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HebrewsBook of Hebrews

Lorin Friesen, June 2018

This is the third part of a three-part cognitive verse-by-verse analysis of the book of Hebrews. The general thesis of this essay is that Hebrew is describing the steps that are required to get from present society to the future existence described at the end of the book of Revelation. Saying this more clearly, Hebrews 1-13 describes the same general prophetic sequence that is found in Revelation 10-22. This correspondence is not always immediately obvious, but it becomes apparent as one compares what is happening cognitively, under the surface.

Hebrews refers frequently to Old Testament people, objects, and rituals. This essay attempts to analyze these references from a cognitive perspective. This provides a possible starting point for a cognitive analysis of Jewish halacha.

This essay will be discussing both theory and application. On the one hand, we will be looking theoretically at hypothetical modes of existence. On the other hand, we will be focusing upon what it would feel like personally to live in such a mode of existence, the primary choices that people in such an environment would face, and the consequences of making these choices.

Due to the length of the essay it has been split into three parts. This is the third part. The first part examines Hebrews 1-6. The second part looks at Hebrews 7-10, and the third part deals with Hebrews 11-13. I have also included a table of contents. All biblical quotations are taken from the NASB.

I would like to thank Angelina Van Dyke again for the extensive feedback that she provided on this essay.

Table of Contents

Chapters 1-6

Chapters 7-10

11:1-3 The Faith Chapter

11:4 Cain and Abel

11:5-6 Enoch

11:7 Noah

11:8-10 Abraham

11:11-12 Sarah

11:13-16 Welcoming from a Distance

11:17-19 Offering Up Isaac

11:20 Jacob and Esau

11:21-22 Jacob and Joseph

11:23 Moses as a Child

11:24-26 Moses as an Adult

11:27 Moses Leaving Egypt

11:28 Keeping the Passover

Moses The Limitations of Moses

11:29 The Red Sea

11:30 The Walls of Jericho

11:31 Rahab

11:32-40 Summarizing

12:1-4 Completing the Process

12:5-8 God as a Father

12:9-11 The Nature of God’s Discipline

12:12-13 Weak and Feeble

12:14-15 Following a Concept of God

12:16-17 The Danger of Esau

Throne The Great White Throne

12:18-21 A Kingdom of Words

12:22-24 A Kingdom of Supernatural Reality

12:25-29 Shaking the Heavens and Earth

13:1-4 Personal Interaction in the New System

13:5-9 Social Interaction in the New System

13:10-13 Outside the Barracks

13:14-16 Looking for a Lasting Home

13:17-19 Developing Organic Leadership

13:20-21 The Benediction

13:22-25 Final Words

The Faith Chapter 11:1-3

Hebrews 10 finished by saying that life grows out of faith. Hebrews 11 applies this principle by describing the faith in the past that made it possible for the life of Hebrews 10 to emerge. One can look at these biblical examples as descriptions of literal people who walked by faith. I suggest that these heroes of faith who are mentioned will received a future reward of life—starting in the millenium—for the personal faith that they exhibited as individuals. But, as usual, there are problems with a purely literal interpretation. For instance, why would Rahab the harlot be the final example in verse 31? Or why would verse 12 mention the obscure detail of Jacob worshiping on the top of his staff? These strange details fall into place if one interprets the passage cognitively. Thus, I suggest that Hebrews 11 describes the kind of souls that will be resurrected to live during the millennium, which would of course include the specific individuals mentioned by name.

Looking first at the big picture, verses 4-7 describe the first cycle of discovering Teacher thought, which ends by condemning the world and becoming an heir of righteousness. The second cycle of stretching forward from cultural MMNs is found in verses 8-12, which finishes by welcoming the promised reward from a distance. The third cycle in verses 17-22 describes a set of paradigm shifts in which thinking goes through a series of transformations. Finally, the fourth cycle in verses 23-31 describes the transformation of a group of people breaking free of the existing world system in order to start living in the Promised Land.

Verse 1 defines faith using the language of mind-over-matter: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Looking at the first phrase, the word hope means ‘expectation of what is sure or certain’, which goes beyond mere wishful thinking. Assurance means ‘standing under a guaranteed agreement or title-deed’. The Exhorter person talks a lot about hope, while the Contributor person focuses upon faith. Using cognitive language, hope is an expression of Exhorter thought, which provides the drive and motivation for the mind. Exhorter combines Teacher and Mercy. Therefore, the primary source of Exhorter drive and motivation is the mental networks that reside within Mercy and Teacher thought. Exhorter leads to Contributor. Contributor faith is an expression of Contributor thought, which transforms Exhorter hope into the ‘guaranteed agreements’ of technical thought. (These relationships can be seen in the diagram of mental symmetry.)

Turning to the second phrase, faith is ‘the conviction of things not seen’. Conviction means ‘to convince with solid, compelling evidence’. The word translated things does not refer to objects, but rather means a ‘habit needed to accomplish what is necessary’. Finally, seen means ‘to see something physical, with spiritual results’. Thus, faith is a habit that is based upon rational evidence and not visual appearance.

Putting this all together, faith adds technical details to the hope that comes from Exhorter thought. Faith acts as if something is true, building habits that are guided by solid evidence rather than copying what others do. This is consistent with the Greek word translated faith, which actually means to ‘be persuaded’. In other words, blind faith is not faith, seeing is not believing, and name-it-and-claim-it is not faith because faith builds habits rather than grabbing physical possessions. The focus upon habits is significant because a habit is actually a form of mental network: Using Server thought to repeat some set of actions leads to an implicit theory in Teacher thought which will eventually turn into a TMN that will drive a person to continue behaving in a habitual manner. (The TMN of a habit is different than MMNs of approval. A person will continue to perform a habit whether there is an audience or not, while approval will only guide behavior when people are watching.)

Placing this within the context of mind-over-matter, the previous chapters have focused upon building a lasting foundation composed of mental networks. Faith adds technical thought to this foundation of mental networks. Saying this more generally, rebuilding existence upon mental networks does not mean the end of technical thought. Instead, it places technical thought within its proper place. In the same way that all games need rules, so each set of mental networks defines some game of existence, and technical thought provides the rules of that game. Technical thought, by its very nature, is always restricted to the playing field of some limited game. Seen from the perspective of mind-over-matter, faith opens up new possibilities for human existence, by living under God guided by some new set of rules. When matter is over mind, then one can always discover something new by exploring nature, because nature functions independently of the mind. But when mind is over matter, then any nature that is explored will automatically become dependent upon the exploring minds. Therefore, the only way to expand existence will be by stepping out in faith. Saying this more generally, faith is always needed, but a different kind of faith will be needed in different eras.

Verse 2 explains that “by it the men of old gained approval”. The word ‘gained approval’ comes from the word martureo, which means to ‘bear witness, testify, give a good report’. The word translated men of old means ‘a mature man having seasoned judgment; an elder’. It is used 66 times in the New Testament and every other occurrence is translated as elder or old man, except for 1 Timothy 5:2, where it is used with a feminine ending to refer to older women. (Similarly, Hebrews 11:11 and 11:31 talk about women having faith, which implies that ‘elder’ refers generically to an older person with wisdom and experience.)

If one interprets Hebrews 11 literally as a historical reference to long dead heroes of faith, then one must translate ‘elder’ as ‘men of old’. But Hebrews 10 describes a new form of existence in which a universe of mind-over-matter is now being held together by people who have been rewarded on the basis of their faith. Thus, the heroes of faith would not just be ‘men of old’ from the past that are being studied historically in the present as dead heroes but rather living elder pioneers of faith who are now experiencing their reward within the new regime. These heroes of faith could not be rewarded in the old system of matter-over-mind, but they could obtain a good witness that made it possible for them to be rewarded in the new system of Hebrews 11.

Verse 3 describes this new perspective: “By faith we understand that the [ages] were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” (As a footnote in the NASB points out, the word translated ‘worlds’ is literally ‘ages’.) In other words, faith is not just something that was exhibited in the previous system of matter-over-mind. Instead, it is also possible for those living within mind-over-matter to exhibit faith—by understanding the past. Looking at the Greek text more literally, the first half of verse 3 says that faith is exhibited by ‘applying mental effort’ to understand that ‘the ages’ have been ‘adjusted exactly down to fully function’ by the ‘living voice’ of God.

Pursuing rational understanding is not an expression of faith when it is done in an academic environment where one is expected to use rational thought. But it is an expression of faith when one attempts to go beyond mental networks to rational thought. For instance, it takes faith to analyze the Bible cognitively when the prevailing opinion is that the Bible contains primarily myth, blind faith, poetry, and/or religious dogma. Similarly, it would take faith to add technical thought to mental networks in an environment of mind-over-matter.

The second part of verse 3 adds “so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible”. More literally, that which can be physically seen has not come into being out from that which visibly appears. In other words, the second half of verse 3 states the general principle of mind-over-matter: Visible matter has an invisible source. The first half of verse 3 adds details to this general principle: During each age, creation functions in a structured manner that is an expression of a TMN of God.

Hebrews 11 then summarizes the faith that was required in previous ages. This description of faith obviously applies to the actual individuals who lived during these times. If one only interprets these passages historically, then this reduces faith to a cataloging of behavior that was exhibited by others at previous times. However, I suggest that faith is also exhibited by anyone who takes a similar step at a similar stage in cognitive or societal development.

Cain and Abel 11:4

Verses 4-5 describe the first step, which is to establish a proper relationship between MMNs of personal identity and the TMN of a concept of God. Verse 4 talks about the two sons of Adam and Eve: “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous”. The name Abel means ‘breath’, while Cain means ‘spear’.

Hebrews 12:24 compares the blood of Abel with the blood of Jesus, and the sacrifice of Abel is typically interpreted as a foreshadowing of the death of Christ. This may be an accurate interpretation, but verse 4 does not say anything about either blood or death. Instead, it points out that Abel offered ‘an official sacrifice prescribed by God’ that was ‘of higher value’.

The original story of Cain and Abel is found in Genesis 4. When Cain is born, then Eve proclaims that ‘I have gotten a man from the Lord’. Interpreting this cognitively, male technical thought has emerged. A spear is used to attack living beings. And Cain is described in verse 2 as a ‘worker of the ground’. Ground represents rational thought. Therefore, Cain represents the kind of thinking that naturally becomes prevalent in a world of matter-over-mind. Rational male technical thought is pursued in the objective realm while physical force is used to attack and control living beings in the subjective. Abel means ‘breath’ and he is described as a ‘watcher of sheep’. Looking at this cognitively, Abel thinks in terms of the mental networks of life and he is an observer of mental networks. One normally thinks of sheep as merely dumb animals, but they are actually highly social creatures.

Eventually, both brothers bring an offering to God: Cain offers the fruit of the ground, while ‘Abel brings of the firstborn of his flock and its fat’. (Fat might represent the health of an animal.) God ‘gazes on Abel and his offering but does not gaze upon Cain or his offering’.

Looking first at the offering of Abel, a person becomes righteous by doing actions that are guided by a TMN of God and not by MMNs of society or status. Altruism is required to become righteous, but when the mind becomes righteous by being guided by the TMN of God, it is then possible for personal identity to become reborn within this system of righteousness. That is why only the firstborn needs to be offered to God. Going further, altruism needs to occur at the emotional level of mental networks and not just at the objective level of things and rational thought. As Jesus pointed out in the story of the widow’s mite, giving money only counts to the extent that one is also giving of oneself.

Hebrews 11:4 explicitly states that the sacrifice of Abel represents the process of becoming righteous: “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous.”

Turning now to Cain, God was not satisfied with the objective rational thinking of Cain, because Cain was still subjectively driven by the mindset of dominance and submission, as represented by the name ‘Cain’. This personal inadequacy can be seen in the response of Cain to the rejection of God, because Genesis 4 says that ‘Cain was very angry and his face fell’. God then gives Cain an opportunity to go beyond the objective to the subjective by understanding why he is responding in anger. Saying this cognitively, Cain can balance the Mercy pain of personal rejection by gaining a rational understanding of the character of God in Teacher thought. Because Cain with his spear naturally thinks in terms of personal dominance and submission, God poses Cain’s dilemma in terms of dominance and submission: “Sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Gen. 4:7).

However, Cain talks to the wrong person. Instead of conversing with God in Teacher thought, he talks to Abel. In other words, Teacher thought is being used within a context of dominance and submission; Teacher thought is the servant of childish Mercy thought. When Cain does not like the message, then he responds by killing the messenger, which proves that Cain believes that words in Teacher thought can be controlled by interpersonal struggles in Mercy thought. And when God asks for information about Abel, then Cain responds “Am I my brother’s keeper”. In other words, Cain has no emotional desire to preserve opposing MMNs of personal identity. Instead, he eliminates problems from his mind by killing the personal MMNs to which these problems are mentally attached.

God responds by saying that Cain’s personal attack on the messenger will damage his ability to use objective rational thought. First, Teacher understanding will be emotionally influenced by the Mercy destruction that Cain has inflicted: “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground” (v.10). Second, the Perceiver facts of rational thought will be impacted by the strong Mercy emotions of killing the messenger: “Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand” (v.11). Third, rational technical thought will no longer lead to Teacher understanding the way that it did before: “When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you” (v.12). Fourth, rational technical thought will now be combined with a sense of personal unease in Mercy thought: “You will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth” (v.12).

Hebrews 11:4 explains the long-term results: “… God testifying about his gifts, and through [it], though he is dead he still speaks.” (As the NASB points out, the word ‘faith’ is not in the original Hebrew.) In other words, Cain may have succeeded in killing the messenger in Mercy thought, but the message of Abel has not been silenced because it is backed up by the TMN of a concept of God.

Summarizing, the first step of faith is to go beyond rational technical thought motivated by personal competition to observing personal mental networks and becoming righteous through acts of altruism. When society is dominated by personal competition backed up by objective expertise, then it takes faith to focus upon people in an altruistic manner.

Enoch 11:5-6

Enoch provides the second example of faith. Hebrews 11:5 says “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.” The name Enoch means ‘mouth’. Enoch is briefly mentioned in Genesis 5. Verse 22 says that “Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah”, while verse 24 adds that “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him”.

When a person’s name means ‘mouth’, then it is fairly obvious that Teacher thought is being symbolized. I suggest that Enoch represents the process of developing a concept of God in Teacher thought. The first stage is to use Teacher thought to analyze natural cause-and-effect, and this is actually stated in symbolic form in Genesis 5:22. The name Methuselah means ‘man of the dart’. Both a spear and a dart are weapons. But a spear is held in the hand while a dart is thrown through the air. When a dart leaves a person’s hand, then the path that the dart takes through the air is determined solely by the laws of nature. A man of the dart would represent using male technical thought to analyze processes that are governed by natural law. (The Greek word for sin, hamartia, uses a similar imagery of shooting an arrow through the air at a target. And analyzing the path of a projectile through the air is taught in high school physics because it is one of the most obvious demonstrations of natural law.) Verse 22 says that Enoch walked with God after he became the father of Methuselah. This is significant because the natural tendency is to approach God either from the Mercy viewpoint of personal ecstasy or from the Perceiver perspective of static truth. However, science emerged when people started to think about God and physical nature in terms of Server sequences. Therefore, it is critical for Enoch to start walking with God after becoming the father of Methuselah. Going further, it does not say that Enoch talked with God but rather that he walked with God. This is also a critical aspect of science, because science does not just do logical analysis but performs experiments and solves problems. It walks with God.

The second stage is described at the end of Hebrews 11:5: “...for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.” Using cognitive language, one does not just study natural cause-and-effect, but rather studies natural processes in a way that submits to general Teacher understanding. The word pleasing means ‘give pleasure to, render good service to’. Pleasing to God would mean being emotionally guided by general Teacher understanding. One is gathering data and performing experiments in order to gain a general understanding of the character of God in Teacher thought. As Thomas Kuhn pointed out, science claims to do this, but in practice most scientists spend most of their time using technical thought to solve intellectual puzzles within some specific specialization.

The third stage is to transform the concrete language of cause-and-effect into the abstract language of universal laws. The word translated taken up is used twice in Hebrews 11:5 and means to ‘transfer, change, go over to another party’. This transition from being human-oriented to God-oriented is a critical aspect of scientific thought, which has been analyzed in previous essays. In brief, concrete thought views natural cause-and-effect from the Mercy perspective of goals and people: What is being thrown through the air? What or who is the target? Is the target being hit or missed? Abstract thought ignores all of these Mercy aspects in order to compare one path of cause-and-effect with another, as illustrated by the Galileo’s famous experiment of dropping two different masses at the same time in order to show that they both follow a similar path towards the ground. This comparison of cause-and-effect will cause the mind to go from Mercy thought ‘over to the other party’ of Teacher thought.

This leads naturally to the fourth stage of gaining a Teacher understanding that is independent of Mercy experiences. Hebrews 11:5 says that Enoch did ‘not see death’ because he was ‘taken up’, and the word translated see means ‘to see with the mind’. Cognitively speaking, Teacher thought is acquiring an internal general understanding that transcends human life and death. This can be seen in the modern scientific concept of Nature—with a capital ‘N’. A scientist cannot physically see Nature. Instead what the scientist physically sees is personal death. But the typical scientist develops a mental concept of Nature—an invisible godlike being who is guiding the development of life. This mental vision of Nature can become so potent that the scientist no longer mentally sees death, but instead waxes eloquent about a theory of evolution guided by Nature, even though evolution guarantees personal suffering and ends in personal annihilation.

Going further, verse 5 says that “Enoch was not found because God took him up”. The word found means ‘learn, discover, especially after searching’. This suggests that the final stage is to move beyond empirical evidence. Scientific understanding began by studying natural processes. But a point is eventually reached where Teacher thought builds general theories for which there is no physical evidence. This can be seen, for instance, in string theory. On one hand, quantum mechanics describes behavior at the atomic level, and it is solidly backed up by physical evidence. On the other hand, relativity applies primarily at an astronomical scale and it also is solidly supported by physical evidence. But these two theories do not fit together easily, and string theory is an attempt to place both quantum mechanics and relativity within a single theoretical structure. There is no empirical evidence for string theory. Instead, string theory is currently being driven solely by a Teacher need to come up with a single integrated theory and not by any concrete evidence from the physical world. (We are looking here at the cognitive motivation for string theory and not whether it is right or wrong.)

There is also a moral side to this independence of Teacher thought, which can be seen in the reference to Enoch in Jude 1:14-16. (This is the only other time that Enoch is mentioned in the New Testament outside of the genealogy of Jesus.) Jude quotes Enoch as prophesying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of their ungodly deeds which they are done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” The word ungodly is used four times in verse 15, and it means ‘failing to honor what is sacred’. Notice that Enoch has gone beyond an objective understanding of universal Teacher order to a subjective concept of holy people living with God in Teacher thought. Notice also the focus upon Server actions: The ungodly are doing ungodly deeds in an ungodly way. And these ungodly Server actions are causing sinners to make ‘stiff, stubborn, unyielding’ statements against God. Looking at this cognitively, when Teacher thought develops a general understanding of natural processes, it will then become blindingly obvious that human behavior falls drastically short of the universal Teacher order exhibited by the natural world, and people will have to go to extreme lengths to rationalize away the discrepancy between childish personal behavior and the structure of the universe. One can see this rationalization in the theory of evolution, which states that the incredible Teacher structure of the human body and brain was formed through the order-destroying mechanism of random mutations, combined with the brute savage competition of ‘survival of the fittest’.

Moving on, verse 6 describes what can happen once an independent concept of God emerges within Teacher thought. It then becomes possible to build upon the TMN of a concept of God and believe that this will lead to beneficial results within Mercy thought: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” The word translated comes to means ‘to approach, to draw near’. And the word please is the same word for pleasure that was used in verse 5. Thus, one is talking about what gives pleasure to Teacher thought, especially as one attempts to refine and extend a concept of God.

The first requirement is to believe that God exists. In other words, one must believe that a real Person lies behind the universal Teacher structure of the natural world. This transition from Teacher order to concept of God occurs naturally within the mind—which explains why it must be resisted so strongly by the current scientific establishment. On the one hand, scientists continually talk about Nature ‘doing’ this or ‘planning’ that, as if Nature is a godlike person, but on the other hand, the typical scientist will respond with ridicule if anyone points out that Nature is being treated like a godlike person. Given such a caustic academic environment, it takes faith at this stage to believe that God exists.

The second requirement is to believe that God “is a rewarder of those who seek him”. I mentioned earlier that science moves from concrete cause-and-effect to an abstract understanding of natural processes. This second requirement moves from abstract thought back to concrete thought.

The word translated seek does not mean abstract research, but rather ‘emphasizes… the outcome intensely and personally desired by the seeker’. Using scientific language, one takes the academically forbidden step of adding teleology; one believes that God actually cares about personal goals in Mercy thought. The Wikipedia article on teleology points out that this is a cognitively natural transition, which is also strongly resisted by academia: “Apparent teleology is a recurring issue in evolutionary biology, much to the consternation of some writers. Statements which imply that nature has goals, for example where a species is said to do something ‘in order to’ achieve survival, appear teleological, and therefore invalid. Usually, it is possible to rewrite such sentences to avoid the apparent teleology. Some biology courses have incorporated exercises requiring students to rephrase such sentences so that they do not read teleologically. Nevertheless, biologists still frequently write in a way which can be read as implying teleology even if that is not the intention.”

The word translated rewarder is only used once in the New Testament and means ‘paying what is due; a rewarder; a paymaster’. This describes a personal version of cause-and-effect, because one is being paid what is due. Finally, the word translated is actually means ‘to become’.

Putting this together, if one believes that a universal person lies behind the TMNs of universal natural law, and if one adds MMNs of personal goals to an understanding of natural cause-and-effect, then God will start to guide personal sowing-and-reaping. This step of adding a TMN of God as well as MMNs of personal desire to a technical understanding of natural cause-and-effect was seen back in Hebrews 1, where the technical thinking of angelic thought was compared with Incarnation.

Noah 11:7

Moving on, verse 7 talks about Noah: “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household.” The English translation gives the impression of being emotionally driven to perform some religious act, but the original Greek emphasizes the technical details of Noah’s response. First, the phrase ‘being warned by God’ is actually a single Greek word that means ‘to admonish on the basis of valid standard—what has true worth’. Thus, Noah is going beyond obeying commands by God, to being guided by an understanding of lasting value. Second, the word reverence ‘literally means taking hold of what is good. It focuses on the outward response someone gives to what they feel is truly worthwhile’. In other words, Noah is not performing religious rituals. Instead, his understanding of lasting value is being translated into holding on to what is valuable. Third, the emphasis is upon preparing an ark, and the word preparing means ‘prepare skillfully using implements according to a tooled-design’. Putting this together, Noah is taking what is good from his society and placing it within the package of an ark. Similarly, I have been attempting to take what is good from present society and place it within the ‘ark’ of the theory of mental symmetry.

This packaging takes faith because Noah is thinking ‘about things not yet seen’, and the word seen means ‘to see something physical’. In a similar manner, I am trying to re-assemble the existing puzzle pieces of current society guided by an internal picture of value that determines how these various pieces should fit together. The puzzle pieces that are being placed into the ark are visible, but the assembling of these puzzle pieces is being guided by thinking about things not yet seen.

Moving on, I mentioned earlier that the same Greek word is used both for Noah’s Ark and for the Ark of the Covenant. Even though Hebrews 11 is talking about Noah’s Ark, the description could apply to the Ark of the covenant, because Noah “in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (v.7). Notice the language of atonement: salvation, condemnation, and righteousness.

The goal of Noah was ‘the salvation of his household’. The word salvation means both saved from and saved to: ‘God’s rescue which delivers believers out of destruction and into His safety’. Thus, Noah was not just gathering information, or collecting animals. Instead, he was collecting what was good from the current inadequate society in order to lay the foundation for a new and better society in which he and his family could live. Similarly, I am not just extending the theory of mental symmetry in order to come up with a better understanding. Instead, my ultimate goal is to lay the foundation for a better society in which I can live as a person, because it is not possible for me to live as a person within current society. Saying this another way, Noah is going beyond searching for truth to gathering what is good; he is going beyond expanding a paradigm to creating a home. And whether one acknowledges it or not, it appears that every paradigm will eventually turn into a home for personal identity, and if one does not explicitly build a paradigm that can function as one’s future home, then the paradigm that one builds will turn into a prison and not a home.

The traditional viewpoint is that God judged the world of Noah by sending a flood. However, verse 7 says that Noah “condemned the world”. The word condemn means to ‘judge someone decisively as guilty’, while the word world is used to refer to the physical universe. One can see what is happening by looking at the meaning of the name Noah. Noah means ‘rest’, and entering God’s rest was described back in Hebrews 3-4. I mentioned previously that rest is only possible if one can place one’s burden upon something else that exists independently of personal identity. For instance, if I want to rest from carrying my bag, I have to lay it down on something else and not just transfer it from one hand to the other. When Noah built an ark, he constructed something new upon which God could rest, making it possible for God to stop resting upon existing social structure. Noah judged his society by providing God with an alternative to current society. And this new alternative is related to rest. God could rest in the new alternative constructed by Noah, and Noah himself could enter God’s rest. This concept of entering God’s rest was discussed earlier when looking at Hebrews 4.

Using the language of the Ark of the Covenant, God could use the new alternative that was constructed by Noah as a ‘spacesuit’ to deal with humanity in a new manner. This new interaction between God and humanity is seen in the final phrase of verse 7, which says that Noah ‘became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith’. Saying this cognitively, when one places the puzzle pieces of current society into a general understanding of lasting value, it then becomes possible to act in a righteous manner, because one now knows at an experiential level what righteousness is. Using an analogy, building an ark of value is like building a map of the local landscape. Once this topography of value has been created, one can then move from one place to another in a smooth manner that respects the topography, instead of blundering ahead and running constantly into cliffs, mountains, and deep valleys.

I am not suggesting that the story of Noah is merely a symbolic myth. A real Noah gathering real animals into a real Ark would have faced similar issues. However, I am suggesting that the description of Noah in Hebrews 11 is going beyond the physical account to the cognitive and spiritual principles that lie behind the physical event. Saying this another way, Hebrews 11 is using the perspective of mind-over-matter to look back at an event that occurred under matter-over-mind.

Abraham 11:8-10

The emphasis of verses 3-7 was upon constructing a general Teacher understanding of the character of God and applying this understanding to personal experiences. Verses 8-12 focus upon walking personally in the light of this general understanding. Verse 7 talked about becoming an heir, while verse 8 talks about receiving an inheritance, and these two words are closely related in the original Greek.

The first step is taken by Abraham, who leaves existing society for some unknown destination: “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going” (v.8). Abraham was first mentioned in Hebrews 2, and was discussed further in Hebrews 7. I suggested that Abraham represents a Mercy-based mindset that leaves existing MMNs of culture in order to find something better. Verse 8 reinforces this interpretation. Abraham is called, implying that Teacher thought is verbally appealing to identity within Mercy thought. Abraham responds, not by following Teacher understanding but rather by obeying a verbal command to leave existing culture. And the word obey means ‘acting under the authority of the one speaking’, suggesting that Abraham is viewing God as an important person within Mercy thought whose words need to be obeyed. Going further, Abraham goes out to a place, telling us that he is thinking in terms of human experiences rather than divine righteousness. And when Teacher understanding is inadequate, then there will be no internal Platonic forms to indicate where one is going. As a result, Abraham did not ‘know, understand’ where he was going.

Abraham’s obedience to God may have been cognitively inadequate, but it is the first step in following God, and when everyone else is following culture, then it takes faith to step out in blind obedience to God. This is a general principle, and it also applied historically to Abraham leaving the city of Ur during the Sumerian civilization.

The word translated receive sounds passive, but the original Greek term means ‘to lay hold by aggressively and actively accepting what is available’. Thus, Abraham responded actively to the call of God by stepping out in faith into the unknown. And Abraham was looking for an inheritance and not wages. In other words, he went beyond thinking in terms of objective cause-and-effect to realizing that God’s reward is based upon personal character: What matters primarily is not what I have done, but what I have become.

Verse 8 described Abraham’s step of faith in leaving Ur. Verse 9 refers to Abraham’s life of faith in living as an alien: “By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise.” The word translated lived as an alien only occurs twice in the New Testament and means ‘to dwell near, reside as a foreigner’. One sees again that Abraham is living apart from existing cultural MMNs rather than being motivated by the TMN of an understanding. Instead, he lives in a land of promise, a Mercy environment that recognizes the power of Teacher words. But even here, Abraham is not identifying with MMNs of culture but rather living ‘as in a foreign land’, and the word translated a foreign land means ‘belonging to another person, belonging to others’. In other words, Abraham is not taking cognitive ownership of the culture of promise in which he lives, instead viewing this culture as belonging to someone else. Finally, Abraham is living within the temporary dwelling place of a tent or tabernacle; he is living in a manner that does not put down roots but rather can move on a moment’s notice.

Verse 9 describes what Abraham followed as a replacement for MMNs of culture: “...dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise.” God describes himself several times as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and one can view this as a symbolic description of the three stages of personal transformation: Abraham leaves existing MMNs of culture in order to obey God in Teacher thought; Isaac is emotionally guided by a TMN of understanding; while Jacob becomes reborn as an expression of Teacher understanding. Isaac and Jacob are described as joint-heirs of the same promise, telling us that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are being viewed as different aspects of a single process of becoming rewarded by God. Looking at this cognitively, Abraham may lack an integrated Teacher understanding, but he is viewing the process of personal transformation in an integrated manner and allowing this process to define his culture. This process of personal transformation is not divorced from the real world, but rather lives within tents in the real world.

Speaking again from personal experience, I have found that the jobs and cultures that I have experienced over the years have played a major role in helping me follow the three stages of personal transformation. But the personal transformation has only happened because I have not pursued any of these various jobs as a career and have not regarded any of these cultures as my home, but rather have treated them as opportunities for personal transformation.

Notice that faith is mentioned twice with Abraham. It takes faith to leave existing culture. But it takes an additional step of faith to transform the negative motivation of leaving culture into the positive motivation of following personal transformation. Many Christians have become stuck between these two stages, thinking that the essence of Christianity means denying oneself for God, not realizing that one leaves existing culture in order to become internally transformed.

Pursuing the positive goal of personal transformation will cause the Platonic form of a better society to emerge within Mercy thought. Saying this another way, if one views society from the perspective of personal transformation, then it will become obvious that society would function much better if people’s minds were transformed. This internal concept of a better society is described in verse 10: “For he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”

The word translated looking means to ‘welcome from the heart, looking to the end-result of the waiting’. In other words, Abraham is feeling in Mercy thought how good it would be if everyone were mentally mature. What is missing is an understanding of how society could move from its current state to this final stage of mental maturity, as well as an understanding of how changes in mental maturity interact with the structure and appearance of society. Saying this another way, Abraham was looking at current society and saying ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was mature’, but he did not realize that God is a God of righteousness who wants to transform both people and society, and not just make people mature within current society. Looking at this historically, God’s ultimate purpose was not just for people to be more mature within the tribal civilization of Abraham’s era, but God wanted to transform both people and civilization. God did not just want people to become more mature, he also wanted them to discover science and technology. The Mercy person tends to think in a similar manner, being naturally talented at taking emotional snapshots, while not knowing the steps that must be taken to get from one emotional snapshot to another. Our study of the book of Hebrews is making it clear the extent to which God wishes to transform existence itself and not just have mature minds living within the current materialistic world.

More specifically, Abraham was looking for “the city which has foundations” (v.10). The word city means ‘a city, the inhabitants of the city’. This includes both a physical city and the people who live within a city. And the word foundations means ‘belonging to the foundation’. When one focuses upon character development, one will come to a deep realization that social interaction must ‘belong to a foundation’. This is a significant realization, but notice that Abraham is looking for a solid city and not for a transformed world. A solid city builds personal Mercy experiences upon solid Perceiver facts; a transformed worlds rebuilds everything—including people—upon the Teacher understanding of a concept of God. Speaking again from personal experience, for many years my focus was upon the foundations for social interaction, guided by an understanding of human personality. This was significant, but it was also limited to the realm of improving social interaction.

Finally, Abraham was longing in his heart for a city ‘whose architect and builder is God’. The word architect means ‘craftsman, artisan, architect’. This term conveys the intermediate level of Abraham’s understanding. On the one hand, Abraham has formed a mental concept of God as an intelligent person who uses skill to mold people and situations. This is a major breakthrough from the mystical concept of God as a transcendent, incomprehensible Being. But on the other hand, this concept of God is not following universal laws in Teacher thought but rather acting as a skilled craftsman who uses personal skills and knowledge to manipulate experiences within Mercy thought. This can also be seen in the word builder, which is only used once in the New Testament and means ‘someone working on behalf of a group of people’. If God is working on behalf of society, then MMNs of society are the absolute while God in Teacher thought is the servant.

One might think that I am being harsh on Abraham, but I suggest that this is not the case. It takes great faith to follow the path of Abraham when one lives in a society driven by MMNs of culture. However, verse 13 points out that “all these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance.” Stated bluntly, God could not answer their prayers because they saw the destination from a distance but lacked an understanding of how to get from their current location to the destination. Similarly, many Christians today follow God at the level of Abraham, longing and praying for a better society, while wondering why God does not answer their prayers. God cannot answer these prayers because seeing the destination from a distance is not enough. If one wants to live within the answer, and not just see it from a distance, then following God at the level of Abraham is insufficient. Instead, what is required is the transformation of thinking that is described in verses 17-22.

Sarah 11:11-12

Verse 11 describes the faith of Sarah: “By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.” When one clings emotionally to a hope that cannot be realized, then the time will inevitably come when one concludes that an opportunity has been missed: God could have stepped in to fix current society but did not. This concept of a missed opportunity is conveyed by the age of Sarah. The word translated time does not mean chronological time but rather ‘time as opportunity’. And of life means ‘the end stage of a full lifespan’. In other words, instead of fixing present society, God is allowing society to reach its full lifespan without fixing it. Similarly, I have often wished over the decades that God would use a knowledge of cognitive styles to fix Western society, but that did not happen. Instead, God has allowed Western society to reach its full lifespan, and Western society is now dying and the opportunity to apply cognitive styles has been missed.

The word translated considered ‘refers to coming first in priority such as: the leading thought in one’s mind’. This does not describe faith as clinging stubbornly to some set of facts, but rather to an emotional hierarchy, because the MMN of the source of promises is being regarded as emotionally more fundamental than MMNs of society. The word God is not explicitly mentioned in verse 11, which implies an incomplete concept of God within Teacher thought. Instead, the faith involves viewing as emotionally most significant the MMN associated with a God who fixes society, and continuing to love the internal vision of God stepping in to fix society, even when the opportunity is missed and society reaches its full lifespan. The cognitive result is a form of righteousness. Righteousness means being motivated by God rather than men.

Notice that Sarah’s faith is functioning at the level of mental networks. This kind of faith is an expression of female thought, which focuses upon mental networks rather than upon technical thought. In addition, Sarah is having faith that she will have a son. This is also an expression of mental networks, because the mind uses mental networks to represent people. In other words, both male and female thought can walk in faith, but they will tend to express this faith in different ways.

At the end of verse 10 God was described as ‘working on behalf of society’: Society is the absolute and God is the servant. But what happens when society does not change and the promise of God fixing society does not come true? One can either give up and become cynical, or one can follow a new step of faith by obeying God rather than men, clinging to the hope of a better society even when the opportunity for constructing such a better society has been missed.

As is pointed out in verse 13, this will not lead to the transformation of society, but it will generate two significant results: The first result is illustrated by the name Sarah, which means ‘princess’. She acquired this name in Genesis 17:15-16, where “God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations.’” Sarah means ‘princess’ while Sarai means ‘my princess’. In both cases, the internal vision of a new and improved society has turned into a ‘princess’—a living, valuable, beautiful, and imaginary person within Mercy thought. The difference is in the ownership. Sarai belongs to Abraham. The vision is an expression of current society which extends from existing cultural MMNs. Sarah, in contrast, is a universal image that is independent of specific cultural MMNs. This transition from Sarai to Sarah makes it possible for God to use ‘Sarah’ to transform many societies and not just current society.

Similarly, my understanding of cognitive styles has become transformed over the years into a universal meta-theory of cognition, and this transition would not have happened if I had been traveling around the world giving seminars on cognitive styles. There is evidence to back up this conclusion because Don and Katie Fortune (whom I visited once in around 2011) started working with Romans 12 spiritual gifts about the same time as my brother Lane, and they have spent decades traveling around the world giving seminars on spiritual gifts, and have probably helped many people. The traits that they have discovered are about 90% consistent with what we have found. While they have stretched beyond Christianity into psychological territory, they have not developed a general understanding of personality that is independent of Christian fundamentalist culture. They have not taken the step of Sarai being transformed into Sarah.

The second result can be seen in the description of what Sarah receives. Verse 11 does not say that Sarah received a son. Instead, as a footnote in the NASB points out, a more literal translation would be that she received ‘power for the laying down of seed’. The word laying down is ‘technically used of the act of conception’, but conceiving is not the same as giving birth. Conceiving is the start of life that happens internally and invisibly, while birth is the external emergence of a fully developed life form. Using symbolic language, Sarah receives the ability to conceive of a universal society of goodness, but she does not receive the ability in this verse to give birth to such a society. Instead, verses 23-29 describe the process by which such a society is born. Thus, one again notices the trait of seeing the answer from a distance without being able to live in it in reality. However, it takes faith to make the transition from believing that God will improve my society to conceiving of the society that God wants to build. And that faith grows as one continues to regard the internally generated MMN of ‘princess’ as more important than MMNs of existing society.

Verse 12 goes beyond conception to birth: “Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that...” The word ‘man’ may give the impression that Sarah’s role is being ignored, but the original Greek does not explicitly say man, but rather uses the number one, and the word translated born can refer either to a male begetting or to a female giving birth. Thus, what is being emphasized is the isolation and individuality of the source; everything is being born out of one. From a marketing viewpoint, Abraham has been a failure, and his name, which means ‘father of a multitude’, is a cruel joke. However, from a cognitive viewpoint, it makes sense for God to narrow down to a single person, because everything then resides within a single mind. Abraham could not base his understanding in any external authority or structure, but rather had to become internally convinced. In terms of mind-over-matter, everything was being held together by a single mind, without using any external crutches from matter. If God will eventually turn the structure of the universe over to created minds, then God would find a single mind that can hold many things together very valuable. Saying this another way, when God can find someone who is willing to walk by faith as an individual, then this acts as a pivot point for God, making it possible for God to change the direction of society in a major way. (We will see later that Moses was unwilling to walk by faith as an individual.)

Moving on, this isolated individual was ‘as good as dead. The pronoun ‘him’ again gives the impression that the focus is upon Abraham. But the original Greek uses the impersonal pronoun ‘these’. The word translated as good as dead means ‘to view as a corpse, to regard as dead, to cut off everything that energizes’. This was literally true of Abraham and Sarah, because they were almost 100 years old when Isaac was born. But there is also a deeper symbolic meaning. When one pursues the goal of fixing society and the opportunity passes and nothing happens, then in several ways one will be ‘as good as dead’: One will be ‘flogging dead horses’ by pursuing concepts that have long been rejected by society. One will be viewed personally as a relic of the past, holding on to antiquated notions. And personally speaking, one will continually find oneself running out of motivation and having to look internally to a concept of God for energy. Finally, after having unsuccessfully pursued a project of societal reform for several decades, one will eventually become physically old. However, it is precisely this continual state of being ‘as good as dead’ that will transform understanding and experience into reborn identity.

For instance, the theory of mental symmetry is based in Romans 12 spiritual gifts, a topic that was popular back in the 1970s but is now regarded by most as irrelevant. I often feel when pursuing the theory of mental symmetry that I have no energy left to continue. And yet, for some reason, I repeatedly find it possible to continue working for one more day.

Verse 12 continues by describing the expansion from one to many: “… [as many descendants] as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.” As the NASB points out, the phrase ‘as many descendants’ is not in the original Greek. The English translation adds this phrase in order to support a literal translation of the text. Literally speaking, Abraham was the father of the Jewish nation, and the Jewish nation has acted as a light to the Gentiles. In addition, the text sounds like a poetic superlative, but the first word translated as means ‘according to the manner in which, in the degree that’. Thus, a comparison is being made.

The first comparison is with ‘the stars of heaven in number’. Number is an accurate English translation, because the original Greek refers to ‘a great number’. This is an interesting comparison because heaven is typically viewed as an incomprehensible realm that is beyond rational thought and numbers. However, verse 12 uses the rational word ‘number’ to describe the stars of heaven. The implication is that the process followed by Abraham transforms a heaven of transcendent mystery into a realm of a countable multitude of stars. Saying this cognitively, Abraham transforms the Teacher overgeneralization of mysticism into the order-within-complexity of Teacher generality. Speaking from personal experience, one of the major results of pursuing and understanding personal transformation has been to transform my concept of heaven into a rational, discussable realm of intelligent, Teacher-based thought. Saying this in terms of mind-over-matter, when many areas of personal existence can be combined within a single mind, then these various theories become transformed into ‘stars of heaven’—lights of understanding that shine within the meta-theory of a framework that holds them altogether.

The second comparison is “innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore”. The word innumerable is only used once in the New Testament, and means ‘that cannot be numbered’. The actual Greek word is anarithmetos, which literally means that you cannot do arithmetic with it. This is a significant statement, because the general premise today is that all human existence should be reduced to numbers in order to enable the dominance of technical thought. The path of Abraham is able to break free of this slavery to technical thought. The nature of this freedom can be seen in the imagery of sand by the seashore. The sea represents the cultural MMNs of various tribes and nations. Sand is solid, but it is not integrated, representing a realm of many Perceiver facts that lack the integrating structure of a general Teacher theory. Sand by the edge of the sea would represent factual thought that lies adjacent to a sea of undigested cultural MMNs, a combination that could describe the factual thinking of current society, with its infoglut of unrelated facts. Summarizing, the path of Abraham is sufficient to break free of the bondage of technical thought and turn the masses into individuals, but it cannot bring structure to these individuals.

This incompleteness can be seen in the other New Testament references to sand and sea. The word ‘sand’ occurs five times in the New Testament, four times in connection with the word ‘sea’. Revelation 12:17 talks about the dragon standing upon the sand of the sea after being cast down from heaven to overcome the woman. Cognitively speaking, the battle with the woman forces the dragon of mystical thought to acknowledge human individuality, and the dragon responds with the persecution of the Antichrist described in Revelation 13. Revelation 20:8 refers to the rebels at the end of the millennium as ‘like the sand of the sea’, again implying an incomplete version of individuality. In a similar vein, Romans 9:27 says that even though ‘the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved. If only a remnant is being saved, then obviously ‘the sand of the sea’ describes an incomplete form of individuality. In contrast, Romans 11:26 predicts that “all Israel will be saved”, and the word all means ‘each part of a totality’, suggesting that Romans 9–11 describes a process that leads to a more complete form of salvation for Israel.

Welcoming from a Distance 11:13-16

As was mentioned before, the incompleteness of the path of Abraham can be seen in verse 13: “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”

‘Dying in faith’ can be interpreted in one of two ways. From the negative viewpoint it means never experiencing results, but from a positive viewpoint it also means having an internal vision that is strong enough to remain intact and provide motivation even when one does not experience results. Both of these viewpoints can be seen in the succeeding phrases. On the one hand, the promises were ‘seen and welcomed from a distance’. The word translated seen means ‘to see with the mind’. In other words, these individuals had an internal vision of where they were heading, a mental picture of what society should be like. The word translated receiving means ‘to lay hold of by aggressively and actively accepting what is available’. The word welcomed means to ‘greet, salute, pay my respects to’. Thus, the internal vision of a better society was seen as something important that needs to be valued and respected. But this welcoming was also ‘from afar, far off, from a distance’, a word that only occurs twice in the New Testament. The other instance is in Luke 17:12, where ten leprous men met Jesus ‘from afar’, because a leprous person was forbidden from getting into close contact with healthy individuals.

One can explain this ‘welcoming from a distance’ by looking at the mindset behind Abraham. I have suggested several times that Abraham represents the mindset of viewing and following God from the perspective of Mercy thought. When God is seen as an important person in Mercy thought, then following God will automatically be connected with denying and abrogating self. Thus, it will be natural to think that following God means leaving cultural MMNs and living in metaphorical tents. A Mercy-based mindset can stretch forward to the Abraham-Isaac-and-Jacob of personal transformation, and it can also form an internal picture within Mercy thought of what life should be like. But it is incapable of aggressively laying hold of this vision, but instead must always view this internal picture from an emotional distance. That is because actually experiencing the blessing of God raises the emotional importance of personal identity relative to God within Mercy thought, causing the person to implicitly lose respect for God. Saying this more simply, heaven must remain ‘pie in the sky, by-and-by’.

However, if one looks back at the situation from the perspective of mind-over-matter, a different picture emerges—in retrospect. These heroes of faith did not subscribe to a philosophy of materialism, but rather believed in Teacher thought that something lies beyond physical reality. In the words of verse 13, they “confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth”. The word stranger means ‘guest, stranger, foreigner’, while the word exile is only found three times in the New Testament and means ‘passing through but still with personal relationship with the people in that locale... made necessary by circumstances’, and the word translated earth refers to ‘the physical earth’. If one observes how these individuals behaved, one notices that they did not find their personal identity in physical reality but rather regarded their personal relationship with physical matter as temporary, and they backed up this personal relationship with their words in Teacher thought. In other words, they functioned in a manner that is consistent with mind-over-matter, because mind-over-matter lives within matter while recognizing that mind is more solid and fundamental.

Summarizing, it is evident that these individuals are following the positive goal of looking for a homeland: “For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own” (v.14). The word translated make it clear means ‘to exhibit, appear in person, to declare’. Thus, words in Teacher thought are being backed up by personal identity in Mercy thought. This personal component can also be seen in the word seeking, an intensified verb that means ‘seeking that follows through on the personal objective of the seeker’. Similarly, the word translated a country of their own means ‘fatherland, one’s native place’. In each case, words are being backed up by MMNs of personal identity. This reasoning is significant because mind-over-matter is ultimately driven by MMNs of personal desire and identity, and the Abrahamic mindset of ‘denying the world’ has to be translated into a positive attitude which can find a home within mind-over-matter. In essence, what is being described is a paradigm shift, in which the mental networks of previous existence are being repackaged into a form that is compatible with mind-over-matter.

Verse 15 extends this reasoning beyond core mental networks to mental content and free will: “And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return.” The word translated thinking simply means ‘to recall by memory’. In other words, these individuals had many opportunities to return back to the cultural MMNs that they left, but they did not return to society because that was not what filled their minds. Notice again the translation from an attitude of self-denial to a focus upon the content of mental networks. In the language of mind-over-matter, the location that a person continually occupies is determined by the mental content of that person. This was one of the fundamental principles stated by Swedenborg in his description of heaven: “If you want to visit somebody at a distance, all you have to do is to bring yourself temporarily into harmony with their state, and you find yourself traveling towards them. You may be ‘walking’ if the distance is short; or ‘flying’ if the distance is considerable.” (I do not subscribe to everything that Swedenborg wrote, but he did come up with a number of valuable insights.)

Verse 16 transforms this negative desire not to re-enter existing society into a positive desire to live in a better society: “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” The word translated better means ‘better because more fully developed’. Thus, one is no longer using Mercy categories of good versus evil, but rather applying a perspective of growth and wholeness that is compatible with Teacher thought. The word translated desire is not the normal word but rather one which is only used three times in the New Testament, which means ‘stretch towards; aspire to; desire to attain’. And the word heavenly is also a modified version of the word for heaven which ‘refers to the impact of heaven’s influence on the particular situation or person’. Thus, the mindset of Abraham may only be capable of welcoming the goal from a distance, but it is still stretching forward personally in the direction of the goal of heaven. Saying this another way, the fundamentalist Christian believer may be driven primarily by self-denial, but he is still denying self in the direction of heavenly perfection.

Verse 16 describes the end result: “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he has prepared a city for them”. As a footnote in the NASB points out, the emphasis of the original Greek is on God’s view of these people. More literally, ‘God is not ashamed of them, to be called God of them’. This is a significant point, because when one acquires a concept of God in Teacher thought, it is natural to feel ashamed of ‘those uneducated, naïve, backward believers who still cling to childish Mercy-based concepts about God and religion’. And the educated person will usually make sure that he does not associate with these ‘backward minds’ in any sort of intellectual academic manner. In contrast, God is not feeling ashamed when he is being called God by these individuals. Instead, God has prepared a city for them.

One might think at first glance that these points are rather insignificant, but I know from personal experience that verses 14-16 describe major emotional struggles that one will go through when attempting to make the transition from Mercy-based religion to Teacher understanding. It is essential not to block off the Mercy-based feelings of the past or feel ashamed about them, but rather to redeem these Mercy-based feelings of religious self-denial by placing them within the positive emotional context of seeking a better homeland.

One final point. Nowhere in these verses does it say that God actually is a God of religious self-denial. Instead, the purpose is to transform this inadequate concept of God into an image of God that is capable of handling life within mind-over-matter. One does this by placing the actions of fundamentalism within the mental framework of a more adequate understanding of God. The fundamentalist may have been following God for inadequate reasons, but in most cases the behavior is consistent with righteousness. Similarly, both the original story in Genesis as well as Paul’s commentary in Romans 4 say that Abraham was reckoned as righteous by God. Abraham was not actually righteous because he was driven by inadequate emotions in Mercy thought. But his behavior could be reckoned as righteousness because it could be placed retroactively within a framework of righteousness.

Offering Up Isaac 11:17-19

Verses 17-21 focus upon the transformation of thinking that is required to go beyond welcoming salvation from a distance to being mentally capable of living within salvation. If one interprets these verses literally, then some of the phrases seem rather strange. For instance, why would the writer of Hebrews include the obscure detail of Jacob ‘worshiping on the top of his staff’? However, I suggest that, as usual, these details make sense from a cognitive perspective.

I have suggested in previous essays that the process of personal transformation can be divided into the three stages of ‘leaving cultural MMNs by forming a concept of God in Teacher thought’, ‘following the TMN of a concept of God in righteousness’, and ‘allowing MMNs of culture and identity to become reborn within the structure that was formed during the first two stages’. In both the Old and the New Testaments, God is referred to several times as the ‘God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’. My hypothesis is that the three stages of transformation are represented symbolically by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as by the process of leaving Egypt, going through the wilderness, and entering the Promised Land. We have interpreted Abraham as the first stage of leaving MMNs of culture in order to gain an understanding of God in Teacher thought. (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob focuses upon following this process at a personal level, while Egypt, Wilderness, Promised Land emphasizes following the same path at a social level.)

Teacher emotion plays a key role in the second stage, because a person is discovering that it is possible to be guided by the new feelings of Teacher thought when Mercy emotions prove inadequate. This can be seen in the name Isaac, which means ‘he laughs’. Isaac is given this name in Genesis 17: God renames Sarai and says that he will give her a son. Abraham responds by falling on his face and laughing because he is 100 years old, and God then says that the child should be named Isaac. Thus, one sees God stepping in with a new emotion to generate life after existing MMNs have become inadequate. Abraham does not want to function at this new level because in verse 18 he says to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you”, and the name Ishmael means ‘God hears’. God tells Abraham that he will bless Ishmael but that his covenant with Abraham is through Isaac. In other words, a transformation is happening in the way that God responds. Instead of hearing and answering when people ask him to fix existing MMNs, God will provide a new set of mental networks that will become a source of greater blessing from God. Saying this another way, God will bring about a paradigm shift within the mind of Abraham and then use this new paradigm to help Abraham. A similar transformation in help from God was seen when looking at the story of Lazarus.

Returning now to Hebrews 11, verse 17 says that “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son.” We discussed the distinction between temptation and testing when looking at Hebrews 3. In verse 17, the Greek word means tempted and not tested. This is because Abraham is stretching forward from Mercy thought. In order to make the transition from temptation to testing, one must become guided by understanding in Teacher thought. This transition from temptation to testing is described in the Lord’s Prayer. Abraham is willing to follow God’s command and offer up his son, consistent with the attitude of religious self-denial that accompanies Mercy-based religion, and also consistent with the human sacrifice that was practiced during that historical period.

The end of verse 17 emphasizes the extent of Abraham’s offering. He was offering his one and only son. Looking at this more closely, Abraham sent his son Ishmael away in Genesis 21 after Sarah saw Ishmael mocking Isaac. God then told Abraham to offer up his son Isaac in Genesis 22. Thus, God tested Abraham after Abraham had eliminated the alternatives. Ishmael was now gone and Abraham had no alternative left except Isaac. This is significant because what matters to God is not the size of the offering but rather its totality. Is one offering everything or is one holding something back? This principle can be seen in the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. Cognitively speaking, one acquires the concept of God as a universal being if this concept rules over everything that exists within one’s mind. This is a characteristic of Teacher thought, which regards a theory as universal as long as the mind is not aware of any exceptions to the rule.

Abraham is also offering to God the very Isaac about which God promised Abraham that ‘In Isaac your descendants shall be called’. The end of verse 17 says that Abraham had received these promises. Back in verse 13, the heroes of faith did not receive the promises but rather greeted them from a distance. In contrast, the word translated received in verse 17 is only used twice in the New Testament and means ‘to receive up to the limit, to welcome with gladness and full, personal interest’. Thus, one sees that Abraham has emotionally broken through the barrier of religious self-denial, because he is personally welcoming God’s promises instead of merely greeting the goal from a distance. Cognitively speaking, the difference is that in verse 13, people are greeting internal visions, leading to a conflict within Mercy thought between existing MMNs of culture and MMNs of internal vision. In verse 17, Abraham is welcoming words from God in Teacher thought, and it is possible to simultaneously hold on to words within Teacher thought and personal identity within Mercy thought.

Saying this more generally, it is possible for a fundamentalist believer in the Bible to become emotionally involved with the words of the Bible, but the underlying attitude of religious self-denial will tend to become dominant when internally visualizing the application of these words within Mercy thought. For instance, I have often noticed when reading theology by fundamentalist writers that the text will be mainly rational, but every few pages the author will suddenly switch gears for several paragraphs and use poetic language to worship God in a self-denying manner.

This emotional identification with words in Teacher thought can be seen in the phrase ‘your descendants shall be called’. As a footnote in the NASB points out, the literal meaning is ‘your seed shall be called’. Descendants refer to people within Mercy thought, while seed (which is actually genetic information) does not conjure up images within Mercy thought. God is verbally promising to Abraham that in Isaac his seed would be called.

Verse 19 describes the response of Abraham: “He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.” The word translated considered means to ‘reason to a logical conclusion’. Paul uses this word frequently in his epistles, but this is the only time that this verb is used in the book of Hebrews. In other words, Abraham is not conjuring up an emotional attitude of blind faith, but instead is using logical thought. Abraham comes to the logical conclusion that God has the power to raise even from the dead.

Verse 19 finishes by describing Abraham’s reasoning: Abraham received back his son in the realm of a parable. The word translated type is the same word used to describe the parables of Jesus, and means ‘a teaching aid that casts additional light by using an arresting or familiar analogy’.

In other words, Abraham came up with his faith through analogical reasoning. Verse 9 said that Abraham ‘lived as an alien in the land of promise’, while verse 12 added that he ‘was as good as dead’. Thus, Abraham knew from extensive personal experience what it means to receive life from God when natural life runs out. For years, Abraham had been receiving life from God while living as an alien in the world, and the birth of Isaac after he and Sarah were of childbearing age was merely the capstone of a lifestyle of looking to God for resurrection life. Thus, when God faced Abraham with the contradictory situation of commanding him to offer up Isaac while promising that he would bless him through Isaac, Abraham put these two facts together using analogical reasoning based upon decades of personal interaction with God. Saying this point more generally, I suggest that one cannot simply use free will to choose to believe God. Instead, deep faith emerges from a mental foundation of choosing to walk in a certain manner for an extended period of time. There is free will, but most of the real choices were made before the critical decision appears.

Abraham’s offering of Isaac is usually interpreted theologically as a foreshadowing of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, and I suggest that this is a theologically accurate statement. But Abraham was not making a theological statement. He had no theology. The Bible had not been written. Theology had not been invented. Existing religion was pervaded by idolatry and human sacrifice. Abraham had to come up with his theology by reasoning analogically from his personal walk with God. When a person regards the sacrifice of Abraham as merely a theological foreshadowing, then this implies that such an individual has not learned from personal experience what it means to receive life from God when there is no human alternative.

Speaking from personal experience, for several years during my early research, I would wake up every morning feeling that I had no reason to go on, because nobody cared about cognitive styles. I would then think about the possibilities, conclude afresh that there was no other alternative, and then find that for some reason I had enough energy to do one more day of work. Fast forwarding to the present, my 97-year-old mother died while I was writing this essay (and my 97-year-old father died while I was editing it). When I think of her, I find myself mentally incapable of regarding her as dead. Yes, her physical body is rotting in a grave a few kilometers away. But whenever I try to think of her decomposing corpse, what comes to mind instead is the concept of a radiant and joyous soul. As far as my mind is concerned, mother has not ceased to exist. Instead, she has merely made the transition from visible person to invisible person. Cognitively speaking, I have continued to receive life from God for so long, that my mind is now analogically reasoning that the same principle applies to my departed mother. (This does not prove that my mother is in heaven, but it does illustrate the process by which it becomes cognitively natural to believe that one’s mother is in heaven. However, the fact that the Bible is too clever and too integrated to have been written by the human authors of its day provides substantial proof that it was ultimately authored by a supernatural being who lives within heaven and is giving an accurate description about heaven.)

Looking at this more generally, one of the primary reasons why the book of Hebrews makes sense to me is because it is resonating with my personal experience. Therefore, I am not viewing Hebrews primarily as a theological comparison between Judaism and Christianity but rather as a description of the path to mental, societal, and cosmic wholeness. Going the other way, I have found repeatedly in my analysis of other authors that one cannot pursue theology apart from personal experience. Instead, if personal application is not added to theological research, then theological reasoning will become implicitly warped by personal behavior.

Again, I am not suggesting that it is either inappropriate or inaccurate to compare Abraham’s offering of Isaac with the atonement of Jesus. I think that this is an important and significant comparison. But I am suggesting that it is historically inaccurate to view Abraham through purely theological glasses because Abraham himself had no theology to rely upon, and that it is cognitively inaccurate to think that one can pursue pure theology without adding the kind of lifestyle that Abraham experienced. What matters cognitively is that Abraham was able to make a transition from Mercy-based religion to the start of a concept of God in Teacher thought by reasoning analogically from a personal walk with God, and Hebrews 11 makes it clear that this transition required faith on the part of Abraham. I am certain that Abraham did a lot of deep thinking on the three-day journey from his tents to the land of Moriah where he was supposed to offer Isaac (Genesis 22:4).

Mental networks can be used to explain why God would ask Abraham to offer up Isaac. Stated simply, will MMNs of personal identity and culture rule over Teacher thought, or will a TMN of God be permitted to guide and explain identity and culture? When God gives a son to Abraham, then God is still acting as a servant of personal identity. But if Abraham is willing to obey the instructions of God by offering his son, then this reverses the emotional relationship between Teacher thought and Mercy thought, because the most emotional personal MMNs have submitted to the TMN of the word of God. This happens within the mind of Abraham. But it also leads to knowledge for God, because in Genesis 22:12, God says to Abraham “Now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

Stated more generally, I suggest that when God tests a person to see how that person will respond, then this is a genuine test, both for man and for God. God can use his knowledge of how the mind works, as well as his ability to see the mind of every individual, to guide the path of a group of people with perfect confidence. But when it comes to dealing with individuals within a group, then I suggest that God can only predict approximately how a person will respond, and needs to test an individual to see precisely how that person will respond under pressure. God can see all the mental networks of all people, but core mental networks acquire shape when they are tested under pressure. (Something similar happens in quantum mechanics with the collapsing of a wave function.) Tests that are failed may be repeated, but the next time around will usually be more painful. (The relationship between divine sovereignty and human free will has been discussed extensively in previous essays.)

Jeremiah 19:5 says that God never commanded human sacrifice nor did it enter into his mind. And in Genesis 22:11, the angel of the Lord tells Abraham from heaven not to kill his son. Despite this, God did not directly attack the existing religious mental networks of human sacrifice that existed in the time of Abraham. Instead, God uses Abraham’s existing religious MMNs to construct the idea of death and resurrection within the mind of Abraham. Saying this more generally, general theories in Teacher thought provide a framework for experiences and mental networks within Mercy thought. Mercy thought needs to be submitted to Teacher thought, but the TMN of a concept of God in Teacher thought does not destroy Mercy thought. Instead, the TMN of a universal God shapes and transforms MMNs by placing them within the framework of universal, eternal existence.

Jacob and Esau 11:20

Moving on, the faith of Isaac is summarized in a single short sentence: “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come” (v.20). One might wonder why it takes a faith for a father to bless his sons, but I suggest that both this statement and the strange story of Jacob and Esau make sense if one views Isaac as symbolic of Teacher thought.

The story of Jacob and Esau is told in Genesis 25 and 27. The general theme of the story is food. Genesis 25:28 mentions that “Isaac loved Esau because he had a taste for game”. More literally, ‘game was in his mouth’. Stated simply, Isaac loved venison, Esau was a good hunter, and therefore Isaac loved Esau. And in verses 29-34, Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew.

This connection between eating game and receiving a blessing is repeated seven times in Genesis 27. The chapter begins with Isaac restating to Esau his love for game: “Now then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me; and prepare a savory dish for me such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die” (v.3-4). Rebekah repeats these instructions to Jacob in verse 7: “Bring me some game and prepare a savory dish for me, that I may eat, and bless you in the presence of the Lord before my death”. This statement is then repeated again in verses 9-10. In verse 19 Jacob says to Isaac, “Get up, please, sit and eat of my game, that you may bless me”. In verse 25 Isaac responds “Bring it to me, and I will eat of my son’s game, that I may bless you”. Then in verse 31, Esau says “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me”. And in verse 33, Isaac realizes that he has been deceived and asks, “Who was he then who hunted game and brought it to me, so that I ate of all of it before you came, and blessed him?”

Looking at this cognitively, food represents intellectual food—food for thought. Drink represents nourishment for Mercy thought while solid food represents nourishment for Teacher thought. Teacher thought likes to be fed with intellectual food. Teacher thought blesses intellectual food by adding Teacher feelings of generality to words and facts. The word blessed means ‘to speak well of’, and this is the first time that this word has been used in Hebrews 11, and it will be repeated in the next verse when Jacob blesses sons of Joseph. Summarizing, Isaac represents Teacher thought. Abraham successfully gave birth to Teacher thought, and Teacher thought can now function by giving an emotional verbal blessing. But Teacher thought needs to be fed with content. Theories do not come out of thin air but rather are built out of bricks of factual content.

It takes faith for Teacher thought to accept factual content, because any new information that is learned by Teacher thought has the potential to fragment existing Teacher theories. Teacher thought wants a general theory to apply without exception, and a Teacher theory will feel universal as long as the mind is not aware of any exceptions to the rule. Therefore, when Teacher thought comes up with a general theory, then the natural tendency is to turn this theory into a mental castle, pull up the drawbridges, refuse to learn any new facts, and bask within the walls in the emotional warmth of a ‘universal’ understanding. In the words of Thomas Kuhn, a scientist will naturally ignore or explain away contradictions to the existing paradigm, and a scientist will only let go of his existing paradigm if presented with a new and better alternative.

When Teacher thought works with content, then the distinction between food and birthright becomes critical. Using cognitive language, does information provide food for intellectual thought that sustains Teacher emotions, or should Teacher thought work with information that can be applied to personal identity? Saying this another way, what is more important, pure research, or applied research?

Esau represents the mindset that ignores application and follows abstract thought, because it sells its birthright for a bowl of stew. Esau is the older son because abstract thought is easier than applied research. Philosophy is probably the purest current example of abstract thought. Isaac will naturally love Esau because Teacher thought loves the ‘savory meat’ of understanding and Esau is great at hunting game. But this form is thinking is also predatory, because it must continually hunt for new facts. In contrast, “Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents” (Genesis 25:27). The word translated peaceful is not the normal Hebrew word shalom, but rather a different word that means ‘complete, perfect, sound, wholesome’. In other words, applied research pursues mental wholeness because it seeks to integrate Teacher understanding with Mercy identity. In contrast, Genesis 26:34-35 describes the subjective results of following the path of Esau, because Esau marries two Hittite women who ‘bring bitterness of spirit to Isaac and Rebekah’. Instead of being a man of wholeness, Esau brings a spirit of bitterness.

The attitude and limitation of abstract thought can be seen in the verse where Esau sells his birthright: “And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.’ Therefore his name was called Edom” Genesis 25:30). More literally, Esau refers to the stew as ‘the red, this red’. This is a significant detail, because Esau acquires the nickname Edom as a result of his request. Similarly, verse 25 says that Esau ‘came forth red’ when he was born. Red symbolizes blood, which emerges when personal identity falls apart. Thus, selling one’s birthright in order to satisfy hunger through ‘the red, this red’ would symbolize a particular approach that Teacher thought can take to personal identity. Birthright uses Teacher understanding to transform personal identity. Eating ‘the red’, in contrast, removes personal identity in order to find intellectual food for Teacher thought. Using contemporary language, abstract thought attempts to eliminate personal bias in order to build understanding upon objective thought.

Objective science actually recognizes that scientific thought is tainted by subjective bias. But instead of transforming personal MMNs, science attempts to get them out of the way through processes such as peer review. Hence the indirect reference to ‘red’ instead of ‘blood’. But because objective research avoids Mercy emotions instead of gaining the confidence to handle subjective emotions, it lacks the power to escape the emotions of a Teacher theory, and it eventually becomes emotionally trapped by Teacher emotions. As a result, ‘the red’ turns inevitably into ‘this red’; the search for universal truth mutates into the preservation and expansion of some specialization.

Using an analogy, eliminating personal bias after the fact is like giving a camera to a child, having the child take pictures, and then cutting out any parts of the pictures that show children or childish behavior. At a surface level, all childish identities have been eliminated from the data. But at a deeper level, problems still remain. First, the blanks in the pictures where children used to be will lead to objective thought, a form of thinking that determines facts by removing personal feelings. However, one will still be able to tell indirectly from the subject matter that a child was taking the pictures. Second, one will notice many indirect references to children treats and childish toys in the pictures. That is because one will have to bribe a child if one wishes to take pictures of material that does not interest a child. Similarly, one notices that academia is littered with many childish treats that are designed to bribe childish thought into participating in scientific thought, such as academic perks or personal awards. Third, the underlying assumption will be that children take pictures. The idea that children should become adults before they start taking pictures will be rejected as judgmental and unrealistic. Summarizing, scientific thought will be objective, this objective research will be accompanied by many implicit personal rewards, and the idea of personal transformation will be minimized. Using the language of Hebrews, one will notice indirectly that subjective identity has been eliminated by the presence of ‘the red; this red’.

The meaning of the name Esau is somewhat uncertain, but Genesis 25:25 says that when he was born, “he came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau.” Thus, most sources connect the name Esau with the meaning ‘hairy’. I have suggested in a previous essay that hair represents intuitive thought. (This may sound like a tenuous connection, but it actually does fit.) Going further, a garment represents MMNs of personal culture. If Esau was hairy all over like a garment, then this implies a culture of intuitive thought. I suggest that this is an accurate description of pure abstract thought. For instance, philosophy likes to think that it is guided solely by logical reasoning, but the starting point is usually intuition, and rigorous logic is then used after the fact to add rigor to the intuition. Saying this another way, abstract reasoning must have some starting point, and this starting point cannot come from empirical evidence if abstract thought steps back from the real world. Stepping back from the real world does not make abstract thought mentally free of concrete experiences. Instead, abstract reasoning will be implicitly guided by the mental structure that was acquired from living in the real world, and abstract thinking that is implicitly guided by mental content is intuition. This implicit foundation is illustrated by the fact that discoveries and inventions are often developed independently at similar times by different people. Even when people are not explicitly working together, they can still share the same implicit mental networks of culture and understanding.

Intuition also forms the starting point for applied research, because Teacher thought will use intuition to come up with some hypothesis that is capable of explaining the physical evidence. But Esau will then be supplanted by Jacob—which means ‘heel, supplanter, one closely following’. Jacob was given this name because he was born “with his hand holding onto Esau’s heel” (Genesis 25:25), and in Genesis 27:36 Esau complains “Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has supplanted me these two times?”

The meanings of the names of Esau’s wives are also curious from a cognitive perspective. The name of the first wife means ‘Jewish’ (I know that this meaning is anachronistic, but check the dictionary link), the daughter of ‘my well’, while the name of the second wife means ‘perfume’, the daughter of ‘sacred oak tree’. We saw in the renaming of Sarai to Sarah, as well as in the offering of Isaac, that the blessing of God needs to be based in Teacher understanding rather than in personal MMNs. One of the primary struggles of Judaism over the millennia has been to reconcile the idea of a monotheistic God in Teacher thought with the MMNs of Jewish culture. In simple terms, is God a tribal God of the Jews or is he a universal God of everyone? The first wife of Esau represents reconciling this struggle in favor of cultural identity and personal motivation. The second wife of Esau represents the limitations of making such a decision. One will experience the perfume of positive Teacher emotion, but instead of coming up with a universal Teacher theory, one will develop the ‘sacred tree’ of a limited paradigm. One can see with this means by looking at Jewish history. My hypothesis is that God wanted the Jews to discover the universal theories of science. Instead, Judaism developed the limited theory of the sacred tree of life of Kabbalah.

At the end of Genesis 27, Rebekah informs her husband Isaac that she cannot live with Esau’s wives, and so in the beginning of Genesis 28, Isaac explicitly calls Jacob, blesses him, and tells him to go to their relatives and get a proper wife. Jacob had to acquire his initial blessing from Isaac through subterfuge. But when Isaac experiences the emotional results of the hunting mindset of Esau, then he decides explicitly that the path of Jacob is superior to the path of Esau. Looking at this cognitively, pure research is attractive to Teacher thought in the short term, but it leads to bitterness of spirit in the long term, because it leaves existing cultural MMNs intact. Applied research may take longer and initially appear unattractive but it leads eventually to practical results that reinforce Teacher thought instead of attacking it.

One can see why God would say “I loved Jacob, but Esau I hated” (Malachi 1:2-3). God is not just a theologian in Teacher thought. Instead, God is a Trinity in which three forms of universal thought love each other in order to live within wholeness.

Jacob and Joseph 11:21-22

Returning to Hebrews 11, verse 21 describes the faith of Jacob: “By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, [leaning] on the top of the staff.” (As the NASB indicates, the word ‘leaning’ is not in the original Greek.)

Jacob represents the third stage of personal transformation in which one descends from abstract theory in Teacher thought in order to gain a birthright within Mercy thought. This is illustrated by the story of Jacob’s ladder in Genesis 28. When Jacob leaves his parents in order to seek a wife, he dreams of a ladder with angels ascending and descending, and God, standing at the top of the ladder, promises to give the surrounding land to Jacob’s descendants and to bless the earth through them. (Jacob’s ladder was discussed in a previous essay, and I suggest that it represents the movement between general and specific that is done when applying abstract theory.) Similarly, when Jacob returns in Genesis 32 to meet Esau, he wrestles with an angel in order to gain a blessing.

The name Joseph means ‘he increases’. Looking at this cognitively, descending from theory to application through Jacob will eventually be replaced by incremental growth, as illustrated by the transition that current society has made from applied research to the continual flow of new and improved gadgets that emerges as a result of R&D, or research and development. Going further, Joseph’s sons were born in Egypt to a father who was Prime Minister of Egypt. Similarly, when the process of personal transformation is followed to completion, then the results will be so impressive that this form of thinking will be put in charge of the cultural and physical MMNs of Egypt, as illustrated by the honor that secular society currently gives to scientific research and development.

Verse 21 describes the manner in which ‘Jacob’ should treat these ‘sons of Joseph’. First, Jacob should recognize them as legitimate replacements. Thus, the context is Jacob dying, and the word translated dying is an intensified word that means ‘die off, focusing on the separation of goes with the dying off’. In other words, the mindset of applying theory is dying off and being replaced by a new and different form of thought driven by the growth of a technical society. For instance, even though science claims to be based in general theory, I have found when talking about the theory of mental symmetry that most people today are quite resistant to the idea of starting with a theory and then applying it. Instead, what matters is empirical data and technological growth. Saying this symbolically, Jacob has died off. (I am not suggesting that ancient Egypt discovered modern technology. But Genesis 47:20-26 does describe Joseph leading Egypt to a form of urbanization and centralized government that characterizes modern technological society.)

Second, Jacob needs to bless these replacements. Current society makes it clear that when research is replaced by a growing technical society, then intellectual thought will naturally fragment into many disconnected technical specializations. These specializations need to be blessed by Jacob; there needs to be a realization in Teacher thought that every specialization is ultimately an expression of applying a general Teacher understanding of the character of God. Verse 21 says that “Jacob blessed each of the sons of Joseph”. Historically speaking, Joseph only had two sons: Ephraim and Manasseh. But the word translated each means ‘each unit viewed distinctly, as opposed to severally, as a group’. Interpreting this cognitively, it is not sufficient to pronounce in general terms that all technical specializations are ultimately based in an understanding of the nature of God. Instead, this blessing needs to be applied individually to each specialization, in order to stop that specialization from becoming isolated from the general body of knowledge. Consistent with this interpretation, Genesis 47:20-26 describes every Egyptian selling his field to the ‘god’ of Pharaoh and becoming a servant of Pharoah. (I am not suggesting that this situation was good, but it is consistent with the symbolic interpretation, and it would have laid a cognitive foundation for Israel leaving Egypt under Moses.)

Third, Jacob needs to ‘worship on the top of his staff’. The word ‘staff’ has been used twice in the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 1:8 talked about the scepter of the kingdom of Christ, while Hebrews 9:4 talked about Aaron’s rod which budded. In both cases, a staff is used as a symbol of authority. The word translated top means ‘top, highest point’. The story of Jacob’s ladder related the thinking of Jacob with top and bottom, because angels were ascending and descending this ladder. Thus, ‘the highest point of his staff’ would represent a mindset that thinks in most general terms. The word worship is also related to power and authority and means ‘to kiss the ground when prostrating before a superior’. Putting this together, when the application of ‘Jacob’ is replaced by the growth of the ‘sons of Joseph’, then the results will be emotionally impressive, and Jacob needs to recognize that something superior has emerged, instead of holding dogmatically to the superiority of technical thought and application. However, it is imperative for Jacob to worship at ‘the highest point of the staff’. Instead of viewing this new growth as something specific within the concrete realm of Mercy experiences, it must be worshiped using abstract thought and general Teacher understanding. As has become increasingly evident within current society, technical growth is far more than the continual introduction of new and improved gadgets. Instead, there are universal implications, and a continual stream of inventions will eventually have universal repercussions and turn all of human society upside down.

Returning to Hebrews 11, verse 22 describes the faith of Joseph: “by faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.” The word translated made mention means to ‘remember, hold in remembrance, make mention of’. In verse 21, the verb ‘dying off’ was used, while in verse 22, the verb is simply ‘dying’. This implies that the growth of Joseph will not stop, but rather will cease to become the primary motivation. Bones represent Perceiver facts that apply to personal identity, because the bones define and determine the shape of a person. When Jacob gives way to the sons of Joseph—when applied research becomes replaced by specialized growth, then it takes faith to remember that each specialization is an application of a general Teacher understanding of the nature of God. When the growth of Joseph is replaced by pure specialization—as is the case today—then it takes faith to remember the existence of Perceiver truth, especially truth that applies to people. For instance, political correctness has become so dominant today that it has become taboo in many circles to even suggest that Perceiver truth exists.

The reason for remembering the bones of Joseph is the Exodus: the sons of Israel will eventually leave Egypt. Looking at this cognitively, Egypt represents the natural world, and the materialistic thinking of the world can ignore Perceiver facts because people live in a physical world composed of solid objects and repeatable processes that define Perceiver facts. But the descendants of Israel (the word translated son refers generically to both men and women) will eventually leave Egypt. As far as I can tell, this leaving Egypt refers to the process described in the book of Hebrews that begins with spiritual technology. This interpretation is historically accurate, because when the Israelites left Egypt, this was accompanied by extensive supernatural intervention. Similarly, Hebrews 2:1-4 describes the start of extensive supernatural intervention within present society.

Personal facts have no bearing when one uses normal technology within a physical universe. But spiritual technology would be affected by personal identity. Therefore, using spiritual technology effectively would require having solid internal Perceiver facts about personal identity. Note that Joseph gives orders concerning his bones. In other words, when the supernatural realm invades reality, then what will matter is the Perceiver truth that applies to growth. That is because technology, the source of growth, will become spiritual. (My guess is that normal technology would continue to exist, but the real growth and excitement would come from spiritual technology.)

Going further, the word translated gives orders does not describe an attitude of blind obedience but rather means ‘to command, emphasizing the end objective’. Thus, the goal of remembering the bones of Joseph is to be able to live successfully when one leaves Egypt and enters an environment of supernatural power. When one is living within the empirical mindset of Egypt and postulating that it might be possible to leave Egypt, then it takes faith to think about applying truth to the supernatural realm. On the one hand, those who emphasize truth will preach strongly that only empirical reality exists, while on the other hand, those who talk about the supernatural will tend to de-emphasize truth, as illustrated by the lack of common sense that characterizes today’s typical seeker of spirituality—both secular and religious.

Moses as a Child 11:23

The final cycle of faith is described in verses 23-30, and it emphasizes the path of escaping Egypt in order to follow God. One can interpret these verses in three different ways. Historically speaking, the Israelites were escaping slavery under a despot who was regarded as a god in order to follow the real God. Cognitively speaking, one is escaping a mindset ruled by MMNs in order to follow the TMN of a general understanding. And prophetically speaking, one is escaping slavery to matter-over-mind in order to follow a God of supernatural order.

This transition can be seen in verse 23: “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.” As was pointed out earlier in the essay, Moses was given his name because he was ‘drawn from the water’. Thus, Moses emerges out of a general context of Mercy experiences. But his parents preserved him “because they saw he was a beautiful child”. The word translated beautiful means ‘elegant, pretty, fair, fine, beautiful’. It is only used twice in the New Testament—both times to refer to baby Moses. The other reference is in Acts 7:20, where the baby Moses is described as ‘lovely in the sight of God’. Beauty is primarily an expression of Teacher emotion, because Teacher thought appreciates the order-within-complexity of elegance, symmetry, integrated smooth curves, grace, and beauty. Thus, Moses was preserved because of Teacher emotion, and not because of typical Mercy emotions of motherly love. Looking at this emotional transition from a different perspective, Moses was a person, and people are usually represented by MMNs within Mercy thought. But Moses was not just a beautiful child, but lovely in the sight of God, which describes a person that God finds attractive in Teacher thought.

The word translated saw in Hebrews 11 means ‘to see with the mind’. In other words, the parents of Moses saw internal beauty. Looking at this literally, it is rather strange to talk about the internal beauty of a baby, because a baby lacks internal contact. However, it makes sense from a cognitive perspective. Those who are following God are living within the land of Egypt, similar to the way that the Christianity now exists within a secular society. Within this secular context, something has been born within Mercy thought that is attractive to Teacher thought. For instance, the theory of mental symmetry began as an analysis of people based in a description of spiritual gifts in Romans 12—a religious way of categorizing MMNs that represent people. But this description of people within Mercy thought had internal Teacher order. The personality traits were not just random lists but rather expressions of deep mental symmetry, and Teacher thought loves symmetry. It was this internal Teacher beauty that motivated me to hold on to the ‘child’ of cognitive styles.

The parents of Moses exhibited faith by hiding the baby for three months. They did this “because they were not afraid of the king’s edict”. This is the only time that the word edict is used as a noun in the New Testament. As a verb, it means ‘to issue a command with full authority because it takes into account all that is necessary to lay down a proper order. Such an order also goes through all the necessary proper chain-of-command’. The focus of this verse is not upon the content of the edict but rather upon its source and the method through which it is given. It comes from a king—a person with great status in Mercy thought. It is delivered through an official structure and chain-of-command. The average person responds with fear, which means ‘to put to flight, to terrify, frighten’. In other words, people are being emotionally driven to avoid challenging the system.

Looking at this cognitively, there is a conflict between two different methods of adding Teacher emotions to MMNs of people. On the one hand, Moses has internal beauty as an individual. On the other hand, the regime has external order and structure as a group of people. (Historically speaking, this was due in part to the centralized government developed by Joseph. Centralized government was also required to resurvey the farm land every year after the flooding of the Nile river receded.) The parents of Moses are being attracted by the Teacher emotion that is contained within the Mercy person of Moses, while the average person is being repulsed by the Mercy threats that are being amplified by the Teacher structure of the regime.

A similar struggle occurred during the Protestant Reformation. On the one hand, religious seekers were re-examining the Mercy experiences of Christianity as well as the holy book of the Bible and discovering doctrine and theology. Internal Teacher order was emerging from a context of Mercy experiences. On the other hand, the institutional Catholic Church, together with the secular authorities, were using institutional structure to impose Mercy status.

I ran into a similar conflict with the theory of mental symmetry. I initially thought that a theory of human personality would be welcomed by academic experts. Instead, I quickly discovered that I was violating numerous taboos that were being enforced by the structure of academia. I chose not to be overcome by fear of the system, but instead decided to ‘raise the child’ of mental symmetry in secret, and my older brother Lane and I spent several years working out the core concepts of the theory of mental symmetry outside of the official academic system.

There is an important cognitive reason for hiding the child for a period of time. Teacher understanding is emerging within a context of personal and religious MMNs. It takes time to develop a Teacher theory. If a partially developed theory is publicly exposed to powerful MMNs, then the theory will become warped by these MMNs. The emerging theory needs to be kept secret from both secular and religious authorities, because each will use MMNs of personal status backed up by institutional structure to warp and mold the understanding.

I suggest that the Protestant Reformation illustrates what happens when a theory of Moses is not kept secret. Both Martin Luther, the main figure behind the Protestant Reformation, and Philip Melanchthon, the theological coworker of Martin Luther, initially interacted with opponents at the level of Teacher words and theories. But this theological discussion soon descended to the level of political force. And Luther and Melanchthon eventually called for the death penalty for Anabaptist believers, who were for the most part attempting to develop and practice their faith in secret. Anbaptism has its shortcomings, but it did pioneer a number of religious concepts that are now regarded as significant by society, including voluntary church membership, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, nonconformity to the world, pacifism, and the priesthood of all believers. (Luther taught the priesthood of all believers as a doctrine, but because of political pressure, the Lutheran Church turned into a state church backed up by political power.) The common thread to these Anabaptist concepts is following God independently of MMNs of institutionally reinforced personal coercion—precisely the contrast being described in Hebrews 11:23. (Mennonites have historically escaped persecution by forming distinct communities. But this often ended up violating the principles pioneered by Mennonites, because the local Mennonite church became its own mini-state with secular powers, locally eliminating the separation between church and state.)

Luther treated Jews in a similar fashion. Quoting from the linked Wikipedia article, “Luther’s attitude toward the Jews changed over the course of his life. In the early phase of his career—until around 1536—he expressed concern for their plight in Europe and was enthusiastic at the prospect of converting them to Christianity through his religious reforms. Being unsuccessful in that, in his later career, Luther denounced Judaism and called for harsh persecution of its followers, so that they might not be allowed to teach.”

Moses as an Adult 11:24-26

Verse 24 describes the end to this secrecy: “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter”. The phrase ‘when he had grown up’ assumes a literal interpretation. But the word translated grown up actually means ‘large, great, in the widest sense’. It is used 243 times in the New Testament, and this is the only time that it is translated as ‘grown up’. Going further, the verb that is used means ‘become, transitioning from one realm or condition to another’. Thus, a more literal translation would be ‘when he had made the transition into being great’. Interpreting this cognitively, this describes when ‘Moses’ has made the transition from being a description of MMNs to being a general theory in Teacher thought, because a general theory becomes ‘large, great, in the widest sense’ by explaining many specific situations. Saying this another way, the emotional focus changes from Mercy status to Teacher generality. For instance, the theory of mental symmetry began as a system of cognitive styles—a description of people within Mercy thought. But it eventually turned into a meta-theory of cognition that was capable of explaining many other more specific theories. In the words of verse 24, it ‘made the transition into being great’.

This is when Moses ‘refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter’. The word translated refused means ‘refuse to affirm or to confess, disown or repudiate’. Thus, there is a verbal statement of not belonging. And this verbal statement involves words, because Moses refuses to be called the son. Notice how the struggle is now occurring at the level of Teacher words and Teacher thought. If Moses emerges from hiding before ‘making a transition into being great’, then the struggle will happen at the level of personal status and Mercy thought, as illustrated by the Protestant Reformation. For instance, transforming a study of cognitive styles into the meta-theory of mental symmetry has changed the kind of interaction that I have with other people. Instead of viewing mental symmetry as primarily a religious belief, it is now viewed as an abstract theory. Saying this another way, mental symmetry triggers a different set of mental networks within the mind of the typical listener.

Moses verbally repudiates being called ‘the son of Pharaoh’s daughter’. In the original story in Exodus 2, baby Moses is hid in the reeds by the bank of the Nile until discovered by the daughter of Pharaoh. The word Pharaoh means ‘great house’ in Egyptian. Thus, Pharaoh represents secular power, which combines Mercy status with Teacher generality, and this symbolic interpretation is consistent with how the Egyptian Pharaoh was viewed historically. Pharaoh’s daughter would represent the mental networks that result from secular power. Thus, if Moses is being raised as a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, then this would represent using male thought within a secular culture based in power.

For instance, the idea of interpreting Romans 12 spiritual gifts as a system of cognitive styles did not originate with my older brother Lane Friesen, but instead was a fairly common topic taught in church circles in the 1970s. However, Lane took the novel step of going beyond a religious focus by analyzing over 200 historical biographies in order to gather data about the seven cognitive styles—and biographies are written about important people. Thus, Lane used male thought to analyze the secular culture of important people. And this analysis of secular individuals eventually caused Lane’s research to be rejected by most religious teachers of Romans 12 spiritual gifts. For instance, Bill Gothard, one of the original proponents of Romans 12 spiritual gifts, stopped interacting with Lane back in the 1980s because Lane’s research was ‘too secular’. (History has revealed that Gothard’s excessive religiosity was a charade. My gut feeling is that Gothard discovered enough of a ‘baby Moses’ in the 1970s to encounter the Teacher feeling of beauty, and he did not know how to reconcile this Teacher emotion with his fundamentalist mindset of physical self-denial. It is possible that a similar cognitive mechanism lies behind child abuse by Catholic priests.)

Similarly, when Lane and I were analyzing the personality traits that had been collected by Lane, our analysis was guided by secular concepts of psychology, neurology, and computer science. Looking back, I can see that it was essential for mental symmetry to be ‘raised as a son of pharaoh’s daughter’ and not as a religious doctrine. The difference that this has made can be seen by comparing the type of analysis that we are doing in these essays with the typical theological book. As everyone keeps reminding me, I use a form of thinking that is not typical.

But once Moses turns into its own fully developed Teacher theory, it is then imperative to break the connections with secular thought. Turning again to personal experience, I suggest that one is looking at the distinction between analyzing data and putting together a general theory. Secular academic thought has learned how to gather and analyze information in a rational, logical manner, and this mindset guided our thinking as Lane and I developed the theory of mental symmetry. But when it comes to the final stage of assembling data in order to form a general theory, then secular academic thought is heavily influenced by the underlying assumption that nothing exists except physical reality, and that all that matters is objective, empirical evidence. This means that when one goes beyond gathering and analyzing data to coming up with a general theory, then one has to make a verbal break with secular thought.

Verse 25 describes this break in more detail: “choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.” This may give the impression that Moses was choosing to follow God rather than pursue a life of hedonism, an interpretation that is consistent with the fundamentalist mindset of religious self-denial. There is probably some truth to this interpretation, because Egypt was a hedonistic society, and as a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses probably had access to the best pleasures that Egypt had to offer, which he lost when leaving the royal household.

But, as usual, the original Greek suggests a deeper meaning. The word translated choosing is only found three times in the New Testament and ‘the Greek middle voice [which is used in Hebrews 11] emphasizes the self-interest of the one deciding to grasp or take’. This suggests that the goal of Moses was to improve self and not to deny self. Moses was not identifying with social outcasts in order to repudiate power politics but rather choosing to follow a certain path for selfish reasons, even if this meant being categorized with a socially disapproved group. Consistent with this interpretation, verse 25 does not say that Moses was identifying with ‘the Hebrew slaves’ but rather that he was identifying with ‘the people of God’.

Cognitively speaking, Moses was not choosing to identify with a group that had low social status in Mercy thought but rather with a group that was connected with God in Teacher thought. Again one sees the transition from a Mercy focus to a Teacher focus. For instance, I started to become publicly associated with Christianity as well as begin to analyze books of the Bible in 2014, when Angelina Van Dyke and I presented ‘A Cognitive Meta-theory that Integrates TESOL and Christianity’ at the International Christian TESOL conference. My underlying purpose was not to become culturally associated with the MMNs of church and religion, but rather because Christian doctrine and theology preach fundamental concepts related to mental wholeness and a concept of God.

Going further, the word translated ‘endure ill-treatment with’ is only found once in the New Testament. It conveys the impression that the ill-treatment is not being received because of Moses himself but rather because Moses is being mentally associated with those who are receiving ill-treatment. Similarly, when one starts talking explicitly about God and a concept of God, then one will naturally become lumped together with those who preach about God.

The other option is to “enjoy the passing pleasures of sin”. The word translated pleasures is found only twice in the New Testament and does not refer to hedonism. Instead, it describes ‘the faculty or experience of enjoyment, especially a particular advantage or benefit’. The other occurrence is in 1 Timothy 6:17 where Paul instructs that one should fix one’s hope “on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy”. The word translated passing means ‘a limited time of opportunity that only lasts for a while’. And the word used for sin is not evil or baseness but rather ‘missing the mark’. Putting this together, the secular mindset misses the mark because it is only temporarily capable of experiencing enjoyment.

Speaking from personal experience, it has become increasingly obvious that secular self-seeking rational thought is not self-sustaining. Looking at just one aspect, secular society talks incessantly about improving and enjoying self, but it refuses to pursue the path of deep personal transformation that makes it possible to improve and enjoy self over the long-term. (This attitude is gradually starting to shift.) Using a physical analogy, if I am living in undesirable location and want to move to a better place, then the first step is to gather facts about where I am and where I want to be and then compare the relative benefits of these two locations. Political correctness makes it impossible to perform this basic analysis by rejecting any factual analysis about personal location and insisting that all locations are equally desirable. In contrast, one of the basic doctrines of Christianity is that one must accept truth about personal identity, even when this truth makes one feel bad. (Paul says in Phil. 4:11 that “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” This is an important principle. But Paul says right before that one should focus upon what is true, honorable, right, pure, and lovely, implying that everything is not equally desirable. And Paul talks right after about receiving a gift from the Philippians, implying that needs should be recognized and addressed.)

Verse 25 describes a form of enlightened care for self that emerges when one becomes mentally capable of pursuing enjoyment in a lasting manner: “considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.” The enlightened selfishness is seen in the final phrase. Moses was ‘looking to the reward’. The word translated looking is only used once in the New Testament and means to ‘look away from to see what lies ahead’. Saying this cognitively, Moses is applying selective vision, choosing to look at certain things while choosing not to see other things. Thomas Kuhn said that a paradigm causes a person to see the physical world in a different way. Similarly, when ‘Moses’ turns into a general Teacher theory, then one will naturally notice certain aspects of physical reality while not being aware of other aspects.

Moses is looking to the reward, a word which means ‘compensation corresponding to a particular decision’. This word occurs three times, all in the book of Hebrews. The first occurrence was in Hebrews 2:2, where it described the cause-and-effect of natural law. The second occurrence was in Hebrews 10:35, where it talked about transcending existing concepts of ownership in order to be part of a new system of cause-and-effect.

Putting these two words together, Moses is focusing upon cause-and-effect while ignoring other factors. Saying this another way, Moses is believing that what ultimately matters is principles of cause-and-effect and not other factors such as personal status, academic prestige, marketing prowess, or audience share.

Looking at the rest of the verse, Moses is comparing the treasures of Egypt with the reproach of Christ. What is being compared is riches, a word that means ‘abundance, materially or spiritually’. This word is used to describe both the ‘deceitfulness of riches’ as well as the ‘riches of God’. Using cognitive language, Moses is using concrete technical thought to search for value. The type of value that Moses is seeking is greater value, the word meaning ‘large, great, in the widest sense’ that was used in verse 33. The word translated considering does not mean rational comparison but rather ‘to lead the way, going before as a chief’, which describes an emotional hierarchy. Putting this together, Moses is emotionally comparing two alternatives to see which one contains greater riches. Saying this another way, he is not just looking at the value of some item within some house but rather comparing two houses to see which one contains the most living space.

One option is the ‘treasures of Egypt’. The word translated treasures means ‘a storehouse for precious things’. Thus, secular thought is a storehouse containing many precious things. Applying this cognitively, the secular thinking of Egypt has developed many concepts and items that have significant value, but it is missing the underlying mindset that is required to enjoy these items in a lasting manner.

And that is precisely what is found in the second option, which is described as ‘the reproach of Christ’. Notice that the word Christ is being used, rather than Jesus, indicating a focus upon the abstract, universal side of incarnation. Using modern theological language, Moses is not focusing upon the life of Jesus-the-man as a parable or conversation, but rather upon the universal principles of Christ-the-God. The word reproach means ‘undeserved condemnation which does not hold up after the situation is correctly understood’. In other words, the universal principles of Christ are being verbally condemned within Teacher thought, but if one were to use rational thought, then it would become obvious that this condemnation is not justified. Applying this to today’s society, the very concept of theology—of Jesus as Christ—is being belittled. For instance, most religious thought focuses upon spiritual experience, ignoring theology. Similarly, academic thought is now willing to analyze spiritual experience, but regards theology as largely worthless. Going further, it appears that Christian thinkers are increasingly coming to the conclusion that one must look outside of Christianity for intellectual content. And the average Christian in the pews is theologically illiterate and pursues Christianity as a religious experience. But as NT Wright has pointed out, Christianity invented the very concept of theology.

Summarizing, the choice is between a storehouse of peripheral riches, and an integrated understanding of incarnation that is almost universally belittled. The storehouse may appear to have greater riches, because it is filled with a cornucopia of valuable concepts and items, but it is the integrated understanding of Christ that leads to greater riches, because it provides the integrated understanding of God and salvation that lies behind all of the peripheral riches. This conclusion becomes apparent if one ‘looks to the reward’—if one focuses upon principles of cause-and-effect. Given today’s social environment, that takes faith.

Moses Leaving Egypt 11:27

In verse 27, there is a transition from thinking about lasting value to acting upon this thinking, from a verbal declaration of independence to acting independently: “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.” The word translated left is an intensified form of ‘leave behind’ that means ‘leave behind, desert, abandon’. In verse 23, the parents of Moses did not fear the edict of the king. Here, Moses is not fearing the anger of the king, and the word anger means ‘an outburst of passion; actions emerging out of strong impulses’.

Looking at this cognitively, the underlying motivation of the system is being uncloaked. In verse 23, people were afraid of the Teacher structure of the regime, but the parents of Moses were motivated by the inner Teacher beauty of Moses. However, behind this cloak of societal Teacher structure lies core mental networks of Mercy status. In verses 24-26, Moses is first becoming verbally independent in Teacher thought, and then using this understanding as the basis for evaluating what the regime has produced in Mercy thought. In verse 27, this new mental landscape of value is motivating Moses to abandon the culture of Egypt. This transforms the conflict to the level of Mercy experiences, causing the core MMNs of the regime to respond with spasms of anger and self-preservation.

Applying this to the book of Hebrews, this transition may be describing the emergence of spiritual technology, mentioned at the beginning of Hebrews 2. This is historically true, because the type of life that the Israelites lived in the wilderness after they left Egypt can accurately be described as a combination of natural and supernatural. In fact, it is only in the Gospels that one finds such an extensive interaction between natural and supernatural happening again. This helps to explain the statement in Hebrews 3 that the Israelites missed an opportunity to enter God’s rest. God wanted to use the Israelites to start a society in Canaan that combined natural and supernatural. But the Israelites were mentally unwilling to let go of the physical ‘leeks and garlics of Egypt’.

Notice that it is the independent existence of Moses that provokes the anger of the king. There is no threat of invasion, and the king is not being attacked. Moses is simply choosing to live independently of the regime. A combination of independent natural and supernatural existence would trigger such a response, because the underlying, unspoken assumption of current society is that nothing exists except physical reality. The emergence of some sort of spiritual technology would challenge this unspoken assumption at its very core, leading to the uncontrollable emotional outburst described in verse 27.

In previous essays, I have been interpreting the three-stage process of leaving Egypt, following God in the wilderness, and entering the Promised Land as symbolic of the three stages of personal transformation. And I still think that this is a valid interpretation. But the book of Hebrews describes the same kind of three-stage process happening to society. The first stage of ‘leaving Egypt’ can be seen in Hebrews 2, where those who follow God start to leave the existing culture, triggered by the beginning of spiritual technology described in verse 4. The second step of ‘following God in the wilderness’ begins in Hebrews 4, with Jesus being described in verse 14 as the son of God who has passed through the heavens. Hebrews 6 then instructs others to follow the path that has been blazed by Jesus through the heavens. The third stage of ‘entering the promised land’ becomes evident by Hebrews 8, which describes the new covenant between God and man. Thus, I suggest that it would be more accurate to view Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as a description of personal transformation, and Egypt, the wilderness, and the Promised Land as a description of societal transformation. Both of these paths follow the same three primary steps of leaving Mercy, following Teacher, and then becoming reborn in Mercy.

Returning to Hebrews 11, Moses was able to follow this path because he was “seeing Him who is unseen” (v.27). More literally, he was ‘seeing with the mind the invisible to the physical eye’. (The pronoun ‘him’ is not explicitly stated but rather implied.) Looking at this cognitively, the regime is a system of external Teacher order that amplifies the emotional importance of physical people with Mercy status. In contrast, Moses is following an internal Mercy vision that is an expression of a Teacher understanding of God. The regime ultimately imposes itself through physical force, while the understanding of Moses is ultimately backed up by universal principles of cause-and-effect.

When the regime is threatened, it tries to preserve itself through outbursts of anger. In contrast, verse 27 says that Moses endured, a word only used once in the New Testament which means to ‘persevere, endure, be steadfast, patient’. In other words, when one is acting in a manner that is consistent with universal principles of cause-and-effect, one simply has to wait for these principles to impose themselves. That is because human effort can only temporarily override principles of universal cause-and-effect. For instance, it is possible to use physical strength to temporarily fight the law of gravity by lifting some object. But eventually one will get tired and the law of gravity will prevail.

Keeping the Passover 11:28

Verse 28 describes the requirement for surviving such a transition: “By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them.” Normal technology does not directly impact personal identity. One does not need a system of atonement to successfully use a new computer. In contrast, spiritual technology would be intimately related with personal identity, and one would require a system of atonement to successfully use spiritual technology. Saying this another way, electronic devices can only be fabricated in clean rooms with rigorous physical purity using machines that operate with incredible precision. But these electronic devices can be used by filthy, imprecise minds. This contrast between objective perfection and subjective imperfection does not bother people because everyone ‘knows’ that the universal laws of nature only apply to objects and physical processes. Spiritual technology would break down this division, because it would require minds that were clean and precise and not just rooms and machines. If people realized that the standards of excellence that are currently applied to the gadgets of technology must also be applied to the people who use technology, this would lead to massive feelings of guilt, and a system of atonement would be required to deal with this guilt.

Verse 28 begins by saying that Moses by faith did the Passover. (The word translated kept means ‘do or make’.) Thus, this is not just an article of faith that is being believed by Perceiver thought, but rather an action that is being carried out by Server thought. The verb ‘sprinkling’ gives the impression that some polite ceremony is being graciously performed, but this Greek word only occurs once in the New Testament and means ‘a pouring upon’. And unlike Esau, who sold his birthright for ‘the red, this red’, verse 28 does not refer to the fragmentation of personal MMNs in an oblique, objective manner. Instead, it blatantly describes a ‘pouring upon of blood’. This implies that people will not just experience vague tinglings of moral guilt, but rather massive emotions of utter personal inadequacy.

The word translated ‘keep’ is actually in the past tense and is more literally ‘has done the Passover’. This implies that it will be too late to start thinking about sin and atonement once spiritual technology appears. Instead, it will be essential that one is already following a personal path that includes atonement. As we shall see when looking at the Passover, this goes beyond verbally stating as an article of faith that ‘Jesus has died for my sins’ to acting as if I have become enrolled in God’s school of character development. This will require faith in two ways: Before one leaves Egypt, it will take faith to do the Passover because there is no deep emotional need for atonement. Today’s objective professionalism suppresses the very concept of sin. After one leaves Egypt, it will take faith to have confidence in the Passover, because the emotional need for atonement will be so great. The new requirement for personal transformation will lead to deep feelings of personal inadequacy.

Jesus is regarded in Christian circles as ‘the Passover lamb’ and Passover is seen as a prefiguring of the atoning death of Jesus. First, Jesus died during the feast of Passover. Therefore, there is a clear connection between the death of Jesus and the feast of Passover. Second, Incarnation is referred to in Revelation 5:6 as “a Lamb standing, as if slain”, in 5:11 as “the Lamb that was slain”, and in 13:8 as “the Lamb who has been slain”. Thus, there is a relationship between Incarnation and a sacrificial lamb. Third, in John 1:29, John the Baptist refers to Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Similarly, 1 Peter 1:18-19 talks about being redeemed with the blood of Christ, “as of a lamb unblemished and spotless”, stating a connection between incarnation, a sacrificial lamb, and redemption.

But the only explicit connection between Christ, sacrifice, and Passover is found in 1 Corinthians 5:7: “For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed”. And the context of this verse is not forgiveness for sin but rather the cognitive mechanism behind righteousness, which is letting go of cultural and personal MMNs so that one can be fully transformed by the TMN of a concept of God.

Looking at this in more detail, Hebrews 11:28 also does not mention atonement for sin. Instead, it says that Passover is being practiced “so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them” (v.28). Similarly, the original story of Passover in Exodus 12 emphasizes leaving Egypt and the death of the firstborn without mentioning atonement. The connection between the Passover and the death of the firstborn is well-known. The angel of death killed the firstborn of any household that did not have the blood of the sacrificial lamb applied to the doorway. But there is also a strong connection between Passover and leaving Egypt. Exodus 12:11 instructs the Israelites to celebrate the Passover in readiness for leaving Egypt: “You shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste – it is the Lord’s Passover.” And when the angel of death struck, then Exodus 12:30 says that Pharaoh immediately told Moses and Aaron to leave Egypt with the Israelites, while verse 33 adds that the Egyptians also sent them ‘out of the land in haste’.

Exodus 13 then describes the Passover as a universal principle that applies to all the firstborn. In verse 1, “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Sanctify to Me every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me.” Similarly, verse 11 adds that “When the Lord brings you to the land of the Canaanite, as He swore to you and to your fathers, and gives it to you, you shall devote to the Lord the first offspring of every womb, and the first offspring of every beast that you own; the males belong to the Lord.”

I suggest that one can use the principle of righteousness to explain what is happening. One becomes righteous by allowing behavior to be emotionally guided by the TMN of a concept of God rather than by personal or societal MMNs. Such an attitude of altruism is only required when entering some new context, because once an attitude of following the TMN of God has been established, it is then possible to add personal and societal MMNs. Using the language of Passover, it is only necessary to devote the first offspring to the Lord. Looking at this more personally, altruism replaces the normal attitude of seeking fame and fortune with an attitude of enjoyment and thankfulness to God.

The word translated destroyed is only found once in the New Testament, and it is related to destroy, which ‘does not imply extinction but rather emphasizes the consequent loss that goes with the complete undoing’. In addition, the verb is actually ‘destroying’ in the present tense and not ‘destroyed’ as translated by the NASB. As before, the pronoun ‘he’ is not explicitly mentioned in the original Greek, which means that the emphasis is upon the process of destroying the firstborn. The purpose of Passover is to prevent this process of destruction from ‘touching them’, and the word translated touch means to ‘manipulatively touch; especially to do violence, injure’.

Summarizing, the Passover lamb makes it mentally possible to leave personal and societal MMNs in order to follow the TMN of God. Historically speaking, the original Passover was immediately followed by the Exodus in which the Israelites left the personal and societal MMNs of Egypt in order to follow the TMN of God through a wilderness that was devoid of personal and societal MMNs. This same emphasis upon leaving MMNs in order to follow God can be found in 1 Corinthians 5:7, the only explicit New Testament reference to Christ and the Passover. Notice that the reference is to Christ and not to Jesus, indicating that the focus is upon the abstract side of incarnation. Viewing Jesus as the Passover lamb who atones for sins, in contrast, thinks in terms of personal and societal MMNs, because the focus is upon Jesus dying for my sins. This places the ‘earth’ of human sinfulness at the center of the universe with the ‘Sun’ of God revolving around the Earth in Ptolemaic fashion.

Thus, it makes sense for Jews to complain that Christians are distorting the message of Passover. Quoting from the linked website, “Each year, numerous missionary churches and Messianic congregations hijack the holiday of Passover by claiming that it proclaims a Christian message. The Christian bible compares Jesus to the Paschal lamb (John 1:29) and insists that he died as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world (I Cor. 15:3, I John 2:2). In truth, this deceptive spin totally distorts the actual meaning of Passover. The exodus of the children of Israel from their long bondage in Egypt 3300 years ago was preceded by ten awesome plagues that God visited upon our oppressors. The last of these plagues was the slaying of the Egyptian first born. God instructed the Israelites to place the blood of a lamb on their doorposts and lintels of their houses. The Angel of Death passed over the houses marked in this way as it went about smiting the Egyptian first born.”

But forgiveness of sins is actually only a byproduct of the Christian doctrine of atonement. The person who ‘asks Jesus into his heart’ becomes justified—or declared righteous—by God. And a person can only be declared righteous by God because justification is followed by sanctification—the verbal statement of being declared righteous by God is followed by the process of learning to follow a concept of God in Teacher thought. Using the analogy of a school, one becomes a Christian by enrolling in God’s school of character development. When one enrolls, then one is justified by acquiring the official status of ‘school student’ in Teacher thought. This is then followed by the process of sanctification in which one takes and passes classes in order to become a righteous person who is guided by Teacher understanding. Looking at this another way, the Greek word translated forgive means to ‘send away, release, remit, forgive’. A sin truly becomes ‘sent away’ or ‘released’ when a person is sanctified, because then the sin will not come back. Thus, God, looking from the timeless perspective of Teacher thought, can declare a person righteous if that person is following a process of personal transformation that will lead to personal righteousness.

The Limitations of Moses

Looking now at the very big picture, Moses has traditionally been regarded as the giver of the Jewish law, which describes what Moses ended up doing historically. But I suggest that this is because the Israelites did not mentally leave Egypt. Their physical bodies may have left the physical land of Egypt, but their hearts clung to the Mercy experiences and idolatry of Egypt. This is made clear in Exodus 32:1, when Moses is on Mount Sinai receiving the law from God: “Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’” Notice how they are thinking in terms of Egypt with its godlike rulers. There is no mention of being brought to some goal by God. Instead, they talk about being taken out of the land of Egypt by Moses the man. And when Moses-the-replacement-for-Pharaoh spends too much time on the mountain, they decide that they will create another god in their own image, which they do by building and worshiping a golden calf.

A few verses later, God tells Moses that “‘the Israelites have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”’ The Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.’” (Exodus 32:8-10). God’s focus is upon righteousness—acting in obedience to the words of God, because he says that the Israelites have ‘turned aside from the way which I commanded them’. The Israelites, in contrast, are focusing upon the MMNs of Egypt, because they are using worship to emotionally convince themselves that the idol of a molten calf brought them out of Egypt.

God’s response is to declare that he wants to start again with Moses: “Let me alone… that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation”. This is a significant statement, because the entire chapter of Deuteronomy 9 repeats this promise as well as explaining the context. However, God could only perform this through Moses if Moses was a willing participant, and as Moses pointed out, starting again with Moses would have meant destroying an entire group of people whom the surrounding nations regarded as The People of God.

Would God actually have wiped out all the Israelites and started again with Moses as an individual? There is no way of knowing. The bottom line is that Moses did not exhibit the faith of Abraham. Abraham obeyed God’s Word in Teacher thought even if it meant sacrificing to God the MMN of Isaac, God’s promised person. Moses, in contrast, was not willing to follow God’s word in Teacher thought if it meant sacrificing to God the MMN of Israel, God’s promised group of people. It is possible that God was merely testing Moses the way he had previously tested Abraham. Whether this is the case or not, what matters is that Moses failed the test.

The historical result of Moses’ refusal is that Judaism turned primarily into the human righteousness of physically following the laws of Moses as a Jewish nation. Saying this more bluntly, most Jews still have not mentally completely left Egypt, because they are still stretching forward from the Mercy idolatry of tribalism to the Teacher understanding of a monotheistic God, and they focus upon the Jewish heroes who have delivered them out of persecution while declaring the God who is actually leading them to be an incomprehensible mystery.

The response of Moses to God indicates that Moses also had mixed motives. Even though he is standing in the presence of God, his emotional focus is upon the tribe of Israel and the land of Egypt, because his first words are “O Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?” (Exodus 32:11). If the commandments from God had formed a TMN within the mind of Moses, then Moses would instinctively know why God’s anger was burning against his people. Instead, even though Moses is literally talking to God, he is more concerned about what the Egyptians will say about God, telling us that he is being mentally guided by mental networks of Egyptian power and status: “Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent he brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’?” (v.12) Moses then finishes his appeal to God by restating the promise of many descendants that God made, while glossing over the path of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel that made this promise possible: “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants to whom you swore by yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever’” (v.13). Given such a response from Moses, God has no choice but to continue working through the Israelites, because Moses is mentally incapable of handling the idea of starting again from scratch. One could say that Moses was trying to carry out his job of being a leader to the Israelites, but what was Moses’ real job? Was it leading the Israelites physically to the land of Canaan, or was it leading the Israelites cognitively and spiritually into the Rest of a relationship with God as described in Hebrews 4?

When Moses reviews this incident in Deuteronomy 9, it is crystal clear that God’s message of righteousness has been reduced to forgiveness of sins. Moses says three times, in verses 4, 5, and 6, that God is not sending the Israelites into the promised land because they are righteous. And Moses tells in verses 18 and 25 of two times that he prayed to God for forty days and nights that God would not destroy the Israelites.

Moses also explains the general Teacher theories that drove his thinking. His first theory is that God is a consuming fire who destroys enemies: “Know therefore today that it is the Lord your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you” (v.3). Similarly, in verse 8, Moses says that “the Lord was so angry with you that he would have destroyed you.” And in verse 19, Moses says, “I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the Lord was wrathful against you in order to destroy you.”

Moses’ second theory is that the Israelites are always rebellious. In verse 6, Moses tells the Israelites that “you are a stubborn people.” In verse 24, Moses states this as a universal Teacher generalization: “You have been rebellious against the Lord from the day I knew you”. And in verse 27, Moses asks God, “Do not look at the stubbornness of this people or at their wickedness or their sin.”

I am not suggesting that Moses was incorrect. God is a consuming fire, the Israelites were consistently rebellious, and one needs to pray to God for forgiveness of sins. But what should be the primary theory within Teacher thought that drives behavior? For Moses, it was the negative message of the universality of human rebellion and God’s hatred of sin, instead of the positive message of righteousness—the universality of God’s ways. Using the analogy of a school, what should be the primary motivation for teachers? Should they be driven primarily by hatred of ignorance? Should they conclude that ‘All students are stupid’? These are valid conclusions. The purpose of a school is to eliminate ignorance. Any teacher who does not know more than the students will be replaced by one who does. But that should not be the primary motivation for teachers. Instead, education needs to be driven ultimately by a love of knowledge and understanding—the joy of learning and sharing the righteousness of ‘how things work’.

If one were to translate Moses’ speech in Deuteronomy 9 into the language of school, then Moses would be telling the graduating class something like: “You are not graduating because of what you have learned, for you are rotten students. You have always been terrible students. But you will be going out to replace people who are even worse. However, I want you to know that twice when the administration wanted to kick you all out, I begged each time for over a month that you would be permitted to stay in school. I told the administration that the school would acquire a bad reputation if you were all expelled.”

Looking at this in terms of dueling mental networks, two sets of core mental networks are colliding within the mind of Moses. One is the TMN of God, based in the verbal instructions of Torah that Moses received from God. The other is the MMNs of Hebrew tribal identity. For Moses, the ultimate bottom line was preserving the MMNs of the Jewish people, even if this meant violating and confronting the TMN of God. And one of Moses’ primary arguments to God was the opinions of the Egyptians, telling us that they had greater emotional status in his mind than the emotional status given to God. Saying this another way, Moses may have physically left the house of Pharaoh, but Pharaoh still lived as a potent mental network within the mind of Moses. Using an analogy, I suggest that Moses had a geocentric view of the world. The center of his mental universe was the sinful world of his Jewish nation. He may have believed that the ‘Sun’ of God inhabited the perfect realm of the celestial spheres, but this sun still revolved around the sinful earth and not the other way around.

This may sound like a harsh condemnation of Moses, but it is consistent with the reason that God gives for preventing Moses from entering the Promised Land. In Numbers 20, there is no water and the people complain again about God taking them out of the fertile land of Egypt. Verses 8-12 describe what happens next. God says to Moses, “‘Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.’ So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him; and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, ‘Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?’ Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.’”

Summarizing, God tells Moses to speak to the rock—to use the words of Teacher thought to deal with the situation. But instead of speaking to the rock, Moses speaks to the Israelites and calls them rebels. Thus, instead of being guided in Teacher thought by his TMN of God, Moses’ words are being determined by the general Teacher theory that ‘The Israelites are always rebels’. He then uses personal force to solve the problem by hitting the rock twice with his rod for personal authority. And he backs this up verbally by forgetting about God and saying “Shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?”

God’s responds by addressing the underlying reasons why Moses lost his temper and hit the rock. First, God tells Moses that “you have not believed Me”. In cognitive language, Moses did not build upon the TMN of God. Second, God says that Moses did not “treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel”. Saying this cognitively, when the TMN of God’s instruction came into contact with the MMNs of Jewish tribal identity, Moses did not honor the TMN of God in the presence of his tribal MMNs. Therefore, God will not allow Moses to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. That is because a mindset that honors tribal MMNs above the TMN of God is incapable of entering God’s Promised Land.

Something similar happens in Numbers 13-14, when the twelve spies are sent into Canaan in order to check out the land. Moses sends the spies into the land, but when the spies return and say that the inhabitants of the land are too strong, then it is Caleb who speaks up in front of Moses and the people in Numbers 13:30 and says that they should go into the Promised Land because they will overcome. And when all of the Israelites grumble against Moses and Aaron and decide to appoint a leader who will take them back to Egypt, then Joshua and Caleb speak to the Israelites in Numbers 14:6-9 and tell them that God will give them the victory.

God then steps in and says to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they” (v.11-12). Notice that God is saying that he can produce better results if he starts again with Moses. But Moses responds in typical fashion. First, he worries about what the Egyptians and the other nations will say, indicating that their opinions carry greater emotional weight within his mind than God’s promise. Second, he takes three verses (v.17-19) to focus upon God’s forgiveness of human sin. Thus, a Teacher focus upon following God in righteousness becomes reduced again to a Mercy focus upon God forgiving human sin.

I am not suggesting that Moses was a failure. He succeeded in leading the Israelites out of the land of Egypt by taking many steps of great faith in obedience to God. But he was unable to make the mental transition from leaving the MMNs of Egypt to following the TMN of God and entering the MMNs of the Promised Land.

I am also not suggesting that it was wrong for Moses to pray to God on behalf of the people. But when Moses interceded for the people, he asked God to preserve the people at the cost of violating divine righteousness. In other words, Moses illustrates the problem mentioned at the beginning of Hebrews 5 of having a human high priest. On the one hand, a human high priest can ‘deal gently with the ignorant and misguided’, but on the other hand, a human high priest will have a natural tendency to preserve humanity at the cost of divine righteousness. Using Christian language, God’s plan of bringing divine righteousness to humanity will be reduced to God forgiving humans who remain trapped in unrighteousness. Saying this another way, an integrated divine plan of justification followed by sanctification will be reduced to a divine verbal pronouncement of justification. God’s solution in Hebrews 5 is not to impose divine righteousness upon humanity at the expense of human suffering, but rather to find a high priest who can empathize with human suffering while at the same time continuing to preserve divine righteousness.

Looking again at the bigger picture, Moses succeeded in saving the lives of his fellow Israelites from the judgment of God. But by doing so he sent Judaism along a trajectory that delayed the righteousness of God for millennia and led to unnecessary death and suffering for possibly billions of people.

Examining this situation from a cognitive perspective also throws light on the idea of God changing his mind. God did not change his mind about destroying Israel because he was convinced by Moses’ arguments and compelled by the emotional depths of Moses’ pleading. Instead, God changed his mind because the response of Moses revealed the core mental networks of Moses, and God could not build upon those core mental networks and start again. Would God actually have wiped out all the Israelites and started again with Moses as an individual? Or was he just testing Moses as he had previously tested Abraham? There is no way of knowing.

Let us now move forward in time to the coming of Jesus as described in the Gospels. God’s initial plan for the Messiah is summarized in Daniel’s prophecy of the 70 weeks: “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks” Daniel 9:24-25.

God promises that the Messiah will bring about four primary results: 1) finish the transgression; 2) make an end of sin; 3) make atonement for iniquity; 4) bring in everlasting righteousness. Jesus was able to perform the third result of making atonement for iniquity. But transgression has not been finished, sin has not come to an end, and everlasting righteousness has not been brought in. My thesis is that from God’s perspective, Jesus-the-man accomplished everything that was necessary to bring about these four results. But because Jews and Greeks did not discover science in the city of Alexandria, Jesus was unable to achieve the other three results with humanity. (Ancient Sumeria and Egypt made some scientific discoveries, but what emerged at Alexandria was essentially a modern university including such luminaries as Archimedes the father of engineering, Euclid the father of geometry, Hipparchus the founder of trigonometry, Hero the father of mechanics, and Herophilus the founder of the scientific method. Thus, a scientific revolution started, but it was stillborn.) Science teaches that there is a fundamental relationship between the Teacher words of mathematics and the Server sequences of natural processes—the fundamental basis for righteousness. Because the righteous mindset of science had not been discovered, Jesus could not ‘bring in everlasting righteousness’. Jesus also could not ‘finish the transgression’ because the people had not constructed the TMN of an understanding of universal natural law that could be followed instead of MMNs of tribalism and worship of authority. And Jesus could not make an end of sin because science-based technology had not created a new set of experiential MMNs that could replace existing sinful MMNs. Saying this more generally, scientific thought would have given Jesus a mental starting point for teaching the Jewish people about the kingdom of God. Because this starting point did not exist, Jesus was limited to teaching through the analogies of parables.

Why did the Jews fail in discovering science? I suggest that part of the blame can be laid at the feet of Moses, who sent Israel on a historical path that minimized the righteousness of God at the expense of preserving MMNs of Jewish tribal identity.

The end result is that Jesus’ message of bringing God’s righteousness to mankind was reduced to a message of God forgiving human sins and verbally declaring humans to be righteous.

Summarizing this discussion, the three-stage process of personal transformation appears to be a universal process that applies both to the individual and to the group. This is backed up by God—The Universal Being—calling himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The path of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob emphasizes following this process as an individual, because it describes three individuals who symbolically followed this path. Similarly, the path of Egypt, wilderness, Promised Land emphasizes following this process as a group, because it describes a group of people symbolically following this path. I use the word ‘symbolic’ because people living during that time lacked the internal understanding required to follow the path of personal transformation intelligently, because they lived in a tribal, non-scientific society. But it was still possible to follow a physical, symbolic version of this path, and following this path physically would have provided at least a partial foundation for God to begin interacting with humanity in a new manner, which Hebrews describes as ‘entering God’s rest’. The Jews were unable to enter this rest partially because of their own rebellion, and partially because of Moses’ incomplete personal transformation.

Similarly, I suggest that if Jewish and Greek thinkers had discovered scientific thought in Alexandria before the time of Christ, then it would have been possible for Jesus to lead people into God’s rest. But because scientific thought did not emerge, Jesus had to perform much of his task in a symbolic manner, as described in the essays on the Gospel of John.

That brings us to the present time. The idea of righteousness has now become entrenched within modern society as a result of science and technology. That is because technology uses a Teacher understanding of the universal laws of nature to design and build gadgets and machines that perform Server actions. Using Teacher understanding to guide Server action is, by definition, righteousness. But this mindset of righteousness is limited to the objective realm of physical gadgets. Thus, our things are righteous while we remain immature. The idea of spiritual technology sounds bizarre because the general consensus is that righteousness is limited to things and has nothing to do with people. But if the same righteous God who created the natural world also created people, then it is actually unnatural for righteousness to be limited to things, and it is natural for righteousness to include both things and people. The advent of spiritual technology would extend righteousness beyond things to include people.

Our discussion of righteousness began by looking at the death and redemption of the firstborn, which is cognitively necessary for becoming righteous. Saying this another way, one becomes righteous by acting altruistically—obeying the TMN of God rather than MMNs of men. Going further, one establishes a mindset of righteousness by acting altruistically with one’s firstborn. We just saw that when Moses was faced with this choice, he ultimately clung to human MMNs rather than the TMN of God.

I have suggested that the beginning of Hebrews 2 describes the unveiling of spiritual technology. This will have to be accompanied by some sort of process that enforces righteousness, similar to the way that when the Israelites left Egypt to follow God in the wilderness, this was accompanied by the death of the firstborn. This might happen passively with spiritual technology only being accessible to individuals and organizations that started with altruism, or there might also be an active element, with individuals and organizations that did not start with altruism experiencing some sort of negative spiritual impact.

In Exodus 12:33, the Egyptians expelled the Israelites with haste “for they said, ‘we will all be dead’”. Thus, my best guess is that spiritual technology would initially be accessible throughout society and then be immediately rejected by the segments of society that are not based in righteousness or altruism. I suggest this because God is a universal being who acts universally, who “causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45).

This means that spiritual technology would be rejected by most large institutions, governments, and corporations, because they typically achieve and maintain their domination through predatory practices. Instead of submitting to righteousness in Teacher thought, they manipulate general rules in Teacher thought in order to favor insiders and exclude newcomers. Exodus 12:35-36 adds that the Israelites requested—and received—physical wealth from the Egyptians before they left. This implies that groups and individuals who had acted in a predatory manner would have to pay a significant price in order to break free of the requirements of spiritual technology. The end result would be a splitting of society into righteous individuals and groups who start to practice spiritual technology, and unrighteous individuals and groups who continue to use normal technology because they dare not face the new requirement of righteousness. Exodus 12:38 says that “a mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock”. This suggests that participation in spiritual technology would not be limited to ‘evangelical Christians’. Instead, what would matter is the doing of Passover, which means treating atonement as a gateway to God’s school of righteousness, and not just as a doctrine to be believed or a ritual to be performed.

The Red Sea 11:29

Verse 29 describes the actual transition into a new kind of personal existence: “By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.”

A lot of discussion has occurred over the years about the nature and location of this crossing. I find myself leaning in the direction of the theory that the actual crossing was across the Gulf of Aqaba into Saudi Arabia and that the Israelites spent most of their time wandering through the wilderness of what is now Saudi Arabia. The apostle Paul mentions ‘Mount Sinai in Arabia’ in Galatians 4:25, and there is a mountain in Saudi Arabia that is known locally as ‘Moses’ Mountain’. Unfortunately, the country of Saudi Arabia is religiously controlled by a virulent strain of Islam known as Wahhabism, and the Western researcher who attempted to visit this mountain was accused of being an Israeli spy and then imprisoned for two and a half months. More generally, Wahhabism frowns on all religious historical sites for fear of committing idolatry, and Saudi Arabia has destroyed 98% of its own historical and religious sites since 1985. For instance, the house of Mohammed’s first wife in Mecca was destroyed in order to build public toilets, and the house of Islam’s first caliph has been replaced by a Hilton hotel. Thus, Saudi Arabia has managed to transform a religious pilgrimage to the historical city of Mecca into a Muslim version of visiting the artificial, commercialized ‘world’ of Disneyland.

The exact physical location may be uncertain, and the original Hebrew word may be translated as either ‘Red Sea’ or ‘Sea of Reeds’, but the Greek word that is used in Hebrews 11 means ‘red’, and our cognitive analysis is being guided by the Greek text. The color red was discussed a few verses earlier when looking at Esau and his call for ‘the red, this red’, which caused him to be nicknamed Edom. A sea represents the various cultural MMNs of society. Therefore, a Red Sea would symbolize applying the factual thinking of science to society at large. This interpretation is backed up by the rest of the phrase, which says that ‘they passed through the Red Sea as though through dry land’. Land represents rational thought with its solid Perceiver facts and Server sequences. When used as a noun, the word translated dry means ‘dry land’. In Hebrews 11, the adjective ‘dry’ is explicitly added to the noun ‘dry land’, emphasizing the fact that one is dealing with land and not water.

Interpreting this cognitively, cultural MMNs are being analyzed using the kind of rational thinking that is applied by science; the sea of cultural experiences is being traversed as if it is dry land. Applying this to personal experience, I have discovered over the years that it is possible to use the theory of mental symmetry to rationally analyze cultural, religious, and personal MMNs, the way that we are attempting to do in this essay on the book of Hebrews. But this kind of analysis requires an attitude of idealism in which one continually lets go of personal reward in Mercy thought in order to ‘devote one’s firstborn to God’.

The rest of verse 29 describes what happens if one attempts to analyze the subjective while avoiding Passover: “the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned”. More literally, when the Egyptians made ‘a trial, experiment, attempt’ by ‘actively laying hold of to take or receive’, they were ‘swallowed’. The word translated drowned occurs seven times the New Testament, but ‘drowned’ is an inaccurate translation guided by a literal interpretation, because the original Greek word actually means ‘drink down, swallow, devour, destroy, consume’ and is translated as some form of ‘swallow up’ in the other six occurrences. As usual, I suggest that the word ‘swallow’ makes cognitive sense. When the secular thinking of Egypt actively attempts to analyze subjective culture and religion in a rational fashion, it will be swallowed up as a liquid. This principle has become increasingly apparent in present society. The subjective realm used to be ruled by absolute truth—Perceiver beliefs based in MMNs of traditional authority. But scientific thought wanted to replace the blind faith of absolute truth with the critical thinking of rational thought. This is a noble aim, but if science does not provide a replacement for subjective thought, then it will experience an emotional backlash, which will use emotional pressure to overwhelm rational thought in order to preserve cultural and personal MMNs. Using biblical symbolism, the chariots of Egypt will be swallowed up by the sea. Using modern language, rational thought will be overwhelmed by political correctness and/or religious fervor. Presumably, something similar but even stronger would happen if spiritual technology emerged and objective scientific thought attempted to replicate the results. As it says in Hebrews 2:16, “For assuredly he does not give help to angels, but he gives help to the descendent of Abraham.”

The Walls of Jericho 11:30

Verse 30 moves forward from leaving Egypt to entering the Promised Land: “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.” Jericho was the first city that was attacked in Canaan after crossing the Jordan River. The name Jericho means either ‘city of the moon’ or ‘place of fragrance’. Both of these names are symbolically appropriate. I have suggested that entering the Promised Land represents the third stage of personal transformation, in which personal identity that is guided by Teacher understanding becomes reborn within Mercy thought. Jacob represents this transition from theory to practice at a personal level, while entering the Promised Land represents this transition at a social level. The consumer society, which began in about the 1880s, provides a partial illustration of this, because it was during this period that technology which was based in the Teacher understanding of science started to transform normal human life within Mercy thought.

The sun represents a general theory in Teacher thought that illuminates the entire landscape of rational thought. The moon also provides some universal illumination, but it is a reflected light. Similarly, one can see the light of a general Teacher understanding indirectly in the structure of organized human society. Thus, a ‘city of the moon’ would represent this indirect Teacher light of human social structure. And social structure provides an emotional fragrance for Teacher thought, because it feels good in Teacher thought to be part of some organized activity. When societal transformation reaches the third stage of applying a general Teacher understanding, then these two forms of general Teacher theory will come into conflict. In simple terms, what takes precedence, the organization of society, or the understanding of how things work? Phrasing this in the language of today’s consumer society, what is ultimately in charge, human legislation and regulations, or the laws of science? For instance, I have learned that it is only possible to continue doing research on the mind if one applies what one discovers. Therefore, I have consistently attempted to allow my personal behavior to be guided by the theory of mental symmetry. One of the emotional byproducts is that it feels like an emotional straitjacket whenever I have to navigate the various procedures of modern civilized bureaucracy. Using symbolic language, I find that the city of the moon with its fragrance stands in the way of being guided by the sun of understanding.

The original story of the walls of Jericho can be found in Joshua 5-6. It begins with establishing the correct emotional priorities within the mind of Joshua: “Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, ‘Are you for us or for our adversaries?’ He said, ‘No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, ‘What has my lord to say to his servant?’ The captain of the Lord’s host said to Joshua, ‘Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so” (Joshua 5:13-15). When Joshua encounters a man with a sword, he initially applies Mercy-based tribalistic thinking by asking ‘Are you for us or for our adversaries?’ The man replies that Joshua is using the wrong type of thinking, because he comes from God in Teacher thought. Joshua responds by focusing upon words in Teacher thought, asking ‘What has my lord to say to his servant?’ The man answers by telling Joshua to take off his sandals because this place is holy. Using cognitive language, Joshua needs to recognize that his MMNs of personal experience are being governed by the TMN of God. Notice the contrast between Joshua’s response and Moses’ response. Instead of praying that God will overlook tribal MMNs that violate the TMN of God, Joshua recognizes that the holiness of God in Teacher thought takes precedence over tribal MMNs.

Joshua 6 opens by saying that “Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in” (v.1). Cognitively speaking, the ‘city of the moon’ of human societal organization will instinctively be driven by Teacher emotion to protect its organizational structure when faced with the TMN of a genuine understanding.

Instead of attacking the city, God instructs Joshua and his soldiers to march around the city for seven days, accompanied by the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant. Hebrews 11:30 emphasizes this part of the story, saying that Jericho ‘had been encircled for seven days’.

Looking at this more generally, the bureaucracy of civilization may be stifling but it also serves the essential function of bringing order to human interaction and limiting the power of the strong over the weak. Life without organized government would turn into a jungle of animal survival. Saying this another way, government structure uses Teacher thought to improve personal Mercy experiences. It may accomplish this task incompletely, but the alternative would be much worse. The Ark of the Covenant provides a similar function, making it possible for sinful Mercy-based humans to interact with a holy God who is based in Teacher universality.

I mentioned previously in this essay that the same Greek word is used both for the Ark of the Covenant and for Noah’s Ark. Here we see the Ark of the Covenant being treated like a ship, because Joshua’s army is going on a journey with the Ark of the Covenant in its midst. In other words, the Ark of the Covenant fulfills the dual purpose of being a ‘spacesuit’ for God and a journey for humans. Using the analogy of a school, the Ark of the Covenant allows God to view humans as ‘students in the school of salvation’ rather than as ignorant sinners. This provides an emotional ‘spacesuit’ for God in Teacher thought. But humans view the same school as a journey, with one class following another. This is not a journey in concrete thought that leads to some new destination in Mercy thought, but it still involves Server actions and Server processes. Using the school analogy, even though a student completes classes and does homework, the goal of studying in a school is not to build something or go somewhere, but rather to become personally transformed as a result of gaining understanding. Similarly, encircling the wall with the Ark of the Covenant did not go anywhere because the journey ended up back at the starting place, but it still required the Server action of walking along a path, and it resulted in the transformation of the walls falling down.

The general principle being illustrated is that human social organization should not be viewed as an enemy of God to be blinded by the light of legitimate Teacher understanding or as a cultural foe in Mercy thought that needs to be personally attacked. Instead, social organization needs to be encircled by a better way of interacting between God and man. Using today’s consumer society as a partial illustration, government bureaucracy needs to be surrounded by education. Instead of regulating people, people need to be sent to school. This principle already functions to some extent in present society, because one can become free of some government bureaucracy by going to school. A licensed professional, such as a medical doctor, is permitted to perform tasks that are forbidden to the average citizen.

Today’s educational system has only limited benefits because Teacher understanding does not rule over personal and subjective MMNs (and political correctness is eliminating many of the limited benefits that education does have by reinforcing childish and cultural MMNs). Therefore, government legislation is still needed to place restrictions upon the expression of personal and subjective MMNs, and government is still needed to regulate the process of becoming a licensed professional. However, if a Teacher understanding of God were to apply over all of existence—if all life were to be gathered and placed within Noah’s Ark (the other Ark)—then it would be possible for this larger Ark of the Covenant to become a replacement for human social organization. Going further, if technology became spiritual technology, then personal transformation would become more important than official accreditation. One can see this to some extent in the field of music because what really matters is not the musical school that one has attended but rather one’s musical ability. Saying this more bluntly, I suggest that liberalism is correct in thinking that education can provide a solution to the ills of society, but liberalism is utterly mistaken when it thinks that today’s godless, amoral, politically correct, educational system is capable of performing this task.

Hebrews 11:30 says that Jericho was encircled for seven days, and a day represents a period of time that is lit by some general understanding in Teacher thought. The implication is that the process of encircling human organization with the Ark of the Covenant would involve several paradigm shifts, in which the Teacher understanding of society would go through a series of shifts as a result of the interaction between God’s school of character development and human social organization. Western society also provides a partial illustration of this principle, because government structure has shifted several times as a result of social initiatives begun by members of the Christian church, especially in areas such as education, healthcare, prison reform, and caring for the aged.

This does not mean that the sun of an understanding of God can continue to coexist with a ‘city of the moon’ of human organizational structure. Instead, Joshua declares that “The city shall be under the ban, it and all that it is in it belongs to the Lord” (Joshua 6:17), and verse 21 says that “They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.” Looking at this cognitively, all existing mental networks of social organization ultimately need to be torn apart and reintegrated under the TMN of a concept of God. Going further, Joshua swears in verse 26 that the city should not be rebuilt.

Thus, I suggest that Communism is correct in proclaiming that the state needs to ‘wither away’, but it is utterly mistaken in thinking that the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ provides a superior alternative. Similarly, I suggest that Donald Trump and other neoconservatives are correct in thinking that the state needs to be downsized, but they too are utterly mistaken in thinking that corporations should rule instead. In both cases, the fallacy lies in replacing one ‘city of the moon’ with another. Communism replaced the Teacher structure of existing government with the Teacher structure of a central plan, implemented by using MMNs of force to run roughshod over personal identity. Similarly, Trumpism is replacing existing government with the Teacher structure of multinational corporations, which also tends naturally to run roughshod over MMNs of personal identity.

Looking at the destruction of Jericho, one standard response is to ask how a ‘God of love’ could order an entire city to be slaughtered. Our discussion of Moses demonstrates what happens when a ‘God of mercy and compassion’ is permitted to triumph over a ‘God of righteousness’. A few people in the present will be saved at the cost of damning countless individuals in the future—and ‘damning’ is not too strong a word. And any salvation that happens in the present will only last for a few years because everyone will eventually die, while the long-term damnation will extend beyond the grave because people will be prevented from developing the type of mindset that is required to survive eternity. And the book of Hebrews describes the process by which God will eventually bring lasting justice to creation, making right the injustices that occurred during mortal life on physical earth.

This does not mean that the problem of human suffering should be ignored or minimized. One of my primary goals in developing the theory of mental symmetry is to explore whether it is possible for God to carry out his eternal plan of salvation in a manner that is less painful for humanity. I have come to the conclusion that it is possible, but only to the extent that individual humans pay the personal price of becoming righteous and then ‘stand in the gap’, as exemplified by the red heifer, or by Mary’s box of perfume. ‘Standing in the gap’ corresponds to the second stage of personal transformation, and the goal of ‘standing in the gap’ is to arrive faster and less painfully to the third stage of rebirth.

Rahab 11:31

The final example of faith is provided by ‘Rahab the harlot’, who is explicitly called a prostitute in verse 31. The word ‘harlot’ is used 12 times in the New Testament, four times to refer to the ‘harlot of Babylon’ in Revelation 17. A harlot is someone who sells subjective identity in order to gain peripheral wealth. Cognitively speaking, a ‘city of the moon’ will naturally turn into a Babylon that practices prostitution. That is because a ‘city of the moon’ is acquiring its Teacher understanding of structure indirectly through the physical and social environment. People are not being motivated internally by the ‘sun’ of an integrated understanding but rather externally by the ‘moon’ of an integrated environment. This will lead to a concept of value that is limited to the external environment which does not extend to the internal realm. That, by definition, describes a mindset of prostitution.

A mindset of prostitution also develops naturally within matter-over-mind. First, living in a physical body within the physical universe will use the threat of injury or death to impose common sense upon the mind, but this common sense will be limited to the objective, physical world. Second, social interaction will ensure that the subjective realm is governed by MMNs of social status and not by common sense. Third, people can only judge what they see, and when matter is over mind, then people have no way of seeing what lies within peoples’ minds. Therefore, social structure will ensure that words and behavior are law-abiding while leaving internal motivation lawless. The end result is that the average person will use rational thought to determine the value of goods and services while thinking that the subjective is ruled by personal and societal opinion. This juxtaposition will lead to a society characterized by mental prostitution, in which people prostitute personal identity in order to acquire objective wealth. The development of science and technology will accentuate this attitude of mental prostitution by increasing the rational thought that is applied to the physical realm while questioning social regulations that keep the subjective in check.

When a rational Teacher understanding of God starts to impact society, as symbolized by the Israelites entering the Promised Land, then the inadequate MMNs that drive behavior need to be dismantled, and the objective knowledge and wealth that was acquired needs to be submitted to a TMN of God. This process can be seen in Joshua 6, because on the one hand, “they utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and oxen, sheep and donkey” (v.21), while on the other hand, “only the silver and gold, and articles of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord” (v.21).

Because subjective feelings have become so prostituted, it is essential to be guided by a TMN of God at this initial stage and not be motivated by MMNs of personal desire. Similarly, Joshua warns his people in verse 18 to “keep yourselves from the things under the ban, so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban, and make the camp of Israel accursed and bring trouble on it.” And when Achan takes and hides some forbidden goods in Joshua 7, then Israel experiences defeat until the offending party is eliminated.

Wiping out all existing life within the city of Jericho may make symbolic sense, but it still describes a horrific massacre. However, I suggest that it is imperative to place human actions within the existing social climate. The examples of faith presented in Hebrews 11 make it clear that faith is not determined by where one is but rather by how far one goes beyond existing society. This principle tends to be forgotten in today’s politically correct environment, which retroactively judges everyone from the past by the standards of today.

Thus, I think that it is significant that the final example of faith is given by Rahab the prostitute. The Bible does not condone prostitution. But Rahab is still celebrated as an example of faith because she chose to leave a career and society of prostitution in order to follow God. Looking at this symbolically, one of the reasons for circling Jericho with the Ark of the Covenant is to give the inhabitants of Jericho a chance to choose to follow God. Saying this cognitively, a mindset of prostitution combines objective expertise with subjective childishness. The Ark of the Covenant provides a mechanism for dealing with guilt that makes it emotionally possible to extend objective expertise into the realm of the subjective.

The original story of Rahab in Joshua 2 illustrates the type of thinking that tends to emerge when objective expertise is extended to the subjective. First, the concept of God that Rahab describes in verses 9-11 is more developed than the Israelite’ concept of God. She fears God and knows that God has given the land to Israel. In contrast, the Israelites listened to the bad report from the ten spies and did not believe that God would give them the victory. She has heard about how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea when they came out of Egypt, unlike the Israelites who kept blaming Moses for taking them out of Egypt. She recognizes that God utterly destroys existing powers, while the Israelites are still concerned about the opinions of human authorities. And she describes God as ‘God in heaven above and on earth beneath’, a more universal concept of God than the Israelites’ tribal concept of God.

There is a cognitive reason for this. A secular mindset uses rational thought to come up with general Teacher theories about the objective world. When this kind of thinking is extended to the subjective, then this leads naturally to a rational concept of God based in Teacher thought. A religious mindset, in contrast, learns absolute truth about God based in MMNs of religious authority. Therefore, it is natural for a religious concept of God to follow blind faith rather than rational thinking, and to focus upon MMNs of personal authority. Saying this another way, the religious believer tends to believe the right things for inadequate reasons, while the secular person develops the right kind of thinking but does not apply this thinking to matters of eternal significance.

Second, Rahab follows enlightened selfishness in verses 12-14. She saves the two spies from being captured so that she and her household can be saved. In other words, she is untroubled by the attitude of religious self-denial that typically characterizes the religious mindset. Instead of following God by denying self, she is sowing to the spirit in order to reap a personal reward. A mindset of prostitution seeks peripheral wealth while ignoring personal value. Rahab is going beyond this mindset by explicitly applying value and cause-and-effect to the personal realm: “Please swear to me by the Lord, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death” (v.12-13).

Rahab’s house is right on the wall, and the two spies escape Jericho by climbing down a rope through the window. In verse 18, they tell Rahab to tie a ‘cord of scarlet thread’ to the window and hang it out the window down the wall, which she does in verse 21 after they leave. As many commentators have pointed out, this scarlet thread is probably symbolic of forgiveness of sins. It is interesting that this thread extends beyond the walls of the city. Cognitively speaking, Rahab is using a knowledge of atonement to extend beyond the walls of objective thought in anticipation of the arrival of ‘the God in heaven above and on earth beneath’. This idea of extending beyond the walls can be seen in the name Rahab, which means ‘to grow wide or large’.

The description of Rahab in Hebrews 11:31 is short, but it reinforces a cognitive interpretation. The inhabitants of Jericho are described as ‘those who were disobedient’, which literally means ‘refuse to be persuaded’. This description does not make sense when applied literally to the inhabitants of Jericho, because Rahab was the one who disobeyed the King of Jericho. But it does make sense if one views entering the Promised Land symbolically as a general Teacher understanding of God being used to transform human society. A concept of God is based in a TMN of rational understanding does not extend itself through force but rather by the power of persuasion, and a ‘city of the moon’ that closes its gates to the invading Teacher understanding is literally refusing to be persuaded.

The word translated ‘perish along with’ is a strong verb that is only used once in the New Testament, which means to ‘violently, completely perish… experiencing a miserable end’. Looking at this literally, Rahab knew that the Israelites had wiped out kings and kingdoms, and she did not want to be part of this horrible fate. She did not contest this verdict by attempting to save Jericho, but she also did not limit her request for salvation to herself. Instead, she asked for salvation for her father’s household and was told that anyone who stayed within her house would be saved. The symbolic implication is that when a Teacher understanding of God begins to transform society, then salvation will extend to some aspects of existing society primarily at the level of specialization, because in the same way that the fundamental unit in Rahab’s time was the household and not the individual, so the fundamental unit in our time is the specialization and not the individual.

Looking further at the verb ‘violently and completely perish’, the fall of Jericho probably corresponds symbolically to the fall of Babylon described in Revelation 17-18, and this is also referred to as a sudden and calamitous event. Looking at this cognitively, these both occur at the end of a process of transformation. The Israelites have left the physical realm of Egypt in order to follow God in a manner that extends beyond the natural to include the supernatural. When the Israelites enter Canaan, then what is being applied to the real world is a way of life that follows God in Teacher thought both naturally and supernaturally. The development of natural science and technology has widened the gap between objective understanding and subjective stupidity. This gap can be ignored as long as the rational thinking of science and technology is limited to the objective. But following God in the wilderness would extend this rational thinking to the subjective and the spiritual. In the same way that primitive societies do not survive encounters with advanced civilizations, so the human organization of a ‘city of the moon’ would not survive an encounter with the new, spiritually transformed civilization of Israel entering the Promised Land. I strongly suspect that something like this was supposed to happen back in the time of Moses and Joshua, but both the Israelites and Moses were unable to let go mentally of the MMNs of Egypt.

Verse 31 says that Rahab “had welcomed the spies in peace”. The word spies is used once in the New Testament and means to ‘look down on someone with a hostile perspective’. Looking at this cognitively, walking around Jericho with the Ark of the Covenant is not just something objective that occurs at a distance. Instead, it means entering existing society in order to examine the various aspects. And the purpose of this examination is not to coexist peacefully with existing social structure, but rather to understand how the existing pieces of social structure can be placed under the TMN of a concept of God. For those who live within a city of the moon’, this will definitely be viewed as ‘looking down on someone with a hostile perspective’. Rahab does not seek out the spies. Instead, Joshua 2:1 says that the spies “came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab and lodged there.” In other words, the spies are taking the initiative by examining aspects of existing society, and Rahab is responding by welcoming the spies. One sees something similar in Joshua 6:5, because Joshua tells every man to go straight ahead when the walls of the city fall down flat. The implication is that the process of spying out the existing society of Jericho will involve many individuals examining topics related to their area of specialization in the light of a Teacher understanding of God.

The word translated welcomed is in the past tense and means ‘to receive in a welcoming and receptive manner’. Looking at this literally, Rahab is behaving like a typical prostitute by receiving strange men in a welcoming and receptive manner. However, she is not interacting with these strange men at the level of prostitution but rather at the level of seeking God and personal salvation. She is also doing this ‘with peace’, and the word peace means ‘wholeness, when all essential parts are joined together’. Prostitution, in contrast, leads naturally to mental fragmentation, which is the opposite of wholeness. The implication is that prostitution is doing something positive in the wrong way. Objective specialization does not interact with strangers at a personal level but rather limits its expertise to the objective and avoids interacting with other fields. Prostitution is doing something positive by breaking through these walls of objective specialization. But prostitution is doing it the wrong way by selling one’s person in order to gain peripheral wealth. In contrast, I suggest that there is a ‘spiritual economy’ that goes beyond the buying and selling of things to sowing and reaping to the spirit. And I suggest that this kind of deeper economy will be one aspect of living within the Promised Land. This deeper economy is compared with peripheral economics in Isaiah 55.

Summarizing 11:32-40

Summarizing Hebrews 11:1-31, these examples of faith are typically viewed as a random list of heroes to emulate. However, if one examines the passage cognitively, one concludes that the examples actually describe four successive processes: verses 1-7 describe Teacher thought emerging and becoming independent of Mercy thought; verses 8-12 describe the three stages of transformation being applied individually; verses 13-22 describe these three stages being applied cognitively; and verses 23-31 describe the three stages being applied socially.

It makes sense that verses 32-40 also describe a sequence, but because the language is so terse, and because it probably refers to the future, I will not attempt to decipher the passage.

However, we will examine how the word promise is used throughout the chapter. This word is found six times, three times in the singular, and three times in the plural.

First, Hebrews 11:9 says that Abraham ‘sojourned in land of the promise’. The word ‘promise’ here is in the singular. Abraham is living within the general context of the promise, but he is ‘residing as a foreigner’ who has no personal connection to this promise. Looking at this cognitively, the mindset of leaving the existing world in order to follow God exists within the general realm of the promise, but it is a stranger because it views the promise not as something positive to live in but rather as the opposite of living in the world.

Second, Hebrews 11:9 adds that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are all fellow heirs of the same promise. A Teacher theory is based upon order-within-complexity. Here, individuals are recognizing that there is an underlying order to the experiences of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These three individuals represent a single unified process, which we have referred to as the path of personal transformation.

Third, Hebrews 11:13 summarizes the path of personal transformation by saying that “these individuals died in faith without receiving the promises”. Here, the word ‘promises’ is in the plural. However, progress has been made because instead of ‘residing as a foreigner within the land of promise’, they are now ‘confessing that they are strangers and exiles on the earth’. Thus, these individuals are following God personally without experiencing external results, but they have internally made an emotional transition from the existing world to a better, heavenly country.

Fourth, Hebrews 11:17 describes Abraham as “he who had received the promises”. This may seem like a contradiction to verse 13, which talks about dying without receiving the promises, but the Greek text uses two different words for receiving. In verse 13, the promises are not being ‘actively laid hold of to take or receive’, while in verse 17, the promises are being ‘welcomed with gladness and full personal interest’. Thus, the promises still are not being fulfilled, but they are being emotionally embraced.

Fifth, Hebrews 11:33 talks about ‘obtaining promises’. The word ‘promises’ is again in the plural and the word obtaining means to ‘attain to, because at the right point to suitably obtain’. Thus, people are starting to receive promises, not because God has finally decided to answer prayers, but rather because people have reached the stage of being mentally and socially ready to receive the promises. And the three previous references to promises describe the internal process of becoming increasingly able to receive the promises. The first step was living as a stranger in the general context of the promise, the second step was becoming a stranger in the world and welcoming the promise from a distance, while the third step was offering up personal benefits to God and emotionally welcoming the promise.

Sixth, Hebrews 11:39 makes the shift from promises to promise, in the singular. What has been received so far is promises—specific partial fulfillments of the general promise. But the promise itself has not been received. This promise, in the singular, is referred to in Hebrews 10:36, which talks about receiving the ultimate promise of a universe based in mind-over-matter that is guided by righteous individuals. A similar reference occurs in Hebrews 9:15, which talks about Christ dying in order to “receive the promise of the eternal inheritance”.

The word translated receive in verse 39 means to ‘receive what has belonged to myself but has been lost, or else promised but kept back’, and the same verb is used in Hebrews 10:36, where it talks about ‘receiving the promise’. Putting this together, Hebrews 10:36 talks about the final transition in which the concept of ownership becomes transformed in the new system of mind-over-matter. Using cognitive language, mind-over-matter starts with core mental networks, and it becomes possible to think in terms of Contributor-based cause-and-effect when ownership becomes redefined in terms of mental networks, which is the final stage of transforming existence.

Putting this another way, the present system of matter-over-mind starts with technical thought learning principles of natural cause-and-effect by studying matter, and the final stage is to extend rational thinking to the subjective realm of mental networks. In contrast, the future system of mind-over-matter will start with core mental networks by extending from the indestructible life of Jesus, and the final stage will be to extend mental networks to the technical realm of cause-and-effect.

The result is a gap during which cause-and-effect will fail to work. The offering of a red heifer, or the anointing of a Mary, makes it possible to bridge this gap. Galatians 6:7-9, which has been quoted several times, discusses the process of bridging this gap: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Paul begins by emphasizing that God respects cause-and-effect (the fundamental element of concrete technical thought). But it is insufficient to apply cause-and-effect to the current realm of matter-over-mind, because the results will not last. Instead, one needs to sow to the spiritual realm of mental networks because eventually cause-and-effect will re-emerge as an expression of mental networks.

Returning now to the end of Hebrews 11, Verses 39-40 conclude by saying that “all these, having (obtained a testimony) through their faith, did not receive (the promise), because God had (foreseen) something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” (The words in brackets are the literal or alternate translations given in the NASB footnotes.) In other words, they were unable to complete the path of personal transformation because Teacher thought was stuck at the level of words. They could form a concept of God in Teacher thought and allow Teacher understanding to guide their behavior in righteousness, but Teacher thought was only able to reward them by giving them a verbal ‘testimony’. All they ultimately received was a metaphorical plaque on the wall thanking them for their years of dedicated service. But they did not receive ‘the promise’ that was ‘promised but kept back’. That is because God had something ‘better because more fully developed’ that he could ‘see beforehand, in advance’ (a word used only once in the New Testament). God was planning this more fully developed expression for the future audience of Hebrews 11—people living within the new environment of mind-over-matter. Thus, those of the future who live within mind-over-matter will be needed ‘to reach the final phase or conclusion’ of what was started beforehand under matter-over-mind.

This is usually viewed as Christianity bringing completeness to what was started by Judaism, with the coming of Jesus being the fulfillment of the promise was made to Jews. There is some validity to this interpretation. But if this were the primary interpretation, then Hebrews 12 tells us that one should be seeing God scourging Christians in order to bless the Jews. Instead, what one has historically seen is Christians scourging Jews in order to prevent Jews from being blessed. Thus, I suggest that the standard theological interpretation is somewhat disingenuous because the walk does not match the talk, which implies that this passage is talking primarily about something larger that will happen in the future.

I suggest that this statement is not out of context because the primary theme of the first half of Hebrews 12 is God pulling out all the stops by whipping the ‘more perfect’ future individuals out of their complacency in order to finish the process so that God can start rewarding people from the past. And the verb ‘whip’ is also not an overstatement, because Hebrews 12:6 says that ‘God scourges every son whom he receives’, and a scourge is a horrific whip made ‘of leathern thongs with pieces of metal sewn up in them’. Jesus was scourged before he was crucified. This dreadful word is used seven times as a verb and six times as a noun in the New Testament, but this is the only time where it talks about God scourging people. Hebrews 12:5-6 is actually a quote from Proverbs 3:11-12, but the original passage uses the verb reprove, which is much less violent.

One could respond to this violent language with an attitude of religious self-denial and declare that God is an old-fashioned father who whips his children to the point of inflicting pain. That is the traditional interpretation. Or one could point out the discrepancy between Hebrews 12 and Proverbs 3 and declare that God is a loving God who does not scourge and that this is a mistranslation. That tends to be the modern view. I suggest a third alternative. We saw back in Hebrews 2 that physical persecution is being used to force spiritual technology to extend to the level of personal life and death. I suggest that something similar is happening in Hebrews 12, where God is using Mercy pain to force people to let go of the last vestiges of childish MMNs in order to submit to the TMN of God. I say this because the reference to God scourging people is placed within the analogy of a father disciplining his children. In other words, God is not sadistic, but he is thorough, and he completes what he starts, no matter what the cost.

Now that we have established the general context, let us look Hebrews 12 in more detail. One might think initially that a passage that is directed primarily to a future realm of mind-over-matter would have no applicability to the present. But that is not the case. That is because a realm of mind-over-matter might be able to bend the laws of physics, but it would still be subject to the laws of the mind. Therefore, the next few verses actually follow a natural cognitive progression. And those who follow the internal path of becoming ruled by a concept of God will find themselves following a similar journey.

Completing the Process 12:1-4

The chapter begins with the word therefore. But this is not just a normal ‘therefore’. Instead, an intensified form of the word is being used that is only found twice in the New Testament, which ‘is an emphatic way to introduce what must follow in light of what precedes’. This means that it is imperative to view Hebrews 12 as a result of Hebrews 11.

Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

The last two verses of Hebrews 11 talked about many ‘receiving a witness’ through their faith but not receiving the promise. These are obviously the witnesses being referred to in 12:1, because the underlying Greek word is the same. These are described as a ‘cloud of witnesses’, and the word cloud is only found once in the New Testament and means ‘a mass of clouds, a dense crowd’. This dense crowd is described as ‘so great, so large, so long, so many’. And this great dense crowd is not off in the distance, but surrounding us.

The Greek word for cloud is nephos, which, as I mentioned is only used once in the New Testament in Hebrews 12:1. But the related word nephele occurs 25 times. In Greek mythology, Nephele was the name of a ‘cloud nymph’ created by Zeus in the image of Hera. This mythological connection is not mentioned in the Bible dictionaries, but is easy to find if one googles the term ‘nephele’. The connection between ‘nephele’ and ‘cloud nymph’ is solid, even though it is not mentioned in Bible dictionaries, because both biblical and secular sources refer to the same Greek word that means ‘cloud’.

Most of the New Testament uses of nephele talk about God speaking to humans out of a cloud, Jesus coming on the clouds, or someone sitting in heaven on the cloud. Thus, it is clear that New Testament references to ‘nephele’ are referring to some kind of interaction between God and humanity, as intimated by the meaning of ‘nephele’ in Greek mythology. Hebrews 12:1 is the only time that the actual word for ‘cloud’ is used and not the Greek mythological character of a ‘cloud’. But this verse also explicitly describes this cloud as a symbolic cloud of witnesses and not as a cloud of water.

There is a further possible connection between ‘nephele’ and the ‘nephilim’ of Genesis 6 that is mentioned on some websites. As far as I can tell, this is not a valid relationship, because ‘nephele’ is a Greek word that means ‘cloud’ while ‘nephilim’ is a Hebrew word that means either ‘fallen ones’ or ‘giants’. In the Septuagint, the Hebrew word ‘nephilim’ is translated into Greek as ‘gigantes’, which is related to the English word giant. (The English word gigantic means ‘pertaining to giants’.)

Looking at this symbolically, the sky represents Teacher thought while liquid represents Mercy thought. A cloud is a source of moisture from the sky, which comes from a vague shape that can be seen in the sky. In other words, a cloud represents descending from Teacher thought to Mercy thought, which is precisely what the witnesses of Hebrews 11 are unable to accomplish. They can take the previous steps of leaving MMNs of culture in order to be guided by a TMN of God, but they cannot take the final step of descending back down from Teacher thought to transformed Mercy thought. That is because they cannot complete the journey until the individuals looking back in Hebrews 12 finish the race. That is why Hebrews 12:1 begins with an explicit ‘therefore’. All of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, together with all of the individuals who have taken the steps of faith described symbolically in Hebrews 11, are bunched up in a great cloud waiting to take the final step of receiving the promise. This great cloud of witnesses is surrounding those looking back in Hebrews 12 because all of the individuals in the great cloud are waiting for the individuals of the future to perform the final step. In the words of Hebrews 11:40, God has provided something better for those of the future, so that apart from those of the future, those of the past will not be made perfect. I suspect that the word ‘nephos’ is being used rather than ‘nephele’ in Hebrews 11 because the cloud is coming from a group of people and not being created by God. However, it is clear that ‘cloud’ in Hebrews 11 also has a symbolic meaning of returning from heaven to earth.

Those of the future are supposed to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us” (v.1). The word translated lay aside means ‘lay off or aside, renounce’, which conveys the impression of getting rid of something permanently. The word encumbrance is only found once in the New Testament and means ‘a weight, burden, encumbrance’. Looking at this cognitively, these are the mental networks of habit and care that weigh a person down.

The reference to ‘sin’ is interesting because Hebrews 10 described the process of eliminating the very concept of sin. This suggests that Hebrews 12 is being addressed to those who are in the process of entering the ‘new and living way which he inaugurated for us through the veil’ described in Hebrews 10:20. The sin is described as easily entangling, another word found only once in the New Testament which means ‘well-planted all-around, describing what is encompassing’. Interpreting this cognitively, people are living in a new set of mental networks, but they are still surrounded by the old mental networks that ‘miss the mark’.

The future audience is also instructed to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (v.1). Paul talks about ‘running the race’ in 1 Corinthians 9:24, using the same word run, which ‘was used of runners in a race, a swiftness or effort to attain an end’. But Paul talks there about running in a race-course, emphasizing the organized nature of the competition, while the word translated race in Hebrews 12:1 means ‘a contest or struggle, a grueling conflict’, emphasizing the emotional intensity of the process. This struggle is set before us, an accurate translation of the original Greek. And the race is supposed to be run with endurance, which means ‘steadfastness, remaining under’. Putting this together, a journey needs to be finished, which will require sticking with the task even though it is emotionally difficult.

I have suggested that this exhortation is aimed primarily at a future audience. However, there is also a universal message here that applies to any person or group that is on the verge of completing a task. It is at the end of a job that the emotional connotations often become apparent, because this is when existing mental networks begin to be threatened by what is happening, and mental networks react like a cornered animal when their existence is threatened. Therefore, the natural tendency is to pull back and refrain from taking the final steps that would eliminate the old and replace it with the new, especially if one has avoided dealing with some of the old mental networks. Saying this more generally, the extent of personal salvation that one experiences in the third stage of personal transformation will be limited to the extent of a concept of God that one has constructed in the first stage and the extent to which one has followed this concept of God in the second stage. Any attempt to go further will mean going back and doing the homework that should have been done earlier—which may or may not be possible.

God is a universal being, and when a universal being moves, then there are universal ramifications, which means that following a movement of God will demand finishing a journey to the point of replacing existing core mental networks. This natural tendency to shrink back from the final steps when following God was described in Hebrews 10:36-39: “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But my righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in Him.”

Verse 2 extends this exhortation: “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The word translated fixing our eyes is only used twice in the New Testament and means ‘looking away from all else, to fix one’s gaze upon’, and it refers to ‘seeing with the mind’ rather than to physical sight. In other words, two sets of mental networks exist at this point within Mercy thought. There are the existing mental networks of sin and habit, and there are also the new mental networks of what is about to emerge at the end of the journey—mental networks which cannot yet be seen physically. One is supposed to stop looking at the existing mental networks in order to focus mentally upon the internal images of what is about to happen.

These new mental networks are centered upon the person of Jesus, and the reference to Jesus rather than Christ indicates that the focus is upon concrete specific results in Mercy thought. Jesus is described as the ‘author and perfecter of faith’. The word translated author means ‘the first in a long procession; a file-leader who pioneers the way for many others to follow’, while the word perfecter is only used once in the New Testament and means ‘a consummator, bringing a process to its finish’. Looking at this cognitively, the three stages of personal—and societal—transformation leave concrete Mercy experiences, travel through the abstract realm of Teacher understanding, and then re-enter the concrete world of Mercy experiences. Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God, combines concrete with abstract. Thus, the process of being saved starts with Jesus, moves through Christ, and then finishes with Jesus.

Using the analogy of an airplane flight, a normal earthbound trip on a car or train travels on the ground from one place to another, just as concrete technical thought follows connections of cause-and-effect from one Mercy situation to another. An airplane flight starts as a normal earthbound trip, but then leaves the ground to travel through the air. At the end of the trip the airplane then lands on a runway, finishing the journey as a normal earthbound trip. Similarly, Jesus, the concrete side of incarnation, is dominant during the start of the journey when the airplane taxies to the runway and then takes off, and is also dominant at the end of the journey when the airplane lands on the runway and taxies to the gate. Similarly, Jesus finished his time on earth by physically ascending into heaven, while Revelation 19:11 talks about a glorified Jesus Christ emerging from heaven in order to rule over the nations. Takeoffs and landings are the most dangerous portion of an airplane journey because one is moving slowly close to ground. Similarly, faith is especially needed when starting and finishing the path of personal transformation because of the major transitions that are being experienced.

The second part of verse 2 describes the attitude of Jesus that is supposed to be emulated: “...who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” This is normally interpreted as Jesus suffering on the cross looking forward to the personal happiness that he will enjoy after resurrection, but the original Greek describes something a little different—which I did not notice when looking at this verse in earlier essays.

Joy describes Teacher emotion. Both joy and grace are a ‘feminine noun from the root xar- which means to extend favor, lean towards, be favorably disposed’. Grace ‘is preeminently used of the Lord’s favor – freely extended to give himself away to people’. And there is an ‘etymological link between xairo “rejoice because of grace”, xara “joy because of grace”, and xaris “grace”’. Saying this cognitively, a concept of God in Teacher thought provides grace largely by providing the Teacher emotion of joy, making it possible to ‘rejoice because of grace’.

Going further, the phrase ‘set before Him’ gives the impression of looking forward in time to a desirable goal, but the Greek word conveys the meaning of ‘being placed before a person, lying within sight, or being present or at hand’, and this is combined with the preposition anti, which means ‘over against, opposite, in exchange for, as a substitute for’.

Thus, Jesus is not primarily looking forward in time beyond current Mercy experiences of suffering to future Mercy experiences of pleasure, but rather turning his attention in the present from Mercy pain to Teacher joy. And verse 2 does not talk about Jesus suffering pain on the cross but rather enduring the cross, which means to ‘remain under the load’. Teacher thought works with sequences; righteousness is behavior that is being emotionally guided by Teacher understanding. Therefore, Teacher joy will make it emotionally possible to continue performing the Server sequence of ‘dying on a cross’. Unlike most forms of execution, it could take days for a person to die on a cross, and the Romans would sometimes hasten death by breaking the legs of the victim. Looking at this cognitively, a mental network will eventually fall apart and die if it is bound and prevented from expressing itself. If a person allows behavior to continue to be guided by a TMN of God, then MMNs that are inconsistent with this Teacher understanding will eventually fall apart and die through a form of mental crucifixion. If this Teacher joy is not present, then self-preservation will eventually kick in and emotionally drive a person to step down from the cross in order to prevent MMNs from dying.

For instance, when I was developing and applying mental symmetry as a theory of personal transformation, I would occasionally experience episodes of depersonalization during which some part of my body, usually an arm or a leg, would feel simultaneously distant and heavy. Each episode only lasted for a few minutes, but I could tell that some mental network of personal identity was falling apart, because after each episode I would find it emotionally easier to follow my TMN of understanding. Mentally speaking, I was experiencing a tiny slice of cognitive crucifixion, driven by the combination of personally following Teacher understanding within a society that was driven by cultural MMNs.

It has been common practice over the years to focus upon the gruesome physical pain of the crucifixion of Jesus. And it is possible to learn deep lessons of character development if one responds to pain in a positive manner. But it is not possible to become free of emotional bondage to the physical body in Mercy thought by filling Mercy thought with emotional experiences from the physical body. Instead, one needs to replace MMNs of the flesh with a different kind of emotion—the Teacher emotion of joy. (The essay on John 18-21 re-examines the trial and crucifixion of Jesus from this perspective of Jesus returning from human existence in Mercy thought to divine existence in Teacher thought. This transition is specifically described John 12:32-33, where Jesus says: “‘And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.’ But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.”)

This change in emotional emphasis can be seen in the second half of verse 2. First, Jesus ‘despised the shame’. Shame describes the negative feeling that one experiences when violating MMNs of social approval. The word despise means primarily to ‘devalue; to depreciate (scorn); pay no regard to (because something seems of no account)’. In other words, one is not fighting MMNs of social disapproval, but rather disregarding them as emotionally insignificant. For instance, this is precisely what Moses did not do. The fact that he worried about what the Egyptians would think tells us that MMNs of Egyptian social status still had emotional significance within his mind. If he had truly despised the shame, that he would no longer have cared what the Egyptians thought.

Second, Jesus “has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Biblical references to right and left hands appear to make neurological sense. Thus, the right would represent left hemisphere thought and the left would represent right hemisphere thought (because the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body). One uses the hands to perform detailed object manipulation. Thus, the left hand would represent Perceiver thought and the right hand would represent Server thought. This means that sitting down at the right hand of the throne of God would symbolize resting in Server thought upon the Teacher generality and authority of God. In other words, it is only possible to minimize MMNs of social status if one can rest in the TMN of the authority of God. Instead of fighting societal MMNs, one is recognizing that these MMNs are insignificant compared to the universality and power of the TMN of God; one is emotionally belittling human authority by emotionally resting in divine authority.

Verse 2 describes Jesus sitting down at the right hand of God, but humans are supposed to follow a similar process because Paul says in Ephesians that God has “made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:5-7). Notice that Paul explicitly applies this principle to the transition that is being described in Hebrews 12. This does not mean that these verses apply only to the future. Cognitively speaking, one of the major steps in entering the third stage of personal transformation is to ensure that one’s mental concept of Jesus is based in the Server sequences of a Teacher understanding of God the Father. The essay on the Gospel of John explores what this means by analyzing the physical life of Jesus from the viewpoint of ‘Jesus doing only what he saw the Father doing’.

It is significant that the command to follow Teacher emotions comes after Hebrews 11 with its summary of the heroes of faith. That is because a general Teacher theory cannot be conjured out of thin air. In order to be guided by a rational Teacher theory in some set of situations, one must first construct a rational Teacher theory that is capable of explaining these situations. Mysticism does not have this problem, because it ‘constructs’ its universal Teacher theory by ignoring the facts and then asserting in some handwaving manner that everything fits together. This shortcut leads to an overgeneralized feeling of Teacher universality that does not need facts, but the resulting Teacher ‘theory’ is also incapable of handling facts—even facts about mysticism. In contrast, verse 2 says that Jesus sat down at the right hand of the throne of God, and a throne reigns over some domain. Hebrews 11 explained how God reigns over the processes of human history, making it possible to follow the example of Jesus and rest in the sovereignty of God.

Verse 3 continues this theme of finishing the process without giving up: “For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

The word translated consider is actually used only once in the New Testament and means to ‘reason up to a conclusion by moving through the needed thought process and analysis’. This emphasizes two aspects that we have mentioned. First, one is supposed to be guided by rational Teacher understanding. And second, rational thought needs to be followed all the way to the logical conclusion.

What is supposed to be considered is ‘Him who has endured’, and endured is the same verb meaning ‘remaining under’ that was encountered in the previous verse. This endurance was ‘under the sinners’, because the word translated by means ‘under, often meaning under authority of someone’, especially when followed by the genitive case as it is in this verse. In other words, those who miss the mark are in charge of society, and one has to function under the authority of these individuals. The word hostility leaves the impression that there is physical oppression, consistent with a literal translation of this text, but the Greek word actually means ‘a controversy, taking the opposite side to attack, supposedly on the basis of sound logic’. Thus, the primary conflict is happening with logic in abstract thought. The struggle is not a physical battle but rather a conflict over paradigms and worldviews.

Putting this together, sinners are in charge of society, similar to the way that today’s world is under the control of a small group of rich and powerful individuals who believe that they are above the law. The response should not be to protest against the 1% or revolt against them, but rather to remain under them while vigorously pursuing rational understanding. That is because most tyrants do not use brute force in Mercy thought to control the population. Instead, they construct paradigms in Teacher thought that legitimize their power and rationalize why they should rule over others. Thus, if one wants to permanently overthrow a tyrant, then one must change the underlying general Teacher theory that gives legitimacy to this tyrant, because if one overthrows the ruler while leaving the mindset intact, then people will merely choose another ruler who fulfills the mindset. (Current thinking is heading in this direction.) This is a universal principle that has always been true, but it becomes more prominent in a society such as today that is driven by information and theories, and it would apply especially to the end of Hebrews 10, where mind rules over matter.

Verse 3 finishes by saying that one should do this “so that you will not grow weary and lose heart”. The word translated weary is only used twice in the New Testament and means ‘weary to the point of sickness; ready to collapse, especially from over-work’. As a footnote in the NASB points out, ‘lose heart’ is literally ‘fainting in your souls’. And the word translated lose heart means to ‘let completely out as to entirely succumb, with the outcome of losing inner strength’. The use of the word ‘soul’ tells us that people are not becoming physically exhausted, but rather reaching the end of their mental endurance. One sees again that the emphasis of this passage is not upon physical persecution, but rather upon mental endurance.

For instance, I have not experienced any physical persecution for pursuing the theory of mental symmetry. But I have repeatedly felt like giving up because I have no internal strength to continue. When this happens, then I have found that energy to continue will appear if I rationally consider the facts. Logically speaking, the only rational alternative is to continue to build an understanding while remaining within a society that is ruled by sinners. Cognitively speaking, whenever one reaches the end of one’s rope and continues because of rational thought, then this indicates that MMNs of social approval are losing control of the mind, while a TMN of God is gaining control. When sinners who are in charge of society use Teacher theories to legitimize their tyranny, then one of the biggest weapons in their arsenal is weariness of soul. Even if the average person sees through the lies of the system, the system will continue to be in charge as long as no one is willing to commit internally to the task of questioning and analyzing the system in an atmosphere of public disapproval and official propaganda. This principle has always been true, but it would be especially true in a society of mind-over-matter that is ruled by sinners.

Verse 4 adds a personal element to this resistance: “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.” This gives the impression that those who follow Christianity are being physically killed, and it is true that a regime of sinners will invariably resort to physical violence when more subtle methods of population control fail. But the resistance in this verse is not against sinners but rather ‘towards the sin’. The word translated resisted is only used once in the New Testament, and it is a combination of the preposition ‘in exchange for, as a substitute for’ and the verb ‘put in charge, which enables someone to rule’. Thus, this is not a resistance of powerless citizens against a mighty regime, but rather choosing to follow one authority instead of another. The word translated striving is also used only once in the New Testament, and it combines the preposition ‘in exchange for’ with the verb ‘struggle, like engaged in an intense athletic contest or warfare’. This means that an intense struggle is happening, but this struggle is ‘towards the sin’—towards the flawed system that lies behind all of the individual sins, and which gives legitimacy to the sinners who are in control.

Finally, a footnote in the NASB points out that the phrase ‘shedding of blood’ is literally ‘as far as blood’. Blood represents MMNs of personal identity. Therefore, ‘as far as blood’ would mean to the extent of involving and threatening personal identity.

Interpreting this cognitively, verse 4 is saying that the choice to follow a TMN of God rather than MMNs of society has not reached the point of transforming personal MMNs. People are choosing to follow God, but not to the extent of allowing existing personal MMNs to disintegrate. Again one sees the theme of following the path of submitting to a TMN of God to completion—obeying God all the way, even when this means that personal identity becomes involved and starts to fall apart.

God as a Father 12:5-8

Verse 5 introduces the concept of God as a Father, which will be expanded in verses 5-11: “You have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons”. When a TMN of God transforms MMNs of personal identity, then one becomes a ‘son of God’. The term ‘child of God’ is used quite loosely today in Christian circles, and it is true that God declares a person to be a child of God when that person becomes a Christian. But Hebrews 12 is clearly going beyond a mere verbal statement of justification to the process of sanctification. In fact, the primary theme of this passage is going beyond justification to sanctification.

The word translated forgotten is used only once in the New Testament, and means ‘completely forget, remove out from memory to the sin of willful neglect’. This is a strong verb and I think I know from personal experience what it means. As I continued to study cognitive styles back in the 1980s, I reached a point where my theory of personality turned into a TMN and this mental network started to ‘eat up my mind’, because it insisted on explaining every personal character trait that it encountered. At this point, the only way to stop the theory of mental symmetry from eating up the rest of my mind would have been to remove it completely from memory and refuse to think about it again. Over the years, I have encountered this kind of reaction numerous times from individuals, who initially show great interest in the theory and then drop it like a hot potato and refuse to discuss it when it starts to turn into a Teacher mental network.

Something similar is happening in verse 5, because what is being willfully mentally suppressed is “the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons”, or in cognitive language a personal interaction from Teacher thought to personal identity in Mercy thought.

The word translated exhortation is not just some message being proclaimed but rather ‘is an intimate call that someone personally gives to deliver God’s verdict; a personal exhortation that delivers the evidence that stands up in God’s court’. In other words, a rational understanding in Teacher thought is making intimate statements about Mercy identity. This describes what it felt like when the theory of mental symmetry turned into a TMN and started to explain my personal behavior. It felt like a rational understanding in my head was making intimate statements about my personal behavior. The word addressed portrays the kind of intimate statements that are being made, because the Greek word refers to ‘the process of giving and receiving information with someone to reach deeper understanding’. Similarly, when mental symmetry started to explain my personal behavior, an internal dialogue would ensue, in which I felt internally driven to analyze my behavior in more detail in order to gain a fuller understanding of personal identity. This exhortation is being addressed ‘to you as to sons’, and both ‘you’ and ‘sons’ are in the plural. In a similar manner, the theory of mental symmetry did not judge me individually as a person but rather saw personal identity as an illustration of a general class of behavior. It was being addressed to me in the plural, because my personal behavior was being viewed as a specific example of ‘how Perceiver persons think’. This is also a characteristic of Teacher thought, because Teacher thought wants general theories that apply to many specific situations. In fact, the only reason that Teacher thought found my personal identity interesting is because it was viewing my specific experiences as an illustration of some general category of individuals.

I should emphasize that this mental jump from specific to universal did not occur out of the blue. Instead, it happened as a byproduct of the research that I was doing at that time with my older brother, because we were using the diagram of mental symmetry to analyze data from biographies in order to work out the traits of the various cognitive styles. Thus, I was not performing the typical kind of self-analysis that jumps directly from personal experience to ‘universal’ principle. Instead, Teacher thought within my mind was viewing my personal behavior as an opportunity to add details to the understanding of the Perceiver person that we were gaining from our study of biographies. This is an important distinction, because pure self-analysis is not reliable and—at best—gives only a picture of how one cognitive style views the mind.

The content of this exhortation is then described in the remainder of verse 5: “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him.” The word discipline means ‘instruction that trains someone to reach full development’. This word appears six times as a noun in the New Testament, and four of these occurrences are in Hebrews 12:5-11, which means that discipline will be the primary topic of the next few verses.

Looking at discipline cognitively, Teacher thought refines general theories by coming up with simple statements that define the idealized essence of some situation or person. Therefore, if Teacher thought finds personal identity interesting, then Teacher thought will start to think about how personal identity could function in a manner that is more idealized and more integrated. Speaking again from personal experience, I found my personal focus being shifted from ‘How do Perceivers think?’ to ‘How does Perceiver thought function when it is fully developed?’ to ‘I need to reach full development as a Perceiver person’. This final transition happened because Teacher thought hates exceptions to the rule. Therefore, as Teacher thought came up with a general theory of how Perceiver thought could function, I experienced this as an emotional drive to think and behave in a more mature manner.

Pure self-analysis will also lead to a drive to become ideal, but the goal will be self-improvement: How can I become a more ideal version of myself? This may be helpful, but it will also be incomplete, because I will attempt to improve primarily the part of the mind that I can see, guided by the incomplete manner in which I use my mind. For instance, the typical self-help manual is written by Contributor persons telling other Contributor persons how to use Contributor thought more effectively in today’s world of objective knowledge and impersonal bottom lines. In contrast, I have found that mental symmetry has motivated me to improve all parts of my mind, including the parts that I cannot consciously see, guided by a composite understanding assembled by observing how many successful individuals of each cognitive style use their part of the mind. Similarly, Hebrews 12 is after Hebrews 11, which gave a composite picture of how many people exhibited faith in different ways throughout history.

This does not mean that a mature person stops being a certain cognitive style. A Contributor person, for instance, will always be a Contributor person and cannot stop being a Contributor person. The problem arises when a person assumes that conscious thought is inherently superior to other forms of thinking and that other forms of thought are only useful to the extent that they can become servants of conscious thought. Instead, conscious thought is only one of seven forms of thought which all have a right to exist as partners. Instead of using conscious thought to control subconscious thought, one uses conscious thought to develop and guide subconscious thought.

The temptation is to regard lightly this discipline, another word that is only used once in the New Testament, which means ‘to esteem lightly, caring too little, in too few places’. Teacher thought thinks in terms of generality. Therefore, one way of minimizing Teacher emotion is by regarding a situation as a specific event with no general overtones. For instance, when Teacher thought started to point out in my mind how I could function as a more ideal Perceiver person, I could have responded by feeling that my behavior as a specific Perceiver person had no bearing upon my goal of understanding Perceiver persons in general. Instead, I recognized that how I behave as a specific Perceiver person will inevitably warp my understanding of how all Perceiver persons behave, because the only Teacher understanding that I have access to is the Teacher understanding that exists within my head, and this understanding will be shaped by the Server actions that are performed by my physical body.

The verb faint was used back in verse 3, and means ‘to succumb, with the outcome of losing inner strength’. Reproved may give the impression of verbal or physical punishment, but it means ‘to convince with solid, compelling evidence, especially to expose’. Thus, the focus is not upon attacking someone personally in Mercy thought, but rather upon using rational thought guided by understanding in Teacher thought. ‘Faint’ and ‘reproved’ do not normally go together. Instead, what usually happens is that ‘sticks and stones will hurt my bones but words will never hurt me’. However, in this case, words are not just hurting a person but causing them to give up inside. But notice that these words are coming from the TMN of a concept of God. We saw earlier that Teacher thought will naturally go beyond understanding personal identity to working out how identity can function in a more idealistic manner.

When MMNs of personal identity collide, then one will attempt to control the other. Therefore, if God is viewed as an important person in Mercy thought, then the natural conclusion will be that serving God implies denying self. However, something different is happening here, because a Teacher concept of God is using rational thought to shed light upon MMNs of personal identity. This may lead initially to the feeling that God wants to destroy me, which is why verse 5 warns against fainting when being reproved by God. This feeling will be amplified by the fact that a TMN of God will comment upon all thought and behavior, whereas MMNs of social approval govern primarily behavior that can be seen by others. But if one continues to pursue Teacher understanding, one will gradually realize that Teacher thought is not trying to shut down Mercy identity, but rather attempting to shape the behavior of personal identity. And Teacher thought lives in generality, leaving personal identity substantial freedom when it comes to specific choices and experiences.

But this will only happen with a TMN of God that is based in rational thought, which ‘convinces with solid, compelling evidence’. In contrast, the technical specializations of today’s society lead to thinking that is locally rational. Technical specialization gives the impression that it always uses compelling evidence to convince, and technical specialization does use rational logic—within its specialization. However, when thinking goes beyond the specialization or threatens the Teacher understanding behind the specialization, then rational thought will be abandoned and replaced by emotional manipulation, typically driven by a desire to destroy the opposition.

Continuing with verse 6, “For those whom the Lord loves he disciplines”. The word discipline is the same word that was used in verse 5, which means training up a child to reach their full potential. And the word translated love is agape, which describes the love of God. Looking at this cognitively, Teacher thought is not to be trifled with, because it will use emotional pressure to protect and enhance any general theory that turns into a TMN. When a technical specialist continues to use rational thought within some limited technical area, then the Teacher theory behind this specialization will turn into a TMN, which will emotionally drive the technical specialist to develop that specialization, emotionally belittle anything or anyone that lies outside the specialization, and emotionally attack anything or anyone who threatens the Teacher theory of that specialization. My general hypothesis is that a concept of God emerges when a sufficiently general theory applies to personal identity. Therefore, a Teacher understanding of how the mind functions can also turn into a TMN, which will be viewed as a mental concept of God, and this concept of God will apply emotional pressure to drive personal identity to behave in a more adult, integrated, whole manner.

The TMN of a concept of God will also try to eliminate any personal behavior that threatens the Teacher understanding of God. And that is where the second half of verse 6 comes into play: “and He scourges every son whom He receives.” We saw earlier that scourge is a violent and painful verb which means ‘to flog a victim, strapped to a pole or frame’. We interpreted it previously as God pulling out all the stops to complete a process of personal transformation. We have now looked at the intervening steps.

At first glance, ‘scourge’ may sound like a blatant contradiction to the verb ‘love’ that was used three words earlier (in the Greek text), because this seems to go beyond all the bounds of ‘tough love’. However, it is important to place the scourging within the general context and to distinguish between Teacher emotion and Mercy emotion. The scourging is not being applied to everyone, but rather to ‘every son whom God receives’, and the word translated received means to ‘receive openly, welcoming with personal interest’. (Jesus, the Son of God, was also scourged.) In other words, the TMN of God has become emotionally involved with the MMN of personal identity. Looking at this cognitively, when Teacher thought views some person or structure as the expression of a general theory, then Teacher thought will become emotionally disturbed by anything within that person or structure which contradicts the general theory. Saying this another way, the final stage of applying a general theory is to remove any exceptions to the rule. For instance, today’s societal theory of tolerance and political correctness has now (in 2018) reached the final stage of eliminating any words or behavior that are deemed to be politically incorrect.

Similarly, I suggest that the scourging of God in verse 6 also describes the final stage of becoming guided by a TMN of God. Saying this another way, God is eliminating any remaining dependence upon Mercy thought, because scourging inflicts pain upon the skin and the skin is one of the primary sources of emotional experiences for Mercy thought. For a normal person who is built upon MMNs of physical sensation, scourging attacks the very core of existence, but for a transformed person who has become built upon the TMN of a concept of God, scourging eliminates the remaining MMNs that prevent a person from becoming fully dependent upon the TMN of God. Using an analogy, throwing a normal earthbound person off a cliff will lead to death, but a mother bird will throw her offspring off the nest in order to teach the young bird how to fly. The difference between these two is that a bird has wings while a normal person does not; a bird is capable of flying through the Teacher realm of the air, while a human is limited to the earthbound realm of Mercy experiences.

Looking further at the general question of human suffering, I suggest that asking God to eliminate human suffering today is like a person without wings complaining to God that the ground underfoot has hard, sharp stones. The stones of physical existence are hard, and they can be very sharp and cut very deep. But these solid stones also provide the foundation for the mind, and if they did not remain solid then existence would feel like living in an earthquake zone where nothing was solid, and that would be even worse. The solution is to grow wings and be upheld by these wings. The purpose of the scourging in Hebrews 12 is to encourage people with wings to trust in these wings and stop resting in ‘solid’ ground. People with wings who can fly no longer need solid ground, and once solid ground is no longer needed, then God can eliminate the sharp rocks of painful, solid ground. Therefore, I suggest that one should currently view physical suffering as an opportunity to grow wings. This is not an easy answer to the problem of human suffering, but I do not know of any other answer.

Verse 7 explains that “it is for discipline that you endure”. The word endure has been encountered several times and means ‘to remain under’, and we have also seen that discipline means ‘instruction that trains someone to reach full development or maturity’. Thus, one sticks with the situation in order to become fully mature. There is a cognitive reason for this. Both Teacher and Mercy thought find full development and maturity emotionally attractive. Teacher thought likes it because the mechanism is functioning properly, like a physical body in which all the parts of the body are functioning properly. Mercy thought likes it because it leads to good results, like living within a body that is healthy. Applying this to the mind, Teacher thought appreciates a fully developed mind that is whole, because all the parts of the mind are functioning together in a simple, integrated manner. Mercy thought appreciates a fully developed mind that is whole, because all the parts of the mind are happy, they are all getting along with each other, and none of them is complaining.

Saying this more personally, the Mercy person talks about love and wants to live in an environment of love, but does not know how to generate this love. However, when the various fragments of personal identity submit to a Teacher understanding of how the mind could function in a more idealistic manner, then this creates a mental and social environment in which Mercy thought can discover love. Saying this another way, everyone would love to live in a physical body that is in the prime of health, but the average person does not know how to get the physical body to run properly. Therefore, the average person has to turn to the rational Teacher understanding of the medical profession in order to get the body to function better. In the same way that one goes to the doctor and then sticks with the process of medical treatment in order to get a better functioning physical body, so personal identity sticks with the process of God’s discipline in order to get a mind that is more whole and mature.

The implication is that those who focus upon the physical human suffering of Jesus upon the cross do not have an adequate Teacher understanding of God, because they are viewing God’s treatment of Jesus from the Mercy perspective of God scourging the life out of Jesus, instead of seeing it from the Teacher perspective of God completing the process of transferring Jesus-the-man to the paradise of a personal existence that is fully ruled by the TMN of a God of wholeness. (These two perspectives are compared in the essay on John 18-21.)

The next phrase makes a statement about the nature of God: “God deals with you as with sons”. The previous verses have talked about ‘the Lord’, emphasizing God as the ultimate master to whom one submits, because lord means ‘a person exercising absolute ownership rights’. Verse 7 uses the word God with the definite article: ‘The God’. This emphasizes God as the universal source of everything, because God means ‘the creator and owner of all things’. Using the definite article means that one is talking about The God, rather than various concepts of God. This phrase says that one can recognize the real God by the fact that he treats people like sons. Saying this another way, it is common in Christian circles to talk about God the Father. But this is not just a random title given to God. Instead, it means that God is a universal being in Teacher thought who interacts with finite creatures in Mercy thought the way that a father interacts with his children.

The final phrase in verse 7 expands upon the imagery of a son by talking about the relationship between father and son: “For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” We have already encountered the word ‘discipline’ several times. Therefore, this phrase is saying that ‘being treated as a son’ implies ‘being brought to maturity by a father’.

Modern society has become obsessed with gender-inclusive language. Therefore, it is important to look further at the gender being used. On the one hand, the Bible dictionary entry for son states that ‘in the New Testament, son equally refers to female believers’, pointing to Galatians 3:26-28, which begins by saying that ‘you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus’ and then adds that ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female’. On the other hand, I suggest that it is theologically incorrect to refer to ‘God the Mother’ because God does not treat his children the way that a mother treats her children. Female thought focuses upon mental networks. Therefore, a mother God would emphasize mental networks of culture, worship, ritual, family, and mysticism, the kind of emotional content that is commonly viewed as the domain of religion. That is because religion has become implicitly defined as the absence of scientific thought, and science limits itself to the facts, processes, and technical thinking of male thought, while downplaying the subjective emotions and global concerns that matter to female thought.

God treats humans like a father treats children because God is concerned about process, truth, and rational thought. God is not just interested in comforting people by making them feel good, but rather uses truth and process to lead people to greater maturity. However, God is more than just a technical theory, or a philosophical concept about universality. Instead, God is a person who treats humans as persons who are part of his family. God may use the truth and process of male thought, but God is applying this truth and process to the mental networks of people and family.

For example, I have mentioned that the theory of mental symmetry began as an analysis of spiritual gifts and then turned into a study of how one reaches mental wholeness. This theory of personal transformation provided the starting point for developing a rational concept of a universal God who governs the natural world, created intelligent life, and wrote the Bible. As these essays on the Bible demonstrate, it is possible to use mental symmetry to come up with a rational explanation for doctrines which centuries of theologians have declared to be incomprehensible mystery. This is not because I am smart and theologians are stupid. Many theologians know much more about the Bible and have a far better grasp of the original languages than I do. In fact, the only reason that I can analyze the Bible cognitively is because theologians have done extensive work combing ancient texts in order to give precise definitions to biblical terms. Instead, I suggest that I am succeeding where others have not because ‘The God’ treats people the way that a father treats sons. If one wants to understand the nature of The God, one must start by interacting with God the way that a son interacts with his father. Applying this to the book of Hebrews, if one views the biblical text through the lens of cognitive development, then the original Greek text comes into focus and reveals itself to be very precisely written. Saying this another way, I suggested earlier that the discipline of the Lord should not be belittled, because the way that one responds personally to the instruction of God will end up shaping one’s theology. This is not just a theoretical fact, but rather backed up by centuries of theological thinking which declared the nature of God to be a mystery, because this thinking did not start by viewing God as a Father who is instructing his son.

Going further, I suggest that this concept of God the Father applies to the aspect of the Trinitarian God who uses Teacher thought. There is also God the Son who uses Contributor thought, and God the Holy Spirit who uses Mercy thought. (This statement may sound disrespectful. That is because the current theological consensus defines respect for God as believing that the nature of God transcends human rational thought. However, if one examines how the various parts of the mind function and interact, and if one compares this in detail with the Biblical description of the three aspects of the Trinity, then one comes to the conclusion that God the Father uses Teacher thought, God the Son uses Contributor thought, and God the Holy Spirit uses Mercy thought.) Scripture makes it clear that mental concepts of God the Son and God the Holy Spirit need to be placed within the Teacher framework of a concept of God the Father. Jesus stated several times in the Gospel of John that he did nothing on his own initiative but only what he saw the Father doing. Similarly, John 16:13-15 says that the Holy Spirit will not speak on his own, but rather reveal God the Father and God the Son to humanity.

Verse 8 builds upon this concept: “But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” In the original Greek, this verse begins with the conjunction de, which means ‘moreover, indeed now, on top of this’, and indicates that verse 8 builds upon verse 7. The conjunction ‘de’ is usually the second word in a sentence. The first word of verse 8 is if, which is usually followed by some sort of ‘then’. In verse 8, the if-then structure is ‘if you are without discipline’, ‘then you are illegitimate children’. Discipline, as we know, means ‘instruction that trains someone to reach full development’. The word translated illegitimate children is only used once in the New Testament and means ‘born not in lawful wedlock, but of a concubine or female slave’. Stated cognitively, if a person or group is not following a path of personal development, then male thought and female thought are not married to each other. Saying this more simply, if personal transformation is missing, then this will lead to some sort of cognitive disconnect involving God, rational thought, and personal identity. For instance, mysticism has no basis for morality because it insists that God has nothing to do with rational thought. Thus, the focus will be upon personally identifying with God rather than being morally transformed. Similarly, the current focus upon tolerance and unconditional acceptance has no basis for morality because it insists that rational thought should not be applied to personal identity, leaving untransformed MMNs ultimately in charge. Science also has no basis for morality because it pursues rational thought while ignoring personal identity and suppressing the idea of a personal God. This leads to a transformation of the physical world while leaving people unchanged.

Verse 8 adds that you ‘all have become partakers’ of discipline. Both ‘become’ and ‘partakers’ indicate that a transformation has occurred. The verb become means ‘transitioning from one point to another’, while partakers means ‘change due to sharing, from being an active partaker with’. Thus, people have made a transformation to thinking in terms of discipline, this transformation in thinking has caused them to become transformed, and they now view interaction with God as a path of personal transformation. In other words, people are not just talking about being transformed while staying the same. Instead, they are living a life of personal transformation, which is being expressed through speech and behavior.

Verse 8 finishes by saying that an illegitimate child is not a son. I am not sure that it is possible to make such a categorical statement at all times in history. For instance, the typical Christian today uses the term ‘son of God’ quite loosely, and many who are unwilling to follow a path of personal transformation are quite willing to claim that they are ‘sons of God’. However, if enough people act as sons of God by submitting to the discipline of God as their Father, then it will become clear who is and is not a legitimate child of God. Verse 8 implies that a polarization is emerging between legitimate and illegitimate children of God as a result of the discipline of God.

1 John 3 talks about this kind of polarization. In verse 1, believers are being called children of God, while verse 2 says that it is not yet apparent what this means. Verse 3 describes a process of character development, while verses 4-6 talk about completing this process. Verse 7 then defines following God in terms of character transformation, while verse 9 says that everyone who is born of God does not continue to sin. Finally, verse 10 describes a polarization in which ‘the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious’. A similar polarization is described in the book of Acts. At the end of Acts 4, a group of Christians act as sons of God. This is followed in the beginning of Acts 5 by the judgment of Ananias and Sapphira, who claim to be children of God but do not act as children of God. The end result in Acts 5 is that it becomes clear who is and is not a legitimate child of God.

The Nature of God’s Discipline 12:9-11

Returning to Hebrews 12, verse 9 compares fatherhood under matter-over-mind with fatherhood under mind-over-matter: “Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the father of spirits, and live?”

On the one hand, ‘we had earthly fathers to discipline us’. The word translated earthly means ‘flesh, body, human nature, materiality’. Cognitively speaking, it refers to the mental content—especially the mental networks—that one acquires growing up and living in a physical body. The flesh, or ‘carnal nature’, is an inevitable byproduct of growing up under matter-over-mind. The result is many fathers who act as trainers. The verb ‘discipline’ has occurred several times in this passage, but it is only used twice as a noun in the New Testament, meaning ‘one who constructively corrects or disciplines in order to train’. The other occurrence is in Romans 2:20 where it talks about the Jew who boasts in God acting as ‘a corrector of the foolish’.

Cognitively speaking, the childish mind automatically gives emotional respect to parents because they are mentally represented by potent MMNs within the mind. A fleshly father uses this emotional respect within Mercy thought of the child as a foundation for leading the child towards greater mental maturity. This attitude is seen in the phrase ‘and we respected them’. Respected means ‘to turn one’s attention to in a riveted, locked-in way’. This describes how Mercy thought responds to an authority figure. Attention will be focused upon this MMN of authority to the exclusion of other MMNs. The child will instinctively obey authority figures while disregarding other individuals.

This is then compared with the fatherhood of God: “shall we not much rather be subject to the father of spirits, and live?” The word rather is ‘a comparative adverb that refers to what is better as compared to what is merely good’. The fatherhood of God is superior in four ways:

First, God acts as a single father over everyone. With fleshly fatherhood the mind focuses upon one authority figure in Mercy thought and then pretends that this one father out of many is the only legitimate source of universal understanding. In contrast, God the Father is a universal being, who really is the ultimate Teacher source of all existence.

Second, the kind of submission is different. The word translated subject means to place ‘under God’s arrangement’. Thus, one is not submitting to a finite person who is represented by some powerful MMN in Mercy thought, but rather submitting to the structure of a universal being represented by a TMN within Teacher thought.

Third, God is the father of spirits. Spirits interact with the mind by inhabiting and empowering mental networks. With earthly fathers, the mental networks are implicit. A good human father will teach a child universal principles, but the child believes the father because of the MMN of respect that the childish mind has for the father as a specific person. In contrast, God is Spirit (John 4:24), and inhabits the realm of spirits. Thus, God deals with people explicitly at the level of mental networks. Saying this another way, with matter-over-mind, humans have to use theory of mind to guess which mental networks are active within the minds of other people. God, in contrast, can see mental networks and deal directly with mental networks. A similar principle applies to a mental concept of God, because it will comment on all aspects of thought and behavior and not just upon what can be seen and heard in public.

Fourth, the fatherhood of God leads to life. The word translated life refers to both physical and spiritual life. Earthly fathers can provide for physical needs, but they cannot give life. God, in contrast, is a creator who can give life. However, God does not provide life arbitrarily. Instead, God is a father of spirits who provides life by transforming and then enabling mental networks. God functions primarily at the level of mental networks, but one can learn how God functions by examining the behavior of earthly fathers.

A successful democracy provides a partial illustration of the fatherhood of God. First, a democracy places everyone under the rule of law instead of being subject to the petty whims of local leaders. Second, a democracy respects Platonic Forms that represent institutions of law and order, such as Lady Justice, or The Constitution. Third, a democracy is maintained by the internal concept of a democratic government which resides within the minds of citizens. Fourth, a democracy gives people the opportunity to pursue life. I suggest that a democracy will only last as long as these four elements are present. (There may be other additional factors, but I know that these are significant.)

Verse 10 expands upon this metaphor by comparing the mindset of an earthly father with the heavenly father. Earthly fathers “disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them”. The phrase ‘for a short time’ is actually ‘for a few days’, and could be interpreted either as a short period of time, or else as a few paradigm shifts. Looking at this cognitively, MMNs of childish respect for father figures naturally start to fade when a child becomes a teenager. A teenager stops believing everything that father says and starts to question the pronouncements of parents. Alternatively, MMNs of respect for the ‘father figures’ of society will also begin to fade if society goes through too many paradigm shifts, because authority figures will be viewed as outdated and out-of-touch. For instance, it is difficult today to respect the opinion of some father figure who does not know how to use a computer or smartphone.

In addition, human fathers are being guided by subjective opinion. The word translated seemed best ‘directly reflects the personal perspectives and values of the person making the subjective judgment call’. Thus, personal opinion in Mercy thought is masquerading as universal understanding in Teacher thought. This subjective opinion is emphasized by the pronoun ‘them’, which implies that there is a multiplicity of personal opinions, each masquerading as universal understanding.

God, in contrast, “for the good”. (The NASB translates this as ‘He disciplines us for our good’, but most of these words are in italics because they are not in the original Greek.) The pronoun ‘to them’ was explicitly added when talking about earthly fathers, emphasizing the subjective nature. However, neither God nor the pronoun ‘him’ is explicitly used when talking about the fatherhood of God, telling us that subjective opinion does not enter into the picture. This is significant, because it means that human personal identity will not collide with some other personal opinion, the way that a developing teenager will collide with the opinions of parents. Instead, what matters is ‘the good’, with the definite article. (We saw a similar cognitive transition in the renaming of Sarai to Sarah.) The word translated good means to ‘combine in a way that brings a profit, especially by a concurrence of circumstances that results in benefit or advancement’. Saying this another way, God ‘causes all things to work together for good to those who love God’. Thus, instead of focusing upon personal identity in Mercy thought, the focus is upon Teacher order-within-complexity, causing things to work together in a way that brings about personal benefit.

God has an emotional reason for doing this: “so that we may share His holiness” (v.10). The adjective holy appears 235 times, and means ‘likeness of nature with the Lord because different from the world’. But the word holiness ‘as an abstract quality’ or Platonic form is only used once in the New Testament. And here a pronoun is explicitly used; it is a holiness of him. Putting these two elements together leads to a kind of subjectivity that only a universal being can exhibit. For finite humans, abstract qualities are invisible Platonic forms that summarize the essence of many specific situations or items. But God is a universal being who lives and deals with Platonic forms. As far as we are concerned, holiness is a Platonic form, but as far as God is concerned, holiness is an expression of his subjective nature. This principle is always true, but human minds are only capable of grasping it in fullness when they become sufficiently mature in a system of mind-over-matter.

This phrase is introduced with a preposition that means ‘motion into, to a particular purpose or result’. Thus, ‘for the good’ has the result of ‘share his holiness’. The verb share means to ‘lay hold of with initiative which prompts a change afterward’. In other words, God is not distributing his holiness, but instead people are aggressively trying to partake of God’s holiness and being changed as a result. That is because people are experiencing better personal results when everything works together for good, which is causing people to function in a more integrated manner that expresses greater Teacher order-within-complexity.

For instance, people today want to connect to the Internet because it is personally more convenient. But as everyone is becoming connected to the Internet, the world is becoming transformed into an interconnected society. This interconnectedness is both good and bad, because it is a physical interconnectedness that ignores the spiritual nature of humanity. (Technically speaking, the Internet is a way of using a physical computer to transfer information with many other physical computers that are physically interconnected. As this article says, “There is no Cloud. It’s just someone else’s computer.”) In contrast, verse 10 refers to a spiritual interconnectedness that respects the spiritual nature of humanity.

Verse 11 describes the sowing and reaping nature of discipline: “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful”. The word translated all ‘focuses on the parts making up the whole’. The word seems ‘directly reflects the personal perspective’, and was encountered in the previous verse. Joyful was also encountered back in verse 2 and refers to Teacher emotion. Finally, ‘for the moment’ gives the impression that the focus is upon time, but a more literal translation would be ‘for those being present’, and present means ‘to be by, be at hand’. Stated simply, when one is in a situation of experiencing discipline, then one cannot see the forest for the trees. Cognitively speaking, the focus will be upon the specific situation in Mercy thought, and not upon the general picture in Teacher thought, which means that one will not sense Teacher emotions of order-within-complexity.

What one feels instead is ‘but sorrowful’. But means ‘but instead, nevertheless, on the contrary’, while sorrow means ‘pain of body or mind, grief, sorrow’. In other words, what one notices in the midst of the situation is that surgery is being done; personal identity is feeling bad; I am being hurt. In today’s world of unconditional acceptance, this is the unforgivable crime: Nobody should be made to feel bad, and it is a crime to even bring up the topic of long-term consequences.

Verse 11, in contrast, continues beyond the immediate Mercy pain to the long-term Teacher benefits. “Yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” In the Greek, the adverb afterward is the first word in this phrase, which means ‘lastly, afterward, later’. Thus, the positive benefits happen after the situation, when Teacher thought has a chance to reflect upon the situation. A similar encounter with Teacher thought after the Mercy situation was described in Hebrews 7:1, which talked about Abraham meeting and being blessed by Melchizedek as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings.

This benefit happens ‘to those who have been trained by it’, and the word trains is not the familiar word ‘discipline’ but rather ‘conveys acquiring proficiency through practice—regular exercise with graduated resistance’. This describes the forming of a habit, which means that Server thought is gaining confidence through repetition. But Server thought is also gaining confidence, because the repetition is happening in the presence of emotional pressure. Saying this another way, a habit is being formed ‘under fire’.

This habit is described as a ‘peaceable fruit’. This is the first time that the word fruit has been used in Hebrews. Cognitively speaking, a fruit is a mental network that provides useful and pleasant content. Thus, the goal is not just to build habits, but rather to build habits that provide pleasant nourishment. This fruit is also peaceable, and peace is an expression of wholeness, ‘when all essential parts are joined together’. Saying this cognitively, the mental network of a habit forms which is pleasant for Mercy thought and expresses Teacher order-within-complexity. Most habits would not satisfy these two requirements.

This is a peaceable fruit of righteousness, and we have defined righteousness as Server actions that reflect Teacher understanding. Looking at the components of righteousness, it includes a habit because Server thought is behaving in a predictable manner. It is also a fruit if actions are being guided by an understanding of what is intrinsically good. And it is peaceable, because Teacher thought feels good when everything works together in an integrated manner.

Finally, the verb yields means ‘to return especially as a payment’. In other words, concrete Contributor thought will view this as a relationship of cause-and-effect. This is significant because mind-over-matter starts with mental networks and gradually extends to include the technical thinking of cause-and-effect. What is being described is cause-and-effect, but it is an organic form of cause-and-effect based upon mental networks, which could be described more accurately as sowing-and-reaping. Cause-and-effect typically happens immediately and automatically. For instance, if I let go of some object then it will automatically and immediately fall to the ground. Sowing-and-reaping, in contrast, takes much longer and many of the intervening steps occur invisibly. When I plant a seed in the ground, then for a long time it will appear as if nothing is happening. But if I continue to water the ground, then the plant will eventually emerge. Similarly, sowing to the spirit leaves the realm of technical thought with its connections of cause-and-effect and grows invisibly for a while before eventually returning to the realm of cause-and-effect.

If one steps back from the trees and looks at the forest, then one notices that what is missing from this entire description of God’s discipline is any force that is independent of God. As I have mentioned before, I know that it is theologically correct in many circles to state with great conviction that ‘God controls every event in the universe’, but I do not know of anyone who actually lives as if this is true. Instead, most events occur statistically due to the forces of nature, and the hand of God usually works subtly behind the scenes. In other words, at the level of specific events, the physical universe currently functions largely independently of the hand of God, who indirectly “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). This is one implication of living within matter-over-mind. In contrast, Hebrews 12 talks about God directly orchestrating events as a father, and then says that the situation was different under the ‘fathers of our flesh’.

Going further, verse 11 says that the Mercy pain of God’s discipline comes first, followed by the Teacher joy of Teacher understanding. This is usually true for the average person. But I have found for me personally that the Teacher understanding usually comes first, which is then followed by the Mercy pain that comes from applying this Teacher understanding. Western society is currently in a similar situation, because we have developed Teacher understanding by studying the natural world but have not yet experienced the Mercy pain that will come when this Teacher understanding becomes applied to personal identity through spiritual technology. But it is only possible to develop Teacher thought first through science because the natural world functions independently of both God and people. (The natural world functions independently of people because matter is over mind. And most specific natural events function independently of God because the universe has been designed to function in a statistical manner.)

Saying this another way, human free will becomes maximized when a person is faced with contradicting mental networks, between which one must then choose. In the current system of matter-over-mind, the primary conflict comes between mental networks acquired from matter and mental networks acquired from minds—including the mind of God. This conflict would disappear under mind-over-matter. Therefore, if God wished to enable free will in some individual or group, then God would have to apply discipline by temporarily showing Mercy displeasure in order to provoke long-term Teacher growth.

Revelation 21:23 describes this kind of relationship in symbolic language: “The city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” On the one hand, Teacher illumination comes directly from God the Father, and there is no longer any sun or moon to provide Teacher light through some system of Teacher thought that is independent of God. On the other hand, a small lamp of God the Son is still needed to temporarily light one’s path when experiencing the discipline of God the Father.

Weak and Feeble 12:12-13

Returning to Hebrews, verse 12 begins with a therefore, in which ‘two directions are expressed—looking backward “because” to properly look forward “therefore”’. In other words, because of what has just been said, one should respond in a certain way. The first response should be to “strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble” (v.12).

The word translated weak is only used twice in the New Testament and means ‘neglect, omit, disregard’. The other occurrence is in Luke 11:42, where Jesus tells the Pharisees that they should follow religious law in smaller issues without neglecting weightier matters of justice and love of God. I have suggested earlier that hands represent Perceiver and Server thought. If one were to live in a realm of mind-over-matter ruled by mental networks, then there would be a natural tendency to ignore technical thought with its Perceiver and Server content. Similarly, people and groups who focus on spirituality today have a strong tendency to lack intellectual rigor, running roughshod over facts and sequences. If this is already the case today, one can imagine that a society under mind-over-matter would fixate upon the study and practice of magick. In contrast, Hebrews 12 has been emphasizing the need to acquire technical content within the context of a relationship with God that is based upon mental networks.

Hands and feet are mentioned fairly often in the New Testament. However, knees are only mentioned twelve times and this is the only time that knees are mentioned in the book of Hebrews. Looking at this symbolically, legs and feet represent Teacher and Mercy thought. The knees make it possible to bend the legs. Cognitively speaking, Teacher thought naturally thinks in terms of general theories, while Mercy thought naturally thinks in terms of complete people. The knees divide the legs into two parts making it possible to bend and adjust the legs. This corresponds cognitively to splitting general theories and complete people mentally into parts, making it possible to bend and adjust the general concept to fit the specific situation. For instance, the theory of mental symmetry is fairly general, based ultimately in a diagram of mental symmetry that has only a few ‘moving parts’. However, I have found that the theory of mental symmetry has just enough detail to allow it to act as a meta-theory that can ‘bend its knees’ to explain many other theories and situations.

Verse 12 describes the knees as feeble, a word which means ‘relax, enfeeble, weaken’. This word is found five times in the New Testament and the other four instances are translated as paralyzed or paralytic. Looking at this cognitively, people under mind-over-matter would tend to lose the ability to subdivide theories and people into more specific components. Saying this symbolically, their knees would become paralyzed.

Verse 12 says that one should strengthen these hands and knees, a word which means ‘to set up right, set straight again’. This word is used three times in the New Testament, once in Luke 13:13 to describe the woman who was bent over double for 18 years and ‘made erect again’ by Jesus. The other occurrence is in Acts 15:16, where James talks about ‘rebuilding’ the tabernacle of David through the Gentiles. In both cases, a person or structure that used to be upright has broken down and is being restored to its previous condition. Similarly, one can see that technical thought would atrophy under mind-over-matter, especially during the intermediate stage of rebuilding core mental networks that has been described in the book of Hebrews. Verse 12 talks about reintroducing these skills of critical analysis once the new covenant based upon mental networks reaches the stage of extending all the way to technical thought.

Verse 13 continues with this theme of making things straight, turning to the social environment: “and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” The word translated straight comes from the same root as the word translated ‘strengthen’ in verse 12, and means ‘straight or upright’. This word is found twice in the New Testament and the other occurrence is in Acts 14:10 where Paul tells a man born lame to ‘stand upright on your feet’. The word translated paths is only used once in the New Testament, and refers to ‘the track of a wheel, hence a path’. In simple terms, this describes the ruts of a society—the paths that it habitually follows; how things are done. One can understand what is happening by looking at current society, because the questioning of deconstructionism has reached the point where the average person no longer believes in the existence of independent truth or universal natural process. When independent Perceiver facts and Server sequences become rejected, then what survives is the Server sequences of how a group of people behave. For instance, in the appendix to his book, Thomas Kuhn redefined science from a study of natural processes to a description of how a group of scientists behave. A similar but much stronger effect would occur under mind-over-matter. Society would fall into ruts, and these habitual ways of doing things would not lead anywhere but rather be like the revolving of a wheel, continually returning back to the origin.

Verse 13 instructs to make straight wheel ruts for ‘your feet’. Saying this cognitively, the restoration of rational, rigorous thought needs to be accompanied by a restructuring of the cyclical paths of society. How things are done needs to be changed to reflect the restoration of technical thought. Something similar happened during the Middle Ages because many technical skills were lost after the fall of the Roman Empire and had to be relearned after the Renaissance—a word which means ‘rebirth’. And part of this relearning meant changing how things were done during the Middle Ages.

The goal of this societal reformation is “so that [the limb] which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed” (v.13). (As the NASB indicates, ‘the limb’ is not in the original Greek.) The word lame means ‘lame, deprived of a foot, limping’. The word translated put out of joint actually means ‘turn aside from the right road, wander, forsake’, and is translated this way the other four times it is used in the New Testament. It does not make sense that a limping person or amputee would turn aside from the right road. Therefore, the Bible dictionary interprets ‘turn aside’ as a medical term meaning ‘dislocated’. However, this phrase makes sense when interpreted symbolically. In the same way that the soft sciences tend to split into schools of thought, each founded by some important person, so a society of mind-over-matter would subdivide into schools of existence, each ruled by the mind of some important person or group of individuals, and this transition was described at the end of Hebrews 9, when Incarnation handed over the running of the universe to created beings. A person who is ‘deprived of a foot’ would be someone who does not have their own integrated Teacher understanding or Mercy identity but instead acquires it from some school of existence. Verse 13 is saying that these followers will be led astray if the important individuals of society do not learn to add technical thought to their mental networks. That is because technical thought adds details, and these details can be filled in by followers. Without these details, a follower has no option but to mindlessly swallow the mental networks of a leader. Saying this another way, adding factual and procedural details makes it possible to delegate authority, making it possible for followers to develop legitimate areas of expertise within some general school of existence.

Instead of being led astray, mental ‘amputees’ who lack limbs, or the mentally ‘lame’ who cannot put their weight upon their limbs, should “rather be healed”. The word translated heal describes being healed either of physical or spiritual disease. Saying this another way, wholeness needs to be restored to these individuals. A follower who swallows a theory whole or worships a person wholesale is incapable of being mentally whole. Instead, blind faith and hero worship are both symptoms of a diseased mind. The solution is not to practice a form of socialism by eliminating all personal differences. As Jesus said in Mark 14:7, “You always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them”. Instead, the solution is to reintroduce the concept of the rule of law, in which followers submit indirectly to rulers, by following a set of Perceiver laws and Server procedures that express the details of the mental networks that govern that group.

Following a Concept of God 12:14-15

Verses 14-15 describe the attitude that is required to break through discipline to ‘the peaceable fruit of righteousness’. One needs to “pursue peace with all men” (v.14). Peace, as we know, means ‘wholeness, when all essential parts are joined together’. To pursue means to ‘aggressively chase, like a hunter pursuing a catch’. The original Greek does not say ‘all men’, but rather uses a single adjective which ‘views the whole in terms of the individual parts’. Thus, a more literal rendering would be ‘aggressively chase wholeness with every part of the whole’, and this whole would include both people and things.

I have mentioned that the soft sciences naturally divide into different, competing schools of thought, each based in the powerful MMN of some founder. A soft science turns into a hard science when the TMN of a single integrating paradigm is discovered, replacing schools of thought with established knowledge. In the current system of matter-over-mind, this integrating paradigm usually comes from the Teacher order that is inherent in the physical world. This independent system of Teacher order would no longer exist under mind-over-matter. Therefore, people would have to explicitly chase after wholeness, and this wholeness would have to be constructed one part at a time.

I have discovered to some extent what this means when developing the theory of mental symmetry, because it seems as if each aspect of the whole truth has some school of thought or religious group camped around it which takes ownership of that truth while typically rejecting many other truths. Thus, if one wishes to assemble the whole picture, one has to go after every group with an attitude of pursuing mental wholeness, find the puzzle pieces that that group is hoarding, clean these puzzle pieces of the associated cultural mental networks, and then put these various pieces together.

Going further, verse 14 says that one should also pursue “the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” The word translated see means primarily ‘to see with the mind’. Thus, ‘seeing the Lord’ would mean constructing a mental concept of God in Teacher thought. With matter-over-mind, one can acquire an internal Teacher understanding by studying the order of the universe that exists independent of God. But this route would no longer exist under mind-over-matter. Instead the only way to gain an internal Teacher understanding—to metaphorically ‘see the Lord’, would be to pursue sanctification which means ‘the process of making or becoming holy’. This is brought out by the adjective translated no one, which ‘shuts the door objectively and leaves no exceptions’.

Summarizing, matter-over-mind makes it easy to acquire a partial Teacher understanding by using science to understand the natural world because matter functions independently of mind, but it is difficult to extend this partial understanding to all of personal existence because mind is subject to matter. This leads naturally to a split between science and religion. The furthest that one can go is to follow God as completely as possible in a rational manner, while continuing to submit to natural law.

Mind-over-matter would make it possible to be guided totally by an integrated Teacher understanding, because matter would be subject to mind, but it would be more difficult to start acquiring an understanding, because matter would no longer function independently of mind when it came into contact with mind. If one wished to acquire the kind of integrated Teacher understanding that can presently be obtained by studying physical matter, one would have to follow a religious route of personally pursuing wholeness and applying understanding. And the end result would not be a universal theory of natural processes, but rather an integrated concept of God.

Verse 15 warns that it is possible to fall short of this goal: “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God.” The word translated see to it is only found twice in the New Testament and means ‘focus on, look at with real caring interest’. The other occurrence is in 1 Peter 5:2, where elders are told to ‘exercise oversight’. Fall short means ‘coming behind and therefore left out’. The phrase ‘no one’ implies that people are being left behind, but the Greek pronoun can refer to either people or things. This describes the second stage of Teacher integration. The first stage is to gather puzzle pieces and assemble them by ‘pursuing peace’. The second stage is to make sure that every puzzle piece has been placed into the puzzle, so that nothing falls short of the grace of God. Notice that this process is being driven by an integrated concept of God in Teacher thought. The danger here is that some fragmented puzzle piece will be left out of the picture and thus be unable to receive grace from God. I have mentioned that Teacher thought wants a universal theory to apply without exception. We see here the positive side of that trait, because God is the ‘Father of spirits’ who is the source of life. To be an exception to the universal rule of God in Teacher thought is to be excluded from the source of life. That is why one needs to ‘look at with real caring interest’ because one does not wish for anyone or anything to be excluded from the source of life.

I include ‘anything’ as well as ‘anyone’ because in a realm of mind-over-matter, the objects and devices of matter would be influenced by minds. A similar effect already exists with technology, because old technology can only continue to function as long as it is maintained by specialists who preserve the requisite knowledge. For instance, occupations such as farrier or cooper are being preserved by a few specialists who continue to practice these once-popular skills. Similarly, many financial computer systems continue to function because they are maintained by experts who know how to program in the ancient computer language of COBOL, which was created back in 1959.

Verse 15 also warns “that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.” This phrase begins with an adverb that means ‘not, lest’. We saw earlier that growth is being provoked by God temporarily giving disapproval in Mercy thought so that people can break through to a greater personal understanding in Teacher thought. If any fragment is left out of God’s grace, then that fragment or person will become stuck in the initial stage of receiving personal disapproval from God in Mercy thought. The result will be a root of bitterness. Bitterness emerges when Mercy thought builds itself around painful MMNs and then blames other personal mental networks as the source of this pain. Saying this more simply, ‘I hurt; you made me hurt, and I will interpret everything in the light of my hurt’. Bitterness is similar to the scourging of God, which says, ‘I hurt, God made me hurt, and I will interpret everything in the light of God’s grace’. The primary difference between these two is that bitterness looks at only the first part of the picture.

Using an analogy, when I buy fast food at a restaurant, I first give the clerk my money and then I receive the food. Bitterness focuses upon the first step: ‘You took my money!’ Learning from God follows the whole process: ‘You took my money, but eventually you gave me some food.’ The average person at a fast food restaurant does not show bitterness because he is guided internally by a Teacher understanding of the process of ordering and receiving food. In contrast, if I give my money to some person in a market in a foreign country and that person runs away with my money, then my instinctual response will be ‘You took my money.’ However, it could be that the salesperson has to get the item from some other location and that I do not understand the process of how a sale functions in that country.

Using religious language, one can see that anything or anyone that falls short of God’s grace could end up in bitterness. Verse 15 talks about a ‘root of bitterness springing up’, using the analogy of a plant starting to grow. This language of life implies that a mental network will start to form, because the mind uses mental networks to represent life.

The word translated causes trouble is a strong verb that is only used twice in the New Testament, which means ‘to vex someone, as with the force of a raging mob’. The other occurrence is in Luke 6:18, where Jesus heals those who are ‘troubled’ with unclean spirits. In other words, a root of bitterness will not just be experienced personally in Mercy thought but will expand into rage against the system, in which people blame God for hurting them. The result will be that “by it many be defiled” (v.15). ‘Many’ in the original Greek is actually hoi polloi, a phrase that refers to ‘the masses’. The word defiled means ‘tainted at the source’ in which ‘everything passing through it also becomes stained’, which tells us that the root of bitterness will grow to become a core mental network that colors all of personal existence.

There is a difference between being bitter at some person and being bitter against God. Bitterness against some person involves specific experiences and will only color part of personal life. God, in contrast, is a universal person, and when one gets bitter against God, then the bitterness in Mercy thought turns into a universal theory in Teacher thought that will color everything: It is not just that some person or group hates me. Instead, the entire system has done it to me; I am experiencing universal hatred. For instance, I have been developing the theory of mental symmetry for several decades, and during this time I have experienced consistent, repeated, widespread, unwarranted disapproval. When one experiences such widespread disapproval, then it is difficult not to become bitter against God.

Two things have helped me to avoid embracing this bitterness. First, there have always been counterexamples to the general rejection, making it possible to interact socially with the individuals who are applying mental symmetry. Such counterexamples will also stop Teacher thought from holding on to the universal theory that ‘everyone hates me including God’. Second, as long as personal understanding is growing in Teacher thought, this will provide a positive outlet for Exhorter drive and motivation, which will provide a healthy alternative to ‘rage against the system’.

The Danger of Esau 12:16-17

Continuing with Hebrews, verse 16 describes the danger of following the path of Esau, who we discussed when looking at Hebrews 11: “...that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.” The original story of Esau says that he married two Canaanite wives, but it does not describe him as immoral or godless. Therefore, I suggest that verse 16 is referring to a deeper symbolic meaning that would be especially applicable with mind-over-matter. The word immoral refers to ‘a male prostitute’, while godless person means ‘crossing a threshold which profanes because of improper entrance’. Thus, some forbidden threshold is being crossed at a fundamental personal level.

The example of Esau tells us the nature of this forbidden threshold, because he “sold his own birthright for a single meal”. This is the only time that the word birthright is used in the New Testament, and it refers to ‘the rights of the first-born’. We looked earlier at the need to dedicate one’s firstborn to God. Saying this cognitively, when Teacher understanding begins to produce personal benefits, then one must begin by establishing a mindset of being guided by Teacher understanding. Using another analogy, when one finally enters the Promised Land, then the first city of Jericho needs to be dedicated to God. Verse 16 is talking about the rights of the firstborn. When Teacher understanding begins to predict personal benefits, then the temptation will be to remain at the level of abstract Teacher understanding and not return to the world of personal Mercy experiences. Symbolically speaking, this is selling one’s birthright for a single meal, because one is letting go of the future Mercy benefits of Teacher understanding in order to gain ‘a meal’ of Teacher understanding in the present.

The original Greek emphasizes the nature of this exchange. On the one hand, Esau obtained one meal. On the other hand, he gave up ‘the birthright of himself’. The benefit will be limited to one intellectual meal because one will lose the ability to use application to extend understanding. Looking at this in more detail, science protects rational thought by eliminating subjective opinion. It is possible to ignore Mercy emotions and continue to develop Teacher understanding as long as one lives within matter-over-mind and can study the independent Teacher structure of the physical universe. However, if instead of suppressing subjective emotions one applies Teacher understanding to subjective Mercy identity, it then becomes possible for abstract Teacher understanding to become enhanced by subjective Mercy experiences. Abstract rational thought will then become assisted by intelligent intuition. Richard Feynman, the famous physicist, was able to apply this principle to his pursuit of theoretical physics. Quoting from the linked article, “The kind of imagination that takes blank paper, blank staves or a blank canvas and fills it with something wholly new, wholly free -- that, Feynman contended, was not the scientist's imagination… For Feynman the essence of the scientific imagination was a powerful and almost painful rule. What scientists create must match reality. It must match what is already known. Scientific creativity, he said, is imagination in a straitjacket.” This describes abstract rational thought that is being assisted by intelligent intuition.

Speaking from personal experience, it is the combination of pursuing an understanding of the mind in Teacher thought and following a path of personal transformation in Mercy thought that has made it possible for me to continue making progress with the theory of mental symmetry. With mind-over-matter, this combination of abstract theory and personal application would become the only option, because matter would no longer function independently of mind.

Saying this another way, if one deliberately chooses to follow the path of Esau by remaining with abstract understanding when it is possible to apply theory, then one may gain a single meal of intellectual food, but the food will then stop. This principle is already apparent today, because I have encountered many researchers who have come up with a single breakthrough and then been unable to progress further because they neglected to apply their understanding.

The underlying problem is that a finite human being lives within Mercy experiences. God lives in universal Teacher theories; humans do not. Therefore, when technical thought is used to develop some theory, and a choice is made to remain at the level of abstract theory, then one will turn mentally into a male prostitute, because one will have to acquire one’s personal Mercy experiences from some other source of understanding. I am not suggesting that all unmarried male theoreticians are prostitutes. Instead, we are looking here at the relationship between rational Teacher thought and Mercy identity. Learning to think rationally is important, but it is not the final goal. Instead, one learns to think rationally in Teacher thought so that personal identity can be transformed in Mercy thought. If one develops a rational understanding in Teacher thought and does not apply this understanding personally in some manner (and general theories can be applied in many different specific ways), then the end result will be an internal split between rational thought and personal identity.

Esau did not just sell some abstract birthright, but rather the birthright of himself. When a person sells their own birthright and acquires their personal Mercy experiences from someone or something else, then ‘a threshold is being crossed which profanes because of improper entry’. This is not a fundamental problem with today’s system of matter-over-mind, because most personal needs can be met by the independent, objective world of physical matter. But with mind-over-matter, all personal needs in Mercy thought would have to be met via some mind. (My best guess is that independent matter would not cease to exist, but rather that human minds would have the power to manipulate matter whenever humans came into contact with physical matter.)

I should emphasize that the problem does not lie with getting help from other people. Humans are—and will always remain—finite creatures who need help from others. Instead the problem lies with selling the rights of the first-born, which means coming up with something new in Teacher thought, refusing to apply this personally in Mercy thought, continuing to develop this new concept in Teacher thought, and then satisfying Mercy thought with some other source. Using an analogy, this is like a man falling in love with some woman, refusing to marry her, continuing to write love letters to her, and then satisfying his physical urges with other women. In a realm of mind-over-matter, following the path of Esau would lead to this intensity of emotional repercussions. Using cognitive language, male abstract technical thought needs to be be mentally ‘married’ with the mental networks of subjective identity.

Verse 17 adds that it is not possible to escape from this state: “For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.”

This may give the impression that God is judging this individual, but I suggest that one can explain this response in terms of cognitive mechanisms. Starting with the big picture, I have suggested that the path of personal transformation can be subdivided into the three steps of constructing a concept of God in Teacher thought, following this Teacher concept of God through righteousness, and then returning to personal Mercy experiences through rebirth, as symbolized by the example of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Verse 15 warned about the danger of getting stuck in the first stage, by clinging to bitterness and blaming God rather than constructing a concept of God in Teacher thought.

The second stage of becoming righteous is described in verse 11, which talks about building habits in order to gain righteousness. With mind-over-matter, this second stage would follow almost automatically from the first, because one would live in an environment in which behavior flowed from mental networks. Therefore, if one responded to the discipline of God in a positive manner, then one would gain an understanding of God in Teacher thought, and one would naturally become righteous merely by forming habits. This future environment of righteousness is described in 2 Peter 3:13: “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” With matter-over-mind, building habits is not enough to become righteous, because habits can also be based in a structured physical environment, while righteousness is guided by a structured concept of God. Thus, Peter instructs his present readers in 2 Peter 3:14: “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.”

The example of Esau describes the danger of getting stuck at the second stage by remaining within the abstract realm of Teacher thought instead of returning to personal Mercy experiences. With matter-over-mind, physical necessity forces the theoretician to acknowledge personal needs in Mercy thought; even the most theoretical mathematician still has to eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. With mind-over-matter, it would be possible to use one’s mind to mentally overrule such physical necessities.

Now that we have the big picture, let us look at the problem in more detail. The name Esau probably means ‘hairy’ and hair represents intuitive thought. This meaning is significant because Teacher thought does not occur in a vacuum. Instead, Teacher thought will follow implicit channels of thought that have been laid down by personal experience. Suppressing subjective Mercy emotions will eliminate the explicit impact that Mercy experiences have upon Teacher thought, but it will not remove the implicit effect that Mercy experiences have upon Teacher thought through intuition. This means that one has to continue choosing not to apply Teacher understanding, because intuitive thought will continue to guide Teacher thought implicitly in the direction of personal application. The end result is that not applying the theory will become a fundamental aspect of the theory that pervades the theory.

For instance, the original research on cognitive styles was done by my older brother Lane Friesen, and I began my work by assisting his research. In around 2003, we had a falling out primarily due to a disagreement over eliminating inadequate Mercy emotions. In brief, both my brother and I recognized that church worship is driven by inadequate subjective Mercy emotions. My brother thought that we should stop attending church, while I felt that it was important to maintain contact with subjective Mercy thought—while continuing to be guided by Teacher understanding. Since then, I have continued to develop the theory of mental symmetry, while it appears to me that my brother has become theoretically stuck. In addition, I have noticed that a desire to preserve abstract thought from being contaminated by inadequate Mercy emotions has become a fundamental principle that guides my brother’s thinking. However, I have also noticed that his thinking is still being implicitly guided by the MMNs that we both acquired growing up in a conservative Mennonite household.

Verse 17 talks about Esau wishing to inherit a blessing afterwards. The Greek word translated afterwards is only found once in the New Testament, and is a combination of ‘with, implying change afterward’, and ‘only then, emphasizing what proceeds is a necessary precursor’. In other words, Esau does some necessary first step, and then there is a change afterwards. Verse 17 describes the change that occurs after performing the necessary first step: Initially, Esau wanted to remain within abstract thought. Now Esau has changed his mind and wants to apply his understanding. Obviously, what has happened is that someone else is now applying the understanding of Esau, and Esau wants to join in. Esau did the necessary first step, because he came up with the theory that someone else is now applying. But a change has occurred afterwards because the theory is now being applied.

Looking at this in more detail, the word desired means ‘wanting what is best because someone is ready and willing to act’. Esau desires to ‘inherit the blessing’. Blessing is the noun form of the verb which means to ‘speak well of; to speak reason which confers benefit’. Saying this cognitively, blessing is a personal benefit in Mercy thought that is a result of words in Teacher thought. This describes moving from theory to application. With mind-over-matter, blessing would be based in inheritance. External benefits would flow from a transformation of the core mental networks of personal identity; one would have to be before one could have. In contrast, it is possible with matter-over-mind to receive material benefits without being personally transformed. (What typically happens is that such a person receives material benefits and then eventually loses these benefits or becomes personally corrupted by these benefits.) Verse 17 tells us that Esau satisfies the requirements of ‘being’, because he wants to inherit the blessing.

But Esau was rejected, a word that means ‘to cast away after thorough investigation; to reject after determining something is useless’. In other words, Esau is not just experiencing personal rejection. Instead, the thinking and mindset of Esau is being examined thoroughly and being cast aside as flawed. I suggest that this is because the thinking of Esau has become colored by a desire to avoid subjective contamination. (Notice how the Greek meaning does not really fit a literal interpretation of the story of Esau, but it does fit a cognitive interpretation.) For example, I have tried to evaluate the theories that my brother has developed since we parted ways, and it appears to me that they are inadequate. I think that one of the primary reasons that they are inadequate is that my brother is trying very hard to develop a theory of personality that does not appear religious, because we both know that academia regards religious belief with disdain. In contrast, I have now discovered that it is possible to analyze the biblical text cognitively in a manner that is completely different than the typical religious mindset. And if one continues along this path of cognitive analysis, it gradually becomes certain beyond reasonable doubt that the Bible contains too much Teacher structure to have emerged from the MMNs of religious ritual and absolute truth, but instead must have been penned ultimately by a meta-author who lives within Teacher universality.

Verse 17 finishes by describing how thoroughly the thinking of Esau has been affected: “...for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.” Repentance means ‘a change of mind, change in the inner man’. Found means to ‘to discover, especially after searching’, while place means ‘of place, region, or opportunity’. In other words, Esau is now explicitly searching through his mental content in order to find some internal content upon which he can build a new way of thinking that applies theory instead of avoids subjective contamination. That is because free will only becomes enabled to the extent that the mind of a person contains incompatible mental networks. Esau cannot just decide in a vacuum that he will change his way of thinking, because free will is only capable of choosing between existing alternatives. However, because Esau has consistently and repeatedly chosen to break the connection between Teacher understanding and subjective Mercy experience, he no longer possesses significant mental networks that connect Teacher understanding with subjective Mercy experience.

Instead, Esau can only go as far as ‘seeking for it with tears’. Looking at this cognitively, the eyes represent Perceiver thought building connections between Mercy experiences. That is because the mind constructs a mental map of the environment by using the eyes to scan some visual field. Going further, a tear is a liquid that flows from the eyes, and liquid represents Mercy experiences. Thus tears would symbolize Mercy experiences that result from using rational thought to categorize Mercy experiences. And tears are often generated as a result of strong Mercy emotions. These potent personal Mercy emotions are reflected in the word seeking, which means to ‘seek out by the seeker, emphasizing... the outcome intensely and personally desired by the seeker’. In other words, Esau desperately wants to go from experience to understanding back to experience, but there is a deep cognitive disconnect within his mind that prevents this from happening.

I do not know what it would take to recover from the path of Esau, but I do know that going beyond Esau to Jacob is a struggle. Genesis 32 describes Jacob returning to Canaan in order to meet his brother Esau. While Jacob is on this journey, he wrestles with an angel in order to receive a blessing from God. Wrestling with an angel implies a deep struggle within abstract thought.

The Great White Throne

Turning now to the book of Revelation, I suggest that the passage that we have just examined in Hebrews relates to the second half of Revelation 20. This passage contains several important theological doctrines that need to be examined before continuing with the book of Hebrews.

Verse 6 says “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” The word translated power actually means ‘power, authority, weight, especially: moral authority, influence’. And part means ‘part, portion, share’. I have suggested that God will hand the running of the universe over to finite creatures. Verse 6 conveys this concept. Those who have a ‘portion’ are being described as blessed (God extends his benefits) and holy (set apart to God). And they will ‘exercise dominion’ with Christ.

The ‘second death’ is defined in verse 14-15: “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” A lake is a limited body of water, and water represents Mercy thought. Therefore, a lake would represent a limited realm of fragmented MMNs. This is a significant point because the very next verse (21:1) talks about a new heaven and a new earth and explicitly states that “there is no longer any sea”. Thus, instead of having pockets of rational thought within a sea of immature MMNs, irrational Mercy thought will be limited to a lake. (Childish MMNs are irrational, but Mercy thought can become reborn with MMNs that are compatible with rational thought and Teacher understanding.) This is described as a lake of fire. I suggested in an earlier essay that a lake of fire can be compared to the way that people who are used to living in an old system respond to the introduction of a new system. For instance, when communism fell, then those who were used to living under communism no longer knew how to exist within the new uncertainty of a democratic society. Similarly, computers and the Internet have become so widespread that the old cultural thinking of living without computers is now restricted to a lake of fire, in which people are continually frustrated because they lack the mental tools to live within the new mindset.

Putting these pieces together, those who are given ‘a portion’ in the general task of running the universe will never find themselves in a lake of fire. That is because a person who is in charge of how things run can never be made obsolete by having things run in a new way, because any change in how things run will have to go through that person. Notice that this is a matter of authority. A person who has authority over how a part of the universe runs cannot be made personally obsolete by the running of the universe. This interpretation is consistent with the phrase ‘name written in the book of life’. Life is based in mental networks; a name is a label in Teacher thought that describes mental networks of life; a book is an integrated Teacher understanding composed of words and names. Therefore, ‘name written in the book of life’ would mean that one’s person forms a part of the integrated Teacher structure that is based in lasting mental networks. The word translated found means ‘to find, learn, discover, especially after searching’. Thus, this is not just a matter of opening a book and looking for a name, the way that one used to search for someone’s telephone number in a telephone book. Instead, it is a deeper matter of searching to see if the Teacher structure of personal mental networks fit into the Teacher structure of the new heaven and earth. This would be like a person who grew up under communism trying to fit their skills and expertise within a democratic society.

This does not guarantee that such a person will always have a major role in running the universe. Instead, Hebrews 10:26-31 and Hebrews 12:14-17 give the impression that some people will do a poor job of running their portion of the universe.

The standard theological interpretation is that everyone who stands before the Great White Throne automatically goes to eternal damnation. But I do not see that in the Biblical text. Instead, it says that the second death has no authority over those who are part of the first resurrection, and it says that anyone whose name is not written in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire. These are two independent statements and one is not automatically the opposite of the other. The first resurrection would apply to those who follow one of the steps of faith described in Hebrews 11 without submitting to the system of the beast (v.4). They would get to participate in the task of setting up the structure of the new heaven and earth; verse 4 describes this as ‘reigning with Christ’. As founders of the new system they would be immune to the lake of fire. They would be responsible for assembling the book of life. The second resurrection would then apply to everyone else, who would be judged by how they fit within this book of life. Anyone who failed this second test would be thrown into the lake of fire.

This distinction can be seen in any specialization or profession. The standards and requirements of a specialization are written by some group of experts. This written standard then defines the understanding and skills that are required to be accepted as a member of that specialization. Applying this to Revelation 20, the various ‘specializations’ are being written by those who have been given a part in the running of the universe, leading to a book of life. The Great White Throne then judges people by whether they are capable of being accepted as members of some specialization within this book of life. Revelation 20 supports this analogy because Verse 12 says first that books are opened, and then says that another book ‘of the same kind’ is opened, which is the book of life. Thus, all the various books of specialization are being summed up by a single book of life.

Saying this another way, the Old Testament says that the firstborn should be given a double inheritance. Those who participate in the first resurrection are the firstborn of the new heaven-and-earth. They have the double inheritance of running a part of the new heaven-and-earth as well as living within the new heaven-and-earth. Everyone else who is not a firstborn still has the opportunity to have a single inheritance of living within the new heaven-and-earth.

The original passage in Deuteronomy 21:15-17 which talks about the double portion of the firstborn is quite strange, because it mentions it within the context of having two wives—one hated and one loved. If one’s first son is born to the wife that one hates, then one must still give a double portion to that son, because that son ‘is the beginning of his strength’. In other words, the principle of the firstborn is being described as a threat. Putting this into modern language, if one becomes a specialist in some field that one personally detests, then that specialization will still define one’s name, whether one likes it or not. For instance, if I enter the army and become a specialist in killing people, then that specialization will continue to have the rights of the firstborn and define my character, even after I leave the army and enter civilian life, because it is ‘the beginning of my strength’. (We are defining firstborn here cognitively as the first profession that I learn, and not societally as some profession that I develop, or cosmically as some part of the universe that I rule. The general principle would be the same.)

Going further, the standard evangelical interpretation is that Christians will appear before the bema (judgment seat) of Christ, while non-Christians will appear before the Great White Throne. The word ‘bema’ is found twelve times in the New Testament, nine times to refer to the judgment seat of some Roman-appointed official. Only two occurrences apply the concept of ‘bema’ to God and Christians: Romans 14:10 warns against judging or despising one’s brother because ‘we will all stand before the judgment seat of God’. Similarly, 2 Corinthians 5:10 says that ‘we should be well pleasing to God because we will all be revealed before the judgment seat of Christ’. In both cases, this warning does occur within the context of Paul talking to fellow believers, but the warning does not seem to be limited to Christians, because Romans 14:11 follows by stating in strong terms the universal prediction that every knee will bow and every tongue confess to God. (And Philippians 2:9-10 makes it clear that this is a universal statement that applies to all of creation and not just to Christians.)

I think that part of the confusion is that people at the Great White Throne are being judged ‘according to their deeds’. And Protestant Christianity teaches that people are not ‘saved by works’. But 2 Corinthians 5:10 also talks about being judged according to deeds, because it explains that “each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” Thus, there does not appear to be any good reason to distinguish between the bema and the Great White Throne.

This does not mean that one is saved by works, because what matters in both cases is the internal mental network of life behind the action. In 2 Corinthians 5, deeds are being judged by whether they are ‘intrinsically good’ or ‘worthless and bad’. These same two Greek adjectives are used in John 5:28-29, where Jesus predicts that those who practice what is intrinsically good will come forth to a resurrection of life while those who do what is worthless and bad will experience a resurrection of judgment. This emphasis upon life can also be found in the description of the Great White Throne, where people are being judged according to their deeds, but then thrown into the lake of fire if their name is not written in the book of life. Daniel 12:1-2 also makes a connection between being written in a book, personal resurrection, life, and the presence or absence of intrinsic goodness, because it says that “everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued” while adding that “many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”

In each of these passages, people are not being automatically sent to hell (as the standard evangelical interpretation of the Great White Throne states), but instead a real judgment is occurring based upon whether one’s internal content is intrinsically good or worthless. This transforms the topic from a theological discussion about some nebulous future event to a focus upon what I am becoming in the present. Am I choosing today to follow a path of eternal life by building my present existence upon core mental networks of lasting value? Stating this more simply, the biblical text does not support the idea that God is glaring at humanity on the Great White Throne and saying to everyone “Go to hell!” And this is not a swear word, but rather the original damnation from which the swear word derives its emotional potency. Instead, it appears that God is trying to fit people into eternal life and people are damning themselves to the lake of fire by having chosen to build their earthly lives upon core mental networks that are incompatible with lasting life.

Revelation 20:11 provides a clue as to how this judgment might occur: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.” In the same way that people who are on a sinking ship have to enter a lifeboat if they want to stay afloat, so the inhabitants of earth and heaven would have to find personal safety within some aspect of the book of life if they wanted to avoid the lake of fire.

Looking at this judgment in more detail, if mind were over matter, then external reality would become an expression of internal content. Therefore, a person who was driven internally by mental networks of intrinsic goodness would naturally live within a physical environment of goodness. Similarly, those with worthless internal mental networks would inevitably find themselves living within a worthless physical environment. Within the current realm of matter-over-mind, the only way that people can use their minds to control matter is through the actions of the physical body. Thus, if one wants to determine how a person would behave within mind-over-matter, then the best method is to examine how a person behaves in the one area where it is currently possible to use mind to control matter, which is physical action, because humans can use their minds to control the movements of their physical bodies. (The virtual worlds of entertainment and the Internet are making it more obvious what kind of worlds people would like to live in.)

Summarizing, the judgment is examining actions done in the flesh, but the ultimate goal is to observe the nature of core mental networks. (This distinction is discussed further in the essay on 1 John.) And the only way to acquire core mental networks of intrinsic goodness is by following the path of personal transformation, a path that begins with faith in the atonement of Incarnation and leads through righteousness to transformed identity.

Returning to Revelation 20, verses 7-10 talk about Satan being released in order to deceive the nations, who “surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city” (v.9). Fire then comes down out of heaven and devours the rebels. This relates to Hebrews 12:14-15, which talks about many being defiled by a root of bitterness, because the word Satan means ‘adversary’, and the root of bitterness in Hebrews 12 views God as the adversary of personal identity. The word devour means to ‘eat till it is finished’, and food represents intellectual content. If fire comes down out of heaven to devour the adversaries, then all of the content of the rebels is being placed within a universal Teacher structure of a concept of God. This means that all of the books—including all of the rebellious books—are being placed within a single book of life.

Revelation 20:9 mentions “the camp of the saints and the beloved city”. The word camp actually means ‘camp, barracks, army in battle array’. A ‘camp of the saints’ would be a group of people organized in a military-like structure by a Teacher understanding of God. The city, in contrast, is described as beloved, a version of the verb ‘agape’. These two structures will figure prominently in Hebrews 13, where the ‘barracks of the saints’ lays the foundation for the ‘beloved city’.

A Kingdom of Words 12:18-21

The next section of Hebrews 12 compares two destinations. Two covenants were compared in Hebrews 8. A covenant describes the relationship between God and man. The comparison in Hebrews 12 is much more pragmatic and personal, because two different locations are being approached, and the passage describes what it feels like personally to approach these two destinations. Saying this more generally, the emphasis of Hebrews 8 was upon God and Teacher emotions, while the emphasis of Hebrews 12 is upon personal identity and Mercy emotions.

These verses are usually interpreted as a comparison between Judaism and Christianity, and I think that there is some validity to this interpretation. But if one looks at the details, one concludes that the passage must be talking about something more. For instance, verse 22 talks about coming to the ‘heavenly Jerusalem and to myriads of angels’. Christians may talk about this and hope that this will happen, but one can state categorically that the church has not come to either the heavenly Jerusalem or to myriads of angels. For current Christianity, this is very much in the future tense, but verse 22 refers to it in the past tense: ‘you have come’. Therefore, I suggest this passage is referring primarily to the transition mentioned in Revelation 21, which begins by describing “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God”. This correspondence also helps us to place Hebrews 12 within the timeline of the book of Revelation.

Verses 18-21 describe the old destination. Starting with verse 18, “For you have not come to a [mountain] that can be touched and to a blazing fire.” As the NASB points out, the word ‘mountain’ is not in the original Greek. Instead, the Greek word refers to what one can ‘feel, touch, handle’. Jesus uses this word in Luke 24:39 when he tells his disciples to touch his body after his resurrection. In other words, verse 18 is saying that one is not dealing with matter-over-mind, in which one can use one’s physical body to physically touch something in physical reality.

The phrase ‘blazing fire’ is repetitive in the original Greek, because fire means ‘fire, the heat of the sun, lightning’, while blazing means to ‘ignite, consume with fire’. The implication is that something has been set on fire and is burning. Looking at this symbolically, light represents Teacher understanding, while the sun represents a universal Teacher understanding. When something is being set on fire, then Teacher light is being created indirectly in a way that consumes physical matter. Putting this together, verse 18 says that one is not dealing with a Teacher understanding that grows by consuming mental networks of culture, identity, and common sense (as science has been doing for several centuries).

Verse 18 continues: “… and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind”. The word darkness is only used once in the New Testament and means ‘darkness, gloom, a thick cloud’. The word gloom also means ‘darkness, gloom’ but it specifically ‘refers to darkness so dense and foreboding it is felt’. The other four uses of this term are in 2 Peter 2 and Jude 1, where it talks about darkness as a place of judgment. Looking at this cognitively, with matter-over-mind, the light of Teacher understanding comes through understanding the structure of the physical universe which functions independently of God. When one encounters God, then this will threaten existing Teacher understanding of physical reality, leading to darkness and gloom, and this will feel personally threatening and foreboding, because a concept of God applies to personal identity while the Teacher understanding of the physical universe does not. For instance, death is currently viewed as leaving the comprehensible realm of physical matter for some unknown destination, and death itself is often personified as a dark and foreboding being. This confusion in Teacher thought is emphasized by the word whirlwind, used only once in the New Testament, which means ‘storm, tempest, whirlwind’.

Verse 19 describes the invasion of Teacher thought through words: “and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words”. This verse is filled with references to sound: trumpet, sound, voice, words, heard, addressed, word. With matter-over-mind, Teacher thought can only express itself directly through words and sound. That is because human words have no direct control over matter. For instance, I can order the tide not to come in but my words will have no effect.

Looking at this verse more detail, the word trumpet means ‘a war trumpet’. Most of the eleven usages of this word in the New Testament refer to the trumpet of God, or a trumpet sounding from heaven. In each of these cases, God is not acting as a father within creation to guide people, but rather stepping in from the outside to intervene verbally within physical matter. Verse 19 emphasizes the auditory nature of Teacher thought, because it refers to ‘the sound of a trumpet’.

It is interesting that in the book of Revelation, the word ‘trumpet’ is only found in chapters 1-9. In chapter 10, an angel with one foot on the water and one foot on the land hands a little book to the author John and tells him to eat it, representing the integrated Teacher understanding of incarnation that is mentioned in Hebrews 1. After chapter 10, God starts to intervene in a manner that goes beyond merely blasting sounds in Teacher thought.

The next phrase refers to ‘the sound of words’, emphasizing again that Teacher thought is using words. This phrase is somewhat redundant because ‘words’ mean ‘a spoken word’, while sound means ‘sound, voice’. Thus, both ‘blast of a trumpet’ and ‘sound of words’ describe the auditory manner in which Teacher thought expresses itself within matter-over-mind.

Words may have no physical power in matter-over-mind, but they do have emotional power that can affect the mind. This is described in the second half of verse 19, because “those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them”. When words have no physical power, then it is possible to avoid or reject unpleasant words, which is how those who heard the words responded. The English translation gives the impression that the audience did not want to hear any more speech, but the original Greek conveys a different impression. The word for ‘words’ at the beginning of verse 19 is rhema, which refers to the spoken word. The word for ‘word’ at the end of verse 19 is logos, which is used to describe Christ, the living word. More literally, verse 19 says that ‘those who heard spoken words excused themselves lest to them a logos be put together for a purpose’. Saying this cognitively, the audience stopped listening to words so that a TMN would not form within their minds. This describes the most common response that I used to receive when telling people about the theory of mental symmetry. They would show great initial interest, and then suddenly stop listening and refuse to discuss the subject any further.

Notice the progression in verses 18-19. The process starts with something that goes beyond physical matter. The light of Teacher understanding then intervenes in a manner that attacks existing physical structure, leading to confusion in Teacher thought. This is followed by verbal pronouncements within Teacher thought to which people respond by refusing to listen further, lest the words turn into a Teacher mental network.

Verse 20 describes the next stage in this verbal intervention: “For they could not bear the command, ‘If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.’” The word bear means to ‘carry or bring along, especially temporarily or to a definite conclusion’. And a command is more precisely a ‘commandment or injunction to distinguish’. Looking at this cognitively, Perceiver thought separates thoughts into categories by distinguishing between one thing and another. Thus, the listeners do not want to allow Perceiver thought to continue its process of dividing and re-organizing.

Looking at this command literally, Exodus 19:12-13 warns that any person or animal that touched Mount Sinai should be stoned or shot with arrows. However, Hebrews describes this in a manner that conveys a deeper cognitive meaning. Verse 20 focuses on the stoning of animals: “If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.” The word beast is ‘the generic term for wild animal… and never refers to animals used for sacrifice’. Thus, a beast would represent a ‘wild’ MMN that would not be acceptable to God in Teacher thought. The verb touch is only used three times in the New Testament and it means to ‘handle, especially to do violence, injure’. This verb was seen in Hebrews 11:28, where it talked about the angel of death ‘touching’ the firstborn. The word ‘mountain’ was implied in verse 18 but not specifically mentioned. Mountain is explicitly stated in verse 20. A mountain represents a big picture, a pragmatic Teacher theory that provides an overview of the land of rational thought. Finally, the verb stoned means literally ‘to cast stones’, combining the words ‘throw’ and ‘stone’. A stone represents a solid Perceiver fact, while a thrown stone would be a solid Perceiver fact moving through the ‘air’ of Teacher thought.

Putting this all together cognitively, if a childish MMN attacks the ‘mountain’ of rational Teacher understanding, then that MMN will be attacked by abstract Perceiver facts. For instance, when science is threatened by some superstition or childish misconception, then it typically responds by pelting the offending misconception with verbal facts. One can see why the listeners did not want to ‘allow Perceiver thought to continue its process of dividing and re-organizing’, as described in a previous paragraph. They knew that the dividing of Perceiver facts would stone their mental beasts—demolishing their childish preconceptions and comfortable fables. Thus, they stopped listening before the Perceiver facts became backed up by the TMN of a general theory.

Verse 21 adds that even Moses was terrified: “And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, ‘I am full of fear and trembling.’” The adverb so is not just a superlative but means ‘in this manner, in this way’. This tells us that Moses responded in a similar manner to the response that we have just described. The adjective terrible means ‘fearful, prompting a person to withdraw’. Thus, Moses is also being driven by negative emotions to pull back from the situation. The word sight is only used once in the New Testament and means ‘to make visible, to become visible’. The emphasis so far has been upon words in Teacher thought. Something is now emerging visibly within Mercy thought which is emotionally driving Moses to pull back. The listeners stopped listening because they did not like the effect that verbal facts were having upon childish MMNs. Similarly, Moses is being driven to pull back because of what he sees emerging within Mercy thought. Moses responds by using words in Teacher thought.

What Moses says is ‘I am full of fear and trembling’. The word translated fear is an intensified form that is only found twice in the New Testament, which means ‘frightened out of one’s wits’. The other concurrence is in Mark 9:6 in the story of the Transfiguration, where Peter ‘did not know what to answer’ because the three disciples were ‘frightened out of their wits’. It is interesting that in both the case of Peter and Moses, something becomes visible that terrifies them out of their wits, causing them to respond by saying something. Looking at this cognitively, Moses means ‘drawn from the water’. If one starts with the ‘water’ of Mercy experiences, and builds a verbal understanding in Teacher thought, then this will eventually cause something new and terrifying to emerge within Mercy thought, leading to the Teacher theory that ‘I am terrified’.

I think that this is because a purely verbal understanding lacks a Server sense of sequence and process. One can see this illustrated by the scene in the Wizard of Oz in which Toto the dog pulls back the curtain that is hiding the machinations of the wizard. The special effects of the wizard initially appear terrifying to Dorothy and her friends, but this terror vanishes when Toto reveals what the magician is doing, and all the mechanical levers that he is pulling in order to cause various things to happen. I am not suggesting that God is only smoke and mirrors. God is terrifying and understanding how God works does not lessen the power of God in any way. But if one understands how God works, then one can go beyond a Teacher theory of ‘I am terrified’ to righteousness—which acts in a manner that is consistent with how God works. Righteousness has both a carrot and a stick. The ‘carrot’ is the Teacher pleasure that comes from expressing a Teacher understanding through actions. The ‘stick’ comes from knowing deep down that violating God’s ways is like stepping in front of a moving freight train. A verbal understanding, in contrast, has no carrot to balance the stick. All that exists is the ‘stick’ of terror before an Almighty Being.

For instance, one can see this response in typical Christian theology, because the general conclusion of most Christian theologians throughout history has been that God lives in some place of terrifying holiness. Instead of constructing a rational understanding of God in Teacher thought, Teacher thought has come up with the general statement that ‘God is holy, incomprehensible, transcendent, terrifying, and awe-inspiring’. However, this is not a general theory about the nature of God, but rather a statement about the terror of personal identity. It does not say what God is but rather generalizes how scared I am.

This focus upon human inadequacy in the face of God is illustrated by the Jesus Prayer, which lies at the heart of Orthodox Christianity. This prayer says ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner’, and Orthodox Christian monks may pray this prayer many hundreds of times each night, internalizing it until it becomes repeated automatically. Notice that the real master in this prayer is my sinfulness, and Jesus the Son of God is being asked to have mercy upon my sinfulness. We saw the same focus when looking at Moses’ prayers to God, because he assumed that the Israelites were rebellious people and then asked God to have mercy upon them.

Verse 21 finishes by saying that Moses was trembling, a word that means ‘trembling with fear’. This word is used two other times in the New Testament, once in Acts 7:32 to describe the response of Moses to the burning bush, and then in Acts 16:29 to describe the response of the jailer to Paul and Silas after the earthquake that released all the prisoners. Cognitively speaking, trembling with fear is a shaking of the physical body generated by negative emotions. Saying this more generally, with matter-over-mind, words in Teacher thought can cause the Perceiver object of the physical body to quiver, but they cannot go further to transform physical matter. Speaking from personal experience, I have on occasion reached a point where I have wanted with all of my being to apply my Teacher understanding, but could not because of the implacable stubbornness of physical matter. No matter how deeply I desired, Teacher thought could only give me words and desire, and these words could not affect physical reality. As long as matter rules over mind, words will always eventually hit a brick wall. Paul talks about this brick wall in Romans 8:18-23. For instance, verse 9 says that “the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.”

This does not mean that words are useless, because words can build an understanding in Teacher thought, this understanding can turn into a TMN that transforms personal identity, and this transformation of personal identity makes it possible for God to add power to words, as described by the introduction of spiritual technology in Hebrews 2:3-4. (Normal technology uses the words of Teacher understanding to transform the physical world by rearranging natural processes. This can go amazingly far, but the brick wall of physical reality is still ever-present.)

In simple terms, God can only introduce mind-over-matter after human minds have become transformed to the point of being capable of ruling intelligently over matter. But until God chooses to intervene in such a manner, the process of personal transformation can only go so far before reaching the literal wall of physical reality.

However, I have also discovered that this wall is slightly porous. That is because the mind has a significant impact upon the functioning of one’s physical body. I am not suggesting that all sickness is within the mind. But mental health will definitely affect physical health. For instance, I have been struggling with tendinitis for many years, and have discovered that the best long-term therapy is to break through mentally to an internal state of peace and joy.

Going further, I have also found that it is possible to simulate internally what it would be like to live within mind-over-matter. This simulation requires a Teacher understanding of how the mind functions, which I have acquired from developing the theory of mental symmetry. This simulation also requires a world populated by minds. This will emerge naturally within one’s mind if one recognizes that the mind is composed of seven different cognitive modules, all of which have an inherent right to exist. Adding more detail, as a Perceiver person, I am conscious in Perceiver thought. But the other six modes of thought also exist subconsciously within my mind. Therefore, if I treat subconscious Server thought, for instance, as an imaginary person within my mind, then that part of my mind will respond by cooperating intelligently with conscious thought, like a real person. The evangelical Christian who ‘asks Jesus to live within his heart’ is doing something similar, because Jesus-in-the-heart is a cognitively natural imaginary person that is based in Contributor thought.

Interacting internally with cognitively natural imaginary persons is a simulation of what it would be like to interact with real people within mind-over-matter. And it is also a form of sowing to the spirit, because imaginary persons are based in mental networks and it appears that the spiritual realm interacts with the mind through mental networks. Thus, when one interacts with imaginary persons, then this will be viewed by the spiritual realm as a request to interact with those kind of spirits. I should emphasize that this is both a promise and a threat. If one fills one’s mind with evil mental networks, then one is implicitly requesting to interact with evil spirits. In contrast, if one fills one’s mind with cognitively natural mental networks that are consistent with mental wholeness, then this will attract spirits that are pursuing mental wholeness.

Summarizing, verses 18-21 are typically interpreted as a description of the inadequacies of Jewish law. However, if one looks at these verses in more detail, one concludes that they describe the predicament of current Christianity within matter-over-mind. In brief, the Christian message is almost exclusively a message composed of words, which can be ignored by most people because these words threaten childish MMNs. And even if one follows these words, one can only go so far before the implications become terrifying to someone who is living within matter-over-mind. This is illustrated by the response of humans to angels in the Bible, because humans usually respond to angels with terror, while the angel typically says, ‘Do not fear’. Similarly, when one reads in popular literature about humans encountering UFOs, the most common response is terror that goes beyond normal fear, because core mental networks of physical reality are being threatened.

A Kingdom of Supernatural Reality 12:22-24

Verses 22-24 describe the new destination, along with the response of people. This is usually interpreted as a description of Christianity, but it needs to be pointed out that this is a verbal comparison. Theologians are using words to compare the words and theology of Christianity with the verbal description of Mount Zion. But this passage does not talk about talking about the heavenly Jerusalem. Instead verse 22 begins by saying ‘but you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God’, and the verb ‘come’ is in the past tense, referring to an event that has physically occurred. If one looks beyond the words of theology to the facts of Christianity, one concludes that none of this has become real. Going further, the very fact that theology can only talk about the heavenly Jerusalem tells us that we are still living in verses 18-21, because the emphasis of those verses is upon talking and words and speech and sound.

There is evidence that miracles do occasionally occur. But it is also clear that miracles are exceptions to the rule, and most verbal claims about miracles do not stand up to scrutiny. Instead, one usually notices God in the hand of divine providence, with circumstances working together in improbable ways that do not directly violate the laws of nature. For instance, if I look back at the work that I have done on mental symmetry, I notice that I have repeatedly encountered the right person or the right book at the right time. This could have happened by chance, but it has happened sufficiently often to conclude with reasonable confidence that God has been guiding my path. In contrast, it seems that real miracles seldom happen on demand, forcing most preachers who try to make a career out of faith-healing to turn into charlatans.

Verses 18 and 22 start with the same verb translated ‘have come to’. Verse 18 says ‘you have not come to’, while verse 22 says ‘you have come to’. Quoting all of verse 22: “You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels.” In verse 20, the listeners did not want to listen to the message because the ‘wild beasts’ within their minds were attacking the mountain of truth. In verse 22, people have come to the mountain instead of attacking it, and the mountain now has the name of Zion. The meaning of Zion is uncertain, but it could mean either ‘castle’ or ‘dry land’. (Physically speaking, Mount Zion is a hill in Jerusalem just outside the walls of the old city. But we are looking here at the meaning of the word ‘Zion’.) A castle is a house that is built on a mountain. The implication is that MMNs of personal identity are finding a home on the mountain instead of instinctively attacking the mountain out of self-preservation. The meaning of ‘dry land’ suggests that Mercy experiences are lacking, which means that personal identity is finding a home in the ‘mountain’ of rational Teacher thought rather than the ‘water’ of cultural MMNs.

This same combination can be seen in the other descriptions. The word city can refer either to a city or to the inhabitants of the city. A city contains many houses in which people live. But this is not a human city but rather a city of a living God (‘the’ is not in the original Greek). God is based in Teacher understanding. Cognitively speaking, a living God is a God that has turned into a TMN. Physically speaking, a living God is a God who goes beyond words to actions. Like the phrase Mount Zion, a city of a living God portrays personal identity finding its home within Teacher understanding. But there is also a cognitive progression: Mount Zion describes a pragmatic Teacher understanding based in rational thought which lacks MMNs. A city of the living God describes an abstract Teacher understanding based in universal principles guided by a TMN.

The third description is ‘heavenly Jerusalem’ (‘the’ is not in the original Greek.) The name ‘Jerusalem’ means either ‘foundation of peace’ or ‘city of peace’. Peace means ‘wholeness’, which describes the personal benefits of being guided by Teacher order-within-complexity. The adjective heavenly ‘refers to the impact of heaven’s influence on the particular situation or person’. Thus, people have gone beyond living in a realm that is guided by a TMN of God to experiencing the personal benefits of being ruled by a TMN of God. Thus, a city of a living God goes beyond Mount Zion, and a heavenly Jerusalem goes beyond a city of a living God.

The final description is of ‘myriads of angels’. Angels were mentioned several times back in Hebrews 1-2, but this is the first time that angels have been mentioned since then. The word myriads means ‘an indefinitely large number, but strictly means 10,000’. Since ‘myriads’ is in the plural, this implies that verse 22 is referring to a large number and not just 20,000 or 30,000. My general hypothesis is that angels live within a supernatural realm of living words, energy, and power. In the same way that humans can express concrete thought through their physical bodies in order to manipulate physical matter, so it appears that angels can express abstract thought through their angelic ‘bodies’ in order to manipulate energy, power, and structure. Saying this more simply, when an angel behaves naturally, then a human views this as a supernatural event. I mentioned previously that miracles are currently rare. Coming to myriads of angels implies that miracles would suddenly become commonplace as an alternative way of manipulating reality. Modern technological society provides a partial illustration of what this means, because we can now perform many tasks that people living a few hundred years ago would have regarded as miraculous. And these previously miraculous tasks have become commonplace. We have not just come to a few angels but to myriads of angels. This comparison is cognitively valid, because technology is based in the manipulation of physical energy, physical power, and physical structure. Myriads of angels goes beyond spiritual technology, because one is living within a supernatural culture and not just dealing with supernatural gadgets and events. For instance, North American stores are filled with goods from China, but that is not the same as living in China surrounded by Chinese people.

Verse 22 starts with the verb ‘come near to’ and this is followed in verses 22-24 by a list of destinations. We have looked at the destinations mentioned in verse 22. Verse 23 adds more destinations: “to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.” The word general assembly gives the impression of a somber group of lawmakers, like a House of Parliament, but the Greek word is only used once in the New Testament and means ‘an assembly place where people meet for a common purpose, especially to celebrate or be festive’. Linguistically speaking, this word could stand by itself, or it could be combined with ‘myriad angels’. Thus, the NASB suggests an alternative rendering of ‘angels in festive gathering’. In either case, a new set of cultural mental networks is emerging. Previously, encounters with the supernatural frightened people out of their wits, because they threatened core mental networks of physical existence. Now many angels are showing up and people are responding with happiness rather than with terror.

This birth of a new form of personal and cultural existence is seen in the next phrase ‘church of the firstborn’. The word church means ‘people called out from the world and to God’. Thus, people are leaving cultural MMNs in order to follow the TMN of God as a group. (This means that a seeker-friendly church is linguistically a contradiction in terms, because church implies going beyond the existing culture while seeker-friendly implies adapting to the existing culture.) But this is a church of the firstborn, the same word that was used in Hebrews 11:28 when talking about the Angel of death destroying the firstborn. Thus, something new is being started; a new set of cultural MMNs are coming into existence. This firstfruit is being dedicated to God in Teacher thought in order to establish the mindset of a new society.

The next phrase describes the nature of this new society: “who are enrolled in heaven”. The word enrolled means ‘enroll, inscribe in a register’ and is used four times in the New Testament, three of these times in Luke 2 to describe the census of Caesar Augustus during the birth of Jesus. I have used the analogy of enrolling in God’s school to illustrate becoming a Christian. This phrase uses the same analogy, because people are being ‘enrolled in the heavens’ (the original Greek is in the plural). But enrolled in the heavens goes beyond enrolling in a school, because a school uses primarily words to teach a word-based understanding. In contrast, these individuals are being enrolled in the heavens, a realm of existence that goes beyond physical reality. But the idea of justification is still there. In the same way that a student who enrolls in a school acquires the official Teacher status of student while still having to learn all of the material that is taught in school, so a person who is enrolled in the heavens would acquire the official Teacher status of ‘living in the supernatural’ while still having to learn what it means to live within the supernatural. The word ‘heavens’ in the plural implies a multiplicity of supernatural regions, and not just some vague realm up in the sky. Again there is a cognitive progression, because the firstborn are now being enrolled in a school of new existence.

The next phrase is “to God, the Judge of all” (v.23). A judge is a person who ‘makes a determination of right or wrong, especially on an official legal standard’. The word all is not a vague statement of generality but rather ‘means all in the sense of each and every part that applies’. Putting this together, the judgment of God is going beyond a general judgment to apply to all of the specific details. This detailed judgment can be seen in the word ‘judge’, which is guided by some official legal standard that goes beyond vague emotional sentiments of love and hate. Looking at this cognitively, this describes a form of technical thought re-emerging within the new society of the firstborn. With matter-over-mind, technical thought acquires its content from the independent detailed structure of the physical universe. Here, the detailed structure is coming directly from God, who is judging in a technical manner.

This may sound like a trivial transition, but I suggest that this is because the idea of God as judge has become a largely empty statement today. On the one hand, the judgment that one experiences from God through natural law is typically associated with ‘Nature’ and not with God. On the other hand, religious leaders have historically told people what to do and then claimed that they are speaking on behalf of God and that God will judge those who do not follow their commands. Instead, verse 23 talks about mental networks of personal authority actually becoming integrated within the TMN of a universal concept of God, because people are not just talking about God as judge but rather coming ‘to God the judge of all’.

This concept was mentioned a few paragraphs back when I talked about the ‘stick’ of righteousness. When one really grasps that God is Judge of all, then one sees the progression of history as a detailed, interacting plan being guided by God, and one becomes terrified of the consequences of going against that plan, because that would be like stepping in front of a cosmic freight train. This idea of righteousness having both a ‘carrot’ and ‘stick’ is conveyed by Paul in Romans 11:22 within the context of either cooperating with or else opposing God’s cosmic plan of salvation: “Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.”

The next phrase in verse 23 describes the ‘carrot’ of righteousness: “and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect”. My general hypothesis is that the mind interacts with the spiritual realm through mental networks. Therefore, ‘to the spirits’ describes an interaction that is happening at the level of mental networks. This spiritual interaction is happening with ‘the righteous made perfect’. ‘Righteous’ describes personal behavior that is guided by the TMN of a concept of God, and made perfect means ‘working through the entire process to reach the final phase’. Using the analogy of the school, the firstborn who were enrolled in the new school are now graduating. They have gone beyond being officially enrolled in the heavens to being internally guided by core mental networks that are an expression of the heavenly. Using theological language, they have gone beyond justification to sanctification. Using the analogy of the carrot and the stick, they do not have to fear the ‘stick’ of God’s judgment because they are being guided internally at a gut level by the ‘carrot’ of righteousness.

Verse 24 concludes by talking about a new covenant: “and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.” The word new means ‘new on the scene, new in time… what was not there before’, and this is the only time that this version of ‘new’ is used in the book of Hebrews. This, combined with a reference to Jesus, the human side of Incarnation, indicates that something is changing within the concrete world of space-time. In Hebrews 8:8 God said that he would bring to completion a new kind of covenant. In Hebrews 12, people are actually coming to a new covenant. Using the school analogy, Hebrews 8 talks about a new school curriculum being instituted, while in Hebrews 12, people are graduating from this new school. Jesus is described as the mediator of this new covenant, someone ‘in the middle who guarantees the performance of all the terms stipulated in a covenant’, the same noun that was used in Hebrews 8:6. However, the mediator was described in Chapter 8 in abstract general terms as a high priest in the heavens and the name Jesus was not mentioned anywhere in Hebrews 8, whereas Hebrews 12 talks specifically about Jesus being the mediator, again implying that one has descended from abstract Teacher theory to concrete Mercy experiences.

Verse 24 also refers to ‘sprinkled blood’. The word sprinkling means to ‘cleanse ceremonially by sprinkling’. It is used twice in noun form and four times as a verb, and five of these six times are in Hebrews 9-12. Verse 24 concludes by saying that this blood speaks better than the blood of Abel. This is a strange statement, because blood does not speak. But this sprinkled blood is saying ‘what is better because more fully developed’ than that of Abel.

The story of Abel was mentioned at the beginning of Hebrews 11, and we interpreted this as going beyond Mercy thought to Teacher-based righteousness through acts of altruism. If blood represents MMNs falling apart, then ‘sprinkled blood’ would represent a correction to MMNs that brings them in line with the TMN of God. Altruism does this by explicitly choosing to follow God rather than men. This blood ‘speaks’ because letting go of MMNs in an altruistic manner provides direction to Teacher thought, which is based in words.

I suggest that the better way will be explained in the coming verses and relates to the idea of shaking. This concept was first seen back in Hebrews 7, where God swore-an-oath by the indestructible life of Jesus. Something that is indestructible cannot be shaken.

Shaking the Heavens and Earth 12:25-29

The next few verses will compare shaking the earth with shaking both the heavens and the earth. Altruism is capable of ‘shaking the earth’, because it follows Teacher thought regardless of the effects that this has upon the rational ground of normal life with its Mercy experiences. But altruism does not ‘shake the heavens’ because it is guided by the heavens of Teacher thought. It stands upon the heavens in order to shake the earth.

An indestructible life is capable of shaking both heaven and earth because it redefines the concept of Teacher generality. I mentioned previously that Teacher thought comes up with a general theory by choosing some specific element and then examining everything else in the light of this chosen element, somewhat like picking a commoner off the street, crowning that commoner, and then seeing how well that commoner-made-king performs as a monarch. A valid general theory is simply a commoner-made-king who survives on the throne without being toppled. Thus, a general Teacher theory could also be viewed as an indestructible element around which everything else flows. The indestructible element provides the order, while everything that flows around it provides the complexity. The end result is order-within-complexity. Looking at this neurologically, recent evidence suggests that the left inferior frontal cortex performs precisely this kind of function, by setting a context and then focusing upon some critical element within this context. (The right inferior frontal cortex performs a similar kind of function for Mercy thought.)

Defining a general Teacher theory as many adjustable elements surrounding an indestructible core makes it possible to shake the heavens of Teacher thought by shaking the adjustable elements while holding on to the indestructible core. From the perspective of finite creatures, following the example of the indestructible core provides an alternative to altruism, because one is realigning one’s behavior to be more consistent with eternal principles. This new alternative was described in Hebrews 10:19-25.

Now that we have looked at the big picture, let us continue with the book of Hebrews, starting with verse 25: “See to it that you do not refuse him who is speaking.” The verb translated see to it means ‘to see something physical, with spiritual results’. This implies that a visible example now exists that can be seen and followed. This visible return of a physical expression of Jesus the God/man was described in Hebrews 10. Refuse is the same verb that was used back in verse 19, when the listeners refused to hear any more words. But what is being refused is different. In verse 19, the emphasis was upon rejecting words. In verse 25, the words are being spoken by a person and ‘the speaking’ is being rejected.

The previous word proved inescapable: “for those did not escape when they refused him who warned [them] on earth...” (v.25). The word escape means ‘to escape’ and implies something localized that one can run away from. This verb was used back in Hebrews 2:3 to talk about attempting to escape the introduction of spiritual technology. Refused is the same verb used earlier in this verse and back in verse 19, which means ‘make excuse, refuse, decline, shun, avoid’. Thus, someone is speaking and people are refusing to listen further by avoiding the speaker. This is one step beyond avoiding the subject. What is being avoided is “him who warned on earth” (‘them’ is not in the original Greek). The word translated warning means ‘to admonish on the basis of a valid standard, what has true worth’, and is a business term. Saying this cognitively, concrete Contributor thought is guided by value. Statements about value are being rejected. In verse 19, people did not want factual words to be backed up by the TMN of an integrated understanding. Here, people do not want personal behavior to be affected by the MMNs of Platonic forms, because value is ultimately determined by Platonic forms such as genuineness, beauty, endurance, functionality, usefulness, or simplicity. This warning is being made ‘on earth’, which means that it is based in rational facts about reality. Putting this together, Teacher thought is coming up with a rational understanding of reality, this rational understanding is leading to the formation of Platonic forms in Mercy thought, and people do not want their personal goals to be shaped by the values of these Platonic forms. This describes the situation today, because many people talk about values and ideals, but it is generally considered naïve and unrealistic to allow such values and ideals to guide everyday behavior (which means in practice that values and ideals tend to be shaped by the latest trends in social media).

This is then compared with the new situation: “much less we who turn away from Him who from the heavens” (I have eliminated the words in italics that are not in the original Greek). People are not trying to escape but rather attempting to turn away from, which means ‘turn away from, emphasizing the personal element involved with turning away or rejecting’. Again one sees a more personal version of the rejection occurred in verse 19. The word ‘warning’ is not repeated in the second phrase. Instead the emphasis is upon the source of this new warning, who is described as ‘from the heavens’ (‘heavens’ is in the plural in the original Greek).

Putting this into context, verses 22-24 described a new way of living guided by personal existence in heaven. This new existence from the heavens is first being presented as an alternative, a new way of living that is guided by eternal value. Thus, when it first shows up, it is possible to ignore this new way of living. (This new way of existence is similar to—but goes far beyond—the spiritual technology that was described in Hebrews 2.) Using normal technology as a partial illustration, the consumer society first appeared in about the 1880s, when many laborsaving gadgets were invented for the home. These initial gadgets were quite physical and ‘earthy’, typically made out of solid wood and cast-iron. However, these gadgets eventually led to a consumer revolution that transformed concepts of value. Society is currently going through a second version of consumer revolution, this time based upon the computer. Computers are more personal, in the sense that they function as mechanical minds. They are also more abstract and ‘heavenly’, because they implement fragments of thought and logic. Verse 25 is saying that if the consumer revolution of the 1880s was inescapable with its clumsy physical devices, then how can one turn away from today’s computer revolution.

Verse 26 then turns to the topic of shaking, which was discussed a few paragraphs back. “And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.’” The two verbs translated shook and shake have slightly different meanings. The first verb saleuo describes the shaking that comes from the action of stormy wind, while the second verb seio refers to shaking from a violent concussion, such as from an earthquake. Looking at this cognitively, the previous shaking came from the ‘air’ of Teacher words, which the passage explicitly states by saying that ‘His voice’ shook the earth. Teacher thought came up with a verbal understanding of rational existence and this turned into a TMN which emotionally threatened existing MMNs, the way that a strong wind threatens existing physical structures.

Verse 26 promises a new and more thorough shaking, one that will be more like an earthquake than a hurricane. The starting point is still words in Teacher thought, because ‘He has promised, saying...’ But the shaking is not coming from the words themselves. Instead, the words promise that ‘I will shake’, and the pronoun ‘I’ is explicitly in the original Greek. This new shaking will include both ‘the earth and the heaven’ (both definite articles are present and ‘heaven’ is in the singular). This implies both a more thorough and a more fundamental shaking.

Verse 27 describes the nature of this shaking: “This expression, ‘Yet once more’, denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.” The word once more means ‘once, once for all’, which means that this will be the final shaking that will not need to be repeated. The two words ‘shaken’ are both the first verb saleuo which means ‘shaken by a wind’, telling us that the source of the shaking is God in Teacher thought. But notice that God this time is not just saying words that shake, but rather promising that he will personally shake.

Looking at this cognitively, words imply rational content, because all words have meanings that are acquired initially through interaction with the physical environment. This new shaking is still coming from Teacher thought but it goes beyond words to something more fundamental, based upon what can be shaken and what cannot. When Teacher thought rethinks everything based upon what is solid and what is not, then I suggest that Teacher generality is being redefined in terms of what survives.

Back in Hebrews 8, God swore-an-oath by the indestructible life of Jesus. What started back then with Jesus is now reaching a conclusion, because everything is being shaken to determine what is indestructible. The word removing is used three times in the New Testament, only in the book of Hebrews, and it means ‘change, transformation, removal’. The other two uses are in Hebrews 7:12, which talks about the change of law that happens when there is a new priesthood, and Hebrews 11:5, which talks about Enoch being ‘taken up’ to heaven. Thus, the result of this cosmic shaking is not to destroy existence but rather to transform it.

Looking briefly at the larger picture, the verb ‘shaken by a wind’ is also used in Matthew 24:29 (and the parallel passages in Mark 13 and Luke 21) to describe what I call the theoretical return of Jesus which leads to the start of spiritual technology. All three of these passages say that ‘the powers of the heavens will be shaken’, with ‘powers’ and ‘heavens’ both in the plural. These passages do not say that the heavens themselves will be shaken. Instead, the shaking will apply to the powers that inhabit the heavens. My hypothesis is that angels live within the heavens and have Perceiver powers rather than Server strength. (They live in Server sequences and ‘move’ using Perceiver thought, just as humans live in a realm of Perceiver objects and move using Server actions.) Thus, Matthew 24 is describing a major upheaval that will be experienced by the angels who live within the heavens. Consistent with this, Revelation 10 talks about the unveiling of an integrated theory that bridges objective land and subjective sea, corresponding to Hebrews 1. Revelation 11 describes the partially successful verbal proclamation of this theory, which is then followed by a war in heaven in Revelation 12. The ‘shaking of the powers of the heavens’ would correspond to this war in heaven in which Satan is cast down from heaven to earth. This is then followed in Revelation 16 by the seven bowls of wrath which shake the earth based upon the revolution that has occurred in the heavens. The shaking of the heaven and earth begins in Revelation 20:11 with the earth and heaven fleeing away from the face of him who is sitting on the Great White Throne, and culminates in the new heaven-and-earth described in Revelation 21:1.

Verse 27 explains what kind of things will be shaken: “ of created things”, and created does not refer explicitly to the creation of God but rather simply means ‘make, manufacture, construct’. And ‘as of’ is a comparison which means ‘as, like as, even as’. In other words, things are being shaken the way that one shakes manufactured items to determine how solidly they were constructed. (Many of the English translations render this verse in a way that is consistent with this interpretation.)

The goal of this shaking is “so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain” (v.27), and this is an accurate translation of the original Greek. Notice that this is a positive goal. The purpose is not to shake everything into oblivion, but rather to test everything to determine what cannot be shaken. That is why this shaking is taking place at the end of Hebrews 12. People have been given the opportunity to rebuild upon a solid foundation in the previous verses. Anything that is not solid is now being eliminated. We saw a similar two-step process with previous situations: First, Teacher thought expands a theory by applying it to more situations. Second, Teacher thought eliminates any exceptions to the general rule. These two sides to the shaking can be seen in the judgment of the Great White Throne in Revelation 20. On the negative side, earth and heaven are fleeing away, indicating a shaking of what is not solid. On the positive side, the book of life is being opened, indicating a new foundation based in unshakable personal existence. The end result is that anyone who cannot find stability within the book of life ends up in the lake of fire.

The end result is a kingdom that cannot be shaken: “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken” (v.28). A kingdom is ‘the realm in which a king sovereignly rules’. Stated cognitively, it is a physical and personal illustration of Teacher order-within-complexity, with the king corresponding to a general theory that rules over many subjects. This kingdom is received, which actually means ‘to take by showing strong personal initiative’.

The NASB translates the next phrase as “let us show gratitude”, but the original Greek actually says ‘we might have grace’, and most English translations render this phrase as some version of having grace. Grace is God in Teacher thought helping people in Mercy thought.

Putting this all together, God is redefining Teacher generality to be based upon that which is unshakable, and everything is being shaken by the wind of Teacher thought to test what survives intact. Anything—or anyone—that does not survive will be forced to obtain grace from God through that which is unshakable. Similar to the situation in a hurricane, everything that is vulnerable will have to be sheltered within some stable structure if it is to survive.

The next phrase describes why God would take this step: “by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe”. The phrase offer service means ‘to render technical, acceptable service because specifically qualified’. And acceptable means ‘well-pleasing because fully acceptable’. If God builds in Teacher thought upon what is solid, and if everything that can be shaken is forced to receive grace from God through that which is solid, then people have no choice but to serve God in a way that is pleasing to God, because personal existence itself will depend upon living within God’s structure of order-within-complexity. This attitude is illustrated by the word reverence, which ‘is illustrated by a person carrying a priceless Persian vase across the room’. Like the Persian vase, existence itself depends on being careful. This attitude of fearing destruction is also conveyed by the word translated awe, which means ‘an excessive fear or dread of losing’ and ‘is always used negatively in the New Testament’. (Again we see the ‘stick’ side of righteousness. But here it takes the more positive form of destroying what is valuable rather than being crushed by God’s plan.)

Verse 29 concludes “For our God is a consuming fire”. In both verses 28 and 29, the word ‘God’ is preceded by the definite article: ‘the God’, emphasizing the fact that there is no alternative to the authority of the one and only God. Verse 29 personalizes this by specifically referring to ‘the God of us’, indicating that this monotheism is not just being stated as an abstract doctrine but rather being personally experienced. The word consuming is an intensified form that is only used once in the New Testament, which means ‘to consume utterly, wholly’. This makes it clear that any form of personal existence apart from what is solid will end.

This does not mean that the ungodly will be personally annihilated. Mark 9:42-48 describes hell as a place where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched’. Thus, I think that hell will be a place where people are forced to maintain their personal existence by clinging to unpleasant sources. This happens cognitively with mental networks that are composed of unpleasant experiences. Holding on to the mental network leads to pain, while letting go of the mental network leads to fragmentation. As far as I can tell, people will always choose to avoid fragmentation even at the cost of pain; they will cling to what is solid and familiar, even if it makes them feel bad. The word translated reverence is only used four times in the New Testament. It is also found in Revelation 21:8, which says that “the cowardly and unbelieving… will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone”, consistent with the idea that some will be forced to avoid fragmentation by remaining within an unpleasant environment.

Both Hebrews 12:28 and Revelation 21:8 talk about being cowardly. The difference between these two appears to be in how one deals with this cowardice. Cowardly is the first trait mentioned in Rev. 21:8, as opposed to the previous verse which promises an inheritance to those who overcome. In contrast, Heb. 12:28 starts by talking about receiving an unshakeable kingdom and serving well-pleasing to God; the verse ends by adding the postscript ‘with reverence and cowardice’. In Rev. 21:8, the fundamental attitude is one of personal cowardice, while in Heb. 12:28 the fundamental attitude is serving in a solid kingdom—without trying to be strong as an individual.

We have looked at the negative results of cosmic shaking. The positive reason for rebuilding upon what is solid is that it brings stability to Mercy thought. Teacher thought can be personally threatening. When Teacher thought tests out some new theory, then this has massive repercussions for the rest of the mind. I refer to this type of thinking as ‘interpreting the elephant in the light of the gnat’. When Teacher thought comes up with a new theory, it feels as if some gnat has suddenly become larger than an elephant and that all elephants have been shrunk to the size of gnats. If Teacher thought holds on to what cannot be shaken, then finite creatures can have confidence that God will not suddenly turn everything upside down. This is not just a theoretical statement. If Teacher thought demands the freedom to continually throw out old ideas in order to come up with new theories, then it becomes impossible for the rest of the mind to build anything solid, because at any point in time a massive shaking could occur that will require massive cleanup and rebuilding.

Personal Interaction in the New System 13:1-4

Hebrews 13 describes what it is like to live within this new system. As usual, this does not mean that Hebrews 13 applies only to the future, because this new system is built upon eternal principles. However, I suggest that Hebrews 13 is written in a fashion that applies most clearly to ‘the new heaven and earth’.

Before we look at Hebrews 13, I need to make some comments about Revelation 21-22. I have been viewing these two chapters as a static description of the end result of God’s plan, which means that once the New Jerusalem descends from heaven to earth, then the story is over, somewhat like the end of a fairy tale. But Hebrews 13 implies that there is still another chapter to the story after the appearance of the New Jerusalem. And if one examines Revelation 21-22 in this light, then there are strong indications that these two chapters are describing a process and not just an end state.

Revelation 21 does not actually say that the New Jerusalem has arrived upon earth. Instead, verse 2 says that it is ‘coming down out of heaven from God’, and this same Greek phrase is repeated in verse 10, where it is still coming down out of heaven from God (in both cases the verb tense is a present participle). Going further, verses 1-8 say nothing about the city itself but rather talk about a new relationship between God and people. Verses 9-14 give an external description of the city, verses 15-20 provide a technical description of the foundation of the city, and one has to wait until verses 21-27 before anything is said about the inside of the city.

There is also a progression in terms of God living with people. Revelation 21:3 describes this using the temporary language of a tent or tabernacle: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and he will tabernacle among them.” In contrast, the beginning of Revelation 22 is describing something that is more permanent than just living in a tent, because ‘the throne of God and of the Lamb’ is in the city (v.3), and a river of the water of life is coming from the throne of God and the Lamb down the middle of the main street (v.1-2).

Finally, I have referred several times to Revelation 21:23, which talks about the glory of God illumining the city and the lamb being a lamp. In contrast, Revelation 22:5 says that “they will not have need of the light of a lamp”, telling us that the situation has now changed. In Revelation 21, a lamp of Contributor thought was still required when making transitions through the shadows, but this requirement is no longer present by Revelation 22.

The book of Revelation still seems to end with a ‘they will live happily ever after’ but this is found in Revelation 22:5, which says that “they will reign for ever and ever”.

Having made these comments, let us now turn to Hebrews 13. Verse 1 says, “Let love of the brethren continue”, using the word philadelphia, which means brotherly love. Christians talk a lot about brotherly love, but this is actually the only time that this word appears in the book of Hebrews. ‘Philadelphia’ is based on ‘phileo’, a word for love, but neither phileo or philos (friend) are found in the book of Hebrews. (‘Agape’ is used twice, in 6:10 and 10:24.) The Bible dictionary explains that ‘the root phil- conveys experiential, personal affection’ while ‘agapao focuses on value-driven love’. This tells us that it is important at this stage for people to interact emotionally in a positive manner at an experiential level. Compare this with the previous verse, which described God as a consuming fire. Looking at this physically, when one is in the middle of a hurricane and a fire starts, then it is very important for people to cooperate at an experiential level, because their very survival is at stake. Saying this another way, a city is based upon social interaction. Therefore, if the New Jerusalem is starting to descend from heaven at this point, then it is imperative to build a new form of social interaction.

Verse 2 can only be described as strange. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Stories of angel encounters have entered modern myth, and it is possible that some of these stories are true, but I have never read of hospitality being a door that enables angel encounters. Instead, angel encounters invariably seem to be in response to some deep emotional or physical need. One could point to the story in Genesis 18 of three men visiting Abraham as an example of entertaining angels by showing hospitality to strangers. However, Abraham seems to be quite aware that his guests are not normal humans. And it also appears that the doorway between the natural and the supernatural was more open during that time than it is today.

Similarly, I suggest that this verse makes most sense in the context of a future period of mind-over-matter when the walls separating heaven from earth have been eliminated, as described at the end of Hebrews 12. Saying this another way, if both the earth and the heaven are shaken in order to determine what remains, what survives at the end will contain a combination of earth and heaven, and this combination of heaven and earth can be seen both in Hebrews 12:22 as well as in Revelation 21.

Verse 2 also builds upon verse 1, because verse 1 talks about ‘love of brethren’ (philadelphia), while verse 2 mentions ‘love of strangers’ (philoxenia). The verb neglect means ‘to overlook, especially the effects that go with failing to notice’. Thus, verses 1-2 are saying: ‘Experientially love your friends but do not neglect to love strangers, because there are consequences’. The consequences are that “some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Without knowing means to ‘do so unconsciously, unknown to myself’. Entertain means to ‘entertain a stranger, receive as a guest’, and comes from the same Greek root (xenos) as the ‘stranger’ in ‘love of strangers’.

Looking at this cognitively, I suggested at the beginning of Hebrews that angels represent abstract technical thought. Thus, this passage is simply saying that going socially beyond one’s comfort zone can lead occasionally to new abstract insights, and history is full of stories of scientific breakthroughs starting with chance meetings between experts in unrelated fields at social occasions. In other words, if one interprets angels as abstract technical thought, then this verse is describing a universal principle.

Going further, if mind were to rule over matter, and if Teacher understanding itself became based in people and concepts that could not be shaken, then social interaction with strangers would become the primary means of doing research. Going further, if the barrier separating heaven and earth were to break down, then social interaction with strangers would become a valid means of abstract research, because both humans and angels would be inhabiting the same joint realm of ‘unshakable people and concepts’.

Verse 3 is also somewhat strange if one looks at it purely literally. It begins by saying, “Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them.” Hebrews 10:34 talked about ‘showing sympathy to the prisoners’, which implies some sort of emotional response, but verse 3 merely instructs to ‘actively remember’ the prisoners, which is the sort of thing that one does when standing silently during Remembrance day, a practice that started with three minutes and then got pared down to a two-minute silence, or even a moment of silence, typically interpreted as one minute long. But this active remembering is supposed to be ‘as though in prison with them’. The word as means ‘like as, even as’, which suggests that one situation is similar to another. The word translated ‘in prison with them’ only exists once in the New Testament, and means ‘to bind closely together, like prisoners are in jail’. This is not necessarily an emotional bond, but rather one of similarity, because prisoners who are bound together have no choice but to stay together and behave in a similar manner, regardless of how they feel towards one another.

Looking at this cognitively, much of my recent research has consisted of deliberately ‘thinking about prisoners as if one is closely bound together’. A person becomes a mental prisoner by becoming bound within some limited paradigm. I have found that it is possible to use the theory of mental symmetry to explain such theories by looking for cognitive similarities, based upon what parts of the mind are being used and how are they interacting. Symbolically speaking, one is deliberately thinking about the prisoner as if personally bound together.

The primary purpose of this research has been to bring ‘heaven down to earth’. Mental symmetry provides a general Teacher theory that can explain the ‘heaven’ of God and religion. But it needs to come down to the ‘earth’ of human experience, which means comparing it with existing human ‘mental prisons’ in order to find similarities. A similar principle applies whenever one is descending from the ‘heaven’ of abstract theory down to the ‘earth’ of concrete application.

This concept of bringing a theory down to earth is extended in the second half of verse 3: “...and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.” The word ill-treated means to ‘treat evilly, hurt, torment’, and is only found twice in the New Testament. The other occurrence is in Hebrews 11:37 in the section that we skipped, which talks about heroes of faith being ‘ill-treated’. This phrase begins with the same comparative adverb that means ‘as, like as’. The preposition in means ‘in the condition in which something operates from the inside’. And the word translated body refers directly to ‘the physical body’. Thus, a more literal translation would be ‘like as you also being in the condition of operating inside a body’. Using psychological language, ‘Think about those who are experiencing painful MMNs by comparing this with your experience of being embodied’.

If this passage does correspond to Revelation 21, then many individuals who have existed for a long time as disembodied souls within heaven will be re-discovering what it means to live within a physical body as the new Jerusalem descends from heaven to earth. Similarly, whenever one re-descends to concrete reality after having spent time in abstract theory one re-discovers what it means to live within the physical body in the physical world.

This verse seems to be pointing out two possible errors that need to be avoided. First, one should not ignore human suffering but rather remember those who are being mistreated. Second, one should not become emotionally overwhelmed by the human suffering of others but rather apply abstract theory guided by personal experiences of living within a physical body. One finds this combination being described in Revelation 21:3-4. On the one hand, verse 3 says that “the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them”, implying that the abstract Teacher understanding of God is now living with humanity. On the other hand, verse 4 says that “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes… for the first things have passed away”. This implies that people will be crying and that God will respond by acknowledging these emotions while making things new.

What is often done instead is to identify with those who are suffering guided by common mental networks. For instance, someone who has cancer can identify with others who have experienced cancer. But that kind of identification leads to tribalism and social activism. Instead of bringing heaven down to earth, heaven is being corrupted by earth. What is being described here is subtly different. Instead of identifying emotionally with others guided by common MMNs, one thinks carefully about the emotional experiences of others, guided by what one has learned from living in a physical body. This describes the approach that I have tried to use with mental symmetry. On the one hand, my research focuses upon emotional topics, because the mind is ultimately guided by emotions. But my methodology is to use my understanding of how the mind works and how it interacts with the body to understand what is happening within people’s minds. The end result is to bring the heaven of abstract Teacher theory down to the earth of deep personal Mercy feelings.

When I carry out such analysis, my primary goal is not to convince other people—though I am happy when people are convinced. In fact, when others have become aware of my analysis, the typical reaction has been rejection, even when I attempt to present this analysis in a gracious manner. But whether the analysis is accepted or rejected, I have found that applying abstract theory to subjective experience is a very effective way of bringing heavenly theory down to earthly experience.

This provides a possible explanation for 1 Peter 3:19, which says that Christ “went and made a proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient.” The theological discussion about this verse typically centers upon how these spirits responded and whether they were capable of experiencing salvation. But that is not the point of the verse, because the verb proclamation means ‘to preach a message publicly and with conviction’, and 1 Peter 3 does not say how these spirits respond to this proclamation. What really matters is that the general message of Christ is being extended by proclaiming it at the spiritual level of mental networks to those who are in prison.

Looking at this in terms of mind-over-matter, we quoted Swedenborg earlier suggesting that one travels within heaven by forming a clear mental picture of one’s desired destination: “If you want to visit somebody at a distance, all you have to do is to bring yourself temporarily into harmony with their state, and you find yourself traveling towards them.” With mind-over-matter, a spirit in prison would be physically trapped within some small location. Visiting this location might not free the spirit from prison, but it would add this puzzle piece of existence to the big picture of heaven reigning on earth. In other words, it is easy to say in an overgeneralized manner that God rules over all of human existence. But this theological statement only becomes true in fact to the extent that every location is visited and the rule of God proclaimed.

Matthew 24:14 describes this same principle within the context of the theoretical return of Jesus: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” This verse is typically interpreted as sending missionaries to every tribe and country, and there is some truth to this interpretation. However, I suggest that this verse goes beyond translating the Bible into every language to constructing a universal Teacher understanding of Christianity that extends to every aspect of human existence. Consistent with this, the noun translated end does not mean destruction or shutting down but rather ‘consummation, end goal, purpose… unfolding one stage at a time to function at full-strength’.

Returning to Hebrews 13, verse 4 talks about marriage: “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled.” This is the only mention of marriage in the book of Hebrews. The NASB gives the impression that the fundamental topic is the institution of marriage, which is supposed to be respected by everyone. But a more literal rendering would be ‘honorable is the marriage in all’, which means that one should value the mindset of marriage in all of life. Saying this cognitively, male thought emphasizes technical thinking with its Perceiver facts and Server sequences, while female thought emphasizes mental networks with their Mercy and Teacher emotions. Mental marriage integrates male technical thinking with female emotional mental networks. Thus, ‘honorable is the marriage in all’ would mean following and valuing an integrated mindset that combines male and female thought, in all aspects of existence. This principle is almost totally violated in current Western society, which places an unbreachable barrier between objective rational thought and subjective emotions. Using the language of Hebrews, ‘the marriage is currently despised in all’, and this describes most secular as well as most religious thought. Generally speaking, personal lifestyle is either ignored as being irrelevant to professional skill or else preserved and proclaimed in a manner that rejects rational thought. Similarly, holy books are either explained away using critical rational analysis or else clung to in an attitude of blind faith.

Western society can maintain a mental separation between male and female thought because it is possible under matter-over-mind to integrate these two physically. For instance, technical gadgets are constructed in factories governed by pure rational thought in buildings that are walled off from the normal human experience. These technically constructed gadgets then emerge from the factories and are marketed to the general population through various modes of emotional manipulation, and the typical consumer then uses these devices in a non-technical manner to add emotional spice to personal existence. Similarly, marriage currently begins as a physical relationship between one person within a male body and another person within a female body, which then hopefully extends to become an internal relationship between male and female thought. With mind-over-matter, one would have to start with an internal relationship between male and female thought before being able to have any kind of physical relationship.

Verse 4 continues by saying that “the marriage bed is to be undefiled”. The word translated undefiled means ‘untainted, free from contamination, undefiled because unstained’. This same word ‘undefiled’ is used in Hebrews 7:26 to describe Jesus as “a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens”. This is an unusual statement because it deals with sexual purity at the emotional level of mental networks rather than prescribing some set of boundaries that should not be crossed. Applying this kind of thinking to current behavior, it is easy to see that promiscuity and prostitution would lead to a defiled marriage bed simply by observing the amount of emotional baggage that this generates. But a monogamous religious couple who views sex as something dirty is also defiling the marriage bed, as is a couple who thinks that any behavior is permissible as long as it remains within the confines of marriage. Instead, ‘undefiled’ conveys the impression of protecting something valuable so that it remains pure and innocent.

Verse 4 finishes by saying, “for fornicators and adulterers God will judge”. A fornicator is a prostitute who sells sex for money, while an adulterer is someone who has sex outside of marriage. This statement seems to contradict what Paul says in other passages: 1 Timothy 1:9-10 says that the law is made for lawless people, including fornicators, while 1 Corinthians 5:11 says that one should not associate with a ‘so-called brother’ if he is a fornicator. In both of these cases, people are explicitly intervening to regulate sexual behavior through law and social pressure. And yet, verse 4 leaves the impression that people should not intervene but rather allow ‘the God’ to judge.

If Hebrews 13 is being directed to an audience that lives in mind-over-matter, then this provides a possible cognitive explanation for this apparent discrepancy. One can see what is happening by examining a comparable situation with matter-over-mind. If I step off a cliff, then I will probably fall to the bottom and be killed. This is a fundamental principle based in natural law that is inescapable because matter is over mind. Western civilization has responded to such dangers by placing fences in front of most cliffs—both physical and metaphorical. This helps in the short term because less people will fall off cliffs, but in the long term it leads to the faulty conclusion that there is no such thing as natural cause-and-consequence, because people will only encounter human-made fences rather than natural cliffs. Therefore, when it comes to natural cliffs, it is better in the long term for humans not to intervene all the time, but rather to allow ‘the God’ of universal natural law to judge. Posing this another way, should children be allowed to roam free in order to learn from real life, or should they be continually fenced in in order to protect them from all possible harm? Obviously some fences are necessary, but should a child encounter only fences? And a time eventually comes when a child needs to be treated as an adult and permitted to experience the consequences of climbing over fences. Hebrews 13 appears to be describing such a time.

The existence and interaction of male and female thought describes one of the most fundamental principles of cognitive structure. If mind were to rule over matter, then violating this principle would be akin to stepping off a physical cliff. God is a universal person who judges through the application of universal law. This is brought out by the word translated judge which means ‘to pick out by separating, and typically refers to making a determination of right or wrong, especially on an official legal standard’. Therefore, allowing God to judge means giving universal consequences time to function, without stepping in right away with some set of human restrictions.

Looking at this specific topic in more detail, Western society is currently performing an experiment in precisely this area of gender identification and interaction, by stepping out of the way legislatively. Gender is a matter of natural physical law because it is determined by one’s chromosomes. However, this empirical evidence is being suppressed because of occasional chromosomal errors. But such errors are not commonplace. Instead, about 1 in 200 live births suffer some sort of chromosome abnormality: XXX anomaly is found in 1/650 female babies, with XXY and XYY each occurring in about 1/750 male babies—and XXX and XYY chromosome disorders do not lead to gender ambiguity. Going further, the gender of an infant is only physically ambiguous in about 1/2000 births. The rarity of such disorders is typically ignored by current articles on gender. For instance, the linked article mentions congenital adrenal hyperplasia and androgen insensitivity syndrome as exceptions to the rule that chromosomes determine gender, but the prevalence of the first disorder is 1/10,000 while the prevalence of the second is less than 1/20,000.

The fundamental concept of a democracy is that the entire population is ruled by laws that are appropriate for the majority of the population. When rules are imposed that benefit less than 0.5% of the population while suppressing the other 99.5%, then this defines not democracy but rather dictatorship. This does not mean that the 0.5% should be suppressed, but rather that minorities should be protected without harming the majority. Looking cognitively at the issue of gender identification, Western society will soon discover whether gender is based upon the structure of the mind or merely a matter of personal preference. Using the language of verse 4, we will find out how the God would judge in the area of gender and sex in an environment of mind-over-matter. I am not suggesting that individuals with ‘gender confusion’ are fornicators and adulterers. Instead, I am pointing out that society has decided not to impose morality in this area, to the extent of passing laws that forbid social pressure and suppress physical evidence. Therefore, it will eventually become apparent what natural consequences govern this area, and if mental marriage between male and female thought is a fundamental cognitive principle, then there will be natural consequences.

Social Interaction in the New System 13:5-9

Verse 5 deals more generally with motivation: “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have” (v.5). The word translated love of money occurs twice in the New Testament and literally means ‘not fond of silver’. Character means ‘a new direction from taking a turn or adopting a new manner’. Thus, a more literal translation would be ‘let the new manner of existence be without love of silver’. Instead, one should be content with what is ‘present, near, has come’.

The reference to a ‘new direction’ implies that a form of behavior has become possible that was not previously possible. Fornication, adultery, and love of money have the common characteristic of pursuing something physical regardless of internal content. Fornication sells personal intimacy in order to acquire peripheral wealth. Adultery pursues physical sex that violates mental bonds between husband and wife. Love of money bases core mental networks upon peripheral value. These are all possible when matter rules over mind, because one can pursue physical goals despite the absence of mental content. Saying this another way, when desirable physical objects exist and there is inadequate mental structure, then the mind will naturally jump to the desired goal, causing a person to stop being content with the present. Saying this more generally, the ‘sin nature’ is closely related to the flesh, because most sins are possible because humans grow up within physical bodies within matter-over-mind. This does not mean that physical matter is inherently evil but rather that a mindset of matter-over-mind motivates most sins while a universe of matter-over-mind enables most sins.

For instance, covetousness was not a major problem in communist society because there was very little to covet. My parents had friends from East Germany, and when the lady from East Germany first encountered a Western supermarket, her comment was something like ‘Now I will have to learn not to buy things’.

If these issues are re-emerging in a realm of mind-over-matter, then this means that physical reality has acquired sufficient stability to make it possible once again for people to pursue peripheral goals. This means that verses 1-3 have been successful in reconnecting the various fragments of existence.

Pursuing peripheral goals in a realm of mind-over-matter is a dangerous path that will end up eating itself. This principle is illustrated by financial crises. The rules of finance are artificially created through human legislation. Modern money, for instance, is no longer based upon any physical value, but rather is created by fiat out of thin air, backed solely by mental confidence. Therefore, when investors try to game the system in order to get rich, this manipulation will eventually eat up the system itself, because investors are being driven by mental networks to abuse a system that is ultimately based upon mental networks, which is mentally equivalent to cutting off the branch upon which one is sitting. This principle is described in Revelation 17:15-18, where it says that the ten horns and the beast “hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. For God has put it in their hearts to execute his purpose.”

Verse 5 provides a reason for being content: “For he himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’” The word desert means ‘send up so as to loosen’, and two of the four times that this word is used refer to unfastening chains or loosening ropes. Similarly, the word forsake means to ‘leave in the lurch… leave in a condition of lack’. These are comforting words which are often quoted to those who are in dire straits, but they currently have only a limited application. I think that one can accurately say that one will never be mentally or spiritually deserted by God, but history is full of individuals who have called on God for physical assistance and have died without receiving help. In fact, Hebrews 11:36-39 explicitly describes individuals dying horrific deaths without being rescued by God. Thus, I suggest that this promise would only be unconditionally true in an environment of mind-over-matter. This conclusion is backed up by Revelation 21:3-4, where God promises that “There will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Again, I think that God will never internally forsake a person who clings to him. But I also think that it is delusional to quote these verses at those who are experiencing physical and hardship in today’s realm of matter-over-mind. Instead, as James 2:14-17 emphasizes, the current realm of matter-over-mind demands that actions be added to words.

Verse 6 expands upon this confidence: “ that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’” The word confidently means ‘to show boldness’. The word translated helper is only used once as a noun in the New Testament (the verb is used eight times) and means ‘to deliver help, quickly responding to an urgent need of intense distress’. Of the eight times this word is used as a verb, five of these are cries for help. Three of the occurrences refer to such help actually happening, but this help also happens at a specific time. In 2 Corinthians 6:2, Paul quotes God as saying, “at the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.” Notice that God is providing help ‘at the acceptable time’ and not at all times. Hebrews 2:18 says that we have a high priest who “is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” However, this aid is happening at the end of the extension of spiritual technology to matters of physical life and death. Finally, Revelation 12:16 says that “the earth helped the woman” to escape the attack from the dragon, and this verse is referring to the same period of time in history right after the theoretical return of Jesus, at the end of the process of casting Satan down.

I am not suggesting that God does not help people in need. One often hears about people providentially receiving physical help in the nick of time. But one hears just as often about people not receiving physical help, but instead receiving the internal fortitude to endure the physical trauma. I emphasize this because I am tired of living with a Christianity that makes grand theological statements which are only partially backed up by reality. As a Perceiver person, I am deeply troubled by hypocrisy (a discrepancy between verbal meaning and experiential facts), and the deep hypocrisy inherent in typical Christian proclamation needs to be resolved. And merely stating in overgeneralized fashion that God will eventually make all things right does not resolve the situation.

Continuing with verse 6, the writer proclaims that “I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?” Fear means to ‘withdraw from, avoid’. The word do means ‘to make, do’ and refers to Server actions. Man is ‘the generic term for mankind’. Mankind can currently do quite a bit to me under matter-over-mind, including imprisoning me, torturing me, and killing me. A mindset of religious self-denial may state stoically that this does not matter, but it does matter. This is not mere quibbling, because saying that it does not matter typically does not survive contact with reality, and we live in a society that talks peace but practices war. For instance, I come from a Mennonite background, and Mennonites have ‘withdrawn from’ one country after another in order to avoid what man could do to them. Mennonites talk about following a path of pacifism, and there are many examples of Mennonites following a path of not being afraid what man could do to them. But when chaos invaded the Mennonites who were living in Ukraine after World War I, then many Mennonites responded by abandoning pacifism and following a path of civil defense. I have talked to a Mennonite historian who has examined this period, and he concluded that the few villages which did not take up self-defense ended up experiencing less personal hardship in the long run.

I have read about stories of God supernaturally protecting Christians from physical harm. In fact, my mother wrote a tract relating an incident in Brazil where robbers invaded a Christian household and the guns that they shot at the Christians all misfired. But this type of divine intervention is the exception in matter-over-mind, and God wants us to learn to follow general principles and not cling to the exception to the rule. We just discussed this when looking at the topic of gender identity. I am not suggesting that one should be driven by fear of man. When one is faced with a situation of choosing to fear God rather than men, then this provides an opportunity to act in a righteous manner. But it is important to establish a mindset of righteousness while continuing to recognize that we are governed by matter-over-mind. I suggest that Romans 12:17-19 describe this current tension: “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” In brief, one could describe this combination as intelligent pacifism. War and violence should be avoided at all costs. But it should be avoided intelligently, guided by an understanding of the nature and plan of God.

Notice that the focus of verses 5-6 is upon personal interaction: God is not deserting or forsaking people; the Lord is helping; one is not supposed to fear people. No mention is being made of natural law and physical consequences. This is consistent with a society based in mind-over-matter, because all of the threats would come from other minds, and one would have to respond to these threats by having the right mental attitude and calling upon the right people for help. Thus, these words may often sound insincere when quoted now within matter-over-mind, but they would be appropriate in a future society of mind-over-matter.

Verse 6 emphasizes the need for confident speech. Teacher thought works with words. Therefore, confident speech means holding on to Teacher thought. If God uses Teacher thought, then confident speech means holding on to God the Father in Teacher thought. Again I suggest that this principle would only become fully true with mind-over-matter. It is good to hold on to God the Father in Teacher thought, but to which God the Father should one cling? The God who is revealed through a Teacher understanding of physical matter, or the God who is revealed through a Teacher understanding of the mind? Positive thinking psychology emphasizes the benefits of making confident verbal statements about personal well-being. And this can have some physical benefits because of the effect that the mind currently has upon the body. But those who preach positive thinking usually work in some form of marketing where words can be used to influence pliable minds, and not in fields such as engineering where one has to deal with the cold facts of physical reality.

For instance, many years ago I spent one summer playing violin with the Continental Singers, and the final concert was in the Crystal Cathedral, constructed by Robert Schuller, the promoter of positive thinking. What I remember most about this concert was the horrible acoustics. Even after spending millions of dollars trying to improve the acoustics by hanging various contraptions from the ceiling, the all-glass building still had major problems with unintelligible speech. Stated bluntly, when Schuller’s positive words came into contact with the physical laws of acoustics, then acoustics won and Schuller lost. However, if mind were to rule over matter, then words would acquire power, and it would be imperative to verbally state confidence in God. This verbal confidence would not be arbitrary, but instead would be based in the universal laws of how the mind functions. This principle is already true, but growing up within matter-over-mind naturally causes the mind to be motivated by mental networks which assume that mental content is irrelevant. And yes, it is an inherent contradiction to be mentally driven by content which treats mental content as irrelevant, and the typical person comes face-to-face with this inherent contradiction when experiencing a midlife crisis.

Verse 7 talks about leadership: “Remember those who lead you, who spoke the word of God to you.” Verse 3 talked about ‘actively reminding oneself’ of prisoners. Remember in verse 7 simply means ‘to recall by memory without implying anything was previously forgotten’. Lead means to ‘lead the way, going before as a chief’. This instruction makes sense in a context of technical thought re-emerging from a foundation of mental networks under a system of mind-over-matter. Technical thought has a natural tendency to specialize, forgetting about general Teacher theories in order to focus upon some limited context. Thus, technical thought continually needs to be reminded to ‘remember general Teacher theories’. Similarly, verse 7 refers to ‘the word of God’. This phrase is quite strong in the original Greek, referring to ‘the logos of the God’. Cognitively speaking, a logos is the TMN that lies behind some technical specialization. Thus, ‘the logos of the God’ would refer to the TMN motivating the technical thinking of God the Son. In science, people merely discover the Teacher order that already exists in the natural universe. Thus, technical thought needs to remember general Teacher theories that were learned through words and discovered by previous scientific pioneers. Verse 7 describes a more personal version of this. Technical thought would need to remember the pioneers who led the way, who used words to personally pass on general Teacher theories. This personal version describes the type of academic thought that would emerge under mind-over-matter. Some pioneer would personally lead the way and become a source of core mental networks that reflect the character of God. This pioneer would then teach this TMN of God’s character to disciples. The temptation would be for disciples to focus technically upon specifics while ignoring the general TMN that guided the thinking of the founder.

This kind of transition naturally happens to some extent whenever a movement is started by some founder, because the founder generally has an integrated understanding, while the followers ignore the understanding and focus upon the technical details. The end result is reflected in the saying ‘dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants’.

The second half of verse 7 emphasizes the practical side of being a disciple: “considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” Considering is only used twice in the New Testament and means ‘pay very close attention to grasp the fuller meaning of something’. This describes what we have just been discussing, which is using technical thought to grasp the larger picture. Result is used three times in the New Testament and means ‘the successful way out which also goes on to what is new and desirable’. It is used in 1 Corinthians 10:13 to talk about God providing a ‘way of escape’ from temptation, and in Hebrews 11:15 to talk about those who ‘came out of’ the MMNs of culture. This describes the basic element of concrete technical thought, which is cause-and-effect, but it is a personalized version of cause-and-effect, because it compares the MMNs of the starting point with the MMNs of the finishing point. This sense of personal change as a result of new understanding can be seen in the word conduct, which means ‘change of outward behavior from an upturn of inner beliefs’. Putting this together, instead of using technical thought to study natural processes, one is using technical thought to study cognitive processes, as exemplified by pioneers of understanding.

This study of cognitive processes is seen in the final phrase ‘imitate their faith’. The word imitate means ‘to imitate, emulating a mentor or example’. This word is used four times as a verb in the New Testament, and six times as a noun. In half of these occurrences, Paul is instructing his followers to imitate him, which makes sense because Paul was an apostle who pioneered the path of theologically driven Christianity. One is being instructed here to ‘imitate the faith’. (The English translations all say imitate their faith, but the definite article is in the accusative singular case, which would mean ‘the faith’. In contrast, ‘their conduct’ is in the genitive singular case, which means ‘their conduct’.) Thus, one is not merely mimicking the person, but rather copying the faith that is being exemplified by this person. Cognitively speaking, this means that one can go beyond MMNs of personal authority and example to universal principles of cause-and-effect guided by understanding, because faith acts on the basis of understanding.

This transition to universal principles of faith is described in verse 8, which emphasizes that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”. The full name of Jesus Christ tells us that one is dealing with an integrated concept of incarnation, and the author is saying that the concept of incarnation that one acquires by following mentors in mind-over-matter is the same concept of incarnation that one acquired by studying natural law in matter-over-mind. I have discovered something similar in my research, because the concept of incarnation that emerges from the theory of mental symmetry is consistent in detail with the concept of incarnation that is described in the Bible.

Looking briefly at the larger picture, verse 8 says that Jesus Christ is the same ‘today and forever’. If ‘today’ is referring to some future period within mind-over-matter, then there must be a further transition from then to ‘forever’. The final verses of Hebrews appeared to be describing this transition from ‘today’ to ‘forever’. We saw in Hebrews 10 that God institutes a new form of existence which is then followed by some people taking advantage of this new structure in order to oppress others, those who are oppressed respond by looking for something more permanent, and then God finally rewards those who are looking for something more permanent. It takes faith to look forward to something permanent when one is currently living within a system of oppression. (Hebrews 11 described major transitions that could only be accomplished through individuals taking such a step of faith.) Hebrews 13:7 talked about mimicking the faith of founders. Verse 13 will describe this path of faith, because people will be leaving the camp under reproach in order to seek a lasting city.

Verse 8 described the danger of specialization—focusing upon some specific area while forgetting about a general concept of God in Teacher thought. Verse 9 describes the danger of objectivity—forgetting that the purpose of understanding is to help personal identity in Mercy thought. Verse 9 says: “Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace.”

Looking first at the second phrase, the focus needs to be the heart, which describes ‘the affective center of our being’, which I refer to as personal identity in Mercy thought. The heart needs to be strengthened, which means ‘to walk where it is solid’. Thus, the goal is not just to make personal identity feel good, but rather to find solid paths for personal identity, behavior that is safe for personal identity. This is often viewed within matter-over-mind as a need for physical safety, while internal safety is typically regarded as irrelevant, as illustrated by those who watch movies full of horror and mayhem—finding excitement in violating internal identity emotionally while coddling and protecting physical identity. In contrast, finding a solid path for personal identity would be both an internal and external struggle within mind-over-matter.

This is described as good, and good means ‘attractively good, good that inspires others to embrace what is lovely’. Stated cognitively, one is searching for cultural MMNs that people would find attractive, a lifestyle that others would like to emulate. This happens ‘by grace’, which means that one learns about good cultural MMNs from an understanding of God in Teacher thought. Saying this more generally, the purpose of research should be to make personal life better.

The first phrase describes the possible danger, which is to emotionally identify with that which does not help personal identity (which is different than emotionally identifying with that which violates personal identity). The word carried away is found four times in the New Testament and means ‘to remove or carry away something very closely felt’. It is used twice when Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane that God would ‘remove’ his cup of suffering. The ‘cup’ that Jesus was asking God to remove referred to his impending crucifixion, which would be ‘very closely felt’ by Jesus. In verse 8, people are being carried away by various and strange teachings. Teaching refers to ‘established teaching, especially a summarized body of respected teaching’. Using modern language, this describes some academic specialization—some college of learning within a University. Various is a neutral term that simply means ‘various, of different colors, diverse’. Strange is also a neutral term that means ‘new, novel, foreigner’. What is being described here is the typical PhD thesis, because a thesis must study something that has not been studied before, something new and diverse. Going further, the process of writing a PhD thesis is usually sufficiently emotionally intense to form significant personal MMNs within the mind of the PhD student. Plus, the student will usually find personal interest in his area of research. The end result is to be ‘carried away by various and strange teachings’. For instance, the student may turn into a researcher who is fascinated by manatees, or dedicated to studying laminar flow in a rocket nozzle. When this happens in matter-over-mind, then the body of knowledge continues to grow, because everyone is studying the same physical world, but the researcher himself often remains un-transformed. However, with mind-over-matter, there would be no integrated external environment to tie everything together. Instead, the various limbs of the body of knowledge would simply drift apart. I am not suggesting that specialization is wrong. Finite humans must specialize. But if specialization is not anchored in personal identity, then personal identity will become fragmented by specialization. This is already true today, and would be even more true within mind-over-matter.

Finally, a focus upon knowledge for its own sake is described in the final part of verse 9: “...not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.” The word food refers to ‘food of any kind’ and is in the plural. Food represents intellectual content. Thus, ‘foods’ would refer to any form of disconnected intellectual content. The word translated so occupied means to ‘walk around, in a complete circuit, going full circle’. This would describe the cycles of society, the various repeated paths of personal existence. The word benefited is a business term that means ‘benefit, do good, profit’, and this verb comes from a noun that means ‘heap together, something heaped up’. In other words, the goal is not just to improve some bottom line, but rather to gather things together in an integrated fashion. Putting this all together, if one focuses in a fragmented manner upon acquiring knowledge, then this will lead to a methodology that does not generate integrated personal benefits. One can see this happening with current academia, but we still live in an integrated physical world that ultimately brings integration to the various fragments of academic discovery. That integrating effect would not exist within mind-over-matter. Instead, fragmented knowledge would eventually lead to fragmented identity and a fragmented society would lead inevitably to fragmented physical existence.

Outside the Barracks 13:10-13

Verse 10 describes the alternative: “We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.” Notice that the focus is upon an alternative source of food, which represents an alternative method of acquiring knowledge. On the one hand there are those who ‘serve the tabernacle’. The word tabernacle means ‘tent, booth, tabernacle’, and it describes a temporary, movable place of residence. On the other hand, ‘we have an altar’. The word altar means ‘altar; the meeting place between God and the true worshiper’. This word is used several times in the New Testament but only one other time in the book of Hebrews, which is in Hebrews 7:13, where it says that Jesus was from the house of Judah and not from the official tribe of Levi, and that no one from Judah had officiated at the ‘altar’.

Similarly, Hebrews 13 talks about a new kind of altar worship that is not official, as shown by the phrase ‘from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat’. The word right means ‘authority, conferred power; operating in a designated jurisdiction’. This same concept of being officially sanctioned is conveyed by the word serve, which means ‘someone hired to accomplish a technical task because qualified’. Thus, an official system of serving God in a professional manner has been set up, and professionals within the system know that they are only permitted to eat officially sanctioned intellectual food.

I have learned from personal experience what this means, because academia functions in an official manner, and one of its official functions is to limit the kind of intellectual food that is permitted to be ingested. Stated succinctly, professionals are only allowed to use data that has been acquired in a sufficiently professional manner. Time and again, I have found that professionals will refuse to even look at any of my work because it was not acquired or developed within the system in a rigorous manner. (This has happened even when I was using the theory of mental symmetry to analyze the very data that these professionals have collected and theories that they have developed.) The facts themselves are irrelevant. Instead, what matters above all is following official methodology. Similarly, verse 10 does not say what kind of food those who serve in the tabernacle have no right to eat. The very fact that an official professional system is being set up will ensure that non-professional food will become forbidden to eat.

In contrast, ‘we have an altar’. The underlying principle is that technical thought is always restricted to some limited domain. But God is a universal being who extends beyond any limited domains of technical thought. Therefore, whenever a system of learning is set up that uses technical thought, the real altar of God will lie outside of the system. Speaking again from personal experience, because my research was based in analogies and comparisons and was not ‘sufficiently rigorous’, I continued to find myself excluded from the system of academia. (This situation is starting to change.) But I gradually realized that working as an outsider made it possible to discover God in ways that one could not do within the system.

Verse 11 describes this contrast in more detail. “For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest [as an offering] for sin, are burned outside the camp.” The word brought simply means ‘lead into, bring in’. And the phrase ‘as an offering’ is not in the original Greek. The phrase ‘the holy place’ could be translated as either ‘the holy places’ or ‘the holy ones’. In either case, the focus is upon being set apart for God, similar to the way that current academia views itself as set apart to Teacher understanding. Summarizing, the original Greek sounds less religious and more bureaucratic than the English translation. The mention of sin is also revealing because Hebrews 10:18 said that “there is no longer any offering for sin”, and 10:26 confirmed that “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” And yet 13:11 talks about blood being brought into the holy places by the high priest for sin. I suggest that the technical system is reintroducing a sense of sin, because rules of behavior are being set up that must be obeyed, and those who fall short of these standards are being given feelings of disapproval from God. Saying this more simply, a professional feels driven by conscience to behave in a professional manner. (In today’s society, this professional conscience is usually a good thing, because it ensures certain levels of integrity and responsibility. But the goal of Hebrews 13 is to go beyond conscience.)

Technical thought tends to be naturally objective because it is easier to use technical thought in the absence of mental networks. Blood represents the fragmenting of personal MMNs. Thus, if blood is being brought in to the holy places for sin, then this implies that personal feelings are being viewed as an impairment to rigorous thought: If one ‘sinned’ by behaving in an insufficiently rigorous manner, then the ‘solution’ is to let go of personal MMNs in order to ensure that one will act more professionally—and objectively—the next time. This general approach to personal MMNs is reflected by the word animals, which is a generic term that literally means ‘something alive’, and this is the only time this word is used in the book of Hebrews.

These bodies are then “burned outside the camp”. The verb burn means to ‘burn up, consume entirely’, while bodies refers specifically to physical bodies.

Present-day academia provides a partial illustration of this burning up, because mental networks that fail to meet approved standards of rigorous thought will be rejected and completely burned up by the ‘fire’ of academic thought. One sees this in the scientific response to what it regards as pseudoscience, which will be excluded, dismantled, destroyed, and reduced to ashes.

I have occasionally experienced this level of rejection and personal attack, but current academia does not behave in the extreme manner mentioned in these paragraphs. I suggest that this is because academic minds are currently trapped in physical bodies that are forced to acknowledge personal subjective needs. This would no longer be true with mind-over-matter. Instead, it would be possible for the academic to live within professionalism 100% of the time, as indicated by the statement that physical bodies are being burned outside the camp. Thus, it would be possible within mind-over-matter to become a disembodied mind, totally free from the contamination of physical flesh, to the extent that is sometimes portrayed in science fiction. This urge to transcend the limitations of physical flesh is already present in current society, especially in the military.

The characteristics of this system are summarized by the word camp, used in verse 11 and repeated in verse 13. This word means ‘camp, barracks, army in battle array’. It is used eleven times in the New Testament and is translated six times as ‘barracks’. (We encountered this word earlier when looking at Revelation 20:9.) Cognitively speaking, a barracks is a place in which soldiers live who are taught professional skills and ruled in a structured manner, from which the mental networks of female thought and subjective experience have been eliminated. This combination describes the mindset that we have just been analyzing. The word ‘camp’ must be significant because it is repeated twice, and it only occurs one other time in the book of Hebrews in 11:34, in the passage that we skipped because it was too terse to analyze.

Verse 12 tells us where Jesus is: “Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside the gate.” Jesus is suffering outside the gate. Hebrews 1 talked about incarnation transcending technical thought, and here too, incarnation is outside the gates of the technical camp. Verse 12 refers to Jesus, the human side of Incarnation who lived in the flesh. Hebrews 10:19 talked about a new and living way through the veil inaugurated by the flesh of Jesus. But here Jesus-in-the-flesh is outside the gate. Inside the camp lies the official holy places or holy ones. But Jesus is making people holy outside the gate. That is because Jesus goes beyond technical thought to include personal mental networks, which are being burned up outside the camp. Historically speaking, Jesus was crucified outside of the city walls of Jerusalem. I am not suggesting that the physical Jesus will be re-crucified in the future, because Hebrews 7:16 described Jesus as having the power of an indestructible life, and Hebrews 13 does not specifically talk about Jesus dying. However, what is being denied by those in the barracks is the idea of Christ the Incarnation of God expressing himself physically through the material form of Jesus.

The word outside is used three times in these verses: ‘outside the camp’ in verse 11, ‘outside the gate’ in verse 12, and ‘outside the camp’ again in verse 13. These are the only three times that this seemingly common adverb is used in the book of Hebrews. Looking at this symbolically, ‘something alive’ is outside the camp in verse 11, because the ‘camp’ is a barracks of military thought that excludes mental networks of personal life. Similarly, one discovers Jesus in verse 13 by going out to him outside the camp, because life is more than technical thought. However, in verse 12, Jesus himself is described as outside the gate, the only time that this word is used in Hebrews. I suggest that this is because Jesus as Incarnation is based in technical thought. What is happening inside the camp expresses part of incarnation, just as current academia exhibits an aspect of incarnational thought. But what has been excluded in both cases is the personal subjective side of incarnation: Jesus, a name that means Savior. Jesus is outside the gate because one will encounter Jesus if one goes beyond the limited barracks of technical expertise. Saying this more generally, one should not suppress technical thought if it becomes inhuman but rather extend technical thought to include humanity. That is why I have been continually pointing out in these essays the many ways in which science and technology are a partial illustration of incarnation.

Jesus is suffering outside the gate, a word that ‘relates to any part of us that feels strong emotion, passion, or suffering – especially the capacity to feel suffering’. Stated cognitively, the subjective feelings that are inherent in incarnation have been thrown outside the gate in an effort to remain professional. Jesus is making people holy by his own blood, and the word ‘own’ is specifically added in the original Greek. I think that this clarification is needed because a lot of blood is being shed outside the camp. Similarly, academia rips to shreds many kinds of subjective mental networks, and most of these deserve to be torn apart. One does not become godly by holding on to superstition. But if one holds on to the subjective side of legitimate incarnation in the midst of official disapproval, then this will lead to personal sanctification.

This requirement is mentioned in verse 13: “So, let us go out to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.” The primary instruction in the original Greek is to ‘go out to him’, and the pronouns ‘him’ and ‘his’ are explicitly mentioned in the original Greek. The phrase ‘outside the camp’ describes where he is located. Leaving the camp is not sufficient. One also needs to ‘bear his reproach’. The word translated bearing means to ‘carry along… to a definite prescribed conclusion’. This same verb was used in Hebrews 12:20 where listeners did not want to ‘bear’ the command to its conclusion lest a TMN form within their minds. Similarly, it is important in verse 13 to bear the reproach long enough for new mental networks to form. The kind of mental networks that will form is suggested by the word reproach, which ‘suggests undeserved condemnation which does not hold up after the situation is correctly understood’. Looking at this more closely, one will initially feel the pain of personal mental networks being rejected and torn apart. Stated bluntly, it hurts to be rejected by the official experts of society, especially if these official experts provide the official path to being accepted by God. But if this official rejection lasts long enough, then it will eventually become apparent that this condemnation is undeserved, and that it does not hold up after the situation is correctly understood. That is why it is imperative to come out to Jesus the Incarnation, because otherwise one will become trapped in feelings of bitterness and social injustice.

Looking for a Lasting Home 13:14-16

This leads to verse 14, which points out that “here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking [the city] which is to come.” Here refers not to physical location, but rather to ‘the state of affairs here’. What is lacking in the present state of affairs is ‘a lasting city’, and the last reference to a city was in Hebrews 12:22 which talked about the ‘city of the living God’. In simple terms, a barracks is not a city. If one attempts to reduce existence to the technical level of a barracks and eliminate all mental networks of life, then this will not last, because a barracks is not a city. Women and children can live in a city. There is no place for them in a barracks.

This may give the impression that the barracks are evil, but that is not the case. Instead, I suggest that they are temporary and incomplete. This is illustrated by the phrase ‘outside the barracks’. The reference point of this phrase is still the barracks. Jesus is not found in some other location but outside the barracks. Historically speaking, towns would often spring up outside of Roman barracks. Officially, Roman soldiers were not supposed to get married. In practice, many soldiers would have unofficial wives, who would live with their children in a town outside the barracks. Thus, I suggest that two fallacies need to be avoided: The first is to think that Jesus lives in the barracks. The second is to think that Jesus has nothing to do with the barracks. Instead, Jesus is found outside of the barracks, stretching beyond the male technical thought that rules within the barracks to the female mental networks that live outside of the barracks. This same kind of transition occurred in the settling of the West in North America, because the men conquered the West while the women civilized the West. Similarly, Revelation 21:15-21 talks about measuring the city and laying the foundation using “human measurements, which are also angelic measurements” (v.17). In contrast, the description that one finds in Revelation 22:1-3 is more organic, talking about a river, trees, healing, and the throne of God. In 21:23 the glory of God is illumining the city, while in 22:5 the Lord God is illumining the people within the city.

This contrast can also be seen in Hebrews 13:14. On the one hand, there is the recognition that in the present, “we do not have a lasting city”, and the word ‘city’ is explicitly mentioned. On the other hand, “we are seeking [the city] which is to come”. Here, the word ‘city’ is not mentioned in the original Greek and is in italics in the NASB. Thus, the goal is to seek something that goes beyond a city. This is a search for a home that includes personal identity, as shown by the word seeking, which means ‘seeking that follows through on the personal objective of the seeker’. And this goal is not far away, because the word translated to come means ‘at the very point of acting; about to happen’.

Verse 15 describes the attitude that one should have outside the barracks: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.” The word then ‘is typically translated “therefore” which means, by extension, here’s how the dots connect’. Thus, verse 15 describes how one should respond to the situation described in the previous verses. The solution is not to attack the barracks or to ignore the barracks. One must also avoid focusing upon the feelings of personal rejection. Instead one needs to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God”. The word praise is only used once in the New Testament as a noun. It is used eight times as a verb and simply means ‘praise’. The phrase translated ‘continually’ actually means ‘through or throughout’ ‘each and every part of the totality’. And this praise is supposed to be directed ‘to God’. In other words, one does not merely blurt out ‘Praise God!’ occasionally while grimacing the rest of the time. Instead, everything needs to be colored by the emotional attitude of being happy about God in Teacher thought.

This will not be easy when one is living outside of a barracks that has transformed the official service of God into inhuman technicalities, and one is surrounded by the subjective riffraff that are congregating outside the barracks. That is why this praise is described as a sacrifice, which means ‘an official sacrifice prescribed by God’. This is the first time that the word sacrifice has been mentioned in Hebrews 13, and it will be repeated in the next verse.

Verse 11 described the official rituals for sin being carried out by the high priest in the holy place, but the word ‘offering’ is not in the original Greek, implying that the form is present but not the substance. In contrast, an altar (derived from the same Greek word as ‘sacrifice’) was mentioned in verse 10 (the only mention of ‘altar’ in Hebrews 13), but verse 10 added that those who serve officially in the tabernacle do not have the authority to eat from this altar. Summarizing, focusing upon God in a positive manner in every aspect of existence ‘outside the barracks’ will reach God, while serving God professionally inside the barracks will not.

But this ‘sacrifice of praise to God’ needs to be ‘through Him’, and ‘Him’ refers to Jesus, the concrete side of incarnation, and Jesus is ‘outside the gate’. In other words, the mental networks of praise need to be combined with the technical thinking of incarnation. Jesus may be outside the barracks, but he is at the gates, interacting with the traffic that goes in and out of the barracks. Speaking from personal experience, even though I have been doing my research outside of the system of academia, I have found it immensely useful to learn from academic thought, be aware of academic trends, and interact—as an outsider—with academia.

Verse 15 expands upon the praise to God: “… that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” As a footnote in the NASB points out, the word translated ‘give thanks’ is literally confess, which means ‘to speak the same thing’. One is supposed to confess ‘the name of him’, ‘him’ in this case being God. A name is not just a verbal label but rather ‘the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character’, and ‘a name is inseparable from the person to whom it belongs’. Saying this cognitively, a name is a verbal label in Teacher thought that describes the essence of some mental network of personal identity. The name of God is a verbal label in Teacher thought that describes the essence of the TMN of a concept of God. Summarizing, every situation needs to be connected verbally in Teacher thought with the TMN of God. The focus here is upon words and speech because verse 15 specifically talks about ‘the fruit of lips’.

Using current academia as a partial example, one of the primary positive features of academic thought is that talk is not cheap. For the average person, talk is cheap. Words are spoken and then immediately forgotten. Similarly, the average churchgoer has heard countless sermons and remembers very few of them. But when an academic paper is published, then these words will be remembered and quoted. In other words, academic words have fruit. Positive thinking psychology emphasizes the importance of saying good words. But positive words can only have a limited impact within the current system of matter-over-mind. In contrast, Hebrews 13 is describing a system of mind-over-matter in which heaven is descending to earth—the words of heaven are impacting the earth of experience. Thus, words about God would have major power. Similarly, words can have a lasting impact in academia because these words are being spoken within a Teacher structure that descends to the earth of normal experience through education and technology.

Looking at this personally, I have found on the one hand that a concept of God that is limited to words is not enough. One must go beyond words to righteousness and personal rebirth. But on the other hand, I have also found that it is important at the end to reconnect with the verbal realm of words. That is one of the reasons why I write extensive essays. Putting words to paper is an essential aspect of applying a Teacher theory, but these words need to be written or spoken within a general context of bringing heaven down to earth. Thus, in the same way that MMNs of childish identity need to become reborn in adult form, so it appears that Teacher words need to become reborn as a verbal expression of character.

Looking at verse 15 more generally, those who are attempting to follow Jesus personally outside the barracks will find it difficult to make positive statements about the name of God, because their Teacher concept of God will become associated with the inhuman technicalities that are being pursued within the barracks. Similarly, evangelical Christians have historically associated rational analysis with the ‘godless mindset’ of ‘secular academia’, and have focused upon a personal relationship with Jesus while forgetting about the name of God. Instead, one needs to combine going outside of the barracks to Jesus with continuing to confess the name of God.

Verse 16 expands upon the personal element: “And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” The word translated doing good is a single composite word that means ‘good-doing’, which is only found once in the New Testament. ‘Sharing’ is the familiar Greek word koinonia, which means ‘what is shared in common as the basis of fellowship’.

Looking at this cognitively, good-doing implies an integration of Mercy and Server thought, because Mercy thought looks for good experiences while Server thought performs actions. In contrast, one of the primary attributes of current academia is that it studies the Server sequences of cause-and-effect while ignoring the Mercy experiences that are created by these Server sequences. For instance, the scientist will study the path of a projectile thrown through the air, while ignoring whether this projectile is some worthless rock, a priceless Persian vase, or mother’s cooking. Jesus, the concrete side of Incarnation, combines the cause-and-effect thinking of technical thought with the emotional experiences of personal identity. Jesus means ‘savior’, and a savior saves people.

Fellowship expresses Teacher order-within-complexity in personal form, because people are sharing things in common. This takes the intellectual interaction that is happening within academic thought and applies it to the personal realm.

Good-doing and fellowship are described as ‘official sacrifices prescribed by God’. Both of these will be difficult to do ‘outside the barracks’, because the barracks will emphasize doing while suppressing the concept of good, and it will emphasize organizational structure that squeezes out personal identity. However, ignoring Mercy feelings and personal identity will have consequences, as brought out by the word neglect, which means ‘to overlook, especially the effects that go with failing to notice’. In other words, cause-and-effect extends to the personal realm; if one pursues technical thought while ignoring good-doing and fellowship, then there will be consequences.

The word translated pleased at the end of verse 16 is used three times as a noun and nine times as an adjective in the New Testament. 11 of these 12 times talk about pleasing God. This word adds the adverb ‘well’ to the word ‘pleasing’ leading to a composite word that means ‘well-pleasing, gratifying because fully acceptable’. This is a significant statement because Hebrews has repeatedly talked about God being displeased with people and the need for sacrifice. This tells us that creation is finally reaching the stage that makes God happy in Teacher thought. Using the school analogy, the students have gone beyond enrolling in school and graduating from school, to living personal and social lives that express what they have learned in school.

Developing Organic Leadership 13:17-19

This has all been happening ‘outside the barracks’, adding the personal element to the structure that is being developed within the barracks. Verse 17 describes a new form of organic leadership that emerges to replace the technical rule of the barracks. “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.”

The word translated obey actually means ‘be persuaded of what is trustworthy’. It ‘involves obedience, but it is properly the result of persuasion’. This does not describe the type of command structure that exists within a barracks. Instead, followers are being given rational reasons why things need to be done. Similarly, the word leaders refers to ‘what goes before, in front’. This also does not describe a military general sitting in a comfortable chair leading the troops from behind the scenes. Instead, leaders are leading by example, going first. Thus, the Teacher structure of the barracks is still present, but a leader applies understanding personally and then treats followers as intelligent people, giving them reasons to follow. (One cannot lead little children in this manner, because they are incapable of understanding why. But one can and should lead intelligent adults in this manner.)

In response, followers are supposed to submit, a composite word used only once in the New Testament, which combines ‘yield’ with ‘under, often meaning under authority as a subordinate’. This describes submission as an expression of Teacher generality rather than Mercy importance. Mercy thought regards a leader as more important and feels that I should do what the leader wants rather than what I want. Teacher thought regards a leader as more general and feels that personal behavior and personal goals need to be placed within the general framework of the leader’s plan.

The rest of verse 17 describes why this works: “For they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.” The word translated keep watch means ‘no sleeping, staying vigilant without any unnecessary time off’, and the other three occurrences in the New Testament are translated as ‘keep on the alert’ or ‘be on the alert’. What is being watched is ‘your souls’. The soul refers to ‘the seat of affections and will… a person’s distinct identity’.

Looking at this in terms of mind and brain, the brain is a physical computing device, while the mind is the non-physical part of a person that currently inhabits the physical brain. (The ‘hard problem of consciousness’ provides strong evidence that a mind exists and not just a brain.) I would equate mind with soul. The mind/soul currently inhabits a physical body, and it is also capable of interacting with the supernatural realm through a name, as well as interacting with the spiritual realm through a spirit. (One can gain a clue about the nature of these two realms by examining the Biblical description of how angels behave and comparing this with the description of how spirits and demons behave. In brief, angels always seem to have an agenda. They visit some human, deliver a message or perform a task, and then return to their supernatural realm. Spirits and demons, in contrast, appear to have no agenda of their own, but rather seem to add power and life to human desires and mental networks.) The soul is traditionally described as being composed of emotions, will, and mind. Using cognitive language, this describes mental networks, the specializations of technical thought, and the glue of normal thought which holds these various pieces together. Putting this together, these leaders are responsible for the mental integration of followers, and this responsibility continues 24/7.

The next phrase describes the nature of this ‘watch’ and the NASB phrase ‘as those who will give an account’ does not accurately convey the flavor of the original text. In the Greek, there are three words: As means ‘like as, according to us’, and means according to some pattern or example. ‘An account’ is actually logos, which I have suggested refers to a TMN that motivates some technical specialization. Will give means ‘to return, especially as a payment’. What is being described is an economy based in mental networks. In the same way that a home hardware economy currently exists that helps people to maintain their physical houses, so with mind-over-matter, an economy of mental networks would eventually emerge to help people to maintain mental integrity, and one would place oneself under leaders who are responsible for maintaining mental integrity. Such a leader would have to lead by example because a person can only maintain mental integrity to the extent that a person has mental integrity. This kind of leader would also lead through persuasion because forcing commands upon a follower attacks the mental integrity of the follower. And followers would have to participate in this economy to stay mentally in one piece.

My gut feeling is that this future economy will involve emotions and values that are far deeper than anything being traded in today’s economy. Because of this emotional and personal depth, I think that it is wiser not to speculate about the exact nature of this economy but rather simply suggest in a clinical manner that such an economy will exist.

Verse 17 adds that this interaction can occur either ‘with joy’ or ‘with groaning’: “in order that they may do this with joy and not with groaning, for this would be unprofitable for you.” (This is the NASB with the literal footnotes.) Joy describes Teacher emotion, while groaning means ‘to groan because of pressure of being exerted forward, like the forward pressure of childbirth’.

One can find these two attitudes in the medical system, the economy that is responsible for maintaining physical health within the current system of matter-over-mind. Interaction with the medical system can be governed by ‘groaning’, in which one goes to the doctor when one is sick, in pain, or injured. But a medical system can also be guided by ‘joy’, enhancing the Teacher emotion of well-being that exists when all parts of the physical body work together in harmony. I suggest that well-being naturally becomes the goal when followers think in terms of Teacher structure and are willing to be persuaded by leaders, as described in the beginning of verse 17.

The end of verse 17 provides a reason for participating in this economy of life with joy: “for this would be unprofitable for you”. The word unprofitable is only used once in the New Testament. It means ‘not profitable because lacking cohesion’ and ‘is used in classical Greek as a technical medical term for unfavorable symptoms’. Thus, the writer of Hebrews appears to be alluding to the same analogy of physical health that was used in the previous paragraph. In simple terms, if one ignores the current physical health system, then one’s physical body will start falling apart and one will experience unfavorable symptoms. Similarly, if one ignores this future mental health system, then one’s mind will start falling apart and one will experience unfavorable symptoms.

The end result is a ‘good conscience’. “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things” (v.18). Sure is the same Greek word that was translated ‘obey’ at the beginning of verse 17, which means ‘persuaded of what is trustworthy’. When people are willing to be persuaded, and when people submit personally to a system of Teacher order, then people can help and guide others by praying for them, which means directing words to God in Teacher thought on behalf of some person or group. Similarly, an effective medical system makes it possible for doctors to understand sicknesses and develop new treatments, which will then spread throughout the medical community and be embraced by people.

Hebrews 10:2 talked about no longer having a ‘consciousness of sins’. Verse 18 uses the same word conscience, but talks about having ‘a good conscience’. The word conscience combines the Greek words ‘together with’ and ‘mentally seeing’ to lead to the meaning ‘joint-knowing’. The adjective good means ‘attractively good; good that inspires others to embrace what is lovely’. Thus, a good conscience is guided by internal Platonic forms of wholeness composed of experiences that are pleasant, lovely, and appealing. A consciousness of sins tries to avoid making mistakes, while a good conscience tries to embrace wholeness and goodness. Paul talks about this kind of conscience in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

The second half of verse 18 describes this desire: “...desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.” The verb desire means ‘to desire, wanting what is best because someone is ready and willing to act’. This describes an Exhorter urge towards well-being that is also capable of reaching well-being. The word conduct ourselves means ‘sojourn, dwell, conduct myself, behave’. And the word translated honorably is the adverbial form of the word ‘good’ that was just used to describe conscience. Putting this together, the goal is for cultural MMNs to be guided by a conscience that creates a deep desire for wholeness and well-being.

Hebrews 10 talked about the end of conscience, while this verse is talking about having a ‘good conscience’. There are two possible interpretations. First, it is possible that the conscience circuit is re-emerging as a hunger for well-being. Second, it is also possible that the author of Hebrews is referring to himself, and hoping to have the kind of conscience that would be capable of participating personally in what he is writing about.

Verse 19 supports the second interpretation because it gives the impression that the writer of Hebrews is ‘breaking the fourth wall’ by referring personally to himself: “And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.” A literal interpretation would view this as the author hoping to make a personal visit in an era during which travel was difficult. But a literal translation does not really make sense. The conjunction so that means ‘for the purpose that, in order that’. The author is asking for obedience so that he can return to them sooner. Why would the obedience of parishioners to their pastors have any bearing upon the author’s ability to visit their church, because the first is a mental condition while the second describes a physical journey?

These two are not linked in a world in which matter rules over mind, because someone else’s state of mind does not affect my ability to make a physical journey. (The commentaries allude to this, but do not offer a satisfactory solution.) However, there would be a connection between these two within mind-over-matter, because physical connections would be dependent upon mental connections. And the writer connects verse 19 with the previous verses, because he instructs the readers ‘to do this’.

Looking now at verse 18 in more detail, the word exhort means ‘personally make a call’, and ‘refers to believers offering up evidence that stands up in God’s court’. And the word translated all the more means ‘beyond expectation; further than the upper limit, going past what is anticipated’. Thus, the author, based upon the knowledge of God’s law, is personally asking the readers to go beyond what is expected. They are to do this so that he will be restored sooner to them. The word translated restored means ‘restore back to original standing; reestablish’. And sooner means ‘swiftly, without unnecessary delay’.

This suggests two possible interpretations. Looking at this literally, the implication is that some sort of problem has emerged in the church, and the author is hoping that this problem will be resolved so that his relationship to the readers can be restored to what it used to be. Another interpretation emerges if one continues to view the text symbolically. My general hypothesis is that God’s original plan was for scientific thought to be birthed in Alexandria before the time of Christ, and this hypothesis is explored in detail in previous essays. Because scientific thought did not emerge, Jesus was forced to carry out much of his plan symbolically. Similarly, Hebrews also had to be written symbolically.

The end result is a disconnect between what the author is writing and what the author is experiencing. He is writing about a sequence that will begin when God starts to reveal himself through rational Teacher understanding, but he is living within a civilization that missed the opportunity to discover what it means for God to reveal himself through rational Teacher understanding. Saying this another way, the author has become a painter in the land of the blind. When a disconnect of such magnitude emerges, then one is driven to appeal to spiritual sources for personal salvation. On the one hand, the author recognizes that his personal ability to participate in what he is writing depends upon him having a good conscience and conducting himself honorably. On the other hand, the author also recognizes that the disconnect between what he is writing and what he is experiencing will only be eliminated if his readers go beyond normal expectations. This may sound like a strange interpretation, but it does describe how I feel after working with the theory of mental symmetry for several decades. And it is also possible to continue this interpretation with the final verses.

The Benediction 13:20-21

Verses 20-21 are often quoted as a benediction in churches. But they can also be viewed as an ‘and they lived happily ever after’ signifying the successful conclusion of the path described in the book of Hebrews. And the text implies this because verse 20 begins with a connective conjunction.

Looking at these verses in more detail, the first phrase describes the kind of God that emerges: “Now the God of peace...” Peace means ‘wholeness, when all essential parts are joined together’. Therefore, a God of peace means that God can finally interact with humanity at the level of wholeness, instead of having to force individuals and society to grow by playing societal and personal mental networks against one another.

Continuing with verse 20, “… who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep”. The apostle John refers to Jesus as the good Shepherd, but this is the only time that the word shepherd or sheep is used in the book of Hebrews. In other words, a new metaphor is being introduced at the very end of the book. Sheep are typically viewed as stupid and mindless, but they do have intelligence. However this intelligence focuses upon emotions and social interaction. Saying this another way, sheep are intensely gregarious. Using cognitive language, sheep are mentally driven by social and personal MMNs. Using neurological language, “Sheep possess specialized neural mechanisms in the right temporal and frontal lobes of the brain and they recognize familiar human or ovine faces for as long as two years.” In contrast, the book of Hebrews opens with God starting to guide humanity through Teacher understanding. This suggests that the author of the book of Hebrews is referring to a period of time before the start of the book of Hebrews, such as the time in which he is writing. Saying this more clearly, the author of the book of Hebrews is living personally in an era in which God has to deal with people as sheep, but the book of Hebrews is describing a future time in which it will become possible for God to lead humanity in a new and more intelligent manner. (Hebrews 1 described this new and more intelligent manner.)

Verse 20 refers to ‘Jesus as the great shepherd of the sheep’ as something that applies to the past, because he says that the God of peace has brought—past tense—Jesus out from the dead. The verb has brought is also strange because it means ‘to lead up, bring up, set sail’, which implies the existence of some path that can be traveled or ship that can be boarded. The word dead means literally ‘what lacks life’, which implies a lack of living mental networks. And verse 20 refers to incarnation as ‘our Lord Jesus’, focusing upon the human side of incarnation.

Putting this together, a God of wholeness has led the human side of Incarnation, who has been guiding people by manipulating personal MMNs, out from the realm of lacking living mental networks. Saying this another way, Incarnation has been forced to interact with people at the level of Mercy mental networks, because there were no Teacher mental networks. This describes the situation in which Jesus found himself 2000 years ago in Roman Judea and Galilee and it also describes to a lesser extent today’s dominant mindset. A God of wholeness has rescued Incarnation from being a ‘shepherd of sheep’.

This has been accomplished ‘in the realm of’ the eternal covenant. The book of Hebrews talks frequently about covenant, but this is the first time that a covenant is being described as eternal. (Hebrews 9:15 looks forward to this by talking about ‘the promise of the eternal inheritance’.) In other words, people may be responding in a sheepish manner by being driven by social MMNs, forcing Jesus to treat them in the manner of a shepherd, but Incarnation is still being guided by eternal principles. This becomes apparent when one analyzes Scripture cognitively. For centuries, the Bible has been treated as a holy book, filtered through the lens of religious and cultural MMNs. And this approach works—to some extent. But hidden behind these religious words is a carefully crafted cognitive textbook, based upon eternal principles of mental cause-and-effect. (I used to view reading the Bible as something that was less demanding intellectually than reading a college textbook or analyzing some cognitive theory, and I would instinctively switch from a mindset of rigorous analysis to one of devotional inspiration. However, my mind no longer switches gears when studying the Bible. Instead, I find that reading the Bible requires the same kind of rigorous cognitive analysis that I use when working with the theory of mental symmetry. That is what I mean by describing the Bible as a ‘carefully crafted cognitive textbook’. In other words, I am not claiming that the Bible is a carefully crafted cognitive textbook, but rather reporting that my mind now regards it as such at a gut level. In contrast, when I mention this to academically trained Christians, they tend to reject the idea that the Bible could be treated as a textbook—also at a gut level.)

Verse 21 describes the final result: “… equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight.” Both the human and the divine perspective are being described here. Looking at the human side, equip means to ‘exactly fit or adjust to be in good working order’. This describes a machine that is working properly. A machine is an example of Teacher order-within-complexity that exists within the Mercy realm of experiences. And this order-within-complexity is based in Server actions; the parts of the machine work together. The working together can be seen in the word every, which means ‘all in the sense of each and every part that applies’, while the working together is expressed by the verb do.

The word translated good thing means ‘intrinsically good, good in nature, good whether it is seen to be so or not’. This adjective is used 101 times in the New Testament, but only three times in the book of Hebrews. (We discussed this adjective earlier when looking at the Great White Throne.) Hebrews 9:11 describes Christ as ‘a high priest of the good things to come’, while Hebrews 10:1 describes the law as ‘only a shadow of the good things to come’. In both cases, the good things are described as coming in the future. Finally in Hebrews 13:21, people are being equipped in every good thing in the present. The implication is that people have finally become capable of evaluating, enjoying, and creating goodness for its own sake, instead of being driven by need or expectations.

Turning now to the divine perspective, the word will does not mean choice but rather means ‘a desire or wish… focusing on the result hoped for with the particular desire’. In other words, ‘his will’ is not talking about God or Jesus predestinating human decisions, but rather refers to an emotional desire to move in a certain direction. Putting this together, when the mental machine is working properly, and when people pursue goodness for its own sake, then this will head in a direction that makes God happy.

There is ‘doing’ from both divine and the human perspective: “working in us that which is pleasing in his sight”. The same verb do is used twice in verse 21. On the one hand, people are being equipped to do the will of God, while on the other hand, God is ‘working’ (or doing) in people. In other words, salvation is not a matter of humans doing or God doing, but rather humans doing and God doing. That is because humans focus upon specifics, while God deals with generality. Humans do specific actions, while God simultaneously does by causing these actions to work together. Looking at this cognitively, Server thought manipulates the human body to carry out specific actions, while Teacher thought places Server sequences within the TMN of a concept of God. This combination describes righteousness.

I should emphasize that I am not talking about salvation by works but rather salvation expressing itself through works. Salvation by works thinks that one achieves salvation by doing actions that have inherent merit, such as the action of being a missionary, or the action of participating in the Eucharist. This type of misconception naturally emerges within matter-over-mind, because physical matter exists independently of mind, making it possible to think that physical actions of salvation can also stand by themselves independently of the mind. In contrast, salvation expressing itself through works recognizes that the fundamental goal is to be mentally and spiritually transformed. But because one is not just a disembodied mind but rather lives within a physical body, this internal transformation needs to express itself through physical action. This happens through righteousness, which uses the TMN of a concept of God to motivate physical action. Instead of doing actions in order to reach heaven, one is acting in order to bring the kingdom of heaven down to earth. As Jesus said in the Lord’s prayer: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Going further, verse 21 says that this combination of God doing and humans doing is “pleasing in his sight”. The word pleasing means ‘well-pleasing because fully acceptable’, and the verb form of this noun was seen back in verse 16. The word translated in his sight means ‘before the face of; literally, in the eye’. This word is common in the New Testament (and the idea of ‘before the face of’ is very common in the Old Testament) but only used twice in Hebrews. The other occurrence is in Hebrews 4:13, where it says that no creature is hidden from the sight of God. The implication is that God is not just fully pleased, but pleased without reservation. I suggested elsewhere that the eyes represent Perceiver thought. This would mean that God is not just emotionally pleased but also continues to be pleased when fully examining the facts. This brings to mind Psalm 139, which David concludes by saying “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” Here too David is focusing upon following lasting paths which God can examine in depth.

I have often heard or read people saying that ‘God loves you so much that he is totally pleased with you’. I suggest that in most cases, this statement is an expression of Teacher overgeneralization, in which the acceptance of God is described as a universal attribute to which one cannot—and dare not—add any factual details. Saying this more bluntly, the person who states with great conviction that ‘God loves everyone’ is usually judgmental of anyone who attempts to examine human behavior in the light of God’s character. In contrast, Hebrews 13:21 describes humans behaving in a manner that is pleasing in the eye of God, implying that Perceiver thought is being used and not being shut down in an overgeneralized manner.

Verse 20 adds that this happens “through Jesus Christ”. Notice that the full title of Jesus Christ is being used. Verse 20 referred to Jesus, the human side of Incarnation, who fulfilled the role of great shepherd of the sheep. Equipping to do the will of God is an expression of both the divine and human side of Incarnation: humans are experiencing every good thing, and this is well-pleasing in the sight of God.

Verse 20 finishes by saying “to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Glory ‘literally means what evokes good opinion, something that has inherent, intrinsic worth’. The ‘to whom’ refers to Jesus Christ, the Incarnation of God. Incarnation was not being glorified earlier in the chapter in verses 9-14, because incarnation was split into technical thought which was following God professionally within the barracks, and Jesus who was being unjustly criticized outside the gate. Verse 14 emphasized that this was not ‘a lasting city’. In contrast, verse 20 says that Incarnation will continue to be glorified in the integrated form that combines well-oiled machines with human goodness and the pleasure of God. Similarly, Revelation 22:3 says that “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it” while verse 4 adds that “they will reign for ever and ever”.

Final Words 13:22-25

Verse 22 sounds initially like a statement of apology from the author: “But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.” The word exhort is used twice in this verse, as a verb (urge), and also as a noun (exhortation). This Greek word combines technical thought with subjective emotions, because it refers to a legal advocate who is close-up and personal. The author is saying that he himself combines technical thought with subjective emotions and that he has written in a manner that combines technical thought with subjective emotions.

The word bear means ‘still bearing up, even after going through the needed sequence’, and is only found once in the book of Hebrews. Thus, those who read the book of Hebrews will need to go through many long sequences without giving up. And the author has written ‘briefly’ by choosing words that convey precisely the right meaning in a compact, efficient manner. As far as I know, the book of Hebrews contains the most Greek words that are only used once in the entire New Testament.

Verse 23 could be only a biographical postscript, but it also conveys a possible symbolic meaning. “Take notice that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes soon, I will see you.” The name Timothy means ‘honored of God’. More specifically, it combines ‘what has value in the eyes of the beholder’ with ‘God’. Timothy has been released, which ‘implies the release or annulment of an existing bond’. If Timothy has been released, then this implies that the idea of what God values has become released from bondage. This is a significant statement, because our concept of what God values is determined largely by people who claim to speak for God, as well as the religious culture that claims to represent God. It is common in charismatic circles for one Christian to tell another that ‘God told me to tell you that...’ but the same type of reasoning happens consistently in all Christian circles.

Verse 23 begins with the verb know, which means to ‘experientially know’. Thus, it is not enough to know intellectually that Timothy has been released. Instead one must know at an experiential level that what God values is independent of what people value—or what people say that God values. That is because value is an emotional label that is applied to experiences, people, and behavior in Mercy thought. Continuing with verse 23, if Timothy comes quickly (which means ‘without unnecessary delay’) with the author, then the author will ‘see you’. See here means ‘to see with the mind’.

Putting this all together, verse 23 may be saying that if one recognizes at an experiential level that what God values is different than what people value, then the meaning of the book of Hebrews will start to become mentally apparent without delay. Speaking from personal experience, I have tried for decades to follow a path of personally valuing what is eternal and universal, even when this is not valued by people and causes me to lose value in the sight of people. When I attempted to analyze the book of Hebrews, I found that it resonated with my personal experience. Speaking symbolically, the author did come to me mentally without delay, in the sense that the deeper meaning of the text became immediately apparent.

Saying this more generally, comprehension does not happen out of the blue. Instead, a text becomes comprehensible when one can compare it with something familiar. Hebrews became comprehensible to me because I could compare it with my personal walk, as well as compare it with the processes of science and technology. This principle is important when teaching abstract subjects such as math or physics, and an effective teacher will use analogies to describe how the abstract theory is like one situation or another. It is also important when studying theology, because the mind will naturally interpret the words in the light of one’s personal walk with God. This means that studying an abstract subject such as math, physics, or theology has to deal with the absence of mental analogies as well as contend with the presence of inaccurate mental analogies.

Verse 24 also sounds like a formal closing to a letter: “Greet all of your leaders and all the saints.” But notice who the readers are supposed to greet. They are supposed to greet those who ‘lead the way, going before as a chief’, which refers to a person who leads by example. Similarly, I have found that the most important attribute in a leader is practicing what one preaches—can the words of a leader be applied to the person of the leader. And verse 24 says to greet all your leaders, with all meaning ‘each part of a totality’. Similarly, I have found that this is not just a religious principle but also applies to secular thought. Most theories of personality fall apart when they are applied to themselves, which indicates that the authors are not leading by example.

Verse 24 also instructs to ‘greet all the saints’. In other words, focus upon those who are following God rather than humans, but greet everyone who is doing this, and not just those within some specific religious or cultural group.

Verse 24 ends “Those from Italy greet you.” The name Italy probably means ‘of young cattle’. This may have a symbolic meaning, which, as they say in math textbooks, I leave as an exercise to the reader.

Hebrews ends with the final sentence “Grace be with you all”. Grace is God in Teacher thought helping people in Mercy thought. The book of Hebrews has described the process of reaching the stage of everyone living within grace.