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On the Mysteries

  1. In Search of an Unknown God
  2. Lost Wisdom of the Ancient Teachers
  3. Exoteric Interpretation of Genesis Chapter One
  4. Emanations, and Unfallen Angels
  5. Sophia
  6. The Woman Who Hid Yeast
  7. Why all the Secrecy?
  8. The Powers of the Pneumatic Man
  9. The Paulicans

THE WOMAN WHO HID YEAST

"Let no man defraud you of your reward, through a voluntary humility and worship of angels, (which one sees when crossing the threshold) - [by a man], who has not seen them but is puffed up by his carnal mind." - Col. 2:18

At Christmas time, our attention is usually captured by nativity scenes, depicting Joseph and Mary and the infant Jesus but there is something about the birth of Jesus, which we tend to forget, that the early Christians put a high value on. And that is what the Angel said to

the Virgin Mary about how the child would be conceived. He spoke of two different Powers coming to her, to help her conceive the child. What he said was, "The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and the Power of the Most High shall overshadow you. Consequently, your offspring shall be called the Son of God."1

The first Power to come upon her - the Holy Spirit - is generally considered to be feminine in nature, while the Most High is usually viewed as a masculine Power. This is just like the female Shekinah glory which visited the throne room in the Hebrew tabernacle, every year. She

was considered to be the companion to Yahweh. In this article, we shall be investigating some of the most cherished secret teachings of the early Christians. I fear that what I am about to reveal in this article will come as a shock to some of my readers, who like to talk about the

‘simple old-time gospel’. The fact of the matter is, as we shall see, the Gospel was not so simple but in fact very rich, for those who had eyes to see with. We shall investigate some of the Apostle Paul’s Wisdom teachings, but we must first, begin with the parable of Jesus’ about:

THE WOMAN WHO HID LEAVEN IN THREE MEASURES OF MEAL

"He spoke another parable to them, saying, ‘The Kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a Woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole became leavened."2 For us to understand this parable, we need to see the ‘leaven’ in the same light as the ‘pearl’ in another

parable. "Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant, who sought costly pearls - who, when he had found one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had to buy it." 3 Both the leaven and the pearl are ‘hidden’- the leaven in the meal and the pearl in the oyster.

It seems to me that these parables of Jesus , speak of the Mysteries which he revealed to his disciples in very plain language, after his resurrection. For instance, the parable about the woman refers to Greater Sophia, who tricked the Demiurge, who had just created man,

into blowing part of his own Spirit into the body of the newly formed man. Realizing that her son, the Demiurge would be jealous, when he saw how smart Adam really was, she also hid a generating spirit in Adam, so that he might awaken his full powers. This is what St. John

refers to in the opening of his gospel. She is called Life (the Mother of all living). Listen to what John says: "In the beginning was the Word (Logos) and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the begining with God. All things were made by him; and without

him, there was nothing made, that was made. In Him was Life (Zoe) and this Life was the Light in men. The Light shined in the Darkness but the Darkness was unable to seize it."4 Again, we see two Powers: the Word and the Life. One masculine, the other feminine.

THE PARABLE ABOUT THE LABORERS & THE HOURS

There is another interesting parable which Jesus told to illustrate what he meant about the first being last and the last becoming first.5 He told of a householder, who went out very early, to hire laborers for his vineyard. That was the 1st Hour. Then he went out again at the 3rd Hour

and hired more. Then he went out again at the 6th and 7th Hours to hire more laborers. Finally, he went out at the 11th hour and hired still more. These last ones, worked for one hour and were paid the same as those who had worked all day. Now, we have all heard various sermons, which

tried to justify the silly notion that an employer would pay someone who worked one hour the same as he paid another, who had worked all day. But there is something more to this story.

The early Christian believed that these hours, when added up, came to a total of 30 and that they represented God and the Emanations which came forth from Him. I shall try to review these Emanations briefly. From the unknowable Father/Mother came forth a Son. Of him, it is

written: "God ... has in these last days spoken to us through his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things - by whom also, he made the Aeons. Who being His effulgent Glory and the express Image of his person, upholds all things by the Word of his power."6

Now, both the Son and the Father were understood to be both masculine and feminine. Consequently the Father is called Depth (which is masculine) and Silence (which is a feminine form). The Son was called Mind (Masculine) and Truth (Feminine). Jesus called himself

‘Truth’ and ‘Life’.7 Actually, Life was part of the first pair to emanate from the Son called Word & Life, which we have already seen. The second pair to emanate from the Son was Humanity (male) and Church (female). Irenaeus and Theodotus both referred to this pair in their writings.8

From Word & Life emanate ten other Aeons, which are paired as follows:

MALE FEMALE

Deep Mingling

Unaging Union

Self-Begotten Pleasure

Immovable Mixture

Only-Begotten Blessed (Unity)

All of these are necessary for the work of creation. From the pairing of Humanity and Church come twelve Virtues.

MALE FEMALE

Consoler Faith

Paternal Hope

Maternal Love

Ever-flowing Understanding

Ecclesiastical Blessedness

Ordained Wisdom (Lesser Sophia)

So, we have the original Eight Aeons, plus Ten, plus Twelve, making Thirty in all, Sophia being the last of the Twelve. Now, whereas the Greater Sophia (Wisdom) dwelt with the Most High, it was her daughter, so to speak, who left her realm to pursue an illusion in a lower

region. She became deceived by her own emanation (son) called Ialdabaoth (son of shame) and lost much of her light to him, through his ruses. It was she, who needed her consort to come down and deliver her, back to her original Aeon. After her many repentance's, her consort

(Christ) came to her and carried her back to her original Aeon, in the Pleroma (Greek for ‘fullness’).

SOPHIA THE LOST SHEEP - LOVED MORE THAN THE OTHERS

In one of his parables, Jesus tells of the love a shepherd had for one of his sheep: "The Kingdom is like a shepherd, who had a hundred sheep. When the largest one went astray, he left the ninety and nine to look for it. He looked for it until he found it. Even though he had gone to such trouble, he said to the sheep, I love you more than the ninety and

nine."9 Luke adds to this account, "And when he arrives home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, and says to them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you that likewise, there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than the

ninety and nine just persons, who need no repentance."10 If we will remember that there is none righteous in His sight, for we have all sinned and come short of the divine glory, we will realize that the ninety and nine here referred to, are probably not humans but angelic powers. We

will see the reason for the joy of the angels over the repentance of a sinner very shortly, when we examine the secret Christian Love Feast and the Bridal Chamber.

THREE KINDS OF HUMANS

In other issues of this newsletter, we have looked at the confusion which exists around the study of Psychology, due to the fact that there are currently some three hundred varieties of Psychology (so called). The early Christians certainly had their own form of Psychology, which

produced some rather remarkable men and women. I hate to say this but I do not believe that our present form of Christianity, with its watered down version of what Christ taught, is capable of producing the strong men and women, which we saw in the first few hundred years of

the Christian Era. We need to look into what they believed and practiced, a little further. Jesus said, "Blessed are your Eyes, for they see and your Ears, for they hear; For Truly I say to you, that many righteous men have desired to see those things which you see but did not see them

and to hear those thing which you hear but were not able to hear them."11 "Because it is given unto you, to know the Mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven, but to them, it is not."12 "I shall reveal unto you things kept secret since the foundation of the earth."13

It seems to me that either Jesus was the biggest bragger in the history of the world, or maybe he did reveal some very important principles to them. Earlier this year, I wrote two newsletters dealing with the three divisions of mankind that Jesus spoke of. They were the Hylic, the

Psychic and the Pneumatic. The Hylics (this word means ‘materialist’) are represented by the "Seed which fell beside the path". They follow their carnal appetites. These appetites are the instinctive urges sown in us by the Demiurge, for gratification and self preservation; in other words

the Tares in the Field. They cannot reproduce themselves (the carnal part of us cannot be saved in any event) and their end is to be "consumed by the birds".14 In other words they will not be reincarnated again, but will be carried off by demons (birds) and cast into the Outer Darkness, where they will cease to exist.

It is interesting to note, speaking of the ‘dust of the earth’ that man is made from, that when the Greek translators of the Septuagint translated this word, they used the Greek word chous, which is rendered as ‘carnal’ in English!

The Psychics are represented by the ‘Seed which fell among the rocks and thorns’. They spring up, but because "they have no depth of soil" (they have not been initiated into the higher Knowledge of God) therefore, they are easily ‘scorched by the Sun’ (persecution) and

‘choked by thorns’ (the cares of life). Their religion is skin deep or ‘exoteric’ only. After death, they will be carried to the Aeon of the Demiurge to dwell with him and his angels, to await the final Consummation.

The Pneumatic is represented by the Seed which fell upon ‘prepared soil’. It, therefore springs forth and produces much fruit. This seed represents that part of us, which can be awakened, if we kill our irrational appetites - the weeds - and listen to the Voice. Our true Self will awaken and ascend to heaven, as if on wings of an eagle. It will receive a ‘wedding garment’ and enter the Pleroma, where it will enjoy the Bridal Chamber.

THE FOUR ELEMENTS IN MAN & THE ZODIAC

Have you ever wondered why the Signs of the Zodiac are divided into four elements - Earth, Air, Fire and Water? I believe the answer lies in something Jesus said. "Since the day on which Jesus was explaining these things to his disciples was a Friday, he said to them, It was on this

day that God created man. Let me show you God’s goodness, mercy and omnipotence. On that day, God took four things completely contrary to each other and united them in one object - man. He took earth, air, fire and water and united them so that each element tempered its opposite. These four elements became the garment which is the body.

. . . Into this garment of flesh, he placed the soul and the senses like two hands. He gave every part of the body to the senses for a residence; the senses are diffused through it like oil. Then He placed the soul among these that it might rule all the others."15 "The soul and the spirit came

into being from water and fire, and it is through water and fire that everything is purified - the visible by the visible element; the invisible by the invisible elements. There are things hidden by the visible things. For instance, there is water within water and there is a fire in the Anointing. It is through water and fire and light that the son of the Bridal Chamber comes into being."16

HOW MAN BECAME DIVIDED

The followers of Plato and many of the early Christians believed that man had originally been created as a being half male and half female. These two parts of man were separated from each other, before being cast into bodies. They then went through life, sometimes through several incarnations, seeking for their other half. The Christians more or less,

came to the same conclusion from the passage which reads: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . So God created man in his own image - in the Image of God he created them male/female."17 But Jesus it seems, taught that one half of us did not

descend into incarnation but remained in its original angelic condition, so as to try to help the other half that did descent into a body. He is quoted as saying, "Adam came into being from a great power and great wealth, but he did not prove worthy of you. Because, if he had been worthy, he would not have died.18.

"When Eve was still in Adam, death did not exist. When she became separated from him, death came into existence. Should Adam become united again and attain his former self, death will be no more." 19

Many early Christians believed that the other half of us - the part that we long to find in a mate somewhere - is, in reality, the angel part of us that never descended into ‘coats of flesh’. That angelic being serves us and longs to see us return to the Pleroma (the Fullness), because,

without us, they cannot themselves ascend back to the Pleroma. They are sent forth as ‘ministering spirits to those who shall be heirs of salvation’. This explains their joy, when a sinner repents and receives his wedding garment. It can then be said of them, that they are ‘elect angels’.

THE WEDDING GARMENT

"The Kingdom of heaven is like a certain King, who made a wedding feast for his son . . . And when the King came in to see the guests, he saw a man there, with no wedding garment on. He asked him, Friend, how did you get in here, without a wedding garment? The man was

speechless. The King then ordered his servants to bind the man hand and foot and cast him into the Outer Darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth."20

In another parable about a marriage feast, Jesus speaks of closing and bolting the door, so that five virgins, who had wanted to attend could not do so. When he locks the door with the Key of David, no man can open it.21

The practice of closing and locking the doors, after the sermon and driving out the catechumens and non-initiated, so that they could not see or hear anything pertaining to the Mysteries, was a common practice of the early Christians, as the Apostolic Constitutions clearly reveal. This

practice was carried on until well into the 4th Century until we see Athanasius condemning the Arians for reproducing the Mysteries before catechumens and pagans. Epiphanus makes the same charge against the followers of Marcion.22

The Love (agape) feast, was followed by the sacred Dance which Jesus taught his disciples on the night he was betrayed by Judas Iscarot (See the Acts of John).

WORSHIPING ANGELS ? ?

Now, this brings us to the interesting question, spoken of by St. Paul in his letter to the Colossians. With everything I’ve covered so far, in mind, let us examine the problem as found in the opening verse of this article. In the first part of his letter Paul writes to them, saying, "For this cause, we also, since the day we heard (about your love) do not cease to

pray for you and to desire that you may be filled with the Knowledge of his will in all Wisdom and spiritual Understanding."23 The word ‘knowledge’ here, is from the Greek word epignosis (epignosis), which is derived from the word gnosis, (which is not a cough syrup). He is not talking about head knowledge here. I think I would have to render this word to mean ‘experiential knowledge’.

The beginning of the 2nd chapter starts out, "I want you to know what great conflict I have for you and those living in Laodicea and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love and attaining to all riches of the

full assurance of Understanding to the Knowledge (epignosin) of the Mystery (mysterion) of God, both of the Father and of Christ, In whom are hidden all the treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge (gnoseos)."-NKJV

Far from discrediting the ‘Gnostics’, so-called, Paul was the greatest one, next to Jesus. The word ‘hidden’ here is the Greek word apokruphoi which literally means ‘a hidden secret’.

Then he begins to warm up to his subject, saying, "Let no man therefore judge you in food or drink, or in respect to holy days or new moons or sabbaths - which are a shadow of things to come - but be subject to the Body of Christ (the Church)."24

It appears that certain Judaising brethren from Jerusalem were urging the Christians to "fast twice on the Sabbath"25 as they were doing, advising them to "touch not, (women?) taste not ( wine?) and handle not (flesh)?". In a writing, written by one, who considered Paul to be a ‘false-apostle’, we find this quotation: "He commanded us to celebrate

sacrifices and services, and that it should not be thoughtlessly and disorderly, but at fixed times and hours . . . So then, those who offer their oblations at the appointed seasons are acceptable and blessed, for they who follow the laws of their Master do not sin."26

Or, it may be that these persons Paul saw as corrupting the church at Colossie were followers of Marcion, a teacher of extreme asceticism. Such forms of asceticism were hardly in keeping with the feast conducted during the Love (Agape) Feast.

Origen, in his writings, shows us that the Churches in various places observed the Lord’s Day (Sunday), Passover and Pentecost. John Chrysostom, wishing to root out Jewish festivals from the Church, wrote, "Others will join the Jews in keeping their feasts and observing their fasts. I wish to drive this perverse custom from the Church right now!"27

Finally, Paul comes to the heart of what he wishes to say, about those who were worshiping angels. Here, I shall quote from the Authorized version, "Let no man beguile you of your reward, through a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things, which he has not seen."28 The word ‘intruding’ here is embateuon

(embateuon). Friberg’s Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament, notes concerning this word, "A second century inscription leads some to see it as a religious technical expression for the second step of an initiate into a Mystery religion, as he entered an inner sanctuary." And Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament

says this word (embateuon) "is used inversely to signify the action of those who have just received the Mysteries."29 In other places, I have rendered this as "advancing beyond the threshold". It specifically refers to those who ascended during the sacred rites. No initiated Christian would worship angels, which he saw there, for they knew better.

In my book Forbidden Truths Revealed, I cover in thorough detail the names of the Principalities and Powers, which they encountered along the way as they ascended through the various heavens. But those who are being worshiped here, by the ignorant Colossians, were the ‘elemental spirits of the world’ - the Principalities and Powers which the Greeks and Romans made statues of, calling them gods.30

In Verse 8, Paul wrote, "Beware, lest any man beguile you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, concerning the elementary spirits of the world and not after Christ." So, we are not dealing with the angels, which attended the Christians in the Bridal Chamber or the Sacred Dance, but demonic powers that ruled mankind.

The word ‘philosophy’ literally means ‘love of Wisdom’. So, when the Christians were taught that evil actually started after the fall of Sophia, the Lesser and not in the Garden of Eden, they recognized this as a subtle jab at the Greek philosophers, who sought to know God through intellectual reasoning alone. The Christians were taught that the true Knowledge of God was brought down to mankind by the Savior from the highest heaven.

In verse 9, Paul says, "For in him (Christ) dwells the entire Fullness (Pleroma) - [containing all the Emanations] of the Godhead and you are complete in him, who is the Sovereign over all Principalities and Powers."

May God bless you, Jeffrey Brackeen

NOTES

1. Luke 1:35

2. Matt. 13:33

3. Matt. 13:45

4. John 1:1-5

5. Matt. 19:30 - 20:16

6. Heb. 1:1-3

7. John 14:6

8. Irenaeus 1:8;5, Excerpts of Theodotus 6:1-3 Also, Epiphanius Panarion 5:9; Hippolytus Refutatio 30:1 & Valentinius Exposition 30:16-19

9. A quotation from Gospel of Thomas, as found in the Complete Gospel of Jesus Christ, Chap. 7, verses 213-215, Edited and Compliled by Jeffrey Brackeen

10. Luke 15:6,7

11. Matt. 13: 16, 17

12. Matt. 13:11

14. Matt. 13:4

15. Gospel of Barnabas, as found in the Complete Gospel of Jesus, Chap. 8:15-22

16. Gospel of Philip, Ibid, Chap.8:25-27

17. Gen. 1:26, 27

18 Gospel of Thomas, as found in the Complete Gospel of Jesus Christ, Chap.8, Verse 123

19. Gospel of Philip, Ibid, Chap.8, Verses 124-125

20. Matt. 22:2, 11-13

21. Matt. 25:10; Rev. 3:8

22. Pp 3, 4, 31, Hidden Wisdom, Guy G. Stroumsa (1996)

23. Col. 1:9;

24. Col. 2:16, 17

25. Luke 18:12

26. I Clementine 40:2, 4

27. Discourses against Judaizing Christians, John Chrysostom

28. Col. 2:18

29. Vol. II, p 535

30. See Gal. 4:3,9, Col. 2:8, 20


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