Where is the Kingdom?

Thomas 113: His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?”

“It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, ‘Look, here!’ or ‘Look, there!’ Rather, the Father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don’t see it.”

In Thomas 3 and 51, we see a thread which links with Thomas 113. In Thomas 113, Jesus tells people that ‘the Father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth’. This tells us the nature of the kingdom and where it is. It is not a place anyone can point to, or give directions to. It is ‘spread out upon the earth’, because humanity is spread out on the Earth. We are the sentient beings, in this solar system, which carry the kingdom within us. The author (Thomas) has created a poignant metaphor by having two similar sayings at the beginning and end of this gospel. We see this here, in Thomas 113, and at the beginning of the text, in Thomas 3. They stand as bookends, supporting the profound truths we discover within the Gospel of Thomas. When we look at the very different content and voice found in Thomas 114, the reason Thomas 113 is ‘the end’ of the mysteries becomes clear.

In Thomas 3, Jesus tells us the notion of a kingdom above us is a misguided concept. When people think of the Father’s Kingdom, their entire concept of a kingdom has to be reconfigured. In the past, this definition came out of observations from human society. A kingdom was seen as a strong community, built around a fortified city. The Father’s Kingdom, as defined by Jesus, is seen as actions, rather than a place. These actions occur in locations we cannot see, because they are hidden by the Source’s Light (Thomas 83). They live in the human. That is why, in Thomas 50, Jesus tells people to respond to the question, ‘What is the evidence of your Father in you?’, by declaring it is ‘motion and rest’. It is the Soul’s movement through these bodies, and this dimension, which enables people to amass the Father’s Light within them. In this way, humans need to be in constant motion in this existence—experiencing, learning, and growing in wisdom. This is apparent in Thomas 86: ‘…human beings have no place to lay down and rest.’ A soul only comes to rest when physical life ends. It either comes to life as a spirit, or becomes part of the whole, to be absorbed into a new body.

In Thomas 113, Jesus reveals that those who are waiting for the day when He comes back to Earth, to judge the living and the dead, will not see such a day (Thomas 18, 38). This notion goes hand in hand with the kingdom arriving on earth, from heaven, with Jesus as its king. In Thomas 113 we learn that it is already here. Since the kingdom is already here, there can be no rapture in the form of the ‘second coming’, nor can we expect to hear, or see, Jesus in this realm again. There is a thread we can find within the Gospel of Thomas, which shows us that Jesus was human—flesh and bone. At the same time, He was the Son of God, just as all beings of the Light are the progeny of the Father/Source (Thomas 15, 28, and 65). Therefore, there is a definitive separation between the flesh and the Spirit, just as there is a separation between this realm and the holistic realm of the Father/SourceTo look for the kingdom with the eye of the flesh is flawed. Rather, people should look for the kingdom with the eye of the heart—the thing that is linked to the Father/Source. This is the Holy Spirit in action (Thomas 44).

Thomas 10 contains a statement that could easily be taken out of context by those people who believe in a ‘second coming’. Jesus says: ‘I have cast fire upon the world, and look, I’m guarding it until it blazes.’ One could take this statement as an implied second coming. Until the thing He brought to this realm is ablaze, He would not reappear. Thomas 10 is not about a literal second coming. It is a statement about the connection people accomplish with Jesus, through the Source of all thingsthe one Jesus refers to as Father. When Jesus’ teachings cause a blaze within the individual, He re-enters this realm (Thomas 82). Through this connection there is a second coming. When Jesus says He is guarding what He has cast upon the Earth, He speaks about His teachings. They are the words in the Gospel of Thomas, illuminated in 77th Pearl: The Perpetual Tree. In a sense, this text is the second coming observant humans have been anticipating (Thomas 94). Through these words, Jesus’ secret sayings have been elucidated for the generations requiring this Light. Moreover, unlike previous generations, people of the twenty-first century will be able to comprehend these teachings. When the human soul attains this wisdom it is alight with life. This is when the kingdom is realised—within the person, through the heart and mind, the conduit that is the Holy Spirit.

Several of the sayings in the Gospel of Thomas reveal a thread. They show us that Jesus was a Spirit within a body, just as humans find themselves to be a soul within a body. Through examples in the Synoptic Gospels, we have seen that the apostles’ experiences of Jesus after His death were metaphysical, not physical. In Thomas 28, we see Jesus tell His contemporaries He entered into this world, appearing to them in flesh. It is clear then, the body Jesus inhabited was not who He was, it was simply a vehicle for His Spirit. Thomas 22 further supports the notion of the duality of body and soul. The metaphysical aspect of the self is also supported in Thomas 24, when the apostles ask Jesus to show them the place where He is, so that they may seek it out. His response is a reference to light, which shines on the whole world. This links to Thomas 77, where we find that the Light is not what we experience in this world. It is a source of energy and creativity, which is unlike anything in this realm. It exists in, and flows through, everything.

In Thomas 65 Jesus tells people the heir to the vineyard would be grabbed and killed. This indicated that He knew what the Pharisees were planning. It would eventually lead to His death, at the hands of the Romans. Jesus turned this violent act, driven by insecurity, into the greatest sacrifice and emblematic action throughout His teaching. Jesus demonstrated the discrepancy between the flesh and the Spirit. His sacrifice also demonstrated the way the lion (Thomas 7) is inclined to devour the lamb, the lion representing the physical/material dimension and the lamb representing the soul, which grows into the sheep—that is, a spirit (Thomas 107). In Thomas 37, Jesus responds to the question of when He will appear again, with a metaphoric statement—when humans strip off their clothes without being ashamed, ‘like little children’. This means that when a person is stripped of the body, which may create emotive obstacles, they are able to be in the same realm as Jesus. Spiritual beings become connected to Him through the Holy Spirit. Until such a time, people cannot see Jesus. This is reinforced in Thomas 38, when Jesus says: ‘There will be days when you will seek me and you will not find me.’ People can find Jesus’ Light, which is throughout the world, when they meditate on the teachings that He poured out onto the earth, like a cup of fire (Thomas 16). If people are near Jesus, and all beings that have attained this form of spiritual life, then they are near the Father/Source. When they experience this union, the kingdom is realised in them.

Gospel of Thomas: On the Eucharist

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