| The city of God
"The central fact, the all-adequate one, remained this personality at my side. Whatever additional facts he was showing me, he remained every moment the real focus of my attention.
"Up until this point I had had the impression that we were traveling - though in what manner I could not imagine - upon the earth itself. Even what I had come to think of as a 'higher plane' of deep thoughts and learning, was obviously not far distant from the 'physical plane' where bodiless beings were still bound to a solid world.
"Now however, we seemed to have left the earth behind.
"And then I saw, infinitely far off, far too distant to be visible with any kind of sight I knew of - a city. A glowing, seemingly endless city, bright enough to be seen over all the unimaginable distance between. The brightness seemed to shine from the very walls and streets of this place, and from beings which I could now discern moving about within it. In fact, the city and everything in it seemed to be made of light, even as the figure at my side was made of light.
"At this time I had not yet read the Book of Revelation. I could only gape in awe at this faraway spectacle, wondering how bright each building, each inhabitant, must be to be seen over so many light-years of distance. Could these radiant beings, I wondered, amazed, be those who had indeed kept Jesus the focus of their lives? Was I seeing at last ones who had looked for him in everything? Looked so well and so closely that they had been changed into his very likeness? Even as I asked the question, two of the bright figures seemed to detach themselves from the city and start toward us, hurling themselves across that infinity with the speed of light.
"Now this was surprising because this was the first realm in which the inhabitants could see the Christ and me. Even more amazing, they exuded light almost as brilliant as the Christ. As the two beings approached us, I could also feel the love flowing from them toward us. The complete joy they showed at seeing the Christ was unmistakable.
"Seeing these beings and feeling the joy, peace and happiness which swelled up from them made me feel that here was the place of all places, the top realm of all realms. The beings who inhabited it were full of love. This, I was and am convinced, is heaven. As marvelous as I thought the previous realm was, after glimpsing this new realm we were seeing, I began to understand for the first time what Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians 13 when he wrote: "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."
"But as fast as they came toward us, we drew away. Desperately I cried out to him not to leave me, to make me ready for that shining city, not to abandon me in this dark and narrow place. From that loneliest moment of my existence I had leapt into the most perfect belonging I had ever known. The light of Jesus had entered my life and filled it completely, and the idea of being separated from him was more than I could bear.
"Then he did a startling thing. He opened a corridor through time which showed me increasing natural disasters coming upon this earth. There were more and more hurricanes and floods occurring over different areas of our planet. The earthquakes and volcanoes were increasing. We were becoming more and more selfish and self-righteous. Families were splitting, governments were breaking apart because people were thinking only of themselves. I saw armies marching on the United States from the south and explosions occurring over the entire world that were of a magnitude beyond my capacity to imagine. I realized if they continued, human life as we have known it could not continue to exist.
"Suddenly this corridor was closed off and a second corridor started to open through time. At the beginning they appeared very similar but the further the second one unfolded, the more different it became. The planet grew more peaceful. Humanity and nature both were better. Humanity was not as critical of himself or others. He was not as destructive of nature and he was beginning to understand what love is. Then we stood at a place in time where we were more like the beings of the fourth and fifth realm. The Lord sent the mental message to me, "It is left to humanity which direction they shall choose. I came to this planet to show you through the life I led how to love. Without OUR FATHER you can do nothing, neither could I. I showed you this. You have 45 years."
"He then gave me orders to return to the human plane and mentally said, "You have 45 years." I had no understanding at that moment what he meant by 45 years.
"My throat was on fire and the weight on my chest was crushing me."
(Here, George Ritchie's death experience ends and he returns to earthly life.)
WEBMASTER'S NOTE: George Ritchie's book, Return From Tomorrow, which describes his near-death experience, was published in 1985. This was approximately 42 years after his experience. Since Jesus told him that he had 45 years, and it took 42 years until Ritchie's book was published, it may be assumed that Jesus meant for Ritchie to publish his testimony within 45 years.Dr. Ritchie's commentary
"Across the ages, as he did in the Garden of Eden, God still calls out to man, "Where are you, Adam?" Man, with the help of the dogmas of Western Christianity, has lost his way, and sees himself totally separated from God because Western Christianity through the Roman Catholic Church stressed "fallen" man, with Jesus dying for our sins on the cross. The churches have not explained our potential as "gods", with our God-given creative power, and how necessary it is for us to be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God when we use this power. Quoting Psalms 82:6, Jesus asked, "Is it not written in your law, I said, you are gods?" St. Irenaeus, a famous early Christian leader stated that God became a human being in order that human beings might become God. I would change what he said only to the degree that I would say that Jesus showed us the God that God, our Father created us to be.
"Instead the churches lead us to believe that the church was given the authority to decide who was going to heaven, and that those who didn't join their particular denomination were going to hell. This is incongruous with the teachings of Jesus, the Christ, who told us the tale of the prodigal son not only to help us understand the love and forgiveness of God but to help us understand that the prodigal son is the cosmic tale of each and every human being. We have all forgotten that we are sons and daughters of the most high God; that our spiritual side, the soul of man, needs to return to have total fellowship with the Father. To do this we have to come to ourselves and realize that in this human plane of existence, our human, selfish side has led us down the road of materialism and of living only for ourselves, which caused us to turn away from our Father and our divine destiny and forget who we are. It caused our spiritual death.
"Jesus went on the cross to show us that we must die to this human egotistical side in order to let the soul of man, which has carried the knowledge of who it is and from whence it came, come to life and into control.
"This is our ultimate destiny, to reach out and begin to communicate with the Christ, so that he can lead us back to being alive (i.e., into that perfect union with our Father) and let him pass his love and thinking through us to one another. We must come to know the living resurrected Christ within us, and depend on passing his love to one another and to God, because our human love isn't enough. When we recognize this truth, then, like the prodigal son Jesus told about, we will have "come to ourselves"; that is, we will come alive, and will decide to go home, for we will know that even being a servant in our Father's household is better than being dead spiritually, the way we have been living.
"Then, with the Christ, the Holy Spirit and our Father - all of us joined together - we shall be helping to create a "universe" and no longer a "diverse".
"This is what I believe Jesus meant when he said, "And I shall draw all humanity to myself, when I am lifted up from the earth." Christ showed us that he had to go through the death of his physical self in order for the resurrection of his spiritual self to take place. I think that his death on the cross also symbolized that we must realize we are dead before we can be raised up by the resurrected Christ within us. I find it hard to believe that in our present state of spiritual death we can conquer our self-centered lower physical nature without going through the death and surrender of our will as did Jesus on the cross. I can say from the risen Christ's having conducted me through four realms of life after death, that in the highest realm, he showed me beings who had followed his teachings and were now resurrected into spiritual beings who were like him when it came to the love, light and life they put forth.
"I believe Jesus did not incarnate just to die for our sins, but that he also lived and died to show all of humanity, regardless of race, creed, or color, how much God our Father loved us. He expects us to do the same thing. When we come to realize this, then he will truly be lifted up for we shall be keeping the great commandment: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself."
"Our destiny is not only to come to know and rise above our human side, but, by following his example of dying to self, to come to know and activate, or bring to life, our spiritual side, which he showed was in every man, woman, and child. He showed us how to die to self and how to rise from the dead and ascend into our higher self, life.
"I'm not saying that we have to make a sacrificial death on a cross as Jesus did. I am saying that we have to reach the place where we are willing to face the death of our self-centered nature so that our higher spiritual nature can gain control. I believe that being willing to follow such a total surrender to God's will, will bring about a resurrection and ascension of the transformed self, which can change a world into a heaven on earth. He started this transformation first in himself to show what can happen to all who would follow him. It changed him and all who followed him because he surrendered his will to God our Father, who, he showed, is pure LOVE. Our destiny is to do the same thing in order to survive and change our world. His commission wasn't just to teach and show us how to reach the highest realm, heaven, but rather how to create heaven on earth."
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