Chapter V: The Initial Step Toward Redemption
Genesis 12 Spiritually Interpreted
Gen. 12:1-5. Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. So Abram went, as Jehovah had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
What place does the state of consciousness represented by Terah occupy in man's unfoldment?
The movement in consciousness represented in this Scripture is that of an individual who has been spiritually inactive or laggard. The name of Abraham's father Terah signifies "loitering." The Lord or spiritual impulse within presses forth to religious activity. It virtually says, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's [loiterer's] house, unto the land that I will show thee."
How does the Lord "call" the various faculties into activity? What is the result of this "call"?
When this call comes, lofty ideas begin to possess the mind. The name in its original form, Abram, means "exalted father." Faith in the unseen God and in divine guidance inspires lofty thoughts that become part of the consciousness without special effort when man is obedient to the call of Spirit. To those who depend on the evidence of the senses it may be blind faith, but it works out beautifully in the life of those who are true to it.
What quality does Lot represent?
When Abraham went to seek a new country (consciousness) in response to the call of the Spirit, Lot went with him. The name Lot means "hidden," "concealed," "covert," and Lot represents the negative side of faith. When faith (Abraham) expands in consciousness (in a new and greater country), its old subconscious element (Lot) expands also. Lot may also be said to symbolize the part of man that is still in darkness; in other words, the natural or animal man. This part of man's nature he cannot escape, but must take with him into the new country. He can, however, by association, lift it up and increase its capacity, as Abraham "lifted up" and aided Lot, for we read that Lot prospered as well.
(For further interpretation of Abraham and Lot see commentary on Gen. 13.)
Gen. 12:6-9. And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the oak of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And Jehovah appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto Jehovah, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto the mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Ai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto Jehovah, and called upon the name of Jehovah. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.
What does Canaan symbolize?
In this instance Canaan represents the pure elements of the natural body. Moreh represents the mind that is receptive to Truth; a tabernacle. In a tabernacle state of mind the constructive methods that are always characteristic of the divine are revealed, and in this state of mind protection and strength (oak tree) are realized, and victory is assured.
The "oak of Moreh" may also be said to represent a nerve center in the body, and the tabernacle an aggregation of cells.
The name Shechem means "inclining," "shoulder." Shechem represents man's wholly material thoughts about himself and the universe, which tend to make life a burden.
The name Beth-el means "house of God." Beth-el represents the understanding that all seemingly material things in reality have their origin in Spirit.
The name Ai means "heap of ruins." Ai refers to egotism and self-confidence without recognition of Spirit. These qualities are counterfeits of faith; they are destructive of the building of a truly spiritual character and must be put away so that the individual may come into a knowledge of his unity with God.
Gen. 12:10. And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was sore in the land.
What is the inner meaning of Abraham's journey down into Egypt?
There was a famine in Abraham's land, and this caused him to go down into Egypt. Egypt represents the realm of substance and life in the depths of the body consciousness. In a sense this is a region of darkness and mystery, yet it is a great kingdom rich in substance and essential to the preservation of the body.
What causes the plagues of bodily disorder and death?
It refers to the vitality of the abdominal region. Those who have not attained an all-round understanding of the divine law do not know how to affirm the flow of a steady current of life from below to feed the flame of intelligence above, and therefore they have periods of bodily exhaustion. In this condition they seem to lose divine guidance and are plunged into apparent darkness (Egypt). This is a very necessary adjustment however.
Gen. 12:11-20. And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: and it will come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they will say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister; that it may be well with me for thy sake, and that my soul may live because of thee. And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. And the princes of Pharaoh saw her, and praised her to Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. And he dealt well with Abram for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he-asses, and men-servants, and maid-servants, and she-asses, and camels. And Jehovah plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? why saidst thou, She is my sister, so that I took her to be my wife? now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. And Pharaoh gave men charge concerning him: and they brought him on the way, and his wife, and all that he had.
Here again we see the result of a lack of spiritual
understanding. Pharaoh represents "the sun." He is the ruler of the solar plexus, the sun center in the subconscious mind. This is obscurity or "Egypt" to the conscious mind. Pharaoh's (the sun's) being in Egypt points to the truth that the light of the sun of righteousness is veiled by our life on the lower or sense plane. Pharaoh also signifies the whole house, the whole body consciousness; he is the force that rules the body under the natural regime.
Sarai represents the soul not yet regenerated and under divine law should not be allowed to unite with Pharaoh (physical sensation). Not having the divine understanding when he was drawn down into Egypt (seat of the vital processes), Abram allowed Sarai (his unregenerate love, affection, and emotion) to become united with Pharaoh (the dominating physical ego) and this brought plagues upon the land of Egypt (bodily ills).
Metaphysicians regenerating their bodies through the power of the spoken word should heed this lesson. When quickening, cleansing, and readjusting the cells at their life center, they should silently declare:
"The sensation of the flesh cannot hold my love, for my love is the daughter of God, and we are joined in purity and pure desire in my Father's house."
Thus they may escape the plagues of Egypt and the rebuke of Pharaoh: "What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?"
Preceding Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 115-118: Chapter V: The Initial Step Toward Redemption
Following Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 123-128: Genesis 13 Mysteries of Genesis