Toward the Light
Questions & Answers
An Addendum to Toward the Light
Regarding the statement (Toward the Light, page 322: 2) that about three million earthly years is the longest a human spirit has been bound to the Earth and its spheres: 1) Does this figure still apply? 2) Did the incarnations of the Eldest affect the length? 3) If so, how long will the collective time be for future incarnations?
1) No. The figure three million applied only to the past.
2) Yes. The incarnations of the Eldest, beginning around 12,000 B.C., have disordered the calm and steady development of the human spirits.
3) This cannot be answered with any certainty. It can only be said that the figure of about three million years will, at most, be doubled or redoubled many times over, but to what extent no one knows—not even God. Humans themselves will largely influence the outcome. The sooner they learn to follow the directions given in Toward the Light, the fewer incarnations will they need. Even at best, though, the time will extend far beyond three million years.
The interval between incarnations—the stay in the spheres—will not be altered for the young human spirits, but will lengthen progressively for those more advanced or very advanced.
Since God always maintains balance in all that happens, and since the number of incarnations for human beings in future will be higher than in the past, the period of development in the worlds of Light will be shorter than for those already released from their earthly lives and now living in the worlds of Light.
Why can we humans not unravel the threads of friendships and family kinships that tie us to one another? We could then understand much while still on Earth.
To unravel the threads of friendships and family kinships from previous incarnations, humans would have to remember clearly not only their own previous existences but also those of their friends and relatives. But since God, by His Will and in accordance with His laws, withholds the incarnated Spirits’ memories of previous earthly lives, humans normally have no recollection of previous incarnations. (Toward the Light, page 279: 3.)
Such memories would only serve to create spiritual suffering and confusion for humans, and make earthly life unbearable for them.
Those who have had enemies, persecutors and adversaries in previous incarnations, and those who have hated, murdered, stolen from and impoverished others, will always in future incarnations be reborn in close kinship to these enemies, persecutors and adversaries, and to the victims of their transgressions. Or they will meet in such manner or under such circumstances that friendship can perhaps come about thereby. And when, through given kinships or possible bonds of friendship, people have learned to love where they had formerly hated and cursed, have learned to do good where they had formerly caused grief and harm and suffering, they will, on meeting former adversaries or victims in future incarnations, experience a mutual though inexplicable sympathy. This is because those who have once learned truly to love one another, or formed a true friendship, will have overcome forever the hatred, enmity and sin of the past. In this way, God brings human beings to love and to respect one another, so that in the future they can in spirit and in truth become as brothers and sisters.
The struggle of each human spirit out of the Darkness of earthly life toward the Light, from the first incarnation on Earth to the last, is as one single great reckoning. Each rebirth adds a figure to the account, and when all the figures are in proper order they will show the total result that God had in view. However much humans may seek to unravel the threads that link them to friends and kin in earthly life, they can never do so. But God—father of the human spirit—keeps precise account of their friendships and enmities, their sins and their good deeds. Only He can unravel the ties between humans. Only He can gather together the individual figures of the many reckonings so that they are brought into the proper order and give the proper value, whereby the true result can be achieved. And that result is: love and harmony among His beloved children.
“For the ways of God are many, and they are past finding out.”
It is implied (Speech of Christ, page 128) that husband and wife will meet in the heavenly dwellings. But what if they belong to different spheres—especially in the case of the Youngest and the Eldest who often are spiritually far apart?
If husbands and wives wish to meet again in the beyond, their desire will always be granted and thousands upon thousands have rejoiced in such reunions.
If partners left behind on Earth return not to their spheres before the others’ time of rest and learning has ended, they will meet in a future incarnation but only if they so desire.
Should one partner be of the Youngest and the other a human spirit, the former will always be able to seek out the human in the latter’s own sphere. If both are human but from different spheres, the one from the higher sphere will come to the one in the lower, but not the reverse.35 If a human spirit and one of the Eldest have lived in wedlock on Earth, the human in most cases would desire no reunion for obvious reasons. If their lives together had been “hell on Earth”, neither would want to meet after death. But if not, they will always in a later incarnation be confronted with each other in order to forgive, by learning to love one another anew.
In rare instances where a human spirit did wish to meet a partner who had been one of the Eldest, because the human felt the union could have been more successful had greater love and patience been shown, one of the Youngest would accompany the human spirit to the Hell-Sphere to be confronted with the former partner. What took place at these meetings concerns only those present. Since Hell (the “ruined kingdom”) now is obliterated, husbands and wives will in future meet only in the spheres or in a new life on Earth.
If one of the Youngest and one of the Eldest had lived as man and wife on Earth, the former would in most instances have sought out the latter in Hell. The result would then often be deliverance of the latter from the Darkness of Hell, with submission to the Law of Retribution and incarnation under the leadership of God—returned to God, that is—thus signifying willingness to strive forward through the many incarnations in order to restore the delivered one’s personality.
Can the concept of love be explained?
The concept or abstraction that human thought tries to express by the word “love” is, in itself, indefinable. The forms of expression of earthly languages are only approximations that convey the meaning more or less adequately.
In relation to thought and will, the concept of love is as the nerve fiber of the Light.
Thought and will are the highest concentration of Light, but love is the essence of Light—a power that penetrates and infuses thought and will. One can therefore say that love is an almighty or all-conquering power, and this power finds its ultimate, sublime expression in God’s paternal love, because the life nerve of the Light issues from Him and through numerous filaments extends to all His created beings. Thus, the essence of love, eternally flowing from God, the Father, will in time penetrate and infuse all His children. The more the spiritual ego advances toward God, the greater the ego’s fullness of love and the easier for that individual, by nature and in action, to display and to exercise love.
In this way, through the life-nerve of the Light, God is connected with all His created beings, and by His love, flowing through them all, He attracts His children toward the Paternal Home, to life eternal. Even into the most deeply fallen spirits does the nerve of life extend its filaments, and in due time love, in one of its many forms, will manifest itself and infuse the ego despite inner or outer resistance. And once all resistance is overcome, God has won back His child.
Love is the ideal for human perfection.
Love is the weft of human life.
Love is the prism of the heart.
Love is the mainspring in the work of the Youngest for humanity.
Love is the bond between the male and the female dual.
Love is the energy of life.
Love is the source of life in God.
Can the love between duals be held up as an ideal of neighborly love?
No! Definitely not as the ideal of neighborly love, because 1) the love between duals by far transcends neighborly love; 2) because earthly marriages are rarely based on a “spiritual dualistic bond” (dualistic love is incomprehensible to most humans); 3) because love between the duals among the children first created by God—the Eldest and the Youngest—stands far, far above the corresponding love between God’s youngest children, the human spirits, since the foundation for this love is slowly developed through the many incarnations during which the humans learn in various ways to understand and love one another.
Human beings gradually will come to better comprehend the dualistic form of love, as they grow more spiritually mature. However, no human spirit will be fully able to comprehend dualistic love until the earthly incarnations are at an end, for dualistic love between human spirits can only unfold in perfect harmony during their spiritual life partnerships on the globes in the distant galaxies. One must bear in mind that God’s first children—the Eldest and the Youngest—were created as far greater spiritual individualities than were the human spirits. The bond between male and female, the bond of love, was already highly developed at the creation of these dual pairs. But when God creates human spirits as dualities, they are but faint “sparks” of the spiritual Light of God’s Being, so that the attraction between them is only slight. However, these pairs, created simultaneously, will belong to one another for eternity. Nothing can separate them, and the bond between them will ever strengthen as they develop spiritually.
The human spirits stand so far below the Youngest in spiritual development that in life on Earth they will be quite incapable of feeling or understanding the dualistic love between the Youngest. Thus, dualistic love cannot be regarded as an ideal model for neighborly love.
Only the love of one’s self can be held up before humans as an ideal of love for their neighbors. If people could only learn never to do to others what they would not want others to do to them, then would much indeed be gained. If humans could only learn to show their fellow beings the same compassionate, sympathetic and charitable love that they would themselves wish to be shown when afflicted by sickness, sorrow, spiritual suffering or poverty, then neighborly love would soon gain acceptance and understanding among all human beings.
Much time must unfortunately pass before this can come about, for most people demand so much of others while giving so little themselves. Not until demands to receive are in exact balance with willingness to give will the proper relationship exist.
Therefore, if a sublime neighborly love is to thrive amongst mankind, each and every individual must reform on the basis of the noblest and purest feelings from within.
Is it correct to say that God created the beautiful primal prototypes of earthly plant life out of love for His children, the human beings?
No! Not even God can take any action out of love for non-existent beings.
When God formed the primal prototypes of earthly plant life, the beings who according to His intent should one day inhabit the globe had not yet been created. Out of concern for His children to come, God sought to make them a splendid dwelling place that would be suited in every way for the spiritual level at which they were to stand upon their creation.
But by the fall of the Eldest, these primal prototypes became distorted and were made ugly through the fertilization by Darkness of the latent seeds. Earthly plant life, therefore, can never develop and unfold as intended by God on the basis of the primal seed prototypes of the Light, regardless how beautiful such life might become under the refining and harmonizing influence of the Light, and under human attempts at cultivation.
When God formed the spheres around the globe, His actions were similarly based upon feelings of concern, for the human spirits had not yet been created (Toward the Light, page 17: 6). But when God made the abodes for His first children—the Eldest and the Youngest—He did so out of His paternal love, for these children had been created before God provided them with abodes. (Toward the Light, page 5: 4.)
And when all the human spirits are gathered in God’s Kingdom after millions upon millions of years, all will find their own beauteous abodes, created by God out of His deep, His infinite paternal love.
What does it actually mean to sin against the “Holy Ghost”? (Matthew, 12: 31)
Since the “Holy Ghost” is but a human fantasy, devoid of real existence, one cannot very well sin against such an imaginary being.
Jesus says36 to some of the scribes (Toward the Light, page 55: 3): “. . .but the sin you have committed against the holiness in you shall not be forgiven until you have suffered for it and repented of the evil that you have done.” And a footnote points out that “holiness” is the divine element received by every human being from God.
Jesus is saying that the scribes speak against their better knowledge. They sin thereby against the divine—against the spark of divinity within. They thus commit a fully conscious sin. And a conscious, deliberate sin will always bring about the worst pangs of conscience, causing the transgressor deep spiritual suffering. The wrongful deed will invariably reappear time and again to beset the mind overwhelmingly, no matter how much the individual seeks to repress the unpleasant memory.
This spiritual suffering can be ascribed not only to the admonitions or reproaches of the Guardian Spirit, but is also mostly due to the person’s inner spiritual being. Because of its divine origin, the inner being will react quite automatically and intuitively to each reappearing memory of sin committed. And the higher the spiritual ego, the more the weight of the memory of sin and guilt until such time as all is fully acknowledged and repented.
When judging human actions, God clearly distinguishes between those that spring from willful deliberation and those that occur spontaneously, without forethought. For when humans are fully aware of the consequences of their evil intentions and plans, the deed becomes far graver than if it occurred entirely spontaneously (Toward the Light, page 278: 3).
Therefore, if someone deliberately and not by reason of insanity, takes the life of one or more fellow beings, they sin against the holy, against the divine within one’s self.37 On the other hand, if they take a life or lives in anger—without deliberation—or in defense of self or of others, their actions become a sin against the divine laws37 but not against the holy within a person.
Or, if someone deliberately plans and causes one or a number of other people to lose, for example, livelihood, fortune or other property, then that is also a sin against the holy within. For deep inside, that person knows this to be an act against the law, justice and truth. But if an individual, by ill-advised behavior or with, say, impulsive, thoughtless remarks, should cause others to lose their lives or livelihoods, then that is also a transgression against the divine laws but not against the holy within.
Irresponsible and thoughtless words and deeds would vanish from human life if people would truly understand what it means to think before they act.
The Eldest whom Ardor incarnated present a somewhat different situation concerning pangs of conscience in their human existence, for their personalities of Light were seriously impaired at the dawn of time when they departed God’s Kingdom to go their own way. The infinitely faint spark of Light remaining to them (indestructible, as is all that stems from God, unless God Himself wills otherwise) was so feeble that it could not react against all the evil, the sins and the transgressions plotted and carried out by the Eldest in their human existence. Not until earthly death again released them from their human bodies was this spark of divinity able to react against what had happened. Through their spiritual sufferings and their subsequent grief and remorse, many of the Eldest have returned to God—have voluntarily submitted to the Law of Retribution. But there are still many—the Eldest incarnated by Ardor—who can truthfully say: “We feel no pangs of conscience over our wicked acts; we are not oppressed by the memory of our misdeeds, our killings and our transgressions.” Yet when life on Earth has ended for these beings and they awaken in the beyond from their “sleep of death”, then will the reaction set in.
How can the thought and the urge to make offerings—inherent in human beings—be explained? From where does this come?
The idea of sacrifice and the urge to make offerings goes back to earliest primitive humankind. It derives originally from the times when people began to unite under tribal elders, or under chiefs or leaders. At gatherings around the campfire, for instance, a chief and his nearest kin were entitled to the best places. But those who possessed material goods could barter for or buy better places with their goods.
From the very start of idolatry, offerings have been made of valuable items—weapons such as clubs, spears, bows and arrows and the like, and precious stones, harvest of the fields, fruit, and so on. Later,38 captive enemies, lawbreakers, birds and domestic animals were sacrificed to the chief gods for desired blessings. Similar offerings were made to appease the wrath of the gods against individuals or all the people.
This urge to make offerings for certain blessings or to win forgiveness of the gods—especially the forgiveness of the highest god—is found in all the most ancient primitive religious rituals that epressed servile and uncritical human worship of the gods. From those early days, the urge to make offerings has been “inherited” from generation to generation through the “astral brain.”39
The belief in the death of Jesus on the cross as an offering of atonement for all humanity, sprang from such ancient “heathen” thoughts and ideas, implanted in the human race by Ardor and by his helpers.
Since it is known that the Jewish people in their early history practiced human sacrifice, why is it said in The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road that in earlier times—before the crucifixion of Jesus—Jehovah had not demanded human sacrifice?
Long before the “Mosaic Law” was adopted and observed by the Hebrews, human sacrifice—especially that of young children—was common practice not only amongst these people but amongst many others. But with the Hebrews these sacrifices had nothing to do with atonement for people’s sins. Children were sacrificed mainly to allow their souls to become guardians of homes and to secure for household members good fortune and happiness. But these offerings were also carried out to secure a good result in some great work of construction—such as the first wall around Jerusalem, for example. Both youngsters and adults were sacrificed to give thanks if the deity had granted victory to the king or to the military leaders in battles against enemies of the land. These customs persisted for a number of centuries after the “Mosaic Law” had been adopted as the guiding principle for the sacrificial acts of the Hebrews. Then they gradually died out.
Did the Jewish people expect a Messianic Kingdom and a human or a divine Messiah around the time of Jesus’s birth?
In the time both before and after the birth of Jesus, Judaism embraced a number of religious sects, each with its own conception of the Messianic Hope. The Jewish people looked for a “God’s Kingdom” on Earth represented by a human king who would be selected and anointed by God, and they looked also for a “Divine being.”
People to this day hold quite similar expectations. Some await the Kingdom of God (the Millennium), others the Second Coming of Christ as a deity accompanied by a host of angels, and still others look for a new incarnation of Jesus, as man. But in vain, all such expectations now and in future. The Second Coming of Christ has already taken place—though not at all in the manner expected or desired by humans. Invisible, but with a human as intermediary and interpreter, Jesus Christ has spoken to mankind in accordance with the wish and the Will of God. (His utterances can be found in Toward the Light, pages 109-137, and in The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road, pages 21-33.)
Never can a Kingdom of God be established upon Earth. The spiritual purity, the maturity needed for such to come about is lacking among humans in the earthly world of Darkness. All humanity must make the lengthy, the toilsome pilgrimage to God’s Kingdom, the Paternal Home from whence sprang each human spirit and where one day all will meet in unity, love, beauty and happiness, In an eternal life with their loving Father.
According to modern Bible scholars the father of Jesus was not a carpenter, rather an architect or a mason since huts in Palestine were of clay, without timber. What actually was Joseph’s occupation?
Joseph was a carpenter and woodworker.
Although the houses of the rural population and of the poor in the towns were of clay, many dwellings in the larger cities were built in the Greek and Roman architectural style. Carpenters were therefore much in demand for such construction. In Joseph’s time many a wealthy man’s home was built in Tiberias, and Joseph often worked there. The Romans brought their own slaves, many of whom had been taught the various branches of the building trade. If the Romans were the builders, they preferred using these slaves but if need be they also engaged the local people and since they always paid well they never wanted for labor. However, the Jews looked askance at those of their countrymen who worked for the foreign masters of the land.
Did Jesus think or ever say that he was in any human sense the Son of God, born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Ghost?
Jesus made no such claims. Never did such blasphemous thought enter his mind.
Neither did his contemporaries—not even his mother—entertain the notion that he had been conceived by the “Holy Ghost”!
Jesus taught that God was his, and all mankind’s Heavenly Father; thus he taught a spiritual child-relationship. He taught that the Jewish conception of God was much too imbued with human attributes, taught that the ancient traditions portrayed God’s nature falsely (Toward the Light, page 37), and taught also that glimpses of a true conception of God could be gleaned from the ancient Scriptures.
The genealogy given in the Gospels clearly shows Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary. It is Joseph’s lineage that is given so as to demonstrate that Jesus was of the House of David, as people believed had been prophesied of the awaited Messiah.
All talk of “virgin birth” and supernatural conception is but human fantasy and delusion, rooted in heathenism and Darkness. Truth it is not!
It is stated (Toward the Light, page 207) that since December 24th has come to be honored as the birthday of Jesus, the eldest of the Youngest wishes not this date changed. Is this correct to say, since the day is also celebrated on the 25th, as for example in England?
Yes, it is correct to say, even though others celebrate on the 25th. In all Christendom, nothing is said about the 24th being honored as the birthday of Jesus. It is claimed only that this date has become time-honored, which no one can deny since it is celebrated in many places in the Christian world on Christmas Eve, December 24th, even though the birth of Jesus took place, according to the Church, on the night of December 25th.
However, the account of the birth of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke is legend throughout—and nothing more. But even if one abides by this account, nothing is said about the season or time of night of the birth. Luke says only: “And there were in the same country shepherds in the field keeping watch over their flock by night, and lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born40 this day in the City of David, a Saviour. . .” Nothing is said as to whether the vision of the shepherds came before or after midnight, the hour that divides the departing day from the day to come. The expression “this day” can thus just as well apply to before midnight as after. And since the eldest of the Youngest wished to establish a day on which all who accept Toward the Light can in future join to commemorate his life on Earth as Jesus, he chose December 24th. According to tradition, the 25th could as well have been chosen, but since the legend does not establish the time of actual birth, the choice of date should also really be irrelevant, the more so since Jesus was not born in the winter.
Bear in mind also, that Christmas is no more than the last vestige of an ancient pagan sacrificial feast to the sun. When Christianity came to the North, the Church quietly adopted this celebration—the Feast of the Solstice—as a model for “Christmas”, marking the established birthday of Jesus.
In future, should people have outgrown the immature manner in which Christmas, the feast of the birth of Jesus, is now celebrated in most of Christendom, they may of course decide whether to continue to celebrate this day—perhaps in more dignified manner—or to omit it entirely. Christ will not be offended if this festival ceases altogether. Meantime, this is certain: the actual date of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth will never be revealed to mankind.41
The Gospels depict a humble Jesus, but his words in the synagogue at Nazareth (Toward the Light, page 36) appear not to bear out such humility.
None of the utterances emphasized in the distorted42 Gospel accounts of what Jesus said in Nazareth could justly have offended and stirred those present to the point of demanding his death. But the remarks found in the speech in Ardor’s Account, page 36, represent the true version, and there it can be seen that they were actually of such a nature that they were bound to give the deepest offense to those hearing Jesus. Especially did his views regarding the double nature of their “god” arouse the anger of his listeners.
A dialogue between Jesus and the people rendered in John 8: 39-47 is actually a condensed composite of several conversations. but it does point up the repeated assertion by Jesus that the Jews had not one but two gods—the true God and the Father of Falsehood.
After the incident at the synagogue in Nazareth, the entire clergy regarded Jesus with outrage over his blasphemy. His utterances stung them, for Jesus showed not “proper respect”43 for the Mosaic Law as evidenced by the constant rebukes of him by the priests and the Pharisees for breaking the law (The Gospels show clearly that he neglected to observe the precepts for washing, and that he violated the Sabbath as well as other religious rules). Similarly, it is always the letter of the law with which his adversaries confront him, so that his interpretations can supply them material for accusations. But if, according to the Gospels, we are only to see Jesus as a humble man, how are we then to understand the “prayer of a high priest” in John 17? This “prayer” in no way portrays someone humble. It is, rather, expressive of a pretentious, complacent and prideful individual. Therefore, let it be said now that this “prayer” does not originate with Jesus; indeed, it has nothing at all to do with his manner of speaking or his thoughts. The author of this “prayer” will alone carry the responsibility for presenting something that at no point accords with the inner nature of Jesus.
Moreover, other accounts in the Gospels also depict a Jesus by no means always meek and humble, although he was never pretentious, complacent or prideful. He did have quite a temper, so that his answers would often provoke his persecutors. And since he hailed from the common people he would often use words that were rather strong, to say the least. Only a few such utterances of his have been preserved, as for example: “Ye serpents”, “generation of vipers”, “whited sepulchres”, “children of the Father of Lies”, and so on.44
When Jesus thus flared up against his tormentors, it was only the purely human side of his nature that manifested itself, just as it would often be Ardor who, unseen by him, incited Jesus to counter his adversaries with rash words in order to provide them with material for complaints against him. The reason so many of these provocative utterances44 and stormy scenes are no longer remembered can be explained by the fact that the Gospels were not put into writing until long after the death of Jesus. It is common knowledge that when relatives and friends have departed, the living try to remember only the best and to forget, or “cover with the cloak of charity” any rash and hurtful words or quarrelsome scenes.
Therefore although Jesus is known through the Gospels as a humble man, they also show him to be impetuous and quick-tempered as well. But all this was the human side of his nature.
Why did the Romans crucify Jesus, since the Jews had a free hand in their religious affairs and his death had already been decreed by the Council in Jerusalem?
Although many of the scribes had begun to resent Jesus after he had spoken in the synagogue at Nazareth, others among them took notice of but kept their distance from his proclamations about God. They saw the impression the words of Jesus made upon the people, and they understood that it might be possible to employ his authority to further their own interests.
In Toward the Light, page 56, it is recorded that a member of the Council in Jerusalem, Joseph of Arimathea, asked Jesus if he were the expected Messiah and also urged him to step forward under the leadership of the clergy as the awaited “King on Earth.” Similar suggestions came later from other members of the clergy and the Council. But Jesus steadfastly rejected these attempts to persuade him to foment an uprising of the people against the foreign rule. Despite his uncertainty over the notion that he might be the Messiah,45 Jesus did know with certainty that the matter in which the priests and the Council desired his help was not his task.
But when rumors reached Pontius Pilate that Jesus was supposedly a claimant to the crown, Pilate decided that he was going to imprison Jesus before any uprising had begun, for he was aware that the priests and the Council must be back of the plot. However, the Council in Jerusalem had learned of what was afoot and its members then began to think about the possibility that Jesus, under questioning before Pilate, might reveal that it was they who had urged him to come forward as king. Such testimony would have put in Pilate’s hands a potent weapon against the chief priests, who were always trying to cause him embarrassment. This had to be prevented, but the Council could only prevent it by forestalling Pilate. Jesus was therefore hastily imprisoned by Caiaphas and accused of blasphemy for calling himself the son of the “Most High.”
At the inquiry, Jesus was further accused of planning a rebellion of the people. However, Caiaphas had anticipated this and since Jesus by his own words had condemned himself (Toward the Light, page 62) Caiaphas was able to deliver Jesus to Pilate on the pretext that he had learned through the testimony of witnesses that Jesus had attempted to rouse the people to overthrow the Roman rule. By this action, the Council— the Sanhedrin—disclaimed before Pilate any part in an uprising against the Roman overlordship.
The Council‘s members thus sacrificed Jesus so as to escape any possible accusation against themselves, reasoning that should Jesus now tell Pilate that the chief priests had tried to sway him to lead a revolt against the Romans his words could only be regarded as the vengeance on his judges of a condemned man.
Pilate well knew what the Council was up to, but since his own position at the time was far from secure and although he knew that Jesus was innocent of this accusation, he dared not dismiss the petition of Caiaphas and release Jesus nor allow the Council to carry out the sentence of death according to Jewish law. The hope that Pilate had nurtured—to expose the members of the Council by himself imprisoning Jesus—had now been thwarted by the prompt intervention of Caiaphas. Pilate saw clearly that were he to dismiss Caiaphas’s petition, the Council would gain the advantage of him. As he did not wish this to happen he sacrificed Jesus just as the Jews had done, so that he himself might go free.
But with the deliverance of Jesus to Pilate—to the Romans—the manner of his death was inevitable: death on the cross.
Why was the subject of Question 50 not included and answered in Toward the Light?
At the time Toward the Light was given, no question was raised on this subject, nor was anything asked about Jesus as a claimant to the crown.
A more detailed account of the trial and sentencing of Jesus thus could not be given from the transcendental world. And since it was already known from the Gospels and from other ancient writings that Jesus had also been condemned for presenting himself as King of the Jews, and thus as a rebel, there really was no need for further elaboration. There had to have been at least a suspicion that Jesus had broken Roman law before the Council could surrender him to Pilate. Otherwise, the Council could have judged and executed him under its own laws without Roman interference.
But mainly, no attempt was made from the transcendental world to elicit further questions about the trial and sentencing of Jesus because both Pilate and the members of the Council had accused an entirely innocent man in order to resolve their own dilemmas. They had acted in this regard to a much greater extent than ordinary scholarly investigation on Earth could ever show, and since Christ wished not to have the guilt either of the Council or of Pilate appear greater than already known to humans, no further details were given unless asked for.
Moreover, information had already been given on the relationship between Joseph of Arimathea and Jesus in Toward the Light (pages 55-57), showing that at least one member of the Council had urged Jesus to come forward under the sponsorship of the chief priests as the Messiah on Earth, as the King of the House of David. The thoughtful reader, therefore, should readily be able to conclude that the Council’s surrender of Jesus to Pilate was possibly, indeed most likely due to fear that Jesus would hold them responsible for this attempt to raise a rebellion of the people against the Romans.
Who was Barabbas, and why was he set free instead of Jesus? (Toward the Light, page 228.)
Barabbas was of the Levitic tribe, and a shabby, deranged old beggar at the time of the conviction of Jesus. “Barabbas” was a nickname. He was forever at odds with the Roman guardsmen, annoying them, swearing coarsely and cursing them as “Roman dictators”. The soldiers usually let him be, mostly because they did not quite understand what he was saying.
One day when a quarrel flared between some beggars and some donkey and camel drivers in a narrow back street of the Jerusalem slums, the Roman guards arrived to disperse the contending parties and the growing number of onlookers. As Barabbas happened to be standing in their way, they shoved him aside so that he fell. Embittered, the old man hurled some stones at the soldiers and one struck and killed a passing Roman scribe. Barabbas was arrested, but the gathering which had witnessed the incident resented his arrest and insisted angrily that the soldiers were themselves to blame for the conduct of Barabbas. The throng followed along to the prison, clamoring for his release. Pilate then saw that he could perhaps resolve his dilemma with Jesus by proposing to release a prisoner because of Passover and he invited the gathering to choose between Barabbas and Jesus, taking it for granted that the people would choose Jesus, who had done so many good deeds for the poor and the sick, whereas it was clear that Barabbas had killed another and thus should suffer the penalty of death. Pilate believed Jesus to be innocent, even though condemned by the Synod (the Council in Jerusalem), whose sentence Pilate dared not disregard because of his own insecure position and strained relationship with the Synod, although he could see through its action of surrendering Jesus to him as a rebel. (See Questions 50 and 51.) But despite Pilate’s appeal to the gathering that they should choose Jesus, they demanded that Barabbas be released. And the fate of Jesus was sealed.
“The Council condemned him, the priests condemned him, the people condemned him! Human beings themselves delivered him to die! 46
The words “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani!” (Mark 15: 34) are attributed to Jesus. Did he actually utter them?
He did not.
It is stated (Toward the Light, page 64: 5) that Jesus’s mother was present at the crucifixion. Deeply grieved over her son and frightened by the waning daylight, the thought came to her that the darkening gloom was a sign of the wrath of God because her son had renounced the Belief of his forefathers, and she cried out: “See, the most High has forsaken you!” These words, like so much from that period, became distorted over time and were finally attributed to Jesus in the aforementioned form. But Jesus never thought, or said, that God had forsaken47 him in his hour of need.
Does the Bible in any way substantiate the assertion in Toward the Light that Jesus did not die on the cross as an atonement?
Several places in the Gospels indicate that Jesus knew nothing of the idea of being chosen by God to atone for human sin by death on the cross.
For instance, in discourse with some of the Pharisees (Matthew 9: 13) Jesus says among other things: “But go ye and learn what that meaneth. I will have mercy, and not sacrifice. . .”48 Had Jesus known he had been chosen by God as the “sacrificial offering” for mankind, he would never have quoted this text, for then he would also have known that God demanded sacrifice and not mercy. But Jesus knew of no such provision. If the death of Jesus on the cross was truly to be regarded as an “offering” for the sins of all mankind, such a sacrifice would have been purposeless unless Jesus himself knew of its significance and voluntarily gave his consent. Moreover, the interpretation of the “death of atonement” of Jesus violates the Jewish precepts for sacrifices for sin altogether and can never, regardless of all argument, be brought into accordance with these precepts. (Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road, pages 5-20.)
In Matthew 12: 36-37 it is also written: “And I tell you this, that you must give account on Judgment Day for every idle word you speak. Your words now reflect your fate then: either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned.”49 Had Jesus known that by his death on the cross he would atone for the sins of mankind, he would never have spoken these words, for he would also have known that those who “believed” in his atoning death could not come under this provision. But Jesus knows nothing of any such dispensation, and what he says here holds true for all human beings.
This should suffice to show that the Church teaches one thing, but that Jesus teaches quite another.
“If the thief on the cross could enter Paradise under the shelter of Christ, surely everyone else should be able to do so?”
The two thieves crucified along with Jesus were stupefied by the drink given them (Toward the Light, chapter 27, page 118) and so any conversation between them and Jesus was impossible. It is thus out of the question that God should accept this human misconception of a dialogue that never took place. The thief did not enter Paradise “under the shelter of Christ”, and of course neither can any other human being.
To throw further light on the Church’s erroneous teaching on this point, the following illustration, though not perfect, may help:
Imagine an earthly prince and his son, each high above the ordinary human level in love and compassion, leading their lives in the greatest beauty, purity and splendor and enjoying everything earthly power and riches can offer. On one of his journeys, the son meets a wretchedly poor, exhausted and ragged man, soiled by every kind of impurity—a man who has sinned gravely against the prince and his son. Out of his love and compassion, the prince’s son takes this man into his care, covers his rags and impurities with his magnificent cape and leads him to his home, where the prince and his court receive him in their midst. How would this man feel in such surroundings? Even if we imagine the cape of the prince’s son could magically not only cover the man’s wretched condition but also cleanse him and mend his attire, and even purify his mind and thoughts, would he not still feel deep within himself that despite all the love and forgiveness shown him, this was not his rightful place? Against the background of his earlier life, the environment in which he grew up, he could never feel at ease and at home in such strange surroundings.
Thus, no one whose mind and thought have not been cleansed from within of sin, evil and folly, could be at ease in Paradise (God’s Kingdom) let alone live in the nearness of God.
Slowly, through the many incarnations, the human spirit must be cleansed and purified before entering the Kingdom of God, before God can truly bid His child welcome.
(Page references apply to the 1979 edition.)
35) Though the rule, in some instances the guardian spirit has brought a human spirit to a higher sphere for the desired meeting.
36) Identical to the discourse in the New Testament referred to in the question.
37 twice) He who sins against the holy within the self will of course also sin against the divine laws.
38) At still later times, children or older relatives were sacrificed for many different purposes.
39) Toward the Light, page 283: 2 to 285: 4.
40) Luke 2: 8-11. None of the other Gospels has this account of the birth of Jesus.
41) At Christ’s wish, this date was revealed many years ago to the two who had assisted him in the removal of the Earth-bound spirits from the Earth’s astral plane. But this information was given with the stipulation no others be informed of it.
42) Matthew 13: 54-57; Mark 6: 2-3; Luke 2: 42-50 and John 7: 14-20.
43) The originator of this question felt that Jesus showed deep respect for the Mosaic Law.
44 twice) Some of Jesus’s utterances put forward in the less conventional idioms of the language but forgotten and not found in the Gospels were for example (aimed at the Pharisees): “You are like the camel’s dung left in the dust of the road, yea, you are like running sores and stinking boils. You are like swine that wallow in their own mire.”
45) Toward the Light, page 35 and page 226.
46) Quoted from The Doctrine of Atonement and the Shorter Road, page 20.
47) That is to say, failed him.
48) Jesus quotes a text from the Old Testament. See 1 Samuel 15: 22, Hosea 6: 6; Micah 6: 7-8, and several other places.
49) The passage quoted contains the incorrect word “condemned.”