“The Lord God Jesus Christ reigns, whose kingdom shall be for ages of ages.” - True Christian Religion §791
Kempton New Church

Week 3
Day 1


Luke 21‒22

The decline and corruption of the Church

Luke 21

7 And they asked Him, saying, Teacher, when then shall these things be, and what is the sign when these things shall come to pass?
8 And He said, See that you be not led astray, for many shall come in My name, saying, I am, and, The time is near. Do not, therefore, go after them.
9 But when you shall hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must first come to pass, but the end is not straightway.
10 Then He said to them, Nation shall rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom.
11 And there shall be great earthquakes in various places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful things and great signs shall be from heaven.
12 But before all these things they shall thrust their hands on you, and shall persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, being brought before kings and governors for My name’s sake.
13 But it shall turn1 into testimony for you.
14 Put it therefore into your hearts not to premeditate what you shall respond.
15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all those opposing you shall not be able to contradict nor stand against.
16 And you shall be betrayed by both parents and brothers, both kinsfolk and friends, and they shall put some of you to death.
17 And you shall be hated by all on account of My name.
18 And there shall not a hair of your head perish.
19 In your patience you possess your souls.

TCR 180. In the Gospels (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21) the successive states of decline and corruption in the Christian church are described, and... the infestation of truth by falsities, even until no truth remains that is not falsified and consummated.... This has come to pass because the church, instead of acknowledging the unity of God in trinity and His trinity in unity in one Person, has acknowledged these in three persons. And in consequence the church has been based in the mind upon the idea of three Gods, and on the lips upon the confession of one God. And thus men have separated themselves from the Lord, and at length to such an extent that no idea of Divinity in His Human nature is left with them, when in fact He is God the Father in the Human, and therefore He is called:

The Father of eternity (Isa. 9:6) ....

AC 8868. It must be briefly told what is meant by truths which are from some other source than the Lord. They are in general those truths in which the Lord is not. The Lord is not in the truths with a man when the man denies Him and His Divine, and also when he acknowledges Him and still believes that good and truth are not from Him, but from himself, and who consequently claims righteousness for himself. Also, truths in which the Lord is not are those which are taken from the Word, especially from the sense of its letter, and are explained in favor of self-rule and self-gain. In themselves these are truths, because they are from the Word; but in this case they are not truths, because they are wrongly explained and thus perverted. They are such as are meant by the Lord by these words... in Luke:

See that you be not led astray; for many shall come in My name, saying, I am; and, The time is at hand; do not, therefore, go after them. (21:8).

AE 813:2. “The patience of the saints” signifies the temptation of the faithful, or of those who are made spiritual by the Lord, because “patience” signifies spiritual patience, which is patience in sustaining temptations. And those have that patience who fight in themselves against the falsities that are contained in the dogma of faith alone and that adhere to it, for that faith is confirmed by reasonings from the natural man and from the Word wrongly applied and thus falsified. The temptations that such people sustain when they fight against falsities are meant by “patience.”

1 Greek: “step” or “progress”

Questions and Comments
  1. Why is it so important that we acknowledge the Lord as the one God of heaven and earth, and not three? How does this tie in with a good life?
  2. Which of the examples of truths in which the Lord is not present seems most prevalent and problematic in our culture at this day? Which are most likely to lead us astray?
  3. Are we likely to undergo persecution for our faith? On what issues or in what situations? Even within our families? What good might the Lord bring out of such persecution?
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