Biblical Exegesis

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 Elyon, 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 Jerusalem–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 judgment 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 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 Elyon.

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 mishmash 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 inherit 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 Eastern 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 judgment, 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 into 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 Canaanite 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 (which is another form of Saturn) 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)
….
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 anti-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 presocratic philosopher.

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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 that 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”, “gatekeepers”, “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 Epicureans, 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 impassibility 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 a 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 theologians 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 “checkerboard” 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.

Forbidden Gnosis In Prometheus, Lucifer and Icarus

Myth has always presented a problem of meaning and interpretation, and a history of controversy exits over its value that can be approached from a number of viewpoints. In general, it is a narrative that describes and portrays in symbolic language the origin of the basic elements and assumptions of a culture. However, because of its all-encompassing nature, myth can illuminate many aspects of individual and cultural life. While many have written on the subjects I am about to explore, I have yet to find anyone that has crossed referenced this points, in the way I will construct here.

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The same can be said for the Greek myth concerning the famous Athenian Icarus and his father Daedalus, the famous architect, inventor, and craftsman. This story is found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses VIII:183-235. Because he murdered his sister’s son Perdix in fear that the boy’s talent might surpass his own, he had to flee to Crete. He began to work at the court of King Minos and Queen Pasiphae, in the magnificent palace of Knosos. There he constructed a wooden cow for the queen to satisfy her amorous longings for a beautiful white bull and by which she became pregnant with the Minotaur. When the Minotaur was born, Daedalus built the Labyrinth to contain the blood-thirsty, monstrous half-man, half-bull. Later, Minos shut Daedalus and his son Icarus into the Labyrinth. To escape, Daedalus built wings for himself and Icarus.

Icarus and his father Daedalus escape from the tower of their island prison in Crete with wings fashioned of wax. Despite his father’s warning, Icarus becomes enamored of his new found power and of the beauty of the Sun, he flies up to the light (and heat), his wing melt, and he falls to his death and drowns in the sea. The wiser and more restrained Daedalus keeps his flight balanced between heaven and earth, thus succeeding in escape from bondage. The Greeks were very aware of the temptation of Lucifer–in most of their tales of tragedy, “hubris” or overweening pride was the source of a hero’s downfall.

Like Icarus, the archangel Lucifer is said to have fallen because of his pride and vanity over his own beauty and power, much like the myth of Narcissus. This supreme spirit of evil who was once radiant, but who because of his sin of pride fell from heaven into darkness and became Satan, saying: “Non serviam: I will not serve,” and thus brought upon himself the everlasting wrath of God. There is also a Gnostic sensibility in this story. To fall from spirit to matter, to bring radiance to dull earth, is a creative act.

The name Lucifer is Latin for “bearer of the Light”. The typical depiction of Lucifer as a slithering manifestation of evil is hard to reconcile with the meaning of the name. Lucifer represents a force that can combine beauty and its logical conclusion if gone too far to extreme decadence, hence to evil. Like in the Apocalypse of Moses, Lucifer, in the form of a serpent, offered the gift of knowledge to Adam and Eve. By their eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, Lucifer promised that they would “be like God, knowing good and evil”. Like Icarus, they were not yet prepared for such a gift and ignoring warnings to the contrary by God, they accepted it and fell from Paradise. In this example it should be noted that the gift of knowledge, in and of itself is not evil, as many Orthodox theologians have claimed in their authoritarian interpretation.

Satan in his Original Glory: 'Thou wast Perfect till Iniquity was Found in Thee' circa 1805 William Blake 1757-1827 Presented by the executors of W. Graham Robertson through the Art Fund 1949 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05892

Satan in his Original Glory: ‘Thou wast Perfect till Iniquity was Found in Thee’ circa 1805 William Blake 1757-1827 Presented by the executors of W. Graham Robertson through the Art Fund 1949 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N05892

In Isaiah 14:12-17 (NJKV), we find the story of Lucifer’s fall from grace. Many theologians however stresses Lucifer isn’t a name of a rebellious angel, but rather a rebellious king of Babylon. However, it is a wonder how a mere mortal king can exalt himself “above the stars of God”.

12 “How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
13 For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit.

16 “Those who see you will gaze at you,
And consider you, saying:
Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
Who shook kingdoms,
17 Who made the world as a wilderness
And destroyed its cities,
Who did not open the house of his prisoners?’

The King of Babylon called himself the “Day-Star,” a name for the planet Venus, the first planet or star seen in the morning just before the sun rises, hence the King was also called “son of the morning.” Venus is the Roman name for the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. She has also has many similarities with the Gnostic Sophia, Eve, and Helena of the Illiad as well but we will have to address this further in a future post.

King Louis XIV of France was called the “Sun King,” carrying on this tradition of kings associating themselves with solar and stellar titles. So the fall of the King of Babylon was Isaiah’s way of putting him in his place by sarcastically observing in effect: “OK, so you think you are the Day Star of Heaven and can go beyond the stars of God, you think you’re so high and mighty, well you got another thing coming bitch!”

The Church Father Origen in De Principiis (Book 1, Chapter 5, verse 5), makes an interesting commentary on this passage.

Most evidently by these words is he shown to have fallen from heaven, who formerly was Lucifer, and who used to arise in the morning. For if, as some think, he was a nature of darkness, how is Lucifer said to have existed before? Or how could he arise in the morning, who had in himself nothing of the light? Nay, even the Saviour Himself teaches us, saying of the devil, Behold, I see Satan fallen from heaven like lightning. For at one time he was light. Moreover our Lord, who is the truth, compared the power of His own glorious advent to lightning, in the words, For as the lightning shines from the height of heaven even to its height again, so will the coming of the Son of man be. And notwithstanding He compares him to lightning, and says that he fell from heaven, that He might show by this that he had been at one time in heaven, and had had a place among the saints, and had enjoyed a share in that light in which all the saints participate, by which they are made angels of light, and by which the apostles are termed by the Lord the light of the world.

Many of pointed out that in the Book of Revelation of St. John, Christ refers to himself as “the bright and morning star,” that is, Lucifer. And in the Gospel of John (8:12) it reads:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The infamous Theosophist Helena Blavatsky often identified Christ with Prometheus and Lucifer, who brought fire, light and knowledge to humanity and were all considered savior figures. In The Pillars of Tubal-Cain by Nigel Jackson and Michael Howard, they too also compare Lucifer with that of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross with a Gnostic sensibility and Grail mythos thrown in for good measure.

Esoteric tradition teaches us that until we find the Grail, and it should be clearly understood that it is not a physical object in this time-space continuum, Lucifer must play out his role as the sacrificial king. He is doomed to incarnate in a ‘cloak of flesh’ as an avatar for the human race and pay the ultimate price as a scapegoat on their behalf. This is the ultimate sacrifice for being the light-bearer who brought down from Heaven the illumination of Gnostic wisdom and the primal fire of creativity. Lucifer eternally dies and is reborn to save humanity of itself. As the human race progresses spiritually so he can slowly ascend the Ladder of Lights back to the realm of the Gods beyond the Pole Star. He is the Lord of the Morning Star and the Lux Mundi (Light of the World) whose rebirth from darkness we celebrate every year at the winter solstice. (pg. 68-69)

In Greek mythology, Prometheus, one of the Titans, is known as the friend and benefactor of humanity. He and his brother Epimetheus were given the task of creating humanity and providing humans and all the animals on earth with the endowments they would need to survive. When it came time to create a being who was to be superior to all living creatures, Prometheus (whose name means “afterthought”) took over the task of creation. To make humans superior to animals, he fashioned them in nobler form and enabled them to walk upright. He went up to heaven and lit a torch with fire from the sun.

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The gift of fire (symbolic of wisdom or knowledge) that he gave to humanity was more valuable than the gods intended and because of his actions Prometheus incurred the wrath of Zeus. For this transgression, Zeus had him chained to a rock in the Caucasus mountains, where he was constantly preyed upon by an eagle. Finally he was freed by the hero Hercules, who slew the eagle. John Milton’s depiction of Satan in Paradise Lost seems to combine both Lucifer and Prometheus into one figure as a tragic hero.

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We can also see similar ideas expressed in the Book of Enoch, which explains what was no doubt the popular understanding of the fall of the angels and its disastrous results, being the Deluge. Two hundred angels took wives of the daughters of men, and their offspring were giants three thousand yards in height. These giants having consumed the food of mankind, began to devour men and each other, whose cries were brought to the attention of YHWH by his angels, including Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel. The Rape of the Sabine Women accounts found in Livy, Plutarch and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, also seem to echo the Enochian tales of angels and their sexual escapades with their human female concubines.

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In Roman legend, Romulus forcibly carries off the Sabine or Latin women to be provided as wives to his men at the new settlement of Rome. The city had just been founded by Romulus (Cain), and the Romans wish to ensure the future prosperity of their young nation. Because of the lack of women to provide the necessary offspring, they plan a mass abduction, which is actually synonymous with the term “rape”. With this in mind, they invite the neighboring Sabines to a feast during which they seize the women for themselves and drive off the men. These same men return to attack Rome for revenge, but the conflict is resolved thanks to their Sabine women, who stand between their brothers and their husbands in reconciliation to create peace.

And on another level, it is basically the symbolic reenactment of Zeus and the pantheon of Olympian gods descending to the earth to have licentious sex and copulation with a variety of women as well as goddesses like Aphrodite, Demeter, Gaia, etc. The story of the Sabine women describes the capture of women from neighboring cities in order to secure Rome’s future. In any case, these Enochian texts fill in the bare bone details of Genesis 6, with fantastic detail, and in particular giving long lists of the fallen angels and their ministrations and gifts of knowledge to men. Chapter 8 tells us that:

1 And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all 2 colouring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they 3 were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjaza taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, ‘Armaros the resolving of enchantments, Baraqijal (taught) astrology, Kokabel the constellations, Ezeqeel the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiel the signs of the earth, Shamsiel the signs of the sun, and Sariel the course of the moon. And as men perished, they cried, and their cry went up to heaven . . .

The same thing happens in Chapter 69, when it says:

4 The name of the first Jeqon: that is, the one who led astray [all] the sons of God, and brought them 5 down to the earth, and led them astray through the daughters of men. And the second was named Asbeel: he imparted to the holy sons of God evil counsel, and led them astray so that they defiled 6 their bodies with the daughters of men. And the third was named Gadreel: he it is who showed the children of men all the blows of death, and he led astray Eve, and showed [the weapons of death to the sons of men] the shield and the coat of mail, and the sword for battle, and all the weapons 7 of death to the children of men.

And from his hand they have proceeded against those who dwell 8 on the earth from that day and for evermore. And the fourth was named Penemue: he taught the9 children of men the bitter and the sweet, and he taught them all the secrets of their wisdom. And he instructed mankind in writing with ink and paper, and thereby many sinned from eternity to10 eternity and until this day. For men were not created for such a purpose, to give confirmation 11 to their good faith with pen and ink. For men were created exactly like the angels, to the intent that they should continue pure and righteous, and death, which destroys everything, could not have taken hold of them, but through this their knowledge they are perishing, and through this power12 it is consuming me.

This list is practically identical with that which Prometheus gives his services to humanity, as explained in Aeschylus’ ancient play, Prometheus Bound:

They lived deep within dark caves, and swarmed the earth like throngs of ants. They could not recognize the signs of winter, nor spring with its flowers, nor fruit-laden summer, so they did everything without any rational plan, until I taught them to read the risings of stars and their settings, which up to now they ignored. I gave them numbers, that knowledge most to be prized, and the art of writing words to help memory, the mother of all the muses. I first yoked beasts and made them work so they could relieve Man’s back of his heaviest burdens. I harnessed horses to the chariot and made them respond to reins, a delight for the wealthy. It was me who invented the ship with sails that wanders the sea, a chariot for sailors. All this, to my own misery, I dared to invent and pass on to Man, but for all my cleverness I could devise no escape from my present suffering.

Hear the rest and you will be even more amazed at the arts and inventions I devised. The greatest was this: before, 44 if a man fell sick, there was no remedy— nothing, no pill, ointment, nor drink—and without 480 drugs they wasted away. I showed them how to mix healing medicines that could ward off all diseases. I also gave them skills so that they could predict the future: I showed them which dreams were true; how to interpret strange voices and sayings, and how to understand chance meetings during travel. I taught Man to understand the flight of the taloned bird, what was beneficial, and what meant harm, their daily lives, loves and hates, 490 and how they mate.

Then I taught about the smoothness of entrails, the right color of gall so that it please the gods, and how to read the liver’s lovely mottled lobe. I showed Man thighbones wrapped in fat, and how to burn the long backbone, and thus I taught Man the obscure art of prophecy, sacrifice, and the language of fire, which had not yet been understood. But so much for that. Who could claim before me that he discovered the hidden 500 treasures that lay buried under earth: bronze, iron, silver and gold? No one. That’s clear, unless some fool babbles nonsense. I’ll make a long story short: all the arts and crafts that Man possesses came from me, Prometheus, the god you see suffering before you now.

The Watcher Shemyaza of Enoch (another mask of the fallen angel Azazel and Tubal-Cain and Cain himself), also seems to embody a Luciferian and Promethean power in the way he falls in love with Esterah or Ishtar and reveals to her the forbidden knowledge of the secret name of God being the TetragrammatonMidrash Shemhazai and Azael 3-5, tells us:

They said before Him: “Give us Thy sanction and let us descend (and dwell) among the creatures and then Thou shalt see how we shall sanctify Thy name.” He said to them: “Descend and dwell ye among them.” … Forthwith Semhazai beheld a girl whose name was Esterah; fixing his eyes at her he said: “Listen to my (request).” But she said to him: “I will not listen to thee until thou teachest me the Name by which thou art enabled to ascend to the firmament, as soon as thou dost mention it.” He taught her the Ineffable Name….”

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When Shemyaza told her, Esterah used this forbidden knowledge to ascend to the stars much like how Lucifer desperately desired to do so. While the other fallen angels or Watchers were rounded up by the loyal angels like Michael, and punished by God, Shemyaza voluntarily repented his error and sentenced himself to hang upside down, much like the Hanged Man archetype of the Major Arcana of the Tarot and even the apostle Peter who was said to have been crucified upside down in Rome under Emperor Nero Augustus Caesar. Some have equated the Yezidi angelic patron, Melek Taus with Shemyaza.

They have said about him; i.e., Shemhazai, that he repented and suspended himself upside-down between heaven and earth because he had no excuse for his behavior before the Holy One, blessed be He, and to this very day he remains suspended between heaven and earth in repentance.

The Church Father Justin Martyr had many things to say about Enochian literature, fallen angels and the pagan gods. For example, Justin claims that the children of the Watchers, being the demons, masquerade as the pagan deities and trick the pagans into persecuting Christians. All throughout his Apologies, he claims that the forbidden teachings and occult sciences of the fallen angels given to women serve to explain the origins and continued practice of the Greco-Roman religions and witchcraft since they were polytheistic and idolatrous in nature, to him.

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Instead of placing blame on Adam and Eve for human sin, he instead places the blame on the sins of the angels. Justin Martyr is the first one to equate the Enochian angels with the pagan gods and pagan culture and he certainly wasn’t the last as many other Christian thinkers after him used the angelic descent myth to denounce the Greco-Roman world as demonic. This is the type of thing that probably pissed off Julian the Apostate to no end! This includes, Tatian, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian, Commodian, etc. In 2 Apology 5.5, Justin identifies the pagan gods with both “the angels and those demons who had been begotten by them,” and the same chapter claims that the angels gave the names of pagan gods to both themselves and their children.

Whence also the poets and mythologists, not knowing that it was the angels and those demons who had been begotten by them that did these things to men, and women, and cities, and nations, which they related, ascribed them to god himself, and to those who were accounted to be his very offspring, and to the offspring of those who were called his brothers, Neptune and Pluto, and to the children again of these their offspring. For whatever name each of the angels had given to himself and his children, by that name they called them.

The Gnostic-Hermetic alchemist, Zosimos, also had a very unusual take on Prometheus and also had much to say about the fallen angels and the Nephilim. On the later, Zosimos mentions a mythical figure named Chêmes (a pun on the Egyptian art of Alchemy), who is evidently one of the gigantic spawn of the fallen angels and their human wives. This giant, he tells us, he recorded the revelations of the angels in the Book of Chêmes, in which form they were transmitted to the earliest alchemical initiates. And so Zosimos takes the Enochian tale and uses it to explain the sacred art of Chemeia or ancient alchemy.

However, Zosimos in the Book of Chêmes condemns those involved in ritual sacrifices to the powers who run the world and Fate, as well as their own passions. “Al Chemia,” as a name for the Egyptian “the black land,” which refers to the darkness of the unconsciousness or the “Prima Materia,” being the building blocks of creation. Zosimus’ “Chemes” may also refer to the “Black One,” being Osiris’ original title of Khenti-Amenti being the “Lord of Western Darkness.”

In On the Letter Omega, the short text appeals to a number of Hermetic and Gnostic writings which are now lost to us, while having a very unusual and even irreverent and even blasphemous take on the gods that Plato would have balked at. Zosimos draws on the existing Gnostic myth of describing the imprisonment of the divine man in matter in order to show he held Gnostic views on Fate and the cosmos. Zosimos writes:

But Hermes and Zoroaster say that philosophers as a class are superior to Fate because they neither rejoice in her good fortune, for they are master over pleasures, nor are they thrown by the evils she sends, as they always lead an inner life, nor do they accept the fair gifts she offers, since they look to an end of ills.

This is also why Hesiod introduces Prometheus offering h this advice to Epimetheus “What do men consider a god fortune greater than all others?” “A shapely wife,” he replies, “along with great wealth.” And he says “not to accept a gift from Olympian Zeus, but to send it back again,” teaching his bother through philosophy to reject the gifts of Zeus, that is, of Fate.

In essence, Zosimos is saying that one should reject all the gifts of Fate, including good fortune. Later on in the same text, Zosimos depreciates Zeus as a lowly Demiurge and Prometheus as symbolic of the spirit fallen in the tomb of the flesh. No longer is Zeus the lofty and fiery Logos of the Stoics and is relegated to the same fate he meted out against the Titans for their dismemberment and murder of Dionysus-Zagreus as explained in Orphic texts as well as Hesiod.

Hesiod called the outer man “fetter,” with which Zeus bound Prometheus. Then, after this fetter, Zeus set yet another fetter upon him – Pandora, whom the Hebrews call Eve. For Prometheus and Epimetheus are, by the allegorical method a single man, that is, soul and body; and so Prometheus sometimes takes the form of soul, sometimes that of mind, and sometimes that of flesh because of Epimetheus’ disregard when he disregarded the advice of Prometheus, his own foresight. For our Mind says: “The Son of God, being capable of everything and becoming everything, when he wills, as he wills, appears to each.”

According to Hesiod, all the Olympian gods helped created Pandora by giving her unique gifts. She was the first human woman created by the gods, specifically by Hephaestus and Athena on the instructions of Zeus. Moreover, Pandora was modeled out of the earth as part of the punishment of humanity for Prometheus’ theft of the secret of fire. Elsewhere in the same text, Zosimos surprisingly advocates one to reject even magical rites or how he calls it, the “Magian science” as advocated by Hermes, in a now lost book called On the Inner Life, condemns magical rituals,

“….saying that the spiritual man, one who has come to know himself, need not rectifying anything through the use of magic, not even if it is considered a good thing, nor must he use force upon Necessity, but rather allow Necessity to work in accordance with her own nature and decree. He must proceed through that one search to understand himself, and, when he has come to know God, he must hold fast to the ineffable Triad, and leave Fate to work what she will upon the clay that belongs to her, that is, the body. And with this way of thinking and of regulating one’s life, he says, you will the see the Son of God becoming everything for the sake of holy souls, to draw her up out of the realm of Fate into the realm of the incorporeal.

In essence, Zosimos is saying that the true alchemical work of the adept was spiritual purification in nature and can only be achieved internally rather than through external means. One can compare this to Irenaeus in Against Heresies 1.21.4, rendered in Hans Jonas’ The Gnostic Religion, where Irenaeus claims certain Gnostics rejected the idea of magical rituals to attain spiritual salvation.

“One must not perform the mystery of the ineffable and invisible power through visible and corruptible things of creation, nor that of the unthinkable and immaterial beings through sensible and corporeal things. Perfect salvation is the cognition itself of the ineffable greatness: for since through “Ignorance” came about “Defect” and “Passion,” the whole system springing from the Ignorance is dissolved by knowledge. Therefore knowledge is salvation of the inner man; and it is not corporeal, for the body is corruptible; nor is it psychical, for even the soul is a product of the defect and is as a lodging to the spirit; spiritual therefore must also be [the form of] salvation. Through knowledge, then, is saved the inner, spiritual man; so that to us suffices the knowledge of universal being: this is the true salvation.”

We can also see this in the Pistis Sophia (1.15), which is a highly developed anti-astrological Gnostic polemic, also attacks magic on similar grounds. The same fallen angels we find in Enoch, are said to have given man, Mageia, or magical techniques that call upon the evil archons in the twelve aeons or the Zodiac. When Jesus Christ confuses the archons by interfering with the regular revolution of Fate and the sphere over which the archons rule over, and magic ceases to work.

In the Derveni Papryi, associated with Orpheus, it takes on the opposite stance, advocating magical rites to be performed by “magoi,” being the Orphic magicians. These magi offer many things such as:

… prayers and sacrifices to appease the souls, and the enchanting song of the magi is able to remove the daimones when they impede. Impeding daimones are avenging souls. This is why the magi perform the sacrifice, as if they were paying a penalty. On the offerings they pour water and milk, from which they make the libations, too. They sacrifice innumerable and many-knobbed cakes, because the souls, too, are innumerable. Initiates make the preliminary sacrifice to the Eumenides, in the same way as the magi. For the Eumenides are souls.

These daimones function much like the Archons, except for the fact that they are subservient to them, as well as to the gods, in which Zosimos seems to equate with the Archons (Zeus as the Demiurge, much like how YHWH is depicted as Ialdaboath in Gnostic-Ophite writings). The Neoplatonist Proclus in his commentary, On the Timaeus of Plato (1, 77) he mentions different views about how the fall of Atlantis was interpreted as an allegory of the daemons dragging the souls of human beings into matter. Different gods like Osiris, Baccus, the Titans and Typhon were interpreted as evil daemons, much like the Archons of Gnosticism.

Others interpret [Atlantis] as a conflict of daemons, with some being better and  others worse, the one side superior in numbers, the other in power, with the one being victorious and the other vanquished, as Origenes supposed. Others interpret it as a dispute between the finer souls – the foster-children of Athena – and others who work at generation and who belong to the god presiding over generation. Others combine (or so they believe) the views of Origenes and of Numenius and say that is is a a conflict between souls and daemons, with the daemons being a down-dragging force and the souls tying to come upwards. Their view is that there are three kinds of daemons, a divine type of daemon, a type now in that that condition which is made up of individual souls who have received a daemonic lot, and the other corrupt kind – the soul polluters.

So daemons of the final type strike up this war with souls on their descent into generation. And they claim that, just as the ancient theologians refer this to Osiris and Typhon or to Dionysus and the Titans, Plato attributes it to Athenians and Atlantines out of reverence. For he hands down the tradition, that before they came into three-dimensional bodies, there is rivalry between the souls and the enmattered daemons that he assigned to the west, for the west is the Egyptians say, is the region of harmful sous. The philosopher Porphyry is of this view, and one would be surprised if he is saying anything different from the view authorized by Numenius.

Proclus often refers to the gods as theo ephoroi, as they preside over different aspects of the world and human existence. These theoi ephoroi include gods such as Neptune and Athena, who are guardians of generation and philosophical life. He uses the term the most frequently to planetary gods, who are understood in astrological terms to preside over lower being, such as divine and demonic souls, animals, plants, stones, etc. He states that demons are actually the assistants of the planetary guardians, much like how Gnostic writings claim that demons are the lackeys of the Archons, who are portrayed as governors or administrators. On the Origin of the World tells us exactly this.

Now, when the seven rulers were cast down from their heavens onto the earth, they made for themselves angels, numerous, demonic, to serve them. And the latter instructed mankind in many kinds of error and magic and potions and worship of idols and spilling of blood and altars and temples and sacrifices and libations to all the spirits of the earth, having their coworker fate, who came into existence by the concord between the gods of injustice and justice.

The Neoplatonist Iamblichus also claimed the same thing in De Mysteriis. Plotinus also claimed that the stars and planets were visible gods, beneath them being in the sublunary sphere were hosts of aerial daimons who served as a bridge between man and the gods. Plotinus, like the Middle Platonists, the Chaldaean Oracles and his enemies within the Gnostics, thought that the physical universe belonged to the domain under Hades. Zosimos also considers these daimones as hungry, elemental spirits that are “not only hungry for sacrifices but for your soul.”

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In the Corpus Hermeticum 16. 5-6the Sun is identified with the Demiurge, and the surrounding cosmic bodies were instruments with which he crafted the world. The planetary governors are depicted as administering mankind’s fate, and shaping man in their nature—as a microcosm—an act which is explicitly described as being done out of love.

 5. Even so the Creator, that is to say the Sun, ever links heaven to earth, sending his substance down from above, and raising up matter from below. He draws everything around himself and into himself, and from himself gives all to all, bestowing his light in abundance. For it is he whose beneficent powers not only pervade the heavens and the air, but reach down to the lowest depth in the earth and abyss of the sea.

6. If there is a spiritual substance, then it is the body of the Sun, which his light contains. The Sun alone being near to himself in place and nature knows of what his substance is made and whence it flows. We cannot see him, but by systematic efforts we can understand him.

In the same chapter, the CH claims that these daimons control the cycles of reincarnation and fate: “When each of us has been born and ensouled the daimons that are responsible for the administration of birth at that moment take charge of us—the daimons which are ordered under each of the planets….” Although Proclus does not mention Prometheus, Lucifer or Icarus in any of his writings, it should be worth nothing that these daemons are the very forces that causes the fall of souls into the world of matter, and this seems to be a common theme in many religions and myths as we’ve seen here. 2 Peter 1:19 makes a startling statement about Lucifer: “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

2 Peter compares heading a message of prophecy as Lucifer ascending in the heart of man, as the fallen spirit or genius enmeshed in flesh. Helena Blavatsky in the Secret Doctrine 2.XX, seems to agree with this sentiment.

It is not denied that the moral idea in the myth, as presented in the Theogony of Hesiod, plays a certain part in the primitive Greek conception. The Titan is more than a thief of the celestial fire. He is the representation of humanity — active, industrious, intelligent, but at the same time ambitious, which aims at equaling divine powers. Therefore it is humanity punished in the person of Prometheus, but it is only so with the Greeks. With the latter, Prometheus is not a criminal, save in the eyes of the gods. In is relation with the Earth, he is, on the contrary, a god himself, a friend of mankind ([[philanthropos]]), which he has raised to civilization and initiated into the knowledge of all the arts; a conception which found its most poetical expounder in AEschylus (pg. 519).

So, if Venus is a name of a planet, than by extension and logical conclusion, Lucifer was one of these Archontic administrators in the highest of the seven heavens. And yet, even Jesus Christ in Revelation bares this title as the Morning-Star. Lucifer is a title that may be applied to salvific gods because they brought the light of heaven to earth, like Jesus, Prometheus, Hermes, etc. And as stated earlier, Lucifer is also the name of a cosmocrator, or an archon, since Lucifer is associated with Venus. In the Apocryphon of John, we see the third archon, being Astaphaios. She is a female archon, connected with Astarte and Venus, which in turn, connects to Lucifer. This is where all the occult legends of Lucifer being female or hermaphrodite come from. At the same time, Jesus Christ is presented as the “Light of the world” in the Gospel of John, so he himself, as stated earlier, connects to the Shining Ones.

I would like to end this article with a telling quote from the Latin Church Father, Tertullian. In his polemical Against Marcion (1.1), he equates God and the Christian gospel with that of Prometheus! He also claims that the arch-heretic Marcion corrupted the Christian message and Church, and is equated to a beast, like the one found in Revelation.

Nay more, the true Prometheus, Almighty God, is mangled by Marcion’s blasphemies. Marcion is more savage than even the beasts of that barbarous region. For what beaver was ever a greater emasculator than he who has abolished the nuptial bond?

Clement of Alexandria does the same thing in the Stromata (1.17), where he equates the light of philosophy with Prometheus. However, he claims that the Greek philosophers were “thieves and robbers” for ripping off the Hebrew prophets. In reality, both the Hebrew prophets and the Greeks ripped off the Egyptians and the historical record is very clear about this. Judaism is largely a bastardization of Egyptian religion and philosophy, if one digs deep enough.

There is then in philosophy, though stolen as the fire by Prometheus, a slender spark, capable of being fanned into flame, a trace of wisdom and an impulse from God. Well, be it so that the thieves and robbers are the philosophers among the Greeks, who from the Hebrew prophets before the coming of the Lord received fragments of the truth, not with full knowledge, and claimed these as their own teachings, disguising some points, treating others sophistically by their ingenuity, and discovering other things, for perchance they had the spirit of perception. Exodus 28:3

Hell, if you compare Livy’s History of Rome with the Old Testament, it seems like the later is basically a rip-off from the former! But that, my beloved truth seekers, is for another story. So much for Christian Orthodoxy, right? 

Gnostic Exegesis in Revelation 12

For anyone who is familiar with the multicolored panorama of ancient Gnostic doctrines from different schools and mystery cults, Revelation 12 seems to stand out the most from the Revelation (or Apocalypse) of St. John the Divine. It has the tell-tail signs of being inserted into the main text, since chapter 13 appears to follow chapter 11 without any need for the 12th. Revelation itself follows from a vast tradition of apocalyptic literature. One website goes on to summarize this form of literature, succinctly:

“The Book of Revelation is really an interpretation of earlier apocalyptic prophesies, specifically the Book of Daniel. It was most likely written within a few years after the death of Nero in 68 C.E. The author therefore is not believed to be the author of the Book of John, written three decades later. John speaks of a loving God which is in stark contrast to the vengeful God of Revelation. The author of Revelation was not fluent in Greek and is believed to have been an Aramaic speaking resident of Palestine, possibly a wandering prophet.”

Whoever wrote the rest of Revelation had a very favorable interpretation of the Old Testament and Jewish Christianity and had a lot of ax-grinding against the heretics and the Roman political state. And the author appears to have rejected Paul entirely. The letter to the seven churches that prefaces the actual apocalypse chastises those “who claim to be apostles but are not” and those “who claim to be Jews and are not.” Those were two contested issues about Paul during that era, that is, whether or not he should be considered an apostle and where or not he was actually Jewish. This is some what ironic because the letters of Paul and an apocalypse written by someone who despised him wound up in the same canon of scripture. Even the saying of “the deep things of Satan” of Revelation 2:24 seem to be a direct parody of Paul’s “the deep things of God” per 1 Corinthians 2:10.

The first part of Revelation also condemns eating meat sacrificed to idols and fornication, both practices which the author attributes to a sect call the Nicolaitans, which had a very Gnostic-influenced theology, although the details on their theology differ greatly when comparing the different accounts of the Church Fathers and more shady sources like Psuedo-Tertullian. According to the Church Father, Irenaeus (Against Heresies 1.26.3; 3.10.6), the first “successor” of Simon Magus, was indeed Nicolas of Antioch. The antinomian doctrines taught by the Nicolaitians are in Revelation’s (2:12,15) letter to the church in Pergamos in which Jesus apparently hates with a passion:

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword . . . Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.’

Of course, Paul was originally the one who taught it was acceptable for Christians to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols so long as it didn’t offend another Christian. Paul obviously never condoned fornication, but what the author of Revelation may imply by fornication is Gentile influence upon Jewish Christianity, which would again point to Paul, who also may also be referenced as the “false prophet” per Revelation 13. This corruption or “fornication” can also be paralleled with how the Church Father Epiphanius claimed Marcion seduced a young orthodox virgin, which could be read as a metaphor of Marcion’s corruption of the young Christian Church as claimed by Bart Erhman in Lost Christianities.

The author of Revelation understood Jesus in light of Jewish Messianism. That is, he believed that Jesus, upon his second coming, would fulfill all of the messianic prophecies that he failed to fulfill during his ministry, which included declaring war against the entire world, establish a messianic kingdom and fortify Jewish Christian preeminence over the whole world. Revelation, however, echoes many Gnostic sentiments as well as Egyptian, Babylonian and Zoroastrian concepts and mythology as we will see. While this is in no way a comprehensive review of Revelation, it is a result of drawing some certain parallels I’ve noticed to other Biblical and non-Biblical mythologies, when going through certain parts of the text. the-great-red-dragon-and-the-woman-clothed-with-the-sun-1810

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.was about to give birth. 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. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. The gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

Revelation 12 begins with the Mother archetype characteristic of Wisdom or Sophia so prominent in Gnostic theology who is also pregnant. She is the celestial prototype or counterpart of the Virgin Mary, mother of the son of God. Naturally, the divine Mother can be traced back to the Egyptian Isis and appears many times in Jewish Wisdom literature such as Proverbs and in the the apocrypha such as the Book of Wisdom and the 1 Enoch. In the context of this text, the Woman may very well represent the moon which reflects the light of the sun while ruling the tides that guide the woman’s menstrual cycles. There is also a reference to the Virgo constellation of the Zodiac because of the obvious astrological language used in the divine Mother’s description. guadalupe2 In Greek mythology, the pregnant goddess Leto is pursed by the dragon Python. She escapes to an island where she gives birth to Apollo, who later kills the dragon. Nearly every Mediterranean culture had some variant of this type of combat myth, pitting monster against champion. However, from a Gnostic perspective, there is an even deeper significance to this chapter. In the following passage, the element connects with the apocalyptic passage with Gnosticism, specifically the Sethian and Ophite branches is the enthronement of the son, who escapes the monstrous dragon. Another great beast also appears in the next chapter in 13:1 stating:

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”

What is striking about this passage is the similarity of the beast’s description with the snake-faced seven-headed dragon archon and anguipede mentioned in the Apocryphon of John, Iao. The term Iao is also on many magical amulets, especially with the Basilidean astral god, Abrasax from the the Greco-Roman and the Renaissance periods. slide163 James M. Robinson in On the Genre of Mark and John, compares Revelation 12 with the various Kingdoms featured in the Sethian Apocalypse of Adam of the Nag Hammadi Library. In particular, he compared the fourth Kingdom passage with the great dragon pursuing the child of the Mother.

The fourth kingdom says of him that he came from a virgin. […] Solomon sought her, he and Phersalo and Sauel and his armies, which had been sent out. Solomon himself sent his army of demons to seek out the virgin. And they did not find the one whom they sought, but the virgin who was given them. It was she whom they fetched. Solomon took her. The virgin became pregnant and gave birth to the child there. She nourished him on a border of the desert. When he had been nourished, he received glory and power from the seed from which he was begotten. And thus he came to the water.

Here, the virgin is pursued by the vilified magician, King Solomon and his army of demonic spirits but the virgin barely escapes their clutches and gives birth to her male child who receives power and glory when he “came to the water” which could be a possible reference to Jesus who receives the power of the Holy Spirit when he is baptized and anointed with the Christ spirit, as an “adopted” (hence the doctrine of Adoptionism) Son of God, as mentioned in Mark 1:9-10. In the Gnostic terminology, “male” is the synonym with “pneumatic” or spiritual, as “female” is synonym with “psychic”. The male child in the Apocalypse of Adam is an obvious reference to the Illuminator, the same great spiritual power that the “the god of the powers” or the Demiurge, asks, “What is the power of this man who is higher than we?” In Revelation 12: 7-9, the defeating and casting down of the dragon, Satan, to earth by the archangel Michael, has a possible parallel in the struggle between the armies of angels and the armies of Solomon over the virgin in the fourth kingdom of Apoc. Adam, and in the battle between Jesus and the beasts in Mark 1:13 and Satan/Devil in the temptation stories. So why in the world is Satan and his hosts of principalities and powers cast down to earth at the end of time? Because as St. Paul puts it in Ephesians 6:12:

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.

In other words, Satan and his angels were active in the lower heavens when they crucified the “Lord of Glory” (e.g. Jesus Christ) in 1 Corinthians 2:8. But in the End of Days, Michael, the archangel and his angels will cast the Devil down to earth.

Isis_suckling_Horus

The story of the divine child, who, together with his divine mother, is threatened by an evil power, yet is rescued and finds safety in the wilderness until the evil power is destroyed can very much be interpreted with a Gnostic lens. And naturally, the divine mother and child archetype is one that repeats in almost every ancient culture around the world, beginning with Isis and her son Horus, and possibly before that. The divine Mother, being Sophia, who also gives birth also suggests a connection to Eve, and the divine male child, being Seth, who (with his seed) is caught up to the aeon or put in a holy dwelling place and stays up there for a time, thus overthrowing the powers, i.e. the dragon archon who brought the great flood as mentioned in the Gospel of the Egyptians. And at the end, a voice or Logos, i.e. Seth, announces the arrival of final salvation much like the divine call of Revelation 12: 10-12.

Revelation 12 could also reflect the activity of Sophia who becomes pregnant with her passions, from which appears the Archon, i.e. the dragon/lion-headed hybrid mutant Ialdabaoth. As seen in On the Origin of the World, the dragon, Ialdaboath and his fellow archons pursue Epinoia or Eve-Zoe, but she becomes an eagle on the tree of Gnosis (like the Savior Jesus in the Apocryphon of John) and in another account, Eve-Zoe transforms into a tree, thus eluding the pursing lustful Archons. The primeval couple is kicked out of paradise, but produces Seth and his seed where they are taken to the ethereal wilderness, after which the Archons bring the flood, a belligerent act of war against the Gnostic offspring of Eve, which parallels Revelation 12:15-16, where it states:

Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.

The woman who is pursued by the dragon, sprouts eagle’s wings, which has parallels in the bird of Kingdom 2:

And a bird came, took the child who was born, and brought him onto a high mountain. And he was nourished by the bird of heaven. An angel came forth there. He said to him “Arise! God has given glory to you.” He received glory and strength. And thus he came to the water.

Another parallel is with the descending dove featured in Mark 1:10 and the apocryphal Gospel of the Hebrews where the child is lifted to Mount Tabor. This entire basic mythological structure between Revelation 12 and the Apocalypse of Adam, can also be applied to the Gospel account in Matthew of Jesus’ birth to Mary and their flight to Egypt from Herod. This pattern can also be seen in certain aspects of the Isis-Osiris-Horus cycle as well as stories of Zeus and his mother Rhea Silvia hiding him from his blood-thirsty father Titan Kronos, Perseus and Danae, and Jason and Diomede. Ancient Greek harpies were also said to be the winged female agents (sometimes depicted with talons) of Zeus that snatched away people who would dare reveal the secrets of the Olympian gods.

The idea of a woman with eagle wings also appears in Native American and Aztec legends as the Bird Goddesses, Ix Chel and Itzpapalotl. The symbol of the Eagle was also associated with the soaring spirit over the mundane and base material concerns. It also represented a state of grace achieved through a series of initiations to receive personal, spiritual power through the essence of Shamanic Eagle medicine. There are also strong parallels with Revelation 12 and even the rest of Revelation with the final segment of the Gnostic On the Origin of the World. The woman clothed with the sun is no longer the victimized divine Mother in distress, trying to elude the wrath of the evil powers but is now the one engaged in the pursing against them!

The stars of the sky will cancel their circuits. And a great clap of thunder will come out of a great force that is above all the forces of chaos, where the firmament of the woman is situated. Having created the first product, she will put away the wise fire of intelligence and clothe herself with witless wrath. Then she will pursue the gods of chaos, whom she created along with the prime parent. She will cast them down into the abyss. They will be obliterated because of their wickedness. For they will come to be like volcanoes and consume one another until they perish at the hand of the prime parent. When he has destroyed them, he will turn against himself and destroy himself until he ceases to exist.

The Simonian text, Concept of Our Great Power also has many strong apocalyptic undertones spread throughout. It even has an Anti-Christ/Beast figure.

Then when the times were completed, then wickedness arose mightily even until the final end of the Logos. Then the archon of the western regions arose, and from the East he will perform a work, and he will instruct men in his wickedness. And he wants to nullify all teaching, the words of true wisdom, while loving the lying wisdom. For he attacked the old, wishing to introduce wickedness and to put on dignity. He was incapable, because the defilement of his garments is great. Then he became angry. He appeared and desired to go up and to pass up to that place. Then the appointed time came and drew near. And he changed the commands.

Then the time came until the child had grown up. When he had come to his maturity, then the archons sent the imitator to that man in order that they might know our great Power. And they were expecting from him that he would perform for them a sign. And he bore great signs. And he reigned over the whole earth and all those who are under heaven. He placed his throne upon the end of the earth, for “I shall make you god of the world”. He will perform signs and wonders. Then they will turn from me, and they will go astray.

So, the archons finally go to war at the end of the “Logos” – “… when the times were completed, then wickedness arose mightily even until the final end of the Logos.” Compare this to Revelation 12:7, when again, Michael wages a war against Satan, who is depicted as a chaos dragon, much like Tiamat of the Mesopotamian religions.

And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

It is also interesting to note the same dragon beast that pursues the divine mother is also rode upon the Whore of Babylon of Revelation 17 and 18 or the “Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations of the Earth”, which could be interpreted as the the barbarous “Achamoth”, the name of the “fallen” form of Sophia. Sophia who fled to the “wilderness” (which could also be interpreted as the primeval fall from the Pleroma into the material chaos and the subsequent abortion of her monstrous “child of chaos”) is also called “Echamoth” according to the Gospel of Philip:

Echamoth is one thing and Echmoth, another. Echamoth is Wisdom simply, but Echmoth is the Wisdom of death, which is the one who knows death, which is called “the little Wisdom”.

Another curious passage from Revelation 17: 9 tells us that Whore of Babylon sat on seven heads, which could be a reference to the seven rulers who rule over the seven heavens that is listed in the Apocryphon of John.

And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sat.

It also shares ideas of Proverbs 9:1, where it states Wisdom was said to have built a house for herself, and to have set up “seven pillars” a possible reference to the Hebdomad, or the Hellenistic seven heavens or the seven celestial planets or powers of the Apoc. John. This might be a stretch but one can easily see how the “seven heads” and “mountains” could connect to Gnostic cosmology. The fate of the wanton prostitute isn’t a pretty one as she falls prey to her own wiles and is ultimately destroyed by divine fire by the God of judgement and wrath per Revelation. 18:4-8:

‘Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Pour her a double portion from her own cup. Give her as much torment and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit enthroned as queen. I am not a widow; I will never mourn.’ Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.

William_Blake_whore_babylon The Freemasonic scholar Manly P. Hall in the Secret Teachings of All Ages, claims the whore of Babylon is basically a degenerated and vilified version of the “divine mother” archetype when he writes (p. 188):

Here also is introduced a symbolic figure, termed “the harlot of Babylon, “which is described as a woman seated upon a scarlet-colored beast having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet and bedecked with gold, precious st Here also is introduced a symbolic figure, termed “the harlot of Babylon, “which is described as a woman seated upon a scarlet-colored beast having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scones, and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations. This figure may be an effort (probably interpolated) to vilify Cybele, or Artemis, the Great Mother goddess of antiquity. Because the pagans venerated the Mater Deorum through symbols appropriate to the feminine generative principle they were accused by the early Christians of worshiping a courtesan. As nearly all the ancient Mysteries included a test of the neophyte’s moral character, the temptress (the animal soul) is here portrayed as a pagan goddess.

The Whore of Babylon also fits very well with the dark crone mother figure of Lilith of Kabbalistic lore as well. The Greek Titan Saturn-Kronos (in the guise of the “Son of Man,”) also makes an appearance in the Revelation 14: 14-16, when it states:

14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.

reaping_the_harvest-p9875698 Behind the Roman Saturn is the Greek Kronos, naturally. And behind those two is the Phoenician El, a name familiar with and associated with YHWH, the god of Israel. The “Son of Man” or Jesus Christ takes on this role of the reaper of souls at the apocalypse. This Son of Man figure also appears much earlier in the Book of 1 Enoch as well. The rest of Revelation also owes a lot of its inspiration from Enochian literature as well. An entire dissertation could be done on this subject alone!

“And they shall be terrified, and they shall be downcast of countenance, and pain shall seize them, when they see that Son of Man Sitting on the throne of his glory. And the kings and the mighty and all who possess the earth shall bless and glorify and extol him who rules over all, who was hidden…”  – 1 Enoch 62:5-6 “And all the kings and the mighty and the exalted and those who rule the earth shall fall down before him on their faces, and worship and set their hope upon that Son of Man, and petition him and supplicate for mercy at his hands… And He will deliver them to the angels for punishment, To execute vengeance on them because they have oppressed His children and His elect. And they shall be a spectacle for the righteous and for His elect: They shall rejoice over them, Because the wrath of the Lord of Spirits resteth upon them, And His sword is drunk with their blood.” – 1 Enoch 62:9-12

So here, we have Enoch refer to the sword of wrath that the Son of Man will wield on His Father’s behalf. Among the many times that Jesus spoke of the Son of Man, He was likely using this term to identify Himself or with another celestial figure in the Son of Man spoken of in 1 Enoch and Daniel. This is especially evident in the following Scriptures:

“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” – Matthew 16:27 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.” – Matthew 25:31

Kronos isn’t the only Greek deity to appear in Revelation. We also see the solar deity Apollo appear as an inverted archetype of the Angel of Destruction, Apollyon who is the chief ruler of an army of locust demons in Revelation 9:8-11:

The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men. They had hair like the hair of women, and their teeth were like the teeth of lions. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months. They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.

It’s rather interesting that the Revelation author would choose to make Kronos be the good guy (through the Son of Man) while invert the beauty, order and goodness of Apollo into an angel of the bottomless pit. Though Apollo was known as a god of prophecy, law and purification, in his earliest accounts, he could place plagues on mankind as well as cure them. This occurs in Homer’s IIliad, when Apollo creates a nine-day deadly plague on the Achaean army and their cattle.

The description given to Apolloyon’s army of locust demons sounds eerily similar to that of the legendary creature of Persia, the Manticore (the “maneater”). This predatory monster is said to be mutated mixture of a man’s face with a lion’s face and body, along with a scorpion’s tail and bat wings. 127285_-Elder_Manticore-final2 James Davila in Melchizedek, Michael, and the War in Heaven, writes about the YHWH’s connection with the Archangel Michael from Revelation:

The origins of this reflex of the myth are extremely ancient. An Ugaritic text (CTA 5.1.1-5) alludes to a battle in which the god Baal defeated LTN, clearly the same creature as the monster Leviathan in the Hebrew Bible and later literature. In the restoration period or later, the apocalyptic section of the book of Isaiah (chs. 24-27) refers to the same myth–in almost the same words, but the battle is projected into the eschatological Endzeit and has Yahweh as the protagonist (Isa 27:1). This eschatological form of the tradition is developed further in Revelation, first by the replacement of Yahweh by Michael, and second by the use of the more generic term “dragon” (DRA/KWN) instead of the name Leviathan. As Richard Bauckham has noted, the picture of the dragon is significantly developed by its identification (perhaps by way of Isa 27:1) with the serpent of Genesis 3 and then, by extension, with the devil or Satan.

This Satan dragon serpent archetype can actually be traced back to the Egyptian “Lord of Chaos” Apep, who is depicted as a serpent, the embodiment of chaos and the enemy of the light and order of Ra, Ma’at and Thoth. Thoth or Tautus was nothing more then the title of an educated linguist and secret society member, who claimed himself to be the embodiment of the Egyptian Logos. Ra, as well as Horus, are also portrayed as often struggling against the darkness and chaos of this serpent, much like how Michael struggles against the Serpent and Dragon, Satan. One can see how this chaos myth repeats itself over and over again, traced back to the Egyptian religion which precedes Christianity and Judaism by thousands of years! apep-papyrus-of-hunefer

The war in heaven motif can also be traced to the Titanomacy which can be found in Homer’s Illiad where Hephaestus was cast down from the heavenly threshold by Zeus. Hesiod’s Theogony also recounts that the gods, after defeating the Titans, hurled them down to Tartarus, beneath Hades for their rebellion. Finally, according to Patristic literature, the arch-heretic Cerinthus is often associated with Revelation. The Latin Church Father Tertullian in Against Marcion 3.13, understands Babylon as the city of Rome:

…Egypt is sometimes understood, in His sense, the whole world as being marked out by superstition and a curse. By a similar usage Babylon also in our (St.) John is a figure of the city of Rome, as being like (Babylon) great and proud in royal power, and warring down the saints of God. Now it was in accordance with this style that He called the magi by the name of Samaritans, because (as we have said) they had practised idolatry as did the Samaritans. Moreover, by the phrase before or against the king of Assyria, understand against Herod against whom the magi then opposed themselves, when they refrained from carrying him back word concerning Christ, whom he was seeking to destroy.

Eusebius quotes from a work by Dionysus of Alexandria, bishop of Alexandria, saying that there were many who rejected the Johannine (John) authorship and authority of Revelation, and actually hated the book in Church History (7.25.1-2).

Some indeed of those before our time rejected and altogether impugned the book, examining it chapter by chapter and declaring it to be unintelligible and illogical, and its title false. For they say that it is not John’s, no, nor yet an apocalypse (i.e., an unveiling), since it is veiled by its heavy, thick curtain of its unintelligibility, and that the author of the book was not only not one of the apostles, nor even one of the saints or those belonging to the Church, but Cerinthus, the same who created the sect called ‘Cerinthian’ after him, since he desired to affix to his own forgery a name worthy of credit.

It is worth noting that, according to the good bishop, Dionysius (yes, there were many bishops named after the Greek god of wine), a certain heretic Cerinthus believed in an earthly kingdom of Christ was filled with material pleasures including fornication and great marriage feasts. Here we have only scratched the surface with all the inner workings of Revelation and I suspect there is much more hidden and coded Gnostic parallels and Gemetria (the Assyrian art of assigning numerical values to words) contained in this seemingly “illogical, unintelligible and false” text, like in the city of New Jerusalem that shows up at the end of the apocalypse, which has strong alchemical and Hermetic traits. Gemetria is something I’ve been toying with for a while now and I may pursue it further in my research.

Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden (Part 5)

{So, I decided to return to this series after a very long hiatus and conclude my thoughts and research into the Eden creation story. Excuse the lateness.}

In Part 4, we explored the Gnostic understandings of the flood myths and how it correlates to the Fall of Sophia and the Descent into Chaotic Matter. Eden and Atlantis were also compared to each other and it seems both places might have been one and the same. We also looked at the Persian prophet Mani’s insights into the Tree of Life, the creation of Adam and how it related to his soteriology. There are other matters that I’ve addressed but will re-examine them under a different lens. When you research this kind of stuff, you are often confronted with new information that adds to what you’ve written or forces you to reconsider.

As I have recounted in this series, the serpent to the Gnostics was a symbol of duality. Since the expulsion from paradise was ordained by the Old Testament God, the Gnostics demanded that the snake be re-installed in paradise. This wise messenger of the good “Alien” God who was sent to “open the eyes” of the first couple through gnosis was naturally cursed and punished by the Demiurge. At the same time, texts like the Apocryphon of John seem to condemn the serpent as being a part of the same order as the chief archon, Ialdabaoth. Why is there such a differences of opinions on this point of the Genesis myth that reappears later in Gnostic texts? We will see exactly why soon enough.

Cursing the Gods.

Returning to the idea of the “fall of man”, there seems to be a cognitive dissonance in how many people read the Genesis account as well as how many throughout Church History has come to interpret the story as a source of shame for the human race. For example, we read that Jehovah, or the “LORD God” told Adam, “The day you eat of the tree you will surely die” (Genesis.3:4). And yet Adam ate of the tree and he did not die or even “fall”. It can hardly be called a “fall” when his intelligence was elevated to that of the gods! (Genesis 3:22) And so, we see Jehovah say to His council of gods, “Behold man has become as one of Us, knowing good and evil.” The serpent (the most crafty creature on earth) told the truth when he told Eve Jehovah would not carry out his threat. Let’s allow the Bible speak for itself when we see Adam, live to be 930 years old and begat many sons and daughters. No mention of the fall in Genesis. And we see Jehovah who lies to Adam but the God of the New Testament cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18). It’s not until Augustine does Adam truly “fall” and produced the “Original Sin” of disobeying Jehovah.

This doctrine of “Original Sin” or the “Sin Nature,” indeed, was the invention of St. Augustine, who believed that the great multitudes of the human race belong to eternal damnation along with a very hostile attitude towards sexuality–even extending this misanthropy to unbaptized children. This seems to be a strange mixture of Manichaean doctrine along with the Orthodox influence of Ambrose who converted him from the Manichaean faith to Catholic Neo-Platonism along with Tertullian sanctioned doctrine. The Latin Church father (and later heretical Montanist convert, in a twist of irony) Tertullian would also express similar sentiments in stating that man was not merely weakened, but depraved as a consequence of Adam’s disobedience to the Creator God in the form of his “consupiscence” (to covet) for the forbidden fruit of Knowledge. This idea repeats itself in what John Calvin espoused heartily in the sixteenth century as the heinous doctrine of “Total Depravity.” Tertullian in On the Apparel of Women, Book 1, also makes clear the scorn and prejudice of early Church fathers towards Eve, sexuality and her descendants:

And do you not know that you are [each] an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil’s gateway: you are the unsealer of that [forbidden] tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God’s image, man. On account of your desert – that is, death – even the Son of God had to die.

And so here we have a clear example of the Orthodox loathing of the female and the feminine in the form of Eve. While spending the rest of this post to researching doctrinal matters concerning Original Sin, etc. is tempting, looking back at the Genesis account and other works that fill in the blanks, will prove to be far more fruitful, pun intended… In the Clementine Homilies (3.9.1), the heresiarch and place holder for Paul the Apostle and Marcionite/Gnostic Christianity, Simon Magus, claimed that Adam was born blind. Many Jewish Rabbis also asked if Adam and Eve were blind as well. Even Saint Augustine said that most people thought Adam was blind as well (City of God 14.17). All throughout the Clementine literature, Simon and Peter goes head to head in a debate of whits of how they interpreted the Genesis tale. This idea of Adam being born blind comes from Simon when he tells Peter (CH. Homily 3. XXXIX):

Therefore also Adam, being made at first after his likeness, is created blind, and is said not to have knowledge of good or evil, and is found a transgressor, and is driven out of paradise, and is punished with death. In like manner also, he who made him, because he sees not in all places, says with reference to the overthrow of Sodom, ‘Come, and let us go down, and see whether they do according to their cry which comes to me; or if not, that I may know.’ Thus he shows himself ignorant. And in his saying respecting Adam, ‘Let us drive him out, lest he put forth his hand and touch the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever;’ in saying Lest he is ignorant; and in driving him out lest he should eat and live for ever, he is also envious. And whereas it is written that ‘God repented that he had made man,’ this implies both repentance and ignorance.

Later on in the same text, Simon and Peter go back and forth in their debates over whether Adam was indeed born blind and ignorant:

Whatever sayings of the Scriptures are in harmony with the creation that was made by Him are true, but whatever are contrary to it are false. Then Simon said: How can you show that the Scriptures contradict themselves? And Peter said: You say that Adam was created blind, which was not so; for He would not have pointed out the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to a blind man, and commanded him not to taste of it. Then said Simon: He meant that his mind was blind. Then Peter: How could he be blind in respect of his mind, who, before tasting of the tree, in harmony with Him who made him, imposed appropriate names on all the animals? Then Simon: If Adam had foreknowledge, how did he not foreknow that the serpent would deceive his wife? Then Peter: If Adam had not foreknowledge, how did he give names to the sons of men as they were born with reference to their future doings, calling the first Cain (which is interpreted ‘envy’), who through envy killed his brother Abel (which is interpreted ‘grief’), for his parents grieved over him, the first slain?

Scholarship generally posits that Gnosticism is a late, post-Christian development. In other words, it is simply a dualistic Christian heresy that posited a mythological system of emanations of aeons, a redeemer figure, the disparagement of matter, and a “Stranger” God. These elements are indeed post-Christian, and exist in the NT as well. Yet, the core element of Gnosticism is seeking salvation through gnosis or hidden wisdom, rather than through simple belief or justification through faith, sacrifices to God, a vicarious redeemer, etc. This type of gnosis precedes Christianity and can be found in Orphic, Egyptian, Indian and Buddhist mystery religions as well. Also, many of the Christian gospels contain various Gnostic elements in which I detail here. They are all about seeking and finding hidden gnosis, hinted in the parables of hidden treasure in Matthew, as well as other parables like the found pearl, the captured fish of the great price, the parable of the sower, etc. The Gospel of Thomas is the epitome of this type of gnosis. This is the core teaching of Gnosticism and an even more “authentic” Christianity. Unfortunately, few researchers look at Gnosticism in this broader way.

There are scholars like Gershom Scholem, who have linked pre-Christian Gnosticism with Jewish mysticism – particularly that with the Merkabah type, and other ascent texts that belong to heterodox Jews of the Second Temple Period. Texts like these are those that belong to the Enochian tradition, some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and perhaps texts like the Ascension of Isaiah (although the last seems more likely a Simonian text). All of these texts deal with the Gnostic ascent to God and the writers of these texts, perhaps saw themselves as possessors of this secret knowledge to ascend the stars like angels and would eventually become divine themselves, which was an anathema to Orthodox Judaism. This is probably where the later Gnostic writers took their inspirations from, along with Pauline crucifixion mysticism. Scholars like C. Fletcher-Lewis also noticed some of these Gnostic elements in the Dead Sea Scrolls, like the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, in which he writes in Heavenly Ascent and Incarnational Presence: A Revisionist Reading of the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice:

“….much of the language within the Songs, though not all, refers to the Qumran community members who now have a heavenly, angelic and divine identity.”

Looking at the Nag Hammadi writings, there seems to be some Christianization or “sanitation” of older non-Christian writings, which shows that the Gnostic vision preceded Christianity. So, Gnosticism wasn’t a late aberration of Christianity as it is commonly maintained. R. van den Broek writes in The Present State of Gnostic Studies:

[T]he Nag Hammadi Library contains several gnostic tractates which are certainly non-Christian. These writings show that Gnosticism did not arise as a Christian heresy.

In a way, heterodox Judaism and even Samaritan mysticism gave rise to heterodox Christianity (Gnosticism). We see a competition of theologies begin in Genesis, or a dual tradition of normative and heterodox theologies develop at the same time, together. It can be argued that the Yahweh tradition developed was a reaction to this type of hidden knowledge already in existence back then, in a religion of those who would “ascend to heaven” (Isaiah 14:13).

In Isaiah, the fall of Lucifer is mirrored in Greek tales of Icarus and even that of Simon Magus who falls from his flights to impress Nero thanks to Peter’s meddling and prayer that God ruin the whole show even though apparently Peter didn’t have these same crazy cool powers himself. Adam’s fall is blamed on him because he dared to reach out and consume the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The Tower of Babel story also has misguided Babylonians attempting to build a very tall tower that reaches the heavens but is foiled by Yahweh and his angels. And so, the Gnostic initiative is always “out of bounds.” And this is exactly the focal point of contention between Simon Magus and Peter in their debates in that there is a higher power above the creator.

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We also see Jesus of the Gospels constantly oppose the Pharisees and their rites and customs and even denies them that they are the chosen people and claim they “belong to your father, the devil…” (John 8:44)! Jesus also commanded his followers to seek sincerely without outside aide or approval from any external “authority” (such as a priest) or divine agent (the denial of blood atonement and a vicarious redeemer). Jesus’ original teachings are clearly rebellious and esoteric, in the sense that they are private, hidden and not seen by outsiders. This all conforms to a secret knowledge that comes from within where the hidden Christ manifests. Perhaps this is the real reason why Gnostic writers were critical of the biblical God and even critical of the serpent as well as being part of the same team with Yahweh like the Ophites did. And this is also the reason why some scholars view Gnosticism as a gentile betrayal and corruption of Judaism.

And yet, they weren’t exactly the only ones to take offense to aspects of the Paradise story, along with other Jewish texts. First, many philosophers like Philo, Plutarch, Celsus, Julian the Apostate had all thought that the anthropomorphous appearance of the biblical Creator didn’t really jive well with the more refined, philosophical idea of God that we see in Middle Platonic thought. This God was purely transcendental and above human reasoning and matter. He was an Ineffable God of the Gnostics and above the demiurgical God, the creator and rule of the physical and perishable world.

The Church Father Origen charges Celsus in Contra Celsus with spreading nasty rumors about how Christians are nothing more than feeble minded impious magicians and makes no distinction between the Christians and the Ophites because there was no such distinction to be made in the second century apparently. They also held Yahweh “accursed” just like how he cursed Adam, Eve and the serpent. According to Origen, these Ophites wouldn’t let anyone into their meetings unless they first curse Jesus, or at least the Judean version of Jesus that we can see in Ebionite/Jewish Christianity. This also reflects the kind of misotheism that was prevalent around that time period in which the Epicurean philosophers also were engaged in in their constant questioning of the gods and their subjects’ piousness and religiosity of their subjects.

The ruler of those named ‘archontics’ is termed the ‘accursed’ god. Who would venture to use such language—as if there could be an “accursed” divinity! Yet the God of the Mosaic cosmogony is termed an accursed divinity, because such is his character, and worthy of execration in the opinion of those who so regard him, inasmuch as he pronounced a curse upon the serpent, who introduced the first human beings to the knowledge of good and evil.

What could be more foolish or insane than such senseless wisdom? For what blunder has the Jewish lawgiver committed? and why do you accept, by means, as you say, of a certain allegorical and typical method of interpretation, the cosmogony which he gives, and the law of the Jews, while it is with unwillingness, O most impious man, that you give praise to the Creator of the world, who promised to give them all things; who promised to multiply their race to the ends of the earth, and to raise them up from the dead with the same flesh and blood, and who gave inspiration to their prophets; and, again, you slander him!

The Apostle Paul himself claimed that those who followed the Mosaic Law was cursed in Galatians 3:10, “For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Paul also said that Christ redeemed his Church from the “curse of the law” and also said, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

Heretics like Marcion and Simon Magus do not hesitate to highlight the supposed ignorant, and vicious character of the wrongdoings of the demiurgical God by referencing Genesis, along with other biblical texts. The sacrifices to God in the Old Testament also match with other pagan deities in which their followers worshiped and offered libations and sacrifices to appease them and in exchange to material favors. The old tribal gods of pagan and Mesopotamian cultures always operated by making pacts and covenants. Jehovah made a covenant/pact with Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and Moses. They worshiped him and burned offerings to him, and in turn, they received his protection and material blessings. But everything with the Hebrew god was centered around law, not mercy.

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The Israelites had to observe specific days and provide specific offerings as payment for the things that they gave him, and they were never in permanent security with him. If they slipped up, they were punished, and had pay back what was owed in more severe ways. And this is exactly how many Faustian pacts with demons also operate under as seen in Goetic texts that belong to the Solomonic tradition. In fact, names ascribed to the Hebrew god are used invoke both angels and demons!

They are names that are ascribed to various archons that are listed in Gnostic texts and in refutations of them by the Church Fathers. These various archons also have serpentine and dragon-like like shapes, much like Ialdabaoth and perhaps this is why the serpent is condemned in the Apocryphon of John. We also see this in the conceptions of the Seraphim as indicated by various biblical, apocalyptic Enochian literature as well. We also see serpentine and even dragon like features in Yahweh himself! Here are some supporting verses.

Zechariah 10:8: I (Yahweh) will hiss for them (Jews), and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased.

Isaiah 5:26: And he (Yahweh) will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly.

Smoke coming out of Yahweh’s nostrils (sounds very dragon like):

Psalm 18:8, 2 Samuel 22:9: There went up a smoke out of his [Yahweh] nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

Yahweh spews fire from his mouth!

2 Samuel 22:9 (ESV): Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him.

And look, Yahweh has wings:

Psalm 17:8 (ESV) Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.

So, Yahweh has wings, spews fire from his mouth and can breath fire and hisses. Doesn’t that sound exactly like a dragon and the Gnostic’s description of Ialdaboath as a lion-faced dragon? And according to Revelation 12:9, Satan is also depicted as a dragon. John 8:44, also hints at this reality, that the Devil is fathered by the Jewish god. Saturninus and Carpocrates, who were both contemporaries with one another and Simonian heretics, also spoke about Satan, but separated him apart from the band of world creating angels. Apelles and Severus, who were both associates with Marcion, both distinguish between the Devil and the Demiurge, who also taught that the Devil was the son of the Demiurge and that there was enmity between the two. The idea of the Devil indeed had a father was pretty hard to overcome by the part of the Church Fathers and in large part, they failed to address the pressures and difficulties made by the heretics. For example, we see Jerome who claimed that the father of the devil was the dragon Leviathan, also named as an archon by Celsus in his description of the Ophite diagram.

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The devil could not be a creation of God, or is a son because that would be supremely blasphemous and also contradictory because he is the son of a father who is a liar, and God is truth. Celsus also thought that the Christian concept of Satan was blasphemous. The Clementine Homilies (19:9) also explores the idea of the Devil being a creation of God:

But, as you said, if the evil one is created either he has been begotten as an animal, or he has been sent forth substantially by Him, or he has been compounded externally, or his will has arisen through composition; or it happened that he came into existence from things non-existent, without composition and the will of God; or he has been made by God from that which in no manner and nowhere exists; or the matter, being lifeless or living, from which he has arisen was outside of God; or he fashioned himself, or he was made by God, or he is a relative thing, or he ever existed: for we cannot say that he does not exist, since we have agreed in thinking that he does exist.

And Simon said: Well have you distinguished all the methods of accounting for his existence in a summary manner. Now it is my part to examine these various ideas, and to show that the Creator is blameable. But it is your business to prove, as you promised, that he is free from all blame. But I wonder if you will be able. For, first, if the devil has been begotten from God as an animal, the vice which is his is accordingly the same as that of him who sends him forth.

We see Simon asking all kinds of tough questions to Peter. This series of dilemmas embarrasses the chief of the Apostles in no small degree. He struggles to find any meaningful answers and gives what is probably the most half-assed, asinine answer in the history of all apologetics and it all starts with Peter.

I agree with you in believing that there is a prince of evil, of whose origin the Scripture has ventured to say nothing either true or false. But let us follow out the inquiry in many ways, as to how he has come into existence, if it is the fact that he has come into existence; and of the opinions which present themselves, let us select that which is most reverential, since in the case of probable opinions, that one is assumed with confidence which is based on the principle that we ought to attribute to God that which is more reverential…

In other words, Peter struggles to show that the true God cannot be the cause of evil, and that the scriptures has not chosen to explain the origin of the Devil. Simon isn’t satisfied with this evasive answer and ends by informing Peter that “If matter is equal to God both in duration and in power, and is also hostile to God, it produces of itself powers which are hostile to the will of God.” The Testimony of Truth also noticed this supreme contention between Simon and Peter as per the origins of the devil.

And in one place, Moses writes, “He made the devil a serpent those whom he has in his generation.” Also, in the book which is called “Exodus,” it is written thus: “He contended against the magicians, when the place was full of serpents according to their wickedness; and the rod which was in the hand of Moses became a serpent, (and) it swallowed the serpents of the magicians.”

Job 1 is all about measuring piety of Job in efforts to see if Job will indeed curse Yahweh. In this text, Yahweh and Satan seem to be virtually indistinguishable. They are openly in league with each other and Yahweh takes on Satan’s advice to test Job to see if he really is pious when all of his blessings are taken away and replaced with curses. Yes, Yahweh listens to the advice of Satan! Carl Jung in his book, Answer to Job, suggests that God is completely devoid in understanding of the human condition and therefore needs to incarnate in order to complete himself. In a sense this is a perfect metaphor for the process of gnosis. At times this God acts loving and merciful, so long as his edicts are obeyed. If they’re not, well, hell is to pay. 

The troubling thing for the writer of Job and for us is that Job is extremely pious and is blessed because of this. He is the quintessential icon of righteousness. He is man of justice. Job is the defender of the widow and the orphan. Job feeds the hungry and lends of his resources to those in need. When Job wrongs another man he pays restitution willingly and then some. Job is kind, generous and compassionate. And then God takes a big shit all over him. Job demands an accounting from God and rightly so. Except that God never does that. We can paraphrase the voice from the whirlwind quite simply. “I am God…shut the fuck up!” This is the voice of the Demiurge, the god of the whirlwind. Yahweh is on par with other pagan gods, like Zeus as well. So Yahweh punishes both the rebellious and the innocent without mercy. With stories like this, it really is amazing that a text like Job even made it into the cannon at all!

Returning to Simon and Peter’s discussion on the origins of the Devil and matter, both points of contention are equally fascinating and well worth the read, much like all of the Clementine literature. The discussion seems to mirror the points of contention between the Orthodox and the heretical, one insisting that God is blameless and perfect, while the other insisting that the Creator is completely at fault for producing evil and the Devil. Isaiah 45:7, indeed does support this view when it states, “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” At one point, Peter goes so far as to say that Simon is even worse then the Devil (CH 19.6)!

Peter said: But you, as being wicked, and hating God whom you have not known, utter blasphemous words. And Simon said: Remember that you have likened me to the author of evil. And Peter said: I confess it, I was wrong in comparing you to the evil one; for I was compelled to do so, because I have not found one who is your equal, or worse than you. For this reason I likened you to the evil one; for you happen to be much more wicked than the author of evil. For no one can prove that the evil one spoke against God; but all of us who are present see you speaking daringly against Him. And Simon said: He who seeks the truth ought not to gratify any one in any respect contrary to what is really true. For why does he make the inquiry at all? Why, I ask? For I am not also able, laying aside the accurate investigation of things, to spend all my time in the praise of that God whom I do not know.

This is also the view in which the Ophites held in how Ialdabaoth created calamity through his serpent, according to Irenaeus (Against Heresies 1.30.5).

This son is Nous himself, twisted into the form of a serpent; and hence were derived the spirit, the soul, and all mundane things: from this too were generated all oblivion, wickedness, emulation, envy, and death.

Later on, Sophia decides to take things into her own hands to counter Ialdaboath’s “crooked” serpent with a serpent of her own!

But their mother (Sophia) cunningly devised a scheme to seduce Eve and Adam, by means of the serpent, to transgress the command of Ialdabaoth. Eve listened to this as if it had proceeded from a son of God and yielded an easy belief. She also persuaded Adam to eat of the tree regarding which God had said that they should not eat of it. They then declare that, on their thus eating, they attained to the knowledge of that power which is above all, and departed from those who had created them.

As I said earlier in the series, this seems to match up with the Hypostasis of the Archons‘ account.

Then the female spiritual principle came in the snake, the instructor; and it taught them, saying, “What did he say to you? Was it, ‘From every tree in the garden shall you eat; yet – from the tree of recognizing good and evil do not eat’?” The carnal woman said, “Not only did he say ‘Do not eat’, but even ‘Do not touch it; for the day you eat from it, with death you are going to die.'”

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.

More interesting is that Eve seems not to be all that surprised that a snake is chatting it up with her about eating forbidden fruit that would eventually open her eyes, and be “like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4). Another author makes a good case that the serpent was in actuality, an angelic being, forced to help Adam and Eve tend to the garden.

Actually, there is a great deal of other ancient evidence which suggests this serpent was a serpentine, or serpent-like, angel who previously fell from grace.(1) As mentioned in Giants of Scripture, there were angels fashioned around the same time as the creation of Adam, in order to help him out. We get a hint to this in the Bible: And again, when He (God) bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. Hebrews 1:6 (KJV)

When they discovered how much preferential treatment God had given the man, these angels complained to God.(2) We also get a hint to the conversation of these angels to the Almighty, in regards to their dissatisfaction of Adam: Psalms (KJV) 8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 8:5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and has crowned him with glory and honor. 8:6 Thou madest him to have dominion of the works of thy hands…

God would not put up with their dissension, and caused them to fall – they lost their positions as heavenly angels and were condemned to serve Adam.

This would also support the Ophite view in how there were angels in the garden and they had sexual intercourse with Eve, and she begat half-angelic/half-human offspring much like what we see with the angels descending to earth to have intercourse with the daughters of men around Noah’s time.

…the others coming and admiring her beauty, named her Eve, and falling in love with her, begot sons by her, whom they also declare to be the angels.

Not all extra-biblical texts seem to have a positive view on the serpent either. The Apocalypse of Moses, for example, describes in some detail in how Satan persuaded the serpent to serve as a vessel though which he could speak to Eve and tempt her. This meant that Satan possessed the serpent! In the Hypostasis of the Archons, the spiritual woman, or Sophia enters to speak with Eve instead. For the Gnostics it was a good thing for Eve to eat the fruit of Gnosis. On the Origin of the World states that Eve, being the “female instructor of life” was found to be the wisest out of all the beings in Eden and was subsequently called “Beast” by the authorities, being the archons.

The Apocalypse of Moses is more orthodox in its view that eating the fruit was a death sentence for man. The world became defiled with this knowledge, in which many authors in the ancient world seem to think was also a sexual knowledge and fornication as a means to tempt and “beguile” Eve, which meant seduce. The fall of man was a result of this unholy sexual union with satanic children born as a result. It is interesting to note that most of Eve’s punishments and judgments revolve around sex and childbirth. Could all of this be related to this angelic/human seduction and fornication?

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This meant that Satan or what in Medieval Kabbalistic texts call “Samael,” had sexual intercourse with Eve and begat children like Cain and Abel. There is also a strong Kabbalistic tradition of Samael and Lilith always longing to have sexual intercourse. Tracy Twyman writes about this:

Because Samael and Lilith (a.k.a Leviathan and Behemoth) are constantly longing for each other, they found a way to mate via an “intermediary” called “Tanin’iver” (“Blind Dragon”) or “the Groomsman.”

She goes onto quote the Treatise of the Left Emanation and also writes:

This “Tanin’iver” is a “slithering serpent” without eyes who somehow enables the castrated Samael to have sex with Lilith. But if he were to “manifest fully,” then the destruction of the universe, which happens whenever these two “truly” mate, would come about anyway. So whatever Tanin’iver does for them, it has the capability of being just as good as the real thing. But mercifully, right now, it is not, or else we would all be dead.

In other words, the serpent is both a symbol of liberation from ignorance and at the same time, a symbol of sexual union, seduction and even destruction as I have demonstrated earlier in the series. The serpent is also strongly associated with being symbolic of Christ himself and Jesus in the Gospel of John (3:14-15) certainly thinks this also:

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

Christ is also depicted in terms of being a vegatative image, like the Holy Rood, the Tree of Life and the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Jesus is the fruit of eternal life, which was on the second forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden. Many other pagan gods of the ancient world were depicted as nature deities as well. When man ate of the fruit of the first tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he was expelled from the Garden. The Garden is the place of unity, and non-duality like how the Pleroma is depicted in texts such as the Gospel of Truth. You eat of the fruit of duality, and you are on the way out into the wastelands of material reality.

The tree of returning to the Garden is the tree of immoral life, where the I and the Father are one. When Yawheh threw man out of the Garden, he put two cherubim at the gate, with a flaming sword between. At many Buddhist shrines, the Buddha is often depicted sitting under the Boddhi tree of immortal life, there are also at the gate, two guardians–similar to the guardian Cherubim that guard the Tree of Life. In these vegetation traditions there is the notion of identity behind the surface display of duality. Behind all these manifestations it the one radiance, which shines through all things.

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St. Apollonius Magus: The Case of Apollonius’ Identity Crisis

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Apollonius of Tyana (a city south of Turkey) was considered among the most remarkable of a slew of magician messiahs and daemonic philosophers in the area of Asia Minor. His life, unfortunately, has been written by believers in his pretensions as we have no secular record of him, much like how there is no reliable secular record of Jesus Christ existing. Outside the gospels, there are only four early historical references to Jesus. They are found in the works of the Jewish historian, Josephus, the Roman historians, Tacitus and Suetonius, and in the letters of Pliny the Younger, a Roman governor of Bithynia. But together, they cover little more than half of a page of a modern book! And even in these records, their mentions of Jesus are questionable at best for many reasons. (We will get to this in another post).

In any case, the Apollonius of the biographer Philostratus is a heathen savior, who claimed a commission from heaven to teach a pure and reformed religion, and in attesting his authority, he went about healing the sick, raising dead men back to life, casting out devils, and prophesying future events which came afterwards to pass. Sounds familiar?

However, the accounts of Apollonius were written well after he is supposed to have lived by a man named Flavius Philostratus (170 – 245 A.D.). This is long after the first New Testament was written (being Marcion’s Apostolikon). It is said that Philostratus is the only source for the accounts of Apollonius where the Bible is multi-sourced. In other words, we have different writers writing about Jesus. The authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul the Apostle, etc., are different writers who’s epistles were gathered by the Church and assembled into the Bible. One possible mention of Apollonius outside Philostratus is in Pseudo-Justin Martyr (meaning there’s no evidence that Justin wrote it and was written by someone else) specifically mentions Apollonius, when he tells us that Apollonius talismans were potent magical tools, indicating his belief in them in Answers to the Orthodox:

How is it that the talismans of Apollonius have power over certain members of creation, for they prevent, as we see, the fury of the waves, the violence of the winds, and the attacks of wild beasts. And whilst Our Lord’s miracles are preserved by tradition alone, those of Apollonius are most numerous, and actually manifested in present facts, so as to lead astray all beholders?

Pseudo-Justin illustrates the problem in a work containing a dialogue between a theologian and a Christian: the Christian is concerned about the popularity and spread of Apollonius’s talismans. He wonders how to explain their magical powers and wonders why God allows them. The theologian dispels his doubts saying that there is nothing evil about those objects because they were produced by Apollonius who was an expert in the powers governing nature and in the cosmic sympathies and antipathies…and that is why they did not contradict God’s wisdom ruling the world. But, this is hardly a convincing evidence for Apollonius. The Epicurean philosopher, Celsus never mentions or cites anything related to Apollonius either even in his long-winded refutation of Christianity, when he mentions various miracle workers and preachers who visit cities and army camps proclaiming themselves as “sons of God”.

These are accustomed to say, each for himself, ‘I am God; I am the Son of God; or, I am the Divine Spirit; I have come because the world is perishing, and you, O men, are perishing for your iniquities. But I wish to save you, and you shall see me returning again with heavenly power. Blessed is he who now does me homage. On all the rest I will send down eternal fire, both on cities and on countries. And those who know not the punishments which await them shall repent and grieve in vain; while those who are faithful to me I will preserve eternally.’

Philostratus was commissioned by an empress to write a biography of Apollonius in order to dedicate a temple to him. It is not likely that the gospels borrowed from Apollonius. It is most probably the other way around, especially since Philostratus had a motive to satisfy the empress who had commissioned him to write a biography of the man for whom a temple had been constructed. And this is coming from a guy who thinks Paul and the Johannite Jesus are merely extensions or masks of Simon Magus!

It must be said that the Philostratus seems to have no knowledge of the Gospels, in his account of Apollonius. Philostratus recounts Apollonius’ adventures in India and Rome, and encounters with several Roman emperors. According to Eusebius in Against Hierocles. II, “Apollonius was a priest in Aegae of Cilicia of Asclepius, the lover of mankind, worked any number of miracles…” However, Philostratus himself was “a man of letters and a sophist full of passion for Greek Romance and for studies in rhetoric…hardly interested in the historical Apollonius” (Maria Dzielska, Apollonius of Tyana, 14). So we are left to distrust the historical accuracy of Philostratus’ account.

Yet still, Philostratus’ work may be reflective of the everyday culture concerning Greek and Syriac religious life. Philostratus tells us in the Life of Apollonius, that Apollonius was a pious man, vigorously devoted to God and to the spiritual life, and one who accepted all creeds as diverse expressions of one universal religion. Some pagans were compelled to respond to the miracles attributed to Jesus Christ by using Apollonius as Christianity gained power, like Hierocles. In a letter to his brother (44), Apollonius writes:

“All men, so I believe, belong to the family of God and are of one nature; everyone experiences the same emotions, regardless of the place or condition of a person’s birth, whether he is a barbarian or a Greek, so long as he is a human being.”

Apollonius also repudiated the idea of animal sacrifice and was a strict vegetarian. The only fitting sacrifice for God according to Apollonius, was “man’s best reason” (G.R.S. Mead, Apollonius of Tyana, p. 153). Unlike other magicians, Apollonius simply relied on his own innate divinity to perform miracles and not on incantations, prayers, sacrifices or spells. The interesting fact about Apollonius is the extensive recognition which he obtained, and the case with which his pretensions found acceptance in the existing condition of the popular mind. Out of the legends of him little can be gathered except for a sketch of his history. He was born four years before the Christian era in Tyana, a city of Cappadocia. His parents sent him to be educated at Tarsus in Cilicia, a place of considerable wealth and repute, and he must have been about beginning his studies there when St. Paul as a little boy was first running about the streets. The life in Tarsus was too luxurious for Apollonius’ ascetic and philosophical aspirations.

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So he became a recluse at the temple of Aesculapius at Aegae. Aesculapius, of course, was the snake god of healing and therefore the most practical and useful of the heathen gods. Apollonius’s devotion to Aesculapius meant that he studied medicine and even sympathetic magic. The philosophers who studied at Aegae were also said to be Neo-Pythagoreans. In the Gospel of John, chapter 5, Jesus heals a blind man, at the pools of Bethesda, which is basically like an Aesclepion, a healing center.

Raymond W. Bernard writes in Apollonius the Nazarene: Mystery Man of the Bible:

Finding the morals of Tarsus distasteful, Apollonius resolved to take up quarters at Aegae, which possessed a temple of Aesculpius, the priests of which were philosophers of the Pythagorean school. So famous were they for their power as healers that people came to their temple from all over Greece, from Syria and even from Alexandria to consult them. The priests of this healing temple of Aegae cured disease by vegetarian diet, hydrotherapy, fasting and magnetic healing (“laying on of the hands,” which art, Apollonius acquired from them). They were heirs of an ancient oral therapeutic tradition which came from the Orphic mysteries, the secret of which was jealously guarded by the disciple who received it. By these priests, Apollonius was initiated; and it was not long before he excelled his masters.

It is said on the death of his father, he divided his property among the poor, and after five years of retirement he traveled as far as India in search of knowledge. He spoke with the Brahmins there, and came home with some enlightened ideas, and with some skill in the arts of juggling. With this knowledge, he began a career as a teacher in the Roman Empire. He preached his new religion, and he worked miracles to induce people to believe in him. He was at Rome in Nero’s time, when Simon Magus and St. Peter were said to be there debating and performing magical feats of strength in their contests. Perhaps there was a confusion between Apollonius with Simon Magus, or Simon Magus with Apollonius.

Not only is there a confusion with Apollonius and Simon Magus, there is also many parallels with St. Paul as well. For starters, many consider Paul (Pol) to be an abbreviation for Apollonius. Both Paul and Apollonius were at said to be at Tarsus at the same time as boys, although Apollonius was at Ephesus and Rome at exactly the same time that Paul was (yet, strangely, Apollonius’s biographer makes no mention of him, though Paul in his epistles, speaks of Apollos having been at Ephesus [Acts 18:24] with him). Also it is significant that “Paul” is a fictitious name, or at least a title. There is more reason to identify the character of Apollonius with Paul than Saul, who led a dissipated life, while Apollonius, even in youth, lived as a pious ascetic. But, before we get ahead of ourselves, it is likely that Apollonius influenced the picture that Acts of the Apostles gives us of Paul and even Apollo, rather than his epistles and letters as they both are engaged in various miracles and magical happenings. Apollos from Paul’s epistles could also very well be an abbreviated form of Apollonius:

“…It has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,‘ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Has Christ been divided?” I Corinthians 1:11-12.

“For when one says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ and another, ‘I belong to Apollos,’ are you not merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” I Corinthians 3:4-6.

Some scholars like Simone Petrement theorizes that Hebrews was written by Apollos (Apollonius) and not Paul. Martin Luther was said to suggest the same thing because the author does not identify himself as Paul like Paul would do often in his epistles and it is steeped in Hellenistic thought. In Hebrews 6:1-2, the author writes:

“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”

Passages like this indicates that the believer must graduate past such elementary teachings and move to the mysteries of God, only revealed to those who are mature in their faith in Christ. According to Damis of Ninevah, he claimed that to be a disciple of Apollonius and claimed he was also a neo-Pythagorean philosopher who flourished in the last half of the first century who also wrote extensively on astrology. However, it is rather odd that nothing is said on the matter of Apollonius being learned in mathematics since any good Pythagorean philosopher would be very learned on the subject. There are letters that were claimed to by Apollonius (like the one quoted above), but many of them were very likely forgeries by unknown sources. However, they paint a consistent picture that portrays him as a miracle man of magic and mystery.

Similarly, Dutch radical New Testament critics viewed Paul’s letters as reworked forgeries taken from earlier Marcionite and even Simonian variant writings. While this is likely the case, there is still some evidence that Paul himself existed, according to secular sources like Josephus who considers the magician “Atomus” (meaning small, like the Latin “parvalus”) and Simon as the same person. Josephus mentions Atomus as being involved with the procurator Felix, King Agrippa II and his sister Drusilla, where Felix has Simon convince Drusilla to marry him instead of the man she was engaged to. In other words, Paul is simply a nickname or title that Simon used or was given to him by his enemies.

The mythicist scholar, Acharya S/D.M. Murdock also notes many of these parallels between Paul and Apollonius:

…there are striking correlations between the lives of Apollonius and the apostle Paul, who, like Jesus, strangely finds no place in contemporary history, despite claims to his having made quite a ruckus in a populated and well documented part of the world. It appears that the stories of both Jesus and Paul were in part fabricated from that of Apollonius. The opposite is also possible, although, in this author’s studied opinion, unlikely. It also may be that both Apollonius and Jesus were historical figures who did and said everything they are reported to have done and said, in which case we would be dishonest in accepting one without the other, both representing “God on Earth.”

She even has a neat table graph comparing the lives of Apollonius, Paul and Jesus Christ. Philostratus in his romantic biography of Apollonius, he tells us that Apollonius visited the Indians, whom he calls Brahmans, from whom he learnt much of their divine wisdom. He also visited the wise men of Ethiopia, whom he calls Gymni, because they pass all their life naked and never wear clothes even in the most trying weather. But he thought that the wise men of India were far superior to the Ethiopians in their intelligence and practices. Indeed, Apollonius was portrayed as a maintaining a strict vegetarian and was also a pacifist. He taught harmlessness to all living beings and repudiated the idea of animal sacrifice so common in Vedic as well as Jewish and Babylonian practices, much like the Buddha and Mani as well.

This is different than the war-lord Jesus of Matthew who says, “Think not that I come to send peace on earth.” “I come not to send peace but a sword”, etc. This version of Jesus also reiterates that he came to send fire on earth, and strife, to make divided households, fathers against sons, mothers against daughters, and under the new regime of Jesus, “a man’s foes shall be those of his own household.” Desiderius Erasmus claimed that the church was born in blood, grew in blood, and succeeded in blood, and will end in blood. This was of course, the way of the militant Church, who forced its way through mass executions at the point of the sword.

This is what enabled the brutal murder of the Neoplatonist Hypatia by Christian monks soon after the Council of Nicaea, by order of Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, who was sainted after this, and the ensuing massacred of the Manichaeans, as well as the Cathars and purported witches burnt at the stake in the Inquisition. Not to mention the torture and execution of the Knights Templars by the hands of King Philip of France, while enabled by Pope Clement in 1307. One must also wipe the blood of infidels and heretics from the pages of the Quran just to find the apparently peaceful ones or ones that condone the murder of the innocent as well. I better stop now before my blood boils over…

Another author makes some very salient observations regarding the eastern influence on the lore associated with Jesus through the Acts of Thomas, when Thomas travels to India to evangelize and even in Paul’s epistles:

Apollonius is responsible for bringing the stories of Krishna to the West, he brought back to Rome the teachings of Krishna who Greeks called “Christos“. Many believe that a certain Bishop Marcion discovered the writings of Apollonius in Asia Minor (Turkey) a century later and translated them into Greek and Latin, producing  the first compiled “Christian” Bible. Sossianus Hierocles claimed, it was library of Apollonius’  that was plagiarized in producing the New Testament. Hierocles, a governor in Bithynia and later Lower-Egypt, {reign of Diocletian 245-315 AD} and an enemy of the Christians verbally attacked Christianity.

As per Eusebius of Caesarea. “Hierocles tried to weaken the importance of Christ’s miracles without however denying them, and wanted to show that Apollonius had performed some of equal importance and even more important ones.” Eusebius replied with a treatise that he wrote Against The Thesis Of Hierocles on Apollonius of Tyana. Eusebius recognized that Apollonius was a very wise man worthy of admiration; admitted everything that was told about his holiness and his teachings, but rejected many of the miracles that were assigned to him, dismissing them outright or assigning them as either  magic or to the work of demons.

Hierocles also states in his writings that  “Jesus was the leader of a band of highway robbers numbering more than 900 men” 

Luke 22:36 : “But now he that hath a purse, let him take it and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword let him sell his garments and buy one.”

and“You proclaim Jesus a god on account of a few prodigies recorded by their evangelists, yet we have writers of more education than yours and with more care for truth, who relate solid judgment, do not make him a god on account of them, only regard him as a man found pleasing to the gods.”

I am less convinced that Marcion knowingly rewrote the account of Apollonius, since Philastrus’ account comes much later after Marcion and his writings (like the Gospel of the Lord, Antithesis, etc), and even the later Christian Gospels, which are themselves are late second century writings. Some theorize that Marcion’s gospel was actually split later into Luke and Acts of the Apostles with various Orthodox interpolations. Marcion is also said to have much earlier versions of Paul’s writings as well. It seems to me that Apollonius is actually following in the footsteps of Jesus and Simon-Paul, and not the other way around. Yet still, Apollonius himself seems to share with a long line of miracle workers and magicians. In the Myth of the Magus (page 72), E.M. Butler writes:

The temptation of Zoroaster; the contests between Moses and Pharaoh and ‘Dionysos’ and Pentheus; the splendor of Solomon, the purity of Pythagoras, the defense of Apollonius, the crucifixion and the katabasis of Christ; these outstanding features of ancient legend justify the title given to his part of the book: “The Golden Age of Magic’; and may reconcile those who feel offended at finding Christ among the magians of old. For magic in those days partook of the nature of the divine. All the great gods were magicians; and all the great magicians were believed to be divinely inspired. The Christ of the Apocrypha and of the Gospels was no exception to this rule.

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According to Philistratus, Apollonius is said by legend to be the son of Proteus, a shape shifting God found in the writings of Homer. This connection to Proteus hints him as “how versatile he was, and for ever changing his form” …or identity. This may relate to the doctrine of Docetism but that is more of speculation on my part. Philastrus tells us in the Life of Apollonius about Proteus, who is referenced as a “god of Egypt”, which is, in itself, a reference to the Egyptian King found in Helen of Euripides (another variation of the sea god):

Apollonius’ home, then, was Tyana, a Greek city amidst a population of Cappadocians. His father was of the same name [i.e. Apollonius], and the family descended from the first settlers. It excelled in wealth the surrounding families, though the district is a rich one.

To his mother, just before he was born, there came an apparition of Proteus, who changes his form so much in Homer,[4] in the guise of an Egyptian demon. She was in no way frightened, but asked him what sort of child she would bear. And he answered: “Myself.”

“And who are you?” she asked.

“Proteus,” answered he, “the god of Egypt.”

Well, I need hardly explain to readers of the poets the quality of Proteus and his reputation as regards wisdom; how versatile he was, and for ever changing his form, and defying capture, and how he had a reputation of knowing both past and future. And we must bear Proteus in mind all the more, when my advancing story shows its hero to have been more of a prophet than Proteus, and to have triumphed over many difficulties and dangers in the moment when they beset him most closely.

There much more going on with Proteus. I will allow C.G Jung to explain further who exactly this god was in The Gnostic Jung (page 87):

Hippolytus quotes Homer as follows: “This place is frequented by the Old Man of the Sea, immortal Proteus the Egyptian…who always tells the truth…” Homer then continues: “…who owes allegiance to Poseidon and knows the sea in all its depths.” Proteus is evidently a personification of the unconscious: it is difficult to “catch this mysterious old being…he might see me first, or know I am there and keep away.” One must seize him quickly and hold him fast, in order to force him to speak. Through he lives in the sea, he comes to the lonely shore at the sacred noon-tide hour, like an amphibian, and lies down to sleep among his seals. …

From Proteus the wandering hero learns how he may make his way homewards “over the fish-giving sea,” and thus the Old Man proves to be a psychopomp. “But,” the text goes on, “he spins round himself and changes his shape.” He have behaves, therefore, like a revolving image that cannot be grasped. What he says is sooth,”; he is a “soothsayer.” So it is not for nothing that the Naasenes say that “knowledge of the compete man is deep indeed and hard to comprehend.”

Another figure associated with Apollonius was Hermes. Accordingly, Proteus was also said to have been the messenger or servant of Poseidon, the patron deity of Plato’s Atlantis. Although Greek and Latin sources do not connect Apollonius with Hermes, Arabic Hermetic literature does. Apollonius is called “Balínús” in Arabic, and is depicted as the discoverer and representative of Hermes’ teachings. In the Arabic teacher Bahá’u’lláh’s Lawh-i-Hikmat (Tablet of Wisdom), he states:

“It was this man of wisdom [Balínús] who became informed of the mysteries of creation and discerned the subtleties which lie enshrined in the Hermetic writings.”

The earliest surviving translation of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes is in an Arabic book known as the Book of Balinas the Wise on Causes, written around 650 C.E. According to legend, Apollonius was also said to have found and even written the text, The Emerald Tablets of Hermes from the mummified corpse of old Hermes himself. I wrote my interpretation here on the text, as well as a more in-depth one in an upcoming paper on the divine imagination and alchemy that will be published in a journal soon, hopefully.

Anyway, these are just some of my notes and observations pertaining to the life of Apollonius, and hope to have shed some light on him and cleared up any confusion about this figure. Did Apollonius even exist? Probably, yes. Was Apollonius the chief inspiration behind Paul of the early epistles and Jesus of the Gospels? Not likely. Did Apollonius inspire the Paul of Acts of the Apostles? More than likely, yes. Is Apollos inspired by Apollonius then? Sure, why not? Apollonius conforms to a general pattern of ancient magicians and miracle workers in which writers like Morton Smith took great notice of, especially in his seminal Jesus, the Magician. In a following post, we will explore Neoplatonism, and look at the theurgy, magic and miracles attributed to Iamblichus, Proclus and Porphyry, among others. Until next time!