08. Gathering The Disciples To Serve The Spiritual Man II (1:40-51)

Andrew the brother of Simon Peter was one of the two who heard from John and was following Him. This one first found his own brother Simon and tells him, We have found the Messiah (which being translated is, the Christ). And he led him to Jesus. And looking at him, Jesus said, You are Simon the son of Jonah; you shall be called Cephas (which translated is Peter). And on the morrow, Jesus desired to go out into Galilee. And He found Philip, and says to him, Follow Me! And Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip finds Nathanael and said to him, We have found the One of whom Moses wrote in the Law and the Prophets, Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth. And Nathanael said to him, Can any good thing be out of Nazareth? Philip said to him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him and said concerning him, Behold, truly an Israelite in whom is no guile! Nathanael said to Him, From where do You know me? Jesus answered and said to him, Before Philip called, you being under the fig tree, I saw you. Nathanael answered and said to Him, Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said to him, Because I said to you I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these. And He says to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, From now on you will see Heaven opened, and “the angels of God ascending and descending” on the Son of Man. (John 1:40-51)

The twelve disciples represented all whose forms of good and truths come from the Lord, and in the abstract sense represented all forms of the good of love and all truths of faith derived from the Lord, (Arcana Coelestia 9942)

‘Being the Lord’s disciple’ means being led by Him and not by self, thus by the forms of good and the truths which come from the Lord and not by the evils and falsities which come from the person. (Arcana Coelestia 10490)

Peter was the first to be called by the Lord through Andrew, “Andrew” signifying the obedience of faith. (Apocalypse Explained 821)

Peter was the first of the apostles because truth from good is the first thing of the church; for, from the world a man does not know anything about heaven and hell, nor of a life after death, nor even about God. His natural light teaches nothing except what has entered through the eyes, thus nothing except what relates to the world and to self; and from these is his life; and so long as he is in these only he is in hell; and therefore, that he may be withdrawn from these and be led to heaven he must needs learn truths, which teach not only that there is a God, that there is a heaven and a hell, and that there is a life after death, but also teach the way to heaven. From this it is clear that truth is the first thing through which man has the church. But it must be truth from good, for truth without good is mere knowledge that a thing is so; and mere knowledge does nothing except to make a man capable of becoming a church; but this is not effected until he lives according to knowledges. Then truth is conjoined to good, and man is introduced into the church. Moreover, truths teach how a man ought to live; and when man is affected by truths for the sake of truths, which is done when he loves to live according to them, he is led by the Lord, and conjunction with heaven is granted him, and he becomes spiritual, and after death an angel of heaven. Nevertheless it is to be known that it is not truths that produce these effects, but good by means of truths; and good is from the Lord. Because truth from good, which is from the Lord, is the first thing of the church, Peter was the first to be called, and was the first of the apostles, and he was also named by the Lord “Cephas,” which means petra [a rock]; but, that it might be the name of a person, he is called Petrus [Peter]. In the highest sense “rock” [Petra] signifies the Lord in relation to Divine truth, or Divine truth proceeding from the Lord; consequently in a relative sense “rock” signifies truth from good, which is from the Lord, the like is meant by Peter. (Apocalypse Explained 820)

(Of Andrew, Peter and Philip being from Bethsaida, which means “house of hunters and fishers” we have the following thought…)

“To send to fishers who shall fish them, and to hunters who shall hunt them,” means to call together and establish the church with those who are in natural good and in spiritual good. (Apocalypse Explained 513)

Last time we looked at the spiritual idea that is represented by the disciples of John moving to follow Jesus. Here we saw it as a shift in our state of mind where the skills and abilities that have been built up in us by the Lord, through our positive responses to our natural understanding of what the literal sense of the Word teaches, are able to be used and applied to a more internal level of our being, to our thoughts and affections. The disciples or disciplines of John who represents our natural understanding of the Word, are centred on repentance in terms of our external life but these disciplines must make a shift to serve repentance as to our inner life. This is a shifting in our focus from not just on how we act but to include what we will and think, and so opens up the opportunity for the Lord to begin to order our affections, thoughts and actions. This internal application of the internal sense of the Word sees a shift in the states of our mind, with the focus of the Word moving from the reformation of our thinking concerning spiritual matters, to our actual rebirth or regeneration.

Today we are going to look at the order in which the disciples are called and explore the details of this in terms of how the Lord as the Word works to gather the things of our inner world that can serve His purposes for our life. So, this is a story about how the Lord organises our mind to orientate it toward spiritual things. From this perspective, we can see that this process must be centred on the Word as our guide for living a spiritual life and that the disciples are the things in our minds that gather in response to the Word or its truths. Think of them as those mental faculties which contain everything that the Lord needs to save us from the influence and activity of our proprium. So given that everything here represents what is internal, the order in which the disciples are called, and the meaning of their names are spiritually significant, particularly in terms of what’s involved internally in the preparation of a person’s mind for following the Lord as the Word.

Our minds have different levels within them and while in this world our consciousness is found in our external or natural mind, there are other higher levels to which we don’t have direct access, but that do influence us in ways we are not readily conscious of. In broad terms, the human mind is composed of three levels, we call these the celestial, spiritual and natural levels, or degrees. The work of spiritual growth occurs in the natural level which is made up of two parts an inner part and an outer part. We can know this from self reflection, for anyone can see that we able to will and think one thing from the internal part of our natural mind and do and say another from the external.

Prior to entering into the spiritual life and allowing the Lord to regenerate us, we live in a world of illusion. We are inclined to think we are good because we believe the images which we create for ourselves, when in fact we are spiritually destitute within. Until a person sees what they are apart from the Lord, they have no reason to seek Him because they don’t see the need they have for Him in their life. What the Lord does to amend this situation is to give us truths, Divine revelation, which we can choose to accept and take into our life – or not. We are always left in freedom in spiritual matters. If we choose to take these truths and seek to live from them, then the Lord builds up within us a capacity to reflect further on our lives and a conscience based on a spiritual understanding of the Word begins to develop. This forms a new understanding into which the Lord can flow and shed light on our inner situation and states of life. These truths from the Word to which we have responded and so have acquired a genuine spiritual conscience, form our internal or spiritual man. It’s a heavenly man because it’s formed from the truths of the Word. First natural and sensual truths of the external or literal sense of the Word must be taken into the mind, which is the dust of the ground, and it is into this, as these truths are made a matter of the life, that the Lord breaths the breath of lives.

And the Lord God formed the human of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives; and the human became a living soul …. (Genesis 2: 7)

This is a beautiful description of how the Lord provides us with a new will and understanding from the spiritual sense of the Word, the application of which makes us spiritual.

But we only become spiritual through using the Word to purify our affections for it is a general principle that we only receive truths in accordance with our state of affection for them. If we only love natural truths of an exterior kind then we live from natural affections but if we love spiritual truths, then we will be working to have our natural affections purified. To the degree that we are in a spiritual affection for truth to that same degree will spiritual or inner truths from the Word shine forth from its literal sense. For to be in a spiritual affection for truth is to be in a love of applying them to the life of our natural will and understanding with a view to having ourselves purified from self love and the falsities and evils that this love is constantly generating within our life.

The desire to do this, to undergo this process of purification, arises from what the Lord has been able to implant in us throughout our life what the doctrines for Spiritual Christianity call remains of good and truth. Without these remains we have no hope of salvation for without them it is impossible for the Lord to influence our life. He can only be present in us in that which is from Himself, and it is by means of these remains alone that a hunger and thirst for spiritual things can be awakened within us. Every person has remains planted within them, awaiting their response to the truths that genuine forms of religion teaches so that they can be awakened to spiritual life. Prior to our regeneration these remains are implanted within our minds without our knowing. They are stored away by the Lord and taken deep within us until such time as they are ready to serve the Lord’s purposes for our salvation.

The Lord brings them to the fore and awakens them when we enter states of life in which we are open to truths, and our reformation and subsequent regeneration becomes a very real possibility. These remains become consciously experienced, taking a form that manifests as a desire for the Word and a willingness to apply its truths to life. This desire is then strengthened to the degree that we continue to look to the Word and repent from what we see in us that is opposed to what it teaches concerning the spiritual life. This is the story of the Gospels, it is the good news or news of goodness available to humankind, and it is also the call of the disciples. This is the story of remains, of the planting of the Lord coming forth to view in their effects upon the mind when we engage with the Word with a view to obeying it to make it a matter of our life.

Our obedience to the Word in the external aspects of our life opens our receptivity to spiritual truths and so opens the way for the Word to work in our life to bring about our salvation. In this sense John the Baptist as an image of the external sense of the Word is referred to as that which prepares the way of the Lord. The product of this obedience is represented by the first disciple mentioned, that being Andrew, who spiritually is one of the disciplines developed under John, as our application of external truths to external life. The name Andrew means, manliness or strong man, and represents our obedience, our willingness and commitment to respond to our understanding of the Word. This obedience is a progression that comes from the remains planted within us that comes to the fore as the love of growing wise.

Andrew the brother of Simon Peter was one of the two who heard from John and was following Him. This one first found his own brother Simon and tells him, We have found the Messiah (which being translated is, the Christ). And he led him to Jesus. And looking at him, Jesus said, You are Simon the son of Jonah; you shall be called Cephas (which translated is Peter).

The Greek root word from which we get the name Andrew means male or husband, and the doctrines for Spiritual Christianity teaches that what is male within us is the love of growing wise. This is further confirmed in that Andrew is said to be the brother of Simon Peter. Spiritually then we see that what is represented by Andrew is related to Simon Peter. Simon means hearing, and to hear spiritually is to obey. Peter means rock, and rocks or stones correspond to foundational truths on which our faith rests. So when these two names are combined as Simon Peter we have represented the idea of a faith that comes from obedience or of truly hearing and responding to the truths the Word. What the doctrines for Spiritual Christianity call truth from good. This is Simon Peter.

This obedience embodied in Andrew is then said to find Simon, that is, the obedience in externals finds it counterpart regarding internal things and instructs it that it has found the Messiah who is called the Christ and leads him to Jesus. This speaks of how when we take the things of the Word and apply them to our own lives, we are brought into a different quality of truth based on our experience of its application. Our faith undergoes a reorientation and is restructured around the realisation that the Lord is found within the interior aspect of the Word. We are then opened up to the deeper things of the Word, the goods and truths in its spiritual sense that can save us, which are called here Jesus (Jehovah Saviour), and we are drawn into connection with the Lord there. As our affection for the Word develops through our willingness to do inner spiritual work this acknowledgement of the Lord, as represented by Andrew, becomes established within the internal part of the natural mind and truths are gathered or reorganised in support of this as represented by Peter. The Lord changing Simon’s name to Peter represents a change in quality where our faith shifts from an intellectual faith to a faith of obedience.

From this reorganisation of the inner part of the natural mind, we have established in our consciousness the essential basis for spiritual life – a mind that is spiritually focussed and orientated, a spiritual conscience. From here, things that can serve the Lord’s spiritual aspirations for our life begin to be organised in the more external part of the natural mind. Thus, we read…

And on the morrow, Jesus desired to go out into Galilee. And He found Philip, and says to him, Follow Me! And Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter.

With this change of state in the mind there arises a desire from the Word to go out into the states of life as represented by Galilee. To go out or come forth is to have the Word advance spiritually within the mind. It is to grow into a fuller appreciation and perception of the spiritual things of the Word. Galilee represents the exterior plane of the mind or life where goods and truths, having been married, come together to produce spiritual offspring that supports practical spiritual activity or work. This desire from the Word finds Philip, whose name is interesting and revealing for it means lover of horses.

We also read that he is from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. So we see that Philip is found or comes into being and connection with the Word from a desire that originates from the Word or Jesus, which is a desire to enter into those states of mental life represented by Galilee. He is from the same city as Andrew and Peter, so he is of the same origin of our love of obedience to the Word, Andrew, and the faith that relates to this, Peter.

Horses in the Word correspond to the power of the reasoning faculty which in a positive sense is a love for understanding the Word. So Philip being a lover of horses is our love for understanding the Word as it relates to the spiritual life. This is able to be confirmed further from the meaning of Bethsaida, which means house of hunters and fishers. To hunt and fish spiritually is to search out and gather truths from the Word to feed or nourish our spiritual life.

What our love of the Word, Philip, finds is Nathanael, or as his name means what is given of God. This gift is captured in Nathanael’s confession in verse 49 in which he says of Jesus or the interior sense of the Word…

….Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.

In declaring the Lord to be the Son of God and the King of Israel, Nathanael represents the full realisation we must all come to – that the Word is Divine and that what we have before us waiting to be revealed is the Son of God, the fullness of love or goodness, and the King of Israel, the fullness of Divine Truth. From this confession, an inner realisation that can only arise from our willingness to work in obedience to our understanding of the Word, the ground is set on which we too will…

…see Heaven opened, and “the angels of God ascending and descending” on the Son of Man.

Heaven being opened is the opening of the interior sense of the Word to our perception, the promise being we will see the angels of God, or truths (Apocalypse Explained 130), ascending and descending on the Son of Man who represents our understanding of the Word in which we find the Lord as to His Divine Human.

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