25 May Neville Goddard Lectures: “The Free Man”
by Neville Goddard 10/13/69 –
Paul was the first man in history to be set free. His letters, forming a quarter of the New Testament, were written approximately thirty years prior to the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. His 1st letter, chronologically speaking, was to the Galatians and began in this manner: “Paul, an apostle – not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead.” That statement, if understood, tells the entire story of salvation.
An apostle is one who is sent on a mission. Paul’s mission was to tell the story of salvation from experience. In this same first chapter he makes this confession: “I will have you know, brethren, that I did not receive this from man, it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Paul doesn’t deny that he heard the story from others, just as you and I have. My mother taught me the story of Jesus Christ as secular history. She died believing that one little individual lived and died two thousand years ago. That’s how she was taught by her mother. Throughout the ages men have heard the story told in that manner. So Paul heard it from others, but questioned if that was what the prophets intended, because the only scripture was the Old Testament.
When told of a miraculous birth, a resurrection, and ascension of one who dared to claim he was God the Father, Paul rebelled against the idea – until one day, in shocking suddenness, the mystery of Jesus Christ unfolded in him. Having experienced this pattern of salvation, Paul insisted in defending his interpretation of the story.
Paul tells you who he is, by saying: “When it pleased God to reveal his Son in me…” Some translations record the preposition as “to,” but it is not “to,” but “in” – for Luke tells us that “No one knows who the Son is except the Father and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Paul confessed that God revealed his Son in him, therefore he must be God, for only God the Father knows his Son.
John tells us that: “No one has ever seen God, but the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” Knowing who he is because of his revelations, Paul claims: “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus, our Lord?” Now, you can take that statement two ways. Paul actually saw the Risen Lord and became what he beheld when the union took place. And because of his experience he could say: “I will tell you a mystery which has been hidden for ages and generations.” It is the mystery of Christ – the image of the invisible God in you – that is your hope of glory.
When Paul wrote his words there was only the one scripture, which was the Old Testament; so we turn to the 17th Psalm and read these words David spoke to the Lord, saying: “Keep me as the apple of the eye and when I awake I will be satisfied in seeing your form.” The phrase translated “the apple of the eye” literally means “the little man of the eye.” Look into the pupil of any man’s eye – be he good or evil – and you will not see the man, but yourself. So the Lord, looking into your eye, sees his own reflection.
Having hollowed out the eye to form a pupil that could reflect, God can only see himself in its darkness. Now, be faithful, O Lord, to the vision you saw when you said: “Let us make man in our image.” Looking into your eye, God sees only himself, and keeps the heavenly vision, no matter what furnaces he puts you through in order to bring himself out as a living being.
Paul realised after the experience what David meant when he said: “Keep me as the apple of the eye.” God, forever beholding himself, does not see the outer you. He sees only the inner man, the same image he saw when he looked at me. No matter what colour your outer skin maybe, when God looks into your eye he sees only that which he is going to bring out. Having buried himself in you, he will bring out of you the being that he is, endowed with all the power and wisdom that he is and clothed in his body of infinite love.
You may be a violent, horrible creature here; but when that one is awakened within you, you will come out as God, and God is love! This I know from experience.
Now, Paul does not tell you that, having had the experience, the remaining years will be pleasant. No. His story is one of horror. He was imprisoned, shipwrecked, beaten, and left for dead. Don’t think that once you have experienced scripture you are in any way set free from the horrors of the world, for you are not.
You will still go through them until the very end, but you will know that when you take off your garment of flesh (your cross) you are set free to radiate and reflect the glory of God, knowing yourself to be the express image of his person. Everyone, individualised without loss of identity, will wear the form of God and possess the power of God, the power to assume any shape or form. Then you will be called and sent on a mission as Paul, an apostle and a free man.
Paul was first known as Saul, which means “ask for,” as Saul was seeking the cause of the phenomena of life. His name was changed to Paul, which means “the little one.” He is the Jacob who is so small you question how he can stand. Look into the pupil of the eye of anyone and your reflection is so small you wonder how it can stand. But Jacob is changed to Israel, which means “the man who rules as God.” Not like a god, but as God. Seeing only himself, Jacob – the supplanter – awakens as Israel and rules as God.
God’s purpose cannot fail, for “He has made known unto me the mystery of his will according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time.” Paul discovered through revelation that Jesus Christ is a plan which is contained in man. The plan is not outside of you, but within; and when it unfolds it is man, for you are man. Paul shared his revelations to the best of his ability. We only have thirteen of his letters. There may have been more, or he may have taken those into his confidence who did not record his words; but I am quite sure that he had the identical plan which unfolded in me. It’s the same story, for there is only one plan. And when the time is fulfilled, that plan will erupt in you, and you will discover you are the Lord God Jehovah.
Paul as a person is not named in any non-biblical source in the first century; yet it is recorded in the Book of Acts and in his letters that Paul was charged, brought before the governor, and imprisoned. Speaking to King Agrippa, Paul said: “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Then he asked the question: “Why should any of you think it incredible that God raises the dead? Now I stand on trial for hope in the promise made by God to our fathers through his prophets.” Yet Paul is not recorded in any works of the first century outside of the Bible. So, you see, Paul is no more a person than Jesus Christ, Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. These are simply names of eternal states of consciousness; and when you reach the state of Paul, the mystery of Jesus Christ will unfold within you and you will be set free.
At the present time you are Jacob, the little one – the image God sees reflected in the pupil of your eye as he beholds himself. God does not see the outer you. He only sees the heart, the inner man who is himself. It is that inner man who is born – not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man – but of God. And what is born? A saviour who is Christ the Lord. “I am the Lord, your God and besides me there is no saviour.” So when a saviour is born it has to be the Lord God Jehovah, whose name forever and ever is I AM.
When I had the experience, I felt myself waking to find myself in a holy sepulcher, the skull where I was buried. I came out without loss of identity to find the symbol of my birth before me. I have now experienced everything recorded in scripture and am sharing my experiences with the world, to encourage those who will listen to believe in the eternal story and repudiate all authorities, institutions, customs, or laws that might interfere with their direct access to their God. No one can aid you towards that image, for it is already in you. That is what God is beholding. You don’t need any authority, be he called a pope, archbishop, rabbi, or priest to lead you to yourself. One day you will awaken as God, and since there is only God in the world everyone will have the experience of knowing that he is God
This eternal story is true. It is planted in you and its eruption will interpret the Old Testament, which is an adumbration – a foreshadowing which cannot be understood until it happens in you. Paul never understood the Old Testament until its promises fulfilled themselves in him. He thought he had to abide by the dietary laws and ceremonies externally, when it does not matter what is done on the outside. If you never see the inside of a church or meet any so-called holy man, it will not matter; for nothing must come between you and your God, and when you find your God you find yourself.
Now God has a son called David, who is the result of his journey through the fires of experience in this world of death. When you see David you will know how true the words are, when he said: “I will tell of the decree of the Lord. He said unto me, ‘Thou art my son, today I have begotten thee,”‘ for when David stands before you there will be no uncertainty as to your relationship. And you will say, with Paul: “When it pleased God to reveal his son in me I conferred not with flesh and blood.”
To whom would you turn for an interpretation of an experience, when there was no uncertainty in you as to what had happened? So Paul went into Arabia and contacting no one, he communed with self on his fantastic revelation. Here is one who was of the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee of the Pharisees. Paul kept all the laws externally but did not understand them until it pleased God to reveal his Son in him. And because no one knows the Son but the Father, when the Son appears the one beholding him is his Father and knows it.
When I saw David, I knew him more surely than I do my physical children. In this world a father is told that he sired a child. He believes his wife, and maybe the child resembles him, but he has no certainty that it is really his. And the woman, if she is asleep during delivery, doesn’t know whether the child she takes from the hospital is hers or someone elses. But there is no uncertainty as to the relationship between God the Father and his Son David. None whatsoever.
When it pleased God to reveal his son in me, I knew who I really was. Prior to that moment I did not know. I thought I was a little man, born of a certain woman, sired by a certain father in this world. I was taught to believe in the historicity of Jesus – first by my mother, then my teachers and the traditions of the church.
I thought it happened two thousand years ago and was not related to this age, yet I tell you the story of Jesus Christ is contemporary. It is taking place, for God came and comes into human history in the person of Jesus Christ, who is the pattern of salvation. This pattern was buried in Man the moment God beheld himself as the apple of the eye. He is going through the furnaces now and may be kind or unkind. “How long, vast and severe the furnaces before he finds the Father are long to tell.” No one knows how long it will be before that moment in time when David will appear to reveal the Father to himself.
It is the Father’s memory which returns when he awakens from the dream of this world. God is dreaming here, caught up in a reality that is his own creation, be it good, bad, or indifferent. “Arouse thyself, why sleepest thou, O Lord! Awake! Do not cast us off forever.” God is the sole author of your world and all within it, although what is happening may frighten you, as it appears to be outside and beyond your control; for you are the dreamer, dreaming your life into being. You are God, conjuring everything in your world, and everything has a symbolic significance for you if you could interpret it.
The story of the Bible begins as a vision of Isaiah, Obadiah, and Ezekiel. These are all visions, spelling out how God became Man that Man may become God. Everything is the unfolding of God, and he is unfolding in you, as you. You are not some little thing on the outside that is cast away, but God himself, dreaming both horrible and lovely dreams while clothed in your bodies of flesh. But one day you will awaken from the dream to find yourself clothed in the human form divine, the immortal form of love, which is God himself.
Yes, you are human and God is Man. Let no one tell you he is not. “Thou art a Man, God is no more. Thine own Humanity learn to adore.” Humanity is the cross God wears. There never was a cross of wood made from a tree, for the tree is in Man. Let our scientists search through nature to find that tree, for their search will be in vain, as the tree where God is crucified is in the human brain.
That’s where God will rise as you, and where his only begotten Son will stand and call you Father. This heavenly, eternal youth has no mother, for in the resurrection there is no Greek, no Jew, no bond, no free, no male, no female. As a male or female you are a divided image. But as Man you will fulfill scripture.
Now, the basis of Paul’s authority is experience. He experienced scripture. The Bible makes no sense when read as secular history, but it is an open book when experienced. Man is capable of doing, has done, is doing, and will continue to do everything recorded there until he awakens from the dream of life. And – as he promised himself – one day he will awaken as God the Father, yet he will continue to be in bondage to his little garment of flesh and blood. Then he, too, will cry out: “O King Agrippa, why should it be thought incredible that God raises the dead?
Is this not the promise that God made to our fathers through the prophets? Why am I standing before you chained as I am? Would that you were all as I am, minus the chains.” Although knowing what he had experienced, Paul continued to wear the body of limitation and weakness upon which he was still crucified. But he knew that when it was taken off it would be for the last time. Then he would come into his glory by radiating and reflecting God, knowing he was the express image of His person.
Paul, like all the other characters of scripture, is an eternal state through which Man passes. In the beginning of time you heard the gospel and entered the state of faith called Abraham. Paul makes this statement: “The scriptures, foreseeing that God would save the Gentiles (called heathen) through faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham.” Then he makes this comment: “The story of Abraham is an allegory.”
Now an allegory is a story told as if it were true, leaving the one who hears it to discover its fictitious character, learn and apply its lesson. Paul continues by saying: “Abraham had two sons, one born into slavery and one born into freedom.”
If Abraham’s story is an allegory, and the Book of Matthew begins with these words: “This is the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham, – what is the story of Jesus Christ and David, but an allegory! You cannot begin with an allegory and arrive at something called reality, as all ends run true to origin. If the origin is an allegory, its end must be an allegory.
“See yonder fields?
The sesame is sesame, the corn is corn
The silence and the darkness knew,
And so is a Man’s fate born.”
If the story of Abraham is an allegory, let us discover what we are being told. There are two births: The first is a garment of slavery which comes from the womb of a woman. The second is a spiritual birth which comes – not from blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man – but of God. As these bodies begat themselves so God begets himself. One is the birth into slavery, and the other the birth into freedom.
Paul is the first Man to be set free, and everyone will be Paul, for everyone will be set free by the identical experience. “Creation waits with eager longing to be set free from its bondage to decay any obtain the glorious liberty of the sons of God.”
We are all God’s sons, who collectively form that one being who is God the Father. Every child born in this world is a garment worn by a son of God, as told us in the 32nd chapter of Deuteronomy: “He has set bounds to the peoples of the earth according to the number of the sons of God,” and it takes all the sons to form the Father.
The word “Elohim” is sometimes translated God (singular) and sometimes gods (plural) as in the 82nd Psalm: “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment. Then God turns to the gods and says: “I say, ‘You are sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you will die like men and fall as one man, O princes.’ ”
We are the gods who descended into this fabulous biological experiment. This world is the only spot that could cradle such an experiment. Taking upon yourselves the limitations and weaknesses of the human flesh, God is redeeming his sons, one by one, until all are redeemed as the Father. There is only one Father and only one Son. You, the Father, accepted the experience, the result of which is your Son, personified as David.
Having had the experience, I – like Paul – do not deny having heard the story of scripture from my mother and at school. In fact I was beaten for misquoting the Bible, which I had not done. In our little island of Barbados, corporal punishment was allowed, and our schoolmaster beat me until blood poured for quoting the words: “Take up thy bed and walk,” when his translation read: “Take up thy couch and walk.” He was a sadist, and to satisfy his own sexual pleasure he took a cane that could be bent into a circle, made me lean over a chair, and beat me unmercifully.
When my father learned what the teacher had done, it took all of the family and the neighbours to restrain him, because he intended to kill the man; but one year later the man killed himself. I was taken out of school that very day, but the Book of God was driven into my mind.
I tell you the Bible is the only true book. All other books are based upon theory. Today’s theory as to the age of the moon will change, for our men of science are constantly devising new hypothesis upon which to experiment, and therefore are always modifying their little concept of life. But you and I have no need to change, for we have found the truth as our own wonderful human imagination.
I tell you, God (your imagination) is the only reality. He is the dreamer in you, and you and the dreamer are one. That one is God the Father. Jesus Christ is a plan God devised to awaken his sons and set them free from this world of death to return to the world of eternal life.
Now let us go into the silence.