METAPHYSICAL BIBLE INTERPRETATION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Fall semester 1975 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Lecture given on November 10, 1975
I Kings 19, pp. 256-263 of transcript.
Elijah and Jezebel
In the meaning of Elijah, in a later stage, perhaps a more advanced level of truth understanding, the very same works or even greater works are being done, but they are not so talk-about-able In their outer aspects. Actually, what Elijah did here, to consume the corpse of bullock, big deal! Elisha, much later, does much greater works than this, but they're not exploited, they're not lashes of fire and thunderclaps. They're very simple, little things; but those simple, little things are often the greater works in truth, in reality. But they're more subdued, there is not such an aura of excitement and visibility about them; but, right now we're dealing with this Elijah aspect, where the things that happen in our demonstrations are more of an impressive type in the details. And usually they are observed by more witnesses than will be the case later.
But something comes into the picture with all this outer doingness and provingness, which temporarily foils Elijah's track record of success; and, dear ones, it's the same thing that comes into the picture of individual Unity students' track record of successful demonstration. For Elijah, the foiler's name was Jezebel, but for you and me that same foiler now has a more technical name called negative emotionalism. Now, I know that some of you get a little tired of hearing talk about negative emotions, negative emotions, negative emotions; and I can understand that, but they are something that have to be dealt with, they have to be coped with. There's no other way of handling the damage they do than by learning what the nature of this thing is and what measures we can take to undo or prevent the damage done.
The ideal would be preventative measures; it would be so much better if we could avoid the aftermath of what negative emotions do to us, but most of us aren't up to that yet. At least I'm not, so I'm busy doing corrective, cleaning up work afterward. But, we have to do what we're able to do, it's no use saying, "Well I don't like negative emotion, I don't like to hear about them or talk about them ". You probably wouldn't have like Jezebel, either, if you lived back then, but there she was, and she was queen, and she was such a troublemaker. What she symbolizes, I'm afraid, is still with us today. Again, look at your counselee, look at yourself, look at each other, look at the faculty; it's still there. This is what the character, the Bible character Jezebel means. Dictionary-wise, the word Jezebel means adulterous, licentious, uncontrolled. Imagine naming your daughter that! She must have had some set of parents, but that's what the Hebrew word Jezebel means, licentious, adulterous, uncontrolled. She represents, then, really our own worst enemy in a certain stage of our unfoldment, the thing which spoils so much of our life for us. Jezebel was queen in this part of the Bible narrative, and you know what that would mean; so we each must constantly ask ourselves, "Is what she symbolizes queen of me right now?" And you'll be surprised how often the answer will be, "I'm afraid she is, I'm afraid she is the queen now."
In the Bible narrative, you will find that Elijah makes two mistakes in regard to Jezebel. The first mistake he makes is before his big act, the second mistake he makes is after his big act. The first is he underestimated her current influence over him, and a lot of Unity people are making the same mistake. They're underestimating the influence that their own negative emotions still have over them; and then the second mistake he made was afterward, he overestimated her power to carry out her threat. And the same mistake is being made by us; do you see the two sides of the same coin? Folks, we underestimate the influence this factor still has over us and then after it asserts itself, then we overestimate the damage it can do to us. He felt helpless in the face of her threat, helpless and hopeless, because she had threatened him violently. We do something that brings a reaction from our negative emotionalism, and we are confronted with it, and often we just succumb to it; and we say, "I've got to believe it, because it's been said, it's been threatened", and both of these are, really, mistakes we make, but we're learning.
After his victory over the priests of Baal, Jezebel's very angry threats took him by surprise. He really was impressed enough to believe that she could carry out her threats, and this led him directly into a state, which if it is not handled while we're going into it, then we're going to have to go through the whole cycle of unfoldment. It is called discouragement. Watch out for the coming into your consciousness or your soul, that very recognizable state, if you're awake, called discouragement. You can nip it in the bud if you're quick enough, if you're willing enough; if you can't, if you haven't been alert enough, or if it's taken you by surprise and you've let it go on, then you may enter into it, but it's never, never, too late. You have to go through more trouble to get out of it, but it's much better if you recognize the symptoms as they occur and then nip it in the bud. If we can't then we'll possibly go through this adventure that Elijah goes through. Discouragement was a threat. In his words, "It is enough, O Lord, take away my life, because I am not better than my father." Now, keep in mind what was causing his discouragement; he just had a great victory, but what caused his discouragement? The threats of Jezebel. The subconscious or even the unconscious bringing forth of negative emotions, which he fell for, which he believed in the power of. The same thing happens to us.
If I may give a very personal illustration, right after I recorded a certain series of lessons for the Cassette Department, I was on Cloud 9. I had been championing, championing a voice in the wilderness of importance of bringing light on the twelve powers in our teachings. I was teaching Lessons In Truth, I was teaching Christian Healing, and page after page I would see, "Oh, God, if only these authors had known the twelve powers! How much better this material would be. How much more sensibly and effectively we could present it. How are we ever going to get these magnificent twelve powers into our teachings." Lo and behold, out of the blue, Pete Rhea comes to me and says do this, do that. You can imagine the elation I felt. The priests of Baal were squelched. All those who said, "People aren't interested in the twelve powers." Before, I was Elijah. I had demonstrated the validity of my belief, and there were those priests of Baal squelched. Lo and behold, right after that, something occurred in my Unity career that knocked me flat. I won't tell what it was, but to me at that time, it was the most unpleasant thing I could have ever imagined. I was totally unprepared for it. Just as he was taken by surprise; and I was knocked so flat into discouragement, that none of the good reports that started to come in about the cassettes cheered me up. I was under the spell of the Jezebel thing.
When we're most inflated is when we're most vulnerable; then the Jezebel in us can bring her vengeance on us, and even though we say, "I don't deserve this. I don't deserve to be upset like this," well, if you allow yourself to be, then you've got to take the steps that will bring that thing, that experience to the fulfillment of its cycle. Then you will be okay. But while you're going through it, you almost can touch the depths that Elijah does here. "Take away my life; it ain't worth it. I know better than my Father," he says. So, we see ourselves in these characters. Self pity is very apparent here, and that's what I was going through. I suppose we all have. We look back on a thing like this, and we ask, "Why did Elijah allow himself to be so overwhelmed by these really empty threats of Jezebel?" But you see, it is only now that we know they were empty.
Now, we look back, and we see that all it was, was her threats, her words, but right there at that time, Elijah could not see this. So, how about us today? Are we really so much better equipped to see through that which Jezebel represents? Remember, she symbolizes that unillumined mystery of human nature called subconscious negative emotionalism. How much do you and I really know about that area of ourselves? Very little. It's still a vast mystery to most of us. What she stands for cannot really be explained or justified but only dealt with properly. Nowhere does Jesus really try to explain negative emotions - that is, why they exist, where they come from, anything like that. Insofar as that is concerned, all he did is admit there was such a thing and give us the truth, which enables us to cope with it properly. It is knowing the truth that gives a person dominion over all things concerning his nature and his existence.
Jesus obviously knew, then, that explaining the origin of evil and negativism in specifics and detail was not necessary for a person, because in such an explanation, the problem would still remain, "What do I do about it?" Not, "How did it come here or what's the cause of it?" but "what do I do about it, now that it is a fact." And the only sensible answer, which really has nothing to do with idealism, is learn the truth, learn more truth. Then, what if I learn all the truth I can and still don't have dominion and mastery? Then learn more truth. Well, I learned it all, then what? There's more to learn. Just the same as "Why couldn't we heal this kid?" This kind of action, healing, is performed as a result of prayer. "Oh, but I did pray, and we still didn't heal him." Prayer. "But then I did pray more, yet, and I still can't heal this kid." Pray some more. When I pray all I'm able to, then the kid will be healed.
Elijah, at this stage, did not deal with her properly. In fact, he did not deal with her at all. He believed her and feared her and tried to escape her, and the blessing for us is, let's try not to make that same mistake. First, do not believe in the power of your own negative emotions. Our negative emotions do not have any real power in and of themselves. The only power they can have is the power our own belief gives them. Do not give them belief, and they will see they have no power to harm you or damage your life. Instead of this, try to give your attention to the meaning of the next part of the experience, which is in I Kings 19:11, 12, which tells us that the greatest power man can ever make contact with is silence, inner silence. The quickest and the surest way to find God is to become still, inner stillness. We know, friends, that much outer activity and much noisemaking are sometimes necessary parts of our existence.
We can't do without this, because existence being what it is, and the role we play is, and the role we play in existence, this requirement comes to us. Much, much doingness and outer activity and much noise-making is necessary part of the outer life. But, outer life is the realm of problems; inner life is the realm of right answers, and the presence of God's help is symbolized in our text as a still small voice. God's is always to be found in the silence of your private inner being. This is the specific claim being made in this particular text, the idea of the power of silence. Remember that in the outer realm of appearances and events and circumstances and manifestations, problems will always be found; and that's the area of doing and sounding. The answer and the solution to all possible and existing human problems is found within, where silence and stillness rule and reign supreme, because they are the Source. We find that this idea of the power of silence is given further development in subsequent sections of the Bible and then especially so in the Gospels.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on February 9, 2015.