August 27th, 1983, Serial No. 00705

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Monastic Spirituality Set 12 of 12




Today what we want to do is to read this together, this poetic homily on the Veil of Moses. I have to tell you, this is one of the finest pieces of exegesis I've ever seen as far as symbolic Old Testament exegesis. It's very hard to find anything of this quality. The consistent penetration of this guy... Well, it may be typical of him, but see there are only a couple of pieces of his work translated into English. He says there are only two or three of those. We have more of Ephraim's work. Ephraim is considered to be greater, of course. Ephraim is earlier. Now the paper that I just gave you, The Poet as Theologian, by Sebastian Bach, is about Ephraim, actually. Now this is something that we're not used to. In the Catholic Church, and even in Orthodoxy, we're not used to theological poetry, or the poetry as theology. So there's a kind of initiation. Unfortunately, we don't have much of it available to us.


And what needs to happen really is that this breaks through again, that theology once again turn into poetry and turn into music. Because that's what we're trying to do, seeking music for the liturgy and so on. But we don't have a powerful tradition. So a kind of rediscovery of this is needed. It's been rediscovered in the tradition, but it hasn't come alive as a creative thing. Okay. And of course, in Pete Griffith's book, what he's talking about, right, is a revival and renewal of the myth of Christianity. That means a poetry of Christianity. You can't go backwards and simply reinterpret something from earlier culture. But in contact with that moment of creativity, it may be possible to have a similar breakthrough today, and that's the project that's first to be started. A really new religious culture, in a sense. Sounds like a good word. I don't know how it came to that. Impossible to remember.


All things are possible to remember. Now, remember, we just finished reading Luth's article on his experience of Lectio, and there we were talking about the four senses of Scripture. Let me put that thing down again for you. Okay. [...]


So, this is an interpretation of the transformation of this history and these events into Christ You'll notice that our authors, especially when you read that other paper, The Poet as a Theologian, our authors are continually talking about the difference or the tension or the antagonism between the contemporary method of exegesis and this poetic kind of theology. They call it symbolic theology. Now, Brock, in the other paper, talks about the contemporary method as historical, a historical


method of exegesis. When I say exegesis now, it's simply the understanding of Scripture. It's the interpretation of Scripture. At first, it seems simple, and now it seems perfectly complicated. Then we have to find the simplicity of it. But how do you read the Scripture? Well, there are methods to it, as you've seen. And whether we know it or not, we choose a method. So it's good to understand the different ways of looking at it. Today, they used to call it the rational way, or they still call it the critical way, but it's also the historical way in which what they're trying to do, in a very scientific spirit of it, is to get back to what really happened, and here, interpreting Revelation largely as history. Revelation is God's action in history, and they're trying to get back to a literal sense, which is what really happened there and what was really said. And you can see how parallel it is to the science, to the critical use of reason.


However, it's not an entirely cold thing, because it turns out that when you get back to the history, you do get back to the act of God, you do get back to a precious reality, you do learn something. However, if you exclusively devote yourself to that, you've only got one sense of Scripture. You've only got the first one, instead of those four. In other words, you've just got one being, one wavelength on the whole spectrum. If you look at it as a spectrum, you can see from time to time, so the spectrum, as you understand it, is the light, the dark, the purple, the violet, the blue, the pink, the brown, the green, the red, the mint, the blue, the red. And if you see it all at once, I mean, if you look at the light at first, it's quite bright. If you think about it a little bit, it's the same thing as Jesus Christ. In other words, if you see the second component of the light, it's the same thing as Jesus In other words, it's the northern part of the light. So in other words, the light is what?


It's similar to the description, right? You sort of get it all at once, and then there are various colors, various frequencies, various resonances, and as we say, senses of Scripture, which can be filtered out, which can be separated out. So it's as if, in the exegesis today, it tends to be very far down on the map. It's within the hierarchies. It's up to filter out, as I say, everything above, which is a relative sense. And we can say that other senses are in a allegorical sense, a moral sense, and are in a godly sense. I don't know if it was Dr. Parker's question. That's a good way to put it. It is a spectrum. And now, the nice thing about a spectrum is that it turns out that they're all one body. They're all one thing. It's a fundamental unit. It's light, which is a spectrum. It's all the same.


It's a fundamental unit. They're all related in a way. They're all talking about the same thing, and the same thing is the Christ mystery. And the Christ mystery is light. The word is light, which tells us in the Prologue. And that's why it's appropriate to talk about a spectrum, if you mention the senses of Scripture. Question from the audience. No, you don't... Somehow... See, you're bathed in the whole spectrum, even if you don't know it. See, even if you don't, in your mind, separate out those senses at all, most people don't. You can be bathed in the whole light. In other words, you're getting the light of it. You're getting the energy from the light. You're getting the light itself, even though you don't analyze the spectrum. Because we don't do that, unless you put it on a spectrogram or something like that. We don't analyze the light. It's instinctive with us, with data.


We recognize colors and we move among them, but we don't reflect on the differences of those colors. It's never reflected across us. It's not in our medical process. Or you can say, in a way, that if a person is really reading the Scriptures, the analysis itself is instinctive, rather than being colored by it. In other words, in St. Francis of Assisi, he read the Scriptures. He analyzed the Scriptures in an instinctive, spontaneous way, and he did with the Scripture on him. He understood the Word of God as a trifle, a height. And that was a spontaneous interpretation, a spontaneous instinctive exegesis, which would not reflect the instinctive, what am I doing? What sense of Scripture do I believe in? It's how instinctive it is. It's like, you could say that the Word is instinctive, if you put it on a spectrogram. Question from the audience


That's right. That's valid too. The thing is that it doesn't express so well the unity and the simplicity of the whole thing. Because light, you see, is one, whereas those forms may not be inherently related to one another. The different forms that you get, they are in some way, because they come from the same pieces. But they may not be as inherently related to one another as the light is, which is really one thing, and yet which has an analyzable spectrum to it. You see what I mean? The light parallel is kind of beautiful, because, especially since we're talking about Word and light, which are one thing, theologically. The Word of God, which is light. And then, if we could talk about the incarnational aspect, I didn't even reflect on that and how that would fit into the enlightenment. Okay, I don't want to spend too long on that analogy. Let's just look back at those four senses, their relationship and their unity.


And remember the contrast we were talking about between poetry and, between a poetic theology, or say a symbolic theology, and historical exegesis. In fact, we could say, really, that we could talk about three things. We could talk about one, say, our four senses, the kind of statistical unity. Two, statistical unity. Two, rational, literal, historical. Three, poetic. Now, I think this is the earliest one of all. Poetry comes first. It comes even before this kind of analysis of the four senses.


Okay. And then what happens after the middle ages is that three of those answers get rejected. Like history of liberal science. That's when rational history of science takes over. Are you distinguishing between the literal sense of the first one and the rational literal sense of the second one? It's the same. Basically, they're the same. Okay, but you have different approaches. Like, the use of the literal sense here will be different than the use of it here. You have to be much more... Okay. A lot of the things... The concentration of energy on the literal sense among the fathers, for instance, and especially in the middle ages, was not nearly as intense as it is in modern scientific exegesis, where it's like they have these enormously powerful instruments that they focus on the literal sense, breaking it up word by word, you know, using archaeology and linguistics and all those things as helps to find out this little precise detail of truth, of fact, really.


Whereas in the old days, they didn't have that equipment, and they didn't concentrate that much energy because they had other places to go. See, they weren't going to stop there. They weren't going to end there. So they gave it due attention and then they went on. And sometimes they could be very cavalier with it, too. You see, sometimes they could be very casual with the literal sense, because that wasn't where they were going to be important. And the other thing, the more responsible exegesis, like Arjun and Saint Jerome also, were very scrupulous about the literal sense, because they said every spiritual sense that you find is based upon that literal sense. And if that's not true, then everything you build upon it is going to be shaky, you see. And that's true. The Church has recently... In the literal sense of the first one, are they saying that it actually happened? Usually, yes. We have to distinguish a bit here, okay, because we're not always talking about something that did happen. It's not always history. It's based on something that somewhere did happen that gave us this form.


That's right. That something must have happened to somebody to qualify to write the story. Sometimes they were uncritical about that. Sometimes they would be fundamentally critical, saying that everything that was in the Bible happened here, and there'd be some likelihood. But the wiser of the exegesis, even in patristic terms, didn't believe that, because they had a good sense of story, they had a good sense of symbolism, and so they didn't feel compelled to take everything that didn't occur. I put those two together because those were the three things that were really comparing, that were contrasting. And there's a place for each of them. There's a place for each of them. I could have done it differently. I could have put the poetry and myth first. There's a lot of poetry and myth in the scripture itself, in the Old Testament. I use myth here without evaluating it. When we say myth, what we mean is that's not true. Myth is just a fairy tale. That's not what I mean. When I say myth, I mean that dimension of anything that's written,


which relates to us in a poetic way, which fits together. Today, psychologists will talk about right brain, the kind of truth which relates to the right brain, relates to the unconscious, relates to dreams. It also relates to a certain level of religious experience, the symbolic level of religious experience, which sometimes is more important than the literal or historical. But they're both true. See, nowadays we get ourselves into a position where we don't have to... We shouldn't feel that we have to reject any of these senses, but they can all somehow be accepted and put in order together, even if we can't quite understand how, we can have a confidence that they all fit together, and they may be excluded. And that way we move a little closer to the totality of scripture. Okay, I wanted to compare a bit, in order to get a little background, or sort of locate ourselves with this poetic treatment, I wanted to consider it in contrast and comparison to those other two approaches,


because those are really two other alternative approaches. In contrast to the historical method, the poetic method really allows you to relate with your whole person to the scripture. In other words, you can relate with your heart to it. And we have to ask ourselves, of course, what's in the scripture? I mean, we're looking at it from the point of view of reading it, but what about the other point of view? What was put in there? And the way that we read it depends on how it was written, and it depends on what was really put in there. A lot of the scripture is written as poetry. This is true not only, for instance, of the Song of Songs, and of the Psalms, but it's true also of a lot of the Prophets, because the Bible of Jerusalem began to print the Prophets again, like Isaiah, in the poetic form, which is the way that they were intended. Not all of them, but a lot of them. And they're largely in imagery, whereas we have had a tendency to interpret the scriptures, we've talked about those models of revelation,


we interpret the scriptures just in terms of an affirmation of truth, an affirmation of doctrinal truth. That may be there, but that's not what's in the mind of the person who writes it. In other words, it's not to be dried up in that form, it's the whole of the expression. The contrast between that historical method and the poetic method or mythical method is clear enough, and you can see how we need them both. If you have the poetry for the kind of mythic approach, without the historical, you can be swimming around in an ocean of fantasies. You'll read some interpretations, more ancient interpretations of scripture, which strikes you as just being a game. It can be a pleasant game. It can even be illuminating sometimes. But in this structure, it's having no important relation to reality, but to your own life, to the way the world is. I don't know if I have any time.


St. Augustine plays games, for instance, where he has 153 fish that's the tallest man in the world. He also does a lot of theories of Jesus, so that's a little on the side when he does that. Some of the medieval writers play quite a lot of psychological games with the scriptures, and the Gallagos, which is a kind of mythology that they're doing. You have to take it just seriously enough, but not too seriously. If you use the historical method, you tend to cut right through that. In fact, you can reject it entirely. So that's why it's here. The truth of what the scripture means is this, and then you say what the situation was and what the prophet meant to say in that situation. But what you do is, at the same time, is you can blank out all those other levels of the scripture, all those other levels of the word. So for the sake of accuracy, for the sake of a precise location in the moment, and the kind of purifying of all that nonsense,


you may be actually excluding the real meaning of the word, which is not necessarily honest or correct. One of the great virtues, I think, of what's happened in the past couple hundred years is a real sense of history. To interpret the scripture as being sacred history is much more important than the way I'm just going to use it. But I don't want to say too much about it. If we compare the poetic method with the method of the four senses, the kind of analytical thing, what's the difference between those two? It is kind of interesting. It turns out that the approach of those four senses of scripture is more analytical and more scholastic in a way than the poetic method. It has a kind of structure and a kind of system which at times gets annoying. For instance, if you read St. Gregory the Great sometimes, he'll give you a literal exegesis, and then he'll go on and say, now I'm going to do the allegorical one, and then he'll go on and he'll do the moral one,


and then he'll say, now we're going to do the analogical one. He'll do four, one after the other, on the same piece of scripture, appearing in the same passage. Now, that can be very impressive, it can be very enlightening also, it can be very rich. If you read St. Gregory's Moralia, that's the kind of thing about it that is beautiful. But at the same time, it leaves you frustrated, because you say, well, what's the connection between those four? Is it possible that God is speaking four words at once? Is it possible that the scripture is saying those four different things? Now, how do they fit together? Please tell me, how are they one? Because now that we have a sense of the simplicity, and a sense of the immediacy that God must have in his speech to us, at least I'm not speaking in a complicated, systematic way. Now, the poetic thing cuts right through that, you see, because the poetic use of scripture is allusive, and it sort of leaps from one sense to another, without hanging it on a structural skeleton, you see.


This we'll find in Jacob, also, because they just leap from one point to another. And also, they don't somehow point out the distinction of the four senses, and they don't especially, I think, distinguish the third sense, which we call the moral sense there. And this is both the strength and the weakness, because they don't over-psychologize. You hardly ever find them talking about a psychological experience in distinction from the mystical. There's a fusion of the event of Christ, and of my own experience of Christ, in which there's no boundary line between the two. That's what you find in this serial copy, in particular. It's a great richness, because you keep the centrality and the fullness of the mystical all the time. You never get into your own subjective alleyways, and dark corners, long alleys, the way a lot of later writers have, especially in the West. But at the same time, for a later generation, they may not get the same subjective impact all the way. See, that's the trouble with reading the Fathers for us.


We're such subjective people. We want somebody to talk to us about experience. We can read St. Augustine a lot better talking about his personal experience than we can one of the Fathers who just writes about the mystical, even though he may be experiencing it very deeply. He's not writing about his experience. He's writing about that event. There's that distinction. But the poetic way is really, I think, due for a rebirth today, because we have, once again, that immediate contact with the mystical fullness and power of the mystical, and we've gotten too much into our subjective sense. So we need to be liberated right into the daylight of the truth. And at the same time, we need that freedom to move immediately from one level to another. And that was the pie to sew all things together. In the language of poetry. I don't know. I've been looking to see if people are writing this kind of thing today, but I don't know if I'm lucky enough. The religious poetry today, perhaps, is not.


It doesn't have the power to do that. I think all the arts are still kind of minimalistic systems. That's part of the urgency. Our urgency is kind of pointing out that we just haven't arrived yet. It's like our whole culture is still in the same mix. It's still going around. This particular mix is not very clear. I don't know why. And similarly, it's split between secular and sacred. Religious poetry is not really a library. Even the other poetry, the secular poetry, is kind of unsettled. Things are great genius, but it's still floating. It's just as suspended as the poem has itself. Okay, that's enough for now. The doctrine of the four senses is a kind of monastic scholasticism, or patristic scholasticism, putting that structure in there.


Very useful, and then we have to let it fit back together again. Now, when we get to this poetry, we're going to notice that instead of a kind of four-pole scheme, we have just a two-pole scheme. And I could make two columns here, put a list of words in each column. It would go something like this. Moving from the old to the new, from the outer to the inner, from the earthly to the heavenly, from the mortal to the immortal, from the multiple to the single, or simple, or unified, or one, from the dual to the non-dual, from the world to Christ, from all else to Christ, from the unmanifest to the manifest. The only thing is that whenever we say this, we have to remember that the second column does not replace the first. It contains everything. That is, somehow the manifest is latent in the unmanifest, and when it's manifested, it's the same thing. It doesn't wipe it out. The old contains the new, and then when the new emerges, it's somehow, it's still itself. Now, it's very difficult to express that without being wrong in one way or another,


because there's also something new. It's not a matter of replacement. It's a matter of, as Irenaeus has said, it's a matter of recapitulation, of the old being taken out, of the outer being taken out, of the unmanifest being taken out, in the word, Christ, in the light, who comes into the world. Okay, let's look at that homily on the veil. For next time, I wish that you would read Brock's article, The Poet as a Theologian, and we'll discuss that a bit, and see what else we can do in this area. This is an area where you'll find that, if you get interested in it, well, you should pay it, because it's kind of open in here, into the heart of the scriptures, in a personal way, which is kind of hard to find in your ordinary books, very many books on that sort of thing. On the Syriac, I think it might be more interesting, in this poetic line. And if you don't like poetry,


it's worth at least learning the... Let's look at his introduction. The chief glory of Syriac literature lies in its religious poetry. Okay. And there's some of that in Greek, like Gregory Nazianzus, who was called the theologian, he was also a poet, he wrote poetry by and large. It's not so prevalent. That's right. He's got a big collection of hymns. It's like it was, some of those mystics, but there's an irresistible impulse to put it into verse, somehow. He's got a lot of things in prose, too, but there is some of his best hymns are spontaneous, experiential. Well, Simeon's later on, isn't he? He's around, what, 9th century?


There was an experiential period, 7th or 8th century. Ephraim is the peak here. He'll always stand out as the towering genius. But this Jacob, there's no piper, you see when he loses. Now, Ephraim died about 374 A.D., 4th century, whereas Jacob died in 521, so they're in two different periods. I won't go into the local stuff here. I'm not very knowledgeable about the history. He says, perhaps, Jacob ranks next to Ephraim. We have very little of Jacob. There's something that's supposed to be a French translation. It's not poetry. And this was, he was involved in this problem with monotheism. Monophysitism, excuse me, pardon me.


You can see how complex it was. He was one who objected to the final formula of the Council of Chalcedon, one person of two natures, preferring instead the one that has stood him glad, that the incarnate Christ is one nature out of the two. You see the subtlety in that. And, of course, the decree was in Greek, so coming from Assyria, perhaps, he preferred to give expression to theological truths in symbolic rather than philosophical terms. How many kinds of ways can you write theology? How many kinds of ways can you think about the latest things? Let me recall to you something I think I've heard before. The streamlines of theology are rational, symbolic, and apocryphal.


I'd like to find a few examples for this. Rational theology is familiar as Western theology. Most Western theology is rational. The theology of Thomas Aquinas is basically rational. Questions and answers and philosophical propositions, a philosophical way of expressing the truth of the faith. And similarly, this language about the natures of Christ, one person in two natures, that's rational theology. That's human language that's being used. Those are human words that are brought into the Scripture. Notice those words are not in the Scripture. Those words are not in the Bible. The word phersona, or the Greek word is phenomenon. They're not in the Bible. Those are from human culture, close out of the culture of the world. And that's rational theology, using human reason. What's symbolic theology? That's the thing that we're going to do. If you talk about Jesus as being the Paschal Lamb, you talk about Jesus being the new Moses,


that's symbolic theology in which you take a concrete thing in the Scriptures. Whether it be Adam or Moses, or the Veil of Moses, or the Paschal Lamb, or the person of the Red Sea. You take that and you read a deeper significance in it. You look right through it. You find a transparency in the inner light in those concrete things. That's symbolic theology. Now that's something... If you'd be driven, that's what he's arguing about. We'll immediately cover that. He refers to it more as myth, which is kind of scary, but basically that's symbolic theology. What's apathetic theology? That's mystical theology, which doesn't make use of words at all. In other words, it's the pure, clear experience of God, which can't really be expressed. And in Christianity, you look, for instance, to St. John of the Cross, to Evagrius, to Eckhart. And then, today, you look at the Zen boundary line of Christianity. You see, Zen is typical of the Levitical. He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know.


So here we're moving from the rational to the symbolic. Jacob was a prolific writer. He's reputed to have composed 763 verse homilies. Can you imagine what kind of spirit it must have taken in the church to be able to deliver a verse homily? You know, somebody came up and went... People began to chuckle on the ground, began to stamp their feet over there and there. And only a couple of them... Over 300 survived, so it must be... Only two or three have been translated into English. Now, this is on the veil of Moses. That's in Exodus 34, 33 to 35. Let's take a look at it. Now, Moses went up to talk to God on top of Mount Sinai.


And when Moses had finished speaking with him, he put a veil on his face. But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the veil off until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he had demanded, the people of Israel saw that the veil had been taken off. Now, evidently, the gleaming of Moses' face from this very light of God somehow scared the people. A little earlier, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of the testimony in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. And when Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. See the skin. I guess there's an awe of the Holy in the more primitive people, but here it's sort of forgotten. It must have been fascinating at the same time.


A little earlier, I mentioned that it just occurs to me that when Jesus goes to the Jerusalem temple and when he gets there, people are asking him that he decide what to do. Okay, it's a connection in this way, I think, that a great manifestation of power had occurred which frightened the people, okay? Now, exactly what frightened them, we're not sure. It may have been they were worried about the local economy as well, how many people were in the world. But I think he scared them in some way. It's a strange passage. Yeah. One thing is, it's as if the people were either... They saw this as a negative rather than a positive in some way. Either they were directly frightened by the show of power, okay, and they considered this man as dangerous, this is some kind of spook,


some kind of very dangerous person. Or they considered that material loss more important than the restoration of the monument, okay? Does that kind of seem implicit? They'd rather have their case in the world instead of doing this for something else. In other words, they didn't celebrate the restoration. So it's related in a kind of remote way to us, I think, to what happens to Moses. Well, it could be that he was killed. But if Moses was in the presence of God and then he's still alive, this is bad. I mean, he's not at home, and he won't face God again. So then that would increase the guilt. It seems like a kind of proof that the Bible is still shining. It must have seemed like a place to church. That's what it says elsewhere in the Old Testament. Now, how to interpret that is really what it's about. You'll notice that Jacob says that he saw God from behind. He saw God's back.


That's what God says in a certain place. So, you know, just to speculate on whether Moses actually saw the essence of God, that kind of speculation, I think, is kind of senseless. The most direct connection is in the Old Testament. Because the face of Moses... Jesus is seen with Moses and Elijah, the two men who saw God at Sinai, who experienced God at Sinai. He's on a mount, and his face shines like the sun. And then we'll see the connection in the Second Corinthians, what we've seen before. And the Veil of Moses. This is a very rich classic. When we hear about the Veil of Moses, it sounds like something rather casual, something rather accidental, but actually it's very important. Because the understanding of the Israelites


was not sufficiently mature to receive the full truth of God's message to them through the prophets, a similar veil was laid upon the words of prophecy. This veil is removed only with the advent of Christ, and it is only then that the true relevance of the words of the prophets can be properly understood, and really only in the light of the resurrection, not simply the coming of Christ, but it only very gradually dawns. Remember, after the Transfiguration, Jesus says, don't tell anybody about this until after the Son of Man has risen from the dead. So it's the resurrection, and that light really shines out. And it doesn't shine out just outside us, it shines right inside. Through baptism. It's another light. That light of Christ's face, the light of God, is inside us. Only then are the types and symbols to be found in the most unexpected corners of the scriptures, because it's astonishing the places that he is able to illuminate with this central symbol, Jacob in this hall, spring to life and become meaningful. The kind of lingering doubt


that's had to be in one's mind as we go through this is, well, why did it really have to be? We can set that question aside perhaps and ask it later on. Why was it necessary really for God to veil the prophecies in this manner? What is the meaning of the veil? What is the necessity of that veiling of the scriptures, or the concealing of Christ in the scriptures, the withholding of that full light, or the withholding at least of the reality of Christ until a certain time, until his coming? Because his argument rests upon that, you see. So there's something very deep there, which he doesn't seem to bring out in full clarity. And I remember that doubt would come up again and again. Why was it really necessary? And it is there, and it's very deep. It's a central question of the structure of Old Testament and New Testament. So we'll come back to that question. Now... It is, and yet notice...


We can't put anything together because it's covered in a single way. We have to unveil ourselves as irreversible, or at least in sequence. The one unveiling leads to the revolution of what man's veil is. That unveiling leads to the next one. Let's have another one. We're not aware of our own hands. That's right. That's certainly part of it. It seems to me that there are two sides of it, okay? There's like the objective, historical and collective side, and there's the subjective, personal, psychological side, which is the side that I hear you speaking from now, okay? That we have these veils that we must remove. And this is true of each one of us. But in the whole course of history there has been an unveiling too, which is true in a kind of general, objective way for everybody as we move from Old Testament into New Testament. I remember the fathers used to ask the question, why did Christ wait so long to come? Why didn't he come earlier?


Why did the Jews have to go through all of that? Why has mankind had to wait for all that tormented history and our poor becoming of Christ? That kind of question. It's the same kind of thing. Why this order of history? This is getting into a nutshell, into a kernel, the way that he puts it. We'll ask the question later on. Because actually it's the question of life. Why do I have to go through this? It's also the question of evil. Why do I have to suffer? Why do I have to die? Why is there suffering in the world? Why doesn't God manifest himself right now, or immediately? It's a question of Christ on the cross. Why don't you come down from the cross and do the same thing? It's the same thing always. It's the same thing, but I think it's got different levels. Because it's really the same question. Why doesn't Jesus come down? Yes, exactly. The execution. If he was in heaven at the time, the rabbis have to get him and put him down on the cross. How would he feel to be in heaven? It's the same question.


It's the same question. This veil. Why do we have to go in the darkness? Why is our life so tortured? Whether it be the Jewish people or whether it be the Jews. Aside from our own sins. Because it's not only the sinners, it's also the innocent. It's like the little Jewish kid that was hanged in a prison camp. What is the answer we get if we get it wrong? Bless us. I'm trying to remember. He says to send the rabbis to hell. Yeah. Okay, that's intimately related to this, okay? In other words, I think if we give an answer to this question, we must never feel that we've given the answer, okay? We've given one answer and then there's going to be another answer after that. There's going to be another level of the question. But that's an important answer. That's an important level of the answer, I think. In other words, this veiling. The brothers, somehow,


if they can't see Christ through the veil, they won't even recognize him if the veil is removed. It's something like that, okay? You are given a chance to come forward somehow and see the light before the light hits you on the head, okay? And if we don't come forward to meet the light before the light just flashes, you know, and is irresistible, that means that when it did flash irresistibly, it would annihilate us or something like that, I think, okay? The sense is that something has to happen in our hearts, which is related to the veils we were talking about before. Something has to happen in our hearts so that that light somehow comes within us before it's forced upon us. We're given a chance, history is a chance in some way for us to do something. History is a chance in some way to respond to the light by becoming the light so that the light may be truly ours. And if we don't do that, then we can never have the light. And we're given a little darkness around ourselves in order that we may become the light, okay? And if we don't do that, then we'll never know the light, in a sense. It will banish us


instead of accepting it. I mean, that's one approach. I think... That's right. The key is that we will... The key is that we are a will. Okay? We are a freedom. And we have this freedom to be or not to be. And God doesn't want to take that away from us. So the darkness or the veil is his way of giving us that freedom really to possess him in freedom, okay? In other words, do we want to possess him as something outside of ourselves or something really inside of ourselves? The only way we can possess him as something inside of ourselves is by doing it with our free will. The darkness gives us the opportunity to possess him as our very self by this very inner turning of the will to him, okay? Something like that. See, the only way that we can really be one with him intimately is when that innermost thing in ourself, which is our free will, turns towards him. And it seems that we can only


do that in the darkness. If we were in the full light we would not have freedom. Q. But if he manifested himself as completely, we couldn't choose him. We wouldn't have any choice. A. Exactly. It would be too powerful. It would be too powerful. We wouldn't be able to be fully human. We'd be wiped out somehow. So somehow the darkness protects our humanity, protects our being, so that it can actually be given us, so that it actually can become God-like, so that we can become... we can accept him in our will by an active will which enables him to come completely inside of us, which couldn't happen any other way. That seems to be it. That seems to be the answer. On one level. That's one answer. Q. I say on one level because we have the promise of Christ will come again and we'll know it, and those who are living here know this is going to happen. We're going to have this flash of light whether they believe or not. A. That's right. That's right. We don't know how God is going to work that out. But actually... You can say...


You can make the choice even without knowing Christ. In other words, you make a choice for or against God by the way that you live, whether or not you have heard the word of Christ, whether or not you know the gospel. Q. Even in the time of Christ when he did actually make his appearance... A. We don't know. Actually, we don't know whether that's going to in some way quench the possibility of free will or something. The eclipse of free will is a hard place to say. Maybe a unique moment. I don't think we can go too far in our thinking and on our reasoning in these matters, but I think we can We do need to ask the question. We can come back to that question later on. It's good that we


brought that out before diving into the details here. Even though we want to do a little bit of this before we get to it. Q. Yeah, I thought you didn't answer what I thought you were going to answer the other day. Why the reason that he really doesn't hear the call. I kept waiting for the final statement. One of the advantages of rational theology is precisely that, you see. Rational theology questions, and he starts out with a question, but then his answering of the question is totally in biblical terms. Okay? It's not like he goes into human experience and then comes back to the Bible. It's like you always remember within the scriptural idiom. Okay? Now, if you do that, there are things you don't touch. There are answers that you cannot get by doing that. You've got to come out into your own experience, into your own bafflement, you see, and then ask your question as a human being, and then come back to the scripture and see what kind of answer you get from the scripture. But his beginning question


is a biblical one. It could be, but notice, notice that his method may only be consistent in this method. He may not be able to answer the question on that other level. See, theology develops gradually and at this point it may not have been possible in this symbolic theology, and he didn't have maybe the rational method, to answer that kind of question or even to ask it in the way that we would. He asked a biblical question. Maybe he wasn't quick enough to ask non-biblical questions. But we've split our experience in the scripture so thoroughly we can go up and ask a question very easily and then we bring it back to the scripture. But they were so close to the scripture it was almost hard to ask a question that was outside the scripture. Why did he cover his face? He said, you should not look upon it. We saw it. And the obvious literal answer


to the question was that the Jews were scared about invading. Some of them were ordinary, pretty standard. Just like when they said before when Moses, you go up and talk to God. We don't want to go near him. He's going to tempt us. Why, such is the question, why was a covering put on the face of that source of prophecy in the presence of onlookers? He's calling Moses the source of prophecy. He's sometimes called the first prophet. There's only one place in the scriptures where Moses is explicitly called the prophet. One place in the Old Testament that's Deuteronomy Deuteronomy 18-15, I believe. Remember where God says, after you die I'll raise up a prophet like you. And whoever doesn't listen to him doesn't die. Now, the prophet like him is evidently Jesus himself. He's evidently the Messiah of Christ. But Moses is a prophet. And he's called the first prophet even though he's not put among, for instance,


the twelve prophets he's not really ranked among because he's in a much later time, a much earlier time than all the different prophets of the history. But he's evidently a prophet. Maybe. Just be pleased because I don't want to do all the sacrifices. You must be pleased. We have a peaceful culture in this country. That's right. Now, he's a peaceful state. Mostly in Iran. He's a kind of ritual figure in Moses' history. If you want to find out anything about Moses as a prophet, look up the article Prophet in the dictionary of the original book. Where does biblical prophecy begin? The title of prophet is given to Abraham, but this was done by a later transcript. As for Moses, the authentic representative of God, he is rather an originator of the prophetic prophecy. More, therefore, than another prophet. Deuteronomy


is the only book which gives him this title. Deuteronomy 1850. But not as one among many prophets. No one after him has equal power. So you've got this straight line from Moses to Christ, but the other prophets wrote it on a subordinate level. It's like what you find in the fallout of John. Remember the law came from Moses, and the grace of truth came from Jesus Christ, and those two figures are two pieces. He's got this archetypal title that the other prophets don't have. The dictionary of Biblical theology is a very useful book. It's kind of encyclopedic, and so for any Biblical subject, if you look up the word or the vision, all of the passages in the Biblical theology are simple. There are two of them in the Bible. Explain the reason why Moses revealed. Come, O grace, revealer of divine mysteries. Now, O grace, I think that's the uncreated grace, which is the Holy Spirit himself that he's invoked in. This is


typical. This is typical. the same. Without the Holy Spirit, without grace, you don't understand anything. Come, speak through me. That's the Holy Spirit. It is right that love should now stand as mediator, intermediary, mediator. Now, that love, it seems to me, is the same as grace and the same as the Holy Spirit. Notice, grace often for the Easterners is uncreated grace, uncreated grace. Uncreated grace is God himself as the Holy Spirit. Without love, the hearer has no understanding. And then he summarizes his answer, and you think it might end right there, but he goes on for an infinite number of verses afterwards. This is what the veil on Moses' face symbolizes. The words of prophecy are veiled. The Lord covered Moses' face for this reason, that it


might be a type for prophecy, which is also covered. So Moses represents prophecy. Moses is a symbol for a prophet. The veil is a symbol for the non- obviousness of the meaning of prophecy. And then there's this historical thing that that which is concealed refers to something which is coming in the future, and that which is coming in the future is the Son. The Trinitarian basis to this history. The Father kept the Son in concealment. He wanted to reveal this matter to the world in symbolic terms. He wanted to speak about his beloved one through prophecy, and so covered Moses to make him a figure for prophecy. Thus he cries out in the prophet, I have a secret, I have a secret, and I know that you do. In


some way there's secret and knowing and my secret is my own. There's something like that in the Song of Songs. So that the world might be aware that the prophecy contains secrets hidden in symbolic language. The words and actions of prophecy are veiled and it hides its contents in parables, just like the words of Jesus. They're asking why he speaks in parables. So they may not see. And he leaves us with a puzzle just like Jacob does. Jesus didn't answer the question either. He says so that they have eyes and not see, ears and not hear, hearts and not understand. Yeah. And notice it's the same thing. It's a question of seeing him, okay, so that they shouldn't recognize him. That's the thing. He is the one secret, the one key. So that the world might not become openly aware of the Son of God. And then he's got this curious reasoning about the Son of God that is the one secret. Now here,


notice this is not just a dogmatic assertion of the existence of the Son of God. It's something much more. When he speaks about the revelation of Christ, the revelation of the Word, it's the total revelation, the total experience. It's the whole thing. It's not divided. It's not just part of it. So the manifestation of the Son of God somehow is the fullness of blessedness for us. See, all of these senses are still one. The manifestation of Christ, the revelation of the Son, is the whole mystery and not just out there but experienced by the world without distinguishing those different levels. And then if they made lots of idols without being aware that God had a Son, how much more would they have been made idols if they had been aware of God's Son? Why does he say that? The Father thus provided no such excuse for multiplying idols, for the Lord is one, the Lord is one. Monotheism. Remember the distinction between, for instance, the religions


of Canaan, the religions around the holy land, the pagan people, and the monotheism of the Jews where they couldn't have any image. Monotheism meaning God is one. They may not even make an image of God as it is in Israel. So if God had a Son, then the Son somehow would be, since God is invisible, the Son could be represented in some way. The Son would be open to some kind of image. And the Son, as a matter of fact, is the image of God. Now, there's a whole opening here towards sacramentality, towards the manifestation of God as a divine in material things. And there's a sacramentality in the Old Testament. It's very cautious. It's very restrictive. That's a whole other good subject, sacramentality, which we'll get into some other time. It relates to this. God is imminent in creation. God is manifesting Himself in physical things. While His Son was announced in prophecy, He was spoken of in parables and figures. Okay, let's stop there


for today and go on next time. And also, we should have read that other article by that time. We can talk about both of them. All right. See you rest evil Amen. you. God rest His