Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Acts Chapter 23
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 23:1-11
23:1And Paul, looking stedfastly on the council, said, Brethren, I have lived before God in all good conscience until this day. 23:2And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. 23:3Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: and sittest thou to judge me according to the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? 23:4And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest? 23:5And Paul said, I knew not, brethren, that he was high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of a ruler of thy people.
23:6But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees: touching the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. 23:7And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. 23:8For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees confess both. 23:9And there arose a great clamor: and some of the scribes of the Pharisees part stood up, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: and what if a spirit hath spoken to him, or an angel? 23:10And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should be torn in pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the castle.
23:11And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer: for as thou hast testified concerning me at Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 23:12-22
23:12And when it was day, the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 23:13And they were more than forty that made this conspiracy. 23:14And they came to the chief priests and the elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. 23:15Now therefore do ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you, as though ye would judge of his case more exactly: and we, before he comes near, are ready to slay him.
23:16But Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, and he came and entered into the castle and told Paul. 23:17And Paul called unto him one of the centurions, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain; for he hath something to tell him. 23:18So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and saith, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and asked me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say to thee. 23:19And the chief captain took him by the hand, and going aside asked him privately, What is it that thou hast to tell me? 23:20And he said, The Jews have agreed to ask thee to bring down Paul tomorrow unto the council, as though thou wouldest inquire somewhat more exactly concerning him. 23:21Do not thou therefore yield unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, who have bound themselves under a curse, neither to eat nor to drink till they have slain him: and now are they ready, looking for the promise from thee. 23:22So the chief captain let the young man go, charging him, Tell no man that thou hast signified these things to me.
October 10, 1909: Acts 23:11-22
Christians are sustained in their dark hours by the Lord. In Paul's time of great trial and danger the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer.” Paul was seemingly surrounded by enemies who were banded together for the purpose of killing him, but there was a higher power working for his safety. He may have made mistakes, and he may have been obstinate in his insistence upon going to Jerusalem in the face of the warning of the Holy Spirit, but this did not prevent the Lord from protecting him.
It is a blessed assurance, this knowledge that whatever our mistakes the Lord is helping us, when we are sincere in our efforts to do the work of the Spirit. There are periods of mental darkness, when sight is clouded and the thoughts mixed and uncertain. This is the coming to the surface of some subconscious condition, and while it is going through spiritual purification, the understanding is opaque. It was in such a state that Paul's desire to go to Jerusalem took possession of him. That determined persistence in carrying out his plans was an excellent quality, but in this case it got the wrong cue. When we have some strong point in character, we have to watch it in order to keep it from pushing us forward in ways that are not the will of the Spirit.
A Christian should never have hard experiences. If the Lord is your guide and counselor, and he is all wise, why should anything come into your life that you call hard? Only through your ignorance or disobedience can such a thing be possible. “He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” When the angels or messengers of the Lord are received and trusted, the faithful disciple has all material obstructions removed. There are no hard experiences in your path, if you are spiritually wise and obedient. Every hard thing that comes to us is the result of not understanding the law of Divine Mind.
These so-called earthly lives are of that character, because we do not open our eyes to the spiritual realities all around us. “In him we live, move and have our being.” God is right here and his kingdom is in our midst. This Jesus realized when the scribe said to him, “Of a truth, Master, thou hast well said that he is one; and there is none other but he: and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” “And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly he said unto him, Thou art not far from the Kingdom of God.”
– UNITY magazine.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 23:23-35
23:23And he called unto him two of the centurions, and said, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go as far as Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night: 23:24and he bade them provide beasts, that they might set Paul thereon, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor. 23:25And he wrote a letter after this form:
23:26Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix, greeting. 23:27This man was seized by the Jews, and was about to be slain of them, when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 23:28And desiring to know the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him down unto their council: 23:29whom I found to be accused about questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds. 23:30And when it was shown to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to thee forthwith, charging his accusers also to speak against him before thee.
23:31So the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 23:32But on the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle: 23:33and they, when they came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, presented Paul also before him. 23:34And when he had read it, he asked of what province he was; and when he understood that he was of Cilicia, 23:35I will hear thee fully, said he, when thine accusers also are come: and he commanded him to be kept in Herod's palace.
Sunday, March 14, 1915: Acts 23:23-30
SILENT PRAYER: The Lord stands by me and says, Be of good cheer.
Rome represents the head and Jerusalem the heart. When the Truth has declared its word in the heart, that Christ is come and all things must be changed to conform to his righteous law, there is protest and great opposition. But the seed is sown and the work must go on, though it seems to be hampered and bound on every hand. There is a higher law at work than that perceived by the intellect. The Lord is there unseen, but active. In the darkness of discouragement he “stood by him” and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul, for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou hear witness also at Rome.” We may find in the end that the very bonds that seem to be forging about us are the instruments that will finally carry out the desire of our hearts. Paul wanted to go to Rome to preach the Truth, and the conspiracy of the Jews to kill him was paving the way for the fulfillment of that desire.
When you are following the Spirit and seeking to do the will of the Lord to the very best of your ability, count all your experiences as stepping-stones to your good. When Joseph was sold into Egypt, the tragedy of life seemed at its height, yet the unseen hand used it to bring about the saving of many lives, the exaltation to a very high place of the central figure, and a final reunion of all concerned, like the ending of a beautiful fairytale. The central truth of this lesson is that what we are loyal to in the heart, or within, will finally make itself manifest in the without. That which is spoken in secret shall be declared upon the housetops. There is a law back of this. All things work from the invisible to the visible, from center to circumference, from within out. “Out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
Testify in silence of the Truth, and this law will stand by you. You will in due season demonstrate if you are faithful. Many fail because they are not patient. They want results at once. Paul lay two years in a dungeon in Caesarea, before he was sent to Rome. Followers of the Spirit within should never tremble at the formidable array of forces that oppose them. Forty Jews took a solemn oath to neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul, yet the Spirit caused one young man, Paul's nephew, to undo all their plans. You may seem helpless, bound hand and foot “with two chains,” but a power is at work in the realms of mind that will work out the desire of your heart. This law of Truth is right now working for all those who are silently and audibly testifying that they are under divine protection.
A lady testified in one of our meetings that she was two years healing a paralyzed arm. She had been healed of consumption, but the arm gave no evidence of responding to her oft-repeated words of Truth and her sacred loyalty to the inner law. She suffered greatly, and one day in desperation started to consult a doctor. On the way she thought of the manner in which the Truth had changed her whole life, how it had demonstrated its power in so many ways, and now she was going back to the helps that had failed her so often in the past. A conviction of the bondage she was about to put herself in came over her and she stopped short in the street and said, “The same God that was with Jesus Christ is here with me, and I will trust him and look to him for healing this arm, and no mortal thought shall ever again tempt me to look elsewhere.” She turned about and went home. Before she reached her doorstep she realized that her arm was healed, and it has so remained ever since. She is now a teacher and healer herself, and very happy in the light of the Spirit to which she was loyal.
– UNITY magazine.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 12-27-2013