THE  GNOSTIC  PAUL

The One Teacher

 

 

If a great teacher was to come and instruct mankind into the Mysteries of God, and a person desiring to hear this great teacher asks for directions, then the job of those who are sent to call the people is to stand in The Way and direct those seeking to hear the teacher to go by the shortest route.   If, on the other hand, instead of giving directions to the teacher, the servant attempts to convey their own perception of the words of the teacher -- second hand -- then such a person is a false servant.   If this servant then attempts to teach his own doctrine, instead of guiding the seeker to the Master himself, then such a man is a teacher of apostasy and error.  

Jesus condemned the Sadducees and Pharisees because they were not the people of Israel -- but rather, they were counterfeit religious authorities who refused to live in accordance with the teachings of The Way, and at the same time they taught the multitudes their own traditions and interpretations of the scriptures.   That the Sadducees and Pharisees were themselves self-condemned, and should have known the truth, is seen in the fact that not once did Jesus condemn the Essenes.   Why?   Because the Essenes focused on the manner in which the individual must live in order to open their minds to the indwelling Word.

In a truly spiritual religion, the One Teacher is always accessible and ever present to meet with and instruct the genuine disciple.   The job of the servant who is sent forth among the people to gather the flock is not to teach -- but rather, to give direction and demonstrate to the seeker The Way in which to go, in order to arrive at the place where the Teacher can be found.   This concept of a Living Revelation is the defining embodiment of what we refer to as mysticism, Gnosticism, and is the true essence of a spiritual religion.   Moreover, it is this defining factor that is continually demonstrated in the writings of all the early Christians, and is summarized by Origen when he explains that Christ will appear to, and teach, each individual who will be his disciple and follow in His footsteps: “…which appearing [of the Christ] is manifested to each one of those who are perfect, and which enlightens the reason in the true knowledge of things”.  

The Christ cannot appear to the carnally minded and sense bound person whose thinking is of this world.   Why?   Because those segments of mind that are necessary to explore and comprehend man's spiritual reality, are simply undeveloped.   When the Apostle Paul spoke of his visions of man's spiritual reality and said that he "heard things so astounding that they are beyond a man's power to describe or put in words (and anyway I am not allowed to tell them to others)" (2 Cor 12:4 TLB); these words should have prepared the flock of believers to open their minds to a reality beyond their carnal perception of the elementary Gospel message.

The purpose of the teachings of The Way is to develop the believer and bring about a necessary spiritual transformation.   For the help of carnal believers, the milk of the gospel has been given until which time they are ready to have a change in mind and heart, and be healed from the defilements of this realm that inhibit their growth.   Since man's own spiritual reality is beyond his carnal perception, and there is only One Source of all Truth and Light, then the purpose of the journey in The Way is to prepare and develop the seeker as he advances to a state of maturity that is his ultimate destiny. 

From a religious/philosophical perspective, the problem is seen in the fact that the Christ cannot appear to those who are unfaithful in doctrine -- i.e., those who are referred to in scripture as spiritual adulterers.   It is these people who, though they call upon the name of the Lord, attempt to come to the alter of God carrying the baggage of the doctrines of men.   The Christ can only instruct those who are of his fold.  And who are they? Those who have been healed from the defilements of the world, and look only to the Lord as their teacher.

As modern Christians it is important that we understand the doctrine of faith that Paul said was the focal point of his teachings.   It must first be remembered that in all his Epistles, Paul was writing to congregation of very carnal believers -- not Christians who had grown in maturity and perfection.   To the carnal believer, faith is the most important element of his religious experience.  

The Apostle Paul himself defines faith in the biblical sense: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1 NAS).   From a New Covenant perspective, if one's religious experience is founded upon faith alone, then such a state must be understood as indicative of a pre-Christian condition.   The word Christian when properly translated into the English language, can only be defined as a person who strives after the Anointing of God.   Again, the word Christ is not the last name of Jesus -- but rather, it is descriptive of the immersion of the mind with the active principle of Creation that we call Light.   This condition which is referred to as Anointed (Christ), is synonymous with the term illumination.   In reference to this Anointed state of mind, the Apostle writes: “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions” (Heb 10:32 KJV).  

A person whose mind has been illuminated by the Anointing of the Logos, cannot be a believer whose faith is the foundation of their religious experience.   Yes, they have faith, but once the mind is illumined and is able to gaze beyond the barrier of this world, and they can observe God and the essence of Creation, that condition which Paul defines as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1 NAS), is no longer the moving force in the life of the disciple.   When this term is fully understood, then it can also be applied to the body of believers.   Prior to being Anointed -- i.e., a pre-Christian state -- the believer is in a state where they are seeking to become Anointed -- which means that they cannot be called the Anointed (Christian), until which time they have perfected their walk with the Lord, and they have achieved that condition of illumination of mind and being.  

From this more correct perspective we can then understand that the Gentiles who the Apostle was writing to were a body of believers who were striving to become Christian.   Those who possess only what the Apostle calls the milk of the gospel, have not yet overcome their carnal nature, and cannot therefore be the Anointed (Christian).   The Apostle says of them that one of the main obstacles to their becoming a genuine Christian, is that the genuine spiritual concepts of the teachings of the New Covenant would appear to be foolishness to their natural mindset.   Why?   Because so long as their thinking is of this world, they have not yet become Christian -- i.e., Anointed and Illumined -- and whether they will in fact attain the goal of becoming a Christian will be dependent upon whether they can overcome their natural, carnal nature, and manifest their soul and spiritual natures.

The doctrine of faith which is expressed by Paul in his Epistles must be understood as being written to the wannabe Christians.   What is expressed by Paul is the assurance that if they follow in The Way, the Son of God will come to them -- that he will teach them the Truth and the Mysteries of the Father -- and that the Son of God will sanctify and Anoint them.   This is the article of faith that the true believer in the Lord expresses -- i.e., that the Son of God will fulfill the promises of the Gospel, and not leave them orphans in this world.

From a biblical perspective, faith itself is transformed as the disciple matures in Christ.   This can be compared to a woman who has faith that she can conceive and bear a child.   Prior to conception, she has faith that she can become pregnant.   After conception, and during that time when she feels life being formed with her womb, she has faith that she will give birth.   It is not until after she endures labor, and holds her infant in her arms, that she can be called a mother.   The same is true with respect to a Christian.   When one hears the Good News which is the Gospel of the simple faith, one has faith that if they believe, and embrace the Word, that the spiritual conception will take place within them.   In the same way that a woman is only an expectant mother until after the birth of the infant, neither is a person of the simple faith a Christian, until after their minds have been Anointed by the Light.

As the believer begins to take on a greater measure of Godliness, they experience a series of spiritual cleansings -- or baptisms -- that opens the inner door of the soul-mind.   From a spiritual perspective, it is the disciple who has travailed the “narrow path”, and is moving through the “straight gate”, that is in fact immerging out of the womb of Mother God, and into the Kingdom of Paradise. 

What is referred to by the Apostle Paul as the Mysteries of God, is as the sustenance that nourishes the disciple as he develops in the womb of this world.   Writing about this process of spiritual transformation, Origen explains who can be a recipient of the Mysteries of God: “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”.   Thus, the true Gospel of God can only be taught to those who have become pure, “not only from all defilement, but from what are regarded as lesser transgressions”.   The Gospel of God can only be revealed to those who are “holy and pure… and have been purified in heart”.   Disciples whose “soul has for a long time been conscious of no evil”.   Only such a disciple can “hear the doctrines which were spoken in private by Jesus to his genuine disciples”.

With regard to the doctrine of faith in relation to sure spiritual knowledge, quoting Clement of Alexandria in Smith & Wace's Bible dictionary:  “Faith is the foundation; knowledge the superstructure, by knowledge faith is perfected, for to know is more than to believe.  Faith is a summary knowledge of urgent truths; knowledge a sure demonstration of what has been received through faith, being itself reared upon faith through the teachings of the Lord.  Thus the Gnostic grasps the complete truth of all revelation from the beginning of the world to the end, piercing to the depths of scripture, of which the believer tastes the surface only.  As a consequence of this intelligent sympathy with the Divine Will, the Gnostic becomes in perfect unity in himself, and as far as possible like God.  Definite outward observances cease to have any value for one whose being is brought into abiding harmony with that which is eternal; he has no wants, no passions; he rests in the contemplation of God, which is and will be his unfailing blessedness.”

When Clement portrays the Gnostic Christian as being in “…unity in himself”, and developing to where they have become “…like God” and “…brought into abiding harmony with that which is eternal”, it is at that time when the disciple becomes the True Christian by entering the final stage of spiritual development, and fulfills the biblical requirement as set forth by Jesus in the words: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48 RSV)

With respect to the Gospel, what Clement is stating in the above quotation is that faith is the foundation, or the beginning of one’s walk with the Lord.   This is as true in the first century, as it remain true in our present time.   Without faith in the validity of the Word, there can be no growth and salvation.   What we must understand is that, from the perspective of the Gentile converts to whom Paul was writing his Epistles to, faith was the essence of their religious experience.   In Romans 11:24, Paul speaks of the Gentiles as branches of a wild olive that was in the process of being “grafted into a cultivated olive tree” (NIV).   It is important that we take note that in his words, there is no suggestion that there was a flaw in the cultivated olive tree -- which he defines as Israel.   Only that God wanted to bring this same level of spiritual cultivation to the Gentiles who in Paul’s words were “wild by nature”, in order that the Gentiles would be given the opportunity to turn from their Pagan and Heathen ways, and enter into the Kingdom.   The problem was that in not being a part of the cultivated spiritual foundation of Israel, they had to be a people of faith -- faith that God would look kindly upon them, and graft them into the cultivated olive tree of Israel.

In the same way that a fetus is not born into adulthood, the road to spiritual birth is a process -- and as one progresses in the journey along The Way, faith is superseded by Knowledge -- and if it is not, then one's faith is not only misdirected and in vain, but is spiritually sterile.   In the same way that it is an expression of faith that people invest in the stock market in the hope that they will receive a return on their investment, faith in the Lord means that you believe in the teachings of the New Covenant, and are willing to invest your life in the Word, in the hope that you will be found worthy to enter the Kingdom.   Like the stock market, you would not have invested your money if you were told that some time after death you might receive a return on your money.   Thus, in like manner, there is nothing in the Gospels that suggest that you will enter into the Kingdom after you die.   Which means that, if you have not yet gained access -- or at the least opened a direct line of communication with the Lord -- then something is wrong with the manner in which you are putting your faith.

In the words of Clement which are quoted above, the Gnostic -- or the Christian who has developed that spiritual root within himself that connects his outer person to the Divine Tabernacle within his being -- finds himself being nourished by the Word in the manner of a fetus through the umbilical cord of it’s mother.   It is these disciples who have begun to move beyond the simple faith, who are those who develop spiritually, and as a faithful infant in Christ, begin to “grasp the complete truth of all revelation from the beginning of the world to the end”.   The Gnostic, or spiritual Christian, has the ability to pierce “to the depths of scripture because he has himself pierced to the depths of his own being while walking in The Way.  

As a warning to those who read God's Word, and see only the body, Clement writes of the scriptures that “the believer tastes the surface only”.   Thus, the “genuine disciple” of the Christ understands that, in the same way he must go beyond the body of the written narrative to uncover the essence of truth, so must he go beyond his own physical and carnal nature.   Clement then says of the Gnostic, or spiritual Christian that, “as a consequence of this intelligent sympathy with the Divine Will, the Gnostic becomes in perfect unity in himself, and as far as possible like God”.   If we truly have faith in Jesus and the early church, then we must believe that Clement is speaking from his own personal experiences -- which means that the true Christian definition of faith must be understood with the promise that if we follow in The Way, that we will experience these same Mysteries of God within ourselves.

In our modern day understanding of the word, the term Gnostic is used to denote a group of heretics in the early church -- and in view of this fact, we should question why Clement would refer to the most Spiritual of Christians as Gnostics?   In the true sense of the word, one cannot be a Christian -- or Anointed -- without being a Gnostic.   The name Gnostic denotes one who has become spiritual, and is able to receive the gnosis -- or knowledge of the Mysteries spoken of by Paul -- directly from God.   In order to receive the knowledge of the Kingdom, the disciple must become Anointed, and his mind must be Illumined by the Light.   The term gnosis, or Gnostic, denotes that condition where one becomes the Anointed -- which in Greek, means the Christ -- and is then able to be taught directly from the Son of God.

Clement himself ties this great spiritual truth to the scriptures when he quotes various passages in the Bible and writes: “It therefore follows that it is the opinion of the wise among the Jews which the apostle inveighs against it. Wherefore he adds, 'But we preach, as it is written, what eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard, and hath not entered into the heart of man, what God hath prepared for them that love Him. For God hath revealed it to us by the Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God.' For he recognizes the spiritual man and the Gnostic as the disciple of the Holy Spirit dispensed by God, which is the mind of Christ”.

Clement then goes on to quote the Apostle directly, and explain: “‘But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit, for they are foolishness to him.' Now the apostle, in contradistinction to Gnostic perfection, calls the common faith the foundation, and sometimes milk, writing on this wise: 'Brethren, I could not speak to you as to spiritual, but as to carnal, to babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, not with meat: for ye were not able. Neither yet are ye now able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envy and strife, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?' Which things are the choice of those men who are sinners. But those who abstain from these things give their thoughts to divine things, and partake of Gnostic food. 'According to the grace,' it is said, 'given to me as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation. And another buildeth on it gold and silver, precious stones.' Such is the Gnostic superstructure on the foundation of faith in Christ Jesus. But 'the stubble, and the wood, and the hay,' are the additions of heresies. 'But the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is.' In allusion to the Gnostic edifice also in the Epistle to the Romans, he says, 'For I desire to see you, that I may impart unto you a spiritual gift, that ye may be established.' It was impossible that gifts of this sort could be written without disguise”.

It is important to recognize that Clement does not say that grace is given to the people who remain of the simple faith, because grace cannot be given to those who continue to live a sinful life.   Grace is the gift that is given to those who embrace the Word, and change their life, so as to cease to live a life of sin.   Unless one is willing to change, and walk in The Way, then they neither believe, nor do they have faith in the Lord.   Being unfaithful, they will be rejected!

Clement then goes on to demonstrate that there is only one Church -- and it is the same Christ that is the foundation of the carnal Christians who possess only the simple faith, as well as the mature Gnostic Christians, who have received knowledge directly from God: “But it is not doubting in reference to God, but believing, that is the foundation of knowledge. But Christ is both the foundation and the superstructure, by whom are both the beginning and the ends. And the extreme points, the beginning and the end -- I mean faith and love -- are not taught. But knowledge, conveyed from communication through the grace of God as a deposit, is entrusted to those who show themselves worthy of it; and from it the worth of love beams forth from light to light. For it is said, 'To him that hath shall be given:' to faith, knowledge; and to knowledge, love; and to love, the inheritance”.

In his wisdom Clement conveys the importance of the acquisition of knowledge when he writes: “Knowledge is therefore quick in purifying, and fit for that acceptable transformation to the better. Whence also with ease it removes [the soul] to what is akin to the soul, divine and holy, and by its own light conveys man through the mystic stages of advancement; till it restores the pure in heart to the crowning place of rest; teaching to gaze on God, face to face, with knowledge and comprehension. For in this consists the perfection of the Gnostic soul, in its being with the Lord, where it is in immediate subjection to Him, after rising above all purification and service”.

True spiritual knowledge, conveyed from the Source of Light within our soul, has a profound purifying effect upon every aspect of our being.  What is generally not understood by the carnal believer who is unable to even relate to man's spiritual reality, is we do not gain knowledge by instruction -- as is taught in the manner of the pseudo-teachers in this world -- but rather, we gain spiritual knowledge by a process that enables us to use a greater part of our own minds and being which is brought about by the Anointing of the Lord.  

Regardless of how many times this fundamental concept of the essence of New Covenant teachings is presented to them, carnal believers have never been able to understand this great spiritual truth.   When someone attempts to explain to them the spiritual reality of these simple truths, they say: If there is a higher Christian knowledge, then tell us, or teach me!   What they fail to understand is that if Jesus and his Apostles could not do what they request, then how could anyone else do what Jesus could not, and attempt to convey a higher understanding of man's spiritual reality?   Thus, the Spiritual Christian cannot do as they request -- not so much because of some commandment to keep the mysteries of God a secret -- but rather, because natural man is unable to comprehend his own spiritual reality using only his physical-mental attributes of mind.  

True faith in Jesus means that you believe that you do not need a teacher in this world -- only a guide who can assist you in finding the Teacher.   When you embrace the gospel, you already possess the potential to know all things through the process of walking in The Way.   As your spiritual awareness expands, you will begin to understand that your mind and being is imbued with life as a result of the vital organic energy that originates with God, our true Source of Being -- and it is this life-force received from God upon which your mind and body moves, thinks, and has its being (Acts 17:28).  As you become aware of this higher reality, you will begin to comprehend that your body and mind is like an antenna -- i.e., if we do not perceive and comprehend the Mysteries of God, it is because our antenna cannot receive that spectrum of the frequency that is being transmitted.  

In the same way that a radio that can only be tuned to the standard broadcast frequencies is limited to receiving only a fraction of what is actually being transmitted, our physical body in which we dwell only bestows upon natural man the ability to receive a very limited and narrow band-width of the spectrum of life-force that powers every aspect of Creation.   In the same way that if we desire to receive short-wave and other extra-broadcast frequencies on our radio, it is necessary to modify the tuner, the same is true of the mind of man who desires to gaze beyond the limitations of this physical realm.

No one is concealing anything from us.   Comprehending the Divine Word is not a matter of belief or philosophy -- but rather, using the proper antenna, and making ourselves able to receive and display the heavenly frequencies in our daily lives.   If we only have an A.M. Broadcast radio, the resolution to the problem is not to listen to someone else tell us their perception of what is being transmitted on the higher frequencies -- especially when they cannot listen and hear themselves.   The teachings of the New Covenant is the guide book for those who desire to know the Truth, and are willing to modify their receiver in order to enable it to function on the higher frequencies of Creation.   What this means is that we will have to make change in our lives in order to accomplish the goal.   Only when we begin to understand that our failure to perceive and understand is due to the organic limitation of our physical mind and body in which we are presently dwelling, are we then able to comprehend why the Spiritual Christian cannot teach a man the Mysteries that are beyond the scope of the believers comprehension.   To understand, carnal man must expand his consciousness to utilize the other aspects of his being that are capable of receiving the heavenly frequencies of Creation.

In the same way that we cannot use an automobile to fly, and ultimately travel in outer space, we cannot use the parts of our mind that correspond to the physical, to explore man's spiritual reality.   In understanding this analogy, let us also remember that a vehicle intended to travel in outer space would make a very bad choice in vehicles to travel our system of roads and highways.   If a believer is to truly become a Christian -- i.e., one whose mind is opened and illumed by the Anointing of the Light -- then they must begin to embrace a multidimensional perception and understanding of Creation and Life.

This concept should not be too difficult for modern believers to comprehend, whereas it was a great stumbling block for carnal believers in the past.   There is no question regarding the validity of the findings of modern science that we only utilize a fraction of our mental resources.   No informed person today could doubt this fact.   Yet, what our modern scientist fails to understand is that holy men and women were never dependent upon science in their quest to comprehend the meaning of Life, and the essence of spiritual religion bestows upon man the Secrets of Creation in the form of practical knowledge known only by the Gnostic Israel.  

Man has the innate power to comprehend the wonders of Creation -- and man was not given these great mental resources by his Creator without also being given the ability to use them.   All spiritual knowledge and gifts are the direct result of man's capacity to gain use of these other areas of mind -- and this can only be accomplished by man bringing himself into harmony with the Laws of man's Creator and Source of Being.

If we can at this point grasp the difference between the entry level teachings that the Apostle Paul referred to as the milk of the gospel, and the Gospel of God that was embraced by spiritually mature Christians, we must then understand not only the differences between Gentile and Messianic Jewish Christianity, but also the reasons why it appeared on the surface that Paul preached a different doctrine than what was taught by the disciples of Jesus.   We need to know this because both traditions have been placed in our Bibles -- and it is difficult to harmonize the two, without understanding the reasons why on the surface they appeared different.   In this respect, we must not fall into the error of men such as Martin Luther who embraced Paul and rejected the gospels because he could not perceive the uniformity between the two.

In the same way that Paul spoke of the Gentile converts as a wild olive that was in the process of being “grafted into a cultivated olive tree” (Rom 11:24 NIV), a great many of the misconceptions and conflicts that arose over the first three centuries between the Messianic Jewish believers known as the Ebionites and Nazarenes, was the result of the fact that the Gentiles were not of the same heritage.  

Because the Gentiles lacked the Hebrew biblical foundation that was prevalent in the scriptures, Paul correctly understood that it would be futile if he was to attempt to convert them to the religion of the Jews.   The immediate problem that confronted Paul was that neither Jewish mysticism, nor Jewish culture was applicable in the life of the Gentile convert.   Thus, to be successful, Paul was forced to remove traditional Jewish culture, and present the essence of the Gospel in a more universal understanding -- and it was for this reason that the Hand of God used Paul, a Pharisee convert, instead of an Essene-Ebionite as the Apostle to the Gentiles.   The misconception that prevails among today's believers that Paul was the only one who understood the true doctrine of Christ is not only false, be detrimental to the spiritual development of modern-day Christians -- especially in view of the fact that our Bible contains Jewish-Christian Gospels, rather than the Gentile-Christian Gospels that were authored for the non-Jewish believers.

In the life of the disciple, time is very important.   Because every aspect of man's existence in this world is itself established firmly upon the Universal Laws of God, Paul rightly taught the Gentiles not to embrace an alien (Jewish) culture -- but rather, understand the deeper meaning of their own.   The pathway to God is not walked with rituals and words, but more truly with the desires of the heart and the faith that one has in the Lord.   Paul’s manner of preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles was therefore founded upon an elevated understanding of the threefold nature of man -- i.e., in view of the fact that the pre-existent soul of man is not Jewish, why should the Gentiles be made to first embrace Jewish customs in order to walk in The Way.   The answer is that they should not.   Once the disciple in search of truth begins to realize that every one of us is equally the offspring of the One God and Supreme Power of Creation, and each one of us is literally swimming in God's ocean of Universal Law, what Paul wrote must be seen in a new light as it is realized that God's Truth is generic to all cultures and people.  

That the Hebrews possessed a culture that enabled them to more easily transition from the physical to the soul and spiritual realities of man, was the primary reason Paul referred to Israel as a “cultivated olive”, and the people of the Nations as a “wild olive”.   What Paul set out to do, then, was to assist the Gentiles in their walk in The Way by taking the knowledge of the Israelite, and making it applicable to the Greeks and Romans.

Paul took Universal Truths and conveyed this knowledge to the Gentiles who were worthy to embrace the Word of God.   In the same way that life as we know it cannot exist without the air we breathe, neither can we sever our intimate connection with the Law's of God.   In his writings, Paul attempted to convey this great truth, but the full reality of what Paul wrote was beyond the comprehension of the carnal minds of the Gentile believers who claimed to be his followers, as well as the carnal minds of the (spiritually immature) Jews who condemned him.  

One of the major faults in carnal man's reasoning lies in the idea that mankind is separate and even independent of his Creator.   No greater profound truth was ever spoken than where it is written that “…we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28 KJV) within the very body-mind of God “in whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10 KJV).  Because each of us has a soul -- which soul is not only from God, but remains as a spark of the Great Light in the body-mind of the One God -- nourished and cared for by the very currents of life of the Divine Body in which we dwell -- the path to Life that Jesus cleared for us out of this world was not external to our being -- but rather, the path to Life that we must travel was cleared within our own body-mind and being.   This truth is difficult for natural man to even envision, because this world appears to him as an external reality -- rather than a projected reality that is a reflection of his inner state of being.   What he fails to understand is that there are countless other realities that are within his ability of observe and interact with in a similar manner that he does in the present life he is living in this world.   One of these realms leads to what Jesus called the Kingdom of God -- and it was here that Jesus cleared the path for all those who believed and would follow in his footsteps.

If man “lives and moves and has his being” within God, and the soul -- the spark of life -- within man remains part of God, then our initial spiritual objective is for each of us to become the person we are at the depth of our soul.   Jesus, then, representing the highest expression of Creation, is the pattern which each of us must adhere to in order to return home to our Heavenly Father.

Thus, in understanding this great universal truth, Paul attempted to convey to carnal minds that they should not seek God outside of themselves, nor permit themselves to be burdened by embracing alien rituals and customs of a foreign people -- but rather, seek the essence of the Gospel of Christ, and purify the desires of the heart with regard to the true and accurate knowledge of the spirit.   No greater truth was ever written -- and in like manner, no greater truth has ever been misunderstood by the carnal minds of men.

Regardless of where the footsteps of mankind walks in this world, the intimate connection between man and God remains.   People are not converted with words or with rhetoric they are taught to recite -- but rather, with an intimate connection with the Light of Life that dwells universally in the hearts of all men.   It is because all mankind is of one fundamental body-mind at our essence of ultimate being, when we are able to manifest the One Light in our own lives, we actually connect the people in whose presence we come into contact with, with the same One Light that exists within their own mind and being.   It is from this perspective -- that Jesus had the capacity to manifest God in the world -- that he was said to be himself God.   Moreover, from this higher perspective, Jesus was God.

Only because Paul was of an elevated mindset -- a mindset that enabled him to grasp the higher universal presence of Christ in the life of all of Creation -- was he able to write the words: “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer” (2 Cor 5:16 NIV).   Again, no finer commentary on these words of Paul exist that surpasses those of biblical scholar Rudolf Bultmann when he concluded that the “…Christian faith is, and should be, comparatively uninterested in the historical Jesus and centered instead on the transcendent Christ” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998 electronic edition).   The problem is that it is almost congenital that carnal man fears the very concept of what the word transcendent conveys.   Why? Because it places him in an inferior position to the higher powers of Creation, and it is beyond his ability control and understand.   He therefore continues to cling to carnal perceptions of realities that he is incapable of comprehending.

Even today we fail to understand this most important aspect of Paul's teachings.   One of the obstacles that confront us is seen in the fact that we do not perceive the essence of New Covent thought -- which is the pre-existence of the soul of man, and the revelation of the Inner Light and Kingdom -- universally -- within the mind of mankind.   In fact, it is this great flaw that prompts many modern translations of the Bible to render Luke 17:21 “in your midst”, rather than “within you”.   Because of their adherence to manmade doctrines, they simply cannot come to terms with an inner Kingdom that can be accessed in a similar fashion as that when we move about and dwell in this present world.   One only has to look at a number of Bible commentaries on Luke 17:21 to find the explanation that Jesus could not have meant that the Kingdom of God was inside the Pharisees -- yet, the original text states just that!  

What Paul preached to the Gentile converts was that it was not the (historical) Jesus who walked the shores of Galilee that can save you, but rather the Christ who shares an intimate connection with you through God -- the Father of us all -- within your very own heart and mind.   When you read your scriptures, then, do not read them to learn about the past -- but rather, read them to learn about yourself in relation to the Kingdom -- for it is the genuine Christian who is cognizant of the reality that we are truly dwelling in biblical times.

This great eminent truth that Paul was conveying to his Gentile converts was that even if you lived on an island in a far-away land, and never heard either the formal Law of God given to mankind by Moses, or the name Christ, you could still walk the path of Life that Jesus cleared for our return to our Father.  “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight”, writes Paul, “but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous” (Rom 2:13 NIV).   Paul then goes on to explain this great universal truth when he writes: “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them” (Rom 2:13-15 NIV).  

What Paul attempts to convey to the Gentile readers is the fact that whenever man begins to live in accordance with the Royal Law of God -- which Law is indigenous to man’s own spiritual nature -- that such a man or group of likeminded people will inherit the promise of the Word.   What Paul very clearly stated was this: When the people of the Nations begin to do -- “by nature things required by the law” -- the universal door to the Lord that each of us has within our own mind and being begins to open.   Thus, it is important that we recognize the universal truth expressed by the Apostle when he wrote that the disciples of Christ are not recognized by the words and rhetoric that they speak -- the church they attend -- or even whether they know the name of the historical Jesus -- but rather, the intensity and the volume of the Light that they manifest in their daily lives.   It is for this reason that Paul wrote to the believers at Corinith that they are no longer to know the historical Christ in accordance with the flesh, but more truthfully the spiritual Christ that dwells within the hearts and minds of all men (2 Cor 5:16).

Natural man has great difficulty coming to terms with the essence of the Gospel message, because he attempts to interpret the idea that the essence of the Gospel message is beyond his comprehension.   Moreover, since only the most dedicated and sincere of the flock of believers are even prepared to begin to embrace the higher concepts of the Mysteries of God, they tend to reject the idea expressed by the Apostle in the words: “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22 NKJ).    Thus, while the majority of believers desire to inherit salvation and the promise of the scriptures, they are not prepared to make the journey into The Way their single focus in life.  

When it is realized that it was Paul, the Apostle of faith, who reportedly spoke the words that the Kingdom of God can only be entered through many tribulations, the flock of believes become confused.   On the one hand it appears that Paul states that works means absolutely nothing, and man is saved by faith.   Thus, because we do not understand the reality of life from the enlightened perception of Paul, we fail to understand the essence of his doctrine of faith and the absolute need for the works of the spirit, as demonstrated in his words: “That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim 3:17 KJV).   That in Paul’s vision faith and works are intimately related, can be further seen in the words: “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (Titus 1:15-16 NKJ).

Because we read the Epistles of Paul through our very limited cultural and quasi-Darwinist vision of life, we are not able to understand the foundation of faith which he wrote about, and neither are we able to comprehend the absolute need for the proper works that is the very means which brings us to the gate of the Kingdom of Life.   Paul was a man who had been permitted to see into spiritual realms that lie beyond the three-dimensional barrier of this natural world.   He was a man who understood that the scriptures were written in a spiritual language -- i.e., a language of forms and symbols that must be perceived as pertaining to inner realities -- and with this knowledge he warned the unenlightened Gentile converts that the scriptures of the Jews were an “allegory” (Gal 4:24).   Rightfully Paul warns the Gentile converts that the rituals of the Jews in which they attempt to practice their allegorical scriptures outwardly, is impossible to bring the salvation they desire.   Man is saved by faith -- i.e., faith in the teachings and covenant of The Way -- that by doing the works of the spirit, the disciple will arrive at the feet of the Master, and be taught by the Source of all Knowledge and Truth.

Very quickly after Paul’s departure from the various congregations to whom he preached the testimony of Christ, many of the believers who did not possess the Apostle’s enlightened vision of reality, immediately looked to other men as their leaders.   This is a normal occurrence that can be observed throughout every aspect of life.  Thus, these leaders who were still very much of a carnal mindset -- even in those cases where they were sincere -- interpreted faith from a totally different perspective than did Paul and the few who had successfully made the transition between carnal and spiritual.   In fact, this flaw in the human religious experience is the very theme of the beginning of Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians where he admonishes the congregation not to be followers of men -- but only of Christ.

Men and women whose perception, thinking and understanding are bound to this three dimensional world have great difficulty in perceiving the higher reality that Paul speaks of as the Mysteries of God that can only be revealed to those who have matured to a state of spiritual perfection.   It is easy for the sincerely religious person to observe that biblical and spiritual truths mean very little to the unbelievers whose thinking is totally dominated by the sensual and elemental things of this world.   He therefore reasons that Paul must be speaking about the unbelievers when he writes that they are blind and cannot comprehend the true meaning of the gospel, and not himself.   After all, the sincere believer reasons, I can see and understand what these other men cannot.   What he fails to comprehend is the fact that Paul was speaking about baptized and confirmed believers who had received all the knowledge and spiritual gifts of the testimony of Christ, and that only the very few who overcome the trials and tribulations of the process of metamorphose as the physical is transformed and transmuted into spiritual, are the ones who the Apostle said are able to comprehend the True and Genuine Gospel of Christ. 

How, then, could these few spiritual Christians who had successfully made the transition, accomplish what the Apostle himself could not -- i.e., convey to the masses of people that they were spiritually blind -- and though their spiritual blindness is not a personal fault -- i.e., it is natural for all men and women to fail to understand the fundamental truths of the scriptures because their minds are embryonic, and can only perceive a very incomplete perception of man’s reality, and that man’s limited perception and understanding is a natural obstacle that each of us must overcome.   In the same way that it is not a defect that an elementary school child does not comprehend calculus, trigonometry, and the higher concepts of philosophy and theology, neither is it a flaw that carnal beings who are born from human parents, are not spiritually mature enough to perceive the Mysteries of God and Creation.   When Jesus warned that one must turn about and become as a child in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, it is important for us to recognize that children are teachable because they know that they do not know -- whereas, it is a truly difficult thing for a mature man or woman who has dedicated their life to God and the acquisition of truth, to recognize that they do not yet know as they ought to know -- as seen in the words of the Apostle: “And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know” (1 Cor 8:2 NKJ).

In order to open our minds to a higher understanding and enlightened perception of Life, we must first realize that we cannot know the things pertaining to man’s higher soul and spiritual realities until after we have undergone the process of transformation of walking in The Way.   Paramount is the realization that each and every one of us are the direct offspring and expression of the One Universal Source, and genuine religion has little to do with belief -- but rather, is the means by which our True Reality is realized through our own personal transcendental experiences.  

The scriptures tell us that there are two fundamental powers in this world -- the light and the darkness.   What this means is that, regardless of where we live, the cultural customs we adopt, our language or our beliefs pertaining to the things known and unknown, or the images of things seen or not seen, everything we think, do, and say, is just ripples and vibrational movements within the structural pattern of these two fundamental powers of Creation.   The result of this fact is twofold: Our freedom that many liberal thinking people believe they possess is nothing more than an illusion -- in that, like fish, we cannot get out of the water.   On the other side of the coin, though, is the fact that because every aspect of our being maintains an all encompassing intimate connection with the Divine Powers of Creation, regardless of what we do, any time that we desire to embrace the ultimate truth of reality, we only have to open our eyes to it -- as it is written: “God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being’” (Acts 17:27-28 NIV).

This often ignored truth that Paul is stating has a profound meaning when properly understood: Because each of us is literally swimming in the sea of God's Universal Law, when the man or woman who dwells on a far away island begins to instinctively choose the Light over the darkness, the streams of Light that enter their mind begins to widen as more Light is given from the Universal Source.   Moreover, Paul is correct when he writes that it is not the Christ “after the flesh” (2 Cor 5:16 KJV) that will save him -- but rather, of the spirit, as it is written: “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” (John 14:21 NIV).

The command of the Lord is not a spoken word of the flesh, but more truly the Universal Love of the Spirit.   Jesus promises that whoever manifests this love in their life, Jesus will love, and “show myself to him”.   In view of the fact that Jesus does not say that he will show himself to the world -- but rather, only those who love him and keep God's Commandments -- we must understand the manner in which Christ will appear to the faithful servant.  

The Lord has witnessed to the fact that “…you are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:20 NIV).   Thus, the Lord has promised: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev 3:20 NKJ).   Jesus is making reference to the spiritual door that is the gateway to the Kingdom which exists in another dimension within the minds and being of each and every one of us.  

The problem is that to rhetorically repeat this fact means absolutely nothing!   What is important for us to understand is the manner in which this inner door is opened.   What good is it to know that the door or gateway exists, if we do not possess the knowledge to open it!   From a biblical perspective, the beginning of the process is when we embrace the natural Laws of God in our quest to immerse our lives in the Truth and Light.   In the words of Paul: “Indeed, when Gentiles… do by nature things required by the law… even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts…” (Rom 2:13-15 NIV).   With the elevation of their being to a higher level, and the desire in their hearts for the higher good, they become the “good ground” in the parable of the sower and the seed (Mat 13:3-23; Mk 4:2-20; Lk 8:5-15), and the True Teacher is then able to enter into their lives and show them The Way Home.

In the text of the Revelation (Rev 3:20), the question should be asked what the reference to food is in the statement that “I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me”.   In view of the fact that this door is accessed through the mind and spirit of man, the food that Jesus speaks of is Knowledge that nourishes and strengthens the mind -- which Knowledge gives birth to the Anointing of the Holy Spirit that purifies and elevates the disciple to a higher spiritual level.  In view of the fact that Jesus does not promote cannibalism, it is to these two things -- Knowledge and Spirit -- that Jesus makes reference to when he states: “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me” (John 6:53-57 NIV).

We cannot “open the door” (Rev 3:20) that the scriptures speak about, without the Knowledge and the Spirit that only the True Teacher can give us when we eat his body and drink his blood.   Therefore, when we cling to manmade doctrines and perceptions of the Word, we place an obstacle between us and the Truth.   The result is that we inhibit the process of spiritual development, and the Lord is unable to teach and mold us.   When we fail to purify the physical vessel (body) that we inhabit -- i.e., “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (1 Jn 3:3 NIV) -- we cannot drink the blood of the Lord that is absolutely necessary in order to enter into Life.

To those who make themselves genuine followers of the Christ, and permit the Light to enter their lives in word, thought, and deed, with the opening of the mind to the greater reality of the Kingdom, the disciple not only quickly learns the truth to the words that we are the “offspring of God” (Acts 17:28-29), but that we are in fact the prodigal sons (Luke 15:11-32) who have previously emerged from the Kingdom of our Father.   In light of this revelation, the disciple begins to understand that, within his own mind and being there is an innate knowledge of the road he must travel in his return home.   Suddenly, everything in his life begins to take on new meaning -- a meaning that he had previously been blind to.  

When Paul preached to the Gentiles that the Kingdom was at Hand, he did not place the burden upon them of having them learn the Old Testament scriptures and embrace Jewish culture.   Paul correctly taught that God is universal to all mankind -- and it is the Light within the heart and mind of man that the genuine Christian must move into harmony with.   That Jesus was the “forerunner” (Heb 6:20) in whose footsteps we must follow -- because he became “the first-born among many brethren” (Rom 8:29), was true -- but from a spiritual perspective, it would have been a great burden placed upon the Gentiles if Paul required them to first become Jews, in order to walk in The Way.

This great misconception with regard to what Paul taught, and why, is again the result of our failure to understand the reality of our pre-existent soul, as well as the inner Kingdom.   In order to overcome the division that both Jesus and Paul warned was the thing most detrimental to man's salvation, each of us must endeavor to discover the true being that we are.   In previous chapters I made the statement that the majority of people neither reincarnate or go to glory as the majority of Christians today believe -- but this does not mean that we do not survive death -- whereas, the statement is made from the perspective that we are not genuine and real.   One of the interpretations of the great revelation that Jesus taught with regard to children -- i.e., “And he said: I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3 NIV) -- and this word “change” is again founded upon one of those Greek words that we are unable to properly translate into the English language because of the manner in which we believe.  

The idea conveyed is to change from the perspective of reversing the direction we have been traveling.   The essence of the problem is born from the fact that when the soul manifests itself in life, it only develops to about the age of three to five years, before the child becomes culturized -- imbued with ideas of it’s parents -- the political correctness of the society in which it dwells, and the child begins to take on the falseness of its civilization that each person becomes a part of in that life.  

If the pre-existent soul of man is neither male nor female -- is not race specific -- and is not a part of any given culture -- then we must conclude that the more the child embraces and adopts these parochial and provincial elements of life, the more he becomes alienated from his soul and true self.   If I pose the question: What am I?   If I answer the question from a soul perspective, I would have to conclude that I am the sum total of all the things I have been throughout the uncountable lives my soul has lived -- i.e., my soul has lived as a Jew, Essene, Nazarene, Ebionite, Gentile Christian, Muslim, Deist, Atheist, Druid, and an uncountable number of other religious and philosophical persuasions.   I have been both a man and woman.   I have been every race.   I have lived on continents and been a part of cultures that no longer exist.   If my soul is the sum of all my experiences, and perceives all of life from an elevated vision of reality, then it would be very difficult to find my true self by embracing any of the very limited cultures or perceptions of life that exist in our present-day world.   In fact, it would be impossible.

The result is that the schools and institutions of learning which we send our children to in order to educate them, actually dumb them down in relation to the true knowledge of the child's own pre-existent soul.   The religions and philosophies we embrace are so limited in scope, that they alienate us from God.   The more we perceive ourselves as a man, woman, black, white, yellow, red or brown, the more we polarize ourselves with religious and philosophical doctrines, the more we move out of harmony with our true nature.   It is for this reason that Jesus said: Unless we turn around, and become as we were when we were a child -- prior to being indoctrinated into the thinking of our false culture -- and open our minds to the instruction from our One Genuine Teacher, the more it is impossible for us to discover who we truly are, and enter the Kingdom of God.

As on who was chosen to fulfill a prescribed mission in the world, the Apostle Paul had been bestowed with a much more illuminated vision of life and Creation, and he knew that it would be a useless endeavor to convert the Gentiles to Jews in order for them to perceive the essence of the scriptures.   Paul wisely knew that the Old Testament scriptures were written in accordance with the culture and thinking of the Jews, and its universal truths were declared in order to assist Jews in first finding themselves, and then finding God.   This statement is of the greatest importance because it is impossible to find God without first finding the true person who we are from the perspective of our pre-existent soul.  

Once we begin to understand this great truth -- i.e., that we cannot even begin to find God, until we first find ourselves -- then our whole perception of religion must change.   In the first place, we must begin to open our minds to a more universal reality than that associated with the physical body in which we presently dwell -- the culture that we have become a part of -- and we must begin to see life from a vision that is beyond the limitations of this world.   Admittedly, this is not easy!   Then, in order to harness the forces of Creation, we must begin to understand that all of life is controlled by the natural laws that form it.  

What we fail to realize is this great fact: If the universe was not regulated and governed by these natural laws that continue to move and effect every element of Creation, then chaos would result.   If the planet earth did not predictably move around the sun, and instead just freely traveled throughout the solar system, then it could not support life as we know it today.   Thus, this same order that we observe in the universe, extends to every aspect of Creation -- with the result being that we must begin to understand that the paradoxical nature of Creation causes opposing perspectives -- and what is perceived as good from one perception, and bad from another, is neither!   In fact, they exist to balance their opposite polarity, and to give birth to the higher truth that is always born from their merger into one complete manifestation.   One of the more perplexing problems this creates for the mind of carnal man who attempts to see everything in black and white, is the reality that what was good for the conversion of the carnal Jews, was not necessarily good for the carnal Gentiles, and vice versa.  If this world did not have its limits, it could not exist -- and yet it is these very limits that both bring about our own growth, as well as hinder our search for truth.   How, the, can the limits be deemed either good or bad?  

There were early Christian (Gnostic) sects which viewed all of physical Creation as being the work of an evil god -- and their perception was both right and wrong.   Where did this belief originate?   Scholars have realized that it is indigenous to man himself, and has always existed among the religions of the world.   More importantly, though, is that this indigenous belief was in fact amplified by the Apostle Paul to new heights among his Greek Gnostic followers.   His many references to the evil nature of the god of this world, imbued his Gentile followers with a mindset that perceived everything in this realm as the product of evil.  

Within the holy books of the Hebrews, all of reality was represented.   But because of the great culture gap that existed between the Jews and Gentiles, Paul could not use the Old Testament.   Thus, Paul had no other choice than to reject the Old Testament, and present a non-biblical reality that was more appropriate to the people he served in order that the Gentile mind would more easily understand the essence of spiritual thought that he was attempting to convey.   Yet, what Paul was teaching to the Gentiles was never meant for the Jews -- and from a Jewish perspective, was not only damaging, but was detrimental to the spiritual development of the Hebrew people.   This, again, is the demonstration of one of those paradoxes that is difficult for the carnal mind to envision.

If we are to begin to understand the great gulf that existed, then we must begin to realize that from the Jewish perspective, Paul truly was the creator of heresy -- and as such, was correctly characterized by the historical personage of Simon Magus.   Thus, let us review the conclusion of the Encyclopedia Britannica which states pertaining to the writings attributed to Clement, the disciple of Peter: “…the common source of these documents may be as early as the 1st century, and must have consisted in a polemic against Paul, emanating from the Jewish side of Christianity.  Paul being thus identified with Simon, it was argued that Simon's visit to Rome had no other basis than Paul's presence there, and, further, that the tradition of Peter's residence in Rome rests on the assumed necessity of his resisting the arch-enemy of Judaism there as elsewhere”.

Returning once again to the writings of Clement, we can now see that Peter's explanation should make perfect sense in the confrontation that is to take place with Paul, who is portrayed as Simon Magus: “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”. 

In the first place we must understand that even the more enlightened Jews did not believe that an accurate portrayal of God could be perceived in the literal reading of the Old Testament.   Moses Maimonedes, one of the most respected Jewish theologians, historian, and Talmudist, writes about the nature of scripture: “Every time that you find in our books a tale the reality of which seems impossible, a story which is repugnant to both reason and common sense, then be sure that the tale contains a profound allegory veiling a deeply mysterious truth; and the greater the absurdity of the letter, the deeper the wisdom of the spirit”.

What Moses Maimonedes is stating, then, is that there exist many parts of the scriptures that are literally and historically not true.   Isn't Paul stating this exact same truth when he writes to the Galatians who are attempting to embrace Jewish ways, and states: “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?”  And then Paul goes on to explain to those who want to attempt to read the written word literally, in an historical context as Christians do today: “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.  But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory” (Gal 4:21-24 KJV).  

That the carnal Jew could not see beyond the symbols of the allegory, and their eyes and hearts were hardened so they could not comprehend the true meaning of the scriptures, is readily understood where Paul states that “their minds were blinded” by God, “for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament… even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart” (2 Cor 3:14-15 KJV).

When they therefore worship the god of the literal word -- with rituals, animal sacrifices, incense, in a temple made with the hands of men -- then it can truly be said that the Jews worshiped a false god.   This truth the Apostle Paul confirmed to the Gentiles, and the Gentiles then incorporated this understanding into their own sacred writings.   The problem is that from this false perception of the Hebrew scriptures was born the Christian Gnostic doctrine that the god of the Jews was a demiurge -- a lower god -- and not the same god that Jesus declared.   Again the problem was that the Christian Gnostics were neither right nor wrong, and from this limited perception was born an even greater error which gave birth to the Gentile doctrine that Christians were exempt from living in accordance with the Law of Moses and the Commandments of God as revealed in the Old Testament.

It is a fact that the Gnostic Christians whose number flourished over the first four centuries were cursed as heretics by the fourth century Roman Church.   Why?   What the church of the simple faith who called themselves orthodox could not comprehend, is that the Spiritual Christians could write scriptures that had nothing to do with the Jewish heritage of the Gospel, and these scriptures were still in many instances of a higher order than the traditional Old Testament writings.   The Spiritual Christians who were labeled Gnostics -- because they claimed to possess a higher knowledge of the Word handed down directly from Paul -- had no reason to base their scriptures on the Hebrew traditions.   Why should they when Jewish tradition was not a part of their culture.   They therefore encoded their truths in stories of angels and powers that controlled the elemental and heavenly realms of this and all other worlds.   In their condemnation of these scriptures, it was the people of the simple faith who were in error when they ignored a very important teaching of Paul -- i.e., “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer” (2 Cor 5:16 NIV) -- and judged the validity of the writings in the same manner as the Sadducees and Pharisees by their literal, historical content.   To their own loss they therefore viewed many of the most spiritual writings of the Gnostic (Spiritual) Christians as heresy.

The (Gnostic) Christian Valentinus claimed to have learned Paul's secret traditions directly from his own teacher Theudas, who was himself a disciple of Paul.   In adapting their scriptures to the concept that Paul taught: (1) that it was the transcendental Christ of the Spirit that could save them, and not the belief in an historical man; and (2) the Jews were blind to the true meaning of both the scriptures and the higher revelation that Jesus taught -- they often began their gospels where the Spiritual Christ appeared to his disciples in order to instruct them in the knowledge of the Mysteries of God.   By doing this, they were able to convey universal truths to the Gentile Christians, without dealing with the Jewish heritage that was an integral part of the Hebrew Gospels.

In view of the fact that the disciples of Paul totally ignored the historical factor in both their scriptures and their foundational doctrines of belief, the Christians of the simple faith condemned them as heretics -- but what they were in fact condemning was their own ignorance.   If it is true what the Apostle taught in Romans that man innately knows God -- and he can learn all there is to know about God by observing what has been created -- and if we examine the words of Paul when he taught that “For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves” (Rom 2:14 NAS) -- we must ask the question as to how could the Gentiles who did not have the Law, keep the precepts of the Law?  Paul answers this question when he wrote: For the truth about God is known to them instinctively; God has put this knowledge in their hearts” (Rom 1:19 TLB).  

What is clear is that Paul preached a gospel where the believer was taught the means to transcend this physical realm in their quest to open their minds to the Spiritual Christ.   The problem is that the people who were carnal and of the simple faith, simply were unable to relate to the Spiritual Christ, and continued to cling to what Paul called the testimony of the historical Jesus that the Apostle called the milk of the gospel.

In what is arguably one of the best works on Christian Gnosticism by G.R.S. Mead entitled Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, this explanation is put forth: “…what the Gnostics projected onto the screen… [in the form of a ] picture of the universe was in reality a picture of their own minds. Its mythology is a symbolic portrayal, almost a deliberate one, of the forces which operate in the structuring and evolution of the human personality”.   It was for this reason that Carl Jung called the Gnostic Christians the worlds first and foremost psychologists who understood the very fabric of human consciousness.

If it is true what the Apostle wrote: For the truth about God is known to them instinctively; God has put this knowledge in their hearts” (Rom 1:19 TLB) -- then the anti-Jewish religion that Paul preached must be seen as a means to tap into this deposit of “instinctual… knowledge [that God deposited] in their hearts”.   Moreover, his doctrine of faith can only be understood as seen in the ability of the disciple to tap this inner resource and learn the Mysteries of God directly from their Source.   From the perspective of the disciples of Paul who came to be called Gnostic Christians, to compose scriptures that were based upon Jewish history, would simply be inappropriate from a Gentile perspective.

To those who possessed the eyes to see and the mind to understand, what the Gnostic or Spiritual Gentile Christians wrote about was the laws that control the workings of our mind.   Why?   Because it was the workings of these laws that inhibited man’s entrance into the Kingdom!   From their perspective, then, the workings of these laws and the means to overcome them were the most important aspect in the life of the disciple in search of Truth.  

Unlike the people of the simple faith, the Spiritual Christians saw the problem very clearly: We cannot use the greater part of our consciousness because of physical, mental and spiritual blockages that restrict us.   What Jesus taught his faithful disciples who came to him “in the house”, was the means to overcome these carnal restrictions by bringing our mind and being into harmony with God's Laws.   When we begin to understand ourselves as the Prodigal Sons of our Father, and we perceive that life is a great deal more than what we see here in this physical realm, it is only then that we begin to spiritually mature and develop.

When we are yet “babes in Christ”, it must be understood that our faith in the power of our Teacher and Master Jesus is of the highest importance.   We cannot learn the Sacred Truths of God and the spiritual reality of Creation from the teachers in this world, because their theories are based only upon a quasi-Darwinism -- which theories embrace the idea that man originates from the elements of this world.   While it is true that man’s physical body is the product of the elements of this world, the Bible continually warns us that man possess a soul and a spirit that is not of this world.   Thus, because these quasi-Darwinist theories are three-dimensional, they amount to little more than incomplete carnal perceptions of higher truths not fully understood.   In fact, once our spiritual eyes begin to open, we can easily perceive the fallacy of their mode of instruction.   True knowledge cannot come to us through theory and philosophy -- but rather, through the acquisition of a greater portion of our own mental resources that cannot be accessed through the carnal powers of perception.  

What G.R.S. Mead wrote with regard to the Gnostic scriptures was that “…what the Gnostics projected onto the screen… of the universe was in reality a picture of their own minds” (Fragments of a Faith Forgotten).   The Greek Christians who had no foundation in Judaism or the Old Testament, simply did as Paul instructed throughout his epistles, and wrote about the Spirit of the Word in the manner of their own way of thinking.  

As G.R.S. Mead concludes on page 176: “The claim of the Gnostics was that a man might so perfect himself that he became a conscious worker with the Logos; all those who did so, became 'Christs,' and as such were Saviors, but not in the sense of being the Logos Himself”.  

Where the people of the simple faith looked upon the word “Christ”, as Jesus' last name, the Spiritual Christians understood that what this term meant was the Anointing of the Logos -- i.e., the Mind of God.   In the revelation of his spiritual Gospel, it was this receiving of the Anointing that Paul speaks about throughout his epistles.   When the disciple receives the Anointing -- this Anointing of the mind of the disciple in the Greek, denotes one who is Anointed, or the Christ.  

It is for this reason that I previously wrote that from a definitive perspective, the people of the simple faith are not yet Christians because they have not yet received the Anointing of the Logos.   Moreover, the Anointing is not philosophical or rhetorical -- as becoming a believer -- but is an actual illumination of higher consciousness that permits the disciple to use more of their mind that the natural man.  

A person cannot be a genuine Christian -- i.e., an Anointed one -- without possessing the knowledge of their pre-existent soul.   A person cannot possess the knowledge of the soul, without knowing the previous lives that the soul has lived.   In Pistis Sophia, one of the sacred books used by the Spiritual (Gnostic) Christians, which name in English means the Book of Faith-Wisdom, Jesus states: “But if he shall have sinned once, twice, or thrice, they shall reject that soul, sending it back again into the world according to the form of the sins that it may have committed; the form whereof I will declare unto you hereafter.   But verily, verily I say unto you, that even the righteous man that hath committed no sin at all cannot be brought into the Kingdom of Light, forasmuch the seal of the mysteries of that kingdom is not found upon him.  Once for all, I say unto you, a soul cannot be brought into the kingdom, if it be without the mysteries of the Kingdom of the Light”.

In this quotation we not only see that the Spiritual Christians understood that Jesus taught the reincarnation of the soul -- “sending [the soul] back again into the world according to the form of the sins that it may have committed” -- but what we have here is the genuine foundation of Paul's doctrine that man can do nothing on his own, and can only be saved through faith in Christ.   The problem arises when we do not understand the difference between Jesus -- the historical man -- and Christ -- the Anointing of the Logos, or Mind of God.   It is this reason also that we fail to understand the declaration in the beginning of the Epistle to the Romans where Paul writes that when the Gentiles do the things of the Law, without the Law, they become a Law unto themselves, and can be saved.   It is further this reason that we do not understand when Paul says not to seek the Jesus after the flesh, but rather the Christ of the Spirit.

In the article on Christian Mysticism, the Encyclopedia Britannica writes regarding Valentinus, who was considered orthodox in the beginning of the second century, and states: “He believed that human beings are alienated from God because of their spiritual ignorance; Christ brings them into the gnosis (esoteric revelatory knowledge) that is union with God. Valentinus held that all human beings come from God and that all will in the end return to God. Other Gnostic groups held that there were three types of people -- 'spiritual,' 'psychic,' and 'material' -- and that only the first two can be saved. The Pistis Sophia… is preoccupied with the question of who finally will be saved. Those who are saved must renounce the world completely and follow the pure ethic of love and compassion. They will then be identified with Jesus and become rays of the divine Light”.

Once properly understood, what Valentinus was in fact stating was no different than what was also clearly stated by the early church authorities, Paul, Jesus, and the present-day Canon of Scriptures itself: That there are three types of Christians -- i.e., the spiritual which are in union with God, and are saved; the psychic, or disciple in search of the Truth, which are still walking in The Way; and the material or physical, who are the people of the simple faith.

The mysteries made reference to in Pistis Sohpia that, according to the Jesus presented in this gospel states a person must the possess the sacred Knowledge of the Kingdom in order to be saved, is the knowledge of the laws that both preserve the natural barriers of this realm, as well as restrict carnal man's access into the spiritual realms and the Kingdom.   When the disciple knows the workings of these natural laws of Creation, they are then able to safely transcend the barriers between this and the other worlds, and come into the presence of the Spiritual Christ.  

Once we understand this important element in Paul's Epistles, we then begin to comprehend why Paul considered it one of the greatest of sins to promote a doctrine of belief -- as seen in the words: Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned” (Titus 3:10-11 NAS).   The essence of what Paul taught was that believers were to rid themselves of all worldly thoughts and desires in order to embrace the indwelling Logos -- thereby becoming an Anointed One, or genuine Christian.   From Paul's perspective, beliefs and doctrines pertaining to mysteries that are beyond the comprehension of natural man, were thorns and entanglements that the god of this world used to imprison the believer.  

In this respect, what Paul taught was asceticism -- i.e., a system of Christian Buddhism that brought about the enlightenment of the believer through the Anointing and opening of the mind.   He taught the Gentile converts to reject the Law of Moses and the biblical traditions of the Jews -- reject all worldly attachments -- reject all doctrines of belief -- reject all desires of the flesh.   When the Galatians observed their native Greek culture, Paul admonished them and wrote: “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods… Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you” (Gal 4:8-11 NIV).   What Paul taught was to observe nothing in this world in the endeavor to embrace only the Spiritual Christ who was not of this world.

While it is true that Jesus came to save the sinners -- he did not come to give them a license to continue to wallow in the mire of sin -- but to repent from the mindset and thinking of this world.   In the words of Paul: “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor” (Gal 2:17-18 KJV).   From the perspective of Paul, the genuine Christian did not sin, because sin is founded upon an attachment to this world.   Jesus came to save sinners by leading them out of lives of slavery to the Prince of Darkness who rules this world.  

From a scriptural perspective, those who are slaves to the god of this world are heathens, because they are bound and possessed by the elemental powers of this world.   With respect to the people who are thus classified heathens, Clement of Alexandria provides us a clear picture of the path of transformation when he writes: Faith is then, so to speak, a comprehensive knowledge of the essentials; and knowledge is the strong and sure demonstration of what is received by faith, built upon faith by the Lord's teaching, conveying [the soul] on to infallibility, science, and comprehension. And, in my view, the first saving change is that from heathenism to faith, as I said before; and the second, that from faith to knowledge. And the latter terminating in love, thereafter gives the loving to the loved, that which knows to that which is known. And, perchance, such an one has already attained the condition of 'being equal to the angels.' Accordingly, after the highest excellence in the flesh, changing always duly to the better, he urges his flight to the ancestral hall, through the holy septenniad [of heavenly abodes] to the Lord's own mansion; to be a light, steady, and continuing eternally, entirely and in every part immutable”.

This is the essence of genuine Christian thought that was taught by the Apostle Paul and imparted to the Gentile converts!   What Clement of Alexandria, Origen, St. Gregory and the Gnostic-Spiritual Christians all professed was the absolute need to follow in the footsteps of the Lord, and accomplish in one’s own life the same things that he did.   Does the Apostle say anything different when he advises Christians to: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph 5:1 NAS).   If mankind has the ability to not only imitate God, but to move into perfect unity with God, then we must come to the realization that what we believe today has very little in common with the Christianity of the first four centuries.   When Clement writes that “outward observances cease to have any value for one whose being is brought into abiding harmony with that which is eternal”, he is making reference to a person who has totally opened the inner door to the Kingdom, and has moved in abiding harmony with the Light.

The solid food of the Mysteries of the kingdom are then written only for the Gnostic Christian -- or, he who has cleansed himself from the defilements of the world, and has opened the spiritual door deep within the essence of their mind and being.   What Clement states with regard to the Word, remains true to this very day.   The foundation -- or milk -- is Christ and him crucified -- upon which the Gnostic Christian builds a “superstructure on the foundation of faith in Christ Jesus” which is made reference to with the addition of “gold and silver, precious stones”.  

The Christians who remain natural and carnal, are those who build upon the foundation “stubble, and the wood, and the hay”.   When Constantine institutionalized the church, and added the doctrines of the Pagans, these are “the additions of heresies” which Clement writes about.   When Christians such as Calvin and Luther -- men with good intentions who meant well -- defined the limits of belief of post-Reformation Christianity, and then narrowed the message of the scriptures to conform to those beliefs, these limitations were again the addition of heresies.

Perhaps a very clear picture that represents Christianity over the first three centuries can be seen under the heading of Alexandria in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics - under Alexandrian Theology, where it states of Origen's teachings: “Origen believes that the Logos enlightens all men according to their capacities.  Current Christianity is the best that the average man can assimilate.  It includes mythical stories which exist both in Old Testament and New Testament; it offers rewards and punishment as inducements to virtue, and communicates truths in veiled forms and images.  But it is not a matter of indifference what symbols are presented to the 'common man'; it is the religion of Christ alone which must be accepted by all, though under different aspects.  The Gnostic learns that the objects of religious knowledge have only a supramundane history: The 'eternal' or 'spiritual' Gospel places clearly before men's minds all things concerning the Son of God, both the mysteries shown by His words, and the things of which His acts were the riddles” (In John 1:9).  

 

 

To contact the author: Allan_Cronshaw@nazirene.org