Thine is the Kingdom

An Excerpt from Reading and Commentary for T-5.VI, “Time and Eternity”
The following is an excerpt from a Text reading and commentary that was created as part of our 2006 Text study program. The numbered material is the Text passage being commented on. The material in bold is from the Urtext, Bill’s original typescript of the Course. The material in italics is my commentary

T-5.VI.3.         1Remember the Kingdom always, and remember that you who are part of the Kingdom cannot be lost. 2The Mind that was in me is in you, for God creates with perfect fairness. 3Let the Holy Spirit remind you always of His fairness, and let me teach you how to share it with your brothers. 4How else can the chance to claim it for yourself be given you? 5[Ur: What you do not understand is that] The two voices speak for different interpretations of the same thing simultaneously; or almost simultaneously, for the ego always speaks first. 6Alternate interpretations were unnecessary until the first one was [Ur: has been] made [Ur: and speaking itself was unnecessary before the ego was made].

3:1-4. These lines are urging us to not fall asleep on the way to the Kingdom. Remember the goal always. Remember that we belong in the Kingdom and can never be lost to it. We will make it. After all, Jesus made it, and we have the same Mind in us (the Holy Spirit) that brought him to the end of the race. This is a race, however, in which we have to bring our brothers with us, rather than making them eat our dust. We need to tell them all that the Holy Spirit is in them, for that will strengthen His presence in us, and His Presence is the power that draws us to the end. 

3:5-6. The line “the ego always speaks first” (3:5) is usually taken to mean that when you ask for guidance, the ego will be the first voice you hear. What it actually means is that when you interpret anything, the ego will interpret it first, and then the Holy Spirit will reinterpret it, correcting the ego’s interpretation. We’ll see how this works in detail in the following paragraphs.

T-5.VI.4.         1The ego speaks in judgment, and the Holy Spirit reverses its decision [Ur: decisions], much as a higher court [Ur: the Supreme court] has the power to reverse a lower court’s decisions in [Ur: about the laws of] this world. 2The ego’s decisions are always wrong, because they are based on the error [Ur: on a complete fallacy which] they were made to uphold. 3Nothing the ego perceives is interpreted correctly. 4Not only does the ego cite Scripture for its purpose, but it even interprets Scripture as a witness for itself. 5The Bible is a fearful thing in the ego’s judgment [Ur: to the ego]. 6Perceiving it as frightening, it interprets it fearfully. 7Being afraid [Ur: Having made you afraid], you do not appeal to the Higher Court because you believe its judgment would also be against you.

This paragraph continues the theme of the ego speaking first. What it means is that the ego immediately renders its judgments on things, judgments that are always designed to uphold the ego and fuel its fear. It judges people. It judges situation. It judges the Bible. It even judges you.

The court metaphor here is really a great one. Our job is to not rest with the ego’s verdict, for this judge is always wrong. We must appeal the verdict. If we do, our case will be immediately heard by the Supreme Court (the Holy Spirit), and this court will always overturn the lower court’s (the ego’s) verdict. Our problem is that we don’t appeal the ego’s decisions. The lower court judge has been telling us lies about the Supreme Court and has convinced us that its decision will be against us.

T-5.VI.5.         1There are many examples of [Ur: We need site {sic} only a few examples to see] how the ego’s interpretations are misleading [Ur: have misled you. A favorite ego quotation is “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” Another is “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord.” Still another is “I will visit the sins of the fathers unto the third and the fourth generation.” And also, “The wicked shall perish.” There are many others, but if you will let the Holy Spirit reinterpret these in its own light, they will suffice.], but a few will suffice to show how the Holy Spirit can reinterpret them in His Own Light.

Now Jesus is going to show us the principles he has been talking about in action. He’s going to show us how the ego speaks first and how the Holy Spirit reverses its verdict in the specific case of Bible interpretation.

T-5.VI.6.         1“As ye sow, so shall ye reap” He interprets to mean what you consider worth cultivating you will cultivate in yourself. 2Your judgment of what is worthy makes [Ur: does make] it worthy for you.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap” is a farming metaphor that is normally interpreted to mean that if you sow sin, you will reap punishment. If you sow seeds of evil in the world, guess what harvest you’ll end up reaping? That’s not how the Holy Spirit sees it, however. He sees it as a psychological principle about farming in your mind. It says that whatever you consider worth cultivating in the field of your mind, you will. If you sow thoughts of the ego there, you will reap its painful effects. If you sow thoughts of the Holy Spirit, you will reap His joyous effects. Thus, rather than being about God paying you back, this verse is about you deciding what crop you want to plant in the field of your mind.

T-5.VI.7.         1“Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord” is easily reinterpreted [Ur: explained] if you remember that ideas increase only by being shared. 2The statement emphasizes that vengeance cannot be shared. 3Give it therefore to the Holy Spirit, Who will undo it in you because it does not belong in your mind, which is part of God.

“Vengeance is Mine” is usually understood to mean that we shouldn’t take vengeance into our own hands, but rather leave it to God. The Holy Spirit, of course, agrees with the first part, but takes the second part one step further: Don’t leave the act of vengeance to God to carry out for you; rather, give the idea of vengeance “to the Holy Spirit, Who will undo it in you” (7:3). Vengeance is one of those ideas that can’t be shared. Who will share with you the notion “You deserve my wrath”? If it could be shared, God would share it with us. But because it can’t, He says “It is Mine alone,” and asks us to give it to Him to be cleansed from our holy minds.

T-5.VI.8.         1“I will visit the sins of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation, ”as interpreted by the ego, is particularly vicious. 2It becomes merely an attempt to guarantee the ego’s own survival [Ur: beyond itself]. 3To the Holy Spirit, the statement means that in later generations He can still reinterpret what former generations had misunderstood, and thus release the thoughts from the ability to produce fear [Ur: Actually, all it really means is that the Holy Spirit in later generations retains the power to interpret correctly what former generations have thought, and thus release their thoughts from the ability to produce fear anywhere in the Sonship].

The ego interprets this passage to mean that the sins of one lifetime keep calling down punishment in generation after generation, thus giving the ego that committed those sins a kind of perverse immortality (guaranteeing the ego’s own survival “beyond itself”). The Holy Spirit interprets this passage in almost the opposite way. Here, the sins are not so much evil deeds as mistaken beliefs. And instead of those sins calling down God’s punishment on future generations, they call down the Holy Spirit’s reinterpretation, which can release future generations from the fear-producing effects of those sins.

T-5.VI.9.         1“The wicked shall perish ”becomes a statement of Atonement [Ur: is merely a statement of fact], if the word “perish” is [Ur: properly understood.] understood as “be undone.” 2Every loveless thought must be undone, a word the ego cannot even understand [the latter half of the sentence was composed by the editors]. 3To the ego, to be undone means to be destroyed [Ur: Even the word “undone” is fearful to the ego, which interprets “I am undone” as “I am destroyed.”]. 4The ego will not be destroyed because it is part of your thought, but because it is uncreative and therefore unsharing, it will be reinterpreted [Ur: entirely] to release you from fear. 5The part of your mind that you have given to the ego will merely return to the Kingdom, where your whole mind belongs. [Ur: The ego is a form of arrest, but arrest is merely delay. It does not involve the concept of police at all, although the ego welcomes that interpretation.] 6You can delay the completion of the Kingdom, but you cannot introduce the concept of fear [Ur: assault] into it.

Rather than “God shall destroy wicked souls,” Jesus interprets this verse to mean, “The Holy Spirit will undo your wicked thoughts, particularly your wicked ego.” The ego sees being undone as being destroyed, but in fact it will not be destroyed, but merely “reinterpreted entirely.” This will free your mind to return to the Kingdom and resume its function of creating. The ego has arrested your mind, held it back from the Kingdom. The ego, as usual, sees this as your mind being under arrest for breaking God’s law. But that is not how the Kingdom works.

We have now looked at all four examples of how the ego interprets certain biblical passages and how the Holy Spirit reinterprets them. Now we can see exactly what the Course means by “the ego always speaks first.” The ego jumped in and interpreted every single passage fearfully. And in each case it saw the fear coming from the same source: God’s punishment for our sins. The ego’s judgment of things in the world is, at heart, a hidden judgment of us. It sees us as surrounded by danger as an implicit statement that we deserve danger, given how sinful we are.

In each case, the Holy Spirit then reinterpreted the biblical passage as being about what we might call “mental house-cleaning,” about the importance of what we let into our minds, and about the Holy Spirit’s ability to release us from what we shouldn’t have let into our minds. Rather than punishing us for our misdeeds, the Divine is pictured as releasing us from our misthoughts. What a difference!

All of this is not to say that the Holy Spirit’s interpretation is what the biblical writers really intended. I think what they meant was closer to the ego’s interpretation. But that doesn’t matter. Whatever the original intent of a symbol was, the Holy Spirit can see it as a container of His truth.

T-5.VI.10.       1You need not fear the Higher Court will condemn you [Ur: The Higher Court will not condemn you.]. 2It will merely dismiss the case against you. 3There can be no case against a child of God, and every witness to guilt in God’s creations is bearing false witness to God Himself. 4Appeal everything you believe gladly to God’s Own Higher Court, because it speaks for Him and therefore speaks truly. 5It will dismiss the case against you, however carefully you have built it up. 6The case may be foolproof, but it is not God-proof. 7The Holy Spirit [Ur: The voice for God] will not hear it [Ur: at all], because He can only witness truly. 8His verdict will always be “thine is the Kingdom,” because He was given to you to remind you of what you are.

Now we see the real heart of the Holy Spirit’s reinterpretation. The Holy Spirit is here to reverse the ego’s judgment of you. He is here to reinterpret you.

Application: Picture yourself being led, with feet and hands in shackles, into a courtroom, God’s Own Higher Court. As you are seated, you remember that you have already been convicted by a lower court of crimes against humanity and God. You, however, have appealed this conviction to God’s Higher Court. This is your appeal.

In front of you stands the prosecuting attorney, the lawyer in the case against you. To your astonishment, the lawyer looks exactly like you. You realize that the lawyer is you, in a sense—the false you. It is your ego, the part of your mind that is bent on tossing you in jail and throwing away the key.

 In his/her hands, the lawyer holds the case against you. He approaches the bench. Behind the bench is the judge, but the judge is simply a large radiant light. You realize that this is the Holy Spirit appearing in a form you can understand. You might see the form of Jesus in this light. 

The prosecuting attorney—your ego—begins his/her case, holding the case against you in the air, declaring it fool-proof, and placing it in front of the Judge.

Out of the radiant light that is the judge, you hear a voice. Hear it sounding however you think God’s Voice would sound. He speaks directly to you:

“This case may be fool-proof, but it is not God-proof.
Every witness to your guilt is bearing false witness against Me.
Although you have built this case up very carefully, I will not hear it.
I am dismissing the case against you.
My verdict is:  


You hear Him say, “This court is adjourned.” The case against you vanishes, as you hear a single pounding of the gavel. 

[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]
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