John 10: The Sheppard



If tonight you had a personal problem, regardless of the nature of the problem, were it financial, some social problem, regardless of the nature of it, the chances are you would wish that I would discuss a certain technique by which you could overcome it…and I would not blame you. But may I tell you, if you listen attentively to the Word of God and completely forget the problem while you listen in the hope that you will understand it, that problem would solve itself to the degree that you simply grasp the Word of God. You see, man does not really understand who he is, he doesn’t. Tonight I hope I can to some extent convince you of your greatness…of who you really are.

The New Testament only fulfills the Old; without the Old Testament there would be no New, none whatsoever. The fulfillment of the New is personified for us as Jesus Christ. Now let us go back to the Old Testament to the Book of Numbers. You’ll read this in the 27th chapter: “And Moses said to the Lord, ‘Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, who will go out before them and come in before them, who will lead them out and bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep which have no shepherd.’ And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua the son of Nun, for in him is this spirit, and lay your hand upon him” (verses 15-18). Now, the word Joshua is the Hebrew for Jesus, the same word. It was Moses who changed his name from Hosea to Joshua. So take Joshua, who is the son of Nun and the word Nun in Hebrew means “fish.” It’s the primitive symbol of Christ. Nun means “fish,” the fourteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. So here, you take this, the deliverer, the savior of the world. Here is his son, for he is now the son and his father is Nun. But the father and the son are one (John 10:30).

Now, if the New only fulfills the Old, where is it in the New? Here we are told, “Do this that the congregation of the Lord may have a shepherd.” Well now, the 10th chapter of John is the story of the shepherd. When you read it, do this for me…if you read it tonight and …see the ninth chapter begins with the state of a blind person and they said to him…they met a man who was blind from birth, and they said, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” And he said, “Neither this man nor his parents, but that the works of God be made manifest” (John 9:2). The entire chapter is devoted to blindness, but when it ends on blindness it’s now mental blindness. It begins with physical blindness and it comes to mental blindness, where one is the symbol of the other.

When it comes to the end, the Pharisees…he said to them, “Now you say that you see, your guilt is still with you because you do not’” (verse 41). They say that they know…they know the law backwards, so because you claim that you see, your guilt is still with you. If you had not claimed that you saw, I would open your eye…I would show you the Word of God, but because you know it all—oh, yes, you know everything, all the rituals, all the outside paraphernalia of orthodoxy. So you know it all, so you say “We see, we know” and therefore your guilt remains with you.

Now when you read the next chapter, which is the story of the shepherd, do me a favor and read it in this manner. Don’t start with the first verse. It’s almost a complete dislocation of the, I would say, the pages. Start with the 19th verse and go through to the 29th; then go back and read from the 1st to the 18th; and then go from the 30th to the 42nd. And you will see a continuity that is perfect in keeping with that which precedes it, for you are speaking now of blindness. Let me repeat it if you didn’t take it down, you start with the 19th verse and read through the 29th, inclusively; go back, read from the 1st to the 18th; now skip over and read from the 30th to the 42nd, that is the chapter, and you will find the most marvelous flow that leads from this discussion of blindness. He tells them a parable and the parable is the sheepfold, and the sheep, and the gatekeeper, and the door, and the shepherd. They don’t understand it. They did not understand the parable. Then he said, “I am the door and I have a flock. I also have other sheep not of this flock. I must go and get them that they may be of one fold.” Then he tells them, “I lay down my life for my sheep. My sheep know my voice. I go before them and lead them out, and when I lead them in I go before them and lead them in. They know my voice and they follow me. They do not know the voice of strangers; they only know my voice” (Jn. l0:27). In this chapter he states, “No man takes away my life…I lay it down myself. I have the power to lay it down and the power to take it up again. And because I lay down my life for my sheep, my Father loves me.” He loves me for this. And, “I and my Father are one” (verse 30).

Now there is a division among the Pharisees who heard it, and they took up stones to stone him. He said, “For what good work do you stone me?” They answered, “For no good work, we stone you for blasphemy; for you being a man make yourself God” (Jn. 10:33). That is the division— you being a man make yourself God. Now today, if I say to the world of Christians, one billion Christians, “I am he,” they’ll stone me. If I said that 2,000 years ago a strange event took place and Jesus Christ became man, they would say yes to that. I say, was he man?—yes, but he was also God. I say, “I’m not saying that. Was he man?” Yes…they would admit yes he was man but he was God. “Did you agree then with the Pharisees for stoning him because he dared to claim that he was God?” No, they would not, they were wrong. But are you right now today when one has the identical experience? But they don’t see it that way.

Now said he, “Because I say that I am the Son of God you lay me down this way; you stone me, not for good works, only for blasphemy?” Well now, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I say, you are gods’…and scripture cannot be broken?” (Jn. 10:34). Scripture must be fulfilled; it cannot be broken. Did I not say you are gods? He’s quoting the 82nd Psalm: “I say you are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you will die like men and fall as one man, O princes” (verses 1, 6). One man falls carrying all the princes with him, and they are gods. You are the princes, you are the gods. Then one awakes to fulfill the promise, the scripture, and then the awakening begins… so he is the door. When I say I am in Christ, I am simply telling you that I share completely the body of Christ. He who is in Christ completely shares the body of Christ, and this life, the life of Christ, is the life that one lives patterned after Jesus. And everything that’s said of him you have to experience. Well, we all receive gifts differently and in a different measure. There are different measures of the gifts in the kingdom.

When the door—“I am the door”—now the door is not something like that door is open; it’s a pattern. There’s only one door—“I am the door.” Well, who are you, a door? Yes, I am the pattern. You either go through this pattern or you don’t get in. Then what is the pattern? Well, first of all, you must be awakened from a long, long sleep where you have been dreaming strange, strange nightmares, horrors. And you will awaken. Right after you awaken, then you come out from the tomb in which you were buried; and that coming out of the tomb is your birth from above. That’s the beginning of the pattern, that’s how it begins. So that is the door, and there is no other way that you can get in save through that door. When Blake said, “Every 200 years a door is open into Eternity” he means someone is sent as the pattern. The pattern is the door. Someone is sent into the world, unknown even by his own parents…they do not know it. Read the story carefully,  “Why did you leave us?” and when he replied “Did you not know I must be about my Father’s business?” they were stunned. “Are we not your parents?” He did not admit it. So even the parents did not know that the one they bore physically in the world was a pattern man, and the pattern man is sent into the world and he tells the story.

Now, “No one comes to me,” said he, “save my Father draws him,” and “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). But no one comes. I have others in another flock; I’ll go and get them that they may be of one fold. But they will all come because they know my voice. When they hear my voice they will come. The voice is simply a sound, it’s a tone, it’s a vibration that awakens in everyone who hears his tone, a corresponding tone, and they know it’s the truth. Then they come. Not one will be lost, not one. Then he departs, having called everyone at that interval of time where the Father is building now from this section of the awakened humanity. Then, at another interval of time, he sends another pattern into the world. And this is how it’s done…he builds his temple, everything in order, one after the other.

Now, let me tell you a story that was told me this past week…she’s here tonight. She said, “I had this last November, but it was such a normal, natural thing, simply like having, well, having dinner, and why write it? It was just a normal thing. Then I told it to a friend of mine and she said, ‘Didn’t you tell that to Neville?’” She said, “No, why should I?” “Oh,” she said, “he’s asked us all to tell all visions, all dreams, and you didn’t tell it to him? You write it to him!” So she said, “In my vision I was at the seaside and you were standing on the beach with your back to the ocean dressed in a while robe. You were addressing an enormous crowd of people of different faiths, and I knew you were Neville but I knew you were Jesus. There was no doubt in my mind I’m looking at Jesus and yet I’m looking at Neville. It was the most normal, natural happening ever…just as natural as taking breakfast. So when I woke and wrote it out it didn’t seem important to send it to you because I took it for granted, it’s a natural, natural thing.”

One who is sent as the pattern man has to fulfill every part of scripture. I could tell you from now ’til the end of time that I have, but until you see it in vision you aren’t convinced. Until you encounter it in vision, you do not know it. So anyone who makes the claim from this level, it’s silly, because you will never convince anyone in eternity from this level that you are that central figure. Now listen to the words, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world” (Jn. 8:23). And he who sent me has never left me alone. And he who sent me is my Father, and I and my Father are one. “I came out from the Father, I came into the world; again I am leaving the world and I’m going to the Father” (Jn. 16:28). But when he sent me, he sent me as the pattern man, and the pattern man is the door into eternity. His story is that this is going to happen to you. As it happens to you, you move right through that pattern into eternity. If the door closes… now I have no experience of the closing of the door. I take Blake’s words for granted, but I will not go all out on it, I do not know. He tells me in his Jerusalem that it opens every 200 years. How long it remains open he didn’t say. But he said this poem was dictated to him by the spirit of love. If it’s dictated by the spirit of love then it is by God.

Now we are told, “Let us love one another” in that 1st epistle of John, “For if we love one another God abides in us, and his love is made perfect in us” (4:13). In that same 4th chapter he tells us God is love. Well, if God is love and his love is made perfect in us, then love cannot be an attribute: Love is God himself. That I know from experience. This is no theory on my part…I stood in the presence of the risen Lord…and it is man. They accused him of blasphemy because he said he was man and yet he said he was God. I stood in the presence of the risen Lord and the risen Lord is man, and he’s infinite love, nothing but love! So if love is made perfect in us by loving each other, well then, God himself becomes perfect and blooms himself in us… not an attribute of God but God himself. If I were called upon to name an attribute, I would say power, I would say wisdom, I would say these things, but not love. Love is God himself.

So we’re called upon in this fourth chapter to love, and if we love, well then, God who is love is made perfect in us. He unfolds in us and then the whole thing becomes the door. Because, when he called me into his presence and I mentioned love is the greatest thing in the world, you see, he embraced me, he used his hands. So in this 27th chapter of Numbers, he said, “Take Joshua,” which means Jesus, “the son of Nun, for in him is the spirit, and place your hands upon him.” So the hand is only the symbol of power. He embraced me with power. Then I stood before God as infinite power. But he first embraced me with his hands and that is power. But he who embraced me was all love and he incorporated me into his being. So from that moment on I have shared the body of Christ, which is a living body. It’s a life-giving body. If it gives itself to any being, it imparts life. So if it embraces one, or in any way impregnates one, it gives life…the life that is God. They have life in themselves from then on, but not physically; this is all done in the world of Spirit. So here, she saw it.

But to say tonight to anyone, even to some who are present, what I have just said, they will say that’s the height of blasphemy. Why?—because being a man he makes himself God. Will he not die like all men? Yes. He quotes in this the 82nd Psalm. What is the 82nd Psalm? “And God has taken his place in the divine council”—in the congregation—“in the midst of the gods he holds judgment.” And now God addresses the gods, us: “I say you are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you will die like men and fall as one man, O princes” (verses 1, 6). So he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, this was the choice, and then one man fell carrying with him all the gods. Then he singles out by a predetermined plan, at intervals of time, one that he embraces and becomes one with that one, therefore, he becomes the door. Then he sends him into the world not knowing what he’s going to do, but he’ll be guided, he’ll be led, and he’s sent. He is the door and the door is not the little door as you see it…it is a pattern. It’s a way of living, patterned after Jesus. Suddenly the whole pattern unfolds within him, and he tells it to those that the Father in him is calling. He leaves it as a written record for others who belong to his fold. They are not of this fold, but they will come. So he leaves it as a written record for others to follow that pattern. While he walks the earth, he tells it to those who will hear, and they are of his fold. But he has others not of this fold, and he must go and bring them so they become one flock. For he has to take back all that he was sent. And you’re told, “I have not lost one of them: “Of all that thou gavest me, I have kept them in thy name, I haven’t lost one” (Jn. 7:12). So, one cannot be lost.

So the door of which I speak is simply a pattern through which everyone passes who hears it. But we are told, “You think you know scripture and you’re blind. You say that you see, and therefore your guilt remains with you, because you do not know”…because “to see” and “to know” are the same in both Hebrew and Greek, to see and to know. You said time and again when I said something, or someone else said it to you, and suddenly it dawned on you the meaning of what was said. At first you didn’t quite see it, and then you said, “Oh, yes, I see that.” It doesn’t mean you see it as something objective in the world but you discerned it…now you can understand it. Therefore, to see and to know are the same really. Now I see that, yes, I see it. And you say that you see and yet you do not, therefore, your guilt remains with you.

So, in this story of Jesus Christ…as I read in a current magazine this week this priest of fourteen years wants to quit the Catholic Church, to change all the rituals…beginning with the name Father. He said, “I, a boy of twenty, when that Mass was said and I was made a priest, and here are my parents, my family, all kneeling before me, and I came up, and I made the sign of the cross over my mother, and she burst into tears, and all my family burst into tears. And, I, at twenty, was called Father. Here in my parish, these prominent men in business, in science, all the professions, and I call them by their first name at the age of twenty…and all the priests do, and they call me Father.” He said, “What nonsense! What sheer hypocrisy! And all things that go under this ritual are so stupid.” “Including celibacy” he said, and he is completely against it. You’ll find it in the current issue or maybe the last issue of The Saturday Evening Post. He’s Father Schaffer, who has been and still is, although at the moment he’s suspended, he’s been a priest for fourteen years. He said, “I know it from the inside.”

This whole thing is so completely phony on the outside. Father what! Not until he stands before you and calls you Father do you really know that you are Father. And they haven’t the slightest concept who that Son is that will one day call them Father. For if God is love and his love is made perfect in us, then God is made perfect in us; and if he’s a father, then I must become at that moment of perfection, I must become father. Well, if I’m a father, where is my child? As the last book of the Old Testament asks the question, “If a son is the glory of his father, and if I am a father, where is my glory? Where is my son?” (Mal.1:6). Wait. He comes. Then all of a sudden the Son comes and when he comes he calls you Father, and then you know who you are.

But you cannot know it until you are made perfect in the eyes of God. So he said, “I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake I did it, for my own sake, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give unto another” (Is. 48:10). He can’t give it to another. He has only to give it to himself; therefore, he has to make you himself. When you reach the limit and the fullness of time and you are just like him, you are he, and then the Son appears. Here you are the Father of God’s only begotten son, and his name is David (Ps. 2:7)…the most disturbing thing in the Christian world that anyone could ever hear!

I haven’t said it to anyone save those who are here who can grasp it. I say it to my family in Barbados and they say, “Neville, you’re insane.” I go back to the 10th chapter of John, “He’s mad and he has a devil; why listen to him?” This is the division in the 10th of John. “Others said, ‘Are these the sayings of one who has a devil? Can the devil open the eyes of the blind?’” (Verses 19- 21). Well, your eyes have been opened. Though you were not physically blind when you came here, you were blind to the truth, and your eyes have been opened to the truth concerning the Son of God. “Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?” that’s what he’s asked…while many of them said, “He’s mad and he has a devil. Why listen to him?”

Well, this goes away back into 1939. I started on the second day of February, 1939 telling this story professionally. I can see it now, on 48th Street at a little bookstore called The Harmony. She was a sweet, sweet lady…two cousins, and they had this little bookstore, managed this little bookstore. In the window they had a big picture of me and they had my books displayed. Two ladies were looking at the books and my picture. One was telling the other who was a visitor to the city, she said, “You know who he is?” Naturally, she’s stranger to the city so she said no. I’m standing next to her, hiding my face so they wouldn’t see me. Then this one said to the other, “He is called the mad mystic of 48th Street. Oh, you should hear him…he’s as crazy as they make them. You should hear what he tells the people. We must go. He doesn’t charge anything. We must go…it’s like a show. You come to New York City, you’ve got to see all the freaks, and he is the mad one, the mad mystic of 48th Street.”

I heard the two of them discussing this madness of mine; it’s only the 10th chapter of John. I had to hear it. I had to hear it back in 1939, which was ten years after he embraced me and sent me into the world to do it. Well, it is always mad, what you bring to the world, that man is God? Yes! “Thou art a man, God is no more, thine own humanity learn to adore” (Blake, Everlasting Gospel). Fall in love with it, for the whole thing is God, and God is man, and there’s nothing but man. To the degree that you love, then love which is God himself is made perfect in you. When he is made perfect in you, you don’t fool anyone. Don’t say, “I love people” in words, it doesn’t mean a thing. He sees the heart; he doesn’t hear the words. He doesn’t see the outer action; he sees the motive behind the action. He sees only the heart. When he sees the heart and the heart is made perfect just like him then you are he…and then his Son becomes your Son. You can’t have a more wonderful proof of his gift of himself to you than when his Son calls you Father (Ps. 2:7; Gal. 4:4, 6). There is no other proof comparable to that. What other would you have?

So here, she saw me on the beach, certainly. I am all over night after night in a world beyond the world of dream, fulfilling scripture. And those who are called will meet me in different areas, carrying on, speaking yes. Although I speak in this world only the English tongue, I interpret the Word of God in the tongue of everyone in which they are born…in every tongue in which they are born. I do not need more than the English tongue here, but in every tongue when they come. And they have to come. She said, “I saw all faces, an enormous throng listened to you as you stood on the beach, your back to the ocean, clothed in a white robe, addressing this crowd.” She saw correctly. But on this level, to make that claim here that’s blasphemy, that’s the height of blasphemy…because you being a man make yourself God. And I tell you, there is nothing but God!

There is nothing but God in the world. There’s no room for anything in the world but God. But within God there’s an organization, there are levels, each filling its purpose as God has determined. If he’s chosen me, and implanted within me his very being, having seen him I have met the qualification of apostleship: To have seen the risen Lord and then to be sent; and to be sent is the apostle. So if it comes in that order and I happen to be chosen that way—not because in any way I earned it—it’s all a gift. I can’t tell you why I was called and placed in that most glorious position of the apostle, I do not know. I only know that it was before that the world was. All this was predestined. He predestined us to be conformed to the image of his Son and he did it before that the world was (Rom. 8:29). So there’s no emergency thinking on the part of God.

Because this one was shot tonight and that one will die tonight… as I came out tonight, I turned on the radio to get a news bulletin and Ahmanson at sixty-one drops dead. So what! So he leaves his 300 million and he was mentioned in Time magazine only a couple of months ago, or a month ago, among those who are fabulously wealthy in our land, who gave us a lovely theater and contributed to the museum. But at sixty-one his little number is called. He’s on vacation in Europe, and the number is called, and Ahmanson vanishes from the world at sixty-one. So what does it matter? Are you called through the door? That’s the important thing. Have you reached the point where you can enter the sheepfold and come through the door which is the pattern man? For life in Christ is simply a way of living after the pattern of Jesus. That’s it…it’s patterned after Jesus. So when one actually experiences that, that’s all that matters, and he goes in.

Now, what order we fill within the temple of God, what does it matter? It’s all noble, because in God it’s all glorious anyway…whether you fill the eighth or you fill the first. There are eight sections as Paul describes them (1Cor.12:28). What does it matter which one you fill? To be in God, to be in Christ is to share with the body of Christ. So the whole body is yours though you fill the eighth or you fill the third or the fourth, it doesn’t really matter. But he selected us for reasons unknown to us and we play our different parts.

So tonight it may seem not to be practical, but I assure you that if you have problems tonight as you came here and you listen attentively and you forgot the problems while you are attentive to the Word of God, what you had as problems is no longer a problem, it’s solved. I don’t care what it was. If you completely forgot it in your eagerness to hear the Word of God, what you had as a problem is no longer a problem, it’s solved. You hold onto a problem, you keep it alive as a problem. Forget it in your interest in the Word of God and you will find the whole thing dissolved within your world. I promise you it will work that way.

Now she said she rode home having said to her friend, “I will, I’ll write him the letter.” She rode on the Freeway, and she thought, “I’ll take the part of Job and play the part of Job,” so she assumed Job. Suddenly my voice rang out in the greatest authoritative manner to her and I said to her, “I have fathered you”—with such emphasis on fathered—“Don’t think of anything else.” Well, I do know I have fathered her. Well, if I have fathered her, I gave her myself. What else can my Father give me but himself? So my Father fathered me, but when he fathered me and gave me himself, I became my Father. Therefore, when I father someone, it’s the same Father fathering them and became them. They will awaken to know that we are one. So she said, “I heard the voice.” Well, that’s the sheep: “They know my voice and they follow me” (Jn. 10:27). The voice of a stranger they do not know, and they will not follow the voice of a stranger; they only now the voice of the shepherd. So when they hear the voice of the shepherd, they follow. You read it carefully.

Now let me repeat it if you didn’t take it down. After the ninth chapter, which is on blindness, beginning with physical and moving into mental blindness, don’t begin with the first verse, begin with the 19th verse and go through to the 29th; go back then to the 1st through to the 18th; then go to the 30th through the 42nd, and you will see a continuity, a flow, that cannot be given us in the way it’s now written. I can only say, when it was published, there was a dislocation. I know in my own case we have dislocations in my own little publications or misspelled words. But this is a complete dislocation of the passages, as though you brought pages of parchment and they fell on the ground, you collected them, and brought them to the printer; and he not knowing what you did, he took them just as you gave it to him and printed it. So this is a complete…in fact the Book of John is the most marvelous thing…to take it and rearrange it. I’ve done it, I have it at home. It’s a marvelous rearrangement. How passages that are way over in the end should not be there at all; and then some of the late chapters should not be there, and the early chapters should be the late. You can see the whole thing intended it that way.

But tonight, you take this one and when you do it, you’ll see how it flows…bearing in mind the 9th that precedes it where man thinks he sees. Because, one billion Christians tonight, oh, they know who Jesus Christ is. You say, “Who is he, a man? Well, don’t you know he was accused of blasphemy because he was a man?” and they’re shocked beyond measure. Shocked beyond measure! You said he was a man, didn’t you? Well, do you know that they accused him of blasphemy because he was a man who dared to claim he was God? “Well, that’s different…that’s something that happened 2,000 years ago. It was unique, it happened once and for all times and never again.” They don’t see the contemporary drama unfolding in man: That this whole thing is taking place now; that the prophecy in the 27th of Numbers, “Give us a shepherd that the congregation of the Lord may not be without a shepherd. Take Joshua”…and Joshua is Jesus. Well, there’s always Jesus there: Jesus is only the pattern man. Take the pattern man when you need the shepherd and he will lead them out and he will lead them in; he’ll go before them, and he will simply precede them as he brings them in, so that the congregation of the Lord will not be without a shepherd.

So it takes Jesus which is Joshua. “And embrace him,” well, that’s what the Lord does, he embraces you. Therefore, who then was Moses? The word Moses is simply the old perfective of the Egyptian verb “to be born.” So here is something being born. Here is God in maturity; he embraces you, puts his arms around you and you fuse with him. As you fuse, then you are sent…always sends you…and he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone; that’s why when you see me you see him. You see me on the beach, you know I am Neville, yet you know who I am. You see me come up in a self-propelled carriage, and you know I am Neville; but you know who I am because he’s never left me, not since that day he embraced me. He has never left me. Even though I’ve gone through all kinds of strange things in this world, embarrassing things, he never left me; therefore, he suffered with me, the very being that you saw on the beach and saw in that interior with the pillared columns proclaiming power, the same being. So he tells you in no uncertain terms he has never, never left me, never alone. And now I return to my Father, and having returned I leave an image of the open door for those who are coming through.

How true Blake’s vision is, I do not know. I trust him implicitly. He said every 200 years. How long it remains open, he didn’t say. I only know it’s open. From all that I’m hearing, it remains open. At what moment in time it closes I do not know, but he claims every 200 years the door is open. I know from my own experience the door is only a pattern man; that is the door through whom they go.

Now let us go into the Silence.