Zodiac in the Corpus Hermeticum. Their radical critique of the cosmos conflicts with the Stoic idea of the “all-pervading Logos” pan-present throughout the cosmos, the optimism of Plato’s Timaeus with the Demiurge doing his best to emulate the ideal forms, and expression of God’s glory within creation on the account in Genesis. According to Eugnostos the Blessed, the world is conceived as a cavern of chaos and oblivion because of the general lack of knowledge:

Let us, then, consider (it) this way: Everything that came from the perishable will perish, since it came from the perishable. Whatever came from imperishableness will not perish but will become imperishable, since it came from imperishableness. So, many men went astray because they had not known this difference; that is, they died.

The Gnostic perspective on the gods was very similar to Epicurus who refused to accept that the gods had anything to do with the universe, even its creation, because since the world is so evil, anything that produced it would have to be evil, too, according to him. He devised a famous argument on theodicy which goes like this: If god is wants to prevent evil, but can’t, then god is impotent. If god can prevent evil, but doesn’t, then he, too, is evil. If god doesn’t want to prevent evil and can’t prevent evil, then he is evil and impotent. But if god can prevent evil and wants to prevent evil, why does evil exist?

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Plotinus, while accepted the three-fold nature (nous, psyche, matter) like any good Platonist would have; he went to great lengths to refute the Gnostic idea that the soul’s fall into matter was seen as a punishment for its audacity and sin, expiated by metempsychosis and demonic chastisement. Plotinus instead believed, much like Irenaeus, that it was good for the soul to descend into matter, to experience good and evil while the unfolding and goodness of the hierarchy of being included the physical realm. Despite Plotinus’ complaints directed against the Gnostics for their infiltration in their lecture-room, he also shared their denial for the corruptible flesh (that it could be saved) which can be traced back to Plato’s body-soul dualism: the body entombs the soul, and upon death our souls rise to the higher spirit realm of truth and perfection which also mirrors the spirit-matter dichotomy of the physical universe, by contrast, as an inferior realm that poorly copies the Forms. The Pistis Sophia explicitly compares the cosmic rulers with the planets, where the Demiurge:

…set five other great Rulers in every Aeon as lords over the 360 (Rulers), and over all the bound Rulers who are called in the whole world of mankind these names: Saturn, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter.

From these examples list above, it is easy to see that Gnosticism was a critical response to planet worship and the Fates that the planets charge. Now, what about the claim that the Gnostics beheld Jesus to be the sun? In a way, Jesus could very well be seen as the incarnation of the Sun God. However, the Apostle Paul, to which the Gnostics revered, also condemned planet worship in Galatians 4:

So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. … Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God —how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

Colossians 2:16-17 also says:

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you.

Paul repeatedly condemns other religions, specifically Judaism and pagan religions, for worshiping lesser beings and planets. Christianity, like Gnosticism was a critical reaction to planetary worship, rather than a continuation thereof. By examining his letters, Marcion’s Paul was a mystic who has visions of a disincarnate, spiritual being, who he identified with Jesus Christ. Paul was actually awaiting a docetic savior to transform his mortal body into a spiritual body and whisk him away to an immaterial heaven as indicated in 1 Corinthians 15. Paul’s Christ was a being he encountered in visions.

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While there are certain varieties of doceticism and have many meanings and ideas attached to them, it is essentially the view that Jesus was in nature supremely divine, eliminating his humanity and substituting it for a seemingly one. The term Docetism (Greek, dokein = “to seem” or “to appear” and sometimes “to think” or “imagine”) indicated the distinctive thesis of it that Christ’s incarnation, hence his sufferings, were unreal, phantasmal, appearing only to be human. The Gnostics offered a vision of a non-material Christ who did not suffer and die on the cross. In fact, he was laughing at the trick he had played on all of those who thought he was dying as the Apocalypse of Peter suggests:

I saw him seemingly being seized by them. And I said “What do I see, O Lord? That it is you yourself whom they take, and that you are grasping me? Or who is this one, glad and laughing on the tree? And is it another one whose feet and hands they are striking?”

In other words: Jesus was different from what he seemed to be. Doceticism claimed that Christ only appeared or seemed to be a man. This view clearly shows the Hellenistic assumption the divine impassability and the inherent corruptible nature of matter, although there are other variations of this doctrine. The first to mention expressly “Docetists” or “Illusionists” is Serapion of Antioch (c. 200 A.D.) in his letter to the Church at Rhossos. It was not a simple heresy on its own, but was an attitude that many of its proponents held in their own nuanced and varied ways, including Marcion, Simon Magus, Saturninus, Basilides, Cerinthus, Valentinus, Bardesanes, the authors of many Sethian texts such as the Second Treatise of the Great Seth, the Gospel of Judas, etc. This was firmly countered and opposed by the church fathers, including Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Ignatius, Clement, Origen and especially Tertullian.

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This heresy is combated by the pastorals in the New Testament, such as some parts in 2 John, some parts of the Gospel of John (which some suspect as Orthodox interpolations since its fundamental theology resembles something that is much more Hellenistic and even Gnostic), and 2 Timothy. Anti-Gnostic authorities and heresiologists such as Irenaeus would write against this docetic heresy:

“Vain indeed are those who allege that He appeared in mere seeming. For these things were not done in appearance only, but in actual reality. But if He did appear as a man, when He was not a man,” there was no “degree of truth in Him, for He was not that which He seemed to be” (AH 5.1.2; 1:527)

According to Irenaeus’ logic, when he charged the Gnostics with teaching this heresy, he claimed it was damnable error because it left man with no hope of union with God through Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, or so as the Orthodox narrative goes. Irenaeus is as vigorously anti-docetic as he is anti-Gnostic. Mankind’s true salvation in the flesh was at stake through the doctrine that resurrected carnal fleshly bodies would literally fly into the sky in the clouds. Polycarp, Irenaeus’ alleged teacher and sworn enemy of Marcion, made the strongest possible charge against the Docetists by saying that “everyone who does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is an anti-Christ,” echoing 1 John 4:2-3. However, this apparently “demonic” docetic heresy can actually be traced to the Apostle Paul, as he writes in Romans 8:3:

Christ came in the likeness [i.e. appearance] of sinful flesh and condemned sin in the flesh so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us.

The logic in that passage follows a consistent theme: Flesh forces man to sin. Man cannot save himself because he has flesh. Therefore, Christ comes in the LIKENESS (Gk: homoioma, literally “appearance”) of flesh and condemns sin so that man might be relieved from the guilt of the law that he was unable to fulfill himself. If the author of that passage (Paul) had said that Christ came in actual flesh, it would destroy the entire context of the passage. Homoioma literally means “likeness” or “appearance” as a statue of a man would resemble an actual man. In other words, something that appears similar to, but not actually is, the thing that it appears to be.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8.

Further on, in the hymn of Philippians 2:6-11, Christ descends, “bearing human likeness and the fashion of a man.” Why this oblique phraseology? The author of that passage clearly did not believe that Christ had an actual body. “Being found IN APPEARANCE AS a man.” If Paul believed that Christ was indeed a man, wouldn’t he just say so? Why would he say that Christ APPEARED to be a man? The passage presents Christ which is the Savior and Logos as being flesh. He took on flesh, he put flesh on. He wore flesh. He never BECAME or transformed into flesh. We also wear flesh. You cannot possibly be your flesh in Gnostic thought. Furthermore, in Colossians 2:9, Paul posited that Christ Jesus was the Godhead bodily who appeared in the “body” (Somatikos). A body does not automatically imply human flesh. The docetic heresy unanimously condemned by the church fathers is right in the New Testament as Paul preached the docetic Jesus, who never came to earth, and the Jewish apostles preached the human Jesus depicted in the gospels, who was a different Jesus altogether, since Paul’s Jesus is so radically different from the Jesus of the gospels. Paul himself acknowledges different Jesuses in 2 Corinthians:

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

In the Dialogues of Adamantius, Chapter XXVII, the Megethius (the Marcionite voice against the Catholic Adamantius i.e. Origen) hints at the “alien” or spiritual nature of Christ, sent by the Stranger God to rescue humanity from the clutches of the creator god or Demiurge, the author of the Law and the Flesh:

To such a degree was Christ an alien, to those whom he appeared, and again, Christ to the creator god, that Paul said (Gal .3:13): “Christ purchased us”. It is obvious that he was an alien, for nobody at any time purchases what is their own. But it says that those who were purchased by the alien, he desired to have as his own.

Of course, Empedocle’s doctrine of Strife and Discord can also be found in Genesis, in the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, where the primal parents Adam and Eve partook of a certain dualistic knowledge from their previous pristine, higher existence when they communed with God. From this, the fall occurred which severed the link between man and God. We can also see this dualism in Genesis, where God formed man from earth and then breathed into him the spirit of life. In other variations of this story, the Ophites claimed that Sophia was the one that really blew the spirit of life into Adam, through YHWH/Elohim. So, man is a combination of profane matter and Divine Spirit. Moreover man is the arena of an internal strife between the evil instinct (in Hebrew: Yetzer-hara) and the good instinct (Yetzer-hatov) which reflects this knowledge of good and evil. It also reflects the Platonic idea that the body is the tomb for the soul was adopted by many groups, and not just the Gnostics. In the Kabbalah, the Tikkunei Hazohar states: “A king’s [God’s] spirit is imprisoned in the tresses of the mind.”

Paul in Romans, also claimed a kind of patent dualism that the later Gnostic figure-heads and schools would subscribe too and build upon in that the spirit of Truth was the prisoner of history, space and time belonging to the reality of the rulers:

I find that a law, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man;  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

This dualism is reflected in both man and the cosmos like the radical stripe of Marcion, Manes and Empedocles. Man is mortal in his body, but immortal in his divine spirit. Man is the battleground in which angels and demons duke it out. Man is the microcosm reflecting the macro-cosmos of creation. In Gnosticism, dualism was only used to emphasize the transcendental nature of God rather than the traditional Zoroastrian view that there two equal, separate forces in a constant state of struggle and warfare. And so, the Gnostics attempted to explain that evil was a consequence of this spiritual descent into matter and the mundane.

As Ray Embry writes in Marcion: Possible Progenitor of Three Famous Christian Communities: Baptists, Catholics, Gnostics, this Gnostic conception of the spiritual fall from the One still reflects a sort of Mosaic monotheism as opposed to the simple dualism of Marcion, in which he thought that there was an Unknown God superior to the inferior creator god.

All Gnostic theologies seemingly spring forth as ideological children born from the ancient Mosaic idea about an inviolable monotheism. This form of theism sees everything (no matter what) as ultimately deriving from a single Creator. Working within this rigid model of monism, the Judaistic or Mosaic theoreticians could only think in a linear or vertical fashion, where our world lies on one end, while an independent Father of Light stands on the other.

Much like how the Old Testament records this primeval struggle between the upper-light and the lower-darkness, theological tenants were also hotly debated and meted out between many Christian sects—both being of an Orthodox persuasion and a heretical one. Further evidence indicates that the original Christians were Gnostics, not literalists or fundamentalists. The Gnostics preached the Good News of Gnosis which advocated the liberation of every soul. The Orthodox Church Fathers, however, taught that the scriptures were historical and literal. “True knowledge” for Irenaeus (an attack on the Gnostic idea of salvation through knowledge) comes in the Apostolic Tradition, which comes through the succession of Bishops, which is Catholic and not sectarian:

True knowledge is [that which consists in] the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place, and has come even unto us, being guarded and preserved without any forging of Scriptures, by a very complete system of doctrine...(4.33.1-9)

To Irenaeus, salvation was a more or less an ecclesiastical matter rather than an individual’s sovereign right to achieve the Great Work outside of demiurgical iron manacles of organized religion. To theologans like Irenaeus, the Gnostics were simply false prophets and schismatics. The Church Fathers along with the newly created Roman Church eventually took religious intolerance to undreamed of levels, eventually destroying all forms of religion (other than their very narrow version) that they could get there hands on as recorded in Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, 3:64, 65.

The Gnostics rivaled the emerging Catholic groups among other groups like the Jewish Christians and the Marcionites and were just as determined as their Catholic opponents to legitimize their views in any way possible. It became of utmost importance for Catholic apologists to demonstrate that Gnosticism was an erroneous doctrine of Christian heresy, and is founded or inspired by those who opposed the apostles themselves. Irenaeus taught that Simon Magus was the father of all Gnostic heresy and the Simonians of his own day claimed him as founder, just as St. Paul was the “apostle of the heretics”, as per Tertullian.

The aim of Gnosis is simple: the extraction or resurrection of the spiritual man–the spark of the “alien” Divinity imprisoned in the jail cell of spiritual death and ignorance. Any means to reach liberation and freedom from the temporal fetters of matter, from the vicissitudes of history, the turpitude of daily routines, the pain and suffering that is experienced by the less fortunate (which has always been the vast majority of the human race) to the pure transcendental good father was acceptable. Asceticism or libertinism, and every variation in between was practiced. For a savior figure like Simon Magus to redeem his consort Helen, fallen into whoredom, he must roll with her in the mires of depravity. He, like Jesus had to put on the appearance of a man, although humanity wasn’t his original nature. The Savior or Gnostic must also practice sacred deceit: He must disguise himself as an adherent to the Demiurge and the powers that rule the world, to be admitted to his domain, in order to save the souls, the sparks of Divinity, exiled and stranded as ship-wrecked sailors of ascension.

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The 33° Freemasonic author Albert Pike has many fascinating things to say in his massive tome, On Morals and Dogma, especially in the following excerpt from Morals and Dogma, XXX. Knight Kodash. Pike basically admits that the Masonic lozenges or “checker board” symbolism so prominent in Masonic temples actually symbolizes the radical dualism proposed by Zoroaster and Mani (or Manes).

For the Johannism of the Adepts was the Kabalah of the earlier Gnostics, degenerating afterward into those heretical forms which Gnosticism developed, so that even Manes had his followers among them. Many adopted his doctrines of the two Principles, the recollection of which is perpetuated by the handle of the dagger and the tesserated pavement or floor of the Lodge, stupidly called “the Indented Tessel,” and represented by great hanging tassels, when it really means a tesserated floor (from the Latin tessera) of white and black lozenges, with a necessarily denticulated or indented border or edging. And wherever, in the higher Degrees, the two colors white and black, are in juxtaposition, the two Principles of Zoroaster and Manes are alluded to. With others the doctrine became a mystic Pantheism, descended from that of the Brahmins, and even pushed to an idolatry of Nature and hatred of every revealed dogma.

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Now I am going to speaking on a personal level from here on out. I was inspired by a conversation with a friend of mine and this is what I think. Basically, what the old Hermetic alchemists were saying is that God is the only thing that’s truly real, and He’s present everywhere, or at least fragments or evidence of his existence. Under the rock and in the wood, like the Gospel of Thomas says. What we see with our senses is basically a shadow. It’s not real, in an ontological sense. This is what Benjamin Walker is getting at when he writes in Gnosticism: It’s Influence and History (p. 37):

The exercise of free will requires an area for its operation, and this resulted in certain catastrophic consequences. Where the will of the Father was withdrawn, the will of the opposing archons prevailed. Where the writ of his goodness did not run, evil emerged. Where his spirit was removed, matter came forth. Where his light was withdrawn, darkness supervened. Instead of love and providence, there was now law and fatality. And where there had been life, there was now death.

Yet it must be remembered that nothing can have existence without God, and even when God is apparently absent, his erstwhile presence has left its permanent impress. The Gospel of Truth speaks of this residual presence of God even after his withdrawal, as the footprint-trace ([ichnos) of the Father’s will. Basilides too emphasized the essential presence of God in all circumstances and situations, when he said that the empty place resulting from God’s withdrawal did not ever cease to show traces of the divine brightness. The vacated place retained the ‘flavour’ of the Father, just as a bowl containing sweet smelling unguent retains the fragrance even after the bowl has been completely emptied.

Giordarno Bruno once said that the since God is infinite, the universe must also be infinite, as God’s manifest form. I also read a recent article that some scientists now question the big bang, and think that the universe may have always been here, which if the case, Bruno was right all along. But from a theurgical perspective, which is more holistic in the view that everything is compromised of some sort of spiritual nature, and that everything in existence exists for some grand purpose. Even evil has some sort of necessary function or reason for being. I guess I’ve been influenced by Hermetic monism.

I’m choosing to look at it this way because radical dualism has become highly disturbing to me as of late. The thought that evil exists as some counter deity and functions independently with no intended purpose from the good is a very grim prospect. I have to believe there is a reason for everything now. The science fiction author Philip K. Dick had the same issue. At times, he would be a radical dualist, but then it would become so disturbing to him that he would adopt a more monistic worldview. The Hypostasis of the Archons sort of reflects this more monistic (in its own contradictory pluralistic sense) way of looking at things.

The rulers laid plans and said, “Come, let us create a man that will be soil from the earth.” They modeled their creature as one wholly of the earth. Now the rulers […] body […] they have […] female […] is […] with the face of a beast. They had taken some soil from the earth and modeled their man after their body and after the image of God that had appeared to them in the waters. They said, “Come, let us lay hold of it by means of the form that we have modeled, so that it may see its male counterpart […], and we may seize it with the form that we have modeled” – not understanding the force of God, because of their powerlessness. And he breathed into his face; and the man came to have a soul (and remained) upon the ground many days. But they could not make him arise because of their powerlessness. Like storm winds they persisted (in blowing), that they might try to capture that image, which had appeared to them in the waters. And they did not know the identity of its power. Now all these things came to pass by the will of the father of the entirety.

And again it says:

Now when Yaldabaoth saw him (Sabaoth) in this great splendor and at this height, he envied him; and the envy became an androgynous product, and this was the origin of envy. And envy engendered death; and death engendered his offspring and gave each of them charge of its heaven; and all the heavens of chaos became full of their multitudes. But it was by the will of the father of the entirety that they all came into being – after the pattern of all the things above – so that the sum of chaos might be attained.

So from the Sethian perspective, even the demiurge and the archons were created for a reason which accounts for a more nuanced Hermetic view that isn’t as dualistic as many consider Gnosticism to be. Both radical dualism and radical monism can be taken to extreme conclusions. The more moderate approach of the Sethians and the Hermetists is the most rational, out of these perspectives. And yet, radical and moderate dualism are just two different ways of looking at the same thing. Both are true and compatible with one another. It just depends on whether you’re going to focus on the light or the dark. New Agers represent the radical monism worldview. They’re so hyper-focused on the positive that they totally reject the influence of evil in the world and are thus totally exposed to demonic influence and deception. It’s like these New Agers who channel random spirits and believe all the wacky BS that comes along with their messages about our beloved space brothers, aliens, ascension into the fourth dimension and such.

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There is a good part in the novel, A Scanner Darkly where Philip K Dick muses on radical and moderate dualism. He writes as Bob Arctor about how he suspects that radical dualism may be true, but he hopes that it isn’t.

“What does a scanner see? Into the head? Down into the heart? Does it see into me? Into us? Clearly or darkly? I hope it sees clearly because I can’t any longer see into myself. I see only murk. I hope for everyone’s sake the scanners do better, because if the scanner sees only darkly the way I do, then I’m cursed and cursed again.”

I see the devil as a sort of tool of God. He’s evil and in rebellion, but God secretly uses him to do his will. Kind of how the Valentinians saw the demiurge as well as the Ophites with Sophia and Ialdabaoth. Holism is inherent to natural and sympathetic magic. Tantra also encompasses holism as well. Everything in nature exists for some specific purpose and is imbued with a spiritual nature that can be tapped into through occult knowledge. The Gospel of Philip tells us this exactly:

“The saints are served by evil powers, for they are blinded by the Holy Spirit into thinking that they are serving an (ordinary) man whenever they do so for the saints. Because of this, a disciple asked the Lord one day for something of this world. He said to him, ‘Ask your mother, and she will give you of the things which are another’s.'”

So what we call the Devil and his legions of demons from hell would be the anarchists of the cosmic hierarchy. They’re chaotic and in rebellion to God’s will, but God’s providential scheme already accounted for the faults of free will before it was even enacted. Or maybe Empedocles and Marcion were right along to say that there were two opposing principles from the beginning of creation or that this dualism is somehow an aberration or deviation from an original unity of existence. At this point, I am open to any of these possibilities. 

Addendum – As it turns out, Hippolytus in Refutation (Book VI. 6), also claims that Simon Magus is heavily inspired by Empedocles. Marcion is simply continuing in Simon’s tradition through the guise of Paul:

Simon denominates in the Great Announcement a perfect intelligible (entity), after such a mode, that each of those things which, existing indefinitely, may be infinitely comprehended, both speaks, and understands, and acts in such a manner as Empedocles speaks of:—

For earth, indeed, by earth we see, and water by water,
And air divine by air, and fire fierce by fire,
And love by love, and also strife by gloomy strife.