I am here, John
I was with you tonight 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 that I should come and write to 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. Also, 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 writing books in the nature of the one contained in the Bible, and called them "Revelations."
It was for the purpose of encouraging their people to believe that all the wrongs that they were suffering would be "avenged" by God, and that their enemies would be made to suffer and would be destroyed; and that in the end, their nation would be rescued from its condition of servitude and sufferings, and would become the ruling nation of the earth. And these writings were accepted by the Jews as having the authority of Divine inspiration, and of conveying to their nation the truths of God, and the 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, as a result of the tyranny and strength of their heathen captors and persecutors.
These writings were always prophetic, and held forth promises for the future, without ever attempting to fix a time for their fulfillment, or for the ending of the nation's woes, and the coming of its deliverer. So as 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. It was accepted 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; it was so effective, that to this day the Jews 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 will come only as the great teacher and redeemer, not only of their race, but also of all the peoples of the earth. He has already come as such a redeemer, and he 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 have never been fulfilled in the sense that the Jews understood them, neither will they be fulfilled in the future, for 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 find joy and peace and heaven in the future life, when they should meet the Master and the "saints." And in my writings, nothing was said about the "wrath" of God being visited upon the persecutors of the Christians, or of such persecutors 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 was changed and destroyed. 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 who had exotic imaginations.
This present book is of no value. On the contrary, it is doing much harm to the cause of the Truth as taught by the Master, as we who are in the Celestial Heavens, and who have knowledge of things heavenly, as well as things earthly, know to be the fact.
It should not be accepted as a Truth or the revelation of Truths, nor should it be believed in for any purpose. It has led many good men and honest and earnest seekers after the Truth astray, and it has 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 Revelation contain in them no truth that will help mankind to the Heavenly Kingdom, or to their eternal happiness and at-onement with the Father. Let them 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 to be 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 were a place where that spirit could find a habitation. All space in the Universe of God is a place, or space that contains places where things of existence must find localities. There is no such thing as a vacuum in God's Economy.
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. 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 real and substantial, as are the different stories and rooms in your homes of earth. And the partitions, if I may so call them, between these different places, are just as impassable for spirits who 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 are 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. I will also attempt to describe the real appearances 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, John