Chapter V: The Initial Step Toward Redemption
Genesis 14 Spiritually Interpreted
Gen. 14:1-11. And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar). All these joined together in the vale of Siddim (the same is the Salt Sea). Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness. And they returned, and came to En-mishpat (the same is Kadesh), and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazazon-tamar. And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar); and they set the battle in array against them in the vale of Siddim; against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings against the five. Now the vale of Siddim was full of slime pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell there, and they that remained fled to the mountain. And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
Amraphel ("keeper of the treasures," "speaker of mysteries") represents the belief of unawakened man that in generation, in physical reproduction, he is fulfilling the creative law of Being.
Shinar ("two rivers," "divided stream," "divided mind") represents a belief in two powers, an evil as well as a good power, and error results.
Arioch ("lionlike," "venerable") represents the seeming power, strength, and ("lionlike") dominion that sex lust has over man; also the belief so prevalent among all peoples that the secret desires and habits pertaining to the sex life must be good and must have been ordained of God because of ages of acceptance and practice. Therefore they are regarded as sacred ("venerable").
Ellasar ("strong rebellion," "oath of Assyria," "oak of Assyria") represents a state of consciousness whose central thought and belief has to do with sex on the physical plane. It does not look to Spirit for its strength and power but trusts in the "mind of the flesh."
Chedorlaomer ("handful of sheaves," "roundness of a sheaf") represents the generative function of the body given over to the expression of sex lust.
Elam ("hidden," "concealed," "everlasting") represents thoughts of the abidingness, resourcefulness, and creative power of Truth. The natural man may not know the truth of his being; it may be hidden under the debris of sense thought and belief. It will come to light in due time however and will bring forth its fruit of perfection in the life of every individual.
Tidal ("veneration," "awe," "fear") represents the prominent place that sensuality has in the material and carnal states of consciousness that belong to the outer,
animal man; also the fearfulness that results from sense expression.
Goiim ("Gentiles," "people, especially foreign") represents the carnal, material thoughts and states of consciousness that belong to the outer man (Gentile).
Bera ("spontaneous gift," "son of desire," "son of evil") represents the directing thoughts and desires of the sensual state of consciousness denoted by Sodom.
(For Sodom see interpretation of Gen. 10.)
Birsha ("son of wickedness," "son of impiety," "fat with evil") was King of Gomorrah in Abraham's time. The name Gomorrah means "material force," "tyranny," "oppression." Gomorrah denotes a state of mind that is adverse to the law of Spirit. This state of mind has to do with the submerged or hidden subconscious phase of man's sensual life. Birsha represents the ruling thought in this state of consciousness in the individual.
Shinab ("sharpened desire," "father of mutation," "father of transgression") represents the presiding thought of the state of consciousness denoted by Admah.
Admah ("dumb," "unrelenting," "tomb") represents the seeming strength and mercilessness of the death thought and condition that enters into man's experience as the result of his carnal, material, adverse thoughts and activities.
Shemeber ("superior brilliance," "high flight," "superior name") represents the innate spiritual ideal implanted in man from the beginning that causes him to grow, unfold, and unceasingly desire and seek to attain a higher and better understanding.
Zeboiim ("wars," "rending with the teeth") represents ravenous appetites, sensual passions, the wild-beast
nature holding sway in the subconsciousness. The fact that Shemeber was King of Zeboiim shows that the perfect-man idea of God is implanted in the physical being of man as well as in his more inner spiritual consciousness.
Zoar ("reduced," "lessened") denotes inferiority. It was one of the wicked cities of the plain belonging to Moab (carnal mind).
Bela ("swallow up," "utterly consume or destroy") represents the destructive tendencies in consciousness. The city of Bela symbolizes a group of destroying, consuming thoughts. It suggests the destroying of letting go of error by denial, an absorption or "swallowing up" of error by Truth or of darkness by light, thus doing away with the error.
Siddim ("extensions," "stony land") represents the very lowest material idea and manifestation of substance in the sense consciousness and the body consciousness of the individual.
Rephaim ("bonds," "terrors," "giants") was the name of a people of great stature, and Rephaim represents the seeming strength of binding, fear-producing, opposing thoughts in consciousness at a certain stage of man's unfoldment into Truth.
Ashteroth-karnaim ("horned Ashteroth," "Ashteroth of two peaks") represents the state of consciousness in man that attributes double honor, authority, and power to purely intellectual understanding and capacity. In this state of consciousness man does not recognize that God instead of intellect is the source of intelligence. The intellect borrows its real light from Spirit, just as the moon, which has no light of its own, reflects light from the sun. Ashteroth refers to the
moon or intellect, while Karnaim (two horns or peaks) suggests exultation and power.
Zuzim ("glittering," "flowing out like rays," "sprouting," "restless") was the name of a people "in Ham." Zuzim represents the confusion, fears, unrestrained emotions, and general terrors of the physical consciousness of "mind of the flesh," seemingly very prominent and flourishing at a certain stage in the evolution or unfoldment of the individual.
Ham ("inferior," "hot") represents the material consciousness in man.
Emim ("the terrible," "formidable people," "objects of terror," that is, "idols") was the name of a race of giants in Shaveh-kiriathaim. Metaphysically Emim represents giant terrors and fears in human consciousness that are a result of man's believing in the outer, formed world and the conditions that man has built up as being real and true.
Shaveh-kiriathaim ("plain of the twin cities," "plain of the double meetings") is the name of a place. The name Shaveh means "a plain," and Shaveh represents an equalized, poised state of mind and body. The name Kiriathaim means "double city," and Kiriathaim denotes double strength or supply. Shaveh-kiriathaim thus denotes poise and equilibrium in the consciousness and the organism, doubly established and sure.
The Horites ("cave dwellers," "dwellers in black holes"), inhabitants of Edom, represent forces in action in man's physical organism, more especially the deep-seated, subconscious, fleshly forces and tendencies.
Seir ("bristling," "hairy," "rough," "horror") represents the physical or sense consciousness in man.
El-paran ("strength of Paran," "oak of the region
of the caves") denotes the seeming strength of the multitude of confused and undisciplined thoughts and energies in man's subconscious mind that are given over to the furtherance of sense expression.
En-mishpat ("fountain of judgment," "fountain of right") symbolizes the truth that under the law of adjustment, when it reaches a certain point in expression, sense indulgence destroys the very error desires that keep it active in consciousness. Then these desires die for lack of fuel to keep them alive.
The name Kadesh means "holy," "consecrated," "a sanctuary." Kadesh represents the divine presence within the individual consciousness.
The Amalekites ("warlike," "valley dweller," "that licks up") represent the base desires of the individual; the animal forces, appetites, and passions of the subconscious mind.
(For Amorites see interpretation of Gen. 10.)
Hazazon-tamar ("a division of palms," "felling of palms," "victory divided") represents a divided mind. This mind must be conquered before one can become fearless and so gain a real victory over error. When the thoughts are divided the results are divided.
This whole Scripture reveals the working out of sense on the lowest plane of consciousness. The kings in this chapter who served Chedorlaomer for twelve years and then rebelled represent ruling thoughts in the hidden sense consciousness of man. Error fights error, destroying much of it, and the remainder is lifted up (flees to the mountain) and eventually is absorbed by Truth. We often refer to this movement of mind as a transmuting process. A close study of these verses tells us that even in battling with sex
the Spirit of the Lord is constantly working, through the law of sowing and reaping, to unveil to man's consciousness a higher way of life.
Gen. 14:12. And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
What is signified by Lot's captivity? When may Lot and his possessions be said to be carried away by Chedorlaomer and the other kings?
Lot and all his possessions were carried away by Chedorlaomer and the kings with him, who symbolize the rule of sensuality in man. These sense beliefs and desires have seemingly overpowered the negative side of faith that Lot symbolizes. The power of this side of faith has been taken over to build up and sustain flesh that is ruled over by carnal thought. But when knowledge of this occurrence comes to the positive side of the faith faculty in the individual (Abraham) who has come up out of material thought (Egypt) and passed to a higher concept of God (Hebrew), let us see what happens. Positive faith (Abraham) gets into action with a thought power that destroys sense rule (Chedorlaomer and his allies) and restores negative faith (Lot) to its rightful place in consciousness.
Gen. 14:13-20. And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew: now he dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were confederate with Abram. And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan. And he divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the
people. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, at the vale of Shaveh (the same is the King's Vale). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be God Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thine hand. And he gave him a tenth of all.
Mamre ("strength"), Aner ("adolescent youth"), and Eshcol ("fruitfulness"), the Amorites who "were confederate with Abram," suggest thoughts of vigor and abundant substance inspired by faith. These thoughts are apparently material in expression (Amorites), yet they are friendly toward the individual's higher concepts or faith in God (Abraham), because in reality their true origin is Spirit. They lend their conception of strength and power to the aid of faith while it is gaining its victory over error.
Abraham and his confederates rescued Lot. Explain.
Faith brings into action all its accumulated wisdom and understanding ("he led forth his trained men") and makes a union with the judgment faculty (Dan). Then faith strikes at the very root of sensuality, the mortal man's belief that life is material. This belief is the hiding or lurking place (Hobah) for the error thoughts symbolized by the kings who took Lot captive.
What is the error belief that man must put aside before he can overcome sensuality? How do we sow "according to belief in the flesh" or "according to Spirit?" What is the harvest in each case?
We can never fully overcome sensuality until we put away belief in materiality. We must know that our whole being, including the body, is not material but spiritual. By sowing according to belief in the flesh we reap the corruption of the flesh, but by sowing
according to Spirit we reap eternal life. (Damascus also, like Hobah, signifies a state of consciousness founded on a material conception of life in the body.)
We find a rich symbology in the story of Abraham's victorious return from the battle. He was met at the "vale of Shaveh" (which means "plain," a level place, a place of equality) by Melchizedek (whose name means "king of righteousness"), priest of God, who here symbolizes the Christ consciousness in the individual. The King of Sodom also met and greeted Abraham on the "plain" of equality (Shaveh). He here represents the ruling power in the physical.
What is the result when the Christ consciousness rules in both mind and body?
When the Christ consciousness rules in both the mind and the body, the individual is established in right thinking and right doing (righteousness). Then he has come to the place of peace, poise, equilibrium, and wholeness signified by Shaveh. When this place is reached in both the inner and the outer consciousness (Salem and Sodom) there is a great increase of substance and of life in one's realization. This increase comes from the higher spiritual mind within, the Christ, and is symbolized by the bread and the wine that Melchizedek gave to Abraham. Melchizedek blessed Abraham and blessed God, and Abraham gave him "a tenth of all." When a person realizes that his victories are gained by the power of God alone, he should willingly use a tenth of his increase of power, understanding, and substance for the furtherance of the Christ Truth.
Gen. 14:21-24. And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom,
I have lifted up my hand unto Jehovah, God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread nor a shoe-latchet nor aught that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men that went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
What is the lesson taught by Abraham's refusal to accept the gifts of the king of Sodom?
Abraham refused the proffered gifts of the King of Sodom (sense man), which teaches us that there must be a lifting up and transmuting of the seeming material life and substance in the body before it can be utilized by the higher faculties of the mind. None of the credit for the multiplication of substance and strength should be given to the mortal in man's nature. Spirit gives all the increase of good.
Abram represents the spiritual ego, and the King of Sodom represents the personal, the physical ego. The spiritual ego or spiritual man has its first development on the physical plane. The two egos, the spiritual and the physical, are united there in appropriating physical things, personal things, that they consider valuable, such as appetites, passions, and other things on the sense plane. The spiritual man advances or develops beyond that. He does not want these things, so he gives them all to the personality, the physical ego. Then the physical man is willing to give up anything to the spiritual man, and he will claim that he supplied the spiritual man. That is the glorification of the personality. The personal man claims that he is the whole thing, that everything belongs to him. It is personal selfishness, and the spiritual man does not want to be told that he got anything from the physical. He gets his things from the realm of ideas, the spiritual realm.
How may we fully realize our sonship?
Man is prone to feel that the outer or sense world is the source of his good, at least a measure of it. But in order fully to realize our sonship and our divine heritage, we must hold fast to Spirit. We must see Spirit as our only cause and sustenance. We have a tendency to plead the cause of the good in our sense nature. This is characteristic of all of us. We try hard to save some of our sense thoughts and secret habits. We have indulged in them so long (and our ancestors before us did likewise, beyond the memory of man) that we cannot help thinking there is some good in them. However we, like Abraham, must keep our vision high. We must hold steadfastly to the realization that God is the one source of all, that in spirit and in truth all is good.
Does God ever grant man a degree of immunity from the effects of his transgression of the divine law?
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The young ("immature") men who went with Abram had partaken ("eaten") of the pleasures of sense. They represent the primitive understanding, and as such they are excused from the operation of the spiritual law. The plane of activity for life and strength at a certain stage of man's development is the physical, material plane. During this stage God in His grace grants to man, when his motive is pure, a degree of immunity from the effects of his ignorant transgression of the divine law.
Preceding Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 123-128: Genesis 13 Mysteries of Genesis
Following Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 139-141: Chapter VI: The Promise of Salvation