Today I am going to take you on a literal and symbolic journey covering over half of the Bible. I am going to show you how this journey is included in just the first chapter of the New Testament, Jesus’ birth record. We’ll start with Matthew 1:1. It reads:
“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1).
It is a register of births, which is mostly skipped over in church; at least, I cannot remember ever having heard it read during a church service. I suppose most people read it through privately, but did you ever see the significance of it? I certainly did not. At least not until I began to dig deeper.
In the word generation we see two possible meanings:
1) The literal interpretation: a list of generations from Abraham to Jesus.
2) The symbolical interpretation: the phases and processes that will lead from:
- the incarnation (Abraham) through descent into chaos
- the process of balancing and reintegrating (David)
- the birth of the Christ in us (baby Jesus) and ascension. As you’ll see in a moment, the major Biblical players from Abraham to Christ represent the symbolic birth of higher consciousness that must happen in us!
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Matthew 1:2
The first three names on the list in Matthew 1:2, the three patriarchs, symbolize the process of incarnation.
- Abraham (Father of the many) left under the name Abram (Lofty Father) from Ur, which is written exactly the same as ‘or,’ light. He descended out of the World of Light with his wife Sarai. However they were not fertile as they were still symbolically ONE.
It is interesting to see the resemblance with the names Brahma and Sarasvati, who are part of the Hindu Trinity Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, who also symbolize this same process.
As Abraham and Sara, they enter the dream world of the ‘tardema,’ the deep sleep, where they finally get a son.
- Isaac slowly becomes blind to unity and oneness, and becomes the father of Jacob, who at the end of his life moves to Egypt/Mitsrajim, the world of duality and matter, and who finally reaches the deepest point of descent and gets enslaved.
David in Matthew 1:1
The second name that is mentioned in Matthew 1:1 is David, 4-6-4. He is the integrating and balancing principle that reconnects all the things that oppose each other in the world of matter (4) through the hook of the character wav which is also the number six. Since Jesus has the title son of David he will also apply this principle throughout his life. We literally have to do that too in order to be able to birth the Christ in us.
The significance of 42
Matthew 1:17 reads:
“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.”
This means that in all there are forty-two generations from Abraham to Jesus, or forty-two phases from incarnation unto the birth of the Christ.
Forty-two is a number that is often mentioned in the Bible:
- There were forty-two resting places on the way from Mitsrajim (Egypt) to The Promised Land after the people of Israel were delivered from their slavery. This stands for forty-two levels of consciousness they pass on their way to the Promised Land.
- In Joshua’s articles about Revelation chapter 11, we saw this number in the forty-two months (3½ years; 1260 days) that the Gentiles shall tread the holy city under foot. The 3½ points to the half way point on the journey through the world of matter, which in the Kabbala is called the world of the seventh day. It is the lowest point of the cycle, where the Kundalini serpent lies waiting in 3½ coils, until the oil (‘sjemen, sjmona,’ 8) has been produced for the anointment of the messiah.
The significance of 3 and 4, and 14
All these meanings are included in the forty-two births in this register too, being divided into three sections of fourteen.
The three is the divine number of the spirit, also symbolized by the three patriarchs, whereas the four stands for the female creative and cherishing side of creation, the world of emotions and the world of matter. This four is also symbolized by the four matriarchs: Sara, Rebecca, Lea and Rachel.
As forty-two is divided into three equal sections of fourteen, you might see it as a triangle with a descending phase and an ascending phase. At the same time it defies reason as it proves to be a constantly recurring process that goes through the same stages but each time at another level with descending and rising phases.
People at the end of their ascending phase reach out to people who got stuck at the bottom of their descending phase, as Moses did for the Hebrew slaves in Mitsrajim by being born in Egypt, shortly before their descent reached its deepest point. He cleared his own last issues by being a shepherd in the desert, and attending to his flock (as described in my article about the Biblical Shepherd), before finally returning to Mitsrajim to lead the people out of this slavery. At the end of their journey through the desert Moses was ready to ascend from the mountain called Nebo, which can be read as ‘50-bo,’ as at this point the higher awareness (50) was already in him (‘bo’).
In this larger cycle Jesus is doing the same thing; he is born at a time and country where the people had gotten into a position of slavery again and are living under the domination of the Roman Empire (another symbol of the world of matter) where a king, called Herod, rules. Herod is called a tetrarch, which is a Greek word and means ruler of the four, the material world. His name is the Hebrew verb ‘charad,’ to tremble, or be afraid. Herod is the Fear that rules the fourth world (the world of matter) at that stage and, just like the pharaoh in Mitsrajim, Herod will try to kill the Christ that is being born. Jesus, the Christ, descended with us to the absolute deepest point of the four hundred (the cross), the last character of the Hebrew alphabet. On that cross he resolved his own very last issues and gained resurrection and ascension, after having shown and prepared the way for us by his teachings and his example. This opened the way for us again to follow, as now we do not have to remain stuck any longer.
The triangle of three times fourteen names further elucidates the process to be followed, both by the numbers and the names.
The number fourteen, and the process it symbolizes, prove to be very important here:
- Apart from this formula of 3 x 14, fourteen is the numerical value of the name David, 4-6-4, and as such is a symbol of this process.
- David is also the fourteenth name on the list.
- The higher awareness we are striving for is symbolized by the character nun, the number 50, which is the fourteenth character of the Hebrew alphabet.
- This whole process requires action on our part and action is symbolized by the word hand, jad, 10-4, again fourteen.
David, and the ‘son of David’, Solomon, accomplish a completion (‘sjalem,’ complete, is one of the interpretations of his name, which is Shlomo in Hebrew) at the end of the first set of fourteen names and the beginning of the second one. As the son of David, Solomon works with the same principle and symbolically completes the process in a ‘time’ when there is no more adversary (‘satan’ in Hebrew) and no attack of evil (‘ra’) by building and completing the Temple, the House of God, which is also a symbol of the human body. But immediately afterwards he himself starts a descent into duality again and that results in two kingdoms instead of one. So this completion is largely symbolic and proves to be part of a larger descending cycle that reaches rock bottom during the Babylonian Exile, the end of which will be the second turning point, from where it goes upwards again towards the birth of Jesus, the Christ.
Matthew 1:11-12: the Exile and turning point
“And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel.”
As this was not the first cycle, Josias already knew what would happen before they were even led into the land of slavery again. I will use the Hebrew names from now on in order to show something of the process that starts to enfold:
- He ‘begat’ Jechoniahou, which means JHWH will prepare (the rescue).
- Jechoniahou in his turn ‘begat’ Sja’altiel, which means ‘I pleaded with God.’
Another instance of the use of this verb ‘sja’al’ is when the people of Israel did not want a judge (‘sjofet’) to lead them any longer but asked God to give them ‘a king like all the other peoples have,’ which is what they got. The king was Saul, Sjaoel, the one they had asked for. As was to be expected, it did not turn out to be to their advantage.
- In this case Jechoniahou had cried to God for delivery from their slavery and as a result of this request, Sja’altiel, ‘begat’ Zerubavel. This name contains the name Babel/Babylon, where they were in slavery at the time, but it also refers to the Babel of long before that, where the people had tried to build a tower in order to reach heaven and where God had confused them to the extent that they could not communicate anymore. The name Zerubavel means now God has made this confusion undone. There is clarity again.
- Zerubavel in his turn ‘begets’ Abihud, which you could read as ’my father is thankful’ and Abihud ‘begets’ Eljakim, meaning God will elevate, lift (us) up, and so on ..
This process goes on until Joseph. Joseph, the father of Jesus, has all the characteristics of Joseph, the son of Jacob. Joseph the son of Jacob was sold into slavery in Mitsrajim by his brothers but never became a real slave because he remained master of his ego and emotions and as such became ruler over the world of Mitsrajim. He became the symbol for the body, as he fully incarnated into the world of matter and after he became the master of his ego he was called Joseph ha Tsaddiq, Joseph the Just. Also this Joseph is called a Tsaddiq, a just man, in verse 19, and as such Joseph can be seen as the body that is ready to birth the Christ.
More on 42 and 4 and how they relate to consciousness
Besides these forty-two names of men (and phases of consciousness) there are also four women called by name, as four is the number of the female divine creation, emotions and matter. Of course they too are symbols in the symbolic interpretation:
- The first one is Tamar. We already know her name as a concept, 400-mar, the bitterness of the cross that needs to be eaten/digested in order to discover that it is sweet after all. It is a date. She is the process.
- The second one is Rachab, 200-8-2, which means wide, open minded, generous. She is the eight, ‘shmona.’ She is the ‘sjemen,’ the oil that is needed to anoint the messiah to lead us out of this world of separation (200) and duality (2), out of this world of strife, ‘rav,’ 200-2.
In Hebrew the pronunciation of some consonants varies according to their place in the word; so b can become v, and k can become ch. So Rachab should really also be pronounced as Rachav and Moab (below) as Moav, but for these well-known names I have used the usual pronunciation.
- The third one is Ruth, 200-6-400. She symbolizes the world that is at the point of greatest separation (200) and at the deepest point of descent (400). However, in the phase where we get to know her she has been on her return journey for a long time. Already she lives in Moab, the numerical value 490 (almost 500; also 7x7x10) and the 42nd resting place on the way to the Promised Land. With Naomi, her mother in law, she travels to the Promised Land after their husbands have both died and there she marries Boaz, which means ‘in him (‘bo’) is the strength.’ As such David will be her great-grandson.
- The fourth and final one is Miriam, who was willing to drink a sea (‘jam’) of bitterness (‘mar’) and to live through a long period (‘jom’) of bitterness in order to be the soul who gives birth to the Christ.
Of course all of this also concerns us and with Christmas just days away, the symbolic day of the rebirth of the Light a few days after the darkest day has passed. This equals the birth of the Christ just after the turning point of the cycle, in a year in which the awakening of Humanity at large has just begun. This promises to be a very special and promising Christmas indeed!
All the more reason to keep our own processes going, no matter what.
A very Happy and Fruitful Christmas to you all!