Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pre-Mortality of Mankind

The logical place to start our discussion would be at the beginning. So let’s begin at the beginning with a question: Why is it that we call God the Father, our Heavenly Father? If Jesus is our Heavenly Father, as many teach, why does He instruct us to pray to our Father who is in heaven, instead of to Himself? The answer to that question is very basic to our understanding of the Father/Son relationship. And the answer is because our Father in heaven is our literal Father, the Father of our spirits, as well as the literal Father of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Son before Mortality
Before this mortal life, when God created this earth, Jesus was only a spirit, but He came to live as mortals live, die as mortals die, and was resurrected with a physical body like all mortals will eventually receive. From John we read, “In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1.) This is not to be mistaken for the idea that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father are one and the same, but only that they are both Gods. Our Savior had a hand in the creation of the world, for “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3.) And Isaiah, speaking in behalf of Jehovah, wrote: “For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.... I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior.” (Isa. 43:3, 11.)

Eventually, it was time for Jesus to bless this mortal realm and take upon Himself the sins of the world. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14.) We also read in John that our Savior offered a great intercessory prayer to the Father, in which He said, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:4-5.) Here, again, Jesus was praying to a personal Father, not Himself. John also makes it very clear when he recorded the words of our Savior: “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” (John 16:28.) What could be plainer?

Bodyless Demons before Mortality
We learn from John the Revelator that Satan and his angels, those evil spirits that torment us, were cast out of heaven to the earth (Revelation 12:9). These devils, apparently, have no bodies as we mortals, so they try to possess bodies for themselves. These evil creatures also know who Jesus is. When the Master was to cast out one of these demons, the evil spirit said, “... What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.” (Mark 5:7.) This devil recognized Jesus from a previous existence; and he acknowledged Him as the Son of the most high God. This unclean spirit made a distinction between the two Gods: God the Father, the Most High God, and God the Son. The evil spirit did not call Jesus the most high God, but knew He was the Son of the most high God.

George Ritchie had experience with some of these unclean spirits. He wrote a book entitled, Return from Tomorrow, concerning his near-death experience. At one point in his book Ritchie spoke of witnessing unclean spirits entering into a man’s body. Mr. Ritchie spoke of a man who got drunk and passed out, and of the evil spirits that were around him at the time. “I was staring in amazement as the bright cocoon around the unconscious sailor simply opened up. It parted at the very crown of his head and began peeling away from his head, his shoulders. Instantly, quicker than I’d ever seen anyone move, one of the insubstantial beings who had been standing near him at the bar was on top of him.... Now he seemed to spring at him like a beast of prey.... Twice more, as I stared, stupefied, the identical scene was repeated. A man passed out, a crack swiftly opened in the aureole round him, one of the non-solid people vanished as he hurled himself at that opening, almost as if he had scrambled inside the other man.” (Return from Tomorrow, pp. 60-61.)

Years ago, when I was practicing as a Behavioral Therapist, I learned about what some referred to as a “spiritual fracture”; that is when a person allows themselves to get in such a serious emotional, physical, or spiritual weakened condition that it often provides an opportunity for one or more unclean spirits to take possession of that person’s body. I also learned that a person with a multiple personality is nothing more than one who has become possessed by one or more of these evil spirits.

Our Redeemer, Jesus the Christ, is the literal son of a Father in heaven, and the devil and his angels lived in heaven before they were cast out as well. We find by studying the Holy Word that Lucifer, also, was created by God. Referring to Lucifer the Prophet Ezekiel informs us: “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” (Ezek. 28:15.) Where was this Lucifer or Satan created if not in a pre-earth environment before he and his angel-followers were cast down to the earth?

This verse along with the others (see verses11 through 19) leave no doubt as to how glorious a spirit Lucifer once was, for he was declared “perfect,” and “the anointed cherub.” That is, he was perfect and even “was upon the holy mountain of God,” until he became wicked. It also leaves no doubt as to the degree he has fallen. And why was Lucifer cast from the presence of the Father? He fell because of the pride of his beauty, wisdom, and brightness; because he defiled his sanctuaries through iniquity. (Rev. 12:7-9; Isa. 14:12.)

Life Before Mortality
Contrary to popular belief, we were all spirits and lived in heaven before mortal birth. This is illustrated by Jeremiah who wrote the words God spoke to him: “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jer. 1:4-5.) The Lord knew Jeremiah before that great prophet was born. God new Jeremiah “before” He formed him in his mothers womb—before conception. Where could God have known Jeremiah if not in a pre-earth existence?

Now, why don’t we remember that pre-mortal existence? It is because when we were born into mortality, God caused us to forget that earlier existence so that we might exercise faith in His work in our lives. As Paul said to the Hebrews, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1.)

Turning to the Book of Job we find that God questioned him by asking, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.... When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4, 7.) The Lord was asking Job where he was when the earth was formed—when all the “sons” of God expressed joy at its creation. God wanted Job to realize that he, Job, was with God at the time, and that he was one of those sons of God who shouted for joy.

The Apostle John wrote, “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:1-3.) Now, why would His disciples ask Jesus if the man’s blindness was due to his sins? If the blind man had not lived before mortality, how could he have sinned? If their question was based upon a wrong premise, Jesus could have easily corrected it, but He did not. He did not because it wasn’t a wrong premise. The blind man did live before being born blind into mortality.

In Acts we read: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art of man’s device.” (Acts 17:28-29.) The writer of Acts states that we are the offspring of God—that means His literal children. This scripture also states that we are not to liken the Godhead unto what man creates, meaning that man is not to try and use his own puny imagination to reason out what God is to be, as did the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325.

The author of Proverbs wrote the following truths concerning our pre-earth life: “The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.” (Prov. 8:22-31.)

The Bible teaches that we lived before we were born into mortality, and that we will live again. In truth, we are the literal offspring of God—the actual children of a loving Father in Heaven.

Spirit Children of a Loving Father
There have been those who have had what many call a “near-death” experience, and some of those experiences make mention of a pre-mortal existence. In her book, Embraced by the Light, Betty Eadie wrote about her near-death experience. Eadie stated that, “All people as spirits in the pre-mortal world took part in the creation of the earth. We were thrilled to be part of it. We were with God, and we knew that he was our Heavenly Father and that we were literally his spirit children.” (Embraced by the Light, p. 47.) Her statement seems to harmonize with Job’s experience we considered above.

Again from her book, Betty Eadie speaks of this pre-earth life, and writes,“I had seen people progressing in the worlds I had visited, working toward becoming more like our Father, and I was curious about our development on earth. How do we grow? My escorts were pleased with my question, and they took me to a place where many spirits prepared for life on earth.... I saw how desirous these spirits were of coming to earth. They looked upon life here as a school where they could learn many things and develop the attributes they lacked. I was told that we had all desired to come here, that we had actually chosen many of our weaknesses and difficult situations in our lives so that we could grow. I also understood that sometimes we were given weaknesses which would be for our good.... I saw that some of the righteous spirit children of our Father in Heaven did not choose to come here to this earth. They have selected to stay as spirits with God and act as guardian angels for people here.” (Embraced by the Light, pp. 89-90.)

After living with our Heavenly Father as spirit children, we came to dwell on this earth in a mortal state. This pre-earth existence is plainly stated in a book by Roy Mills, entitled, The Soul’s Remembrance. Brother Mills was given a wonderful gift when he was born, the gift of never forgetting his life before mortality. His book speaks of this pre-mortal life.

Among other wonderful things he had to say, Roy Mills wrote, “At one time or another in our lives, most of us have met people for the first time, only to have the strong feeling that we already know them. The experience is similar to deja vu. When another has an overwhelming feeling that they have met someone before, more than likely they knew that person very well in Heaven. We should treat such people very kindly, because they are our soul-friends.... While we are in Heaven, we promise to help each other learn and grow through our earthly relationships and experiences.... We should be thankful for each moment of our lives, even the ones that cause us pain, because while we are here, we are keeping promises that we made in Heaven; promises to friends, to family, to ourselves, and to God.” (The Soul’s Remembrance, pp. 100-03.)

From Brother Mills’ dedicatory page of his book we read, “This book is dedicated to: The Spirit Father, God, who is the source of all power, and who created and sustains me in His eternal love. And to my Savior, Jesus, who made it possible for me to return home to Heaven someday. To the many angels who taught and instructed me before I came to earth, then continued to help me with their special love and care.”(The Soul’s Remembrance, Dedicatory page.)

Another person gifted with such an experience is Elane Durham. She also had memories of an earlier life before coming to earth. Of this she wrote, “I knew then that I had been with [God] before, for I absolutely recognized Him. I knew that I had dwelt, with my same exact identity, in an eternal life or existence prior to my mortal life, and in that existence I had come to know this glorious being thoroughly and even intimately.” (I Stand All Amazed, p. 30.)

Continuing this theme, there is a wonderful book entitled, Coming from the Light, compiled by Sarah Hinze. The book is a compilation of various true stories addressing the subject of our pre-earth existence. I would like to quote from three of these wonderful stories. The first I will share is about a mother who, after five children and one miscarriage, was trying not to have any more children. She said: “But in a quiet moment, I would hear a small, almost audible voice say, ‘My name is James, and I’m ready to be born.’” As she and her husband were flying to India to work as missionaries, she recounts: “It was quiet and I was praying. I felt the Lord speak to my heart, ‘Blessed is the fruit of the womb.’ I knew then that I was pregnant. Nine months later, James was born in Pune, India.” (Coming from the Light, pp. 137-38.)

The next story is about an adoption. The couple tried for ten years to have children, but with no success. The mother records: “Suddenly in my dream there was a light and a peaceful feeling. In the light I saw a beautiful baby with big dark eyes. Peace came over me. He said, ‘I have been waiting a long time and I have your name on me.’” After the baby was born, she was told that, “... when the birth mother held Tyler, she had the distinct impression come to her mind that it really was God’s will that Tyler be raised by the adoptive family.” The mother continued: “Three years later my sister had an experience in which my stepfather (her father), appeared to her in a dream. He told her: ‘Tyler is a great spirit and was my good friend in the Spirit World. When he found out his birth mother wanted to give him up for adoption, I asked him if he would come to our family. Tyler agreed.’” (Coming from the Light, pp. 139-40.)

Another witness concerns two very close friends named Roy and Lee. Lee had been killed in Cambodia during the Vietnam War on May 9, 1970, but his body didn’t arrive home until May 20. Roy tells of a series of three dreams he had about Lee between May 14th and May 18th. Roy records: “On the third night, I saw everything as I had the two previous nights, only this time within the light that was coming out of the darkened area was a little girl with blue-green eyes and beautiful, radiant, blond hair. She had curls all around her face and was absolutely the most stunning child I had ever seen. She ran into Lee’s outstretched arms. He picked her up, placed her on his knee and began telling her about me, my wife and our home. Then, with a sudden burst of excitement, I realized he was talking to my little girl. He laughed and joked with her and she giggled and accepted his teasing. I awoke with tears streaming down my cheeks and realized I had seen the spirit of our unborn baby. Lee had given her final instructions before she was born. Cherilee’s birth announcement appeared in the newspaper on May 19, 1970, two days before Lee’s obituary. One of my most cherished possessions is a picture of our daughter, Cherilee, with blond, curly, bouncy hair and shining, laughing, blue-green eyes; the same little girl I saw with my friend Lee as his spirit was leaving the earth and her spirit was preparing to come down.” (Coming from the Light, see pp. 61-65.)

The final story is a very personal one to this author, for it involves one of my granddaughters, Katie, and her future baby brother, Wilson.

Every once and awhile my son and his wife would find little Katie (their first child) playing in her bedroom in the middle of the night. Upon asking her why she was not in bed asleep, Katie said that she was playing with her brother, Will.

Being a little confused, my son asked Katie what she was talking about. She said that Jesus must live in the wall because Will said that he is with Jesus, and Will comes through the wall at night to play with her. This is an incident that occurred more than once with Katie, my son indicated.

On one of those nights, Katie said that Will told her to tell her father and mother to hurry up because he was ready to come and play with her. It was shortly after this that Katie’s mother became pregnant with a son who was to be named Wilson.

What is particularly interesting about this story is that little Wilson was not little at all when he came to play with Katie. He appeared to her as a full grown spirit.

Roy Mills bears witnesses of this preparation in his book as he tells of his standing in the presence of the Father and receiving his life’s mission. Of this he writes: “Of all my heavenly memories, receiving my mission from God is the one I cherish most.... Each of us has reviewed our future earthly life with the One who planned it, and all of us have received an important mission that was given with love from God, Himself.” (The Soul’s Remembrance, p. 142.) Brother Mills has written about returning home to heaven, from where he came, and the fact that he was taught before coming to earth.

Our Father Which Art in Heaven
Many have testified through personal experience that we all lived with a loving Heavenly Father and His Son before coming to this earth. It seems incredible that so many will sing hymns telling of their longing to “return” home to God, while, at the same time, not believing they were once there. How can we be homesick for a home we never knew? Even Plato, one of the great Greek philosophers and teachers, felt that the irresistible longing for the next life that many feel is a positive indication that man existed before this mortality. When Jesus taught us how to pray, perhaps there was a good reason why He said we should pray in this manner: “OUR Father which art in heaven...” (Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2.) Can it be more clear?

I have no doubt that those who enjoy the sweet whisperings of the Spirit, and are sensitive to that still small voice, recognize the truth of what has just gone before.