THE MEANING OF LIFE
The following constitutes a personal view of the afterlife. For a fuller treatment on the subject, see the article on ‘The Afterlife´ in the Folk Beliefs section.
We are created and born in heaven as non-corporeal, spiritual beings. In Israelite mysticism, the term 'son of man' represents these heavenly humans. Those heavenly beings who have ever been born on earth - such as all those of us human beings alive today - are those particular spiritual beings who volunteered to help God fulfil His work in this world. God needs our assistance - God uses us - to maintain the order of the Universe, and more importantly, in implementing His Great Plan. He sends us to Earth in human bodies, but because the knowledge we had during our heavenly lives would otherwise overwhelm our earthly minds, most of us are born without knowledge of where we have come from. However, holy and pious people are those who retain some connection with the mindset of their former heavenly selves.
Most of the spiritual beings in heaven never get to become human; it is only the bravest, strongest and most heroic souls that God sends to Earth. That's right - it's not just people like Yeshua`and the saints that got ‘sent´ here - you and I got sent here too. When God needs a volunteer, He asks, who among them will be able to fulfil the mission of a particular human life, He does not coerce. Since in heaven there is no concept of time, therefore while we are there, we are fully aware of everything that will happen to the human being that we will be living as - we know exactly what we are volunteering for.
The first stage of our lives here on Earth is to grow spiritually, so that we can return our souls back to such a state of mind, whereby we understand what our individual purpose in life was - to recall the reason why we were sent. To do this we need to train ourselves and grow spiritually. We then come to a point where we either recall our purpose, or we attain a sufficient level of spiritual development, whereby we fulfil our purpose without ever having to be fully conscious of it.
Once we have fulfilled our individual missions, at our appointed time, we leave this world, and return to our heavenly home, becoming spiritual beings once more. When we came to Earth, we were pure and unblemished, but because of the bad choices we made in this world, we need to be purified of the bad we have done - nothing bad or impure can re-enter heaven - it's physically impossible. So we spend some time apart from God being purified of our wrongdoing.
Those who have done good things, will see their lives replay as a brilliant display of astounding beauty, and these good things will add to the magnificent sum of the splendour which is already inherent in heaven. At this time we will experience all the happiness and love we ever gave to others. However, those of us who have made bad choices and done bad things, will need to be purified of that bad, until such a time as we fully repent of the wrong we have done. Once we have been cleansed of our wrong, our souls are cleansed whiter than a fuller can bleach them, and we can then re-enter heaven. The time we spend apart from God, this is for the removal of any impurities we may have accumulated within our souls during our time here on Earth. This is achieved by reliving all the pain and hurt we ever caused others, to feel it ourselves, until we experience true remorse for it.
In heaven, all knowledge is available to us, therefore while we are on Earth, we are not necessarily meant to gain or access all the esoteric knowledge of the Universe, but rather sufficient knowledge for each individual to become a human being who will carry out God's work. The knowledge we should reach for while here, is the knowledge that we need to grow spiritually, in order to improve ourselves to such a point, whereby we can fulfil our individual missions. Perfect knowledge of the Universe is not required to be gained while we are here, since an infinity of knowledge and perfect wisdom will be fully available to all of us once we return to heaven.
God's Ultimate Plan
The Great Plan - the eventual purpose, the overall design for sending people to Earth, is first to eventually enable God's kingdom to fully function on Earth (for "God's will to be done on Earth, just as it is in heaven"), and then enable the barrier (or 'veil') between heaven and Earth to be torn down, allowing God to do away entirely with the need to put us in earthly bodies in order to do His will.
At present, in order to do God's work, we need earthly bodies while we are here. It is only in heaven that God's will can at present be perfectly done, because in heaven, there is no choice. God knows the consequence of imposing His will on the world - loss of choice, loss of free will, and beings who love Him only because they have to.
In this world, we must develop to a stage where all of us willingly do God's will. When a sufficient proportion of humanity willingly does God's will, then God will no longer need to put us in earthly bodies - we will remain pure spirit. We will be able to come to Earth with full pre-knowledge of heaven, do God's work, and return to heaven when we are done.
When we understand this, we come to realise that we are not put on Earth for our individual benefit, we are here to do God's will - it's not about ´us´, it's about God's kingdom. We are all fellow servants of our Heavenly Father, working towards the fulfilment of that kingdom.
Knowing this will refocus the emphasis of our spiritual lives. The question is not, "What am I here for to do for me? or, "What am I here to learn for my own benefit? but rather, "How can I improve myself and grow, so that I am better able to understand the work God has sent me here to do?"
The day when the barrier between heaven and earth is dissolved, this is the day when "the wolf shall live with the lamb, and the leopard lie down with the kid - the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze - their young shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of a cobra, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den. They will not hurt or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain, for the Earth will be full of the knowledge of YHVH, just as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:6-9)
These things - which, after all, go against all the normal laws of the PRESENT order of the natural world - are only possible when the barrier between this world and the next is dismantled and the kingdom of God is fulfilled.