The true testimony of Seneca Sodi's to Paradise, the Holy City, and the Glory of God's Throne... from the Centenary 1909 Edition.
The parting words from the Lord to Seneca Sodi were, “… so now I send you to make known what you have seen and heard, which is but a little of what you shall yet see, but this is all they will receive at your hand now.…” And so He sent Seneca back to earth with a testimony of his 40-day visit to the Heavenly City which is the reward for the faithful.
The most memorable events in this testimony undoubtedly begin with Seneca’s reunion with his close relatives in heaven, including his wife, mother, grandfather and his daughter. When he meets his grandfather, who died at an old age, he quickly sees that in heaven his vitality and youthful vigor have been fully restored. But an even greater surprise awaits him as he meets his daughter, who died while still in infancy—because she has since grown up into adulthood. She explained to him that children who have died in infancy before accountability are spared from ever experiencing pain or sorrow, but are raised to maturity by the angels, saints—even family members who have died and are now in heaven as well.
The second lasting impression is utter peace and security: the heavenly economy where everything is jointly owned and no one lacks any good thing; the heavenly atmosphere free from strife, sickness, fear and death; the heavenly calendar of timeless eternity with ample time to pursue every noble endeavor without hurry.
A third great assurance is belonging to the heavenly society of mankind, united into one large extended family where death bed conversions, innocent children from every nation who died of war, sickness or other tragedy, and saints of renown are all equally welcomed with the same acceptance and love as joint heirs with Christ of the whole of the heavenly kingdom. Seneca meets many martyred saints who have been rewarded for their struggles, and in fact joins a kind of picnic feast with a group of those who gave their lives for the testimony of the Lord.
For some the highlight may be Seneca’s chance to discuss theology with Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Paul and many others—for others still it could be the overwhelmingly glorious visit to the Throne of God. But whichever part is your personal favorite, I believe this testimony will strengthen the faithful, and impart the joy of being invited to spend eternity living in a city not made by man.
We find several common themes that are repeated throughout the narrative of this story, which are meant to leave a lasting impression on readers, including:
• That living for carnal purposes or in man’s ways builds the substance of one’s life with wood, hay and stubble, and none of this will pass into the heavenly hereafter but will be consumed and be lost. No heavenly reward is based on any such ‘carnal’ thing.
• People who haven’t grown in true grace are unprepared for the greater things of God and so must spend time among the trees of life in paradise, partaking of the leaves of the trees which are for the healing of the nations, meaning for those who are unsanctified and only able to enter the ‘outer courts’ until they grow more in grace.
• That children who die are safe in heaven, and are raised in the most loving care imaginable by angels, saints and even relatives who have gone on to heaven before them, and who soon grow to maturity under their watchful care.
• The coming rapture and millennial reign of Christ are topics that are frequently talked about.
• That if people’s hearts are not open to hearing the Truth from ‘Moses and the Prophets,’ meaning the Scriptures presented to them in an ordinary way, they are also not likely to be convinced of Truth should one testify who has returned from the dead. Not that people will not return from the dead and testify, since this fact has already been faithfully recorded in the Bible (Matthew 27:52), but merely that the weight of such a testimony will not convince those who are die-hard skeptics.
• Other more minor themes include the upward pull of saved souls toward God’s Throne; that the rewards of heaven FAR outweigh the toils, sufferings and sacrifices of saints on the earth; that the heavenly glory is so wonderful that the thought of returning to the earth is dismissed by one and all; that in heaven everyone is quite active, mostly serving for the common good; and that those who suffered more on earth are now able to enjoy and praise the Lord more in heaven; and many more.
It is also interesting to note that it’s been more than 100 years since this testimony first came to light, and far from proving to be an isolated story, such heavenly experiences are becoming more and more common. Some more recent testimonies which do much to substantiate this one include H. A. Baker’s Visions Beyond the Veil, Mary K. Baxter’s visitations to both Heaven as well as Hell.
Another testimony is from Rev. Oden Hetrick, who visited heaven at length, more than 80 times, and has many deep insights that again support much of this story by Seneca Sodi.
I also want to mention Anna Rountree who has written of her heavenly experiences in a series of books, The Heavens Opened, and The Priestly Bride, which confirm so many surprising elements and unique revelations of this story. Although her experiences are in a very different context, her books offer many details that match Seneca’s testimony that could not be mere coincidence.
And there are numerous other accounts from old and young alike who have visited the eternal hereafter and been able to share indelible revelations of our true heavenly home—the place where we have eternal citizenship through faith in Jesus Messiah, the one we call Christ.
It is not that I am looking for support or confirmation to prove or defend the reliability of this testimony, since I think that is unnecessary. Besides Seneca’s testimony predates these others in some cases by nearly 100 years, so the need for proof runs in rather the opposite direction.
I firmly believe this testimony can be trusted. We found it on-line and the Lord asked me to edit and re-print it, so I have it on His recommendation; and I hope you not only enjoy it, but also get to share it with your family and friends.
Nevertheless, there are some things to keep in mind when reading any personal testimony of the spiritual world; the first of which is that Heaven is a very large place. The Holy City itself is 1,500 miles squared—cubed actually—so two people visiting, even for many hours each, may have vastly different experiences of the same general location, especially if they visit different parts of the City, or parts of the even more vast paradise outside the City walls.
We also find that people are able to perceive spiritual things slightly differently according to their own preparedness or spiritual maturity, something discussed in many of these testimonies.
So we see that personal testimonies of such a vast, complex, and highly spiritual place as Heaven need to be treated with some mature discretion. If the writers of the four gospel accounts all differed slightly in how they perceived and experienced the ministry of Jesus on earth, it is no wonder that others who visit heaven in a spiritual encounter have some slight differences in what they perceive and recollect as well. But as with the gospel accounts, the differences in many of these unrelated testimonies are far outnumbered by the bold similarities, sometimes in exacting detail.
Reading such testimonies is a great encouragement and does help to prepare us for what we have never even dreamed could be true. Yet even this body of writings and testimonies is not the key issue. Growing in love and grace is. So the main aim of this book is to offer a taste of the goodness of God, an unveiling of many mysteries, and a blessed assurance that our labors in Christ are not in vain, to encourage you to set aside all hindrances and press on to lay hold of the reward of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.
So with these things in mind, may you enjoy this spiritual classic that I believe will strengthen your faith and give you hope to endure whatever obstacles you encounter on your own journey on towards Paradise, the Holy City and the glory of the Throne.
We are blessed by the Lord to have received this testimony, and we pray that it in turn blesses you in these end days before most inspiring events overtake us all.
—Edward Johnson, Hong Kong
Go to this link to read all chapters - 3 have been listed below
“Are you sure it was Abraham you saw?” I asked my grandfather.
“Oh, indeed! I know him well.”
“Then,” I replied, “I shall be quite glad to see him, for as you know, his name was a household word among us on earth. Will you please tell me which one he is, for there are so many saints in shining garments coming and going. I was asking about him just before I met you. I used to wonder very much what he looked like, and have often thought I would be delighted to see him. I have greatly admired his faith that never staggered, and his obedience to go where his eye could not see. How precious to us were the words concerning him: ‘Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.’ (Romans 4:3)
“I do not see him at present,” said grandfather, “but he was among that group over there that is coming along the bank of the river. He has turned away from us just for a little while, for I see he has gone to welcome a company of new arrivals, who have just crossed the river. I see by his movements he intends to bring this company to the city, where they will be introduced to the Lord Himself.”
“But grandfather, if we go on to the city right now will I see you again?”
“Oh, yes,” said he, “I shall be there quite often and we shall have much opportunity to talk about all past events, as well as what is before you. I have many things I wish to say to you. After you have been recognized by our Lord Jesus and confessed before His Father and the angels, you will then have abundant liberty to go as you will. I have just come from the Throne itself and have left many that you will recognize when you are there. Your dear mother, who has been gone from you for more than fifty years, is aware that you have entered the portals of the heavenly kingdom. She would have come with me at this time for she is very eager to see you, but she was detained on some very important matters for her Lord. No doubt she will meet you before you arrive at the city gate, but just now I must hurry on for there is an old friend with whom I was a playmate in earth, who has just arrived. We were bound together like David and Jonathan. When I left the earthly shores, he took it very hard, and now for many years he has been very lonely. He has just been carried by the angels into this our glory and I am going now to give him my welcome and bring him to this great company. There is an unusual stir about the Throne today which Abraham can explain when you meet him. He will introduce himself when he comes. I hope to return in time to go with you up to the city,” and waving his hand he said good-bye.
I watched my old grandfather as we used to call him in the earth. He walked off so gracefully or rather sprung like a young man. He used to be so old and decrepit, but now his youth is renewed like the eagles’ and every expression of his face was joy.
At this moment I turned around and to my great joy a most lovely person was coming very near me. He bore marks of great age, and yet for all that, he had an indescribable youthful appearance. He was not like the other spirits that I was accustomed to seeing. The elder that I first met and he were very much alike.
“Is this Abraham?” I said.
“It is,” he replied.
“In the bosom of Abraham!” (Luke 16:22) I said softly, and began to bow myself down before him, for a certain feeling of awe filled my soul.
“Stand up, my son,” he said, “we are all brethren here.” Then he took my hand in his and with his other drew me close to him and gave me his kiss of welcome. Oh, such a freshness of love and joy which burst upon my soul, so that I practically shouted, “Hallelujah,” and said again, “In the bosom of Abraham!”
“Do you remember that Scripture?” he said. “Well, you will realize its meaning more and more, but who is this by your side?”
“Bohemond,” I replied, “who also has just come from the world.”
He then gave him his cordial welcome and said, “The great joy and gladness which you now feel has been mine during a hundred generations of earthly Lives. Someday I trust I can introduce you to Lazarus, of whom it was said by our Lord: ‘He was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom.’
“I see,” said he, “you have just arrived and have much wonder and many questions to ask about this heavenly kingdom of our Lord. While we talk for a few moments let us be refreshed with a drink from this crystal river, for it flows from the great palace up at the Throne. Would you like to taste its waters?”
“Oh, indeed we would, I have sung hymns, and read in the Holy Scriptures concerning this very river, where the angel pointed it out to John, who in his vision saw it proceeding out of the Throne of God and the Lamb.” (Revelation 22:1)
He now proceeded to the brink and with a golden goblet he dipped and filled the cup for me, and another for Bohemond, and said, “My sons, drink of this river and you shall never thirst again, nor be faint, nor weary for its lack, for its waters shall never fail.”
As I drank from the cup I said, “Oh praise God for such a supply! So sweet to the taste! How full of invigorating power! It makes me feel the joy and glow of youth.”
“You never can feel old or weary again, after drinking of this living water,” said Abraham, “for it is the Water of Life. I just now gave a drink to a company of fresh arrivals before coming to you. Did you not hear them praising God? They, with that great group near them, are now learning to sing together, the song in which you will join them, which we will all sing at the city gate shortly. Some of them have it quite well now and others knew it when they came, for it is contained in the Holy Scriptures on earth. God has revealed the order so that all might be familiar with it. Do you remember the song?”
“Please repeat it for me,” I said, “that I may know which song you mean.”
He replied, “John was caught up in spirit so he heard the strains of this music and wrote: ‘I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, “Alleluia, salvation, and glory, and honor, and power unto the Lord our God.” And God from the Throne said, “Praise our God all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great.” And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia. Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready.”’” (Revelation 19:1,5-7)
“Oh, yes,” I replied, “I remember that song so well and can join with them singing it now.” I said, “Father Abraham, shall we not soon go on to the Throne? I have such a desire to see my Lord Jesus, I have loved Him these years, and then I have many loved ones beside that I feel sure are about the Throne.”
“Your desires, my son,” he replied, “shall be fully met. The patience you have leaned on earth is of great service to you here. So I hope you will feel that restful, quiet trust in all God’s ways.”
“Oh yes, my whole soul says, ‘Your will be done.’”
“You will soon see the King in His beauty, and probably some of those who knew you best may come out and meet us on the journey toward the city gates, for they certainly know you are here. Just as soon as our company is full we will be off. Twelve legions make the company, and you see they are gathering from all directions.
“Look down the stream and you can see another company quickly filling up. Look across to the other side and farther up the stream and you see another. The guides who welcome them soon know to what company and place each belong. Some have made but little preparation for this glory when they left the world, and now the light is too great for them, and, as you see, they fall back into the rear and are content among the trees, waiting to become more prepared by applying these wonderful leaves of the trees. But all these companies you see will soon be gathering about the gates of the city.”
* * * * *
“Father Abraham, may we ask you a question while we are waiting for these gathering numbers that make this company?”
“Certainly,” he replied, “use your greatest freedom.”
“I have just met my old grandfather, who has been here for more than thirty years. I had a long talk with him before you came. He has told me many things concerning this eternal world of light, but just as he was leaving me, to welcome another friend of his, he said there was considerable commotion about the Throne just now. Would you care to explain it to us?”
“Oh, most gladly. Great events are about to occur of the most interesting character that time and eternity have ever known. Our Lord has recently announced that the time has nearly arrived when He shall leave the mediatorial throne and in company with all the saints and angels, will descend to the earth for its judgment, for the cup of its iniquity is now nearly full.”
“Oh,” I replied, “we have been expecting Christ’s coming to the earth for many years. Some had even gone so far as to have dates set when He would return.”
“But,” said Abraham, “that was their folly. Our Lord had distinctly told them as you will remember in His word, and we have faithful copies of the Holy Scriptures here in heaven to which we have access whenever we choose, that no man knows the day nor the hour—even the angels themselves did not know nor even now do they know. (Matthew 24:36 , Mark 13:32) None of us who have been here during great cycles of eternity have known when the time would be and even now the exact period has not been announced. But notable events are announced at the Throne during the great convocation, when millions of saints and angels meet up for the great praise services of which you will know more later. All of us here, like those upon earth, are deeply interested in this great event, which the Father has kept in the secrets of His own counsels.
“The church on earth and in heaven will soon unite in one great jubilee and celebrate the final and great victories of the cross of our Lord, at the resurrection of all the saints, from the days of Abel to the end of the age. The living saints of earth as you know will all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and with divine permission and arrangement, we in heaven will all go back to the cradle of our nativity and say good morning to the church on earth. Then the great resurrection shall occur. Then will follow the earth’s great Sabbath. Although we have been here for long ages, yet we have looked with great interest towards this event. Tender memories cluster about the scenes of childhood and early youth, and we feel glad to know we shall soon visit the place of our early experience in the world and the scenes that witnessed our salvation from sin. And then we shall receive the fullness and completion of our salvation, the redemption of our bodies. A very few of us have already had our resurrection as you see in my own case.”
“I have been waiting for some time to ask,” I replied, “what made the great difference between your appearance and those other happy spirits and even my own?”
“All the elders,” said he, “received their resurrection at the time our Lord was raised and with Him became the first fruits of those who slept; yet we ourselves shall be freshly dressed up along with you for the marriage of the Lamb, a great event to which we all are looking.”
“Oh,” I said. “Blessed be the Lord our God! My soul is in perfect rapture for His unspeakable gift.”
“You may well be,” said Abraham, “and it will never die away from your soul. The time is almost here and the angels and saints have carried the news to the utmost limits of this heavenly domain. The Holy Spirit also, who is the light of the church on earth, as well as in heaven, is impressing the minds of the most godly in the church militant with this great event. I will speak to you again of this if you desire, but I see our company is now about full and we must prepare to be off for the holy city.
“The behavior, you will find, of all this great crowd will not be the same, although nearly all are fresh arrivals from the earth, and with few exceptions all are eager to see the King in His beauty. Some were exceedingly joyous, but others not so much so. Some have not made good use of their opportunities while on earth, and have not filled their souls with good. They have not been given to much prayer and efforts to develop the fruits of the spirit with themselves, which makes up our character for eternity. They have been building with wood, hay and stubble, instead of gold, silver and precious stones. But feel yourselves entirely at ease, for we shall soon be off for the city.”
Again he passed us, and stopping, said, “I see what you are looking at. You have been noticing some who, as we have been preparing for our journey to the city and the Throne, are inclined to drop into the rear, and are not so much filled with rejoicing.”
“Yes,” I said, “and I think I understand it. I remember while on earth, many of God’s children never could be persuaded to enter wholeheartedly into the way of life. Their faith was weak and unsatisfactory, and in times of great rejoicings in God, they had but little appetite for the deeper things of the kingdom. They lacked what we called real true consecration to God. Sometimes, we almost questioned whether they were saved from past sins. It was a rule among us that those who had a clear knowledge of much forgiveness always loved much, and those who were filled with the blessed Holy Spirit, had a sense of great victory over the world, the flesh and the devil, and were of those who overcame and had right to the tree of life and to enter in through the gates into the city. These were filled with great rejoicings of soul, and it seems that the same attitudes are extended into the heavenly kingdom.”
“You are quite right, my son,” said Abraham, “and when those, lean in soul, arrive here, they have but little desire for the crystal river, nor could they enjoy the fountains at the Throne, nor do they have great desire for the fruit upon the trees of which no doubt you have been eating. When they come here they mostly partake of the leaves, the fragrance of which is so sweet and powerful to you.”
All the time he was speaking to me there was constantly coming to my mind the words of the apostle: “Every man’s work shall be made manifest, for the day shall declare it because it shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work shall abide which he has built there upon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15)
“Oh,” I said, “how blessed that they have the foundation itself, the atonement made by our Lord Jesus Christ, and the privilege of these leaves which I remember are for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:2)
Abraham then said to me, “God cannot reward them largely, for their lack of capacity to receive, and yet as full as they are prepared to do so they will enjoy the glories of this heavenly kingdom. One star differs from another star in glory. (1 Corinthians 15:41) They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3) c
* * * * *
By this time everything was ready and we were off. Twelve legions of souls from various places had gathered in a very short time beside the river and all had come by the way of the cross. It did not matter what language we had known on earth, we could fully understand each other there, and all were speaking, as we passed along, of the precious salvation through Jesus. As I turned myself from the themes of my former conversation and began to mingle more freely with the group of joyous spirits, I met some whom I recognized as old friends. One dear lady whom I had known as an invalid for many years, and yet a very spiritual Christian, was in the group. She was rejoicing with exceeding joy. I cannot tell how we recognized each other, but there is such a similarity of the spirit itself to the bodily features that we at once knew each other, and memory was so fresh that we seemed never to have forgotten anyone. She seemed so well now, and her face was beaming with immortal youth. As I drew near to her there was a halo of light and heavenly joy, beyond my power to describe to you, covering all her soul. As I spoke to her, calling her by name, she at once seized my hand, exclaiming, “Glory be to the Father. Saved, saved, forever! All sickness and suffering over! Hallelujah!”
“Yes,” I said, “and how well you look. Old things are passed away.”
“Indeed, when you knew me I was a great sufferer. I realize now Paul’s words: ‘For our light affliction which is but for a moment works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ (2 Corinthians 4:17) My soul is so full of glory. We are getting so near the King in His beauty. Oh, listen! What do I see and hear? Oh, the chariots of God are coming!”
At this we practically shouted, and could hear very lovely music in the distance, and looking in the direction from whence it came, we saw a great procession of angels with flaming chariots of light coming toward us. I cried out, together with many other voices, as we caught the first glimpse of them.
“Oh, Father Abraham, is this our Lord Jesus for whom we have been eagerly looking so long?”
Abraham lovingly replied, “These are the chariots of God under the control of angels. They will soon be among you, bringing many ancient loved ones to greet you with a welcome when they carry you to the city and the Throne itself. You remember how it was on earth, when our friends came from long journeys, how we would go long distances to meet them. I used to go far down from Hebron to welcome Lot and his children. Isaac went a long way into the fields when he knew the camels and Rebecca were coming. In your day you went to the railroad stations and the wharfs of the shores to meet your loved ones. They keep up this custom in heaven.”
In a few moments more—swifter by far than the fastest express trains of earth—they came nearer and nearer, and with a great sweeping circle they seemed to pass us by, but at Abraham’s suggestion the great legions now parted, standing in two long groups with an open space or aisle between, to give the chariots room to pass. Soon, they began to reduce their speed and moving slowly but most graciously they passed between the long rows of awestruck, expectant souls. We all stood as in breathless silence not only awestruck but in amazement and great wonder, at the marvelous sight. The chariots and all within glowed with a brightness and glory which we knew were reflected from the Throne itself. So when they had finally stopped, they gave one great shout of hallelujah to God, saying, “His redeemed are here!”
No sooner were the chariots standing among us than we saw that they were filled with happy, shining ones. They soon sprang out and were among us. They had come to meet and welcome us to these realms of everlasting light and day. But who were they but acquaintances, friends and relatives whom we had known so well on earth, and who knew of our coming. We used to have reunions on earth, but they could in no wise compare to the joy of this meeting. Some of these had been there for many years. In a few moments more, many were embraced in each other’s arms. Oh, such joy I never knew before, and such welcome! “Oh, blessed rewards!” I shouted.
Among these was my own dear mother. She had died many years ago. How she knew me I cannot tell, nor how I knew her I do not know, but she rushed toward me and I knew her so well and said, “Oh, mother, is this you?” She was beautiful and lovely. She embraced me in her arms and said, “I knew you were coming.” The memories of childhood and all her customary smiles and kindness which a mother’s love suggests, came back to me. There were many others like myself. Mothers and sons, fathers and children, old friends meeting again. The glory and joy of the occasion excelled anything I had yet known. The charioteers now kindly invited us all to take passage with them. We of course accepted their offers of kindness with thankfulness and were soon inside the chariots and the whole multitude were praising God. In a few moments we were flying with great speed toward the city gate, following the course of the river.
“The light toward the city which I had seen on my first arrival, grew more and more glorious as we neared the city. We could at length see the shining of the jasper walls. Although we were rolling along at such great speed the wheels were noiseless and the chariots without a bump. The appearance of the landscape on either side seemed at a distance like a sea of glass mingled with fire, but on a closer examination it seemed that it was immortal. Flowers of unfading glory, and with an endless variety of colors, many of which I never saw anything before to which I could compare them and their indescribable loveliness attracted everyone’s attention. We saw thousands of angels and happy spirits passing in all directions, but all I saw seemed very joyous and happy in their work. I thought of the word of the Lord: “He makes his angels spirits and His ministers a flaming fire.” (Psalm 104:4, Hebrews 1:7)
I said to my mother, “Can you tell me why we were not brought directly to the Throne at once when we departed from our earthly home?”
“Oh,” said she, “you could not have endured its glory, but would have been dazzled into utter confusion and unconsciousness. Even now your expanding powers cannot take in all the glory and grandeur of the city until you are further prepared for it. The same law prevails in heaven as on earth. The Patriarchal and Jewish systems were very inferior to the Christian dispensation and the kingdom of heaven on earth was very inferior to the kingdom here, as you see, in point of glory and blessing. So you could not be ushered in about the Throne till you were graciously prepared for it. But I am so glad you are here. I had word of your coming before you reached the portals of paradise, and I have often had word concerning you since I left you. This very angel which you do not recognize, who is your charioteer, has often been to you. Once when you were very ill and away from your home and came well near dying, he was by your bed all the night and laid his hand upon you and said you should live and finish your work. He has told me how he saved you on the water once when you came near being drowned.”
“Oh, mother, was he there at that time?”
“Indeed, my son, and his own hand righted your little boat when it was almost overturned.”
“Well, mother, I always felt there was some mysterious Providence which saved us that day, but how little I knew this angel of heaven was with me then. Oh, thank God for His wonderful care!”
“Yes,” said mother, “at one time, he told me he kept you from getting on a railroad train, which if you had, your life would have been lost, and your work not been done. Do you not remember many times when strange Providence came into your pathway and you wondered and sometimes grieved at such occurrences? He was guarding your life and shielding you from the stormy blasts of danger. Some day you can ask him all about these times, and we ourselves will talk it all over, for we are just in the springtime of our eternal life. But do you see we are nearing the golden gate, glistening with one great pearl, studded with a thousand shining gems? In just a little while we will all join in singing the Song of Moses and the Lamb? Do you know it?”
“Yes,” I replied, “for we have been singing it far back in paradise where this great legion was made up.” I repeated it over in a subdued tone to my mother, but wanted to shout it out at the top of my voice.
“Here,” said she, “take this harp I have brought for you.” She loosened it from a golden belt about her and gave it to me. “See, I have one like it.”
By this time he had come to us, and with a friendly greeting we shook hands and my mother gave us an introduction. He very cordially welcomed me, and in a moment all my feelings of backwardness at meeting with such an honored and favored servant of God as he had been and was were gone. The grace with which he met me and the welcome he gave caused an immediate yearning in me to be near him. I felt I could lean my head with great joy on his bosom.
The meekness so characteristic of his nature while on earth clothed every feature of his soul now. He did not seem like a man who had lived one hundred twenty years on the earth under such great burdens of responsibilities as he had passed through. There were no marks of age, or wrinkles or any oldish looking appearance about him. Only his hair and beard were of flaxen whiteness. He was rather above the average in stature, and his robes were white as snow. He stood quite erect and had a most imposing dignity and yet so gentle and lovely that my soul loved him exceedingly at once.
My mother and he entered into a short conversation about a number of children who were just outside the gate, and asked me to excuse their conversation a moment. I heard him ask her if she would go and assist them in the knowledge and ways of the heavenly kingdom. We were so near the gateway, that we could distinctly hear them singing and could discern the voices—very sweet and angelic. Mother said she would be quite glad to go and spend some time among them and teach them of heavenly things. So turning to Moses she said, “My son would be pleased for a short visit with you, as he has only recently entered the city.”
“I shall be much pleased also,” said Moses, “for to assist and help each other is much of our occupation in heaven as you know yourself.”
Whereupon my mother made a gentle bow, adding the words, “I’ll see you again,” and waving a good-bye with her hand she was gone.
Moses now said, “You were fortunate to have had such a mother on earth. She is greatly esteemed in heaven, and very much used in the service of her Lord. But I see, my son, you are very full of questions and the inquiries and investigations of your soul are of great service to you here. Let us walk to that cluster of trees over there and take some fruit that we may be eat while we talk. I always enjoyed the social and religious feasts while on earth, and it remains with me still. I greatly enjoy eating with my friends.” He selected from the different kinds what we wanted and said as he handed me a bunch of what seemed like large transparent grapes. These will help you in understanding the mystery of the kingdom of God—mysteries not so much connected with our redemption as our further development in heaven and growth in a knowledge of His will for the great future.”
“There have been great discussions of recent years,” I said to Moses, “over some portions of the Scripture, especially of the book of Genesis which you wrote, what was meant and what time embraced in the six days of creation, and the seventh day in which it is said, ‘God rested.’ I used to say if ever I got to heaven I would see Moses and ask about these things. And at last, here we are, face to face.”
“Well,” said Moses, “my time and knowledge are at your disposal. I have been asked very similar questions hundreds of times. But just one word of explanation will make it all clear to you. In the first place, to begin back of where I began when writing under the inspiration of God, before the beginning the great cycles of eternity knew nothing of the earth. It was known only in the mind of God, and long before He laid the foundations of the earth, He thought of each of us. But this beginning and each successive day of creation were long periods of time. Each cycle was called a day which measured a vast period of creation under infinite laws. The same laws were in operation as they are now—God’s will was simply His law. When He said, ‘Let the dry land appear,’ ages were occupied in developing the continents for our earthly home, and so period after period, the work was done and the earth was populated with creation of His own will. Great events are in store for the earth yet. The restitution of all things has not occurred yet. God shall cleanse, change and remodel it again by fire. His voice shall yet shake the earth as it has never been shaken. He shall prepare it for a suitable place for His bride in the great wedding tour which we will yet take. Do you not remember His Word, written long after my day: ‘Whose voice then shook the earth, but now He has promised saying, “Yet once more I will shake not the earth only but also heaven”’? (Hebrews 12:26) The renovation of the earth and the removing out of His kingdom there all things which offend and do iniquity is another great day yet to come, and nearly here. All the wise ones of earth will be ready and waiting for it.”
“Well,” I said to Moses, “I am deeply interested in these great matters of creation, but may we not leave them for another visit for there are other things which I wish to ask you about.”
“Certainly,” said Moses.
“Tell me something concerning our Lord Jesus, before He was born in the world and became our sacrifice for sin.”
“Well,” said Moses, “He was always one with the Father. He was truly the Word of God. The creative energy of the almighty Jehovah. Without Him God did nothing. ‘Let us make,’ was an expression common in all the works and creations of God. His title always was the ‘Word,’ and until He was born on earth He was not known as the Son, but as the Word only. He has been present in the creation of the world, and was and is the glory of the Father’s Throne in this celestial kingdom. But it was a great event in heaven when the announcement was made that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It was the most exciting occasion ever witnessed in all the heavenly domain. All the angels tuned their harps, for the Lord said, ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him.’ I have seen great times on earth when the millions of Israel all joined in the chorus of praise at the passage of the Red Sea, and when all the great hosts rushed from their tents at the sounding of the trumpet of God on Mount Sinai, but never was anything equal to this. Multitudes of angels at once descended to where the infant Jesus was, but no such worship or music has ever been heard in heaven. Everything throughout all the streets and avenues of the city and even to the utmost bounds of paradise the voice of thanksgiving was being poured forth to God. The angels were not alone in this praise, for all of us who had come from the earth knew that our salvation was through Him who had just been born into the world and you may know we all joined with them in one prolonged praise to God. It was an event which had been pondered with great interest by all the heavenly host for long ages past.”
“Thank God,” I said to Moses, “for His birth. And I now remember a passage of the blessed word of the Lord bearing on this same subject: ‘Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you. Searching what or what manner of time, the Spirit of God which was in them did signify when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow: Unto whom it was revealed that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported unto you, by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, which things the angels desire to look into.’” (1 Peter 1:10-12)
“You are right, my son,” said Moses, “and we all knew that the world’s redemption was connected with His birth, life and death. The angels were in constant attendance upon Him at all times and brought us detailed accounts of all that occurred in His life. Many things of which I am told there is no record upon earth are faithfully written in the Book of Life, a volume of which is at each of the twelve gates and the angel always has charge of it. If you desire,” said Moses, “we will walk at once to the Judean gateway, which is not far from here and see some of the things written therein.”
I said to him, “I entered at that gate only a short time ago and saw the Book and glanced over a few of its pages and should be much pleased to look into it again, for our Lord said, ‘You can all read at your leisure.’”
As we were going, Moses said to me, “Did the Book meet your expectations?”
“Oh,” I said, “it far exceeded them. It is so large and grand, yet it seemed easily handled, for everything in heaven seems to be of such a spiritual character.”
He quickly turned to that portion bearing the title, “Records of the Son of God.” As he slowly turned the pages I glanced at the various headings bearing on the many events in His most wonderful life. It was exceedingly interesting and precious to notice with what wonderful harmony the records of His life were given in the Scriptures and in this blessed Book of all books. It seemed more interesting still, since I knew that one had been written by the instrumentality of man and the other by the hand of angels. The angels know all about our language and have written all things intelligible to us. The angels whom Jacob saw in his dream ascending and descending upon the ladder, bearing confirmations of the covenant given to Abraham were the same who were in constant attendance upon the Son of God during His wonderful incarnate life upon earth, and watched every detail of His life, and much of it has been faithfully written. I read with fresh interest the account of His birth, of the special illumination by the guiding star given to the wise men of the east, in the language of the Record, “A light from heaven guided them to the place where the world’s Redeemer was born.” Of Herod’s miserable attempt to destroy Him by killing all the young children of those parts, and of his continued and determined wrath against Him until an angel brought his life to an end.
As he turned the pages I noticed many accounts of His early life not given in the Scriptures. One especially attracted my attention, the title was, “Jesus Taught by the Father.” The event seemed to occur when He was but five years old. Joseph had gone from home and the child Jesus was left alone in His father’s place of business, His mother being busy in the house. Suddenly a bright cloud filled all that mechanic’s room. The Father Himself overshadowed and held conversation with Him, telling Him who He was: that God was His Father, and communicated to Him much concerning His earthly mission. “All this,” said Moses, “he knew as God, but as He was man also He learned by being taught.”
Another account was written, “Caught Up to Paradise.” It was during the night while all were asleep that He was caught up to the paradise of God and was with the Father for many hours in which the Father said to Him, “You are man as well as God for you were born of a woman. All power and authority shall soon be given into Your hands, and You shall lay down Your life for the salvation of men.” I then quickly remembered His own words: “This commandment I have received from my Father.” (John 10:18) “You shall also prepare and fix up mansions in this upper kingdom for Your future home and that of all Your children for they shall be many.”
Before morning had broken upon the earth, angels had returned Him safely to His home at Nazareth and before any stir by servants or parents He was in His room in prayer.
“Now,” said Moses, “this incarnate life of Jesus on earth was made necessary on account of man’s sin and rebellion against God. No other method was ever devised for our salvation. You can look further into the book if you like, and at any time you wish.”
* * * * *
“These accounts,” I replied, “are exceedingly interesting. I have often said while on earth that many things we did not know, nor could know, we would know hereafter.”
“True enough,” said Moses. “The fact is, we only just began to know the first elementary principles of the knowledge of God while on earth.”
“I suppose that would be true of the large mass of mankind whose knowledge is so limited concerning divine things, but you seem to include yourself along with the rest of us, and it seems a little strange since you were for so many years in such intimate fellowship with God—talked face to face with Him—saw His glory so often, were His special friend so long.”
“I know,” said Moses, “that God did highly favor me, but it was for your sakes as much as my own, but after all, since I came into the heavenly kingdom and into His immediate presence about the Throne, I find I know but little of what is evidently yet to be known. God revealed much of Himself to me, as I thought, but that much was only a little of the great mysteries of His eternal nature, wisdom and works. Even as regards our common salvation, the angels who for long ages have been about the Throne, are yet eager to learn. Here,” said Moses, “is a page you would like to see, I am sure. It is one of the great events in the earlier life of Jesus, not recorded in the Holy Scriptures on earth.”
The headlines were, “The mission of Jesus more fully confirmed by the Father.” The event occurred when He was about twenty-two years of age. He had retired to a distant mountain to pray and was all alone, except many of the angels were about Him, when the Father in a most extraordinary manner met with Him and reiterated in fullness of meaning all that had been revealed by the shadows of the law. The Father spoke of His death to be accomplished at Jerusalem and of its vicarious nature—how His death was to be for all men and showed Him the fullness of His love for the world, and that His sufferings and death should be the price of the world’s redemption, and that His death should be the great atonement for the salvation of man. The account also showed how He should die and the awful sorrows of the occasion: His rejection by the Jews, His scourging and final death on the cross. Reference was also made of His resurrection and ascension into heaven. “All these things,” said Moses, “Jesus as the Word always knew, but as the Son of God, He was instructed by the Father, and fully did His will in all His incarnate life on earth.”
Very many things I saw written there of the occurrences in His life were most interesting to me now. “Oh, yes,” I replied to Moses as he turned the pages, “I remember how John the beloved disciple said as he finished his narrative of the Son of God: ‘And there are many other things which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.’” (John 21:25)
I asked Moses why these are written here instead of in the records on earth.
“These,” he replied, “are for the satisfaction and comfort of God’s children in heaven.”
“Well, well,” I remarked, “I am lost in wonder and surprise. But, father Moses,” I said, “you had a most remarkable experience in the days of our Lord while on earth. The Scriptures make reference to the transfiguration of Jesus on the Holy Mount and that He took Peter, James and John with Him and that you and Elijah came also and were talking with Him concerning His death.”
“Yes,” said Moses, “I look back to that event with great pleasure. At the time the hosts of Israel were ready to cross the Jordan into the land of their inheritance I was very eager to go over with them, but God thought it not best, and His will is always right. I did not then know that He meant to answer my prayer after so many long years had passed—that is, long years as regards earthly count—it was only a day and a half of heaven’s measure.”
“That was a great day when the Lord summoned us to the earth. All powers had just been given into His hands both in heaven and in earth. I cannot fully describe to you our feelings when Elijah and myself were walking together near the Throne talking of the great event so soon to occur in the earth, and its great meaning both to earth and heaven. I was speaking of His tragic death soon to be accomplished on the cross, and He of the blessed gift of the Holy Ghost to be offered to all God’s children on the earth—for our great mission and concern had been to unfold these two features of the work of the Son of God.
We had enjoyed many precious visits and much conversation about these questions when unexpectedly Michael, one of the chief angels, whom possibly you have seen, and Jehuco, the swift charioteer, brought a chariot to our side and said that we were called for immediately to the earth. Without further preparations we were quickly seated by their side and, with almost the speed of thought, we were flying through the great avenues and passed out of the city at the gate of Manasseh. The vast plains, mountains and valleys of paradise were quickly passed. We were so enraptured with the thought of a visit to earth we hardly knew what to say nor had we time to say it until we were slowing down somewhere in the regions of a terrestrial sphere. In a moment more, its cities, towns, mountains and rivers were visible to us. Just at this moment Michael said to Jehuco, ‘Reduce your speed still more and drive the chariot past Mount Nebo.’ I exclaimed and said, ‘Oh, Michael, you blessed servant of God. Are we so near the land of my earthly pilgrimage, and to the mount where my last earthly prayer was offered and where I laid aside the veil of my flesh? I am so glad to see old Nebo again. My body was laid away somewhere here.’ ‘Yes,’ said Michael, ‘we know all about it and where it is. I will speak unto you again later on about it, but now we must hurry on.’ In a moment more the chariot wheels were standing still on Olivet’s summit, and we had stepped upon the earth which had been the scenes of my former life and within the promised land to which I had led the host of Israel, and so strongly desired to enter it myself, and now my prayer was answered after many hundreds of years had passed.
* * * * *
Moses continued and said, “Only a short distance from us was a bright cloud suspended a little way above, but really it was settling down upon the mount. It reminded me very much of the cloud that went before us in the wilderness and led the hosts of Israel in their journeys. We quickly left the chariot and the angels standing by its side, and proceeded to the place over which the cloud hung. As we came near we had the first glimpse of Him who was both God and man. He had clothed Himself in the garments of heaven for the occasion. We found Him on His knees in prayer and somewhat hidden behind some low shrubbery. The three disciples were kneeling near Him, but were so overcome with the glory that they seemed asleep. He arose and met us with a most cordial greeting, and the place was so resplendent with glory that it seemed we might have been still about the Throne itself. It did seem a little strange to think we were upon the earth again. We knew the time had arrived when He should become the great sacrifice for the world’s redemption. I had foreshadowed Him by the manifold shadows of the law. Indeed, I saw something of His majesty and the glory of His kingdom when in a figure God made my face to shine like the sun on Mount Sinai, with which, no doubt, you are familiar, for it was faithfully written.” (Exodus 34:29)
“Oh! I remember it quite well,” I replied, “and have often made reference to it as typifying the beauty of moral character.”
“Very true,” said Moses, “but it also foreshadowed the transfiguration scene and the future period yet to come, and which, we are informed, is near at hand, when the millennial glory of Christ is to appear upon the earth and all the saints shall share in the glory, a glimpse of which was seen on the Holy Mount.
“We stood united in our testimony to the Son of God. But after we had been called away the three disciples saw no man but Jesus only. The great Father spoke out of the cloud and declared this was His only beloved Son, well pleasing to Him. We had much conversation with Him on the great themes of sacrifice and atonement, the Holy Spirit, and the plan of man’s redemption. The church now has ample proof of His divinity and can fully trust in the great sacrifice which He has made.
“Our Lord spoke as familiarly to me as though we had been intimately acquainted for hundreds of years, and indeed He had been during much of my earthly life and toil, my constant friend. He was the ‘Angel of the Covenant,’ and was in the cloud which went before and followed us in our journeys in the wilderness. Long before His incarnation in the flesh He was the light of heaven and was with His church on earth. He gave us a cordial introduction to the disciples with whom we spoke.
“When He had dismissed us, the chariot drove to our side, and in a few moments we said good-bye, and leaving Olivet’s summit were on our homeward trip. Michael now turned to me and said, ‘Would you like to go past the cave?’ ‘I should be greatly delighted,’ I replied, ‘will you please stop a moment at its threshold?’
“When the chariot stood still, Michael, Elijah and myself stepped out. Michael now said, ‘No man has known where your body was laid until this day. The Lord directed a secret burial, lest the people of Israel should worship your remains. The devil contended for a long time that we should give it a public burial. But you are aware that we are now at the place? Your body was laid far back in a cave that used to be here. After it had been laid to rest, we touched the rocks and they came down and filled the entrance and here it has been sleeping ever since.’ At this I humbly bowed myself before God and blessed Him for His promise of the resurrection.
“We now quickly ascended to the top of Pisgah and once again I was standing where I had stood nearly sixteen hundred years before. Oh, how fresh the memories of it all were! Everything came back to me.”
I had been so entranced by this remarkable story, that I almost thought myself on the earth again, but turning to Moses, I said, “How wonderful are the dealings of God to the children of men! What great things are in store for them!”
“Surely,” said Moses, “but I must finish my narrative. Just here Michael said, ‘We must hurry on.’ Seated again in the chariot he said to his charioteer, ‘Go past Bethlehem, for there are two souls just released which we must take with us.’ The chariot seemed to go with the speed of lightning. We received the two souls and were soaring to the regions above and toward the gateways of paradise. When we had stepped out, Elijah remained with them for further instruction, and I was soon once more at the Throne.
“I see,” said Moses, “that we have been standing here a long time and you will have ample time to look into this Book at your leisure.”
“I am thankful for that,” I replied, “and shall often take advantage of the privilege.”
Moses now said, “You have not been far into the city, nor about the Throne, have you?”
“No, but I am eager to go, if I only had someone to go with me as a guide. There were many who entered the city at the same time I did, but they have all disappeared among the countless crowds I see in every direction.”
“You have taken a wise course, my son. Get acquainted as you go along. There are many who will lend you all the assistance you require. I see you are eager to see your mother again, she will return to you soon and you can enjoy her company as you will.”
“I thank you very much for your kindness, father Moses, and will make the most of the opportunities as they come to me.”
Moses then said, “I hope to see you again soon, and at the Throne if not before,” and with a pleasant word of blessing he said good-bye.
I turned around only to see my friend Bohemond coming toward me. We had parted at the Judean gate and had not met since. So we went to a quiet place and sat down to talk over the things of our wonderful visits and experiences.
VISIT WITH THE PROPHET DANIEL
The elder, which proved to be Daniel the prophet, and who was by our side, now said to us, “Well, dear brethren, I am glad to have this visit with you. I know you have recently arrived in the city and are eager to know of the wonders which are constantly crowding upon you.”
He told us, “Jesus our Lord, who was conceived by the eternal spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, is Lord of earth and heaven. All power has been given to Him by His Father. While I was in the earth I knew Him long before His advent by the Virgin Mary, as the ‘Ancient of Days,’ whose garment was white as snow and the hair of His head like pure wool.
“In the revelations which God then gave me I saw Him ‘sitting on His Throne in the last judgment and His Throne was like a fiery flame. A fiery stream, or bands of flaming angels, issued and came forth from before Him; a thousand thousand ministered to Him and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; the judgment was set and the books were opened.’” (Daniel 7:9-10)
At this Bohemond clasped his hands and said, “Oh, Daniel, greatly beloved, I remember the part of Scripture which you have just quoted.”
“Indeed,” said the elder, “and it will stand as my testimony from God till the time of the end.”
He continued, “Man has been created in the likeness and image of the Triune God. In his creation he was lower than the angels, but in his redemption and glorification he is their equal and in some respects their superior. All these great multitudes of the redeemed are the bride of our Lord and He is complete only in them, which is His fullness and very precious to Him. Have you not noticed how completely in His image we are?”
“Indeed,” I replied, “and who could have believed when we were children playing in the dirt and dusk of the earth, that all this exaltation and glory was in store for us. We were taught about heaven, but how little we conceived of its glory and grandeur.”
“Sure enough,” said the elder, “you have seen but little of our Father’s house and the many mansions it contains. Tell me where you have been. Maybe I can help you still further in the unfoldings and knowledge of this great Kingdom of God.”
“Oh,” said Bohemond, “we first met each other far down the river in a remote portion of paradise. We came from the earth about the same time and have been much together since we spent some time about the river and met several ancient men and learned our first lessons and hymns on the river banks.
“Abraham brought our company to the Judean gate, where we first met our Lord and received His smiles of welcome. We have visited the children’s praise service at the Polytechnic and also a great praise meeting on Fourth Avenue. We also visited the Shrine of Sacred Relics, and have attended a most interesting convention of the prophets and apostles and writers of the Bible, called to discuss the condition of the church on earth, their doctrinal disputes and errors which have crept in among them from time to time, and many scenes of the deepest interest have met us at every turn since entering the city. Our souls have been constantly filled with wonder and admiration every moment of our time since leaving the earth in the angels’ chariot.”
“Well,” said Daniel, “you have only seen the threshold of your inheritance when compared to the vastness and greatness of the provisions for you. But as to what is before you, eternity is short enough to show it all. But be assured that your enlarging cup of enjoyment will always be full. You have noticed how completely free you are from unrest and without aches or pains of any kind and that no distress or trouble burdens or haunts you here, such as we all experienced so much while in the earth, but these things are all passed away, and your appreciation of heaven is greatly increased by the bitter cups of your earthly life.
“You will have such important employment here as will make life the most meaningful. The occupation and business of your earthly life was but a preparation for and a little reflection of heaven. There is no toil here, like the sweat of our brow of which we used to know so much, but a joyful employment of all the powers of the soul to further the interest of all about us.
“Whatever you were most accustomed to do on earth will aid in your busy life in heaven. Were you in the agricultural departments of the earth, then you will often enjoy your visits to the plains, valleys, hills and mountains of paradise. These with their abounding fruitfulness and scenery will be of great delight to you and with the increasing multitudes gathering here from the earth, enlarged provisions are constantly being made for them in which you will delight to share.
“Have you been a teacher, then you will greatly enjoy the service of instructing those who have just come from terrestrial shores to this eternal kingdom. Those who were mechanics will find ample scope for that trait of mind in heaven. Our Lord has been preparing these mansions for us for thousands of years, but He employs the busy hands of millions of his saints in the most wonderful architecture of heaven.
“But now for you, dear brethren, all you see before you is for your enjoyment and comfort. The chariots are for your journeys. If you wish you can go at the speed of sound—go at your pleasure. Massive praise services of which we are all so fond here, are held in various sections of the city. If you wish to ascend to the higher or lower galleries or sections of the city, step into the elevator and press the number of the button and you may in a few moments be landed hundreds of kilometers  above or below as you desire. For you will remember that the city lies four square, its length and breadth, its height and depth are equal, being like a solid cube, twelve thousand furlongs each side.”
[16. "A thousand furlongs." That is about 125 miles. One furlong being about 200 meters (660 feet).]
“Oh, how massive and great is our inheritance!” said Bohemond. “Twelve thousand furlongs would be fifteen hundred miles of earthly measurement.”
[17. Or about 2,400 kilometers.]
“Sure enough,” said the elder, “and there are nearly four hundred thousand of these sections or stories of the city, beside all the vast illimitable regions of paradise. A thousand years of an earthly count will have passed before you have seen but a small portion of what is yours forever. Its vastness is beyond your ability to comprehend at present. So you see, you have ample room for the growth and development of your inquisitive soul.”
At this I clasped my hands and with great ecstatics of joy cried out, “Oh, Daniel, greatly beloved, is there no end to the provisions God has made for us?”
The elder replied, “The resources of heaven are inexhaustible, and as to the height and depth of the city, its length and breadth—you can never take it all in, but go where you will and you will find that the busy hosts of God know no fatigue and they will welcome you to any and all their banquets and feasts and services of song and praise as we have here.
“If you desire a trip to the beauties and scenery of any part of paradise, any one of the saints or angels will be glad to accompany you, for we all take pleasure in each other’s comfort here. Let us now step to that raised section at the four corners near us.” We climbed the spacious stairway. “Now will you look down this avenue toward the far distance over there?”
We did so, and as we stood above the busy crowds and countless hosts, all who were once children of earth, and who, like ourselves, once shared in the toils and sweat of an earthly life, and with us had struggled against the fearful hosts of sin, but now exalted and glorified with our blessed Redeemer, the elder said, “Are you repaid for your faith and service for your Lord in the world?”
“Repaid,” I said, “what did I ever do to deserve this? No, no, it’s all of grace. God is love. We were nothing; we did nothing but cling to Jesus. He was our All in All.”
“Will you now look to the north?” and he pointed with his finger the way, for we knew no north nor south, for no sun shone at noonday, nor any north star at midnight, for there is no noonday nor midnight in heaven. We needed not the light of sun, nor moon for the Lord God and the Lamb is our eternal light.
As we looked in the directions suggested, we saw the avenue was broad and lovely and the mansions were of exquisite beauty. The golden streets were as warm with so many happy people. Thousands of children were playing in the streets. Lovely fountains were throwing up their spray which sparkled like beaded diamonds of light. We saw long tables a half kilometer long  each most beautifully adorned and loaded with most precious fruits and nuts of all varieties, and with such freedom everyone seemed to be eating and drinking at his ease and pleasure.
[18. "A thousand cubits." That is about 1,500 feet or 450 meters. A cubit is about 18 inches, or about half a meter.]
I thought in what a different sense could all this mighty crowd say in the same words of many of the Jews of old: “We have eaten and drunk in your presence and You have taught in our streets.” (Luke 13:26)
“Many of these children,” said the elder, “have but recently come, but you see how completely contented they are. No change of place nor surroundings could make them happier, unless it would be to see their parents, brothers, sisters or friends here—then their cup of happiness would be complete indeed. They have no desire to go back to the earth from where they have so recently come, but they do greatly rejoice in the coming of their friends. Contentment of which we only knew the first basic idea of while in the world is written on every soul here.
“Will you now look upward,” said the elder.
We looked above. To our greater wonder still, the arches and domes above us were ablaze with the sparkle of what seemed to be the most precious diamonds for beauty, and jasper stones clear as crystal.
This,” said the elder, “is but a reflection of the glory of God which shines out from the Throne and through all His works.”
“Now,” said the elder, “I must leave you and bid you good-bye. The blessings of the eternal God are forever yours. Great things are in store for you, but I will see you again,” and he disappeared among the countless crowd.
* * * * *
We stood a moment almost bewildered at the great scenes before us in every direction. We now descended from this great platform or elevation, to find David’s chariot was standing nearby. Mother, Mary and Genevive had just stepped from it. Oh, indeed, it was a glad surprise to see them again in the midst of the great moving crowd about us. We held hands and with a love-kiss, clean and pure as heaven itself, we all felt that the unions begun on earth were far sweeter here than any family ever knew while in the earthly life in the flesh. But no wifehood nor husband’s place is desired or hardly thought of in heaven.
David now said, “I must bid you good-bye. The visits and journeys with you have been most pleasant indeed, but I will see you all again. Gabriel with his chariot stands over there for you. Before you go, shall we not join in one more service of thanksgiving and praise?”
Bohemond practically shouted at this and we all took our harps and joined David in one more sweet hymn of praise. When we had finished, David waved his hand a pleasant farewell, and his chariot moved away and was lost from our gaze as we followed him with longing eyes, for we had learned to love him so very much.
Gabriel now came and addressed us most lovingly. Mother, Genevive and Mary all knew him well, but I had only seen him once since he said good-bye to me at my first entrance into paradise, but I found he was one of the chief angels of heaven, one of the archangels, yet he was Daniel’s servant while yet in the world. I found he led the band who announced the birth of the Saviour and guarded the sepulcher at His death and rolled back the stone at His resurrection.
He now invited us to seats with him in the chariots. “For,” said he, “I am sent into paradise.” We accepted his invitation and were soon stepping into the first chariot of heaven, and one that has traversed the distance between heaven and earth multiplied thousands of times. In that chariot we were soon all seated.
The angel now said to mother and Genevive, “Have you any choice of routes for the journey through paradise? We have a command concerning Seneca, and you are more than welcome to journey with us to the gateway.”
“Indeed,” they both spoke at once, “we would be greatly pleased to go with you, and you may choose the route for you know best.”
“Perhaps Seneca has a choice.”
“Oh, Gabriel, you blessed of God, you choose for us, for you have knowledge of all places in the kingdom which we don’t have.”
“Leaving it to me then we will go by way of the mountain regions which lie to the southeast, going out at Benjamin’s gate.”
“Good,” said Genevive, “nothing could please Mr. Sodi better, for he always enjoyed the inspiring and dramatic scenery of the earth. David, whose chariot has just gone, has very recently brought Seneca, mother and Mary with myself from the preparatory departments for children, which is far toward the southwest, to the children’s amphitheater in the city where I have been for quite a time assisting the little ones in their first lessons in heaven. Seneca enjoyed the return trip through the mountain region splendidly, so I am sure you have chosen wisely.”
“Now,” said Gabriel, “when you are all ready we will be going, for we have to meet our Lord, with very many others, at the gate of Benjamin, which is toward the south-east. I wish for Seneca and Bohemond to sit with me.”
We took our places beside the angel, while mother, Genevive and Mary sat together in the rear. In a moment more our chariot moved away.
“Oh, Seneca, you blessed of God,” said the angel. “You are a chosen vessel, selected for a special errand by the Lord Himself.”
“Oh, tell me, Gabriel, what is before me. Heaven has been one glad surprise at every turn since I stepped from the angel’s chariot, at a distant portal of paradise when we first entered this kingdom of glory.”
“Everything is before you,” said the angel, “almost nothing behind in comparison to what is yet beyond. But Seneca, you are a favored saint of God and the unfoldings of His intentions toward you will be made known in due time.”
At this, mother, who was intensely interested in the conversation, spoke and said, “Oh, Gabriel, the man by your side is my own son and was cared for by these hands from the day of his birth and I am deeply interested in all that is transpiring.”
Genevive now stood to her feet in the chariot and leaning forward wrapped her arms around my neck and said, “Oh, Gabriel, this man was my husband on earth and most sweetly were our earthly lives spent together. But here we are joined in an eternal union.”
At this the angel laughed and said, “Are you married again?”
“Oh, no, we are not married, for saints do not marry in heaven, nor do they wish to, but these bonds of highest friendship will be eternal, will they not?”
“Sure,” said the angel. “Your love and oneness will be far sweeter than ever it was on earth.”
“But I would like to know,” said Genevive, “and I know you can tell me, if the angels themselves were ever in love among themselves with a love similar to that of husband and wife?”
At that question, Gabriel reduced the speed of his chariot and turned his head to glance over his shoulder at Genevive, who stood with her arms still about my neck. He said, “You have almost put me to blush for we are inferior to you, who have descendants and creations of your own. We have no bride neither bridegroom. But marriage was such a leading passion with the inhabitants of the earth that our Lord intends perpetuating it in eternity, only changed. He is now and ever will be the bridegroom and all the saints, you, not us, will be his bride. We were the working bees of the great family of man on earth and in heaven, neither drones nor queens, but we are all content with our sphere of action. We know no sorrow nor any un-fulfilled desire which cannot be fully met here in heaven or on earth. We are your servants, and this trip to the gate of Benjamin and to paradise is my joyful service.”
At this Mary stood up and said, “Oh, Gabriel, this man by your side is my father, from whom I parted when only just an infant. I think it must have been your own chariot which brought me to the care of dear grandmother as I learned to call her later.”
At this the chariot stood still and the angel arose and turning himself around, he laid his hands upon our heads with the blessings of the chief angel of God and said, “Oh, ye saints of the Most High, I was present when the morning stars sang together and tuned my harp to that sacred melody of the skies. I am the same now as I was then. But before you is an endless progression, an eternal destiny, with exaltations, honors, and blessings of which you know but little now.
“Now,” continued Gabriel, “we must be going, for soon we must join others at Benjamin’s gate.”
The chariot moved on with great speed. The scenery was all new to Bohemond and myself, and Genevive said it was almost new to her. The mansions were beautiful with all the decorations that any soul in heaven could wish.
Thousands of saints were coming and going, like a hive of busy bees.
“I see David’s chariot,” said the angel, “coming down that broad avenue over there.” In a little while we were side by side, with greetings and congratulations, for his chariot was now filled with ancient men and women—saints of renown.
On the chariots moved, side by side; we went till at last the shining of the wall began to appear and the great gate of Benjamin loomed up before us and as we were reducing our speed, we noticed the most beautiful chariot we had yet seen standing just near the gate. It glittered with the gold of heaven, set with diamonds of beauty. Our Lord Himself was in that chariot. His twelve apostles also were with Him. Such a halo of light, almost with dazzling brightness, shown all about that chariot. In a few moments the three chariots stood side by side. We all bowed our heads, saints and angels together, before Him who had prepared this city for us.
David’s harp was of great proportions. He stood before us all and announced a hymn. We all arose and sang the praises of our Lord and Redeemer again while standing in the chariot.
The angel Gabriel sang an ancient solo with loud hosannas. Daniel, who was in David’s chariot, and who was a close friend of the angel, said, “Sing it again,” and surely the sweetest music to which we had ever listened rolled from his hallowed lips.
“Now,” said the angel, “look through this gateway,” and behold, there was an immense company of new arrivals standing just outside, and singing some new songs. This company had been escorted here from different places in paradise much the same as we had been only a short time ago. Stephen, the martyred saint, had led this company.
While he was getting them ready to pass through the gateway into the presence of their Lord Jesus, who now invited us all to a raised elevation close beside the gateway, He laid his hand gently on my head and said, “Son, be of good cheer, your earthly mission is not yet completed, but as I once called Moses and Elijah from these shining gates, so now I send you to make known what you have seen and heard, which is but a little of what you shall yet see, but this is all they will receive at your hand now. True unfeigned faith in many sections of the earth is waning. You will find a faithful helper, on whose head my blessings shall rest. When you have completed your journey to the earth, I shall confer the elder’s blessing upon you—an earlier inheritance of the ‘purchased possession.’” All heads were now bowed, while He prayed and committed me to the angel’s care.
Bohemond and the women came close to my side and said, “Is it true we must part?”
“Only for a time, yes, only for a time.” And with great cheer I said loudly, “I shall soon see you again.”
The Lord said, “Hurry to your mission. I must welcome these outside the gate, for I have redeemed them by my blood.” So saying, He called Gabriel to His side and gave him a charge concerning me.
I said good-bye to my kindred and all those who came to see me off, saying, “I will see you again,” and I climbed aboard the angel’s chariot.
* * * * *
The angel now was seated by my side and his chariot moved slowly away. As I looked backward while we were passing through the great arch of the gateway, I saw many of them waving with their hands a good-bye blessing.
We were soon passing beside the great company who were eager to enter the gateway. We gave them all a bow of recognition, saying, “We will see you all again.” We were soon beyond the hearing of their voices. As the chariot vanished from their view, we were rapidly flying along an immense roadway, leading them from the gate of Benjamin to distant places of paradise. Great fruitful valleys spread out everywhere, and thousands of busy saints were gathering the ripening fruits.
“Now,” said Gabriel, “over there are the mountainous regions of paradise of which I spoke; shall we go past them?”
“Oh, angel, my cup of blessing seems full and will contain no more. The task that I have been charged with is consuming all my thoughts, but if you are willing, just a quick flight by the foothills will please me much and satisfy my curiosity.”
He quickly turned his chariot to a side road leading up the mountain slopes. Rapidly we were climbing those stupendous heights. On a lovely plateau half way up the mountain summit, Gabriel brought his chariot to a stop just to allow me to look out over the vast plains and valleys of paradise. Immense gardens of beauty, filled with all varieties of fruits and blooming shrubbery were spread out as far as the eye could reach. I could see at a glance multiplied thousands of busy saints and angels enjoying these luxuries of heaven. My soul was so filled with the ecstatics of glory and praise for these exalted privileges which our good Father had granted me, and the honors conferred upon a mortal man of earth, that I was simply lost in wonder and fell down at the feet of the angel with adoring praise to God. “Oh, Gabriel, stop your hand of blessing, my cup runneth over.”
“Now, Seneca, we must resume our journey.” With great speed the chariot darted down the great hillsides and across the valleys, through lovely parks and pleasure grounds of paradise. Thousands of honored saints have their mansions in the various sections of this dramatic scenery of heaven. I was so overcome with the grandeur of this section of paradise, that I fell down at the feet of the angel again and poured forth my praise to God with loud hosannas. I arose and the angel pointed toward a great paradisical arch in the far distance. Toward it he was steering his chariot. The trees of life were growing everywhere. The aroma of the leaves made the breath of heaven fragrant with their life-imparting virtue. No picture on earth could ever suggest such glory as this.
The angel drove his chariot slowly amidst deep gorges and past sparkling fountains and where groups of men and women were going and coming, or refreshing themselves at the fountains and with the fruit of the trees of life. I said to the angel again, “What a place to spend the leisure hours of eternity, in rest and recreation! Surely this is heaven!”
The angel now turned to me and asked if I recognized him. “Oh, Gabriel, at the Throne I saw you.”
He said, “Think again. When you left your earthly habitation for this most favored tour of heaven.”
“Oh, angel, you brought me to the gates of the Kingdom.”
“Indeed,” said the angel, “and I have another mission for you. Only a glimpse of the heavenly inheritance and the greatness of our Father’s house have you yet seen, but eternity is yet before you and it alone will suffice to satisfy your inquisitive soul. But now a little quiet rest is needed before your next mission begins and before we pass through that great archway over there.”
Gabriel drove his chariot very slowly along. Hundreds of new arrivals were to be seen with their first rapture of delight in heaven. This I knew from their behavior, which was so much like my own had been. Some just stepping from the chariots were shouting just as we had done.
On the chariot went toward the great archway of paradise.
I leaned my head on the shoulder of the angel and for the first time felt a kind of drowsiness come over me. I slept: how long, I do not know, but when I awoke, the chariot was standing still at the threshold of the old home at the foothills of the Cascades. I stepped out and was met by two angels who led me inside. I said, “Is it true that I am back again to my earthly home?” Sure enough, for there lay my body which had been carefully guarded by my faithful servants, Sena and Serva, who had previous instructions for no burial for fifty days. More than forty had already passed and yet upon the body though cold and in the slumbers of death, no signs of decay were seen.
It was midnight and the watchers were sound asleep. Gabriel now joined us and laying his hand upon the faces of those who slept, there followed the deep sleep which came over Adam while Eve was being formed from his rib. So no one of the sleepers knew of our presence. Gabriel now passed his hand over the lifeless body and instantly it sprang into life with a mighty change from mortality to immortality. In a moment it was my own again. I shouted, “Oh, glorious body! Oh, redemption of the purchased possession! Mighty change—from death to immortality!” Oh, how quickly I thought of the words of Paul: “For our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21) I stood a moment in wonder, not knowing what to say. I was so overcome with the glory of God, but body and soul became as one.
I now said to the angel, “Who will assist in this work committed to me?”
He quickly directed me to you, my son,  explaining the place of your home. “But we will not leave you,” they said, “until all things are adjusted. Now leave your earthly home and all therein. They will take care of themselves. Come to the chariot.”
[19. Addressing Reverend Scott, the transcriber, that is.]
The Cascades and the Rockies were passed and the valley of the Mississippi was soon behind us. Near your humble village the chariot stopped. I have crossed the continent to find you, my brother, and now I am so glad you have so willingly and cheerfully assisted in this work. I have examined your manuscript and approve of what you have done. Let the printer take it from your hands. Put it before the people. Some will not approve, others will bless God. But if you faithfully complete your task, the blessing of Almighty God will be upon you.
The Story Ends
Mr. Secenca Sodi then came and pressed a kiss upon my forehead and turning away, he said, “Farewell, my son. The blessings of the eternal God be yours, blessing you both in basket and in store. The eternal God shall be your refuge and underneath shall be the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27) He shall convert thine enemy to your friend, and the angels which so faithfully guarded my mortal body, shall guard your soul.” Again he pressed my hand in his, kissing it again and again, and lifting up his eyes and hands toward heaven, he pronounced the blessing of heaven upon me, and in closing said, “The angel is waiting for me,” and he vanished out of my sight. I quickly followed to the door, but he was gone, for the chariot had borne him aloft.