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

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

Jehovah God could not have taken these actions and made them effective without a human manifestation, as various comparisons can illustrate.

An invisible person cannot shake hands or talk with a visible one. In fact, angels and spirits cannot shake hands or talk with us even when they are standing right next to our bodies or in front of our faces. No one’s soul can talk, or do things, with anyone else except through its own body. The sun cannot convey its light and heat into any human, animal, or tree, unless it first enters the air and acts through that. It cannot convey its light and heat to any fish unless it passes through the water. It has to act through the element the entity is in. None of us could scale a fish with a knife or pluck a raven’s feathers if we had no fingers. We cannot go to the bottom of a deep lake without a diving bell. In a word, one thing needs to be adapted to another before the two can communicate and work with or against each other.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 125

The Lord The Redeemer: 1. Jehovah God came down and took on a human manifestation in order to redeem people and save them. (Continued)

God could not have redeemed people, that is, rescued them from damnation and hell, without first taking on a human manifestation. There are many reasons for this; they will be disclosed step by step in what follows. Redemption was a matter of gaining control of the hells, restructuring the heavens, and then establishing a church. Despite his omnipotence, God could not accomplish these things except through his human manifestation, as one cannot do work without arms. In fact, in the Word his human manifestation is called the arm of Jehovah (Isaiah 40:10; 53:1). By analogy, one cannot attack a fortified city and destroy the temples of idols there without powerful means.

The Word as well makes it clear that having a human manifestation gave God the omnipotence to do this divine work. God is in the inmost and purest realms. There was no other way he could cross over to the lowest levels where the hells exist and where people were at that time, just as a soul cannot do anything without a body. By analogy, there is no way to overpower enemies who are not in sight and whom we cannot get close to with weapons such as spears, shields, or guns.

To redeem people without a human manifestation would have been as impossible for God as it would be for someone [outside India] to take control of people in India without sending in troops on ships. It would be as impossible as growing trees on heat and light alone if air had not been created as a medium through which they travel and earth had not been created in which the trees could grow. In fact, it would be as impossible as catching fish by throwing a net in the air and not in the water.

Given Jehovah’s inherent nature, despite his omnipotence he could not touch any individual devils in hell or any individual devils on earth and control them or their rage or tame their violence unless he could be as present in the farthest realms as he is in those closest to him. In his human manifestation he is in fact present in the farthest realms. This is why the Word refers to him as the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End [Revelation 1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13].

from True Christianity, Section 84

The Lord The Redeemer: 1. Jehovah God came down and took on a human manifestation in order to redeem people and save them. (Continued)

The idea that it was some eternally begotten Son who came down and took on a human manifestation turns out to be utterly wrong, collapses, and vanishes in the face of passages in the Word like the following, where Jehovah himself says that he is the Savior and Redeemer:

Am not I Jehovah? And there is no other God except me. I am a just God, and there is no Savior except me. (Isaiah 45:21–22)

I am Jehovah, and there is no Savior except me. (Isaiah 43:11)

I am Jehovah, your God, and you are not to acknowledge a God except me. There is no Savior except me. (Hosea 13:4)

So that all flesh may know that I, Jehovah, am your Savior and your Redeemer. (Isaiah 49:26; 60:16)

As for our Redeemer, Jehovah Sabaoth is his name. (Isaiah 47:4)

Their Redeemer is strong; Jehovah Sabaoth is his name. (Jeremiah 50:34)

Jehovah, my rock and my Redeemer. (Psalms 19:14)

Thus says Jehovah, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am Jehovah, your God.” (Isaiah 48:17; 43:14; 49:7)

Thus said Jehovah, your Redeemer: “I, Jehovah, am the maker of all things. I alone [stretch out the heavens. I extend the earth] by myself.” (Isaiah 44:24)

Thus said Jehovah, the King of Israel, and its Redeemer, Jehovah Sabaoth: “I am the First and the Last, and there is no God except me.” (Isaiah 44:6)

You, Jehovah, are our Father; our Redeemer from everlasting is your name. (Isaiah 63:16)

“With the compassion of eternity I will have mercy.” So says your Redeemer, Jehovah. (Isaiah 54:8)

You have redeemed me, Jehovah of truth. (Psalms 31:6)

Israel should hope in Jehovah, because with Jehovah there is compassion; with him there is the most redemption. He will redeem Israel from all its forms of wickedness. (Psalms 130:7–8)

Jehovah God and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, will be called God of all the earth. (Isaiah 54:5)

From these passages and very many others, all who have eyes and open minds can see that God, who is one, came down and became human for the purpose of redeeming people. Anyone who pays attention to the divine sayings just quoted can see this as clearly as something in the morning light.

There are people, though, who are in the dark of night because they have convinced themselves that there was another god, eternally begotten, who came down and redeemed humankind. These people close their eyes to these divine sayings, and consider with eyes shut how to twist the sayings and apply them to their false beliefs.

from True Christianity, Section 83

REFORMATION LEADS TO AN INTERNAL BATTLE (Continued)

While he was in the world, the Lord glorified his human manifestation, that is, made it divine, through battles and inner conflict. In a similar way within us individually, the Lord fights for us while we are undergoing inner conflict and conquers the hellish spirits who are assaulting us. Afterward he “glorifies” us, that is, makes us spiritual.

After his universal redemption, the Lord restructured all things in heaven and in hell in accordance with the divine design. He does much the same thing in us after crises of the spirit—that is, he restructures all the things in us that relate to heaven and the world in accordance with the divine design.

After his redemption, the Lord established a new church. Likewise, he establishes the principles of the church in us and turns us into an individual church.

After redemption, the Lord granted peace to those who believed in him. He said, “I leave my peace with you; I give my peace to you. I do not give to you the way the world gives” (John 14:27). In much the same way, after we have undergone a crisis of the spirit he allows us to feel peace, that is, gladness of mind and consolation.

From all this it is clear that the Lord is the Redeemer to eternity.

If our inner self alone were regenerated and not our outer self at the same time, we could be compared to a bird flying in the air that can find no place to rest on dry ground but only in a swamp, where it is attacked by snakes and frogs, and it flies away and dies.

We could also be compared to a house without a foundation, or a column without a footing to support it.

This is what we would be like if our inner self alone were reformed but not our outer self at the same time. We would have no outlet through which to do what is good.

from Regeneration, Pages 69, 70