Given the provocative title of this book, you may be wondering what to expect as you open the pages that follow.
First, we want you to know that this book is fiction. Our goal is not to try to show that some particular sequence of events is real. Rather, we use a story to expose patterns of two opposing kingdoms: the kingdom of darkness, and the kingdom of light.
Second, this is not an ordinary fiction book. The settings, characters, and events serve as a stage for a drama of ideas. You will discover that the central focus of the story is the exploration of ideas surrounding a central question: what is the destiny of souls? In our story, we provide a context for exploring views of the afterlife from new angles. We hope that the ideas presented in this book will inspire new layers of understanding of the greatness of God’s purposes for all souls, both present and future.
Third, we are aware that every reader will come to this book with unique perspectives and experiences, along with sets of convictions, speculations, expectations, and concerns surrounding the topic of the afterlife. We have intentionally written this book with many different sets of beliefs in mind. Consider this book as an opportunity to entertain some interesting and provocative ideas with fresh eyes and an open heart.
We now present to you, When Heaven Invades Hell. Enjoy!
Rachel and Joshua Rasmussen
You see them from a distance—a vast multitude. You don’t know who they are, or where they are going. They sparkle like stars in a galaxy. Their energy allures you.
As you imagine joining them, you suddenly find yourself walking in their midst. They are people of light, embodying diverse appearances and expressions. In their presence, you feel love, acceptance, and peace. You get the sense they are traveling toward a special place that is beautiful and good.
Out of curiosity, you peer ahead into the distance. A green landscape of rolling hills unfolds before you. A grand city glistens on the horizon.
“That is where they are going,” you say to yourself.
Everyone moves leisurely, yet within a moment the people have made their way across the field and are approaching a grand gate of pearl. As the people of light draw near the gate, the gate opens to let them through.
Your heart leaps as you step closer to the gate. Everything inside you longs to see what lies beyond the gate.
As you approach the threshold, a quiet voice from the center of your being arises. “You are not ready,” the voice warns gently.
You stop. Those around you continue to move through the gate. Within a moment, the final ones are passing you by and disappearing from your sight.
You strain to see where the people of light are going, but you can no longer distinguish their forms from the glorious light emanating from the city beyond. How can you turn back now? Your desire to enter through the gate is difficult to contain.
Your soul speaks, “Where are they going? I want to go with them.”
The inner voice replies, “You do not understand what you ask for. Know this: what lies ahead will be the greatest event in all of history. You are not yet ready to take part in it. However, your curiosity will give you sight.”
At the speed of thought, you are reunited with the people of light. You turn around and see the crystal skyline of the city behind you. Under your feet is a street of gold so pure it almost looks transparent.
To your left you see a grand building. Each face of the building has carvings depicting history and purpose. Above the main entrance of the building is written: The Hall of Records and Decrees.
One particular carving near the base of the building captures your attention. In the center is a planet. Around the planet are beings with wings, looking toward the planet with expressions of compassion and wonder. On the planet are two trees. Standing between the two trees are two people—a man and a woman.
“Who are they?” your soul asks.
The inner voice answers quietly, “These are the first ones to rule on the planet, Earth.”
You press for more. “What is the meaning of the trees and the beings with wings?”
A story unfolds within you. You observe many events in your mind’s eye. You are watching highlights of the human story, from its beginning to the present time. The scene is so captivating that you are entranced by it.
You see two paths God’s children can take. One path leads to life. The other path leads away from life.
You feel the uncertainty and hope carried by the winged beings watching the events on Earth unfold. But you are left wondering, “Why would God’s children be presented such an obvious choice? How could they not choose love? How could they not choose life?”
Sensing the multitude moving farther away from you, you make the conscious decision to set aside your many questions and move on.
You follow the people of light as they enter into a clearing. The ground is now pure and smooth, like marble. Far in the distance, thick, white pillars extend upward and disappear into the sky. The proportions are difficult to grasp.
As you walk toward the distant pillars, white and gray mist accumulates, soon covering the marble floor in a thick blanket. Brilliant rainbows glimmer and dance in the midst of the pillars ahead. A sweet fragrance greets you as you approach.
You wonder in your spirit, “Where am I?”
A quiet voice answers, “You are in the Outer Courts of the Heavenly Temple.”
With awe and wonder, you continue forward, through the pillars. Ahead, you see a wide platform, with stairs lining every edge. Surrounding the platform are golden bowls for burning incense. Many creatures of diverse forms are gathered around the platform. The people of light ascend the short flight of stairs and arrange themselves comfortably on the platform, nearly filling it completely. As your feet touch the steps, you gain the awareness that you are now entering the Inner Courts of the Heavenly Temple.
With every step, you feel increasing weight resting upon you. Yet, you feel your strength increasing. Without this new strength, you sense you would be crushed. But this weight is not a weight of burden. It is the weight of glory. Your natural response is one of reverence. This is a very special place.
You take your place among the multitude of people in the Inner Courts. “What will happen next? Why are we here?” you wonder. You are grateful that you have been permitted to stand among the glorious beings in this place.
In the quietness, you gain an inner knowing concerning what is about to happen. Today is the day of new revelation. This is one of many appointed times for this purpose. During these appointed times, the creatures in the Inner Courts learn about new assignments and purposes. They also learn more about the true nature of everything. The Source of All is about to reveal something new.
Your spirit quickens. Suddenly, a brilliant light appears in the midst of the pillars. Every creature—great and small—looks toward the glowing light emanating from the center of the pillars. You gaze into its brilliance, curious to know what it is. You are surprised its brilliance does not overwhelm you.
As everyone faces the light, a voice from the light begins to speak. As the voice speaks, a gentle energetic current runs through your body from head to toe.
The voice from the light is familiar. This voice is the same guiding voice you have heard inside you for as long as you can remember. This is the voice of the Lord.
What the voice says surprises all who are gathered in the Inner Courts. Instead of revealing a new truth, the Lord asks a question:
“How would you feel if I offered a separated soul a body of life and a place with us?”
The question weaves through the multitude like a trail of sparkling ribbon. The question lingers until each person feels its depth and significance.
You sense the people around you responding with many thoughts and feelings. They are wondering why the Lord proposes a question rather than revealing a new truth, as everyone expects. They are also pondering the question itself. The question is most peculiar. Could a separated soul be given a body of life?
Three primary questions emerge from the multitude as they consider the Lord’s question:
“Why are we being asked if a separated soul can join us?”
“Is this a test?”
“How could a separated soul be given a body of life?”
Everyone is wrestling with the apparent contradiction of inviting a soul who has chosen the path of darkness to take a place with the people of light.
In addition to the questions, you also sense a mixture of strong beliefs from various individuals. You catch the thought of a person near you. The thought carries a taste, which is somewhat bitter, somewhat sour, and somewhat salty:
“I feel such an offer would violate perfect justice.”
As you experience the thought, its flavor fills you. Is this thought also your own thought? You cannot tell whether you alone can taste this thought, or whether others are tasting it as well.
All the people look toward the light in the center of the pillars. Together, they invite the Lord to resolve the tension they feel.
Strangely, the light merely pulsates with brilliant colors, but says nothing.
Pure love fills the atmosphere of the temple. In the midst of uncertainty, you feel the sturdy bonds of trust between all the people and the Lord.
Even still, the multitude remains curious. Today is the day of new revelation. Yet, instead of revelation, there is a question without an answer. In the Inner Courts, there has never been a question without an answer.
The multitude’s thoughts and feelings coalesce into the following message directed to the Lord:
“You, oh Lord, are both awesome and wise, far beyond our comprehension. You ask us how we would feel if a separated soul were granted a way into our kingdom. We have many feelings, and they splinter through different perspectives. We are curious to know your thoughts, Lord. What do you see?”
The message travels toward the light. Everyone watches.
The light glows brightly as it envelops the message into itself, but the light remains silent.
The heavenly creatures desire to hear the Lord’s response, despite the silence. No one doubts the Lord’s goodness, even in this vulnerable moment of uncertainty.
As you look toward the light, you hear a quiet sound. It is like a low rumble. It grows stronger and more distinct. You realize it is coming from the light. The sound is laughter. Joyous laughter. The laughter grows louder and deeper. It is powerful and emotional.
The Lord’s laughter is contagious. All the people in the Inner Courts also begin to laugh.
A playful, light-hearted joy wells up within you. You cannot contain the steady stream of laughter emerging from deep in your belly.
You see every being—great and small—laughing. Some exhibit a playful demeanor, while others have a regal appearance. None are immune to this tangible joy.
In the midst of gladness, however, curiosity remains. Every creature is wondering, “What is the meaning of this laughter?”
Something catches your eye. You look up, and there before you is an image in midair. The image appears amidst the pillars, above the multitude. The image first appears as a bright sun. Then, alongside the sun appears a moon. Finally, the moon begins to eclipse the sun so that only the sun’s outer rays shine through.
An angel flies into midair to face the multitude. The angel asks, “Do any of the sons or daughters of Adam know the meaning of this sun, or of the moon covering over it?”
You hear voices calling back in the distance, “Tell us the meaning. We do not know it.”
The angel descends toward the bright light of the Lord in the center of the temple courts. As the angel approaches the light, his shape disappears in the glowing brilliance of it. The angel re-emerges from the light, radiating like liquid metal. His wings flap until he is again hovering in midair before the multitude. He announces in a loud voice:
“All who have ears to hear, listen to the message of the Eternal One, the Ever-Living Source, who appears to us as light. The sun is the hope that is firmly rooted in your souls. This hope grows from the seed of love. True love hopes for all things pure, good, excellent, and true. This hope is the brilliant sun shining in the air amidst the pillars of the temple.
“But there is something else firmly rooted in your souls. From the seed of love, righteousness and justice also grow. Righteousness and justice appear as a moon. Just as the moon reflects the sun’s glory, so righteousness and justice reflect the glory of your everlasting hope.
“However, there is a great mystery yet to be understood. Righteousness and justice reflect your glorious hope. But do righteousness and justice also block your hope? Do the righteousness and justice that grow from love eclipse the hope that grows from that same love?”
The angel lingers in the air while the multitude ponders the interpretation of the scene.
You hear from some of the people near you, “Forgive us, for we still do not understand the meaning of these things.”
With outstretched arms, the angel replies, “May the Lord grant you understanding.”
Just then, a ripple of energy gently rolls outward from the light through the Inner Courts.
As the ripple passes through you, you hear poetic words within you:
“Amidst the beauty, there is pain. Amidst the joy, there is sorrow.”
The light speaks audibly now with a sound that resonates throughout the temple:
“Look, and understand the meaning of the eclipsed sun. This sun is the hope of the multitude. Many of you hope that a separated soul can be restored and given a place with us.”
The image of the eclipsed sun rises higher and grows to twice its original size. The voice continues:
“This sign of the eclipsed sun is from you. Hope is vibrant among you. Yet, a vast number of you wonder whether the demands of righteousness and justice eclipse all hope for the restoration of a lost soul.”
From the multitude, a heartfelt cry emerges. “Tell us, Lord. What can we do?”
The light gives no reply.
In the absence of a reply, tension begins to build in the Inner Courts.
“The task of rescuing a separated soul is impossible,” some of the people reason.
Others speculate, “Perhaps the grace of God can overpower the constraints of justice.”
You realize there is a growing disagreement in the courts of heaven. Tension is increasing.
Yet, in the midst of opposing feelings and ideas, a song arises from the multitude. The song is beautiful, with harmonies you have never before heard. The song expresses emotions of unbreakable love. This love is all the more spectacular in the midst of the disagreement.
The song of unity transforms into a song of worship. Everyone sings:
You are perfect in all of your ways.
No one can see the edges of your wisdom.
To you be all glory, honor, and praise, forever.
The light coming from the center of the temple begins to transform. The Source of All takes the form of a great Lion.
The Lion is large. He towers over the heads and shoulders of everyone in the temple.
As the multitude continues to worship, the Lion paces in the midst of the people.
The Lion’s voice adds to the song like a low drum, repeating a pattern built from a single query: “Which one? Which one? Which one? Which one?” He speaks in a low voice that shakes the ground.
The song builds in energy. The Lion listens and absorbs the beautiful sounds proceeding from the mouths of the multitude. Anticipation rises as the Lion returns to the center of the temple.
The singing continues. In the midst of the song, you hear a quiet voice say in your heart, “The time has come for a case to be made in the temple courts.”
You look back toward the center of the temple. The Lion is nowhere to be seen.
The singing gradually lulls. The people look toward one another, wondering what to do next.
From somewhere within the multitude, a humble voice suggests, “The Lord trusts us to decide how to proceed. Let us choose representatives to speak on our behalf. These representatives will lay out all the considerations of our hearts with skill, wisdom, and love.”
“Yes, let us do this,” many reply.
Thoughts take on forms and colors around the people. Similar thoughts merge together. People with similar thoughts draw nearer together.
Two primary forms of thought emerge around two groups. One group has the hope that a separated soul can be restored to life. The other group has the assurance that a separated soul can never be restored.
Those who maintain hope of rescuing a separated soul are called by all the rest, “the Hopeful.” Those who maintain assurance that no separated soul can be rescued are called by all the rest, “the Noble.”
Within each of the two groups, wise ones are chosen. These wise ones discuss who is best qualified to represent the thoughts and feelings of their group. You are amazed by the humility and grace displayed in their interactions.
After a brief time, the two groups choose their representatives. Moses will speak on behalf of the Noble. Adam will speak on behalf of the Hopeful.
Reality changes forever when a young graduate student from MIT finds herself in an alien facility overlooking planet Earth. Are these ETs here to save Earth from immanent destruction? Has she been chosen to help? Join Lisa Shields as she sorts through the layers of illusion, mind control, secret alliances, time manipulation, and the ultimate psychological and spiritual battle over human sovereignty.
Looking forward to this book? Let Rachel know!