The auditorium is packed. People are seated elbow to elbow as far as you can see on your right and left. At least twenty rows of seats are earlier than you, and an unknown quantity lie in back of you. It’s an outstanding gathering.
You be aware all people appears to be carrying a few type of call tag with such emblems as FOX, CNN, NBC, CBS, and Associated Press. The crowd is a combination of newshounds, new york map, TV anchor ladies and men, and other correspondents.
They are mumbling in an excited way, regularly glancing up at the podium on the degree. After a few minutes, a big guy wearing a rumpled tweed match walks across the platform. He steps up to the microphone, and a surprising hush falls over the throng of newshounds.
You take a look at the nearest huge TV display which monitors the podium. Now you could see the speaker, and to your amazement you locate your self staring at a acquainted face. “What? But it is impossible. Isn’t he… ?”
Your phrases are cut brief as the person speaks. In a wealthy baritone voice which sounds for all of the global like Winston Churchill, Clive Staples Lewis addresses the audience:
“People regularly think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain wherein God says, ‘If you maintain a number of policies I’ll reward you, in case you do not, I’ll do the alternative issue.’ I do now not assume this is the satisfactory way of searching for it.
“I might a great deal alternatively say that on every occasion you are making a preference you are turning the relevant a part of you, the component that chooses, into some thing a bit extraordinary from what it changed into earlier than. And taking your life as an entire, with all of your innumerable choices, all your existence lengthy you are slowly turning this central issue both into a heavenly creature or right into a hellish creature: both right into a creature that is in concord with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, in any other case into one that is in a country of warfare and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself.
“To be one sort of creature is heaven: that is, it’s miles pleasure and peace and expertise, and strength. To be the alternative approach madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and everlasting loneliness. Each people every second is progressing to one kingdom or the other.”
Lewis pauses, looks over the ocean of reporter, then maintains as although he was lecturing his students.
“Before the days of Christ, our understanding of fact became rather restrained. We have been born apparently through no preference of our very own. We lived a few years. Then we died. Where we went from here no one knew. Death changed into a veil in the back of which we could not see. It’s feasible that near-loss of life experiences gave a few historical people a short height at what transpired in the course of and right away after demise. But what followed that fleeting glimpse remained a thriller.
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“Then Jesus Christ enters the image. He says he is the Son of God. He claims he has been round considering the fact that before the introduction of the arena. And he tells us he is an professional on humanity. He knows why we are right here; what we need to do with our lives; and what happens to us after dying.
“This Jesus speaks with authority. He acts like he knows what he speaks me approximately, and he does matters no normal human can do: things like walking on water, giving sight to human beings born blind, and elevating the lifeless lower back to life. You cannot ignore a Man like that.
“Then we find the maximum super collection of activities in all of recorded history. Jesus tells us he is the Son of God, and he’ll show it past all doubt. He says he’s going to die, and he’ll upward push from the grave at the 0.33 day. He does die. And he rises from dying on the 1/3 day. We have visible the evidence.
“When Jesus fulfilled that promise, he proven understanding, electricity, and authority some distance past that of any mortal. Here we see One greater than all of the kings, prophets, and philosophers prepare.
“Jesus is our last authority. He is our source of truth. There is not any other. Why are we here? Jesus gives us the solution. How must we behavior our lives? See what Jesus says and observe it. That is the exceptional recommendation every body can deliver. What approximately demise? Jesus knows what lies in the back of that closed door, and he tells us about it. Listen to him.”
Lewis stops. He bows his head. Is he collecting his thoughts, or praying? I do not know. But in any other second he speaks once more.
“Some people have the flawed concept that Christ is a benign grandfather kind who will pat you on the head and say, ‘There, there, it is quite all right,’ regardless of what you do. Those human beings might be in for an unpleasant surprise.
“Others assume that Jesus is by some means our identical, and he’s open to bargaining. That too is incorrect. Jesus isn’t our same. He is our advanced in every sense of the phrase. His legal guidelines aren’t pointers. They are orders. He did not inform us to make up our very own guidelines as we move along. He says to observe his commands. He failed to inform us his views on life and demise are simply one manner of looking at matters. He says right here is truth. This is the way things are. If you want everlasting existence, you may do as I say.
“Many do no longer need to hear that message today. It cramps their style; it limits their independence. It throws cold water on their pride and ego. To those people, we ought to say, it’s time to develop up. You are not an impartial agent; you are a created being. And Christ is the only who breathed lifestyles into you. So overlook satisfaction and ego.
“Fifty years from now, your satisfaction and ego might be buried in a field six ft deep at the side of a skeleton and a chunk of dust. By then, if we are nevertheless capable of recollect our pompous little vanities, we will probably have an excellent snicker at them.”
Then, to my amazement, C.S. Lewis’ body and clothes start to glow. In a fragment of a 2d he vanishes into skinny air! Many excited whispers run via the crowd. “What occurred?” “Did you spot that?” “Where did he go?”
For an immediate the level is naked. Then a massive brilliant sparkling light seems behind the podium. In the blink of a watch, the mild turns into a figure, a figure in white. His garments glisten like lightning. His pores and skin is white as snow, and his eyes are dark as coal. Immediately I know the identification of the Man in white. Standing before us is Jesus Christ.
An excited murmur runs thru the auditorium, however speedy subsides for we see Jesus is set to talk.
Jesus: “The nation of heaven is your one and handiest intention in this lifestyles. This is your sole reason for being right here. The wise amongst you’ll heed my words. You will make each sacrifice to reap this reward.
“Here is my command: love each other. Love your neighbor as your self. Forgive folks that incorrect you, and repay good for evil. Make sure of your salvation. Practice religion, goodness, knowledge, strength of will, perseverance, godliness, and brotherly kindness, and you will receive a wealthy welcome into the eternal country of heaven.
“What can compare together with your soul, your everlasting existence? Pleasures, riches, or honors within the world? All of them fast vanish. Your soul is the only component that survives demise. Your every day choices are slowly, little by little, turning you into either a heavenly spirit destined for everlasting life. Or your selections are transforming you into a monster match only for destruction.”
I could not see her, however from the sound of her voice, a younger lady asks the primary query, “When we die, can we go to heaven, Jesus?”
Jesus: “Enter via the slender gate. For extensive is the gate and large the road that results in destruction, and plenty of enter thru it. But small is the gate and slender the street that leads to existence, and only a few find it.”
A female closer to the front of the auditorium stands up and says: “Today we’ve any wide variety of churches coaching and training a extensive sort of doctrines. They all claim to be your church. Is one more proper than the others?”
Jesus: “My choice has usually been that each one who believe in me can be one, without division, and united inside the religion, just as my Father and I are one. I inform you the fact. My church is the church which remains faithful to my gospel. I died bearing the sins of this international. On the third day I rose from the grave. I am the only and only route to my Father in heaven.
“Those who educate and accept as true with this stuff are individuals of my church body. Those who deny this doctrine might be denied earlier than my Father on judgment day. I let you know, it might be better for them in the event that they had by no means heard of my name.”
The next question: “Many these days adhere to a ‘social gospel’, one that displays ultra-modern attitudes along with equal rights for ladies and minorities and social worries along with: poverty, discrimination, and prejudice.
“What needs to be the church’s position in those matters?”
“Did you no longer listen?” replies Jesus. “I threw the cash changers out of the temple because they were the usage of the residence of God to make a earnings. The church is not a business enterprise to be used for earning profits. Nor is it a political corporation to be used for advancing social reasons. It is a body of believers known as to worship and glorify God. It is my frame.
“During my life on the earth, slavery turned into familiar during the Roman Empire. Women had practically no rights. And poverty changed into rampant anywhere. Despite these kind of flagrant ‘social injustices’, recall this: I did not come into this world to abolish slavery: or to sell identical rights for women; or to cast off poverty.
“I died on the move to provide each and each one of you an opportunity for eternal existence. My message is open for all who will obey: black, brown, purple, white, or yellow; male or lady; young or old; rich or negative; wonderful or small.
“Do now not use my call to promote your own schedule.
“Women aren’t the same as guys. Their responsibilities aren’t the identical within the home or in church. As for the terrible, did I now not tell you, you will constantly have the poor with you? Didn’t I urge you to help folks that want your assist? But did not Paul give you this rule: ‘If a person will no longer work, he shall now not consume’?
“I tell you, if every person does not provide for his loved ones, mainly for his on the spot family, he has denied the religion and is worse than an unbeliever.
“Many hypocrites and bigots shout: ‘Discrimination and prejudice’. I let you know, inspect your very own heart. Expel the hate, delight, anger, envy, and lust you find therein. For you may account for simplest one character when you stand before the Lord your God on judgment day. And this is your self. The different guy will answer for his personal sins.”
A information reporter from the front row asks, “I even have heard it stated that we are saved by way of religion on my own, now not with the aid of works. Would you care to comment on that?”
Jesus: “You do not recognize the Scriptures. Faith with out deeds is useless. Even the demons consider in God; they believe and shudder. As for works, whose works are right sufficient? No one is ideal, no longer even one. All have sinned and fall brief of the consideration of God.
“How then can all and sundry be stored? Salvation is simplest viable through the grace of God through the death and resurrection of the Son of Man. That is God’s present to mankind. Man have to reply to God’s grace with the aid of obedience to His will. Your religion is made complete via what you do.
“Do you no longer do not forget the myth of the sheep and goats? On the day of judgment, I will divide the dwelling and the useless into sheep and goats. The sheep are folks who feed the hungry, deliver drink to the thirsty, clothe individuals who want garb, invite within the stranger, cope with the ill, and help people who need their help.
“I tell you the reality; the righteous demonstrate their religion through their proper deeds. They are the stored. The goats are those who fail to behave. They are the damned.”
A lady stands up and says: “Just the opposite day, right wing enthusiasts had been picketing abortion clinics once more. The courts have ruled this is a violation of law. Surely, you don’t approve of such il… ”
Jesus: “Do now not homicide! That is God’s law.”
“But a fetus isn’t always… ”
Jesus: “DO NOT MURDER! Taking innocent existence is murder. The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, folks that exercise magic arts, the idolaters, and all liars – their region will be inside the fiery lake of burning sulfur. That is the second one loss of life.”
The authority and power of Christ’s voice had been now not to be wondered. The reporter quick takes her seat.
Then a person says to Christ: “Some TV evangelists condemn homosexuals. Are they no longer our brothers too?”
Jesus: “Man rejected God and worshiped created matters. For this sin, God gave guy and lady over to shameful lusts for their own sex. Their indecent acts are perversions, and that they receive in themselves the due penalty for his or her misdeeds.
“Isn’t it clean? My country does not belong to the wicked. Homosexuals, adulterers, thieves, drunkards, slanderers, swindlers, and the grasping will no longer inherit the kingdom of God.”
A young female asks: “Why do right human beings suffer ache and complication in this existence?”
Jesus: “I subject the ones I love, as a father disciplines his son. No field seems first-rate at the time, but painful. Later it produces blessings for those who have been educated by way of it. As fire tempers metallic, so field builds electricity and man or woman.
“However, most problems you come across in life are not according with my will. Some come immediately from Satan. He inflicts something trouble he can on my faithful fans. On the day of judgment, he might be thrown alive into the pit of hell.
“I inform you the fact, many of existence’s sorrows are brought on through guy himself. People are loose to choose proper or wrong, and those selections have real results. Liars, murderers, swindlers, thieves, and bullies unfold their distress wherever they pass. On the day of judgment, the ones who have suffered unjustly will be compensated. As for folks that abuse them, I inform you, they may be punished most severely.”
Someone inside the lower back of the auditorium yells out: “Can Christians lose their salvation?”
Jesus: “Did I now not inform you the myth of the seed? The seed that fell on the rocky soil have been the ones who acquire my phrase with pleasure after they hear it, but in time of trying out they fall away. Is that parable now not clean?
“And did I not provide you with a warning that at the give up of the age, many will turn from the religion and could betray and hate every other? How can I say it plainer than that?
“Moreover, did not I say that due to the boom in immorality, the affection of most will grow cold, however whoever stands firm to the cease could be stored. Surely you apprehend these phrases!
“Again, did I now not inform you: ‘I am the vine; you are the branches? If a person stays in me and I in him, he’s going to endure tons fruit; aside from me you could do nothing. If every body does now not continue to be in me, he is like a department this is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the hearth, and burned.’
“Do you locate these words ambiguous? Tell me, how would you interpret what I even have said?”
“I could say,” answered the journalist, “no one is assured whatever apart from you will choose them with the aid of what they do.”
Jesus: “You have spoken back nicely. For I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will pay off each of you consistent with your deeds.”
An older guy rises to his toes and says: “Almost one out of marriages results in divorce today. What do you endorse us?”
Jesus: “I hate divorce. At the start of introduction, God made them male and female. For this cause a man will leave his parents and be united together with his spouse, and the two shall end up one flesh. What God has joined together, permit nobody separate.”
The subsequent query: “Some government have said the worst sin is satisfaction, and other failings such as intercourse before or outdoor of marriage are lesser sins. What do you assert?”
Jesus: “Adulterers and fornicators will no longer see heaven.”
A woman voice behind me addresses Jesus: “Women have come a protracted way over the past few generations. We aren’t going to show returned now and turn out to be 2d class citizens once more. Women are every bit as desirable as men. Why should not we be clergymen, vicars, ministers, preachers, and popes too, if that’s what we want to do?”
A murmur breaks out inside the crowd. I flip in my seat to peer her. She seems like she would like to add some thing to her speech, then thinks better of it and sits down.
Jesus’ eyes pierce her as though he is calling at her very soul. “You are like a chunk of clay which sits up and berates the potter for making it into a bowl in preference to a plate.
“I am the one who designed woman. I did now not make her as a competitor with man; I made her as a appropriate helpmate. I made man too. I fashioned him out of the dust of the floor and breathed into his nostrils the breath of lifestyles.
“Did no longer my servant Paul inform you that the head of each guy is Christ, and the top of every female is guy, and the head of Christ is God?
“Moses warned you that a female ought to not put on men’s garb, nor a person put on women’s apparel, for the Lord your God detests all people who do this.
“And my servant Peter informed better halves to be submissive to their husbands. What is a female’s vicinity in the church? Paul replied that question: ‘Women need to continue to be silent inside the churches. They are not allowed to talk, however should be in submission.’ Paul concluded his message with this caution: ‘What I am writing you is the Lord’s command.’
“The voices have been Paul, Moses, and Peter, but the phrases are mine. And my words stay for all time.”
A younger man with a protracted beard stands up and says to Jesus: “Your ideas are out of date. We have long because exceeded you. We don’t need you to inform us what is right and incorrect. Why do not you get out of our face?”
“Your words are complete of vanity and ignorance,” replies Jesus. “Brace yourself, man. I will query you and you may answer me.”
I had observed before, when Christ spoke, you failed to exactly pay attention it within the ordinary feel. It became as even though strength radiated from his body and also you “felt” as a great deal as heard what he “said.” Sometimes this phenomenon turned into greater obvious than at different instances. Jesus’ phrases did no longer sound a lot louder now than before, but my entire body seemed to vibrate in song together with his ultimate declaration. The effect become profound. All murmuring ceases, and all eyes are on Jesus.
Jesus: “Where had been you after I formed the earth, the stars, and the universe? Tell me if you understand.
“What way of existence lives in other galaxies? And wherein did it come from? What exists outside the universe? And how long has it been there? Surely a man such as you must know.
“Have the gates of loss of life been shown to you? Have you seen the glories of heaven or the souls of the saints in Paradise? Have you witnessed the horrors of hell or the souls of the damned on fire in Hades? Tell me, when you have seen these things.”
Jesus paused a moment. Then slowly and noticeably he starts to talk: “Where were you an insignificant 100 years in the past? Where will you be one hundred years, therefore? Answer me.”
The young man looks like he would love to move slowly under his seat. Slowly he shakes his head and says, ‘You recognise I can’t answer that.”
Jesus’ voice is unrelenting: “Brace yourself, man. I will question you and you may solution me. Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify your self?”
Waves of power now pulsate from Christ. They strike and shake the bodies of all within the room.
“Do you’ve got an arm just like the Lord’s, and may your voice thunder like his? Then heal the ill, supply sight to the blind, and lift the useless.
“Do you have got the authority of Christ? Then take the sins of the world for your shoulders and go through the loss of life on the go.
“Do you’ve got the electricity and glory of God? Then spoil the jaws of death and upward thrust from the grave at the 1/3 day.
“If you can do all these things, then I myself will admit to you that your right hand can prevent.”
With Christ’s words nonetheless vibrating up and down my backbone, I turn and notice the younger man. All blood had drained from his face. He sits down.
Jesus seems slowly over the ocean of upturned faces and says: “The god of this age has blinded your minds. You are conceited, proud, and ruthless. You do now not even educate and subject your personal kids. You love satisfaction, in preference to God.
“Wicked and perverse era! You satisfaction yourself on not knowing proper from wrong. You masquerade your lack of knowledge and indifference as ‘tolerance’. In your conceitedness and satisfaction you enhance up your own twisted well known of truth. You declare the only sins are racism and sexism, the only vice is smoking, and the most effective virtue is ‘tolerance’ closer to all different sins. How a ways from the truth you are. How silly you’re!”
His words had constructed up to a crescendo, then unexpectedly ended. Now the auditorium is lifeless silent. Slowly and intentionally Jesus keeps, “There is no popular for appropriate or evil but my personal. How far you’re from the dominion of God. How long will I placed up with you?
“Who among you may reproach or accurate me? Who has a declare towards me that I need to pay off? Everything under heaven belongs to me. I tell you the truth, unless you repent of your sins, and flip and comply with me, you will never see the kingdom of heaven.”
No one cared to contradict him.
The guy sitting in the front of me turns to his neighbor and says in a low voice, “The lamb of God has grown horns.”
“Indeed, he has,” replies the neighbor. A few anxious chuckles follow.
A plump center-elderly guy then asks Jesus: “Was the arena without a doubt created in six days lower back inside the 12 months 4004 B.C.? And what about the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the ebook of Job, and the account of Jonah and the whale, or was it a fish? Were the ones actual activities or did someone simply make them up?”
Jesus’ penetrating gaze regarded to move right through the man. Then a voice like it was coming from interior my head says, “What is that to you? You are to observe me.”
Evidently, the man with the question heard it too. He fell back into his seat.
I am now not sure what occurred subsequent. The guy next to me more or less whispered in my ear, “Did Jesus say that?” While seeking to communicate to him: “I accept as true with he did,” an more and more big commotion speedy spread at some stage in the auditorium.
I look up and notice Jesus sparkling like he is on fire. (The description is insufficient, however no mere words can deliver what we witnessed at that second.) Then in an instantaneous he’s long gone! The newshounds are left watching an empty level.
“Well, it really is that then,” said the man sitting in the front of me. Turning to the female subsequent to him, he inquires, “What did you suspect of it?”
“Not much,” she responds. Getting up out of her seat, she provides: “He failed to say whatever new.”
“You’re proper about that reporter,” comments a voice in the front of her. “I marvel why he called this news upcoming conferences anyway?”
A raspy woman voice in again of me chimes in: “Did you hear what he stated approximately abortion? He compared it to murder. Murder of all matters! He would assume in a different way if he were a woman. I let you know. And that awful man, Paul! His condescending mindset towards girls simply makes me unwell.”
With a higher pitched greater shrill voice she weighs in again: “And did you pay attention what Jesus said about divorce? You could assume his mind-set could have matured after two thousand years. But Nooo! Who does he think he is anyway? Why he’s not anything, however, a male chauvinistic… ”
Her voice drifts off into the general buzz of human beings clamoring out of the auditorium.
You pick up the tail cease of any other communique wherein a young male reporter is complaining to a now not-so-younger girl reporter, “… But I’m nevertheless disappointed. He didn’t even mention the surroundings. After all, he made this planet. It does seem like he would display more hobby in our smooth air, clean water, and… “