“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.” - Revelation 22:12
Kempton New Church

Week 3
Day 3

    Listen:

Luke 21‒22

The parable of the fig tree; stay awake

Luke 21

29 And He told a parable to them: See the fig tree and all the trees!
30 When they already shoot forth, seeing it you know of yourselves that summer is already near.
31 So also you, when you see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is near.
32 Amen I say to you that this generation shall not pass away until all things come to pass.
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.

34 But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be heavy with feasting and drunkenness and anxieties of this life, and that day come upon4 you unawares.
35 For as a snare, it shall come upon all who sit upon the face of all the earth.
36 Be ye sleepless, therefore, entreating5 in every time, that you may be held worthy to escape all these things that are about to come to pass, and to stand in front of the Son of Man.

37 And in the day He was teaching in the temple, but going out at night, He stayed in the mountain called the Mount of Olives.
38 And early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.

AE 403:15. This [parable] treats of the consummation of the age, which is the Last Judgment... That a new church is then to begin, which in its beginning will be external, is signified by, “Behold the fig-tree and all the trees, when they have shot forth.” This parable or comparison was related because “the fig-tree” signifies the external church, and “trees” signify the knowledges of truth and good. “The kingdom of God,” which then is near, signifies the new church of the Lord; for at the time of the Last Judgment, the old church perishes and a new one begins.

AC 9348. ... The signification of “a snare,” when said of evils, is allurement and deception. That evils allure and deceive is because all evils spring from the loves of self and of the world... and the loves of self and of the world are born with man, and from [these loves] he feels the delight of his life from the moment of his birth; in fact, from this he has life. Wherefore these loves, like the unseen currents of a river, continually draw the thought and the will of man away from the Lord to self, and away from heaven to the world, thus away from the truths and goods of faith to falsities and evils. Reasonings from the fallacies of the senses then especially prevail, and also the literal sense of the Word wrongly explained and applied.

AC 9348:7. ...From the love of self springs contempt for others in comparison with self, next derision and abuse, afterward enmity if they do not favor, and finally the delight of hatred, the delight of revenge, thus the delight of violence, even of cruelty. In the other life this love climbs so high that unless the Lord favors those who have it and gives them dominion over others, they not only despise Him, but also deride the Word which treats of Him, and finally they act against Him from hatred and revenge. And insofar as they cannot do anything against Him, they practice such things with violence and cruelty against all who profess Him.... Everything of faith and love to the Lord, and everything of love toward the neighbor, are destroyed by the delight of the love of self and of the world wherever it has dominion ....

AE 187. ... “Be wakeful” [means] that they should acquire for themselves spiritual life. This life is meant by “wakefulness” and “being awake,” because spiritual life is to moral-life-apart-from- spiritual-life, as wakefulness is to sleep, or as noonday light is to the evening, even to darkness. But that this is so is not known or perceived by those who are in... moral life apart from spiritual life .... They believe themselves to be in light because they are able to reason, when yet they are in darkness.... After death... when the light of heaven flows in with them, it is changed into darkness, and they become so blind in respect to the understanding as not to be able to think at all.... Those who are in spiritual light are in angelic wisdom and intelligence, which is such as to be incomprehensible and ineffable to those who are in natural light6 alone, and this not only with men while living in the world, but also when after death they become spirits, when intelligence and wisdom constitute wakefulness....


4 Literally, “stand by”

5 That is, praying to the Lord

6 There are two words for light used here in Latin: lux for spiritual light, and lumen for merely natural light.

Questions and Comments
  1. AE 403:5 says a new church in its beginning will be external, as represented by a fig tree (as opposed to a grapevine or an olive tree). What might be some signs of being external?
  2. In verse 34, the Lord speaks of being wary lest our hearts be heavy with feasting, drunkenness, and anxieties of life. These presumably are part of the “snare” that can lead us into hatred and revenge, even against the Lord. What snares seem most prevalent in our culture?
  3. How can we acquire spiritual life and stay awake, spiritually? What things tend to make us nod off to sleep?
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