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Stand firm as the authority of Christ disputes the claims of evil!

Kathy Fitzer, Lake St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, November 20th, 2017

Stand firm as the authority of Christ disputes the claims of evil!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson

“Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced”
for Nov. 20-26, 2017

Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, CS
314-323-4083 kathyfitzer@gmail.com

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This week’s Bible Lesson couldn’t be more timely! It seems that our world is under attack from all sides. It’s tempting to be taken in by an overwhelming sense of despair — that everyone (regardless of how “good” a person may be) — is subject to disaster in one form or another. But, Christ bears the message to us from God (repeated throughout the Bible, demonstrated by Jesus, and explained in the teachings of Christian Science) that God, good, is supreme. And the suppositional opposite of this good — called evil (Satan, the devil, necromancy, mesmerism, hypnotism — aka animal magnetism) is powerless to overthrow God’s goodness. We can and must not be “overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good”! (Romans 12: 21)

Golden Text: In researching this verse, I discovered that the Hebrew word translated wisdom comes from a feminine noun. Keep that in mind as we get to “the woman” in Revelation later in the Lesson. The concept of wisdom is associated with Christ in I Cor. 1: 30. (“[God] sent Christ Jesus to save us and to make us wise, acceptable, and holy.” - CEV) Christian Science, of course, reveals Christ as Truth. It helps me to think of the verse from Proverbs (the G.T.) as saying “Wisdom shouts loudly. Whoever listens to me will live in security (will live in a permanent settled condition without fear of danger. This is the antithesis of the dread of disaster.”) This is from the New English Bible and a translator’s note associated with it as found in the Touch Bible — a Bible research app. So … when faced with the impositions of evil in any form, rather than being mesmerized and fearful, we can alertly listen to and trust the cry of Wisdom — the Truth of Good that overcomes every lie of evil.

Responsive Reading:

We can look at Paul’s (or Saul’s) story as one of deliverance from the influence of hypnotism or animal magnetism (the suppositional power that would pull us in the wrong direction.) When Saul, as a devout Pharisee, was persecuting Christians, he thought that what he was doing was right. Many of those whom we call terrorists today firmly believe in their mission. That, of course, doesn’t make it right — but it does help us separate the evil deed from the person. Mary Baker Eddy writes in our textbook, “Mortal mind is ignorant of self, or it could never be self-deceived. If mortal mind knew how to be better, it would be better.” (SH 186: 28-30) Saul was being influenced by this ignorant mortal mind (or animal magnetism), just as those carrying out heinous activities today are being influenced. How important not to attach the evil to a person! Saul was on his way to Damascus to continue his persecutions when the redemptive light of Christ shone so brightly and the voice of Truth spoke so loudly that it could no longer be resisted! That light and voice are just as present today to denounce (expose) and destroy evil as they were at the time of Saul’s conversion. Saul heard Jesus ask him in Aramaic why he was persecuting him. I found this helpful from The New Interpreter’s Bible. The “pricks” refer to a kentron which was “a stick with a sharpened point that was used as a cattle prod to goad an animal in the right direction. … Paul’s persecution of Jesus indicates his stubborn refusal to obey God’s redemptive plan, which includes him. Because God’s plan does include Paul, it is fruitless for him to persecute Jesus.” Through His Christ-message, God promises to deliver (rescue) Paul both from the accusations of the Jews and the Gentiles so that he can fulfill his mission of turning mankind “from the power of Satan unto God.” Everyone truly has a unique role to play in the harmonious unfolding of God’s universe — just as each number and note have a unique role. God is stronger than evil and we can trust His divine message — Christ — to awaken all mankind from the hypnotic suggestions of (and fear of) evil, to respond to the influence of Good.

Section 1: Animal magnetism defined and defense outlined.

It is as important today as it was when Paul wrote to the Ephesians to be alert to what the Bible calls the “wiles of the devil,” or “the method of the false accuser or slanderer” (as also translated from the original Greek.) The word wiles is also associated with “trickery” or “lying in wait.” And, looking at the definition of “devil” in the glossary of Science and Health, we find the term “animal magnetism.” (S4) Regardless of what term is being used … the important thing to understand is that although there is nothing to fear about this tricky, lying accuser, we must keep our armor on and alertly watch thought so that no false suggestions can worm their way in and make us believe — even for a moment — that there is a power other than God, a power opposed to God, or a power that can separate us from the supremacy of good that is God. Paul is very specific in his instructions to the Ephesians. He spoke to them in terms they understood at that time — the imagery of physical armor. Today we understand that we must arm our thought so that we’re not taken in by mental suggestions. The suggestions are constantly being made that we need to protect ourselves from various diseases by recognizing early warning signs, eating or avoiding specific foods, protecting ourselves from germs, etc. Or the suggestion might come that in order to be safe from the violence of others, we need to arm ourselves. Or, that the condition of the world today is simply hopeless and we just need to resign ourselves to it. It seems there’s no end to the list of suggestions. But, this approach makes each individual threat a separate problem. In order to defeat each one feels like playing a game of “whack a mole.” Every time we smash down one problem, another pops up. In reality, we need to realize that, as Paul says … “our struggle is … against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” We’re told to “stand firm.” (B2) We must go to the bottom of things and destroy the belief that evil is a power at all — counter the belief that there is more than one God. Understanding the truth about evil suggestions, we will not be deceived. Nothing can “separate us from the love of God.” (B3) But we must not be so naive as to think we can just casually declare that evil is powerless and go on our merry way. Strong and alert mental action is demanded! And yet, because the authority comes from God, we can fight the fight with success but without exhaustion! Christian Science clearly instructs that we start and stay with the ALLNESS of God, Spirit! (S1) That leaves out the possibility of personal egos separate from God — good or bad. And we logically reason that because “God, good [is] ever present, … evil, the suppositional opposite of good, is never present.” (S2) Check out the definition of animal magnetism given in citation S6. As we continue with the Lesson, the term devil will come up often. Many believe that there are two opposing powers — God and the devil. But, we can see that what is called devil is nothing more than the “false belief that … evil is as real as good and more powerful.” (S6) We will not be ignorant of God’s omnipotence — nor will we entertain any false belief concerning minds separate from the one Mind! As we exchange fear for understanding, we clear the way for Christ, Truth, to rebuke the devil’s tricks!

Section 2: Resist temptation by identifying with Christ

If Jesus faced temptation, it shouldn’t be surprising that we will also be tempted. The devil (masquerading as our own thought or as an external voice) challenges man’s spiritual nature — urges us to test God, rather than be satisfied with present good. Today, the suggestions may come as thoughts such as … “if you are the son of God, why are you having to struggle with this or that — why haven’t you been healed?” or “if you are the image of Mind, shouldn’t you be able to succeed (in school, work, or play) without having to put in so much effort?” Or even, “if there is a good God, why is there so much evil in the world?” When such suggestions come — or a multitude of others that would make us doubt God’s care and our inseparable relationship to Him — we must respond as Jesus did … “Go away Satan! The scriptures say, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.’” Once Jesus took that stand, the “devil left Jesus, and angels came to help him.” (B6 – CEV, Crisler PS#1) Sometimes, when we feel discouraged and alone, we’re simply being asked to stand up to the devil — to the hypnotic suggestions of animal magnetism — so that we can hear the still, small voice of the angels assuring us that all is well. (S8) I like to think of angels as our constant companions that are forever delivering God’s divine message which enables us to feel the presence of Christ — or the “true idea voicing good.” (S9) Theodicy is a word that isn’t used much anymore. My understanding of it is that it is the attempt to explain the presence of evil where God claims to be present and to be all good [–or an attempted explanation for why bad things happen to good people.] It has been defined as “a vindication of divine justice.” Christian Science maintains the position that divine action — coming from divine Mind — is right, and any action that opposes this good (evil of any name or nature) is wrong. (S11) There are lots of wrong statements made that we don’t fear in the least, because we so clearly know what is right. Math may be the simplest example. I love the assurance that evil thoughts can’t just go around harming us if we withhold our consent. That doesn’t mean that we may not find ourselves in situations where the evil seems very real — or it appears that we (or others) have been harmed. But, looking deeper than the surface evidence, we can keep the suggestions from “finding unsuspected lodgment, if virtue and truth build a strong defence.” (S13) We are not helpless! Although virtue is often thought of as “moral goodness”, it has its roots in the concept of “strength, from straining, stretching, extending.” (Webster, 1828) So, we must not accept every thought that comes our way … but with the strength exhibited by Jesus, speak up … “Go away, devil! You have no authority!!” Then, entertain the angels of God’s presence!

Section 3: God-given authority over “all devils”

Anything that isn’t of God — isn’t absolutely good — can be thought of as an element of suppositional evil … otherwise known as Satan, the devil, the serpent, animal magnetism or hypnotism. There are times that we’re not aware of some influence controlling thought. We may not think that we have a problem, so we aren’t open to the liberating influence of Christ — like the man “with an evil spirit” who asked Jesus to leave him alone. (B8, Crisler PS#2) We may either think we don’t need healing, or have come to believe that we can’t be healed. In either case, we’ve accepted the verdict of a will other than God’s will. And yet, it’s important to remember that it’s never our thought … it’s always “devil speak” posing as our voice. You may remember that the devil tempted Jesus to believe that Satan could give Jesus authority over the world. But it was ultimately seen that every so-called power that is opposed to good can only be overcome by the authority that comes from Christ. Jesus didn’t have an exclusive on this authority. He gave his immediate disciples “authority over all devils” and sent them out to “tell about God’s kingdom and to heal the sick.” (B9, CEV) He sent out another seventy (or some accounts say 72) to spread the Word in villages before he arrived. These disciples were thrilled to discover that they also were able to exercise authority over evil influences. Jesus cautioned them, however, to not be as impressed with their “accomplishments” as with the fact that they were doing God’s work — demonstrating their oneness with God. (B10, Crisler PS#3) The authority of Christ to eradicate evil of every sort is as present today as it has ever been. The key to exercising it is to accept the fact that “man is governed by God” — not partially, but entirely! (S15) Healing happens as the “divine energies of Truth” remove the influence of mortal mind — and the human will that accompanies it. (S16) This is not trying to remove one false belief by using another (through hypnotism, for instance.) It is acknowledging and following the purity of Christ — the divine influence — in all things. (S17)

Section 4: Shake off every attack of evil — no need to fear malpractice [Crisler PS#4]

Paul faced what might be called malpractice — or “the injurious action of one mortal mind controlling another from wrong motives” (see SH 451: 28-29) — on several fronts. He was seen as a criminal by those on the ship, and after the viper bit him, those native to the island of Melita jumped to the conclusion that he must be a murderer. But, no thoughts of others could influence Paul’s innocence or keep him from becoming an influence for good. He was able to save the lives of others during the shipwreck, and demonstrate the authority of Christ as he shook the viper off of his hand without being harmed. (B13) It is tempting to feel victimized or be afraid of what others are thinking about us. We may be tempted to blame our problems on what we perceive as malpractice by others. But, instead we must choose to alertly “bar the door of [our] thought against this seeming power” by arguing and understanding “that evil has in reality no power.” (S20) Assert your authority to “be a law to yourselves”, knowing that you cannot be hurt by what another may be thinking (or what you’ve taken in unconsciously) when you understand that “evil has no reality.” Evil is “simply a belief, an illusion of material sense” and is “deprived of its imaginary powers by Truth”! (S18, S19 & S22)

Section 5: Safe from the flood of the dragon

The book of Revelation is a book of symbolism. Mary Baker Eddy devoted an entire chapter of Science and Health to a spiritual interpretation of its message. Read the verses from chapter 12 that are not included in this week’s Lesson, and the message of safety and salvation becomes even clearer. (B15, Crisler PS#5) Remembering that “wisdom” is a feminine noun, I made the leap of seeing the woman portrayed here as representing, in part, the wisdom of Christ. The New Interpreter’s Bible sees the woman as symbolizing “the people of God.” And Science and Health identifies the woman as symbolizing “generic man”, illustrating “the coincidence of God and man as the divine Principle and divine idea.” (S23) The great red dragon is portrayed as pursuing the woman. Yet the woman is never caught, but always brought to safety. Ultimately, when the serpent sends a flood out to carry away the woman, we’re told that “the earth helped the woman …. and swallowed up the flood.” It is helpful to consider the definition of earth given in the Glossary of Science and Health. It includes, “a type of eternity and immortality, which are likewise without beginning or end.” (SH 585:5-6) We are assured that even if “the old dragon should send forth a new flood to drown the Christ-idea … the earth will help the woman; the spiritual idea will be understood.” (S27) No matter how much it seems that we (and our world) are being flooded with trouble; no matter how prevalent evil seems to be, we have a Biblical assurance of safety. (B16) The serpent and the dragon represent animal magnetism. And they might seem scary except for the fact that we understand, through our study of Christian Science, that the dragon simply symbolizes the lie that “substance, life, and intelligence can be material.” (S24) I especially like how Mary Baker Eddy describes animal magnetism, mesmerism, or hypnotism as “a mere negation.” (S25) No one would be concerned by a media blast saying, “News Flash … the earth is not round and 2+2 is not 4!” So, why are we disturbed by a report saying, “Man is not good, happy, healthy, and safe”? We can’t just stand by and complacently watch the drama, however. We must challenge the negations of evil and correct them with Truth. The marginal heading of citation S28 is “The armor of divinity.” That takes us right back to the first section of the Lesson. We’re told we have two things we must do … “at all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good” and “know” ourselves (as God knows us.) Doing this, we can be confident that “God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil.” We never need to be afraid of human hatred because it cannot reach us when we remain conscious of Love’s eternal presence and care! (S28)

Section 6: Rejoice in the supremacy of Good and the nothingness of evil

This last section opens with the promise, "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (B17, NLT) It’s easy to get mesmerized by the almost daily reports of violence, let alone the other constant threats of disease and other forms of discord. But, we have a choice! How much better to counter the threats of evil with rejoicing in the goodness of God — the God that IS supreme and is a reliable source of help and salvation. (B19) Another meaning of the Greek word, chairo, translated here as rejoice, is “to be well, thrive.” We thrive when we keep our thoughts aligned with God — regardless of the persistence of the mortal testimony, the lies and negation of animal magnetism. To find truth, simply reverse whatever it is error is trying to say and know that truth cannot be reversed. (S30) Our job is to be a gate-keeper of thought — allowing only what we know to be real and true to enter in. How wonderful that it is the Word of God that speaks to the darkness and destroys it! (S31) God, good is all; evil is nothing!!! That’s that!


Click here for Warren Huff’s additions of insights by Cobbey Crisler on some citations in the Christian Science Bible Lesson for November 26, 2017.


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