My subject this morning is taken from the First Epistle of John. Now these twenty-one letters (or as we call them, epistles) are not really addressed to individuals or groups. They are mysteries, as is the entire Bible. Whether the Bible in the Old Testament tells the story in the form of history, or whether they tell it in the form of a parable, or whether in the form of a letter, they are all revelations of the mind of God expressed in symbolism. Now, I do not claim that I can give you an exhaustive interpretation of any single story of the Bible. Because they are revelations of the mind of the Infinite, no single interpretation could ever be exhaustive. On one level it may be true, and then you and I expand in consciousness and we re-read the letter and see it differently, and a further expansion in consciousness causes us – even when we re-read it for the fiftieth time – to still see the letter in a different light. So in this morning’s interpretation I will try to keep it on a level that is most practical.
We are told in the First John, 5: “This is He that came by water and blood even Jesus Christ, not by water only, but by water and blood.” So these are symbols of birth. Every natural birth in the world is accompanied by the flowing of water and blood. It’s trying to tell the individual of a certain mystery of birth, but he uses the words Christ Jesus and that is the symbol of a truly mysterious birth – something out of nothing. That is the mystery. Out of death, life. Man cannot conceive it. How can something alive come out of that which is dead – how can something come out of nothing? Man accepts it in the mineral world, for he sees, if he goes back far enough in time (he could push the mystery in some remote past), he will accept the fact that sometime, in a way not known to modern science, out of non-organic substance came organism. He will call it by some little tiny name: an amoeba, and that will satisfy his mind. But he stops; he still will not admit that he stated that there was a non-organic substance, or nothing, or something that was dead, out of which came life, out of which came something. He doesn’t want to wrestle with that problem, so he leaves that, jumps over the pages of history, and comes to some little thing more complex. Then he teaches evolution from that state. But when he goes far enough back he finds no answer for the appearance of life out of nothing or death.
So here is the mystery. It comes by water and by blood – not by water only, but by water and blood. This is the great mystery of the incarnation, the death, and the resurrection. What incarnation? What death, and what resurrection? The mind instantly thinks in terms of 2,000 years ago and we think that was the great mystery. But before I jump into the mystery let me quote you the very last verse of this wonderful 5th chapter: “Little children keep yourselves from idols.” No matter how officialdom justifies them and tells you this is the image of your savior revealed through the minds of a saint or a great artist, you are warned in this chapter to keep yourselves free of idols, in harmony with the second commandment: “Thou shall make no graven image unto the Lord thy God.” No matter how it is justified by officialdom or orthodox society, you are asked please not to make anything external to your own mind and bow before it as creative power, for here he is trying to reveal the true creative power that is in man. It sleeps in man as his passive mind. As you unfold the mystery, it awakens from its passive state into its active state, and the birth of active mind is truly the resurrection of Christ in man. It is Christ in man. It is Christ in man that is the hope and the glory.
Now, here in another verse he gives you a test. He asks you to ask whatsoever thing in this world in my name, that the Father may give it you. He did not restrict you to one desire; ask whatsoever thing you desire in my name and the Father will give it to you. Now, if you take it literally, as I have heard thousands of prayers in my own homeÂ… Raised in a Christian atmosphere, we said grace at meals and Mother invariably said it, and invariably ended with the words: “For Jesus’ sake, amen” – but nothing happened. We ate the food and enjoyed the food. And you will say prayers, long verbal appeals to God for something, always ending: “For Jesus’ sake, amen,” thinking that if I said it was for his sake that I would [thus] tempt my Father to give it to me. For did he not say: “Whatsoever thing ye desire, ask it in my name, and the Father will give it to you”? Well, you ask it forever in that name, and nothing happens – therefore, he didn’t understand the mystery. So what is the mystery? Even Jesus Christ, who came not by water only, but by water and the blood.
We have put it into the most practical manner in the world – something out of nothing, life out of death. Conceive of something you desire. Just think of it. The mere thinking of something – that is a conception unaided by another. Is that not an “immaculate conception?” You knew no one in the formulation of your desire. Now you intend to “realize it.” It is clear in your mind’s eye; it is a holy conception, it is a virgin conception. Can you bring about that something that seemingly is not existing – it is non-existent, it has no existence in fact – and embody it? Can you incarnate it? For this is the mystery of the incarnation that comes by water and blood. Here is a birth that could take place if I am willing to give it human parentage. I must give it human parentage. It cannot of itself be born, for unless I myself become it, it cannot be born; so I desire to be something other than what I am.
Now what is the water? The water is the great mystery, the great psychological truth that I must discover which will enable me, if I accept it, to live a life according to that truth and give expression to my desire. For water is the truth and the blood is the application of that truth. I could know everything in the world to be known of the mystery, but never live by it – still continue to live as I have always lived, passively accepting the evidence of my senses as fact, accepting the dictates of reason as my guide. I could overhear a conversation or could read it in a book, or hear it in a place like this on Sunday morning. That if you desire something intensely and you truly desire it, and you have a clear mental picture of what you would like to be or what you would like to accomplish, or what you would like another friend to realize – you know exactly what you would like in this world. Now, this is the water by which it could be born. But it cannot be born of water only; it must be born of water and blood. So I will give you the water. When you know what you want, you make as vivid and as lifelike a representation of what you would see, of what you would hear, and what you would do, were you physically present and physically moving about in such a situation.
To take an example: Suppose I desired a certain apartment, or home, or business. (Take one, so you will not be confused. We will take an apartment.) But reason tells me I cannot afford it. Reason tells me I haven’t enough furniture for so big an apartment. Reason tells me a thousand things that would deny that I could ever realize it, but I still would like it. Now this is what I would give you in the form of water, for something must come out of nothing and life out of death. To embody that state I make it real. You pull it seemingly from a state that is non-existent, therefore something out of nothing. To make it real and to incarnate it and to become alive to it and it to you, you are pulling life out of death.
Now this is what you do. There is a death involved but it is not the kind of death that men call death. There is a death – there is a radical change of state of mind. You completely give up the belief that you are not living in such a place. That is irrational. But that is what you are called upon to do, to completely deny the evidence of your senses and to boldly assume that you are already in that state that you occupy. There you dwell in a state that reason denies. You dwell in an assumption that your senses deny. That is [not] just the water. If you do it, you are applying the blood. If you are told to do it you are given the truth, for it will work. That water, if you could only add the blood to it, will bring the invisible state into the visible world, and what seemingly is non-existent will crystallize and harden into fact. But if you only know it as too many of us know it, and think the mere knowledge is enough, we will come here on Sunday and thoroughly enjoy this wonderful hour – the music, the message, the meditation, the feeling of companionship you find here. And the whole thing is a thrill for an hour – but such knowledge cannot bring Christ Jesus to birth. In this state, Christ Jesus (now I’ll analyze it for you)… on a lower plane the word, “Jesus” (Heb. Jeshua) means “salvation, to save.”
So if I desire something and I don’t realize it, then I simply continue a life of frustration. If I realize my objective, I have been saved from frustration. Take a simple matter: Suppose I wanted a suit of clothes because I was in need of raiment. If I don’t realize the suit of clothes, I am not saved from my nudity. If I realize the suit of clothes, I have been saved. For this is an all- inclusive savior, not just a man. If I wanted water, literal water, a lecture will not quench my thirst. If I wanted food, literal food, the most wonderful revelation would not actually satisfy my hunger. So Jesus is all-inclusive, meaning everything you desire. He is it, because if you embodied that desire, you embodied your Jesus. Now, to embody Jesus, he cannot be embodied by the knowledge of what to do only. He can only be embodied by the application of that knowledge. So the knowledge of what to do is called water, the “water of truth”; but the use of that lovingly is called the flowing (shedding) of the blood.
So here we find the symbols that always accompany birth, that which is presented in this mystery. You are told the limit is within you. You make the limit; there is no limit. Whatsoever you desire, ask in my name, for name simply means nature. If I wanted to be in a house and to feel that I am the occupant of that house, there is a certain feeling, a certain nature that goes with it. I must appropriate it as though it were true. Here I am called upon to bring something alive out of a state that is dead. For if I told you what I have done, you would question my sanity and you would feel I am trying to give expression to something that is being pulled out of nothing. For you cannot see it -you don’t see me in the house, you don’t see me actually occupying and enjoying the life that you know I desire to enjoy. So if I persist in that assumption, to you (if you should know my persistence) you might think I am headed towards a form of insanity. But if tomorrow the house becomes an embodied fact and I the occupant, then you look at it passively and you will still try to justify it by tracing its appearance back to a visible cause. You will see that in some way, unknown to you, my resources were lifted up, that in some way I became more eligible for that house and you will trace it back to a change in my fortune. You will trace it back to a change in something in my world, but you won’t trace these changes back to the unseen assumption in which I dwell.
So, as the mystic tells us in Hebrews 11: “Things unseen were not made of things that do appear.” Man refuses to accept it, so he takes everything in his world and tries to take it back to some visible cause, even with the aid of his microscope. He takes the microscope and he will peer through it to prove to his own satisfaction there is a visible, tangible cause; or he goes off into space with his telescope. He must find in the outer world causes of the changes in the outer world. He cannot believe that the whole vast outer world is held together from within. And if we are only on the surface looking at it from without – trying to analyze it and to understand it from without and all that appears without – though it seems there, it isn’t. It is all from within, all within the mind of man, and that is the mystery!
So do not make an idol, no matter who makes you the idol, no matter what holy man tells you this is a wonderful thing that will bless you. There is no blessing in states on the outside. Bow to nothing on the outside. We have wondered why throughout the centuries a certain race of people did not become greater sculptors, greater artists in the form of painting, great religious teachers. Maybe they were really taking that second commandment very, very seriously. Make no graven image – no not one- unto me. Make nothing that is graven, that is objective, as image of your Father that is free, for I AM Spirit. If you were to worship me, worship me in spirit and in truth but not in anything that you can turn to on the outside and bend the knee before, whether it be a church, a synagogue, or some statue that hangs upon your wall. He is not there. He is in your mind. He is housed within you; there is the living God within the temple and the temple is man. “Ye are the temple of the living God.”
So when I speak of the water and the blood, I speak not of the things that you can see with the eye, such as water and blood. They are only symbolized functions of the mind and the function first comes with water. I must first know what to do before I can do it. So water comes first. He takes water and puts it into a stone jar gives it something like a shape, and from that stone jar filled with water, he draws – not water, but he converts it; he draws wine (blood).
So here is the first miracle. I know what to do. I take this little world of mine that is one, and then I extract from it something that is not seen. Not quite as hard as that – I call it water. I see something bringing all this into being. I know how it’s brought into being. That a man living in luxury is not to be judged harshly because he has it and you haven’t it. He is living in a state of consciousness that solidifies in the form that you see now and call luxurious. One in a state of health, one who is recognized, one who is accomplished, one who is contributing much to the world -don’t judge them. These are states made visible. Find out if you can. Get into a similar state. He is not occupying the only state in the world. There are infinite states and if you try even to duplicate that state (if it can be duplicated, or you can get close to it or you can transcend it) find out within your own mind’s eye what you want. Don’t be envious of him. Leave him alone for he is applying the law. He is entitled to everything in this world that he can actually conceive and desire and put himself into and live it, for man is living in an infinite world of invisible states and an individual wisely or foolishly occupies a state. While he remains faithful to the state, the state will externalize and become the circumstances and the conditions of his life. The moment he detaches himself in consciousness from that state, the things that he enjoyed before vanish from his world.
Now, if everything in my world depends upon a state of consciousness, it would be the height of insanity to seek the thing before I actually fix within myself the state on which the thing depends, for that which requires a state of consciousness to produce its effect cannot be effected without such a state of consciousness. So when I know what I want, to support that there is an invisible state of consciousness. The world calls that invisible state a non-existing nothingness. They cannot even call it a thing, for to them it has no existence, no reality. That is the mystery: a self-begotten child conceived unaided by another and carried faithfully in the womb of God – which is the mind of man. It was placed there without the aid of another, by man’s desire. That was the immaculate conception; that’s the virgin conception.
Now, the virgin birth – can I bring it from its invisible state and really make it a tangible fact within my world? Try it! As you try it with one thing and you succeed, you will try it with two and four and eight and so on, and eventually the sleeping giant in man – which is the Son of God in man called Christ – will awaken. He will awaken by moving from the passive state to the active state. The passive state is simply the complete and utter surrender of man to appearances, to live believing that life is on the outside, and he moves from that state where he surrenders and believes all these things to be causes to the active state, where he puts everything in subjection to that something within himself which is his awakened imagination. He imagines a thing to be so; he persuades himself that it is so and walks faithful to his assumption.
Then you will know why in Romans 14 he tells us that every man be fully persuaded in his own mind (don’t persuade her, leave her alone). You persuade yourself of the changes you desire expressed in her. If you desire a change in your relationships at home or in business, you don’t argue, you don’t persuade them. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. So can I persuade myself that you are as I desire to see you? Then, to the degree that I can persuade myself, you will conform in the outer world to that persuasion. If I hope to see changes there before I myself will start the change on the inside, the chances are I will hope in vain. You, yourself, may desire certain changes and I might see them change in my world, but they were not caused because I moved into an active state. I am still reflective, and most of us in this world are reflecting life; and the purpose of a church of this nature is to make us not reflect but to affect life. If I affect, then Christ is awakened within me. If I only reflect it, then I sleep with Adam, and the purpose is to move from the sleep of Adam to the wakefulness of the Son of God called Christ. Adam too, is called the son of God but in the state of profound sleep. But he moves from that state of sleep – or the passive state of mind – to the active state, will be no nearer the proving of it than you are now. But if you took a little bit, one drop of this water, and went out even to disprove it – in order to disprove it, you must seriously and sincerely try it. If you try it, you won’t disprove it. You will be encouraged to drink more water and still more and bring about this birth of your savior, and you decide what will save you today from your present predicament. It may be a job, it may be an increase of funds, it may be companionship, it may be something I don’t know – but whatever it is that you this day desire (and unless you get it you feel thwarted, you feel frustrated), then it would save you if you got it. Now take that as your savior. Look into your mind’s eye and see it clearly. It may seem almost sacrilegious to the orthodox mind to tell you that when you see clearly in your mind’s eye the state desired – either for self or another – you are actually looking into the face of Jesus, for you are seeing the state that could save you from where you are or what you are.
So you try it and the mind will expand. You will find yourself not only increasing in this world, in the outer world, but you will find mystical revelations taking place within you, which is the purpose of the teaching. It is not just to bring about changes in the inner that man ascends on higher levels of consciousness. The purpose of the whole appearance is to awaken from the lowest descent on the ladder to the highest. He is ascending to the highest, for we are told in the vision of Jacob: above it all stood God – on the ladder stood these heavenly beings ascending and descending – but above all stood God. So the real destiny of man is to reach the height that he may awaken as God.
So the mystery is: God became man that man may become God. He came down as man. Take the same verse and give it a higher interpretation. So here God died – yes, died – to become man. The death of God is complete forgetfulness of the fact that he is God. He had to completely forget that he is God, therefore died to awaken as man. If he remembered he was God, he just couldn’t be as man, but a complete and utter death, which is forgetfulness that I am God to become man. So the poet wrote it beautifully and said: “God became man that man may become God.” He said: “Unless I die you could not live, but if I die I shall arise again and you with me.” Then he goes on to ask a man: “Could you love one who had never died for thee or could you die for one who had not died for thee,” and so he is putting this into the most wonderful poetical mystery in the book, “Jerusalem” by Blake.
He reveals to the mind who can see it, that you who believe yourself because you are visible, and you must do what man passively must do – he traces your origin back to a germ. As long as you began as a germ, you are no more than a big germ. If you begin as something else, you are only something enlarged of the same thing. For all ends run true to origins. If I can take you back where you cannot see it, and take you back to the great mystery that you are actually begotten of God – if your origin is God, your end is God. If your origin is a bug then your end is a bug. So you have the “choice.” The passive mind (which is really the scientific mind) must still insist on finding causes external to itself. It cannot find causes in that passive state within itself.
I tell you: the great mystery is that you came out of a seeming death. It is a death. God died to become man, because he desired the companionship of men as Gods, as the poet told us:
Man should not stay a man.
His aim should higher be.
For God will only Gods accept as company.
So you cannot in your present state of the passive mind be companions of your Father, who longs and desires that every son, every child, awakens to become companions of Deity. So to do it, he had to die as God, and became his creation in the hope that the creation would awaken and become his companion.
But you see he gave us such a gift. He completely freed me of the responsibility of returning. I don’t have to awaken; I am as free as the wind. He gave me complete freedom of will. I may hurt myself, ruin myself, but because of the gift of God to me, to make me alive, he cannot interfere and make me awake. He may appeal through awakened children and they may appeal to their sleeping brother, but they cannot by the same law interfere and make me awake. They can only appeal and try in some subtle way to suggest, but the gift was absolute. God gave himself to become me, finding myself, man. I think my origin was man, so my destiny – no matter how big a man I become, no matter how wise a man – it will still be a man. But if my origin is God my destiny is God, and I will awaken one day to discover this wonderful unfolding mystery within me.