Jesus Lives! - The Lord God
Jesus Christ: Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of Heaven and Earth
 That religion was spread throughout the whole world from the Ancient Word and afterwards from the Israelitish Word may be seen in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE (Sacred 101-103); and that unless there had been a Word no one could have had any knowledge of God, of heaven and of hell, of the life after death, still less of the Lord (Sacred 114-118). When once a religion is established in a nation the Lord leads that nation according to the precepts and dogmas of its own religion; and He has provided that in every religion there should be precepts similar to those in the Decalogue; as, that God is to be worshipped, His name is not to be profaned, a holy day is to be observed, parents are to be honoured, murder, adultery, and theft are not to be committed, and false witness is not to be spoken. The nation which regards these precepts as Divine and lives according to them as a matter of religion is saved, as has just been stated above (n. 253). Moreover, most nations remote from the Christian world regard those laws not as civil but as Divine and hold them sacred. That man is saved by a life according to those precepts may be seen in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM (CONCERNING LIFE) FROM THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE DECALOGUE, from beginning to end.
 Among the interior truths of heaven there is this also: The angelic heaven before the Lord is as one Man, whose soul and life is the Lord. This Divine Man is in every particular of His form a Man, not only as to the external members and organs but also as to the internal members and organs which are more in number; and also as to the skins, membranes, cartilages and bones; but in that Man all these, both external and internal, are not material but spiritual. Further, it has been provided by the Lord that those who could not be reached by the Gospel, but only by a form of religion, should also have a place in that Divine Man, that is, in heaven, by constituting those parts that are called skins, membranes, cartilages and bones, and that they like others should be in heavenly joy. For it makes no difference whether they are in such joy as that experienced by the angels of the highest heaven or by the angels of the lowest heaven, since everyone who enters heaven comes into the highest joy of his own heart; anything greater he does not assume, for he would be suffocated by it.
 For illustration of this compare a peasant and a king. A peasant may be in a state of the highest joy when he goes about in a new suit of rough home-spun, and sits down at a table on which is pork, a piece of beef cheese, beer and fiery wine; and he would be distressed at heart if he were to be clothed like a king in purple, silk, gold and silver, and if a table were to be set for him with delicacies and costly food of many kinds with noble wine. From this it is clear that there is heavenly happiness for the last as well as for the first, for each in his degree; and consequently for those also who are outside the Christian world, provided they shun evils as sins against God because they are contrary to religion.
 There are a few who are totally ignorant of God. If these have lived a moral life they are instructed by angels after death and receive in their moral life something spiritual. This may be seen in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE (Sacred 116). It is the same with those who worship the sun and the moon, believing God to be in them. They do not know otherwise, and therefore this is not imputed to them as a sin, for the Lord says:
If ye were blind (that is, if ye did not know), ye should have no sin. (John 9:41).
But there are many who worship idols and graven images, even in the Christian world. This is indeed idolatrous, and yet not with all; as there are some to whom graven images serve as a means of arousing thought concerning God; for it is by virtue of influx from heaven that those who acknowledge God desire to see Him; and as they are not able to raise their minds above sensual things, like the interiorly spiritual worshippers, their thought of God is aroused by the graven object or image. Those are saved who do this, and who do not worship the image itself as God, if they also live according to the precepts of the Decalogue from a principle of religion.
 Hence it is clear that as the Lord desires the salvation of all He has also provided that everyone, if he lives well, may have some place in heaven. Before the Lord heaven is as one Man; thus heaven corresponds to all things in general and in particular that are in man; and there are also those who represent skins, membranes, cartilages and bones. This may be seen in the work HEAVEN AND HELL, published in London, 1758 (HH 59-102); and in the ARCANA COELESTIA (AC 5552-5569); and also above (n. 201-204).
 To make it fully understood that this form of religion was raised up by the Divine Providence of the Lord to destroy the idolatries of many nations, it will be set forth in an orderly account beginning with some observations on the origin of idolatries. Previous to the religion of Mohammed the worship of idols was common throughout the whole world. This was because the Churches before the Coming of the Lord were all representative Churches. Such was the Israelitish Church. In it the tabernacle, the garments of Aaron, the sacrifices, all things belonging to the temple at Jerusalem, and also the statutes, were representative. Moreover, among the Ancients there was the science of correspondences, which is also the science of representatives, the science of the wise. This was especially cultivated in Egypt, and is the source of the Egyptian hieroglyphics. From this science they knew the signification of animals of every kind, also the signification of trees of every kind, and of mountains, hills, rivers and fountains, and also of the sun, moon and stars; and as all their worship was representative, consisting wholly of correspondences, they celebrated it on mountains and hills, and also in groves and gardens. For the same reason they also regarded fountains as holy, and in their adoration of God they turned their faces to the rising sun. Moreover, they made graven images of horses, oxen, calves, lambs and also of birds, fishes and serpents, and set them up in their houses and other places in an order according to the spiritual things of the Church to which they corresponded or which they represented. They also placed similar objects in their temples that they might bring to remembrance the holy things which they signified.
 In the course of time, when the science of correspondences had been lost, their posterity began to worship the graven images themselves, as being holy in themselves, not knowing that their forefathers had seen no holiness in those things, but only that they represented and consequently signified holy things according to correspondences. Hence arose the idolatries which filled the whole world, Asia with its neighbouring islands, as well as Africa and Europe. In order that all these idolatries might be rooted out it was brought about by the Divine Providence of the Lord that a new religion should arise, adapted to the genius of Orientals, in which there should be something from both Testaments of the Word and which should teach that the Lord came into the world, and that He was a very great prophet, the wisest of all men, and the Son of God. This was effected by means of Mohammed, from whom that religion is called the Mohammedan religion.
 By the Divine Providence of the Lord this religion was raised up and adapted to the genius of Orientals, as was just stated, to the end that it might destroy the idolatries practised by so many nations and give the people some knowledge concerning the Lord before they entered the spiritual world. This religion would not have been received by so many kingdoms with power to extirpate idolatries if it had not been suited and adapted to the ideas of thought and life of them all. It did not acknowledge the Lord as God of heaven and earth because Oriental peoples acknowledged God as the Creator of the universe, but they could not comprehend that He came into the world and assumed the Human, even as Christians do not comprehend this, who consequently in their thought separate His Divine from His Human, and place the Divine near the Father in heaven and His Human they know not where.
 Hence it may be seen that the Mohammedan religion also arose from the Divine Providence of the Lord; and that all persons of that religion who acknowledge the Lord as the Son of God and at the same time live according to the precepts of the Decalogue, which they also have, by shunning evils as sins, come into a heaven called the Mohammedan heaven. This heaven is also divided into three, the highest, middle and lowest. In the highest heaven are those who acknowledge the Lord to be one with the Father, and thus to be Himself the only God; in the second heaven are those who renounce a plurality of wives and live with one; and in the lowest are those who are being initiated. More about this religion, see (CLJ 68-72), where the Mohammedans and Mohammed are treated of.
 Nor does it matter whether a smaller or a greater part of the world has received that religion provided there are people with whom the Word is; for those still have light from it who are outside the Church and have not the Word. This is shown in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE (Sacred 104-113); and it is a wonderful thing that where the Word is read with reverence and the Lord is worshipped from the Word the Lord is present together with heaven. This is because the Lord is the Word, and the Word is Divine Truth which constitutes heaven; therefore the Lord says:--
Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matt. 18:20).
This may be effected with the Word by Europeans in many parts of the habitable globe because their commerce extends over the whole world; and everywhere the Word is read by them or there is teaching from it. This appears like fiction, but still it is true.
 The Christian religion is in a state of division because it is derived from the Word, which is written throughout wholly by correspondences; and correspondences are in great part appearances of truth enclosed within which, nevertheless, genuine truths lie concealed. As the doctrine of the Church is to be drawn from the sense of the Letter of the Word, and the nature of that sense has just been stated, there could not but arise in the Church disputes, controversies and dissensions, especially in regard to the understanding of the Word, but not in regard to the Word itself and the Divine itself of the Lord. For it is everywhere acknowledged that the Word is holy and that Divinity belongs to the Lord; and these two tenets are the essentials of the Church. Therefore also those who deny the Divinity of the Lord, who are called Socinians, have been excommunicated from the Church; and those who deny the holiness of the Word are not regarded as Christians.
 To this I will add a noteworthy circumstance concerning the Word, from which it may be concluded that the Word interiorly is the Divine Truth itself, and inmostly is the Lord. When any spirit opens the Word and rubs his face or his clothing with it, his face or his clothing shines, from the mere rubbing, as brightly as the moon or a star, and this in the sight of all whom he meets. This is a proof that there is nothing in the world more holy than the Word. That the Word is written throughout wholly by correspondences may be seen in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE (Sacred 5-26); that the doctrine of the Church is to be drawn from the sense of the Letter of the Word and confirmed by it (Sacred 50-61); that heresies may be derived from the sense of the Letter of the Word, but that it is harmful to confirm them (Sacred 91-97); that the Church is from the Word, and its quality is according to its understanding of the Word (Sacred 76-79).
 Everyone may see that this is the Babylon described in the Revelation, and that it is the Babel spoken of in various places in the Prophets. It is also the Lucifer referred to in Isaiah, as is clear from the verses of that chapter in which are these words:--
Thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, (Isaiah 14:4);
I will cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, (Isaiah 14:22).
From this it is evident that Babel there is Lucifer of whom it is said:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. (Isa. 14:12, 13, 14).
It is well known that they invoke the dead and pray to them for help. It is affirmed that they invoke the dead because such invocation was established by a papal bull confirming the decree of the Council of Trent, in which it is openly said that the dead should be invoked. Yet everyone knows that God alone should be invoked and not any dead person.
 It will now be stated why the Lord has permitted such things. It cannot be denied that He has permitted them for the sake of the end, which is salvation. For it is known that without the Lord there is no salvation; and since this is so it was necessary that the Lord should be preached from the Word and that the Christian Church by that means should be established. This, however, could only be done by leaders who would act with zeal; nor were others found but those who from the fire of self-love burned with a zealous ardour. At first this fire roused them to preach the Lord and to teach the Word; and it is from this their first state that Lucifer is called the son of the morning, (Isaiah 14:12). But as they saw that they could obtain dominion by means of the holy things of the Word and of the Church, the love of self, by which they were first roused to preach the Lord, burst forth from within and finally exalted itself to such a height that they transferred to themselves all the Divine power of the Lord, not leaving Him any.
 This could not be prevented by the Divine Providence of the Lord; for if it were prevented they would have declared that the Lord is not God, and that the Word is not holy, and would have made themselves Socinians and Arians, and thus would have totally destroyed the Church; but it, whatever may be the character of its rulers, still continues among the people who are submissive to them. For all those of this religion who approach the Lord and shun evils as sins are saved; and therefore there are many heavenly societies formed from them in the spiritual world. Moreover, it has also been provided that there should be among them a nation which has not submitted to the yoke of such domination and which regards the Word as sacred. This is the great French nation.
 But what has happened? When the love of self exalted its dominion even to the Lord’s throne, removed Him and set itself upon it, that love, which is Lucifer, could not but profane all things of the Word and of the Church. To prevent this the Lord by His Divine Providence so ordered it that they should depart from His worship and should invoke the dead, pray to graven images of the dead, kiss their bones and bow down at their tombs, should forbid the reading of the Word, appoint holy worship in masses not understood by the common people, and sell salvation for money; because if they had not done these things they would have profaned the holy things of the Word and of the Church. For as was shown in the preceding section only those profane holy things who have a knowledge of them.
 Therefore, lest they should profane the most Holy Supper it is of the Divine Providence of the Lord that they should divide it, giving the bread to the people and drinking the wine themselves; for the wine in the Holy Supper signifies holy truth and the bread holy good; but when they are divided the wine signifies profaned truth and the bread adulterated good; and further that they should make the Holy Supper corporeal and material, and adopt this as the primary principle of religion. Anyone who turns his attention to these particulars and considers them with a some what enlightened mind may observe the wonderful operations of the Divine Providence for guarding the holy things of the Church, and for saving all who can be saved, and who are willing to be saved, but who must be snatched as it were from the fire.
 It is of the Divine Providence also that such a doctrine has been permitted lest the Divinity (Divinum) of the Lord and the holiness of the Word should be profaned. The Divinity of the Lord is not profaned when salvation is placed in these words: That God the Father may be merciful for the sake of His Son, who endured the cross and made satisfaction for us; for in this form of words such persons do not approach the Divinity of the Lord but the Human which they do not acknowledge as Divine. Nor is the Word profaned, for they pay no attention to those passages where love, charity, doing and works are mentioned. All these, they say, are included in the faith expressed in the words quoted; and those who confirm this say to themselves, "The law does not condemn me, thus neither does evil; and good does not save me, because the good done by me is not good." They are therefore like those who have no knowledge of any truth from the Word, and on that account cannot profane it. But only those confirm the faith expressed in those words who from the love of self are in the pride of their own intelligence. They are not Christians at heart, but only desire to seem so.
 It will now be shown that the Divine Providence of the Lord is nevertheless continually operating for the salvation of those with whom faith separate from charity has become a matter of religion. It is of the Divine Providence of the Lord that, although that faith has become a matter of their religion, still everyone knows it is not that faith that saves but a life of charity with which faith acts as one. For in all Churches where that religion is received it is taught that there is no salvation unless a man examines himself sees his sins, acknowledges them, repents, desists from them, and enters on a new life. This is read with much zeal in the presence of all those who approach the Holy Supper; and it is added that unless they do this they mingle what is holy with what is profane, and cast themselves into eternal condemnation. In England, indeed, it is taught that unless they do this the devil will enter into them as he did into Judas and will destroy them soul and body. From this it is clear that in Churches where faith alone is received everyone is nevertheless taught that evils are to be shunned as sins.
 Moreover, everyone who is born a Christian also knows that evils are to be shunned as sins, because the Decalogue is placed in the hands of every boy and girl, and is taught by parents and teachers. Moreover, all citizens of the kingdom, especially the common people, are examined by a priest on the Decalogue alone, repeated from memory, as to what they know of the Christian religion and they are also admonished to do the things that are commanded there. At such times they are not told by the priest that they are not under the yoke of that law, or that they cannot do the things commanded because they cannot do anything good from themselves. Further, the Athanasian Creed has been received throughout the whole Christian world, and what is said at the end is also acknowledged, namely, that the Lord will come to judge the quick and the dead, when those who "have done good" will enter into life eternal, and those who "have done evil" into everlasting fire.
 In Sweden where the religion of faith alone has been received, it is also plainly taught that faith separate from charity or without good works is impossible. This is indicated in a certain Appendix of things to be remembered, inserted in all their Psalm books, entitled IMPEDIMENTS OR STUMBLING-BLOCKS TO THE IMPENITENT (OBOTFERDIGAS FOERHINDER). In it there are these words: Those who are rich in good works thereby show that they are rich in faith, because when faith is saving it operates through charity. For justifying faith never exists alone and separate from good works, as there is no good tree without fruit, no sun without light and heat, and no water without moisture.
 These few things have been set forth to make known that although a religious system of faith alone has been received, nevertheless the goods of charity, which are good works, are everywhere taught; and that this is of the Divine Providence of the Lord lest the common people should be led astray by it. I have heard Luther, with whom I have sometimes spoken in the spiritual world, execrating faith alone and saying that when he established it he was warned by an angel of the Lord not to do it; but that he thought to himself that if he did not reject good works, separation from the Catholic form of religion would not be effected. Therefore, contrary to the warning, he established that faith.
 You will see this if you read through and compare the laws that have been set forth. Since, then, it is in accordance with these laws that there is no immediate influx from heaven, but only mediate influx through the Word, doctrine and preaching; and since the Word to be Divine could only have been written throughout wholly by correspondences, it follows that dissensions and heresies are inevitable, and that the permission of these is also in accordance with the laws of the Divine Providence. Moreover, when the Church itself has assumed as its essentials things which belong to the understanding only, that is, to doctrine, and not things which belong to the will, that is, to the life; and when those things which belong to the life are not made essentials of the Church, then man from his understanding is in complete darkness and wanders about like a blind man, everywhere running up against things and falling into pits. For the will must see in the understanding, and not the understanding in the will; or what is the same, the life and its love must lead the understanding to think, speak and act, and not the reverse. If the reverse were the case the understanding, from an evil, indeed a diabolical love, might seize upon whatever presents itself through the senses and insist upon the will doing it. From these considerations it may be seen how dissensions and heresies arise.
 Yet it has been provided that everyone, no matter in what heresy he may be with respect to his understanding, may still be reformed and saved, if only he shuns evils as sins and does not confirm heretical falsities in himself. For by shunning evils as sins the will is reformed, and through the will the understanding, which then first emerges out of darkness into light. There are three essentials of the Church: an acknowledgment of the Divinity of the Lord, an acknowledgment of the holiness of the Word, and the life that is called charity. According to the life which is charity is every man’s faith; from the Word he has a rational perception of what the life should be; and from the Lord he has reformation and salvation. Had these three been held as essentials of the Church intellectual dissensions would not have divided but would have merely varied it, as light varies colours in beautiful objects, and as the various emblems of royalty constitute the beauty of a kingly crown.
 The Jews, however, persist in their denial of the Lord because their character is such that if they were to receive and acknowledge the Divinity of the Lord and the holy things of His Church they would profane them. Therefore the Lord says of them:
He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. (John 12:40; Matt. 13:14; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; Isa. 6:9, 10).
It is said, lest they should be converted, and I should heal them, because if they had been converted and healed they would have committed profanation; and it is according to the law of the Divine Providence treated above (n. 221-233), that no one is admitted by the Lord interiorly into the truths of faith and the goods of charity except so far as he can be kept in them right on to the end of life; and if he were admitted he would profane what is holy.
 This nation has been preserved and dispersed over a great part of the world for the sake of the Word in its original language, which they more than Christians hold sacred; and in every particular of the Word is the Divinity of the Lord, for it is Divine Truth united to Divine Good proceeding from the Lord and by means of this the Word becomes the conjunction of the Lord with the Church and the presence of heaven with man, as has been shown in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE (Sacred 62-69); and there is the presence of the Lord and of heaven wherever the Word is read with reverence. This is the end which the Divine Providence has in view, in preserving and dispersing them over a great part of the world. The nature of their lot after death may be seen in (CLJ 79-82).