Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Nehemiah Chapter 4
Metaphysically Interpreting Nehemiah 4:1-23
4:1But it came to pass that, when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. 4:2And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What are these feeble Jews doing? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, seeing they are burned? 4:3Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they are building, if a fox go up, he shall break down their stone wall. 4:4Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn back their reproach upon their own head, and give them up for a spoil in a land of captivity; 4:5and cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee; for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.
4:6So we built the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto half the height thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
4:7But it came to pass that, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem went forward, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth; 4:8and they conspired all of them together to come and fight against Jerusalem, and to cause confusion therein. 4:9But we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.
4:10And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall. 4:11And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come into the midst of them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease. 4:12And it came to pass that, when the Jews that dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times from all places, Ye must return unto us. 4:13Therefore set I in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in the open places, I set there the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 4:14And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, who is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.
4:15And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work. 4:16And it came to pass from that time forth, that half of my servants wrought in the work, and half of them held the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the coats of mail; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. 4:17They all builded the wall and they that bare burdens laded themselves; every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other held his weapon; 4:18and the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me. 4:19And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another: 4:20in what place soever ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us; our God will fight for us.
4:21So we wrought in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared. 4:22Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and may labor in the day. 4:23So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard that followed me, none of us put off our clothes, every one went with his weapon to the water.
April 30, 1916: Nehemiah 4:16-18
Thought is the builder of our body-walls. Loose, careless, disorderly thinking is responsible for the weakening that ends in decay and invasion from without. When we again set up right standards of thought, and the constructive workmen begin to build, much “rubbish” is found in the subconscious that delays them. If man had made no mistakes of thought, and had no results of his errors to correct, it would be an easy matter to construct the perfect body, without spot or blemish. But the law cannot be broken. The results of what we have done, in both good and evil, have formed our consciousness. The good predominates, and we should therefore be glad. The evil can be erased, as the errors in a mathematical problem are wiped out, and the correct figures substituted.
“To be forewarned is to be forearmed.” When we are told where we shall meet opposition and its character, we can prepare ourselves and not be overwhelmed. In healing and rebuilding the walls of the body-temple we all find these “adversaries,” and they work in the darkness of the subconscious and seem to say, “They shall not know, neither see, till we come into the midst of them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.” The adversaries of the constructive mind appear under many guises and are so subtle in their attacks that it requires more than intellectual understanding and power to cope with them.
The Prophet of the Lord, represented in this lesson by Nehemiah, is the teacher and inspirer that rises up within one and says, “Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, who is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” This is a battle between the weak, undisciplined, uncivilized, savage, sensuous thoughts, and strong, orderly civilized, refined, spiritual thoughts. The ignorant error thoughts are responsible for disease and disintegration in the body, and we must set up a proper protection against them. They are whispering to us, “What's the use? You can't go forward in this work; you must return to us and be content with the old life.” These and a thousand similar weakening and defeating thoughts are constantly passing through the minds of those who are striving to rebuild the temple under the Divine Law.
It is necessary to be on your guard against adversaries of every kind. Jesus said, “I say unto you, Watch!” (Mark 13:37) “Eternal vigilance is the price of success.” This does not mean that we shall get anxious and set up a nervous strain in our overcoming, but that we shall see to it that the work of building up the Christ-body is not interfered with by the foolishness and ignorance of the carnal mind. It is found by truth workers that conscientious training of the thoughts along constructive lines leads to the establishment of a subconscious thought-protection, similar to that described in verse 16. Half the mind is on guard while the other half works, and no reflected error thoughts can get in. When this consciousness has been attained, there is no further complaint about adverse vibrations, malicious animal magnetism, nor psychic impositions of any description. “And he that hath sounded the trumpet (word) was by me (I Am).”
– UNITY magazine.
June 2, 1918: Nehemiah 4:1-17
What in consciousness does the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem symbolize? Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem symbolizes the balancing of the negative and positive forces of the soul consciousness.
What in consciousness does “Nehemiah” represent? “Nehemiah” represents that prophetic state of mind, which faithfully believes in man's Divine possibilities.
What in consciousness do “Sanballat,” the “Arabians,” the “Ammonites,” and the “Ashdodites” represent? “Sanballat” represents enemies in secret; the “Arabians” represent unproductiveness; the “Ammonites” represent popular opinion and the “Ashdodites” represent all around thieves. These adverse states of consciousness conspire against the spiritual unfoldment of the soul.
How does man lay hold of the Omnipresent Substance of Spirit? All thoughts of mind register their character upon the all-pervading substance and bring into manifestation the fruit of the idea impressed. If man thinks Godlike, thoughts he brings forth God-like conditions; a weak thought brings forth an adverse condition.
What is man's true estate? Man's true estate is the Edenic bliss, the creative capacity to bring into manifestation instantly, through the consciousness of the power of the Word of God in him, everything needed for harmonious expression in mind, soul and body.
How did man lose consciousness of his Divine Sonship? Man lost conscious recognition of his Divine Sonship through ignoring the Spirit of Wisdom, through becoming enamored with the effect of his creative capacity, losing sight of the original Divine Cause.
How does man return to his Edenic bliss? Through an understanding of the ideas of Divine Mind, and man's relation to Divine Mind and how to set into activity in consciousness Divine Ideas, man comes into harmonious relation with the Source of his Being.
September 3, 1922: Nehemiah 4:7-16
What is the constructive power within the body that builds its walls? Thought is the builder of the body. The walls are layers of thought substance, projected as protection against outer invasions.
What weakens the walls? Loose, careless, disorderly thinking weakens the walls and leaves the body open to invasions.
What is symbolized by the rubbish that the workmen found? The rubbish is the accumulated error thoughts in the subconscious, which must be cast out by denial.
Who are the adversaries that work in the darkness and that say: “They shall not know, neither see, till we come into the midst of them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease”? These adversaries are the subtle thoughts of sense, which we feel, but cannot see. “The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field.”
How are these overcome? These carnal thoughts, which many people fear, have no reality. They can be overcome by realizing good is all. Nehemiah, the prophet, said: “Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, who is fire and terrible.”
What are the thoughts that say unto us, “ten times from all places. Ye must return unto us”? These are the thoughts that pull us back into old states of consciousness. They are the thoughts that impede our rapid progress, and they should be ignored and forgotten. “Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
What is the meaning of one half of the children of Israel working, and the other half guarding or protecting? This means that we shall stand by the Truth and affirm our impregnable safety against any opposing thought. At the same time, we should realize that the constructive work of Spirit is going forward in us, and that we are building the “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
June 10, 1923: Nehemiah 4:6-15
What does the prophet Nehemiah represent in this lesson? The prophet Nehemiah is that in us which inspires us to higher and better things. Nehemiah also represents the boldness and the courage which sets about the rebuilding of a character weakened by sin and broken law.
What is the meaning of “Jerusalem,” around which the wall was being rebuilt? “Jerusalem” means “the city of peace;” in man it is the abiding consciousness of spiritual peace, which is the result of continuous realizations of spiritual power tempered with spiritual poise and confidence.
What is represented by the wall which Nehemiah’s men (spiritual thoughts) were building around Jerusalem? In individual consciousness the wall symbolizes protecting spiritual substance, through which limited error thoughts cannot penetrate. This wall is built by our realizations of enduring strength and stability of omnipresent Spirit substance.
What do Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and so forth represent? These different persons and tribes symbolize the wild, uncultivated states of consciousness, which thoughts of sensuality, sin, and ignorance have formed in the world without.
What state of mind opens the way for these error thoughts to enter the inner peace (Jerusalem) and prevent the rebuilding of the wall? Careless, disorderly thinking weakens the positive “upbuilding” power of the mind and opens the way for invasions of error thoughts from without.
What is the result of disorderly thinking? Thoughts of similar character congregate and form states of consciousness, just as people who think along similar lines congregate and form organizations. When the central thought is of the power of good, a constructive center in consciousness is formed; when the predominating thought is evil, a destructive center is formed. There is a constant push and pull between these two states of consciousness, each one striving for supremacy; the result is weakness in both mind and body.
How shall we establish ourselves in spiritual peace and harmony and surround ourselves with a wall of protection against discord, ignorance, and opposition? We shall prove our victory over all opposing thoughts by holding to that inner confidence of Truth represented by the words of Nehemiah: “Remember the Lord, who is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”
September 8, 1929: Nehemiah 4:6
What does the prophet Nehemiah represent in this lesson? The prophet Nehemiah represents that in us which inspires us to higher and better things. Nehemiah also represents the boldness and the courage which set about the rebuilding of a character weakened by sin and broken law.
What is the meaning of “Jerusalem,” around which the wall was being rebuilt? “Jerusalem” means “the city of peace”; in man it is the abiding consciousness of spiritual peace, which is the result of his continuous realization of spiritual power tempered with spiritual poise and confidence.
September 8, 1929: Nehemiah 4:15-21
What is represented by the wall that Nehemiah's men (spiritual thoughts) were building around Jerusalem? In individual consciousness the wall symbolizes protecting spiritual substance, through which limited error thoughts cannot penetrate. This wall is built by our realizations of the enduring strength and stability of omnipresent Spirit substance.
What state of mind opens the way for error thoughts to enter the inner peace (Jerusalem) and prevent the rebuilding of the “wall”? Careless, disorderly thinking weakens the positive, “upbuilding” power of the mind and opens the way for invasions of error thoughts from without.
What is the result of disorderly thinking? Thoughts of similar character congregate and form states of consciousness, just as people who think along similar lines congregate and form organizations. When the central thought is of the power of good, a constructive center in consciousness is formed; when the predominating thought is evil, a destructive center is formed. When a person harbors constructive and destructive thoughts, there is a constant push and pull between the two states of consciousness, each one striving for supremacy; the result is weakness in both mind and body.
How shall we establish ourselves in spiritual peace and harmony, and surround ourselves with a wall of protection against discord, ignorance, and opposition? We shall prove our victory over all opposing thoughts by holding to the inner consciousness of Truth, and by confidently affirming that we are strong, powerful, bold, fearless, free Spirit.
December 8, 1935: Nehemiah 4:6-9
Why is an attitude of trust and confidence essential to the one who would live victoriously? Trust and confidence build up a strong reserve fund of courage in the heart of him who wishes to succeed in living by the Christ ideal. Thus armed, he need not yield to the negative influences that attack him from the outside world.
Name some of our “walls” and explain why they are so called. We all have problems because we have not yet mastered the art of living. Whatever enables us to meet these problems calmly and with a clear mind is a protective wall to us. Firm faith in the higher realities that control life is such a wall. A sense of responsibility for the right use of our gifts is another.
Interpret metaphysically the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem by Nehemiah. This work describes in symbol the reconstruction of the soul consciousness and that of the body, so as to put out negative thoughts and conditions, and keep them out.
Is there a wall that needs to be broken down? If so, name it. The “middle wall of partition” between man's pure spiritual nature (the circumcision) and his unregenerate nature (the Gentiles) should be broken down by him. He accomplishes this when he enters into the Christ consciousness and submits his sense nature to the transforming influence of Truth.
Is the habit of thinking constructively an easy one to form? Not always, especially if the opposite habit is of long standing. However, denial of negation removes it and makes way for the constructive habit instead.
What do Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabians, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites represent? These all represent activities of the sense consciousness that rise up in opposition to man when he begins the work of uprooting the effects of the race thought and putting the thoughts of Divine Mind in their place.
How can we best be on our guard against subtle attacks of wrong thinking? By committing our thoughts to God in prayer and meditation, and trusting Him to direct us so that we shall think His thoughts after Him and do His works, we guard ourselves from error.
December 8, 1935: Nehemiah 4:15-21
How can one build a wall with one hand while holding a weapon of defense against an enemy in the other? This statement is a figurative description of man's work of cultivating thought habits in accord with Truth and of guarding his mind at the same time against relapses into error.
Does habit take advantage of inattention? Unless we are on our guard we easily slip back into the old error thought habits as soon as we relax our attention to the new habit of true thinking that we are forming.
Does the conscious mind control the subconscious? The thoughts of the conscious mind, when held faithfully and consistently, are impressed on the subconscious mind and become a habitual tendency. In this way the conscious controls the subconscious.
May 2, 1948: Nehemiah 4:1-6
When we lack peace of mind, how can we gain it? By preserving a steadfast intention to do right and by faithfully practicing right doing we gain peace of mind. Such thought and practice put the mind in harmony with universal Truth and peace follows.
What is represented by Sanballat, his brothers, and the army of Samaria? They represent our hidden fears which mock our efforts to build a consciousness of peace within ourselves. Our fears seem so much stronger than our faith that we can overcome the temptation to yield to them only by remembering that God and we are a majority.
Do we realize any tangible gain by remembering and claiming that with God all things are possible? We gain confidence and assurance which prevent us from giving way to doubt and despair. While doubt questions, “Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, seeing they are burned?” faith answers, “In Jehovah, even Jehovah, is an everlasting rock.”
The meaning of the name Tobiah the Ammonite is “goodness of Jehovah.” How can we reconcile this meaning with Tobiah's attempt to belittle the efforts of the Jews in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem? The Ammomtes represent the wild, unredeemed states of consciousness produced by thoughts of sensuality, sin, and ignorance. The Tobiah state of mind is very deceptive, sometimes making us believe that it is of a true spiritual character. But it is not; it hinders true overcoming, the rebuilding of the body temple.
Do we gain anything of value by trying to retaliate against our detractors? No. On the contrary we lose our reserve of constructive faith, when we allow ourselves to retaliate and when we try to express vindictiveness in ways that match those of our detractors. We should forgive these persons and dismiss their efforts from our mind, arming ourselves instead with the strength that is in the Christ consciousness.
What is the most effectual answer to scorn and derision? An unmoved resolve to continue in the path chosen at all times. “So we built the wall ... for the people had a mind to work.”
May 2, 1948: Nehemiah 4:13-14
What are some of the walls that protect us from the negative forces of sense consciousness? A confident outlook on life, a healthy body, faith in spiritual reality, a conviction that our innate powers are a trust that we are to use aright, a Christian character. All these are protective walls about us.
Where do we concentrate our chief thoughts of power? At the point in our defenses where reinforcement is most urgently needed. This point may be our physical health, our faith in God, or any other condition that calls for constructive reinforcement.
May 2, 1948: Nehemiah 4:21-23
How do we most easily banish fear? By fully preparing ourselves to meet and cope with it. We prepare ourselves by remembering the power of Truth active within us and giving it instant expression. We defend most strongly what is near and dear to us, and in this defense we gain trust and confidence.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 02-05-2014