Why we need to examine ourselves

June 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

After death, indeed, people’s outward qualities are in every case forced to become like their inner ones. (AR 157.e; Rogers)

This is a bit scary. It is easy to look at our actions, our outward behavior, and see that we have been good. We often are outwardly good, “keeping up appearances” so to speak, because we want others to think well of us. And if we look no further, we may actually believe that our appearance is reality.

The Lord warns us, however, that our inner nature may be quite different from our external behavior. We need to look at our private thoughts, our fantasies, our intentions, and what delights us. We need to do this especially when we are alone so that we can see what we are alike when nobody can see us.

And since all of us are born into the inclination toward every evil, what we will see will not be good. We need to acknowledge this hard truth, so that we will turn to the Lord and shun our evils as sins against Him. Otherwise He is unable to reform and regenerate us.


Who is New Church?

June 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

Chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation, spiritually describe

all those people in the Christian Church who have religion, and out of whom a new church can be formed, which is the New Jerusalem; and it is formed of those who go to the Lord alone and at the same time repent of their evil works. The rest, who do not go to the Lord alone, owing to their entrenched denial that His humanity is Divine, are indeed in the church, but they do not have anything of the church in them. (Apocalypse Revealed 69)

These two chapters describe those in the Christian Church who can become part of the New Christian Church. I would think that these same requirements would apply to those who are born and brought up in some New Church organization.

First, they must go to the Lord. As noted in an earlier blog, this means acknowledging that the Lord’s Human nature is Divine, and that He alone is our God and Savior.

Second, we must repent our evil works. Our works are evil?  We don’t like to think so, but they are. All our good works, all our community service — though outwardly good — is evil. It is evil because until we go the Lord and shun our evils as sins against the Lord, they stem from evil motives.

Those of us, who are fortunate to have been born or brought up in a New Church organization need to take these words to heart. Yes, we may be in the New Christian Church, but the New Christian Church is not in us, unless we look to the Lord and repent of our evil works.

June 19th, 1770

June 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

Three times in the True Christian Religion the Lord speaks of June 19. That would suggest that it is important.

The first is TCR 4:

It is a notable fact that several months ago the Lord called together his twelve disciples who are now angels, and sent them out throughout the spiritual world with orders to preach the Gospel there anew, since the church the Lord established through their ministry is to-day so close to its end that hardly any remains survive. This has come about because the Divine Trinity has been divided into three persons, each of whom is God and Lord.

The context is about the different ages of church and that end of the Christian is near due to the division of the trinity into three persons.

The second is TCR 108:

To confirm this further I will relate what I know, because I have seen it and can therefore testify to it, namely, that the Lord is at this day forming a new angelic heaven, and that it is formed of those who believe in the Lord God the Savior, and who approach Him directly, and that all others are rejected. So hereafter, when anyone from Christendom goes into the spiritual world (as every man does at death) and does not believe in the Lord and approach Him alone, and is then unable to receive this faith, because he has lived wickedly or has confirmed himself in falsities, at his first approach toward heaven he is repelled, and turns his face away from heaven and towards the lower earth, whither he goes, and joins those who are there, who are meant, in Revelation, by “the dragon” and the “false prophet.” Moreover, no man henceforth in Christian lands is listened to unless he believes in the Lord; his prayers become in heaven like ill-scented odors, and like eructations from ulcerated lungs; and even if his appeal is thought to be like the fumes of incense, it ascends towards the angelic heaven only like the smoke of a conflagration which is blown back into his eyes by a downward gust of wind, or it is like the incense from a censer hidden under a monk’s cloak. Such is the case hereafter with all piety that is directed to a divided trinity, not to a united trinity. To show that the Divine trinity is united in the Lord is the chief object of this work.

To this I will add the following new information. Some months ago the twelve apostles were called together by the Lord, and were sent forth through the whole spiritual world, as they formerly were through the whole natural world, with the command to preach this gospel; and to each apostle was assigned a particular province; and this command they are executing with great zeal and industry. But on these subjects more will be said in the last chapter of this book, where the Consummation of the Age, the Lord’s Coming and the New Church, are specially treated of.

And the third is TCR 791:

NOTE. – After this work was finished the Lord called together His twelve disciples who followed Him in the world; and the next day He sent them all forth throughout the whole spiritual world to preach the Gospel that THE LORD GOD JESUS CHRIST reigns, whose kingdom shall be for ages and ages, according to the prediction in Daniel (7:13, 14), and in Revelation (11:15).
Also that blessed are those that come to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9).
This took place on the nineteenth day of June, 1770. This is what is meant by these words of the Lord:
He shall send His angels and they shall gather together His elect, from the end of the heavens to the end thereof (Matt. 24:31).

June 19th marks the beginning of the New Christian Church in the heavens, which would descend into the natural world. The New Christian Church is not an organization, even a collection of organizations. It consists of those who have the Word and live it. Some of these are indeed members of various “New Church” organizations, but others are not. And some in these organizations are not in the Lord’s New Christian Church, because despite membership in an organization, and despite their outwardly good life, they inwardly do not live by what the Word teaches.

One of the fundamental aspects of June 19th is that the disciples were sent through out the spiritual world to preach the gospel, specifically the gospel that the Lord God Jesus Christ rules. This preaching involved setting right false ideas about Lord (see TCR 4 and 108).

Many readers of the Heavenly Doctrines are aware of these teachings about June 19th. But not all are aware that the Lord instructed the disciples about the truth that He is the visible God, and that He is God and Man. The Lord did this  through Emanuel Swedenborg. Note the last sentence of TCR 339:

Men ought to believe, that is, have faith, in God the Savior Jesus Christ, because that is a faith in a visible God within whom is the invisible; and faith in a visible God, who is at once Man and God, enters into a man; for faith in its essence is spiritual but in its form is natural; consequently with man such a faith becomes spiritual-natural. For anything spiritual, in order to be anything with man, must have a recipient in the natural. The naked spiritual does indeed enter into man, but it is not received; it is like the ether, which flows in and out producing no effect, for to produce an effect there must be perception and consequent reception, both of these in his mind; and no such reception is possible with man except in his natural. But on the other hand merely natural faith, or faith destitute of a spiritual essence, is not faith, but only persuasion or knowledge. In externals persuasion emulates faith; but since there is in its internals no spirituality, neither is there anything saving in it. Such is the faith of all who deny the Divinity of the Lord’s Human; such was the Arian faith, and such also is the Socinian faith, because both reject the Lord’s Divinity. What is faith without an object toward which it is determined? Is it not like gazing into the universe, where the sight falls, as it were, into vacuity and is lost? It is like a bird flying beyond the atmosphere into the ether, where, as in a vacuum, it ceases to breathe. The abiding of this faith in man’s mind may be compared to that of the winds in the wings [halls?] of Aeolus, or of light in a falling star. It rises like a comet with a long tail, and like it passes over and disappears. [2] In a word, faith in an invisible God is actually blind, since the human mind fails to see its God; and the light of that faith, not being a spiritual-natural faith, is a fatuous light; which light is like that of the glow-worm, or like that seen above marshes or sulphurous glebes at night, or like the phosphorescence of rotten wood. From that light nothing comes except what pertains to fantasy, which creates a belief that the apparent is the real, when yet it is not. Faith in an invisible God shines with no other light than this, especially when God is thought to be a Spirit, and spirit is thought to be like ether. What follows but that man regards God as he does the ether? Consequently he seeks God in the universe; and when he does not find Him there, he believes the nature of the universe to be God. This is the origin of the prevailing naturalism of the day. Did not the Lord say,
That no one ever heard the Father’s voice or saw His shape? (John 5:37);
and also,
That no man hath seen God at any time, but that the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father hath revealed Him (John 1:18).
No man hath seen the Father, save He who is with the Father, He hath seen the Father (John 6:46).
Also that no one cometh unto the Father, but through Him (John 14:8).
That He who sees and knows Him sees and knows the Father (John 14:7-12).
[3] But faith in the Lord God the Savior is different; He, being God and Man, can be approached and be seen in thought. Faith in Him is not indeterminate, but has an object from which and to which it proceeds and when once received is permanent, as when anyone has seen an emperor or king, as often as the fact is recalled the image returns. That faith’s sight is like one’s seeing a bright cloud, and in the midst of it an angel who invites the man to him, so that he may be raised up into heaven. Thus does the Lord appear to those who have faith in Him; He draws near to every man so far as man recognizes and acknowledges Him, which he does, so far as he knows and keeps the Lord’s commandments, which are, to shun evils and do good; and at length the Lord comes into man’s house, and together with the Father who is in Him, makes His abode with man, according to these words in John:
Jesus said, He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him (14:21, 23).
The foregoing was written in the presence of the Lord’s twelve apostles, who were sent to me by the Lord while I was writing it.

Not just a feeling

June 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

Loving the Lord is not just a feeling, neither is loving your spouse or your children!

 the Lord’s presence . . . becomes closer and fuller in the measure that the person loves the Lord, which is to say, as he keeps His commandments. (AR 55; Rogers)

Phrase by Phrase

June 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

In my daily reading I came across this teaching:

It is on this account that the book of Revelation has heretofore not been understood. But lest there be any doubt that it contains such truths, its contents must be explained phrase by phrase and demonstrated by similar passages elsewhere in the Word. (Apocalypse Revealed 1.e; Rogers)

None of these translators used the exact definitions given above. Each translator, however, did convey the idea behind the Latin word.

Bruce Rogers translation appears to be further from the dictionary than the translation of the other two, but I think it is closer to what the Lord through Swedenborg was actually intending.

New Church people often say that the Arcana Celestia expounds the spiritual meaning of Genesis and Exodus word by word, and that Apocalypse Revealed and the Apocalypse Explained do the same for the book of Revelation. A careful examination of these works, however, shows that this is not case. In actuality, they expound the spiritual meaning as Mr. Rogers notes, “phrase by phrase.”

It is true that these works frequently give long explanations of individual words with many examples from other verses in the Word. This, I believe, is what gives impression that these works expound the spiritual meaning word by word. It is worth noting that when the Heavenly Doctrines given an extended explanation of the spiritual meaning of a word, that the word is usually a noun or an adjective. They seldom give spiritual meanings of verbs.

Congratulations to Bruce Rogers for not only finding a way to express the meaning of the Latin word, but for also describing what the Heavenly Doctrines are actually doing; which is exactly what they are trying to explain here.

The essentials and universals of Religion

June 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

Two things are the essentials and at the same time the universals of religion, namely, acknowledgment of God, and repentance. (Divine Providence 340.2)

It is worth noting that the second essential, which is also a universal of religion, is not doing good, but repentance! All the good works you do, all the services you do for others, are not good if you have not and are not shunning evils as sins against the Lord.

The first paragraph in the little work on Charity notes:

To be set forth in this order:
(I) As far as anyone does not shun evils because they are sins, so far he remains in them.
(II) As far as anyone does not take cognizance of sins and know what they are, so far he does not see but that he is without sins.
(III.) As far as anyone takes cognizance of sins and knows what they are, so far he can see them in himself, confess them before the Lord, and repent of them.
(IV.) Good before repentance is spurious good; it is the same with Charity, for good is of Charity.
(V.) Consequently, the first of Charity is to look to the Lord and shun evils because they are sins.

Divine Providence 340 sums this up when it says:

without repentance man is in evil, and evil is hell. (DP 340.3e)

Good works, service to others ought to be done, but not without us working on our repentance.

Where Am I?

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