The rise of modern Gnosticism, final
Apr 09, 2019
First-century Gnosticism said absolutely nothing about Jesus’ disciples being prominent temple officials or militant Essenes attempting to overthrow the Romans. All of this has been a more modern invention.
The early Gnostics focused all of their attention on their doctrines, rather than on the leaders of the movement. So Albert Pike, the prominent Freemason in the nineteenth century, describes Gnosticism in his book, Morals and Dogma, page 249,
“The dominant doctrines of Platonism were found in Gnosticism. Emanation of Intelligences from the bosom of the Deity; the going astray in error and the suffering of spirits, so long as they are remote from God, and imprisoned in matter; vain and long-continued efforts to arrive at the knowledge of the Truth, and re-enter into their primitive union with the Supreme Being; alliance of a pure and divine soul with an irrational soul, the seat of evil desires; angels or demons who dwell in and govern the planets, having but an imperfect knowledge of the ideas that presided at the creation; regeneration of all beings by their return to the… world of intelligences, and its Chief, the Supreme Being….”
There is no evidence that the Gnostics ever fought against Rome or that their original leaders were actually Jesus’ disciples acting under pseudonyms. They concerned themselves chiefly with lengthy lists of emanations and aions, which they defined as spirits. They adopted doctrines from many different influences, as Pike tells us on page 248,
“The Gnostics derived their leading doctrines and ideas from Plato and Philo, the Zend-avesta and the Kabalah; and the sacred books of India and Egypt; and thus introduced into the bosom of Christianity the cosmological and theosophical speculations which had formed the larger portion of the ancient religions of the Orient, joined to those of the Egyptian, Greek, and Jewish doctrines, which the Neo-Platonists had equally adopted in the Occident.”
It never occurred to the early Gnostics to claim that Simon Magus was one of Jesus’ disciples or that he was a co-conspirator against the Roman government. Obviously, such a lie would easily have been exposed in the first century, for men could still inquire of the disciples themselves whether or not this was true. But long after the disciples had been safely buried and could no longer testify for themselves, it was easy to invent a new story and make it sound plausible to those who did not know or understand the gospel itself.
The Merovingian Dynasty
In the decades leading to the fall of the (western) Roman Empire in 476 A.D., the Franks in Europe were ruled by the Merovingians, whose dynastic founder died in 456. His grandson, Clovis, came to the throne in 481 at the age of fifteen. Clovis was a pagan, but his wife was a Catholic princess of the Burgundians (a Germanic tribe). In 493 Clovis gave in to his wife’s nagging and was baptized into Catholicism.
This came at a time when most of the Germanic tribes were Arians, that is, followers of Arius, who had denied the Trinity in the early fourth century and thus was not considered to be “Christian” by the Roman Church. Clovis’ conversion probably meant that the dominant form of Christian religion in Europe would be Roman Catholic and not Arian.
By 511 Clovis was the virtual ruler of Gaul. His “Frankish” kingdom thus gave its name to the region, for subsequently, the older name “Gaul” was replaced by “Frankreich”, or “France.” The Frankish kingdom under the rule of the Merovingian dynasty gave support to the Romans, but their strength decayed over time, and so they proved to be unreliable. Finally, in 752, Pope Zachary became the leader of the Roman Church.
In 754 the Franks were ruled by Childeric III, known as “The Stupid,” and the Mayor of the palace was Pepin the Short. The Merovingian kings by this time were homosexuals and weak. Pepin wanted to be king, for he was tired of doing all the work for Childeric without being recognized as the king.
The pope needed help against the Lombards, and so Pepin made a deal with Zachary in 752. Pepin’s father was Carolus (Charles), and so this new dynasty was known as the Carolingians. The most famous of them was Charles the Great, or Charlemagne. They became the new protectors of Rome.
In the next centuries, the Merovingians and Carolingians intermarried regularly, gradually merging into a single dynasty that dominated the kings of Europe.
Laurence Gardner makes the claim that the Merovingians were descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. He presents very little actual evidence, of course, as we are supposed to take his word itself as evidence. Nonetheless, it is certainly true that this time in history marked a turning point, where the dynastic succession of kings began to be replaced by papal coronations. In other words, the right of kings to pass the scepter to their children began to be replaced by the papal assertion that kings ruled by papal decision.
This conflict between kings and popes continued for many centuries until a new Socialist power arose, deposing kings or reducing their power by establishing modern parliaments.
The recent movie, The Matrix, brought out a character known as “the keymaker,” who was to be found in the house of Merovingian. His house looked like an opulent French palace. The role of his consort, Persephone, was played by Monica Bellucci, who later played the role of Mary Magdalene in Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ.
Laurence Gardner tells us that the Merovingians claimed Mary Magdalene as their original mother. There is no doubt that the authors of The Matrix were aware of this.
Yet the most important movie promoting the Gnostic view was The Da Vinci Code (2006). It was an attempt to popularize Gnosticism through the entertainment industry, which has become a powerful propaganda tool in the past century.
The psychology of propaganda has made it increasingly important for us to know the Scriptures so that we are not caught up in movements that are designed to destroy the gospel of Christ. As we have seen, modern Gnosticism claims that Jesus did not really die on the cross, and therefore He could not have been raised from the dead either. Everything is reinterpreted, Greek style, as an allegory or as a code for something else. Let us not be tricked into accepting a new “gospel.”
This is part 4 of a series titled "The Rise of Modern Gnosticism" To view all parts, click the link below.