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Man and the Spiritual World

IV.—In the Spiritual World there is a Presence of Christ.

By many Christians this is a truth that is not grasped. It upsets preconceived ideas embodied in the code of theology to which they assent, and seems to open wide a door of hope which 'Evangelical' doctrine, so-called, has closed and barred at death against all but the favoured few.

They believe in a Christ Who has ascended into Heaven, but they cannot imagine Him as being anywhere else. They admit, in the face of Jesus's dying words to the robber, that He did once go into the Intermediate World; but that was before the Ascension, and since that event, say they, there can be no Presence of Him except in Heaven itself.

A reader of the companion-volume of this book wrote to tell me that he went entirely with me in the views therein set forth, with one exception. He could not agree with me in believing that Christ's Presence had, since His resurrection, ever been manifested in the Intermediate World; because both the Creed and Scripture affirm that 'He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God.' How, he asked, if Christ be seated on God's right hand in Heaven, can He be in another place that is not Heaven?

My answer to that was—What do you understand by Christ being on 'the right hand of God'? Do you imagine that He is stationed at a spot by God's throne, from which He never moves; or do you think that the phrase 'the right hand of God' is merely used to denote that He occupies the highest position of honour and dignity in the universe? If you adopt this latter and reasonable view, there is not a shadow of difficulty in believing that there is a Presence of the Saviour in the Intermediate World. No one in his senses would dream of asserting that because the Prince of Wales is said to stand at the right hand of England's monarch, he cannot therefore be present at any other spot in the empire.

Before we turn to Scripture to show that it warrants us in believing that there is Christ's Presence in the World of Spirit, let us, very briefly, estimate the import of that truth. It implies, surely, infinite possibilities of mercy and blessing for that vast, and unthinkable, aggregation of human beings, who have lived on earth, passed hence, and are still living in the World Beyond.

Try to conceive of the myriads of men, women and children represented by the words—'the Departed.' It is estimated that about 30,000 persons die every week. Picture, if you can, the huge concourse of human spirits that have gone into the Spiritual World in the past fifty years. Then think of the millions of millions that for hundreds of centuries, probably, have been pouring into that World from such vast continents as Africa and America, and from such countries as China and India.

Not one in every ten thousand of those persons has died knowing anything of Christ, and, if the Bible be true, not one of them can be saved apart from Him. What, we ask, must the Saviour's Presence mean to all those unsaved and ignorant ones? Infinite possibilities, we have said. And it must be so; it must be so, if Christ be Christ.

The New Testament declares Him to be 'the same, yesterday and to-day and forever' (Heb. xiii. 8 v.). We know what He was when He lived out His beautiful life here on earth as the manifestation of God. We do not know what He is, except we accept the testimony of the Word of God. That tells us He is the same: the same loving, merciful, pitiful Jesus. Is He the same? Not if popular theology be right It has transformed Him into quite another Jesus. The Christ Who wept over sinful Jerusalem, because forty years afterwards temporal woes were to come upon that city, has been traditionalised into a Christ Who will sit upon His throne, and not weep, although the bulk of those whom He loved, and for whom He died, will suffer the horrors and tortures of a Hell forever. The Jesus Who with His dying breath prayed for His murderers, and promised a magnificent blessing to a debased and cursing malefactor, will not (so we have been told) extend a merciful thought, nor speak a pardoning word, to sinners who are on the other side of the veil. Oh! no, if the old theology be right, He is not the same Christ: He is no more like Jesus of Nazareth, Who passed by and blessed men, than the winter frost is like the summer sunshine. But we have no right to ignore, or to twist, Biblical statements to suit the convenience of theological preconceptions. Scripture asserts that Jesus Christ is 'the same' to-day and forever, as He was yesterday. I know what He was yesterday, when He walked this earth. I can gather, from the records of His life, what was His character and disposition, and what He said and did. He was a Jesus Who yearned for poor lost sinners, to bring them to goodness and to God. From that I can form an idea of Him as He is now. The Bible tells me He is 'the same'; He has not altered; He is not a Christ with a new set of feelings, desires and attributes, different from those that He had when He helped and blessed mankind in the streets and highways of Palestine, or preached to, and reclaimed, lost sinners in the World beyond the grave. If those words in the Epistle to the Hebrews are true, I may know, from what Jesus did for unsaved humanity in this world, what He is still doing, and will do, for ten thousand times a greater mass of lost ones behind the veil.

Here, He would not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. Will He do so there? Here, He said He would leave the ninety and nine, and go after the poor lost sheep until He find it. Will He not do so there? Here, no cry for mercy or help was disregarded by Him. Is He deaf to such cries in the World Beyond? Here, He toiled and wearied Himself; journeyed, hungered, suffered, bled, and died, so that a handful of earth's millions might hear from His lips the truth of God. Will He do nothing in the Spiritual World to bring those millions themselves to Him Whom they have never had a chance of knowing during their life on earth?

Is it true that He is 'the Saviour of all men,' and yet not present in the Spiritual World, that is so full of men and women who are not saved, because the Saviour has never been preached to them? We cannot believe it; it dethrones Jesus from His position as Saviour of the world, and leaves the vast bulk of our race with no possibility of hope and salvation. Against this hard, this cruel, and essentially selfish doctrine, we set the glorious and God-like words—'Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.'

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Other Books by Rev. Chambers:

"Thoughts of the Spiritual" (1905 American Edition)
"Problems of the Spiritual" (1907 UK Edition)

Rev. Arthur Chambers Returns From "Death" To Speak Through The Zodiac Circle
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