Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven
The Gospel of Thomas is unlike any other scripture written about Jesus. It is a
collection of Jesus' secret sayings that only someone who actually knew him, like his
"twin", would be able to recount. Jesus, in the Gospel of Thomas, is a teacher that
points his followers in the direction of the Kingdom of Heaven. He explains that the
kingdom is a place with no poverty, where all is revealed and that it is already inside
and around them but they must learn how to find it.
The Kingdom of Heaven, according to Thomas' Jesus, is within each one of us. This concept
of god and the kingdom being a part of everyone is a common theme throughout the Bible (Lk
17:21). In the third saying, Jesus tells his followers that the way to gain access to
this Kingdom inside us is to learn about ourselves. The knowledge that we came from the
Kingdom (GTh 49), that we are "sons of the living father" (GTh 3), and that are human
bodies and lives are not worth anything (GTh 87) are the keys to the Kingdom. If we do
not know ourselves then we will not enter the kingdom and we will be in poverty forever
(GTh 3). He also says that once we get back into the Kingdom there is nothing that we
will not understand (GTh 6b).
The Kingdom of Heaven is like Adam's paradise in Eden. Jesus said that, "…whoever among
you shall become as a child shall know the Kingdom…" (GTh 46). Eden was a place of
innocence and to become like a child would be to become innocent. In saying 37, the
disciples ask when he will be revealed to them and he answers when they can be naked
without shame and jump on their clothes like children. This is not unlike Adam and Eve
innocent, child-like, and undressed in Eden.
Jesus explains that the Kingdom of the Father is a treasure that lasts forever. He
describes it as a pearl that a merchant found and did all he could do to buy it so that he
could cherish it for the rest of his life (GTh 76). Jesus tells another parable in which
the Kingdom is a treasure buried in a father's farm and he and his son never find it but
the next man that owns the farm finds it (GTh 109). The first two men never found the
Kingdom of Heaven because they did not look within their own land or themselves but the
third man does a little digging and finds this eternal treasure. "He who searches, will
find…it will open to him" (GTh 94).
In most stories about the Kingdom of Heaven, there is a sense that it will happen in the
future but, in this Gospel, Jesus gives of the impression that the Kingdom is here now.
He said, "What you look for has come, but you do not know it" (GTh 51). He tells us that
the kingdom is already here but because we do not have knowledge we just do not see it
(GTh 113). He explains that the end is where the beginning is (GTh 18). It is almost as