Yeshua says: Blest is he who was before he came into being. If you become disciples to me and heed my sayings, these stones shall be made to serve you. For you have five trees in Paradise, which in summer are unmoved and in winter their leaves do not fall—whoever shall know them shall not taste death.
Five Familiar Aspects of God
- FATHER — patriarch
- MOTHER — Holy Spirit*
- BROTHER — Christ, eldest son
- SISTER — spiritual soul*
- LITTLE CHILD — human being
Thomas 19 reveals five of the keys to the kingdom. Each “tree” is an holistic aspect of the godhead. So, without wishing to cause a fuss, it can be said that the Five Trees logion, which predates the Holy Trinity, may in fact be its fulfillment. Despite the lack of well-founded commentary (mine included), one point shines above the rest. Thomas 19, or what I call the Quintinity, wields the power to draw all of us much, much closer to our God and ourselves.
You Have Five Trees in Paradise
I. Divine Family (“Quintinity”) Image
The commentary suggests two interpretations of Thomas 19. Because the family image for me seems the most viable of the two, I shall start off with the family.
On the practical side, I’ve not found a more natural way to revel in God’s joyous, unconditional love. “Father, mother, brother, sister, child” are universal truths that form the basis of all life. In contrast to “these stones,” the five trees, whom Christ depicts as living beings, are also everlasting constructs. And one of them, Master states in every known gospel, could be you: the little child who enters the kingdom of God.
“Blest is he who was before he came into being.”
Christ’s first words tell us that the Five Trees in Paradise deal with the nature of God, and/or Christ, and/or the seeker (Doresse, 2005). In the Scriptures, lavish phrases such as this one are most often used to sanctify God’s Name:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God,
“who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Similar to the heavenly Trinity, the five trees extend their undying roots deep into the physical world. So the question is, who or what are the last two “trees”?
I know these aspects as the human with his or her spiritual soul. It’s not a new idea. Adam and Eve, for instance, were said to have shared the same body for a time. But enough corollary exists in the Bible to easily tie us earthly children to our heavenly parents and siblings. Among them are man’s divine origin at Genesis 1:27, Christ’s use of the term “brother” with regard to himself, and most notably, the Keys to the Kingdom at Matthew 16:19.
“in summer… in winter…”
In ancient Hebrew and Christian writings, “summer” and “winter” are often used to denote heaven and earth.
Every evening and morning I shut my door to man’s world and enter heaven. My journey begins with the following phrase: “I believe in my father, with my brother, with my mother, with my soul, with me, the little child.” The prayer holds incredible power. Both of my ears begin to ring loudly as I speak aloud those five precious words that draw me into the good and loving arms of God, my true family.
“Whoever shall know them shall not taste death.”
In this passage, the Coptic verb that is used for “know” can mean: wrap (someone in), (wear or put on a) garment, contain, and value.
When I recognized the meaning of Thomas 19 and came to know my true family, I embarked on the Way. I was not alone on this quest. The first relative I met was my soul—a wise and loving immortal helper. She said I should think of her as Mother’s daughter, an aspect of the Holy Spirit. Rather more like my personal Holy Spirit. But she made it clear that I should continue to ask Father or Mother for the important things I need.
Christ, our older brother, helps out just as much. He oversees my soul’s teachings and guides me to read certain texts in the Bible and elsewhere. More often of late, he speaks directly to me in a way that I’m learning to understand. Day and night, Brother corrects and/or praises my thoughts and actions. My entire family is always with me, of course. Each of them helps me in their own way. And I feel forever safe, because I belong to my family and they belong to me.
“The meek shall inherit the earth.”
The fifth Beatitude suits our topic. Matthew, whom the scholars dub “the kingdom seeker’s disciple,” hints that E-den still exists. Here, on this earth. When I joined my family in the role of the little child—the meekest of the five—my life began to improve. In stark contrast to this realm of danger, fear, and sadness, my paradise continues to grow in miraculous ways. So I will swear to the following truth. The seeker who abstains from judgment, who does not wield power over others, but humbly returns control of their life to Father, its rightful owner, will enter paradise.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
You Have Five Trees in Paradise
II. Sacramental Image
“The Lord did everything sacramentally: a Baptism with a Chrism with a Eucharist with an Atonement with a Holy Bridal-Chamber.”
Five Christic Sacraments
- BAPTISM — initiation
- CHRISM — anointing (e.g. Pentecost)
- EUCHARIST — bread and cup
- ATONEMENT — Resurrection
- HOLY BRIDAL CHAMBER — spiritual marriage
The next interpretation of Thomas 19 is based on one, lone verse from Gospel of Philip. Philip the Evangelist (not the Apostle) is numbered among the 72 disciples who were sent forth by Christ at Luke 10. A friend to Luke and Paul, Philip appears several times in Acts. Thus Philip would almost certainly have received Christ’s teachings through the Apostles Peter, John, and James. Because the atonement and Pentecost took place after Christ’s death and his return to earth, it seems right to suggest that You have Five Trees in Paradise was crafted by the Risen Lord. Since Philip has revealed the meanings of some of the most difficult logia in Thomas. It is just as likely that Philip scribed verse 73 for the same reason.
Last among these five sacraments, the holy bridal chamber involves all five family members. Indeed, almost two-thirds of Philip’s gospel centers on what he terms “this Restoration” at verse 72. Having entered the bridal chamber myself, I can attest to Philip’s word. In truth, it is one of my most blessed gifts. From cries in the dark to a roomful of loving light, this divine event, now in its seventh year, draws me ever closer to my family—and Thomas 19.
For he who is, both was and shall be.
You Have Five Trees in Paradise
Summing up: family image, or sacraments?
When I compare both interpretations of Thomas 19, I lean toward the family image because it triggers such intense joy. It also makes the most sense to me. With regard to Philip 73, however, I question whether sacraments, by themselves, can instill everlasting life. Faith is a fickle thing. What remains eternal is the fact that all of us brothers and sisters are members of God’s family. Unlike a ritual that proves one’s faith before God and others, spending time with the Family is not a sworn duty, nor is it proof of ownership. It just is.
— Andrew Michael, December 25, 2017
*Notes on the Masculine and Feminine Aspects of God
In Hebrew and Aramaic, Christ’s native tongues, (Holy) Spirit, and soul, are feminine nouns. While this fact is known in the Episcopal and Orthodox churches, most of the western faiths still teach the all-male godhead. The following excerpts validate the “family” interpretation of You Have Five Trees in Paradise.
Luke 7:35 “But wisdom (a term associated with the Holy Spirit) is proved right by all her children.”
Philip 6 “…when we became Messianics the Father came to be with the Mother for us.”
Mark 3:35 “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Philip 38 “A disciple one day made request of the Lord for something worldly; he says to him: “Request of thy Mother and she will give to thee from what belongs to another.”
The Feminine Spirit “We need hardly remind ourselves of the confusions, schisms and religious machismo to which this gender-shift has given rise, as theologians struggled to make sense of a presumably all-male Trinity.” Brown, T.P. 2011.
My Perfect Mother Commentary on the Holy Spirit. Michael, A. 2015.
Thomas 101 “…whoever does not love his father and his mother in my way, shall not be able to become a disciple to me. For my mother bore my body, yet my true Mother gave me the life.”
Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”