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 October 17, 1975
Gen. 28, pp. 150-155 of transcript.
Chapter 28, Isaac, who didn't have to do this now makes sure his kid has to do it, sent him out to find a wife. Typical Jewish father. He didn't have to lift a finger and he got it all and now he's going to make his son go and find a wife. So Jacob is sent by his father to go and find a wife, and as we learn, he gets a little more than he bargained for, but before he does this, before he finds his wife, we're told in Chapter 28, that
28:10And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran. 28:11And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set. And he took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep. 28:12And he dreamed. And behold, a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
And then we're told the Lord God stood above it and He blesses Jacob and promises him all kinds of goodies in the future, but that's not so important. It resumes,
28:16And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely Jehovah is in this place. And I knew it not. 28:17And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
That fear, attributed to Jacob after he awakens from a sleep in which he had this vision for the first time describes the fear that a lot of persons experience when the first glimpse of Omnipresence or God within touches him. There is a fear, you would think there would be a total delight, all at once, but in many cases it is not total delight but "can this church my mother makes me go all these years be wrong? The religion that I have been brought up in, and God is other than up there? Am I going to have to give this up?" It is not that they are so much frightened about the presence of God within but the fact of learning it can be such a shock to a soul, to an intellect for the first time that it is a type of frightening thing but, of course, the fright soon wears off when one becomes reconciled to the idea, the fright does change into joy and gratitude that such a thing came, but it doesn't come till one is ready, of course, there is no use in trying to hammer it into a person who is not ready for it about Omnipresence and God within instead of God other than in a location.
When that soul is ready it will have the same dream, more than a dream, it is an inner realization of vision. Now, this heavenly earthly ladder, the top of the ladder we are told was in heaven, the foot of the ladder rested on earth and the ladder then becomes a connecting link between heaven and earth.
Metaphysically this means that we are in heaven and on earth at the same time. Your being has its heavenly levels and its earthly levels. The higher levels of you are the heavens of your being, the lower levels of you are the earthly levels of your being, but your being is always one. So now we have the ladder, ordinarily a ladder is thought of in this shape, as it is today in modern shape, with two sides and the rungs across. But we have to alter that for the purpose of this illustration. We'll take the two end bars and combine them because it's the shape that counts. So you have the substance of the ladder, the heart, the whole meaning of the ladder is that it is upright, perpendicular and in numbers this is the number one. This is the state of our being.
It is a symbol, a diagram of our true being, and also of our oneness with God. Now, in this ladder, we will have cross bars, or rungs, by the way, historically, there were such ladders as this, they had leather thongs, wet one that they would tie, they didn't have nails and hammers. There is a certain kind of a knot that they would tie here, and when that leather dries, these rungs become just as firm as a ladder can be in this shape. So, there's no reason to think that maybe this isn't the kind of ladder that he dreamed about.
Now, this heavenly, earthly ladder has angels of God ascending and descending on it. This is another reason why I prefer this shape to the ladder. If you had a modern-day ladder, and the angels were ascending and descending on both sides, you'd have a traffic jam. You'd have an almost impossible situation. But with this kind of a ladder, it's quite logical. Here you would have self, or earth, and here you'd have God, or heaven.
All right, let's start with the ascending angels. They would start in this direction, touching every rung, reaching heaven and then you'd have the descending, touching every rung, reaching earth, or self. Don't call this man, call this self and God, because the whole thing is man. God is in man and this is part of the meaning of the vision.
O.K. The rungs of the ladder represent the steps in modern times which lead from self to God and from God to self. If they represent steps in mind reaching from self to God, then what also must they mean, of a more negative meaning? They are levels, so they have to also imply beliefs in separation. They also stand for beliefs, modes of beliefs, not out-and-out beliefs in separation, but shades of it, implications. Yet the angels touch each and every one in both directions. This is very important.
I have known truth students that had great hang-ups about the fact that they weren't completely and totally free from all beliefs in separation and all that I can say is, congratulations, join the human family, join the team. This is typical of all of human nature. There are still lingering implications, memories, subconscious beliefs in separations, and all they are rungs on the ladder, going in both directions. That will change, this is all temporary.
Now, the angels stand for communication between God and self and when it is from self to God we would call these forms, thoughts, feelings, desires, aspirations and prayers. These are the ascending angels, the communication modes going from self to God. When they are descending angels, modes of communication coming from God to self, they would take the form of guidance, inspiration, healings, blessings. When they are going from God to self.
Now, in Jacob's dream of the ladder, then, the ascending angels are those going from self to God, the descending angels from God to self, but the two movements are simultaneous. Please keep that in mind. It's very important. You can only give to God that which He has already given to you, and God can only give to self that which He's already received from self. In other words, the question and the answer are the same things in the mind of God. The need and the fulfillment are one in the mind of God, supply and demand are equal in the mind of God, it is only in the mind of man where he views them as two sides of a coin. But in the mind of God, they are one, so the movement of the angels must be thought of as simultaneous.
This illustrates the true process of prayer, what really happens in prayer. The vital thing to recognize here is the fact that some angel touches every rung of the ladder, in both directions, at the same time. This simply means that every thought you send in the direction of God, reaches God and every desire, every request, every ascending angel reaches the top of this ladder and at that top, the presence of God, that is in the heavenly level of your being and no prayer that you utter, no affirmation you speak, no righteous desire that you ever make known misses any of the rungs as it ascends to its destination in Divine Mind. At the same time the reverse is true. Descending angels illustrating God's response to self. These too, make every rung of the ladder in their descent to earthly levels or manifest levels of your being. This means that God's response to our prayers touches every part of us. Every level of us, nothing is overlooked or bypassed, or skipped.
Now, one day, years ago, while I had been working on this lesson, the class wasn't present, I was alone in the classroom, but I was rehearsing. I was young then. I had this diagram drawn and I was looking at it and thinking about it, and feeling quite satisfied with its meaning and I began to erase it, but it was almost as though something was directing my hand and I started to do this - now, each time I erased one of those lower rungs, I am removing a symbol of one more belief in separation, am I not? I'm moving in this direction from self to God, on the ladder of my being, my true being, which is oneness with Him. In this process I am rising up above the lower types of belief in separation, but there are still more subtle types, or higher, more refined, more sophisticated kinds of beliefs in separation, but I'm going to get to them as I grow, as I ascend. I'm going to finally -
I saw that cross and I thought, can this be it? Can this be the real symbolism of the cross? Of course it was. It was the symbol of the oneness with God and man, Jesus enacting this metaphysical, cosmic drama for his human brothers and sisters to show us something. This horrible, literal mode of execution, but really, based upon a very ancient symbol, the cross, which has been in all religions back as far as man can ever know.
The cross, there it is - that final and highest, most subtle, most sophisticated of all beliefs in separation, the final belief to be overcome. Who else but Jesus would be the great symbol of the one who volunteered to do this, go through that final crucifixion in order to demonstrate resurrection and ascension, and conscious immortality? I like to think, folks, that Jesus was aware, perfectly aware of the whole cosmic symbolism of what He was doing there.
He indicates He was here. He was with - tied to this last belief in separation and for our sake; He verbalized it. In what statement from the cross did He verbalize the last, lingering, hangover belief that separation is possible? "My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me" - separated thy presence from me? As long as that there was still the hanging on the cross, but then, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." The removal of the final belief in separation, a total merging of self with God and the victory of the cross - or the victory over the cross. Conscious immortality.
Jacob doesn't take it that far, but Jesus constantly takes up symbols, ideas, partially resolved principles from the O.T., and from His ministry He perfects them, He fulfills them. Why do you think, very often He referred to Himself as the fulfillment of scriptures? Because most of the metaphysical ideas presented in the O.T. are unfulfilled. They're just presentations, have faith lessons, they're not fulfilled, proved, finished.
But Jesus takes them up and gives them the finishing touch by manifesting them. Here you have a very primitive beginning of a reconciliation between mind consciousness and body consciousness. That's just the beginning of it, the primitive, half-baked start. What does Jesus do with that idea - that there can be a reconciliation between mind and body? He breathes it into fulfillment with His healing consciousness.
And all through the O.T. you will find this. Things that are just tentative, just suggested, given a start and then dropped, come up again in Jesus' ministry and given a follow-through, a complete demonstration into the very spiritual fabric of race-consciousness.
I expect that what I think it's going to be like to be Christed in consciousness is not at all what's it's going to be like. Some people, when they find that out - but, you see, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Be prepared for it, to not be what you might be thinking it to be. I often have the vision of myself with lots of curly hair, a beautiful new suit and every girl in town chasing me to be baptized. Or, all the money I'll ever need I can materialize it and buy the best stereo set they sell at David Beatty's, things come to you, old hangovers from the old sense consciousness days, and yet, I've mentioned this before, I think. The lady in Toronto who almost panicked one day in class because she was so worried about what she was going to do with herself when she was perfect. She thought when she really obtained the Christ-consciousness and was by all human standards perfect, she panicked. She worried about it, and the words that came to me then helped her, so I guess I was on the right track, I said, really, when you get to this hypothetical point in the future where you're going to be, in comparison to what you are now, you will be Christ-conscious, perfect. I said, you're going to wake up on that glorious morning, and you know what you're going to say - this is today, I am me and I've got these things to do. See?
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on February 15, 2015.