The Kabbalistic Interpretation of the Gospel of Thomas

The Gospel of Thomas
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After a period it forms the core for a new incarnation both bound by karmic chains that have been previously forged, and partially liberated by virtues that carry forward. Similar doctrines were probably current in Jewish Mandaism, and are later found in the Manichaeism that survived long after in the medieval European Gnostic communities of Bogomils and so-called Catharii. Logion 4 4. The kabbalistic Place of Life referenced in Logion 4. They serve as saints guiding those human souls who are able to attune to them. Moses and Elijah were Standing Ones who appeared with Yeshua as spiritual guides in the so-called Transfiguration event.

The Coptic term kouei means not just a young child, but a newly-born infant. This is in reference to the divine birth of Messiah in Psalm 2. Spiritual rebirth was not for just one individual, but for all members of the Body of Messiah. We see clues in the interpretation later offered by Paul. Christian baptism symbolized dying and rising with Messiah as a new Adam. The water baptism of John symbolized a re-crossing of the Jordan into the Promised Land, as the ancestors had done after wandering in the wilderness of Judea for forty years.

The new crossing of the waters symbolized many things—a mikveh of purification and preparation for the coming of Messiah, immersion into the waters of a new Creation, gateway into the coming Malkuth of God. It was perpetuated in the gentile churches, who regarded themselves to be the New Israel, as a substitute for circumcision—the rite that symbolized admittance to Israel. But despite the fact that later second-century Christianity treated baptism as an initiatic rite done only once a year at Passover, and for which long study and preparation was required, water baptism was not the initiatic rite used by Yeshua.

He or she wore only a white linen robe, possibly modeled after the seamless priestly robe used by Yeshua as a cohen or priest. As part of this, the heavenly Name was conferred i. But as the gentile churches cut off their Jewish kabbalistic roots, the razim were lost and water baptism an admission rite alone remained. A seamless white linen robe was the vestment used by Jewish priests. However, Yeshua could have used this kind of hyperbole to emphasize the greatness of the Malkuth.

Jesus' Secret Teachings, The Gospel of Thomas

The common theme is revelation of the Razim of Heaven, but the first concerns a way of being taught by God as Hochmah. This is a kabbalistic davar reflecting the Jewish wisdom tradition. The second is an apocalyptic davar about the coming Malkuth. The term raz or radz does not occur in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, but is first used in the Aramaic of the Book of Daniel.

From the 2nd century B. Here he reveals that the razim can be discovered, for they are encoded into the visible world, and in the coming Malkuth, all of the divine sciences will be discovered and understood. At first reading, this seems to reflect Hermetic thought: As above, so below; study Nature, and she will make an obeisance to you, and reveal all her secrets to you. Can it be an authentic davar of Yeshua? Does it look more like Gnostic editorializing?

But when we examine other teachings of Yeshua, we find him always drawing lessons about divine realities from observable human behavior and natural phenomena—the growth of seeds, the raiment of lilies, the sun shining and rain falling equally upon the just and the unjust. The ways of God are revealed in the myth and allegory of daily life, if only we learn to observe and interpret them. What is more, the lessons Yeshua draws from these phenomena are halakic, that is, moral and spiritual.

The Hermetic applications of divine world being reflected in physical nature are astrological and alchemical.

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They are proto-scientific. Yeshua declared that he taught to his disciples what the Abba revealed to him.

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When he speaks of the Son [probably Bar-Enash] doing what he sees the Abba doing, the reference must include the Ruach Ha-Qodesh as an aspect of the Abba, for she was the instructress. Every man therefore that has heard and learned from the Abba comes unto me. Logion 5. This is a good indicator of authenticity. It might be read in the context of Daniel Jesus answered, Do not fabricate a lie, and do not do what you hate others doing.

For all deeds are manifest before the Face of God. There is nothing in Logion 6. But this appears to be redactional, not original to the davar. It is common editorial technique to append a saying like this as an interpretation of the previous logion. This is done throughout the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in their redaction of the Q material, all too often twisting the original meaning to fit their own bias.

It has nothing to do with the teachings of Yeshua. The goal, expressed in Aramaic idiomatic language, was to make oneself single-minded, single- hearted, single-intentioned; to look not to the right or left, but proceed straight ahead; to make the eye single; let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no.

That was the true fast from sin. Yeshua did not prescribe a diet. He and his talmidim ate whatever they were served on their travels from village to village, notwithstanding later ascetic fabrications like the so-called Essene Gospel.

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Logion 7 Happy is the lion whom the man eats, for the lion will become man; but utterly destroyed is the man whom the lion eats, for the lion will become man. It has nothing to do with man-eating lions, but with controlling the violent impulses of the yetzer ha-ra. Yeshua characteristically employed paradox and hyperbole. Here he uses the metaphor of eating and being eaten—a motif we will see in other inner-circle teachings found in Thomas.

The lion becomes man. But if he is consumed and ruled by his lower nature such that the lion rages uncontrolled, he can eventually lose his human soul.

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The Gnostic Prologue to The Gospel of Thomas promises that whoever discovers the true interpretation of these sayings “will never taste death”—an Aramaic. An essay on the Gospel of Thomas and the hermeneutic (interpretive) tradition The question I pose is this: Was there an original tradition of interpretation – a or Zaddik', so important in Jewish mystical tradition or Kabbalah, is concerned.

It is one thing to recognize anger rising, but quite another to allow it to be expressed in violent words and actions. The lion becomes man, and the man is consumed. This is not advice to suppress anger such that eventually it is not felt or recognized, yet continues to wreak psychological havoc. The inner halakah of spiritual transformation requires that anger and all other negative impulses arising from the yetzer ha-ra be recognized and acknowledged.

Rather, it advises that once the destructive impulses arise, they must be sublimated and transformed. How is this done?

What is Truth: The Gospel of Thomas

First by holding the impulses in check while they can be analyzed. Simply looking at them is transformative. His halakah was not merely a collection of ideas. It was rooted in practice. This davar was given to his disciples as one of many spiritual practices that must be accomplished not in desert caves, but in the trials of daily living. Yet the spiritual practices taught by Yeshua did survive in deserts and caves.

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Yeshua emphasized halakah in daily living, but he also retreated into the wilderness for private devotions and practices. This Logion reflects the interior spirituality that he and his disciples practiced, which was perpetuated by Christian Egyptian Desert Fathers and Krishnamurti advised people to contemplate their day before sleeping—to examine their good and bad behaviors.

Then instead of castigating themselves with guilt or taking up extraordinary ascetic remedies for their failures, they were advised to simply go to sleep. Their behavior would change over time just through the process of self-examination. But to that Yeshua added a further suggestion. Do self-examination in the very midst of action!

The only remedy required was to take a breath and stop long enough to look at it. Like Buddhist monks, they developed early monastic techniques of sanctification in wilderness retreat, creating special practices to focus the mind, such as weaving reed mats and then unweaving them to develop non-attachment. It is through their traditions preserved in the Philokalia that we are able to understand davarim like Logion 7. Logion 8 [An Authentic Mashal] The Bar-Enash is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and pulled it up full of small fish.

Among them he found one good, large fish. That wise fisherman threw all the small fish back down into the sea without regret, but chose to keep the large fish. Whoever can understand my mashal, let him apply it to his own life. Then the planetary spheres were set into motion and time growth and change appeared.

The rabbinic or wisdom school understanding of Ha-Adam in the Book of Genesis current with Yeshua was influenced by Pythagorean and Hermetic concepts of Primal Humanity, just as the 1st-2nd century kabbalistic Sepher Yetzirah grew out of contacts between the Jewish wisdom schools and Pythagorean communities. Here I offer a brief explanation. It was in the Jewish community of Babylon that the second and third additions to the Scroll of Isaiah were made Deutero- and Trito-Isaiah , with their revelations concerning the messianic Age.

This implies the existence of a school of Isaiah or priestly lineage that preserved and added to his prophecies. The same process developed with the disciples of Daniel. This legendary prophet lived in sixth-century Babylon and was able to protect and preserve the Jewish diaspora community by serving as royal seer and Parallelto the myth of Narcissus, who saw her own reflection in a pool of water and fell in love with it.

Prime examples are the first chapter of Genesis, which was adapted from the ancient Babylonian Enuma Elish, and the legend of Moses hidden in a reed basket floating on a river and being rescued by the royal family, which is told millennia earlier of King Sargon.