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The Teaching of the Twelve
copyright 1998 translated by Ivan Lewis from extant Greek manuscripts with consideration given to the Coptic and Latin text.
THE TEACHING TO THE NATIONS
THE TWO WAYS;THE FIRST COMMANDMENT
1) There are two ways: one of Life - one of Death, each having great differences between them.
2) The way of life is this:
First, You must love the One who formed you;
Second, you must love your neighbor in the same manner as yourself. Do not do to others, what you yourself would not want done to you.
3) And these are our teachings:
Bless the ones who curse you. Pray for your enemies. Fast for your persecuters. Do you expect a great reward if you only love those who love you? Do the Gentiles not conduct themselves accordingly? But if you practice love to those who hate you, your enemies will vanish.
4) Refrain from the impulses of your selfish nature and the self-serving world. If someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the left to be likewise stiked. This discipline will lead to your perfecting. If someone forces you to go one mile in service, go with him a second. If someone robs you of your robe, freely give him your coat. If someone takes anything from you, don't ask that it be returned, for what good would that do?
5) Give to all who ask, and don't expect return; for your Parent in heaven wills that everyone should be recipients of our free gifts. Great rewards await anyone who gives according to the commandment; for that person is guiltless. A negative return is given to the one who receives but has no need, for he will pay the penalty for why he received for nothing but greed, and under examination will be required to divulge everything concerning his choices, and will not be freed from his obligations until everything owed is paid.
6) On the other hand, the one who is in need and receives is guiltless. Let your gifts rest in in your sweaty hands, until you know to can discern to whom you should give.
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT: GROSS SIN FORBIDDEN
1) This is the second commandment of the Teaching;
2) You must not murder; nor given to adultery; nor molest children; nor practice immorality; nor theft; nor a practicioner of black magic; nor a practicioner of witchcraft; nor a terminator of unborn children; nor any sort of infanticide; nor one who unlawfully seek to take ownership of your neighbor's possessions,
3) You must not commit perjury nor be given over to false testimony, nor speak evil, nor hold grudges.
4) You must not be deceitful nor fickle; for to be fickeled is a snare of death.
5) Your speech must never be false, nor meaningless, but confirmed by action.
6) You must never be greedy, nor accumulate riches, nor a hypocrite, nor malicious, nor arrogant; nor given over to plot evil against your neighbor.
7) You must not hate anyone; but some you must correct, and pray for others, and some you must love even more than your own life.
OTHER SINS FORBIDDEN
1) My child, turn away from everything evil, even from anything that resembles it.
2) Control your anger, for anger leads to murder. Control your jealousy, and do not bicker, nor be hot-tempered, for all these these things are the roots of murder.
3) My child, don't entertain lust in your heart; for lust leads to immorality. Do not be foul-mouthed, nor allow your eyes to roam; for all these are the roots of adultery.
4) My child, do not practice any part of omens, because this leads to idolatry. Do not practice enchantment, nor self-centered astrology, nor black magic, nor join with those who exhibit these things; for these all lead to idolatry.
5) My child, do not lie because lying lead to theft. Do not accumulate selfish wealth, nor build conceit because these all lead to theft.
6) My child, do not grumble because this leads to blasphemy. Do not be arrogant nor evil-minded because all of these lead to blasphemy.
7) Rather, be meek for they will inherit the Land of Promise.
8) Be humble, patient, merciful, gentle and good, always showing proper respect and reverence for that which you have heard.
9) Never seek self-exaltation, nor be over-confident in your own self. You must not be joined with the worldly upper class, but with the righteous and humble.
10) Whatsoever things that happen to you should be taken as good, after all we know that nothing happens apart from God.
1) My child, every night and day remember those who teach you; and you must honor him.
2) And you must daily seek the companionship of the saints, so that you may find support in their words.
3) Never cause division, but be an arbitor to those who quarrel. Always judge righteously, never showing partiality when mediating transgressions.
4) Always stand firm in your decisions.
5) Don't be a habitual receiver, ever reluctant in generosity.
6) If you've earned something through work, your giving will be weighed as a ransom against your sins.
7) You must not hesitate to give, nor grumble afterwards, for one day you will face the reward of the Paymaster.
8) Never turn away those in need, but always share all things with your brother, and never say that your possessions exclusively your own, because if you share in eternal things, how much more in things that are temporary!
9) Never neglect your responsibilities concerning your son and daughter, but always teach them from their youth proper respect.
10) Never give orders in anger to your servant or maid, especially if their hope is the same, lest they are provoked to lose respect for God who is over you both. For He doesn't come to people based on their appearance or reputation, but to the ones whom the Spirit has prepared.
11) And your servants must be subject to your own masters in respect and fear.
12) You must hate all hypocrisy and everything that is not positive.
13) Never turn away from practicing the commandments and always guard what you have received, being careful to never add to or take away from anything that was received.
14) In the assembly you should confess your transgressions, and be careful to never approach your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life.
THE WAY OF DEATH
1) The way of death is this: First of all, it is evil and cursed: full of murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, magical arts, witchcrafts, robberies, false testimonies, hypocrisy, deceit, arrogance, depravity, self-will, greed, filthy talk, jealous, over-confidence, false-pride, boastful;
2) Persecutors of all things good, hating truth, loving lies, ignorant of the reward for righteousness, not clinging to good nor righteous judgment, being drawn to evil rather than good; from whom gentleness and endurance are distanced, loving vanities, chasing temporary reward, having no mercy for the poor, not working for the afflicted, not knowing their Creator, murderers of children, destroyers of creation, turning away from the needy, oppressing the afflicted, prejudiced in favor of the rich and against the poor, utterly sinful. Children, may all of you be delivered from all these abominations.
AGAINST FALSE TEACHERS, AND FOOD OFFERED TO IDOLS
1) Be on your guard for many would like to lead you away from the way of the Teaching, for their priorities have no regard.
2) If you are able to bear the yoke, you will be perfect; but if you can't, you should make your best effort.
3) And concerning food, eat what is right but guard that you never eat that which is sacrificed to idols, for that is recognized as worship of the dead.
1) And concerning baptism, baptize this way: After reviewing all of this teaching, baptize in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in living (running) water.
2) But if living water is not available, then baptize into other water; and cold is prefered, but if not available in warm.
3) But if neither is available, pour water three times upon the head in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
4) But before the baptism, let the overseer fast, and also the one being baptized, and all others who are able; Be sure to instruct the one being baptized to fast one or two days before.
CONCERNING FASTING AND PRAYER
1) Be careful not to schedule your fasts at the times when the hypocrites fast. They fast on the second (Monday) and fifth (Thursday) day of the week, therefore make your fast on the fourth (Wednesday) day and the Preparation day (Friday, the day of preparation for the Sabbath-Saturday).
2) Likewise, don't pray as the hypocrites, but as commanded in the Gospel in this manner:
Our Father in heaven,
Sacred is Your Name.
Your kingdom comes.
Your will is acomplished,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debt
in the manner that we forgive our debtors.
And do not allow us to fall to temptation,
but deliver us from evil,
for Yours is the power and the glory forever.
3) Pray in this manner three times per day.
THE THANKSGIVING SACRAMENT
1) Now concerning the Thanksgiving meal, give thanks in this manner.
2) First, concerning the cup:
We thank You, our Father,
For the Holy Vine of David Your servant,
Whom You made known to us through Your Servant;
May the glory be Yours forever.
3) Concerning the broken bread:
We thank You, our Father,
For the life and knowledge
Which You made known to us through Your Servant;
May the glory be Yours forever.
As this broken bread was scattered over the mountains,
And was gathered together to become one,
So let Your Body of Faithful be gathered together
From the ends of the earth into Your kingdom;
for the glory and power are Yours forever.
5) But let no one eat or drink of your Thanksgiving, unless they have been baptized; for concerning this is taught, "Do not give what is holy to dogs."
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
1) After the meal, give thanks in this manner:
2) We offer thanks, Holy Father,
For Your Holy Name which fills our hearts,
And for the knowledge, faith and eternal life,
You made known to us through Your Servant;
Yours is the glory forever.
3) Almighty Master, You created all things for Your own purpose;
You gave men food and drink to enjoy,
That they might give You thanks;
But to us You freely give spiritual food and drink,
And eternal life through Your Servant.
4) Foremost, we thank You because You are mighty;
Yours is the glory forever.
5) Remember Your Body of Servants,
To deliver it from everything evil
And perfect it according to Your love,
And gather it from the four winds,
Sanctified for Your kingdom which You have prepared for it;
For the power and glory are Yours forever.
6) Let Your grace come,
And let this world pass away.
Hosanna to the God of David!
May all who are holy, come;
Let those who are not, repent.
7)But permit the prophets to make Thanksgiving as they wish.
CONCERNING TEACHERS, EMISSARIES, AND PROPHETS
1) Whoever comes to teach you in accordance with all these things we've written here, receive him.
2) But if the teacher himself goes astray, teaching another doctrine which would undermine this doctrine, do not hear him; but if his teaching provokes you to greater righteousness and increases your knowledge, welcome him.
EMISSARIES & PROPHETS
3) Concerning the emissaries and prophets, Deal with them according to the decree of our Teaching.
4) Let every emissary that comes to you be received.
5) But he must not remain longer than one day, unless it is absolutely necessary, in which case he may stay another. But if he stays three days, suspect him as a false prophet.
6) When the emissary leaves, send him with only bread to sustain him to his next destination. But if he asks for money, be assured that he is a false prophet.
7) Do not test or judge any prophet who speaks according to the Spirit.
8) But be warned; not everyone who speaks according to the Spirit is a prophet, but only those who walk in the Spirit. Therefore, from their consistent behaviors can you discern the false prophet.
9) And every prophet who commands food to be brought to him in the Spirit will not eat from it, unless he is a false prophet;
10) Every prophet will teach the truth, but if he doesn't practice his own words, he should be regarded as a false prophet.
11) And every prophet who has proven that they are in fact genuine, whose illustrations occasionally appear too worldly when teaching about the Body of Believers, yet he scrupulously does not teach others to copy his illustrations, shall not be judged negatively among you, for God will judge righteously. For his example came from the ancient prophets.
12) Whoever says in the Spirit, "Give me money," or something similar thing, do not listen to him. But if he solicites that you give to the needy, none should judge him.
RECEPTION OF BELIEVERS
1) Everyone who comes should be received, but then you should watch him. Under scrutiny you will gain insight into his character.
2) If he is a traveler, help him according to your ability. But he should not be allowed to stay with you more than two or possibly three days.
3) But if he desides to stay longer, and is a craftsman, put him to work.
4) But if he is not skilled, make a careful judgment as to his living conditions as a fellow believer among you, making sure that he is not allowed to be idle.
5) But if he doesn't cooperate, he is a user - even trading on Christ for profit. Beware of such as this.
SUPPORT OF PROPHETS
1) Every true prophet who settles among you is deserving of his food.
2) A true teacher is also worthy of his food.
3) For this reason, Store all the first-fruits of your wine, grain, cattle, and sheep. Give these to the prophets, for they are your high priests.
4) If a prophet does not reside among you, distribute it to the poor.
5) If you make bread, give the first-fruit according to the instruction.
6) In this manner, when you open a container of wine or oil, give the first-fruit of it to the prophets.
7) And concerning your money, clothing, and all possessions, give the appropriate first-fruit, according to godly discretion, and give according to the instruction.
THE SABBATH ASSEMBLY
1) Every day, gather together, eat a meal, and give thanks after having first confessed your sins, that your sacrifice may be pure.
2) Discourage anyone who has a disputation with his brother to gather with you, until they are reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be defiled.
3) For this is the sacrifice that was spoken of in our teaching:
"In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, and My Name is marvelous among the nations."
BISHOPS AND DEACONS; REPROOF
1) Therefore, appoint for yourselves, worthy bishops and deacons. Make sure that they are men who are meek, not lovers of money, but truthful and proven. They will provide among you the services of prophets and teachers.
2) Do not despise them, rather they should be honored, together with the prophets and teachers.
3) Correct each other in peace, not in anger. But if one among you wrongs another, do not befriend and console the offender, until he reconciles.
4) Concerning your prayers, giving, and works, perform them according to our teachings.
WATCHFULNESS; THE COMING JUDGMENT
1) Guard your lives. Keep your menorah's (lamps) burning, and ever prepared, for the hour is not known.
2) Gather together frequently, pursuing that which will benefit your souls, otherwise the entire time of your faith will be nearly worthless if you have not persevered to the end.
3) For in the last days false prophets and corrupters will be multiplied, and the sheep will become wolves, and love will be turned into hate.
4) As lawlessness increases, they will hate and persecute and betray one another. And then the deceiver of the world will appear as a son of God, and will perform signs and wonders, and the earth will be delivered into his hands, and he will do abominable things that will surpass all evil done since the beginning.
5) Then all mankind will be tried by fire, causing many to fall away and perish. But those with enduring faith will be saved from by the One Who was cursed.
6) Then the signs of truth will appear: First, the sign of heaven opening. Then, the sign of the trumpet sounding. And third, the resurrection of the dead.
7) Yet, not of all, but as it is said: "The Judge will come, and all His angels."
8) Then the world will see the judgment coming on the clouds of heaven.
Copyright 2008 Maiden of Light Holy Orthodox Temple