March 12th, 1916
Received by:James Padgett.
I am here, St. John - Apostle of Jesus.
I was with you to-night and heard the sermon of the preacher on heaven and what it is and, as his text was founded on some expressions in a book of the Bible ascribed to me and which I did write, though not just as is contained in the Bible, I thought it appropriate (meet) that I should come and write you as to the truth of the sermon, and as to the value of the book as descriptive or suggestive of what heaven is and what its appearances are, and what the spirits of the redeemed are doing in what the preacher designated as service.
Well, I first want to say that while I did write a book of the nature of the one in the Bible named Revelation, yet this one does not contain my writings to any great extent, nor are my ideas set forth or followed in this book of Revelation. As you may now know, in my time, and for a long time previous, the Jewish writers, because of the great troubles and persecutions their nation was undergoing, were accustomed to write books in the nature of the one contained in the Bible, and called Revelations, for the purpose of encouraging their people to believe that all the wrongs that they were suffering would be avenged by God, and their enemies made to suffer and become destroyed, and that in the end their nation would be rescued from its condition of servitude and sufferings and become the ruling nation of the earth; and these writings were accepted by the Jews as having the authority of divine inspiration and conveying to their nation the truths of God and the same promises of His intervening in their behalf. The writings were always ascribed to some prophet, seer, or man of God who had the special privilege of coming in contact with God or some of His angels through the mysterious and sacred means of visions.
Of course, these writings were merely intended to encourage the Jews to establish their faith in God and in the belief that He would send them a Messiah who would have the power to redeem them from the punishments and thralldom that they were undergoing under the tyranny and strength of their heathen captors and persecutors.
Always were these writings prophetic and held forth the promises for the future, without ever attempting to fix a time for their fulfillment, or the ending of the nation's woes and the coming of its deliverer, so that time went on and the promises were not fulfilled, hope continued to exist and the belief of the Jews was not lessened, and non-fulfillment was explained by the further belief that the time for the consummation of their eagerly wished for expectations had not yet arrived. That God was all knowing as well as all powerful and careful for their race and that He and He alone understood just when the proper and fitting time should arrive.
This hope upon hope was a wonderful force in keeping up the beliefs and expectations of the Jews, and so effective was it that to this day they remain a nation or rather a race in belief and expectation of this coming Messiah. But, alas, as they did not recognize and accept him when he did appear, they will never again see his appearance, for he will never come as their Messiah as expected of old, but only as the great teacher and redeemer, not only of their race, but of all the peoples of the earth. He has already come as such a redeemer, and is working now to lead men to the true and only way to life and happiness and immortality. But never will any Messiah come to the Jews to establish them on earth as a great and chosen nation, as nearly all of them believe and still look for.
Thus, as I say, many books or manuscripts were written by the claimed Jewish prophets holding forth to the Jews the results of visions claimed to have been experienced by these writers. But as the prophecies, in the sense that the Jews understood them, have never been fulfilled, neither will they be fulfilled in the future, and their value has no reality.
This custom as I may call it, continued from these early times down to the time in which I lived and wrote, and my book of prophecy was written by me, not with the purpose of establishing the Jews as a nation on earth, or causing them to believe that their hopes or longings would be fulfilled, but for the purpose of encouraging the Christians to believe that notwithstanding their persecution and sufferings and martyrdom they would in the future life, when they should meet the Master and the saints, find joy and peace and heaven. But in my writings nothing was said about the wrath of God being visited upon the persecutors of the Christians or of their having to go into a hell of fire and brimstone, so that from that fact the happiness of the redeemed would be increased.
My writings have been added to and all kinds of grotesque imagery interpolated so that the whole design and purpose of my writings were changed and destroyed and the present Book of Revelation is only a mere allegory of some one or more writers who were gifted with some knowledge of the Christian teachings and unusually oriented imaginations. This book is of no value, but on the contrary is doing much harm to the cause of the truth as taught by the Master; as we who are in the Celestial Heavens and have knowledge of things heavenly as well as things earthly know to be the fact.
It should not be accepted as a truth of the revelation of truths, and not be believed in for any purpose. It has lead many good men and honest and earnest seekers after the truth astray, and caused them to believe and teach false doctrines that have resulted in much darkness and stagnation in the development of human souls in their longings for the truth. So, I say, let men entirely discard its teachings, and any and all lessons that the preachers or others, who think that they can understand its meaning, attempt to teach.
The writings that I gave to my people, of the kind mentioned, have long ago served their purpose, and the writings called the revelations contain in it no truth that will help mankind to the Heavenly Kingdom or to their eternal happiness and at-onement with the Father. Let it die the death of a falsehood, born out of time.
I also was interested in the struggle of the preacher to explain what heaven is, and what his people who may consider themselves redeemed children of God, will find when they become inhabitants of that heaven.
Well, he spoke truly when he said heaven is a place as well as a condition, for it is inconceivable that any condition of the spirit of a mortal could exist unless there be a place where that spirit could find a habitation. All space in the universe of God is a place, or contains places where things of existence must find localities. There is no such thing as a vacuum in God's economy, and all parts of space are fitted with something having substance, either material or spiritual, and wherever such substance is, there is a place for its abiding.
Yes, heaven is a place, or a number of places, for the preacher is far from having the true conception of heaven when he supposes it is one large place, where all believers go after death, irrespective of their condition of soul and moral perfections. As I say, there are many heavens and many places, all as real and substantial as are the different stories and rooms in your home of earth. And the partitions, if I may so speak, between these different places are just as impassable for spirits that have not the proper qualifications to pass through as are the partition walls between the various rooms in your earth homes for you mortals to pass through. These places are distinctive, and the many mansions that the preacher referred to, are situated in many heavens or more correctly many spheres of the heavens.
Strictly speaking, there are two heavens in God's spirit universe, namely, the heavens of the redeemed and transformed soul by the Divine Love called the Celestial Heavens, and the heavens of the restored perfect man, called the Spiritual Heavens, each and all of them being places of real perfection and substance.
As one star differs from another star in glory, so these several heavens within heavens differ from one another in glory and appearance and in those things which help to make the mansions of their inhabitants beautiful and attractive and glorious.
It would take too long for me to attempt to describe any of these heavens, for they each and all excel any conception that the mortal is capable of having; but I will say this, that there are no streets of gold or pearly gates, or suns or stars in any of them; only the light of God's love and mercy illuminates them.
I will postpone my further writing, but will come very soon and complete what I intended to say about the sermon of the preacher, and attempt to show the real appearance of some of the heavens, and what service the redeemed children of God render when they come to the spirit world.
So my dear brother, I will say good-night.
Your brother in Christ,