Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Exodus Chapter 3
Metaphysically Interpreting Exodus 3:1-22
3:1Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to the mountain of God, unto Horeb.3:2And the angel of Jehovah appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3:3And Moses said, I will turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 3:4And when Jehovah saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 3:5And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 3:6Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
3:7And Jehovah said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people that are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 3:8and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite. 3:9And now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: moreover I have seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 3:10Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.
3:11And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 3:12And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be the token unto thee, that I have sent thee: when thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. 3:13And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them? 3:14And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 3:15And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
3:16Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, Jehovah, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, hath appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: 3:17and I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. 3:18And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, hath met with us: and now let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to Jehovah our God. 3:19And I know that the king of Egypt will not give you leave to go, no, not by a mighty hand. 3:20And I will put forth my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go. 3:21And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty. 3:22But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall despoil the Egyptians.
June 2, 1907: Exodus 3:1-14
All great structures are erected on heavy foundations. When the Lord calls a man to a work he must succeed in the end if he has laid his foundation deep and strong in spiritual understanding. This understanding is attained through meditation and study in the silence. Moses was forty years separated from the busy haunts of men, learning to know God "face to face."
In silent meditation we infuse into the inner mind-realms of our being that same energy that used without would make us notable in some worldly achievement. But unless we do this, and lay the foundation of strength and power in our subjective mind, we shall find ourselves in failing health when called upon for extra exertion in some great effort.
The angel of the Lord, the flame of fire, and the bush, are all within the consciousness of man, becoming manifest through interior concentration. The bush is a nerve center through which the universal life energy runs like electricity over a wire, making a light, but not consuming. The angel is the presiding intelligence always present in every life action or function.
Man is first attracted by the phenomenal side of spiritual things; then when he gives his attention for the purpose of knowing the cause, the Lord reveals himself. When Moses turned aside and began to investigate, he found he was on holy ground. The forces of the spirit at the center of man's body are so intense that the outer consciousness cannot stand the current and hold itself together. Absolutely pure in essence, this inner fire must be approached by the pure spiritual thought. The removing the sandals is symbolical of this taking from the understanding all material concepts.
The Spirit of the Lord has been evolving in the subconsciousness incarnation after incarnation. This I Am had been the moving factor in Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - the Lord was present in all.
Egypt is strictly material consciousness. It pertains to the physical sense of life - the corporal organism. Canaan is the life and substance in its radiant state. Here the Spirit finds its natural expression. The thoughts that belong in the radiant body have become slaves of material sense, and the higher self - the Lord - would set them free. But to do this the higher understanding must become part of their consciousness. All things are created by and through certain states of mind or consciousness.
The higher spiritual consciousness is infused into the mortal or personal. Personal I Am must take on Supreme I Am. When this is first experienced there is a feeling of inefficiency. But the Lord's inner promise of his presence under all circumstances is a mighty assurance.
Metaphysicians have learned by experience the power of words and thoughts sent forth in the name of the Supreme I Am. The Word of the Lord has often been spoken by naturally weak men and produced marvelous results. They set their minds, not upon their own weak ideas of man and his abilities, but upon the almightiness of the great I Am. The Lord God, speaking through them, does the work of the Master. "It is not I, but the Father (Supreme I Am), he doeth the works" (John 14:10) - Jesus.
January 20, 1924: Exodus 3:1-12
In the spiritual unfoldment of the individual, what is represented by Moses' keeping the flock of Jethro in the back of the wilderness and coming to Horeb, the mountain of God? Moses represents man's drawing out or expressing the evolutionary law of the soul; the flock represents the thoughts; Horeb means solitude or silence, and the mountain of God is the high consciousness of being. In modern metaphysical terms we would say that all this represents man watching his thoughts in the silence, meditating upon the divine law of his being.
What is the meaning of the angel of Jehovah's appearing to Moses "in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush... and the bush was not consumed"? The angel symbolizes a messenger; it is the projection into consciousness of a spiritual idea direct from the fountainhead, Jehovah. The burning bush which was not consumed, represents spiritual life contacting substance. Divine life, spiritual fire, does not consume; it purifies and renews substance.
What is the meaning of Moses' turning aside to see "why the bush is not burnt"? When man discerns that spiritual life is active in his body, and gives his attention to it and seeks to know more about it, he is on the way to an understanding of the law of soul evolution and regeneration.
What is the meaning of verse 5: "Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground"? Man, in his eagerness to know and to enter into spiritual life overlooks the law and, in his ignorance, wanders in "where angels fear to tread." Hence, man is warned to put his shoes from off his feet, which means that he must remove the limitations of material understanding in order to realize the holy ground, or wholeness and unity, of divine substance.
Why did Moses hide his face and why was he afraid to look upon God? In the beginning of spiritual unfoldment man is timid and fearful. He feels the majesty and might of divine principle. For these reasons Moses hid his face.
What is represented by the Israelites in Egyptian slavery? The Israelites in Egyptian slavery represent thoughts that once had the illumination of Spirit, but have gone down and have become obscured by matter and material conditions.
How does Jehovah deliver the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt? The Israelites are delivered from the bondage of materiality (Egypt) by man's going down into the brain centers in the body, and there affirming the presence and power of Jehovah God.
What does Pharaoh represent and how does man present the Mosaic message? King Pharaoh represents the will that rules in body consciousness. This ruling will must be dealt with before the thoughts under its dominion can be set free. The will must be humbled before the higher principle can do its perfect work. Jesus accomplished this in himself with the statement: "Not my will, but thine, be done."
The all-possibility of God, Jehovah, is now active in my consciousness.
I am quickened with spiritual life, and I am not afraid.
Jehovah is my "pillar of cloud" by day, and my "pillar of fire" (light) by night.
July 18, 1926: Exodus 3:10-15
In a previous chapter of Exodus it is recorded that Moses, who had been reared by Pharaoh's daughter, fled from Egypt and dwelt in the land of Midian. What is the metaphysical interpretation of this incident? Moses symbolizes the lawgiver; Egypt means darkness, materiality. They story of Moses' flight from Egypt into the wilderness reveals the discipline that one must undergo after he has prayed to be delivered from bondage to materiality and sense. Moses tended the flocks in Midian. One meaning of Midian is "judgment." Mount Horeb, located in the region of Midian, means "solitude." It is necessary for one to lead his flock of thoughts into the solitude (Horeb) and meditate upon spiritual judgment (Midian) until he arrives at a well-balanced state of mind. Then he is ready to go forward and execute the law.
What does Pharaoh represent? King Pharaoh represents the will that rules in body consciousness. This ruling will must be dealt with before the thoughts under its dominion can be set free. The will must be humbled before the higher principle can do its perfect work. Jesus accomplished this work in himself by use of the statement, "Not my will, but thine, be done."
What is represented by the Israelites in Egyptian slavery? The Israelites in Egyptian slavery represent thoughts that once have had the illumination of Spirit, but have become obscured by matter and material conditions.
When Jehovah commanded Moses to return into Egypt and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt into the Promised Land, he said to Moses, "Certainly I will be with thee." Explain. Through prayer and meditation man comes into the state of consciousness where he realizes the power of God within himself. He then recognizes that all his strength and all his power come from the indwelling Spirit. The higher or spiritual consciousness must become infused into the mortal or personal in order to lift the thoughts that belong to the Promised Land substance out of bondage to the darkened sense thoughts (Egyptians).
Jehovah told Moses that his name was "I AM THAT I AM" and instructed him to say to the children of Israel, "I AM hath sent me unto you." Explain. Jehovah spoke to Moses out of the universal ether, just as Jesus spoke to Paul when he was on his way to Damascus. In individual consciousness, "I AM" is man's concept of God. "I AM" is God identity instead of personal identity. A new law, a new revelation, was given to man - the Jehovah God idea, which distinguished the children of Israel from other nations and other people.
July 20, 1930: Exodus 3:1-12
[TruthUnity note: this is a republishing of the January 20, 1924 lesson]
Moses led the flock of Jethro to the back of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. What does this represent, in the spiritual unfoldment of the individual? Moses represents man as evolving from negative to a positive realization of divine law. Jethro represents the supermind, whose thoughts, or sheep, the good man cares for. Horeb means solitude, or silence, and the mountain of God is the high consciousness of being. In modern metaphysical terms we should say that all this represents man as watching the good thoughts in the silence, and in its highest aspect, as meditating upon the divine law of Being.
The angel of Jehovah appeared to Moses "in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush... and the bush was not consumed." What is the meaning of this? The angel symbolizes a messenger; it is the projection of a spiritual idea into consciousness direct from the fountainhead, Jehovah. The burning bush, which was not consumed, represents spiritual life as contacting substance. Divine life, spiritual fire, does not consume; it purifies and renews substance.
What is the meaning of Moses' turning aside to see "why the bush is not burnt"? Moses here represents the activity of the law. When man discerns that the law of life is active in his body, when he gives his attention to it and seeks to know more about it, he is on the way to an understanding of the law that governs soul evolution and regeneration.
What is the meaning of verse 5: "Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground"? Man, in his eagerness to know and to enter into spiritual life overlooks the law and, in his ignorance, wanders in "where angels fear to tread" (Alexander Pope) Hence, man is warned to put his shoes from off his feet, which means that he must remove the limitations of material understanding in order to realize the holy ground, or wholeness and unity, of divine substance.
Why did Moses hide his face and why was he afraid to look upon God? In the beginning of spiritual unfoldment man is timid and fearful. He feels the majesty and might of divine principle. For these reasons Moses hid his face.
What is represented by the Israelites in Egyptian slavery? The Israelites in Egyptian slavery represent thoughts that once had the illumination of Spirit, but have deteriorated and become obscure by association with material concepts.
How does Jehovah deliver the Israelites (true thoughts) from the bondage of Egypt (materiality)? The Israelites are delivered from the bondage of materiality (Egypt) when man sends his true word down into the brain centers in the body and there affirms the presence and power of Jehovah God.
What does Pharaoh represent, and how does man present the Mosaic message? Pharaoh represents the will that rules in body consciousness. This ruling will must be dealt with before the thoughts under its dominion can be set free. The will must become humble before the higher principle can do its perfect work. Jesus accomplished this in Himself with the statement, "Not my will, but thine, be done."
July 10, 1932: Exodus 3:10-15
Our lesson opens today with Moses (the lawgiver) just finishing a forty years' stay in the wilderness (in Midian). What is the symbolical import of such a stay? Moses' sojourn in the wilderness symbolizes the discipline through which the soul must pass after it has sought the exalted One to deliver it entirely from bondage to materiality and sense. Man is in training in the wilderness for forty years, or until he arrives at a balanced (four-sided) state of mind.
What eternal principle of Truth is proclaimed at the wisdom center within man? God here proclaims Himself to be the Father of fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Thus our real Father is Spirit, not only in a hereditary sense, but in an individual, or I AM, sense.
What is revealed to man when he reaches this high degree of unfoldment? When man reaches this stage in his inner discipline and understands that his true nature is spiritual, he sees that his higher thoughts (Israelites) are in bondage to the lower thoughts (Egyptians), and that the true way of their release is clearly indicated. He perceives the possibilities of man and the goodness of the omnipresent substance (the Promised Land) to which he can raise his every thought.
When is man to take his spiritual heritage for granted? When the assurance of God's power, "Certainly I will be with thee," is with man, he is henceforth to be sure of his spiritual heritage. In this recognition of the power and the presence of God lie all man's strength and ability.
What does man's realization of freedom do for him? Such a realization on the part of man raises both his soul and his body to higher consciousness. Moses, the law expresser, must be led by Jehovah, the lawgiver. When this change is first being experienced, there is a feeling of inefficiency.
July 11, 1937: Exodus 3:1-12
What is the meaning and significance of the name Moses? Moses means "drawn out," namely from the water. Moses was a lawgiver, and represents law. The name includes the thought of a progressive process working from within outward. The divine law is that man shall rise from negation into stability and self-dominion.
Interpret the first verse of this lesson, in which Moses appears as a shepherd. Horeb means "solitude," and the flock represent our thoughts. In the quietness of silent prayer and meditation we lead our thoughts to the back of the wilderness, or to the depths of the subconsciousness. There we find the divine I AM.
Explain the term "angel of Jehovah." This expression refers to the quickening thought of God appearing in the form of intuition and understanding in man.
What is represented by the bush that "burned with fire" but was not consumed? The bush is a symbol of man's system of nerve tissues, which "burns" with the fire of intelligence and is increased rather than diminished by this action.
What is the metaphysical interpretation of the "great sight" that Moses turned aside to see? That spirit substance remains undiminished regardless of the extent of its use.
Is such an inquiry purely scientific in its nature and scope? Not altogether; for the question includes the reaction of divine substance to the power of thought. Divine substance is "holy ground," not to be approached in the manner of material science.
How then should it be approached? Faith is the right way of arriving at the truth that transcends our present understanding. Faith is symbolized by the words "the place whereon thou standest."
Moses' question "Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh?" was answered by Jehovah in the words "Certainly I will be with thee." Was this a direct or an indirect answer? These words were a direct answer to Moses. They showed him that he was a son of God endowed with the power and might of his source, and that he therefore could not fail.
July 18, 1937: Exodus 3:13-16
Moses felt unequal to leading the captives out of bondage, even after Jehovah convinced him of his calling. What do we learn from this? The magnitude of the task made Moses distrust his ability even while he believed in the I AM and in the constancy of principle. Negative thinking leads us to identify ourselves with failure instead of success.
God instilled self-confidence into Moses with the assurance of Aaron's help and support. What does this signify? Aaron ("illumined"), representing the executive power of divine law, was accustomed to exercising the ruling power of the intellectual consciousness. Moses' long sojourn in the wilderness had isolated him from other men, and he communed readily with God only. It takes both the intellectual and the spiritual working together to free men from sense bondage.
Moses was to gather the elders of Israel together and deliver his first message to them. What is signified by this part of his mission? It means that there must be a drawing together in conscious unity of all the intelligent directive powers of the spiritual self around the standard of the divine law.
The message was "I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt." Did God see the treatment of the Children of Israel as good, since He is "of purer eyes than to behold evil"? God saw the ardent desire for a better state awakened in the Children of Israel by their prolonged sufferings. That desire was good.
July 11, 1943: Exodus 3:1-12
What does it signify that "Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro his father-in-law the priest of Midian and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to the mountain of God, unto Horeb"? Jethro means "his excellence," "his superiority," "his abundance." Midian means "judgment" and Horeb "solitude." When we seek the solitude of the inner realm and withdraw our thoughts from the confusion and chaos of the subconsciousness to the divine order and understanding of the I AM, we develop a sense of balance and good judgment.
How can we, too, see the "burning bush"? By looking for the light of intuitive Truth that we perceive when we dedicate ourselves to the cause of Truth. The heart grows luminous with understanding when this light shines in it.
What was the "holy ground" on which Moses stood? It was the inviolability of Truth as it was made manifest to him. Whatever we are convinced is true and right we should stand fast upon, for it is holy ground to us.
Can anyone look upon God? Not with the physical eye, although we may on all sides see manifestations of the divine. We can look upon the I AM as God in us, as the connecting link between our human limitations and infinite power. "I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." I AM is eternal.
Why was Moses afraid to look upon God? Moses represents the slow evolutionary process of growth or unfoldment, which is yet unaware of intuitive Truth.
Is the evolution of spiritual ideas an inevitable movement, or can it be arrested or interrupted? It can be interrupted, but it is inevitable. "As I live, saith the Lord, to me every knee shall bow, And every tongue shall confess to God."
What phase of the Infinite takes note of our afflictions and sorrows? Divine love. Love makes the whole creation one indivisible whole, so that the sufferings of one are registered on the universal life substance.
What does anyone need to enable him to carry out the work of delivering himself from the bondage of sense consciousness and entering into the freedom of the Christ? A conviction that what he seeks is just and right and that with the help of the I AM it can be brought forth into expression and realized.
What especial thought sustains those who undertake to rise out of sense consciousness to the light of spiritual consciousness? The thought that God is the source of their aspiration. "Certainly I will be with thee."
July 18, 1943: Exodus 3:13-16
What is needed to make our religious instinct articulate? We need to understand the nature and function of the I AM, and how to use it in harmony with Truth. "I AM hath sent me unto you." The I AM brings God into your life and experience when we identify ourselves with God through it.
Is it possible to entertain religious feeling and at the same time be without definite convictions? Yes. The children of Israel "cried and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage, which showed that they appealed for help to one higher than themselves. Moses however knew that they no longer remembered the God of their fathers and that they would ask "What is his name?"
What is our greatest source of encouragement in undertaking to displace sense with spirit in our life? Communion with the Father, our spiritual source. Moses communed with God continually in prayer before accepting the call to deliver his people from Egyptian bondage. "And Moses said unto God... And God said unto Moses."
Why was Jehovah to be represented to the children of Israel as "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"? To show them that God is timeless or eternal, the "same yesterday and today, yea and for ever." Also, God is the God of faith (Abraham), joy (Isaac), and the intellect (Jacob).
November 4, 1951: Exodus 3:1-7
In our progress from sense consciousness to spiritual consciousness what faculty do we encounter and develop? Judgment (Midian). Sense consciousness (Egypt) gives small scope for the development of judgment. Spiritual consciousness presupposes the substantial development of judgment and justice.
How do we develop the faculty of judgment? By communion with God through the practice of prayer and meditation.
Of what is the burning bush a symbol? It is a symbol of the steady light of intuition that shines in the heart. The heart is not consumed by the light's intensity, but grows luminous instead.
From what did Moses turn aside in order to see the burning bush? He turned aside for a time meditation and prayer (Horeb means "solitude") to the spirit of research or the scientific spirit. "I will turn aside now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt."
Why was he warned "Draw not nigh hither"? The scientific spirit, being of the intellect, cannot probe intuitive Truth. Only in the spirit of reverence and free from all man-made shackles of belief can one seek to understand Truth.
On what was Moses led to meditate? On the nature of Being and of his relation to it. "I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Although we live in a world of form and are connected with it through our sensory perceptions, we are in Truth spiritual beings and our very life, our faith (Abraham), our joy (Isaac), and our intellect (Jacob) are spiritual in essence. In this lesson we see the awakening spiritual consciousness (Moses) experiencing divine illumination concerning the nature of God.
Why was Moses "afraid to look upon God"? The revelation of God is a marvelous spiritual experience that transcends all other human experiences. The human self fears what it does not understand, and until it is able to understand the revelation, it is fearful, "afraid to look upon God."
November 4, 1951: Exodus 3:13-15
What is the immemorial name of God? I AM. By this name every one born into the world connects himself with his Source, divine life or Being.
Transcribed by Jennifer Keating on 12-05-2013