For some Gnostic Christians, Jesus Christ was analogous to the Earth’s Craftsman, Yaldabaoth, in consequential ways. Yaldabaoth was the spawn of the exiled mother Aeon, Sophia (AH i.7.1). Depending on which version of Gnosticism you look at, Jesus is similarly a product of Sophia. This is at least found in Irenaus’s claims about the Valentinians (AH i.11.1).
Christ also was not produced from the Aeons within the Pleroma, but was brought forth by the mother who had been excluded from it, in virtue of her remembrance of better things, but not without a kind of shadow.
In other versions of Gnosticism, the Logos is the last-created Aeon, sometimes created by other Aeons in the Pleroma.
If one holds to the notion that the early heretic, Basilides, was a Gospel of Mark consumer, then we have another manifestation in that Yaldabaoth’s minions could recognize that Jesus encapsulated the Christ.
But one of the Valentinian views, which has the Logos as the offspring of Sophia, would subsequently imply that the Demiurge and the Logos were siblings! Perhaps this is why a Valentinian view emerged which had the real source of evil on the Earth as the Demiurge’s creature, the Cosmocrator, rather than the Demiurge (AH i.5.4). In other words, a complex hierarchy which explains material, evil, and the nature of reality begins to emerge within Valentinian Gnosticism.
The point that I have made over the past year has been that the original Christian Trinity would have been the Father, Mother, and Son. This is strikingly analogous to the Canaanite view, which had El as the Father, Asherah as the Mother, and Ba’al as the son.
Like Jesus, Ba’al had his own battles to wage. For example, Ba’al battled Mot for control over the Earth’s fertility. Ba’al also battled Yam, who was the Sea God. Yam’s servant was Lotan, a dragon-like sea monster, who in some versions has 7 heads, and was the equivalent to the Leviathan, who showed up throughout the Old Testament, notably Job 3 and Isaiah 27. Compare the Canaanite tradition to Revelation, which features the Queen of Heaven escaping from a 7-headed dragon in Heaven (Rev 12:3):
And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns…
*I should make the obligatory note that there are many interpretations of this 7-headed dragon; there were probably multiple layers of intent by describing the dragon this way, perhaps in part describing the number of nations that Israelites would have been aware of.
The scarlet, 7-headed dragon in Revelation 12 chased the pregnant queen in the hopes of devouring her unborn child; this child was immediately snatched up to heaven by “the father” after he was born, leaving the dragon the singular option of chasing the mother, who was then protected by the Earth. The dragon, after realizing the mother found protection, made war with the woman’s other children, who were also the brothers and sisters of the messiah. I have made the case (and I am hardly alone in my speculation) that these “other children” were the Nasar – the keepers of an older law which had been lost from mainstream Judaism for hundreds of years BCE.
The victim of the 7-headed dragon was the Mother (and by extension, the child and other siblings). The dragon rendered authority onto a “beast” (Rev 13:2), and “the people” subsequently worshiped the dragon *because* he had given authority to the beast (Rev 13:4). Put another way, the beast purported the dragon to be the most high; according to the readers and writers of Revelation, it was obvious this was not the case.
Revelation adjusts the Canaanite myth, which has the 7-headed dragon as the servant of Yam; in Revelation, it is not clear that the dragon is subservient to anyone. However, in some versions of the Canaanite myth, Yam’s rulership on the Earth turned tyrannical after he imprisoned (the Most High) El’s Wife, Asherah, the Queen of Heaven.
Yam’s misbehavior outraged, El and Asherah’s son, Ba’al enough to take action, waging war against Yam. There is unambiguous correlation between Canaanite myth and the story in Revelation, where the Queen is victimized by (what must be) the malicious offspring of the Most High, the dragon.
Revelation 17 gives insight into another adversary who had collaborated with the scarlet, 7-headed dragon. The purple and scarlet clad woman, who is later identified as the whore of Babylon, was clearly a reference to the decoration of the temple veil, which had those colors and was of Babylonian origin.
Josephus gives the following description of the Babylonian veil:
It was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with blue, and fine linen, and scarlet, and purple…
The purple and scarlet wearing whore had replaced the prior protector of the temple: the Queen of Heaven! The heavenly-emanated woman who was at the helm looking over Solomon’s Temple was absent from the 2nd temple, presumably because the dragon prevented it.
Revelation eventually has the whore falling, and “the beast was captured, along with the false prophet who had performed the signs on his behalf” (Rev 19:20). They were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
In the Canaanite myth, it is Ba’al who battled the 7-headed dragon. In Christianity, it is “the angel standing in the sun” who ushers in the beast’s destruction and the dragon’s 1000 year imprisonment. This gave rise to angels who were “given authority to judge” (Rev 20:4); compare that to the Canaanite myth, which had the most High giving Yam the ability to judge on Earth, prior to his rebellion and imprisonment of the mother/queen.
It is easy to look at these correlations and presume Revelation’s writer simply rewrote the Canaanite myth. But there is something strange about this: why is the tradition of Ba’al, who in Orthodox Christianity came to represent Satan (or at least one of his minions), treated so kindly?
One of my presumptions is that Revelation was not crafted by anyone with much concern for the emerging Orthodoxy’s rules. Rather, Revelation’s author here seems to have a very clear picture of how he and Jesus Christ (ie the Logos manifested on Earth) sees creation and other units within their emerging religion. The blatant lifting of attributes from the Canaanite myth might be inconsequential, but I believe these were traditions that were originally important to the Queen of Heaven cult, and that is why they survived into the Orthodoxy (via Revelation) despite Revelation being considered heretical by many early Christians.