The Christian Church

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Doug Webber
Spiritual Christianity for a New Age
New Jerusalem
Monotheistic Christianity of Love and Truth, based on scripture and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. This is the New Church
The Second Coming takes place, when the Christian Church becomes entirely corrupted: “Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
And it is here now:

“Because real Christianity is now beginning to dawn, and the Lord is now establishing the New Church meant by the New Jerusalem in the Apocalypse, wherein God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are acknowledged as one because in one Person, it has pleased the Lord to reveal the spiritual sense of the Word in order that this church may come into the very use and benefit of the sacraments, Baptism and the Holy Supper; and this is done when men see with the eyes of their spirit, that is, with the understanding, the holiness concealed therein, and apply it to themselves by the means which the Lord has taught in His Word.” (True Christianity, n. 700)

New Church Vineyard

New Church Vineyard - Resources for Home, Sunday School, and Self-Education

New Church Vineyard exists to support religious education and spiritual enrichment for people of all ages, from preschool children through adults. Our materials are arranged under eight spiritual themes which are drawn from the teachings of The New Church, a new Christianity based on the Word of God and dedicated to the worship of the Lord God Jesus Christ.

Visit our YouTube channel for more stories and songs.

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Featured Topic #6: The Lord Is My Shepherd.
As Psalm 23 tells us, the Lord is like a shepherd, watching over us day and night. He feeds us and takes every opportunity to show us the way to heaven. He is always with us, caring for our needs. No matter how lost we become, the Lord always reaches out, seeking to rescue us.

The NewEarth

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NewEarth Swedenborg BBS]

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772)

Scientist, Philosopher and Spiritual Explorer

A noted Swedish scientist, philosopher and theologian, best known for his later writings, in which he presents ideas both Christian and ecumenical, for a new spiritual era or “new church” to be known as the New Jerusalem.


Swedenborg’s contribution to science

Swedenborg’s theology and spirituality


Spiritual and religious movements related to Swedenborg




The Apocalypse Revealed

Explanation of the inner spiritual meaning of this remarkable book, allowing its symbolism to at last be understood.

The Apocalypse Revealed
Wherein are Disclosed the Arcana Foretold
Which Have Hitherto Remained Concealed
By Emanuel Swedenborg
(First published, in Latin, 1766)

[Note:  There is no Table of Contents provided with this volume of the teachings of the Second Coming.  What follows is added for the convenience of the reader.]
The Swedenborg Digital Libary: Online books of the Second Coming (Second 
Advent) of Jesus Christ, revealed through Emanuel Swedenborg
The Swedenborg Digital Libary: Online books of the Second Coming (Second Advent) of Jesus Christ, revealed through Emanuel Swedenborg

The Lord

Swedenborg Foundation


Jump to:

God as Human
The Incarnation and the Redemption of the Human Race
The Trinity
God in Other Religions

In his short work The Lord, published about midway through his theological career, Swedenborg opens by quoting the book of John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and nothing that was made came about without him. . . . And the Word became flesh and lived among us; and we saw his glory, glory like that of the only-begotten child of the Father. (John 1:1-3, 14; as quoted in The Lord #1)

“We can see from this,” Swedenborg concludes, “that the Lord is God from eternity and that he himself is that Lord who was born into the world” (The Lord #1).

Throughout his writings, Swedenborg consistently uses the term the Lord (Latin Dominus) to refer equally to the infinite, omnipotent creator of the universe and to the human incarnation known as Jesus Christ. However, in works where he discusses the nature of Deity in detail, he often uses the name Jehovah, the Latin Deus (God), or the neuter Divinum (the Divine) to refer specifically to the infinite and uncreated aspect of Deity, while the Lord refers to Jesus. He only occasionally uses the name Jesus Christ.

God as Human

Swedenborg asserts in many places that God is not only human, but uniquely, definitively so. We in fact are truly human only to the extent that we live according to divine principles. Swedenborg therefore rejects the notion of a single human being who lives in heaven and walks around performing miraculous feats. God’s essence, Swedenborg tells us, exists outside of space and time, and therefore is truly infinite and eternal. God is human in the sense that that he is the source of all love and wisdom:

God, as the source of what is good and true, is their essence. Since we cannot deny this, we cannot deny that God is a person, since none of these things can exist apart from a person. (Divine Love and Wisdom #286)

Likewise, a human being living on earth is not human because of his or her body, but because of his or her ability to embody this divine nature:

All earthly individuals are born in the human form as to their physical bodies. This is because our spirit, which is also called our soul, is a person; and it is a person because it is receptive of love and wisdom from the Lord. To the extent that our spirit or soul actually accepts love and wisdom, we become human after the death of these material bodies that we are carrying around. To the extent that we do not accept love and wisdom we become grotesque creatures, retaining some trace of humanity because of our ability to accept them. (Divine Love and Wisdom #287)

Swedenborg goes on to say that God created the universe out of his eternal essence, and all things in the universe reflect a divine design that leads back to love and wisdom. That design encompasses all the functions that we see at work in our own bodies: perception (understanding truth), digestion and breathing (taking in what is good and releasing what is not useful), circulating the good and useful to all parts of the whole, and many more.

This design is in its purest form in the spiritual world, where the angels form communities that perform these functions for the benefit of all beings. Those who prefer to live only for their own selfish concerns remove themselves from the design and consign themselves to hell.

Rationality—that is, the ability to consciously choose either good or evil—is part of God’s design, and the freedom to choose is given to all humans, that is, to all beings capable of love and wisdom regardless of origin. (In his short work Other Planets, Swedenborg describes beings from other worlds who also fit this description.) After we are born, our rational ability grows along with our bodies, until we reach the point where we can consciously choose the path to heaven or the path to hell. Eventually, we can come to realize that this freedom is not really ours, but is the Lord’s gift within us. The more that we choose to close themselves off from God and reject his love and wisdom, the more we place ourselves outside of the divine design.

God’s essence sustains even the people in the deepest hell, as it sustains the existence of everything in the universe. However, the inhabitants of hell are so far removed from God that if he were to attempt to interact with them in his pure essence, they would be destroyed instantly. God’s love for all beings is too great to permit that. Thus when the evil in hell became so great that the Lord had to intervene in order to protect the good people in heaven and everyone on earth, it was necessary for him to incarnate in the physical world as a human being.

The Incarnation and the Redemption of the Human Race

Swedenborg emphasizes that because the universe was created according to the divine design, God himself is bound to follow that design. How could God act against his own nature?

“To redeem people without a human manifestation,” Swedenborg writes, “would have been as impossible for God . . . as growing trees on heat and light alone if air had not been created as a medium through which they travel and earth had not been created in which the trees could grow” (True Christianity #84).

Swedenborg divides the history of humankind into a series of spiritual ages or “churches,” each of which ends with a catastrophic reckoning that results in a new relationship between human beings and God. At the start of the Christian era, he writes, human beings had so many misconceptions about God that very few were able to enter heaven, and hell was overflowing, threatening to overwhelm the good people both in heaven and on earth. It became necessary to bring genuine teachings to the people on earth, and the only way to do that was to manifest as a human being. To put it another way, divinity had to become manifest on the material level because humanity had become so materialistic.

Jesus, then, was born as a normal, physical human being to all intents and purposes, gradually growing into his full divine nature. In this process he followed the same steps as any human who undergoes spiritual rebirth, or regeneration: Through personal struggles temptations, Jesus’s ego-focused self was emptied out, making room for divine influence to flow in. This process culminated in his crucifixion: “It was not the Lord’s divine nature that suffered, it was his human nature; and then the deepest union, a complete union, took place” (True Christianity #126).

He was unique in that he was born of the Holy Spirit, with an inner divinity he called “the Father who dwells within me” (John 14:10). The ultimate union was so complete that he rose from the dead even physically.

Swedenborg argues that the suffering on the cross is not what redeemed the human race; it was what glorified the Lord. Once glorified, the Lord was able to subdue the denizens of hell, restoring balance to both heaven and earth. That was the redemption.

The Trinity

Raised in a devout Lutheran household (his father would become a bishop), Swedenborg was taught the concept of the Trinity from an early age. However, he was adamantly opposed to the Lutheran teaching that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were such separate beings that the Son could placate the Father’s righteous wrath. He felt that this completely destroyed any thought of God’s oneness and ultimately led people to think of three gods rather than a single One who is the source of all creation.

Swedenborg compared Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to a person’s soul, body, and the effects that their actions produce: three different aspects of a whole that springs from a single source and acts with a unified intent.

God in Other Religions

Swedenborg was ahead of his time in that he saw the common ground between Christianity and other religions, and he asserts that all religions, from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the contemporary religions of Asia and Africa, started from a core belief in one God, even if they misunderstood some aspects of divine teachings and came to believe in many gods. For this reason, he said, all people of good heart and good faith, regardless of their religion or place of birth, could go to heaven after they pass out of this world.

Further Reading

The “Swedenborg on the Lord” page has videos, excerpts, and downloads that explore this topic.

For more information, check out our videos about God from our weekly webcast, Swedenborg and Life.

On our blog, check out “Why Swedenborg Says You Don’t Have to Be Christian to Be Good.”

Divine Love and Wisdom, perhaps Swedenborg’s most philosophical work, has an extensive commentary on God as the infinite, uncreated essence that is the source of the created universe.

Swedenborg’s shorter work The Lord focuses more specifically on Jesus’s incarnation on earth and the reasons for it, including a description of the spiritual age that is now unfolding.

Person to Person: The Gospel of Mark by Paul Vickers is a detailed commentary on the life of Jesus from a Swedenborgian perspective.

A Thoughtful Soul: Reflections from Swedenborg by George Dole is an overview of Swedenborg’s theology that includes a chapter on the nature of God.

Good Cannot Die, Because Evil Can Be Separated From It

Lastchurch - The Eternal Purpose

A Portion of a Passage from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Be it known that all the good a man has thought and done from infancy even to the last of his life, remains; in like manner all the evil, so that not the least of it completely perishes. Both are inscribed on his book of life (that is, on each of his memories), and on his nature (that is, his native disposition and genius).  From these he has formed for himself a life, and so to speak a soul, which after death is of a corresponding quality.  But goods are never so commingled with evils, nor evils with goods, that they cannot be separated; for if they should be commingled, the man would eternally perish.

In relation to this the Lord exercises His providence, and when a man comes into the other life, if he has lived in the good of love and of charity, the Lord then separates his evils, and by what is good with him elevates him into heaven.  But if he has lived in evils, that is, in things contrary to love and charity, the Lord then separates from him what is good, and his evils bring him into hell.  Such is the lot of everyone after death; but it is a separation, and in no wise a complete removal.

Moreover, as the will of man, which is the one part of his life, has been utterly destroyed, the Lord separates this destroyed part from the other which is his intellectual part, and in those who are being regenerated, implants in this intellectual part the good of charity, and through this a new will; these are they who have conscience.

(Arcana Coelestia 2256)
January 16, 2015

Should Science Be Unified with Theology?

Most definitely yes! There is way too much divisiveness in the world to allow the human race to adequately solve its many profound conflicts and problems. Anything that would bring minds together would certainly represent a move in the right direction.

Science currently seeks to describe everything in the universe from physical models, while religion addresses reality from a metaphysical principle (God). I have even heard a scientist state that if the world was somehow actually governed by a metaphysical principle it could not be a part of true science. This suggests that science is more interested in creating physical models of reality rather than finding truth.

Therefore, how could science ever be married to spiritual faith? Perhaps I should rephrase the question: Should Science Be Unified with Goodness?

While science embraces data and religion embraces values, a scientist is inwardly driven to discover something useful to society. In fact, the “greatness” of a particular scientific discovery is measured according to its helpfulness and serviceability to humanity.

What goes unnoticed is that serviceability is a derivative of love. Religion teaches us to love the neighbor as ourselves.

Therefore, the pursuit of knowledge must also be the pursuit of goodness. Knowledge that does not lead to goodness has a destructive and poisonous element lurking within it.

According to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, Holy Scripture actually addresses the issue of unifying worldly knowledge with theological knowledge. He states that the biblical themes of Moses setting a serpent of brass on a staff, the birth of Leah’s two sons, Reuben and Simeon, and the Lord’s miracles of turning water into wine and walking on water symbolize the advancement of worldly knowledge to the more interior realm of the human heart.

The “Fall” of man in Genesis was actually the story of how humankind favored its own pursuit of reality rather than basing it on instruction from God. The “talking serpent” in the Garden of Eden represented the desire to learn things entirely from the world of the senses at the expense of goodness. This cognitive predicament is symbolized by the serpent being forced to crawl on the ground and therefore fully occupied from head to tail in worldly and empirical data. This is why Moses put the serpent of brass up on a staff—to get it off its belly and oriented upwards towards God’s heaven.

Essentially, true religion and spiritual growth deals with the reorganization of our worldly knowledge to be oriented upwards to heaven—toward greater goodness. Such a heavenly orientation protects us from the poisonous bite of worldly knowledge (empiricism) that is removed from goodness of the heart. This is the deeper spiritual lesson embedded and enfolded within the story of Moses protecting his people from snakebites in the desert!

My upcoming book Proving God offers more details about unifying science and religion. In fact, I address Bible interpretation, the dynamics of salvation and eternal life from a scientifically plausible model.

Posted in god, Inner growth, Life after death, love, metaphysics, Reality, religion, science, symbolism, unity | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


New Christian Bible StudyNew Christian Bible Study

By Mr. Joseph S. David

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A canoe moves through a tree lined creek.

There is a Divine providence that is always working. The overall end and purpose of providence is the leading of all people to heaven, while still providing that everyone be in freedom to reject the leading if they so choose.

Providence is hidden from mankind, because if it was not we would try to avoid it or bend it, thinking that we know better.

For those who wish to live rightly and try to do so, providence is like an unseen and unfelt current that bears them along toward heaven like a ship on an ocean current. For those who wish to live in their selfish loves, providence keeps them in an equilibrium between good and evil influences so that they can, if they wish, change their ways.

Providence is the Lord’s, and He is infinite love and infinite wisdom, which we need to keep in mind if we find ourselves wondering if we could do better at running things.

Swedenborg published a 300 page book about the Divine Providence. The first chapter heading is definitive; “The Divine Providence is the Government of the Lord’s Divine Love and Wisdom.” We – everyone on earth or on any other inhabited planet in the universe – are all under that government. We are free to accept the direction of the Lord’s leading or not; our freedom is paramount. The Lord will always knock, but we must open the door to Him.

There are five laws of Divine providence:
1. A person should act from freedom according to reason.
2. A person should, as-from-self, remove evils as sins from his/her externals. In that way, and in no other way, the Lord can remove evils in the internal person, and then at the same time in the external.
3. People should not be compelled by external means to think and will, and thus to believe and love, the things of religion. Rather, they should persuade and at times compel themselves to do so.
4. People should be taught and led by the Lord from heaven by means of the Word, and doctrine and preaching from the Word, and this should happen, to all appearances, as if they are acting indendently.
5. People should not perceive and feel anything of the operation of the divine providence, but still we should know about it and acknowledge it.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 609, 1755, 3854, 5155; Arcana Coelestia 3951 [1]; Divine Providence 21, 22, 23, 27, 55, 232, 234, 286, 322)

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A plan against loneliness

The Book of Genesis says that “it is not good for man to be alone.”

Ain’t that the truth! And yet loneliness is so common! According to one study, one person in five in our world today suffers from chronic loneliness. Another study estimated that one in every three New Yorkers lives alone – suggesting that this is something most of us have to deal with at one time or another. I’m not talking about whether a person is an introvert or not, rather moments we feel isolated or cut-off from others. I think of the quote by Mother Theresa who said, “Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the worst form of poverty.”

Loneliness and isolation are common experiences that we all encounter.

We can feel lonely at parties, We can feel it at work even when in the company of others. We can feel it in the solitude of the night when no one is awake to offer us companionship. These feelings are different than the solitude one feels in times of peaceful independence. We are not talking about a personal disposition of being introverted. Wikipedia defines loneliness as “a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation or the lack of companionship. Loneliness typically includes anxious feelings about a lack of connectedness or communality with other beings both in the present and extending into the future. As such, loneliness can be felt even when surrounded by other people.”

It could be said that a church is all about leading toward companionship and connectedness.

New Church theology teaches that three essential properties of divine love are

  1. the desire to love others,
  2. the will to partner with them, and
  3. the effort to bless them or make them happy.

One could say these three essentials are a part of every healthy human relationship. So based on this, a church could be thought of as a healthy church to the degree that loving others outside of self, a desire to partner with others, and a desire to render others blessed shows up in every effort the church makes. As such, its theology becomes a tool used to provide healthy connection and relationships with God and with others outside of the organization. Guided my this imprint, a church can provide tremendous, joyful connection and community for people who are looking for loving relationships that are deep and that can go the distance. This is why churches are called “communions of saints,” or “communities of saints” – not because everyone in the community has it all figured out and is free from struggle or temptation, but rather they are a community that is counted in the sacredness of God’s transcendent love. There’s a soft spot in all of us wanting some sort of a companionship in our lives. We all strive for connection with another, with someone outside of ourselves. Loneliness, while uncomfortable and should by no means be sought

Getting out of a state of loneliness

I have found a teaching in the New Church theology that has been helpful for me in getting out of a state of loneliness; in the book Divine Love and Wisdom, we read that “to feel the joy of another as joy oneself – that is loving” (47). This teaching suggests to me that in order to really find connection that is meaningful with others, I must put aside my own desires, thoughts, and judgments about some one else learn to listen intently so that I might discover, understand, feel, and experience someone else’s joys as if they are my own. I have found that my own prejudgments, thoughts and feelings usually are distractions that interfere with my being able to connect with another person. This takes some effort, but when I intentionally step out of myself in order to be present for someone else in this way, I find that the downward spiral or loneliness I had been experiencing is instantly broken and replaced with a sense of connection and companionship. I have to admit that while doing it I am sure that I don’t always fully understand or comprehend what the other person is going through. I suppose this is always a weakness of interpersonal communication while we are in this natural world because there are so many ways to misinterpret the things another is saying especially when coupled with body language and what is going on in the vicinity of the communication. Communication is a skill that is honed and improved over time. However, even as imperfect as my communication skills might be, I find that the effort to experience another person’s joy (or sadness for that matter) does breakdown my own feeling of loneliness. Try it and see if it makes a difference in your life.

Helen Keller wisely said once that “alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” This quote captures for me how a church has tremendous potential for bringing joy to others lives through a cooperative effort to reach out to others be deeply listening and connecting with what they are feeling. Think of how people who are feeling lonely and broken can feel renewed when others take the time to really be present with them and listen.

Does that not create the space that is inhabited by God?

(top photo by Jason Buss)

Full issue


“If a person shuns an evil as a sin, they come into the good opposite to the evil. The good opposite to the evil which is meant by murder is the good of love towards the neighbor.”

Doctrine of Life 70


Do I get my way too often?

Spiritual Questions & Answers

Discovering inner health and transformation

Who wouldn’t try to persuade their youngster to study for what they see as a promising career? Who wouldn’t pull out all the stops to influence investors to support their business? Who wouldn’t want to make their spouse feel the same way about having more children or a house move? It is surely normal for me to want the best for someone as I see it? Or is this sometimes as case of me wanting to get my way. Have things as I see fit?

I have to ask myself if my attempts at influencing others amounts to trying to make them think, act, or feel the way I do? get my wayAll this made me wonder just how I might assess the way I manage other people in my life. Do I try to get my way with others too often?

Do I try to get my way by force?

‘Hang on,’ I hear myself say. ‘I don’t force anyone to do anything. That would be selfish.’  Okay so before the kids left home, I seldom shouted at my teenage daughter to keep her  bedroom tidy. I seldom ordered anyone in the family to do their chores. In fact even now I  rarely if ever voice explosive anger, never mind any verbal abuse or any threat of violence to get my way. But perhaps I don’t even realise if I use less obvious methods of manipulation?

Do I try to get my way by nagging?

You may have heard of the young woman who thinks she will be able to change her man after they are married. Make him tidier, stop smoking or whatever. But he may be of a different mind. And when she fails to alter his bad habits, she may end up just nagging him which can cause irritation but no change of ways. Telling someone what to do or what to think doesn’t usually work because people like to decide things for themselves.

Do I try to get my way by telling?

Offering a point of view for their consideration and rational arguments to support it can be quite another matter. For this is respecting their personal choice. A father who insists on telling his daughter what to believe about politics, religion and so on, will appear as someone who thinks he knows best.

He may feel certain he is right. However, these days, less and less people will tolerate being told what to think. They really do prefer to make up their own minds. By claiming absolute answers to life’s issues, perhaps without realizing it, the father is arrogantly trying to impose his views. He would be advised to more humbly offer his beliefs for consideration and they even may be welcomed as his gift.

Do I try to get my way by being deaf?

Many parents have learned not to speak dogmatically about matters that are dear to their hearts. But some still don’t want to hear anything that might distract from their agenda. And so they sometimes fall foul of the mistake of turning a deaf ear to their teenager’s point of view.

This shows when they refuse to pay attention to anything that opposes them, saying things like “I don’t want to hear it”.  Or they may show a fierce look or glance, unpleasant tone of voice, or make rhetorical comments, or use subtle sarcasm. The trouble is how we come over to others is not always apparent to us, and we can get into unfortunate habits in how we communicate.

Do I try to get my way by being less than honest?

Making up excuses is something I have done at some time or other to cover up my  embarrassment or mistakes. Perhaps you have taken this a step further and been engaged spinning a yarn to the media on behalf of your company or to your friends regarding your achievements. It is not only ‘spin doctors’ who twist the truth to suit their own ends. The trouble is when dishonesty becomes a habitual method of trying to get our own way.

Like when we refuse to admit something obvious, or use weasel words to give vague, irrelevant, rambling, responses to evade revealing our real intentions. For we hope that only by changing the subject and keeping quiet about what we are up to, instead of giving a straight answer, can we hope to change someone’s mind or actions.

Am I on an ego trip?

Ray and Star Silverman in their book Rise Above It have given a Swedenborgian perspective on trying to get our own way. Whether we do this coercively or subtly, it is said to be a sign that we want to possess what belongs to another person for our own sake; having charge of what they think and believe.

Any apparent success in controlling someone feeds the ego trip that our ideas are more valid than the other person’s, and the illusion that what we want is more important than what he or she wants. A few people want to possess someone’s aspirations, values and even their deepest desires.

When you notice yourself starting to manipulate other people, perhaps for genuinely held reasons, you might however want instead to hold back. I find it helps me to remember the importance of giving respect to other people who need to find out things for themselves, be free to choose what they want, and take responsibility for their own lives.

Even though we each may have a specific superior talent for something or a more important social responsibility, nevertheless everyone has a significant role to play in the universal human family. Someone controlling their attitudes can rob them of their unique contribution.

In striving to overcome the love of power, I like to think I have discovered the power of love.

Copyright 2012 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of Heart, Head & Hands Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems


Posted on30th March 2012CategoriesEthics, Interpersonal EthicsTags,, , , , ,, , , , , , , , ,, , , , , , ,, , ,  Leave a comment