Gospel of Thomas - Chapter 079

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Saying 78

(78) Jesus said, "Why have you come out into the desert? To see a reed shaken by the wind? And to see a man clothed in fine garments like your kings and your great men? Upon them are the fine garments, and they are unable to discern the truth."

First we'll look at the individual elements, then put it all together.


מדבר Desert also means south. It represents the desolate earth. The points of the compass: North - heaven, South - earth, East - eternity, West - filthy time. מ - as a prefix means 'from' דבר - word

If one has come South, they have come from the North. They came from their 'heaven' south to a place that is outside of their 'heaven'. They have left their religion to see John.


'Reed' is also 'straw'. It is the stubble which will be burnt up in the fire of judgement. (1Co 3:12)


'Shaken' is also 'cast out'.

Reed shaken by the wind

Compare with:

1Ki 14:15 For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger.

The first reed is shaken by the word/water, the second by the Spirit/wind. Recall God's promise that he would not destroy the world by water, but the next round would be by fire/spirit. When one is living by the Spirit, the flesh is no longer in control. It has been destroyed.


Ever since Adam and Eve tried to cover their sin with garments/works of their own hands, garment have symbolized works. Their sin was eventually covered by the work of God when he provided garments of skins.


Jesus said, "Why have you left your religion and come to a place away from what you think is the kingdom of heaven? To see one who has been cast out to be burned in judgement? And to see a man of good works like those whom you adulate? (See the incongruity of the saying, they expect he is being judged, yet believe he is doing a good work.) You think your leaders do good work, yet they cannot even discern what 'good' is.

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