Love for Our Neighbor, or Caring (Continued)

Since the sort of goodness in every individual is different, it follows that the nature of each person’s goodness determines both the level at which and the way in which that individual is “a neighbor.” We can see that this is the case from the Lord’s parable about a man who fell among thieves, whom both a priest and a Levite passed by, leaving him half dead, while a Samaritan, after he had bound up his wounds and poured in oil and wine, lifted him onto his own beast and brought him to an inn and made arrangements for his care. The Samaritan is called “a neighbor” because his actions were those of a caring person (Luke 10:29–37). We can tell from this that the people who are “a neighbor” are the ones whose lives are devoted to doing good. In fact, the oil and the wine that the Samaritan poured into the wounds mean goodness and the truth that it shows us.

We can see from what has been said thus far that in the broadest sense goodness itself is one’s neighbor, since people are neighbors according to the nature of the good that they do, which they get from the Lord. Further, since goodness is one’s neighbor, love too is one’s neighbor, because everything good that we do is inspired by love. This means that any individual is a neighbor according to the nature of her or his love, which comes from the Lord.

The fact that love is what makes someone a neighbor and that we fulfill the role of a neighbor depending on the nature of our love becomes clear in the case of people whose lives are devoted to loving themselves. Such people recognize as neighbors those who love them the most—that is, those who are most closely connected to them. These they embrace, these they kiss, these they benefit, and these they call family. In fact, because [people devoted to self-love] are evil, they consider the types of people just mentioned to be their neighbors more than others are; only if others show them love do they consider them too to be their neighbors. They accept someone else as their neighbor, then, to the extent that they receive love from that person and depending on the kind and amount of love they receive. People like this start with themselves to determine who their neighbor is because the determining and deciding factor is whatever one loves.

People who do not love themselves above all, though (and this is true of all who are in the Lord’s kingdom), start in determining who their neighbor is with the One whom we should love above all—that is, with the Lord—and they consider an individual to be their neighbor depending on the love that individual has for and from the Lord.

This makes it quite clear where we of the church should start in deciding who our neighbor is and shows that people are our neighbors depending on the goodness they have from the Lord—that is, goodness itself is where we should start.

from New Jerusalem, Sections 87-89


Love for Our Neighbor, or Caring

First of all, I need to define neighbor, because this is the one we are to love and the one toward whom caring is to be extended. Unless we know what neighbor means, we may extend caring in basically the same manner indiscriminately—just as much to evil people as to good ones. But in that case our caring can become the opposite of caring, because although the good people will use what they have been given to do good to their neighbor, the evil people will use it to do harm.

Most people nowadays think that everyone is equally their neighbor and that we should be generous to anyone who is in need. It should be part of Christian prudence, though, to check carefully what someone’s life is really like and to extend caring accordingly. People who constitute the inner church do this with discernment and therefore intelligently; but people who constitute the outer church act indiscriminately because they are unable to make distinctions like this.

People in the church should be very aware of the different categories of the neighbor. The category to which particular neighbors belong depends on which type of goodness they have devoted their lives to. And since every type of goodness comes from the Lord, in the highest sense and to the utmost degree the Lord himself is our neighbor, and is the source [of what makes others our neighbors]. It therefore follows that people are neighbors to us to the extent that they have the Lord in themselves; and since no two people are receptive to the Lord (that is, the goodness that comes from him) in the same way, no two people are our neighbor in the same way. With respect to the particular good they do, all the people in the heavens and all good people on earth are different. It never happens that exactly the same goodness is found in any two individuals. The goodness needs to vary so that each kind of goodness can persist independently.

However, none of us can know all these distinctions and all the consequent distinct kinds of neighbor that arise in accordance with the different ways the Lord is received—that is, the way the goodness from him is received. Not even angels can know this except in a general way, by genus and species. Therefore the Lord requires no more of people in the church than that we live by what we know.-

from New Jerusalem, Sections 84-86

Love for Ourselves and Love for the World (Continued)

There are two kinds of governing. One arises out of love for our neighbor and the other out of love for ourselves. Fundamentally, these two ways of governing are exact opposites. If we govern out of love for our neighbor, we wish good things for everyone. We love nothing more than being helpful and therefore serving others (serving others is doing good and useful things for them because we have goodwill toward them). This is what we love and what delights our hearts. The more we are promoted to higher office the happier we are; but this is not because of the office but because of the greater and higher service we can perform. This is the kind of governing that exists in heaven.

In contrast, if we govern out of love for ourselves, then we wish good things for no one but ourselves and our immediate circle. Any service we perform is to gain respect and glory for ourselves because that is the only outcome we consider useful; as far as we are concerned, the only reason for serving others is to be served and respected and obeyed. We strive for high office not because of the good things we can do but in order to bask in eminence and glory to our hearts’ delight.

The kind of love we had for governing stays with us after our life in this world; but it is those who have governed out of a love for their neighbor who are entrusted with governing in the heavens. In that case, it is not in fact we ourselves who are in control but the good and useful things we do, and when good and useful actions are in control, the Lord is governing. But if in this world we have governed out of love for ourselves, then after our life in this world we are in hell and are lowly slaves.

So these points can help us recognize the characteristics of people who devote their lives to self-love, but this recognition does not depend on how they appear outwardly, whether they come across as proud or submissive. The characteristics mentioned above are in the inner self, and for most people their inner self is hidden away and their outer self is trained to pretend to love the public good and their neighbors—the very opposite of what is inside. This too is for selfish reasons. They know that everyone is deeply moved by examples of a love for the public good and for one’s neighbor and that they themselves will be loved and valued to the extent that they exhibit this love. (The reason everyone is moved by such things is that heaven flows into that kind of love.)

The evils characteristic of people devoted to self-love are, broadly speaking, contempt for others, envy, ill will toward those who do not agree with them, a consequent hostility, and various kinds of hatred, vengefulness, guile, trickery, ruthlessness, and cruelty; and wherever we find these evils we also find a contempt for the Divine and for the truths and the good practices from the Divine that are taught by the church. If such people do pay respect to these things, it is with the mouth only and not with the heart.

Further, since self-love is the source of these evils it is also the source of corresponding falsities, since evils give rise to falsities.

As for love for the world, this is wanting to use any available means to divert others’ resources to ourselves, setting our hearts on wealth, and letting the world distract and seduce us away from the spiritual love that is love for our neighbor, and therefore away from heaven.

If we are obsessed with diverting others’ assets to ourselves by various means, especially if we use guile and trickery to do so, with no regard for our neighbor’s well-being, we have devoted our lives to love for the world. When this is the love we live in, we crave what others have, and to the extent that we do not fear the law or losing our reputation, purely for the sake of our own gain we will deprive them even to the point of taking everything they have.

All the same, love for the world is not so completely opposed to heavenly love as love for ourselves is, because the evils hidden within it are not as horrendous. Love for the world takes many forms. Wealth can be loved as a means of gaining high office; a prominent position or high office can be loved for the wealth it brings; wealth can be loved because it affords us various kinds of pleasure; wealth can even be loved purely for its own sake, which is called miserliness; and so on. The goal for which we seek the wealth is called its use, and the goal or use is what determines what the love is like, since the nature of the love depends on the goal that it seeks. The other factors serve that goal as means.

In a word, love for ourselves and love for the world are exact opposites of love for the Lord and love for our neighbor. Therefore love for ourselves and love for the world are hellish loves. They actually rule in hell, and for us as well they constitute hell. In contrast, love for the Lord and love for our neighbor are heavenly loves. They actually rule in heaven, and for us as well they constitute heaven.

We can see from what has now been said that all our evils are contained in and come from this pair of loves. The evils listed above are basic categories; other evils not listed there are subcategories that derive and flow from them.

This shows that since we are born with these two loves we are born with evils of all kinds.

If we are to know what evil is we need to know where it comes from; and unless we know what evil is we do not know what goodness is and therefore cannot know what we ourselves really are. That is the reason for dealing here with these two sources of evil.

from New Jerusalem
, Sections 72-80

Love for Ourselves and Love for the World

Love for ourselves is intending benefit only to ourselves and not to others unless it is in our own interests—having no goodwill toward the church or our country or toward any group of people or any fellow citizen. It is also being good to the church, our country, and other people only for the sake of our own reputation, advancement, or praise, so that unless we see some such reward in the good we may do for them we say at heart, “What’s the use? Why should I? What’s in it for me?” and forget about it. This shows that when we live a life of self-love we are not loving the church, our country, our community, our fellow citizens, or anything worthwhile—only ourselves.

If we give no consideration to our neighbor in what we are thinking and doing and therefore no consideration to the public good, let alone the Lord, then we live a life of self-love; we think only of ourselves and our immediate circle. This means that everything we do is done for the sake of ourselves and our own; if we do anything to benefit the public and our neighbor, it is only for the sake of appearances.

In referring to “ourselves and our immediate circle,” I mean that when we love ourselves we also love those we see as our own, in particular our children and grandchildren, and in general everyone with whom we identify, whom we call “ours.” Loving them is loving ourselves. This is because we see them as virtually part of us and see ourselves in them. Also included in those we call “ours” is everyone who praises, honors, and reveres us.

If we despise our neighbors or regard people as our enemies for merely disagreeing with us or not showing us reverence or respect, our life is a life of self-love. If for similar slights we hate our neighbors and persecute them, then we are even more deeply entrenched in self-love. And if we burn with vengeance against them and crave their destruction, our self-love is stronger still; people with this attitude eventually love being cruel.

We can tell what self-love is like by contrasting it with heavenly love. Heavenly love is loving service for its own sake, loving for their own sakes the good things we do for church, country, community, and fellow citizen. When we love these things for the sake of ourselves instead, we love them only as servants who wait on us. Therefore when we live in self-love we want the church, our country, our community, and our fellow citizens to serve us rather than wanting to serve them. We place ourselves above them, and them beneath us.

Not only that, the more we live a life of heavenly love (which is loving to be useful and do good things and having heartfelt delight when we do them), the more we are led by the Lord, since this is the love in which he is and which comes from him. On the other hand, the more we live a life of self-love, the more we are led by ourselves, and the more we are led by ourselves the more we are led by our own intrinsic characteristics; and those characteristics are nothing but evil. This is in fact the evil that we inherit—loving ourselves more than God, and the world more than heaven.

Further, to the extent that we give self-love free rein (that is, with the removal of the outward restraints exerted by fear of the law and its penalties, and of loss of reputation, respect, wealth, office, and life), this love by its very nature goes so wild that it wants to rule not only over every country on earth but even over heaven and over the Divine itself. It knows no boundary or limit. Even if this desire is not visible in the world, where the reins and restraints just mentioned keep it in check, it nevertheless lies hidden within all who devote their lives to this love. When such people find that the way forward is blocked, they stay there until the way is not blocked. The result of all this is that when their life is one of self-love they have no idea that such an insane, boundless craving lies hidden within them.

Still, no one can help but see this in powerful figures and heads of state who lack these kinds of reins, restraints, and obstacles, who charge off to conquer as many territories and countries as they can and thirst for unlimited power and glory. It is even more obvious in the people who extend their dominion into heaven and claim all of the Lord’s divine power for themselves—and ceaselessly crave for more.

from New Jerusalem, Sections 65-71

The Inner Self and The Outer Self (Continued)

The Lord has foreseen and arranged matters in such a way that the more we derive our thoughts and intentions from heaven, the more our inner spiritual self opens and takes shape. This is an opening to heaven all the way to the Lord, and a taking shape in accord with the priorities of heaven. In direct contrast, the more we derive our thoughts and intentions not from heaven but from the world, the more our inner spiritual self closes and our outer self opens. This is an opening to the world and a taking shape in accord with the priorities of this world.

When our inner spiritual self has been opened to heaven all the way to the Lord, we are in heaven’s light and in an enlightenment that comes from the Lord, which means that we come into intelligence and wisdom. We see what is true because it is true and we perceive what is good because it is good.

On the other hand, when our inner spiritual self has been closed we are not aware that our spiritual self exists, let alone aware of what that spiritual self is. We do not believe that there is anything divine, either, or that there is a life after death, so we do not believe anything that has to do with heaven or the church. Since we are solely in the light of this world and its enlightenment, we believe that nature is God, what is false looks true to us, and what is evil is perceived as good.

We refer to people as “sense-oriented” when their inner nature is so external that they cannot believe anything unless they can see it with their own eyes and touch it with their own hands. They have the lowest possible level of earthly human nature and are subject to misconceptions about everything having to do with the faith of the church.

The inner and outer levels we have been dealing with are the inner and outer levels of our spirit. Our bodies are nothing but a shell in which these inner and outer levels reside. That is, the body does nothing on its own, acting only from the spirit that is within it.

Bear in mind that after it is released from the body our spirit keeps right on thinking and intending and speaking and acting. Its thinking and intending constitute the inner level of our spirit, while its speaking and acting constitute its outer level.

from New Jerusalem, Sections 43-46

The Inner Self and the Outer Self

We are created in such a way that we are in the spiritual world and the earthly world at one and the same time. The spiritual world is where angels are and the earthly world is where we are. And since that is how we are created, we are given an inner nature and an outer nature—an inner nature that allows us to be in the spiritual world, and an outer nature that allows us to be in the earthly world. Our inner nature is what we refer to as the inner self, and our outer nature is what we refer to as the outer self.

Each one of us has an inner level and an outer level, but they are not the same for good people as they are for evil ones. For good people, their inner level is in heaven and in its light, while their outer level is in the world and in its light. Further, for good people this latter light is brightened by heaven’s light, so their inner and outer levels act in unison like an efficient cause and its effect, or like what is prior and what is subsequent. For evil people, though, their inner level is in this world and its light, and the same holds true for their outer level as well. This means that they cannot see anything in heaven’s light, only in this world’s light, which they call “the light of nature.” That is why heavenly matters are in darkness for them and worldly matters are in the light.

We can see from this that good people have an inner self and an outer self, while [in effect] evil people have no inner self, only an outer one.

It is the inner self that is called a spiritual self because it is in heaven’s light, and that light is spiritual. It is the outer self that is called an earthly self because it is in the light of this world, and that light is earthly. Anyone whose inner level is in heaven’s light and whose outer level is in this world’s light is a spiritual individual in both respects, but people whose inner level is not in heaven’s light but in this world’s light, where their outer level is as well, are earthly individuals in both respects. Spiritual individuals are the ones called “living” in the Word, while earthly individuals are the ones called “dead.”

When our inner level is in heaven’s light and our outer level is in this world’s light, we think in ways that are both spiritual and earthly, but our spiritual thinking flows into our earthly thinking, and that is where we perceive it. However, when our inner level is caught up in this world’s light along with our outer level, we think materialistically rather than spiritually. That is, we base our thinking on the kinds of things we find in this physical world, all of which are composed of matter.

To think spiritually is to think about actual things as they really are, seeing truths in the light of truth and perceiving what is good because we love it. It is seeing the qualities of things and perceiving their emotional impact apart from their material characteristics. In contrast, thinking materialistically is thinking, seeing, and perceiving things as inseparable from matter and as in matter, and therefore relatively crudely and dimly.

Seen in its own right, a spiritual inner self is an angel of heaven, and while it is living in the body it is also in the company of angels even though it is not aware of being so; and once it is released from the body it joins them. A merely earthly inner self, though, when seen in its own right, is not an angel but a spirit and is also in the company of spirits while it is living in the body. However, it is with spirits who are in hell, and after its release from the body it joins them.

The deeper levels of [the minds of] people who are spiritual are actively raised up toward heaven because that is their primary focus, while the deeper levels of the minds of people who are merely earthly are actively turned toward this world because that is their primary focus. For all of us, our inner levels, which are levels of our higher mind, are turned toward what we love above all, and our outer levels, which are levels of our lower mind, are turned in the same direction as the inner.

People who have only a vague concept of the inner self and the outer self believe that it is the inner self that thinks and intends and the outer that speaks and acts as a result, since thinking and intending are internal activities, and speaking and acting are external. It should be borne in mind, though, that when we think intelligently and intend wisely, we are thinking and intending from a spiritual inner nature, but when we do not think intelligently and intend wisely we are thinking and intending from an earthly inner nature. This means that when our thoughts about the Lord and about matters that involve the Lord are good and when our thoughts about our neighbor and about matters that involve our neighbor are good, and when our intentions toward them are good, we are thinking and intending from our spiritual inner nature. This is because our thinking is based on a belief in what is true and a love for what is good, and is therefore coming from heaven. However, when our thoughts about them are evil and our intentions toward them are evil, then we are thinking and intending from our earthly inner nature because our thinking is based on a belief in what is false and a love for what is evil, so our thinking is coming from hell.

In short, to the extent that we are focused on loving the Lord and loving our neighbor, our inner nature is spiritual. We are thinking and intending from that nature and are speaking and acting from it as well. To the extent that we are focused on loving ourselves and loving the world, though, our inner nature is earthly. We are thinking and intending from that nature and are speaking and acting from it as well.

from New Jerusalem, Sections 36-42

The Lord (Continued)

The Lord tells us in John that he gained control over the hells: as his suffering on the cross was impending, Jesus said, “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out” (John 12:27, 28, 31); and again, “Take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33); and in Isaiah, “‘Who is this who is coming from Edom, approaching in the immensity of his strength, and having the power to save?’ ‘My own arm brought about salvation for me.’ Therefore he became their Savior” (Isaiah 63:1–19; 59:16–21).

He also tells us in John that he glorified his human nature and that the suffering on the cross was his last crisis of the spirit and the complete victory that brought about his glorification:

After Judas went out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Humanity is glorified, and God will glorify him in himself and glorify him immediately.” (John 13:31, 32)

And again,

Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son may also glorify you. (John 17:1, 5)

And again,

“Now my soul is troubled. Father, glorify your name.” And a voice came from heaven, saying, “I both have glorified it and will glorify it again.” (John 12:27, 28)

Also in Luke,

Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer this and enter into his glory? (Luke 24:26)

He made these statements concerning his suffering on the cross. To “glorify” is to make divine.

This now shows that unless the Lord had come into the world and become human and in this way had freed from hell all who believe in him and love him, no human being could have been saved. That is how to understand the statement that there is no salvation apart from the Lord [Acts 4:12].

When the Lord fully glorified his human nature he divested himself of the human nature from his mother and put on a human nature from his Father, which is the divine-human nature. As a result, he was no longer the son of Mary.

The first and foremost duty of a church is to know and acknowledge its God, since without this knowledge and acknowledgment there can be no joining with God. In the Christian church, then, there is no joining with God without acknowledgment of the Lord. The Lord tells us this in John:

Those who believe in the Son have eternal life. Those who do not believe in the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God abides on them. (John 3:36)

And elsewhere,

If you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins. (John 8:24)

The fact that the Trinity—divinity itself, the divine-human nature, and divinity emanating—exists within the Lord is a secret revealed by heaven for those people who will be in the holy Jerusalem.

from New Jerusalem, Sections 294-297

The Lord (Continued)

This is from the Athanasian Creed.

People whose concept of divinity is a concept of three persons cannot have a concept of one God. If they say “one” with their mouth, they still think “three.” However, people whose concept of divinity is a concept of three aspects in one person can have a concept of one God. They can say “one God,” and they can think “one God” as well.

Our concept of God is a concept of three aspects in one person when we think that the Father is in the Lord and that the Holy Spirit emanates from the Lord. In this case all three aspects are in the Lord: divinity itself, which is called the Father; the divine-human nature, which is the Son; and divinity emanating, which is the Holy Spirit.

Since all divinity is in the Lord, he has all power in heaven and on earth. This he himself tells us in John:

“The Father has given all things into the hand of the Son” (John 3:35);


“The Father has given the Son power over all flesh” (John 17:2);

in Matthew,

“All things have been delivered to me by the Father” (Matthew 11:27);

and again,

“All power has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18).

Divinity is that kind of power.

People who suppose the Lord’s human nature to be just like the human nature of anyone else are not taking into consideration that he was conceived by the Divine, nor are they pondering the fact that the body is for everyone an image of the soul. Nor are they considering that he was resurrected with his whole body, nor the way he appeared when he was transfigured, when his face shone like the sun.

Nor do they think about what the Lord said about believing in him, about his being one with the Father, about his glorification, and about his power over heaven and earth—that these are divine attributes and yet they are said of his human nature.

Nor do they bear in mind that the Lord is omnipresent even with respect to his human nature (Matthew 28:20), though this is the basis of belief in his omnipresence in the Holy Supper—omnipresence is a divine trait.

Perhaps people do not even consider that the divinity called the Holy Spirit emanates from the Lord’s human nature, when in fact it does emanate from his glorified human nature; for it says,

“There was not the Holy Spirit yet because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:39).

The Lord came into the world to save the human race, which otherwise would have suffered eternal death. He saved it by gaining control over the hells, which were assaulting everyone who entered this world and everyone who left it. He also saved the human race by glorifying his own human nature, because this gave him the power to keep the hells under his control forever.

His gaining control over the hells and the simultaneous glorification of his human nature were effected by allowing the human nature that he received from his mother to undergo spiritual crises and by continuous victories in those crises. His suffering on the cross was his last spiritual crisis; in it he made his victory complete.

from New Jerusalem, Sections 289-293

The Lord (Continued)

Since the Father is in the Lord and the Father and the Lord are one, and since we are to believe in the Lord and whoever believes in him has eternal life, we can see that the Lord is God. The Word tells us that the Lord is God, as in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through him, and nothing that was made came about without him. And the Word became flesh and lived among us; and we saw his glory, glory like that of the only-begotten child of the Father. (John 1:1, 3, 14)

In Isaiah:

A Child has been born to us; a Son has been given to us. Leadership will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called God, Hero, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)


A virgin will conceive and give birth, and the [child’s] name will be called “God with us.” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)

And in Jeremiah:

Behold, the days are coming when I will raise up for David a righteous branch who will rule as king, and prosper. And this is his name: they will call him “Jehovah our Righteousness.” (Jeremiah 23:5, 6; 33:15, 16)

Everyone in the church who receives light from heaven sees divinity in the Lord, but people who do not receive light from heaven see only humanness in the Lord. Yet the divinity and the humanity in him are so united that they are one, as he also tells us in another place in John:

Father, all that is mine is yours, and all that is yours is mine. (John 17:10)

The church knows that the Lord was conceived by Jehovah the Father and was therefore God from his conception. It also knows that he rose with his whole body, since he left nothing in the tomb. He assured his disciples of this later when he said, “See my hands and my feet—that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39). And yet even though he was human in having flesh and bones, he entered through closed doors and vanished after he had revealed himself (John 20:19, 26; Luke 24:31).

It is different for everyone else. We rise again only in our spirits, not in our bodies, so when he said that he was not like a spirit, he was saying that he was not like anyone else.

We can see from this that even the human part of the Lord is divine.

We all get from our fathers the reality underlying our life that is called our soul. The manifestation of life from that underlying reality is what is called the body. So the body is an image of its soul, since the soul carries on its life through its body at will. That is why we are born looking like our parents and why we can tell families apart. We can see from this what the body or the human nature of the Lord was like—it was like the Divine itself that was the reality underlying his life, that is, like the soul from the Father. That is why he said, “Those who see me see the Father” (John 14:9).

According to the statement of faith accepted throughout the whole Christian world, the divinity and the humanity of the Lord together make one person. That statement reads as follows:

Although Christ is God and a human being, yet he is not two, but one Christ. Indeed, he is one altogether, one person. Therefore as the body and the soul are one human being, so God and a human being are one Christ.

from New Jerusalem, Sections 284-288

The Lord

There is one God, who is both the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe, and who therefore is God of heaven and God of earth.

There are two things that make a life of heaven for us—the good that we do out of love and the truth we believe. This life is given to us by God, and nothing of it comes from ourselves. For this reason, the primary duty of a church is to acknowledge God, believe in God, and love him.

Those born within the Christian church should acknowledge the Lord, his divine nature, and his human nature and believe in him and love him, because all salvation comes from the Lord. That is what the Lord tells us in John:

Those who believe in the Son have eternal life. Those who do not believe in the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God abides on them. (John 3:36)

And in the same Gospel,

This is the will of the one who sent me, that all those who see the Son and believe in him will have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day. (John 6:40)

And again,

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Even if they die, those who believe in me will live; and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25, 26)

This means that people within the church who do not acknowledge the Lord and his divine nature cannot be joined to God, and therefore their portion will not be among angels in heaven. You see, no one can be joined to God except by the Lord and in the Lord.

The Lord teaches in John that no one can be joined to God except by the Lord:

No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, has made him visible. (John 1:18)


You have never heard the Father’s voice or seen what he looks like. (John 5:37)


No one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son wills to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27)

And again,

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

The reason no one can be joined to God except in the Lord is that the Father is in him and they are one, as he teaches us, again in John:

If you know me you also know my Father. Those who see me see the Father. Philip, do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. (John 14:7–11)

And again,

The Father and I are one. . . . [Believe in my works,] so that you may know and believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. (John 10:30, 38)

from New Jerusalem, Sections 280-283