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The Nag Hammadi Library
The Paraphrase Of Shem
Translated by Willis Barnstone
This original translation of The Paraphrase of Shem (Nag Hammadi Codex VII, 1) is presented in the Gnostic Society Library by permission and under license from Dr. Willis Barnstone, who retains all copyright. Dr. Barnstone's translations of the Nag Hammadi texts are published in The Gnostic Bible, © 2003, Willis Barnstone & Marvin Meyer.
Headings in bold type have been added to the text for clarity by the translators.
ABOUT THE UNCONCEIVED
The paraphrase about the unconceived spirit; what Derdekeas revealed to me, Shem, according to the will of the majesty.
SHEM HAS A VISION
My thought, which was in my body, snatched me away from my race. It took me up to the top of the world, which is close to the light that shone upon the whole area there. I saw no earthly likeness, but there was light. And my thought separated from the body of darkness as though in sleep.
DERDEKEAS TELLS SHEM ABOUT THE POWERS OF THE UNIVERSE
I heard a voice saying to me, “Shem, since you are from an unmixed power and you are the first being upon the earth, hear and understand what I shall say to you first concerning the great powers who were in existence in the beginning before I appeared. There was light and darkness, and there was spirit between them. Since your root fell into forgetfulness—that which was the unconceived spirit—I reveal to you the truth about the powers. The light was thought, full of attentiveness and reason; they were united into one form. And the darkness was wind in waters. He possessed the mind wrapped in chaotic fire. And the spirit between them was a gentle, humble light. These are the three roots. They reigned each in themselves, alone. And they covered each other, each one with its power.
“But the light, since he possessed great power, knew the abasement of the darkness and his disorder, namely, that the root was not straight. The crookedness of the darkness was lack of perception, namely, the illusion that there is no one above him. And as long as he was able to restrain his evil, he was covered with the water. And he stirred. And the spirit was frightened by the sound. He lifted himself up to his station, and he saw a great, dark water. And he was nauseated. The thought of the spirit stared down; he saw the infinite light. But he was overlooked by the putrid root. And by the will of the great light the dark water separated. The darkness came up wrapped in vile ignorance, and this was in order that the mind might separate from him, because he prided himself in it.
DARKNESS SEES THE SPIRIT
“When the darkness stirred, the light of the spirit appeared to him. When he saw it he was astonished. He did not know that another power was above him. And when he saw that his likeness was dark compared with the spirit, he felt hurt. And in his pain he lifted up, above the height of the members of darkness, his mind, which was the eye of the bitterness of evil. He caused his mind to take shape in a member of the portions of the spirit, thinking that, by staring down at his evil, he would be able to equal the spirit. But he was not able, for he wanted to do an impossible thing, and it did not take place. But in order that the mind of darkness, which is the eye of the bitterness of evil, might not be destroyed, since he was made partially similar, he arose and shone with a fiery light upon all of Hades, that the equality of the faultless light might become apparent. For the spirit benefited from every form of darkness because he appeared in his majesty.
“And the exalted, infinite light appeared, for he was very joyful. He wished to reveal himself to the spirit. And the likeness of the exalted light appeared to the unconceived spirit. I appeared. I am the son of the incorruptible, infinite light. I appeared in the likeness of the spirit, for I am the ray of the universal light. And his appearance to me was in order that the mind of darkness might not remain in Hades. For the darkness made himself like his mind in a portion of the members. When I, O Shem, appeared in the likeness, so that the darkness might become dark to himself, according to the will of the majesty, and so that the darkness might become devoid of every aspect of the power that he possessed, the mind drew the chaotic fire, with which it was covered, from the midst of the darkness and the water. And from the darkness the water became a cloud, and from the cloud the womb took shape. The chaotic fire, which was a deviation, went there.
DARKNESS EJACULATES MIND INTO THE WOMB OF NATURE
“And when the darkness saw the womb, he became unchaste. And when he had aroused the water, he rubbed the womb. His mind dissolved down to the depths of nature. It mingled with the power of the bitterness of darkness. And the womb’s eye ruptured at the wickedness in order that she might not again bring forth the mind. For it was a seed of nature from the dark root. And when nature had taken to herself the mind by means of the dark power, every likeness took shape in her. And when the darkness had acquired the likeness of the mind, it resembled the spirit. For nature rose up to expel it; she was powerless against it, since she did not have a form from the darkness. For she brought it forth in the cloud. And the cloud shone. A mind appeared in it like a frightful, harmful fire. The mind collided against the unconceived spirit, since it possessed a likeness from him, in order that nature might become empty of the chaotic fire.
And immediately nature was divided into four parts. They became clouds that varied in their appearance. They were called hymen, afterbirth, power, and water. And the hymen and the afterbirth and the power were chaotic fires. And the mind was drawn from the midst of the darkness and the water—since the mind was in the midst of nature and the dark power—in order that the harmful waters might not cling to it. Because of this, nature was divided, according to my will, in order that the mind may return to its power, which the dark root, mixed with the mind, had taken from it. And the dark root appeared in the womb. At the division of nature the dark root separated from the dark power, which it possessed from the mind. The mind went into the midst of the power—this was the middle region of nature.
THE LIGHT OF THE SPIRIT IS IN THE CONFINES OF NATURE
“The spirit of light, when the mind burdened him, was astonished. And the force of his astonishment cast off the burden. And it returned to its heat. It put on the light of the spirit. And when nature moved away from the power of the light of the spirit, the burden returned. And the astonishment of the light again cast off the burden. It stuck to the cloud of the hymen. And all the clouds of darkness cried out, they who had separated from Hades, because of the alien power.
“This is the spirit of light who has come in them. And by the will of the majesty the spirit gazed up at the infinite light, that his light may be pitied and the likeness may be brought up from Hades. And when the spirit had looked, I flowed out—I, the son of the majesty—like a wave of light and like a whirlwind of the immortal spirit. And I blew from the cloud of the hymen upon the astonishment of the unconceived spirit. The cloud separated and cast light upon the clouds. These separated so that the spirit might return. Because of this the mind took shape. Its rest was shattered. For the hymen of nature was a cloud that cannot be grasped; it is a great fire. Similarly, the afterbirth of nature is the cloud of silence; it is an august fire. And the power that was mixed with the mind—it, too, was a cloud of nature that was joined with the darkness that had aroused nature to unchastity. And the dark water was a frightful cloud. And the root of nature, which was below, was crooked, since it is burdensome and harmful. The root was blind to the bound light, which was unfathomable because it had many appearances.
DERDEKEAS APPEALS ON BEHALF OF THE SPIRIT
“I had pity on the light of the spirit that the mind had received. I returned to my position to pray to the exalted, infinite light that the power of the spirit might increase there and might be filled without dark defilement. And reverently I said, You are the root of the light. Your hidden form has appeared, O exalted, infinite one. May the whole power of the spirit spread and may it be filled with its light, O infinite light. Then he will not be able to join with the unconceived spirit, and the power of the astonishment will not be able to mix with nature. According to the will of the majesty, my prayer was accepted.
“And the voice of the word was heard saying through the majesty of the unconceived spirit, ‘Look, the power has been completed. The one who was revealed by me appeared in the spirit.’
“Again I shall appear. I am Derdekeas, the son of the incorruptible, infinite light.
“The light of the infinite spirit came down to feeble nature for a short time until all the impurity of nature became void, and in order that the darkness of nature might be exposed. I put on my garment, which is the garment of the light of the majesty—which I am. I came in the appearance of the spirit to consider the whole light, which was in the depths of the darkness, according to the will of the majesty, in order that the spirit by means of the word might be filled with his light independently of the power of the infinite light. And at my wish the spirit arose by his own power. His greatness was granted to him that he might be filled with his whole light and depart from the whole burden of the darkness. For what was behind was a dark fire that blew and pressed on the spirit. And the spirit rejoiced because he was protected from the frightful water. But his light was not equal to the majesty. What he was granted by the infinite light was given so that in all his members he might appear as a single image of light. And when the spirit arose above the water, his dark likeness became apparent. And the spirit honored the exalted light: ‘Surely you alone are the infinite one, because you are above every unconceived thing, for you have protected me from the darkness. And at your wish I arose above the power of darkness.’
“And that nothing might be hidden from you, Shem, the thought, which the spirit from the greatness had contemplated, came into being, since the darkness was not able to restrain his evil. But when the thought appeared, the three roots became known as they were from the beginning. If the darkness had been able to restrain his evil, the mind would not have separated from him, and another power would not have appeared.
DERDEKEAS BRIGHTENS THE LIGHT OF THE SPIRIT
“But from the time it appeared I was seen, the son of the majesty, that the light of the spirit might not become faint, and that nature might not reign over it, because it gazed at me.
“And by the will of the greatness my equality was revealed, that what is of the power might become apparent. You are the great power that came into being, and I am the perfect light that is above the spirit and the darkness, the one who puts to shame the darkness for the intercourse of impure rubbing. For through the division of nature the majesty wished to be covered with honor up to the height of the thought of the spirit. And the spirit received rest in his power. For the image of the light is inseparable from the unconceived spirit. And the lawgivers did not name him after all the clouds of nature, nor is it possible to name him. For every likeness into which nature had divided is a power of the chaotic fire, which is the material seed. The one who took to himself the power of the darkness imprisoned it in the midst of its members. And by the will of the majesty, in order that the mind and the whole light of the spirit might be protected from every burden and from the toil of nature, a voice came forth from the spirit to the cloud of the hymen. And the light of the astonishment began to rejoice with the voice that was granted to him. And the great spirit of light was in the cloud of the hymen. He honored the infinite light and the universal likeness, who I am, the son of the majesty, saying, ‘Anasses Duses, you are the infinite light who was given by the will of the majesty to establish every light of the spirit upon the place, and to separate the mind from the darkness. For it was not right for the light of the spirit to remain in Hades. For at your wish the spirit arose to behold your greatness.’
DERDEKEAS DISTURBS THE POWERS OF NATURE
“For I said these things to you, Shem, that you might know that my likeness, the son of the majesty, is from my infinite thought, since I am for him a universal likeness that does not lie, and I am above every truth and am the origin of the word. His appearance is in my beautiful garment of light, which is the voice of the immeasurable thought. We are that single, sole light that came into being. He appeared in another root in order that the power of the spirit might be raised from feeble nature. For by the will of the great light I came forth from the exalted spirit down to the cloud of the hymen without my universal garment.
“And the word took me to himself, from the spirit, in the first cloud of the hymen of nature. And I put on this of which the majesty and the unconceived spirit made me worthy. And the threefold unity of my garment appeared in the cloud, by the will of the majesty, in a single form. And my likeness was covered with the light of my garment. And the cloud was disturbed, and it was not able to tolerate my likeness. It shed the first power, which it had taken from the spirit—that which shone on him from the beginning, before I appeared in the word to the spirit. The cloud would not have been able to tolerate both of them. And the light that came forth from the cloud passed through silence until it came into the middle region. And by the will of the majesty, the light mixed with him, that is, the spirit that exists in silence, which had been separated from the spirit of light. It was separated from the light by the cloud of silence. The cloud was disturbed. It was he who gave rest to the flame of fire. He humbled the dark womb that she might not reveal other seed from the darkness. He kept them back in the middle region of nature in their position, which was in the cloud. They were troubled because they did not know where they were. For still they do not possess the universal understanding of the spirit.
“And when I prayed to the majesty, toward the infinite light, that the chaotic power of the spirit might go to and fro, and the dark womb might be barren, and that my likeness might appear in the cloud of the hymen, as if I were wrapped in the light of the spirit that went before me, and by the will of the majesty and through the prayer, I came in the cloud in order that through my garment—which was from the power of the spirit—the pleroma of the word might bring power to the members who possessed it in the darkness. For because of them I appeared in this insignificant place. For I am a helper of everyone who has been given a name. When I appeared in the cloud, the light of the spirit began to save itself from the frightful water, and from the clouds of fire that had been separated from dark nature. And I gave them eternal honor that they might not again engage in the impure rubbing.
“And the light that was in the hymen was disturbed by my power, and it passed through my middle region. It was filled with the universal thought. And through the word of the light of the spirit it returned to its rest. It received form in its root and shone without deficiency. And the light that had come forth with it from silence went in the middle region and returned to the place. And the cloud shone. And from it came an unquenchable fire. And the portion that separated from the astonishment put on forgetfulness. It was deceived by the fire of darkness. And the shock of its astonishment cast off the burden of the cloud. It was evil, since it was unclean. And the fire mixed with the water so that the waters might become harmful.
“Nature, which had been disturbed, immediately arose from the idle waters. For her ascent was shameful. And nature took to herself the power of fire. She became strong because of the light of the spirit that was in nature. Her likeness appeared in the water in the form of a frightful beast with many faces, which is crooked below. A light went down to chaos filled with mist and dust, in order to harm nature. And the light of astonishment in the middle region came to it after he cast off the burden of the darkness. He rejoiced when the spirit arose. For he looked from the clouds down at the dark waters upon the light that was in the depths of nature.
“So I appeared that I might get an opportunity to go down to the nether world, to the light of the spirit that was burdened, that I might protect him from the evil of the burden. And through his looking down at the dark region the light once more came up, that the womb might again come up from the water. The womb came up by my will. Guilefully, the eye opened. And the light, which had appeared in the middle region and which had separated from the astonishment, rested and shone upon her. And the womb saw things she had not seen before, and she rejoiced joyfully in the light, although this one that appeared in the middle region, in her wickedness, is not hers. When the light shone upon her, and the womb saw things she had not seen, and she was brought down to the water, she was thinking that she had reached the power of light. And she did not know that her root was made idle by the likeness of the light, and that it was to the root that he had run.
THE LIGHT PRAYS FOR MERCY
“The light was astonished, the one that was in the middle region and that was beginning and end. Therefore his thought gazed directly up at the exalted light. And he called out and said, ‘Lord, have mercy on me, for my light and my effort went astray. For if your goodness does not establish me, I do not know where I am.’ And when the majesty had heard him, he had mercy on him.
“And I appeared in the cloud of the hymen, in silence, without my holy garment. With my will I honored my garment, which has three forms in the cloud of the hymen. And the light that was in silence, the one from the rejoicing power, contained me. I wore it. And its two parts appeared in a single form. Its other parts did not appear on account of the fire. I became unable to speak in the cloud of the hymen, for its fire was frightful, lifting itself up without diminishing. And so that my greatness and the word might appear, I placed likewise my other garment in the cloud of silence. I went into the middle region and put on the light that was in it, that was sunk in forgetfulness and that was separated from the spirit of astonishment, for he had cast off the burden. At my wish, nothing mortal appeared to him, but they were all immortal things that the spirit granted to him. And he said in the mind of the light, ‘AI EIS AI OU PHAR DOU IA EI OU, I have come in great rest in order that he may give rest to my light in his root, and may bring it out of harmful nature.’
DERDEKEAS DONS A FIERY GARMENT AND HAS SEX WITH NATURE
“Then, by the will of the majesty, I took off my garment of light. I put on another garment of fire, which has no form, which is from the mind of the power, which was separated, and which was prepared for me, according to my will, in the middle region. For the middle region covered it with a dark power that I might come and put it on. I went down to chaos to save the whole light from it. For without the power of darkness I could not oppose nature. When I came into nature she was not able to tolerate my power. But I rested myself upon her staring eye, which was a light from the spirit. For it had been prepared for me as a garment and rest by the spirit. Through me, he opened his eyes down to Hades. He granted nature his voice for a time.
“And my garment of fire, according to the will of the majesty, went down to what is strong, and to the unclean portion of nature that the power of darkness was covering. And my garment rubbed nature in her covering. And her unclean femininity was strong. And the wrathful womb came up and made the mind dry, resembling a fish that has a drop of fire and a power of fire. And when nature had cast off the mind, she was troubled and wept. When she was hurt and in her tears, she cast off the power of the spirit and remained as I am. I put on the light of the spirit and rested with my garment on account of the sight of the fish. And that the deeds of nature might be condemned, since she is blind, manifold animals came out of her, in accordance with the number of the fleeting winds. All of them came into being in Hades, searching for the light of the mind that took shape. They were not able to stand up against it. I rejoiced over their ignorance.
DERDEKEAS FOOLS NATURE, AND CREATION BEGINS
“They found me, the son of the majesty, in front of the womb that has many forms. I put on the beast and laid before her a great request that heaven and earth might come into being, so that the whole light might rise up. For in no other way could the power of the spirit be saved from bondage except that I appear to her in animal form. Therefore she was gracious to me as if I were her son. And on account of my request, nature arose, since she possesses the power of the spirit and the darkness and the fire. For she had taken off her forms. When she had cast it off, she blew upon the water. The heaven was created. And from the foam of heaven the earth came into being. And at my wish it brought forth all kinds of food in accordance with the number of the beasts. And it brought forth dew from the winds on account of you and those who will be conceived the second time upon the earth. For the earth possessed a power of chaotic fire. Therefore it brought forth every seed. And when the heaven and the earth were created, my garment of fire arose in the midst of the cloud of nature and shone upon the whole world until nature became dry. The darkness that was the earth’s garment was cast into the harmful waters. The middle region was cleansed from the darkness. But the womb grieved because of what had happened. She perceived, in her parts, water like a mirror. When she perceived it, she wondered how it had come into being. Therefore she remained a widow. It also was astonished that it was not in her. For still the forms possessed a power of fire and light. The power remained, that it might be in nature until all the powers are taken away from her. For just as the light of the spirit was completed in three clouds, it is necessary also that the power that is in Hades be completed at the appointed time. For, because of the grace of the majesty, I came forth to her from the water for the second time. For my face pleased her. Her face also was glad.
DERDEKEAS COMMANDS NATURE TO GIVE BIRTH
“And I said to her, ‘May seed and power come forth from you upon the earth.’ And she obeyed the will of the spirit that she might be brought to naught. And when her forms returned, they rubbed their tongues with each other and copulated; they produced winds and demons and the power that is from the fire and the darkness and the spirit. But the form that remained alone cast the beast from herself. She did not have intercourse, but she was the one who rubbed herself alone. And she brought forth a wind that possessed a power from the fire and the darkness and the spirit.
“And in order that the demons also might become devoid of the power that they possessed through the impure intercourse, a womb was with the winds resembling water. And an unclean penis was with the demons in accordance with the example of the darkness, and in the way he rubbed with the womb from the beginning. And after the forms of nature had been together, they separated from each other. They cast off the power, being astonished about the deceit that had happened to them. They grieved with an eternal grief. They covered themselves with their power.
“And when I had put them to shame, I arose with my garment in the power—which is above the beast, which is a light—in order that I might make nature desolate. The mind that had appeared in the nature of darkness, and that was the eye of darkness, at my wish reigned over the winds and the demons. And I gave him a likeness of fire, light, and attentiveness, and a share of guileless reason. Therefore he was given of the greatness in order to be strong in his power, independent of the power, independent of the light of the spirit and intercourse of darkness, in order that, at the end of time, when nature will be destroyed, he may rest in the honored place. For he will be found faithful, since he has loathed the unchastity of nature with the darkness. The strong power of the mind came into being from the mind and the unconceived spirit. But the winds, which are demons from water and fire and darkness and light, had intercourse unto perdition. And through this intercourse the winds received in their womb foam from the penis of the demons. They conceived a power in their womb. From the breathing, the wombs of the winds girded each other until the times of the birth came. They went down to the water. And the power was delivered, through the breathing that causes the birth, in the midst of the rubbing. And every form of the birth received shape in it. When the times of the birth were near, all the winds were gathered from the water that is near the earth. They gave birth to all kinds of unchastity. And the place where the wind alone went was permeated with unchastity. Barren wives came from it and sterile husbands. For just as they are born, so they bear.
DEMONS BRING THE FLOOD AND THE TOWER OF BABEL
“Because of you, the image of the spirit appeared in the earth and the water. For you are like the light. You possess a share of the winds and the demons and a thought from the light of the power of the astonishment. For everything that he brought forth from the womb upon the earth was not a good thing for her, but it was her groan and her pain, because of the image that appeared in you from the spirit. For you are exalted in your heart. And it is a blessing, Shem, if a portion is given to someone and he departs from the soul to go to the thought of the light. For the soul is a burden to the darkness, and those who know where the root of the soul came from will be able to grope after nature also. For the soul is a work of unchastity and an object of scorn to the thought of light. For I am the one who revealed concerning all that is unconceived.
“And so that the sin of nature might be filled, I made the womb, which was disturbed, pleasant—the blind wisdom—that I might be able to bring it to naught. And at my wish, he plotted with the water of darkness and also the darkness, that they might wound every form of your heart. For by the will of the light of the spirit they surrounded you; they bound you in faith. And so that his mind might become idle, he sent a demon, that the plan of her wickedness might be proclaimed. And he caused a flood, and he destroyed your race, to take the light and to take away from faith. But I proclaimed quickly by the mouth of the demon that a tower come to be up to the particle of light, which was left in the demons and their race—which was water—that the demon might be protected from the turbulent chaos. And the womb planned these things according to my will, that she might pour forth completely. A tower came to be through the demons. The darkness was disturbed by his loss. He loosened the muscles of the womb. And the demon who was going to enter the tower was protected so that the races might continue and might acquire coherence through him. For he possesses power from every form.
“Return henceforth, O Shem, and rejoice greatly over your race and faith, for without body and necessity it is protected from every body of darkness, bearing witness to the holy things of the greatness that were revealed to them in their thought by my will. And they shall rest in the unconceived spirit without grief. But you, Shem, because of this, you remained in the body outside the cloud of light, that you might remain with faith. And faith will come to you. Her thought will be taken and given to you with a consciousness of light. I told you these things for the benefit of your race from the cloud of light. And likewise, what I shall say to you concerning everything, I shall reveal to you completely, that you may reveal it to those who will be upon the earth the second time.
A DISTURBANCE UNDOES THE POWER OF NATURE
“O Shem, the disturbance that occurred at my wish happened so that nature might become empty. For the wrath of the darkness subsided. O Shem, the mouth of darkness was shut. No longer does the light that shone for the world appear in it, according to my will. And when nature had said that its wish was fulfilled, then every form was engulfed by the waters in prideful ignorance. Nature turned her dark vagina and cast from her the power of fire, which was in her from the beginning through the rubbing of the darkness. It lifted itself up and shone upon the whole world instead of the righteous one. And all her forms sent forth a power like a flame of fire up to heaven as a help to the corrupted light, which had lifted itself up. For they were members of the chaotic fire. And she did not know that she had harmed herself. When she cast forth the power, the power that she possessed, she cast it forth from the genitals. The demon, who is a deceiver, stirred up the womb in every form.
“And in her ignorance, as if she were doing a great thing, she granted the demons and the winds a star each. For without wind and star nothing happens upon the earth. For every power is filled by them after they were released from the darkness and the fire and the power and the light. For in the place where their darkness and their fire were mixed with each other, beasts were brought forth. And in the place of the darkness and the fire, and the power of the mind, and the light, human beings came into existence. Being from the spirit, the thought of the light, my eye, does not exist in every person. For before the flood came from the winds and the demons, rain came to people. But then, in order that the power that is in the tower might be brought forth and might rest upon the earth, nature, which had been disturbed, wanted to harm the seed that will be upon the earth after the flood. Demons were sent to them, and a deviation of the winds, and a burden of the angels, and a fear of the prophet, a condemnation of speech, that I may teach you, O Shem, from what blindness your race is protected. When I have revealed to you all that has been spoken, then the righteous one will shine upon the world with my garment. And night and day will be separated. For I shall hasten down to the world to take the light of that place, the one that faith possesses. And I shall appear to those who will acquire the thought of the light of the spirit. For because of them my majesty appeared.
SODOM, CITY OF GNOSIS, IS UNJUSTLY BURNED
“When he will have appeared, O Shem, upon the earth, in the place that will be called Sodom, then safeguard the insight that I shall give you. For those whose heart was pure will congregate to you, because of the word that you will reveal. For when you appear in the world, dark nature will shake against you, together with the winds and a demon, that they may destroy the insight. But you, proclaim quickly to the Sodomites your universal teaching, for they are your members. For the demon of human form will part from that place by my will, since he is ignorant. He will guard this utterance. But the Sodomites, according to the will of the majesty, will bear witness to the universal testimony. They will rest with a pure conscience in the place of their repose, which is the unconceived spirit. And as these things will happen, Sodom will be burned unjustly by a base nature. For the evil will not cease in order that your majesty may reveal that place.
“Then the demon will depart with faith. And then he will appear in the four regions of the world. And when faith appears in the last likeness, then will her appearance become manifest. For the firstborn is the demon who appeared in the union of nature with many faces, that faith might appear in him. For when he appears in the world, evil passions will arise, and earthquakes, and wars, and famines, and blasphemies. For because of him the whole world will be disturbed. He will seek the power of faith and light; he will not find it. For at that time the other demon will appear upon the river to baptize with an imperfect baptism, and to trouble the world with a bondage of water. But it is necessary for me to appear in the members of the thought of faith to reveal the great things of my power. I shall separate it from the demon, who is Soldas. And the light that he possesses from the spirit I shall mix with my invincible garment, as well as him whom I shall reveal in the darkness for your sake and for the sake of your race, which will be protected from the evil darkness.
“Know, O Shem,
that without Elorchaios and Amoias
and Strophaias and Chelkeak
and Chelkea and Elaios,
no one will be able to pass by
this wicked region.
For this is my testimony,
that through it I have been victorious over
the wicked region.
And I have taken the light of the spirit
from the frightful water.
For when the appointed days of the demon—
he who will baptize erringly—
draw near, then I shall appear
in the baptism of the demon
to reveal with the mouth of faith
a testimony to those who belong to her.
I testify of you, spark, unquenchable,
Osei, the elect of the light, the eye of heaven,
and faith, the first and the last,
and Sophia, and Saphaia, and Saphaina,
and the righteous spark,
and the impure light.
And you, east, and west, and north, and south,
upper air and lower air,
and all the powers and authorities,
you are in creation.
And you, Moluchtha and Soch,
are from every work
and every impure effort of nature.
“Then I shall come through the demon down to the water. And whirlpools of water and flames of fire will rise up against me. Then I shall come up from the water, having put on the light of faith and the unquenchable fire, that through my help the power of the spirit may cross over, she who has been cast in the world by the winds and the demons and the stars. And in them every unchastity will be filled.
“Finally, O Shem, consider yourself pleasing in the thought of the light. Do not let your thought have dealings with the fire and the body of darkness, which was an unclean work. These things that I teach you are right.
“This is the paraphrase : For you did not remember that it is from the firmament that your race has been protected. Elorchaios is the name of the great light, the place from which I have come, the word that has no equal. And the likeness is my honored garment. And Derdekeas is the name of his word in the voice of the light. And Strophaia is the blessed glance, which is the spirit. And Chelkeach is my garment, who has come from the astonishment, who was in the cloud of the hymen that appeared as a cloud with three forms. And Chelkea is my garment that has two forms, he who was in the cloud of silence. And Chelke is my garment that was given him from every region; it was given him in a single form from the greatness, and he was in the cloud of the middle region. And the star of the light that was mentioned is my invincible garment, which I wore in Hades; this, the star of the light, is the mercy that surpasses the thought and the testimony of those who bear witness. And the testimony was mentioned: the first and the last, faith, the mind of the wind of darkness. And Sophaia and Saphaina are in the cloud of those who have been separated from the chaotic fire. And the righteous spark is the cloud of light that has shone in your midst. For in the cloud of light my garment will go down to chaos. But the impure light, a power, appeared in the darkness and belongs to dark nature. And the upper air and the lower air, and the powers and the authorities, the demons and the stars, these possessed a particle of fire and a light from the spirit. And Moluchthas is a wind, for without it nothing is brought forth upon the earth. He has a likeness of a serpent and a unicorn. His protrusions are manifold wings. And the remainder is the womb that has been disturbed.
THE BLESSING OF SHEM AND THE PEOPLE OF SPIRIT
“You are blessed, Shem, for your race has been protected from the dark wind, which is many-faced. And they will bear witness to the universal testimony and to the impure rubbing of nature. And they will become higher of mind by remembering the light.
“O Shem, no one who wears the body will be able to complete these things. But through remembrance he will be able to grasp them, in order that, when his mind separates from the body, these things may then be revealed to him. They have been revealed to your race. O Shem, it is difficult for someone wearing a body to complete these things, as I said to you. And it is a small number that will complete them, those who possess the particle of the mind and the thought of the light of the spirit. They will keep their mind from the impure rubbing. For many in the race of nature will seek the security of the power. They will not find it, nor will they be able to do the will of faith. For they are seed of the universal darkness. They will be found in much suffering. The winds and the demons will hate them. And the bondage of the body is severe. For where the winds, and the stars, and the demons are cast out from the power of the spirit, there repentance and testimony come upon them, and mercy will lead them to the unconceived spirit. And those who are repentant will find rest in the consummation and faith, in the place of the hymen. This is the faith that will fill the place that has been left empty. But those who do not share in the spirit of light and in faith will dissolve in the darkness, the place where repentance did not come.
“It is I who opened the eternal gates that were shut from the beginning. To those who long for the best of life, and those who are worthy of rest, he revealed them. I granted perception to those who perceive. I disclosed to them all the thoughts and the teaching of the righteous ones. And I did not become their enemy at all. But when I had endured the wrath of the world, I was victorious. There was not one of them who knew me. The gates of fire and endless smoke opened against me. All the winds rose up against me. The thunderings and the lightning flashes for a time will rise up against me. And they will bring their wrath upon me. And on account of me, with regard to the flesh, they will rule over them according to their race.
IMPURE BAPTISM LEADS TO BONDAGE
“And many who wear erring flesh will go down to the harmful waters through the winds and the demons. And they are bound by the water. And the water will heal with a futile remedy. It will lead astray, and it will bind the world. And those who do the will of nature . . . two times in the day of the water and the forms of nature. And it will not be granted them, when faith disturbs them to take to herself the righteous one.
“O Shem, it is necessary that the thought be called by the word so the bondage of the power of the spirit may be saved from the frightful water. And it is blessedness if it is granted someone to contemplate what is exalted, and to know the exalted time and the bondage. For the water is an insignificant body. And people are not released because they are bound in the water, just as from the beginning the light of the spirit was bound.
“O Shem, they are deceived by manifold demons, thinking that through baptism with the uncleanness of water, which is dark, feeble, idle, and disturbing, the water will take away sins. And they do not know that from the water to the water there is bondage, error, unchastity, envy, murder, adultery, false witness, heresies, robberies, lusts, babblings, wrath, bitterness. . . . Therefore, there are many deaths that burden their thoughts. For I foretell it to those who have understanding. They will refrain from the impure baptism. And those who have understanding from the light of the spirit will not have dealings with the impure rubbing. And their heart will not grow faint, nor will they curse, nor will they give honor to the water. Where the curse is, there is the deficiency. And the blindness is where the honor is. For if they mix with the evil ones, they become empty in the dark water. Where the water has been mentioned, there is nature, and the oath, and the lie, and the loss. For only in the unconceived spirit, where the exalted light rested, has the water not been mentioned, nor can it be mentioned.
“For this is my appearance: when I have completed the times that are assigned to me upon the earth, then I will cast from me my garment of fire. And my unequalled garment will shine forth upon me, and all my other garments that I put on in all the clouds that were from the astonishment of the spirit. For the air will tear my garment. My garment will shine, and it will divide all the clouds up to the root of the light. Rest is the mind and my garment. And my remaining garments, those on the left and those on the right, will shine on the back in order that the image of the light may appear. For in the last day my garments that I put on in the three clouds will rest in their root, that is, in the unconceived spirit, since they are without fault, through the division of the clouds.
Therefore I have appeared, faultless, on account of the clouds, because they are unequal, that the wickedness of nature might be ended. For she wished at that time to snare me. She was about to restrain Soldas, who is the dark flame, who was set on high, on the tree of error, that it might snare me. She took care of her faith, being vainglorious.
REBOUEL IS BEHEADED
“And at that time the light was about to separate from the darkness, and a voice was heard in the world, saying, ‘Blessings on the eye that has seen you and the mind that has supported your majesty at my desire.’ It will be said by the exalted one, ‘Blessings on Rebouel among every race of people, for it is you alone who have seen.’ And she will listen. And they will behead the woman who has the perception, whom you will reveal upon the earth. And according to my will, she will bear witness, and she will cease from every vain effort of nature and chaos. For the woman whom they will behead at that time is the support of the power of the demon who will baptize the seed of darkness in severity, that the seed may mix with unchastity. He begot a woman. She was called Rebouel.
“See, O Shem, how all the things I have said to you have been fulfilled. . . . And the things that you lack, according to my will, will appear to you at that place upon the earth, that you may reveal them as they are. Do not let your thought have dealings with the body. For I have said these things to you, through the voice of the fire, for I entered through the midst of the clouds. And I spoke according to the language of each one. This is my language that I spoke to you. And it will be taken from you. And you will speak with the voice of the world upon the earth. And it will appear to you with that appearance and voice, and all that I have said to you. Henceforth proceed with faith to shine in the depths of the world.”
SHEM RETURNS FROM HIS ECSTATIC JOURNEY
And I, Shem, awoke as if from a deep sleep. I marveled when I received the power of the light and his whole thought. And I proceeded with faith to shine with me. And the righteous one followed us with my invincible garment. And all that he had told me would happen upon the earth happened. Nature was handed over to faith, that faith might overturn her and that nature might stand in the darkness. She produced a turning motion while wandering night and day, not getting rest with the souls. These things completed her deeds.
Then I rejoiced in the thought of the light. I came forth from the darkness and walked in faith where the forms of nature are, up to the top of the earth, to the things that are prepared. Your faith is upon the earth the whole day. For all night and day she surrounds nature to take to herself the righteous one. For nature is burdened, and she is troubled. For none will be able to open the forms of the womb except the mind alone who was entrusted with their likeness. For frightful is their likeness of the two forms of nature, the one that is blind.
But they who have a free conscience remove themselves from the babbling of nature. For they will bear witness to the universal testimony; they will strip off the burden of darkness; they will put on the word of the light; and they will not be kept back in the insignificant place. And what they possess from the power of the mind they will give to faith. They will be accepted without grief. And the chaotic fire that they possess they will leave in the middle region of nature. And they will be received by my garments, which are in the clouds. It is they who guide their members. They will rest in the spirit without suffering. And because of this, the appointed term of faith appeared upon the earth for a short time, until the darkness is taken away from her, and her testimony is revealed that was revealed by me. They, who will prove to be from her root, will strip off the darkness and the chaotic fire. They will put on the light of the mind and bear witness. For all that I have said must happen.
THE FINAL DESOLATION
After I cease to be upon the earth and withdraw up to my rest, a great, evil error will come upon the world, and many evils in accordance with the number of the forms of nature. Evil times will come. And when the era of nature is approaching destruction, darkness will come upon the earth. The number will be small. And a demon will come up from the power who has a likeness of fire. He will divide the heaven, and he will rest in the depth of the east. For the whole world will quake. And the deceived world will be thrown into confusion. Many places will be flooded because of envy of the winds and the demons who have a name that is senseless: Phorbea, Chloerga. They are the ones who govern the world with their teaching. And they lead astray many hearts because of their disorder and their unchastity. Many places will be sprinkled with blood. And five races by themselves will eat their sons. The regions of the south will receive the word of the light. But they who are from the error of the world and from the east. . . . A demon will come forth from the belly of the serpent. He was in hiding in a desolate place. He will perform many wonders. Many will loathe him. A wind will come forth from his mouth with a female likeness. Her name will be called Abalphe. He will reign over the world from the east to the west.
Then nature will have a final opportunity. And the stars will cease from the sky. The mouth of error will be opened that the evil darkness may become idle and silent. And in the last day the forms of nature will be destroyed with the winds and all their demons; they will become a dark lump, just as they were from the beginning. And the sweet waters that were burdened by the demons will perish. For where the power of the spirit has gone, there are my sweet waters. The other works of nature will not be manifest. They will mix with the infinite waters of darkness. And all her forms will cease from the middle region.
SHEM ASCENDS, IN MIND, AND RECITES THE LITANY
I, Shem, have completed these things. And my mind began to separate from the body of darkness. My time was completed. And my mind put on the immortal testimony. And I said,
“I declare your testimony,
which you have revealed to me:
and you, Amoiaias,
and you, Sederkeas,
and your guilelessness, Strophaias,
and you, Chelkeak,
and you, Chelkea,
and Chelke and Elaios,
you are the immortal testimony.
I testify to you,
spark, the unquenchable one,
who is an eye of heaven and a voice of light,
and Sophaia, and Saphaia, and Saphaina,
and the righteous spark,
and faith, the first and the last,
and the upper air and the lower air,
and all the powers and the authoritiesthat are in the world.
And you, impure light,
and you also, east, and west, and south, and north,
you are the zones of the inhabited world.
And you also, Moluchtha and Essoch,
you are the root of evil
and every work and impure effort of nature.”
These are the things that I completed while bearing witness. I am Shem. On the day that I was to come forth from the body, when my thought remained in the body, I awoke as if from a deep sleep. And when I arose as it were from the burden of my body, I said, “Just as nature became old, so is it also in the day of human beings. Blessings on those who knew, when they slept, in what power their thought rested.”
And when the Pleiades separated, I saw clouds, which I shall pass by. For the cloud of the spirit is like a pure beryl. And the cloud of the hymen is like a shining emerald. And the cloud of silence is like a flourishing amaranth. And the cloud of the middle region is like a pure jacinth.
“And when the righteous one appeared in nature, then, when nature was angry, she felt hurt, and she granted to Morphaia to visit heaven. The righteous one visits during twelve periods that he may visit them during one period, so that his time may be completed quickly and nature may become idle.
GO IN GRACE AND FAITH
“Blessings on those who guard themselves against the heritage of death, which is the burdensome water of darkness. For it will not be possible to conquer them in a few moments, since they hasten to come forth from the error of the world. And if they are conquered, they will be kept back from them and be tormented in the darkness until the time of the consummation. When the consummation has come and nature has been destroyed, then their thoughts will separate from the darkness. Nature has burdened them for a short time. And they will be in the ineffable light of the unconceived spirit without a form. And thus is the mind, as I have said from the first.
“Henceforth, O Shem, go in grace and continue in faith upon the earth. For every power of light and fire will be completed by me because of you. For without you they will not be revealed until you speak of them openly. When you cease to be upon the earth, they will be given to the worthy ones. And apart from this proclamation, let them speak about you upon the earth, since they will take the carefree and agreeable land.