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The Escape of the Righteous

   Lot represents the man who has not yet developed his spiritual faculties sufficiently to be self-guided by the divine light that is within, and who must therefore, seek guidance from without. Abraham, as we have seen, had consciously contacted the God within and lived in the light of this knowing. Because of Abraham's more advanced development and greater wisdom, Lot came to him for advice; when he followed it he prospered; when he failed to do so, he was in difficulty.

   Lot's association with Abraham brought him material riches and personal safety. He came into possession of large tracts of land: he was rescued from thirty-six kings who pursued him.

   The thirty-six kings represent the power of nine, the number of humanity's present evolution during which it is pursued by the forces of this world, but rescued by the divine spirit within it.

   The Angels that spoke to Lot, warning him to flee from danger, were but the voice of the higher self that is ever counseling the lower personality to move forward and not look behind; also, not to remain on the plain, but to go to the mountains. The way of escape was by rising in spiritual consciousness.

   Lot was not ready to flee to the mountains. He was as yet too materially minded; and the mind is the path. He asked that he might go instead to Zoar, a small nearby city. Zoar means "little" and "city" signifies a state of consciousness. Lot has a degree of spiritual understanding even though not yet sufficient to take him to the mountain top. Later, in this same chapter, we read that he, together with his two daughters, repaired to a cave on the mountain. While he had made progress he was not yet in open communion with the Lord — as the mountain height would signify — but in a lower state of consciousness, as indicated by the cave in which he dwelt.

   Sodom and Gomorrah, like ancient Lemuria, were destroyed by fire. The cause was the same in both instances — a perversion of the sacred fire force in the body of man. "Daemon est Deus inversus." Sodom and Gomorrah are the two pillars in ruin, restored, they are the Jachin and Boaz that stand at the entrance of Solomon's Temple, the Shrine of Wisdom, which is man himself.

   The initial letters "S" and "G" of the names of the two cities point to the love principle which, because of its abysmal fall in the wicked cities of the plain, caused their overthrow. Studying the letters in their Hebrew significance we find that "S" or shin was one of the master letters, the other two being "A" and "M." When the dot was placed on the left hand prong of "S" the letter meant sin. The same word in ancient times also meant Moon.

   The letter "G" or gimel holds the mystery of the feminine principle. It pertains to generation. In Hebrew a symbol for the letter is a hollow tube or canal. Such is the spinal cord. When the kundalini power rises through the canal from base to summit, generation becomes regeneration and the human consciousness enters into awareness of the divine. The letter "G" also symbolizes the throat, wherein an idea conceived takes form. It is outspoken; the word becomes flesh.

   Many different symbols and allegories are used in the Bible to teach man the sacredness of the creative force and the painful consequences following upon its misuse. This is the unpardonable sin, the sin against the Holy Ghost, the sin which must be expiated by a weakened body and enfeebled faculties until the sacredness of the very life essence itself be learned and observed. Again and again the Bible points out the glorious heritage of those who have learned conservation and transmutation, and so build for themselves higher faculties and finer vehicles by which to enter into a new heaven and a new earth.

   Astrologically, Sodom and Gomorrah represent the misdirected powers of Taurus (throat) and Scorpio (genitals). These signs are opposite and complementary. Venusian love (Taurus) and Martian passion (Scorpio) were subverted to unnatural and destructive ends.

   Lot's wife, failing to heed the Angel's warning, "looked back, and she became a pillar of salt." For one who has entered upon the Path to turn back is retrogression. Of such the Master said that the last state would be worse than the first.

   In the Bible salt is used frequently in both a literal and figurative sense. Spiritually, it refers to suffering, to warfare with the lower elements in one's nature, and to the processes of regeneration. The very battle in which Lot was taken prisoner was fought in the valley of Siddim near the Salt Sea.

   It was a cleansed, regenerated body to which the Master had reference when He told His Disciples that they were "the salt of the earth." To this he added: "But if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." Lot's wife turned into salt that had lost its savor. In describing the location of each of the twelve tribes of Israel, salt is always referred to in relation to the work of regeneration through restoring the fallen feminine or heart power to its rightful estate.

   Early alchemists referred to Chaos, the undifferentiated mother substance out of which all things are made, as universal salt. The three alchemical substances, sulphur, mercury and salt, correlate to the principles Fire, Air and Water, respectively. Water is a feminine principle. The Moon is feminine also and alchemically associated with salt. It was "turning back," or lowering the vibratory activity of the feminine principle, that changed Lot's wife into a pillar of salt.

   This story of incest might justifiably be expurgated from the Bible, together with others equally unpleasant, were it not that it is a blind concealing mysteries from those not yet ready to read them. The incident points to man's dual nature. The older, or firstborn, from whom the Moabites are descended, represents the lower nature. The Moabites symbolize materiality. "An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever." (Deuteronomy 23:3)

   The younger daughter gives birth to Ben-ammi, "son of my people." She represents the lower nature struggling toward the higher. The birth of children refers to attributes in the nature of man that come into manifestation. To be drunk with wine signifies the benumbing effects of the sense life on the higher spiritual perceptions. Lot did not perceive "when she Jay down, nor when she arose." It was, spiritually, night time.

   When Abraham wandered from his "father's house," and found himself among strangers, he introduced his wife Sarah as his sister. He did so in Egypt, as we have observed. He did so now in Gerar. Both Pharaoh and Abimelech took Sarah, and both were plagued because of her. Belonging to Abraham (spirit), she could not be appropriated by the powers of this world (material mindedness), however rich and regal their stations. The attempt to do so proves futile in the end, causing pain and impoverishment.

   Abimelech was a man of integrity but not yet spiritually awakened. Because he lived true to such light as he had, the Lord came to him "in a dream" and told him Sarah was "a man's wife."

   But "Abimelech had not come near her." He had been protected because of his righteous inclinations. "And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her."

   When Pharaoh (mind) restored Sarah (emotional nature) to Abraham (spirit) there was plenty in the land. Similarly, when Abimelech returns Sarah to Abraham, God healed Abimelech and all his household from the barrenness they had suffered. And Abimelech (mind) now turned to Abraham (spirit) and said: "Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee."

   Abraham was "an hundred years old when his son was born unto him." The number value ten indicates that Abraham and Sarah, masculine and feminine principles, were now balanced and capable of bringing forth a new joy (Isaac). In the soul exhilaration that was now theirs a feast was prepared. Meanwhile, Sarah observed the son of Hagar (lower nature) mocking. The carnal nature is reluctant to release its tenacious hold on the personality. But Sarah had developed her intuitive faculty sufficiently to know that the offspring of the lower nature (son of Hagar) would not be heir with the child of the higher nature (Isaac).

   When the Bible story is read in the light of New Age interpretations which relate all characters and events to man himself, especially the several characters representing qualities and attributes to be either eradicated or cultivated, the Scriptures become a living word immediately applicable to personal problems and daily living at the present time. Historical aspects then recede into the background. The Bible ceases to be a book about a dead and an alien past, and becomes the guide to a living, pulsating present.

   The incident of Hagar's son's mocking was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. Even in one as advanced as Abraham, inclinations of the lower nature were so well rooted in his subconscious mind that they were not easily removed. But God consoles Abraham saying, "Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be culled. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed." (Genesis 21:12-13)

   The Lord (Law) spoke (worked) with Hagar and Ishmael during their wandering in the wilderness (unillumined state). Hagar received bread and water from Abraham (spirit), and after chastening experiences and an angelic call, the Lord "opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water" — the water of Eternal Life which is the heritage of every Ego. Hagar had wasted the water received from Abraham; for this she suffered remorse and, having repented, earned the privilege of drinking from the well of living waters.

   The conversation between Abraham and Abimelech pertains to the spiritualization of the mind. Abimelech symbolizes the power of mind; Abraham, the power of the spirit. When the two are united, there is power to perform miracles.

   The processes involved in raising the mind to levels where it joins forces with those of the spirit are indicated symbolically in the reference to the well which, as previously stated, signifies esoteric truth. The place where the covenant was made was called Beer-sheba, meaning well of the oath, and there Abraham called upon the name (power) of the Lord (Law). This power is always present with one whose first allegiance is to the spirit. The seven ewe lambs that were set apart by themselves refer to seven centers in the body of man. These must be worked upon and sensitized to a certain degree before the mind can become spiritually illumined.

   The realization that came to Abraham brought added understanding. With deeper realization comes added responsibility and enlarged opportunities for service. Abraham found these in his immediate environment among the Philistines, where he remained "for many days." The true fruit of Illumination is service loving, self-forgetting service to others.

The Offering of Isaac — The Great Renunciation

   That this experience was on the higher planes of consciousness is symbolically indicated by its occurrence on a mount. Specifically, it was on Mount Moriah, the elevation on which Solomon built the Temple and where later he was buried. Not Until Consciousness has transcended the personal and become utterly selfless is one capable of the renunciation made by Abraham.

   The statement that Abraham "took the fire in his hand" indicates that he had learned the most difficult of all lessons. He had mastered the fire in his own nature; he had gained complete self-control. Consistent with this fact is the statement that Isaac, representative of the joy of the soul that has sublimated the lower forces into the higher, carried the wood for the sacrifice as he, together with his father, ascended the Mount of Renunciation which was to become the Mount of Transfiguration.

   This passage leaves no doubt as to Abraham's complete surrender of self. He had the strength to meet the test successfully, and thereby to open the door to power and illumination little dreamed by those of lesser spiritual stature. He had the courage to obey the words of the Lord (Law), whatsoever the cost. Such is the course that qualifies for cosmic service. The statement of the Christ that "He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it," is a Temple teaching belonging to all ages.

   The ram is the symbol of Aries. In its highest aspects Aries stands for purity, service and sacrifice, all keywords to the higher life. It is the sign of the resurrection. Pisces, the last constellation of the Zodiac, is the sign of sorrow, the garden of tears, the Gethsemane on the Path whose gates are closed only to open on the first sign, Aries, the power of the new-born. Abraham has now arrived at this place in his initiatory development.

   Jehovah-jireh means the Lord will provide. It indicates the attainment of that faith which is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Whoever enters into this state of consciousness will always receive the same promise from the Angel of the Lord that was given to Abraham. This follows in accordance with the perfect and harmonious expression of spiritual law.

   The multiplication of Abraham's seed even "as the stars of heaven" refers, esoterically, to the atomic rhythms of the new body of the Initiate. In that seed (rhythm) "shall all the nations of the world be blessed." The raised vibratory conditions of man will render him immune to negative and destructive influences, thus giving him possession of "the gates of his enemies."

   The twenty-third chapter of Genesis records the death of Sarah and Abraham's purchase of a burial place from the children of Heth for the price of four hundred pieces of silver. Details concerning the burial are apparently trifling if taken in their literal sense. But like all other incidents recorded in the Bible, they have esoteric values. Heth is the Hebrew letter "H." It is a feminine letter and indicates illumination attained through the awakened powers of heart and head. Equilibrium is an attribute of the daughters of Heth.

   Further details connected with the burial of Sarah point to her passing as signifying, an illumination within the body of the Initiate. Sarah is buried in the field of Machpelah. Field is a feminine word, a place where fruit is nurtured, Machpelah means doubling. The price, four hundred pieces of silver carries the significance of polarity in the number four — the completion of the perfect square — and the feminine principle is indicated by the feminine metal, silver. The entire chapter is not a lamentation, but a song of exultation over that which the Zohar speaks of as the feminine in liberation.

   The marriage that Abraham aspired to for his son Isaac was one befitting his true nature. Since that nature was spiritual, the wife could not come from the Canaanites, who symbolize materiality or the mortal man, but must be found among a people representative of the spirit. The marriage here referred to is not the physical union of two persons, but the mystic mating of the dual principles within. The entire chapter from which the above passage is taken is one of the Bible's many beautiful love idylls of the spirit. The several characters of this idyll, Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Laban and the servant whom Abraham commissions to find Rebekah, are all representative of qualities to be unfolded in the life of the aspirant.

   Throughout the Bible water is associated with some aspect of attainment. A well of water signifies the deeper truths. It is by the well that Isaac, the seeker, finds Rebekah, the light of the soul, and from her pitcher drinks of the spiritual verities that help him to a realization of his high quest. Laban means white essence, which is symbolical of the soul body. Rebekah (willing service) points the way whereby one is prepared to receive "the jewels of silver and jewels of gold and the raiment" with which she was arrayed for the meeting with Isaac.

   Isaac, the neophyte, in his meditation sees Rebekah "from the way of the well Lahai-roi" or the well of vision: that is, the way of extended consciousness. In the high ecstasy of this communion the neophyte comes to understand something of the glories of the kingdom which God has prepared for those who love Him.

   As previously stated, Hagar represents the lower nature and Sarah the higher. Keturah means incense and represents the union of the two. She signifies the regenerated body which is responsive to the slightest impact of mind and spirit, and therefore a fitting channel for the use of the illumined Ego.

   Abraham means the "father of multitudes." The principal events in his life are representative of experiences in soul growth such as characterize pioneers of a New Race and Age. They are not merely a history of past events but deal with developments belonging to the present and, furthermore, serve as blueprints for the coming Sixth and Seventh Root Races.

   Ishmael had twelve sons. These represent the twelve soul attributes to be evolved as centers of spiritual functioning within the body. Isaac's two sons signify the masculine and feminine elements that are to be balanced in man. Keturah's six sons represent the equilibrium of the negative and positive poles in the twelve attributes as they are United through spiritual living.

 — Corinne Heline


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