Mysteries of Genesis, by Charles Fillmore, , at sacred-texts.com
AN ALLEGORY is a description of one thing under the image of another. It suggests but does not specifically state a meaning. A key to its interpretation is necessary, and this is usually given in the proper names that are used. By the employment of such symbols the Bible describes man in his wholeness, spirit, soul, and body. The names of men, places, tents, temples in every case have a meaning relative to the character of man. Mental states are thus described, and it is important that the individual who seeks spiritual wisdom for his regeneration shall be able to understand the allegory by use of the key hidden in the names.
An example of this is the name Jacob, which means "supplanter," one who gradually supplants and takes the place of the natural man in the consciousness of the individual and of the race. To accomplish this great work it is necessary that the individualized I AM shall have certain experiences and develop certain faculties essential to the higher-type man that is to follow.
Mystics tell us that man passes through twelve stages in his spiritual development. Each of these is a particular state of consciousness developed by a presiding ego or faculty. The last and highest state of consciousness is that complete, twelve-sided spiritual character attained by Jesus. This final attainment of the
twelvefold man reveals the spiritual man, the image and likeness created in the beginning. These states may all be active in the individual consciousness at the same time, but the dominant one will indicate the point the person has reached in his development.
Jacob was overdeveloped intellectually and robbed his body (Esau) of its rightful heritage of life. This wrong was atoned for when he divided his accumulated wealth with Esau. In the meantime he had developed the spiritual side of his life and had brought forth a number of faculties (sons).
Metaphysically interpreted, Jacob's journeying toward the east is a way of saying that the illumined intellect is penetrating deeper into the inner spiritual consciousness. The well of water symbolizes an innate spiritual life capacity in the body consciousness. The three flocks of sheep represent three states of physical existence, each on its own plane expressing the innocent, obedient activity of life. The people Jacob visits are living in Haran, the name of which means "strong," "exalted," "mountaineer"; the people being not necessarily spiritual but having high ideals. Their concepts are limited in expression ("they put the stone again upon the well's mouth in its place"). Laban represents the unsophisticated natural man whose pure high ideals are expressed by Rachel and Leah (they shepherd his sheep or thoughts). Jacob (related through his mother to this divine-natural plane of consciousness) now makes a closer contact that brings about prosperity for all concerned.
When unselfish love touches the heart, self drops out of the mind. Love in the heart lifts us out of the time limitations of sense consciousness into the joy of the eternal present. When we forget ourselves in the service of love, the selflessness of God takes possession
of our being. Yet the selfless man is ever the self-possessed man, such is the paradox of spiritual law. The higher self in man loves the pure natural soul (Rachel) and works joyously to possess it. The higher self also loves the human part of the soul (Leah) with an objective love and feeds it with the enduring substance of true thought. Jacob was true to Leah. We can sustain the whole consciousness in health and unfailing strength by recognizing it as the essence of invisible substance.
The love story of Jacob and Rachel is one of the most beautiful in all literature. Jacob served her father seven years for her hand and was then disappointed because he had to marry her elder sister Leah. He then served seven more years for Rachel, which because of his great love for her seemed but a few days.
The name Bilhah means "bashfulness," "timidity," "tenderness." Bilhah represents a tendency of the soul toward self-abasement.
The name Zilpah means "distilling," "leaking." Zilpah symbolizes the unfolding soul of man in which as yet too much of the human is in evidence.
The first child born to Leah was Reuben. At his birth she cried, "Jehovah hath looked upon my affliction." The emphasis is on the word looked, and we find that the name Reuben means "a son seen," "vision of the son." Thus the mother revealed the character of the faculty represented by the child, and this is likewise true in the case of each of the sons.
The first faculty brought forth in man's spiritual development is vision, the ability to discern the reality of Spirit that lies back of every form or symbol in the material world. Like Jacob all Truth seekers are anxious to develop faith (Benjamin) to remove mountains and imagination (Joseph) to mold substance to their desires, but also like Jacob they must bring forth the faculties of seeing, hearing, feeling, praise, judgment, strength, power, understanding, zeal, and order on the spiritual plane.
Simeon, the second son of Leah, represents hearing or, in a broader sense, receptivity. When man is receptive to the inflow of Spirit nothing can keep his good from him, and he is in a position to make rapid strides in his development.
When Levi, the third son, was born, Leah exclaimed, "Now this time will my husband be joined unto me." The emphasis is on the word joined. Levi means "uniting," which in the body is feeling, in the soul compassion, and in the spirit love. The faculty of love is the unifying principle in consciousness. It connects our forces with that on which we
center our attention. When our attention is focused on Spirit, these faculties become spiritualized. When we elevate love (Levi) to the plane of Spirit (John), it draws to us all that the soul requires. When it is kept on the lower plane as feeling or emotion it often leads to selfishness, to indulgence, even to violence.
The fourth son of Jacob and Leah was Judah. In the Hebrew this name means "praise Jehovah." In Spirit this is prayer and the faculty of accumulating spiritual substance. In sense consciousness this faculty becomes acquisitiveness, the desire to accumulate material things, and if the self is dominant the faculty "hath a devil" (Judas).
Rachel and Bilhah represent soul attitudes. The name Rachel means "journeying," "migrating," which indicates a transitory state. In this instance Rachel was finding fault with Jacob (I AM). Such an attitude
thwarts the inflow of Spirit. This is why Rachel had not conceived.
Bilhah was modest and teachable, consequently receptive to Spirit. This receptivity opens the door to spiritual inspiration, whose fruit is good judgment (Dan) and strength of character (Naphtali). That there is a close relation between the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of strength is shown by the fact that the back becomes tired when thoughts of the burdens of materiality are held. The realization that all strength is primarily spiritual relieves this condition, and strength is restored. ("Lo now, his strength is in his loins," says Job.) Man retards his spiritual growth by his material thinking and his mental clinging to the things of the world. The faculties of judgment and strength find expression in the physical or more outer consciousness of man, but their true origin is Spirit, and their spiritual nature and spiritual activity are in due time established. The higher expression of this faculty is symbolized by Jesus' apostle Andrew.
Jacob and his sons lived several hundred years before the time of Jesus, hence represent the eariler stages of man's development. They were natural men living by sense and emotion, yet possessing great spiritual possibilities. In the same way our faculties in the first stages of their unfoldment express themselves on the lower planes of sense. Like everything else with which we have to deal, they have a physical, a mental, and a spiritual side to bring into manifestation.
The faculties evolve on three planes. Jacob being a type of the illumined mental, his sons especially portray ideals. By developing our ideals we may attain to a high degree of human perfection. But before we can
become anything more than human or mortal our faculties must be spiritualized and put to work on the heavenly plane. Just as the sense man has reached his present stage by the development of the senses, so the divine man must evolve by the development of his spiritual powers. The faculties involved are essentially the same, differing only as regards the plane on which they are expressed, since body, soul, and spirit are really one, and are separated only in consciousness.
Leah's maid Zilpah (whose name means "distilling," "extracting an essence") was the mother of the next two sons, Gad and Asher. Gad symbolizes power, which at this stage of development is on the personal plane. Divine Mind gives man power over his thoughts and ideas and the forces of the soul. In the higher consciousness this power is exercised over the self and inner conditions rather than over other persons and the world without. The higher expression is shown by the apostle Philip.
Asher symbolizes understanding, which corresponds to wisdom in the realm of Spirit (Thomas). Through his knowing faculty man acquires a body of knowledge by study and observation of the world without. Through the same faculty he acquires wisdom by being
receptive to the Spirit within. Tennyson brings out this difference clearly when he says, "Knowledge is earthly, of the mind; but wisdom is heavenly, of the soul."
Jacob now had eight sons, four by Leah, two by Bilhah, and two by Zilpah.
There is an interesting story in connection with the birth of the next son. In the Oriental household where there were several wives there were sure to be petty jealousies and naive intrigues. Jacob spent most of his time with Rachel since she was his favorite. To get his attention Leah bargained with Rachel to keep out of the way for a while, and as a reward gave her some mandrakes or "love apples" that her son Reuben had
brought in to her. Leah had great zeal and was never discouraged by her failure of her attempts to win Jacob's favor. When the child was born she called him Issachar, a name meaning "there is reward." Metaphysically he represents the faculty of zeal, active in substance and in the body consciousness.
Zeal is a strong force, the urge behind all things and the impulse to every achievement. It sets in motion all the machinery of the universe to attain the object of its desire. It should be tempered with understanding and love, else it becomes a destructive force. Even a criminal may be zealous in his work.
The spiritual side of the zeal faculty is represented by the apostle Simon the Canaanite.
It is worthy of note that Leah--metaphysically the human soul as distinguished from the more advanced soul (Rachel)--was the mother of six or one half of Jacob's sons. The last one she brought forth was Bebulun (whose name means "habitation," "neighbor") and who symbolizes the faculty of order. Order is the first law of the universe. Indeed there could be no universe unless its various parts were kept in perfect harmony. In the sense mind there is disorder, manifest in confusion of thought and action, while in Divine Mind everything is perfect order. Therefore it is most important, if we are to survive at all, that our thoughts be put in order and kept in harmony with divine intelligence.
Even in the small details of life, such as dress, conversation, eating, sleeping, and working, system and order enables one to live a richer and fuller life. But only in divine order can be found the life abundant and eternal. This order is established in our body and
affairs when we live up to the higher convictions of our being under the guidance of spiritual understanding. No man-made law can be strong, true, or exact enough to insure perfect order. Only when man becomes conscious of who and what he is can he exercise his God-given dominion and bring his life into line with the principle of divine order, which is mind, idea, and manifestation. The apostle James, son of Alphaeus, symbolizes order on the spiritual plane.
The name Dinah, the daughter of Leah and Jacob, means "judged," "justified," "acquitted," "avenged." Dinah represents the soul side or feminine aspect of the judgment faculty in man; it might be called intuition, the intuition of the natural man.
During all this time Jacob had been serving his father-in-law Laban in the country of Haran. This was a high or mountainous place and metaphysically denotes the high state of consciousness in which the individual is strengthened and given the determination to go forward to spiritual enlightenment and full development. Eleven of Jacob's sons were born in Haran, the last of whom was Joseph, the child of Rachel, the beloved. In the high state of spiritual consciousness man develops the faculties from the simple one of seeing
to that of imagination, the faculty represented by Joseph.
This Scripture is quite symbolical of conditions within ourselves.
One of the forces operative in the illumined intellect (Jacob) is the image-making faculty of the mind. In this Scripture the activity of this faculty is freely exemplified. The imagination has the ability and power to throw onto the screen of visibility in substance and life any idea that the mind conceives. This accounts for the rapid increase in Jacob's possessions.
Jacob served Laban seven years thinking he would get Rachel (the spiritual soul) to wife only to find that Leah (the human soul) had been substituted. This would indicate that Laban in one aspect of his nature was something of a trickster. Jacob then had to work another seven years to pay for Rachel. However, there is only one presence, one power, one intelligence, and
one's own must come to him. When the soul looks steadily to Omnipresence, it finds that the law of equilibrium adjusts all conditions. For his hire Jacob was to take from Laban's flock all the ring-streaked and speckled and spotted cattle, all the black sheep, and all the speckled and spotted goats; which he removed some little distance. In addition to this he was to receive from the increase of Laban's flocks, which were free from these markings, all those animals which bore the same markings as Jacob's flocks.
When the strong, healthy herds were ready to conceive, Jacob placed in the gutters around the watering troughs where they came to drink rods of fresh poplar, and of almond, and of the plane tree, in which he had peeled white streaks; the flocks conceived before these rods, and they brought forth young that were ring-streaked, speckled, and spotted. When the weak flocks were ready to conceive and came to drink, he took away the rods in which he had peeled the white streaks. In the end Jacob had large, strong, healthy herds and Laban had small and weak herds.
Taking it all in all, the illumined intellect (Jacob) receives all that it deserves.
These passages in Genesis show the urge toward higher things on the part of those who received the quickening of the Spirit. Jacob, Laban, and Laban's family were of the same stock, but Jacob was more spiritually awakened, and because of his superior understanding all those with whom he was associated enjoyed increase of understanding and substance. Laban said to Jacob, "I have divined that Jehovah hath blessed me for thy sake." Separating the animals owned jointly by Laban and Jacob implies that the vital forces have
expanded to the point where finer types are possible. These types are represented as "ringstreaked, speckled, and spotted," and they fell to Jacob. Jacob also discovered that he could increase his "flocks" by using his image-making faculty, focusing the mind on a certain image when he was in creative consciousness. The sculptor makes a mental image of the thing he is carving and it appears under the impact of his hand.
Laban and his family represent the pure natural in man, to which Jacob (spiritual illumination) brings expansion. Laban acknowledged that Jacob had brought him prosperity. But the spiritually illumined intellect (Jacob) reaps a share of the increase, and to this the natural man objects when his sons or "afterthoughts" call his attention to it.
In his dream Jehovah showed Jacob (illumined intellect) that he had finished his work in Haran (a high exalted state of consciousness on the natural plane) and now must function in a more fertile, productive soil. He must return with his possessions to the land of his nativity.
The wives for whom Jacob had labored also had their substance share and inherited part of the increase. When the mind is spiritually quickened all the faculties respond, especially the imagination, as indicated by the "ringstreaked, speckled, and grizzled" progeny.
Jacob was moving from Haran all the possessions he had acquired in Paddan-aram (the place of substance in the organism) to Canaan (the state of consciousness that to the individual is the kingdom of heaven). He took away with him a great wealth of substance, including camels, cattle, sheep, gold, and silver, and even the teraphim (highest thoughts) of that land.
"I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst a pillar, where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy nativity."
We recall that Bethel, "the house of God," symbolizes the consciousness in which Jacob dwelt when he beheld the ladder reaching to heaven and exclaimed, "Surely Jehovah is in this place; and I knew it not."
Gilead represents a high state of consciousness, where Spirit reveals its discerning, judging power. In this state of consciousness man refuses to allow his high ideals to become subject to error reasonings. Thus his spiritual discernment is not clouded by mortal thinking.
The teraphim were household gods of the Eastern peoples. They were images, apparently human in form, that were used for purposes of worship in the homes of the people. They were supposed to bring prosperity and health and general domestic good. Even the Israelites used these images much of the time, though the practice was of heathen origin.
Metaphysically the teraphim represent thoughts tending to the outer only for supply, protection, and all good (givers of prosperity, guardians of comforts,
nourishers, domestic idols); thoughts that imply trust in the many outer channels through which one's good comes to one instead of faith in God as one's sustenance and power of development; also the many thoughts and desires that man entertains and gives expression to in outer ways and that should first of all be centered in the one Presence within him.
Man should remember always that he does not live by bread alone, by outer ways and means, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God: by the inner creative, sustaining, energizing life, love, power, strength, and intelligence of Spirit.
Laban symbolizes that which is pure and gentle. He was told in a dream what had happened, but God also revealed to him that he was not to speak good or bad to Jacob. However, he searched the tents for the teraphim without discovering them, as Rachel had placed them on the camel's back under the saddle on which she was riding. A covenant was made between Jacob and Laban. They gathered stones in a heap and they ate there. Laban called the heap Jegar-sahadutha, the Aramaic name for Galeed. Galeed means "massive witness," "heap of witnesses," "rock of time," "great endurance." It was the heap of stones that Jacob and Laban gathered for a witness between them when Jacob with his wives, children, and possessions left Laban to return to Esau and to Jacob's own country. It was also called Mizpah, "watchtower," and thus signifies the watchtower of prayer, while Galeed signifies the witness that Spirit with man bears to Truth. By following the true Jehovah Spirit in ourselves we shall always deal justly with every phase of our consciousness and of our entire organism, as well as with persons. "This heap be witness, and the pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me, for harm."
Jacob offered a sacrifice, and he and his brethren ate bread together. The sacrifice consisted of an animal
slaughtered as an offering to the deity in man, symbolizing the surrender to Spirit of the animal forces that they may be transmuted into higher states of consciousness. Eating bread means joining in communion, partaking of spiritual substance. Early in the morning Laban arose and kissed his sons and his daughters in token of affection. Then he invoked divine favor upon them and returned to his place.