Christianity celebrates as the climax of the Christian faith. Although we are warned by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians when he said: “I observe that you are keeping these dates alive, like days, and months, and seasons, and years”; he said, “I am afraid I have labored over you in vain” (Gal.4:11). But, nevertheless, over the centuries we still have kept them alive, it’s perfectly alright, as reminders. Like a picture on the wall, your father on the wall, your mother, and they’re gone from this world, but the picture… you don’t need a reminder yet you look at them and you smile and you talk to it. I know I do. And so, I have them in the living room where I see them daily, and I leave them there to remind me of my love for them or their love for me but there they are. So these are things simply like reminders…all that they are, really.
But here in this great mystery which will be celebrated this week by hundreds of millions, and I wonder what percentage really understands the mystery. They see it as history, and it is not secular history; it’s divine history, something entirely different. And in the story of the crucifixion— it’s preserved for us in the gospel—have you noticed the correspondence between the suffering of Jesus and that of David? It’s documented. You can take it in the story as told in the gospel concerning the crucifixion and see the identical suffering in that of David.
We speak of the seven last words on the cross: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” These are the words of David in the 22nd Psalm (verse 1). Then we find another one, and he said, to complete and fulfill the scripture, “I thirst,” and they gave him vinegar for his thirst. That’s the 69th
Psalm, the Psalm of David, the words of David (verse 21). And “O Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit”…these are the words of David, the 31st Psalm (verse 5). You go through all of these words on the cross and you find them the words of David.
Then you ask yourself numberless questions. Is not David said in the Psalms that he is the Son of God? (Ps. 2:7). Was it not the suffering Son? And then, who is David and who is Christ? Was he not anointed? And when he is anointed, is he not made Messiah and Messiah is Christ? All of these questions surge in the mind if you really are interested and curious. But until you actually experience it, your concept of this drama in prospect is so different from what it comes to be seen as in retrospect. After it has happened in you, the whole thing is entirely different from the story as you were told it by your mother, and the school, and the churches…entirely different…the drama unfolding within you.
Now here, the beginning, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” That’s the cry of every man in the world. Haven’t I been good? Haven’t I done the decent thing? Haven’t I served? Look what has happened to me and why should it happen to me? Here is a man whose funeral tomorrow… hundreds of millions…and I’m not exaggerating, because this is an international, not a national thing. All over the world there will be services for the Reverend Martin Luther King and hundreds of millions are asking, “Why did it happen to him?” The man has been non-violent all of his life and it happened to him. So, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” But the last part of that 22nd Psalm is the most glorious thing to read. Just take the last two verses: “Posterity will serve him; and men will tell of the Lord to the coming generations, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn that he has done it, he has wrought it” (verse 30). The unbelievable thing in the world, he wrought it. Generations and generations to come men will tell of the story, and not only that, they’ll declare it to a people yet unborn. Who are the people yet unborn?—those who have not yet experienced the second birth, that birth from above. They will tell it to everyone who is interested that it has been done, he has wrought it. Well, the only one spoken of in scripture who did it is Jesus Christ. But Jesus Christ is in you. He’s not outside, 2,000 years ago: “Christ in you is the hope of glory” (Col. l:27). “If we have been crucified with him in a death like his,” and in that crucifixion we are one with him, well then, “we certainly will be united with him in resurrection like his” (Rom.6:5). Only God can rise. He has wrought it. And so God in man will rise in everyone. The crucifixion took place. We were all crucified with God. And then came that moment in time when the first flower appeared. And then, from then on, all are appearing.
So the resurrection is taking place; the crucifixion is over. “Those who teach that the resurrection is over,” said Paul, “they are simply cursed, for they are misleading the world in teaching that it’s over” (2Tim.2:18). It is taking place. The crucifixion is over, but not the resurrection. The resurrection is taking place in the whole vast world. And when man is resurrected who is resurrected but God. There is only God. God became us that we may become God. So he actually became every being born of woman. And in our own good time we are raised one by one into that one body that is God. For only one man fell carrying with him all, and only one is rising, but he rises in all. And in the end all are united into that one being that is God. That’s the mystery.
So here, in the Book of Daniel, the last chapter, and in this book he said that “many of those who sleep in the dust shall awaken. And I asked, ‘How long, O Lord, until the end of these wonders?’ and I heard him swear, ‘A time, two times, and half a time’ (verses 6, 7); I heard it, but I did not understand it’” (12 8). So he records it. He confesses he heard it, but he did not understand it. Then we find in Peter’s letter, “The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired concerning this salvation; they inquired what person or time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when indicating and predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory” (1Pet. 1:10). It was revealed to them that it was not for them or their time, but for yours, for mine. “Therefore, set your hope fully on the grace that is coming to you at the revealing of Jesus Christ” (verse 13). The time had to be fulfilled. The prophets did not know. They were simply recording the vision of Jehovah, but they did not understand it. He said, “But I did not understand it. I heard it, but I did not understand it.”
And how true the vision is! It does take time, and two times, and half a time. It takes three and a half years for the wonders to unfold. It begins with the birth. So tell it and declare the deliverance of him to a people yet unborn, those who have not experienced the birth. Tell them that when you are born, mark it, it’s going to take a time, two times, and half a time, forty-two months, 1260 days, as we are told in Revelation—three and a half years for the wonders to unfold within you, beginning with the resurrection (Rev. 11:3). Resurrection is not something that comes at the end of history, it comes within history. You’re walking the street and suddenly the moment is come, the time is fulfilled, and then you bring forth your own being which is God. God comes out and all the symbolism of his birth is present…that of the child. And then comes in the next forty-two months, the wonders in these four major events that must take place in you.
On the other hand, there will be other stories of scripture that you will experience, and they are marvelous and thrilling beyond measure, but the important ones are these four that must take place after the resurrection. So the resurrection comes first and it comes within man. It’s an individual experience. It’s not a collective experience, it’s an individual experience, and it comes not at the end but within history. And where does it happen?—in you. “And many who sleep in the dust shall awaken.” It’s an awakening, it’s a peculiar awakening, something that I have never experienced before or since save that moment. I can’t quite describe how you feel when you awaken. It’s something entirely different. Well now, what is the dust? People think of a cemetery. “Many of those who sleep in the dust shall awaken.” Well, listen to this statement in the 2nd chapter of Genesis: “And God formed man out of the dust.” Are you a man generically speaking? Well then, that body that is formed is dust. So, if now those who sleep in the dust shall awaken, then where do you awaken but in the body of dust? Leave this body long enough either above or below the earth and it turns to the dust of the earth. So where does a man awaken, where does he resurrect? And it really is, resurrection means, really, “an awakening.” It’s a peculiar awakening. I know in my own case I felt myself waking and waking and waking, and then when I’m completely awake, here I am in a tomb. I am in an actual tomb and where was the tomb? Not in a cemetery; I was the tomb, this body here was the tomb. It was all in my skull.
As the lady wrote me this past week, she said, “I heard a voice, a conversational voice, and the voice said to me, ‘What was the color of your sepulcher?’ And she said ‘I answered quite without taking thought, white.’ But I added, ‘And it was long, elongated, narrow, and round at the end.’” That’s right. That’s your skull. And she wondered if this was part of the 23rd chapter of the Book of Matthew, when he spoke of the Pharisees and he called them “whited sepulchers” (verse 27, KJV). No my dear. It was the custom, and still is, in the orthodox Jewish world at this season of the year Passover; one month before Passover they whitened the sepulchers to warn people off from touching them. Because the 19th chapter of Numbers has a threat to anyone who touches the sepulcher is unclean for seven days. And no one should be seen unclean in the Passover festival, so every sepulcher was whitened. And so when you answered, you answered from the depth of your soul, because we have innate knowledge. You didn’t reason, you said there was no premeditation, “I automatically answered, white.” Well, that’s exactly the custom, that sepulchers are whitened to warn off anyone from touching it and, therefore, contracting uncleanliness. And so you automatically answered and you added to it, and added wisely. It is elongated and it is curved at the end. That’s your skull.
So, my dear, it is not any whited sepulcher, although in the story, the 23rd of Matthew, he did say to them, you wash the outside, you clean the outside like the sepulcher. You simply put white on it—in other words, white-wash it—but the inside is full of dead men’s bones. So he was actually criticizing their attitude towards the mystery: You do everything on the outside for show and leave the inside full of dead men’s bones. But here in this wonderful mystery, you walk this earth and suddenly out of the nowhere, as it did in my case, and in the case of Bob, in the case of Benny, and the case of Christine, she didn’t know it. When these things happen, they happen so suddenly. The time has come. God has planned everything as it has come out, and as it will be consummated. Don’t be concerned. You can’t fail, because it was planned in the beginning.
And the crucifixion is so completely unlike what the world thinks that it is. They think of something 2,000 years ago on a little hillside, called Golgotha, when Golgotha is your own wonderful human skull. That is where you are buried…and the “you” that is buried is God himself. And the one who is playing all the parts that you’ve played is in scripture form, David. I call you David. Alright, so you are a woman, I still say you are David. And you’ve played everything and suffered all the pangs of hell. You’ve played every conceivable part in the world. “I have found in David the son of Jesse”—and Jesse means I AM, which is the name of God, so I have found in my son—“a man after my own heart, who will do all my will” (Acts 13:22). Who did he find? He found David, and you are David. So he’s made you a woman scorned. He’s made you a man that is brutal. He has made you every conceivable thing in this world. And God did it. In the end, when he awakens, the one who played all the parts was David, and David is his son, the conqueror. He never once failed to execute the will of his Father, and therefore he is loved forever. Therefore, you the one who is playing the part, you have never failed, not once. Even when in the eyes of the world you seem to be a cur, you seemed to be horrible, that’s the part. You were cast in that part and you are playing that part. So here, on the surface this horrible drama that took place this past week and God played both parts the one that was murdered and the one who murdered. And so, the one who did the shooting, who murdered him, he intended evil against the Rev. Martin Luther King, but God intended it for good. The story of Joseph and his brothers: “You intended evil against me; but God meant it for good” (Gen.50:20). And time proved it was for good, he saved the whole vast civilized world from death by starvation, because he had the vision to take seven years to prepare for the feeding when there would be nothing in the world that could grow. But he had saved a fifth of all the crops for seven years, and therefore they even forgot that the ground ever grew anything in those seven years when nothing grew. But he had it.
And so, you will see that God intended this act for good. And you will see an entire change for good as a result of that act. And the one who is now condemned—undoubtedly they’ll find him if he doesn’t destroy himself before—and he will get what Caesar demands. He said, “Whose coin is this?—“Caesar’s.” “Well then, render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” If the law demands an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, well, let it demand it. Then let him take his life if that’s the law. But God played the part. And all these parts are being played by one being. God is a protean being. There’s only one. God is one, he’s not two: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord thy God, the Lord is one” (Deut.6:4). Never get away from it. What is his name?—I AM. Well, you can’t divide I AM.
And the day will come the whole vast world will see the mystery. But in prospect it’s so different from what it seemed to be after the experience; and then you reflect upon it and in retrospect the whole thing is unfolding. For the prophets confessed, “I heard it but I did not understand it.” It was not for their time. The time had to be fulfilled and all the violence; and then came that moment in time when it was fulfilled. The first broke earth and came out of the dust…the dust being his own body. He woke within himself, and the whole drama that was foretold for the first time was really understood.
For he said to Daniel, “Shut up the words and seal the book,” because no one now can understand it…shut up the words and seal the book…in his last chapter, the 12th chapter, (verse 4). And then he said, “I asked him, But how long until the end?” for he said shut it up until the end. And then he told him the wonders, and it will take three and a half years, a time, two times and half a time. At the end of that three and a half years after it begins, you’ll know the wonders of God and he has wrought it. So go and tell all the generations and tell the people yet unborn—those who are waiting eagerly to be born from above—tell them it has been accomplished. It is done! And the God who did it is the God who will do it in you, because there’s only one God. There are not two Gods, three Gods, four Gods, only one God. So if it was ever done, it was done by God. And because there is only one God he will do it in me. And he has done it in me…he has wrought the same thing in me.
In the end, everyone is the father of God’s only begotten son who is David. That causes such a tremendous stir in the hearts of people who have been taught otherwise. They don’t realize that Jehovah and Jesus Christ are one. And if David was Jehovah’s only begotten son, as told us in the 2nd Psalm, and he and Jesus Christ are one, David is the son of Jesus Christ, as told us in the 20th chapter of the Book of Luke. “And he said unto me”…when he asked the question, ‘What think ye of the Christ? Whose son is he?’ And they said, ‘The son of David.’ Then he answered, ‘Why then did David in the spirit call him lord? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be David’s son?’” (Mat.22:42). When a boy calls a man “my lord” he is speaking of his father or to his father. So David was addressing him, the Lord, “my lord,” for every son in the ancient world always called his father “my lord.”
As we told you here recently, in the Book of Genesis, when it was the daughter Rachel speaking to her father, “Let not my lord…” (Gen31:35). Well, here was the father searching all over the place for the lost utensils, which he thought his son-in-law Jacob had stolen. And he comes into Rachel’s tent and he said to Rachel while he’s searching…and she said, sitting on the saddle where she had concealed these implements…and then she said, “Let not my lord be angry with me…because it is after the way of women with me.” She’s implying that she had that monthly moment at her age as a woman, and, therefore, she could not rise and stand in his presence. But she called him “my lord.” Well, here is the cue given in Genesis for that is the seed plot of the entire Bible. So when the child speaks to its father and addresses the father as “my lord,” then throughout scripture we find the same thing.
And so, David calls Christ “my Lord”…he’s calling him “my father.” So when he stood in my presence, he called me Father. It’s the most glorious experience that one could ever experience…to look into the eyes of this heavenly being, without any doubt in your mind that you are looking at your own son. And he is your son in the most absolute sense of the word, and he knows he is, and you know that he is. He knows you are his father. And so, everyone, regardless of race, regardless of nation, regardless of everything, will have that experience. So, in the end, are we not one?
So, a lady tonight, she writes a story. She said, “I heard a voice and the voice within me. At first I woke with these words, ‘Now I understand’ and as I pondered these words, I discovered the words were not uttered by me, they were uttered by my friend Jan. (??) her voice was there. And then I heard distinctly, and the voice said, her voice, ‘I am in you and you in me.’
And then from the depths of my soul I understood the unity of being, the oneness of it all. I thought I had before, but at that moment I understood it, the unity. ‘I am in you and you in me’…I had heard those words over and over and over, but I didn’t quite understand them. Here, suddenly, I heard them and I understood them for the first time, the unity of being.” Well, here I look at Benny. You could not find—unless I was a blond, blue-eyed being in this world—you couldn’t find two more opposite in pigment than Benny and myself…unless you painted me white and made me an albino. And yet, we are the same man, because we have the same son. He met David, and David called him Father, and he knew he was David’s father, and David knew that he was Benny’s son. And that same David called me
Father, so are we not one? So are these not masks that we wear, just as actors wear masks? So all these are masks and the actor is God. “God only acts and is in existing beings or men.” So in everyone the same being is playing the part. He’s a protean being and he can play all the parts in the world.
So here, this coming Friday when millions will go to a threehour service, or parts of it, anyway, and then on Sunday the great day of resurrection…and it’s nice. I would not completely go along with the criticism that Paul gave to the Galatians because they kept it alive. But, nevertheless, that is not it…on the outside. Tell the story of his deliverance, that he has wrought it, that’s how the Psalm ends, the 22nd. He has done it! It’s been accomplished! Salvation is assured! It is over. It’s not going to be, as the world thinks; it is over. And we’re being called one by one to unite into a single being who is God. And that God…in scripture you can call it Jehovah or call it Jesus Christ, for they are the same. The Spirit of Christ that controlled the lives of the evangelists is the same being that inspired the prophets of the Old Testament, the same being. Jehovah and Christ are one. They aren’t two; for you can’t have two Gods, only one God.
So this week when you read it in the papers…and every morning I must confess I’m always shocked when I read what some prominent bishop or minister or monseigneur had to say the previous Sunday or something. Like this morning’s L. A. Times and they gave two long columns to the palaver of a professor at one of the great theological colleges in our country…and the nonsense that he wrote…a complete blind, blind person. He hasn’t the slightest concept of this mystery, and he wants to treat it as something on this level, and it hasn’t a thing to do with secular history. While we are walking the earth in this world then suddenly the whole thing erupts within us, and then scripture becomes something alive, and the whole thing is in us. And it was all about you, as told in the 40th Psalm. Suddenly you realize the whole thing was all about you; it wasn’t about another because there is no other. And so, you, individually, the whole book is all about you individually and there is no other. In the end, all of us will be one, and yet without loss of identity…a peculiar strange unity without loss of the members.
I have felt it, I have experienced it, and so I know what I’m talking about. I did not lose my identity, and yet I became one with the risen Lord. Then infinite love that is his that was mine and is mine…and I feel it night after night as I drop off into the deep. I am that being. In a world beyond the world of dreams I am that being. I’m playing the parts that I must play, sent on this errand, that errand, and sent by self because I am the being who sent me. Yet when I am sent, I am given a form best suited for the part to be played. I do it willingly and eagerly, and then return to pick up this [body] once more and go through the day…all the normal, natural things that one must do in this world of flesh and blood. So this is the great mystery, my dear. God actually, literally became you that you may become God. And there’s only God playing all the parts in this world.
So in these seven words of the cross…of course they, the church fathers, rearranged them to suit themselves, but they are all equal. It started off, some of them, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Others will start off the series, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do”… and then come down the entire line and end, “Into thy hands I commit my spirit.” Or some will end it in the Book of John, “It is finished.” But, regardless of how you take the seven, these seven declarations are all from scripture, and they all parallel that of David. To the very end he believed in his Father and believed in that eternal love, his Father, and he did everything that man could ever do. You try to find something that man has done that is not recorded in scripture. And you’ll find that the one who is playing all those parts was David…the most horrible things on earth, all in scripture.
You can’t conceive of a vice, you can’t conceive of anything that scripture does not record. Talk of genocide today? It’s all in scripture. Talk of the murders? It’s in scripture. And here, in the forefront of it all was David; and yet “he was a man after my own heart who did all my will.” So in the end, he is lifted up, the honored one, my son. And my son is my creative power who did exactly what I intended from the beginning. And so, he did it, for he is my creative power…that’s what the son is. It manifests the creative power of the Father, and so the son goes forward to do exactly what the Father willed. So in the end, because he did it, well then, here is my honored Son. So in the end, there’s only the Father and the Son.
You dwell upon it tonight. Take the 22nd Psalm and you’ll find it breaking itself in the 21st verse on. It only goes through to the 31st. So at the 31st it breaks from the horror, and then comes the deliverance. And see that glorious thing unfold within you. Take it…for posterity will serve you. It served him…I’m thinking of you…and men will tell of the Lord (that’s you) to the coming generations. Yes, all the unborn generations, they will hear of you. And men will proclaim your deliverance to a people yet unborn.. (those who have not yet experienced it) they will tell them it has happened, for he has wrought it…for you have wrought it.
I know in my own case when I was a boy either seven or eight years old an old English lady, on a wind-swept area of Barbados, and she said to me one day, she said, “Neville, you will do something that unnumbered centuries after you are gone men will discuss. You will do something, and two others will be named with you in the doing, and it’ll be discussed. I can’t tell you what it is.” She thought I would discover something. But, she said, “To prove to you that I know what I am talking about, that I am seeing it clearly, you will leave this home of Barbados and make your home in a foreign country. You will be the first of your family to get married and you will have two children.” These three things came true. I left Barbados in 1922 and returned only for a vacation. Well, that’s a long time ago, 1922, here it’s ’68. All of my family left only to be educated, and returned to live in Barbados. I was the first to get married, although I was the fourth in line, and I do have two children.
So she gave me these things to prove to me that what she said, which she could not quite understand or explain, would come true. So, she said, “I tell you, you will do something that centuries and centuries to come men will be discussing that you have done.” But she didn’t know what it was that I would do. And then she told me these other three things that when they came to pass I might believe what she told me. She couldn’t quite explain. Not that she didn’t want to explain, she had no words to use to explain it. She simply saw when I sat in her presence in this barren, wind-swept area that we called Bathsheba in Barbados. So I went to Bathsheba and there she sat and she told me the story.
So I tell you that I have wrought it. I can speak in the first-person. And in this audience I can speak of others that you have wrought it. And I do not know…because it’s not in scripture, there is no description of the event. Even though it’s the central point in the Christian faith, there is no description of the event of the resurrection in scripture. But I have described it in detail in my book that I’ve called Resurrection. And so read the last chapter, which is called Resurrection, and that’s my story. If I have told it sometimes in the third-person it’s only because I thought that man would accept it better. But I could have told the entire thing in the first-person, for I’m only telling my story. And yet, it’s not described as an event in any part of scripture. You see it adumbrated yes, it’s there, it’s forecast, it’s foreshadowed, but it’s not described. So I have described it. And maybe that’s what she meant. Here was one who had the courage to describe it. Even though I told it in the third and dropped back occasionally into the first, those who will read it tomorrow and in unborn tomorrows will know that he wrought it, he did it. And who did it?—God. Not Neville—God did it.
So when I told one of you one night when you asked me, “What is your name?” I answered correctly, I said, “Friday.” I meant it then and I mean it now, for God is a God of love and that’s all that Friday means; for I’m part of his body, incorporated into his body, and it is infinite love. So when you asked me, automatically the answer came “Friday,” which means simply “the God of love.”
Now let us go into the Silence.