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 14, 1975
Ezek. 24:16, pp. 282-283 of transcript.
Now I want to share with you a very interesting quote from Ezekiel. You might make a note of it for counseling. Ezekiel is a very heavy book, very symbolic, almost on a par with Revelation. Certainly one of the most complex as far as symbolism goes in the O.T., and it's resemblance to Revelation is very striking. But strangely enough, in this very complex, esoteric book there happens to be some of the most touching words pertaining to a person who has to go through the experience of sorrow over the passing of a loved one.
In this case it is Ezekiel's beloved wife, who is going to die. He is very grief-stricken about it. The book has the Lord say these words to Ezekiel.
Now, I'm going to do something un-kosher here. Taking excerpts from two translations - the ASV and the King James version. This is permitted if you let your listeners know you're doing it. Don't mix them up and pretend it's all one translation. Be honest, people don't mind, it's the same Bible. I'll show you why.
In the KJ version the statement reads this way, "Neither shalt thou mourn or weep, forbear to cry. Make no mourning for the dead." That's the KJ version, but that first line is changed in the ASV and I like it a 1,000 times better. It says, has the Lord saying: "Sigh, but not too loud, forbear to cry. Make no mourning for the dead."
Did you get that difference? Look how hard-boiled the KJ translation is. Here's a guy who's brokenhearted. His beloved wife has just died and the Lord said, "Neither shalt thou mourn nor weep. Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead." But the ASV has the Lord saying, "Sigh, but not too loud." (That's Ezek. 24:17)
What do you think about this? If you were going to give what the Bible says, would you say - Neither shalt thou mourn? You see, the person would take that sort of like an impossible demand. But I have tried using this other one, because the counselee did come right out and ask me if there's something in the Bible that could give her some guidance. I did tell her that in Ezekiel the Lord tells Ezekiel, who's going through exactly what you're going through, He says,
"Sigh, but not too loud."
In other words, you are entitled to your expression of grief, but don't overdo it, don't make sure everybody else hears it. Sigh, mostly you will hear your own sigh, you will feel it, and then, make no mourning for the dead. It's very important, and you can point this out, because there are no dead. There are no dead people, there are people who have gone through the transition and who have been separated from us, for that we sigh, we cry, but we don't mourn for their being dead because that is bearing false witness, they are not dead, they are alive in Christ, in God.
In the consultation for grief, you are not there to prevent grief, but to enter it and help them overcome it through, I would say, I'm sorry I'm going to use this word, "sympathy". I'm not ashamed of the word sympathy and I don't use euphemisms called empathy. Empathy to me means one thing and sympathy to me means another thing. When a person wants my sympathy and I'm able to give it, I'm going to give it. If they take my ordination off the wall, I'm going to give it. And then, when the thing blows over and other things are needed, I hope I'm there to give whatever I have to give. Grief is such a personal thing and I think that we all should feel at one when it occurs. One as a family and then eventually we will overcome the need for grief, which is involuntary death.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on February 6, 2015.