Neville Goddard Lecture,The Promise Explained

The Promise Explained

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The Bible tells the story of a promise – of a dream that existed two thousand years only in the imagination of Israel; and when their dream came true, Israel did not recognize their own harvest, and rejected their own harvest – denied it, for they were looking for it in an entirely different way. That is really the essence of the Bible, a promise made to man, and then man believed it. It was to Abraham, and Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him as righteousness. So, he had the faith to sustain it and pass it on to generations, and they all believed it; and they maintained, only in their imagination, for two thousand years the dream. Then the dream erupted within an individual – within Israel; and he told the story, but they did not believe.

Now we turn to the story. It’s an old man, a hundred years old, and a wife ninety years old; and it is said that “it had ceased to be with her after the manner of women.” In other words, it would be impossible for her to have a child. And the promise was made that she would have a child, and that child would be “your heir, and you will call him Isaac, which means, “he laughs.” Abraham had, from a slave, a son called Ishmael. It was said of him that his hand was against every man, and every man’s hand was against him.
This same story repeats itself all the way through. It begins with Abraham, and then the two – Ishmael who came first and then Isaac. Isaac was the promise. Then the grandchildren: Esau and Jacob, and God said “Jacob I love; Esau I have hated,” – the same pattern following all through Scripture coming into the New Testament. And in man it erupted – the story.

Now we find a wonderful story in the Book of John, the 3rd chapter of John. It is not repeated in the Bible; it is only in John. It is not mentioned in Matthew, Mark, or Luke,–where a member of the Sanhedrin -a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus, –a member of the Sanhedrin is the highest body of a religious order. And Israel was a theocracy; it was ruled by the Rabbis, and here was the highest of the Rabbis. He identified something from what he knew of his own scripture, but couldn’t quite put the pieces together. So, he sought Jesus “in the night,” we are told. He came during the night, seemingly in a furtive manner – not to be identified or recognized by other members of the Sanhedrin.
He addressed him as “Rabbi,” whence the fact that the man knows what others seemingly are not aware of. The conversation takes place in this manner; He said, “I know that you are the one that is sent, for no one who is not sent by God could do the things that you do;” and then a sudden break takes place in the conversation, and Jesus said to him;
“Unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus answered, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” And Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say unto you, unless one is born from above, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh,and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I have said unto you that you must be born from above, for I tell you that the wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you cannot tell whence it comes not whither it goes. So is every one who is born of the spirit. Nicodemus answered, “How can this be?”
And Jesus answered him and said, “Are you a teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? I tell you – I tell you what I know, and I bear witness to what I have seen, but you do not receive my testimony.” That is the story in essence. Man was looking for it to take place, as Nicodemus did, as all births take place, never having heard of an entirely different kind of a birth. Here, that which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the spirit is spirit; but he never heard before that Isaac represented what which is born of the spirit.
Now, when you read the Bible, the characters of the Bible are not persons as we are; they are eternal states of consciousness through which you and I – the Immortal Being -we pass through these states. The end of it – the climax of it is simply Jesus Christ. Each is destined to awaken one day as Jesus Christ, who is nothing less than God Himself! Every one is destined to awaken as God!
The birth cannot be of the flesh, for flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. It cannot enter the Kingdom of God – only Spirit, for God is Spirit. So this represents – Isaac represents – the birth of the Spirit.

Nicodemus saw only physical birth. He could not understand any kind of a birth outside of a physical birth. Paul, now, explains in his 9th Chapter of his Letter to the Romans, the difference between the two births, and he speaks of the descendants of Abraham after the flesh and that which comes out of Isaac – and “we are named out of Isaac,” he said.
Well, I will tell you now from my own experience which duplicates that recorded in Scripture. You could not find a more beautiful recording than that which I have just repeated for you from the 3rd Chapter of John. It is accurate. It is perfect. When he uses the word “wind,” some translators said he should have used the word “spirit;” but the words “spirit” and “wind” are identical, both in Hebrew and in Greek – the same word. But he used the right word, for when it happens to you, you think only in terms of wind. When you are “born from above,” and the child is placed in your hand – this wonderful child actually laughs. You pick it up and you look into its face and say in the most endearing manner, “How is my sweetheart?” This heavenly smile breaks upon his face; but you hear a wind. It’s an unearthly wind that I can’t describe by anything known to my physical senses, and yet I heard it through, seemingly, senses, for I heard the wind. I heard it coming from within me and seemingly coming from without.
So when one is “born from above,” it is the moment when he is resurrected from the grave. This whole thing is dead – just as dead as it can be, but we animate it because we are in it. We are the Dreamer in it dreaming and keeping alive the dream – the promise that is made. May I ask you not to reject it.

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Neville Goddard, Summa Theologica, Manly P Hall, A Course In Miracles

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