The Third Round: And Pharaoh Called Joseph’s Name Zaphenath Paneah

“And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath Paneah…” Gen 41:45

“In the original language ‘Zaphenath Paneah’ means ‘a revealer of things that are hidden and a disclosure of things to come’” AC 5331.

We know that Joseph represents what is termed “the celestial of the spiritual”, so I just want to demystify this term a little so that we can have some understanding of what might be being spoken about in relation to Logopraxis, or the practice of the Word. And of course we need to acknowledge that whatever our understanding of this term might be it is always going to be a working understanding and not the thing in itself.

Whenever we see the terms ‘celestial’ and ‘spiritual’ in the Word we are dealing with descriptors of mental phenomena. So in the case of the term ‘celestial’ we are dealing with those things that have to do with the affectional side of life, or the will — and in the case of the term ‘spiritual’ we are dealing with those things that have to do with the intellectual side of life or the understanding. When we will the truth then the action that follows on from that can be described as good or more specifically the good of truth. Now because good is celestial and truth is spiritual the phrase good of truth can also be understood as “the celestial of the spiritual”.

Now clearly there are different scales to understanding spiritual concepts and this is true of the phrase ‘the celestial of the spiritual’. As it relates to the Lord or the life of good and truth that inflows into the deepest recesses of the human mind, for this is what the Lord is, the celestial of the spiritual is imperceptible to even the highest angels. Yet on lower scales of existence ’the celestial of the spiritual’ manifests in different forms but always in keeping with the quality or the form of mind into which it is received. The lower the scale the more obscure the manifestation and the less likely it is to be recognised.

Logopraxis supports a way of seeing, grounded in the application of truths from the Word to the life of the mind. The key idea is to see from experience what is first encountered intellectually in the Text. Granted that this is not always possible but no effort is ever wasted that is born from a genuine desire to live from the truths of the Word. From the ground of our own practice we can see something of what the activity of ’the celestial of the spiritual’, or Joseph, might be experienced by us.

There is nothing in us, as we are in ourselves, that desires anything of a genuine spiritual nature. All the motivation to seek out truths, use them to examine the life of our mind and to shun any evils that are disclosed, is solely from the Lord, this being the activity of goods and truths within the human mind. Where we read about every good needing to be wedded to its truth, and every truth to its good, we are given insight into how the processes of regeneration are enacted. For it is the presence of good flowing into the human mind that motivates the search for truths and where these are acquired spiritual work involving self examination and repentance becomes a possibility. Truths seeking their goods is experienced as a motivation to examine oneself with a view to discovering what evils are present and need to be shunned. For truths instruct the mind as to what good is and from that instruction what is opposed to good can be seen.In this case truths form the spiritual and the willingness to implement them in an effort directed toward self examination and repentance is ’the celestial of the spiritual’ understood in the context of Logopraxis work where we take a spiritual principle, develop a work focus or task and seek to implement it, that we might see how it is true from direct experience of the Word working in our life. Nothing of self examination and repentance is from our self, it is all the Lord or the activity of the Word as ’the celestial of the spiritual in the natural’.

The recognition and acknowledgement of this is what is meant by Pharaoh’s giving to Joseph the name, Zaphenath Paneah. For Pharaoh represents the natural level of the mind, or the seat of our feeling that we have life or a self, and by his naming Joseph is the recognition on our part that the quality and power of that which underpins all spiritual formation is the Lord, this being the Word active within the mind as the celestial of the spiritual. Pharaoh handing power to Joseph is the acknowledgement that the feeling that we have life in our selves is an appearance and that all of life belongs to the Lord or the Word alone.

Zaphenath Paneah we are told means ‘a revealer of things that are hidden and the disclosure of things to come’. A key element in working with the Word in Logopraxis is the practice of removing natural ideas of person, place, time and space from the sense of the letter, so that the inner meaning has an opportunity to shine forth. Only then does the Text become truly applicable or understood in a way that directly supports the regeneration of the human mind. So what are these things that are hidden and what is the experience of having things to come disclosed spoken of here? While it is true that in the letter the “things that are hidden” and the “disclosure of things to come” by Joseph relate to the foretelling of outer events in time, this is not what is meant when the Text is read for its spiritual application. For that, the idea of time has to be removed as do ideas that hold the mind in historical events. This is because the purpose of Divine Revelation is to support the spiritual regeneration of the human mind, and not to provide a historical record of events, people, objects or places. This historical level of meaning is purely representative, that is, it re-presents in a natural form, celestial and spiritual realities, or mental or psychological realities.

One key use of the Word as Text is to reveal or uncover the mental states involved in the regeneration of the human mind. These are the “things that are hidden” both within the letter of the Word but also to us when our thinking is caught up in the space/time level of meaning. And they are the things absolutely vital for the salvation of the human race as the literal story of Joseph so clearly illustrates. In regard to spiritual life nothing could be more practical than the revelation of the belief structures and affectional motivations that drive our interior life and ultimately our external behaviours. Without such revelation repentance is not possible and without repentance we can’t be set free from what binds us to spiritually destructive patterns of thought and life.

So then what of the “disclosure of things to come”, how are we to understand this? From a Logopraxis perspective this has nothing to do with events in time as we have just touched on. What it has to do with is what governs how we experience our life and you can’t get any more practical than that. Through working with truths from the Word, i.e. when ’the celestial of the spiritual’ is active in us, the patterns of our thoughts and affections, i.e. spiritual and celestial things, or things belonging to our thoughts and affections, the hidden things, or things we are not normally conscious of, are revealed. In other words we are provided the opportunity to see what the beliefs we are living from, what we have unconsciously held to be true are, and we get to see this in light of what the Word says is true. When the structure of our beliefs and their affectional basis is really seen we enter into the spiritual or causal realm as it relates to how we experience life. We come to see the causes that lie behind our responses to the situations and circumstances of life.

It’s important to point out here that it is our responses (whether these become acts in the external world or remain hidden within the boundary of our own mental world) that are the immediate effects of our thought and affectional life. This point is emphasised for the sake of practical work. It is true that the natural world exists from the spiritual world as an effect exists from its cause so that nature is a theatre that represents the spiritual world (see NJHD 48). But the scale of this is beyond us for all practical purposes. From a Logopraxis perspective though we can work at the more limited scale of our personal responses to the situations and circumstances of life and view these as a natural world that forms a theatre that re-presents or sets forth the beliefs and motives we live from; so that we can gain insight into their quality which can disclose why we experience life as we do. Notice again, that the “disclosure of things to come” when spiritually understood is not about unfolding events in the time and space of the natural world but is about the perception of the mental structures that exist within the world of our natural mind, those things that govern our responses to life. When we see the mental patterns we live from (the realm of causes) we can see what effects they lead to and how they impact on our experience of life, there is, in this, a “disclosure of things to come”.

Joseph, the celestial of the spiritual, Zaphenath Paneah, are terms that describe the operation of the Word, the Logos, as it looks to regenerate the human mind. The interior meaning of the Word, its spiritual sense, is “hidden” until there is a sincere effort to apply our limited understanding of truths, to uncover the quality of the things that underpin the life of our minds. We see then, that in a Logopraxis context, one way in which we can experience the ’celestial of the spiritual’ in us is to acknowledge that within our selves there is nothing capable of effecting anything so far as the regeneration of the human mind is concerned. That all motivation to engage with truths for the purposes of self examination and repentance is of the Lord or Word alone, for if we can receive it the Word is the Lord.

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