2nd Coming of Christ - David Yamartino - 19 Para

Heaven and Hell (7:2)

The Bible and the Baha'i Writings teach that in this life and the next, there is reward and punishment. Although the Baha'i Writings use the same twofold language as the Bible, they clearly state that references to heaven and hell as physical places are symbolic and have deeper spiritual significance. (7:3)

Some references in the Bible seem to signify that heaven is a physical place: (7:4)

Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (act 1:11) (7:5) see

But Jesus refers to heaven as something that cannot be a physical place: (7:6)

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. (joh 3:13) (7:7)

The Jews wondered what Christ meant by His references to coming down from heaven: (7:8)

And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? (joh 6:42) (7:9) see

Baha'u'llah, referring to the Prophets of God, reveals the spiritual meaning of "heaven": (7:10)

The term 'heaven' denoteth loftiness and exaltation.. These ancient Beings, though delivered from the womb of their mother, have in reality descended from the heaven of the will of God. Though they be dwelling on this earth, yet their true habitations are the retreats of glory in the realms above. (kiq 67) (7:11)

Thus, Jesus, while on the earth, was, as He Himself stated, also in heaven. His divine reality is exalted above physical existence. (7:12) see

Jesus also teaches that heaven is our true home. Although the Old Testament speaks little of eternal life, this is a constant theme of Jesus's teachings. This earthly life is fleeting, but the next life is eternal. We should not become saddened when men shall.. persecute us (Matt. 5:11), but instead, we should rejoice and be exeeding glad for great is our reward in heaven (Matt. 5:12). We should not store our treasures here on earth, where moth and rust will destroy them, and thieves will steal them (mat 6:19), but rather we should lay up our treasures in heaven (mat 6:20). (7:13) see

The term "heaven" refers to the spiritual world, not some form of physical world or place. It is the condition experienced by the soul that has gained spiritual qualities: (7:14)

The immortality of the spirit is mentioned in the Holy Books; it is the fundamental basis of the divine religions. (7:15)

Now punishments and rewards are said to be of two kinds: first, the rewards and punishments of this life; second, those of the other world. But the paradise and hell of existence are found in all the worlds of God, whether in this world or in the spiritual heavenly worlds. Gaining these rewards is the gaining of eternal life. That is why Christ said, 'Act in such a way that you may find eternal life, and that you may be born of water and the spirit, so that you may enter into the Kingdom.' (7:16)

The rewards of this life are the virtues and perfections which adorn the reality of man. For example, he was dark and becomes luminous; he was ignorant and becomes wise; he was neglectful and becomes vigilant; he was asleep and becomes awakened; he was dead and becomes living; he was blind and becomes a seer; he was deaf and becomes a hearer; he was earthly and becomes heavenly; he was material and becomes spiritual. Through these rewards he gains spiritual birth and becomes a new creature. He becomes the manifestation of the verse in the Gospel where it is said of the disciples that they 'were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God' (joh 1:13). saq 223-224 (7:17) see

Just as by "heaven" is meant the spiritual condition of the soul that has been born of God (joh 1:13), by "hell" is meant the condition of the soul that is deprived of spiritual qualities: (7:18)

For just as the effects and the fruitage of the uterine life are not to be found in that dark and narrow place, and only when the child is transferred to this wide earth do the benefits and uses of growth and development in that previous world become revealed-so likewise reward and punishment, heaven and hell, requital and retribution for actions done in this present life, will stand revealed in that other world beyond (7:19)

Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 185 (7:20)

End of Quote

2nd Coming of Christ - David Yamartino