The Gospel of Thomas
Commentary by John Munter
The Gospel of Thomas is like a holy mountain. There are many ways to get to the top of the understanding of it. It was designed that way. Modern scholarship regards as heresy that there are simple and logical protocols that went into the design of Thomas. It is recognized that some sayings are grouped together. It is recognized that there are some doublets in Thomas. It has yet to be recognized that every saying can be explained by the next one and that there are many different kinds of doublets purposely implanted in Thomas. One of the most interesting conventions I called the Jubilee Convention where there are fifteen groups of three sayings spaced forty-nine sayings apart and the remainder two-saying groups spaced that way too. The number forty-nine was used to signify ‘the end of the story’ from the end of the fifty year Jubilee period and the fifty day months in the pentecontad Babylonian calendar used by some Semitic groups.
By way of explanation of the coherence of Thomas one can look at the first fifteen sayings. L 1 speaks about eternal life. L 2 urges the reader to seek until one can ‘rule over the all’ to obtain it. L 3 explains that this kingdom is both inside and outside a person. L 4 speaks of the need to nurse at the mother’s breast—which is really referring to nursing at the breast of the Holy Spirit. L 5 explains how to do that—love what is in your sight (or nurse from it) and you can truly know it. L 6 speaks about various spiritual practices but the response is in essence ‘only do what you love’. L 7 speaks on religious tradition and Thomas says to not be consumed or controlled by it but digest it in a human manner. L 8 urges the reader to let go of the little fish of religious precepts and seek after the ‘big fish’ of the higher self. L 9 tells us that a lot of our efforts are useless but some of our efforts or ‘seeds’ we plant will bear overwhelmingly huge crops. L 10 explains L 9 by saying it is referring to the fire of the Holy Spirit. The fire of the Holy Spirit in L 11 is defined as the freedom that being in the light brings. L 12 uplifts James the Just who manifested both heaven and earth. L 13 is the self-revelation of Jesus to Thomas saying they both are both partaking of the same bubbling spring. L 14 is the ‘Great Commission”. Don’t worry about rules, just what flows out of you. L 15 ends with the injunction not to worship anything in the outer world, or Jesus, or an anthropomorphic concept of the divine.
Gospel of Thomas in Jubilee Convention Format
Translated by Thomas O. Lambdin
(Courtesy of sacred-texts.org)
Commentary by John Munter
These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke
and which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote down.
‘Didymos’ means ‘twin’ in Greek just like ‘Thomas’ means ‘twin’ in Aramaic. It can possibly be conjectured that the author considered himself to be the Greek twin of Judas Thomas. However, a key theme in Thomas has to do with the higher self—one’s higher ‘twin’ self. The supposed author’s name is part of the word games going on in Thomas.
This, then, leads to the next question about the ‘living Jesus’. Is this referring to the real, living Jesus, or the Jesus who is resurrected, or the higher self of the author who he identifies with Jesus—who could all be thought to be ‘living’? It is clear that Thomas is clearly purporting to quote from the historical Jesus. It is also clear from a later work, the Apocalypse of Peter, that ‘the living Jesus’ was not always considered just the historical body: “The Savior said to me, ‘He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hands and feet they drive the nails is the fleshly part, which is the substitute being put to shame, the one who came into being in his likeness. But look at him and look at me.’ But I, when I had looked, said, ‘Lord, no one is looking at you. Let us flee this place.’” This is the classic ‘Gnostic’ position. It is also clear from Thomas that time, space, and individuality are not barriers for him: “Jesus said, ’He who will drink from my mouth will become like me. I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden will be revealed to him’” (L 108).
According to renowned Biblical scholar, Robert Eisenman from California State University, Longbeach, Thomas and the Judas characters in the Four Gospels are most likely to be the same person. (1) Obviously, he was a close associate of Jesus. He pops into other histories, though, as a trusted, top lieutenant of James the Just, the ‘opposition High Priest’ who sends him with a pastoral letter to kingdoms East of the Jordan on an important mission—to possibly combat incursions made by Pauline-type Christians. In 44 CE, Judas Thomas, after the deaths of John and Jesus and the near death of James the Just at the hands of Paul when he was thrown off the Temple Mount—according to Eisenman who thinks he was the leader called ‘Theudas’-- attempts to lead a ‘reverse Exodus’ of followers to safety East of the Jordan. (2) This was viewed as revolutionary activity by the Romans. He was caught and killed along with many of followers. This may be one reason the Four Gospels demonize Judas.
1) And He said, "Whoever finds the interpretation of these
sayings will not experience death."
50) Jesus said, "If they say to you, 'Where did you come from?’,
say to them, 'We came from the light, the place where the light
came into being on its own accord and established [itself] and
became manifest through their image.' If they say to you, 'Is it
you?', say, 'We are its children, we are the elect of the Living
Father.' If they ask you, 'What is the sign of your father in
you?', say to them, 'It is movement and repose.'"
99) The disciples said to Him, "Your brothers and Your mother
are standing outside."
He said to them, "Those here who do the will of My Father
are My brothers and My mother. It is they who will enter the
Kingdom of My Father."
Cycle One (logion 1, 50, 99) opens with the shocking idea that immortality is not up to a God in heaven but to a person's own initiative in merely understanding the interpretation of Thomas.
To understand a sense of what L1 is talking about we need only go to L 2 saying that when we "find" we will become "disturbed….marvel….and will reign". Using the Numbers Convention to decode L 2 we can view L 22: “When you make the two one…and when you make the outside like the inside…when you make the male and the female one and the same…and a likeness in the place of a likeness; then you will enter the kingdom.”
Again, if we assume Thomas is a secret Gospel encoded with the answers we can look at L 11 and 111. Both talk about the heavens and earth rolling up or passing away, entering the light, and living from the higher self to not experience death.
Otherwise, we can look at 'the end of the discussion' 49 sayings on at L 50 which is, perhaps, the most revelatory saying in Thomas. It is a traditional 'ascent story' into the light but passing through archon challengers. But in THIS one you don't need any secret passwords provided by the gods. You need to realize who you are--one who is and has come from the primordial light of 'movement and repose'. In L 50 we are talking about exactly the same experience as in L 2, 22, 11, and 111.
To reach the end of the understanding of L 50 we need to go to the end of the Cycle at L 99 which speaks about giving up personal attachment and being obedient to the Father to enter the Father's Kingdom. We have the Father's Kingdom as the theme in all three but we have the sense of individual initiative in the first and obedience in the last--total opposites. This is a common teaching technique of Thomas to affirm opposites to express a larger truth and a greater balance.
The inspiration and initiative of L 1 is the same as the 'movement of the spirit' in L 50 and the obedience of L 99 is the same as the 'rest' of L 50--both are the spirit seeking itself.
From ancient Sumer there is the fabulous ascent story of the Goddess, Inanna, who represented the life force. She was famous for dragging young men out of bars and having wild sex with them. If they accepted she might still turn them into wolves. If they refused she might turn them into frogs.
One day Inanna decided she wanted to go to a funeral in the Underworld and visit her sister, the Queen of the Underworld. The Underworld was conceived of as a very drab and dreary place--and a little scary.
So, Inanna dressed up in all her gaudiest finery--her wig, mascara, jewelry, hat, and clothes and demanded entrance. These accouterments represent all the experiences of life we take into the afterlife. (reminiscent of the ebullient attitude of L 1.)
She was allowed entry with some misgivings by the gatekeeper. However, at every gate--7 in number—which could represent the 7 dimensions of string theory, she was required to leave a piece of clothing or finery. This, of course, represents the increasing de-personalization that occurs as one travels to the source.
Finally, she arrives at the throne of the Queen of Heaven, her sister--and boldly (and rather rudely) leaps upon the empty throne. This represents the essential self-identity of spirit. The gatekeepers are so mad they immediately strike Inanna dead and hang her body on a meat hook. This represents the consciousness at that point of seeing your body and earthly self as a piece of meat from the perspective of the 'hook' or string of string theory (which the Dogon conceive of as a spiral).
Well! Our heroine is not to be outdone! She had planned for JUST such an eventuality! She had told her servant to have someone come and get her should she not return in three days. The servant went to En-lil (who later developed into the demiurge Jehovah) and her father the Moon God. Both thought she got what she deserved. But, Enki (who became Ea, then Yahweh), the friend of humans (who bio-engineered their improvement) sent two angels to revive her by sprinkling food and water over her body.
And, so, invoked, Inanna returned but only temporarily. To leave she had to find a replacement for herself in the Underworld. Her servant and hairdresser loved her too much, but she found her husband Dumuzi who had been partying for three days and didn’t miss her at all. Off he was sent to the Underworld! It was lucky for him, though, that he had a sister who felt sorry for him (a woman coming to the rescue again). They took turns--6 months each in the Underworld and in the world. This cycle can represent reincarnation.
Inanna represents the same spiritual initiative required on the one hand in L 1, the boldness of the spiritual ascent in L 50, and the putting aside of personal attachment in L 99.
2) Jesus said, "Let him who seeks continue seeking until he
finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes
troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All."
51) His disciples said to Him, "When will the repose of the dead
come about, and when will the new world come?"
He said to them, "What you look forward to has already come,
but you do not recognize it."
100) They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to Him, "Caesar's men
demand taxes from us."
He said to them, "Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give
God what belongs to God, and give Me what is Mine."
Cycle Two (L 2, 51, and 100) beginning with "disturbed...marvel...reign." immediately raises two naturally arising questions. The first one is something like: 'What in the world are you talking about?' So, if one intuits there must be encoding conventions in Thomas, one of the simplest is to double 2 and go to L 22 where the consciousness of being as physically helpless as a baby might be 'disturbing' but the ability to make an 'eye in the place of an eye' and a 'hand in the place of a hand' would be a 'marvel' to 'reign' in.
The other question would be 'How in the world does THAT happen?' Another simple convention is to go to the next logion over--L 3--which informs us happily that you don't have to go anywhere since 'the kingdom is within you and outside of you' and is, indeed, your higher self: "know yourselves" (and if we cheat and read on farther we will see how that works!)
If we examine Cycle 2 we find the topic is 'the Son'. The 'disturbed...marvel...reign'...is the normal feeling one would expect to have as depicted in L 51 at the Last Coming or the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds of heaven to initiate a thousand year reign of God's rule. But, shockingly, this experience is described as our own of our higher self which is apparently available.
Commentators often add 'and after they have reigned they will rest' to the Coptic version of L 2 reflexively from a Greek fragment but if we look 49 sayings beyond at L 51 we will find "the rest for the dead' discussed! This saying is all about messianic expectations about the Son but Jesus said "What you are looking forward to has come". So, not only do you not have to go anywhere, you don't have to wait either for the higher self.
L 100, the last saying, is a familiar one with a twist: "Give the emperor what belongs to the emperor, give God what belongs to God, and give me what is mine". The key thing is to recognize that Jesus is making a separation between himself and 'God'. This can only mean that Jesus is referring to “God” as demi-urge--the state religion which demands blood and obedience. This is the second reference in two cycles to negative, archontic energies. Not only is the experience of the higher self not dependent on time or space, it isn't dependent on somebody else (or their conversion).
The Sumerian Goddess has another 'descent story'. She went to visit Enki, the friend of humans, one day. She got him drunk--representing the ecstasy of the higher self. In this state he gave her all the secrets of higher civilization--representing the essential lack of secrets at higher realms. She ran off with them and he tried to chase her--representing the idea that some things just can't be translated well to lower realms. She had many wild adventures through stormy seas--representing the downloading from higher vibratory rates to lower--and eventually arrived home. She threw a big party in celebration of her arrival back with agricultural and social tools. This represents the downloading of ecstasy from higher realms as well as information and the sharing of all this which is the expression of the unity of the higher realm.
It is this ecstasy that is the doorway to the higher self that is expressed in L 2, and is the excitement of the “new world” of the higher self in L 51, and is “what is mine” of Jesus in L 100—this is explained as “my true mother” in L 101 which is the love and unity in the Holy Spirit of the higher self. All of this is further explained in Cycle 3 and 4.
3) Jesus said, "If those who lead you say, 'See, the Kingdom is
in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they
say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you.
Rather, the Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you.
When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and
you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living
Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty
and it is you who are that poverty."
52) His disciples said to Him, "Twenty-four prophets spoke in
Israel, and all of them spoke in You."
He said to them, "You have omitted the one living in your
presence and have spoken (only) of the dead."
101) <Jesus said,> "Whoever does not hate his father and his
mother as I do cannot become a disciple to Me. And whoever does
[not] love his father and his mother as I do cannot become a
[disciple] to Me. For My mother [gave me falsehood], but [My]
true [Mother] gave me life." (‘gave me falsehood’ also could be ‘gave me birth’)
Cycle 3 is all about the Holy Spirit who is “within you and it is outside you” in L 3. It is the Holy Spirit who traditionally is considered to have inspired the prophets in L 52. Of course, it has to be the Holy Spirit who is the ‘true mother’ of L 101 who is Sophia-Wisdom.
To find out how the Holy Spirit works we can look at L 33 which has the same ‘within…outside you’ elements of L 3. It also has a flow of energy from ‘the true mother’ of L 101: “that which you will hear in your ear” you should “preach from your housetops”. This is the “one living in your presence” who “spoke in Israel” to the twenty-four prophets in L 52.
The second image of L 33 also has that same flow of energy: “For no one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel, nor does he put it in a hidden place, but rather he sets it on a lamp stand so that everyone who enters and leaves with see its light”.
To verify that L 33 is really talking about the Holy Spirit we could look to the Jubilee Cycle it is in which is with L 82 only: “Jesus said , ‘He who is near me is near the fire, and he who is far from me is far from the Kingdom.’” The reference to “fire” is a Holy Spirit reference such as to the ‘tongues of fire’ of Acts which landed on the Apostles as Pentecost.
The two active images of L 33 illuminate the spiritual principle that 'the more you give the more you get'. This is the connection of the Kingdom being both within you and without you. If you want to open up the 'receiving' channel you would do well to open up the 'sending' channel!
4) Jesus said, "The man old in days will not hesitate to ask a
small child seven days old about the place of life, and he will
live. For many who are first will become last, and they will
become one and the same."
4) Jesus said: "Let the old man who is full of days not
hesitate to ask the child of seven days about the place of life;
then he will live. For many that are first will be last, and
last, first, and they will become a single one."
53) His disciples said to Him, "Is circumcision beneficial or
He said to them, "If it were beneficial, their father would
beget them already circumcised from their mother. Rather, the
true circumcision in spirit has become completely profitable."
102) Jesus said, "Woe to the Pharisees, for they are like a dog
sleeping in the manger of oxen, for neither does he eat nor does
he let the oxen eat."
Cycle Four (L 4--note two versions, 53, and 102) opens in describing the Holy Spirit (of L 3 and Cycle 3) as being like a baby at the breast of the Mother ( "the place of life") un-mediated by culture--which is a child 'seven days old' and a day before being circumcised and brought into the 'Covenant'.
L 53 reprises the reference to circumcision and replaces it with the "circumcision" of the Holy Spirit. In addition, one can sense that circum--around and cision--cutting away reflects truly the awareness of the baby with its mouth around the breast of the mother and being only conscious of that.
L 102 for the third saying in a row criticizes or discounts Judaic cult practices and leadership: "Damn the Pharisees!" Here, again, we have the image of the cattle eating in the manger which would be like a baby at the breast of her mother--with the dogs (or Pharisees!) nipping at their legs.
These three sayings contain a complete discussion of the importance of sensing the Holy Spirit un-mediated by human culture, cutting away the dross that doesn't pertain to the spirit, and--implicitly--trying not to be bothered by any dogs nipping at your feet and trying to distract you.
The last phrase in L 4: "many of the first will be last and they will become a single one" balances off the attack on the Pharisees in L 102. It reverses the Pauline "the last shall be first, and first last." The 'last' were Paul's Gentile converts who were super-ceding the Jewish Christians who he considered to be 'holier than thou' Pharisee's. L 4 is saying that on the contrary, many of the these Pharisees who make the good effort will make it to the 'last' Day and be 'a single one'--or attain to the unity of spirit, the identity with the androgenous Primal Adam--the higher divine self, the 'image of God'.
If we double the number 4 to see how Cycle 4 works, we come to L 44 which is the famous: "Whoever blasphemes against the Father will be forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either on earth or in heaven."
It is doubted this is an original saying of Jesus because, supposedly, the Doctrine of the Trinity was not formulated until much later. This is a false supposition since we know Simon Magus early in the First Century was promulgating the Primal Adam theology according to the Pseudo-Clementines, so the idea of the Father, the Holy Spirit-Mother, and the Son was certainly around.
Regardless, this saying may very well have started out life as a favorite saying of Pauline Christians who were not at all forgiving towards their Jewish Christian tormentors who had official 'papers' or a teaching license from James the Just who plagued them on circumcision and food issues ("better for a millstone to be wrapped around their necks and drowned in the sea than to offend one of the least of these my little ones"!) and violated the Pauline sense of the Holy Spirit of their meetings.
This saying in the Thomasine sense is, probably, very, very poorly understood. To have different ideas or theologies about the Father and the Son is entirely forgivable, says Thomas, but the sin against the Holy Spirit is different in kind. We can see from L 45 that L 44 is about the "overflow of the heart". We are talking about violations of the Spirit that are very, very obvious. Everyone, for example, can sense the violation of the sanctity of the mother and child referenced in L 4. The Pharisees are damned in L 102 for not letting the oxen eat peacefully in the Holy Spirit.
The reason why this sin is 'unforgiveable' is that an outside authority cannot wave a magic wand and forgive a person this violation. The person, him or she self, has to come to the point of being able to change, make amends, and forgive themselves. This process is encapsulated in the Egyptian myth of the Goddess Isis representing the Holy Spirit wandering the earth (like the Holy Spirit of Yahweh after the destruction of the First Temple who wandered the earth) and piecing together the torn apart Osiris (the image of God) until she is able to birth the hawk-headed Horus with some divine assistance who is then able to 'fly' as the embodiment of the 'image of God' on earth.
While L 4 speaks of the human self and its adherence to the Holy Spirit, L 44 speaks of the sanctity of the image of God which cannot be bargained away but must be eventually reconciled and made manifest.
To get a further sense of this sanctity of L 44 we can look at the other half of its Jubilee Cycle which is L 93: “(Jesus said,) ‘Do not give what is holy to dogs, lest they throw them on the dung heap. Do not throw the pearls to swine, lest they…it…” Here, again, the “dogs” are equivalent to the “Pharisees” We also have the counter-balancing principle to L 33 about preaching from your housetops what you hear in your ear and putting your light on a lamp stand. They seem contradictory but taken together they can be taken as a caution, a warning, and a premonition of what will occur.
5) Jesus said, "Recognize what is in your sight, and that which
is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing
hidden which will not become manifest."
54) Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor, for yours is the Kingdom
103) Jesus said, "Fortunate is the man who knows where the
brigands will enter, so that he may get up, muster his domain,
and arm himself before they invade."
Cycle 5 addresses the practicality of being at the breast of the Holy Spirit. How do you actually this?
Cycle 5 (L 5, 54, and 103) opens with 'Know (or love) what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you.' This is the image the baby has of the breast being right in front of its face. With this sense of focus, enjoyment, and the work of nursing out the milk of the mother the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit can be obtained.
With the next two sayings being opposites we can see that L 5 reflects a universal principle. L 54 reads simply: 'Blessed are the poor, for to you belongs Heaven's Kingdom.' When you are poor there tends to be more need and more time to call on Heaven's Kingdom.
L 103 is quite the odd saying when one considers Jesus to have been uplifting the poor and haranguing the Pharisees, then, saying here: "Blessed are those who know where the rebels are going to attack. (They) can get going, collect their imperial resources, and be prepared before the rebels arrive."! This is more in the mode of a wandering Cynic/holy man, a Simon Magus or Jesus invited into the table of a wealthy Herodian to give spiritual advice in exchange for a meal. But, it is said in the sense of a parable illustrating a spiritual meaning much in the way modern day 'remote viewers' assert that everything can be known through mind.
The natural question flowing out of Cycle 5 would be something like: "OK, well, so we "know" what the real truth is regarding things. What does that mean for leading our lives?"
L 6, then, speaks of "don't do what you hate"--just the reversely posed 'love what is in front of your face' or 'being at the breast of the Holy Spirit'. This means not being hypocritical. Just as you can see 'Heaven', 'Heaven' can see you.
The disciples in L 6 have a mental check list to get to holiness: "…fast...pray...give to charity...", but the body itself can be used as a gauge for what feels good just as a baby doesn’t have a whole lot of thought processes going on. It has hunger and an instinctual knowing. When the Egyptians would embalm bodies they would remove the internal organs such as the heart and the brain. They would preserve the heart in a jar--and throw the brain away! Being at the breast of the mother doesn’t meaning 'doing anything you want for sensual pleasure'. It means divining the Holy Spirit in the moment and following through with it.
When we double L 5 to arrive at L 55 we come to a stark contrast:
"Jesus said, 'Who ever does not hate father and mother cannot be my
disciple, and whoever does not hate brothers and sisters, and carry
the cross as I do, will not be worthy of me.'"
Tough saying! It seems just the opposite of 'being at the mother's breast' and loving truth so we have to 'un-pack' it a little bit since it expresses a universal principle in combination with the rest of the cycle.
First of all, "hate" is to be taken in the sense of 'put aside', so it doesn't mean literally and viscerally to "hate" in English because they don't "believe in Jesus" or go to my church, or are 'going to hell' in some other way. It just means to be objective and non-committal with personal ties in the context of following the spirit. (3)
The key understanding in the Thomasine formulation of this saying is "carry the cross AS I DO". It is not advocating people go out and try to be crucified in emulation of Jesus. It is speaking of being still at the breast of the Holy Spirit even in extreme circumstances--and realizing that being a truth-teller and a non-hypocrite when it comes to not conforming to societal norms could well eventuate in a crucifixion of some kind.
One of the greatest books ever written is called "The Key" by Whitley Strieber. The author may or may not be considered a spiritual master but he met one who said that any experience is potentially an ecstatic one--even that of dying in the gas chamber in Buchenwald. (4)
The meaning of the crucifixion comment in L 55 is revealed in L 56: the world is a "carcass'. It is that objectivity that brings the ecstasy which the Master of 'The Key' and Jesus are speaking about concerning 'The Kingdom of Heaven'. It is that objectivity that nurses out of the present moment of L 5 the truth of the situation one finds oneself in.
Looking at the Jubilee cycle that L 55 is in we find L 6 and L 104. L 6 defines L 5 and Cycle 5 by suggesting “do not do what you hate”—which means ‘do what you love’. This is the active corollary to ‘love what is in your sight’ of L 5. L 104 puts the topping on the cake of Cycle 5 and 6 by speaking about the bridal chamber or higher self: “When the bridegroom leaves the bridal chamber, then let them fast and pray.” The bridal chamber imagery resonates with and recapitulates the love imagery of the infant at the breast, oxen at the trough imagery of Cycle 4 and the ‘love what is in your sight’, Kingdom of Heaven imagery of Cycle 5.
6) His disciples questioned Him and said to Him, "Do you want
us to fast? How shall we pray? Shall we give alms? What diet
shall we observe?"
Jesus said, "Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate,
for all things are plain in the sight of Heaven. For nothing
hidden will not become manifest, and nothing covered will remain
without being uncovered."
55) Jesus said, "Whoever does not hate his father and his mother
cannot become a disciple to Me. And whoever does not hate his
brothers and sisters and take up his cross in My way will not be
worthy of Me."
104) They said [to Jesus], "Come, let us pray today and let us
Jesus said, "What is the sin that I have committed, or
wherein have I been defeated? But when the bridegroom leaves the
bridal chamber, then let them fast and pray."
Cycle 6 is a cycle of opposites which is quite appropriate to express how to live out the ‘being at the breast of the Holy Spirit’ themes of past cycles in the duality of the physical world of activity.
On the one hand in these sayings, Jesus is rejecting the religious norms of the time, family relationships, and even accepting crucifixion. On the other hand, Jesus emphasizes “do not do what you hate”—which means ‘do what you love’, doing everything in the consciousness of Heaven, and accepting crucifixion “in my way”. This could be conceived of as accepting crucifixion in an ecstatic mode since L 104 speaks about being in the Bridal Chamber.
To explain the severity of the teaching in Cycle 6 we can look at the transcendent power of L 66 which urges "show me the stone that the builders rejected: that is the cornerstone". This saying reflects the negativity of the fundamentalist religious “builders” who set the norms reflected in Cycle 6 and affirms with another striking image the Bridal Chamber, image of God, or higher self which each of us have. L 66 is in the Jubilee Cycle with L 17: “Jesus said, ‘I shall give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard and what has never occurred to the human mind.” L 17 describes the higher self which is outside of the time stream where one can, in the images of L 48 and L 106, see ‘mountains move’.
Roman Christianity has normally identified their church as the 'bride of Christ'. However, this can be seen as part of a dis-informationalist effort to sublimate Sophia-Wisdom, the ‘true mother’ whom they had no real control over in the image of the Roman Christ which they did have control over through their priesthood. They had no wish for any more sons of Wisdom to arise and challenge Rome or their place in it. The Holy Spirit or consort of Yahweh had always been considered the bride of Yahweh until the Roman innovations of the 'Word' super-ceding the concept of the feminine Holy Spirit.
Where being at the 'breast of the Holy Spirit is the image of the human inspired by the Holy Spirit, the image of being in the Bridal Chamber is the consciousness of the higher self or image of God in the ecstasy of the Sophianic embrace. This can be seen by utilizing L 105 to define L 104: "Whoever knows the Father and the Mother will be called the child of a prostitute". L 105 refers to the Sophianic Mythos of the Fall of Sophia but also groups them together which can be visualized as the Son, a pure dew drop in the Father's light embraced in the Bridal Chamber of the Mother. This was called by the Egyptians the Hall of Maat.
In times of great trauma, people can normally flip out of their body like the classic 'near death' descriptions of people on operating tables hovering over their body to witness the operation as an objective viewer. Presumably, Jesus could do the same thing at will. However, the Bridal Chamber really refers to a more exalted gem of pure consciousness or image of God lying in the ecstatic embrace of the Mother.
7) Jesus said, "Blessed is the lion which becomes man when
consumed by man; and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes,
and the lion becomes man."
56) Jesus said, "Whoever has come to understand the world has
found (only) a corpse, and whoever has found a corpse is superior
to the world."
105) Jesus said, "He who knows the father and the mother will be
called the son of a harlot."
Cycle 7 addresses what one does on the seventh day or Sabbath in contemplating the larger issues of life and how to cope with them such as the received religious tradition analogized in L 7.
Commentators have been baffled by L 7 since it uses 'lion' in two seemingly contradictory ways--positively and negatively.
The lion has been both a symbol of Judah and a Roman symbol of Jesus (the 'lion of Judah' in Revelations), yet it is also a negative one. Manichaean Psalm 257 reads: "This lion that is within me, I have strangled him. I have turned him out of my soul, him who ever defiles me." A Nag Hammadi text views the demiurge as a 'lion-headed serpent'. These images go back to Plato's Republic which described an unjust man in a thought experiment as having a lion within which should be trained and made friends with like a good farmer trains the wildness around him. In fact, Plato's imagery is in perfect harmony--though different--with L 7. (5)
"Blessed is the lion which becomes man when consumed by man" means that when you are reading Scripture on the seventh day you are blessed if you can digest it and assimilate the violence and fanaticism within it in a human way. For those who cannot--"cursed is the man whom the lion consumes, and the lion becomes man." The man becomes possessed by the lion. This fanaticism, historically, then resulted in destruction of Samaritan temples and their priesthood, dissenters of all stripes from the theocratic state, and self-destructive wars with Rome.
Continuing the discussion of what is consumed by lions: carcasses, we have the second saying in Cycle 7--L 56: "Whoever has come to know the world has discovered a carcass, and whoever has discovered a carcass, of that person the world is not worthy."
To compete over a carcass or over the world the person perceives correctly as a carcass is not worthy of the enlightened person.
L 56 is a significant insight as it has a doublet in L 80 which is nearly identical but uses the word 'body'--which infers it could be alive filled with the Holy Spirit. However, here the emphasis is 'carcass'. This is the general critique of the 'Gnostic' literature of the Nag Hammadi texts generally considered to be later 'corruptions' of the Jesus tradition. Here we find it in Thomas which is considered to be crafted no later than early in the Second Century--and from a source that is obviously very, very knowledgeable about its sources.
In the third saying of the Cycle--L 105-- we find an outline of the Sophia Mythos: "Jesus said: 'Whoever knows the Father and the Mother will be called the child of a prostitute." This most obviously refers to Nag Hammadi myths of Sophia who loved God so much that she decided to create like Him--without a male consort. This went poorly at first with the creation of the 'lion-headed' demiurge—who the Samaritans identified with the ‘God’ of Jerusalem as distinct from their own-- and his minions in the earliest evolutions which still have some play left on earth.
The origins or early unfoldments of this mythos can be seen in Isis in Egypt wandering the earth trying to piece together Osiris and in Shekhina-Matronit-Shabbat (bride of Jehovah, mother of the Hebrew) who, after the destruction of the Temple, roamed the earth and would join them for Friday Sabbath--hence the song Lekha Dodi ('Come my friend'):
"Come my friend to meet the Bride
Let us receive the face of Sabbath.
Come let us go to meet Sabbath,
For she is the source of blessing,
Pouring forth from ancient days."
Cycle 7 is a complete discussion of the larger world view one could do well to contemplate on the Sabbath from how to assimilate Scripture and how to view the larger world in the context of the Father, the Holy Spirit-Mother, and the Son. The 'child' image for the Son is one that is repeated continuously in Thomas as a description of the higher self and part and parcel of the androgenous Primal Adam.
To explain the multiplicity of images and ideologies in Cycle 7 we find in L 77 a unitary, simple, personal voice. Rather than the divisiveness of the "I am a jealous god" mentality, L 77 in the doubles perspective replaces it with: "I am the light that is over all things. I am the All: from me All came forth, and to me All attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."
A doublet of L 77 is the Greek fragment of L 30. They both have the “Split a piece of wood…Lift up the stone”. L 30 talks about the three archons or ‘gods’: ‘they are ‘gods’ but I am everywhere, so to speak’--corresponding to the lion versus human contrast in L 7 at a different level of creation.
In the Jubilee convention with L 77 is L 28 which has a similar stance against the world as well as to L 7 where rather than a demon possession analogy we find an intoxication analogy:
“Jesus said, ‘I took my place in the midst of the world, and I appeared
to them in flesh. I found all of them intoxicated; I found none of them
thirsty. And my soul became afflicted for the sons of men, because
they are blind in their hearts and do not have sight; for empty they came
into the world, and empty too they seek to leave the world. But for the
moment they are intoxicated. When they shake off their wine, then they
Cycle 7 juxtaposes the multiplicity of ideologies, personalities, the state religion, and the ‘gods’ with the unitary higher self which is in super position to the material world.
8) And He said, "The Kingdom is like a wise fisherman who cast
His net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of small fish.
Among them the wise fisherman found a fine large fish. He threw
all the small fish back into the sea and chose the large fish
without difficulty. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear."
57) Jesus said, "The Kingdom of the Father is like a man who had
[good] seed. His enemy came by night and sowed weeds among the
good seed. The man did not allow them to pull up the weeds; he
said to them, 'I am afraid that you will go intending to pull up
the weeds and pull up the wheat along with them.' For on the day
of the harvest the weeds will be plainly visible, and they will
be pulled up and burned."
106) Jesus said, "When you make the two one, you will become the
sons of man, and when you say, 'Mountain, move away,' it will
Cycle 8 delineates the royal road to the higher self or image of God as the cycle of beginnings and growth.
L 8 gets to the point with the parable of the "wise fisherman" who caught a "fine large fish" and threw all the little ones back. This has traditionally been thought to refer to Jesus as the big fish--like the merchant in L 76 who bought the big pearl--but we can broaden out the meaning to refer to a person's higher self which is a dew drop of pure consciousness in the androgenous Primal Adam swimming ecstatically in the sea of the Holy Spirit/Mother.
In turn, if one looks at the drawing of the Nummo Fish from the Dogon tribe--which has common roots in Africa with Judaism and elements such as circumcision and the Jubilee year--one can see the Holy Spirit/Mother/Son conceived as a fish as well and swimming in the divine ocean of the un-manifest energy of the Father. (See figure, p. 80)
The second saying of Cycle 8 is L 57: the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares which advocates not pulling up the weeds lest you pull up wheat with them until the day of harvest when the difference will be obvious and the weeds pulled up and burned.
This parable makes the point about not being judgmental. For spiritual progress it is essential to be as discriminating as L 8 but as non-judgmental as L 57. This is the royal road to L 106 which allows you the ability to exit the time stream:
"Jesus said: 'When you make the two into one, you will become
children of Adam, and when you say, 'Mountain, move from here!'
it will move.'"
This saying--with its doublet occurring in L 48--speaks of aligning the lower self with the higher self which is part and parcel of the Primal Adam and being, then, able to exit the time stream where one can watch mountains rise and fall at will.
Looking at L 88 for the doubles perspective we find a saying that responds to L 7's implied presence of an authoritative priesthood (the claws of the lion):
"The messengers and prophets will come to you and give you what
what belongs to you. You, in turn, give them what you have, and
say to yourselves, 'When will they come and take what belongs to
This saying counters the hierarchical 'possession' of the lion with the sense of equality resident in everyone's higher self which adhere together in the Primal Adam. When the student is ready the teacher will appear. "Messengers and prophets" give the sense they could be in the body or out of it. The "take what belongs to them" reinforces the second saying in Cycle 7: "whoever has come to know the world has discovered a carcass".
L 88 makes clear with its “messengers and prophets” that Cycle 8 is speaking metaphorically about spiritual growth. This is reinforced by L 39 in the Jubilee cycle with L 88:
“Jesus said, ‘The Pharisees and scribes have taken the keys of
knowledge and hidden them. They themselves have not entered,
nor have they allowed to enter those who wish to. You, however,
be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.’”
In L 39 we learn that there are actual “keys of knowledge” whose utilization is prohibited by the Temple custodians. The phrase “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” utilizes Holy Spirit-Wisdom imagery and would seem to imply there are Sophianic mystery modes that would eventuate in experiences such that “messengers and prophets” might come to you.
Cycle 8 is the cycle of growth from the beginning metaphysical 'sea' imagery to the earthly growth imagery to climaxing in the 'mountain' imagery which advocates discrimination but with a non-judgmental attitude leading to the harmony of the higher and lower selves on the path of the messengers and prophets which can bring us outside the time stream utilizing the tools the Holy Spirit gives us.
9) Jesus said, "Now the sower went out, took a handful (of
seeds), and scattered them. Some fell on the road; the birds came
and gathered them up. Others fell on the rock, did not take root
in the soil, and did not produce ears. And others fell on thorns;
they choked the seed(s) and worms ate them. And others fell on
the good soil and produced good fruit: it bore sixty per measure
and a hundred and twenty per measure."
58) Jesus said, "Blessed is the man who has suffered and found
107) Jesus said, "The Kingdom is like a shepherd who had a
hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the
ninety-nine sheep and looked for that one until he found it. When
he had gone to such trouble, he said to the sheep, 'I care for
you more than the ninety-nine'"
Cycle 9--as its number would signal--is the cycle of endings, outcomes, completion, overwhelming success, and unity. With all of its many ‘signatures’ of the Jubilee cycle it is also the ‘end of the argument’ concerning whether there is a Jubilee Convention in the first place. All three sayings involve toil, completion, and overwhelming success. The number 9 not only shows up in the first saying but in the last saying. The three sayings utilize the plant, human, and animal kingdom analogies to make the same point. The first saying uses multiplicity and the last uses unity to make the point.
One extremely interesting point about L 107 is the reference to "the largest" sheep. Simon Magus was said to refer to his consort, Helen, as 'the big sheep' he was sent to redeem. This was a reference to seeing her as an incarnation of Sophia/Wisdom/ the Holy Spirit. When we look at the next three sayings to interpret L 107 we have references to Wisdom: "drinks from my mouth" in L 108, "treasure hidden in the field" of L 109, and "wealthy" in L 110.
Indeed, Simon could have been the embarrassing historical "Jesus" (which means 'savior') as the christened successor of John the Baptist who was among the first (with Dositheus) to promulgate publicly in Palestine the Primal Adam theology according to the Pseudo-Clementines. (6) He was probably crucified by Pontius Pilate in Samaria in 37 CE--two or so years after John the Baptist was actually killed about 35 CE.
If we use L 10 to interpret L 9 we see Jesus focusing the power of the Holy Spirit to give such great soul increase as to be like a 'fire'. It is this very focus in L 107 to find the lost Holy Spirit, the large sheep, which makes for the sense of complete fulfillment and why when attained he says he loves the Holy Spirit the most.
It is the Holy Spirit interpretation of the first and last saying along with the middle ‘bridge’ saying about a single person who has “suffered and found life” that we know L 9 is about different experiences in a person’s life rather than about different people who are either damned to hell or are born with a silver spoon in their mouth.
When we look at L 99 in the Doubles Convention we flip back into Cycle 1—which also takes us back to the Father’s Kingdom in L 1. This begins with the optimism that we can find eternal life ourselves and explodes into the fabulous ascent story of L 50: “…We came from the light, the place where the light came into being on its own accord and established itself and became manifest through their image…” The final saying in Cycle 1 is the same as the Double of 9: L 99 which balances the sense of initiative needed with the obedience needed:
“The Disciples said to him, ‘Your brothers and your mother are standing
outside. ‘He said to them, ‘Those who do the will of my father are my
brothers and my mother. It is they who will enter the Kingdom of my
L 99 also provides the key insight to Cycle 9. It is not that those who are born with good soil in L 9 are special or that the big sheep in L 107 is special but it is the Holy Spirit that is special—the spirit of the whole. It isn’t special people like “my brothers and my mother” who are special but it is anyone who does the will of the Father who are important. It is the letting go of one’s particular herd to follow the spirit that is important.
10) Jesus said, "I have cast fire upon the world, and see, I am
guarding it until it blazes."
59) Jesus said, "Take heed of the Living One while you are
alive, lest you die and seek to see Him and be unable to do so."
108) Jesus said, "He who will drink from my mouth will become
like Me. I myself shall become he, and the things that are hidden
will become revealed to him."
The number ten seems to represent spiritual structure as in the ten righteous men saving the city in the Old Testament that gave rise to the Jewish sense of the few righteous men upholding the world from the unseen as well as the observed world such as Onias, the Circle Drawer, John the Baptist, and James the Just. Cycle 10 seems to outline a sacramental structure.
Fire was an originating concept in the theological system that descended from Simon Magus. G.R.S. Meade in Fragments of a Faith Forgotten (1900) records Hippolytus discussing the Simonian system:
“ The Dwelling is said to be man, the temple of the Holy Spirit. The symbol of the Boundless The Hidden Fire. Power and Universal Root was Fire. Fire was conceived as being of a twofold nature--the concealed and the manifested; the concealed parts of the Fire are hidden in the manifested, and the manifested produced by the concealed. The manifested side of the Fire has all things in itself which a man can perceive of things visible, or which he unconsciously fails to perceive; whereas the concealed side is everything which one can conceive as intelligible, even though it escape sensation, or which a man fails to conceive.”
Jesus is the lens of the Holy Spirit in L 10 as well as the bubbling spring of the Holy Spirit in L 13 which can easily be seen as sacramental references to chrismation and Baptism.
The Gospel of Philip lists the sacraments of the Syria Christian Community in a sentence: “The Lord (did) everything in a mystery, a baptism and a chrism and a eucharist and a redemption and a bridal chamber.” (7) The chrism would seem to be the fire of L 10.
We know what eucharist is but not what the last two sacraments listed by Philip are. The bridal chamber in Philip is called “the mirrored bridal chamber” so that may be the initial sacramental process referenced in “seek to see him” in L 59” of the bridal chamber sacrament while the ‘redemption’ may be the actual experience of the higher self in the bridal chamber referenced in “I myself shall become he” in L 108.
The "Drinks from my mouth" of L 108 can be seen as a Wisdom reference. The next two sayings after L 108 reaffirm that with their references to "treasure hidden in the field" and "wealthy'. Just as L 10 has Jesus acting as the lens of the Holy Spirit, so here in L 108 we have Jesus acting like the "bubbling spring" of the Holy Spirit of L 13.
A very, very interesting point concerning L 108 is "I myself shall become that person"--at the level of the higher self-image of God there apparently is essentially no real difference between Jesus and the higher self--which maybe is reflected in the obscurity of who the 'living one' is in L 59. This point is made in the Gospel of Philip: “But you saw something of that place, and you became those things. You saw the spirit and you became the spirit. You saw Christ, you became Christ.”
That L 108 may be referencing a sacrament called the Redemption that is union with the higher self we can explore using L 100. While L 9 and L 99 might be, technically, that last Doubles possible, L 10 lends itself to an obvious Multiple in L 100.
L 100 is the last saying in Cycle 2 which, interestingly, is all about the higher self, Jesus, and what Jesus is about. L 100 is an odd version of a familiar story:
“They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him, ‘Caesars men demand
taxes from us.’ He said to them, ‘Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar,
give God what belongs to God, and give me what is mine.’”
The story version in Thomas is the only one were the coin is gold which is a Wisdom reference—as in ‘Give Caesar what is wise’. Shockingly, Jesus makes a distinction between “God” and “me”. This, then, is an obvious distinction he is making between the Jewish Demiurge/ the Lion of L 7 and himself. L 100, however, leaves an intriguing clue in “give me what is mine” to the reader to ‘read on’. The end of L 101 fills us in on what Jesus wants to be given: “my true mother gave me life”. Jesus wants us to give him the Holy Spirit. This is the ecstatic one-ness of L 108.
11) Jesus said, "This heaven will pass away, and the one above
it will pass away. The dead are not alive, and the living will
not die. In the days when you consumed what is dead, you made it
what is alive. When you come to dwell in the light, what will you
do? On the day when you were one you became two. But when you
become two, what will you do?"
60) <They saw> a Samaritan carrying a lamb on his way to Judea.
He said to his disciples, "(Why does) that man (carry) the lamb
They said to him, "So that he may kill it and eat it."
He said to them, "While it is alive, he will not eat it, but
only when he has killed it and it has become a corpse."
They said to him, "He cannot do so otherwise."
He said to them, "You too, look for a place for yourself
within the Repose, lest you become a corpse and be eaten."
109) Jesus said, "The Kingdom is like a man who had a [hidden]
treasure in his field without knowing it. And [after] he died, he
left it to his son. The son did not know (about the treasure). He
inherited the field and sold [it]. And the one who bought it went
plowing and found the treasure. He began to lend money at
interest to whomever he wished."
Cycle 11 is a discussion for those disciples of Jesus who ‘get it’. (The Twelve Disciples minus Judas equals eleven—using Roman thought forms.) It is a discussion of what the initiates, Gnostics, or enlightened ones need to know.
L 11 is an ode to the spiritual freedom of an initiate: “When you come to dwell in the light what will you do?” “When you become two what will you do” refers to not just experiencing the higher self but becoming fully integrated in it so that you can operate in both places at will. The open-ended questions express the spiritual freedom. As the Master says in ‘The Key’: “Awakened man makes his own light.” (8)
“This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away” refers to the earth plane and the astral plane where our normal dream bodies are. You are not really “alive” until you experience your higher self when you “come to dwell in the light”.
The 'two-one' word play figures strongly in the 'move, mountain' doublet of L 48 and 106 which speak about being in your higher self-image of God outside of the time stream where you can literally see mountains rise and fall.
L 60 is a hysterically funny parody of the Roman Jesus as the Good Shepherd who actually is carrying the sheep around his neck so he can kill and eat it. This would have worked as a warning against the state religion of the Jewish Temple as well. The warning not to become a "carcass" resounds with "During the days when you ate what is dead, you made it come alive." of L 11. They both harken back to the L 7 warning about not being consumed or possessed by the lion—the Jewish and Roman Christian state religion. Even though Christianity did not become the state religion officially until Constantine, the Roman ‘brand’ was a product of Paul and his wealthy and well-placed Herodian family and connections as can be seen easily by all the name-dropping going on in ‘Acts of the Apostles’.
L 60 also gives the hint that the historical Jesus may have actually been the Samaritan known as Simon Magus who first promulgated the Primal Adam theology in Palestine and was probably crucified by Pontius Pilate in Samaria in 37 CE—about two years after the Baptist was killed.
While the second saying cluster focused on the state religion and the real identity of Jesus, the last saying--L 109- focuses on another key topic for initiates--the demiurgic activity in the world. This is not understood by commentators. The key point is that charging interest income is not a friendly reference in Thomas. Just look back at L 95 where we just had Jesus telling his disciples to give away their money and not charge interest income! L 110 says “renounce the world”—hardly consistent with charging interest income—in explaining L 109. The treasure is the quantum field, the Holy Spirit which is accessed through the higher self which generations have forgotten. Then, “the buyer” finds the treasure. The “buyer” is not a friendly reference either. View L 64: “Businessmen and merchants will not enter the places of my Father.” The Demiurge is present over many generations.
While the demiurge construct works well for interpreting L 109 in concert with the lion in L 7, Thomas is written on several levels so another one presents itself as well. Just as L 60 might give some historical context to "Jesus", so L 109 may give some historical context to Mary Magdalene. The Magdalene may have been Helen, Queen of Adiabene, who was caricatured by the Romans as Simon’s consort, Helen, the prostitute from Tyre. 'The field' in L 109 (like the field in L 21 which does reference Mary) could be her country which her sons impoverished for many decades to support the fundamentalists in Jerusalem who did not appreciate their mother's sense of the Holy Spirit working through Simon Magus. The 'buyer' of Edessa would be the Romans who later took it over, did appreciate the role of 'Mary Magdalene' but charged "interest" which may be a reference to using her for their own purposes, or a reference to their own usury practices, or a reference to the Roman church practice of 'tithing'.
L 111, while not technically a Double, a Multiple, or a Triple of L 11, still is an obvious visual signpost upon which is hung a Doublet of L 11:
“Jesus said, ‘The heavens and earth will be rolled up in your presence.
And, the one who lives from the living one will not see death.’ Does
not Jesus say, “Whoever finds himself is superior to the world?”’
In L 111, the “heavens and earth” are now clearly talking about a mystical experience. The last sentence nails this down as well: “Whoever finds himself is superior to the world. There could not be a more fitting and obvious capstone to Cycle 11.
12) The disciples said to Jesus, "We know that You will depart
from us. Who is to be our leader?"
Jesus said to them, "Wherever you are, you are to go to
James the righteous, for whose sake heaven and earth came into
61) Jesus said, "Two will rest on a bed: the one will die, and
other will live."
Salome said to him, "Who are you, man, that You, as though
from the One, have come up on my couch and eaten from my table?"
Jesus said to her, "I am He who exists from the Undivided. I
was given some of the things of my Father."
<Salome said,> "I am your disciple."
<Jesus said to her,> "Therefore I say, if he is <undivided>,
he will be filled with light, but if he is divided, he will be
filled with darkness."
110) Jesus said, "Whoever finds the world and becomes rich, let
him renounce the world."
Cycle 12 is representative of the Twelve Disciples and designed as a message to the greater Roman Church. L 12 affirms the esoteric tradition of James represented by such works as the Apocryphon of James, and the First and Second Apocalypse of James over the Peter-Paul tradition of Rome. (The ascent story of L 50 and the ‘three gods’ of L 30 were originally one story abstracted from the First Apocalypse of James.) L 61, however, uplifts in a positive manner an obviously Roman Herodian-type conversion in that of Salome without any special hoops for her to jump over. L 110 supplies the corrective to the Roman lifestyle, however, in affirming a renunciatory path.
James the Just was the symbol for the perfect integration of 'heaven and earth' with his spiritual and pastoral intercessions: Robert Eisenman refers to him as the 'alternative high priest' who officiated in the Holy of Holies at least once, wore the breastplate of the high priest: 'Holy unto God', and prayed so often on his knees in the Temple that the skin on his knees was "as thick as camels hooves".
He was considered the holiest person in Palestine by the populace during the 40's, 50's, and until his stoning in 62 CE in a conspiracy of the elite because they feared he was the spiritual leader of those planning revolution against Rome. However, he appears to have played a moderating influence between those who wanted all Herodians and foreigners out of the Temple and the liberal, Gentile followers of John the Baptist who were often more cosmopolitan Herodians comfortable with an Egyptian mystery school approach who looked down their noses at and rejected the fundamentalist Hebraic cult practices.
It was the death of James which was widely considered to have precipitated the war with Rome three or four years later--not the death of Jesus--when revolutionaries sneaked into Jerusalem and massacred the Herodian high priesthood. The role of James in the New Testament is very obviously minimized to the maximum but it is clear he was highly respected from the Pauline, 'Gnostic', and Jewish Christian literature and perfectly exemplified the integration of 'heaven and earth' interceding both spiritually and physically for the people.
The second saying--L 61--tells the tale of the conversion of Salome which, strikingly, contained no great call to repentance and baptism as one would expect from a follower of John the Baptist.
Salome is the name of the daughter who asked for the head of John the Baptist and beyond that was a popular Herodian name. The danger of the Herodian presence was transmitted in "Two will recline on a couch; one will die, one will live." but it also goes to the broader spiritual truth that the higher self can die if the lower self is too busy being a sycophant on the lap of luxury. Jesus boldly transmits in non-Judaic--or religiously loaded language--that he is"from the whole". Salome, astonishingly, becomes a disciple without any other mental or physical ceremonial gymnastics. The light recognizes the light.
The scandal of this conversion of a hated Herodian to Jewish followers of Jesus is reflected in the next saying--L 62: "I disclose my mysteries to those who are worthy of my mysteries. Do not let your left hand know what the right hand is doing."
L 61 clearly identifies the character of the Roman Christian Church as being Herodian-based.
The final saying in Cycle 12, L 110, is strikingly appropriate to the Roman, Herodian Christian Church: "Let one who has found the world, and has become wealthy, renounce the world."! "Wealthy" can refer both to worldly wealth and to wisdom.
The payoff for renouncing the world in L 110 is announced in L 111: "The heavens and earth will roll up in your presence"--and a striking reverberation back to James "for whose sake heaven and earth came into being".
In fact, in L 111 where "Those who have found themselves, of them the world is not worthy" helps define the wisdom of L 110 we can remember that "those who are worthy of my mysteries" of L 62 helps define the wholeness and light of L 61. Both of these clusters resonate with the 'worthy' doublet of L 56 and L 80 such that "Whoever has come to know the world has discovered the body, and whoever has discovered the body, of that one the world is not worthy."
13) Jesus said to His disciples, "Compare me to someone and tell
me whom I am like."
Simon Peter said to Him, "You are like a righteous angel."
Matthew said to Him, "You are like a wise philosopher."
Thomas said to Him, "Master, my mouth is wholly incapable of
saying whom You are like."
Jesus said, "I am not your master. Because you have drunk,
you have become intoxicated by the bubbling spring which I have
And He took him and withdrew and told him three things. When
Thomas returned to his companions, they asked him, "What did
Jesus say to you?"
Thomas said to them, "If I tell you one of the things which
he told me, you will pick up stones and throw them at me; a fire
will come out of the stones and burn you up."
62) Jesus said, "It is to those [who are worthy of My] mysteries
that I tell My mysteries. Do not let your left hand know what
your right hand is doing."
111) Jesus said, "The heavens and the earth will be rolled up in
your presence. And one who lives from the Living One will not see
death." Does not Jesus say, "Whoever finds himself is superior to
Cycle 13 is the self-revelation of Jesus (The Twelve plus Jesus equals thirteen). All three are integrally related in speaking of mysteries, secrets, and revelations.
In L 13 Jesus (anticipating modern miss-guided views of him!) states that he isn't a righteous angel in the Jewish fundamentalist tradition and he isn't the wandering Cynic-wise man in the Greek mode, but is a being who has "tended" a "bubbling spring" which intoxicates—a mystery school teacher.
The “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” in L 62 exactly explains what Jesus was doing with Simon Peter, Matthew, and Thomas in L 13. L 111 speaks in the voice of Jesus again concerning revelatory activity but also contains three statements that can exactly conform to the “three things” Thomas could have gotten stoned for.
"The heavens and earth will roll up in your presence" in L 111 reflects the multi-dimensional sense of the Father. However, rather than them rolling up like a scroll for everybody in a cataclysm such as in Isaiah, Revelations, or Pistis Sophia, it would seem to be more for their personal entertainment or enlightenment. This thinking would have been thought way too grandiose by the humble-before-the-Lord Hebrew. Onias the Circle Drawer, tagged by Robert Eisenman as the possible maternal grandfather of John the Baptist, was considered the holiest man of his era but was stoned to death by the Pharisees in a war situation. One of the knocks against him was that he considered his relationship to God as a 'son to a Father'. The Hebrew did not consider the 'heavens and earth rolling up' a personal spiritual experience but demeaning their great eschatological hopes for the entire earth.
The second thought of L 111 highlights an obscure personage as the subject: "whoever is living from the Living One will not see death". Looking at the context, we have identified the 'large sheep' of L 107 as Sophia or the Holy Spirit involved with the "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me" of L 108. What flows from the mouth of Jesus of L 108 can be seen to be the "treasure" in the field of L 109 and the 'wealth' of L 110. It would seem it is the Holy Spirit who is the 'Living One' flowing from the mouth of Jesus which is the 'fire' he is casting upon the world of L 10 and is the terrible scandal of L 105: "Whoever knows the Father and the Mother will be called the child of a prostitute." of L 105. Living from the Mother rather than the Father is the blasphemy supposedly diminishing the Almighty.
The last thought of L 111 refers to the higher self: "Those who have found themselves, of them the world is not worthy". This is still a blasphemy in this day and age to believe in an immortal soul that reincarnates rather than the Lord blinking us in and out of existence at his imperial whim. This sentence also makes clear as a mini doublet of L 56 and L 80 that when they are talking about knowing the world it is really about finding the higher self.
These three thoughts of L 111 can very well be seen to be the three blasphemous words of L 13 which could cause so great regret as to want to be burned up by the Holy Spirit when the truth is realized.
14) Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will give rise to sin
for yourselves; and if you pray, you will be condemned; and if
you give alms, you will do harm to your spirits. When you go into
any land and walk about in the districts, if they receive you,
eat what they will set before you, and heal the sick among them.
For what goes into your mouth will not defile you, but that which
issues from your mouth - it is that which will defile you."
63) Jesus said, "There was a rich man who had much money. He
said, 'I shall put my money to use so that I may sow, reap,
plant, and fill my storehouse with produce, with the result that
I shall lack nothing. Such were his intentions, but that same
night he died. Let him who has ears hear."
112) Jesus said, "Woe to the flesh that depends on the soul; woe
to the soul that depends on the flesh."
Cycle 14 can be seen as the 'Cycle of the Great Commission' in discussing how to minister in the first and the attitude towards the things of this world needed in the second. The third saying is an exact and pithy summary of the first two sayings.
L 14 warns against fasting, praying, and giving to charity. It can be seen as a manipulation of the deity rather than living in a constant state of 'movement and rest'--as well as it being dangerous to fast when you often can be without food for periods, give to charity when you usually have little money, and praying for certain outcomes when your brain is not adequate to judge what the movement of the spirit can do and your existence is so precarious anyway no bridge over troubled water should be precluded.
The connection of L 13 and 14 is obvious in the bubbling spring being contrasted with "what comes out of your mouth will defile you". They both can be seen in the context of L 108: "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him". This is Jesus acting as the conduit of the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus and Thomas are one in the bubbling spring, so when you accept people's hospitality, eat what they serve, and heal their diseases you live out the bubbling spring in unity with the Holy Spirit on the elemental level.
Just as L 14 can be seen as an admonition to Jewish Christians not to be too rigid about spiritual practices, so L 63 is an admonition to the Roman Christians to forget about accumulating things in this lifetime.
The first part of L 112: “Woe to the flesh that depends on the soul” is the summary of L 14. The soul has a whole different agenda than merely the survival instincts, ego and biological drives of the body. The main point of L 14 from the standpoint of L 112 is that the tail shouldn’t be wagging the dog and trying to manipulate the soul but should act as the conduit for the Holy Spirit.
The second part of L 112: “Woe to the soul that depends on the flesh” is a quite obvious summary of L 63. The phrase in L 63: “Let him who has ears here.” speaks of multiple ears so this could be a cue to take L 63 could be taken on multiple levels. L 63 could be a warning not to relax content in one’s spiritual attainment and spiritual materialism. The purpose of the soul is to grow and when there isn’t any service to life or challenge going on in person’s life then the soul can decide to depart.
15) Jesus said, "When you see one who was not born of woman,
prostrate yourselves on your faces and worship him. That one is
64) Jesus said, "A man had received visitors. And when he had
prepared the dinner, he sent his servant to invite guests. He
went to the first one and said to him, "My master invites you.'
He said, 'I have claims against some merchants. They are coming
to me this evening. I must go and give them my orders. I ask to
be excused from the dinner.' He went to another and said, 'My
master has invited you.' He said to him, 'I have just bought a
house and am required for the day. I shall not have any spare
time.' He went to another and said to him, 'My master invites
you.' He said to him, 'My friend is going to get married, and I
am to prepare the banquet. I shall not be able to come. I ask to
be excused from the dinner.' He went to another and said to him,
'My master invites you.' He said to him, 'I have just bought a
farm, and I am on my way to collect the rent. I shall not be able
to come. I ask to be excused.' The servant returned and said to
his master, 'Those whom you invited to the dinner have asked to
be excused.' The master said to his servant, 'Go outside to the
streets and bring back those whom you happen to meet, so that
they may dine.' Businessmen and merchants will not enter the
Places of My Father."
113) His disciples said to Him, "When will the Kingdom come?"
<Jesus said,> "It will not come by waiting for it. It will
not be a matter of saying 'Here it is' or 'There it is.' Rather,
the Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and men
do not see it."
Cycle 15 is the last three-saying cycle in Thomas. The three sayings summarize the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in turn just as the first three Cycles define each member of the Trinity. Cycle 15 could be characterized as ‘The Kingdom’. The three sayings could be summarized as saying ‘Don’t worship anyone, don’t worship anything, but worship everywhere.’
L 15 can be interpreted as not worshipping Jesus since he was “born of woman” but regarding him as a servant of the Father in L 64 who is not bringing you the Kingdom in L 113 so much as trying to show you it is already here.
Cycle 15 can be regarded as an overwhelming positive outlook on life in contrast to Gnostic critics who view them as life-denying who wish only to escape. L 64 regards life as a banquet whose enjoyment should not be weighed down by worldly concerns. L 113 urges folks to just look around for the Holy Spirit in the world.
16) Jesus said, "Men think, perhaps, that it is peace which I
have come to cast upon the world. They do not know that it is
dissension which I have come to cast upon the earth: fire, sword,
and war. For there will be five in a house: three will be against
two, and two against three, the father against the son, and the
son against the father. And they will stand solitary."
65) He said, "There was a good man who owned a vineyard. He
leased it to tenant farmers so that they might work it and he
might collect the produce from them. He sent his servant so that
the tenants might give him the produce of the vineyard. They
seized his servant and beat him, all but killing him. The servant
went back and told his master. The master said, 'Perhaps <they>
did not recognize <him>.' He sent another servant. The tenants
beat this one as well. Then the owner sent his son and said,
'Perhaps they will show respect to my son.' Because the tenants
knew that it was he who was the heir to the vineyard, they seized
him and killed him. Let him who has ears hear."
Cycle 16 argues that Jesus is the cause of division and violence but only because of human materialism. The Father is not in favor of this division.
L 16 of Cycle 16 responds to the obvious question arising out of L 15 concerning: 'Why reserve worship for only when we see the Father?' by discussing the violent division and conflict attendant upon the presence of Jesus.
Using our trusty tools we can look at L 17 speaking about being given what is totally new and incorporeal as a reason for conflict with cultural values and institutions. Looking at L 18-20 in defining 16 and 17 we learn that we are really talking about the higher self which is a very expansive thing: "like a mustard seed"--bringing to mind sayings in reference to John the Baptist: "Young wine is not poured into old wineskins, or they might break" (L 47)
L 65 (49 sayings down the road), similarly, has a very violent cast to it--about the parable of the tenant farmers who killed the heir of the vineyard. This is an obvious reference to the Son and to the innate self-interest which finds him a threat. L 66 defines what is being talked about as the familiar cornerstone "the builders rejected". The cornerstone is further defined in L 67 as "Those who know All but are lacking in themselves, are utterly lacking." So, the Son is defined as knowledge of the higher self, similar to L 16 and 17.
L 16 is interesting in having versions in Matthew, Luke, and the Pseudo-Clementine’s. In Matthew Jesus brings "war" but in Luke he brings 'division'. Thomas includes both, refusing to sugar-coat it like Luke and following the Jewish Christian phraseology also present in the Pseudo-Clementine’s. Aside from the Jewish wars, regular massacres occurred from the Samaritan pilgrimage of 38 CE to the 'reverse Exodus' of 45 CE lead by Theudas to later annihilations of 'Gnostics' who didn't subscribe to the state religion by those fearfully trying to keep control of the population.
The "five in a house" divided "three against two and two against three, father against son, and son against father, and they will stand alone." is similarly reprised in Matthew, Luke, and the Pseudo-Clementine’s. All three are more expansive than Thomas with every kind of familial relationship division. Interestingly, though, Matthew and Luke make it a generational issue.
The syntax of Thomas, though, doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense. How can "they" stand alone if there are two and three on each side? If "they" is referring to father or son--both are singular. So, if "they" are both standing alone, then there doesn't seem to be a judgment of one over the other, and no unity either.
And what does standing alone mean? "Standing" refers to the Old Testament idea of the angels standing before God and worshipping him. It refers to worship. It has the First Century connotation as well of the 'Standing Man'. This is the Primal Adam, the reservoir of the higher self who worships the One.
L 16 could be compared to L 49: "Blessed are those who are alone and chosen". But it is not a match because of the addition of "chosen".
L 23 also has "I shall choose you, one from a thousand, and two from ten thousand, and they will stand as a single one." Here you have unity in worship together, but in L 16 we have worshipping alone. L 16, then, can be read as the higher self not being supportive of the division and conflict.
Thomas, in fact, may be making a further esoteric description. The 'father' can be seen to refer to Judaism while the 'son' would refer to those following the Primal Adam theology.
The “three against two" that are "in a house" can be viewed as the schism between fundamentalism and mysticism. The "three" are the fundamentalist, Trinitarian Roman Christians against the 'two' who are conscious of both the higher and lower selves: "when you make the two into one, you will become children of Adam" (L 106).
17) Jesus said, "I shall give you what no eye has seen and what
no ear has heard and what no hand has touched and what has never
occurred to the human mind."
66) Jesus said, "Show me the stone which the builders have
rejected. That one is the cornerstone."
Cycle 17 uses two familiar sayings from the Roman Corpus but which are very abstract to describe the higher self.
L 17 responds to the natural question arising out of L 16: 'If there is so much conflict, what's the point?' by affirming the payoff: "I will give you what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand has touched, and what has not arisen in the human heart."
This saying appears in a number of Christian sources--some of which attribute it to Jesus and the rest to 'it is written'-- and may be a development from Isaiah 64: 4. April DeConick references Stevan Davies believing that the passage is talking about the Spirit of Wisdom which he compares to 1 Cor. 2.
Paul, indeed, introduces the passage with verse 7: "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory....." Then he ascribes the words to "it is written, eye hath not seen, etc...." then adds "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."
This passage is a wonderful testament to the identification of Wisdom and the Spirit in the mind of Paul, but Thomas is more pointed in saying that it is Jesus who is giving us "what no eye has seen, etc." The danger of this for Paul or for those editing the Pauline corpus is that Jesus seems to be pointing to an object in Thomas.
L 18 points to the object of L 17 in saying: "Blessed is the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and not taste death". This clearly refers to being in one's higher self--the image of God which is outside the time stream. This idea is reprised in the 'move mountain' doublet of L 48 and L 106 and elsewhere.
The second saying in Cycle 17 is the famous "Show me the stone the builders rejected: that is the cornerstone." This has traditionally been thought of as a reference to Jesus being the cornerstone from which we should receive our guidance from. However to understand L 66 we need to understand L 67: "Jesus said: 'Those who know All, but are lacking in themselves, are utterly lacking". Here it is clear that Jesus is referring to the higher self as the cornerstone which should set our direction.
Cycle 17, then, speaks of a non-corporeal higher self or image of God that is really inconceivable until you have experienced it that is outside the time stream and likened to a cornerstone from which we should receive our guidance.
18) The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us how our end will be."
Jesus said, "Have you discovered, then, the beginning, that
you look for the end? For where the beginning is, there will the
end be. Blessed is he who will take his place in the beginning;
he will know the end and will not experience death."
67) Jesus said, "Whoever believes that the All itself is
deficient is (himself) completely deficient."
Cycle 18 discusses how totally fulfilling the higher self is.
L 18 responds to the obvious conclusion people would jump to in L 17 that the non-corporeal tone was referring to the End of Days. On the contrary, it is referring to being entirely outside the time stream: "Blessed is the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death."
Scholars recognize this saying has Hermetic connections, yet, there are other ancient Christian references in a similar vein. DeConick mentions the great early theologian, Origen, in On First Principles 1.6.2: "...contemplate the beginnings of things. For the end is always like the beginning." She quotes the Epistle of Barnabas 6.13: "I will make the last things as the first."
L 2 talks about the feeling of being outside the time stream in being disturbed, marveling, and reigning. L 11 and 111 say "this heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away" in your soul travel. L 22 speaks of making "male and female into a single one" L 48 and L 106 speak of telling a mountain to "Move"--meaning you being able to see it rise and fall over ages. L 50 speaks of coming from "the light". L 84 speaks of "your images that came into being before you".
The second saying in the Cycle, L 67, clearly reflects this idea of the higher self: "Those who know the All, but are lacking in themselves, are utterly lacking." This is clearly Hermetic in character in talking about knowing oneself.
L 67 makes the point that this being outside the time stream of L 18 is our birth right and the essence of who we are and not knowing this we are "utterly lacking". L 68 mentions being "hated and persecuted" in the same breath as maybe a way we can feel we are 'utterly lacking' but that this would be an impetus to finding this place of our higher self on the other hand. It is known that trauma does disassociate consciousness from physical circumstances.
Trauma, though, is not necessary for transcendence. L 18 speaks of 'standing' at the beginning. It means 'worshipping' like the angels for God. Even when we are being stoned to death L 19 goes on to speak of paradisiacal states and "these stones will serve you" in referencing ecstatic states.
19) Jesus said, "Blessed is he who came into being before he
came into being. If you become My disciples and listen to My
words, these stones will minister to you. For there are five
trees for you in Paradise which remain undisturbed summer and
winter and whose leaves do not fall. Whoever becomes acquainted
with them will not experience death."
68) Jesus said, "Blessed are you when you are hated and
persecuted. Wherever you have been persecuted they will find no
Although analysis of Cycle 19 can get complex, the idea of both sayings is that heaven is so great that if one were stoned to death it would be found a blessing once heaven was reached.
L 19 responds to a natural question coming out of L 18: 'Seeing the end from the beginning?’: ‘Wouldn't that be kind of boring?'
DeConick cogently argues the "five trees" are probably not a scribal error due to use of the plural throughout the sentence and references Philo's "five trees in Eden" being "life, immortality, knowledge, apprehension, understanding of the conception of good and evil". Interestingly, she notes that M. Lelyveld thinks they refer to the "five parts of Nous. Although she (Lelyveld) does not mention it, this concept must be connected to the ancient understanding of the formation of the soul as it descends into the body and gains various aspects".
The "five trees" can very well be thought of as designating the more refined astral planes through which the spirit descends to matter clothing itself with various aspects of the soul. These "five trees" would be 'above' the earth and lower astral plane inhabited by the problematic archons referenced in L 11: "This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away."—which do not pass away.
The Sethian work called The Gospel of the Egyptians mentions ‘the five seals’ a number of times such as in “The five seals which possess the myriads” which might have a symbolic relationship to the five sacraments of the Gospel of Philip. Another Sethian work called the Trimorphic Protennoia speaks in the voice of the Mother and how she gave the Son the five seals which John Turner describes as “the illuminatory baptismal rite of the Five Seals”. (p511)
Also from the Trimorphic Protennoia thought to be composed roughly in the mid second century CE we find First Thought/Wisdom/the Mother saying: “(I went up) upon my branch and sat (there among the) Sons of the (holy) Light. (p 519)
By looking at L 20 we can see that the "five trees" seem to be characterized in L 20 as resembling a mustard seed growing into a 'large plant" becoming a shelter for birds of the sky. This is all an analogy meaning the "five trees' are on a mental plane. The 'birds' are concepts or ideas. The seed. itself, is like the "fine large fish" of L 8 swimming in the quantum field of the Mother or the "single pearl" of L 76.
L 19 makes a clear connection with the previous saying, L 18, with "Blessed is the one who came into being before coming into being". The next sentence notes "these stones will serve you". This could actually be a triple pun.
L 77 of Cycle 7 speaks of the omnipresent ecstasy of: "split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."
L 13 of Cycle 13 speaks of stones 'serving you' in the sense of being stoned to death which frees you from your body in short order: "If I tell you one of the sayings he spoke to me, you will pick up rocks and stone me, and fire will come from the rocks and devour you."
Lastly, L 66 (with the help of L 67) of Cycle 17 identifies the 'cornerstone' as the higher self so the sentence in L 19 could read: "If you become my disciples and pay attention to my sayings, these higher selves--images of God will serve you."
Whenever, the number three comes up it is tempting to look for a Trinitarian connection and so the Cycle 7 reference can be seen to reference the omnipresence of the Father, the Cycle 13 the blasphemous scandal of the Mother whose "fire (of Holy Spirit) will come from the rocks", and, of course, Cycle 17 references the 'Son' who comprises all the 'cornerstones'.
Scholars make a convincing case that the second saying, L 68, has a scribal error in mis-placing the negative since Clement of Alexandria preserves what should be the correct version in Strom. 4.6.41: "Blessed are those who are persecuted for my sake, for they will have a place where they will not be persecuted." On the other hand, the word ‘place’ is consistently in ancient use referencing higher dimensions. In Cycle 18 and L 18 we find: “Blessed is he who will take his place in the beginning.” L 24 reads: “Show us the place where you are”. L 26 quotes Jesus: “I took my place in the midst of the world”. At any rate, L 19 clearly summarizes the upside of Cycle 19 in being outside the time stream in the context of the downside of being in it in L 68.
L 69 in defining L 68 in terms of being "persecuted in their hearts" brings the balance in Cycle 19 where L 19 seems to emphasize the mental body, L 69 brings the emotional body emphasis balance.
20) The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us what the Kingdom of
Heaven is like."
He said to them, "It is like a mustard seed, the smallest of
all seeds. But when it falls on tilled soil, it produces a great
plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky."
69) Jesus said, "Blessed are they who have been persecuted
within themselves. It is they who have truly come to know the
Father. Blessed are the hungry, for the belly of him who desires
will be filled."
Cycle 20 defines the Paradise of Cycle 19 not so much as a place you go to but as a state of mind and heart.
L 20 answers the obvious question arising out of L 19: 'What do you mean by "five trees"?'.
The sense of the mustard seed of L 20 becoming a large plant and a shelter for birds of the air is that it is referring to a mental or spiritual realm--especially when viewed in the context of L 21 which makes it clear we are not talking about a physical kingdom or 'tree': "They are like little children living in a field that is not theirs."
The 'five trees' of L 19 may have an obvious connection with the 'large plant' of L 20, so let us go on a little scavenger hunt to see if we can come up with 'five trees in Paradise for you" that makes sense to us.
The "mustard seed" can represent our pure consciousness of the Father working in the "prepared soil" of the Holy Spirit, the Mother, or the quantum field to grow the "large plant" of the Son, the Platonic Form from whom we come with our various "birds" or individual concepts on our mental plane. So, these are three "trees" or planes of existence: the seed of the Father-working-through-the-Mother, the plant of the androgenous Primal Adam we adhere in, and the 'birds' or our mental plane of concepts we are attracted too and are attracted to us.
The second saying in Cycle 20, L 69, is a two part saying. The first part is "Blessed are those who are "persecuted in their hearts". Some commentators tend to follow the lead of Clement of Alexandria in emphasizing the sense of being "vexed by impious lusts, and diverse pleasures, and base hopes, and destructive dreams…" (from 'Who is the Rich Man, 25'). However, L 69 can be interpreted from the second part of the saying where I believe the correct translation is: Blessed are those who go hungry, so the stomach of the one in want may be filled."
Thomas is not particularly interested in fasting practices for just the sake of fasting as can be seen from L 6 and L 14. If the second part of saying 20 refers to going hungry for somebody else, then the first part can be referring to suffering emotionally for someone else as well who may be suffering.
So, if L 20 describes the spiritual, soul, and mental bodies of a person, the first part of L 69 describes the feeling or emotional body which doesn't reside in an individual vacuum but is resonant in a plane.
The second part of the saying doesn't just refer to the fifth "tree" or physical body but to an etheric "body" whose "leaves do not fall" similar to the idea that when we die we run into our dead relatives who appear as they did in the prime of life that they were comfortable with.
G.R.S. Meade in Fragments of a Faith Forgotten quotes Hippolytus on the theological system of the Simonians which originated with Simon Magus which connects the fire concept of L 10 with the tree image of L 19 and L 20:
"Of all things that are concealed and manifested, .the Fire which is above the heavens is the treasure-house, as it were a great Tree from which all flesh is nourished. The manifested side of the Fire is the trunk, branches, leaves, and the outside bark. All these parts of the great Tree are set on fire from the all-devouring flame of the Fire and destroyed. But the fruit of the Tree, if its imaging has been perfected and it takes shape of itself, is placed in the store-house (or treasure), and not cast into the Fire. For the fruit is produced to be placed in the store-house, but the husk to be committed to the Fire; that is to say, the trunk, which is generated not for its own sake but for that of the fruit."
21) Mary said to Jesus, "Whom are Your disciples like?"
He said, "They are like children who have settled in a field
which is not theirs. When the owners of the field come, they will
say, 'Let us have back our field.' They (will) undress in their
presence in order to let them have back their field and give it
back to them. Therefore I say to you, if the owner of a house
knows that the thief is coming, he will begin his vigil before he
comes and will not let him into his house of his domain to carry
away his goods. You, then, be on your guard against the world.
Arm yourselves with great strength lest the robbers find a way to
come to you, for the difficulty which you expect will (surely)
materialize. Let there be among you a man of understanding. When
the grain ripened, he came quickly with his sickle in his hand
and reaped it. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear."
70) Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you
bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is
within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
Cycle 21 speaks of living in the higher self rather than on the physical plane but also is a signature description of Mary Magdalene on another level.
L 21 answers the natural question arising out of L 20: 'What is this "large plant" spoken of?'. L 21 makes clear it is not a physical one: "They are like little children living in a field that is not theirs".
DeConick makes the excellent point that in Syriac 'to disrobe' also means 'to renounce' so that the original sense prior to the Coptic translation was "In their presence, they will give up rights to the field in order to let them have their field back."
L 21 is a bit of a head-turner since it goes on to wax eloquent about just the opposite attitude to "Arm yourselves with great strength so that the robbers do not find a way to come to you", therefor it has to be taken metaphorically such as in the attitude of renunciation before things are taken from you.
When we look further on at L 22 we find a clear description of the higher self: "making the two one" and "make eyes in place of an eye". This is reflected in the "little children" phrase of L 21 referring to the androgenous Primal Adam, our higher self.
The Master in 'The Key' by Whitley Strieber says "To remain a separate being after death, there must exist the ability to maintain the structure of the radiant body by the action of the attention." This is the disciplined consciousness L 21 is speaking of in maintaining the ecstatic awareness of the 'little child' and not becoming distracted by attachment to the 'field'. In this way the 'little child' becomes the 'large plant' of L 20 in our consciousness.
The second saying, L 70, summarizes Cycle 21: "If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you will kill you." This responds to the obvious vulnerability discussed in L 21 of renouncing the field and the spiritual danger of getting wrapped up in the 'field' rather than by affirming the saving presence of that which comes from within.
L 21 indicates that it can be taken on two levels by the "Anyone with two good ears had better listen".
L 21 makes an obvious reference to Mary Magdalene and so the saying can be viewed as explicatory of her. The 'little child' reference can be viewed in association with her as the great disciple "who knew the All".
"Mary Magdalene" can actually be viewed as her spiritual name. "Mary" was a common spiritual name from the inspiration of the powerful and empowering sister of Aaron. "Magdala" most likely is a purposefully corrupted reference to her being the 'Great Mary' coming from the same root such as was used in Magna Carta or magnum opus.
The other powerful spiritual feminine figure of the First Century was Helen, the Queen of Adiabene who also had scarlet associations, but who built places and a big tomb in Jerusalem and funded the drought relief for Palestine during the 40's and was poorly characterized as the Ethiopian Queen Kandake whose grain-buying eunuch was converted in Acts of the Apostles.
"L 21" can be seen as a reference to the 21 years of Nazirite penance Queen Helen undertook for what was considered some sort of sexual indiscretion. The "field" was her country which she basicly left to follow Jesus and the disciples of the Jerusalem area. The "crop ripened...sickle...harvest it" referred to her great grain-buying efforts. Queen Helen certainly must have been a close associate of James the Just with whom Mary Magdalene is also closely associated
Simon Magus also had a consort named Helen who he thought was the incarnation of Wisdom and who was reputed to be a 'prostitute' found in 'Tyre' by his enemies but who was one of the thirty main disciples of John the Baptist. That these three women are all separate people really defies credibility.
When we look at L 70 in the historical context we look at what it defines in L 69. L 69 is all about compassion and giving to those so that "the stomach of the one in want may be filled". L 70 explains what the Queen of Adiabene did in L 69.
To explain what L 70 means we look at L 71: "Jesus said: 'I will destroy this house, and no one will be able to build it'" Here were have a signature Jesus quote linked to a signature Mary Magdalene reference by a saying all about bringing forth from the higher self. The Jesus quote also reinforces the message of Cycle 21 that we are not looking for eternal life in the 'field' but life in the 'large plant' of the higher self.
22) Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to His disciples,
"These infants being suckled are like those who enter the
They said to Him, "Shall we then, as children, enter the
Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you
make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside,
and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the
female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the
female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye,
and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and
a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter [the
71) Jesus said, "I shall destroy [this] house, and no one will
be able to rebuild it."
Cycle 22 depicts the freedom one has in the higher self to create and destroy physical bodies.
Cycle 22 is about the higher self-image of God being androgenous and being responsible for the creation and destruction of the human body. Indeed it can be seen in Logion 22 to refer to reincarnation: "when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image..." The higher self has no eyes, hands, or feet. Only the successive human lives do. However, L 71 denies this as the goal: "Jesus said, I will destroy (this) house, and no one will be able to build it..."
The general Jewish Millennial expectation was that God would return, defeat his enemies, raise the righteous from their graves who would reign with him for a thousand years. This general expectation was taken over by Roman Christianity although Paul had a more nuanced, more spiritual interpretation of the Resurrection of the dead: 'We will all be changed'. L 71 is saying that no amount of wishful thinking on the part of people will be able to conjure Jesus back into a physical body.
L 22 answers an obvious question from L 21: 'What do you mean the disciples are "like little children living in a field that is not theirs?" L 22 speaks of "nursing babies"--reprising the 'little child' of L 4 who "knows the place of life"--which is the breast of the Mother, the Holy Spirit. L 21 speaks of leaving the earthly field while L 22 speaks of how to be as a nursing baby to enter the spiritual one.
"When you make the two into one, and you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner...then you will enter 'the Kingdom' of L 22 reprises L 3: "the Kingdom is within you and it is outside you" as well as L 11 (which is a multiple of L 22 and indicates a numbers convention in Thomas): "On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you become two, what will you do?" L 11 speaks of the freedom you have when integrating the higher and lower selves--much as making "eyes in place of an eye" in L 22. In fact, this 'uniting' idea is set in L 72 to explain the "I will destroy this house" of L 71. The idea of destroying the house is actually to unite with the higher self. L 72 phrases it in the negative: "I am not a divider, am I?"
Mark, Matthew, and Luke all have well known references to becoming like a child to enter the Kingdom. Galatians 3: 27-28 also has a parallel "there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." April DeConick documents the large number of other literature parallels to L 22 (19) concerning when the "two will be one" from various other "Acts" and "Gospels".
23) Jesus said, "I shall choose you, one out of a thousand, and
two out of ten thousand, and they shall stand as a single one."
72) [A man said] to Him, "Tell my brothers to divide my father's
possessions with me."
He said to him, "O man, who has made Me a divider?"
He turned to His disciples and said to them, "I am not a
divider, am I?"
Cycle 23 is all about unity with each other and with God. L 23 answers the obvious question ball popping out of L 22: 'Making a hand in place of a hand? I thought God was the creator? How can we possibly do this and wouldn't it be rather chaotic if we were able?'
L 23 counters with 'I shall choose you one from a thousand, two from ten thousand" in admitting few have this experience but going on to say that those who do have it reached an essential unity with each other and with God: "They will stand as a single one". The word 'stand' literally meant 'standing in the presence of God and worshipping Him like the angels'. So, what is this essential unity? Using L 24 to decode L 23 we understand that it is the light which "shines on the whole world"
L 72 makes exactly the same point but phrased negatively. Jesus had not come to be the neutral estate executor as the man wanted but as a uniter in the higher self: "Mister, who made me a divider?" Decoding 72, we could look at L 73 speaking of begging "the harvest boss to send out workers to the fields." The workers go out to the world like the light shines on the world.
April DeConick notes some striking parallels. While Mt 22:14 is a bit on the faint side: "For many are called, but few are chosen", she points out Irenaeus (Av. haer.1.24.6): "However, the multitude cannot understand these things, but one out of a thousand and two out of ten thousand."
Indeed, orthodox and heterodox alike seem to be sharing a common source in this quote from Epiphanius (Pan.24.5.4): "And he (Basilides) says that it is necessary not to reveal to anyone at all the things that concern the Father and his mystery and to keep (these things) in silence among themselves, but to reveal them to one in a thousand and to two in ten thousand, and he charged his disciples, saying, 'Know all things, but let no one else know.'"
Pistis Sophia (3.134), similarly, has "The Savior answered and said to Mary: 'I say to you, they will find one in a thousand and two in ten thousand to complete the mystery of the first mystery.'"
Slightly different is the Mandaean version (Mandaean Prayers, 90):"He chose one out of a thousand, and from two thousand, he chose two"--indicating, maybe, the original Baptist formulation was this before Jesus embroidered it with 'ten thousand". Fewer, initially, chose the light of Jesus than the initiation of John the Baptist.
24) His disciples said to Him, "Show us the place where You are,
since it is necessary for us to seek it."
He said to them, "Whoever has ears, let him hear. There is
light within a man of light, and he (or "it") lights up the whole
world. If he (or "it") does not shine, he (or "it") is darkness."
73) Jesus said, "The harvest is great but the laborers are few.
Beseech the Lord, therefore, to send out laborers to the
Cycle 24 connects the personal and global mission. L 24 speaks of the "light within a person of light" which "shines on the whole world". L 25 follows up by referring to one's friends who should be as dear as one’s own soul. L 73 reads like a typical mission statement in begging "the harvest boss to dispatch workers to the fields." This in itself would be appropriate to the cycle yet if we interpret it by reading L 74 it goes much deeper.
L 74 reads: "Lord, there are many in the drinking trough but there is (no one or) nothing in the well. The well is a metaphor for the higher self. So, to really be a worker in the field one needs to go deep into the well of the higher self. From there the light shines on the whole world. From there, one finds the bubbling spring of L 13 which Jesus tends.
L 24 also answers the obvious question from L 23: 'Where do these few go to 'stand as a single one'? L 24 speaks of the light within. You don't have to go anywhere specifically. Yet on the other hand, if your light doesn't shine on the whole world, "it is dark". The light isn't given just for the few. Similarly, L 73 responds to the social division of 72 by asserting "the crop is huge" and hoping the harvest boss will send cooperative laborers who will operate from the unitary standpoint of the "well" or higher self in L 74. Rather than waiting for God to do it in the End Times of the Harvest, the harvest is now.
Gospel parallels mostly limit the mention of the light to a personal reference--"Lamp of the body" or to Jesus such as Mt 6:22-23, Luke 11:34-35, Jn 11:9-10 and others, however Mt 5:14-16 comes closest with the famous "You are the light of the world" speech which "gives light to all in the house".
25) Jesus said, "Love your brother like your soul, guard him
like the pupil of your eye."
74) He said, "O Lord, there are many around the drinking trough,
but there is nothing in the cistern."
Cycle 25 concerns the point that there is an essential identity between you and your "friends" and that the best thing you can do for them is to go into your inner self.
L 25 admonishes one to "love your friends like your own soul". In fact, you should "protect them like the pupil of your eye". You can see yourself in them. This is a reminder from L 23 that "they will stand as a single one" and a foretaste of L 108: "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person".
L 25 answers the obvious question of L 24: 'How do you let your light shine' by a version of the 'love your neighbor' precept and defines it in L 26 by the well-known "take the timber out of your own eye". This 'work on yourself' idea equates to L 74 about going down into the well of the higher self.
L 74 has often been translated: "Lord, there are many around the drinking trough, but nothing in the well." April DeConick makes a convincing case in following Origen that it can and should be translated "but there is no one in the well". She cites research of H. M. Jackson showing there existed a professional class whose job it was to retrieve water vessels and other things which had fallen into the well.
It is clear from L 75 which speaks of "the bridal suite" that both are similar metaphors for the higher self and similarly lonely or alone activities which are the light socket allowing your light to shine.
26) Jesus said, "You see the mote in your brothers eye, but you
do not see the beam in your own eye. When you cast the beam out
of your own eye, then you will see clearly to cast the mote from
your brother's eye."
75) Jesus said, "Many are standing at the door, but it is the
solitary who will enter the bridal chamber."
Cycle 26 describes what is required to experience the higher self, the image of God in referencing the ancient sacrament of the early Church called ‘the bridal chamber’.
L 26 is the familiar "take the timber out of your own eye, then you will see well enough to take the sliver out of your friend's eye." This "timber" is defined by L 27 ascetically: "If you do not fast from the world, you will not find the Kingdom."
L 75 adds to the 'fasting' concept by saying "There are many standing at the door, but those who are alone will enter the bridal suite." It is not enough to be a part of the Chosen People, a soldier in the army of God. The "many standing at the door" parallel the "many around the drinking trough" of L 74. These "many" sort of blur into the materiality of the "supply of merchandise" in L 76 as what is in the well and behind the door comes into view. What he sells the merchandise for and leaves the many for is a single pearl. A very close parallel exists in Mt 13: 45-46. This parable is also very similar to the "fine large fish" chosen in L 8 and all the other little fishes are thrown back. The single pearl is an image of the higher self-image of God that represents a pure dew droplet of consciousness from the Father. In fact, L 77 can be seen to explain this 'pearl' consciousness of L 76 to be in superposition to all of matter: "split a piece of wood, I am there."
Cycle 26 says you can love your friends of L 25 best by taking the timber of materiality out of your eye and going into the well of the higher self to retrieve what is lost which is union with the higher self in the bridal suite--the pearl of pure consciousness outside of time and space.
The Gospel of Philip should more appropriately be entitled ‘The Mirrored Bridal Chamber’. It is a very early Syrian Christian exposition arguing for one of their sacraments called ‘the bridal chamber’. Ringing throughout that long argument is also an argument for celibacy.
Indeed, in a key point—L 49—which is the true ‘title’ of Thomas and acting as a preface for the wonderful and revealing ascent story of L 50—we find a similar sentiment: “Blessed are the solitary and elect, for you will find the kingdom. For you are from it and to it you will return.”
The Gospel of Philip is filled with allusions to what might have been their spiritual practice of looking into dyed water or a darkened mirror such as “God is a dyer…his dyes are immortal”. Farther on: “you saw something of that place, and you became those things”. Then: “the son of man has come as a dyer”. A most revealing quote refers to the “mirrored bridal chamber”. That can refer to seeing one’s higher self or ‘angel’ but can also refer just as easily to the technique used. Farther on the author becomes stunningly explicit: “None can see himself in water or in a mirror without light. Nor can you (sg.) see in light without water or mirror.”
27) <Jesus said,> "If you do not fast as regards the world, you
will not find the Kingdom. If you do not observe the Sabbath as a
Sabbath, you will not see the Father."
76) Jesus said, "The kingdom of the Father is like a merchant
who had a consignment of merchandise and who discovered a pearl.
That merchant was shrewd. He sold the merchandise and bought the
pearl alone for himself. You too, seek his unfailing and enduring
treasure where no moth comes near to devour and no worm
Cycle 27 concerns accessing the image of God--the higher self--where you can see the Father by fasting from the world.
P. Brown has suggested that the normal translation of L 27: "If you do not observe the Sabbath as a Sabbath, you will not see the Father" should rather be translated: "If you keep not the (entire) week as Sabbath, you will not see the Father."
DeConick would probably win the argument against Brown except the context favors Brown. The asceticism of the first sentence: "fasting from the world" favors Brown and the sense of L 28 also favors Brown. L 28 speaks of Jesus appearing among humanity and finding "all of them drunk"--which would seem to need more than just dutifully going to services on the Sabbath as a remedy.
L 27 answers the natural question arising out of L 26 about what the "timber out of your own eye" might mean. The timber is the timber of material thinking resolved through the renunciation of L 27. However, L 28 complains humanity "came into the world empty, and they also seek to depart from the world empty"! Isn't that the idea?! L 28, though, goes on to talk about the spirit and L 76 speaks of the "single pearl".
The "single pearl" is the perfect image of the androgenous Primal Adam in giving the sense of the integrated rounded wholeness which is an individual image of the pure, spirit consciousness of the un-originate Father: light from light--which Thomas claims can be known and experienced while living the elemental life from the experience of marveling and reigning in L 2 through the 'move mountain' sayings speaking about being outside the time stream to those talking about "the heavens and earth will roll up in your presence" such as L 111.
28) Jesus said, "I took my place in the midst of the world, and
I appeared to them in the flesh. I found all of them intoxicated;
I found none of them thirsty. And my soul became afflicted for
the sons of men, because they are blind in their hearts and do
not have sight; for empty they came into the world, and empty too
they seek to leave the world. But for the moment they are
intoxicated. When they shake off their wine, then they will
77) Jesus said, "It is I who am the light which is above them
all. It is I who am the All. From me did the All come forth, and
unto me did the All extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am
there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there."
Cycle 28 contrasts the wealth of the spiritual world with the supposed wealth of this one. Both sayings are considered Hermetic, Gnostic-related, or similar in tone to the Gospel of John. L 28 speaks of all humanity being drunk on the material world (fasting from the material world being the theme of L 27). L 77 discusses the true light which is outside of time and space that explains the 'single pearl' of L 76.
These sayings are not necessarily of a late provenance since the idea of a 'heavenly Adam' was publicized as early as Philo of Alexandria who lived from 20 BCE to 50 CE. Philo considered this Platonic ideal, idea, or archetype of Adam to be originally both male and female until divided on earth. Even Akiba ben Yossef, 'Head of all the Sages' in the Talmud, who lived from 50-135 CE and was a founder of Rabbinical Judaism held that humans were created after an image or ideal. Epiphanius documents that early Jewish Christian sects such as the Nazarenes and Ebionites adopted the Primal Adam concept of the Elcesaites that it was originally androgenous, then dividing into the Messiah who was masculine and the Holy Spirit who was feminine and who did come in changing human forms and who will come again.
L 28 ends with "When they shake off their wine, then they will change their ways." This could be viewed as a slap against the wealthy Romans in contrast to the followers of John, the Baptist under Nazarite vows such as James the Just. James was the first bishop of Jerusalem but never would have drunk the sacramental wine unless as a very closet follower of John, the Baptist.
The last part of L 77 is "Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there." It has been a subject of debate concerning whether this Coptic version is correct or the Greek version having this part attached to L 30. Since the wording is different in both versions it is an indication that L 30 and 77 are doublets. Both can be considered correct.
In any event 'wood-stone' part isn't crucial but it does add the sense of involvement of the Primal Adam in the physical world--'in the world, not of it'. It also references crucifixion with the wood and stoning with the stone and putting them in a greater perspective. Crucifixion, of course, was the Roman punishment for sedition which Jesus suffered. Stoning was the Jewish punishment for blasphemy--which L 77 would have been guilty of.
L 78 is the familiar "Why do you come out to the countryside? ...to see a person dressed in soft clothes?..." which in Mathew and Luke is descriptive of John the Baptist. The extraordinary claims of L 77 are appealing to the authority of the John the Baptist tradition since Jesus was the anointed or 'christened' heir of the Baptist.
John in the Roman tradition has long been associated with baptizing in the open air of the Jordan River, however, the Cave of John the Baptist at Suba has recently been found--in Samaria. Its history goes back 700 years prior to John. There is also a huge pile of broken vessels that perhaps held oil for anointing from the era of the Baptist. All of these elements indicate an affinity towards Egyptian mystery school practices conducive to the inner exploration of the Primal Adam of L 28 and the un-originate light of L 77.
29) Jesus said, "If the flesh came into being because of spirit,
it is a wonder. But if spirit came into being because of the
body, it is a wonder of wonders. Indeed, I am amazed at how this
great wealth has made its home in this poverty."
78) Jesus said, "Why have you come out into the desert? To see a
reed shaken by the wind? And to see a man clothed in fine
garments like your kings and your great men? Upon them are the
fine [garments], and they are unable to discern the truth."
Cycle 29 appeals to the tradition of John the Baptist, the poverty of this world, and the ignorance of the elite for his truth claims.
L 29 explains the need for fasting in L 28 from the “poverty” of L 29 by expressing what a "marvel of marvels" it is that the great wealth of the spirit decided to reside in this impoverished place. The phrase “great wealth” would be an expression of the Holy Spirit—the quantum field.
L 30 as an explanation of the ‘great wealth’ of L 29 goes into more depth in saying that it does not refer to the little demigods living in the astral plane in contrast to Jesus and/or the higher self.
L 78 expresses the asceticism from the John the Baptist tradition in support of the extraordinary spiritual claims of L 77--and affirms the need for asceticism in L 79: "For there will be days when you will say, 'Blessed is the womb that has not conceived and the breasts that have not given milk.
The message of Cycle 29 is that worldly wealth does not help to discern the spiritual wealth. In fact, it may make it more difficult to discern our existential situation and live accordingly.
30) Jesus said, "Where there are three gods, they are gods.
Where there are two or one, I am with him."
30/77) (additionally in the Greek) Raise the stone, and there you will find me; cleave the wood, and there I am."
79) A woman from the crowd said to Him, "Blessed is the womb
which bore You and the breasts which nourished You."
He said to her, "Blessed are those who have heard the word
of the Father and have truly kept it. For there will be days when
you will say, 'Blessed are the womb which has not conceived and
the breasts which have not given milk.'"
Cycle 30 (L 30 and 79) contrasts the image of God/higher self and the Holy Spirit with the negativity of the earth and the lower astral planes. Gnostics considered Jerusalem and Rome infested with archons creating the war situation of L 79.
The "three gods" of L 30 is often assumed to be a mistranslation. Modern commentators cannot conceive of giving any credibility to the modern abduction experience of a small group of little 'greys' doing abductions or to the ancient mind which knew them as gate-keepers living in the astral planes such as is reflected in the classic ascent story of L 50. L 30, however is straightforward in contrasting these 'archons' with Jesus who is not a mere astral deity but reflects the consciousness that is outside of time and space: "Lift the stone and you will find me there. Split a piece of wood and I am there" (from the Greek version of L 30).
L 30 characterizes the archons as coming in small groups in common with modern abductee accounts and characterizes them as 'gods'--or having god-like powers humans don't appear to possess. The second clause contrasts with the first one: "where there are two or one, I am with that one"--'two or one' can refer to Jesus and the person's higher self. This contrast is especially pronounced in the Greek version which appends "Lift the stone and you will find me there. Split the piece of wood and I am there"--making the point that Jesus is not a 'god' in the archon sense. The Egyptian Coptic editor, not understanding the contrast along with the modern mind--and more comfortable with 'three gods', deleted the 'stone-wood' saying as an accretion. In fact L 30 operates as a doublet with L 77--contrasting the archon dimension with that of the higher self. Additionally, if it is 'three people' there isn't even a 'gathered in my name' clause. If it is 'elohim', then why would it be only Jesus appearing by himself with a person and not the Father or the Holy Spirit?
L 79 Discusses an ominous war-type scenario where women regret they have children. By the implication of proximity in this Cycle, the 'three gods' of this world have something to do with this war situation. Later generations of Gnostics and Gnostic Christians in the Apostolic line preferred not to have children which they believed would be pawns and hostages to the archons and for other reasons. See the Gospel of Philip for a robust and charming presentation of this viewpoint.
To understand L 79 by looking at L 80 we find: "Whoever has come to know the world has discovered the body, and whoever has discovered the body, of that one the world is not worthy." This logion is part of a doublet. L 56 uses 'corpse' rather than 'body'. The second saying in the doublet explains the first, so while 'corpse' and 'body' degrades the value of the 'world', a 'body' can be alive with the Holy Spirit moving through it. We do indeed find the Holy Spirit reference in the following sayings of L 81 and 82. So, while war may prevail on the earth plane, there still is the hope of the potential of the Holy Spirit present in all situations. While L 30 references the light of the higher self, L 79 and 80 point to this light interpenetrating creation.
Other places in Thomas reflecting the archon presence or influence include the lion possession of L 7, the gate-keepers of L 50, the grapevine pulled up by its root in L 40, and the practitioner of usery in L 109.
L 30 is also a doublet. If we look at the beginning of L 77 we have: "I am the light that is over all things..."which corresponds to "Where there are two or one, I am with that person" in L 30. To explain why Jesus isn't more obvious from L 30 we have the familiar: "No prophet is welcome on his home turf" in L 31 which explains the 'stone-wood' saying of 30 that we have to look beneath appearances. To define 31 we look at L 32 and run into the similar image of "I am the light that is over all things" of L 77 in "A city built on a high mountain and fortified cannot fall or be hidden" in L 32.
Cycle 30 distinguishes the higher self and Holy Spirit from the earthly and astral world, then succeeding sayings go on to discuss the spirit interpenetrating all things leading up to the "city built on a hill" and the light on the "lamp stand".
31) Jesus said, "No prophet is accepted in his own village; no
physician heals those who know him."
80) Jesus said, "He who has recognized the world has found the
body, but he who has found the body is superior to the world."
Cycle 31 discusses the difference between the spirit/ image of God/higher self and the physical world of appearances. The spirit inter-penetrating the world ( L 80) and the higher self-described in L 32 in a higher dimension is what heals, knows, and is superior but there is an inherent resistance in matter born of ignorance and entrancement with appearances that 'doesn't get it' often.
L 31 explains why if God is everywhere in L 30--inside the piece of wood and under the stone--why people don't get it. It is because they lock themselves into the world of appearances--like the familiarity of the local doctor whose familiar ritual magic may not be believed since it is old hat or the local prophet who isn't respected since he is so familiar. However, L 32 is reassuring in saying that the higher self cannot be hurt by this scepticism and will pop out continually and obviously.
In a similar manner, one who discovers the spirit in L 80 moving in the world "of that one the world is not worthy". We know we are looking at the spirit in L 80 because it is signaled in L 81: :"Let one who has become wealthy reign, and let one who has power renounce". 'Wealthy' is a code word for wisdom--actually Wisdom or Sophia from the wisdom and wealth of King Solomon. This is the Holy Spirit, the age-old consort of Yahweh. L 80 is a doublet with L 56. Being the second saying in the doublet, L 80's dramatic switch of the 'body' from 56's "carcass" signals a key teaching moment that in L 80 we are talking about a live body--the world-- which has the Holy Spirit inter-penetrating it.
The next time we run across "of them the world is not worthy" is in L 111 which prefaces it by saying "Those who have found themselves". This indicates that when we find the carcass in 56 and the spirit in L 80, we have found our higher self in L 111--which is the "city on a hill" in L 32 which is so often disrespected in L 31 but from such consciousness of externals the higher self is so much superior to in L 80.
32) Jesus said, "A city being built on a high mountain and
fortified cannot fall, nor can it be hidden."
81) Jesus said, "Let him who has grown rich be king, and let him
who possesses power renounce it."
Cycle 32 links the power of the higher self with the renunciation of earthly power.
Cycle 32 responds to the rejection and challenge of the previous two cycles by describing the higher self in 32: "A city built on a hill and fortified cannot fall".
L 81 is one of the clearest examples that it necessarily must be speaking metaphorically since "let one who has become wealthy (or wise in the Holy Spirit like King Solomon) reign" is antithetical to “let him who possesses power renounce it.”
Cycle 33 uses similar imagery which is clearly linked and explanatory of Cycle 32. The "high hill" of 32 is reiterated in the rooftop imagery of L 33. Then, it is defined on the 'lamp on a lamp stand' imagery in the same saying.
The 'wealthy' reference to the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit in L 81 is reiterated in the "fire" of the Holy Spirit image of 82. This would be like the 'tongues of fire' of the Holy Spirit in Acts. So, in this following Cycle 33 we see the light-fire imagery defining the power and wealth imagery of the higher self and Holy Spirit of Cycle 32.
33) Jesus said, "Preach from your housetops that which you will
hear in your ear ((and) in the other ear}. For no one lights a
lamp and puts it under a bushel, nor does he put it in a hidden
place, but rather he sets it on a lamp stand so that everyone who
enters and leaves will see its light."
82) Jesus said, "He who is near Me is near the fire, and he who
is far from Me is far from the Kingdom."
Cycle 33 emphasizes the dimensionality of the higher self and Holy Spirit: "What you hear in your ear, proclaim from your rooftops" in L 33. The second part of L 33 also talks about the light of the higher self on a lampstand that is, then, broadcast everywhere in the physical dimension.
Both the Greek and Coptic lend themselves to the sense "What you will hear in your (or one of your) ears, in the other, preach from your rooftops. This could refer to some mental processing of the information you receive and the primacy of your consciousness shining its light over verbalizations.
DeConick quotes N. Perrin as making a good argument that both Greek and Coptic versions are based on a mistranslation so L 33 should read: "What you (hear) in your ears, preach from your rooftops." (This would actually be an argument, also, that the Greek text is not primary over the Coptic but both come from a Semitic dialect.) The sense of L 33 changes little. However, in other places in Thomas when multiple ears are referenced they can be referring to both the inner ear attuned to the Holy Spirit as well as the outer ear. At any rate, "preach from your rooftops" doesn't necessarily mean to just verbalize but to preach from your mind or from your higher self--like 'light on a lamp stand' in the final part of L 33. L 34 in making a stark contrast with L 33 explains why it is important to 'let your light shine' from higher dimensions: "If a blind person leads a blind person, both of them will fall into a hole".
L 82, also, gives the sense of distance: "Whoever is near me is near the fire (fire of the Holy Spirit), and whoever is far from me is far from the Kingdom." This very simple saying is explained by the very complicated L 83 which speaks of our physical images coming from our higher dimensional images of God which come from His light, although his image is even beyond his light. This all goes a long way, though, in explaining explicitly the talk of dimensionality and light in Cycles 32 and 33 and where our 'light on a lamp stand' comes from. The Father is way beyond the white-haired humanoid concepts going back to the Sumerian gods and akin to the 'gnostic' conceptualizations in the Nag Hammadi texts of early, heterodox Christianity which posit a dimensional universe.
34) Jesus said, "If a blind man leads a blind man, they will
both fall into a pit."
83) Jesus said, "The images are manifest to man, but the light
in them remains concealed in the image of the light of the
Father. He will become manifest, but his image will remain
concealed by his light."
Cycle 34 begins a discussion comparing fundamentalism with those who are open to the Spirit and the higher self.--specifically with fundamentalist Judaism which was offended by the corruption of the official High Priests appointed by the Herodian overlords--vassals of the Romans. This divide resulted in a movement beyond the Jordan to build 'wilderness camps' which were paramilitary in nature and where the 614 laws of Moses and ritual cleanliness were upheld with regular ablutions. This 'New Covenant in the Land of Damascus’s (P 649, The NT Code) objective was to go out and dig a new "Well of Living Water" (imagery from Moses in the Book of Numbers)--the community at Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
With this backdrop, we can see that "if a blind person leads a blind person, both of them will fall into a hole" belongs to the same family of imagery as L 74: "Lord, there are many around the drinking trough, but there is no one in the well"--groups of soul-blind people who dither around the well of spirituality but just fulfill the outer requirements of group membership like following food and cleanliness rules and instead of the well of the higher self, they fall into a pit of practices that gets them nowhere.
The blindness of L 34 contrasts with the 'light on the lamp stand' of L 33 just like the blindness and the hole of 34 contrasts with the light of the image of God of our higher selves in L 83 which comes from the Father's light--and where the Father's own image is furthermore hidden.
L 35 amplifies the problem of 'busy-ness' of the blind leading the blind in L 34 falling into the pit in referencing "tying his hands" in L 35 where the 'busy-ness' of following religious rules gets in the way of spirituality so one's awareness of God is 'plundered'. Similarly, L 84 amplifies the discussion of L 83 in discussing "your images that came into being before you". DeConick references the Pseudo-Clementines--1.28.4 which held that "God created the human with an 'internal Form' that is 'older' than the human body itself."
35) Jesus said, "It is not possible for anyone to enter the
house of a strong man and take it by force unless he binds his
hands; then he will (be able to) ransack his house."
84) Jesus said, "When you see your likeness, you rejoice. But
when you see your images which came into being before you, and
which neither die not become manifest, how much you will have to
Cycle 35 contrasts the fundamentalist consciousness of having your hands tied up with all the political cares and concerns of this world along with all the investment in religious and cultural practices which distracts ('loots your house') from the inner journey where it is possible to see your original and immortal image of God--an ecstatic experience. The burden of ‘busy-ness’ is contrasted with the burden of ecstasy.
DeConick betrays her fundamentalist view of Jesus in taking L 35 literally rather than metaphorically: "Jesus gives them practical advice: when faced with an opponent, they should bind him first and then take him on."! While this may seem ridiculous in making Jesus out to be a common thief and robber, it goes to her larger view that Jesus is a hell-fire breathing cult leader in the Qumran 'wilderness camp' style fundamentally at war with all who oppose him rather than one who teaches using metaphor and parable in the Wisdom mode about the Holy spirit and the image of God.
We can see that the crafter of Thomas disagrees with the viewpoint of DeConick by the context. Right after L 35 comes L 36 giving the familiar 'lilies of the valley' speech concerning not worrying about what to eat or what. No need to tie up somebody and rob them!
Just as the blindness of the fundamentalist approach in L 34 leads to doing stupid and unjust things in L 35, so the seeing of your original image of God in L 83 leads to the ecstasy of being outside the time stream: "When you see your images that came into being before you and that neither die nor become visible, how much will you have to bear!" (DeConick once again sours the milk with her fundamentalist viewpoint: "Viewing the heavenly image, however, results in suffering since the person is coming face to face with his or her own perfection."!...Maybe if he or she hadn't been busy tying up and robbing people....but that is all speculation...!)
The obvious question from L 84 is 'Well, then, how in the world did we get into such a mess down on the earth plane?' L 85 answers with the Fall of Adam story saying that if he had adhered to the Father and the Holy Spirit ("great power and great wealth") that he would not have had to go through the death cycle.
The over-involvement and 'busy-ness' of L 35 (which is healed by lilies of the field lack of worry in 36) could lead to the loss of ecstasy of one's divine self-described in L 84--which could lead to the death cycle in L 85.
36) Jesus said, "Do not be concerned from morning until evening
and from evening until morning about what you will wear."
85) Jesus said, "Adam came into being from a great power and a
great wealth, but he did not become worthy of you. For had he
been worthy, [he would] not [have experienced] death."
Cycle 36 discusses the image of God and how to return to it.
L 85 addresses the "great power and great wealth" which Adam forsook for earth and its life and death cycles. The next saying--L 86--advises we should give up our attachment to people, places, and things: "human beings have no place to lay down and rest".
The first saying in Cycle 36--L 36--advises the very same thing in the lilies of the valley speech: "Do not be anxious... about what you will wear."
In defining L 36, L 37, in fact, says that if you "strip naked" and "trample" on your garments "under your feet like little children" then you will see the "Son of the Living One and you will not be afraid".
L 37 can taken two ways. Taking off one's garments is very suggestive of a baptismal ceremony where it was done naked. Secondly, 'garment' has been used as another way to refer to the physical body. 'Trampling on them like little children' is an image referring to the original state of the androgenous Primal Adam. L 37 can refer to being in the consciousness of the higher self.
What has been under-appreciated is the sense of the ecstatic play of a child in this passage. We also find this sense of ecstasy in the previous cycle of L 84: "How much you will have to bear!" and it is a clue to reaching the higher self.
So, "Do not be concerned…about what you will wear" in L 36 which raises the natural question: "what do you mean by that?' is answered by L 37 which negates the physical garment in exchange for the image of God--the child-like, pre-Adamic state of the Primal Adam--the "Son of the Living One".
The Coptic version of L 36 only has a very truncated version using just the first sentence:"Do not be anxious...about what you will wear." while the Greek has the entire thing about ‘He will give you your garment’. Although on the fragmentary side it can be accurately pieced together. This indicates the Coptic editor was uncomfortable about God giving a garment in L 36 but advising them to be trampled in L 37. The crafter of Thomas, however, wasn't advising disciples to destroy the garments--just play with them.
A very interesting parallel to L 37 drudged up by DeConick comes from Dialogue of the Savior--a text from the Nag Hammadi codices: "The Lord said, 'The rulers and administrators possess garments granted (only for a time) which do not last. (But) you, as children of truth, not with these transitory garments are you to clothe yourselves. Rather, I say (to) you that you will become (blessed) when you strip your(selves)”!
The 'strip yourselves' could refer to the inner journey in the Cave of John the Baptist at Suba or it could refer to the decision not to keep re-incarnating. Be that as it may, the phrase "rulers and administrators" should be examined. Why not use 'kings' and 'high priests'? The word 'archon' used for extra-terrestrials is the word for 'rulers and administrators'. In fact, there is a vast difference between little godlets running around with seemingly supernatural powers in space ships or even traveling inter-dimensionally with their mind and the higher self that is described in Thomas which is a dewdrop of pure light consciousness outside of time and space altogether, a Son of the Living Father. The archon bodies have a limited time span just as humans do.
The message of Cycle 36 is 'Don't worry, be happy' in the consciousness of divine play of the higher self that is resonating with the "great power and great wealth" of the androgenous Primal Adam.
37) His disciples said, "When will You become revealed to us and
when shall we see You?"
Jesus said, "When you disrobe without being ashamed and take
up your garments and place them under your feet like little
children and tread on them, then [will you see] the Son of the
Living One, and you will not be afraid"
86) Jesus said, "[The foxes have their holes] and the birds have
[their] nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head
Cycle 37 describes the attitude required to see the "Son of the Living One"--or one's higher self or image of God--in naturalistic terms. L 37 answers the natural question in L 36 about: 'What do you mean don't worry about food or clothes?' in depicting the ecstasy of a child at play. L 86, also, has the familiar: "(Foxes have) their dens and birds have their nests, but human beings have no place to lay down and rest--inferring there is a place of rest to be sought. In these two sayings we have the 'movement (of the spirit) and rest' of L 50 and also of Cycle 2 which is L 2 and 51.
L 37 has been recognized to reflect baptismal images and images negating the body (the garment) but also important is the sense that 'garment' reflects status. L 36 transmits this sense: "...what will you put on? Who might add to your stature? That very one will give you your garment (or status)" In ancient times it was the masters who wore the clothes that defined their status. L 38 which defines 37 reflects this: "often you have desired to hear these sayings that I am speaking to you, and you have no one else from whom to hear them." Of course you don't! You will not hear them from the state-sponsored religion which expects you to have a job, pay taxes, and raise your children to do the same!
Along these lines, we can look at L 87 which defines what the lack of a den or nest for human beings means: "How miserable is the body that depends on a body, and how miserable is the soul that depends on these two." The den or nest is the perfect metaphor for a marriage relationship. L 87 is not necessarily limited to the marriage relationship or even saying it is a bad thing but it is the emotional, mental, and physical dependency on someone else which certainly limits the movement of the spirit, the sense of divine play, and the sense of 'rest' or peace in the spirit. Children, mates, loved ones are hostages to fortune which tends to win the poker game of life in the end.
Cycle 37 is saying that to see your divine self you need not to fixate on need, social status, and dependent relationships but maintain the ecstatic conciousness of a child at play--the androgenous Primal Adam where rest in the spirit is to be had.
38) Jesus said, "Many times have you desired to hear these words
which I am saying to you, and you have no one else to hear them
from. There will be days when you look for Me and will not find
87) Jesus said, "Wretched is the body that is dependent upon a
body, and wretched is the soul that is dependent on these two."
Cycle 38 begins a discussion of what people give you and don't give you in the quest to realize the image of God.
It is almost could be thought that L 38 is responding to L 37 with a child’s game of ‘hide and seek’, yet L 39 follows up in response to both with Holy Spirit imagery to be ‘wise as serpents and innocent as doves’ to emphasize the answers have to come from within. L 38 begins with the sense that this ecstatic, androgenous Primal Adam described in L 37 really is your heart’s desire: "Often you have desired to hear these saying..." L 38 goes on say that sometimes there will be no outer confirmation of what you know inside.
Being quite a bit more pointed about what is meant, L 39 takes no prisoners in explaining L 38: "The Pharisees and the scholars have taken the keys of knowledge and have hidden them. They have not entered nor have they allowed those who want to enter to do so." Of course they did not! It is in the interest of state-sponsored religion to promote good civic values of having a job, paying your taxes and tithes, and raising children to defend the status quo from all enemies foreign and domestic rather than acting like a flower child of Wisdom trampling on his garments who is not interested in attachments.
This is precisely the take-off point for L 87: "How miserable is the body that depends on a body, and how miserable is the soul that depends on these two." While kind of funny to think of the soul suffering over the love-sick bodies it is connected to, L 87 also fits the context of the "dens" and "nests' of L 86. L 87 could include parents and kids and others as well in the attachment game of our affections being hostages to fortune and making it difficult to be the clear vessel for the movement and peace of the spirit which resonates with the ecstasy of the higher self.
L 88 also fits the context of L 87 in providing the antidote to a life without a 'significant other': "The messengers and prophets will come to you and give you want belongs to you". This could include itinerant holy people to be sheltered and fed. It also could include parents and guides from the other side seen in inner journeys. Raymond Moody, the famous pioneer in near death experiences, built a psychomantium in an old mill in Alabama after the ancient Greek idea where staring into a dark space with a diffuse light like a flickering candle is conducive to tiring the eyes out until they see beyond the veil to loved ones or guides.
39) Jesus said, "The Pharisees and the scribes have taken the
keys of Knowledge and hidden them. They themselves have not
entered, nor have they allowed to enter those who wish to. You,
however, be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves."
88) Jesus said, "The angels and the prophets will come to you
and give you those things you (already) have. And you too, give
them those things which you have, and say to yourselves, 'When
will they come and take what is theirs?'"
Cycle 39 (L 39 and 88) directly contrasts the "Pharisees and scholars" who have "hidden" the "keys of knowledge" in L 39 with the "messengers and prophets" who will "come to you and give you what belongs to you" in L 88.
L 39 is an explanation of L 37 referring to the experience of the ecstatic, androgenous higher self and why it isn't common knowledge in L 38, yet the "keys" are a mysterious reference as if referring to techniques.
The "give you what belongs to you" of L 88, likewise, goes back to "your images that came into being before you that neither die nor become visible" in L 84 and a discussion of the original androgenous Primal Adam of "great power and great wealth" in L 85 which devolved into "a body that depends on a body" in L 87.
One clue about how to get from here to there is at the end of L 39: "be as sly as snakes and simple as doves". Snakes and doves have long been symbols for Sophia-Wisdom-The Holy Spirit. Being 'wise' on the one hand and 'guileless' or 'innocent' on the other could be thought to refer to 'movement of the Spirit and rest' in Cycle 2, L 50, and elsewhere.
Thomas is redolent with multiple meanings so we need to keep looking for "keys'" beyond the repetition and the rather general 'movement and rest' sense. L 40 responds to the "Pharisees and scholars" of L 39 so isn't much help.
Looking more closely at L 88 we have "messengers and prophets" which can easily be taken to mean physical people who need to be fed and sheltered. This is the obvious and outer meaning since 'messenger' or 'angel' was interchangeable with 'prophet' as DeConick documents. However, then, L 88 dips deep into obscurity again: "You...say to yourselves, 'When will they come and take what belongs to them?"
L 89, obviously, keys off this last sentence in "why do you wash the outside of the cup?"--referring to the inner spirit. But, why would these outer messengers whisk you away like a cult group without your own inner inspiration to go? So, this last sentence cues us to believe that "messengers and prophets" also refers to the dis-embodied kind.
L 89 can be taken to mean 'Why do you overly wash or take care of the messengers and prophets when they are just the vessel of the spirit which is on the inside of the cup?' as an explicit pointing away from the outer meaning of caring for "messengers and prophets" to the interior meaning of them found in the spirit on the 'inside of the cup' who will "take away what belongs to them" at some point.
In 2008 in the ancient harbor of Alexandria a large open-mouthed cup-bowl was found dated from the late Second Century BCE to the early First Century with the words: Dia Chrstou O Goistais which translated read "By Christ the Magician". (Discovery News) The discoverer, Franck Goddio and David Fake from the Oxford Center of Maritime Archaeology believe "Magus (or 'wise men or people') could have practiced fortune telling rituals using the bowl." What they actually could have done is used a technique reportedly used by Nostradamus to divine the future and discussed by Raymond Moody where a bowl is filled with inky water and stared into until the eyes tire and one can see beyond the veil to loved ones or "messengers and prophets".
'Movement and rest' or the "snake" and the 'dove" could refer on a physical level to this technique of wisdom and the dove-like quietude it takes--which then takes wing to other spheres when successful.
If we look at following sayings for any confirmation we find the famous "my yoke is comfortable" in L 90 along with "rest". In L 91 we find a bunch of challenges like "You do not know how to examine the present moment". In L 92 it is "seek and you will find".
Fortune telling and sorcery were capital offenses in the Roman Empire and clear enough reason for their vassals like the Herodian Roman Christians to avoid them at all costs. At any rate the despotic hierarchy of officialdom in L 39 is contrasted with the unity of the spirit in L 88 similar to the literal and/or figurative meaning of L 108: "whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and hidden things will be revealed to him."
40) Jesus said, "A grapevine has been planted outside of the
Father, but being unsound, it will be pulled up by its roots and
89) Jesus said, "Why do you wash the outside of the cup? Do you
not realize that he who made the inside is the same one who made
Cycle 40 is a direct contrast between the "grapevine" which will "be pulled up by its root and perish" in L 40 versus the admonition: "Why worry about washing the outside of the cup" in L 89.
L 40 clearly has a reference to the "Pharisees and scholars" of L 39. L 89, also, is clearly referencing the official Judaic cult with its emphasis on ritual purity and ablutions as well as the wilderness movement offended by its corruptions. In fact, DeConick notes a big First Century debate about the three parts of the cup: inside, outside, and handle and whether you should wash the outside of the cup and your hands before or after you touch the cup.
However, "pulled up by its root and perish" is a pretty strong condemnation of the Chosen People who as human beings have sinned and erred and gotten things wrong like everyone. Perhaps L 40 is referring to the Temple cult which was destroyed in the Roman war. Another possibility is L 40 is thinking of the 'Pharisees and scholars' as only the sour grapes on the vine who will later be planted in some other venue and where the real vine of negativity is extra-terrestrial or archontic in origin. See L 7 for the lion which possesses, L 50 for the challenging interrogators, and the "buyer" in L 108 who found the "treasure" but then charged everybody "interest" (not a friendly reference for Thomas!).
L 41 in explaining L 40 is pretty general as well in expressing the spiritual principle that 'the more you give the more you get'--and the opposite: "Whoever has nothing will be deprived of even the little that he has."
L 89 expresses the opposite of the Pharisaical attitude that focused on the Mosaic Law rather than in emphasizing the importance of the 'inside of the cup'. Is it more than a metaphor in revealing a spiritual technique used by Greeks of that era of looking into inky water until the eye tires and loved ones or guides from the other side appear--as might have been the case with the bowl found in the Alexandrian harbor in 2008 with "By Christ, the Magician" on it? L 88 seems to infer non-physical "messengers and prophets.
In addition, It seems an odd preface for the famous call to discipleship: "my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" of Mt 11:30 which is phrased "My yoke is comfortable and my Lordship is gentle." It obviously infers an inner journey compatible with the comfort, ease, and quietude of an inky meditation.
Very oddly in this Cycle too is L 41 which has "something in hand". The bowl dredged up off Alexandria had a handle. Whoever utilizes it will be "given more". Whoever doesn't pursue the inner journey will lose what little they have.
Peaking beyond Cycle 40 and the next which defines it we have Jesus challenging them that they "do not know how to examine the present moment" in 91 and saying "Seek and you will find." in L 92. Such insistence!
However deep it goes, Cycle 40 emphasizes the ease and value of the inside of the cup--the spirit--over the waste and uselessness of outer observance.
41) Jesus said, "Whoever has something in his hand will receive
more, and whoever has nothing will be deprived of even the little
90) Jesus said, "Come unto me, for My yoke is easy and My
lordship is mild, and you will find repose for yourselves."
Cycle 41 insists that the pipeline of inner knowledge is the only reality of value or of long-standingness. L 41 suggests, though, that someone who has "something in hand" will be given more--someone who is trying, working and tending the Father's own grapevine, one who is looking inside the bowl or cup of inner knowledge.
L 41 expresses the corollary to focusing on the inner, which is that just focusing on the outer as in debating the fine points of the ritual purity of the three parts of the cup will end nowhere and "be deprived of even the little they have".
The opinion of L 42 about this dichotomy is "Be passersby". It is an important spiritual principle that one must be objective and open-minded on the inner search to receive knowledge and not have all your chips committed in the poker game of life that one part of the cup is more ritually pure or impure than another or that the destruction of one of these points of view is a bad thing.
L 90 is urging, also, a "rest" in this equanimity of opinion and calls for a union or "yoke" with the source or higher self which one finds "comfortable" and "gentle" in the spirit. This is what looking inside the "cup" of L 89 is.
The natural question from L 90 is 'Yes, but how do you know?" L 91 asserts that no amount of outer chatter will suffice: "Tell us who you are so that we may believe in you...You examine the face of heaven and earth, but you have not come to know the one who is in your presence".
If Jesus is talking about a specific technique like looking into an inky bowl until images appear as if the message of Cycle 41 is ‘something in hand will give you repose’ then it is cued in the next statement: "You do not know how to examine the present moment." (and the higher self). Regardless, however, the "present moment" is an important spiritual point. All there is ever is the present moment since God and the Primal Adam are outside of time and space as we know it. So, the present moment is where the spirit of God operates. This is when the spirit of God is felt in the body. L 91 opposes "examine the face of heaven and earth" with "presence" and "present moment".
All one can do is work in the ease and comfort of the spirit in the present moment regardless of what chaos and questioning is happening in the outer world.
42) Jesus said, "Become passers-by."
91) They said to Him, "Tell us who You are so that we may
believe in You."
He said to them, "You read the face of the sky and of the
earth, but you have not recognized the one who is before you, and
you do not know how to read this moment."
Cycle 42 (L 42 and 91) is about being objective and dispassionate if you want your inner guidance to work in discerning the truth.
While "Jesus wept" is the shortest verse in the Roman Gospels, it would be "Be passersby" in the Syrian Gospel of Thomas (despite the Coptic Egyptian and Greek versions we have to work with.) but it encapsulates a lot. Its comment on L 39-41 is not to be emotionally attached to mis-planted grapevines like arguments on ritual cleanliness or people who make them.
The meaning of L 42 encompasses much more than trying to avoid just 'being wrong'. It means to be objective and dispassionate in the conflict taking place in L 43. In Judea there was the Herodian power structure which appointed the High Priest who ran the Temple: "You have become like the Judeans, for they love the tree but hate its fruit"--the fruit being the fundamentalist poor angry at the corruptions of the Temple. Those who "love the fruit but hate the tree' of course are those who established the wilderness camps across the Jordan such as at Qumran.
In L 43, Jesus says: "You don't understand who I am from what I say to you". In L 91, he says: You examine the face of heaven and earth, but you have not come to know the one who is in your presence." L 92 explains these push backs: "Seek (on the inner level) and you will find" L 92 goes on to say that before he wouldn't tell them certain things, but now he is willing except that they don't ask. Before, they weren't spiritually mature enough to receive with equanimity what he could tell them. They were, perhaps, too fundamentalist in their thinking or attached too much to the Jerusalem cult. Now that they know the spiritual world is real, are being guided by the spirit in the moment, and experience a certain amount of the ecstasy of the higher self that comes with letting go of material things, then 'spiritual materialism' isn't such a draw, either, in looking for titillating esoterica to keep the noisy mind entertained.
"To examine the present moment" one has to ‘be passersby’ in the sense of not take sides or be judgmental, looking to one's inner guidance knowing an answer is there, and being in the present moment in terms of seeing how everything is connected.
43) His disciples said to him, "Who are You, that You should say
these things to us?"
<Jesus said to them,> "You do not realize who I am from what
I say to you, but you have become like the Jews, for they
(either) love the tree and hate its fruit or love the fruit and
hate the tree."
92) Jesus said, "Seek and you will find. Yet, what you asked Me
about in former times and which I did not tell you then, now I do
desire to tell, but you do not enquire after it."
Cycle 43 is a discussion of wholeness--physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
In L 43 the Disciples are questioning Jesus' authority to dismiss the teachings of the Pharisees and scholars and he is pointing out they have implicitly taken sides like the Judeans who either supported the Herodian priesthood or who support James the Just who functioned as the 'alternative High Priest' (N.T. Code, Robert Eisenman) and was popular among the poor and the lower priesthood rather than seeing things dispassionately as in L 42.
L 44 in explaining L 43 is the famous: "Whoever blasphemes against the Father will be forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either on earth or in heaven." This is to say that people can have different ideas about the Father and the Son, but violating the Holy Spirit is different in kind. It is violating the sense of wholeness that unites and is obvious. It is the abuse of the poor by the Herodian priesthood or the revolutionary attacks by the poor--not their different ideas that violates the Holy Spirit. These are not issues that can be papered over and forgiven by someone else but only by the individual involved forgiving themselves after they have repented and desire to make amends. The great early Church theologian, Origen, believed there were 'many mansions' after death for spiritual growth for those who needed it.
It is this sense of wholeness, fullness, and sense of the Holy Spirit the disciples have finally attained in L 92 where it no longer interests them to debate the ritual purity of a cup or to attack adherents of either side but where they can handle objectively seeing the truth and receiving the "pearls" of wisdom in L 93.
L 43 speaks as if Jesus isn't a Jew: "You have become like the Judeans," This has been widely considered to be a later accretion after the lifetime of Jesus when some anti-semitism crept in as witnessed in the Gospel of John who is constantly talking about "The Jews". The other possibility is that Jesus actually was not a Jew but a Samaritan who was crucified by Pontius Pilate in 37 CE in Samaria with a group of others after a well-documented massacre of his supporters. This was about 2-3 years after John the Baptist was executed according to Josephus. This new information would be an example of a 'pearl' in L 93 possibly buried in certain sayings of Thomas which would not be a trauma for those who have developed a sense of inner guidance from the higher self, a sense of ecstasy induced by the Holy Spirit, and a sense of faith that the universe won't give you more than you can handle.
44) Jesus said, "Whoever blasphemes against the Father will be
forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against the Son will be
forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not
be forgiven either on earth or in heaven."
93) <Jesus said,> "Do not give what is holy to dogs, lest they
throw them on the dung-heap. Do not throw the pearls to swine,
lest they grind it [to bits]."
Cycle 44 makes the argument for hidden knowledge since dogs and swine will abuse the pearls of wisdom in a larger context that violations of the Holy Spirit will not stand and cannot be forgiven with the wave of a hand. L 13 is the classic example where Jesus only told Thomas three things so as to not incite a violent reaction which would later bring overwhelming regret in the fire of the Holy Spirit.
L 44 is the first teaching in Thomas on the Holy Trinity. Scholars think Trinitarian thinking was a later development in Church history. However, that is an error. The Holy Spirit-Wisdom-Sophia was long a feature in Judaism. The Primal Adam theology of the 'Son' was also spread throughout Palestine early in the First Century. The Pseudo-Clementine’s attribute the first public promotion of the idea to the figure known as Simon Magus who was the designated successor of John, the Baptist.
Jesus is saying in L 44 in explaining L 43 that a person can be discriminating and have different ideas about the Father and the Son but the 'sin against the Holy Spirit' is different in kind. L 45 explains that this 'sin' is a matter of evil doing—what is "stored up in their hearts" which makes them "say evil things" and "produce evil". These things cannot be papered over such as in the forgiveness of a priest unless there is genuine repentance and change in a person who wants to make amends. It is people themselves who must change either on earth or in one of the 'many mansions' of the Other side—it is not the Universe that should be expected to change.
Differences in theology are the "pearls" mentioned in L 93 which need to be sought after and are only mis-used by people who act like dogs or pigs and who are not really interested anyway. But, Jesus insists with his explanation of L 93 in L 94 that "One who seeks will find, and for (one who knocks) it will be open".
45) Jesus said, "Grapes are not harvested from thorns, nor are
figs gathered from thistles, for they do not produce fruit. A
good man brings forth good from his storehouse; an evil man
brings forth evil things from his evil storehouse, which is in
his heart, and says evil things. For out of the abundance of the
heart he brings forth evil things."
94) Jesus [said], "He who seeks will find, and [he who knocks]
will be let in."
Cycle 45 begins a discussion on the difference between goodness and holiness. Where L 45 speaks about good fruits it is L 94 that rachets the conversation up to interior seeking and being let in.
Goodness is described as an "overflow of the heart" that results in fruitful and positive speech and action but L 46 follows up by saying "whoever among you becomes a child will recognize the Kingdom and will be greater than John."
L 45, though, begins by explaining that the violation of the Holy Spirit begins in the heart and proceeds into action. The pearls of the mind from L 93 can be had for the seeking, however, in L 94. In fact, it is this child-like quality of seeking/asking in the next cycle that brings you to the kingdom.
The "child" imagery refers to the Primal Adam theology of the higher self or image of God. This is to say that whoever is in their higher self will see the Kingdom and will be greater than John. Thomas uses a lot of Roman imagery in this Gospel and L 46 is a good example. John may or may not have realized his higher self but he was the ultimate exemplar of a 'good man' who was extremely popular among the masses--so much so that he was killed as a pre-emptive strike by the Herodian establishment because John was criticizing the marital practices of the elite.
To shed some light on L 45 and 46 we should look at L 94 and 95. L 94 is a simple "One who seeks will find, and for (one who knocks) it will be open. L 95 is rather nonsensical in the context of explaining 94--unless you are in the consciousness of 94. L 95 reads: "If you have money, don't lend it at interest. Rather, give to someone from whom you won't get it back". In the higher self you see the ecstasy of the unity of consciousness with other consciousnesses and so everything is an outflow from that unity. To accumulate interest income on this plane is not the object at all.
John the Baptist or his adherents were hoping for moral and political change. In a sense, they were trying to get something back in terms of trying to change behavior. Jesus who ate and drank with 'publicans and sinners' was going after deeper change that automatically, then, flows into selfless action "from the bubbling spring I have tended" (L 13).
46) Jesus said, "Among those born of women, from Adam until John
the Baptist, there is no one so superior to John the Baptist that
his eyes should not be lowered (before him). Yet I have said
whichever one of you comes to be a child will be acquainted with
the Kingdom and will become superior to John."
95) [Jesus said,] "If you have money, do not lend it at
interest, but give [it] to one from whom you will not get it
Cycle 46 describes the Kingdom as an expanding spirit which cannot be contained by old forms and patterns of activity. The ‘child’ reference in L 46 refers to the androgenous Primal Adam—the higher self. It is not enough to just be a good person with a good heart in L 45. If you want to know the Kingdom you should have that inner receptivity of a child.
John the Baptist was an extremely popular and charismatic figure in the First Century as his veneration among the Mandaeans, the Samaritans, and the fundamentalists of Judaism reveals. While the Baptist movement had the flavor of an Egyptian mystery cult with the use of the large Suba Cave in Samaria and the large number of broken oil jars there from his time frame, it was Jesus as witnessed by the Roman Gospels and Thomas among other works who came out forthrightly to break with the fundamentalism of Judaism and its ritual purity—which was ‘giving away his money’ so to speak in the unpopularity it brought him.
To explain his problem with John’s movement, Jesus uses the cluster of sayings in L 47: "Young wine is not poured into old wine skins...an old patch is not sewn onto a new garment". This well expresses the expanding, out flowing attitude represented by L 95 referring to giving away your money without looking for interest income.
The freedom of knocking and being let in of L 94 is amplified in L 95 down to a personal level in the experience of feeling the freedom of the spirit enough that you can just give your money away. This expansive spirit is, then, expressed in L 47 in the examples of the new patch tearing the old garment or new wine expanding old wineskins and in L 96: The Father's Kingdom is like a woman who "took a little leaven, (hid) it in dough, and made it into large loaves of bread".
47) Jesus said, "It is impossible for a man to mount two horses
or to stretch two bows. And it is impossible for a servant to
serve two masters; otherwise he will honor the one and treat the
other contemptuously. No man drinks old wine and immediately
desires to drink new wine. And new wine is not put into old
wineskins, lest they burst; nor is old wine put into a new
wineskin, lest it spoil it. An old patch is not sewn onto a new
garment, because a tear would result."
96) Jesus [said], "The Kingdom of the Father is like a certain
woman. She took a little leaven, [concealed] it in some dough,
and made it into large loaves. Let him who has ears hear."
Cycle 47 describes the expansive nature of the higher self which cannot be contained in the old wineskins of L 47 and is expansive as yeast in dough in L 96. This expansive quality of the spirit explains the two difficult sayings in Cycle 46 about just being a good person like the great John the Baptist isn’t good enough in the one and that you should be able to just give away your money in the other.
To explain L 47, L 48 tries to harmonize the dichotomy or division implicit in "a person cannot mount two horses or bend two bows. And a slave cannot serve two masters" by a saying of unity: "If two make peace with each other in a single house, they will say to the mountain, 'Move from here!' and it will move."
L 48 is actually a doublet. L 106 makes the meaning of L 48 clear: "When you make the two into one, you will become children of Adam, and when you say, 'Mountain, move from here!" it will move. L 106 makes clear that L 48 is talking about harmonizing the higher self with the lower self or ego. When you do this you become a 'son of Adam' or ‘son’ of your higher self. When you are in your higher self or image of God then you are outside the time stream. From this perspective you can see mountains rise and fall in different epics.
L 97 in explaining L 96 has a similar higher and lower self dichotomy set in parable form. Only, in this one, the cracked jar cannot contain the meal which has leaked out behind the woman. This expresses the expansive nature of the meal of the higher self as well as the limitations of the human self this time rather than organizational or conceptual forms as in the John the Baptist saying(s).
48) Jesus said, "If two make peace with each other in this one
house, they will say to the mountain, 'Move Away,' and it will
97) Jesus said, "The Kingdom of the [Father] is like a certain
woman who was carrying a jar full of meal. While she was walking
[on] a road, still some distance from home, the handle of the jar
broke and the meal emptied out behind her on the road. She did
not realize it; she had noticed no accident. When she reached her
house, she set the jar down and found it empty."
Cycle 48 discusses the importance for the lower self of making peace with the higher self since the lower self is a ‘cracked pot’ by comparison.
L 48 discusses the higher self/ image of God which is outside the time stream so that mountains appear to be rising and falling and how, at that point, the lower self is seen to be an empty shell which houses only the divine energy. This is explanatory of L 47 talking about the “two horses” and “two bows”, etc. referring to the higher and lower selves and the leaven of the higher self in the dough of the lower in L 96.
L 48 is a doublet with L 106 so that "two in one house" is seen to be the same as "make the two into one" who "will become children of Adam" or children of the higher self so that they will be able to say "Mountain, move from here! it will move"--meaning that being outside the time stream they can visit different epics of the mountain's history.
L 49 defines what this means in religious terms: "Blessed are those who are alone and chosen, for you will find the Kingdom. For you have come from it, and you will return there again." You don't come into the realization of your higher self as a "Chosen People" but only individually. being "alone" (or ‘all one’) means not having other attachments that prevent this unity with the higher self. L 49 also affirms the reality of the soul being outside the time stream: "you have come from it, and you will return there again".
L 97 uses traditional imagery in depicting the soul as feminine who discovers her lower self is defective in not being able to contain all of her divine energy. The energy spilling out behind her in the "distant road" reflects all the different lower self lifetimes she has spent her energy on as opposed to just the leaven in the dough of one lifetime in L 96
In explaining L 97 we run into a new and oddly interesting parable in L 98: "The Father's Kingdom is like a person who wanted to kill someone powerful. While still at home he drew his sword and thrust it into the wall to find out whether his hand would go in. Then he slew the powerful one." This is obviously a parable and not just good revolutionary advice!--in tune with the rest of Thomas being symbolical, metaphorical, and parabolic. The "powerful one" is the lower ego which the higher self practices to slay within the confines of his/her consciousness. This 'powerful one' is the 'cracked pot' of L 97 and the old wineskins of L 47.
49) Jesus said, "Blessed are the solitary and elect, for you
will find the Kingdom. For you are from it, and to it you will
98) Jesus said, "The Kingdom of the Father is like a certain man
who wanted to kill a powerful man. In his own house he drew his
sword and stuck it into the wall in order to find out whether his
hand could carry through. Then he slew the powerful man."
Cycle 49 as the last cycle summarizes the process of entering the Kingdom by suggesting it is an individual process marked by overcoming the distractions and attachments of the lower self by the spirit. L 49 could be considered the hidden title or summary of Thomas and L 98 the hidden essence of the summary of Thomas.
L 49 makes clear that the “if two make peace with each other in this one house” in L 48 refers to just one person and must refer to the higher and lower selves—one of which can see mountains rise and fall being outside our normal space/time.
L 49, though a bit obscure, makes some key points. The salvific process of the 'Chosen People' is an individual one: "alone and chosen". Secondly, "you have come from it, and you will return there again" gives no sense that you only pre-existed theoretically in the 'eye of God' but that you participated in coming to earth. There is also no sense of possible failure but a natural process.
To explain L 49 we have come roundabout to the wonderful ascent story of L 50 which we covered in Cycle 1:
"Jesus said: 'If they say to you, "Where have you come from?" say to
them, "We have come from the light, from the place where the light
came into being by itself, established (itself), and appeared in their
image." If they say to you, "Is it you?" say, "We are its children, and
we are the chosen of the Living Father." If they ask you, "What is
the evidence of your Father in you?" say to them, "It is motion and
Right away we can see that "you have come from it, and you will return to it" in L 49 refers to the "we have come from the light" in L 50 where we are characterized as its "children".
Again, "we are the chosen of the Living Father" reprises "alone and chosen" of L 49.
"Motion and rest" in L 50 could bear a relationship in L 49 to "chosen" as the movement of the spirit who chooses and "alone" can relate to "rest".
Rather than the traditional Middle Eastern ascent stories where one needs a secret password to pass through the lower regions of the interrogators or archons to make the higher regions, Jesus teaches them they only need to remember their divine source which is their natural home and that they are children of that light who reside entirely in the movement and peace of the Holy Spirit. This is what is meant in being "alone and chosen".
To further understand the ascent process, itself, we can go to L 98 which is a new and interesting parable representing the spiritual process of a person who wants to overcome their lower self or ego: "a person who wants to kill someone powerful". So, the person practiced in their consciousness with the sword of the spirit: "While still at home he drew his sword and thrust it into the wall". As he/she practiced with the spirit enough confidence was gained in Divine Providence and Guidance that the person was able to go out into the world and "kill the powerful one" of the lower self's concerns.
The early Christian work having many parallels to the Gospel of Thomas called Dialogue of the Savior also seems to make this connection between spirit and sword (at least for the translator, Stephen Emmel): “(99) Judas said, ‘How is the (spirit) apparent?’ (100)The Lord said, ‘How (is) the sword (apparent)?’” (p254)
To see what L 98 especially means for Thomas we can go to L 99 and find "Those here who do what my Father wants are my brothers and my mother". This sense of de-personalization by following one’s inner guidance in realizing one's true identity in the light is the essence of L 98, the "alone" (or ‘all one’) of L 50, and the "rest" of L 51.
Logion 49 represents the true summary of the Gospel of Thomas as the last Cycle and as such represents the true, hidden subtitle to the Gospel of Thomas.
L 98, which is 49 sayings later than L 49, represents the inner essence of what L 49 means.
1. Robert Eisenman, The New Testament Code, pp. 108-109
2. Ibid., pp. 207-208
3. Robert Winterhalter, The Fifth Gospel, p. 106
4. Whitley Strieber, The Key, p. 63
5. April DeConick, The Original Gospel of Thomas, p. 67
6. Eisenman, p. 116
7. Robinson, p. 150
8. Whitley Strieber, The Key, p. 51