October 8, 1961
THE MOST ASTOUNDING EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE!
"And I saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of the throne of God, saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men.' And he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his people; and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." Rev. 21: 2,3. "He that overcometh shall inherit these things, I will be his God and he shall be my son." Rev. 21: 7.
I am going to reveal to you an astounding experience that happened to me a little more than a week ago. For I have seen a great sight. With my own eyes I have beheld the ineffable beauty of God. But before I could see these glorious and stupendous realms, I had to experience the darkened dungeons of hell! I had to go through the pits of blackness. Something had to be purged in me before I was prepared for the wondrous sights which I was to behold.
The Bible tells us that EVERYTHING "shall be revealed" and "that which is spoken in the inner chambers shall be shouted from the house tops." I have found that out. Let me tell you the story. Some months ago I learned of a new discovery that scientists have made which makes it possible to sever the cerebral cortex from the outer brain so the person functions from his inner consciousness. I learned that under this influence a person experiences the inner mind and the superconscious mind. The outer brain is mainly out of function, and the pictures of the inner mind and the super-mind come moving in vast display before the eyes of a man's own soul.
I LONGED TO SEE GOD
I have preached about God for so long, yet like so many people I have felt that if I could see God and behold the Infinite Wisdom of the Universe, my own witness would be tremendously enriched. Therefore, I said I was willing to pay any price and to go through any experience to behold with my own eyes the wonders of God. But when I made that statement, I really didn't know what I was saying. If I had known what I would be required to travel through in order to have this sight of the Holy City and the Mind of God within that City, I would have been reluctant to pay the price.
Yet, now that I have gone through the experience, I would not exchange it for anything in the world. I frankly confess to you that I will never be the same. I have entered into certain understanding, appreciation of others, and inner discovery of myself that will forever alter my life and my way of helping people who are in trouble. It also gives me a vast tolerance for people of other beliefs and faiths. I had some of this before, but now I have much more.
For this experience, I had to journey up to Palo Alto near the campus of Stanford University. It is the only place in California, perhaps in the nation where the experiment is now being given.
MY FIRST VISION
In this experience, after receiving an excessive amount of oxygen (about 80% more than we ordinarily breathe), [actually carbogen - a mixture of 70% oxygen which is 3.5 times what we normally breathe in the air, and 30% carbon dioxide] I saw flash before me the picture of a
dead body, perfectly white, but terribly gaunt, with deep-set eye sockets, sunken cheeks, hands and arms that were just bones covered with very white skin. The rib basket protruded through the skin and sunken diaphragm. This body was lying stretched out upon a black velvet cloth .... With a shock I realized that the body was mine!
After this unpleasant experience, I saw the most marvelous sight of the Christ. He was fully alive before me. I saw His brown beard and His face with a glorious smile upon it. Above His head and around it was a pencil line of light, too fine to draw with any instrument, yet plainly visible. In His arms was a little babe that He was looking down upon with great love and compassion...And the babe was I.
Then I saw myself as I am now. In front of me was the Holy City coming down out of heaven, but I was on a steep slope and upon my back was a heavy, heavy burden. I was trudging slowly upward toward the gates of the Holy City. There was much more to this, but some of the details are too intimate to reveal. I tell you what t do because I now see that in the symbolism there is meaning for each of us, and I share these things with you because I believe they will be of help to you.
THE ACTUAL EXPERIENCE BEGINS
After being briefed all day on Wednesday, I arose early the next morning ready for the deep experience which was destined to begin at 8:30 on Thursday morning and was to last until 2:30 a.m. Friday morning. What an experience! I shall never again be the same. Oh dear God, what an experience.
After receiving the medication that severs the cerebral cortex from the brain, I began to see with a new set of eyes. My physical eyes were now covered with a mask, but I now found for myself that there are other eyes within us that have capacities for sight beyond anything the outer eyes are able to behold. I began to see a beauty that bears no description. All I could think of with which to compare it was the magnificent park in Copenhagen called Tivoli. But Tivoli park gives only a meager hint of the beauty my eyes were now beholding. Golden staircases set in sparkling jewels of every color, shape and size. Lights of such illumination as to make one gasp, "Oh it is all so beautiful!" You begin to understand why the Bible says heaven is covered with golden streets. I saw golden streets of unearthly splendor.
But what followed was something quite different. In order for you to understand, I must give you a little of my own childhood experience. While I now know that my father was a good man, and that he loved me very much, as a child I feared him, hated him, and wished him no good. One particular incident comes to mind. I was about nine years of age and was crying bitterly over an injustice I felt my father had done to me and my mother when I said to Mother, "When I get to be a man, I am going to write a book about him that will ruin his reputation forever!" That was the meanest thing I could think of. If we only knew what we are doing to ourselves when we accept and harbor such thoughts in our inner consciousness. Because I had long since given up those thoughts about him, I thought I was free of all that inner conflict.
A SUDDEN CHANGE OF SCENE
But I was not. As I looked at the beauty before me, a single sight of heaven so I could see what I would be missing, suddenly all the beauty, the magnificent
chandeliers, the golden staircases, and the alabaster light of the throne of God were covered with smudge, as if someone had blown soot upon the whole scene. Then I was down in the nether parts of hell. How do you picture hell? Nothing in Dante's Inferno ever could equal what I saw. It was like the deep underground pits of a coal mine with bat-like flashes of web-winged light streaking over the dungeon. There were empty chicken coops, broken boxes, strewn debris everywhere.
Then suddenly I saw my father! He was in the hands of a black devilish creature, and all my old feelings came out into a living drama before my eyes. I saw him being carried to a subterranean black lake, beyond which blazed an angry red glow, and he was going to be extinguished. I cried out "Oh Dad, Oh God!" Again and again I saw this picture enacted before me. I could smell the odor of the place. I could even taste it. I saw one great slab of coal at the mouth of the lake. At the other end I was desperately climbing, trying to get out. I was going through torture.
A voice seemed to tell me, "Look upon your Dad as he really was." Then I began to say, "Yes, Dad, you truly loved us." I recalled how he would come home after a hard day's work and get down on his hands and knees and ride Roy and me on his back trying to buck us off as we shouted with laughter. I recalled how happy he was when I entered the ministry, how proud he was of me, and how he felt that there was no preacher like me in the whole world. When these thoughts came, I felt deep forgiveness toward him and pardon for myself. I realized then that it was not truly my Dad who was in hell. I was there because of the feelings in my own deep subconscious. I also realized that until I got freed from those feelings I could not come up out of those black pits. As I thought of his love and goodness, how he read the Bible, went to church, and prayed, I began again to see the light of the glory of God around me.
LIGHTS AND SHADOWS
It was a beautiful sight that I now beheld, too beautiful for mortal tongue or pen to describe; but I still had some other battles with myself to fight, so the smudge came back and I tumbled down into hell again. This time it was my own sense of inferiority which sent me there. The whole pack of thoughts that I had felt about myself that were not true, but which I repeatedly held, such as "Why did I ever try to be a minister?" "I am not a scholar and I know so little" etc .... all had to be cast off like a rusty coat of mail that had too long frustrated my truest and best self. I had to see that I had been truly called of God, even from childhood; and then the light broke upon me again.
After this I saw some heavenly sights. I can tell you only a few of them. I saw the Christ with hands outstretched. His garments were ribboned with rivers of light so I could see clear through Him. Incidentally, under this influence one has clairvoyant powers. There were four people in the room with me, the doctor, nurse, psychiatrist, and a dear personal friend. I could see into every one of them and tell exactly what they were thinking, and I told them so.
I saw the Christ in the same way. I was profoundly moved by His mind. How He understood human life! How He knew what man has to travel through. I saw His penetrating perception of man. I could understand as never before "He is the light that lighteth every man coming into the world." I could understand why He had said, "Ye are the light of the world. Even so let your light shine that others may see your good works." It is only through your good works that you come out of the dungeons of hell and stand in the halls of the Eternal. I could now behold life in a different aspect.
HELL IS A REAL EXPERIENCE
I saw that the teachers of metaphysics were right about many things, but they were not all right. Those who say there is no hell simply do not know what they are talking about. There is not a person living who will not have to go through those nether places when his outer mind is cast off and he moves as a soul over to the other side. We must be freed from our fears and doubts, our guilt feelings, our condemnation of others. We must merit pardon; saint and sinner alike must receive pardon, deep pardon.
I could now see the meaning of the Communion service, using the bread and the wine. Not as a routine practice, but at times of soul-stirrings when a man needs to take something on his lips to cleanse his inner mind. I saw that the fundamentalists only deepen a man's torture when they fill him with feelings of guilt and sin about himself and others. On the other hand, they are right when they teach that a man needs pardon.
Once I looked up and I saw a great high tower. It was made entirely of gold with etchings all up and down it. I could not read the letters upon it, but I saw it was covered with vast designs. Then way up at the top of that high, golden tower, I saw the image of the Virgin Mother. I cried out, "Oh, why have we in the Protestant faith failed to see the importance of Mary, the Mother of Jesus?" I saw that she represents the feminine side of Universal Love. It was a sight that shall never leave me.
From this I saw great vaults of light. I do not mean just "light." It was a whiteness incomparable. Suddenly there flashed before my mind the story of the transfiguration of Jesus. "His face did shine as the sun, and his garments became white as light, so that no fuller could compare unto it." In that light I saw my transfiguration. "He that overcometh shall inherit these things. I will be his God and he shall be my son." I was given a mirror and I could see way deep into my eyes. I saw deeper into myself than I had ever seen before. I beheld my very soul. I recognized my own face, but it was transfigured. It was the face of a prophet. Now you may be skeptical about this. I wouldn't blame you; but be careful. That was one of the stumbling blocks that dropped me into the pits of hell. Possibly the unpardonable sin is to be unwilling to behold the Holy Spirit in a human soul.
I saw Communism in a new light. I saw that this can be the day for the special return of the Christ, coming vividly alive in men's minds. I saw that what the world needs is a leader -- a real, dedicated, sincere leader who walks with God. Here is the challenge that demands valor and devotion that will not shrink from sacrifice, and will not flinch from any call of duty.
I saw that God is a consuming fire. I saw my life and yours, and the great Spirit of the Christ that redeems us all. It is a love and a salvation that reaches down into hell and stretches upward into heaven. It is the arms of God under everyone of us, lifting us, lifting us until we shall arrive in that holy place.
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