“For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you took Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me” (Matthew 25:35-36)
Abstract: The purpose of this article is to illustrate from Matthew 25:35-36 and James 1:27 and Bible commentaries from Emanuel Swedenborg, that the Lord was explaining a very deep and beautiful truth. When we love the Lord with all our hearts, and spend time in prayer and reading the Holy Bible, the natural result will be to express the Lord’s love to the neighbor. The kingdom of God will be flowing through us.
Key to Blog Text,
Bold highlighting = Important terms and concepts. Blue highlighting = words, terms, and concepts containing primarily a spiritual sense or TRUTH. Red highlighting = words, terms, and concepts containing a sense directly related to The Lord Himself or LOVE. Gray highlighting = words, terms, and concepts relating to evil and hell. Italic letters in (parentheses) = my emphasis.
But Jesus said,
“Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17)
For truly I say to you, Till the heaven and the earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any way pass from the Law until all is fulfilled. (Matthew 5:18)
Therefore whoever shall relax one of these commandments, the least, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven. But whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:19)
For I say to you that unless your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)
Emanuel Swedenborg wrote a little book called, “The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine”. The “New Jerusalem” is the new Christian church doctrine of the kingdom coming down out of heaven,
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea did not exist any longer. (Revelation 21:1)
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with humanity, and he will take up residence with them, and they will be his people and God himself will be with them. (Revelation 21:3)
In “The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine” it says,
“The twelve disciples of the Lord represented (the spiritual meaning) the church as to all things of faith and charity in the complex (the meaning of the whole group of the twelve), as did also the twelve tribes of Israel (the Lord’s church during that time on the earth).
Peter, James, and John represented (the spiritual meaning as the angels in heaven read the Bible) faith, charity, and the goods of charity in their order. Peter represented (what the name stood for in the spiritual meaning) faith. And John represented (what the name stood for in the spiritual meaning) the goods of charity.
That there would be no faith in the Lord, because no charity (love to the neighbor), in the last time of the church (the end of the first Christian church on earth), was represented (what the name stood for in the spiritual meaning) by Peter’s thrice (three times) denying (I know Him not) the Lord before the cock crew the third time; for Peter there, in a representative (what the name stood for in the spiritual meaning) sense, is faith. Cock crowing, as well as twilight, signifies (means) in the Word (Bible) the last time of the (Christian) church. And three or thrice, signifies what is complete to the end (when at the end of the Christian church there is no faith (Peter), the faith of charity (James), and no goods of charity (John).
John lay on the breast of the Lord, because he represented (what the name stood for in the spiritual meaning) the good of charity (the Christian wants to love the neighbor because most all the Lord commanded them to do so, as they love the Lord above all things) That the good of charity constitutes (this new church on the earth follows the commands of their Lord) the church.
We can see then after the Christian are born again into the Lord, they are “regenerated” (in their spiritual growth and learning) in the following way, one after the other as we grow up into the Lord;
↓ FAITH = Peter (at the beginning the Christian has a simple faith in the Lord Jesus)
↓ FAITH OF CHARITY= James (as the Christian prays and reads the Holy Bible they begin to love the neighbor and want them to have this wonderful new life too)
↓ GOODS OF CHARITY = John (as the Christian sees and loves the neighbor as the Lord loves them if they see the neighbor having needs in this world they want to help fill those needs as the Lord commanded in the Bible).
↓ CHARITY is then,
“External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.” (James 1:27)
This is why the Lord Jesus Christ took a special interest in Peter, James, and John. It was not because these three men had any special personality, character, or mind intelligence. It was because the Lord was teaching a kingdom principle of heaven to those who could understand it when He taught.