December 8th, 1916
Received by James Padgett
I am here, St. John, Apostle of Jesus. I desire to finish my comments on the preacher's (Dr. Ratcliff’) sermon on heaven. (Message of November 26th.)
As I said, these Apocalyptic (Book of Revelation) writings were made for the purpose of encouraging the people of those days to believe that God would intervene in their behalf, and save them from their sufferings and persecutions, and in the one case establish a Messiah's kingdom on earth that would cause the Jews to become the ruling nation of the universe, and in the other, to establish a kingdom in heaven where the Christians would find rest and happiness in becoming inhabitants of that kingdom, and children of the Father, and participants in the glories of Christ's reign as king and priest. Well, as the subject of the sermon was that Kingdom or Heaven and the preacher endeavored to tell his people what that heaven is, I will consider that subject.
In the first place, as I have said, that heaven is not one universal place where all the Christians, irrespective of their soul development, go, but in that heaven are many heavens or spheres in which the spirit of mortals will find homes and also happiness according to their soul development or their spiritual development. And in order that there may be no misunderstanding, I must say that the soul development comes only through and by the operation of the Holy Spirit. The spiritual development involves only the result of the correct workings of the moral faculties of a man and the purification of his natural love which, of course, comprehends the development of his soul, so far as the same may be developed by this purifying process. The results of each operation is very different, and lead to a perfection and relationship to the Father, which is in harmony with the laws controlling the respective heavens - for the place of final habitation of each may be called heaven.
But my object tonight is to describe to you the appearance and condition of one of these heavens, and as mortals have heard more about the third heaven, which we in our information to you have called the third sphere, than of any of the other heavens, I will confine my description to that place.
Well, it is occupied by the spirits of mortals who have received considerable of the Divine Love, as well as by those who have progressed to a great extent in the purification of their natural love and the expansion of their minds and intellects, though the latter do not remain very long in this heaven, but progress to the fourth where there are more opportunities and more instructions in those things which have to do with the mind's advancement. While those who have made progress in the soul development and those in the intellectual are all in the third heavens, yet they occupy different and distinct planes in that heaven, for those things that attract the one class do not attract the other, and there is very little intermingling of these spirits except that those who know that the Divine Love is real sometimes attempt to show those, who do not, the desirability of obtaining it and the happiness that it brings to spirits.
As we have already told you, the condition of the soul - not of the mind - to a large degree makes the heaven of the spirit, and in the providence of the Father, He has made the surroundings and the appearances of the environment suitable to the condition of the soul and fitted to increase the happiness of those spirits who may, because of their soul progress, be attracted to the particular places in which they find themselves - their homes.
The appearance of this heaven to those who have this Divine Love in their souls is far excelling the capacity of your mortal language to explain, even if I had the ability to describe the same. But in one general statement I may say that for these spirits there is everything to make them happy to the extent of their capacity to receive and enjoy. There are trees and flowers, and hills and dales, and rivers and lakes, and beautiful landscapes, and above all the wonderful atmosphere, as I may express it, that is created by this wonderful Love of the Father, and a glorious light that illuminates and gives life to all who live in it, which comes from this Love of the Father. It is the sun, moon and stars, and sunrise and sunset, and summer clouds, and evening shadows and morning glories. Your material sun and moon and stars do not appear in this heaven, for the effulgence of the light from the Father's love eclipses and eliminates the light of these material creations of the mortal world.
And then there are homes of the grandest splendor and beauty suited to the conditions of the various spirits, which have in them everything that will tend to cause happiness and joy to their occupants and visiting friends. Musical instruments and books, and paintings and furniture of every kind fitted to bring to the spirits contentment and joy, and a realization of peace and rest from the cares that you mortals have with you all through your earth life. And above and more important than all, a wonderful atmosphere of love which makes all these spirits realize that they are the children of the Father and brothers of one another and lovers of all humanity.
And in addition, the social life is beyond all conception. The spirits have their times of visiting as well as those of staying in their homes; and many pleasures as well as of work and helping spirits and mortals; of singing and music and laughter as of prayer and contemplation of deep spiritual truths. Yes, in the lighter social pleasures as well as in the solitary meditations and aspirations of the soul's progress, there is happiness and enjoyment and freedom from those things which defile or make inharmonious the thoughts and heart's desire of these spirits. All is gladness and there are none who have solemn downcast countenances, that many of earth imagine portrays the truly righteous and redeemed of mortals. No, love knows no sadness, and as the soul speaks its condition by the appearance of the spirit body's countenance, the soul being so full of gladness and joy, the countenance can express only those emotions of the soul. This is the result of the law which declares nothing can be hidden, and every spirit must show forth the truth of its condition. There are no walled cities or streets of gold or pearly gates or other of the material things which the book ascribes to me sets forth, so that man can get some conception of what heaven is. These things in heaven would not be gold or pearls or diamonds or jasper, for when they are compared to the real beauties of the things which it contains, they are as the faint light of the candle compared to the light of your noon day sun. Truly the mind of man cannot conceive of the glories that await the lovelit soul when it comes to its heavenly home.
There is another misconception that the preacher had, following the teachings of Revelation, and that is that the Kingdom of Heaven is a walled city - the New Jerusalem - in which all the spirits of the redeemed live, singing their loud hosannas to God. There are cities of which your earth cities may be called correspondences, but there are also villages and hamlets and homes in the country, as you would say, surrounded by green fields and shady vales through which run rivers and streams of silvery hue and clear as crystal, and also placid lakes which afford the pleasures of boating and sailing and other amusements. For each spirit is provided the place that is most attractive to him and it is optional with him where his home shall be. But all love and worship the Father, and endeavor to make their neighbors happy and help the development of the soul towards a progression to the heavens which are higher yet. All spirits are controlled by law, but that law is the Law of Love, and that love is the Love Divine - the essence of the Father's Divinity.
I have written enough for tonight, and I hope from what I have said that you may catch some faint conception of what the glories of this third heaven is for those who have found, to some extent, this Love and possess it; and then, when as you must know there are many heavens above this, each successively possessing increased glories and happiness, and beauties of place as well as beauty of spirit, you may imagine what the Master meant when he said, "In my Father's house are many mansions - ."
I know that my attempted description may be unsatisfactory to some mortals, but it is the best that I can do, because mortal words cannot convey and mortal thoughts cannot conceive the realities; and man in his imaginings may better get a spiritual view of these things. I will not write more tonight.
I am with you quite often, throwing around you the influence of my love, and endeavoring to help and encourage you. Let your faith in us and in our communications increase, and believe above all that the Master wrote you the prayer which you received a few nights ago. Study it deeply and grasp its spiritual meaning, and let your longings and aspirations go out to the Father as suggested by the prayer, and you will find a wonderful and satisfactory response to them. We are praying for you and your friends, and you must believe that the love is coming into your souls. So with my love and blessings, I will say good night.
Your brother in Christ,