Enlightenment and the Kingdom of God

“The kingdom of God comes not with outward show. It comes through the gentleness of the inspiration of His word, through the inward working of His Spirit, the fellowship of the soul with Him who is its life. […] He does not approve of any self-satisfied endeavor to display superior goodness. He desires that their souls shall be imbued with the principles of heaven; then, as they come in contact with the world, they will reveal the light that is in them. Their steadfast fidelity in every act of life will be a means of illumination. Wealth or high position, costly equipment, architecture or furnishings, are not essential to the advancement of the work of God; neither are achievements that win applause from men and administer to vanity. Worldly display, however imposing, is of no value in God’s sight. Above the seen and temporal, He values the unseen and eternal.”

Ellen G. White: The Ministry of Healing, 1905, Chapter 2.

Light is essentially associated with life, but also is a symbol for enlightenment (the word already contains the very word) or an illumination (also something which already has the image of a bright light inside) of the mind. God’s word written down in the Bible can lead to such an enlightenment, if we reflect deeply on the Bible’s philosophical core. And also meditation about our own lives helps us gaining such an enlightenment. Or we might go out into nature (here, nature is meant in the sense of environment) and reflect on the things in nature to broaden our mind: If we carefully observe the universe and live in harmony with our environment, we will step by step become enlightened. Thus, we reflect on nature, and by doing so, we discover the miracles, we see the wonder of the Creation, we start to clean our mind by taking others into consideration, so we realize the divine step by step and imitate God, such as Enoch imitated Him which led him to walk with God. We have to be aware that we are too small in this big universe, so we cannot be the highest measurement, God’s force is much stronger than ours.

So it makes no difference if we read in the Bible and philosophize about the deep meaning or go outside into nature and reflect upon nature, since nature is created by God, so both leads to deeper understandings. We have to realize that we are part of our environment, so we cannot only always focus on ourselves, even the Yogacara make clear that everything is in interrelation and this awareness leads us to enlightenment, when we give up attachment and see things as they really are: the worldly is not everlasting, it changes all the time, it is not worthy to be attached to. So enlightenment is connected to relation. The relation is comprehended through reflection (which leads to purification).

So the enlightened ones will bring their light to others out of their own conviction, they will demand others to reflect as well. But Ellen White goes further and pours the Kingdom of God motive inside. At first, I want to clarify once again, for whom is the kingdom of God? “The kingdom of heaven is for the poor and common people, not the mighty and wealthy. It is addressed to those who live righteous and behave merciful, whether they are highly educated or not”. [Timo Schmitz: A heaven for the privileged, for the poor or for everyone? (29 September 2022). In: Timo Schmitz: Deep In the Ocean Is a Hidden Treasure. Manderscheid: Timo Schmitz, 2023, p. 98]. And here, we see the very connection. At first, philosophy is a service for God [Timo Schmitz: Philosophy is a pious service for God (14 November 2022). In: Schmitz, 2023: 200 ff.]; second, this philosophical service for God as a work for God is not conducted to one specific God (unlike White who promotes the Christian God and Jesus as the Christ), but for a universal God, it is the God of the philosophers. And so the promised Kingdom of God is not something which ought to be understood in a literal way, but is just a symbol within the Bible which wants to be comprehended. But to be able to comprehend it, we have to conduct reflections and enlighten our mind, we have to have a steadfast fidelity and an unbreakable sense for doubt at the same time. Material wealth does not lead us anywhere, but living a virtuous life is the very key to improve oneself and as such to receive deeper insights.

Finally, it seems that we can be assured that there is an after-life. There are many reports by people who had near-death experiences who explained that when they left their body, they felt a kind of state of joy and bliss, where nothing bothered them, they were bathed in love. (Though the Seventh Day Adventists do not believe this to be true, but rather see it as an illusion by Satan [cp. Mark Finley & Steven Mosley: Bright Lights – The Real Truth About Life After Death. Boise (Idaho): Pacific Press Publ. Ass., 1994.], something on which I do not agree.) And I think that God is love, so they indeed feel the divine presence and it seems that we are really going home to our Creator or to a place of joy and bliss, so we should not think of an exclusive heaven or a specific place, rather it is a kind of state which is too abstract and too difficult to grasp for us, but those who made an experience with this kind of state were changed in this world, they had a completely different attitude towards life: Many were not afraid of death anymore, but also saw life as a blessing, and so they were in peace with both, the immanent life on the one hand and the life to come in a world which transcends our (i.e. those who did not make that kind of experience) understanding.

Disclaimer: Please do not harm yourself! If you are in crisis or you think you may have an emergency, call your doctor or an ambulance immediately. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, call your local emergency line immediately to talk to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area at any time.

Timo Schmitz, 21 February 2023


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