Keep those arms up, Moses!

Imagine a general who could affect the outcome of a battle by the length of time he could hold his arms up in the air. When his arms are raised up, his army gains the upper hand. But once he lowers his arms, things would begin to go bad for his forces.

This was the situation for Moses in Exodus (17:9-13). When he raised his arms, Joshua was successful during the battle. When he lowered his arms, Amalek, the enemy, gained the upper hand.

This biblical scenario is a real “head-scratcher.” How long can you hold up your arms? Sure, Moses was holding the “rod of God” and both Aaron and Hur were standing at his side to help him keep his arms up (until evening) but why would this make any difference out on the battlefield?

Perhaps something deeper, and more meaningful is being expressed in this narrative. Perhaps the battlefield is actually taking place within the human heart and mind. Perhaps Scripture is describing a spiritual battle that we must all eventually face, a battle between our faith in God and our faith in ourselves.

That would certainly make Scripture quite relevant in today’s world of self-centeredness, and the waxing preference of human prudence over God’s wisdom. Could the human propensity for self-delusion, be represented by Amalek? And, could Joshua represent God’s challenge to each of us to embrace divine truth and conquer our real enemy – our harmful compulsions?

If so, that would change the whole ballgame of biblical interpretation (exegesis). Let’s see where this unique (and non-Orthodox) thesis takes us.

I think we can all agree that the “rod of God” represents divine power. But have you ever pondered where divine power comes from? If God is Infinite Love, then divine power can only come from TRUE LOVE. God’s rod has its power from GOODNESS (not brute strength or physical force). Religion is a battle between good and evil, and truth over falsity. This does not require an exchange of blows. God wants to win over our hearts and minds.

We need to choose God as our guide. Raising one’s arms upwards represents an acknowledgement and acceptance of the Lord God’s divine power from Infinite Love. Lowering them represents the human inclination to fall back on its worldly views and proclivities. Therefore, if Amalek represents our worldly and corporeal nature, we gain the upper hand over this influence when our arms are raised upwards towards God, that is, seeking God’s instruction (which is the essence of religion).

There are many more spiritual revelations hidden within the details of this story, in fact, in all the narratives of the Old Testament – continuing through the stories and parables about Jesus’ life in the world, and even throwing greater light on the true nature of His return!

These deeper, purely spiritual interpretations of Scripture are available to everyone from the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.


About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at
This entry was posted in god, Inner growth, love, psychology, Reality, religion, spirituality, symbolism, unity and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Keep those arms up, Moses!

  1. Denyse says:

    Was searching for something to share with my Sunday school, and found this to share with myself. Thanks for the insight – it really made a lot of sense.


  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear Denyse,

    The Lord is presently challenging all of us to elevate our minds and discover the deeper levels of meaning within the Holy Word. These exalted meanings display God’s Infinite Wisdom and reveal to each of us greater details for our eternal salvation.

    This inner depth within the Holy Word is the secret behind the Lords “coming with the clouds” at the time of the Second Coming. “Clouds” represent intellectual obscurity concerning doctrinal things. The Second Coming is not a physical event. It is the Lord bringing new understanding to our minds and entering into the actions of our hearts.

    I would be interested in learning how your Sunday school would respond to the insight that the narratives of Scripture depict deeper scenarios that take place within the human heart and mind.

    Spiritually yours,

  3. Pingback: Recent Links Tagged With "relevant" - JabberTags

  4. Bryan says:

    If Christ’s second coming is not a physical event then God has a lot of ‘splainin’ to do. The old and new testaments are full of promises of a literal, physical return. Not only would God have lied to the nation Israel regarding their Messiah but he also would have lied to New Testament believers as well.

    Acts 1:11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

  5. thegodguy says:

    Dear Bryan,

    Thanks for the comment. (I just returned from a wedding in New York City so I am late to respond.)

    You certainly know your Scripture. However, the biblical quote of Acts 1:11 is made to mock those who look “up into the sky.” Jesus said God’s kingdom is WITHIN you! Jesus also said that when the second coming happens that it would come “without observation.” Also, that one would not be able to point to that grand transformational event and say “Lo here. Lo there.”

    God doesn’t fib. Humans (and there “worldly” comprehension) is the problem. That is why Jesus spoke only in parables. God’s Holy Word has several deeper levels of meaning within its narratives. Part of the Second Coming is to reveal these deeper levels (revelations) of God’s Infinite Wisdom.

    That great event is actually happening at this very moment to those who seek it!

    God wants us to read Scripture and “kick it up a notch!”

    Spiritually yours,

  6. Bryan says:

    Dear Edward,

    Thank you for your graciousness.

    We are coming from opposite ends of the hermeneutic spectrum. I believe in a simple, literal meaning to scripture (except where warranted – e.g. poetry, etc) and you are taking the allegorical approach. I will not attempt to persuade you in this forum. I would, however, like to clarify what I said previously.

    The point of Acts 1:11 is that the angels clearly said that Jesus would return in the same way he departed. In other words, he will return IN LIKE MANNER – in his glorified body in the clouds. It couldn’t be more plain. They don’t say he’s gone for good but he will come again in your hearts. This is the exact scene which Daniel saw in his vision.

    I kept looking in the night visions,
    And behold, with the clouds of heaven
    One like a Son of Man was coming…
    Daniel 7:13

    Jesus also very clearly taught his imminent, physical return. In Matthew 24:30 Jesus say this,

    “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.”

    This idea is repeated in Revelation 1:7 where John writes:

    “BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.”

    Luke writes, “You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect” Luke 12:40.

    The old testament prophets also prophesied that the Messiah would physically return to earth. In Zechariah 14:4 the writer states the Messiah will physically return and stand upon the Mount of Olives:

    “In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.”

    and then in verse 9 it states that the returning Messiah will not only stand upon the Mount of Olives but that he will be King

    “And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.”

    Jesus didn’t teach only in parables. Yes, Jesus taught the crowds using parables and he always gave an explanation after he told the parable. After continual rejection by the people the Bible says he stopped explaining the stories and only gave the explanation to his disciples (Matt 13:13). It was an act of judgment on the people when he ceased to explain the parables. You’ll notice that as it grew closer to the time of his imminent death that he began to speak very clearly to his disciples. In fact, his disciples noticed it and said (John 16:29 ) “His disciples said, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech.”

    The bodily return of Christ is not a point on which the scriptures are ambiguous or unclear. I have barely scratched the surface as there are hundreds of verses in the New Testament alone that testify to a bodily return. They are there if we are willing to let the Bible speak without us talking over it.

  7. thegodguy says:

    Dear Bryan,

    Yes! The Lord will come again in your HEARTS! Sounds like the Lord first makes a visible appearance (before the eyes) then makes a second appearance within one’s heart and spirit (behind the eyes).

    However, you have indeed convinced me to purchase a high-powered home telescope so that I can search the surface of the moon for a pregnant woman. She should be easy to spot since she will be wearing very bright clothes. In fact, I think that tonight there will be a full moon. Perfect!

    I will keep you informed as to my progress.

    Spiritually yours,

    • Joseph says:

      Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
      Mr. God guy, God’s Word is True, you cannot change it, He said He was coming again, Jesus is coming back for His People as a Thief in the Night. Yes He is in our Hearts, but to say He is not coming back is very dangerous, it will cause People to take their mind and heart off of Him, He said He was coming back for those who were watching, waiting, and working, We must be looking for His coming, He is coming as a Thief in the Night! He said His Way, and His Thoughts were higher than ours!!!
      Sir I am Praying that you will see the Light, God Loves all of us, I encourage you to Study the Word of God again, and take His Word at Face Value, He said it and that settles it for me and for the rest of the World!!

      • thegodguy says:

        Dear Joseph,

        I agree with you that the Lord will return! However, I disagree that it will be a physical return with physical weapons of war. God’s weapon is TRUTH! Therefore, the only successful route is a spiritual one – in which the Lord makes a deeper appearance in our hearts and minds. This is where spiritual warfare really takes place – on the battleground of the human spirit. One is challenged to elevate their minds, like angels do, in order to grasp this.

        Spiritually yours,

      • Joseph says:

        Sir, when you say these things it goes totally against the Word of God, Sir how can we elevate our minds above the Word of God, we cannot, we are not angels, we have been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb. Once again I know we have freedom of speech, but this goes much deeper, You speak of Truth, the only Truth is the Word of God, not your words, For the life of me I cannot fathom how you claim to be the godguy, and totally ignore the fact that he is coming back! Matthew 24, Daniel, Revelation and many other passages are very clear, HE is coming back in the Clouds, He comes back and sets foot on Earth for the 1000 year reign, Satan is loosed for a season and then is cast into the lake of fire! Also no one every spoke of physical wepons though the battle of armageddon it says the blood will be to the hoarses bridel! We are to draw nigh to Him, and look for His coming, and tell others along the way! Matthew 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Sir with all due respect it says nothing about our mind, it speaks of being ready for his Coming!!!!!

        Dear Joseph,

        Then lets wait together!


  8. thegodguy says:

    Nope. Didn’t see anything strange on the moon last night.

  9. thegodguy says:

    Another month went by and another full moon. Still no sign of a pregnant woman wearing clothes of light on its surface. I while report again in about 30 days!

  10. Bryan says:

    Dear Edward, your mockery is to your shame. Clearly you have no intention of considering any other points of view but your own. That is not intellectual honesty. No one in this thread mocked your views but sincerely attempted to persuade you from the scriptures. All you can do is mock in return?

  11. thegodguy says:

    Dear Bryan,

    The moon will again be full in a few days. And once again I will look intently with my home telescope to see if a pregnant woman is standing on its surface – while being threatened by a Great Dragon. If such an event is not witnessed I promise to give those with other views the benefit of the doubt and simply wait for the next full moon. What mockery is there in patience and simple observation?

    Spiritually yours,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s