The idea of some future state where compensation would...

The Christian Science Monitor

The idea of some future state where compensation would be made for the ills of this world, and where virtue would find its perfect reward, has been common to most races, but in early times it undoubtedly found its most vivid expression amongst the Hebrews and those nations contiguous to them. The "Garden of Eden," which was evidently their earliest conception of heaven, is but one of many allegorical expressions of this idea, having its equivalent in the "mountains of God," the "gardens of God," and so on, found in various old oriental religions and myths, and one of the great works of the long-expected Messianic Priest was to be the reopening of the gates of Paradise, and the removal of the sword which guarded it. Amongst the Jews, too, it is evident from Paul's writings that the idea of a series of heavens, of which the Seventh was the completion, was held as an article of faith.

This being so, it is the more remarkable that Jesus in his teaching was able to lift the idea of the kingdom of heaven so completely away from, and above, the generally accepted theories. His parables describing the kingdom of heaven as a grain of mustard seed, the pearl of great price, a net bringing in all manner of fish, could not by any stretch of imagination be interpreted in terms of locality or place; they could only refer to an idea, or a state of consciousness, and he finally emphasized this by stating directly that the kingdom of God was not something to be found or observed physically, "for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

February 2, 1918
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