The Bible is the Word of the Lord. It is our heavenly Father speaking directly to us, teaching us about Himself, how to live wisely, and the eternal life that He wants to give us.
When the Lord came into the world in person, He showed us deeper levels of meaning within the Hebrew Scriptures. “You have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not murder…. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matthew 5:21-22).
There is an inner meaning in all of the Scriptures. The Holy Scriptures are like parables. They have a literal meaning, and they have a spiritual sense that corresponds to the literal sense.
All things in creation correspond in some way to their Creator. They show us something about Him. For example, the sun with its warmth corresponds to His love. Water corresponds to truth: as water satisfies our thirst, truth satisfies our desire to understand. As water washes us so that we can be healthy, truth enables us to “come clean” about our sins and be saved from them. These are not arbitrary, man-made symbols: they are part of the way God creates the natural world, in correspondence with Himself.
The Lord made use of the correspondence of earthly things to qualities in Himself when He wrote the Scriptures. He wrote them in language that applied directly to the lives of the ancient Hebrew people, and then to the lives of the first Christians. Many things in the Old and New Testaments apply directly to us today, as well. But the Lord also enfolded spiritual meanings in every single word and phrase that apply to everyone in all times. Jesus said, “It is the spirit that makes alive; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). “These things I have spoken to you in parables, but the hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in parables, but will tell you plainly about the Father” (John 16:25).
The Lord has now revealed the spiritual meaning of His Word through His servant Emanuel Swedenborg. The spiritual sense is like the sun lighting up the clouds of the literal sense, making them shine with great glory. If you would like to see for yourself, you can read examples of the spiritual sense online (www.KemptonNewChurch.org), or buy a book such as Heaven and Hell (available at Amazon.com and elsewhere), or come to worship at the Kempton New Church (services at 10:00 a.m.). “Come and see” (John 1:38).
May the Lord be with you as you read His Word. May His Word be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105).
Rev. Lawson M. Smith (pastor@KemptonNewChurch.org)