The Ten Commandments Contain Everything about How to Love God and How to Love Our Neighbor (Continued)

Evil and good cannot coexist; the more evil is removed, the more good is focused on and felt. This is the case because all who are in the spiritual world have a field of their particular love emanating around them. This field spreads all around and has an effect on others. It creates feelings of harmony or antipathy. These fields separate the good from the evil.

The fact that evil has to be removed before goodness is recognized, perceived, and loved could be compared with many situations that are possible in our world; for example, the following: Suppose someone keeps a leopard and a panther in an apartment and, as the one who feeds them, is able to live safely with them. No one else can visit unless their owner first removes these wild animals.

Guests invited to the table of the king and queen would not forget to wash their faces and hands before attending. No bridegroom goes into the bedroom with his bride after the wedding without first washing himself all over and putting on aa wedding garment. Anyone must first purify one with fire and remove slag before getting pure gold or silver. Everyone separates the tares or weeds from the harvested wheat before taking it into the barn. Everyone removes the beards from harvested barley with threshing tools before bringing it home.

Everyone cooks some of the juice out of raw meat before it becomes edible and is set on the table. Everyone knocks the grubs and caterpillars off the leaves of trees in the garden to prevent them from devouring the leaves and causing a loss of fruit. Everyone removes garbage from the house and the front entrance and cleans up those areas, especially when expecting a visit from a prince or the prince’s daughter to whom one is engaged. Does any man love a young woman and propose to marry her if she is riddled with malignancies or covered all over with pustules and varicose veins, no matter how much she puts makeup on her face, wears gorgeous clothing, and makes an effort to be attractive by saying nice things and paying compliments?

The need for us to purify yourselves from evils, and not to wait for the Lord to do it without our participation, is like a servant coming in with his face and clothes covered in soot and dung, approaching his master, and saying, “Lord, wash me.” Surely his master would tell him, “You foolish servant! What are you saying? Look, there is the water, soap, and a towel. Don’t you have hands? Don’t they work? Wash yourself!”

The Lord God is going to say, “The means of being purified come from me. Your willingness and power come from me. Therefore use these gifts and endowments of mine as your own and you will be purified.” And so on.

The need for the outer self to be cleansed, but to be cleansed through the inner self, is something that the Lord teaches in Matthew chapter 23 from beginning to end.

from True Christianity, Section 331

The Ten Commandments Contain Everything about How to Love God and How to Love Our Neighbor (Continued)

I have stated that the more we abstain from what is evil, the more we will and intend what is good, because evil and good are opposites. Evil comes from hell and good comes from heaven. Therefore the more hell–that is, evil–is removed, the closer we get to heaven and the more we focus on good.

The truth of this become obvious when we see eight of the Ten Commandments in this way. For example:

(1) The less we worship other gods, the more we worship the true God.

(2) The less we take the name of God in vain, the more we love the things that come from God.

(3) The less we want to kill and to act on the basis of hatred and revenge, the more we want what is good for our neighbor.

(4) The less we want to commit adultery, the more we want to live faithfully with our spouse.

(5) The less we want to steal, the more we aim to be honest.

(6) The less we want to testify falsely, the more we want to think and speak what is true.

(7) and

(8) The less we covet what our neighbors have, the more we want our neighbors to be doing well with what they have.

From this is becomes clear that the Ten Commandments contain everything about how to love God and our Neighbor. Therefore Paul says,

Those who love others have fulfilled the law. “You are not to commit adultery, you are not to kill, you are not to steal, you are not to be a false witness, you are not to covet things,” and if anything else is commanded, it is included in this saying: “You are to love your neighbor as yourself.” Goodwill does no evil to our neighbor. Therefore the fulfillment of the law is goodwill. (Romans 13:8-10)

To the above list, two principles need to be added that will benefit the new church:

(1) On our own, none of us can abstain from evils because they are sins or do good things that are good before God. The more we abstain from evils because they are sins, the more we do good things from the Lord instead of from ourselves.

(2) We need to abstain from evils and fight against them as if we were acting on our own. If we abstain from evils for any other reason than because they are sins, we are not abstaining from them, but merely making them invisible to the world.

from True Christianity, Section 330

The Ten Commandments Contain Everything about How to Love God and How to Love Our Neighbor

Eight of the commandments–the first, second, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth–say nothing about loving God or loving our neighbor. They do not say that we must love God or we must keep God’s name holy. They do not say that we must love our neighbor, or deal honestly and uprightly with our neighbor. They say only, “There is to be no other God before my face; you are not to take God’s name in vain; you are not to kill; you are not to commit adultery; you are not to steal; you are not to testify falsely; and you are not to covet what your neighbor has.” Briefly put, we are not to intend, think, or do evil against God or against our neighbor.

We are not commanded to do things that directly relate to goodwill; instead, we are commanded not to do things that are the opposite of goodwill. This is because the more we abstain from evils because they are sins, the more we want the goodness that relates to goodwill.

In loving God and our neighbor, the first step is not doing evil, and the second step is going good, as you will see the chapter on goodwill [Sections 435-438].

There is a love of intending and doing good, and there is a love of intending and doing evil. These two loves are opposite to each other. The second is a hellish love and the first is a heavenly one. The entirety of hell loves doing evil and the entirety of heaven loves doing good.

We, the human race, have been born into evil of every kind. From birth onward we have tendencies toward things that come from hell. Unless we are born again or regenerated, we cannot come into heaven.

Therefore the evil attributes we have from hell have to be removed first before we are able to want good attributes that come from heaven. None of us can be adopted by the Lord before we have been separated from the Devil. How our evil actions are removed and how we are brought to do good things will be shown in two chapters below; the chapter on repentance [Sections 509-570]; and the chapter on reformation and regeneration [Section 571-625].

The Lord teaches in Isaiah that our evil actions have to be moved aside first before the good things we are doing become good before God:

Wash yourselves; purify yourselves. Remove the evil of your actions from before my eyes. Learn to do what is good. Then, if your sins had been like scarlet, they will become as white as snow; if they had been red as crimson, they will be like wool. (Isaiah 1:16-18)

The following passages in Jeremiah is similar:

Stand in the entrance to Jehovah’s house and proclaim there this word. “Thus spoke Jehovah Saboath, the God of Israel: ‘Make your ways and your works good. Do not put your trust in the words of a lie, saying, “The temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah is here [that is, the church].” When you steal, kill, commit adultery, and swear falsely, then do you come and stand before me in this house that carries my name? Do you say, “We were carried away,” when you are committing all these abominations? Has this house become a den of thieves? Behold I, even I, have seen it,’ says Jehovah.” (Jeremiah 7:2-4, 9-11)

We are also taught by Isaiah that before we are washed or purified from evil, our prayers to God are not heard:

Jehovah says, “Woe to a sinful nation, to a people heavy with wickedness. They have moved themselves backward. Therefore when you spread out your hands, I hide my eyes from you. Even if you increase your praying, I do not hear it.” (Isaiah 1:4, 15)

When someone puts the Ten Commandments into action by abstaining from evil, goodwill is the result. This is clear from the Lord’s own words in John:

Jesus said, “The people who love me are those who have my commandments and follow them. Those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and manifest myself to them, and we will make a home with them.” (John 14:21, 23)

The “Commandments” mentioned here are specifically the Ten Commandments, which prescribe that we should not do, or crave to do, what is evil. If we do not do evil or crave to do evil, we love God and God loves us. This is the benefit we receive after something evil has been removed.

from True Christianity, Section 329

The Ninth and Tenth Commandments (Continued)

You Are Not to Covet Your Neighbor’s Household; You Are No to Covet Your Neighbor’s Wife or His Servant or His Maid or His Ox or His Donkey or Anything That Is Your Neighbor’s

The craving of flesh–of he eyes and the other senses–when separated from the cravings of the spirit (meaning its feelings, desires, and pleasures) are identical to the cravings animals have. On their own, therefore, the cravings of the flesh are beastly. The desires of the spirit are what angels have; they are to be called desires that are truly human. Therefore, the more we become addicted to the cravings of the flesh, the more of a beast and a wild animal we become; the more we give the desires of our spirit their due, the more of a human being and an angel we become.

The cravings of the flesh could be compared to grapes that have been parched and burnt to to wild grapes, while the desires of the spirit could be compared to juicy, flavorful grapes and to the taste of wine that has been pressed from them.

The cravings of the flesh are like stables that hold donkeys, goats, and pigs, while the desires of the spirit are like stables that hold thoroughbred horses, as well as sheep and lambs. In fact, the cravings of the flesh differ from the desires of the spirit the way a donkey differs from a horse, a goat from a sheep, and a pig from a lamb. They differs as much as slag and gold, lime and silver, coral and a ruby, and so on.

A craving and a deed are as closely connected as blood and flesh or oil and flame. The craving is in the deed the same way air from our lungs is in our breath and speech; or the wind is in the sail when we are sailing; or the water is in the waterwheel, causing the machinery to move and act.

from True Christianity, Section 328

The Ninth and Tenth Commandments (Continued)

You Are Not to Covet Your Neighbor’s Household; You Are No to Covet Your Neighbor’s Wife or His Servant or His Maid or His Ox or His Donkey or Anything That Is Your Neighbor’s

In the spiritual meaning, These commandments prohibit all the cravings that go against the spirit, that is, against the spiritual qualities taught by the church, which primarily relate to faith and goodwill. If our cravings were not tamed, our flesh would pursue its own freedom and would quickly fall into every kind of wickedness. From Paul we know that “The flesh has cravings that go against the spirit and the spirit has cravings that go against the flesh” (Galatians 5:17). From James we know that “All are tested by their own craving. When they become captivated, then after the craving conceives, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when is reaches its final stage, brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). From Peter we know that “The Lord holds for the judgment day the unjust who are to be punished, especially those who walk according to the flesh in craving” (2 Peter 2:9-10).

In brief, these two commandments taken in their spiritual meaning look back to the spiritual meaning of all the commandments previously given, adding that we are not to crave doing those evil things. The same goes for all the commandments previously given in the heavenly meaning, but there is no point in listing them all again.

from True Christianity, Section 327

The Ninth and Tenth Commandments (Continued)

You Are Not to Covet Your Neighbor’s Household; You Are No to Covet Your Neighbor’s Wife or His Servant or His Maid or His Ox or His Donkey or Anything That Is Your Neighbor’s

These two commandments look back all the commandments that precede them. They teach and enjoin that we are no to do evil and that we are also no to crave doing evil. Therefore the Ten Commandments are not only for the outer self but also for the inner self. Someone who does not do evil things but nevertheless craves doing them is still doing them. The Lord says,

If some man craves someone else’s wife, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

Our outer self does not become internal or become one with our inner self until our cravings have been removed. The Lord teaches this as well, when he says,

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, because you clean the outside of your cup and plate, but the insides are full of plundering and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees! First clean the inside of your cup and plate, so that the outside may be clean as well. (Matthew 23:25-26)

The Lord says more on this in that whole chapter from beginning to end. The inner problems that are pharisaical are the cravings to do what the first, second, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth commandments say not to do.

It is generally known that while he was in the world, the Lord gave the church inner teachings. The inner teachings for the church tell us not to crave doing evil. He taught us this so that our inner and outer self would become one, which is the same as being born anew–something the Lord discussed with Nicodemus (John 3). Only through the Lord can we be born anew or regenerated, and therefore become inner people.

These two commandments look back to all the commandments that came before as things not to be coveted. Therefore the household is mentioned first; then the wife; then the servant, the maid, the ox, and the donkey; and finally everything that belongs to one’s neighbor. The “household” comes before everything on the rest of the list, for the husband, the wife, the servant, the maid, the ox, and the donkey are all part of it. The “wife,” who is mentioned next, comes before everything on the rest of the list after that, for she is the woman in charge of the household, as her husband is the man in charge of it. The servant and the maid are under them, and the ox and the donkey are under the servant and the maid. Finally, everything below or beyond the servant and the maid is coveted by the phrase “anything that is your neighbor’s.” This shows that generally and specifically, in both a broad and a narrow sense, these two commandments look back to all the prior commandments.

from True Christianity, Section 327

The Ninth and Tenth Commandments

You Are Not to Covet Your Neighbor’s Household; You Are No to Covet Your Neighbor’s Wife or His Servant or His Maid or His Ox or His Donkey or Anything That Is Your Neighbor’s

In the catechism that is circulated these days, these have been divided into two commandments. One of them is the ninth commandment: “You are not to covet your neighbor’s household.” The other is the tenth: “You are not to covet your neighbor’s wife or his servant or his maid or his ox or his donkey or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Because these two commandments are united and form just a single verse in Exodus 20:17 and in Deuteronomy 5:21, I have taken them up together. It is not my intention, however, to connect them into one commandment. I want to keep them distinguished into two commandments as they have been, since all the commandments are referred to as the ten words (Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 4:13; 10:4).

from True Christianity, Section 325

The Eighth Commandment (Continued)

You Are Not to Bear False Witness against Your Neighbor

There are people who say false, deliberately deceitful things and articulate them with a tone that emulates spiritual feeling. There are even some who cite truths from the Word as they do so, falsifying these truths in the process. The ancients had names for people like these: they called them magicians (see Revelation Unveiled 462) and also sorcerers, and snakes from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

These pretenders, liars, and deceivers are like people who talk in a pleasant and friendly way with their enemies, but while they are talking they have dagger behind their back, ready to kill. They are like people who smear venom on their swords before attacking their enemies; or like people who put poison in a well and toxic substance in wine and pastries. They are like charming, attractive whores who carry a malignant sexually transmitted disease. They are like stinging plants that damage our olfactory nerves if we lift them to our noses to smell them. They are like sweetened poisons, or like dung dried out in the fall that gives off a pleasant aroma. In the Word they are described as leopards (see Revelation Unveiled 572).

from True Christianity, Section 324

The Eighth Commandment (Continued)

You Are Not to Bear False Witness against Your Neighbor

In the heavenly meaning, testifying falsely refers to blaspheming the Lord and the Word and driving the actual truth out of the church. The Lord is truth itself, and so is the Word. On the other hand, in this sense “testifying” means speaking the truth and “testimony” means the truth itself. This is why the Ten Commandments are called the testimony (Exodus 25:16, 21-22; 31:7, 18; 32:15-16; 40:20; Leviticus 16:13; Numbers 17:4, 10). Since the Lord is truth itself, he says that he testifies concerning himself. For the Lord as the truth itself, see John 14:6; Revelation 3:7, 14; for his testifying and being a witness to himself, see John 3:11; 8:13-19; 15:26; 18:37-38.

from True Christianity, Section 323

The Eighth Commandment (Continued)

You Are Not to Bear False Witness against Your Neighbor

In the spiritual meaning, testifying refers to convincing people that a false belief is a true one and an evil life is a good one, and the reverse; but only if these things are done deliberately, not out of ignorance. Doing them deliberately is doing them after we know what truth and goodness are, not before. The Lord says, “If you were blind you would have no sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains” (John9:41).

This falseness is what is meant in the Word by “a lie” and this deliberateness is what is meant by “deceit” in the following passages:

We are striking a pact with death; we are making an agreement with hell. We have put our trust in lying and have hidden ourselves with falsity. (Isaiah 28:15)

They are a people of rebellion, lying children. They do not want to hear the law of Jehovah. (Isaiah 30:9)

Everyone from prophet to priest is acting out a lie. (Jeremiah 8:10)

The inhabitants speak a lie, and as for their tongue, deceit is in their mouths. (Micah 6:12)

You are to destroy those who speak a lie. Jehovah loathes a man of deceit. (Psalms 5:6)

They taught their tongue to tell a lie, to dwell in the midst of their deceit. (Jeremiah 9:5-6)

Because “a lie” means a falsity, the Lord says, “The Devils peaks a lie from his own resources” (John 8:44). “A lie” also means falsity and deception in the following passages; Jeremiah 9:4; 23:14, 32; Ezekiel 13:15-19; 21:29; Hosea 7:1; 12:1; Nahum 3:1; Psalms 120:2-3.

from True Christianity, Section 322