Charles Fillmore Mysteries of John 1
METAPHYSICAL INTERPRETATION OF JOHN CHAPTER 1
1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 1:2The same was in the beginning with God. 1:3All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. 1:4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 1:5And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not.
IN PURE METAPHYSICS there is but one word, the Word of God. This is the original creative Word or thought of Being. It is the "God said" of Genesis. The Greek original refers to it in the 1st chapter of John as the logos. The Greek word cannot be adequately translated into English. In the original it denotes wisdom, judgment, power, and in fact all the inherent potentialities of Being. This divine Logos was and always is in God; in fact it is God as creative power. Divine Mind creates under law; that is, spiritual law. Man may get a comprehension of the creative process of Being by analyzing the action of his own mind. First is mind, then the idea in mind of what the act is to be, then the act itself. Thus the Word and the divine process of creating are identical.
Apart from mind nothing can be made. Even man, in his forming and bringing anything into manifestation, uses the same creative process that God used; to the degree that the qualities of the one Mind enter into man's thought in the process his work will be enduring.
The divine idea--the Christ or Word of God--is always everywhere present.
Among the four Gospels that of John is readily discerned by metaphysicians as a symbolical life of Jesus and should appear first in the New Testament, corresponding to the first chapters of Genesis. Quite a few Bible critics so consider it, among them Ferrar Fenton, who gives it first place in his "Complete Bible in Modern English."
John explains that all existence is spiritual, that it comes to man as a gift, and that Christ is its fulfillment. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
"The Word" is the English translation of the Greek logos, which means a thought or concept and also the word that is an expression or utterance of the same. It also involves the logical relation between idea and expression; hence our word logic, which also derives from logos.
Our attention is called to the 1st chapter of Genesis: "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."
Here in detail, day by day, or period by period, creation is ideated.
The parallel between Genesis and John is shown by the manifestation of the ideal man. In Genesis Adam appears first. In John it is John the Baptist, who is said to "bear witness" to the coming man, Jesus. In Genesis man was given dominion over all things; in John "all things were made through him."
John the Baptist represents the natural man, the physical man, who is the nucleus around which the spiritual man builds. Man may be compared to a
house, the foundation being rock, the superstructure lighter material. The rock upon which Jesus built was not material: it was mental; its symbol, Peter, was a mind receptive to spiritual Truth and spiritual substance.
The first Adam was formed of the "dust of the ground," representing radiant substance instead of gross earth.
So John the Baptist was more than the perfect physical man. He was the illumined natural man. He preached and baptized his disciples and with spiritual vision saw the unfoldment of the natural man into the Christ man.
Spiritual man is the true light "which lighteth every man, coming into the world." The world was made by him and yet "knew him not."
There is a creative force constantly at work in man and all creation, but it is not recognized. It is Spirit-mind shining consciously in the minds and hearts of those who recognize it. Those who ignore this light do not "apprehend" it, and to them it is nonexistent.
"But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name."
1:6There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. 1:7The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. 1:8He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light.
Man in his darkened, ignorant state dwells in a realm of material thoughts and perceives nothing
higher until he arrives at the point in his unfoldment where he is ready to receive understanding of the Christ Truth. Then he enters into the John the Baptist or intellectual perception of Truth. The intellectual perception of Truth by the natural man (John the Baptist) is not the true light (the Christ) but bears witness to the light and prepares the way for its dawning in consciousness.
1:9There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world. 1:10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. 1:11He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not.
The true light (the Christ or Word) that lights every man coming into the world is and ever has been in man. Even the outer man was formed and came into existence through it. Up to a certain stage in his unfolding man does not recognize this truth; now however this mystery, which is "Christ in you, the hope of glory," is being revealed to the race with more and more clarity and with greatly increased power.
1:12But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: 1:13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
According to the 12th and 13th verses, the same truth that held good for Jesus will hold good for as
many as receive Him (the Christ) and believe in His resurrecting power as Jesus believed in it.
Jesus recognized this truth that the Christ, the divine-idea man or Word of God, was His true self and that He was consequently the Son of God. Because Jesus held to this perfect image of the divine man, the Christ or Word entered consciously into every atom of His being, even to the very cells of His outer organism, and transformed all His body into pure, immortal, spiritual substance and life. Thus "the Word became flesh." The resurrecting of His whole being included His body. Jesus entered alive and entire into the spiritual realm.
1:15John beareth witness of him, and crieth, saying, This was he of whom I said, He that cometh after me is become before me: for he was before me. 1:16For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace. 1:17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 1:18No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
"The law was given through Moses." Moses represents a phase of the evolutionary process in man. "The law"--the outer commandments--cannot redeem. "Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ"; that is, the real saving, redeeming, transforming
power came to man through the work that Jesus did in establishing for the race a new and higher consciousness in the earth. We can enter into that consciousness by faith in Him and by means of the inner spirit of the law that He taught and practiced.
The 18th verse teaches that through the Christ in us we come into an understanding of the Father, since the Son (the Word) ever exists in God, and Father and Son are one and are omnipresent in man and in the universe. Spirit Truth is discerned through Spirit only; not in outer ways or through intellectual perception do we come to know God.
1:19And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent unto him from Jerusalem priests and Levites to ask him, Who art thou? 1:20And he confessed, and denied not; and he confessed, I am not the Christ. 1:21And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elijah? And he saith, I am not. Art thou the prophet? And he answered, No. 1:22They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 1:23He said,
as said Isaiah the prophet. 1:24And they had been sent from the Pharisees. 1:25And they asked him, and said unto him, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, neither Elijah, neither the prophet? 1:26John answered them, saying, I baptize in water: in the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not, 1:27even he that cometh after me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose. 1:28These things were done in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
In the regeneration two states of mind are constantly
at work. First comes the cleansing or denial state, in which all the error thoughts are eliminated. This includes forgiveness for sins committed and a general clearing up of the whole consciousness. The idea is to get back into the pure, natural consciousness of Spirit. This state of mind is typified by John the Baptist, who came out of the wilderness a child of nature whose mission it was to make straight the way for One who was to follow.
This putting away of sin from the consciousness (baptism through denial, plus forgiveness) is very closely allied to the deeper work that is to follow; so much so that to the observer it seems the same. Hence the followers of John, when they saw the works he did, asked if he was the Messiah. His answer was that the One who followed him was to baptize with Holy Spirit.
From this we discern that mental cleansing and the reforms that put the conscious mind in order are designed to prepare the way for that larger and more permanent consciousness which is to follow. This is the denial of "self" or personality. Jesus said, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself." We are all guilty in a way of undue devotion to personal aims, which are always narrow and selfish. So long as these exist and take the place of the rightful One there is no room for the higher self, the Christ of God.
The recorded "This is the Son of God" is a reference to a matter of first importance in the regeneration. The recognition of man as the Son of God and the establishment in the mind of the
new relations between the divine Father and the Son are essential to the process. If we do not affirm our sonship, with all its privileges and powers, we are sure to belittle ourselves and make limitations that prevent us from entering into the fullness of the Godhead. "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
1:29On the morrow he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world! 1:30This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man who is become before me: for he was before me. 1:31And I knew him not; but that he should be made manifest to Israel, for this cause came I baptizing in water. 1:32And John bare witness, saying, I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven; and it abode upon him. 1:33And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize in water, he said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon him, the same is he that baptizeth in the Holy Spirit. 1:34And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.
Metaphysically interpreted, John the Baptist symbolizes in each individual the natural man, but with an illumined intellect. His face is turned toward the light in the measure that he recognizes and pays homage to the higher self within the individual. John baptized with water all those who believed that Jesus was soon to make His appearance. This is a cleansing, purifying process, preparing the individual to see spiritually and to discern spiritually.
The Father-Mind is the living principle, the
absolute, the unlimited. The Son is the living Word. "Word" is used to designate man's I AM identity. The Holy Spirit is the action or outpouring or activity of the living Word. This activity produces what may be termed the light of Spirit, the breath of God, the "personality" of Being. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is the sign by which the natural man recognizes the divine. Jesus, who became the "Lamb of God" or perfect expression of God, baptized in the Holy Spirit.
By cultivation the spiritual mind becomes an active factor in consciousness. It has to be desired and sought before it becomes a part of one's conscious life. John the Baptist (the natural conscious mind) is expecting, looking for, and earnestly desiring a greater realization of Spirit. He knows that he is not fulfilling the Christ ideal of manhood; hence his prophecy of One who is to come, "the latchet of whose shoe" he is not worthy to loose.
This willingness to give up the natural man to the divine is a most propitious sign in one who is in the regenerative process. Many persons are ambitious to put on Christ, but are not willing to give up the present man in order to do so. John the Baptist had a following, yet he was willing that his disciples should go to Jesus. He openly acknowledged Him as the "Lamb of God." This was his acknowledgment of the Christ Mind. That mind has no personal ambition;
it is innocent, loving, and obedient to the call of God.
1:37And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 1:38And Jesus turned, and beheld them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? And they said unto him, Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted, Teacher), where abideth thou? 1:39He saith unto them, Come, and ye shall see. They came therefore and saw where he abode; and they abode with him that day: it was about the tenth hour. 1:40One of the two that heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 1:41He findeth first his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah (which is, being interpreted, Christ). 1:42He brought him unto Jesus. Jesus looked upon him, and said, Thou art Simon the son of John: thou shalt be called Cephas (which is by interpretation, Peter).
When the conscious mind recognizes the Christ Mind, the various faculties gradually awaken and attach themselves to it. Andrew is the first apostle mentioned, and with him was one whose name is not given here but who is supposed to have been John (love). Love is modest and retiring, "seeketh not its own." Andrew represents the strength of the mind, which, greatly rejoiced when it finds the inexhaustible source of all strength, exclaims, "We have found the Messiah."
Strength is clearly related to substance (Simon), which in spirit we call faith. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for" (A.V.). What we hope for and mentally see as a possibility in our life comes into visibility, and we call it substantial.
1:43On the morrow he was minded to go forth into Galilee, and he findeth Philip: and Jesus saith unto him, Follow me. 1:44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. 1:45Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 1:46And Nathanael said unto him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.1:47Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!1:48Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. 1:49Nathanael answered him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art King of Israel. 1:50Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee underneath the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. 1:51And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
The name Philip means "lover of horses," and Philip is symbolic of the vigor, power, vitality, and energy of the mind. Philip, Andrew, and Peter are of the same "city," Bethsaida. The name Bethsaida means "house of fishing," and Bethsaida signifies a group of thoughts in consciousness that have as their central idea a belief in the increase of ideas and their expression and manifestation in outer form.
Nathanael (representing the imagination) is also called Bartholomew. In the realm of the real (Israel) the imaging power of the mind is guileless, innocent of error images. It is open and receptive to the beauty
and perfection of Being. It is the faculty of imagination that makes the great artist and the great poet. It is the guileless innocence of the Nathanael state of mind that causes the religious enthusiast to believe all things about Spirit and the world invisible. Exercised without Christ understanding, the imagination becomes delusory. It is the image maker in the psychic; the clairvoyant may be deceived by its conjuring power. In itself it is not error, but it may, like all the other faculties, be used in erroneous ways. When the Mind of Spirit uses it, as in the case of Jesus' discerning Nathanael when he was under the fig tree, it is without guile; and in God's communication with man this faculty plays an important part.
Among the apostles, Bartholomew represents the imagination. He is called Nathanael in the 1st chapter of John, where it is recorded that Jesus saw him under the fig tree, the inference being that He discerned Nathanael's presence before the latter came into visibility. This would indicate that images of people and things are projected into the imaging chamber of the mind and that by giving them attention one can understand their relation to outer things. Mind readers, clairvoyants, and dreamers have developed this capacity to varying degree. Consciousness is what is concerned with soul unfoldment both primarily, and secondarily and all the way! Forms are always manifestations of ideas. Whoever understands this can interpret the symbols shown him in dreams and visions, but lack of understanding of this law makes one a psychic without discernment.
With this spiritual faculty it is possible for man to penetrate into the "fourth dimension" or what is usually called the "kingdom of the heavens" and to discern the trend of the spiritual forces. The angels of God are spiritual forces active in the Sons of God, the spiritually quickened.
The open and receptive and believing mind can see the things that take place in the Christ Mind, thus transcending the capacity of the unillumined natural man.