Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Genesis Chapter 17
Metaphysically Interpreting Genesis 17:1-27
17:1And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, Jehovah appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 17:2And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.17:3And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 17:4As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of a multitude of nations. 17:5Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for the father of a multitude of nations have I made thee. 17:6And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 17:7And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. 17:8And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
17:9And God said unto Abraham, And as for thee, thou shalt keep my covenant, thou, and thy seed after thee throughout their generations. 17:10This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee: every male among you shall be circumcised. 17:11And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt me and you. 17:12And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any foreigner that is not of thy seed. 17:13He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 17:14And the uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
17:15And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. 17:16And I will bless her, and moreover I will give thee a son of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be of her. 17:17Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is a hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? 17:18And Abraham said unto God, Oh that Ishmael might live before thee! 17:19And God said, Nay, but Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his seed after him. 17:20And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. 17:21But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. 17:22And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
17:23And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. 17:24And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 17:25And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 17:26In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. 17:27And all the men of his house, those born in the house, and those bought with money of a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
July 29, 1945: Genesis 17:1-10
Is the fulfillment of faith always quick, easy matter? Not always. Faith itself must be perfected before it is capable of fulfillment. The history of Abraham typifies the growth of faith toward perfection.
What was Abraham's chief obstacles in perfecting his faith? Fear. Fear nullified his faith in God and led him to practice deception and falsehood.
What is the significance of God’s covenant with Abraham? This covenant represents the development of faith from so-called “blind” faith to faith that becomes great through spiritual understanding.
What is signified by Jehovah’s changing the name of Abram to Abraham? Abram (“exalted father”) was given a new name, Abraham (“father of a multitude”), by Jehovah. Metaphysically, Abram represents “blind faith” or primitive faith; without the backing of spiritual understanding. When faith develops to the point where it is capable of spiritualizing the thoughts and bringing them under divine guidance, it undergoes a change of character. It then becomes the spiritual [unreadable].
Should we indulge in any limitations to our faith in God’s promises? No. Like all spiritual qualities, faith is capable of limitless development and use. We should consider no conceivable ideal as too high to be true and attainable. Faith becomes effectual as it is given full play in daily use.
What is it to “walk before” God? It is the conforming of our daily life to the divine law. Works are indispensable to the fulfillment of faith.
Can faith be handed down from one generation to another without losing its original strength and vitality? No. Each individual must develop his own faith, as he grows in spiritual stature. When we study the great works of men like Abraham, who developed great faith, we are encouraged to increase our own faith.
What is indispensable to the proper observance of a covenant? A substantial understanding and a willingness to observe the terms and provisions of the covenant. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
What significance to us has the rite of circumcision? “Circumcision is that of the heart in the spirit not in the letter.” It signifies clean, upright, unselfish, faith-centered life, with everything that would interfere with its proper functioning eliminated.
October 10, 1948: Genesis 17:1-8
What is the significance of Abram's change of name to Abraham? Abram represents faith in God in its early stages of development, when man first becomes conscious of God and begins to act under divine guidance. Abraham (“father of a multitude”) represents awakening faith, that begins to perceive the relationship that subsists between thought and manifestation; that the mind through faith has power to shape divine substance and to reproduce divine ideas in unlimited expression.
April 15, 1951: Genesis 17:5-8
What does the name Abram mean? It means “exalted father.” Abram represents the development of faith in the mind and consciousness.
When is our faith at its strongest? In childhood, when it is yet untried, in adulthood after it has been tried and proved, and in times of extreme crisis, when it is the only remaining resource.
In his natural state is the full-grown man a man of faith? No. Sense consciousness harbors doubts, and these weaken faith. As we awaken to Truth and apprehend the reality of the spiritual realm we become strong in faith in God. Then the material realm no longer seems to us to be the basis of our existence.
What must we do before we can make our faith work? We must meet the conditions that make it possible for faith to work. God wants to help us and is always ready to do so, but to make our faith work, we must make connection with divine power and wisdom through elevating our thought and feeling, until we touch the bounds of spiritual consciousness, where help is found.
How can we put ourselves into our work, that our work takes on an eternal quality? By giving expression to our best thought and heightening our interest in what we are doing, instead of working mechanically. When we do all “as unto the Lord” or the high principle of Truth in action, and put ourselves heart and soul into our work, we impart to it a spiritual quality that is expressive of life, and it will endure.
Has Jehovah's promise to Abraham of continuing life through his descendants been fulfilled? Yes.
What is the significance of the changing of Abram’s name to Abraham? Abram represents faith in God in its early stages of development, when man first becomes conscious of God and begins to act under divine guidance. Abraham (“father of a multitude”) represents awakening faith, which begins to perceive the relationship that exists between thought and manifestation, that the mind through faith has power to shape divine substance and to reproduce divine ideas in unlimited expression.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 12-20-2013