Dr. Einar C. Erickson
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When they were talking about heavenly enthronement following baptism and certain rites, they considered themselves involved in a priestly ritual. It involved a garment, a girdle, a covering shirt, a priestly stole, a crown, special drawers and a staff, sandals included.

 

INTRODUCTION

In the complete edition of the Nag Hammadi Codices, Volume IV, (Robinson Front piece) contains seven Codices, all written by the same hand.  Codex No. 2  was called THE SECOND TREATISES  OF THE GREAT SETH. There are twenty one pages of papyrus. Totally intact. There are thirty four to thirty nine lines per page. The text was translated from Greek into Sahidic Coptic, (Gibbons p. 242)  before 250 AD.  The Coptic Church is the oldest Christian Church in the world. The texts are  clear as to where religion advanced under the distortions created by the Philosophies of men.  

THE PLAN OF SALVATION

The “Great Seth begins in the spiritual world (49, 10-50. 11, the realm of the Supreme God and the Mother. The speaker to be identified later with Jesus Christ. asserts that he originates from this celestial region and that he is the revealer, (i.e. he brings forth the “word”) (Gibbons p. 24:14) “that the Plan of Salvation may be made known…”(Gibbons p.  243; Alma 24:14)  “…the speaker calls together the heavenly church and presents his plan:  he is to come forth to reveal the glory (1.e. Gnosis) to those on earth who are kin to the celestial beings (50, 1-24). The heavenly church then gives its approval to the plan…)”

FATHER THE AUTHOR OF THE PLAN 

At a youth gathering in Snowflake, Arizona, I pointed out that there was one incorrect word in that paragraph, the rest were good Mormon doctrine, and I would  give five dollars to anyone who could point out that word.  A young girl raised her hand in the back center and stood and said: ”The word Plan is incorrect it was not the plan of Christ, the Plan of Salvation was the plan of the father! Many of the other kids concurred. ” I went down and gave her a five dollar bill. 

“GOD [the father] is the Author of the full plan. It was devised for Man’s progress  and ultimate salvation and exaltation.”  (Widtsoe p. 202)

Mormon doctrine asserts: “In the Beginning “ the rising intelligences progressed by gaining mastery of the surrounding forces. They learned through experience. At first slow…but gradually increased. GOD was there to point out the way ….and give help when needed… the will of man was left undisturbed….the time came as an earned step in progress, when through the intervention of the Lord, personal. Intelligences became invested with spirit bodies. Man was born as it were into the spirit world. God became the Father of our spirits. Life in the world of personal intelligences clothed upon with spirit bodies is called the First Estate of Man. ( Widtsoe  pp. 202-203) “Earth life is said  to be  the Second Estate, …a separation of the spirit from the body which is called death…is the Third Estate …and the Last Estate is Eternal Life…Man’s progression is GOD’S work.” (Widtsoe pp 202-205) “For behold, this is my work and my glory-to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39; Largey p. 166)

THE CHRIST WHO ASCENDS AND DESCENDS

Ancient documents state: “There are various sources from which knowledge of transcendent reality is gained…vision[s] concerning the destiny of souls…visions of knowledge of the divine world…prefaced by instructions from a revealer figure.”  (Turner p. 674) Mormons believe you were not making much progress if you were not having visions and revelations. “Through supernatural means by the power of the Holy ‘Ghost, devout persons are permitted to have visions and to see within the veil. They are  enabled to see spiritual personages and to view scenes hidden from ordinary sight. These visions are  gifts of the Spirit.” (McConkie p. 823)    

Christ’s movements  through the various estates is documented in detail in  the restored doctrines, we find fragments of these movements in the Great Seth:

“Willingly did I come forth to reveal the glory to my kindred and my fellow-spirits (50 4-24) …by taking on an earthly body (51, 20-24;” Gibbons pp 246-247)

There had been a rebellion in Heaven and angels with high rank had fallen, the leader was Lucifer. He and his followers believed if they could kill Christ his            movement on earth would end. Little did they know that killing Christ through the crucifixion they would facilitate the redemption of mankind and Father and Christ would both achieve their primary purposes.

There had been a Grand Council and two plans had been presented, the Father’s Plan of Salvation and that of the leader of the opposition, (Lucifer, the adversary) who “laid a plan” that would eliminate Free Will, (Madsen p. 298; HC vol. 2 p. 342) which could not be done, and so it became “the plan of the devil to hamper” the Father’s Plan. (Madsen p. 298; HC vol. 3 p. 286) leading to a rebellion In in Heaven, with one third following Lucifer and all were cast out who did so.

We get from the Great Seth: “…and there came about a disturbance and a battle surrounding the Seraphim [angels] and Cherubim [angels of a different order] since their glory will be  dissolved.” (54, 23-35)  

From the Great Seth: “… the plan which they devised about me to do away with their error and their senselessness. I did not succumb to them as they had planned. (55, 5-15)  The adversary’s “plan is the crucifixion of Christ.” (55,14-56. 20)

In the text of the Great Seth, Gibbons noted there were three inserts into the text, dealing with Christ, and his comment was: “It is certain that a passion [crucifixion] reference is completely out of place, for the context speaks about rebellion among the angels.” (Gibbon p. 248)

 A more instructive and complete account is given in Mormon scriptures: ”…We saw…and bear record, that an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only begotten Son whom the Father loved and who was in the bosom of the ‘Father, was thrust down from the presence of God and the Son. 26. And was called Perdition for the heavens wept over him—he was Lucifer, a son of the morning. 27. And we beheld , lo, he is fallen! Is fallen, even a son of the morning [early born in the spirit world] …for we beheld Satan, that old Serpent, even the devil, who rebelled against God, and sought to take the kingdom of our God and His Christ 29. …he maketh war with the saints of God, and encompasses them round about.” (D&C 76:25-29)  “Lucifer, The Morning Star,  used by the early Church Fathers as a synonym for “Satan, prince of the “fallen angels. Who fell from his high place in “Heaven when he led the revolt against God.” Alluded to by the prophet Isaiah in ISAIAH 14:12).

Another of the inserts is the “teaching [of] an explicit Christology:  Christ is identified with the speaker of the narrative…(49, 17-20; 59,17-19) He is equal to the Father...he brings forth a word of revelation (51,34-52)….he is from above and alien to  this world….he does the will of the father, or of the Celestial Church.’ (50, 21-24; 59, 17-19; Gibbon p.249) Embedded in the mythological material there is an account of the “descent of the Savior through the spheres [or worlds].  (56, 13-57, 7) The Savior rescues the Son of Megethos [members] and brings him to the height …identifying the height with the wedding [and]… the wedding robe.” (Gibbons p. 250) [The reference to a wedding is understood to be the ‘sealings’ without which no one gets into the highest l kingdom and exaltation]  Every man and women who want to get into the highest glory receives a ‘wedding robe.’ It is obtained through the wedding and sealing’s that take place in the temple only.

“The savior is sent, enters the realm of the archons, [spirit prison]  descends through their sphere rescues [redeems and prepares them for resurrection] the Son of Megthos…[the members] and opens the way for the ascent  of individual gnostics.” [into the celestial kingdom or heaven]. (Gibbons p. 250; D&C 138)

“The central teaching for the whole first half of the Great Seth-the substitutionary passion [crucifixion] of Christ. Since it begins in the celestial regions and ends with the …perfection in the third glory…[it] contains all or most of the elements in the complete original myth….no where else is a veil mentioned…Twice references of some length are made to the celestial wedding and related concepts (bridal chamber…the  wedding  motif, a central teaching  in the latter half of the Great Seth.)” (Gibbons p. 250-251) “The first section (57, 13-17) is so placed as to explain the meaning of the ‘height’ to which Christ brings the Son of Megethos …to which the Gnostics are going.  The second  wedding section (65, 33-69) begins the long explicit presentation on unity…with the  celestial wedding functioning as the paradigm of earthy unity.” (Gibbons p. 252)

THE CELESTIAL WEDDING

Mormon doctrine states: “Celestial marriage is essential to exaltation in the highest heaven…in the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; … to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood meaning (the new and everlasting  covenant of marriage; (McConkie p. 529; D&C 131 1-4) This was all implemented and in place by  1842 and  performed  in the Nauvoo temple until 1846, and in all the 155 temples  built since then, with new ones being announced all the time.

MOTHER IN HEAVEN

The Great Seth uses the abstraction  (Fatherhood, 62, 29) and (Motherhood, 67, 30) as titles of the supreme god and his consort.” (Gibbons p. 260)

The Mormons believe that “man as a spirit was begotten and born of heavenly parentage, and reared to maturity in the  eternal mansions of the Father… offspring of celestial parents…. In the similitude of the universal Father and Mother and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity.” (McConkie p. 516) So we have a ‘Mother in heaven’ as well as a ‘Father in Heaven.’ This sets the foundations for a long ‘Pre-Mortal life’ before earth life and the doctrine of a Heavenly Mother. ”Father could not be a father unless a women of like glory, perfection, and holiness was associated with him as a mother.” (McConkie p.516)    

A temple going Mormon will understand all of the above and know details not mentioned in Gibbons work until latter on. This touches on some of the most intimate doctrine in Mormonism. The Lord declared that this” marriage covenant  existed from the beginning.” (D&C 49:9)  So, this ordinance and practice should be  found in some degree or other in all the religious documents and tablets being recovered, back to Adam. And they are, as the future entries into this web site will present.

The debate over the acceptance and interpretation of the Fourth Gospel was  heated, and protracted,  between AD 105 and 250. (Turner  pp. 127-128) The usage and inclusion of the philosophies of men was becoming excessive. The Fourth Gospel, was just about not accepted.  Gibbons listed more than forty pages of philosophical sources and their authors compiled up to 2001, used to modify Christian teachings. (Gibbons pp. 802 841) This included copious references to the writings of Plato the usage of which got Aristotle into trouble. ”Late in the first century John had incorporated into his Gospel the famous prologue, according to which the divine Word, containing life and light as the creator of all things, 1) shined into a dark world that did not recognize him, 2) came to-but was not received by –his own people, 3) finally he became flesh and was received by those who believe in his name.” (Turner p.128)

“ 1. In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (Turner p. 128)  Check the Revised Standard Version (RSV) and the Joseph Smith Translation for some differences in this passage.  The lead line is: “In the beginning was the gospel  preached through the son.” (JST John 1:1; Edwards  p. 442) Who was he preaching to, where and when?

SEND ME FATHER

Then we get from “the second half of the Naasene Hymn of Psalm (Hippolytus, Ref. V.20.2) where Jesus says:

“Look Father; This prey (the fallen soul) to evils is wandering away to earth. Far from thy Spirit, and she seeks to escape the bitter Chaos but knows not how to win through. For that reason Send me, Father. Bearing the Seals I shall descend; I will pass through all the Aeons I shall reveal all the mysteries and I shall deliver the secrets of the Holy way.” (Turner p. 129) And: “It was I who was sent down in the body because of the seed which had fallen away. And I came down into their mortal mold, but they did not recognize me. They were thinking that I was a mortal man…” (from Letters to  Philip (V111 136, 16-137, 2 in Turner p. 129) The doctrine that Christ was the one selected after the presentation and offer of Lucifer, with the utterance  “…”thy will be done.” (Abraham 3: 23-28; Moses 4:1-3) It is one of the most distinctive and important doctrines of the Church.

“They nailed him to the tree and they fixed him with four nails of brass.”  (58, 24-26; Gibbon p. 260) Actually with six nails, two for each palm and wrist only seven if they used two, one for each foot. The Shroud of Turin shows only one nail hole in the hand, so it is not likely that the Shroud was for the Christ. “The earth shook, and the rocks were split (Mt.27)....the veil of the temple he tore with his hands,  … it was a trembling which seized the chaos of the earth…for the souls which were in the sleep below were released…and they arose.” [resurrected] (58, 28-30; 58, 30-33; Gibbon p. 260)

THE THIRD GLORY

‘…knowledge of the way, [to get into heaven], i.e. of sacraments to be performed  now, of the “names” to be employed later when the ascending spirit meets the powers after leaving the body at death, and whatever ritual or  ethical preparation may  assure this future  passage….. ‘the secrets pf the way’ the ascent doctrine in detail….as the itinerary and adventure of the soul on  this occasion lead through  the complete order in reverse of the primeval fall.” (Jonas .pp. 271-272) “The savior comes to the glorious height…and they shall be perfected in the third glory.” (Gibbons p. 259)  The third glory  is the ”Celestial Kingdom.” (D&C 76) “Since the journey of the soul leads through dangerous demonic sphere certain guarantees are required…like baptism, the sign, the name and good works.”  (Foerester p. 133)  “…Where the ‘way’ is marked by “the stages  of a progressive initiation/ascent.”  (Logan p. 53) The Mormons call this “the Endowment,” it is available to any church member who is temple worthy.

 A temple going Mormon will know what is going on in all of the above, otherwise he will have no clue. But there is a lot of restored doctrines confirmed in these ancient documents, and the Mormons have all the details.

           

                                                          BIBLIOGRAPHY

BROOKS, Melvin R. LDS Reference Encyclopedia, Bookcraft Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1960

EDWARDS, f. Henry, Joseph Smith’s “New Translation” of the Bible, Herald Publishing House, Independence, Missouri, 1970

FOERESTER, Werner, Gnosis, a reflection of Gnostic Texts. Vol. 2 Coptic and Mandaic Sources, Oxford, at the Clarendon Press, 1974  

GIBBONS, Joseph A., The Second Logos of the Great Seth Considerations and Questions, Society of Biblical Literature, Annual Meeting, Seminary Papers Vol. 2. 1973

JONAS, Hans, Philosophical Essays, Prentice Hall, Inc., Englwood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1974

LARGEY, Dennis I., Pearl of Great Price Reference Companion, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City Utah, 2017

LOGAN, Alastair H, B., Gnostic Truth and Christian Heresy, Hendrickson Publishers, Edinburgh, 1996

McCONKIE. Bruce R., Mormon Doctrine, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1966

METFORD, J.C.J. ,  Dictionary  of Christian Lore and Legend, Thames and Hudson, 1983

ROBINSON, James M., The Coptic Gnostic Library, Vol. 4, Brill, Leiden, 2000

TURNER, John D., Sethian Gnosticism and the Platonic Tradition, Peeters, Louvain, Paris, 2001  

 WIDTSOE, John A., The Program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter  Saints, Department of Education of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1937

 

All research and opionions presented on this site are the sole responsibility of Dr. Einar C. Erickson, and should not be interpreted as official statements of the LDS doctrine, beliefs or practice.
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