Law of Moses

Law of Moses and God

“The law ordained through Moses … has not been understood by many persons. … I think that this will be perfectly clear to you when you have learned the contradictory opinions about it. Some say that it is legislation given by God the father of all; others, taking the contrary course, maintain stubbornly that it was ordained by the opposite, the devil who causes destruction, just as they attribute the fashioning of the world to him, saying that he is the father and maker of this universe. Both are in error; they refute each other, and neither has reached the truth of the matter. For it is evident that the law was not ordained by the perfect god the father, for it is secondary, being imperfect and in need of completion by another, containing commandments alien to the nature and thought of such a God. On the other hand, one cannot impute the law to the injustice of the adversary, for it is opposed to injustice. … Only unintelligent people have this idea, people who do not recognize the providence of the creator and have blinded not only the eye of the soul but also the eye of the body. From what has been said, it is evident that these persons entirely miss the truth; each of the two groups has experienced this, the first because they do not know the God of justice, the second because they do not know the Father of all, who was revealed by him alone who came and who knew him. It remains for us who have been counted worthy of the knowledge of both of these to provide you with an accurate explanation of the nature of the law and of the legislator by whom it was ordained. …

“First, you must learn that the entire law contained in the Pentateuch of Moses was not ordained by one legislator, I mean, not by God alone; some commandments are Moses’, and some were given by men. The words of the savior teach us this triple division.” ~Ptolemy

Law of Moses

What Ptolemy is saying in his lengthy and convoluted way is that we can’t just assume that all of what is called the Law of Moses is the Law of God. In other words, we can’t say that God was the source of all of it. Ptolemy says some are the words ( or opinions) of Moses and some the ideas of other men. This doesn’t even account for what gets lost from translations into another language, then translating that into another language, and so on until what comes down to us has been through four or five translations. Those who would argue that it is the Word of God, therefore God Himself makes sure it is always translated correctly fail to recognize that there are dozens of different versions of the Bible, each a little different. And even if it were true that all of the Law of Moses was inspired by God, many people would still not understand its true meaning. Continue reading “Law of Moses and God”

John the baptist

John the Baptist and His Odd Habits

“Without laying stress on the details of the story of John’s infancy as given in the third gospel, reminiscent as they may be of the Old Testament birth-stories of the old-time national heroes Isaac, Samson and Samuel, not to mention the coincidence that the two heroines of the gospel birth-narratives bear the names of Miriam and Elisheba, the sister and wife respectively of Aaron, the first priest, we may very reasonably believe, as it is stated, that John was of priestly descent; and therefore in every probability he was well versed, if not highly trained, in the scriptures. Vowed from his birth to God by his parents, his strange dress and peculiar ascetic mode of life are quite in keeping with prophetical traditions, and thus of the schools of the prophets. But in keeping with the spiritual significance of his whole teaching, which will be more fully brought out in the sequel, such an outer sign in high probability had an inner meaning for this great proclaimer of repentance, of the turning back of Israel in contrition unto God. Now there were certain Palestinian pre-Christian allegorists or exponents of the scriptures on quasi-mystical lines called Dorshē Reshumōth. According to a Rabbinic legend, going back along this line of interpretation, the ancient myth of Gen. 3:21 was conceived more spiritually. After the fall, the first falling away from God, Yahveh-Elohīm clothed Adam and Eve in coats of skin, not because of their nakedness, but in exchange for their lost paradisaical garments of light.” ~”Gnostic John 
the Baptizer: Selections from the
 Mandæan John-Book” by G. R. S. Mead

John The Baptist

It is strange that John the Baptist is treated by many Christians as a superficial character in the story. Most know him as nothing more than the one who baptized Jesus. But John wasn’t just a typical wandering priest unaffiliated with any church or religious organization. Others may remember that he was a strong supporter and defender of Jesus and his teachings and was eventually put to death for it. Still, when they talk of the great figures of the Bible, John the Baptist is probably not in the top five.

Mead says that John was of priestly descent and probably well versed in scripture. John was, in fact, a Rabbi of the Essene sect, just as was Jesus and his family. While there were many wandering priests and preachers in those days, few achieved the following of John and Jesus. Some people are able to recognize truth and holiness when they see it and hear it. Those people listened to these holy men.

The Strange Habits of John the Baptist

One of the best known of the strange habits of John was his food. It is said he lived on honey and locusts. A strange diet for sure. But is that really what he ate, and the only things he ate? Probably not. While it is true that the highly trained and experienced members of Essene communities ate little, when they did eat, it was simple food like bread, herbs, and wine or water. There is no mention that I am aware of Essenes eating locusts or any other insects. So why does the Bible say that John did? There are two possibilities. One is that this claim was made my an enemy to put him down as a crazy person to be ignored. Another is that it was symbolic, not literal.

The locust or grasshopper generally symbolizes a leap forward. When dealing with spiritual people, it likely means a leap forward in faith and beliefs. So John “eating” locusts meant that he had had a leap forward, a spiritual awakening. This made him a worthy preacher and teacher, a proper forerunner and defender of Jesus and the true teachings that have largely been lost or abandoned by the popular churches of today.

Honey is a symbol of heavenly bliss, therefore also represents a spiritual awakening. More specifically, honey does not rot. It lasts virtually forever. And coating outer things in honey can preserve them for a long time. It therefore also represents immortality.

So when it is said that John the Baptist “ate” honey and locusts, it means that he has taken that leap forward, has awakened his spirit and soul, and has become a true immortal. Immortality is never a thing of the material body, but one of the spirit and soul. But we don’t truly become immortal as individuals until we awaken the soul, which is to say, making it conscious by filling it with Divine Light from the spiritual sun.

The Even Stranger Clothing of John the Baptist

It is said in the Bible that John the Baptist was clothed in skin just as Adam and Eve were after they fell from the Garden of Eden. Mead gets it partially correct when he says that this was not to hide their nakedness, but because they had lost their divine garments of light. He takes it too literally, though, in believing that this means that Adam and Eve wrapped themselves in the hides of dead animals. Even more, he gets it wrong when he accepts that John the Baptist did the same in memory of that event.

Again, we are dealing with allegory, symbolism. Adam and Eve were not wearing the skins of animals. They were wearing their own skins, skins and bodies of dense matter. This they didn’t have before the fall. In the garden of Eden, they had bodies of spirit and light, not matter. After the fall, their true self was hidden in a garment (cage?) of flesh so they could function in a world of matter. T was the recognition of this fact that had Adam and Eve trying to cover and hide themselves. They wanted to hide their bodies of matter, not specific organs.

So when it says that John also clothed himself in skin in memory of Adam and Eve, it means that he was a spiritual being, perhaps an angel, who “fell” down to the dimension of matter where he had to take on a body of matter in order to function. What he wore on that body is not relevant. It is the body itself that is being discussed when it says he wore skins.

inner principle

Inner Principle of Scripture and Man

“So long as we only see the Logos of God as embodied multiriously in symbols in the letter of Holy Scripture, we have not yet achieved spiritual insight into the incorporeal, simple, single and unique Father as he exists in the incorporeal, simple, single and unique Son, according to the saying, ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father …’. We need much knowledge so that, having first penetrated the veils of the sayings which cover the Logos, we may with a naked intellect see—in so far as men can—the pure Logos, as He exists in Himself, clearly showing us the Father in Himself. Hence a person who seeks God with true devotion should not be dominated by the literal text, lest he unwillingly receives not God but things appertaining to God, that is, lest he feel a dangerous affection for the words of scripture instead of for the Logos. …

“It is by means of the more lofty conceptual images that the inner principle of Holy Scripture can be stripped gradually of the complex garment of words with which it is physically draped. Then to the visionary intellect … it reveals itself as through the sound of a delicate breeze.” ~St. Nikodimos

Only Letters

St. Nikodomos, writing in the Philokalia, is telling us that trying to truly understand scripture by a literal interpretation of the words and symbols found there is not going to awaken our spiritual self. And it doesn’t matter what scripture you are looking at. The Bible, the Upanishads, the Koran, etc. all have hidden meanings, all are full of allegory. To try to understand them with literal interpretations produces an understanding that is not only false and incomplete but is often nearly the opposite of the true meaning.

What is really sad is that so many young people today, particularly the “Spiritual but not religious (SBNR)” crowd, reject all scripture outright because they recognize that a literal interpretation produces nonsense. It seems beyond their abilities to understand that these holy books were never intended to be literal. Of course, it is also true that many of these people have never actually read scripture, or have read only the scripture of one religion. They simply take the word of someone else that they are meaningless and irrelevant to those seeking spiritual enlightenment. In actual fact, there is much useful information in all of the world’s holy books, if you can understand the allegory used.

He Who Sees Me

There is a general misunderstanding of what Jesus meant when he said that if you see Him, you see the Father. Most interpret this as Jesus saying that He is God, therefore seeing Him, in the physical sense, is the same as looking at the Father. That is not what was meant. For one thing, God doesn’t even have a physical body.

What is meant is that those who have had a spiritual awakening and can “see” Jesus (and others) through the spiritual eyes of the soul are also seeing the Father. That is because when you see a person as a spirit—truly see it, not just believe it—you see that all spirits are the same and all spirits come from God. So if you know spirits, you know God. Individual souls are like bricks in the universal wall that is God. Or perhaps it might be better to say that individual spirits and souls are the flowers in the universal garden that is God.

Inner Principle of Holy Scripture

St. Nikodimos says that the “inner principle,” the true meaning of scripture is found by stripping off the complex garment of words. That may be part of it, but it isn’t enough. We not only need to look beyond the literal meaning of the words, but we also need to understand the spiritual meanings and symbols represented by the words.

Here is just one example. In the original Aramaic, Hebrew or Greek of the Bible, there are statements that seem to be constructed oddly or seem to have little meaning. But some of these were meant to be said out loud, perhaps repeatedly, much like a mantra in meditation. It was the combination of sounds produced that helped to awaken something in the listener, not the literal meaning of the words. Then when academics translate the words into other languages such as English and do it based on a literal meaning of the words, the sounds that were the true meaning, the inner principle, is lost.

Then there is the symbolic meaning. Symbols are often used in scripture. This is partly done to hide the true meaning from the unworthy, and partly to make it easier for people to remember the lesson being taught. Talking about evil forces opposing the good ones is vague, it doesn’t produce a mental image easily. But change it to a dragon fighting with a saint and you have produced a mental image that is easy to remember. References to things like flying carpets, pillars of fire, burning bushes, and water turned to wine sound like fantasy tales, but they are not. Others interpret such things as evidence of alien visitors. That is not true either. What those things are is symbols. Symbols of something spiritual. You can start to understand many of these symbols by getting a good dream dictionary. The meaning of dream symbols often coincides with the meaning of the allegorical symbols found in scripture. Learning to understand the inner principle of scripture is an important step in spiritual growth. Learning to understand the inner principle of ourselves is even more so.


Elohim in the Book of Genesis

“In the very first chapter of the book of Genesis the plurality of God is very prominent. It cannot fail to draw the attention of a critical and secular reader. If you read just a few verses on the first page, down to verse 26, you will see: …And God said, Let us make man in our image, The word used in the Hebrew for God is ‘Elohim’ which is a plural word, and literally means ‘Mighty Ones’.

“So, if these religious people insist that every word is literally true, then they must accept that their God is really a group of Mighty Ones. If we are to take it literally it means: .. And the Mighty Ones said, let us make man in our image, From which we should deduce that these putative ‘Mighty Ones’ look like us. That is the outcome of a literal understanding. In fact, in Genesis 1 v 1, the very first words of the Bible, the word translated as ‘God’ is actually the plural word ‘Elohim’ or Mighty Ones. ….In the beginning Mighty Ones created the heaven and the earth. ” ~George Curtis and Jack Lewis

Ancient Truth

The authors of the book “Ancient Knowledge” are using the information quoted above to tell us that we shouldn’t interpret everything in the Bible literally. To do so, they say, leads to contradictions. The primary message they are trying to point out with the words from Genesis is that God is called “Elohim”, a plural word. There are also phrases like “Let us make man in our image”. These are example, the authors say, of why the Bible should not be interpreted too literally.

While they certainly have a point about the Bible, and most other ancient scripture, being allegory, the references to God in a plural form may not be one of those cases. Christians, after all, say that God is three persons in one. So the fact that there is but one real God doesn’t necessarily mean He is singular. Continue reading “Elohim in the Book of Genesis”