Metaphysical meaning of Festus (mbd)
Festus, fes'-tus (Lat.)--joyful.
When Truth has once entered the mind there is no getting rid of its work. It may seem to be bound and in a dungeon (as was Paul) and forgotten by the prosperous ruler (Festus), yet it is not inactive. There is an undercurrent of true thought that keeps up an incessant tapping at the door of conscience and justice, and eventually changes the whole character. The changes that come to us during this process are hardly discernible on the surface, and we are not always conscious of the transformations that are going on unless we compare the thoughts of today with those of a few years ago, or before we listened to the statements of Truth. It is common for us to think that there has not been progress, but a little retrospection shows that the divine light has brought about a whole new set of ideas and dissipated the darkness in ways beyond description.
Festus, signifying festive, joyful, succeeded Felix as governor of the province of Judea. Agrippa, his brother-in-law, and governor of a neighboring province, with his wife Bernice was visiting Festus. Paul was called before these persons and commanded to restate his case that they might determine what should be done with him.
Agrippa means one who causes pain at birth. As Festus represents the transient joys of the external life, his brother-in-law, Agrippa, shows the close association of this sort of pleasure with pain. Drusilla and Bernice represent the voluptuous side of the sense life. A change is taking place in consciousness; the Truth is finding its way to the surface. The man and his soul are communing. Yet the walls of sense are not all broken down. It took many journeys of the priests and people around Jericho, with their trumpets of true words, to shatter the walls. The Truth comes before us again and again before we finally accept it, if we are enamored of the sense life.
Paul recalled the former illumination that had come at midday near Damascus. Festus declared that he was a lunatic--that his study had unbalanced his mind. When the recollection of some great spiritual uplift comes to us as a memory, we are apt to consider it a delusion, especially if we are back in the sense consciousness. In order to realize the Truth of the superconscious mind we must keep up contact with it through frequent prayer and meditation. After we have lost the connection and are submerged in the intellectual and physical realms of thought, the higher seems so far away that we count it a dream, or insanity.
So long as we are enjoying ourselves in the sense life, our ears are usually dull to Truth. Festus was not moved by Paul's eloquent appeal. But Agrippa (pain, the "grippe") brings us very close to an acceptance of the higher way. He was almost persuaded to believe. He did not get there at the first appeal, nor do we always do so; often there is still some external remedy that we have not yet tried, and that we hope will do the work. Hence we put off turning wholeheartedly to God and His Truth, a turning that is the only way to abiding life and good.