“My word that goes forth from my mouth shall not return to me empty, but shall accomplish that which I purpose and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55) This is the same word recorded in the Book of John as: “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. The word became flesh and dwells in us.” (John 1) The Revised Standard Version of the Bible has mistranslated the preposition “in” to read “among” as the word, becoming flesh, dwells in us. Notice John used the plural “us”, for it was not a person the word assumed, but the nature of being a person. The word assumed human nature, to become the mold upon which the pattern is molded.
In the beginning the word was with God and was God. The Greek word “logos” (translated “word”) means “pattern, that which gives meaning, a plan.” In the beginning there was a plan called Jesus Christ. He is the pattern man, who took upon himself human nature to become the mold upon which our nature is being formed. The word did not become an individual called John, Neville, Peter, or Grace – but human nature, so that when his work is finished in an individual, he will say: “I am He.”
This is the story of indentured labor, a contract which binds one person to work for another for a given period of time, like an apprentice. In the West Indies, Trinidad, and British Guiana some hundred years ago, they had indentured labor. For fourteen years, the Indians were slaves; then they were given some acreage, a home, and set free to compete with those who had enslaved them. Scripture speaks of indentured labor as: “The Lord God said to Abram, ‘Your descendants will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs. They will be slaves and oppressed for four hundred years. Afterward, they will come out with great possessions.”‘ Here is a fixed period of time, and slavery will not go beyond this point. Four hundred is the numerical value of taf, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, whose symbol is a cross. Human nature bears this cross for four hundred years. Then the word unfolds itself and human nature is redeemed. Redemption means to redeem an article which was put in pledge by repayment of the loan for which it was given. So we see that: “The creature was made subject until futility; not willingly, but by the will of him who subjected him in hope that we will obtain the glorious liberty of the sons of God.” (Romans 8)
Now, you and I can believe, yet have no consciousness as to why we are here. We are living, animating bodies – but not life-giving spirits. Desiring this knowledge, we were subjected to and sent into slavery for a definite period. There is no other way to be redeemed, so God became us. He is playing the part of you, regardless of what your name is here. We are all God’s word, moving towards a definite end. My word, which is my very self, shall not return to me void. It must accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I send it. And when my word returns, I will discover I am the word which was sent forth, making me – a son of God – equal to God. If the word as God dwells in you and unfolds in you, are you not one with God upon your return?
Ecclesiastes tells us: “He has made everything perfect in its day and he has put eternity into the mind of man, yet so that man cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” In Hebrew thought, eternity consists of all of the generations of men and their experiences fused into one grand whole. The concentrated time into which the whole is placed, and from which all the generations spring, is called David. That is what is put into the mind. The word “olam” (translated “eternity”) means “a youth; a stripling, a young man.” You will notice that all of these terms are used to describe David. Whose youth is that? Inquire whose son the stripling is. Who are you, young man? These are questions asked by Saul, Israel’s first king, made by human choice from outward observation. Saul was rejected by the Lord. Seeing only the heart, God chose David, claiming he is “A man after my own heart who does all of my will.” So David is Israel’s first king by divine choice, while Saul was the first king by human choice.
After you have gone through all of the generations of men, you will be confronted by a youth, the personification of eternity, which you bring forth as the result of your journey into death. And no one is going to fail; for – as God’s word – you cannot return to him void, but must accomplish what you purposed, and prosper in the thing for which you were sent. At your journey’s end, you will find David, who will cry unto you: “Thou art my Father, my God and the Rock of my salvation.” Here is God’s anointed one, the first born of every creature. As the word possesses you, human nature is put off, and you become the mold upon which divine nature is fashioned and ultimately born. And when the work is completed, the word unveils itself, and David – the result of your frightful pain – calls you “Father”.
With all of the confusion in the atmosphere about racial conflict, my friend Bennie recently shared a vision with me. In his experience, six neighbors (all black) were running toward him carrying knives. Their bodies were lacerated, but healed, and their arms all scarred. Stopping one person, Bennie said: “Don’t you know this is wrong? That violence is stupid? That it is evil?” For one moment the man hesitated and then shook his head and said: “Even if I wanted to, I could not stop it.” This world is a stage upon which man is under compulsion to play his part. How are you going to stop a play and change it because you do not like the part you are presently playing? Because you do not like violence, are you going to stop murder and change the play? Hamlet is murdered every night that the play goes on, and when the curtain goes down he is taken off the stage. Murder is part of the play, already written and unalterable. You can, however, change your way of life within the framework of the play, by the same principle that animates the world.
Now, the word did not inhabit and assume itself to be a particular man, but dwells in us; therefore, you do not have to assume your name is Rockefeller to feel wealthy, but rather you simply assume the nature of wealth.
In the Book of John this question is asked: “What do you want to see, a man shaken by the winds?” Are you looking for a man to bow to? A man to feel inferior to? I have met men I respect, but I do not consider any of them my superior. I respect Einstein’s great mind, but if I stood in his presence, I would not consider him greater than I.
Today I went to the dictionary and looked up the word “person.” It said the word was used in this sense: “In my station in life, I could never know a person of the trade, socially.” Strangely enough, I had that experience at a cocktail party one night. The lady who gave the party apologized profusely for inviting a man and his wife who owned a very successful haberdashery on Madison Avenue. This lady did not earn her money. She had received her wealth from a divorce settlement. But because she was a member of all the exclusive clubs in the city of New York, she felt she was above the couple who earned their living – thereby expressing the dictionary’s definition of the word “person.”
Certainly there are other definitions for the word “person.” The first and final definition is “actor; a mask for one who plays a part.” Here is a part a person is playing. This lady could not see the part, for – feeling detached – she saw the person. Even today, with all of her missions, she still cannot separate the person from the part he plays.
But God, being protean, is playing every part. When Bennie saw the violence, he was looking at his past, trying to tell the truth to those who would listen. Momentarily arresting the attention of one cast in the role of violence, he realized that even if he wanted to stop it, he couldn’t. Being cast in a role, you must play it through to the very end. Then David will come out, bearing witness to the will of God – who entered and completed the drama in order to bring out Sons with life in them. It takes this horrible drama to transform an animated soul into a life-giving spirit. We are taught to believe that if we do certain things we will change the play, but this is not true. “Those whom he foreknew, he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. And those whom he predestined, he called, and those whom he called, he justified, and those he justified, he also glorified.” Here is a play of five terms, beginning with foreknowledge and ending in glorification.
If at the present time you are financially behind the eight-ball, assume the nature of wealth until you embody it. You must forget a person called Jesus, and think of him as God’s word, which became flesh and dwells in you. He never assumed a person, but man’s nature.
In the state of Abraham, Imagination took upon himself the element of human nature before he took on a personality. Finding himself in human form, the word molds human nature upon himself until humanity becomes the very image of God. And on that day, he who began the good work in you will unveil himself, and you will know that you are God. Having written the play with all of its horrors, God plays all the parts. One day every son will know he is the author of the play. On that day his creative power and wisdom will be enhanced beyond his wildest dreams, because – as life itself – the word assumed the state of death and conquered it.
Now, a lady recently shared a perfectly marvelous experience with me, saying: “I saw myself come out of myself as an old woman, holding a child in her arms. Although I saw her as another, I knew her as myself.” This is a perfect vision of the 18th chapter of Genesis. Sarah was an old woman. It had long since ceased to be with her after the manner of women, yet she brought forth the promised child. In this chapter God speaks to Abraham, and as he tells him of the promise, it turns from the first into the third person. It is said that Sarah laughed because she and Abraham were old. At the time she did not recognize the Lord; but when the one speaking of him in the third person says: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Sarah recognized him and doubted no more. This lady had the vision of Sarah, and will now have the experience of Mary and bear the promised child. That same night, as she closed her eyes, she saw a huge ear, a hammer, and a spike. As she watched, invisible hands drove the spike through the ear. Although she knew the ear was hers, it did not hurt. By that act, this lady fulfilled the 40th chapter of the Book of Psalms, for if you read the footnote you will see that ears will be bored for you. This is done for you to hear the word, coming uninterrupted from within.
Everyone will awaken, regardless of the violence which appears in the world. We have it in our city today, but I say: “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” Just as the man said to Bennie: “Even if I wanted to, I could not stop it.” If the part you agree to play calls for violence, you will do it, for having agreed to be cast in the role, you must play the part to the finish. Within your sphere, however, you can take on the nature of anything and express it, for you are the world! Take on the nature of health, and health will take on the tones of flesh. Find the feeling of wealth, and you have caught its nature. You don’t have to feel you are a specific individual who is wealthy, healthy, or famous, in order to personify it. God did not assume individuality, but the nature of humanity. He dwells in you, for the word became flesh and dwells in us all.
I am telling you what I know from experience. Believe my words. Dwell upon their meaning and you will awaken from within as God’s word unveils itself in you. You will find the essence of your journey through these four hundred years and redeem yourself. You see, the one who put you into bondage has to redeem you, and the only way he can do it is to give you himself. Life is in the blood. He must redeem you with his life-blood. As your body of belief is split from top to bottom, you will see God’s blood as living, liquid gold. Fusing with it, you become his blood and return to the Holy of Holies as the one who made the supreme sacrifice. You must be redeemed, for he who redeems you pledged himself and must regain his pledge. You were sent into the world, not willingly, but so that you could become as he is. The only way he could do this was to give you his life-blood. While in the world, you are aware of generation and division. But when you become aware of being one with His blood, you move up into regeneration and unity, into the one Being who fell.
Remember, you are the word making this world real, and – although you are totally unaware of it – the Pattern Man is being molded upon your nature. He who began the good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ. On that day you will know that you are God. In the meanwhile, imitate God. Name your desire and feel its nature. And when it becomes flesh, don’t forget how it came into being. Don’t give credence to the means, but remember the nature that produced the desire, for this world is a play, and a play it will remain until God’s word redeems himself in all.
Now let us go into the silence.