METAPHYSICAL BIBLE INTERPRETATION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Fall semester 1975 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Lecture given on November 17, 1975
Jonah 1:1-17, pp. 290-293 of transcript.
Let's go on now to Jonah. Jonah is a prophet. In the light of the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, the word Jonah means... here I read the definition of his name: a dove, dovelike, warmth, affection, lovable, fruitful, productive, fertile, effervescent, fermenting, passionate, oppressive, violent, intoxicating, destructive.
Now, what have I just read here? The whole gamut of human nature. Notice where it starts to change: effervescence, this is the pivotal point. Then, further in the dictionary it says that he symbolizes a prophetic state of mind and all of this adds up and we have insight into the meaning of Jonah. Now, to prophesy means, in general, to speak the Truth as one now knows it, as one now understands it.
The prophets of the Old Testament, they all represent different attitudes, motives, states of mind and degrees of understanding which attempt to speak words of Truth. Now Jonah stands for a very wide range and variety of all of this in one person. He is a very mixed symbol as most of us are.
Now, I thought a lot about that definition of his name and the fact that effervescence seems to be the quality which changes the whole direction. Based on observations that I have made of the human nature starting with myself, I would equate that point of effervescence in his definition with the place where something called excitement has in our human nature. Time and time again I have observed in myself and others that when that quality which we designate as excitement becomes the predominant thing, that from there on the direction of expression almost inevitably starts to go down.
Up till then it is an upward thing until excitement is reached and then comes often a down scene. For that reason, folks, I try to discipline myself, not to avoid excitement but when I reach a [peek call of] excitement, I watch, that is all. Do you understand folks? I was misquoted by last year's class who said that I teach that excitement is dangerous and that we should try to avoid excitement. I've never said that, I said excitement can be dangerous if you don't watch yourself while you are in its throws.
Because usually excitement is such an overpowering emotional state that we often abandon control of ourselves at that point, we want to continue and enjoy it so much that we won't do any disciplining to ourselves about it.
A person can hit a state of excitement without having to go down. But the average person, he who is represented by Jonah, Mr. everybody, usually follows the whole gamut of mind attitudes represented by his name, the fermenting, oppressing, and so on... intoxication is what we call infatuation, so this is what Jonah is; he is a conglomerate symbol. He stands for the wide possibility of different motives, attitudes, states of mind that we can be in while we are attempting to grow up. He is a prophetic state of mind also. Now, some of these efforts on our part result in harmony and satisfaction. He had a great deal of success and usefulness and some result in turmoil and distress.
Now, the most famous incident in the book is the swallowing of Jonah by the fish. Chapter 1, 17th verse. Now, for some reason this event which is the actual swallowing by the fish is almost entirely referred to as a misfortune for him, as a disaster. Even in the book "Let There Be Light 236," on page 236 we read what Mrs. Turner says, "... disobeying our highest leading, no matter what excuse we make, we bring trouble upon ourselves. A great storm arose on the sea and Jonah was tossed from the ship (at his own request). The condition we think will save us often proves our undoing. We, too, are swallowed by a "great fish" (Jonah 1:17), meaning that we fall into disastrous state of affairs.
She is wrong, she is wrong, can you see why? Well, you will see as we go along. The disastrous state of affairs was the storm that put in danger the ship and the sailors of the ship, and he, Jonah thinking that people appease the wrath of God by been killed, by been thrown into the ocean, that is a disastrous state of affairs, but instead of him drowning, what happens? The Lord prepares this great fish to swallow him and thereby save him, so the fish swallowing Jonah is not, as Mrs. Turner says, a fall into a disastrous state of affairs. That is, being rescued by a divine provision, the great fish, was not his punishment. His punishment was his own request to be murdered, that attitude, that feeling that he had.
Now, Jonah's being tossed into the stormy sea represents the disastrous state of affairs. And we all get ourselves into this by various attitudes or states of consciousness which are not in conformity to principle. And this usually occurs when we duplicate what Jonah attempts in the book, to ignore the Truth we already learn or to try to use such knowledge for negative purposes. And this seems to be what Jonah did, so the troubles began.
But in every instance God provides means of salvation. Do you remember what the word Elisha means? God is salvation. In this case the salvation is in the symbol of a great fish. Metaphysically fish in the Bible stands for true guidance. A great fish stands for a very great or transcendent truth idea. Now. contrary to what I've sometimes heard, affirmations taught. Jonah does not swallow the great fish, the great fish swallowed Jonah. Does it teach something about affirmations? We don't swallow the Truth of an affirmation, we let the Truth idea in an affirmation swallow us, we become absorbed in it.
The fact that this fish came, illustrates the fact that no matter how complicated a dilemma that we may find ourselves in, and no matter what caused it, God will always provide the right idea of Truth to come to us if we will answer, if we let it swallow us, we can immerse our thinking into it and have the help we need. To have our attention absorbed in contemplation or belief in a Truth idea, in a Truth affirmation, is to be swallowed by a Great Fish.
God is my help in every need. All things are working together for good. God is my help, I can't be sick. I depend on God, God is the answer. Strange as it seems, and this is a paradox, but the greatest fish are the shortest affirmations, really, and when you examine the hierarchy of accepted and popular Unity affirmations you will find that the greatest fish are always the smallest sentences like the ones above or like, I depend on God, God is in charge, God means it for good.
You got any of this great fish swallow you up and you won't be cast out on dry land. And I let you interpret what it means to be cast out on dry land a higher level of consciousness and a completely new opportunity, the same as Noah after the flood. A complete new opportunity was presented to Jonah, and you can interpret it at different levels, for example, to the whole human race on this evolutionary life wave or individually when we go through experiences like these.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on February 6, 2015.