The Lord Did Not Take Away Our Sins by His Suffering on the Cross, but He Did Carry Them (Continued)

The prophets suffered in much the same way because they represented the Lord’s Word and therefore his church, and the Lord was the quintessential prophet.

We can tell that the Lord was the quintessential prophet from the following passages:

Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” (Matthew 13:57; Mark 6:4; Luke 4:24)

Jesus said, “It is not fitting for a prophet to die outside of Jerusalem.” (Luke 13:33)

They said of Jesus, “He is a prophet from Nazareth.” (Matthew 21:11; John 7:40, 41)

Fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying that a great prophet had been raised up among them. (Luke 7:16)

A prophet will be raised up from among his people; they will obey his words. (Deuteronomy 18:15–19)

We can tell from the following passages that much the same was done to the prophets.

The prophet Isaiah was commanded to represent the state of the church by taking the sackcloth off his waist and the sandals off his feet and going naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a wonder (Isaiah 20:2, 3).

The prophet Jeremiah was commanded to represent the state of the church by buying a belt and putting it around his waist without putting it in water, then hiding it in a crevice in the rocks near the Euphrates; after some days he found it ruined (Jeremiah 13:1–7).

The same prophet represented the state of the church by not taking a wife for himself in that place or entering the house of mourning or going out to grieve or going into the banquet house (Jeremiah 16:2, 5, 8).

The prophet Ezekiel was commanded to represent the state of the church by taking a barber’s razor to his head and his beard and then dividing the hair, burning a third of it in the middle of the city, striking a third with a sword, and scattering a third to the wind; also, he was told to bind a few hairs in his hems and eventually to throw a few into the midst of a fire and burn them (Ezekiel 5:1–4).

from The Lord, Section 15

The Lord Did Not Take Away Our Sins by His Suffering on the Cross, but He Did Carry Them

There are people in the church who believe that through his suffering on the cross the Lord took away our sins and made satisfaction to the Father, and by so doing brought about redemption. Some also believe that he transferred to himself the sins of those who have faith in him, carried those sins, and cast them into the depths of the sea—that is, into hell. They support this among themselves by what John says of Jesus,

Behold the Lamb of God, who is taking up the sins of the world. (John 1:29)

and by the Lord’s words in Isaiah,

He bore our diseases and carried our sorrows. He was pierced because of our transgressions and bruised because of our iniquities. Chastisement was upon him for the sake of our peace; with his wound, healing was given to us. Jehovah made the iniquities of us all fall upon him. He was oppressed and afflicted, but did not open his mouth, like a lamb being led to slaughter. He was cut off from the land of the living. He suffered a blow because of the transgression of my people, to send the ungodly to their grave and the rich to their deaths. As a result of the labor of his soul, he will see and be satisfied. By means of his knowledge he will justify many, because he himself carried their iniquities. He emptied out his own soul even to death and was counted among transgressors. He bore the sins of many and interceded for transgressors. (Isaiah 53:3–end)

Both of these passages are talking about the Lord’s trials and suffering; his taking up our sins, [bearing] our diseases, and having the iniquities of us all fall upon him mean something similar to his carrying our sorrows and our iniquities.

So I need to say first of all what his carrying iniquities means and then what his taking them up means. The true meaning of his carrying iniquities is that he was subjected to severe trials and endured being treated by the Jews the way the Word was treated by them; and they dealt with him in that way precisely because he was the Word. The church among the Jews was in utter shambles at that time; it had been brought to ruin by their perversion of everything in the Word to the point that there was nothing true left. As a result, they did not recognize the Lord. That is in fact the intent and meaning behind each detail of the Lord’s suffering.

from The Lord, Section 15

Love is Our Life (Continued)

We cannot know what our life is unless we know what love is. If we do not know this, then one person may believe that life is nothing but sensation and action and another that it is thought, when in fact thought is the first effect of life, and sensation and action are secondary effects of life. Thought is the first effect of life, as just noted, but there are deeper and deeper forms of thought as well as more and more superficial ones. The deepest form of thought, the perception of ends, is actually the first effect of life. But more on this below [Sections 179–183] in connection with levels of life.

We can get some idea that love is our life from the warmth of the sun in our world. We know this warmth acts like the life shared by all earth’s plants because when it increases in the spring, plants of all kinds sprout from the soil. They dress themselves in their leafy finery and then in their blossoms and eventually in fruit. This is how they “live.”When the warmth ebbs away, though, as it does in fall and winter, they are stripped of these signs of life and they wither. Love works the same way in us because love and warmth correspond to each other. This is why love makes us warm.

from Divine Love ans Wisdom, Sections 2, 3

Love Is Our Life

For most people, the existence of love is a given, but the nature of love is a mystery. As for the existence of love, this we know from everyday language. We say that someone loves us, that monarchs love their subjects, and that subjects love their monarch. We say that a husband loves his wife and that a mother loves her children, and vice versa. We say that people love their country, their fellow citizens, their neighbor. We use the same language about impersonal objects, saying that someone loves this or that thing.

Even though the word “love”is so commonly on our tongues, still hardly anyone knows what love is. When we stop to think about it, we find that we cannot form any image of it in our thoughts, so we say either that it is not really anything or that it is simply something that flows into us from our sight, hearing, touch, and conversation and therefore influences us. We are wholly unaware that it is our very life—not just the general life of our whole body and of all our thoughts, but the life of their every least detail. Wise people can grasp this when you ask, “If you take away the effects of love, can you think anything? Can you do anything? As the effects of love lose their warmth, do not thought and speech and action lose theirs as well? Do they not warm up as love warms up?”Still, the grasp of these wise people is not based on the thought that love is our life, but on their experience that this is how things happen.

from Divine Love and Wisdom, Section 1

Note: Previously presented 4/3/2016

It Is an Eternal Truth That Life Is not Ours

People who do not know any better cannot help seeing the good they do as their own and the truth they think as their own. The same applies to those who take credit for the good they do and feel that it makes them deserving. All the while they are unaware that the good is not good, even though it seems so, and that the sense of pride and personal merit they place in their deeds is an evil and a lie, which darkens and clouds their sight. The same applies in many other situations as well. The type and amount of evil and falsity that lies hidden within can never be seen as clearly during physical life as in the next life. There it stands out just as plain to see as in broad daylight.

The situation is different, though, if we commit the error out of an ignorance that has not yet hardened. In that case, the evils and falsities are easily shaken off. But if we reinforce the belief that we can do good and resist evil under our own power, and that we earn salvation by doing so, this attitude clings. It turns good into evil and truth into falsity.

Still, the proper method is for us to do good as if on our own. We should not throw up our hands thinking, “If I can’t do any good on my own, I ought to wait for direct inspiration; till then I should lie passive.” This too is wrong. Instead we should do good as if we were doing it on our own, but when we reflect on the good we are doing (or have done), we ought to think, acknowledge, and believe that the Lord working in us is actually doing the good. If we abandon all effort because of the kind of thinking mentioned, the Lord cannot work in us. He cannot act on those who rid themselves of every capacity for receiving the power to do good. It is like saying that you refuse to learn anything unless it comes to you as revelation. Or like saying that you refuse to teach anything unless the words are planted in your mouth. Or like refusing to try anything unless you can be propelled like an automaton. If this did happen, you would be still more resentful for feeling like an inanimate object. The reality is that what the Lord animates in us is that which seems to be ours. For instance, it is an eternal truth that life is not ours; but if it did not seem to be, we would have no life at all.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Page 406

How Angels Talk with Us (Continued)

No angel or spirit is allowed to talk with one of us from the angel’s or spirit’s own memory, only from that of the individual in question. Angels and spirits actually have memory just as we do. If a spirit were to talk with us from his or her own memory, then it would seem to us entirely as though the thoughts were our own, when they would really belong to the spirit. It is like remembering something that we have never seen or heard. I have been granted knowledge of the truth of this by experience.

This is why some of the ancients were of the opinion that after some thousands of years they would return to their former life and all its deeds, and that they had in fact returned. They gathered this from the fact that sometimes a kind of memory would come up of things that they had never seen or heard. This happened because spirits had flowed from their own memory into the images of these people’s thoughts.

There are also spirits called natural and physical spirits who do not unite with our thoughts when they come to us the way other spirits do but rather enter our bodies and take over all its senses, talking through our mouths and acting through our limbs. It seems to them entirely as though everything of ours were theirs. These are the spirits that possess people; but they have been cast into hell by the Lord and moved decisively away; so possession like this no longer occurs nowadays.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 256, 257

How Angels Talk with Us (Continued)

To illustrate what the union of angels and spirits with us is like, I may cite a few memorable instances that will serve to illuminate the subject and enable some conclusions to be drawn. When angels and spirits turn toward us, it seems to them exactly as though our language were their own and that they have no other. This is because they are involved in our language at such times, and do not even remember their own. The moment they turn away from us, though, they are back in their own angelic and spiritual language and have no knowledge whatever of ours. The same thing has happened with me when I have been in the company of angels and in a state like theirs. Then I have talked with them in their language and knew nothing of my own. I could not even remember it. However, the moment I was no longer in their company I was back in my own language.

It is also worth noting that when angels and spirits turn toward us, they can talk with us even from a great distance. They have talked with me from far off just as audibly as though they were nearby. Still, when they turn away from us and talk with each other, nothing of what they say is audible to us even though this is happening right next to our ears. This has enabled me to see that in the spiritual world, all union depends on the way people are facing.

Again, it is worth noting that many of them can talk with one of us at the same time, and that person with them. They send some particular spirit from themselves to the individual with whom they want to talk, and this envoy spirit turns toward the person while the others turn toward their [envoy] spirit and so concentrate their thoughts, which the spirit then presents. It seems to such envoys entirely as though they were talking on their own, and to the others as though they themselves were. So a union of several with one is achieved by the way they face. But we will say more later about these envoy spirits, called agents, and the communication that takes place through them.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 255

How Angels Talk with Us (Continued)

Since those times people have seldom talked with heaven’s angels, though some have talked with spirits who are not in heaven. Our inner and outer levels can by their nature be turned toward the Lord as their common center (Section 124), or toward ourselves and therefore away from the Lord. The ones that are turned toward the Lord are also turned toward heaven, while the ones that are turned toward ourselves are also turned toward this world; and the ones that are turned in this latter direction are hard to raise up. Still, they are raised up by the Lord to the extent that they can be, through a turning of our love; and this is accomplished by means of truths from the Word.

I have been told how the Lord spoke to the prophets through whom the Word was written. He did not talk with them the way he did with the early people, by an inflow into their deeper natures, but through spirits sent to them whom the Lord filled with his appearance. In this way, he inspired them with the words that they in turn told to the prophets, so that it was not a case of inflow but of direct command. Since at that time the words were coming directly from the Lord, the very details are filled with the Divine and contain within themselves an inner meaning of such nature that heaven’s angels take them in a heavenly and spiritual meaning while we are taking them in a natural meaning. In this way, the Lord unites heaven and earth through the Word.

I have also been shown how the Lord fills spirits with his divine nature by means of his appearance. Spirits filled with the Divine by the Lord have no sense whatever that they are not actually the Lord or that it is not the Lord who is speaking, which lasts as long as they are talking. Afterward they realize and admit that they are spirits and that they were not talking on their own, but from the Lord.

Because this was the state of the spirits who talked with the prophets, they themselves said that Jehovah was talking. The spirits actually called themselves “Jehovah,” as can be seen not only in the prophetic books but also in the historical books of the Word.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 253, 254