Life After Death
Traveling in spirit - extract from “The Gate of Heaven.”
The Fourth Dimension - “Thereth”
I was alone - afloat on the shoreless sea of a boundless revelation. Every breath of wind, every musical ripple of the sea seemed burdened with more and more incomprehensible beauty, majesty and perfection. Existence was but a single volume - an incomparable poem of faultless rhythm, unity and harmonious conception, that had been born of a lovedream in the heart of God and executed by the matchless pen of grace Divine. Afloat on such a mystic sacred, rapturously pregnant flood, no wonder that my soul was vibrant with the music which would tax the agencies of the eternities to find expression, in colour, sound. perfume and light, as a rainbow of life encircling the sanctuary of the Throne.
I was alone - afloat, dreaming, lost in the maze of revelation that spread out before me, no matter in what direction I turned my wondering, opening eyes. Each zephyr as it touched my cheek, each ripple as it kissed my bark, each sound as it caressed my car, each spray of perfume as it refreshed my soul, expanded into some new and yet more wonderful revelation than its predecessor, until, at length, I yielded and, resting my head upon the bosom of ecstasy - I dreamed.
Rael aroused me.
“Shall I recall you with the Prophet’s cry of ‘Awake, thou that sleepiest,’ or by the Psalmist’s declaration, ‘When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream’” he enquired.
“I feel as if I would rather sleep on and continue my dream,” I replied.
“I have no doubt but that you do. Sleep, however, is for children of the night; we who are of the day must be up and doing. Omra has asked me to accompany you in revisiting one of the earlier scenes you met with after your arrival. Shall we go?”
“That must be as you will. I am entirely in your hands I am so overwhelmed by the revelations that crowd around me that I am incapable of anything but bewilderment.”
“I can quite appreciate and sympathize with your difficulty. A village schoolboy suddenly thrust into metropolitan activities is a very inadequate figure to represent your case - there is no simile that you can imagine that would justly express it; that is why our ministry has been provided to assist you until such time as you are able to walk alone. Shall we go?”
Without waiting for my reply, he gently laid his hand upon my shoulder, and in an instant - without a conscious movement of effort - we were standing on the crest of the hill where I had first met Eusemos - standing at the hub of creation, the centre of the fourth sphere. Behind us lay the slope whereon Helen found me; to our right the bank of mists I crossed with Cushna, on my first return to the earth, and before us the prismatic landscape with its ever-changing, animated scene.
Hitherto. when by means of flight I have been carried from place to place, I have always been conscious, not only of the act of travel, but also of receiving the necessary assistance to do so from whoever accompanied me. In this instance I had not the slightest idea of either. Rael touched me as he asked: “Shall we go?” - and, as by the wave of a magician’s wand, we were at our destination.
“What has happened?” I gasped, as soon as I could command an utterance.
Rael’s smiling composure was like a calm “Peace. be still” to my pertubation.
“We have simply taken another step in the path of your unfolding,” he replied. “In the number of new interests and occasions with which you are being surrounded just now, it is not to be wondered at if you occasionally lose sight of the fact that you are - as I told you before - in the throes of the second birth, by which we mean that you are breaking away from the last influences of the habits, methods and limitations of the physical, in order to enable you to enter upon the illimitable and incorruptible inheritance of the spiritual, and while you are naturally fixing your attention on the outward aspects of what is taking place, we, as watchful experts assisting at the birth, are continually ascertaining what progress you are making, that we may accomplish your deliverance as quickly as possible. This last incident, as I say, proclaims that we have taken another step in the desired direction, and if it will interest you, I shall be pleased to give you an idea as to the nature and significance of it.”
“I shall be more than interested,” I replied with eager anticipation that his explanation might possibly lift a corner of the veil and afford me a glimpse into the beyond.
“Let me begin by asking you to remember that in his incarnate state the intelligence of man is confined to a knowledge of only three dimensions in space, length, breadth and height. Within the circumscribed limitations the whole citadel of science has laid its foundations, and, however trained or cultured the scientist may be, he knows nothing that lies beyond the gamut of his five senses, while as to the Why? and How? of the senses themselves he is as ignorant as the child unborn. Of the nature and source of all life and being, which lie behind the veil of phenomena, man in the physical knows nothing, and one of the greatest and most profound problems he has yet to solve is - himself. If, therefore, the casket which is said to contain the gem defies all attempts to open it, what value is to be attached to the opinions, speculations, declarations and scientific conclusions of the self-constituted authorities who claim competence to value the jewel itself?
“Here arises the enquiry of those who watch the contention among the various schools of the wise men: ‘Is it certain that such an inestimable treasure as an immortal soul exists, or does man simply perish as the beast?’ It is in this atmosphere where agnosticism reaches a luxuriant harvest, assisted by the cold and indifferent formalism of equally illogical Churches, and the stream of humanity is swept across our frontiers - even as you have come - to be overwhelmed by the revelations of the love and justice of God which they should and might have known and practised in the flesh.
“In following these blind guides, who find both their centre and circumference bounded by the physical, mankind has erred, strayed and ultimately lost itself in the wilderness of sin and rebellion. Now the harvest of the world’s ingathering is at hand, and we - the reapers of the Kingdom - are commissioned to return to awaken the sleeping earth with the declaration that ‘It is written&lrquo; that ‘God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him.’ That image of the Creator does not consist of flesh and blood, and bone and sinew, or else the beasts of the field might be gods, and they who fashioned their image in gold, and silver, and brass, and wood, then worshipped them, might be right after all, and the centre and circumference of the philosopher would be established in the circle of which the gods and men alternately create each other.
“The attributes of Deity are - omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence, and these are the hall-marks of the sonship which are reposed in the human family, each to be made manifest in due time and season. These attributes of God correspond in their number and order of unfoldmerit to the threefold nature of man - body, soul and spirit. Of the first, ‘It is written’ that when he created man ‘God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over everything that moveth upon the earth’ (Gen. i, 28). Such is the record of the bequeathing of what we may call the first, or physical, attribute of God to man - omnipotence in the terrestrial - and though man has proved to be unfaithful in his disobedience, God has been unswerving on His part, so that the man who wholeheartedly seeks to return to his first estate may still find that nothing shall be impossible unto him.
“That the earth is not consistently and harmoniously working under this rule lends no force to the hypothesis of its non-existence. it must never be lost sight of that the body is not the man, but the vehicle through which the man expresses himself, and that the period of incarnation is but the infancy stage of existence during which - for the testing and proving of one’s fidelity - the exercise of a free will is granted, the responsibility for the use of which rests upon the individual. The result has been that - misled by a lust of the senses - man has trampled the traditional ‘If’ under his feet and has incurred the penalty: ‘Because . . thou hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying: Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life … In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the ground.’ Consistent with that the ascent towards dominion has been toilsome, sorrowful and in an agony of disaster, contention and bloodshed, but God has been true to His dowry, and man has achieved wonders in the hazards he has made, the advantage falling without respect of persons alike upon the evil and the good. But the measure of conquest that has been so wearisomely acquired has been illegally attained. The process that was ordained was that of obediently following, that humanity might grow into the knowledge and likeness of God, as the infant traverses childhood and youth to manhood, that he may be carefully established at every stage for the position he has to hold. The course pursued was, at the instigation of the enemy of souls, to defy obedience, seize upon the inheritance at a bound, and at once become as gods. The plot failed. No thief can break through and purloin the gifts of God. Because their hands have not succeeded in grasping the coveted sceptre, because they cannot lay their sacrilegious hands upon the King and so depose Him; because they are unable to arraign and compel Him to come to terms, the scientist and the philosopher have agreed to say in their hearts: ‘We can find no God.’ Hence, ‘Vanity of vanities - all is vanity.’
“Such is the conclusion of the whole matter as it presents itself to the wisdom of the Magi, who sit beneath and feed upon the fruit of ‘the tree of knowledge,’ in disobedience of the Divine command, and heed not that which is written in the law. We, however, will be satisfied with taking note of the result, then return to pursue our original enquiry.
“The second attribute of Deity which becomes accessible to man by virtue of his creation in the image of God is Omniscience. In its relation to the other attributes it occupies a corresponding position to that of the soul in man, which is neither physical nor spiritual, but is an externalization of the body and the tenement of the spirit. Or, to make use of another, perhaps better recognized figure, it is as the twilight which overlaps and interblends the night with morning; or again, to use another of the Biblical similes, it is the Wilderness of Wandering, between Egypt and the Promised Land; or yet again, the state of convalescence between sickness and health - a purely Psychic quality. In the expanse of its outreach it embraces, in its approach to the physical, the lowest form of clairvoyance which scarcely transcends the normal vision and thence upwards until it includes ‘the pure in heart [who] see God.’ To those still incarnate this priceless guerdon throws open the doors of possible entry into the halls of communion during the time of emancipation which the soul enjoys in the hours of sleep. But here again the authority of science, philosophy and religion has stepped into to denounce such a superstition as ‘seeing the invisible,’ lest the dicta of the Magi should be imperilled. Upon this ground the battle for supremacy between the flesh and the spirit is being stoutly waged with, at present, variable effect, but the ultimate result is certain, since ‘that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit’ - the one transient, the other eternal.
“Approaching the third attribute of God, in whose image we are created - Omnipresence - we enter upon the domain of the spiritual, where ‘old things pass away and all things become new.’ The true light has come; the last lingering shades of the twilight have given place to the glory of the morning; the lusts of the flesh and the pride of the eyes has been overcome and left behind; the psychic stains of sin which disfigured and marred the soul have been removed by purification; the homewardbound pilgrim has reached the Court of the Voices and has heard the verdict of acceptation; thence moving forward towards the gate of the kingdom he is brought to an unexpected halt on the edge of an impassable gulf! Has there been a mistake? No. That yawning chasm is the allegorical Jordan which divides the physical from the spiritual. It is provided that there shall not pass through the gate on the other side ‘anything that defileth’ and in preparation for the soul’s admission the traces of its contact with the sin-contaminated earth have been gradually and scrupulously removed, one by one, in its progress through the psychic spheres, until, at length, the last trace of the earth’s impurity eradicated, the soul ascends to enter its spiritual abode. This breaking away from the last filament of physical thraldom is the true second birth so absolutely essential to admission to the kingdom - the liberty wherewith Christ makes His people free. That freedom is liberty indeed. It bestows the faculty of the third great attribute of God - the power of Omnipresence, in the exercise of which we are able to operate in the fourth dimension.”
“The fourth dimension! What is that?”
“The realm of the unlimited spiritual,” he replied.
“When Omra brought you to the edge of the gulf, and invited you to cross, you stepped back.”
“Was that to be wondered at?” I enquired.
“No! It was a perfectly natural action. It was fear - an earth stain - that held you back. Omra understood the indication, and drew you aside until the process that was working in you should be accomplished.”
“How long will that be? Have you any idea?”
“Yes, the evidence is too tangible to admit of the slightest doubt. You have already attained to it.”
“Are you sure?” I enquired with doubtful expectancy.
“Absolutely certain,” he answered with a reassuring smile. “The evidence of it was given to me in the way by which you accompanied me here.”
“How? I am altogether at a loss to understand.”
“Of course you are,” and Rael could not refrain from laughing outright at my bewilderment. “That is what made you enquire what had happened.”
“Won’t you explain it?”
“Certainly. Hitherto, when you have paid a visit beyond your own condition - say to Myhanene’s home - you have needed assistance to enable you to reach your destination.”
“Yes,” I assented.
“And, however rapid your flight has been, you have always been aware of the fact that you were travelling.”
“But in this instance I simply asked you if we should come hither, touching your shoulder, and we were here.”
“Yes; but how?”
By virtue of your having broken away from the last contact with the earth’s limitating influences, by which you enter upon the spiritual inheritance of the third attribute of God - that of Omnipresence, which imparts the germ of ubiquity up to the measure of purity to which your soul has acquired strength to ascend. For I would not have you to understand that any of these attributes can yet be enjoyed in their perfection. Like all the other divine bestowments, they are each planted within us in their due season, and then the cultivation thereof proceeds according to the care and attention we bestow upon them. We bear the outline of the image of God in our creation, the design is filled in and the finishing details added as we choose to devote ourselves to the endeavour, in our ascent from stage to stage in the hierarchy of heaven, until we see Him as He is. In the step you are now about to take you will pass the limitations of time and distance, both of which will henceforth be inappreciable to you. A thousand years will be to you as a day, and a day as a thousand years, as regards your capacity for the accomplishment and experience of whatever you may be engaged in. Ideas of the past and future will begin to fade away from your recognition as you grow acclimatized to your new condition of this fourth or spiritual dimension, since you will unfold the power of actually being there, first in the past and then in the future of the one eternal Now. For this reason this fourth dimension or estate can only be expressed by the term ‘Thereth.’ Some have ventured to express it as ‘throughth,’ but such is misleading, because such a term implies a recognition of passing, which does not necessarily exist, because the act of transition may be accomplished on the wings of thought, as in our transit here, a process which admits of no recognition - we desire, and it is done.
It is almost incredible, wonderful. But shall I now be really able to cross that awful void?
“Yes; but it will no longer produce its first awe-inspiring sensation. I should not be surprised to see you pass over without the consciousness of the fact. But before we return I am desirous that you should notice what a different aspect this scene assumes to what you found it to be at your first visit.”
This extract is at the stage that Aphraar gains a new spiritual name Astroel, and is able to enter what are called the Celestial Heavens in the Padgett Messages. This phase is described rather beautifully in the Gate of Heaven, even if it fails to contain any description of a resurrection hall such as is mentioned by the Urantia Book. But it is obvious that with this change, Aphraar/Astroel exits the Mansion Worlds as they are called in the Urantia Book. And is now capable of instantaneous travel.