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by Mark Towfiq
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The Promulgation of Universal Peace
Pages 244-247

5 August 1912
Talk at Dublin Inn
Dublin, New Hampshire
Notes by Howard MacNutt

The people of Christianity have clung to literal interpretation of the statement in the Gospel that Christ came from heaven. The Jews, likewise, at the time of His manifestation held to outward and visible expectation of the fulfillment of the prophecies. They said, "The Messiah shall appear from heaven. This man came from Nazareth; we know his house; we know his parents and people. It is only hearsay that he descended from heaven; this cannot be proved."


The text of the Gospel states that He came from heaven although physically born of the mother. The meaning is that the divine reality of Christ was from heaven, but the body was born of Mary. Therefore, He came according to the prophecies of the Holy Book and, likewise, according to natural law--His reality from heaven, His body earthly. As He came before, so must He come this time in the same way. But some arise with objections, saying, "We must have literal proof of this through the senses."


The reality of Christ was always in heaven and will always be. This is the intention of the text of the Gospel. For while Jesus Christ walked upon the earth, He said, "The Son of Man is in heaven." Therefore, holding to literal interpretation and visible fulfillment of the text of the Holy Books is simply imitation of ancestral forms and beliefs; for when we perceive the reality of Christ, these texts and statements become clear and perfectly reconcilable with each other. Unless we perceive reality, we cannot understand the meanings of the Holy Books, for these meanings are symbolical and spiritual--such as, for instance, the raising of Lazarus, which has spiritual interpretation. We must first establish the fact that the power of God is infinite, unlimited, and that it is within that power to accomplish anything.


Second, we must understand the interpretation of Christ's words concerning the dead. A certain disciple came to Christ and asked permission to go and bury his father. He answered, "Let the dead bury their dead." Therefore, Christ designated as dead some who were still living--that is, let the living dead, the spiritually dead, bury your father. They were dead because they were not believers in Christ. Although physically alive, they were dead spiritually. This is the meaning of Christ's words, "That which is born of flesh is flesh; and that which is born of Spirit is spirit." He meant that those who were simply born of the human body were dead spiritually, while those quickened by the breaths of the Holy Spirit were living and eternally alive. These are the interpretations of Christ Himself. Reflect upon them, and the meanings of the Holy Books will become clear as the sun at midday.


The Holy Books have their special terminologies which must be known and understood. Physicians have their own peculiar terms; architects, philosophers have their characteristic expressions; poets have their phrases; and scientists, their nomenclature. In the scripture we read that Zion is dancing. It is evident that this has other than literal interpretation. The meaning is that the people of Zion shall rejoice. The Jews said Christ was not the Messiah but Antichrist, because one of the signs of the Messiah's coming was the dancing of Mount Zion, which had not yet come to pass. In reality, when Christ appeared, not only Mount Zion but all Palestine danced and rejoiced. Again in scriptures it is said, "The trees of the field shall clap their hands." This is symbolical. There are terms and expressions of usage in every language which cannot be taken literally. For instance, in oriental countries it is customary to say, "When my friend entered the house, the doors and walls began to sing and dance." In Persia they say, "Get at the head," meaning engage in the matter according to its own terms and usages. All these have other and inner meanings.


You have asked concerning approval of Christian Science treatment and healing. Spirit has influence; prayer has spiritual effect. Therefore, we pray, "O God! Heal this sick one!" Perchance God will answer. Does it matter who prays? God will answer the prayer of every servant if that prayer is urgent. His mercy is vast, illimitable. He answers the prayers of all His servants. He answers the prayer of this plant. The plant prays potentially, "O God! Send me rain!" God answers the prayer, and the plant grows. God will answer anyone. He answers prayers potentially. Before we were born into this world did we not pray, "O God! Give me a mother; give me two fountains of bright milk; purify the air for my breathing; grant me rest and comfort; prepare food for my sustenance and living"? Did we not pray potentially for these needed blessings before we were created? When we came into this world, did we not find our prayers answered? Did we not find mother, father, food, light, home and every other necessity and blessing, although we did not actually ask for them? Therefore, it is natural that God will give to us when we ask Him. His mercy is all-encircling.


But we ask for things which the divine wisdom does not desire for us, and there is no answer to our prayer. His wisdom does not sanction what we wish. We pray, "O God! Make me wealthy!" If this prayer were universally answered, human affairs would be at a standstill. There would be none left to work in the streets, none to till the soil, none to build, none to run the trains. Therefore, it is evident that it would not be well for us if all prayers were answered. The affairs of the world would be interfered with, energies crippled and progress hindered. But whatever we ask for which is in accord with divine wisdom, God will answer. Assuredly!


For instance, a very feeble patient may ask the doctor to give him food which would be positively dangerous to his life and condition. He may beg for roast meat. The doctor is kind and wise. He knows it would be dangerous to his patient so he refuses to allow it. The doctor is merciful; the patient, ignorant. Through the doctor's kindness the patient recovers; his life is saved. Yet the patient may cry out that the doctor is unkind, not good, because he refuses to answer his pleading.


God is merciful. In His mercy He answers the prayers of all His servants when according to His supreme wisdom it is necessary.