The Bible

 

John 20:19-31 : Christ Appears to the Disciples in an Upper Room, and Doubting Thomas

     

Study the Inner Meaning

19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

27 Then saith he to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 96, 2397, 2628, 2724, 2798, 2921, 3006, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 12, 81, 343, 520, 618, 839, 962

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 32, 120

Divine Love and Wisdom 383

Divine Providence 230, 324

The Lord 19, 20, 35, 41, 51

Faith 10

Heaven and Hell 287, 461

True Christian Religion 140, 146, 153, 188, 298, 303, 337, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 286


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 53, 102, 130, 183, 254, 365, 419, ...

Canons of the New Church 39, 43

Divine Wisdom 6

Miracles and Signs 18

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 5, 14, 64

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:




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first
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day of
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doors
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shut
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disciples
When we read the Gospels and see Jesus addressing the disciples, we assume His words are meant for us as well. And indeed they are!...

fear
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jews
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came
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midst
The "midst" of something in the Bible represents the thing that is most central and most important to the spiritual state being described, the motivation...

saith
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peace
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hands
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Side
'Side' signifies good or spiritual love.

Glad
To make glad signifies influx and reception from joy of heart.

the Lord
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father
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send
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holy
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sins
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remit
'To forgive seven times' signifies forgiving at all times.

retain
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one
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twelve
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called
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see
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hand
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Put
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believe
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eight
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days
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reach
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my lord
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God
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blessed
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many
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signs
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written
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Book
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christ
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son
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son of god
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life
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name
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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.


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Commentary

 

Two Meetings in Jerusalem after the Resurrection      

By Joe David

The risen Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room. 22.4.2010: Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Emilio Romagna, Italy.

Late on the first Easter Sunday, after the Lord had risen from the sepulcher, ten of the disciples gathered for the evening in the upper room of a house in Jerusalem (John 20). They were afraid and probably confused. Since their leader had been crucified by the Roman power, as organized by their own Jewish leaders, they feared that now his followers might also be hunted down and punished. They closed and locked the doors. Were any of the women there? The story does not say, but Peter and John were, who saw and talked with the angels that morning, and the stories of the women were known. Some time must have been spent wondering and perhaps arguing - was He really alive? How could they know it was really Him? This kind of thing, coming back to life after you’re dead, this doesn’t happen in this real world, there must be some mistake!

Then two of the followers, not of the twelve, but the two that had gone to the village of Emmaus, came in, excited and bursting with their news. They had seen Him! They had walked with Him for seven miles and He had told them wondrous things! They had only recognized Him when He broke bread and ate with them. "Don’t doubt us, it really was Jesus!"

And then as they all talked and argued, there He was, standing with them in the room. "Peace be unto you," He said, and He showed them His hands and feet and His side, where he was wounded. He calmed them, and told them that just as he had come down to mankind, so they must go out and teach to all people all the true things that He had taught in the years He was with them.

It was these truths about how to live one’s life that were saving, not the disciples themselves. These saving truths have the power to remit or retain sins, because they were from the Lord, the disciples only transmitted them from the Lord to those who would listen and take them to heart. Then He breathed on them - representing His holy spirit - so that they would not only want to pass these truths on to people, but would also be given the words to say whenever the times came. And then He was gone again.

Thomas was not there that night. We don’t know why. And Thomas, when he heard the story, just could not swallow it. "Except I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe", he said. (John 20:25.)

The next verse tells us that the next Sunday they gathered again, and that Thomas was present this time. As before, the Lord was suddenly there, saying again, "Peace be unto you", and then directly to Thomas, "Reach hither thy finger… and reach hither thy hand… and be not faithless but believing". Now Thomas's response was, "my Lord and my God". It seems as if the Lord came this time just to convince Thomas, because it was Thomas who needed Him.

I think He does work this way. I am reminded of another story, from the gospel of Mark (Mark 9:17-27) where a father comes to Jesus with a young son who is possessed by a devil, and asks Jesus to cure him, and is asked in turn: "Do you believe I can do this?" In Mark 9:24 the father responds. Crying out, he said with tears, "I believe, help thou my unbelief."

I think many people have this conflict between lingering doubts and a desire to have the doubts taken away. If we carry on and make our decisions in life as if the doubts were indeed gone, then indeed they will lose their strength and actually will be gone.

These are the only details given of these two meetings in Jerusalem. Chronologically the next post-Easter stories are the ones that take place in Galilee.

John does go on to say at the end of his gospel "...many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book. But these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God...." (John 20:30-31). Perhaps there were more post-Easter stories that weren't written down, but the ones we do have are strong. For the disciples who were involved, there was an unstoppable impact from the life and teachings of the Lord, and His crucifixion, and physical death, and now - in these stories - His resurrection. Hearing the Lord's charges to them, these Galilean fishermen and their colleagues launch out into the wide world, and work to achieve the Great Commission, enduring hardships and persecution, and succeeding - probably beyond their wildest dreams!

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Apocalypse Explained #815

Apocalypse Explained (Tansley translation)      

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815. (v. 11) And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. That this signifies confirmations from the sense of the letter of the Word in favour of faith separated from life, and thence falsifications of the truth of the church, is evident from the signification of the two beasts treated of in this chapter, as denoting what confirm those things that are signified by the dragon, for by the dragon is chiefly signified faith alone (as may be seen above, n. 714). And by the beast ascending out of the sea are signified reasonings from the natural man confirming the separation of faith from life (as may be seen also above, n. 774). By this beast therefore are signified confirmations from the sense of the letter of the Word in favour of faith separate from life, and thence falsifications of the truth of the church. That the dragon is further described by these two beasts is evident from verses 2, 4, 11, of this chapter.

There are also two means by which any heretical dogma may be confirmed - reasonings from the natural man, and confirmations from the sense of the letter of the Word; these two means therefore are signified by these two beasts. The reason why by the former beast are signified reasonings from the natural man is, that by the sea, out of which that beast ascended, is signified the Natural of man; but the reason why by this beast are signified confirmations from the sense of the letter of the Word is, that by the earth, out of which he ascended, is signified the church where the Word is. That the falsifications of the Word are also signified by this beast is, that the Word can never confirm any false dogma, unless it be itself falsified. For all things in the Word are truths; therefore all truths can be confirmed from the Word, but falsities not at all; as is very evident from what has been said above, and will be evident from what remains to be said in this chapter.

(References: Revelation 13:2, 13:4, 13:11; The Apocalypse Explained 714, 774)


[2] Because above (n. 785), passages have been quoted from the Word where works, deeds, working, and doing, are mentioned, we will now bring forward passages where faith and believing are mentioned, but these from the Gospels only, and not from the Epistles of the Apostles, because in the Gospels are the Lord's own words, all of which contain a spiritual sense, by which there is immediate communication with heaven; but in the writings of the Apostles there is no such sense, although they are books that are useful to the church.

(References: The Apocalypse Explained 785)


[3] The passages where faith and believing are mentioned in the Gospels are the following:

In Matthew:

There came a centurion to the Lord, saying, "Lord, I am not fit that thou shouldest come under my roof; but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. Jesus hearing, wondered, and said to them that followed him, Verily, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And he said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, be it done unto thee; and his servant was healed in that hour" (viii. 8, 10, 13).

The reason why the Lord healed this person and others according to their faith was, that the first and primary [thing] of the church then to be established was, that they should believe the Lord to be God Almighty, for without that belief no church could have been established. For the Lord was the God of heaven and the God of earth with whom no conjunction is possible except by the acknowledgment of His Divinity, which acknowledgment is faith. That the centurion acknowledged the Lord as God Almighty is evident; for he said, "I am not fit that thou shouldest come under my roof; but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed."

(References: Matthew 8:8, 8:10, 8:13)


[4] In the same:

"A woman labouring with an issue of blood, touched the hem of" Jesus' "garment; for she said within herself, If I may only touch the hem of his garment, I shall be healed. Jesus turning about and seeing her, said, Daughter, be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole; and she was healed in that hour" (ix. 20-22).

Again:

"They brought unto him a paralytic lying upon a bed. Jesus, seeing their faith, said unto the paralytic, Be of good comfort, thy sins are remitted; arise, take up thy bed, and go to thine house" (ix. 2-7; Luke v. 19-25).

In the same:

"Two blind men cried, saying, Have mercy upon us, thou Son of David; Jesus said unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They say unto him, Yea, Lord; then he touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith, be it unto you; and their eyes were opened" (ix. 27-29).

By this faith, whereby the sick were healed, no other faith is meant than that which is called historical, this being also at that time miraculous. By that faith therefore many then performed miracles. The faith was, that the Lord was Almighty because He was able to perform miracles of Himself; therefore He also allowed Himself to be worshipped, which was not the case with the prophets of the Old Testament, who were not worshipped. But this historical faith in all cases precedes before it becomes saving faith. Historical faith becomes saving in a man, when he learns truths from the Word, and lives according to them.

(References: Luke 5:18-25, 5:19-25; Matthew 9:2-7, 9:20-22, 9:27-30, Matthew 9:27-29)


[5] In the same:

A woman of Canaan, whose daughter was troubled by a demon, "came and worshipped" Jesus, "saying, Lord help me; Jesus said unto her, Great is thy faith; be it unto thee as thou wilt; and her daughter was healed" (xv. 22-28).

In John:

"A ruler, whose son was sick," entreated Jesus to heal his son before he died. "Jesus said unto him, Go thy way, thy son liveth; and the man believed in the word which Jesus said unto him, and his servants met him, saying, Thy son liveth; therefore he believed, and his whole house" (iv. 46-53).

In the same:

"Jesus finding the man born blind, whom he healed, said unto him, Believest thou then in the Son of God? He answered him and said, Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him? He said unto him, Thou also hast seen him, and he who speaketh with thee, is he; he said, Lord, I believe; and he worshipped him" (ix. 35-38).

In Luke:

Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, whose daughter was dead, "Fear not, only believe, and she shall be made whole," and she rose up (viii. 50, 55).

In the same:

One of the ten lepers that were healed by the Lord returned, he was a Samaritan, and fell upon his face at the feet of Jesus; and Jesus "said unto him, Arise, go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole" (xvii. 19).

In the same:

Jesus said to the blind man, "Thy faith hath made thee whole; and immediately his sight was restored" (xviii. 42, 43).

In Mark:

Jesus said to the disciples when they were unable to heal a certain man's son who had a dumb spirit; to whom Jesus said, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth; the father of the child crying out with tears, said, Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief"; and he was healed (ix. 17, 23, 24).

There were three reasons why faith in the Lord healed them. The first was that they acknowledged His Divine Omnipotence, and that He was God. The second was, that faith is acknowledgment, and from acknowledgment comes intuition; and all intuition from acknowledgment causes another to be present, which is a common thing in the spiritual world. In this case, therefore, the intuition was from the acknowledgment of the Lord's Omnipotence. And it was from this acknowledgment that they were first of all to have an intuition of the Lord, when a new church was to be established by Him. Hence it is evident, what is meant there by faith. The third reason was, that all the diseases which the Lord healed, represented and thence signified spiritual diseases, to which natural diseases correspond; and spiritual diseases cannot be healed except by the Lord, and indeed by looking to His Divine Omnipotence, and by repentance of life. Therefore also He sometimes said,

"Thy sins are forgiven thee; go and sin no more."

This faith was also represented and signified by their miraculous faith. But the faith whereby spiritual diseases are healed by the Lord, is only possible by truths from the Word, and by a life according to them, the truths themselves and the life according to them constituting the quality of the faith. Upon this subject, however, more will be said in what follows.

(References: John 4:46-53, John 9:35-38; Luke 8:50, 8:55, Luke 17:15-16, Luke 17:15-19, Luke 17:19, Luke 18:42-43; Mark 9:17, 9:17-18, Mark 9:23-24; Matthew 15:22-28)


[6] In John:

The sister of Lazarus, who was now dead, said to Jesus, Lord, by this time he stinketh; Jesus saith unto her, "Said I not unto thee, if thou wouldst believe thou shouldst see the glory of God" (xi. 39, 40).

In Luke:

"Jesus said to the woman who was a sinner, and who made his feet wet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, which she also anointed with oil, Thy sins are remitted thee; thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace" (vii. 38, 48, 50).

From these words also it is evident, that faith in the Lord's Omnipotence healed them, and also that the same faith remitted, that is, removed, their sins. The reason was that the woman not only had faith in the Lord's Divine Omnipotence, but also loved Him; for she kissed His feet, and therefore the Lord said, Thy sins are remitted thee; thy faith hath made thee whole. For faith causes the Divine of the Lord to be present, and love conjoins. For it is possible for the Lord to be present and not conjoined; it is evident therefore that faith from love saves.

(References: John 11:39-40; Luke 7:38, 7:48, 7:50)


[7] Again:

Jesus said to the disciples in the ship, "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith; then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the sea, and there was a great calm" (Matt. viii. 26; Mark iv. 39, 41; Luke viii. 24, 25).

Peter, at the bidding of Jesus, descended out of the ship, and walked upon the waters; but when the wind became boisterous, "he feared greatly, and, beginning to sink, cried out, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and said, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (Matt. xiv. 28-31).

When the disciples could not heal the lunatic, Jesus said unto them, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?" And Jesus healed him. And he told the disciples, that they could not heal him by reason of their unbelief (Matt. xxvii. 14, and following verses).

Jesus came into his own country, and they were there "offended in him, he said, A prophet is not without honour save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief" (Matt. xiii. 57, 58).

The reason why the Lord called the disciples men of little faith when they could not perform miracles in His name, and why He could not perform miracles in His own country on account of their unbelief was, that the disciples did indeed believe the Lord to be the Messiah or Christ, the Son of God, and the prophet of whom it was written in the Word. They did not yet, however, believe in Him as God Omnipotent, and that Jehovah the Father was in Him; and so far as they believed Him to be a man, and not at the same time God, His Divine, to which Omnipotence belonged, could not be present with the disciples by faith. For faith causes the Lord to be present, as said above; but faith in Him, as a man only, does not cause His Divine Omnipotence to be present. This also is the reason why those cannot be saved, who, at this day in the world, look to His Human only and not at the same time to His Divine; as is the case with Socinians and Arians.

(References: Luke 8:24-25; Mark 4:39-41; Matthew 8:26, Matthew 13:57-58, 14:28-31, Matthew 17:14)


[8] It was for a similar reason that the Lord could not perform miracles in His own country, for they there saw Him from infancy, as any other man; and therefore they could not attach to this the idea of His Divinity; and if this idea is not present, the Lord is indeed present in a man, but not with Divine Omnipotence; for it is faith that causes the presence of the Lord in man according to the nature of the perception concerning Him. Other things a man does not acknowledge, and so he rejects them. For, in order that the Lord may accomplish any thing in man by faith, His Divine must be present in man, and not out of Him.

In John:

"Many of the people believed on" Jesus; "and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?" (vii. 31).

In Mark:

"These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. They went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following" (xvi. 17-20).

(References: John 7:31; Mark 16:17-20)


[9] That it is a miraculous and not a saving faith which is there meant is evident also from this fact, that the Jewish nation believed in Jehovah only on account of His miracles. For they were external men; and these are moved to Divine worship only by external things, such as miracles, and these strike their minds. A miraculous faith was also the primary faith with those among whom a new church was to be established; and it is also the primary faith with all in the Christian world at this day, therefore the miracles performed by the Lord were described, and are also preached. For the primary faith with all is a historical faith, which afterwards becomes saving when a man by his life becomes spiritual. For it is first of all to be believed, that the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, and that He is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, infinite, and one with the Father. It is necessary that these things should be known; and so far as they are mere knowledge, they are historical; and historical faith causes the Lord to be present, because it is an intuition of the Lord from the nature of His Divinity. But still that faith does not save, until a man lives the life of faith, which is charity; for he then wills and does what he believes. And to will and to do pertains to the love; and Him whom faith causes to be present love conjoins. What those miracles which the disciples were to do signified, and those which were done by them in the beginning of the church, as the casting out of demons, speaking with new tongues, and others, may be seen above (n. 706).

(References: John 7:31; Mark 16:17-20; The Apocalypse Explained 706)


[10] In Matthew:

"Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you" (xvii. 14-20).

In Mark:

"Have the faith of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (xi. 22, 23, 24).

In Matthew:

Jesus said unto the disciples, "If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig-tree; but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. Indeed all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing" in me "ye shall receive" (xxi. 21, 22).

In Luke:

"If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, and shall say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it shall obey you" (xvii. 6).

That these things are not to be understood according to the words, is evident from this, that it was said to the disciples, that if they had faith as a grain of mustard seed, they would be able to pluck up mountains and sycamine trees, and cast them into the sea; also that all things whatsoever they asked they should receive; when, nevertheless, it is not of Divine Order that every one should receive whatever he asks, if he only has faith; also that they should pluck up a mountain and a tree from their place, and cast them into the sea. But by faith here is meant faith from the Lord; therefore it is called the faith of God. And those who are in faith from the Lord ask for nothing but what conduces to the Lord's kingdom and their own salvation. Other things they do not desire; for they say in their hearts, "Why should we ask for anything that is not of such use?" Wherefore it is not possible to have the faith of God, or faith from the Lord, in asking any thing but what it is granted them from the Lord to ask. Indeed it is impossible for the angels of heaven to desire, and consequently to ask, any thing else; and if they did, they could not possibly believe that they would receive it.

The reason why the Lord compared such faith to the ability and power of casting a mountain or a sycamine tree into the sea was, that the Lord in this, as well as in other parts of the Word, spoke by correspondences; therefore those words are also to be understood spiritually. For by a mountain is signified the love of self and of the world, thus the love of evil; and by a sycamine tree the faith of that love, which is a faith of falsity from evil. And by the sea is signified hell. Therefore by plucking up a mountain, and casting it into the sea by the faith of God, is signified to cast those loves - in themselves diabolical - into hell; and similarly the faith of falsity from evil; this is effected by faith from the Lord. A further reason of this comparison of the ability and power of faith from the Lord with plucking up and casting a mountain and a sycamine tree into the sea is, that in the spiritual world such things actually take place; for there those loves of evil sometimes appear as mountains, and the faith of falsity from evil as a sycamine tree. An angel can, by faith from the Lord, root up both and cast them into hell. That by a mountain is signified love to the Lord, and, in the opposite sense, the love of self, may be seen above (n. 405, 510); and that the fig-tree, or sycamine, signifies the natural man as to the goods and truths therein; and, in the opposite sense, the same as to evils and falsities, may be seen above (n. 403).

(References: Luke 17:6, Luke 17:15-19; Mark 11:22-24; Matthew 17:14-20, Matthew 21:21-22; The Apocalypse Explained 403, 405, 510)


[11] So far concerning miraculous faith. It remains now to adduce some passages from the evangelists concerning saving faith, which is the faith of truth from love to the Lord.

In John:

"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so also must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. He who believeth in him, is not judged, but he who believeth not, is already judged, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (iii. 14-19).

In the same:

"The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand; he who believeth in the Son hath eternal life, but he who believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him" (iii. 35, 36).

In the same:

"Unless ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins (viii. 24).

In the same:

"They said unto" Jesus, "What shall we do that we may work the works of God? Jesus answering said, This is the work of God, that ye believe in him whom the" Father "hath sent. I am the bread of life; he who cometh to me shall not hunger, and he who believeth in me shall never thirst. This is the will of him who sent me, that every one who seeth the Son, and believeth in him, may have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. No one hath seen the Father, save he who is with the Father, He hath seen the Father; verily I say unto you, he who believeth in me, hath eternal life; I am the bread of life " (vi. 28, 29, 33, 35, 36, 40, 46-48).

In the same:

Jesus said, "He who heareth my word and believeth him who sent me, hath eternal life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death into life; verily I say unto you, that the hour cometh, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live; even as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself" (v. 24-26).

In the same:

"Jesus cried saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink; whosoever believeth in me, as the Scripture saith, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water; these things said he of the spirit, which they who believe in him should receive" (vii. 37-39).

In the same:

"Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; but whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die" (xi. 25-27).

In the same:

"Jesus cried and said, He who believeth in me, believeth not in me but in him that sent me; I am come a light into the world, that every one who believeth in me may not abide in darkness; and if any one hear my words, and yet believe not, I do not judge him; he who despiseth me; and doth not receive my words, hath one that judgeth him, the word which I have spoken, shall judge him at the last day" (xii. 44-48).

In the same:

"As long as ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light" (xii. 36).

In the same:

"Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me" (xiv. 1).

In the same:

"As many as received Jesus, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name" (i. 12).

In the same:

"Many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did" (ii. 23).

In the same:

"These things are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name" (xx. 31).

In Mark:

Jesus said unto his disciples, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned" (xvi. 15, 16).

In these and other passages saving faith is described, which is to believe in the Lord; and to believe in Him is also to believe in the Father; because He and the Father are one. By believing in the Lord is signified not only to adore and worship Him, but also to live from Him. And a man lives from Him when he lives according to the Word which is from Him. Therefore, to believe in Him is to believe that He regenerates man, and gives eternal life to those who are regenerated by Him.

(References: John 1:12, John 2:23, John 3:14-18, 3:14-19, 3:35-36, John 5:24-26, 6:28-29, John 6:33, 6:35, John 6:39-40, 6:40, 6:46-48, John 7:37-39, 8:24, John 11:25-27, 11:25-26, John 12:36, John 12:44-48, John 14:1, John 20:31; Mark 16:15-16)


[12] What is signified by believing in Him is also signified by believing in His name. For the name of the Lord signifies all the quality of faith and love by which He is to be worshipped, and by which man is saved by Him. The reason why this is signified by His name is, that no other names are given to persons in the spiritual world than those that are expressive of the quality of their affection and life; whence the quality of every one is known from his name alone. Hence when the name of any one is pronounced by another, and the quality which is understood by the name is loved, he then becomes present, and they are conjoined as companions and brethren. But the quality of the Lord is everything of faith and love, by which He saves man; for this quality is the essence which proceeds from Him. Consequently, when this quality is thought of by man, the Lord is then present with him, and when it is loved, the Lord is then conjoined to him. This is why those who believe in His name have eternal life. It is evident therefore how necessary it is that a man should know the quality of faith and love, which is the Lord's name; and should love that quality; this is effected by the doing of those things which the Lord commanded.

The names Jesus and Christ also involve that quality. For Jesus signifies salvation, and Christ or Messiah signifies Divine truth; which comprehends everything of faith and love as to knowledges, doctrine, and life. When therefore those names are mentioned, their quality should be thought of, and the life framed according thereto. This is meant by the words of the Lord in Matthew:

Jesus said, "If two of you shall agree in my name upon earth concerning any thing whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father who is in the heavens; for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (xviii. 19, 20).

The presence of the Lord is indeed with all, and also His love is towards all; but still a man cannot be led and saved by the Lord, except according to his reception of the Lord, by love and faith towards Him.

(References: Matthew 18:19-20)


[13] From these things also it is further evident, how necessary it is for a man to know the quality of that faith and love which is the name of the Lord, and also to love that quality; for the Lord cannot be loved except through His quality. That the Lord and not the Father, is to be approached, and is to be worshipped, according to the quality of the faith and love which is laid down in the Word, the Lord Himself teaches, saying,

That no one hath ever seen the Father, but that the Son brings him forth to view (John i. 18).

Then that no one cometh to the Father but by him (John xiv. 6).

As also because the Father and he are one (John x. 30).

Wherefore to approach the Father and not the Lord, is to make two out of one, and so to worship the Divine outside the Lord, which notwithstanding is in Him. In this way, also, the idea of the Lord's Divinity perishes with man. From these things the truth is again evident,

"That he who believeth in the Son hath eternal life" (John iii. 36).

(References: John 1:18, John 3:36, John 10:30, John 14:6)


[14] That to believe in the Lord is to believe in the Father, the Lord Himself also teaches in John:

"He who believeth in me, believeth not in me but in him that sent me; and he that seeth me, seeth him that sent me" (xii. 44, 45).

By these words is meant, that he who believes in the Lord, does not believe in Him separate from the Father, but also in the Father; therefore it is added, "He who seeth me, seeth him that sent me." Also in another passage in John:

"Believe in God, believe in me" (xiv. 1).

In the same:

Believest thou not, Philip, "that I am in the Father and the Father in me? believe me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; verily I say unto you, he that believeth in me, the works which I do, he shall do also, because I go to my Father" (xiv. 10-12).

In the same:

"In that day ye shall ask in my name; and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you. For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came forth from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; and again, I leave the world and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, By this we believe that thou camest forth from God" (xvi. 26-28, 30).

To come forth from the Father signifies to be conceived of Him; and to go to the Father signifies to be fully united to Him. That to come forth from the Father denotes being conceived of Him, is quite clear from what is said in Matthew concerning the Lord's conception (i. 18-25); and in Luke (i. 34, 35). And that to go to the Father denotes being fully united to Him, is clear from the glorification of His Human by the passion of the cross, of which we have spoken above. Therefore it is said,

"In that day ye shall ask in my name," and no more in the name of the Father.

(References: John 12:44-45, John 14:1, John 14:10-12, John 16:26-30, 16:26-28, 16:30; Luke 1:34-35; Matthew 1:18-25)


[15] In the same:

Jesus said unto Thomas, "Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that do not see, and believe." And Thomas said, "My Lord and my God" (John xx. 28, 29).

Because the Lord was now fully united to the very Divine which is called the Father, therefore Thomas calls him his Lord and his God.

Similarly elsewhere in the same:

"Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not; although ye believe not me, believe the works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father" (x. 36-38).

That the Jews did not believe, is clear in John v. 14-47; x. 24-26; xii. 37-49; Matt. xxi. 31, 32. The reason of their incredulity was, that they wanted a Messiah who should exalt them to glory above all the nations of the earth, and because they were altogether natural and not spiritual; also because they had falsified the Word, especially where it treats of the Lord and themselves. That these were the causes of their unbelief is also evident from the faith of the Jews at this day, who are altogether natural, and scarcely know, or wish to know, anything about the Lord's kingdom in the heavens. That neither would they in the Christian world at this day believe that the Lord is one with the Father, and thence the God of heaven and earth, is meant by the Lord's words in Luke:

"When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (xviii. 8).

But on this subject, the Lord willing, we shall treat elsewhere.

(References: John 3:14-18, John 5:14-47, 5:14-17, John 6:33, John 6:39-40, John 10:24-26, John 10:36-38, John 11:25-26, John 12:37-39, 12:37-49, John 16:26-28, John 16:30, 20:28, 20:28-29, 20:29; Luke 17:15-19, Luke 18:8; Mark 9:17-18, Mark 16:15-20; Matthew 9:27-29, Matthew 21:31-32)

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