The Lord's Mission for Swedenborg
Because the Holy Word is sacred, and believers do not want to do It harm, it can be hard to digest the idea that the Lord might call someone to be a prophet, a person to receive and transmit New Truths from God in a New Divine Revelation. The Lord did promise to send a Helper, called the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit (John 14:17; John 15:26; John 16:13), and the Lord also promised He would come again, commonly known as His Second Coming (Matt.24:29,30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27).
Is it possible that the Lord sent His promised Holy Spirit to inspire Swedenborg, and commissioned him to share a new inspiration of truth with others?
We in The Lord’s New Church believe the Lord commissioned Swedenborg to be a prophet, to be the Lord’s instrument to reveal a New Divine Revelation to the human race, and we urge people to read some of his Theological Writings to decide for themselves.
What does Swedenborg state in his Theological Writings about why he wrote and published them?
In the Theological Work Heaven and Hell, Swedenborg states:
"The arcana revealed in the following pages relate to heaven and hell, and also to the life of man(h)* [*NOTE: man(h) = mankind, both male and female] after death. The man(h) of the church at this date knows scarcely anything about heaven and hell or about his life after death, although all these matters are set forth and described in the Word; and yet many of those born within the church refuse to believe in them, saying in their hearts, "Who has come from that world and told us?"
"Lest, therefore, such a spirit of denial, which especially prevails with those who have much worldly wisdom, should also infect and corrupt the simple in heart and the simple in faith, it has been granted me [Swedenborg] to associate with angels and to talk with them as man(h) with man(h), also to see what is in the heavens and what is in the hells, and this for thirteen years; so now from what I have seen and heard it has been granted me to describe these, in the hope that ignorance may thus be enlightened and unbelief dissipated."
Such immediate revelation is granted at this day because this is what is meant by the [Second] Coming of the Lord.
(Heaven and Hell 1)
In another Theological Work Conjugial Love, Swedenborg states:
"It has pleased the Lord to manifest Himself to me [Swedenborg] and to send me to teach the things which shall be of the New Church, meant by the New Jerusalem in the Apocalypse. To this end, He has opened the interiors of my mind and spirit, whereby it has been granted me to be in the spiritual world with angels and at the same time in the natural world with men(h), and this now for twenty-five years."
(Conjugial Love 1)
In his final theological work, True Christian Religion, Swedenborg writes the following about why he wrote and published his Theological Works:
771. It has been shown in the chapter on the Sacred Scripture that the Word in the letter was written by appearances and correspondences, consequently in all its particulars there is a spiritual sense, and in that sense the truth is in its own light while the sense of the letter is in shade.
In order therefore that the man(h)* of the New Church may not wander about, like the man(h) of the old, in the shade that obscures the sense of the letter of the Word, especially in respect to heaven and hell and man's(h) life after death, and here in respect to the Lord's coming, it has pleased the Lord to open the sight of my spirit, and thus introduce me into the spiritual world, and permit me not only to talk with spirits and angels, relatives and friends, and even with kings and princes who have finished their course in the natural world, but also to see the wonders of heaven and the miseries of hell, and thus to learn that man(h) does not abide in some indefinite place in the earth, nor fly about blind and dumb in the air or in vacancy, but lives as a man(h) in a substantial body in a much more perfect state (if he is among the blessed), than that in which he formerly lived when in the material body….
In order therefore, that man(h)* from ignorance may not immerse himself still more deeply in this opinion respecting the destruction of the visible heaven and habitable earth, and in respect also to the spiritual world … I have been commanded by the Lord to make known various things that I have seen and heard respecting Heaven and Hell and respecting the Last judgment, and also to explain the Apocalypse, which treats of the Lord's [second] coming, the former heaven, the new heaven, and the holy Jerusalem. From these, when they have been read and understood, anyone can see what is meant by the Lord's [second] coming, the new heaven, and the New Jerusalem.
(True Christian Religion 771)
The Second Coming of the Lord is not a coming in person, but in the Word, which is from Him, and is Himself.
It is written in many places that the Lord will come in the clouds of heaven (as in Matt. 17:5; 24:30; 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 9:34, 35; 21:27; Rev. 1:7; 14:14; Dan. 7:13). And as no one has hitherto known what is meant by "the clouds of heaven," it has been believed that the Lord would appear in them in Person.
Heretofore it has not been known that "the clouds of heaven" mean the Word in the sense of the letter, and that the "glory and power" in which He is then to come (Matt. 24:30), mean the spiritual sense of the Word, because no one as yet has had the least conjecture that there is a spiritual sense in the Word, such as this sense is in itself.
But as the Lord has now opened to me the spiritual sense of the Word, and has granted me to be associated with angels and spirits in their world as one of them, it is disclosed that a “cloud of heaven" means the Word in the natural sense, and "glory" the Word in the spiritual sense, and "power" the Lord's power through the Word. …
(True Christian Religion 776)
It is worth noting that Swedenborg made significant sacrifices to obey the mission given to him by the Lord. He left his dignified station as one of the greatest scientists of the day, and he used his own money to publish and distribute these Theological Writings. We know he did not seek fame in them, because he wrote anonymously until it was discovered who he was. Yet he continued to write, knowing the distinct possibility of being declared a heretic, and also while knowing the harsh punishment that could accompany such a declaration.
So what are the teachings of the Lord’s New Church?
For a brief summary of our beliefs, please follow this link “Who We Are”.
A synopsis of the New Church teachings can be found in two short books:
New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine
(New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine From What Has Been Heard From Heaven To Which is Prefixed Something Concerning The New Heaven And The New Earth)
Brief Explanation of the Doctrines of the New Church
(The Brief Exposition Of The Doctrine Of The New Church Which is Meant By “The New Jerusalem” In The Apocalypse)
A much deeper dive into the Universal Theology of the New Church can be found in the following two-volume work:
True Christian Religion
(True Christian Religion Containing The Universal Theology of The New Church Foretold by the Lord in Daniel VII. 13, 14; And in Revelation XXI. 1, 2. By Emanuel Swedenborg, Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ)
The true nature of Heaven and Hell, and life after death can be found in the following book:
Heaven and Hell (Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell From Things Heard and Seen)
The nature of the Internal Sense of Genesis, and Exodus in the Word of Old Testament can be found in the following book:
Arcana Coelestia (Heavenly Secrets)
(Heavenly Arcana Contained in The Holy Scripture or Word of The Lord Unfolded Beginning with The Book of Genesis Together with Wonderful Things Seen in The World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels)
The nature of the Internal Sense of the Apocalypse/Revelations in the Word of the New Testament can be found in the following two books:
(Apocalypse Revealed Wherein Are Disclosed The Arcana There Foretold Which have Hitherto Remained Concealed)
(The White Horse Mentioned In Apocalypse Chap. 19 With Particulars Respecting The Word And Its Spiritual Or Internal Sense Extracted From Arcana Coelestia)
*NOTE: man(h) = mankind, both male and female
A Closer Look
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