Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 8705

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8705. 'And you are to bring matters to God' means mediation and intercession. This is clear from the meaning of 'bringing matters to God', when said in reference to Divine Truth, as mediating with the Divine Himself and interceding; for one who mediates and intercedes brings matters to Him who offers aid. Mediation and intercession are the work of Divine Truth because it exists nearest Divine Good, which is the Lord Himself. The reason why Divine Truth exists nearest Divine Good, which is the Lord, is that it goes forth directly from Him.

Since the opportunity is provided, the nature of the Lord's mediating and interceding will be stated here. People who believe that three persons constitute the Godhead, yet taken together are called one God, derive from the literal sense of the Word no other idea of mediation and intercession than this: The Lord sits on His Father's right hand and speaks to Him in the way that one human being does to another, bringing people's supplications to Him, and asking the Father for His sake, because He endured the Cross for the human race, to pardon and have mercy. An idea of intercession and mediation such as this every simple person derives from the literal sense of the Word.

[2] But it should be recognized that the literal sense accords with simple people's level of understanding, in order that they may be led into more internal truths which are actual truths. The simple cannot picture the heavenly kingdom except as an earthly kingdom, the Father except as a king on earth, and the Lord except as the king's son who is heir to the throne. The fact that such ideas are what simple people possess is plainly evident from the ideas the Lord's actual apostles had regarding His kingdom. Initially they believed, like all other Jews, that since He was the Messiah the Lord was going to be the greatest king on earth and was going to exalt them to a position of glory above all the nations and peoples throughout the entire world. But when they heard from the Lord Himself that His kingdom was not on earth but in heaven they could do no other than think that His kingdom in heaven was going to be exactly like a kingdom on earth. This also explains why James and John asked that they might sit one on His right and the other on His left in His kingdom, and why the rest of the apostles, who also wished to become great in that kingdom, were angry and argued with one another about which of them was to be the greatest there; and since such ideas were firmly fixed in them and could not be rooted out the Lord also told them that they would sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel, see Mark 10:37, 41; Luke 22:24, 30; Matt 19:28. But they did not at that time know what the Lord really meant by 'twelve thrones', 'the twelve tribes', and 'judging'.

[3] From all this one may now see what people's ideas about the Lord's mediating and interceding with the Father are like, and where they come from. But anyone who is acquainted with the more internal truths of the Word has an altogether different conception of the Lord's mediation and of His intercession. They conceive of Him interceding not as a son does on earth with his king and father, but as the Lord of all things with Himself, and as God by Himself; for the Father and He are not two but one, as He Himself teaches, John 14:8-11. The reason why He is called Mediator and Intercessor is that 'the Son' is used to mean Divine Truth, and 'the Father' Divine Good, 2803, 2813, 3704, and mediation is done by Divine Truth, through which lies access to Divine Good Divine Good, being like the fire of the sun, is unapproachable; but Divine Truth, being like the light from the sun, is approachable. It provides a person's inner eye - the eye of faith - with a means and access to [Divine Good], 8644. From this one may see what mediation and intercession are.

[4] Something must also be said now about how the Lord, who is Himself Divine Good and the Sun of heaven, comes to be called One who mediates and intercedes with the Father. While He was in the world, before He was fully glorified, the Lord was Divine Truth; during that time therefore mediation took place, and He interceded with the Father, that is, with Divine Good itself, John 14:16, 17; 17:9, 15, 17. But now, ever since His Human has been glorified, He is called the Mediator and Intercessor because no one can think of the Divine Himself unless he envisages Him as a Divine Man (Homo). Still less can anyone be joined in love to the Divine Himself unless He is envisaged as such. The ideas of anyone who thinks of the Divine Himself without envisaging Him as a Divine Man, lack definition, and an idea in which nothing definite is seen is not an idea. Alternatively, to conceive of the Divine he may think of the visible universe stretching out endlessly or ending in obscurity. Such an idea ties up with that which worshippers of nature have; it also reduces the idea of the Divine to nature, and so ceases to be an idea of Him. From this it is evident that nobody with such ideas could be joined to the Divine through faith, or through love. Any joining together requires an object, and such joining depends on the essential nature of the object. So it is that in respect of the Divine Human the Lord is called Mediator and Intercessor, though He mediates and intercedes with Himself. The truth that no ideas can be formed to picture the Divine Himself is clear from the Lord's words in John,

Nobody has ever seen God; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known. John 1:18.

And in the same gospel

You have never heard the Father's voice nor seen His shape. John 5:37.

[5] However, it is a remarkable fact that none of those whose thought about God springs from self or the flesh have any definite mental picture of Him when they think about Him, whereas those whose thought about God does not spring from self or the flesh but from the spirit do have a definite mental picture when they think about Him, that is, they envisage the Divine within a human shape. That is the way in which the angels in heaven think about the Divine, and it was the way in which the wise people of old thought about Him. Furthermore whenever the Divine Himself appeared to them He did so as Divine Man; for the Divine as He passes through heaven is Divine Man. The reason for this is that heaven is the Grand Man, as has been shown at the ends of quite a number of chapters. From all this one may see what the intelligent in the world are like and what the intelligent in heaven are like. That is to say, one may see that the intelligent in the world dismiss the idea of the human; as a result of this no mediation takes place between their mind and the Divine, and they are therefore in thick darkness. But the intelligent in heaven picture the Divine within the Human; thus for them mediation resides in the Lord, and their minds as a result have light.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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