What do you do in Heaven?

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What do you do in Heaven?

On earth we live in communities. So we will in heaven. But the heavenly communities will be structured and organised. Each community will have its own specific use and function within the whole.

We will determine our heavenly community and unique role within it by use of our specific skills and talents in this world to love and serve others. Each angel will thus feel comfortable and at home with those around and have a function which suits his or her own abilities and desires.  Emanuel Swedenborg tells us that ‘the Lord’s kingdom is a kingdom of uses’. Heaven and Hell 387.

Work in heavenly communities will differ from work on earth because its motivation will be different. In heaven housing, clothing and food will be freely given to all angels.  The need to work for personal needs is gone. Perhaps it is like choosing how to be busy in early retirement!

People’s prime motivations on earth vary – use to the Lord, to others or to self – so in heaven they will vary too. The parallels in heavenly life might be seen to be: helping people in their spiritual life, civil life or domestic life. In each of these areas there will be work to do for other people, in loving them, caring for them and helping them.

It is possible to think of people who love working in each of the above areas in their life on earth. If it is their true love and skill it will continue into the next life. Thus each angel will be happy in the work which needs to be done. It is perhaps also evident that there will be an infinite variety of occupations to match the infinite variety of the angels. Swedenborg tells us that there are few tasks in the world by comparison.  Heaven and Hell 393.

Each angel is busy in activity which benefits the community and, thus the whole, using unique talents given by the Creator. There are fortunate people on earth whose work is like this for them. In heaven this will be achieved by all.

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THE END OF THE WORLD

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PSK734b<< THE END OF THE WORLD. >>

“One generation passeth away, and another generation
Cometh : but the earth abideth for ever.”—Ecclesiastes i. 4.Image result for the world

THE belief that the material universe is finally to be destroyed has been and still is almost universal in the Christian Church. Some have maintained that matter will be entirely annihilated ; others, that it will only be burnt up and reduced to its simple elements, and that out of these elements new heavens and a new earth will be formed, and that the new earth will be the eternal dwelling-place of the righteous. Their bodies are to be raised up from the earth, and their souls brought back and reinstated in them. The Lord is to come down from heaven and dwell with them and be their King. All traces of sin and imperfection will be destroyed in the general conflagration, and the whole earth will become an Eden, the garden of the Lord, and all those glowing prophecies concerning the peace and happiness of the righteous will be fulfilled.

About the time when this great change is to take place there has been much difference of opinion. There can be no reasonable doubt but the apostles expected it in their day, and Christians have been looking for it and predicting it every century since. Many of us can remember the excitement caused by Millerism. Many persons were so sure that they had discovered the year and the day when the end was to come that they had their ascension robes made, and, clad in them, they assembled on the appointed day, expecting that the Lord would come in the clouds of heaven, and that they would be caught up with Him in the air while the earth and the heavens were being consumed. Learned commentators and diligent students of prophecy postponed the end to 1866. It is quite safe to say now, however, that they were mistaken in the time, if not in the event itself.

There is another important point upon which there is an equally serious conflict of opinion. Some believe that the millennium—that is, a period of a thousand years in which the Lord is to reign personally upon the earth, and righteousness and peace are to prevail universally—will take place before the world is burnt up. Others believe that the world is to be consumed first and that the millennium will take place afterwards, and among those who entertain this opinion are many of the most learned divines in all branches of the church. There is a general assent to the doctrine that the earth, if not the material universe, is to be burnt up, and either annihilated or made over into a new one.

But the doctrines of the New Church teach directly the reverse of this. They declare that this earth and all the earths in the material universe were created to be the birthplace of intelligent spiritual beings, who commence their existence in a material body, and after a time discard it and pass on into the spiritual world, where they are to dwell forever. The earths are the seminaries of the heavens. The material universe was created from the spiritual universe, and bears the same relation to it that the body does to the soul, that the husk does to the corn, or the shell to the fruit. Every human being begins his existence upon some material earth, and sooner or later passes on into the spiritual world. Thus the work of creation is continually going on. New souls are continually being created and passing on to their eternal home. Generation after generation commences existence, passes across the stage of this life and on to eternity, and, as we believe, will continue to do so forever.

I invite your attention to the grounds for this belief. The doctrine is entirely in accordance with Scripture when correctly understood. There are some passages both in the Old and the New Testament which describe remarkable changes as taking place in the earth and the heavens. The sun is said to be darkened, the moon changed into blood, the stars to fall from the heavens, the foundations of the earth to be shaken, the heavens to be rolled together as a scroll, when, in the words of Peter, ” the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat ; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up.” “The earth is utterly broken down,” cries Isaiah, “the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage ; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it.”

Now, it is simply impossible that all these particulars can be literally true. It is impossible that the stars should fall to the earth. The earth is a mere grain of sand compared with the stars. We can see that the sun might be darkened, but how impossible that the moon should be turned into blood ; or, if possible, what use could there be in it? In one place it is said that the earth shall be burned up, in another that it shall be removed like a cottage ; and again that ” every mountain and island shall be moved out of their places.” In one place it is said the nations are to be gathered together in the valley of Jehoshaphat. Sometimes this great consummation is represented as having taken place, and again as about to take place in some future time. The disciples asked the Lord, saying, ” Tell us, when shall these things be ? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world ?” And the Lord answered,” This generation shall not pass, till all these things befulfilled.” It is impossible to form any definite conclusion from attempts to interpret the Scripture literally. No human ingenuity, no grasp of intellectual power, can reconcile all this imagery and show its bearing upon one natural event. But, furthermore, the word translated ”world” in the phrase “the end of the world,” does not mean world in the sense of a material earth, and never did. A recent commentator says, “It is very remarkable that the word which means world in Greek is never used where what is supposed to be the end of the world is described.” The Greek word aion means an age or dispensation, or period of the church. In this sense we speak of past ages. We apply it to a special development of life and literature, as when we say the Elizabethan Age. The apostles, without any doubt, used the word aion in this sense.

Our Lord had just foretold the destruction of Jerusalem. He had just told the disciples that there should not be left one stone upon another of the temple that should not be thrown down ; and He had said, “Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Then they asked Him, “When shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age,—of the Jewish Church or Dispensation ?” They supposed He was going to establish a new age or kingdom in the place of the Jewish Church. The question is, therefore, natural and pertinent. . But if they meant the earth there seems to be no reason for such a question. There was nothing in the preceding conversation to lead to such a question. If our Lord’s answer also is carefully considered it will be found to have no special application to such a question, and commentators have had the greatest difficulty in reconciling many things in it with the idea that it refers to the end of the material world. Many things apply with great pertinence to the destruction of Jerusalem, but others do not. The apostles, without doubt, found their questions answered to their satisfaction. They believed that the end would come in their day, and we find them frequently referring to it in their epistles. ” The time is short.” “The day of the Lord is at hand.” They frequently speak of being ” in the last days,” ” in the last times,” “in the ends of the age.” That they did not fully understand what the change would be in all its breadth and detail is evident from their own language.

Before our Lord’s death and resurrection they supposed the Lord came to establish a political kingdom and restore Israel to their former power and splendor. Their views became more elevated after our Lord’s ascension ; they knew that His kingdom was a spiritual kingdom, but still they did not fully comprehend its nature, and probably expected that its establishment would be attended with many signs and portents, with many civil and physical commotions. There are evidences, however, that they did not understand the terms literally which speak of commotions and destruction. At the day of Pentecost, when the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance, some, mocking, said, ” These men are full of new wine.” But Peter said, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel, And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh ; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams : and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit ; and they shall prophesy : and I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath ; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke : the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come.” (Acts ii. 16-20.) Thus Peter expressly declares that what they saw on the day of Pentecost was the fulfilment of this prophecy, and that it was ” in the last days.” Ought not this to be a key to the interpretation of all such language when used by the apostles, especially by Peter ?

In the interpretation of Scripture, if one part of a state ment is taken literally the whole ought to be. If it is said that the moon shall be turned into blood, we must accept that as a literal fact if we do the other part of the statement. We ought to believe that the stars will fall upon the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs when she is shaken of a mighty wind, if we believe the other part of the statement, that the heaven will depart as a scroll when it is rolled together, and that every mountain and island will be moved out of their places. (Rev. vi. 12-14.)

According to the same principle, if we accept a statement of Scripture as referring to a particular event in one part of the Bible, it is reasonable to accept every similar statement in every part of the Bible in the same sense. If this is done I do not hesitate to say that it is impossible to prove from the Bible that the material universe is ever to be destroyed by fire. Some fact will always be found which cannot be brought to harmonize with the others. The doctrine or theory does not explain all the facts, and, consequently, either the facts or the doctrine cannot be true.

Now let us apply the doctrine of the New Church and her method of interpreting the Scriptures to those passages which are supposed to refer to the end of the world. The doctrine is this : By the end of the world is meant the end or consummation of an age, or a complete cycle in the spiritual movements of humanity. The Jewish Church was one age, which came to an end when our Lord was upon the earth. The Christian Church was another age or distinct movement in the spiritual progress of humanity. The Jewish Church was purely natural, and the representative of a spiritual church. The Jews had no hopes or aspirations beyond this world. They believed that the Messiah was to be a temporal ruler, like David and Solomon, who was to exalt them to the pinnacle of earthly power. Jerusalem was not a heavenly but an earthly city, the capital of their own kingdom, which they expected would become the capital of the whole earth. This life and this world bounded all their hopes and fears. There may have been some men who caught glimpses of something beyond, but this pure naturalism was the essential element of the Jewish Dispensation. The Christian Dispensation took a distinct step in advance. It was a spiritual church. God was a spiritual being, and not a merely temporal king. Jerusalem was a church or a heavenly city. Righteousness did not consist in a scrupulous adherence to the ceremonial law, but in a life according to the commandments. The law reached the thoughts and intentions. But these truths the church received upon authority. The church has never had any rational knowledge of spiritual truth. All her doctrines are taught dogmatically, and are to be received by faith, as matters of belief, upon testimony.

The essential characteristic of the first Christian age has been belief in spiritual truth and obedience to it ; but truth received upon authority and not rationally understood. A church or age comes to an end when the essential principle which distinguishes it from all others ceases to be a living principle. Thus the Jewish world or age came to an end when they made the Word of God of none effect by their tradition, and when their national life and civil polity and ceremonial worship at Jerusalem ceased. The first Christian age came to an end when its love for the truth had grown cold, and its belief in the truth which constituted the church had been destroyed. This, we believe, took place about a century ago. It would not be difficult to show by the testimony of the church herself that all real belief in her doctrines had perished. You can hardly find two men now who think alike upon any of the essential doctrines of the church. Even if they use the same words, they do not attach the same idea to them ; and multitudes repeat the creed without attaching any idea to it. It is not my purpose to prove this truth, but simply to state it for illustrating what we mean in the New Church by the end of the world, or the consummation of the age. You will perceive that it is not the end of an organization, of dogmas and outward forms, but of inward life. A tree may retain its form for many years after it is dead. Wood may preserve its existence for many centuries and be applied to many useful forms after its life has come to an end. So a church may retain its outward organization and teach its dogmas for many years after it is dead. Indeed, it is the distinguishing characteristic of a dead church that it is scrupulous in paying tithes of the mint, anise, and cummin of creeds and ceremonies, while it neglects the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.

Having stated what we understand by the end of the world or age, let us look at the terms in which that event is described in the Bible. The doctrines of the New Church teach us that the whole Bible is written according to the correspondence of natural with spiritual things. The sun represents the Lord ; its heat represents His love received and reciprocated by men. The moon represents the cool light of faith. The stars are bits of knowledge of heavenly things held in memory. The earth represents the church ; all things on the earth represent the truths or principles which constitute the church, and everything that occurs on the earth represents some form or activity of those truths and principles. Now let us apply this method of interpretation to some of the passages in the Word which relate to this subject. The darkening of the sun means the loss from the church of that love for the Lord and of that sense of the Lord’s love which are its very life.The withdrawal of the moon’s light means the gradual loss of all belief or faith in the truths of the church. Its being changed into blood denotes the destruction of all living quality in the faith of the church. It represents the loss of all charity or brotherly love. The falling of the stars from heaven denotes the entire dispersion and loss of all the knowledges of spiritual truth, by giving them a merely natural meaning. The spiritual mind is heaven compared with the natural mind. The kingdom of heaven is within us. When those truths which relate to the spiritual man are brought down and sensualized, when the church begins to lose the spirit and to think lightly of the life, and makes much of mere dogmas and ceremonies, which is the sign of a dying or dead church, then the stars fall from heaven upon the earth, even as a fig-tree, which denotes a development of merely natural good, casteth her untimely figs when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

When the light of Divine truth is darkened in the mind ; when the warmth of spiritual love grows cold, and all belief in spiritual truth is destroyed, and all true knowledge of its facts and doctrines is lost, then the heavens depart as a scroll when it is rolled together ; the spiritual mind becomes closed to all spiritual truth, and the end of the world draws near.

If we look at any particular church and note the changes that have taken place in her when she approached her end, we shall find that the changes which are said to take place in the earth represent them in every particular. Our Lord says that many will come in His name, claiming to be the Christ, and shall deceive many. This prediction means that many will claim to have the only message of Divine truth. How diverse the doctrines are we know, and how sharp the controversies and how bitter the persecutions which have arisen among their adherents. These are the wars and rumors of wars foretold by our Lord. The conflict of evil with evil and of falsity with falsity is described as nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom. Famines are caused by the lack of the bread of life, which is love to the Lord and the neighbor. The pestilences foretold are the moral and spiritual evils which corrupt the hearts and minds of men, and cause spiritual disease and death. The earthquakes are the commotions in the church, which shake it to its foundations and break it up into sects, as the earth’s crust is shaken and broken into fragments by natural earthquakes.

In this manner we might take every passage in the whole Bible which refers to the end of the world, and show the special meaning of every particular, and its entire harmony with this doctrine and its bearing upon it. All these terms are not given a special meaning to adapt them to this particular doctrine. But they have this meaning everywhere, in the whole Word. The sun, moon, stars, and earth always have essentially the same meaning. The earth always means the church or those principles which constitute it. All the wars, famines, and pestilences mentioned in the Scriptures signify and represent spiritual conflicts, in which evils and falsities contend among themselves or stand opposed to goodness and truth. And we are not compelled to remain in a general application alone. We can descend to the minutest particulars, even to the kind of weapons used in these conflicts, the people who carry on the wars, and the causes of defeat or victory. The farther this correspondence is carried, the clearer it becomes and the more universal its application becomes, so that the argument from the Word comes out in the clearest and fullest manner, satisfying every condition of humanity and every demand of the reason and every statement of Scripture. I have not attempted to do more than to give an outline of the argument and show the manner in which we read the sacred symbols to learn what the Word really teaches concerning the last days. I shall invite your attention now to some of the rational considerations which confirm the belief that the end of the world is a spiritual and not a natural event.

According to the doctrines of the New Church, the material universe was created to be the birthplace of endless generations of intelligent beings, who were to pass on into the spiritual world and make room for those who should come after them. It is the essential nature of love to create, to communicate itself as fully as possible to others. As the Lord’s love is infinite, this essential element of His being can never be exhausted. He must have the same reasons to-day for creating intelligent beings that He had for creating the first man ; and there must be the same reasons millions of years hence for creating new souls to become the recipients of the Divine love and blessedness that there are now. It must, therefore, be contrary to the essential nature of the Lord that He should ever cease to create.

It has been proved by modern astronomers that our sun with its attendant planets and the myriad visible stars are moving in vast orbits around some common centre. This orbit of our solar system is so vast that it could complete only a small part of a revolution in six thousand years. How absurd to suppose that a Being of infinite wisdom would create a universe and set its worlds revolving in their orbits, and then destroy them before they had completed one revolution ! A little child is not guilty of so great a folly who builds a house of cards and throws it down for the pleasure of seeing it fall. But again, the ratio between the smallest grain of sand and our earth is greater than the ratio between our earth and the whole of the material universe ; can any supposition be more absurd than that the Lord would destroy the whole material universe because some beings who dwell upon this grain of sand have broken His laws?

The act of a man who burned his barn to kill a rat was wise compared with such a destruction of the universe. You cannot find anything in the childish ignorance or fitful spite of men so absurd as this. How irrational, then, to call it by no worse a name, to attribute such folly to infinite love and wisdom ! Suppose the Lord has been disappointed and His purpose in some respects defeated by sin, is that any reason why He should complete the defeat of His ends by a universal destruction ? But it cannot be that He has been defeated or disappointed. Omniscience saw the end from the beginning, and infinite wisdom provided the best means. The Lord can make no mistakes. Sin has only served to bring out the manifestations of His love in larger measures and in a greater variety of forms. There is no more cause for the destruction of the universe than there was to prevent its creation in the first instance. There is the same reason for its continuance, and must forever be, that there was for its creation. The Divine nature as it is in itself, the end for which the universe was created, the whole order and method of the creation and human reason, all teach us in unequivocal terms that the material universe will never be destroyed until infinite love grows cold and infinite wisdom fails to provide the ways and means for carrying into effect the purposes of infinite love, and infinite power becomes exhausted ; and when that crisis comes there will be no God and no universe and no human beings. We infer, therefore, that the destruction of the natural universe is contrary to the Divine nature, to the purposes of the Lord as declared in the creation, and to human reason.

The idea held by some, that the earth will be remade, that the Lord will give to man a better body at the resurrection, and that the new earth, if it is a material one, will be a better earth than this, practically accuses the Lord of folly, of not doing the best for His children that He could, and that is to say that His love and wisdom are not perfect. If it is replied that man finds the earth very imperfect and is constantly improving it, the answer is that it is one of the perfections of the earth that man can improve it,—it is one of the conditions of life essential to his intellectual and spiritual development. If he had no occasion to call forth his faculties they would lie dormant. If he saw no room for improvement, or found it impossible to make improvement, he would have no stimulus of hope, and all motives to exertion beyond what was necessary to support life would be taken away. Man’s nature is self-adjusting to all the conditions of life. Infinite wisdom is embodied in the creation, and when men try to improve upon the methods of infinite wisdom they show their ignorance and folly.

But the doctrine that this earth or any part of the material universe is to be made over into a new world and become the future dwelling of man after the resurrection is materialism. This result cannot be avoided. Man’s body is not a spiritual body after all, and instead of going to heaven and dwelling in one of the mansions in His Father’s house according to the promise, he must remain forever in this world. He is not essentially a spiritual being, but an earthly one, and however perfect his condition may be as a material being, he can never hope to attain to the glory and blessedness of a purely spiritual life. But the whole theory that this world is to be the eternal home of the redeemed is contrary to the oftrepeated declarations and promises of the Word. ” My kingdom is not of this world,” the Lord says. ” I go to prepare a place for you ; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” The whole tenor of our Lord’s teachings was directed to prepare men for life in another and spiritual world which is not to be created at some future time, but which was already in existence, and when the Lord spoke was the home of all those who had passed from earth.

When we understand the term ” world” as meaning not the natural ground but the world of human life ; especially when we give the Greek word which is translated ” world” its strict meaning of ” age” or ” dispensation,” how simple it all is ! Within historic times the world hasmore than once passed away and a new world has been created. The Europe which the Roman conquerors knew is gone. The America which Columbus found is passed away and a new America has come into being. And turning our thought to the spiritual states of men, of which the Bible always directly speaks, the world has been destroyed and a new world created as often as one system of religious truth has lost its vitality and its power over the lives of men and a new system has been raised up by the Lord. Not to go back to remote antiquity, the world was in comparatively recent times made new when the Christian Dispensation displaced the Jewish at the coming of the Lord ; and in our own day is taking place before our very eyes the destruction and new creation of the church which the Lord Himself predicted. And all the while our faithful planet keeps steadily on its way fulfilling the purpose for which the Lord created it, as a nursery of human beings, where they may awaken to consciousness and learn their first lessons of obedience to the Heavenly Father, then to pass on to His eternal home. As saith Ecclesiastes, ” One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh ; but the earth abideth for ever.”

Author: Chauncey Giles, From Progress in Spiritual Knowledge, 1895

http://www.scienceofcorrespondences.com/white-horse.htm

Copyright © 2007-2013 A. J. Coriat All rights reserved.

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Human

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Human

The Lord, in His essence, is perfect, infinite love given form through perfect, infinite wisdom. Because He is love, and love wants something to give itself to, he created human beings so that we could accept his love and return it, and thus be conjoined with Him.
Two things had to be done for this to work. First, we had to be structured so we would fit into a state of union with the Lord – which means we had to be forms of love and wisdom ourselves. Second, we had to be free to reject the Lord’s love, or the choice would be meaningless (in fact, if we were purely good, with no choice, we would be extensions of the Lord; in that case loving us would the Lord loving Himself, which is contrary to His nature).

The things that make us human, then, are the fact that we have thoughts and feelings (thoughts come from wisdom; feelings come from love), and that we can choose – in freedom – to use those thoughts and feelings to open ourselves up to the Lord’s love and be conjoined to Him.

And how do we do that? By bringing our thoughts and feelings into line with the Lord’s love and wisdom, so His love and wisdom can flow into us. We accomplish this first through our thoughts, which are more external and more under our control than our feelings are. We can fill our minds with the Lord’s teachings through the Word, through ministers, teachers and parents and through the wisdom of people around us. Using those ideas of what is right and wrong, we can force ourselves to stop doing what is wrong and instead do what is right. If we stick to it out of a desire to be good people, the Lord will start rewarding us with joy in doing the right thing, and will eventually change how we feel so that we genuinely love to do what’s good.

If we do that, we will eventually become angels – who are also human, people who once lived in our world and followed the Lord. If we don’t, instead letting selfish loves rule us, we will eventually become evil spirits in hell – who are also human, though barely so, since they reject the Lord’s love.

An interesting aspect of this is the role of freedom. Free choice is essential to our humanity, but it seems like the more we force ourselve to follow rules the less freedom we have, until as angels we do nothing but obey. Following our urges and doing whatever we want seems like a much greater degree of freedom. This, however, is exactly wrong on a spiritual level. If we follow our urges we will end up desiring only evil. Since evil wants only to hurt and dominate others, we will face constant obstacles and resistance to our desires. That will be all the more true in hell, where the Lord prevents evil spirits from doing any actual long-term harm. On the other hand, if we force ourselves to be hind and loving, the Lord will eventually fill us with the desire to be kind and loving – and in heaven, with everyone in such a state, there is no need for rules at all. Every angel does exactly what he or she wants to do.

There is one other aspect of humanity that is worth mentioning. The Writings also tell us that because both heaven and the natural world were created by the Lord, they are in human form just as we are. That means every aspect of life has some analogy to the human body, and to the human spirit. Since humanity is modeled on the Lord, this also means that every aspect of heaven and earth has some analogy to the nature of the Lord. Think about this next time you go for a hike – every leaf on every tree could tell us something about the Lord, if only we could understand it. And every leaf on every tree could tell us something about ourselves, as well.

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Is the Bible literally true?

Cut off my right hand?

“If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matthew 5:29-30)

Can my eye cause me to sin? Am I actually supposed to gouge out my eye or cut off my hand if I want to stop sinning? The Writings for the New Church explain that these instructions are not meant literally: “The ‘eye’ represents in the spiritual sense everything belonging to the understanding and to thought, and the ‘right hand’ everything belonging to the will and to affection, it is evident that ‘if your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out’ represents that if one thinks evil, the evil must be rejected from the thought; also ‘if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off’ represents that if evil is willed the evil of the will must be cast out. For the eye itself cannot cause sin, nor can the right hand, but the thought of the understanding and the affection of the will, to which they correspond, can.” (Apocalypse Explained §600:8)

Is Jesus coming in the clouds?

“Men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” (Mark 13:26-27)

Will this really happen on earth? When? This passage refers not to an anticipated event, but an event that has occurred on a spiritual level: “By ‘the clouds of heaven’ in which He is to come, nothing else is meant but the Word in its literal sense (which sometimes hides/obscures the true meaning such as a cloud obscures the sun); and by ‘the glory’ in which they will see Him, the Word in its spiritual sense (in which all is revealed)” (Apocalypse Revealed §24). The Writings for the New Church give us the spiritual sense of the Word, which descends through the clouds, and then the literal sense becomes accessible and applicable.

Did a flood cover the earth?

“Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth. So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood…and it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. The windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.” (Genesis 7:6-12)

The story of Noah and the flood is not a literal story about life being wiped off the earth, but rather a story that represents the personal struggle and temptation that each of us faces in life—and the ways we can protect ourselves in these times of spiritual trials. The book Secrets of Heaven explains the inner meaning of this story: the ark that Noah, his family, and the animals go into for protection from the flood represents the church that carries us through hard times (§639). “By the ‘flood of waters’ is signified the beginning of temptation” (§739-740). The flood represents the temptations that come in life and threaten to wipe out everything good if we give in to them. It is further explained that “‘Noah went into the ark, from before the waters of the flood’ signifies that he was protected in temptation.” In the story Noah’s wife, his sons, and his sons’ wives came with him into the ark because they represent the resources Noah had to help him resist temptations. Noah’s wife represents goods, his sons represent truths, and his sons’ wives represent truths that are connected to goods (§742). We can see that while the story seems literally impossible it stands for something very real in our lives—turning to the church and the goods and truths that sustain us when we are faced with temptation.

by Abigail Echols,
from an article from New Church Connection

https://newchurch.org/

DAILY INSPIRATION

“God is one, and He is the Creator of all things and the Preserver of all things; so He is God of heaven and God of the earth.”

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INFLUX

influx8p_500_327 The truth of the matter is this. From the Lord through the spiritual world into the subjects of the natural world there is a general influx and also a particular influx–a general  influx into those things which are in order, a particular influx into those things which are not in order.  Animals of every kind are in the order of their nature, and therefore into them there is general influx.  That they are in the order of their nature is evident from the fact that they are born into all their faculties, and have no need to be introduced into them by any information.  But men are not in their order, nor in any law of order, and therefore they receive particular influx; that is, there are with them angels and spirits through whom the influx comes.  And unless these were with men, they would rush into every wickedness and would plunge in a moment into the deepest hell.  Through these spirits and angels man is kept under the auspices and guidance of the Lord.  The order into which man was created would be that he should love the neighbor as himself, and even more than himself.  Thus do the angels.  But man loves only himself and the world, and hates the neighbor, except in so far as he favors his commanding and possessing the world.  Therefore as the life of man is altogether contrary to heavenly order, he is ruled by the Lord through separate spirits and angels. [AC 5850]

The same spirits do not remain constantly with a man, but are changed according to the man’s states, that is, the states of his affection, or of his loves and ends, the former being removed and others succeeding.  In general there are with man spirits of such a quality as is the man himself.  If he is avaricious, there are spirits who are avaricious; if he is haughty, there are haughty spirits; if he is desirous of revenge, there are spirits of this character; if he is deceitful, there are the like spirits. Man summons to himself spirits from hell in accordance with his life. The hells are most exactly distinguished according to evils of cupidities, and according to all the differences of evil. Thus there is never any lack of spirits like himself to be called out and adjoined to a man who is in evil. [AC 5851]

But influx is of such a nature that there is an influx from the Divine of the Lord into every angel, into every spirit, and into every man, and that in this way the Lord rules everyone, not only in the universal, but also in the veriest singulars, and this immediately from Himself, and also mediately through the spiritual world.  In order to make known  the existence of this influx, much has already been said about the correspondence of man’s parts with the Grand Man, that is, with heaven; and at the same time about the representation of spiritual things in natural; at the close of chapters 23 to 43, and afterward about the angels and spirits with man, at the close of chapters 44 and 45; and this is now to be followed with a specific exposition of the subject of influx and the intercourse of the soul and the body.  But this subject must be illustrated by experiences, for otherwise things so much unknown and rendered so obscure by hypotheses cannot be brought forth into the light. The illustrative experiences shall be presented at the close of some of the following chapters. Let what has been said thus far, serve as an introduction. [AC 6058]

As the subject here treated of is Influx, and this is mentioned so frequently, it is necessary to say in advance what influx is.  What is meant by spiritual influx cannot be better seen than by means of the natural influxes which take place and appear in this world – as by the influx of heat from the sun into all things of the earth, with all variety in accordance with the seasons of the year and the climates of the earth; and by the influx of light into the same, with all variety likewise in accordance with the times of the days and also of the years, also in a varied manner according to the climates. From the influx of heat from the sun into all things of the earth, whence comes vegetative life; and from the influx of light into the same, whence comes support to that life, and also colors and displays of beauties; in like manner from the influx of the same heat into the surface of our bodies, and also of light into the eye; likewise from the influx of sound into the ear; and from other instances of a similar kind, it may be comprehended what is the influx of life from the Lord, who is the Sun of heaven, from whom come heavenly heat, which is the good of love, and heavenly light, which is the truth of faith. The influx of these is also plainly felt, for heavenly heat which is love produces the vital heat which is in man, and heavenly light which is faith produces his understanding, because the truth of faith which proceeds from the Lord enlightens his intellectual; but in both cases with much variety, for it is according to the reception on the part of man. [AC 6190]

0094aThat man is governed by the Lord by means of angels and spirits, has been given me to know by experience so manifest as not to leave even the smallest doubt concerning it; for now through a course of many years all my thoughts and all my affections, even to the most minute of all, have flowed in by means of spirits and angels.  This it has been given me to perceive so plainly that nothing could be more plain; for I have perceived, I have seen, and I have heard, who they were, what was their quality, and where they were. And when anything adverse fell into my thought or will, I have spoken with them and chided them.  And I have also observed that the power they had of infusing such things was restrained by the angels; and also in what manner; and likewise often that they were driven away, and that then new spirits were present in their place, from whom again there was influx. It has also been given me to perceive whence those spirits came, or of what societies they were the subjects; and an opportunity of speaking with those societies themselves has likewise frequently been granted.  And notwithstanding that everything, even to the most minute, of the thoughts and affections, flowed in through the spirits and angels, still I thought as before, and willed as before, and conversed with men as before, no difference from my former life being observed by anyone I am aware that scarcely anyone will believe that such is the fact, but still it is an eternal verity. [AC 6191]

It has been shown me to the life in what manner spirits flow in with man.  When they come to him, they put on all things of his memory, thus all things which the man has learned and imbibed from infancy, and the spirits suppose these things to be their own.  Thus they act as it were the part of the man in the man. But they are not allowed to enter further with a man than to his interiors which are of the thought and will, and not to the exteriors which are of the actions and speech; for these latter come into act by means of a general influx from the Lord without the mediation of particular spirits and angels.  But although the spirits act the part of the man with a man in respect to those things which are of his thought and will, they nevertheless do not know that they are with a man, for the reason that they possess all things of his memory, and believe that these are not another’s, but their own; and this for the reason also that they may not injure the man. For unless the spirits from hell who are with a man believed these things to be their own, they would attempt in every way to destroy the man both body and soul, because this is the infernal delight itself. [AC 6192]

How the case is with the influx of each life, namely, of the life of the thought and the life of the will from the Lord, has been given to know by revelation; namely, that the Lord inflows in two ways: through heaven mediately, and from Himself immediately; and that from Himself He flows both into man’s rational things, which are his interior things, and into his natural things, which are his exterior ones.  That which flows in from the Lord is the good of love and the truth of faith, for that which proceeds from the Lord is the Divine truth in which is the Divine good; but these are variously received with man, namely, in accordance with his quality.

[2] The Lord does not compel man to receive what flows in from Himself; but leads in freedom, and so far as man allows, through freedom leads to good.  Thus the Lord leads man according to his delights, and also according to fallacies and the principles received therefrom; but gradually He leads him out from these; and this appears to the man as if it were from himself. Thus the Lord does not break these things, for this would be to do violence to freedom, which however must needs exist, in order that the man may be reformed (n. 1937, 1947, 2875, 2876, 2881, 3145, 3146, 3158, 4031). That the Lord flows in with man in this manner, namely, not only mediately through heaven, but also immediately from Himself, both into the interior and the exterior things in the man, is a secret hitherto unknown. [AC 6472]

That the Lord rules the last things of man equally as his first, can be seen from the fact that the order from the Lord is successive from first things to last, and in the order itself there is nothing but what is Divine; and this being so, the presence of the Lord must needs be in the last things equally as in the first, for the one follows from the other according to the tenor of order. [AC 6473].

Whenever I have been reading the Lord’s prayer, I have plainly perceived an elevation toward the Lord which was like an attraction, and at the same time my ideas were open, and from this there was effected a communication with some societies in heaven; and I noticed that there was an influx from the Lord into every detail of the prayer, thus into every idea of my thought that was from the meaning of the things in the prayer.  The influx was effected with inexpressible variety, that is, not the same at one time as another; hence also it was made evident how infinite are the things contained in the prayer, and that the Lord is present in everyone of them. [AC 6476]

For many years I have observed the general sphere of the influxes around me.  It consisted on the one hand of a perpetual endeavor by the hells to do evil, and on the other of a continual endeavor by the Lord to do good; by these endeavors opposite to each other I have been constantly kept in equilibrium.  Such endeavors and consequent equilibrium are with everyone; from this all have freedom to turn whithersoever they please; but the equilibrium varies in accordance with the good or evil that reigns with the man. From this also it could be seen that the Lord flows in universally, and therefore also singularly.  And I have been informed that the opposite endeavor, which is from hell, is nothing but the perversion into evil of the good that proceeds from the Lord. [AC 6477]

When an angel does good to anyone, he also communicates to him his own good, good fortune, and bliss, and this with the desire to give the other everything, and to retain nothing.  When he is in such communication, then good flows in unto him together with good fortune and bliss much more than be gives, and this with continual increase. But as soon as the thought occurs that he desires to communicate what he has for the sake of obtaining in himself this influx of good fortune and bliss, the influx is dissipated; and still more so if any thought comes in of recompense from him to whom he communicates his good.  This it has been given me to know from much experience; and from this also it may be seen that the Lord is in every single thing, for the Lord is such that He wills to give Himself to all, and hence good fortune and bliss are increased with those who are images and likenesses of Him. [AC 6478]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)

 

 

http://www.scienceofcorrespondences.com/white-horse.htm

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The State of a Vastated Church

Lastchurch - The Eternal Purpose

 Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Scarcely anyone knows how the case is with the rejection of an old church and the adoption of a new church. He who does not know man’s interiors and their states, and consequently man’s states after death, cannot but infer that those who are of the old church, and in whom good and truth have been laid waste, that is, are no longer at heart acknowledged, are to perish, either as the antediluvians perished by the flood, or as did the Jews by expulsion from their land, or in some other way. But when the church has been laid waste, that is, when it is no longer in any good of faith, it perishes chiefly in respect to the states of its interiors, thus in respect to its states in the other life. Heaven then removes itself away from them – and consequently the Lord – and transfers itself to others, who are adopted in their stead; for without a church somewhere on the earth there is no communication of heaven with man; for the church is like the heart and lungs of the Grand Man on the earth.

They who are then of the old church, and thus are removed from heaven, are in a kind of *inundation as to their interiors, and in fact in an inundation over the head. This inundation the man himself does not observe while he lives in the body, but he comes into it after death. In the other life this inundation plainly appears like a thick cloud by which they are encompassed and separated from heaven. The state of those who are in this thick cloud is that they cannot possibly see what the truth of faith is, and still less what is its good; for the light of heaven, in which is intelligence and wisdom, cannot penetrate into this cloud. This is the state of a vastated church.

(Arcana Coelestia 4423)

[*inundate – to cover with a flood]

May 19, 2010
http://lastchurch.blogspot.ca/

In Six Days Jehovah Made Heaven and Earth and the Sea

Lastchurch - The Eternal Purpose

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11)

For in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth and the sea. That this signifies the regeneration and vivification of those things which are in the internal and in the external man, is evident from the signification of “six days,” as being states of combat, and when predicated of Jehovah, that is, the Lord, they signify His labor with man before he is regenerated; and from the signification of “heaven and earth,” as being the church or kingdom of the Lord in man, “heaven” in the internal man, and “earth” in the external man, thus the regenerate man, that is, one who has found the new life and has thus been made alive; and from the signification of “the sea,” as being the sensuous of man adhering to the corporeal.

In this verse the subject treated of is the hallowing of the seventh day, or the institution of the Sabbath, and it is described by the words, In six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested in the seventh day; wherefore Jehovah blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it. They who do not think beyond the sense of the letter cannot believe otherwise than that the creation which is described in the first and second chapters of Genesis, is the creation of the universe, and that there were six days within which were created the heaven, the earth, the sea and all things which are therein, and finally man in the likeness of God.  But who that takes into consideration the particulars of the description cannot see that the creation of the universe is not there meant; for such things are there described as may be known from common sense not to have been so; as that there were days before the sun and the moon, as well as light and darkness, and that herbage and trees sprang up; and yet that the light was furnished by these luminaries, and a distinction was made between the light and the darkness, and thus days were made.

In what follows in the history there are also like things, which are hardly acknowledged to be possible by anyone who thinks interiorly, as that the woman was built from the rib of the man; also that two trees were set in paradise, of the fruit of one of which it was forbidden to eat; and that a serpent from one of them spoke with the wife of the man who had been the wisest of mortal creatures, and by his speech, which was from the mouth of the serpent, deceived them both; and that the whole human race, composed of so many millions, was in consequence condemned to hell.  The moment that these and other such things in that history are thought of, they must needs appear paradoxical to those who entertain any doubt concerning the holiness of the Word, and must afterward lead them to deny the Divine therein.  Nevertheless be it known that each and all things in that history, down to the smallest iota, are Divine, and contain within them arcana which before the angels in the heavens are plain as in clear day. The reason of this is that the angels do not see the sense of the Word according to the letter, but according to what is within, namely, what is spiritual and celestial, and within these, things Divine.  When the first chapter of Genesis is read, the angels do not perceive any other creation than the new creation of man, which is called regeneration. This regeneration is described in that history; by paradise the wisdom of the man who has been created anew; by the two trees in the midst thereof, the two faculties of that man, namely, the will of good by the tree of life, and the understanding of truth by the tree of knowledge.  And that it was forbidden to eat of this latter tree, was because the man who is regenerated, or created anew, must no longer be led by the understanding of truth, but by the will of good, and if otherwise, the new life within him perishes. Consequently by Adam, or man, and by Eve his wife, was there meant a new church, and by the eating of the tree of knowledge, the fall of that church from good to truth, consequently from love to the Lord and toward the neighbor to faith without these loves, and this by reasoning from their own intellectual, which reasoning is the serpent.

From all this it is evident that the historic narrative of the creation and the first man, and of paradise, is a history so framed as to contain within it heavenly and Divine things, and this according to the received method in the Ancient Churches. This method of writing extended thence also to many who were outside of that Church, who in like manner devised histories and wrapped up arcana within them, as is plain from the writers of the most ancient times. For in the Ancient Churches it was known what such things as are in the world signified in heaven, nor to those people were events of so much importance as to be described; but the things which were of heaven. These latter things occupied their minds, for the reason that they thought more interiorly than men at this day, and thus had communication with angels, and therefore it was delightful to them to connect such things together. But they were led by the Lord to those things which should be held sacred in the churches, consequently such things were composed as were in full correspondence.

From all this it can be seen what is meant by “heaven and earth” in the first verse of the first chapter of Genesis, namely, the church internal and external.  That these are signified by “heaven and earth” is evident also from passages in the prophets, where mention is made of “a new heaven and a new earth,” by which a new church is meant.  From all this it is now plain that by, “In six days Jehovah made heaven and earth and the sea,” is signified the regeneration and vivification of those things which are in the internal and in the external man.

(Arcana Coelestia 8891)
May 14, 2017