Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
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And there was there a water spring to which the apostle went and baptized Magdonian in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.


PART l of this study introduced the discovery, recovery and translation of the GOSPEL OF JUDAS, and some of the historical details and literature available. (Erickson 28 June 2006) This is PART 2 in the series to provide a commentary on this Gospel from the standpoint of Mormon Doctrine perceived to be alluded to in the ancient texts. We will continue to use the translation and comments assembled by Kasser and others. (Kasser)


Kasser in his translation and study of the Gospel of Judas divided the Gospel into three Scenes.  SCENE 1: Jesus dialogues with his disciples. The prayer of thanksgiving or the Eucharist was the subject of PART 1 in this series of four commentaries that will discuss the GOSPEL OF JUDAS from an LDS point of view. (Erickson 28 June 2006)  At the close of SCENE 1, Jesus had rather abruptly left the disciples. SCENE 2 picks up “At Dawn of the Next day.” (Kasser p. 24)  The number in brackets [37] refers to the system used in translating the Coptic texts and is used for ready reference to portions of the document prepared by Kasser. Words in brackets with dots, indicating missing letters or words, are supplied by Kasser or Ehrman when a gap in the text occurs. They do the best they can to reconstruct the thought. The text of the GOSPEL OF JUDAS is provided in bold letters.    

In the body of the text of the Gospel of Judas there are sometimes key words or phrases, most often from or in the original Greek text before the addition and deletions by copiests. Most translators of the text provide the nearest English translation of the key words or phrases, in most instances, Kasser has noted that a more exact translation is somewhat different in meaning, and often provides this translation in a footnote. Most of the time when he does this the meaning for LDS interpretations is profound.  These are very important for opening doors into Mormon Doctrine.


     The next morning, (actually ‘at dawn of the next day”) after this happened; Jesus [appeared] to his disciples again.  They said to him, “Master, where did you go and what did you do when you left us.” Jesus said to them, “I went to another great and holy generation.”  His disciples said to him, “Lord, what is the great generation that is superior to us and holier than us, that is not now in these realms?” When Jesus heard this, he laughed and said to them, “Why are you thinking in your hearts about the strong and holy generation? [37]

The Gospel of Judas is an account of episodes and meetings of brief exchanges of Jesus, the twelve and Judas, the three or four days before he celebrated the Passover, which was on Thursday evening. SCENE 2 is the second day of the three days included in the text. (Kasser p. 19) So it was probably on Wednesday.  But this Scene raises a question is another day is involved.

The disciples want to know where he went and what he had done. Kasser maintains that the implication in the wording of the reply Jesus hints that “he went beyond this world to another realm, apparently the spiritual realm of that generation.” (Kasser p. 24, FN 30) Perhaps this has to be modified in light of Mormon doctrine.

Nibley points out that the post-resurrection teachings of the 40 Days Christ spent with the disciples after the resurrection taken together comprise an imposing doctrinal edifice…“It begins with the most natural question to ask anyone returning to earth after being away: Where did you go and what did you see? The Lord’s discourse [or answers] in reply recalls the journeys to worlds above and below recounted by the prophets and patriarchs of the Old Jewish apocrypha.” (Nibley p. 43) This includes the Pseudepigrapha.  This is a Gnostic text, and it is directly related to the discoveries of the many tractates of the Nag Hammadi find. It follows the pattern found in other texts of similar character and some will be referred to in this commentary.

He answers their questions as to where he had gone the previous evening until he returned to them at dawn of the next day. Jesus tells the disciples he “went to ANOTHER great generation.” By implication they get the impression that great generation is superior to them and holier, but that that generation had ONCE BEEN in the mortal realm but they are NOT NOW in these mortal realms.  On the day of Jesus’ death we know that he spent the evening of his death, which was Friday, the following Saturday, and part of Sunday until his resurrection near 5:30 in the morning, visiting the “vast multitude” of the “noble and great ones”, the “just ones”  (D&C 138:12-15) ; who waited for him expectantly in the world of spirits, and “there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on condition of repentance.” (D&C 138:18-19)  Then after his resurrection we have considerable detail of his appearances and teachings for the next 40 days, (Nibley pp. 33-44) and nearly eleven months after his resurrection he appeared to the Nephites. (3 Ne Chap 11) So, who might he have visited before his death and resurrection?  Jesus later in the text uses the expression “taken up” that expression will guide us in our commentary because those words imply a plausible answer. .

Two groups, at least, come to mind, (1) the translated beings of the City of Enoch who soon after the resurrection of Christ would themselves be changed into resurrected beings. “And men having this faith coming up unto this order of God were translated and taken into heaven.” (Inspired Version Genesis 14:32-34; McConkie 1966, pp 804-808) Did he visit the translated beings of Enoch’s time to explain details of what he had already anciently shown Enoch? “That through his faith Enoch SAW THE DAYS OF THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN IN THE FLESH” (Moses 7:47) This seventh chapter of Moses recounts details of what Enoch saw and the intimate a knowledge he had of the last days of Christ, even his ascent unto the Father the morning of his resurrection, (Moses 7:59) after the episode with Mary Magdalene at the garden tomb. And might the other group be the one John Taylor mentions after he has summarized Enoch’s knowledge of these essential events in the life of Christ saying “…so great was the faith and righteousness of Enoch and his people, that the Lord came down and dwelt with them, and in process of time Enoch’s City, Zion, was taken up in heaven.” (Taylor p. 79) Or as we understand it, they were “Translated.” (2) Did Jesus also visit the peoples of Melchizedek?  Speaking of the Inspired Translation of the Bible by Joseph Smith, John Taylor said: “it would seem that this people [the people of Melchizedek] possessed the power of Translation, and that they “obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, or which was before translated.” (Taylor p. 85)  Does this suggest that Melchizedek and his people may have joined the City of Enoch, so Christ, if he visited the City, visited both groups of people? Certainly they qualify as the holiest generation. Or is there some other group that does? Perhaps he visited some other holy generation about which we now know nothing. There are references to individuals and other who were “holy men”…“Who sought for the City of Enoch but found it not because of wickedness and abominations and confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth; but obtained a promise that they should find it and see it in their flesh.” (D&C 45:11-14; Heb ll:11-16) Whatever, those he did visit had been on earth before and were considered most holy. Could there any more holy than these translated beings? Within a week of this episode recorded in the Gospel of Judas, Christ would be crucified, conduct his affairs in the Spirit world, ascend to God, and be resurrected, and soon after so would translated beings, but not all of them, John, the three Nephites, to name a few, remain, serving the lord as translated beings. (McConkie 1966 pp. 804-808)

    Truly [I] say to you, no one born [of] this aeon will see that [generation], and no host of angels of the stars will rule over that generation, and no person of mortal birth can associate with it, because that generation does not come from […] which has become […] .  The generation of people among [you] is from the generation of humanity [...] power, which […the] other powers […]by […] by [which] you rule.”

     When [his] disciples heard this, they each were troubled in spirit. They could not say a word.

These new teachings of Christ were bewildering to the disciples. If the Holy Generation are translated beings, and within a week or so they are going to be changed in the twinkling of an eye into resurrected beings, then it would be quite clear that those born of this aeon, or generation, at the time of Christ would not see that Holy Generation, that generation  would be Celestialized and not accessible by mortals, mortals who would depart this mortal sphere to occupy the spirit world to await their own resurrection. They would not be capable of visiting translated or Celestialized beings.

Because of missing lines and words, Kasser had difficulty in reconstructing this part of the Gospel of Judas. But here Jesus tells something more about that Holy Generation, “no host of angels of the stars will rule over that generation.”  What is the “host of angels of the stars?” Later he is going to tell them that they, the twelve, are going to rule over the generations of humanity. [Israel] (D&C 64:37-39; Rev. 2:2) Isn’t he here affirming the doctrine that the twelve Apostles of the Lamb are going to be the Judges of Israel?  Doesn’t their calling and service, their priesthood and their power permit them to do this?  Judas was one of the twelve. He was involved with the twelve in the pre-existence. He will not be among the twelve any longer after his betrayal. He will be replaced.

In the vision Lehi saw of the descent of Christ and the Twelve, what kind of pre-existent doctrine does this express?  “And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day. And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament. And they came down and went forth on the face of the earth.” (l Nephi l:9-11) Think of what Judas lost! We know that Michael assisted Christ in the creations of all the worlds. Had the Twelve Apostles also been involved since they began creating mortal earths? Some of them at least had a service to render. Who were the three men of glory who appeared to Adam?  “For I saw three men before me whose appearance I could not recognize…. ‘Arise Adam, out of the sleep of death, [forgetfulness] And hear about the aeon and the seed of that man to whom life has come, who came forth from you and from Eve your consort.” This certainly is a reference to Christ’s coming.  (Foerster p. 17)

Peculiar elements are contained in these statements of Jesus. One is that ‘no host of angels of the stars will rule.”  Recall the question the Lord posed to Job: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundation of the earth…..when the MORNING STARS sang together, and all sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 39:7)  Two groups are represented here. The Morning Stars, the early born in the spirit world, and the others who are all the rest of the spirits, called the ‘sons of God’. And there is a reference to the “third part of the hosts of heaven” who followed Lucifer (D&C 29:36) are called by John “the third part of the stars of heaven.” (Rev. 12:4) Isaiah states that Lucifer threatened to “ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…I will be like the most High.” Lucifer clearly wants to rule. (Isaiah 14:12-14; McConkie p. 766) Jesus emphatically states that none of these are going to rule!  Only Mormons familiar with the doctrine that Christ is THE MORNING STAR, the earliest born, the First Born, who rules all, and stands next to the Father could understand this passage in Job, and only they can approach an understanding of the implication in the Gospel of Judas. The early born are called MORNING STARS. This is in keeping with the doctrine and understanding of the phrase “Lucifer, ‘A MORNING STAR’, therefore one who was early born, and “an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God,’ a leader and personage of great power. He fell, “and the heavens wept over him.” (D&C 76: 25-26) A version of this event is recorded in the Nag Hammadi text of the Apocryphon of Johnnas: “But the when the mother had recognized the veil of darkness because he was not created perfect and she knew that her partner did not agree with her she repented [grieved] with much weeping and the whole Pleroma [heavens] heard the prayer of her repentance [grieving] and praised for her sake.” (Giversen p. 73) Again, compare this with “And he was called Perdition, for the heavens wept over him-he was Lucifer, a SON OF THE MORNING” (D&C 76:26) So, an ‘angel of the Stars’ or an early born, could rule over others. But in the case of the generation Jesus had visited, they would be ruled by Jesus not any of the others having authority who were early born would rule. Here we recall the opening line of the verses in Isaiah: “How you have fallen from heaven, bright morning star.” (Isaiah 14:12-14) The author making this  quote goes on to clarify that expression:  “This ‘bright morning star,’ or perhaps more literally translated from the Hebrew ‘Hedel ben-shabar,’  bright son of the morning,” (Russell p. 195) Again implying one who was early born in the spirit world or pre-existent world, an early born son!.

The EARLY BORN, often called MORNING STARS, were the elect, held back to come to this earth, they were the great and noble ones. Among them were the noblest: Christ, Michael, Eve and Mary, et al. Abraham had been shown the “intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the NOBLE AND GREAT ONES.” (Abraham 3: 22)  These were going to come through Abraham. His lineage would provide the mortal bodies for these great beings. But before Abraham there were other groups, holy and “superior and “NOT NOW with us.” This could not be speaking of those dying and going into the spirit world. They were in a different realm.  The holy generation Jesus was referring to was in a different realm altogether. A translated realm? Not accessible by mortals? But accessible by Jesus!


     Another day Jesus came up to [them].  They said to  [him]. “Master we have seen you in a [vision], for we have had great [dreams…]night […].

The reference to ‘another day’ makes it difficult to place when that could have been. It appears to be a different day than the day that followed when he returned from visiting the realm of the holy generation. If this was another day, then there were four days, not three that accommodated these episodes of Jesus meeting with the twelve and/ or Judas.

So, on another occasion Jesus came up to them. To him they say that had seen him in a vision, a great dream, received in the night, akin to visions others have had. Is this an insertion by the compiler of the ancient document? On what day could this event have taken place?

[He said], “Why have [you…when] –you- have gone into hiding ?” [38]

The gaps in the text make it difficult to reconstruct the content of this sentence

Is this an oblique reference of when they will depart in panic from the Garden at the time of his arrest and betrayal when all the disciples fled? (Kasser p. 23, N 34)


     They [said, “We have seen] a great [house ] with a [large] altar [in it, and] twelve men-they are the priests, we would say-and a name; and a crowd of people is waiting at that altar, [until] the priests […and receive] the offerings. [But] we kept waiting.”  

Kasser in his commentary fills in the words ‘house with a large altar in it.’  The impression is that the ‘house’ is a temple.  It is a great one.  They see an altar; a crowd of people are waiting at or around the altar.  What are they seeing? What is the crowd doing? In which or what temple?  The sacrificial altar of the Jerusalem temple with which they were familiar has the great four horned sacrificial altar, however it is  “outside” the temple and equipped for animal sacrifices, including implements for the process, wood for the burning, blood drainage systems and so forth. The ‘altar’ they see in their vision, which in part perplexes them, is ‘inside’ the temple. It apparently not the same type of temple or altar they are used to.  They see twelve men, in authority, or assuming authority,  with a crowd of people waiting at that altar, until the priests do something, Kasser says “receive” but the previous reference is to something going on that the crowd does or participates in that requires ‘a name’. To invoke the name of Christ is to be in some act of prayer or ceremonial activity. Is this a prayer circle?  The temple going LDS member will recognize the picture that emerges here, the central or main altar, the crowd that assembles around it, the authority of priest officiating at that point, and the use of name or names and the invoking of a special prayer, or ceremony. No temple going Mormon would miss this. What other Christian Church knows what is going on?

Only Peter, James,  and John had their own endowments at this time. (2 Pet l.) These had been obtained on the Mount of Transfiguration. (McConkie p. 109) The other nine including Judas as yet had not received their endowments, but eight of them along with the replacement for Judas, Barnabas, would receive their endowments during the 40 days Christ remained with them. Christ would officiate for them. Among the Gnostic works was a little known epistle by Barnabas. (Grant p. 8) That he did so is easily understood from the documentary discoveries made in the last six decades. Nibley points out in detail this imparting of secret doctrine and sacred ordinances in his writings. “The oldest definition of the Gnostics specifies that it was the knowledge imparted secretly by the Lord to the Apostles after the Resurrection. The Gnostic claimed to have that very knowledge.” (Nibley p. 43)  What did that knowledge include that would be recognizable only to Temple going LDS members?  Certainly it would include “the ‘knowledge of the WAY’, a detailed ascent procedure. i.e., of the sacraments [ordinances] to be performed now, of the ‘names’ to be employed later when the ascending spirit meets the powers after leaving the body at death.” (Jonas p. 272) “The extension of the right hand between the priest and the neophyte…performed in all ceremonies and has a special sanctity.” (Foerster p. 131)  “There are angels and gods appointed there, by whom they cannot pass.” D&C 132:18) “You must have the name. Or names, as it states, in order to pass those that are set there. …and whatever ritual or ethical preparation may assure this future passage…the ‘secrets of the way’….the ascent doctrine in its details…the itinerary and adventures or the soul on this occasion lead through the complete order in reversal of the primordial fall.” (Jonas p. 272)  Mormons know what is going on here, no one else does.  

Early Christians living along the Jordan River were permitted to escape the carnage of the Tenth Roman Legion when Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews scattered; the Great Diaspora,  about 70 AD.  This group immigrated into Iran; there they eventually became known as the Mandean, which means Baptists.  A brief quote or two from their traditions recovered during the 1920’s, may indicate what the early Christians knew about certain privileged doctrines and temple ordinances:  “The older writings make frequent mention of the term maskna. ‘abode,  temple’, a word which goes back to the Hebrew name of the tabernacle....[here] the cult life runs its course, and to this belong above all baptism (masbita), mass [rites] for the dead (masiqta, carried out in the mandi [temple] only’, consecration of priests and bishops, weddings, [for the living and the dead!] and festival rites. The most important ceremonies and also the oldest are baptism and the ‘ascent of the soul ceremonies’ …there was “an anointing with oil, the offering of the sacrament of bread (pihta) and water, and the ‘sealing’ of the neophyte. Both parts are always concluded by the extension of the right hand between the priest and the neophyte. …Since the journey of the soul leads through dangerous demonic spheres certain guarantees are required which involve more than those things which accompany the soul, like baptism, the sign, the name, and good works.” (Foerster pp. 131-133)  I think it is clear to those who are knowledgeable or who have attended a Mormon Temple Ceremony will know what this is all about and what is going on. It is also clear that the writer who abridged or assembled the three Scenes in the Gospel of Judas, knew more than he was willing or wanted to write about, but his choice of words permits us to examine the ancient documents for what they really say, and they say more to an LDS member than any others on this earth.    

Nibley, with copious footnotes identifying ancient sources, provides an effective summary: “…in early Christian literature on the doctrine of the Two Ways, depicting life as a time of probation, a constant confrontation with good and evil and the obligation to choose between them. This is conceived as part of a plan laid down ‘in the presence of the first angels’ at the creation of the world, according to which through Adam’s fall the human race would be placed in the position envied by the angels, of being perfectly free to choose good or evil and thereby fully merit the plan whatever rewards would follow. Satan [because the demons have a counter plan] rebelled against the plan, refused obeisance to Adam, and was cast down upon the earth with his cohorts, to fulfill divine purpose by providing, as ‘the serpent,’ the temptation necessary for an effectual testing of human beings.” (Nibley p. 43)

“In the Apocalypse of Abraham, discovered in 1863, Abraham builds an alter, and they stand in the circle around the alter; Abraham raises his hands and says: El, El, El, Jaoel,” which means, ‘Jehovah, receive the words of my mouth’.” (Murin p. 17)  To an LDS this is more than just interesting.  

“In 1898, just a year after the Apocalypse of Abraham was published to the world by Bonwetsch, two latter-day Saint students made the first English translation…which appeared in the first volume of the Improvement Era…The Apocalypse of Abraham belongs to a Body of Abraham literature flourishing about the time of Christ.” (Nibley Vol. 14, pp. 11-12)   One quote will suffice. “Satan appears to Abraham while he is sacrificing and commands his obedience. Abraham, perplexed, asks the angel (also present), ‘What is this my Lord?’ and the angel tells him, ‘This is ungodliness, this is Azazel [Satan].’ Satan has threatened to possess the bodies of Abraham’s posterity, and the angel rebukes him: ‘For God …hath not permitted that the bodies of the righteous should be in thy hand.’ He then casts Satan out, telling him that God has placed enmity between him and Abraham “Depart from this man!. Thou canst not lead him astray, because he is an enemy to thee, and of those who follow thee and love what thou willest.’ i.e. the spirits that follow Satan.” (Nibley Vol 14,  p. 18) Who understands this? Only the LDS who have attained their ordinances in the Temple! The Temple Ceremony is a restoration of ancient practices and doctrines, until the ancient documents were recovered there was not way to prove this, now the evidence is stark and vivid.

      [Jesus said], “What are [the priests] like?”

     They [said], “Some…]two weeks [some] sacrifice their own children, others their wives, in praise [and] humility with each other; some sleep with men; some are involved in [slaughter]; some commit a multitude of sins and deeds of lawlessness. And the men who stand [before] the altar invoke your [name], [39] and in all the deeds or their deficiency, the sacrifices are brought in completion […].” 

     After they said this, they were quiet, for they were troubled.

Most of the texts of the Nag Hammadi collection were written in Greek, and most of them were available around 120 to 150 or so AD. They were then translated in to Coptic dialects such as Sahidic and Subachmimic, (Robinson 2000, p. 5) and then over the next nearly two and half centuries were copied with perverted and bazaar additions made to the texts and doctrines were altered. It is clear from the Gospel of Judas that apostasy was creeping in, and the account of the temple vision indicates the extremity that apostasy would reach. Look what Paul had to say in his day: These “are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:13) That was about three decades after Christ was crucified. The Gospel of Judas was prepared nearly one hundred years after the death of Christ.

In the vision, the priests at the Altar would be false priest, even perhaps claiming early on but later dropped, that they were equivalent or even the elect twelve, and officiating at the altar, which became so perverted that the deficiency is recognized by the nature of the deeds of some of those involved. The future was to bring forth a depraved humanity that would sacrifice children, wives, and turn to homosexual involvement, slaughter in the name of Christ, and sins and deeds of every lawlessness.  It reminds one of the apostasies that Mormon recorded about 375 AD: in the Book of Mormon:   “the Lamanites…had sacrificed their women and their children.” (Mormon 4:5-19)  This was almost at the same time the apostasy was reaching it zenith in the eastern hemisphere.

The use of the word ‘deficiency’ is interesting. It is found in the Sethian teachings. The Sethians were the ‘immovable race’, they who kept the knowledge of the way in a perfect sense. (Erickson 9 Aug 2004)  Of the more than 50 men working with James M Robinson on translating documents and works of the Nag Hammadi (Robinson pp 15-17), one was killed, and because of a close friendship, Robinson sent me a lot of documents that was part of that man’s assignment, they were all on Seth and the Sethians. A future study will submit more material on the Sethians. But in the above texts the word ‘deficiency’ is used to mean the ‘lack of divine light and knowledge’ and can be traced to the fall and loss of wisdom, which in many of the Gnostic Texts is called ‘Sophia.’ (Kasser p. 26, FN 43)  The LDS will recognize this phrase and particularly the words ‘light and knowledge’ for that is the quest of the LDS who are seeking from the divine source ‘further light and knowledge.’


     Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled? Truly I say to you, all the priests who stand before that altar invoke my name. Again I say to you, my name has been written on this […] of the generations of the stars through the human generations. [and they] have plant trees without fruit, in my name, in a shameful manner.”

Of the generations of the stars [the early born] through the human generations of mankind, many will apostatize, plant trees, organize churches without fruit, in the name of Jesus in a shameful manner. What did the Father and the Son tell Joseph in the theophany of the grove? Joseph had asked which of the churches was the true church. To his surprise  “I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage [Christ] who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (Joseph Smith 1:19)  In the words of Kasser: “This reference to planting trees without fruit, in the name of Jesus, seems to be an indictment of those who preach in the name of Jesus but proclaim a gospel without fruitful content.” (Kasser p. 27, FN 43)  To this Mormons would agree.

The same image of trees bearing or not bearing fruit is found in the Revelation of Adam 76, 85.” (Kasser p. 27, FN 46) “Jesus interprets what the disciples have seen at the Temple as a metaphor for erroneous religious instruction, apparently in the emerging Orthodox Church. The priests are the disciples, and perhaps their successor in the “Church, and the animals led to the slaughter are the victims of the improper religious observance in the Church.” (Kasser p. 27, FN 46) To this we would agree.  It was noted above that Paul had called them “false apostles”. (2 Cor. 11:13)

Jesus said to them.  “Those you have seen receiving the offerings at the altar-that is who you are.  That is the god you serve, and you are those twelve men you have seen. The cattle you have seen brought for sacrifice are the many people you lead astray […] [40] before that altar. […] will stand and make use of my name in this way, and generations of the pious will remain loyal to him. After him, another man will stand there from [the fornicators], and another [will] stand there from slayers of children, and another from those who sleep with men, and those who abstain, and the test of the people of pollution and lawlessness and error, and those who say, ‘We are the angels’; they are the stars that bring everything to its conclusion. For to the human generations it has been said, “Look, God has received your sacrifice from the hands of a priest’-that is, a minister of error. But it is the Lord, the Lord of the universe. Who commands, ‘On the last day they will be put to shame.” [41]

Jesus tells them in the future there will be those who occupy the office of the priests who will be fornicators, homosexuals, but the people, while being tested, are polluted, and their ministers are those completely in error. The forward reach of the vision is filled with the optimism that the Lord of the Universe, the one who really commands, will, in the last days put all the error to shame. “The chief means of extrication, the counteraction to the power of the world, is the communication of knowledge…—a conception of human history as the growing ingression of knowledge in the generations of man, and this requires  revelation, as a necessary vehicle of its progress. The need for revelation is inherent in the paralyzed innercosmic condition of the captive spirit, and its occurrence alters that condition.” (Jonas p. 270)  The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is exactly that, a revelation to relieve the paralyzed condition man found itself in at the time of Joseph Smith. His revelations have altered the condition of man on earth and revived the bonds of communication with the divine. Most of the conditions enunciated by Christ are the conditions of the world in the First Century, at the time of Joseph Smith  and this current century.  

     Jesus said [to them[, “Stop sac[rificing… which you have […]over the altar, since they are over your stars and your angels and have already come to their conclusion there. So let them be [ensnared] before you, and let them go [--about] 15 lines missing…] generations […] A baker cannot feed all creation under [heaven].  And […] to them […] and […] to us and […].

Kasser’s commentary is also appropriate here. His insights are interesting as they follow the thinking of the LDS community. “ …the text seems to suggest that the leaders of the emerging Orthodox Church are immoral in their own lives and are endangering the lives of the children of God and leading them into spiritual death.” (Kasser p. 28, FN 50) “…At the end of time, the leaders of the emerging Orthodox Church will be punished for their acts of impiety.” (Kasser p. 28, FN 54) “…Jesus seems to indicate that the leaders of the emerging Orthodox Church are strong, but their time is coming to an end.” (Kasser p. 28, FN 55)  Again, the above comments are justified by the implications of the closing line just before [41]: “On the last day they will be put to shame.”  The ‘last days’ is understood to refer to the present condition and times of the world.

The ‘end of time’ and ‘the last day’ are expressions familiar to the LDS member because these terms are associated with the restoration of all things in the last days, the fullness of time, the restoration of all things preparing for the winding up scene and return of Christ. The Church claims it is the receptacle of all the laws, powers, and ordinances ever given to man before in preparation for the final scenes on earth.  Christ will deal with those who corrupted his doctrines and organization.

Commentary on some of the contents is almost impossible because of the large gaps in the text.  

     Jesus said to them, “Stop struggling with me. Each of you has his own star, and every [body]—about 17 lines missing--] in […] who has come […spring]for the tree […] of this aeon […] for a time […] but  he has come to water God’s paradise, and the [generation] that will last, because [he] will not defile the [walk of life of ] that generation,  but […] for all eternity.”

Writers are in agreement that there is an influence on some of the texts from Plato’s Timaeus. (Kasser p. 29, FN 59) Believing and knowing the gospel is eternal and has been available in detail in dispensations before, and in fact off and on for some 3500 years or more before Plato, we would suggest that Plato got some of his ideas from the gospel certainly from documents that might have been available to him. At his time a lot of old teachings could have been available. The one Kasser refers to here is the renewal of the idea that the ‘Creator ‘assigned each soul to a star’” or a guardian angel. McConkie would say that not everyone has a guardian angel, but most latter day saints may have one. Actually, all LDS members have the companion ship of one of the God Head, which is even better, the incomparable companionship of the Holy Ghost. (Kasser p. 29, FN 59)

Inherent in what is available in this deficient text, there is a hint of those who overcome the walk of life, participate in the watering of God’s paradise where the Tree of Everlasting life is present and will be partakers of the fruit of that tree, and that generation will last.  The more complete translation, given by Kasser in a footnote for the expression at the end of the paragraph: “for all eternity,” is a common one used by LDS members, especially in connection with the Temple where they are “Married for All Eternity.” However, there is a deeper meaning in the usage of the term in the Nag Hammadi texts where it should have been translated correctly but wasn’t. As Kasser points out:  for all eternity’, literally means “from everlasting to everlasting!” (Kasser p. 29, FN 65) 

This is a favorite expression of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Throughout the teachings and writings and revelations of Joseph were such expressions as Everlasting as a name for Christ;  Endless, Eternal, the everlasting hills, everlasting life, Everlasting Covenants, Everlasting Father, Everlasting God, Everlasting Gospel, Everlasting Damnation, Everlasting Hell, Everlasting King, Everlasting Punishment, Everlasting Torment, and the most favorite of the Prophet was: “Everlasting to Everlasting.” (D&C 61:l; Ps 90:2; McConkie pp. 242-244)  But most members of the Church will think of the usage of this term as expressing the fulfillment of all expectations--Exaltation, of having glory and bearing seed forever; having eternal life, becoming  “Gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue” (D&C 132:19-20)  Who would expect to find a single expression in this distorted assembly of ancient texts with so much depth, a teaching so profound that it reflects the deepest expectations of all Temple going Mormons and the most enduring teaching of the Church and one of Joseph’s most glorious utterances? President Hinckley declared that “no member of the Church has received the ultimate which this Church has to give until he or she has received his or her temple blessings in the house of the Lord.” (Sperry p. 109)  President Monson has affirmed: “that the construction of temples ‘is the ultimate mark of maturity’ of the church in a given area.” (Sperry p. 109)  President Woodruff recalled instructions given by the Prophet Joseph March 26, 1844:  “He [Joseph] stood upon his feet some three hours. The room was filled as with consuming fire, his face was as clear as amber, and he was clothed on by the power of God…”I have had sealed upon my head every key, every power, every principles of life and salvation that God has ever given to any man who ever lived upon the face of the earth…Now,” said he addressing the Twelve, “I have sealed upon your heads every key, every power and every principle which the Lord has sealed upon my head…I tell you, the burden of this kingdom now rests upon your shoulders; you have to  bear it off in all the world, and if you don’t do it you will be damned.” (Sperry p. 119) And they have done it and are doing it! We therefore know “that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal from everlasting to everlasting, the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them.” (D&C 20:17)


     Judas said to[him, “Rabb]i, what kind of fruit does this generation produce.

     Jesus said, “The souls of every human generation will die. When these people, however, have completed the time of the kingdom and the spirit leaves them, their bodies will die but their souls will be alive, and they will be taken up.”

Here the compiler of the Gospel of Judas tells that Judas now asks the questions, we do not know who has been voice in the earlier discussions, but it is Judas who makes this inquiry. For the meaning of ‘Rabbi’ as Judas may have used see the treatment of ‘Rabbonah’ (Alma 18:11-13) in Letters to the King of Mari, (Feb 2008). Judas may have been using an expression more fitting to the status of Jesus as one of the Godhead, and it may have been intended that way. Rabbonah, meaning, Great, Chief, Diety!

Is Judas trying to learn or see what Jesus may say of him or what may happen to him if he carries forth his intent to betray the Christ, an arrangement he has already made at this point? In PART 111, Judas will find out something about his fate after Jesus makes a final attempt to sway him to take a different course. Jesus reasserts that the holy generation before referred to will be or were translated. The souls of every human generation will otherwise die, their spirit separate and go into the spirit world. There is a conflict here between the idea that the “human generation will die,” and the reference to who will be translated, because translated beings do not die, they are ‘taken up’. Those are the two key words in the answer to the interrogatory. The mystery of translation may have been intended to be implied here, or the text is not preserved correctly.

Speaking again of that ‘holy generation’ an essential doctrine is enunciated here. The soul is comprised of the spirit of man in a mortal body, at death the spirit separates from the body, the spirit leaves, normally at death the spirit then goes to one of the geographic areas of the spirit world which includes a paradise area for the righteous who have ordinances, or to go to a detention place for those who are entitled to have vicarious work performed for them and where they will await that work to be complete, so they may join those in paradise, or to one of the places reserved for those for special consideration, especially those before the days of Noah and those who killed the prophets. But we need here to clarify some doctrine. Spirit beings are souls; the two terms are synonymous. The spirits in pre-existence were souls. (Abra. 3:23) After the Spirit leaves the body and goes into the spirit world to wait the day of the resurrection, it is still designated as a soul. (Alma 40:11-14) A mortal Soul, however, consists of a body and a spirit, united in a temporary or mortal union. The natural body is the house or tabernacle of the eternal soul or spirit. “The Gods formed man from the dust of the ground, and took his spirit (that is, the man’s spirit), and put in into him; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” (Abra. 5:7)  But an immortal soul is a resurrected personage, one who has been raised from mortality to immortality, one for whom body and spirit have become inseparably connected. (McConkie p. 748)  “And the spirit and the body are the soul of man. And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul.” (D&C 88:15-16; Alma 40:23)  This will help put in perspective some aspects that will be dealt with in future Parts of this commentary.

But it seems that something is incorrect in this account because the spirit of a Translated Being is not separated from the body, rather the body is changed into that of a Translated Being. The key words here that suggests the reference to translated beings is the expression ‘they will be taken up!’.  Elijah the prophet was translated: “Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death. (D&C 110:13) Enoch was first shown a vision of his own and his people’s translation: “and he beheld, and lo, Zion, in process of time was taken up into heaven.” (Moses 7:21) And then later “and after that Zion was taken up into heaven,” (Moses 7:23)  Either the writer was mistaken when he said they would die first, or some one less informed has amended the text, or the writer was less informed than we think he was. But to use the expression “they will be taken up” generally means they will be translated or were translated, and understood to be so by an LDS reader.

Jesus does correctly state that the fruit of the present generation of the Apostles will be to die because their fruit is not sufficient to permit their enjoying the doctrine of translation, except in the case of John the beloved, who was translated.

     Judas said, “And what will the rest of the human generations do?”

     Jesus said, “It is impossible to sow seed on [rock] and harvest its fruit. [this] is also the way […] the [defiled] generation […] and corruptible Sophia […] the hand that has created mortal people, so that their souls go in to the eternal realms above [truly] I say to you, […] angel […]power will be able to see that […] these to whom […] holy generations […].”

Judas persists in his inquiry. Jesus tells him what may be a specific reference to the status of Judas that he is a rock on which the attempt to sow seed failed, and this failure places Judas in a position to be considered a defiled person or a member of the generation who have corrupted wisdom (Sophia), because Judas was one who had been in on the ‘know’, the inside track, in the intimate circle around Christ, participating in all that he taught. More will be said about this in PART 111.   

The normal human generation will die and go into the eternal realms above. For those who have not heard the gospel arrangements will be made. (D&C 138:32-35, 57)  Christ had already alluded to Judas when he said: “and cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 25:30) the expression “outer darkness” generally refers to those who are sons of perdition. Later Luke was to write “Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” (Acts 1:25)  And Jesus concluded when talking to the Father: “Those thou gavest me I have kept, none of them is lost, but the son of perdition that the scriptures might be fulfilled.”  (John 17:12) For an account of what actually happened to Judas after he betrayed Christ see Kraut. (Kraut pp. 113-117)  

     After Jesus said this, he departed.

The Gospel of Judas takes for granted that after the Wednesday meeting with the Twelve there was a time when Judas and Christ had a one-on-one discussion as will be seen in PART 111 of this commentary. When and where this took place is not known. But it seems that Christ, at least, was staying in Bethany less than an hours walk from Jerusalem. We do not have any accounts as to where the twelve stayed during this last week of Christ’s mortal existence.  


FOERSTER,  Werner,  Gnosis, A Selection of Gnostic Texts Vo. 11. Coptic and Mandean Sources, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1974

GIVERSEN, Soren, Apocryphon Johannis, Prostant Apud Munksgaard, Copenhagen, Denmark 1963

GRANT, R.M., Ghosticism and Early Christianity, Columbia University Press, New York, 1959

………………Ed., Gnosticism, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1961

HOLZAPFEL, Richard N. & Thomas A. Wayment Eds., From the Last Supper through the Resurrection, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah 2003

KASSER, Rodolphe, Marvin Meyer, and Gregor Wurst Eds.,  with additional commentary by Bart D. Ehrman, The Gospel of Judas, from the Codex Tchacos,  National Geographic, Washington, D.C. 2006

MCCONKIE, Bruce R., A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1985

…………………………Mormon Doctrine, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, Utah 1966

MUREN, Joseph C., The Temple and its Significance, Temple Publications, Ogden, Utah 1974

NIBLEY, Hugh, When the Lights Went Out, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Ut., 1976

…………………Abraham In Egypt, Vol. 14, FARMS, Provo, Utah, & Deseret Book                                      Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 2000

ROBINSON, James M.,  The Secrets of Judas, Harper San Francisco, Calif. 2006

………………………The Coptic Gnostic Library, Vol.1 , Brill Leiden Boston Koln 2000

………………………The Nag Hammadi Codices, Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, Ca., 1974

SPERRY, Sidney B., Joseph Smith and the Doctrinal Restoration, The 34th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah 2005

RUSSELL, Jeffrey Burton, The Devil, Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 1977

TAYLOR, John, The Mediation and Atonement Steven & Wallis, Salt Lake City, 1950

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