THE WIDOW’S TWO MITE

THE WIDOW’S TWO MITES

A Sermon by Rev. Frederick M ChapinApril 10, 1994

 

Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty has put in all the livelihood that she had. (Lk. 21:3&4)

Anytime we think about the world we live in, we are in awe of it. We are amazed at the tremendous distance that lie between the stars in the sky. And the things we observe in nature impresses us with their complexity. In fact, the operation of natural things can help strengthen our belief in the Lord. When we take note of the variety of activities in the universe, and yet, how they operate in perfect harmony, it can convince us even further that there is a God, and He does indeed sustain all life. The world of nature can assure us more that the Lord is infinite, and that we are always under His care. Indeed, the Psalmist was struck with a felling of humility and gratitude when he perceived the Lord’s power and wrote:

 

When I consider Your heavens, the works of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. (Ps 8:3-5)

We too can have our faith in the Lord confirmed, when we notice the beauty, complexity, and the magnitude of the universe we are a part of.

However, the world we live in can also have an opposite effect upon us. At times, when we notice the immensity of the universe, it can leave us with a sense of insignificance. The world will not change that much whether we are in it or not. Certainly, the vast majority of the world’s population are not even aware of our existence. And we are further discouraged when our deeds and accomplishments are not noticed or appreciated by those we do know. We feel a sense of uselessness in trying to do good, when seemingly no one cares or is aware of our efforts. Quite often, we might ask, “What is the use? Nobody seems to be effected by my efforts to be kind or useful.” We are tempted to abandon our efforts to perform uses towards others. We tend to believe that things will end up the same no matter what we do. Is there anything that can allow us to escape from this feeling of unimportance, even when our efforts go largely unnoticed?

Yes there is! We are assured that there is a real significance for our existence, even if our uses are not acknowledged directly. This is brought forth in the incident of a poor widow and her two mites. While the Lord was on the earth, He was observing some rich people putting money into the treasury of the temple. As they were giving their offerings, a poor widow came and put in two mites. A mite was the smallest coin in circulation at the time, only worth about one-eighth of a penny. In fact, the coin was called a mite because of its small size and value. Yet, surprisingly, the Lord stated that the widow gave more than everyone else. The Lord said she gave all she had, whereas the rich only gave a portion of their possessions. Therefore, the Lord saw something deeper in the widow’s gift than just her meager and almost insignificant offering. He saw her complete sacrifice.

Certainly, the Lord was not teaching that we must give all our money to the church, and live in utter poverty. Nevertheless, this poor woman serves as an illustration how we are to offer our spiritual lives to the Lord. We can not hold anything back just for ourselves, but we must make a total commitment to the Lord. We are taught that we totally submit ourselves when we have no desire to be led by self, but exclusively by the Lord. (AC 6138) The best way we can combat a feeling of worthlessness is to fully and completely submit to the Lord’s direction in our lives; and therefrom be happy and content with what we are given. The only way the Lord can make His presence known in our lives is for us to be willing to live the way the Lord wants us to live. When this willingness is there, the Lord is than able to make us happy from His Divinity. (AC 6138) When we sense the Lord’s presence in our lives, we will then sense a purpose and meaning for our existence that will not be dependant on the recognition of others. We will feel a part of the Lord’s operation in heaven and on earth, and we will sense that we are actively contributing toward it. If we are willing to submit completely to the teachings of the Word, than we are like the widow, putting all she had into the temple;’s treasury, and feeling the joy of such a sacrifice.

Furthermore, the teachings we receive concerning the relationship between particulars and generals can help us to know how we are to regard the purpose for our individual lives. What is general, or the whole, is made of individual elements. (AC 917, 1040:2) The human body, for example, consists of many distinct parts. This is also true of the Lord’s Church on the earth. It exists solely of those who seek to do good out of a sincere heart or motive. (TCR 767, AC 2405:7) If every member of the church were to abandon their efforts towards regeneration, the entire church on earth would immediately crumble. Therefore, when we seek to do our part in promoting good, even if, externally, we do not seem to make a major impact on the world around us, it does indeed serve to establish the church more firmly upon the earth.

When we strive to be governed by the Lord, He will insure that our talents will be in harmony with all the other abilities in His church. The individual acts are brought together when everyone looks towards a common end. (AC 1288) For example, an athletic team is made of individual players, each having a different responsibility. Some assignments get more attention than others. Yet, each player does his job to the best of his ability and tries to cooperate with the other players. And they are so conjoined when they each have a desire for the team to win. So it is with the church on earth. Some uses and responsibilities get more exposure and attention than other uses. But that does not mean that they are more important. If each member does his or her functions for the church, they are all equally contributing to the stability of the church on earth. And the common end or goal that unites the distinct uses of the church into a unity is a love towards the Lord and towards the neighbor. (AC 1288) When we strive to have the Lord operate in our lives through the obedience to His Word, and treat others as we would like them to treat us, we are then in the love that is from the Lord Himself. Divine love unites all uses into a beautiful form. When particulars or individual parts unite for a common purpose, there is order that is from the Lord. (TCR 60) Our lives are in Divine order when we act in association with others for a common purpose: the establishment of the Lord’s kingdom on earth. This unition gives our efforts towards good a permanent existence. (TCR 775) We need other people with different abilities to unite with so our uses will endure. Likewise, their abilities must unite with our own abilities so their uses will continue. This common need we have with each other unites all uses and makes the church act as a one, even though it consists of many individuals.

Therefore, when we feel our lives don’t make that much of a difference in the world around us, it is well to think of the widow’s two mites. Certainly, the two mites the widow gave did not make a tremendous impact upon the treasury of the temple. But because the widow was still willing to do her part, the Lord was able to draw out the maximize good from that single act. Likewise, if we perform our daily tasks as sincerely and honestly as we can, even though they may not appear to have a major impact on the world, we can still have the assurance the Lord is using our good deeds, and making them have the greatest effect. Charity is not measured by the size or magnitude of the act, but by the affection that motivates it. (TCR 489:9) This the Lord sees and blesses. And we can rejoice and be grateful that the Lord Himself is using us in His efforts to be more active among His creation. The Lord is able to see and use what is in our hearts. For we are promised: “… the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Sam 16:7) AMEN

PEACE TO YOU

PEACE TO YOU

An Easter Sermon by Rev Frederick M ChapinApril 3, 1994

 

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, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ (Jn 20:19)

The disciples were in deep confusion and great fear. They were in fear because the Lord was dead. The Lord’s enemies were searching for them and they were afraid for their lives. The disciples were convinced that the Lord was indeed sent from God, that He was the Promised One, yet He was killed. They were mystified why the Lord, with such great powers, would allow Himself to be arrested and eventually killed, without any form of resistance. Now they did not know what happened to His body and they were hearing strange reports of events that happened at the tomb. The disciples were in deep despair and disillusionment.

While they were in hiding the Lord suddenly appeared to them. Without warning, they saw the Lord standing before them. It was then that the Lord spoke the words of our text, “Peace be with you”.

The Greek word for peace has the idea of unity, security, and being at rest. This was a direct contrast to what the disciples were in after the Lord’s crucifixion. They were in disarray, felt vulnerable, and had great concern about their future. Yet, the presence of the Lord assured them that He was still with them. The Lord’s appearance helped unite them together, they felt protected by the Lord, even under very trying circumstances, and they had the assurance that the Lord would bless their ministry.

The Lord is the source of all true peace. We are in the peace that the Lord gives when we are conjoined with Him. There are three basic components that make up the peace that we have from the Lord. First, we have protection from the infestations of the evil spirits from the hells; secondly, we have the ability to delight in what is good because it is good; and thirdly, we are content with what the Lord has given to us.

First, we are protected from being overwhelmed by the evil delights and false excuses when we are conjoined with the Lord. In heaven, this is literally the case. No evil spirit can ever approach any angel in heaven. We on the earth have the same protection. Yes, we can still be hurt, and we can be tempted to do wrong things. But there can be a steady confidence within us that we are safe in the Lord’s hands and His providence can bring order even out of our most troubling situations. There can be many things that will disturb us greatly, but they will never be strong enough to destroy our confidence in the Lord’s power or His government. When we have a steadfast faith in the Lord and a genuine commitment to do His will, we will sense the Lord’s constant presence with us, despite the troubles that may surround us.

Secondly, we are in heavenly peace when we have the ability to delight in that which is good. This is not a selfish delight that is primarily concerned with our own advantage. Rather, we enjoy the good that is being done for the benefits that it gives towards others and the establishment of the Lord’s kingdom. Only from the Lord are we able to sincerely delight in good things. The more we are able to find joy and satisfaction in what is good because it is good, the more we find satisfaction in what we are given, and in our individual calling.

Finally, when we enjoy the peace that is from the Lord, we will be content with what we have. It is easy to see that if one is content, one is at rest. If we enjoy the things that we do possess, and not occupy our minds on what we do not have, The more comfortable we will be. The Lord alone is able to give us the ability to be content with what we have and not be frustrated or jealous of what we do not have.

Furthermore, when we are content, the Writings teach that we have the ability to rise our thoughts above merely natural things. Contentment allows us to consider everything around us from a spiritual perspective. We are more likely to consider the impact of how our actions will effect others. If we are not content, the more we are likely to do things that will only please ourselves, regardless of impact it will have upon the well being of others. The more our judgments are based upon a deeper level than just what we perceive with our physical senses, the more we will find satisfaction with what is given to us.

The peace that the world offers only gives ecstasy to the senses. Heavenly peace is able to give satisfaction to the mind. If all we are concerned about is pleasure, than we will only be happy if our external appetites are being satisfied. But if we are content in our internals, by finding joy in our use, we can have a proper perspective that can give satisfaction even when our senses are not in a state of euphoria.

Obviously, when we are in peace, we are in joy. It stimulates and excites an affection for that which is good. In fact, the Writings teach that the joy we feel is from the Divine of the Lord flowing into our affection of good. When we truly love what is good simply because it is good, that love is a receptacle for the Lord to flow into and stimulate us.

And when the Lord flows in, He is joyful because He can make us happy from His Divinity and lead us to enjoy the delights of His heavenly kingdom forever. What is fascinating, is that we can perceive the Lord’s joy by the peace we sense when we find sincere delight in what is good. The peace we are enjoying is the Lord’s joy of being conjoined with us. (HH 286) We are sensing the Lord’s happiness in giving us eternal life.

What makes heavenly peace possible for us to enjoy is to simply remove the corruptions that are attached to our lives. We must shun that which opposes the Lord’s teachings in His Word. We enjoy heavenly peace to the degree we are willing to remove all the obstacles that violate the teachings from the Word. This involves temptations. We must go through the trials and the despairs of temptations to be able to have angelic peace active within us. It is only by temptations that the evil desires and their false justifications are loosened and break away from us. And as they are removed, the Lord will present Himself and give us the peace that is directly from Himself.

The Lord’s resurrection, which we are celebrating today, gives us the opportunity to remove our personal evil loves from our lives. Without the Lord’s resurrection, we would be hopelessly doomed in just living a life of selfish pleasures and of seeking to have dominion over everyone around us. It would be impossible for us to be effected by heavenly loves and to appreciate the peace that the angels in heaven enjoy.

The Lord made it possible for us to be in the heavenly peace by coming to the earth. When He came to the earth, He put on a human nature from Mary, which made Him susceptible to attacks from the evil spirits in hell. The human nature the Lord assumed, allowed Him to be tempted. He never succumbed to any temptation that He was under. He was able to conquer each one. Each time He had a victory over the hells in temptation, He put them more into true order, or into their proper place so they could no longer prevent good people from looking to the Lord and receiving His guidance in their lives. Now we are able to escape from the oppression of the hells from having dominion over us. And as the Lord glorified His human by uniting it with the Divine, He was no longer vulnerable to the attacks from the hells, and He gradually became the visible God that we now worship. We worship God by worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ as the one God of heaven and earth. The Divinity of God is now revealed through the Human which He glorified while He was on the earth. This is what the Lord meant when He once said, “All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Mt. 11:27)

The Lord is called the Prince of Peace because He is the source of all the tranquility that can satisfy our minds and give us inner peace and contentment. By His Resurrection, He achieved the final victory over the hells and made it possible for us to obtain the peace that allows the angels to enjoy that which is good. For us to take advantage of what the Lord has made possible by His resurrection, we must simply refuse to indulge in practices that are opposed to the teachings of His Word. As we do this, the Lord will replace a selfish heart with a love that will delight in worshipping the Lord and of being of service to our fellow man. This love will give us an inner peace, which is what every person longs for. Regardless of the circumstances that can disturb our external affairs, we can have an inner rest and security. We can know that we are under the Lord’s protection and have the confidence that He knows our troubles and will give us the strength and the wisdom to help resolve the situation. Being in heavenly peace will not make all our problems go away. But it will give us the assurance that the Lord is in control of the situation. Furthermore, heavenly peace will prevent our problems from having dominion over us. We will always be able to delight in our use despite the heartaches that we are called upon to face. This is the joy of Easter. The peace that is directly from the Lord is available to every person of His creation. And within this peace is the perceived assurance that no evil will have the final victory. This the Lord promises, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (Jn 14:27)

CLEANSING THE TEMPLE

CLEANSING THE TEMPLE

A Sermon by Rev Frederick M ChapinMarch 27, 1994

 

Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold doves. And he said to them, ‘It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer”, but you have made it a “den of thieves”. (Mt. 21: 12&13)

When the Lord made His final journey into Jerusalem, He was at the height of His popularity. The news traveled swiftly of the Lord raising up Lazarus after he was dead for four days. The general population was convinced the Lord was indeed the Messiah. They were ready to follow Him. And when the Lord rode into the city as a king would enter at his coronation, the people were eager to acknowledge Him as their King. The Lord’s enemies were powerless and afraid. The Lord had the most widespread support than at any other time during His Public Ministry.

However, the Lord did an astounding act. He went into the temple and threw out the moneychangers. As he removed them, the Lord spoke the words of our text, “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves” (Mt. 21:13) This is not what the people expected. After the Lord threw out those that bought and sold, He healed the blind and the lame.

Of course, after the people realized that the Lord was not going to establish an earthly kingdom, they turned on Him and wanted Him to be crucified. Instead of acknowledging Him as their king, they denounced Him as a traitor. But if we focus on the part where the Lord was widely accepted, we can see a demonstration of the Lord’s power to cast out what is impure and establish the proper order in our lives.

In a general way, the Lord was making a definite statement that the worship of Jehovah had deteriorated into just an external set of practices. Many were profiteering from the worship of Jehovah by selling what was necessary to make sacrifices at the temple. There was no incentive to allow the Lord to change and order the person’s internal loves and delights. And this was all the more difficult when people were buying and selling in the courtyard of the temple. The Lord was making the strong point that He wanted the temple to be a “house of prayer”, where the Lord Himself was focused upon and acknowledged.

If we look at this incident more internally, we can see many personal applications and considerations in our approach towards the Lord. Each one of us is a unique temple. And the phenomenon of the Lord cleansing the temple can be an occurrence that can happen continually to each one of us. The more the Lord can cleanse our inner motivations and attitudes , the more He can enlighten our understanding of truth and give us the strength to move forward in our spiritual lives. As we move forward, our worship of the Lord becomes more sincere. It transforms from just consisting of a set of rituals to one in which there is a real expression of joy and praise towards the Lord.

We start with the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem. Here the Lord received complete acknowledgement that He was sent from God. This acknowledgment and acceptance made it possible for the Lord to eventually cleanse the temple. Before the Lord could cast out the moneychangers, He had to first be accepted as a King. The reception by the people gave the Lord the opportunity to show true worship. When we confess and accept the Lord as King of our lives, the Lord will come and cleanse our personal temple. He will cleanse our inner loves and beliefs that will make our rituals and acts of charity more genuine and sincere.

We accept the Lord as our king when He has absolute authority over us. We accept the Lord as king when we are willing to lay aside our selfish desires and comply with the teachings of the Word. When we strive to do what the Word teaches, in all aspects of our lives, we are accepting the Lord as King. We acknowledge the Lord as our king to the degree that we refuse to take part in practices, thoughts, and attitudes that are opposed to the teachings of the Word.

As we put our external lives into order, and accept the Lord’s authority to guide our ways of life, the Lord will enter into our internal loves. There the Lord will cast out all that is impure and insincere. Only the Lord can do this. We can not change our loves. All we do is create the opportunity for the Lord to instill into us heavenly loves and delights. Just as the Lord was the only one to cast out the moneychangers in the temple, so the Lord is the only one to cast out the loves and thoughts that detract us from a genuine worship of the Lord. But we make it possible when we try to put our external actions and desires in agreement with the Lord’s Word.

Before we have truly sincere intentions, everything we do is strictly for the sake of ourselves. And should we know what the Word says, we will twist its meaning to allow us to continue to indulge into what our selfish desires want. Sometimes, this can be done deliberately, other times we are unconsciously doing it. So long as we have the attitude that we will please ourselves alone, at the expense of others, the Lord will not be able to make the fundamental changes in our lives that can allow us to have a role in His everlasting kingdom.

And when the Lord so enters, He will give us a refreshingly new way of looking at what we can do for others. Our goals and priorities will completely change. We are amazed that it is far more rejuvenating to look at ourselves for what we can do for others, than what they can exclusively do for ourselves. When we consider the impact more upon others than just what it will do for ourselves alone, the moneychangers are being cast out of our individual lives.

Specifically, the moneychangers are listed in three categories. First, are those who exchange money. Secondly, are the moneychangers, and third are those who sold doves. Those who exchanged money represent just an external faith in the Lord. This faith is only confessed with the lips, but very little meaning is actually from the heart. If we look more closely, these people represent an “historical faith”. This is a type of faith that merely takes another’s word for what they are to believe in. Whatever is said by the person, or the denomination, they willingly comply with without any thought, reflection, or examination. This is hazardous, not only because the person or group can lead us astray, but also it keeps our worship strictly on the external or natural level. It does not penetrate into the very loves of our lives and make them consistent with the loves that flow forth from the Lord. So long as we allow others to do our spiritual thinking for us, the easier it will be to confirm our selfish loves. We will not see them directly in ourselves. And just as those in the temple bought and sold strictly for personal gain, so will our acts of worship merely be for ourselves alone.

The moneychangers represents the misuse of the Word. As was said before, we twist the meaning of the Word so we can continue in practices and fantasies that please our selfish delights. And those who sold doves represent the appearance of good that is not genuine or sincere, but only for the sake of ourselves. All three of these conditions are within us so long as there is no desire to have the Lord rule our lives. We only keep our worship on the external level and not let it change our inmost loves, we twist the meaning of the Word so we can continue in the way we are living, and our acts of charity are not sincere, but only for the sake of selfish gain and benefit.

However, if we allow the Lord to enter as king of our lives, he can cast out these impurities that prevent us from worshipping the Lord from a trustworthy motive. If we develop the desire to completely obey what the Lord wants us to do, He will make us more receptive of His Divine leading. Our worship will penetrate into our inmost ambitions that will make our worship internal, one that effects our fundamental loves and beliefs. We will accept fully what the Word really says, and not try to make it justify our selfish wants. And our acts of charity will be not for the sake of selfish benefits, but simply because it helps our neighbor. This is the effect that the Lord can produce when we regard Him as king over us and agree to have Him rule our lives. Our worship changes from a den of thieves into a house of prayer. We praise the Lord from a guileless heart that truly enjoys being conjoined with Him. And instead of moneychangers in the temple, there will be children praising God. This is the innocence that replaces a worship that is defiled from exclusively selfish motives. We are in innocence the more we are willing to be led by the Lord and we want to do good things simply because they are from the Lord and they help others. As we are in this attitude, our worship will be a true expression of gratitude towards the Lord, and lead us to an ever greater reception of His Divine leading.

And when our worship is sincere, a healing will take place. Specifically, the blind will see and the lame will walk. We will notice things that we would not have known if we did not have a dedication to have the Lord rule our lives. And we will be able to spiritually move forward and walk towards a closer bond with the Lord.

The more we accept the Lord as the king of our lives, the more He can cast out the robbers that defile our worship towards the Lord Jesus Christ. These robbers will be replaced by children praising God. Our worship will be transformed from one that is strictly for self to that which genuinely does honor and glorify the Lord from a dedicated heart. We need to be innocent for our worship and knowledge of the Word to be spiritually productive. For us to be in innocence, we must be humble. All that is necessary to be in the proper humility is to acknowledge the Lord as God, everything good is from Him, and that we are willing to serve Him.

As we progress in our spiritual lives, we will see areas that are impure. The Lord can come and cast these impurities from us whereby we are spiritually more healthy. This is our lot as we remember these words, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” (Ps 51:2)

THE NEW JERUSALEM

THE NEW JERUSALEM

A Sermon by Rev Frederick M ChapinMarch 20, 1994

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, ‘Come, and I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. (Rev. 21:9-11)

The Apostle John, while he was in exile on the island of Patmos, had a series of visions which he was commanded to write down and send to the seven Christian churches. The spiritual experiences John went through were designed to show what the state of the world would be when the Lord would come again and in what manner His Coming would take place. One of the most beautiful and spectacular sights that John saw was the Holy City, called the New Jerusalem, descending from heaven upon the earth.

From the descriptions that John wrote, this city must have been breathtaking, unlike any city John had previously seen. The city had a clear and bright light that made it unnecessary for there to be a sun or a moon. And John perceived that the source of this light came from the Lord Himself. (Rev. 21:23) There was also a great wall that surrounded the city. This wall was 144 cubits high or about 216 feet. The wall was said to be made of jasper. Jasper is a translucent stone. Therefore, the light of the city was able to pass through its walls. The wall had twelve gates, three on each side, and each gate consisted of a pearl with an angel guarding it. The wall also had a foundation made of twelve precious and translucent stones. The street within the city was made of pure gold that was as clear as glass. This was a very beautiful city to look upon. But John made clear that only those who were written in a certain book called, “the Lamb’s Book of Life”, were allowed to enter this city. Anyone that was impure was not allowed to enter. The luster of the city goes far beyond what we can ever imagine.

Certainly, the Lord’s followers were encouraged when they later read of this vision. They were inspired to continue on in their struggles to spread the Lord’s gospel to all nations. They were assured that someday they would enter into this marvelous city. However, they were not aware that contained within the descriptions of the New Jerusalem, were teachings on how the Lord can make His Second Coming into each individual that makes a sincere effort to receive the Lord. The peace and the security that the Lord can give to such a person is illustrated by the wonderful beauty of the city, New Jerusalem.

A striking thing about the New Jerusalem is the brightness of the light there. The light of that city is so bright that there is no need for the sun or the moon. And it is a perpetual light. Furthermore, the light there comes directly from the Lord Himself. A person who is spiritual is in such a light. When they read the Word, truths will appear to them. And these truths will clearly show who the God of heaven and earth is, how they are to love, how they are to think, and how they are to act. The Word provides them with clear directions on how they are to conduct their lives. These are the ones who are able to see heavenly doctrine in the letter of the Word. (AR 898) They are able to see how the Word can lead them into the life of heaven even while they still live upon the earth. When a person can see the heavenly doctrine in the Word, Divine truth appears to him. The appearance of Divine truth is the Second Coming of the Lord. (AC 4060) When we are guided by Divine truth, we are in the bright light of the city of the New Jerusalem. When we are guided by Divine truth, the Lord Himself will direct our ways. And because we are in heavenly light, the Lord will appear to us when we read the Word. (AC 6895) The Word is the revelation of the Lord. (AE 36) And when we are guided by Divine truths, or truths directly from the Lord Himself, we will have a clear vision of the Lord as the God of heaven and earth, and the life He would have us live. This clear perspective of life, that comes to those who desire to become spiritual, is the shinning bright light that is in the New Jerusalem.

Those in the New church have a wonderful means to know and be guided by Divine truth. This is because of the revelation of the doctrine of genuine truth. Through the revelation of genuine truths, the spiritual sense of the Word has been unfolded. The doctrine of genuine truth agrees fully with the spiritual sense of the Word. (SS 25) The Lord is present in the spiritual sense. (TCR 780) When we have the knowledge of the spiritual sense and more importantly, when our lives are conformed to it, we are able to see the Lord in genuine light. We will see the Lord as He really is: the One God of heaven and earth, the One in Whom is the Trinity. This is the purpose why the Lord has made His Second Coming through the Writings: so we may know that the Lord Jesus Christ is Jehovah, and He alone must be worshipped. (AE 870) The more we can recognize the Lord as He truly is, the more we can love Him. And the more we love the Lord, the more we can know what a life of charity consists of. The greater knowledge concerning the Lord and the purpose for our existence is the opportunity that the New Church can enter into.

Surrounding this Holy City with the great light was a great wall. This wall was made of jasper. Jasper is a type of stone which light can pass through. Therefore, the light of the New Jerusalem could pass through the walls which surrounded it. Such is the process in which the light of Divine truths can shine forth though the sense of the letter of the Word. When we approach the Word with a dedication to let it govern our lives, then the truths that are contained therein will shine forth to our apprehension. When we apprehend the truths of the Word through the letter, we then can see the Lord in His Divine Human. (AR 911) When we read the Word and it gives us a clear message of the Humanity of the Lord and how we can sincerely worship Him, then the words we read are like the walls of jasper, the light of heavenly truths can shine through and effect our understanding. The natural sense of the Word can only become such a light when we truly acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as the one God of heaven and earth. And we acknowledge the Lord as the only God when we seek to conform our lives to His commandments.

The wall of the New Jerusalem contained twelve gates. These gates were the only way a person could enter this marvelous city. Before we can have the Divine truths of the Word lead our lives, we must first become familiar with what the Word says. We must have the knowledge of truth before we can be affected by them. When we sincerely obtain the knowledge of what the Word says, we sill enter into heavenly light. If we seek to know what the Word contains so we can live a life that can be conjoined with the Lord, then we are entering through the pearly gates of the Holy City of the New Jerusalem.

However, at each gate there was an angel standing guard. Only those who were accounted worthy could enter through the gates. And they were worthy if they had a love towards the Lord and a desire to live according to His Commandments. Anyone who did not have such a commitment were prevented from entering therein. They could not experience the beauty and the delights that existed within the New Jerusalem. The only way we can have this commitment to receive the Lord into our lives is to shun our evils as sins against the Lord. We must refuse to indulge into the delights we know violate the teachings of the Word. (AR 908) When we shun our evils or selfish loves, we are then able to walk in light by living according to the Lord’s Commandments. (AR 920, 922) This will be our desire because we know that thereby we will be conjoined with the Lord. This is why the New Jerusalem was called a “Bride” and “the Lamb’s wife”. For just as a bride and a wife desire to be conjoined with her husband, so will those who shun evils as sins desire to be conjoined with the Lord. If we do not desire to remove our evil habits, then we are prevented from experiencing the beauty of the New Jerusalem. And no one is allowed to enter who is still defiled. This was made clear when John wrote:

But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Rev 21:27)

We are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life if we believe in the Lord and live according to His Commandments. This can only happen when we are willing to shun our evils as sins against the Lord.

Also the city New Jerusalem was founded upon a strong foundation. This foundation represents the doctrine of those who sincerely love the Lord and have a clear direction on how to live their lives. We need doctrine for stability. (Doctrine of Lord 52) If we did not have doctrine, we would wonder from one sweet sounding belief to another. Doctrine is formed by gathering together the teachings of the Word into a unity that becomes principles to live by. The more our doctrine is based upon Divine truths, the more stable and clear it will become. It will become stronger because it will not be confusing nor contradictory. We will see the Lord in greater light as the one God and the life that proceeds from Him. The more Divine truths make up our doctrine, the more secure the foundation of our belief in the Lord becomes. Also, the more beautiful it will be. For it will be like a foundation adored with precious stones.

The fact that we can now see the Lord directly makes the New Church the crown of all churches. We can worship a visible God because we can see Him openly. (TCR 787) The more we can apprehend the Lord’s Divine Human, the more we can be conjoined with Him. This is the purpose for our creation: to be conjoined with the Lord. (TCR 786) All we need to do to enter into this beautiful city of the New Jerusalem is to remove the evils and falsities that are still attached to us. (TCR 784) When we strive to do this, the Lord will make His Second Coming to each one of us. When He so comes, the New Jerusalem will descend from heaven into us. And when we feel the spectacular beauty of the New Jerusalem, we will have heavenly joys in our lives. This is our reward. This the Lord promises: “Behold I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Rev. 22:7)