What is the Lost book of Thomas? I have done some research on this lost book, written by the Apostle Thomas and found it a fascinating read. You can pick up a copy online for free. It is a short book but was not published in the Bible.
The Gospel of Thomas is an extra-canonical sayings gospel. It was discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in December 1945 among a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library. Scholars speculate that the works were buried in response to a letter from Bishop Athanasius declaring a strict canon of Christian scripture. Wikipedia
There was a fascinating exchange recorded by Thomas between Jesus and his disciples. According to the book of Thomas 18:
18. The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us, how will our end come?”
Jesus said, “Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is.
Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death.”
19. Jesus said, “Congratulations to the one who came into being before coming into being.
Wow! Do you see what I mean? There is a lot to unpack here. I am not a trained professional or scholar on this subject, but the answer given by Jesus has so much depth and breadth I had to meditate on his answers to find out what it meant to me.
As we know, when Jesus speaks, he mostly speaks in parables when teaching. Jesus has explained the parables as a language that can be understood by some but not by others. Jesus wants to make sure his followers are committed and will go to great depths to understand the meanings of the parables. So I have gone to some depths to figure out what Jesus response to the question might be; ” Tell us, how will our end come.”
Jesus replies; Have you found the beginning? So let’s start at the beginning.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
From the book of Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words are eternal. Is this what Jesus meant? That his words are eternal even beyond the times when Heaven and Earth will pass away.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Is this the beginning that Jesus was speaking about? The beginning of man on earth? A Man and a Woman who were created pure and innocent, with no concept of sin, shame, embarrassment until they ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge, tricked by satan to eat the fruit.
After Adam and Eve ate the apple, God said,
Genesis 3:22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Genesis 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim’s, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
God’s plan was for Adam and Eve to not eat from the tree of wisdom, so that God could teach them what good and bad was. By eating the apple from the tree they started a chain of events leading them to be exiled from the garden of Eden, and banned from eating fruit of the tree of life. Life on earth had begun with people and eternal life would not be an option for them. The people also had to make their own decisions about good and bad without learning the word of God. Wasn’t one of Jesus’s actions on earth to teach the word of God?
Jesus also did something that Adam and Eve couldn’t do. He followed his fathers instructions perfectly and he didn’t question God’s intent. He had to pass the test of Satan himself and again, Jesus did what Adam and Eve couldn’t do, he was not tricked by Satan’s words. Jesus was not a sinner.
I believe this was the beginning that Jesus was talking about in his parable. An understanding that mankind was destined for a life full of sin and eventual death with no chance of everlasting life. The tree of life was everlasting life. The tree of life was gone.
“then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is.”
So does the tree of life hold the key to Jesus parable? Possibly. Let’s dig a little further. The tree is mentioned a few times relative to the cross in the New Testament.
1 Peter 2:24: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
I believe this relates the tree of life to the cross that Jesus was crucified on.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
I could almost say this is the meaning of the parable. Jesus referred to the beginning as the Garden of Eden with the tree of knowledge and the tree of life being central. Eternal life would be a given if we followed God’s word and we would never partake in any sinful acts as we only knew the righteous path. However it was not to be and we were on a sinful path without the chance to get God’s word into our hearts and another chance at eternal life. Jesus short life on earth changed all of that. He re-stated the word of God and spread the word to continue across the world. He died on the cross (reference tree) to pay for our sins and offer us eternal life. Is that the end Jesus was referring to in his parable? “You see, the end will be where the beginning is.” Jesus said.
After we are saved and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior, we are born again. And thus we start over at the beginning.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit.
Is that the end, being put to death in the flesh, but reborn in the spirit?
Or did Jesus mean the end, as in end of days and Jesus prophesized return to earth. Let’s dive into that.
Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat off the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
There are quite a few ways to interpret what Jesus was thinking in his answer; “You see the end will be where the beginning is.” But for this article I am interpreting Jesus to mean, if you understand the beginning, the tree of life was removed from humanity after the Adam and Eve sin. Jesus returned to earth and died on a cross (the tree) to pay for our sins and offer eternal salvation. During our end of times described in revelations, Jesus once again refers to eating from the tree of life if you have followed God’s commandments, which would have been Gods plan all along in the garden of eden were it not for Satan tricking Adam and Eve to eat the apple from the tree of knowledge.
The breakdown of the parable is Jesus wants the apostles to know, the ending is from the beginning, it is a circular multilevel answer that simply means, Follow the commandments, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, walk the world as righteous and caring as he did and you too will have eternal salvation.
If anyone has any other thoughts, please leave a comment or shoot me an email to carry on the discussion. Read the lost book of Thomas. It is a very educational and inspirational read.
I pray for each of us to gain insight into our Father, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Read a little of the Bible each day, draw inspiration and meditate on what you have read. Use the words as your food, to fuel your walk with Jesus Christ. Amen.