Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Acts Chapter 26
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 26:1-11
26:2I think myself happy, king Agrippa, that I am to make my defense before thee this day touching all the things whereof I am accused by the Jews: 26:3especially because thou art expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.
26:4My manner of life then from my youth up, which was from the beginning among mine own nation and at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; 26:5having knowledge of me from the first, if they be willing to testify, that after the straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 26:6And now I stand here to be judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers; 26:7unto which promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. And concerning this hope I am accused by the Jews, O king! 26:8Why is it judged incredible with you, if God doth raise the dead?
26:9I verily thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 26:10And this I also did in Jerusalem: and I both shut up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, and when they were put to death I gave my vote against them. 26:11And punishing them oftentimes in all the synagogues, I strove to make them blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto foreign cities.
October 6, 1946: Acts 26:4-5
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.
Why then was Saul inclined to be argumentative and contentious? Because his zeal, which was great, was divorced from spiritual understanding. He identified himself with the Pharisees, who represent the external forms of faith in contrast with the essence of faith itself, namely the Spirit of truth.
How do we make our faith effective? By living it. Saul “lived a Pharisee” and he became one of the “straitest,” most arbitrary of that strait-laced sect, and advanced in the ranks of the Pharisees far beyond others of his age. Our faith becomes effective only as we express it with complete loyalty and devotion.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 26:12-18
26:12Whereupon as I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 26:13at midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them that journeyed with me. 26:14And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice saying unto me in the Hebrew language, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the goad. 26:15And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 26:16But arise, and stand upon thy feet: for to this end have I appeared unto thee, to appoint thee a minister and a witness both of the things wherein thou hast seen me, and of the things wherein I will appear unto thee; 26:17delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom I send thee, 26:18to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in me.
November 27, 1932: Acts 26:12-19
What lesson do we learn from the conversion of Paul? The conversion of Paul illustrates how zeal that has once been exercised in destructive ways may be turned and become a great constructive power.
Is it reasonable to teach that Jesus spoke to Paul out of the heavens as one personality speaks to another? Jesus lives in the ether, which is an interpenetrating, radiant realm of substance, more rarefied than the earth or its atmosphere, yet which has real existence. Jesus has manifested Himself to His followers many times from this kingdom of the heavens, and it is quite reasonable to believe that He spoke to Paul as stated in the Scripture.
Paul believed and taught that he had been appointed an apostle, and that he was equal to the disciples who had been personally associated with Jesus in His ministry. Is there ground for this statement? Paul undoubtedly had the highest authority for his apostleship, not only in the call he recorded, but in his continued revelations of spiritual truths which he set forth in his epistles.
Sunday, October 13, 1946: Acts 26:9-18
In connection with our convictions and the expression of our loyalties what faculty is indispensable? Understanding. Without it zeal for Truth can become a destructive force, instead of a power for uplift and progress.
Is it possible for one to keep the law with such excess of zeal that one becomes virtually a lawbreaker instead of remaining law-abiding? It is. In persecuting the followers of Jesus Christ Saul broke the provision of the Mosaic law, which read: “Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not.” Conviction of the rightness of his loyalty drove Saul to cruelty and intolerance.
As a rule what underlies the change of heart known as conversion? Greater light on the subject matter of one’s convictions usually brings about this change, but a quickening of the emotional nature may also be responsible.
Does the will have a part in effecting the transformation? Yes, the change is a voluntary one. No one is transformed against his will.
Saul's conversion seems to have been an exception to this rule. Was it actually so? Although it seemed not to be so, Saul's conversion was voluntary. As soon as he saw the light and heard the voice of Jesus, he acknowledged the authority of the Speaker by his words, “Who art thou, Lord?” His willingness to obey equaled his perception of his Lord.
Besides will what was Saul’s outstanding faculty? His unflagging zeal. He worked zealously at whatever he undertook. His zeal was as tireless as his will.
Are will and zeal usually associated with enlightenment or understanding? In Divine Mind they are, but in the unregenerate human mind they are often without wisdom or understanding. Hence persecution in the name of religion and other inhumanities committed by the race.
Did the truth that Jesus was the Christ dawn suddenly on Saul? In a way it did, but in the behavior of those whom he had persecuted so zealously Saul had doubtless seen many evidences of the Christ that he could not explain away. Proof of this is found in the words “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest; to this end have I appeared unto thee, to appoint thee a ... witness ... of the things wherein thou hast seen me.” The Christ appeared in Stephen's prayer “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge,” uttered in such a loud voice that Saul, who was standing by, must have heard it.
September 24, 1950: Acts 26:9-20
What is the metaphysical meaning of the name Jesus of Nazareth? The name Nazareth means “offshoot, guarded; defended,” and the name Jesus means “Saviour, Deliverer.” Jesus is the Saviour, and the Christ is the I AM in man. The I AM guards and defends the common everyday life of man, until it takes on the likeness and substance of spiritual truth and saves man from the disillusionment and frustrations that he experiences in sense consciousness.
What actions “contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” did the unconverted Saul commit? He imprisoned converts to the Christian way of life, while the way of the Christ sets men free. He voted in favor of the death sentence against them, although the way of the Christ is to “preserve ... those that are utmost to make them blaspheme” (renounce their loyalty to God); the Christ way is to seek closer union with God and practice love toward all men. He persecuted innocent followers of the Christ to foreign cities, whereas the Mosaic law provided cities of refuge in which the innocent might take refuge and be safe from the avenger of blood.
How did Saul’s vision on the Damascus road show him that he was creating hardship for himself rather than for those whom he was persecuting? Zeal for God was the “goad” against which Saul was kicking, a zeal that reacted upon him later when, in preaching Christ, he was persecuted by the Jews as relentlessly as he had persecuted others. Paul said of them: “They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” Misdirected zeal stirs up antagonism.
What did the commission of Jesus to Saul take for granted? That Saul had already seen the Christ in expression in His followers. “To this end have I appeared unto thee, to appoint thee a minister and a witness both of the things wherein thou hast seen me, and of the things wherein I will appear unto thee.”
What promise was made to him in the very beginning? That he would be delivered from the people (the Jews) and from the Gentiles, “unto whom I send thee.” He was to have no fear of the consequences of his conversion.
“Why was Saul sent to the Gentiles? To convert them to the Christ, and open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God.” The Gentiles symbolize the worldly thoughts that are unillumined by Truth.
What sanctifying or saving influence is to aroused in the Gentiles? Faith in the Christ.
What did Paul preach as a result of this vision? He preached the necessity of repentance or a change of mind or will, such as he had experienced. “Declared ... that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance.” John the Baptist preached this also.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 26:19-23
26:19Wherefore, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: 26:20but declared both to them of Damascus first and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judaea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance. 26:21For this cause the Jews seized me in the temple, and assayed to kill me. 26:22Having therefore obtained the help that is from God, I stand unto this day testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses did say should come; 26:23how that the Christ must suffer, and how that he first by the resurrection of the dead should proclaim light both to the people and to the Gentiles.
June 4, 1939: Acts 26:19-23
How does Truth translate man's conversion into universal terms? It causes him to spread the message far and wide, including in its scope not only the material concept of life (Damascus) but man's consciousness of peace (Jerusalem), renewing his consciousness of praise (the country of Judea), and bringing his worldly thoughts (Gentiles) into line with Truth and right.
Why must the Christ suffer? To bring to light the truth of the resurrection life man must put away all personality. He who chooses to identify himself with the Christ suffers in giving up personality, with which he has been so long bound up.
Sunday, March 19, 1950: Acts 26:19-23
What is the meaning and significance of the name Agrippa? The name means “one who causes pain at birth.” Considered in connection with Festus, who represents the joys of the external life, the name Agrippa shows the close association that this sort of pleasure has with pain.
How does the creative word of Truth (Paul) affect the Agrippa consciousness? It brings it very dose to acceptance of faith in the Christ. Pain makes us hope for a way of life higher than the mere animal or sense existence.
What is the gospel that Paul preached so far and wide? That his hearers “should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance”, that is, their actions subsequent to repentance should be such as to justify the change that they had made in their way of thinking and living.
Why did the Jews seek to kill Paul for this preaching? The Jews represent the religious thoughts that crystallize in certain fixed forms. Crystallization of beliefs permits no new ideas to enter in but rejects them as a matter of course.
What new ideas did Paul set forth? “Nothing but what the prophets and Moses did say should come.” However the idea that fulfillment had actually come was too good to accept as true, and the Jews preferred to keep fulfillment indefinitely in the future. The resurrection from the dead strained their faith to the breaking point.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 26:24-32
26:24And as he thus made his defense, Festus saith with a loud voice, Paul, thou art mad; thy much learning is turning thee mad. 26:25But Paul saith, I am not mad, most excellent Festus; but speak forth words of truth and soberness. 26:26For the king knoweth of these things, unto whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things is hidden from him; for this hath not been done in a corner.26:27King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. 26:28And Agrippa said unto Paul, With but little persuasion thou wouldest fain make me a Christian. 26:29And Paul said, I would to God, that whether with little or with much, not thou only, but also all that hear me this day, might become such as I am, except these bonds.
26:30And the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: 26:31and when they had withdrawn, they spake one to another, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds. 26:32And Agrippa said unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.
October 24, 1897: Acts 26:19-32
19. Paul represents the Christian who, having heard the inner voice of the “I am,” and received the Spirit's illuminating baptismal enduement, is “obedient unto the heavenly vision.” As the spiritual birth and illumination are experiences for the individual soul alone, which he cannot share with another, others standing by may catch glimpses of the illumination, but “they hear not the voice” of the Spirit – Acts 22:9; they know nothing of your experience. The so-called Christian world, who have not had this higher Christ experience, become envious of anyone who claims this illumination.
20. And when such an one undertakes to preach repentance to these creed-bound formalists, who know not the joys and freedom of the Spiritual life . . .
21. They become violently hostile, and seek to destroy the manifestation of the Christ, to destroy the Christ from consciousness.
22-23. “Having obtained help from God” by the grace of God you are preserved to continue preaching the living gospel, confining yourself strictly to the one theme, namely, Christ and his Resurrection.
In true metaphysics all actors are to be found within; and therefore this lesson is the picturing under the symbology of history, of the struggle going on within your own breast, as you undertake to carry out the principles of Christ in opposition to your old religious thought and that of the world. The old material consciousness will continue to assert itself, until a higher, the Spiritual consciousness, is established. So great and venomous is the hostility of the old religious thought that you take umbrage under the thought as the less of two evils; this is “appealing unto Caesar,” which is not the correct thing to do. But the Christian should ever make his appeal to the Spirit, which is always a “very present help in every time of need.”
24. When the illuminated Christian preaches the Gospel in demonstration of the Spirit, worldly wisdom calls it “madness” or “fanaticism,”
25. But “words of Truth” are “words of soberness,” the very opposite of madness.
26-27. When you present the Truth in a candid way to a candid mind, appealing to his common sense and unbiased judgment,
28. He will be convinced and will become a Christian, unless the restraining power of his environment is too strong for his vacillating mind. “Almost persuaded” indicates the power of environment to hold one to the old consciousness.
29. Paul's reply is sublime: “I would to God that, whether with little or with much, not thou only, but also all that hear me this day, might become as I am (raising his chained hands) except these bonds.”
30. Agrippa closed the assembly: he had heard enough. Being “almost persuaded,” he was disobedient to the heavenly vision within; he had rejected the Christ.
31-32. We have spoken of Festus and Agrippa as representing worldly thought. In fact they are semi-religious and assume to have authority over the spiritual, and declare that “This man might have been set at liberty if he had not appealed unto Caesar.” If you “appeal unto Caesar” instead of Christ, you must remain bound in prison; you have not the consciousness of freedom. You may preach the gospel in Rome; but it will be under bondage. Sometimes Christians undertake to settle a church controversy by the courts. This is “appealing unto Caesar” and it never brings spiritual freedom, only spiritual bondage. “Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? Unto Caesar shalt thou go,” go in humiliating bondage. Christians should never “appeal unto Caesar.”
– UNITY magazine.
Sunday, March 28, 1915: Acts 26:19-32
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, 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 involves the whole character. The changes that come to one 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 a quite common experience for one to think that there has not been much progress, but a little retrospection shows that the Light has brought about a whole new set of ideas and dissipated the darkness in ways beyond description.
Felix means transient prosperity and happiness. His reign was short as governor of the province, and history says he was deposed because of corruption in office. He was succeeded by Festus, whose name signifies festive, joyful. Agrippa was his brother-in-law, governor of a neighboring province, who with his wife Bernice was visiting Festus. Paul was called before these worthies and commanded to restate his case that they might determine what should be done with him.
Agrippa means one who gives pain in his birth. And 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 up before us again and again before we finally accept it, if we are enamored of the sense life.
Paul preached the former illumination which came at midday at Damascus. Festus declared that he was a lunatic, that his much 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 the 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) brings us very close to an acceptance of the higher way. He was “almost persuaded” to believe. Nearly all the present crop of Truth students came the pain route. But Agrippa. didn't get there at the first appeal; he doubtless tried somebody's cough cure.
– UNITY magazine.
Sunday, November 20, 1921: Acts 26:19-32
What indomitable characteristic does Paul express in this lesson? Paul expresses the unyielding power of Spirit. He is not to be swerved from his course. Though in chains, and facing the ruling powers of Rome, he boldly proclaims his allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ.
What other characteristic of Paul’s is here brought out? Tact to making the right appeal; with all due recognition of the ruling power to the manifest world, he boldly places his whole defense to Spirit: “Wherefore, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.”
What is Paul’s chief argument? Paul proclaims that he is testifying only to what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass.
In individual consciousness, what is the meaning of Felix? Felix means transient prosperity and happiness.
What does Festus symbolize? Festus symbolizes festivity and joyousness in the outer life.
What relation does pain bear to material pleasure? Pain is the result of undisciplined, uncontrolled pleasure.
Is pain good? It is good for those who will not be converted to the right way through following the wisdom of Spirit.
Does pain, as part of the outer sense consciousness, always convert us to the Truth? No. Pain is a flag thrown out warning us there is danger from some wrong thought working in consciousness. This wrong thought may be corrected by a little persuasion along Truth lines.
Can the Truth be set forth so that all planes of consciousness will understand it? Yes. When Truth explains the relation which it bears to the Divine Law, even sense consciousness acknowledges it should not be bound or suppressed.
December 2, 1928: Acts 26:19-29
What does Agrippa represent? The word Agrippa means “one who causes pain at birth.” Agrippa shows the close association between pain and the transient joys of the external life. A change is taking place in consciousness. Truth is finding its way to the surface. The man and his soul are communing, yet the barriers of sense consciousness are not completely broken down.
King Agrippa did not accept the Truth at first appeal. By what route do nearly all Truth students come into an understanding of the Truth? Nearly all Truth students have come into an understanding of Truth by the route of pain. Agrippa did not accept Truth at the first appeal; neither do all sufferers accept the Christ way to wholeness, harmony, peace, and plenty when it is first shown to them. Many persons first try every form of material aid, then after all else has failed they are ready to put their trust in God. Some persons, even after they have been delivered from mortal bondage again and again by the power of Spirit, are prone to turn to the outer for aid in times of seeming need.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 01-01-2014