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All these had been witnesses of the resurrection, and had beheld the Holy Ghost, as of Fire, descend upon the Altar and there light the Flame in the temple of the living God. They spake not of things which they merely believed, but of things which they knew—things which they had themselves experienced, as indeed all men may experience who are willing to live in harmony with the Divine Law and to make conscious, deliberate effort to reach Illumination.
12. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not,
how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things ? The man of the earth can comprehend only the things that are of the earth; and only he who has himself experienced Illumination of Soul can comprehend the things of the Soul.
13. And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that
came down from heaven, even the Son of man which
is in heaven. Even the Son of man cannot enter heaven unless he has first become the Son of God through regeneration. The divine spark comes from the Father who is in heaven; but this divine spark, which dwells in the Son of man, cannot ascend into heaven until it has become the Son of God through regeneration.
Heaven is not a place but a state of being, or consciousness. This is amply verified throughout the teachings of Jesus: “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.
“Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
There can be but one interpretation of the divine mystery—that is, that none can enter the kingdom of heaven until they have become enlightened, which means illuminated, or Soul Conscious; for, through the process that brings Soul Consciousness about, the state known as heaven is established in the temple of Man.
14. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of man be lifted up: The mystery of the serpent is the process of regeneration--the act of lifting up the forces within us, and of transmuting them into life and love, and eventually leading to Illumination. These forces are constructive or destructive, depending on how they are used. If they are used for constructive purposes, the result is more life; but, if the serpent is allowed to creep upon the ground, the end is death.
Just as the serpent was lifted up by Moses and brought to life, so must the Son of man, the natural man, be lifted up through the desires, the thoughts, and the acts that are prompted by the Awakened Mind, or the mind 'baptized with water." Only as this lifting process takes place can man become the Son of God; and no man can enter the kingdom of heaven unless he finds the Christ and becomes the Son of God.
15. That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but
have eternal life. When we truly believe, we do that which we believe. In mere faith there is no life; but, in the fruits of faith, which are brought about by doing the work indicated by faith, can we find Immortality, which is eternal life.
16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only be
gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should
not perish, but have everlasting life. 17. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the
world; but that the world through him might be
saved. 18. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that
believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into
the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,
because their deeds were evil. During all ages there have been those, called Messiahs and Masters, who came to teach men the truth and the way. These teachers, through obedience to the Divine Law, had attained Illumination of Soul. They were the light of the world, and were ready to teach the truth and to hold out the light to all those that would listen and accept.
But man's nature has been more animal than divine. He loves the pleasures of the flesh; consequently, he does those things which will bring him the gratification of the carnal nses. Carnal senses and pleasures, being destructive, are of darkness and consequently evil. Men are not willing to give up the pleasures of the senses. They care more for darkness than for light. Therefore, they are slow in accepting the teachings of those who understand the true doctrine.
It is for this that they are condemned: having had an opportunity to learn "the truth," whereby one becomes free from the entanglements of the carnal nature and “the way” whereby carnal desires may be transmuted into divine passions, and "the life" whereby one may become a child of the Light, men refuse, and follow the way of the flesh, which is the way of darkness and of error and of dissatisfaction.
20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither
cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. Those who are living the life of the senses do not care for the truth; for they have no use for it. Their mind is still unawakened, they are in their first birth.
If the time comes when they are no longer satisfied with the pleasures that the senses give; when they no longer are satisfied with a successful, though unjust business life,then, they turn to the light; and, if the forces which are required in order to bring about Illumination are not all used up, they will find the light. But, if they have continued their evil ways too long, if the serpent has finished its work, then Illumination is not possible.
21. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his
deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought
in God. When the mind awakens to the fact that it is not all of life to live in the flesh; when the mind is ready to admit that there are things far more desirable than those which the flesh can give to man—then, is the individual beginning to love the light. Then will he seek “the way” that will lead him to enlightenment. He will then live the life that is in harmony with the Divine Law, and his deeds will become manifest; for there is nothing hid which shall not become known.
Man is the temple of the living God. The more he seeks for the light, the more will his thoughts and his desires incline toward heavenly interests and purposes. Eventually, these thoughts and desires will transmute his whole body, and God will be dwelling in the temple, and the Sacred Fire, which is the Light, will be on the altar within the Holy of Holies.
22. After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the
land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and
baptized. 23. And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim,
because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.
24. For John was not yet cast into prison. 25. Then there arose a question between some of John's
disciples and the Jews about purifying. 26. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi,
he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all
men come to him. 27. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing,
except it be given him from heaven. When things are considered ultimately, it is recognized that all man ever receives, he receives from within himself. “Except it be given him from heaven,” refers to the interior kingdom of man's own divine nature. “To seek first the kingdom of heaven,” refers likewise to the kingdom of infinite resources and manifold possibilities in man's inner being. When considered in the light of ultimate analysis, all things in man's life, whether good or evil, come from within himself. This is what is meant by the saying: “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” If our thoughts (and they are within us) are of the good, the true, the holy, the beautiful, then will things that are good, true, holy, and beautiful come to us. If our thoughts are evil, destructive, and of darkness, then will the things that come to us savor of disease, misery, and death. All that we are, comes from within our natures. For all our thoughts and our desires are within us; and, through them, we create our center of consciousness; and, through this center of consciousness, in large measure, we create our conditions and our environment.
Ours is the choice. Ours, to say what we will to be. In large degree, we are masters of our own destiny. It is for us to choose “the truth, the way, and the life” that will insure for us not only a heavenly destiny, but a life of service to humanity.
28. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the
Christ, but that I am sent before him.