The Treatise on Resurrection

This ancient lost Gospel text was found among the Nag Hammadi manuscripts buried in Egypt over 1,600 years ago. This manuscript has also been titled, "The Letter to Rheginus." It is considered to have been written in the early Second Century by an early follower of Jesus. This translation is from Nag Hammadi Codex I, Pages 47-50.

Papyrus Nag Hammadi Codex I Treatise on Resurrection
Nag Hammadi Codex I Treatise on Resurrection 
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The Treatise on Resurrection

1. My son Rheginos, there are some who want to learn a great deal. This is their goal as they try to answer unanswered questions. Should they accomplish this, they often think highly of themselves.

2. Yet I understand they have not relied upon the doctrine of Truth. Rather, they rely upon themselves. Our reliance is received from our Savior, our Master the Anointed of God [Messiah, Christ]. We received this as we understood the Truth and took shelter within it.

3. Since you have asked nicely about the meaning of resurrection, I am writing you about this. Know surely that many do not believe it, and only a few will find it. So let’s discuss this matter.

4. How did the Master teach things while within the body, after he revealed himself to be the Representative of God? He lived in that place you dwell, teaching about the natural law – which I would call dying.

5. Rheginos, the Representative of God was the Servant of Humanity. He embraced both, possessing humanity and divinity. This enabled him to eliminate death by virtue of being God’s representative, as well as restore our spiritual nature as the Servant of Humanity.

6. This is due to his originating from the seed of Truth from above, prior to this material dimension becoming manifested with all its rulers and demigods.

7. I understand that I present this clarification with challenging terminology, but there is nothing challenging about the doctrine of Truth. For this clarification is meant to not leave anything hidden, but to reveal everything openly regarding reality: The elimination of wickedness and the revelation of the anointed. Thus is the revealing of Truth and spirit, and the Grace of Truth.

8. The Savior consumed death. You may not be aware of this, for he put aside the temporary world. He transformed himself into an eternal spirit-person and raised himself up. He had consumed the seen via the unseen, and showed us the path to our immortality.

9. Just as the disciple stated about him: We suffered with him, and rose with him, and we went to heaven with him.

10. Since we are manifested within this world, we wear the worldly covering. Should we radiate from Him, we will be embraced by Him until our sunset – that is our death in this life. We are taken to heaven by Him, like sunbeams restrained by nothing. Such is the spiritual resurrection, which consumes the mind just as it does the body.

11. Yet someone who does not believe this will not be persuaded. Because, my son, one’s rise after the time of death belongs in the realm of faith – not in the realm of debate.

12. Among all the philosophers of the world there may be one who believes. And he, at least, will rise. But we must not let the worldly philosopher who speculates from himself affect our faith. For we have understood the Servant of Humanity and we believe that he rose from the dead body. It is of him we say that he eliminated death, and those who trust him are blessed.

13. The thoughts of the saved and the souls of those who know Him will never die. Thus we choose salvation and renewal because we have been allowed not to fall for the folly of those who do not know. Instead, we are guided into the wisdom by those who know the Truth.

14. Certainly, the Truth that is held fast cannot be, nor ever has been lost. This is the strength of the spiritual realm. What disengaged and became material is tiny. But great is He who envelops everything. He exists without becoming manifest.

15. So, my son Rheginos – never question the reality of resurrection. For you are not the body – you only received the body when you entered this world.

16. Why will you not receive a body when you rise up to the spiritual realm? Because what produces life within the body is greater than the body. Is this not yours – which exists on your account? Doesn’t what is yours live within? What is it that you are missing when you are within this world? It is that which you have been learning about.

17. After the birth of the body comes old age, while you are being cloaked. Your absence is for your benefit, because if you leave, you won’t give up that which is superior. What is worse is restricted, yet within it lies mercy.

18. Thus nothing discharges us from this world – only through the Absolute do we become saved. Our received redemption is infinite. We can think of it as it is, and understand it as it is.

19. Yet by their questioning about this, some think that one who is saved is only saved when they leave their body. But there is no doubt about this [missing text]. Indeed, the material parts of them, which die, will not be saved. Only the living element that exists within them will rise.

20. So what is the resurrection then? It is the eternal enlightenment of those who have risen. If you recall reading in the Scriptures that Elijah and Moses appeared together, you can understand that resurrection is not an illusion. It is not illusion, but it is reality.

21. Certainly it is more accurate to say the world is an illusion. This contrasts with the resurrection that takes place through our Master the Savior, Jesus the Anointed of God.

22. Yet I am telling you now that those who live will die. How else can they live within illusion? The wealthy are empty and the leaders are corrupt. Everything is temporary. The world is an illusion.

23. Certainly I am being critical. Yet the resurrection doesn’t have these characteristics. Because it is the Truth that remains firm. It is the revealing of reality, the metamorphosis of nature, and the permutation to the beginning.

24. For immortality descends upon the mortal. The radiance floods the darkness, consuming it. And the spiritual realm fills up the emptiness. These are the signs and appearances of the resurrection. It is He who brings goodness.

25. Do not ponder with speculation, Oh Rheginos. Nor conform to living in the body for the sake of uniformity. Rather, depart from the rife and the shackles, and then you can achieve the resurrection.

26. For if one knows that his mortal component will die, even if he has spent many years within this body, he may be considered risen already.

27. Once you have achieved the resurrection yet continue as if you will die, despite knowing that the body dies, then should I be patient with you?

28. It is necessary for one to practice in different ways in order to be released from matter, so that he doesn’t fall into wrongdoing, but sees himself embracing his original nature.

29. I have received these things by the mercy of my Master, Jesus the Anointed of God [Messiah, Christ]. I have taught this to you and your brothers and sisters – my children. I have considered them, yet I have not left out anything that could strengthen you.

30. However, if anything in this written discourse confounds you, just ask and I will clarify it. At the same time, don’t hesitate to share this with anyone around you when it can be helpful.

31. There are many who seek what I have written you about. To these I say, peace and mercy be upon them.

32. My greetings to you and those who care for you – with love, your brother.

Continue on to the Revelation of Peter