Simon Magus

Johnny Mercury: John the Baptist in Egypt

Originally posted last year on Miguel Conner’s Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio site.

As the transit of the sun by the planet Mercury on May 9 draws closer, one may wonder the lore associated with Mercury and how it relates to other religions such as Christianity. The cosmocrator, Mercury, does relate to one particular figure—John the Baptist. John the Baptist is a peculiar, eponymous hero that appears many times not only in Christianity and the Gospels, but also in Gnostic, Mandean, Freemasonic and last but not least, connected to Egyptian sources. In the Gospel of John, he is depicted as a witness, a herald, a dedicated servant or a “Prophet-King” for the Light of the Logos, personified as Jesus Christ.

The Gospel of John goes out of its way to make sure the reader doesn’t confuse John the Baptist with the Messiah. In John 3:25-30, we see this distinction between Jesus and John being brought out in the controversy over purification between John’s disciples and a Jew. After this, Jesus withdraws from the whole argument (4:1) and from baptism itself since something greater than water is coming, being the baptism in the Spirit, which Jesus provides after his death and resurrection. John is adamant in saying that Jesus alone, and not the baptism is enough to take away the sins of the world. We see later that through the death of Jesus, are water and Spirit united (the means to be born again: 3:5), for out of his pierced side flowed, both water and blood (19: 34), united by the Spirit in the water of baptism and the wine of the Eucharist (cf. 1 John 5:5-8).

“An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing.  They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.  You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’  The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”

“He must become greater, but I must become less.” This is John’s swan song, his last word in the gospel. It is also the formula under which John operates in the entire gospel, as well. His witness abides, but John slips off the stage. His death of beheading isn’t even mentioned. There is a more interesting theory behind John’s parting words. The late, departed and always controversial mythicist author, Acharya S aka D.M. Murdock, in Christ in Egypt, has this to say on the subject:

Anubis is somewhat confounded or identified with the god Ap-uat as the “opener of the ways,” while, again, Apuat/Wepwawet is also “identical with Osiris.” Like Anubis, Osiris too was the opener of the way, being born at the beginning at the Egyptian New Year, when it occurred at the summer solstice with the inundation of the Nile. However, since Wepwawet has been identified with Osiris, who in turn has been identified with Jesus, this comparison between John and Anubis becomes increasingly apparent, as Anubis would represent the summer solstice and Osiris the winter, while John the Baptist was supposedly born at the summer solstice, six months before Jesus, who was purportedly born at the winter solstice, according to popular tradition dating from at least the third century onward and taught to billions of people worldwide since then.

This juxtaposition of John and Jesus as the sun at summer and winter solstice brings vividly to light the meaning of the enigmatic remark made by “the Baptist” at John 3:30, previously mentioned: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” As the sun passes through the summer solstice, the days begin to decrease in length, until the winter solstice, when the day’s increase again. This peculiar remark, which would not seem to be applicable to a human being, is all the more interesting in view of the fact that it appears only in the gospel of John, again the most Egyptian of the canonical texts, likely written at Alexandria for an Egyptian audience. It may thus serve as evidence that the writer of the gospel was aiming to usurp Anubis with the Jewish “prophet.”

In keeping with the interchangeability of gods within mythology, Anubis is identified not only with Thoth but also with Osiris, his father, depending on the myth. Osiris and Anubis alike not only were associated with the afterlife but also symbolized both the star Sirius and different aspects of the sun, Osiris frequently representing the sun at night, while, like Horus, Anubis was the sun at the horizon, whether rising or setting.

According to Plutarch…Anubis is the horizon itself, representing the line between light and dark. He may thus also be considered “twilight.” As the baby whom she suckles with her finger, Anubis (the horizon) is Isis’s “attendant,” who accompanies her when she seeks her own newborn son (the rising sun). In addition, like Osiris, Anubis is the “god of the dead or the night god.”…

Anubis is further the “‘giver of Sirius,’ the starry opener of the year,” corresponding to the summer solstice, which just happens to be the traditional nativity and feast of John the Baptist… Indeed, St. John’s Nativity or Feast occurs on June 24th, the last of the three days the sun “stands still” during the summer solstice. Like John, who was said to be born six months before Jesus, Anubis was born shortly before Horus. The connection between John the Baptist and Anubis becomes more pointed when it is realized that, while John’s fest days is on the summer solstice, Anubis actually represents the personification of the summer solstice…

The curious, and perhaps even tenuous connection between John and Anubis, is nonetheless trumpeted by Acharya S, who draws extensively on nineteenth century researchers like Gerald Massey, among others. It still remains to this day that Egyptian parallels are viewed with suspicion by most mainstream scholars (e.g. parallelomania). Gerald Massey, as it turns out, has many interesting things to say throughout his work, especially in his Historical Jesus and Mythical Christ. Here is put a tiny glimpse in his work:

The words of John, “Jesus wept,” are like a carven statue of the “Afflicted One,” as Remi, the Weeper. Ra is also the God who “makes the mummy come forth.” Jesus makes the mummy come forth in the shape of Lazarus; and in the Roman Catacombs the risen Lazarus is not only represented as a mummy, but is an Egyptian mummy which has been eviscerated and swathed for the eternal abode. Ra says to the mummy: “Come forth!” and Jesus cries: “Lazarus, come forth!” Ra manifests as “the burning one, he who sends destruction,” or “sends his fire into the place of destruction.” “He sends fire upon the rebels,” his form is that of the “God of the furnace.” Christ also comes in the person of this “burning one”; the sender of destruction by fire. He is proclaimed by Matthew to be the Baptiser with fire. He says, “I am come to send fire on the earth.” He is portrayed as “God of the furnace,” which shall “burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” He is to cast the rebellious into a “furnace of fire,” and send the condemned ones into everlasting fire.

All this was natural when applied to the Solar-God, and it is supposed to become supernatural when misapplied to a supposed human being to whom it never could apply. The Solar fire was the primary African fount of theological hell-fire and hell.

Of particular importance to uncovering the theological identity of this baptism is its description as an external physical purification, whose efficacy is also preconditioned by inner spiritual purification. Such practices did not exist in mainstream Judaism, and in fact developed on the fringes of Jewish religion, like Qumran (perhaps with the Essenes) and continued by Jewish-Christian groups in the first century (A.D.) onward. However, such practices actually originate in Egypt. In the Hermopolitan Pyramid Texts (Sarcophagus Chamber: East Gable, Utterance 211:132), we read:

“Unas is conceived at night, Unas is born at night, for he belongs to the Followers of Re who are before the Morning Star. Unas is conceived in the Watery Abyss, he is being born in the Watery abyss. He has come, he has brought your bread which he has found there!”

Unas, was, in actuality, an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, the ninth and last ruler of the Fifth Dynasty during the Old Kingdom period. Unas was also the first Pharaoh to have the Pyramid Texts carved and painted inside the walls of the chambers of Egypt as well. These texts identify Unas with Ra and Osiris, who were meant to help Unas reach the afterlife. Unas is said to be born at night in the watery abyss, and belong “to the followers of Re, who are before the Morning Star.” Gnostic texts like On the Origin of the World also depicts the Demiurge, Ialdabaoth, “moving in the depths of the waters of the abyss.” The title “Morning-Star” (Lucifer) here probably refers to Horus. Furthermore, Unas brought the “bread” in the “watery abyss” which brings to mind John the immerser, and Jesus’ words about being born again through “water and spirit” while bringing the Eucharistic “bread out of heaven.” (As pointed out further onward). 

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The English word “messiah” is a corruption of the Hebrew mashiach, which came to mean “anointed,” referring to how Egyptian Pharaohs and kings were invested and consecrated as royalty. At death, it may also refer to one is embalmed and prepared for mummification to survive in the netherworld. The root meaning of being a messiah meant to be like a “Moses”, a king, leader, way shower-to-freedom, and emissary to God. In the Old Testament (2 Samuel 2:14), we see King David, being anointed as a “Son of God.”

“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son.”

Psalms 2:6 says similar things. Thus the Gospel of John draws a parallel between Moses and Jesus specifically to state that Jesus is messiah, by God’s anointment and appointment. And it says Jesus is superior to him in a few verses. Although Jesus in the Gospel of John builds on Moses’ tradition with allusions to the raising of the bronze serpent (just like the caduceus of Enki, Asclepius and Hermes is said to be raised), Jesus declares himself and his heavenly substances as superior (6:32):

“Jesus therefore said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you, the bread out of heaven is not given you by Moses; no, the real bread out of heaven my Father is giving you. For the bread of God, is the one coming down out of heaven and giving life to the world.”

Acharya S, throughout Christ in Egypt, point out other similarities between Anubis, as being the “preparer of the way of the other world”, just as John the Baptist came to prepare the way for the Lord, and a connection between the Old Testament and the New (as a return of Elijah in which John denies being), as being the last Prophet-King and the first Christian saint. According to the arch-heretic Marcion, John proclaimed a Jewish messiah conversant with the Old Testament creator-God and had not expected a messiah like Jesus at all (Jesus as the Only-Begotten Son of the God above Jehovah). And so, John belonged to the old dispensation because of the connection between him and Elijah (Tertullian, Adv. Marcion, IV, 18). This wasn’t an attack against the Baptist cult, but rather a projection of Marcionite interpretation of the New Testament.

Acharya S further writes:

“Anubis is also the messenger of the gods, equivalent to the Greek god Hermes or Mercury, the counterpart of the Egyptian lunar god Thoth or Djehuty/Tehuti. Moreover, like Thoth, whose emblem is the Tau or T, Anubis is “never without a cross,” specifically the life-giving ankh, one of the holiest symbols in Egyptian religion. As related by the ancient writer Iamblichus (c. 245-c. 325 AD/CE), “The cross with a handle which Tot [Thoth] holds in his hand was none other than the monogram to his name.”

The connection between the ankh and the cross of Jesus is made more apparent when in Matthew 10:37, Jesus tells his disciples, “And he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.” Luke and Mark have similar variations of this passage. St. Paul is also said to be “crucified with Christ” often in his crucifixion mysticism. The Egyptian cross could be what Jesus is referring to in his commandment above. The ankh was a sign of royalty and life, whereas the cross of Christ was a symbol of debasement and sacrifice (but transformed into the means for “eternal life”).

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One might also consider that the reason for such a strong connection between the Fourth Gospel, John the Baptist, Anubis, Hermes and the Egypto-Hermetic religion might be because John was initiated in Egypt, just as his son/disciple Simon the Magician was said to be. This would make sense considering there are so many similarities between the Corpus Hermeticum and the Gospel of John, too. In the Gospel of John, we see that Simon the Rock (Simon Peter) is said to be the son of John the Baptist, as well.

We must also remember that Mercury is Hermes, who was also depicted as a psychopomp—the god who guides dead souls through the netherworld. As it follows, John is following the tradition of the “wisdom god” via Hermes, Aquarius, Anubis, Oannes, Enki, etc. The last god, Enki, the Sumerian water god of creation and agriculture, is said to provide two streams of Living Waters from his shoulders. The baptism of the initiate is said to herald the anointing of God’s supernatural power via the Holy Spirit, but also given the means to successfully separate or cross over from the world of flesh and into the world of spirit, and thus be saved. This is the meaning behind the allegory of “crossing the River Jordan.”

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It has been often been speculated that John was involved with the Essenes: his with this description in Mark 1:6, as being clothed with camel hair with a leather belt about his waist, and eating locusts and wild honey, as do the themes of repentance and purification. The Clementine writings, the Homilies and Recognitions also play an important part of the lore concerning John. In Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled, we discuss how the Clementines and the Babylonian Talmud show how Simon Magus and Jesus were both initiated in Egypt. Simon was known to pass on “the Christ” in discipleship succession—a practice that would be eventually adopted by Catholic Church through the apostolic succession of Bishops, Popes, etc.

Irenaeus (A.H. 1, 23.5) says that Simon initiated his disciple Menander, and as he passed the anointing holy spirit to his disciples—Saturninus and Basilides, which were both Gnostics. The Clementines also capture the idea that John the Baptist was hailed and considered to be the original “Christ”. Their enemies, however, would interpret this spirit as being a demon. This is actually what the unforgivable sin is according to Jesus (Matthew 12:30-32): blaspheming the holy spirit as demonic. Acts 8 also seems to be an early polemic/parody against this Simonian/Johannite practice, with Peter appropriating it, while Simon is seeking to “purchase” the powers of the Holy Spirit.

Here is more of what we have to say about it all this, in our book, Baphomet:

“In The Clementine Recognitions (1.54) and (1.60), it is described how some disciples of John felt that he was a more apt owner of the title “Christ” than Jesus:

Yea, some even of the disciples of John, who seemed to be great ones, have separated themselves from the people, and proclaimed their own master as the Christ. But all these schisms have been prepared, that by means of them the faith of Christ and baptism might be hindered.

. . .

And, behold, one of the disciples of John asserted that John was the Christ, and not Jesus, inasmuch as Jesus Himself declared that John was greater than all men and all prophets.

In John 8:48, Jesus is accused of being a Samaritan magician in control of a demon:

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

It should be noted that Jesus doesn’t deny being a Samaritan (as Simon was), but only having a demon. This must be significant since in an older, primitive text may have had Christ admit that he was a Samaritan. The Samaritans were also associated with witchcraft. One must keep in mind that The Babylonian Talmud also named Jesus as a sorcerer who studied magic in Egypt, just as Simon is said to have done in the Clementines. They were probably trained by a Hermopolitan priesthood (the likely authors of The Pyramid Texts). This may account for the twelve missing years in Jesus life. When he finally returned to face the Temple hierarchy, he was a highly educated young man full of heterodox ideas—a savvy, mystical antagonist, just as John was. In The Babylonian Talmud, specifically in Tosefta Shabbat 104b, we find an obscure figure by the name of “Ben Stada” or “Ben Sattadai” who is said to have had the “witchcraft of Egypt” (i.e. magic spells) tattooed on his flesh. (Some scholars have identified Ben Stada as Jesus Christ, but this is a point of contention.)”

Elsewhere in the Clementines, John is paired opposite Jesus in a series of “syzygiai” or pairs, in league with such characters as Cain, Esau, Aaron, Simon Magus and the Antichrist (Hom. 11, 17; cf. Recog. III, 61). The old Egyptologist, E.A. Wallis Budge, suggests that Horus is the embodiment of “He who is above” and Set of “He who is below,” (in their eternal struggle) thus holding a significance to “As Above, So Below” much like how John’s arms are depicted (pointing up and down) in Leonardo da Vinci paintings, as well as Baphomet.

In Hom. III, 22 John is referred to as one “born of a woman” and therefore of the feminine (fallen) order, whereas Jesus, as the Son of Man, is masculine (heavenly)—a familiar Gnostic idea. Both the Homilies and Recognitions connect John with the rise of the Gnostics Dositheus and Simon Magus, as well as being connected to the Jewish sects that opposed the Apostolic church—the Sadducees, Samaritans, Scribes/Pharisees, and the Baptists (the last of which would morph into other cults like the Simonians, Dositheans, Mandeans, etc.) While this might be pure speculation, since some of Simon Magus’ titles include “Standing One” and the “Great Power of God,” we might also find its origins in the Pyramid Texts (Utterance 222, saying 199).

“Stand up upon this land [which came out of Atum, the spittle] which came out of the Becoming One! May you become over it, may you be high over it, so that your father sees you, so that [Re] sees you!”

Jesus is called the “Word/Logos of God” or more accurately, the “Reason of God”. The Logos translates to “reason.” The Logoi are also principles of reasons in Platonic material, as a plural of the Logos. The Logoi also refer to the Platonic Forms related to the Gods. Theurgical tokens and symbols as used by Neoplatonists like Iamblichus use as manifestations of these divine powers. These symbols may exist in the forms of a lion, a rooster, or heliotrope, all of which are representations of Helios and Apollon.

Iamblichus also interprets Greek and Hermetic gods like Dionysus and Asclepius as manifestations of the sub-lunar Demiurge (the craftsman of the world, below the moon). The initiated theurgist was said to have the Logoi filled in their souls. In magical rituals dedicated to Mercury, such as a consecration of a talisman, the Logoi or element of that deity is said to “empower” the object, much like how a Catholic Priest is said to bless “holy water,” the Eucharist, etc., through the laying of hands via Holy Spirit power. One may think of the Logoi as “daimons” who draw the Hermetic god’s power to the magician.

We will return to ritual magic and Johnny Mercury. But for now, let us gaze at Leonardo da Vinci’s “Baptism of Christ.” Notice how John the Baptist is depicted as the Zodiacal sign of Aquarius (the figure who pours water), and Jesus is depicted as the sign of Pisces with the shape of his hands.

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The Megas Aeon Podcast #2: Mystery Initiation, Simon Magus, and the Path of Gnosis

This is part 2 of my interview with Michael Eleleth/Janus. Here, we discuss more of his background and spiritual path. We also discuss Simon Magus and his connections with St. Paul, Jesus Christ, St. Peter and John the Baptist. We also talk about what it means to be a Gnostic, Gnostic dualism, Manichaean doctrines, hidden gnosis in pagan religions, Hermetism, the canonical Gospels, and much, much more. Hope you enjoy!

P.S. I realize there is a slight echo with the guest’s voice but it isnt too distracting. I couldn’t figure out how to get rid of it. I will eventually put these episodes on i-Tunes or another service, once I figure that out. Thanks for listening!

Outro Music: Jega – Knight Lore.

Update: You can now listen and download the episodes directly from my site on the right-hand menu. Just right click on your mouse and click “save link as”. Thank you for your patience. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Margaret Barker further remarks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 After he has suffered,

    he will see the light of life and be satisfied;

by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,

    and he will bear their iniquities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,

    Creator of heaven and earth.

20 And praise be to God Most High,

    who delivered your enemies into your hand.”

Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

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

The Lord says to my lord:

“Sit at my right hand

    until I make your enemies

    a footstool for your feet.”

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

    “Rule in the midst of your enemies!”

Your troops will be willing

    on your day of battle.

Arrayed in holy splendor,

    your young men will come to you

    like dew from the morning’s womb.

The Lord has sworn

    and will not change his mind:

“You are a priest forever,

    in the order of Melchizedek.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even the Jewish Zohar says similar things about Scripture:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

revelation-1

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

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

projections__metatron_by_bonvallet-d5x8xc9

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

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

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

The Valentinian Prayer of the Apostle Paul tells us:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Secrets of Saturn

In recent memory, several conspiracy theories focused on the occult have noticed that the bad guys of the Satanic New World Order conspiracy worship Saturn. There’s of course, the vague assertion between Saturn and Satan. Many have talked about this–including the likes of David Icke, Jordan Maxwell, Tracy Twyman, among others. This makes sense, and yet there is so much more to be said.

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Saturn was usually pictured as an aged man holding a sickle, from which we undoubtedly get our representation of Death–the old man with a sickle. The Planet Saturn revolves around the sun in approximately 29 years, therefore the human lifespan would be two or three revolutions of this planet. This could be the reason Saturn is connected with Death and the Grim Reaper, which is the skeleton dressed in a black hood holding sickle that reaps human beings at their death. This same Roman deity is used to denote the end of year, and a newborn baby symbolizes the New Year, i.e. it denotes time. Another name for Saturn is Kronos, which also means time. Indeed, this is what Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 might be getting at:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

In Talismanic Magic: Saturn: The Occult Signification of His Square, Seal, and Sigils by Samuel Liddell MacGrethor Mathers, he sums up what Saturn rules over:

Saturn rules over the color Black; over Saturday in the week; over the period from the middle of December to the middle of February in the year over Capricorn and Aquarius in the Zodiac, which are called his houses, and has power in Libra, wherein he receives his Exaltation; over the dragon, the ass, the lapwing, the cuttlefish, the mole over the metal lead, the precious stone onyx, ; he is the under the power of the number three in arithmetic, and the geometrical figure of the equilateral triangle.

The actions of Saturn are associated with binding, chastening, crystallizing, hardening, hindering, limiting, magnetism, obstruction, retarding and suppression. If the forces of Saturn seek to constrain, break down and later harden, then it would follow that this process relates to the the descend and crystallization of spirit into matter, or consciousness into the organic material of the body. This is perhaps the Holy Grail secret of Saturn, in which we will explore later on. Saturn, so active in the cosmic changes, was regarded by all mankind as the supreme god. Seneca says that Epigenes, who studied astronomy among the Chaldeans:

“…estimates that the planet Saturn exerts the greatest influence upon all the movements of celestial bodies.” – Naturales Quaestiones VII. 4. 2.

An astrological treatise ascribed to Manetho (Manethonis Apotelesmaticorum libri sex) states that:

“In the beginning Kronos the Titan ruled the entire ether; his star the far-seeing gods called ‘the shining one.’”

The ancient Greek poets and historians like Ovid and Tacitus remembered the early tragedies enacted in the sky by the heavenly bodies asserted that Jupiter drove Saturn away from its place in the sky. Before Jupiter (Zeus) became the chief god, Saturn (Kronos) occupied the celestial throne. In all ancient religions the dominion passes from Saturn to Jupiter. In Greek mythology, Kronos is presented as the father and Zeus as his son who dethrones him. Kronos devours some of his children. After this act Zeus overpowers his father, puts him in chains in Tartarus, and drives him from his royal station in the sky.

In Saturn’s association with the Old Testament, we see in Numbers 22:21-39, we see Satan first appears as an angel that stops a guy named Balaam from going forward. Satan is an angel, which his donkey can see, but Balaam cannot. The donkey refuses to move. He beats the donkey in punishment until after the third time the donkey speaks to him. We read in Deuteronomy 23:4 that Balaam the son of Beor of Pathor of Mesopotamia was hired to curse Israel. We read in Numbers 22:4, 5 and 7, that Balak the son of Zippor, king of the Moabites, sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor and “the elders of Moab … departed with the rewards of divination in their hand.”

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Both Islam and Judaism have strong Saturnian elements in them. In Islam, its revealed book of the Quran has all sorts of rules and limitations for its adherents, especially for women. Women must dress up in black, Saturnine robes, cannot show their faces, cannot drive, are subject to “honor killings”, rapes, etc. Men aren’t allowed to drink alcohol, they have to pray to Mecca five times a day, etc. In Judaism, we have the Old Covenant in which Jehovah made with various patriarchs which gave us the Law and strict Kosher laws on what they can and cannot eat. They cannot work on the Shabbat (Saturn’s day) and must get circumcised. Both religions are very restrictive and binding. They are not inherently evil or sinister but excessively obstructive and controlling. Perhaps this is why the Apostle Paul describes the Jewish Law in terms of being a “curse” in his letters. The Hexagram or the six pointed star is the Seal of Solomon, or nowadays known as the Star of David. It’s also known as the talisman of Saturn in Kabbalistic sources. In modern strands of Satanism, including Thelema, black robes are often worn in magical rituals and initiation ceremonies. Indeed, there are various Satanic/Luciferian spells and rituals with strong Saturnian elements in them.

In the Testament of Solomon, King Solomon used the seal or ring of Sabaoth (given by Michael the Archangel) to command demons or djinn to do his bidding and even torture them. If the seal is imbued with Saturnian powers it makes sense it can be used to bind spirits in some manner. In many sources, the chief symbol of Saturn is the cube. This relates to the Kaaba stone of Islam as well as the Foundation Stone in Jewish creation myths, which in turn relates to the myths associated with the Holy Grail and the Philosopher’s Stone. The Nazi Otto Rahn supposedly claimed he had found the Holy Grail that once belonged to the Cathars. According to Tarotica, the cube’s edges also forms the Hexagon, associated with the Hexagram, being a stable symbol in Solomonic ritual magic as well as Israel’s Star of David. It reminds us all to well of Hellraiser’s puzzle-box, where the person who solves it, effectively summons Cenobites from Hell and drags the unfortunate soul down with them to be tortured with chains.

The cube is the “base” of the platonic solids, and when turned and viewed from the right angle, it’s edges form a Hexagon. This is where the idea of someone being “hexed” comes from. We can take hex to basically mean “bind” or “bound.” When one puts a “hex” on someone else, all they are really doing is putting them in a box. You may positively “hex” someone by wishing them health and abundance, but negative hexing is done through things like gossip where one defines another persons space as having only certain negative and obstructive qualities. One essentially builds this box of “reality” around the targeted individual, and celebrities are all too aware of this form of binding magick as certain trivialities of their personal lives become endlessly repeated and turned back in on themselves in cacophonous “chamber of secrets” style reporting that is spread as far and wide as possible. This meaningless white noise has served to obstruct and drown out the utter Holiness of the Saturn’s Cube, itself being the chamber of prayer and sacred immanence.

Mesopotamia was the very home of Babylonian mysteries and the birthplace of astrology. The name Balaam in Semitic language means “Conqueror of the People” and definitely links us with “Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord (Genesis 10:9).” We read in verse 8 that this Nimrod, the son of Cush, began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was the great grandson of Noah and “the beginning of his kingdom was Babel.” He built other cities like Ashur and Nineveh, which later became the capital of the Assyrian Empire. Nimrod is styled “the mighty hunter before the Lord,” or as Strong renders it, “against the Lord.” He shows that the Hebrew word paniym is more correctly translated “against” rather than “before”. Like many in Babylon, Nimrod had a tendency of changing:

“…the glory of the incorruptible God into an image liken to corruptible man, and to birds and fourfooted beasts and creeping things.” (Romans 1:23).

Nimrod was certainly “against” the Lord in all he planned and did. “The mighty hunter against the Lord” led multitudes away from the creator god and laid plans for a world-wide conspiracy against Yahweh, as the story goes. That was the reason behind the Babylonian Mystery cults. Many of the cults were dedicated to the worship of Saturn, as the House of Judah (i.e. the Jews) were dedicated to also worshiping in the Tabernacle of Saturn. Saturday is named after the star god Saturn. As it follows, Saturday is not only the seventh day of creation. It is the day set aside to the glory and honor of Saturn/Nimrod. It was Nimrod who proclaimed himself to have resurrected and ascended to the planet “Saturn” in the Babylonian Mysteries. According to the ancients, planets were called wandering stars. And yet, there are many parallels with Yahweh and Saturn as well.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary states they were worshiping the planet Saturn and the Sacred Hebdomad.

You have had the images of your Moloch-your king (probably representing the sun, that sits king among the heavenly bodies), “and Chiun, or Remphan” (as Stephen calls it, Acts vii.43, after the LXX), which, it is supposed, represented Saturn, the highest of the seven planets. The worship of the sun, moon, and stars, was the most ancient, most general, and most plausible idolatry. They made to themselves the star of their God, some particular star which they took to be their god, or the name of which they gave to their god. This idolatry (Deut. iv. 19); and those that retain an affection for false gods cannot expect the favour of the true God.

The prophet Ezekiel in the Babylonian exile had a vision—the likeness of a man, but made of fire and amber who brought him to some darkened chamber where the ancients of the house of Israel with censers in their hands were worshiping idols portrayed upon the wall round about. Then the angel of the vision told him: “Thou shalt see greater abominations that they do”—and he brought the prophet to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house—”and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.” Next he showed him also Jews in the inner court of the Lord’s house “with their back toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east.” It is in this instance we find that despite Yahweh’s deep connections with other heathen gods, he is always seeking to usurp their local authority in favor of his own.

The traditional Orthodox explanation of the Genesis creation account in which God or “the gods” (the Elohim) creates man in “our image” implies the trinity–the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I’ve never bought that explanation, though. I think the earliest strands of Judaism were polytheistic, and the religion became more and more monotheistic as time progressed. The scholastic evidence suggest that the Pentateuch developed out of two separate Israelite groups: Yahwist and Elohist. They base that theory on the vocabulary used in the Pentateuch: certain portions refer to the Israelite deity as Yahweh, others Elohim. The two were eventually merged into one god, but there is evidence to suggest that Elohim represented an entire pantheon of Canaanite deities, and Yahweh was one of those gods. In that case, Judaism developed as a cult that began to worship Yahweh exclusively and gradually usurped competing regional cults. This is much like how Jupiter betrays his father Saturn/Chronos as well as as fellow Olympians.

For example, El, a Semitic word used by Jews for Yahweh, was also used by Canaanites as another name for Baal. It’s a clear case for the Israelite adoption of names found in preexisting religions. Baal was merely one of these Elohim, which also represented Saturn. The bull was also symbolic of El and his son Baal Hadad and both wore bull horns on their headdress. In other words, the horned god archetype is deeply connected to Saturn and the cosmocrators. El is also the Demiurge and the Freemasonic “Great Architect of the Universe” that is obviously a reference to Ialdabaoth (the “child of chaos”) of the Ophites and the Apocryphon of John. In a way, Ialdabaoth is a mixture of Baal, Kronos, and Yahweh. El is simply another name for Saturn.

This is made evident in Eusebius of Caesarea’s Praeparatio Evangelica (Preparation for the Gospel) (X), as he quotes Sanchuniathon’s History of the Jews:

And soon after he says:

‘It was a custom of the ancients in great crises of danger for the rulers of a city or nation, in order to avert the common ruin, to give up the most beloved of their children for sacrifice as a ransom to the avenging daemons; and those who were thus given up were sacrificed with mystic rites. Kronos then, whom the Phoenicians call Elus, who was king of the country and subsequently, after his decease, was deified as the star Saturn…

Incidentally, the ach-heretic Christian, Marcion’s primary goal was to distance Christianity from other religions (especially Judaism), that is, to distinguish the Christian god from all other gods before it, so that Christianity was something entirely new and unique. That was the way Christianity could be entirely independent from competing religions while also coexisting with them, i.e., pluralism. It’s a shame that none of his writings have survived, so we can only glean whatever information is retained by anti-Marcionite apologists like Tertullian.

I have found the use of the term “Elohim” deliberately obscured as Judaism moved from henotheism to monotheism. Despite Michael S. Heiser’s contentions, the Elohim was a council of gods (Elohin in Ugarit). These were the sky gods as opposed to the Shaddim/n, who were the earth gods. In other words, they are demons. The Shaddim is related to El Shaddai. Judaic (indeed all ancient near eastern) beliefs are a jumble of different ideas with some of them being discarded as time goes on and others mutating and merging with other ideas.

If El was a sky god, then how could he be thought of as an earth god? My suspicion is that this is tied into the concept of the “throne of God”. There has always been an uneasy tension between the idea of the celestial gods (stars) living in the sky and guiding human existence and the idea of the gods living on a solid surface (such as a mountain, the Axis Mundi). The central idea of a Mountain of God (also found in the Book of Enoch where the Garden of Eden is found on the same mountain) was mostly discarded in favor for an alternate universe called Heaven. To the Ancient Jews, however, this dichotomy of a celestial heavens and mountain of God constantly played back and forth (we see this very strongly in the Ezekiel Throne / Chariot description). Thus, El was the sky god that ruled the heavens but he also ruled from the world mountain. This made him both a sky god and an earth god.

I favor the notion (as do some other scholars) that the Moloch that the later prophets railed against so vociferously, was, originally, Melech (“King”) which was the nice way of speaking of El when he was in a bad mood. He was the older, deeper god whom one appeased in the background to appeasing the reigning sky god, YHWH (also known to the Greeks and Romans as i.e. Zeus / Jupiter). In the case of El Shaddai, I suspect that the title referred to El on the Throne of God without any particular chthonic implications but that the constant associations with the Shaddim kept the title from being more popular in later days. Christians, today, have no problem with “God, the Rock” as translation has removed any relationship between Shaddai (“rock”) and shaddim (eventually mutated to “Satans”).

Some equate the Garden of Eden with the Golden Age of Saturn. Some even postulate that Eden was actually some sort of “Sacred Mountain” or the World Axis, like the climbing of Dante’s Mountain of Purgatory that represents the pilgrim’s progress, through the sphere. Eden was blocked off from Adam and Eve because of their transgression of Divine Law. This sacred mountain, upon whose summit stood the temple of the gods, gave rise to the stories of Olympus, Meru, and Asgard. The City of the Golden gates—the capital of Atlantis—is the one now preserved among the numerous religions as the City of the Gods, the Holy City, and even the New Jerusalem of Revelation, with its streets paved will gold and its twelve gates shining with precious stones.

Atlantis was said to have been a naval power that took over parts of Western Europe and Africa in 9400 B.C. before an explosion sank the island beneath the ocean. Like Eden, it was said to have been centered at the source of four rivers—which also comes from Sumerian myth of Ziusudra and the Zoroastrian legend of pairideaza, from which we get the word “paradise”. The Garden of Eden is called gannah in Hebrew, which means a hidden place. It’s an Avestan term from Old Persia, which was also used as a term to refer to enclosed parks, matching with Plato’s description of Atlantis being a highly advanced society, walled off from the rest of the barbaric world, in his writings. The author of Mystery Babylon writes about the “hidden” nature of Saturn:

Saturn was, and is, probably one of the most important figures behind the development of Mystery Babylon. Interestingly enough, Saturn was also known to be a “god of hidden counsels,” a “concealer of secrets,” and a “god of ‘mysteries.’ In fact, one of the major subtitles of this god was, “the Hidden One” or the “Hidden God.” Now, what was so mysterious about this god; that he had to be hidden?

According to some ancient thought, Saturn might have originally been equated to Noah – at least at first; and the reason he was known as “The Hidden One” was simple: Noah was “hidden” in the ark for an extended period of time! Because of this, Noah could have been considered “the first of the Hidden Ones” – but, not the last!

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Saturn is also a staple in ritual magic and alchemy. In Zosimos’ Visions, the author indicates that the main purpose of the transformation process featured in his dream vision is the spiritualization of the sacrificing priest to become spirit or pneuma. We are told that he would “change the bodies into blood, make the eyes to see and the dead to rise again.” Later in the visions, he appears in glorified form, shining like the midday sun, much like the risen Christ. Throughout the text, it is clear that the sacrificer and sacrificed are one and the same. It goes back too the old alchemical idea of what redeems and that which is to be redeemed are also one and the same. Let us revisit Zosimos’s Visions, quickly.

The composition of the waters, and the movement, and the growth, and the removal and restitution of bodily nature, and the splitting off of the spirit from the body, and the fixation of the spirit on the body are not operations with natures alien one from the other, but, like the hard bodies of metals and the moist fluids of plants, are One Thing, of One Nature, acting upon itself. And in this system, of one kind but many colours, is preserved a research of all things, multiple and various, subject to lunar influence and measure of time, which regulates the cessation and growth by which the One Nature transforms itself.

And saying these things, I slept, and I saw a certain sacrificing priest standing before me and over and altar which had the form of a bowl. And that altar had fifteen steps going up to it.

Then the priest stood up and I heard from above a voice say to me, “I have completed the descent of the fifteen steps and the ascent of the steps of light. And it is the sacrificing priest who renews me, casting off the body’s coarseness, and, consecrated by necessity, I have become a spirit.”

And when I had heard the voice of him who stood in the altar formed like a bowl, I questioned him, desiring to understand who he was.

He answered me in a weak voice saying, “I am Ion, Priest of the Adytum, and I have borne an intolerable force. For someone came at me headlong in the morning and dismembered me with a sword and tore me apart, according to the rigor of harmony. And, having cut my head off with the sword, he mashed my flesh with my bones and burned them in the fire of the treatment, until, my body transformed, I should learn to become a spirit. And I sustained the same intolerable force.”

And even as he said these things to me and I forced him to speak, it was as if his eyes turned to blood and he vomited up all his flesh. And I saw him as a mutilated image of a little man and he was tearing at his flesh and falling away.

A little later in this vision account, Zosimos, speaks to what appears to be a spirit of metal or a planetary demon:

As he was saying these things to me and the boiling increased and the people wailed, I saw a copper man holding a lead tablet in his hand. He spoke aloud, looking at the tablet, “I counsel all those in mortification to become calm and that each take in his hand a lead tablet and write with his own hand and that each bear his eyes upward and open his mouth until his grapes be grown.”

Saturn is also associated with the alchemical element of lead and in gnosis is a planetary demon. The parallel between the Hebrew god and Saturn is of considerable importance as  in regards to the alchemical idea of the transformation of the God of the Old Testament into the God of the New. The alchemists of old were naturally attracted to the great significance of Saturn, for besides being the outermost planet, the supreme archon and demiurge Ialdabaoth, he was also the spiritus niger who lies captive in the darkness of matter, the deity or that part of the deity that is swallowed up in his own creation. It is this dark god who steals a portion of his mother Sophia’s divine power in which Sophia seeks to recover through Ialdabaoth’s/Jehovah’s creations of Adam and Eve as we see in Irenaeus’ account of the Ophite myth in Against Heresies (1.30.6):

But as he could merely writhe along the ground, they carried him to their father; Sophia so labouring in this matter, that she might empty him (Ialdabaoth) of the light with which he had been sprinkled, so that he might no longer, though still powerful, be able to lift up himself against the powers above. They declare, then, that by breathing into man the spirit of life, he was secretly emptied of his power; that hence man became a possessor of nous (intelligence) and enthymesis (thought); and they affirm that these are the faculties which partake in salvation. He [they further assert] at once gave thanks to the first Anthropos (man), forsaking those who had created him.

In Hippolytus’ Refutation of All Heresies (V, 11), he mentions a Gnostic group called Peratics, they specifically name Cronus as the demiurge and lord of mortal generation.

For Cronus is a cause to every generation, in regard of succumbing under destruction, and there could not exist (an instance of) generation in which Cronus does not interfere.

They also say that this god is identified with the midheaven cardinal point, or the summer tropic, which is the very force that turns the wheel of fate over the world (V, 10).

Since, then, astrologers are acquainted with the horoscope, and meridian, and setting, and the point opposite the meridian; and since these stars occupy at different times different positions in space, on account of the perpetual revolution of the universe, there are (necessarily) at different periods different declinations towards a centre, and (different) ascensions to centres. (Now the Peratic here-ties), affixing an allegorical import to this arrangement of the astrologers, delineate the centre, as it were, a god and monad and lord over universal generation, whereas the declination (is regarded by them as a power) on the left, and ascension on the right. When any one, therefore, falling in with the treatises of these (heretics), finds mention among them of right or left power, let him recur to the centre, and the declination, and the ascension (of the Chaldean sages, and) he will clearly observe that the entire system of these (Peratae) consists of the astrological doctrine.

It is this god that the initiate seeking to return to the source in the Pleroma must overcome by “giving up” different aspects of himself to each astral gatekeeper. This is explained very well in the Hermetica. The Freemason Albert Pike in Morals & Dogma summarizes the Celsus’ description of the Mithriac Mysteries of ascension.

We learn this from Celsus, in Origen; who says that the symbolical image of this passage among the stars, used in the Mithriac Mysteries, was a ladder, reaching from earth to Heaven, divided into seven steps or stages, to each of which was a gate, and at the summit an eighth, that of the fixed stars. The first gate, says Celsus, was that of Saturn, and of lead, by the heavy nature whereof his dull slow progress was symbolized. The second, of tin, was that of Venus, symbolizing her soft splendor and easy flexibility. The third, of brass, was that of Jupiter, emblem of his solidity and dry nature. The fourth, of iron, was that of Mercury, expressing his indefatigable activity and sagacity. The ,fifth, of copper, was that of Mars, expressive of his inequalities and variable nature. The sixth, of silver, was that of the Moon: and the seventh, of gold, that of the Sun. This order is not the real order ,of these Planet’s but a mysterious one, like that of the days of the Week consecrated to them, commencing with Saturday, and retrograding to Sunday. It was dictated, Celsus says, by certain harmonic relations, those of the fourth.

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Perhaps in the myth of St. George slaying the dragon lies an old alchemical idea of the crucified serpent or the tail-eating dragon, Ouroboros, where the poisonous element of matter or Saturnian dross is destroyed on the alchemical cross to reveal and create the elixir of Mercury (symbolizing spirit). We already saw that the Sethians and Manichaeans viewed the serpent as representing the Logos or Jesus, which relates to Jesus himself identifying with the bronze serpent of Moses (John 3:14). This identification troubles many fundamentalist Christians, but is real, nonetheless. If this line of study is pursued, it leads to a great many “troubling” ideas and correspondences. If pursued, it will lead to many (unpopular) enlightening principles. Just as the alchemical serpent is crucified, Jesus became sin on the Cross for mankind, taking our punishment upon Him and shedding His blood on the cross in our place, as a ransom for many and steals souls from Hell when he descends there. This is similar to the idea of Prometheus stealing fire from Mount Olympus or Hari Krishna stealing souls from Yama or Indra, the god of death and the underworld. And like Jesus, Mercurius (the spirit behind the planet Mercury) or Hermes was a god of revelation, who discloses the secret of the art to the adepts.

The last part of Zosimos’ Visions (quoted above) recalls the saying of St. John Chrysostom’s saying that in the Eucharist, Christ drinks his own blood and perhaps eats his own flesh. It also reminds us of the orgiastic meals of the cult of Dionysus, where animals were sacrificed, torn into pieces and eaten. They represent Dionysus Zagreus who was also torn into pieces by the Titans (including their leader Chronos/Saturn). The composition of the waters in which the spirit splits off from the body is a clear reference to the heavenly baptism of John the Baptist, where the sins of the repentant are washed away in the spiritual waters of grace and truth (the Holy Spirit/comforter) flowing from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Speaking of John the Baptist, on January 6, the date is famous for the instance when Jesus was baptized by John celebrated on Epiphany. This date falls under Capricorn, the goat fish or Aegipan. According to Zlatko Pletze in Fate, Providence and Astrology in Gnosticism (1): The Apocryphon of John, he connects Capricorn with Saturn and Adoni as well as Sabaoth. He’s referencing the archons and authorities from the Apocryphon of John and the Zodiac (obviously). According to John 19:34, the stabbing or piercing of holy lance or “spear of destiny” into Jesus’ side by the Roman Centurion named in extra-Biblical tradition (the Gospel of Nicodemus) as Caius Cassius Longinus, resulted in the pouring of blood and water. This reminds us of Jesus’ saying in Matthew 10:34:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

Killing with the sword is a recurring theme in alchemy. The “philosophical egg” is divided with the sword, and with it the “King is transfixed” and the dragon or “corpus” is mutilated. The alchemical sword, like the cross brings about the separation of the elements (flesh and spirit), so that a new more perfect body can be processed. It is this sword that “kills and vivifies,” and dipped and anointed with the waters of life. Mercurius is the giver of life as well as the destroyer of the old form. It is the sword that comes of the mouth of the Son of Man in Revelation of St. John, and according to Hebrews 4:12, the Logos, the Word of God, and hence Christ himself is that sword.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

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Christ is the mediator and savior, the solver and separator, who is a sword, for he is the “penetrating spirit” “more piercing than a two-edged sword”. And so, the spirit of Christ pierces the veil that covers over the blinded soul, in which the believer is said to cross over from the Saturnian/Satanic hyper-cube of time, space and flesh (symbolized as the old man in Pauline literature) and into the realm of spirit, being the Kingdom of God (the new man in which the fleshy deeds of the old man are mortified). The divisive and separate function of the sword in alchemy is prefigured in the flaming sword of the angel or cherub that separated Adam and Eve from paradise. Separation by a sword is a theme that can be found in the Ophite diagram: the earthly cosmos is surrounded by a ring of fire which at the same time encloses paradise. But paradise and the ring of fire are separated by the “flaming sword.” An important interpretation of the cherub’s flaming sword is given by Simon Magus as reported by Hippolytus in Refutation of All Heresies (VI.12):

This, he says, is the flaming sword, which turned to guard the way of the tree of life. For the blood is converted into seed and milk, and this power becomes mother and father— father of those things that are in process of generation, and the augmentation of those things that are being nourished; (and this power is) without further want, (and) self-sufficient. And, he says, the tree of life is guarded, as we have stated, by the brandished flaming sword.

For Simon, the sword represents the fiery force of generation which turns and spurns the spirit from escaping out of the realm of matter and into the Simonian fiery tree of life, which represents the aeons and the Godhead. This teaching prefigures the Kabbalah by several hundred years, at least. And yet the flaming sword represents the very fiery force that “turns” something small and into something great. It is the means of transformation of the vital spirit in man into the Divine or the true arcane substance of alchemy symbolized as seed and milk in Simon Magus’s doctrine.

If, however, these be converted into seed and milk, the principle that resides in these potentially, and is in possession of a proper position, in which is evolved a principle of souls, (such a principle,) beginning, as it were, from a very small spark, will be altogether magnified, and will increase and become a power indefinite (and) unalterable, (equal and similar) to an unalterable age, which no longer passes into the indefinite age.

How does any of this relate to Saturn? In the quest for the Holy Grail, the answer is revealed. Tracy Twyman in Regnum in Potentia, Part 1: Saturn’s Kingdom Transformed Into the Golden Age, writes about a particular Holy Grail romance:

In Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, the knight Gawain is sent on a mission by a hermit who looks young, although he is 75 years old. The mission is to find the sword that John the Baptist was beheaded with, which he will need to enter the lands of the Fisher King. The sword belongs to a pagan king named Gurguran, who promises Gawain that he can have it if he will rescue the king’s son from a giant who has kidnapped him. Gawain kills the giant, but the boy is strangled to death in the process. Then, in a strange rite, Gurguran chops his sons body into pieces and distributes them to his subjects to eat. Gawain then receives the sword and is led to the Grail banquet at the Fisher King’s court, where 12 knights who are hundreds of years old (reminiscent of the 12 Olympian gods) sit around a banquet hall, all looking youthful except for their grey hair.

Indeed, we see Wolfram revel in providing us a number of deep mystical truths in his poem. At one point of the story, in Parzival, Wolfram tells us that the cycles of Saturn governs the intensity of Grail King Amfortas’s perpetual wound.

Then answered the host, * Far sorer than before was the monarch’s pain, In this wise did he learn the tidings that Saturn drew near again, And the star with a sharp frost cometh, and it helpeth no whit to lay.  The spear on the sore as aforetime, tn the wound must it lunge alway. When that star standeth high in heaven the wound shall its coming know Afore, tho’ the earth shall heed not, nor token of frost shall show. But the cold it came, and the snow-flakes fell thick in the following night…

To be “saturnine” means to be slow, gloomy, and depressed. The Gospel of Truth calls the universe of matter in terms of being a nightmare filled with violence:

Since it was terror and disturbance and instability and doubt and division, there were many illusions at work by means of these, and (many) empty fictions, as if they were sunk in sleep, and found themselves in disturbing dreams. Either (there is) a place to which they are fleeing, or without strength they come (from) having chased after others, or they are involved in striking blows, or they are receiving blows themselves, or they have fallen from high places, or they take off into the air, though they do not even have wings. Again, sometimes (it is as) if people were murdering them, though there is no one even pursuing them, or they themselves are killing their neighbors, for they have been stained with their blood.

This is not so dissimilar to how Plutarch describes the perpetual dreams of Saturn. Parzival at one point in his story sits next to his host, the Grail King Anfortas (possibly symbolizing the crucified Christ), amidst the Grail, the holiest of holies, surrounded by the celestial hierarchies. He has witnessed the bleeding spear and the suffering it has caused the King and is court. He has seen the mysterious destroying power of Saturn and the sickness, old age and death in its wake. Yet he has not connected them with the glorious regenerative power of the Grail that overcame the Saturnine decay. Later, Parzival is forced to demonstrate his fitness for Grail membership. A squire steps forward and hands Anfortas a sword made of ruby. The King presents Parzival with the sword saying:

“This sword often came to my aid in the greatest need, that is before God’s will I receive so sore a wound. Now I give it to you. May it bring to you what you can never acquire by simple gazing at what is taking place here.”

The sword is unique, yet Parzival could not recognize this fact. If he had but known, he would have seen the full harmony of wisdom, love and strength from this weapon (representing the Logos). Parzival should have seen how the pitiful suffering of the king and realize that the power the King once had in his sword now belongs to him. As Parzival reveals, the path of initiation is long and weary, full of doubt, sorrow, pain that pierces the veil into the Holy of Holies of the spirit where regeneration occurs with the Logos. It is the “narrow gate” that Jesus in Matthew and Luke once advocated and commanded his followers to walk through, out of Saturn’s/Satan’s Kingdom, to be saved. It is the second journey towards the Grail Castle that will teach him the necessary wisdom that he must not only ask but also provide the answer himself. He will be armed with the wisdom that he will translate thus:

” I myself am guilty for the suffering of humanity; only if I reach the highest goal, and then not for myself, but in service of the word, can I bring forth healing.”

It is the Grail King who understands how the great cosmic forces operating in the macrocosm rule in the microcosm of the human body. This is the secret of the Hermetical axiom: “As above, so below.” As we’ve seen, Saturn’s power primarily works in obstructing and inhibiting, just as how the control system mankind is currently in bondage to, behaves. The controllers (in their various guises) prevent their slaves from seeing certain truths, from forcing us to live their way of reality. Perhaps this is why the term “royalty” is tied with the word “reality.” The excess Saturnian energy may be why so many people are unwilling to change their minds even when confronted by evidence.

The conspiracy author David Icke has often said that consciousness is like a ball under water. It rises to the surface by itself unless there is someone pushing it down. Perhaps this is why Saturn is so important to the controllers and “secret societies”. However, they too, like everyone else, are prisoners in this continuum of Saturn and with various machinations are seeking to break out from. Here are a few more videos worthy of your consideration.

The Faustian Grail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled, we wrote:

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

In another chapter, we also note:

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

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

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

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

John Milton would write in Paradise Lost:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“A Fairy under Starry Skies” by Luis Ricardo Falero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dr-faustus-in-a-magic-circle-frontispiece-of-gent-s-translation-of-dr-faustus-published-1648

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“And who are you?” she asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alex Rivera on Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio with Miguel Conner

I did this interview with Miguel Conner on Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio. I discuss my insights into the Matrix films, Baphomet, Abraxas and Simon Magus among other fascinating topics. Things get really heavy towards the end. Have fun! Comments welcome.

The Simon Sancus Conondrum

The controversy surrounding the trinity of Simon-Paul, Simon-Peter (Dositheos) and Simon-Jesus, is not a new one and has been addressed by other scholars, although not exactly in the same angle, I’ve been looking at for a while now. However, scant attention, outside of a few scholars, are given to another controversy associated with Simon Magus and that is the Semo Sancus statue that Simon was confused for by the Church theologian and semi-heretic Justin Martyr. Furthermore, the magical act of animating statues was a popular feat among ancient magicians and theurgists. One question does come up in my mind: Does this have anything to do with the Semo Sancus statue associated with Simon Magus?

After this, the next series of articles will explore the Hermetic side of things, delving further into the “divine twin” phenomena that is surprisingly common in ancient literature. There will also be some startling details concerning the Apollos and Apollo, Thoth, Hermes’ connections and the Emerald Tablets. This will all be full explored in False Gods, Divine Charlatans and Hermetic Hustlers.

Sancus

In Justin Martyr’s 1 Apology 26, he claims that the Roman ruler, Claudius Caesar built a statue in honor of Simon Magus because he was so impressed by his magical feats:

And, thirdly, because after Christ’s ascension into heaven the devils put forward certain men who said that they themselves were gods; and they were not only not persecuted by you, but even deemed worthy of honours. There was a Samaritan, Simon, a native of the village called Gitto, who in the reign of Claudius Cæsar, and in your royal city of Rome, did mighty acts of magic, by virtue of the art of the devils operating in him. He was considered a god, and as a god was honoured by you with a statue, which statue was erected on the river Tiber, between the two bridges, and bore this inscription, in the language of Rome:— Simoni Deo Sancto, To Simon the holy God. And almost all the Samaritans, and a few even of other nations, worship him, and acknowledge him as the first god; and a woman, Helena, who went about with him at that time, and had formerly been a prostitute, they say is the first idea generated by him.

However, it is said that in this instance, Simon was simply “confused” with another Roman god, Semo Sancus by Justin Martyr. Here is what I wrote in my commentary on the Great Declaration about this issue:

However, some scholars debate this point, claiming that Justin confused a statue dedicated to the Sabine divinity Semo Sancus with that of the historical Simon the Magician. Semo Sancus is an ancient Sabine deity for oaths, contracts, law, matrimony, and legal fidelity. In 1574, an altar dedicated to Semo Sancus was discovered on the island of the Tiber River with the following inscription Semoni Sanco Deo, which translates as “to Semon the Holy God.” This discovery led to the belief that Justin had made an observational mistake concerning what he thought was the idol of “Simon the Holy God” on the Tiber River.

There is a problem with this theory in that it assumes that the deity’s name is Semo. In Latin, semo or the plural semones derives from semi-homines or semi-humans. These are the dii medioxumi who were lower-level deities. The semones are the demigods of the Roman pagan pantheon. According to Marcus Porcius Cato, a Sanco is a spirit (daimon) and not a god (theos).

From the point of view of Roman paganism, it does not make sense to use a generic noun of semo for a demigod and then also the noun deos for a god. It would be like saying, “to the demigod holy god.” What is far more likely is that the Simon Magus, as a magician and adapter of local paganism, co-opted the Roman tradition of a semi-human god of law and covenant and identified himself as the semi-human god. This would conform to the description of Simon Magus in Acts 8:10 as being “this man who is the power of God.” So then, it was probably not Justin Martyr who was confused, but rather Simon Magus (and his followers) who confused his identity with the semi-human god of Rome.

The statue mentioned by Justin was finally discovered in 1574, and found to bear the inscription to Semo Sancus, the Sabine (and possibly, originally Persian) god of contracts. The full name of this god was Semo Sancus Dius Fidius. Another deity who was considered to be a god of contracts was Mithra, the mediator god of ancient Persia and figure-head of the Mithriac mysteries. Ilion---metopa

Mithra was the preserver of law and order and a god of war, described as riding his four-horsed golden chariot against the demons and their worshipers. This image and description brings to mind of that of Apollo, the chariot riding sun god who rescues the fragments of Dionysus, after he was torn to shreds by the jealous Titans. Mithra was also considered synonymous with Helios, a solar deity. The Orphic Hymn to Helios, otherwise known as the Mithras Liturgy tells us:

Be gracious to me, 0 Providence and Psyche, as I write these mysteries handed down for gain but for instruction; and for an only child I request immortality, O initiates of this our power (furthermore, it is necessary for you, O daughter, to take (480) the juices of herbs and spices, which will to you at the end of my holy treatise), which the great god Helios Mithras ordered to be revealed to me by his archangel, so that I alone may ascend into heaven as an inquirer (485) and behold the universe.

The Helios-Mithra imagery also happens to match closely with that of Cyril of Jerusalem’s description of Simon Magus riding a chariot, pulled by demonic powers, from his Catechetical Lectures:

Simon promised to rise aloft to heaven, and came riding in a demons’ chariot on the air.

Of course, Magus, is the singular version of “Magi”, which were the Persian Zoroastrians who ruled over the fire temples of ancient Iran. They too, like Simon, revered the divine fire and thought of it as the primitive origin of all things. Franz Cumont reports on the inner workings of the Mithriac mystery cults in the Mysteries of Mithra, which sounds curiously close with Catholicism:

The priest was the intermediary between God and man. His functions evidently included the administration of the sacraments and the celebration of the services. The inscriptions tell us that in addition he presided at the formal dedications, or at least represented the faithful one on such an occasion along with the Fathers; but this was the least portion only of the duties he had to perform; the religious service which fell to his lot appears to have been very exacting. He doubtless was compelled to see that a perpetual fire burned upon the altars. Three times a day, at dawn, at noon, and at dusk, he addressed a prayer to the Sun, turning in the morning toward the East, at noon toward the South, at evening toward the West.

Interestingly enough, Justin Martyr makes some peculiar statements regarding Mithra in Dialogue With Trypho (Chapter 70):

And when those who record the mysteries of Mithras say that he was begotten of a rock, and call the place where those who believe in him are initiated a cave…they have attempted likewise to imitate the whole of Isaiah’s words?…’he shall dwell in the lofty cave of the strong rock. Bread shall be given to him, and his water [shall be] sure…’

But when the Child was born in Bethlehem, since Joseph could not find a lodging in that village, he took up his quarters in a certain cave near the village; and while they were there Mary brought forth the Christ and placed Him in a manger, and here the Magi who came from Arabia found Him. I have repeated to you what Isaiah foretold about the sign which foreshadowed the cave…those who presided over the mysteries of Mithras were stirred up by the devil to say that in a place, called among them a cave, they were initiated by him (Trypho, Chapter 78).

It’s uncertain if Justin is merely confused or is deliberately lying. He claims the devil read Isaiah, and thus had the followers of Mithra claim that Mithra came from a cave. Justin’s reference to Isaiah 33:16 does not in any way point to the birth of Jesus in a cave (the passage in Isaiah never mentions a birth and has end time applications). Justin was apparently trying to claim that the followers of Mithra claimed a cave because of Isaiah but the scriptures prove otherwise. Despite Justin Martyr’s supposed opposition to the Mithriac mysteries, he seems to whole sale borrow their terminology and practices!

For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water…And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understandings… And this food is called among us Εύχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined.

For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished…Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn…

Such terminology such as “illumination” was a common stable in the Mithriac mysteries. From the same book, Franz Cumont tells us about this practice:

Mithraism {provided}…the promise of complete illumination, long withheld, fed the ardor of faith with the fascinating allurements of mystery…The gods were everywhere, and…the light that illuminated their paths, were the objects of their adoration.

It seems to me that Justin’s wholesale embrace of Mithriac terminology and praxis foreshadows the Catholic embrace of Mithra through Emperor Constanine (who’s mother also happened to be named Helena), but we will save that for another story.

Getting back to the main subject, it is usually said that Justin is to be blamed for the error of transforming the cult statue as devoted to “Simon the Holy God”. He does not, however, suggest that he has seen the statue himself, as he certainly would have said so if he had seen it. Indeed, he speaks of Rome throughout the First Apology as a distant, though respected, place, as of a city he had never yet visited. His later stay in Rome, where indeed he died; has made it easy for us to assume that the First Apology represents his knowledge at that stage of life. Of course this same text was addressed to Emperor Antoninus Pius and his sons in Rome, in the days when he was still an itinerant teacher in the Levant. This linking of Simon’s name with a statue also recurs in the evidence of lrenaeus, itself also perhaps from Justin. It is suggested that such an enthusiast might be a Samaritan, not arbitrarily, but in the light of what Justin goes on to say (I Apol. xxvi):

“Almost all the Samaritans, and even a few people of other races, confess this man as the First God, and go so far as to worship him.”

The statement that the Samaritans in question “worshiped” Simon is emphatic, though it may mean only that he was invoked in the course of theurgic operations, or that his statue was venerated with garlands or incense. Or in other words, the statue of Simon was used in animating statue rituals. This practice involves the consecration of a statue of a God. Often one would hollow it out and fill the whole with “sunthemata” i.e. herbs and ingredients related to the deity, and then perform a rite to consecrate it. The Chaldean Oracles lays out a animating statue ritual for a statue of Hekate:

But execute my statute, purifying it as I shall instruct you. Make a form from wild rue and decorate it with small animals, such as lizards which live about the house. Rub a mixture of myrrh, gum, and frankincense with these animals, and out in the clear air under the waxing moon, complete this (statue) yourself offering the following prayer.

The Greek Magical Papryi also have some similar rituals for animating statues. The practice of ritualized animation, also known as the “telestic art”, was a process the telestai (the one who is aimed) or initiate would externalize the quickening of the spirit process in a statue of a god. This does not mean that a statue literally moved and walked around. Of course, the Greek word telestike, quite literally means a process of “completion”, maturation or perfection which essentially was bringing purification to the soul into its most perfect or finished state in which it could rise into the celestial heights, and the cosmos, where the angels, gods, and other divine beings dwelt. The concept of “perfection” of course, is replete in the Paul’s epistles, the Gospels, as well as the Nag Hammadi Codices. In the Clementine Recognitions II, 9, Simon Magus himself brags about his magical prowess, and specifically names animating statues as one of his abilities:

For I am able to render myself invisible to those who wish to lay hold of me, and again to be visible when I am willing to be seen. If I wish to flee, I can dig through the mountains, and pass through rocks as if they were clay. If I should throw myself headlong from a lofty mountain, I should be born unhurt to the earth, as if I were held up; when bound, I can loose myself, and bind those who had bound me; being shut up in prison, I can make the barriers open of their own accord; I can render statues animated so that those who see suppose that they are men.

Justin’s confusion and that of other Church Fathers could be related to the fact that the Simonians themselves were responsible for this identification, since some of them worshiped Simon Magus as a diving being, often in the form of Zeus, as Kurt Rudolph pointed out in his book, Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism, pg. 295.

hecate-ss-hec

A statue of Hekate or Hecate.

8646_-_St_Petersburg_-_Hermitage_-_Jupiter2

Zeus, naturally.

Semo Sancus was also conflated with Hercules. Hercules was also said to be the son of Jupiter/Zeus. Here is what I also said about Hercules in the first part of my commentary of the Great Declaration:

Stephen Haar in his work, Simon Magus: The First Gnostic? notes that the Phoenician (notice the that connection again as associated with the city of Tyre where Simon found Helen in a brothel) sun-god Herakles (Hercules), like Simon was also conferred with the title of the “Standing One”. Even the name Simon could be traced to the oriental stem of Sem-Herakles, a deity also worshiped in Samaria.

Jesus was considered synonymous with Aesculapius, the son of Apollo, in the Gospel of John and the The Gospel of Nicodemus, and even specifically named as such by Pilate in the later. A divinity described as overseeing oaths, contracts and loyalties sounds eerily similar to that of the Lawgiver Jehovah throughout the Old Testament. This Jewish deity makes a contract with Moses in Exodus by giving him the Ten Commandments written on his tablets, only moments later for Moses to literally break in half! To make things even more thornier, according to Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Hippolytus, statues of Simon and Helena were created in the likeness of Zeus/Jupiter and Athena/Minerva. Hippolytus tells us about the Simonians in Refutation of All Heresies (6,15):

And they have an image of Simon (fashioned) into the figure of Jupiter, and (an image) of Helen in the form of Minerva; and they pay adoration to these.” But they call the one Lord and the other Lady. And if any one amongst them, on seeing the images of either Simon or Helen, would call them by name, he is cast off, as being ignorant of the mysteries.

Compare this to what the Church Historian Eusebius would much later write in Church History 2: 13:

But they nevertheless have embraced again the superstitions of idols, which they seemed to have renounced; and they fall down before pictures and images of Simon himself and of the above-mentioned Helena who was with him; and they venture to worship them with incense and sacrifices and libations.

What could this all mean? As we already know, Simon had a “beloved” disciple and consort, a Phoenician sorceress called Helena, as they were both worshiped in the form of Zeus and Athena, which certainly appealed to the Greeks of their time as well. Helena’s connection with Sophia, the holy harlot, also goes without saying. The manner of Athena’s birth also shares great similarities with the Gnostic Barbelo, who is described as the co-eternal forethought of Godhead (Father) which begets the Nous (Son); it is the out-flowing of Noetic Power which fills/nurtures the Nous’ contemplation of the Father. Athena was also a Virgin and Mother, which all hearkens back to the Egyptian Isis. This is the Sethianized (Dosithean) version of the Simonian myth as seen with Helena being the “First Thought” or “Forethought” of Simon, the Nous or the “Universal Mind” i.e. the incarnation of the Father. This same being describes herself in the Trimorphic Protennoia:

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

Notice how Protennoia describes as herself as being “within” the world-creating Archons, Angels, and Demons! This fits into the account as described by Simon Magus in the Great Declaration:

And to this manner did the fire assume both male and female forms, the one from above and the other from below, as each did mature unto perfect conformity with the Heavenly Power whose likeness and image they were. 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.

Simon Magus, despite his bizarre activities and magical practices, does not come across exactly like a charlatan. Rather, he operated like a Shaman. True, he did practice some necromancy and even said he had created a human being from thin air and a wandering soul in the Clementine literature. But these improbable tales were probably just plain advertising and increased business. And many people benefited from his healing. As I already mentioned, Semo was a Latin term for “semi-human” or “demi-god”, while Sancus meant “spirit” or daimon. A daimon, of course, was also considered to be synonymous with Platonic messenger gods like Eros and Phanes (which are both titles ascribed to basically the same being). Even Socrates equated himself as a daimonic philosopher. My paper, Eros, Orpheus and On the Origin of the World, goes into all of this in depth. The Greek historian Plutarch in On Isis and Osiris claims that daimons or daemons had a inconsistent and contradictory nature, much like humans, which is why philosophers were considered to have daemonic qualities.

XXV. “Do they, therefore, better, who believe the legends told about Typhon, Osiris, and Isis, not to refer to either gods or men, but to certain great Powers (dæmons), whom Plato, Pythagoras, Xenocrates, and Chrysippus (following the ancient theologians) assert to have been created far stronger than men, and greatly surpassing our nature in power, but yet having the divine part not entirely unmixed nor unalloyed, but combined with the nature of the soul and the senses of the body, susceptible of pleasure and pain, and all other emotions the result of these, that by their vicissitudes disturb, some in a greater, others in a less degree; for, in that case, as amongst men, so amongst dæmons, exist degrees of virtue and of vice. ‘

For the deeds of the Giants and Titans, sung of by the Greeks, certain atrocious actions of Saturn, the pitched battle between Python and Apollo, the flight of Bacchus, the wanderings of Ceres do not fall short in absurdity of the legends about Osiris and Typhon, and the others that one may hear told by mythologists to any amount—all the things that are shrouded in mystic ceremonies, and are presented by rites, being kept secret and out of sight from the vulgar, and have a shape similar to those mentioned of the Egyptians.”

The cult of Simon as First God is an enigma. It has been associated with Samaritan-Jewish concepts of God, especially in the Samaritan connection with Moses and YHWH but the title is hardly consistent with any sort of monotheism. Pagan parallels, such as with Samaritan-pagan syncretic cults are more promising. In the book, The Samaritans, by Alan David Crown, he writes:

Abu’l Fath’s account of Hadrian’s activities in Palestine certainly contains a number of legendary elements, but behind his story of Hadrian’s temple, there undoubtedly lies the fact that Hadrian erected on Mount Gerizim – not on the mountain next to it – a temple of Zeus (Jupiter). The remains of this temple erected on Mount Gerizim were excavated at Tell er-Ras by the Drew-McCormic expedition in the 1960’s, and it is presumable the temple to which reference is made in  a passage which has been preserved in the Bibliotheca of Photius, a Patriarch of Constantinople in the ninth century A.D.

Of course, Mount Gerizim is the same mountain which was considered sacred by the Samaritans. John 4:19-20 has the Samaritan woman at the well telling Jesus this:

The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”

Jesus responds swiftly to the Samaritan woman (who is likely Helena in disguise):

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

A syncretic mixture between gentile heathenism and Samaritan religion seemed to have been becoming more and more of a common feat in the ancient world as demonstrated above. There are also many hints of this in the Old Testament where Levite priests were even hired to perform rituals and rites based on the heathen gods, outside of Judaism and the worship of YHWH when times were tough. King Solomon was also said to have converted to heathen gods in 1 Kings. One last point on Justin Martyr is that at the end of the Second Apology, Justin admits his motives to destroy the Gnostics and Simonians by government sanction. He begs the Emperor Antoninus Pius to admit his apology into law against the Simonians. They wanted to tear down statues of gods merely because they believed the gods were images of Simon. His only purpose for composing the treatise (not actually an apology) was to convince the Emperor to kill Gnostics by law. He failed.

But the evil spirits were not satisfied with saying, before Christ’s appearance, that those who were said to be sons of Jupiter were born of him; but after He had appeared, and been born among men, and when they learned how He had been foretold by the prophets, and knew that He should be believed on and looked for by every nation, they again, as was said above, put forward other men, the Samaritans Simon and Menander, who did many mighty works by magic, and deceived many, and still keep them deceived.

For even among yourselves, as we said before, Simon was in the royal city Rome in the reign of Claudius Caesar, and so greatly astonished the sacred senate and people of the Romans, that he was considered a god, and honoured, like the others whom you honour as gods, with a statue. Wherefore we pray that the sacred senate and your people may, along with yourselves, be arbiters of this our memorial, in order that if any one be entangled by that man’s doctrines, he may learn the truth, and so be able to escape error; and as for the statue, if you please, destroy it. And I despised the wicked and deceitful doctrine of Simon of my own nation. And if you give this book your authority, we will expose him before all, that, if possible, they may be converted. For this end alone did we compose this treatise.

And our doctrines are not shameful, according to a sober judgment, but are indeed more lofty than all human philosophy; and if not so, they are at least unlike the doctrines of the Sotadists and Philaenidians, and Dancers, and Epicureans and such other teachings of the poets, which all are allowed to acquaint themselves with, both as acted and as written. And henceforth we shall be silent, having done as much as we could, and having added the prayer that all men everywhere may be counted worthy of the truth. And would that you also, in a manner becoming piety and philosophy, would for your own sakes judge justly!

Dangerous and Deceitful Docetic Doctrines

Even more interesting is that in Dialogue with Trypho (CXX.6), Justin Martyr claims that the Samaritans thought of Simon as a docetic, daimonic being, similar to how Paul viewed Jesus Christ as a spiritual being taking on the likeness of a man, in terms of Christus Victor atonement, i.e., that Christ defeated the powers by duping them into crucifying him:

For I gave no thought to any of my people, that is, the Samaritans, when I had a communication in writing with Caesar, but stated that they were wrong in trusting to the magician Simon of their own nation, who, they say, is God above all power, and authority, and power.

This description of Simon matches up perfectly with St. Paul’s “Christ Jesus” or spiritual savior who possessed him, like sort of a “walk-in”. Paul’s Christ was also above these powers, authorities and all might. Paul calls us to be, “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10). Paul says that the law of sin and death (the Torah) is in the body. Or rather, the flesh IS the law. This is how Simon Magus interpreted the Torah as well in the Great Declaration with each book representing different parts of the body as well as each sensation. Simon even equated the Garden of Eden with the womb and the fetus inside a pregnant woman. The Gnostics themselves believed that the spiritual seed was imprisoned into material bodies by the rulers. So if the flesh is the law, as Paul says, then it must logically follow that by Christ’s body being crucified, the law was crucified, too. This could further lead one to interpret, as Paul does, that the crucifixion wasn’t really a defeat at all, but a victory over the powers. In other words, Christ tricked the powers into crucifying the flesh, which nullified the law by getting them to destroy their own creation.

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That’s why the Second Treatise of Seth said that they crucified “their man,” not Christ. Christ tricked them into destroying their own creation, the prison of the material body. To use Paul’s logic again, no human being could overcome the law because they were constricted by material flesh. Therefore, as he writes in Romans 8, someone had to come in the semblance of flesh (phantasmal flesh) to condemn sin, which no human could do since they were bound to sin by the flesh. And by going to the cross, he crucified the law and sin through the form of the flesh. That’s the logic of Paul’s phantasmal docetism. The flesh is the law, and the flesh impedes righteous because it is predisposed to sin. So anything that has flesh cannot be save itself because it is enslaved to sin and the law. So in Paul’s mind, a savior had to come who wasn’t constricted by flesh so that he could save those who were. Yes, doceticism is found expressly in Paul. And this is how Marcion, the Gnostics and Simonians came up with their ideas on a docetic Christology – straight from Paul!

“But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. … For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Paul’s entire soteriology makes no sense without a docetic Christology. Flesh is what causes sin, and the law is what empowers sin. Since the flesh produces sin, it prevents fulfillment of the law. Therefore, something without flesh had to come and condemn sin, which annihilated the just requirement of the law. So all who believe on Christ are, in Paul’s mind, redeemed (literally purchased) out from the law by spiritually partaking in his crucifixion and destroying their own flesh. If Earl Doherty’s theory holds, the original Pauline Christ was never incarnate on earth. His crucifixion occurred exclusively in a spiritual dimension. So by that interpretation, the rulers would have crucified him themselves. Obviously, the later Paulinists and Gnostics believed that Christ actually did appear on earth and had an historical ministry, so in that case, the Roman authorities would have crucified him, at the behest of the Jews. But the spiritual rulers would have been operating behind them.

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The Concept of Our Great Power says something very similar, which is no surprise since the text itself is considered to be a late Simonian text:

Who is this? What is this? His word was abolished the law of the aeon. He is from the Logos of’ the power of life. And he was victorious over the command of the archons, and they were not able by their work to rule over him.

The crucifixion, for the author of Power, wasn’t the destruction of Jesus, but of the archons. It’s basically a continuation of the interpretation of the cross in Colossians (Jesus crucifying the law, rather than Jesus himself being crucified, i.e., Jesus is secretly the one in complete control behind the crucifixion). The crucifixion is the defeat of the powers and represents each individual’s triumph over their own fleshly impulses. The Basildean Second Treatise of the Great Seth also repeats these same themes of the descent of the Savior through the heavens, during which he assumes different forms in order not to be recognized by the angels.

And I subjected all their powers. For as I came downward, no one saw me. For I was altering my shapes, changing from form to form. And therefore, when I was at their gates, I assumed their likeness. For I passed them by quietly, and I was viewing the places, and I was not afraid nor ashamed, for I was undefiled. And I was speaking with them, mingling with them through those who are mine, and trampling on those who are harsh to them with zeal, and quenching the flame. And I was doing all these things because of my desire to accomplish what I desired by the will of the Father above.

Later in the same text, Christ mocks and laughs with great zeal at the Orthodox and Judaic (the Pharisee Caiaphas’s idea really) doctrine of vicarious redemption through suffering and blood sacrifice, for the sins of Israel and the world:

For my death, which they think happened, (happened) to them in their error and blindness, since they nailed their man unto their death. … But in doing these things, they condemn themselves. … And I subjected all their powers.

They nailed him to the tree, and they fixed him with four nails of brass. The veil of his temple he tore with his hands … for the souls which were in the sleep below were released. And they arose. They went about boldly, having shed zealous service of ignorance and unlearnedness beside the dead tombs, having put on the new man…” …They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. I was another upon Whom they placed the crown of thorns. But I was rejoicing in the height over all the wealth of the archons and the offspring of their error, of their empty glory. And I was laughing at their ignorance.

This other “Simon” is mentioned by Tertullian in Against All Heresies, and also claims was indeed crucified or sacrificed in Jesus’ stead. This is mirrored in the much later Koran, the Gospel of Barnabas and in Islamic beliefs of Jesus not dying on the cross.

Christ, moreover, he affirms to have been sent, not by this maker of the world, but by the above-named Abraxas; and to have come in a phantasm, and been destitute of the substance of flesh: that it was not He who suffered among the Jews, but that Simon was crucified in His stead: whence, again, there must be no believing on him who was crucified, lest one confess to having believed on Simon.

Clearly, as Simon of Cyrene, Simon Magus appears in the Nag Hammadi documents. Simon of Cyrene never actually existed, however. He, like most of the other Simons, was based upon hearsay about Simon Magus. I suspect that the author of Mark was aware of rumors that a certain Simon had been crucified with Christ, but in actuality, this was a misinterpretation of Paul’s (who, unbeknownst to Mark, was actually Simon Magus himself) crucifixion mysticism. Later Gnostics like Basilides, also being unaware of the origin of this Simonian legend, concocted myths about Simon of Cyrene being crucified in Jesus’s stead. However, the Concept of Our Great Power doesn’t think Simon was crucified instead of Jesus. Rather, the author is a monophysite docetist, like Paul, who believed that Jesus Christ was one person with a phantasmal body who actually underwent the crucifixion. Let’s compare the Second Treatise of the Great Seth with Ephesians 2:14:

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished the enmity in the flesh, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.

While the Second Treatise of Seth has many Pauline elements strewn throughout, it does warn against the idea of “dying with Christ”: “It is enslavement that we should die with Christ, with flawless and imperishable mind (at our bidding). This is a wonder not understood.” Indeed, it is not understood. The Gospel of Philip also tells us the shape-shifting nature of the docetic Jesus Christ:

Jesus took them all by stealth, for he did not appear as he was, but in the manner in which they would be able to see him. He appeared to them all. He appeared to the great as great. He appeared to the small as small. He appeared to the angels as an angel, and to men as a man. Because of this, his word hid itself from everyone. Some indeed saw him, thinking that they were seeing themselves, but when he appeared to his disciples in glory on the mount, he was not small. He became great, but he made the disciples great, that they might be able to see him in his greatness.

Next, The Ascension of Isaiah also shares numerous similarities with the scenarios described above, which according to Simone Petrement in A Separate God (page 319) was authored by a Simonian school, around Menander’s time (a disciple or son of Simon Magus). The Ascension of Isaiah (10: 8-13) tells us:

“Go out and descend through all the heavens. You shall descend through the firmament and through that world as far as the angel who (is) in Sheol, but you shall not go as far as Perdition. And you shall make your likeness like that of all who (are) in the five heavens, and you shall take care to make your form like that of the angels of the firmament and also (like that) of the angels who (are) in Sheol. And none of the angels of that world shall know that you (are) Lord with me of the seven heavens and of their angels.

And they shall not know that you (are) with me when with the voice of the heavens I summon you, and their angels and their lights, and when I lift up (my voice) to the sixth heaven, that you may judge and destroy the princes and the angels and the gods of that world, and the world which is ruled by them, for they have denied me and said, ‘We alone are, and there is no one besides us.’

Notice how the angelic rulers sentiments of being “alone, and there is no one besides us”, match almost verbatim from various statements made by Jehovah about himself being the “only God” in Isaiah of the Old Testament. His boasting, egoistical comments about himself become transferred to the world-ruling, world-creating angels. The “LORD God” becomes separated and decentralized into multiple powers in Ascension, in this case.

“Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.” Isaiah 44:8

All of this is echoed in Hippolytus who writes in Refutation of All Heresies (Book VI, Chapter XIV) on Simon’s doctrine:

But the angels and the powers below—who, he says, created the worldcaused the transference from one body to another of (Helen’s soul); and subsequently she stood on the roof of a house in Tyre, a city of Phœnicia, and on going down thither (Simon professed to have) found her. For he stated that, principally for the purpose of searching after this (woman), he had arrived (in Tyre), in order that he might rescue her from bondage. And after having thus redeemed her, he was in the habit of conducting her about with himself, alleging that this (girl) was the lost sheep, and affirming himself to be the Power above all things.

The same may be said of the disguise adopted by Simon as he descends to save Helena: he passes down through the powers and authorities and angels “transformed and made like” one of them, to appear among men in the guise of a man as proclaimed in the Great Declaration. This has an obvious kinship with later second-century Christological developments with the Gnostics. The resurrection account according St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 tells us that the dead in Christ, receive spiritual, docetic bodies, which is transformed or transmuted from the bodies of material flesh.

50This I declare, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality. 54 And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality, then the word that is written shall come about:

“Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

“Death is swallowed up in victory” is an amazingly deep phrase. On the Qabalistic Tree of Life, Victory or “Netzach” is the primary title of the sphere which rules over “strength” and “fortitude”. According to Paul, victory is also one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5-22-23:

22 In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Death, according to On the Origin of the World, is actually one of demonic Archons, created by Yaldabaoth because of his jealousy at Sabaoth (the archon or “Lord of Hosts” that repents to Sophia), which in turn creates his own demonic offspring! This is the Angel of Death, or the Destroying Angel of Exodus.

And having become wrathful, he engendered Death out of his death: and he (viz., Death) was established over the sixth heaven, <for> Sabaoth had been snatched up from there. And thus the number of the six authorities of chaos was achieved. Then Death, being androgynous, mingled with his (own) nature and begot seven androgynous offspring.

Simon, too, is depicted as a victorious supernatural being, who by stealth, slipped past the Archons, to find and rescue his consort, Helena, who is entrapped into brothel of prostitution, which is symbolic of the world of flesh.

After these things, when her body was exchanged by the angels and powers, she was exposed in the streets of Tyre in Phoenicia as an infant, taken up by a brothel master, and raised in a brother, where she knew no other life save that of degradation. But as the poet recounts the stratagem of the Achaians whereby they infiltrated the fastness of Troy inside a great toy horse, so did her yoke-mate Mind, the male, gain entry to the realm of her captors by appearing in the likeness of their creatures as a man. The angels who governed the world were corrupt by reason of their lust for power, and so I appeared to set things right, transforming myself and making myself like unto the dominions, principalities, and angels, so that I manifested myself as a man, though I was not really a man. And I seemed to suffer in Judea, although I did not really undergo it.

Later in the same text, Simon promises his followers this, which sounds like something Jesus Christ would say in the Gospels:

Thus I wrought the ransoming of the human race, recalling to myself the sparks of the latent fire which the angels used to order their creation, and this must issue in the dissolution of the world, but equally in the redemption of all who believe in me.

That Simon had a conspicuous female disciple from a converted prostitute might also be possible. However, the same charge is made against Mary Magdalene in the Gospels, as she too is accused of being a “prostitute” and is associated greatly in her lore. In Luke 7:38, Mary Magdalene washes Jesus’ feet in a very erotic manner, mirroring what Jesus would do for his own disciples in John:

As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

However, Mary Magdalene in Gnostic texts is depicted as being equal if not superior over the Apostles and was favored by the Savior through the act of initiation of the Divine Vision of the mysteries, as illustrated in the Gospel of Mary. Mary Magdalene was seen as sort of a female revealer, or initiator of the pagan mysteries. Perhaps this explicit language of Helena being a prostitute is merely symbolic of the state of the spirit that languishes in the human body.

Régnier_Penitent_Mary_Magdalene

Mary Magdalene looking all uppity with a skull.

It was pertinent for the Orthodox to be eschew charges of misogyny by deleting Mary Magdalene’s role altogether. It was also interesting to see how the Gnostics were often accused of the same attitude when it came to women and their views on the “destruction of the womb” (i.e. the deficiency of matter itself); however, looking at their gospels and texts, the constant harping on Divine Wisdom in feminine terms (even in her fallen state), the role of female revealers like Mary Magdalene, Norea, Helena, Marcelina, etc. are emphatically emphasized in the positive.

The Gnostics brought additional Gospels to the fore with Mary Magdalene among others. Her true importance is said to have been excluded from the Bible by Peter (and the Roman Catholic Church) who denied Christ three times and detested women, especially educated ones, seeing them as the gateway to the Devil, even denying they had souls. There is also no charge of immorality here in Justin Martyr and Ireneaeus’s accounts, still less of sexual rites.

The Simonians, however, are charged with “free love” and living “profligate” lives. It is only later in the Church Father, Epiphanius do we find accusations of sexual immorality and bizarre tales of drinking semen and menses as Eucharistic substances. Or worse–the eating of a fetus. Eusebius, also mentions something about how the Simonians were engaged in “shameful acts” and “unspeakable conduct”, apparently only relying on the slander of the previous Church Fathers. Is this the Simonian attempt to compete with Mary Magdalene or are both women, actually one and the same figure? Helen’s role as Simon’s first thought also matches up with Greek myth as mentioned earlier.

It also could reflect some kind of male-female syzygy-doctrine associated with Simon’s magical systems as reflected in the Great Declaration and mirrored through the later convoluted and intricately constructed Sethian and Valentinian aeonic systems. These models would eventually come to influence later medieval Kabbalistic diagrams of the Tree of Life. It is these magical systems in which Simon supposedly pursued in the aftermath with the the defeat from Peter in Acts, where he mistakenly regarded (and with good reason) Christian healings as magical and the gift of the Spirit as the mark of a higher grade of magic- if one can even make such a distinction.

The pursuit of these magical rites and techniques resulted with Claudius honoring him with a statue. Simon and his first Thought exist on a purely spiritual level, free from the trammels of the flesh until Helen is captured by rebellious angels who imprison her in a physical body in the material world which they have made. The metempsychosis of Helen and the references to Greek literature are among those, and are consistent with the syncretistic nature of the Samaritan cultural milieu and the Simonian schools at Antioch and Alexandria that would later rise from it. In essence, Simon was appealing to all peoples, of all nations, especially the gentile ones, in all three forms of his glory. Eusebius makes a very arresting statement in how Simon was worshiped.

Of whom there is one Simon, a Samaritan, whom we read of in the Acts of the Apostles, who said he was some Great Power. And among the rest of the things written in his volumes, he proclaimed as follows: “I am the Word of God; I am the glorious one, I the Paraclete, the Almighty, I the whole of God.” ix. Hieronymus (In Matthaeum, IV. xxiv. 5). Text: S. Eusebii Hieronymi Comment.; Migne Patrol. Grec., VII. col. 176.

Not only does this mirror Simon’s statements of himself being the Trinity in the Great Declaration, but it also mirrors greatly what Jesus commands of his disciples in Matthew 28:19-20:

Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

Stay tuned for the second part in False Gods, Divine Charlatans and Hermetic Hustlers, as Hermes will give his two cents on all of this. 

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.

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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.

False Gods, Divine Charlatans and Those Pesky Gnostics

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not  believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and  wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look,  He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it” (Matthew 24:23-26).

Wonder-workers, charlatan magicians, miracle-mongers, impious impostors pretending to be gods and Messiahs were a dime a dozen. Simon Magus, Apollonius of Tyana, Paul and Barnabas (Acts xiv, 11-12 – as Hermes and Zeus), Alexander of Abonoteichus, Apuleius, Mani, Porphyry, Iamblichus were all considered and often hailed as genuine gods incarnate- not to mention Jesus Christ. And yet, they all had very important insights and knowledge worth considering. While Christians have long claimed that Jesus was the one and only true resurrected crucified savior, antiquity reveals that there were a whole host of others savior figures. Christians believe that Jesus’ miracles were performed through God, and that the miracles of the others were the work of the devil. However, to followers of Mithras, Apollonius or Osiris would claim the opposite in that Jesus was indeed of the devil. The only difference in all of these religions is belief. Here’s just a few of them and their testimonies.

Imitating Spirits and False Prophets

The Catholic Church Fathers were very quick to dismiss many of these people (as listed above) as fakes, quacks and charlatans (although not all, of course). The semi-heretic and first Catholic theologian, Justin Martyr, for example, in the First Apology, Chapter 22, concedes and acknowledges that the snake god of healing, Aesculapius, very much fit the pattern of Jesus as a healer:

And if we even affirm that He (Jesus) was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you accept of Perseus. And in that we say that He made whole the lame, the paralytic, and those born blind, we seem to say what is very similar to the deeds said to have been done by Æsculapius.

Later on in the same book, in Chapter 25, Justin Martyr claimed that through Jesus Christ, the Christianized former pagan has learned to despise the former gods as impostors while in essence mocking Jesus’ ability to heal the sick:

And, secondly, because we— who, out of every race of men, used to worship Bacchus the son of Semele, and Apollo the son of Latona (who in their loves with men did such things as it is shameful even to mention), and Proserpine and Venus (who were maddened with love of Adonis, and whose mysteries also you celebrate), or Æsculapius, or some one or other of those who are called gods— have now, through Jesus Christ, learned to despise these, though we be threatened with death for it, and have dedicated ourselves to the unbegotten and impossible God…

In 2 Apology, Chapter 5, Justin Martyr takes it a step further by claiming the Greek poets and “mythologists” were inspired by the fallen angels and demons. It is obvious that Justin Martyr is very much inspired by the Book of Enoch and the Book of Watchers (and somewhat from Jewish pseudepigrapha Testament of the 12 Patriarchs), all of which belong to a family of Jewish Apocalyptic apocrypha- which in themselves were more than likely inspired by Greek myths of the Titans and the Olympians (or the Titanomachy) to its Jewish authors as well as the sexual liaisons between the gods and mortals. They could also be partly inspired by the unsavory early Roman episode involving the Rape or Abduction of Sabine Women as well.

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

In the same chapter, Justin Martyr, calls the children of the angels, “demons”:

 But the angels transgressed this appointment. and were captivated by love of women, and begat children who are those that are called demons.

This very much recalls the Greco-Roman concept of the daimon, which is different than the Christianized or “demonized” version. These spirit beings are often depicted as intermediaries between the divine as gods (Plato’s Symposium) and other times as wardens of lowly humans in the cycles of reincarnation on earth (Corpus Hermeticum). Naturally, this corresponds to the story of the Book of Watchers, where (as indicated in the same chapter) that the Watchers enslaved mankind by “magical writings”, fears of punishments and teaching man to offer sacrifices, incense and libations through lustful passions to demonic spirits.

So, here we have the first Church theologian appealing to apocrypha and not the “Word of God” or the accepted “Canon”! The Book of Enoch also claimed that the Watchers taught mankind all sorts of magical arts, incantations and weaponry. The Watchers, according to Justin, were trying to get mankind to worship their demonic progeny (i.e. the Nephilim). In other words, the pagan mysteries were all inspired by the Fallen Ones. Not only were the pagans inspired by demonic activity but evidently, so were the heretics such as Marcion (First Apology, Chapter 26):

And there is Marcion, a man of Pontus, who is even at this day alive, and teaching his disciples to believe in some other god greater than the Creator. And he, by the aid of the devils, has caused many of every nation to speak blasphemies, and to deny that God is the maker of this universe, and to assert that some other being, greater than He, has done greater works.

Much later, Irenaeus, being largely dependent on Justin’s account, would claim that the Gnostic heretics like Simon Magus and Carpocrates were skilled magicians and charlatans who were adept to summoning demons (Against Heresies 1.23):

Thus, then, the mystic priests belonging to this sect both lead profligate lives and practise magical arts, each one to the extent of his ability. They use exorcisms and incantations. Love-potions, too, and charms, as well as those beings who are called Paredri (familiars) and Oniropompi (dream-senders), and whatever other curious arts can be had recourse to, are eagerly pressed into their service.

And the cult of Carpocrates (ibid. 1.25.3):

They practise also magical arts and incantations; philters, also, and love-potions; and have recourse to familiar spirits, dream-sending demons, and other abominations, declaring that they possess power to rule over, even now, the princes and formers of this world; and not only them, but also all things that are in it.

Notice how Irenaeus’ description of both the Simonians and Carpocrateans are virtually identical. In Acts 8-9, the text claims that Simon Magus was also thought of using demonic powers to do miracles and wonders, much like Jesus is accused of by his enemies in the Gospels. It was written that Simon taught that the precepts of the law and the prophets were inspired by angels “in the desire to reduce men to slavery” and that those who believed in him and Helena were delivered from the tyranny of the law and were free to act as they would as detailed by Irenaeus. One must remember that the record of Simon Magus was either written by Orthodox Christians or scholars strongly influenced by Orthodox dogma. Thus Simon is portrayed as a villain and enemy of the church. There is zero objectivity within the existing historical record about Simon.

The Really Bad Samaritan

Wolfe-Mary And Jesus

It is said that Jesus had a “wife” or female companion/disciple and even purported prostitute, being Mary Magdalene, as indicated by the Gospel of Philip and other miscellaneous papyri. Simon also had a beautiful female companion named Helena who he redeemed from a brothel in the Phoenician city of Tyre. He recognized her immediately as the incarnation of Ennoia, His First Thought, the Holy Spirit, the Mother of All. He purchased her from her master and she became his constant companion during his travels and ministries. Justin Martyr in First Apology, Chapter 26, tells us about this power couple.

“To Simon the holy God.” And almost all the Samaritans, and a few even of other nations, worship him, and acknowledge him as the first god; and a woman, Helena, who went about with him at that time, and had formerly been a prostitute, they say is the first idea generated by him.”

Much like Apollonius, Simon was worshiped like a god. They proclaimed themselves themselves male and female gods battling the imprisonment of humanity from a rebellious number of fallen angels and archons. The Trojan War was seen as an allegory for the Archons going to war over the beauty and light of the fallen Helena, who is depicted as a prostitute because is captured, raped and abused by them, symbolizing the humiliation and imprisonment of the parcel of the divine light, placed in the human body. The NHC text, Exegesis of the Soul tells of her story of degradation and redemption, in great and painful detail.

Simon claimed he came to Earth to rescue Helena, the goddess Ennoia or the “First Thought” of the “Universal Mind” in human form. In other words, Helena was Sophia or Wisdom incarnate on earth. He promised that he would dissolve the world the angels had made. He promised that all who trusted in him and Helena could return with them to higher regions. The fall, suffering, degradation and redemption of the prostitute Helena, found working in a brothel, who was bought be Simon, mentioned in all the Catholic sources was a sure sign of Simon’s depravity to the Church Fathers. The brothel itself was seen as symbolic of the world of flesh in which the divine light is caught in an adulterous folly of being taken hostage in the “tomb” of the body. In fact, Epiphanius goes so far as to call Helena “the whore” of the Holy Ghost! Epiphanius reiterates the illicit nature of Helena and Simon Magus’ relationship in Panarion, 2, 21, 2:2-3.

2:2 Since the tramp was naturally lecherous, and was encouraged by the respect that had been shown to his professions, he trumped up a phoney allegory for his dupes. He had gotten hold of a female vagabond from Tyre named Helen, and he took her without letting his relationship with her be known.

2:3 And while privately having an unnatural relationship with his paramour, the charlatan was teaching his disciples stories for their amusement and calling himself the supreme power of God, if you please! And he had the nerve to call the whore who was his partner the Holy Spirit, and said that he had come down on her account.

Perhaps this might be an off-colored indication that the “Whore of Babylon” of Revelations 17 and 18 is none other than Helena.

Helen of Troy

If I am depraved to find this beautiful creature divine, then I am the most depraved person in the world!

Many today call for replacing Christianity and the other world religions with a new form of spirituality that unites the world. Simon Magus actually traveled to Rome and established a universal church or at least a very large cult-following, before he was murdered by the Christians. Some people even suggest that he was the first Pope of the Catholic Church! If this were true, this would be a very strange dilemma indeed and would need another post to fully examine this point alone. Anyway, the story of the death of Simon Magus is a twisted portrayal of what really happened. It seems that Simon was capable of leaving the body and traveling freely in the spiritual planes or at the very least initiated as Paul was in 2 Corinthians 2:12-14:

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know–God knows. He was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.

Because he spoke of this, the Christians mocked him and claimed that he was a god and could literally fly at will. As the story is told, Simon was performing magic in the Roman forum, proving his divinity, and was flying up into the air by the aid of riding a chariot lead by demons, according to Cyril of Jerusalem in the Catechetical Lectures, VI, 14-15. But the Apostle Peter prayed to God to stop his flying, and Simon fell to Earth, breaking his legs. The crowd then turned on him and stoned him to death. I suspect what probably actually happened was that the Christians threw Simon Magus off of a balcony, demanding that he show them his ability to fly. He fell to his death. Thus the first attempt to head-off the founding of the most enslaving religion that has ever existed was thwarted by Simon’s murder. Hallelujah!

Death of SImon Magus

While Simon was alive, he taught a doctrine of Grace, and freedom from the Mosaic Law, much like Paul did in his epistles such as Galatians, Romans and 1 and 2 Corinthians. Carpocrates had very similar beliefs but was also much more Platonic in his orientation than Simon, however. Simon and his disciple, Menander taught that by means of magic one may overcome the angels that made the world. Only if you are baptized or initiated into Menander’s cult will you obtain resurrection and never die, again having eternal youth (Against Heresies 1.23). This corresponds to much of what the Greek Magical Papryi talks about of having a familiar or assistant spirit:

The] traditional rite [for acquiring an assistant]:  After the preliminary purifications, / [abstain from animal food] and from all uncleanliness and, on whatever [night] you want to, go [up] onto a lofty roof after you have clothed yourself in a pure garment . . . [and say] the first spell of encounter as the sun’s orb is dis appearing . . . with a [wholly] black Isis band on [your eyes], and in your right hand / grasp a falcon’s head [and . . . ] when the sun rises, hail it as you shake its head [and] . . . recite this sacred spell as you burn [uncut] frankincense and pure rose oil, making the sacrifice [in an earthen] censer on ashes from the [plant] heliotrope.

The same text goes into great detail on how to go into direct contact with the daimon or familiar spirit, which is basically synonymous with the Holy Guardian Angel of modern magical groups such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Crowleyean Ordo Templi Orientis- both of which peddle pseudo-Gnostic ideas. In any case, the pagan mystagogue and the Gnostic heretic are both condemned as sorcerers of demonic spirits and being possessed by them. Yet, many of these practices were actually done by Jesus in the New Testament! There may as well be a show called, “I dream of Jesus” or “Be-Jesused” the movie. Although I discuss this in great detail in my commentary on the Great Declaration, here are a few more interesting tidbits.

Healing Jesus

Jesus in all four Gospels, is often portrayed as both a sorcerer and an exorcist. When the Pharisees hear of Jesus’ successful exorcisms and healing of the sick, they do not dispute the effectiveness of such activities but they equate the source of this capacity as an unholy partnership between Jesus and Beelzebub, “the prince of demons”. Jesus is essentially to them, using demonic powers. It is very interesting to note that in Judaism, Yahweh was considered the sovereign god, supreme over all other spirits. In fact, Satan was given divine permission to test Job by Yahweh (Job 1-2) and the so-called demonic “evil spirits” were actually emissaries of Yahweh (1 Samuel 16: 14-16). The point is, angels nor demons have any real independence from Yahweh and are basically his lackeys. I smell archons!

The Pharisees accused in multiple places in the Gospels that Jesus is in league with Beelzebub and the powers of darkness. Jesus’ response to Pharisaic judgement is to show up the illogicality of their argument. If they’re right, then all it means is that Jesus is destroying demons by the power of demons, indicating that Satan’s kingdom is at war with itself and therefore, like any kingdom in this situation would face imminent collapse. The fact here’s no such evidence of the imminent overthrow of Satan’s kingdom indicates that this kingdom is not divided and therefore his power to exorcise must come out not from Satan but from another source. Jesus affirms that the source of his activity is in the “Spirit of God” (the Holy Spirit) meaning that the casting out of such demons and the overthrow of Satan was actually a sign that a new Kingdom alien to the world, was is manifesting itself. This, of course, corresponds to the Gnostic belief that God’s Kingdom manifests itself from the inside or the internal into the external as the Gospel of Thomas states:

3. Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father’s) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.

The Gnostic believes that the true God exists within. They believe that all humans share a single spirit, and thus are all one. Ironically, this mirrors in a much twisted way like how the Kingdom of Darkness works as well, as every unclean spirit is “equal.”

Asklepios - Epidauros

In the Acts of Pilate (also known as the Gospel of Nicodemus), the Jews accuse Jesus of being a magician (a charlatan) meaning someone who merely uses placebo’s or tricks. They claimed that Jesus invoked Beelzebub to cast out demons:

Pilate saith: And what things are they that he doeth, and would destroy the law?

The Jews say: We have a law that we should not heal any man on the Sabbath: but this man of his evil deeds hath healed the lame and the bent, the withered and the blind and the paralytic, the dumb and them that were possessed, on the Sabbath day!

Pilate saith unto them: By what evil deeds?

They say unto him: He is a sorcerer, and by Beelzebub the prince of the devils he casteth out devils, and they are all subject unto him.

Pilate saith unto them: This is not to cast out devils by an unclean spirit, but by the god Aesculapius.

Of course, it is doubtful the word daimon would have been used in such a derogatory way by a pagan like Pilate. In the Gospel of John chapter 5, Jesus heals a life long blind man at the pool of Bethesda outside the walls of Jerusalem. There is archaeological evidence that this was an Aesclepion, or a healing center.

When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.

The phrase hygies genesthai (Do you want to be healed?) and the word louein (to wash) are reminiscent of language of the Aesculapius/Serapis cult as is the term soter. This same terminology (soter) is also ascribed to Dionysus or Bacchus.

In the Acts of Pilate, the Jews attribute Pilate’s wife’s dream to Jesus as a sorcerer, mirroring Irenaeus’ accusations against the Simonians and Carpocrateans’ practices:

Did we not tell you he was a sorcerer? Behold! He has sent a dream to your wife.

In the Nag Hammadi text, Aesculapius 21-29, Hermes Trismegistus tells Aesculapius:

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

This sounds very similar to what is expressed in the Gospel of Philip:

God created man. […] men create God. 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!

All of this is echoed in Jesus’ words to the Pharisees in John 10:33-38, which is an imitation of Psalms 82.

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

Simon was a disciple of John the Baptist just as Peter was in the Gospel of John, who was also called Simon (John 1). Simon argued that there are many Gods as well in the Clementine Homilies, just as Jesus argued, “ye are gods” in imitation of King David in the Psalms, as quoted above. Simon is the Standing One while the Jesus of Revelation is the one who was, is, and is to come. Hippolytus makes a major point over this in Philosophumena. Absethus the Libyan even sent out parrots to say that he was God thus creating a, “voice from heaven,” just as John heard when Jesus had a bird land on him (Luke, Matthew, Mark, Acts of the Apostles, Hebrews). Why stop there when there are so many similarities?

Here’s a summation of the points listed above and then some: Simon claimed to be God and was from Alexandria, while Jesus was accused of claiming to be God, or the Son of God, and visited Egypt in the Babylonian Talmud. Simon was accused of being Magician and Sorcerer, while Jesus was accused of the same by the Pharisees. Simon was a Samaritan, Jesus was accused of being a Samaritan, again by the Pharisees. Both were accused of being possessed Necromancers as well. Both Paul and Simon held to a doctrine of salvation by Grace. Both Paul and Simon were considered “lawless ones,” by their detractors because of their rejection and devalue of the outward practice of the Law of Moses. Jesus in the Gospel of John (10:34) tells the Pharisees scornfully, “your law,” while also saying that all that came before him were “thieves and robbers,” (10:8) implying the Old Testament prophets were indeed these endearing terms.

Simon saved Helena a prostitute, and Jesus saved Mary Magdalene, a prostitute. Both taught that their followers would never die and have eternal life. Jesus said to eat his flesh, Simon ate flesh. Paul and Simon were both accused of libertinism and eating food sacrificed to idols. Simon was called a “Gnostic, falsely so-called” by Irenaeus and Ignatius calls him a “Nicolaitan falsely so-called.” Both Jesus (John) and Simon denied YHWH as claimed he was Satan and the father of lies. Simon claimed to make the secret manifest while Jesus made the secrets of the kingdom of God known. Phew!

Those Pesky Gnostics

The Catholic Church Father, Irenaeus (A.H. 1.16.3) would bitterly complain against the Gnostics that they were impious blasphemers against Yahweh, asserting that the Biblical God arose from a defect while claiming they were superior to such a god and there there is a superior, hidden and previously Unknown God, above the inferior creator much like what Simon believed according to the Clementine literature.

Impious indeed, beyond all impiety, are these men, who assert that the Maker of heaven and earth, the only God Almighty, besides whom there is no God, was produced by means of a defect, which itself sprang from another defect, so that, according to them, He was the product of the third defect.

The Gnostics thought of themselves as not only superior to YHWH but also had nothing to fear from such a god and his slavish laws and bitter slavery. The Gnostics took Jesus’ axiom of “seek and ye shall find” as an invitation to discover themselves as superior to the God of the Bible. And because of this, their behavior was often conceived as being antinomian because the liberty of the Gospel freed everyone from the dead letter of moral Law of Moses. (“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”)

Such men, according to Irenaeus, were sent by Satan himself, in order to dishonor the Church and were accused of all manner of libertine behavior- everything from eating meat sacrificed to idols as Paul discusses in a very ambivalent way (1 Corinthians 8:1-8), to being the first to assemble at heathen festivals, gladiator games, and engaging in sexual licentious practices such as consuming sexual fluids, orgies and wife-swapping. Epiphanius goes to great lengths to claim that Simonians, among many other Gnostic sects, consumed semen and menstrual fluids because they allegedly had power to provide perfect knowledge, upon ingestion in their ceremonies. He even claimed that another Gnostic sect, the Phibionites, would actually consume an aborted fetus in the event that a woman was accidentally made pregnant! Baby sandwiches anyone?

Other times the Gnostics were simply accused of abstaining from sex and marriage altogether, considering them abhorrent and tools of Satan- much like Marcion of Pontus and Saturnilus of Antioch. These kinds of people, according to Irenaeus, were so numerous and common that he quite literally describes them as mushrooms in terms of being pests:

Besides those, however, among these heretics who are Simonians, and of whom we have already spoken, a multitude of Gnostics have sprung up, and have been manifested like mushrooms growing out of the ground.

Following in the footsteps of Jesus, the Gnostics were also considered to be healers and known to be involved with sympathetic magic, Indian-styled mantras, hissing sounds and other healing practices as mentioned by their philosophical arch-nemesis, the father of Neoplatonism, Plotinus in Enneads 2.9.4:

They tell us they can free themselves of diseases. If they meant, by temperate living and an appropriate regime, they would be right and in accordance with all sound knowledge. But they assert diseases to be spirit-beings and boast of being able to expel them by formula: This pretension may enhance their importance with the crowd, gaping on the powers of magicians; but they can never persuade the intelligent that disease arises otherwise than from such causes as overstrain, excess, deficiency, putrid decay; in a word, some variation whether from within or from without. The nature of illness is indicated by its very cure. A motion, a medicine, the letting of blood, and the disease shifts down and away; sometimes scantiness of nourishment restores the system: Presumably the spiritual power gets hungry or is debilitated by the purge. Either this spirit makes a hasty exit or it remains within…

It might be a surprise to my readers that the early Gnostics weren’t just philosophizing esotericists spouting “crazy mumbo-jumbo” or so-called “flesh-hating dualists” as the Orthodox claim but were also legitimate physicians from actual medical schools! These medical schools were known as the Pneumatics and the Methodics, the first of which was founded by Athenaeus of Attalia and Galen. Galen himself was a Platonist and understood medicine and human anatomy in terms of humorism.

The Catholics on the other hand had no medical training- whether it be theoretical or practical. They relied on the superstition of prayer which is hardly any different than the divination used by witches. The Pneumatics, much like the Plotinus’ Gnostics, believed that disease was due to an imbalance in temperature and deficiency/overabundance of liquids to be a cause. It wouldn’t be an enormous stretch to consider that the Pneumatics and the Gnostics were actually one and the same. It would also explain Paul’s usage of the term “pneumatikos” in his letters, as many scholars are simply stumped on where he picked up such a word.

Before the 1st century C.E., there was a school of Aesculapius at Epidaurus and this was the leading center of the medical field in the Greco-Roman world even up to the 2nd century. Galen, the Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher, was responsible for popularizing the prognostic approach over that of divination and speculation. The Gospels and the Apocryphon of John, as well as book six of the Philosophumena of Hippolytus as well as the Great Declaration of Simon Magus, all share similar ideas in that they both apply unusual readings and applications on human physiology. The Apocryphon of John lists all of these parts as being associated with a number of different ruling demons, as the same texts quotes all of this from the Book of Zoroaster. When Jesus went in to a place to “cast out demons” he was in reality restoring one of the supposed 365 parts of the body that were ill or misaligned, or of bad humor.

Manichaean Tom-Foolery

In about 252 AD, Mani, a Persian, mixed Gnostic-Christianity, Buddhism and other Persian elements. He stated his teaching came from Christ and the Persian Magi. Mani taught there are two eternal principles: one Light and one Darkness. For Mani, Jesus was not a real man [did not have flesh] nor did he undergo punishment on the cross. Satan is also the god of Moses and the prophets. Man does not have free will, as some are born with their nature totally depraved, while others are born nearly perfect.

Mani much like Simon Magus, Carpocrates and the Alexandrian-Egyptian Hesesiarch Basilides, taught reincarnation based on Karma- although in much more negative terms than those from the East. Mani said he was the Comforter or Holy Spirit (Paraclete) incarnate. Mani taught vegetarianism as the ideal way to eat and abstained from all manner of animal flesh as well as wine. Mani taught, unlike the world, man was the created by demons. The aim of demons is to imprison in man, through the propagation of the race, as much as possible of the light, and so to hinder the separating process by the sun and the moon.

The Manichaeans taught salvation comes from rigorous asceticism and believed that salvation consisted simply in the liberation of the light from the darkness. Mani also taught that there was a purgatory for purifying souls of their animal nature. After being purged of sins in the sun, the souls fly to the moon [Purgatory]. The spirit of man is from light of God and his body from the darkness of Satan.

Mani

In the Acts of the Disputation with Manes (Archelaus), written by Hegemonius, there is a very long debate between Mani and the Catholic bishop of Cachar, Archaleus, much like how the Clementine literature pits Simon against Peter in their debates. In this text, we see a possible literary model for Mani based on none other than the father of all heresies himself, Simon Magus!

Although Mani in the end loses to Archaleus, he makes several fascinating points, including one about the spirit being held hostage in the cycles of reincarnation and the world. The physical universe is basically an adulterous synthesis between the absolutes of spirit and matter. Even in this synthesis, such principles do not change and only invite conflict, sin, duality and suffering to exist as testified by Mani, in Acts Archelaus, 9:

Moreover, there are certain other worlds on which the luminaries rise when they have set on our world. And if a person walks upon the ground here, he injures the earth; and if he moves his hand, he injures the air; for the air is the soul (life) of men and living creatures, both fowl, and fish, and creeping thing. And as to every one existing in this world, I have told you that this body of his does not pertain to God, but to matter, and is itself darkness, and consequently it must needs be cast in darkness.

Like Aesculapius, Apollonius of Tyana, Jesus and the Pnuematics, Mani also thought of himself as a healer or a physician from Babylon. He demonstrates his abilities by restoring the health of a maiden, which echoes the theme of Jesus healing the woman with the issue of the blood from Luke 8:40-58, not to mention Simon and Helena. Mani also defends himself against his detractors by invoking his numerous healings and demonic exorcisms like Jesus did with the Pharisees. Even the Nestorian bishop Theodore bar Konai begrudgingly concedes that Mani was “familiar with the art of healing,” via sorcery in Scholion (ed. Scher), 2:312.20-21. However, such charges of sorcery and magic seem to conflict with the Manichaean ten commandments, especially in one commandment against practicing magic. Archaleus himself is very critical of Mani’s purported medical talents and claims they are based on fraud. Archaleus writes against Mani about claiming to be the Paraclete, by even claiming the heretics before Mani were practically saints in comparison to his deceit:

And, in good truth, I hold Marcion, and Valentinian, and Basilides, and other heretics, to be sainted men when compared with this person. For they did display a certain kind of intellect, and they did, indeed, think themselves capable of understanding all Scripture, and did thus constitute themselves leaders for those who were willing to listen to them. But notwithstanding this, not one of these dared to proclaim himself to be either God, or Christ, or the Paraclete, as this fellow has done, who is ever disputing, on some occasions about the ages, and on others about the sun, and how these objects were made, as though he were superior to them himself; for every person who offers an exposition of the method in which any object has been made, puts himself forward as superior to and older than the subject of his discussion.

Cyril of Jerusalem also referred to Simon as the Paraclete, in which Mani seems to follow wholesale in the Catechetical Lectures, VI, 14:

This man, after he had been cast out by the Apostles, was the first that dared with blasphemous mouth to say that it was himself who appeared on Mount Sinai as the Father, and afterwards appeared among the Jews, not in real flesh but in seeming, as Christ Jesus, and afterwards as the Holy Spirit whom Christ promised to send as the Paraclete. And he so deceived the City of Rome that Claudius set up his statue, and wrote beneath it, in the language of the Romans, ‘To Simon the Holy God’”

Towards the end of Acts Archaleus, Mani eventually loses to him in their debates and scatters off while stalked by the Bishop and is defeated over and over in their debates. This also occurs in the apocryphal Acts, where Simon is also defeated in a verbal fight with Peter. Simon only continues to other lands to continue his vicious preaching and is defeated yet again. In Acts, Mani is nearly lynched by the crowd when he fails to meet up to his expectations (although restrained by Archaleus), much like Simon in the Acts of Peter, when he fails to resurrect a man. The crowd then attempts to burn Simon at the stake like a true heretic that he is but is restrained by Peter, who warns them to not sully their hands with such a sin.

Mani is even said to take flight (or run) much like Simon (if taken the words in the following excerpt literally), is forced to perform such a miracle to a blood-thirsty crowd:

Then, too, the children who had chanced to gather about the place began and set the example of pelting Manes and driving him off; and the rest of the crowd followed them, and moved excitedly about, with the intention of compelling Manes to take to flight. But when Archelaus observed this, he raised his voice like a trumpet above the din, in his anxiety to restrain the multitude, and addressed them thus: Stop, my beloved brethren, lest perhaps we be found to have the guilt of blood on us at the day of judgment; for it is written of men like this, that ‘there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.’

Such apocryphal tales could very well be seen as precursors to what would eventually happen to many of these heretics. Much of this whole sale dismissal of such magicians would eventually lead and give precedent to the later Roman Emperors made numerous enactments against sorcery, divination, and all kinds of magic.

The “Christian” Emperor, Constantine (for example), prohibited all forms of magic, but specially excepted and authorized “that which was intended to avert hail and lightning.” Such magical practices were seen as synonymous with heresy and the pagan mysteries. And of course, all of these things would eventually and gradually become prohibited. The worst thing Constantine probably did was send heretics into exile. His edicts call for the confiscation of texts and property of heretics, and exile is the next logical step. The really bad stuff seems to have started under Theodosius, where paganism and heresy are made into capital crimes. And then it gets worse under the Byzantines.

In fact, legislation’s such as the Theosodian decrees would persecute and eventually slaughter these kinds of people, such as the Manichaeans, Marcionites, the Priscillianists (many of which were burnt to death), and many other pagans and heretics. Such laws effectively made them second class citizens in many ways. The Theodosius decrees would declare such people as insane vermin and witches. And all were pulled from their houses and burned in the streets by the Catholics. Ambrose admits to this fact, as does Jerome.

Even many of the Nag Hammadi texts make allusions to ongoing orthodox persecution. The Apocalypse of Peter, for example, is all about Gnostics undergoing Catholic persecution and outright dubs the Bishops as “dry canals”, meaning that they were empty husks of flesh, deprived of spirit. The Second Treatise of the Great Seth and the Gospel of Judas also make various allusions to this and their overall mutual contempt for each other as the Gnostic authors repeatedly condemn the Catholic clergy and their practices and doctrines. The Gospel of Judas goes so far as to claim that Catholic priests are actively involved in slaughter, illicit homosexual sex with men, and child sacrifice:

[Jesus said], “What are [the priests] like?”

They [said, “Some …] two weeks; [some] sacrifice their own children, others their wives, in praise [and] humility with each other; some sleep with men; some are involved in [slaughter]; some commit a multitude of sins and deeds of lawlessness. And the men who stand [before] the altar invoke your [name], [39] and in all the deeds of their deficiency, the sacrifices are brought to completion […].”

After they said this, they were quiet, for they were troubled.

As is always the case, would-be-Messiahs lose and the bullies win at the end of the day.