The Concept of Rest.

There's one recurring theme that gets mentioned again and again throughout the Gnostic gospels, and that is that the enlightened are at a state of rest. Here are numerous passages from the Gnostic gospels that mention this word.


The Gospel of Truth 36:30, "But from him who has no deficiency, no seal is removed nor is anything emptied, but what he lacks the perfect Father fills again. He is good. He knows his plantings, because it is he who planted them in his paradise. Now his paradise is his place of rest."

37:15, "And the will is what the Father rests in and is pleased with."

38:25, "Who, therefore, will be able to utter a name for him, the great name, except him alone to whom the name belongs and the sons of the name in whom rested the name of the Father, (who) in turn themselves rested in his name?"

The Gospel of Philip [66] 15, "While we are in this world it is fitting for us to acquire the resurrection, so that when we strip off the flesh we may be found in rest and not walk in the middle."

[71] 20, "The children of the bridal chamber have [just one] name: rest."

The Book of Thomas the Contender [139] 40, "[Blessed is] the wise man who [sought after the truth, and] when he found it, he rested upon it forever and was unafraid of those who wanted to disturb him."

[145] 5, "Watch and pray that you not come to be in the flesh, but rather that you come forth from the bondage of the bitterness of this life. And as you pray, you will find rest, for you have left behind the suffering and the disgrace. For when you come forth from the sufferings and passions of the body, you will receive rest from the good one, and you will reign with the king, you joined with him and he with you, from now on, for ever and ever, Amen."

The Dialogue of the Savior (1) The Savior said to his disciples, "Already the time has come, brothers, for us to abandon our labor and stand at rest. for whoever stands at rest will rest forever."

(65) Matthew said, "[Why] do we not rest [at once]?"

(66) The Lord said, "When you lay down these burdens!"

(67) Matthew said, "How does the small join itself to the big?"

(68) The Lord said, "When you abandon the works which will not be able to follow you, then you will rest."

The (Second) Apocalypse of James, 56, "For your sake they will be told [these (things)], and they will come to rest."

The Thunder, The Perfect Mind, "Give heed then, you hearers and you also, the angels and those who have been sent, and you spirits who have arisen from the dead. For I am the one who alone exists, and I have no one who will judge me. For many are the pleasant forms which exist in numerous sins, and incontinencies, and disgraceful passions, and fleeting pleasures, which (men) embrace until they become sober and go up to their resting place. And they will find me there, and they will live, and they will not die again."

Authoritative Teaching 30,"In this very way we exist in this world, like fish. The adversary spies on us, lying in wait for us like a fisherman, wishing to seize us, rejoicing that he might swallow us. For he places many foods before our eyes (things) which belong to this world. He wishes to make us desire one of them and to taste only a little, so that he may seize us with his hidden poison and bring us out of freedom and take us into slavery. For whenever he catches us with a single food, it is indeed necessary for us to desire the rest. Finally, then, such things become the food of death."

33, "But these - the ones who are ignorant - do not seek after God. Nor do they inquire about their dwelling-place, which exists in rest, but they go about in bestiality. They are more wicked than the pagans, because first of all they do not inquire about God, for their hardness of heart draws them down to make them their cruelty. Furthermore, if they find someone else who asks about his salvation, their hardness of heart sets to work upon that man. And if he does not stop asking, they kill him by their cruelty, thinking that they have done a good thing for themselves."

35:5, "She came to rest in him who is at rest."

The Concept of Our Great Power 45:20, "And they all have become as reflections in his light. They all have shone, and they have found rest in his rest."

The Paraphrase of Shem 17:30, "I have come in a great rest in order that he may give rest to my light in his root, and may bring it out of harmful Nature."

43:25, "After I cease to be upon the earth and withdraw up to my rest, agreat, evil error will come upon the world, and many evils in accordance with the number of the forms of Nature."

The Testimony of Truth 35:20, "And [they came to know] themselves, [(as to) who they are], or rather, where they are [now], and what is the [place in which they will rest from their senselessness, [arriving] at knowledge."


Aleister Crowley in his book the Tao Teh King made a similar statement, "He delivereth them from the restlessness of knowledge and the cravings of discontent. As to those who have knowledge already, he teacheth them the way of non-action. This being assured, there is no disorder in the world."

The way of non action that is described here is what the Taoists aim to achieve and is the ultimate spiritual state. Knowledge of the spirit leads to this spiritual state of rest or non action. In this state there is no disorder because there is perfect harmony.

69, "But he [who has] found the [life-giving word and he who] has come to know [the Father of Truth has come to rest]; he has ceased [seeking], having [found]."

Allogenes 53:30, "<And> the power appeared by means of an activity that is at rest and silent."

59:15, "but if you wish to stand, withdraw to the Existence, and you will find it standing and at rest after the likeness of the One who is truly at rest and (who) embraces all these silently and inactively."

66:20, "Nothing activates him in accordance with the Unity that is at rest. For he is unknowable; he is an airless place of boundlessness. Since he is boundless and powerless and nonexistent, he was not giving Being. Rather he contains all of these in himself, being at rest (and) standing out of the one who stands continually, since there had appeared an Eternal Life, the Invisible and Triple-Powered Spirit which is in all of these who exist." 

The Apocryphon of John has an interesting quote about how people from a higher world aren't subject to cycles as well, "I have come to teach you About what is And what was And what will be In order for you to understand The invisible world And the world that is visible And the immovable race of perfect humanity. Raise your head; Understand my lessons; Share them with any others who have received the spirit, Who are from the immovable race of perfect humanity." Also the term immovable race is repeated at the end, "I have told you everything now so that you can write it all down And share it with your fellow spirits secretly For this is the mystery of the unmoved race." 

There maybe other instances where the word rest occurs in the Gnostic gospels but there isn't a search function on them so it's hard to get all the instances where this word occurs.

The concept of rest in the Gnostic gospels is usually associated with resurrecting the soul and becoming it again, but why is rest important to the Gnostics? In the Book of Genesis, 3:17-19, the curse that God gave to Adam, for eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, was to work all his life. Certaintly work has been a major feature of our civilizations for the past 5000 years. But the Gnostics and the people in their books kept saying that they were in a state of rest. Rest is the opposite of work and if work is the feature that comes from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil then rest must be the feature of the Tree of Life. As explained on the page, A Real Creation Theory, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represents the physical or the flesh so the Tree of Life represents the spiritual. When the word rest is used in the Gnostic gospels it is associated with becoming the soul. The Gnostics and the people in their books believed that they had eaten from the Tree of Life and certaintly if they had resurrected themselves then they really would have been in a state of rest. In Numerology the number seven represents completion and it is in this completion that rest occurs.  

There's a passage in the Bible that also says that the enlightened are in a state of rest and it correlates with the passages from the Gnostic gospels on this page, Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest! Put on my yoke and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."


Psalm 62:5, "Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him."


Psalm 95:11, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'"


This passage is clearly saying that God's domain is rest and that is the state that he exists.  

Hebrews 4:1, "Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it."


Matthew 14:22 "Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid." 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water." 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?" 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God."


It's interesting that the Jesus walking on water story occurs right after the Jesus feeding the 5000 people story. These two stories are connected to each other. It's commonly acknowledged by Christians that the Jesus walking on water story has metaphors in it and it represents the state of the world and spirituality. Jesus going to the mountain represents that he is leaving the disciples behind in the world to defend for themselves. The water represents the material world and the boat represents those who haven't fallen into a state of ignorance. The Christians say that the boat represents the physical church, but it's bigger than that. The mountain represents Heaven because it's a raised area of land that connects Heaven and Earth. In the Tarot cards, the mountain always represents a connection between Heaven and Earth. That is why he is praying there. He prays to connect himself to Heaven. The wind and the waves represent the problems of the world that challenge the people in the boat. In the occult everything in the physical world is in a state of movement and everything in the spiritual world is in a state of rest. Peter sinking into the sea represents him sinking into the world and the wind represents movement. Jesus stopped the wind, which is the movement of the physical world and saved Peter. Alister Crowley made an interesting comment about water and rest in his book Tao Teh King, "Who can clear muddy water? Stillness will accomplish this. Who can obtain rest? Let motion continue equably, and it will itself be peace." The purpose of meditation is to create stillness of the water and make it clearer so that the higher world can be seen and discerned. The wind or movement of the physical world makes the water muddy so that most people will never be able to comprehend the higher world. Jesus walking on water represents him walking on the world and not sinking into it. Walking on water means that he is above the world and not in it. Peter sinks into it because he doesn't have the spirituality that Jesus has and he is sinking into ignorance. Only by faith, or knowledge of himself, can he stay above the world and not sink into it. Jesus walking on water is connected to the end of the astrological ages that Jesus feeding the 5000 represents.

Psalm 107:23 has a similar passage to Matthew 14:22, "Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. 24They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep. 25For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. 26They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. 27They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end. 28Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. 29He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. 30They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven."


Very few people will understand what these passages mean. Being in the physical world is like being at sea with a storm and God's domain is one of stillness. When the storm was stilled, the people on the boat could find their way to the higher world, which is hidden by the movement of the physical world. 


There are numerous passages in the Bible that talk about the importance of being steadfast. That word means immovable and it has the same meaning as being at rest. Being steadfast in prayer means being in the state of rest so that a connection with the higher world is made easier.


This is a description of what steadfastness means mentioned on this site and it is worth repeating here, "It is fixed or unchanging and solidly established so steadfastness is immovable, irrefutable, unchangeable, unalterable, and is completely and utterly dependable. That is a great definition for God as He says I am the Lord and I change not (Mal 3:6). If you desire to know more about God’s steadfast nature, particularly His steadfast love, read the Psalms because the steadfastness of God is mentioned 132 times of the 219 times it is mentioned in the Bible and it is almost always associated with His steadfast love being joined together in almost every single one of them. As mentioned on the page The Axis of the Universe, God is above space and time and all of the cycles of the Universe because he is at the center of all of those cycles and that is why he never changes, unlike everything in the physical world.


Hebrews 6:19, "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." 

The veil spoken of here is the body itself.

First Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

These Christians are being told to be in the state of rest, which is where the higher world resides.

The Hermetica also talks about the concept of rest. It's possible that the Gnostics got the idea of spirit being in rest from the Hermetica.

Corpus Hermeticum II.

[6] But if place is intelligible, it is intelligible not as god but as place, and if it were intelligible as god, it would be regarded so not as place but as energy capable of containing. Yet everything moved is moved not in something moved but in something at rest. And the mover is also at rest, unable to be moved conjointly.

The statement that it is an "energy capable of containing" is very interesting because all matter is energy and the second statement, "Yet everything is moved not in something moved but in something at rest.", is clearly saying that this field that lies underneath the Universe has no movement. Think of a brain that is at rest with lots of thought moving around inside of it. The thoughts cannot exist without the greater brain. There is a barrier to the Universe, but it is not in the Universe itself, just like thoughts have to barrier, but they are contained within the confines of the brain. This rest is the foundation of the Universe and it contains the entire Universe. It holds the Universe together and the Universe emerged out of it. Everything in the universe moves in cycles, but the spirit world is opposite, it is at rest.    


Think about it, in meditation people are told to be grounded, centered and still. Does that make sense now? Meditation is about trying to get in touch with the underlying state of the Universe.

[8] "Thus, all motion is moved in immobility and by immobility. And it happens that the motion of the cosmos and of every living thing made of matter is produced not by things outside the body but by those within it acting upon the outside, by intelligible entities, either soul or spirit or something else incorporeal. For body does not move ensouled body, nor does it move any body at all, not even the soulless."

[12] "Mind as a whole wholly enclosing itself, free of all body, unerring, unaffected, untouched, at rest in itself capable of containing all things and preserving all that exists, and its rays (as it were) are the good, the truth, the archetype of spirit, the archetype of soul."

Corpus Hermeticum VI.


[1] The good, Asclepius, is in nothing except in god alone, or rather god himself is always the good. If this is so, the good must be the substance of all motion and generation (for nothing is abandonded by it), but this substance has and energy about it that stays at rest, that has no lack and no excess, that is perfectly complete, a source of supply, present in the beginning of all things. When I say that what supplies everything is good, I also mean that it is wholly and always good.


The concept of rest is a prominent feature of the Chinese Taoist religion and this is something that the Western and Eastern religions have in common. The aim of spiritual practice in the Taoist religion is to achieve a state that they call Wu Wei. This is a description of that concept from Wikipedia, "Wu may be translated as not have or without; Wei may be translated as do, act, serve as, govern or effort. The literal meaning of wu wei is "without action", "without effort", or "without control", and is often included in the paradox wei wu wei: "action without action" or "effortless doing". The practice of wu wei and the efficacy of wei wu wei are fundamental tenets in Chinese thought and have been mostly emphasized by the Taoist school. One cannot actively pursue wu wei. It manifests as a result of cultivation. The Tao is a guide.


There is another less commonly referenced sense of wu wei; "action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort". In this instance, wu means "without" and Wei means "effort". The concept of "effortless action" is a part of Taoist Internal martial arts such as T'ai chi ch'uan, Baguazhang and Xing Yi. It follows that wu wei complies with the distinguishing feature of Taoism, that of being natural.


In Zen Calligraphy, wu wei has been represented as an ensō (circle); in China, the calligraphic inscriptions of the words wu wei themselves resonate with old Taoist stories.


Several chapters of the most important Taoist text, the Tao Te Ching, attributed to Laozi, allude to "diminishing doing" or "diminishing will" as the key aspect of the sage's success. Taoist philosophy recognizes that the Universe already works harmoniously according to its own ways; as a person exerts their will against or upon the world they disrupt the harmony that already exists. This is not to say that a person should not exert agency and will. Rather, it is how one acts in relation to the natural processes already existent. The how, the Tao of intention and motivation, that is key."

Rest or the Wu Wei is the main state of the spiritual realm, whereas movement is the main state of the physical Universe. The page called Flying Saucer Philosophy theorizes that Flying Saucers could actually work on the principle of being at rest, or movement without moving and these craft could be based on this occult principle. These craft are an application of this state of rest and are in a state of harmony instead of being in a state of violence and opposition like regular machines are. 


The concept of rest appears in a very unexpected place, which is in a book called The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies, written by Robert Kirk in 1691. This is what he said about them, "our busy and silent Companions also being called Siths, or Peope at Rest and Quiet, in respect of us." As was explained on the page called The Axis of the Universe, the beings that Robert Kirk seemed to be describing were of a higher world and they are able to appear in this world like a fisherman appears in the sea to the fish, but isn't of their order.       


There are some interesting passages in Roberk Kirk's book that seem to described these mythological people in an advanced way, for example the homes of these otherworldly people are lit up without the use of flame, "having fir Lights, continual Lamps, and Fires, often seen without Fuel to sustain them."

Even more bizarre is Robert Kirk's description of the weapons these beings use, "These arms (cut by Airt and Tools it seems beyond human) have something of the Nature of Thunderbolt subtilty, and mortally wounding the vital Parts without breaking the Skin; of which Wounds I have obferved in Beasts, and felt them with my Hands." What Robert Kirk is describing here really sounds like science fiction rather than a fairy tale. This was written in 1691 remember.