The Church in God’s Sight

The Church is in man, and not outside of him; and the Church at large consists of the men who have the Church in them.–The Church consists of those who from the heart acknowledge the Divine of the Lord, who learn truths from Him by the Word, and do them.–Every one who lives in the good of charity and faith is a Church and a Kingdom of the Lord.– The Church in general is constituted of those who are severally Churches, however remote they are from one another.– The Church of the Lord is scattered throughout the whole world. — Heaven and Hell, Section 57, Arcana Coelestia, Section 6637

from The Gist of Swedenborg, The Light of Love and Truth


Heaven and Hell, Section 57: Published 6/13/2019

A New Man

When a man is regenerated, he becomes altogether another and a new, man. While his appearance and his speech are the same, yet his mind is not; for his mind is then open toward heaven, and there dwell in it love for the Lord, and charity toward the neighbor, together with faith.

It is the mind which makes another and a new man. The change of state cannot be perceived in man’s body, but in his spirit. When it [the body] is put off then his spirit appears, and in altogether another form too, when he has been regenerated; for it has then a form of love and charity with inexpressible beauty, in the place of the earlier form, which was one of hatred and cruelty with a deformity also inexpressible. –Arcana Coelestia, Section 3212

from the Gist of Swedenborg, The Light of Love and Truth

The Kingdom of God Is within You

Heaven is in a man; and they who have heaven within themselves, come into heaven. Heaven in a man is to acknowledge the Divine, and to be led by the Divine. Every angel receives the heaven, which is around him according to the heaven, which is within him. Unless heaven is within a man, none of the heaven around him flows in and is received.

Love to the Lord is the love regnant in the heavens; for there the Lord is loved above all things. Thus the Lord is All in all there. He flows into all the angels, and into each of them; He disposes them: He induces a likeness of Himself on them, and causes Heaven to be where He is. Hence an angel is heaven in the least form; a society is heaven in a greater form; and all the societies together are heaven in the greatest form. –Heaven and Hell, Sections 319, 54, 58

from The Gist of Swedenborg, The Light of Love and Truth


Heaven and Hell, Section 319: Published 12/19/2019

Heaven and Hell, Section 54: Published 6/12/2019

Heaven and Hell, Section 58: Published 6/13/2019

The Word’s Literal Meaning Provides a Connection to the Lord and Association with Angels (Continued)

Association with angels comes about through the Word’s earthly or literal meaning because three levels of life have been built into every one of us from creation; a heavenly level, a spiritual level, and an earthly level. As long as we are alive in the world we are conscious of the earthly level; during this time we are conscious of the spiritual angelic level only to the extent that we have genuine truths, and we are conscious of the heavenly level only to the extent that we live our lives by those truths. Even in that case, we do not come into full consciousness of what is spiritual or heavenly until after death, because what is spiritual and heavenly is locked and hidden inside our earthly ideas. When our earthly level passes away through death, the spiritual and heavenly levels remain and form the basis of the ideas in our thinking.

It stands to reason, then, that only the Word has spirit and life. As the Lord says:

The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life. (John 6:63)

The water that I will give you will become a fountain of water springing up to eternal life. (John 4:14)

People do not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)

Work for the food that remains for eternal life, which the Son of Humankind will give you. (John 6:27)

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 239

The Word’s Literal Meaning Provides a Connection to the Lord and Association with Angels (Continued)

In its letter the Word is like a case that has precious stones, pearls, and gems laid out in a pattern inside. When we regard the Word as holy and read it in order to have a useful life, our minds have thoughts like a jewel case that someone takes hold of and sends up to heaven. As the jewel case rises, it opens, making the precious things inside accessible to the angels, who are profoundly delighted to see them and to hold them up to the light. The angels’ pleasure is shared with us; this process brings angels into association with us and allows them to share with us not only that pleasure but also their perceptions.

The Holy Supper was established to allow us this kind of association with angels as well as a connection to the Lord. During the Holy Supper, in heaven the bread becomes divine goodness and the wine becomes divine truth, both of which are from the Lord. Ever since creation this correspondence has existed for two reasons; so the angelic heaven and the church on earth, or more generally the spiritual world and the physical world, could be one; and so the Lord could be connected to both of them at once.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 238

The Word’s Literal Meaning Provides a Connection to the Lord and Association with Angels (Continued)

A spiritual angel draws out and extracts spiritual things from the Word’s literal meaning, and a heavenly angel draws out and extracts heavenly things, because these things agree with their nature and are compatible with it. To illustrate the truth of this, I can use similar situations in nature’s three kingdoms–animal, plant, and mineral.

In the animal kingdom, when food has become chyle, blood vessels draw out and extract their blood from it, never fibers derive their sap from it, and so do the structures from which the [nerve] fibers branch out.

In the plant kingdom, a tree, including trunk, branches, leaves, and fruit, stands upon its root. Through the root it draws out of the ground and extracts a relatively crude sap for the trunk, branches, and leaves, a more refined sap for the flesh of the fruit, and a most refined sap for the seeds inside the fruit.

In the mineral kingdom, here and there in the womb of the earth there are raw minerals pregnant with gold, silver, copper, and iron. As a result of exhaled gases and the flow of liquid from the rocky substance, gold extracts its own irreducible element, silver its own, copper its own, and iron its own; and a watery effluvium conveys them from one place to another.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 237

The Word’s Literal Meaning Provides a Connection to the Lord and Association with Angels (Continued)

Examples will illustrate how spiritual angels receive their meaning and heavenly angels receive theirs from the earthly meaning when we read the Word. Four of the Ten Commandments will provide examples.

Take the fifth commandment, “You will not murder.” We take this to mean not only murdering but also hating and longing for revenge even to the point of death. Spiritual angels take “murdering ” to mean acting like a devil and killing someone’s soul. Heavenly angels take “murdering” to mean hating the Lord and the Word.

The sixth commandment, “You will not commit adultery.” We take “committing adultery” to mean whoring, doing obscene things, saying lustful things, and having filthy thoughts. A spiritual angels takes “committing adultery” to mean contaminating the good things taught by the Word and falsifying its truths. A heavenly angel takes “committing adultery” to mean denying the Lord’s divinity and desecrating the Word.

The seventh commandment, “You will not steal.” We take”stealing” to mean stealing, cheating, and using any excuse to take our neighbor’s possessions. A spiritual angel takes “stealing” to mean using things that are false and evil to deprive others of the true and good things in their faith. A heavenly angel takes “stealing” to mean attributing to ourselves what belongs to the Lord and claiming his justice and merit for ourselves.

The eighth commandment, “You will not testify falsely.” We take “testifying falsely” to include lying and libeling. A [spiritual] angel takes “testifying falsely” to mean saying and convincing people that falsity is truth and evil is good, and the reverse. A heavenly angel takes “testifying falsely” to mean slandering and blaspheming the Lord and the Word.

This shows how spiritual and heavenly meanings are unfolded from and drawn out of the Word’s earthly meaning, which contains them. An astounding thing is that the angels receive their meanings independently of their knowing what we are thinking. Yet the angels’ thoughts and ours are united through correspondences like a purpose, its means, and its result. In fact, purposes actually exist in the heavenly kingdom, means, actually exist in the spiritual kingdom, and results actually exist in the earthly kingdom. That is how we now associate with angels through the Word.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 236

The Word’s Literal Meaning Provides a Connection to the Lord and Association with Angels (Continued)

A number of experiences have made it obvious to me that spiritual angels are associated with the Word’s spiritual meaning and heavenly angels are associated with the Word’s heavenly meaning. I was allowed to perceive that a line of communication to the heavens opened up while I was reading the Word in its literal meaning–at one moment to one community, at another moment to another community. The things that I understood in the earthly meaning the spiritual angels understood in the spiritual meaning and the heavenly angels understood in the heavenly meaning. It was instantaneous. Having perceived this communication several thousand times, I have no room left for doubt about it.

In fact, there are spirits below the heavens who abuse this communication. They recite some saying from the Word’s literal meaning and immediately observe and record the community that it coomunicates with. This too I have often seen and heard.

I have been allowed to know through living experience, then, that the Word in its literal meaning is a divine medium for connecting us to the Lord and associating us with angels in heaven.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 235

The Word’s Literal Meaning Provides a Connection to the Lord and Association with Angels

The Word provides a connection to the Lord because he is the Word; that is, he is the divine truth and the divine goodness within it. The literal meaning provides this connection because in this meaning the Word has its completeness, holiness, and power, as I have shown in the relevant passage above [Sections 214-224]. The connection to the Lord is not apparent to us; it exists in our love for the truth and our perception of it.

The Word’s literal meaning also provides association with angels in heaven because within the literal meaning there is a spiritual meaning and a heavenly meaning. The angels are in these higher meanings. Angels of the Lord’s spiritual kingdom are in the Word’s spiritual meaning, and angels of the Lord’s heavenly kingdom are in the Word’s heavenly meaning. These two meanings unfold out of the Word’s earthly meaning when the Word is read by people who regard it as holy. The unfolding is instantaneous and the association forms immediately.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 234

3. The Genuine Truth in the Word’s Literal Meaning, the Truth That Is Needed for a Body of Teaching, becomes Manifest only to Those Who Have Enlightenment from the Lord (Continued)

I have been given the opportunity to talk to many people after death who believed that in heaven they were going to shine like stars because (so they said) they regarded the Word as holy, read it through many times over and collected many passages from it that they used to support the dogmas of their faith. As a result, they became famous scholars and believed they were going to become Michaels and Raphaels. Many of them were examined to learn what love had driven them to study the Word. Some of them were motivated to study by love for themselves so that they could become respected leaders of the church. Other were motivated to study by love for the world so as to increase their wealth.

When they were subjected to another examination to find out what they knew from the Word, it was discovered that their knowledge of it contained nothing genuinely true. All they knew was what is called falsified truth that is actually putrid falsity, so called because in heaven it smells like something that has gone bad. They were informed that this had happened to them because their objective in reading the Word was not to find a truth to believe or a good way to live but to reach some selfish or worldly goal.

When people have themselves or something worldly as their objective, as they read the Word their mind is preoccupied with themselves or the world. As a result, they are constantly thinking of their own self-importance, and human self-importance is in pitch darkness when it comes to anything related to heaven and the church. People who are in this condition cannot be raised by the Lord into the light of heaven; they cannot accept any influence from the Lord through heaven.

I have seen these people let into heaven. When it is discovered there that they had no truth, they were thrown out. Nevertheless a misplaced pride and a feeling that they were deserving stayed with them.

There was an entirely different outcome for people who had been motivated to study the Word by a desire to know the truth because it is true and because it is helpful and useful not only for their own lives but also for their neighbors’ lives. I have seen these people raised into heaven into the light of divine truth there and lifted into angelic wisdom and the happiness that heaven’s angels enjoy.

from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 233