Spiritual Interpretation of Scripture
Chapter - Joseph
In Genesis we now come to the glorious story of Joseph, which includes the experience with his brethren.
For our purpose, spiritual interpretation, we understand that Joseph is that state of consciousness which is a developing or unfolding consciousness. As it unfolds, it reveals increasing vitality, substance and understanding. The Metaphysical Bible Dictionary of Unity says of Joseph: "Jehovah shall increase; he shall increase progressively." That really is the progressive unfoldment of consciousness.
As the story of Joseph unfolds, it reveals progressive steppingstones from potential good to a really advanced state of good humanhood, and then finally the awareness of spiritual life and substance.
Joseph is our own ideal state of spiritual consciousness; it is that part of us which is pure Spirit -- the embodiment of spiritual substance and wisdom. The many phases of being, found in individual consciousness, imply that there are other qualities in our consciousness besides this pure one, and those qualities are represented by the brothers of Joseph and by his coat of many colors.
This coat of many colors is supposed to be a very desirable thing, which has come to him as a reward or token of his goodness. I have seen this differently. To me this coat of many colors represents the many contradictory qualities in Joseph's thought. Joseph is a dreamer -- yet the evil experiences which befell him outwardly, could only come as the result of inner conflicts and discords. Remember, Joseph is a progressive unfoldment of good, therefore, it must have progressed from something less than its later unfolded purity. These conflicting and contradictory thoughts are likewise externalized subjectively as his brethren.
Joseph, we read, goes down into Egypt; and you remember that Egypt is a place of darkness, sense consciousness, mortal mind, material experiences. Here is proof that along with the qualities of the dreamer, there are those other qualities outwardly pictured as his brothers. Reuben, unstable as water; Simeon and Levi, anger and cruelty; Issacher, a strong ass; Naphtali, a hind let loose; Benjamin, a wolf dividing spoil: all of this description is furnished by their father, Jacob.
These qualities of thought in human consciousness appear to do away with the good in us -- the good which we would and do not.
Since these are the mixed qualities of Joseph's thought, we can understand the coat of many colors. Colors themselves symbolize qualities of character: red is for bravery; blue is for truth; yellow represents cowardice, and so on through all the colors. All of these are present in Joseph. Upon refinement, later, we meet the real Joseph in Egypt.
Before he was thrown into the pit, where he was left by his brethren, Joseph was stripped of this coat of many colors; the brethren took this coat with them. Is it not clear here that in this departure of the brethren from Joseph with the coat that the real meaning is that many of these contradictory states or qualities of thought have now been shed by Joseph. This new Joseph, progressively unfolding, is still the dreamer, yet with the worst phases of mortal belief overcome. He is now a better human, and his developed sense of human good now controls him and leads him into new and higher human experiences.
Joseph's brothers hated him. These brothers, we have seen, were the erroneous human traits in opposition to the good. The good in your consciousness is likewise misunderstood and mistreated by the errors of human thought and would sell you into slavery to sense if you permitted it.
This might bring about a sense of condemnation unless you remember that neither good nor evil is personal. The fact that you may indulge error is not something for which you should condemn yourself as if you were responsible. These evils are universal beliefs, and if you have permitted them to use you, it is an opportunity for correction rather than condemnation. When you are cheated, acknowledge some erroneous trait still to be dispelled. Every evil experience that befalls you is the evidence of some belief not yet consciously thrown out of thought. You, like Joseph, are for the most part pure, but sometimes tempted by that in your consciousness which is impure or incorrect.
These negative traits, when indulged, will land you in a pit, or send you, wanderers, into Egyptian darkness and despair: through indulgence we become their servants. That, however, which is the real Joseph to us will ultimately enforce itself in our consciousness and will free us of the entangling and sensuous beliefs which imprison us and hold us in bondage to limitation. You can follow Joseph (the pure state of your own consciousness) and watch it as, down through the years, it has been attacked by its brethren -- conflicting qualities of thought in you. Perhaps you can see why you have been cast into a pit -- why some erroneous trait has held you in slavery to some habit, sin or disease.
Now you are ready for the Saviour, the healing state of consciousness which is to rescue you and lift you into complete spiritual freedom and abundance. "So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God:" (Gen. 45:8).
This idea is revolutionary. Up to now you have believed that your evil thoughts, traits and deeds brought you into punishment, slavery and bondage to sense. Now you learn that God has gone before you every step of the way, in order to get you out and set you free and make you a redeemer of men.
Here in Egypt, the slavery and prison experience is made to serve God's purpose. From the moment that you no longer see evil in the circumstances governing you, you are seeing and acknowledging God as the moving factor in your experience, and only good follows.
If you have God and one atom of something else, you have something outside the infinity of God. There cannot be God and even one iota of evil in the world, and therefore evil itself must be re-interpreted in order to be a part of the Kingdom of God. It cannot be left out of the Kingdom because you would have infinite God and something besides. Joseph acknowledged no presence or power apart from God when he declared, "So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God:"
You are faced with this same condition, and the moment you acknowledge that error has done this to you, you are lost. But, if you have the vision of Joseph and say, "No, error has not done this to me; error is not doing this to me; error has neither presence nor power," you will proved the allness and omnipresence of God, good, and its immediate expression.
These are messages from God Itself. There is no night here -- no night or dark places in your consciousness -- but to recognize a presence of condition apart from God is to lose your way, at least temporarily.
Joseph, not yet raised to spiritual understanding, expresses his good humanly, as executive, business man, officer; but again he must be "pushed up-stairs." Joseph's experience has not yet purged him of sense desire and so there are still the beliefs of lust, revenge and persecution to be overcome.
Then, however, in one of his darkest prison moments, spiritual vision is awakened in Joseph, and his is lifted above all material conditions and limitations and is therefore able to discern spiritual abundance right where lack and poverty is claiming presence and power.
Spiritual vision sets Joseph free, enables him to share the abundance of his vision and so overcome all mortal thoughts that he sets free all those brethren who come to him for aid.
These evil qualities now come to the liberated Joseph consciousness through others, called brethren, (or patients, students, seekers) and the Joseph in the liberated practitioner or teacher frees these others and spiritually feeds them.
"Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that yet sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt." (Gen. 45: 5, 8)
You will understand this passage to mean that your spiritual consciousness carries you through the purification process, even though to sense you go down in the pits and prisons of sin and disease. Your enlightened consciousness goes always before you, carrying you through these trying and purifying experiences until at last your are father to Pharaoh: that is, supreme over material, finite sense; master of the corporeal sense and ruler over body and purse; a law unto yourself; and lord over all his house: that is, in complete control of your consciousness and its spiritual formations; and a ruler throughout Egypt: you are the Light, shining and dispelling the darkness of Egypt, or sense consciousness.
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