Michael & What Happens
BY JOHN H. ROTH
There’s a continuing thread among new Michael students about life
after death, and specifically the Christian teachings about Heaven and Hell.
This pops up on mailing lists and in forums with some frequency. First, I’m
going to talk about some of the history of Christianity behind the notion of
Heaven and Hell that I suspect most parishioners don’t know, and then I’m going
to talk about what Michael has to say about life after death.
Much of this first part is from books and talks by Bart Ehrman. Professor Ehrman
takes the view that Jesus was, first and foremost, an apocalyptic preacher. That
is, that he had a firm belief, which he passed on to his followers, that God was
going to come down in the near future and throw the bastards out, thus ushering
in a reign of goodness, peace and plenty. This was to take place in his
lifetime. There are, of course, numerous other views of the primary thrust of
Jesus’ teachings. J.D. Crossan, for example, teaches that Jesus was primarily
interested in social justice as applied to the situation in his specific time
and place, which is a continuation of the primary interest of the Jewish
Paul’s seven authentic letters echo the same theme: the Apocalypse is to come in
his (or at least his listeners’) lifetime.
To take a slight digression: there is no way of knowing whether Jesus in fact
taught anything about an apocalypse, or if he did, whether he thought it
mattered. The earliest writings we have are Paul’s seven authentic letters,
written in the 50s. The earliest of the Gospels was written in the mid 70s, 35
years after the Crucifixion and approximately 10 years after Paul probably died.
The notion of an apocalypse entered Jewish thought in the 2nd or 3rd century
BCE, and the only Old Testament book that’s in the least apocalyptic is Daniel,
written in the 2nd century BCE and claiming to be from the 6th century BCE.
Jesus may have taught about an apocalypse as a simple continuation of the Jewish
religious beliefs of his time, or he may have ignored the entire thing and
focused on the current social and political situation, leaving it to his
followers to add it to the teachings because that was what they were familiar
with. Unless we get another treasure trove of material from the late 1st
century, we’re unlikely to ever know.
The basic fact is that the Apocalypse didn’t come. By the end of the first
century, it was becoming more and more obvious that it wasn’t coming, at least
in the ways that the apostles and other preachers had said. This was a crisis
that early Christians had to solve if their religion was going to have any
I need to make a slight digression here. Up until about a third of the way into
the 20th century people believed that Eusebius’ “Ecclesiastical History” was
accurate in saying that orthodox Christianity was the majority view that came
via apostolic succession directly from Jesus and hence from God. This got really
shaken by the discoveries at Nag Hammadi. The current, although by no means
universal, view is that there were many different regional versions of
Christianity, many of which may not have had any conception of an Apocalypse.
Proto-orthodox and later orthodox Christianity was probably a lineal descendent
of Paul’s thinking and was the version current in the city of Rome. It won out
because of Rome’s position as the capital of the empire, with the financial and
organizational resources that implied.
This view of Church history says that the way of dealing with the failure of the
Apocalypse to arrive on schedule may have only be a concern of the Roman branch
of early Christianity, and not to any of the other branches. Consequently the
way of dealing with it by moving the Vindication of the Faithful from this world
to the next was also peculiar to the Roman proto-orthodox branch.
Heaven and Hell as we think of them today weren’t part of Greco-Roman mythology.
The Greeks and Romans certainly had a notion of an afterlife, where the
Underworld was ruled by Hades and Persephone in Greek mythology and Pluto in
Roman mythology. The Elysian Fields and various journeys to the Underworld
certainly did get a bit of press, but that was less of an established theology
and more of the kind of travelogue we’re familiar with in Dante’s Inferno.
Jewish thought didn’t have any real conception of an afterlife until fairly
late, at least according to most of the Old Testament.
Egyptian thought was a lot more florid, with the Book of the Dead and the
judgement by Ma’at. However, the upshot of the judgement was that a soul that
was found wanting was simply destroyed, eaten by one of the Egyptian’s crocodile
gods. There was no eternal punishment, there was simply non-existance.
By the second century CE in the Roman church, the notion became that Vindication
was for the afterlife, where the good would live a blessed life in the presence
of God, and the damned would live in eternal torment. The first part, of course,
is a simple continuation of the Elysian Fields and Egyptian thought about what
the just and good would experience after they’d passed the judgement of Ma’at.
Where the notion of Hell comes from really isn’t that clear, although it
certainly does show up in a large number of 2nd century writings. Then as now,
it seems like the writers had much clearer ideas of what they’d like to happen
to their enemies than they had of the eternal rewards.
Effectively, the focus of proto-orthodox Roman Christian teachings changed from
the radical egalitarianism of Jesus and Paul to attempts to save the soul so
that it could enter Heaven in the afterlife. The things of this world were seen
as impermanent and unimportant. Jesus and Paul would have been astonished at
treating women as anything other than full equals in spiritual, religious and
community matters; by the second century proto-orthodox thought had shifted back
to the Greco-Roman practice of male dominance, probably in a “this doesn’t
matter, only Heaven matters. Don’t sweat it” frame.
What does Michael have to say about
what happens after death?
Michael’s description of the afterlife more or less follows logically from their
description of Essence. Essence, in the Michael teachings, is continuously
resident on the Astral plane; it does not “descend” to the Physical Plane. What
it does is to split off or specialize a part of itself to follow a particular
body for its entire life, from before birth to after death. This specialized bit
unfortunately doesn’t seem to have a specific term, which contributes to making
it hard to talk about. This piece is also programmed with the overleaves, as
well as other things such as the life task.
When Essence creates it, it has access to a repository of experience that’s been
gained in “prior” lifetimes on the Physical plane. This is usually called the
Soul, although that term isn’t much used because it conflicts with the way the
term is used in other spiritual teachings. This repository includes the results
of skills learned, interpersonal monads, karmic ribbons and soul age levels
among other things.
There are a number of ways of looking at this. What it comes down to, though, is
that this part of Essence is completely focused on the physical body, and is
paying no attention to anything it doesn’t need for the life it’s living. When
the body dies, it’s quite possible that Essence will stop animating it right
away. That doesn’t eliminate what’s happened. It’s more like a book that’s been
written and completed: Esssence is no longer involved in creating it, but it’s
still sitting there, ready to be looked at whenever it’s needed.
However, if the story that Essence was telling itself included a notion of an
afterlife, it will continue creating that story for a while.
The first thing many, although by no means all, people do after death is stick
around for a while to attend the funeral and see what the bereaved actually
thought about them. There are other reasons for sticking around as well, some of
which result in ghosts.
If the person had strong opinions about the afterlife, those will manifest at
this time. Someone with strong Christian beliefs will see Jesus or St. Peter and
will probably experience their conception of Heaven (most people don’t believe
they’re going to Hell) until they get bored with singing the same old hymns of
praise for ever and ever.
This isn’t just Heaven and Hell. One channeling I heard was that the departed
was sitting in an easy chair, surrounded by his collection of National
Geographic magazines and going through them. Jane Roberts wrote The Afterdeath
Journal of an American Philosopher about William James’ experience after he
died. He wanted to write another book.
Eventually, the story it’s telling itself gets terminally boring, and it quits.
Essence quits energizing the piece that was following the lifetime, and begins
an extremely detailed review of the life, right down to the level of
experiencing the death throes of every ant that got stepped on. What it wants to
keep gets added to the working repository of life experience (the Soul) that’s
available for other lifetimes on the Physical plane.
There are a couple of take-homes. One is that the entire structure of Heaven and
Hell and most of the rest of Christian theology was created to avoid problems
with having an Apocalyptic religion right in the middle of the Roman Empire’s
seat of power. It’s got everything to do with continuing the organizational
structure of the Church, and has no other validity.
The other take-home is that the standard model of reincarnation is a
simplification of what happens, and in many ways an oversimplification. The bit
of Essence that is living a particular lifetime is usually discarded after the
lifetime is over. Essence has no more use for that structure; it will create a
new one for each lifetime.
Other things that various channels and psychics have said about the afterlife
and what happens between lives are actually Essence’s normal activity on the
Astral plane which continues whether or not Essence is currently running any
lifetimes on the Physical plane. This is particularly true of what Michael
Newton (no relationship to our Michael) has said in his four books of hypnotic
regressions to the ‘between life’ state.
The structure Essence uses for the lifetime doesn’t actually vanish; it’s
sitting somewhere that some psychics can access. It’s just not plugged into an
energy source. Essence can reuse one for another lifetime if it wants, it simply
doesn’t as a normal practice. I suspect that’s what’s happened with some of the
cases of “reincarnation” in India. That’s also what happened with Jane Robert’s
“Seth” personality -- it had been used to live a lifetime in Medieval Italy, and
Seth reactivated it with changes that let Jane use it.
John Roth is a sixth level
old scholar with scholar casting, a goal of growth, in the observation mode
sliding to caution, and an idealist sliding to skeptic on occasion. He's
in the emotional part of intellectual center with a chief feature of
stubbornness. He's a wild card in the third entity of the first cadre of the
14th energy ring (which is the same ring most of the rest of us are in.)
Interestingly, John walked-in during the late 70's; before that the essence
running his body was a fourth level old king with a goal of discrimination.
On a more mundane level, John is a computer programmer (currently unemployed)
and an astrologer. He got interested in Michael during the early '80s, and gets
most of his Michael fixes through JP van Hulle's group.
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