04. Jerusalem, The Dwelling Place Of God

And the Word of Jehovah was to me, saying, So says Jehovah of Hosts: I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great wrath. So says Jehovah: I have returned to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And Jerusalem shall be called a City of Truth, and the mountain of Jehovah of Hosts, the Holy Mountain. So says Jehovah of Hosts: There shall yet be old men and old women sitting in the streets of Jerusalem; and each man with his staff in his hand because of their many days. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. So says Jehovah of Hosts: If it is marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, will it also be marvellous in My eyes? says Jehovah of Hosts. So says Jehovah of Hosts: Behold, I will save My people from the rising sun and from the land of the setting sun. And I will bring them, and they shall live in the midst of Jerusalem. And they shall be for a people to Me, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness. So says Jehovah of Hosts: Let your hands be made strong, you who hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, that in the day the house of Jehovah of Hosts is founded… (Zechariah 8:1-9)

And I heard a great voice out of Heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God with men! And He will tabernacle with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. (Revelation 21:3)

In the Word ‘city’ never means a city but something doctrinal or else something heretical. For angels are totally ignorant of what a city is or what the name of any city is. They never do nor can have any city in mind, for their ideas are of spiritual and celestial things, as shown already. Their perception is solely of what is meant spiritually by cities, and the names of them. For example, by the Holy City, which is also called the Holy Jerusalem, they understand nothing other than the Lord’s kingdom in general, or as it exists with each individual who has the Lord’s kingdom within him. And the city of Zion or Mount Zion they understand in a similar way, the latter being the celestial degree of faith, the former the spiritual. (Arcana Coelestia 402)

[The New Jerusalem’ is the Lord’s kingdom which because it is being described as regards good and truth is described by walls, gates, and streets. By the last of these -‘the streets’ – are meant all avenues of truth which lead to good, that is, all those of faith which lead to love and charity. (Arcana Coelestia 2336{2})

The New Jerusalem is a symbol of what living the spiritual life produces within a person. The phrase “Jehovah says” or a variation of it occurs in these eight verses some seven times. It is a common phrase in the Word and it means that it is so. For what the Lord says, simply is. The opening phrase reads…

And the Word of Jehovah is coming to me saying…

The first thing we need to remind ourselves of when we hear this is that in a spiritual context, or in regard to your own spiritual life, this is to be understood in terms of what the Word of the Lord is always declaring to those who are open to hearing it. Whenever we come across this kind of statement in the Word we are reminded that the Word is not just words on a page but that on a deeper level it is the very laws breathed into our being. Prophets like Zechariah actually represent the Lord in respect the to the Word because they teach what the Lord is saying as the Word. And because they give an explanation of what it is the Word is communicating, they also represent doctrine drawn from the Word, or spiritual teachings that we can come to understand and apply to our life. For this reason, every spiritual teaching that is genuine is really an embodiment of the Lord’s mercy. The Lord’s provision of the Word is thus an act of His mercy for it shows that He is ever mindful of us and our states of life. Something of this is captured in the meaning of Zechariah’s name which means, “Jehovah has remembered.”

The Lord is in constant remembrance of every human being, every spirit and every angel as His Divine Providence is continually over all. The provision of the Word and the doctrines drawn from it for a Spiritual Christianity, are the supreme form of the Divine Providence in action because these address the inner spiritual states of people in a way that looks to their regeneration and salvation.

So what this passage from Zechariah is saying is that when we live from the Word and heed what it is saying, then certain things will take place within the life of our affections and thoughts that will bring about an inner transformation in which our sensitivity to spiritual realities can be heightened. We read that the Lord of Hosts is jealous for Zion and that He is jealous for her with great wrath.

If we are to understand this we need to know what Zion represents in the Word in relation to the human mind. Zion and Jerusalem are often mentioned together in the Word. Jerusalem we know is a city and as a city is a structure in which people live their lives, therefore it spiritually represents the structure of spiritual beliefs or thoughts drawn from the Word that people live in internally, for we all live in the external world on the one hand and in our states of mind on the other. So in the Word, Jerusalem can refer to either a genuine or corrupt structure of thinking in relation of spiritual things, depending on the context in which it is mentioned.

For example, as a genuine form of spiritual thought it is referred to as a city descending from God out of heaven in the book of Revelation (Rev 21:2), whereas it is clearly used to represent a corruption of spiritual thought in Revelation11:8 where it says of the two witnesses that their…

..bodies will be on the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom, and Egypt, where our Lord was crucified.

and in Ezekiel Chapter 16 where it says of Jerusalem…

you have trusted in your beauty, and have played the harlot because of your renown, so that you have poured out your fornications on everyone that passed by.

So context is important when working with meanings of things in the Word. In general however, Jerusalem as an internal reality, as an aspect of the human mind, relates to its intellectual things. Zion on the other hand represents the things of love. This representation is taken from the fact that Zion is an elevated area in Jerusalem and in spiritual terms what is higher always represents what is more internal. Ideas and concepts that belong to the intellectual faculty form around the things belonging to the will or the affections of the heart. In other words, the things belonging to our affections are more interior than those belonging to the thought. The doctrines for Spiritual Christianity teach that it is our loves that drive and direct our thoughts. So Zion takes its correspondence to the deeper things of the mind or love from it being a Mountain or something more elevated.

Spiritual thought structures, or those ideas, concepts and beliefs represented by Jerusalem can take a corrupt or genuine form. What determines the form these things have within the human mind is the underlying motive or love that organises them into a reflection of itself. Zion represents that love and like Jerusalem can also have a positive or negative spiritual representation depending on the context we find it mentioned in the Text. But Zion, in the case of our reading today, is something the Lord is passionate about, so we ask what is it that the Lord is passionate about in regard to our own life? The Lord is passionate about our spiritual well being, our sense of fulfilment and our eternal happiness. The Lord desires to bring everyone into states of peace, joy, love and happiness. He doesn’t want us to be anxious, or depressed or miserable, and so He has provided everything He possibly can to empower us so that we leave these negative states of life behind and enter into higher states of heavenly life – now, if we really want to.

So the Lord has a passion to see that our life is centred on heavenly loves, affections and desires represented here by Zion. Why? Because ultimately it is only when our life is centred on what is heavenly that we can be truly at peace and fulfilled. If the loves and desires of heaven aren’t what form our life and thought then the only alternative is the loves of self and the world. These loves are described in the doctrines for Spiritual Christianity as diabolical and when they dominate our life we become slaves to destructive negative emotions and passions that can only bring misery into our experience of life.

The Lord offers us another way – new loves, new desires, that are filled with what is of heaven. These are given to people by no other means than through a conscious effort to live from the truths that the Word teaches. Our states of life, that is, how we feel and think, reflect where we are at at any given moment of our lives and this in turn is a product of our beliefs and desires and how close these come to reflecting a heavenly form. The closer the structure of our mind approaches what makes for a heavenly pattern, the greater our capacity to receive the love and wisdom of heaven. It is in our willingness to do the work of building up our minds on those truths that we acknowledge to be from the Lord, that establishes our sense of self in higher things.

Zion is representative of these higher things in relation to love for it represents love to the Lord and love to the neighbour. To love the Lord is to love what is good and to love the neighbour is to love what is true. Good and truth, or love and wisdom, is the Lord, and because the Word is nothing but what is good and true, to love the Word is to love the Lord. How do we love the Word? We work with it so that we can govern the life of our affections, thoughts and activities so that we live from it on every level of our life. If we love the Word then we will be actively seeking to understand it better, we will have a desire to read it often and we will make the effort to apply the principles of Spiritual Christianity to our inner and outer life.

It is this process that leads to the reformation of our thinking and the regeneration of our will. It is this kind of work that brings us into touch with what is of heaven. The rational light that the doctrines for Spiritual Christianity provides us with offers us all that we need to take the steps in developing a spiritual dimension to our lives. Therefore the Lord says in the Gospels…

Yet a little while the Light is with you. Walk while you have the Light, that darkness not overtake you. And the one walking in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the Light, believe into the Light, that you may become sons of Light. (John 12:35-36)

And also a similar meaning is expressed in Matthew 13:19

When anyone hears the Word of the kingdom and does not give heed to it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.

This has to do with our response to the light of truth that we are given and we must use it while we can, for if we neglect to take our opportunities to work spiritually we may end up loosing the desire to do so.

When we work in response to truth so the Lord is said to return to Zion. This means that we are strengthened in spiritual loves or our desire for spiritual things. As we are strengthened in our desire for spiritual things so we find that the Text becomes more alive for us. What was once obscure begins to shine more and more fully and we find our conviction grows as to how it is that the Word is the Lord with us. As this conviction grows so we see that He dwells in the midst of those truths we have had worked into our lives as a result of having made an effort to live from them. These truths being what is called Jerusalem, a name that means “teaching of peace.” This then is why it is said to be called, “a city of truth” in verse 3. For truth leads to good and those who dwell in good or love are those who know the true peace the Lord gives. This peace is what arises from the Lord in a mind that has been restructured around truths, for a mind structured according to spiritual truths is undivided and whole for all things within it exist in there proper relationship to Divine laws.

Such a mind is filled with the wisdom of love that orders all things within it. Its levels are consistent, so much so that what is lower corresponds to what is higher giving it a unity of purpose throughout. The depth of love and wisdom means that it is called the mountain of Jehovah of Hosts, the Holy Mountain. A truly elevated state of mind is one in which the Lord dwells. As Jehovah of Hosts, the Lord as the Word when its truths are loved, is able to stand against all that opposes what is heavenly within a person. This is because when a person freely takes up their responsibility to work on themselves spiritually, the truths that they have worked with become real and living in their experience.

This kind of work means that they pass through many states of life as they are lifted out of the selfishness of their proprium and through this process have their sense of self replanted in what is of the Lord. All this experience translates into wisdom and a rich understanding of doctrine, not as a thing heady and intellectual but as something lived as their spiritual life. A doctrine from and for their life. The wisdom that comes from living truths through the many states of life that the process of regeneration takes a person through, is what is described in verse 4 as,

…old men and old women sitting in the streets of Jerusalem; and each man with his staff in his hand because of their many days…

Old men and old women in the Word don’t mean the elderly, rather, and particularly in this context, they correspond spiritually to the wisdom of those who having lived a life of self examination and repentance. They have an experiential understanding of the truths of the Word and doctrine of Spiritual Christianity born from practice . Such a life sees the growth of innocence, of a wisdom that looks to the spiritual welfare of all and seeks to do no harm. This innocence, the innocence of wisdom, arises from a willingness to be led by the Word alone and is found in the midst of the truths a person uses in life. Here in this part of the Scriptures, this innocence found in truths lived, is symbolically described as…

…the streets of the city…full of boys and girls playing in its streets.

Boys and girls in the Word correspond to innocence and streets to doctrines or spiritual teachings that form spiritual paths. All these things describe what is meant by the New Jerusalem. Above all else we see that the Lord has a passion for our spiritual welfare and has provides all that is needed for us to enter into the fullness of the the life He offers us…He says in verses 7 and 8…

Behold, I will save my people from the rising sun (that is the love of self) and from the land of the setting sun (the absence of love). And I will bring them, and they shall live in the midst of Jerusalem (wisdom from love). And they shall be for a people to Me, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.

The Lord in His second coming makes this possible for us, we only need to embrace the life He offers as our own. So…

Let your hands be made strong, you who hear in these day these words by the mouth of the prophets, that in that day the house of Jehovah of Hosts is founded…

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