Stand on Your Feet, and I Will Speak to You!

Stand on Your Feet, and I Will Speak to You!

A Sermon by the Rev. James P. Cooper

Mitchellville — October 26, 2003

And He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.” Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard Him who spoke to me. EZE 2:1,2

The prophet Ezekiel was one of those people in the kingdom of Judah who had been captured by Nebuchadrezzar’s army and carried off to Babylon. There the Jews were separated from their center of worship in Jerusalem, and so were unable to do the sacrifices that their rituals required. This separation caused them great anxiety because they had lost the security of their familiar rituals – and they believed that their covenant with Jehovah depended on the timely and exact performance of the commanded rituals, and so they also feared that Jehovah would no longer look after them, and that they would, like the 10 tribes of Israel, eventually be swallowed up by the foreign culture and lost to history.

As the Jews lost the familiar and secure contact with their God that was provided by their ritual sacrifices, Jehovah sent word to them through the prophets such as Ezekiel. These prophecies covered every aspect of their history and life. The captive Jews were reminded of Jehovah’s historical care for them, warned about the sins they were committing, and exhorted to obey the commandments in spirit and life.

The book of Ezekiel begins with a description of his first vision in Babylon: He saw wheels within wheels, whirlwinds, and beasts, and then finally a powerful voice coming from a throne made of precious stones which soon resolved itself into a vision of God Himself. Humbled and terrified, Ezekiel threw himself on his face when he realized that he was seeing God. It was then that “the voice of One” said to him, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will talk to you.”

It sounds to be a remarkably human thing for God to say. It sounds like any father speaking to his child, telling him that it is time for him to stop being a child, to stand on his own two feet and take responsibility for his own life!

To “stand upon the feet” is a very important image in the Word. The feet as the lowest part of the body, represent the lowest or most basic part of the mind, the sensual degree. But even though the sensual is the lowest degree of the mind, at the same time it serves as the foundation for the rational and spiritual degrees that rest upon it. The fact is that there is no other way for truth from the Word or from the world around us is through, or by means of, the senses and the sensual degree of the mind.

This is illustrated by the familiar scriptural passage where Moses turned aside to see the bush that burned without being consumed..

EXO 3:2-5 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”

Moses was to take of his sandals, but he was not to throw them away because he needed to put them back on to protect his feet as he walked home with his flocks. The ultimate things, although lowly, are as necessary as shoes when walking across stony ground. They serve as a foundation upon which the other levels are built.

We are surrounded by all kinds of information. Some of it is valuable, some of it is just noise that doesn’t interest us, nor does it present an obvious danger, so we ignore it. When this information finds its way into the sensual degree of the mind, we’re told that the interior degrees of the mind, led by influx from heaven, look down on all this information, use the order of truths from the Word Itself to bring it into some kind or order, and then those things that are useful and agree with the Word are brought into the interior degrees of the mind and become interior truths.

It’s also true that a lot of the facts that we go to such trouble to learn are actually useless in and of themselves, but the process of acquiring them has helped you learn how to learn, and may turn out to be useful in illustrating interior truths.

You can have all the good intentions and knowledges in the world but unless you have feet, unless they are given reality through action, they are useless.

AR 510. Every man who is reformed, is first reformed as to the internal man, and afterwards as to the external. The internal man is not reformed by merely knowing and understanding the truths and goods by which man is saved, but by willing and loving them; but the external man, by speaking and doing the things which the internal man wills and loves, and, in proportion as this takes place, in the same proportion man is regenerated.

It is like a house built upon ice, which sinks to the bottom when the ice is melted by the sun; in a word, it is like a man without feet to stand and walk upon.

Awareness of our states of evil brings humiliation, but the touch of the Lord can bring us back to our feet, and only the touch of the Lord can do this.

AE 77. When Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John, of which it is thus written in Matthew:- While Peter was yet speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him. And when the disciples heard these things they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes they saw no one save Jesus only (xvii. 5-8). From this it is apparent of what nature is the presence of the Divine Human of the Lord with man, when man is in a state of humiliation of heart, namely, that he falls upon his face, and by the touch of the Lord’s hand is raised upon his feet.

The Lord wants us to stand up, to be strong and independent, to defy hell, to question heaven, to think about what is taught, to listen critically, and to be rational and responsible for our own spiritual destiny.

When you stand on your feet, the Lord will talk to you when you have a firm basis of truth. The Lord will flow into those things, order them, and uplift them.

AE 666. [4] “To stand upon the feet” signifies life itself when it is in its fullness; and life is in its fullness when the natural lives from the spiritual.

Children are sometimes reluctant, even lazy. At the same time they seem to think that they know a lot. It is common for parents to say to their children, “Get up! Get Busy!”

We are the Lord’s children. In the Writings it suggests that the state of adolescence continues to the 70th year. The same exhortation that applies to unmotivated young people applies to all of us.

And He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.”

Just as the Lord spoke to the Jews through Ezekiel in the hope that they would change, so the Lord speaks to us, hoping that we will “grow up” spiritually and begin to take responsibility for our own spiritual life.

To stand up is to do the things commanded in the Word. It is to act selflessly for the sake of others, to be useful. The Lord’s promise is that as we become useful, His truth will become more and more open and clear to us. We will be enlightened and see truth from the light of heaven.

And He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.” Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard Him who spoke to me. (text) AMEN


First Lesson: EZE 1:26-2:5

(Ezek 1:26-28) And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. {27} Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. {28} Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.

(Ezek 2:1-5) And He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.” {2} Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard Him who spoke to me. {3} And He said to me: “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. {4} “For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ {5} “As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse; for they are a rebellious house; yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.

Second Lesson: REV 11:1-14

Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. {2} “But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. {3} “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” {4} These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. {5} And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. {6} These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. {7} When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. {8} And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. {9} Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. {10} And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. {11} Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. {12} And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. {13} In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. {14} The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

Third Lesson: Apocalypse Explained 666:4

AE 666. [4] A voice speaking to me said, Son of man, stand upon thy feet that I may speak to thee; then the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and stood me upon my feet, and I heard him that spake to me (ii. 1, 2).

This was done because “to stand upon the feet” signifies life itself when it is in its fullness; and life is in its fullness when the natural lives from the spiritual.

For the ultimate of man’s life is in his natural; this ultimate is like a base to man’s interior and higher parts; for these close into the ultimate and subsist in it, consequently unless life is in the ultimate it is not full, and thus not perfect.

Moreover, all things interior or higher exist together in the ultimate as in their simultaneous For this reason such as the ultimate is such are the interior or higher parts, for these adapt themselves to the ultimate because it receives them.


Copyright © 1982 – 2005 General Church of the New Jerusalem.
Page constructed by James P. Cooper
Page last modified September 27, 2009

 

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