One of the strangest stories of the Bible, and, perhaps one of the most improbable, is when the sun and moon stand still at the command of Joshua so the Israelites can finish slaughtering their enemies. The Bible states:
“Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies” (Joshua 10:12-13).
As a literal event this would be pretty spectacular, but in order for that to be true we would first have to eliminate a false assumption of the author; that the sun moves around a fixed earth. If this were a literal story inspired by God, it would be more accurate to state that the earth stood still, not the sun. Next we would have to come to some mind-blowing conclusions about the natural laws of the universe; if the earth really stood still, everything would be thrown off kilter which would in turn start chain reactions having far reaching consequences for life on our planet. We might as well say that God suddenly changed the laws that govern the proper function of the universe…and that it didn’t matter that much! Sorry. The laws that keep everything working in proper order, like the earth rotating on its axis, can’t just be switched off and on for the sake of allowing some people to finish what they started. This story is obviously esoteric in nature, so what’s it mean?
This story is actually one of my Old Testament favorites because it is about meditation and a shift in consciousness, and once the symbols are interpreted, it gives us one of the keys to communing with God. Let’s break down the story.
The sun represents the mind. The moon represents the emotions. This profound story is about stilling the mind and the emotions (ego) to help reveal the truth about the higher self. This happens in the act of meditation. Through continual, advanced meditation, we retract from the world of our five senses and experience a shift in consciousness. This shift is about conquering your enemies, which in the case of the story of Joshua is also about conquering the five senses. As we’ll see in a minute, after the sun and moon stand still, Joshua has to slay five kings (the five senses) in a cave in order for Israel to continue towards possessing the Promised Land, or higher awareness.
The Blessings of Meditation
When you meditate, you are invoking God’s presence. In the story of Joshua and this battle, the author puts it like this:
“And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man…” (Joshua 10: 14).
The LORD here as the natural process of consciousness evolution, has no choice but to hearken unto your efforts of stilling the mind and the emotions in the process of meditation. Consider the point that Joshua speaks directly to the sun and the moon, even though the author tells us that Joshua is speaking to the LORD. Let at the verse again:
“Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.”
Realizing that the sun represents the mind and the moon the emotions, the author is equating the LORD with a still mind and emotions? Is that even Biblical? Let me remind you of Psalms 46:10:
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
To “be still” is to meditate and transcend the mind and emotions (ego). Being “exalted among the heathen” simply means that consciousness is raised above the lower thoughts and emotions (heathen), and being “exalted in the earth” means that consciousness is raised in our lower nature consisting of the physical body and the lower mental-astral self. This is exactly what’s represented in the story of Joshua and the Israelites.
Meditation allows us to pause from our external reality and helps us connect with a greater aspect of ourselves. And this is where the LORD fights the battle for us.
“…For the LORD fought for Israel” (Joshua 10:14).
When we enter meditation there is nothing to do. Consciousness will be raised naturally. We don’t have to force it or do anything. We are simply “be-ing,” which always brings more awareness into the picture.
The rest of the story continues to teach us more about meditation’s effect on us. After Joshua commands that the sun and moon stand still, he continues to kill the enemy. They slay many men. But the enemy kings of all those men get away and go to hide in a cave. The scripture states:
“But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Mekkedah. And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it to keep them” (Joshua 10:17-18).
The five kings represent the five senses. The cave in which they hide is symbolic of the lower nature of the soul. Caves are dark and dismal because they are devoid of light. So it is with the lower nature of the soul; it is devoid of the divine light of higher awareness. The soul which experiences awareness through the five senses only is like one of the kings in this cave. Joshua, representative of the higher self, must crucify this problem, which he eventually does. We all know that in meditation we no longer rely on the five senses to be aware of our environment. Instead we are turning inward, beyond the five senses.
Parallels with the Story of Jesus
It might be beneficial for some to pause a moment and see the parallels with this story and the story of Christ.
In some of the earliest stories of Christ, Jesus, like Mithra, was born in a cave. An early church father, Justin Martyr, believed this to be true as he states in a Dialogue with Trypho. Justin Martyr believed Jesus was moved to the manger after he had been in the cave! If Jesus represents the spiritual evolution of man’s soul, this makes sense. All men are born in the dark cave of their own ignorance as to their true natures until the ego is completely transcended, as in Jesus’ ascension.
As we’ll also see in a moment, what ensues in the story of Joshua is a forerunner of the crucifixion of Jesus in the New Testament. Consider the verses in the story below:
“Then said Joshua, open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave…And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them (the five senses / ego), and hanged them on five trees…” (Joshua 10:22, 26).
Jesus was hung on a cross. These five kings were hung on trees. It is interesting to note that the Greek word for “cross” is stauros, which means a “stake” or “post.” A post resembles a tree more than the cross!
Maybe you are seeing some interesting connections? The story of Jesus representing the spiritual evolution of our souls is no different (esoterically) than the story of Joshua and the Israelites coming into the Promised Land. Jesus crucified the mind and emotions at Golgatha (the place of the skull / the mind), and the Israelites overcome their mind and emotions where the sun and moon stand still: Gibeon. As Anny pointed out in a comment from my last article, Gibeon represents a place of “higher awareness.” When the lower emotions are transmuted into higher ones (Gibeon), higher awareness takes place, and meditation helps with this process.
Understanding that Gibeon is the place of higher awareness is important in the story. Let’s back up a bit to see why. The reason Joshua and the Israelites even fought with and killed these five kings is because they originally came after the men of Gibeon. The men of Gibeon are the same men that tricked Joshua into making peace with them earlier. This made these five kings furious, so they went to make war with Gibeon. Since Joshua had made peace with them, representing the individual transmuting lower emotions into higher ones, Joshua and the Israelites were obligated to fight for them. Their obligation simply signifies the individual acting in accordance with overcoming the emotion of desire.
The lower nature (represented by the five kings) always seeks to assail the opportunity for higher awareness. Higher awareness is the natural outcome of many incarnations and experiences of the soul, but it comes through the eventual subjugation of the five senses to the experience of higher consciousness.
More on Meditaiton As It Relates to this Story with Joshua
There were a few verses that I skipped earlier in between Joshua dragging the five kings out of the cave and the act of hanging them on a tree. I quote those below:
“And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, come near, and put your feet upon the necks of them…And Joshua said unto them, fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight” (Joshua 10: 24-25).
Again, it is the LORD that wins the fight. We don’t have to do anything. Many people think that raising consciousness is about something we do. But it’s not. Meditation is the act of “taking no thought.” This doesn’t mean that the mind goes blank during meditation. It means that the thoughts and emotions of the lower nature are slowly and eventually transmuted as the higher and lower nature merge. Meditation is one aspect in which energies of the higher self / Holy Spirit enters into the physical vessel. As we already saw in the Psalms, the LORD “will be exalted in the earth.” This can also happen through praise, prayer (a type of meditation) mantras, etc.
During meditation your higher self is communing with you. Things are happening, even if you might not sense it happening.
Understanding the esoteric meaning of this story shatters old-world religious notions about how we understand and worship the creator. This story shows us that God is truly ONE, and we cannot experience this one-ness externally. We will not find this one-ness in church, or in a doctrine, or through the authority and leading of another man. This one-ness can only be experienced within ourselves, as an awesome function somewhere within the core of who we are, because deep down in this core, we are already ONE with God.
Old-world notions about God are incompatible with this view because man continually sees God through the eyes of his own ego. This is okay to do when functioning in day-to-day life, but we have to balance our being with the internal aspect of who we are in order to spiritually evolve. The story of Joshua asking the sun and the moon to stand still drives this point home to us.