THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING OUT IN THE WILDERNESS
(a gnostic gospel of John the Herald)
The story of John the Herald,
as recorded by his disciple,
who left him.
By the River Jordan
It is difficult to bear witness to the truth about John the Herald,
but the disciple whom Jesus loved nevertheless bore witness to it.
This happened in Bethany on the other side of Jordan,
the river of purification where John baptised.
1.1 In the beginning was the word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
In the beginning there was everything,
and everything was in everything,
and everything on its own was Everything.
Everything in the beginning was on its own in itself.
In the beginning was the Absolute,
and all Understanding was in it.
And for Understanding this was the word:
for everything and nothing.
Everything and Nothing was in Him in the beginning.
In the beginning was God,
and God was not only the word,
because the word was wholly in Him.
3 Everything was made through it,
and Nothing that was made,
was made without it.
4 In it was life,
and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness,
and the darkness comprehended it not.
Now the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness comprehends it not.
And Nothing says: the light is because of the darkness,
and the darkness comprehends the light,
and this darkness is called man.
And he says:
in the beginning was Nothing,
and He is the first word,
which was there in the beginning,
6 There was a man,
3 who came to bear witness,
to bear witness to the Light,
that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light,
but came to bear witness to that Light.
9 The Light lighteth every man,
as John bore witness;
it was already coming into the world,
but the world did not know it.
10 The world was made by it,
but the world did not know it,
man did not know it.
11 He came unto his own,
and his own received him not:
they did not know him within themselves.
12 But they that received him knew,
that they are what they were searching for,
a divine Spark, children of God;
they received his name;
13 they who do not consider themselves
born of flesh and blood,
by the will of the spirit of power;
they see that they are only
a fleeting spark,
14 And the World became a symbol made of flesh,
and it dwelt among us,
until we beheld its glory,
full of the grace of truth from Him,
who was sent by the Father.
And God became just a word, a symbol;
we can fill it with meanings of emptiness,
it does not matter which word it is,
its meaning –
And the word became a vessel,
the vessel is empty,
we are empty;
deep in ancient memory the testimony lives on.
15 John bears witness of him, calls, speaks;
15 No man has ever seen God,
the only begotten Son declared him,
He is in the bosom of His grace;
did He see him?
17 The word again became full through Him,
full of grace and truth;
the law was given by Moses;
the grace of his love became true
through Him, through Jesus Christ.
16 And from the fullness of his Word
have we all received
its grace for grace,
love for love.
19 To Bethany on the other side of Jordan,
where John baptised and testified,
the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem,
to ask him:
Who are you?
20 He: I am not the Christ.
21 The Jews: What are you? Are you a prophet?
He: I am not.
The Jews: Why have you come? Have you come to prophecy?
He: No. I have not come for that.
The Jews: How did you come? Did you come as Elijah left?
He: I did not. I did not come in that way.
22 So the Jews say unto him: Tell us who you are, what do you have to say
so that we may give an answer to those who have sent us.
23 He: I am who am; but you are not.
I am the “voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
Make straight the way of the Lord” in yourself,
as Isaiah the prophet foretold.
24 The Pharisees reproached him saying:
25 You baptise, you testify, you prophesy;
but you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor a prophet.
26 He: I baptise with water,
my I baptises with water;
but there is one among you whom ye know not,
27 Of Him who comes after me,
I am only a shadow,
He baptises with the Holy Spirit.
28 This happened in Bethany,
on the other side of the Jordan,
the river of purification,
where John testified to himself:
To their clear question: Who are you? I did not answer.
I said: I am not the Christ, and how I rushed,
why did I have to say that?
They would not have understood if I had told them the truth,
but this is no reason to conceal it.
After all they did not ask me: who are you not?
And who poses such questions?
I knew what they wanted to ask,
they posed the questions correctly,
could not have posed them more correctly.
And then I added:
He is among you,
in your midst, whom you do not know.
If I could say that,
and if they understood,
I could tell the whole truth,
the truth was my mission.
I did not conceal Him, but I concealed him within myself,
and that was not the truth; the truth is whole,
or it is not the truth.
I baptise with water;
water is soft and pure;
its movement is unlike that of thoughts,
it purifies for the path,
on which it sees the spiritual eye:
its eye like the eye of a foreigner who cannot see.
But he baptised with the living water of life,
with the wellspring, which flows into eternal life;
and with fire,
and with earth,
and with the air.
30 He was here long before me,
and he proclaimed the way,
and the truth,
and the grace of love which we all received through him.
And He proclaimed:
if you believe through the God in you,
have you seen him?
Have you seen his spark within you?
If you believe through someone else,
have they seen him?
And you believe him,
is it easier for you to believe like that?
Will you ever be able to see yourself?
What are you marvelling at, man,
How beautiful miracles are if you see them in yourself,
being a miracle through yourself.
If no-one has seen God,
and still you believe, this is a miracle.
From whence your faith,
if it is not your conviction, the convincing of yourself,
it is something more;
it is a feeling within you?
Is not the essence of faith the miracle,
if you believe yourself,
deep from within yourself,
from your knowledge,
the knowledge of ancient memory?
But thought is strange,
in itself it is a miracle,
and it is the death of knowledge,
and the story is only its framework,
the framework of shadows,
it is a symbolic account of it.
And I am only His shadow.
He was here before me,
He was here when I did not even exist.
That is how John bore witness to the truth about himself on the first day;
and he knew that the Avatars would meet on the mountain.
It is difficult for John to bear witness to the truth,
but the disciple whom Jesus loved bore witness to it nonetheless.
28 This happened in Bethany, on the other bank of the Jordan,
the river of purification in which John baptised.
29 On the second day, he waited for Him, and when he saw him,
coming over, he exclaimed:
O, look, the Lamb of God, who comes to take away the sins
of this world! You have come to take away my sin and that of the world.
31 You have come, you whom I concealed, I did not acknowledge you.
And I said you were coming after me, that you are coming second.
That is what I said, I who have come to bear witness to the truth,
to purify it, to cleanse it with water, so that it reveals itself in purity
to Israel; have I come then to conceal it?
32 And John testified to his two disciples:
“I saw his Spirit,
descending from heaven like a dove,
33 but I did not know him,
I did not want to know him.
But He who sent me,
said to me:
This is your mission:
Upon whom you shall see the Spirit descending,
He is all full of the Spirit; He will baptise you with the bright spirit,
He will sanctify with what is holy; that is the one; it is He.”
34 That is what I saw; and I bear witness that He is the Son of God;
and He baptised me with his spirit,
and I sanctified him with my truth.
35 On the third day, John was with his two disciples for the last time,
when he saw Him.
36 He looked at him, his look was beseeching and sorrowful,
he spoke but his disciples did not yet hear. And He went past.
They only heard how he said to them:
Behold, He is the Lamb of God, He will be your shepherd.
On that day, John relinquished two of his disciples,
who were dearest to him.
John mourned for them,
and mourned also for He had gone past him.
37 One of the disciples heard everything and testified:
We stood to say farewell, John the Baptist and us two,
his beloved disciples; we heard everything,
and it rended our hearts, but we went and followed Him.
38 He saw them before he turned;
he saw them,
saw their shadow,
saw their hearts;
he asked them: What seek ye?
They answered: Your home,
we seek your dwelling place.
39 He: Come and see.
They went and saw his home in God’s bosom,
and that day they were with Him, then they forgot.
It was around the tenth hour on that day. And that was how it was
with all his disciples, save for one;
it is always so that one is different.
40 The other of the two disciples who went with Him, when they saw
what John was testifying to, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
41 When they went after him, the sadness in them became
the joy of witnessing to the fact that they had found the Messiah; for they
were searching for the greatest teacher, they were looking for the Messiah before
they even knew it. But one of them did not forget John,
their old teacher, as easily as the other, who ran to his
brother to tell him everything and that
42 they had found the Messiah. He brought him to Jesus.
When Jesus beheld him, he said:
You are hard as a rock, Simon, son of Jona, your name shall be Cephas
43 When Jesus left for Galilee, he found Philip
44 from Bethsaida; and said unto him: Follow me!
Philip too went without hesitation,
he too did not think of John, his teacher
to that day.
45 And this is how John was abandoned by his faithful disciples because
they wanted the greatest teacher, but this is how it had to
With Nathanael alone was there a slight hitch.
When Philip found him he said: We have found him,
Him, of whom Moses did write, of whom the prophets
spoke; Jesus of Nazareth.
46 And Nathanael replied: Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?
Philip said unto him: Come and see!
47 When Nathanael was coming to Him, Jesus saw him, saw into him
and greeted him thus:
Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.
48 Nathanael said unto Him: Whence do you know me, can you see into me?
Jesus replied jokingly: When you were under the fig tree I saw you;
then more seriously: That was before Philip called you.
49 Nathanael: Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the king of Israel.
50 Jesus: Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree,
you believe; and when you will see heaven open, and the angels of God,
ascending and descending upon the Son of man,
what will you say then?
Truly, truly I say unto you:
look with your soul, with the eyes of your soul, with spiritual eyes;
and you will see.
And this is how it was with the visions of all His disciples,
they saw for an instant,
then they forgot, they could not even believe their own eyes, that
they had seen.
They wanted to see many miracles, incredible miracles,
in order to believe.
But one was different,
it is always so that one is different.
And he did many miracles that they might see,
but the disciple whom He loved will mention only a few.
3.23 When John was carrying out his mission,
everywhere where there was much water,
and purified, cleaned with the truth,
he met Him again,
in Aenón near Salím.
The people were thirsting for the truth,
they were coming in crowds to be sanctified.
22 Jesus too and his disciple came to
Judea. He lived here and baptised
with the Spirit; in the spirit of his disciples,
for there was much spirit in these people,
and much spiritual thirst.
24 Soon John will be thrown into prison,
but for now he was still here.
25 There arose a dispute between John’s disciples
and a Jew about purifying.
26 The disciples approached John and complained:
Rabbi, he that was with you beyond Jordan,
the great water of purification, behold, all men are going to him,
yet you testified to him.
27 John just reminded them of his testimony,
30 He must increase but I must decrease.
God does not give him the Spirit sparingly;
God loves him and has given him everything:
the water, the earth, fire, wind and ether,
in Spirit He possesses everything, and he sees eternal life;
and from those who do not believe in Him he will take away everything.
They will not see eternal life,
the fire burns them and eternally they thirst for him;
will God’s wrath stay in them forever?
31 He that comes from above is above all.
he that is of the earth is earthly,
and speaks of the earth;
only he that comes from above is above all.
32 He testifies to that which he has seen and heard;
and no man receives his testimony.
33 He who receives His testimony sets his seal to this,
that God is true.
34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God,
his Spirit is divine.
35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand,
for God loves him as God is all to him.
36 He who believes in the Son of God,
has eternal life, eternal love;
he who does not obey the Son,
believes in his own eternal suffering,
in the eternal wrath of God in himself.
Will it rest eternally on him?
4.1 And when this happened, Jesus left Judea.
– The above text is from the book John’s Revelation or On Three Values (in comparison with the text from the book published in 1986, 1990, 1994 the changes are minimal). [The whole book is a complex yet ordered message. Allegories are essentially a ciphered experience, it is not easy to decipher them; the message becomes a little easier to understand when it is split up into individual stories.]
– The message of John’s Gospel is essentially a gnostic text. It was written (or copied) by a gnostic. The Gospel according to John is a gnostic gospel. Even after the copying or editing carried out by St. Ireneaus (Bishop of Lugdunum, Gaul, c. 130-202; now Lyon, France), the essence of the message is unambiguous: knowledge of God – gnosis. This is particularly true for the first chapter.
– John the Baptist did not baptise only with water, he was the Herald – the teacher of gnosis. The story of John the Herald (the Baptist) – the first chapter of John’s gospel (the disciple whom Jesus loved) – is a gnostic gospel of John the Herald. It contains the essence of gnosis as it was taught by John the Herald, John’s first teacher. For the first chapter of John’s gospel we can therefore say that it is the gospel of John the Herald.
– Avatars on the mount – (see: Supplement to the preface of the third edition of John’s Revelation; The Message of the Avatars on the mount)
Perhaps an unnecessary comment: Gnostic messages speak to us on their own, metaphorically speaking, they speak to us three times in truth: firstly as a story, if we read it freely; secondly in the spirit – when we look with our spiritual eyes, or with intuition, for the story is only a framework for values – direct facts of consciousness; thirdly, with a pure heart, some would say – with pure reason. Faith in the gnostic text (usually or mostly) means certainty from knowledge, it is the certainty of reason’s intuition or in other words: intuitive certainty is knowledge, certainty which speaks for itself.
It would be difficult for me to say for myself that I am a believer, I would sooner say that I am a born sceptic, that I do not believe anything, not even myself. “It is most difficult to believe yourself.” Or your intuition if you like.
I prefer metaphysics to philosophy; hermeneutics is a wonderful method; but gnosis is mysterious, almost incomprehensible. The essence of gnosis is knowledge from comprehension (not faith), this knowledge is a miracle. I am always amazed by that which surpasses human reasoning and gives knowledge a special certainly. (Editor’s note)
See: Jn 1.26; 1.28; 1.30; 3.2; 21.14; 21.25; 21.26;
Iz 11.2 (Jn 1.33); 40.3 (Jn 1.23).
Translated from Slovenian by Marko Petrovich