The Fear of the Lord

by Joshua Tilghman on December 9, 2014

sunriseWhat does it mean when the Bible admonishes us to fear the Lord? The Bible is filled with scriptures telling us to do this, so it behooves us to get to the bottom of its true meaning.

The Christian Church, even in all its diversifying beliefs and denominations, has progressed past the mentality of the Dark Ages, where fear was a powerful tool into subjugating the masses into following its rules so that one could attain salvation upon death. Now, it is commonly accepted that the Hebrew word for fear in so many scriptures carries the connotation of “reverence” and “respect” rather than the negative emotion that paralyzes the intellect and reforms the people into sheeple. While this progression is positive, it isn’t good enough. There is much more to understand as we move towards the grand finale of salvation, which sadly, is also grossly misunderstood by the majority of Christian thought.

To understand the purpose for fearing the Lord, let’s turn to a few scriptures that are often quoted to teach this concept. As we progress, we can begin to understand its esoteric, higher meaning for the evolution of consciousness and the soul.

“The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

                                                                                                                                -Proverbs 9:10

Teachers often place too much emphasis on trying to unveil the meaning of fear in order to convince followers that God is still a God of love (and therefore this scripture isn’t really commanding us to have the negative emotion of fear towards God). But it will be more beneficial to shift our focus to the concept of wisdom here. Without the concept of wisdom, this scripture loses all significance.

What is wisdom?

In the Old Testament, wisdom is often portrayed as the feminine principle.

“She (wisdom) standeth in the top of the high places, by the way in the places of the paths.”

                                                                                                                                -Proverbs 8:2

Wisdom is sometimes portrayed as feminine because it symbolizes the higher emotions which we attain through experience. Wisdom is the highest calling of the soul. But we can’t gain it through books because wisdom is an experiential phenomenon. It is assimilated through the hard knocks of life.

In the last scripture wisdom stands in the high places because it sees and understands the bigger picture of life and true reality. Wisdom can be compared to a bird’s eye view. Consider the chief or elder of a tribe. He is usually the oldest. Why? Because he has attained wisdom through the experience of his long life, and therefore is fit to serve in that position. His decisions are meant for the betterment of the whole tribe (love, higher nature), not the individual. He understands that decisions are not be made on emotions (of the lower nature), and sometimes even what seems rational. Through his many experiences he has learned to make decisions based on the wisdom that is hidden from his younger and inexperienced followers and from that which he has gained over a lifetime of learning and survival. It many instances, if he has truly become a wise ruler or elder, he leads from intuition which guides his followers from the love he has learned to live by.

Wisdom can also said to be feminine because it further symbolizes that which we can only receive through experience in duality, or the experience of our spirit in matter. Remember, matter itself is also symbolized through the feminine. It represents the womb from which our soul utilizes to further the development of consciousness (spirit) and the soul. That is what we are doing here in the earthly vessel. The experience of duality feeds the soul through conscious experience so that it can grow, expand, and become more self-aware. Eventually, through its many varied experiences, and the sacrifice of the ego, consciousness can learn from its mistakes to express love because that is the only expression which brings fulfillment and balance.

Fearing the Lord and the beginning of wisdom

As you’re hopefully starting to understand, the scripture which we began our post with speaks to the dual nature of man. To reverence the higher nature of man is wisdom because to perceive and ultimately attain our higher natures is the purpose of life.

Consider Proverbs 15:33 which brings us to the heart of the matter and makes this topic of this post even more relevant.

“The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom…”

The above scripture has done what I suggested earlier in this post. It has placed the emphasis back on wisdom. It takes us one step further into understanding what the fear of the Lord really is. It is the instruction of wisdom itself. To fear the Lord therefore is to receive wisdom.

One cannot receive wisdom unless one is willing. Therefore to fear the Lord is also to perceive the higher nature within all of us. Its correlation is faith and intuition together.

The God out there or the God in here (within you)

If to Fear the Lord means to reverence the higher self, and therefore receive the wisdom it has to offer, then we must ask the question: is God separate from us, or are we already an integral aspect of who and what God is, even if this truth is currently veiled from us?

This question is not so simple. From the limited perspective of our lower natures, we see through the glass darkly. To say that we are already an integral component of God might seem to make no sense. Some even consider it to be heretical, but this is silly. The Bible teaches the same concept through many scriptures. Take for example, Paul’s teaching that we shall one day be like HIM (Christ). Paul teaches us that we will be as He is. Paul is teaching us that once our lower natures are transformed by the higher nature we become as He is. The higher nature is synonymous with many religious terms, but the Bible refers to it as the Christ.

The Christ nature is the ultimate expression of love and unity. It is the wisdom that we are all ONE in this universe of consciousness existence, even though we see through the dark glass now. The more consciousness expands, the more that we come to understand that consciousness is the force of the Father, and we, the limited expressions of that ultimate consciousness, have the potential to produce receive of our higher self.

We cannot KNOW God until we KNOW ourselves. I believe to know and experience this is the ultimate wisdom that stands on high.

Many Christians choose to believe that salvation is something that God imparts to you upon death through a belief system. But I believe salvation is the realization of something that is already a potential within. Belief systems come and go with cultures and history. But realizations of inner truths are timeless. Wisdom is the very essence of these inner realizations. What else did Jesus mean when he stated that the kingdom was within you!? Or that we are to be IN Christ as Christ is IN the Father?

The potential for these realizations are wrapped up in the conscious experience itself, partly gained through the wisdom that experience has the potential to impart. True, we may not have these inner realizations in one lifetime, or even a hundred. But for those who believe that consciousness isn’t a physical condition, we have eternity to discover it. Yes, we will go through suffering and joy. But this is the story of the Christ. And the story of Jesus Christ is really symbolic of OUR story, the dual nature of man, if we only have the courage and wisdom to see it.

The next time you are admonished to Fear the Lord, smile boldly, and seek the wisdom that is waiting to be realized within you. Have faith that everything you must experience, positive and negative, has its perfect way to develop the potential within.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Randy Burkhart December 9, 2014 at 10:13 pm

really good analysis and discourse on this important subject. May it be widely read and understood. Thanks for your posts!


Joshua Tilghman December 10, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Thanks, Randy!


Bernard December 10, 2014 at 5:44 am

I was called by an invisible voice 20 years ago to be a desciple of Jesus Christ and now understand the truth by the power of the Holy Spirit . I agree with your teachings but there is the spiritual side of wisdom that takes you out of your body for actual experiential teaching. Here is one of such experiences. One of the questions I put to Jesus was, what is the fear of The Lord ? as I had no idea why I should fear as love was predominant at that time. One night I was taken out of my body and travelled down a spiralling tube at vast speed and landed up in a dark but visible room. With 3 doors one door was silent one door had light coming out from the floor and the other door had a strange feeling coming from it with an overwhelming feeling to enter if I dare. I opened this door and an overwhelming power of immense fear came to me . I immediately fell to the floor crying for Jesus, immediately I was lifted into his arms and the love I experienced was not of this world. I landed back in my body with this immense love and the Indwelling presence of gods love.
This was my first.understanding of the fear of god as an actual experience. Still not certain what it means.
Your brother in Christ Jesus
Love Bernard


Joshua Tilghman December 10, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Interesting experience, Bernard. I can’t say that I have had anything like that happen, but I believe only you can unlock the mystery since it was so personal.


Frank December 10, 2014 at 10:40 am

Miss your articles. Hope you start writing more often. Always learn something new.


Joshua Tilghman December 10, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Franks, I am going to try to write more, but it seems like every time I choose to step back in something else pops up. I know that time will come soon. I look forward to it because I do miss actively engaging with the SOS community.


Robert December 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Urban Dictionary definition of “sheeple”: The compression of two words, sheep and people, to form one word meaning a mass of ignorant, unoriginal humans that herd together and follow mindlessly.


Joshua Tilghman December 10, 2014 at 9:17 pm

I hope I don’t offend anyone, Robert. I used to be in this camp myself. The key is to break out and begin to think for one’s self.


Vernon McVety Jr. (Bro. Vern) December 11, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Maybe that’s what it means to some, especially when reflecting Sigmund Freud’s “herd mentality.” But I, as well as others who have a true, experiential and living understanding of Christian people think there’s something essentially much more significant to it than that. Many Pastors are known as good shepherds because they have guidance and show love. Their sheep (followers) are taught to die daily like the sacrificial lamb they serve. Sheep are the only animals that lack defensive ability when being attacked. Spiritually, people could well be defenseless in the same manner without the right shepherd. But I personally believe their fear for the Lord, including my own, is what protects us.


Vernon McVety Jr. (Bro. Vern) December 11, 2014 at 10:54 pm

That comment was for you Robert. – Bro. Vern


Sparks December 10, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Love this Josh, as per usual, just beautiful!
A subject many if not all of us think about, but dare to explore and offer the empowering strategy, removing self-doubt and boosting one’s self confidence to a higher level of consciousness in the very special way you have expressed with this writing…

This post was a great surprise and so good to see you back at the key’s! 🙂
Blessings & Love, Sparks


Joshua Tilghman December 10, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Hello Sparks. So good to be back. I will definitely be writing again more soon. I hope you are well!


winn mallard December 14, 2014 at 12:30 pm

nice!! I love having this new twist to the tingles of my higher self challenges. thank you!


Joshua Tilghman December 15, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Thanks for reading, Winn!


Chris February 5, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Great article, Josh. I believe the term “fear” can be correlated to Jesus’ use of the term “meek” in his Sermon on the Mount. Eric Butterworth says that Jesus was indicating that blessings come when we adopt an attitude of meekness towards God (not men.) With this attitude, we open ourselves up to the blessings of the Kingdom.

Keep up the good work!


Joshua Tilghman February 10, 2015 at 9:24 pm


Great points! The Meek shall inherit the earth. Thanks for commenting


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