What Is The True Christian Religion?   Several hundred varieties of incerpretations of the Christian re-ligion exist, many...
AUTHOR OF   "WHO IS              JESUS?""THE TRUTH ABOUT MARRIAGE"             Copyright by       WALTER BROWN MURRAY     ...
PREFACE   What is the true Christian religion?   There is no manner of doubt in the minds of most Christians. Itis the so-...
LIST           OF     CHAPT.ERSThe Plan of Salvation    .The True Explanation of the Redemption             lGod Revealed ...
CHAPTER 1                THE PLAN OF SALVATION   The world is filled with books, articles and sermons in defense ofthe so-...
8          WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?frorn the fathers home, was death, it was indispensable that theeider broth...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?                       9   The suggestion immediately comes to mind, a searching quest...
10        WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?  Where does the Plan of Salvadon come in? It is an attempt toexplain the li...
CHAPTER IITHE TRUE EXPLANATION OF THE REDEMPTION   There were three great objectives in the work of the Lord JesusChrist i...
12         WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?of Almighty God. There was no other way ta meet devils withoutdestroying th...
CHAPTER III                GOD REVEALED IN JESUS   The second great objective of the coming of the Lord into humanlife thr...
14        WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?    Himself, for He is PrimaI Man in whose image and likeness we are    made...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?                   15Glorified Human, the Human made Divine, which remains forevcrthe ...
CHAPTER IV           THE INCARNATION EXPLAINED   Let us keep in mind that "God was in Christ," and that in Christ"dwelleth...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION                         17Because hell had taken possession of the human race through ...
CHAPTER V         GOD DECLARES SUBSTITUTION IMPOSSIBLE         X!hen the Israelites under Moses came oue of Egypt they wer...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?                     19name of the Lord as ]ehovah revealed to him. He was still too e...
20        WHAT IS THE lRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?    having been brought up in the remembrance of the worship of Gad    throu...
CHAPTER VI               THE DEATH ON CALVARY   The rejection of Jesus by the Jews was a represenration of theirrejection ...
22        WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?assumed our humanity in arder ta share our life, in arder ta meetthe hells a...
CHAPTER VIIGODS RE]ECTION OF THE SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM   Did God reject the sacrificial system which He permitted theIsraelit...
24         WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?humanity, people who could understand only the debased and cruel.   The Lor...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?                   25the Lord ta His children: "Wash you; make you clean; put away the...
CHAPTER VIII               WHY CHRISTIANITY FAlLS   1s it any wonder that Christianity taught after this manner hasfailed ...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?                   27ism and piety done in our own strength tainced by selfish ends. I...
CHAPTER IX   HOW SHALL WE UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE?   The Bible seems easy to understand but acmally it is the mostmisundersto...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?                      29enough truth in a new system sa derived to prevent a total des...
30        WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?attitude of Gad cowards the human race. Who will deny it? Thenwhen we read t...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?                     31be the penalty of all who disobey the Divine law, and proper ex...
CHAPTER X          THE TRUE METHüD ILLUSTRATED   The question as ta how we shall inrerpret the Bible is solvedby taking th...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?                    33of Him who was Jehovah in the flesh, and in that way JehovahHims...
34        WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? There was no other Deicy, for God is one and indivisible,-no other Deity de...
CHAPTER XI                 "SA VED BY THE BLOOD"    There are three ways advanced by the "Plan of SaIvation" people as to ...
36        WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?an escape of the relatively few. Dnder this idea the important thingis ta ha...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION)                      37applied by using the word "blood" instead of its spiritual egu...
38        WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?that it was wrong ta say so. Then he grew angry and said ta me, "Youlisten t...
CHAPTER XII             THE FAlLURE OF LlTERALISTS   Is this incident not an illustration of those people who reject every...
40         WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? they eat the little wafer handed them, but no one can sensibly be­lieve th...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?                        41tration of the method of interpreting the Bible upon the bas...
42        WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?acmal1y changing men? Let us fancy men saying, "Why change OUflives when we ...
CHAPTER XIII               THE GREAT RED DRAGON   The Book of Revelation has never been understood by the ChristianChurch....
44        WHA T IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?vealed through a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, Emanuel Sweden­horg. Lit...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?                      45withollt limit. At least one can say that thoughtful people re...
46        WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?thought and deed. (Jesus said, "By this shaU aU men know that ycare my disci...
CHAPTER XIV                      THE LORD IS ONE   The time is come, according ta Swedenborg, when the Churchmust realize ...
48          WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?ta destroy, and it breathed Out smoke and Rame in order ta reach orfrighte...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGIONI                        49man can do has any effect in saving him, why follow the inju...
CHAPTER XV           JUDGMENT UPON THE DRAGON   But we have not finished wich the Great Red Dragon. We read inRevelation t...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?                        51 dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, an...
CHAPTER XVI             OVERCOMING BY THE TRUTH    When people read that the ange1s overcame the Dragon through che blood ...
WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?                     53Being ta pacify or appease another Divine Being, for there is o...
Walter brown-murray-what-is-the-true-christian-religion-new-age-press-1947
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Walter brown-murray-what-is-the-true-christian-religion-new-age-press-1947

  1. 1. What Is The True Christian Religion? Several hundred varieties of incerpretations of the Christian re-ligion exist, many differing widely from each othee. These differ-ences are sometimes slight, but in many cases hopelessly ancagonisticone co the other. In this situation it would seem useful co get at thefundamencal teachings of the Sacred Scripeures upon which theChristian religion is based. Each separace denomination, or variery of belief, is confidenc thatit has arrived at the fundamencal cruch of religion. But since theydiffer sa greac1y one from the other, ic is evident that many of themare mistaken. Is it possible co arrive at any satisfaccory solucion based on theScriptures and on rational thought? This book is an attempt ta do precise1y chis. le is not written cojustify enrrent and widely popular ideas of fundamencal teachings,but it is a new understanding of Christian doctrine. People withc10sed minds will not be able ta accept any other than their ownview, but in this New Age when sa much of past misunderstandingon aU subjects has been exposed it is undoubcedly true chat anunbiased mind will be able co judge upon the basis of the faces inthe case. By WALTER BROWN MURRAY ll~ -t /1t,9-
  2. 2. AUTHOR OF "WHO IS JESUS?""THE TRUTH ABOUT MARRIAGE" Copyright by WALTER BROWN MURRAY 1947 Priee: Fifty Cents NEW AGE PRESS Pasadena, 2, California 1501 Chevio+cflale Drive
  3. 3. PREFACE What is the true Christian religion? There is no manner of doubt in the minds of most Christians. Itis the so-called "Plan of Salvation." It is universally taught. But there are sorne who question. Many deny the almost uni­versally accepted Plan of Salvation. But what substitute idea havethey to offer which has the powerful appeal of the popular Plan ofSalvation? ln opposing the popular view many have lost the super­natural view of religion and of the Bible itself. Is there any question as ta the Plan of Salvation being the trueteaching of the Bible,-any question, that is, worthy of being con­sidered by honest-rninded people in view of the plain teaching ofthe Bible? This is only the preface to a discussion, but one may ask, "Is itnecessarily true that whatever the majority of people believe is thetruth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" What about the universal idea of mankind at the time of Galileoas ta the obvious fact of the rising of the sun in the east and itssetting in the west? Was not the earth fixed? Did they not see w irhtheir own eyes that the earth was the center of universal life and thesun only a satellite? Did they not Jee the sun rise in the east andset in the west? They knew. And the church at that time proved thisuniversal belief frorn the Bible. It was too obvious to be discussed.No one doubted, except a hopeless heretic who was made ta recant. Is it possible that in religion people may also be rnistaken as tathe "Plan of Salvation" being the true, and only true, interpretationof Christianity? This belief involves the idea of Three Divine Beings,"each of whorn is by Himself God and Lord," which is obviously abelief in Three Gods, and contrary ta the plain statement ofJehovah: "Jehovah our God is one Jehovah." And it involves otherthings which sha11 be discussed in that which fo11ows. People, and the Church ,were mistaken in the time of Galileo asto the origin of day and night. Can it be possible that they are com­pletely rnistaken now abolit their idea of Christianity? But let us think more abolit this so-ca11ed Plan of Salvation.
  4. 4. LIST OF CHAPT.ERSThe Plan of Salvation .The True Explanation of the Redemption lGod Revealed in Jesus . HThe Incarnation Explained 16Gad Declares Substitution Impossible I~The Death on Calvary . 21Gods Rejection of the Sacrificial System 23Why Christianity Fails . 26How ShaH We Vnderstand the Bible? 28The True Method Illustrated 32"Saved by the Blood" . 35The Failure of Literalists 39The Great Red Dragon 43The Lord is One . 47Judgment Vpon The Dragon 50Overcoming by the Truth 52The Translators of the Bible 56The True Christian Religion 62
  5. 5. CHAPTER 1 THE PLAN OF SALVATION The world is filled with books, articles and sermons in defense ofthe so-called Plan of Salvation. Mankind in general has been saimpressed by the argumems for its truth and correcrness that it isfirmly believed ta be idemical with Christianity. The Scriptures havebeen so used and quoted that the Plan of Salvadon seems ta be theirlegitimate and only explanation. It would seem ta be impossible tadisemangle truth from error in this case sa that men may see that thereligion of Jesus does not teach the Plan of Salvation. Ir will possiblyhorrify many people ta be told that the Plan of Salvation is an in·vention of man and did not exist umil the time of St. Anselm, 1033to 1109,an Italian ecclesiastic who became Archibishop of Camer­bury in England and was later expelled by the king and later wrotehis book which developed the theory involved in the so-called Planof Salvation. This was in 1098, over a thousand years after theCrucifixion. St. Anselms position was that of the Roman influenced by theidea of Law and Justice. The idea of the At-one-mem berween Gadand Man ceased ta be thought of as the relationship berwen aHeavenly Father and His Children and thenceforward became theidea of the relationship berween a King and His Subjects. It wasthereafter thought of as purely legal and the legalistic idea was pro­foundly impressed upon Christian teaching, so much so that the ideawhich the Lord impressed upon mankind in the parable of theProdigal Son of our Heavenly Father standing with open arms tareceive back His children imo the haven of His love has been for­gotten. In the legalistic idea it was necessary, because of the father sdemand, that the elder brother of the prodigal should have come for­ward and offered himself as an object of punishmem. It was necessarythat the eIder brother should have been duly punished as a substirutefor his wayward brother. And as the wages of sin, or of wandering
  6. 6. 8 WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?frorn the fathers home, was death, it was indispensable that theeider brother should have suffered the death penalty. The Plan of Salvation demanded the death penalty for all sin,whatever it was that was done in violation of Gods law. There wasno escape. All who sinned after the sin of Adam came under thispenalty, not merely Adam. It meam as well that aH of his progenyforever would perish. This did not mean merely physical death, buteternal death in hell prepared for the devil and his angels. Thismeam that the emire human race came under this penalty-innocemlittle children, infants, as well as all older men and women. Godsirnply had ta have His justice satisfied. Law had been broken. Therecould be no escape. The hideolls injustice of such a curse upon thehuman race was explained as the justice of a Supreme Being whocould do whatever He willed, regardless of hllman ideas of justiceMen began ta praise God because of His justice in condemninghumanity to eternal death as the offspring of Adam. In the MiddleAges men praised God for the sufferings of little children in helloA more monstrous idea of the Divine Being could not have beenimagined. Moloch, whose priests claimed that the only way ta gainthe favor of this monster was tO place their infams and little childrenin the extended brazen arms of the idol and then to see the childrenwithdrawn, shrieking with terror, into the burning fiery furnacewithin the image, was not so cruel. Moloch murdered only a fewcomparatîvely; God the human race. This is the basis of the Plan of Salvation. The human race was ta be saved by the mercy of their EiderBrother, Christ, who would undertake to come ta earrh after sornethousands of years and be murdered, the innocent for the guilty. Theidea of the Plan of Salvation was ta save mankind by substitution­the innocent Son of God for the wicked human race. It involvedthe murder of Jesus by the Jewish race. If the Jews had not murderedJesus, there could have been no penalty paid for Adams sin. A crimehad to be committed in order for God to have mercy. He demandedthe death penalty. He could not escape from His own dreadful situ­ation.
  7. 7. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? 9 The suggestion immediately comes to mind, a searching questionit is, "What would have happened if the Jews had not murderedJesus?" Had they accepted Him, as He sought to have them do, Hecould not have saved them, nor the human race. A crime had ta becommined in order to permit God to save humanity. Blood had tobe shed, innocent blood had to be shed, a sacrifice commensuratewith the exrent of the human race; otherwise God, in His InfiniteJustice, could not have saved humanity. But even then He did notagree ta save them aH, only certain ones who would plead that Jesushad died in their place. The rest would perish eternaHy in the torturesof hel!. This is the Plan of Salvation, the idea of an Italian priestwhose theory gained universal acceptance. This is still regarded bymillions of the human race as identical with Christianity, as the planof the Bible. Immediately thousands of good men and women who accept thistheory of salvation rise up to condemn a man who would thus enterwhat is to them as the temple of God and break down their image,their belief, try to discredit what is to them the plain and only reach­ing of the Sacred Scriptures. And yet they know in their hearts that if a man will repent andturn from his evil ways, turn to his Heavenly Father, or to the LordJesus, which is for Christians, of course, the same, and thereafter livea life of love to God and the neighbor, which Jesus said is the sum­ming up of religion, he will be saved. The whole Bible can be broughtforward to support this statement. JUSt one passage in proof of whathas been said: "If the wicked will turn from aU his sins chat he hathcommitted, and keep aH my statures, and do that which is lawful and right, he shaH surely live, he shaH not die. AH his transgressions that he hath committed, they shaH not be mentioned unto him: in hisrighteousness that he hath done shaU he live. Have 1 any pleasure ataU that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that heshould return from his ways, and live?" What did Jesus say? "Himthat comech unto me, 1 will in no wise cast out." He did not mention the Plan of Salvation. Is not what is now being said the evident teaching of the SacredScriptures?
  8. 8. 10 WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? Where does the Plan of Salvadon come in? It is an attempt toexplain the lite and mission of Jesus, but utterly misrepresenting it,as is evident. Then what is the true explanation of the life andmission of Jesus?
  9. 9. CHAPTER IITHE TRUE EXPLANATION OF THE REDEMPTION There were three great objectives in the work of the Lord JesusChrist in coming to earth, or in what we caU the Incarnation, orassl1mption of the flesh and of our human nature. The first great objective was to release mankind from his captivityto the hells; for mankind had become an almost complete slave tothe heUs, or to the collective power of evil beings associated in theunderworld, depraved men and women who had gone from thisearth in their insane and malignant evil. The means He used was ta assume a human nature and a fleshlybody from Mary in order ta be able ta approach the denizens of theunderworld. As God is in Himself He is a consuming fire, and,using a material analogy, had He come unveiled before men anddevils they would have been consl1med more surely than mortalswould be consumed by the near approach of the sun of our solarsystem. It was indispensable therefore that He should veil over His glory. It would have been possible for the Lord ta have destroyed theenemies of the human race by His Divine Word, the Divine Trurh.If "by the word of the Lord were the heavens made," certainly theearth and the hells could have been as easily destroyed. The illusions of hell are mere phantasies; the power of evil is aphantasy; but men were entangled in those phantasies, believinggood to be evil and evil ta be good. They were hypnotized by evilbeings, and were almost completely in the power of these evil beings.The wickedness of the earth would have quickly destroyed the raceunder the influence of insane and malignant beings. It became necessary for the Lord in His assumed humanity tabecome champion of the human race and fight against the hells as aman, thus to assume the limitations of humanity, but with the power
  10. 10. 12 WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?of Almighty God. There was no other way ta meet devils withoutdestroying them. In this way only could He become their rescuer orRedeemer. The enemy of the human race was the underworld. In this way ofhurnan birth, "the seed of the woman would bruise the serpentshead," and the "serpent," or the collective power of evil in itsmalignity, "would bruise his heel." The seed of the woman was theDivine Truth embodied in a human being, the son of Mary. Theseed of the serpent was self-love. Beguiled by the senses, the celestialbeings of Eden, set up self-love and the pride of self-intelligence inthe center of the Garden instead of the acknowledgment of God,which was the tree of life, as the source of life and happiness. The promise ta the man in Eden of a final rescue became theguiding principle of histary. It was the promise of at-one-ment withGod which was ta be worked out in the histary of the world. Thestory of the Bible is therefore the stary of the fall of man by listen­ing to the self-life, in time being brought back to oneness with theDivine through the work of a Human-Divine Redeemer, the seedof the woman. Into a world almost lost came Jesus, "God-in-Christ," "the Only­Begotten Son of God," bringing the otherwise unseeable and un­knowable God into manifestation, so that God could fight againstmans enemies of the underworld in this assumed and limited human­ity on the plane of mans life. This was the situation which brought Jesus into the world as thepromised Messiah of the Jews, but really as the Deliverer of allmankind from the hells. All the promises of the Old Testament pointta this deliverance. And there was ta be but one Redeemer andSaviour, the son born of the Virgin, God-with-us, "The Mighty God,the Everlasting Father," God in human form, "in whom dwelt aHthe fulness of the Godhead." As Jesus said, "He that hath seen mehath seen the Father ... The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeththe works." "1 and the Father are one."
  11. 11. CHAPTER III GOD REVEALED IN JESUS The second great objective of the coming of the Lord into humanlife through the assumption of a human form on the plane of naturewas to reveal Cod to man. God as He is in Himself is invisible. Hedwells on a higher plane, indeed the highest plane of being, on theplane of Infinity and Eternity. As Paul said, "who is the blessed andonly Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who only hathimmortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach untO;whom no man hath seen, nor can see." Being Infinite He cannot beunderstood or conceived of by finite beings; for we can understandand conceive of an Infinite Being only by thinking of Him as beingout of our bounds of thinking. We can think of anything only on theplane of finiteness, in defined terms or conditions, which bring athing to us as an object of thought. The word "finite" means limitedor bounded. We cannot conceive of the infinity of space, to our mindsit must end somewhere. We cannot conceive of the phrase "frometernity" because we cannot conceive of anything not having had abeginning. Thus we cannot think of God either in His infinity oreternity. He must reveal Himself to us, and the only way in whichHe can do so is by coming into defined conditions, or into objectiveform. We may in our blindness deny that such a Being can exist butwe cannot rationally deny Him as First Cause and as the Preserver ofcreation who must have made the laws of the universe and who needsmust operate them. God tried in üld Testament times to reveal Himself through themediation of angels, who are good men and women gone out of thislife, or through the prophets who are the recipients of the Divineinflux, but the time came when man became too gross and material-istic to be able to receive Divine enlightment from within. God hadto become objective, an object of thought. God could reveal Himselfonly in human terms. And it was natural that He should so reveal
  12. 12. 14 WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? Himself, for He is PrimaI Man in whose image and likeness we are made. He therefore assumed humanity through Mary, a virgin, in arder that He might be uninfluenced and unaffected by the limitations which come through a human father in arder that He might be in a true sene "The Only Begotten Son of Gad." Gad thus projected Him­ self imo human life through the assumption of a limited human form on the plane of earth in arder not only that He might rescue man­ kind, but also that He might return imo the Infinite later without finite limitations from a human father, and henceforward be the Infinite Gad. Therefore it was expediem that He should go away from the maternaI human and ascend ta the Father, again become idemical with the Father. His disciples could not understand this, but He said to them: "The time cometh when 1 shall show you plainly of the Father." That time has come in this New Age when he does reveal Himself as the Father, "The Almighty," as "King of kings and Lord of lords," "Gad over aIl blessed forever." The third great objective of the Lord in the incarnation was to provide an eternal means of contact with mankind, ta provide, as it were, a great dynamo, a Divine Dynamo. which would forever make the otherwise invisible God accessible ta man. Just as the electric dynamo makes the otherwise invisible and unknowable force called electricity available for mans needs, giving man its heat, light and energy for his uses, so Jesus, as Gad come forth ta view, brings ta man, who can thus conceive of Gad in human terms, the Divine Heat, (or Love); the Divine Light, (or Truth); and the Divine Energy, (the Power of Gad). We can thus approach Gad in His Divine Human, conceive of Him as an abject of thought, secure His Love, Truth and Power. As Jesus said, "Without me ye can do nothing." "1 came fonh from the Father, and am come into the world; again 1 leave the world, and go umo the Father." At another time Jesus said, "He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me, seeth him who sent me." The Lord tells us of this relationship in a living way in the parable of the Vine and the branches. The Son of Gad who is said ta have been set down on the right hand of Gad after His resurrection was the Divine Human, or the~
  13. 13. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? 15Glorified Human, the Human made Divine, which remains forevcrthe medium of understanding and contact through which God workson earrh. Ir was not a separate Personality, but an Aspat of Godafter He had come forth ta view before the sight of humanity. Irwas the only Aspect of Divinity that enables us ta understand Godand come into contact with God. "No man cometh unto the Fatherbut by me." There are in our thought always, and must forever be, IWO Aspccc3of God, God as He is in Himself and God in His Coming-Forrh-to­View, "God and His Christ." We read in Revelation, "The kingdomsof this worJd are becorne the kingdoms of our Lord and of HisChrist, and He shall reign forever and ever." "He," not "they." OneGod in rwo aspects of the Invisible and the Visible; not unlike manas ta soul and body. "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with man,"as Jesus, "and He will dwell with them," as Jesus, "and they shallbe his people, and God Himself shedl be with them, their God.
  14. 14. CHAPTER IV THE INCARNATION EXPLAINED Let us keep in mind that "God was in Christ," and that in Christ"dwelleth aU the fulness of the Deity in bodily form," and thatChrist was "God over aU, blessed forever." That being so there wasonly one God, but in twO aspects, God in Himself and God in Hiscoming forth to view. "No man hath seen God at any time; theOnly-Begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hathbrought him forth ta view." They were not two distinct persons,even though spoken of as Father and Son, but Jesus was the projectionof the Father into time and space for the purpose of rescuing human­ity from the grasp of hell. God projects Himself. The son born ofMary, "the Son of Man," was a self-imposed limitation in order taenable God to face men and devils-the only possible way-in orderra meet men and devils on their own plane of manifestation withoutdestroying them, to reveal God ta man and overcome the under­world thtOugh temptation combatJ. Jehovah was the unseen God;Jesus was Jehovah come forth tO view as Saviour; not two, but one.Hear, 0 Israel, the Lord, thy God is One." Jehovah said, "My glorywiU l not give to another," and also, "l, Jehovah, am thy Redeemerand thy Saviour." The name Jesus means Jehovah as Saviour. Let us remember two things; there never was a Son of God in thebeginning more merciful than the Father, and it is incredible tharGod could not forgive men without the shedding of blood. A kingcan forgive his rebellious subjects. W hy cannat Gad do JO? Ourheavenly Father would not want His children ta be destroyed in heUeven if they deserved it. Certainly no earthly parent wou Id desire it,nor permit it. The eternal Decrees of God making it necessary tavindicate Divine Justice by the murder of humanity, or else themurder of the Son of God, are an absurdity. The early Christian Church undersraod that the sacrifice of Jesuson the cross was nor to appease Divine wrath or Divine justice, asthe church later came to believe, but the work of the hells in fightingGod. The ransom paid was ta the heUs. How was this possible?
  15. 15. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION 17Because hell had taken possession of the human race through theoverthrow of mans free will. It was necessary for God ta fight thehells. How could He do so? By assuming mans nature and form, aswe have seen, in order that He might approach them withour destroy­ing them. Ir meant that God would have ta identify Himself withhumanity by taking upon Himself mans nature, subject ta tempta­tion, and that hell would have the power it had acquired through theruin of man to make men suffer. Was there no other way? Jesus inHis struggle in Bethsemane evidently asked the question, but Hethen saw that the only way Vas by submitting ta the hells. "Not mywill,"-not the human wil1,-not the will of the son of Mary,-"butthy will be done," the will of the Divine Love which would notdestroy the hells by violence. God identified Himself with the human race in His coming forthta view as Jesus. He had to be born of a virgin so as not ta have ahuman father with resulting limitations when He should return taHis full Deity. No man with a hum an father could ever be God. TheSon had ta be "the Gnly Begotten," unique in being merely thechannel for God ta enter the human race. He had ta have the humannature and the body of f1esh in order ta be visible, tangible, directIyin touch with humanity. He was absolute1y different from all othermen in having no limiting inheritance fram a human father. But Hetook full posseSJion of the planes of human life on earth and inheaven hy hecoming incarnate and made them fOfe1/er His own hyHis victories over the hells who had invaded them. He thus providedan eternal basis on the planes of human life on earth and in heavensa that He could he fully present in them fore ver. He is truly now"Immanue1, God-with-us." He is "the tabernacle of God with men."He dwells with us now in His Divine Human, or human made Divine.We are His people, and God Himself is with us now, our God. Heis "the mighty God, the everlasting Father, "King of kings, and Lordof lords." And we can never see any other God than the God we seein Jesus. As finite beings we have ta see God in finiteness or not at a11.As we cannot see the soul of another man except in his body, so wecannot see the Divine Soul except as made visible in Jesus. This isthe plain teaching of the Bible.
  16. 16. CHAPTER V GOD DECLARES SUBSTITUTION IMPOSSIBLE X!hen the Israelites under Moses came oue of Egypt they were obviously merely a race of slaves, withoue culture or education or knowledge of a cultural kind. They had been kept in the most abject slavery. How could Gad reveal Himself co them? Only by talking CO them in language they could understand. They were primitive in their feelings, rotally unspiritual. The revelations that came co them through Moses had to pieture God in the terms of a man such as they could respect, capable of anger and revenge. Therefore God was presenred co them then, and in later writings of the Old Testamenr, as one who cook vengeance of their inventions. The law proclaimed from Mt. Sinai was given in a tempest of flame and thunder in arder properly co impress a savage race. Bue the basis of the covenant which God made with them through Moses was the Ten Commandmenrs. If they kept the Ten Command­ menrs, they would be prospered and happy. If they did not, the curses outlined in Deueeronomy would fall on them and their children. A tabernacle was built expressly under the direction of Moses co provide a holy place for the Ten Conmandmenrs. God said He would dwell with them there. Ir was a picturization of the fact that God would dwell with them as they kept the Ten Commandmenrs. Let liS keep in mind that Israel agreed co keep the Ten Commandmenrs and that was the basis of the covenant. Bue they kept the Commandmenrs no better than we do. They had co have something external in the way of worship co satisfy the savage love of the spectacular, something co appeal tO mans love of the sensuous. Their father Abraham had worshipped God back in Ur of the Chaldees by means of animal sacrifices. He kept it up when he came inco Canaan. He had also been an idolater, but he was called upon co worship One God in the new land inro which he came; yet it was not possible for him co have the true~I
  17. 17. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? 19name of the Lord as ]ehovah revealed to him. He was still too ex­ternal despite his high quality of implicit obedience. Abraham sdecendants still kept up the worship of God by animal sacrifices.It was a heathenish custom expressing the idea of reconciliationwith Gad by shedding blood. Ir toO often resulted in the sheddingof human blood as expiation for offenses to Deiry, under the super­stitious belief that Deiry could be pacified, appeased only by thevicarious yielding up of precious life. As we read of those ancientpeoples trying to appease Deiry in this way we have a deep piryfor their grossly superstitious idea of what God requires of Hischildren. Surely we have gone far beyond any such superstitiousidea of Gad. Or have we? Through Moses God gave the children of Israel many laws re­garding health and sanitation and social relationships, but, inorder tO keep them fram worshipping heathen idols, like those ofEgypt and neighboring lands, and reverting to gross idolatry. Hepermitted them to have a worship through animal sacrifice; but,mark this, He urrerly changed the spirit of it, making the animaIsco represenr the offering up of their good affections, for animallife represenrs the emotional life of man, and making the mealofferings from the vegetable kingdom to represenr their goodthoughts; for the vegetable kingdom represems the imellectual lifeof man. In this way worship through sacrifices was made possible,possible tO a savage people unable to appreciate true ethical ideals.Their plural wives and easy divorce and spirit of revenge show hOvexternal they really were. They had the spirit of a savage race,but were held to sorne degree in check by Divine law. To them God had to reveal Himself in the best way possible,but their spirit was not greatly changed even after they came into theland of Israel. They did each man that which was right in his owneyes and worshipped the gods of the land. However, we perceivethat as the centuries passed by the mark of a faithful Israelite Vasthe performance of worship through animal sacrifice. Yet Christianworship has gone little further. While animal sacrifices were abol­ished for Christians following the founding of the Christian Church,the spirit of it was continued. The writers of the New Testament
  18. 18. 20 WHAT IS THE lRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? having been brought up in the remembrance of the worship of Gad through animal sacrifice tried to i11terprel me work of Christ wholly in the spirit of such worship. Paul especially dedicates himself ta the task of explaining the work of Jesus in the language of mysticism, of Hebrew mysticism, based on the significance of the sacrificial system, which was, as we have shawn, not the real basis of Old Testa­ mnet religion, but a system permitted by the Lord because of the external nature of the people. And yet Paul caught the true idea when he said : "Gad was in Christ reconciling the worId umo him­ self, not imputing their trespasses umo them." That being true Gad did not have ta be propitiated. It was man who had ta be reconciled ta Gad.1
  19. 19. CHAPTER VI THE DEATH ON CALVARY The rejection of Jesus by the Jews was a represenration of theirrejection of the Ward of Gad and of the Divine Being. Ir is perfectlytrue that Gad in Jesus completely identified Himself in His assumedhumanity with the human race, taking upon Himself tendencies tasin through his human inheritance, and also bore our griefs andcarried our sorrows, and bore our sinful tendencies in his own bodyon the tree; but he did not suffer as a substituee for us, nor pay thepenalty of our sins. His death on the cross represenred the rejectionof the Divine Being and His Ward by the Jewish nation. Jesus wasthe Ward incarnate. " He came unta his own, and his own re­ceived him not." There was no Gad in heaven demanding the deathof the sinner but willing ta be appeased by the death of His son.Jesus was Gad in the flesh come ta earth in a limited humanityin arder ta share with us our life and overcome our enemies ofthe underworld and set us free from their ruthless power. He pouredout His life for us in that fierce combat against the hells. They hadpower because the human race had yielded ta their suggestions ofevil. He died ta release humanity from their grasp by overcoming thehells as they tempted Him. And He overcame. He became sin for us represenratively, not acruallY for He knewno sin. He did not assume our guilt, for He was a represenrationof the Divine Innocence, represenratively the Lamb of Gad who borethe sinful tendencies of humanity, but not its sin. There was noother Gad ta appease, for Gad is one, one in Essence and one inPcrson,-manifested in the flesh. He that saw Jesus saw the Fatheras one seeing you sees your soul manifesting itself through yourbody. But it was not Gad that died upon the cross, but the son of Mary,the assumed human. Gad cannat die. Because we are Gods childrenwe cannat die, but our bodies can,-OUl" camaI nature cano He
  20. 20. 22 WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?assumed our humanity in arder ta share our life, in arder ta meetthe hells and overcome in the limitations of that human nature, inarder ta reveal Himself ta us in the only way possible. "He wastempted in all points like as we are, yet withour sin." He sufferedvicariously for us, but did not become a substiture for us, becausethere is no such thing in human life or in Gods universe as onepet:son becoming guilty for another and suffering for him, substitut­ing for him when it is known that he is not guilty. No court oflaw would permit it, nor would Gad do sa. In facr, He says ex­pressly in Ezekiel; "The soul that sinneth, it shaU die. The sonshall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the fatherbear the iniquiry of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shaHbe upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.But if the wicked will tum from aH his sins that he hath committed,and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, heshall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hathcommitted, they shall not be mentioned UntO him; in his righteous­ness that he hath done shall he live. Have 1 any pleasure at aU thatthe wicked should die? saith the Lord Gad; and not that he shouldretum from his ways, and live?" This means definitely and unmistakably and forever that Gad willnot punish the innocent for the guilty, any more than a humancourt of law will do sa, and that if we tum away from our evils oflife, and live according ta Divine law, we shaH be saved. Eachman is responsible for his own character. Jesus confirmed this inRevelation by saying, "Behold, 1 come quickly; and my reward iswith me, ta give every man according as his work shaH be," thusaccording ta his characrer. No one can be our substitute in acquiringan education or a Christian character. There is no magical processin either. Each means prolonged effort.
  21. 21. CHAPTER VIIGODS RE]ECTION OF THE SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM Did God reject the sacrificial system which He permitted theIsraelites to establish? Yes, by showing that He did not care foranimal sacrifices, but wanted His children ta realize such sacrificeswere only symbols of true spiritual worship and superseded bysincere spiritual living. Take as an example the 51st Psalm whereDavid expresses contrition for the sins of adultery and murder. Hehad a glimpse then of something infinitely higher than symbolism,of the spiritual reality behind the symbolism. We read: "For thoudesirest not sacrifice; else would 1 give it; thou delightest not inburnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a brokenand contrite heart, 0 God, thou wilt not despise." No. God did notdesire animal sacrifices, and did not delight in burnt offering. We have this brought out powerfully by the prophet Isaiah.Through Isaiah the Lord tried ta make His people understandthe emptiness of their ritual practices, yes, His utter rejection ofsacrificial worship. We read in Isaiah 1: 11: "Ta what purpose isthe multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord. 1 am fullof the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and 1delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats.When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at yourhand, ta tread my courts?" The offering of animal sacrifices is revolting in itself, obviouslyfrom a heathen origin, even if permitted ta the Israelites, becauseof their degraded spiritual state. We ought ta be able ta realize thatif bloody sacrifices would overwhelm us with disgust and horrorif offered ta appease us, they would certainly be as offensive ta God,permitted only because of the Lords effort to make them help inlifting the thought of the worshipper to spiritual cleansing andsacrifice. We can see in the fact that He permitted this heathenishpractice His infinite patience and desire ta help pitifully crude
  22. 22. 24 WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?humanity, people who could understand only the debased and cruel. The Lord through Isaiah tells His people that outward worshipcannot take the place of obedience ta His commandments. Sacrificesand ritual can never be a substitute for spiritual living. The Lordstates the case frankly to a people who ought ta know better: "Whenye spread forh your hands, 1 will hide mine eyes from you. Yea,when ye make many prayers, 1 will not hear." Why? Because "yourhands are full of blood." ln other words, because of their evilliving. And yet the Christian world is taught that the bloody sacrifice,­yes, the murder of the innocent Son of God, will appease the AI­mighty and be a substitute for living weil! This is what is involved inthe so-called Plan of Salvation. The Lord through Isaiah insists that His children shaH live weil,and who can question that this is the message of the Lord throughoutthe Bible? Did not Jesus say, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall knowthem?" Under the Plan of Salvation people have been told thatthey could not do anything that is good; ail of their effort is as"filthy rags," dyed with self-merit. Then they are told that Jesuskept the Ten Commandments for us, in our place, as our substitute,that al! we have ta do is to "believe" that Jesus died as our substitute,that He bore the penalty of our sins and offers us a free pardonand an abundant entrance into heaven without any effort on ourpart, since we can do nothing whatever that is good. A preacher once said ta the writer, pointing to the Ten Com­mandments hanging on the wall before us: "They are an offenceta me. Jesus kept them for me. 1 dont wam to have anything ta doVith them." "But," 1 asked, "what about the Sermon on the Mountwhere the Lord tells us that they are ta be kept not only in theletter but in the spirit? The Sermon on the Mount might be saidta be a summing up of the Christian religion." "No," he answeredangrily, "It belongs ta the üld Testament religion. 1 am savedby grace and not by the works of the law. Jesus died on the crossas my substitute. He paid the penalty of my sins. Ail 1 have ta dois to believe it." ln other words, he and others like him, reject the message of
  23. 23. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? 25the Lord ta His children: "Wash you; make you clean; put away theevil of your doings before mine eyes; cease ta do evil; learn ta dowell; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge the fatherless;plead for the widow." And Jesus says in Revelation: "Blessed arethey that do his commandmenrs, that they may have fight to thetree of life, and may enter in through the gates inro the city."
  24. 24. CHAPTER VIII WHY CHRISTIANITY FAlLS 1s it any wonder that Christianity taught after this manner hasfailed to save the world from its evils? Jesus tells us that when we seethe Abomination which makes desolate standing in the Holy Place,-and what other belief equals this in making desolate the Christianlife, denying the possibility of our living well and crouching underthe substitution of the innocent for the guilty,-we should fleeto the mountains. The holding of such a desolating belief marks theend of the First Christian Age. A New Age is indispensable to bringus back to the true teachings of Jesus. When Christians sing: "Jesus paid it all, All to Him l owe; Sinhad left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow;" they forgetthat the Lord says that the rerurn to the Lord, the shunning ofour evils of life, and the keeping of His commandments, is thething that saves us. Ir is precisely this changed life, lived in thestfength of the Lord, which is said ta wash away our sins. TheLord points out that if we do rhese indispensable things of repent­ance and living well, "though our sins be as scarlet, they shaH beas white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall beas waal." Mark it well: It is not OUf belief in the Plan of Salvationwhich accomplishes this end, but repentance and reform. Ir is perfectiy true that we are saved by faith in the Son of Gad,but that means that we are saved as we come into the realizationor perception of Jesus as Gad come forth ta view, and accept Hishelp ta live the Christ-like life, thus are saved by our co-operation,-our free choice of the good and the rejeetion of the evil,-whichmeans our coming into the new life of Gad in the soul. That is thefaith in the Son of Gad. We are not as sticks and stones, unable tachoase the good and reject the evil; else the invitation would not begiven us, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." The "works of the law" which do not save are the aets of rirual­
  25. 25. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? 27ism and piety done in our own strength tainced by selfish ends. Inthe Jewish dispensation they were the performance of the rimaisof the ceremonial law, not the eternal basis of che Ten Command­ments, which are forever necessary. "He that hath my command­ments, and keepeth them, he is that loveth me." Buc that the Lord rejected the sacrificial system as anything buta symbolism of true religion is conclusively shown by the followingpassage from Micah 6th chapter: "Wherewith shall 1 come beforethe Lord, and bow myself before the high God? ShaH 1 come beforeHim with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lordhe pleased Vith thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of riversof oil? ShaH 1 give my first born for my transgression, the fruit ofmy body for the sin of my soul? He hath shown thee, 0 man, whatis good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but ta do justly,and to love mercy, and ta walk humbly with thy God?" Can we imagine a more complete repudiation of the efficacy of thesacrificial system to save mankind. Even if Jewish symbolists triedto incerpret the Christian religion in its terms, does if not showrather their inability ta grasp the fact of the changed life as thetrue religion of Jesus?
  26. 26. CHAPTER IX HOW SHALL WE UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE? The Bible seems easy to understand but acmally it is the mostmisunderstood book in the world. Ir is interpreted by differentindividuals and seets in a thousand different ways, and this is thechief cause of the existence of so many different denominations ofChristians. One reason that it is so misunderstood is that individuals cometo it with certain definite theories which they wish to confirm fromit. Let us say that it is true that they derive those theories from theircursory reading of the Bible, but they emphasize some one pointor other, or various points which they unite into a system of be­lief, and then insist that what they have derived and emphasized isthe true and only belief from the Bible and hence the true religion,and everything which is contrary to their view is heresy. Theythen teach their view, or interpretation, to others about them, andconfirm what they teach from the passages which they think provethe completeness of their new phase of religion. Since most peopledo no clear thinking for themselves, they are open to an emphasistaught them by others of an ardent spirit. They see, or think theysee, from the Bible itself the correctness of the view which has beenpresemed. Every passage which appears ta be contrary to their in­terpretation is made ta harmonize as far as possible with the systemof belief adopted, or at least is twisted inta an appearance of har­mony, or else cast aside as unimportant. St. Anselm evidently ap­proached the Bible with a theory of his own from his reading, buthis effort resulted in a total failure ta understand its message,-inthe eventual destruction of the Christian Church. The method suggested of approaching the Bible with a theory ofour own, and attempting to prove it by passages of the Word, is amost unfair way of getting at the truth of the Bible and it alwaysresults in an unfair presentation of its truths. There is probably
  27. 27. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? 29enough truth in a new system sa derived to prevent a total destructionof the individual. He is probably taught to be good and ta do goodand in such a simple way that he feels somehow the presence ofGad in his life. But we simply cannat go ta the Bible or any otherbook with preconceived theories and hope to arrive at a true inter­pretation of it. What is the true method? Ir is to take certain fundamental ideaspresented in the Bible concerning the nature of Gad and the pur­poses or objectives He has in dealing with men and try to get at itsbasic teachings. When the lawyer askecl Jesus which was the great,or greatest, teaching of the Old Testament, Jesus told him that theworship of one Gad and love to Him and the neighbor were thetwo great commandments of religion and that all the Law and theProphets hung upon those cardinal or fundamental teachings ofreligion,-love ta Gad and love towards our fellowman. Ir is truethat no branch of the Christian Church gives this same emphasisin its practical teaching, even though all do sa nominally. Insteadthey emphasize their doctrines which separate them from others.Therefore we see why all of them have failed in saving the world.But, at least, it is evident that we know now how to begin a trueinterpretation of the Bible. Anything which arises in our furtherinterpretation which is not in harmony with the acknowledgmentof Gad as One, One Being, and in a life of keeping Gods command­ments, summed up in the Ten Commandments, or the Two GreatCommandments-our truest way of showing our love to Gad and ourfellow man-the only way acceptable to God-is to be cast aside. Taking this simple method of understanding the Bible we seeat once that any doctrine taught by any church which shows thatGad is cruel and unjust, more cruel and unjust than any man ofordinary sensibilities, is untrue. Take the Plan of Salvation as anexample. AIl people will acknowledge that the parable of the Prodi­gal Son is a true and obviously true statement of the attitude ofGad towards His erring children. It was not true that the Prodigalsfather was angry with his son, wholly alienated from him. Hislove went out ceaselessly ta have him see the error and evil of his lifeand ta return to his f~thers home. It is a perfect picture of the
  28. 28. 30 WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?attitude of Gad cowards the human race. Who will deny it? Thenwhen we read that "Gad is angry with the wicked every day?" whatare we co think? Does it not obviously mean that from the viewpointof the wicked the Lord is angry with him, just as the evildoer thinksof the police and law courts as hostile co him,-or, let us say, asanglY with him? For a people who were idolarers and immersed inevil living, as were the people co whom the üld Testament came,who persisted in their evil living, as is wimessed by the denuncia­tians of the Prophets against them, it is evident that Gad did seemco be angry with them; and with those who were trying co livedecent lives when they saw what happened co the wicked it did ap­pear that the Lord was angry with the wicked. They did not realizethat evil punishes itself, and that Gods attitude is forever that of thefather of the Prodigal Son. In bath üld and New Testament good-intentioned people, as weUas the wicked, assumed that Gad was like themselves in anger,hateed and revenge, and Gad aUowed them sa ta think of Himbecause of the need co tey co maintain among them a semblance ofarder. They could not easily comprehend that the Lords statementthrough Jeremiah was always true, namely, "1 have loved theewith an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness have ldrawn thee." This means that the Lord was always loving, alwayspatient, always striving co save mankind from destruction. In the lastbook of the üld Testament, Malachi, the Lord says very definitely,and conclusively, "1 am the Lord, l change not; therefore ye sonsof Jacob are not consumed." Is it not evident that God is not likea man co give way co anger, hatred and revenge. Thus when we readthat "Gad is angry with the wicked every day," we realize at once thatthis is only an appearance and not the real fact. But writers in bath the üld and New Testament yielded co theappearance and believed Gad co be an avenger, ready, and eager copunish evildoers, and even constructed heU co be an appropriateplace co punish them eternally. They were quite ready co acceptthe attitude of the heathen world and believe that Gad neededco be propitiated and appeased, ready co believe that sin must some­how be expiated, that since "the wages of sin is death," death must
  29. 29. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? 31be the penalty of all who disobey the Divine law, and proper expia­tion must be made in order to escape the penalty of evildoing. Theonly way they thought of to appease God was by an atonement, orexpiation, of their sin,-an atonement, or expiation, which wouldshow their great sorrow for their evil. This led not only to animalsacrifices, where animals poured out their lifes blood to pacifyDeity, but to the hideous sacrifice of sons and daughters. This idea was carried over into the New Testament, and despitethe eternally true picture provided in the parable of the ProdigalSon, they felt it necessary to change the thought about Gods at­titude from that of a loving Father ever standing ready to receiveback the penitent sinner to that of an autocratie and merciless Ruler,or Sovreign, who demanded the death penalty for every sinner, evenof innocent little infants because they were the offspring of Adam.This is the change effected in the Christian religion as receivedby mankind by the work of such men as St. Anselm. And it ishinted at by writers of the New Testament who seemed to haveforgotten the attitude of Jesus who said, "Whosoever will, let himtake the water of life freely," and "Him that cometh untO me, 1will in no wise cast out." After St. Anselm his interpretations were accepted by the RomanChurch and later in the Reformation started by Luther by theProtestant Church. This hideous misunderstanding of the natureof the God of the Bible, this fantastie and inhuman idea of Hiscruelty, became parr of the Christian religion and people have beenpersecuted ever since, or at least called heretics, who did not be­lieve it.
  30. 30. CHAPTER X THE TRUE METHüD ILLUSTRATED The question as ta how we shall inrerpret the Bible is solvedby taking the book as a whole and thinking of the true and evidenrnature of God as infinitely and eternally loving, incapable of theweaknesses of hating humanity, and avenging Himself upon them.1t seems nue ta say that God hates sin, but loves the sinner; thathis hatred of sin is nOt becallse of His fastidious dislike of whatis offensive ta Him as an individllal being, but because of itsharmful effect upon the sinner. The God the theologians have in­vented is a base calumny, an atrocious misrepresenration of a Deitywho actually is forever like the father of the Prodigal Son. Thereal God of the Bible is a Divine Being whose love followed thesinner down inro hell itself and overthrew the hells in order torelease mankind from the illusions of wickedness and from spiritualdeath. God is not at ail like the God behind the so-called Planof Salvation. God, manifested in Jesus, did actually come forth intothe lowest planes of mans earthly life, and in the inner world ofspirit met and fOllght against and overcame mans deadly enemies,resclling man from their cruel and malignant power, setting himforever in a place of equilibrium, or balance, between heU andbeaven, so tbat aided by the Lord and His angels, man could freelychoose tbe good and reject the evil. This was the Rescue of mankind,His Redemption; and Salvation is mans choice of the good and re­jection of the evil helped by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who isGod dwelling with man. Is not this latter Plan of Salvation, if onewishes ta calI it that, in harmony with the true nature of God as re­vealed in üld and New Testament? Is not this the picture of Redemption and Salvation disclosed in the40th chapter of Isaiah? For example, we have there the pictureof John the Baptist as the forerunner of the Messiah who was taprepare the way of Jehovah. Mind you, he was to prepare the way
  31. 31. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? 33of Him who was Jehovah in the flesh, and in that way JehovahHimself, of Him in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godheadbodily. John was ta make in the desert a "highway for out God."That this was so is shown by the statements which follow whereit is tald us that "the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and allflesh shall see it together." And this coming forth was Jesus-Godin the flesh. And the church revealed respectively as Zion and Jemsalem iscommanded ta lift up the voice with strength and say unta the citiesof Judah, "Behold, your God." It is not the Suffering Servant spokenof in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, but the trimuphant, Ali-PowerfulGod of heaven, the Creator of rdl things, who is ta be seen in Jesus."Behold, the Lord God (Jehovah) will come with Strong hand,and his alm.-" Jesus in the flesh, seen by the Jews as the SufferingServant, but seen thus because He taok our nature upon Him and fought for us against the hells and was therefore misunderstood,­"His arm, "Jehovah in the flesh, "shall mle for him." That this picture of Jehovah coming forth for the rescue of man­kind from the hells is the revelation of Jesus is shown by the versewhich follows: "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shallgather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, andshall gently lead those that are with young." Jesus claimed ta bethe Good Shepherd here picmred, "1 am the Good Shepherd: theGood Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." Yes, He laid down­ His human life derived from Mary,-not His Godhead,-and so doing He was able ta say: "My sheep heal my vo:ce, and 1 know them, and they follow me. And 1 give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all,-" the Divine Love,-"is greater than all; and no man is able ta pluck them out of my Fathers hand. 1 and my Father are one." Thus he gained the victary for univers al mankind, gained for them the power ta choose the good and reject the evil. He did not make a propitiation ta an angry God up in heaven. The word in the Bible translated "propitiation" means "mercy-seat". There was no God apart from Him, for He was Jehovah come forth ta view.
  32. 32. 34 WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? There was no other Deicy, for God is one and indivisible,-no other Deity demanding che deach of the innocent for the guilty. "For God so loved che world chat he gave his only begotten Son, thacwhosoever be1ievech in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,-" became the "mercy-seat". God projected Himself into the world by the assumption of a human nature ta face and fight againsc che enemies of the human race,-became the "mercy-seat" ta make Gods mercy ever present-but God was not divided into two equalDeities, for God is One being, and indivisible, One God did not accept the death of another God, for God is ONE, His own Arm brought the eternal rescue of mankind and made possible man ssalvation. Jesus said plainly, "1 lay down my life for the sheep ...1 lay down my life, that 1 might take it again. No man taketh it fromme, but 1 lay it down of myse1f." He did not lay down His life­His human life-because of Gods demand ta have a bloody sacrifice to satisfy His wrath oti His sense of justice, ta pay the penalty ofmans sins, but to save mankind personally from mans enemies of theunderworld by fighting against them in His assumed human anddelivering mankind from hopeless subjection ta the hells. "InaU their affliction he was afflicted-... in his love and in his pityhe redeemed them." And yet we hear over the radio daily, and from a thousand pulpits,that people are saved only by "the shed blood of Christ," and thatmen cannot possibly do anything that is good which contributes tosalvation. But still people are urged to repent and be baptized andta surrender their lives to God as indispensable to salvation, as ifeverything depended upon turning away from evil and living as aChristian. Ir would seem as if there were complete contradictionin these statements. Let us examine what is meant that we are saved only "by theblood."
  33. 33. CHAPTER XI "SA VED BY THE BLOOD" There are three ways advanced by the "Plan of SaIvation" people as to the application and value of the blood. People daim to be "under the blood," referring to the placing of the blood of the Passover lamb on the lintels of the doorposts of the Israelites to protect them from the Angel of Death who was to pass over Egypt and destroy aU the firstborn of the land. The Passover lamb is thought of as a type of Jesus who was slain at Passover time and whose blood is believed to be placed mystically over the households of believers to protect individuals and families from disaster. There are Christian songs dedicated to this idea of being "Vnder the Blood." In these songs the idea is extended ta coyer the protection of those who accept the Vicarious Atonement. Another idea of the value and use of the blood of Jesus is called being washed in the blood. In Revelation 1: 5 we read: "Vnta him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood." W e shaU consider that statement in its place. The third idea is the familiar one that Jesus vicariously died upon the cross, the innocent for the guilty, thus shedding His blood,in order that God might be able ta forgive mankind the penalty of their sins, which penalty is death. Jesus, they say, voluntarilysubmitted Himself to this ignominious and cruel death upon thecross in order to expiate our sins, thereby making it possible forthose who accept Him as a substitute to be admitted inta heaven.In this way, it is daimed, they are admitted into heaven, and in thisway only; for, as we have previously observed, this vicarious deathdoes not save the rest of mankind who have never heard of Jesus andHis atoning death, and certainly not those who reject this offer ofmercy. Vnder this Plan of Salvation God simply cannot exemptany from eternal death in heU who do not accept this dogma. Itis only a partial escape of the human race from eternal death,
  34. 34. 36 WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?an escape of the relatively few. Dnder this idea the important thingis ta have our sins forgiven,-wiped out, obliterated. But then,­accepting this pardon-a magical process takes place,-the forgivenwho have received a free pardon, are miraculously changed fromwolves to lambs, or from evil, sinning people, into saints, for norhingthat they can do contributes an iota tO their salvation. Is it anywonder that the people of the earth who have accepted this Planof SaIvation have not become aetual saints upon earth, but that thosewho are nominally Christian under this plan, having no need ta keepthe Ten Commandments themselves since Jesus kept them forthem, have pe1Sisted in greed, lust, hatled and every other wickedness?Is h any wonder that wars continue and the exploitation and slaveryof mankind by nominally Christian nations? And sometimes by nom­inally Christian individuals as leaders of industry? Is the "changedlife" made the goal for those who attend churches? Why shouldpeople "change" their habits of living when nothing depends uponit? As ta being "under the blood," as outlined above, it scarcelyseems worth while to discuss Ït, except ta say that people who doaccept the idea are sticklers for the literai sense of the Bible and yetaccept a mystical idea of salvation bv a symbol only. If one realizesthat the blood of the Passover lamb was a type of the blood ofJesus, and the blood of Jesus is thought of as the Divine truth itself,which when applied as tttlth to da;!y living preserves one from theassaults of evil being, and saves from spiritual death, the idea isgood. We should aU want ta he under the Divine protection by keep­ing the Divine commandments. That is ta be "under the blood,"under the protection of Divine truth lived out day by day. As to the idea of being "washed in the blood," the same idea ofapplying Divine tmth in daily living makes the mystical statementa vivid reality. If l refrain from stealing because it is Divinely pro­hibited, l am tmly washing or deansing myself from the sin oftheft. That is a practical way of being made free from sin. But the "Plan of Salvation" people think that such a practicalcourse is not Biblical, that somehow the blood of Jesus is literally
  35. 35. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION) 37applied by using the word "blood" instead of its spiritual eguivalemof Divine truth. A preacher called one day upon the writer ta find out juSt what1 did believe about salvation. He stayed two hours and a haH and1 explained simply my beliefs and felt that he had been impressedby the reasonableness of what 1 said and its strict adherence ta Scrip­mre. He toid me of his experiences in finding his presem religion and1 found him to be apparently a very sincere Christian. Again he cameto see me in the evening and stayed three hours, bringing with hima long letter of three dosely typed legal size sheets filled with quota­tions from the Bible emphasizing the use of the word "blood." Hehad evidently spem the emire afternoon following his first viositwriting the letter ta convince me that 1 had gone astray. 1 tald him that if he would only think of what the word "blood"signified, namely, the Divine truth, and since the Divine truth isthe expression of the Divine Life, and hence may be thought of asDivine Life itself, for "the life is in the blood," he would have adearer understanding of the passages he guoted. 1 showed him thata soldier is said ta have shed his blood for his country when itwas meam that he had poured Out his life for it, that we shouldthink of the reality of the life of Jesus in our souls as saving usrather than hoId on ta the symbol of the blood. When Jesus died onthe cross, shedding His blood for us, it evidently meam that Hepoured out His life for us in His temptation combats against the hellsas our champion. We are saved by His life as it finds expressionin our life. He seemed ta agree with me, but the next morning he came againand urged me ta give up human interpretation of the Bible, sayingthat 1 should accept the Bible as it is. 1 tald him that there are al­most as many imerpretations of the Bible text as there are men.And he handed me, strangely inconsistem, a diagram which showedthat there are seven steps in mans salvation based upon the Taber­nacle in the Wilderness, an obviously new and man-made imerpre­tation of Bible symbols. He wanted me to accept his imerpretation ofthe Bible! 1 raId him that 1 believed in 1eality and he merely in thesymbol. He admitted that the "blood" did signify the life but insisted
  36. 36. 38 WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?that it was wrong ta say so. Then he grew angry and said ta me, "Youlisten to me. Dont you talk." My wife interposed and asked him,"Why do you take away my husbands liberty? Has he no rightta express his views as well as you?" "No," he said, "1 want himta listen ta me. l believe in the blood. Thats what the Bible talksabout, the blood, the blood." He spoke like a man Qbsessed. l said,"What do you think about when you use the word blood? Doesit convey no idea ta your mind?" "Never mind," he cried, "1 believein the blood. l dont want ta think about it." l said ta him, "Frankly,my brother, l believe you will be saved, because from our previousconversations you appear to be a spiritually-minded man, but you willbe saved only because you have the truth and the lite of Jesus inyour sou!." But he went away muttering, "!ts the blood, the blood."
  37. 37. CHAPTER XII THE FAlLURE OF LlTERALISTS Is this incident not an illustration of those people who reject everyattempt to understand the spiritual meaning of the Bible and losethemselve~ in symbolism? Following such a method they can makethe Bible mean anything their fancy suggests. They live in symbolsand imagine themselves ta be realists only. The people of the FirsrChristian Age seem ta have become largely marerialists in hold:ngon ta symbols as if there were no meaning behind the symbols, as didmy visitar. They speak of being washed in the blood as if it wereliterally applied. They sing of it in their hymns. A woman oncesaid to me, "Perhaps you know how ta argue, but 1 believe Thereis a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuels veins, andsinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains!1 replied, "You object ta my spiritual interpretation of the Bible,yet how much blood do you think was shed by Jesus at the cross?Was there enough ta fill a fountain? You know at once there wasnot. You know perfectly well that there never was a fountain filledwith blood drawn from Immanuels veins. You know perfectly weilthat in the whole histary of the world there never was a sinnerplunged beneath that flood, to lose his guilty stains. You realizcas 1 speak that the song you love is only a simile. You realize tharthe truth which flowed from Jesus is as a fountain in which men maybathe,-as they obey that truth, and they are c1eansed from their sinsas they obey." But let us look more dosely into this idea of the blood. That it isused symbolically is dearly shown when Jesus commands His disciplesta eat His flesh and drink His blood. He used symbols ta show themhow ta do this in the bread and the cup. The bread was not His flesh.The cup was not His blood. No one ever ate literally the flesh anddrank the blood of Jesus. The Rom::1n church tries to make itsadherents fancy that they are actually eating the flesh of Jesus when
  38. 38. 40 WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? they eat the little wafer handed them, but no one can sensibly be­lieve that this is true, even though the priest daims it. Jesus claimedthat He is the Bread of Life, and that we must eat Him. How do wedo this? By partaking of His life. How do we partake of His life?By receiving his love in our hearts sa that it becomes our life. Thesame is true of His blood. As we oartake of His truth, we are en­lightened and vivified by it. ­ The encire Bible is wrmen in symbols. The blood is mencioned saoften and made use of because of its intimate connection with humanlife. It is true that the life is in the blood, of a man as well as ofan animal. The writer of the Book of Hebrews says plainly, "Iris not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take awaysins." Those sacrifices were only a symbolism, as he says. And thewriter of Hebrews is likewise speaking wholly in symbols, afterthe manner of the Hebrew symbolists of his time. The blood ofChrist offered without spot co God is only a symbolism, and it meansthe lite of Jesus which is "co purge Our conscience from dead worksco serve the living God." The life is in the blood. The blood is, asit were, a corporeal soul, and re presents the spiritual life. The bloodpoured out for us on Calvary represencs the life He poured Out forhumanity, the life of the maternaI human, and it was truly a sacrifice,-not ta another Gad, for Gad is One, bue a willing sacrifice on Hispart incurred in His rescuing man from his enemies of the under­worid. The writer of Hebrews also says that "almost all things are bythe law purged with blood." This blood represents the Divine truthand life which flow out from the Lord since His victory over thehells. In the ancient sacrifices it leplesents the blood of Jesus; butit became a living power as His life-the reality it represented-copurify and cleanse and make alive afrer the completion of Hiscombats with the hells on Calvary. A favorite quotation of the "Plan of Salvation" people is the versein Hebrews which says, "Withoue shedding of blood is no remission."But what does it mean ? That withoue the suffering of Jesus on thecross as the innocent victim, the shedding of His blood, we cannatexpect the forgiveness of Gad for our sins? Ir is an interesting illus­
  39. 39. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? 41tration of the method of interpreting the Bible upon the basis of apreconceived idea so as to make it ta confirm our preconceived idea.The theory to be proved is that the Plan of Salvation is true. Let us see what the shedding of blood leally means? Obviously thepouring out of the life. In the case of the Jewish sacrifices, and ofthe sacrifice of Jesus, it was le presentative of the pouring out of thelife of Jesus by means of which it was possible fol 1 eStts to make effec­tive His victory over the hells. By that vietory He was conqueror andby that victary He makes us ta be conquerors through His dominationof the hells. Sins are remitted only as we repent of them, shun themas of hell, "cease ta do evil, learn ta do well." Jesus said ta the Jews,"Except ye repent ye shall aH likewise perish." Repentance is there­fore indispensable in older to sewre fOlgiveness of sins. But the powerto overcome our sinfuI tendencies results from the shedding of bloodby Jesus.-by His life pouled Ottt zuhich secures fol us the spiritual!JictolY. Our sins are not remitted by the mere shedding of blood, butby the victory of Jesus enabling us ta live His kind of Life. When Jesus said at the Last Supper to His disciples, "This cupis the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you," just whatdid he mean? The Clip was not His blood, nor were its contents. Hewas speaking in symbols. Did He not mean, This cup, representingor s)mbolizing my blood, leplesents my life which is now poured out to enable you ta keep my new (ovenant with you?" The Old Cov­enant was the Ten Commandments which men failed ta keep be­cause they were external men and tried tO keep these commandmntsas external men in theil own strength. Now Jesus had come intothe world and had conquered the hells and was thenceforth to givemen power to keep them by His personal presence with them in Histlttth. His new covenant with men was His promise ta be with them and give them a perpetuaI victory as they lived His truth. The cup represented tbat truth of victary which if they drank they would have eternal life. Vhat warrant is there in believing it meant the ideas of the Plan of Salvation? Why read inta every passage of Scripture aconfirmation of that doctrine which has takefl away from men thesense of need to keep the Lord s commandments and by destroying that sense of need, clestroyed the effeetiveness of Christianity in
  40. 40. 42 WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?acmal1y changing men? Let us fancy men saying, "Why change OUflives when we have no need, when salvation is a free gift simply bybelieving a dogma, when aH we can do is only evil and has no effectin saving us?" The "consummation of the age" has come because ofthis false teaching of Faith Alone. It is truly the Abomination of Des­olation set up in the Holy Place, or Gods dweHing place with man,destroying true religion.
  41. 41. CHAPTER XIII THE GREAT RED DRAGON The Book of Revelation has never been understood by the ChristianChurch. PrOteStantS understand very weil that the reference ta theLast Judgment upon the Great Harlot means a judgment upon theRoman Catholic hierarchy. But they do not know that their generallyaccepted belief of Faith Alone, which has been described in thesepages as ta its evils, is the Great Dragon. It is not ta be wonderedat that the Book of Revelation has been ta them largely a sealedbook, except as ta the fate of the Roman Church in its final end.Of course, it is a sealed book to the Roman Church whose adherentsare not encouraged ta read it. The most fantastic interpretations have been made of the bookby Protestants whose eyes are closed as ta its spiritual content. Itnever occurs ta them that the Protestant Church JO far as this centralbetief of Faith Atone is concerned should also be condemned ascompletely as the Roman Church. The book pictures the end of theFirst Christian Age brought to its end by the evils and falsities of thetwo leading branches of the nominal Christian Church. It must be understaod that both the Roman and Protestantchurches are condemned in the Last Judgment described in Revela­tion because of their evil teachings and the conduct of their leade1Jin confirming those evit teachings. This does not mean that there arenot vast multitudes of sincere people in both churches who haverealized the Christian life. The judgment is upon religious systemswhich have falsified the Christian religion and destroyed its effec­tiveness. Whatever may be said of the Roman Church as ta its falsi­ties and evils, what could be worse than the teaching that religionis not a matter of life, but of belief without the need, and evenwithout the possibility, of co-operating with the Lord in livingweIl? This is the doctrine of Faith Alone. In this New Age the nature of the Last Judgment has been re­
  42. 42. 44 WHA T IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?vealed through a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, Emanuel Sweden­horg. Little serious attention should be paid to the daims of in­terpreters of the Christian religion simply because they daim tObe God-directed and God-inspired. It is essential that what they daimappears to be in harmony with reason and with the Word of God.Even then their claims should be examined in a microscopie way;their beliefs compared with other beliefs; their daims tholOughly in­vestigated as to reasonableness and probability; and compared withthe basic teachings of the Sacred Scriptures. Are the teachings com­ing to the world through Swedenborg rational and scriptural? Whatis the tesrimony of thoughtful people as to the man and his work?It is desirable to know what position he holds in the world of thought,what students of his writings have to say about him. Any encyclopediawill give general information, but the opinions of reliable men areworthwhile. The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1911,says: "Swedenborg was in many respects the mOSt remarkable man ofhis own or any age." Ralph Waldo Emerson, among many otherastounding things, wlOte: "The most remarkable step in the religioushistory of recent ages is that made by the genius of Swedenborg."Thomas Carlyle wrote: "More truths are confessed in his writingsthan those of any other man." Edwin Markham said: "Swedenborgwas one of the two or three grearest intellects that have appearedupon the planet." Balzac tells us: "Swedenborg undoubtedly epito­mizes all the religions, or rather the one religion of humanity."Henry Ward Beecher said: "No man can know the theology of thenineteenth cenrury who has not read Swedenborg." A distinguishedEpiscopalian divine, R. Heber Newton, WlOte: "The first really newconception of the characrer of immortality given to the world foreighteen centuries came through ... Swedenborg ... Swedenborg srhought has been slowly leavening the great churches of Christianityin the Western world." Another distinguished Episcopalian clergy­man, Joseph Fort Newton, says of Swedenborgs writings: "Theyhelped me to interprer the doctrines of our Christian faith asnothing else has ever done." But similar testimonies could be applied
  43. 43. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? 45withollt limit. At least one can say that thoughtful people regardhis message as superlative. And therefore we present his interpreta-tion of the 12th chapter of the Book of Revelation as at least worchyof the most serious consideration, cercainly consistent with the factsin the case and deserving of deepest scudy, despite ones prejudices. The seory in the 12th chapter of Revelation is of the woman clothedwith the sun, the moon under her feet, and upon her head-a crownof ewelve stars. In Swedenborgs Apocalypse Revealed, we read thatthe woman represents the Lords New Church-or the New ChristianDispensation succeeding the old and vastated church or dispensation,which New Church is later known as the New Jerusalem in the 21stchapter. Swedenborg tells us that everywhere in the Word a womansignifies the Church, or the reception of the Lords life,-the Lordthe bridegroom and the Church His wife. This understanding of theVoman as symbolizing the Church is everywhere received. To beclothed with the sun means CO be clothed with the Divine Love whichis signified by the sun cecause of its heat and creative power as repre-seming the Divine Love. The moon under the womans feet-itslight derived from the sun-tells us of the New Church founded uponFaith in the Lord and about co be on the earch. The crown of twelvestars represencs the completelleJS of the kllowledges (stars) of Divinegood and Divine truth from the W ordo The woman Vas travailing and about co bring forch a man child,the child répreseming the new teachillg of the Christian religionabollt eo be brought forch, the tlc!vailing signifying the resistanceon the parc of those opposed co the nevv understanding of religion.~! e can well understand that a new doctrine revealing the iniqui tyof the doctrine of Faith Alone would be resisted by those who ac-cept Faith Alone. Swedenborg tells us that the Great Dragon signifies those whomake God three, and who make Faith saving, but not love to theneighbor with it. The ewo essemials of the New Church, and itsdoctrine, the man-child, are (1) that God is one in Jesus: (Did notPaul say: "In him dwelleth al! the fulness of the Godhead bodily"?)and (2) that true religion is love to God and to the neighbor in
  44. 44. 46 WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?thought and deed. (Jesus said, "By this shaU aU men know that ycare my disciples if ye have love one to another.") Thus religion is covered by obedience to the Ten Commandments,bath in the letter and in spirit, and thus ta the Two Great Command­ments, which Jesus asserts is true religion. Of course, the inspiration to keep these commandments and thepower to do so are from the Lord al one, whose victory over thehells makes it possible for man so to aspire and so to live, for with­out Him we can do nothing. It is true that the church of the past has divided Deity ioto threeseparate and distinct Persons-as in the Athanasian creed-rreach ofwhom is by Himself God and Lord". But actually today mostchurches look upon Jesus as a kind of subordinate Deity, as a Sonsubject to the Father, despite the fact that He said: "Ali power isgiven uoto me in heaven and on earth." And they look upon theHoly Spirit as subject to both Father and Son, but as a Peraon separ­ate and distinct from the Father and the Son. But they say that God is One, even though they daim that God isdivided into three co-equal Uncreate, Infinite and Eternal Beings,making obviously three Divine Beings or Gods, and yet from manystatements, they seem to feel that the Son is subordinate and the HolySpirit still more subordinate. They somehow cannat realize that God is one as we are, and hasthree aspects, or phases of His being, just as man has a soul, mani­fested through a body, and has a life of activity proceeding from hissoul through his body.
  45. 45. CHAPTER XIV THE LORD IS ONE The time is come, according ta Swedenborg, when the Churchmust realize that God is one and indivisible, just as is a man made inthe Divine image and likeness; and also that God projected Himselfinto human life by self-limitation as Jesus, with three objectives: (1) 10 reveal Himself tO men, (2) In order ta save mankind from the power of the hells, and (3) In order ta provide an eternal and Divine Dynamo to makethe Divine Love and Truth and Power available ta man. No more confusing and misleading idea of the Divine Being canbe offered than that of the old teaching that God exists in three sep­arate and distinct individuals "each of whom is by Himself God andLord". It is like having three separate Sllns for our solar system in­stead of one, or three separate centers for a cirde. While ail Chris­tians say that God is one, many insist that God is three separate, co­equal and distinct Beings. This belief is a part of the "Plan of SaIva­tion." And yet many, after making that daim, inconsistently enough,make the Son subordinate and the Holy Spirit still more subordinate. But even that after all is a belief in Three Separate Divine Beings. The Dragon is "red" because of its infernal falsity, It is called"great" because the tenet of Three Gods and Faith Alone are almostuniversally he1d. But why is this frightful beast called a Dragon? The dietionarytells us that a dragon is a mythical rnonster, of the serpent species,and is regarded even still in sorne countries as "the ernbodirnent ofevil" , In the 19th chapter of Revelation the dragon is called "that oldserpent, which is the Devil, and Satan", We know that the real na­ture of the serpent in the Garden of Eden was subtle and insinuat­ing, and as our first parents listened to its voice, they were led by ex­cited self-love tO reject the Divine. In mythology the dragon was frightful in its aspect, threatening
  46. 46. 48 WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION?ta destroy, and it breathed Out smoke and Rame in order ta reach orfrighten its victims at a distance fram its claws. In Revelation its set/en head signified insanity from the truths ofthe Word falsified, or as the dogma of Faith Alone, and its ten hornssignified much power, for horns in animal life are the means withwhich the animal fights. "Ten" covers the idea of "aIl," as forexample, the ten fingers on both hands. When we read that its tail drew down the third part of thestars of heaven, (this signitymg-in another aspe:t-as purpose,cause and effect-three or "aIl") and cast them co the earth welearn that by the falsification of the truths of the W ord in sinuousreasonings al! the spiritual knowledge of the good and the true werefalsified; but we also learn that practically al! were of Christendomdrawn ta accept its infernal teachings. If one thinks this a fanciful picture, and has no real relation cothe church, he should remember that the followers of the Dragon.who accepred the reaching of Luther that Faith Alone saves, came cohave great power, for the church became thoroughly imbued withthis false teaching. John Calvin, one of the great supporters of thisdoctrine, who was led co believe that sorne people were predestinedta hell regardless of their lives, or predestined ta heaven regardless oftheir characters, was able to have an opposer of the Dragon, MichaelServetus, burnt at the stake because he opposed the Dragonistic teach­ing of three Gods. And people everywhere in the middle ages when Protestantismbecame powerful became afraid co think for themselves in matrersof religion because of the persecution of the Dragonists. Hiscoryrecords such persecutions because of denial of accepted dogmas. But their power is waning despite the fact that hundreds of voicesover the radio coday constantly broadcast tO the entire country thisdevastating doctrine. And there are many voices in countless pulpitsat work tO make people believe that they are saved only by theVicarious Aconement, even thollgh they most inconsistently preach aJindispensable repentance and the changed lite! The two ideas are obviously absolurely opposed. If nothing that a
  47. 47. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGIONI 49man can do has any effect in saving him, why follow the injunctionof Jesus to repent and change his life? It is far easier to believe in adogma and get to heaven by a miracle, or acquire a Christian characterwithout effort. Genuine repentance evidently means ta give up ones evil and bythe Lords power to ouercome. Ir represenrs human effort. "He thatovercometh", we are told, "shaH inherit all things, and 1 will be hisGod, and he shall be my son." That does not sound like the statementthat a man can do nothing of good that will contribute one iota to hissalvation but is like a stock or stone when je cames to salvation. When Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him denyhimself, and take up his cross daily and follow me", we can find notrace of the Plan of Salvation, but rather the idea of becoming at onewith God by the effort to give up one s evils, which is the conflictinvolved in bearing the cross, and following Jesus daily in the un­selfish life. Christian character, it is perfectly evident, can no more beacquired without personal effort than can an education. If that is true,what about the Plan of Salvation where we have only to believe?
  48. 48. CHAPTER XV JUDGMENT UPON THE DRAGON But we have not finished wich the Great Red Dragon. We read inRevelation that this terrifying impersonacion of evil scood before thewoman co devour her offspring as soon as ic should be born. Obviouslythis means, spiritually, the effort of those in the false belief to ex­tinguish the doccrine of the need co repent and to overcome by thepower of Jesus. But the Dragon was decermined CO descroy the man-child-chedoctrine which Jesus taught, which indeed che whole Bible teaches,­of one God in Jesus and becoming at-one with Him by repentanceand living the changed life. And so we are told the womans offspring _was caught up unto God and His tl1fone to protect it from theassaults of the Dragon-who is "the Devil and Sacan, the Old Ser­pent," "who deceivech the whole world." The world was not ready for it when this new doctrine was firstproclaimed in this New Age chrough Emanuel Swedenborg, and Godhad to keep it out of sight of men. Swedenborg wroce the ApocalypseRevealed in 1766, quite a long while ago, but the Lord permitted itco be largely out of che sight of men. It, and his ocher works, havebeen relacively unknown, even though today his books are being cir­culaced by thousands every year. Thus the male-child, the doctfineof tfue religion, was kept away from those who would have profanedand destroyed ic. And chen we are cold thac che woman fled inco che wilderness-thewoman being the love of the Lord and His truch-"where she hath aplace prepared by God." There she was to remain uncil the fury of cheDragon should abate and it cease CO have power to destroy. But, "there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels fought withthe dragon; and the dragon foughc and his angels, and they prevailednot, and their place was not found any more in heaven; and the greac
  49. 49. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? 51 dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, that seduceth the whole world." By Michael, Swedenborg relis us, is meant the ministry of a great society of heaven "who confirm from the Word that the Lord Jesus is the God of heaven and earth, and that men ought ta live according to the commandments of the Decalogue," and, doing so, they have love to the neighbor and, also, that heavenly perception which is called faith. Faith thus cornes into being when people have the Divine love in their hearts. Any other kind of faith is spurious faith. Faith, Swedenborg tells us, is not believing what we cannot see to be true, but believing, from the Divine love in our hearts, what spirit­ ually we perceive as real, just as one who believes in the reality of things which his natural eyes see. "Spiritual things are spiritually dis·cerned." But we have nored that the Great Red Dragon was cast out ofheaven by the opposing belief held by Michael and his angels. This is a picture of what we are told actually took place in the spiritualworld in 1757; but the heaven from which the Dragon and his crewwere cast out was not the true heaven, instead a false heaven created by illusion. The earth into which they fell was not our earth, but a lowplane of the world of spirits. For those who are interested in readingSwedenborgs description of the Last Judgment, which he witnessedin 1757, his book entitled "The Last Judgment" and "ContinuationConcerning the Last Judgment" should be read. They can be foundin the larger public libraries of the country. When this Last Judgment was effected, we read in Revelation:"1 heard a great voice in heaven, saying, Now is come the salvation,and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of hisChrist." This expresses the joy of the angels of heaven at the over­throw of this mOntfOus belief and the finn and everlasting setting upof the true Christian religion, which is the acknowledgment of theLord Jesus Christ as the only God and Saviotl1, and the life acco1dingto the commandment of love ta Gad and the neighbor embraced inthe Ten Commandments and in the Two Great Commandments.
  50. 50. CHAPTER XVI OVERCOMING BY THE TRUTH When people read that the ange1s overcame the Dragon through che blood of the Lamb and through the word of their testimony, it will mean ta many that we are saved by the vicarious death of Jesus on the cross and chat eternal life is the result of accepting the dogma of Faith Alone, without the need, or possibility, of doing anything ofgood that will contribuee ta salvation; bue the "blood of the Lamb" means here as elsewhere the Divine love or Divine truth. When onepours out his lifes blood, he is pouring out his life and his life involves his love and thought-his conscious life. In the case of Jesus whenhe poured out his life for us He was giving that which His life repre­sented and involved, His love and His truth. We are saved as that Divine Love enters into our wills and as HisDivine Truth teaches us the way to heaven. Is that not self-evident?We are not saved by His literai blood, as we have seen, for thatwas small in quantity and disappeared almost immediately. People who be1ieve in the Vicarious Atanement seem somehow tabelieve that the literai blood of Jesus cleanses us in sorne miraculousway. They do not appear to realize that they are thinking of the bloodin a myscical way, and that they do not have the literai blood applied.If it is, as it musc be, thought of as something of a spiritual nature,what is it? Is it a fanciful something, or is it something practical suchas the Divine Love and the Divine Truth which acrually constitute theDivine Life? And we see that as the Divine Love enters our will andas the Divine Truth enters our understanding, we become newcreatures, and in no other way. Salvation is always the life of God-His love and His truth­received by man by his free choice and permeating all his thought andliEe. This is the Lords blood, and it obviously can be nothing e1se,since it cannot be His literai blood shed upon the cross. That neverwashed away sins in a literai way, nor was it offered by one Divine
  51. 51. WHAT IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION? 53Being ta pacify or appease another Divine Being, for there is onlyone Divine Being, not Two or Three; and thus there was no DivineBeing up in heaven demanding the murder-for that is what thecrucifixion of Jesus was-of His innocent Son in order to be able taforgive mankind. In reading Bible texts, which seem ta confirm theteaching of salvation by the "blood," the true sense bccomes apparentat once if we use the word "life" instead. Salvation by the blood thusbecomes salvation by the life of Jesus in our lives. The whole trouble is that men do not understand the true natureof God, and seek ta be saved for heaven by an easy way. In thisNew Age the true nature of the Divine Being is revealed. God is as toHis inmost substance and being nothing else but Love,-UnselfishLove,-which has nothing whatever of Self·Love in it. His Love,­or His nature,-goes out wisely in order ta accomplish the purposethat true and sincere love always has, namely, the lasting welfare andhappiness of others. Gods purpose therefore is ta bless endlessly and completely, and tado so it goes out imo the performance of useful things for the beloved.A mothers love is a picture on the human plane of the love of God.How can a loving Heavenly Father demand the death of His children?Can a mother do so? The Trinity in Gad is Love, Wisdom and Use.The Father is the Divine Love, or the soul, as it were, of God. TheSon is the Divine Wisdom, or the Divine Truth, which goes forthcreatively, and is the Logos, the word, the Divine self-expression. TheH oly Spirit is the loving activity of the Fathet manifestec! in Hiscoming forth to view as the Son. It is the Divine Presence. There arenot three, but one, just as the soul, body and outgoing spirit of aman are one. God had ta have a revelation of Himself given CO His creatures whootherwise could not know an invisible Being. He gave it in the OldTestament through angels and prophets, bue the time came when itbecame necessary, due ta the darkness of mens souls, for Him toreveal Himself directly; and co do this it became necessary for Hirnta provide a channel, or an external instrumentality in the world ofnature. Jesus revealed Himself as God: "He that hath seem me haththe Father," and He also said, "No man cometh umo the Father but

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