Swedenborg’s Service to the People

“Whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:27&28

Dear members and friends,

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) is the person from whose name came the term “Swedenborgians.” He was born as the third child to Jesper Swedberg and Sara Behm. At the time of his birth, Jesper Swedberg was chaplain to the court of King Karl XI of Sweden.   

Emanuel Swedenborg had a very interesting and fascinating career as a scientist, philosopher, inventor, and a noble man. What made him even more famous – or very infamous to the point that his name was rarely mentioned in the history of science or religion – was that he claimed to have spiritual visions from God, and further to have God-granted ability to communicate with angels and spirits in the spiritual realm. He wrote many books – 33 volumes in English translations in total – regarding his special if unorthodox experiences and learnings from the beings in the spiritual realm.

The main motivation for Swedenborg to write and self-publish his prolific works was a sense of calling and service to people. As far as we know, Swedenborg had no intention of writing and publishing these books except that they would help people properly understand the nature of God, and thus cultivate their union with God.

Here is my version of the four core points that Swedenborg intended to share:

  1. The Word is to be read and understood spiritually because the stories in the Bible essentially illustrate one thing: the process of our spiritual growth and its challenges.
  2. One Creator is real and present in the whole universe, and all truths are from the Creator. Swedenborg insists that what truly saves a person is neither one’s membership to a religious institution nor a public confession, but one’s life of goodness in accordance with truth that one learned and confirmed to be true.   
  3. Heaven & hell are real, and we belong to either one by our voluntary choice.
  4. The Second Coming of the Lord is the spiritual enlightenment to humanity, which already has begun.

My brothers and sisters in God, let us take a moment of reflection on what we can do as a service to God and for the people, and listen deeply to the voice of God. God is whispering to our minds all the time with a simple message: love each other.  

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee