New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 34

new church life: march/april 2017 This is said of the state of heaven and of the Church after the Lord’s coming into the world. Again, in the Apocalypse: The countenance of the Son of Man was as the sun shines in its strength. Revelation 1:16, and elsewhere as in Isaiah 60:20; 2 Samuel 23:3, 4; Matthew 17:1, 2. Here we see that the influence of the Lord’s life on earth spread throughout the spiritual world – there being no limitations of time or space in that world to prevent it – and that the effects were so profound that good spirits everywhere were able to breathe a sigh of relief and say, “Ahhh, Now I see! Now I understand,” while the deceivers who had justified their personal ambitions with quotations from the Word and so remained untouchable, were finally removed from their positions of authority and cast down into hell. Note, by the way, that “the natural” referred to in this and other passages of the Writings does not refer to the physical substance of the earth but to the lowest levels of the mind, where we receive and interpret the things drawn in through the senses. (New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 46) This “natural” continues to be the basis of our spiritual lives after the death of the physical body and consists for the most part of thoughts and affections based on our memories. No doubt one reason why the Lord’s teaching could enlighten those who had no previous memories of His natural life is that they did know the prophecies which were in the literal sense of the Word and which He fulfilled and explained during His life – as in Luke 24 on the walk to Emmaus. Redemption, Part 3 The third main thing the Lord accomplished through His life in the world was the establishment of the church, meaning the Christian Church. This is interesting because it is very clear from the Gospel stories and the Acts and Epistles that this church was established primarily through the use of miracles, and yet the Writings are clear that miracles never really convince people of anything spiritually, since they take away the focus on rational thought and understanding, interfering therefore with truly human freedom. What we have to keep in mind is that the people who became the Lord’s disciples, and then His apostles, were for the most part very simple, naturally- minded men and women. In fact, the whole “business” of the Advent was to reach down to the lowest natural level of the mind and provide a sensory experience of the Humanity of God – because that was all people could really appreciate at that time. So the Lord provided that the church at first be based on natural evidence, the evidence of the natural senses that demonstrated the Lord’s power through physical healing, physical release from prisons, physical feeding and other dramatic events. In fact, the Lord didn’t expect them to understand very much, 100