Well Monk – I am hung on my own petard!
By quoting from Hebrews, because the quote suited my purpose, I walked straight into a trap – that being that no sensible Bible scholar would accept Hebrews as a work of Paul’s, and thus also rendering your further Hebrews quotes to back up your argument completely useless too. So we’ve both gone up a blind alley, it seems. And as you’ve based your whole argument on Hebrews and another perceived forgery, Ephesians, we both need to retrace our steps.
The author of Hebrews is not known. The text as it has been passed down to the present time is internally anonymous, though ancient title headings attribute it to the Apostle Paul. Internal considerations suggest the author was male (Hebr 11:32), he was an acquaintance of Timothy (Heb 13:23), and was located in Italy (Heb 13:24).
Tradition attributes the letter to Paul, but the style is notably different from the rest of Paul's epistles. Eusebius reports that the original letter had a Jewish audience and was written in Hebrew, and then later translated into Greek by Luke. In support of this, Luke's record of Paul's speech in Antioch (Acts 13:13-52) is sometimes claimed to have a similar style to Hebrews, notably different from Paul's letters to gentile audiences.
However, even in antiquity doubts were raised about Paul's alleged authorship. The reasons for this controversy are fairly plain. For example, his letters always contain an introduction stating authorship, yet Hebrews does not.  Also, while much of its theology and teachings may be considered Pauline, it contains many other ideas which seem to have no such root or influence. Moreover, the writing style is substantially different from that of Paul's authentic epistles, a characteristic first noticed by Clement (c. 210). In Paul's letter to the Galatians, he forcefully defends his claim that he received his gospel directly from the resurrected Jesus himself.
Nevertheless, in the fourth century, the church largely agreed to include Hebrews as the fourteenth letter of Paul. Jerome and Augustine of Hippo were influential in affirming Paul's authorship, and the Church affirmed this authorship until the Reformation.
That last paragraph supports the view of those who believe that the Literalist church forged letters from Paul with the intent of presenting Paul as a Literalist.
The sudden appearance of the Timothys and Titus in the hands of Irenaeus in the second century are suspicious because they turned Paul into a hostile opponent of Gnosticism. Irenaeus relies heavily on a quotation from 1 Timothy for his “Unmasking and Refutation of the Gnosis, Falsely So-Called."(I guess they didn’t go in for snappy titles in those days!)
But it was widely accepted by the fourth century that Hebrews was not from Paul, yet still Augustine and Jerome wanted to include it. Makes you wonder why, doesn't it? Especially as you found it so useful for destroying the case for Paul being a Gnostic ...
So we’ll have to look at the only letters of Paul’s that all scholars agree are actually written by him to attest to his Gnostic or Literalist leanings. These are:
I’m prepared to have this discussion for a while because I have made the point that I think he was a Gnostic.
But our case here, about whether early Christianity was Gnostic, does not really hang on whether Paul was a Gnostic, as there is plenty of other evidence of other Gnostic groups centuries prior to Paul, and attested earlier than any Literalists. However, I would enjoy exploring Paul for a bit, before carrying on.
That there actually was an initiation, a secret teaching, and that it was not just some false hope ‘dangled’ as you put it, is confirmed in quotes from Jesus.
In Mark 4: 10-12 it says:
"And when he (Jesus) was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
"And he said unto them, 'Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God
: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
"'That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.'"
Also in Mark 4: 34 it says:
"...but without a parable spoke he not to them; and in private he explained all things to his disciples."
So the quotes from Mark above show that if anyone’s “dangling” anything falsely, then so are the Literalists — and even Jesus himself.