Paul

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.
JesusPharisees.jpg
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.”

ary_scheffer_-_the_temptation_of_christ_1854

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

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 2:6-9 tells us:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ouranos: Lord of the Dome

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

brazen_sea.jpg

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

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

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

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

Destruction_of_Leviathan.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

3af3cfe4da58c952304f7cc11774df49

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

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

Holodeck_empty.jpg

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

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

golden.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These rival gods challenge Yahweh in Job 1:6:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

amedee_varint_-_christ_marchant_sur_la_mer

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

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

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

menorah-clipart-biyrMrkiL.png

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

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

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

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

Dark-City-1998-film_7124_13.jpg

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

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

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

Genesis 19:13 tells us:

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

In Genesis 17:11, it tells us further:

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

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

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

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

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

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

20160822_231909

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

typhon-larger-vase1.jpg

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

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

Greek Gods.com remarks further about this harrowing episode:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revelation 13:3-4 tells us:

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

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

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

Matthew 24:30 might as well read:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

000305450

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

templeofasclepius

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

0109-1

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

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

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

“And who are you?” she asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

False Gods, Divine Charlatans and Hermetic Hustlers (Part 1)

Hermetism and Gnosis have always been kissing cousins throughout the centuries. The same can be said with Hermetism’s parallels with the Christian Gospels, particularly the Fourth Gospel, which has many Gnostic themes running throughout. Furthermore, a cursory reading of patristic literature shows that the doctrine of rebirth expounded by Hermes is very similar to the teachings ascribed to Simon Magus, the first-century Gnostic heresiarch, magician, and antichrist-from whose legend, one must add, the later sixteenth century legend of Faustus borrowed some of its distinctive features, as well. Those teachings also neatly add up with Jesus’ sayings from the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Thomas.

Peter also seems to teach a very similar doctrine as described by 1 Peter 1:23, which leads “You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” If St. Peter and Simon Magus believed in the same things, is it not curious that they found so much to argue about in the apocryphal Acts of the apostles and in the Clementine writings, where they are represented as antagonists in a series of theological debates and magical contests? Paul in his epistles also taught a doctrine of rebirth as well and also mirrors greatly the life and acts of Apollonius, the great miracle worker and philosopher of the 1st century C.E. We will explore Paul’s relationship (as well as Jesus’s) with Apollonius at another time.

Simon, who was worshiped as a god, has many parallels with other figures like his supposed enemies Peter and Paul in patristic and Catholic writings. This greatly mirrors how other Gods, Messiahs and magicians were said to have one or even multiple alter-egos, like Enoch-Metatron with Hermes-Thoth, Jesus with Didymus Thomas and Asclepius, Mani and the Paraclete, as well as the Platonic philosophers and their ever-present, guiding Daimons. These are all references to the fact that in each person, accordingly, has a higher, divine self, corresponding to the famous axiom: “that which is Above, like that which is Below.”

p032_0_00_1

Hermetic Hocus Pocus

There seems to be many similarities between the Fourth Gospel (The Gospel of John), Hermes, Simon Magus, Paul and Peter as their doctrines on rebirth all seem to compliment each other, in one way or another. The Hermetic doctrine of rebirth is also evident in texts in the Corpus Hermeticum, as translated by Marsilio Ficino from Greek to Latin, which would eventually in many ways give birth the Renaissance. Hermetic texts synthesized ancient Egyptian wisdom along with esoteric Platonic concepts and melded them into one. The great German alchemist and occult thinker Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa tells us in De occulta philosophia III.iii in Opera 1:314, that rebirth is the, “the principle and complement and key of all magical operations.”

As it turns out, Agrippa was torn on how the doctrines of rebirth expounded by Hermes was very similar to how Simon Magus explained his teaching of rebirth, which we will see later on. Agrippa writes in a letter, Oratio in praelectione Hermetis Trismegisti (I515):

“[Hermes] instructs us moreover in the knowledge of oneself, the ascent of the intellect … the divine union [connubium]and sacrament of regeneration. The Pimander of Mercurius teaches us how we can obtain a firm and steady mind, through which, without deceit, we can both know and work marvels.”

Thus it was almost impossible for Agrippa to reject Simon’s demonic doctrines since they sound very close to that of his own Christian-Hermetic faith. Indeed, Agrippa was interested in the initiation rebirth or regeneration mysticism featured in the Corpus Hermeticum and Asclepius. A lot has been said on the subject of Agrippa’s intense interest in Hermetic philosophy in his works.

A cursory glance at the text Asclepius 21-29, found with the Nag Hammadi gives us some interesting insights into this doctrine of rebirth as a dialogue between Asclepius and Hermes:

“The restoration of the nature of the pious ones who are good will take place in a period of time that never had a beginning. For the will of God has no beginning, even as his nature, which is his will (has no beginning). For the nature of God is will. And his will is the good.”

“Trismegistus, is purpose, then, (the same as) will?”

“Yes, Asclepius, since will is (included) in counsel. For <he> (God) does not will what he has from deficiency. Since he is complete in every part, he wills what he (already) fully has. And he has every good. And what he wills, he wills. And he has the good that he wills. Therefore, he has everything. And God wills what he wills. And the good world is an image of the Good One.

In the Gospel of John 7:17, it says:

“If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself.”

A more obvious parallel can be seen in the Corpus Hermeticum, Tractate XIII, which speaks of a mystical experience dependent on a new birth, of a new creature when Tat says to Hermes:

“I know not, Thrice-greatest one, from what womb a man can be born again.”

This is strikingly similiar to how Nicodemus, the ruler of the Jews says to Jesus in John 3:4:

“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

And as the question is similar, so is the answer. Jesus replies that one must be born of water and the spirit, and Hermes replies to Tat in XIII.2:

“My son, the womb is spiritual wisdom, conceiving in silence,” and “The Will of God is the begetter.”

Both the CH and John utilizes a strong dualistic philosophy, characteristic of the ancient Hellenistic philosophical world. The Fourth Gospel speaks of two worlds, one being light and the other darkness–although much more ethical than it is ontological, like in the case of the Manichaeans.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:4-5). 

In the Hermetic writings, it speaks of the fullness or “pleroma” of good and the “pleroma” of evil in XI. 4.

“And I, for my part, give thanks to God, that He hath cast it in my mind about the Gnosis of the Good, that it can never be It should be in the world. For that the world is “fullness” of the bad, but God of Good, and Good of God. … There is no Good that can be got from objects in the world. For all the things that fall beneath the eye are image-things and pictures as it were; while those that do not meet [the eye are the realities], especially the [essence] of the Beautiful and Good.”

The common philosophical background indicates that these two texts were dependent on each other, as well as inheriting their ideas from the popular ancient mystery schools of the Hellenistic era. Even the Logos doctrine is shared between the two writings, where Poimandres is called the “Man-Shepard” while Jesus in John 10:1-5, speaks of the “Shepard of the sheep”. Jesus’ last prayer is not for the world but for his own who are not of the world (John 17 9). In the same fashion the Hermetic writers believed that the hard path of true religion was for the few. In the Asclepius III. 22a, we read:

“There are not many religious men in the world, so few that they could be counted.”

These are just some of the few examples of their multiple similarities. The rebirth doctrine can also been, interestingly enough in Simon Magus, one of the great villains of history and legends of the early church. Simon was a contemporary of Jesus, who also claimed to be divine and also had magical powers and worked miracles- even regarded in Samaria as a messianic savior, being the “Taheb”. In the Clementine Recognitions II.7we are told of Simon that:

“By nation he is a Samaritan . . ; by profession a magician, yet exceedingly well trained in the Greek literature; desirous of glory, and boasting above all the human race, so that he wishes himself to be believed to be an exalted power, which is above God the Creator, and to be thought to be the Christ, and to be called the Standing One. And he uses this name as implying that he can never be dissolved, asserting that his flesh is so compacted by the power of his divinity, that it can endure to eternity.”

In Agrippa’s De occulta philosophica 44, he writes in an ambivalent yet repentant way about embracing Hermes’ magic and connects it with Simon’s!

“There is no work in the whole succession of the world so admirable, so excellent, so marvellous, that the human soul, embracing its image of divinity (which the magicians call the soul standing and not falling) cannot accomplish by its own virtue without any external assistance. The form, therefore, of all magical virtue is from man’s soul standing, and not falling.

Clearly, Agrippa is employing Simonian or Samaritan language here when he says that the soul is “standing, not falling”. The references of the “the magicians” are allusions to Hermes and Simon Magus. The Corpus Hermeticum insists on separating the essential self from the fleshy body as this is the precondition of illumination and the gaining and possession of the divine mind and the powers of God that induces the rebirth into the knowledge of God. Similarly, in the Recognitions II:58, Simon is made to say:

“It is truly very difficult for man to know [the supreme God], as long as he is in the flesh; for blacker than all darkness, and heavier than all clay, is this body with which the soul is surrounded.”

However, it is nonetheless possible for the mind to receive the knowledge and revelation. Simon also happens to deny bodily resurrection of the flesh (as posited by Daniel 12:2 and Isaiah 26:19), in the Clementine Homilies (2:XXII) along with some other heretical ideas, which seem to be representative of most Gnostic beliefs.

And he neither says that the God who created the world is the Supreme, nor does he believe that the dead will be raised. He rejects Jerusalem, and substitutes Mount Gerizzim for it. Instead of our Christ, he proclaims himself.

Instead, only the pneumatic self will rise free from the earthly bonds of the flesh. Hermes, the reborn one, also has an incorruptible body and his disciple, Tat is called “steadfast” in the CH. Simon is called the “Standing One” and is even said to have both an adamantine and smoke bodies in the Clementine literature, strangely enough. Could these be simply code words for Simon having a docetic body?

In Matthew 16:17-18 tells us that Jesus renamed Simon Barjona to Peter, “and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” “Barjona” is actually Aramaic for “Son of John” with bar meaning “son of” and jona being another variation of John. In the Clementine literature, it is well known that Simon Magus was an ardent disciple of John the Baptist as was Jesus in Matthew. In ancient times, “son” often carried the same meaning of the term “disciple” of a religious cult! Could the fact that the Church that Simon Barjona was given to establish on a “Cephas” or “rock” by Jesus be a strangely veiled allusion to that Simon Magus was the actual persona that was renamed Peter? The title “Cephas” or Peter relates to the sturdy, steadfast state of grace of that being the Standing One of Eternity. Could this Simon be the one who was given the “keys of the kingdom of Heaven”? It could also account for the similarity in Peter’s doctrine, when he says:

“You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.”

Paul in Romans 12:2, Galatians 4:19,29 and Ephesians 22-24, Colossians 3:9-10, also all lend themselves as being construed as speaking of spiritual rebirth:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you…”

“But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.”

“22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

9 “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”

Agrippa does not make these connections at all in his writings but one can easily see Peter’s connection with Simon as indicated by Matthew. While this is admittedly speculative, it goes without saying that the Clementine literature makes such great lengths to separate the two figures by putting Simon Magus against Peter in a three day marathon of debate on scripture and religious doctrine representing the Hellenistic Christology of Paul and Marcion versus the Jewish Christianity of the early Apostolic Church. Interesting dilemma indeed!

Peter doesn’t just mean “rock”. “Peter” can effectively be seen as a borrowing of the title “Pater” from the Mithraic mysteries as a “chief” or “father” from all seven degrees of initiation as described by St. Jerome from Letters 107 ch. 2, (To Laeta):

“… did not your own kinsman Gracchus whose name betokens his patrician origin, when a few years back he held the prefecture of the City, overthrow, break in pieces, and shake to pieces the grotto of Mithras and all the dreadful images therein? Those I mean by which the worshippers were initiated as Raven, Bridegroom, Soldier, Lion, Perseus, Sun, Crab, and Father?”

In essence, Peter may have been confused as a “father god” of Mithras much like how Simon Magus was confused with the Roman-Sabine deity Semo Sancus by Justin Martyr, which has intimate connections with Mithras as well.

Agrippa’s conflation with the pious Hermes, the holy Scriptures, and that mighty heretic Simon Magus all pointed him in the same direction. How then could he tell whether he was moving towards transfiguration and a godlike knowledge and power, or whether he was destined, with Iannes and Mambres (Egyptian magicians, like Hermes), and with Simon Magus, to the torments of eternal fire? He indicates these doubts in the very last paragraph of the very last book in De occulta philosophia (Book III, Part 5) and quite naturally condemns other heretical magicians like the Gnostics, Valentinians and Ophites as facing the same fate of damnation as Simon Magus. However, if Agrippa had read Acts of the Apostles, he would see that Hermes was very much a part of the Apostles’ lore, as is the case with none other than Paul.

Berchem,_Nicolaes_Pietersz._-_Paul_and_Barnabas_at_Lystra_-_1650

Paul, Thrice Great

According to the Church Fathers like Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Hippolytus, Simon was worshiped, associated in the image of both Zeus and Semo Sancus, who were both gods of contracts and legalities. Paul was also “worshiped” or confused as a god and a Greek one at that. In Acts 14:8-10, Paul heals a man who was crippled in the feet. When he heals the man he creates a sensation, and a crowd forms claiming that the gods have come in human form. Paul is called Hermes (or Mercurias in the Latin).

At Lystra there was a crippled man, lame from birth, who had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking, who looked intently at him, saw that he had the faith to be healed, 10 and called out in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet.” He jumped up and began to walk about. 11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they cried out in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in human form.”12 They called Barnabas “Zeus”and Paul “Hermes,” because he was the chief speaker.13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, for he together with the people intended to offer sacrifice.

The healing of the crippled man’s feet, indicates a connection with the Greek Hermes’ winged feet. Hermes was the messenger of the Olympian gods, Paul is given this name because he was the chief spokesperson. Barnabas is called Zeus (or Jupiter), Zeus was the “father” of the gods. Why does the crowd make the connection between Paul and Hermes? There is a legend which may shed some light on this incident.

In Ovid’s Metamorphoses 8.626ff, there is a legend that Zeus and Hermes had visited the towns and villages of the region in human form, but did not receive any hospitality. When they came to the home of the poor and elderly Baucis and Philemon they were invited in, the couple gave them the last of their food and the best comfort they could. As Baucis prepared the meal, there was plenty of food and the wine kept “welling up of itself.”

The couple became greatly afraid because of the miracle, so the gods revealed themselves and told them that they were the only people to welcome them; they would be blessed while the whole region was destroyed. The couple asked only to be priests in the temple of Zeus and that they die at the same time, so that neither had to see the tomb of the other. This story also seems to foreshadow the Sodom and Gomorrah tale in Genesis 19 as well.

So what is the point of this story? According to Acts, this was the first time Paul has preached the gospel to an entirely pagan audience. The miracle generates a crowd which thinks Paul is Hermes. There are priests there as well as people about to honor Paul and Barnabas as pagan gods and must contextualize the gospel for a pagan world. But, those pagans weren’t going to let go of Paul and Barnabas without a proper sacrifice in their names!

Paul’s confusion with Hermes also mirrors later when Acts 18:24-25 mentions a Jew named Apollos, which is an obvious reference to Apollo, the sun god and son of Zeus!

[24] And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. [25] This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

So, here we have Paul being mistaken for a god, Simon mistaken for Semo Sancus, while the docetic Jesus of Paul is mistaken for a flesh and blood man. This is merely proof they are all the same individual. In Greek myth, mortals are mistaken for Gods because of their beautiful appearances. The Jesus of apocalyptic lore and messianic expectations can hardly be a man mistaken to be a God. As found in the Acts of John 228, John says to draw a likeness of what is dead is childish and imperfect. The Orthodox and Simon agreed that worshiping images was ignorant but yet the Orthodox allowed it to occur whereas Simon excommunicated followers for the offense of worshiping his consort Helena and himself as Minerva and Jupiter. John is more Arian than Gnostic or Orthodox as he is an iconoclast foreshadow those who denies the use of images altogether as entirely foolish.

Maybe Jesus’s warning in Matthew 6:17 of putting oil on your head and washing your face when fasting was not just to avoid being a hypocrite like the Pharisees but in actuality, to appear to be illumined as John in the Acts of John, so the commoners of Rome would see you as a god!

Stay tuned for Part 2, where things get really heavy, as the concept of the “divine twin” alive and well in ancient apocryphal and esoteric literature as well as the New Testament!

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. 

False Gods, Divine Charlatans and Pagan Rapscallions

In my first article, I explored how the Church Father theologians like Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, evaluated pagan gods like Aesculapius and Dionysus as well as heretics like Simon Magus, Carpocrates, Mani and of course, the “Sethian” Gnostics themselves and their associations with healings, miracles, charlatanism, demonic fabrications and sorcery. And as it turns out, the many heresiarchs’ magical practices painfully described by the Catholic heresiologists, actually match up well and are virtually identical with Jesus’ own practices and identification as “Son of God” described in the Gospels and by his multiple detractors being the Pharisees and pagan philosophers like Celsus. Yet, there are even more fascinating details regarding these troublesome heretics, saucy saviors and pagan rapscallion demigods.

Gemini Constellation Zodiac

Daimonic Doubles

According to Acts, Simon Magus was a fraud and trickster who feigned his Christian faith. Simon also supposedly assumed that the apostles themselves performed their healing by the art of sorcery, and not by the power of God (despite the fact that he is called the “power of God”), through the imposition of hands. Simon suspected that such miracles were done through a kind of greater knowledge of magic, while offering money to the apostles. By this offering of money, he thought, he too, might receive this power of bestowing the Holy Spirit. Peter rebukes this attempt to buy the power of the Holy Spirit, when he says in Acts viii. 20, 21, 23:

“Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God can be purchased with money: thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God; for I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.”

Harsh words from the Rock, himself against the humble magician. Simon whimpers away by saying:

“Pray ye for me to the Lord, that none of the things which ye have spoken come upon me.”

In this instance, Simon was behaving in true Hellenic tradition, whereby it was considered common practice to offer money in return for sharing ideas and secrets. Before this encounter, Simon was impressed by the apostle Philip’s cures and exorcisms. He decided to be baptized, but saw Christianity more like a magical system than a new religion. He probably didn’t care much about the distinction, being of a practical theurgist that he was. His intention to buy the apostle’s secret of “laying on of hands” for healing for Simon was basically a great magic trick.

Unfortunately, it offended the apostle Peter, who hated on Simon Magus immediately. Simon, who considered all of them professional magicians, could not see what was wrong in buying a perfectly good trade secret for a fair price. He probably thought Peter behaved like a pompous hypocritical douche-bag, but being a particularly pleasant man, Simon took the rebuke with good grace.

Not surprisingly, this event of Simon Magus offering the Jerusalem group money for his endorsement, mirrors almost exactly with Paul in the epistles such as: 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, 2 Corinthians 8:1-4, Romans 15:25-31. In Galations 2:1-10we see a clear theological dispute between Paul and Peter, with the Jewish community breaking with Paul over it.

“But because of false believers secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might enslave us— we did not submit to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might always remain with you. And from those who were supposed to be acknowledged leaders (what they actually were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those leaders contributed nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel for the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter making him an apostle to the circumcised also worked through me in sending me to the Gentiles)…”

All of this has lead some to theorize that the whole lot of the Clementine literature is nothing more than a romantic satire of the tumultuous events that transpired between Paul and Peter, with Simon Magus being a caricature of Paul the Apostle as well as his docetic savior, Jesus Christ. Early New Testament critics like F.C. Baur theorized Paul and Simon were based on the same historical figure, Paul representing a positive evaluation of this figure while Simon represents a very tainted, negative one. In one sense, Simon could very well be seen as the “evil twin” or “doppelganger” of Paul because of their similar biographical cues and doctrines they taught to their disciples. This seems like a mirror effect, playing off the dichotomy of Paul/Christ and Simon/the Anti-Christ.

simon-magus-money-peter

This generous patronage to churches doesn’t stop with Paul and Simon. Marcion of Pontus was also said to show up in Rome to buy the papacy 200,000 sesterces. However, the church turned Marcion’s money down flat because they disagreed with him theologically. In particular they were not willing incorporate Marcion’s radically dualistic notion of a creator God (YHWH) separate and distinct from the New Testament God of Jesus Christ (the foreign God). Perhaps it is this episode where the term “Simony” became associated with paying for office which isn’t even what Simon does in the Acts 8 story.

However, Paul’s epistles does speak of collection of money, much like Simon’s efforts in Acts. They all seem to indicate or point to one event, rather than multiple events with the same scenario, which goes something like this:

  • Paul arrives in Jerusalem with the collection and wants endorsement for his position and his gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • The Jerusalem group rejects his position and rejects his money.
  • Paul heads to Rome and the Jerusalem church and Paul break and are never reconciled.
  • Paul develops a theology that scripture and not ecclesiastical institutions as authoritative.
  • The 2nd century church downplays the degree of the split.

The writer of Acts goes to great lengths to Paul’s collection was a different beast, and Paul was accepted as an apostle before any money was involved. The rejection story involving Simon, probably never happened, as this is a morality play about what the church’s defense of rejecting Marcion’s money, distancing Paul from Simony and the figure of Simon Magus. However, by doing this, they inadvertently may have provided some proof that such figures were actually one and the same. In 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Paul mentions the very same spiritual gifts that Simon was seeking to obtain from the Apostle Philip in 1 Corinthians 12: 7-10:

“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues.”

Much like miracle workings attributed to Jesus in the Gospels, Paul in Acts also exhibits characteristics of a miracle worker and a *gasp* magician! Paul’s miracles forms the basis of his apostleship. Paul also heals a crippled man’s feet but we will examine this episode in the next installment. He made a blind man see again (Acts 13:6-12), raised a young man from the dead (Acts 20:7-2), much like Jesus did in John 11:38-44 with the raising of dead Lazarus, essentially resurrecting an Egyptian-like mummy back to life. The rest of the Gospel of John also has plenty of other Egyptian parallels and motifs starting with the mysteries of Osiris.

Paul’s miraculous powers also enabled him to survive stoning unscathed unlike Simon (Acts 14:19-20) and to survive what would have been a lethal snakebite (Acts 28:3-6). Of course, there is no mention of any of these events in the Epistles just as there is no mention of a murderous Christian-hunting Saul or any of the events ascribed to his conversion, as many scholars have pointed out Acts follows the Epistles much later, just like the four Gospels. Paul in Acts in actually, takes on many of the magical characteristics of Simon Magus, as an illusionist, and healing magician.

However, Paul in Acts 19:19, convinces many Ephesians to bring out their magical books so they can be burned, foreshadowing the great purge of esoteric and magical texts that would befall upon the Hellenistic world under the Theodosian Code, which enforced Christianity to be the state religion in Rome. This is no surprise since Acts was very likely written much later, in the 4th century.

“A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.”

Paul_Thecla

In the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla, Paul travels around with a virgin woman, who founds a string of churches and who also conducts water baptisms, much like the Samaritans like John the Baptist. According to the Church Fathers, Simon and his consort, Helena (Greek for “light”), also goes around and finds a bunch of churches as well as a large religious following. There is also some secular evidence that shows that not only did Simon Magus exist in reality and not a figment of some Church Father smoking dope somewhere, he was also conflated with none other than Paul.

In Antiquities 20.7.2, the Jewish historian Josephus, makes a semi-explicit identification. Paulus is Latin for small. Josephus uses either “Atomos” (Greek for small) or Simon depending on the manuscript in this line, “and he sent to her a person whose name was Simon/Atomos.” In other words, “Atomos” was a nickname for Simon, being Simon-Paul!

Another “secular” instance exists in the episode of the expelling of the Jews from Rome by Caesar Claudius is recorded by a Roman historian named Suetonius. In A Historical Introduction to the New Testament (p. 293), Robert M. Grant states:

“Finally, Suetonius…says that in the reign of Claudius the emperor ‘expelled from Rome the Jews who were constantly rioting at the instigation of Chrestus (impulsore Chresto) (Claudius, 25).”

Thus, Suetonius understood, the Jews rioted in Rome at the instigation of someone named Chrestus. Almost certainly, this is someone claiming to be the Christ. Many scholars take this to mean that the rioting among the Jews involved Christians: for Christians proclaimed Jesus to be the Christ. If they are right, then there was a sizable body of Christian Jews at Rome by 49 CE. Also, note that Suetonius puts the blame for rioting on Chrestus himself rather than on his followers. This suggests that in 49 CE, there was someone in Rome claiming to be the Christ. Could this be Simon Magus?

Even more intriguing is that supposedly Marcionites preferred to call Jesus Chrestos, rather than Christos, because they believed Chrestos was a designation that he was the good god, rather than the evil god. Paul uses “Christ” more like a surname rather than a title.

The connections between Simon and Paul may also be found in the anti-Gnostic and Valentinian works by the Catholic Church Father Irenaeus (Against Heresies I.23.3), Simon based his sect on the following teaching:

Now this Simon of Samaria, from whom all sorts of heresies derive their origin, formed his sect out of the following materials: … men are saved through grace, and not on account of their own righteous works. 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.

What’s curious is that this is almost exactly the same gospel that Paul teaches in Galatians, particularly in chapters 2–4.

I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. (2.21)

Why then the law? … it was ordained through angels by a mediator. (3.19)

But the scripture has imprisoned all things under the power of sin… before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. (3.22-23)

…while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental powers of the world. (4.3)

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. Now, however, that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental powers? How can you want to be enslaved to them again? (4.8-9)

This is very likely not the way Paul’s gospel was explained to you in church, but there it is, in black and white, in Galatians. Also, what is interesting to note is that Irenaeus occasionally quotes passages from Paul’s letters, including Galatians, but not the specific verses that describe Paul’s doctrine about the bondage of the law, angels, and elemental powers. So what is Irenaeus trying to hide here?

The radical German New Testament critic Hermann Detering goes into much greater detail on the connections between Simon, Paul and Jesus, in his fascinating book, The Fabricated Paul: Early Christianity in the Twilight. He goes to great lengths to show how not only are the Catholic pastorals (Acts of the Apostles, Titus, 1 & 2 Timothy, etc.) featuring Paul and his antics non-historical but all of Paul’s epistles are actually Catholic forgeries, redacted from original Marcionite texts, which appear to be a Gnosticism at an earlier stage (although late in comparison to Simon’s time). This also implies Paul himself never actually existed. And neither did Peter as they are likely reworked personas from other figures in Simon, John the Baptist and even Dositheos.

The Pastorals themselves, are plainly anti-Gnostic religious documents who were more concerned about the organization of the Catholic Church. That being said then understand that the earliest Christians are Gnostic and the First New Testament of Marcion is Gnostic in teaching a non-human allegorical Christ or Savior. It is only through the heavily redacted and forged “Second New Testament” given to us by the later Roman forgery “factory” whereby Rome completely re-worked the first New Testament of Marcion and altered the original, spiritual understanding of “the Christ” into a Galilean Torah-observant Jew. The rest is history.

If Paul was so unequivocally anti-Gnostic as he is made to look in the Pastorals, then how would these earliest Gnostic Christians claim him as their great Pneumatic teacher? Paul distinguished between the god of this world and the supreme god (for him, Jesus Christ), as did the so-called Gnostics. He also attributed the law to inferior angelic powers, as did the Gnostics. And he also denied the humanity of Christ, as did most Gnostics. He even denied a carnal resurrection, just like the Gnostics. So aside from all the weird mythological stuff, which is all just conjecture anyway, what difference is there really? I don’t see much.

There are 13 letters attributed to Paul, along with the Acts of the Apostles devoted to the fantastic adventures of Paul. This Roman picture of Paul falls under scrutiny very quickly as a poorly fabricated lie, when cross referencing the epistles and Acts as well as the Nag Hammadi Library, which incorporates Paul’s name in its texts such as The Apocalypse of Paul, the Prayer of Paul, the Hypostasis of the Archons (which begins with Paul’s famous Colossians 1:13 on the “authorities of darkness,”), the Acts of Paul and Thecla, and many more.

Of course, Marcion’s pro-Gentile, anti-Judiac beliefs naturally coincides with the dualism of Simon’s teaching found in the much reviled Clementine literature, that there were two Gods: the first God being good, while the second god being far inferior creator, who in turn forms the wicked cosmos from the tears of Sophia. This first God is mentioned by the Gnostic text Eugnostos the Blessed, which tells us tells us: “No one rules over him. He has no name; for whoever has a name is the creation of another. He is unnameable.”

The Catholic Church Father, Irenaeus dismisses all this in his report against the heretics (Against Heresies 4:34.1):

Now I shall simply say, in opposition to all the heretics, and principally against the followers of Marcion, and against those who are like to these, in maintaining that the prophets were from another God [than He who is announced in the Gospel], read with earnest care that Gospel which has been conveyed to us by the apostles, and read with earnest care the prophets, and you will find that the whole conduct, and all the doctrine, and all the sufferings of our Lord, were predicted through them.

Whether or not Detering is ultimately correct in all his arguments, the notable differences between Acts and Paul’s Epistles could fill up several books. For one, the author of Acts recharacterized Paul as convert to Catholicized Judeo-Christianity. The conversion story on the road to Damascus, isn’t mentioned even ONCE in his epistles—not once. Acts doesn’t even present Paul as an apostle. He’s just an evangelist under the ministerial authority of the twelve. Acts and the actual epistles are in complete contradiction. In the epistles, Paul and the Jewish apostles (i.e., the twelve) are bitter enemies. In Acts, they’re pals.

In Galatians, Paul forbids any Gentile convert to be circumcised. He also resists the Jewish apostles’ (Peter, James, and John) desire for Titus, a Gentile, to be circumcised. But in Acts, Paul circumcises Timothy to comply with Jewish law. Paul had some sort of conversion experience that he mentions in Galatians, but it had nothing to do with the road to Damascus. And going blind. That was all an invention of Acts. One would need to read a reconstruction of the Marcionite Galatians. It was very different than the canonical form.

The same thing occurs in the Acts of Paul of Thecla, written to combat the error of Simon Magus. Here is the rebuttal placed in Paul’s mouth which is contrary at many points with what Paul wrote:

“For I delivered unto you in the beginning the things which I received of the HOLY apostles which were before me, who were at all times with Jesus Christ: 5 namely, that our Lord Jesus Christ was born of Mary WHICH IS of the seed of David ACCORDING TO THE FLESH, the Holy Ghost being sent forth from heaven from the Father unto her BY THE ANGEL GABRIEL, 6 that he (JESUS) might come down into this world and redeem all flesh by his flesh, and raise us up from the dead in the flesh, like as he hath shown to us in himself for an ensample. 7 And because man was formed by his Father, 8 therefore was he sought when he was lost, that he might be quickened by adoption. 9 For to this end did God Almighty who made heaven and earth first send the prophets unto the Jews, that they might be drawn away from their sins. 10 For he designed to save the house of Israel: therefore he conferred a portion of the spirit of Christ upon the prophets and sent them unto the Jews first (or unto the first Jews), and they proclaimed the true worship of God for a long space of time. 11 But the prince of iniquity, desiring to be God, laid hands on them and slew them (banished them from God, Laon MS.), and bound all flesh by evil lusts (AND THE END OF THE WORLD BY JUDGEMENT DREW NEAR).”

For one, Paul does not state in his letters that his teaching and authority are from the Apostles. He states the opposite in Galatians. Two, Paul does not affirm a resurrection of the flesh, or that Jesus was a fleshly being (Romans 8:8, Philippians 2:7, 1 Corinthians 15:44-50).

Throughout Paul’s epistles, are there chock full of Gnostic buzzwords and concepts. The term aeons are used for elements, pleroma for fullness, Sophia for the female side of divinity, apocryphon for hidden or secret mysteries, and terms to describe various heavenly beings in the cosmos, like archons and cosmocrators. These are the blundering foolish angels who created the universe, out of arrogance and stupidity, to keep fallen mankind from the knowledge of the primoridal aeons. This is the primary reason why Christ, being the embodiment of the pleroma, reached down into hellish matter to ransom man from the clutches of Satan (Jehovah) and the spiritual resurrection. Paul’s epistles, when left un-translated in the Greek, often seem to take for granted the truth of these terribly heretical ideas.

“When we were children, we were in bondage under the elements of the cosmos.  But when the pleroma of the time was come, God sent forth his Son.” – Galatians 4:3

“To bring the pleroma of God’s word, a mysterious hidden secret from generations of aeonsnow made known to the saints”. – Colossians 1:25 b-26

“We preach that Jesus Christ is the revelation of a mystery, who was hidden in Sige since the times of the aeons.” – Romans 16:25

“We tell of Sophia, of those who are perfect, yet not the Sophia of this aeon, nor the archons of this aeon who amount to nothing.  We tell of the Sophia of God, in a mysterious apocryphonwhom God determined from before the aeonsfor our gloryand the archons of this aeon were ignorant of her.” – 1st Corinthians 2:6-8

“You walked in the way of the aeon of this cosmosin the way of the powerful archon of the air.” – Ephesians 2:2

Generations of aeons and aeons.”  Ephesians 3:21

“In him (Christ) is contained the pleroma of divinity in bodily form… who is over all archons and authorities… and having neutralized the archons and authorities, he exposed and defeated them.” – Colossians 2:9-10, 2:15

“The pleroma was happy to live within him, and to redeem everything to him.” – Colossians 1:19-20

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

“…to his own master he doth stand or fall; and he shall be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14)

“…that you may stand perfect and made full in all the will of God.” (Colossians 4)

The last two quotes indicates that Paul was very much familiar with the adage “he who stands”, much like Simon, the Standing One. In his epistles he is constantly using the word “stand” to refer to the possession of grace of faith.

In in Paul’s talk of the Cross, do we find a mystical or mysterious sensibility. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2 that he withheld the true interpretation of the crucifixion when he first preached to the Corinthian community because they weren’t yet receptive to the secret wisdom of the cross taught only to the perfected telestai or theletai of the mysteries (initiates). One can say Paul was an initiator of the Jesus Mysteries! Paul, here wasn’t talking about blood atonement. Paul’s Jesus wasn’t even a human being nor did he believe that Jesus ever came to earth. He says that God gave Christ the name Jesus AFTER he resurrected. How does that work if Paul’s Jesus was a first-century Galilean Jew?

That being said, in the Gospels, Jesus also exhibits some Gnostic traits. The Jesus of the gospels taught “secret meaning” (Thomas 1; Mark 4:11; Matthew 13:35), a secret, hidden Father (Matthew 6:6), and a kingdom which is “not of this world” (John 18:36).

“When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

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. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory….

And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh.”

Paul is very plainly saying that the crucifixion is spiritual, not literal, and the Corinthians were only given the exoteric interpretation because they weren’t yet properly initiated into the mysteries, like a true mystagoge of an esoteric mystery school, reserved for the few. Paul’s Christ was a being he encountered in visions. He wasn’t some dude walking and talking with people on earth as depicted in the much later Gospels. Paul probably only know of a perfect Savior and not any guy named Jesus Christ, a name which was added in his letters, well after Paul’s death.

There is a reason Paul never says anything substantial about Jesus’ ministry, because the gospel narrative was completely unessential to his interpretation of the crucifixion. Paul’s Jesus wasn’t a Jewish messiah who had come to liberate the Jewish state from Roman oppression. Paul’s Jesus didn’t preach any Sermon on the Mount. Paul’s Jesus wasn’t an expiatory sin offering to a vengeful god, either. He was a purely spiritual being who overthrew unseen forces (the archons) through a cosmic crucifixion. Paul even goes as far as to warn his followers against other Gospels, which were more than likely Judaizing Christian ones:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel.” (Galations. 1:6)

When Paul says he’s crucified with Christ, he doesn’t say it as allegory. He speaks it literally. When he says that Christ lives in him, he says it literally. When he writes to the Galatians that they first accepted him as Christ Jesus himself, he says it literally. For Paul, there is no distinction between the figurative and literal nature of the individual’s participation with Christ’s death on the cross.

The individual dies with Christ, in a spiritual sense and is reborn a new creature in Christ. Paul clearly taught that salvation was found only with a divine and Gnostic, experiential encounter with the Living Christ. This divine encounter or vision with Christ is also spoken repeatedly in the Gospel of John (Ex. 6:39-40). This divine encounter changes the inner man, who is thought of as “dead,” carnal, anti-Christ or unregenerate soul, into new life, with a new law written in the spiritual heart of man. Ezekiel 36 and even Jeremiah 31 in the Old Testament speaks about this internal rebirth. Thus the did the Gnostics refer to those who had not been awakened as “the dead” – for their soul dwells in Hades even as they go about their daily business as the puppets of their animal natures and fleshy desires. They were seen as animal men, ignorant, blind, naked and dead. Paul shared the same belief. As did Jesus:

Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:60)

The cross of Christ isn’t some historical cross trapped in 33 AD for Paul. It’s a cosmic cross that everyone can partake in. Nobody saved anybody by getting nailed to a cross. Either the crucifixion means something deeper, or the Western world has been in denial for two thousand years. Paul’s encounter with the heavenly Christ is nothing short of a radical transformation, where Paul, in essence is possessed by Christ. Paul becomes enthusiastic in saying:

“For I did not receive it (the gospel) from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galations 1:12).

Perhaps the human Jesus was Paul, while the spiritual or docetic Christ was never intended to be human, or even incarnate on earth. That would explain all the odd conflation of Paul, Simon, and Jesus in the Church Fathers. And why Simon claimed to be the “Standing One” and a manifestation of the “Great Power of God,” while Paul claimed to be “crucified with Christ, and that Christ lived in him.” Paul pretty much makes the claim that he’s an avatar of Christ all throughout Galatians.

“I am crucified with Christ.” “When God was pleased to reveal his Son in me.” “I bear on my body the marks of Christ.” “Oh foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?”

It also accounts for Paul’s statement that Christ is only given the name Jesus after the resurrection. His original Christology was of a spiritual entity that never became incarnate in the material world, as people like Earl Doherty believe. Paul’s cross is obviously immaterial. It’s some sort of cosmic event that each individual may partake in spiritually. Also, it could further explain why Simon’s disciple Menander too claimed that he was the Standing One (one who has grace).

S_Statue-of-Saint-Paul-in-front-of-the-St.-Peters-Basilica-by-Giuseppe-De-Fabris-1840

St. Paul sculpted in the image of Moses, just without horns.

His message is true in that it came from nowhere else but from Christ. Does this automatically rule out a historical Jesus? There is a reference to such a person when in 1 Corinthians 11:23, Paul speaks of Jesus instituting the Eucharist and that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, much like in the Gospel of John and in Luke. As I have stated elsewhere in this blog, John may very well have been originally a Simonian or Gnostic gospel, so this would still fit my proposed scenario. The Gnostics were certainly the first ones to read from it and latch on to it as authoritative scripture. Yet even there, Paul claims to have received this teaching from Christ, not any one man. And again, it seems Paul is actually the human side of Christ. This would explain Paul’s complaint of certain people within the Corinthian church who “cursed Jesus”.

You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:2-3)

According to Origen (Contra Celsum VI, 28), the Gnostic-ish sect, the Ophites, would “admit no one to their fellowship who has not first cursed Jesus.” Could Paul be referring to these serpent-worshipers? One can only guess…However, neither Irenaeus nor Hippolytus mention this in their reports on the Ophites, so who knows for sure?

Now, let’s cross compare the above passage from 1 Corinthians with a text I’ve been working for some time, the Simonian Great Declaration, only preserved in Hippolytus’ Refutation of All Heresies:

This is the writing down of the declaration of voice and name from thought, which is the Great Power, the Boundless. Thus it shall be sealed up, hidden, concealed, placed in the dwelling which rests upon the Universal Root. To you, then, I say what I have to say, and I write what I to write. And this is the writing thereof.

———-

And when they appeared in the midst of the rushing water of the realm of becoming, the female Thought was set upon and defiled by the angels and lower powers who made this world of matter. And they used the fiery power within her to give life to their creations.

Clearly both Paul and Simon talk about “hidden” and “secret” things as well as hostile angelic powers who rule the world. It also seems as though the Pauline writer also employs a very similar manner of writing when compared to the Great Declaration, which also seems like a weak imitation.

Could it be? Was Simon simply a placeholder for the old anti-Pauline literature from Peter’s school? Could the Latin Church Father Tertullian’s “apostle to the heretics,” (Paul) and Irenaeus’ “father of all heresies,” being Simon were one and the same? Could this identity crisis between Paul and Simon explain the mystical and even Gnostic nature of Paul’s epistles? Could it all be just a big coincidence? If so, then why do the early second century Gnostic heretics identify themselves as followers of “Paul,” while their proto-Orthodox Church critics identify them as followers of “Simon”?

Even if we are looking at two men and not one, if their histories are this intermixed, then why was there such a drastic movement by the Orthodox to separate the two? Let’s not forget that both arch-heretics, Marcion and Valentinus, were indirectly connected with Paul in some way, with mysterious teacher of Theodas who was said to be a pupil of Paul. According to Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 7.17, he records the Gnostic claim that Theudas received secret teachings from Paul or the “deeper mysteries” that Paul reserved from his public teaching and taught only to a few disciples in secret.

Likewise they allege that Valentinus was a hearer of Theudas. And he was the pupil of Paul. For Marcion, who arose in the same age with them, lived as an old man with the younger [heretics]. And after him Simon heard for a little the preaching of Peter.

Such being the case, it is evident, from the high antiquity and perfect truth of the Church, that these later heresies, and those yet subsequent to them in time, were new inventions falsified [from the truth].

It’s interesting in how Clement of Alexandria places Simon after Valentinus and Marcion. What’s really going on here? One can only guess. Perhaps the Church Fathers really were smoking crack after all. Or it was just a scribal error. Robert M. Price writes in Introduction to Scroll of Thoth, p. xx:

In reality the formation of the many diverse types of early Christian faith was highly complex and confusing, and there was no place in the emerging sanitized version of church history for the earlier radical Paul.

To be given any place at all, Paul, “the heretics’ apostle”, had to be split into two literary figures: the Apostle Paul and Simon the Sorcerer. The point was to strip from Paul, whoever he may have been, the interpretations of Marcionites and Gnostics, and to consign these to a scapegoat double, the evil twin of Paul, Simon Magus.

Sounds a lot like Superman fighting the evil distortion of himself as Bizarro. Simon Peter fights the “anti-Simon,” Simon Magus, as well. So, is the matter settled? Stuff like this is never straight-forward or cut and dry. However, the similarities between the Paul of Acts and other assorted apocrypha and Josephus, the Paul of the Epistles and what is said by the Church Fathers about Paul, the parallels still exist with what is known about Simon the Magician by his enemies in the Christian Church.

St.Paul-Icon

Jesus Paul/Simon Christ Superstar

As I have pointed out, Paul in Acts even takes on the magical persona of Simon and Jesus as well, lending itself to my argument laid out before. It’s as if the author(s) of these texts, tried their best to separate the unfavorable elements of Paul in the eyes of Simon-Peter’s camp into the magical figure of Simon and unwittingly contrasted interpretations of the same character. The other possibility is that an Orthodox scribe went very far to create wholly fabricated personas to “cover up” the truly Gnostic foundation of Christianity.

Not only do Paul and Simon share some very curious parallels but also with Jesus as well. They are far too many to list all, here, but it seems as though the codices found at Nag Hammadi preserve what is probably the earliest and primordial version of Jesus and his secret doctrine of the Bridal Chamber as well as the idea of “christening” or “anointing”.

Many mythicists’ central talking point is that the Jesus of the Gospels is a myth, pure and simple, based on previous, dying and rising savior gods (Tummaz, Osiris, Attis, Adonis, Dionysus, etc.) which are themselves based on the cycles of vegetation as well as the zodiac, the planetary spheres in our solar system and star systems. There is much truth to this. Even the Clementine literature admits to this. While the similarities of this symbolism are obvious and undeniable, there is not a great deal of Christian doctrine that would identify it as having originated from a solar cult. However, the real question is did the characters Jesus is based on exist in reality? Yes. He is based on two men: John the Baptist and Simon Magus, a combination of both. The two becoming one. Jesus seems also to be very much a verbal composite taken directly from the Gospel of Thomas, and we will investigate this more in another post.

One major key to the mystery of who Jesus of Nazareth was lies in the figure of Mary Magdalene, the first witness to the resurrection, his close companion according in all accounts (much like Simon and Helena as well as Paul with Thecla), and the one who officiated at what would have been considered a royal anointing in Mark 14:3 with the pouring of a large amount of oil upon the head of Jesus. This “christening” or “chrism” corresponds to what should have been the ceremony initiating Jesus as the successor of John, the Baptist. Even the term “Nazareth” has its roots in pre-Christian gnosis and will also explore this at another time…

The Clementine Homilies/Recognitions also indicate that Simon Magus was a disciple of John the Baptist, much like Jesus in the Gospels, particularly in Matthew, Luke and John. The Clementine literature also indicate that Simon was studying in Egypt when John was beheaded, Simon came “out of Egypt” to become the figure head of John’s disciples, from Dositheos’ feigned leadership.

tissot-baptism-jesus476x738

What is intriguing about this is how well it lines up with the Jesus of the Gospels. He is esteemed so much by John that a dove lands on his head during baptism and the voice of God speaks from heaven. However, in John 1:29-33, it states that John bore witness to the spirit descending like a dove, into Jesus, indicating that the Holy Spirit, in fact, possessed him. The other Gospels were uncomfortable with the idea of spirit possession of Jesus.

Of course, the term “Christ” and even “Jesus” both mean the same thing, attached to the original meaning of being christened as the legitimate successor of the Baptist. The title of “Christ” most obviously comes from Simon being “christened” as the successor of John the Baptist. As much as the Orthodox reviled the Simonians and Simon Magus himself, the doctrines of the Roman Catholics such as the Pope as Vicar of Christ on earth successively throughout the ages are actually based on ancient Simonian beliefs and practices with each successive student that takes on his teacher’s role, starting with John the Baptist, Simon Magus, Menander, Marcion, Basilides, Saturnilus, so on and so forth.

This was the biggest propaganda point of the earliest Christians to claim to be the successor of the immensely popular John. However, it also had the in-group meaning of referring to the great being channeled by Simon and Jesus called “the Son of Man”, a mysterious entity also mentioned by Jesus in Matthew in a true apocalyptic Rabbi fashion. (That’s already one too many Jesus’s). The “Son of Man” which is, literally, “Son of Adam” which would be Seth in the Samaritan religious mindset was the great disembodied psychopomp, like Hermes or Eros, who assisted the initiates in their pnuematic travel, stripping of layers of materiality, past the planetary spheres as the spirit ascends into the heavenly abode being the pleroma of light, outside of space and time as we know.

Interestingly enough, in the Gospel of the Egyptians, the text explicitly states that Seth, the Logos, shape-shifted to take on the form of Jesus!

…and established through her the holy baptism that surpasses the heaven, through the incorruptible, Logos-begotten one, even Jesus the living one, even he whom the great Seth has put on.

This sounds a lot like Simon who taught the Trinity doctrine, and claim to come in the form of all three of these hypostatizations of the divine, in the Great Declaration:

“I was manifested to the Jews as the Son, in Samaria as the Father, and among the gentiles as the Holy Spirit, and I permitted them to call me by whatever name they pleased.”

In the Trimorphic Protennoia, Seth is identified with Christ, and in the Apocalypse of Adam, he is the third manifestation of the “Illuminator”. So in essence, the “Son of Man” is also identified with Jesus. These highly esoteric Sethian texts could very well be preserving the Samaritan tradition and important spiritual lineage that starts back all the way with Adam and Eve, continuing on with Seth, and many more in between and finally culminating with Simon-Jesus.

The “holy baptism” was an important sacramental symbol for the ancient Gnostics, especially the Mandaeans and the Samaritans. The reflecting waters of the baptismal pool symbolized the illusory surface-existence of life. Those who are baptized, penetrates the shimmering mask of matter and submerged into the hyper-reality of the Pleroma, a hidden, all-enveloping, ever-present and eternal paradise of which the cosmos is but a fragile, fleeting parody ruled over by foolish demons who think they are gods. The Gospel of Philip tells us:

And as soon as Christ went down into the water, he came out laughing at everything of this world, not because he considers it a trifle, but because he is full of contempt for it. He who wants to enter the Kingdom of Heaven will attain it. If he despises everything of this world and scorns it as a trifle, he will come out laughing.

The idea of ascending light-body is not unknown to the Greeks either. The Dionysiac Mystery ecstasy was centered on this idea. In ancient Greek culture, a god was thought to enter the human form in a garment of light that philosophers referred to as a “chiton”. During an oracle’s invocation, a god overtook the physical body, “inspired” it by entering the pneuma in order to use the body as a tool through which to speak. The pythia or priestess, herself was not conscious of the god’s presence, since her pnuema or spirit was possessed by a god, similar to the idea of how Paul was possessed by the spirit of Christ. This notion of a god enveloped in a garment of light is also found in the Hermetic Poimandres, the Mithriac Liturgy, and the Corpus Hermeticum Libellus XIII, all of which employ very similar language and concepts found in Jesus’ teaching to the Pharisee, Nicodemus in John 3: 3-7:

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered,“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

In the ancient Mystery schools, initiatory and theurgical practices often involved the initiate to undergo a rite of rebirth (renatio) which is made possible following a ritualized form of the second death. This death is a spiritual one, where the soul undergoes a kind of night descent and the nous (divine intellect or mind) is revealed in the resurrected (anastasis) spirit body into direct contact with the gods. If one ascends to the gods, one becomes deified or divinized.

In Plutarch’s Fragment 178 relays a similar experience in a mystery school rite of initiation and spiritual alchemy:

“Thus we say that the soul that has passed thither is dead (ololenai), having regard to its complete (eis to holon) change and conversion. In this world it is without knowledge, except when it is already at the point of death ; but when that time comes, it has an experience like that of men who are undergoing initiation into great mysteries; and so the verbs teleutdn (die) and teleisthai (be initiated), and the actions they denote, have a similarity.

In the beginning there is straying and wandering, the weariness of running this way and that, and nervous journeys through darkness that reach no goal, and then immediately before the consummation every possible terror, shivering and trembling and sweating and amazement. But after this a marvellous light meets the wanderer, and open country and meadow lands welcome him  and in that place there are voices and dancing and the solemn majesty of sacred music and holy visions. And amidst these, he walks at large in new freedom, now perfect and fully initiated, celebrating the sacred rites, a garland upon his head, and converses with pure and holy men; he surveys the uninitiated, unpurified mob here on earth, the mob of living men who, herded together in mirk and deep mire, trample one another down and in their fear of death cling to their ills, since they disbelieve in the blessings of the other world. For the soul’s entanglement with the body and confinement in it are against nature, as you may discern from this.”

Initiation rites were not unknown to the Gnostics. Theurgical texts like Allogenes, Trimorphic Protennoia and Marsanes speak about the divine vision and resurrection that would be experienced by the Gnostic initiate in methodical and great detail. The Gnostics looked to Paul’s claim that he experienced this resurrection in his lifetime, and that he had traveled to the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2), much like how Jesus is resurrected and returns to heaven in Luke and Mark. In the Gospel of John, Jesus hangs around with his disciples in a new spiritual body. In Revelations 19:8, it speaks of “white robes” being distributed by Christ to his “Bride”, so this also fits into this spiritual body theme.

The title “Son of God” is not a Jewish messianic one and occurs in the gospels in connection with Jesus’ miracles. This is because “son of God” implies a supernatural being in human form who performs miracles by his own divine power. It also denotes doceticism. 

The Mithras Liturgy depicts the adept being deified by the spirit, becoming the sun, and accomplishing the miracle of ascending into heaven. This parallels the career of Jesus. In the Demotic Magical Papyrus of London and Leiden, appears “I am the son of the living god”. PGM 4.142-221 concludes with union with the deity in form, a gift of power in the deity’s name, and the believer achieving a nature like the god.

Book of the Dead

Even the Pyramid Texts and the Book of the Dead present evidence that the ancient Egyptians believed that humans can become gods through theurgy. These gods were seen as possessing a form of magic, or original creative power that formed and co-created the cosmos. This idea carries on even into the Torah, in Genesis 1 (along with Isaiah and Psalms), where creation can be seen as a magical act, a miracle—as the word of God has the power of creation. The formation of Adam and Eve from dust and flesh by God was seen as similar to golem-making in Jewish Kabbalistic rituals employed by Rabbi magicians as seen in the Babylonian Talmud. The PGM V. 106-110 even declares Moses himself as a magician and the author of several magical books and charms.

“I am Moses your prophet, to whom you committed your mysteries which are celebrated by Israel [sic]…Listen to me, I am the messenger of Phapro Osoronnophris. This is the authentic name which was committed to the prophets of Israel.”

The PGM, or the Greek Magical Papryi, shares a great deal of parallels with both ancient Egyptian texts and the Christian Gospels, as they both involve miracle and healing stories. They also include details on baptism, magical spells, being declared a god, experiencing mystical phenomena in the wilderness like a shaman, exorcisms and cures, calling disciples while traveling as a master or holy man, initiation to learn the master’s magical secrets and true meaning of the parables, the reception of supernatural visions or divine revelations, etc.

The Bridal Chamber ritual could also very well been a mystery initiation rite, explaining the reunification of the masculine and feminine sides of the soul depicted in the Adam and Eve division when the one soul incarnated in matter, requiring a bifurcated experience into two genders. This is discussed at length in the Gospel of Philip. The fragmented Dialogue of the Savior found in the Nag Hammadi Library is a collection of some of these spirit travel experiences from those closest to the Savior that records encounters with the Son of Man and a series of spiritual initiations which match perfectly well with that of a pagan mystery school:

Whoever does not know the work of perfection, knows nothing. If one does not stand in the darkness, he will not be able to see the light. If one does not understand how fire came into existence, he will burn in it, because he does not know the root of it. If one does not first understand water, he knows nothing. For what use is there for him to be baptized in it?

The same text even employs some Simonian language, by saying those who stand (the Standing One) will “rest forever”:

“The Savior said to his disciples, “Already the time has come, brothers, for us to abandon our labor and stand at rest. For whoever stands at rest will rest forever.”

Nag Hammadi texts such as the Gospel of Philip and Dialogue of the Savior also record the idea that Jesus Christ was a magician as well as a mystery school initiate. In Philip, there are several separated references to dyes such as “the Son of Man has come as a dyer”. It refers to looking into dyed water until the eye tires and visual images come forth. Later, there are references to “the mirrored bridal chamber” and “none can see himself either in water or in a mirror without light. Nor again can you see in light without water or mirror”.

The last sentence of Philip a little defensively sums up the argument for their practices of scrying secretively in the dark (much like John Dee did in the 15th century) before a mirror to experience the higher self: “This is the way it is: it is revealed to him alone, not hidden in the darkness and the night, but hidden in a perfect day and a holy light.”

One description of this process is in the Magical Papyri from Egypt (1, 180-V:4-5, 44-46):

“Divination by means of a bowl and a lamp: the boy sits holding the bowl in his lap, scrying by the aid of lamplight reflected in the surface of the water. A spell pronounced over the boy induces a trance…”

The Gospel of Philip also records Jesus Christ performing initiation rites that sound much like that one of the Hermetic mystery schools of Egypt.

The Lord did everything in a mystery, a baptism and a chrism and a eucharist and a redemption and a bridal chamber. […] he said, “I came to make the things below like the things above, and the things outside like those inside. I came to unite them in the place.”

Gee wiz, where else have we heard this before? Even the Eucharist itself has its origins in magical rites associated with Egypt and can be found in early Samaritan texts like Joseph and Asenath. As we will see in the next two parts, this is enlightened, Sage-like, perfected picture of Jesus, more than likely is the original version, which has its golden thread rooted in Greek and ancient Egyptian-Hermetic wisdom.

In future posts, we will explore further connections with Simon Magus/Paul, Apollos and Apollonius with the great Greek pantheon of Olympian and demi-gods, more tantalizing details from the Greek Magical Papryi, and delve deep into the shimmering pools of the Hermetic and Neoplatonic mysteries. See you next time, truth seekers.