Lesson 1 Revelation 1:1 - 2:7

Lesson 1 Revelation 1:1 - 2:7
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A Spiritual Interpretation of Revelation

As taught by:
Unity School for Religious Studies
Unity Village, MO 64065

Lesson Outline

I. MAJOR POINTS
  1. General metaphysical significance of Revelation in context with the whole Bible.
  2. God is the ONLY ABSOLUTE. All else is relative and conditional.
  3. Metaphysical meaning of the church of Ephesus.
  4. Praise for the church.
  5. Criticism for the church.
  6. Promise of reward for overcoming that which is criticized.
II. READINGS
  1. Rev. 1:1-1:7
  2. Metaphysical Bible Dictionary: "Ephesus"
  3. Be Ye Transformed 198-210
III. QUESTIONS
  1. What is the only Absolute, only Infinite, only Ultimate? Explain.
  2. Metaphysically, what does the church of Ephesus stand for in human nature?
  3. Give a general summary of praise given to the church.
  4. Give a general summary of criticism given to the church.
  5. Give a general summary of the reward for overcoming to be given.

Lesson Text

Rev. 1:1

The true inspiration of this book is revealed in the opening words. "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show . ..." The reality of the presence of Jesus Christ, and the reality of the Christ Spirit in every man, is the main theme which runs through this book and permeates the whole narrative. The writer states that "God gave him" (Jesus Christ) these revelations, which indicates that the words are, in a sense, being dictated to him directly through the Christ-Mind from, universal God-Mind.

Rev. 1:8

'"I am the Alpha and the Omega,1 says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." Here we have another biblical basis for one of our most frequently used Unity affirmations: THERE IS ONE PRESENCE AND ONE POWER IN THE UNIVERSE AND IN MY LIFE, GOD, THE GOOD OMNIPOTENT.

In the Absolute, God is all there really ever was, is now, and ever will be. But this is true only in the Absolute. Human beings are related to the Absolute, but they are not absolutes. Only God is that. People are evolving souls, growing units of universal consciousness with spiritual natures and identities. God is the Infinite, the Absolute.

Rev. 1:19, 20

The author is instructed by the Christ Mind to write seven letters which will be dictated to him by the Christ Mind. These letters are for seven churches in Asia Minor.

These seven churches symbolize seven great centers of energy and intelligence within our individuality. They are called "churches" because they constitute factors and processes in our overall spiritual unfoldment. They are components of our method of worshipping God. They are all good and very useful. But none is, as yet, perfect. Each has the potential of becoming more perfect, mostly through the overcoming of certain shortcomings that exist within them.

The name of each church is given at the beginning of each letter. The metaphysical interpretations of those names are all based (in this course) on material found in the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary.

Rev. 2:1-7 LETTER TO THE CHURCH OF EPHESUS

The word Ephesus means: "desirable; appealing." Metaphysically, it represents our desire nature, and our interpretation of our desire as it pertains to our worship of God. This first of the seven churches represents one of the first things which coming into Truth quickens for us: desire and appeal.

Knowledge of Truth causes a greater desire in us for more knowledge of God and Truth. This growing desire for more of God and His good has become a "church" of worship within our souls, which Revelation names as Ephesus.

Knowledge of Truth has also quickened our awareness of our power of appeal and, consequently, our willingness to ask. We are becoming less reluctant to ask for whatever we deem desirable or useful in our lives. We are less reluctant to ask God on behalf of others. We know the Source, and we are gaining faith in the willingness of that Source to give of its treasures. We are learning to no longer hesitate to appeal to it through prayer, affirmation, and giving thanks in advance. Our church of Ephesus is the symbol of our desire for more of God and His good and, also, our willingness to appeal to God as the omnipresent Source of our good.

Rev. 2:2-3 "'I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear evil men but have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and found them to be false; I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary ...'"

Here is the Christ Mind's praise for our church of Ephesus. Our desire for good has caused us to become God's workers. Almost all this work is inner work. We find we do not become exhausted in such work, but are learning to take delight in it. We may not work so much on outer THINGS any more, but rather on our inner thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. We are accomplishing good improvement, and we are becoming less inclined to boast about it.

We are also becoming more patient. Patience is a sure sign of growing spiritual consciousness. Patience is not a self-created accomplishment so much as it is a result, a reward which comes to our soul after making certain inner efforts to become willing to change; to become more conscious of Truth and the good.

"And how you cannot bear evil men" indicates that since we have acknowledged our growing desire for more of God and Truth, we are no longer willing to continue to repeat experiences of useless, unnecessary suffering. The word "evil" refers to any human attempt to negate any divine idea. Misguided attempts are the cause of useless, unnecessary suffering. The fact that we no longer want to continue attempts to negate divine ideas or have useless suffering gives testimony to the growth and improvement we have made in consciousness. We are desiring only Truth and good in our lives and in the lives of others. This is the great accomplishment of the church of Ephesus in us.

Rev. 2:4 "'But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.'"

"A weakness in our desire nature is called to our attention in these words. God is the first love our church of Ephesus responded to. If our desire nature had not made the decision to love God first and foremost, we probably would not have come into the life of Truth. We would have found many other things to do with our lives instead. But we have entered the way, the Truth, and the life revealed to us through Jesus Christ. This means that our desire nature had to have at some point acknowledged God as our first love. But human desire nature still has the tendency to wander. It becomes fickle. There are yet times when we believe we love other things rather than God. We forget our love for Truth. When this happens, desire can degenerate into covetousness. We become inwardly confused and unhappy. This is because we are not putting our love of God first. Our church of Ephesus has "left its first love."

Rev. 2:7 "'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God."'

To "eat of the tree of life" means to derive a type of nourishment and some benefit from everything we experience in life, and from all that we observe in life. This is possible for any person who keeps the love of God in first place in his desire nature.

If a person does not really care about Truth, never thinks much about the love of God, is indifferent toward developing spiritual understanding, such a person does not know how to eat of the tree of life. In fact, quite often the opposite happens to him. Life eats him! In other words, life experiences and difficulties do not have a nourishing or beneficial effect upon him. They take a great deal out of him. This person becomes easily discouraged, exhausted, worn out. This is a form of unnecessary suffering. Life should not wear a person out. It should nourish him, educate him, benefit him. And this is exactly how life will become for one who loves God uppermost in his desire nature. He gains the secret of eternal nourishment. He learns to extract the good in every life effort, every life experience. He is literally "eating of the tree of life."

For such a person, what to many persons is simply ordinary life, becomes a new quality of life. Such a person begins to perceive that his life is really taking place in what the Christ Mind refers to as "in the paradise of God." Paradise is wherever God is, and love of God establishes His presence within us at all times, under all circumstances.