Friday, November 20, 2015

The Golden Rule of Love of the New Church

The Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have done to you, is practically universal among all religions.  This is also true of the New Church, but with the difference that there are many doctrines concerning love and charity on how to apply it.  The main mistake people make is when they try to apply it, they apply it equally to everybody, and they quickly find out it cannot be applied in this way.  For the doctrine of the New Church states that love must be guided by truth and discernment.  In fact, all doctrines of the New Church concern the marriage or conjunction between love and truth.  Love with truth becomes adulterated, and truth without love quickly dies out.

The New Church is different from the older Christian churches, in that the older Christian churches tend to be focused on belief or faith alone.  This leads to narrow minded and dogmatic tendencies, and religions that emphasize belief or faith alone will tend to condemn anyone who does not believe as they do or follow their organization.  In the New Church, love is primary in end or purpose.  However in order to reach a state of love, one must first follow the truth.  The truths of faith that one learns is first in time, but they are not first in one's goal.  Many get stuck in faith as the primary goal, and do not proceed to living a life of love, of service to others, of usefulness.  For when love and truth become conjoined, one becomes useful to oneself, to others, and to the society.

In the end God cares about love, how we live our life, for God is Love itself.  Moreover, faith without love is not faith:
"They who have separated faith from love do not even know what faith is; some in their notion of faith know it as a mere thought; some as thought concerning the Lord, a few as the doctrine of faith. But faith is not merely the knowledge and acknowledgment of all things that the doctrine of faith embraces; but is chiefly obedience to all that it teaches. The first thing that it teaches, to which men ought to yield obedience, is love to the Lord and love to the neighbor. Whoever is not in this love is not in faith, as the Lord so clearly teaches in Mark that it cannot be doubted: The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord. Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment, and the second, like unto it, is this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these (xii. 29-31). In Matthew. He calls it The first and great commandment, and says that On these commandments hang the Law and the Prophets (xxii. 35-40). The Law and the Prophets are the whole doctrine of faith, and all the Word." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 36)


In the New Church, emphasis is placed on the gospels of Jesus, which emphasize love and service, over the writings of the apostle Paul, which emphasizes faith.  So let's take a look at the greatest commandment, and see how the New Church doctrines bring further light to it:
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets
. (Matt. 22:36-40)
Notice, Jesus states that on just these two commandments hang "all the law and the prophets."  In the literal sense, the law is the Torah, or the first 5 books of Moses, and the prophets are all the books after that.  Anyone who reads the Bible knows it contains some very odd stories, genealogies, and other seemingly irrelevant data.  But in the revelations received in the New Church in the 18th century, it is shown how each and every word of scripture is Divinely inspired, which is especially spelled out in a massive work known as "Heavenly Arcana" or "Arcana Coelestia" or "Heavenly Secrets" depending on the publication.  Through symbolic correspondence, every word becomes abstracted from space and time, and concern the universal principles of love and truth.  No one has ever been able to demonstrate how truthful Jesus words were when He explained the Golden Rule, or the greatest commandments.

Contained in the spiritual sense of Jesus' discourse on the greatest commandment, there are three levels of spiritual development, which are actually also revealed in the three main Jewish festivals (see The Three Steps of Spiritual Development);
1.  Knowledge of good (the "Law" containing commandments) and knowledge of truth (the "Prophets")
2.  Living by the truth, in loving others
3.  Acting out of love, seeing God in the love in other people.
Note here, that the spiritual steps of development are in reverse order in time from the order of priority.

In the spiritual sense the Law and the Prophets refers to knowledge of good and truth, which in the material world we receive from the Bible.  But in the most universal sense, it simply refers to knowledge of good and truth.  Good itself, is the more internal form of the Truth which represents it.  Thus instead of "law and prophets" scripture sometimes phrases this as "Moses and the prophets."  Moses represents the most internal revelation, that concerning love, which is hidden at first to many who are at a lower level of understanding.  Thus Moses could not speak well, and Aaron represents Moses.  Moses alone could ascend the mountain, representing love, which is hidden in obscurity to those at a lower level of understanding, represented by the clouds that surrounded the mountain.  When Moses descended from the mountain, the people could not look directly at his shining face, so he covered it with a veil.  This represents how internal spiritual truths are hidden in the literal sense of the Bible.

So, when one enters the first state, of learning knowledge of good and truth, this is a state of servitude and obedience.  One is in the truth, but one's life may be one of sin and evil.  In this state, a conflict arises within oneself: if one has a desire to follow the truth, it will come into conflict with one's desire for sin or evil.  Then one can enter into a period of temptation, internal conflict, sadness and depression.  This internal conflict, in reality, is a conflict that plays out between good and evil spirits associated with one's spiritual soul, who influence everything that you do or think.  But it is the Truth which cleanses, if one follows Truth, from the Truth one can achieve salvation.  In the literal sense, Truth is symbolized by blood.  This is the spiritual meaning of the blood of Jesus, but few Christians know this.  Thus Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."  And "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."  And, "Sanctify [cleanse] them through Your Truth, Your Word is Truth."  Temptation is overcome in repentance, but one must be in conjunction with Divine Truth and ask for Divine aid when one does this, for one must acknowledge that sin and evil originate from one's selfish ego.

The second stage is one who loves and desires the truth, and enjoys doing it.  This becomes a life of service and use to others, to one's neighbor.  But it is not indiscriminate love.  Love guided by truth, loves each person according to need and use.  You can't give a hug to someone who is about to hit you.  You can't talk nicely to someone who is stealing or gossiping about others.  You can't agree with someone engaged in jealousy.  Love must be according to use, according to what is good and true.  This is known as the principle of DISCRIMINATE CHARITY:
"It is a common opinion at this day that every one is a neighbor in the same degree, and that good must be done to every one in need. But it is the part of Christian prudence to explore well the quality of a man's life, and to exercise charity accordingly. The man of the internal church does this with discrimination, thus with intelligence; but the man of the external church, since he cannot exercise such discernment, does it without discrimination." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6704)
This is the principle that most people miss.  I have seen some highly intelligent people reject Christianity just because of this, loving everybody indiscriminately they know is not going to work.  In the ancient world, the doctrine of charity was the primary doctrine, but since everyone knew it they didn't write it down:
"The ancients reduced the neighbor to classes, and gave each class the names of those who appear in the world to be especially in need; they taught also how charity was to be exercised to those in one class, and how to those in another; and thus they reduced the doctrine and the life according to it into order. Thus the doctrine of their church contained the laws of life, and from it they saw the quality of every man of the church, whom they called a brother, but with distinction in the internal sense according to his exercise of charity from the genuine doctrine of the church, or from doctrine changed by himself; for every one, because he wishes to appear blameless, defends his own life, and therefore either explains or changes the laws of doctrine in his own favor." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6705)
In other words, one has to discriminate among people according to their state, do they need help because they are lacking something, or should they be restrained because they are committing evil?  These different states that a person is in, is signified by those who are blind, by the lame, those who are sick, or those who in prison, etc.  The blind are those who are in ignorance, and need the light of truth.  The lame are those who are lacking in ability to do good.  The sick are those suffering from evil they have committed.  Those in prison are those who have imprisoned their mind due to a false persuasion.  The doctrines of the New Church on these matters, are endless.

At some point, few reach the third stage, which is acting out of love.  Instead of loving others, one loves the love within them. In other words, one loves God who is love itself.  In this kind of state, one does care about debating or learning the truth any more, but acting out of love.  When one acts out love, one gains a secondary perception of truth automatically.  It becomes a matter of intuition, or inner knowing.  This is what Jesus meant when he said not to take an oath (following the truth), but rather let your yes be yes and your no be no.  For in love, the perception of truth is immediate, and comes within.  This third and final stage is explained in the following passage:
And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matt. 25:33-40)
One last point, living the Golden Rule comes from effort, and it is not immediate: one must follow the three steps.  Inasmuch as we approach God, God will approach us.  Thus it is said, you shall love the Lord your God with all your HEART, with all your SOUL, and with all your MIND.  The heart represents one's will, one's intent, one's desire.  The soul here is one's spiritual understanding of the truth.  The mind is our lower level mind, which seeks ways on how to apply love and truth in one's life.  One's will is not passive, as some religious philosophies teach.

The other secret, as revealed in the New Church, is that love in its external from is represented by the woman, and truth in its external form is represented by the man.  The spiritual conjunction of love and truth is the origin of marriage love between a man and woman.  In fact, forms of love and truth can be seen and experienced in all levels of reality, and in all walks of life.  It is always within you, and becomes your kingdom in heaven in the afterlife.

For those interested, here is a French version of La Vie en Rose, followed by an English version:

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The New Church Prophecy of Juneteenth, or St. John's Day

In the New Church there are very few prophecies, as the doctrines deal with the universal principles of love and truth and how to live by them.   The more important teaching is not to be worried about the future, for this is the state that angels are in.  Nevertheless, angels are able to have perception of future things to come:
"I have spoken with the angels concerning the memory of things past, and anxiety thence for things to come; and have been instructed that the more internal and the more perfect the angels are, the less they care for past things, and the less do they think of things to come; and that thence also is their happiness. They say that the Lord gives them every moment what to think, and this with blessedness and happiness; and that they are thus without cares and anxieties. Also, that this was meant in the internal sense by manna being received daily from heaven, and by the daily bread in the Lord's Prayer [see The True Spiritual Meaning and Interpretation of the Lord's Prayer]; also, by the instruction not to be solicitous about what they may eat and drink, and wherewith they may be clothed. But that though they do not care for things past, and are not solicitous about things to come, they still have the most perfect recollection of past things, and the most perfect intuition of things to come; because in all their present there is as well the past as the future." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2493)
This perception of future things to come can sometimes flow into our mind during a precognitive dream, which if we forget, we sometimes will have a deja vu experience.  During our physical time in our material bodies, we prepare ourselves for the angelic life by living a life of love and charity:
"When men who are in love to the Lord and in charity toward the neighbor are living in the world, they have with themselves and in themselves angelic intelligence and wisdom, but stored up in the inmosts of their interior memory; which intelligence and wisdom can in no way be apparent to them, before they put off corporeal things. Then the memory of outward particulars, which has been spoken of, is put to sleep; and they are awakened into the interior memory, and successively afterward into the angelic." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2494)
So at the moment, our minds our dense, and we are sort of like a fat caterpillar munching on leaves, preparing to morph into a butterfly.  But in those mundane simple acts of love, or performing use towards others, there is hidden our future angelic state.  As it is important to always act according to free will and reason, it is important not to fall into a "fatalistic" attitude where the future is determined:
"As a knowledge of future events takes away the human itself, which is, to act from freedom according to reason, a knowledge of the future is therefore given to no one; but it is allowable for every one to form conclusions about the future from reasons; reason with all that belongs to it is in its life from this. It is for this reason that a man does not know his lot after death, or know any event before he is in it; for if he knew, he would no longer think from the interior self, how he should do or how he should live so as to come to it; but only from the exterior self, that he is coming; and this state closes the interiors of his mind, in which the two faculties of his life, liberty and rationality, have their chief seat. The desire to know the future is born with most people; but this desire has its origin from a love of evil; it is therefore taken away from those who believe in the Divine Providence, and there is given them a trust that the Lord is disposing their lot; and consequently they do not wish for a foreknowledge of it, lest in some way they should interfere with the Divine Providence." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Providence, n. 179)
Because of the importance of free will, and developing one's own rationality, prophecies often come in symbolic or obscure form, and it is not known what the prophecy means until the event has taken place.  I would like to discuss one of these, and this concerns the New Church as foreseen in the visions of Emanuel Swedenborg.


The culminating work of Emanuel Swedenborg was True Christian Religion, in which he describes the true future form of Christianity: one that worships God in one person in the human form of Jesus Christ, and one where people live by God's commandments.  This is the future state of Christianity, for in the present state the old churches have divided God into three, and many emphasize belief alone over service to others, or a life according to God's will.  True Christian Religion offers a simple and rational view of Christianity.  When Swedenborg completed it, he was given the following vision:
"After this work was finished the Lord called together His twelve disciples who followed Him in the world; and the next day He sent them all forth into the whole spiritual world to preach the Gospel that the Lord God Jesus Christ reigns, whose kingdom shall be for ages of ages, according to the prediction by Daniel (vii. 13, 14), and in the Apocalypse (xi. 15); and that Blessed are they who come to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Apoc. xix. 9). This took place on the nineteenth day of June, in the year 1770. This is meant by these words of the Lord: He will send His angels, and they shall gather together His elect from one end of the heavens even to the other (Matt. xxiv. 31). (True Christian Religion, n. 779)
The prophecy of Daniel 7 is as follows:
"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed
." (Dan. 7:13-14)
This is the prophecy of the Second Coming.  Most take it literally, and expect Jesus to appear riding on the clouds of heaven.  But this is from a false appearance based on the literal sense of the scripture.  In the hidden spiritual meaning, the "clouds of heaven" are visions revealing the spiritual sense of scripture.  The "Son of man" is Divine truth, which appears in the literal sense of scripture, which is signified by clouds.  For the literal sense of scripture hides the spiritual sense, just as the clouds hide the stars, moon and sun.  This spiritual sense of scripture is the proof that the Bible is Divinely inspired, and was the main purpose of Swedenborg's mission.  Whereas in the first coming the Divine truth appeared in human form, in the Second Coming the Divine truth has now appeared in the literal sense of scripture, for anyone who cares to look and examine the revelations received in Swedenborg's visions.

As for the kingdom, in the spiritual world a new heaven was created for the new Christians who follow God in one person and obey His commandments.  That kingdom is gradually manifesting itself here on earth as the New Church.  It is among the small and few at the moment, but in the future it is destined to grow, and it will not fall and go away as the previous churches will.  In the old churches, faith or belief is primary.  In the New Church, love is the first principle.  Notice the following the phrase of the above prophecy:
And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom
Compare this with the Doxology of the Lord's Prayer, which some churches have falsely removed [see The True Spiritual Meaning and Interpretation of the Lord's Prayer]:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
The Doxology of the Lord's Prayer was not added later.  It is actually based on the prophecy of Daniel, and looks forward to it.  The New Church revelations are the fulfillment of the Lord's Prayer.  For the Lord's Prayer should not be prayed to a being separate from Jesus, but rather to Jesus Christ Himself.  For when it is mentioned "Hallowed be Thy name" - the name here is that of Jesus, who is Lord of all.  The prophecy of Daniel is another proof that the Lord's Prayer should be directed to Jesus alone.

Perhaps many will doubt that the revelations given to Swedenborg are the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy.  But there is actually a strong proof for this, for we have a time period given in the prophecy of Daniel:
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (Dan. 7:25)
The phrase "time, times and half a time" is a bit odd, but scholars of Biblical prophecy, especially in the 19th century, were able to determine that this phrase refers to a 1260 year period.  I have discussed this at length in previous blog posts, and have come to the conclusion this ended in the latter half of the 18th century, between 1759 and 1789.  The Seventh Day Adventists have analyzed this prophecy in detail, and have come to the conclusion that it refers to the dominion of the Papacy of the Catholic Church, which they regard as having ended in the 18th century during the time of Napoleon.  But that is as far as they get.  Swedenborg was given a vision of the Last Judgment that took place in the 18th century, at around the same time as predicted in the Bible.  In the New Church, this time period of spiritual captivity of the Christian Church includes both the Catholic and Protestant churches, for in reality the Protestant churches inherited most of their theology from the Catholic Church.

That Swedenborg was allowed to have full continual visions of heaven and hell, for a period of 27 years in the latter half of the 18th century, to explain the spiritual sense of scripture, was no accident.  It was foreseen in Biblical prophecy, but no one imagined it would be fulfilled this way.  Prophecies are always given in symbolic and obscure form, until the event is realized.


The date of June 19, 1770, is the only special date that Swedenborg mentions in all of his writings.  Thus there is a tradition within the New Church to call this "New Church day" (see New Church Day (June 19, 1770) for it represents the time when the angelic realm started to prepare for the formation of the New Church, which would be gradual.

So, its this obscure little tradition that hardly anyone knows about.  The first New Church was accidentally established on June 19.  I would have thought if any special day was chosen, it would have fallen on a Jewish festival. But no, it falls on a day that is completely unrelated to any of the Jewish festivals.  This is perhaps because the Jewish festivals were already fulfilled during the life of Jesus - the feast of Tabernacles was fulfilled by his birth, the feast of the Passover by his death, and the feast of firstfruits by Pentecost.  So why June 19, is it indeed significant?

June 19 is indeed very significant.  As New Church day is known as a day of spiritual liberation, among African Americans it is known as Juneteenth celebrations, to celebrate their liberation from physical slavery.  From History of Juneteenth:
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
If that is not enough, on June 19, 1862, the U.S. Congress prohibits slavery in United States territories, nullifying Dred Scott v. Sandford.  Exactly three years before slaves were declared free on June 19, 1865, "Juneteenth" day.

Wow, is that just a happy coincidence?  I think not.  For in one of Swedenborg's visions, he saw that the doctrines of the New Church were being relayed by angels to those in Africa.  Evidence that this is taking place surfaced in the year 2012, with some heavenly visions being given to a young woman from Congo - see A Divine Revelation from Africa, concerning Heaven and Hell,  It was because of Swedenborg's vision that many early Swedenborgians pushed for the abolition of slavery, and participated in the Abolitionist movement to free them.  As Europe and the U.S. is still under the influence of the older churches, those in Africa have the potential to be more receptive to New Church teachings.  Thus it is no coincidence that the largest New Church contingent in the world is in South Africa.

The New Church should take note, and African-Americans in the U.S. should take note of this as well.  For even though physical slavery has ended, racial prejudice has not.  Divine Providence has a habit of extending salvation to those who have been enslaved and been put down by others, thus we have the story of the Israelites being saved from the bondage of the Egyptians in the book of Exodus.

June 19 happens to be around the time of Midsummer celebrations that has a strong tradition in Europe as well as in the U.S.  From Midsummer:
Midsummer, also known as St John's Day, or Litha, is the period of time centred upon the summer solstice, and more specifically the Northern European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice or take place on a day between June 19 and June 25 and the preceding evening.
Midsummer celebrations are ancient, as they celebrate the summer solstice.  It is also known as St. John's Day, which is traditionally the birth of John the Baptist.  John the Baptist, in the New Testament, was a symbolic representation of Elijah, who was to come before Jesus declared Himself openly.  Perhaps that is also the symbolism for New Church day, except in place of John the Baptist we have the revelations given to Emanuel Swedenborg, to prepare people to receive the truth of the Second Coming.

I am not exactly familiar with this ancient Midsummer ritual, so to educate myself I found this enlightening and weird video entitled, "Swedish Midsummer for Dummies."  June 19, is definitely an interesting yet odd choice for New Church day.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The True Spiritual Meaning and Interpretation of the Lord's Prayer

Many Christians do not understand the Lord's prayer, and have begun to use the term "Father God" which is nowhere used in the Bible.  They pray to this "Father God" and on the side may mention or think of Jesus.  But this is a false understanding of God, which comes from a false teaching which divides God into three persons.  For there is only one person, and that is Jesus, who is Jehovah in human form.  One can immediately see the belief in a tritheistic concept of God when one listens to many uttering a prayer to one person, and somehow on the side mentioning a second person.  This comes from a literal but false understanding of the terms "Father" and "Son."

However there is only One Supreme Being, who manifested Himself in human form as Jesus Christ.  The invisible God is the Father, the visible God in human form is the Son:
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:18)
Not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. (John 6:46)
That the Father is the unseen God, and Jesus is the visible form, is specifically mentioned by Paul:
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature (Col 1:15)
Another way of looking at it, is the Father and Son are as the soul and body of Jesus Christ.  As Jehovah was born into a very limited finite human state, and could be tempted from the body he inherited from Mary, so as Jesus he prays to the Father.  The Father is not another person, it is the "higher self" of Jesus.  For all of us, our "higher self" is our angelic form.  For Jesus, his higher self was the Divine itself, which made Himself known to us through this human form.  That the Father is not a distinct separate person from Jesus, Jesus himself declares in the following passage:
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. (John 14:8-10)
See how this directly disagrees with the definition of the Trinity as given in traditional churches?  For if the Father and Son are distinct persons, how can they dwell inside of each other?  It makes no sense.  But if the Father resides in the Son as the soul resides in the body, it makes perfect sense.  Thus Jesus always references the "will of the Father," for the Father is the will of Jesus.  Thus he says it is the Father who does the works through him.  This is the teaching of the New Church, which is in agreement with scripture.  As such, the New Church is the Most Christian Church.  But let's take a deeper look into the Lord's prayer.


The Lord's Prayer as given in the gospel of Matthew begins as follows:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Another way of saying this, according to a note in the ESV, changes the order of the words slightly:
Our Father in heaven, let your name be kept holy.
Now, if we look at this single phrase more deeply, we can divide it into three parts:
1.  The heavenly Father.
2.  His name.
3.  Holy.
In other words, the Trinity is spelled out in this phrase.  But it is not a Trinity of three persons, it is a Trinity within the One Supreme Being.  For what is the name of the Father?  His name is Jesus.  Thus we have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in this one single phrase.  To declare Him holy, means we should acknowledge that everything that is good and true comes from God, not from our self.  Only evil and falsehood comes from our selfish ego.  The ultimate goal is to God to live in us through love and truth.

That the name of the Father is Jesus, is contrary to the definition of a Trinity of three persons, a later invention which was added later to Christianity, corrupting it.  That the disciples understood the name of the Father to be Jesus, can be shown that although Jesus commanded his disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19), throughout the book of Acts they baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38, 4:11-12, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, 22:16, Rom, 6:3-4, etc).  Everything said or done by the disciples was done by the name of Jesus, which is most Holy.


The Catholic Church has a habit of adding their own traditions to Christianity, and the Lord's Prayer is no exception.  Thus all Catholics are taught to say the phrase "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" before and after the Lord's Prayer.  But this is redundant.  For the Trinity is in the first line of the Lord's Prayer, and it completely resides in one person, Jesus Christ, who is Jehovah in human form.

By doing this, they have taught the masses to keep their mind on a trinity of three persons, rather than Jesus, praying to a Father God.  But prayers cannot be made to the Father direct.  All prayers must be made to Jesus, as no man can approach the Father directly:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Thus those who pray to a "Father God" separate from and bypassing Jesus, are not praying correctly.  For they who treat the Father as a distinct person do not know who Jesus is, as Jesus declared to his own disciples.  No one can approach the Father except through the Son, just as no one can approach the soul of a person except through their visible body.

That the phrase "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" has been added to the Lord's Prayer by the Catholic Church is plain for everyone to see.  But what many people do not know is that all Christians were once baptized in the name of Jesus Christ in the early Christian apostolic Church.  This was gradually changed in subsequent centuries, where church authorities began to change this and commanded everyone to be baptized not in the name of Jesus, but using the Trinitarian formula.  From HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE TRINITARIAN MODE OF BAPTISM:
Cyprian, who became the bishop of Carthage in 248 A.D., writes in his Epistle LXX, to Agrippinus concerning rebaptism of heretics, which he defined one group as those who had not been baptized using the trinity formula. Obviously, there must have been a debate continuing to go on in the churches about Jesus name baptism versus the triune baptism for these church leaders to continue to make denunciation of the "heretics". In 255-256 A.D., the Council of Baptism of Heretics was called by Pope Stephen of Rome to address this issue. Obviously, there were believers at this point in church history who continued to use the name of Jesus in baptism. When Pope Stephen of Rome allowed "heretics" to enter into the church without baptism using the trinity formula, even though they had been baptized in the name of Jesus, Cyprian felt so incensed that he wrote a strong letter of rebuke to Stephen about his leaning toward the Oneness. But many historians feel that Stephen did more than lean toward Jesus name baptism, but in fact, considered baptism as valid only when administered in the name of Jesus Christ. 
Such arguments, to be plain, are stupid.  But ignorance prevails in much of religion, and there are even lists of "valid" and "invalid" baptisms.  Here is one list from a Catholic diocese, which lists the baptism of the New Church or Swedenborgian as invalid: Valid and Non Valid Baptisms.

What matters most is one's understanding of God as one personal being.  If one has a proper understanding of baptism as cleansing of sin through Jesus Christ, God in human form, in acts of repentance, it is spiritually valid.  This history is set forth to show how the doctrines of the Christian Church changed gradually over time.  In the New Church, a name signifies the quality of a person or thing.  For the ritual of baptism is an external ritual, representative of the inner spiritual transformation as testimony to others.  God looks at one's heart, not at the external form of the ritual.  External rituals that are more true to internal spiritual truths, however, have the advantage of giving better spiritual understanding and communion with the heavenly world.

For those interested in the gradual change from baptism in the name of Jesus to baptism in the name of the Trinitarian formula, there were further gradual developments:
In Canon VII of the Council of Constantinople of 381 A.D., the Catholic church specifically stated that those followers of Sabellius (who was a oneness believer) 
..."who teach the identity of Father and Son, and do sundry other mischievous things, for there are many such here, particularly among those who come from the country of the Galatians," were heathens with an invalid baptism. 
From these canon denunciations, it is obvious that Jesus name believers were very strongly present in the churches at this point in church history. By the time of the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D., the doctrine of the Trinity had been fully developed and accepted. However, as Pope Pelagius said after the Second Council of Constantinople in 560 A.D. that, 
...there are many who say that they baptized in the name of Christ alone and by a single immersion.
Eventually the original baptism was forgotten, until the Oneness Pentecostal movement of the 20th century, which was an independent development from the New Church as revealed to Emanuel Swedenborg of the 18th century.  As the baptism was gradually changed, so was the Lord's Prayer, to instill a belief centered on a trinity of three persons instead of one focused solely on Jesus Christ.


The Lord's Prayer is a central pillar of Christianity, and everything of the Christian life is contained within it.  It should not be uttered as a series of words without paying attention to the meaning, one should understand the spiritual meaning as well.  So let's go through the rest of the lines of the Lord's Prayer:
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
The kingdom of God is the Divine Truth, God's will is the Divine Love.  Love and Truth are the two aspects of the Divine, descending from the Father and Son, who each correspond to love and truth that flows into us.  The kingdom of God is within us, within our heart, and does not come with visible observation (Luke 17:20-21).  While our body is on earth, our internal spiritual self is in heaven.  Our actions should correspond to our intentions and beliefs.  One should not believe in one way and act another.  One should not act superficially without a corresponding true and good intention.  When one's intention and actions are one in following God, then God's will is done on earth as it is in heaven.  There is a constant spiritual influx into our mind from heaven, and the Lord's Prayer helps in opening it.
Give us this day our daily bread.
This does not, as many suppose, refer to literal food that we eat, but rather our spiritual food.  Spiritual food is good and truth, which we receive from the Word.  This Jesus explains in another passage:
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matt. 4:3-4)
Jesus declares that bread is spiritual food:
Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.  Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal. (John 6:26-27)
And Jesus states that He Himself is the bread of life:
I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35
This is thus related to communion or the Eucharist, in which Jesus declares bread to be His body, and the wine His blood.  In the spiritual sense, the bread or food refers to the Divine love, and the wine or water refers to Divine truth.  Daily, we should ask Jesus for the spiritual food of love. For the love and good that we do is not from the self, but from the Divine that flows into all life:
He who abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:5)
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
A debt here are the debts of charity, of things done or not done according to one's responsibility in life.  These are spiritual debts.  The removal of a spiritual debt, or sin, is done by repentance. Simply asking for forgiveness does not remove it:
Ah, sinful nation, laden with iniquity; wherefore when ye spread forth your hands, I hide Mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I do not hear. Wash you; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; and then shall your sins be removed and forgiven (Isa 1:4, 15-18).
It is said, as we have forgiven our debtors, for the sins in our self are the ones we tend to see in others:
Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matt. 7:4-5)
Forgive means to "let go."  When we let go, it releases us from the spiritual bondage of hatred and revenge.  Thus Jesus commands for us to pray for the ones that hate us, for those in hatred are the ones in need of salvation.
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. (Luke 6:27-28)
There are three levels of spiritual separation here: those who are in hatred are at the lowest level; those who are in falsehood (signified by cursing) are at the middle level; and those who abuse are at the third level who only commit light acts against another.  Jesus is not commanding us to do good to those who are do evil, but rather to pray that they develop understanding of their sin, and repent.  For all who commit evil do so under the darkness of ignorance.  Remove the ignorance, and they will stop committing the actions that are done out of ignorance.  Punish evil not for revenge, but punish it out of good hoping for change in behavior.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
In all spiritual growth, spiritual knowledge leads to temptation, especially when we examine our lives.  Temptation is a falsehood, a false idea that precedes evil.  Falsehoods must be defended against with the truth, especially the spiritual truths we receive from scripture.  In fighting against evil, acknowledge that only Jesus delivers from evil: we must resist evil, but acknowledge that Jesus does it within us.  This is how salvation occurs: through repentance, not through mere belief in a religious system.  As Jesus fought against all of hell and conquered, so when we ask Him to enter our lives, He helps us to repent and fight against our own evils and sins.


The last sentence of the Lord's Prayer is known as the Doxology:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen
Although present in the gospel of Matthew it is not present in the gospel of Luke.  There is a dispute as to whether or not it is original or not.  From Doxology of the Lord's Prayer:
The doxology of the prayer is not contained in Luke's version, nor is it present in the earliest manuscripts of Matthew, representative of the Alexandrian text, although it is present in the manuscripts representative of the Byzantine text. Most scholars do not consider it part of the original text of Matthew. New translations generally omit it.
The first known use of the doxology, in a less lengthy form ("for yours is the power and the glory forever"), as a conclusion for the Lord's Prayer (in a version slightly different from that of Matthew) is in the Didache, 8:2. It has similarities with 1 Chronicles—"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all."
Thus Latin Roman Catholics, and some Lutherans, omit it entirely.  The analysis above is deceptive: the Alexandrian texts, although earlier in date, offer an inferior text. The Didache is an early Christian treatise, dating to the middle or late first century.  This puts the Didache at about the same time that the gospel of Matthew was written.  In fact, there is a strong similarily between the two texts.  From the Didache:
Significant similarities between the Didache and the gospel of Matthew have been found as these writings share words, phrases, and motifs. There is also an increasing reluctance of modern scholars to support the thesis that the Didache used Matthew. This close relationship between these two writings might suggest that both documents were created in the same historical and geographical setting. One argument that suggests a common environment is that the community of both the Didache and the gospel of Matthew was probably composed of Jewish Christians from the beginning. Also, the Two Ways teaching (Did. 1–6) may have served as a pre-baptismal instruction within the community of the Didache and Matthew. Furthermore, the correspondence of the Trinitarian baptismal formula in the Didache and Matthew (Did. 7 and Matt 28:19) as well as the similar shape of the Lord's Prayer (Did. 8 and Matt 6:5–13) appear to reflect the use of similar oral traditions. Finally, both the community of the Didache (Did. 11–13) and Matthew (Matt 7:15–23; 10:5–15, 40–42; 24:11,24) were visited by itinerant apostles and prophets, some of whom were illegitimate.
This is a pretty strong case that the Doxology is genuine.  Also it offers strong evidence that Matt. 28:19 is genuine - just because the disciples baptized in the name of Jesus does not indicate that it is invalid.  Rather, this indicates the disciples' understanding of the Trinity, that it was contained bodily within the person of Jesus (see Col. 2:9).  The Trinity as defined in modern Christian churches would not only be foreign to them, they would probably be utterly horrified.  For the full text of the Didache, see Early Christian Writings - the Didache.


In addition to the Didache, there is another strong indication that the Doxology of the Lord's Prayer in Matthew in genuine, and this comes from the book of Revelation.  Here is the passage, at first it is not apparent but look closely at the last phrase:
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Rev. 1:4-6)
Note, the last phrase is very similar to the Doxology.  In fact, it becomes more clear when one puts the Lord's Prayer in Matthew right next to this passage from the book of Revelation:

Our Father which art in heaven
Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come
Hallowed (Holy, thus the Holy Spirit)
and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne
be thy name
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
and the prince of the kings of the earth
Give us this day our daily bread
Unto him that loved us
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors
and washed us from our sins in his own blood
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The comparison is rather clear, and it is quite surprising to see the same spiritual concepts portrayed in the same order, with slightly different wording.  It also confirms that the spiritual meaning of "bread" is "love," specifically the love of Jesus for the entire human race.  Those who omit the Doxology in the Lord's Prayer in Matthew do so in error.

So, what is the spiritual meaning of the Doxology?  The Lord's kingdom is His Divine truth or His spiritual kingdom in heaven, which becomes manifest when we live by His laws; His power is Divine good which conquered hell; and the glory is the unification of His Divine with His Human, the Divine Human, which Jesus achieved when He was glorified by which He saved and continues to save the entire human race.


When prayed with an open heart, the Lord's prayer opens us up to communion with the Lord in heaven.  Swedenborg was able to see this clearly in his visionary state:
"Whenever I have been reading the Lord's prayer, I have manifestly perceived an elevation toward the Lord, which was like a drawing upward, and then my ideas were opened, and thus communication was effected with some societies in heaven. And I perceived that there was an influx from the Lord into every particular of the prayer, thus into all the particular ideas of my thought, which were from the meaning of the particulars in the prayer. The influx was effected with inexpressible variety, that is, not the same at one time as another; hence also it was made manifest how infinite are the things contained in the prayer, and that the Lord was present in each one." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6476)
There are also innumerable spiritual concepts hidden within the Lord's Prayer:
"That innumerable things are contained in the ideas of thought, and that those which are contained in order are from interiors, was also evident to me while I read the Lord's Prayer morning and evening. The ideas of my thought were then always opened toward heaven, and innumerable things flowed in, so that I observed clearly that the ideas of thought from the contents of the Prayer were filled from heaven. And such things were also infused as cannot be uttered, and also could not be comprehended by me, and I was only sensible of the general resulting affection, and what is wonderful, what flowed in was varied from day to day. Hence it was given to know that in the contents of the Prayer there is more than the whole heaven is capable of comprehending; and that with man there is more in it in proportion as his thought is open toward heaven; and on the other hand, there are fewer things in it in proportion as his thought is closed; for with those whose thought is closed, nothing more appears therein than the sense of the letter, or that sense which is nearest the words." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6619)
It is important to note the series, or the order, of each idea in the Lord's Prayer:
"In that prayer all things follow in such a series that they constitute as it were a column increasing from summit to base, in the interiors of which are the things which precede in the series. What is first therein is inmost, and what succeeds in order, this adds itself to the inmost successively and thereby increases. What is inmost reigns universally in those things which are round about, that is, in all things and in each thing, for thereby it is the essential of the existence of all."  \(Heavenly Arcana, n. 8864)


Most other churches, with a trinity of three persons in their head, pray to a Father God, and not to Jesus.  In the New Church, the Lord's Prayer is a prayer to the Lord.  By "name" is signified the quality by which one is known, and in the New Church, the essential name of God, or His quality, is revealed in His Divine Human:
"Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Take heed of His face, and hear His voice, for He will not bear your transgression; for My name is in the midst of Him. (Exod. xxiii. 20, 21). That by the angel of Jehovah is here meant the Lord as to the Divine Human, may be seen above (n. 6831); and as the Divine Human is the quality of the Divine Itself, therefore it is said that the name of Jehovah is in the midst of Him. In the Lord's Prayer, also, by Our Father . . . in the heavens; hallowed be Thy Name, is meant the Lord as to the Divine Human; and also all in one complex whereby He is to be worshipped." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6687.3)
When this became known to me, the shift in mind for me was dramatic: I had been praying the Lord's Prayer in the wrong way, not recognizing who Jesus was.  For he is not the "second" person of anything, He is the Only Person.  That this is so, Swedenborg explains further in another passage:
"But let us return to the Lord's prayer, where it is said, Our Father who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come. You who are here understand by these words the Father in His Divine alone; but I understand Him in His Human, and this also is the Father's Name; for the Lord said, Father, glorify Thy Name; that is, Thy Human; and when this is done the kingdom of God comes; and this prayer was commanded for this end, namely, that God the Father may be approached through His Human. The Lord also said, No one cometh unto the Father but by Me; and by the prophet, Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and His name is God, Mighty, the Father of eternity; and in another place, Thou, O Jehovah, art our Father; our Redeemer from everlasting is Thy Name; beside a thousand other places, where the Lord our Saviour is called Jehovah. This is the true explanation of the words of that prayer." (True Christian Religion, n. 112)
The New Church is thus the fulfillment of the Lord's Prayer, and of the New Jerusalem foretold in the Apocalypse:
"...the Lord is at this day establishing the New Church, which is meant by the New Jerusalem in the Apocalypse, in which will be the worship of the Lord alone, as in heaven, and that thus every thing will be fulfilled which is contained in the Lord's prayer from beginning to end. We confirmed all from the Word in the Evangelists and in the Prophets, also from the Apocalypse in which that church is treated of from the beginning to the end" (True Christian Religion, n. 113)
Thus all who worship Jesus Christ alone, and none other, who acknowledge a Trinity of soul, body and spirit in His person, and pray to Him alone, belong to the New Jerusalem as foretold in the book of Revelation.  This is the main teaching that distinguishes the New Church from the others which preceded it.