12: Visit with Daniel

The elder, which proved to be Daniel the prophet, and who was by our side, now said to us, “Well, dear brethren, I am glad to have this visit with you. I know you have recently arrived in the city and are eager to know of the wonders which are constantly crowding upon you.”

He told us, “Jesus our Lord, who was conceived by the eternal spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, is Lord of earth and heaven. All power has been given to Him by His Father. While I was in the earth I knew Him long before His advent by the Virgin Mary, as the ‘Ancient of Days,’ whose garment was white as snow and the hair of His head like pure wool.

“In the revelations which God then gave me I saw Him ‘sitting on His Throne in the last judgment and His Throne was like a fiery flame. A fiery stream, or bands of flaming angels, issued and came forth from before Him; a thousand thousand ministered to Him and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him; the judgment was set and the books were opened.’” (Daniel 7:9-10)

At this Bohemond clasped his hands and said, “Oh, Daniel, greatly beloved, I remember the part of Scripture which you have just quoted.”

“Indeed,” said the elder, “and it will stand as my testimony from God till the time of the end.”

He continued, “Man has been created in the likeness and image of the Triune God. In his creation he was lower than the angels, but in his redemption and glorification he is their equal and in some respects their superior. All these great multitudes of the redeemed are the bride of our Lord and He is complete only in them, which is His fullness and very precious to Him. Have you not noticed how completely in His image we are?”

“Indeed,” I replied, “and who could have believed when we were children playing in the dirt and dusk of the earth, that all this exaltation and glory was in store for us. We were taught about heaven, but how little we conceived of its glory and grandeur.”

“Sure enough,” said the elder, “you have seen but little of our Father’s house and the many mansions it contains. Tell me where you have been. Maybe I can help you still further in the unfoldings and knowledge of this great Kingdom of God.”

“Oh,” said Bohemond, “we first met each other far down the river in a remote portion of paradise. We came from the earth about the same time and have been much together since we spent some time about the river and met several ancient men and learned our first lessons and hymns on the river banks.

“Abraham brought our company to the Judean gate, where we first met our Lord and received His smiles of welcome. We have visited the children’s praise service at the Polytechnic and also a great praise meeting on Fourth Avenue. We also visited the Shrine of Sacred Relics, and have attended a most interesting convention of the prophets and apostles and writers of the Bible, called to discuss the condition of the church on earth, their doctrinal disputes and errors which have crept in among them from time to time, and many scenes of the deepest interest have met us at every turn since entering the city. Our souls have been constantly filled with wonder and admiration every moment of our time since leaving the earth in the angels’ chariot.”

“Well,” said Daniel, “you have only seen the threshold of your inheritance when compared to the vastness and greatness of the provisions for you. But as to what is before you, eternity is short enough to show it all. But be assured that your enlarging cup of enjoyment will always be full. You have noticed how completely free you are from unrest and without aches or pains of any kind and that no distress or trouble burdens or haunts you here, such as we all experienced so much while in the earth, but these things are all passed away, and your appreciation of heaven is greatly increased by the bitter cups of your earthly life.

“You will have such important employment here as will make life the most meaningful. The occupation and business of your earthly life was but a preparation for and a little reflection of heaven. There is no toil here, like the sweat of our brow of which we used to know so much, but a joyful employment of all the powers of the soul to further the interest of all about us.

“Whatever you were most accustomed to do on earth will aid in your busy life in heaven. Were you in the agricultural departments of the earth, then you will often enjoy your visits to the plains, valleys, hills and mountains of paradise. These with their abounding fruitfulness and scenery will be of great delight to you and with the increasing multitudes gathering here from the earth, enlarged provisions are constantly being made for them in which you will delight to share.

“Have you been a teacher, then you will greatly enjoy the service of instructing those who have just come from terrestrial shores to this eternal kingdom. Those who were mechanics will find ample scope for that trait of mind in heaven. Our Lord has been preparing these mansions for us for thousands of years, but He employs the busy hands of millions of his saints in the most wonderful architecture of heaven.

“But now for you, dear brethren, all you see before you is for your enjoyment and comfort. The chariots are for your journeys. If you wish you can go at the speed of sound—go at your pleasure. Massive praise services of which we are all so fond here, are held in various sections of the city. If you wish to ascend to the higher or lower galleries or sections of the city, step into the elevator and press the number of the button and you may in a few moments be landed hundreds of kilometers [16] above or below as you desire. For you will remember that the city lies four square, its length and breadth, its height and depth are equal, being like a solid cube, twelve thousand furlongs each side.”

[16. “A thousand furlongs.” That is about 125 miles. One furlong being about 200 meters (660 feet).]

“Oh, how massive and great is our inheritance!” said Bohemond. “Twelve thousand furlongs would be fifteen hundred miles of earthly measurement.”[17]

[17. Or about 2,400 kilometers.]

“Sure enough,” said the elder, “and there are nearly four hundred thousand of these sections or stories of the city, beside all the vast illimitable regions of paradise. A thousand years of an earthly count will have passed before you have seen but a small portion of what is yours forever. Its vastness is beyond your ability to comprehend at present. So you see, you have ample room for the growth and development of your inquisitive soul.”

At this I clasped my hands and with great ecstatics of joy cried out, “Oh, Daniel, greatly beloved, is there no end to the provisions God has made for us?”

The elder replied, “The resources of heaven are inexhaustible, and as to the height and depth of the city, its length and breadth—you can never take it all in, but go where you will and you will find that the busy hosts of God know no fatigue and they will welcome you to any and all their banquets and feasts and services of song and praise as we have here.

“If you desire a trip to the beauties and scenery of any part of paradise, any one of the saints or angels will be glad to accompany you, for we all take pleasure in each other’s comfort here. Let us now step to that raised section at the four corners near us.” We climbed the spacious stairway. “Now will you look down this avenue toward the far distance over there?”

We did so, and as we stood above the busy crowds and countless hosts, all who were once children of earth, and who, like ourselves, once shared in the toils and sweat of an earthly life, and with us had struggled against the fearful hosts of sin, but now exalted and glorified with our blessed Redeemer, the elder said, “Are you repaid for your faith and service for your Lord in the world?”

“Repaid,” I said, “what did I ever do to deserve this? No, no, it’s all of grace. God is love. We were nothing; we did nothing but cling to Jesus. He was our All in All.”

“Will you now look to the north?” and he pointed with his finger the way, for we knew no north nor south, for no sun shone at noonday, nor any north star at midnight, for there is no noonday nor midnight in heaven. We needed not the light of sun, nor moon for the Lord God and the Lamb is our eternal light.

As we looked in the directions suggested, we saw the avenue was broad and lovely and the mansions were of exquisite beauty. The golden streets were as warm with so many happy people. Thousands of children were playing in the streets. Lovely fountains were throwing up their spray which sparkled like beaded diamonds of light. We saw long tables a half kilometer long [18] each most beautifully adorned and loaded with most precious fruits and nuts of all varieties, and with such freedom everyone seemed to be eating and drinking at his ease and pleasure.

[18. “A thousand cubits.” That is about 1,500 feet or 450 meters. A cubit is about 18 inches, or about half a meter.]

I thought in what a different sense could all this mighty crowd say in the same words of many of the Jews of old: “We have eaten and drunk in your presence and You have taught in our streets.” (Luke 13:26)

“Many of these children,” said the elder, “have but recently come, but you see how completely contented they are. No change of place nor surroundings could make them happier, unless it would be to see their parents, brothers, sisters or friends here—then their cup of happiness would be complete indeed. They have no desire to go back to the earth from where they have so recently come, but they do greatly rejoice in the coming of their friends. Contentment of which we only knew the first basic idea of while in the world is written on every soul here.

“Will you now look upward,” said the elder.

We looked above. To our greater wonder still, the arches and domes above us were ablaze with the sparkle of what seemed to be the most precious diamonds for beauty, and jasper stones clear as crystal.

This,” said the elder, “is but a reflection of the glory of God which shines out from the Throne and through all His works.”

“Now,” said the elder, “I must leave you and bid you good-bye. The blessings of the eternal God are forever yours. Great things are in store for you, but I will see you again,” and he disappeared among the countless crowd.

* * * * *

We stood a moment almost bewildered at the great scenes before us in every direction. We now descended from this great platform or elevation, to find David’s chariot was standing nearby. Mother, Mary and Genevive had just stepped from it. Oh, indeed, it was a glad surprise to see them again in the midst of the great moving crowd about us. We held hands and with a love-kiss, clean and pure as heaven itself, we all felt that the unions begun on earth were far sweeter here than any family ever knew while in the earthly life in the flesh. But no wifehood nor husband’s place is desired or hardly thought of in heaven.

David now said, “I must bid you good-bye. The visits and journeys with you have been most pleasant indeed, but I will see you all again. Gabriel with his chariot stands over there for you. Before you go, shall we not join in one more service of thanksgiving and praise?”

Bohemond practically shouted at this and we all took our harps and joined David in one more sweet hymn of praise. When we had finished, David waved his hand a pleasant farewell, and his chariot moved away and was lost from our gaze as we followed him with longing eyes, for we had learned to love him so very much.

Gabriel now came and addressed us most lovingly. Mother, Genevive and Mary all knew him well, but I had only seen him once since he said good-bye to me at my first entrance into paradise, but I found he was one of the chief angels of heaven, one of the archangels, yet he was Daniel’s servant while yet in the world. I found he led the band who announced the birth of the Saviour and guarded the sepulcher at His death and rolled back the stone at His resurrection.

He now invited us to seats with him in the chariots. “For,” said he, “I am sent into paradise.” We accepted his invitation and were soon stepping into the first chariot of heaven, and one that has traversed the distance between heaven and earth multiplied thousands of times. In that chariot we were soon all seated.

The angel now said to mother and Genevive, “Have you any choice of routes for the journey through paradise? We have a command concerning Seneca, and you are more than welcome to journey with us to the gateway.”

“Indeed,” they both spoke at once, “we would be greatly pleased to go with you, and you may choose the route for you know best.”

“Perhaps Seneca has a choice.”

“Oh, Gabriel, you blessed of God, you choose for us, for you have knowledge of all places in the kingdom which we don’t have.”

“Leaving it to me then we will go by way of the mountain regions which lie to the southeast, going out at Benjamin’s gate.”

“Good,” said Genevive, “nothing could please Mr. Sodi better, for he always enjoyed the inspiring and dramatic scenery of the earth. David, whose chariot has just gone, has very recently brought Seneca, mother and Mary with myself from the preparatory departments for children, which is far toward the southwest, to the children’s amphitheater in the city where I have been for quite a time assisting the little ones in their first lessons in heaven. Seneca enjoyed the return trip through the mountain region splendidly, so I am sure you have chosen wisely.”

“Now,” said Gabriel, “when you are all ready we will be going, for we have to meet our Lord, with very many others, at the gate of Benjamin, which is toward the south-east. I wish for Seneca and Bohemond to sit with me.”

We took our places beside the angel, while mother, Genevive and Mary sat together in the rear. In a moment more our chariot moved away.

“Oh, Seneca, you blessed of God,” said the angel. “You are a chosen vessel, selected for a special errand by the Lord Himself.”

“Oh, tell me, Gabriel, what is before me. Heaven has been one glad surprise at every turn since I stepped from the angel’s chariot, at a distant portal of paradise when we first entered this kingdom of glory.”

“Everything is before you,” said the angel, “almost nothing behind in comparison to what is yet beyond. But Seneca, you are a favored saint of God and the unfoldings of His intentions toward you will be made known in due time.”

At this, mother, who was intensely interested in the conversation, spoke and said, “Oh, Gabriel, the man by your side is my own son and was cared for by these hands from the day of his birth and I am deeply interested in all that is transpiring.”

Genevive now stood to her feet in the chariot and leaning forward wrapped her arms around my neck and said, “Oh, Gabriel, this man was my husband on earth and most sweetly were our earthly lives spent together. But here we are joined in an eternal union.”

At this the angel laughed and said, “Are you married again?”

“Oh, no, we are not married, for saints do not marry in heaven, nor do they wish to, but these bonds of highest friendship will be eternal, will they not?”

“Sure,” said the angel. “Your love and oneness will be far sweeter than ever it was on earth.”

“But I would like to know,” said Genevive, “and I know you can tell me, if the angels themselves were ever in love among themselves with a love similar to that of husband and wife?”

At that question, Gabriel reduced the speed of his chariot and turned his head to glance over his shoulder at Genevive, who stood with her arms still about my neck. He said, “You have almost put me to blush for we are inferior to you, who have descendants and creations of your own. We have no bride neither bridegroom. But marriage was such a leading passion with the inhabitants of the earth that our Lord intends perpetuating it in eternity, only changed. He is now and ever will be the bridegroom and all the saints, you, not us, will be his bride. We were the working bees of the great family of man on earth and in heaven, neither drones nor queens, but we are all content with our sphere of action. We know no sorrow nor any un-fulfilled desire which cannot be fully met here in heaven or on earth. We are your servants, and this trip to the gate of Benjamin and to paradise is my joyful service.”

At this Mary stood up and said, “Oh, Gabriel, this man by your side is my father, from whom I parted when only just an infant. I think it must have been your own chariot which brought me to the care of dear grandmother as I learned to call her later.”

At this the chariot stood still and the angel arose and turning himself around, he laid his hands upon our heads with the blessings of the chief angel of God and said, “Oh, ye saints of the Most High, I was present when the morning stars sang together and tuned my harp to that sacred melody of the skies. I am the same now as I was then. But before you is an endless progression, an eternal destiny, with exaltations, honors, and blessings of which you know but little now.

“Now,” continued Gabriel, “we must be going, for soon we must join others at Benjamin’s gate.”

The chariot moved on with great speed. The scenery was all new to Bohemond and myself, and Genevive said it was almost new to her. The mansions were beautiful with all the decorations that any soul in heaven could wish.

Thousands of saints were coming and going, like a hive of busy bees.

“I see David’s chariot,” said the angel, “coming down that broad avenue over there.” In a little while we were side by side, with greetings and congratulations, for his chariot was now filled with ancient men and women—saints of renown.

On the chariots moved, side by side; we went till at last the shining of the wall began to appear and the great gate of Benjamin loomed up before us and as we were reducing our speed, we noticed the most beautiful chariot we had yet seen standing just near the gate. It glittered with the gold of heaven, set with diamonds of beauty. Our Lord Himself was in that chariot. His twelve apostles also were with Him. Such a halo of light, almost with dazzling brightness, shown all about that chariot. In a few moments the three chariots stood side by side. We all bowed our heads, saints and angels together, before Him who had prepared this city for us.

David’s harp was of great proportions. He stood before us all and announced a hymn. We all arose and sang the praises of our Lord and Redeemer again while standing in the chariot.

The angel Gabriel sang an ancient solo with loud hosannas. Daniel, who was in David’s chariot, and who was a close friend of the angel, said, “Sing it again,” and surely the sweetest music to which we had ever listened rolled from his hallowed lips.

“Now,” said the angel, “look through this gateway,” and behold, there was an immense company of new arrivals standing just outside, and singing some new songs. This company had been escorted here from different places in paradise much the same as we had been only a short time ago. Stephen, the martyred saint, had led this company.

While he was getting them ready to pass through the gateway into the presence of their Lord Jesus, who now invited us all to a raised elevation close beside the gateway, He laid his hand gently on my head and said, “Son, be of good cheer, your earthly mission is not yet completed, but as I once called Moses and Elijah from these shining gates, so now I send you to make known what you have seen and heard, which is but a little of what you shall yet see, but this is all they will receive at your hand now. True unfeigned faith in many sections of the earth is waning. You will find a faithful helper, on whose head my blessings shall rest. When you have completed your journey to the earth, I shall confer the elder’s blessing upon you—an earlier inheritance of the ‘purchased possession.’” All heads were now bowed, while He prayed and committed me to the angel’s care.

Bohemond and the women came close to my side and said, “Is it true we must part?”

“Only for a time, yes, only for a time.” And with great cheer I said loudly, “I shall soon see you again.”

The Lord said, “Hurry to your mission. I must welcome these outside the gate, for I have redeemed them by my blood.” So saying, He called Gabriel to His side and gave him a charge concerning me.

I said good-bye to my kindred and all those who came to see me off, saying, “I will see you again,” and I climbed aboard the angel’s chariot.

* * * * *

The angel now was seated by my side and his chariot moved slowly away. As I looked backward while we were passing through the great arch of the gateway, I saw many of them waving with their hands a good-bye blessing.

We were soon passing beside the great company who were eager to enter the gateway. We gave them all a bow of recognition, saying, “We will see you all again.” We were soon beyond the hearing of their voices. As the chariot vanished from their view, we were rapidly flying along an immense roadway, leading them from the gate of Benjamin to distant places of paradise. Great fruitful valleys spread out everywhere, and thousands of busy saints were gathering the ripening fruits.

“Now,” said Gabriel, “over there are the mountainous regions of paradise of which I spoke; shall we go past them?”

“Oh, angel, my cup of blessing seems full and will contain no more. The task that I have been charged with is consuming all my thoughts, but if you are willing, just a quick flight by the foothills will please me much and satisfy my curiosity.”

He quickly turned his chariot to a side road leading up the mountain slopes. Rapidly we were climbing those stupendous heights. On a lovely plateau half way up the mountain summit, Gabriel brought his chariot to a stop just to allow me to look out over the vast plains and valleys of paradise. Immense gardens of beauty, filled with all varieties of fruits and blooming shrubbery were spread out as far as the eye could reach. I could see at a glance multiplied thousands of busy saints and angels enjoying these luxuries of heaven. My soul was so filled with the ecstatics of glory and praise for these exalted privileges which our good Father had granted me, and the honors conferred upon a mortal man of earth, that I was simply lost in wonder and fell down at the feet of the angel with adoring praise to God. “Oh, Gabriel, stop your hand of blessing, my cup runneth over.”

“Now, Seneca, we must resume our journey.” With great speed the chariot darted down the great hillsides and across the valleys, through lovely parks and pleasure grounds of paradise. Thousands of honored saints have their mansions in the various sections of this dramatic scenery of heaven. I was so overcome with the grandeur of this section of paradise, that I fell down at the feet of the angel again and poured forth my praise to God with loud hosannas. I arose and the angel pointed toward a great paradisical arch in the far distance. Toward it he was steering his chariot. The trees of life were growing everywhere. The aroma of the leaves made the breath of heaven fragrant with their life-imparting virtue. No picture on earth could ever suggest such glory as this.

The angel drove his chariot slowly amidst deep gorges and past sparkling fountains and where groups of men and women were going and coming, or refreshing themselves at the fountains and with the fruit of the trees of life. I said to the angel again, “What a place to spend the leisure hours of eternity, in rest and recreation! Surely this is heaven!”

The angel now turned to me and asked if I recognized him. “Oh, Gabriel, at the Throne I saw you.”

He said, “Think again. When you left your earthly habitation for this most favored tour of heaven.”

“Oh, angel, you brought me to the gates of the Kingdom.”

“Indeed,” said the angel, “and I have another mission for you. Only a glimpse of the heavenly inheritance and the greatness of our Father’s house have you yet seen, but eternity is yet before you and it alone will suffice to satisfy your inquisitive soul. But now a little quiet rest is needed before your next mission begins and before we pass through that great archway over there.”

Gabriel drove his chariot very slowly along. Hundreds of new arrivals were to be seen with their first rapture of delight in heaven. This I knew from their behavior, which was so much like my own had been. Some just stepping from the chariots were shouting just as we had done.

On the chariot went toward the great archway of paradise.

I leaned my head on the shoulder of the angel and for the first time felt a kind of drowsiness come over me. I slept: how long, I do not know, but when I awoke, the chariot was standing still at the threshold of the old home at the foothills of the Cascades. I stepped out and was met by two angels who led me inside. I said, “Is it true that I am back again to my earthly home?” Sure enough, for there lay my body which had been carefully guarded by my faithful servants, Sena and Serva, who had previous instructions for no burial for fifty days. More than forty had already passed and yet upon the body though cold and in the slumbers of death, no signs of decay were seen.

It was midnight and the watchers were sound asleep. Gabriel now joined us and laying his hand upon the faces of those who slept, there followed the deep sleep which came over Adam while Eve was being formed from his rib. So no one of the sleepers knew of our presence. Gabriel now passed his hand over the lifeless body and instantly it sprang into life with a mighty change from mortality to immortality. In a moment it was my own again. I shouted, “Oh, glorious body! Oh, redemption of the purchased possession! Mighty change—from death to immortality!” Oh, how quickly I thought of the words of Paul: “For our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21) I stood a moment in wonder, not knowing what to say. I was so overcome with the glory of God, but body and soul became as one.

I now said to the angel, “Who will assist in this work committed to me?”

He quickly directed me to you, my son, [19] explaining the place of your home. “But we will not leave you,” they said, “until all things are adjusted. Now leave your earthly home and all therein. They will take care of themselves. Come to the chariot.”

[19. Addressing Reverend Scott, the transcriber, that is.]

The Cascades and the Rockies were passed and the valley of the Mississippi was soon behind us. Near your humble village the chariot stopped. I have crossed the continent to find you, my brother, and now I am so glad you have so willingly and cheerfully assisted in this work. I have examined your manuscript and approve of what you have done. Let the printer take it from your hands. Put it before the people. Some will not approve, others will bless God. But if you faithfully complete your task, the blessing of Almighty God will be upon you.

The Story Ends

Mr. Secenca Sodi then came and pressed a kiss upon my forehead and turning away, he said, “Farewell, my son. The blessings of the eternal God be yours, blessing you both in basket and in store. The eternal God shall be your refuge and underneath shall be the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27) He shall convert thine enemy to your friend, and the angels which so faithfully guarded my mortal body, shall guard your soul.” Again he pressed my hand in his, kissing it again and again, and lifting up his eyes and hands toward heaven, he pronounced the blessing of heaven upon me, and in closing said, “The angel is waiting for me,” and he vanished out of my sight. I quickly followed to the door, but he was gone, for the chariot had borne him aloft.

The End
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