Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Acts Chapter 8
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 8:1-3
8:1And Saul was consenting unto his death. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church which was in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 8:2And devout men buried Stephen, and made great lamentation over him. 8:3But Saul laid waste the church, entering into every house, and dragging men and women committed them to prison.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 8:4-25
8:4They therefore that were scattered abroad, went about preaching the word. 8:5And Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and proclaimed unto them the Christ. 8:6And the multitudes gave heed with one accord unto the things that were spoken by Philip, when they heard, and saw the signs which he did. 8:7For from many of those that had unclean spirits, they came out, crying with a loud voice: and many that were palsied, and that were lame, were healed. 8:8And there was much joy in that city. 8:9But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who beforetime in the city used sorcery, and amazed the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: 8:10to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is that power of God which is called Great. 8:11And they gave heed to him, because that of long time he had amazed them with his sorceries. 8:12But when they believed Philip preaching good tidings concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 8:13And Simon also himself believed: and being baptized, he continued with Philip; and beholding signs and great miracles wrought, he was amazed. 8:14Now when the apostles that were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 8:15who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: 8:16for as yet it was fallen upon none of them: only they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.8:17Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 8:18Now when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 8:19saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit. 8:20But Peter said unto him, Thy silver perish with thee, because thou hast thought to obtain the gift of God with money. 8:21Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right before God. 8:22Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray the Lord, if perhaps the thought of thy heart shall be forgiven thee. 8:23For I see that thou art in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity. 8:24And Simon answered and said, Pray ye for me to the Lord, that none of the things which ye have spoken come upon me. 8:25They therefore, when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.
May 4, 1941: Acts 8:1-8
What metaphysical meaning is found in the statement that Saul was consenting to the death of Stephen? Saul represents the action of the will in attaining that which man desires. Stephen (crowned) represents the illumined intellect under the influence of the Holy Spirit but not yet fully impregnated with that Spirit. The will, which leads man to cling to the formalism of his inherited faith, resists the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and man is unresponsive to the call of the higher influence. "Saul was consenting unto his death."
What else does the stoning of Stephen illustrate? It shows that the final outcome of man's constant arguing and zeal is to bring resistance.
What does the scattering of the disciples throughout Samaria and Judea signify? Samaria (watch mountain) represents intellectual perception and signifies also a mixed state of consciousness. Judea (praise Jehovah) shows that praise is an active principle in man's spiritual thought that should be expressed consistently. The scattering of the disciples throughout these two regions signifies that the spiritually illumined thoughts of man may permeate his intellectual perception and quicken him to a new appreciation of the value of praise.
What does Philip's work in Samaria represent? It represents the power faculty in man (Philip means a "lover of horses," which in turn represent the vital forces in man) acting through the illumination of the Holy Spirit to regenerate the intellectual perceptions.
When is the power faculty proved to be actuated by the Holy Spirit? When its exercise brings health to the sick, harmony to the mentally unbalanced or distressed, and a sense of unity to all those whose consciousness is of both good and evil.
Interpret the statement "And there was much joy in that city." A city represents a fixed state of consciousness. Philip raised the consciousness of the Samaritans to a higher level than it had been theretofore, and established it in a realization of the unity of all good. Joy resulted. The unification of powers in the individual likewise results in joy.
February 1, 1920: Acts 8:4-8
1. The meaning of "scattered abroad" is scattered thoughts. However, scattered spiritual thoughts are not long to be undisciplined nor are they to be deprived of their poise and equilibrium. They begin immediately to live, and to give forth the Truth, no matter on what plane of consciousness they may find themselves. This is one of God's methods of scattering the gospel.
2. Philip, representing the power of this home missionary movement, penetrates through to Samaria (mixed state of consciousness, but faced towards the light), and preaches to them the Christ, the true spiritual unity.
3. When these mixed thoughts (Samaria) receive the Word, there is great rejoicing in Jerusalem, the realm of spiritual peace within the soul, and immediately a greater degree of spiritual unfoldment is sent forth to them, here typified by Peter and John (Faith and Love); for as yet, they have only the intellectual understanding of the reality of the man ego, and have not received the power of the Spirt, which is the second moment of the regenerative law.
December 9, 1923: Acts 8:4-8
What is the meaning of Philip? Philip means "a lover of horses." We gather from this that Philip represents that faculty in us which, through love, masters the vital forces. Hence we identify Philip as power.
What does Samaria represent? The Samaritans were a race of people who were a mixture of Assyrian and Hebrew. They claimed to be the descendants of Abraham and taught the books of Moses, but they were not recognized by the Jews as followers of the Jewish religion. Metaphysically, Samaria represents a state of consciousness in which both Truth and error are mixed, with Truth predominating.
In what way does Philip exercise his power? Philip exercises his power through the spiritual Word, which is outwardly made manifest in speech.
Do modern metaphysicians use both the silent spiritual word and the spoken word in healing? Yes. It is found that some states of mind respond to the silent word and that others respond to the spoken word.
What are the unclean spirits thai Philip casts out? The unclean spirits represent impure thoughts, which have become personalized in the flesh. They are cast out by the power of the word of purity.
March 6, 1927: Acts 8:4-8
"They therefore that were scattered abroad went about preaching the word." Explain. The statement that the disciples were scattered abroad means that illumined thoughts were being broadcast. However, scattered spiritual thoughts do not remain long undisciplined, nor are they to be deprived of their capacity for increasing. They begin immediately to flourish and to give forth Truth, no matter on what plane of consciousness they are placed. This is one of God's methods of scattering the Gospel.
What is the meaning of the Word "Philip"? Philip means "a lover of horses" and may be understood to represent the faculty in us which, through love, masters the vital forces. Hence Philip may be identified as power of thought and word.
What does Samaria represent? The Samaritans were a mixed race—Assyrian and Hebrew. They claimed be direct descendants of Abraham; they studied the books of Moses, but they were not recognized by the Jews as followers of the Jewish religion. Metaphysically Samaria represents a state of consciousness in which both Truth and error are mixed with Truth predominating.
In what way did Philip exercise his power? Philip (power of thought and word) exercised his power by speaking to the inhabitants of Samaria (mixed consciousness with Truth predominating) and brought them knowledge of the Christ (true spiritual unity).
Do modern metaphysicians use both the silent spiritual thought and the spoken word in healing? Yes. It is found that some states of mind respond to the silent thought and that others respond to the spoken word.
What are the unclean spirits that Philip cast out? The unclean spirits represent impure thoughts, which have become personalized in the flesh. They are cast out by the power of the word of purity.
December 9, 1923: Acts 8:14-17
What are represented by Peter and John who were sent to Samaria? Peter represents faith, and John, love. These powers of the mind open the way for the descent of the Holy Spirit into all mixed states of consciousness.
What is the baptism of the Holy Sprit? The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the quickening of the whole man. When the mind has received word of Truth, the way is open for the healing power which is called the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of wholeness, to descend farther into the body consciousness.
"Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit." Explain. The hands represent execution or the direct contact of Spirit with body. The body is permeated by a material consciousness, and the materially minded require a sign or outer manifestation of the power of Spirit before they will receive it. Many Christian healers lay their hands on their patients, and some anoint them with oil.
May 4, 1941: Acts 8:14-17
What powers especially contribute to man's realization of the Holy Spirit within him? Faith and love (represented by Peter and John).
How active must these faculties become in order to bring one to a consciousness of the Holy Spirit? They must take hold of both mind and soul and possess man utterly. "Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit."
February 1, 1920: Acts 8:14-25
4. The meaning of "then laid they their hands on them," is a movement prayer, in which the executive power of Faith and Love does its work, directing the spiritual forces, and through which action this state of consciousness receives the blessing of blessings, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Metaphysically speaking, we lay on hands when we affirm the presence and power of Spirit in the flesh.
5. Simon, the sorcerer, is the ambition of personality to handle the power of Spirit, without paying the price through faith and love. The offer of money for spiritual power, has back of the the thought of man putting a price upon the works of God.
6. The power of the Holy Spirit is obtained only through unselfish service; therefore personal power and glorification has "neither part nor lot" in the spiritual realm, the kingdom of heaven within.
7. The only way to loose the bonds of personality, to make the heart right towards God, is through repentance, diligent prayer and meditation, which transmutes selfishness into unselfishness, personality into individuality. The law is:
"As I live, saith the Lord, to me every knee shall bow
And every tongue shall confess to God."
February 26, 1939: Acts 8:14-25
What do the apostles represent? They represent the faculties of man actively employed in developing and deepening his consciousness of Truth.
What is the meaning of "Jerusalem"? Jerusalem means "habitation of peace." The faculties in the spiritually quickened man function most satisfactorily when he is at peace within and without.
What does Samaria represent? In this lesson it represents intellectual perception.
Explain the statement that "Samaria had received the word of God." It is possible for man to perceive Truth intellectually without accepting it in any deeper sense or attempting to make it the guide of his thinking and conduct.
What leads man of intellectual bent to become wholly devoted to the cause of Truth? Faith and love works this change.
Explain Simon's attempt to purchase spiritual power. Simon means "hearing," and in this case represents the ambition of personality to exercise the power of Spirit without gaining that power legitimately through faith and love. Spiritual power cannot be bought and sold like a commodity.
How is the gift of God obtained? Only through whole-souled effort and devotion. Money has no value in this quest.
On whom does the Holy Spirit descend? On him who overcomes selfishness and self-seeking, losing himself in the larger sphere of the universal life, the Holy Spirit finds it's true resting place.
What do the "many villages of the Samaritans" represent? This term refers to the multiple interests of the intellect and its various branches, all of which can be illumined by Truth.
Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 8:26-40
8:26But an angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza: the same is desert. 8:27And he arose and went: and behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, who had come to Jerusalem to worship; 8:28and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. 8:29And the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 8:30And Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 8:31And he said, How can I, except some one shall guide me? And he besought Philip to come up and sit with him. 8:32Now the passage of the Scripture which he was reading was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, So he openeth not his mouth: 8:33In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: His generation who shall declare? For his life is taken from the earth. 8:34And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other? 8:35And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture, preached unto him Jesus. 8:36And as they went on the way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch saith, Behold, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 8:37And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.8:38And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 8:39And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing. 8:40But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached the gospel to all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
October 14, 1934: Acts 8:26-39
What form of baptism is of importance to the metaphysician? True baptism is an inner cleansing and a quickening of the spiritual consciousness. This only is of importance to the metaphysician.
Is the form of this right indispensable? To one who understands the principle on which baptism rests, the form is unnecessary.
What must one do to develop spiritual strength? To grow strong in Spirit, one must recognize the higher law which transcends the physical, and becomes obedient to it.
What is the first step in the perfect realization of true baptism? The mind is relieved of its way of self-condemnation. There is a letting go of criticism and self-righteousness, and the giving up of the personal viewpoint, or of whatever keeps one bound in limitation of any kind.
Is it possible to keep one's old thought habits, limitations, and shortcomings, and to adopt the new way of life at the same time? This is not possible, for the reason that the two, being opposites, neutralize each other. We must take one and leave the other; we cannot have both.
What similarities exist between the work of John the Baptist and that of Philip? John made straight the way of the Lord through preaching the moral law, where as Philip (representing power) made plain the way of the Christ consciousness.
How many baptisms are there? In reality only one; the spiritual baptism that takes place in the consciousness. There are two baptismal ceremonies, the baptism of water used by John and the baptism used by Jesus Christ who, as recounted in John 20:22, breathed on the disciples and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit."
What is the meaning of John's statement that Jesus must increase but he must decrease? This means that denials become unnecessary as the soul goes forward toward perfection. In the Christ consciousness we neither deny nor affirm, but realize with joy that we are one with the Father.
May 19, 1935: Acts 8:26-39
Explain the symbolism of Philip going from Jerusalem to Gaza at the command of the Lord and meeting the Ethiopian eunuch. Power (Philip) issues out of the condition of inner peace (Jerusalem), but it's results are not immediately evident. Gaza symbolizes strength on the pure physical or sense plane: "the same desert." Physical strength alone is meaningless, and the one who expends his strength in the realm of sense (the Ethiopian of Candace) is in reality ignorant of true power and impotent to exercise it.
August 2, 1931: Acts 8:26-40
What is the meaning of the word "Philip"? The word "Philip" means "lover of horses," and signifies the vitalizing, illuminating power of the word. The idea, or word, however, always originates in the very crown of the head, and descends into the organism, inoculating the whole body as it goes.
"An angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, arise, and go towards the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza: the same is desert." Please explain. The angel signifies a pure, spiritual thought. Jerusalem means "city of peace" in the region of the heart; metaphysically, going south symbolizes the power of the word as it descends towards the generative center. The meaning of Gaza is "strong fortress." However, Gaza was a desert; thus we see the need of an important work to be accomplished at this point, located in man's loins. Philip, the working power of the spiritual word, is given this task.
What does the Ethiopian eunuch, whom Philip encountered sitting in his chariot, symbolize? The Ethiopian eunuch represents the ignorance and impotence of the consciousness that acts at this center. He is reading aloud the Scriptures as he rides along in his chariot, but he has no understanding of them. This means that life, to the transitory physical strength that journeys for a human lifetime in the vehicle of the body, is as the sound of empty words.
Under the quickening power of the spiritual word, what results? Under the quickening power of the spiritual word this transitory strength is the soil that gives forth an abiding fruitage; however, an understanding of the character of this seed germ and of its working method must be imparted to the consciousness.
The eunuch was reading from Isaiah:
"He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before his shearer is dumb,
So he openeth not his mouth.
In his humiliation his judgment was taken away:
His generation who shall declare?
For his life is taken from the earth." (Isa. 53:7-8)
What metaphysical process do these words of Isaiah describe? Here is one of the most important lessons in the regenerative process. Just as a seed is put into the darkness of material conditions, and for a season seems even to give up its identity to the disintegrating forces of nature--the disintegration, however, being only the means to an end, the end of new creation in flower and fruit--so in a similar manner God plants in man's consciousness the divine germ of life, intelligence, and love, which germ goes through a similar process of darkness in sense consciousness. But, being connected with the one Source, the word of Spirit finally brings forth precious fruit.
The eunuch was baptized by Philip. What does the symbolize? This symbolizes the cleansing power of the word of Spirit making way for new life in that which was nonproductive (eunuch).
"The Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more." Please explain. The power that one so clearly perceived in the beginning may seem to depart, but in reality it is establishing eternal life deep down in the organism. By letting the spiritual sunlight in every day and by denying one's seeming ignorance, the resurrecting power of the word of Spirit will accomplish its perfect work.
May 16, 1943: Acts 8:14-25
What is the metaphysical meaning of the name Samaria? Samaria, meaning "watch mountain," represents a state of consciousness in which truth and error are mixed. The name signifies also intellectual perception.
Do these meanings explain in any measure the Samaritans' failure to receive the Holy Spirit when they were baptized by Philip? Yes, intellectual perception is less readily influenced by spiritual truth than the soul faculties. The intellect does not always lead us to distinguish between Truth and error.
Are faith and love (Peter and John) of use in overcoming this lack? These two qualities are all that is needed to supplement the intellectual perceptions and make spiritual understanding available. "Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit."
What does Simon represent who appears first in this lesson? He represents the ambition of the personal self to turn spiritual power to personal advantage.
Did Simon have faith? He had faith in the Holy Spirit because he saw it work, but he had no perception of its real nature. It seemed to him a higher form of the sorcery he practiced.
Has the gift of God anything to do with money? The gift of God not only cannot be bought with money but should not be used to further purely selfish mercenary aims. The wholeness of the Holy Spirit is a unity of spiritual content divorced from personal ambition and free from the taint of personality.
Is the condemnation of mercenary motives in the seeking of truth wise or advisable? Condemnation is never wise or Christlike, but the opening of the eyes of sense is sometimes a necessary if painful operation. Simon saw his mistake and tried to correct it.
What must be present before the wrongdoer can realize forgiveness? Humility and a recognition of his error. Simon was too humble to pray for himself, and ask Peter to pray for him.
What are the chief methods of imparting Truth? Putting one's faith into practice, teaching (testifying and speaking the word of the Lord), and preaching.
March 3, 1935: Acts 8:18-24
What does Simon the sorcerer represent in this lesson? Simon represents the ambition of personality to handle the power of Spirit without paying the price in faith and love.
What price is put on spiritual power? Earnest devotion in thought and deed to spiritual ideas is the price of power in this higher realm.
Is such devotion fully rewarded? There is no limit to the riches of the spiritual kingdom, and no devoted act ever fails of its full reward. True understanding and peace are but part of this.
Simon means "hearing." Why did Simon the sorcerer not understand that the power of the Holy Spirit could not be bought with money? Simon heard with the physical ear and saw with the physical eye, but his inner senses, of which the outer are only symbols, we're not quickened to perceive the Truth of God.
May 10, 1925: Acts 8:26-39
In this lesson, what does Philip represent? Philip represents that power in man which receives and directs the word of Truth and it's rejuvenating work in soul and in body.
What is the meaning of the text: "Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza: the same is desert"? In Scriptural symbology, east means within; west, without; north, above; south, below. The Christ truth is a germinal idea upon which all bodily regeneration depends. The divine idea of man's perfection, when held in mind first quickens the brain cells at the very crown of the head; from that point it descends into the body, doing its quickening and regenerating work as it goes, until the whole body is redeemed. Gaza means strength which has been depleted (desert).
What is the meaning of verse 27: "And he arose and went; and behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was over all her treasure, who had come to Jerusalem to worship"? Ethiopia symbolizes the abdominal region of the body; Candace, the divine feminine; the eunuch, the masculine principle which has lost its spiritual life.
What does the chariot represent? The chariot represents the body.
What does the eunuch reading the Scriptures represent? The eunuch reading the Scriptures represents the directive power at the strength center seeking the spiritual way, but not understandingly.
To whom does the quotation from Isaiah in verses 32 and 33 refer? Isaiah was prophesying the coming of the spiritual man and pointing out some of the experiences through which he would pass in rejuvenating the body. That man's body consciousness may be lifted up, the spiritual ego, Christ, must descend to the level of the body consciousness and temporarily be subjected to humiliation, desertion, and apparent death.
What is the method of accomplishing such a baptism as Philip gave to the eunuch? The answer is given in verse 38: "And he commanded the chariot to standstill." "Stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah." Spiritual processes are accomplished in the silence of the inner man. When one has attained the ability to be still, he is ready for the cleansing, quickening flood of spiritual life. Spiritual life is the well of living water within. Jesus told the woman at the well (the feminine) that if she drank of the living water she would never thirst again. When the power of the Word enters into the weak and impotent body of a man, he gains a consciousness of new life and new strength, and he goes on his way rejoicing.
August 2, 1936: Acts 8:26-40
For what practical purpose does man seek knowledge? Knowledge is power, therefore man desires to possess it in order more easily to solve his problems and live victoriously.
Is there more than one power? Power is all one, an emanation from the infinite source. However power makes itself manifest in various forms.
Name some forms of power that repay study by the student. Power over other people or over external circumstances is the form most commonly recognized, but a form more worthy of study is power over oneself, namely self-control and dominion. In this study the student learns that the ability to act according to his considered judgment is a power he must win if he wishes to keep free of the apparent power of hindrances from without.
What symbolism is contained in the right of baptism? Baptism is a symbol of denial.
"Behold, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?" Interpret this statement and question metaphysically. Man can always deny the power of external circumstances over him as well as the negative state into which he falls when he allows himself to recognize hindrances in the way of his progress. Nothing can prevent his denying away obstacles with which he may have surrounded himself through having indulged in erroneous habits of thinking.
Under what conditions is power useful to man? Only the power that man controls and makes amenable to his will is of any use to him.
To what form of power may man safely submit without reservation? The Christ power is a controlling influence that strengthens man and does not destroy his initiative, and it is therefore safe.
What results when we give our chief time and thought to physical demands and material interests? We fail to gain spiritual discernment when we focus our main power upon physical and material things.
What is our chief task with regard to power? To make our expression of power uniformly right is our great task. To express spiritual power we must work faithfully to realize the one Power in all life.
July 13, 1919: Acts 8:34-40
What is water baptism? Water baptism is a cleansing process, the letting go of error. It is the first step in the realization of truth.
What is fire baptism? Fire baptism is a consuming process. When one goes through the "refiner's fire" all the dross is taken away, leaving only pure gold.
What is the true baptism? True baptism is to be immersed in the one Presence and one Power. It is to be saturated with the realization that besides God there is none other.
How is true baptism symbolized? True baptism is symbolized by the dove, which means purity, innocence, and peace. It is when the voice of the Father speaks, saying: "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." "Hear ye him."
Transcribed by Dan Beckett on 9-14-2013