The Gnostic Testament

The content of the New Testament is undoubtedly parallel to Gnostic teaching. And, although many may categorize Gnosticism in an odd and limiting sort of manner, the literature itself sets its own standard as to what Gnosticism even means. Several examples can be listed.

Along with the Infancy Gospel (1:6 [John 9:6]; 2:12 [Rev 2:23]; 3:3-6 [Luke 2:45-52]) and the Gospel of Thomas (1:3 [Luke 17:21]),1 you have texts like The Revelation of Peter, which contain emphatic Gnostic doctrine. In this writing, the one who is crucified is not the living Jesus, but rather, "a substitute for him" (81,3-82,3). Moreover, in The Second Discourse of Great Seth (55, 9-56, 20), Christ says that it was not him who "drank the gall and the vinegar." He also says: "someone else, Simon, bore the cross on his shoulder. Someone else wore the crown of thorns." He says "They nailed their man to their death." Compare this to the Bible:
Matthew 27:32-35 Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted [it,] He would not drink. Then they crucified Him
Here, we have evidence in the passage that contextually, "Simon" is the one who "they crucified". He is also the one who was given the gall, but according to the Discourse of Great Seth, it was "their father" who it was given to (cf. Mark 15:21). Compare this with "the devil" in John 8:44. Simon (of Cyrene) would then be the devil who was given the drink (Matthew 27:32-35) in this view.2

Moreover, this is consistent with the Docetic view that Jesus did not have a human body, but rather, a celestial one. In other words, like 1 Corinthians 15:39-53 teaches. As Philippians 2:7 also describes Jesus "coming in the likeness of men," and this implies that he came not as a man, but rather in the likeness of men, for that is the parallel implication of the wording in Romans 8:3, "by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh." That is, not in sinful flesh (Hebrews 4:15), but in the likeness of sinful flesh, and so it is with "likeness of men" (i.e. not a man). So what of the passages calling Christ a man (e.g. 1 Timothy 2:5)? This "man" is a celestial concept (1 Corinthians 15:47-49), and not an earthly man. The "flesh" of Christ (1 John 4:3; 2 John 7) is celestial flesh (1 Cor 15:39-40). The Christian notion of the "two natures" of Christ is simply not Biblical. The New Testament rather presents Docetism.

Moreover, characters such as Peter, Paul, James, Jesus (so on and so forth) are depicted in both the New Testament writings, as well as the non-canonical texts. Yet, considering the consistency in doctrines, there really is no need of distinction (as many may result to). These writings may all be viewed as one body in other words, and there is nothing Biblically demanding otherwise (contrary to what Christians may assert). The Bible doesn't teach the 27 books of the New Testament. In fact, Codex Sinaiticus contains The Epistle of Barnabas, which is emphatically Gnostic in its teaching (e.g. Barnabas 1:5 "gnosis").Nevertheless, the Christians reject this epistle contained in the Bible (Sinaiticus).

Lastly, as should be obvious, the "rejection of the Old Testament" Gnostic theme (commonly understood) is the central core of the New Covenant (see Leviticus 11; 2 Timothy 4:4; Mark 7:18-19; Romans 10:4; 2 Corinthians 3:6-7; Colossians 2:14-16). The OT and NT are indeed against one another (Luke 11:17), yet at given times also share a common ground (e.g. Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13). Yet when you understand the occult notion of the equilibrium of opposites, such a thing is simply harmonious. The New Testament clearly speaks of esoteric knowledge in the context of salvation (Mark 4:11-12; cf. Luke 1:77; John 17:3).

[Also see the accompanying video: Gnosticism]


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Endnote:

1. In The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, edited by Marvin Meyer, it says: "Further, although the Gospel of Thomas has some features in common with Gnostic texts, it is not easily classified as a Gnostic work without considerable qualification" (p. 133). Yet, there is no reason to muddy the waters to such a level here. Read the text for yourself, it appears emphatically Gnostic in its content. The problem comes down to the way certain "scholars" even categorize Gnosticism; when you understand the specific motifs and contexts depicted however, such a category becomes quite clear, and less of a complication (as Meyer puts it).

2. What about the "Jesus" on the cross who dies (e.g. Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46)? Given the context of Matthew 27:32-35, Simon being the one whom they crucified, this "Jesus" can be understood as Simon; the Biblical languages do not read as the English does (i.e. with quotations). For instance, the false prophets in Ezekiel 13:9 are called prophets, but the context lets us know they are false prophets. That is, they are "prophets." So it can be argued with Jesus; the "Jesus" on the cross is a false Jesus (Simon of Cyrene) simply called Jesus in the narrative. Note also how Joseph is called Jesus' father (e.g. Luke 2:48), but was not his actual father (Luke 3:23; Matthew 1:18, 23-25). The Bible speaks in this manner.

3. Some may dispute over the Gnostic nature of this epistle, yet offer no substance in their argumentation. For instance, William H. Shea claims that the knowledge (gnosis) spoken of in this work "stands in sharp contrast with the Gnostic idea of salvation through esoteric knowledge" (The Sabbath in the Epistle of Barnabas). Yet, the text itself shows no such thing. This is simply an assumptive assertion.


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