The Disciple, the Second Sacred Degree

By Linda Mihalic

The Disciple is a learner; a scholar; one who receives or professes to receive instruction from another; as the disciples of Plato; a follower; an adherent to the doctrines of another. Hence the constant attendants of Christ were called his disciples; and hence all Christians are called his disciples, as they profess to learn and receive his doctrines and precepts.Webster’s American Dictionary
  A disciple is one who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another; an active follower of a movement or philosophy.Oxford English Dictionary

“A Disciple perfects his discipline of the self.”

  The Disciple’s initiation is Baptism by Water. Surrender of self is the Disciple’s key word. The second Buddhist Path is control of actions, controlling all outer expression under discretion. The Disciple stabilizes his emotions (water) into the Christ-life by surrendering emotional jags and reactions, including opinions, prejudice, resentment, blame, guilt and old, worn-out memories.
  The second great power of being under surrender is command of all inner forces under the process of growth. The process of growth deals with the principles of expansion and contraction. Expansion and growth come under acceptance and surrender. Condensation and crystallization come under contraction and repudiation. You earn command of all inner forces by stabilizing emotions until all healing Power moves through you to raise or lower the rate of vibration of substance. This is the power of healing. If you work for self-mastery, you already have self-control.
  Ruth, a Moabitess who followed her mother-in-law, Naomi, back to Judah, became the archetypal disciple. She followed the law with perfect obedience and ended as the wife of Boaz, and an ancestress of Jesus the Christ.
  God appointed Elisha to be Elijah’s successor, yet it was Elisha’s outstanding discipleship that brought his master’s mantle of power upon him.
  Our Master said, It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.—Matthew 10:25
  A Disciple is one who is submitting to discipline. The Disciple perfects his discipline of self. As a Disciple, you learn that what you fear is your vulnerable point. If you want something, you will think everyone wants it, and may fear not getting it.
  You learn fortitude, which is to stand and endure joyously, smiling to make another happy. Integrity consists of absolute honesty, honor sincerity and loyalty. You must have integrity of intention and integrity of performance. In studying about the Disciple Degree, also studying the topic of discipline is essential.

Edna Lister on the Disciple Degree

The Disciple’s keynote is forgiveness, to forgive and forget. All tests to the Disciple are on forgiveness. You can forgive only self: What is that to thee? Follow thou me.—John 21:22. You have no right to judge another’s soul, because you cannot see with God’s eye. "Father forgive me lest I see imperfection and stumble."—Edna Lister, The Degrees, March 30, 1935.

You pass through different degrees while on earth, to return to God. The Disciple Degree symbolizes "The Illumination" that the soul receives while standing before the radiance shining through the curtains within the Temple. The Disciple’s initiation is the Baptism by Water to cleanse the consciousness. Edna Lister, Illumination and Realization, September 25, 1937.

Seven Degrees to transformation progress from self awareness to soul consciousness: The first three degrees, the Neophyte, Disciple, and Adept all practice varying degrees of self-control. The Mystic stands at the center point of balance, the fulcrum between self and soul. As a Mystic, you commune directly with God, needing no other intervening agency, creed or dogma. The final three degrees, the Master, Priest and Christos all deal with soul conquering through absolute responsibility, service and surrender of the self to the soul. You work on all seven degrees always.—Edna Lister, April 13, 1945.

A Disciple is one who is studying to become law. When you have become law, your choice and expression of law are perfect.—Edna Lister, July 9, 1945.

The Disciple is learning to control his tongue and to manage his emotional life; therefore, he usually expresses his bitterness and rebellion in negative thoughts and retorts that react upon him as a depletion of vitality.—Edna Lister, Seven Churches of Revelation, October 11, 1946.

The Disciple vows include surrender of idle words, thinking and feelings to the Father.—Edna Lister, October 15, 1946.

As a Neophyte, you hear about and think about ascension of the body. The Disciple talks about it and tries it, hit or miss. All demonstration, which is finally doing it, comes under the Adept Degree. Edna Lister, October 2, 1950.

The Seven Degrees of Ascension, on which you are climbing, include the Neophyte, Disciple, Adept, Mystic, Master, Priest and Christos. You can enter the major Seven Degrees only through seven lesser degrees under each. An illiterate Neophyte can be living a Christos life. Thus, you pass through 49 Degrees from Neophyte to reach Christos, just as earning a doctorate requires having passed all the lesser courses of study.—Edna Lister, June 14, 1951.

When you assume a new position, you are a Neophyte. They give you on-the-job training to show you how to do it, and you become a Disciple. When you have learned how and can perform on your own, you are an Adept. These three degrees are under the law of self control.—Edna Lister, The Practice of Breathing, July 31, 1951.

A Disciple is a student who is dedicated to a cause or an idea mentally. As a Disciple, you must feel the teacher you choose is inspired. The Disciple often talks about ideas without doing anything about those ideas. They also listen to idle words of judgment, criticism and resentments without speaking to correct the record.—Edna Lister, March 4, 1958.

Baptism by Water is the Disciple’s initiation, which is usually a process but can be an instantaneous act, if you love enough. The Disciple conquers his emotional life as Spirit is poured out as the waters of the River of Life. Water represents the emotional life, and walking on water symbolizes conquering the emotions. The Disciple governs the splenic center, which rules the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas and the hypogastric plexus. The splenic center controls emotions and physical/emotional appetites and insecurities, rooted in selfishness and possessiveness.
  As a Disciple, you begin to draw in the five physical senses and sublimate them and the faculties into apperception. The Disciple learns mental balance by crucifying self-will. The second law of expression is to lift self-will to a state of calm under trial. The requirement for the degree is illumination while standing before the radiance shining through the curtains in the Temple of the Sun, and represents the second veil of illusion.—Edna Lister, The Pioneering Mystic, May 5, 1959.

The Neophyte, Disciple and Adept degrees deal with the principle of doing or right application of the laws you have learned. As a seeker after truth, when you find that a teacher has taught you all he knows, leave him behind and enter another class. Every bit of happiness you had there propels you to step into all beauty and become radiant.—Edna Lister, Transfiguration, Resurrection and Ascension, May 19, 1959.

Baptism by Water: The Disciple stabilizes emotions (symbolically water) into the Christ-life by surrendering emotional jags and reactions. Emotional reactions include opinions, prejudice, resentment, blame, guilt and old, worn-out memories. The Disciple’s Power of Being is command of all inner powers of growth, and the principles of expansion and contraction. Expansion and growth govern acceptance and surrender. Contraction and repudiation rule condensation and crystallization.
  To earn command of your inner powers you stabilize your emotions until healing Power moves through to raise or lower your rate of vibration. If you work for self-mastery, you already have self-control. The Disciple gladly says, "I arise and go into my Father’s house." Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."—Matthew 16:24.—Edna Lister, Eight Great Powers of Being, June 23, 1959.

You use at least five levels of consciousness: unconscious belief, conscious belief, soul knowing, comprehension and illumination. I AM is the illumination of the Holy Spirit. You must surrender your self to be used by the Power of God. Declare, "I AM good, I AM obedient. I AM good, I AM beginning to see. I AM good, I now comprehend I AM THAT I AM." That means "the person, thing, or idea indicated, mentioned, or understood from the situation." THAT is God’s name. Desire and will mate to become soul illumination and intuition. To declare, "I AM good," will call on you a new living soul as great as your original endowment in Power, might and majesty.
  Give up self. When you go before the altar, you cannot be a "yes man" for earth, but for God. Sit in silence raising your hands above the waist line, shoulder-height or higher before you draw in earth’s magnetic currents. Inhale and pull the abdominal muscles in to draw the magnetic currents to the solar plexus. "I AM good" is the open sesame. Say, "You are good" to everyone you know on earth to release the Power on them. This is the key to life and death. God will increase the Power to help you hold your discipleship. Be joyous for on the wings of joy all things are added.—Edna Lister, June 25, 1959.

As a Disciple, you reconcile your life by "seeking first the kingdom of heaven" so all things may be added. You learn to love your enemies, and to agree and adjust, surrender self and eliminate inner conflicts. Under Baptism by Water, the Spirit of God descends with a new robe for your soul. The initiation is pureness and integrity of heart, mind and purpose. Integrity is a virtue, representing an absolute law, and means "honor above all things." You must crucify self-will and self-choice for desire (emotions), thinking and imagination. You can go wrong only on these.—Edna Lister, How Do I Wait Upon the Lord? June 28, 1960.

The Disciple talks about it and follows after it.—Edna Lister, Heaven, a Place to Fill, April 10, 1962.

Real discipleship is not that you choose to follow Christ, but he chooses you. You belong to Jesus Christ because he has chosen you. If you choose him as an insurance policy, for salvation here and after death, you never know the glory of surrendering to his authority, your purpose in life. He who chooses Jesus often does so to resolve confusion. As some grow older, they worry about death, and choose Jesus, hoping he can help them. Some choose Jesus for ethical, sentimental or moral reasons. The only discipleship that has lasting power is to know Jesus chose you and to surrender completely to his authority. He may stop giving you what you think you need and in his wisdom give you what you really need. If you acknowledge Jesus’ authority, your discipleship is permanent.—Edna Lister, August 4, 1963.

By age seven the soul has matured into a separate individual, and begins to breathe its own soul substance with its own name and number. By age fourteen, he enters adulthood and begins to ascend in consciousness or show tendencies to regress as he learns to agree and adjust to life. This is the stage of the Disciple. The young are always following some authority, whether parents, teachers or the head of their clique.
  When the rational soul has permeated the body, it begins to awaken the sacrum plexus nerve ganglia, and desires begin to stir the creative fire. Every time the child breathes deeply, a shot of Power descends to the sacrum and arises, finally touching the cortex, pituitary and pineal. This releases the rational soul substance to fill the body. When the embodied soul touches the brain’s cortex, the Father bestows a part of its living soul.—Edna Lister, Seven Stages of Unfolding From Concentration to Comprehension, December 3, 1963.

The Disciple’s last holdout to self is in controlling self and others. Here you learn that if you use self control, you are using Power. You must learn to conquer instead, then the Power is using you. Thus, as a Disciple, you surrender self.—Edna Lister, February 5, 1966.

When you accept and obey law, you qualify for further initiation and enter the Disciple degree. This does not mean you have finished the Neophyte degree. You can delay your soul’s progress by regressing repeatedly to learn. You must accept illness or delay in your projects as "make up work," attending "summer school" because you misused God’s time. The Disciple sits in the "hear about it" stage, the wavering period, Followers must "see to believe." Today you accept and obey, but tomorrow you may refuse and regress. Once you begin these ascension degrees, God puts a platform under you. You can punch holes in it, but it remains. As a Disciple, you begin self-mastery and learn discretion. You still want to show off in the "show me" stage.
  The Disciple is the stage of making everyone over "in my image and likeness." Here you must conquer emotions because you cannot earn this degree or enter heavenly realms on self control. "I’m trying" is the most often used vocabulary until you finally choose. Say, "Peace! Be still" to your emotions.—Edna Lister, Eight Great Powers of Being, October 25, 1966.

The Disciple enters the pyramid’s first ascending passage (the Hall of Truth in Darkness), and begins his ascent in consciousness. The Disciple’s vow is complete obedience to God in all ways, which begins with perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments on the physical level. The Disciple knows that he is on the right track, but illumination and comprehension may not yet come. Still, desire and will are ascending to God, and the Disciple keeps this goal in mind.—Edna Lister, Religion from the Pyramids to the Modern Western World, October 22, 1968.

The Disciple who is judged as able to control his tongue and think before speaking passes to a higher degree.—Edna Lister, Greek Philosophers and Mystics: Pythagoras to Plotinus, November 26, 1968.

The first gate of illusion is the sacrum plexus, which opens when your desire is to be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. Purified desire pushes aside the veil of illusion and you become a Disciple. The Disciple encourages others and does not return to God alone.—Edna Lister, June 17, 1969.

A disciple does something about his faith and begins to live it. The Disciple decides to follow law, and conquers emotion during the Baptism by Water.—Edna Lister, The Fiery Furnace, March 19, 1970.

A disciple is a disciplined person. The disciple finds then follows the teacher he has chosen, but still lives life by the fate line, not yet by his destiny. He is still seeking his full identity with God.—Edna Lister, The First Full Descent of the Oversoul, June 8, 1971.

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Elisha, a Perfect Disciple

And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
  And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
  And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
  And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; and he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? And when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.—2 Kings 2:1-15.

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of disciple: Latin discipulus, pupil, from discere, to learn; from discipere to grasp intellectually, analyze thoroughly, from dis‑ apart + capere take. Greek mathētḗs (from math-, the mental effort needed to think something through)—properly, a learner; a disciple.

The Disciple is the second of the Seven Degrees of Ascension.

Smyrna: The Disciple’s Church

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; he that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.—Revelation 2:8-11


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Webster, Noah. Webster’s American Dictionary. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

Related Topics

Baptism by Water




This Is My Father’s World: Linda Mihalic sermon transcript; August 10, 2014.