SOLOMON (Part 21)

Researched and studied by HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

The Predicted Revolt of the Ten Tribes.

1 Kings 2:29-35.

Our work would have ended with the reign of Solomon, had not his death been followed by an event, the explanation of which is necessary to a complete view of the representative history of the first three kings of Israel. The Lord’s great work, which the reign of these kings represented, was not completed in His resurrection, nor even in His ascension, but in the pouring out of His Spirit on the apostles on the day of Pentecost. The circle of His Divine work was then completed; and with the diffusion of the Spirit, which could now be given in fullness because that Jesus was now fully glorified, by which the apostles were endued with power from on high, the Lord’s Church on earth had its actual commencement. The reign of the three kings was not ended by the death of Solomon but is to be followed in its immediate consequences in the division of the tribes into two kingdoms, which the Lord had announced to the king after he sinned against Him.

The division of the tribes into two kingdoms, although the remote consequence of Solomon’s sin and the immediate result of Rehoboam’s folly, was representative of no less an event than the separation into two kingdoms of the Lord’s heaven, which had previously existed as one.

Here, again, there seems to be a discordance if not an actual conflict between the human and earthly type and the Divine and heavenly antitype. A national calamity, the consequence of Solomon’s sin, represents a heavenly benefit, the result of the Lord’s righteousness. Yet the disparity is only seeming. Besides the general truth, that it is the function and not the man that represents, there is a particular truth, that priests and prophets and kings represented both the Lord and the Church; and in this, they were true types of the Lord Himself. When Aaron ministered at the altar he represented the Lord, when he made the golden calf he represented the people. When Hosea reproved and threatened judgements against the people for their sins he represented the Lord, when he was commanded to take to himself a wife of whoredoms it was to represent the Church. When David opposed the enemies of Israel he represented the Lord when he numbered the people he represented the Church. The Lord differed from all priests and prophets and kings essentially in this, that He did no evil, neither was guile found in His mouth; therefore in this respect, He could not represent the Church. But although He could not represent the Church in all He did, He could represent the Church in all He suffered. As the prophets were commanded to do certain sinless but symbolic acts as signs to the people of the state of the Church amongst them, so the Lord, in some things that He did and in all that He suffered, was a sign to the people of the state of the Church as it had then become. The Lord was the Word; and all that the Jews did to Him personally, therefore all that He suffered at their hands, represented what the Jewish Church had done to the Word; His sufferings were thus signs of the state of the Church, as manifested in what the Jews did and in what He endured.

But the disparity between the type and the antitype, in the revolt of the ten tribes, and the permanent division of the Israelitish nation into two separate kingdoms, is only seeming. The division of heaven into two distinct kingdoms, though a Divine arrangement, and the result of the Lord’s works of Redemption and Glorification, was yet in itself an imperfection, and a consequence of the altered condition of the human mind, which the Fall had produced, or, rather, which had been produced by Divine goodness and wisdom for the purpose of preventing the otherwise irremediable effects of the Fall.

The human mind consists of two great faculties, which are essential to human nature, which is will and understanding. In virtue of these men is possessed of liberty and rationality, by which he is distinguished from the whole animal creation, which acts from instinct and appetite. It is in virtue of these faculties that man, by creation, is an image and likeness of God. God consists of a Divine will and a Divine understanding. But these in God are not faculties but powers. In God, a will is infinite Love and understanding is infinite Wisdom. In man will is the created and finite capacity for receiving from God a finite measure of His love and the faculty of loving from that love, and understanding is the capacity of receiving from God a finite measure of His wisdom and the faculty of thinking and reasoning wisely from that wisdom.

But man is not an image of God simply and solely in virtue of his possessing will and understanding, but in virtue of will and understanding being united, and forming one undivided mind. God is not God because He has a Divine will and a Divine understanding, or because He is infinite Love and infinite Wisdom, but because His will and understanding of His love and wisdom are so perfectly one that they ever act in unity. His love is of His wisdom and His wisdom is of His love; thus His love is the love of wisdom and His wisdom is the wisdom of love; so that His love can never act otherwise than wisely and His wisdom can never act otherwise than lovingly. Besides, love is the Esse, and wisdom is the Existere, of the Divine nature. Love in God is the parent of wisdom, and wisdom is the offspring of love, and Love is in wisdom and wisdom is in Love. Love is the Eternal Father, Wisdom is the Eternal Son. What the Scriptures have thus personified, an obscure and materialistic theology has converted into persons; so that in the Creed there is one person of the Father, and another person of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit; and these three persons are one God.

Man, as a created image of God, was so constituted, that his will and his understanding acted in unity. His will being the esse, and his understanding the existence, of his nature, or, willing being the parent of thinking, and thinking the offspring of willing, he could not think otherwise than he will, nor will otherwise than he thought. So long as man remained in a state of integrity, or in the state of order in which he was created, his mind was in harmony, and acted in unison, with the mind of God. While he continued to will what was good, he naturally and necessarily thought what was true; for good affections in the will spontaneously produce true thoughts in the understanding.

This was the normal state and condition of man. His mind was then the Eden and garden of God; and while the love of God, as his tree of life, was in the midst, all the lower affections and appetites of his nature, which were the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air, and the fishes of the sea, and every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth, were under his dominion.

But besides the tree of life there grew the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The potential existence of opposites was inseparable from the actual existence of man. A being who united in himself a spiritual and immortal soul and material and mortal body had these opposites in himself. God and self, heaven and the world, matter and spirit, sense and reason, mortality and immortality, are opposites, not indeed in themselves, or in respect to the Creator, but in respect to man, as thinking and sentient being. These opposites are the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The created man had necessarily the faculty of perceiving and the power of choosing between them. Rationality was the faculty of perceiving, liberty was the power of choosing. Man, from his first creation, and in his best state, must have seen that the love of self and the love of God, the love of the world and the love of heaven, the love of the body and the love of the soul, the love of mortality and the love of immortality, as ends, are opposites, and that he must exercise his choice between them. A wise choice gave him a wide range of satisfactions and delights; he might freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge he must not eat nor even touch it, “for in the day you eatest thereof you shall surely die.”

Notwithstanding the experienced advantages and delights of goodness, and the warnings against transgressing the Divine command, the will of man prevailed over the will of God. The man took of the fruit of the forbidden tree, and that death which was threatened passed upon the transgressors and thence upon all men. The Scriptures reveal, in the expressive language of correspondence, how this took place. The sensual in man prevailed over the spiritual, the animal over the human. The poison of the serpent entered into the blood, which is the life or soul of the flesh, and no remedy could restore what sin had taken away till the woman’s seed should bruise the serpent’s head.

The manner in which the Fall was effected is in harmony with the view which has been presented of the condition, we may say with the constitution of human nature, as it originally came from the hand of God, and formed in His own image and likeness. We have seen that, in the state of order in which man was created, the will was the paramount faculty of the mind, and that the understanding spontaneously acted under the influence of the will. We find, therefore, that, in the introduction of evil, the will was first seduced, and the understanding yielded to its persuasive influence. The serpent deceived Eve, Eve persuaded Adam. The tempter did not apply himself to the man but to the woman, knowing that if she were gained over, he would follow. In the Word man and woman represent and symbolize the understanding and the will, because the man is more intellectual than the woman, and the woman is more affectional than the man. Thus by the sacred symbolism of Divine Revelation, we are instructed, in agreement with the original condition of human nature, how mankind was originally seduced from the path of life and light to the way of darkness and death.

And now it was that mankind entered on that course of evil in which they had no power of self-control. The understanding is subject to the will, men had no power of reflecting on the state of the will, therefore no discriminative knowledge of its character, therefore could neither judge of its state nor correct it. As, when the will was in the love of goodness, the understanding was in the light of truth; so now, when the will was in the love of evil, the understanding was in the darkness of error. The wish was then truly a father to the thought. Men thought as they felt, believed as they were inclined, and it was then impossible to convince a man against his will. The understanding was the reflection of the will, and could not be more or other than its image.

Had this condition of the human mind continued, mankind must have gone on unchecked in their downward career till the human race had perished. It did continue during the whole period of the existence of the Church or dispensation which was first established in the world. No organic change could be effected during the existence of the first or Most Ancient Church, which, from its primaeval excellence, was called Adam or Man.

The change which was required to make the salvation and even the preservation of the race a possibility, was effected when the first dispensation had come to an end, and it had been followed by another, and one of an entirely different character. The end of the first dispensation is described by the Flood, and the preservation of a remnant, from which a new dispensation might be commenced, is described by the family of Noah being saved by means of the ark. It is now generally acknowledged that the account of the Flood and of the ark cannot be taken literally. No such a flood can have occurred, no such an ark can have been constructed and have floated on the waters, and no such a collection of animals can have been made as would preserve a thousandth part of the existing species. In the days of ignorance, such narratives as those of Creation and the Flood could, in simplicity, be accepted and believed, and be the means of sustaining faith in the creative and preservative power of God. But what is Divinely inspired is for all times, and maybe understood in simplicity by the simple and in wisdom by the wise. Only, we must not think that scientific or worldly wisdom can open the gate to Divine knowledge. The cherubim with their flaming sword keep the way of the tree of life against those who have eaten of the tree of knowledge. But the gate is opened to those who seek admission in the spirit of humility and in the fear of the Lord. And they must, in these instances especially, seek to penetrate within the letter, since it is the spirit that quickens, and all the words of the Lord are spirit and are life.

In the spirit of the sacred record, which seems as if it was the narrative of a deluge which submerged the whole earth, and swept every vestige of human and animal life away, we have the history, not of a flood of waters, but of falsities, that overspread the whole Church, and destroyed everything in which was the breath of spiritual life, except the remnant which a merciful Providence in all such cases saves from the general wreck. But how was even this remnant to be restored to a better state, if the mind remained in its original condition, in which the understanding was completely under the influence of the will, and the will had become so depraved, that it entirely corrupted the understanding, and rendered it incapable of seeing or believing anything but what was agreeable to the inclinations of the will? There was only one way of providing for the reformation of the human race, and enabling them to make a new beginning under a new dispensation, and that was to give them the power of knowing the state of their own hearts and employing that knowledge for the purpose of correcting and improving them. The Lord, therefore, miraculously separated the understanding from the will; and by emancipating that faculty from the dominion of the will, gave it the power of being instructed and enlightened, and of being able to reflect on the state of the will, and to look into it and judge of it by the light of truth. The opening of this faculty is meant by Noah opening the window of the ark, to see if the waters were abated, and sending forth his winged messengers, those emblems of human thoughts, to ascertain whether the dry land had appeared. The dove with her olive branch shows the effect and the promise of the exercise of the new intellectual power of expanding the wings of thought and surveying the state and condition of the mind. Instead of the understanding is subject to the will, the will was made as it were subject to the understanding; for the understanding could be raised above the will, like the dove soaring above the troubled waters, and could pluck the olive branch of reviving hope and returning peace to the human mind and to the human race. But this is a subject of so much interest and importance that we give a quotation from the Writings which places it in a clear light. It comes appropriately under the merciful assurance, “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake” (Genesis 8:21): “This signifies that man would not any more avert himself like the man of the posterity of the Most Ancient Church. To curse signifies in the internal sense to avert himself… The man of the Most Ancient Church was of such a nature that with him will and understanding constituted one mind, or that with him love was implanted in his will and simultaneously with it faith, which filled the other or intellectual faculty of his mind. Hence their descendants were so hereditarily constituted that their will and understanding made onewherefore when self-love and the unbridled lusts originating in it began to possess their will, which had previously been the habitation of love to the Lord and charity to the neighbour, not only did the voluntary faculty or will become altogether perverse, but at the same time the intellectual faculty or understanding, until at length the last posterity immersed truths in their lusts and became Nephilim or giants. Hence they acquired such a nature that it was impossible they could be restored, because both faculties of their mind, or their whole mind, was destroyed. But as this was foreseen by the Lord, it was provided that man might be built up again, which was affected by his being rendered capable of reformation and regeneration as to the intellectual part of his mind, whereby a new will, our conscience, might be implanted in him, by which the Lord could introduce the good of love and charity and the truth of faith. Thus by the Divine mercy of the Lord man was restored.”

These two faculties may be called the two kingdoms of the human mind. Good is the governing power in the will, and the truth is the governing power in the understanding. Such at least is now the condition of the human mind. Originally, when these two faculties were so united that they acted together, they formed but one kingdom. They were like the tribes of Judah and Israel when they were united under David and Solomon. The separation of these faculties was the division of the mind into two kingdoms, and this was represented by the division of Judah and Israel into two separate kingdoms under the reign of Solomon’s son and successor.

The original union of the two faculties of the human mind was the producing cause of the original constitution of the angelic heaven, which, before the coming of the Lord in the flesh, consisted but of one kingdom; and the change which was effected in the condition of the human mind, by which a separation was made between the faculties of will and understanding, was the producing cause of the division of heaven into two kingdoms at the time of the Incarnation. This is the great event represented by the revolt of the ten tribes, and the permanent existence thenceforward of the two separate kingdoms of Judah and Israel.

In the separation which took place between the two essential faculties of the mind, the analogy with the historical event may be very clearly seen. In regard to the tribes, evil was the cause of revolt and separation. It was not the tribe of Judah that revolted from the ten tribes, but they that revolted from Judah; and it was they that formed themselves into a new kingdom. So in the human mind: evil was the cause of their separation; it was not the will that revolted from the understanding, but the understanding from the will, and that became a new kingdom and an independent power. The analogy is as perfect in regard to heaven, but the consideration of this we reserve for another chapter.

Author: Godfrey Gregg

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