The Gnostic Gospel of St. Thomas begins with the statement: "These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Diuy-mos Thomas Judas wrote down. The Gospel then continues "And he said, 'Whoever finds the intc prctation o. these sayings will not e>pc-rience death.'"" The name Living Yeshua is common among Christian Gnostics and Gnostic writings and is always used to denote the Risen Savior or Risen Christ. A study of the various Gnostic Scriptures in the Nag Hammadi will reveal that typically speaking, the claim of Gnostic Holy Books is that their origin is the Living Yeshua or Risen Christ, which implies that the teachings received come from an intuitive or visionary experience—hence a direct and personal experience of the Christos.
The first saying of the Gospel of St. Thomas, in which it is written that Yeshua promises that anyone who understands the sayings a? the Gospel "will not experience death," alludes to the reception of these sayings as ar gral unit of wisdom teachings. Thus, the Living Yeshua speaks of the'sayings to follow at the outset, as though'beginning tation. Because the name Living Yeshua is used, it implies that the sayings come from an intuitive or visionaiy experience of the Risen Christ.
Previously, we indicated that the Yeshua movement was an oral tradition in the early years, and that it was some time before anything was written down. What is written, in part, represents something of the oral tradition. Yet, it is something more than merely oral tradition, for Scripture is said to be "inspired, whether by the Holy Spirit or the Risen Christ. Essentially, all Scripture comes from the author's spiritual or mystical experience of the Holy Spirit and Christos, which naturally combines whatever oral teachings the author received with intuitive or visionary experience. Hie oral tradition itself represents a weave of the teachings Yeshua gave dur;' r his life and ministry, along with teachings
11 Gospel of St. Thomas, saying I
received from the Living Yeshua or Risen Christ on a psychic and spiritual level.
According *o Scriptures, including those accepted by orthodoxy, not only were teachings received from the Living Yeshua or Risen Christ, spiritual initiations were also received. An outstanding example occurs '.he Gospel of St. John, which tells the story of the Li iing Yeshua appearing to the disciples in a locked room and transrn tting the Holy Spirit to them.
When it was evening on that day, the tirst day of the week, a id the doors of the house where the disciples hac met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be w: ' ou.' After he said this he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, Peace be with you. As the Father has cent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any they are retained."15
To en tor a locked room, Yeshua cither walked through the wall or spontaneously appeared within the room. In either case, the body of the Master was not material in the typical sense, fy.it was spiritual. Thus, the nature of this experience was visionary. This :s true of all experiences of the Risen Christ recorded in the canonized Gospels. While, indeed, there are deep metaphysical mysteries and esoteric teachings that can be said of such manifestations of L".rd Yeshua as the Risen One, the fundamental truth of these experiences is that they were spiritual or mystical in nature and represent an intuitive or visionary perception.
Tht:; is another excellent example given within the orthodox Cible in the Book of Acts where the conversion of Saul into St. P: 1 is recorded:
Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?" He asked, "Who are you Lord?' The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city and you will be told what you are to do." The men who were traveling with him were speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one."
This story continues telling of Paul's blindness and the disciple of Christ in the city who heals him, who also has an intuitive or visionary experience of the Living Yeshua instructing him to do so. This experience represents an initiation through which St. Paul ultimately becomes an apostle. St. Paul refers to himself as the "least of the apostles," but nevertheless he becomes an apostle in this way. In Gnostic teachings, generally, he is spoken of far less than other, more significant figures.
What is ironic, however, is that orthodoxy, which claims true ap js-tles are only those who knew Yeshua when he lived, places Paul on such a pedestal. (So much so that orthodoxy might well be called ' Paulianity" instead of Christianity.) The only real significance o! St. Paul to Gnostic Christians is that his story reveals that true apos: ii: succession is founded upon the experience of the Living Yeshua or % Christ, and not upon knowledge of the man "Jesus," howeve r holy and "of Cod" he might be.
Orthodox Christianity puts stress upon the physical death and resurrection of Yeshua, and teaches that apostles are only people who knew Yeshua personally, or who received some sort of blessing in a line of succession of those who knew him personally, such as the "Pope" who i;
claimed to represent the line of St. Peter. Gnostic Christianity, however, proposes that the apostolic succession is founded upon a spiritual experience of the Living Yeshua—hence Gnosis of Yeshua Messiah and embodiment of Messianic consciousness. Rather than a literal and physical resurrection, first and foremost Gnosticism teaches a spiritual resurrection through Gnosis of the Living Yeshua. Curiously enough, even canonized Scripture supports this view, all directly Gnostic Scriptures aside, as we see in the case of St. Paul.
What this means., basically, is that Christian Gnostics rely upon a direct and personal experience of the Living Yeshua as the foundation of their belief and practice. The very nature of the Living Yeshua is not an experience isolated to the past. It is an ongoing experience in the present, which means anyone who is open, sensitive, and desirous of experiencing the Living Yeshua can have a direct and personal experience. As we have seen in our brief study of the name Yeshua, the nature of this experience is something inward—hence the experience of the Christos within us—the indwelling Christ.
While, indeed, Christian Gnosticism represents a tradition of inner and secret teachings, or esoteric wisdom that Yeshua gave to his closest disciples, it also represents Gnosis of the Living Yeshua, which is to say direct spiritual experience of the Christos and secret teachings and initiation imparted by the Risen Christ. Thus, Gnostic tradition is alive, for tradition and gnosis continually interact, and as each generation of initiates acquires gnosis, the tradition grows and evolves.
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This work on 2012 will attempt to note them allfrom the concepts andinvolvement by the authors of the Bible and its interpreters and theprophecies depicted in both the Hopi petroglyphs and the Mayan calendarto the prophetic uttering of such psychics, mediums, and prophets asNostradamus, Madame Blavatsky, Edgar Cayce, and Jean Dixon.