Today was Easter Sunday, the day that Jesus rose from the dead, and thereby the Lord saved the human race. How so? Our physical mind and body is linked to the spiritual world, and communication between heaven and earth is effected by angels and spirits. Good thoughts and deeds originate from heaven, while evil thoughts and deeds originate from hell. Man, unlike animals, has a spiritual morality. But in the time of Jesus, this spiritual connection was threatened, as the power of hell had begun to rule over men of the world, and even the angels of the lower heaven. That even the angels of the lower heaven began to lose their integrity, is shown when Jesus said:
Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."
And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (Luke 10:17-18)
Jesus was not describing some fall of Satan before Adam, but rather what was happening then: for the Divine was in Jesus, and His Holy Spirit began to have an influence on those around Him. Hell was attacking back in whatever way it could: if it could not defeat Jesus, it would attack whoever was around Him. Thus there are numerous accounts of demoniacs. But on the subject of hell and demonology, that is for another day. It is a bit of a dark and negative subject, and those who have faced this evil directly would rather forget they ever did.
The way that Jesus saved humanity was that the Divine became incarnate in a human body, which body had inherited a sinful nature through the human mother Mary. It is through this imperfect and frail body that hell was able to attack Jesus through very grievous temptations, the like of which no human ever experienced. Jesus overcame these temptations, and with each victory, came closer in union with God. For as each person resists temptation from hell, and lives according to God's commandments, he or she will live in closer conjunction with God. But in Jesus, this spiritual progression developed rapidly, to the point of perfection: He was obedient to the death, and achieved perfect union with God. And as His inner soul was Jehovah, when He rose from the dead, He rose in a Divine human body that was derived from His inner soul: when He rose, His human was Divine. This is an essential doctrine of the New Church, for from His body flowed the Holy Spirit, by which Jesus can operate in each and every person who resists temptation. It is in this manner Jesus saved humanity.
I say this again, because in Easter service, rarely does a minister explain HOW Jesus saved humanity. Why? Because the theology of the Catholic and Protestant churches are a corrupted form of original Christianity, and if examined rationally, it does not make sense. It is based on a theology of three persons, where Jesus died to take the wrath of an angry God, and the penalty for our sins are transferred to Jesus. And all we have to do is believe it and confess. But this is false. There is no trinity of persons here, God is not wrathful, no sins were transferred from us to the cross, and one is not justified by mere belief or lip confession. In the revealed theology of the New Church, it was God Himself who descended to take upon a human form to save us, and He did this out of love. The human that was born in time is the Son of God, there was no "Son born from eternity" as the Nicene Creed would have you believe. The process of the death and resurrection is experienced by every Christian who goes through the spiritual process of repentance, reformation and regeneration. By resisting temptation, our old sinful life dies in the grave, and we are renewed in a new spiritual life when we live by God's commandments. But if one does not repent, the resurrection has no effect, as there is no conjunction between you and God.
There is no such thing as a trinity of three persons: instead there is a trine of the Divine, the Divine Human, and the proceeding Divine in the Holy Spirit. All in one person, Jesus Christ.
Some, who insist on holding onto their tritheism of three persons, may question this and say, did not the Father, or God, raise Jesus? Which scripture does say, especially in the letters of the apostles. So the argument goes, since the Father raised Jesus, there are at least 2 persons here. Surely, Jesus did not raise Himself, right?
For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:26)
Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father. (John 10:17-18)
Yes, Jesus DID raise Himself. Because He is one and the same person as the Father. The reason why He calls God His Father is that His human form was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and in Jesus man became God, and conversely, God became man.
Much of the Gospels are historical in nature, but even the smallest details of those events have a spiritual significance. The rejection of Jesus by the Jews symbolize how the Jewish church had rejected Jehovah and His Word. The resurrection signifies that a new Church would be born under the form of Christianity. Whenever one rejects Jesus, they crucify Him in their heart. Swedenborg describes the spiritual significance of some of these details, but I would like to concentrate on one: why was it, that Jesus was crucified with a thief on his right, and a thief on his left? Is there any spiritual significance to that? Why three crosses, and not just one?
In one sense, the two thieves represent those who were judged in the spiritual world after the death of Jesus: for to one of them Jesus says that he will be with Him in Paradise. The other represents those who were judged and were sent to hell. But there is another spiritual meaning to a "thief" - it represents a falsehood that takes away from one's spiritual development. Jesus Himself discussed the spiritual significance of a thief:
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. (John 10:1-2)
Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:7-9)
And what does this mean? It can mean only one thing: those who promote the idea of a tritheism of three persons in God, are thieves and robbers, for they tell us that we can bypass Jesus by praying to another person known as "Father". Anyone who believes that God is in three persons, and does not pray to Jesus directly, crucify Him in their heart. If anyone can see that this is a falsehood, that the FATHER'S NAME IS JESUS CHRIST...then Jesus can rise from the dead in your own heart. Here and now.