Foreword Centenary Edition, and Introduction 1909 Edition

Foreword Centenary Edition

The parting words from the Lord to Seneca Sodi were, “… 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.…” And so He sent Seneca back to earth with a testimony of his 40-day visit to the Heavenly City which is the reward for the faithful.

The most memorable events in this testimony undoubtedly begin with Seneca’s reunion with his close relatives in heaven, including his wife, mother, grandfather and his daughter. When he meets his grandfather, who died at an old age, he quickly sees that in heaven his vitality and youthful vigor have been fully restored. But an even greater surprise awaits him as he meets his daughter, who died while still in infancy—because she has since grown up into adulthood. She explained to him that children who have died in infancy before accountability are spared from ever experiencing pain or sorrow, but are raised to maturity by the angels, saints—even family members who have died and are now in heaven as well.

The second lasting impression is utter peace and security: the heavenly economy where everything is jointly owned and no one lacks any good thing; the heavenly atmosphere free from strife, sickness, fear and death; the heavenly calendar of timeless eternity with ample time to pursue every noble endeavor without hurry.

A third great assurance is belonging to the heavenly society of mankind, united into one large extended family where death bed conversions, innocent children from every nation who died of war, sickness or other tragedy, and saints of renown are all equally welcomed with the same acceptance and love as joint heirs with Christ of the whole of the heavenly kingdom. Seneca meets many martyred saints who have been rewarded for their struggles, and in fact joins a kind of picnic feast with a group of those who gave their lives for the testimony of the Lord.

For some the highlight may be Seneca’s chance to discuss theology with Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Paul and many others—for others still it could be the overwhelmingly glorious visit to the Throne of God. But whichever part is your personal favorite, I believe this testimony will strengthen the faithful, and impart the joy of being invited to spend eternity living in a city not made by man.

We find several common themes that are repeated throughout the narrative of this story, which are meant to leave a lasting impression on readers, including:

• That living for carnal purposes or in man’s ways builds the substance of one’s life with wood, hay and stubble, and none of this will pass into the heavenly hereafter but will be consumed and be lost. No heavenly reward is based on any such ‘carnal’ thing.

• People who haven’t grown in true grace are unprepared for the greater things of God and so must spend time among the trees of life in paradise, partaking of the leaves of the trees which are for the healing of the nations, meaning for those who are unsanctified and only able to enter the ‘outer courts’ until they grow more in grace.

• That children who die are safe in heaven, and are raised in the most loving care imaginable by angels, saints and even relatives who have gone on to heaven before them, and who soon grow to maturity under their watchful care.

• The coming rapture and millennial reign of Christ are topics that are frequently talked about.

• That if people’s hearts are not open to hearing the Truth from ‘Moses and the Prophets,’ meaning the Scriptures presented to them in an ordinary way, they are also not likely to be convinced of Truth should one testify who has returned from the dead. Not that people will not return from the dead and testify, since this fact has already been faithfully recorded in the Bible (Matthew 27:52), but merely that the weight of such a testimony will not convince those who are die-hard skeptics.

• Other more minor themes include the upward pull of saved souls toward God’s Throne; that the rewards of heaven FAR outweigh the toils, sufferings and sacrifices of saints on the earth; that the heavenly glory is so wonderful that the thought of returning to the earth is dismissed by one and all; that in heaven everyone is quite active, mostly serving for the common good; and that those who suffered more on earth are now able to enjoy and praise the Lord more in heaven; and many more.


It is also interesting to note that it’s been more than 100 years since this testimony first came to light, and far from proving to be an isolated story, such heavenly experiences are becoming more and more common. Some more recent testimonies which do much to substantiate this one include H. A. Baker’s Visions Beyond the Veil, Mary K. Baxter’s visitations to both Heaven as well as Hell.

Another testimony is from Rev. Oden Hetrick, who visited heaven at length, more than 80 times, and has many deep insights that again support much of this story by Seneca Sodi.

I also want to mention Anna Rountree who has written of her heavenly experiences in a series of books, The Heavens Opened, and The Priestly Bride, which confirm so many surprising elements and unique revelations of this story. Although her experiences are in a very different context, her books offer many details that match Seneca’s testimony that could not be mere coincidence.

And there are numerous other accounts from old and young alike who have visited the eternal hereafter and been able to share indelible revelations of our true heavenly home—the place where we have eternal citizenship through faith in Jesus Messiah, the one we call Christ.

It is not that I am looking for support or confirmation to prove or defend the reliability of this testimony, since I think that is unnecessary. Besides Seneca’s testimony predates these others in some cases by nearly 100 years, so the need for proof runs in rather the opposite direction.

I firmly believe this testimony can be trusted. We found it on-line and the Lord asked me to edit and re-print it, so I have it on His recommendation; and I hope you not only enjoy it, but also get to share it with your family and friends.

Nevertheless, there are some things to keep in mind when reading any personal testimony of the spiritual world; the first of which is that Heaven is a very large place. The Holy City itself is 1,500 miles squared—cubed actually—so two people visiting, even for many hours each, may have vastly different experiences of the same general location, especially if they visit different parts of the City, or parts of the even more vast paradise outside the City walls.

We also find that people are able to perceive spiritual things slightly differently according to their own preparedness or spiritual maturity, something discussed in many of these testimonies.

So we see that personal testimonies of such a vast, complex, and highly spiritual place as Heaven need to be treated with some mature discretion. If the writers of the four gospel accounts all differed slightly in how they perceived and experienced the ministry of Jesus on earth, it is no wonder that others who visit heaven in a spiritual encounter have some slight differences in what they perceive and recollect as well. But as with the gospel accounts, the differences in many of these unrelated testimonies are far outnumbered by the bold similarities, sometimes in exacting detail.

Reading such testimonies is a great encouragement and does help to prepare us for what we have never even dreamed could be true. Yet even this body of writings and testimonies is not the key issue. Growing in love and grace is. So the main aim of this book is to offer a taste of the goodness of God, an unveiling of many mysteries, and a blessed assurance that our labors in Christ are not in vain, to encourage you to set aside all hindrances and press on to lay hold of the reward of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.

So with these things in mind, may you enjoy this spiritual classic that I believe will strengthen your faith and give you hope to endure whatever obstacles you encounter on your own journey on towards Paradise, the Holy City and the glory of the Throne.

We are blessed by the Lord to have received this testimony, and we pray that it in turn blesses you in these end days before most inspiring events overtake us all.


—Edward Johnson, Hong Kong

‘First Fruits Offering’ printing, 2008

Second Edition, 2010


Introduction 1909 Edition

For many months past I have had frequent visits from a very peculiar visitor. Although his visits have been surprises to me, yet they have been most welcome indeed.

At first I was startled and greatly surprised when a man with silken beard and flowing garments came into my study entirely uninvited and without apology.

At first his visits were brief, then longer. If I went for an evening’s walk in the fields or woods, he would frequently drop into my company, and seemed delighted to walk with me. I soon found he could speak different languages with perfect ease and that his nationality was different from my own.

He seemed of superior ability and his intellectual powers were far beyond my own abilities. In short, he was a very uncommon person.

I have had a custom for many years past of rising early in the morning and taking a drive for an hour or two before breakfast. Not infrequently I have overtaken a man who asked me for a ride, but on a number of occasions after I had welcomed the journeyman to my side, I found, Philip-like, by the side of the man in the chariot—that he was my silken bearded friend.

Frequently after an hour’s conversation he would simply vanish from my presence without a moment’s notice, and I have often looked in all directions, but was unable to see how he left.

I have been enthralled and lost in wonder and admiration at what he talks about, and the nature of his revelations. My soul loved him exceedingly and was grieved at his departure. Sometimes, after the family had retired, while busy at my studies he would suddenly come into my room and remain until after midnight.

Among his earlier visits, one evening he asked me if I could still write shorthand.

“Indeed,” I said, “with as much ease as in earlier days.”

“I have been looking for you for some time,” he replied, “and if you consent to serve the purpose for which I have sought you, I will give a favored saint’s blessing to you.”

I gave him all the assurance I could that I would help him with any reasonable request he might make. He then lovingly replied:

“You shall then write a message for me to the people.”


After the arrangements were all completed for its final settlement, he appointed an evening for a visit similar to those we had enjoyed so much when he took me by surprise. So from time to time we met and the results were the following pages which will explain this introduction. I am glad I consented to write for him. It has been with continual wonder, surprise, and admiration, and has also been a great blessing to me personally.

During one of his earlier visits he explained that he was the same man I had met some years before on the mountain slopes of the Cascades. I remembered him quite well, for I had spent a day and a night in his cheerful home, and under his holy influence. His name was Seneca Sodi, a Greek of Jewish descent, a fine scholar, a firm believer in Christianity, and a thorough student of his Bible.

But he seemed so changed now, and his face glowed with such a halo of light that I did not recognize him at first and was inclined to doubt his story and to let it all pass as a clever trick, that I could not explain, that was being played on me. Yet I could see a great similarity in appearance of this man and my long-bearded friend of the Cascades.

I said to him, “How can this be?”

He quickly replied, in the twinkling of an eye, “Only an earlier sheaf in the great resurrection harvest.”

“Oh, my God!” I said, “Is it true that there is a man who has already experienced the great resurrection of the just, which is to occur at the last day?”

I thought then of the translation of Enoch, and of the chariot which swept Elijah into the heavens, of Moses, who twice fasted forty days and was alone with God upon the Mount of Vision until he had caught some of the radiance of the eternal glory.

I thought of Paul who had been caught up into the third heaven and heard words of the everlasting kingdom. I thought again of the many bodies of the saints which slept and arose after our Lord’s resurrection, who went about Jerusalem showing themselves alive from the dead. (Matthew 27:50-53)

So I reasoned within myself, saying, ‘May not great events occur in these last days of Gentile grace? Why should not Seneca Sodi, one of the descendants of the ancient Israel of God, in these last days receive great revelations from the Almighty and an earlier resurrection than the rest of the great harvest?’

But I must leave him to tell his own story.

––Elwood Scott



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