True Christianity #281

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281. The fifth memorable occurrence. The Lord has allowed me to be in the spiritual world and the physical world at the same time. As a result, I can talk with angels as I do with people, which has allowed me to know the states people go through as they arrive after death in that previously unknown world. I have spoken to all my friends and relatives and also to monarchs and dukes, as well as to scholars who had met their fate. I have done this continually now for twenty-seven years. Therefore from my own life experiences I am able to describe the states people go through after death. I could tell you what they are like for people who have lived good lives and what they are like for people who have lived evil lives. Here I will limit myself to some facts about the states people go through if they used the Word to convince themselves of theological falsities, especially if they did so to support justification by faith alone. The successive states they go through are the following:

(1) When they have died and are spiritually coming back to their own life, which generally happens on the third day after their heart has stopped beating, they seem to themselves to have the same body they had had in the world - so much so that they have no idea they are not still alive in the former world. In fact, they no longer have a physical body; they now have an essential body, which seems to their senses to be physical, but it is not.

[2] (2) After several days they realize they are in a world where various different communities have been established. That world is called the world of spirits. It is midway between heaven and hell. All the communities there, which are beyond number, are arranged in an amazing way according to good or evil earthly desires. The communities that are arranged according to good earthly desires communicate with heaven; the communities arranged according to evil earthly desires communicate with hell.

[3] (3) The new spirits (or people who are no longer physical) are taken around and transferred to various different communities - both good and evil communities - and examined to see whether things that are good and true elicit a response in them, or things that are evil and false, and exactly what that response is.

[4] (4) If they respond to things that are good and true, they are led away from evil communities and brought into good ones, again into various different communities until they come into one that answers to their own earthly desire. There they enjoy the goodness that corresponds to that desire. This process lasts until they take off their earthly desire and put on a spiritual one. At that point they are raised up into heaven.

This is what happens to people who lived a life of goodwill in the world and a resulting life of faith - people who believed in the Lord and abstained from evil because it is sinful.

[5] (5) On the other hand, if people used reasoning to reinforce their own false convictions and beliefs - especially if they used the Word for such reinforcement - and on that basis lived a merely earthly, purely evil life (for falsities go with evils, and evils stick to falsities), they desire evil and falsity but not goodness or truth. Therefore they are led away from good communities and brought into evil communities, again into various different communities until they come to one that answers to their cravings.

[6] (6) Nevertheless, because they had outwardly pretended in the world to have good desires, even though inside they had only evil desires, or cravings, they are alternately put back into, and held in, their outer states.

The people who had been leaders of organizations in the world are given leadership roles in communities in the world of spirits. They are put in charge of larger or smaller areas depending on the breadth of the positions they had previously held. Because these people do not love truth or justice, though, and are incapable of being enlightened to the point of even knowing what truth and justice are, they are dismissed after a few days. I have seen some transferred from one community to another and given administrative responsibilities in each community, but in every case after a short while they are dismissed.

[7] (7) After being repeatedly forced out of office, some are too worn out to run for further offices, and others do not dare to do so because they are afraid of ruining their reputation; so they leave and sit around feeling depressed. Then they are taken out into the wilderness where there are shelters. They enter these shelters and are given work to do. If they do the work they get food. If they do not, they go hungry. But eventually their need for food forces them to work.

(Food there is like the food in our world, except that there it has a spiritual origin. The Lord gives food from heaven to all according to the useful things they do. None is given to idle people, because they are useless.)

[8] (8) After some time they get tired of working, so they leave the shelters. Those of them who were priests get the urge to build something. Immediately there appear heaps of hewn stones, bricks, and boards of various sizes, as well as piles of rushes, reeds, clay, plaster, and tar.

When they catch sight of these materials, they feel a burning desire to begin construction. They start constructing a building by taking a stone, then a piece of wood, then a reed, then some mortar, and they put one thing on top of another in no order, although in their sight it seems orderly. The things they build by day fall down overnight, so the next day they pick materials out of the fallen rubble and start building again. They keep doing this until they get completely tired of building.

(This happens because of a correspondence with the fact that they had piled passages from the Word together to support false beliefs. These false beliefs build the church in exactly the way just described.)

[9] (9) Afterward, feeling bored, they leave and sit idle and alone. Because, as I just mentioned, idle people get no food from heaven, they begin to starve and cannot think about anything else except how they are going to get food and satisfy their hunger.

When they are in this state, people come along, so they beg for a little money from the people. The people say, "Why are you sitting idly like this? Come with us to our homes. We'll give you work to do and we'll feed you. " So they happily get up and go off to the people's homes. There they are given their own jobs to do and are given food in exchange for their work. The problem is that all people who have become adamant about false beliefs are unable to do work that is good and useful. They can only do work that is evil and harmful. They cannot work faithfully; they can work only fraudulently and unwillingly. Therefore they leave their work. The only things they love to do are socializing and talking, walking around, and sleeping. At that point their bosses can no longer induce them to work; therefore they are exiled as useless.

[10] (10) Once they have been exiled, their eyes open and they see a road that heads down to a cave. When they arrive at the cave, a door opens and they go in. They ask whether there is food there. When they receive a positive answer, they ask permission to stay and are told that they may. They are taken in and the door closes behind them.

Then the person in charge of the cave comes and says to them, "You can no longer leave. Look at your companions here. They all labor, and as they labor food is given to them from heaven. I'm telling you this so that you'll know what's going on. "

Others add, "The person in charge of us knows what type of work each of us is well suited to do and orders us to do that daily work. On the days when you do your work, you get food. If you don't do your work, you don't get food or clothing. Anyone who does something evil to someone else is thrown into a corner of the cave onto a bed of accursed dust. There the evildoer is horribly tormented until the person in charge sees some sign of repentance. At that point the evildoer is released and ordered back to work. "

[11] The newcomers are also told that after their work they are each allowed to go for a walk or socialize, and later on to sleep. The newcomers are taken deeper into the cave where there are harlots. Each man is allowed to have one of them and call her his partner, but he is forbidden by law to sleep with other partners.

Hell consists of caves like this that are nothing but eternal workhouses. I have been allowed into some of them to look around for the purpose of reporting on them.

All the people there seemed lower class. They did not know who they had been or what work they had done in the world. The angel who was with me, however, told me, "This one was a servant, this one a soldier, this one a general, this one a priest; this one held a high position; this one had wealth. Yet for all they know now, they were slaves and companions back then as well. This is because they were similar inside, although very different on the outside. It is the inner selves that associate people in the spiritual world. "

[12] To speak more generally about the hells, they consist entirely of caves and workhouses like this; but they are different where there are satans as opposed to devils. The spirits called satans focused on false beliefs and were evil as a result. The spirits called devils focused on evil and had false beliefs as a result. In the light of heaven, satans appear gray like corpses; some look as dark as mummies. In the light of heaven, devils, on the other hand, look as if they are darkly glowing; some look pitch black, as black as soot. All the above have the faces and bodies of monsters. Yet in their own light, which is like the light from glowing coals, they do not look like monsters; they look like people. This has been granted to them so that they can interact.

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True Christianity 1-3 1. The whole of Sacred Scripture teaches that God exists and that there is one God, and therefore so do all the theologies of the churches in the Christian world. The whole of Sacred Scripture teaches that God exists, because at the core of Sacred Scripture there is nothing but God, or the divine 6-7 2. The recognition that God exists and that there is one God flows universally from God into human souls. There is an inflow from God into us. This is obvious from everyone's ready admission that everything good that is truly good and that exists in us and is done by us is from God. 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. From the divine inflow into human souls, discussed just above, it follows that in everyone there is an inner voice saying that God exists and that there 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. The first reason for this is that knowledge about God and therefore acknowledgment of God is not possible without revelation; and knowledge of the Lord and 11 5. On the basis of many phenomena in the world the human reason is capable of perceiving and concluding, if it wants to, that God exists and that there is one God. This truth can be corroborated by countless phenomena in the visible world [around us], for the universe is like a stage on which 12 6. If there were not one God the universe could not have been created or maintained. We can infer the oneness of God from the creation of the universe, because the universe is a work connected together as one thing from beginning to end, all dependent on one God as the body depends on its soul. 13 7. Those who do not acknowledge God are cut off from the church and damned. People who do not acknowledge God are cut off from the church because the whole point of the church is God, and because the things related to God that are called theological teachings give the church its structure. 14 8. Nothing about the church is integrated in people who acknowledge many gods rather than one. People who acknowledge one God in their belief and worship one God in their heart are in the communion of saints on earth and the communion of angels in the heavens. 15 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. "Jehovah" means "I am" and "to be," as is generally known. 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. Because God is the underlying reality, he is also substance. 20 3. The underlying divine reality is intrinsic reality, and is also an intrinsic capacity to become manifest. Jehovah God is intrinsic reality because from eternity to eternity he is the I Am, the Absolute, and the first and only thing from which comes everything that exists and to which 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. In 8 above I showed that the oneness of God is written into each human mind at the deepest level, since it is central to all things that flow from God 24 1. God is infinite because he is intrinsic reality and manifestation, and all things in the universe have reality and manifestation from him. So far I have shown that God is one, that he is the Absolute, that he is the primary reality that underlies all things, and that all that exists, takes 28 2. God is infinite because he existed before the world, before space and time came into being. The physical world has time and space. The spiritual world, on the other hand, lacks actual time and space, although it does have apparent time and space. 29 3. Since the world was made, God has existed in space independently of space, and in time independently of time. God, and the divine emanation that comes directly from him, is not in space, yet he is omnipresent and is with every human being in the world, every angel in heaven, and every spirit 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. I will list a number of things that human reason can view as evidence of God's infinity. 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 1. God is love itself and wisdom itself. These two constitute his essence. All the infinite things in God and all the infinite things radiating from him relate to two essentials: love and wisdom. Our earliest ancestors saw this relationship. 37 2. Because goodness comes from love and truth comes from wisdom, God is goodness itself and truth itself. Everyone knows that all things relate to goodness and truth (which is an indication that all things come from love and wisdom). Everything derived from love is called good. It feels good. 38 3. Because God is love itself and wisdom itself, he is life itself, or life in itself. The Gospel of John says, The Word was with God, and the Word was God. In it there was life, and that life was the light for humankind (John 1:1, 4). 39-40 4. Love and wisdom are united in God. All the goodness of love and goodwill comes from God, and so does all the truth of wisdom and of faith, as any wise person in the church knows. 41-42 5. The essence of love is loving others who are outside oneself, wanting to be one with them, and blessing them from oneself. Two things - love and wisdom - constitute the essence of God; but three things constitute the essence of God's love: his loving others who are outside of himself, his 43-45 6. These essentials of divine love were the reason the universe was created, and they are the reason it is maintained. By examining and scrutinizing the three essentials of divine love, one can come to see that they were the reason for creation. 46-47 1. It is divine wisdom, acting on behalf of divine love, that has omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence belong to divine wisdom acting on behalf of divine love, not to divine love acting through divine wisdom. 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. God is omnipotent, because he has all power from himself. All others have power from him. God's power and his will are one. 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. God's omnipresence in his design from beginning to end is a function of the heat and light from the sun that surrounds God in the spiritual world. The divine design was created through this sun. 63-64 6. Human beings were created as forms of the divine design. We have been created as forms of the divine design because we have been created as images and likenesses of God, and since God is the design itself, we have therefore been created as images and likenesses of that 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 75-80 Chapter 2: The Lord the Redeemer 81-84 2. Jehovah God came down as the divine truth, which is the Word; but he did not separate the divine goodness from it. Two things constitute the essence of God: divine love and divine wisdom; or, what is the same, divine goodness and divine truth. 85-88 3. In the process of taking on a human manifestation, God followed his own divine design. In the section on divine omnipotence and omniscience we showed that in the act of creating, God introduced his design into the universe as a whole and into each and every thing in it. 89-91 4. The "Son of God" is the human manifestation in which God sent himself into the world. The Lord frequently says that the Father sent him, or that he was sent by the Father (for example, Matthew 10:40; 15:24; John 3:17, 34; 5:23-24, 36-38; 6:29, 39-40, 44, 57; 7:16, 18, 28-29; 8:16, 18, 29, 42; 92-94 5. Through acts of redemption the Lord became justice. Christian churches nowadays say and believe that merit and justice belong to the Lord alone because of the obedience he gave in this world to God the Father and especially because of his suffering on the cross. 95-96 6. Through those same acts the Lord united himself to the Father and the Father united himself to him. Acts of redemption brought about this union because the Lord performed these acts in his human manifestation. 97-100 7. Through this process God became human and a human became God in one person. From all the previous sections in this chapter it follows that Jehovah God became human and a human became God in one person. 101-103 8. When the Lord 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. The church recognizes that the Lord had two states while he was in the world: one called being emptied out; the other called glorification. 104-106 9. From now on, no Christians will go to heaven unless they believe in the Lord God the Savior and turn to him alone. We read in Isaiah, "Behold, I am creating a new heaven and a new earth, and the earlier heaven and earth will not be remembered or overwhelm the heart. 107-108 A Supplement 109 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. I can say with absolute certainty that these three actions are redemption, because the Lord is bringing about redemption again today. 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. First I need to say what redemption is. 118-120 3. The Lord therefore redeemed not only people but also angels. This follows from something stated in the previous point: no angels could have continued to exist without being redeemed by the Lord. The following reasons supplement those already given. 121-122 4. Redemption was something only the Divine could bring about. If you knew what hell is like, and you knew how high it swelled and how it flooded the entire world of spirits at the time of the Lord's coming, and you saw the great power with which the Lord cast hell down and scattered it and 123 5. This true redemption could not have happened if God had not come in the flesh. The preceding point showed that redemption was something only the Divine could bring about - for anyone other than God Almighty it would have been impossible. 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, that is, of uniting that nature to his Father's divine 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 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. The Holy Spirit really means the divine truth; therefore it also means the Word. 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 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. The actions of the Lord listed in the preceding point - reforming, regenerating, renewing, bringing to life, sanctifying, justifying, 146-148 4. The Lord has these powerful effects on those who believe in him. The Lord has the powerful effects meant by the sending of the Holy Spirit on those who believe in him; that is, these are the people he reforms, regenerates, renews, brings to life, sanctifies, justifies, purifies from evils, 149-152 5. The Lord takes these actions on his own initiative on behalf of the Father, not the other way around. The reference to "taking actions" in this opening sentence means the same thing as "sending the Holy Spirit," since the processes listed above - reforming, regenerating, renewing, bringing 153-155 6. Our spirits are our minds and whatever comes from them. Our "spirit" really means nothing else but our mind. Our mind is what lives on after death. It is then called a spirit. If it is good, it is called an angelic spirit and later on an angel. 156-157 A Supplement 158 1. There is a divine Trinity, which is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is very obvious in the Word that there is a divine Trinity, which is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Take the following passages for example: 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. In any given thing there are general essential components and there are also specific essential components. 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. This 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 that has perverted the whole Christian church. On the Nicene and Athanasian Trinity being a trinity of gods, see the evidence from those creeds given above at 172. 177-178 7. The result is the abomination of desolation and the affliction such as has never existed before and will never exist again, which the Lord foretold in Daniel, the Gospels, and the Book of Revelation. In Daniel we read the following words: 179-181 8. In fact, if the Lord were not building a new heaven and a new church, the human race would not be preserved. We read in Matthew, 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} 189-192 2. The Word Has a Spiritual Meaning That Has Not Been Known until Now 193 1. What the spiritual meaning is. The spiritual meaning is not the meaning that comes to light from the Word's literal meaning when someone examines and explains the Word in order to support some dogma of the church. 194 There is a heavenly divine influence, a spiritual divine influence, and an earthly divine influence that emanate from the Lord, one after the other. Whatever emanates from the Lord's divine love is called heavenly divine influence; all of it is good. 195 2. There is a spiritual meaning throughout the Word and in every part of it. The best way to see this is through examples as follows: 196-198 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. This is clear from his parables. Every word of them has a spiritual meaning inside. 199 3. It is the spiritual meaning that makes the Word divinely inspired and holy in every word. People in the church say that the Word is holy because the Lord Jehovah spoke it. In the literal meaning by itself, however, the Word's holiness is not apparent. 200 4. The spiritual meaning of the Word has been unknown until now. All things that exist in the material world correspond to something spiritual; likewise all things that exist in the human body, as I have shown in the work Heaven and Hell, 87-115. 201-207 5. From this point on, the spiritual meaning of the Word will be given only to people who have genuine truths from the Lord. The reason for this is that none of us can see the spiritual meaning except with the help of the Lord alone, provided we have divine truths from him. 208 6. The Word has amazing qualities because of its spiritual meaning. In the physical world, no amazing things happen because of the Word, since its spiritual meaning does not appear here and the true nature of that spiritual meaning is not being accepted at any deep level within us. 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, 214-216 1. The precious stones that constituted the foundations of the New Jerusalem () mean the truths in the Word's literal meaning. In 209 above I mentioned that precious stones exist in the spiritual world just as they do in the physical world; their spiritual origin is the truths in the Word's 217 2. The Urim and Thummim on Aaron's ephod mean the things that are good and true in the Word's literal meaning. There were Urim and Thummim on Aaron's ephod. Aaron's priesthood represented the Lord's divine goodness and his efforts to save us. 218 3. The precious stones from the garden of Eden that the king of Tyre is said to have worn mean the same thing. We read in Ezekiel, 219 4. The curtains, veils, and pillars in the tabernacle represented the types of good and truth that exist in the Word's literal meaning. The tabernacle that Moses built in the desert represented heaven and the church, which is why Jehovah revealed the form of it on Mount Sinai. 220 5. The exteriors of the Temple in Jerusalem, as well, represented the types of good and truth that exist in the Word's literal meaning. The Temple represented heaven and the church just as the tabernacle did, although the Temple meant the heaven where the spiritual angels are, while the 221 6. When the Lord was transfigured, he represented the Word in its glory. Of the Lord's transfiguration before Peter, James, and John, we read that his face shone like the sun; his clothing became like light; Moses and Elijah were seen speaking with him; a shining cloud came over the disciples; 222 7. The Nazirites represented the power of the Word in its outermost form. In the book of Judges we read about Samson. He was a Nazirite from his mother's womb. His hair was the source of his strength. A Nazirite and a Naziriteship in fact mean "hair. 223 8. The Word has indescribable power. Nowadays scarcely anyone knows that there is any power in truths. People think that the truth is just something spoken by someone in authority, so it needs to be done; they think the truth is only like a breath from someone's mouth and a sound in someone's 224 5 225 1. The Word is not understandable without a body of teaching, because the Word's literal meaning consists entirely of correspondences whose function is to allow spiritual and heavenly things to coexist in it and every word to be a container and a support for these spiritual and heavenly 226-228 2. A body of teaching has to be drawn from the Word's literal meaning and supported by it. The reason for this is that the Lord is present, teaching and enlightening, in the Word's literal meaning. 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. Enlightenment comes from the Lord alone and affects people who love truths because they are true and who make them useful in 231-233 6 234-239 7 240-242 8 243-247 9 248-253 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 Many things in the Word's literal meaning are apparent truths. Real truths lie hidden inside them. It is not a damning thing to think and say apparent truths in a simple way. It is damning, however, to become adamant about apparent truths, since our becoming adamant destroys the divine truth 257 Becoming adamant about apparent truths in the Word leads us to damnation because it takes those apparent truths in the wrong way and destroys the divine truth they have inside. The reason for this is that each and every thing in the Word's literal meaning communicates with heaven. 258 It is important to know as well that the literal meaning is a protection to prevent harm to the genuine truths that lie inside it. The nature of this protection is that the literal meaning can be turned this way and that and explained to different levels of comprehension without damaging or 260 It is important to know as well that the literal meaning is a protection to prevent harm to the genuine truths that lie inside it. The nature of this protection is that the literal meaning can be turned this way and that and explained to different levels of comprehension without damaging or 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 261-263 12 264-266 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, 273-276 The Ten Commandments Were the Holiest Thing 283-286 In Their Literal Meaning, the Ten Commandments 287-290 The First Commandment 291-296 The Second Commandment 297-300 The Third Commandment 301-304 The Fourth Commandment 305-308 The Fifth Commandment 309-312 The Sixth Commandment 313-316 The Seventh Commandment 317-320 The Eighth Commandment 321-324 The Ninth and Tenth Commandments 325-328 The Ten Commandments Contain Everything 329-331 Chapter 6: Faith 336 1. The Faith That Saves Us Is Faith in the Lord God Our Savior Jesus Christ 337-339 We are to believe or have faith in God our Savior Jesus Christ because this is believing in a God who can be seen, in whom is what cannot be seen. Faith in a God who can be seen - who is both human and divine at the same time - goes deep within us. 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 preceding part of this chapter (337-339) showed that the faith that saves us is faith in the Lord God our Savior Jesus Christ. The question is, what is the first step toward faith in him? The answer 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 the faith of the new church is (1) trust in the Lord God our Savior Jesus Christ; (2) confidence that he saves those who live good lives and believe the right things. 344 Since I have just given a brief list of types of spiritual faith, I will also give a brief list of types of merely earthly faith. Such faith is actually a persuasion that pretends to be faith. It is a false persuasion. It is called heretical 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 [a] The truths of faith can be multiplied to infinity. This is clear from the wisdom of the angels of heaven, which grows forever. In fact, the angels say that there is never an end to wisdom. 350 [b] Truths of faith come together to form structures that are like fascicles of nerves. People are still not aware of this. They do not know about it, because the spiritual truths that form the whole fabric of the Word have been invisible as a consequence of the mystical and enigmatic faith 351 [c] Our faith improves depending on the quantity of truths we have and how well they fit together. This follows from what I said before. Furthermore, it is revealed to anyone who methodically investigates how complex structures function when they are interwoven as one thing: each part 352-353 [d] However numerous these truths of faith are and however divergent they appear, they are united by the Lord who 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. 354 [d] However numerous these truths of faith are and however divergent they appear, they are united by the Lord who 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. 354 5. Faith without Goodwill Is Not Faith; Goodwill without Faith Is Not Goodwill; and Neither of Them Is Living Unless It Comes from the Lord. 355-361 (a) We are able to acquire faith for ourselves. This was shown in the third part of this chapter above, 343-348. This is also clear from the fact that faith in its essence is truth and any of us can acquire truths for ourselves from the Word. 356 (b) We are able to acquire goodwill for ourselves. The situation here is the same as the situation with faith. What else does the Word teach except faith and goodwill? These two are essential for salvation. We read, 357 (c) We are also able to acquire the life within faith and goodwill for ourselves. The situation is again the same. We acquire this life as we go to the Lord, who is life itself. No one's access to him is blocked. He constantly invites every person to come toward him. He says, 358 (d) Nevertheless, no faith, no goodwill, and none of the life within faith or goodwill comes from ourselves; instead they come from the Lord alone. We read, We cannot receive anything unless it is given to us from heaven (John 3:27). 359 In the preceding sections, I stated that our faith starts out as something earthly, but as we move toward the Lord it becomes spiritual; and the same applies to our goodwill. No one yet knows the difference, however, between earthly and spiritual faith and goodwill. 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. In the Book of Creation, we read that we were created in the image of God and that God breathed the breath of life into our nostrils (Genesis 1:27; 2:7). 364 (b) Therefore the Lord flows into everyone with the entire essence of faith and goodwill. This follows from the previous point, since the essence of faith is life from divine wisdom and the essence of goodwill is life from divine love. 365 (c) The qualities that flow in from the Lord are received by us according to our form. "Form" here means our state in regard to love and wisdom. Therefore it includes the state of our desires to do good out of goodwill and the state of our insights about the truths of faith. 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. If we separate the Lord from goodwill and faith, we separate the life from goodwill and faith. 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. Human beings were created with the capability of being in a partnership with God. We were created to be citizens of heaven and also citizens of the world. 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. Scripture teaches this and reason sees it. Scripture teaches that God the Father never has been seen or heard, and never could be. 370 (c) Our partnership with the Lord is reciprocal: the Lord is in us and we are in the Lord. The partnership is reciprocal. Scripture teaches this and reason sees it. The Lord teaches that his partnership with his Father is reciprocal. 371 (d) This reciprocal partnership between the Lord and us comes about through goodwill and faith. Today people know that the church constitutes the body of Christ. People also know that everyone who has the church inside is in some part of that body, as Paul says (Ephesians 1:23; 1 Corinthians 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. Goodwill and good works are two distinct things, just as will and action, or a mental impulse and a physical movement, are two distinct things. 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. We have both a head and a body. They are joined by the neck. 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. The reason for this is that goodwill without faith is not goodwill, and faith without goodwill is not faith, as I have shown above, 355-358. 377 9. There Is Faith That Is True, Faith That Is Illegitimate, and Faith That Is Hypocritical 378-381 9. There Is Faith That Is True, Faith That Is Illegitimate, and Faith That Is Hypocritical 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. There is only one true faith, because faith is truth. 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. All faith that departs from the one true faith is illegitimate. This is self-evident. 380 (c) Hypocritical faith is no faith at all. We become hypocrites when we think about ourselves a great deal and give precedence to ourselves rather than others. By doing this we focus the thoughts and feelings of our mind on our body and invest them there; we unite our thoughts and feelings to 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. Evil relates to hell because everything evil comes from hell. Faith relates to heaven because everything true that is related to faith comes from 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 There Are Three Universal Categories of Love: 394-396 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 inner and outer selves. 401 6. People who are merely earthly and sense-oriented. 402 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 403-405 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 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 412-414 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 Loving Our Neighbor Is Not in Fact Loving the Person but Loving the Goodness That Is inside the Person 417-419 Goodwill and Good Actions Are Two Distinct Things: Wishing People Well and Treating Them Well 420-421 Goodwill Itself Is Acting Justly and Faithfully in Our Position and Our Work and with the People with Whom We Interact 422-424 Acts of Kindness Related to Goodwill Consist in Giving to the Poor and Helping the Needy, Although with Prudence 425-428 There Are Obligations That Are Related to Goodwill. Some of Them Are Public; Some Relate to the Household; and Some Are Personal 429-432 The Recreations Related to Goodwill Are Lunches, Dinners, and Parties 433-434 The First Step toward Goodwill Is Removing Evils; the Second Step Is Doing Good Things That Are Useful to Our Neighbor 435-438 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 A Life of Goodwill Is a Moral Life That Is Also Spiritual 443-445 A Bond of Love That We Form with Others without Considering Their Spiritual Nature Is Damaging after Death 446-449 There Are Such Things as Illegitimate Goodwill, Hypocritical Goodwill, and Dead Goodwill 450-453 The Bond of Love between Evil People Is Actually a Deep Mutual Hatred 454-455 The Connection between Loving God and Loving Our Neighbor 456-458 Chapter 8: Free Choice 463-465 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 We Are Not Life, but We Are Vessels for Receiving Life from God 470-474 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 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 If We Had No Free Choice in Spiritual Matters, the Word Would Be Useless and Therefore the Church Would Be Nothing 483-484 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 Predestination is an offspring of the faith of today's church. It is born from the belief that we are absolutely powerless and have no choice in spiritual matters. It arises from that belief and also from the notions that our conversion to God is more or less passive, that we are like a log, 486-488 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 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 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 497-499 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 500-502 These days people are asking why miracles do not happen any more the way they used to. There is the belief that if they did happen, we would all acknowledge God from the depths of our hearts. 501 Repentance Is the Beginning of the Church within Us 510-511 The "Contrition" That Is Nowadays Said to Precede Faith and to Be Followed by the Consolation of the Gospel Is Not Repentance 512-515 By Itself, an Oral Confession That We Are Sinners Is Not Repentance 516-519 From Birth We Have a Tendency toward Evils of Every Kind. Unless We at Least Partly Lay Them Aside through Repentance, We Remain in Them, and If We Remain in Them We Cannot Be Saved 520-524 There is a saying that no one can fulfill the law, especially since someone who breaks one of the Ten Commandments breaks them all [Matthew 5:19; James 2:10-11]. But this formulaic saying does not mean what it seems to. 523-524 Having a Concept of Sin and Then Looking for Sin in Ourselves Is the Beginning of Repentance 525-527 Active Repentance Is Examining Ourselves, Recognizing and Admitting Our Sins, Praying to the Lord, and Beginning a New Life 528-531 True Repentance Is Examining Not Only the Actions of Our Life but Also the Intentions of Our Will 532-534 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 535-537 We Need to Make Our Confession before the Lord God the Savior, and Also to Beg for His Help and Power in Resisting Evils 538-560 Active Repentance Is Easy for People Who Have Done It a Few Times; Those Who Have Not Done It, However, Experience Tremendous Inner Resistance to It 561-563 Those Who Have Never Practiced Repentance or Looked at or Studied Themselves Eventually Do Not Even Know What Damnable Evil or Saving Goodness Is 564-566 Unless We Are Born Again and Created Anew, So to Speak, We Cannot Enter the Kingdom of God 572-575 The Lord Alone Generates or Creates Us Anew, Provided We Cooperate; He Uses Both Goodwill and Faith as Means 576-578 Because We Are All Redeemed, We Are All Capable of Being Regenerated, Each of Us in a Way That Suits the State We Are In 579-582 Regeneration Progresses Analogously to the Way We Are Conceived, Carried in the Womb, Born, and Brought Up 583-586 Many scholars have pointed out the parallels between human reproduction and the reproduction not just of trees but of all plants. I will add something on the subject here to wrap up this discussion. 585 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 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 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 When We Have Been Regenerated, We Have a New Will and a New Intellect 601-606 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 The More We Are Regenerated, the More Our Sins Are Laid Aside; This Relocating of Them Is the "Forgiving of Sins" 611-614 Regeneration Would Be Impossible without Free Choice in Spiritual Matters 615-617 Regeneration Is Not Possible without the Truths That Shape Faith and Are Joined with Goodwill 618-620 Chapter 11: The Assignment of Spiritual Credit or Blame 626-627 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 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 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 The Merit and Justice of Christ Cannot Be Assigned to Anyone Else 640-642 There Is an Assigning of Spiritual Credit, but in Addition to Whether We Have Faith, It Also Takes into Account Whether Our Actions Have Been Good or Evil 643-646 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 647-649 The Lord Ascribes Goodness to Everyone; Hell Ascribes Evil to Everyone 650-653 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 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 658-660 Chapter 12: Baptism 667-669 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 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 674-676 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 The Second Function of Baptism Is to Allow Christians to Know and Acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as Redeemer and Savior, and to Follow Him 681-683 The Third Function of Baptism, and Its Ultimate Purpose, Is to Lead Us to Be Regenerated 684-687 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 698-701 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, 702-710 In these passages, flesh does not mean flesh, and blood does not mean blood, as all who are enlightened from heaven can sense within themselves. Both terms in their earthly meaning relate to the Lord's suffering on the cross, which people were to remember. 704-705 "The Lord's blood" means the divine truth that belongs to him and to the Word, because the spiritual meaning of his flesh is the divine goodness of his love; these two are united in the Lord. 706 The Lord's words make it very clear that bread means the same thing as flesh: "Jesus took the bread, broke it and gave it [to the disciples] and said, 'This is my body'" (Matthew 26:[26]; Mark 14:[22]; Luke 22:[19]). 707 The Lord's words also make it very clear that wine means the same thing as blood: "Jesus took the cup and said, 'This is my blood'" (Matthew 26:[27-28]; Mark 14:[23-24]; Luke 22:[20]). 708 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 The Lord Himself and His Redemption Are Fully Present in the Holy Supper 716-718 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 719-721 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 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 725-727 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 728-730 Chapter 14: The Close of the Age; the Coming of the Lord; and the New Heaven and the New Church 753-756 Today the Christian Church Is at Its End; the Lord Foretold and Described This Event in the Gospels and in the Book of Revelation 757-759 This, the Christian Church's Final Hour, Is the Same Kind of Night in Which the Former Churches Came to an End 760-763 After This Night Comes the Morning, Which Is the Lord's Coming 764-767 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 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 This Second Coming of the Lord Is Not Taking Place in Person but in the Word, Since the Word Is from Him and He Is the Word 776-778 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 "The New Heaven" and "the New Earth" and "the New Jerusalem Coming Down from Heaven" in the Book of Revelation Mean This [Second Coming of the Lord] 781-785 This New Church Is the Crown of All the Churches That Have Ever Existed on This Planet 786-791 [Additional Material] 792-795 Luther, Melanchthon, and Calvin in the Spiritual World 796 As for Melanchthon, I have been allowed to learn a number of things about the kind of life he had when he first arrived in the spiritual world and how his circumstances changed later on. I learned this not only from angels but also from some interactions of my own with him. 797 As regards Calvin, I have been told the following. (1) When he first arrived in the spiritual world, he firmly believed that he was still in the world where he was born. Despite the fact that he had been told by the angels who were associated with him in the beginning that he was no longer in 798-799 The Dutch in the Spiritual World 800-805 The British in the Spiritual World 806-812 Germans in the Spiritual World 813-816 Roman Catholics in the Spiritual World 817-821 Roman Catholic Saints in the Spiritual World 822-827 Muslims in the Spiritual World 828-834 Africans, and Non-Christians in General, in the Spiritual World 835-840 Jews in the Spiritual World 841-845
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