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Near and Far

Chapter 82 of the Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

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Jesus said, He who is near me is near the fire, and he who is far from me is far from the kingdom. (82)

Toward the end of the Syrian Jacobite Liturgy there is a blessing which begins: “You who are near and you who are far….” This is meant spiritually, and here Saint Thomas has recorded a saying of Jesus regarding it.

He who is near me is near the fire. Those who are one with God on occasion speak very plainly about their spiritual status and their effect on others. This often confuses people, but to speak only as ordinary pious human beings would be to confuse them even more.

A great master sometimes speaks as a devotee, a teacher and as the embodiment of God. Jesus being an avatara, an incarnation of infinite consciousness, was much more God than man. Therefore he often said the same thing his Father would say. This should not be surprising considering that he said: “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).

In the Bible we find the statement: “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29) in the sense that contact with God dissolves all that is not God, making us one with him. To be near Jesus is to be near the deifying Fire that is God. Actually, this can also be said of any avatara who has been sent into the world for the liberation of human beings. Such a sacred being is able to transmute the consciousness of those close to him. Therefore the wise stay near.

He who is far from me is far from the kingdom. Those who ignore or reject the divine incarnations by their own will distance themselves from the kingdom of God–and therefore from God himself. To meet an avatara is an incredible thing, both positive and negative, because a positive response can virtually ensure our liberation, and a negative response guarantees our continued separation from God.

What of those who have not met an avatara? They can become near to any avatara of history simply by studying his teachings and thoughtfully pondering them. And since such a liberated being is permanently so and shares in the omniscience and omnipresence of God, a seeker can pray to him as readily as to God. By studying the avatara’s life as well as teachings it is possible to enter into very real spiritual contact with him. Then the aspirant will surely come near the kingdom and be enabled to enter it.

Read the next article in the Gospel of Thomas for Yogis: Seeing the Unseeable

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Chapters in The Gospel of Thomas for Awakening

  1. The Open Secrets
  2. Seeking Is More Than Just Finding
  3. Seeking the Kingdom Realistically
  4. The One Goal
  5. From the Seen to the Unseen
  6. What Jesus Wants Us To Do
  7. Eat Or Be Eaten
  8. Fishing Wisely
  9. The Inner Field
  10. Guarding the Flame
  11. What Will You Do?
  12. Who Shall Lead?
  13. The Unspeakable
  14. When Virtue is Vice
  15. Father in Heaven; Father on Earth
  16. Divine Discord
  17. The Divine Gift
  18. The Origin is the End
  19. Original Being
  20. A Mustard Seed
  21. Disciples of Jesus
  22. How to Enter the Kingdom
  23. Unity of Vision
  24. Where is Christ?
  25. Love and Protect
  26. Seeing
  27. The Fasting and Sabbath of the Spirit
  28. How Jesus Saw the World
  29. Hidden Treasure
  30. One
  31. The Power of Unbelief
  32. Spiritual Strength
  33. Speak It Out
  34. The Blind
  35. The Secret of Spiritual Security
  36. Live Carefree
  37. Unashamed Before God
  38. At the Source
  39. The Religion of Ignorance
  40. Within God
  41. Spiritual Gain and Loss
  42. Move On
  43. Challenging the Master
  44. The Source of Good and Evil
  45. Great in the Kingdom
  46. Impossible Duality
  47. Peace That Moves Mountains
  48. Back to the Source
  49. Children of the Light
  50. Here and Now
  51. Seeing Yet Blind
  52. Outer Ritual or Inner Growth?
  53. Infinite Transcendence
  54. “Hate”
  55. True Understanding
  56. Wheat and Weeds
  57. Finding Life
  58. Live and Die Not
  59. “Lest Thou Also…”
  60. Who Will Die; Who Will Live
  61. The Path of Unknowing
  62. Awakened by Death
  63. Turning Ourselves Away
  64. Gullibility
  65. The Rejected is Truly Accepted
  66. All–and Nothing
  67. The Blessings of Persecution
  68. Life or Death Lie Within
  69. Admission
  70. Not a Divider
  71. Seeking the Harvest
  72. Thirsting in Vain
  73. Who Shall Enter?
  74. Unfailing Treasure
  75. The All Speaks
  76. Well-dressed Ignoramuses
  77. True Blessedness
  78. A Duplication
  79. Balancing the Inner and the Outer
  80. Near and Far
  81. Seeing the Unseeable
  82. Seeing Your Unknown Side
  83. Our Forefather Adam
  84. Blessed Homelessness
  85. Doubly Wretched
  86. Onward and Upward
  87. Twofold Life
  88. The Yoke of Christ
  89. Knowing the Unknown
  90. Asking and Hearing
  91. Give Not…
  92. Seeking and Knocking
  93. Right Generosity
  94. The Expanding Kingdom
  95. The Fulfilled Universe
  96. Taking Stock
  97. The Spiritual Family
  98. Three Debts
  99. Father and Mother
  100. Exoteric Religion
  101. Ready for Invasion
  102. Penitential Discipline, Anyone?
  103. Daring to Know
  104. Ending Duality
  105. “I Love You More…”
  106. At the Source
  107. Finding the Hidden Treasure
  108. Having Come to the End
  109. Immortal and Above the World
  110. Body and Soul
  111. Where is the Kingdom?
  112. Male and Female?
  113. In Conclusion
  114. Glossary
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