QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1. What is a Gnostic Christian?
2. According to Jesus' teachings, what is the purpose of mortal existence?
3. How can I find this Garden of Delights?
4. How can I receive the Comforter?
5. What is the nature of change of life?
6. What is the purpose of Immersion?
7. What follows Immersion and the gift of the Holy Spirit?
1. WHAT IS A GNOSTIC CHRISTIAN?
Gnostic Christianity is a Way of Life based on the original teachings of Jesus Christ. A gnostic is a person who believes that salvation is gained through the acquisition of divine knowledge or gnosis. Gnostic Christians believe that the knowledge necessary for salvation has been revealed through Jesus Christ. Gnostics recognize that this world is subject to powers of darkness that distort our concept of reality. As Jesus explained, "The shadows of this world are perceived by mortals, and they think they know the Truth, but the Reality which casts the shadows is hidden from them, and they do not perceive the Light." (Sayings 2:2)
When gnostics speak of salvation, they mean being freed from these illusions of darkness so that they can perceive Reality. As Jesus said, "I tell you the truth when I say that only when you perceive shadows as shadows, and search the Light, will you perceive the Reality which is God." (IBID.) He also said, "If you continue to acquire gnosis through me and live by the principles I teach, you will be my true disciples. Then you will learn of Truth, and Truth will set you free." (Testimony of St. John 8:31-32)
While Jesus used symbolic parables to motivate his hearers to search for the knowledge of Truth, he privately entrusted to his disciples gnosis, experiential knowledge which they could share only with those who became their fellow disciples. On one occasion, Jesus said to his disciples,
It is your privilege to learn the mysteries of the realm of the Eloheim because you have entered the Covenant," Jesus replied, "but to those who remain outside the Covenant, Truth can be shown only in parables. This is because they live in a world of illusions and shadows where Truth is hidden from them. Only the shadow of Truth can reach them until they reject the lie and come into the Covenant of Light." *** In this way, Jesus used many parables to point their minds to the word, for the parables were all they were able to receive, but through the parables, some of them would have their minds opened and would begin to perceive the Inner Truth. When he was alone with his disciples, however, Jesus expounded these principles, unfolding before their minds greater Light and carrying them deeper into the mysteries of the spiritual realm. (Testimony of St. Mark 4:10-11, 26-27)
2. ACCORDING TO JESUS' TEACHINGS, WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF MORTAL EXISTENCE?
Jesus said, "Mortals have been created to dwell in the Garden of Delights. All else is death. Find that Garden where the Parents have placed the Fountain of Love, and you shall live forever in bliss." (Sayings 2:11)
3. HOW CAN I FIND THIS GARDEN OF DELIGHTS?
Concerning the Garden of Delights, Jesus said, "In Jehovah's Garden stands the holy Tree of Life. High in its branches sings a Bird. Listen for the voice of the Bird, for when you are properly aligned with heaven and earth, she will tell you all things.
This bird or dove is also called Sophia, the Holy Spirit, or the Comforter. (cf. Testimony of St. John 1:31) Jesus said, "When the Comforter has come, whom I will send to you, she will lead you into all Truth." (Sayings 3:5)
4. HOW CAN I RECEIVE THE COMFORTER?
At the Feast of Pentecost following the ascension of Jesus to the heavenly realm, St. Peter the Apostle addressed a congregation of Jews gathered in Jerusalem. During the course of his remarks, he said,
Each of you must change your manner of life and be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ, for the reversal of the effects of the illusion of separateness. Then you will receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts of the Apostles 2:38)
The Gift of the Holy Spirit or the Comforter can be received only by those who have changed their manner of life to conform to principles of Truth and been immersed.
5. WHAT IS THE NATURE OF CHANGE OF LIFE?
To change your manner of life means beginning to follow the Way Jesus taught, which is to apply principles of Truth in making your decisions. Jesus said,
You must put off your love of the lie, the false way of life followed by the children of this plane of existence, and be converted, changed so that you hate that which you have previously loved, and love that which you have previously hated. Then I will be able to show you all things, for there is nothing hidden which will not be manifested when you have put on the mind of Truth. (Sayings 1:11)
On another occasion, Jesus said, "Your minds must be cleared of the falsehoods of this realm if you are to be taught Eternal Truth." (Sayings 1:4)
Jesus referred to the experience of awakening to the falsehoods or illusions of mortal existence, realizing that they are misleading shadows of the Reality which is the realm of the Eloheim, as being born again. (cf. Sayings 2:2) To Nicodemus he said, "Unless a person is born again, he cannot see the realm of the Eloheim." (Testimony of St. John 3:3) Obviously, Jesus' concept of being born again was to have your mind opened to see the reality behind the shadows, which reality he called the realm of the Eloheim. Only with this perception can you realize the necessity to change your manner of life from following the shadows to following the Light of Christ and the Way he reveals.
6. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF IMMERSION?
True change of life is characterized not only by the forsaking of improper deeds, but replacing them with proper ones. St. John the Baptist declared, Change your manner of life, so that you do not perpetuate the wrongs you have been perpetrating. (Testimony of St. Matthew 3:35)
This change commences with immersion for the reversal of the effects of the illusion of separateness. (cf. Testimony of St. Mark 1:3; Testimony of St. Luke 3:3) When we say that immersion is for the reversal of the effects of the illusion of separateness, (cf. Acts of the Apostles 2:38) we mean that it washes away the effects of having followed the lie perpetrated by the gods of darkness that we are separate from one another, not all manifestations of the same Reality. It is a birth or resurrection into a new life in Christ, a life centered in following the Way of the Hidden Knowledge (gnosis) which he revealed. As St. Paul the Apostle explained it,
Don't you realize that each of us, who has been immersed into Jesus Christ, has been immersed into his death? 4When we are buried under the waters of immersion, we are being placed in the tomb with Jesus, so that we can start a new life when we are raised up from the water, just as Christ came alive again through the Light of the Father and Mother entering him. 5If we have been buried in the similitude of his death, we will also be lifted up to a new life in the similitude of his resurrection, 6for when we are immersed, the person we were is crucified with Jesus, so that our fallen nature is destroyed, and we cease to be slaves of darkness. (Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Branch of the Body of Christ in Rome 6:3-6)
Through immersion, we manifest to Jesus our intent to begin a new life centered in him and the Way he has revealed. He, in turn, accepts us into this new life with the assurance that we need not carry the effects of our old life with us.
WHAT FOLLOWS IMMERSION AND THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
The quest for knowledge never ends. When Mary of Bethany asked Jesus,
"Will the thirst for knowledge ever be quenched?" he replied, "When once you have drunk from the spring of knowledge, you will return again and again, for each time your thirst is satisfied, a new thirst will grow, greater than the first. The more you drink, the greater will be your desire to drink, but in the intensity of your desire, you will be filled. I tell you the truth when I say that whoever seeks will find, and the finding will cause him to seek, but in the seeking is hidden the meaning of Life." (Sayings 1:12)
Gnostic Christians have commenced following a Path of never ending increase in Knowledge, Enlightenment, Power, Peace, and every Divine Attribute. They are led along this Path by those disciples who have preceded them, a chain of initiates going back to Jesus himself. At the beginning of each month, these words of the Christ are read in the congregations of his gnostic disciples,
Constant renewal and constant rededication are the lifeblood of the Body of Christ. Change of life is the Eternal quest for radiant Light. Look up, my children. There are worlds of knowledge which do not even glimmer on your horizon. Universes are unfolding beyond your perception. Worlds being born, dying, being renewed in Light are your heritage. Come, my children; take your place among the stars. Let the Deity within you blaze up. Become in reality the Children of Light. Your beginning was in Light; your end no mortal knows, but the Path lies before you, for I, myself, have walked it as a mortal, and if you follow me, your Way will flow eternally through Endless Light and Truth. (Book of Covenants 1985-4:9)
Jesus' challenge to his disciple Nathaniel is equally pertinent to us today. "Don't fear the acquisition of knowledge, for that which you learn now will bless you in the life that is coming." (Sayings 3:6) He might have added that those blessings begin when we enter the Way, for it is a new life filled with the Power and Peace of the Eloheim through the gifts of Jesus Christ our Lord. As St. Paul described it,
When a person begins to live in Christ, he becomes a new person. All the old things that characterized him are gone, and everything becomes different, 18because he begins to develop within himself the divine nature of the Eloheim, who have reconciled us to the Gods through Jesus Christ. (Second Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Branch of the Body of Christ in Corinth 5:17-18)
The Eloheim offer us every gift and power which they, themselves, possess. To receive these gifts, we must seek the hidden knowledge (gnosis) so that we can walk in the Way it unfolds before us. We, who are disciples of Jesus, hope to share with you this gnosis, so that you can join us in ascending the Path of the Eloheim and enter with us into the Garden of Delights to drink from the Fountain of Love and live forever in bliss. (cf. Sayings 2:11)
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