Monday, January 1, 2024

Saying 11


Jesus said, ‘This sky will pass away, and the one above it will pass away.’

‘And the dead will not live and the living will not die. In the days when you ate what is dead, you made it live. When you are in the light, what will you become? On the day when you were one, you became two. When you are two, what will you become?’


Saying 11 comprises two teachings. The first part is a variant on a saying found in the New Testament gospels, always with an eschatological context behind it. Such language derives from imagery of cosmological destruction frequently invoked in the prophets of the Hebrew Bible. This decreation language signified the upheaval of society during wars or natural disasters, identifying such events as judgment from God. There was also another dimension to such imagery. Divine beings who ruled the earthly nations were frequently associated with or identified as stars and other celestial bodies. The destruction of heavenly lights was a literal punishment of those divine beings. The first part in Saying 11 likely carries a similar meaning as the more apocalyptic use in the synoptic gospels. This version depends on common perspective in ancient Southwest Asia that the cosmos were a three-tiered structure—divine beings in the sky, mortal beings on the earth, dead beings under the earth—where the sky itself was often thought to have its own series of levels. This first part probably belongs to an earliest stage in the book’s development.

The second part of Saying 11 gives a series of spiritual riddles. The concept of ‘eating what is dead’ probably has the same meaning as Saying 7. The implied reunion of the ‘two’ back to ‘one’ seems to be the same thought as becoming like the original non-binary man in Saying 4. Following this direction, some traditions in Second Temple Judaism believed the first man was literally a being of light, which might be restored (directly, or vicariously, such as through clothing) in the end times. This saying anticipates a restoration to that light.



34.4 All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall wither like a leaf withering on a vine, or fruit withering on a fig tree.

65.17 For I am about to create new skies and a new earth. The former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.


13.31 ‘The sky and the earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.’


5.18 ‘For truly I tell you, until the sky and the earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.’


21.33 ‘But it is easier for the sky and the earth to pass away, than for one stroke of a letter in the law to be dropped.’


11.25–26 Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.’

Revelation of John

20.11; 21.1 Then I saw a great white throne and the one who sat on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. […] Then I saw a new sky and a new earth, for the first sky and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

2 Peter

3.11–13 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the skies will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new skies and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

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