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Spirit of Swedenborg Emanuel Swedenborg

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Spirit of Swedenborg

by Emanuel Swedenborg

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The Church

"Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God."

-- Rev., XXI, 3

The Church in God's Sight

The Church is in man, and not outside of him; and the Church at large consists of the men who have the Church in them. -- The Church consists of those who from the heart acknowledge the Divine of the Lord, who learn truths from Him by the Word, and do them. -- Every one who lives in the good of charity and of faith is a Church and a Kingdom of the Lord. -- The Church in general is constituted of those who are severally Churches, however remote they are from one another. -- The Church of the Lord is scattered throughout the whole world.

-- Heaven and Hell, n. 57
-- Apocalypse Explained, n. 388
-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 6637; ib., n. 9256

A Succession of Churches

There have been four Churches on this earth since the day of creation; a first, to be called the Adamic, a second, to be called the Noachic; a third, the Israelitish; and a fourth, the Christian. After these four Churches, a new one will arise, which is to be truly Christian, foretold in Daniel and in the Apocalypse, and by the Lord Himself in the Evangelists, and looked for by the Apostles.

-- Coronis, Summary, I, VIII

Early Christianity and Its Decline

When a Church is raised up by the Lord, it is in the beginning blameless; and one then loves the other as his brother, as we know of the primitive Church after the Lord's advent. At that time, all the sons of the Church lived together like brothers, and also called one another brother, and mutually loved each other. But in the course of time charity diminished, and vanished; and as it vanished, evils succeeded; and together with evils falsities insinuated themselves. Hence came schisms and heresies, which would never come to be, were charity regnant and alive.

-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 1834

The Lord's Second Coming: When? How?

Now is the Lord's Second Coming, and a New Church is to be instituted. The Second Coming of the Lord is not a coming in Person, but in the Word, which is from Him, and is Himself. We read in many places that the Lord will come in the clouds of heaven. The "clouds of heaven" mean the Word in its natural sense, and "glory" the Word in its spiritual sense, and "power" the Lord's power by means of the Word. So the Lord is now to appear in the Word. He is not to appear in Person because, since His ascension into heaven, He is in the Glorified Humanity, in which He cannot appear to any man, unless He opens the eyes of his spirit first, and this cannot be done with any one who is in evils and thence in falsities. It is vain, therefore, to believe that the Lord will appear in a cloud of heaven in Person; but He will appear in the Word, which is from Him, and so is Himself.

-- True Christian Religion, nn. 115, 776, 777

What occurred at the end of the Jewish Church has occurred similarly now; for at the end of that Church, which was when the Lord came into the world, the Word was interiorly opened. Interior Divine truths were revealed by the Lord, which were to serve the New Church to be established by Him, and did serve it, too. To-day, again, for similar reasons, the Word has been interiorly opened, and divine truths still more interior have been revealed, which are to serve a New Church, which will be called the New Jerusalem.

-- Apocalypse Explained, n. 948

A New Church

It was foretold in the Apocalypse (XXI, XXII) that at the end of the former Church a New Church was to be instituted, in which this would be the chief teaching: that God is One in Person as well as in Essence, in Whom is the Trinity, and that that God is the Lord. This Church is what is there meant by the New Jerusalem, into which only he can enter who acknowledges the Lord alone as God of Heaven and earth.

-- Divine Providence, n. 263

The descent of the New Jerusalem cannot take place in a moment, but becomes a fact as the falsities of the former Church are removed. For what is new cannot enter where falsities have previously been engendered, unless these are eradicated; which will take place with the clergy, and so with the laity.

-- True Christian Religion, n. 784

The Ultimate Goal

Were it received as a principle, that love to the Lord and charity to the neighbor are what the whole Law hangs on and are what all the Prophets speak of, and thus are the essentials of all doctrine and worship, then the mind would be enlightened in innumerable things in the Word, which otherwise lie hidden in the obscurity of a false principle. In fact, heresies would be scattered then, and out of many one Church would come to be, however the doctrines flowing therefrom or leading thereto, and the rituals, might differ. Were the case so, all men would be governed as a single human being by the Lord; for all would be as members and organs of one body, which, dissimilar in form and function though they are, still have relation to one heart only, whereon they each and all depend. Then, in whatever doctrine or outward worship one might be, he would say of another, "This man is my brother. I see that he worships the Lord, and that he is a good man."

-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 2385 Divine Living is life filled with love


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