(TCR) - True Christian Religion: Containing the Whole Theology of the New Church Predicted by the Lord in Daniel 7:13-14 and Revelation 21:1-2

TCR 113

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113. Fourth Memorable Relation:
I looked into the world of spirits and saw an army mounted on red and black horses. The riders looked like apes, with face and breast turned toward the horse's tail, and the hinder part of the head and the back toward the horse's neck and head, and the bridle-rein thrown over the rider's neck; and they were shouting at other riders mounted on white horses, and were jerking the reins with both hands, thus pulling back their horses from the battle; and this they did continuously.
Then two angels descended from heaven, and approaching me said, "What do you see?"
I told about the ludicrous company of horsemen that I saw, and asked what it meant and who they were.
The angels answered, "They are from the place called Armageddon (Rev. 16:16), where they have assembled to the number of several thousands, to fight against those who belong to the Lord's New Church, which is called the New Jerusalem. They were talking there about the church and about religion; and yet there was nothing of the church among them, because they had nothing of spiritual truth, and nothing of religion, because they had no spiritual good. About both of these they were talking with their mouths and lips; but their aim was to acquire dominion by means of them. [2] In their youth they had learned to confirm the doctrine of faith alone, and something about God; and when they had been advanced to higher offices in the church, they held on to these teachings for a time, but having ceased to think any longer about God and heaven, but only about themselves and the world, thus not about eternal blessedness and happiness, but only about temporal eminence and wealth, the doctrinal principles which in youth they had drawn from the interiors of the rational mind, which communicate with heaven and therefore are in the light of heaven, were cast out into the exteriors of the rational mind, which communicate with the world and are therefore in the light of the world; and finally these principles were thrust down into the region of the natural senses; and as a consequence the doctrines of the church became with them a mere matter of words, and no longer of thought from reason, much less of affection from love. And having made themselves such, they grant no admittance to that Divine truth which constitutes the church, nor to that genuine good that constitutes religion. The interiors of their minds have become like bottles filled with a mixture of iron chips and sulfur, upon which, if water is poured, there is first produced heat and then a flame, whereby the bottles are burst. So when they hear anything about the living water, which is the genuine truth of the Word, and it finds entrance through their ears, they become violently heated and inflamed, and reject it as a thing that would burst their heads. [3] These are they that appeared to you like apes riding horses red and black, and facing toward the tail, and the bridle-rein around the rider's neck. Men that do not love the truth and good of the church derived from the Word never wish to look toward the forward parts of a horse, but only toward his hinder parts. For a horse signifies understanding of the Word-a red horse that understanding when destroyed in respect to good, and a black horse when destroyed in respect to truth. They were shouting for battle against the riders on the white horses, because a white horse signifies understanding of the Word in respect to truth and good. They seemed to pull their horses backward by the neck, because they dreaded the battle, and feared that the truth of the Word might be reaching many and might thus come to light. This is the interpretation."
[4] The angels further said, "We are from a society of heaven which is called Michael, and we were commanded by the Lord to descend to the place Armageddon, from which the horsemen that you saw broke forth. With us in heaven Armageddon signifies a state of mind and a disposition (arising from a love of ruling and being eminent over all others) to fight from truths falsified; and as we perceive in you a desire to learn about this kind of contest, we will relate to you a certain matter. On descending from heaven we came to that place called Armageddon, and there saw several thousands assembled. We did not enter this crowd; but on the southern side of the place there stood several houses where there were lads with their teachers; we entered these, and were kindly received. We were delighted with their company. From the life in their eyes and the eagerness displayed in their talk their faces were beautiful. The life in their eyes came from perceiving what is true, and the eagerness in their talk from the affection for what is good. Because of this we presented them with caps, the borders of which were ornamented with bands of gold lace in which pearls were interwoven, also with garments of white and blue commingled.
"We asked them if they had ever looked in upon the so called Armageddon, near by. They said that they had, through a window under the roof, and had seen an assembly there, but the shapes of the people were changeable; sometimes they looked like men of lofty stature, and sometimes like statues and carved idols, with a crowd on bended knees around them. To ourselves as well they appeared under various forms; some like men, others like leopards, and others again like goats, the latter with horns projecting downward, with which they tore up the ground. We interpreted these transformations, and showed what classes they represented, and what things they signified.
[5] "But to return:When those assembled there heard of our having entered the houses they said to one another, 'What are they doing among those lads? Let us send some of us thither and put them out.' They did send a number, and when these came they said, 'What took you into these houses? Where do you come from? By authority we order you to leave.'
"But we answered, 'You cannot give that order by authority. In your own eyes, indeed, you seem like Anakim, and we here like dwarfs; yet here you have no power or authority except by cunning, and that will not prevail. Go, then, and tell your comrades that we are sent here from heaven to find out if you have religion or if you have none; and if none, you will be cast out of this place. Go, then, and put to them this question, which contains the veriest essential of the church and of religion: In the Lord's Prayer what mean the words 'Our Father who art in the heavens; hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come?'
"Hearing this, they said at first, 'What is all that?' And then they consented and went away and told their companions what had been said, who replied, 'What sort of a proposal is that?' But they guessed what was behind the question, namely, that we wished to know if they thought that these words confirmed what their faith taught about the way to approach God the Father. Therefore they said, 'The words are clear that we ought to pray to God the Father; and as Christ is our Mediator, that we ought to pray to God the Father for the sake of the Son. '
"And at once in their indignation they resolved to come to us and say this to our faces, and they added that they would pull our ears. So they left that place, and went into a grove near the houses where the lads and their teachers were. In the center of this was an elevated spot like a place for games; and joining hands they came there. We were there also, and were waiting for them. The ground was thrown up into little green mounds, as it were, upon which they reclined, saying to one another, 'We will not stand in their presence; we will sit.'
"Then one of them who could make himself appear like an angel of light, and who had been deputed by the others to speak with us, said, 'You have proposed that we open our minds as to our understanding of the first words of the Lord's Prayer. Therefore I say to you that this is our understanding of them, that we ought to pray to the Father; and as Christ is our Mediator, and as it is through His merit that we are saved, that we ought to pray to God the Father from faith in Christ's merit.'
[6] "But then we said to them, 'We are from the heavenly society called Michael, and have been sent to see you and inquire whether you who were assembled yonder have any religion or not; for the idea of God enters into everything of religion, and by means of it man is conjoined with God, and by means of conjunction is saved. We in heaven say that Prayer daily in the same way as men do on earth, and in doing so we are not thinking of God the Father, for He is invisible; but we think of Him in His Divine Human, because in that He is visible, and in that He is by you called Christ, but by us is called the Lord; in this way it is that to us the Lord is the Father in the heavens. Moreover, the Lord has taught that He and the Father are one; that the Father is in Him and He in the Father; and that whosoever sees Him sees the Father; and again, that no one comes to the Father except through Him; also that it is the will of the Father that men should believe in the Son, and that whosoever believes not in the Son shall not see life; and even that the wrath of God abides upon him. All this makes it clear that approach to the Father is through the Son and in the Son. And because this is so He has also taught that to Him all power has been given in heaven and on earth. In that Prayer it is said, 'Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come;' and we have shown from the Word that the Father's name is the Divine Human of the Lord, and that the kingdom of the Father comes when the Lord is approached directly, and comes not at all when God the Father is approached directly. For this reason, too, the Lord commanded His disciples to preach the kingdom of God; and the kingdom of God is this very thing.'
[7] "Having heard this, our antagonists said, 'You quote many passages from the Word; and such perhaps we may have read there-we do not remember; therefore open the Word here before us, and read them from it; especially the statement that the Father's kingdom comes when the Lord's kingdom comes.' And they said to the lads, 'Bring the Word. ' And the lads brought it, and we read from it as follows:
John preached the gospel of the kingdom, and said, The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand (Mark 1:14, 15; Matt. 3:2).
Jesus Himself preached the gospel of the kingdom, and that the kingdom of God was at hand (Matt. 4:17, 23; 9:35).
Jesus commanded His disciples to preach and declare the gospel of the kingdom of God (Mark 16:15; Luke 8:1; 9:60); as also the seventy whom He sent forth (Luke 10:9, 11).
The kingdom of God, of which the good tidings were preached, was the kingdom of the Lord, and thus the kingdom of the Father. This is evident from the following statements:
The Father gave all things into the hand of the Son (John 3:35).
The Father gave the Son power over all flesh (John 17:2).
All things have been delivered unto Me of My Father (Matt. 11:27).
All power is given unto Me in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18).
Also from the following:
Jehovah of Hosts is His name, and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called (Isa. 54:6).
I saw, and behold one like unto the Son of man; and there was given Him dominion and glory and a kingdom, and all people and nations shall worship Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed (Dan. 7:13, 14).
When the seventh angel sounded there came great voices in the heavens, saying, The kingdoms of the world are become our Lord's and His Christ's, and He shall reign unto the ages of the ages (Apoc. 11:15; 12:10).
[8] "We showed them still further from the Word that the Lord came into the world not only in order that angels and men might be redeemed, but also that through Him and in Him they might be made one with God the Father; for He taught:
That those who believe in Him are in Him, and He in them (John 6:56; 14:20; 15:4, 5).
"Having heard these things they asked, How then can your Lord be called the Father?' We replied, 'Because of what we have just read, and also the following passages:
Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and His name is God, Mighty, Father of Eternity (Isa. 9:6).
Thou art our Father; Abraham knoweth us not, and Israel doth not acknowledge us Thou Jehovah art our Father, our Redeemer, from everlasting is Thy name (Isa. 63:16).
Did He not say to Philip, who wished to see the Father:
Hast thou not known Me, Phillip? He that seeth Me seeth the Father (John 14:9; 12:45).
What other Father then is there than He whom Philip's eyes were seeing?'
"To this we added, 'It is said in the Christian world that those who are of the church constitute the body of Christ and are in His body; how then can the man of the church approach to God the Father except through Christ, in whose body he resides? Otherwise he must pass entirely out of that body in order to approach the Father.' In concluding we informed them that at this day the Lord is establishing a New Church, which is meant by the New Jerusalem in the Apocalypse, in which there will be, as in heaven, the worship of the Lord alone, and that thus everything which is contained in the Lord's Prayer from beginning to end will be fulfilled.
"All this we confirmed so copiously from the Word, in the Gospels and Prophets and in the Apocalypse, where from the beginning to the end that church is treated of, that they grew tired of listening.
[9] "The Armageddons heard all this with indignation, and wished constantly to interrupt our speaking; and at last they did break in, exclaiming, 'You have spoken contrary to the doctrine of our church, which teaches that men must approach God the Father directly and must believe in Him; thus have you made yourselves guilty of a violation of our faith. Get you gone, therefore; if not, you will be put out by force.' And their passions being aroused, from threats they proceeded to the attempt; but by power given us we smote them with blindness, and not seeing us they rushed away and ran about wandering in all directions. Some fell into the abyss spoken of in Revelation (9:2), which is now in the southern quarter toward the east, and is occupied by those who confirm the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Those there who confirm that doctrine by the Word are banished to a desert, where they are driven to the boundary of the Christian realm, and are mingled with the heathen."


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