In Early Christianity
containing many secrets of the early
Christian religion were found in upper
Egypt, a location where many Christians
fled during the Roman invasion of Jerusalem.
Undisturbed since their concealment
almost two thousand years ago, these
manuscripts of Christian mysticism rank
in importance with the
Dead Sea Scrolls.
These writings affirmed the existence
of the doctrine of reincarnation being
taught among the early Jews and Christians.
These Christian mystics, referred to
were ultimately destroyed by the orthodox
Church for being heretics. Their sacred
writings were destroyed and hidden with
the belief that they would be revealed
at an appropriate time in the future.
The discovery in 1945 yielded writings
that included some long lost gospels,
some of which were written earlier than
the known gospels of Matthew, Mark,
Luke and John.
Brian A. Bain,
M.A., has this to say about the 1945
"Long considered to be heretical,
ancient Gnostic Christian texts
unearthed this century display compelling
similarities between Gnostic conceptions
of life and death and modern near-death
experiences. The Gnostic texts devoted
extensive tracts to what readers
could expect to encounter when they
died. Other passages make numerous
allusions to near-death-like experiences
that can be realized in this life,
most notably the human encounter
with a divine light. The Gnostic
Christian literature gives us one
more example of NDEs and similar
experiences in the ancient world."
fact comes from
(a near-death experiencer) who affirmed that
Gnosticism is the highest form of Christianity.
The Christian Gnostics
were regarded by some as a new Jewish sect who
believed they had finally found the long-awaited
Messiah and not a new religion. Some of the
apostles became Gnostic and because of this,
Christianity could well have grown up as a Gnostic
religion had it not been for their eventual
persecution by the organized Church centuries
Table of Contents
1. The Secret Teachings of Jesus
An important Christian
Gnostic teaching was the "Logos"
which in Greek is translated as "the image of
the Word." It is an important concept found
in the gospel of John:
"In the beginning was the Word (Logos),
and the Word was with God, and the
Word was God." (John 1:1)
Logos is the part
of God that acts in the world. It is the perfect
unity of the human and the divine. This is affirmed
by John when he wrote that "the Word was made
flesh and dwelt among us." When John stated
that Jesus is the Logos, he is stating that
Jesus became the Logos, the Christ. The Logos
is the divine "spark" of God within humans that
needs to awakened. Everyone has the "image of
the Word (Logos)" within them and it is
for this reason that Genesis describes humanity
as created "in the image and likeness of God."The
Logos is the divine Spirit in humanity. By using
the Christian Gnostic idea of the Logos, John
is not only affirming the preexistence and divinity
of Jesus, but he is affirming that all sons
of God created in the "image of the Word"
as Jesus was, preexisted in spirit before being
born. In other words, every human is an incarnation
of the Logos and every human has to potential
of becoming like Jesus, a manifestation of the
human-divine unity. Every human can be a "Christ"
and because of this, every soul will eventually
be drawn back to God.
The Roman Church misunderstood
what the Logos was in John and incorrectly concluded
from this that only Jesus is divine - the Word
made flesh. The orthodox Church either rejected
or ignored this Christian Gnostic concept found
in John. This may have been a factor when the
gospel of John was almost rejected from New
Testament canon when it was being put together.
This was during a time when Christian Gnosticism
became an enemy of the organized Church. Nevertheless,
it was the idea of the preexistence of the soul
and its corresponding doctrine of reincarnation
that the Roman Church had great difficulty with.
The Christian Gnostics
emphasized spiritual knowledge rather blind
faith as the road to salvation. They indicated
that they possessed
(i.e., "gnosis" in Greek) concerning the hidden
meaning of the "resurrection." This
was a part of the secret teachings of Jesus
handed down to them by the apostles. This special
knowledge was restricted to people who were
given the public teachings of Christianity before
qualifying to be initiated and receive the secret
teachings. In contrast, the very term "Catholic"
means "universal", implying that anyone
could become a member of the Church by adhering
to the public teachings of faith and rituals.
The Christian Gnostics were harsh critics of
the orthodox Church. The Christian Gnostics
accused the Church of watering down the gospel
in order to popularize it for the masses. The
orthodox Church stressed salvation through faith
alone and by the rituals of the Church.
This secret gnosis
emphasized spiritual "resurrection" (i.e,. spiritual
rebirth) and physical "resurrection" (i.e.,
reincarnation) as opposed to a resurrection
defined as people
sleeping in their
until it is time their corpses to crawl out
of their graves at the last day. Christian Gnostics
held the view that if spiritual resurrection
was not attained in one lifetime, then the soul
would be subjected to as many reincarnations
as it takes until spiritual rebirth is attained.
One of the great Church
Clement of Alexandria
in Egypt (150-211 A.D.) who indicated that he
possessed the secret teaching handed down from
In the Gnostic text
The Secret Gospel
one of the Christian Gnostic texts discovered
in 1945, describes Jesus performing secret initiation
rituals. Before the discovery of this secret
gospel, our only knowledge of it came from a
letter written by Clement. Clement quotes from
this secret gospel and refers to it as, "a more
spiritual gospel for the use of those who were
being perfected." He also states, "It even yet
is most carefully guarded [by the church at
Alexandria], being read only to those who are
being initiated into the great mysteries." Clement
mentions elsewhere that Jesus revealed a secret
teaching to those who were "capable of receiving
it and being molded by it" He also affirmed
that, "The gnosis (secret knowledge) itself
is that which has descended by transmission
to a few, having been imparted unwritten by
the apostles." (Miscell.
Book VI, Chapter 7)
The existence of a
secret teaching can be found in the New Testament:
told them, 'The
of the kingdom of God has been
to you. But to those on the outside
everything is said in
so that, 'they may be ever seeing
but never perceiving, and ever hearing
but never understanding.'" (Mark 4:11-12)
"The knowledge of the secrets
of the kingdom of heaven has been
given to you, but not to
Whoever has will be given more,
and he will have an abundance."
"We do, however, speak
a message of wisdom
among the mature,
but not the wisdom of this age
or of the rulers of this age,
who are coming to nothing. No,
we declare God’s wisdom, a
mystery that has been hidden and
that God destined for our glory
before time began." (1 Corinthians
"This, then, is how you ought to
regard us: as servants of Christ
and as those
entrusted with the
has revealed." (1 Corinthians 4:1)
"At that time Jesus said, 'I
praise you, Father, Lord of
heaven and earth, because you
have hidden these things from
the wise and learned, and
revealed them to little
children. Yes, Father, for this
is what you were pleased to
do.'" (Matthew 11:25-26)
Paul wrote about teachings
which are taught to spiritual "babies,"
teachings about righteousness for the more mature,
and then teachings for the spiritually mature.
Paul reveals this fact immediately after equating
Melchizedek to Jesus
"We have much to say about this,
but it is hard to make it clear
to you because you no longer try
to understand. In fact, though
by this time you ought to be
teachers, you need someone to
teach you the elementary truths
of God’s word all over again.
You need milk, not solid
food! Anyone who
lives on milk, being still an
infant, is not acquainted with
the teaching about
solid food is for the
mature, who by
constant use have trained
themselves to distinguish good
from evil." (Hebrews
According to tradition,
after the Roman invasion of Jerusalem, the author
of the Gospel of Mark established a church in
Alexandria, Egypt. Mark may also have been the
author of a "secret gospel" containing more
advanced teaching for those being initiated
into the Christian mysteries. This secret gospel
contains passages portraying Jesus teaching
2. Origen: The Champion for the Secret Teachings
As the orthodox church
in Rome gained more and more political power
the more it viewed secret teachings as a threat
to their own public teachings. But the Church
leader who made the final and greatest attempt
to revive the secret teachings of Jesus within
the orthodox teachings was the first Church
(183-253 A.D.) of Alexandria in Egypt who was
a disciple of Clement of Alexandra. Origen was
the first person since Paul to develop a system
of theology around the teachings of Jesus. His
effort was the first within the orthodox church
to systematize a theology on so vast a scale.
Although Origen defended orthodoxy, he included
in his system the wisdom of the Christian Gnostics.
His theology was a perfect synthesis of "orthodox"
and "gnostic" teachings and came the closest
to reviving the "Lost Christianity" of the original
sects, communities and schools, at a time when
the Christian Gnosticism was falling into disrepute.
Unfortunately, hundreds of years later, the
Church declared him a heretic and his teachings
as heresy mostly because they affirmed preexistence
and therefore reincarnation.
Origen had this to
say about the secret teachings of Jesus:
conversed with His disciples in
private, and especially in their
sacred retreats, concerning the
Gospel of God; but the words which
He uttered have not been preserved,
because it appeared to the evangelists
that they could not be adequately
conveyed to the multitude in writing
or in speech and they saw what things
were to be committed to writing,
and how this was to be done, and
what was by no means to be written
to the multitude, and what was to
be expressed in words, and what
was not to be so conveyed." (Contra
Celsus, Chap. VI. 18)
Concerning these secret
teachings, Clement stated:
the Righteous, John and Peter were
entrusted by the Lord after his
resurrection with the higher knowledge.
They imparted it to the other apostles,
to the seventy (Outlines
3. The Theology of Christian Gnosticism
a series of "falling away" from the Whole that
is God occurred in eternity which resulted in
all that there is today. After the first "fall",
the divine consciousness descended to the level
of the divided consciousness; now after another
"fall", it has fallen even further, into the
depths of the unconscious; it has been "forgotten."
It is now humanity's privilege to discover the
potential realms of human existence and face
the great challenge of the "ascension of consciousness"
through the Man-God-Spirit transformation.
Once souls fell into
the lower levels of consciousness, they became
enamored of it and burned with the desire to
experience the pleasures of matter. The souls
then no longer wanted to disengage itself from
these lower levels. Thus the world was born.
From that moment souls forgot themselves. They
forgot they original habitation, their true
center and eternal being.
from one fundamental insight: this world in
which we find ourselves is thoroughly and irretrievably
less than holy. The soul is trapped in a prison
of flesh, and the flesh is intrinsically less
than divine. According to Gnostic theology,
the creation of the cosmos came about as the
result of a tragicomic mistake: the fall of
the soul from God. Thanks to the advent of Christ
in the lower realms of consciousness, the power
of reconciling the fallen souls has been given
to restore the One-ness and usher in the kingdom
of light over the kingdom of flesh and matter.
The unity of the Godhead is assured thanks to
the introduction of the new uniting force, the
Logos, the part of God who acts in the flesh
and the material. It is important to distinguish
the Logos (Christ) from the soul named Jesus.
Any person has the potential of becoming a Logos
but it was the soul known as Jesus who
actually incarnated as a Logos and therefore
became a Christ on Earth.
We, as humans, cannot
comprehend the omnipotent power available to
us until we utilize the Christ power. When we
effectively use the divine "Christ awareness"
we have the ability to help in the liberation
of the imprisoned "sparks of divinity" from
flesh and rejoin them to the Source. The divine
plan of creation will become complete as the
divine outpouring of Christ gnosis liberates
humanity from ignorance. The result of this
will be the redemption of all human beings.
The Christ power can
only liberate souls through the call and revelation
of Christ gnosis to, "Awake, remember who you
are and where you come from!" But since the
soul cannot by itself hear the gnosis, the Christ
power resorts to elaborate strategies to create
the conditions for which all souls will be saved.
felt that initiation into the Cosmic Christ
gnosis is inseparable from "the
light which lighteth every person coming into
It is this light within, our Higher Self, which
each individual must bring to at-one-ment with
the divine Source if liberation is to occur.
As more and more people
hear the call to "Wake up!" and attain
the Christ gnosis and become liberated, their
souls are received back into the bosom of Divine
Consciousness. The soul becomes free from unholy
flesh and the cycle of birth and rebirth. Christian
Gnostics seek to achieve this by cultivating
the Higher Self within people to seek reunification
with the Godhead. But each soul returning to
its divine source must, after death, pass through
the various levels of consciousness. Sometimes
Christian Gnostics describe seven of these heavenly
realms, other times ten.
4. Christian Gnostic Writings
The following quote
from Jesus from the Christian Gnostic gospel,
Book of Thomas the
describes Jesus teaching reincarnation:
part of the Book of Thomas the Contender, Jesus
tells the disciple Thomas that after death,
those people who were once believers but have
remained attached to things of "transitory beauty,"
will be consumed "in their concern about life"
and will be "brought back to the visible realm."
The following quote
from Jesus in the
Gospel of Thomas
affirms Jesus teaching reincarnation to his
"When you see your likeness, you
are happy. But when you see your
images that came into being before
and that neither die nor become
visible, how much you will bear!"
of Thomas, saying 84)
excerpts from this very interesting gospel will
be profiled later.
Secret Book of John,
written by 185 A.D. at the latest, reincarnation
is placed at the center of the discussion concerning
the salvation of souls. The following is a summary
of the Secret Book of John's perspective on
Everyone has drunk
from the water of forgetfulness and lives in
a state of ignorance. Some people are able to
overcome ignorance by having the life-giving
Spirit descend upon them. These souls "will
be saved and will become perfect," that
is, escape the cycle of birth and rebirth. John
asks Jesus what will happen to those who do
not attain salvation. They are hurled down "into
forgetfulness" and thrown into "prison,"
the Christian Gnostic symbol for a new body.
Jesus says the only
way for these souls to escape is to acquire
knowledge after coming from forgetfulness. A
soul can accomplish this by finding a teacher
who can lead the soul in the right direction:
"This soul needs to follow another
soul in whom the Spirit of life
dwells, because she is saved through
the Spirit. Then she will never
be thrust into flesh again." (Secret
Book of John 14:20)
Gnostic book, the
(Greek for "Faith Wisdom"), outlines
a system of punishment and rewards that includes
reincarnation. The book explains the differences
in one's fate as a result of past-life actions.
A "man who curses" will be given a body that
is continually "troubled in heart." A "man who
slanders" will be given an "oppressed" body.
A thief will be given a "lame, crooked and blind
body." A "proud" and "scornful" man will be
given "a lame and ugly body" that "everyone
continually despises." From this, we can see
how this Earth, as well as hell, is a place
of education through suffering.
According to the Pistis
Sophia, some souls experience hell as a place
of shadows and torture. However, after these
souls pass through hell, they return to Earth
for further experiences. Only a relatively few
extremely evil souls are not permitted to reincarnate.
These souls are cast into "outer darkness" until
a time when they are "destroyed and dissolved."
Sophia combines the ideas of reincarnation and
divine union in a verse beginning with the question:
"[What happens to] a man who has
committed no sin, but done good
persistently, but has not found
the mysteries?" (Pistis
Sophia reveals such a soul will receive "a cup
filled with thoughts and wisdom," allowing the
soul to remember its divine origin and pursue
the "mysteries of the light" until it finds
them and is able to "inherit the light forever."
To "inherit the light forever" is a Gnostic
term for union with God.
Gospel of Phillip,
Philip makes a clear distinction between the
resurrection of the Spirit (i.e., spiritual
rebirth) and the resurrection of the body.
In Jesus' case, he was born with the
fullness of the Holy Spirit and his death
resulted in a miracle resurrection of his
"Those who say that the Lord
first died and then arose, are
confused. For first he arose and
(then) he died. If someone first
acquires the resurrection [of
the Spirit], he will not die;
(as) God lives, that one was
[not] going to [die]" (Gospel
of Philip 22)
In the Apocryphal
Wisdom of Solomon,
recognized as canonical by the Catholic Church,
is the following verse:
verse raises the following question: How is
it possible to get a body after you have already
been good, unless reincarnation is true?
the works of the Christian Gnostics are some
of the early gospels, including secret gospels
which were not preserved in the New Testament.
The Gospel of Thomas was the first gospel ever
written and is considered by scholars to be
the most reliable gospel. Much of this gospel
contains sayings of Jesus that are contained
in the four New Testament gospels.
Gnostic gospels reveal a clear and strong vision
of the resurrection as a past and present event.
Below is a verse from the
Gospel of Thomas that shows the "resurrection"
to be a past event:
followers said to him, 'When will
the rest for the dead take place,
and when will the new world come?'
He said to them, 'What you look
for has come, but you do not know
of Thomas, saying 51)
verse above, Jesus says the resurrection and
the kingdom are already here. In Gnostic terms,
this quote from Jesus refers to a person's past "resurrection"
(i.e., physical rebirth, reincarnation) and
the fact that we are already living in the kingdom
of God which exists within us. Only through
the Christ gnosis can this kingdom be realized
and the cycle of resurrection end.
5. The Gospel of Thomas
The sayings that are
presented below are excerpts of the
Gospel of Thomas that are not present in
the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
are the secret sayings that the living
Jesus spoke and Judas Thomas the Twin
Jesus said, "Whoever finds the interpretation
of these sayings will not taste death."
Jesus said, "Let one who seeks not stop
seeking until one finds. When one finds,
one will be disturbed. When one is disturbed,
one will be amazed, and will reign over
Jesus said, "If your leaders say to
you, 'Behold, the kingdom is in the
sky,' then the birds in the sky will
get there before you. If they say to
you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish
will get there before you. Rather, the
kingdom is inside you and outside you.
When you know yourselves, then you will
be known, and will understand that you
are children of the living Father. But
if you do not know yourselves, then
you live in poverty, and embody poverty."
Jesus said, "Know what is within your
sight, and what is hidden from you will
become clear to you. For there is nothing
hidden that will not be revealed."
Jesus said, "I have thrown fire on the
world and, behold, I am guarding it
until it is ablaze."
Jesus said to his disciples, "Compare
me with someone, and tell me whom I
am like." Simon Peter said to him, "You
are like a just angel." Matthew said
to him, "You are like a wise philosopher."
Thomas said to him, "Teacher, my mouth
is utterly unable to say whom you are
like." Jesus said, "I am not your teacher.
You have become intoxicated because
you have drunk from the bubbling spring
that I have tended." And he took Thomas
and withdrew, and told him three things.
When Thomas came back to his friends,
they asked him, "What did Jesus tell
you?" Thomas said to them, "If I tell
you even one of the things he told me,
you will pick up rocks and stone me.
Then fire will come forth from the rocks
and devour you."
The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us
about the end." Jesus said, "Have you
already discovered the beginning, that
now you can seek after the end? For
where the beginning is, the end will
be. Blessed is one who stands at the
beginning: that one will know the end,
and will not taste death."Jesus said,
"Blessed is one who came to life before
coming to life."
Jesus said, "If you become my disciples
and hearken to my sayings, these stones
will serve you."
Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said
to his disciples, "These nursing babies
are like those who enter the kingdom."
They said to him, "Then shall we enter
the kingdom as babies?" Jesus said to
them, "When you make the two into one,
when you make the inner like the outer
and the outer like the inner, and the
upper like the lower, when you make
male and female into a single one, so
that the male will not be male and the
female will not be female, when you
make eyes replacing an eye, a hand replacing
a hand, a foot replacing a foot, and
an image replacing an image, then you
will enter the kingdom."
Jesus said, "Blessed are those who are
alone and chosen: you will find the
kingdom. For you have come from it,
and you will return there again."
His disciples said to him, "When will
the final rest for the dead take place,
and when will the new world come?" He
said to them, "What you look for has
already come, but you do not know it."
Jesus said, "I disclose my mysteries
to those who are worthy of my mysteries.
Do not let your left hand know what
your right hand is doing."
Jesus said, "Whoever knows everything
but lacks within lacks everything."
Jesus said, "If you bring forth what
is within you, what you have will save
you. If you do not have that within
you, what you do not have within you
will kill you."
Jesus said, "I am the light that is
over all things. I am all: all came
forth from me, and all attained to me.
Split a piece of wood, and I am there.
Pick up a stone, and you will find me
Jesus said, "Whoever is close to me
is close to the fire, and whoever is
far from me is far from the kingdom."
Jesus said, "Images are visible to people,
but the light within is hidden in the
Father's image of light. He will reveal
himself, but his image is hidden by
Jesus said, "When you see a likeness
of yourself, you are happy. But when
you see your images that came into being
before you, and that neither die nor
become visible, how much you will be
able to tolerate!"
Jesus said, "When you make the two into
one, you will become sons of man, and
when you say, 'Mountain, move!' it will
Jesus said, "Whoever drinks from my
mouth will be like me, and I shall be
that person, and what is hidden will
be revealed to that one."
Jesus says, "Whoever finds self is worth
more than the world."
His disciples said to him, "When will
the kingdom come?" "It will not come
by looking for it. Nor will it do to
say, 'Behold, over here!' or 'Behold,
over there!' Rather, the kingdom of
the Father is spread out on the Earth,
but people do not see it." (Gospel
6. The Apocalyptic Texts
Among the Christian Gnostic
writings were no less than five separate apocalypses.
Here they are:
First Apocalypse of James contains the secret
teachings of Christ that were given to James
the Just, the Lord's brother. In it, James refers
to Jesus as "rabbi." Jesus warns James to leave
Jerusalem, for the city is a dwelling place
of a great number of "archons" or evil angels.
Jerusalem is stigmatized as the city which "gives
the cup of bitterness to the sons of light."
Jesus coaches James on what to say when he is
judged and challenged by the "toll collectors"
of heaven in order to pass through the gates
Second Apocalypse of James.
Apocalypse of Adam.
Apocalypse of Peter is a record of the vision
of Peter the apostle in which he speaks with
Christ in the spirit. In this, Peter is clearly
seen as the true successor to Christ and the
founder of the Gnostic community. In the vision,
Peter first sees hostile priests who seem to
be intent upon stoning him and Christ to death.
Next, Peter recalls the crucifixion during which
Jesus stood nearby talking with him.
Peter asks, "Who is this one glad and
laughing on the tree (i.e., cross)?
And is it another one whose feet and
hands they are striking?"
Christ replies, "He whom you saw on
the tree, glad and laughing, this is
the living Jesus. But this one into
whose hands and feet they drive the
nails is his fleshy part, which is the
substitute being put to shame, the one
who came into being in his likeness.
But look at him and me." (Apocalypse
Peter seemed to realize
that it would be a long time before his book
was read and understood, for he writes:
"These things, then, which you saw
you shall present to those of another
race who are not of this age." (Apocalypse
He seems to be right,
as this apocalypse has only just seen the light
of day before we enter the age that many believe
will begin with the second coming of Christ.
7. The Apocalypse of Paul
Apocalypse of Paul
is an account of the apostle's ascent into heaven
and what he found there, with instructions for
other souls on how to conduct themselves during
judgment. One of the most interesting aspects
of this text is that it corresponds to events
found in the New Testament and includes references
to reincarnation. Several Christian Gnostic
texts combine the ideas of reincarnation and
union with God.
As Paul passes through
the fourth heaven, he witnesses a soul being
punished for murder. This soul is brought "out
of the land of the dead" (i.e., Earth) by angels
where three witnesses charge the soul with murder.
The soul looks sorrowfully down and is cast
down into a body that has been prepared for
it. The book describes Paul's journey through
the heavens, which is also symbolic for the
Gnostic process of union with God.
The New Testament
contains a letter by the apostle Paul to the
Christians in the city of Corinth, Greece, where
he had founded a church on his first visit there.
The Christians at this church were being divided
by the teachings of so-called "false teachers"
that were infiltrating the church there and
Paul wrote a letter telling them to not forget
what they were taught by Paul. These "false
teachers" were trying to get people to follow
their teachings and not Paul's. In order to
put these false teachers to shame, Paul rebukes
the Corinthians by using false pride and boasting
about himself and telling the church why he
is more qualified than the false teachers. He
tells them of his sufferings and how he was
once stoned and left for dead (2
The letter goes on to say:
"I must go on boasting. Although
there is nothing to be gained, I
will go on to visions and revelations
from the Lord. I know a person in
Christ who fourteen years ago was
caught up to the third heaven. Whether
it was in the body or out of the
body I do not know - God knows.
And I know that this person - whether
in the body or apart from the body
I do not know, but God knows - was
caught up to paradise. He heard
inexpressible things, things that
humans are not permitted to tell."
In the above passage,
Paul continued his "boasting" by telling about
visions and revelations he had received from
the Lord. "I know a person in Christ" means
that he was speaking about himself. He explained
that he didn't know if he was taken up in his
body or in his spirit, but he was in paradise
("the third heaven"). This incident cannot
be positively identified with a recorded event
in Paul's career, although some think this may
have been when he was stoned and left for dead
Paul told about this incident to show that he
had been uniquely touched by God.
Many people are unaware
of this passage of the Bible and that it is
a near-death experience which Paul had. The
person who wrote most of the New Testament,
the sacred writings of orthodox Christianity,
had a near-death experience which he based his
authority as an apostle of Christ to the Corinthian
church. It can even be argued that his near-death
experience directly or indirectly inspired his
The Apocalypse of
Paul reveals how each soul must rise as best
it can after death through a hierarchy of heavens
and face the increasingly difficult challenges
posed by the guardian angels of each heaven.
The journey begins with Paul meeting a child
on the mountain of Jericho on the way to heaven
(symbolized by Jerusalem). This child turns
out to be the Holy Spirit, who takes Paul first
to the third heaven.
The Holy Spirit warns
Paul to keep his wits about him for they are
about to enter the realm of "principalities
... archangels and powers and the whole race
of demons." The Holy Spirit also mentions
that they will pass "one that reveals bodies
to a soul-seed," that is, the being that
takes souls and plants them in new bodies for
reincarnation. For the soul who wished to ascend
to the highest heaven, reincarnation was to
When Paul reaches
the fourth heaven, the Holy Spirit encourages
him to look down upon his body which he has
left behind on the mountain of Jericho. As Paul
ascends, he witnesses in the fourth heaven the
judgment and punishment of another soul. He
says, "I saw the angels resembling gods ...
bringing a soul out of the land of the dead."
The soul has been resurrected so that it can
be judged, one of the four events promised for
the end of the world. The angels were whipping
The soul spoke, saying,
"What sin was it that I committed in the world?"
The "toll collector" of this heavenly gate accuses
the soul. The soul replies, "Bring witnesses!
Let them show you in what body I committed lawless
deeds." Three bodies rise up as witnesses and
accuse the soul of anger and envy, and finally
murder. When the soul heard these things, it
gazed downwards in sorrow ... It was cast down.
At this point we expect
the soul to be cast into hell, as in later Christian
doctrine, but no: "the soul that had been cast
down went to a body which had been prepared
for it," and was reincarnated.
Paul, somewhat shaken
by this experience, was beckoned forward by
the Holy Spirit and allowed to pass through
the gate of the fifth heaven. Here he saw his
fellow apostles and "a great angel in the fifth
heaven holding an iron rod in his hand." This
angel and three other angels, with whips in
their hands, scourge the souls of the dead and
drive them on to judgment. Paul remains with
the Holy Spirit and the gates to the sixth heaven
swing open effortlessly before him.
In the sixth heaven,
Paul sees a strong light shining down on him
from the heaven above. He is motioned by the
"toll collector" through the gates of the seventh
heaven. Here, he sees "an old man filled with
light and whose garment was white. His throne,
which is in the seventh heaven, was brighter
than the sun by seven times." This old man bears
a striking resemblance to Jehovah as he is described
in the vision of Ezekiel.
The old man asks,
"Where are you going, Paul?" Only reluctantly,
after some encouragement from the Holy Spirit,
does Paul speak with him and give the Gnostic
sign he has learned. The eighth heaven then
opens and Paul ascends. Here he embraces the
twelve disciples, most of whom he has not met
before, and together they rise to the ninth
heaven. Finally, Paul reaches the tenth and
highest heaven, where he is transformed.
8. The Suppression of Christian Gnosticism
The Christian Gnostics
believed in reincarnation and the preexistence
of the soul. They refused to believe in a resurrection
of corpses at the end of time. They emphasized
meeting Jesus on a spiritual level to become
liberated and attain permanent citizenship in
heaven. The Church of Rome of the second century
A.D., on the other hand, declared that those
who deny a Last Day resurrection of corpses
Many Christian Gnostics
regarded themselves as part of the organized
body of Christians of the early church. However,
as the organized Church gained political control
of the Roman Empire, the Christian Gnostics
were persecuted by the organized Church and
many were martyred. The Christian Gnostic tradition
is one of many branches of early Christianity
labeled as heretical by the early Church fathers.
The Gnostic influences and writings were cut
out of official Church doctrines as heresy.
Because of their suspected Christian Gnostic
the Gospel of John
and the Book of Revelation was almost rejected
from the New Testament.
Nevertheless, the organized Church succeeded
in hiding its Christian Gnostic doctrines.
It is not surprising
that the orthodox Church bishops edited out
the practical spiritual knowledge which was
once an integral part of Christianity and was
known and practiced by the apostle Paul. For
these fathers, it was far more convenient and
gratifying for their egos to assert that spiritual
grace could only be attained through them as
Christ's representatives on Earth. To control
the masses, the political organization of the
church declared that salvation was attained
only through the church rituals and through
the priesthood. Salvation through a personal
mystical experience with Christ apart from the
organized church was cast away. In a move that
is very likely to have met with the disapproval
of Christ himself, the worldly political aspirations
of a few priests won out over the spiritual
enlightenment of the many.
And as it is with
any religion or movement, the successors of
its founder decided which things to keep and
which to throw out. The organized Church discarded
the spiritual knowledge of Christian Gnosticism
as being too dangerous and kept the concept
of blind acceptance of church doctrine.
Ultimately, the organized
Church declared Christian Gnosticism a heresy
and began killing those who adhered to its doctrines.
Thus the powerful Roman Church began its crusade
of eliminating all rivals to its authority.
Christian Gnosticism was obliterated and relatively
little historical and theological information
was left to fully understand early Christian
history. This all changed in 1945 with the discovery
of the Gnostic Christian scriptures discovered
in Egypt. Then in 1947, the discovery of the
Dead Sea Scrolls of early Jewish Gnostic writings
occurred. Today, with many Christians wondering
Second Coming of Christ
is soon to happen, it may not be a coincidence
that these secret writings have come to surface
after two thousand years of being hidden. Finally,
after two thousands years, the secret is finally