Christopher hasler-june-19-new-church-press-manchester-1970-swedenborg-june-19th-1770

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Emanuel Swedenborg, June 19th 1770.

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Christopher hasler-june-19-new-church-press-manchester-1970-swedenborg-june-19th-1770

  1. 1. June 19 Rev. Christopher V. A. Hasler Published by the New-Church Sunday School Union to commemorate The New-Church World Assembly 1970 London
  2. 2. Distributed byThe New-Church Press Ltd.20, Bloomsbury Way, London W.C.1,and New-Church House,34, John Dalton Street, Manchester M2 6LE.
  3. 3. Only one manEvery year, on June 19th, the people of the New Churchmeet together to celebrate an event which did not takeplace on the earth!Therefore, had vou lived 200 years ago, in the year 1770,Vou would not have noticed anything unusual. No kingor prince, no politician or admiraI, no ordinary man orwoman knew that they were living at a time which wouldbecome one of the most important days in history:JUNE 19th, 1770.Only one man on earth understood that something mostwonderful happened on that day, and it happened in thatworld where ail people go when they die. We cali itThe spiritual world.On that day, 200 years ago, a very wise and humble mancould see that there was great excitement in the spiritualworld, and that the Lord Jesus Christ had called togetherthe twelve disciples who had followed Him on earth, andHe told them that He had new work for them. 3
  4. 4. ElTIanuel Swedenborg 1688 -1772 C.f( ~~i The man who told us this was Emanuel Swedenborg. HëWas born-in SWëden on January 2 ~ a s the son of a Bishop and he became one of the most out· standing men that ever Iived. He was always finding out how things worked; how they could be improved; how they could be made more cheaply so that everyone cou Id buy them. He was concerned for sailors on the high seas, and he worked out a method so that, by means of the moon, they could find out in which longitude they were. He was always practical and never stopped learning, even when he became known in ail the countries of Europe as one of the great scientists of his day. He wrote books on mathematics, chemistry, physics, mining, geology, steel-making, and many other subjects. They were sold in many countries. But his search had not ended. He wanted to know how Iife began: where it comes from; and how it dwells in the body. He studied the human body, and wrote many volumes about the different organs, but he could not discover the living soul within the body, although he always believed that God gives to every man a soul which can never die. When he was 56 years old, something most wonderful happened to him. This is how he wrote about it: cD "1 tell you the truth. The Lord Himself appeared before me. He opened the eyes of my spirit, and so introduced-rel?, me into the spiritual world. 1was able to see the heavens:;-19 1 and the hells. and also to talk with angels and spirits." Ali this happened to him because he was given a special task to do by the Lord. The real reason was that the Church on earth had lost the simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the only God of heaven and earth. 4
  5. 5. One Godof Heaven & EarthBecause you have been brought up in the New Church,you have a very clear idea about the Lord you worship.Vou know only Jesus, and you say your prayers to Him,since you know that there is no other God. When youread His Word, it is God Himself who is speaking to youand teaching you.Vou know this, but if the Lord had not revealed it toSwedenborg, you would have a very different idea of God.Perhaps you would believe that Jesus was only a man,a great Teacher with amazing powers, but not God.Vou might believe that Jesus was the Son of God, andthat besides Him there were two other persons: God theFather, and God the Holy Ghost. Vou would be taughtnot to say prayers to Jesus (as vou would wish to) butto the Father who is the Almighty, though you could notimagine Him at ail.But most likely, vou would not believe anything anymore; but in any case, vou would not have a very c1earidea of the Lord God, and no one could really begin toexplain it to vou. When people do not know whether tobelieve in one God or in three, they will usually end upbelieving nothing, and will come to think that there is noGod.This is what has already happened to many people, andif you say that vou believe in God, they will laugh at yoursimplicity and ask, "What, you still believe in thosestories ?"But there is a God, and He could not allow such ignoranceto continue and spread without revealing the truth thathas been lost. 5
  6. 6. •1 W"as ln the spiritCan we really trust Swedenborg, that Swedish scientist?Can we believe him when he calmly tells us that not onlydid the Lord Himself appear to him, but that He alsoopened his spiritual eyes, so that he could be in heavenand in hell while he still Iived on the earth? Are suchthings possible?There is really nothing new in this, because the Lordappeared to His disciples and others after His resurrec­tion, and also opened their spiritual senses: eyes and earsand touch, so that they could see, hear and fee!. ManyOld Testament prophets were also able to see wonderfulthings in the spiritual world, and to describe them in greatdetai!.When the disciple John was an old man living on the isleof Patmos: the Lord appeared to him and instructed himto write ail the things that he saw in the spiritual world.You can read about this in the first chapter of the bookof Revelation. You will then see the Iikeness between thecommand given to John and the command given toSwedenborg.Now suppose you believed the Lord had ca lied you to dosome important work for Him! You would put aside ailother things and concentrate on that. This is whatSwedenborg did. He gave up ail other employments andscientific research and started a very careful study of theLords Word, reading it in Hebrew and in Greek. Thenhe wrote and published many books about the thingswhich the Lord revealed to him.6
  7. 7. Heavenly Mysteries The first theological work which Swedenborg wrote is also the longest, and we still cali it by its Latin title: ARCANA CAELESTIA. In English this means, Heavenly Mysteries. In the English translation the work runs into 12 volumes, and with the Index that makes 13 books. What are these wonderful mysteries which Swedenborg was commanded to publish? He explains: (j) "People who read the Word of the Old Testament think that it is only a history of the Jewish people, becauseAC.1 this is what it looks like. Vet the Word contains hidden mysteries which describe the lord, heaven and the Church." The Word was specially written and dictated by the Lord Himself so as to contain a deeper and heavenly meaning. Swedenborg explains the real meaning of the first two books in our Bible, GENESIS and EXODUS. The Book of Genesis opens with the stories which describe the creation of the world in six days; Adam and Eve; the Flood; the Tower of Babel. Are these stories really true? At one time everyone believed them, but today this is not so. Many people say, These are just old stories, but science tells us very different things. The world took millions and millions of years to evolve, not just six days " People could have saved themselves ail these arguments, if only they had read Arcana Caelestia: for these early stories are true, but in a most special way. They are not real histories, but "made-up histories" which contain a very important message about mans spiritual Iife. The Bible is not out of date. On the contrary, we have hardly started to use it, since up to now it has not been properly 7
  8. 8. understood. It has been like a closed book. But now we can know that the Lord speaks to us in His Word to give us power to fight against evils, and to let us see Him more c1early. ARCANA CAELESTIA is a very learned work which con­ tains deep wisdom. But it makes things c1ear to us, and in it there are passages of great simplicity. At the begin­ ning of the work, Swedenborg wrote: A. c.. ( Fr cJ) .. By the Lord, in the following pages, is meant only JESUS1- c. J-r CHRIST, the Saviour of the world, who is called the Lord, without other names. Everywhere in heaven He is acknow­ ledged and adored as the Lord, because He has ail power in heaven and on earth. He also commanded, saying: You cali me Lord; and you are right, for so 1 am (John 13: 13). And after His resurrection His disciples calied Him Lord. In the universal heaven they know no other Father than the Lord, because He is the one, as He Himself said: 1 am the way, and the truth, and the life .. (John 14: 6). Can anything be more simple? To have such a c1ear and beautiful idea of the Lord Jesus Christ as our heavenly Father is something which we have because we belong to the New Church. This was the main truth that Sweden­ borg was appointed to proclaim and publish. 8
  9. 9. From things heard and seen Because ARCANA CAELESTIA is so long, it is not the first work which people buy and read when they want to find out about the New Church. The book which people mostly read is one which Swedenborg called: HEAVEN AN 0 HELL, or, to give it its full title: Heaven and its Wonders, and Hell. From things heard and seen. The Lord Jesus Christ spoke about heaven and hell many times, but when ideas about spiritual truths became con­ fused, no one really knew how to understand His words. People came to know less and less about Iife after death. Today many people do not know what to believe, and many even do not think we shall live after death; so they contradict the teaching of the Lord in the Gospel. Sweden­ borg said as much in the introduction to the book: "Church people today hardly know a thing about heaven and hell, or about life after death, although these thingsJ.!-# 1 are ail described in the Word. In fact, many people born in the Church deny them, saying in their hearts, Who has come from that world and told us? "In order that people should not take this negative line­ which is especially common among those who know a lot about worldly things, and so mislead and corrupt those who are simple in heart and simple in faith-I have been allowed to live with angels and to talk with them as one man talks to another. 1 have also been permitted to see the things in the heavens as weil as in the hells. From what 1 have heard and seen, 1 can now describe these things in the hope that ignorance and unbelief may be enlightened and dispelled. Such revelatiorLl~..now made, ~ - - _. --- because this is what is meantbythe cOmlng ofthe Lord." - 9
  10. 10. A book which tells us about heaven arild hell, the world where ail human lives continue, is bound to be a great adventure book, full of exciting ideas. But Swedenborg was a very serious and practical scientist. He was not interested in writing a sensational book, but in describing with great care and in great detail ail that we need to know about the world which we must one day enter. It is more like a text-book. But what wonderful secrets are unfolded in its pages! Quietly and patiently (and this is also how you must read it) the author describes what heaven is like; what happens to us just after we die; how we gradually awake and are made welcome by angels and friends we knew on earth; how little children who die are educated in heaven and become angels. We learn that the happiness of heaven is so great because everyone there has something useful to do, and ail wish to share what they have with others. The Lord does not wish anyone to go to hell and He tries to prevent this happening, but people who love badness just cannot be stopped from wanting to joïn companions who are like themselves and with whom they can have their fights and lies and cruelty. They really feel at home with those who are like themselves. It is a picture of a wasted life; but people always freely choose to go either) to heaven or to hell, because they would not wish to live anywhere else. One day you must read this book .because it tells us in great detail about the "heavenly mansions" which the Lord promised to prepare for us. Everyone should have a copy of this book: for when people die, their families and friends are sad because they do not know what has happened to them. They are in great doubts and fear, and so feel very unhappy. Yet the Lord has revealed so many truths which would make people full of new hope. 10
  11. 11. The crowning work ln 1770 Swedenborg was an old gentleman of 82, nearly at the end of his long and useful life, but still very hearty and busy. He knew that he would not live very much longer on this earth, and looked forward to the day when he would enter the spiritual world for the last time and stay there for ever. But he still had something very important to do. He knew that he had to complete the crowning work of his WRITINGS-for this is what we usually cali ail his religious books. He had to publish in one volume ail the doctrines of the New Church. He wrote to his friend: "1 can tell you this, for the Lord has promised it to me: 1 shall not die before 1 havë recëlvedfrom-the pressthis ~ork whicfi-isnow - ready-tobeprJïïted:-THETRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. "The principal object of this work is to show that the Divine Trinity is united in the Lord." You see how faithful Swedenborg remained to his mission, always showing that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only God. As he completed the pages of the work, The True Christian Religion, he had a wonderful experience, and added a short note before he made a new clean copy for the printer: MEMORANDUM ic..fl, ~ ((]) "After this work was finished, the Lord calied together Ris MélVe disciples, who followed Him in the world; and the next day He sent them out into the whole spiritual world to preach the Gospel that the Lord Jesus Christ reigns, whose kingdom shall be for ever and ever, accord ­ ing to the predicition of Daniel 7: 13-14; and Revelation 11: 15; and also that They are blessed who come unto the marriage supper of the Lamb" (Revelation 19: 9) . 11
  12. 12. -rct<. =rq, ~This took place on J!;!.ne 19th, 1770y>This is meant bythese words of the Lord:He shan send His angels and they shall gather togetherHis elect from one end of the heavens to the other (Matthew 24:31).What an amazing statement!The Lord once said: "God is not the God of the deadbut of the living." We think of people in history as beingfrozen in books, statues, or paintings, and having no moreto do than give us a difficult time when we are sitting jorexams and have to remember their dates and deeds. But,in fact, no one is dead! Certainly not the disciples-Peter,James and John, as weil as ail the rest. They are breath­ing now, and they are busy. They, too, went into thespiritual world as soon as they died and, because of theirlove for the Lord, they wou Id try to continue the workthey had done on earth in their simple and forthright way.But as more people arrived from the earth, they saw thatthe Church on earth was divided and falling into greaterconfusion. You would have to st~9>" the history of theChurch to know what difficulties arose, how people arguedancreven fought together, ail in the name of Christianity.Somehow, e~erything was turning against the simple anddirect message which the discipleshad tried to teach.But Përhaps they were upheld in hope by the words whichJesus spoke to them while He was with them on theearth. He had foretold that the Church would becomedarkened by taise ideas, and that He would have to comeagain when the time became right an-dwhËm the peQpiecoUld understand the truth more fully: --.--_._-- - -­ "When the --Son otman comes, will He find faith on theearth?" (Luke 18: 8)."1 have still many things to say to you, but you cannotbear them now" (John 16: 12).But the time was ripe on J~~ 9!h, 1770.The Lord announced again, but this time with greaterpower, because the people today can bear a greater light 12
  13. 13. of truth, that He alone is the God of heaven and earth. And because this is so, the truth had to be announced both in the spiritual world and on the earth. How gladly the disciples must have obeyed the commandl Now they knew fully that the Lord whom they had always loved so dearly was the only God and heavenly Father of ail men, their Creator as weil as their Saviour. This idea would be too big to take in while they Iived with the Lord, or even as He appeared to them after the resur­ rection. But now it was different. They could bear this great and wonderful tr.uth, and they ~ould want to go and share it with everyone in the spiritual world, and say: The Lord Jesus Christ reigns, and of His kingdom there shall be no end!" This is what happened in the spiritual world. On earth the same wonderful message was given by Swedenborg in his Writings. Ali the works he wrote tell the same truth that the Lord Jesus Christ is God alone. We know this revelation as THE SECOND COMING OF THE LORD. This is why Swedenborg wrote: ® "Since the Lord cannat show Himself in persan, and yet-r He has foretold that He will come and establish a New~1- Church, which is the New Jerusalem, He must do this by means of a man who is able ta receive the doctrines of this Church with his understanding, and ta publish them by the press. 1 swear that the Lord has appeared ta me His servant, and sent me on this duty," No wonder we think that June 19th is a very special day for ail New Church people! Without that announcem~nt of truth not one of us could have that simple and clear idea that God is one, and that He is the Lord Jesus Christ. 13
  14. 14. And so we say with the angels, for heaven and the Churchon earth now speak with the same voice:TO JESUS CHRIST BE GLORY AND DOMINIONFOR EVER AND EVER.HE IS THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA,THE BEGINNING AND THE END,THE FIRST AND THE LAST;WHO IS, AND WHO WAS,AND WHO IS TO COME;THE ALMIGHTY.14
  15. 15. Quotations in the text were taken from the following books by Emanuel Swedenborg: The True Christian Religion 779o Arcana Caelestia 1Œ Arcana Caelestia 14-15G) Heaven and Hell 1C§.. The True Christian Religion 791,-6 The True Christian Religion 779
  16. 16. ... - ... =- -0 = ...et -0).0 =CD - CO = N

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