True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 135

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135. The second experience.

On waking up one morning I saw the sun of the spiritual world shining brightly, and below it I saw the heavens at a great distance, as remote as the earth is from its sun. From these heavens inarticulate sounds were audible, which joined to form an intelligible utterance: 'God is one, He is man and His dwelling is in that sun.' This utterance passed down through the middle heavens to the lowest, and from there into the world of spirits, where I was; and I noticed that the angels' idea of one God as it gradually descended was turned into the idea of three Gods. This observation induced me to start a conversation with those who thought of three Gods. 'What a monstrous idea!' I said, 'Where did you get it?'

'We think of three,' they replied, 'because this is how we grasp the idea of a Triune God, but still we do not allow it to pass our lips. In speaking we always say out loud that God is one. If we have a different idea in our minds, so be it, so long as it does not spill over and shatter the oneness of God when we speak. Even so, from time to time it does spill over, because it is within our minds, and at such times, if we were to speak out, we should say that there were three Gods. We take care to avoid this, so as not to become a laughing stock to our hearers.'

[2] Then they began openly to speak as they thought. 'Surely there are three Gods,' they said, 'since there are three Divine Persons, each of whom is God. We cannot think differently when the leader of our church quotes a whole bookcase full of his holy dogmas, ascribing to one creation, to a second redemption, to a third sanctifying; even more so when he attributes to each of them His own characteristic, which he says cannot be shared; and these are not merely creation, redemption and sanctifying, but also imputation, mediation and performance. Is there not then one God who created us and also imputes righteousness to us? Another who redeemed us, and also acts as mediator? And a third who puts into effect the imputation which is achieved through mediation, and also sanctifies us? Is there anyone who does not know that the Son of God was sent into the world by God the Father to redeem the human race, and thus become an expiator, mediator, propitiator and intercessor? And since He is identical with the Son of God from eternity, are there not two quite distinct Persons? And since these two Persons are in heaven, one sitting at the right hand of the other, must there not be a third Person, who puts into effect in the world the decrees issued in heaven?'

[3] On hearing this I said nothing, but thought to myself: 'What idiocy! They do not have the slightest idea of what is meant by mediation in the Word.'

Then at the Lord's command three angels came down from heaven and joined me, so that I could employ inward perception in speaking with those who thought of three Gods. I was especially enabled to speak about mediation, intercession, propitiation and expiation, the functions they attribute to the second Person, the Son, but only after He had become man; and His incarnation took place many centuries after creation, so that during this period these four means to salvation did not yet exist. So then God the Father was not propitiated, no expiation had been made for the human race, nor had anyone been sent from heaven to intercede and mediate.

[4] Then I spoke with them by means of the inspiration I had received. 'Gather round,' I said, 'as many of you as can, and listen to what is meant in the Word by mediation, intercession, expiation and propitiation. These are the four things predicated of the grace of the one God in His Human. God the Father could under no circumstances be approached, nor can He approach any person, because he is infinite and in His Being (esse), which is Jehovah. If He approached anyone in that form, He would destroy him, as fire does wood, reducing it to ashes. This is plain from His reply when Moses desired to see Him: that no one can see Him and live (Exod. 33:20). The Lord too said that no one has ever seen God, except the Son who is in the Father's bosom (John 1:18; Matt. 11:27); and again, that no one has heard the Father's voice or seen His appearance (John 5:37). We do read that Moses saw Jehovah face to face, and spoke personally with Him; but this was done through an angel, and the same happened in the cases of Abraham and Gideon. Now because such is God the Father in Himself, He was pleased to take upon Himself human form, and in this to allow people to approach Him, so as to hear them and speak with them. It is this Human which is called the Son of God, and this it is which mediates, intercedes, propitiates and makes expiation. I shall tell you therefore what is the meaning of those four actions attributed to the Human of God the Father.

[5] 'Mediation means that the Human is the intermediary by means of which a person can approach God the Father, and God the Father can approach him, and so teach and guide him to salvation. This is why the Son of God, meaning the Human of God the Father, is called the Saviour, and on earth Jesus, which means salvation. Intercession means continual mediation; for love itself, to which mercy, clemency and grace belong, continually intercedes, that is, acts as intermediary for those who obey His commandments, and whom He loves. Expiation means the removal of the sins into which everyone would rush, if he were to approach Jehovah without mediation. Propitiation means the working of clemency and grace, to prevent anyone consigning himself to damnation through sins; likewise, protection against profaning what is holy. This was the meaning of the Mercy Seat above the Ark in the Tabernacle.*

[6] 'It is well known that in the Word God spoke in terms of appearances. For instance, He is said to be angry, take vengeance, tempt, punish, cast into hell, damn, in fact to do evil. Yet the truth is that He is angry with no one, never takes vengeance, tempts, punishes, casts anyone into hell or damns him. Such actions are as remote from God as hell is from heaven, or rather infinitely more so. This is why they are expressions of appearances. In another sense, expiation, propitiation, intercession and mediation are also expressions of appearances, meaning the characteristics of approach to God and of grace coming from God by means of His Human. Failure to understand these things has led people to divide God into three, and base all the church's doctrine upon these three, thus falsifying the Word. This is the origin of the "abomination of desolation" which was predicted by the Lord in the book of Daniel, and further mentioned in Matthew, chapter 24.'

At the end of this speech the group of spirits around me broke up, and I noticed that those who were really thinking of three Gods were looking towards hell, and those who were thinking of one God, in whom is the Divine Trinity, which is in the Lord God the Saviour, were looking towards heaven. To this party there appeared the sun of heaven, in which is Jehovah in His Human.

* Exod. 25:17-22.

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