Commentary

 

What's the point?

     

By New Christian Bible Study Staff

Jesus answers the rich young mans question; what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Here we are.... human beings -- homo sapiens.

We're smart, talented, inventive, productive, and capable of spiritual awareness. Is there a reason for that? Or no reason? Are we, as Bertrand Russell said, just "accidental collocations of atoms"?

We think that the "yes, there is a reason" argument makes more sense. There seems to be a purpose -- a will -- that drives the development of life. And intelligence. This positive force apparently out-powers the entropy that you would expect in a nothing-but-physical universe.

The New Christian take is that this positive, creative force stems from the nature of God. Think of God as love itself -- this intense, inexhaustible well of love -- shaped and instantiated by infinite wisdom. That sort of love would long for conjunction -- for making others happy, and for creating this reciprocal circuit of love and response. That sort of wisdom would enable the creation of a multi-faceted universe where such a reciprocation could thrive.

Right now, we're living in one of the facets of this universe -- the physical one. It's a sort of substrate, a grounding-out place, where free, rational human beings can develop and live, and have a chance to achieve spiritual development. There's a spiritual facet to the universe, too - another plane just as real as the physical one - where free rational human beings can keep on living after their physical bodies die.

If that's the case, what are we supposed to be doing? Essentially, our quest here on earth is to make an overall choice whether to go for spiritual freedom, with God's help, or whether to reject his leading, and go our own way, which ends up with us becoming enslaved by our own evil loves. That big overall choice gets built up from thousands of everyday choices.

For reference, among many places where Bible supports the idea of heaven and eternal life, here are some examples:

Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)

In this way, therefore, you should pray: Our Father, who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy name; (Matthew 6:9)

"And he said unto them, 'Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or wife, or brethren, or parents, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the world to come eternal life.' " (Luke 18:29-30).

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The Bible

 

Luke 18:29-30

Study the Inner Meaning

              

29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake,

30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

     

   Study the Inner Meaning

Explanation of Luke 18      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verse 1. That man ought to keep his internal or spiritual mind continually open to Divine influx, notwithstanding all the opposition of the external or natural mind

Verses 2-6. Since however false principles may prevail in the latter mind, yet if the desire of truth grounded in good prevail at the same time in the former mind, it will sooner or later become accepting of the light of truth.

Verses 7-8. Which consideration ought therefore to be attended to, because it proves that the Divine Truth is always present with those who are in the love of it, to deliver them from all false and evil persuasions, however it may appear at times to be absent, and to produce no effect. (First part of Verse 8).

Verse 8. Still, at the end of the Church, when there is no longer any faith, because there is no charity, Divine Truth, though revealed from heaven, will not be received. (Latter part of Verse 8).

Verses 9-15. For at that time man will be under the delusive idea, that he may be admitted into heaven by virtue of his works, without any regard to the principle from which they are done, whereas none are admitted into heaven but the humble and the penitent, whose works are not done from themselves, but from the Lord.

Verses 15-16. That the goods and truths of innocence ought all to be ascribed to the Lord, because heaven consists in such acknowledgement, and the Lord has communication with those goods and truths.

Verse 17. None therefore can be admitted into heaven, unless they be principled in innocence.

Verses 18-28. Nor can any one enter into heaven, unless he acknowledge the Lord, even as to His Human essence to be the God of heaven, and that from him is every good which is good, and unless he live also according to the precepts of the decalogue, by abstaining from those evils as sins, which are there forbidden.

Verses 19-20. For the Lord alone is good, and the source of good, and the way to attain conjunction of life with Him is to observe His precepts, which precepts teach, that man ought not to destroy or pervert in himself the life of love and charity; nor to ascribe that life to himself, but to the Lord alone; nor to call anything good or true but what is of the Lord; thus that he should respect and exalt in himself the Divine good and truth above every other.

Verses 21-22. Yet these precepts cannot be fulfilled, until man removes his heart from riches, fights against cravings, and acknowledges the Lord to be god.

Verse 23. Which things appear grievous to those who are in the knowledges of truth separate from the good of charity.

Verses 24-25. Therefore those knowledges, when so separated from the good of life, are rather hindrances to the attainment of conjunction with the Lord, since it is contrary to Divine order that knowledges of themselves, without the life of love and charity, should introduce any one into heaven.

Verses 26-27. Nevertheless they are no hindrances in case the Divine Truth be respected and exalted.

Verses 28-30. Inasmuch as all who reject their hereditary evils and falsities and acknowledge the Lord as to His Human essence to be god, shall be elevated to communication and conjunction with the Lord, and to all the joys of His eternal kingdom.

Verses 31-33. That in the Church, where mere falsities of doctrine and evils of life prevail, Divine Truth will be blasphemed, and perverted, and its good destroyed, nevertheless the Human principle of the Lord will attain to plenary glorification.

Verse 34. But these things cannot be apprehended even by those who are principled in the goods and truths of the Church.

Verses 35-43. Until they receive spiritual understanding from the LORD.

Verse 38. Asking it of Him from the pure love of truth.

Verse 39. And are the more urgent to receive, in proportion as they meet with opposition.

Verses 40-41. And explore diligently the end or intention they have in view, when they seek the knowledge of the truth.

Verses 42-43. For in such case their understandings receive light by communication with the Lord's Divine Human principle, which they gratefully acknowledge, and which is thus acknowledged by others.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 3703, 10248

Divine Providence 324


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 186

Related New Christian Commentary

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Bible Word Meanings

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

say
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...

parents
'Parents' signify the goods and truths of the church.

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

world
The term "world" has both general and more specific meanings in the Bible, including the relatively literal sense of the natural, physical world. In more...

come
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

life
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

everlasting
It is hard for us to conceive this, but time does not exist in spiritual reality. Time is an aspect of physical reality that no...

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.


 Healing the Blind Miracles
Compare four stories about the Lord healing the blind by dramatizing them using the “Readers’ Theater” technique. Actors read lines from the script and act out their parts.
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Jesus and the Children, Children in Heaven
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Modesty
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Eyes of the Blind Shall See Him
Make a picture of the Lord in heaven with bright light all around Him. Cover the picture with fabric or another piece of paper, attaching it only at the top edge so that it can be lifted up to see the picture of the Lord. 
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 The Last Supper
The Lord celebrated Passover with His disciples and told them to remember Him by eating bread and drinking wine. The Lord is still present with people in a special way through the Holy Supper. Sample from the Jacob’s Ladder Program, Level 1, for ages 6-7.
Religion Lesson | Ages 6 - 7

 The Lord Blesses the Children
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Lord Is Our Heavenly Father (version 1)
Color picture of the Lord with children.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 The Lord Is Our Heavenly Father (version 2)
Color picture of the Lord with children.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 The Lord Loves Me
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Pharisee and the Publican
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14


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