By Mel Barger

The belief in man's eternal dwelling-place, The Holy City, has persisted in traditional Christianity. In Revelation 21 The Holy City is described as an actual place with streets of gold and walls of precious gems. It is the New Jerusalem that comes down from God to man.

This account of The Holy City in the Book of Revelation provides an excellent metaphysical lesson on states of consciousness. We know, in the Divine Science teaching, that consciousness is all important. When the Bible tells us about The Holy City, it is actually pointing us toward what is variously called the Christ Mind, the Christ Consciousness, or the Cosmic Consciousness. It is a state of mind embracing absolute good, into which nothing can come that defiles, works abomination, or makes a lie. It is the heaven all men seek.

The Bible is the record of man's search for God. When we see this we realize, also, that the cities described represent unfolding states of consciousness as well as actual localities. When we encounter  a Biblical figure leaving one city and entering another, we perceive that he has undergone a change of consciousness.

The city is an excellent symbol for consciousness because it depicts, on the physical level, comparable activities that take place on the mental level.  For example, the streets and sidewalks and traffic patterns of a city symbolize the channels for movement of beliefs and ideas. The water supply and sewage systems of a city symbolize the ability of Mind to produce the flow of good and eliminate the useless, in right order and without obstruction. The condition of a city's air, be it pure or foul, is representative of the state of mind of the individual. The houses and residential areas represent the individual's ability to find his true place by making room for God's expanding ideas.

The most important city in the Bible, of course, is Jerusalem, a place often referred to as the Holy City even in current news reporting. But the Old Jerusalem we find in the Bible is not much of a Holy City, for it actually represents the human level of consciousness that has not yet been redeemed by divine Love.

The actual city of Old Jerusalem had its tribulations, as the Bible makes clear. In Old Testament times, Jerusalem's citizens seemed to be in the middle of the great warring empires. First the Assyrians subdued them, then the Babylonians enslaved them, and finally the Romans practically absorbed them.

  No doubt the people tried hard to protect themselves from this aggression, but they were no match for the powerful forces arrayed against them. At times their circumstances seemed hopeless. The futility of physical defense against such powerful invaders must have prompted one ancient Hebrew writer to put down these immortal words: "Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." (Psalms 127:1) To us this means that the Old Jerusalem, the human thoughts, cannot be guarded from trouble personally. It is impossible to maintain order in our center of consciousness without a spiritual basis. Even though we may feel self-satisfied for a while, we are not secure until we are centered in God Consciousness.

  We are always highly vulnerable in the "Old Jerusalem" state of mind, however satisfactory we may appear to be in the eyes of the world. If we allow self-righteousness, contempt, petty dishonesty, or fear, resentment, and anxiety to take up residence in our city of consciousness, we invite that which defiles and works abomination. Therefore we learn not to excuse ourselves, saying we are "only human" and cannot be expected to be perfect. We know we must keep the channels clear.

  Many people manage to make it through life in the Old Jerusalem consciousness without running into serious trouble. They are neither remarkably happy nor terribly unhappy. But they never become aware of the tremendous good that is truly theirs. In the Old Jerusalem consciousness many do run into trouble. It may be a mental, moral, physical, or financial problem that suddenly appears.

  People in general, mystified by the swiftness with which trouble may come, do not understand the vulnerability and variableness of the human consciousness. When our state of mind is dependent on people, places, and conditions, we can swing from very high states to very low states. We are up one day and down the next. Sometimes we think all our troubles are over, and without warning we find ourselves under attack from all kinds of woes. In this way, we are like the citizens of Old Jerusalem, who would go to bed one night confident of their safety and wake up the next morning to see the Assyrians or Babylonians on the horizon. When this happens, we should not condemn ourselves or feel that we have been guilty of unforgivable sin. All that is wrong is that we have been depending on a human watchman rather than the Lord to protect our city of consciousness.

  In the New Testament there are some significant prophecies concerning the fate of Old Jerusalem. ". . . there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:4) The Old Jerusalem, the human striving, must fail in the long run. Trouble then can actually be a blessing, for it may portend a divine awakening.

  We know that some people cannot accept Truth until old ways prove to be completely unworkable. Sometimes, when the human sense is overwhelmed and life appears hopeless, the individual undergoes a spiritual transformation that completely changes his life. William James noted the frequency of this in his book about the varieties of religious experience. People who seemed to be in total defeat from a problem of one kind or another have experienced some of the most spectacular spiritual awakenings.

It is in just such a crisis state that our true redemption may come. In a moment of apparent defeat, we can completely surrender to the waiting Spirit. It is then that we may grasp the vision of The Holy City in all its beauty and purity. This is God's gift to man, coming down from heaven — Christ Consciousness — the day when there will be no more curse and no more sorrowing, when God Himself will dwell with men and be their God and they will be His people.

There is a New Heaven and a New Earth. The old world is gone and forgotten. The Holy City stands beside a tideless sea, and there is no longer any need of moon or stars by night, or sun to shine by day. In F. E. Weatherly's beautiful words, "The light of God is in its streets, its gates are open wide, and all who would might enter, and no one is denied." (from "The Holy City")

These striking statements tell us about the true nature of the Christ Consciousness, which is the New Jerusalem or The Holy City. This is man's goal, to grow into the Christ Consciousness, the same mind that was in Jesus Christ. The sea of human experience is tideless in this wonderful new consciousness; there is no longer the ebb and flow that was characteristic of former times. There are no longer gradations of light in the Christ Consciousness. At all times we have all of God's illumination we need to guide our way.

The Holy City is true one-ness with God. It is a level of mind that has left behind all limited, materialistic, and chronological thinking . . . and all which we now call evil. In The Holy City of the Christ Mind, there is no trace of pride, greed, anger, fear; there are no conditions to cause pain or suffering. In The Holy City, the Omnipresence of God is believed and practiced constantly; it is not something that one considers now and then, and abandons when it seems convenient to do so. In the Christ Mind, there is a complete realization of God's inherencies: Love, Life, Power, Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding, and Joy. These inherencies were realized by Jesus Christ, and they can be realized by any individual when he is willing to become conscious of his true spiritual nature.

  We emphasize the individual unfoldment in our teaching, but we rarely stop to consider the marvelous possibilities of a rapid spiritual awakening sweeping over large segments of society. Brother Mandus, whom most of us have heard speak in this country, writes that he is witnessing the development of a New Christ Age in his travels about the world. He sees a great spiritual awakening that is growing in strength and power. It begins with individuals and is transforming the world in a hundred ways that are invisible to the materialist or to the sensualist.

This is not surprising if one understands the Scriptures.  Great spiritual transformations take place at a time when there is a growing disillusionment with materialism and a steady deterioration of old values and cherished customs and institutions. The Old Jerusalem of the human consciousness is being surrounded by armies of cynicism, anxiety, and apathy. While the props and settings of the old order are being systematically dismantled and destroyed, the New Christ Age is moving onto the world's stage.

The Holy City will come to each man individually, but it will also come to men collectively so that the conditions of society will reflect the Christ Consciousness. I am led to believe that The Holy City of the Christ Consciousness is the next dwelling-place for man on this earth. Here we shall experience "a new heaven and a new earth . . . . having the glory of God."

This article is a condensation of an address given at the First Divine Science Church of Denver on July 3, 1966.It was published in the September 1967 edition of ASPIRE TO BETTER LIVING,  a Divine Science publication.