3. The Lord therefore redeemed not only people but also angels. (Continued)

The Lord rescued the spiritual world from universal damnation, and through the spiritual world he is going to rescue the church from universal damnation.

This rescue can be illustrated by comparing it with a king whose children have been captured by an enemy, locked in prisons, and bound with chains; by a series of victories over that enemy the king frees the children and brings them back to his court.

The divine rescue would also be comparable to a shepherd, like Samson or David, snatching sheep from the jaws of a lion or a bear. Or it would be comparable to a shepherd who drives away lions and bears that have rushed out of a forest into the pastures, chases those wild animals to the farthest borders, finally pushes them back into wetlands or deserts, and then returns to the sheep, pastures them in safety, and quenches their thirst with clear spring water.

This divine rescue can also be illustrated by comparing it with a person who notices a snake that is coiled up on the road with the intention of striking the heel of a passerby, catches the snake by the head, carries it home (although the snake is wrapping itself around the person’s arm), and there cuts off its head and throws the rest into the fire.

This divine rescue can also be illustrated by a bridegroom or husband who sees an adulterer attempting to rape his bride or wife. He attacks the rapist and either wounds the rapist’s hand with a sword, or assaults the rapist’s legs and groin with punches, or instructs his servants to throw the rapist out into the street and to brandish their clubs while they follow the rapist all the way to his home. When the bride or wife has been freed the bridegroom escorts her to their bedroom. In fact, in the Word a bride and wife mean the Lord’s church and adulterers mean those who violate the church, that is, those who contaminate his Word. Because the Jews had done this the Lord called them an adulterous generation [Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Mark 8:38].

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 122

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3. The Lord therefore redeemed not only people but also angels.

This follows from something stated in the previous point: no angels could have continued to exist without being redeemed by the Lord. The following reasons supplement those already given.

The first reason: At the time of the Lord’s First Coming the hells had risen so high that they filled the entire world of spirits that is midway between heaven and hell. They not only wrecked the heaven called the lowest heaven, they also attacked the middle heaven and harassed it in a thousand ways. If the Lord had not preserved it, it would have been destroyed.

This kind of attack by the hells is meant by the tower built in the land of Shinar whose top reached all the way to heaven. The confusion of their languages thwarted those people’s efforts; they were scattered and the city was called Babel (Genesis 11:1–9). The meaning of the tower and of the confusion of their languages is explained in Secrets of Heaven, published in London.

The reason why the hells had risen so high was that by the time the Lord came into the world the whole planet had completely alienated itself from God by worshiping idols and practicing sorcery; and the church that had existed among the children of Israel and later among the Jews had been utterly destroyed by their falsifying and contaminating the Word. After death both of the above groups arrived in the world of spirits. Over time they grew in numbers there to such an extent that they could not have been driven out thereafter if God himself had not come down and used the power of his divine arm to deal with them. The Lord in fact did so, as I have described in Last Judgment, a little work published in London in 1758. While the Lord was in the world, he accomplished their overthrow.

The Lord is again doing something similar today since, as I said, today is his Second Coming, an event foretold throughout the Book of Revelation and in Matthew 24:3, 30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27; and Acts 1:11, as well as other places.

A difference is that during his First Coming the hells were swollen with idol-worshipers, sorcerers, and falsifiers of the Word. During this Second Coming the hells are swollen with so-called Christians—some who are steeped in materialist philosophy, and others who have falsified the Word by using it to sanction their made-up faith about three divine persons from eternity and about the Lord’s suffering as the true redemption. The dragon and his two beasts in Revelation 12 and 13 mean the so-called Christians just mentioned.

The second reason why the Lord’s redemption affected angels as well is that the Lord restrains not only all people but also all angels from evil, and keeps them focused instead on what is good. No angels or people are good on their own. Everything good comes from the Lord. When the angels’ footstool (meaning the world of spirits) was stolen, it was as if the platform under someone’s chair was suddenly removed.

The angels are not pure before God. This is something the Prophets and also Job make clear. This is also clear from the fact that there is no such thing as an angel who was not previously a human being. These points support what was said at the beginning of this work under the headings “the faith of the new heaven and the new church in a universal form” and “in a specific form”:

The Lord came into the world to separate hell from the human race. He accomplished this by repeatedly doing battle with hell and conquering it. In this way he gained control over it and forced it to obey him. (Section 2)

Also these words there:

Jehovah God came down and took on a human manifestation for the purpose of forcing everything in heaven and everything in the church back into the divine design. For at that time the power of the Devil, that is, hell, was stronger than the power of heaven, and on earth the power of evil was stronger than the power of goodness; therefore a total damnation stood at the door and threatened. By means of his human manifestation Jehovah God lifted this pending damnation and redeemed both people and angels. From all this it is clear that if the Lord had not come, no one could have been saved. The situation today is similar. If the Lord does not come into the world again, no one can be saved. (Section 3)

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 121

Notes:

Section 2: Published 3/25/2017

Section 3: Published 3/26/2017

2. Without that redemption no human being could have been saved and no angels could have continued to exist in their state of integrity. (Continued)

If there had been no redemption by the Lord, injustice and malice would have spread throughout the Christian realm in both worlds (the earthly and the spiritual).

There are many reasons for this. One is that all human beings after death come into the world of spirits. They are exactly the same then as they were before. When they first enter that world, none of them can be prevented from interacting with parents, siblings, relatives, and friends who have died. At that time every husband first looks for his wife and every wife looks for her husband. Their spouses as well as their family and friends introduce them into various social groups that include people who are outwardly like sheep but are inwardly like wolves. The newcomers are corrupted by these wolves—even the newcomers who have been particularly devoted to religion. Because of this, and also because of horrible practices that are unknown in the physical world, that world is as full of malicious people as a pond is green with frogs’ eggs.

Interaction with evil people there has this full of malicious people, as you can clearly see from the following similar situations: As you spend time with thieves or pirates you eventually become like them. As you live among adulterous men and promiscuous women, eventually you think nothing of adultery. If you join a rebel group, eventually you think nothing of doing violence to anyone.

All evils are contagious. They are like a plague you become infected with just by breathing in and out. They are like cancer and gangrene that spread and corrupt nearby areas, then more and more remote areas, until the whole body dies. The cause: from birth we all enjoy evil.

From the points made just now it can be clear that if the Lord had not brought about redemption, no human being could have been saved and no angels could have continued to exist in their state of integrity.

The sole and only direction in which to run for refuge is to the Lord, or else we perish. He says,

Live in me and I [shall live] in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it lives in the vine, the same goes for you unless you live in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me and I in them bear much fruit. For without me you can do nothing. If any do not live in me, they are cast out. Once dried they are thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:4, 5, 6)

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 120

2. Without that redemption no human being could have been saved and no angels could have continued to exist in their state of integrity. (Continued)

If the Lord had not brought about redemption, angels could not have continued to exist in a state of integrity either. To the Lord, the entire angelic heaven along with the church on earth is like a single human being. The angelic heaven constitutes the inner level of that person; the church constitutes the outer level.

To be more specific, the highest heaven forms the head of that person; the second and the lowest heavens form the chest and the midsection of that person’s body; and the church on earth constitutes the person’s body from below the waist to the feet. The Lord himself is the soul and life of the whole person.

If the Lord had not brought about redemption, that person would have been destroyed. The loss of the church on earth destroys that body from the waist down; the loss of the lowest heaven destroys the digestive area; the loss of the second heaven destroys the thorax. Then the head loses consciousness because it has no relationship with the body.

Analogies will illustrate this. It is like someone’s feet becoming gangrenous and the gangrene climbing progressively higher, reaching the genitals and then the abdominal organs, and finally attacking the region of the heart. As we know, at that point the person succumbs to death.

This can also be illustrated by analogy with diseases of the internal organs below the diaphragm. When they fail, the heart begins to palpitate and the lungs begin to heave desperately. In the end the heart and lungs stop functioning.

This can also be illustrated by analogy with our higher and lower self. The higher self is strong as long as the lower self is obediently fulfilling its obligations; but if the lower self is resistant rather than obedient, and worse yet if it attacks the higher self, the higher self eventually becomes weak and finally gets carried away by the lower self’s pleasures until the higher self agrees and goes along with the lower self.

This can also be illustrated by comparison with people standing on a mountain who notice that the land below is flooded and the water is rising higher and higher. When it reaches the level where they are standing, unless they can ensure their own safety by getting on some life raft washed to them on the floodwaters, they too are submerged.

Likewise when people on a mountain see a thick fog rising higher and higher above the ground, covering the fields, villages, and cities. Finally, when the fog reaches them, they do not see a thing—not even in the spot where they themselves are standing.

It is like this for angels. When the church on earth dies, the lower heavens also disintegrate. The reason is that the heavens consist of people from the world. When there is nothing good left in the human heart and no truth from the Word, the heavens are flooded with evils that rise up; they are choked by them as by the waters of the Styx. Nevertheless the Lord hides [good spirits] somewhere else and preserves them till the day of the Last Judgment, then lifts them into a new heaven.

The Book of Revelation refers to these good spirits in the following statements:

I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been killed for the sake of God’s word and for the testimony that they had given. They were shouting with a loud voice saying, “How long, Lord, you who are holy and true, will you refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who live on earth?” They were given white robes and were told that they should rest a little longer until they were all together, they and their fellow slaves, and their brothers and sisters who were going to be killed as they had been. (Revelation 6:9, 10, 11)

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 119

2. Without that redemption no human being could have been saved and no angels could have continued to exist in their state of integrity.

First I need to say what redemption is. To redeem means to free the captive and the bound from damnation, to rescue them from everlasting death, to snatch them from hell, and to carry them away from the hand of the Devil. The Lord did this by gaining control over the hells and establishing a new heaven.

Otherwise we could not have been saved, because the spiritual world is so closely connected to the earthly world that they are inseparable. The main connection between the two worlds is through our inner levels—our souls and our minds.

For good people, that connection is with the souls and minds of angels; for evil people it is with the souls and minds of hellish spirits. We are so united to the angels or the hellish spirits that if they were taken away from us we would fall down as dead as a piece of wood. Neither could the angels or the hellish spirits continue to exist if we were taken away from them. This makes it clear why redemption was brought about in the spiritual world and why heaven and hell had to be restructured before a church could be established on earth.

This sequence is clear in the Book of Revelation: after the new heaven was made, the New Jerusalem, which is the new church, came down from that heaven (Revelation 21:1, 2).

from True Christianity, Section 118

1. Redemption was actually a matter of gaining control of the hells, restructuring the heavens, and by so doing preparing for a new spiritual church. (Continued)

Gaining control of the hells, restructuring the heavens, and then establishing a church can be illustrated by various comparisons. They can be illustrated by a comparison with an army of looters or rebels who invade a country or a city, set fire to the houses, plunder the citizens’ goods, and divide the spoils among themselves, enjoying and glorifying themselves because of it. Redemption itself can be illustrated by a comparison with an upright monarch who attacks these invaders with an army, puts some of them to the sword, imprisons the rest in labor camps, takes the stolen goods away from them to give back to the citizens, and then restructures the country and gives it protection against attack by similar assailants in the future.

It could also be illustrated by a comparison with wild animals that have formed packs and are charging out of the forest attacking flocks and herds and even people. The people do not dare to go outside the walls of the city and cultivate the land, so the fields are becoming deserts and the people in the city are about to die of hunger. Redemption could be illustrated by analogy with killing some of the wild animals, driving away the others, and protecting the fields and plains from any further attack of the kind.

It could also be illustrated by locusts that are consuming every green thing in the ground and then by the means of stopping them from going any farther. Also by caterpillars at the beginning of summer that strip the leaves off the trees (thus preventing the fruit from coming) so that the trees stand as naked as in midwinter; and then by the act of shaking the caterpillars off and restoring the garden to flowering and fruit-bearing.

The church would have been in a comparable situation unless the Lord through redemption had separated the good from the evil, had cast the evil into hell, and had lifted the good to heaven. What would it be like in an empire or a country that knew no justice or judgment? Justice and judgment take evil people away from the company of the good; they protect good people from being violated so that they may live safely in their own homes and, as it says in the Word, sit in serenity under their own fig tree and their own vine [1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4].

from True Christianity, Section 117

1. Redemption was actually a matter of gaining control of the hells, restructuring the heavens, and by so doing preparing for a new spiritual church. (Continued)

Many passages in the Word make it clear that while he was in the world the Lord fought battles against the hells, conquered them, brought them under control, and made them obedient to himself. I will extract just a few. In Isaiah:

Who is this who comes from Edom, from Bozrah with his clothes spattered, this one honorable in his clothing, walking in the magnitude of his strength? “It is I who speak with justice, great in order to give salvation.” Why are your clothes reddish? Why are your clothes like those of someone trampling in a winepress? “I trampled the winepress alone. There was no man from the people with me. Because I trampled people in my anger and stamped on them in my rage, their victory was spattered on my clothes. For the day of revenge was in my heart and the year of my redeemed had come. My arm performed salvation for me. I made the enemies’ victory go down into the ground.” He said, “Behold those others are my people, my children.” That is why he became their Savior. Because of his love and his mercy he redeemed them. (Isaiah 63:1–9)

These words are about the Lord’s battles against the hells. The clothes in which he was honorable and which were reddish mean the Word, to which the Jewish people had done violence. The combat itself against the hells and victory over them is described by his trampling people in his anger and stamping on them in his rage. The fact that he was alone and fought from his own power is described by these phrases: “there was no man from the people with me”; “my arm performed salvation for me”; and “I made the enemies’ victory go down into the ground.” His bringing salvation and redemption as a result is described by these phrases: “That is why he became their Savior”; and “because of his love and mercy he redeemed them.” The fact that this was the reason for his coming is meant by these phrases: “the day of revenge was in my heart and the year of my redeemed had come.”

Also in Isaiah:

He saw that there was no one and was astounded that there was no one interceding. Therefore his own arm performed salvation for him and justice made him stand up. Then he put on justice like a breastplate and a helmet of salvation on his head. He put on the clothes of vengeance and covered himself with zeal like a cloak. Then the Redeemer came to Zion. (Isaiah 59:16, 17, 20)

In Jeremiah:

They were terrified; their mighty ones were broken. They fled in flight and did not look back. That day belonged to the Lord Jehovih Sabaoth, a day of retribution for him to take revenge on his enemies, for the sword to eat and be satisfied. (Jeremiah 46:5, 10)

These last two passages are about the Lord’s combat against the hells and victory over them.

In David:

Strap the sword on your thigh, Powerful One. Your arrows are sharp. Populations fall beneath you—enemies of the king at heart. Your throne is for an age and forever. You have loved justice. God anointed you for this. (Psalms 45:3, 5–7)

There are also many other relevant passages in the Psalms.

Because the Lord conquered the hells alone with no help from any angel he is called Hero and a Man of Wars (Isaiah 42:13; 9:6), the King of Glory, Jehovah the Mighty, a Hero of war (Psalms 14:8, 10), the Mighty One of Jacob (Psalms 132:2), and in many passages “Jehovah Sabaoth,” that is, “Jehovah of Armies.” For the same reason his coming is called the terrible day of Jehovah; a cruel day; a day of indignation, rage, anger, revenge, destruction, and war; a day of the trumpet, of the call to arms, of uproar; and so on.

In the Gospel writers we read the following:

Now is the judgment of the world; the Prince of This World is cast to the outside. (John 12:31)

The Prince of This World has been judged. (John 16:11)

Have confidence; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

I saw Satan falling like a thunderbolt out of heaven. (Luke 10:18)

In these passages “the world,” “the Prince of This World,” “Satan,” and “the Devil” mean hell.

In addition, the Book of Revelation from beginning to end describes the condition of the Christian church today and the fact that the Lord is going to come again, take control of the hells, make a new angelic heaven, and then establish a new church on earth. All this is foretold there but it has not been disclosed before today. The reason is that the Book of Revelation, like all the prophetic portions of the Word, was written in pure correspondences. If the correspondences had not been disclosed by the Lord, hardly anyone could have correctly understood a single verse there.

Now, for the sake of the new church, everything in the Book of Revelation has been disclosed in Revelation Unveiled, published in Amsterdam, 1766. Some will see those things—those who believe the Word of the Lord in Matthew 24 about the state of the church today and about his coming. In fact, the only people who are still ambivalent are those who have planted two of the modern-day church’s beliefs so deeply in their own hearts that those beliefs cannot be uprooted: the belief in three divine Persons from eternity; and the belief that the suffering on the cross was the actual redemption. As noted in the memorable occurrence above at Section 113, these people are like beakers full of iron filings and powdered sulfur. If water is poured in the beakers, first there is increasing heat and then there is fire, which breaks the beakers. Likewise, when these people hear some living water, which is the genuine truth in the Word, and it goes into their eyes or ears, they burst violently into flames and expel it as something that is about to break their heads.

from True Christianity, Section 116

1. Redemption was actually a matter of gaining control of the hells, restructuring the heavens, and by so doing preparing for a new spiritual church.

I can say with absolute certainty that these three actions are redemption, because the Lord is bringing about redemption again today. This new redemption began in the year 1757 along with a Last Judgment that happened at that time. The redemption has continued from then until now. The reason is that today is the Second Coming of the Lord. A new church is being instituted that could not have been instituted unless first the hells were brought under control and the heavens were restructured.

Because I have been allowed to see it all I could describe how the hells were brought under control and how the new heaven was built and put into the divine design, but that would be the subject of a whole work. In a little work published in London in 1758 I did lay out how the Last Judgment was carried out.

Gaining control over the hells, restructuring the heavens, and establishing a new church was redemption because without those actions no human being could have been saved. In fact, they follow in a sequence. The hells had to be controlled first before a new angelic heaven could be formed, and that heaven had to be formed before the new church on earth could be instituted, because people in the world are so closely connected to angels from heaven and spirits from hell that at the level of the inner mind they are one. This point will be taken up in the last chapter of this book, which specifically covers the close of the age, the Coming of the Lord, and the New Church [Sections 753–791].

from True Christianity, Section 115

Redemption

It is known in the church that the Lord has two roles, a priestly one and a royal one. Few know, however, what each role consists of; therefore they will be described. In his priestly role the Lord is called Jesus; in his royal role he is called Christ. In the Word, in his priestly role he is called Jehovah and the Lord; in his royal role he is called God and the Holy One of Israel, as well as King.

The two roles are differentiated from each other, just as love and wisdom are, or their equivalents, goodness and truth. Therefore whatever the Lord did from divine love or divine goodness, he did from his priestly position. On the other hand, whatever the Lord did from divine wisdom or divine truth, he did from his royal position. In fact, in the Word “priest” and “priesthood” mean divine goodness, and “king” and “royal” mean divine truth. The priests and kings in the Israelite church represented these two roles.

As for redemption, it relates to both roles. Which aspect of it relates to which role will be disclosed in what follows. In order that the details may be clearly perceived, the explanation will be broken up into topics or points. They will be the following:

1. Redemption was actually a matter of gaining control of the hells, restructuring the heavens, and by so doing preparing for a new spiritual church.

2. Without this redemption no human being could have been saved and no angels could have continued to exist in their state of integrity.

3. The Lord therefore redeemed not only people but also angels.

4. Redemption was something only the Divine could bring about.

5. This true redemption could not have happened if God had not come in the flesh.

6. Suffering on the cross was the final trial the Lord underwent as the greatest prophet. It was a means of glorifying his human nature, that is, of uniting that nature to his Father’s divine nature. It was not redemption.

7. Believing that the Lord’s suffering on the cross was redemption itself is a fundamental error on the part of the church. That error, along with the error about three divine Persons from eternity, has ruined the whole church to the point that there is nothing spiritual left in it anymore.

I will discuss these matters point by point.

from True Christianity, Section 114

The Lord Does Not Cast Anyone into Hell: Spirits Cast Themselves In (Continued)

The reason the Lord cannot treat everyone alike from his divine essence, which is goodness, love, and mercy, is that our evil and false preoccupations stand in the way, not only blunting his divine inflow but even rejecting it. These evil and false proclivities are like black clouds that stand between the sun and our eyes and deprive us of the clear sunlight. All the while, the sun is trying to dispel the clouds. It is behind them, working away, and in the meantime a little hazy light does get through to our eyes by various detours. It is much the same in the spiritual world. The sun there is the Lord and divine love (see Sections 116–140), the light there is divine truth (Sections 126–140). The black clouds there are falsities from evil, the eye there is our ability to discern. To the extent that we are absorbed in malevolent falsity, there is a cloud around us whose blackness and density depends on the level of our evil. We can see from this simile that the Lord’s presence with everyone is constant, but that our acceptance varies.

Evil spirits are punished severely in the world of spirits to keep them terrified of doing evil. This too seems to come from the Lord, but still no punishment there does come from the Lord. It comes from the evil itself, since an evil is so closely united to its punishment that they cannot be separated. The hellish mob craves and loves nothing more than inflicting harm, especially punishing and torturing, and they do inflict harm and punishment on anyone who is not being protected by the Lord. So when something evil is being done from an evil heart, since this rejects any protection by the Lord, evil spirits assail the evildoer and inflict punishment.

To some extent, this can be illustrated by evil deeds and their punishments in the world, where they are also united. The laws here set penalties for each crime, so anyone who plunges into evil is plunging into its punishment as well. The only difference is that in the world, evil can be hidden, which cannot happen in the other life.

We can therefore conclude that the Lord does not do harm to anyone. It is like this in the world as well. It is not the king or the judge or the law that is responsible for the punishment of the guilty, because they are not responsible for the evil of the criminal.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 549-550

Notes:

Sections 116-140: Published 11/15/2016-12/2/2016