Mysteries of Genesis, by Charles Fillmore, , at sacred-texts.com
THE BIRTH of Jacob, son of Isaac and Rebekah, is described in the 25th chapter of Genesis, and the remainder of the book, or exactly half of its fifty chapters, tells of the activities of Jacob and his twelve sons. Such emphasis shows the importance of Jacob as a symbol of the I AM, that spiritual man whose creation, manifestation, and development is the theme of Genesis. This ideal man does not fully develop in the Jacob symbol but continues to unfold all through the Bible, coming into full expression as Christ Jesus. As Jacob however we find man developing his spiritual faculties (twelve sons) and then taking them down into Egypt (body consciousness) to begin the great work of redemption.
Involution always precedes evolution. The I AM and its spiritual faculties must be sent down into the body consciousness before the evolution of the spiritual man can begin. Spirit does not direct the work of regeneration from a distant heaven, but from its center in the crown of the head directs and transforms the very heart of each atom of the body.
Many workers in Truth think it is useless to go down into this obscure kingdom of Egypt within each man. They are not willing for Joseph to spend a part of his time in that country making ready the storehouses and filling them with the vitality that will be needed when the outer man has used up his resources. These persons will find that they cannot have that joyous reunion of mind and body with all the faculties unless they are willing to let the higher thought go consciously down into the body (Egypt) and rule there, as Joseph ruled second only to Pharaoh himself.
We must not forget that it is down in Egypt (the body) that we find the "grain" or substance that is required to sustain the whole man. The several visits of Joseph's brothers to Egypt for grain and their final reconciliation with him are a symbolical representation of the manner in which we make connection with the obscured vitality center within the organism, eventually bringing all our faculties into conjunction with it, that it may in due course be lifted up to a spiritual manifestation.
Canaan, from which Jacob and his sons migrated, means "lowland," while Egypt means "tribulation." To the metaphysician these names represent the two phases of substance. Canaan represents the invisible substance that surrounds and interpenetrates all bodies, while Egypt represents substance that has been formed
as material and is perceived by the senses. The faculties of mind, represented by Jacob's sons, first inhabit the realm of invisible substance and are sustained by it; then they pass into the realm of the visible or formed substance--from Canaan to Egypt. This is the way in which the mind forms the soul and its vehicle, the physical body. Thoughts are first expressed as ideas in the invisible substance, then they enter into visibility as things.
When man is ignorant of the creative power of his mind, he gravitates to a material basis in all his thinking and acting. Among the sons of Jacob only Joseph (imagination) had knowledge of the reality of the invisible. The others scoffed at him as a visionary. They refused to plant their seed thoughts in the soil of the invisible substance, and the result was a famine--there was no grain in Canaan.
When we refuse to observe the law of creative mind, we oppose the working out of life's problems in the divine way, according to principle, and are compelled to work them out in a harder way. This is why the "way of the transgressor is hard." Thousands go down into Egypt and suffer the trials and limitations of materiality when, if they were more observant of the law and obedient to their spiritual leadings, they might remain in the joy and freedom of Christ. Yet even in the world of materiality (Egypt) the chosen of the Lord (Israelites) prosper and multiply. The children of Jacob increased from a few score to over two million during their sojourn in Egypt. No matter how great your trials or how dark your way may seem, if you hold to your belief in the omnipresence, omnipotence, and goodness of God, you will succeed, and
no material oppression can hold you down.
A spy is one who seeks to discover certain facts by stealthy observation. Joseph was testing out his brothers in his endeavor to ascertain where they stood in consciousness; also whether his beloved father Jacob (the I AM) was still alive (functioning in the conscious mind) and how it was with him. He also desired to see again his own brother Benjamin (faith). All in all Joseph was yearning to see his kindred and to be reunited with them.
The brothers were greatly troubled when Joseph insisted that they bring Benjamin, their youngest brother, down into Egypt. Benjamin, among the twelve faculties, represents faith. Imagination (Joseph) needs faith (Benjamin) to complete its work and to hold fast the gains it has made. Like Joseph's brothers, we think that faith is too pure, too lofty and holy to risk contaminating it with the things of material sense. We like to hold it on the high plane of spiritual consciousness rather than send it down into the body consciousness. Yet this we must do if we are to save the other faculties and the whole man. The brothers were in grave danger of being held prisoners, or so it seemed to them, unless Benjamin were brought down into
Egypt. They remembered their father's great grief over the loss of Joseph and they felt that the sacrifice of parting with Benjamin, the other son of his beloved Rachel, would be too much for him.
During these trying moments their minds recalled Joseph and his cries for mercy, to which they had turned a deaf ear when they sold him into slavery. Joseph's immediate presence may have had something to do with suggesting this memory even though they did not recognize him. Conscience stricken, they said one to another, "We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us." They evidently understood something of the law of sowing and reaping in those days, for at least they did not lay their troubles to charge of Providence, as is done so much now. They thought they were about to reap what they had sown years before.
Simeon ("one who listens and obeys") was held in bondage by Joseph, which reveals that soul receptivity and obedience are necessary adjuncts to the imagination.
Joseph (the imaging power of the mind) has access to unlimited supply (all the substance in Egypt). Joseph knew that his brothers possessed the same capacities that he himself did, but they were not consciously aware of this. Through Joseph they (the other faculties) are being educated; the famine in their land means that they lack understanding of their
spiritual resources. Joseph (imagination) is the avenue through which these resources are brought to them, and one of the lessons here presented under the guise of restoring to them their purchase money is "Give, and it shall be given unto you." They are treated as spies or aliens in this land of omnipresent divine resources because they are ignorant of the fact that they belong in the family of God and that Joseph is their kin.
Jacob, grieving over the loss of two sons and fearful at the prospect of losing the third and dearest son next to Joseph (Benjamin), represents the personal man who is still in bondage to personal thoughts. But Reuben (spiritual perception) is launching out and is beginning to realize that all is well (in divine order) and is willing to offer up his most valuable possessions as surety for the safe return of his brother Benjamin: "Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee."
"If harm befall him by the way in which ye go, then will ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to Sheol" is indicative of the grief, sorrow, and darkened state of mind that result when the human consciousness sees death or the loss of loved ones as reality.
Here again the outer man has appropriated all his substance and must go down into Egypt to replenish his store. Judah (the prayer faculty) calls the attention of Jacob (the I AM) to the fact that the journey would be fruitless unless they were accompanied by Benjamin (awakening faith). It really requires awakening
faith to open the door into the storehouse of substance over which the imagination (Joseph) rules.
With great bitterness of heart Jacob finally consents. He directs his sons (the faculties) to take with them presents--"a little balm, and a little honey, spicery and myrrh, nuts, and almonds; and take double money in your hand; and the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks carry again in your hand"--which represent the limited substance ideas of the personal man. His sons go forth into Egypt with Jacob's blessing, which Jacob has poured out upon his idea of substance, though it be meager. By so doing he has opened the way for a larger spiritual inflow. "The blessing of Jehovah, it maketh rich."
It seems almost sacrilegious to give an interpretation of this Scripture, because it is so beautiful as literature and so true on the natural plane. However it
is symbolical of the consummation or final union of the imagination (Joseph) with its brother faculty faith (Benjamin). Substance (represented by the feast set before them) also plays an important part. This is the fulfillment of the law through faith and imagination and their auxiliary powers.
The Egyptians and Hebrews sat apart from Joseph. The Egyptians represent substance on the formed or physical plane, and the Hebrews represent substance in the spiritual or invisible realm. Joseph represents the directive or molding power of Spirit.
The movements of mind just described also presage a new cycle or round in soul unfoldment.
Joseph in Egypt symbolizes the word of the imagination in subconsciousness, or the involution of a high spiritual idea. In this Scripture the imagination is given the opportunity to try out the strength of the other faculties (Joseph's brothers) in an endeavor to discover if they have come to that place in consciousness where they can work from the viewpoint of Truth, regardless of all else.
Joseph's having the cup put into Benjamin's sack represents one of the subtle ways in which the Lord imparts Truth to man's consciousness. The cup symbolizes the word or measure in which Truth is realized, and although the recipient is not aware of it, it does its work and finally comes to consciousness in the presence of Jehovah's representative (Joseph) and all the other faculties (brothers).
This cup, the Scripture relates, was used by Joseph to "divine" with, which shows its mystical quality. It is also related to the cup that Jesus used at the Last Supper.
Judah made an effective plea for Benjamin and his father. This is one of the most excellent things of its kind in all literature. It shows a complete change of mind and heart, which is true repentance. Judah had proposed to sell Joseph into slavery. The praise faculty represented by Judah had been on a low plane of expression at that time. But Judah had grown with the years (as the praise faculty grows with use) and had become most unselfish, even to the point of offering himself as a hostage for his youngest brother. Where selfishness, jealousy, and hardness had ruled him before, there was now unselfish love, humility, devotion to principle, and willingness to serve even to the extent of giving up his liberty or his life, if need be, for the sake of his father (the I AM).
True repentance is always followed by forgiveness, which is a complete wiping out of the error thought from consciousness and a full deliverance from the inharmony that the error thought has produced.
After hearing Judah's plea Joseph could restrain himself no longer. He made himself known to his brothers, and there was a happy reunion. This whole
Scripture proves that back of all the Spirit of the Lord is working to bring forth the perfect world. "To them that love God all things work together for good."
Joseph was the chosen servant of the Lord to preserve not only the Egyptians but also those who dwelt in the surrounding countries. Out of a seemingly unbearable jealous condition the lives of thousands were preserved, and most important, a wonderful soul unfoldment took place in the whole Israelitish race. Joseph symbolizes the sublime idea of Truth's going down into the darkened sense consciousness and under the law raising it up and out of sense into Spirit. Joseph was seemingly forced to go to Egypt by his brothers, yet he was sent by the Lord to prepare for the maintenance of Jacob's family through the period of dearth that later came to Canaan. The Truth idea he represents, when taken down into the sense consciousness, establishes there a new realization of life that results in the regeneration of the entire man. We must often go consciously into every part of our body and build it up in Truth with new ideas of life and substance.
The name Goshen means "drawing near." Metaphysically it represents a state of unity.
Joseph sent his brothers home rejoicing, laden with presents for their father, and there was no longer any regret that they had brought Benjamin down into Egypt. True repentance means the changing of the mind and all its contents of error belief. When we have done this we can unify ourselves with Truth, and then we are blessed in both mind and body with the true riches of Spirit.
Pharaoh, the ruling ego of the subconsciousness, joyfully welcomes Joseph's kindred. This reveals that the constructive imagination (Joseph) not only mirrors forth plenty that becomes manifest as substantial supply
but also brings peace and harmony to the whole man. Every form and thing, whether in the ether or on the earth, represents some idea or mental attitude. The idea is first projected into mind substance and afterward formed in consciousness through the imagining faculty of the mind.
Beer-sheba here represents spiritual inspiration (wells of water, reservoir) within man's consciousness that he has received and is acting on. The amazing activity and success of the imagination has opened up a larger substance source in body, and the whole thought family (Jacob's) is moving in and taking conscious possession of it.
God spoke to Jacob and told him not to fear to go down into Egypt, because He (God) would go with him and bring him out again after he had become a
great nation. The descent into the land of Egypt of Jacob and his sons, together with the possessions that they had accumulated in Canaan, their wives, children, goods, flocks, and herds, symbolizes to us the unification of the I AM with all the faculties of the mind and of the life energy and substance of the whole man with the body. This happy result is brought about by the action of the faculty of imagination (all dwelt together "in the land of Goshen," which signifies unity). This new state of mind becomes a part of the permanent consciousness in the new land.
"And Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes" means that through the faculty of imagination the perception of the other faculties is quickened and increased.
(For the symbology of Jacob's twelve sons, his wives Leah and Rachel, and the two handmaids Bilhah and Zilpah see the interpretation of Gen. 35: 23-26.)
Hanoch ("instructed," "dedicated") represents entrance into a higher consciousness than has been known and experienced before.
Pallu ("marvelous," "extraordinary") represents the great general uplift that comes to the consciousness that has begun to awaken out of the purely animal phase of thought to a higher and truer conception of God and of life.
Hezron ("inclosed," "green pasture") represents thoughts that belong to the perceiving faculty (Reuben) and the praise of life in its activity (Judah).
These thoughts are not yet free in their expression in the consciousness and the organism. They are "inclosed" by the subconscious limiting error belief of man that all his faculties and powers are material and transient instead of spiritual and abiding. (There were two men named Hezron, one the son of Reuben and the other the grandson of Judah.)
Carmi ("fruitful," "generous") symbolizes a vital, prosperous, and fruitful attitude of mind.
Jemuel ("God is light," "day of God") represents the stage of individual unfoldment when the light of Truth is accepted into consciousness and realized.
Jamin ("right hand," "right place") represents thoughts pertaining to divine order.
The name Ohad means "one," "unity." Ohad was the son of Simeon. The name Simeon means "one who listens and obeys." Simeon represents the spiritually receptive and obedient attitude in man. Ohad symbolizes unity with God and the conscious increase of the Christly attributes that is the result of this union between the divine and the individual.
Jachin ("whom He [God] makes firm") represents the firmness, steadfastness, and strength of character that result from the establishment of the consciousness in Truth.
Zohar ("whiteness," "nobility") represents thoughts of a pure, lofty, discriminating character.
Shaul is a form of the name Saul, and its meaning is the same as that of Saul ("desired," "demanded"). Shaul represents the personal will in individual consciousness. He was the son of a Canaanitish woman (body consciousness).
Gershon was a son of Levi. The name means "expulsion,"
"exile." The natural law of love is to express itself, but there are conditions under which the love thought (Gershon) is exiled from its native element and for a time retarded or unexpressed.
Kohath ("called together," "assembly") represents the attracting, unifying element in love, and the power of love.
Merari ("galling," "rebellious") symbolizes love directed by the ignorance and selfishness of the personal man.
Er ("awake," "watchful") represents observant, attentive, vigilant thoughts.
Onan ("able-bodied," "strong") represents thoughts pertaining to strength and vigor yet with a tendency toward materiality. (Onan's mother was a Canaanitish woman.)
Shelah ("security," "rest," "peace") represents a sense of peace, harmony, and security that has come about through prayer.
Perez ("breached," "torn asunder") represents victory gained through praise or by making one's way out of apparent limitation and error by means of prayer and praise.
The name Zerah means "rising of light." Zerah represents the rise of new light, new understanding, in the consciousness.
The name Hamul means "spared," "gentleness," "compassion"; it also signifies "forgiveness." The attitudes of mind thus implied are Godlike, and they have to do with the salvation of the individual who entertains them.
The name Tola means "crimson," "scarlet," "coccus worm." Tola represents life activity on a seemingly
low plane but in process of unfoldment to higher and greater expressions.
Puvah is the same name as Puah, which means "mouth," "blast," "utterance." Puvah symbolizes the giving of one's true thoughts, one's zeal, to establishing the activity of Truth throughout the consciousness so that it may be declared aloud and expressed. (Puvah was the son of Issachar, zeal.)
Shimron ("watch," "careful keeping") represents a watchful, observant, attentive attitude, which raises to a high plane the faculties of mind represented by Issachar (zeal) and Zebulun (order).
Sered ("fear," "trembling," "flight," "escape") represents fearfulness, extreme unrest, in the order faculty in the individual consciousness.
Elon ("strong man," "an oak") represents thoughts of strength and power.
The name Jahleel means "waiting on God," "hoping in God." Jahleel represents waiting in the silence upon God in an expectant attitude of mind.
"My soul, wait thou in silence for God only; For my expectation is from him."
Dinah ("judged," "justified") symbolizes the soul or feminine side of the judgment faculty, which may be called intuition, the intuition of the natural man.
Ziphion is the same name as Zephon, which means "watchman," "observer," "keeper of the high watch." Ziphion represents the realization of power (Gad symbolizes power) that is the result of a desire for and a seeking after power. This suggests prayer and an earnest desire for and expectation of something higher and better than the purely mental and physical aspects of power and might.
The name Haggi means "feast," "rejoicing," "festival." Haggi symbolizes a realization of good as taking the place of seeming evil.
Shuni ("rest," "quiet," "calm," "peace") represents a tranquil, poised, peaceful state of thought.
Ezbon ("hastening to understand," "splendor," "bright") represents thoughts that come into the light, into the brightness and glory of Truth, because they are concerned with the things of Spirit.
Eri ("my watcher," "worshiping Jah") represents an unfolding of the power faculty.
Arodi is the same name as Arod and means "fleeing," "a wild ass." Arod and his descendants represent those traits of the animal nature in man which are characteristic of the ass: meekness, stubbornness, persistence, and endurance. These qualities are good when directed by the true I AM but are destructive when given over to sense rule.
Areli ("lionlike," "valiant," "heroic") represents the courage to abide by that which one believes to be right and best; also boldness and fearlessness in applying one's ideas practically.
Imnah ("good fortune," "prosperity") represents a strong belief in and realization of prosperity as being man's inheritance and the Father's will for him.
Asher had three sons. The first two, Imnah and Ishvah, represent thoughts of the higher order, but the name of the third son, Beriah, means "evil," "calamity," "misfortune," indicating a negative tendency to evil that sometimes runs parallel with the good in human consciousness. However the good tendencies are so much in the ascendant that they overcome the weaker evil thoughts that belittle man and cause him
to develop an inferiority complex.
Ishvah means "equality," "even," "smooth," "resembling (another)," "self-answering." On the highest plane Ishvah represents that true poise, peace, and equableness that come from within man's own true spiritual self when he realizes that he is made in the likeness of God and is certain that he will manifest this in the outer in due time. The thought of "self-satisfying" is also brought out in this name. This suggests the truth that as we become conscious of the source of all understanding within us, namely Spirit, we find within ourselves the answer to all our questionings, the satisfaction of all our desires.
Serah ("extension," "abundance," "poured forth," "diffused") represents a rich, broad, extensive group of soul qualities, but there is also a strong suggestion of waste of substance; lack of conservation.
The name Heber means "a passing over" from the purely sensate, physical, earthly thought to a higher conception of religious Truth.
Malchiel ("rule of God," "God is king") symbolizes man's acknowledgment of the supremacy of divine power and rulership; in other words, the exalting of God in consciousness, giving Him dominion; bowing to and obeying Truth.
Manasseh ("who makes to forget") represents understanding; understanding here denoting denial, the negative activity of mind. (See Gen. 41:45-47.)
Ephraim ("doubly fruitful") symbolizes the will, which is the positive or affirmative quality of mind.
The name Asenath means "dedicated to Neith," "favorite of Neith." Asenath represents the feminine or love side of the natural man.
The name Poti-phera means "belonging to Ra." Poti-phera represents a natural religious tendency in the individual that gives the force of its influence to the worship and building up of that for which On stands.
The name On means "city of the sun." In its purity On is a symbol of Spirit and of true spiritual understanding, substance, and power. As it appears in our Bible, however, it represents the worship of the outer sun, and the truth back of the symbol has been lost sight of to a great degree.
The name Bela means "swallow up," "destroy." Bela, the eldest son of Benjamin, represents the destroying or letting go of error by denial, an absorption (swallowing up) of error by Truth.
The name Becher means "early," "first fruits," "first-born." Becher represents the first-born or first fruits of faith, or the first bringing forth of positive, upbuilding thoughts. (Benjamin represents faith.)
The name Ashbel means "reproof of God," "man of Baal," "judgment of God." Ashbel denotes the admonition of Spirit ("reproof of God") in consciousness against man's looking upon as real the material thought about formed things ("man of Baal"). The inharmonious result of looking upon the outer world as real and as the source of life, understanding, and existence, instead of seeing formless Spirit (Divine Mind) as the true God and as the one reality standing back of all manifestation--this is what is suggested in the phrase "judgment of God."
Gera ("grain," "kernel") symbolizes faith's taking on of, or working in, substance.
Naaman ("sweet," "pleasant," "good") denotes
the joy, and pleasant, agreeable, harmonious, unifying result that ensues in consciousness when one's faith and will act in accord with one's highest Truth ideals.
Ehi is the name of a son of Benjamin also called Aharah, which means "brother." Ehi represents that in man's spiritually awakening consciousness which follows after lofty, kindly, brotherly, constructive ideals. The name Ehi also carries with it the thought of unity.
The name Rosh means "inclination," "will," "head." Rosh represents the will. Since Rosh was a son of Benjamin (faith) the significance is that the will, having been given first place in the consciousness of the individual, is acting through faith or in conjunction with it.
The name Muppim means "serpents," "glidings," "obscurities," "darkenings." Muppim represents human or sense knowledge that is very subtle but that is unsteady and unsettled in its reasonings and deductions. Muppim represents that knowledge which does not reveal the true light, and therefore it does not lead the individual into spiritual understanding.
The name Huppim is the same as that of Hupham, which means "coastman," "seashore," "bank." In all likelihood a coastman is a fisherman. Huppim thus symbolizes a gatherer of ideas, especially ideas of increase.
The name Ard means "fugitive," "to flee," "wild ass." The thought that Ard represents belongs to the outer or animal phase of consciousness, where fear enters and one runs away from seeming evil or resists it wildly and stubbornly, as the case may be, because one fears it. In this phase of consciousness one does not understand that evil is unreal and has no power of itself. When one realizes the truth about seeming evil,
one no longer fears it, and it is dissolved from one's world.
The name Hushim means "people of haste," "vehement people." Hushim represents an acceleration of activity in connection with thoughts of judgment in man (one Hushim was the son of Dan, who represents judgment) and in connection with thoughts of active faith (another Hushim was a Benjamite).
Jahzeel, the name of a son of Naphtali (strength), means "whom God apportions." Jahzeel represents the realization that strength is from God and that one receives it according to one's need or to the extent that one makes use of it.
The name Guni means "colored," "tinted," "painted," which suggests the taking on of some foreign idea or substance. In this case Naphtali (strength) and Gad (power) are involved. These qualities represented by Naphtali and Gad are inherently spiritual, divine, but in coming into expression in the outer, physical, sense man they become tinged with and colored by material ideas.
Jazer ("formation") represents the formative faculty of mind, the imagination, established in strength (Naphtali).
The name Shillem means "restoration," "salvation," "peace." Shillem represents the thought that restoration, salvation, peace, and perfection are the result of sowing to Spirit. This restorative, peace-giving thought force is particularly active in connection with strength and thus gives its substance to the working out of the law of cause and effect in consciousness.
The Israelites represent radiant or unformed substance and life, and the Egyptians represent conservators of formed substance. Jacob (I AM) sent Judah (praise) before him unto Joseph (imagination) so that the Israelites might be guided to Goshen, thus forming a perfect union of life (Israel) and substance (Egypt). The sheep represent the uncontaminated animal or life forces that are to be expressed more fully through union with materiality (the Egyptians). The conservators of formed substance (Egyptians) have no appreciation of this life ("for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians").