Chapel on the Bridge
WHERE ARE YOU, GOD?
A Metaphysical Interpretation of the Biblical Book ofJob
Nancy B. Detweiler
Scripture Reading for this Lesson: Job 1
The Hebrew meaning of Job's name is restored to one's senses, penitent, converted. Metaphysically, Job represents the transition we all must make from a formalized religion and belief in God to the achievement of the Christed Consciousness.8 Job is described as a righteous man who reveres God. The biblical use of the word righteous indicates Job obeys the laws of his organized religion.
Job lives in the land of Uz. In Hebrew, Uz means growing might, formative power, concentration, purpose. Metaphysically, Uz signifies the process by which we seek Truth.9 The land of Uz was inhabited by Edomites, or those who live life on the instinctual level.10 Thus, we find Job living in a country peopled with those who are largely focused on their own physical plane lives and desires. Job's name reveals his soul's mission for incarnating. He is to convert from a religion of formalities and to move into an awareness of the inner world of Spirit, based on intuitive knowing. Job is to attain enlightenment. We are to do the same.
Job is described in chapter 1 as the greatest of all men of the East. Bernard Anderson, in his Understanding the Old Testament, calls Job an Edomite sheik.11 The biblical book of Ezekiel (14:14, 20) names three of the most righteous men in antiquity: Noah, Daniel, and Job. He has mastered very successfully the laws of the physical plane and demonstrates every external manifestation of greatness. Still, Job has not achieved a state of spiritual enlightenment.
Job's children, servants, and material possessions symbolically reveal his inner qualities. He has seven sons (signifying intellectual, masculine energy) and three daughters (representing intuitive, feminine energy). God originally created us as androgynous beings.12 In order to ascend into higher consciousness, we must once more achieve a balance in our masculine and feminine energies; we must become androgynous. The imbalance between Job's seven sons and three daughters tells us that he has not achieved an androgynous state. No names are listed for his children-he is not consciously manifesting a blend of masculine (intellectual) and feminine (intuitive) energies.
Job owns 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 she-asses. According to Fillmore, "sheep are the most harmless and innocent of animals." Metaphysically, sheep embody "the natural life that flows into [our] consciousness from Spirit."13 Camels depict the power of endurance, self-sacrifice, and strength. They allow the desert sections of our planet to be navigated, via their ability to go long distances without food and water.14 Bulls, or oxen, played an important role in the ancient eastern religions, representing strength and the procreative power. Bulls were used as sacrifices in the Temple and depicted in statuary as supporting the gods or as utensils for worship.15 She-asses, similar to our donkeys, were sure-footed and frequently used to transport goods. Ancient "gods and kings rode on asses."16
Through the listing of his animals, we learn that Job has developed many qualities that serve him well: a readiness to listen to Spirit, endurance and strength, creative powers, and the willingness to support religious celebrations based on a belief in God. He is what we would call a dedicated member of the church, synagogue, or mosque.
A major clue to Job's lack of enlightenment is found in the large number of slaves making up his household. Job continued to live in bondage, especially to fear. On a daily basis, Job made sacrifices for his children (or his own inner qualities) out of fear that they may have sinned (engaged in error thinking). Something inside of Job yearned for confirmation of his relationship with God. He was afraid; he worried. His daily sacrifices were an expression of his pleas to God, "Make all things right with me." Job was ready for the next step in his spiritual evolutionary process. God heard his plea and responded. It is instructive for us to see how Job's prayers were answered.
In Job 1:6, we find God holding a heavenly meeting with the sons of God. Satan is present as one of the sons of God. God speaks only to Satan and suggests that Job is ready to be tested to determine the level of his commitment to God. This passage, among others, has resulted in thousands of years of blaming God for our misfortunes. On the surface, we see a God who appears to enjoy a wager with Satan. To make matters worse, it is a gamble that allows an innocent Job to suffer for no good reason. The human propensity toward innocent victim-hood is reinforced by the surface reading of his bet. However, anytime the biblical narrative appears to characterize God as vengeful, angry, or unconcerned about the human plight, it is a red flag screaming, "Stop, look deeper. The surface words are veiling hidden wisdom.17 What you are reading does not depict a God of love." God's wager with Satan is a red flag.
We find one explanation in soul-centered18 astrology. In astrology, we get to know the planets in our solar system as "heavenly beings," whose influences guide us on our spiritual journey. The personal planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter) guide us in achieving a satisfying physical plane life. Up to this point, Job has been guided by the personal planets and has achieved great physical plane success. He is now ready for the next stage in his spiritual evolution. Saturn, another name for Satan or the adversary,19 is the heavenly being assigned to the post of Dweller on the Threshold to higher consciousness. It is Satan's lessons in self-discipline, responsibility for self, balancing of negative karma, and provision of a testing ground in our daily lives that prepares us to cross the Rainbow Bridge into Christed Consciousness. Satan is in charge of the initiatory process revealed to us by Jesus. This initiatory process is illustrated through the major events in the life of Jesus: birth, baptism, transfiguration, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.20 The initiatory process is our pathway to enlightenment.
Saturn, on its journey around the planet Earth, is aware of Job and the degree of physical plane success he has experienced. When God asks Satan (or Saturn), "Have you considered my servant Job," it is the God within Job answering his prayer, "Make all things right with me." Job is ready to respond to Saturn's influence to an even greater degree. Saturn tests us in order to strengthen the level of our commitment to spiritual growth. Our reactions to the tests vary according to the degree of spiritual maturity we have achieved.
First, we may adopt the victim attitude, which blames God or something/someone other than ourselves. To respond as a victim is to succumb to the temptation to avoid taking responsibility for self. Instead, we allow life to push us around like the wind blows a feather.
Second, we may imitate Job's initial response: "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."21 The problem with this response is that Job is still blaming God. Although his reply shows evidence of a budding belief in divine order, he perceives God as a tyrant who gives and takes away with no apparent reason. This belief system is self-defeating. Job is not yet aware of the responsibility he has for his own life. He is committed to a God that he fears because he never knows what God will do next. When God is the explanation for our suffering, we learn to fear Divine Will. We perceive the will of God as painful, rather than loving.
Third, we may exhibit spiritual maturity by asking, "What is my soul seeking to learn through this experience?" With this question in mind, we accept the responsibility for our reactions and the way we handle the examinations in our earth plane classroom. We come to view Saturn's tests as opportunities to advance on the spiritual path. We attune to the universal law: "All things work together for good for those who love the Lord."22 This response creates much less stress. In fact, we eventually learn to accept the testing as what it is-our chance to transcend the fear, worry, or pain involved, and move into the peace that knows all on earth plane is an illusion. Viewed through the eyes of our indwelling God, testing is an angel in disguise. It is our indwelling God calling us home to higher consciousness.
But, for now, Job is in the throes of experiencing Saturn's lessons and examinations. From the physical plane point of view, Job loses: his oxen, she-asses, sheep, camels, shepherds, slaves, and his sons and daughters. With all his children and material possessions gone, he is left to ponder his situation with only the tools a formalistic religion has given him. In Job's mind, it is his religious duty to surrender to the will of a God who gives and takes away. Since God singled Job out to Satan and made a wager, God appears to punish the good.
We often hear the question: "Why do good people suffer?" We will ponder this question, along with Job and his friends, in the coming lessons. Together, we embark on a spiritual journey into a heightened awareness of God and Divine Will.
Let those who boast in this, that they understand and know me,
8 Charles Fillmore, "Job," Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, 1931 ed.
9 Fillmore. Metaphysical 670.
10 Fillmore. Metaphysical 182 and Lamentations 4:21.
11 Bernhard Anderson, Understanding the Old Testament (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1957) 488.
12 Genesis 1:27.
13 Fillmore. Metaphysical 597.
14 Fillmore. Metaphysical 137.
15 Richard J. Clifford, "Bull," Harper's Bible Dictionary, 1985 ed.
16 Simon B. Parker, "Ass," Harper's Bible Dictionary, 1985 ed.
17 Geoffry Hodson, Hidden Wisdom in the Holy Bible (Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 1993) 66.
18 The term soul-centered, used throughout this book is adopted from Alan Oken, Soul-Centered Astrology: A Key to Your Expanding Self (Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press, 1990).
19 Corrine Heline, New Age Bible Interpretation, Vol. II (La Canada, CA: New Age Press, 1946) 386.
20 Alice Bailey, From Bethlehem to Calvary (New York: Lucis Publishing Company, 1965) 27-28.
21 Job 1:21.
22 Romans 8:28 The Greek New Testament uses the word for God, instead of Lord. The literal translation of the Greek passage reads: "And we know that to the ones loving God all things he works together for good." (The New Greek-English Interlinear New Testament). This terminology is important because Christians tend to think of Jesus when they see the word "Lord." In Hebrew, the word for "Lord" can also be translated "Law." "God" denotes the Source of our Being, thus any statement describing the rules of God refers to Universal Law-Law that is unchangeable throughout the cosmos.23 Jeremiah 9:24.
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