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References from Swedenborg's unpublished works: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

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...

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

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

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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

'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

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...

“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...

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...

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...

'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

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



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 Christianity #188

True Christianity (Rose translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 853  

← Previous   Next →

188. The fourth memorable occurrence. Since the Lord has allowed me to see amazing things in the heavens and below them, I have been commanded and am obligated to pass on what I have seen.

I saw a magnificent palace that had a chapel in its center. In the middle of the chapel there was a golden table that had the Word on it. Two angels were standing next to the table. Around the table there were three rows of chairs. The chairs in the first row were covered in pure silk of a purple color, the chairs in the second row in pure silk of a sky blue color, and the chairs in the third row in white cloth. High above the table a canopy was suspended beneath the ceiling. It gleamed so brightly with precious stones that it created an effect like a glowing rainbow [that appears] when the sky begins to clear after a rain shower.

Suddenly members of the clergy appeared, occupying all the chairs. They were all wearing the robes of their priestly ministry.

To one side there was a cabinet with an angel guard standing nearby. Inside the cabinet there were shining pieces of clothing laid out in a beautiful array.

[2] It was a council that had been called by the Lord. I heard a voice from heaven that said, "Discuss. "

The participants said, "About what?"

"About the Lord the Savior and about the Holy Spirit," the voice said.

When they began thinking about these topics they had no enlightenment, so they prayed. Then a light flowed down from heaven that first lit up the backs of their heads, then their temples, and finally their faces.

Then they began. They started where they had been told to, with the first topic, the Lord the Savior. The first issue to be discussed was, "Who took on a human manifestation in the Virgin Mary?"

An angel standing next to the table that had the Word on it read to them the following words in Luke:

The angel said to Mary, "Behold, you will conceive in your womb and will bear a Son, and you will call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest. " And Mary said to the angel, "How will this take place, since I have not had intercourse?" The angel replied and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will descend upon you, and the power of the Highest will cover you; therefore the Holy One that is born from you will be called the Son of God. " (Luke 1:31-32, 34-35)

Then the angel read these words in Matthew:

In a dream an angel told Joseph, "Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your bride, for the Child that has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. " And Joseph did not have intercourse with her until she gave birth to her firstborn Son and called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:20, 25)

In addition to these passages, the angel read many things 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 manifestation is referred to as the Son of God, and where from his human manifestation he calls Jehovah his Father. The angel also read from the Prophets where it is foretold that Jehovah himself is going to come into the world. Two of the latter passages were the following from Isaiah:

It will be said in that day, "Behold, this is our God. We have waited for him to free us. This is Jehovah whom we have waited for. Let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation. " (Isaiah 25:9)

The voice of one crying in the desert, "Prepare a way for Jehovah; make a level pathway in the solitude for our God. For the glory of Jehovah will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together. Behold, the Lord Jehovih is coming with strength; like a shepherd he will feed his flock. " (Isaiah 40:3, 5, 10-11)

[3] The angel said, "Since Jehovah himself came into the world and took on a human manifestation, therefore in the Prophets Jehovah is called the Savior and the Redeemer. "

Then the angel read them the following passages:

"The only God is among you; there is no other God. " Surely you are the God who was hidden, O God the Savior of Israel. (Isaiah 45:14-15)

Am not I Jehovah? There is no other God except me. I am a just God, and there is no Savior except me. (Isaiah 45:21-22)

I am Jehovah, and there is no Savior except me. (Isaiah 43:11)

I am Jehovah your God, and you are not to acknowledge a God except me. There is no Savior except me. (Hosea 13:4)

So that all flesh may know that I, Jehovah, am your Savior and your Redeemer. (Isaiah 49:26; 60:16)

As for our Redeemer, Jehovah Sabaoth is his name. (Isaiah 47:4)

Their Redeemer is strong; Jehovah Sabaoth is his name. (Jeremiah 50:34)

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

Thus says Jehovah, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am Jehovah, your God. " (Isaiah 48:17; 43:14; 49:7; 54:8)

You, Jehovah, are our Father; our Redeemer from everlasting is your name. (Isaiah 63:16)

Thus said Jehovah, your Redeemer: "I, Jehovah, am the maker of all things. I alone [stretch out the heavens. I extend the earth] by myself. " (Isaiah 44:24)

Thus said Jehovah, the King of Israel and its Redeemer, Jehovah Sabaoth: "I am the First and the Last, and there is no God except me. " (Isaiah 44:6)

Jehovah Sabaoth is his name, and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. He will be called God of all the earth. (Isaiah 54:5)

Behold, the days are coming when I will raise up for David a righteous offshoot who will reign as king. And this is his name: Jehovah is our Justice. (Jeremiah 23:5-6; 33:15-16)

In that day, Jehovah will be king over the whole earth; in that day there will be one Jehovah, and his name will be one. (Zechariah 14:9)

[4] With the support of all these passages, the clergy sitting in the chairs unanimously stated that it was Jehovah himself who took on the human manifestation, and that he did so in order to redeem and save humankind.

At that point, though, we heard a voice from Roman Catholics who had hidden behind the altar. The voice said, "How could Jehovah God become human? He is the Creator of the universe!"

One of the clergy sitting in the second row of chairs said, "Who then was the human manifestation?"

The man who had been behind the altar before, but was now standing beside it, said, The Son from eternity.

He received this reply: "In your confession the eternally begotten Son is the same as the Creator of the universe. What is a Son and an eternally begotten God? How could the divine essence, which is one indivisible thing, be separated? How could one part of it come down and not the whole essence at once?"

[5] The second issue for discussion related to the Lord: "Surely then the Father and he are one as the soul and the body are one. "

They said that this would follow, because his soul was from the Father.

Then one of the clergy sitting in the third row of chairs read the following words from the statement of faith known as the Athanasian Creed: "Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and a human being. Yet still he is one Christ, not two. In fact, he is completely one; he is one person. As a soul and a body make one human being, so God and a human being is one Christ. "

The reader said, "The creed that contains these words has been accepted by the entire Christian world including the Roman Catholics. "

The participants said, "What more do we need? God the Father and he are one as the soul and the body are one. "

They added, "Because this is so, we see that the Lord's human manifestation is divine because it is the human manifestation of Jehovah. We also see that we must seek help from the Lord's divine-human manifestation. Only in this way, not in any other, can we have access to the divine nature that is called the Father. "

The angel supported their conclusion with more passages from the Word, among which were the following: "A Child is born to us; a Son is given to us. His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, God, Hero, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). "Abraham did not know us and Israel did not acknowledge us. You, Jehovah, are our Father; our Redeemer from everlasting is your name" (Isaiah 63:16). And in John, "Jesus said, Those who believe in me believe in the One who sent me. Those who see me see the One who sent me" (John 12:44-45). "Philip said to Jesus, 'Show us the Father. ' Jesus said to him, 'Those who see me see the Father. Why then are you saying, Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me'" (). "Jesus said, 'I and my Father are one'" (John 10:30). Also, "Everything the Father has is mine and everything I have is my Father's" (John 16:15; 17:10). And finally, "Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6).

[6] The angel reading these quotations added that the same things the Lord says here about himself and his Father we could also say about ourselves and our soul.

When the participants had heard this they all said with one voice and one heart, "The Lord's human manifestation is divine. For us to gain access to the Father we have to go to his human manifestation, since this is how Jehovah God put himself in the world and made himself visible to human eyes. Through this he became accessible. Jehovah God also made himself visible and therefore accessible in a human form to the ancients; but back then he used an angel. Because that human form was symbolic of the Lord who was to come, everything related to the church among the ancients was symbolic. "

(References: John 14:8-11)

[7] The next discussion focused on the Holy Spirit. First there was a disclosure of the way many people picture God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They picture God the Father sitting on high with the Son at his right hand. Both of them send out the Holy Spirit to enlighten people, teach them, justify them, and sanctify them.

Then a voice was heard out of heaven saying, "We do not support these mental images. Jehovah God is omnipresent. If we know and acknowledge this, we also acknowledge that Jehovah God is the one who enlightens us, teaches us, justifies us, and sanctifies us. There is no mediating God who is distinct from him like two separate people, let alone a God who is distinct from two other gods. That earlier meaningless picture needs to be removed and this proper picture needs to be accepted. Then you will see this point clearly. "

[8] Then we heard a voice from the Roman Catholics. They were standing next to the altar in the chapel. The voice said, "What then is the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Word by the Gospel writers and Paul, by which so many learned clergy say they are led, especially in our denomination? Surely no one in the Christian world nowadays denies the existence of the Holy Spirit and its actions. "

One of the clergy in the second row of chairs turned and said, "You are saying that the Holy Spirit is a person on its own and a God on its own; but what is a 'person' going out and emanating from a person if not an influence going out and emanating? A person cannot go out and emanate from another person, but an influence can. To put it another way, a god going out and emanating from a god is actually a divine influence going out and emanating. One god cannot go out and emanate from another through yet another, but a divine influence can go out and emanate from the one God. "

[9] After hearing that, the clergy sitting in the chairs unanimously concluded that the Holy Spirit is not a person on its own or a god on its own; it is the holy divine influence that goes out and emanates from the unique and omnipresent God, who is the Lord.

The angels who were standing by the golden table that held the Word responded to that by saying, "Good! Nowhere in the Old Covenant does it say that the prophets spoke the Word of the Holy Spirit. They spoke the Word of Jehovah. When the New Covenant speaks of the Holy Spirit, it means the divine influence that goes forth enlightening people, teaching them, bringing them to life, reforming them, and regenerating them. "

[10] After that another issue related to the Holy Spirit came up: "From whom does the divine influence meant by the Holy Spirit emanate? From the Father or from the Lord?"

While they were discussing this a light shone down on them from heaven. In that light they saw that the holy divine influence meant by the Holy Spirit does not emanate from the Father through the Lord; it emanates from the Lord on behalf of the Father. It is comparable to the situation with human beings. Our actions do not emanate from our souls through our bodies; they emanate from our bodies on behalf of our souls.

An angel who was standing by the table supported this point with the following passages from the Word: "The One whom the Father sent speaks the words of God. Not in a measured way has he given him the spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand" (John 3:34-35). "A branch will come out of the trunk of Jesse. The spirit of Jehovah will rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and intelligence, the spirit of counsel and strength" (Isaiah 11:1-2). "The spirit of Jehovah has been granted to him and it is in him" (Isaiah 42:1; 59:19-20; 61:1; Luke 4:18). "When the Holy Spirit comes whom I am going to send you from the Father" (John 15:26). "He will glorify me because he will take from what is mine and will make it known to you. Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I said that he will take from what is mine and will make it known 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 in existence, because Jesus was not glorified yet' (John 7:39). After he was glorified, Jesus breathed on his disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22). And in the Book of Revelation, "Who will not glorify your name, O Lord? For you alone are holy" (Revelation 15:4).

(References: John 8:39)

[11] The angel continued, "Since the Holy Spirit means the Lord's divine influence that results from his divine omnipresence, when he told his disciples about the Holy Spirit that he was going to send to them from the Father he also said, 'I will not leave you orphans. I am going away and coming [back] to you; and in that day you will recognize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I am in you' (John 14:18, 20, 28). And just before he left the world he said, 'Behold I am with you every day, even to the close of the age' (Matthew 28:20). "

After reading these passages the angel said, "It is clear from these passages and many others in the Word that the divine influence called the Holy Spirit emanates from the Lord on behalf of the Father. "

In response the clergy sitting in the chairs said, "This is divine truth!"

[12] At the end the participants produced the following declaration: "From the discussions in this council, we have come to see clearly and to acknowledge as the sacred truth that the divine Trinity exists in the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ. The Trinity is made up of the divine nature as an origin called 'the Father,' the divine-human manifestation called 'the Son,' and the emanating divine influence called 'the Holy Spirit. ' We proclaim then that 'all the fullness of divinity dwells physically in Christ' (Colossians 2:9). Therefore there is one God in the church. "

[13] After the events of this magnificent council came to an end, the participants stood up. The angel guarding the cabinet came over and brought shining clothing to each one of those who had been sitting in the chairs. The clothing was interwoven here and there with golden threads. The angel said, "Please accept these wedding garments. "

The participants were led in glory to the new Christian heaven, which is going to be connected to the church of the Lord on earth, which is the New Jerusalem.

Go to section / 853  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
From Swedenborg's Works

References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Nine Questions 7

   Parallel Passages:

Apocalypse Revealed 962

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 120

Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for the permission to use this translation.