The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Concerning the Lord

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On the Lord's day, he tells us, he received the vision of the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. What did John really see? First he says he saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, and he tells us that this city was prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. The description is remarkable! Why should he liken a city to a woman at the most ecstatic moment in her life, the moment when, of all times, she looks most radiantly beautiful?

Yet, that is the language of Revelation. These are the very words that must be used to describe this city, New Jerusalem, because what John really saw was neither a city, nor a bride. What he actually saw was the harmony of truth that forms the doctrines of the Church of the New Jerusalem. He saw these doctrines in a condensed form so that they gave the definite picture to his mind of a new holy city; a city of God, so beautiful that it could only be likened to a bride adorned for her husband.

Why was the city called the New Jerusalem? It was because the Old Jerusalem had come to a complete and total end. The Lord's words, "Seest thou these great buildings? Titus had left not one stone standing upon another. Jerusalem was a heap of rubble, and it had perished. But the Old Jerusalem in its day had stood for a vital truth in the history of the world. Of all the cities in the world the Lord had said that He had chosen Jerusalem to put his name in. Jerusalem was a city that was set on an hill. The Psalmist said, "Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord.

It was because Jerusalem stood for the worship of one God in one person that Daniel, in far-off Babylon, opened his window toward Jerusalem and offered his prayer to Jehovah three times a day. This he did in spite of the command of Darius that no one should worship any god but him for thirty days. Daniel believed that the one only God resided in Jerusalem, and that prayers addressed to that ancient city would surely be heard. It was for the purpose of maintaining on this earth the worship of one God that the ark of the covenant had been the center of Jewish worship for fifteen hundred years before the Lord came into this world.

Finally it was placed in Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem. That was the part Jerusalem had played in history, but now, at the time when John wrote on the Isle of Patmos, the Old Jerusalem had perished. It was no more. Then John saw a vision which prophesied the history and course of the First Christian Church which supplanted the Jewish Church.

He was shown in his vision that the Christian Church would one day lose its central idea of one God in one Person. He was shown that the time would come when the Church Fathers would sit down at the Council of Nicea and write a creed which read: Only years after the Lord came on earth the vision of monotheism, which the Old Jerusalem had stood for, had again been lost, and a vague and mysterious tripersonal God had been set up as the center of Christian theology. To John in his vision on Patmos it was given to see that the time would come when a new vision of monotheism, of God in one Person, would be given to the world.

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This new vision of one God was symbolized by a New Jerusalem, a new Jerusalem not built by human hands but coming down from God out of heaven, and beautiful as only a bride can be beautiful when she is adorned for her husband. This spiritual beauty we find in the truths revealed by the Lord to Emanuel Swedenborg during the twenty-seven years when his spiritual eyes were opened and he wrote at the Lord's command many books, which contain the doctrines of the New Church.

These books, inspired by the Lord, we call the Writings. It is a fact that whenever we search for the truth and finally find it, it appears before our minds in exquisite beauty. Well do I remember an old gentleman up in the Canadian Northwest, who has now passed on into the spiritual world, and how he described to me the beauty which suddenly burst forth before his eyes from the pages of the Writings when he saw the truth of One God in One Person, who is the Lord Jesus Christ.

He had been raised a Mennonite, and as such he had been taught to believe the doctrine of God in three persons. This triune God puzzled him. How could there possibly be unity in the universe if there were three separate persons at the center of the creation? How could three Divine Persons make one God? These discordant ideas tortured him. Night and day he sought for an answer, and while he was in this perplexed state, while he was searching for the truth, there fell into his hands a copy of Swedenborg's True Christian Religion.

Before long his eye fell upon the chapter entitled "The Trinity. Not three persons, but one personone Person whose soul was the Father, whose body was the Son, and whose Divine inspiration and work among men was the Holy Spiritwas what it taught. He had seen the "New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. A young man whom I met in my travels told me that his talk with me on the Trinity, and his reading of the chapter on the Trinity in the True Christian Religion had so changed his mind that never again could he conceive of God as being three separate Divine Persons, who in some mysterious way make One God.

When he saw for the first time the idea of one God in one Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, the beautiful light of truth filled his mind. It was the thought that God is just oneone Person!

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It is the beauty that is meant by John's words: The New Jerusalem that John saw was not only beautiful, it was also strong. He saw great walls surrounding it. The walls that protect a spiritual city are the doctrines that make it distinctive, the doctrines which protect it from assault from without.

Perhaps, when I use the word "doctrines" I enter a field of technical theological language which is not too well understood. Let me see if I can make that word quite clear. In the first place, a doctrine is something that you learn. It comes from a Latin word meaning: Today it denotes a set of principles which govern our actions. Every man has a doctrine that governs his life, whether he knows it or not. What he believes in respect to any particular subject is his doctrine.

His doctrine of religion is his belief concerning how the world came into being, and how we should live. An atheist, who denies God, has a doctrine. He believes that there is no God; that the world always was; and that maybe man gradually evolved from chemical particles. Whatever a man believes from conviction, that is his doctrine. In it his mind dwells. It is the city of his refuge. Let us, then, examine the New Jerusalem, which is protected by these great and high walls of doctrine.

Some people feel that trying to make a society in this world of people who believe and practice the doctrines of the New Jerusalem will create an exclusive sort of community which uses its walls in order to keep people out instead of using them to protect itself. But the walls of the New Jerusalem are never meant to be used for snobbish purposes.

They are walls erected great and high to protect the things that we hold most sacred, and that we most deeply cherish. We call these walls, the walls of distinctiveness, the distinctiveness of the Church of the New Jerusalem. Over the years we have come to believe that we have a bounden duty to give our children a distinctive New Church education based upon the doctrines of the Church of the New Jerusalem.

We want our children to learn about geography at the same time that they learn about the God who created geography. We want our children to learn of history from the knowledge that there is a God above history whose Divine Providence continually overrules man's petty desires in order that the Grand Man of Heaven may forever be upbuilded. We want our children to see in their study of mathematics the order, the law, and the firmness of all the truth that emanates from God.

And so, in order to give our children these things that we think are so vitally important, we have distinctive New Church education, requiring of all of our teachers and pupils baptism into the faith of the Church of the New Jerusalem. So the walls of the New Jerusalem, great and high, are protective walls; they are erected to preserve our distinctiveness as a New Church. We likewise strive to maintain distinctive New Church social life that in actual association with each other we may put into practice the ideals that we cherish, that by constant striving we may be able to put away the love of self and be filled with the love of the neighbor, that we may love him as the Lord has loved us.

That is our ideal, but we have much regenerating to do. In order to show you that there is no element of exclusiveness involved in these walls of the New Jerusalem, let me remind you of the fact that in each wall, East, North, South, and West there are three gates, and it is said that these gates are open all day, and that there is no night there.

The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Concerning The Holy Scripture, by Emanuel Swedenborg

From that statement I take it that the opportunity to enter into the New Jerusalem is universal, and that the door of entrance into the Church is always open. The meaning of the four walls is the accommodation of the doctrines to various forms of mind. Men view things from different angles. If four of us were to view some beautiful building, and if one of us looked at it from the east, another from the north, another from the south, and the fourth from the west, and if each of us was to describe what he saw, our descriptions would have certain points that would agree, and other points that would be quite different.

We find this difference in the account of the story of the Lord's life. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have all told the story from a different angle. Some events they have described almost alike. Thus all four Gospels substantially agree in the particulars of the feeding of the five thousand with five barley loaves and two small fishes.

However, if we want to learn of the Lord's discourse before he went to Gethsemane, we must go to John; but if we want to learn of the prayer in Gethsemane, we must go to the synoptic Gospels, for they alone record it. Both Matthew and Luke mention the Lord's Prayer, but slightly differently, while John and Mark are silent on the subject.

The doctrine of the new Jerusalem concerning the Lord

Luke and Matthew alone record the birth story, while John traces the incarnation to the "Word that was in the beginning with God, and was God,. In a universal sense the four walls represent every possible viewpoint on life. If we could imagine that we were all standing outside of the New Jerusalem, and watching it descend from God out of heaven, each one of us would see a different entrance through which he would want to come into that Holy City.

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One thing is very clear; each of us would want to enter through a gate into the city, for the Lord said: In subsequent chapters I am going to take up in detail the meaning of these various gates, but for the present I will just discuss some of them, and speak of some of the people that have entered into the New Jerusalem by them. Of course, the most central, and the most important of all the doctrines is to know the truth about God. This is so important that it enters into each of the twelve gates, for each was made of one pearl, and the pearl of great price is the true knowledge of God.

Many people have entered into the New Church by this gate, for the New Church teaching concerning God has made the idea of one God in one Person, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, as clear as crystal to their minds. There are many things in the letter of the Word, which, when not analyzed carefully, might make one think that perhaps there are three Divine Persons, for surely the letter does speak of the Father, and it speaks of the Son, and it speaks of sending the Holy Spirit, and doesn't that mean that there are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons who in some mysterious way form one God?

Certainly, the Old Christian Church has puzzled over that problem until it has drawn out the creed which is held by all the orthodox Christian Churches such as the Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and the like. It is not held, of course, by such sects as the Unitarians, or the Christian Scientists, who deny the Virgin birth and who make the divinity in Christ no different in kind than the spark of life in each one of us. When a person becomes disturbed on the question of a tripersonal God, when it no longer seems logical to him to think of God as existing in three Persons, then it is that he begins the search which in the end will lead him to one or another of the gates of the New Jerusalem.

From the doctrines of the New Church, as he studies them, it will become more and more clear that the soul of the Lord Jesus Christ was the Father, just as the soul of each one of us is the father of his body. Just as I have my soul which is the father of my body, so the Lord had His soul which was the Divine Father, and which created His body within the womb of Mary.

The Kingdom of God & The New Jerusalem

And as the human soul is always within its body, shaping the destiny of our body, maintaining its health, preserving the faculties of all the senses, so the Divine Father was never withdrawn from the Son, He was always the soul of our Lord. Our spirit, our influence among people, what we do in the world, this exactly corresponds to the Holy Spirit which some have confused with a third person in the Trinity. After the Lord had risen from the sepulchre, He appeared to his disciples.

That was the Holy Spirit. Certainly it was not another person. Why should anyone think that His breath should be a third person? The infinite soul of that body was the Father, and the influence among men from that body and soul was the Holy Spirit. Many persons have had the mystery of the trinity solved by entering into this New Church understanding of it, thus they have entered in through the gate into the Holy City. The understanding of death is another one of these gates into the New Jerusalem. It is particularly vivid before my mind, for only recently I was called upon to speak at the funeral of a boy of twelve who had died very suddenly of polio.

He had been sick only one week! The comfort that the doctrines of the New Church gave to the parents in their grief- stricken condition was a beautiful thing to behold, for our doctrines teach us that the Heavenly Father marks even the fall of a sparrow, and the Lord says that the very hairs of our head arc all numbered, and of a God who knows even the number of our hairs, and who marks the fall of a sparrow, it is quite impossible to believe that His Providence permits accidents. We cannot believe that anyone is called to the spiritual world unless it is God's will.

The Grand Man of Heaven, that is, heaven looked at as one great society, is not composed of parts that are alike, but of many parts that are different. The Lord from eternity, or Jehovah, assumed the Human to save men n. This was done by successive steps. The Divine operated through the Human, as the soul does through the body. The Divine and the Human operated unanimously.

The Divine was united to the Human, and the Human to the Divine. The Divine Human is to be approached. The Lord made His Human Divine by means of temptations admitted into Himself, and by means of continual victories in them n. The full unition of the Divine and the Human in the Lord was effected by means of the passion of the cross, which was the last temptation n. By successive steps the Lord put off the human taken from the mother, and put on a Human from the Divine within Him, which is the Divine Human, and is the Son of God n.

Thus God became Man, as in first principles. The Lord is God himself, from whom and concerning whom is the Word n. The Lord is called Jehovah n. The Lord is called the Holy One of Israel n. The Lord is called Lord, and God n. The Lord is called King, and Anointed n. The Lord is called David n. God is one, and the Lord is that God n. By "spirit" is meant man's life n. As man's life varies according to his state, by "spirit" is meant the varying affection of life in man n.

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As The life of wisdom. The excitation of life. Life in fear, pain or grief, and anger. A life of various evil affections.