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Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.
Genesis 19:17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE "SUDDEN CATASTROPHIC JUDGMENT*" OF BIBLE PROPHECY, AND SALVATION
Volume 5, Number 4

 

*Daniel 2:34,35. See Scofield Reference Bible (1909/1945 Edition) p. 900. Footnote 1, par. 2; Matt. 24:4-33. See Scofield Reference Bible p. 1032. Footnote 2, pars. 1 and 2; Luke 21:20-24. See Scofield Reference Bible p. 1106. Footnote 1

 

One individual who read our previous issue (July, 1994) said our readers should be told to build underground shelters, and store up food supplies, against the coming cataclysm, as "there is always a remnant that survives." However, Christ Jesus (Matt. 24; II Peter 3, note vs. 7, 11), and Mary Baker Eddy (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pages 96:4 to 97:28) inform us that the destruction at the end of the world is to be total. The action of the prophesied cataclysm is Spirit destroying the belief and dream of matter. The purpose of God's judgment is not a contest for matter's preservation and ultimate triumph over His judgment. Rather, the aim of the Christ teachings is to "translate us into the kingdom of his dear Son." (Col. 1:13)

 

TRANSFIGURATION
This kingdom includes man's transfigured state which follows translation. Taking Peter, James, and John up the mountain and transfiguring "before them" (cf. Matt. 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-10), Christ Jesus was showing his disciples what the past, present and future of his followers was, and is to be. "His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light, And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him." In this incident, he showed them that he and Moses and Elias were forms of spiritual light, not matter, and that was what they were, both in their preexistence and what they would be in their future. He once said to his disciples: "What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?" (John 6:62) The transfigured state was where he was before, where he was then, and where he would be in the future. It is the real state of the whole human race.

 

TRANSLATION
Translation is one's removal from the world of matter to heaven, from the material sense to the spiritual. It is the process referred to on pages 115 and 116 of Science and Health, beginning at line 19 with the "Scientific Translation of Mortal Mind." This process requires progress spiritually through three degrees. At the present time Christendom seems satisfied with preserving mortal mind at the second degree. Rising in individual translation only as far as this second degree, Christians today are inclined to seek to preserve matter. In order to be translated into Christ's kingdom, however, Christendom must translate beyond this point, and reach the third degree, which requires "spiritual understanding," and "spiritual power." This advanced state of thought will then find itself in "the kingdom of his dear Son."

Paul told his followers at Thessalonica that at the Second Coming of Christ they will "meet the Lord in the air" (I Thess. 4:17); not in a material space ship or an underground shelter, but in the process of translation. We need to move rapidly into the third degree. In Hebrews we are told we should pursue this third degree as though we are running a race. (Heb. 12:1,2)

 

MENTALITIES vs. PERSONALITIES
On May 26, 1895, Mrs. Eddy addressed The Mother Church for the first time in the new edifice. She said afterward: "I discerned every mentality there, but saw no personality."* Her thought was beyond the second degree. St. John said he "saw heaven and earth with 'no temple [body] therein.'"** There are no bodies,--no personalities,--in the kingdom of heaven.

*We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, First Series, p. 35
**Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 576:18. The real man is incorporeal.

 

THE END OF ALL FLESH
Our recent Lesson-Sermon (from the 1917 Quarterly) on "Spirit" referred to the prophecy of the end of the world and brought out that Spirit and matter being opposites, Spirit destroys all flesh and fleshly beliefs. The Bible references in the second section of the Lesson-Sermon begin: "And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; ... behold, I will destroy them with the earth." (Gen. 6:13) Also, from Matthew in the same section: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the [second] coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the [second] coming of the Son of man be." (Matt. 24:35, 37-39)

The references in Science and Health in the same section of the Lesson-Sermon point out that man forever coexists with Spirit and because of this understanding, all matter and materiality are necessarily to be destroyed. (S&H 120:4; 582:8-14; 26:27-5 to first period; 63:5 In)

 

MRS EDDY ON WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ONE PASSES ON
A sermon written by Mrs. Eddy in the 1880s reads in part:

What is death and what is the condition of man after death? ... We know there is in reality no death, that Mind cannot die, and all that is eternal is Mind and its ideals. ... No change has been wrought when we say, "My friend has just died;" that friend is saying in the full consciousness of existence and with its same surroundings,"I never died. ..."

Yes, we shall know each other there; we shall love and be loved; we shall never lose our identity, but find it more and more in its order, beauty, and goodness. ...

Let us rejoice that Life like an opening bud is unfolding to our consciousness the bliss of being, for Thine are all holy things, O Life, strong and divinely free, bearing the bereaved the gifts of wisdom and of chastened love; ... Patiently wait all ye who have parted from some earth-idol. Remember that naught but broken music flows from joy that is sublunary, but hope hath its higher goal. We shall know each other there. A happier oracle, a clearer understanding, an unwavering light will friendships then become. Life's fuller music will give forth rejoicing tones when heart meets heart, where all lovely gifts and pure are laid upon befitting shrines. Joy hath a living fount, a bliss forever. The heart hath vainly sighed, What shall the future be? This is the future: heaven will be thine, but when its Life shall come no man knoweth...

Our sins are not forgiven until forsaken, here or hereafter. ... Death cannot advance our joy, nor make us wiser, better, or more pure. The Science of all being must be learned ere this is won. Bliss is not the boon of one brief moment. After the veil has dropped, we have to learn the same as now our way to heaven, by slow and solemn footsteps, for no man cometh to the Father but through Truth and Love.*

*The Christian Science Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1, April, 1918, pp 6, 7

 

MRS. EDDY'S AFTERLIFE DESCRIPTIONS REPEATED IN AFTERLIFE EXPERIENCES
It is important to note Mrs. Eddy's vital truth that "bliss is not the boon of one brief moment"--that is, the moment of death,--but must be worked out "by slow and solemn footsteps." This qualification is confirmed by reports from many of those eight million Americans* who have had afterdeath experiences, or what is termed in materia medica "near death experiences" (NDEs).

*The Light Beyond, by Dr. Raymond A. Moody, M.D. (New York: Bantam Books. 1988), pp. 6, 20

Since 1970 there has been growing interest, as well as professional research, in reports from people who have had afterdeath experiences--NDEs--as to just what happens when they die. Dr. Raymond A. Moody, M.D., began research on the subject in the early 1970s and published his first book Life After Life in 1975. It quickly became a "bestseller." Two years later he published Reflections on Life After Life, and in 1988 he published his third book on the afterlife, titled The Light Beyond, also a bestseller. His findings were not only that life continues on after death, but also that death does not bring instant bliss,--but, most importantly, requires working out ones' salvation as taught in Scripture.

His conclusions are based on clinical case records of the experiences of those who had been pronounced dead and then were brought back by the medical faculty after an interval of several minutes or up to as long as forty minutes. In our July Standard we pointed out that Mrs. Eddy calls the state immediately following death, "the vestibule."* Case histories describe the experiences of those who have had NDEs,--i.e., experiences in the vestibule.

*Science and Health, 75:29

According to these afterdeath reports, those who die go first into the vestibule where they have a life-review and make an accounting of their past life. After (or before) this time they get glimpses and foretastes of eternity, until they arrive at the boundary of the vestibule, usually in the form of a barrier, a wall, a fence, a staircase, etc., beyond which some are warned not to go, or they cannot return to their current material body and life. However, some have been able to witness the conditions beyond the vestibule of those who are in either one or the other of the two "options" identified in our July issue, that is, (1) the "retracing and traversing anew option" or (2) the "translation and transfiguration option."

 

OPTION I EXPERIENCES:
RETRACING AND TRAVERSING ANEW
A number of those who return have seen beings who seemed to be "trapped" in an apparently most unfortunate state of existence. Those who described seeing these beings are in agreement on several points. First, they state that these beings seemed to be, in effect, unable to surrender their attachments to the physical world. One man recounted that the beings he saw apparently 'could not progress on the other side because their God is still living here.' That is, they seem bound to some particular object, person, or habit. Secondly, all have remarked that these beings appeared 'dulled,' that their consciousness seemed somehow limited in contrast with that of others. Thirdly, they say it appeared that these 'dulled beings' were to be there only until they solved whatever difficulty was keeping them in that perplexed state.*

*Reflections on Life After Life, by Dr. Raymond A. Moody, M.D. (New York: Bantam/Mockingbird Books. 1977), page 18

One person reported seeing someone who was trying to get through to [relatives], trying to tell them, seemingly, to do things differently from what they were doing now, to change, to make a change in their life style. ... To change so as not to be left like she was.*

*Ibid. p. 22

These reports from those who actually experienced the NDE corroborate the accounts in our July issue of those given by Jesus regarding Dives and Lazarus, and also the John Randall Dunn report.

As Mrs. Eddy tells us above, the bliss of heaven has to be "won." Jesus told his followers they had to work out their salvation. Mrs. Eddy writes:

It is quite as impossible for sinners to receive their full punishment this side of the grave as for this world to bestow on the righteous their full reward. It is useless to suppose that the wicked can gloat over their offences to the last moment and then be suddenly pardoned and pushed into heaven, or that the hand of Love is satisfied with giving us only toil, sacrifice, cross-bearing, multiplied trials, and mockery of our motives in return for our efforts at well doing.*

*Science and Health p. 36

 

OPTION 2 EXPERIENCES:
TRANSLATING AND TRANSFIGURING:
The following paragraphs are a brief composite of views from several of the millions of witnesses into the vestibule transfiguring state (Option 2) of the afterlife from people who have returned from the dead, together with references from the Bible and the writings of Mrs. Eddy.

As with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration, those in option 2 who are in or beyond the vestibule still have an identity. It is called by the NDE a body, "but," they say, "one of a very different nature, and very different powers" from the physical body. It has been referred to as a spiritual "energy pattern," having a spiritual, luminescent form. The beauty which appears in that state,--i.e., option 2,--is not that of physique, but beauty of character. Four basically distinct qualities stand out--love, holiness, goodness, and knowledge. "Everything in the surroundings is fascinating."

These people appear as beings of spiritual light (as illustrated by Jesus), not flesh,--the "most exquisite light one has ever seen." Unlike physical light or energy, their identities are an indescribable beautiful luminescence. This luminescence is recognized instantly as the light of spiritual love,--absolute, ineffable love. This love permeates, "drenches the one in contact, with this love." The love we presently have for family, children, parents, spouse, friends "is only a pale expression of this love outside the flesh."* It is variously characterized as an overflowing, spontaneous kind of love,--beatific, blissful, rapturous.

*Near-Death Experiences. ABC-TV New York. Oct. 22, 1986 Transcript. p. 5. Features Dr. Moody.

Pastoral scenes are visible, where non-material plants and flowers glow with inner light. There are trees, flowers, and shrubs "with colors that have never been seen in this world. These colors are all light [spiritual] forms."

One person in the vestibule as she was admiring some flowers looked up and saw in front of her a hill with about twenty people standing. They were dressed in very beautiful robes of all kinds of magnificent colors. She did not have to climb the hill; instead, she "just thought herself up it." All she had to do was desire to be there. Three or four men detached themselves from the group and came to speak to her. They spoke telepathically. The spokesman wore a purple robe, had an incredibly beautiful face, very noble, very spiritual. He represented "a spiritual authority."*

*Near-Death Experiences. ABC-TV New York. Oct. 22, 1986. Transcript p. 7. Features Dr. Moody.

In this non-material, spiritual state the senses of hearing and seeing are very different. Mrs. Eddy tells us "the ear does not really hear." (S&H 213:17) Likewise, the eye does not really see. Physical sight and sound are absent in this afterlife state. Thoughts are transmitted mentally and not verbally. Communication is without human language or words, and is instantly understandable. While there are individuals all around, you do not hear them audibly. Gender which reflects "the manhood and womanhood of God"* is evident.

*The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, by Mary Baker Eddy. p. 346:30

Seeing, we are told, is without the use of an optical nerve or a retina. It has no limitations. One sees anywhere and everywhere, and he does this as though using a zoom lens; everything expands and unfolds in detail.

There is no time. Everything moves faster than it does with the physical body. It is being in eternity. When one returnee was asked how long a certain experience lasted, the reply was "you could say it lasted one minute or it lasted ten thousand years and it wouldn't make any difference how you put it." "It is nothing like what we measure with clocks."* The limitations of time and space do not exist.

*The Light Beyond p. 18

 

AMONG THE STARS
Some who return report while in the vestibule they were "in the heavens seeing the universe from the standpoint of astronauts." One reported a zooming experience and finding himself well into outer space with suns and planets all around. The earth below appeared as a "blue marble."*

*The Light Beyond, p. 15

In the realm of the afterlife, we are told, one realizes that the earth in its spiritual definition is part of a perfect plan, all working out to the expression of perfection. This awareness is a field of consciousness and presents itself in blocks of knowledge which expand. The kind of knowledge given is that of both basic things and profound, universal principles, cause, effects, qualities, character development, and so on. To make a report on the glimpses of knowledge in the afterlife would require a language far beyond the English of today--which is wholly inadequate.

One woman stated that "all knowledge--of all that had started from the very beginning, that would go on without end--that for a brief moment she knew all the secrets of the ages, all the meaning of the universe, the stars, the moon--of everything." There was nothing that was not known; all knowledge was there, not just of one field, but everything. There are not words in any language to describe it. It cannot be compared to anything in this world. After her return to her body, however, she could not recall this information.

The afterlife of option 2, as well as the preexistence, is described as a condition where there is an ardent and insatiable desire for, and pursuit of, knowledge and information, a place where people are deeply involved in gaining a better understanding of, and more information about, the universe and its numberless spheres of intelligent life. The universe is comprised of forms and structures which express God's attributes and nature. These forms appear in varied manifestations. It is a place where information is contained in multifarious segments of thought, and in a variety of dimensions of knowledge.

The above are a few gleanings from NDE reports given by the pioneer investigators in afterlife phenomena,--primarily Dr. Raymond Moody. It is believed by many that some of the later writings on the subject may be colored by material from the pioneer reports.

 

A VERSE PASTED IN MRS. EDDY'S BIBLE

Mrs. Eddy pasted in the front of her Bible the following lines from Bonar:

Where no shadow shall bewilder,
Where life's vain parade is o'er;
Where the sleep of sin is broken
And the dreamer dreams no more;
Where the bond is never severed,
Partings, claspings, sob and moan,
Midnight waking, twilight weeping,
Heavy noontide, all are done;
Where the child has found its mother,
Where the mother finds the child;
Where dear families are gathered
That are scattered on the wild;
Brother, we shall meet and rest,
Midst the holy and the blest.*

*Collectanea of Items by and about Mary Baker Eddy (Providence: The Carpenter Foundation. 1938. p. 161

 

PROGRESSIVE CONCEPTS OF HEAVEN
To Adam and Eve the known universe was a small area of land. Consequently, the concept of heaven was a Garden. We are told that the Lord God walked in the Garden in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:8). That is an early concept of Paradise. Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam is recorded as walking with God (Gen. 5:22, 24), and he was translated. Noah walked with God (Gen. 6:9) and he was told to build an ark for the preservation of his family. Thus in the early centuries because of the limited knowledge of their world, heaven was a garden or territory.

Subsequently, as a larger view of the earth obtained, Abraham looked for a city "whose builder and maker is God." Thus, heaven was envisioned as a grand city. This was a step in the growing concept of heaven.

The disciples of Jesus saw the universe as encompassing "heaven and earth," and he taught them that heaven is a kingdom,--i.e., a region ruled by a king. Christ is the king. St. John saw heaven as above the earth, and as including mobile cities, or at least one mobile city. He saw the New Jerusalem, "descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like a stone most precious." (Rev. 21:10,11) A city that descends out of the heavens, in today's context, is a space ship, or station. In each era the concept of heaven consisted of that ideal of life which appealed to the individual as the very acme of happiness, progress, and adventure.

In our time Mrs. Eddy saw that heaven comprises the entire universe of Spirit. This new enlarged concept of heaven includes infinite space, constituted of unnumbered spheres of intelligent thought, all moving in paths directed by the one Mind. This is that advanced concept of heaven which appears to, and appeals to, modern man. Mrs. Eddy writes of St. Paul and Jesus as "stars of the first magnitude--fixed stars in the heavens of Soul."*

*Miscellaneous Writings 360

 

THE ISLAND UNIVERSE*
*The dictionary defines the term "island universe" as "Any of the million or more galaxies of stars like our own Galaxy."

In line with the progressive concept of heaven is the following account. One summer years ago Mrs. Annie M. Knott (a personal student of Mrs. Eddy and first woman director of The Mother Church) was the guest of the editor's family at the Pilgrim Hotel at Plymouth on Cape Cod. Mrs. Knott loved to visit historic places and monuments. At the Miles Standish (or pilgrims') monument she stood for a time in silence, and after some moments of contemplation said: "This little bit of earth cannot possibly be large enough for the abode of intelligent thought. ... The opening up [of], or communication with, another planet will be no more remarkable than the discovering of America." (These words were recorded at the time.) This statement was in advance of the times because there were no generally known plans anticipating a "space age."

Mrs. Knott was relating the planet earth to spheres of intelligent thought. What appear as one hundred billion* material stars and planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone are counterfeits of spheres of intelligence, bodies of intelligent thought and expression. In reality they are not objects of matter. Astronomers today affirm that the universe is made up of stars and planets more in number than the grains of sand that comprise the earth; that they are all in motion and that their movements are in an orderly path.

*Compton's Encyclopedia, Vol. 13, p. 272

Mrs. Eddy writes: "The divine Mind supports the sublimity, magnitude, and infinitude of spiritual creation." ((S&H 510:5)

"Truth, Life, and Love are the only legitimate and eternal demands on man, and they are spiritual lawgivers, enforcing obedience through divine statutes." (S&H 184-12)

 

STARS REPRESENT THOUGHTS AND MENTALITIES
The universe, composed of stars, planets, etc., is not in outer space, for the Bible tells us that God's kingdom is within us. That is where the multitude of galaxies containing stars and planets are,--within.

In the first chapter of Genesis we read: "And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also." (Gen. 1:14-16)

Scofield's Reference Bible states that: "the stars [referred to] in verse 16 are individual believers who are 'lights' (Phil. 2:15, 16). See John 1:5" (page 4)

So the stars represent "individuals" (or "mentalities"), as well as collective spheres of intelligence or knowledge.

In Revelation (John tells us it is the revelation of Jesus Christ), Jesus is quoted: "I am the root and offspring of David and the bright and morning star." (Rev. 22:16) Jesus also says, to him that overcometh: "I will give him the morning star." (Rev. 2:28)

Stars, then, in their true state are spheres of intelligent thought--spheres of intelligence, comprised of the substance of Spirit.

In the sermon by Mrs. Eddy on "Life," quoted above, she further states:

The side of nature which seems to the senses matter is but the veil that hides the reality of being; the visible universe is but the picture of the mind's ideas, the expression of thoughts, the hieroglyphic record of the art and meditation of Deity. In the words of Starr King, "There is not a planet that wheels a tiny circle around its controlling flame, not a sun that sheds its steady radiance upon the dark depths of neighboring space, not a comet that rushes through its excentric track, not a constellation among all that hang like fantastic chandeliers upon the dome of heaven, that is not the visible statement of a conception which dwells in the Omnipotent Mind. It is through the silent command of Mind that the morning light bursts like a wave of glory over the orderly universe."*

*The Christian Science Journal, April, 1918, p. 4

So, stars represent individuals, and they also represent worlds, or spheres, of Spirit comprised of spiritual life and intelligence. Mrs. Eddy says: "The world of error is ignorant of the world of Truth, ..." (S&H 13:29).

 

THE AGE OF LOVE'S DIVINE ADVENTURE
"We live in an age of Love's divine adventure to be All-in-all." (My. 158:9-10)

What an adventure to travel in the vast universe of God's ideas! There is no stagnation or monotony in heaven. According to Scripture it is not stationary. Heaven is where "Love's divine adventure" unfolds. It is in motion and is not occupied by the infirm or spiritless, but by spiritual beings endowed with perpetual strength, vigor, and the spirit of adventure. What could be more glorious than moving in a space program and discover the various grand and glorious stars, or spheres of thought, which comprise infinite and eternal Mind?

Mrs. Annie M. Knott writes editorially:

The way of Truth is the way of unceasing discovery--God's ideas appearing to the enlarging vision as the clouds of sense are dispelled. We gladly claim as our brothers all great thinkers and workers. ... (Sentinel Vol. XVIII, p. 910; July 15, 1916)

"The astronomer [of the future] will no longer look up to the stars,--he will look out from them upon the universe..." (S&H 125:28-29) Looking up to the stars is from the standpoint of outer space; looking "out from them upon the universe" is from the standpoint of the universe within.

There are times to dig foxholes and build bunkers and shelters, but for security and salvation against the coming day of judgment the best defense is spiritualization of thought. We need to attain that level of spiritual consciousness that sees man and the universe in the light our Leader had when she said: "I discerned every mentality there, but I saw no personality" (cf. p. 2). "John saw heaven and earth with 'no temple [body] therein'" (Ibid).

 



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