Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Acts Chapter 10
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 10:1-16
10:1Now there was a certain man in Caesarea, Cornelius by name, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 10:2a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, who gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. 10:3He saw in a vision openly, as it were about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in unto him, and saying to him, Cornelius. 10:4And he, fastening his eyes upon him, and being affrighted, said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are gone up for a memorial before God. 10:5And now send men to Joppa, and fetch one Simon, who is surnamed Peter: 10:6he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side. 10:7And when the angel that spake unto him was departed, he called two of his household-servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; 10:8and having rehearsed all things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
10:9Now on the morrow, as they were on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour: 10:10and he became hungry, and desired to eat: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance; 10:11and he beholdeth the heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending, as it were a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth: 10:12wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts and creeping things of the earth and birds of the heaven. 10:13And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill and eat. 10:14But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common and unclean. 10:15And a voice came unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, make not thou common. 10:16And this was done thrice: and straightway the vessel was received up into heaven.
April 4, 1909: Acts 10:1-48
Dreams and visions have legitimate place in the communion of the human and the Divine. Through them man gets glimpses of the cause side of existence. If we were all with open face beholding the glory of the Lord, these partial glimpses of the inner would be superseded by continuous open vision and understanding of that which knows and seems supernatural.
Visions and dreams are as varied as personalities. Whatever the mind thinks most about will appear in the forms it frames. This proves that mind makes and moulds materiality, and reveals the all potential force. Thinking about God and things spiritual opens the mind to realms where these are, and a means of communication is established between man and God. But there are many thought-realms surrounding man, and in order to keep in touch with God he must hold for the highest, and keep up his connection with the Innermost by prayers and affirmations oft repeated. Visions and dreams without the understanding of Truth to interpret them are often a snare and delusion.
Neither Cornelius nor Peter were wise in interpretation, but both were obedient, and events explained the meaning bf the mental pictures used by the Lord.
Language is a human invention and unsatisfactory as it usually conceals ideas by wordy descriptions instead of revealing them in simple word-pictures. Ideas always express themselves in thought-forms and and can be manifested in the corresponding Nature-pictures that all may understand. Water, earth, air, trees, birds, flowers are all the Words of God and when In visions and dreams he communicates with man these natural and universal symbols are used.
True leading and education can be had direct from the Lord by one who seeks the Spirit and is obedient to it. The early Christians had open vision, as plainly set forth in the New Testament. From the time of his conversion by the sudden appearing of the Lord at noon-day, to the end of his ministry, Paul was through these avenues in communication with the Lord. Jesus "stood by" him and talked to him, and when the ship seemed lost Paul comforted the sailors by telling them that there stood by him in the night the angel of God, "Whose I am, and whom I serve," and assured him that all would be saved. The modern orthodox Christian neither seeks nor knows this means of communication, consequently is ignorant of the immanent God. '' Where there is no vision the people perish." — Prov. 29:18.
November 17, 1929: Acts 10:9-15
Many people construe Peter's vision to be a lesson pertaining to food, and especially indicating that all animals were made for human consumption. Is there any truth in this? No. Peter's vision pertains to the truth that people of all nations, all races, have one origin, God. God is the Father of all, and all have the same access to Him and to His good. "He himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth."
What do Peter and Cornelius represent in this lesson? Peter represents man's inner spiritual vision, and Cornelius represents the outer illumination. Both of them are brought together in Christ. Peter was shown by his vision that God had cleansed Cornelius, who had been earnestly seeking Truth; therefore Cornelius should no longer be called common or unclean. "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them that heard the word. And they of the circumcision that believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit." Right in line with this experience, we find that our conscious minds and our bodies, which we have been taught to look on as sinful and outside the saving plan of Jesus Christ, are harmonized and healed by the power of the Christ faith.
November 5, 1944: Acts 10:9-16
What is the significance of unity in relation to tolerance? Unity signifies the oneness of all men in Christ. All have equal rights under the divine law, and all are of equal value in the sight of God. Without tolerance this oneness and equality is impossible.
Since all are of equal worth in the sight of God, should we look upon any person, race, or nation as inferior to us? No, we should develop the humility that allows us to view all as one. Since the race is one, even personal consciousness should allow us to accept the unity of all instead of leading, as it does, to feelings of superiority based on differing stages of development or fuller advantage taken of opportunities.
Does intolerance involve the religious nature? It involves this nature especially, so much so that at times wars have been fought over differences in men's faith in God.
Is faith a cause of division among men in this present age? Faith in spiritual reality is being challenged now as never before by the apostles of material force. The latter are seeking to substitute the concept of a superior race for the Supreme Being as an object of worship.
Jesus taught the oneness of all men in Christ. Why then is intolerance still in evidence? Because the Christ has not been universally accepted as the true way of life, or even generally expressed by those who accept His example as the right way to live. It took a vision three times repeated to convince Peter that the teaching of Jesus Christ was to be put into practice by men in all their relations with other men. We sometimes accept as a matter of course the principle that is clearly presented to us, yet we may fail to realize the necessity or urgency of practicing it. We need to make our faith practical.
What helps us to realize a spirit of tolerance? Clearer understanding. When we see what tolerance does for the race and what it does for us as individuals, we are eager to broaden and deepen our outlook.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 10:17-23a
10:17Now while Peter was much perplexed in himself what the vision which he had seen might mean, behold, the men that were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon's house, stood before the gate, 10:18and called and asked whether Simon, who was surnamed Peter, were lodging there. 10:19And while Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. 10:20But arise, and get thee down, and go with them, nothing doubting: for I have sent them. 10:21And Peter went down to the men, and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? 10:22And they said, Cornelius a centurion, a righteous man and one that feareth God, and well reported of by all the nation of the Jews, was warned of God by a holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words from thee. 10:23So he called them in and lodged them.
January 29, 1950: Acts 10:17-24
Why is it difficult for men to understand the vision or ideal of tolerance? Because of their pride, which makes them feel superior to their fellows in the matter of birth or race.
Is faith (Peter) easily converted to tolerance? No. The vision was repeated to Peter three times by way of emphasizing it's truth and urgency, and Peter was still "much perplexed in himself what the vision which he had seen might mean." Faith instinctively hold fast to that in which it is rooted and sees no reason for changing its allegiance.
What brought understanding to Peter? The Holy Spirit, whose dominion he acknowledged. Peter was wholly devoted to the Christ, and when he opened his mind to receive the truth his faith made him receptive to it and he received true understanding. Intuition came to his aid, so that he knew before he was called that the "three-man" sent by the Holy Spirit were waiting to see him.
What does Cornelius represent? Cornelius represents pride of rank and position. Cornelius however was a devout believer in God and was given to prayer. This spiritual exercise neutralized worldly pride. Cornelius was waiting for Peter, having called together his kinsman and his near friends to hear the message with him.
What is the significance of Cornelius's sending for Peter? When a person through spiritual illumination becomes free from pride in his rank and position in the world, he begins truly to seek God. He opens the way for faith to reveal to him the spiritual understanding that he seeks.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 10:23b-29
10:23bAnd on the morrow he arose and went forth with them, and certain of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him. 10:24And on the morrow they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius was waiting for them, having called together his kinsmen and his near friends. 10:25And when it came to pass that Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. 10:26But Peter raised him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. 10:27And as he talked with him, he went in, and findeth many come together: 10:28and he said unto them, Ye yourselves know how it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to join himself or come unto one of another nation; and yet unto me hath God showed that I should not call any man common or unclean: 10:29wherefore also I came without gainsaying, when I was sent for. I ask therefore with what intent ye sent for me.
December 30, 1945: Acts 10:23b-29
What in our consciousness is represented by Peter's coming to Cornelius? Cornelius represents that in consciousness which is no longer bound by outer show and formality but which truly seeks God. Prayer is the form of communication that most surely arouses faith; therefore when Cornelius prayed he was instructed to send for Peter (faith) in order to learn what he must do.
How does faith reach its most effectual development? Under the influence of the spirit of tolerance. Peter resisted the thought of going to a Gentile until he was taught in a dream that no one is innately common or unclean.
Is pride of rank or power of position incompatible with faith in God? They are until they are touched by the spirit of tolerance and transformed by it. Cornelius was a man in authority over a hundred men, and his rank tended to make him proud and hard. However his faith in God and his generosity offset these strictures so that he was truly humble. When Peter appeared at the door "Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshiped him."
Is the lesson of tolerance completely mastered at the present time? It has never been mastered by the race as a whole. Lacking tolerance, nations set themselves up as superior to other nations, racial intolerance still exists, and even certain persons in the same nation or society feel superiority to their fellow men. Real progress in civilization awaits the dawn of a new era in tolerance.
Is intolerance a natural attendant on pride of rank and power of position (Cornelius)? Yes, the two go together. Unless faith is tolerant it leads to oppression and persecution. Unless pride of rank is tempered by humility it may become domineering and arbitrary.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 10:30-48
10:30And Cornelius said, Four days ago, until this hour, I was keeping the ninth hour of prayer in my house; and behold, a man stood before me in bright apparel, 10:31and saith, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. 10:32Send therefore to Joppa, and call unto thee Simon, who is surnamed Peter; he lodgeth in the house of Simon a tanner, by the sea side. 10:33Forthwith therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore we are all here present in the sight of God, to hear all things that have been commanded thee of the Lord.
10:34And Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 10:35but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him. 10:36The word which he sent unto the children of Israel, preaching good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all.) -- 10:37that saying ye yourselves know, which was published throughout all Judaea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 10:38even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 10:39And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom also they slew, hanging him on a tree. 10:40Him God raised up the third day, and gave him to be made manifest, 10:41not to all the people, but unto witnesses that were chosen before of God, even to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 10:42And he charged us to preach unto the people, and to testify that this is he who is ordained of God to be the Judge of the living and the dead. 10:43To him bear all the prophets witness, that through his name every one that believeth on him shall receive remission of sins.
10:44While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them that heard the word. 10:45And they of the circumcision that believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. 10:46For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 10:47Can any man forbid the water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? 10:48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
November 17, 1929: Acts 10:30-35
In the early history of Christianity was not the supernatural unusually manifested? Yes. "And Cornelius said, Four days ago, until this hour, I was keeping the ninth hour of prayer in my house: and behold, a man stood before me in bright apparel, and saith, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God."
Who is the man that comes and stands before Cornelius in bright apparel? The man who comes and stands before Cornelius is an angel of the Lord, or the high spiritual perceptive faculty within the soul which ever dwells in the presence of the Father. It is the mission of this faculty to bring us messages direct from God, when we have opened our minds to Spirit sufficiently to receive.
In this instance, what message is revealed to Cornelius? In this instance, the message revealed to Cornelius (or that in us which is seeking a higher spiritual basis) is how to open the way for the light of spiritual faith, here typified by sending for "Simon, who is surnamed Peter."
What is the only avenue through which our good can come to us? The only avenue through which our good can come to us is through the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth. Often blessings may seem to come to us through human instrumentality, but back of appearances is the unalterable law of God, and it is only as we conform our lives to the Christ standard that the gifts of the kingdom can come to us.
February 15, 1920: Acts 10:30-48
1. Cornelius, the first Gentile convert to the Jesus Christ method of redemption, represents that in consciousness which, no longer bound by outer show and formality, truly searches after God. Cornelius typifies that in us that communes with the Father, feeds the soul with divine light and love in order to live the life, and to make practical in all ways the truth thus gained.
2. The man who comes and stands before Cornelius is an angel of the Lord, or that high spiritual perceptive faculty within the soul which ever dwells in the presence of the Father, and whose mission is to bring us messages direct from God, when we have opened our minds to Spirit sufficiently to receive.
3. In this instance, the message reveals to Cornelius (or that in us which is seeking a higher spiritual basis) how to open the way for the light of spiritual faith, here typified by sending for "Simon, who is surnamed Peter."
4. When the full understanding power of faith begins its work in consciousness, it perceives from the spiritual viewpoint, and makes clear the truth that God is indeed no respecter of persons, but that salvation is for all alike, both the Jews (spiritual thoughts) and the Gentiles (those thoughts connected more with the outer ways of life).
5. Further still, faith, the very essence of spiritual understanding and illumination for which the soul is longing, reveals the whole plan of redemption; how through the power of the Word the glad tidings of peace through Jesus Christ are sent forth to all people (thoughts) who will receive; after which the master (the Christ) is anointed with the Holy Spirit.
6. Then how through Jesus (the Christ manifest), giving up his life on the cross, the seed of salvation is sown throughout the earth (body), and the power of the Holy Spirit is extended to all nations (all states of consciousness).
7. The one way in which our good may reach us is through the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth. Often blessings may seem to come to us through human instrumentality, but back of appearances is the unalterable law of God, and it is only as we conform our lives to the Christ standard that the gifts of the kingdom can come to us.
March 5, 1939: Acts 10:30-48
How is tolerance learned? The Christ Spirit consciously invoked and expressed makes one tolerant. As helps toward tolerance one can cultivate breadth of vision, liberal-mindedness, clear judgment, and the realization that all men are one.
What does Cornelius represent? Cornelius (horn-bearing) represents pride of rank or power of position.
What is the significance of Peter's lesson in tolerance? Peter represents faith. Unless faith is tolerant it leads man to oppression and persecution.
What lesson did Cornelius have to learn before he could receive the Holy Spirit? Cornelius's lesson was one of humility and obedience to the divine will. He was "a devout man, and one that feared God."
What did Peter preach to Cornelius? Peace and the good works of Jesus of Nazareth was Peter's theme. He showed also that the Christ gives power to judge aright.
With what tongue does he speak who is moved by the Holy Spirit? The tongue of tolerance, of justice and mercy, of kindliness and understanding, of compassion and helpfulness, of praise and thanksgiving is the tongue that expresses the Holy Spirit.
What will lead to the consciousness of universal brotherhood among men? Unity of spirit will do this. "He made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth."
Interpret water baptism. Baptism represents denial. Before good can be realized evil must be denied a place in the thoughts. Before men realize that they are all one they must deny belief in separation and all else that would set them at variance.
November 5, 1944: Acts 10:34, 35
Why is God "no respecter of persons"? Because God is impersonal Spirit, the Spirit of perfection, and with this supreme excellence the petty attitude of personality has nothing to do. Absolute impartiality and utter impersonality are attributes of the Deity. In this Spirit all become one and indivisible.
December 30, 1945: Acts 10:34-43
What attitude is acceptable to the Spirit of love? That of right and justice and the doing of good. "In every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him."
To what do tolerance and right conduct on the part of men and nations lead? To peace. "The word which he sent unto the children of Israel, preaching good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ." Good will is essential to the dawning of peace among men.
January 29, 1950: Acts 10:34-43
How do we merit divine favor? Doing right is all that matters in the sight of God. Whether Jew or Gentile, white or black, each one merits divine favor according to his works. "In every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him."
What are the "good tidings of peace" that Christ came to teach and proclaim? That God is the one God, and that all men are brothers, because all are children of the one God.
What aspects of the Holy Spirit and of power were most evident in Jesus? His doing of good and his work of healing. Both revealed complete consciousness of God.
June 5, 1927: Acts 10-34-48
Explain Peter's proclamation, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons." Peter was a Jew and had been taught that the Jews were the elect of God, his favorite children, his chosen people. Now Peter received a new revelation and perceived that all offspring of God had the same opportunities--that the God attributes were given in equal measure to all alike.
If God gives to all alike, why is there such diversity of ability among men? Men differ in their spiritual abilities because they cultivate the attributes of Spirit in different ways and with varying degrees of industry.
What makes a man or a woman spiritually minded? According to Peter those who reverence God and practice righteousness are acceptable to him.
Why was Jesus anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power? Jesus was anointed or empowered to do marvelous works because he was obedient to the will of Spirit within him. He had the realization of his oneness with the Father mind and concentrated continually upon the one thought that God was the indwelling Presence, though which all things were accomplished.
Peter says that God raised up Jesus the third day and that Jesus was "manifest not tall the people, but unto witnesses that were chosen before God." Explain. It is written that spiritual things are spiritually discerned. When men give attention to spiritual subjects, and words and illumination come to them, they see spiritual meanings in what others consider ordinary appearances. The resurrected body of Jesus was functioning on a higher plane of vibration than that on which the bodies of other people were functioning at that time; it is probable that he could not be seen by those who were not illumined.
Peter, in speaking of Jesus, preached that "through his name every on that believeth on him shall receive remission of sins." Explain. Jesus' followers proclaimed the power of his name over and over again. They were conscious of making immediate contact with the spirituality of Jesus, and their faith was so stimulated that they had the absolute assurance that they could do miracles by proclaiming Jesus Christ as their coworker. His name and his power are still operative and marvelous things are being done in his name.
March 10, 1935: Acts 10:34-48
Unity Subject--One Faith
Every one has his dominant trait or ruling motive, which forms the key to his nature and determines the measure of his achievement. Every one who aspires to spiritual understanding needs to recognize his dominant trait and learn to harmonize it with the high demands of Spirit. He who would make his whole being conform to the divine ideal must learn obediently to shift various mental phases from a material to a spiritual basis, whenever such a change is indicated as desirable.
Self-discovery comes about most easily through prayer. Cornelius was engaged in discovering himself. When we think of all who have received guidance through prayer, who have heard counsel and advice and had the way they were to take made plain to them, we perceive that we need not merely have faith in prayer as the true way of enlightenment. We have clear proof of its scientific and spiritual efficacy. Our own experience forms this proof. Prayer stills the incessant turbulence of the thoughts, so that the one Mind can function in and through the mental processes of man.
The need of a change in man from a material to a spiritual basis is indicated in this lesson by Cornelius, representing pride of rank or power of position. Cornelius was a centurion (commander of one hundred soldiers).
An unmistakable sign of the material-minded man is the attaching of great importance to rank and station. The materialist is the personal man who thinks of himself as altogether a worldly being, which he appears to be. Pride of rank must give place to humility. Cornelius prayed to God, and out of that act came humility of spirit. Out of humility sprang the receptivity to Truth that made possible the revelation that came to him; namely, that faith in God and in the fullness of spiritual life can put life in harmony and make of the inner and the outer one new man. Jesus had shown His disciples that service, not position or material power, make one great in the spiritual realm. Through his faith in divine power, Cornelius was to come into understanding of this transcendent truth.
The Christ way is the way of redemption and fulfillment. The one who follows it learns to refrain from dominating any side of his nature in detrimental fashion, or belittling himself either to others or to himself. Domineering is not the way of the Christ, for that way is freedom. The dominion given to man in the beginning was first of all over himself, and even that was to be exercised wisely, without hint of autocratic rule. The dominant trait is to be not rulership but self mastery, so exercised as to make of man one harmonious whole.
Frederick the Great, Alexander the Great, and Napoleon were all examples of the dominant desire to rule over others. All gained material honors and powers. Over against them in the scale is Jesus of Nazareth who said of Himself, "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am," and further, "I am among you as he that serveth." Today we look forward to time when there will be no servants; when each shall be master of himself alone. To reach this pinnacle we must learn first to serve God and our brother man.
When the dominant trait is service, one needs to use wisdom in its exercise in order not to find oneself serving those who are well able to serve themselves and who need that experience. One needs to have zeal according to knowledge if one would recognize the right place to serve and the measure of service required for the best results. Affirming wisdom and the opening of the right avenue of service prevents misdirected effort and insures a satisfying outcome.
Sometimes selfishness is the dominant trait. Then when the man comes to himself and feels a genuine desire to convert his self-centered view of life to a spiritual basis, the good fight is on. "I came to cast fire upon the earth" is the promise of the Christ Spirit, and this living flame of love burns up all the dross of the selfish personal nature so that the true Christ-centered life may appear.
When Cornelius faced within himself the need of change from old habits of thought, he began to pray. The spiritual exercise of prayer increased his faith, and this quickening process is pictured as his sending for Peter. This work of Spirit in the personal phase of man portrays clearly the universality of divine principles, and faith proclaims, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons." Following this great step in spiritual progress, the Christ Spirit (divine principle as expressed through Jesus Christ) instructs man, and as a result there comes upon him an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the baptizing of the whole man with spiritual consciousness.