Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Genesis Chapter 18
Metaphysically Interpreting Genesis 18:1-15
18:1And Jehovah appeared unto him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 18:2and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth, 18:3and said, My lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 18:4let now a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 18:5and I will fetch a morsel of bread, and strengthen ye your heart; after that ye shall pass on: forasmuch as ye are come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 18:6And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes. 18:7And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto the servant; and he hasted to dress it. 18:8And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.
18:9And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 18:10And he said, I will certainly return unto thee when the season cometh round; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him. 18:11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, and well stricken in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 18:12And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 18:13And Jehovah said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, who am old? 18:14Is anything too hard for Jehovah? At the set time I will return unto thee, when the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son. 18:15Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.
May 15, 1926: Genesis 18:1-8
What is the metaphysical meaning of Jehovah's appearing to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre? Mamre means “firmness, vigor, strength, fatness.” Jehovah's appearing to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day, is a symbolical description of Abraham's consciousness. In this connection the oak tree means endurance, strength, protection, and Mamre means the consciousness of mental vigor and strength. “The heat of the day” represents an exalted realization of life.
What is symbolized by the three men whom Abraham saw? Abraham's faith in omnipresent spiritual substance, strength, and life was objectified in the form of man in his threefold activity, Spirit, soul, and body. Abraham addressed these three men as “My Lord,” indicating their spiritual unity.
What is represented by the ceremony of washing the feet of these three men? What is represented by their eating bread? Washing the feet is a symbol of mental cleansing of material substance that the understanding has gathered by contact with material thoughts. Metaphysicians understand that the three men whom Abraham saw were not men, but representatives of ideas; consequently, Abraham denied the sense appearance and affirmed the spiritual reality (represented by eating).
Metaphysically Interpreting Genesis 18:16-33
18:16And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 18:17And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do; 18:18seeing that Abraham had surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 18:19For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 18:20And Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 18:21I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.
18:22And the men turned from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before Jehovah. 18:23And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou consume the righteous with the wicked? 18:24Peradventure there are fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 18:25That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked, that so the righteous should be as the wicked; that be far from thee: shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 18:26And Jehovah said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sake. 18:27And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, who am but dust and ashes: 18:28peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, I will not destroy it, if I find there forty and five.18:29And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for the forty's sake. 18:30And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 18:31And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the twenty's sake. 18:32And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the ten's sake. 18:33And Jehovah went his way, as soon as he had left off communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
March 3, 1907: Genesis 18:16-33
The import of this lesson is that we do not at once give up our cherished evil ways. Sodom is the lowest form of sense desire in the procreation center. Sodomy is to this day the synonym of an unmentionable sin. Yet the spiritually minded Abraham hung on to the last there was some good in it. This tendency to plead for the good in sense habits is characteristic of man's development. We cannot conceive why these functions that seem so necessary to the reproduction of the race, should not be under the Divine Law. We have not yet awakened to the fact that they are a makeshift that is allowed, until the true law of reproduction is established.
We do not quickly see the spiritual truth, and protest that there is good in sense functions. In the early stages of the work we see a very large proportion of good, but as we go on in spiritual discernment, it grows gradually less, until it is cut down to one and a cipher. This then is not proven, because only Lot and his wife and their two daughters were found righteous in that city. These escaped and the city was destroyed.
Error must be wholly wiped out of consciousness, and the sooner we accept the fullness of the Divine Law, the sooner do we arrive at the door of the kingdom. Do not hold to your so-called natural functions as all Divine. There are great mysteries in human consciousness. The race has gone through strange experiences, and wonderful revelations come to those who get beneath the surface of things. There walk the earth today men who could startle the world with revelations of truth going on right in front of the eyes of men, yet which they see not. Turn your back resolutely on all forms of sense thought and you will gradually see the light that shines within the light.
January 6, 1924: Genesis 18:17-19
What is required in order to have a fulfillment of the great promises made by Jehovah to Abram and his progeny? According to verse 19, the fulfillment of the promises made by Jehovah to Abram is dependent upon the keeping of the divine law of righteousness, justice, and all truth that is revealed to man in Spirit as the law of life.
May 16, 1926: Genesis 18:16-19
“And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.” Explain. Sodom represents sensuality, which is to be destroyed in order that the son, or the new state of consciousness, may be expressed in Abraham, and in Sarah, his wife. (This son is promised in verses 9 to 15, which are omitted in this lesson.)
What is the meaning of this sentence: “And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do?” A developing faith in the unseen or spiritual side of being carries with it the revelation of what is taking place in mind and, frequently, in what is to follow. Jesus calls this “the law and the prophets.”
Verse 18 renews the promise given in the very beginning of Abraham's history, that he should become a great nation, and that all the nations of the earth should be blessed in him. Explain. The Abraham consciousness develops faith in man's spiritual being. This faith opens to man the Source of all being, and causes a tremendous increase of life, power, substance, and intelligence. If one has such faith, all the attributes of man and of the universe are revealed to his awakening soul; he is blessed and all his thought people are blessed and increased. Paul refers to this in Galatians: “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Know therefore that they that are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed. So then they that are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham.”
October 16, 1932: Genesis 18:17-19
What is the meaning of this sentence: “And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do?” A developing faith in the unseen or spiritual side of being carries with it the revelation of what is taking place in mind and, frequently, in what is to follow.
Verse 18 renews the promise, given in the very beginning of Abraham's history, that he should become a great nation, and that all the nations of the earth should be blessed in him. Explain. The Abraham consciousness develops man's faith in his spiritual being. This faith opens his mind and heart to the Source of all being, and causes in him a tremendous increase of life, power, substance, and intelligence. If one has such faith, all the attributes of man and of the universe are repealed to his awakening soul; he is blessed, and all his thought people are blessed and increased.
May 9, 1937: Genesis 18:17-32
Why do some prayers remain unanswered? Man sometimes prays ineffectually because of failure to make conscious union with God. Divine Mind acts in accordance with changeless law, but unless man conceives the perfect idea in that Mind he cannot express it.
What is the first condition of effectual prayer? Faith in God is the first necessity.
Why did righteous Abraham pray that wicked Sodom be spared? Faith is closely related to love in consciousness, and love “believeth all things,” seeing some good even in the sense realm. Abraham (representing faith) believed there were some righteous men in Sodom, and asked that the wicked be spared rather than see the righteous perish with the wicked.
How is the reward of persevering prayer shown in this lesson? Abraham's plea to Jehovah to spare Sodom because of the righteous ones there, even though they might be few in number, is an example of persevering prayer. Faith is necessary to perseverance, and perseverance is necessary to realization.
How can we reconcile the affirmation “All is good” with the statement that evil must be wiped out unconditionally? We reconcile these otherwise conflicting ideas by understanding that good endures and has abiding reality, but that evil is unreal and passing.
August 9, 1942: Genesis 18:23-33
Where is the good most easily and successfully separated from the evil? In the thought and life of the individual. This is where it must be separated before a permanent separation of the two can be effected in society.
What is necessary to the successful putting away of the evil and the bringing forth of the good in the individual? Faith and prayer. Abraham prayed that the righteous might not share the fate of the wicked in Sodom.
What proportion of good is sufficient to save the individual from the total wreck of his life and hopes? If his character has the least good in it (ten righteous in the city), he has a foundation on which to build his life anew.
Is it permissible to allow evil to remain in the thoughts? No, it must be put out at all cost, if the character is to be redeemed. Sodom was utterly destroyed.
Is good destroyed with or by evil? Since good is eternal, it cannot be destroyed, although to all appearances evil may overcome it for a time. Eventually good will again become manifest.
What other faculty, if any, is as lasting as faith? Love also is eternal. “Love never faileth.” The constant nature of faith is shown in this lesson by Abraham's persistence in praying that Sodom be spared for the sake of the righteous persons within it.
Is faith essential to perseverance? It is; and perseverance is essential to realization. Unless he has faith in a cause no man is willing to give himself to it heart and soul.
Is the believing prayer more effectual when it is prayed for a specific good, or is it better to ask that the divine will be done and leave the working out of this will to divine wisdom? Unless the Christ mind is one's guide and inspiration it is better to trust divine wisdom to make the divine will manifest, and leave to it the details of the manifestation. Faith and wisdom must be merged before prayer for a specific good can be in accord with the divine will.
How can we best put ourselves safely beyond sense consciousness? Through prayer and faithful practice of exalted thinking and living. Spiritual thinking cannot alternate with the thoughts of the sense consciousness, if we are to enter into the kingdom of heaven and know the power of Divine Mind.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 12-21-2013