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Pre-Initiatory Experiences at the Threshold

   Every individual who assumes leadership of a people takes on the burden of their karma. This invariably requires great strength and fortitude. Moses possessed these qualities; yet when the Israelites faltered and failed repeatedly, and when they tired even of the manna that fell from heaven and clamored for the gratification of their carnal appetite, his strength and patience were tried almost beyond endurance. "I am not able to bear all this people alone," said he, "because it is too heavy for me." The same note is sounded by Christ Jesus who, having taken on the causation of all humanity, prayed to the Father to take from him, if He would, the bitter cup; but if that were not possible, then let His will be done.

   Moses was given relief in the execution of his difficult tasks by the appointment of seventy Elders. Upon them the spirit of the Lord also descended, endowing them with powers of prophecy.

   The tastes and habits of unregenerate life are not easily laid aside. Again and again they reassert themselves, as they did when the Israelites lusted anew for the flesh pots of Egypt. The manna they fed upon failed to nourish their animalistic nature clamoring for survival.

   In obedience to a law of nature man becomes that about which he thinks. Desires, when strong enough, attract fulfillment. The Israelites longed for fleshly satisfaction, so a wind brought quails which they gathered and ate. But, "while the flesh was yet between their teeth . . . the Lord (Law) smote the people with a very great plague." They received what they desired; but since their desires were unwholesome, gratification brought them also a plague. Thus the race learns through suffering again and yet again that the way of the flesh is the way of death, not of life.

   While Moses received the assistance of Elders, it was not in their power to save him from further trouble any more than it was within the ability of the Disciples to save Christ from the cross. As one of the Twelve betrayed Him, so Moses suffered through the traitorous action of two of his most intimate associates, the high priest Aaron and the inspired prophetess Miriam. After sharing with Moses responsibility for bringing his mission to a successful conclusion, they spoke against him because of his Cushite wife. "And the anger of the Lord (Law) was kindled against them" for having spoken against His servant Moses, a man "meek above all men which were upon the face of the earth."(Numbers XII)

   Aaron relates to the emotional nature; Miriam to the imaginative or image-building faculty. These are powers in man, and so long as he remains united with his lower nature (Ethiopian woman), they are liable to operate in a distorted manner as instanced here. Miriam was afflicted with leprosy, that loathsome consequence of the love principle misapplied. Aaron escaped such serious consequences because of his instant repentance. Unselfishly he prayed for Miriam's healing, realizing the enormity of his offense. "Lay not the sin upon us," he implores of Moses, "wherein we have done foolishly." Moses asked the Lord (Law) for her healing, which was granted; but in obedience to the perfect working of that law which removes disabilities permanently only when the sufferer has learned the penalties that invariably accompany a misuse of God-given forces and determined to live in harmony with the workings of this law. Miriam "was shut up without the camp seven days; and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again."

   The creative power of mind is man's most important faculty. The misuse of this power has caused his present fallen state of consciousness wherein, through a reversal of nature's constructive processes, he has come to regard the temporal as the real, the shadow as the substance. Nevertheless, whether man uses his mental power constructively or destructively, "the people journey not" without this faculty in action.

   But among the spies are those who have not overcome fear and have not as yet a living realization of the presence and protection of the Lord (Law) when under His direction. So they warned the people against the "Children of Anak who dwelt there, for they were giants and the descendants of giants." (The forces of evil and their resultant effects upon later ages.)

   This report struck fear into the hearts of the timid Israilites, who "murmured against Moses and Aaron . . . would to God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would to God we had died in this wilderness!" (Numbers 14:3)

   So strong was the pull of the lower nature (Egypt) that a return to the wilderness was necessary for the majority in order that its severities might further discipline and fit them for later entry into the Holy Land. "Turn you," was the command, "and get you into the wilderness by way of the Red Sea ... Ye shall bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise." (Numbers 14: 25-34)

   A few there were who went forward. We read "But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land that ye have despised." The term "little ones" as here used is similar in significance to the term "giants" as applied to the sons of Anak. The advanced in spirit are little in the eyes of worldly might.

   Others who entered the Holy Land at this time were Caleb (Leo), "because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it." This was true also of Joshua (Virgo).

   The incident again points to the two paths toward the one goal. One is "strait and narrow"; the other, broad. The first is the way of Initiation; the second the way of the masses.

   Will power and self-control are the qualities that gain entrance to spiritual worlds. The giants and the children of Anak are the Dweller on the Threshold, the embodiment of all man's past evils which confront him at the entrance to the new land~ and he must transmute them before he has full freedom of action therein. Caleb, one of the foremost disciples of Moses, was already familiar with this experience. He was able, therefore, to say: "Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it."

   There are certain spiritual powers requisite in a pioneer who seeks to invade the new land and take possession of it; these are concealed within the names of the twelve who were sent out as "spies". (Numbers 13: 1-16)

Representative Tribe: Esoteric Meaning:
Shammua Reuben Power of faith.
Shaphat Simeon He has judged.
Caleb Judah Capable, qualified.
Igal Issachar Whom God requites.
Jehoshua (Oshea) Ephraim Jehovah is salvation.
Palti Benjamin Comfort of spiritual knowing.
Gaddiel Zebulun God is my fortune.
Gaddi Joseph All good abounds.
Ammiel Dan Spiritual thoughts (regeneration).
Sethur Asher Truth in its power.
Nahbi Naphtali Consciousness of God.
Geuel Gad Majesty of God.

 — Corinne Heline

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Contemporary Mystic Christianity

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