John the Baptist preached the nearness of the kingdom of God, foretelling the new era which Christ Jesus was to open to mankind. Before this the Ten Commandments and the utterances of prophets gave no clear picture of a spiritual kingdom, intact and God-governed, whose presence the Master proved to be true. Jesus said (Luke 16:16), "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." Here he was explaining that there is a goal in life even higher than ethical human behavior: to enter the divine kingdom—to become conscious of the realm of Spirit, where man is spiritual, as perfect as his Maker, and where evil is unknown. Jesus knew that this true consciousness is always imbued with Christly power.

The Way-shower's precepts centered on the kingdom of God. He seemed never to lose sight of heaven, but maintained unbroken connection with it. He promised Nathanael, whose nature was guileless, that he would see heaven open (John 1:15); and Luke records that as Jesus himself was praying, "the heaven was opened" (3:21), showing the true purpose of prayer. The Master taught that heaven is within man. It is ever within reach of spiritual sense, which is one's only true mode of perception. Jesus' discernment of heaven was so enlightening, so quickening, so refreshing, that it destroyed the darkening mortal beliefs which were claiming to obscure heaven. In this way he restored health and innocence to sufferers and sinners, giving them an inkling of what God's man—His image—enjoys perpetually.

The Master's knowledge that God's realm is intact, that it is a kingdom of reality into which no mortal delusion can enter and which no perversion can distort, based his powerful works. He realized that the Father does not with-hold heaven from anyone, for within its glorious magnitude dwells the immortal identity of every created thing; and so he could heal multitudes. Jesus' demand for human regeneration showed that the price of entering heaven is the purification which unveils the spiritual self—the self which is ever conscious of the eternal and real.

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Church Services and Reading Rooms
June 5, 1954

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