Gospel of Thomas Saying 82

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This Gospel of Thomas Commentary is part of the Gospel of Thomas page at Early Christian Writings.

Nag Hammadi Coptic Text

Gospel of Thomas Coptic Text


(82) Jesus said: He who is near to me is near the fire, and he who is far from me is far from the kingdom.


(82) Jesus said, "Whoever is near me is near fire, and whoever is far from me is far from the kingdom."


86 [82]. Jesus says: "He who is near me is near the fire, and he who is far from me is far from the Kingdom."

Funk's Parallels

Mark 9:49, Mark 12:34, Origen In Jerem. hom. lat. 20.3, Armenian Ms. Monestary of St. Lazzaro, Ign Smyr. 4.2.

Visitor Comments

Deut. 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. Jer. 23:29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; ... Rev. 1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; Rev. 1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. Fire not only represents tribulation and suffering but more importantly, passion and desire. The Bridegroom God is looking for a people who will burn in their love for him just as he burns in his love for them. The "apostasy" associated with the appearing of anti-christ is simply put a cooling off of passion for the true Christ. In Rev. Jesus stands in the fire, his witnesses speak fire. Fire is life, passion, purpose, glory, desire, hunger. Fire is motivation to pursue him, to establish a Kingdom of Righteousness in the earth. Fire is motivation to release the Kingdom of Heaven from within us.
- Scott

Jesus says, Whoever loves me has my gospel close to the heart as it blazes with the glory of God, and whoever is far from me and my gospel is far from the Kingdom of God.
- Simon Magus

Scott referred to Revelation. You can tell by the way Christ is described that the fire was mighty. But it is an inner fire in his heart because you can only see it through his eyes (window to the soul). Christ is a radiant being indeed, so anyone who has the inner flame of joy in their hearts is near the Kingdom, which is obviously within.
- King

The fire is a description of a sensuously felt phenomenon that occurs as one grows in awareness of the Kingdom of God.
- dragon

Scholarly Quotes

Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman write: "The fire is that which Jesus came to cast on the earth (Sayings 9 and 16); it is a symbol of the kingdom and therefore of the Father. We find something rather like this saying in the letter of Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrnaeans (4, 2). 'Why have I given myself up to death, to fire, to sword, to wild beasts? But near sword is near god, with wild beasts is with God.' Perhaps Ignatius alludes to this saying; on the other hand, this saying may be based on the words of Ignatius." (The Secret Sayings of Jesus, p. 180)

F. F. Bruce writes: "The fire is a symbol of the 'kingdom of the Father' (cf. Sayings 10, 16). We may recall that, according to Justin Martyr and others, a fire was kindled on Jordan when Jesus was baptized. [Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 88.3: 'When Jesus went down into the water a fire was kindled in the Jordan.' Cf. the 'light' which shone on the same occasion acording to the Gospel of the Ebionites (p. 107)." (Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament, p. 144)

Joachim Jeremias writes: "To be near Jesus is dangerous. It offers no prospect of earthly happiness, but involves the fire of tribulation and the test of suffering. But it must indeed be borne in upon every one who, yielding to fear, turns away from the call of Jesus, that he excludes himself from the Kingdom of God. Only through fire may the Kingdom be attained." (The Parables of Jesus, p. 196)

Funk and Hoover write: "This saying is also known from later writers such as Origen . . . However, the aphorism is thought by many scholars to approximate the proverb of Aesop: 'Whoever is near to Zeus is near the thunderbolt.' To approach the divine is to risk danger. Some of the Fellows were attracted by teh short, aphoristic nature of the saying and its reference to the Father's domain. On the other hand, assigning popular sayings to Jesusis a common practice of the early Christian community. Further, Jesus speaks here of himself in rather exalted terms, as though he were equal to God. This aspect suggested to the Fellows an early Christian origin." (The Five Gospels, pp. 517-518)

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Gospel of Thomas Saying 82

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