Embassy of Heaven

Newsletter Archive


Midnight Rider Newsletter

Sep-Oct, Year of Our Lord, 1994
Number 945

What's Inside

Your never too small to be effective.



If you think you're too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito!


Bette Reese

Dear Friends,

May the Kingdom of Heaven come unto you.

Our hearts and prayers go out to all who are suffering. Some are heartbroken because their spouses are being destroyed by alcohol abuse or drugs. Others are alone because their spouse will not live with them unless they obey the laws of the State. This is the bearing of the cross, to forsake wife and children, and even our own life, to be His disciple. We pray that as you cleanse yourself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, your spouse will see your holiness and be converted.

A woman who recently visited commented, "Your message does not appeal to me." She considers it too heavy a burden to separate from the kingdoms of this world. "Why don't you just promote loving Jesus?" she asked.

She thinks a loving God would not place any demands upon her. She wants to "love Jesus," without obeying Him. She is like a woman who says she loves her husband, but won't submit.

There are many who call themselves Christians who say they "love Jesus," but they do not take the responsibility of giving their allegiance to Him as their Lord. Their attitude is, "Smile, God loves you."

Yes, God loves us, but He wants us to repent and obey His commands, or we will be lost for eternity.

Our recent visitor does not want to give her allegiance to anyone. Yet, because the State threatens her with force and violence, she submits to the State and it becomes her god.

Too many people loyally serve the State and turn their relationship with God into a lofty romance, instead of a relationship that requires loyalty, allegiance and obedience. Salvation is more than saying, "I love Jesus." Salvation is a full relationship between us and God. "He is the Vine. We are the branches." (John 15:5) And that relationship is not just some romantic notion. It is a full commitment. We must love and obey God, and in loving God, love our neighbor. Then we will know God's love and protection. When we cry out to Him in our trials, He will hear us because we are His, not the world's.

There are millions who say they "love Jesus," but by their fruit, they owe true loyalty and allegiance to the State. Instead of holding fast to God's government, as superior to those of the States and nations, they submit to the heavy burdens of men's statutes. By uniting with the world and its traditions, they separate from the Source of their strength. Becoming friends of the world, they become the enemies of God. (James 4:4)

When our visitor looks at separating from the State, she sees only the giving up of comforts, possessions and friends, and the beginning of persecutions. Yet if she conforms to the State, what will be her end? Those who remain in Babylon share in her sins and shall receive of her plagues. (Revelation 18:4) Those who come out from among them and are separate are the ones our Father receives as His sons and daughters. (2 Corinthians 6:17-18) When she says she "loves Jesus," she has a form of Godliness, but she denies the power thereof. (2 Timothy 3:5) If she does not separate from the world, she will never have the Power to overcome the world.

Our visitor says it is no big deal if she has State licenses and insurance. She does not see the driver license as an act of allegiance to the State. It is just a nuisance. But that nuisance could cost her salvation.

When Jesus calls us, He calls us to die. Giving our allegiance to Jesus Christ involves dying to the things of this world and setting our heart on the heavenly things. But let us not focus on what we give up, but on what we gain.

Following Jesus and forsaking the world means being set at liberty. We are delivered from those who once held us captive against our will. We begin to see the Light, after having sat in darkness. In Jesus, our guilt and shame are removed and our broken hearts healed.

Finally, if we draw near to Jesus Christ, he draws near to us. Through Him, is the peace the world cannot give, eternal life and a river of living water. We need never be thirsty again.

Don't be a part-time Jesus lover. Give Him your all.

Paul Revere, Pastor

Paul Revere waking up the people.

Wilderness Retreat

Do not forget Heaven's last retreat before winter.

The retreat begins informally on Thursday afternoon and ends Sunday afternoon. Simple, wholesome meals and campsites are provided. Donations are appreciated.

Mark your calendar and plan to fellowship with us in the woods. Call and ask for "RETREAT BROCHURE."

Christ is King, NOW

by Charlie Samples

What do you think would happen to you if you went around telling everyone that you had a different King than the rest of the world? What would happen to you if you told people that you were not subject to the same government that they were? Well, if all you did was talk about it, you'd probably be left alone. But what if you started living it? What if you lived your life as if you truly had another King?

I'm not talking about not smoking, drinking, cussing, and messing with women. I'm not talking about not going to movies, or dances. I'm talking about living under the Kingship and authority of no one but Christ! I'm talking about turning your back on this wicked, ungodly, Christ hating, Bible hating system that everyone participates in.

I'm talking about a real separation from the world's system and a walk under the Kingship of Christ. I'm talking about not entering into any covenants and agreements with a "foreign government" or any earthly government for that matter.

The one who has licenses, participates with social security, files 1040's and is in the good hands of Allstate is entangling himself with the affairs of this life in violation of II Timothy 2:4.

Living without those "entanglements" is not some lifestyle that is chosen out of the clear blue. It is because we have another King. Our King does not make those requirements of His subjects. Our King rewards the Laborer -- He doesn't tax him. Our King gives freedom to His subjects -- not restraint. Our King deals fairly and honestly with His subjects. Our King wants men to flourish because of the work of their hands. Our King wants His subjects to live without debt because He knows that the borrower is servant to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7) Conversely, the kingdoms of this world, encourage men to be in debt by giving them tax breaks and incentives for incurring debt and racking up interest.

While "Christians" are supposed to be walking in LIFE with Christ as their King, they are hopelessly bound and chained to this world's system. While they claim LIFE in Christ, they have MORTGAGES for their dwellings. Did anybody ever tell you what that word meant? Well, the prefix, mort means death and the combining word gage means pledge. So we have "Christians" living their lives with death pledges. That sure is walking in the Light, isn't it? Paul told those striving to live in the ways of the Kingdom to "Owe no man anything". . . . (Romans 13:8)

Conformity to the Kingdom of Christ means non-conformity to anything that would jeopardize your obedience and allegiance to your King. It means a change of government. You were following the systems of this world and its "non-governments," but now you have a relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and you will now walk in His Kingdom and walk in His ways. This is not popular. This is not fashionable. Walking in the Kingdom of Christ now poses a threat to those wicked men who have designed and planned for their New One World Order.

If we believe on Him, then the "government" (non-government) will come and take away both our cars and our houses, and our wives, and our children, and ourselves. But praise be to our Great King who is also our Protector and Provider. When we came to Him, we gave up our earthly possessions, and we took up our crosses and followed Him. He will sustain us in our hours of need. He alone is our Defense and Shield.

Living in conformity to the Kingdom of Christ means living a life of obedience and subjection to Him in every single aspect of life; every single breath that we take. Every single word that we speak. Everything that we do and say needs to conform to His Kingdom -- NOW!

Charlie Samples will be speaking at our Wilderness Retreat, which begins September 15, 1994. Charlie Samples is the author of They All Call Him King and The Greatest Hoax.

The Hawk and the Pigeons

An Aesop Fable

A HAWK long had had his eye on a flock of pigeons, but no matter how often he had swooped down upon them from the sky they always had been able to reach their cote in safety. Thinking that it might be his shadow they had spied, he waited for a cloudy day for his next attack, but still to no avail.

At length the hungry hawk decided to use craft instead of attack. From the top of a near-by dead tree he called down to the pigeons: "Why do you prefer this life of constant fear and anxiety when, if you would make me your king, I could patrol the sky and make you safe from any attack that could be made upon you?"

The foolish pigeons, believing the hawk's interest in their welfare to be sincere, called him to the throne as their king and protector. But no sooner was he established there, than he issued an order that every day one pigeon would have to be sacrificed for his dinner.

The Hawk and the Pigeons


(See I Samuel 8:5-22)

Heaven in the News

Los Angeles Times

Is This Oregon?
No, It's Heaven, Pastor Says; State Disagrees

Entering Heaven
Religion: Paul Revere claims a flock of 200 and exemption from worldly laws, including taxation. But officials say unless he pays $10,000 in overdue levies, his 'kingdom' will be confiscated.


SUBLIMITY, Ore. - For pastor Paul Revere, getting into Heaven is easy. It's getting out that's a problem.

The last time Revere drove his white car out of the 34-acre Kingdom of Heaven, he wound up in jail for displaying Heaven license plates and carrying a Heaven-issued driver's license.

State officials haven't heeded Revere's claims of celestial citizenship. Nor do they believe the forested estate Revere calls the Kingdom of Heaven Embassy belongs to God and is thus exempt from county tax rolls.

Heaven owes more than $10,000 in property taxes, and the county plans to foreclose.

The saints strongly object.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is not of this world," Revere says. "The county has declared war on the saints."

Revere, the slender, bearded leader of the Embassy of Heaven church, says it is impossible to serve both God and the state. He and his followers have renounced their worldly identities and function solely as citizens of Heaven.

Revere said his flock numbers 200, but only five of them currently reside in Heaven: Paul and his wife, Rachel, their daughters, Brooke, 14, and Skye, 11, and a scholar named simply Abraham.

The road to Heaven is full of potholes and dust, but the paradisiacal plot is lush with trees, wild berries and a garden. The Revere family and their pet cat live in a spacious wood cabin with a deck overlooking a stream. A small hydroelectric plant provides Heaven with light.

A typical day features Revere preaching on various topics, Abraham working on his own translation of the Bible, and Rachel, Brooke and Skye baking bread and carrying out clerical duties.

"We are an earthly kingdom," Revere said. "Jesus has established his government on Earth, just as it is in heaven."

Verily, he said, there are no taxes in Heaven.

"Jesus did not pay taxes," he said. "My rule is simple: Love God, love neighbor. I don't need 10 books of Oregon statutes to tell me how to live."

Marion County tax collectors say that if the taxes aren't paid during the two-year redemption period, Heaven will be placed on the market.

Jo Stonecipher, the county's assistant legal counsel, said every time a notice is sent to the embassy, "the note comes back asking God to bless us and informing us that the embassy is not part of Oregon and they do not owe taxes."

Revere said he intends to stay faithful to his claim that the state has no authority over God's property.

"I would rather lose my body," he said, "than my soul."

Twice under arrest this year, Revere allowed his body to erode with hunger fasts. He refused every order by police officers, impassively stating that the state had no authority over him.

Revere's speech, sprinkled with admonitions and blessings and a "saith" here and there, offers only harsh words for worldly governments. In short, the state is the Antichrist, and the courts are the Halls of Satan.

"The court is Satan's religion carried on by the state," Revere said. "There is a reason why everyone has an attorney, why the judge wears a black robe. It is part of their satanic worship."

For Revere, to participate in a worldly government is blasphemy. And that is the one charge worthy of expulsion from Heaven.

Revere asks his followers to do what he has done: Become "unyoked" from the governments of the world.

Throw away state-issued driver's licenses and Social Security cards, close bank accounts, give up voting, leave public schools, and tear up library cards. Reject the worldly bonds of car insurance and vehicle registration.

For modest prices, Kingdom citizens can carry Heaven documents, kindly issued by Revere from the embassy in Sublimity, about 20 miles southeast of the seat of State power in Salem.

Revere has issued between 200 and 300 license plates for use in the United States and Mexico. Recently, he began printing passports, complete with embossed gold lettering and a watermark from Heaven.

Pastor Revere showing Heaven Passport

"I'm a bureaucrat for Jesus," he said,

Currency may be next, although Revere said, "I don't believe handling a Federal Reserve note is condemnation." He said the group prefers to use gold and silver. They also rely on generous gifts, ranging from bags of wheat to computer systems, from area Christians.

Revere said Heaven's income from cash sales of license plates, documents and brochures is God's business, and no one else's.

Membership lists are closed as well, and Heaven citizens are impossible to track except by their former worldly identities, which are secret. Revere refused to utter his former name or that of his wife, Rachel.

Revere considers the Kingdom a sovereign nation. He established the outpost in 1987 to serve citizens living in what he calls foreign lands such as Oregon, Utah and Texas. He hopes to have embassies in every foreign state someday.

Heaven citizens are accountable only to God, Revere said, and he considers "arbitrary regulation" such as the speed limits to be no more than a good idea.

At least a dozen Heaven drivers have been caught speeding in the United States, then carted off to jail for their other-worldly documentation.

Revere said he expects to be arrested again himself for not showing up for his next court date this month, but he doesn't seem concerned.

"Just because they pretend that we are not God's people but residents of the State of Oregon," he said, "doesn't change anything."

The foregoing article appeared on the Associated Press wire and was printed in newspapers across America from Everett, Washington to Toronto, Canada. We thank everyone who sent us copies of the articles that appeared in local newspapers.

As a result of the newspaper article, I was a guest on radio talk shows and several television producers are interested in featuring our story.

Radio Interview

(Highlights from a one-hour program)

The John and Kent Show
KFI AM 640, Los Angeles, California
6:00 P.M. August 23, 1994

Host KFI AM 640 for stimulating talk radio. Thank you for making us the number one afternoon talk show in Southern California.
Our guest is Paul Revere. He heads the Church up in Oregon, called the Embassy of Heaven. His 34-acre property is known as the "Kingdom of Heaven." He and his followers have seceded more or less from the State of Oregon and the rest of the country.
Now according to the Associated Press story which was printed in the L.A. Times Sunday, Marion County claims that you owe them 10,000 dollars, and if you're not going to pay up during a two-year redemption period, they're going to seize your house and put it on the market to sell. Is this true? Is that what they want to do
Paul That's what they're threatening. They are actually not threatening to take my house. They're threatening to take the Embassy of Heaven. And I ask one question, and one question only, What Church do you know that pays county property taxes?
Host Well, I guess you have to file the paper work.
Paul We have. We've noticed them. We've noticed them many times, they refuse to --
Host They won't recognize you?
Paul They refuse to acknowledge that we are here and that we have a ministry.
Host Do they think you are pulling some sort of scam just to escape taxes?
Paul Who would do what we are doing, like going to jail, just for not paying a few taxes? In fact, we are not talking about all taxes because we do pay taxes. It just happens to be there are certain particular taxes that are not owed or due.
Host Would you mind talking with some of our listeners?
Paul That would be fine.
David I just wanted to say to Paul that I think this is tremendous that he has the fortitude and the guts to stand up for the individual sovereignty that is not granted by any government on earth but was granted by the Kingdom of God. If more individuals in this country thought the way Paul did, I dare say that we would not have nearly half the problems that we do today in this country.
And there is one thing that I wanted to mention with respect to the property taxes. If people are so happy with the services they get from government, why don't they ever volunteer to pay more in taxes. I have never been able to figure that out.
Cohost Paul, is this some sort of protest against the idea of having government from a philosophical point of view and not a religious point of view?

Rachel, Skye, Paul, Brooke, and Abraham

Paul We are a government ourselves, so how can I be against government? I'm a bureaucrat. I'm a bureaucrat for Jesus.
Host But Paul, I'm not nearly as religious as you are. So when I talk about government, I am talking about the United States government because I pay into it at the moment, OK?
Paul The Kingdom of Heaven is also a government on this earth. In fact, ours is documented and is much older than the United States of America. Ours has been here for about 2,000 years. So when you talk to me about government, we're probably one of the oldest established governments on this earth.
Host Let's go to Laurie here in Orange. You're on KFI with John and Kent, go ahead.
Laurie OK, I have three brief points. First, I feel Paul is an embarrassment to Christians. It is people like that, which make it difficult to be a Christian. Number two, Jesus Christ, when He walked the earth, He held up a coin when they asked Him, "Do you pay taxes?" And He said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." Third, He also taught that when people come and start saying that the Kingdom of God is at hand, or the "eleventh hour" as you put it, that they are false, that there are many more things to come before He returns. And so I feel total upset at the embarrassment that he causes me being a Christian.
Host That is a rather stinging rebuke. Paul, do you have a response toward her?
Paul Sure, I'd like to respond. The foundations are being overlooked. Actually, you need to draw up an organizational chart. And let's put it really in perspective. It turns out that most churches which claim to be Christian churches are technically State Christian churches.
Laurie Paul, you are comparing yourself to other churches. I am speaking to you.
Paul OK, I am assuming you are coming from a State Christian church incorporated under the State, rather than your church being incorporated under the Kingdom of Heaven.
Laurie I am assuming that you drive the roads of your town and that there are certain taxes for the upkeep of those roads.
Paul Yes, we do pay those taxes. We pay 100 percent of all road-use taxes.
Host You just don't want to pay your property tax.
Paul Unfortunately, we have too many things going here.
Host Paul, Paul, you have to understand that what you propose, what you have set up sounds like a "dodge" that you just don't want to play by the rules the rest of us want to play by. You don't want to pay the property taxes. You don't want to pay for your license. You don't want to pay for registration. You don't want to play in the game that we all have to play, and you have declared yourself a Church. And this sounds like a very slick dodge that you have set up.
Laurie Which is something that Jesus Christ would not do, but what Paul professes, the Pharisees certainly did.
Paul Let's go to Matthew 22:21, which is the one you stated on "Render to Caesar that which is Caesar's. Render to God that which is God's," and most people forget the last half.
You have to remember, the Pharisees came to Jesus, "to trick him." It was not posed as a question to get any intelligence, but to trick Him. And so He said, "Bring me the tribute money," and of course, what did they bring Him? They brought Him Caesar's coin, and He says, "Well then render to Caesar that which is Caesar's and render to God that which is God's." The foundation that we are missing is that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is founded upon the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus, as King, brought us the Kingdom. We have all forgotten what it says in the Lord's prayer. "Our Father who art in Heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth."
Host Paul! This is boring!
We know all the prayers, OK? A lot of us have heard all the Bible verses and all. But you set up a Church and you seceded from the Union, you seceded from the State. You consider all the other States foreign lands.
Paul You must be "born again to see the Kingdom of Heaven," and all we are doing is complying with the Scripture. In other words, I have repented from the kingdoms of this world and I am now born in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Cohost Actually, I understand this. He is reverting back to what he believes is the true religious truth.
Dan I'm calling from Sodom and Gomorrah, better known as Los Angeles. Paul, I think you are doing a good job against our local talk show hosts. You're putting up a good argument there.
Paul Well, I can see why they're the most famous talk show around, it's a pretty nice environment.
Dan You know, I don't know why we pay the property taxes year after year, anyway. It is just like registering your car every year, why not every month? I think it is totally ridiculous. I am just curious, do you have weapons in the area, or would you fight to defend it?
Paul Let's make sure I get this very clear. Yes, we have weapons. It is the Word of God. We do not use carnal weapons. In other words, we will strictly resort to the Word of God as our defense.
Host All right, thanks for calling KFI Dan. Let's go to Mark. You're on KFI with John and Kent.
Mark I just want to state that Mr. Revere is in violation of Article IV, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution. And it states very simply in one sentence, "No new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State."
Paul Let me help you out. We didn't form a new State. Again, our government is older than yours. Ours came before your Constitution. The Kingdom of Heaven was here first.
Mark No, if you are going to coin your own money, you are going to issue a passport, you are going to issue a driver's license, you are, in essence, another State, even if you wanted to call yourself another nation.
Cohost But he's representing God. God's a higher authority than U.S. government.
Mark Oh, I see. Well, I'd like to know who his attorney is because I'm going to establish the State of, the kingdom of Mars, how does that sound?
Cohost Oh sure, go ahead. It might fly.
Paul Welcome to the persecution.
Cohost Yes, really, you'll face what he's been facing.
Host Paul, let me ask you, you're a devout believer in the Bible and you're representing God, trying to do God's work. Mark could declare himself a representative of his own god and declare his own little fiefdom as well. I mean there is no way to prove you're right, him wrong and visa-versa.
Paul That's right. Scripture says there are many gods, but for us, there is only one.
Host Well, how do we know you're not a phony? Or how do we know that you are not some sort of scam artist?
Paul We need to prove all things and you guys are putting a fire underneath us and we're trying to see how well we do in your fire. And either there will be a fourth Man with us or not.
Host You know, "Burn in our fire!" Let's go to Norm.
Norm Hey, I wanted to ask Paul if I could get involved in this, it sounds pretty good to me.
Paul If you want to contact us and you want to become a real believer, simply write to: Heaven, 97385-0077 and we will receive your mail.
Host Thanks for coming on with us.
Paul I really appreciate this opportunity, and may His Peace be with you.


Paul, by what authority do you do these things?

Same authority as the birds.I ask you, by what authority do the birds sing? By that same authority, I do the things I do.


Heaven Road Report
News from those traveling with Heaven licenses.

Heaven Road ReportHeaven License Found Valid

Date of Arrest: August 17, 1994
Ambassador: Larry L. Russell
Mission Field: Ohio

I was arrested for "No Operator's License," although the citation did indicate that I provided an Embassy of Heaven Driver License. After six days of fasting in jail, all charges were dismissed and I was released without signing anything. The written DISMISSAL stated, "It appears that the defendant has a valid Oregon license."

Court Transcript of Arraignment

COURT Mr. Russell, let me inform you, according to the U-10.100, the license which you produced was from the Embassy of Heaven Church, Sublimity, Oregon. That is not a license which is recognized by the State of Ohio.
Larry Sir, the State of Ohio may not recognize the Embassy of Heaven, but the Embassy of Heaven -- Jesus has jurisdiction over us all.
COURT Mr. Russell, the Court, at this particular time, is naturally going to regard your remarks as a plea of not guilty to these charges.
Larry I object.
COURT Mr. Russell, you can object all you want. The record is being made. And due to the fact that you are an out-of-state resident, there will be a $2,000 cash or surety bond on the "no ops" and a recognizance bond on the speeding charge.
Larry I object.
COURT And the Court orders the defendant to submit to a psychiatric evaluation --
Larry I object.
COURT -- for the purpose of determining his competency to stand trial. The Court further orders the public defender to render such services as can be provided to the defendant, who rejects such assistance.
Larry I do.
Lawyer Do you want me to enter on the case, Judge?
COURT I would think. At this particular time the Court is making some observation that the defendant is not sufficiently competent to represent himself.
Larry I object to this. I do not want an attorney to give you jurisdiction over me.
COURT Well, Mr. Russell, whether you like it or not, I do have jurisdiction over you, and the Court is exercising that jurisdiction.
You will be held in jail until you either post bond or go to trial in these matters, and you will submit to a psychiatric evaluation. Your refusal to submit to a psychiatric evaluation would keep you in jail even longer.
Larry I object.
COURT You can object again, as I have noted.
And I will enter you as counsel on behalf of his defense.
Lawyer We'll enter a not guilty, request jury, time not waived; and I will enter as counsel for the record, Your Honor.
Larry I object. I do not want any attorney to represent me.
COURT Mr. Russell, believe it or not, you may not have that right.
Larry I believe that we're in America, aren't we?
COURT That's correct, sir, but the Court also has an obligation, Mr. Russell, not to allow people to represent themselves if the Court has determined that they are not competent to represent themselves.
Larry Well, I object to that statement.
COURT I'm saying, based on your conduct and comportment today, and based upon the statement of facts, you haven't got it all together right now. You may be sincere in your beliefs, but you are somewhat off the wall, in my opinion, at this time.
Larry When the people were murdered out in Waco, when women and children were burned -- and they should have been basically called as hostages -- and they murdered them, when they killed Randy Weaver's wife, when they shot Warden Call (sic) in the back -- I don't think I can support your organization, Judge Romanoff.
COURT Well, your choice, Mr. Russell. There's a lot of other countries in the world, if you want to move there.
Larry Why don't you export me?
COURT I don't have the authority.
Larry No, jurisdiction.
COURT Authority.
Larry No, jurisdiction.
COURT That will be all at this time. (End of transcript)

Notice how the judge applied psychological warfare against Larry, leaving him no hope of getting out of jail without bowing down to them. Larry did not succumb to the pressures of the court or jail. He stood firm until the end and established his conviction. All charges were dismissed. The DISMISSAL ENTRY ordered by judge Jackson made this surprising statement regarding Larry's Heaven driver license, "It appears that the defendant has a valid Oregon license."

Gandhi Embraces Kingdom

We can learn much about overcoming our adversaries from Mahatma Gandhi. He was a little brown man from India who led his people to freedom from British tyranny, without firing a single shot. Gandhi was killed by an assassin's bullet in 1948. Nearly a million people attended the funeral procession.

Gandhi died as he had always lived, a quiet man, without wealth, without property, without official title or office. Mahatma Gandhi was not the commander of armies, nor a ruler of vast lands. He could not boast any scientific achievement or artistic gift. George C. Marshall said, "Mahatma Gandhi was the spokesman for the conscience of mankind. He was a man who made humility and simple truth more powerful than empires."

Gandhi was raised a Hindu. He purchased his first Bible while he was a law student in England. He read the book of Genesis, but the following chapters invariably sent him to sleep. He plodded through the remaining books of the Old Testament with much difficulty and without the least interest or understanding. He especially disliked reading the book of Numbers.

But the New Testament produced a different impression, especially the Sermon on the Mount. The words went straight to his heart. It appealed to him greatly that renunciation of the world was the highest form of religion. He was excited about attending a church where members hungered and thirsted for righteousness and loved their enemies. At his first church service, he fell asleep. He was looking for a congregation of devout souls. What he found was a group of worldly-minded people going to church for recreation and conformity to custom.

While he was a young lawyer in Africa, he was refused permission to join a Christian church because he was an Indian. Yet this young man had fed on the words of Jesus, and wished to join the cause and embrace the Spirit of Jesus. Even though he never officially became a Christian, he produced more fruit of a true Christian, than many who claim the name.

Though Gandhi was trained as a lawyer, he soon found the lawyer's profession was a liar's profession. He knew that if he encouraged his client or witness to lie, they could win the case. But he always resisted the temptation. When he started using "passive resistance," he found something far more powerful than law for overcoming those who oppressed him.

Gandhi taught that no individual, group, or nation need submit to any wrong, nor need they go to war to right that wrong. There is a third way - passive resistance. "Don't give suffering, take it," Gandhi said.

Gandhi used the weapon of "passive resistance" to overcome tyranny. Passive, in its original root form, means "to suffer quietly, patiently." Gandhi would resist, not by inflicting suffering, but by taking suffering on himself. It was really not a passive resistance; it was an active resistance from a higher level.

The opponent strikes you on your cheek, and you strike him on the heart by merely turning the other cheek. You take the offensive from him by refusing to pick up his weapons of violence. He hits your body. You strike his conscience.

Those who are called to bring about radical changes in the world cannot do so except by raising a ferment in society. There are only two methods of doing this: violent and nonviolent. Violent pressure is felt on the physical being, and it degrades the one who uses it. But nonviolent pressure exerted through self-suffering, as through fasting, works in an entirely different way. It does not touch the physical body, but it touches and strengthens the moral fiber of those against whom it is directed.

Gandhi said "passive resistance," is an all-sided sword. It blesses the one who uses it and blesses the ones it is used against. And not a drop of blood is drawn. The sword of passive resistance never rusts, and it cannot be stolen. It does not require a scabbard and one cannot be forcibly dispossessed of it. It is quite plain that passive resistance is infinitely superior to physical force, and that it requires greater courage than the latter.

In winning freedom for India, Gandhi realized that it could not be secured by reason alone. It must be purchased with suffering. "Suffering is the law of human beings; war is the law of the jungle. But suffering is infinitely more powerful than the law of the jungle for converting the opponent and opening his ears, which are otherwise shut, to the voice of reason . . . The appeal to reason is more to the head, but the penetration of the heart comes from suffering. It opens up the inner understanding in man."

It is a Christ-love that would right a wrong by taking suffering. It is love facing evil, facing military might, facing injustice, with an infinite capacity to take it without flinching. It is returning love for hate, overcoming evil with good, and conquering the world by the cross.

The greatness of Gandhi consisted in the fact that he would not look at the end results. He would use the right means, and the right result would follow. Gandhi said, "You must not worry whether the desired result follows from your action or not, so long as your motive is pure, your means correct. Really, it means that things will come right in the end if you take care of the means and leave the rest to Him."

Mahatma Gandhi


Gandhi's life, principles and power are vividly shown in the movie, "GANDHI," starring Ben Kingsley.