THE INITIAL STEP TOWARD REDEMPTION
GENESIS 12, 13, and 14
Mysteries of Genesis
ACCORDING to Jesus, when a man turns toward a new country, a new state of consciousness, he must quicken his faith. Formerly he has had faith in material processes; he has attached himself to material things. Thus Abraham long lived in the sense world or consciousness, represented by Sodom and Gomorrah. His higher ideal, Jehovah, urged him to flee from that world and not to move back but to detach his mind from the things of sense and turn his face toward the light. This new land that the Lord desired him to go to represents new ideas and their manifestation, a new relationship to the substance of things. When the new ideas begin to multiply in man’s mind, his environment changes; as Paul says, “if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature.” But the beginning is to believe further than you can see or feel in terms of the senses. A man often finds it necessary to go into a “new country” that he knows nothing about; and he has to trust the Lord to carry him through. “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” To put faith in things spiritual is the essential step.
The call of Abraham is considered the initial step in a great plan for the redemption of the Adam race from its material, sensual consciousness, called the fall of man. From any mortal viewpoint the time seems long and the way tortuous, but we may, if we will, enter into the mind of the Spirit, where one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years are as one day, and here we see the whole plan worked out in a definite, systematic, and orderly way.
Every detail in Abraham’s experience has a definite counterpart in the life of each one who is bringing forth the Christ in man. A study of these things is therefore of great importance to all who seek the realization of sonship. To them it is given to understand “the mystery which hath been hid for ages and generations.”
Abraham represents faith, the first great faculty developed or “called out” by man in the unfoldment of his spiritual nature or Christ Mind. Faith is that faculty by which we know God as omnipresent Spirit substance. This substance is man’s supply, as discerned by the author of Hebrews when he said, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for.” By faith we appropriate the spiritual substance of whatever things we desire, thus taking the first step necessary to their manifestation. Abraham, rich in faith, increased his substance until it was very great.
Volumes might be written about faith in its relation to the conscious, subconscious, and superconscious departments of mind; or about its centers of action in the body. Abraham represents faith in its early establishment in consciousness, and his life portrays the different movements of this faculty on the various planes of action in man’s being. In order to understand the lessons that Abraham’s life has for us, a certain familiarity with each plane of consciousness is necessary.
That in the individual which is called “I” may be termed attention. It is in reality the spiritual man. It is the inherent capacity of the “I” to recognize ideas and through the law of Being to form ideas into states of consciousness. By forming these new states and setting up action in their various departments, the “I” (attention) can then leave them, as the millwright leaves the mill he has constructed over a waterfall. Nature carries on the work once it is established.
So we find ourselves in possession of states of consciousness that may seem to be ignorant. There are, for instance, the subconscious states that have to do with the processes of digestion, assimilation, circulation, respiration, elimination, and the like. We could not be in possession of an organism having these various powers of mind unless at some point in our experience we had established them. If we consciously assumed these powers ourselves, it is plainly possible that we could again go back of them and become familiar with their subconscious action.
Thus it is a question of attention whether or not we shall know about these various planes of mental activity. If we fix our thoughts for but ten minutes a day on the heart, we shall know in a short time what is going on at that center. So with every department of the organism. Whatever the process being carried on by an organ in the body, we may be assured that a center of intelligence is located somewhere in the vicinity of it, and by continually focusing our attention there we may become familiar with its office and work.
Abraham represents man in the first awakening of his faith, when he is dominated by it. The very name has come to be almost a synonym for faith. Abraham was dwelling in a realm of limited thought, and he was called out by Spirit into a great expansion of all his thoughts and powers through faith. All the people and places mentioned in connection with his history have a symbolical meaning. They represent other faculties and phases of mind that are called into expression along with faith.
Gen. 12:1-5. Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto the land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. So Abram went, as Jehovah had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
The movement in consciousness represented in this Scripture is that of an individual who has been spiritually inactive or laggard. The name of Abraham’s father Terah signifies “loitering.” The Lord or spiritual impulse within presses forth to religious activity. It virtually says, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s [loiterer’s] house, unto the land that I will show thee.”
When this call comes, lofty ideas begin to possess the mind. The name in its original form, Abram, means “exalted father.” Faith in the unseen God and in divine guidance inspires lofty thoughts that become part of the consciousness without special effort when man is obedient to the call of Spirit. To those who depend on the evidence of the senses it may be blind faith, but it works out beautifully in the life of those who are true to it.
When Abraham went to seek a new country (consciousness) in response to the call of the Spirit, Lot went with him. The name Lot means “hidden,” “concealed,” “covert,” and Lot represents the negative side of faith. When faith (Abraham) expands in consciousness (in a new and greater country), its old subconscious element (Lot) expands also. Lot may also be said to symbolize the part of man that is still in darkness; in other words, the natural or animal man. This part of man’s nature he cannot escape, but must take with him into the new country. He can, however, by association, lift it up and increase its capacity, as Abraham “lifted up” and aided Lot, for we read that Lot prospered as well.
(For further interpretation of Abraham and Lot see commentary on Gen. 13.)
Gen. 12:6-9. And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the oak of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And Jehovah appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto Jehovah, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto the mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Ai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto Jehovah, and called upon the name of Jehovah. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.
In this instance Canaan represents the pure elements of the natural body. Moreh represents the mind that is receptive to Truth; a tabernacle. In a tabernacle state of mind the constructive methods that are always characteristic of the divine are revealed, and in this state of mind protection and strength (oak tree) are realized, and victory is assured.
The “oak of Moreh” may also be said to represent a nerve center in the body, and the tabernacle an aggregation of cells.
The name Shechem means “inclining,” “shoulder.” Shechem represents man’s wholly material thoughts about himself and the universe, which tend to make life a burden.
The name Beth-el means “house of God.” Beth-el represents the understanding that all seemingly material things in reality have their origin in Spirit.
The name Ai means “heap of ruins.” Ai refers to egotism and self-confidence without recognition of Spirit. These qualities are counterfeits of faith; they are destructive of the building of a truly spiritual character and must be put away so that the individual may come into a knowledge of his unity with God.
Gen. 12:10. And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was sore in the land.
There was a famine in Abraham’s land, and this caused him to go down into Egypt. Egypt represents the realm of substance and life in the depths of the body consciousness. In a sense this is a region of darkness and mystery, yet it is a great kingdom rich in substance and essential to the preservation of the body.
It refers to the vitality of the abdominal region. Those who have not attained an all-round understanding of the divine law do not know how to affirm the flow of a steady current of life from below to feed the flame of intelligence above, and therefore they have periods of bodily exhaustion. In this condition they seem to lose divine guidance and are plunged into apparent darkness (Egypt). This is a very necessary adjustment however.
Gen. 12:11-20. And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: and it will come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they will say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister; that it may be well with me for thy sake, and that my soul may live because of thee. And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. And the princes of Pharaoh saw her, and praised her to Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. And he dealt well with Abram for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he-asses, and men-servants, and maid-servants, and she-asses, and camels. And Jehovah plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? why saidst thou, She is my sister, so that I took her to be my wife? now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. And Pharaoh gave men charge concerning him: and they brought him on the way, and his wife, and all that he had.
Here again we see the result of a lack of spiritual understanding. Pharaoh represents “the sun.” He is the ruler of the solar plexus, the sun center in the subconscious mind. This is obscurity or “Egypt” to the conscious mind. Pharaoh’s (the sun’s) being in Egypt points to the truth that the light of the sun of righteousness is veiled by our life on the lower or sense plane. Pharaoh also signifies the whole house, the whole body consciousness; he is the force that rules the body under the natural regime.
Sarai represents the soul not yet regenerated and under divine law should not be allowed to unite with Pharaoh (physical sensation). Not having the divine understanding when he was drawn down into Egypt (seat of the vital processes), Abram allowed Sarai (his unregenerate love, affection, and emotion) to become united with Pharaoh (the dominating physical ego) and this brought plagues upon the land of Egypt (bodily ills).
Metaphysicians regenerating their bodies through the power of the spoken word should heed this lesson. When quickening, cleansing, and readjusting the cells at their life center, they should silently declare:
“The sensation of the flesh cannot hold my love, for my love is the daughter of God, and we are joined in purity and pure desire in my Father’s house.”
Thus they may escape the plagues of Egypt and the rebuke of Pharaoh: “What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?”
Gen. 13:1. And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the South.
Abram went up out of the land of Egypt, “and Lot with him”; for the time had not yet come when Abram could part with Lot (the subjective) and dwell in the Promised Land (the purely spiritual consciousness).
Lot can also be said to symbolize the part of man’s consciousness that is still spiritually undeveloped. In other words, Lot represents the natural or animal man. Abram still had much growth to make before he could sustain a consciousness of Spirit. He was unable as yet to cross out the material side of his nature. He still had faith in materiality and a dual vision as to the fulfillment of the Scriptures. He saw the negative as well as the positive; evil as well as good.
Until the Christ Mind is firmly established in the individual he retains a certain residue of faith in negative appearances. This divided state of mind causes confusion and discord.
Gen. 13:2-4. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journeys from the South even to Beth-el, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-el and Ai.
Abram (faith) while in Egypt accumulates rich substance ideas, which are necessary for a well-balanced mind and body. Bethel (house of God) represents the perfect body ideal. Ai (heap of rubbish) represents the physical manifestation with an increased appreciation and possession of life and substance (cattle, silver, and gold).
The return from Egypt is symbolical of man’s return to his divine-natural consciousness. This was not a single event; it is something that occurs again and again in the Bible story, and is repeated in the case of every individual who comes into a realization of his spiritual oneness with God. The whole nation of Israel was called out of Egypt to assume its destiny of bringing forth the fruit unto righteousness and life everlasting, to play a part in the restitution of the race to its Edenic state. This is the essence of the covenant. Jesus came up out of Egypt where His parents had taken Him as a child. Abram (faith) did not remain long in Egypt (sense consciousness).
Gen. 13:5-7. And Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelt then in the land.
It was Abraham rather than Lot who suggested the separation. When man reaches a certain point in his spiritual development he realizes that he must let go of everything that retards his progress. Lot is typical of the natural man, always eager to take the best for himself. He chose the plain of the Jordan because it was “like the land of Egypt.”
True faith in God is separated from all negative belief that the body is material, impure, or transient. The herdsmen of Abraham were separated from the herdsmen of Lot. The time comes when by reason of the increase of faith or substance these two types of mind cannot dwell together: “the land was not able to bear them.” So the senses of the man who has centered his faith on the invisible are by degrees separated from the appeal of his lower nature and become true herdsmen of his enduring thoughts. As a true seer his vision is fixed on the changeless reality inhabiting all form, the substance of which all visible manifestation is but the configuration. His ear becomes attuned to the unbroken harmony of life that is permeating his mind and body and the world about him. He learns so to direct his thought of Spirit substance that if a belief in material imperfection should find lodgment in his consciousness one touch of his mind would release the hidden spring that opens the way to healing of the body.
Gen. 13:8-12. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou take the right hand, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the Plain of the Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before Jehovah destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of Jehovah, like the land of Egypt, as thou goest unto Zoar. So Lot chose him all the Plain of the Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the Plain, and moved his tent as far as Sodom.
When we put our faith wholeheartedly in spiritual reality and follow our ideal without wavering, we are willing to allow sense consciousness the choice of its own field of action. Abraham gave Lot his choice of land. When we withdraw our interest from the natural man, there is a separation. True thought and untrue thought cannot intermingle.
Canaan means “lowland,” but it is here that Abraham lived after his separation from Lot. Is it not significant that this “lowland” became the Promised Land, the land “flowing with milk and honey”? True faith, which works through love, has power to refine the body and so make it the promised land of the soul. When man rediscovers this lost domain, the promises of the Scriptures will be fulfilled.
Every faculty of the mind has an active and a passive side, an objective and a subjective, a positive and a negative. Abraham represents the faculty of faith in its positive expression. To complete the symbol we find Lot (“hidden,” “concealed”) representing the negative or undeveloped aspect of faith. His domain is the flesh. He accompanied Abraham into Egypt and back again. When they separated, Lot chose to dwell in the “Plain of the Jordan . . . like the land of Egypt, as thou goest unto Zoar.” The river Jordan here symbolizes the descending flow of thought running through the organism from head to foot. When mortal beliefs rule the individual, the life flow is muddy with sense concepts and turbulent with materiality. The Jordan is noted as a muddy stream. Zoar (“smallness,” “littleness”) represents that which is inferior. We should beware how we link our I AM consciousness with the faith that is established in the flesh, typified by Lot.
(For Sodom and Gomorrah see interpretation of Gen. 10).
Gen. 13:13-18. Now the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners against Jehovah exceedingly. And Jehovah said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward and southward and eastward and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then may thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for unto thee will I give it. And Abram moved his tent, and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built there an altar unto Jehovah.
Hebron (“community,” “alliance,” “friendship”) represents an association of ideas; in other words, concentration. Spiritual unfoldment always causes one to direct toward God’s children everywhere a kindly feeling that is constant, deep, tender. Ability to do this is one of the indispensable qualifications of every successful spiritual leader.
Mamre (“firmness,” “vigor,” “strength”) refers to the front brain, the seat of conscious thought. The lesson here is that faith in God (Abraham) brings about the right relationship among all the associated faculties, and withal an enduring firmness, vigor, and strength. Mamre in the sense of “fatness,” “abundantly supplied,” “well-fed,” refers to a consciousness of substance and riches. The qualities represented by Mamre are not of the highest spiritual consciousness, the Christ Mind, but they belong more to the spiritually awakening intellect of the individual.
In Truth a person does not have to change his residence in order to enter a new country. “The land which thou seest” refers to a new concept of substance. When we deny our attachment to matter and material conditions and affirm our unity with spiritual substance, we enter the new consciousness of real substance.
Substance is not confined to matter; it is the idea that is the firm foundation of all that we conceive to be permanent.
Abraham’s moving his tent signifies that the center of consciousness changed; in this case from a lower to a higher plane.
Gen. 14:1-11. And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar). All these joined together in the vale of Siddim (the same is the Salt Sea). Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness. And they returned, and came to En-mishpat (the same is Kadesh), and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazazon-tamar. And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar); and they set the battle in array against them in the vale of Siddim; against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings against the five. Now the vale of Siddim was full of slime pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell there, and they that remained fled to the mountain. And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
Amraphel (“keeper of the treasures,” “speaker of mysteries”) represents the belief of unawakened man that in generation, in physical reproduction, he is fulfilling the creative law of Being.
Shinar (“two rivers,” “divided stream,” “divided mind”) represents a belief in two powers, an evil as well as a good power, and error results.
Arioch (“lionlike,” “venerable”) represents the seeming power, strength, and (“lionlike”) dominion that sex lust has over man; also the belief so prevalent among all peoples that the secret desires and habits pertaining to the sex life must be good and must have been ordained of God because of ages of acceptance and practice. Therefore they are regarded as sacred (“venerable”).
Ellasar (“strong rebellion,” “oath of Assyria,” “oak of Assyria”) represents a state of consciousness whose central thought and belief has to do with sex on the physical plane. It does not look to Spirit for its strength and power but trusts in the “mind of the flesh.”
Chedorlaomer (“handful of sheaves,” “roundness of a sheaf”) represents the generative function of the body given over to the expression of sex lust.
Elam (“hidden,” “concealed,” “everlasting”) represents thoughts of the abidingness, resourcefulness, and creative power of Truth. The natural man may not know the truth of his being; it may be hidden under the debris of sense thought and belief. It will come to light in due time however and will bring forth its fruit of perfection in the life of every individual.
Tidal (“veneration,” “awe,” “fear”) represents the prominent place that sensuality has in the material and carnal states of consciousness that belong to the outer, animal man; also the fearfulness that results from sense expression.
Goiim (“Gentiles,” “people, especially foreign”) represents the carnal, material thoughts and states of consciousness that belong to the outer man (Gentile).
Bera (“spontaneous gift,” “son of desire,” “son of evil”) represents the directing thoughts and desires of the sensual state of consciousness denoted by Sodom.
(For Sodom see interpretation of Gen. 10.)
Birsha (“son of wickedness,” “son of impiety,” “fat with evil”) was King of Gomorrah in Abraham’s time. The name Gomorrah means “material force,” “tyranny,” “oppression.” Gomorrah denotes a state of mind that is adverse to the law of Spirit. This state of mind has to do with the submerged or hidden subconscious phase of man’s sensual life. Birsha represents the ruling thought in this state of consciousness in the individual.
Shinab (“sharpened desire,” “father of mutation,” “father of transgression”) represents the presiding thought of the state of consciousness denoted by Admah.
Admah (“dumb,” “unrelenting,” “tomb”) represents the seeming strength and mercilessness of the death thought and condition that enters into man’s experience as the result of his carnal, material, adverse thoughts and activities.
Shemeber (“superior brilliance,” “high flight,” “superior name”) represents the innate spiritual ideal implanted in man from the beginning that causes him to grow, unfold, and unceasingly desire and seek to attain a higher and better understanding.
Zeboiim (“wars,” “rending with the teeth”) represents ravenous appetites, sensual passions, the wild-beast nature holding sway in the subconsciousness. The fact that Shemeber was King of Zeboiim shows that the perfect-man idea of God is implanted in the physical being of man as well as in his more inner spiritual consciousness.
Zoar (“reduced,” “lessened”) denotes inferiority. It was one of the wicked cities of the plain belonging to Moab (carnal mind).
Bela (“swallow up,” “utterly consume or destroy”) represents the destructive tendencies in consciousness. The city of Bela symbolizes a group of destroying, consuming thoughts. It suggests the destroying of letting go of error by denial, an absorption or “swallowing up” of error by Truth or of darkness by light, thus doing away with the error.
Siddim (“extensions,” “stony land”) represents the very lowest material idea and manifestation of substance in the sense consciousness and the body consciousness of the individual.
Rephaim (“bonds,” “terrors,” “giants”) was the name of a people of great stature, and Rephaim represents the seeming strength of binding, fear-producing, opposing thoughts in consciousness at a certain stage of man’s unfoldment into Truth.
Ashteroth-karnaim (“horned Ashteroth,” “Ashteroth of two peaks”) represents the state of consciousness in man that attributes double honor, authority, and power to purely intellectual understanding and capacity. In this state of consciousness man does not recognize that God instead of intellect is the source of intelligence. The intellect borrows its real light from Spirit, just as the moon, which has no light of its own, reflects light from the sun. Ashteroth refers to the moon or intellect, while Karnaim (two horns or peaks) suggests exultation and power.
Zuzim (“glittering,” “flowing out like rays,” “sprouting,” “restless”) was the name of a people “in Ham.” Zuzim represents the confusion, fears, unrestrained emotions, and general terrors of the physical consciousness of “mind of the flesh,” seemingly very prominent and flourishing at a certain stage in the evolution or unfoldment of the individual.
Ham (“inferior,” “hot”) represents the material consciousness in man.
Emim (“the terrible,” “formidable people,” “objects of terror,” that is, “idols”) was the name of a race of giants in Shaveh-kiriathaim. Metaphysically Emim represents giant terrors and fears in human consciousness that are a result of man’s believing in the outer, formed world and the conditions that man has built up as being real and true.
Shaveh-kiriathaim (“plain of the twin cities,” “plain of the double meetings”) is the name of a place. The name Shaveh means “a plain,” and Shaveh represents an equalized, poised state of mind and body. The name Kiriathaim means “double city,” and Kiriathaim denotes double strength or supply. Shaveh-kiriathaim thus denotes poise and equilibrium in the consciousness and the organism, doubly established and sure.
The Horites (“cave dwellers,” “dwellers in black holes”), inhabitants of Edom, represent forces in action in man’s physical organism, more especially the deep-seated, subconscious, fleshly forces and tendencies.
Seir (“bristling,” “hairy,” “rough,” “horror”) represents the physical or sense consciousness in man.
El-paran (“strength of Paran,” “oak of the region of the caves”) denotes the seeming strength of the multitude of confused and undisciplined thoughts and energies in man’s subconscious mind that are given over to the furtherance of sense expression.
En-mishpat (“fountain of judgment,” “fountain of right”) symbolizes the truth that under the law of adjustment, when it reaches a certain point in expression, sense indulgence destroys the very error desires that keep it active in consciousness. Then these desires die for lack of fuel to keep them alive.
The name Kadesh means “holy,” “consecrated,” “a sanctuary.” Kadesh represents the divine presence within the individual consciousness.
The Amalekites (“warlike,” “valley dweller,” “that licks up”) represent the base desires of the individual; the animal forces, appetites, and passions of the subconscious mind.
(For Amorites see interpretation of Gen. 10.)
Hazazon-tamar (“a division of palms,” “felling of palms,” “victory divided”) represents a divided mind. This mind must be conquered before one can become fearless and so gain a real victory over error. When the thoughts are divided the results are divided.
This whole Scripture reveals the working out of sense on the lowest plane of consciousness. The kings in this chapter who served Chedorlaomer for twelve years and then rebelled represent ruling thoughts in the hidden sense consciousness of man. Error fights error, destroying much of it, and the remainder is lifted up (flees to the mountain) and eventually is absorbed by Truth. We often refer to this movement of mind as a transmuting process. A close study of these verses tells us that even in battling with sex the Spirit of the Lord is constantly working, through the law of sowing and reaping, to unveil to man’s consciousness a higher way of life.
Gen. 14:12. And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
Lot and all his possessions were carried away by Chedorlaomer and the kings with him, who symbolize the rule of sensuality in man. These sense beliefs and desires have seemingly overpowered the negative side of faith that Lot symbolizes. The power of this side of faith has been taken over to build up and sustain flesh that is ruled over by carnal thought. But when knowledge of this occurrence comes to the positive side of the faith faculty in the individual (Abraham) who has come up out of material thought (Egypt) and passed to a higher concept of God (Hebrew), let us see what happens. Positive faith (Abraham) gets into action with a thought power that destroys sense rule (Chedorlaomer and his allies) and restores negative faith (Lot) to its rightful place in consciousness.
Gen. 14:13-20. And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew: now he dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were confederate with Abram. And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan. And he divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, at the vale of Shaveh (the same is the King’s Vale). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be God Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thine hand. And he gave him a tenth of all.
Mamre (“strength”), Aner (“adolescent youth”), and Eshcol (“fruitfulness”), the Amorites who “were confederate with Abram,” suggest thoughts of vigor and abundant substance inspired by faith. These thoughts are apparently material in expression (Amorites), yet they are friendly toward the individual’s higher concepts or faith in God (Abraham), because in reality their true origin is Spirit. They lend their conception of strength and power to the aid of faith while it is gaining its victory over error.
Faith brings into action all its accumulated wisdom and understanding (“he led forth his trained men”) and makes a union with the judgment faculty (Dan). Then faith strikes at the very root of sensuality, the mortal man’s belief that life is material. This belief is the hiding or lurking place (Hobah) for the error thoughts symbolized by the kings who took Lot captive.
We can never fully overcome sensuality until we put away belief in materiality. We must know that our whole being, including the body, is not material but spiritual. By sowing according to belief in the flesh we reap the corruption of the flesh, but by sowing according to Spirit we reap eternal life. (Damascus also, like Hobah, signifies a state of consciousness founded on a material conception of life in the body.)
We find a rich symbology in the story of Abraham’s victorious return from the battle. He was met at the “vale of Shaveh” (which means “plain,” a level place, a place of equality) by Melchizedek (whose name means “king of righteousness”), priest of God, who here symbolizes the Christ consciousness in the individual. The King of Sodom also met and greeted Abraham on the “plain” of equality (Shaveh). He here represents the ruling power in the physical.
When the Christ consciousness rules in both the mind and the body, the individual is established in right thinking and right doing (righteousness). Then he has come to the place of peace, poise, equilibrium, and wholeness signified by Shaveh. When this place is reached in both the inner and the outer consciousness (Salem and Sodom) there is a great increase of substance and of life in one’s realization. This increase comes from the higher spiritual mind within, the Christ, and is symbolized by the bread and the wine that Melchizedek gave to Abraham. Melchizedek blessed Abraham and blessed God, and Abraham gave him “a tenth of all.” When a person realizes that his victories are gained by the power of God alone, he should willingly use a tenth of his increase of power, understanding, and substance for the furtherance of the Christ Truth.
Gen. 14:21-24. And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lifted up my hand unto Jehovah, God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread nor a shoe-latchet nor aught that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men that went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
Abraham refused the proffered gifts of the King of Sodom (sense man), which teaches us that there must be a lifting up and transmuting of the seeming material life and substance in the body before it can be utilized by the higher faculties of the mind. None of the credit for the multiplication of substance and strength should be given to the mortal in man’s nature. Spirit gives all the increase of good.
Abram represents the spiritual ego, and the King of Sodom represents the personal, the physical ego. The spiritual ego or spiritual man has its first development on the physical plane. The two egos, the spiritual and the physical, are united there in appropriating physical things, personal things, that they consider valuable, such as appetites, passions, and other things on the sense plane. The spiritual man advances or develops beyond that. He does not want these things, so he gives them all to the personality, the physical ego. Then the physical man is willing to give up anything to the spiritual man, and he will claim that he supplied the spiritual man. That is the glorification of the personality. The personal man claims that he is the whole thing, that everything belongs to him. It is personal selfishness, and the spiritual man does not want to be told that he got anything from the physical. He gets his things from the realm of ideas, the spiritual realm.
Man is prone to feel that the outer or sense world is the source of his good, at least a measure of it. But in order fully to realize our sonship and our divine heritage, we must hold fast to Spirit. We must see Spirit as our only cause and sustenance. We have a tendency to plead the cause of the good in our sense nature. This is characteristic of all of us. We try hard to save some of our sense thoughts and secret habits. We have indulged in them so long (and our ancestors before us did likewise, beyond the memory of man) that we cannot help thinking there is some good in them. However we, like Abraham, must keep our vision high. We must hold steadfastly to the realization that God is the one source of all, that in spirit and in truth all is good.
The young (“immature”) men who went with Abram had partaken (“eaten”) of the pleasures of sense. They represent the primitive understanding, and as such they are excused from the operation of the spiritual law. The plane of activity for life and strength at a certain stage of man’s development is the physical, material plane. During this stage God in His grace grants to man, when his motive is pure, a degree of immunity from the effects of his ignorant transgression of the divine law.
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Mysteries of Genesis
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