An Esoteric Interpretation of Job: Ascension of the Self through Suffering

by Joshua Tilghman on January 12, 2013


Book of JobToday’s post will provide an esoteric interpretation of Job. This should be a good study for anyone who may be struggling to progress to the next stage of their spiritual evolution because you have one foot still planted in religion. Perhaps this post will help show you the difference between religion and true spiritual development. This post will be the first in a series.

Many scholars believe the Book of Job to be the oldest in the Bible. There are certainly many strange elements about the story that seem too far removed to fit the traditional religious mold. For example, how does Satan fit in? Job’s Satan clearly isn’t the Satan of Christian religion. According to Christian religious authorities, Satan was banished from heaven. Jesus even said that his saw him fall like lighting (Luke 10:18). But in Job he walks in and out of the heavenly court like it’s a stroll in park. And then our omniscient God doesn’t seem to know where he’s been and what he has been doing.

“And the LORD said unto Satan, whence comest thou…and Satan answered…going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.” (Job 1:7).

This is not the Satan that has been kicked out of heaven. All these details should be red flags telling us to look deeper than the literal interpretation.

I want to begin with Satan since we have to understand his purpose in the story to properly introduce Job.

Satan is not a literal fallen angel in Job. His role in this narrative is more universal. As the adversary, Satan represents the limitations and the illusion we all must incur as we incarnate on the physical plane. These limitations, including pain and suffering, are an inherit part of physical manifestation. This is why Satan doesn’t bear any responsibility in the sufferings he causes to Job. He appears at the beginning of the story, fulfills his part of the narrative to help Job ascend, and then quickly fades and is mentioned no more.

Notice the words I placed in bold from the scripture above; Satan was “walking up and down” in the earth. This symbolizes the process of involution for all souls on the physical plane, a necessary process before ascension. In a sense, Satan, as illusion and limitation, is in us all. This also solves the often debated point that Satan and God seem to be the same person in different portions of scripture (when read literally).

What about Job? Job has some interesting qualities as well. The first chapter states this about him:

“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright; and one that feared God…” (Job 1:1).

In the verse above, the author is revealing a man that follows the religious rites and requirements of the day to perfection. In other words, Job is trying to attain righteousness from the works. This desire is birthed from the lower nature, and as we already know, it is never good enough (although this desire is not a bad thing). Ascension is only possible through spiritual evolution where one comes to operate under the direction of the higher self, hence the purpose and reason for this story in the first place. As we’ll see, Job is resurrecting into a higher plane of consciousness by the end of the story.

The next portion of the story further reveals that Job’s religious actions show his desire to fulfill righteousness in the strength of his lower nature.

“And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day…And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all” (Job 1:4-5).

The offspring of Job represent the innate qualities of the lower nature. Job does his best (through religious practices) to purify himself by sanctifying his sons and daughters with burnt offerings. Even though this isn’t good enough, the desire is the birthing process that, once purified, can help put us on the path to ascension. Those of us on the spiritual path eventually come to this stage in life, and when we come to this place in our spiritual evolution, we are usually ready to proceed to the next stage—as long as religion (doctrines and dogmatic thinking) doesn’t hold us back!

I now want to back up a moment and return to a verse I purposefully skipped earlier.

“…this man [Job] was also the greatest of all the men of the east” (Job 1:3)

This verse introduces us to the overall theme of the Job narrative: his ascension. Whenever “the east” is mentioned in scripture we are talking about the sun, which always rises in the east and is symbolic of the incarnation of the soul that dies in the bowels of the earth (incarnation into the physical plane) and rises again to higher consciousness. In order for this cycle to take place, an adversary, in this case Satan (the ego), must be present to stir up the spiritual evolutionary process. Why do you think Satan and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil were in paradise with Adam and Eve in the first place?

All at once, four servants (who miraculously escaped all the calamities and appeared to Job at about the same time) came and told Job of terrible disasters. The “fire of God” burned up his sheep, the Sabeans slew his servants and stole his oxen, the Chaldeans got away with his camels, and his children were killed from a storm that caused the house to fall on them (Job 1:15-19).

So even though Job has tried his best to sanctify his children (his own lower nature qualities) and perform all his religious duties to perfection, everything ends in disaster. We are reminded of this scripture:

“…our righteousness is as filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6).

We must understand that our actions, thoughts, and deeds must be purified by the higher nature before they become manifested as wisdom and truth. It is also important to point out that our own lower nature qualities are not evil. Far from it. But they still don’t manifest the life of the spirit.

Many things we do today can be related to these lower nature qualities of Job. In the beginning of our spiritual journeys we all seek to please a higher power by performing religious acts with a desire to gain acceptance. Even accepting the work of Jesus on the cross and believing that he died for our sins is a way to gain the favor of God. While there is nothing wrong with this kind of belief and action, at some point we must learn to take responsibility for our own salvation. If you find it necessary to believe that the Jesus story is literal, so be it. I see nothing wrong with it, as long as you take responsibility and realize that you must awaken your own Christ, the Christ that is “formed in you” as St. Paul says, as well.

As we’ll see in future posts of this series, “…the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12). This represents Job’s ascension to higher consciousness resulting from the Christ within developed through the process of his suffering and grief.

This Christ nature is evident from the very beginning of Job’s calamities:

“In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:22).

So we have properly laid the foundation for Job’s ascension. His spiritual evolution will begin to unfold quickly. In our next post we will continue with Job’s ascension process, describing what his wife and friends represent to Job, and more importantly, what qualities they represent in us!

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Antz January 13, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Hi,
Just read your article and there are a few things that I don’t quite agree with i just want to give my opinion on things. You say according to christian religious authorities Satan was banished from heaven but yet he ‘walks in and out of heaven like its a stroll in the park’. Satan did get banished not according to any religious authorities but according to the bible Ezekiel 28:16. Also Satan doesn’t walk in and out of heaven when he wants to, one purpose of the dialogue between Satan and the Lord in the book of Job was to show the glorification of the Lord almighty Job 1:21-22, Job 2:10. Of course omniscient God knew where Satan had been and what he had been doing just like he knows what me and you have been getting up to, otherwise it defeats the point of calling him all knowing God but it was for the purpose of the scripture. Satan is an accuser that is his job it happens throughout the word. The reason he can present himself before the Lord after being banished is because of the generational sin caused by Adam in the Garden. Before the falling of Adam everything was perfect, therefore Satan couldn’t do any accusing at that moment in time. Once Adam disobeyed God, through the temptation of Satan sin became manifested and as a spiritual law allowed Satan to accuse mankind by right for their iniquities before God. I’m sure you know all this already. For even though God could have prevented everything and done things in another way he is a just and faithful God. Deuteronomy 32:4.
I understand the spiritual importance to your articles but I’m sorry not everything mentioned in the bible is spiritual there are literal aspects as well. While there are tremendous amounts of spiritual aspects the whole point of Jesus was for him to come down as flesh John 1:14 and due to his work on the cross he can mediate for mankind through our faith in him. That is literal and spiritual at the same time. Faith in him is the only way to assure our salvation no works no action just faith otherwise it’s not true faith. God bless you

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Joshua Tilghman January 14, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Antz,

First of all I want to say thank you. I appreciate you standing your ground and stating what you believe. I respect it because you have done it tactfully. And we can agree to disagree.

I think that scripture from Ezekiel is misinterpreted and perhaps I’ll do a blog post on it sometime.

Also, you say faith in him is the only way to assure salvation. But what does this “faith” you speak of mean?

The faith of the New Testament authors is about knowing / experiencing Christ. This is much different than believing something that happened a long time ago. The Apostle Paul never mentions many important concepts in the doctrines and beliefs of mainstream Christianity. For example, he never speaks of the virgin birth. Why? Was it important to him? I don’t think so. Paul was speaking about the living Christ that is formed in you. Speaking about the literal / historical aspects of Christ were the lower teachings of the early church. In fact, many of them Paul said we must move beyond in order to get to real meat, which is about the knowledge of God through experience.

Consider this verse from Paul: “So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. (Hebrews 6:1).

I have no problem with someone who wants to hold onto the literal / historical Christ. For many, it’s a great way to have a concrete foundation to advance from. But is this really what’s important if that belief itself does nothing to actually transform us?

Thanks again for commenting. Feel free to disagree anytime.

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Antz January 15, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Joshua,
Thanks for the reply it’s much appreciated here’s my stance on some things you mentioned. Relating to the ‘faith’ I speak of I would like to take you back to Genesis. When God created Adam he saw that everything was very good. Genesis 1:31. In God’s dictionary that is way above our thinking capacity. We can agree then that the atmosphere and the way Adam was living in the Garden was unimaginable.

One thing that has to be realised is that before the fruit was bitten there was a whole other life planned ahead for Adam and mankind, we can assume a life of real LIFE. We can know this because Adam is told if he eats from the tree of good and evil he shall surely die. Genesis 2:17. Death here is represented not just as a physical death but also a spiritual death. For what takes place in the spiritual has an affect in the physical and vice-versa. To fully understand everything in the bible we need to analyse things from a body, soul and spirit perspective because that is how we live too. This takes me back to faith in the resurrected Christ. We humans couldn’t do anything within our own might to get right with God because mankind was born under the curse of Adam. This is where the mediator Christ comes in to sacrifice himself for our sins. The faith that I speak of brings us back to the beginning to the point at which Adam fell. Only through faith in Christ however are we made right before God. So the point I’m making is that the faith in Christ is just the beginning of things to come, the beginning of a new life. That faith includes professing Jesus is Lord and believing that God raised him from the dead as Paul tells us in Romans 10:9

Read Philippians 2:7-“Instead, he gave up his divine privileges he took up the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being”. What does that mean if there’s no literal aspect to it? I do feel that the literal/historical aspects of Christ are important just as the spiritual aspects are.

When Paul mentioned that in Hebrews 6:1 it was written to the Hebrew Christians specifically for they had been believers for such a long time, they had weak faith. He gives his reasons why in the previous four verses. In Hebrews 5:12 he tells them they need someone to teach them again the basic things about God’s word.

You also mention that for many people believing in a literal/historical Christ it’s a great way to have a concrete foundation to advance from but you question whether it’s important. I would answer yes. Otherwise 1 Timothy 1:4 will come to pass and he addresses this “Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God.”
God bless you and I look forward to your reply.

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Joshua Tilghman January 18, 2013 at 10:28 am

Antz,

Thank you for sharing. You stated: “One thing that has to be realised is that before the fruit was bitten there was a whole other life planned ahead for Adam and mankind, we can assume a life of real LIFE. We can know this because Adam is told if he eats from the tree of good and evil he shall surely die. Genesis 2:17. Death here is represented not just as a physical death but also a spiritual death. For what takes place in the spiritual has an affect in the physical and vice-versa.”

Antz, I don’t believe this story was meant to be literal. If Adam and Eve hadn’t been kicked out, how could they have learned what obedience really entails? Had they never disobeyed, they’d be puppets without true understanding.

You also stated: “Read Philippians 2:7-”Instead, he gave up his divine privileges he took up the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being”. What does that mean if there’s no literal aspect to it? I do feel that the literal/historical aspects of Christ are important just as the spiritual aspects are.”

This story, as well as the one about Adam and Eve, are about all of humanity. We all gave up our privileges and took up the humble position of slaves. That’s what the experience of life was all about. Ponder something for a moment: Where were you before you were born?

Finally, you said:

“Otherwise 1 Timothy 1:4 will come to pass and he addresses this “Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God.”

Sorry. The Gospel accounts disagree to Jesus’ birth and pedigree. (do a simple google search if you want to learn more). If the Bible is really the infallible word of God, it should be consistent. Besides, this point could be argued both ways. Paul never mentions the virgin birth. Maybe Paul was a more of a gnostic that taught us to experience God through Gnosis instead of concerning ourselves with trying to establish a connection of our beliefs with any kind of literal account (which he considered a fable).

Antz, my point is, what good does the literal account do for us beyond having a concrete foundation to building deeper understandings upon. Believing whether or not Christ was literal is not going to transform us in any way. It is not a prerequisite for spiritual transformation. How could it be? What about the people who never had the chance to hear the gospel? What about the people who have similar myths that believe their god came down to earth in a similar fashion to the Gospel story, but yet call that God by another name?

I wish you all the best in your quest, and thanks for sparking up discussion.

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Christine Hoeflich January 19, 2013 at 12:50 am

Hi Josh, thanks for this post. I understand that the “fall” was something we all chose, to experience personal and spiritual growth in the fastest way possible. It was not as the Bible stated (that Adam and Eve were supposed to stay away from the fruit and from higher knowledge…what a crock…) Rather, by experiencing this “Earth Experiment” in full it was how they would grow in awareness and spiritual maturity!!

Many of the details in the Bible are not all that interesting to me, rather, what’s interesting to me is what’s happening in the world right now, the practical things, and how we can raise our consciousness so that we transform the world. But anyway, I understand someone needs to look at all those details of the Bible, and make sense of them, and you sure do a good job of that!

Thanks for all you do! Christine

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Joshua Tilghman January 21, 2013 at 9:30 am

Christine,

So true. The literal interpretation of Adam and Eve doesn’t even come close to the truth. But by understanding the symbols and deeper meaning within them it becomes easy to construct the true meaning of this important story, for it is the story of us all. The tree of knowledge of good and evil is the experience we were meant to gain by coming here in the first place.

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Antz January 19, 2013 at 11:45 am

Joshua,
Thanks for the reply. After reading your reply something has told me that nothing I say will make a difference we can end up going around in circles and reach nowhere. This is an issue where God will reveal to all of us through the divine power of the holy spirit, his divine truths. If we believe that God is all powerful then nothing is too hard for him. When we die which is guaranteed we’ll know the truth. I understand why you have to discredit the virgin birth of Jesus. In doing so it allows the theories you have come up with on this site to stand ground.

However, if you have been questioning whether the bible is really the infallible word of God, everything on this website can be deemed useless and isn’t needed. If you believe in the truths of the bible you believe in the whole truth, you can’t use one part of the bible and discredit another part. (2Timothy3:16)- ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. Peter also addresses this in (2Peter 1:20-21)- “knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation for the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”

This means you need the holy spirit of God to understand the bible in its entirety. What I say or what you say means nothing unless it is through the power of the holy spirit. We cannot come to conclusions through our own understanding. The bible is consistent in every way from the prophecies through to the Gospels which convey the same message and they all lead to the same point. If we’re not sure about something what happened to praying about it and asking God for revelation? Searching for truths on the internet does nothing and this is why deception is rife in the times we are living in. 2corinthians 11:14- “And no marvel; for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light”

It’s a shame that the religiosity of the church for decades upon decades has blinded a lot of people to the truth and does not allow them to understand the deeper spiritual truths to the life we’re called to live and I agree with you on this fully. I thank God for his grace always that I didn’t attain salvation through any church doctrine but only by his power. The church has fallen way below standards and are not meeting the true needs of what was preached by Paul and the other apostles.

We need to understand that there is a physical reality-Body, a psychological reality-Soul and a spiritual reality-Spirit. Body-Soul-Spirit. When the bible is read on the grounding of these realities everything makes sense. From understanding God, down to the creation of man, to the virgin birth, being born again, miracles, healings, gifts of the spirit etc. There can’t be mixing of psychological realities and spiritual realities and then call it spiritual this is why there’s so many problems in the world today.

I truly pray that God continues to reveal his wisdom and divine nature as we seek him out and that anything that has been wrongly said and thought that he will convict us in our hearts and that he will lead us to the whole truth. I just pray that God’s will shall be done in everyone that comes on this site and that his purposes for our lives are fulfilled. Amen
It was nice discussing with you Joshua. Feel free to reply but this will be my last comment. God bless

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Joshua Tilghman January 21, 2013 at 9:34 am

Antz,

Agreed! I do wish you the very best.

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Jeffrey Nolan December 29, 2013 at 8:29 am

Just curious, Antz if the Bible is the infallible word of God what does this passage mean then ?

“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” 2 Corinthians 3:6.

I think the Bible is a capable tool for instructing those of all spiritual levels, your verse from Timothy speaks to this ability as ‘Doctrine’ which is the back bone of the Physical Church. I feel the meanings Joshua is trying to ascertain are those left for seekers who want to know the mysteries The Christ spoke of that all god’s children are entitled to but few actually find.

Luke 8:10 “And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

Faith it seems fills a void in their unknowing and makes them to be satisfied with the ‘Milk’ of the teachings keeping them adhering to the interpretations of other ‘fallen’ humans who hand pick scripture so that it proves the point of their debate and silences disagreements. I wish to play devils advocate now with you Antz and challenge you to look deeper and be not afraid of what you may find and to feel no guilt to want more than these basic teachings. You seem to have a sharp mind and some familiarity with the books that were accepted into the Bible have you ever read from those that were discarded by the Roman Church that were found at Nag Hammadi?

If you read just a few lines from the Gospel of Thomas you may find why IT was not acceptable for those humans who sought to start a franchise religion. We are not all meant to be ‘sheep’ but some are to be rightful heirs to ‘The Kingdom’ as children of a living God. This is what it means to be ‘chosen’ not to be of a certain select race or creed who inherit through favor. A good Father wants his children to equal or even surpass his legacy, some disobedience to his word has to be expected and forgiven in this process. If all we do is dutifully follow all of his words we will remain only beloved ‘pets’ of his IMHO. Please reassess your decision to be satisfied with your current understanding.

2. Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]” Gospel of Thomas

Peace, Jeff Nolan

Joshua please check your ‘other’ mail on Facebook 🙂

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Robert January 31, 2013 at 4:58 pm

This post, along with the interchange of comments is one of the most interesting ones on this blog which I have come across so far. Job is the first book of the bible that I read as a young man and it affected me greatly even though I didn’t quite understand it all. At that time I had no religious interest and very little familiarity with Christianity. So I had no preconceptions about what Job was about. I got the idea that Job had a personal encounter with God that was more important than following a religious code. I had never occurred to me before I read Job that a person could have a direct encounter with God. It sparked my interest and attracted me to Christianity which emphasized a personal relationship with God. Not long after that I became a Christian, joined a church and learned the church’s explanation for this book. It gave me a better handle for what was going on in the book, but I have never been totally satisfied with the explanation. Job really stands apart from any other book in the bible in its mixture of profundity and melodrama. I understand it is thought to be the oldest book in the bible. Josh’s explanation of the symbolism in Job is very revealing and profound. It gives it an extra twist. I am eager to see where this is going as I read the sequels. Antz’s comments were very thoughtful and thorough in providing the traditional Christian perspective on Job. Christine’s comments added a different dimension I would not have thought about. I enjoyed the contrasting schools of thought and appreciated how they were presented with respect and compassion for one another. This post has been a real learning experience. I was having a rough day today, but when I sat down and read this post I truly felt renewed. Thanks.

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Joshua Tilghman January 31, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Robert,

This is one of the reasons I started this blog. I am thrilled by your comment, and it is my hope that you can find enjoyment from future comments and interactions with these posts. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

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anny April 17, 2013 at 7:46 am

Hello Joshua,

A very interesting post, about Job. I have not really thought a lot about this book yet as I did not really know what to do with it. Thinking about what the numerical value of the name Job in Hebrew would be just now I suddenly realised it is 18, which again is one of the important numbers in Hebrew. It is also the numerical value of ‘hai’ which means life and has become a symbol for life. And thinking about it, the story of Job is of course the story of life.

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Antz December 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Hey Jeff thanks for the comment if you could leave me your email then we could have a further discussion of perspectives and views. I do consider myself to be a seeker of truth and I’m always searching for more and I’m willing to hear the different perspectives you have to offer. It’s just that for me, my experiences and study of the word have led me to believe the bible as the final authorative say on the issues of life and of truth. I don’t say this through mere ignorance but through actual practice of the word I come to that conclusion. Like you and Joshua I believe that truth is not by any means determined by just ink on paper but also through experiential reality that the written word expresses. So plz leave me your email. Or email me aujonas@hotmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
May God bless you.
Antz

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Robert December 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Its been about a year since Josh’s message posted and it is still stirring people to interact. I just reread your comments, Jeff, and it spoke to me like a message from heaven. I’ve never really understood the gnostic gospels. But something just gelled deep inside me from your discussion about the Gospel of Thomas. I’d like to explore this more with you. My email is robertjengelbach@yahoo.com

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Jerry January 1, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Thank you for this post. The story of Job is one that actually pushed me away from organized religion in my younger days, as I could not comprehend a God that would allow such suffering to his most faithful. As I now continue along my spiritual path many years later, its a story that, just this morning, re-emerged- this time with the seeds of realization planted as to what it truly represents. In my seeking, I came upon this blog. I also must say, I found the varying views and responses in the comments to be quite poignant and have a personal representation for me of different people and viewpoints in my own life- and as a result has helped me even further with compassion and understanding. This post, even long after it was written, is still having a positive impact. Thank you all, and God bless. Love, light, and truth. Peace.

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Joshua Tilghman January 2, 2015 at 11:58 am

Jerry,

Our pleasure. And thanks for commenting!

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IVM June 30, 2015 at 8:54 pm

Hi Joshua (what a name to have for such an insightful blogger!!) I was delighting in your posts on Job, and wondered what you make of Job 40:14 “Then I will also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee…”
to me, the whole Bible is a ‘How-To’ manual for transformation of the self to the Self, what to do, and what NOT to do. love your work.
Cheers, Irene

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Joshua Tilghman July 19, 2015 at 1:17 pm

IVM,

What an astute observation. Yes, that scripture shows that the current thinking in traditional Christianity is not entirely accurate. Thanks for commenting.

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Jeff Stone March 14, 2016 at 3:22 am

Joshua, I’m hoping you can help me with the significance of some numbers. I’ve skipped around your posts a bit, which has probably exacerbated the problem. Nonetheless, is there a good source for some of these numerical references you (and at least one reader) make? Thanks!

Jeff

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Joshua Tilghman March 14, 2016 at 8:41 pm

Jeff, Anny has a good grasp on this. She had written more than a few articles on my site, and has a very high gift of coming to the higher spiritual meanings of Biblical text through numbers. If you go to the articles by Anny Vos and make a comment, she will get it. If not, let me know and I will make sure it is okay with her to give you her personal e-mail. Blessings.

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