The Difference Between Spiritual Understanding and Occultism
II Chronicles 33:1-13
To get a complete understanding of a question requires that we go to the foundation and search out the cause of all that is involved in the subject. In considering the tendency of the mind to wander into forbidden paths for knowledge, we would first inquire, What is the cause of this tendency? Why should the great All-Good give to man or express through him a faculty that requires discipline, that needs to be coached and taught, and that must sometimes enter into knowledge through hard experience? It must be that God is the Principle of Life, and that through man he is demonstrating himself. If God had already demonstrated his perfection there would be no necessity for creation. But we see creation going on, and there is proof that the one great Mind is constantly expressing itself. We are part, and an important part, of that expression. Every finer impulse that we feel must have its source in the progressive Mind of the universe.
There are two great phases of mind-cause and effect. We cannot find cause by studying effect, but must enter directly into the cause side and study it until it reveals itself to us. Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” The sequence of this is that we must look into the spiritual side of every proposition.
As students we find that the faculties of mind can be expressed along definite, orderly lines, or in indefinite, disorderly ways. One of these inherent faculties is the desire to know; we call it the “understanding,” because it is constantly seeking knowledge. This faculty may be suppressed by the will, and the mind then settles down in a state of ignorance. If it is expressed in the outer realm alone, it becomes mere curiosity; flits here and there seeking knowledge and finding it not, because it has not made connection with the real source, which is absolute knowing. Every question has its spiritual root, and that root is in the realm of absolute ideas.
Roughly speaking, man is a threefold being. His intellect expresses through the head, the emotional nature through the heart, and the physical through the body. But this is not all of man; if we go deeper we find that he has a spiritual nature and organism through which he expresses Spirit. All these departments of man’s being are necessary that he may have complete consciousness, and express all of his faculties in the orderly processes of creation. This brings us back to mind. Man is mind in every phase of his being, and he should not stop with the individual, limited consciousness, but merge himself into the universal Mind and come into the consciousness of the Absolute. This applies to every faculty, and constitutes that worship which Jesus described as “in spirit and in truth.”
In the story of Manasseh (II Chronicles 33:1-13), we have symbolized the understanding faculty of the mind seeking in the outer realm for expression. All the Scriptures are allegorical. Paul says, in referring to certain well-known passages, “which things are an allegory.” Jesus gave his teachings in parables, and the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is a series of allegories typifying some phase of man’s mental, physical, or spiritual development. These allegories may have a basis in history; but that is a minor consideration. The point for us is to find out what the various characters represent, get the lesson, and apply it in our lives. History repeats itself, and whatever has occurred is occurring now. If we study the Scriptures in this way they become illuminated.
We read in the lesson that Manasseh was twelve years of age when he began to reign. Twelve is a full number, representing completeness of a certain phase of consciousness in man. At the age of twelve Jesus was found in the temple talking of spiritual things with the learned doctors. When the consciousness has covered twelve degrees of expression there begins a new reign of the understanding. Children at about the age of twelve begin to bloom into puberty; a new life force begins to reign in the consciousness. At this age the intellect is quickened, and if it connects itself with the outer, and falls into nature worship, it does “that which is evil in the sight of Jehovah,” because that which lies back of nature is not discerned. It here that the mind becomes enamored of the occult and mystical, and strays into forbidden paths seeking knowledge. One might study until doomsday and not understand what is meant by “eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of man” unless he sought understanding of the Spirit of Truth. The intellect cannot grasp spiritual things. There must be a quickening of spiritual understanding before the deep things of Spirit can be known. The top brain must be quickened. In the natural man all his ideas cluster about his front brain. There are people who study the teachings of Jesus Christ with much interest and have a very good intellectual comprehension of them, but they have not felt the quickening life. These are not much better off than those who are in the old thought. They must let go in the intellectual man and drop down in consciousness to the very center of their being and come in touch with quickening life. This is drinking the Christ blood. We must live more, be more conscious that we are alive, within and without.
When we really live in Spirit we shall not be curious about the dead and will not be led astray by the occult. We will know that astrological signs have no power over us, because to man is given dominion over all things. Luck and chance have no part in our world, but everything is in divine order and comes about according to Law. We should not be found looking in our teacups or to the lines of our hand for information about the future, but should know that our thoughts make our future and we can make it what we will. There is only one Source of knowledge, and if one continues to search in these forbidden ways he will fall captive in the hands of the Assyrians and be led to Babylon, as was Manasseh. Babylon, means confusion, and typifies the mixed state of mind of those who are delving into the occult for knowledge. Manasseh, through seeking in forbidden paths for knowledge, fell in bondage to the king of Assyria, who is mortal mind, the personality, the big I. He was held in captivity until he repented and sought the help of God. When he did this he was restored to Jerusalem, City of Peace. All running to and fro for knowledge is a waste of time. There is but one way to know. “Be still and know that I am God.” Follow Jesus Christ and seek within for understanding. Soon a new consciousness will begin to form, and you will know about God and man, and man’s relation to God and the universe. You can then say with Victor Hugo, “There are no occult things. Everything is luminous to the mind that knows.”