METAPHYSICAL INTERPRETATION OF JOHN CHAPTER 11
11:1Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 11:2And it was that Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 11:3The sisters therefore sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. 11:4But when Jesus heard it, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified thereby. 11:5Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 11:6When therefore he heard that he was sick, he abode at that time two days in the place where he was.
11:7Then after this he saith to the disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. 11:8The disciples say unto him, Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? 11:9Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If a man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 11:10But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because the light is not in him. 11:11These things spake he: and after this he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus is fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 11:12The disciples therefore said unto him, Lord, if he is fallen asleep, he will recover. 11:13Now Jesus had spoken of his death: but they thought that he spake of taking rest in sleep. 11:14Then Jesus therefore said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 11:15And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. 11:16Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said unto his fellow-disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
THE NAME Lazarus means "whom God helps." Metaphysically interpreted, Lazarus represents the spiritual strength that comes to man
through his recognition of God as his supporting, sustaining power. When man fails to recognize God as the origin and support of his life, spiritual understanding becomes weak in him and he sinks into materiality. To all intents he is dead to the Truth of his own being. The devotional soul, Mary, and the practical soul, Martha, are sisters in this intellect, and although like all women they have faith in the Spirit, they allow themselves to fall under the thought of mortal law and believe in the reality of death. The whole world is under the hypnotism of this material belief, and it is making tombs for thousands every day.
Out of a torpid condition of soul like that of Lazarus the I AM (Jesus) calls forth the living Spirit of the Christ, and reawakens by one word the consciousness of true understanding in man and the quickened perception of his faculties.
The name Thomas means "twin." Spiritually considered, Thomas is understanding, whose twin is Matthew, the will. Matthew, metaphysical twin of Thomas, is not so described in the Scriptures; spiritually he is identified as the co-ordinating faculty. In a well-balanced mind understanding is followed by action.
Intellectual understanding assures us of the truth of our sense impressions. It says, "Seeing is believing." According to this dictum, if we should see written on a blackboard, "Two plus two equals six," we should be called on to accept as true a contradiction of the principles of mathematics.
11:17So when Jesus came, he found that he had been in the tomb four days already. 11:18Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off; 11:19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 11:20Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary still sat in the house.11:21Martha therefore said unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 11:22And even now I know that, whatsoever thou shalt ask of God, God will give thee. 11:23Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 11:24Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 11:25Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live; 11:26and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die. Believest thou this? 11:27She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I have believed that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, even he that cometh into the world.
11:28And when she had said this, she went away, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Teacher is her, and calleth thee. 11:29And she, when she heard it, arose quickly, and went unto him. 11:30(Now Jesus was not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met him.) 11:31The Jews then who were with her in the house, and were consoling her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up quickly and went out, followed her, supposing that she was going unto the tomb to weep there. 11:32Mary therefore, when she came where Jesus was, and saw him, fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 11:33When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 11:34and said, Where have ye laid him? They say unto him, Lord, come and see. 11:35Jesus wept. 11:36The Jews therefore said, Behold how he loved him! 11:37But some of them said, Could not this man, who opened the eyes of him that was blind, have caused that this man also should not die? 11:38Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 11:39Jesus saith, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time the body decayeth; for he hath been dead four days. 11:40Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou believedst, thou shouldest see the glory of God?11:41So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou heardest me. 11:42And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the multitude that standeth around I said it, that they may believe that thou didst send me. 11:43And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 11:44He that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Jesus represents man in the regeneration; that is, man in the process of restoring his body to its natural condition, where it will live right on perpetually without old age, disease, or death. A necessary step in this process of body restoration is the quickening of the sleeping Lazarus, who represents the vitalizing energies in the subconsciousness that feed the body and give it the life force that renews its youth.
Jesus was at Bethany near Jerusalem. Metaphysically Jerusalem represents a point in consciousness where the spiritual energy of life is strong enough to vitalize adjacent body substance (Bethany, "house
of figs"1). Jesus vitalized and baptized His soul and body with spirit life when He denied the power of death over Lazarus and affirmed the resurrecting life. We can do the same thing when we do it in His name. Jesus' groaning and weeping represent the seemingly insurmountable conditions that are just before us.
We should ever remember that the youth we love so well never dies; it is merely asleep in the subconscious--Jesus said that Lazarus was not dead. People grow old because they let the youth idea fall asleep. This idea is not dead but is sleeping, and the understanding I AM (Jesus) goes to awaken it. This awakening of youthful energies is necessary to one in the regeneration. The body cannot be refined and made, like its Creator, eternal before all the thoughts necessary to its perpetuation are revived in it. Eternal youth is one of these God-given ideas that man loves. Jesus loved Lazarus.
The outer senses say that this vitalizing force of youth is dead in man, that it has been dead for so long that it has gone into dissolution, decay; but the keener knowledge of the spiritual man proclaims, "Our friend Lazarus is fallen asleep; but I . . . awake him out of sleep."
Bringing this sleeping life to outer consciousness is no easy task. Jesus groaned in spirit and was troubled at the prospect. The higher must enter into sympathy and love with the lower to bring about the awakening -- "Jesus wept." But there must be more than sympathy and love -- "Take ye away the stone." The "stone" that holds the sleeping life in the
tomb of matter in subconsciousness is the belief in the permanency of present material laws. This "stone" must be rolled away through faith. The man who wants the inner life to spring forth must believe in the reality of omnipresent spiritual life and must exercise his faith by invoking in prayer the presence of the invisible but omnipresent God. This reveals to consciousness the glory of Spirit, and the soul has witness in itself of a power that it knew not.
In Spirit all things are fulfilled now. The moment a concept enters the mind, the thing conceived is consummated through the law that governs the action of ideas. The inventor mentally sees his machine doing the work designed, though he may be years short of making it do that work. The spiritual-minded take advantage of this law and affirm the completeness of this ideal, regardless of outer appearances. This stimulates the energy in the thought process and gives it power beyond estimate. This is the step that Jesus took when He lifted up His eyes and said: "Father, I thank thee that thou heardest me. And I knew that thou hearest me always." The sleeping youth (Lazarus) does not at once respond, but the prayer of thanksgiving that is now in action gives the assurance that calls it at the next step to the surface--"Lazarus, come forth."
Jesus "cried with a loud voice." This emphasizes the necessity of working strenuously to project the inner life to the surface. Beginners find it easy, under proper instruction, to quicken the various life centers in the body and co-ordinate them as a body
battery that, under the direction of the will, throws a current of energy to any desired place. A time comes when the outer flesh must be vitalized with this inner life; then arises the necessity of using the "loud voice" as the propelling force. This is removing from the face the "napkin," which represents conscious intelligence made manifest.
Freedom from all trammels is necessary before the imprisoned life can find its natural channel in the constitution. "Loose him, and let him go" means unfettered life expressing itself in joyous freedom of Spirit. The flesh would take this vital flood and use it in the old way, put new wine into old bottles, but Spirit guides those who trust it, and leads them in righteous ways when they listen patiently to the inner guide.
This raising of Lazarus is performed every day by those who are putting on the new Christ body through the resurrected Christ life.
Interpreted within ourselves, there are always the thought forces that believe the Truth and accept the so-called miracles of the Christ, but there are also those that question and resort to the Pharisees (the strict intellectual phase of mind) for their stamp of approval.
11:47The chief priests therefore and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many signs. 11:48If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. 11:49But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 11:50nor do ye take account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 11:51Now this he said not of himself: but, being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation; 11:52and not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together into one the children of God that are scattered abroad. 11:53So from that day forth they took counsel that they might put him to death.
In this instance the Pharisees represent a congregation of intellectual thought people called together to counsel with one another. The Romans symbolize the rule of the natural man. The intellectual Pharisee is always jealous of his religious rights and fearful of being robbed of his own. He observes the forms of religion but neglects the spirit. He does not understand the activities of the Christ Mind and therefore fears it.
Another tendency of the intellect is to question and argue back and forth. The high priest symbolizes the highest spiritual thought force in authority that has an inkling of Truth, and he perceives that the Christ will eventually give His life for the redemption of all. The narrow intellect, however, does not have the spiritual viewpoint and seeks to destroy the saving spiritual power.
11:54Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews, but departed thence into the country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there he tarried with the disciples. 11:55Now the passover of the Jews was at hand: and many went up to Jerusalem out of the country before the passover, to purify themselves. 11:56They sought therefore for Jesus, and spake one with another, as they stood in the temple, What think ye? That he will not come to the feast? 11:57Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given commandment, that, if any man knew where he was, he should show it, that they might take him.
When a state of consciousness is not open to Truth, the Christ (in this Scripture symbolized by Jesus) withdraws to an inner sanctum (here symbolized by Ephraim, a name that means "doubly fruitful"), where closer union with the great divine source is found. Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews.
The Feast of the Passover represents a passing from a lower state of consciousness to a higher. For the spiritual passover the devout always seek the city of peace (Jerusalem). No matter in what state of consciousness one may be functioning there is always that within which craves something better. The intellect, continuing to believe it is to be the highest authority, would kill out the Christ.
- The 1946 edition reads "House of bread"