This teaching is essentially a revelation of the Risen Christ. I am not speaking of the life of any man between his physical birth and death, but of the Christ who has risen in me and who rises in all. I have no mental image of a being outside of my life, or yours.
Paul tells us: “You have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, you will appear with him in glory.” (Col. 3:3,4) Here we see Paul equating your life with Christ. You are alive now, so what does Paul mean when he claims you have died? All of Paul’s letters equate death with a sleep so profound the past is forgotten. It is from the sleep of death he urges you to roust yourself from saying: “Awake O sleeper and rise from the dead.”
The one and only Christ is your life. Now asleep in humanity, this power believes itself to be you. And when it awakens and rises in you, it is you who rise as Christ. God’s power and wisdom is sleeping in you as your own life. God is love! When God died he gave you, his sons, your inheritance. It was not a home or some fabulous land, but the power of his love! The power to create every desire of your heart.
Let me start with a point, which has confused some. A gentleman wrote: “You say others have bodies and lives of their own, but their reality is rooted in you as your reality is rooted in God. I have a desire that involves others, yet I have the feeling that they do not want to be a part of it. Although you say I should not concern myself with influencing others, as the world – rooted in me – will play the part they must play if I am faithful to my objectives; but what right have I to influence others?
“Believing that imagining creates reality and that there is no fiction, I start with a premise that has not one thing in the outer world to support it; but in the midst of my project I turn aside, for I cannot influence these men. I now wonder if perhaps this is also their hidden desire and they do not want me in it. You say when I am lovingly exercising my imagination on behalf of another, I am mediating God to that other. I know that what I imagine will benefit all; yet because of my doubt as to their desire to be involved, should I continue to do it?”
I would say to him, just take the objective. Perhaps because of their talents you have singled them out as partners, but if they moved away would you still have the desire? If so, then they are not essential. If you put yourself in the end by rejoicing in the objective’s fulfillment, those who are equally talented – and maybe more so – will come seeking you; for remaining in the end, you will draw the necessary individuals to play the part they must play to aid the birth of what you are doing.
Now, you questioned if all things worked for good. The 8th chapter of Romans tells us that it does. This truth is dramatized for us in the 50th chapter of the Book of Genesis. It is the story of Joseph, one of the twelve Sons of Jacob. Joseph had the capacity to dream vividly. His visions were true and he could interpret them. His brothers, becoming envious, plotted to kill him; but Judah interceded, urging them to sell him instead.
Joseph was sold as a slave, and when no one could interpret Pharaoh’s dreams Joseph was brought before him. He interpreted the dreams so accurately, Pharaoh made him equal with himself, and whatever Joseph said was instantly executed. He foretold of the famine that was to come; and when his brothers came seeking food Joseph – now sitting on the throne – recognized them, and said: “Fear not, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” So everything works for good when there is time to reflect upon the act.
I could go back to my own small family. There came a moment in our life when it seemed as though the world had come to its end. My father’s partners, desiring to take control of the little equity he had in the business, succeeded and our world collapsed. We had nothing and even our friends made themselves scarce.
But what appeared to be an evil thing turned out to be a blessing, for by detaching ourselves from this partnership – which was small in the sense that they couldn’t think big – my father started on his own with sons who could imagine. The family has now turned our business into a large enterprise of many kinds of businesses with no outside partnerships, dwarfing anything we thought possible forty years ago when it happened. It has taken time and reflection, but now we can see that – although my father’s partners intended evil against him – God meant it for good.
Now, a friend had a dream in which he received a letter with his son’s report card inside, indicating that he must show a decided improvement in four subjects, one of which was algebra. Since his son has always been tops in math, he was annoyed and instantly revised the report card. Suddenly angry with himself he said: “I am tired of the responsibility of this power and life’s many needs of revision. My son is a big boy now, let him do it for himself,” and awoke.
Peter asked the question: “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him, seven times?” and the Lord answered: “I did not say seven, but seventy times seven.” This does not mean four hundred and ninety times. Seventy is the numerical value of the Hebrew letter ayin, whose symbol is an eye. Seven is the numerical value of the Hebrew letter zayin, whose symbol is a sword.
Here we are being told to imagine until the eye is fixed as though nailed with a sword. It may happen the first time or it may take a thousand times to persuade yourself that things are as you desire them to be, and not as they appear to be. But, to the degree that you are self-persuaded that you have done it in your imagination, will the outer world reflect its harmony.
William James, a professor of psychology at Harvard, is one of our great educators. He said: “The greatest revelation in my generation is the discovery that human beings, by a change of inner attitude can produce outer changes in harmony with their inner convictions.”
That’s in the Bible. In the Book of Genesis we are shown in story form how inner attitudes produce outer states. Knowing the time when the animals would be ready for the act of creation and the watering hole to which they would come, Jacob made a bargain with his father-in-law that – although all of the animals were either black or brown, should any offspring be striped or spotted they would be his.
Believing man becomes what he beholds, and that the same would apply to the animal world, Jacob stripped the poplar trees so that only stripes appeared. Then he brought only the healthy animals to the watering hole, leaving all of the weak ones to breed – the brown with the brown and the black with the black. When the females came to the watering holes and were sired, they saw only stripes and producing what they beheld, their offsprings were striped.
So this lesson was given us in the beginning. Whatever you are beholding in your mind’s eye, you will produce in your outer world. It is just as simple as that. I hope you are beholding your fulfilled desire in your mind’s eye; for scripture tells you that: “Whatever you desire, believe you have received it and you will.” This is telling you that, to the degree you are self-persuaded, you will become what you have assumed you are.
In the case of my friend, his dream was telling him to continue to revise and not to be afraid of the responsibility of his tremendous power to imagine; for life itself is nothing more than an activity of imagination. When I speak of Christ being your life, I am saying he is your imagination, for life is an activity of imagination. Ask yourself what you are imagining right now and you will discover what Christ has created. For by him all things are created, and without him is not a thing created that is created.
Everything now formed and called a fact was once only an image in the mind of someone who persisted in that image and projected it onto the screen of space. So do not give up the responsibility of revision, and – as to influencing others – may I say you cannot help it. As you walk the street you unwittingly influence people there. You simply cannot stop it.
Another point I want to bring up is this: The prophets who wrote the Old Testament were servants of the Lord. They recorded what they saw or heard, but they did not understand it. Every true prophet’s vision is foreshortened. Seeing as present what is future: “The prophets prophesied of the grace that was to be yours. They searched and inquired as to what person or time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory. It was revealed to them that they were serving, not themselves but you, in the things that are now being revealed.”
Some of you are having wonderful visions and attempting to interpret them in this world. I urge you not to, as you will go astray when you try to determine an individual’s departure – for no one knows the hour, day, or season. Only the Father knows and it remains his secret. It does not make any difference how perfect the vision, it was foreshortened. You saw it as taking place now. It may happen today or tomorrow, but you cannot foresee it. You saw the vision. Being a true prophet, record your visions in detail but do not attempt to interpret them.
That brings me to another point which has puzzled my friend. When I speak of God, or Lord, Jesus, or Christ, I am speaking of the human imagination. When asked to name the greatest of all commandments, he did not name one of the ten, but Israel’s confession of faith saying: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” The word “Lord” is JOD HE VAV HE [pron. “YOD HEY VAV HEY”] meaning “I am”. The word “God” is “Elohim” [pron. “e-lo-HEEM”] which is a compound unity of one made up of many. In the 44th chapter of Ezekiel the Lord God said: “They shall have no inheritance; I AM their inheritance. Give them no possession; I AM their possession.” Study this passage carefully and you will discover that instead of God inheriting us, we inherit God.
Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friend. Not pretending, but voluntarily abandoning self for those he loved, God died that we may inherit him. What is He that we inherit?
He has told us “I AM the light of the world.” One day you will inherit the experience of being the light of the universe. There will be no stars, no sun, no moon, no circumference – only infinite, pulsing, living light, which you know yourself to be. You will inherit God as infinite love. Whatever God was before he became individualized, you will experience as yourself.
God was a father before he became you and when he possesses you, you are the identical father. The 2nd Psalm reveals the son that was his before he became you. But no one knows who that son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except that son and anyone to whom the son chooses to reveal him.
One day that son will choose to reveal you and you will see – not a David, but the David of Biblical fame. And there will be no uncertainty as to the relationship between you and God’s son, David. When he calls you father, you will know that you are God.
When you inherit God, you inherit his infinite past, and from that moment on you will see scripture differently. You will recognize the events in the life of Jesus as signs of the initiative of God in man’s redemption. You will understand how God gives himself to man.
John records eight signs of the initiative of God in Man’s redemption. Many scholars have put the first and the last together, the second and the seventh, the third and the sixth and the fourth with the fifth, making four major signs. When these signs begin to unfold in you, count the days and you will discover there are 1260 days between the first vision and the last, as you inherit God.
You are not some little thing that God animates, gives life to, and owns. God gave himself to you in the ultimate sense of the word, so you shall have no inheritance, for I AM your inheritance. You shall have no possession in Israel, for I AM your possession. If you possess God, whatever He is, you must be!
I have just quoted the 44th chapter of Ezekiel. Read it carefully. Become aware of possessing God, and you will no longer be the little pygmy you were taught that you are. Don’t react to the nonsense you read in the papers. They record the happenings of the surface mind. What happens to a man between the cradle and the grave should not interest you. Whether he is a cook or a millionaire, the best-dressed man (or woman) of the year, or the most highly publicized – that’s all relevant to this would and hasn’t a thing to do with the Christ in you, who – as your life – will awaken one day and rise.
When Christ awoke in me I was so amazed, as I did not realize I had been asleep. Every morning I had awakened to a new day and retired that night, just as you have done throughout the ages. From the cradle to the grave you have fallen asleep at night and awakened in the morning. In time you have died, only to be restored to life to continue the same long journey. But one day you will awaken in the tomb where awareness was placed in the beginning. To your amazement you won’t even remember falling asleep, and never for one second thought your skull was the tomb where they placed Jesus Christ.
But upon waking your inheritance will unfold, as everything said of Jesus Christ will be experienced by you in a first person, singular, present tense experience. You will discover you are the central actor in the divine drama of descent and ascent, for no one can ascend but he who descended.
Only Christ descended, so when you ascend you must be Christ. This is the hope that makes it wisdom to endure the suffering of this long dark night of time. Dwell upon that hope which is the grace that is coming to you at the unveiling of Christ in you, as you! There never was another and there never will be another, for Christ is your life!
Read the 3rd chapter, the 3rd and 4th verses of Colossians carefully. You have died and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, you also shall appear with him in glory, because you are Christ! His appearance is his rising and awakening in you. His birth becomes your birth. The discovery of the fatherhood of God reveals you as the father, and the 44th chapter of Ezekiel is fulfilled. I AM your inheritance! I AM your possession!
Remember: everything you see, although it appears on the outside it is within you. You do not have to be concerned about influencing individuals if you make goals. If you want a great deal of money, see the money within you. Then claim it is yours!
Today a very rich man is getting a great deal of publicity because of his marriage. Born a poor boy in Turkey of Greek parents, he was taken to Argentina when he was sixteen, where he began to import tobacco, starting his business with sixty dollars. He has completely forgotten those days, and the one he would marry – because of ambition for greatness in name – would have you forget his lowly beginnings. Shakespeare had a word for it: “He denies the ladder by which he did ascend.” Starting with sixty dollars, this man began to dream and today he is a billionaire. I would not ask him how he stole it. So far he has gotten away with it and it is considered his, but anyone with a billion dollars must have stolen it. It doesn’t matter however, as all things work for good in the end.
It should not matter what a man does with his life between the cradle and the grave. The important thing is what is happening within the man. Has the life that animates that body been stirred? Is it beginning to rise in him? It must rise in order to inherit God, for only Christ inherits God. Christ is your life which must rise in you, and when he does you inherit God the Father.
Whether you play the part of a cook or a king, a carpenter or movie idol, is not important – for your external state means nothing. There are men who are now playing the part of a cook, carpenter, shoeshine boy, or barber, knowing they are redeemed, waiting patiently for that moment in time when they can take off the garment of flesh and blood for the last time. But only the Father knows that moment. Let no one speculate as to when it will happen. Record your visions, but do not interpret them. We are all past masters at misinterpretation of the great mission of God to us.
As for me, I have already risen. I am of the world, not in it. My dreams and experiences at night are not related to this world, so I play a double life. While I am here there is work to be done to continue to encourage everyone by telling the true story of redemption.
Take this wonderful story to heart. It is a true one. Christ is your life which is wholly supernatural. The birth is supernatural. The discovery of the Father is supernatural. The tearing of the temple from top to bottom and the ascent into the kingdom are supernatural, as well as the descent of the dove. No physical dove descends upon your shoulder – it is a supernatural experience, but this fantastic truth has been embodied in a tale that man could understand; for, as Tennyson said: “Truth embodied in a tale shall enter in at lowly doors.”
Remember what I have said. Forget influence! Take objectives. Conceive a scene which would imply the fulfillment of your desire and dream noble dreams, for nothing is impossible to Christ and Christ is your life!
Now let us go into the silence.