Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Acts Chapter 27
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 27:1-12
27:1And when it was determined that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners to a centurion named Julius, of the Augustan band. 27:2And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail unto the places on the coast of Asia, we put to sea, Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. 27:3And the next day we touched at Sidon: and Julius treated Paul kindly, and gave him leave to go unto his friends and refresh himself. 27:4And putting to sea from thence, we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. 27:5And when we had sailed across the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. 27:6And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy; and he put us therein. 27:7And when we had sailed slowly many days, and were come with difficulty over against Cnidus, the wind not further suffering us, we sailed under the lee of Crete, over against Salmone; 27:8and with difficulty coasting along it we came unto a certain place called Fair Havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea.
27:9And when much time was spent, and the voyage was now dangerous, because the Fast was now already gone by, Paul admonished them, 27:10and said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the lading and the ship, but also of our lives. 27:11But the centurion gave more heed to the master and to the owner of the ship, than to those things which were spoken by Paul. 27:12And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to put to sea from thence, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, and winter there; which is a haven of Crete, looking northeast and south-east.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 27:13-38
27:13And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close in shore. 27:14But after no long time there beat down from it a tempestuous wind, which is called Euraquilo: 27:15and when the ship was caught, and could not face the wind, we gave way to it, and were driven. 27:16And running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were able, with difficulty, to secure the boat: 27:17and when they had hoisted it up, they used helps, under-girding the ship; and, fearing lest they should be cast upon the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and so were driven. 27:18And as we labored exceedingly with the storm, the next day they began to throw the the freight overboard; 27:19and the third day they cast out with their own hands the tackling of the ship. 27:20And when neither sun nor stars shone upon us for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was now taken away.
27:21And when they had been long without food, then Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have set sail from Crete, and have gotten this injury and loss. 27:22And now I exhort you to be of good cheer; for there shall be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 27:23For there stood by me this night an angel of the God whose I am, whom also I serve,27:24saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must stand before Caesar: and lo, God hath granted thee all them that sail with thee. 27:25Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even so as it hath been spoken unto me. 27:26But we must be cast upon a certain island.
27:27But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven to and fro in the sea of Adria, about midnight the sailors surmised that they were drawing near to some country:27:28and they sounded, and found twenty fathoms; and after a little space, they sounded again, and found fifteen fathoms. 27:29And fearing lest haply we should be cast ashore on rocky ground, they let go four anchors from the stern, and wished for the day. 27:30And as the sailors were seeking to flee out of the ship, and had lowered the boat into the sea, under color as though they would lay out anchors from the foreship, 27:31Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. 27:32Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.
27:33And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take some food, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye wait and continue fasting, having taken nothing. 27:34Wherefore I beseech you to take some food: for this is for your safety: for there shall not a hair perish from the head of any of you. 27:35And when he had said this, and had taken bread, he gave thanks to God in the presence of all; and he brake it, and began to eat. 27:36Then were they all of good cheer, and themselves also took food. 27:37And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. 27:38And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.
October 31, 1897: Acts 27:13-26
The illuminated Christian, who “dwells in the secret place of the Most High,” dwells safely with a guarantee of immunity from everything that assails others, who know not God as their sure defense. But unless one finds the secret understanding of that “secret place” the manifestations of evil from an unfriendly environment may threaten and disturb him sometimes even more than the man of the world. For the world knows not your joys, therefore they think you are peculiar and fanatical.
Paul’s course is an illustration of the course of action of most Christians in the ordeal of trial and persecution in that he “appealed unto Caesar.” Most men court the favor and approbation of men; they want to be justified “before Caesar.” But if you are fully consecrated to the Spirit and consciously have the continued guidance of the Spirit, what is the world’s idea to you, who have “the mind of Christ?”
You must not look to Caesar for justification. “Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee” (Isaiah 26:3). The Spirit will surely take care of you in any contingency. You have nothing to fear: for you have learned that “there is no evil.” To “appeal unto Caesar” is to forget this basic doctrine of your faith. You, who are “in the world but not of it,” should not court its favor and approbation. Such a course is inconsistent with your high calling and trust.
Paul's tempestuous voyage and shipwreck illustrate the stormy and turbulent experience one has who “appeals” to the judgment of this world, relying on his Roman citizenship to defend him more than his heavenly citizenship. Appealing to Spirit, whose higher law annuls the law of mortal man, you escape by the higher law of the Spirit. But by appealing to the world you place yourself within its law. “Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? Unto Caesar shalt thou go,” and you will receive the world's stormy experiences, made doubly stormy by the world's hatred of things Spiritual. “In the world ye shall have tribulation.”
Inspiration has not given us this lesson in Paul's life as a typical example that we should follow: but rather an example to be shunned, a type representing a very large class. It is a lesson true to life. Paul had not fully “committed his way unto the Lord.” In “going up to Jerusalem” he disobeyed the Spirit. In assuming the role of a Nazarite as a matter of policy, he was not trusting the Lord fully; and when he “appealed unto Caesar,” he was not trusting Spirit at all. His mistakes and consequent stormy experiences stand before us in historical allegory as a perpetual warning that we may escape his severe experiences by shunning his course. “But God is able to make all grace abound,” and to overrule all things for good, so that hard and painful experiences may be but stepping stones to higher attainment. So it was with him; in imprisonment he learned meekness and sublime trust, and grew in grace and Spiritual understanding.
13. Having “appealed unto Caesar” at first you start out beautifully: “the south wind blows softly”; you “suppose you have attained your purpose.”
14. But, since you have committed your cause to the law of mortal thought, the merciless “euroclydon” is liable to swoop down on you any moment. For you have forfeited the Divine protection by “appealing unto Caesar.” He who dwells in the Spiritual consciousness dwells safely, is not liable to accidents, nor imprisonments.
16. But having “appealed unto Caesar” you are threatened with the “lee shore” of “Clauda” on the one hand.
17. And the quicksands of “Syrtis” on the other. For self-preservation you seem to be “steering between the rook, Scylla, and the whirlpool, Charybdis.”
18. How the disobedient soul is tempest-tossed on the sea of mortal thought, while he looks unto Caesar for justice; until you loose your valuable cargo of Spiritual riches, the consciousness of abundant Good;
19. And you are stripped of all external means of carrying out your ideal;
20. And in the stormy darkness of despair all hope is taken away;
21, “After long abstinence” -- Fasting, if enforced, denotes denials. By your denial of hopelessness you are able to “stand forth in the midst,” and make your strong affirmation of hope and cheer.
22-25. Through the enlightening visions of truth you affirm hope and cheer and the indestructibility of life. You also affirm the destruction of the false reasoning that carries you to Caesar. For only after this “ship of Alexandria” (Egypt) is destroyed, can you save “all them that are with you.”
26. This leaves you stranded “on a certain island” of unreclaimed thought in the broad sea of mortal thought.
– UNITY magazine.
Sunday, April 4, 1915: Acts 27:13-26
Paul seems to have met with unusually hard experiences after his appeal to Caesar, having claimed the protection of the law of man because of his Roman citizenship. If the idea gets into the mind that we can demonstrate through taking advantage of the law of man, and we appeal to that law, and give it the balance of power, we shall have to work out our problem upon a material basis, with spiritual forces secondary. This does not imply that we shall not have the help of the Spirit, but that the higher law will be limited in its movement in the mind, because the dominant ideas there prevailing are material.
Paul and Silas were released from prison on a former occasion by the angel of the Lord, and Peter had a similar experience. The Bible gives many examples of the interposition of the power of the Lord to set aside material bonds, when it is invoked. But it must be invoked. The law does not work unless man works it, or with his mind touches the button that sets going the machinery that does the work. If we lose faith in the higher law, or decide that it is expedient to adopt the lower, we get results according to the ability of the method under which we have placed ourselves.
Beware how you put yourself in the hands of the mortal law. It is hampered on every side. The law’s delay is proverbial. Paul seemed in peril of death and appealed to the law of Caesar for protection. He in that way escaped the Jews, but put himself in a bondage that lasted for years, with all the vicissitudes that accompany that mortal way. Had he held to the protection of God, the higher law would certainly have saved him and set him free besides.
However, it is quite common for men to work out their spiritual ongoing in just this way, and we are shown in these lessons how we do get the help of the Lord, whatever our limitations may he. Paul really represents our highest concept of Truth, sailing 'round in the mind, headed for Rome, the very center of intellectual domain. In all the hard experiences that come to us when we have put ourselves under the mortal law, we discern or are warned how to avoid them, but, because we are in bonds to that law, we cannot dictate; the environment is dominant in our conduct. Paul advised that the journey be delayed at Fairhavens until spring, but his advice was ignored and a series of hard experiences followed.
The storm and shipwreck are typical of the stormy times we have in our thought world and the suffering it brings to the body in a case of sickness. There are seasons when the hurricane of mortal thought sweeps down upon our ship and threatens to sink it with all on board. But Jesus, the I Am power in everyone, comes to the rescue, and what we know of the law is applied. Eating is typical of affirming; that is, appropriating. When Truth encourages us to eat, we understand that we are to affirm the highest spiritual words we know. When we take this “bread” substance of life, and “give thanks unto God in presence of all, and begin to eat,” there is encouragement and good cheer throughout the whole man. Then the processes of nature start up, the old idea of material substance is denied, elimination begins, the “wheat is thrown into the sea.” We head for the shore, after letting go the anchors that we had thrown out in the confusion of the stormy fever, and find ourselves once more on dry land. But the old ship, or former body consciousness, goes to pieces. There is a new and purer arrangement of the cell life in the organism after we have triumphed over error's storm; a new body is made from the Universal Substance.
– UNITY magazine.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 27:39-44
27:39And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they perceived a certain bay with a beach, and they took counsel whether they could drive the ship upon it. 27:40And casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea, at the same time loosing the bands of the rudders; and hoisting up the foresail to the wind, they made for the beach. 27:41But lighting upon a place where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground; and the foreship struck and remained unmoveable, but the stern began to break up by the violence of the waves. 27:42And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. 27:43But the centurion, desiring to save Paul, stayed them from their purpose; and commanded that they who could swim should cast themselves overboard, and get first to the land; 27:44and the rest, some on planks, and some on other things from the ship. And so it came to pass, that they all escaped safe to the land.
Sunday, December 6, 1925: Acts 27:30-44
A storm overtook Paul and his companions at sea. What does that storm represent m human consciousness? The storm which overtook Paul and his companions represents a brain storm, which, according to modern psychology, is the result of complex and apparently unsolvable problems in one's life.
What is represented by the sailors' seeking to flee out of the ship? The sailors’ seeking to flee represents man’s fear that everything is going to rack and ruin, and his feeling that he might well give up instead of making an effort to save himself.
Paul told the centurion and the soldiers, “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” Explain. In the storm and stress of adverse thoughts we should hold fast with all our might to the protective powers of the mind, represented by the centurion and the soldiers.
What is represented by Paul’s beseeching all his shipmates to take food, saying, “for this is for your safety: for there shall not a hair perish from the head of any of you”? Taking food is symbolical of the affirmative state of mind. The inference from the text is that they had been fasting, that is, refraining from making positive, definite statements of safety. Paul, representing the power of the word, affirmed: “for there shall not a hair perish from the head of any of you.”
Is there a metaphysical significance in the mention of the number of people (276) on board the ship? Mathematical accuracy, law, and order prevail in Spirit. Nothing is too great or too small for spiritual recognition. Jesus said: “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
What is the meaning of the statement, “And when it was day, they knew not the land”? Day represents a certain degree of light or understanding which establishes one in a new state of consciousness with which he is not familiar.
What is represented by casting off the anchors and leaving them in the sea, loosening the bands of the rudder, hoisting up the foresail to the wind, and making for the beach? One who in time of stress and storm fulfills the law through affirmation and denial and begins to see his way out of trouble, should deny everything that anchors him to the old, and should loose every mental and material bond. This course will land him high and dry. He may lose some of his worldly possessions, but he will gain marvelous power and be able to do miracles, as did Paul.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 01-02-2014