Jesus Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

apparition-to-the-shepherds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Margaret Barker further remarks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 After he has suffered,

    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;

by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,

    and he will bear their iniquities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,

    Creator of heaven and earth.

20 And praise be to God Most High,

    who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

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

The Lord says to my lord:

“Sit at my right hand

    until I make your enemies

    a footstool for your feet.”

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

    “Rule in the midst of your enemies!”

Your troops will be willing

    on your day of battle.

Arrayed in holy splendor,

    your young men will come to you

    like dew from the morning’s womb.

The Lord has sworn

    and will not change his mind:

“You are a priest forever,

    in the order of Melchizedek.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even the Jewish Zohar says similar things about Scripture:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Valentinian Prayer of the Apostle Paul tells us:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Render unto Caesar: Paying the Last Penny

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

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

And here is Mark’s:
13 Then they sent to him some Pharisees and some Herodians to trap him in what he said. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? 15 Should we pay them, or should we not?” But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you putting me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me see it.” 16 And they brought one. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were utterly amazed at him.
Elsewhere in the Gospel of Matthew (5:25-26), we read:
Reconcile quickly with your adversary, while you are still on the way to court. Otherwise he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
The Gospel of Thomas also has a similar but much shorter account:
(100) They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him, “Caesar’s men demand taxes from us.” He said to them, “Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give God what belongs to God, and give me what is mine.”
What exactly is going on here? Why is Jesus so adamant about settling one’s debts with the ruling class and your enemies when he was all about dismantling the world system and his kingdom not being “of this world”? Notice Jesus does not mince words with the Pharisees in that they are nothing more than “hypocrites” and that Jesus saw the coin of Mammon (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.

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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Gnosis. What is it?

The word “Gnosis” can be the object of a gross misconception, unless properly understood. “Gnosis” is knowledge; but this knowledge is no collection of pieces of information about metaphysical facts. Excerpta ex Theodoto is very clear on this subject:

“Since the Father was unknown…He emitted the Only Begotten Son through His own Enthýmësis — for so He knows Himself — as Spirit of Knowledge (Pneûma Gnôseös). So He who has proceeded from the Father’s Enthýmësis has become Gnosis, and this is the Son, for through the Son has the Father been known (7:1)”.

The Only Begotten Son is the Noûs, here said to have been emanated as “Spirit of Knowledge”. His “feminine” counterpart in the syzygy is Truth, and ExTh 7:2 says that from Truth emanates the “Spirit of Love” (Pneûma Agàpës). Thus, while we find it stressed that “Gnosis” means the Knowledge of the Father, we are taught that Knowledge and Love, Gnôsis and Agàpë, are like the two faces of a coin in the Son. There is no Gnosis without Love. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:2, he claims about the futility of both faith and knowledge without the right attitude of heart:

“Though I understand all mysteries, and all knowledge (gnosis); and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity [love], I am nothing”.

Gnosis is also described as a “science” according to Theodotus (35):

So also scientific knowledge (gnosis), shedding its light and brightness on things, shows itself to be in truth the divine wisdom, the pure light, which illumines the men whose eyeball is clear, unto the sure vision and comprehension of truth.

The proper appreciation of what Gnosis is holds the key to the correct understanding of what “the New Covenant” means–to a Gnostic at least.

“And he took the bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them saying: This is my body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19-20).

“Do this in remembrance of me” (toûto poieìte eis tên emên anàmnësin): does “this” refer to the repetition of a meal, or–gnostically understood–to the continuation, in the life of a disciple, of the self-sacrificing attitude–the Pneûma Agàpës— of a Son of God?

The Teachings of Silvanius, a largely Christian Orthodox writing with some Gnostic and Stoic influence, writes about knowledge:

Do not become desirous of gold and silver, which are profitless, but clothe yourself with wisdom like a robe; put knowledge on yourself like a crown, and be seated upon a throne of perception.

In Luke 11:52, Jesus denounces the Pharisees and gives them a bitter warning about hindering access to the “key of knowledge”, the same “keys of the kingdom” supposedly given to Peter:

“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.”

In Proverbs 4:13, it makes another stark warning in guarding Wisdom’s keys of the Kingdom.

Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.

Proverbs 3:18 also compares the key of Wisdom to the Tree of Life of Eden:

She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.

Man is the keystone of the whole cosmic arch, and really, every sentient being, in which they have been entrusted with possession of the divine light, which is the soul. In essence, man is light. The soul is not made by the demiurge and is not native to this world. It’s a stranger (Allogenes) to the kosmos which is likened to Tartarus, which is any area outside of the Pleroma. Its origin is the sphere of being, which is spiritual and enduring. It is the kingdom of God the Father hid in man. Even the Simonian Great Declaration states about the luminous seed, or the immoral spark in man, which echoes the Gospel of John quite a bit:

For those what are three, and if there were not three standing aeons, there would be no ordering of the creation which hovers over the water and has been created in the likeness unto a perfect celestial being, which becomes in no way inferior to the Unbegotten Power, so that one shall say to the other: You and I are one; you are before me that I may after you.”

Compare this to the Gospel of John 10:37:

Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.

So where can one find this knowledge or gnosis? How can one be one with the Father? One must realize that they are a prisoner; a slave ruled over by a prince (archon) of this world spoken by Jesus in John 12:31.

31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

According to scripture, he is also the one possessing world power (cosmocrator). In the New Testament he is described as lord of the universe with the power to dispose of this world’s goods (Luke 4:6). He is the prince of this world, and the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4). The Christian interpretation of “world” in these contexts is “age”, so that the demiurge or Satan is god of the present epoch. The tactic here is to keep the prisoner occupied with various diversions (a chief tactic in warfare) from realizing that there is a spiritual war and that man is at the center of it. It is this entity that “blinds the minds of men”, and “deceives the whole world”. The Hypostasis of the Archons says many similar things to this effect as well.

In the Gospel of Truth, the Father keeps within Himself the Perfection (i.e. the Fullness or Pleroma) of all the created beings, only to bestow it to them as a boon for their return to Him. Before then all the creatures are in a condition of “Lack” (Void or Kenoma), which means lack of Truth, that is Ignorance. Ignorance generates Error (plànë) that, accompanied by Forgetting, Anguish, Oblivion and Fear, in its turn feeds Ignorance, so that a self-perpetuating chain is formed. This chain is called the Schêma (“form”, “pattern”): “The schêma is the world in which He came as a Servant” (Gospel of the Truth). It is tò schêma toû kòsmou toùtou (“the pattern of this world”) of 1 Corinthians 7:31.

Accordingly, ignorance means ignoring our true nature and identity, identifying ourselves with our ego or animal nature, itself a part of the schêma. It is then obvious that such a self-perpetuating chain cannot break by itself. Having recognized its nature, one has to abandon all self-centered interests and open oneself to the saving Presence of the Christ within. Only this “vertical” intervention can break the schêma. And with his calling and intervention, can the keys of knowledge be gained. And yet this intervention is a two way street because the soul is invited drill down to its core, into the hidden, “inner man” where the “Spirit of Love” awaits on the other side. It is the portal to a dimension, so radically different than the schêma, the cosmos of matter.

According to Proverbs (20-27), Wisdom (Sophia) calls those who are willfully ignorant as “scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge.” She also warns that all those who “distained” her counsel, will be laughed at their “calamity” and will “mock” them when “terror comes” as well as the “destruction” that “comes like a whirlwind”. Lot’s of warnings everywhere. So let’s drop off all of our Bovine droppings and get with the program. 

The Great Declaration: A Commentary (Part 2)

In Part 1, we explored a few shared traits between Simon Magus and the Johannite Jesus. We also explored Simon’s cosmology and how it is rooted in a divine Fire similar to the Orphic Phanes and the cosmological doctrines of Heraclitus and the Stoics. Simonian cosmology also has a deep connection with the doctrines of the Sethians and Valentinians, considering the many similarities between Helena with the fallen Wisdom Mother figure, Sophia Achamoth and even Mary Magdalene. Yet, Helena seems to be more of an embodiment for Sophia for theatrical teaching purposes since the Sophia archetype precedes Helena and can be traced back to the Eros myth of Plato, the Egyptian Sia and Isis as well as the Babylonian Innana. However, the parallels do not end there.

As we are about to see, not only are there parallels and connections between Simon and the Johannite Jesus, but also with other Biblical figures such as Paul the Apostle, Peter, Nathaniel and of course, John the Baptist. The demonized Simon Magus by the Orthodox Church also bare striking resemblances with the figure of Satan and the AntiChrist as does Jesus in Matthew and Mark, strangely enough. Outside of the Bible, in other mystery religions, the connections with Orpheus, Dionysus, Asclepius, Apollinius of Tyana, Apollo, Hercules and even Zeus also exist, which will be explored in greater detail in future installments.

The Bad Samaritan

One thing I do want to point out before I delve into into the last half of the commentary is that of Simon’s status as a “magician”. In Simon’s time, he was not known as “Simon Magus”, which the word Magus is a Latin word for Magi. The term Magi was originally used by the Greek historian, Herodotus in reference to one of the five social classes of the Medes, an ancient Iranian people who at one time were medicine men or shamans who eventually became Zoroastrian priests. This term would become associated with the Greek term for sorcery, “goēteia”, where the Medieval Latin term “Goetia” comes from. Many Magi were present in or about Roman courts as they accompanied high ranking officials and governors. Therefore, they were socially accepted in Roman society.

However, their credibility was questioned by some throughout history such as Philo of Alexandria (Jewish philosopher, 20 BC – 50 AD), for example, who said the Magi perverted the magical arts. This would echo in the accusations of being a “magician”, which eventually came to be meant as a slanderous allegation appended to anyone, especially to Simon in order to scandalize him as the opposite of Peter. He was probably just Simon of Gitta. Or Simon the Samaritan. The Samaritans were an offshoot sect of Judaism and considered themselves the true inheritors of the Mosaic law. So Simon could have considered himself a Jew as a Samaritan, but obviously non-Samaritan Jews would disagree since they were seen as largely schismatics, and other times heretics of the worst kind, much like their Simonian predecessors. This is attested in Matthew 10:1-10 (likely redacted from the Gospel of the Hebrews), where the pro-Judiac/anti-Gentile Jesus advises his disciples to avoid “any town of the Samaritans”. Likewise, the Samaritans would also reject the Davidic Jews as heretical impostors.

Jesus and the Devil

In the Babylonian Talmud, it explains that Jesus was accused of being a sorcerer by the Talmudic Rabbis. In the eyes of them, the practice of sorcery and false prophecy constituted capital crimes worthy of execution, specifically mentioned in Deuteronomy 18: 10-12 and 13: 2-6. Sanhedrin 43a tells us:

On the eve of Passover Jesus was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, “He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Anyone who can say anything in his favor let him come forward and plead on his behalf.” But since nothing was brought forward in his favor, he was hanged on the eve of Passover. Ulla retorted: Do you suppose he was one for whom a defense could be made? Was he not a mesith (enticer), concerning whom Scripture says, “Neither shall thou spare nor shall thou conceal him?” With Jesus, however, it was different, for he was connected with the government.

Likewise in Mark 3:22 and Matthew 9:34; 12:24, the Scribes and Pharisees accuse Jesus of exorcising demons because he is in league with the prince of demons also known as the “Lord of flies”, Beelzebub, and even go so far as to claim that Jesus is himself Beelzebub (Matthew 10:25)! Even Jesus’ own family accused him of being out of his mind (Mark 3:21). In replying (v. 24) “How can Satan drive out Satan?” Jesus shows that he knew perfectly well who his adversaries took him for: he was possessed by Beelzebub; he was even Satan personified. Jesus was also accused of being Jesus Magus.

Beelzebub

According to the gospels, then, the devil apparently exercised great influence over Jesus! When the Beloved Disciple asked Jesus “Who is it” who would betray him (John 13:25), Jesus replied, “It is he to whom I shall give a morsel when I have dipped it.” Then, dipping a morsel, he gave it to Judas, who is specifically mentioned as the son of “Simon Iscariot”. Immediately after Judas received the morsel, Satan entered him. So in effect, the devil entered Judas through the bread that Jesus provided!  Around the era that Jesus supposedly lived, the belief that the devil took hold of people in various ways, such as by food (especially those consecrated to idols) was a common one. Considering this little detail comes from a text that is entirely canonical, this is rather alarming.

What’s interesting about this is that the account of the Last Supper where Jesus presides with a meal with people of questionable character and values (the pagans), “at the table of demons” (1 Corinthians 10:21), this would also coincide and at the same time, contradict Paul’s allegation regarding meat sacrificed to idols (cf. 1 Cor. 8:8–11; 10:25) because the unholy fate of Judas is actually the fault of his master, Jesus! Poor JudasPeter in Galatians 2:12 would disassociate himself with the same group of people, and also deny Christ three times, and would not be with him during his master’s last hours. The most Jewish of all the Gospels, being Matthew 16:23, clearly associates Satan with Peter:

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

This sort of reflects the idea that Jesus was also an exorcist, despite the strange associations of Jesus with Satan. We see this in the Greek Magical Papyri:

Hail God of Abraham Hail God of Isaac Hail God of Jacob; Jesus Chrestos the Holy Spirit the Son of the Father who is above the Seven who is within the Seven. Bring Iao Sabaoth may your power issue forth from him until you drive away this unclean daimon Satan who is in him.

A  pattern thus begins to emerge in the interconnection between the promotion of Christ’s power over demonic local gods, dramatic exorcist ritual, and widespread thaumaturgical reputation as seen in the Gospel of Mark, which reflects a peculiar emphasis on exorcism and demonology. Jesus was seen as both an exorcist and a demon, simultaneously, by different groups. Interestingly enough, the earliest inscription to Christ is of one who evokes demons. A “goistais” or a necromancer/nigromancer implies someone who calls up infernal spirits rather than an ordinary magician. Following in Jesus’ footsteps (as per Mark, Matthew and John) a similar pattern can also be seen in the Church Fathers, where Simon was conceived as being synonymous with the Devil himself. Irenaeus in Against Heresies (3.3:4) would write about Marcion as being “the first-born of Satan” (Satan being Simon):

And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, “Dost thou know me?” “I do know thee, the first-born of Satan.”

Furthermore, Irenaeus regarded all heresies as instigated by Satan (Adv. Haer. 1.21.1):

There are as many ceremonies of redemption as there are mystagogues. This kind of person has been infiltrated by Satan with a view to the denial of the baptism of rebirth to God, indeed the renunciation of the whole faith.

So in Irenaeus’ eyes, Satan was the first Gnostic! Indeed, Simon Magus was Satan incarnate, as being a concrete example of being “the devil, who leads astray the world” (Revelations 12:9). In Ambrose’ Epstulam ad Romanos, he spoke of the flight where he compared Simon Magus to Satan. This is likely an allusion where Jesus in Luke’s Gospel said, “Behold, I see Satan falling from heaven”, as his disciples went about casting out demons. Ambrose also likened Simon Magus’ magic to that of Jamnes and Mambres’ abilities, who were the court magicians of the Pharaoh. Augustine also boasted about Peter’s victory at Rome over Simon in De haeresibus, a symbolic statement of the triumph of the Catholic Church over the heretics. In Letter 36, Augustine recalls how Peter, the leader of the apostles, brought Simon down from heaven and defeated him. Augustine also claimed that Simon Magus was indeed, the “devil” and representative of the Evil One. This consistent demonization of Simon is reinforced through Simon’s own magical incantations as being a trait of deception as Irenaeus reports (Adv. Haer. 1.23.1) :

He, then, not putting faith in God a whit the more, set himself eagerly to contend against the apostles, in order that he himself might seem to be a wonderful being, and applied himself with still greater zeal to the study of the whole magic art, that he might the better bewilder and overpower multitudes of men.

The Clementine Homilies 2:26 reflects this by telling us that Simon Magus produced a homunculus or an artificial human, out of air!

“For he even began to commit murder as himself disclosed to us, as a friend to friends, that, having separated the soul of a child from its own body by horrid incantations, as his assistant for the exhibition of anything that he pleased, and having drawn the likeness of the boy, he has it set up in the inner room where he sleeps, saying that he once formed the boy of air, by divine arts, and having painted his likeness, he gave him back again to the air. “And he explains that he did the deed thus. He says that the first soul of man, being turned into the nature of heat, drew to itself, and sucked in the surrounding air, after the fashion of a gourd; and then that he changed it into water, when it was within the form of the spirit; and he said that he changed into the nature of blood the air that was in it, which could not be poured out on account of the consistency of the spirit, and that he made the blood solidified into flesh; then, the flesh being thus consolidated, that he exhibited a man not made from earth, but from air.

“And thus, having persuaded himself that he was able to make a new sort of man, he said that he reversed the changes, and again restored him to the air. And when he told this to others, he was believed; but by us who were present at his ceremonies he was religiously disbelieved. Wherefore we denounced his impieties, and withdrew from him.”

That was a common accusation also raised against Simon Magus by the various accounts of the Church Fathers, supposedly that he performed miracles by the aid of demons as first mentioned in Justin Martyr’s account. The charge of “magic” was part of a rhetorical strategy employed by many groups, like the Romans, Orthodox Christians, Hellenes and Jews alike. Sometimes this was done against one another and sometimes against rival factions or schools within their own religious traditions. Another example can be seen with the Epicurean Celsus as well as the Roman authorities in the first and second centuries who regarded Christians as magicians engaged in secret diabolical rites. It is a well known fact that early Christians refused to participate in the pagan cults of the early Roman empire, thus reinforcing their status to the Empire as fringe or alien. Moreover, the claims of the Christians themselves to heal the sick and exorcise daimons were thought of as evidence of sorcery and diabolism, according to Celsus as recorded by Origen in Contra Celsus 1.68:

Since these men do these wonders, ought we to think them sons of God? Or ought we to say that they are the practices of wicked men possessed by an evil daimon?

Similarly, in the pastorals such as I Timothy, the text stigmatizes Gnostics (those who espouse “what is falsely called knowledge,” or gnosis in 6:20) as “giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (4:1) For the author of I John, docetic Gnostics prophesy by “the spirit of the antichrist” (4:3). This is also explicitly raised in John 8:48-51 as an indictment against Jesus, which he rebuttals:

Then the Jews answered and said to Him, ‘Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?’ Jesus answered, ‘I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges.’

The Samaritan that they’re referencing is of course, Simon Magus. Jesus doesn’t deny being a Samaritan (Simon), only having a demon. Jesus would condemn his Pharisaic critics as children of the devil, inferring that the Jewish God was actually Satan in John 8:44!

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Also, the account of the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 may be a revised version of Simon Magus and Helena. It is probable to suspect that the Gospel of John was originally a Simonian gospel about Simon Magus that was heavily redacted and Christianized into an orthodox text. Here is the Catholic Church Father, Irenaeus’ account of Simon’s doctrine in Against Heresies 1.23.3:

For since the angels ruled the world ill because each one of them coveted the principal power for himself, he [Simon] had come to amend matters, and had descended, transfigured and assimilated to powers and principalities and angels, so that he might appear among men to be a man, while yet he was not a man; and that thus he was thought to have suffered in Judaea, when he had not suffered. Moreover, the prophets uttered their predictions under the inspiration of those angels who formed the world; for which reason those who place their trust in him and Helena no longer regarded them, but, as being free, live as they please; for men are saved through his grace, and not on account of their own righteous actions. For such deeds are not righteous in the nature of things, but by mere accident, just as those angels who made the world, have thought fit to constitute them, seeking, by means of such precepts, to bring men into bondage. On this account, he pledged himself that the world should be dissolved, and that those who are his should be freed from the rule of them who made the world.

If you substitute Simon with Jesus, what you’re essentially left with is Paul’s gospel. Men are saved by the grace of Simon (Jesus), and not by righteous works. Those who put their faith in him will be saved from the dissolution of the world. He appeared in the likeness of men, although wasn’t a man, and was crucified in Judea, although he did not suffer physical pain. It all sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Simon’s doctrine is synonymous to Paul’s, aside from Simon being substituted for Jesus. It’s fairly obvious to say that what we have here in Irenaeus is a conflation of Paul’s unperverted Gnostic gospel with his original identity, Simon. So Simon is none other than Paul, and the Church Fathers confused Paul’s theology of Christ for Paul himself, who is known to them as Simon. In other words, Simon, who is also Paul, was mistakenly divided into two separate people, Simon of Samaria and Paul the Apostle.

Once one sifts through all the contradictions and muddled accounts of Simon Magus, it becomes apparent what’s really going on here, or who was who all those years ago. Simon as a Samaritan would also explain all the ambiguity about Paul’s Jewishness. And from there stems the doubt whether Paul was actually a Jew or not because of his repeated association with Simon as a pseudonym for Paul or vice versa. Also, Marcion’s teachings, according to Irenaeus, go back to Simon Magus. Cerdo, Marcion’s forerunner, adopted Simon Magus’ teachings into his own system. But as we know, Marcion’s actual figurehead was Paul. And if Marcion was rumored to have been involved with the origin of John, then that would explain why the Jesus of John is tied to Simon Magus.

“Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 4:13-15)

Obviously, Simon-Paul taught freedom from the “bondage” of Mosaic Law and the tyrannical angels through Grace. In the Pseudo-Clementine literature much like the Acts of Apostles, which pits Simon Peter against Simon Magus, Simon Magus represents the Pauline camp while Simon Peter (or Cephas) represents the Jewish Christian camp. Simon Magus was Simon Peter’s arch-rival, much like Jesus claimed Peter was “Satan” his adversary in Matthew. Simon Magus was indeed a real historical figure and the original inspiration for the Paul persona since Simon associated himself as being megas, which is Greek for “great” while Paulos comes from the Latin parvalus, which basically means pathetic, small or insignificant. This is not coincidental as others have noted and may have to do with Philippians 2:7-8, where Simon Christ the Great Power takes on the likeness of a servant being the title Paulos (small).

And Peter is also a surname rather an actual name, as it is even probable that the apocryphal (i.e. imaginary) Peter is also a satirical caricature based on of Simon through a play on words, the “Great Power” or the “Standing One” since Peter is a latinized form of the Syriac Cephas meaning “rock”. So the “rock” that Christ supposedly built the Roman Catholic Church on is perhaps a fictitious creation based on a Catholic interpolation or addendum of Matthew 16:18 in support for the authoritative spiritual, political and social primacy of “Orthodoxy”. This stands in direct opposition of Paul when he declares in Romans 1:11:

“I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established.”

Considering the vast amounts of forgeries, plagiarisms, interpolations and false attributions written by competing proto-Orthodox groups to not only to delegitimize Gnostic and esoteric writings but to also erase them with their own, none of this would come as a surprise. This can be seen as sort of a systematic Buffalo Bill “wearing the skins of his victims” type of scenario.

In Acts of the Apostles 8, Simon Magus answers Peter in a humble manner and requesting the latter to pray for him. However, in patristic writings seen in works in what is purported to be by Pope Clement of Rome, he is represented as boastful, a megalomaniac, calling himself the omnipotent, challenging the apostles of Rome, before Nero. The latter event is mentioned by several of the Fathers of the Church as well as the Acts of Peter. Simon ascends into the air like Superman, in imitation of the physical ascension of Elias and of Christ, but whilst he was doing so the apostles counteracted his activity through the intercession of prayer and he fell to the ground, seriously injuring his legs. As the story goes, the death of Simon was brought about by Peter and the Christians in Rome shortly before 64 AD. Yet, this story given in the Acts of Peter looks so ludicrous that many biblical scholars have dismissed it as sheer invention by an orthodox scribe from much later. The Acts of Peter also portrays Peter performing very important miracles such as resurrecting smoked fish, and making dogs talk…True story!

Petrus and Simon by Paul Troger (1743)

Hippolytus in Refutation of All Heresies (5:15) tells us another story, where Simon performs a yogic miracle of being buried alive. Simon would tell his followers he would rise on the third day, which again looks like an attempt to imitate Christ, in all too literal fashion:

This man, ultimately repairing to … (and) sitting under a plane tree, continued to give instruction (in his doctrines). And in truth at last, when conviction was imminent, in case he delayed longer, be stated that, if he were buried alive, he would rise the third day. And accordingly, having ordered a trench to be dug by his disciples, he directed himself to be interred there. They, then, executed the injunction given; whereas he remained (in that grave) until this day, for he was not the Christ (R6.15).

In both Hippolytus’ account and in the Acts of Peter, they give us fabricated reasons to make Simon not like Christ. They are basically satirical and polemic in nature, in attempt to discredit Simon’s position as the “Standing One” or the Chrestos by also using the belief in the carnal resurrection as a satirical device, strangely enough, considering it is one of the earliest apocryphal Acts of the Apostles. Simon was also said to be baptized by John the Baptist much like Jesus was in Matthew 3:13-16, however, and then seeing the apostles administering the sacrament of chrism, he asked them to give him the power to do this, offering them money. Peter rebuked him for attempting to purchase sacramental powers, and ever after the offering of money with the aim of obtaining sacerdotal powers has been known as *simony*. Yet, is it any coincidence that the Simon of Acts tries to buy the holy spirit from Peter, just as Paul attempted to win the favor of the Jerusalem Christians by donating to them a large some of money collected from his congregations in 2 Corinthians 8? Or that Marcion, too, supposedly did the exact same thing with the church of Rome?

Simon of Samaria is usually reputed to be the father of Gnosticism, but that only means he was the first well-known leader of a Gnostic movement. Now it certainly would be true to say that Gnosticism emerged from the milieu of Greek philosophy, but it would be good to understand a specific origin to which we can say: that is where Gnosticism came from. Now some think that there were Apostate Jew Gnostics (the so-called “Sethians”) existing in the first and second centuries B.C.E. The Sethians were probably originally a Jewish mystery cult that venerated the patriarch Seth and eventually became Gnosticized after the advent of Christianity, through the influence of Dositheos (a disciple of John the Baptist and spiritual competitor with Simon) since the Three Steles of Seth specifically mentions him as the “father of the living and unshakable race”. So there is no complete doubt in the possibility that Sethianism itself was pre-Christian, just that Gnosticized Sethianism was pre-Christian. That is, if Sethianism predates Christianity, then it most likely wasn’t Gnostic (belief in a Demiurge, fall of Sophia, descent of an immaterial Savior, etc.) prior to being Christianized.

Not to mention the strong influence of Merkabah or Throne mysticism introduced by the prophet Ezekiel who first saw a fiery anthropos figure which he saw as God. From this strange and frightening vision emerged the tradition of chariot mysticism—the chariot representing movement or transport between the divine and the world of flesh. Merkabah mystics saw Ezekiel’s chariot as a prototype for ascending into the world above and for glimpsing the Heavenly Jerusalem. Coincidentally, Simon Magus was also seen as the “Glory of God”, as the term “the Great Power”, a title belonging to Simon could also be transferred to mean Glory, a term used to denote a divine quality of this Anthropos, or a man-like hypostasis of God. In the Visions of Ezekiel, it reads:

When Ezekiel was looking, the Holy One, blessed be He, opened up to him the seven heavens, and he beheld the Power.

In other words, Simon’s other-wordily counter-part could also be synonymous with the Anthropos! We will revisit Ezekiel later… So why believe that this bad-boy magician began Gnosticism or at least was one of the earliest of these naughty, troublesome heretics? Irenaeus writing in his Against All Heresies 1.23.4 in the late second century in regards to Simonians, those who follow Simon, wrote among other things about Simon and his followers:

“They have also an image of Simon made in the likeness of Jupiter, and of Helen in that of Minerva; and they worship the (statues); and they have a designation from their most impiously minded founder, being called Simonians, from whom the Gnosis, falsely so-called, derives its origins, as one can learn from their own assertions.”

We see here, one who investigated heresy carefully for the purpose of arguing well against it claims that Simon Magus began Gnosticism and he even says that the Simonians say this of Simon too. He bases this notion primarily from Justin Martyr’s account which many scholars seem to agree that seems the most trustworthy as it is the earliest and happens to come from a fellow Samaritan (being Justin Martyr). But this is not all for his enemies have preserved a significant amount of his teachings and in them we can find striking parallels to Gnosticism as I have already explained in great detail in Part 1.

Another small reminder that I want to make is that as we can read in the Simonian Great Declaration, which we have preserved by Hippolytus:

“This is He who has stood, stands and will stand, a male-female power like the preëxisting Boundless Power, which has neither beginning nor end, existing in oneness. For it is from this that the Thought in the oneness proceeded and became two.”

Does this not sound like a aeonic syzygy that we see so prominently in Gnostic Aeonic systems? Even strongly esoteric texts like the Books of Jeu (Iao), Paraphrase of Shem, Dialogue of the Savior and the Gospel of the Egyptians share many strong Simonian ideas. While, I will not conclusively say that Simon the sorcerer began Gnosticism and perhaps even Christianity itself, he certainly is a convincing candidate. Let us return to some more commentary on the Great Declaration. From this moment forward, however, I will only be commenting on passages that do not necessarily repeat the same information since the Great Declaration is very repetitious in nature. Also, I will only comment on one part of the writing since I have already devoted a great deal of exegesis to Simon.

In general, one may say concerning all things, the visible and the intelligible, that is the concealed and manifest, that are contained in the fire which overpasses the very heavens, even as the great tree like unto that glimpsed in a vision by Nebuchadnezzar which nourishes all flesh. Of this, the manifested side corresponds to the trunk, limbs, leaves, and encasing bark. All these members of the tree are set ablaze from the all-consuming flame of the fire and destroyed. But as for the fruit of the tree, if it’s for is perfect and it assumes the true shape, it is gathered into the storehouse, not thrown into the fire. For the fruit is produced in order to be stored away, but the bark of the tree, having served its purpose is destined for the fire, as it was produced for no purpose in its own right but only to protect the fruit.

In the Biblical book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar is a Babylonian King who, “has a dream he can’t remember but keeps searching for an answer.” Daniel 4: 4-27 details Nebuchadnezzer’s dream where it presents a tree with the head of a statue. The metaphor of the tree alludes also the king’s presumptuous character, comparing Nebuchadnezzar to Adam in his function as manager of the universe (Gen. 1:28). It also hints at the tree of life (or the tree of knowledge) in its position in the middle of the earth (Gen. 2:9; 3:3). The tree stretches unto the heavens as it clearly is no ordinary tree (Dan. 4:11, 20).

Nebuchadnezzer interprets the tree to be himself and as a haughty King of Babylon, prefers to reply on the astrologers’ explanation. Therefore, when Daniel, acting like a true court magician, enters the scene, Nebuchadnezzer trembles and his first words are full of tact and wishing: “My lord, if only the dream applied to our enemies…!” (Dan. 4:19). But the interpretation that follows slashes like a knife: “You, O king, are that tree!” (verse 22).  What is the significance of this, exactly? Perhaps, Nebuchadnezzer’s dream body represents the mortal flesh that will eventually be dissolved in the conflagration just as the “members of the tree are set ablaze from the all-consuming flame of the fire and destroyed.”

Statue-of-Nebuchadnezzar-Daniel-Chapter-2-Iron-and-Clay-Hyrbid-Nephilim-Kingdom

This King of Babylon (Isaiah 14) and the prince of Tyre (Ezekiel 29) are both said to have declared themselves “god” and to have been punished for their impudence. It would not have been strange or unusual for Jews to have applied the same exegesis where the sin of arrogant claims of divinity was suspected. Certainly similar claims were made by Nebuchadnezzar in Judith (3:8; 6:12); Entiochus Epiphanes in Daniel (11:36f.); Caligula in Philo (Gaium 22, 74-80), 93-97; 118; 162); Nero in the Sibylline Oracles (5:33-35) and the Ascension of Isaiah (4:6-8). In 2 Thessalonians 2:4 the man of lawlessness i.e., the “AntiChrist” is said to proclaim himself to be God as stated in Revelations 13:1, 5-6.

This lawless one, or the AntiChrist, is more than likely, none other than Simon Magus. The primary accusation made against Simon by the Jewish anti-Simonian polemic as well as by Catholic Christian polemic was that he had rejected the Law and was thus a libertine. Paul was accused of the very same thing, and it stands with good reason. It this “lawlessness” that Matthew specifically condemns in many places, which makes sense, considering it is the most Jewish and pro-Mosaic law out of all the Gospels.

For the fruit is produced in order to be stored away, but the bark of the tree, having served its purpose is destined for the fire, as it was produced for no purpose in its own right but only to protect the fruit.

This passage alone has also some very strong, end-times applications. The fire of the Great Declaration is not meant to punish the wicked, but rather to remove all that appears on the outside, all that is perceived by the senses. This corresponds to the Valentinian eschatological belief that all matter will eventually plunge and dissolve into fiery chaos. This also corresponds to how Irenaeus describes Simon’s credo, “He (Simon) again promised that the world would be destroyed (Against Heresies 1, 23, 3).

Isaiah 14 was also used in the Orthodox polemic against Simon Magus and in the Jewish polemic against, you guessed it…Jesus! In the Gospel of John (5:18, 10:33), the crime of Jesus in the eyes of Judaism is not just that he considers himself the messiah but that he seeks to make himself equal with God:

For this reason, the Jews sought all the more to kill him – not only was he breaking the Sabbath; worse still he was speaking of God as his own father, thus making himself God’s equal. We stone you for no good work but for blasphemy because you, being a man, make yourself a god.

The creator god of Genesis is cast in the role of the arrogant ruler who vainly claims that he is the ultimate God featured in Hypostasis of the Archons: “It is I who am God; there is none apart from me. When he said this, he sinned against the Entirety.” This seems to be centered in the polemic of the Gnostics against the Jewish God in the first instance, but, in the second instance, against those who value the scripture of the Old Testament too highly—namely, the Orthodox Christians. This idea is reflected in the Gospel of John, when Jesus says in John 18:8 that “all who have come before me are thieves and robbers.” Wouldn’t “all” in that context imply the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets? If Johannine Jesus is favorably Judaic, then wouldn’t he want to clarify that he doesn’t include Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. in his criticism? We see another variant of this criticism leveled against the prophets and Old Testament patriarchs in the Basilidean Second Treatise of the Great Seth, as “laughingstocks” including the Old Testament deity also known as the “Archon”:

 The 12 prophets were laughingstocks, since they have come forth as imitations of the true prophets. They came into being as counterfeits through the Hebdomad, as if he had become stronger than I and my brothers. But we are innocent with respect to him, since we have not sinned. Moses, a faithful servant, was a laughingstock, having been named “the Friend,” since they perversely bore witness concerning him who never knew me. Neither he nor those before him, from Adam to Moses and John the Baptist, none of them knew me nor my brothers.

The Clementine Recognitions (2:47) also preserve a similar argument by Simon made against Peter, throwing a Matthew 11:27 quote to his face:

…yet your Jesus, who appeared long after the patriarchs, says: “No one knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows anyone the Father, but the Son, and he to whom the Son has been pleased to reveal him. ‘ Thus, therefore, even your Jesus confesses that there is another God, incomprehensible and unknown to all.

One of the bigger points between the disputants is the difference between Peter’s view of Adam’s Creator and that of Simon. According to Peter, God the Creator first made the world and all that is in it, and then his creature Adam. Peter is a monotheist and defends his position as such, whereas Simon, according to Peter, is a polytheist who places another Unknown and Unknowable God above the Jewish God the Creator in a typical Gnostic and Marcionite fashion, and thus turns Jehovah into an inferior angelic power. Simon’s actual teachings of course, can be found in the Great Declaration. The Apostle Paul also has a very negative assessment of traditional biblical theology, revealed in the Old Testament in Galatians 3:19, where he reduces the Law and by extension, the Lawgiver as the work by angels:

Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator.

Again, in Philippians 3:5-9, Paul considers the Jewish Law as worthless and ultimately “garbage”:

I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.

Later, Marcion would use Luke 6:43-49, to justify his radical dualism:

For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit;  for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Marcion said the two trees represented the two gods and the two covenants. Also, the part in Luke (5:36-39) where Jesus says you can’t put new wine into old wine-skins—Marcion interpreted that as saying that you can’t mix Christianity with Judaism. Therefore, Gnostic interpretation was built on Pauline and Marcionite exegesis, and also took over the claims of uniqueness for Israel’s God, but applied them to Plato’s Demiurge of Timaeus. This Gnostic exegesis split the tradition we find opposed by the Rabbis in two parts: the traditions about a second figure were transmuted into the Gnostic Savior, while the scripture characteristic of the rabbinic polemic against “two powers” associated with the Demiurge who is still the God of Israel but not the “Most High”. Saturnilus of Antioch, a student of Menander (a direct disciple of Simon Magus himself) would later clearly reduce the “God of the Jews” as one of the angels, as testified by Irenaeus in Against Heresies (1,24). This reduction of Jehovah to the level of the angels could very well reflection Paul’s condemnation of Angel-worship:

“Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind” (Colossians 2:18).

Celsus, in the True Doctrine agrees with this sentiment when he states:

The Jews worship angels, and are addicted to sorcery, in which Moses was their instructor. I will show afterwards how it was through ignorance that the Jews were deceived and led into error.

In Part 3, we will continue on this dark and dangerous voyage into the magical depths of Simonian theology, some more details regarding the heresy of the “two powers”, a possible connection with Philo of Alexandria, more commentary on the Great Declaration and its subsequent influence on not only Gnosis but the foundations of Christianity itself.