Topical and Doctrinal Notes
Thought: The Birth of Our Lord
The work that the Lord came into the world to do is all summed up in The Faith of the New Heaven and the New Earth in the Universal Form, which you will find at the beginning of that great and noble and Divine work, The True Christian Religion:
"The Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, came into the world, that He might subjugate the hells and glorify His human. Without this no mortal could have been saved, and they are saved who believe in Him."
Commit this to memory, will you not?
It is most important, for there are many people, even ministers (of the Old Church), at the present day, who believe that our Lord Jesus Christ was not born of God as His Father, but in the same way that other children are, and we need to hold on to what the Gospel teaches us, and try to understand it, so that we may not be led astray into thinking the same false thought about the Lord. Because the Lord foresaw that people would so think about Him, and even teach it openly, therefore He revealed the Writings of the New Church in which His servant Swedenborg, especially instructed by the Lord for the purpose, explains about the birth of the Lord, and describes what is taught about it in the spiritual world.
Let us read one of these descriptions, as it will show us that entrance into heaven depends upon our having a true idea about the Lord's birth.
"Since it has been given me by the Lord to see the wonderful things which are in the heavens and under the heavens, I ought to relate, according to command, what I have seen.
"I saw a magnificent palace, and in the inmost part of it a temple. In the midst of this there was a table of gold, upon which was the Word, and two angels stood beside it.
"About the table were three rows of seats. The seats of the first row were covered with silk drapery of a crimson color; the seats of the second row were covered with silk drapery of a blue color, and the seats of the third row with white drapery.
"Under the roof, high above the table, appeared a canopy glittering with precious stones, from the splendor of which there shone forth as it were a rainbow such as we see in the sky when it clears after a shower.
"Suddenly I saw clergymen sitting upon all the seats, all clothed in the garments of their priestly ministry.
"On one side was the vestry, where stood an angel, who was the keeper, and in it lay splendid garments, in beautiful order.
"It was a Council called together by the Lord.
"And I heard a Voice from heaven, saying, ‘Deliberate.’ "But they said, ‘About what? ‘
"It said, ‘About the Lord the Savior, and about the
"But when they began to think about these subjects, they were not in enlightenment. So they prayed; and then light flowed down from heaven, and lit up first the hinder parts of their heads, and afterwards their temples, and at last their faces.
"And then they began their deliberations, and, as they had been commanded, they first deliberated about the Lord the Savior.
"The first subject proposed and considered was,
"`Who assumed the human nature in the virgin Mary?'
"And an angel standing at the table, on which was the Word, read to them."
We cannot quote here all that this beautiful angel read to them from the Word that lay on the table of gold. But what will especially interest you to know is that among the many passages he read were verses 20 and 25 of the first chapter of Matthew.
He read not only from the Gospels but also from the Old Testament, showing that since Jehovah Himself came into the world and assumed the human nature through Mary, therefore He is called the Savior and the Redeemer in the prophets.
Now, when these passages from the Word had been read, the clergymen who sat on the seats said, all together:
"Jehovah Himself assumed the Human in order to redeem and save men."
And so they answered the question proposed.
Then they continued their deliberations, and among other things they all together agreed, and said with one mouth and one heart, that
"The Human of the Lord is Divine, and is to be approached, since Jehovah God thereby made Himself visible to the eyes of men, and approachable."
We have not the space in The Sower to tell all that took place in that wonderful council. Those of you who would like to read all of it will find the full description in T. 188, and also in R. 762, and in the Brief Exposition of the Doctrine of the New Church, 120; for this was such a very important occasion that the story is told in three different works in the Writings.
But there is one thing that we want to read about now, and that is what happened when the clergymen were through with their deliberations in that magnificent council.
"They rose up, and the angel who was the keeper of the vestry came out of it, and brought to each one who had sat upon the seats, splendid garments, interwoven here and there with threads of gold. And he said:
" `Receive the wedding garments.'
"And they were conducted in glory into the New Christian Heaven with which the church of the Lord upon earth, which is the New Jerusalem, will be conjoined."
By carefully reading all this, we see that the Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, came into the world by making for Himself a wonderful little body in the body of Mary. When that body was born it grew and grew until it was as large as that of other human bodies. The difference between Him and any other human being was that the soul of a human being is from his or her father, and therefore merely human and finite; a human being is not Infinite and Divine. But the soul of Jesus Christ was the Infinite Itself, or God Himself. And so His soul was really the father of the body; or, the Divine Nature in Him was the Father of the human nature. For this reason He often spoke of the Father, meaning, not someone outside of Himself, but His own soul. And the Soul called the human nature, "Son."
We can also understand that God so clothed Himself with a human body, or a human nature, in order that people might see God and know that He is Man, and be able to love Him better, and understand Him better, knowing absolutely that He is their loving Father.
Another reason why He clothed Himself with a human nature was in order that He might come in touch with evil spirits and overcome them, and heal men of sickness and of sin.
All this shows that God is Love. " The Divine Itself, which is called 'Jehovah' and `the Father,' is Divine Love, and was in the Lord from conception."