02 Sep Neville Goddard Lectures: “The Congregation of God” (1966)
By Neville Goddard
Tonight’s subject is “The Congregation of God.” The Bible speaks of the assembly of God, the gathering of God, the congregation of God. If I say to you, you are the body of Christ and individually members of it, would you believe it? Well, I’ve only quoted Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, “partakers of the same body, partakers of the promise” (1Cor.12:12).
Now, in scripture only one set—they’re given two names—is excluded from the assembly of God. We are told that they all gathered as one man in the square before the watergate, and they said to the scribe, Ezra, “Bring the book, the law, the law of Moses that the Lord gave to Israel.” Ezra brought it and read from the 23rd chapter of Deuteronomy, “No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the Lord forever” (Deut.23:3). Now why this exclusion? Who are the Moabites and who are the Ammonites? As Blake said, “That which can be made explicit to the idiot isn’t worth my time” and the ancients felt that what was not too explicit was fittest for instruction because it rouses the faculties to act.
So you look up the word Moab or Moabite and look up the word Ammon or Ammonite, it gives you no light, none whatsoever. But you read the story…just read it…and you will see they are the offspring of incest, the offspring of Lot’s sons and daughters. Is that wrong? The child was born; nothing wrong in that. It’s not saying that the child born of incest is not born of God. But that shows you segregation. We have segregation not only in races, we have it in society, we have it in every walk of life. You are completely out of the social register if you marry outside of what they consider the proper people. We have race against race; we have religion against religion. In the Protestant world, the Catholic world, all Christians, they do not sanction inter-marriage. I have three brothers married to Catholics. They couldn’t get married in the regular church, married on the side. So they had to go into some little chapel to get married because they weren’t blessed and their wives were. But they’re good providers and wonderful fathers. One sired five and the other two sired four each. The children have all gone to college, sent not by their mothers, who didn’t have one penny to rub against the other, but sent by their fathers who had the money to send them to college. So here, they couldn’t come into the regular church. That was taboo. You find it in the social world, the racial world, all over. “They shall not enter the assembly of God.”
Well, how will I go about it if I am of that world? Man is redeemed through the death of his delusions. You wait…everyone will be redeemed, because he’ll be put into situations where these delusions created in this false manner will all disappear. I have watched it. I have watched men who hated certain races, certain nations, and their salvation came through that race and that nation. Right here, he told me…this chap born of Irish background, Catholic. They came from Ireland. He was born in Boston and raised in that very limited environment, where nothing was right but a good Irish Catholic. He said, “I hated two people in the world: I hated the Jew and I hated the Negro. Then came the 2nd World War and I was a sergeant in the Pacific. The Japanese had us pinned down. I couldn’t move, I just couldn’t move…my entire company pinned down. The slightest motion and the machine guns simply swept us. On my left was a Jew. Because he was a Jew, I gave him all the dirty work in the company. I was a Catholic and he a Jew, and I threw everything I should not have, because he was really not worthy of that treatment.
“Then he said to me when we were pinned down, he said, ‘Sarge, do you have a grenade?’ I said yes. He said, ‘Let me have them.’ So, he said, I unpinned a couple and the very motion caused fire, and he took them. He stretched his hand out and took them. Then he jumped up like lightning and threw, pins pulled, threw them right into that nest and blew the entire nest apart. He was wounded, seriously wounded, but he saved the company. From that day on, no matter who he was, if he was a Jew, he was tops in my world. That delusion died when I saw the bravery of a man. I always thought that they were cowards, and I, the great Catholic, and I wouldn’t budge to get up to give my life, but he jumped up to save others, and he saved the entire company.
“I came back to America. I hadn’t yet gotten over my prejudice of the Negro. Now, I’m a builder, bricks, all the things that go into building buildings. In San Francisco…I didn’t return to Boston, I went to see my family, then I came back to the West Coast. Having spent a little time here, I liked it.” So he came back, another job in San Francisco, producing materials for all construction. “One day, an explosion took place in a factory and I’m afire. My whole body is blazing. And all the Caucasians around just simply are afraid, not one came towards me. This Negro rushed towards me, picked me up bodily, and threw me down, and laid on me, smothered every little spark on my body with his body. He was burned, yes, really burned, but he saved my life and smothered it. And now, as the employer of all the work in building, if you are a Negro or a Jew, you get the first choice.”
Man dies through the death of his delusions. He’s no longer, then, an Ammonite or a Moabite. He breaks down the wall of partition between himself and the world. For you are the body of Christ and, individually, members of it. But as long as you have the little membrane tying you alone and you can’t meet this one because they are a different world, they are an entirely different world, they belong to a different strata altogether, well, then you’ll never break down the wall and you’ll never join the assembly of God.
Now we are told, “There is only one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of us all, who is above all, and through all, and in all.” Read it in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the fourth chapter (verse 4). He repeats the word one seven times, each time attached to a noun. One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all, through all and in all… until one sees the oneness of it all.
Let us now illustrate it with a letter that came to me this past week. She said, “On the night of October the 18th you spoke of the new man, the breaking down of the wall of partition between two and making the two one new man. I can’t tell you what it did to me. It stirred something in me; and it’s all that you talk about, but this particular night it stirred something. The whole thing simply galvanized me. So I went back to what I call my records.” She writes all of her dreams down…most of them are done unconsciously. She writes not even knowing what she’s written until the next day. “And on the 10th of September I wrote this.” She had this strange dream. There was a frightful explosion. She thought a bomb had dropped and she felt her ears pierced. Then she remained still and when all things seemed alright, then she stirred. “From then on,” she said, “the piercing of the ear and the explosion from within—because it wasn’t from without, that whole explosion took place within me—I began to have clearer communion with God. It’s no longer like a dream. It’s like talking with and I ask him questions. I quote scripture, he explains scripture, and it’s simply an intimate communion with God.
“So the night of the 18th, having heard your lecture on the new man, I felt myself in communion with God and I said to God, ‘Why do certain desires take so long and others so short and still others never? Why so long for some to be fulfilled and others short and others are never fulfilled?’ God said to me, ‘All your desires will be granted. The difference in the time between your desire and its fulfillment is this.’” Now, here is what God said to her and she had it all written down on paper as she had that night communed with God and the words came back audibly, as you are hearing my words. And these are the words, “It depends upon the state you were in when you desired and the state you are now in because you have not practiced revision.” Can you imagine that? It depends on the state you were in when you desired plus the state you are now in because you haven’t practiced revision.
Are we not told in scripture, “Whatever you desire, believe that you have received it, and you will” (Mark 11:24). Well now, if I desire something, it’s a confession that I don’t have it. So I know the state that I am in when I desire, that’s obvious. But now, I must move from the state desiring to the state where the desire has been granted. And that brings about the state called revision. I must revise it. How would I feel were it true? How would I feel were it true? Well, then I assume that feeling. Then I have moved from the state when I desired it to the state of fulfillment. That shortens the interval. If I still remain in the state desiring, I have not practiced revision. I have not put into effect the teachings of scripture. So God said to her, “The difference is this: the state you were in when you desire plus the state you are now in because you haven’t practiced revision.” So, I say to everyone, listen to it carefully. These are revelations coming rapidly, coming, oh, one on top of the other through everyone who is here.
That drove me to the 17th chapter of John when I read that letter. It’s the greatest prayer uttered ever. The entire 17th is simply a meditation within oneself. It’s called the high priestly prayer. The Christ has finished the work that God gave him to do. He tells you he is God himself: “I and my Father are one.” But he came into the world of limitation, sent from the Father, who is himself, so he sent himself: “For he who sees me sees him who sent me.” He comes into the world having abdicated his glorious form and having taken upon himself the limitations of the flesh—not pretending but completely absorbing all the limitations and the weaknesses of the flesh—and then finished the work that he came to do.
Now he said, “Glorify thou me…glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before that the world was” (John 17:5). So the first part is devoted to the prayer for self. It’s broken into three parts. The second part is his prayer for the disciples, “Those whom thou gavest me.” Those in whom I can plant the seed knowing that it will grow, and they’ll carry on and spread it. And finally, he prays for the entire universal assembly. So in three parts he breaks it. First, for himself, to return to glory that he abdicated when he came out, when he became man. Becoming man, he completed it, and he has found those who dared to believe the most unbelievable story in the world. They dared to believe him and he prayed for those who dared to believe him in a world of scoffing unbelievers. And then he prayed at the end for the whole vast universal family, the whole vast world that one day will be assembled when all these little membranes are broken down, the little delusions of life.
So you take the revelation that came to this lady. It’s a true one. God speaks to man through the medium of dream and revealed to her why some things take long and some things are short. Long because of the state you were in when you desired it makes a difference, and then you didn’t practice revision. You could have shortened that distance instantly had you actually practiced revision and believed what you’re told, to assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled. If I believe that I have what I am desiring, haven’t I assumed the feeling of the wish fulfilled? And an assumption though false—because scripture teaches this—if I persist in it, remaining faithful to that state, it will harden into fact.
And so the only excluded one is the one who is drawing a little circle around himself. As the poet said, “He drew a circle that shut me out, infidel, scoundrel, a thing to flout; but love and I had the wit to win, and we drew a circle that took him in.” So the circle expands and expands while they still remain within their little drawn circle that “I am better than, I am holier than.” Like my friend from Boston, he was born and raised a good Irish Catholic thinking he was better than any Protestant in the world and infinitely better than a Jew and infinitely better than a Negro. So he went blindly on in his state believing all these silly things, sheer nonsense. And then, he died to these delusions in a way that he could never have planned it. How could he plan to set himself afire and find all the Caucasians afraid to come to his help because he set himself afire? And the Negro comes and throws him on the floor and douses himself with his own body, and smothered it, using himself as a blanket. And when all the others in his company that he did not give latrine duty to, but he gave it to the Jew, and the Jew said, “Give me a grenade, Sarge.” He undid two from his belt and passed them quietly. He pulled the pins and the Jew—they all thought because he was a Jew he was a coward, the only brave one in the company—and he jumped up and threw them right into the Japanese nest and blew them to smithereens. So here we find all these little divisions in the world.
So how would I enter the assembly of God? There’s only one body, only one Spirit, only one hope, only one Lord, only one faith. Now, does that mean I must accept the so-called Catholic doctrine, the Protestant doctrine with its many divisions, or this doctrine? No, only one faith, what faith? The fundamental sin is lack of faith in I am He. That’s the fundamental sin. If I don’t believe that I am he, I die in my sins: I keep on missing the mark. But if I am he, is there anything outside of me? There is nothing outside of me if I am he. So that “All that I behold, though it appears without, it is within, in my Imagination of which this world of mortality is but a shadow” (Blake).
So you have these wonderful experiences and you wonder, what is objective, what is subjective? And it’s wholly dependent on the level on which consciousness at the moment is focused. Tonight, I would find a world so real—not this world—and to me it seems the only world, it’s objective to my perception; and if I can remember this that I shut out in so-called dream, it would seem to me subjective. Then I will wake with the memory of what I have done and it will be subjective and the world to which I’ve returned will seem objective. So what is objective and what is subjective? The whole is taking place within me.
So when I come back with the memory that I met Abdullah last night, I met my father, I met my brother, I met all these people and they’re not here in this world any more, but they were so real and so wonderful. I embraced them, kissed them, felt them, and we had the most heavenly time and then I returned. Any modern psychiatrist would say, “Well, Neville, you know they are only images of the Imagination.” I would say to him, “They’re just as solidly real as you are. When I touched them my hand didn’t go through them. When I talked with them they did not seem to be some little thing on the outside. But I will grant you they are images of the Imagination. But what do you think you are now?” He’d be mortified if I told him that he doesn’t differ now from what he calls the real world from that world that he calls the unreal world, because that was as real, when I experienced it, as this that I now experience. So what is reality? So here, the whole vast world is unfolding within man. And God is man. “Man is God…and that eternal body of man is the Imagination and that is God himself” (Blake).
So when I desire something, how long will it take, how long, O Lord? Well, the measure is where you are as against what you desire. But, if you revise you’re present state so that you are one with the state desired, so you’re basking in the feeling of the wish fulfilled, it will take no time, no time. It will simply come because you’re dwelling in the present, in the now. When I say “I am”, is that past? Is it future? Is it not present? And what is his name? Is it not I AM? “And that is my name forever…and by this name I’ll be known throughout all generations” (Ex. 3:14). Well, it isn’t something that is past. I didn’t say I was, or I will be, I said I am. That is my name forever.
Man desires, though the reason tells him that it’s impossible or it’s going to take time; the time is only measured, by this revelation to my friend, by revision. To what degree have you revised your present state? You can come closer if you want to. But don’t come closer, come right into the state…that when you desire and whatever you desire, when you pray, believe that you have received it, and you will. So, how could I reach out for something that I already have? How could I pursue the goal that I have obtained? So men who have not accepted this, you find them running from pillar to post, seeking, seeking, seeking, and you wonder why are they seeking a new access to a goal already attained, why?
I have friends of mine, and like all people, it’s the old story, familiarity breeds contempt. They know you as a man, your weaknesses…they know you intimately as a man…and they don’t want that. They want something called a holy man; something that has an odor, that comes unwashed, you know that’s a holy man. They’ll follow him all over because he is so holy. He tells them he is. They’ll go all over the world after this holy man, and finally they find he, too, has clay feet. Disillusioned they go elsewhere…they keep on seeking and seeking. They will not accept the only way. There’s only one way, only one faith, only one hope. Well, what is the hope? You and I will endure all the burdens in the world patiently if we think it’s inevitable, but that same burden becomes intolerable as soon as there is hope of escape. And so, you and I are given hope of escaping every burden in the world through the teachings of the Christ. The minute there is hope that I could escape this restriction, then whatever that restriction is it becomes to me intolerable, I can’t stand it any longer. But while I thought it was inevitable and no escape, I patiently endured. And that’s the world. So you give a man hope…only one hope. The Bible speaks of the hope: faith, hope and love, these three. These are the great virtues out of which the whole vast civilization is made. Give him hope to escape the limitations of birth. Give him faith in the only reality, faith that I AM HE. And finally you’ll find that that being is infinite love. These are the three.
So he begins in this 4th chapter, “only one body.” That I know from experience. You’re gathered one by one into this assembly, and when you’re gathered, one body. You go into the body and as Paul states in the 12th chapter of Corinthians, “You are the body of Christ.” You are, when you are brought and assembled into the body of Christ…only one body. One Spirit, “For he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him,” one spirit. Only one hope tending the law of God as interpreted by the risen Christ. You’ve heard it said you should not commit so and so, but I say to you, when you do it in your mind alone you’ve done it (Mat.5:27). You committed the act the minute you had the impulse to do it, so physical restraint means nothing. You’ve done it therefore the whole thing must be now psychological. The whole drama of life must be all imaginal. If I have committed the act of adultery by wanting to have an affair with another even though I didn’t, the restraint because I contemplated the consequences of my actions were I caught, the embarrassment, or the this, that or the other, and so I restrain the impulse, well, the impulse was the act he tells us. Therefore, if the impulse is the act, then I must begin to become disciplined and learn how to actually become discriminating in all of my choices in this world.
So here, if I know that I could just do it by simply shortening the interval between desiring and assuming that it’s done just as though it were, then that’s the hope, I’ve escaped. One Lord, what’s his name? I AM. The word Lord in the Bible is always translated I AM. Now, one faith: faith in I AM. One baptism: that’s when you stand before the risen Christ, and after your confession of faith that the greatest thing in the world is love, he embraces you, and you mingle with his body, and you become one. That’s baptism with the Holy Spirit. And what God has joined together let no man put asunder. You who was his emanation, you were the emanation, now he brings it back and he cleaves to it, and they become one…so one baptism.
Now he comes to the last: “One God and Father of us all, who is above all, and through all, and in all.” Then the fatherhood reveals itself in you and you stand and see the “only begotten,” which is the result of your passage through all of these states. For he who stands before you personifying all the generations of men is the eternal youth David. Because you went through it all and broke all the little membranes that would put you into one little circle after the other, and finally you come through, and there is only one God and the Father of us all, and you are he. So in the end there’s only one. We live as one man, contracting our infinite senses we behold multitude, multitude of nations; or expanding we behold one, as one man containing the universal family. And that one man we call Jesus the Christ. So when you are now one with the body of Jesus the Christ, you are Jesus the Christ. Only one Spirit, for now you are untied with him, one Spirit. And now you know exactly what the one faith is, what the one Lord is, what everything is. There’s only one. One, one, one, seven ones, each attached to a noun as you read it.
I want to thank this lady for her perfectly wonderful communion with God and sharing it with us, so that I in turn could share it with those who are here.
So in this wonderful prayer, the very end, read it, there are only twenty-six verses; try to commit it to memory, twenty-six verses, the greatest prayer ever recorded, the prayer of the high priest. And he is the high priest after the order of Melchizadek, who had no father, no mother, no beginning, no end, no genealogy, because he’s the source of all that is. So now he radiates a prayer…breaks it into three parts…his return. I am no longer in the world, he said. “Holy Father, keep them in thy name that thou gavest me that they may be one as we are one. I have made known unto them thy name and I will make it known that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them,” so he ends it. The same love that will what? “The love with which thou loved me may be in them and I in them.” He precedes it by saying, “O Righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee. And I have made known to them thy name.”
I can’t conceive of anything more beautiful than that 17th of John. When you read it and you get lost in it, I defy you to just restrain the tears. It’s the one chapter that old Ab, my friend Abdullah, insisted that we commit to memory. Everyone had to know it. No reading of books. You rise and together we would say…“the 17th chapter of John,” he would say. And then he would close always with “Praise be unto that unity that is our unity, one in all and all in one.” We all had to simply rise at the close of the meeting and recite the 17th of John. It was driven into the mind of everyone who was present. You read it, if you do not know it, you read it when you go home.
Now let us go into the Silence.
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Q: I still don’t quite get what it means by being sealed in Revelation, sealed in this and sealed in that.
A: First of all, you have to give me not just the word sealed but the context. In the Book of Daniel he was told to seal it, the time was not yet; in the Book of Revelation, do not seal it, for the time is fulfilled, and therefore let the filthy be filthy still (22:10). Do not for one moment raise a finger; let them be as they are. For they’ve heard the story and from now on just let them all move in their own respective ways. Do not seal it anymore, for this is not a mystery to be kept as a mystery. For now the mysteries of God, although they are great mysteries, they’re not matters to be kept secret, but they are mysterious in character. But now we have broken the seal. The seal is broken in the story of the gospel. And I am trying my best to tell you from experience what that breaking of the seal is. It’s broken in me. I have experienced the entire story of the gospel. I do not know of one little part of it that I haven’t experienced. And yet, you’re told in the end of John, there are many things not enclosed in this book. If they were all written, the world itself couldn’t contain the books. So the visions go on and on that are not now recorded in scripture. But the outstanding sections of scripture concerning the one who is to come have taken place in me. All the other things are not recorded in scripture, but they follow on the heels of what is recorded. So John tells you, I have recorded these that you may know, but if I took all the things that he did, I would say, the world itself would not be large enough to contain the books that would be written. So there’s no limit to the unfolding of the power and the wisdom of God.
A: Alright, all sins are forgiven but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. You are told in the Book of Luke…that same quote is made in Luke that it’s made elsewhere, but Luke adds something to it. That the sin against the Holy Spirit is not forgiven; but he adds, “When they bring you into the synagogue, that is the assembly, before the authorities, do not take thought concerning what you are to answer or what you are to say; for the Spirit will, in that very hour, teach you what you ought to say” (Luke 12:11). So he qualifies it. There is no such thing as an ultimate sin that cannot be forgiven. So you’ve gone through and all of a sudden you are prompted now. You stand in the presence of the risen Christ, who is the embodiment of love, and you cannot fail in the answer. So do not be concerned as to what you’re going to say, how you will answer; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say. So Luke goes beyond Mark, who quotes it, and shows you something far beyond it, that you won’t fail anyway.
I know it’s been called a sin against sex, a sin against this…that’s all speculation. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not forgiven. No, you will blaspheme. Until that moment maybe you did. And I am convinced that when you are brought into the presence of the risen Christ that fitness for the kingdom, which is just about to take place when he embraces you, is the consequence, not the condition of his grace. So you are brought in when you are still a simple being. And you stand before him and you answer correctly, because you can’t…it’s so obvious, the answer is so obvious. So he embraces you. And so I say fitness for the kingdom of God, which comes with that embrace, which is baptism by the Holy Spirit, is the consequence of that baptism; it is not the condition of his grace. For grace is the gift of God himself to the one that he embraces; he gives you his very Spirit by fusion with him. And I am quite sure that no one is brought in who has not blasphemed, who hasn’t denied that I AM HE. Who hasn’t with all of their idols on the outside and worshipped false idols?
Q: Neville, your story about the Catholic sergeant and the ___(??), is there any place in the Bible that gives guidance on this factor? When, regardless of what factors went into the making of the war, when this man threw the hand grenade he did destroy some other people who were, after all, God too. Is there anything in the Bible that would counsel one in how to face the facts like this we meet in life?
A: I haven’t found any part of the Bible where such violence is frowned upon or condoned. When we are told, “You say that when the tower fell and eighteen were killed, were they more sinful than others in Jerusalem?” He said, “I tell you, not; but unless you repent you shall perish as they did” (Luke 13:4,5). So he didn’t liken this eighteen who died as the result of the tower falling to any sin on their part. We’re living in a world of sin and death. This is sin and death. He said, “If I were hungry I wouldn’t tell you; for the world is mine and all within it. The cattle on a thousand hills are mine” (Ps.50:10,12). So why would I tell anyone that I’m hungry? If they’re mine, I’d take it, I’d slay and eat, he said. And when Peter said, I cannot eat the unclean thing, and the sheet came down from heaven covered with all manner of flesh; the voice said, Peter, that which I have cleansed I have cleansed; slay and eat (Acts 10:13-15). It’s all God.
That’s the great division that takes place in the 6th chapter of John: Eat my flesh and drink my blood. “For except you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life within you, your body.” This is a hard saying, they said, and many left never to walk with him again. He said, “No man comes unto me save my Father calls him, no man”
(John 6:52;44). Can’t come. My Father knows exactly which one will fit right now into the pattern. So in my world as I am assembling the one being, think of it as the fragmented Rock. The Rock that begot you, you are unmindful, and you’ve forgotten the Rock [God] that gave you birth (Deut. 32:18). So here comes the fragmented Rock and every little fragment of the Rock contains the core. From that center in the fragment it must gather the whole together into the Rock which is Christ. Everyone is a fragment of the Rock and each contains the core, the heart, the center. And from that center it gathers all the fragments and rebuilds that vast Rock, and it is the Rock that begot the universe.
So what man could I kill? In the end this whole thing will be simply the greatest dream. Believe me, nothing dies, there’s nothing to kill, even though they seem to be. So in the end, one being, one Spirit, one body, one hope, one faith, just one. And the fragments become the center and from each center the whole mass is gathered. And so night after night I have to be gathering all those within my world and they fit into the pattern as the Rock is re-established, and I am he.
I saw that so clearly one night when I saw this quartz smashed, fragmented. Then quickly all the little fragments were gathered together into a form, and the form was that of a meditating Buddha. Here was this being sitting in a lotus posture. As I looked, I’m looking at myself. But I had never seen myself so glorious. I can’t describe the beauty, the handsomeness, the majesty, the strength of character in that face. Everything you could think of in the superlative that face contained…in deep meditation. And as I looked at it, it became flesh, it became alive, and it began to glow and it glowed and glowed and glowed. When it reached the apex of intensity—here I am glued to it—it all exploded. And then I woke here. I had gathered the fragments together and formed them into one form, and I was it.
Everyone will gather all the fragments together and form it into the one form, and he is it. And these living stones become gathered together into one form that is the risen Christ. As Paul tells you, “You are the body of Christ and, individually, members of it.” All, without loss of identity; yet you are the one. No loss of identity. You’re wonderful definite individuality is still in tact and yet you are he. (Tape ends.)