The four empires revealed to Rufus Moseley and what they say about the 4th Dimension
Hi Friends —
The four empires revealed to Rufus Moseley on March 21, 1910 were the Natural, the Spiritual, the Resurrected and the Ascended. As best I can perceive, and as I will explain below, the fourth empire, the Ascended empire, corresponds very well to the 4th Dimension written about by Charles Fillmore and E.V. Ingraham.
If so, then the revelation to Rufus Moseley moves us beyond metaphysical speculation about the 4th Dimension to a mystical experience of it, accessible in a practical way. This may be very helpful as we move into Holy Week and try one more time to grasp the significance of resurrection, metaphysically understood, and look to living in better place, mystically experienced.
Who was Rufus Moseley?
He is, to me, a most lovable man, in many ways like Charles Fillmore. Small in stature, witty and earthly in tongue, he was born Baptist in 1870 in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains and by the 1890s had become a religion and philosophy professor at Mercer College in Nashville. He found footing for his spiritual journey through Ralph Waldo Emerson and other Transcendentalist writers, whom he quotes dozens of times in his autobiography, Manifest Destiny.1 His study of idealistic philosophy as well as personal interactions with Henry Drummond in Chicago and William James at Harvard led him to leave teaching in 1900 for a deeper spiritual experience, which he came to understand as baptism of the Holy Spirit.
He not only left teaching in 1900, he left orthodoxy and all forms of conventional religion as well. What he found was Christian Science, which attracted him because of “the Spirit beyond the letter, the reality behind the visible forms and effort, the healing touch of Heaven” (Moseley 45). He became a paid writer for the Christian Science Journal and for many years was a CS Practitioner in his hometown of Macon, Georgia.
His ten years of healing practice in Christian Science led him to the understanding that affirmations did not heal so much as what was a transcendent healing power, which he perceived to be the Holy Spirit. In 1910 he attended a week long Pentecostal revival, and the following Sunday, after CS services, he privately told his Christian Science colleagues he was leaving for the freedom to follow the leading of Spirit, just has he had done ten years earlier in leaving academia. He describes attending a Pentecostal meeting that afternoon:
That afternoon I went to the Pentecostal Holiness meeting in Moore’s Hall. I tried to tell the friends there of the precious way the Lord was dealing with me. It was then that a brother from Atlanta said to me, “You will have to become more orthodox before God will baptize you.” I replied, “The promise is not to the orthodox, but to those who hunger and thirst and ask.”
Two days later, he was awakened at 2 in the morning, finding himself in what he called a state of “cosmic consciousness”, and it was at this time that the four empires were revealed to him. The revelation was only the start of what would become the pivotal moment of his life: after writing down these revelations, he experienced the physical presence of Jesus, who “infused” him with the Holy Spirit.
His infusion of Spirit led him to a life-long ministry free of orthodoxy and any sort of organized religion. He was never ordained and he refused to call anyone reverend, father or leader. He devoted immense amounts of time ministering and advocating for men imprisoned and sentenced to death. Refusing to accept money for his ministerial services, he supported himself by maintaining a grove of pecan trees and writing articles for the local newspaper in Macon. As I said, he was a most lovable man. I very much recommend his autobiography, Manifest Destiny and Wayne McLain's biography of Rufus Moseley, listed below.
What are the Four Empires?
After a short introduction, I will explain these empires in my own words, relating them as I do to our present metaphysical understandings. Rufus Moseley opens his autobiography, Manifest Victory, with the following Preface:
IT HAS BEEN SAID:There are four empires. The first is the empire of Nature and the second the empire of Spirit. The third, which reconciles these two, is the empire of the Divine-Human. But the fourth, which is the empire of the Human-Divine, is where all three are raised up, fulfilled and made perfect members of a perfect whole. Now the Divine-Human is the Christ, who is God made Man. The Human-Divine is the ascended Jesus, who is Man made God. In union with Him, the fourth empire is experienced and revealed.
He explains what he means in an insightful paragraph (text in brackets are my interpretations):
In the world as we see it now nature [first empire] is at war with itself—“red in tooth and claw”—and spirit [second empire] is at war with nature in the historic conflict between natural and spiritual man, between the lusts of the flesh and the demands of the spirit. The fourth empire does not require the destruction and disappearance of the natural realm; it requires its transformation and sanctification, so that nothing which is beautiful and worthwhile in nature is lost. Now when the third empire is introduced into the first (nature) and the second (spirit) there is a violent upheaval [crucifixion and resurrection]. (Moseley 74)
What is an “empire” as perceived by Rufus Moseley? An empire is, according to his biographer,2 a “level of being”:
Perhaps it would be helpful to indicate the nature of the four realms of being in terms of which Rufus’ mind operated with reference to human destiny. Most philosophies or systems of metaphysics in the history of thought that explore the nature of ultimate reality fall generally into some form of idealism expressive of the primacy of spirit or into some form of materialism or naturalism. For Rufus, there are four realms or levels of being, two of which include but transcend both nature and spirit. (McLain 191-2)
My sense is that we may equate a “level of being” with a “level of consciousness” as long as we remember that our state consciousness changes much more rapidly than our state of being. I believe that Rufus Moseley recognized the power of affirmations to heal through temporary changes in our state of consciousness, as is taught by Christian Science (and by Unity). Such a shift in consciousness does provide temporary relief from sickness and human limitations, as Barbara Frederickson substantiates in her study of Positivity. But one’s state of being does not shift as rapidly as a state of consciousness. One’s state of being is much closer to what the Arbinger Institute calls “mindset” and uses to distinguish a “heart at war” from a “heart at peace”. In language used by St. Paul, one lives either “in Christ” or “in the flesh”.
I have found Rufus Moseley’s revelation useful because it provides a framework for monitoring my present state of consciousness and it provides a preview of where that state of consciousness may lead. One moment I may find myself caught up in a world “red in tooth and claw”, particularly when I watch the network news. At that point I am in the first empire. At other moments I may be so enmeshed in my idealistic private world of self that I find myself in the second empire, a spiritual world filled with idealism and free from the network news and all its concerns. These are, as McLain says, forms of nature and spirit which are not able to transcend our physical world.
Students of Emerson, like Rufus Moseley and Charles Fillmore, recognized a third empire, where God’s incarnation in human beings is experienced as what we call in Unity “the spark of divinity within”. Divinity is described in the Bible as humanity “in the image and likeness of God” and it is described in theological terms as resurrection and in metaphysical terms as regeneration. Rufus Moseley called it the “Divine-human” because it is a state of consciousness where we are aware of a power, descended from a higher place, to whom we may go to get our needs met. It is a sense of Emmanuel, “God with us”, celebrated at Christmas.
We must keep in mind that the incarnation of God as understood in the third empire often leads to “violent upheaval”, crucifixion and resurrection, which we “celebrate” at Easter. This is a problem for many today who are spiritual but not religious. They have had enough of credal Christianity and its teaching of blood atonement. Fortunately, Rufus Moseley in 1910 and Charles Fillmore in the 1920s, walked away from the third empire, believing that the experience of Jesus leads to a higher order of being, referred to as the Fourth Empire by Moseley and the Fourth Dimension by Fillmore.
The shift from third empire to fourth empire leads to the main point of both Fillmore and Moseley: the spiritual journey is not about divinity, God descending and incarnating in humanity. Rather it is about deification, humanity being raised to God, ascending to Heaven. Deification is an often ignored Christian doctrine, stated by Athanasius as: “The Son of God became man so that we might become God”. Both Rufus Moseley and Charles Fillmore dedicated their life to being raised up, ascending to what we know in Unity as the Fourth Dimension.
Rufus Moseley writes that in our ascension, Heaven meets us half way because Heaven wants what he and Charles Fillmore want: a glorified body:
I saw that Heaven longs greatly to come to earth, that everything there, short of bodily glorification, longs for a body like that of the ascended Jesus and wants us to hasten to prepare ourselves and the earth for the consummation, the marriage of the bride to her Lord, the appearance of Jesus, and transformation into His dominion, even into His bodily likeness. We claim that we want to go to Heaven. What we really want is to become heavenly, so that Heaven may come fully in us and in the whole earth. We do not want to be just spirits and spiritual; we want to be like Jesus, divine-human and human-divine personalities, with love and power to do and to enjoy the whole will of God to the highest possible reaches of perfection. (Moseley 78)
As Moseley says in the preface of his autobiography: “The fourth empire does not require the destruction and disappearance of the natural realm; it requires its transformation and sanctification, so that nothing which is beautiful and worthwhile in nature is lost.” This raising up of humanity and the meeting with transcendent realities is a powerful spiritual teaching. Rufus Moseley elaborates on what this means for those of us who are concerned about what we see on the network news. He elaborates on a the well-known passage from Revelation:
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away...” Many have been inclined to dismiss this promise as a far-fetched dream, for the significant reason that almost all our thinking on the subject has been done in terms which simply will not embrace the idea. Just as color cannot be described in terms of shape, the fourth empire cannot be realized in terms of our ordinary ways of living and resultant thinking. Therefore the achievement of this vision is apt to seem fantastic and even naive while we think of it according to the old principles of philosophy. For logic, as we understand it, works with three dimensions. To understand the fourth empire we need another dimension to our logic.
For Charles Fillmore, the transformation in the Fourth Dimension is “glorification” of humanity, expressed in his foundational Bible passage: “Christ in you, your hope of glory”. The glorification to come by being raised to a higher place and met by a descending Heaven is expressed in a favorite prayer of Charles Fillmore that he most likely learned from Emma Curtis Hopkins, the woman who taught him and Myrtle Fillmore. The prayer is: “Jesus Christ is now here [third empire], raising me up to that place [fourth empire] where the Holy Spirit pours out its inspiration upon me [glorification].” The point being that divinity, by itself, does not have power to glorify. Our concern should be deification, being raised up by the Divine, ascending to a place where transformation occurs by work of the Holy Spirit.
So I invite us to consider during Holy Week our state of consciousness. Are we focused on the Jesus Christ raising up humanity and the human condition to the a place where the Holy Spirit pours out its inspiration upon us? Are we able to perceive Heaven yearning to join us in our glorification? Can we go beyond affirming an inward spark of divinity to embracing a new heaven and a new earth raised up to an entirely new dimension? If so, we will have shifted from trying to comprehend crucifixion and resurrection from a third dimensional, metaphysical understanding of Easter to a fourth dimensional, mystical experience of Easter.
Palm Sunday, April 10, 2022
- J.R. Moseley, Manfiest Victory: A Quest and a Testimony, 1941, Harper Brothers Publishers, New York.
- Wayne McLain, A Resurrection Encounter: the Rufus Moseley story, Macalester Park Publishing Company, Minneapolis.