True Christianity #0

True Christianity (Rose translation)

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True Christianity

By Emanuel Swedenborg, Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ

Daniel 7:13-14: I saw visions in the night, and behold, there was someone coming with the clouds of the heavens - someone like the Son of Humankind. He was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom. All peoples, nations, and tongues will worship him. His dominion is a dominion of an age that will not pass, and his kingdom is one that will not perish.

Revelation 21:1-2, 5, 9-10: I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And the angel spoke with me saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. "And [the angel] carried me away in the spirit to the top of a mountain great and high, and showed me the great city, holy Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

The One sitting on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new; and said to me, Write, because these words are true and trustworthy. "

[Author's] Table of Contents

The Faith of the New Heaven and the New Church in Both Universal and Specific Forms / 1-3

Chapter 1: God the Creator

The Oneness of God

1. The whole of Sacred Scripture teaches that there is one God, and therefore so do the theologies of the churches in the Christian world. / 6-7

2. The recognition that God exists and that there is one God flows universally from God into human souls. / 8

3. As a result, every nation in the whole world that possesses religion and sound reason acknowledges that God exists and that there is one God. / 9-10

4. For various reasons, different nations and peoples have had and still have a diversity of opinions on the nature of that one God. / 11

5. On the basis of many phenomena in the world, human reason is capable of perceiving and concluding, if it wants to, that God exists and that there is one God. / 12

6. If there were not one God the universe could not have been created or maintained. / 13

7. Those who do not acknowledge God are cut off from the church and damned. / 14

8. Nothing about the church is integrated in people who acknowledge many gods rather than one. / 15

The Underlying Divine Reality or Jehovah

1. The one God is called Jehovah from "being," that is, from the fact that he alone is [and was] and will be, and that he is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega. / 19

2. The one God is substance itself and form itself. Angels and people are substances and forms from him. To the extent that they are in him and he is in them, to that extent they are images and likenesses of him. / 20

3. The underlying divine reality is intrinsic reality and is also an intrinsic capacity to become manifest. / 21-22

4. The intrinsic, underlying divine reality and intrinsic capacity to become manifest cannot produce anything else divine that is intrinsically real and has an intrinsic capacity to become manifest. Therefore another God of the same essence is impossible. / 23

5. The plurality of gods in ancient times, and nowadays as well, has no other source than a misunderstanding of the underlying divine reality. / 24

The Infinity of God: His Immensity and Eternity

1. God is infinite because he is intrinsic reality and manifestation, and all things in the universe have reality and manifestation from him. / 28

2. God is infinite because he existed before the world - before time and space came into being. / 29

3. Since the world was made, God has existed in space independently of space, and in time independently of time. / 30

4. God's infinity in relation to space is called immensity; in relation to time it is called eternity. Yet although these are related, there is nonetheless no space in God's immensity, and no time in his eternity. / 31

5. From many things in the world, enlightened reason can see the infinity of God. / 32

6. Every created thing is finite. The Infinite is in finite objects the way something is present in a vessel that receives it; the Infinite is in people the way something is present in an image of itself. / 33-34

The Essence of God: Divine Love and Wisdom

1. God is love itself and wisdom itself. These two constitute his essence. / 37

2. Because goodness comes from love and truth comes from wisdom, God is goodness itself and truth itself. / 38

3. Because God is love itself and wisdom itself, he is life itself in its essence. / 39-40

4. Love and wisdom are united in God. / 41-42

5. The essence of love is loving others who are outside of oneself, wanting to be one with them, and blessing them from oneself. / 43-45

6. These essential characteristics of divine love were the reason the universe was created, and they are the reason it is maintained. / 46-47

God's Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence

1. It is divine wisdom, acting on behalf of divine love, that has omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. / 50-51

2. We cannot comprehend God's omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence unless we know what the divine design is, and unless we learn that God is the divine design, and that he imposed that design on the universe as a whole and on everything in it as he created it. / 52-55

3. In the universe and everything in it, God's omnipotence follows and works through the laws of its design. / 56-58

4. God is omniscient; that is, he is aware of, sees, and knows everything down to the least detail that happens in keeping with the divine design, and by contrast is aware of, sees, and knows what goes against the divine design. / 59-62

5. God is omnipresent in his design from beginning to end. / 63-64

6. Human beings were created as forms of the divine design. / 65-67

7. The more we follow the divine design in the way we live, the more we receive power against evil and falsity from God's omnipotence, receive wisdom about goodness and truth from God's omniscience, and are in God because of God's omnipresence. / 68-70

The Creation of the Universe

None of us can get a fair idea of the creation of the universe unless some preliminary global concepts (which are listed) first bring our intellect into a state of perception. / 75

The creation of the universe is the topic of five memorable occurrences. / 76-78-80

Chapter 2: The Lord the Redeemer

1. Jehovah God came down and took on a human manifestation in order to redeem people and save them. / 82-84

2. Jehovah God came down as the divine truth, which is the Word; but he did not separate the divine goodness from it. / 85-88

3. In the process of taking on a human manifestation, God followed his own divine design. / 89-91

4. The "Son of God" is the human manifestation in which God sent himself into the world. / 92-94

5. Through acts of redemption the Lord became justice. / 95-96

6. Through those same acts the Lord united himself to the Father and the Father united himself to him. / 97-100

7. Through this process God became human and a human became God in one person. / 101-103

8. When he was being emptied out he was in a state of progress toward union; when he was being glorified he was in a state of union itself. / 104-106

9. From now on, no Christians will go to heaven unless they believe in the Lord God the Savior. / 107-108

10. A supplement about the state of the church before and after the Lord's Coming / 109

Redemption

1. Redemption was actually a matter of gaining control of the hells, restructuring the heavens, and by so doing preparing for a new spiritual church. / 115-117

2. Without that redemption no human being could have been saved and no angels could have continued to exist in their state of integrity. / 118-120

3. The Lord therefore redeemed not only people but also angels. / 121-122

4. Redemption was something only the Divine could bring about. / 123

5. This true redemption could not have happened if God had not come in the flesh. / 124-125

6. Suffering on the cross was the final trial the Lord underwent as the greatest prophet. It was a means of glorifying his human nature. It was not redemption. / 126-131

7. Believing that the Lord's suffering on the cross was redemption itself is a fundamental error on the part of the church. That error, along with the error about three divine Persons from eternity, has ruined the whole church to the point that there is nothing spiritual left in it anymore. / 132-133

Chapter 3: The Holy Spirit and the Divine Action

1. The Holy Spirit is the divine truth and also the divine action and effect that radiate from the one God, in whom the divine Trinity exists: the Lord God the Savior. / 139-141

2. Generally speaking, the divine actions and powerful effects meant by the Holy Spirit are the acts of reforming and regenerating us. Depending on the outcome of this reformation and regeneration, the divine actions and powerful effects also include the acts of renewing us, bringing us to life, sanctifying us, and making us just; and depending on the outcome of these in turn, the divine actions and powerful effects also include the acts of purifying us from evils, forgiving our sins, and ultimately saving us. / 142-145

3. In respect to the clergy, the divine actions and powerful effects meant by "the sending of the Holy Spirit" are the acts of enlightening and teaching. / 146-148

4. The Lord has these powerful effects on those who believe in him. / 149-152

5. The Lord takes these actions on his own initiative on behalf of the Father, not the other way around. / 153-155

6. Our spirits are our minds and whatever comes from them. / 156-157

A supplement to show that although the Holy Spirit is frequently mentioned in the New Testament, nowhere in the Old Testament do we read that the prophets spoke from the Holy Spirit; they spoke from Jehovah God / 158


The Divine Trinity

1. There is a divine Trinity, which is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. / 164, 165

2. These three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are three essential components of one God. They are one the way our soul, our body, and the things we do are one. / 166-169

3. This Trinity did not exist before the world was created. It developed after the world was created, when God became flesh. It came into existence in the Lord God the Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ. / 170, 171

4. At a conceptual level, the idea of a trinity of divine persons from eternity (meaning before the world was created) is a trinity of gods. This idea is impossible to wipe out just by orally confessing one God. / 172, 173

5. The apostolic church knew no trinity of persons. The idea was first developed by the Council of Nicaea. The council introduced the idea into the Roman Catholic church; and it in turn introduced the idea into the churches that have since separated from it. / 174-176

6. The Nicene and Athanasian views of the Trinity led to a faith in three gods that has perverted the whole Christian church. / 177, 178

7. The result is the abomination of desolation and the affliction such as will never exist again, which the Lord foretold in Daniel, the Gospels, and the Book of Revelation. / 179, 180, 181

8. In fact, if the Lord were not building a new heaven and a new church, the human race would not be preserved. / 182
9. Many absurd, alien, imaginary, and misshapen ideas of God have come into existence from the Athanasian Creed's assertion of a trinity of persons, each of whom is individually God. / 183, 184


Chapter 4: Sacred Scripture, the Word of the Lord

1. Sacred Scripture, the Word, is divine truth itself. / 189-192

2. The Word has a spiritual meaning that has not been known until now. / 193
(1) What the spiritual meaning is / 194


There is a heavenly divine influence, a spiritual divine influence, and an earthly divine influence that emanate from the Lord. / 195
(2) A demonstration that there is a spiritual meaning throughout the Word and in every part of it / 196, 197, 198

The Lord spoke in correspondences when he was in the world. While he was talking in an earthly way, he was also talking in a spiritual way. / 199
(3) It is the spiritual meaning that makes the Word divinely inspired and holy in every word. / 200
(4) The spiritual meaning has been unknown until now; but it was known to ancient peoples. They also knew about correspondences. / 201-207

(5) From this point on, the spiritual meaning will be given only to people who have genuine truths from the Lord. / 208
(6) The Word has amazing qualities because of its spiritual meaning. / 209

3. The Word's literal meaning is the foundation, the container, and the structural support for its spiritual and heavenly meanings. / 210-213

4. In the literal meaning of the Word, divine truth exists in its completeness, holiness, and power. / 214, 215, 216

(1) By their correspondence, the precious stones that constituted the foundations of the New Jerusalem mentioned in the Book of Revelation mean the truths in the Word's literal meaning. / 217

(2) The Urim and Thummim on Aaron's ephod correspond to the things that are good and true in the Word's literal meaning. / 218

(3) The precious stones from the Garden of Eden that the king of Tyre is said to have worn (see Ezekiel 28:12-13) mean the outermost kind of goodness and truth - the kind found in the Word's literal meaning. / 219

(4) The curtains, veils, and pillars in the tabernacle represented the same thing. / 220

(5) The same thing is also meant by the exteriors of the Temple in Jerusalem. / 221

(6) When the Lord was transfigured he represented the Word in its glory. / 222

(7) The Nazirites represented the power of the Word in its outermost form. / 223

(8) The Word has indescribable power. / 224

5. The church's body of teaching has to be drawn from the Word's literal meaning and supported by it. / 225, 229, 230

(1) The Word is not understandable without a body of teaching. / 226, 227, 228

(2) [A body of teaching has to be drawn from the Word's literal meaning and supported by it. / 229, 230]

(3) The genuine truth in the Word's literal meaning, the truth that is needed for a body of teaching, becomes manifest only to those who have enlightenment from the Lord. / 231, 232, 233

6. The Word's literal meaning provides a connection to the Lord and association with angels. / 234-239

7. The Word exists throughout the heavens; it is the source of angelic wisdom. / 240, 241, 242

8. The church is based on the Word; the nature of the church in individuals depends on their understanding of the Word. / 243-247

9. There is a marriage between the Lord and the church, and therefore a marriage between goodness and truth, in the individual details in the Word. / 248-253

10. We may derive heretical ideas from the Word's literal meaning, but we are condemned only if we become adamant about those ideas. / 254-260

(1) Many things in the Word are apparent truths; real truths lie hidden inside them. / 257

(2) Becoming adamant about apparent truths leads to false ideas. / 258

(3) The Word's literal meaning is a protection for the genuine truths that lie inside it. / 260

(4) Angel guardians mean the Word's literal meaning; that is what they stand for in the Word. / 260

11. While in the world, the Lord fulfilled everything in the Word; by doing so he became the Word or divine truth even on the last or outermost level. / 261, 262, 263

12. Before the Word that exists in the world today, there was a Word that has been lost. / 264, 265, 266

13. Because of the Word, even people who are outside the church and who do not have the Word have light. / 267-272

14. If the Word did not exist, no one would know about God, heaven, hell, or life after death, still less about the Lord. / 273-276

Chapter 5: The Catechism, or Ten Commandments, Explained in Both Its Outer and Its Inner Meanings

1. The Ten Commandments were the holiest thing in the Israelite church. The text here also contains material about how holy the ark was considered to be because of the law that was kept inside it. / 283-286

2. In their literal meaning, the Ten Commandments contain general principles of faith and life; in their spiritual and heavenly meanings, they contain absolutely everything. / 287-290

3. The first commandment: There is to be no other God before my face. / 291-296

4. The second commandment: You are not to take the name of Jehovah your God in vain, because Jehovah will not hold guiltless someone who takes his name in vain. / 297-300

5. The third commandment: Remember the Sabbath day in order to keep it holy; for six days you will labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath for Jehovah your God. / 301-304

6. The fourth commandment: Honor your father and your mother so that your days will be prolonged and it will be well with you on earth. / 305-308

7. The fifth commandment: You are not to kill. / 309-312

8. The sixth commandment: You are not to commit adultery. / 313-316

9. The seventh commandment: You are not to steal. / 317-320

10. The eighth commandment: You are not to bear false witness against your neighbor. / 321-324

11. The ninth and tenth commandments: You are not to covet your neighbor's household; you are not to covet your neighbor's wife or his servant or his maid or his ox or his donkey or anything that is your neighbor's. / 325-328

12. The Ten Commandments contain everything about how to love God and how to love our neighbor. / 329-331

Chapter 6: Faith

Prefatory remarks: From the standpoint of time, faith is primary, but from the standpoint of purpose, goodwill is primary. / 336

1. The faith that saves us is faith in the Lord God our Savior Jesus Christ, / 337-339

because he is a God who can be seen, in whom is what cannot be seen. / 339

2. Briefly put, faith is believing that people who live good lives and believe the right things are saved by the Lord. / 340-342

The first step toward faith in him is acknowledging that he is the Son of God. / 342


3. The way we receive faith is by turning to the Lord, learning truths from the Word, and living by those truths. / 343-348

The underlying reality of this faith; the essence of this faith; the states of this faith; the form this faith takes / 344
Merely earthly faith is actually a persuasion that pretends to be faith. / 345-348

4. Having a quantity of truths that are bound together like strands in a cable elevates and improves our faith. / 349-354

The truths of faith can be multiplied to infinity. / 350
Truths of faith come together to form structures that are like fascicles of nerves. / 351
Our faith improves depending on the quantity of truths we have and how well they fit together. / 352, 353
However numerous these truths of faith are and however divergent they appear, they are united by the Lord. / 354
The Lord is the Word; the God of heaven and earth; the God of all flesh; the God of the vineyard, or the church; the God of faith; the light itself; the truth itself; and eternal life (includes quotations from the Word). / 354


5. Faith without goodwill is not faith. Goodwill without faith is not goodwill. Neither of them is living unless it comes from the Lord. / 355-361

(a) We are able to acquire faith for ourselves. / 356
(b) We are able to acquire goodwill for ourselves. / 357
(c) We are also able to acquire the life within faith and goodwill for ourselves. / 358
(d) Nevertheless, no faith, no goodwill, and none of the life within faith or goodwill come from ourselves; instead they come from the Lord alone. / 359


The difference between earthly faith and spiritual faith. When we believe in the Lord, our earthly faith has spiritual faith within it. / 360, 361

6. The Lord, goodwill, and faith form a unity in the same way our life, our will, and our intellect form a unity. If we separate them, each one crumbles like a pearl that is crushed to powder. / 362-367

(a) The Lord flows into everyone with all his divine love, all his divine wisdom, and all his divine life. / 364
(b) Therefore the Lord flows into everyone with the entire essence of faith and goodwill. / 365
(c) The qualities that flow in from the Lord are received by us according to our state and form. / 366
(d) If we separate the Lord, goodwill, and faith, however, instead of being a form that accepts these qualities we are a form that destroys them. / 367


7. The Lord is goodwill and faith within us. We are goodwill and faith within the Lord. / 368-372

(a) Our partnership with God is what gives us salvation and eternal life. / 369
(b) It is impossible for us to have a partnership with God the Father. What is possible is a partnership with the Lord, and through the Lord, with God the Father. / 370
(c) Our partnership with the Lord is reciprocal: we are in the Lord and the Lord is in us. / 371
(d) This reciprocal partnership between the Lord and us comes about through goodwill and faith. / 372


8. Goodwill and faith come together in good actions. / 373-377

(a) "Goodwill" is benevolence toward others; "good works" are good actions that result from benevolence. / 374
(b) Goodwill and faith are transient and exist only in our minds unless, when an opportunity occurs, they culminate in actions and become embodied in them. / 375, 376

(c) Goodwill alone does not produce good actions; even less does faith alone produce them. Good actions are produced by goodwill and faith together. / 377


9. There is faith that is true, faith that is illegitimate, and faith that is hypocritical. / 378-381

From its cradle, the Christian church was attacked and torn apart by schisms and heresies. / 378
(a) There is only one true faith; it is faith in the Lord God our Savior Jesus Christ. It exists in people who believe that he is the Son of God, that he is the God of heaven and earth, and that he is one with the Father. / 379
(b) Illegitimate faith is all faith that departs from the one and only true faith. Illegitimate faith exists in people who climb up some other way and view the Lord not as God but only as a human being. / 380
(c) Hypocritical faith is no faith at all. / 381


10. Evil people have no faith. / 382-384

(a) Evil people have no faith, because evil relates to hell and faith relates to heaven. / 383
(b) All people in Christianity who are dismissive of the Lord and the Word have no faith, no matter how morally they behave or how rationally they speak, teach, or write, even if their subject is faith. / 384


Chapter 7: Goodwill (or Loving Our Neighbor) and Good Actions

1. There are three universal categories of love: love for heaven; love for the world; and love for ourselves. / 394, 395, 396

(1) The will and the intellect / 397
(2) Goodness and truth / 398
(3) Love in general / 399
(4) Love for ourselves and love for the world in specific / 400
(5) Our outer and inner selves / 401
(6) People who are merely earthly and sense-oriented / 402
2. When the three universal categories of love are prioritized in the right way they improve us; when they are not prioritized in the right way they damage us and turn us upside down. / 403, 404, 405

3. All individual members of humankind are the neighbor we are to love, but [in different ways] depending on the type of goodness they have. / 406-411

4. The neighbor we are to love is humankind on a wider scale in the form of smaller and larger communities and humankind in the aggregate as a country of such communities. / 412, 413, 414

5. On an even higher level, the neighbor we are to love is the church, and on the highest level, our neighbor is the Lord's kingdom. / 415, 416

6. Loving our neighbor is not in fact loving the person but loving the goodness that is inside the person. / 417, 418, 419

7. Goodwill and good actions are two distinct things: wishing people well and treating them well. / 420, 421

8. Goodwill itself is acting justly and faithfully in our position and our work and with the people with whom we interact. / 422, 423, 424

9. Acts of kindness related to goodwill consist in giving to the poor and helping the needy, although with prudence. / 425-428

10. There are obligations that are related to goodwill. [Some of them are public]; some relate to the household; and some are personal. / 429-432

11. The recreations related to goodwill are lunches, dinners, and parties. / 433, 434

12. The first step toward goodwill is removing evils; the second step is doing good things that are useful to our neighbor. / 435-438

13. As long as we believe that everything good comes from the Lord, we do not take credit for the things we do as we practice goodwill. / 439-442

14. A life of goodwill is a moral life that is also spiritual. / 443, 444, 445

15. A bond of love that we form with others without considering their spiritual nature is damaging after death. / 446-449

16. There are such things as illegitimate goodwill, hypocritical goodwill, and dead goodwill. / 450-453

17. The bond of love between evil people is actually a deep mutual hatred. / 454, 455a and b

18. The connection between loving God and loving our neighbor. / 456, 457, 458

Chapter 8: Free Choice

1. The precepts and dogmas of the church of today regarding human free choice / 463, 464, 465

2. The fact that two trees - the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil [Genesis 2:9] - were placed in the Garden of Eden means that free choice in spiritual matters has been granted to humankind. / 466-469

3. We are not life, but we are vessels for receiving life from God. / 470-474

4. As long as we are alive in this world, we are held midway between heaven and hell and kept in spiritual equilibrium there, which is free choice. / 475-478

5. The fact that evil is an option available to everyone's inner self makes it obvious that we have free choice in spiritual matters. / 479-482

6. If we had no free choice in spiritual matters, the Word would be useless and therefore the church would be nothing. / 483, 484

7. If we had no free choice in spiritual matters, there would be nothing in us that would allow us to forge a partnership with the Lord, and therefore [there would be] no ascribing [of goodness to us], only mere predestination, which is detestable. / 485
This section brings to light how horrible the notion of predestination is. / 486, 487, 488

8. If we had no free choice in spiritual matters, God would be the cause of evil, and we could not be credited [with goodwill or faith]. / 489-492

9. Every spiritual gift the church has to offer that comes to us in freedom and that we freely accept stays with us; what comes to us in other ways does not. / 493-496

10. Although our will and intellect exist in this state of free choice, the doing of evil is forbidden by law in both worlds, the spiritual and the earthly, since otherwise society in both realms would perish. / 497, 498, 499

11. If we did lack free choice in spiritual matters, then in a single day everyone on the whole planet could be induced to believe in the Lord; but in fact this cannot happen, because what we do not accept through our free choice does not stay with us. / 500, 501, 502

Miracles are not happening today because they are coercive; they take away our free choice in spiritual matters. / 501


Chapter 9: Repentance

1. Repentance is the beginning of the church within us. / 510, 511

2. The "contrition" that is nowadays said to precede faith and to be followed by the consolation of the Gospel is not repentance. / 512-515

3. By itself, an oral confession that we are sinners is not repentance. / 516-519

4. From birth we have a tendency toward evils of every kind. Unless we at least partly remove them through repentance, we remain in them, and if we remain in them we cannot be saved. / 520-524

What "fulfilling the law" really means / 523, 524

5. Having a concept of sin and then looking for sin in ourselves is the beginning of repentance. / 525, 526, 527

6. Active repentance is examining ourselves, recognizing and admitting our sins, praying to the Lord, and beginning a new life. / 528-531

7. True repentance is examining not only the actions of our life but also the intentions of our will. / 532, 533, 534

8. Repentance is also practiced by those who do not examine themselves but nevertheless stop doing evils because evils are sinful; this kind of repentance is done by people who do acts of goodwill as a religious practice. / 535, 536, 537

9. We need to make our confession before the Lord God the Savior, and also to beg for his help and power in resisting evils. / 538, 539, 560

10. Active repentance is easy for people who have done it a few times; those who have not done it, however, experience inner resistance to it. / 561, 562, 563

11. Those who have never practiced repentance or looked at or studied themselves eventually do not even know what damnable evil or saving goodness is. / 564, 565, 566

Chapter 10: Reformation and Regeneration

1. Unless we are born again and created anew, so to speak, we cannot enter the kingdom of God. / 572-575

2. The Lord alone generates or creates us anew, provided we cooperate; he uses both goodwill and faith as means. / 576, 577, 578

3. Because we have all been redeemed, we are all capable of being regenerated, each of us in a way that suits the state we are in. / 579-582

4. Regeneration progresses analogously to the way we are conceived, carried in the womb, born, and brought up. / 583-586

Some thoughts on the masculine and feminine sexes in the plant kingdom / 585
5. The first phase in our being generated anew is called "reformation"; it has to do with our intellect. The second phase is called "regeneration"; it has to do with our will and then our intellect. / 587-590

6. Our inner self has to be reformed first; our outer self is then reformed through our inner self. This is how we are regenerated. / 591-595

7. Once our inner self is reformed, a battle develops between it and our outer self; whichever self wins will control the other self. / 596-600

8. When we have been regenerated, we have a new will and a new intellect. / 601-606

9. People who have been regenerated are in fellowship with the angels of heaven; people who have not been regenerated are in fellowship with the spirits of hell. / 607-610

10. The more we are regenerated, the more our sins are laid aside; this relocating of them is the "forgiving of sins. " / 611-614

11. Regeneration would be impossible without free choice in spiritual matters. / 615, 616, 617

12. Regeneration is not possible without the truths that shape faith and are joined with goodwill. / 618, 619, 620

Chapter 11: The Assignment of Spiritual Credit or Blame

1. The faith of the church of today, which is claimed to be the sole thing that makes us just, and the belief that Christ's merit is assigned to us amount to the same thing. / 626, 627

2. The concept of assigning that is part of the faith of today has a doubleness to it: there is an assigning of Christ's merit, and there is an assigning of salvation as a result. / 628-631

3. The concept of a faith that assigns us the merit and justice of Christ the Redeemer first surfaced in the decrees of the Council of Nicaea concerning three divine persons from eternity; from that time to the present this faith has been accepted by the entire Christian world. / 632-635

4. The concept of a faith that assigns the merit of Christ was completely unknown in the apostolic church that existed before the Council of Nicaea; and nothing in the Word conveys that concept either. / 636-639

5. The merit and justice of Christ cannot be assigned to anyone else. / 640, 641, 642

6. There is an assigning of spiritual credit, but it is based on whether our actions have been good or evil. / 643-646

7. There is no way in which we can simultaneously hold the views of the new church and the views of the former church on faith and the assignment of spiritual credit; if we did hold both these views at once, they would collide and cause so much conflict that everything related to the church would be destroyed in us. / 647, 648, 649

8. The Lord ascribes goodness to everyone; hell ascribes evil to everyone. / 650-653

9. It is what our faith is united to that determines the verdict we receive. If we have a true faith that is united to goodness, the verdict is eternal life; if we have a faith that is united to evil, the verdict is eternal death. / 654-657

10. No spiritual credit or blame is assigned to us on the basis of what we think; it is assigned only on the basis of what we will. / 658, 659, 660

Chapter 12: Baptism

1. Without knowing that the Word has a spiritual meaning, no one can know what the two sacraments (baptism and the Holy Supper) entail and what they do for us. / 667, 668, 669

2. The washing called baptism means a spiritual washing, which is the process of being purified from evils [and falsities] and therefore the process of being regenerated. / 670-673

3. Baptism was instituted as a replacement for circumcision because circumcision of the foreskin symbolized circumcision of the heart; the intent was to create an internal church to replace the external church, which as a whole and in every detail was an allegory of that internal church. / 674, 675, 676

4. The first function of baptism is to bring people into the Christian church and at the same time to bring them into the company of Christians in the spiritual world. / 677-680

5. The second function [of baptism] is for Christians to know and acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as Redeemer and Savior, and to follow him. / 681, 682, 683

6. The third function of baptism, and its ultimate purpose, is to lead us to be regenerated. / 684-687

7. The baptism of John prepared the way so that Jehovah God could descend into the world and bring about redemption. / 688[-691]

Chapter 13: The Holy Supper

1. Without knowing about the correspondences of physical things with spiritual things, no one can know the functions and benefits of the Holy Supper. / 698-701

2. When we know correspondences, we realize what "the Lord's flesh" and "the Lord's blood" mean; we see that they mean the same thing as "bread" and "wine" do. That is, "the Lord's flesh" and "bread" mean the divine goodness that comes from his love and also all the goodness related to goodwill, and "the Lord's blood" and "wine" mean the divine truth that comes from his wisdom and also all the truth related to faith; "eating" them means making them our own. / 702-710

Passages from the Word are quoted:

to show the meaning of: "flesh"; / 704, 705

to show the meaning of "blood"; / 706
to show the meaning of "bread"; / 707
to show the meaning of "wine. " / 708
3. Understanding what has just been presented makes it possible to see that the Holy Supper includes all the qualities of the church and all the qualities of heaven, both generally and specifically. / 711-715

4. The Lord himself and his redemption are fully present in the Holy Supper. / 716, 717, 718

5. The Lord is present and opens heaven to those who approach the Holy Supper worthily; he is also present with those who approach it unworthily, but he does not open heaven to them. Therefore as baptism brings us into the church, so the Holy Supper brings us into heaven. / 719, 720, 721

6. We come forward worthily to take the Holy Supper when we have faith in the Lord and goodwill toward our neighbor - that is, when we have been regenerated. / 722-724

7. When we come forward worthily to take the Holy Supper, we are in the Lord and the Lord is in us; therefore through the Holy Supper we enter into a partnership with the Lord. / 725, 726, 727

8. When we come forward worthily to take it, the Holy Supper functions as [God's] signature and seal confirming that we have been adopted as his children. / 728, 729, 730

Chapter 14: The Close of the Age; the Coming of the Lord; and the New Church

1. The "close of the age" means the end of the church, when its time is over. / 753-756

2. Today the church is at its end; the Lord foretold and described this event in the Gospels and in the Book of Revelation. / 757, 758, 759

3. This, the Christian church's final hour, is the same kind of night in which the former churches came to an end. / 760-763

4. After this night comes the morning, which is the Lord's Coming. / 764-767

5. The Lord's Coming is not his coming to destroy the visible heaven and the inhabitable earth and to create a new heaven and a new earth, as many have supposed because they have not understood the Word's spiritual meaning. / 768-771

6. The purpose of this coming of the Lord - his Second Coming - is to separate the evil from the good, to save those both past and present who believe in him, and to form them into a new angelic heaven and a new church on earth; if he did not do this, "no flesh would be saved" (Matthew 24:22). / 772-775

7. This Second Coming of the Lord is not taking place in person but in the Word, since the Word is from him and therefore he is the Word. / 776, 777, 778

8. This Second Coming of the Lord is taking place by means of someone to whom the Lord has manifested himself in person and whom he has filled with his spirit so that that individual can present the teachings of the new church on the Lord's behalf through the agency of the Word. / 779, 780

9. "The new heaven" and "the new Jerusalem" in the Book of Revelation chapter 21 mean this [Second Coming of the Lord]. / 781-785

10. This new church is the crown of all the churches that have ever existed on this planet. / 786-791

Additional Material

1. The nature of the spiritual world / 792-795

2. Luther in the spiritual world / 796
3. Melanchthon in the spiritual world / 797
4. Calvin in the spiritual world / 798-799

5. The Dutch in the spiritual world / 800-805

6. The British in the spiritual world / 806-812

7. Germans in the spiritual world / 813-816

8. Roman Catholics in the spiritual world / 817-821

9. Roman Catholic saints in the spiritual world / 822-827

10. Muslims in the spiritual world / 828-834

11. Africans, and non-Christians in general, in the spiritual world / 835-840

12. Jews in the spiritual world / 841-845

Go to section / 853  

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