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 24, 1975
Gen. 42, pp. 181-187 of transcript.
Joseph Reconciles With His Brothers
In the last nine chapters of Genesis is recounted in great detail the eventual reconciliation of Joseph and his brothers. This is a variation on a theme we have already covered, it was the reconciliation of two other brothers, Esau and Jacob, but this is a more wide spread happening in our soul development because there are twelve working here and this happy outcome occurs only after pages and pages of deviousness, hesitation, deception, and suspicion on the part of all concerned. It is very difficult for me to read all these pages. I get very impatient because I know what is coming, what has to come and then you say, why all this messing around instead of getting to the point.
So one wonders why Joseph did not simply come out and frankly say and do what his heart really wanted to do in the first place. But here again we must realize this writer knew what he was doing whether he was telling an actual story or not he had a point he had something he was trying to illustrate, and this external narrative of stalling and delaying and game playing the illustrates the difficulty many of us have in our human nature in learning how to become uncomplicated and honest toward ourselves.
This is one of the hardest jobs some persons are going to have to do in this incarnation - to stop all of this unnecessary complicating and dishonesty that is going on all the time among the various factors of our human nature. Many of us have carried the burden of guilt, uncertainty, resentment, regret and suspicion, especially if we know, if we still feel we have not been treated right or if we feel we have not treated others right. Sometimes the combination of these feelings, these hangovers from the past makes it seem about impossible for us to ever be simple and honest in our inner attitude, even towards ourselves. I know quite often I will catch myself in this kind of reverie. I know I ought to be completely honest with myself in this situation but I have learned from things in the past that I can't quite trust me. See, I have learned from things I have done in the past that I can't take a chance on being totally and completely honest with myself in this situation. I've got to play the game a little longer. I'm not quite ready yet. This is the type of thing that this could be illustrating.
Many people are still feeling almost compelled to practice some self-deception, but we learn that with continued growth and with increased will and understanding, that we gradually begin to realize that we get nowhere by any sort of continuing of self deception. By any sort of self-deception we are only hurting ourselves, and delaying the thing that we really want to happen in our soul development so we finally decide to play it straight, forgive all our past mistakes and begin to accept all sides of ourselves as we really are, and this is the first important metaphysical meaning of this reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers, but life not finished yet. There is something else that happens.
Now there is an interruption in Chapter. 49. We have here Jacob's words regarding all his sons, and the sons of Jacob symbolize a beginning of the development in consciousness of our 12 powers, that is an awareness of our twelve powers, and the sons as yet are rather crude and unstable symbols of expression, but their meaning will develop and improve with learning and experience. These initial 12 which are crude and unstable as symbols, but they are a start. They will undergo literary transformation in the Bible narratives in the symbolism and they will reappear under different forms most noticeable of course as the 12 disciples of Jesus, and then finally as the number 12 which is the keynote in all descriptions of the new City of Jerusalem come down from heaven, and of course as 12 manner of fruit on the tree of life in Revelation.
Here is something, people, these notes I composed about 12 years ago and 12 years ago I had not gone into the 12 powers. That came about quite recently and very suddenly almost overwhelmingly, and I am still bewildered when I try to trace how it happened that I got so into the 12 powers, but I wrote this 12 years ago when I had no idea that I was ever going to make a cassette. Here are my words. "I PERSONALLY BELIEVE THAT KNOWLEDGE OF THE 12 POWERS OF MAN AS TAUGHT BY UNITY IS EXTREMELY HELPFUL IN GAINING UNDERSTANDING OF BIBLE SYMBOLISM." There is the forerunner there - a bit of guidance that I was lucky enough to get down.
In Chapter 50, the story is brought to a conclusion in a very appropriate conclusion and the key in these words. Now I am going to read from both the King James and the RSV versions.
KJ: "But as for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it for good."
RSV: "But as for you, ye meant evil against me, but God meant it for good."
Now there is a very interesting meaning here. This statement offers a very thought provoking challenge to our growing understanding. Remember, we are dealing here with a symbol representing something in human nature - in natural man not in spiritual man. We are not on that level here, so it is not correct as some have said that this forgiveness on the part of Joseph towards his brothers was Christ-like. It wasn't. It was human magnanimity and even that is a bit questionable when you consider things, but it is certainly not on par in any way with Jesus. In some ways perhaps it was, but with a very important difference.
Joseph forgave with the aid of hindsight which gave him many advantages. He saw - because he stands for the imagination and imagination includes memory, he could see that the evil intentions and even the carrying out the evil intention on the part of his brothers failed to cause him any real harm, even though - they tried their best, it all came to naught - so he really wasn't hurt by anything they did to him. Then he could trace the pattern of events in his life subsequent to what they had done - he could very easily see how only God's good purposes became the outcome of everything that happened from that first day they tore his cloak off, you see. He could see that everything brought forth greater and greater good from God. He also had the immense satisfaction of seeing his brothers fully repentant; fully sorry for what they had done.
So how difficult do you think his act of forgiveness was? Most very difficult. I'm sure it was genuine. There is no reason to doubt it was genuine, but it was made easy for him through the advantages of hindsight, and so he was able in a magnanimous impulse to forgive. But notice even his forgiveness is stated in a sarcastic manner. Instead of just saying, "You are my brothers and I forgive you, he added more. You meant evil against me, God meant it for good." See. Here again is that sarcasm, that ego, that natural man type of an impulse, but now let's jump way ahead and take a look at Jesus.
Jesus does not stand for the natural man, but spiritual awareness in the being of man and you must realize that in order to fully appreciate Jesus, you have got to develop the habit of bi-level thinking in dealing with him. Otherwise, you will remain a clod. Metaphysically in the dealing with the meaning of Jesus Christ. IMPORTANT: Jesus functions simultaneously in full consciousness on both the human natural or son of man level of existence of which he is a sublime idea symbol, but he also functions in full consciousness of the Son of God level of himself of a spiritual being, a spokesman for the Christ which is comprehensive to human nature only as developing spiritual awareness.
Jesus demonstrates this higher form of forgiveness. His forgiveness was expressed during his times of persecution, not after he had won the total victory as Joseph had. You see, Joseph had those brothers in the palm of his hand. He could have squelched them - anything he wanted to do, but Jesus was in the midst of it all and was the victim and the symbol of malevolent intent all around him and that's where he (did) express the forgiveness (He didn't do the forgiving.). He forgave even while the offense was being committed, and last but most significant of all, Jesus solicits no person credit for His expression of forgiveness.
He acknowledged the forgiving power to be entirely of God. He didn't even say, "I forgive you because you don't know what you are doing." He took self out of it and simply became the distributor of the forgiveness which God is in the thought of these people. He says, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." This is an affirmation. This is one of the highest forms of affirmation. God is the forgiving power which already is. I am the willing channel out for the directive outpouring of it.
We could say the Joseph's forgiveness was a certain level of a magnanimous disposition. You could really go for that. At least he was not going to take revenge. Jesus' forgiveness, however, was a divine realization, much more important. A magnanimous act is greater than a vindictive act, but even greater than a magnanimous act - especially when it is easy is a divine realization when things aren't easy. Both are good, but the outer granting of forgiveness is a human gesture while the inner attitude of forgiveness is a divine attribute.
OK. Does that help answer the question you will perhaps often be asked, "Do we have to tell this person that we have forgiven?" The forgiveness should be a matter of spiritual realization - an inner attitude. If you want to tell go ahead, but you know what happens to people who tell all the time, don't you? Then change, "kiss and tell" to "forgive and tell". It's the same mischief.
Another bit of mischief I have found is "pray and tell". You are going to see a lot of people whose greatest pleasure is to tell you they have prayed, but if you've prayed, why tell? Just pray. Jesus in his list of parallelism in the Sermon on the Mount was saying, "They have their reward." That the tellers have their reward in the telling. If I tell Mary Beth, "Mary Beth, I didn't lie even once yesterday." That's my reward for not lying. The ego gratification and Mary Beth's wonderment that I did not lie yesterday.
But suppose I keep it a secret even from myself that I didn't lie yesterday, simply by giving up lying, period, and God knows in secret and God will reward in the sense of giving me a stronger consciousness - a greater degree of consciousness in my awareness, but this telling, demonstrating, and proving to others is very often its own reward which is better than no reward at all, but usually it's the end of the line where if the thing is genuine and secret and a matter between God and you then the reward becomes something which is not an end of the line kind of thing, which is an increasing consciousness. Lord knows that's not the end of the line - that's a new beginning. OK. Now we are finished with Genesis.
FLOYD. I was thinking of the time that Potiphar's wife accused Joseph and then he was thrown into prison and it made me think of "narrow is the way" to this illumination, to the understanding and then one other point was the point where Joseph forgave his brothers, and just yesterday, Martha gave us elimination as one of the 12 powers and the forgiving and how in the forgiving it would bring in the understanding.
ED. Yes. A combination of elimination, love, and understanding would add up to forgiveness. It makes a great deal of sense to me.
ED ON CIRCUMSCISION:
Mr. Fillmore says that circumcision as used in the New Testament is symbolic of the first stage in man's mind and soul of what will eventually will become, and don't grumble, or the doing away of the genital organs as they are now utilized, but don't hold your breath, and when you reincarnate in the bisexual body, you'll not be sorry. No he does say and I can see the sense of it - it's logical that this act of circumcision in the New Testament which it says Jesus underwent is a symbol, but a very brief symbol, only very lightly touched upon and then only for those who have eyes to see and an inclination to believe it that this inclination represents that the first step has already occurred in the human family of a process which will make it unnecessary for man to have what he now considers overwhelmingly necessary - the genital organs.
MARY BETH. Then the Old Testament was setting this up?
ED. Yes. In the Old Testament they talk about certain things. You must remember that a great deal of that is not spiritual symbolism. It's Jewish religious materialism.
MARY BETH. I was thinking about Moses' son.
ED. Well, you could hardly leave that out if you were talking about Jewish history. That was very important. It was almost as important as getting married. That little thing was real big in their religious thinking book.
Genesis is such an important book that everything will seem unimportant in comparison until we get to the New Testament.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on February 15, 2015.