A Spiritual Interpretation of the Old Testament
As taught by:
Unity School for Religious Studies
Unity Village, MO 64065
I. MAJOR POINTS
- Metaphysical significance of the manna in the wilderness.
- Metaphysical reason for each of the 10 commandments.
- Metaphysical reason for Moses not retaining leadership after the entry into the Promised Land.
- Exodus Chapters 16, 20; Num. 20:1-13; Deut. 34
- Let There Be Light Chapter VI
- Metaphysical Bible Dictionary 460
- What is the significance of the manna in the wilderness?
- Give a brief (one sentence if possible) metaphysical statement for each of the 10 commandments.
- What is the metaphysical reason that Moses does not remain leader after entry into the Promised Land?
The teacher may note a rather pronounced difference between the interpretations of the ten commandments found in Let There Be Light and those in the course material. The reason for the difference is that Mrs. Turner includes moral and ethical viewpoints, while this course deals strictly with only the general metaphysical principles. The teacher should feel free to combine both.
In Exod. 16:15 the manna in the wilderness is described as being provided strictly for the day-by-day sustenance of the traveling Israelites.
This manna, its method of being provided, and the restrictions connected with its provision have esoteric metaphysical implications. One of the meanings of manna is the type of nourishment by means of which life is sustained in the body physically FOR man--up to a point. Man can partake of nourishment mechanically, automatically by a process of what we call "nature." Nature now takes the role of a channel between the source of life (Spirit) and the conscious expression of life (man). Man does not create this —it is something done for him; it is given him. Man merely partakes of it and can be thus sustained day by day. By this arrangement ordinary man is enabled to continue his ordinary existence. However, since this is predominantly a mechanical process (even though it is also organic) it meets with the same fate as everything mechanical--it eventually results in "death." (Jesus said, "Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died." (John 6:49))
As man attains greater and higher development of spiritual awareness this arrangement will change. Man will achieve the ability to make connections with a different sort of nourishment for his life. He will learn how to "eat of the living bread come down from heaven" which Jesus speaks about in John 6:50-51. This will involve DIRECT, CONSCIOUS APPROPRIATION of a life essence, which will never end in death, but will continue "unto life eternal."
NOTE: This theme of regeneration will be taken up extensively later in the Bible; particularly in the Gospel of John.
In chapter 20 of Exodus we have the presentation of what is generally considered to be the highest level of realization in Jehovah worship -- the Ten Commandments. Jehovah worship is the religious teaching of the Old Testament. This level of religious thinking has two main purposes: physical survival of its followers, and learning the difference between good and evil. All this is taught under strict adherence to the letter of the law of cause and effect. This is a necessary evolutionary phase for mankind on earth. But.it should not be considered permanent. Jesus came and demonstrated the next higher chase for us. But on the level of Old Testament Jehovah worship, the I en Commandments are the culmination.
(1) "You shall have no other gods before me.
God is ONE. God is omnipresence in both space and time. God is the lite, the Absolute. God is NOT Jehovah, for Jehovah is a HUMAN CONCEPT OF GOD.
There can be nothing "before" God; there can be nothing "after" God. For God is not a thing, an object, or a being. God is the word we speak to refer to THAT WHICH IS ALWAYS GREATER THAN ANYTHING THT IS. All the words and names we bestow on God are not really names of God. They are names of HUMAN PERCEPTIONS of God.
(2) "You shall not make for yourself a graven image. ..."
It is folly to worship anything that exists (has form). To worship means to consider something as supreme, divine, and the source of one's good. Nothing in the realm of form can live up to this expectation, therefore nothing in the realm of form is worthy of worship. This includes people, money, property, position, beauty, or self. Only God is infinite and only Spirit is the source of good.
(3) "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. ..."
It is important to remember that the "Lord your God" being written about here is Jehovah. Jehovah is a HUMAN CONCEPT of God, and this Jehovah concept of God is best named as I AM THAT I AM (or WHO or WHAT). I AM is not the Infinite. So what we are doing with the name of this God is what we are doing with our sense of I AM. What am I doing with my sense of I AM? If I connect my sense of I AM to anything that is not of Truth, then I am disobeying this commandment, and I will experience the consequences. If my sense of I AM is connected to any negative emotion, false belief, selfish attitude, then I am taking the name of Jehovah in vain. But if I make certain that my sense of I AM is connected to any divine ideas (Truth) then such a connection will become my experience in my life.
(4) "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."
The real meaning of Sabbath is an ancient metaphysical symbol of conscious silence and willing stillness. It is the true rest of the soul. Silence is the source of pure power. Stillness is the source of pure strength. Only from inner silence and stillness can we have access to the cosmic source of power and strength.
Sabbath is also the entry into a passive state of attention and concentration. This too results in a renewal of vital energy. Just as the Sabbath was the culmination of the Creation allegory, so it becomes the culmination of man's creative expression and the prelude to new creative expression.
(5) "Honor your father and your mother. ..."
This commandment is the most "Piscean" of all the ten, and it most certainly can be best understood entirely in the light of religious thinking in Jehovah worship. Parenthood is utterly sacred in Jehovah religious thinking—especially among the Jews. Obedience and honor are considered as "divine rights" for parents. Any set of commandments issued in connection with religion would inevitably include this one.
But on a purely metaphysical level this has another meaning. It would pertain to honoring the Father-Mother aspect of God. The Divine Masculine is the wisdom and power of Spirit, and the Divine Feminine is the love and understanding power of Spirit. Both are to be fully honored, and we best honor them by making effort to express them through our own sense of I AM. Derived from this meaning is the recognition that within ourselves, both our intellectual (masculine) and intuitive (feminine) aspects must be "honored" for full integration of self--as in the "Wedding at Cana" in John 2.
(6) "You shall not kill."
Do you need a religion to tell you not to kill anybody? If so, then metaphysics is not for you. Even those still on the "Piscean" level of religious thinking surely do not need their religion to tell them not to kill others. There is no question that this commandment has a meaning beyond the obvious letter of it.
Metaphysically the only "killing" done by most people is in our inner world. People exist in our inner world as our thoughts and feelings toward them and about them. Is everyone safe in your inner world? Or are some persons in your inner world subject to violence, perhaps even to the stage of being mentally "killed"? The thought, the desire, the inner picturing of assassination or annihilation is tantamount the doing the actual deed (just as Jesus later says it is in regard to lust and adultery) We obey this commandment when mentally and emotionally we grant a safe-conduct pass to every person who travels in our inner world.
(7) "You shall not commit adultery."
Old Testament religious thinking probably requires some religious instruction pertaining to what is right and wrong in sexual expression. But the metaphysical level of meaning of this commandment is more subtle. Again, it has to do with what one does with one's sense of I AM. If one places his sense of I AM in any negative emotion, it constitutes the sin of adultery. If one places his sense of I AM in any false belief, it constitutes the sin of fornication.
(8) "You shall not steal."
To steal is one of the most futile efforts any misguided person attempts. It simply cannot succeed. There is a divine law which prevents such success. It is. called "God's Law of Perfect Justice." To attempt to gain one's good at another's expense is like deliberately sticking a thorn into one's flesh. The most pitiful victim of any theft will eventually be the thief himself.
Not only is theft a sin, it is also foolish. Because in Truth there is absolutely no reason to steal. Divine Law decrees that any person can draw his own to him by right of consciousness. Any person's good inevitably will be drawn to him if he will but make the effort to develop consciousness of that good, affirm the good he desires, and give thanks for it in advance of its manifestation.
(9) "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." The most obvious meaning of this commandment is not to tell lies about other persons. But it also pertains to a tendency to express false or harsh judgments toward others, Jesus taught that human judgments will always react in kind upon the one who judges. This does not mean we are not to judge. It means only that we should judge others only as we would be wi11ing to be judged.
Perhaps the main reason why we bear "false witness" or express harsh judgments is because we constantly mistake a part for the whole. In other words, we seldom view another person in their wholeness, but only in the aspect of the moment. Very often this can be negative. The biggest mistake of all is to. label anything negative in another person as a finality. This is false judgment, or "false witness."
(10) "You shall not covet. ..."
To covet means to desire negatively. Desire in itself is good. It is an intuitive feeling that a certain form of good is right for us. But desire can be taken negatively--then it becomes coveting.
We covet when we want the good that another person has, to the extent that we become selfish and unhappy in our feelings. If we are willing to take that good away from the person, even though it deprives him, we are coveting. Coveting, like stealing, is quite unnecessary. Each person can experience his own highest good under the laws of consciousness. There is one Source of all good, and each person is one with that Source. Instead of stealing-~pray. Instead of coveting--pray.
In Num. 20:10-12 we are told that Moses is not to lead the Israelites into the promised land. In Deut. 34:5-7, we are told of the death of Moses at the age of 120! Moses is succeeded by Joshua as leader of the Israelites.
The metaphysical reason that Moses does not enter as leader into the promised land is that Moses stands for only a certain degree of spiritual awareness, concerned mostly with the letter and mechanics of the law of cause and effect. While this is a good and necessary stage of soul growth, it does not suffice beyond a certain point. Knowledge of the letter of a religious teaching can take us so far, but no further.
The promised land symbolizes a level of consciousness better than that meant by "Egyptian bondage." The promised land is Canaan. Canaan is by no means "the kingdom of heaven" talked about by Jesus. But Canaan is a higher and better level than Egyptian bondage. The metaphysical meaning of Canaan is complex. In the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary it is defined as "the body consciousness," "the subconsciousness," "the invisible substance that surrounds and interpenetrates all forms, of which it is the matrix." So you see why we call it complicated!
Basically, Canaan appears to be a level of consciousness on which we encounter new possibilities for further growth. We are no longer in bondage of gross materiality, sensuality, and ignorance (Egypt), but we are not yet in the higher levels of spiritual understanding (Jesus Christ). We are definitely on the right path, but there will be mistakes and challenges. There will be much learning and growing, and much to look forward to!
Preceding Entry: Old Testament Metaphysics 6: Lesson 6 Moses Part 1
Following Entry: Old Testament Metaphysics 8: Lesson 8 Joshua