True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 786

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786. X

This new church is the crown of all the churches which have up to now existed upon earth.

It was shown above that from the beginning there have been, generally speaking, four churches on this earth; one before the flood, one after the flood, a third the Israelite, and the fourth that named Christian. Since all churches depend upon the knowledge and acknowledgment of one God, with whom a member of the church can be linked, and since all four churches lacked that truth, it follows that a church will take the place of those four, which will know and acknowledge one God. God's Divine love had no other end in view in creating the world than the linking of man to Himself and of Himself to man, so that He might dwell with man. The reason why the former churches lacked that truth is that the Most Ancient Church, which existed before the flood, worshipped an invisible God, with whom no linking is possible. The Ancient Church, which existed after the flood, did likewise. The Israelite Church worshipped Jehovah, who is in Himself an invisible God (Exod. 33:18-23), but in human form, which Jehovah God put on by means of an angel; in this He was seen by Moses, Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Gideon, Joshua and on occasions by the Prophets. This human form was a representation of the Lord who was to come, and because this was representative, each and every detail in their church was made representative. It is well known that the sacrifices and other rites of their worship represented the Lord who was to come, and on His coming they were done away with.

[2] The fourth church, however, that called Christian, certainly acknowledged in speech one God, but in three Persons, each of whom is singly or by Himself God, thus making a divided Trinity, not one united in one Person. Hence the idea of three Gods clung to their minds, although the expression 'one God' was upon their lips. Moreover, the doctors of the church by their own peculiar teaching, which they devised after the Council of Nicaea, teach that we should believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, all being invisible, because they came into existence before the world having a similar essence - yet, as said above, linking is not possible with an invisible God; for they did not yet know that the one God, who is invisible, had come into the world, and had taken on human form, not only so as to redeem mankind, but also so as to become visible and thus capable of being linked with mankind. For we read:

The Word was with God, and the Word was God; and the Word was made flesh. John 1:1, 14.

And in Isaiah,

A boy is born for us, a son is given to us, whose name is God, Hero, the Everlasting Father. Isa. 9:6.

Many passages in the Prophets state that Jehovah Himself was to come into the world, to be the Redeemer; and this too He did in the human which He put on.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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