Jesus said, “The Kingdom of heaven is within you.”
I have come to show you the deeper things, which you have forgotten, and which now must be uncovered. It is time for the secrets to be revealed. And they were only ever secrets for two reasons: one, it was not Jesus who kept them secret, but those who would conceal or destroy the deeper teachings of Jesus, namely, the Roman Emperor Constantine and his collaborators; and more essentially, it has always been that the secrets will be revealed when you yourself learn to see. I will now tell you of the true history of the Christian church, and of the lost teachings.
The Christian church lost its deeper teachings when in the 4th century the emperor Constantine decided to edit the scriptures. There was no official cannon at that point. There were a number of scriptures, but no official cannon. Constantine took it upon himself, as holy emperor, to decide that this scripture stays, this one goes. “Mark, I like, Thomas, no.” Having selected the scriptures he liked, he set out to purge the land of the scriptures he didn’t like. The scriptures he didn’t agree with were burned, wherever they could be found. Those who held them or spoke of them were killed. It was a religious cleansing, through state terrorism, backed by the newly minted Christian church, as a church hierarchy formed around the emperor Constantine. This is the creation of the official gospels. This is the beginning of Christianity as most people have come to know it. But this is only a chapter.
At that point, when a church hierarchy formed around the emperor, and selected scriptures were enshrined as cannon, while others were burned and destroyed, Christianity lost its depths, or most of it, and went into literalism. It was at that point that the deeper teachings of Christianity were buried. Literalism triumphed with Constantine, very early in the history of Christianity, less than four hundred years after the death of Jesus.
Also at that point, the newly created orthodoxy of the Christian church aligned itself with the empire – essentially, aligned itself with a police state of vast proportions. You do not maintain your integrity when you align yourself with a police state – you lose it. (This is an important point to remember today as well.) What is surprising, in light of the Christian church aligning itself with a bloody, brutal empire, is not that Christianity was corrupted, which would seem to have been inevitable, given such a choice as to unite with the empire, but that there remained any integrity at all. The fact that the teachings of Jesus can still, to this day, cut through two thousand years of fog and smoke and mirrors, is almost amazing.
The laity and the monks and nuns, in spite of the church hierarchy, kept alive as much as they could of the original spirit and teachings of Jesus. It is they, not the clergy, who deserve the credit, although, to be fair, there have always been the best and the worst among the clergy, and the failings of Christianity are tied in some very significant degree to ordinary Christians, and not only to the hierarchy of church institutions. (The Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch trials, the conquest of the Americas, the slave trade, the pogroms, the protection of Nazi war criminals, the continuing and present support for empire and wars of conquest, the silence on the current war of robber barons against the people of the earth….)
On the whole, however, the spirit and teachings of Jesus have been kept alive by the hearts and minds of the people, in spite of the failings of the institution, ever since the time of the great conversion of that holy editor under God, Constantine. The priests and ministers, with few exceptions, as Jesus said, have been “dogs that lay in the manger,” then as now, ever since 325 AD and Constantine’s declaration of holy war on the scriptures – “for they do not eat, and they do not let the cattle eat.”
Here is what the church forgot to tell you – and in most instances, it has become the case, and has been the case for a very long time, that they don’t know themselves, and are not so much concealing something, as they are simply ignorant.
If you want to know the whole truth, and particularly, the deepest truths, go, immediately, and find this book. It is the most important of the missing gospels, which has now been found, was found in a desert cave some sixty years ago. It is the Gospel of Thomas. I will say no more, but let the scripture speak to you directly. You decide.
“I took my stand in the midst of humanity, and I wept for them, for they came into the world blind, and they seek to leave the world blind.”
“Knock and the door will be opened.”
“Those who have ears, let them hear.”
“Those who have eyes, let them see.”
“Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven.”
“The kingdom of heaven is spread out upon the earth and men see it not.”
“The kingdom of heaven is within you.”
“Split a piece of wood and I will be there. Lift a rock and I will be there.”
“See what is before your nose and all will be revealed.”
“When the two are made one, the male and the female, the above and below, the inner and the outer, then you shall see.”
“The priests are like dogs that lay in the manger, for they do not eat, and the do not let the cattle eat.”
Christianity is now in crisis. Either it will rediscover its deeper teachings, or it will die. Fundamentalism is not the answer. More fervent clinging to a shallow literalism is not the answer. The answer lies in your heart, where it has always been, and nowhere else.
“Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” – Luke 17: 21
See what is before your nose and all will be revealed.
J. Todd Ring,
February 1, 2008
We Have it in our Power to Begin the World Again
The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus