The Path to Liberation As Evidenced Through Moses, Israel, and the Exodus

by Joshua Tilghman on November 3, 2012

Liberating the SoulWhat is the Biblical story of the Exodus and liberation of the Israelites really about? A Biblical Israelite has nothing to do with flesh and blood. An Israelite is someone who has been liberated. This article will discuss what the release of Israel truly means for humanity as Moses enters Egypt and provokes Pharaoh to liberate the people.

Forget the literal interpretation of this story for a moment.  Don’t think of Moses, the Israelites, and the Egyptians as individual people. See them as different aspects of one person. This is one of the keys to unlock this story. As you will see, we all must return to and exit Egypt to liberate ourselves. And by leaving Egypt we begin the process of integrating the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of ourselves in order to birth the true Israelite or Christ within.

As Moses returns to Egypt, his words to Pharaoh are very important for unlocking some of the hidden meanings in this story. Read the passage below carefully. Try to pay close attention to what I have placed in bold:

“And afterward Moses and Aaron went it, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, let my people go that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go.  I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go. And they said, the God of the Hebrews has met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword” (Exodus 5:1-3).

At first glance, many portions of these passages don’t seem to make sense in the context of the overall story. We know that God is sending Moses to Egypt to liberate the Israelites for good. So then why does Moses ask Pharaoh to let them go only three days journey into the wilderness to hold a feast? Is there a greater meaning here hidden beneath the literal interpretation? Yes!

We are going to look at the root meaning of feast and study the ancient symbolic meaning for the number three to help us better understand the wisdom of these passages. But first let’s start with the first sentence of the above passage. We will note four elements:

1)      The Lord God

2)      Moses

3)      Pharaoh

4)      Feast / Wilderness

The Lord God is the higher nature, or source. Moses is the intellect that is submitted to the higher nature. Israel represents us before liberation as we are all under the spell of the ego (Pharaoh). We’ll get to the feast in the wilderness in a moment.

Notice how Pharaoh declares to Moses that he does not know the Lord God, neither will he let Israel go. This statement should be of no surprise, for the ego is always out for itself and is completely incompatible with the higher mind. Thus Pharaoh refuses to budge, and so will your ego. Sadly, it must take the killing of the firstborn to finally move Pharaoh’s heart.  Metaphorically speaking, it’s no different with us.

The number three and the wilderness

In the last portion of the first sentence the Biblical writer speaks of feast and wilderness. In order to truly appreciate what this means esoterically, you need to see this petition as an inner journey (the kingdom “within” as Jesus puts it).Why? Biblically, the wilderness is synonymous with meditation and the journey into the self. This journey reveals and exposes the ego to the light of consciousness.

We must also understand that the number three has always been sacred in ancient times representing the three aspects of ourselves: spirit, mind, and body (the Trinity). Moses asks Pharaoh for three days journey because it is through the proper integration and understanding of these three that we become liberated. Thus Moses’ petition to go into the wilderness three days is the same petition of our higher nature: to bring down the power of heaven (pure consciousness) and infuse our body with it to create the new creature, the Christ within.

The number three was also sacred to the ancients because it represented the synthesizing of two polar opposites. This is how we truly come to be made in God’s image.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

This scripture is not meant to be taken literally. Male and female is not talking about the sexes, but rather it represents the two polar opposites creating duality and the entire physical universe. Between the two polar opposites we have tension. This tension is the raw power inherent in primordial consciousness that gives birth to our entire reality. But three is symbolic of our liberation from the world of duality because it represents concordance between the two opposites where a state of peace and ONENESS is achieved.

This is also why Moses asks Pharaoh to go into the wilderness for three days to hold a feast to God. To go into the wilderness / dessert is to enter ourselves which is the kingdom beyond the world of duality. We complete the image of God by finding ONENESS (represented by the number three) in the midst of our duality experience.  Paul states that the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily in Jesus (Col. 2:9). This Godhead is a trinity. Do you think anything different is meant for you?

The feast and the circle

Did you know that the Hebrew root of feast means “to move in a circle?” What has the circle represented throughout the ancient world?

“God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”

—Hermes Trismegistus


The circle represents infinity, inclusion, wholeness, and perfection!

This is what the true feast of the Lord is about. In the Torah all the Biblical feasts show different aspects of this truth. The liberation of the Israelites was not a literal liberation from an oppressive king in Egypt. The story of the Biblical Exodus is so much bigger than that. It doesn’t just encompass one ethnic group thousands of years ago—it encompasses every human that has ever lived on the face of the planet. It represents every ego and every potential Elohim that is the resurrected Christ!

The Firstborn

Have you ever wondered why Pharaoh could be so stubborn as to resist God to point of his entire country being physically ruined? It took the slaying of his firstborn son to make him give in. Of course this story isn’t literal, but it illustrates the truth that the universe will constantly give us situations in the realm of duality to grow spiritually. Even though there is tension, within this tension is the potential for liberation. Sadly, most of us don’t learn our lesson the first time around, and so we must suffer many calamities (go around the mountain over and over) until we also finally give in. Some of us die and go through many lifetimes before we even learn one simple spiritual truth. But this is the nature of the ego. In the human experience, we usually resist over and over, often to our spiritual, mental, and physical detriment.

The True Israelite

I have already mentioned in a former post that Israel is a combination of Isis, Ra, and Elohim. This name is special because Just as Abraham’s grandson Jacob became Israel through the resurrection experience, the Israelites must go through the birthing pain experience in the wilderness (journey into the self) to finally get to their own Promised Land (resurrection experience). The long journey that the Israelites took through the wilderness is all about the difficulties we experience when we are also trying to birth the Israelite within us through the journey within. You will find all kinds of different discomforts and frustrations as you begin to get serious about meditation. We’ll continue with this subject in another post as we follow the Israelites into the wilderness towards the Promised Land.

How can the knowledge from today’s post help you?

Please consider the scripture below:

“The first man is of the earth, earthy. The second man is the Lord from heaven” (1 Cor. 15:47).

We are all on a journey to become the Lord of heaven. This is evidenced in Paul’s statement a few verses later:

“And as we have born the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:49).

We are all the Adam and Eve expelled from the Garden as we live in the realm of duality. But regaining paradise is your birthright, and has been since the beginning of time. The world of duality is an awesome experience because it gives us the opportunity to grow into beings that operate by the higher nature and not the ego. But the ego was also necessary during our sojourn here. The Israelites could not have experienced the Exodus had they not been under the ego (Pharaoh) in the first place. Don’t judge your ego as evil or bad. Learn to accept it for what it is, and then let your intellect come under the power of the higher mind rather than be used by the ego.

Note to my regular readers

Because of how busy my life is now, I haven’t been able to post as much. In time, I will be able to post regularly again, but for now I can only post once every week or two so that I do not neglect other areas of my life that are important even for my own soul growth.

My next post will deal with the crossing of the Red Sea by Moses and the Israelites. Hopefully I will get to it very soon. Blessings to you all, and I pray especially for those of you who may have been affected by Hurricane Sandy.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Bernhardt Adjedi Cadbury November 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Hi Josh, Hope you are good as i pray for life and blessings unto you for your work. Because i wasn’t receiving regular post from you, i was just about to write and ask if you have deleted me from your list because i realized i was a “kind of” . Anyway, did Moses really exist? if no then what about the first commandments that Moses could not give to the Israelite but a few who were ready and instead went for a second which happens to be the recorded, known ten commandments in the Bible.Thank you.


Joshua Tilghman November 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Hi Berhardt,

I appreciate the thoughts and prayers. And please know I would never delete you from my list. I appreciate all my blog readers, and I have always enjoyed your comments. I have just been so busy lately that I haven’t been able to post lately. That’s why you haven’t gotten anything in your inbox. I will probably only be posting once every week or so for a while until things lighten up a bit.

About Moses…The Biblical character was based on a real person, but all the things you read about in the Exodus is not literal history. The Biblical Moses was most likely based off one of the Egyptian pharaohs, possibly Akhenaten.

Which first commandments that Moses could only give to a few Israelites are you referring to? Give me a scriptural reference and I’ll take a look. I assume you are not referring to the first set of tablets that Moses shattered, right?



Christine Hoeflich November 12, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Hi Joshua,

it’s great to read your spiritual interpretation of Moses. Thanks for your work, and I hope you and your family are well.



Joshua Tilghman November 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm


Thanks for commenting, it’s always great to see you hear. The family is great also. Blessings!


anny May 10, 2013 at 9:42 am

Within the context of the biblical story I see Moses as the messiah of that story. And in the meantime we know that the messiah, mashiach, started out as the serpent, the nachash. Moses represents the turning point of the nachash, I think, as the evolution of mankind is also at the turningpoint in this story. He is born in Egypt just before the deepest point in the slavery is reached. All boys (spirit/mind) are thrown into the water (emotions/ego) in order to drown in them but Moses is not. He is placed in an ark (of reeds) which floats on top of the water. In Hebrew the word teba is used, the same word as used for the ark of Noah. It also means word, the Word of God, and that protects him from the Pharaoh, the power of the ego and makes it possible for him to grow into the messiah that will lead the people of Israel out of slavery and through the wilderness to the Promised Land.

What you write about the three in the wilderness and the feast is fascinating. First of all, I never knew or wondered what the root of the word chag (feast) is but it still means to move around in a circle. Literally, within the context of a feast, it means a dance of course, so maybe we can take that meaning along into the symbolical one. In combination with the three of a trinity (when you see it as a triangle within a circle and the three sides as for instance G O D – Generation, Organisation, Desintegration/renewal), you can see it as a ‘dance’ around these three principles in meditation and consciousness grows and becomes ever more aware. Karen Armstrong mentions in her book A case for God indeed that in the earlier centuries of christianity there was a certain type of meditation on the trinity, continuously moving from one aspect of the trinity to the next, that resembles this.

The meaning of the name Israel as you mention above is only one of more. In your post How wrestling God awakened Jacob’s Pineal Gland you yourself mention another one, interpreting the sr in the name as sar, prince. Sarah is also a verb however, which means to wrestle, so another meaning is also the one who wrestled with God and man and overcame. I think it is beautiful that names, and also other words, can contain so many different meanings at the same time which only enrich the whole.


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