A Spiritual Interpretation of the Gospels
As taught by:
Unity School for Religious Studies
Unity Village, MO 64065
I. MAJOR POINTS
- General metaphysical significance of Jesus' "end of the age" discourses.
- Metaphysical meaning of the parable of judgment day.
- Symbolism of bread and wine.
- Metaphysical significance of the last supper (Holy Communion).
- Matt. 24-26; Mark 13-14; Luke 7, 21-22; I Cor. 11:23-26
- Your Hope of Glory 213-230
- Atom-Smashing Power of Mind Chapter 19
- Is Jesus literally predicting outer disasters and the end of the world? If not, what is He referring to?
- What is the spiritually correct way to cope with the unexpected?
- When, where, and what is "judgment day"?
- What do bread and wine symbolize?
- How do we "eat the body" and "drink the blood" of Christ?
THE END OF THE AGE (ESCHATOLOGICAL DISCOURSES)
These portions of the Synoptic Gospels consist of what scholars call the Eschatological Discourses, which means "doctrine of the end." These words form the basis for much of beliefs of fundamentalist Christian groups, as well as for many alarmists and religious zealots. But metaphysical understanding reveals that these discourses are merely a part of the entire body of Truth brought by Jesus. They should be interpreted in context with the remainder of His teachings. When viewed in this light, they are seen not as literal dire predictions of outer physical events and catastrophes for the future. They are seen as symbolic descriptions of the types of changes, upheaveals, and rearrangements which will occur as a legitimate part of the over-all pattern of unfoldment and evolution for human beings individually and collectively, and also for the earthly environment.
Charles Fillmore has written his beautiful insight into these portions of the Gospels in the first chapter of his book Jesus Christ Heals 20:
"Read the whole 24th chapter of Matt.. In it Jesus describes in symbols and facts what is taking place today in all parts of the world. It may be argued that these conditions have been present in every generation, and so they have; but never have so many of the signs stood out so forcibly as now. All this indicates THE END OF A WORLD DISPENSATION, a climax of race development. THE END OF THE WORLD OF MATTER CAME WITH THE DISCOVERY THAT THE ATOM IS ELECTRICAL, and all the things that revolved about that material supposition are COMING TO AN END with it." (p. 20)
Mr. Fillmore's brilliant insight here goes right along with the approach to Jesus' discourses as mentioned in this lesson. Mr. Fillmore's reference to "the end of a world dispensation" pertains to the final stages of an evolutionary cycle and the initial entry into the new cycle. Today, the Zodiac symbols for these evolutionary cycles have become quite well-known and are widely used: Piscean (the current age, now coming to fulfillment) and Aquarian (the new age now being entered). This symbolism would correspond to Old Testament into New Testament; Jehovah worship into God as Spirit worship; eye-for-an-eye law into grace and Truth.
Mark 13:35-37 UNEXPECTED EVENTS
"Watch therefore for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning - lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Watch." In this statement Jesus is telling us that unexpected events can occur at any time and under any circumstances. "Watch" is best understood in the metaphysical sense, which is to be prepared in consciousness. We are best prepared for unexpected events when we maintain a God-centered consciousness. Regular prayer is the best method. God should be the center point in our consciousness at all times. When this is the case, any event (expected or unexpected) comes and finds us well prepared. God in our consciousness becomes our protection, our guide, our strength, our all-in-all.
Matt. 25:31-46 THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
. Jesus' parable on judgment day is not taken as a parable by most of the fundamentalist churches, but rather it is taken quite literally. This is unfortunate, because Jesus did present it as a parable, and a parable is not a parable if it is taken literally!
Charles Fillmore has given a concise but comprehensive interpretation of a parable in chapter 5 of his book Atom-Smashing Power of Mind. Here are some helpful excerpts from that chapter:
"In the Bible description of the 'day of judgment' the Son of man has always been represented as Jesus Christ, who is to be surrounded by angels and sit on a throne passing judgment after death upon the just and the unjust."
"It is said we are to be judged after death according to deeds done in the body, which are kept on record like books that are balanced; and if the balance is found to be in our favor we go up, and if against us we go down."
"Then today is the day of judgment!"
"We do not judge until we begin to deny and affirm. Judgment commences the moment you accept the truth of your divine sonship."
Who is the king? The center of consciousness, the I AM, and the I AM has power to just the extent you have the courage to assert your power."
"We do not fear anything, for we have separated our sheep from the goats; we have set our true thoughts (sheep) on the right and have denied our error thoughts (goats) any power whatever."
Although the details vary among the accounts (the head of Jesus is anointed in Matt. and Mark, His feet in Luke and John), there are some very important metaphysical insights to be gained from the anointing stories. Dr. Hunt offers this excellent interpretation in "A Study of the New Testament," p. 60. "Seeking metaphysical interpretation for this anointing activity, we readily recognize the "precious ointment" as a symbol of love. As the story opens, mention is made of the ointment being contained in an alabaster cruse (or flask); and had it remained there, nothing worthwhile would have been accomplished. But the Gospel writers tell how Mary broke open the cruse and poured some of the perfumed ointment upon the head and feet of Jesus. Mary thus released the soothing fragrance and healing qualities of the ointment, imparting a blessing to her Lord, and filling the house with rich perfume. In a somewhat similar way, love abiding in our heart may be designated as "precious" and be highly esteemed, but this is not sufficient. Only as love is actually poured out upon persons and situations does it impart its blessings to those concerned. Love was not meant to be hoarded within the heart. If good is to be accomplished, and if situations are to be transformed, we must break the 'alabaster cruse' and start pouring out this 'precious ointment' of love."
BREAD AND WINE AT THE LAST SUPPER
This incident, which has become a sacramental rite in most Christian churches, is interpreted metaphysically on the basis of the meaning of the symbols involved:
- CHRIST: The Spirit of God made personal and indwelling each person as the source of his true, eternal identity.
- BODY OF CHRIST: symbolized by bread; the substance of the Christ Presence, perceived and experienced by a person as his own spiritual faculties. Faith, Strength, Judgment, Love, Power, Imagination, Understanding, Will, Order, Zeal, Elimination, Life.
- LIFE (BLOOD) OF CHRIST: symbolized by wine; the essence and vital energies generated by the Christ Spirit; the inner wellspring of individual human life.
- "Take, eat; this is my body." To eat the body of Christ is to consciously accept the components of His body (12 powers) through willing, thinking, and speaking (affirmation).
- "Drink of it all of you; for this is my blood." To drink the blood of Christ is to consciously live the life of Spirit by expressing the ingredients of the Christ body in daily living.
NOTE: Christ Body is the perfect pattern and source of our true body. Christ blood is the true source of our vital life energies.
Charles Fillmore gives a very concise and highly mystical explanation of the Lord's Supper which appears in his book "The Revealing Word":
"Lord's Supper—(Matt. 26:26-30) Metaphysically, God's covenant with mankind, through His perfect idea, Christ Jesus. This compact was completed through Jesus' breaking the bread and blessing the cup. The bread symbolizes SPIRITUAL SUBSTANCE, or the body. The wine symbolizes the blood of Jesus, or spiritual life.
We eat the body of Jesus by AFFIRMING the one spiritual substance to be the substance of our body and we drink His blood by affirming and realizing our oneness with the one divine, omnipresent life of Spirit." (p. 124)
Jesus ends this incident with words which become more and more significant as we grow in understanding of the metaphysical meaning of Jesus and His teachings. Although literally He is saying this only to His disciples, metaphysically these words are being addressed to all who willingly follow Him. "I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new WITH YOU in my Father's kingdom." (Matt. 26:29)