November 17, 2021

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Subject: Shadow of Death

Golden text: Psalm 23:4*

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Mark 14:32-41, 46-51

And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And [Jesus] said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. 41 And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

 46 And they laid hands on him and seized him. 47 But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.” 50 And they all left him and fled. 51 And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, 52 but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.

21st Century Science and Health**

What can be the standard of good, of Spirit, of Life, or of Truth, if they produce their opposites such as evil, matter, error, or death?

An old Scriptural picture depicts a serpent coiled around the tree of knowledge speaking to Adam and Eve. It represents an alleged talking serpent in the act of commending to fictional first parents the knowledge of good and evil. The fatal knowledge is gained from limited perspectives, instead of from knowing Spirit. The portrayal is still graphically accurate. The common conception of a mortal human—a parody of God’s child—is an outgrowth of human knowledge.

Uncover error and it turns the lie on you. Until the nonbeing of error appears, the moral demand will not be met and the ability to make nothing of error will fall short. We should wince when insisting the unreal is real. The foundation of evil is laid on a belief in something besides God. Believing there is another being other than God tends to urge two opposite powers, instead of inspiring the claims of Truth alone. The mistake of thinking that error can be real, when it is merely the absence of truth, leads to belief in the superiority of error.

Jesus taught but one God, one Spirit, who makes spiritual being in the image and likeness of Love, of Mind—not in the likeness of human love or mind. Individuals reflect infinite Truth, Life, and Love. The understanding of our essence includes all that is implied by the terms “image” and “likeness”[1] as used in Scripture. The truly Christian and scientific statement of the relationship between spiritual being and God, with the demonstration which accompanied it, incensed the religious leaders, and they said: “Crucify him!”[2] Said: “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”[3]

Do not believe in any supposed necessity for failure, adversity, or ruin, knowing (as you ought to know) that God never requires obedience to a physical law because no such law exists. Wrong beliefs are destroyed by the law of God, which is the law of Life eternal instead of death, the law of harmony instead of disorder, the law of Spirit instead of the flesh.

The knowledge of good and evil demands that mind will see and feel through matter, the five senses. The first impression human beings had of themselves was one of nakedness and guilt.

Divine Science also shows that Jesus’ death wasn’t meant to prove spirits can go in and out of bodies to return to earth. We are images of Spirit, unseen by flesh.

Mark 15:27, 33-38

And with [Jesus] they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.

33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

Mark 16:9-11, 14, 19

 Now when [Jesus] rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

21st Century Science and Health

The carnal human mentality, misnamed mind, is mortal. But the idea of resurrection and ascension, shows that a mortal creature is not our real essence.

The manifestation of God through human beings is as light passing through the window. The light and the glass never mingle, but as matter, the glass is less opaque than the walls. The human mind through which Truth appears most vividly is that one which has lost much materiality—much error—and has become a better transparency for Truth. Human mind is a cloud melting into thin vapor, no longer hiding the sun.

The human consciousness, often named brain, is the exact opposite of real Mind. Mortal consciousness is made up of errors. We learn in biology and neuroscience that the brain registers suffering and then dies. We learn in theology that our human consciousness is resurrected after death. These erroneous teachings are basically saying that consciousness is born of matter and returns to matter to be later resurrected from dust; whereas divine Science reveals our perpetual spiritual consciousness unaffected by the brain or death.

Progress comes from experience. Humanity is improved as the mortal is dropped for the immortal. Either here or hereafter, suffering or Science must replace all illusions regarding life and mind. Material sense and self must be regenerated. The old self with its practices must be dropped. Nothing fleshly or sinful is spiritual. The death of fleshly perceptions and habits, not the death of material organisms, is what reveals spirituality and Life—harmonious, real, and eternal.

The recognition of Spirit and of infinity does not come all at once, but throughout eternity. Haba na haba, a Swahili phrase for little by little, or step by step, has relevance. Human beings do not change from error to truth in an instant.

Existence continues to be a perception of divided body energies until the Science of being is reached. Erroneous methodologies and belief systems bring their own self-destruction both here and hereafter because mortal mind creates its own mortal conditions. Death will occur on the next plane of existence as on this until the spiritual understanding of Life is achieved. Then, and not until then, will it be demonstrated that “the second death has no power over them.”[4]

The time required for this dream of material life to disappear from consciousness, “No one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”[5] The time it takes for us to stop embracing delusive pleasures and pains will be drawn out or shortened, depending on the tenacity of error. Of what advantage is it to prolong the illusion either of a catatonic soul or of a dying sufferer trapped in a body? What is better, to add years to mortal life, or, to add life to years?

Acts 2:22-24

“Hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

21st Century Science and Health

Warning people against death tends to frighten into death those who are unfamiliar with Life as God. Thousands of instances could be cited of health restored by changing the patient’s thoughts regarding death.

The key is distinguishing between human mind and divine Mind. The human mind experiences can’t always be attributed to the one divine Mind, although they can lead to more expanded knowledge. The Near Death Experience (NDE) oftentimes shows the effects of compassion or fear produced on human mind. Author, Larry Dossey, M.D., explains that researchers have subdivided NDEs. The categories include: near-death, near-death-like, nearing-death experience, and, “Another variant is the fear-death experience, which is associated with the acute fear of imminent death.”[6]

If we follow the direction of Jesus, we can depend less and less on bodily conditions, structure, or economy. We can be masters of the body, dictate its features, and form and control it with Truth.

There is no power apart from Mind. Omnipotence has all-power and to acknowledge any other power is to dishonor God. The humble Nazarene overthrew the assumption that sin, sickness, and death have power. He proved them powerless and restored dignity to experience.

Socrates[7] did not fear his death sentence by hemlock poison, because he understood the superiority and immortality of good.

This enlightenment will overcome the desire to die or a dread of the grave, and thus destroy the great fear that burdens mortal existence.

The erroneous senses represent birth and death as irresistible or untimely, weeds growing rapidly or flowers withered by the sun or nipped by frost, but this is true only of a mortal, not of God’s children. The truth of being is perennial and errors of thought are unreal and obsolete.

In Science, person is not young or old; we have no birth or death; we are not a beast, a vegetable, or an evolving mind advancing from mortality to Mind, from the materialist to the spiritual. We do not rise from evil to good, or even shift from good to evil. Confessing to a state of mortality throws us headlong into darkness and dogma. Too much is written on that which advocates pictures of mortal phases and helplessness. It is better to label people with the everlasting grandeur and immortality of improvement, spiritual power, and prestige.

The calm and enlightened thought, or spiritual perception is at peace. Thus the dawn of ideas goes on, forming each successive stage of progress.

*Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

** Text from 21st Century Science and Health, 6th edition, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.


[1] Gen. 1:26–27

[2] Mark 15:13, 14; Luke 23:20; John 19:6

[3] John 19:7

[4] Rev. 20:6

[5] Matt. 24:36 (ESV)

[6] Dossey, Larry. One Mind: How our individual mind is part of a greater consciousness and why it matters. www.hayhouse.com, Hay House, Inc. 2013

[7] Socrates, (469–399BC) Greek philosopher. Charged, tried, and condemned to die in 399BC.

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