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The Lord #35

The Lord (Dole)

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35. 6. Step by step he took off the human nature he had taken on from his mother and put on a human nature from what was divine within him, which is the divine human nature and the Son of God.

It is generally known that the Lord was divine and human, divine because of Jehovah the Father and human because of the Virgin Mary. That is why he was God and a human being and therefore had a divine essence and a human outward nature, the divine essence from his Father and the human nature from his mother. This meant that he was equal to the Father with respect to his divinity, but less than the Father with respect to his humanity. It also meant that, as we are taught by the so-called Athanasian statement of faith, this human nature from his mother was not changed into or mixed with a divine essence, since a human nature cannot be changed into or mixed with a divine essence.

[2] All the same, this very statement of faith we have accepted says that the divine nature took on a human nature-that is, united itself with it as a soul with its body, so much so that they were not two but one person. It follows from this that he took off the human nature received from his mother, which was essentially like that of anyone else and therefore material, and put on a human nature from his Father, which was essentially like his divine nature and therefore substantial, thus making his human nature divine.

That is why the Lord is even called “Jehovah” and “God” in the prophetic books of the Word, and in the Word of the Gospels is called “Lord, ” “God, ” “Messiah” or “Christ, ” and “the Son of God, ” the one in whom we are to believe and by whom we are to be saved.

[3] Now, since from the beginning the Lord had a human nature from his mother and took this off step by step, while he was in this world he therefore experienced two states, one called the state of being brought low or being emptied out and one called the state of being glorified or united with the Divine called “the Father.” The state of being brought low occurred when and to the extent that he was primarily conscious of the human nature received from his mother, and the state of being glorified occurred when and to the extent that he was primarily conscious of the human nature received from his Father. In his state of being brought low he prayed to the Father as someone other than himself; while in his state of being glorified he talked with the Father as if talking with himself. In this latter state he said that the Father was in him and he in the Father and that the Father and he were one; while in his state of being brought low he bore trials, suffered on the cross, and prayed that the Father would not forsake him. This is because his divine nature could not be subject to any trial, let alone suffer on the cross.

These passages then show us that by means of his trials and the subsequent constant victories, and by means of his suffering on the cross, which was the final trial, he completely subdued the hells and completely glorified his human nature, as has been explained above.

[4] As for his taking off the human nature received from his mother and putting on the human nature received from what was divine within him called “the Father, ” this we can see from the fact that whenever the Lord spoke directly to his mother he did not call her “mother” but “woman.” We find only three places in the Gospels where he speaks directly to his mother or about her, and in two of these he called her “woman, ” while in one he did not acknowledge her as his mother. As for the two in which he called her “woman, ” we read in John,

Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “What have I to do with you, woman? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4)

And also

When Jesus from the cross saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing by her, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” (John 19:25-27)

The one occasion on which he did not acknowledge her is in Luke:

They announced to Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and want to see you.” Jesus answered and said to them, “My mother and my brothers are these who hear the Word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:20-21; Matthew 12:46-49; Mark 3:31-35)

In other passages Mary is called his mother, but never from his own mouth.

(References: John 2:3-4, 19:26-27)


[5] There is further support for this in the fact that he did not acknowledge himself to be the son of David. In fact, we read in the Gospels,

Jesus asked the Pharisees, saying, “What is your view of the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “David’s.” He said to them, “So how is it that David, in the spirit, calls him his Lord when he says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right until I make your enemies a stool for your feet”’? So if David calls him ‘Lord, ’ how is he his son?” And no one could answer him a word. (Matthew 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44; Psalms 110:1)

We can see from all this that as far as his glorified human nature was concerned, the Lord was neither the son of Mary nor the son of David.

[6] He showed Peter, James, and John what his glorified human nature was like when he was transfigured before their eyes:

His face shone like the sun and his clothing was like light. And then a voice from a cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear him.” (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36)

The Lord also looked to John “like the sun shining in its strength” (Revelation 1:16).

[7] We are assured that the Lord’s human nature was glorified by what it says about his glorification in the Gospels, such as the following from John:

The hour has come for the Son of Humanity to be glorified. He said, “Father, glorify your name.” A voice came from heaven, saying, “I both have glorified it and will glorify it again.” (John 12:23, 28)

It says “I both have glorified it and will glorify it again” because the Lord was glorified step by step. Again,

After Judas went out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Humanity is glorified, and God is glorified in him. God will also glorify him in himself and glorify him immediately.” (John 13:31-32)

Again,

Jesus said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son may also glorify you.” (John 17:1, 5)

And in Luke,

Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer this and enter into his glory? (Luke 24:26)

These things were said about his human nature.

[8] The Lord said, “God is glorified in him” and also “God will glorify him in himself” and “Glorify your Son, so that your Son may also glorify you.” The Lord said these things because the union was reciprocal, the divine nature with the human nature and the human nature with the divine. That is why he also said, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:10-11) and “All that is mine is yours, and all that is yours is mine” (John 17:10); so the union was full.

It is the same with any union. Unless it is reciprocal, it is not full. This is what the union of the Lord with us and of us with the Lord must be like, as he tells us in this passage in John:

On that day you will know that you are in me and I am in you. (John 14:20)

And in this passage:

Abide in me, and I [will abide] in you. Those who abide in me and in whom I abide bear much fruit. (John 15:4-5)

[9] Because the Lord’s human nature was glorified-that is, made divine-on the third day after his death he rose again with his whole body, which is not true of any human being, since we rise again with our spirit only and not with our body.

So that we should know this, and so that no one should doubt that the Lord rose again with his whole body, he not only said so through the angels who were in the tomb but also showed himself to the disciples in his human form with his body, saying to them when they thought they were seeing a spirit,

“See my hands and my feet-that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. (Luke 24:39-40; John 20:20)

And again,

Jesus said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at my hands; and reach out your hand and put it into my side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Then Thomas said, “My Lord and my God.” (John 20:27-28)

[10] To make it even clearer that he was not a spirit but a person, he said to the disciples,

“Have you any food here?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish and some honeycomb, and he took it and ate in their presence. (Luke 24:41-43)

Since his body was no longer material but had become divine substance, he came to the disciples when the doors were closed (John 20:19, 26) and disappeared after they had seen him (Luke 24:31).

Once the Lord was in this state, he was carried up and sat down at the right hand of God, for it says in Luke,

It happened that, while Jesus blessed his disciples, he was parted from them and carried up into heaven. (Luke 24:51)

and in Mark,

After he had spoken to them, he was carried up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. (Mark 16:19)

Sitting down at the right hand of God means gaining divine omnipotence.

[11] Since the Lord rose into heaven with his divine and human natures united into one and sat at the right hand of God (which means gaining omnipotence), it follows that his human substance or essence is now just like his divine substance or essence.

To think otherwise would be like thinking that his divine nature was raised into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, but not together with his human nature. This is contrary to Scripture and also contrary to the Christian teaching that in Christ God and a human being are like the soul and the body. To separate them is also contrary to sound reason.

It is this union of the Father with the Son, or of the divine nature with the human nature, that is meant in the following passages:

I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father. (John 16:28)

I go (or come) to the one who sent me. (John 7:33; 16:5, 16; 17:11, 13; 20:17)

What then if you were to see the Son of Humanity ascend where he was before? (John 6:62)

No one has ascended to heaven except the one who came down from heaven. (John 3:13)

Every one of us who is saved ascends to heaven, though not on our own, but rather through the Lord's power. Only the Lord ascended on his own.

(References: John 20:26-28; Luke 24:39-43)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Apocalypse Revealed 150, 222, 472, 613

Other New Christian Commentary

Exinanition - what is that? 1

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

The Bible

John 20:27-28

English: King James Version

Study the Inner Meaning

← John 19   Full Chapter   John 21 →

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.

← John 19   Full Chapter   John 21 →

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 2921, 4766

The Lord 35, 41

Heaven and Hell 461


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 53, 519, 815

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 14

Other New Christian Commentary

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