The Shepherd of Israel

The Shepherd of Israel

A Holy Supper Address by Rev. James P. Cooper

revcooper.ca



As we begin our celebration of Easter, our thoughts are naturally drawn to the stories we have loved since childhood: the story of the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, riding on a colt as the people welcomed Him as a king shouting their “hosannas” and laying their garments and palm branches in His path. We think of Him boldly preaching His message of peace and charity towards the neighbor in the synagogues and streets of Jerusalem during the day, but returning to the Mount of Olives at night while His enemies plotted His death. We feel the hatred and fear of Him that has been growing throughout His ministry beginning to focus and intensify as He enters the center of the Jewish church to challenge the scribes and Pharisees in the midst of their own strength. Once again we feel the grief and sorrow as the wolves and other wild beasts gather to attack and kill the shepherd, scattering the terrified flock.

The prophet Zechariah foretold the events of the Lord’s crucifixion when he wrote, “’Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My Companion,’ Says the Lord of hosts. ‘Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered.’” (ZEC 13:7) And so it seemed to the disciples. The Lord had led them, taught them, protected them, and suddenly they were without Him. They were lost, afraid that the same mob anger that had crucified the Lord might turn against them next. They were indeed sheep without a shepherd, scattering in terror.

The prophet Ezekial was also inspired by the Lord to write of Him as the Good Shepherd: “For thus says the Lord God: ‘Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.’” (EZE 34:11, 12) Has not Ezekial eloquently described how we sometimes feel? It may be very well to speak of flocks of sheep contentedly grazing in fields of green grass, watched over by a gentle shepherd, but that is not always our state. Too often we feel instead the growing frustrations of too many things to do, and no time to do half of them. We can feel as if we are being pulled in a hundred different directions by the demands that are placed on us by our families, our work, our fears, our physical aches and pains, and our spiritual failings – both real and imagined.

At such times we don’t see ourselves as sheep grazing contentedly under the watchful eye of a gentle shepherd. Rather, we feel scattered, like sheep dispersed and lost during a storm in the night. At such times we should remember that the Lord really is our good shepherd, we should have the confidence that He knows our fears and our pains for He Himself has lived on earth as we live, and has felt as we feel. He has even given His life for His sheep, and in so doing has conquered death itself for our sakes. No more do we need to fear death, for we know that the grave cannot hold us, the Lord has gone before us to show the way to eternal life. He assures us through the prophet Ezekial that He will seek out His scattered sheep, and deliver them; He will bring them into a land all their own where He will feed them in good pasture; He will bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick. (EZE 34:16)

The Lord called Himself the “good shepherd” and told us that the “good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.” (JOH 10:11) As we approach the Holy Supper at this time of year, having prepared ourselves by reflection and self-examination, we may find that we bear a considerable burden of guilt and sadness. And yet we should celebrate! for by shunning what is evil, and vowing to do what the Lord commands, we bring ourselves into the full warmth of the Lord’s love, for as He Himself told us “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.” (JOH 15:13,14)

The Lord laid down His life for the sake of our eternal, spiritual lives, and He conquered death for us, reminding us that every state of genuine humility is followed by a state of glorification. The disciples came to the tomb full of grief and despair, but found that the stone had been rolled away and that He was not there. That Easter morning was the dawning of the disciples understanding of what had been happening during the past three years of the Lord’s ministry, that Jesus Christ was not an earthly Messiah, but that He was God with us.

Let us remember this as we prepare for Holy Supper this Easter season. The self-examination that we do in preparation is a temptation similar to that which the Lord Himself went through during the week before Easter. We, like Him, are battling against Hell. What we need to remember is that we too will pass through the temptations and make it to Easter morning if we trust in the Lord’s power to save us, a power which He has shown by doing something never done by any other, before or since – raising Himself from the dead by His own power. As the angels told the women who came to the tomb with balm and sweet spices that long ago Easter morning, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here but risen!” (LUK 24:5-6) Amen.

The Swedenborg Project

THE POWER OF SALVATION (An Easter Sermon)

THE POWER OF SALVATION (An Easter Sermon)

A Sermon by Rev. Patrick A. Rose Preached in Cincinnati, Ohio April 19, 1992

“And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18).

The story of the Lord’s resurrection, the story of Easter, is a story of the most beautiful simplicity. Men had tried to kill the Lord, but when His followers returned to His sepulcher, the Lord’s body was no longer there. The Lord could not die, for He was God. He had risen from the dead. He was alive. He was alive for evermore.

It is a simple story. But it is also profound. When the Lord rose from the sepulcher, He showed clearly that He was God. He was Divine. He had power over death. But He also showed something else. He showed that He had the power to save. Earlier the Lord had told His followers, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). When, therefore, the Lord rose from the sepulcher, when He was lifted up from the earth, it showed not only that He had the power to save Himself from death, but that He also had the power to save mankind. The Lord, by rising from the sepulcher, showed that He was the Savior of the human race. And so it is that the Easter story is not simply a story about the Divinity of the Lord. It is also a story about salvation.

This is why the story of Easter occurs during the celebration of the Jewish Passover. Passover, together with the feast of unleavened bread which followed it, was a commemoration and a celebration of the time that Jehovah had saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Jehovah as God did not just have Divine power, but He also had used this power to deliver His people Israel. The Passover was the most important of three annual Jewish festivals. And it was during the celebration of this annual festival that the events of the Easter story occurred. Indeed, the story of Easter cannot be separated from the celebration of Passover.

Consider, for example, the events surrounding Palm Sunday. When the Lord rode into Jerusalem, multitudes of people came out to greet Him, spreading branches of palm trees in the road. The reason there were so many people in Jerusalem at the time was because of the Passover. A great number of people had traveled into Jerusalem to purify themselves in preparation for the feast (see John 11:55). Not only that; many of them were looking out for the Lord, thinking that He would probably come to Jerusalem for the Passover (see John 11:56). When news came, then, that the Lord was approaching the city, this great multitude of people, people who were in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, ran out to greet Him (see John 12:12,13). The Passover itself became the central focus the evening before the Lord was arrested. The Lord gathered with His disciples to eat the Passover. It was the last meal He would eat with them before His crucifixion. And it was at that time the Lord established a new feast, a feast which would also celebrate the Lord’s salvation. He established the Holy Supper.

It was during the night which followed that the Lord was betrayed and arrested. The next day the Passover is once again an element in the story. Because it was the most important of the Jewish festivals, the Romans had, as a gesture of good will, made it a custom to release a prisoner at the festival (see Mark 15:6). Pilate tried to have the Lord released as that prisoner. But the multitude – now an angry multitude – would have none of it. They demanded instead the release of a robber, a man called Barabbas (see John 18:40). Here was a sad irony. The Passover was a festival celebrating the Lord’s power of salvation. He had saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Now He had come to save once again. This time He had come to rescue men from a deeper slavery. And yet at the Passover they rejected the Lord. They demanded that the Lord be crucified. They chose a robber over the Lord Himself.

There were indeed dark forces at work during the week which led up to the Lord’s resurrection. The Lord had come to save mankind. Yet evil men, men guided by the hells, were seeking the Lord’s destruction. Still, this also was an integral part of the story of Easter. When the Lord rose from the sepulcher, He rose as the Savior of the human race. The very fact that the-Lord was a Savior implied that mankind had needed saving. It meant that the Lord had rescued them from danger.

It is in this sense that the meaning of the Easter story is neither as simple nor as obvious as it might appear. When the Lord had saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, it was clear who the enemy was. It was clear that the Lord had rescued them from the Egyptians. But the enemies -the spiritual enemies – who threatened mankind at the time of the Lord’s coming were by no means as obvious a threat. Indeed, most people were completely unaware of being in any danger at all. People were blissfully ignorant of the fact that a multitude of evil spirits from hell was threatening the very survival of the human race. The Lord had come to save people from a danger they didn’t even know existed. But the danger was nevertheless very real. Indeed, the spiritual enemies of mankind were a far greater threat than the Egyptians had been. The underlying drama of the Easter week was just as great, just as intense, as was the drama of the Exodus.

Consider the extraordinary events that occurred on the night when the Passover was first eaten. Time and time again the Egyptians had suffered plagues. But time and time again the Pharaoh had refused to let the Israelites go. The Israelites seemed to be completely and hopelessly enslaved in Egypt. But then there came the plague on the firstborn. It must have been an absolutely frightening and horrible night. All of a sudden, at midnight, destruction came upon the people of Egypt. We are told that “there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead” (Exodus 12:30). That night not a single Egyptian household escaped tragedy.

During that same terrible night, though, not a single Israelite was harmed. Four days earlier each Israelitish household had been commanded to set aside a lamb (see Exodus 12:3-4). Then, during the evening preceding that terrible night, the lamb had been killed, and its blood had been splattered on the posts and lintels of their doors (see Exodus 12:6-7). They then roasted the lamb and ate it with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs (see Exodus 12:8). The Israelites were safe, safe from the destruction that came upon the Egyptians, for the blood on their doors served as a sign that they were not to be harmed.

Now it might seem from the story that it was the Lord who destroyed the firstborn, and that the blood was serving to protect the Israelites from the Lord. But this terrible act of destruction was in fact brought about by evil spirits, evil spirits who are referred to as “the destroyer.” “The Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you” (Exodus 12:23). What in fact happened during the night of the Passover was that the hells were let loose upon the land of Egypt. But the Israelites were protected from harm by the power of the Lord. They were delivered from destruction, and that same night they were released from their slavery.

So it was that on a dark and dreadful night, the Israelites were protected by the powerful arm of the Lord, and were led forth to freedom. Israel became a free people. And from that time on, this event was etched deep into the consciousness of the Israelites. Each year, on the fourteenth day of the first month, they were to reenact the Passover, by eating a roasted lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. During this most important festival of the year, they were to recall that night when the Lord saved them from the slavery of Egypt.

Why did the Passover have such great importance? It of course had immense historical significance. But there was something else. The real importance of the Passover lay in what it represented. The Passover represented that work of salvation that the Lord would do when He came to earth. It stood for the Lord’s presence, and for the way in which He would free mankind from the dominion of the hells (see AC 8017). The actual Passover supper represented the conjunction that would then be possible between mankind and the Lord Himself (see AC 9965:4). And, because this work of salvation was completed in the glorification of the Lord’s Human, therefore the Passover is said to have represented the glorification itself (see AC 3994:6). It was therefore no accident, no accident at all, that the events of Easter took place during the celebration of the Passover. The Lord had told His disciples that He would be betrayed during the feast of the Passover (see Matt. 26:2). And it was at that feast that He would rise again. The primary reason the Passover had been instituted was as a memorial that the Lord would one day glorify His Human and rise triumphant as the eternal Savior of the human race (see AC 10655). And so it was at this very festival that the Lord fulfilled His promise, fulfilled the prophecy contained within the Passover.

The Passover, that night when the Lord protected the Israelites and delivered them from slavery in Egypt, was but a picture, a representation, of a far greater redemption. To begin with, the Lord had used His Divine power to save a particular group of people – the Israelites – from slavery. Now, as the Lord rose from the grave, He redeemed the entire human race. He made it possible for people to be freed from the dominion of the hells, set free from the slavery of evil.

This is what we celebrate and remember at Easter time. We rejoice and give thanks for the Lord’s salvation. When Jesus appeared to His disciples and said to them, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18), the power He spoke to them about, the power He offered them, was the power of salvation, the power to save people from the influence of the hells.

What the Lord accomplished at Easter might sound more abstract than what He had done during the original Passover. The Israelites knew and clearly understood what Jehovah had done for them when He rescued them from slavery in Egypt. The Lord has rescued us, though, from a deeper slavery, from the slavery of the hells. And the importance of this can be difficult to grasp fully. As we have noted, most people at the time of the Lord’s coming were unaware of the spiritual danger they were in. They did not realize how terrible the threats from the hells really were. To a large extent it is the same with us. We have trouble fully appreciating the danger of evil.

We have trouble realizing just how great a threat the hells can be. This is because spiritual dangers are extremely subtle. Physical dangers come from outside of us, where we can see and notice them, and avoid them. Spiritual dangers are different. Evil lurks within the mind, and-so we don’t notice evil in the same way. The greatest danger posed by evil lies in the fact that it doesn’t seem dangerous to us at all. In fact, we tend to enjoy evil. We tend to love it. It is inside of us. It seems a part of us. When we are in evil we don’t see how dangerous it is. It is only as we are lifted out of this evil that we can come to understand how great the danger really was.

That is why the Lord had to come to earth. That is why He had to assume a Human and make that Human Divine. He did this so that we could come to see and understand Him, come to see and understand His love and compassion, and could turn to Him and follow His commandments. And it is as we do this, as we turn to and follow the Lord, that we can then, for the first time, fully appreciate the real horror of evil. In the Arcana, in our third lesson, it was said, “the hells are around every man, because every man is born into evils of every kind; and where evils are, there are the hells” (AC 10659). This is why, we are told, we need the Divine power of the Lord. Only the Lord has the power to cast away those evil spirits of hell. There is then added a very telling statement. It is said that this is something which can be understood by 44 all those … who admit the Lord into their life” (see ibid.). It is those who admit the Lord into their lives, and only they, who can truly appreciate the dangers of evil. It is only those who are willing to turn to the Lord and obey His commandments who can understand that evil is very, very real, and very, very dangerous.

That is why we must follow the Lord. We cannot rely upon our own judgment as to what is good and what is evil. We will always tend to excuse those things we love. We will tend to make light of our own weaknesses and our own follies. And so we must turn to the Lord. The Lord is our Savior, our only Savior. We must do what He says. And if we do, then He will save us. Amen.

Lessons: John 11:55-57; 12:1,12-15; Matt. 28:1-18; AC 10659:1,3


Arcana Coelestia 10659:1,3

… it can be seen that the feast of the Passover, which was also called the feast of unleavened things, was instituted in remembrance of man’s liberation from hell by the Lord. That this liberation was effected by the Lord’s subjugating the hells and glorifying His Human may be seen just above (n. 10655) …

But to those who are in enlightenment the Lord grants that they shall understand what they believe; and when they are reading the Word, those are enlightened and understand it who acknowledge the Lord and love to live according to His commandments, but not those who say that they believe but do not live; for the Lord flows into the life of man and from this into his faith, but not into faith separate from life. Consequently, those who are enlightened by the Lord through the Word understand that the Lord came into the world in order to subjugate the hells, and-reduce into order all things there and in the heavens; and that this could not possibly be done except by means of the Human; for from this He could fight against the hells, but not from the Divine without the Human; and also that He might glorify His Human in order that He might thereby forever keep all things in the order into which He had reduced them. From this comes the salvation of man, for the hells are around every man, because everyone is born into evils of every kind, and where evils are, there are the hells; and unless these were cast back by the Divine power of the Lord, no one could ever have been saved. That this is so the Word teaches, and all those apprehend who admit the Lord into their life; and these as before said are those who acknowledge Him, and love to live according to His commandments.

ALL POWER HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME

ALL POWER HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME
A Sermon by Rev. Daniel W. Heinrichs
Preached in Boynton Beach, Florida March 31, 1991

“And Jesus came and spoke to them saying: `All power has been given to Me in heaven and on earth'” (Matthew 28:18).

The message of Easter is one of victory and new life. It is fitting, on this occasion, that we give thanks to the Lord for His glorification and redemption. In the Lord’s resurrection we also have His assurance of our own resurrection into the spiritual world, and the heartening assurance of His Divine power over the hells. By His resurrection we are also assured that good can, and always will, prevail over evil. If we are willing to receive power from the Lord evil will have no power over us. He freely imparts His power to all who look to Him, love Him and keep His commandments.

“All power has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Not only had the Lord risen victorious from the death imposed by the corrupt leaders of the Jewish Church, not only had He conquered natural death, but in doing so He took to Himself all power in heaven and on earth. The concentrated forces of all the hells, through the agency of evil and selfish men, had sought to destroy Him; and in the moment of their apparent success, their utter failure was revealed.

Here we see clearly the impotence of evil against good dramatically demonstrated. Because the apostles had to perceive this truth, the Lord, in commissioning them to establish a new church, said:”All power has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore, and teach all nations … ” Secure in the knowledge of this truth, that the Lord had all power in heaven and on earth, they could fearlessly preach the Gospel, confident that nothing could defeat their mission. For, working with them and through them was the Lord Who, after His resurrection, had confidently proclaimed:”All power has been given to Me in heaven and on earth … And, lo, I am with you always, even to the consummation of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

In the revelation of His Second Advent, the Lord has fully revealed the nature, quality and operation of His Divine power to bring mankind into the happiness of eternal life. He has revealed the glory, beauty and wonder of His eternal kingdom. His power in is the laws of His Divine providence, all of which operate to draw all people to heaven as many as do not will fully refuse.

His kingdom is one of love and wisdom conjoined in use a kingdom where all are brought into such a harmony that the joy of one is communicated to and shared by all, and the joy of all is felt in each one individually; a kingdom where the delight of living increases and deepens to eternity a kingdom where the mutual love of husband and wife grows deeper and stronger to all eternity.

But, like the disciples of old, we live in an age which is, for the most part, far removed from the reception of the Lord’s heavenly kingdom. On every side, in the place of love and charity, we see hatred and envy; in the place of wisdom we see bigotry, narrow-mindedness, and empty sentimentality; in the place of use we see the lust for pleasure and reward; in the place of conjugial love we see the lust of self-gratification.

The message of Easter is that in the midst of this hostile environment, and in spite of it, we can, nevertheless, receive the spiritual things of the Lord’s heavenly kingdom within ourselves. We can receive genuine love for the neighbor, true wisdom from the Word, the good of use from the Lord, and love truly conjugial, and manifest them in our lives and the life of the church.

In the midst of a sphere of hatred and contempt for others we can receive the Divine love of humanity into our hearts. In the midst of a sphere of intellectual pride and an overwhelming trust in scientific achievement, and contempt for spiritual values, we can nurture, by devotion to duty, a spiritual love of use and a deep and joyful love for our marriage partners. All this is possible because the Lord has established His kingdom a kingdom not of this world, and revealed its nature to us because after His resurrection He took to Himself all power in heaven and on earth.

While in the world, the Lord preached a doctrine of love and charity toward the neighbor, a doctrine of mercy and human compassion. He taught a doctrine of spiritual and moral values. He revealed, and His life was an example of, devotion to others. But the hells, through their human agents, the Chief Priests, Scribes and Pharisees, tried to destroy these spiritual values. They were not interested in spiritual things nor were they interested in a spiritual kingdom. They wanted a Messiah Who would establish for them a natural kingdom a kingdom where they would enjoy power over their neighbors, a kingdom in which they would be able to satisfy all their natural longings and sensual appetites. But because the Lord’s kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36), they sought to destroy Him and all that He stood for.

Let us realize that there is a similar struggle and conflict within each one of us. The hells, entering in through the loves of self and the world, and inflaming them, seek to destroy in us, the love of the Lord and His spiritual kingdom of charity, spiritual intelligence, devotion to use and conjugial love. They seek to persuade us that if God indeed exists, He would satisfy our every ambition and desire; He would provide for us every worldly comfort and pleasure; He would do away with famine, pestilence, disease and natural suffering; for, are not these the enemies of human happiness? They seek to persuade us that if there is a Kingdom of God it should be here and now, and not hereafter; that we should experience its joy and satisfaction without effort on our part. By the insinuation of these ideas, our belief in the Lord and our love for Him and the things of His Kingdom is undermined and threatened with destruction by the malice of hell acting through their agents the love of self and the love of the world.

For the regeneration person these are the trials of temptation. But unlike the Lord in temptation, we are not alone in ours. He is inmostly present with His infinite power to uphold us and sustain us if we will but turn to Him for help and guidance. And with His help we cannot fail, for by His resurrection He took to Himself all power in heaven and on earth.

We are told in the Heavenly Doctrine, that the Lord’s rising again on the third day, in reference to man, means that the Lord, working in love and faith, can rise, in the regenerating person, every day and every moment (AC 2405:7). In the same way He may also be present continuously in His church. When we are brought, through temptation, to the acknowledgment of our own helplessness, and at the same time realize that we may receive all power from the Lord, then we grasp the real significance of the Lord’s resurrection, for it is then being re-enacted in our own lives.

We would note that the sacrament of the Holy supper is intimately related to this festival. For the Lord instituted and partook of this supper with His disciples just prior to His crucifixion and resurrection. It is this acknowledgment the acknowledgment that we are entirely dependent on the Lord that is represented in that sacrament. For it is because we see that we can do nothing that is really good, nor think what is true of ourselves, that we approach the Lord to receive His Divine good and Divine truth, represented by the bread and wine.

In taking the bread we acknowledge that all good, every spiritual love is from the Lord alone, and we seek to receive it from Him. In taking the wine we acknowledge that all wisdom, truth and spiritual intelligence is from Him alone, and we seek to receive it.

Jesus said:”I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever … The words that I speak to you they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:51,63). If we truly acknowledge this in our hearts, then, as we partake of the Holy Supper, the Lord’s power will descend into our lives to uplift and sustain us to all eternity. Amen.

Lessons: Matthew 28; AE 806:2,5,6

Apocalypse Explained 806:2,5,6

It has been shown in the preceding article what the faith is that has been accepted by the general body in the church, namely, a belief that God the Father sent the Son, that through Him there might be propitiation, mercy, redemption, and salvation; likewise that the Son of God bore our iniquities, that He intercedes for us, and that His merit is attributed to those who pray for it from trust and confidence; and it has been shown in a former article that these are all vain expressions, in which as interpreted by the learned there is nothing of truth and thus nothing of salvation. That these are vain expressions in which there is nothing of truth is evident from the teachings of the Word respecting the reason of the Lord’s coming and why He suffered, namely, that the Lord came into the world to save the human race, who otherwise would have perished in eternal death, and that He saved them by subjugating the hells, which infested every man coming into the world and going out of the world, and at the same time by glorifying His Human, since thus He is able to keep the hells subjugated to eternity. The subjugation of the hells, together with the glorification of His Human, was accomplished by means of temptations admitted into the human that He had from the mother, and by continual victories therein. His passion in Gethsemane and on the cross was the last temptation and complete victory.

That the Lord subjugated the hells He taught when the passion of the cross was at hand, in John: “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:27, 28, 31). In the same: “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In Luke: “Jesus said, I beheld Satan as lightning falling from heaven” (Luke 10:18). In Isaiah: “Who is this that cometh from Edom, walking in the multitude of his power? great to save; Mine arm brought salvation for Me; so He became their Savior” (Isa. 63:1, 5, 8; 59:16-21). Because the Lord subjugated the hells He gave the seventy disciples: “Authority over demons” (Luke 10:17, 19).

That the Lord glorified His Human, and that the passion of the cross was the last temptation and complete victory by which He glorified it, He teaches in John: “When Judas was gone out Jesus said, `Now is the Son of man glorified, and God shall glorify Him in Himself, and straightway shall He glorify Him'” (John 13:31, 32). In the same: “Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son that Thy Son also may glorify Thee” (John 17:1, 5). In the same: “`Now is my soul troubled; Father, glorify Thy name.’ And there came a voice out of heaven, `I have both glorified it and will glorify it again'” (John 12:27, 28). And in Luke: “Ought not the Christ to suffer this and to enter into glory?” (Luke 24:26).

This was said of His passion. “To glorify” is to make Divine. From this it can be seen that unless the Lord had come into the world and had become Man, and by this means had liberated from hell all those who believe in Him and love Him, no mortal could have been saved. Thus it is understood that without the Lord there is no salvation. This, now, is the mystery of the Lord’s incarnation.