The Mission of the Seventy (Rabel)
This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Part of Lecture 29 given on March 18, 1976
10:1Now after these things the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself was about to come. 10:2And he said unto them, The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth laborers into his harvest. 10:3Go your ways; behold, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves. 10:4Carry no purse, no wallet, no shoes; and salute no man on the way. 10:5And into whatsoever house ye shall enter, first say, Peace be to this house. 10:6And if a son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon him: but if not, it shall turn to you again. 10:7And in that same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. 10:8And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: 10:9and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 10:10But into whatsoever city ye shall enter, and they receive you not, go out into the streets thereof and say, 10:11Even the dust from your city, that cleaveth to our feet, we wipe off against you: nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh. 10:12I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.10:13Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which were done in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 10:14But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment, than for you. 10:15And thou, Capernaum, shalt thou be exalted unto heaven? thou shalt be brought down unto Hades. 10:16He that heareth you heareth me; and he that rejecteth you rejecteth me; and he that rejecteth me rejecteth him that sent me. 10:17And the seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject unto us in thy name. 10:18And he said unto them, I beheld Satan fallen as lightning from heaven. 10:19Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall in any wise hurt you. 10:20Nevertheless in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. 10:21In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes: yea, Father; for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight. 10:22All things have been delivered unto me of my Father: and no one knoweth who the Son is, save the Father; and who the Father is, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him. 10:23And turning to the disciples, he said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 10:24for I say unto you, that many prophets and kings desired to see the things which ye see, and saw them not; and to hear the things which ye hear, and heard them not.
Another important statement appears on Luke 10:2, "The harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers into the harvest." After this Jesus continues with the repetition of the instructions that he had given to his followers in a prior section of the Gospels. In verse 10:20, "How be it in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
In the statements above Jesus is pointing out two things that we should start changing our way of thinking about. The first one is the importance of large numbers. The other thing is what we should most rejoice about in our life. We shouldn't rejoice too much about something that isn't the right thing to rejoice about.
So, Jesus first says, "the harvest is plenteous but the labourers are few." This is a complete reversal from the subject of the way we ordinarily regard it. We usually regard it this way, "the harvest is meager and there are too many labourers after it.” This is limited human thinking but it is not true, it is the other way around but only spiritual awareness can reveal this. Let's try this way, what is the average human way of thinking about the current world situation and the prospects for the world's future? Isn't it often like this: there is a limited amount of such and such things in the world, in the atmosphere, in the ocean, etc., but there are so many nations and people seeking and fighting together? There are so many who seek the available good and statistics show that there cannot be enough for all, so some must win and some must lose. That train of thinking will eventually culminate in someone, somewhere who has to take this kind of decision, we have to get rid of some of the labourers. In other words, such a view point believes that the harvest is limited and the labourers are too many. This is the old erroneous way of thinking.
Jesus gives us the true picture when he says that the harvest or the availability of all needed good is plenteous; all sufficiency in all things with abundance to spare in the spiritual way. And the labourers are few. There are few people availing themselves as labourers of this omnipresent good that is available. We don't need a larger harvest or a larger crop because it is already there. There is such a thing called omnipresent spiritual substance. What we do need, Jesus indicates, is more persons who know how to work together the harvest already created and share it collectively with one another. There is no shortage of good in God's creation, there is no lack of available good in each person's personal life because God, the good, is omnipresent and his substance is just awaiting one who knows how to harvest it. If it is not harvested it simply remains in the invisible realm of being as pure potential or possibility but for the one who has a willing consciousness and learns how to make contact with it, it yields itself. Substance loves to yield itself and become a tangible, manifested blessing to enrich the life and the world of any who makes contact with it.
Jesus’ words, though, do seem to indicate that at this time, at this moment we must reconcile ourselves with the fact that the labourers are few. This may not be the way we want it, but that is the way it is. This fact very much seems to bother some Truth students. Many of us still are clinging to a tendency to exaggerate the importance of large numbers. We think that large numbers should always be the determining factor and while in some things this may be so, it certainly is not true in all things and it should never be the criteria in spiritual things. Numbers do not count in Spirit, in Spirit there really is only one number that counts and this is number one. That is why the statement, "one with God is the majority” is based on this absolute realization of truth. Spiritual truth is never a matter of quantity but always a matter of quality and in quality it is either, it is true or it is false. Now, either the truth is spiritual substance is everywhere present at all times willing to yield itself in tangible form or it is not true. It matters not how many people believe in it and are manifesting it, "the labourers are few". But is it true or not? It is true that the only important question that you and I need to ask is, "I am doing it?" instead of "how many are doing it." And then the question, "but what about the others?" Remember that in the doing of it you include helping others. You are not doing it just to "get rich and stay rich" but you are doing it to be able to do that which your richness enables you to do in the service of others.
Most schools of thought, most learning situations have as a purpose to tell you more about what they know, to give you more information, to tell you something that you didn't know before so that you could simply "have more information." This is not so with Jesus, many of the things he tells us are not at all designed to add on to our sum total of acquired information but to help to get us to change the way we think about certain matters. Our way of thinking may have sufficed in the past, there may be ways of thinking about various topics as a part of evolution which served a very needful purpose up to a point, but when that point was reached and the level of evolution that was the purpose for that way of thinking about it is fulfilled, very often then there needs to be a revision in the way we think about these things and this confuses people who do not have the proper instruction or do not have the prayer and meditation habit to go along with this. It is very confusing because they rationalize sort of in this way, "I always thought about this in this way and it always gave good results, so that means that I must continue thinking in that way in order to have good results." But unless they are in tune with the light, they don't realize that it is the time for a revision, for some kind of a change in the way of thinking about that particular thing because the old way of thinking which gave good results is not longer valid now. For instance, many of the ancient religions required certain disciplines, certain exercises, certain initiation, certain modes of fasting of body exercises or breathing exercises, some severe practices were advocated to achieve certain result in consciousness and they worked. People got the promises fulfilled but then after that those same things were not enough to accomplish the desired ends that they did in a prior stage of unfoldment, so now they are part of ancient history which may be very interesting, very fascinating, but to try to duplicate those things to try to accomplish the thing that they did back then, on the dimension you are now, will not work. They probably will not achieve in any way what they achieved when that was the proper modus operandi for that dimension.
So, Jesus, working through the Hebrew structure, the Hebrew culture on a location on this planet, was able to instill into race consciousness and bring to the attention of those who were ready for them, certain metaphysical ideas, certain spiritual insights which had never been said or done quite the way he said them and lived them. Foreshadows, previews had been said and done before Jesus but not in quite the perfect, follow-through, immediately applicable manner as he did. So, much of his teaching is designed, not to tell you a bunch of information but to encourage you to start changing your way of thinking, and one of the first ways that most of us change our ways of thinking is not by a complete rejection of the old and a complete adoption of the new but rather altering your points of emphasis, shifting slightly here and there where you are very down in your emphasis rather than just kicking everything out of the window which some people try to do. Some people try to jump right from the ordinary mode of opinions about people right into the divine love of just being enthusiastic about everybody overnight. We can't do it that way unless you are really special, but usually the way we do this is if we begin shifting our opinions, altering our points of emphasis, exchanging one's standards of values or judgments for another then we are able to bend with the curves and with the ascending spirals, but right now Jesus gives us a teaching to help us alter some of our old thinking about this business of the importance of large numbers, the worship of the word, majority. In worldly matters the majority consists of the larger numbers of persons. In spiritual truth, one with God is the majority. It is an omnipresent majority, not a localized, opinionative concept of majority.
If we really want to follow Jesus Christ in the development of perfect consciousness, one of the things we will try to begin changing is some of our thinking about this matter of the importance of large numbers. Some of us must try to stop worshiping the concept of quantities and give supremacy to quality. Laborers in the field are spiritually sowing and reaping. There have always been and maybe always will be numerically few as far as the comparison with numbers go. When the Christians were the minority, they had the integrity and the purity. As soon as they became a majority group, purity and integrity disappeared in general, not in specific cases. There is a race consciousness erroneous belief handed down from generation to generation, that there is safety in numbers. The only safety you and I can ever really have is the safety found in God, in our oneness with God. A person will find that if he is willing as an individual not to be a part of the mob, to live the Truth of Jesus Christ, he will no longer be a part of the large mob, he becomes part of a smaller group.
The quantity of one's co-workers will seem to diminish, but the quality of them increases, and in the long run, this is the only thing which really insures success, individual integrity in oneness with God. God is one, not many. All of your credos begin with the same statement: "There is only one Presence, God." "The Son of God is one, not many." "You and the Father are one, not many." The more numbers you have, the further you go from the number one. Do you remember in the Gospels when Jesus asks the name of the insane man? His reply is, "My name is legion, for we are many." The belief in many, the trust in manyness, is a form of insanity, metaphysical insanity. Knowledge of the true meaning and the true power of oneness is pure sanity, pure realization. "The Father and I are one, but the Father is greater than I." What did Jesus say about a certain gate and a certain path which was wide and broad and loaded with the mob?
In the narrow path, you will not have so many companions, but you will have your right companions, people who belong, where they know where they are going, and this path, Jesus says, leads to life. Of course, there are infinite numbers of souls in existence, individualities and personalities, but each soul is only a different expression of the one Son of God, which is Christ.
When thinking of numbers, large numbers do have importance, but only in a certain realm, on a certain dimension. This is the realm of outer appearances and the comings and goings of material phenomena. There large numbers, and there only, do they have importance. Jesus taught us this in so many places; for instance, how many sheep caused rejoicing in heaven? One, not the remaining ninety-nine, but the one. In the eternal realm of Spirit and Truth, large numbers become meaningless. Now, where does your greatest meaning and importance lie? In the fact that you are a part of a large majority of a crowd? No. Your meaning and your importance lie completely in the fact of you as an individual. Large numbers, though, do not have to necessarily mean a decrease in quality. Ordinarily they do, but not necessarily.
Think of the production in series of the industry. But it does not have to be that way. It often does happen that large numbers are able to come into a higher level of consciousness almost all at the same time. This is a very noticeable and uplifting phenomena which has occurred in race consciousness development. There are eras or cycles in which large numbers of persons do seem to come to greater dimensions of awareness almost at the same time. Many inventions come about this way, where a number of minds evolve to an awareness of a process and are willing to bring it forth. Then there seems to be piracy, but there was not; there was tune-in-acy, which is different. When this has occurred, and it has occurred many times in the observed history of this planet, there is a noticeable increase of laborers in the field of spiritual pioneering, spiritual effort. But these times are comparatively rare; they do happen. One happened very noticeably in the mid 1800's and late l800's. There seems to have come into incarnation then a whole big family of in-tune souls who were responsible for New Thought, which is the respectable way of religion now in most of the world. Right now there is a great increase of interest in metaphysics in our world, which is very obvious. You go now to any bookstore, even the pornographic bookstores, and observe how so many of them have a section for metaphysical books. People are buying them and better, yet, they are understanding and liking them. It is just great. Spiritual healing is no longer a matter for heated, skeptical discussion anymore.
Music - people are only now really understanding the great Wagnerian opera dramas. They are now seeing it not as a big bunch of singers yelling at each other, but they are now discerning that the singers are divine ideas personified and that their (used to be long, boring) monologues to each other are great citations of metaphysical ideas and symbols. The whole thing is just developing into something great: drama, art, science - these are all reflecting a great stirring in man's consciousness, and all signs (and Mr. Fillmore backs me up on this) now point to a new phase of development in the race consciousness, which is accelerating every day and is leading up to something so wonderful that we would simply gasp if we understood. So, I hope I have given both sides about this idea of large numbers. The danger is worshiping or putting your trust in them for their own sakes, but the other side of the coin is "welcome the phenomena" of increased numbers if it is an increase of involvement in something good.
Q. Since you have been in Unity for quite a while, how do you see Unity relating to the large numbers idea? Do you see any negative connotations to that?
A. Yes, the danger is very apparent right now. The danger is in that the more people we attract, the more people we will attract; like attracts like, like begets like. Nothing succeeds like success, but the more people who enter this movement under the influence of attraction, rather than as a result of conscious choice, of a discipline, of a personal soul seeking but merely to be impressed by all those "well-dressed people" who are going into a Unity church. "I must buy a new suit to join them." “because it is the in thing." Here, you might begin attracting more people through the appearance, but not because they are ready to listen or understand what you are offering. They are only ready to join for the wrong motivation.
One of the occult teachings states that in a dimension such as ours, it is true that the number of persons in the right on any given thing will tend to increase as more and more people come into the light and develop greater spiritual awareness, they will join that they will join that seeing-the-light numbers; but when the number reaches what we now call majority, in proportion to all the occupants of that particular dimension, then a new dimension is immediately attained, or entered into. But, once "again, the one who is in the light is in the minority. You see, right "after the number becomes literal majority, a new dimension becomes the environment for those people who had attained that, in which they are once again a minority, or they become the minority. There is always that business of opportunity for choice. We cannot predict what a soul is going to do, but in a general way, their theory is that this is what happens.
So that what Jesus says, the harvest is plenteous, the laborers are few, seems to be a constant in every truth-seekers' situation; and the sooner we can reconcile ourselves to this and not let it upset us, the happier and more peaceful we will be in our further efforts.
In the Gospel-text, we are told that the returning seventy at first rejoiced because the devils were subject to their power; first Jesus agrees with them that the devils are subject to them, but He tells them that they should be rejoicing about something else instead of that, that they should rejoice that their names are written in heaven. This has direct application, I think, to us here today. We should ask ourselves, "What do I intend to do with the great increase of power which will be mine as I grow and develop to greater spiritual awareness?" Mr. Fillmore often says in his book, “Jesus Christ Heals,” when you do this more power will be added to you. We must ask ourselves, "What do I do with this power?" Then from this, "What do I think is the thing which is going to contribute most to my joy in life, to my happiness?
Is it because I think that because I receive this increase in power that the time will come when I might be able to get my own way all the time? I might be able, then, to take care of the opposition of this power. I might be able to put down with it. On its very highest level, I will be able to make the devil subject to me, but we very often call anyone who is not in agreement with my current intent or opinion. Boy, If get enough power, I can subject them. Wow! Rejoice!
We plan to put down the opposition with this power we receive, and do we think that my day of happiness will begin when I can make all trouble and difficulty go away and stop bothering me? Well, the seventy thought so. They thought, "We've got it made! Even the devils are subject unto us." "And the seventy returned with joy, saying 'Lord, even the devils are subject unto us in thy name.’”
Now, up to a point Jesus agreed with this; and you and I can agree up to a point about this way of thinking. It is true that we shall get the upper hand over most of the negativeness and error which often has plagued us. We will gain more of an upper hand over this, and we shall continue to keep this upper hand and make good use of it. So far, so good. But great as this is, there is something even greater that we should learn to rejoice about, and Jesus symbolically states it thus: "But rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Your name, as it is written in heaven, simply means that you, as an individual, are completely known to and acknowledged by all the powers of good in all the realms above this one. Your existence, your individuality, is not a secret to any of the higher spiritual forces, or even entities in the higher realms of being.
You are known, your identity is acknowledged, and - I do not want to scare you - but you are being observed. What you do is very important to more beings than you have any inklings of, and what happens to you is very important to the higher powers of total being. Now, these higher powers cannot tamper with you, though; they cannot inflict their will upon you or cause your choices. They must leave you free, you see; but in your freedom, what you do, the choices you make, the consequences of your choices, are very important to these higher forces. Jesus does not name these higher forces. He just says "your names are written in heaven, so be very joyful about this.”
You know the old saying “somebody cares” is true, always. Even though someone in your family may not care, someone in your cosmic family cares very much, loves you extremely, and is always, always aware of everything about you. We are members of the body of Christ, and Christ is more than just the sum total of our membership. Jesus said, "I have other sheep which are not of this flock, but fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure,” and there is not a hair on your head that is not numbered. Really, take Jesus very seriously here, folks. There is not a hair on the head that is not numbered, and there is not a sparrow that falls, that the whole cash register of heaven starts ringing up. Scoreboards of what the universe is indebted to, to that little thing that fell. Everything counts. Everything is important, and if this isn't the main cause for us to rejoice, then we are rejoicing over secondary things, you know, "my know-how, my image, my thirty-eight-inch bust, my...." We rejoice over secondary blessings instead of this main eternal cosmic blessing that your name is written, smack-dab in the middle of the book of reality in heaven; and if anyone ever tells you that they are nothing, unimportant, you say, "Hey, your name is written in heaven. Get with it!' Rejoice that you are not a nobody, you're not even a somebody, you're a part of everybody, and without you nobody else could be anything." This is true. Your individuality, your individual identity is a well-known fact in heaven, a vital statistic in perfection. Everything you do, everything you become, all is important to the whole universe, and Jesus says to do one thing about it, rejoice! Because it is the one thing we always have to rejoice about. Everything else we rejoice about can come and go. If you rejoice about your three beautiful children, those three children quickly become ambitious adults; and ambitious adults have a tendency to become a little forgetful of other people. All these other things have their moments, their glorification in our life, and then they go through saturation. Everything has its destiny, but there is one thing that is not altered. That is your necessity to the divine perfection, and your name is written in heaven.
You know, in “Lessons in Truth” there is a question in the Annotations called, "Are you necessary to God? Explain." The thing that always distressed me about that is that the answer given simply is a series of pretty assurances of how important you are because of how nice you are, how much potential you have and how much worth you have and, therefore, your niceness makes you important, even your potential niceness, but it never really answers the question of your necessity to God. My niceness and my potential and my importance do not constitute necessity.
I have a very nice stereo system in my apartment, but in no way is that a necessity to my existence. It is an accompaniment, an enhancement, and so the answer to that annotation completely dealt with how you enhance the world by your niceness, actual or potential; it never really answers the question. Now, if you have read those Annotations, you will see how we have changed that. For those of you haven't, I will acquaint you with it.
In that answer we say, "You are a necessity," for this reason: God's creation is wholeness and perfection. You see, we start with God and with creation. God's creation is wholeness and perfection.
Then we say, “You are a created being within the creation of God’s wholeness and perfection. Without you, something would be missing”; therefore, what was left would no longer be the original creation of God, which is wholeness and perfection. So you are necessary; you are a divine necessity, and there is no possibility for you ever to not be because you are; therefore you are a necessity, not in the sense of can we do without you, but you always will be, which makes you a necessity. This is the wholeness and perfection of God’s creation. Another way, perhaps a more elaborate way, is “Your name is written in heaven.” And whatever has been written into the book of Truth and Light cannot be erased. It can only be read, not erased.
Q. Do you believe that the spirit goes back to God and the soul is asleep when we die? Or do you think we have consciousness awareness when we make the transition?
A. It can be experienced with conscious awareness. It usually is not.
Q. What happens, in your opinion, when we take our last breath on this plane?
A. First, let me give you my overall opinion. I do not believe the same thing happens to every person who make the transition. I think that what happens to any person who makes his transition will consist of the very next step that he is prepared for in his consciousness, and that could vary. My opinion is for the average person, who is a good person, let us say, it seems to me that he would go into a state where consciousness is still there, soul-consciousness and body-consciousness are both intact, but their direction becomes introverted instead of extroverted. It is a kind of sleep but not the kind of sleep duplicated by us in bed at night. I think it is a sleep of the higher levels of the soul and of the conscious mind, and certainly of the body consciousness; but instead of externalizing into the manifest realm, it begins to invert itself into more of what we might call the psychic, the ethereal or perhaps even the astral realm, a more interior realm of non-manifestation, but not excluding occasional possibilities of manifestation. It is not the realm of manifestation, but there are doors to manifestation still open even on those realms, which accounts, in my opinion, for the phenomena of sometimes there being appearances of people who have passed on, that their image can come forth out of that inverted state they are resting in and make an appearance temporarily in the manifest again. This is not the real, but it is an appearance that can sort of escape or be brought forth through one of the open doors of the non-manifest dimension, which I feel is the state of much of the person who is between physical incarnations.
Again, I remind you, I do not feel this is necessarily the case with each individual. I do believe that some individuals do not go through the resting between incarnations but go immediately either to a new incarnation or to a higher plane than this. I believe this can and does happen. but I am more concerned with what I think is the possible norm, which is the soul withdraws its externalized expression and inverts its expression to a state of quiet and rest.
Jesus, in one of His parables, describes what happened to at least one soul who died, who passed on, as this: "And Lazarus was gathered to the bosom of Father Abraham."
Text of the original transcript of p.177 through next to last paragraph of p.184.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 04-06-2014