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 October 3, 1975
Gen. 17, pp. 118-119 of transcript.
Names Change: Abraham and Sarah
Now, the next thing that happens is something very positive. Abram's name is changed by the Lord to Abraham and Sarai's name is changed by the Lord to Sarah. The change of name for Abraham is merely the addition of an "h" sounding vowel. A new sound is inserted into his name and it is significant that that name, the new sound is "Ha". Now, this is not Unity, this is ancient religion. In ancient religions, the sounding of "Ha" always stood for a greater infilling of spirituality.
An increase of spirituality. The original meaning of Spirit is breath, so added by the Lord, Abram received a greater infilling of the Spirit; which expands his faith, but Sarai's change is more drastic. She has a complete change of characteristic, because the word, Sarai means bitter, contentious, argumentative and the word Sarah means noble woman, gracious lady.
So her change of name symbolizes a great improvement in our feeling nature thru maturity, experience, obedience to the Lord, and close association with our active faith. Our feeling nature goes through a refining and mellowing and maturing process or change. Emotionalism becomes more controlled, more subdued and harmony is established to greater and greater degree.
When you and I, and I say with great admiration, about a person, "My, how she's changing," what do we usually mean, that she's getting better looking? Or that she's gotten more mental acuteness? No. We usually mean she's become easier to live with. She's become a nicer gal. What would cause that being easier to live with and nicer? Wouldn't it be in the feeling nature, that she would be less and less emotionally shrill and quick on the trigger and more refined, more mellow, more gracious. It doesn't matter whether it's a male or female person we're dealing with, it's the female part of our nature which can undergo this lovely change. Our feeling nature when this occurs, then changes from a burden or a liability in our growth Sarai into a lovely asset in our growth, Sarah.
In this same chapter which I present here in class as food for thought, not for something that we've got to settle and answer before we can go on. "The Lord says to Abram, I am the Almighty God, walk before me and be thou perfect." Later, Jesus repeats this admonition, "Be thou perfect", more than once, so my food for thought, which I want you to use is how and what way can you land I be perfect? By possessing no imperfections? What does perfection contain within itself? So, wherein is a thing or a person as he now exists, perfect? If God says to me, or if Jesus says to me, "Be thou perfect"; He cannot be telling me something that is impossible. If anyone says anything that is an impossibility, then it can't be true. How can an impossibility be true? It can't. So, if Jesus and Jehovah here spoke truth, which they did, when both of them say, "Be thou perfect", it's truth, therefore it's something that is possible.
Now, for all of us, our job is to figure it out, how is it possible? But, be careful, don't do it this way - how is it possible for Shirley to be perfect? You'll end up with the old answer - she can't. That's not true, you won't get that answer unless you ask the question, how and in what way. Instead of how is it possible for Shirley to be perfect, how is it possible for me to be perfect? Then you'll get your answer.
I have found, for myself that my answer is in becoming; constantly becoming therein is my perfection. Not perfection estate which I've got to reach, but in Ed Rabel our goal is eternal self-improvement in the direction, not in the estate but in the movement. In the becoming is to me the state that Jesus was talking about. I have a little support here, "Walk before me and be thou perfect". He's giving a hint here as to how it can be accomplished. Jesus attaches His admonition to being perfect after He says that God is kind to the unthankful and the evil. Do ye likewise, be thou perfect, is what Jesus says in Luke. He described an activity, a process, an effort and says in doing this, this is being perfect.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on February 25, 2015.