The Bible

 

Luke 1:26-38 : The Annunciation to Mary

        

Study the Inner Meaning

26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 2798, 2921, 3305, 3421, 5313, 9229, 10248

Apocalypse Revealed 56, 173, 294, 373, 481, 504, 520, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 44, 120

Conjugial Love 82

The Lord 19, 29, 40, 42

True Christian Religion 82, 88, 92, 93, 98, 111, 112, ...


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 253, 328, 376, 677, 815, 852, 1069, ...

On the Athanasian Creed 30, 38, 216

Canons of the New Church 17, 39, 40, 43

De Domino 38

Justification 10, 13

Spiritual Experiences 4332

Marriage 82, 88, 92, 93, 98, 111, 112

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 13

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Spiritual Topics:




Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Judges 5:24, 6:12, 16

Ruth 3:11

2 Samuel 7:12, 13, 16, 23:5

1 Chronicles 17:12

Psalms 2:7, 45:7, 132:11

Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, 49:1, 5

Jeremiah 23:5

Daniel 2:44, 7:14

Obadiah 1:21

Micah 4:7

Word/Phrase Explanations

sixth
Like most numbers in the Bible, "six" can have various meanings depending on context, but has a couple that are primary. When used in relation...

angel
"Angels" in the Bible represent qualities of the Lord himself, or a variety of things that come directly from the Lord. On a lower level...

Gabriel
Gabriel signifies an angelic society in heaven that is made up of people who teach from the Word, particularly about the Lord’s advent.

city
Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

galilee
Galilee was the northernmost province of Biblical Judea, a hilly area relatively remote from the center of Jewish culture in Jerusalem and bordered by foreigners...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

Fear not
Fear not, as in Revelation 1:17; Daniel 10:5, 12; Matthew 17:5, 7; 28:10, etc., signifies resuscitation to life, and at the same time adoration from...

son
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

highest
'Highest' denotes the 'inmost,' because interior things, with person who is in space, appear as higher things, and exterior things as lower. But when the...

over
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

Jacob
Jacob is told twice that his name will now be Israel. The first time is when he wrestles with an angel on his journey to...

ever
“Age” is used in slightly different ways in natural language, and those differences are reflected in the word’s spiritual meanings. All the variations, though, reflect...

kingdom
In the most general sense, a kingdom in the Bible represents a church. In a more specific sense, a kingdom represents a church in regards...

answered
To "answer" generally indicates a state of spiritual receptivity. Ultimately this means being receptive to the Lord, who is constantly trying to pour true ideas...

ghost
'The seven spirits' in Matthew 12:45 signify all falsities of evil, and as a result, a total extinction of goodness and truth. 'The seven spirits'...

Son of God
The Lord, in some places, calls Himself 'the son of God,' at other times, 'the son of man (ἄνθρωπος).' This is always according to the...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Angel Appears to Joseph
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angel Appears to Mary
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angel Appears to Zacharias
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angelic Appearances at the Time of the Advent
A sermon about the angel Gabriel's appearances to different people and how this pictures aspects of the preparation we must do for the Lord's birth in our own lives. 
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Angel with Mary
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Angel with Zacharias
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Annunciation
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Birth of the Lord
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Blessings: Good Tidings of Great Joy
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Call His Name Jesus
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Christmas Joy and Happiness
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Elizabeth Greets Mary
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 His Name Is John
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 His Name Will Be Called: The Development of the Lord in Our Lives
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Jesus' Childhood
People are born without a set purpose and develop a purpose as they learn and choose a pathway. Jesus was born with an identity and a purpose; He had to discover His identity and become true to it.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 John the Baptist
Compare the birth of John the Baptist with the birth of Jesus Christ. What do the births of these men mean in our lives?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Mary and Elizabeth
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Mary's Song of Praise
Mary's song of praise, often called the Magnificat, in a color border.
Picture | Ages over 15

 Mary Visits Elizabeth
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Naming John the Baptist
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Our Savior
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Picture of the Angel Gabriel
Project | Ages up to 10

 Prophecies of the Advent
Prophecies of Jesus' advent on earth often use the image of new light dawning in darkness to describe the spiritual impact His birth would have on the world.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Quotes: Good Tidings of Great Joy
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: Prophecies of the Advent
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Scroll of Angelic Appearances in Christmas Story
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Angel Appearing to Mary
Use oil pastels and watercolors to show the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary.
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 The Angel Appears to Mary
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Angel Appears to Mary
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Angel Appears to Mary Mobile
Make a simple mobile to show the angel Gabriel coming to tell Mary that she would give birth to a Son and should name Him Jesus.
Project | Ages 3 - 8

 The Angel's Promise to Mary
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 The Annunciation
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Birth of John
Zacharias and Elizabeth were very good people who wanted a child very much. The Lord answered their prayers. John was born to help prepare people to learn from the Lord. Sample from the Jacob's Ladder Program, Introductory Level, for ages 5-6.
Religion Lesson | Ages 5 - 6

 The Birth of John the Baptist
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Birth of John the Baptist
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Magnificat
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Maidservant of the Lord
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 The Mother of the Lord
Imagine what it must have been like to suddenly see an angel and be told such great news.
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 The Name Mary
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Savior
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Spread of the Lord's Word
We can be like the shepherds and others who have spread the good news as we learn about the Lord and find ways to tell people. Maybe this Christmas you can share your enjoyment of the story of the Lord’s birth with a friend or neighbor. Sample from the Jacob’s Ladder Program, Level 5, for ages 10-11.
Religion Lesson | Ages 10 - 11

 Understanding the Virgin Birth
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Zacharias and the Angel
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Zacharias’s Dumbness
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Zacharias Sees Angel
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

Commentary

 

You Shall Bear a Son      

By Rev. Eric Carswell

The Annunciation, 1898, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
By Henry Ossawa Tanner - http://freechristimages.org/biblestories/annunciation.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4864374

"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35

What amazing words these must have been to Mary, a young woman, when she first heard them. Just minutes before she had probably been engaged in some mundane task of daily life in her mother's home, perhaps grinding flour or baking bread, maybe weaving or spinning wool into yarn. If she was like most young women who are shortly to be married, her mind would have been turned to her future life with Joseph, what their home would be like, the children they would have and the life that they would lead together. Happy images of the future would have filled her thoughts. She would have had her hopes, dreams and expectations--images of how her life would be as the future wife of Joseph.

Suddenly with the appearance of the angel Gabriel, her visions of the future contained a new and dramatically different element. The angel told her that she was highly favored and blessed among women, that the Lord was with her and that she would soon conceive and bring forth a son whose name would be Jesus. This child would be given the throne of Mary's ancient forebear, King David, and reign forever.

Mary voiced the question of how this would take place. She knew the order of natural conception and knew that the angel's message did not fit into this order. In explanation the angel Gabriel told her of the greatest miracle of all time saying, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God."

We are called to believe that miracles do occur. Some people are troubled by the idea of miracles based on their picture of cause and effect in this world. They have accepted that the only causes are natural ones, the laws of physics and so on. For such a person the idea of Jesus being born without a natural father is fantastic beyond belief.

But we are called to believe that miracles have and do occur. There are forces that attack this belief. We have grown up in a culture that has a strong sense of natural order. Science today is capable of explaining so many events that previously were mysteries. It is capable of explaining them by means of fundamental laws of nature. For some this sense of natural law can become so strong that the Lord's active presence within creation vanishes. For some there is no Divine intervention within this system. All is fixed and moves along with changes taking place by mere random accident. But it could be noted that according to natural law most changes result in more chaos, not less chaos. Changes tend toward the break down of a higher order into a lower one.

Think of the example of a person quickly typing out a document on a computer. You would expect that errors would be introduced into the typing. What is the likelihood that the errors would improve the original document? It’s possible, but rather unexpected. But the argument for pure natural evolution is that given enough time and the forces of natural selection life as we now know it has developed. Asserting that human life came about purely by random accidents starting with the genetic code of the most primitive life millions of years ago seems akin to saying that given enough time and enough typed copies a simple child’s nursery rhyme could evolve into a Shakespearean play without any plan or higher thought being involved.

We are called to believe that miracles do occur. However, the Writings for the New Church have taught us that we are not to expect to see the miracles of the Old and New Testaments performed today in the same way they were performed in the time those books were written. We read:

The reason miracles are not done at this day, as before, is that miracles compel, and take away free will in spiritual things; and from being spiritual, they make a person natural. All in the Christian world . . . can become spiritual; and they become spiritual solely from the Lord through the Word; and the faculty for this would perish if they were brought to believe through miracles. (True Christian Religion 501)

Partially based on statements such as this, a person can come to a pattern of thinking that does not believe in the Lord’s ability to affect things for good in a miraculous way even today. A person could believe in God, but still tend to view the progression of his or her life as following laws of a machine-like system. Anything that does not fit into this fixed system is believed to be a miracle that would take away spiritual freedom--the very freedom that the Lord was born into the world to reestablish.

Perhaps, though, it is too easy for us to become too limited in our view. So limited that we block out a sight of the miracles that can occur within our own lives without taking away our spiritual freedom. Perhaps it is too easy for this limited point of view to block out a sense of the Lord's presence, a sense of the Holy Spirit's presence. How does the Lord reach out to touch our lives?

What of Mary's life? The events surrounding the first Christmas were a major intervention within her life. The same is true of her husband to be, Joseph. Both of them could have denied the possibility of a miraculous conception and this state of denial would have been far more damaging than that of Zacharias's. Could the Lord's birth ever have taken place if Mary was not willing to accept the angel's words? Her firstborn was to have a continuing effect throughout her whole life. His presence was not without many events that brought a sense of awe and wonder to both Mary and Joseph. We know of at least one event that showed that raising Jesus was not always easy. At age 12, they spent three anxious days searching for Him, only to find Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of teachers, listening and asking questions.

In addition to the way in which Jesus' birth and life intervened in Joseph and Mary's life, think of the way His presence affected the disciples. Many of them were happily going about their daily jobs when they were called to leave all behind and follow Him. While this intervention sometimes involved something of the miraculous, it also involved an element of free will. Just as Joseph and Mary could have resisted the words of the angel announcing that the Lord would be born, so also the disciples could have heard the Lord call them to follow and shook their heads and returned to their work. There were many, many others who were influenced in this same way. Many others who heard the Lord's words calling to them and had their lives profoundly influenced by what He said.

The Lord comes to each of us in our lives many times each day. While we may not have anything occur in our lives that an objective observer would call miraculous, it is not true that our lives will follow some pre-established route, set by our inborn nature and directed by compelling experience of the natural world. The Lord's first birth represents the way in which He comes in any age to anyone who will receive Him. Just as the words of the angel Gabriel would have been a dramatic intervention within the happy normalcy of the future that Mary would have envisioned, so also the Lord can come to us announcing the conception of a future for us that is far different from the one our natural mind would envision. The Lord comes to us offering and promising a far different set of reactions to daily events from the ones we presently have--a different perspective, a far greater patience in some areas and a stronger resolve and commitment in others. He comes to us bringing light to areas of thoughts that we had resigned ourselves to being in deep darkness and bringing warmth to much that we might otherwise have done from need or duty.

The angel Gabriel was sent to a virgin, whose name was Mary. Ancient prophecies had promised that the Messiah would be born as the child of a young woman. Several hundred years after this prophecy was given, a Greek version of the Old Testament called the Septuagint, introduced a new element of the miraculous by using a word in this prophecy that was not the general one for a young woman, but rather the distinctive Greek term for "virgin." When the angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, the gospel of Matthew records that he quoted this prophecy according to the way it is presented in the Septuagint. The Writings for the New Church make it quite clear that this seemingly added idea is correct and even essential in our understanding of the Lord's advent.

There are two distinct reasons for the importance of a belief in the virgin birth. One reason has to do with the essential need for Jesus to be born with a natural mother but without a natural father if He was going to become our Savior and Redeemer. It was crucial for the work of Jesus that He not derive from His birth any of the internal evils that are passed on through the soul provided by the natural father in any natural conception. His soul and life came directly from the infinite God. His developing mind and life were the ever more perfect manifestation in human form of the Father and creator, our Lord and God. But it was important that He take on a natural mind at first empty of any experience and knowledge as you and I were born with. It was important that He take on the hereditary inclinations to evil that birth to a natural mother brought to His life.

The second reason for believing in the virgin birth exists because of the representation of the term virgin and what this says about how the Lord comes to us in our lives. We are told that a virgin represents someone who willing to have his or her life affected by truth. In this story, Mary represents a state of mind in each of our lives that is not controlled by self interest nor committed to a determined course of action. It is a state of mind that is open to new possibilities.

The Lord comes to us to each of us bringing the promise of a new conception of life just as the angel Gabriel came to the virgin Mary. He comes promising a rebirth or regeneration of life that is radically different from the one we come by naturally. It is not to the hustle and bustle of established life that He appears, but rather to those states of mind that, like the virgin Mary, look forward to something new and different and most importantly are willing to receive the conception of this new life. The life that comes to us naturally, apart from any presence of the Lord, is like a child conceived of a human father and mother. Without the Lord's presence, this life cannot have any other basis than self-interest and worldly concern. Experience may teach us to broaden this self-interest and to temper these concerns, but apart from the Lord's advent within our lives they will never rise above this level. The Lord is born within each of our lives within the states of mind that are willing to be affected by what the Word teaches--by the states of mind that are willing to rise above the prompting of our natural inclinations to be self-serving and natural in our interests, thoughts and actions. He is born within the states of mind that are willing to turn outward to recognize and serve the needs of those around us. He is born within the states of mind that are willing to recognize that natural things exist to serve the needs of mankind and creation as a whole and have their proper uses as well as their abuses.

Our preparation for the celebration of Christmas, more than any other event of the season, tends to turn people outward to others. It is a time that can help us to recognize the community of caring people that we live in. And it is a time that can remind us that many are in need--there are many people who can use our help. This help may be a matter of providing food, clothing and shelter for those have not been able to or have not yet come to be provident enough to provide them for themselves. It can be a matter of giving a hand to someone who could use some help with a job, sharing some burden with them. Christmas is a time when we give gifts that symbolize and love and friendship for others. The most lasting gifts are those that we give when we recognize the spiritual needs of others—when we recognize that, by our words and actions, we can help the Lord bring loving warmth to another person's life. We, by our words and actions, can bring the light of greater understanding to another person's life. We have the capability of helping others receive far greater blessings in life than they might otherwise. Our preparation for and celebration of Christmas can remind us of how a truly Christian life is one of wisely giving and of serving. The state of mind that receives this reminder is the one imaged by the virgin, Mary.

The Lord comes to each of us in our lives, just as the angel Gabriel came to Mary. He comes telling of events that can take place, if we are willing, which far exceed anything we might picture ourselves. He promises us a new life, born within our own, but not taking its source from us. He promises the presence of the Holy Spirit within this new life. He comes with a miraculous intervention in the natural course of events. The words of the angel Gabriel to Mary are also words to us with the promise of a new life that will profoundly affect what we care about, think and do each day throughout the year. These words are the promise of a new life for each of us.

After the close of this service you are invited to take the sacrament of the Holy Supper. This act of worship represents our desire to receive the Lord’s gifts of love and wisdom within our lives, represented by our eating of the bread and drinking of the wine. There is a powerful reminder of the words of the angel Gabriel in The True Christian Religion description of this sacrament

...the Holy Supper for those who approach it worthily is a kind of guarantee and seal put on their adoption as sons of God ... the Lord is then present and introduces into heaven those who are born of Him, that is, who are regenerated. (True Christian Religion 728)

As the angel Gabriel said to Mary, so the Lord would say to us, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God."

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1573; Isaiah 7:1-15; Luke 1:26-38)

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Revealed #294

Apocalypse Revealed (Rogers translation)      

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294. To this I will append the following narrative account:

In the natural world people possess two levels of speech, because they possess two levels of thought, one inward and one outward. For a person can speak from his inner thought and at the same time then from his outer one, or he can speak from his outer thought and not from his inner one, and even contrary to his inner one. This is what makes possible pretenses, flatteries, and hypocrisies.

In the spiritual world, however, people do not possess two levels of speech, but a single one. A person there speaks as he thinks. Otherwise his voice becomes grating and hurts the ears. Still, he can remain silent and so not divulge the thoughts of his mind. Consequently, when a hypocrite comes into the company of people who are wise, either he goes away, or he hurries to a corner of the room and makes himself inconspicuous, and sits silent.

[2] Many spirits once gathered in the world of spirits and discussed this circumstance with each other, saying that being unable to speak as one thinks in the company of good spirits was a hardship for those who had not thought correctly about God and the Lord.

At the center of the gathering were the Protestant Reformed, and many of their clergy, and next to them Roman Catholics with some monks. Both groups said at first that it was not a hardship. What need is there to speak otherwise than as one thinks? And if perchance one does not think correctly, can he not purse his lips and remain silent?

Moreover, one of the clergy said, "Who does not think correctly about God and the Lord?"

But some of the gathering said, "Still, let's put it to the test."

And regarding God, there were some who had confirmed themselves in a trinity of persons - particularly because of the statement in the Athanasian doctrine,

The person of the Father is one person, that of the Son another, and that of the Holy Spirit still another.

And,

As the Father is God, so is the Son God, and the Holy Spirit God.

These were told to say "one God." But they could not. They contorted their lips and twisted them into many convolutions, but they could not articulate the sound into any other words than those in keeping with the ideas of their thought, which were ideas of three persons and so of three Gods.

[3] Moreover, those who had affirmed a faith divorced from charity were told to say the name Jesus. But they could not, even though they could all say Christ, and also God the Father. They were surprised at this, and inquiring into the reason, they found that they prayed to God the Father for the sake of the Son, and did not pray to the Savior Himself. For Jesus means Savior.

[4] They were further told to speak from their thought about the Lord's humanity and say, "Divine humanity." But none of the clergy present there could do so, though some of the laity could, and therefore the subject was presented for a serious ventilation.

So then, 1. They had read to them these statements in the Gospels:

The Father... has given all things into (the Son's) hand. (John 3:35)

(The Father has) given (the Son) authority over all flesh... (John 17:2)

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father. (Matthew 11:27)

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (Matthew 28:18)

They were then told to retain in thought therefore the idea that Christ is God of heaven and earth, both in respect to His Divinity and in respect to His humanity, and so to utter the term, "Divine humanity." But still they could not. And they said that they even retained from the quotations some thought of the idea from an understanding of it, but nevertheless without any acknowledgment of it, and that for that reason they could not.

[5] 2. After that they had read to them statements from Luke 1:32, 34-35, 1 saying that the Lord in respect to His humanity was the Son of Jehovah God, and statements showing that in respect to His humanity He is everywhere in the Word called the Son of God, and also the only-begotten. 2 And the examiners asked them to retain this idea in their thought, along with the idea that the only begotten Son of God born into the world could not but be God, as the Father is God, and to utter the term, "Divine humanity."

But they said, "We cannot, because our spiritual thought, which is the inner one, does not allow into the thought nearest our speech any other than like ideas."

They said, too, that they perceived from this that it is now not possible to keep separate their levels of thought as in the natural world.

[6] 3. Next they had read to them the Lord's words to Philip:

Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father...." (And the Lord) said to him, ."..He who sees Me has seen the Father... Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?" (John 14:8-11)

And moreover other passages, saying that the Father and He are one (John 10:30, and elsewhere). And they were told to retain this idea in thought and then say "Divine humanity." But because their thought was not rooted in an acknowledgment that the Lord was God even in respect to His humanity, therefore they could not. They contorted their lips into convolutions to the point of becoming irate, and they tried to force their mouths into uttering it and to spit it out. But without success. The reason was that mental ideas flowing from an acknowledgment unite with spoken words in people who live in the spiritual world; and when those ideas do not exist, words are lacking, for ideas become words when uttered in speech.

[7] 4. Then they had read to them statement from the church's doctrine accepted throughout the world, saying that the Divine and human in the Lord are not two but one, indeed one person, united altogether like soul and body - statements from the Athanasian Creed. And they were told, "You may take from this an idea in keeping with your acknowledgment, that the Lord's humanity is Divine, because His soul is Divine, for it comes from your church's doctrine which you acknowledged in the world. Moreover the soul is the underlying essence and the body the form, and the essence and form are united, like being and expression, or like the efficient cause of an effect and the effect itself."

The spirits retained this idea and tried in accord with it to utter the term, "Divine humanity." But they could not, for their inner idea of the Lord's humanity dismissed and expunged this novel new idea, as they called it.

[8] 5. Again they had read to them the following from John:

...the Word was with God, and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh... (John 1:1, 14)

And the following from Paul:

...in (Christ Jesus) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9)

And they were told to think hard that God, who was the Word, became flesh, and that all the Divine dwells in Him bodily. "Perhaps," they were told, "you can then utter the term, 'Divine humanity.'"

But they could not, saying openly that they could not entertain the idea of a Divine humanity, as God is God and man is man, and God is a spirit, "and we can think of a spirit only as being like a puff of wind or bit of ether."

(References: Hebrews 2:9)


[9] 6. Finally they were told, "You know that the Lord said, "Abide in Me, and I in you... He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5)" And because some of the English clergy were present, they had read to them also something from one of their prayers before Holy Communion:

For, when we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink the blood, then we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us.

"If you now think that this would not be possible unless the Lord's humanity is Divine, utter then the term, "Divine humanity," from an acknowledgment in the thought."

But still they could not. For they had the idea so deeply impressed on them that the Lord's Divinity was one thing and His humanity another, so that His Divinity was like the Divinity of the Father, and His humanity like the humanity of any other man.

The examiners said to them, however, "How can you think so? Is it possible for a rational mind ever to think that God is three and the Lord two?"

[10] 7. After that the examiners turned to the Lutherans, saying that the Augsburg Confession and Luther taught that the Son of God and the Son of Man in Christ are one person, that He is also in respect to His human nature the true, almighty and eternal God, and that being in respect to that nature at the right hand of almighty God, He governs everything in heaven and on earth, fills everything, is present with us, and dwells and acts in us. Moreover, there is no difference in any worship of them, since through the nature that is seen, the Divinity that is not seen is worshiped. Thus in Christ, God is man, and man is God.

Hearing this, the Lutherans replied, "Is that right?" And having looked around, they presently said, "We have not known this before. Consequently we cannot."

But one or two of them said, "We have read this and written it, yet when we have thought about it to ourselves on our own, the words were still only words, of which we could not form an interior idea."

[11] 8. Finally, turning to the Roman Catholics, the examiners said, "Perhaps you can pronounce the term 'Divine humanity,' because you believe that Christ is wholly present in the bread and wine of your Eucharist and in every particle of it, and you also worship Him as God when you present the host and distribute it, and you call Mary the mother of God. Consequently you acknowledge that she gave birth to God, which is to say, to His Divine humanity."

They then tried to utter the term in accord with those mental ideas they had of the Lord. But they could not, because of the physical idea they had of His body and blood, and because of their assertion that it was human power and not Divine power that He conferred on the Pope.

A monk then rose and said that he could think of the term "Divine humanity" as applying to the Virgin Mary, mother of God, and also to the patron saint of his monastery.

And another monk came forward saying, "I can, in accord with my mental idea of it, say 'Divine humanity' as a term applying to our most holy Pope rather than to the Christ."

But at that other monks pulled him back and said, "Shame on you."

[12] After that I saw heaven opened, and I saw little flame-like tongues descending and flowing into some of those present, and they then began to celebrate the Lord's Divine humanity, saying, "Put aside the idea of three Gods and believe that in the Lord dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, that the Father and He are one as a soul and body are one, and that God is not a puff of wind or bit of ether, but human, and you will then be conjoined with heaven, and the Lord will enable you thereby to say the name Jesus and utter the term, Divine humanity."

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Footnotes:

1. "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David... Then Mary said to the angel, 'How can this be, since I do not know a man?' And the angel answered and said to her, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.'"

2John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18

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Inbound References:

Apocalypse Revealed 269, 481, 589

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 75


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True Christian Religion 111


Thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem for the permission to use this translation.


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