All the People Who Are in the Hells Are Absorbed in Evils and Consequent Falsities Because of Their Love for Themselves and the World (Continued)

Seen in any of heaven’s light, all the spirits in the hells appear in the form of their own evil. Each one is in fact an image of her or his evil, since for each individual the inner and outer natures are acting as a unit, with the deeper elements presenting themselves to view in the outer ones—in the face, the body, the speech, and the behavior. So you can tell what they are like by looking at them. In general, they are forms of contempt for others, threats against people who do not revere them; they are forms of various shadings of hatred, of various forms of vengefulness. Savagery and cruelty show through from within. When others praise them, though, or revere and worship them, their faces compose themselves and look almost happy and gratified.

There is no way to describe briefly all the ways these forms look, since no one is just like any other. There is only a general likeness among people who are absorbed in similar evils and are therefore in the same hellish community, a similarity that acts like a common background that gives the individual faces a kind of overall resemblance. In general, their faces are frightful, as lifeless as corpses. Some of their faces are black, some like little torches, some pimply, with huge ulcerated sores. In many cases there is no visible face, only something hairy or bony in its place, while with others only the teeth show. Their bodies are equally misshapen, and their speech seems to embody wrath or hatred or vengeance, since all their articulation comes from their false perception and all the tone comes from their evil intent. In a word, they are all images of their hell.

I have not been allowed to see what form hell itself is in overall. I have only been told that in the same way that all heaven as a single entity resembles a single human being (Sections 59–67), so all hell as a single entity resembles a single devil and can be manifested as a likeness of a single devil (see above, Section 544). However, I have often seen what form particular hells or hellish communities have, since at their entrances (which are called the gates of hell), there often appears a monstrous figure that in a general way represents the form of the people who live there. The savagery of these inhabitants is then imaged by frightful horrors that I forbear to mention.

It does need to be known, though, that hellish spirits look like this in heaven’s light, but that they look human to each other. This is a gift of the Lord’s mercy, so that they do not look as repulsive to each other as they do to angels. However, this appearance is deceiving, since the moment a ray of light from heaven is let in, these human forms turn into the monstrous ones that they are essentially, the forms just described, because in heaven’s light everything appears as it really is. This is also why they avoid heaven’s light and dive into their own illumination, an illumination like that of glowing coals or, in places, like burning sulfur. This light, though, turns into pure darkness when any ray of light from heaven flows in. This is why the hells are described as being in gloom and darkness, and why the gloom and darkness mean the kinds of malevolent distortions characteristic of hell.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 553

Notes:

Sections 59-67: Published 3/3/2018-3/6/2018

Section 544: Published 1/6/2019

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All the People Who Are in the Hells Are Absorbed in Evils and Consequent Falsities Because of Their Love for Themselves and the World

ALL the people who are in the hells are devoted to evil goals and the distortions that result. There is no one there devoted to evil goals and interested in true perceptions. Many evil people in the world know about spiritual truths, the truths of the church, since they have learned them first in childhood and later from sermons and from reading the Word and have gone on to take them for granted in their conversations. Some of them have even led others to believe that they were Christians at heart because they had learned from these truths how to talk with apparent affection and to behave honestly as though motivated by a spiritual faith. As for the ones who inwardly thought the opposite, though, and who carefully refrained from doing the evil things they were thinking of simply because of civil laws and for the sake of their reputation and rank and profit, they are all evil at heart, involved in what is true and good only physically, not in spirit. So when their outer layers are stripped off in the other life and the inner natures that constituted their spirits are unveiled, they are wholly absorbed in evil and false concerns, unconcerned with anything true and good. Then one can see that the true and good values simply dwelt in their memories as things they had learned about, and that they retrieved them from memory when they were talking and imitated good deeds as though they were motivated by a spiritual love and faith.

When people like this are let into their inner natures—into their evils, that is—they can no longer say anything true. They can only say what is false because their speech arises from their evil intentions. It is impossible to say anything true for evil ends because by then their spirits are made up of nothing but their own evil, and falsity emanates from evil.

Every evil spirit is distilled to this state before he or she is thrown into hell (see above, Sections 499–512). This is called being stripped down as to what is true and good.a The stripping down is simply the process of being let into their own inner natures, into what they have claimed as spirits, then, or into their spirits themselves. See also Section 425 above on these matters.

When we are like this after death, then we are no longer “spirit-persons” the way we were in the first state (described above, Sections 491–498); we are truly spirits, since people who are truly spirits have faces and bodies responsive to the inner natures of their minds. So they are in an outward form that is the imprint or image of their inner natures. Spirits are like this once the first and second states described above have been completed. This means that when they are seen by [spiritual] eyes, one can tell instantly what their nature is not only from their faces but also from their bodies, and especially from their speech and behavior. Further, because they are now their essential selves, they can only be where kindred souls are.

There is a complete sharing of affections and consequent thoughts in the spiritual world; so spirits move spontaneously toward kindred spirits because they are motivated by what attracts and delights them. In fact, they actually turn in that direction because that is how they breathe in their life, or draw their breath freely, and not when they turn elsewhere. We need to realize that in the spiritual world, communication depends on which way we face, and that the people in front of us are always the ones who are in a love like our own. This applies no matter which way we turn our bodies (see above, Section 151).

This is why hellish spirits all turn away from the Lord toward the gloomy and dark objects there that are in the location of earth’s sun and moon, while heaven’s angels all turn toward the Lord as the sun and the moon of heaven (see above, Sections 123, 143, 144, 151).

This leads us to the conclusion that all the people in the hells are absorbed in evils and consequent falsities, and also that they turn toward their loves.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 551-552

Notes:

Section 123: Published 11/20/2016

Section 143: Published 7/10/2017

Section 144: Published 7/11/2017

Section 151: Published 7/15/2017

Section 425: Published 5/25/2017

Sections 491- 498: Published 8/12/2017- 8/15/2017

Sections 499-512: Published 8/16/2017-8/25/2017

Section 512: Published 9/4/2018

Redemption: The Fourth Memorable Occurrence (Continued)

After that the angel looked at me and said, “You know what the beliefs of the so-called Evangelicals are or should be about the Lord the Savior. Recite a few of them so that we may know whether they foolishly believe that the Lord’s human manifestation is merely human, or whether they ascribe anything of divinity to that human manifestation, and if so, how.”

I then read out loud excerpts from the book of Evangelical orthodoxy called the Formula of Concord, printed in Leipzig in 1756. I read the following: “In Christ the divine nature and the human nature are so united that they are one Person”. “Christ is truly God and a human being in an individual Person; he remains so to eternity”. “In Christ God is human and a human is God”. “Christ’s human nature has been exalted to all divine majesty”. “In his human nature Christ is omnipresent and fills all things”. “In his human nature Christ has been given all power in heaven and on earth”. “In his human nature Christ sits at the right hand of the Father”. “We are to call on Christ in his human nature”.

After I read these things out loud, I turned to the chairman and said, “I know that all who are here are associated with people on earth who are like them. Tell me, if you would: do you know whom you are associated with?”

He answered in a solemn tone, “I do know. I am associated with a famous man, a commander of battalions in the church’s army of the enlightened.”

Because he answered in such a solemn tone, I said, “Forgive my asking if you know where that famous commander lives.”

“I do know,” he said. “He lives not far from where Luther is buried.”

Smiling at this I said, “Why do you say where Luther is buried? Don’t you know that Luther has risen, and that he has now recanted his errors regarding justification by faith in three divine Persons from eternity? Surely you know that because of this he has been transferred to join the blessed in the new heaven, and that he laughs when he looks upon his insane followers.”

“I know,” he retorted, “but what difference does that make to me?” Then in the same tone he had used, I addressed him and said, “Pass on to the famous person you are associated with that I am concerned that on a recent occasion he went against the orthodoxy of his own church and took away the Lord’s divinity. He let his pen plow a furrow and carelessly sowed materialist philosophy in it when he wrote against the worship of our Lord the Savior.”

“I can’t do that,” the chairman replied, “because on this topic he and I are more or less of one mind. Besides, he doesn’t understand the things I tell him, although all the things he tells me I understand very clearly. The spiritual world enters the material world and perceives the thoughts of people there, but it doesn’t work the other way around. These are the present conditions of interaction between spirits and people.”

Since the chairman and I were already conversing, I added: “If possible I’d like to digress to some other questions. Do you know that the orthodoxy of the Evangelicals, presented in their church handbook called the Formula of Concord, teaches that in Christ, God is human and a human is God and that his divinity and humanity exist in one individual person and remain so to eternity? If so, how then could he, and how can you, befoul the worship of the Lord with materialist philosophy?”

To that he replied, “Do I know that? Yes and no.”

Therefore I went on to say, “I ask your associate, although he is absent, or else you in his place: where did the soul of the Lord our Savior come from? If you say it came from Mary, you are insane. If you say it came from Joseph, you desecrate the Word. But if you say it came from the Holy Spirit you have the right answer, provided that by the Holy Spirit you mean the Divinity emanating and having an effect, which means that the Lord is the Son of Jehovah God.

“Again I ask, what is the hypostatic union [in the Lord our Savior]? If you reply that it is a union between two entities, one above and the other below, you are insane, because in that case you could view God our Savior as two entities just as you have viewed the Godhead as three entities. If you say that it is a personal union like the partnership between the soul and the body, you have the right answer. This follows your doctrine and the doctrine of the church fathers.

“Also check the Athanasian Creed where it says, ‘Proper faith is for us to believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ is both God and a human being. Yet although he is both God and a human being, still he is one Christ, not two. He is one in every way, not by a mixing of substance but by a oneness of person. For as the rational soul and the flesh is one human being, so God and a human being is one Christ.’

“Still further I ask, what was the damnable heresy of Arius that caused Emperor Constantine the Great to call the Council of Nicaea? Wasn’t it the denial of the divinity of the Lord’s human manifestation? “For another thing, tell me whom you see as the subject of the following words in Jeremiah: ‘Behold, the days are coming when I will raise up for David a righteous offshoot who will rule as king; and this is his name: Jehovah is our Justice’ (Jeremiah 23:5, 6; 33:15, 16). If you say ‘the Son from eternity,’ you are insane. He was not the Redeemer. If you say ‘the Son born in time, who was “the only begotten Son of God”’ (John 1:18; 3:16), you have the right answer. By redeeming us, he became the justice on which you base your faith. Also read Isaiah 9:6 and the other passages predicting that Jehovah himself was going to come into the world.”

At this the chairman looked away in silence.

The presiding officer then wanted to end the council with a prayer but suddenly a man in the left-hand group interrupted. He had a cloth head-covering on with a hat on top of it. He touched his hat with one finger and said, “I too am associated with a man in your world. He has been appointed to a highly exalted position. I know this because I speak on his behalf as on my own.”

I asked him where that eminent man lives. He answered, “In Göteborg. From him I once got the impression that your new doctrine smacks of Muhammadanism.”

I saw that all the spirits on the right where the apostolic fathers were standing were shocked when they heard that word, and their faces fell. I heard them crying, both in thought and out loud, “What an outrage! What times we live in!”

To calm their understandable wrath I lifted my hand and asked for their attention. When they gave it to me, I said, “I am aware that a man of stature wrote some such accusation in a letter; later the letter was printed. If he had known at that point, however, what blasphemy it was, he would surely have torn it to pieces with his own fingers and given it to Vulcan to consume. The Lord responded to a similar attack when the Jews said that Christ was doing miracles with something other than divine power (Matthew 12:22–32). Among other things, the Lord says in that response, ‘Whoever is not with me is against me. Whoever is not gathering with me is scattering’ (Matthew 12:30).”

At this, the chairman, his ally, lowered his face. Soon, however, he lifted it again and said, “Now I have heard harder things than ever from you!”

I countered, “There are two doctrines behind these proceedings: materialist philosophy and Muhammadanism—lies invented by treachery, two deadly stabs aimed at turning and deterring the human will from the holy worship of the Lord.”

I turned to the man from the left-hand group and said, “Tell your man in Göteborg, if you can, to read what the Lord has said in Revelation 3:18 and also in Revelation 2:16.”

When I said that, a riot broke out, but it was calmed by light sent down from heaven. As a result of the light, many on the left crossed over to join those on the right. Two groups who stayed on the left were those spirits whose thoughts were without purpose and who would therefore hang on the sayings of any authority, and those spirits who saw the Lord as only a human being. The light sent down from heaven seemed to be repelled by these latter two groups, but it seemed to flow into the spirits who crossed from left to right.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 137

Redemption: The Fourth Memorable Occurrence

I heard that a council had been summoned that was made up of those who were famous for writing and research on the modern-day faith and on the justification of the elect by that faith.

This was in the world of spirits. I was allowed to attend in spirit. I saw that the participants were from the clergy. There were some who agreed and some who disagreed. To the right stood people who in the world had been called the apostolic fathers, who had lived in the centuries before the Council of Nicaea. To the left stood men from after those centuries who were well known for their printed works or works their followers had copied in manuscript form. Many in the latter group had clean-shaven faces and wore curled wigs of women’s hair. Some of them had collars with ruffs; some had collars with bands. The former group, however, were bearded and wore no wigs.

Before both groups stood a man who had been a judge and critic of the writers of this century. With the staff in his hand, this chairman banged on the floor and brought about silence. He stepped up onto the dais where the central chair was and uttered a groan. After groaning he intended to shout out loud, but the breath expended in groaning made the shout catch in his throat.

Finally, when he was able to speak, he said, “Friends, what times we live in! Someone has risen out of the herd of the laity. He has no gown, no cap, no laurel. Yet he has pulled our faith down from heaven and thrown it into the river Styx. What a crime! Yet that faith is our only star. It shines like Orion during the night and like Lucifer in the morning. That man, although well advanced in years, remains completely blind to the mysteries of our faith because he has not opened our faith and seen in it the justice of the Lord our Savior, as well as the Lord’s mediation and appeasement. And since he hasn’t seen these aspects of our faith, he has also missed the wonders of justification by that faith. These wonders are the forgiving of sins, regeneration, sanctification, and salvation.

“Instead of accepting our faith, which is supremely effective for one’s salvation because it is a faith in three divine persons and therefore in the whole of God, this man has redirected belief toward the second Person—in fact, not even the whole second Person, but just his human manifestation. That human manifestation we do indeed call divine, because it was the incarnation of the Son from eternity; but who thinks of it as anything other than something merely human? What faith can we have in that except one that gushes materialist philosophy like a fountain? Since that kind of faith is not spiritual, it is virtually the same as faith in a substitute or a saint. You all know what Calvin said in his day about worship from a faith like that. Any one of you, tell us, please, where faith comes from. Doesn’t it come directly from God? That is why it contains all the means of salvation.”

At that the chairman’s colleagues on the left side (the men with clean-shaven faces, curly wigs, and ruffs around their necks) burst into applause and shouted, “Very wisely said! We know that we cannot receive anything that is not given us from heaven!”

[Then the chairman continued,] “That prophet should tell us where faith comes from and what faith is if it isn’t this. It is impossible for faith to be different or to come from any other source. Revealing another true faith besides this one is as impossible as riding a horse to some constellation in the sky, grabbing one of its stars, hiding it in your coat pocket, and bringing it back with you!”

He included this last comment to make his friends laugh at any new faith.

The men on the right side, though, who were bearded and wore no wigs, were upset when they heard this. One of them, an old man, stood up. (Later, however, he looked like a young adult, because he was an angel from heaven, where people of every stage of life become young adults.)

The old man said, “I have heard the nature of the faith you all have—the faith the chairman praised just now. But that faith is nothing but the tomb of our Lord after the resurrection, locked up again by Pilate’s soldiers. I have opened that faith but found nothing inside it except magicians’ wands used by the sorcerers in Egypt for doing miracles. To your eyes, your faith looks like a treasure chest made of gold and encrusted with precious stones; but when it is opened, the chest is empty, except perhaps for some dust from papal relics left in the corners. Papists have the same faith, you see, except that they are hiding it now behind external acts of piety.

“To use a simile, your faith is also like the Vestal virgin in ancient times who was buried alive for extinguishing the sacred fire. In fact, I can state it directly: to my eyes your faith looks just like the golden calf around which the children of Israel danced after Moses had left to go up to Jehovah on Mount Sinai [Exodus 32:1–20].

Don’t be surprised that I have spoken about your faith in these analogies—this is the way we who are in heaven speak about it.

“Our faith, on the other hand, is, was, and will be to eternity a belief in the Lord God the Savior, whose humanity is divine and whose divinity is human. It is a faith, then, that is adapted for reception. It is a faith that unites what is divine and spiritual to what is human and earthly. It becomes a spiritual faith on an earthly plane. What is earthly then becomes transparent from the spiritual light of our faith.

“The truths that constitute our faith are as many as the verses in the sacred tome. These truths are all like stars, whose light reveals, and shows the shape of, our faith. People acquire this faith from the Word by means of their earthly light—the light of knowledge, thought, and persuasion; but if people believe in the Lord, he turns this faith into conviction, trust, and confidence. Through this process their faith comes to be spiritual as well as earthly, and enlivened by goodwill. To us this faith is like a queen decorated with as many precious stones as could be seen in the wall of the Holy Jerusalem (Revelation 21:17–20).

“So that you won’t think the words I am saying are exaggerated and discount them as a result, I will read you something from the Holy Word that will make it clear that our faith is not faith in a human being, as you think it is; it is faith in the true God in whom everything divine exists. John says, ‘Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life’ (1 John 5:20). Paul says, ‘All the fullness of divinity dwells physically in Christ’ (Colossians 2:9). In the Acts of the Apostles it says of Paul, ‘To both Jews and Greeks he preached repentance before God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Acts 20:21). The Lord himself says that all power in heaven and on earth has been given to him (Matthew 28:18); but these are just a few passages.”

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 137

Redemption: The Third Memorable Occurrence

From far away I saw five halls. Each one was surrounded with light from heaven. The first hall was surrounded with crimson light like the light in the clouds just before sunrise on earth. The second hall was surrounded with a yellow light like the light of the dawn after the sun has come up. The third hall was surrounded with a bright white light like the light in our world at midday. The fourth hall was surrounded with a half light as when daylight begins to mix with evening shadows. The fifth hall stood in the shadow of evening itself.

These halls in the world of spirits are buildings where educated people meet to discuss various deep questions that serve to develop their knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom.

Once I spotted these halls, a strong desire to go to one of them came over me. I went in my spirit to the one that was surrounded with a half light. I entered the hall and saw a group of educated people who had gathered. They were discussing with each other the implications of the statement that since being taken up into heaven the Lord sits at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19).

Many of the participants said that it should be taken to mean just what it says—the Son sits next to the Father. When they were asked why, some said that the Father placed the Son on his right side because of the redemption that the Son had brought about. Some said that the Son sits there because of love. Some said that he sits there because he is the Father’s adviser and the angels honor him. Others said that he sits there because the Father had allowed him to rule in his place—the Word says that he was given all power in heaven and on earth. A large part of the group, however, said he sits there so that he can hear the people on the right for whom he intercedes; all people in the church today go to God the Father and pray that he may have mercy for the sake of his Son; this has the effect that the Father turns to the Son to receive the Son’s mediation. Some others said that it is only the Son of God from eternity who sits to the right of the Father. He sits there in order to share his divinity with the Son of Humankind born in the world.

On hearing these statements, I felt utterly astounded that these well-educated people were still so ignorant about heaven, even though they had already spent some time in the spiritual world. I became aware of the reason, though: because of their confidence in their own intelligence, they had not let themselves be taught by the wise.

So that they would no longer remain in ignorance about the Son sitting at the right hand of the Father, I raised my hand and asked that the participants lend their ears to a few things I desired to say on the subject. Because they agreed, I said, “Don’t you know from the Word that the Father and the Son are one, and that the Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father? The Lord openly says so in John chapter 10, verse 30, and chapter 14, verses 10 and 11. If you don’t believe these statements you divide God into two. Once you have done that, you cannot help thinking about God in a way that is earthly, limited to your senses, and even materialistic. This type of thinking has been occurring in the world ever since the Council of Nicaea, which introduced the idea of three divine persons from eternity. With that idea, the Council turned the church into a stage with painted drop curtains where actors perform new plays.

“Surely everyone knows and acknowledges, however, that there is one God. If you acknowledge this in your heart and your spirit, all the ideas you uttered a moment ago will spontaneously disperse and bounce off you into the air like nonsense off the ear of a wise person.”

Many of them blazed with anger when they heard that. They had a burning desire to twist my ears and demand silence from me. Instead the leader of the gathering said indignantly, “This is not a discussion about unity and plurality in God. We believe in both. This discussion concerns the meaning of the fact that the Son sits at the right hand of his Father. If you know anything about this, say it.”

“I will,” I answered, “but please stop all the noise. Sitting at the right hand doesn’t mean literally sitting at the right hand! It means the omnipotence God has through the human manifestation he took on in the world. Through that human manifestation God became the same on the lowest level as he is on the highest. Through that human manifestation he entered the hells, dismantled them, and gained control over them. Through that human manifestation he restructured the heavens. It was through that human manifestation, then, that he redeemed both people and angels, a redemption that will last forever.

“If you consult the Word, and you are in a condition that allows for enlightenment, you are going to perceive that the right hand there means omnipotence. For instance in [Isaiah and] David: ‘My hand founded the earth, and my right hand hammered out the heavens’ (Isaiah 48:13). ‘God has sworn by his right hand and by the arm of his strength’ (Isaiah 62:8). ‘Your right hand sustains me’ (Psalms 18:35). ‘Pay attention to the Son whom you have strengthened for yourself. Your hand is for the man on your right. You have strengthened yourself for the Son of Humankind’ (Psalms 80:15, 17).

“From these passages it is clear how we should understand another passage: ‘Jehovah said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a footstool for your feet.” Jehovah will send the rod of your strength out of Zion to rule in the midst of your enemies’ (Psalms 110:1, 2). The whole of Psalm 110 is about the Lord’s battle with the hells and the process of gaining control over them. Because the right hand of God means omnipotence, the Lord says that he is going to sit at the right hand of power (Matthew 26:63, 64), and at the right hand of God’s strength (Luke 22:69).”

The group shouted disapproval; but I said, “Be careful now. Perhaps the hand will appear from heaven. When it appears—and I myself have seen it—it strikes unbelievable terror into you because of its power. That hand convinced me that the right hand of God means omnipotence.” No sooner had I said this than the hand appeared in the sky just above us. It was huge. When they saw it, it struck so much terror into them that they rushed in throngs to the doors. Some ran to the windows to throw themselves out. Some collapsed, fainting because they could not breathe. I was not terrified, though. I walked out slowly behind them.

When I was at a distance I turned around and saw the hall covered in a dark cloud. Word came to me from heaven that the cloud was there now because the participants had been speaking from a belief in three gods; but the light that had been around the hall before would return when saner people were meeting there.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 136

Redemption: The Second Memorable Occurrence

One morning after I woke up, the sun in the spiritual world appeared to me in its splendor. Beneath it I saw the heavens as far away from that sun as our earth is from our sun. Then from the heavens I heard individual words that would be impossible for me to convey, which came together to form a statement that could be expressed as follows: There is one God, he is human, and his dwelling place is in that sun. This utterance came down through the middle heavens to the lowest one. From there it came into the world of spirits, where I was.

The angels’ idea of one God gradually turned into an idea of three gods as it came down—I could sense it. So I went over to speak with spirits who were thinking three gods.

“What a heinous idea!” I said. “Why did it ever occur to you?”

“We are thinking three from our mental image of a triune God,” they answered, “but this does not come down into words when we speak. Out loud we always say that God is one. If there is a different idea in our minds, so be it, as long as it does not flow down and break up the oneness of God in what we say. From time to time, though, our idea does in fact flow down, because it is there inside us. If we happened to speak at that point we would be saying three gods; but we are careful not to say that so that we are not laughed at by people who hear us.”

Then they openly voiced their real thinking and said, “Aren’t there three gods, though? There are three divine persons, each of whom is God. What else can we think when the leader of our church, drawing on the treasury of the church’s sacred dogmas, ascribes creation to one divine person, redemption to another, and sanctification to the third? Worse yet, when our leader assigns them activities, he gives each person its own activity and says that that activity cannot be shared by the other persons. The activities are not only creating, redeeming, and sanctifying, but also assigning spiritual credit or blame, mediating, and putting things into effect. In that case surely there is one who created us, who also assigns us credit or blame; a second who redeemed us, who also mediates for us; and a third who gives us our assigned and mediated credit or blame, who also sanctifies us.

“Everyone knows that the Son of God was sent into the world by God the Father to redeem the human race. That’s why he became the One who purges, mediates, appeases, and intercedes. Because he is the same as the Son of God from eternity, there are two persons that are distinct from each other. And because the two of them are in heaven, the one sitting on the other’s right-hand side, there has to be a third who carries out in the world the decisions the other two made in heaven.”

When they finished I kept quiet, but I was thinking to myself, “What idiocy! They have no idea what the Word means by mediation.”

Then the Lord commanded three angels to come down from heaven and become connected to me so that I could draw on deep perception as I talked to the spirits who had the idea of three gods, particularly on the topics of mediation, intercession, appeasement, and ritual purging. The spirits I was talking to attribute those activities to the second person, the Son, but only after he became human. Yet he became human many ages after creation. In the meantime those four means of salvation did not exist: God the Father had not been appeased, the human race had not been ritually purged, and no one had been sent from heaven to intercede or mediate.

Then I spoke to them from the inspiration that came over me at that point. I said, “Come near, all who are able, and hear what the Word means by mediation, intercession, ritual purging, and appeasement. They are four activities attributed to the grace of the one God in his human manifestation.

“No human being can ever get close to God the Father. Neither can God the Father get close to any human being. He is infinite. He is in his underlying reality, which is Jehovah. If he came close to any of us with that underlying reality he would consume us the way fire consumes a piece of wood and leaves nothing but ashes. This is clear from what God said to Moses when Moses wanted to see him: God said that no one can see him and live (Exodus 33:20). The Lord says, ‘No one has ever seen God except the Son, who is close to the Father’s heart’ (John 1:18; Matthew 11:27). The Lord also says, ‘No one has heard the voice of the Father or seen what he looks like’ (John 5:37).

“Admittedly, we read that Moses saw Jehovah eye to eye and spoke with him face to face [Exodus 33:11; Deuteronomy 34:10]; but an angel was involved as an intermediary. The same with Abraham and Gideon. “Now, because this is the true nature of God the Father, it pleased him to take on a human manifestation and give people access through it so that he could hear them and talk to them. This human manifestation is what is called the Son of God. This is what mediates, intercedes, appeases, and ritually purges.

“Let me, therefore, give the meaning of these four activities carried out by God the Father’s human manifestation:

Mediation refers to his human manifestation as the medium through which we can get closer to God the Father, and God the Father can get closer to us and teach and lead us so as to save us. This is why the Son of God, meaning the human manifestation of God the Father, is called the Savior, and in the world was called Jesus, which means salvation.

Intercession refers to ongoing mediation. Absolute love, with its mercy, forgiveness, and grace, constantly intercedes; that is, it mediates for the people who do its commandments, the people it loves.

Ritual purging refers to the removal of the sins that we would quickly fall into if we turned to Jehovah without mediation.

Appeasement refers to the actions of mercy and grace that prevent us from causing our own damnation through sin and also protect us from desecrating what is holy. This has the same meaning as the mercy seat over the ark in the tabernacle.

“It is known that God uses appearances when he speaks in the Word: for example, the appearance that he is angry, takes revenge, tests people, punishes them, throws them into hell, and damns them. Indeed, the appearance is that he does evil. Nevertheless, he is angry at no one, does not take revenge on, test, or punish anyone, throw anyone into hell, or damn anyone. To do this would be as far from God as hell is from heaven—in fact, infinitely farther. Therefore these are expressions of an appearance. In a sense, ritual purging, appeasement, interceding, and mediating are also expressions of an appearance. They mean activities through God’s human manifestation that provide us access to God, and to grace from God. “Because people have not understood these qualities they have divided God into three and have founded every teaching in the church on these three. By doing so they have falsified the Word. The result is the abomination of desolation foretold by the Lord in Daniel [11:31; 12:11], and later on in Matthew chapter 24[:15].”

After I had spoken, the group of spirits withdrew from around me. I noticed that the spirits who were still thinking three gods were looking down toward hell. The spirits who were thinking that there is one God within whom there is a divine Trinity and that the Trinity is in the Lord God the Savior were looking toward heaven. To the latter group the sun in heaven appeared, where Jehovah exists in his human manifestation.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 135

Redemption: The First Memorable Occurrence

Once I went to a church in the world of spirits. Many people had gathered there. Before the service, they were debating back and forth about redemption.

The church was a square building. It had no windows in the walls, but there was a large opening overhead in the center of the roof. Light from heaven came in through that opening and provided more illumination inside than would have been supplied by windows in the walls.

As the people were talking back and forth about redemption, all of a sudden a pitch-black cloud sailing in from the north covered the opening. It became so dark inside that the people could not see each other at all and could scarcely see their own hands. While they were standing there stunned by this, the black cloud split down the middle. Through the gap the people saw angels coming down from heaven.

The angels drove away the clouds on either side so that it became light again in the church. Then the angels sent one of their own down to the church. At the request of the other angels, that angel asked the people what topic they were arguing about that so dark a cloud should come over them, taking away their light and plunging them in darkness.

They answered that the topic was redemption: “We were saying that the Son of God redeemed us all by suffering on the cross. By suffering he ritually purged and freed the human race from damnation and eternal death.”

The angel who had been sent down said, “Why by the suffering on the cross? Explain why that was redemptive.”

At that point the priest came in and said, “I will lay out in sequence the things we know and believe. God the Father was angry at the human race. He damned it, excluded it from his mercy, declared us all detestable and accursed, and assigned us all to hell. He wanted his Son to take that damnation on himself. The Son agreed. For this purpose the Son came down, took on a human manifestation, and let himself be crucified, thereby transferring the damnation of the human race to himself. For we read, ‘Accursed is everyone who hangs on the wood of the cross’ [Deuteronomy 21:22–23; Galatians 3:13]. By interceding and mediating like this, the Son appeased the Father. Then, moved with love for the Son and affected by the wretched state he saw him in on the wood of the cross, the Father proclaimed that he would give pardons, ‘But only,’ he said, ‘for those to whom I attribute your justice. These children born of anger and a curse I will turn into children born of grace and a blessing. I will justify them and save them. The rest remain, as I proclaimed them before, children born of anger.’ This is our faith; and that is the justice, added by God the Father to our faith, that enables this faith alone to justify us and save us.”

After the angel heard this he was silent for a long time; he could not help feeling stunned. Eventually he broke his silence and said the following:

“How can the Christian world be that insane? How can it wander that far from sound reason toward derangement? How can it base its fundamental dogma of salvation on paradoxes of this kind?

“Surely anyone can see that those ideas are totally opposite to the divine essence, meaning the Lord’s divine love and divine wisdom, as well as his omnipotence and omnipresence. No decent master could treat his servants that way. Not even a wild animal would treat its offspring or its young that way. That’s horrible!

“To stop calling out to every member of the human race would go against the divine essence. It would go against the divine essence to change the divine design that has been established from eternity—the principle that all are judged by their own lives. It would go against the divine essence to take love or mercy away from anyone, let alone from the whole human race. It would go against the divine essence for the Father to be brought back to mercy by seeing the Son feeling wretched. Wouldn’t that be the same as the Father’s being brought back to his own essence, since mercy is the very essence of God? It is horrendous to think that he ever left it. From eternity to eternity, he is mercy.

“Surely it is also impossible to transfer the justice of redemption to any entity (as you believe). This justice belongs to divine omnipotence. It is impossible to attribute and assign this justice to people, and pronounce them just, pure, and holy in the absence of any other means. It is impossible to forgive people’s sins and renew, regenerate, and save people just by giving them credit they do not deserve.

“Is it that easy to turn injustice into justice or a curse into a blessing? Couldn’t God in that case turn hell into heaven and heaven into hell? Couldn’t he turn the dragon into Michael and Michael into the dragon to break up their fight? What else would he need to do then but take away the faith that had been credited to one person and credit it to another? If that were possible, we in heaven would spend eternity shaking with fear!

“It is not consistent with justice or judgment for anyone who committed a crime to become guiltless, or for the crime to be wiped away, by someone else’s taking it on. Surely this goes against all justice, both divine and human.

“The Christian world is still ignorant that the divine design exists. It is especially ignorant of the design that God built into the world at creation. God cannot go against that design—that would be going against himself, for God is the divine design itself.”

The priest understood what the angel had said, because the angels above were pouring down light from heaven. The priest groaned and said, “What can we do? Everyone today preaches this, prays it, believes it. All mouths are saying, ‘Good Father, have mercy on us and forgive us our sins for the sake of the blood that your Son shed on the cross for us.’ To Christ they all say, ‘Lord, intercede for us.’ We priests add, ‘Send us the Holy Spirit.’”

The angel said, “I have watched priests make salves from a shallow understanding of the Word and smear those salves on eyes that have been blinded by their faith. Either that or from the same source they make medicated bandages to put on the wounds inflicted by their own dogmas; but the wounds don’t heal. They are chronic.

“Therefore go to the person who is standing there”—and he pointed to me with his finger. “On behalf of the Lord he will teach you that the suffering on the cross was not redemption. It was the uniting of the Lord’s humanity with the Father’s divinity. Redemption, on the other hand, was gaining control over the hells and restructuring the heavens. Without these achievements, carried out while the Lord was in the world, no one on earth or in heaven would have attained salvation. That man will also tell you the divine design that was set up at creation for people to follow in their lives in order to be saved. Those who live by that design are numbered among the redeemed and are called the chosen.”

After the angel said that, windows formed on the sides of the church. Light flowed in through them from the four directions of that world. Angel guardians appeared, flying in a brilliant light. The angel was taken up to his companion angels above the opening in the roof; and we left feeling happy.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 134

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. (Continued)

This idea of God and redemption has turned the entire theology from something spiritual into something earthly of the lowest kind. This is because mere earthly characteristics have been attributed to God. Yet everything about the church hinges on its concept of God and its view of redemption (which is the same as its view of salvation). The concept of God and redemption is like a head: every part of the body is connected to it. When the concept is spiritual, everything about the church becomes spiritual; when it is earthly, everything about the church becomes earthly. Because the church’s concept of God and redemption became merely earthly (meaning that it was down on the level of our bodies and senses), all the dogmatic ideas expressed since then by the church’s heads and members have been merely earthly. Further ideas that hatch from these ideas will inevitably be false, because our earthly self constantly opposes our spiritual self; our earthly self sees spiritual things as phantoms and apparitions in the air.

This materialistic idea of redemption and of God has allowed thieves and robbers, so to speak (John 10:1, 8, 9), to take over the roads that lead in the direction of heaven and the Lord God the Savior. The main doors have been torn off the churches and now dragons, screech owls, wild beasts of the desert, and jackals have come in and are singing together out of tune.

This idea of redemption and God has been injected into the modern-day belief about prayer, as we know. We are supposed to ask God the Father to forgive our offenses for the sake of the cross and his Son’s blood; we are supposed to ask God the Son to pray and intercede for us; and we are supposed to ask God the Holy Spirit to justify us and sanctify us. Is this any different from praying to three gods, one after the other? Under this system, what differentiates divine governance from an aristocratic or hierarchical government? Or even the triumvirate that once occurred in Rome? Instead of a “triumvirate,” this should be called a “triumpersonate.”

Under this belief, it would be easy for the Devil to “divide and conquer,” as the saying goes—that is, to cause a division of minds and incite rebel movements, now against one god, now against another (as people have been doing since the time of Arius up to the present). The Devil would then be able to dethrone the Lord God the Savior, who has all power in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18), put some puppet of his own there, and either redirect worship to the puppet or reduce the amount of worship to both.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 133

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.

There is no topic that fills more books by orthodox theologians today, that is more intensely taught and aired in lecture halls, or that is more frequently preached and pronounced from the pulpit than the following: God the Father was angry at the human race, so he not only moved us all away from himself but locked us into a universal damnation and cut off communication with us. Nevertheless, because he is gracious, he either convinced or goaded his Son to come down to take a limited damnation on himself and ritually purge the Father’s anger. This was the only way the Father could look on the human race with any favor. So this was in fact done by the Son. For example, in taking on our damnation, the Son let the Jews whip him, spit in his face, and then crucify him like someone accursed of God (Deuteronomy 21:23). After that happened the Father was appeased, and out of love for his Son he retracted the damnation, but only from those for whom the Son would intercede. Therefore the Son became a Mediator to the Father for all time.

These ideas, and others like them, resound in churches today and reverberate off the walls like an echo from a forest, filling the ears of all who are there. Surely, though, everyone with decent reasoning enlightened by the Word can see that God is compassion and mercy itself. He is absolute love and absolute goodness—these qualities are his essence. It is a contradiction to say that compassion itself or absolute goodness could look at the human race with anger and lock us all into damnation, and still keep its divine essence. Attitudes and actions of that kind belong to a wicked person, not a virtuous one. They belong to a spirit from hell, not an angel of heaven. It is horrendous to attribute them to God.

If you investigate what caused these ideas, you find this: People have taken the suffering on the cross to be redemption itself. The ideas above have flowed from this idea the way one falsity flows from another in an unbroken chain. All you get from a vinegar bottle is vinegar. All you get from an insane mind is insanity.

Any inference leads to a series of related propositions. These are latent within the original inference and come forth from it, one after the other. This idea, that the suffering on the cross was redemption, has the capacity to yield more and more ideas that are offensive and disgraceful to God, until Isaiah’s prophecy comes to pass:

The priest and the prophet have gone astray because of beer; they stagger in their judgment. All the tables are full of the vomit they cast forth. (Isaiah 28:7, 8)

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 132

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. (Continued)

This point can also be illustrated by comparisons. (I make comparisons for the sake of ordinary people, who see more in a comparison than they do in a deductive analysis based on the Word and on reason.)

When any citizens or subjects obey the commands and orders of their king, they are united to him. If they endure oppressive circumstances for him, they are more deeply united to him. If they suffer death for him, as happens in battles and wars, they are still more deeply united to him.

In the same way, doing the other person’s will is how a friend is united to a friend, a child to a parent, or a servant to the head of the household. If the friend, child, and servant defend their superiors against enemies they are more deeply united to them. If they fight for their superiors’ honor they are even more deeply united to them.

Take for example a young man and the young woman he hopes to marry. When he confronts people who are destroying her reputation, surely he becomes more united to her. What about when he is injured fighting a rival? It is a law inscribed on nature that under these circumstances the couple will become more deeply united.

The Lord says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. For this reason the Father loves me” (John 10:11, 17).

from True Christianty, Volume 1, Section 131