Love and Faith Can Never Be Separated

Love and faith can never be separated, because they make a single unit. This is why the sources of light when first mentioned are treated as grammatically singular in the statement, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens.” Let me report some surprising facts in this connection.

Because the Lord gives heavenly angels this kind of love, love reveals all religious knowledge to them. Love also gives them such a living and shining intelligence that it can hardly be described.

For spirits who learn the doctrinal tenets of faith but lack love, on the other hand, life is so chill and the light so dim that they cannot even approach the near side of the threshold to heaven’s entrance hall without fleeing in retreat.

Some say that they had believed in the Lord; but in actuality they had not lived as he taught. The Lord speaks of them this way in Matthew:

Not everyone saying “Lord! Lord!” to me will enter the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing my will. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord! Lord! Haven’t we prophesied in your name?” (Matthew 7:21, 22)

See also what follows there, up to the end of Matthew 7.

All this makes it clear that people who have love also have faith and consequently heavenly life. The same cannot be said of those who claim to have faith but do not lead a loving life.

A life of faith without love is like sunlight without warmth—the type of light that occurs in winter, when nothing grows and everything droops and dies. Faith rising out of love, on the contrary, is like light from the sun in spring, when everything grows and flourishes. Warmth from the sun is the fertile agent. The same is true in spiritual and heavenly affairs, which are typically represented in the Word by objects found in nature and human culture.

Nonbelief and belief without love are in fact compared to winter by the Lord in Mark where he made predictions concerning the close of the age:

Pray that your flight not occur in winter, as those will be days of distress. (Mark 13:18, 19)

The “flight” refers to the final days and to an individual’s final days before death as well. “Winter” is a life devoid of love. The “days of distress” are the person’s wretched condition in the other life.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Section 34

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Genesis 1:14-17 and the Inner Meaning

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to make a distinction between day and night; and they will act as signals and will be used for seasons for both the days and the years. And they will be lights in the expanse of the heavens, to shed light on the earth,” and so it was done. And God made two great lights: the greater light to rule by day and the smaller light to rule by night; and the stars. And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens, to shed light on the earth. — Genesis 1:14-17

We cannot understand the identity of these great lights very well unless we first know what the essence of faith is and how it develops in those who are being created anew.

The actual essence and life of faith is the Lord alone. No one who lacks faith in the Lord can have life, as he himself said in John:

Those who believe in the Son have eternal life, but those who do not believe in the Son will not see life; instead, God’s anger will rest on them. (John 3:36)

The progress of faith in those who are being created anew is as follows. Initially such people are without any life, as no life exists in evil or falsity, only in goodness and truth. Afterward they receive life from the Lord through faith. The first form of faith to bring life is a memorized thing—a matter of fact. The next is faith in the intellect—faith truly understood. The last is faith in the heart, which is faith born of love, or saving faith.

In verses 3–13 the things that had no living soul represent factual faith and faith truly understood. Faith brought alive by love, however, is represented by the animate creatures in verses 20–25. Consequently this is the point at which love and the faith that rises out of it are first dealt with, and they are called lights. Love is the greater light that rules by day; faith springing from love is the smaller light that rules by night. And because they must unite as one, the verb used with “lights” is singular, “let it be” rather than “let them be.”

Love and faith work the same way in our inner being as warmth and light work in our outer flesh and are therefore represented by warmth and light. This is why the lights are said to be placed in the expanse of the heavens, or our inner being, the greater light in our will and the smaller in our intellect. But they only seem to be present there, just as the light of the sun only appears to be in physical objects. It is the Lord’s mercy alone that stirs our will with love and our intellect with truth or faith. 31 The fact that the great lights symbolize love and faith and that they are named sun, moon, and stars can be seen in many places in the prophets.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Section 30

Genesis 1:11-12 and Its Inner Meaning

And God said, “Let the earth cause the sprouting on the earth of the tender plant, of the plant bearing its seed, of the fruit tree making the fruit that holds its seed, each in the way of its kind”; and so it was done. And the earth produced the tender plant, the plant bearing its seed in the way of its kind, and the tree making the fruit that held its seed in the way of its kind. And God saw that it was good. — Genesis 1:11-12

When the earth (a person) is so well prepared as to be able to accept heavenly seed from the Lord and to produce good and truth in some degree, that is the time when the Lord first causes the sprouting of something tender, called the tender plant or grass. Next he stimulates something more useful that reseeds itself—the plant bearing its seed. Finally he germinates something good, which reproduces fruitfully—the tree making the fruit that holds its seed, each of these in the way of its kind.

During regeneration we naturally suppose at first that the good we do and the truth we speak come from ourselves, when the reality is that all good and truth come from the Lord. If we imagine they come from ourselves, then, we are not yet in possession of the life force belonging to true faith (although we can receive it later). We cannot believe yet that they come from the Lord, because we are being prepared to receive the living power of faith. This stage is represented in the story by things that have no living soul; animate creatures represent the stage of living faith to come.

The Lord is the sower of seeds, the seed is his Word, and the earth is the human being, as he saw fit to say in Matthew 13:19–23, 37, 38, 39; Mark 4:14–20; and Luke 8:11–15. A similar description:

So God’s kingdom is like one who tosses seed into the earth and sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; how it happens, the person does not know. For the earth bears fruit readily—first a shoot, then an ear, then the full grain in the ear. (Mark 4:26, 27, 28)

“God’s kingdom” in its broadest sense means the whole of heaven. Less broadly it means the Lord’s true church. In its narrow sense it refers to everyone with true faith, which is to say, all who become reborn by living out their faith. Each of these people is also called a heaven (since they have heaven in them) and God’s kingdom (since they have God’s kingdom in them). The Lord himself teaches this in Luke:

Jesus was asked by the Pharisees, “When is God’s kingdom coming?” He answered them and said, “God’s kingdom does not come in an observable way, nor will they say, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ because—look!—God’s kingdom is within you.” (Luke 17:20, 21)

This is the third step in our regeneration and the stage at which we repent. The process continues to advance from shadow to light, from evening to morning, and so it says:

Genesis 1:13. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Section 29

Genesis 1:10 and Its Inner Meaning

And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of waters he called seas; and God saw that it was good. — Genesis 1:10

To find waters symbolizing religious and secular knowledge, and seas symbolizing a body of such knowledge, is quite common in the Word.

In Isaiah:

The earth will be full with the awareness of Jehovah, like the waters covering the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)

In the same prophet, where both kinds of knowledge are portrayed as lacking:

The water will disappear from the sea, the river will drain away and dry up, and the streams will recede. (Isaiah 19:5, 6)

In Haggai, where a new church is the subject:

I am shaking the heavens and the earth, and the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all the nations, and those who are the desire of every nation will come, and I will fill this House with glory. (Haggai 2:6, 7)

And in Zechariah, on the regenerating individual:

That will be a single day; it is known to Jehovah; it is not day or night. And it will happen that at the time of evening there will be light. And it will happen on that day that living water will go out from Jerusalem, part of it to the eastern sea and part of it to the western sea. (Zechariah 14:7, 8)

In a passage in David depicting a devastated person who is being reborn and will come to revere the Lord:

Jehovah does not despise his prisoners; the heavens and the earth, the seas and every creeping thing in them will praise him. (Psalms 69:33, 34)

In the following passage in Zechariah, the earth symbolizes that which receives something put into it:

Jehovah is stretching out the heavens and founding the earth and forming the human spirit in the middle of it. (Zechariah 12:1)

from Secrets fo Heaven, Volume 1, Section 28

The New Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation Means a New Church (Continued)

It says in the Book of Revelation, a new heaven and a new earth [Revelation 21:1], and after that, Behold, I am making all things new [Revelation 21:5].

This means simply that in the church that is now about to be established by the Lord, there will be a new body of teaching that did not exist in the former church. The reason it did not exist is that if it had existed it would not have been accepted.

The Last Judgment had not yet been carried out, and until that happened the power of hell was stronger than the power of heaven. Consequently, if the Lord had given the new body of teaching too early, it would not have lasted with us; and even today it does not last except with people who turn to the Lord alone and acknowledge him as the God of heaven and earth (see Section 61 above).

This same teaching had in fact already been given in the Word, but since the church changed into Babylon not long after its establishment—and then, among some, into Philistia—this teaching could not be seen in the Word. This is because a church sees the Word only through the lens of its own religious principles and teachings.

The new principles that are in this booklet are, in general terms, the following:

1. God is one in person and in essence, and is the Lord.

2. The whole Sacred Scripture is about him alone.

3. He came into the world to subdue the hells and to glorify his human nature. He accomplished these two goals by allowing himself to undergo trials; he accomplished them fully by the last of these trials, which was the suffering on the cross. By this means he became Redeemer and Savior, and by this means he alone has merit and justice.

4. He fulfilled all of the law, meaning that he fulfilled all of the Word.

5. He did not take away our sins by his suffering on the cross, but he did carry them like a prophet—that is, he suffered in order to be a representation of how the church had abused the Word.

6. The imputation of merit is nothing unless we understand it to be the forgiveness of sins after repentance.

These principles have been presented in this booklet. In forthcoming works—on Sacred Scripture, on teachings about life, on faith, and on divine love and wisdom—there will be more that is new.

from The Lord
, Section 65

The New Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation Means a New Church (Continued)

The reason Jerusalem in the Word means the church in regard to its teachings is that that was the only place in the land of Canaan where the Temple was, where the altar was, where sacrifices were performed, and therefore where there was actual worship of God. That was also why the three annual feasts were celebrated there and why every male in the whole land was commanded to go there. This is why Jerusalem means the church in regard to worship and therefore also the church in regard to its teachings, since worship is defined by teachings and carried out in accord with them. It is also because the Lord was in Jerusalem and taught in its Temple and afterward glorified his human nature there.

Moreover, in the Word as spiritually understood a city means a body of teaching, so a holy city means a body of teaching based on divine truth that comes from the Lord.

We can also see that Jerusalem means a church in regard to its teachings from other passages in the Word, such as this in Isaiah:

For Zion’s sake I will not be silent and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest until her justice goes forth like radiance and her salvation burns like a lamp. Then the nations will see your justice and all monarchs will see your glory, and a new name will be given you that the mouth of Jehovah will utter. And you will be a crown of beauty in the hand of Jehovah and a diadem of the kingdom in the hand of your God. Jehovah will be well pleased with you and your land will be married. Behold, your salvation will come. See, his reward is with him. And they will call them a holy people, the redeemed of Jehovah; and you will be called a city sought out, not deserted. (Isaiah 62:1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 12)

This whole chapter is about the Lord’s Coming and about the new church that he is about to establish. This is the new church meant by the Jerusalem that will be given a new name that the mouth of Jehovah will utter and that will be a crown of beauty in the hand of Jehovah and a diadem of the kingdom in the hand of God, with which Jehovah will be well pleased, and which will be called a city sought out, not deserted. This cannot mean the Jerusalem where Jews were living when the Lord came, because this was the opposite in all respects, more properly called “Sodom,” as it is in Revelation 11:8, Isaiah 3:9, Jeremiah 23:14, Ezekiel 16:46, 48.

Another passage from Isaiah:

Behold, I am creating a new heaven and a new earth; the former ones will not be remembered. Be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating. Behold, I am going to create Jerusalem as a rejoicing and her people as a gladness, so that I may rejoice over Jerusalem and be glad about my people. Then the wolf and the lamb will feed together; they will do no evil in all my holy mountain. (Isaiah 65:17, 18, 19, 25)

from The Lord, Section 65

The New Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation Means a New Church (Continued)

The holy city Jerusalem means that new church in regard to its teachings. That is why it was seen coming down from God out of heaven, because the only source of genuinely true teaching is through heaven from the Lord. It is because the city New Jerusalem means the church in regard to its teachings that it says “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2) and then,

One of the seven angels came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the spirit to a high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. (Revelation 21:9, 10)

It is common knowledge that the bride and wife mean the church and the Bridegroom and Husband mean the Lord. The church is the bride when it is willing to receive the Lord and is the wife when it does receive him.

We can see that the Husband means the Lord in this passage because it says “the bride, the wife of the Lamb.

from The Lord, Section 63

The New Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation Means a New Church

In the Book of Revelation we find a description of the state of the Christian church as it would be at its close and as it now is. We are told that those people from that church who were meant by the false prophet, the dragon, the whore, and the beasts were cast into hell. After this—after the completion of the Last Judgment, that is—it says the following:

I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Then I, John, saw the holy city Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them and be their God.” The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And he said to me, “Write, because these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:1, 2, 3, 5)

The new heaven and the new earth that John saw after the first heaven and the first earth had passed away do not mean a new sky like the one we can see with our eyes, full of air and stars, or a new earth for us to live on, but a new kind of church in the spiritual world and a new kind of church in this earthly world.

Because the Lord, when he was in this world, made a new kind of church in both the spiritual and the earthly worlds, it says similar things in the prophets, namely, that a new heaven and a new earth were going to come into being at that time, as we find in Isaiah 65:17, 66:22, and elsewhere—which cannot therefore be understood to refer to the sky that we can see with our eyes and the earth that we live on.

“The spiritual world” means the world where angels and spirits live, and “the earthly world” means the world where we are living. On the recent founding of a new kind of church in the spiritual world and the eventual founding of a new kind of church in the earthly world, there is some information in the booklet Last Judgment [Sections 1–5] and more in the supplement to that work.

from The Lord, Section 62

Genesis 1:9 and Its Inner Meaning

And God said, “Let the waters under heaven be gathered into one place, and let dry land appear”; and so it was done. — Genesis 1:9

When we learn that we have an inner self and an outer, and that truth and goodness come from the inner self—or rather from the Lord by way of the inner self into the outer, even though this is contrary to appearances—this information, this knowledge of truth and goodness, is stored away in our memory.

The knowledge takes its place among the secular facts we have learned, because anything instilled in our outward memory, whether earthly, spiritual, or heavenly, lodges there as a fact, and from there the Lord draws on it.

This knowledge is the waters gathered into one place and named seas. The outer being itself, on the other hand, is called dry land. Immediately afterward it is called earth, as the next verse shows.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Section 27

Genesis 1:8 and Its Inner Meaning

And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. — Genesis 1:8

The meanings of evening, morning, and day are explained above at verse 5.

Evening is every preliminary stage, because such stages are marked by shadow, or by falsity and an absence of faith.

Morning is all later stages, because these are marked by light, or by truth and religious knowledge.

Evening stands in general for everything that is our own, while morning stands for everything of the Lord’s.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Section 26