In the last number, we saw how George Ritchie had been granted a “glimpse behind the curtain.” His experience was in 1943, but he had kept the details very close to his chest for many years, finally writing his book in 1978. It was becoming more commonplace at that time to read stories of those who had experienced a “close encounter” with death. Ritchie became a fully qualified medical practitioner, and had also heard tales of others who’d been that same way, even though he never let on about his own experience.
In 1973 a woman by the name of Betty Eadie experienced a “close encounter”, which was fantastically real, beautiful, and meaningful. She was silent about it for some years, like Ritchie, but in 1992 published her account, entitled “Embraced by the Light.” Dr Raymond Moody, who’d made a study of “Near Death Experiences” (NDEs) spoke of Betty Eadie’s case as “the most profound and complete near-death experience ever.” It is with this in mind that we open the pages of her book, and extract portions that have a profound effect on our theme of pre-existence.
Betty is the daughter of a Sioux Indian mother, and she has eight children. The account of her death relates back to November 1973 when she was 31 years of age, and in hospital awaiting a hysterectomy operation. After actually dying, the first thing that was revealed to her concerned her own family. She saw them back at home, and relates her feelings thus –
“As I watched them individually, a preview of sorts ran through my mind about them, enabling me to see ahead into each of their lives. I came to know that each of my children was on earth for their own experiences, that although I had thought of them as “mine”, I had been mistaken. They were individual spirits, like myself, with an intelligence that was developed before their lives on earth. Each one had their own free will to live their life as they chose. I knew that this free will should not be denied them. They had only been placed in my care. I knew that my children had their own life agendas and that when they had completed them, they too would end their stay on earth.”
How important a revelation. How important for each one of us, to know that our children are only “lent” for a season, with a heavy burden of responsibility placed on our shoulders to present them back to the Lord by the time they have reached the age of discretion, and never to look upon them as our POSSESSIONS. The fact that all of us were independent freely created spirits before coming to this earth goes to reinforce our individuality, and realise that we belong ONLY to God as Creator. All the relationships that obtain on earth in families should go to enhance this truth, and help us to relate to God as Father. As Jesus said to His disciples, “Call no man your father upon the earth, for One is your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt.23:9) We are not advocating that children should cease calling their parents Mummy and Daddy, but rather understanding the tenor of what the Lord meant by these words.
The next point that Betty makes concerns her meeting with the Lord Jesus, and in her words,
“I knew that I had known Him from the beginning, from long before my earth life, because my spirit REMEMBERED Him.”
And then she said,
“Things were coming back to me from long before my life on earth, things that had been purposely blocked from me by a “veil” of forgetfulness at my birth.”
She went on to say how she learned that many different situations had been allowed to develop on earth, even different religions, and that, as she put it,
“There IS a fullness of the gospel, but most people will not attain it here. In order to grasp this truth, we need to listen to the Spirit and let go of our egos.”
On contemplating the purpose of life on earth, she was taken back to the creation and witnessed a replay! This is how she described it.
“I REMEMBERED the creation of the earth. I actually experienced it as if it were being re-enacted before my eyes. This was important. Jesus wanted me to internalise this knowledge. He wanted me to know how I felt when the creation occurred. And the only way to do that was for me to view it again and FEEL what I had felt before. 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 created us, that we were His very own children.”
The next lesson was about pre-mortal planning.
“Each spirit who was to come to earth assisted in planning the conditions on earth, including the laws of mortality which would govern us. These included the laws of physics as we know them, the limitations of our bodies, and spiritual powers that we would be able to access.”
Further to this thought was the following –
“I was told by the Saviour that the spirit creation could be compared to one of our photographic prints; the spirit creation would be like a sharp, brilliant print, and the earth would be like its dark negative. This earth is only a shadow of the beauty and glory of its spirit creation, but it is what we needed for our growth. It was important that I understand that we all assisted in creating our conditions here.”
“I saw that in the pre-mortal world we knew about and even chose our missions in life. I understood that our stations in life are based upon the objectives of those missions. Through divine knowledge we knew what many of our tests and experiences would be, and we prepared accordingly.”
Remember how we spoke about Judas Iscariot, and how ill-advised he was in asking to come to the earth at that time and for the purpose he so strongly demanded. Truly “it would have been better for him had he not been born”. [i.e. born at that time etc.] Betty continued on this theme, –
“God made the promise that He wouldn’t intervene in our lives UNLESS WE ASKED HIM. And then through His omniscient knowledge He would help us attain our righteous desires. We were grateful for this ability to express our free will and to exercise its power. This would allow each of us to obtain great joy or to choose that which will bring us sadness. The choice would be ours through our decisions.”
In returning to the theme of creation she said that
“upon receiving the plan of creation, we sang in rejoicing and were filled with God’s love.”
Doesn’t this remind us of the verse in Job 38:7 quoted before, about the creation of the earth, “when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Of great value and instruction is what Betty had to say next.
“In the spirit world no one is made to feel uncomfortable by being forced to do or accept things for which they are not prepared. Patience is a natural attribute there. I’ll never forget the Lord’s sense of humour, which was as delightful and quick as any here – far more so. Nobody could out-do His humour. He is filled with perfect happiness, perfect goodwill. There is a softness and grace in His presence, and I had no doubt that He is a perfect man. I KNEW Him, His spirit, His feelings, Hisconcern for me. I felt His kinship with me, and I knew that we were family. I felt that His relationship to me was both like a father and an older brother. He was close to me, but there was also an element of authority. He was tender and good natured, but also responsible. I knew with a sure knowledge that He would never misuse His authority, that He would never even desire to do so.”
Another important passage, later in the book, concerns our earth life. She writes as follows:-
“I was told that our prayers can benefit both spiritual beings as well as persons on the earth, if there is reason to fear for a departed person’s spirit, if there is reason to believe their transition may be difficult or unwanted, we can pray for them and enlist spiritual help. They [i.e. her ministering angels] told me that it is important for us to acquire knowledge of the spirit while we are in the flesh. The more knowledge we acquire here, the further and faster we will progress there. Because of lack of knowledge or belief, some spirits are virtual prisoners of this earth. Some who die as atheists, or those who have bonded to the world through greed, bodily appetites, or other earthly commitments find it difficult to move on, and they become earth-bound. They often lack the faith and power to reach for, or in some cases even to recognise, energy and light that pulls us toward God.
These spirits stay on the earth until they learn to accept the greater power around them and let go of the world. When I was in the black mass before moving towards the light, I felt the presence of such lingering spirits. They reside there as long as they want to in its love and warmth, accepting its healing influence, but eventually they learn to move on to accept the greater warmth and security of God. Of all knowledge, however, there is none more essential than knowing Jesus Christ. I was told that He is the door through which we will ALL return. He is the only door through which we CAN return. Whether we learn of Jesus Christ here or while in the spirit, we must eventually accept Him and surrender to His love.”
Near the end of her story, Betty had this to say,
“A time was established for each of us to complete our earthly education. Some spirits would come only to be born, to give experience to others and then pass quickly out of this world. Some would live to an old age to complete their goals and benefit others by allowing them opportunities to serve. Some would come to be our leaders or followers, our soldiers, or our rich or poor, and the purpose for their coming would be to provide situations and relationships that would allow us to learn to love. All who would be led into our paths would lead us to our ultimate achievement. We were to be tested under challenging conditions to see how we would live the most important commandment of all – to love one another.”
“During this view of the pre-mortal existence I was impressed by the beauty and glory of each spirit. I knew that I had been there before, that each of us had, and that we had been filled with light and beauty. Then the thought came to me, referring to us all, ‘If you could see yourself before you were born, you would be amazed at your intelligence and glory. Birth is a sleep and a forgetting.'”