Acts 12 Metaphysical Bible Interpretation

Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Acts Chapter 12

Metaphysically Interpreting Acts 12:1-19

12:1Now about that time Herod the king put forth his hands to afflict certain of the church. 12:2And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 12:3And when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. And those were the days of unleavened bread. 12:4And when he had taken him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to guard him; intending after the Passover to bring him forth to the people. 12:5Peter therefore was kept in the prison: but prayer was made earnestly of the church unto God for him.
12:6And when Herod was about to bring him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and guards before the door kept the prison. 12:7And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shined in the cell: and he smote Peter on the side, and awoke him, saying, Rise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. 12:8And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And he did so. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. 12:9And he went out, and followed; and he knew not that it was true which was done by the angel, but thought he saw a vision. 12:10And when they were past the first and the second guard, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth into the city; which opened to them of its own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and straightway the angel departed from him. 12:11And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a truth, that the Lord hath sent forth his angel and delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
12:12And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together and were praying. 12:13And when he knocked at the door of the gate, a maid came to answer, named Rhoda. 12:14And when she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for joy, but ran in, and told that Peter stood before the gate. 12:15And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she confidently affirmed that it was even so. And they said, It is his angel. 12:16But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened, they saw him, and were amazed. 12:17But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him forth out of the prison. And he said, Tell these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went to another place.
12:18Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter. 12:19And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the guards, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and tarried there.
April 11, 1909: Acts 12:1-11

Golden Text - 34:7The angel of Jehovah encampeth round about them that fear him, And delivereth them. Psalms 34:7

The release of Peter from prison by an angel comes under the head of the supernatural. The church classes it with the miracles. Sound reason would find a lawful cause for the incident and take away superstition on the one hand and skepticism on the other.

That God, and angels, and heaven exists, is accepted by all who believe the Scriptures, but there is wide diversity of thought about the locality and character of these things. Those who read the Bible after the letter, have constructed all kinds of imaginary conditions under which God and his angels live and the place of heaven. Their minds being fixed on things of sense they do not grasp the realm of ideas, and they are therefore totally ignorant of the true teaching of the Scripture. To understand the Bible one must know about the constitution of man. This is the key to all mysteries, the knowledge of one's self. "Man know thyself."

Man is spirit, soul, body. These exist altogether. God is the Principle of Being as mathematics is the principle of numbers. God is not in locality. Is the mathematical principle in some certain place and not elsewhere? "The Kingdom of God is within you." God is in man's consciousness. It follows that all the powers that are attributed to God may become operative in man. Then we live right in the presence of God, and angels, and heaven. What seems the desert place is filled with angelic messengers, and, like Jacob, "We knew it not."

Man sets into action any of the three realms of his being, spirit, soul, and body, by concentrating his thought upon them. If he thinks only of the body, the physical senses encompass all of his existence. If mind and emotion are cultivated he adds soul to his consciousness. If he rises to the Absolute and comprehends Spirit, he rounds out the God-man.

Spirit is the source of soul and body, hence the ruling power. Its works are so swift, and so transcend the limitations of matter, but the natural man cannot comprehend them and he calls them "miracles." But all things are done under law. "Prayer was made earnestly of the church unto God for him," and Peter was delivered from prison by an angel. The earnest prayers of the devout believers in the power of the Supreme Spirit brought about the result. The history of Christianity is full of instances of so-called miracles through prayer. The hour-long prayer of a Luther by what was supposed to be the deathbed of his friend, Melanchthon, is a famous instance of importunate pleadings. It was Luther's firm belief that Melanchthon's years of continued life were the direct answer to his prayers.

Mighty things have been wrought in the past by those who had mere blind faith to guide them. Now to faith we add understanding of the Law, and our achievements will be a fulfillment of the promise of Jesus, "Ye shall do these things and greater." The prayer of Luther and its results are now being duplicated every day. As we go on in the exercise of the spiritual faculties they will grow stronger and be better understood, and we shall cease to talk about anything as miraculous. All things are possible unto you if you only believe in your spiritual power.

February 22, 1920: Acts 12:1-19

Lesson Interpretation

1. Herod, the mortal will, through the power of the sword (or through wounding with cutting words) slays James, or Judgment, brother of John, Love.

2. Herod, until he is redeemed, always works destructively. Therefore, we may know him by his fruits. His next act here is to imprison Peter, Faith, in order to please the Jews, or to please that in us which, through ignorance, is opposed to spiritual illumination and growth.

3. But Peter was befriended. "Prayer was made earnestly of the church unto God for him." The great point brought out in this lesson, is the value of communion with God. Continuous prayer always wins out. As it is the constant flow of the stream that makes the wheel go round, so it is through the constant working of the mind and heart in prayer that God's hand is made free to execute.

4. Further, when Peter (Faith), retains a quiet confidence and an attitude of peace and poise under a test of seeming trouble, the way of release is bound to be opened. Peter's freedom was doubly assured. Thus, the so-called miraculous laws of the Infinite are made comprehensible to man.

5. When Peter is set at liberty, his first act is to go to the house of Mary and make known to them the wondrous works of the Lord. Greater faith, a more enduring strength, and an indescribable awe, tempered with a deep reverence for the things of spirit, spread throughout the consciousness, which tend to make more secure that unalterable foundation, the rock upon which the church is founded.

6. Then, Herod, the personal ego, perceiving that his methods do not bring the desired results, orders his guards to be put to death, thus weakening his own powers, which proves that eternal Truth, that besides God there is none other.

June 21, 1925: Acts 12:5-17

What power was brought to bear to release Peter from prison? As explained in verse 5, "prayer was made earnestly of the church unto God for him."

How do the prayers of the faithful perform seeming miracles? The prayer of power connects the mind of man with the Mind universal (God) and stirs to action the invisible ethers. The results seem marvelous because man does not fully understand the working of the spiritual law.

The "angel of the Lord" smote Peter on the side and awoke him. What was that angel? The word that is translated "angel" means "messenger or agent of God." God is Spirit mind, in which we all consciously exist when our minds make union with Spirit mind. When we pray, primal energy and intelligence are released, and fulfill our desires. "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."

How do spiritual forces make contact with the matter and with physical bodies? "And his chains fell off from his hands." Spirit mind does its work through the higher realms of consciousness in the individual mind. Peter thought that the experience that he was undergoing in his release from prison was a vision. His spiritual consciousness was awakened, and during the releasing of the spiritual electrons, the primal elements of matter, he moved like one in a trance.

When Peter came out of the superconscious state, what occurred? A complete answer is given inverse 11: "And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a truth, that the Lord hath sent forth his angel and delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews."

Do Christians in this day have evidence that the power of Spirit manifests in mundane affairs? The power of Spirit is being generally used by metaphysicians in healing. In many instances broken bones have been set and healed almost instantly. Severe burns have been alleviated in a few moments. Again and again in our open meetings we hear testimonials of those who have been saved from injury in accidents when they called upon God for protection. A short time ago a man testified that his automobile rolled over a thirty-foot embankment. As he was going down he prayed: "God, save me! God, save me!" He was unhurt, and was soon on his way again. Another testimonial was that of a man who fell from a height. As he fell he called upon God to save him. He said that he felt as if he were surrounded by an invisible cushion, as if a spiritual force sustained him. He was saved from hurt of any kind.

To what extent are we using the power of Spirit mind to control matter? In the present race consciousness we are not using Spirit mind to control matter. We are controlling matter with mortal mind, and the results are negligible. However, Christian metaphysicians are discovering that by prayer we lift our consciousness into the realm of Spirit mind and by cultivating that realm of consciousness we attain control of all the forces of nature and of so-called matter.

June 12, 1927: Acts 12:5-17

What power was put into operation to release Peter from prison? As explained in verse 5, "prayer was made earnestly of the church unto God for him."

How do the prayers of the faithful perform seeming miracles? The prayer of power connects the mind of man with the Mind universal (God) and stirs to action the invisible ethers. The results seem marvelous because man does not fully understand the working of the spiritual law.

"An angel of the Lord . . . smote Peter on the side, and awoke him." What do we understand the word "angel" to mean? The word "angel" is a translation of a word that means "messenger or agent of God." God is Spirit, in which we all consciously exist when our minds make union with Spirit. When we pray, primal energy and intelligence are released and made to fulfill our desires. "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."

How do spiritual forces make contact with physical bodies and with other matter? "And his chains fell off from his hands." Spirit does its work through the higher realms of consciousness in the individual mind. Peter thought that the experience that he was undergoing in his release from prison was a vision. His spiritual consciousness was awakened, and during the releasing of the spiritual electrons, the primal elements of matter, he moved like one in a trance.

When Peter came out of the superconscious state, what occurred? A complete answer to this question is given in verse 11: "And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a truth, that the Lord hath sent forth his angel and delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation, of the people of the Jews."

Do present day Christians have evidence that the power of spirit manifests in mundane affairs? Metaphysicians in general use the power of spirit to heal. In many instances broken bones have been set and healed almost instantly. Pain from severe burns has been alleviated in a few moments. Again and again we hear testimonials of those who have been saved from injury when they have called upon God for protection. One man testified thus: "I was in my automobile when it rolled over a thirty-foot embankment. As I was going down I prayed: 'God, save me! God, save me!' I was unhurt, and was soon on my way again." Another testimonial was that of a man who fell from a height. As he fell he called upon God to save him. He said that he felt as if he were surrounded by an invisible cushion, as if a spiritual force were sustaining him. He was saved from hurt of any kind.

To what extent are we using the power of spirit to control matter? In the present race consciousness we are not using Spirit to control matter. We are controlling matter with mortal mind, and the results are negligible. However Christian metaphysicians are discovering that by use of prayer we lift our consciousness into the realm of Spirit and by cultivating that realm of consciousness we attain control of all the forces of nature and of so-called matter.

March 17, 1935: Acts 12:5-17

Of what kind of freedom does materiality deprive man? Mental freedom. In the grip of materiality man cannot realize his nature as a son of God or exercise the powers that are his by divine right. These he should be able to discern and use through faith.

When one's faith is not free to follow Truth, what is the result? Everyone who is honest with himself must follow his faith. When this is limited by materiality, he too must be material.

What does the church represent in this lesson? Man's aspirations to be free are here represented by the church.

Herod was about to bring Peter forth from prison to be put to death, when he was delivered by an angel. Explain this passage. Herod represents the personal will which holds man a slave to its caprices. But man can set this aside by consciously willing to do the divine will and fixing his faith in Spirit instead of materiality.

Give a practical example of this truth. By putting our faith in the power of Spirit, we demonstrate perfect health without the use of material remedies. We deliver ourselves from bondage to material beliefs by trusting the Spirit to keep us well.

Show how we prepare ourselves for freedom. First, we fortify our faith with the consciousness of spiritual power (Peter was told to gird himself). Next, we look forward to gaining a better understanding of our own mind (Peter binds on his sandals). Then we clothe our faith in whole-hearted devotion to Truth (Peter cast his garment about him). Finally, we follow the lead of the highest truth we can discern (the angel of the Lord).

What has faith to do with emotional feeling? To be effectual, faith must be deep enough to become one with feeling or conviction. Intellectual faith is powerless to set man free.

Do the other faculties of the mind profit by the freeing of faith? There is new enlightenment and clear power of discernment in all the other faculties when faith is set free from material bondage. Peter instructed his fellow Christians to "tell these things unto James [judgment], and to the brethren." (Acts 12:17)

March 12, 1939: Acts 12:5-17

What is the metaphysical meaning of Peter's imprisonment? Peter represents man's faith, which in the natural man is confined within narrow bounds of materiality and worldly power. Nothing so effectually frees faith from its limitations as prayer and concentration on the things of Spirit.

What does Herod represent, and what is the significance of the statement that he was about to bring Peter forth to the people? Herod (hero-born) represents the ruling will of the physical man, the ego in the sense consciousness. By his manner of living the physical man reveals the basis of his face as wholly material.

How strong is the hold of materiality on man's faith? In the natural man faith is chained to material power and worldly prestige (two soldiers), and all its avenues of expression (prison doors) are closed and guarded against spiritual influences.

What was the "angel of the Lord" that stood by Peter on the night he regained his freedom? The earnest prayers of the church or whole body of believers formed a protecting presence that "stood by" Peter.

Why was Peter told to rise up quickly? To be effectual faith must be used with decision. There must be no doubting or hesitation on the part of the one using it.

What metaphysical meaning is found in the statement "His chains fell off from his hands"? The hands represent the executive capacity of man. Through raising his consciousness Peter freed his hands (his executive ability) of the chains that bound them.

What caused the iron gate of the prison to open "of its own accord"? The iron gates that imprison us always open when we become conscious of our oneness with God.

Why did Peter not "come to himself" before the angel had departed from him? While he was leaving prison Peter's mind was too much absorbed in action to permit him to reflect on what was happening or to seek for its cause. When he no longer felt the immediate need of the protecting presence he began to try to account for his deliverance. Faith sometimes inspires a person to act on a sudden impulse without waiting to think things through.

What is indicated by the fact that neither Peter nor the church, in the beginning, excepted his deliverance as an answer to prayer? Those who pray habitually and earnestly may become so absorbed in prayer that they forget to watch for the answer. Therefore they may fail to see the connection between prayer and manifestation.

September 9, 1923: Acts 12:12

John Mark represents a combination of zeal and love. Mark means "shining" and John means "God's gift." God is love, and one of the shining activities of love is it's zeal in giving.

Transcribed by Dan Beckett on 9-18-2013