Johnny gets a spiritual reading lesson

Once upon a time, a perceptive lad named Johnny was reading the Genesis chapters of the Holy Bible. He was at that age when kids start questioning things. He found the stories fascinating and they kindled his imagination but he found them difficult to believe.

Johnny had just finished the Genesis story where Jacob fools his father Isaac into blessing and giving his older brother’s birthright to him. Since Isaac was getting old, with failing eyesight, and Esau, his older brother was “hairy,” Jacob simply put on a furry glove and pretended he was his father’s firstborn.

Johnny had doubts about the possibility of such an unlikely scenario, especially since Jacob didn’t even bother to disguise his voice. The trick had worked! But no sooner did Jacob get his father’s blessings than Esau walked in to ask for the same thing. Isaac, now realizing that his younger son had committed fraud, experiences a “synaptic” moment.

Not only did Jacob’s glove trick seem improbable to Johnny, he was also surprised that God let the younger son get away with the deceit. What kind of spiritual lesson or message was that? Was the commandment not to steal inoperable at the time?

Suddenly a beautiful angel appeared in Johnny’s room. “You seem perplexed,” said the angel. “Perhaps I can help.”

Johnny was momentarily stunned but recovered quickly from the sight of this heavenly visitor. He lifted up the Bible and asked, “are these stories true?”

“The Bible stories are more true than most humans can comprehend,” came the angel’s unexpected answer.

“How can a story be more” true” than being an historical fact?” asked the confused boy.

“God has infinite wisdom and creativity,” explained the angel. “God’s divine writing style uses people in ways to portray many levels of meaning. When a person has access to these higher meanings, then the stories of Scripture make more a lot more sense, especially as to their relevancy in the modern world.”

“What higher meanings are behind Jacob’s trickery?” asked Johnny.

The angel’s face took on the countenance of someone who had a difficult topic to explain. “Here goes… The story of Isaac and his two sons symbolize the mental process people must go through in their spiritual evolution. Esau and Jacob represent the two main offspring of the human rational mind—knowledge and love.

Love is the firstborn of the two, because without some passion knowledge will not be sought. But knowledge—which accumulates from learning and education—takes precedence and is of more immediate value at the first stage of mental growth. It is from knowledge that we first discern what is good and what to love.

But over time we begin to discern truth from what is good. This is a reversal of order. Since the human mind first gives more value to knowledge, this is symbolized as Jacob trying to portray his older brother as goodness itself. But until sincere goodness is obtained, Esau has to play second fiddle to his younger brother. The “trickery” of Jacob merely symbolizes that the human mind first is made to believe that procuring knowledge is goodness itself but learns otherwise later—when Esau enters the scene and Isaac has a ‘synaptic’ moment.”

Johnny thought about this for a while then asked the angel, “Why doesn’t God just explain these things in simple ordinary language?”

“I have only scratched the surface of the infinite wisdom portrayed In God’s Holy Word. Ordinary language can only express one meaning—a literal meaning. Only a symbolic language could contain all these wonderful things that even we angels in heaven find inexhaustible,” said the angel with great humility and reverence.

“Will religion ever teach these amazing things about Scripture?” asked Johnny.

“Yes,” said the angel. “That is why the Lord said He would return and make his full glory known.”


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
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