Stephen brings our attention to how the Lord is revealing himself to us, and to others, in the present. He challenges the notion that the Bible and Swedenborg's writings are the exclusive and static emanations of a God who only wanted to speak twice. The water is still moving under the bridge. -Editor.
This is a New Church perspective on other revelations. Other revelations meaning: revelations from God through human beings other than those who wrote down the Bible and the Heavenly Doctrines.
The great thing about the New Church doctrines is that they allow for the validity of other religions and place all value in the embodiment of faith through action, good will, and love.
But what about revelations? Don’t we consider the Word, including the Writings of Swedenborg, as the Divine Truth? We do. And sometimes those words “Divine Truth” get to have overtones that make it sound like “Final Truth,” or even “the Only Truth.” But that would be ridiculous, don’t you agree? That would be similar to asserting that the Hindu, Muslim or Native American religions are invalid, and they are not.
A definition of “revelation” might be “a coming of the Lord.” For this paper’s purpose that is the working definition. We know about the First Coming, 2000 years ago. We know about the Second Coming, through Swedenborg’s books, 250 years ago. Yet those are only titles, labels to make it easier to refer to something. The Arcana Coelestia points out in what light we should see comings of the Lord:
The Lord had come as often as the Church had been brought to ruin. Not that any of these comings had been a coming in person. Rather, those comings had been made through appearances or manifestations of Himself, such as when He appeared in Mamre to Abraham, in the bush to Moses, on Mount Sinai to the Israelites, and to Joshua when he entered the land of Canaan. There were other comings of a less visible nature, such as those at times when inspiration was received and the Word was given by means of it, and later on through the Word itself. (Arcana Coelestia 4060)
Sorry for the long quote. Let me paraphrase it. Every time the Lord appears to someone, no matter what time in history, no matter in what country on earth, no matter what language is used, is a coming of the Lord, or a revelation.
Imagine you are a professional photographer. You are one of the best in the world, in fact. You make a trip to the Niagara Falls. You use your best equipment, your best lenses, your best tripod. You have all the time in the world. You wait for the best angle of sunlight, the best play of colors, the best shade of blue sky. You make a photo of the Niagara Falls. It turns out to be an unbelievable photo. Never before have those rushing waters been photographed with such accuracy, artistry, and sensitivity. The resolution of this photo breaks all records. This is the best picture EVER of the Niagara Falls, no doubt about it.
Now transpose this analogy of the photograph to the Writings of Swedenborg, the Heavenly Doctrines of the New Church, or the Second Coming of the Lord. Fantastic stuff. Such a depth and integrity and full-blown treatment of the inner meaning of the Bible have never existed on earth before. The revelation of revelations. The crown of all churches. You probably have heard the phrases.
And now... for the punch line.
After that epoch-making photo of the Niagara Falls, did the Niagara Falls stop flowing? Did the waters stop rushing down? Did the sun stop shining?
No, of course not.
Will the amateur photographer, who goes to the Falls next month to make his or her own pictures, fail miserably? Will their photos come out blank? Will their camera malfunction?
No, of course not.
After the Second Coming of the Lord, did the Lord stop speaking to the human race? Did the angels sit back and observe from a distance how the New Church would now save the world? Was it God’s best shot and now it’s up to the handful of people that happen to have read the Writings?
No, of course not.
Did the tourists stop coming? Did the Niagara lose some of its grandeur? Did the master photo prevent others from making their own photos or from experiencing the place that was photographed for themselves?
No, of course not.
And so there exist today a plethora of revelations, of instances, places, books, and people, all of which in their own way are a coming of the Lord. Instead of slowing down after Swedenborg, these revelations have spread out and speeded up.
To conclude this piece I could give a list of such revelations, in case you really are completely blank and have no idea what I am talking about. I could mention the Esther and Jerry Hicks books and workshops about coming into alignment with the source of life, the Eckhart Tolle teachings of presence, the reconnective healing work of Eric Pearl, the healing center of Saint John in South America, the explorations of Drunvalo Melchizedek, the angel stories of Lorna Byrne, and so on.
But more essentially this is about the revelation of God in my and your own life. The Word was given, and each coming of the Lord, as a “medium of conjunction” (Heaven and Hell 306) in New Church language. It’s a channel, a pipe, a method. The point is the conjunction, the connection, the receiving of God’s influence, guidance, and love. The point is not the medium. That’s just a temporary snapshot. The waters are still flowing and we are really invited to go and take a look at those Falls ourselves.