Two Famous Visions of
A Heavenly City

dreamingArt: courtesy Maxfield Parrish

Rebecca Springer at the beginning of the nineteen hundreds recorded the following experiences when she got to visit Heaven.


“….And so we talked until twilight fell. Often the question has been asked whether there was night there. Emphatically no! What we call day was full of glorious radiance, a roseate golden light which was everywhere. There is no language known to mortals that can describe this marvelous glory. It flooded the sky. After a period much longer than our longest earthly day, this glory mellowed and softened until it became a glowing twilight full of peace. The children ceased their playing beneath the trees, the little birds nestled among the vines, and all who had been busy in various ways throughout the day sought rest and quiet. But there was no darkness, no dusky shadows–only a restful softening of the glory.

Visiting the lake and a view of the Heavenly City

“…I caught my breath, then stopped abruptly and covered my face with my hands to shield my eyes from the glorified scene. I looked upon it as one but half awakened. Before us spread a lake as smooth as glass, but flooded with golden glory caught from the very heavens that made it look like a sea of molten gold. The blossom and fruit-bearing trees grew to its very border. Far, far away across its shining waters arose the domes and spires of what seemed to be a mighty city. Many people were resting upon its flowery banks, and on the surface of the water were boats of wonderful structure, filled with happy souls and propelled by unseen powers.

riveroflifeArt: courtesy The Family International

Above we saw a band of singing cherubs, floating high overhead. “Glory and honor!” sang the child voices. “Dominion and power!” caught up and answered the voices of the multitudes below, “be unto Him who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb forever!”
We stood upon the margin of the lake; my cheeks were tear-bedewed, and my eyes were dim with emotion. I felt weak as a little child, but, oh, what rapture, what joy unspeakable filled and overmastered me! Was I dreaming? Or was it indeed but another phase of the immortal life?
As we watched, groups of children played around in joyous freedom and there were happy shouts of laughter that echoed over the lake. No fear of harm or danger; no dread of ill, or anxiety lest a mishap occur–security and joy and peace! “This is a blessed life,” I said as we stood watching the sports of the happy children.

In the Heavenly City, but without Churches

I was roused from my thoughts by the boat’s touching the marble terrace, and found my brother already standing and waiting to assist me to the shore. Passing up a slight upward slope, we found ourselves in a broad street that led into the center of the city. The streets I found were all very broad and smooth, and paved with marble and precious stones of every kind. Though they were thronged with people intent on various duties, not an atom of debris, nor even dust, was visible anywhere. There seemed to be vast business houses of many kinds, though I saw nothing resembling our large mercantile establishments. There were many colleges and schools; many book and music stores and publishing houses; several large manufactories where, I learned, were spun the fine silken threads of manifold colors which were so extensively used in the weaving of the draperies I have already mentioned. There were art rooms, picture galleries, libraries, many lecture halls and vast auditoriums.
But I saw no churches of any kind. At first this somewhat confused me, until I remembered that there are no creeds in Heaven, but that all worship together in harmony and love–the children of one and the same loving Father. “Ah,” I thought, “what a pity that that fact, if no other in the great economy of Heaven, could not be proclaimed to the inhabitants of Earth! How it would do away with the petty contentions, jealousies and rivalries of the church militant! No creeds in Heaven! No controverted points of doctrine! No charges of heresy brought by one professed Christian against another. No building up of one denomination upon the ruins or downfall of a different sect! But one great universal brotherhood whose head is Christ, and whose cornerstone is love.”
I thought of the day we had listened in the great auditorium at home to the divine address of our beloved Master; of the bowed heads and uplifted voices of that vast multitude as every voice joined in the glorious anthem, “Crown Him Lord of all,” and I could have wept to think of the faces that must some day be bowed in shame when they remember how often they have in mortal life said to a brother Christian, “Stand aside; I am holier than thou!”
We found no dwelling houses anywhere in the midst of the city, until we came to the suburbs. Here they stood in great magnificence and splendor. But one pleasing fact was that every home had its large yard, full of trees and flowers and pleasant walks; indeed, it was everywhere, outside of the business center of the town, like one vast park dotted with lovely houses.

Heavenly Secrets not to be disclosed!

templeThere was much that charmed, much that surprised me in this great city, OF WHICH I MAY NOT FULLY SPEAK, but which I can never forget.
We found in one place a very large park, with walks, drives, fountains, miniature lakes and shaded seats, but no dwellings nor buildings of any kind, except an immense circular open temple capable of seating many hundred; and where, my brother told me, a seraph choir assembled at a certain hour daily to render the oratorios written by the great musical composers of Earth and Heaven. It had just departed, and the crowd who had enjoyed its divine music yet lingered as though loath to leave a spot so hallowed.


A Famous Near-Death Vision of Heaven.

George Ritchie died in 1943 in a Texan military hospital. After meeting a Being of light, who turned out to be Jesus, he was shown his life in just a few seconds of time. Then Jesus took him on a spirit-trip through the spiritual regions of this Earth, where he saw millions of the lost dead continuing on in an endless life in spiritual form only, with no way to hide their private thoughts and intentions to each other! After that Jesus took him toward “the City”…

“…Now however, we seemed to have left the earth behind. I could no longer see it. Instead we appeared to be in an immense void, except that I had always thought of that as a frightening word, and this was not. Some unnamable promise seemed to vibrate through that vast emptiness. And then I saw, infinitely far off, far too distant to be visible with any kind of sight I knew of … a city. A glowing seemingly endless city, bright enough to be seen over all the unimaginable distance between. The brightness seemed to shine from the very walls and streets of this place, and from beings which I could now discern moving about within it. In fact, the city and everything in it seemed to be made of light, even as the Figure at my side was made of light.


At this time I had not yet read the Book of Revelation. I could only gape in awe at this faraway spectacle, wondering how bright each building, each inhabitant, must be to be seen over so many light-years of distance.
Could these radiant beings, I wondered amazed, be those who had indeed kept Jesus the focus of their lives? Was I seeing at last ones, who had looked for Him in everything?–Looked so well and so closely that they had been changed into His very likeness? — Even as I asked the question, two of the bright figures seemed to detach themselves from the city and started toward us, hurling themselves across that infinity with the speed of light.
But as fast as they came toward us, we drew away still faster. The distance increased, the vision faded. Even as I cried out with loss, I knew that my imperfect sight could not now sustain more than an instant’s glimpse of this real ultimate heaven. He had shown me all He could; now we were speeding far away.

“Walls closed around us. Walls so narrow and box-like, that it was several seconds before I recognized the little hospital room we had left what seemed a lifetime ago. Jesus still stood beside me, otherwise consciousness could not have sustained the transition from infinite space to the dimensions of this cell-like room.
The glorious city still sparkled and glowed in my thoughts, beckoning, calling. With total indifference I noticed that there was a figure lying beneath the sheet on the bed–which nearly filled the minuscule room.

“But incredibly Jesus was telling me that I belonged somehow with that sheeted form, that His purpose for me involved that lump-like thing as well. I was moving nearer to it. It was filling my field of vision, shutting off the Light. Desperately I cried out to Him not to leave me, to make me ready for that shining city, not to abandon me in this dark and narrow place.

“As in a long-ago half-forgotten story I remembered myself combing the halls and wards of this very hospital, wanting desperately to find the figure on this bed. From that loneliest moment of my existence I had leapt into the most perfect belonging— I had ever known. ‘The Light of Jesus had entered my life and filled it completely, and the idea of being separated from Him was more than I could bear,

“Even as I pleaded I felt consciousness slipping from me. My mind began to blur. — I no longer knew what I was struggling for. My throat was on fire and the weight on my chest was crashing me. I opened my eyes but there was something in front of my face. I groped about the blankets trying to find what was covering me, but moving my arms was like trying to lift lead bars. At last my fingers closed upon each other. With my right hand I touched a circular band with an oval stone on the ring finger of my left hand. Slowly I twisted it round and round, as blackness closed over me…..

(courtesy “Return from Tomorrow” by Psychiatrist Dr. George Ritchie)

George Ritchie’s First Meeting With Jesus! (1943 AD)
Before the Lord took him on the above described trip to Heaven.

At last in despair I sank down on the bed. Or did so mentally: actually my disembodied being made no contact with it. There, right there, was my own shape and substance, yet as distant from me as though we inhabited separate planets. Was this what death was? This separation of one part of a person from the rest of him?
I wasn’t sure when the light in the room began to change; suddenly I was aware that it was brighter, a lot brighter, than it had been. I whirled to look at the night-light on the bedside table. Surely a single 15-watt bulb couldn’t turn out that much light? I stared in astonishment as the brightness increased, coming from nowhere, seeming to shine everywhere at once. All the light bulbs in the ward couldn’t give off that much light. All the bulbs in the world couldn’t! It was impossibly bright: it was like a million welders’ lamps, all blazing at once.
And right in the middle of my amazement came a prosaic thought probably born of some biology lecture back at the university: “I’m glad I don’t have physical eyes at this moment,” I thought. “This light would destroy the retina in a tenth of a second.” No, I corrected myself, not the light. HE!
HE would be too bright to look at. For now I saw that it was not light, but a Man who had entered the room, or rather, a Man made out of light, though this seemed no more possible to my mind than the incredible intensity of the brightness that made up His form.
The instant I perceived Him, a command formed itself in my mind. “Stand up!” The words came from inside me, yet they had an authority my mere thoughts had never had. I got to my feet, and as I did came the stupendous certainty:

Jesusbeard“You are in the presence of the Son of God.” Again, the concept seemed to form itself inside me, but not as thought or speculation. It was a kind of knowing, immediate and complete.
I knew other facts about Him too. One, that this was the most totally male Being I had ever met. If this was the Son of God, then His name was Jesus. But… this was not the Jesus of my Sunday School books. That Jesus was gentle, kind, understanding–and probably a little bit of a weakling. This Person was power itself, older than time and yet more modern than anyone I had ever met.
Above all, with that same mysterious inner certainty, I knew that this Man loved me. Far more even than power, what emanated from this Presence was unconditional love. An astonishing love. A love beyond my wildest imagining. This love knew every unlovable thing about me–the quarrels with my stepmother, my explosive temper, the sex thoughts I could never control, every mean, selfish thought and action since the day I was born–and accepted and loved me just the same.

(Courtesy “Return from Tomorrow by Psychiatrist Dr. George Ritchie)