To Live in the Lord

Lastchurch - The Eternal Purpose

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Blessed be God Most High.

In the Ancient Church, Jehovah was called “God Most High” for the reason that “height” represented and therefore signified what is internal, and thus “the Most High” signified what is inmost. Hence the worship of the Ancient Church was upon high places, mountains, and hills. The inmost also has the same relation to the exterior and the outermost, as the highest bears to the lower and the lowest. The Most High or the Inmost is the Celestial of Love, or Love, itself. Jehovah, or the Lord’s internal man, was the very Celestial of Love, that is, Love itself, to which no other attributes are fitting than those of pure Love, thus of pure Mercy toward the whole human race which is such that it wills to save all and make them happy to eternity, and to bestow on them all that it has; thus out of pure mercy to draw all who are willing to follow, to heaven, that is, to itself, by the strong force of love. This Love itself is Jehovah.

Of nothing can Am or Is be predicated except of Love. From this Love – because in Love, or of Love itself – is the very Being [Esse] of all life, that is, Life itself; and because Jehovah alone is Being of life, or Life itself, as He alone is Love, each and all things have thence their being and their life; nor can anyone be and live of himself except Jehovah alone, that is, the Lord alone; and as no one can be and live of himself except the Lord alone, it is a fallacy of sense that men seem to themselves to live of themselves. The angels plainly perceive that they do not live of themselves, but from the Lord, since they live in the very being of the Lord’s life, because in His love. But yet to them above all others there is given the appearance as of living from themselves, together with ineffable happiness. This therefore is to live in the Lord, which is never possible unless we live in His love, that is, in charity toward the neighbor.

(Arcana Coelestia 1735)
May 10, 2017

The Five Churches

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In Swedenborgian theology, the term “church” usually doesn’t refer to a building – like St. Patrick’s Church on 10th Street – or to an organization, e.g. the Roman Catholic Church. Instead, a church is a state of spiritual belief, shared by a group of people, at a given time.

In the big picture, there have been 5 main churches in human history:

– The Most Ancient Church, represented by Adam in the Bible. It spanned the time from the dawn of human spirituality until the time represented by Noah, at around the time of the agricultural revolution. It didn’t have a written Word.

– The Ancient Church, represented by Noah in the Bible. It lasted from the rise of civilization until the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses mentions books from an Ancient Word from that church – the Book of Annunciations, the Book of Jasher, and the Wars of Jehovah.

– The Israelitish church, which lasted from the time of the Patriarchs until the birth of Jesus Christ. Its main role was to preserve the sacred scriptures that form the Old Testament, and to preserve, by adhering to external rituals, the embers of an internal worship whose real meaning was largely forgotten. The prophets of the Old Testament, through recording the history of the Israelitish people.

– The First Christian Church, which started at the time of the Lord’s ministry on earth. It gradually got corrupted by false understandings of the Trinity, which led to further confusion, and eventually the idea of salvation by faith separate from love.

– The New Christian Church, which has a new set of truths contained in Swedenborg’s works. Starting from 1770, it is restoring and fulfilling Jesus Christ’s original mission. The inner meaning of the Bible has been explained and clarified, and new concepts clear away the misunderstandings that hampered the First Christian Church.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 10248; True Christian Religion 786)


The Word has a Soul

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeFrom Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

In heaven nothing at all is known about the names, countries, nations, and the like; the angels have no idea of such things, but of the actual things signified by them. The Word of the Lord is living by virtue of the internal sense. This is as the soul, of which the external sense is as the body. And just as with man when his body dies the soul lives, and when the soul lives he no longer knows the things that pertain to the body, so when he comes among angels he does not know what the Word is in the sense of the letter, but only what it is in its soul. Such was the man of the Most Ancient Church; who, if he were living and read the Word at the present day, would not cleave at all to the sense of the letter; but would be as if he did not see it, but only the internal sense abstractly from the letter; and indeed as if the letter had no existence. Thus he would be in the life or soul of the Word. It is the same everywhere in the Word, even in its historical parts, which were just such as are narrated, and yet there is not so much as one little word therein that does not, in the internal sense, enfold within it deep secrets which never appear to those who hold the mind in the historical connection.

(Arcana Coelestia 1143)
February 28, 2015