A Spiritual Interpretation of the Old Testament
As taught by:
Unity School for Religious Studies
Unity Village, MO 64065
I. MAJOR POINTS
- Metaphysical meaning and main metaphysical message of Joel.
- Metaphysical meaning and main metaphysical message of Daniel.
- Metaphysical meaning of Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego and the fiery furnace.
- Metaphysical significance of Daniel and the lion's den.
- Metaphysical meaning of Ecclesiastes.
- Joel 2; Dan. 3, 6; Eccles. 11-12
- Let There Be Light Chapters XIII - IXX
- Metaphysical Bible Dictionary—under headings for separate names of prophets.
- How does Joel assure us that it is possible for us to change our past?
- What is the main metaphysical point in the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and also the story of Daniel in the lion's den?
- How do we "cast our bread upon the waters," and what will be our benefit if we do?
- What does Ecclesiastes see as man's whole duty?
The teacher will note that the written text for this lesson is much briefer than the other lessons. The reason for this is the text does not deal with Psalms, Proverbs, or Ruth. Since these books are so well-known and loved, the teacher may want to use class time dealing with them, even on a non-metaphysical level.
"worshipper of God; he who fulfills every desire" Meta.: "Joel bespeaks the I Am in dominion in the individual. In this consciousness all things are possible." (Metaphysical Bible Dictionary 355)
This book contains a very esoteric metaphysical Truth which surprises and delights most persons who come into a realization of it. It is symbolized in these words: "I will restore to you the years which the swarming locust has eaten. . . ." (Joel 2:25)
This statement points out a deeply metaphysical idea, which is that it is possible to experience a CHANGE OF THE MEANING OF ONE'S PAST, especially anything that was wasteful or undesirable in that past. One has this experience by letting the Lord make that change (I (the Lord) will restore the years the locust has eaten.) We cannot change our past personally. But we can let our Lord totally change its meaning for us, and thus we have the feeling that the past itself has been changed. But only God can do this for us. "We know that in everything (even the mistakes of the past) God works for good with those who love him. ..." (Rom. 8:28)
A person's past seems to change in the sense that its meaning for him changes. The REAL meaning for all things is good. Even negative, painful, wasteful events of the past can be changed by development of spiritual faith and understanding. It can be done. But only one who BELIEVES it can be done and WANTS it to be done will have the experience. Sad to say, there are still those who want to hang on to the past at any cost, and will not allow even unhappy memories to change their perspective. Such persons, then, cannot have the "locust-eaten" years restored to them!
"God is my judge; judgment of God" Meta.: "Daniel signifies pure judgment, conscious integrity. He typifies the clear, penetrating insight of Spirit." (Metaphysical Bible Dictionary 164)
The main metaphysical point made in the book of Daniel is contained in chapter 3:1-30. This recounts the episode involving Daniel's three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men refuse to worship the golden image of King Nebuchadnezzar, and they are cast into a fiery furnace. But they remain unharmed, and are joined in the furnace by a fourth person. Then they are allowed to come out and are placed in high positions by the king.
The following definitions are taken from the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary.
- King Nebuchadnezzar--human will cower backed by human intellect
- His golden Image—anything which is a glorified concept of self or a projection of our human egotism and selfishness
- Daniel--spiritual judgment
- Shadrach--true humility
- Abednego--spiritual understanding
- The fiery furnace--the threat of suffering or destruction which the negative side of human nature fears will occur if we do not obey selfish impulses (worship the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar)
The furnace had no power to harm or destroy those qualities in us symbolized by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Not only did their refusal to worship the golden image result in no harm or loss for them, it added a fourth member to their group.
The additional (fourth) man is described in the story as "like a son of the gods (God, KJV)". He represents a new dimension of consciousness which is always gained by us when we remain faithful to Principle (God) instead of worshipping selfishness and egotism. This fourth man stands for a more God-like quality developed in our individual unfoldment.
Later in the book (chapter 6) Daniel has an experience in a lion's den which has become responsible for making him one of the most famous characters in all the Bible, or at least in the Old Testament. His experience in the lion's den has almost exactly the same metaphysical meaning as the story of his three friends in the fiery furnace. The only difference being that Daniel is the only character involved in the lion's den episode. But the metaphysical lesson is amazingly similar.
The books of Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Psalms, fall more into the categories of poetry, philosophy, maxims, wit, and music. They are not metaphysical in the sense of being allegorical or esoteric symbols. This is not to say that they are not enjoyable and highly instructive. This is only to say that they do not lend themselves to the kind of interpretation which has been followed in this particular course. This may also be said of the book of Ruth. Much as we may love this book, it does not possess the material suitable for a strictly metaphysical interpretation. However, there is an interesting metaphysical meaning to the name of Ruth:
RUTH: "female friend; sympathetic companion; desirable; delightful;
Meta.: The love of the soul in its natural state, or the love of the natural soul for God and for the things of Spirit." (Metaphysical Bible Dictionary 562)
Also, in Eccles. 11:1 we find a very metaphysical statement: "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days." In Bible symbolism, bread stands for substance or essence. This statement tells us to "cast" our substance, or essence (bread) into the waters of life; for in doing so we find our own substance and discover the real essence of ourself.
This teaching is in direct conjunction with the great law of giving and receiving. As we give ourselves to life, so we find greater dimensions of ourself in doing so. Life returns to us an increased awareness of our real worth as we serve life according to the laws of Spirit. This is a beautiful teaching, and it is confirmed over and over again by Jesus Christ.
Ecclesiastes also contains this statement of metaphysical importance: ". . .Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the WHOLE DUTY of man." (Eccles. 12:13) The metaphysical meaning of Ecclesiastes makes this particular statement doubly significant. Ecclesiastes stands for: "Experience. Experience preaches very effectively; the fruit of experience is the most impressive sermon in life. Experience teaches us that it is impossible to find satisfaction and true lasting joy in sensual, earthly pleasures and in self-seeking. The ONLY WAY to gain the realities of life that satisfy both soul and body is to turn within to God and become unified consciously with Him." (Metaphysical Bible Dictionary 181)
Preceding Entry: Old Testament Metaphysics 13: Lesson 13 The Prophets Part 2
Following Entry: Old Testament Metaphysics 15: Lesson 15 Job