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

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)

The prophets represented their church’s condition relative to its teachings from the Word and its life according to them, as the following stories from the Word make clear:

Isaiah the prophet was commanded to take the sackcloth off below his waist and the sandals off his feet and go naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a wonder (Isaiah 20:2, 3).

Ezekiel the prophet was commanded to represent the state of the church by making travel bags, moving to another place before the eyes of the children of Israel, taking out his bags from time to time, going out in the evening through a hole in the wall, and covering his face so he could not see the ground. In this way he would be a wonder to the house of Israel. He was told to say, “Behold, I am your wonder. As I have done, so it will be for you” (Ezekiel 12:3–7, 11).

Hosea the prophet was commanded to represent the church’s condition by marrying a promiscuous partner, which he did. She bore him three sons, one of whom he called Jezreel, the second No Mercy, and the third Not My People. At another point he was commanded to go love a woman who already had a lover and who was committing adultery, and buy her for himself (Hosea 1:2–9; 3:1, 2).

One prophet was commanded to put ashes over his eyes and let himself be beaten and whipped (1 Kings 20:35, 38).

Ezekiel the prophet was commanded to represent the condition of the church by taking a brick and sculpting Jerusalem on it, laying siege to it, building a rampart and a mound against it, putting an iron frying pan between himself and the “city,” and sleeping on his left side and then on his right side. He also had to take wheat, barley, lentils, millet, and spelt and make bread out of them. He also had to make a cake of barley with human excrement; but because he begged not to have to do that, he was allowed to make it with cow dung instead. He was told,

Lie on your left side and put the injustice done by the house of Israel on it. For the number of days during which you sleep on that side you will carry their injustice. For I will give you the years of their injustice according to the number of days, 390 days for you to carry the injustice done by the house of Israel. But when you have finished them, you will lie again on your right side to carry the injustice done by the house of Judah. (Ezekiel 4:1–15)

By these actions the prophet Ezekiel carried the injustices done by the house of Israel and the house of Judah; but he did not take away those injustices or atone for them, he only represented them and made them visible. This is clear from the following verses in the same chapter:

“Like this,” says Jehovah, “will the children of Israel eat their unclean bread. Behold I am breaking the staff of bread so that they lack bread and water. A man and his brother will become desolate and will waste away because of their injustice.” (Ezekiel 4:13, 16, 17)

The same thing is meant by the statement about the Lord that says, “He bore our diseases, he carried our pains. Jehovah put on him the injustices committed by us all. Through his knowledge he justified many as he himself carried their injustices” (Isaiah 53:4, 6, 11). This whole chapter in Isaiah is about the Lord’s suffering.

The following details of the Lord’s suffering make it clear that he was the ultimate prophet, embodying the Jewish church’s treatment of the Word: He was betrayed by Judas. The chief priests and the elders arrested him and condemned him. They hit him repeatedly. They beat his head with a cane. They put a crown of thorns on him. They tore up his clothes and cast lots for his undergarment. They crucified him. They gave him vinegar to drink. They pierced his side. He was buried, and on the third day he rose.

His betrayal by Judas meant his betrayal by the Jewish nation, among whom the Word existed at that time. Judas represented that nation. The chief priests and the elders who arrested and condemned him meant that whole church. Their punching him repeatedly, spitting in his face, whipping him, and beating his head with a cane meant that they had done the same to the divine truths in the Word. Their putting a crown of thorns on him meant that they had falsified and contaminated those divine truths. Their tearing up his clothes and casting lots for his undergarment meant that they had split apart all the truths of the Word but they had not split apart its spiritual meaning, which was symbolized by the Lord’s undergarment. Their crucifying him meant that they had desecrated and destroyed the entire Word. Their offering him vinegar to drink meant that everything they offered him had been completely falsified; therefore he did not drink it. Their piercing his side meant that they had completely annihilated everything true and everything good in the Word. His being buried meant his casting off what was left from his mother. His rising on the third day meant the glorification, the union of his human nature with the divine nature of the Father.

From all this it is clear that “carrying injustices” does not mean taking them away; it means representing the desecration of the Word’s truth.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 130

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)

The Lord was willing to undergo spiritual tests, including even the suffering on the cross, because he was the ultimate prophet. The prophets stood for the church’s teachings from the Word. As a result they represented the nature of the church in various ways—even by doing unjust, harsh, and wicked things that God commanded them to do. In the Lord’s case, however, he was the Word itself. During his suffering on the cross he was the ultimate prophet, representing the way the Jewish church had desecrated the Word.

An additional reason why the Lord was willing to suffer on the cross was that by doing so he would come to be acknowledged in the heavens as the Savior of both worlds. Every aspect of his suffering meant something related to the desecration of the Word. When people in the church understand these aspects in physical terms, angels understand them in spiritual terms.

The following passages make it clear that the Lord was the ultimate prophet: “The Lord said, ‘A prophet is nowhere less honored than in his own country and in his own house’” (Matthew 13:57; Mark 6:4; Luke 4:24). “Jesus said, ‘It is not right for a prophet to die away from Jerusalem’” (Luke 13:33). “Fear took hold of them all. They were praising God and saying that a great prophet had risen among them” (Luke 7:16). They called Jesus “that prophet from Nazareth” (Matthew 21:11; John 7:40, 41). It says in Deuteronomy that a prophet would be raised up from among his brothers and sisters, and they would obey his words (Deuteronomy 18:15–19).

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 129

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)

Redemption and the suffering on the cross must be seen as separate. Otherwise the human mind gets wrecked as a ship does on sandbars or rocks, causing the loss of the ship, the helmsman, the captain, and the sailors. It goes astray in everything having to do with salvation by the Lord. If we lack separate ideas of these two things we are in a kind of dream; we see images that are unreal and we make conjectures based on them that we think are real but are just made up. We are like someone walking out [to a tryst] at night, who, thinking that the leaves of a tree within his grasp are human tresses, sidles closer, only to entangle his own hair in them.

Although redemption and the suffering on the cross are two different things, nevertheless they become one in contributing to salvation. When the Lord became united to his Father, which happened through the suffering on the cross, he became the Redeemer forever.

The suffering on the cross completed the process of glorification (meaning the uniting of the Lord’s divine-human nature to the divine nature of the Father). The Lord himself says so in the Gospels: “After Judas left, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Humankind is glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and glorify him immediately’” (John 13:31, 32). Here glorification refers to both God the Father and the Son; it says “God is glorified in him and will glorify him in himself.” Clearly this means that they became united.

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so that your Son may also glorify you” (John 17:1, 5). This form of expression occurs here because the uniting was reciprocal. As it says, the Father was in him and he was in the Father.

Jesus said, “‘Now my soul is disturbed.’ And he said, ‘Father, glorify your name.’ And a voice came out of heaven, ‘I both have glorified it and will glorify it again’” (John 12:27, 28). It says this because the uniting occurred in successive stages.

“Was it not fitting for Christ to suffer and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26). In the Word when “glory” is related to the Lord it means the divine truth united to divine goodness. From these passages it is very clear that the Lord’s human manifestation is divine.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Sections 127-128

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.

There are two things for which the Lord came into the world and through which he saved people and angels: redemption, and the glorification of his human aspect. These two things are distinct from each other, but they become one in contributing to salvation.

In the preceding points we have shown what redemption was: battling the hells, gaining control over them, and then restructuring the heavens. Glorification, however, was the uniting of the Lord’s human nature with the divine nature of his Father. This process occurred in successive stages and was completed by the suffering on the cross.

All of us have to do our part and move closer to God. The closer we come to God, the more God enters us, which is his part. It is similar with a house of worship: first it has to be built by human hands; then it has to be dedicated; and finally prayers are said for God to be present and unite himself to the church that gathers there.

The union itself [between the Lord’s divine and human natures] was completed by the suffering on the cross, because this suffering was the final spiritual test that the Lord went through in the world. Spiritual tests lead to a partnership [with God]. During our spiritual tests, we are apparently left completely alone, although in fact we are not alone—at those times God is most intimately present at our deepest level giving us support. Because of that inner presence, when any of us have success in a spiritual test we form a partnership with God at the deepest level.

In the Lord’s case, he was then united to God, his Father, at the deepest level. The Lord was left to himself during the suffering on the cross, as is clear from his crying out on the cross: “God, why have you abandoned me?” [Matthew 27:46]. This is also clear from the following words spoken by the Lord: “No one is taking my life away from me—I am laying it down by myself. I have the power to lay it down and I have the power to take it up again. I received this command from my Father” (John 10:18).

From the points just made it is clear that it was not the Lord’s divine nature that suffered, it was his human nature; and then the deepest union, a complete union, took place.

An illustration of this is that when we suffer physically, our soul does not suffer, it merely feels distress. After victory, God relieves that distress and washes it away like tears from our eyes.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 126

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