Jesus said, "There are many standing at the door, but those who are alone will enter the bridal suite." (Thomas 75)
According to Mr. Sasagu Arai, author of the Japanese version of The Gospel of Thomas, 'nymphon,' the original word of 'bridal suite,' literally means 'the place of marriage' where is performed the 'Holy Marriage' liturgy, that is, the liturgy for separated a male and a female to restore to the primitiveness which has not been split into male and female through Gnosis. Nymphon is given the highest status among the 'five liturgies of the Gospel of Philip.' The 'bridal suite' is a symbol of the kingdom where a male and a female are promised to enter as 'a single one.' 'A single one' means 'one who transcends division and recovers the original integration (propator = original Self) in himself or herself.' And the reign of this 'original Self' means realization of the kingdom of God. In the Gospel of Thomas, the phrase of 'single one' is repeatedly used as a keyword.
Now, if the Hebrew version of the Old Testament was established through the nation-building myth of nomads, who had frequently went back and forth in the region from Mesopotamia to Egypt, was grafted with Sumerian mythology, typified by the legends of the paradise of Timrun and Babylonian flood, it seems that, of course, Greco-Roman culture greatly influenced the formation of the New Testament written in Greek language,
which is considered a new salvation contract for Gentiles, who recognize themselves as grafted into Abraham's family tree under the New Covenant, but it is not possible to forget Aramaic roots also influenced it. It is known that Jesus also used Aramaic regularly. Therefore, I will examine the Aramaic roots of Christianity and deliver the results in four parts from this time.
The Abrahamic people themselves used Aramaic before Hebrew. In fact, Aramaic was the generic term for the languages of the nomads in the Mesopotamian region, including Assyria and Babylonia, and the Hebrew language, which was used in the Kingdom of Judah, was Canaan dialect of Aramaic.
○East-west division of evangelism
According to Mr. Shlomo Sand, Professor of history at Tel Aviv University, the Jewish population in Palestine was only about 800 thousand in the 1st century. In contrast, the Jewish population in the world was about 4 million. There might have been much more huge number of reserve army of believers who had not been circumcised. There was a robust community of such gentile Judaists especially in Rome.
Thus Paul, Peter, and John went westward and were missionary to Greece and Rome, but Thomas, Bartholomew (Nathanael), and Thaddaeus (one of the Seventy Disciples but not the Twelve Apostles, that is, brother of Thomas) were reportedly missionary to Assyria, India, and China immediately after Jesus' death.
According to Jerome (347-420), one of early church fathers, Bartholomew died in Albanopolis, Armenia after evangelizing in India.
Thaddaeus was instructed by his elder brother Thomas and evangelized in Assyria's Edessa (Ulfa) and Parthia. Edessa was the home city of the Assyrian Eastern Church and on a second-century coin found in the area is depicted a portrait of King Edessa wearing a crown with a cross. Bishops existed in 19 cities in Assyria in 95 C.E. Christianity spread to Media, Persia and Bactria in 161 C.E.
○The east wind overwhelms the west wind
While it is known that Jesus used Aramaic regularly, there were native Jewish communities using Aramaic in the east, especially in the Assyrian region. Thus missionary work in the east achieved more than in the west. Christian states were born in Edessa and Armenia before Rome adopted Christianity as a state religion and Eastern Churches were formed. According to Protestant Bible commentator Mr. Arimasa Kubo, who was the first pastor of the Ikebukuro-Nishi Church, The United Church of Christ in Japan, "The number of Christians in the East was far greater than the number of Christians in the West from 800 AD to the 14th century."
○St. Thomas Legend
According to the social anthropologist Yoshio Sugimoto's 'A Genealogical Study of St. Thomas in South India,' the Synoptic Gospels (the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and Mark) mention Thomas as one of the Twelve Apostles, but Thomas is not his real name, but the Aramaic nickname given to him by Jesus and means twin which is Didimo (s) in Greek. His real name was Judas.
According to Mr. Sugimoto, the name of Thomas only appears in the list of the Twelve Apostles in the Synoptic Gospels and is mentioned four times in the Gospel of John, he is known only as 'the Incredulity of Thomas' and 'the doubting Thomas' and his character is not clear in the Western Christian world.
On the other hand, in the Eastern Christian Church, the legend of St. Thomas has two characteristics. One is 'Thomas the Knower,' or Thomas who preaches Gnostic teachings. St. Thomas occupies an important position in the Gnostic tradition of Eastern Christianity and stands opposite St. Peter in Western Christianity. The other one is 'Thomas the Wanderer,' that is, Thomas as the evangelist and founder of the Eastern Church. Legend has it that Thomas traveled to Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, Pakistan, and finally China and even Brazil and Mexico.
The center of St. Thomas's religion is believed to have been in Edessa, Mesopotamia (currently located in Urfa, Turkey). The old name of the city was Urhai (Orhai), and it became an independent state for a while (132 BC - 242 AD) after being named Edessa in 303 BC. The city was later occupied by the Roman Empire, and was called Urfa by Turkey in 1146. Regarding the introduction of Christianity to this region, it was said that St. Thomas himself had been sent and had carried out a ministry, but recently it is presumed that Thomas sent his brother Thaddaeus. Although Edessa flourished as the center of the Eastern Syrian Church, the invasion of Muslims in the seventh century called off its glorious history. In the city, a church of St. Thomas, containing the relics of the apostle Thomas, had been built in the 4th century, but was destroyed by Turkey.
Mr. Kubo says, "According to historians, St. Thomas traveled to Assyria around 35 C.E., two years after Jesus' ascension, and then went on a mission to India. He reportedly landed at Cranganore in Kerala, built seven churches,
thereafter went to Madras in Tamil Nadu, and then left to Beijing (北京, Chang'an 長安?), China in 62 C.E. Thomas, who had returned to India again after his mission in China, was martyred in 68-75 C.E., and was buried in Mylapore (Chennai district of Tamil Nadu). Thomas was listed as the first Archbishop of the Assyrian Eastern Church (Syrian Church). Indian Christians have called themselves Thomas Christians. Assyrian Eastern Church was called Jing-jiao (景教: Luminous Religion) in China."
○Why no one enters it?
It is possible that the verse 75 of the Gospel of Thomas was a pair of the verse 74.
He said, "Lord, there are many around the drinking trough, but there is nothing in the well." (Thomas 74)
The drinking trough is 'a spring of water welling up to eternal life,' that is, the one which is promised that if one drinks from it, he or she can become like Jesus. And it, like 'bridal suite,' is a symbol of 'original Self' and refers to 'the Kingdom.' Origenes Adamantius (182?-251), who have won the high honor of the greatest early Christian theologian, asks "Why so many people are around the fountain, but no one enters it?" in his writing 'Against Celsus.'
After having been preaching for more than 40 years in various parts of India, Buddha said to Sariputra, one of the ten great his disciples, "Shariputra, the truth existed as universality within individual events and things in this world, in other words, the real image, can only be understood and shared among Buddhas but not among ordinary men. It is useless to explain to the ordinary. However, now I, joyful and fearless, in the midst of the bodhisattvas, honestly discarding expedient means, will preach only the unsurpassed Way. (Lotus Sutra Chapter 2: Expedient Means)" Then he preached the unsurpassed Way, that is, the Lotus Sutra.
The unsurpassed Way of Buddhism is that only Buddha can understand and he or she, who can drink from 'a spring of water welling up to eternal life,' is only one who can marry Jesus and become 'a single one.' Therefore, it is not surprising that many people gather at church, but none enter the spring.
However, Zen Master Sengcan Jianzhi (僧璨鑑智?-606), who is known as the Third Chinese Patriarch of Zen Buddhism, said in his book 《Xinxinming (信心銘: Inscribed on the Believing Mind)》, "The supreme Way is not difficult; it simply dislikes choosing."
Indeed, Christians say, "Just declare the name of Christ. Salvation in it," While the Founder of Japanese Soto Zen Buddhism (日本曹洞宗) Dogen (道元), the Founder of Japanese Hokke Buddhism (日本法華宗) Nichiren (日蓮) and the Founder of Japanese Jodo Shinshu (日本浄土真宗) Shinran (親鸞) recommended just to sit straight, chant the title of the sutra and invoke Amida Buddha respectively. ＜To be continued＞
○What is "Baptism with The Holy Spirit"?
According to the dialectic of the Gospel of John,
【Thesis】"A man can possess eternal life through accepting testimony of the Son of man and being baptized by him." (John 5:24)
【Anti-thesis】But "The one who comes from the earth cannot accept the testimony by one from heaven." (John 3:32)
How then can a man possess eternal life?
【Synthesis】"If you want to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, you can just go back to the word which was with God in the beginning (John 1:1) and certify that God is truthful. (John 3:33)"
When he said, "You are Huichao," Zen Master Fayan thrusted vivid Self in Huichao in front of his eyes.
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