THE  GNOSTIC  PAUL

   

Christians today proclaim they are saved by Faith!

Yet, Paul was a Gnostic!

Gnostic faith which is founded upon Direct Spiritual Knowledge,

is of a different order than the 

redemptive faith that is embraced by Modern Christians 

Gnostic Faith

Founded upon the inner Knowledge

Salvation through faith, then, 

must be through the Gnostic Faith/Knowledge of Paul

When Calvin and Luther proclaimed the Epistles of Paul to be the most pure reflection of what Christ taught, the great truth they failed to comprehend was the missing spiritual dimension to the writings and theology of Paul's that was beyond their very carnal perception.   The problem is seen in the fact that spiritual faith is very different than the concept of faith which is espoused by men of a carnal mindset.    

In like manner, modern Christianity has embraced the opinion that was published by the Gentile Church that Paul, more than all the other disciples, revealed the true gospel of “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2 KJV).   The problem with this widely held belief is that it is flawed -- fatally flawed to the degree that it has placed a great obstacle around the modern believer that inhibits their walk with the Lord.   Why?   Because we look at life with a quasi-Darwinist perception of Creation, few believers today are able to perceive either why Paul's writings appear different than the Gospels which were composed by the disciples of Jesus who were taught directly by him, or the true depth of what Paul attempted to convey to the Gentile Churches he preached to.  

 When Paul wrote to the people at Corinth he very clearly said in the first chapter “that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:5-8 NAS).  

What is it that Paul was saying?   The Apostle is clearly conveying to the believers at Corinth that they possessed all knowledge with regard to the testimony or good news of Christ.   From Paul’s perspective, his mission was complete.   The believers at Corinth were, in Paul’s own words, “not lacking in any gift”, and they were “awaiting eagerly” the appearance of what Christians today would call the second coming of Christ.

Paul then admonishes the people at Corinth and says: “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Cor 1:10 NIV).   In analysis it is important for us to question as to how this uniform mindset was to be brought about?   In view of the fact that Paul cautions them not to have an allegiance to any leaders, or adhere to any doctrines that are embraced by either a religious authority among them, or any group typical or sectarian churches, in a close examination of Paul’s Epistle it is imperative for us to observe the flaw in our modern-day theological perspective of the fundamental New Covenant teachings.

In analysis: If the people who Paul preached the Good News to were to have no leaders -- they were not to have any private interpretations of the scriptures -- and neither were they to embrace any manmade doctrines -- and because they were to totally reject the ideas and thinking of other men with respect to the meaning of the Gospel Message, which is seen in Paul’s requirement that they were to be “…perfectly united in mind and thought” -- then one of the most important questions for the modern Christian to pose is this: What was it that they were to believe and have faith in?  

When we begin to answer this question we will immediately start to see the flaw in the thinking of the Gentile Christians who called themselves Orthodox -- i.e., the Roman Church that was born in the fourth century -- and in like manner we will see the defect in the thinking of Luther, Calvin, and the Middle Age reformers -- and in coming to terms with the error of the church in past ages, only then will we be able to confront the dilemma that obstructs our path into the Kingdom today.   What Paul warns the believers at Corinth was that because the Mysteries of the Gospel were beyond the comprehension of natural man, that if they permit themselves to cling to human interpretations of the Word, or follow other men who they look to as religious authorities, they will ALWAYS fail in their endeavor to become true followers of the Christ.

In the spiritual plan of walking in The Way that was ordained by Paul, this requirement is of the utmost importance because Christians were never taught the Spiritual Gospel of Christ -- which is often referred to in the writings of the early Church Fathers as the Gospel of God.   What Christians were taught was a manner of thinking and living that would enable the disciple to enter within the Divine Tabernacle of the heart -- literally becoming the Final Temple.   As I have demonstrated in previous chapters, the foundation of the true Christian religion is that each and every disciple would be taught the Mysteries of the Kingdom directly from God and the Anointing of the Light (see The True Prophet).

What should be perfectly clear to the reader today is the fact that the Christians at Corinth to whom Paul was writing this epistle to, had received the good news of the gospel directly from the Apostle himself, and this is plainly acknowledged in the very first chapter.    It is therefore important for modern believers to realize what Paul is stating in his epistle -- i.e., that, from the perspective of the Good News, the believers at Corinth possessed all knowledge and testimony concerning Christ, and they were not lacking in any gift.   Very clearly Paul conveyed the idea that there was nothing more that he could teach them.   They believed -- they were baptized -- they had professed their allegiance to Jesus as their Lord and Savior -- and they had themselves received the gifts of the Holy Spirit.   It can even be seen in the fourteenth chapter of Paul’s Epistle the acknowledgement that the believers at Corinth even spoke in tongues.  By our present-day standards of belief, we would have to conclude that these faithful and confirmed Christians were saved, and were awaiting the coming of the Lord.

Yet, in chapter two, Paul reveals to them an entirely different reality when he warns them that from a spiritual perspective, they were mere babes in Christ -- entry level Christians -- and they did not yet possess any understanding whatsoever with regard to the true essence of the Gospel!   How can this be, the modern believer ask?   And yet this fact is demonstrated in the words the Apostle wrote when we cautioned these very same believer: “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God” (1 Cor 2:1 KJV).  

In view of the fact that in some Bibles there is a footnote attesting to the fact that in many ancient manuscripts the word “testimony” reads “mystery” -- and Paul has already acknowledged in the first chapter that the believers at Corinth received the entire testimony of Christ -- we can rightly conclude that the correct translation for this passage is indeed “mystery”. -- and Paul is very clear in his assertion that they had only just begun their process of transformation that would enable them to begin to understand the higher reality of the soul and the Mysteries of the Kingdom (see Mystery Of The Gospel).   Proof of this is seen in the very next verse when Paul writes: “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2 KJV).  

What Paul is stating is that the believers at Corinth were given the Good News of the Gospel of Christ -- which was Jesus Christ and the crucifixion -- and in the second chapter Paul very clearly warns them that they have yet only just begun their walk with the Lord.   And what was it the Apostle stated they were missing? They had yet to receive what the Church Father Origen called the Gospel of God, and what Paul speaks of as the Mysteries or Sacred Secrets of God.

This letter from Paul to the Church at Corinth should be most troubling to the modern believer.   What we are presented with in these first two chapters of First Corinthians is of the utmost importance for all believers in our present time to fully comprehend and understand.   If our many prayers and supplications to the Lord for greater understanding is to be brought about, and we are sincere in our proclamation with respect to our desire to grow in the Gospel, then we must examine what the Apostle is stating with regard to the essence of New Covenant teachings.   For our own spiritual edification we must want to know why certain doctrines, which are said to be the Mysteries of the Kingdom, were withheld from the believers at Corinth.   This is of the greatest importance to us today because, like the believers at Corinth, the modern Christian has only the Good New of the Gospel, and they lack these esoteric spiritual doctrines that Paul writes he could not reveal to Christians at Corinth.

In explanation of these things Paul then writes: “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory” (1 Cor 2:6-7 KJV).   What Paul is very clearly stating is that the mysteries of God can only be revealed to those who are perfect -- the hidden wisdom, which the princes of this world cannot perceive, which hidden wisdom was ordained by God before this world was even created.

Again we are directly confronted with the great question as to why the Apostle to the Gentiles ordained a secret doctrine?  Believers today will rightly ask why Paul didn't speak whatever spiritual truths he knew plainly to the people, so they would know all things?   In the words of Clement of Alexandria: “For the Divine Being cannot be declared as it exists; but as we who are lettered in the flesh were able to listen”.  

What this means is that the Revelation of the True God cannot be conveyed to us in the written word -- and so, what is portrayed to us in the literal body of the scriptures is in accordance with our limitation of perception and comprehension.  Why? Because we are carnal, and our understanding of reality is three-dimensional, the Apostle warns us that we cannot perceive the true nature of God or understand His kingdom.  

Now I understand that many modern church authorities today will agree with this statement.   They will readily admit that man is incapable of knowing the glory of God in His fullness!   But what they fail to understand and recognize is that Paul and the disciples of Christ convey to the believer of the simple faith that if man follows in The Way, that this natural flaw will be overcome, and they will be able to perceive and understand all things.

The Gnostic, or Spiritual Christian, does not make assumptions about God and things of a spiritual nature -- he knows that carnal man cannot conceive of God -- so the True Christian follows the path that enables him to learn directly from God.   Like the Gospel of God that dwells within the inner most recesses of the scriptures, this same Source of Spiritual Knowledge dwells deep within the essence of our being.   The knowledge of this inner kingdom, or the Christian Gnosis, belongs only to the disciple of the Light.   Thus, it is only the genuine follower of Christ that is able to perceive the true message of the scriptures.   All others see the body of flesh that is meant to instruct those who are said to be outside the house.

Paul confirms these sacred truths when he quotes the scriptures and writes: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Cor 2:9-10 KJV).   What Paul again confirms is the reality that the physical eyes of man cannot see the Mysteries of God -- his physical ears cannot hear the mysteries of God -- neither can his mind which is limited by the earthly elements which comprise his physical body, brain and nervous system perceive and comprehend the Mysteries of God -- because the Gospel of God can only be revealed to man via his own soul and spiritual natures when the inherent state of division has been overcome, and only then it man in a position to search out the deep Mysteries of God.

Paul then explains to the believers at Corinth that: “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14 KJV).   If we fail, then, to heed this great warning of the Apostle, we will be forever misled -- resulting in our own imminent spiritual death and demise -- and having failed to follow Jesus and walk in The Way, we will never come to know the true essence of what Jesus taught to his faithful disciples.   Moreover, the idea that we can just hangout and live in accordance with the culture and thinking of this world and we will find out the Mysteries of God when we pass from this life, is from the perspective of Paul the death of the soul of such a person who is deceived by the god of this world!   The religion that Paul taught was one where each and every believer becomes transformed into a spiritually mature disciple of the Light, and they must accomplish this journey while they are still physically alive in their body of flesh.

With respect to this spiritual transformation and rebirth what the Apostle says is this: Man in his natural state of being cannot know God -- he cannot know Christ -- he cannot understand the Mysteries of the Spirit -- because they must be spiritually discerned -- or revealed -- by opening the inner door of one's mind and being.   Therefore, until man becomes perfect (1 Cor 2:6), the mysteries of the spirit will appear as “foolishness unto him”, and he cannot know them -- even though Paul said to the believers at Corinth that “in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift…” (1 Cor 1:5-6 NAS).

From Paul's own words it is important that we ascertain the reality that he attempts to portray to the reader of his epistle -- i.e., that Christians who possessed all knowledge of what is known as the Gospel of Christ (the testimony) remained totally ignorant of not only what he calls the Mysteries of God, but also an accurate perception of God.   Why?   Because by virtue of their incomplete carnal nature, the Mysteries of God would be viewed as foolishness to them.   Further, until which time they made the transformation from a carnal believer, to a spiritual disciple -- then, and only then, could the Son of God open their spiritual senses, and reveal to them the things of the spirit which cannot be discerned by the carnal mind of man.  

In his Epistle to these believing and confirmed Christians at Corinth Paul then explains that “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ” (1 Cor 3:1 NAS).   Thus, these believers could only be taught the “testimony” of Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Cor 2:2), because they were not yet spiritual men -- but rather, they were men of flesh and still very much “babes in Christ”.   Paul then explains that: “I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able” (1 Cor 3:2 NAS).   What should be troubling to the modern believer is that Paul openly admits that the baptized and confirmed Christians at Corinth -- people who had received the gifts of the laying on of hands and speaking in tongues -- people who were not taught by preachers and priests, but the Apostle himself -- were not yet able to understand the Mysteries of the Gospel of God because they were yet “babes in Christ”, and had not been made perfect through the consecration of the body and the Anointing of the Mind.  

What Paul is plainly revealing in these words has existed as the great enigma that has misled carnal Christians since the first century.   It is a profound truth that few Christians today are willing to acknowledge -- i.e., that instead of the gnosis, or solid food, the baptized and confirmed Christians at Corinth were given only the milk of the gospel, or the testimony of Christ and him crucified.   Since Paul himself warns that the Spiritual Gospel of Christ cannot be written, and cannot even be conceived by the natural mind of man, then we must recognize that the best we can glean from the Epistles of Paul, is a very superficial understanding of what Jesus truly taught.

In view of the fact that the majority of fundamentalist believers today will proclaim that the writings of the early Christian writers mean very little, and only what is actually contained in the Bible itself is significant, it is then important that we recognize that what Paul wrote did not differ to any great degree from what was written by Origen, the two Clement's, or any of the other early church authorities.   In fact, what the Apostle is stating is synonymous with the words of the first-century Clement who was himself the disciple of Peter when he wrote: “We remember that our Lord and teacher, as commanding, said to us, guard the mysteries for me, and the sons of my house.  Wherefore also he explained to his disciples, privately, the mysteries of the kingdoms of the heavens” (Clementine Homilies).  

Again, there is really no difference between the message contained in the first three chapters of First Corinthians, than what is expounded on by Clement of Alexandria when he wrote: “The Lord… allowed us to communicate to those Divine Mysteries, and of that holy light, to those who are able to receive them.   He did not certainly disclose to the many what did not belong to the many; but to the few to whom He knew that they belonged, who were capable of receiving and being molded according to them.  But Secret things are entrusted to speech, not to writing as in the case with God… And to him who is able secretly to observe what is delivered to him, that which is veiled shall be disclosed as truth; and what is hidden to the many shall appear manifest to the few” (Stromata).

What Paul was stating to the Corinthians was that he could not teach, discuss, or reveal in any manner to them the Mysteries of God -- in that, God's sacred secrets cannot be given to profane and carnal minds.   What is further demonstrated in this Epistle is that even though a person accepts Christ, repents, and is baptized in the manner of the people at Corinth, this does not make them spiritual -- and neither does this beginning of the walk in The Way denote the second birth spoken of in the Gospel of John.   That Paul could not even speak of the Mysteries to these baptized and committed Christians -- because they were yet of a carnal and natural mindset -- demonstrates that the Apostle held fast to the commandment of Jesus when he said:  “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine” (Mt 7:6).   Again, the biblical meaning of the term dogs and swine that I previously provided is defined as those who attempt to embrace Christ, but remain very much a part of the culture of this world.

Those readers familiar with early Christian history know that during the first three centuries there was great strife between certain groups of believers.   Yet, in not understanding the depth of the Apostle Paul's Epistles, modern Christians generally fail to realize the source of this conflict.   What is clear in First Corinthians was that there were two classes of Christians: Those who knew only the testimony of “Christ and him crucified”, and those who went beyond the exoteric doctrine of Christ, and learned the Mysteries of God that Paul could not speak openly about.   “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect,” writes Paul, “yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory” (1 Cor 2:6-7 KJV).  

In these words Paul is warning the believers at Corinth that he can only speak about the Wisdom and Mysteries of God to those who are perfect.  Yet, the carnal believer throughout the history of the church has traditional rejected these words of the Apostle.   How could he not, when we are speaking of using the other ninety percent of the mind that is beyond his comprehension.   Carnal man has no means to relate to the soul and spiritual realities that he can only hint at in his epistles.   Moreover, contrary to modern Christian doctrine, the Apostle does not say perfect faith -- perfect belief -- or some philosophical idea of perfection by virtue of membership in a religious group.   The idea of perfection from a biblical perspective is complete in all its parts -- and because we cling to manmade doctrines, we do not believe that man is capable of this state of perfection, which the Apostle continually speaks of, throughout his writings.

In Paul’s warning to the believers at Corinth, the Apostle then uses a phrase that is found in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the writings of the early Church Fathers, and writes: But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor 2:9 KJV).   This statement is of course fundamental to a Gnostic, or Spiritual Church.  

What is written by Paul is no different than what Origen stated was the primary difference between the gospel given to the multitudes, and those who were worthy to be in the house with the Lord: “Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field” (Matt 13:36 KJV).   In our quest to understand why there were two doctrines, the Bible itself openly declares in the words of Jesus: “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand” (Mark 4:11-12 KJV).  

Who is permitted to understand a parable?  What the Bible tells us is that only a genuine disciple of the Lord in search of Truth.   All other believers and non-believers alike are said to be “without” -- or outside the house.   In the words of Origen: “I have not yet spoken of the observances of all that is written in the gospel, each one of which contains much doctrine difficult to be understood, not merely by the multitude, but even by certain of the more intelligent, including a very profound explanation of the parables, which Jesus delivered to 'those without' while reserving the exhibition of their full meaning for those who have passed beyond the stage of exoteric teachings, and who came to him privately in the house.  And when he comes to understand it, he will admire the reason why some are said to be without, and others in the house”.

Like the Christians today, the believers at Corinth lacked nothing -- possessing all the knowledge that could be given to them regarding the testimony of Jesus, which is confirmed when Paul said: “that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:5-8 NAS).   And yet, to these same believers who possessed “all knowledge”, Paul said: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able” (1 Cor 3:1-2 KJV).  

The baptized believers at Corinth -- believers who had the opportunity of be taught by the Apostle himself -- believers who could speak in tongues, had been given all knowledge, and not lacking any gift -- Paul calls these believers “babes in Christ”, and states that these believers were yet too carnal to be able to comprehend the Mysteries of God.   Paul explains the need to press on to maturity, and conveys to the believers at Corinth that he could only give them the milk of the gospel, because they were not yet ready to be given the solid food of the spirit.   Why?   Because they were “…not able to bear it”.  

In essence, what Paul is writing is no different in content than what Ignatius wrote when he said: “Might I not write to you things more full of mystery?  But I fear to do so, lest I should inflict injury on you who are babes.  Pardon me in this respect, lest, as not being able to receive their weighty import, ye should be strangled by them”. 

Clement of Alexandria states the same thing as Origen, the Apostle Paul, and St. Ignatius when he writes: “For many reasons, then, the Scriptures hide the sense. First, that we may become inquisitive, and be ever on the watch for the discovery of the words of salvation. Then it was not suitable for all to understand, so that they might not receive harm in consequence of taking in another sense the things declared for salvation by the Holy Spirit. Wherefore the holy mysteries of the prophecies are veiled in the parables - preserved for chosen men, selected to knowledge in consequence of their faith; for the style of the Scriptures is parabolic. Wherefore also the Lord, who was not of the world, came as one who was of the world to men. For He was clothed with all virtue; and it was His aim to lead man, the foster-child of the world, up to the objects of intellect, and to the most essential truths by knowledge, from one world to another”.

Again we see that the Secret Christian Doctrine is concealed from the carnal believer so that, in the words of Clement, “they might not receive harm in consequence of taking in another sense the things declared for salvation by the Holy Spirit”.   More importantly, we can begin to get a sense of man's true reality when we focus on the manner in which Clement describes mankind when he calls him “the foster-child of the world” -- and depicts Jesus as the savior who came to lead man “from one world to another”.  

What we are being given here is a genuine vision that reveals to modern believers the very essence of New Covenant teachings -- i.e., that we are not of this realm -- and as the prodigal sons of our Heavenly Father, Jesus came to lead us out of this world.   That we must travel in the Master's footsteps if we are to be called a true disciple of the Christ, is confirmed in the words of St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, who wrote: “…it is imperative on all those who have an equally earnest desire for the Good as He has, to be followers by the path of an exact imitation of Him Who leads the way to salvation, and to carry into action what He has shown them. It is, in fact impossible for persons to reach the same goal unless they travel by the same ways”.

Impossible, because we cannot inherit salvation and be saved until we have ourselves followed the Lord “by the path of an exact imitation of Him who leads the way”.   Why?   Because we are not of this world -- alien residents -- “foster-children” -- and Jesus came as a guide to lead us on our journey Home.   In this respect it is of the utmost importance that we understand that belief and faith are indicative of that condition found in carnal Christians who have not yet found entrance into the Kingdom.   Once we make the journey, and arrive in the Kingdom that is our true place of origin, faith and belief will pass away as we once again possess a sure and proven Knowledge of our True Spiritual Nature.

In order to begin the process, and commence to follow in The Way, we must be fully cognizant of what the Lord taught his faithful disciples!  In the words of the Apostle Paul: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:14 KJV).   In view of the fact that by the Apostle's own testimony, the body of believers would look upon the Spiritual Gospel of Christ as foolishness, we must realize even in our present time that that modern-day Christians would condemn the Secret Doctrine that Jesus taught his disciples -- and label these teachings heresy.

If we are to begin the journey Home (see Gate Of Eden), we must recognize that Paul speaks of two classes of Christians.   From a historical perspective, the first group of Christians knew only the elementary doctrines, and called themselves Orthodox.  Why Orthodox?   Because they viewed themselves as the genuine followers of Christ.   The second group were those who had gone beyond the milk of the gospel, and to the degree that they were able, began the transformational process of body and mind that enabled them to begin to receive the Knowledge of the Mysteries directly from the Spirit.   And the Source of this Knowledge or Divine Manna of the Kingdom, was the True Prophet who Jesus taught was the One Teacher that all his followers should seek out.

Unlike the carnal Christians who possessed only faith and belief in “Christ, and him crucified”, this second group who manifested the essence of Paul's teachings in their very lives, and matured through the process of Christ being born in them, came to be called Gnostic Christians.   Why?   Because the word gnosis means knowledge that was spiritually discerned and received, and it was the claim of these Christians that they possessed a higher knowledge imparted to them directly from God.   Ultimately the word Gnosis is the Greek word for Spiritual Knowledge received directly from the True Prophet -- and is portrayed in the statement of Peter that is preserved in the Homilies of his disciple Clement where he teaches: "...therefore great care is to be taken, that when the law of God is read, it be not read according to the understanding of our own mind. For there are many sayings in the divine Scriptures which can be drawn to that sense which every one has preconceived for himself; and this ought not to be done. For you ought not to seek a foreign and extraneous sense, which you have brought from without"    Which means that all the countless commentaries and opinions that have been published and taught by men who put themselves forth as teacher, pastors, and every variety of authority, are all representative of a spiritual fraud being perpetrated upon the blind believing congregations of Christians (see above quotation in The Spiritual Disenfranchisement Of The Mind).    Why?   Because the true purpose and objectives of the teachings of TheWay was not to promote carnal opinions of counterfeit clergy -- but rather, to provide the necessary teachings of the path that each believer must themselves walk, to become transformed into the Final Temple that enables them to enter into the presence of the True Prophet and receive the Divine Manna of the Kingdom that is beyond the comprehension of the organic natural mind of man (see An Inconvenient Truth).   

The problem is that because we are imbued with a quasi-Darwinist perception of life, there is really no word in the English language that even conveys a sense of knowledge which is learned through one’s personal inner experiences as they enter into the Presence of the indwelling Light.   Moreover, there is no other name in the Greek language for knowledge learned directly from God, except the term Gnosis.   Thus, this great Gnostic heresy that was said to have plagued the early Church, was in fact initiated by Paul himself.

In the words of Clement of Alexandria in his Stromata: “‘Now the weak eateth herbs,' according to the noble apostle. The Instructor, divided by us into three books, has already exhibited the training and nurture up from the state of childhood, that is, the course of life which from elementary instruction grows by faith; and in the case of those enrolled in the number of men, prepares beforehand the soul, endued with virtue, for the reception of Gnostic knowledge”.     In Clement's quotation of the Apostle Paul we again see food being compared to a degree of knowledge with respect to the different level of believers.   The carnal Christians are those who “eateth herbs” or the “milk” of the gospel, because they are not yet ready for the “solid food” of the spirit.  

Under the heading of Gnosticism, the Encyclopedia Britannica states: “Among the majority of the followers of the movement, 'Gnosis' was understood not as meaning 'knowledge' or 'understanding', in our sense of the word, but 'revelation'.  These little Gnostic sects and groups all lived in the conviction that they possessed a secret and mysterious knowledge, in no way accessible to those outside, which was not to be proved or propagated, but believed in by the initiated, and anxiously guarded as a secret.  This knowledge of theirs was not based on reflection, on scientific inquiry and proof, but on revelation.  It was derived directly from the times of primitive Christianity, from the Savior himself and from his disciples and friends, with whom they claimed to be connected by a secret tradition, or else from later prophets, of whom many sects boasted.  It was laid down in wonderful mystic writings, which were in the possession of the various circles”.

For those of you who have listened to such programs as the 700 Club on television, when Pat Robertson claims to have received a “word of knowledge”, what he is claiming is that he is receiving a revelation in the same manner as the early Gnostic Christians.   That Pat Robertson does not claim to possess a knowledge of what the Apostle calls the Mysteries of God, is merely because of the doctrinal limitations that the modern Christian has placed upon his thinking.

When we speak, then, of Gnostic gnosis or knowledge, it is important to understand that we are not speaking of knowledge in our sense of the word -- but rather, knowledge in the sense that Paul and Jesus spoke about.   With regard to this gnosis Paul writes: “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit” (1 Cor 2:10 KJV).   Thus the words: “This knowledge of theirs was not based on reflection, on scientific inquiry and proof, but on revelation”.  

Those believers known as the historical Gnostic Christians were witnesses to the exact same spiritual reality that Paul writes to us about in his epistle -- i.e., that man has the ability to learn directly from God through man's own spiritual nature -- and this is confirmed in the words of Paul when he wrote: “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words” (1 Cor 2:13 NIV).   Thus, the sacred truths of Paul and the Gnostic Christians were beyond the perception of what Paul called “the wisdom of this world”.  

Of the difference between carnal knowledge and spiritual knowledge, Paul writes: “Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Cor 1:20 NIV).   Why?   Because, like the Sadducees and Pharisees, the wise man, scholar, and philosopher of this world fail to look beyond what is grasped through the physical senses in the creation of their theories pertaining to life and this world.   In the same way that within the scriptures there are numerous inconsistencies and symbols that point the disciple beyond the letter of what is written, all of creation is fabricated in the same mold in which the Bible itself is written.   Thus, what the Apostle writes is that the foolishness of the philosopher of this age, is no different than the foolishness of the believer who sees only the body of the scriptures -- or what the Apostle calls, the testimony of Christ.

Regarding the claim of the Gnostic Christians reported in the Britannica that their secret doctrine: “was derived directly from the times of primitive Christianity, from the Savior himself and from his disciples and friends, with whom they claimed to be connected by a secret tradition, or else from later prophets, of whom many sects boasted”, I have already demonstrated this to be true.   In the words of Clement of Alexandria: “The Lord… allowed us to communicate to those Divine Mysteries, and of that holy light, to those who are able to receive them.   He did not certainly disclose to the many what did not belong to the many; but to the few to whom He knew that they belonged, who were capable of receiving and being molded according to them”.

What the believers of the simple faith have continually failed to realize down through the ages is that, in order to learn of God, and enter the Kingdom, one must have a total and complete change of mind and heart (“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”) -- i.e., “open and unloose the mind, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” -- and this total change of mind and heart can only be brought about in the life of the believer when there is a reversal of direction, as in the biblical phrase to “turn about”.   What the Bible states is that it is impossible for us to be taught the sacred truths that we need to know in the manner of the worldly wise man, scholar and philosopher.   It is not a matter of teaching as we do in our modern educational systems, because man is incapable of comprehending higher reality so long as he is inhibited by the ten percent limitation the physical body imposes upon his mind.  

It is for this reason that the wise man of the spirit has always incorporated certain rituals that the carnal believer follows -- but in reality, these rituals exist as forms, figures and patterns of what must be accomplished in spirit.   When we begin to understand these facts, we are then able to perceive the reason why Jesus condemned the Pharisees when he said: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” (Matt 23:25-26 NIV).

It is for this very same reason that Paul said in true Gnostic fashion: “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom 2:28-29 KJV).

All these rituals that are given to carnal believers: i.e., circumcision, baptisms, laying on of hands, communion, speaking in tongues, etc., must be realized and practiced in the spirit, rather than the flesh.   This is especially seen in the words of Paul when he wrote: “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” (Heb 6:1-2 NIV).

What is written here is no different than when Origen and the early Church Fathers wrote that the reading of scripture as history and the observance of rituals in the flesh, do very little for the believer.   What is it that the Apostle is expressing when he writes: “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ”?   The elementary teachings of the Christ is what was taught to the believers at Corinth: “For in him you have been enriched in every way -- in all your speaking and in all your knowledge -- because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” (1 Cor 1:5-7 NIV).   The elementary teachings are the doctrine of “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2 NIV).

The Apostle says that carnal believers must “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” (Heb 6:1-2 NIV).   The believer cannot enter the Kingdom if they exist in a perpetual state of repentance from sin.   Faith in God is descriptive of a carnal believer's condition prior to their gaining entrance into the Kingdom where their faith in the unknown becomes confirmed with knowledge (gnosis) gained through direct experience and contact with the Lord.   Ritual baptisms and the laying on of hands must be understood in the spirit, rather in the flesh.  

The resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment must be understood as man's return to his true innate spiritual nature.   In the words of Clement of Alexandria in his description of the Lord's mission: “For He was clothed with all virtue; and it was His aim to lead man, the foster-child of the world, up to the objects of intellect, and to the most essential truths by knowledge, from one world to another”.

In order to envision the essence of what the Lord taught, and enter into the Kingdom, the carnal believer must begin to embrace the Gospel in its spiritual sense.   This is especially seen in the words of the Apostle when he said: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Heb 5:12-14 NAS).

It was the carnal believers who could not embrace the “elementary principles of the oracles of God” -- who continued in a state of perpetual redemption -- using the rituals of the Lord in the manner of the Sadducees and Pharisees for the endless forgiveness of sins, rather than the means of moving on to maturity.   Thus, the carnal believers who failed to “open and unloose the mind”, remained stagnant -- and their involvement in the gospel was little more than a philosophical and superficial outward change.   It was these carnal believers who perpetually remained babes in Christ -- ever sipping on the milk of the gospel, and never partaking of the solid food of the spirit.   When the spiritual Christians attempted to explain to them the deeper meaning of life, themselves, and the Word, the carnal Christians condemned the spiritual Christians, and called them heretics.   They will do the same exact thing in our present time.

Again, as seen throughout the Bible, the necessary requirement in order to gain entrance into the Kingdom is purity -- as seen in the words: “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful” (Rev 21:27 NIV).   That we must put on what is referred to as the robe of purity is a continual theme of the scriptures, as seen where the man attempted to come to the marriage feast without the necessary garment: “how did you get in here without a wedding garment?” (Matt 22:12 RSV).   The flawed idea that was professed among the carnal Christians that they could believe, and use Jesus as a dispensation that enabled them to continue to live in accordance with the culture of this world, while only embracing a philosophical change, was further condemned in one of the most popular early Christian writing, the Shepherd of Hermas, where the pastor Hermas asks about the symbol of the virgins: “And these virgins, who are they? They are Holy Spirits, and men cannot otherwise be found in the kingdom of God unless these have put their clothing upon them: for if you receive the name only, and do not receive from them the clothing, they are of no advantage to you. For these virgins are the powers of the Son of God. If you bear His name but possess not His power, it will be in vain that you bear His name”.

This great spiritual truth -- i.e., that we must be clothed with the robe of purity -- a truth that is conveyed throughout the Epistles of the Apostle Paul, is commented on by Origen when he wrote pertaining to who can be a recipient of the mysteries, or the Secret Doctrine of Christ: “Whoever has clean hands, and therefore lifts up holy hands to God… let him come to us… Whoever is pure, not only from all defilement, but from what are regarded as lesser transgressions, let him be boldly initiated into the mysteries of Jesus, which properly are made known only to the holy and the pure… To those who have been purified in heart, he whose soul has for a long time, been conscious of no evil, especially since he yielded himself to the healing of the Word, let such a one hear the doctrines which were spoken in private by Jesus to his genuine disciples”.

If we are to overcome the many doctrinal obstacles that have been placed in our path -- obstacles which barricade our present-day entrance into the Kingdom -- then it is absolutely necessary for us to understand who the genuine disciples of Paul was?   Was it those who were the carnal believers -- a carnal and sense bound people who never went beyond the milk of the Gospel?   Or was it those who did as the Apostle commanded, and went on to maturity and perfection?   Those Christians who truly believe Jesus, and are able to comprehend the Epistles of Paul, are those who strive to fulfill the commandment of the Lord when he said: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48 RSV).  

Carnal believers, like the Sadducees and Pharisees who hold fast to the letter of the scriptures, invent great mounds of dogma and doctrine explaining away the requirement that we must be perfect.   In opposition to the words of Paul, they say that man cannot be perfect.   Thus, they fail to heed the words of the Apostle when he commanded: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2 NAS).   Carnal believers can never “prove what… is good and acceptable and perfect”, because they permit themselves to remain “conformed to this world”.  

Instead of truly believing the testimony of the Apostle, and searching out the answer to the dilemma of how to become perfect, carnal believers manufacture an uncountable number of excuses why they can't.   In so doing, they never move beyond “the elementary principles of the Christ” -- they continue to embrace the milk of the gospel -- all the while they argue one with the other over its proper interpretation.   Like the believers at Corinth, they fail to embrace the words of the Apostle when he warned: “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught” (1 Cor 2:6 KJV).

Throughout all of Christian history the body of carnal believers have been unable to understand the Apostle's words when he wrote: “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Cor 13:10 KJV).   The dilemma is that if a Christian fails to go beyond the milk of the gospel, “that which is perfect” can never come.   The carnal believer never embraces the words: “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim 3:17 KJV).

In order for us to get a right perception of how we come to believe in the manner that we do today, it is important that we understand these things from an historical perspective.   Over the period of the first three centuries those who called themselves Orthodox, and knew only the milk of the gospel -- i.e., “Jesus and him crucified” -- became extremely hostile when they were told by the Spiritual (Gnostic) Christians that there was a great deal more than the elementary principles of the Christ.   Why?   In order to comprehend the problem as it continues to exist in our present time among modern-day believers -- and even in our own life -- we must understand that the problem is congenital in the world of natural man.

Once man becomes attached to the sensual and elemental things of this world, and has become comfortable in this physical life, he will invoke all his power of mind and being in the endeavor to resist change.   This reality is a continual theme in the Old Testament scriptures where the carnal Jews continually killed the prophets that were sent to them.   With the preaching of the gospel to the people of the nations, the carnal believers violently opposed the Gnostics, or spiritual Christians, when they taught the absolute need for purification from the defilements of this world.   It is only when we begin to perceive the congenital nature of the problem -- whereby the physical body-mind of the body-vessel in which our soul is presently inhabiting, will use all its carnal power and resources to remain attached to the elemental and sensual things of this world.

In the same way that Hitler and his cohorts were able to force all of the German people into his system of philosophy, and then endeavored to literally wipe out all opposing thought, it is important for us to recognize that this same method of forced mass conversion was employed by the Emperor Constantine with regard to his ordination of the carnal Christians over the Gnostic Christians.   Where during that period prior to the fourth century the two groups were very much expressions of the one Gentile Church -- i.e., one carnal and the other spiritual, with every evolutionary level also existing between the two polarities -- the balance of authority and influence was brought to an end through the use of political power that came to rule over every aspect of the church.

Regarding these two groups of Christians, Smith and Wace's Dictionary of Christian Biography states: “We have no reason to think that the earliest Gnostics intended to found sects separated from the Church and called after their own names.   Their disciples were to be Christians, elevated above the rest as acquainted with deeper mysteries, and called Gnostikoi because possessed of a Gnosis superior to the simple faith of the multitude…  They also boasted to be in possession of genuine apostolical traditions, deriving their doctrines, some from St. Paul, others from St. Peter, and others again from Judas, Thomas, Philip, and Matthew.   In addition moreover, to [this] secret doctrine which they professed to have received by oral tradition, they appealed also to alleged writings of the apostles themselves or their disciples”.

The reality expressed in this article by Smith and Wace's Dictionary is very important for modern Christians to recognize in their endeavor to better understand their own beliefs in our present time.   It was not the intention of Paul, the founder of Gentile Christianity, to create two different religions -- one for the carnal believers, and another for those who had evolved beyond the milk of the gospel.   Neither was it the intention of the Christians who were elevated above the carnal believers for them to be separated from the masses.   Further, the Spiritual (Gnostic) Christians were correct when they stated that they had received their (secret) doctrines directly from St. Paul, St. Peter, and many of the other disciples of Jesus.   In fact, from the perspective of what Jesus taught, the Christians who possessed the higher knowledge were the true Christians, while those who were of the “simple faith”, were the common believers who were in training to become Christians.

The problem has always been a political one.   During the first and beginning of the second centuries there existed authentic spiritual leaders in the church -- i.e., the direct disciples, and the disciples of the disciples of Jesus.   These men knew the truth as it was taught in its pure form.   They also set the standard and example to the others.   As a greater number of Gentiles converted, and the balance of power was upset, the spiritual essence of the church began to erode.

In the religion that Jesus revealed to man, truth and sanctification was not found in what one believes in a philosophical manner, but one’s condition of mind and being in relation to the Kingdom.   Over the first one hundred years after the crucifixion of Christ, the carnal believers had bona fid spiritual men as examples in which to pattern their lives.   As the babes in Christ developed in the manner of our own modern educational systems, they advanced to the next level within the church.   From a spiritual perspective, the Church was functioning in accordance with the highest levels of the very concept of religion manifested in this world.   Like our own schools and present-day educational systems, early Christianity possessed what could be termed K-12  -- i.e., a spiritual kindergarten right on through to the highest levels of instruction which led the disciples to spiritual illumination.

With regard to the levels of instruction necessary for each person as they develop, Origen writes: “As respects the nature of the Word, in the same way as the quality of the food changes in the nurse into milk with reference to the nature of the child, or is arranged by the physician with a view to the good of his health in the case of a sick man or (is specially) prepared for a stronger man, because he possesses greater vigor, so does God appropriately change, in the case of each individual, the power of the Word to which belongs the natural property of nourishing the human soul. And to one is given, as the Scripture terms it, 'the sincere milk of the word;' and to another, who is weaker, as it were, 'herbs;' and to another who is full-grown, 'strong meat.' And the Word does not, I imagine, prove false to His own nature, in contributing nourishment to each one, according as he is capable of receiving Him. Nor does He mislead or prove false” (Origen Contra Celsum).

It is important for us to recognize that these words of Origen which were written to refute the allegation of Celsus that the Christian Church was a secret society -- teaching the masses a false doctrine, while reserving the greater truths for those who are initiated into the mysteries, are basically a commentary of the teachings of Paul as expressed throughout his epistles.   Paul would have answered Celsus in the same manner as did Origen.  

Why?   Why can’t carnal man perceive and understand the Mysteries of God which the Apostle Paul speaks of as belonging only to those who have become perfect?   Because we are spiritual beings who are aliens residing in this world -- and our very God-given vital-force that gives us life is brought into our being in the manner of seven spiritual rivers flowing through our minds and bodies -- which ultimately means that the quality of the life-force is in direct relationship to the condition of our body and mind.   What this means is that a person who is carnal in their thinking, only uses that spectrum of the God-given energy flow that relates to their very sensual manner of thinking.   His physical body becomes ingrained and hard-wired to that spectrum of thinking in which he uses throughout the course of his everyday life.   The result is that because the higher energies are suppressed, natural man does not possess even the capacity to perceive and understand his own true spiritual essence.

It is not until we begin to comprehend that the greatest obstacle to spiritual enlightenment is brought about by actual obstructions to the flow of the higher spectrum of vital-energy flowing into our mind and body, that we can begin to truly begin to change our condition.   In the recognition that the initial restriction is more of a physical problem -- i.e., where the body-mind simply cannot reflect the vibratory frequency of that spectrum of vital life-force necessary to perceive and comprehend the things of higher mind -- can we even begin to appreciate the true genius expressed in the Bible.   Further, it is not until we begin to understand the nature of the beast, that we are able to comprehend why the Hebrew disciples of Jesus and the first Gentile Christians placed such great emphasis upon the need for cleansing of the body-mind from the defilements of this world.

A person who has begun to walk in The Way endures a series of changes as his spiritual nature begins to manifest.   Such a person must successfully cleanse himself from the limited thinking and defilements of this world -- must drawn closer to his indwelling soul and spiritual natures -- and must strive to overcome the natural obstacles of the physical body-mind and is able to use frequencies of that same vital life-force that is beyond the ability of carnal man to even envision.   Thus, this higher vibratory level of life-force flowing through his mind and body permits him to see what is not perceived by the person who is under carnal limitations. 

As the disciple is transformed into a spiritual being and becomes the Anointed Child of God, he possesses a vision of reality that is beyond the comprehension of the natural man.   Because he is no longer of this world, he has what is called an enlightened and illumined mind.   He has achieved a level of completion -- which Paul consistently refers to as the perfection of the individual.

When Paul speaks of the natural man, he indicates those people who have never developed themselves to utilize the higher spectrum of life-force that flows through his body-mind.   Because of his state of incompletion and limited potential of mind, the whole perspective of God from the perception of carnal man is in grave error.   God does not sit back on a lofty throne -- determining the fate of each individual -- regulating the food in the form of life-force that each of us receives.   What we fail to realize is that all of life is controlled by the natural laws of Creation in conjunction with our own accomplishments and failures.   Neither Jesus nor his true followers ever hid anything from the eyes of the common man!   The Gnostic Christians did not attempt to conceal the higher truths of the Gospel from the multitudes who called themselves orthodox.   It is the thoughts of our heart that is the bridle that steers us through the experiences of life.   If we are sense bound, and attach ourselves to the elemental things of this world, then we cannot even begin to embrace man's higher reality.  

It is not until we begin to grasp the reality that our physical body is very much as the earth itself, that we are able to embrace the necessary measures to bring about genuine change in our lives.   When the scriptures convey to us that “…we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22 NIV), it is speaking of the work that is needed to redirect our consciousness and life-force out of this world through our lower centers, and into the higher centers of our being that are dormant in natural man.

The problem is this: Once the vital-force of God-given energy that flows through us creates what can be portrayed as ravines through our body-mind, we can no more alter the direction of the manner of our perception and thought, than we could divert the direction of a great river that has carved out a deep crevice in the earth.   It is for this reason that one of the most important teachings of Jesus was that regarding little children.   The more we understand the foundation of this concept that Jesus placed such great emphasis on, the more we are able to perceive life from the vision of God, and thereby start to understand the reasons for life, death and rebirth.  

If people were permitted to continue living their life without death, they would remain spiritually stagnant.   A child's thinking can be molded because the vital life-force that flows through the child's body-mind, has not become fixed in the manner of a great river flowing through the ravines of the earth.   Once the child matures, and their pattern of thought becomes molded, the task of redirecting the manner in which the life-force flows through the body-mind becomes a difficult task -- and in many instances, impossible.  

Chinese medicine known as acupuncture is based upon this knowledge of the energy flow through the body.   Disease is caused from a blockage that they resolve by placing needles at strategic locations in the body.   If we better understood this science, we could use such healing techniques to open the mind of the individual to higher spiritual concepts.   To a great extent this is also the foundation of Chiropractic philosophy where the spine is maintained in alignment in order to insure the proper flow of vital-energy throughout the body.   In the same way, the eastern philosophy of yoga is designed to manipulate the flow of energy through the body, thereby enabling the person to open the mind.

In the beginning of natural life, the body is much more easily controlled by the mind.   As the child matures, and the flow of life-force becomes fixed, the body itself begins to control the thinking of the individual.   What most uninformed people would view as religious extremism, is merely the plight of the individual working on himself in order to change the direction of the life-force that is flowing through his body-mind.   A soul who is able to truly accomplish change in his life, and again bring about that condition where the mind rules over the physical body, has transformed himself into a soul that can overcome the obstacles of this world, and is able to pursue his destiny into the Light.

What the followers of Jesus and the early Gentile Christians recognized was the fact that change is accomplished much more easily when one possesses the knowledge of the laws that control this realm, and the manner in which these laws control the lives of natural man.   Once we begin to perceive the true horror of this world -- i.e., that mankind is literally a slave to the forces and elements of this realm, and does not possess the power to see and understand mankind's higher reality, only then are we able to embrace the true compassion that was exhibited by Jesus towards the sinners who dwelled in their world of suffering, darkness and despair.

From a biblical perspective, the restraint this world places upon natural man is likened to one who dwells in a jail -- unaware of the world that lies beyond the high walls of the prison.   We fail to perceive the great limitations that have been placed upon us, because we possess the illusion of freedom -- which is a freedom inhibited by a series of all encompassing restrictions that have been placed upon both our thinking and state of being.   This can be likened to the idea that, so long as the door to the individual jail cells are open, and the prisoner is able to roam about in a very limited fashion, they remain sedated and content under the illusion of freedom.   The desire to embrace true freedom is the result of that condition when a person is in touch with their pre-existent soul, which causes them to no longer be content to roam within the very limited environment of the prison. 

The warden of the prison -- i.e., the supernatural power the Apostle refers to as the prince of darkness -- can easily control the greater majority of the inmates of this world through an addiction to sensualism, materialism, cultural affiliation, or political power.   In the case of the more intelligent, he maintains control through conventional science, religion and philosophy -- which has the form and appearance of genuine (spiritual) knowledge.   These souls become duped into imagining they are successful merely because they appear to know or see more than does the greater majority of inmates who are sense-bound, and totally integrated into the culture of the prison.   The result is that, so long as carnal man can be controlled through either addiction, or seduced into believing he has the answers to life -- whether through the power of science, philosophy or religion -- the prince of darkness is able to continue to exert absolute control over his life.

The person that we have referred to as the mystic -- who is the genuine Jew, Christian, Muslim or any other name you choose to describe a person who possesses a more tangible inner connection with his pre-existent soul -- knows instinctively that there is a world of true freedom that exists beyond the confines of the prison of this world.   When a great soul such as Jesus appears among the inmates, and tells the people: You are not of this realm, and if you follow me, I will protect you from the power of the warden, and guide you through the very narrow and tight path that leads to life beyond the walls of this prison, the majority of the prisoners simply refuse to follow.  

When President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, many of the freed slaves refused to leave the plantations.   In like manner, the greater number of inmates of this world have never known any other life than the culture and environment of the prison in which they presently dwell.   Their friends and family are with them in their little world.   Throughout their life they have collected many material things that the warden has supplied them in order to control them through the power of physical, mental, emotional and sexual attachments.   They feel that they already have everything they need, and do not wish to leave these things behind to follow some stranger.   Moreover, their leaders who are themselves addicted to this world, have condemned the stranger -- called him a heretic -- an extremist -- and warned them that this stranger is a trouble maker whose objective is to deceive the people.  

Their prison prophets and wise men have themselves learned the power of speaking to the imagination of the inmates -- telling them that there is a supernatural savior who will come and change the prison into a land of milk and honey -- and all they have to do is wait for his arrival.   They make predictions -- and control the inmates by telling them that they are the friends of the supernatural savior.  In order to inherit the vision of milk and honey that is prophesied by these prison wise men, the inmates bestow gifts and wealth upon them, so they will be intercessors on their behalf with their friend -- the supernatural savior who will arrive at any moment.

When the Son of God physically walked among us, he did not say that if we have faith and believe that the heavenly kingdom exists, that we will go there after we die.   What he said was, if you truly believe in me, and have total faith, then you will follow in my footsteps, and I will lead you out of this prison-world and into the Kingdom.   What the Master said to us is this: “I know the way out of this world; and I must go before you to mark out a clear path for you to follow.   In order to help us, he left us a book of directions that would help us prepare for the journey.   This book -- the Bible -- has been placed in our hands in order to assist us in our endeavor to walk the path.   In order to make the journey between the prison and the outside world, we must possess a knowledge of the barriers and obstacles that the god of this world has placed in our path in order to inhibit our escape from his control.  

In order to insure both our success and the continuation of the sacred teachings for future generations to follow, the Master of The Way embedded certain detailed instructions concealed within the body of the book that he left us.   He promised that these instructions will become more apparent to us as we prepare ourselves in accordance with the written text of the book, and begin to grow in wisdom gained through our experiences of walking in The Way.   He then explained that, if he was to attempt to write these detailed instructions more clearly, that the god of this world would destroy them.   So to preserve them for those who had journeyed far enough along the path where they needed a set of more detailed instructions, the Holy Spirit placed these teachings and directions beyond the perception of natural man.

From an historical perspective, we can see the manifestation of this great truth in the editing of the scriptures by the generations of carnal Christians over the first three centuries.   Because these Christians created philosophical doctrines which altered the original teachings of the Master -- doctrines which taught that man did not have to live in accordance with the text of the book that the Master left us -- but rather, all that was required was to believe that the Master lived and escaped this world -- these carnal Christians were easily controlled and manipulated by the god of this world.   They therefore rewrote many of the concepts of the text of the book in order to make it clearer and more applicable to their manner of thinking -- which thinking was ultimately controlled by the ruler of this realm.   They then condemned the true disciples of The Way as heretics, burned the genuine copies of the book the Master left to instruct the people, killed the Master's disciples, and created laws which supported the teachings and the worship of the god of this world.

In order to strengthen their political rule of the people, they then made laws and created churches that would prohibit the use of any other sacred writing than the revised book which they ordained as genuine.  In the manner of the house churches in China, the government and their secularly ordained priests controlled every aspect of the religion of the people.   Through the use of fear and the eternal sufferings of hell, they convinced the common people that it was a sin to read the writings of the heretics, or listen to anyone who disagreed with the church that was built upon the precepts and doctrines of the god of this world.  

As a recourse to the rise of the anti-church, the true disciples of the Light buried and hid the more pure copies of the scriptures in order to preserve the written word for future generations.   In the past, when copies of these more pure scriptures were found, they were destroyed.   Thus, in our own time when the anti-church is no longer in control of government, these more pure copies of the scriptures have once again been found -- though they remain largely ignored today.   What Christians fail to realize is the fact that the very Hand of God placed these more pure copies of the scriptures in the hands of the church, in order to help the disciples of the Light find their way back to the Kingdom.

The anti-church and the heathen rulers of this world cannot succeed in their endeavor to destroy the presence of the Genuine Word of God in this realm.   One of the realities of Creation that the rulers and priests of this pseudo-church failed to understand, was that because the Natural Laws of Creation hold all things in a state of perpetual balance, man must always exist at various levels of spiritual maturity.   What this ensures is that even though the vast majority of people are ruled over by what the Apostle refers to as the god of this world, there always exist those individuals whose thinking is able to pierce beyond the barrier of carnal reality.   When these individuals begin to focus their attention on the scriptures, they are to varying degrees able to perceive the inner message of the instruction book that the Master gave to mankind -- even when the text has been corrupted.   In many instances these individuals have been able to see enough of the inner directions that is beyond the perception of carnal man, that they are able to embrace the Spiritual Gospel of God in their endeavor to journey into the Kingdom.   As they begin their walk in The Way, these individuals receive the grace and the guidance of the Lord, and with each step they take, a greater perception of spiritual knowledge is given to them -- a knowledge of the scriptures, life and Creation, that is totally beyond the vision of those whose thinking and manner of life remains under the control of the god of this world. 

When it says in the scriptures that the ark came to rest upon a mountain -- or that Moses went up on the mountain to speak with God -- or that Jesus was taken up to “…a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor” (Matt 4:8 NIV) -- what these things are symbolic of is the raising of consciousness within oneself above that of the natural man.   When one learns to raise their mind above the carnal, the path to life not only becomes clearer, but such a person is better able to hear the voice of the Lord calling and teaching the truths that the disciple needs to know in order to be able to climb still higher in their search for the Kingdom.

With regard to Origen's words, the quality of the spiritual food that each of us receives is in direct relationship to how far we have traveled in The Way.   In most instances, the knowledge we receive is controlled by Natural Laws that are manifest in accordance with our own needs and ability to use the life-force that God -- the True Source of our being -- provides us.   Thus, we can begin to see the all-encompassing reality of the Apostles words when he said that each man reaps what he has sown (Gal 6:7 NIV).   This can be expressed in the words: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov 23:7 KJV).

From the perspective of the people within the body of the original church over the course of the first three centuries, the very presence of a Spiritual Church manifest in this world has the power to greatly accelerate the journey of the disciple in search of the Truth.   It is not that man needs to be taught -- but rather, when experienced servants of the Lord are present, they are able to make the transformation from carnal to spiritual a much smoother road for the people of the simple faith.   This is in fact the essence of Jesus’ condemnation of the Sadducees and Pharisees with respect to them being counterfeit leaders of the flock of believers.   Instead of guiding the people of the simple faith into the Kingdom, they positioned themselves before the people as priests and religious authorities who would intercede between God and man.  

The only valid objective of genuine religious leaders is to assist the people in learning about the True God, teaching the flock to embrace the Royal Law of God, and working to fulfill the Vision of the Lord when he commanded: “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel” (Exod 19:5-6 NKJ).

In The early church was thus organized in accordance with the Natural Laws and the Divine directive: “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?” (Matt 24:45 NIV).   The wise servant is he that knows what type and level of food belongs to each believer who has been put in that servant's care.   In the same way that a baby will choke on solid food, and has no means to consume it, neither can the solid food of the spirit be given to carnal believers.   Therefore, in giving to each in accordance with their spiritual needs, the Spiritual (Gnostic) Christians were fulfilling the word of the Lord: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28 KJV). 

In understanding the threefold nature of both the scriptures and the revelation of the Word, we can therefore begin to observe these higher concepts at work in Origen’s defense on the attack by Celsus on the Christian religion, and we are able to get a glimpse of the foundation of the True Church of God manifest in this world.   Why is this response of Origen important to us in our present time?   This vision is important for modern Christians who must work to reverse the corruption of the anti-church which was ordained by Constantine and the Roman Empire, and endeavor to restore the greatness of the True Church of Christ.   Because the genuine focus of Christianity should be to embrace the process of leading men toward spiritual perfection and the entrance into the Kingdom, in a Spiritual Church each believer is provided with the level of truth they need to grow and mature.  

With respect to our present-day focus, the doors of Christianity have always been open to the sinner and the multitudes as a means of redemption -- but redemption is through change, and eventual spiritual transformation.   In Origen's words: “For there are in the divinity of the Word some helps towards the cure of those who are sick”, meaning the sinners.   In the early religious movement of the first three centuries, the idea of Christianity as a means for continual redemption from sin was fostered only among the bottom echelon of the church, or those carnal Christians who were spiritually sick.

“Every one”, writes Origen, “who is a sinner, who is devoid of understanding, who is a child, and, to speak generally, whoever is unfortunate, him will the kingdom of God receive. Do you not call him a sinner, then, who is unjust, and a thief, and a housebreaker, and a prisoner, and a committer of sacrilege, and a robber of the dead? What others would a man invite if he were issuing a proclamation for an assembly of robbers? Now, in answer to such statements, we say that it is not the same thing to invite those who are sick in soul to be cured, and those who are in health to the knowledge and study of divine things. We, however, keeping both these things in view, at first invite all men to be healed, and exhort those who are sinners to come to the consideration of the doctrines which teach men not to sin, and those who are devoid of understanding to those which beget wisdom, and those who are children to rise in their thoughts to manhood, and those who are simply unfortunate to good fortune, or -- which is the more appropriate term to use -- to blessedness. And when those who have been turned towards virtue have made progress, and have shown that they have been purified by the word, and have led as far as they can a better life, then and not before do we invite them to participation in our mysteries. 'For we speak wisdom among them that are perfect’” (Origen Contra Celsum).

It is true that Jesus came to save the sinner -- but he did not come to save the sinner who did not desire to change -- refused to follow him -- or who attempted to embrace him only with his lips.   In the words of Jesus: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13 NKJ).   This great truth was further clarified by the Apostle John when he wrote: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world -- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does -- comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 Jn 2:15-16 NIV).   Often, these people are innately moved by their indwelling spiritual nature -- but their continued love and attachment to this world inhibits their walk with the Lord, and they are simply not yet ready to leave the things of this world behind.   These people who claim to believe may call themselves Christians -- even born again Christians -- and yet, so long as they continue to cling to the customs, material things, and mindset of this world, they can never be anything more than babes in Christ.

The Christianity of Jesus was a living religion, and its main focus was to bring about a “change of mind” in the believer.   It is the milk of the Word, or the gospel of Jesus and him crucified, that is given to the spiritually sick in order to assist them in their initial healing from a life of sin.  The milk is designed to begin the process of growth and development.   In the case of the Jews, temple sacrifice and the rituals of the Old Testament were designed as milk for a heathen people.   It was therefore a transition to sacrifice in one place, to one God, and only certain animals that represented a more perfected animal nature.  

The Essenes did not sacrifice in the temple because they were spiritual, and they perceived the symbolism of the Old Testament scriptures from the perception of a higher mind.   We can of course reason that if God does not desire sacrifice, then the Old Testament scriptures should never have been written in this misleading manner.   Yet, when we take this position, we fail to recognize the greater need of the people.   The Old Testament scriptures were written in order to transition a heathen idol worshiping Pagan people to the worship of the One True Spiritual God.   Sacrifice and idol worship was an integral part of their thinking and mindset.   Change could only be brought about incrementally, one step at a time.

The leaders of the Sadducees and Pharisees being carnal, interpreted these spiritual symbols of the scriptures literally, and obstructed the path to the Kingdom because they continued to embrace the milk of the written word.  That Jesus was physically crucified by false religious leaders and the rulers of the Nations does not negate the fact that the Son of God permitted these events to transpire, in order to create a much more pure set of symbols that each and every disciple of the Light must embrace in their own life.   Thus, in the case of the New Covenant scriptures, what is written in the Bible is true both historically, as well as in mind and spirit.   In a Genuine Spiritual Church, the faithful servant ordained by Christ is he who seeks the wisdom of the spirit, possesses an understanding of the symbols because he has embraced them in his own life, and feeds the flock in accordance with their individual spiritual needs.   Yes, man is saved by the blood of Christ -- but this blood must be embraced physically, mentally and spiritually in order to mature to become a genuine Christian.

The Gospel message must be multidimensional, in order to transition the believer from carnal to spiritual.   What believers today, as well as the opponents of a Gnostic system of revelation failed to realize, is that the spiritual wisdom and Mysteries of God simply cannot dwell within the mind of a sinner, or one who is spiritually sick.   In the words of Origen: “And as we teach, moreover, that 'wisdom will not enter into the soul of a base man, nor dwell in a body that is involved in sin’”.   Why?   Because their very body and mind will not resonate at the higher frequencies of the life-force entering into their being.   The result is that because their body-mind cannot resonate at these frequencies that are above that of the earth, they cannot receive the complete revelation of the Word in their life.   Symbols, then, are employed in order to manifest truth uniformly on a physical, mental and spiritual level of being.  

In this respect, everything we think, do and say has an all-encompassing effect on our being.   Nothing is concealed from us -- but rather, when we are of this world, we simply cannot utilize the spiritual potential of the whole gamut of life-force that is available to us.   God and the Kingdom literally stand before our eyes, and we are blind to the reality of Creation.

With regard to sinners, Origen writes that they were NOT invited “to participation in mysteries, and to fellowship in the wisdom hidden in a mystery, which God ordained before the world to the glory of His saints, do we invite the wicked man, and the thief, and the housebreaker, and the prisoner, and the committer of sacrilege, and the plunderer of the dead”.   The problem is that in the same way that our present-day educational systems provide for an age appropriate curriculum for each child, so too did the church prior to the fourth century.   It is not that we wish to censor the higher knowledge that is taught in high school from an elementary school child -- but rather, their stage of physical and mental development simply does not support the contemplation of a more advanced curriculum.   Thus, it would be impossible for the sinners that Origen speaks of to receive the Divine Mysteries and the Gospel of God.   The problem that arose in the fourth century is seen in the fact that a true barbarian -- i.e., Constantine and Pagan Rome -- took control of Christianity, and suddenly the bottom echelon of the church was thrust into a position of political power.

With respect to Origen’s list of people who could not be invited into a participation of the mysteries, we can add to this list the unfaithful believer -- or what would be called in the scriptures the adulterer -- who are those who attempt to bring the doctrines of men to the alter of the Lord.   As Origen stated, Jesus “was sent, indeed, as a physician to sinners, but as a teacher of divine mysteries to those who are already pure and who sin no more”.

Because we fail to perceive that our natural mind that is related to our physical consciousness is embryonic, and in fact is an image of our pre-existent soul, the modern Christian is simply unable to comprehend the words of Origen where explains the words of Jesus and portrays him as a “…teacher of divine mysteries to those who are already pure and who sin no more”.   The flaw in our thinking is seen in our failure to perceive that some people enter this world as evolved spiritual souls -- and not being sick, are not in need of a physician.   That the Son of God has already healed some souls at a time prior to the life they are presently living, represents a spiritual concept that is simply beyond the ability of the modern Christian to even entertain.   Because they have lived as seekers of Truth in the past, and even disciples of the Light, they do not enter this life to be healed -- but rather, to embrace the next level of instruction.   To the pure in heart and mind, the Son of God is always there to guide and teach them in their struggles in The Way.

The teachings of the early church affirmed the biblical position that the Sacred Secrets of the Gospel could only be received by those who had been previously healed by the Word -- of whom Origen wrote: “…others again, which to the pure in soul and body exhibit the revelation of the Mystery, which was kept in secret since the world began, but now is made manifest by the scriptures of the prophets, and by the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ”. 

Who does Origen say is the instructor and revealer of the Mysteries?   The Lord commanded his disciples and followers: But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren” (Matt 23:8 RSV).   Why?   Because when man attempts to instruct another person about the Mysteries of God in the manner of a teacher, they make themselves a false Christ.   In a Spiritual or Gnostic Church, the objective is to lead the believer to the feet of the One and True Teacher who awaits each of us in the Kingdom.   Jesus, being very much our brother, accomplished this when he manifested the Logos or Word in his own life, and then taught others the means to accomplish this same thing in the lives they were living.   The faithful servant of the Lord is he who reveals to the disciples and believers The Way to find the True Prophet, which is the indwelling Word that exists within each of us.    

 

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To contact the author: Allan_Cronshaw@nazirene.org

 

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