JOSEPH, A TYPE OF THE CHRIST
GENESIS 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41
Mysteries of Genesis
MAN, AN IDEA in Divine Mind, is manifested in various states of consciousness. These appear outwardly as personalities and take form as bodies. In describing states of consciousness the Bible uses the personality in a representative sense, with the meaning of the name as a key to the state of being explained.
The meaning of the name Joseph is “whom Jehovah will add to.” He represents the “increasing” faculty of the mind, that state of consciousness in which we increase in all phases of our character. This is especially true of substance; for Joseph as imagination molds mind substance in the realm of forms. He had a coat of many colors; his dreams were always of forms and shapes–the sheaves of wheat, the stars and moon. An interpreter of dreams, the phenomenal was his field of action. This formative power is characteristic of the imagination, and among the twelve primal faculties of mind we find that this faculty of the imagination is represented by Joseph.
The Joseph faculty is the dreamer of dreams and the seer of visions, which are expressed always in forms and symbols. If you are a vivid dreamer and can correctly interpret your own dreams, you may know that you are developing your Joseph faculty. However, it is one thing to dream and quite another to interpret dreams correctly. All people dream more or less, but few can interpret dreams. Visions come under the same head, for dreams are not necessarily the sole concomitant of sleep.
Gen. 37:1-8. And Jacob dwelt in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and he was a lad with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought the evil report of them unto his father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors. And his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren; and they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves came round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
Joseph represents the faculty of imagination. This faculty produces the pictures or images that make visible every idea that the mind can conceive and reveals to the illumined intellect (Jacob) the activities of the other faculties (Joseph’s brothers; in this case the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah).
Joseph was the proud owner of a coat of many colors, a gift from his father. The coat is the symbol of the Truth given to us by the Father. Truth in its entirety is symbolized by the seamless garment that Jesus wore, for it cannot be separated into divisions or parts. All truth is one Truth. Joseph’s coat being of many colors indicates that when we open up this new realm of consciousness and begin to use the imagination, our conception of Truth is colored by the many previous mental states that have so long herded our flocks of thoughts. At this stage we have not yet come into the understanding, into the pure white light of unqualified Truth, that is symbolized by the seamless robe of unity.
The home of the imagination is in the realm of ideas, where another dimension of mind is opened to it, even the kingdom of the heavens. The imaging faculty gives man the ability to project himself through time and space and thus rise above these limitations as well as all other limitations. Even when the conscious mind is asleep the imagination continues its activity and we have dreams.
As we have learned, we cannot take our dreams literally but must interpret them by means of the symbols given us. For instance, Joseph’s dream about the sheaves was a dream about substance and a prophecy of his attainment of a superior consciousness of universal substance. That consciousness of substance afterward brought forth fruit when he supervised the storage of grain in Egypt, and this grain furnished needed supply to his father and brothers and brought them to him. Imagination uses ideas to increase its store of universal substance and clothes ideas in form; for it is both a formative and an increasing faculty.
An uncontrolled imagination will often exaggerate and increase one’s consciousness of trivial or even unreal things until both mind and body are affected. (Joseph carried tales about his brothers to his father.) The imagination is a very powerful faculty, and we must learn to discipline it if we would make it practical in serving our highest good. By following the inspiration of the supermind or Jehovah consciousness we can control the imagination and direct its work to practical ends.
Gen. 37:9-22. And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream; and, behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren; and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father kept the saying in mind.
And his brethren went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said unto Joseph, Are not thy brethren feeding the flock in Shechem? come, and I will send thee unto them. And he said to him, Here am I. And he said to him, Go now, see whether it is well with thy brethren, and well with the flock; and bring me word again. So he sent him out of the vale of Hebron, and he came to Shechem. And a certain man found him, and behold, he was wandering in the field: and the man asked him, saying, What seekest thou? And he said, I am seeking my brethren: tell me, I pray thee, where they are feeding the flock. And the man said, They are departed hence; for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan. And Joseph went after his brethren, and found them in Dothan.
And they saw him afar off, and before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say, An evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams. And Reuben heard it, and delivered him out of their hand, and said, Let us not take his life. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood; cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand upon him: that he might deliver him out of their hand, to restore him to his father.
In the foregoing Scripture Joseph’s dream is very significant. Jacob’s words “Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?” are self-explanatory.
Shechem denotes a thought of burdens, which reveals that the brothers took to heart Joseph’s superior attitude. Joseph’s talebearing propensity and the fact that their father loved Joseph better than he did his brothers served to stir up the antagonism of the other sons toward Joseph. Jacob (the I AM) (functioning in Hebron, which means “united,” “bound by a common bond”) sent Joseph (the imagination) down into Shechem (“bending down,” “a burden”) to see how his brothers (the other faculties) fared. Jacob (the I AM) operating in the consciousness of friendship and unity did not take seriously the contention that Joseph (the boasting imagination) had brought about.
The name Dothan means “two wells,” “edicts,” “customs.” Dothan symbolizes the double standard of thought that man holds regarding his life and substance, the law of Being on the one hand, custom on the other. His customary beliefs lead to limited, warped experiences, while an understanding of the true law of Being increases the activity of the power of God in his life and also makes him conscious of that activity. (Dothan is the place where Joseph found his brethren.)
Reuben, symbolizing the faculty of discernment in the outer, suggested the pit (which represents a pitfall or trap), intending later to deliver Joseph and thus restore him to the arms of his father.
Gen. 37:23-28. And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, the coat of many colors that was on him; and they took him, and cast him into the pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.
And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a caravan of Ishmaelites was coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother, our flesh. And his brethren hearkened unto him. And there passed by Midianites, merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they brought Joseph into Egypt.
Gilead represents the high place in consciousness where Spirit discerns and witnesses to what is true and to all man’s thoughts and acts so that an adjustment may be made throughout mind and body. The Ishmaelites represent the fruit of the thought of the natural man at work in the flesh; also the consciousness that recognizes God but that, because of the seeming opposition of the outer world, does not find expression according to the highest standard.
The Midianites were enemies of the Israelites. The Midianites represent discrimination or judgment employed according to human standards. Judging according to outer appearances produces discordant thoughts and jealousies and their kin.
The fact that Joseph was sold as a slave into Egypt by his brothers signifies that at a certain stage of his unfoldment man will barter away his high ideals of Truth in order to go on living in sense consciousness. He will even debase his imagination (Joseph) and send it down into his body consciousness to stir up his emotions and get the thrill of sensation. However the faculty of imagination, if it has been trained and disciplined, will work for the good of man even in the darkened realm of sense (Egypt). Though the purpose in selling Joseph into Egypt was error, the result proved to be good. This shows the outworking of the law stated in Romans 8:28: “To them that love God all things work together for good.” Even when error seems to be in the ascendancy there is that in us which remains true to God and finally brings about our deliverance. “The wrath of man shall praise thee.”
The great point in the story is that Joseph, even when overcome by error from without and sold into Egyptian slavery, still remained true to the divine ideas of his Father. In any department of life the imagination will work for the development and perfection of the individual or for the direct opposite of this, depending on how it has been trained. It is a powerful faculty, for it forms ideas in substance and brings desire into manifestation. If the desires are allowed to run riot on the sense plane, the imagination will proceed directly to bring them into manifestation as inharmony or disease. On the other hand, when the imagination is kept busy with high ideas, ideas originally inspired in it by the I AM, it is the most effective of all the faculties for the work of spiritual development. Faithfulness to high ideas, when coupled with an unshaken confidence in the I AM, cannot be wholly overcome by error, nor can anyone who exercises these faculties be kept for long in the background.
Judah (representing prayer and praise), the fourth son of Jacob and Leah, suggested the idea of selling Joseph into Egypt rather than taking his life.
Gen. 37:29-36. And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go? And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a he-goat, and dipped the coat in the blood; and they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father, and said, This have we found: know now whether it is thy son’s coat or not. And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces. And Jacob rent his garments, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down to Sheol to my son mourning. And his father wept for him. And the Midianites sold him into Egypt unto Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh’s, the captain of the guard.
Jacob represents intellectual illumination. However illumination on the intellectual plane often lacks discernment; it has not attained the power to express the sure, steady, revealing light of Spirit. Jacob was in the dark as regards the fate of his son Joseph (symbolical of the imagination). Hence Jacob was deceived by blood on the coat and mourned with the crowd.
Among the twelve faculties the imagination is least understood in its evolution from sense to soul consciousness. To this day those who function in sense echo the brothers of Joseph in their slighting exclamation, “Here comes that dreamer.” Yet in art, science, literature, religion, and even business the cry is “Give us men of imagination!” The fact is there is no progress of man or the race without expansion of the imagination. The history of Joseph, the attempts of those nearest and dearest to him to thwart the unfoldment of his innate ability, and his final victory in attaining the exalted office of prime minister of Egypt, shows us in symbols how the whole man will eventually be glorified in Spirit.
However in the early stages of the Joseph quickening all the other faculties combine to destroy it; they think it visionary and impractical.
The blood-drenched coat represents the futile attempt of the outer realm of sense to kill out the inner Spirit life. Life marches on and the vision of the soul finds new expression in other states of consciousness.
Pharaoh represents the ego or will that rules the body under the natural law. Potiphar symbolizes the executive arm of the will.
Sheol is the abode of the dead conceived by the Hebrews as a subterranean region clothed in thick darkness. It represents the mental gloom into which the personal man is plunged when he gives himself over to thoughts of death and grief.
Gen. 38:1-11. And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua; and he took her, and went in unto her. And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan. And she yet again bare a son, and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him. And Judah took a wife for Er his first-born, and her name was Tamar. And Er, Judah’s first-born, was wicked in the sight of Jehovah; and Jehovah slew him. And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a husbands’ brother unto her, and raise up seed to thy brother. And Onan knew that the seed would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did was evil in the sight of Jehovah: and he slew him also. Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter-in-law, Remain a widow in thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown up; for he said, Lest he also die, like his brethren. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house.
The predominant thought in the minds of the people at that time was to produce progeny (seed), and they restored to every device in order to attain their end.
Hirah was an Adullamite, a friend of Judah. The name Hirah means “splendid,” “noble,” “pure,” “liberty.” An Adullamite was a native of the city of Addullam, which represents a state of poise in prayer in which spiritual ideas flow into consciousness without obstruction. Being in the valley, it would not refer to a high, exalted state of mind in prayer but rather to an established equilibrium and adjustment in the body consciousness. But even if at first it seems to be only in the material consciousness, it imparts a “splendid,” “noble” quality to the man and leads toward true “liberty.” Such a state of consciousness is represented by Hirah.
Shua (“broad,” “ample,” “riches”) represents the broad, rich thoughts of abundant substance in the depths of the subconscious mind. Judah united with a daughter of Shua, who symbolizes the feminine element in the rich subconsciousness. Three sons were born to this union:
Er represents observant, vigilant thoughts. It matters a great deal what one watches or gives attention to. If one persists in recognizing that which appears to be evil, one cannot obtain abiding life and good. (Er was wicked in the sight of Jehovah.)
Onan symbolizes thoughts pertaining to strength and vigor, yet thoughts that are not spiritual but of the intellect. They are influenced too by the lower emotions and tendencies of the carnal soul (Onan’s mother was a Canaanitish woman); therefore they are likely to bring about inharmony and error because of the misdirection of energy. Yet in themselves these thoughts are good and if directed by spiritual understanding yield great blessings.
Shelah represents a sense of peace, harmony, and security that has come about through prayer, affirmation, and desire. However Shelah was born in Chezib, which symbolizes a deceptive state of mind that lies deep within the elemental life forces of the individual. This deceptive state of consciousness must be cleansed thoroughly of its error, its double-minded, idolatrous belief in a power of evil as well as a power of good, so that the truth of the one life and the one God, good, may be established within its depths.
Gen. 38:12-30. And in process of time Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheep-shearers to Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold, thy father-in-law goeth up to Timnah to shear his sheep. And she put off from her the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gate of Enaim, which is by the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she was not given unto him to wife. When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot; for she had covered her face. And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Come, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee: for he knew not that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me? And he said, I will send thee a kid of the goats from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet and thy cord, and thy staff that is in thy hand. And he gave them to her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him. And she arose, and went away, and put off her veil from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood. And Judah sent the kid of the goats by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not. Then he asked the men of her place, saying, Where is the prostitute, that was at Enaim by the wayside? And they said, There hath been no prostitute here. And he returned to Judah, and said, I have not found her; and also the men of the place said, There hath been no prostitute here. And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be put to shame: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her.
And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter-in-law hath played the harlot; and moreover, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. When she was brought forth, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said; Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and the cords, and the staff. And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She is more righteous than I, forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more. And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb. And it came to pass, when she travailed, that one put out a hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first. And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand, that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, Wherefore hast thou made a breach for thyself? therefore his name was called Perez. And afterward came out his brother, that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zerah.
The name Judah means “praise Jehovah.” Praise is closely related to prayer; under the law of mind, whatever we praise we increase. Praise is the key to the increase of life activity. If you depreciate your life you decrease your consciousness of life. Thus we find that, besides symbolizing the place in consciousness where we come in contact with the highest activities of Divine Mind, Judah also represents the central faculty of consciousness.
This faculty operates in the body consciousness through the spinal cord, as well as in the top head, and finds its outer expression through the life center, which, unregenerated, is Judas, who hath a devil. When life is separated from the inner faculties and endeavors to find expression without their co-operation, man gives himself over to his animal nature and inclinations.
The name Tamar means “palm,” “erect,” “upright.” Tamar represents victory and conquest through uprightness. “And Judah . . . said, She is more righteous than I, forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son.” This consciousness of victory or conquest and overcoming power is of the soul in the individual.
Timnah symbolizes the error race belief that a share of the life forces in man rightly belongs to the purely animal, physical, and sense part of his being. Judah kept his sheep in this Canaanitish city. Sheep represent the pure, natural life of the organism and Canaanites the elemental life forces in man.
Enaim, in whose gate Tamar sat, is supposed to be one with the city of Enam. The name means “two eyes,” “double springs.” It signifies the fountain of understanding in man, which because of his belief in good and evil, in materiality as well as spirituality, is dedicated to both generation and regeneration, both sense and Spirit. Double-mindedness causes instability. Stability is needed if one is to grow and develop spiritually. One establishes stability of character by giving oneself up wholly, with singleness of purpose, to the regenerative law.
The name Perez means “broken through,” “torn asunder.” Perez represents victory through praise, or making a way out of apparent limitation and error and prevailing over them by means of prayer and praise.
(Tamar said, “Wherefore hast thou made a breach for thyself? therefore his name was called Perez.”)
Zerah (“sunrise,” “birth of a child,” “germination of a seed”) represents awakening to new light, new understanding, in consciousness; the first conscious awakening to the presence of this new inner light or understanding. (The sun rises in the east, and the east denotes the within.)
In the journey from sense to Spirit the soul passes through many phases, misdirects its faculties, and practices multitudinous forms of dissipation or waste. (These verses in Genesis illustrate this fact.) But as man follows the light as it is given him to see the light, he gradually learns to understand himself and his soul activities. Then he begins to conform to spiritual law and to conserve his energies, forces, and substance, which in turn results in lifting up the whole man, spirit, soul, and body, out of the mire of materiality and sense into the new estate of the regenerate man, the Jesus Christ man.
Gen. 39:1-3. And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Officer of Pharaoh’s, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hand of the Ishmaelites, that had brought him down thither. And Jehovah was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that Jehovah was with him, and that Jehovah made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
Joseph’s being brought down into Egypt signifies the imagination’s becoming active in the body consciousness and in the subconsciousness. Imagination usually reaches out into the unseen world about us and forms substance according to the pattern of our thoughts. But its first duty is to go down into the Egyptian darkness of our material and sense thoughts and, under the law, lift the body consciousness to a higher plane. Body, soul, and spirit are unified as one, and the Truth student cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that all three are to be lifted up. Unless he is careful in this regard, the body consciousness may be left far behind the soul and spirit and some unfavorable reaction become manifest in the body or affairs.
The word Pharaoh means “the sun,” “the Ra.” Joseph was sold to Potiphar, an executive officer of Pharaoh’s court, who represents one of the ruling ideas in the state of consciousness symbolized by Pharaoh, “the sun.” Egypt symbolizes the material body consciousness ruled by the “sun” or solar plexus, which is the center in the subconsciousness. Pharaoh rules in obscurity or darkness because the great sun of the body, the solar plexus, is obscured or unknown to the conscious mind. The light of the sun of righteousness is veiled by our conscious living on the low plane of sense.
God prospers us when we give the best that is in us and do all things unto Him, acknowledging Him in all our affairs. This is a sure way to success, and when success does come we should realize that it resulted from the work of Spirit in us, because we made ourselves channels through which the Christ Mind could bring its ideas into manifestation. The true Christian never boasts that he is a self-made man, for he well knows that all that he is and has, together with all that he can ever hope to be or to have, is but God finding expression through him as life.
Gen. 39:4-6. And Joseph found favor in his sight, and he ministered unto him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that Jehovah blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of Jehovah was upon all that he had, in the house and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not aught that was with him, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was comely, and well favored.
Joseph was a spiritual character and worked from principle, hence he found favor in Potiphar’s house and brought added blessings to it. This Scripture proves the simple outworking of the law. “And Joseph was comely, and well favored.”
Gen. 39:7-23. And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master knoweth not what is with me in the house, and he hath put all that he hath into my hand: he is not greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back anything from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie with her, or to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that he went into the house to do his work; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. And it came to pass, when she saw that he had left his garment in her hand, and was fled forth, that she called unto the men of her house, and spake unto them, saying, See, he hath brought in a Hebrew unto us to mock us: he came in unto me to lie with me, and I cried with a loud voice: and it came to pass, when he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment by me, and fled, and got him out. And she laid up his garment by her, until his master came home. And she spake unto him according to these words, saying, The Hebrew servant, whom thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me: and it came to pass, as I lifted up my voice and cried, that he left his garment by me, and fled out.
And it came to pass, when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spake unto him, saying, After this manner did thy servant to me; that his wrath was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. But Jehovah was with Joseph, and showed kindness unto him, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to anything that was under his hand, because Jehovah was with him; and that which he did, Jehovah made it to prosper.
The imagination is liable to get into trouble because it is so little understood. The sense consciousness of the animal soul (Potiphar’s wife) tempts us through the imagination to gratify its sense desires. When we refuse it expression there is a reaction, and we seem for a time to be imprisoned or limited in making progress. But if we patiently bide our time, knowing that only good can come to us, the seemingly imprisoned faculty (Joseph) will prove its God-given power. Although physically imprisoned, Joseph (the imagination) expresses himself spiritually, for the Lord (law) is with him, and in due time he will come into his rightful place as one of the important faculties in the consciousness. (Jehovah, the law, was with Joseph.)
By faithfully performing the routine duties intrusted to one, even in a prison, one is certain to be advanced to a better and more remunerative position. However faithfulness has an even greater reward than this, for all the while the faithful one is building a firmer, truer, and more Godlike character in himself, which is an enduring recompense; for thus he enters into the possession of the true riches, the spiritual consciousness. Joseph was made the overseer of all the prisoners and later was released and given the highest position in the land as prime minister or adviser to Pharaoh.
Gen. 40:1-23. And it came to pass after these things, that the butler of the king of Egypt and his baker offended their lord the king of Egypt. And Pharaoh was wroth against his two officers, against the chief of the butlers, and against the chief of the bakers. And he put them in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, into the prison, the place where Joseph was bound. And the captain of the guard charged Joseph with them, and he ministered unto them: and they continued a season in ward. And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream, in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were bound in the prison. And Joseph came in unto them in the morning, and saw them, and, behold, they were sad. And he asked Pharaoh’s officers that were with him in ward in his master’s house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sad today? And they said unto him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it. And Joseph said unto them, Do not interpretations belong to God? tell it me, I pray you.
And the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; and in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and its blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes: and Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand. And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretation of it: the three branches are three days; within yet three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head, and restore thee unto thine office: and thou shalt give Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, after the former manner when thou wast his butler. But have me in thy remembrance when it shall be well with thee, and show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house: for indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.
When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said unto Joseph, I also was in my dream, and, behold, three baskets of white bread were on my head: and in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of baked food for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head. And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: the three baskets are three days; within yet three days shall Pharaoh life up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee. And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants: and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and the head of the chief baker among his servants. And he restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand: but he hanged the chief baker: as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.
The chief butler and the chief baker were also in prison (the subconsciousness). This shows how we put the Spirit of life (the butler’s wine) and of substance (the baker’s bread) in bondage to or under the dominion of the sense man. By this time Joseph had become the warden in charge of all the prisoners, so that life and substance were under his control. When imagination controls these it exercises a powerful influence in the subconsciousness, bringing into manifestation many things that are so foreign and strange to us that they seem to come from without.
Joseph’s interpretation of the dreams and the coming to pass of events exactly as he had predicted them gave him prestige as an interpreter of dreams and later brought him to the attention of the king.
What is the significance of dreams? The time of dreaming is either when we are losing consciousness in the process of going to sleep or when we are regaining it during awakening. When we are in deep sleep we live in the subconsciousness, a life of which the conscious mind knows nothing. This mind catches glimpses of it when we are making the transition from one state to the other. However we are in close touch with the superconscious, the mind of Spirit, when we are in the borderland state between sleeping and waking. At such times one who is spiritual-minded and who at all times seeks to know what infinite wisdom has to reveal, receives his message. Spirit speaks in symbols such as the butler’s cup of wine and the baker’s loaf of bread, and the trained faculty of imagination (Joseph) interprets the symbols to the conscious mind.
Gen. 41:1-44. And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river. And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, well-favored and fat-fleshed: and they fed in the reed-grass. And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill-favored and lean-fleshed, and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river. And the ill-favored and lean-fleshed kine did eat up the seven well-favored and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke. And he slept and dreamed a second time: and, behold, seven ears of grain came up upon one stalk, rank and good. And, behold, seven ears, thin and blasted with the east wind, sprang up after them. And the thin ears swallowed up the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream. And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.
Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day: Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in ward in the house of the captain of the guard, me and the chief baker: and we dreamed a dream in one night, I and he; we dreamed each man according to the interpretation of his dream. And there was with us there a young man, a Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret. And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us, so it was; me he restored unto mine office, and him he hanged.
Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that when thou hearest a dream thou canst interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace. And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the brink of the river: and, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fat-fleshed and well-favored; and they fed in the reed-grass: and, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor and very ill-favored and lean-fleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness: and the lean and ill-favored kine did eat up the first seven fat kine: and when they had eaten them up, it could not be known that they had eaten them; but they were still ill-favored, as at the beginning. So I awoke. And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up upon one stalk, full and good: and, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them: and the thin ears swallowed up the seven good ears: and I told it unto the magicians; but there was none that could declare it to me.
And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: what God is about to do he hath declared unto Pharaoh. The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one. And the seven lean and ill-favored kine that came up after them are seven years, and also the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind; they shall be seven years of famine. That is the thing which I spake unto Pharaoh: what God is about to do he hath showed unto Pharaoh. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: and there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land; and the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine which followeth; for it shall be very grievous. And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh, it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint overseers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of these good years that come, and lay up grain under the hand of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. And the food shall be for a store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; and the land perish not through the famine.
And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom the spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou: thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in ventures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he set him over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.
When a person has developed the Joseph state of consciousness and can give vivid form of his ideas by using his imaginative faculty, he does not take his dreams or visions in a literal sense. He rather unclothes the dream of its form by using the same power that he has of clothing ideas with form. Then he clearly sees the idea hidden behind the forms and symbols of his dream. He knows that all forms represent ideas and is able to resolve the form back into the primal idea of Divine Mind. Thus he is taught by Spirit more directly than is the ordinary individual. Spiritual Truth comes to him directly through an always open channel.
One of the surest proofs that you have opened yourself to Spirit is that you have symbolical dreams and can spiritually interpret them. Divine ideas are imaged in your placid soul like shadows on a quiet pool. You see them mentally and you may catch their import if you meditate patiently and persistently on the relation that each image or symbol bears to thought. Things are first ideas, then thoughts reduced in radiation to the plane of sense perception. When you still the senses you will begin to perceive the thoughts that are back of things. This may be a slow way, but it is a sure way to learn the language of mind, and in time it will enable you to translate all the shapes and forms you see on any plane of consciousness, into their corresponding thoughts. When this is accomplished you have become a Joseph and stand next to Jesus.
Joseph correctly interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh that later came to pass. The name Pharaoh means “the sun,” “the king”; he is the king of the subconscious realm whose throne is located in the solar plexus. This brain of the body, plays an important role in directing the circulation, the digestion and assimilation of food, and so forth. Students of mind have discovered that the solar plexus is but the organ through which the ruling ego, Pharaoh, acts.
The signet ring that Pharaoh placed upon Joseph’s hand represents authority, and the fine raiment with which he clothed Joseph symbolizes approval; that is, the ruling power of the body gives to the imagination authority and approval in both the within and the without.
Gen. 41:45-57. And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.
And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, he up in the same. And Joseph laid up grain as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left off numbering; for it was without number. And unto Joseph were born two sons before the year of famine came, whom Asenath, the daughter of Poti-phera priest of On, bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the first-born Manasseh: For, said he, God hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath made me fruitful in the land of my affliction. And the seven years of plenty, that was in the land of Egypt, came to an end. And the seven years of famine began to come, according as Joseph had said: and there was famine in all the lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. And the famine was over all the face of the earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine was sore in the land of Egypt. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was sore in all the earth.
In lower Egypt during the time of Joseph was the city of On, one of the world’s oldest cities. Here was located one of the great temples of Egypt, whose high priest was Potiphera. The daughter of the high priest was Asenath, who became Joseph’s wife.
Asenath represents the feminine or love side of the natural man. Two sons were born of this union, Manasseh (understanding) and Ephraim (will), and they inherited Joseph’s allotment in the Promised Land (regenerated perfect body). Understanding and will are dominant forces in the race because they are necessary in the development of the soul. If the imagination (Joseph) were wholly free (unmarried or without responsibility), it would indulge in daydreams and fanciful schemes that could not be worked out in a practical world governed by inexorable law. If in this dreamy state the mind is given a definite thought of Truth (such as monotheism, taught at the school of On) and is joined with the natural soul (Asenath), it brings forth the two stabilizing mental qualities will and understanding, symbolized by Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh.
The name Manasseh means “who makes to forget.” Manasseh was the first son born to Joseph, who had a great deal to forget. Joseph needed to forget the wrong done him by his brothers, the temptation of Potiphar’s wife, and the error of long imprisonment. Thus Manasseh represents the understanding of how to use one’s ability to forget or deny that which is no longer profitable to the man.
The name Ephraim means “very fruitful.” Ephraim represents the ability of man to add to his consciousness through the action of his will whatever he may choose to affirm and to become fruitful in his thoughts even in the land of affliction.
The first step for the beginner in Truth is to set up a new and better state of consciousness based on the absolute. He must develop the Manasseh quality of forgetting the not-good by denial and the Ephraim quality of increasing the good by affirming it to be the real. The understanding and the will must be especially active in one who would overcome and master the sensations of the body, which is one of the first steps in its regeneration.
Joseph was thirty years old when he began his great work in Egypt. At about that age a man completes a natural cycle in the evolution of his soul and is ready for an adventure into the spiritual. When the spiritually awakening man has reached this stage of development there is an increase of energy throughout the body. As we have previously noted, the imagination is the “increasing faculty” as well as the formative faculty. The Hebrew meaning of the name Joseph is “Jehovah shall increase.” The great increase that comes at this period in his unfoldment lasts about seven years, or passes through seven stages of activity, symbolized in Pharaoh’s dream by the seven fat kine and the seven full ears of corn.
Those who are wise will conserve this energy in the storehouse of subconsciousness, because there is certain to be a reaction proportionate to action. The law holds good for every form of energy. When this generated force is properly conserved, the reaction is not felt. When we exalt the Joseph state of consciousness (as did Pharaoh) and let it rule in our body, Spirit will show us how to handle the situation. Then we shall make storage batteries of our “cities,” which are the ganglionic centers of the body (Egypt). When Pharaoh gave Joseph the power and authority to do this conserving work, he changed his name to Zaphenathpaneah, a compound word meaning “savior of the universe,” “sustainer of the life of the world,” “governor of the district or place of stored-up life.” This would clearly indicate that the body should be ruled over by the spiritualized imaginative faculty working under the direction and by the power of Spirit.
The word famine implies extreme scarcity of food, reducing people to an extremity of hunger, of starvation. Here Egypt (the subconsciousness), the storehouse of plenty, is the source from which all the surrounding countries (states of consciousness) come for sustenance when the outer man has exhausted his resources.
The seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine show that the unregenerate man lives in a consciousness of duality, seeing good and evil, heat and cold, plenty and poverty, feast and famine; the spiritualized imagination (Joseph) sees the whole of life as one. He sees no lack but recognizes a coming consciousness of lack and relates it to the present consciousness of plenty, and by this unifying work he lays up a store of substance for future use. The imagination should rank high among all the faculties of man, for without its magic touch life would become flat, stale, and meaningless; but once imagination is awakened, man is filled with health, life, substance, and abundance.
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Mysteries of Genesis
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