Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Acts Chapter 22
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 22:1-5
22:1Brethren and fathers, hear ye the defence which I now make unto you.
22:3I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, even as ye all are this day: 22:4and I persecuted this Way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. 22:5As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and journeyed to Damascus to bring them also that were there unto Jerusalem in bonds to be punished.
November 6, 1921: Acts 22:1
How does the Truth defend itself? The Truth does not fight, nor seek to destroy its enemies; it uses the word of Truth to harmonize the turmoil that has been aroused in Jerusalem, the city of peace within everyone.
September 2, 1923: Acts 22:3
In this lesson, Saul asserts that he was born a Jew, brought up in a city of the Gentiles, and received a Pharisaical education. What faculty of the mind, and what phase of its evolution, are here indicated? The name “Saul” means “commander.” Saul was the first king of Israel after the reign of the judges. Metaphysically the crowning of King Saul represents the merging of judgment into will. Saul of Tarsus, in this lesson, represents the obedience of the will and its transition into the word of Truth.
July 1, 1928: Acts 22:3
We are taught that each of the disciples of Jesus represents some faculty of the mind. Paul was “called” by Jesus. What does Paul represent? Paul was a teacher, preacher, orator. He represents the expresser of the Word. Christ is the Word invisible; Paul is the avenue through which the Word is outwardly expressed.
Do those to whom the Word is spoken always understand it? No. The Word is usually misunderstood, and the one who speaks it is sometimes considered a fanatic, as Paul was.
October 1, 1933: Acts 22:3
Paul was born in Tarsus of Cilicia. What does this fact represent here? Tarsus means “tranquility, pleasantness,” and Cilicia means “treacherous, cruel, brutish.” The combination represents the evolution of the soul out of mere animal propensities into harmony and peace of mind.
When one attains peace and poise in the midst of turbulent, discordant conditions, what is the next step in soul unfoldment? Paul says he was brought up in Jerusalem and educated at the feet of Gamaliel. Gamaliel was a famous rabbi who, as stated in the 5th chapter of Acts, “had ... honor of all the people.”
What was the occasion of Paul’s appeal to the people? Paul had been charged with desecration of the Temple and was defending himself against a mob that sought to kill him.
June 4, 1939: Acts 22:1-4
Why did Paul call his listeners “brethren and fathers”? Paul's listeners were Hebrews, a name representing a passing over, from the purely physical or material thought to a higher conception of religious truth. Though still under the law of sin and death, they were nevertheless spiritually developed enough to be responsive to the word of Truth in man's mind.
What does Rome symbolize in contrast with Jerusalem? Rome is a symbol of the action of the dominant personal will, while Jerusalem means “habitation of peace.” Jerusalem represents the abiding consciousness of spiritual peace in man.
How does Paul's identification of himself as a Jew harmonize with his later claim of Roman citizenship and his acknowledgment that he followed the way of the Christ? Paul was born a Jew, which means that the word of Truth is innately connected with the religious instinct in man. He was also born a Roman, which considered in connection with his imprisonment in Rome, shows that the will usurps complete authority when it is allowed to control man. But Paul was converted to the way of the Christ, thus symbolizing man's voluntary allegiance to Truth over and above all compulsory loyalties.
October 6, 1946: Acts 22:3
What meaning is apparent in the words “I am a Jew, of Tarsus in Cilicia”? A city represents an aggregation of thoughts. Paul identified himself with his city as well as with his nation. Tarsus (“tranqullity,” “pleasantness”) represents a group of thoughts of an intellectual character in our consciousness, a group that blends with the more deeply inspirational phase of understanding that is spiritual.
Of what nature should a person be who is brought up in the “habitation of peace” (Jerusalem)? His nature should be in harmony with all that is inspiring and uplifting, and he should be at peace with God and with the world in which he lives.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 22:6-16
22:6And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and drew nigh unto Damascus, about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. 22:7And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 22:8And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.22:9And they that were with me beheld indeed the light, but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. 22:10And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. 22:11And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me I came into Damascus.
22:12And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well reported of by all the Jews that dwelt there,22:13came unto me, and standing by me said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And in that very hour I looked up on him. 22:14And he said, The God of our fathers hath appointed thee to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth. 22:15For thou shalt be a witness for him unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.22:16And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name.
September 2, 1923: Acts 22:6-10
What is the spiritual meaning of Saul’s journeying to Damascus? Saul was on his way to Damascus (which means sack of blood) to persecute the Christians. This incident represents the fanatical will filled with zeal to destroy everything that opposes its traditional religion.
How do we metaphysically interpret Saul’s statement in verse 6: “About noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me”? Saul was evidently in a very high and heated state of meditation (“about noon”), which impinged upon his superconscious mind (heaven), and drew down upon him a flood of spiritual understanding (light).
Was it a real voice that Saul heard saying unto him: “Saul, Saul, why persecuted thou me?” Yes. When Saul asked, “Who art thou, Lord?” the voice answered “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.” Since his ascension, Jesus lives in the omnipresent ether, and whoever opens his superconscious mind contacts the presence of Jesus.
To what may we attribute the great success of Saul, afterward called Paul? The success of Paul lay in his obedience to divine guidance. “And I said, What shall I do, Lord?”
Sunday, July 15, 1928: Acts 22:6-16
What is the metaphysical meaning of the word “Saul”? The word “Saul” means “wished” or “affirmed”; in one of its phases it represents activity of mind called the will. In man’s evolution, King Saul, with his boundless ambition and erratic judgment, represents the last stand of the human will. King Saul was a warrior and at the same time a judge in Israel. He usurped the priestly function and drew upon himself the reproach of the spiritual law (Samuel). An almost exact parallel is found in the life of Saul of Tarsus. Saul of Tarsus, “breathing threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest”; like Saul of old, he sought priestly authority for his destructive methods.
What is the meaning of the vision which came to Saul, while he was on his way to Damascus? The word “Damascus” means intellectual activity, and also is associated with an ideal; the city of Damascus was called “the gem of the desert.” Saul was intellectually striving to carry out a spiritual idea of religion, but he had misjudged Jesus and His teaching. The vision was a vision only to those who accompanied Saul; to Saul it was a real occurrence. Jesus actually talked to him out of the fourth dimension or out of what modern scientists call the luminiferous ether.
Why did Saul see Jesus and hear His voice, while those who journeyed with him “heard not the voice”? Saul was an intensely zealous and energetic Pharisee; he prayed often and long, and by the very intensity of his spiritual aspirations and prayers he broke through the intellectual religious consciousness into the true spiritual light, where Jesus Christ functions and lives. Clear seeing or fourth dimensional sight is an attribute of the one who lives in the kingdom of the heavens or the spiritual realm. When one is lifted into this realm, his mind becomes illumined and, much as the X-ray penetrates the body, his mind penetrates the realms of thought and he sees and knows far more clearly than those who are limited to the material or three-dimensional realm.
Why was Saul so shocked by the message and the vision of Jesus Christ that he was blinded? Saul received a spiritual baptism like that received by the disciples who were in the upper room in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. This spiritual baptism was so intense that he could not assimilate the tremendous spiritual energy that had come to him. The Lord sent him a healer in the person of Ananias, who laid hands on him and helped him to equalize the spiritual energy which had descended suddenly into his soul and his body. Similar experiences are quite common in this day among Truth workers; often they find it necessary to help one another to master their higher forces. The body is in many cases slow in responding to the swift vibrations of light; likewise a dazed condition of mind follows a great spiritual baptism. 0ne who has attained poise and mastery is a most acceptable aid in restoring sight to blinded eyes.
– UNITY magazine.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 22:17-21
22:17And it came to pass, that, when I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance, 22:18and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; because they will not receive of thee testimony concerning me. 22:19And I said, Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 22:20and when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting, and keeping the garments of them that slew him. 22:21And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee forth far hence unto the Gentiles.
July 8, 1928: Acts 22:19-20
What does Saul represent and why was he connected with the stoning of Stephen? Stephen was zealous for the new religion; Saul was equally zealous for the old. The zeal of Saul carried him away to other lands. On the road he meditated and opened up the superman in himself and was converted to Christianity.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 22:22-29
22:22And they gave him audience unto this word; and they lifted up their voice, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live. 22:23And as they cried out, and threw off their garments, and cast dust into the air, 22:24the chief captain commanded him be brought into the castle, bidding that he should be examined by scourging, that he might know for what cause they so shouted against him. 22:25And when they had tied him up with the thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? 22:26And when the centurion heard it, he went to the chief captain and told him, saying, What art thou about to do? for this man is a Roman. 22:27And the chief captain came and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? And he said, Yea. 22:28And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this citizenship. And Paul said, But I am a Roman born. 22:29They then that were about to examine him straightway departed from him: and the chief captain also was afraid when he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.
July 1, 1928: Acts 22:27-28
What should one do in the face of this accusation? One should boldly proclaim, as did Paul, “I am a Roman born,” that is, as a Roman by birth, I am ruler of the world; therefore, I have perfect freedom of expression.
Was Paul justly accused of fanaticism? Paul was born a Jew, was subjected to all the rites and ceremonies of a Jew, persecuted the Christians until he was converted, and then became a missionary to the Gentile world. Instead of continuing in the narrow sectarianism of Jewry, he became tolerant and taught salvation for all men who followed the doctrine of Jesus Christ. He was not fanatical; he followed the leading of Spirit.
November 18, 1928: Acts 22:22-29
What effect did this speech have upon the populace? “They lifted up their voice, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.”
Because of his own consciousness of security Paul seemed to expect that the Jews would readily accept and believe in his experience. What side of his character did Paul betray in this instance? Paul had been high in Jewish ecclesiastical circles and he took it for granted that his friends would readily believe him. Ferrar Fenton's translation of that part of Paul's address which refers to the death of Stephen reads: “I also was standing by, and consenting, and keeping the garments of them that slew him.” Fenton remarks, “The Greek word used by Paul to indicate his position at that trial is a titular one, Ephestos, which in English would be Chief Justice. He was, in fact, President of the Ecclesiastical Court of Jerusalem.”
Do the organized Christian institutions of today accept special spiritual revelations from their followers? No. Anything new in the way of a spiritual revelation usually gets into the orthodox Christian church from the outside. If Paul were a member of any of the Christian churches of this day, and were to tell about his vision as he told it in Jerusalem, he would be quickly suppressed.
What is the cause of such suppression of fresh revelations from the supermind, or Christ mind? The universal tendency of all ideas in the mind of man is toward crystallization. Our religious institutions represent the crystallization of former spiritual revelations.
Is this law of crystallization of ideas by institutions true of the individual also? Yes. Our early religious teaching, the tenets of the church in which we were reared, have become thought forms that resist new revelations.
What are these crystallized thoughts named in the New Testament? They are named scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees.
October 1, 1933: Acts 22:27-28
In his defense Paul cited his Roman citizenship. Why? It is an old adage that when in Rome one should do as the Romans do. Paul saw that the religious fanaticism of the people would destroy him, so he appealed to the Roman authorities at Jerusalem and claimed that he was born a Roman.
October 6, 1946: Acts 22:27-28
In matters of faith should we identify ourselves with the intellect or with the heart? With the heart, since faith clings to that which the soul loves, rather than to that which the intellect grasps. Saul’s statement, “I am a Roman born” identified him with the intellect. The word Rome refers to the head.
How did Paul at last identify himself? With his ideal self, the Christ. “To me to live is Christ.”
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 22:30
22:30But on the morrow, desiring to know the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him, and commanded the chief priests and all the council to come together, and brought Paul down and set him before them.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 12-27-2013