Logion : "If those who guide you say: Look, the Kingdom is in the sky ..."


Jean-Yves Leloup, The Gospel of Thomas
LOGION 3

Yeshua said:
If those who guide you say: Look,
the Kingdom is in the sky,
then the birds are closer than you.
If they say: Look,
it is in the sea,
then the fish already know it.
The Kingdom is inside you,
and it is outside you.
When you know yourself, then you will be known,
and you will know that you are the child of the Living Father;
but if you do not know yourself,
you will live in vain
and you will be vanity.

(CF. MATT 24:26-27; MARK 13:5-7; LUKE 17:21; DEUT 30:11-14; ROM 10:6-8)


This logion tells us that the Kingdom is the presence of the Spirit of God within us. It is not to be sought exclusively in the outer, and it is not to be sought exclusively in the inner. It invites us to move out of the dualism that forms the climate of our ordinary consciousness.

This climate is one of oppositions, antagonisms, and exclusions. For example, we know the harm that is created by phrases such as "no salvation outside the Church." When the term church is understood in merely an institutional sense, then there are those inside it, and those outside it—which means that most of humanity is excluded from salvation...

We begin to see the wisdom of the nondualist language in the Gospel of Thomas. If it had simply said, "The Kingdom is within you," it would give one-sided privilege to inner experience and meditations. This would encourage us to flee the world, to disregard what is going on around us. Happiness would be only spiritual and we would be separate from our carnal half. The world, others, and matter itself would be reduced to temptations and threats prowling around our inner being.

If the gospel had said, "The Kingdom is outside you," then we would be encouraged to transform the world and convert others at all costs ...

This gospel is a cure for our schizophrenia of outside vs. inside, for it tells us that the Kingdom includes both. There is no opposition, because outer and inner realities come together in the Kingdom. This can transform our way of seeing things ...

Gnostics are whole human beings who do not exclude any part of themselves. True self-knowledge cannot be limited to knowledge of the soul, nor to knowledge of the "little me," the one wrapped up in a bag of skin. Self-knowledge is consciousness of all the dimensions of our being.

In this consciousness, as the second part of this logion tells us, we discover that we are also known. In our most intimate core, in the very movement of integration of all that we are, we discover the Other who is our ground. Again, we discover the metaphysical outer in the ultimate depths of the inner.

Thus, to know ourselves is to discover that we are known. It is to discover that in every act of true knowledge there is participation by an Intelligence that communicates through us and that offers us participation in its Light.

Jean-Yves Leloup, The Gospel of Thomas
Inner Traditions (2005) pp. 67-70


Marvin Meyer, The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus
Logion 3: "If we believe in it, we shall live in it for ever."

3. Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the kingdom is in heaven,' then the birds of heaven will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside you and it is outside you. "When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you dwell in poverty, and you are poverty."

"If your leaders say to you ...": This saying parodies announcements that the kingdom is in heaven above or in the underworld...
"In the sea": Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 654.13 provides the variant reading "under the earth."
"The kingdom is inside you and it is outside you": Compare Luke 17:20- 21: Gospel of Thomas saying 113:4. Similar expressions are known in the Manichaean Psalm Book, particularly 160, 20-21: "Heaven's kingdom, look, it is inside us, look, it is outside us. If we believe in it, we shall live in it for ever."
"know yourselves": The well-known imperative "Know yourself" was among the Greek inscriptions at the oracular center dedicated to Apollo at Delphi. It is discussed in Plutarch's essay On the E at Delphi and Plato's dialogue Alcibiades I. In Book of Thomas 138, 7-21, Thomas is described as "The one who knows oneself." In early Christian literature, the formulation "know ... be known" is attested in Galatians 4:8-9; 1 Corinthians 8:1-3; 13:12; the Nag Hammadi Gospel of Truth 19,32-33 ("They knew, they were known").

The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus
Marvin Meyer, HarperOne; 2nd edition (October 9, 1992) pp. 79-80


(Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 654.9-21)

Jesus say "[If] your leaders [say to you, 'Look], the kingdom is in heaven,' the birds of [heaven will precede you. If they say] that it is under the earth, the fish of the sea [will enter, and will precede] you. And [God's kingdom] is inside you [and outside (you). Whoever] knows [oneself] will find this. [And when you] know yourselves, [you will understand that] you are [children] of the [living] father. [But if] you do [not] know yourselves, [you are] in [poverty], and you are [poverty]."

The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus
Marvin Meyer, HarperOne; 2nd edition (October 9, 1992) pp. 66-67




Logion 3: "This is the good news! Malkut, the kingdom, is within you and all around you"

Tau Malachi, The Gnostic Gospel of St. Thomas
Verse 3

Jesus said, "If those who lead you say to you, 'See, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the air will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty."


Malkut, the kingdom of heaven, is within you and all around you-yet, if you do not know that the kingdom is within you, then you will not see the kingdom outside of you. Such is the nature of reality, this magical display of consciousness. The inside and the outside are not separate but are intimately connected. The reality of your experience is the magical display of your own consciousness. A change in consciousness brings about a corresponding change in the reality you encounter. A change in the reality you encounter is an expression of a change in consciousness.

In the world and waking consciousness there are many cocreators of the magical display. There is the individual and the collective creation of this magical display-and the individual, the collective, and the universal consciousness are completely interconnected and interdependent. You alone are not the creator of the reality you experience. Every living being is a unique individual expression of the Life-power, the Holy One of Being, and a co-creator with God of the reality you experience. Nevertheless, when there is a transformation in your own consciousness, there is a proportional and corresponding transformation in the world, in the reality of your experience. In transforming yourself, you transform the world in which you exist. Do you want to change the world? You are the world and the world is you. If you want to change the world, make a change in your own consciousness.

Whether heaven or hell or a world of admixture, it is all a state of mind, a condition of consciousness-being. The kingdom of heaven is not a place, but a spaciousness in consciousness, just as hell is a severe confinement and limitation upon consciousness. There are worlds within worlds and worlds beyond, heavens and hells and spaces in between. All are an expression of consciousness-being, which is the radiant nature of consciousness, and all exist within consciousness.

There are higher, holier worlds than this one. No one can know how many there are. Nor can anyone be certain that any given world or level of consciousness is the same for different persons. Heaven could well be a dread and terrible thing for the wicked person, and for a saint, "hell" could be the most intense joy. What is known is that, most of the time, people are too busy here in this world to notice what is transpiring within it and beyond it, too lost in distraction to know themselves and so realize the wealth of higher and holier worlds that occupy the same space. Most ordinary individuals do not know the creative power that is in them and do not know that they are the world and the world is them. In ignorance, they remain bound to lesser gods and shadow lands, and do not know the world of Supernal Light within and all around them.

So many souls are asleep and dreaming strange and fitful dreams. They are asleep and do not know that they are dreaming and so cannot awaken in the dream to transform it. To the awakened ones, the holy ones, it is a sad and sorry sight. It is a vision of sorrow to behold the nightmares created by self-grasping, desire, and fear, and all of the suffering that naturally follows. The awakened ones know the world of Supernal Light here and now, yet they also know how very real the suffering is of those who remain ignorant and asleep. It is not an issue of personal salvation. No one is perfectly free until everyone is free. "The first shall be last and the last shall be first" (Mark 10:31). Until the last "Wicked" person repents and seeks righteousness, the great transformation of the Second Coming shall not be complete.

The force that binds is the force that will set everyone free. It is the same consciousness-force that manifests as the adversary or the Messiah, as heaven or hell. Enlightenment or unenlightenment are expressions of the very same consciousness-force, the one Life-power.

There is one Divine mind, but two paths. This world stands on the threshold in between. It could go either way at any moment-toward heaven or toward hell-yet salvation is always at hand, the Second Coming ever near, as near as your breath and the beat of your heart, as close as the very nature of your consciousness-being!

Now listen and hear the Word of the Lord. You are free to choose! It could be heaven or it could be hell, but everyone must choose. within you are the powers of salvation and damnation, the Light and the Darkness. When you are at last transparent, there will only be the Light and Life. That is the certainty of salvation in our Lord. Yet the suffering of damnation is all too real until salvation is attained. You must choose each moment. You must know the creative power that is in you and live in remembrance of the Spirit and Truth.

What is to be attained? Knowing and experiencing yourself as part of the Sacred Unity that is God, here and now. You have always been part of that Sacred Unity, are and always will be part of that Sacred Unity, the Holy One of Being. Never have you been separate from the Holy One. Union with God is not really an attainment; it is a present reality and truth. You need only remember the Spirit and Truth. You need only awaken and live with this awareness. It is not something you lack, but who and what you most truly are, the son or daughter of the Living God-the child of the Light, the Light of awareness itself. Who are lost that they should be found? I tell you, none are lost that they should be found. The one who is lost has never existed, and the one to be found was never born. You are what you are seeking, the bornless Spirit.

This is the good news! Malkut, the kingdom, is within you and all around you. Eternal life is the Truth of your inmost being. Death has never existed. You are free!

Tau Malachi, The Gnostic Gospel of St. Thomas
Llewellyn Publications (June 8, 2004) pp. 8-10




Voices on the Threshold of Tomorrow
The Spiritual Temple of Tomorrow

"Inner human potentials of intuition and creativity have just begun to be rediscovered in all of these areas through the new sciences of consciousness and healing. Earlier in this century, two great prophets of modern times, East and West — one the French Jesuit anthropologist and theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardinand and the other the Hindu sage Sri Aurobindo of Pondicherry, India — proclaimed that the next step in human evolution would be 'a psychic-spiritual mutation' to a higher consciousness.

The mythic foundations of the old world order — and its rationalistic, reductionalistic, materialistic, Newtonian presuppositions which have dehumanized Western civilization and created a stripped, mechanistic model of the human being and of human societies — are no longer credible to those who know enough. But it is also obvious that not everyone in positions of power in church, state, or academia seems to understand yet the new models of future science and the new sciences of consciousness and healing, or their significance for approaching forms of planetary existence that will profoundly change and affect our daily lives in the twenty-first century...

In the social sciences of the near future, positive forms of primary human spiritual and psychic experiences will be recognized as the sources of classic myths and religious doctrines. Scholars will understand more about the transformative powers of the psyche and spirit; immortality; life after life; communication with dead saints, sages, and ancestors; extraordinary healings; and belief in 'other' or 'higher worlds' and a multidimensional universe. These experiences will be acknowledged one day in secular societies — not as mere superstitions from a prescientific age — but rather as universal factors in the formation of tremendously empowering, symbolically expressed creeds found in all cultures, ancient and modern. We will then perhaps at last be able to see our way past the present radical opposition between science and spirituality. We might also begin to lessen the misunderstandings between conflicting faiths that have been so destructive in human affairs over the past several centuries and millennia.

Are there really universal human values waiting to be discovered within the world's religions and cultures, across all sectarian boundaries? Yes! But these cannot be discovered by a rationalistic, left-brained academic analysis alone. The consciousness of scholars themselves will have to change and their perspectives expand to the consideration of alternative new paradigms for the convergence of science and spirituality in the global village. And more important even than this, we must begin to pay attention to the qualities of personal transformation in the creation of a new humanity.

The fruits of the spirit — under whatever terminology — have always been recognizable and are treasured by mystics who are frequently a force for positive social reform in most of the world's great religions and cultures, East and West. These universally recognized qualities of authentic spiritual life in all of the great religious traditions of the world include unselfish love, the readiness to forgive injuries, peace, justice, compassion, humility, and the joyous service of a global humanity, of all sentient life, and of the planet itself. And it is classical mystical experience — in many of its varied religious and secular forms — that has in fact inspired and nurtured the perennial heroic and prophetic quest for peace, justice, and a better world '... on Earth, as it is in Heaven.' "

John Rossner, The Spiritual Temple of Tomorrow

(John Rossner, Ph.D., D.Sc., D.Litt., is professor of religion at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. He is president of The International Institute of Integral Human Sciences and abbot-general of The Order of the Transfiguration. Source: Georg and Trisha Lamb Feuerstein, Voices on the Threshold of Tomorrow, The Theosophical Publishing House, Quest Books, 1993, p. 6-8.)




Richard Valantasis, The Gospel of Jesus

Logion 3: "The idea that self-knowledge is a road to salvation is perhaps as old as philosophy itself."

3a Jesus said: If your leaders say to you "Look! The Kingdom is in the sky!" then the birds will be there before you are. If they say that the Kingdom is in the sea, then the fish will be there before you are. Rather, the Kingdom is within you and it is outside of you. [4]

3b When you understand yourselves you will be understood. And you will realize that you are Sons of the living Father. If you do not know yourselves, then you exist in poverty and you are that poverty. [5]

[4] Having introduced the principle that the Kingdom is to be sought and found, the Gospel of Thomas parodies two ideas attributed to rival leaders. The Kingdom is not to be found across the sea, and it is not up in the sky. Even today, many people will point to the sky if asked where heaven is to be found. But this saying makes fun of such an idea. The Kingdom is within you, as Luke's Gospel also says (17:20-21). And yet it is also outside. Thomas is a spiritual Gospel, yet it points out to the world of nature and to the realm of all creation instead of pointing back only toward the reader.

[5] The idea that self-knowledge is a road to salvation is perhaps as old as philosophy itself. Its most famous occurrence is the inscription "Know Thyself" at the oracle at Delphi. Thomas's statement "The Kingdom is within you and outside of you" places that Gospel in the context of ancient philosophical speculation and affirms the goodness of both human nature and of the nature of the outside world in an unambiguous fashion. Being Sons of the Father is to be like Jesus himself, a status one does not attain anew but that one realizes one has always had. Accordingly, self-discovery is the key to finding the potential wealth buried in people and in the world.

Davies & Harvey, Gospel of Thomas Annotated and Explained
Reviews, Skylights Path (2006) pp. 4-5




Logion 3: "In contrast to such misguided leadership, Jesus directs the readers to understand their own empowerment."

Richard Valantasis, The Gospel of Jesus
Saying 3 Jesus said," If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the imperial rule is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the imperial rule is inside you and outside you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."

Scholars have read this saying in a number of ways, as a "popular Jewish motif of seeking after wisdom in the furthest reaches of the universe" (Patterson 1993: 72), or as a midrash on Deuteronomy 30:10- 15 which establishes a connection between the commandments, wisdom, and the interior status of the reign of God (Glasson 1976-77: 151-52 and Davies 1983: 41-46). All of these interpretations overlook the subject of the saying: "those who lead you." This saying problematizes leadership. Readers experience for the first time the irony and sarcasm possible in these collections of sayings. The narrative strategy has already invested the reader with a kind of full authority to find the community's interpretation of the sayings, a process hat has guaranteed immortality. When we first hear about "leaders," they are giving bad information, directing the seekers' attention to the sky or under the earth. To follow such leaders results in getting lost. In contrast to such misguided leadership, Jesus directs the readers to understand their own empowerment: the imperial rule of God is found both within and without the seeker. True leadership directs the seeker inward to a new understanding of the self, and outward to a new understanding of the world in which God's imperial rule is manifested. The seeker guides the self into knowledge, requiring no external guidance other than the saying of Jesus that directs the seekers to themselves.

The important point is not only that there is a new understanding of an empowered self, but also that God's imperial rule must be understood anew. The location of God's imperial rule is not in the heavens, nor is it under the earth (other creatures would experience the rule of God first, if this were the case), but God's imperial rule is within and without the person. The interior location of the imperial rule, as Patterson (1993:71-72) argues, finds specific thematic parallels with Luke 17.20-21 ("for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you") and perhaps with Matthew's "Warning against those who would locate the kingdom in a specific place" (Matthew 24.26). The Kingdom of God in this saying, however, remains interior in that it emerges from self-knowledge and exterior in that it depends upon a self-awareness that leads to a new understanding of the mundane world.

This relocation of the imperial rule of God probably represents one side of an ongoing conversation among early Christian people about authority and power: some probably expected an apocalyptic rule of God inaugurated from the heavens (as Paul did in 1 Thessalonians), others may have experienced the church community itself as the inauguration of the reign of God (as Matthew did in his gospel), still others at once interiorized the rule of God and, therefore, reinterpreted its external significance (as in this saying).

This new awareness and understanding of the self develops from the kind of seeking mentioned in the previous saying. The readers, and the seekers, will find this understanding of the rule of God as they come to know themselves. Self-knowledge reveals the connection to the Father, not as an external adoption by a distant heavenly Father, but as "children of the living Father," a Father who is present and vital. The opposite of this self-knowledge is poverty: true wealth does not consist in anything but knowing self, poverty both as a state of being and as a condition of life follows from the refusal to seek.

All of these issues are intimately connected. The true self, the empowering strategy both of the narrator and of Jesus' sayings, the alternative understanding of the world, the redefinition of poverty both as ontological and social, the rejection of hierarchical leadership—all these conspire to create alternative understandings of self, relationships, and world. These alternatives work ascetically; they are a part of a systematic means of redefining and reorienting the seeker to the world (see Valantasis 1995b). They open the possibility of transformation and renewal through the interpretative practices outlined in the sayings.

Richard Valantasis, The Gospel of Thomas
Routledge; 1 edition (June 27, 1997) pp. 58-9




P. Oxy 654.27-31 [Coptic Saying 3]

Jesus says," [If] your leaders [say to you, 'Look,] the imperial rule is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky [will precede you. 2If they say] that it is under the earth, then the fish of the sea [will precede] you. 3And [the imperial rule] is inside you [and outside . 4You who] know [yourselves] will find this. [And when you] know yourselves, [you will understand that] you are [children] of the [living] Father. 5[But if] you do [not] know yourselves, [you live] in [poverty], and you are [poverty]."

The community these sayings posit experiences itself as fully empowered: its members do not need guidance. In fact, as this saying indicates, leaders often point seekers in the wrong direction, leading them to the heavens or the seas where nothing significant happens, and where other creatures more logically would function. So this saying encourages the seekers to ignore outside leadership and follow themselves into a kind of self-knowledge that reveals their adoption

For these seekers, self-direction marks true guidance: that which most leaders find only in objectification and exteriorization, the true seeker finds both within the self and outside the self. The interiority of the discovery of the rule of God correlates (and presumably precedes) any exterior experience of it. The desired reign of God cannot be located only outwardly (in the sky or under the earth), but also inwardly. Nothing circumscribes the rule of God or objectifies it: it is both within and without the person.

The statement about the interiority and exteriority of the rule of God leads to the development of a contrast based upon self-knowledge. The interior and exterior reality of the rule will be found by those who know themselves. The finding now becomes identified with self-knowledge, and that self-knowledge results in the self-understanding of the seeker as "A child of the living Father." The adoption by God emerges from a process of discovery of the self and its relationship with the rule of God. This beneficent situation contrasts markedly with its alternative. For those who do not know themselves, who have not discovered their true selves in relationship to the rule of God, they "live in poverty," and in fact become that poverty. The process of self-discovery, that is, does not remain neutral so that one gains an increment of knowledge or understanding which adorns an otherwise rich life. Rather, the knowledge itself becomes the wealth and its lack becomes poverty. The personal stakes for the seeker revolve about either a wealth or a poverty, becoming rich or poor. The starkly drawn contrast again provides a window into the emotional and psychological dynamic of those who read and interpret these sayings.

Richard Valantasis, The Gospel of Thomas
Routledge; 1 edition (June 27, 1997) pp. 33




Logion 3: "The community these sayings posit experiences itself as fully empowered: its members do not need guidance."

P. Oxy 654.9-21 [Coptic Saying 3]

Jesus says," [If] your leaders [say to you, 'Look,] the imperial rule is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky [will precede you. If they say] that it is under the sea, then the fish of the sea [will precede] you. And [the imperial rule] is inside you [and outside . You who] know [yourselves] will find this. [And when you] know yourselves, [you will understand that] you are [children] of the [living] Father. [But if] you do [not] know yourselves [you live] in [poverty], and you are [poverty].

The community these sayings posit experiences itself as fully empowered: its members do not need guidance. In fact, as this saying indicates, leaders often point seekers in the wrong direction, leading them to the heavens or the seas where nothing significant happens, and where other creatures more logically would function. So this saying encourages the seekers to ignore outside leadership and follow themselves into a kind of self-knowledge that reveals their adoption by God. For these seekers, self-direction marks true guidance: that which most leaders find only in objectification and exteriorization, the true seeker finds both within the self and outside the self. The interiority of the discovery of the rule of God correlates (and presumably precedes) and exterior experience of it. The desired reign of God cannot be located only outwardly (in the sky or under the earth), but also inwardly. Nothing circumscribes the rule of God or objectifies it: it is both within and without the person.

The statement about the interiority and exteriority of the rule of God leads to the development of a contrast based upon self-knowledge. The interior and exterior reality of the rule will be found by those who know themselves. The finding now becomes identified with self- knowledge, and that self-knowledge results in the self-understanding of the seeker as "A child of the living Father." The adoption by God emerges from a process of discovery of the self and its relationship with the rule of God. This beneficent situation contrasts markedly with its alternative. For those who do not know themselves, who have not discovered their true selves in relationship to the rule of God, they "live in poverty," and in fact become that poverty. The process of self-discovery, that is, does not remain neutral so that one gains an increment of knowledge or understanding which adorns an otherwise rich life. Rather, the knowledge itself becomes the wealth and its lack becomes poverty. The personal stakes for the seeker revolve about either a wealth or a poverty, becoming rich or poor. The starkly drawn contrast again provides a window into the emotional and psychological dynamic of those who read and interpret these sayings.

Richard Valantasis, The Gospel of Thomas
Routledge; 1 edition (June 27, 1997) pp. 33-4




The Origins of Satan, Elaine Pagels

Logion 3: "One enters that kingdom when one attains self-knowledge"

"Why was this gospel suppressed, along with many others that have remained virtually unknown for nearly two thousand years? Originally part of the sacred library of the oldest monastery in Egypt, these books were buried, apparently, around 370 C.E., after the archbishop of Alexandria ordered Christians all over Egypt to ban such books as heresy and demanded their destruction. Two hundred years earlier, such works had already been attacked by another zealously orthodox bishop, Irenaeus of Lyons. Irenaeus was the first, so far as we know, to identify the four gospels of the New Testament as canonical, and to exclude all the rest. Distressed that dozens of gospels were circulating among Christians throughout the world, including his own Greek-speaking immigrant congregation in Gaul, Irenaeus denounced as heretics those who 'boast that they have more gospels than there really are ... but really, they have no gospels that are not full of blasphemy.' Only the four gospels of the New Testament, Irenaeus insisted, are authentic. What was his reasoning? Irenaeus declared that just as there are only four principal winds, and four corners of the universe, and four pillars holding up the sky, so there can be only four gospels. Besides, he added, only the New Testament gospels were written by Jesus own disciples (Matthew and John), or their followers (Mark, disciple of Peter, and Luke, disciple of Paul).

Few New Testament scholars today agree with Irenaeus. Although the gospels of the New Testament—like those discovered at Nag Hammadi—are attributed to Jesus' followers, no one knows who actually wrote any of them; furthermore, what we know about their dating makes the traditional assumptions, in all cases, extremely unlikely. Yet Irenaeus's statements remind us that the collection of books we call the New Testament was formed as late as 180-200 C.E. Before that time, many gospels circulated throughout the Christian communities scattered from Asia Minor to Greece, Rome, Gaul, Spain, and Africa. Yet by the late second century, bishops of the church who called themselves orthodox rejected all but the four canonical gospels, denouncing all the rest, in Irenaeus's words, as 'an abyss of madness, and blasphemy against Christ.' Irenaeus wanted to consolidate Christian groups threatened by persecution throughout the world. The gospels he endorsed helped institutionalize the Christian movement. Those he denounced as heresy did not serve the purpose of institutionalization. Some, on the contrary, urged people to seek direct access to God, unmediated by church or clergy.

The Gospel of Thomas, as noted above, claims to offer secret teaching— teaching quite different from that of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. According to Mark, for example, Jesus first appears proclaiming that 'the time is at hand; the Kingdom of God is drawing near. Repent, and believe in the gospel' (1:15). According to Mark, the world is about to undergo cataclysmic transformation: Jesus predicts strife, war, conflict, and suffering, followed by a world-shattering event—the coming of the Kingdom of God (13:1-37).

But in the Gospel of Thomas the 'kingdom of God' is not an event expected to happen in history, nor is it a 'place.' The author of Thomas seems to ridicule such views:

Jesus said, 'If those who lead you say to you, 'Lord, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you' (NCH II.32.19-24).

Here the kingdom represents a state of self-discovery:

'Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourself, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living Father' (NHC II.32.25-33.5)

But the disciples, mistaking that kingdom for a future event, persist in naive questioning:

'When will...the new world come?' Jesus said to them, 'What you look forward to has already come, but you do not recognize it' (NHC II.42- 10-12)

According to the Gospel of Thomas, then, the kingdom of God symbolizes a state of transformed consciousness. One enters that kingdom when one attains self-knowledge. The Gospel of Thomas teaches that when one comes to know oneself, at the deepest level, one simultaneously comes to know God as the source of one's being."

Elaine Pagels, The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews
Pagans, and Heretics, Vintage (1965) 69-71




"Who is the Antichrist? They're describing he is the Antichrist, that fellow is the Antichrist. That's not the thing. There's an Antichrist within us who accepts all these things which are against the purity and Love of Christ... .

All such religions have to finish. They have to go now. It's too much. You cannot support them. They are so much full of anti-religious temperament that you cannot just bear them. It's better to finish Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, all isms, one after another.

To what religion did Christ belong. I don't know ... You don't belong to any other religion because there is no reason in that. So by the year 2000 I hope all these religions will run away from this Earth. All of them fighting for nothing at all, killing each other for nothing at all. They want, they want to fight, they like to fight. Why blame Koran? Why blame Bible? Why blame anyone? They want to fight. They are of divisive nature."

The Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Give Up Your Antichrist Behavior, Christmas Puja, Ganapatipule, India — December 25, 1996




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