Regeneration: Moving From More General Truths to More Specific Truths

SERMON OUTLINE
Judges 2:8-23; Mark 16:12-20; TCR 791

Readings

Judges 2:8-23
8 Now Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died when he was one hundred and ten years old. 9 And they buried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath Heres, in the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaash. 10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel. 11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals; 12 and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the LORD to anger. 13 They forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. 15 Wherever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for calamity, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed. 16 Nevertheless, the LORD raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they would not listen to their judges, but they played the harlot with other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do so. 18 And when the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed them and harassed them. 19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way. 20 Then the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and He said, “Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not heeded My voice, 21 “I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, 22 “so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the LORD, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not.” 23 Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out immediately; nor did He deliver them into the hand of Joshua.

Mark 16:12-20
12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. 14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

True Christian Religion 791
791. NOTE. – After this work was finished the Lord called together His twelve disciples who followed Him in the world; and the next day He sent them all forth throughout the whole spiritual world to preach the Gospel that THE LORD GOD JESUS CHRIST reigns, whose kingdom shall be for ages and ages, according to the prediction in Daniel (7:13, 14), and in Revelation (11:15).
Also that blessed are those that come to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9).
This took place on the nineteenth day of June, 1770. This is what is meant by these words of the Lord:
He shall send His angels and they shall gather together His elect, from the end of the heavens to the end thereof (Matt. 24:31).

Introduction

June 19 NC Day => meaning for us
Joshua to 12 tribes – the great commission – the sending forth of the disciples in the spiritual world
From Generals to Particulars to Specifics to Individual truths (Infilling)
2nd Advent makes this possible – implications for spiritual growth
Gospel to be preached to every creature

Exposition

vs 8-9
Joshua son of Nun, servant of the Lord – death = resurrection – Internalisation of generals (AC 4325)
Quality of spiritual life limited to generals (TCR 513)
Move from person to place – sincere life of external observance sees generals described as place of burial
Everything about the name = signifies change of state – where more internal things can now be implanted
What follows as it relates to the inner life is to be viewed in this context – Ephraim = affection for spiritual truths

vs 10-13
Move from generals into more detail more can be seen – we see that we have a very limited grasp of how to apply the Word
Much of what passes for spiritual knowledge is simply facts of the memory (generation that doesn’t know the Lord/works)
This reflects the dominant influence of the proprium – which is what causes obscurity in spiritual matters
Spiritual truths exist as any other kind of knowledge – and while they do they don’t serve the Lord but the Baals & Ashteroths
The Word reveals how this are – but only those who take truths and examine the inner land comes to see this – default = denial
(Charity 2)

vs 14-15
This denial is reflected in wording – Lord being angry – thus cause of suffering
Fall into these states due to truths not yet made one with the life – Lord can’t violate laws of providence
must come to see first hand the destructive nature of the proprium – before we can experience deliverance from it
In our distress and acceptance of what the Word teaches concerning the proprium the Lord avails us with truths
These are the Judges – what the Lord provides is what we need – the more willing we are in SEx & R the more specific truths
(AC 4383)

vs 16-19
Raising up and death of the Judges = regeneration moves through cycles – distress and deliverance
Death of a Judge is the passing of an understanding of truth onto a more internalised level
More entrenched aspects of the proprium then come to the fore – more truths in the form of another Judge raise up
The Lord through providing us with ever more targeted truths to counter the Canaanites in our land protects us
Swedenborg’s own inner journey (AC 59) this is what the 2nd Advent provides for us

vs 20-23
Desire deliverance from the proprium – the Lord can’t separate us from anything to which our sense of self is still attached
He does provide us with His Word – practice of which can weaken these proprial attachments (AE 716.3)
This is the only way we can move from generals into particulars – (AC 7112)
These are needed if we are to go into all the world, i.e. the deeper aspects our mind
and preach the gospel to every creature i.e. to subdue every aspect of the loves of self and the world to the Word

Amen

Correspondences/Representatives

Joshua son of Nun, servant of the Lord = the Divine Truth that serves the love for the salvation of the human race; Nun = perpetual; Joshua = Jehovah Saviour
Death = transition to a new state = resurrection = a more internal form
Timnath Heres = territory of the sun
North side = obscurity
Mountains of Ephraim = affection for truth (intellectual things); E = doubly fruitful; Connection to Bethlehem; root = to bear fruit; to bring forth

Generation = passing and developing mental states
Sons of Israel = truths not yet worked into the life through practice (memory knowledge only)
Baals (Baalim) = Canaanite gods = proprial loves (lusts) love of self and the world
Ashtoreths = Sidonian gods = external knowledge of things to do with spiritual life separated from internal – Knowledge without practice
Judges = the understanding of truths in which a person can be held when in the practice of self examination (these being the Lord/His protection)

REFERENCES FROM THE HEAVENLY DOCTRINE

Arcana Coelestia n. 4325
In addition it should be recognized that the general whole must exist first before any individual part can do so; that no individual part can possibly come into being and be kept in being without the general whole, and indeed that it is kept in being within this; and that every individual part is conditioned by the nature and state of the general whole.

True Christian Religion n. 513
…repentance is not possible unless we know not only in a general way but also in specific detail that we are sinners. This is something we cannot know unless we examine ourselves, see the sins that are within us, and condemn ourselves on their account. The contrition that preachers say is necessary to our faith has nothing in common with the actions just listed. It is only a thought and a confession that we have been born into the sin of Adam and into an inclination toward the evils that spring from that sin, and that therefore the wrath of God is upon us and we deserve damnation, destruction, and eternal death. Clearly, then, this contrition is not the same as repentance.

Charity n. 2
2. (I.) As far as anyone does not look to the Lord and shun evils because they are sins, so far he remains in them. Man is born into evils of every kind. His will, which is his proprium, is nothing but evil. Unless, therefore, a man is reformed and regenerated, he not only remains as he was born, but becomes even worse; because to the evils received hereditarily he adds actual evils of himself. Such does a man remain if he does not shun evils as sins. To shun them as sins is to shun them as diabolical and infernal, and therefore deadly, and hence, because there is eternal damnation in them. If a man so regards them, then he believes that there is a hell, and that there is a heaven; and also that the Lord can remove them if the man also endeavors to remove them as of himself. But see what has been set forth on this subject in The Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem (n. 108-113). To which I will add this: All evils are born delightful; because man is born into the love of himself, and that love makes all things delightful that are of his proprium, thus whatever he wills and whatever he thinks; and everyone remains till death in the delights that are inrooted by birth, unless they are subdued; and they are not subdued unless they are regarded as sweet drugs that kill, or as flowers apparently beautiful that carry poison in them; thus unless the delights of evil are regarded as deadly, and this until at length they become undelightful.

Arcana Coelestia n. 4383
The truths situated within are truths present within the things that are general. Actually these general things are those which have been compared above, in 4378, to the egg, for general things contain particular ones, and the particular contain specific ones, 4325 (end), 4329, 4345. In the first state – that of infancy – the particular are present within in potentiality, and the specific within these. But later on they come forth and display themselves in action, thus successively. This is the way in which people who are being regenerated are led by the Lord, for they are endowed with general things having within them those which follow later, which also come forth successively, doing so in an order and sequence beyond description. For every single thing is foreseen by the Lord, even as its nature will be for evermore. For this reason no other general truths are joined to good with one who is being regenerated except those that can have particular truths inserted into them, and specific truths within the particular.

[2] Nevertheless these particular truths, and indeed the specific ones that go with these, are themselves entirely general when considered in relation to even further truths that exist; for specific truths include an incalculable number of individual ones. Although their wisdom in contrast to man’s is so great that the things which they know and perceive are indescribable, angels nevertheless confess that, compared with what is above their knowledge, the truths they know are very general, while those which they do not know are limitless. They do not dare to call them infinite since finite and infinite are completely different from each other and cannot be measured one against the other. From this one can also deduce the nature of the Word. Being Divine the Word contains within itself things that are infinite which come from its first source, and as a consequence contains things beyond description such as constitute angelic wisdom; but in its lowest form it contains only such things as those that man is able to grasp.

Arcana Coelestia n. 59
[2] Unless the Lord defended man every moment, yea, even the smallest part of every moment, he would instantly perish, in consequence of the indescribably intense and mortal hatred which prevails in the world of spirits against the things relating to love and faith toward the Lord. The certainty of this fact I can affirm, having been now for some years (notwithstanding my remaining in the body) associated with spirits in the other life, even with the worst of them, and I have sometimes been surrounded by thousands, to whom it was permitted to spit forth their venom, and infest me by all possible methods, yet without their being able to hurt a single hair of my head, so secure was I under the Lord’s protection. From so many years’ experience I have been thoroughly instructed concerning the world of spirits and its nature, as well as concerning the combat which those being regenerated must needs endure, in order to attain the happiness of eternal life.

Apocalypse Explained n. 716.3
The Lord by means of His Divine Truth could cast out the falsities of evil in a man instantly, but this would result in his being immediately cast into hell; these must first be removed, and as far as they are removed, so far room is given for truths from good to be implanted, and the man is reformed.

Arcana Coelestia  n. 7112
It is what the evil misuse to pervert forms of good and truth and so lend support to evils and falsities; for on account of the illusions it contains that knowledge can be twisted round in favour of false suppositions and evil desires. That kind of factual knowledge is also the most general of all, and unless it is filled out with less general and more specific truths it can be of use to evils and falsities. But the more it is filled out with truths, the less it can have that kind of use. Such knowledge is the means by which the upright in the next life are molested by those who, when they were in the world, proclaimed belief in faith alone and yet led a life of evil. But because it is banished by the angels the narrative says at this point that they should no longer give the people straw to make bricks, that is, no longer provide such knowledge for producing fabrications and falsities which are to be introduced.

About David Millar

My passion revolves around supporting people to engage with the Lord's Word, or Divine truths in the form of sacred texts, to cultivate an intentional spiritual practice. Through the works penned by Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) we find that the Biblical texts contain a deeper meaning that, once understood, enables them to be applied in ways that open the human mind to the realisation of its spiritual potential. The goal of the Divine Life is to free each and every human being from the pain of self centred living and bring them into the experience of all that is heavenly through the promotion of what is genuinely good and true. The material shared here is offered in the pursuit of that aim.
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