As you know, and I think you do, the Bible is a mystery. A mystery to be known only by revelation. As I told you in the past, a mystery is not a matter to be kept secret but a truth which is mysterious in character. The four Gospels are the flower of the entire Bible. Everything that was promised Israel, as we have it recorded in the 39 books of the Old Testament, came into flower – in the fulfillment of the four Gospels. But even to this day, 2000 years later, many women came seeking, – in the Bible, – for the Christ of whom the prophets spoke and whose coming is told. As we are told, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours inquired and searched about that salvation. They inquired what person or time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory, but they could not find him. They are all looking for a man, and today the whole vast Christian world turns to a man. Those who deny it think in terms of a man that they deny, but they do not know the Christian mystery.
Paul makes the statement: “From now on we will regard no one from the human point of view, even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view we regard him thus no longer.” Yes, even though I once thought of Christ from a human point of view I think of him so no longer. It is something entirely different.
To understand this mystery we have to find the root, and that is in the Old Testament. What did they promise? They found it in the Messianic Book, – Isaiah 11:1-3, – one of the many chapters – but this one is prominent. “There shall come forth a stem from the stump of Jesse and a Branch will go out of that root, and the Spirit of the Lord shall be upon him: The imagery turns from a root, – from a Branch, from a stem, into a man. “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him; the Spirit of understanding, the Spirit of Knowledge, the Spirit of Counsel, the Spirit of the fear of the Lord.” All these will be upon him. “And he shall not judge by what his eyes see, or desire by what his ears hear.” So here, something is said about a Branch, something is said about a stump out of which the Branch will come. We search the Scripture and we find in the Book of Daniel: “And the king said: ‘I beheld in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven. He cried aloud and said this, “Hew the tree down, cut off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. But leave the stump.” Do not disturb the stump. And now he turns from the imagery of the tree with its branches, leaves and stump, to that of a man. “Let him be watered with the dew of heaven,” speaking now of the stump, – and it becomes now a man. “Let him dwell with the beasts of the field. Take from him the mind of a man and give to him the mind of a beast. And let seven times pass over him until he knows that the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Most High rules the kingdom of men, and gives it to whom he will.” And you ask: “What is it all about?” This is the prophecy that is fulfilled in our Gospel.
The word Jesse means “I AM”. It is called “The stump of Jesse.” The word “I AM” which we call Jehovah, – the name of God. In its root meaning means “to fall” or “To cause to fall.” The only Being that fell, – this tree of life, – is God Himself, and for us God fell. He sacrificed Himself to redeem us, to give us life in ourselves. The mystery of life through death, – the death of God, – is that stump. So I am this branch. Now we turn and study the word “Branch”. The stump is “I AM”. The Branch comes out of the stump of Jesse.
The first presentation is in Matthew. Matthew presents the Lord as a king. So where is the Branch identified in the Bible as a king? You find it in Jeremiah 23:5: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king.” So here we find the presentation of this Branch, which is not a tree, – we see now it is a man. Here he is presented as a king. So Matthew gives him the genealogy of a king. He comes down through the royal line. Matthew begins the book: “This is the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David.” David is the source of the dynasty. The first king of Israel was Saul, chosen by the people, but Jehovah rejected Saul and chose David, and David is the first king of Israel, as chosen by God.
This is the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David. When I trace the genealogy of a king I must always begin at the source of the dynasty and come down and finish with the king. When I trace the genealogy of a man, I begin with his father and go back as far as I may; but not with a king. You do not say: “This is king so and so, the son of so and so.” You go right back to the source of the dynasty then you bring it forward and it culminates in the king himself. That is how we get the genealogy of a king. That is what Matthew does in presenting the Lord as king to fulfill Jeremiah 23:5.
Mark presents him as a servant, therefore there is no need for a genealogy. The perfect, the ideal servant. So God is now presented as a servant. And here, – where is the branch of the servant? Zech. 3:8. “Behold I will bring forth my servant, the Branch. All this is prophecy, it hasn’t brought him forth, he is bringing him forth. So, Mark does not have a genealogy. Who are you? “I am the servant of the Lord.” Well, that’s good enough. If you are the servant of the Lord there is no need for any further credentials. So his credentials are simply his position in life as the ideal servant, – that’s Mark. In Mark 10:5 he makes this statement: “I come not to be served but to serve.” He is the servant.
Luke presents him as the ideal man, – Jehovah’s man. Where is the Branch concerning it? Read Zech. 6:12. First of all Isaiah claims it in the 40th Chapter: “Behold the man”. He doesn’t use the word Branch, but Zechariah to fulfill the prophecy brings in the Branch: “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch.” So, Luke presents him the ideal man and should have a genealogy. When you read the two genealogies in Matthew and Luke they differ.
At the beginning of David, the king, they part, and David’s older son, Nathan becomes the line through which Luke takes Jesus Christ. His younger son Solomon becomes the one he takes bringing him into a king. Here you find a complete different genealogy for fourteen generations and another fourteen following them. Here you have these many generations where they are entirely different background and people think you can’t be telling the story of the same person, but people don’t know the mystery. You are presenting not a person, you are presenting, not a man, you are presenting something altogether different. Christ is not a man, a king, a servant. Christ that saying, is a series of mystical experiences through which God reveals Himself for the salvation of man, – that is Christ.
The whole vast New Testament is based upon the assumption that a certain series of events happened in which God revealed Himself in action for the salvation of man. Did they happen? We are told in the Scripture they did happen. I claim the evangelists were telling their own story, as told us in the end of Luke: “And they told what had happened.” Moffitt takes that phrase and describes it and translates it; ‘They related their own experience.” They are relating a series of mystical happenings in the soul of the individual where God revealed Himself in these actions for the salvation of that individual. So, Luke presents God as the ideal man: “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch.” He must have a genealogy and this goes all the way back unbroken to Adam, the son of God.
John, on the other hand, presents him as God Himself, – no need of a genealogy. Now, this you find is Isaiah 4:2. “And the day is coming,” it’s always in the future, it’s all prophecy, – “When the Branch of Jehovah will be beautiful and glorious.” And men are still looking for this Branch to flower in some mighty conqueror who will come and save humanity from the tyrants who are loose in the world. He doesn’t come that way. They denied he was a king because they did not read carefully. “My kingdom is not of this world.” They are still expecting him in some way to entrench himself in the world and establish a kingdom; and reveal what they believe to be David’s kingdom, – and all these must be spiritualized.
All the characters mentioned as his background, his genealogy, are states of consciousness. Here it begins: “This is the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David.” The very end of the genealogy Joseph’s father is called Jacob. Matthew 1:17 and two verses on the 20th verse: “The angel of the Lord appears unto Joseph in a dream and says: “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife.” Three verses before it is said in the genealogy that his father was Jacob, and just a few verses down the angel of the Lord addresses him as “Joseph, son of David.” Here in the genealogy Joseph is called the father, and the genealogy begins with “Jesus Christ, son of David.” Don’t you see it? You have to spiritualize all of these characters. They are states of consciousness. They are not persons any more than Jesus Christ is a person. Jesus Christ is that series of events unfolding like a tree in man for the salvation of that man in whom this series unfolds. But man cannot think that way if he wants to personify it and put it in a wall, or in some little hole and do something with it. And it isn’t that.
So, here in Mathew we find the presentation of God as a king. In Mark he is presented as the ideal servant. In Luke God is presented as the ideal man and in John – God Himself. So in John he speaks and calls Himself constantly “I AM”. “I am the vine; I am the way; I am the truth; I am the resurrection; I am the door.” All through he is emphasizing who He really is, the Being that you are. But the series of events, I promise you, will unfold within you. When they unfold within you, you know who you are, and you could no more keep it to yourself than the evangelist who experienced Christ could have kept it to himself. They couldn’t. Having experienced Christ, they could not keep their experience of Christ to themselves, so they told it.
Now let us show you what Luke tells us in his own words. Why they translated it this way I do not know. Luke begins his book: “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to encircle a narrative of the thing which have been accomplished among us, as it was revealed to us by those who were eye witnesses from the beginning, it seemed good to me also, having observed closely for sometime past.” Now that phrase, “For sometime past”, is a translation of the Greek word Zecharias, which means “from above”. When it is used in the 3rd chapter of John it is used “From above”, when he said to Nicodemus: “You must be born from above. Except you be born from above you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” Yet here in the book of Luke the same words, no alteration, the identical word is translated in this phase: “For sometime past.” So he is telling you if you go back to the original tongue where he got it. “Having observed all things closely from above it seems good to me also to write an orderly account to you Theophilus, – a lover of God, one who seeks God, – and he is telling him where he got it. He is not making any claims that his arrangement is a greater chronological arrangement of the false material. What he is telling us is he got it from above and he is going to write it in an orderly arrangement which he claims is a better arrangement, better understood by man. So he begins with a birth and he ends, for man’s sake, with a crucifixion.
That is not the way in which Luke got it, for Luke is not his name. All this is anonymous. Whoever calls himself Luke did not receive it in that order. But he thinks it is a better arrangement to be understood by mortal mind, until they themselves have the experience. So, what the Gospels are telling us, believe it. Believe it for the works’ sake.
Now he tells us how to prove the Law of God and in proving the Law of God you may believe his Promise. Then he tells us what to do about the Law of God: “Ask anything in my name” – don’t forget the name, – the name is “I AM”, – “And it will be done unto you.” Don’t call it by any other name, and when you call upon my name, call with my name. Don’t say: “In the name of I AM.” Just declare yourself to be “I AM”. I am what? You name it. Whatever you want to be just name it, but call with my name. So, call “I am healthy, I am lovely, I am loved, I am anything you think lovely in your world, call upon it by calling with the name.
Then he tells them: “I come to testify of things that I know and that I have seen. If you will not receive the testimony that I bring from things of earth, how will you receive the testimony of mine if I tell you of things of Heaven.”
Let me give you a vision of mine that happened many years ago to show you how it was revealed to me long before it began to awaken in me. Just like the vision of the 4th of Daniel, only in my case it wasn’t a tree. But just as he starts off the vision: “The visions of my head as I lay in bed.” Suddenly I saw this fabulous field, and consciousness followed vision and I entered the field. It had no limit, it was infinite. At first I thought them to be flowers, long tall flowers like sunflowers. As I approached them they were not flowers, they were all rooted like a flower into the earth; but they were human faces, everyone was a face. As I came upon them they moved in concert as though someone led them in some orchestra, and they all moved and bent over. If one smiled they all smiled. They all did everything in concert. While I walked among them admiring these beautiful human faces, that were anchored like a flower, I realized right at that moment that I, – not comparable to them in beauty, – nothing in that rhythm and yet I enjoyed greater freedom, limited as I was, than all of them put together. They moved in concert and I had freedom of movement even though my motion was not in harmony. I had freedom of choice even if I made the wrong choice. I could choose evil, they could do nothing. They could do nothing of themselves. And I realized that with all of my limitations, I was greater. I could make a mistake and they couldn’t. I could actually move without the consent of another; they couldn’t. And beautiful as they were, I realized how much infinitely greater I was, limited as I was, because I was detached from that field. And I thought in the depths of me that at one time I must have been one of that orchestra. And God in his infinite mercy, fell with me, and then took up residence in me.
Then seven times had to pass over me, the fiery ordeal. I had to be given a human face, – “Take the mind of man from him and give him the mind of a beast.” Let him know this was the beast of the field. “Sever everything from him; cut off the branches, strip the leaves, scatter the fruit but don’t disturb the roots,” – and the root is God Himself. That is Jesse. But, “Seven times must pass over him until he knows that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will.” And He gives it in that moment that He gives us Christ; and Christ is that series of mystical experiences taking place in the individual soul, for the soul’s salvation.
I can see that field of flowers now, perfectly beautiful human faces, – not a blemish, everything perfect, everything in perfect rhythm as if some invisible director directed them. You and I were once part of that harmony and then the harmony became broken for our salvation, and we descended because God descended with us. He didn’t push us out. The word He Vau He means “to fall” and that is the root of the verb Yod He Vau He, which we call Jehovah, the great sacred name. The name by which all things are made.
So, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John presents this mystery of the Branch. I tell you it grows in us. As Blake said: “The Gods of the Earth and the Sea sought through Nature to find this Tree, but their search was all in vain, there grows one in the human brain.” And that tree is turned down. If you saw the human being and take off the skin and see just the nervous system, it is just like an inverted tree. Where the brain is, is the root, and the whole tree grows down. But that tree is going to be turned up, and one day you will see it turned up and there will be a complete severance of your being, called the “Curtain of the temple”, – and then you, that was living down not even knowing it, will be turned right up and all the currents of eternity are now reversed in you, and from then you grow up.
The vision I had of this many years ago startled people. I first told it in San Francisco. Why the reaction was horrible. Yet the Book of Mark, speaking of the servant of the Lord, who is the Branch, speaks of it. When the Lord opened the eyes of the blind man and said: “What do you see?” He said: “I see men like trees walking.” There it is: “I see men like trees walking.” That night I had this vision of the majesty of man when he is turned up. You will think, “How can I be a tree?” The beauty, the joy when you see it, – something altogether different; but how can you describe it? You can’t describe it to the satisfaction of anyone because who wants to be a tree? And yet, here inverted, – and we are called the Branch. Don’t forget it. “And there shall come forth from a stem from the stump of Jesse,” from the stump of “I AM”, “and a branch will grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1-3) “Fear” means “the reverence of the Lord.”
Again these same four, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is revealed to us in a strange way when the child is given a name. Isaiah 9:6. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor.” Two entirely different experiences; – a child is born, a son is given. Don’t put a comma between Wonderful and Counselor as so many Bibles have. Bear in mind there were no punctuation marks in the ancient Hebrew, not even breaks or paragraphs, it is all continuous. There are four names given in keeping with the fourfold Gospel. “His name shall be called; Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” There are four titles.
Wonderful Counselor, – that is Omniscience itself. You can add nothing to a Being who is completely awake; they would not have the automatic answer. So, here is Omniscience. Mighty God, – Divine Omnipotence. That is when the third title comes. Then, Prince of Peace, that is at the very end when you are about to take off the garment for the very last time, as told us in the book of John. “My peace I leave with you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” He gives us peace that is beyond understanding. You can’t disturb that peace for he is the “Prince of Peace.” He is an “Everlasting Father”, – he is Father forever. “When you see me you see the Father.” “Almighty God.” – A might beyond the wildest dreams of anything you have ever seen. And when you see that Might you see it personified as a man. You look into his eyes and you see might as you have never known it before – and it is a man. Then “Wonderful Counselor”. He promises he will send the Counselor. When he withdraws he will send the servants who have the understanding to follow him as he reveals what happened to him.
So when you read the Gospels, whether it be Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, do not see a man walking through the pages, see the magnificence of Christ the Branch unfolding in you, and it takes root. There will come out a root from that stump. How does it take root? Well, you first hear the story and you believe it. Then the Word is planted. When one believes it, he has accepted the Word. The Word as translated in the Book of John is called Logos. “In the beginning was the Word,” that is the Greek Logos: “And the Word was with God and the Word was God.” That is really the translation of the Hebrew which means “The word of God, which contains within itself the power of it’s own expression.” That “Word” in the first verse of the Book of John is Christ. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
Now turn to Isaiah 55:11. “So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purposed and fulfill that where I sent it.” So the word when it comes is The Word called Christ. I tell you the story, believe it. The minute you believe it you have accepted it, it has fallen on fertile ground. It will then take root; and the word contains within itself the power of it’s own expression. The whole vast program of God for man’s salvation is contained in that Word, “the seed”, and it falls upon man and man hears it. He either believes it or he rejects it.
Here we move across the world and seven times pass over us until one day we hear it with acceptance and then the little root takes place in that stump of Jesse, the stump of “I AM.” Then out of it comes the Branch, and then the Spirit of the Lord descends upon him. From then on he moves and you can’t stop him. You can’t earn it, – accept it. Believe the story as it was intended when you first listened; completely misunderstood through the centuries.
He tells it of a certain individual who was born in a strange way; raised in a strange way and died a horrible death. That’s not the story at all. If I would comfort you with the death it is Romans 6:5: Here we are told: “If we have been united with Christ in a death like his, we shall be united with him in a resurrection like his.” He uses the past tense when it comes to death, the future when it comes to resurrection. So the unity took place in his death, or He fell, and all of us are in it and now he is asking us for acceptance of the Word. We have union with him in a death like His, we shall have union with him in a resurrection like His. And He resurrects us one after the other by a series of fantastic, wonderful mythical experiences one after the other. We can’t contrive them, they come like a thief in the night when least expected. Everything said in the Gospel concerning the central figure is all about you, from beginning to end.
I tell you the death has already taken place, even though the death took place to free us all. It has been felled. You downed the tree, cut off the branches, that is all over. Stripped the leaves, scattered the fruit, given the mind of a beast. Well, haven’t we the mind of a beast? Go back 20 years. What beast in the world would have conceived by ovens to burn innocent people by the millions? Isn’t that the mind of a beast? Have you read here recently the current stories of Stalin, the things the man did with those even in the most intimate circles? That no one felt at ease in his presence? From Molotov down, all like little children shaking, everyone of them. It came out last Sunday in the Times, in yesterday’s Observer, in today’s New York Times. All these stories because today is the tenth anniversary of his death. There is no beast that would have done the things the man did to his own people. He hated everything in the world and so did Hitler. So, “Take the man’s mind from him and give him the mind of a beast.” Who gave the order? God. And this is the order from on high.
Now in the eyes of the world they seemed to be so far advanced because they were so powerful. In the exercise and misuse of power they are on the down, they are descended. Seven times must pass over the mind of the beast before they could accept the story of Christianity. Both rejected it, both called it foolish, said the whole thing was stupid, the opium of humanity, said one, quoting his master, Karl Marx. The other looked upon Christianity as the weakest thing in the world. The Christ to him was nothing but a weakling because he couldn’t kill. He said “Put up the sword” and “Turn the other cheek” and “Father forgive them they know not what they do.” So here you see the beast of beasts and all at God’s command. “Take from him the mind of a man and give him the mind of a beast, and let his lot be among the beasts, but do not disturb the root, leave the stump and let it be watered with the dew of Heaven.”
And then there is a reversal and all of a sudden the stump puts out a shoot. It can’t put out the shoot until it first heard the Word of God. We must all go and tell the world and it must start in Jerusalem and spread to Judea, to Samaria, to the ends of the earth. Go and tell it. And some will accept it and some will reject it. Those that reject it, alright, because seven times must pass over. And what are the seven times/ Read the 3rd Chapter of the Book of Daniel. “And heat the furnaces seven times more than they were wont to be.” Then comes the three Hebrew boys and they are put into the furnace, clothed. Then the king said: “Were there not three?” They answered “Yes”. “But I see four and the fourth has the form of the Son of God.” Three were put in, the three-fold man, the three dimensional man, but goes with them the fourth, God Himself. For the fourth is God Himself. When they came out, “Their hair was not singed, nor even the smell of fire upon their garments.” Then he, Nebuchadnezzar, worshipped the God of Israel, worshipped the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
The whole thing is a mystery to be unfolded in the simple way it began by telling you of Christ of the Scripture. He is unfolding in you in a series of events, revealing to you your salvation. Peter in his Epistle said: “The prophets told how they searched and inquired about the grace that was to be yours: and how they inquired about their salvation, asking what person, what time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within him when prophesying and predicting of the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory.” But they didn’t find it. They couldn’t find the Christ of whom they wrote and whose coming they foretold, because they were looking for a man. Today they are still looking for a man, and looking for a time. They think maybe 1963 will bring it, or 1964. All through the ages people have thought a certain moment in time was the coming of Christ, or the coming of a person; but he doesn’t come that way. He comes in you and when you have him, you share him with everyone who will listen. Many will say, because they know you so well: “Don’t I know him? Isn’t he Mary’s child? Isn’t his father named George? Doesn’t he work in the factory with me. I know him so what is he talking about?” They expect an entirely different kind of person to come. They don’t expect the garment to have in it an experience that no mortal man could possibly have. It all happens in the depths of the soul of a man. Then he goes back and he sees where it was all foretold but: “Naught could he himself foresee.”
It’s all there but he couldn’t dig it out anymore than the scholars can until it happens. And after it comes to the surface in him he is bewildered. When the dust settles so that he really can talk about it without excitement, a few will listen and the majority will turn their backs. They say: “He’s talking about a Christ I never heard of before. I’d rather have my old Christ, because to him I can kneel, to him I can say a prayer in the hope that he will have compassion on me and respond; but this Christ.” A series of mystical experiences in the soul of man where the whole tree has fallen, and suddenly the tree that was felled and downed turns around? And then the whole thing goes back into the stump itself, the skull of man, and from then on it begins to really grow; and then he knows what the glory is Paul spoke of?” “For there is laid up for me in Heaven a crown of glory.” He himself grows it, no one puts it upon him. It is a living crown, not a crown as the human eye sees when they see the queens crown. Do you know of any crown comparable to the antlers of a stag? Did you ever see such majesty in your life when you see this beautiful thing. Did you ever see such majesty as a tree in full bloom? No. Don’t even try to visualize it, because it frightens people. The writer of the Book of Mark could see it correctly. What do you see now with the eye open: “I see men like trees walking.”
Believe the story as I told you this night concerning Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. You are the fourfold man. One presents you with a king to fulfill the 23rd Chapter of Jeremiah. He said: “I have come to fulfill the Scripture. Scripture must be fulfilled in me. “And beginning with Moses and all the prophets he interprets with them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” It was all about this being that you are.
Then comes the presentation of the ideal servant. Zech. 3:8 “Behold, I will bring my servant the Branch.” (6:12) “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch.” Then comes the fulfillment of the 4th of Isaiah. All must be fulfilled. So, these four branches must take root and all grow and mature in man. We have king, servant, the ideal man and God Himself.