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

Explanation of Luke 1      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verses 1-5. That revelation of the eternal Word made flesh is imparted to all who are in the love of truth for its own sake.

Verses 5-26. His representative as to the Word must teach the doctrine of repentance and faith in Him, the origin of which doctrine is described.

Verses 5-7. As being born from celestial good and truth.

Verses 8-18. And announced by the most high, as being instrumental in promoting purification from evils and falsities, and thus preparing mankind for the reception of good and of truth.

Verses 18-24. Nevertheless this doctrine is not admitted without doubt respecting it, the effect of which doubt is manifested in the inability to make confession of the Lord, and to preach faith in Him.

Verses 23-25. Notwithstanding however this doubt, the doctrine of repentance and faith gains confirmation, though as yet it is seen only obscurely.

Verses 26-34. It is at the same time announced from heaven, that Jehovah will come into the world, and that the Humanity, which He will assume, is the Son of god, by virtue of the Divinity from whom it came forth.

Verses 29-34. Which annunciation causes trouble and surprise, until information is given, that to that Humanity will be transferred the All of Divinity, so that in it Divinity and Humanity will be one, and in that one-ness will have rule over all things of heaven and the church.

Verses 34-36. Since the Humanity is born from the Divine Good and Divine Truth, which is Jehovah.

Verses 36-38. And preparation is made for its reception, through the doctrine of repentance and faith, which was to be taught in the church.

Verses 39-46. That on this occasion, the internal affection of good and of truth in the church is conjoined with the external, so that the productions of the latter become vivified, and the latter affection itself is made holy by virtue of it's exaltation of the former.

Verses 47-51. The former affection, at the same time, exalts the Divine Good and Divine Truth above all things, under a devout sense of the Divine mercy, which attends to the lowest concerns of man, and is ever operative in good to those who desire good.

Verses 51-54. And which assumed a Humanity, that through it the hells might be subdued, and a new church might be established, to which divine good might be imparted, and in which, truth separate from good might be rejected.

Verse 55. As had been predicted.

Verses 56-59. That for this purpose the doctrine of repentance and faith in the incarnate god is taught in the church, to the great joy of those who receive it.

Verses 59-64. The quality of which doctrine is described, as being grounded in the Divine love and mercy.

Verses 64-66. So that they, who acknowledge this quality, are enabled to make confession of the Lord, and to preach faith in Him, exciting devout adoration in all who hear them.

Verses 68-73. Because they teach from Divine truth, that Jehovah assumed a Humanity, for the purpose of effecting redemption and salvation, by conjoining Himself with His church.

Verses 73-76. And that His church, being thus purified from evils and falsities, might be reciprocally conjoined with Him, through the reception of His love and wisdom.

Verses 76-80. Therefore the doctrine of repentance and faith in the incarnate god is of Divine origin, being intended to prepare man for the reception of the Divine mercy, through the removal of all opposing principles, and through the communication of the light of Divine truth, by virtue of which the church would be delivered from the falsities of evil.

Verse 80. Which doctrine is more and more confirmed, though for a time it is received by few.

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

Doctrine of the Lord 19, 29, 40, 42

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

References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

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

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

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

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Videos from the Swedenborg Foundation

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How to Understand the Trinity - Swedenborg and Life

“The Trinity is well known to the Christian world, yet in other ways it is unknown.” Swedenborg asserts the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one the way our soul, body, and actions are one.

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You Shall Bear a Son


By Rev. Eric Carswell

The Annunciation, 1898, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
By Henry Ossawa Tanner -, Public Domain,

"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


True Christian Religion #188

Study this Passage

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188. The fourth experience 1 .

Since I have been allowed by the Lord to see the wonders in the heavens and in the regions below the heavens, my instructions impose on me the duty of relating what I have seen.

I saw a magnificent palace, and at its heart a church. In the middle of this was a table made of gold, on which was the Word, with two angels standing by it. Seats were arranged around it in three rows. The seats of the first row were covered in silk cloth of purple colour, those of the second row in silk cloth of blue colour, those of the third row in white cloth. Beneath the roof, high above the table, was to be seen a curtain drawn across, glittering with precious stones, from which shone a radiance resembling the rainbow to be seen when the sky clears after rain. Then suddenly there appeared clergy to the same number as the seats, all dressed in their priestly vestments. At one side was a strong-box guarded by an angel, in which lay splendid vestments arranged in beautiful order.

[2] It was a council summoned by the Lord; and I heard a voice from heaven saying: 'Debate.' 'But on what subject?' they said. They were told to debate about the Lord the Saviour and the Holy Spirit. When they began to think about these subjects, they had no enlightenment; so they prayed for it, and then light poured down from heaven, which first of all lit up the backs of their heads, then their temples, and finally their faces. Then they began, speaking first as instructed about the Lord the Saviour.

The first question proposed for discussion was: who was it that took upon himself human form in the Virgin Mary? The angel who stood by the table holding the Word read to them this passage from Luke:

The angel said to Mary, Behold, you will conceive in your womb, and will give birth to a son; and you are to call his name Jesus. He will be mighty, and will be called the Son of the Most High. And Mary said to the angel, How will this be, seeing I have no knowledge of a man? And the angel answered and said, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; hence what is born of you will be holy, and will be called the Son of god, Luke 1:31-32, 34-35.

He also read this passage in Matthew:

The angel said to Joseph in a dream, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your betrothed, for what is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And Joseph did not know her, until she had given birth to her first-born son; and he called his name Jesus, Matthew 1:20, 25.

In addition he read many passages from the Gospels (such as Matthew 3:17; 17:5; John 1:18; 3:16; 20:31), and many other passages where the Lord in His Human is called the Son of God, and where He from His Human calls Jehovah His Father, for instance, the passages in the Prophets which predict the coming of Jehovah Himself into the world. Among these were the following two from Isaiah:

On that day it will be said, Behold, He is our God, whom we have awaited to free us. He is Jehovah, whom we have awaited, let us exult and rejoice in His salvation, Isaiah 25:9.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of Jehovah, make smooth in the desert a path for our God. For the glory of Jehovah will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together. Behold, the Lord Jehovih comes in might, like a shepherd will He feed His flock, Isaiah 40:3, 5, 10-11.

[3] The angel said: 'Since Jehovah Himself came into the world and took upon Himself human form, [and by this means saved and redeemed man] 2 therefore in the Prophets He is called the Saviour and the Redeemer.' Then he read to them the following passages:

Only among you is God, and there is no God besides. You surely are the hidden God, the God of Israel, the Saviour, Isaiah 45:14-15.

Am I not Jehovah, and there is no God besides me, there is no righteous God and Saviour beside me, Isaiah 45:21-22.

I am Jehovah, and there is no Saviour beside me, Isaiah 43:11.

I am Jehovah your God; and you are not to acknowledge any God beside me, and there is no Saviour beside me, Hosea 13:4.

That all flesh may know that I am Jehovah your Saviour and your Redeemer, Isaiah 49:26; 60:16.

As for our Redeemer, Jehovah Zebaoth is His name, Isaiah 47:4.

Their Redeemer, the mighty Jehovah Zebaoth is His name, Jeremiah 50:34.

Jehovah, my rock and my Redeemer, Psalms 19:14.

Thus spoke Jehovah your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, I am Jehovah your God, Isaiah 48:17; 43:3 3 ; Isaiah 49:7; 54:8.

You are Jehovah our Father, our Redeemer from eternity is your name, Isaiah 63:16.

Thus spoke Jehovah your Redeemer, I am Jehovah the maker of everything, and I alone by myself, Isaiah 44:24.

Thus spoke Jehovah, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, Jehovah Zebaoth; I am the first and the last and there is no God beside me, Isaiah 44:6.

Jehovah Zebaoth is His name, and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He will be called God of all the earth, Isaiah 54:5.

Behold, the days will come, when I shall raise up for David a righteous shoot, who will reign as King; and this is His name, Jehovah our righteousness, Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:15-16, On that day Jehovah will be King over all the earth; on that day Jehovah will be one, and His name one, Zechariah 14:9.

(References: Isaiah 43:14)

[4] Both sets of passages were accepted as proofs by those who sat on the seats, and they said with one accord that Jehovah Himself took upon Himself human form to redeem and save mankind. But then a voice spoke up from the Roman Catholics, who had hidden behind the altar, saying: 'How can Jehovah God become man? Is He not the Creator of the universe?' One of those sitting in the second row of, seats turned round and said: 'Who did then?' The one who had been behind the altar stood up near it and replied: 'The Son from eternity.' But he received the reply: 'Is not the Son from eternity according to your creed also the Creator of the universe? And what is the Son but God born from eternity? How can the Divine essence, which is one and indivisible, be separated so that one part of it came down, and not the whole at once?'

[5] The second debate about the Lord was whether the Father and He are one, just as the soul and the body are one. They said that this followed because the soul is from the father. Then one of those sitting in the third row read the following words from the Creed known as Athanasian:

Although our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man, still there are not two, but one Christ; indeed He is utterly one. He is one person. For as the soul and body make up one man, so God and man is one Christ.

The reader said that the Creed containing these words is accepted throughout the Christian world, including the Roman Catholics.

'What need,' they said, 'is there to go on? God the Father and the Lord are one, just as soul and body are one. Since this is so, we see that the Lord's Human is Divine, because it is the Human of Jehovah; and the Lord is to be approached in His Divine Human, because this is the only possible way to approach the Divine called the Father.'

[6] This conclusion of theirs was confirmed by the angel citing many passages from the Word, including:

A child is born for us, a son is given to us, whose name is Wonderful, Counsellor, God, Hero, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace, Isaiah 9:6.


Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us. You, Jehovah, are our Father, our Redeemer from eternity is your name, Isaiah 63:16.

In John:

Jesus said, He who believes in me believes in Him who sent me, and he who sees me sees Him who sent me, John 12:44-45.

Philip said to Jesus, Show us the Father. Jesus said to him, He who has seen me has seen the Father. Why then do you say, Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? Believe me, I am in the Father and the Father is in me, John 14:8-11. Jesus said, I and the Father are one, John 10:30.


All things which the Father has are mine, and all of mine are the Father's, John 16:15; 17:10.


Jesus said, I am the way, truth and life; no one comes to the Father except through me, John 14:6.

The reader went on to say that similar statements to those made here by the Lord about Himself and His Father can also be made by a man about himself and his soul. On hearing this all declared with one heart and voice that the Lord's Human is Divine, and this must be approached in order to approach the Father, because by means of the Human Jehovah God brought Himself into the world and made Himself visible to human eyes, and thus accessible. Likewise He made Himself visible and accessible to the ancients in human form, but at that time by means of an angel. But because this form represented the Lord who was to come, among the ancients everything that concerned the church was representative.

[7] This was followed by a debate about the Holy Spirit. To begin it the popular idea about God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit was presented, namely, that God the Father sits on high, the Son at His right hand, and they send out from themselves the Holy Spirit, to enlighten, teach, justify and sanctify men. But a voice was then heard from heaven, saying. 'We find this mode of thought intolerable. Surely everyone knows that Jehovah God is omnipresent. A person who knows and acknowledges this will also acknowledge that it is He who enlightens, teaches, justifies and sanctifies, and that there is no mediating God separate from Himself, much less from two other Gods, as one person is separate from another. You must therefore rid yourselves of the first idea, seeing it is meaningless, and accept this, which is correct, and then you will see this plainly.'

[8] But at this point a voice was heard from the Roman Catholics who were standing near the altar of the church, saying: 'What then is the Holy Spirit who is mentioned in the Word, in the Gospels and Paul, and by which so many of the learned clergy, especially ours, allege they are guided? Is there any Christian to-day who denies the existence of the Holy Spirit and His activity?' On hearing this one of those sitting in the second row turned round and said: 'You claim that the Holy Spirit is a person by Himself and God by Himself. But what is the meaning of a person going forth and proceeding from a person, if it is not the activity which goes forth and proceeds? One person cannot go forth and proceed from another, but his activity can. What is meant by God going forth and proceeding from God, if not the Divine which goes forth and proceeds? One God cannot go forth and proceed from another by means of a third; but the Divine can from a single God.'

[9] On hearing this the assembly in session reached the unanimous conclusion that the Holy Spirit is not a person by Himself, so not God by Himself either, but the Holy Divine which goes forth and proceeds from the one omnipresent God, who is the Lord. The angels who were standing by the golden table on which the Word was placed said to this: 'Good. Nowhere in the Old Testament do we read that the prophets spoke the Word from the Holy Spirit, but from Jehovah; and where the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the New Testament, the Divine which proceeds is meant. This is the Divine which enlightens, teaches, quickens, reforms and regenerates.'

[10] This was followed by another debate about the Holy Spirit: from whom does the Divine meant by the Holy Spirit proceed, from the Father, or from the Lord? While they were discussing this, a light shone on them from heaven which allowed them to see that the Holy Divine, meant by the Holy Spirit, does not proceed from the Father by means of the Lord, but from the Lord acted upon by the Father; as for comparison in man, his activity does not proceed from the soul by means of the body, but from the body acted upon by the soul.

This was confirmed by the angel standing at the table by these passages in the Word:

He whom the Father has sent speaks the words of God; not by measure does God give him the Spirit. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand, John 3:34-35.

A shoot will come forth from the stock of Jesse; the Spirit of Jehovah will rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and intelligence, the spirit of counsel and power, Isaiah 11:1-2.

The Spirit of Jehovah was put upon him, and was in him, Isaiah 42:1; 59:19-20; 61:1; Luke 4:18.

When the Holy Spirit comes, whom I shall send you from the Father, John 15:26.

He will glorify me, because He will take from what is mine and communicate it to you. All things that the Father has are mine. That is why I have said that He will take from what is mine and communicate it to you, John 16:14-15.

If I go away, I will send the Comforter to you, John 16:7.

The Comforter is the Holy Spirit, John 14:26.

The Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified, John 7:39.

But after His glorification:

Jesus breathed upon the disciples and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit, John 20:22.

And in Revelation:

Who will not glorify your name, Lord, since you alone are holy? Revelation 15:4.

(References: John 8:39)

[11] Since the Holy Spirit means the Lord's Divine activity from His Divine omnipresence, so when He spoke to the disciples about the Holy Spirit, which He was to send from the Father, He also said:

I will not leave you bereft; I go away and come to you; and on that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I in you, John 14:18, 20, 28.

Shortly before He left the world, He said:

Behold, I am with you always up to the ending of the age, Matthew 28:20.

After reading these passages to them the angel said: 'It is plain from these and many other passages in the Word that the Divine called the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Lord acted upon by the Father.' Those in session replied: 'This is Divine truth.'

[12] Finally the following resolution was passed: 'We have seen clearly from the deliberations in this council, and thus acknowledge as a holy truth, that in the Lord God the Saviour Jesus Christ there is a Divine Trinity, consisting of the originating Divine called the Father, the Human Divine called the Son, and the Divine which proceeds called the Holy Spirit.' And they cried out together that in Christ all the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9). 'Thus there is one God in the church.'

[13] When this magnificent council had reached these conclusions, its members rose; and the angel in charge came and brought from the strong-box for each of those who had taken part in the session splendid garments with here and there gold threads interwoven, and said: 'Accept these wedding garments.' Then they were taken in glory to the new Christian heaven, with which the Lord's church on earth, the New Jerusalem, is to be linked.


1. This section is repeated from Apocalypse Revealed 962.

2. Restored from the parallel passage in Apocalypse Revealed 962.

3. The original has .


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Apocalypse Revealed 962

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 120

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