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Bible Self-Study Supplement

Jonathan, the White Knight

   Jonathan, the son of Saul, has been called the Galahad of the Old Testament, the pure and stainless knight, the epitome of human tenderness, a veritable rainbow in storm. He goes out, as must every neophyte, to do battle with the powers of the Philistines, the lower nature. The path of discipleship is thus vividly described:

   This incident finds its parallel in the legend of Scylla and Charybdis which threatened the seeker of truth in the Hellenic Mysteries. An important requisite for true attainment is the ability to distinguish wisely and unerringly not only between good and evil but also between the lesser wrong and the greatest, the higher good and the comparative or relative good. Such discrimination is of paramount importance for the successful leader of a people.

   Saul in the meantime tarried under the pomegranate (the lure of the sense life). When the door toward degeneration is opened through. egotism and pride, descent on the downward path is easy and rapid.

   The masses follow a leader; the one who aspires to find truth walks alone. Jonathan only among the Israelites possessed sufficient courage to partake of the honey (esoteric knowledge), consequently he alone was found worthy of enlightenment.

   The better the understanding of esoteric law, the easier becomes the control of the desire nature.

Saul's Supreme Trial and Downfall

   This entire chapter of the Book of I Samuel is devoted to the story of how Saul failed to overcome his lower desires (Philistines and Amalekites), and how the good priest Samuel, in contrast, succeeded in transmuting the evil that still remained within himself into the great power of good with which he served humanity. Saul believed, as so many people do at the present time, that God may be appeased for wrongdoing by mere formal worship instead of by living the spiritual life. Samuel rebuked him for this, saying, "The Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh in the heart" (wherein is located the seed atom which contains the complete life record).

   Amalek means lust. The Amalekites whom Saul was commanded to slay was the lust within himself, while the Kenites refer to those who were descended from Cain. The life of Cain as given in Genesis is the story of the gaining of wisdom through experience. It was through power thus gained that Cain became the father of Enoch and built the city of Enoch, city referring to a state of consciousness, and Enoch divine wisdom.

   The Kenites therefore refer to the wisdom which Saul had gained through past mistakes and sufferings, and which led him to separate from the Amalekites, or his lower desires. Saul began the work of his regeneration by smiting the Amalekites from Havilah unto Shur. Havilah means the land of gold (Saul had begun to work upon his golden wedding garment); Shur means a wall, a wall as an obstacle, and Egypt means darkness or evil. So we see that! Saul was endeavoring to overcome the evil within himself.

   But he took Agag, the king of the Amalekites alive. Here we find the keynote of the entire chapter.

   Up until the time of the reign of Saul all the leaders of the people had had direct communication with Jehovah. Saul is the first involuntary clairvoyant of whom mention is made in the Bible. We find him consulting the witch of Endor and receiving his instruction from Jehovah through Samuel, the prophet. Saul really wanted to become an Initiate-teacher like Samuel but he did not possess sufficient strength to do so. Therefore, we find him through ceremonial and sacrifice destroying all external things that were vile and unclean, but keeping Agag alive. It is then that Samuel tells him that he had done evil in the sight of the Lord.

   When again Saul tries to exonerate himself through the sacrifice of sheep and oxen Samuel said, "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifices, and to hearken than the fat of rams." This is a message of vital import for man today, for man is still trying to propitiate God with external gifts, when His demand is that we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice upon the altar of fellowship and service. Few are willing or able to do this because Agag is still alive within.

   Samuel hewed Agag to pieces before the Lord in Gilgal. "Gilgal", as previously stated, means a wheel, a whirlwind. The wheel refers to the spiritual centers within the body which are set into motion only through the transmuted power of the lower desire nature, symbolized in this story by the death of Agag. In other words, Samuel has through his purification lifted himself into a higher spiritual illumination. "He came no more to see Saul." Saul remained in sin because he kept Agag alive and so was no more fit to be the king of Israel, the redeemed. Therefore we read in I Samuel 16:14, that "the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tempted him."

   Henceforth the life of Saul is completely changed: evil predominates, and the Lord (Law) chooses another to take his place. Truly,

   It is with a sense of reverence that we come to understand that instead of the story of a bloodthirsty God and a cruel prophet and king, this chapter really contains an account of Saul's attempt and failure to overcome his lower self, contrasted with the beautiful mystery of purification and regeneration exemplified in the life of Samuel.

 — Corinne Heline

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Contemporary Mystic Christianity

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