Climbing Jacob's Ladder
WELCOME TO TODAY'S WORSHIP SERVICE
Aug. 12, 2012
Climbing Jacob's Ladder
THIS YEAR'S THEME: The Year of the Spiritual World
THIS MONTH'S TOPIC: Near Death ExperiencesTODAY'S MESSAGE: Climbing Jacob's Ladder
text version of this message
Open your Bible
Light a candle
From the Bible
Jacob’s Dream at Bethel
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it[c] stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.[d] 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. ”
16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”
18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel,[e] though the city used to be called Luz.
20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord[f] will be my God 22 and[g] this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth. ”
True Christianity #24 NCE
(a) Until now, noone has known anything about the spiritual world, where there are spirits and angels, and where we go when we die....
2. I say that we go higher, but what I really mean that we are taken up by God. We have free will; we can use it to gain religious knowledge. When we exercise our intellect and gain religious knowledge from the Word, we smooth a pathway that God can use to come down and lift us up.
The concepts that can lift our intellect higher, and let God take us by the hand and lead us can be compared to the steps on the ladder that Jacob saw. It was set up on the ground, but the top of it stretched into heaven. Angels were climbing up on it and Jehovah was standing above it. [Gen. 28: 12-13.]
"Arcana Coelestia (Potts) n. 3699 3699. And behold a ladder set on the earth. That this signifies the communication of the lowest truth and its derivative good, is evident from the signification of a "ladder," as being communication, concerning which we shall speak presently; and from the signification of the "earth," as being what is lowest, for it is said immediately afterwards that "its head reached unto heaven," which denotes that which is highest; all which shows that the "ladder set between earth and heaven," or between the lowest and the highest, signifies communication; that it is the communication of the lowest truth and its derivative good that is here signified by the "ladder set on the earth," is evident from the fact that the subject here is truth and its derivative good of that degree which in the internal sense is here represented by Jacob. In the original tongue the term "ladder" is derived from an expression which signifies a "path" or "way," and that "path" or "way" is predicated of truth, may be seen above (n. 627, 2333). Moreover, when angels are conversing about truth, this is exhibited representatively in the world of spirits by "ways" (n. 189, 3477); all of which shows what is signified by a "ladder, one extremity of which is set on the earth, while the other reaches to heaven," namely, the communication of truth which is in the lowest place with truth which is in the highest, which communication is treated of in what follows. (That there are lowest truths and goods, and also highest truths and goods, and steps between them as of a ladder, may be seen above, n. 3691.)
Climbing Jacob's Ladder
Swedenborg’s accounts of his visits to heavens remain a classic in the literature of the near-death experiences’ field.
Swedenborg’s encounters are detailed clearly for us in Heaven & Hell, Section III. There he gives an account of what it is like to leave one’s body at death. This section of Heaven & Hell was featured in the book, Awaken from Death, which J. Appleseed published in 1993. It was a short book that gave a pithy account of Swedenborg’s trips to heaven, and showed them to be quite similar to today’s NDE’s.
448. How this resuscitation is effected has both been told to me and shown to me in living experience. The actual experience was granted to me that I might have a complete knowledge of the process.
I am reminded of the account family members give about the death of Rev. Dr. Cal Turley, a former President of Convention. He had a sudden heart attack while at home one evening. They said that his last words were, “Yes, I understand what you are trying to do.” It was as though he was speaking with spirits who was helping him to leave his body.
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES
Near-death experiences were coming to the public’s attention in the 1970’s by the work of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Raymond Moody, Jr. and George Ritchie. Soon, research was being done by Kenneth Ring, PhD, Michael Sabom, MD, Bruce Greyson, MD, and others.
The researchers and the experiencers needed a way to stay connected, and IANDS was founded in 1978 and incorporated in Connecticut in 1981. It was the first organization in the world devoted to the study of near-death experiences.
IANDS has collected many accounts of people making their way to Heaven’s door. Some experiences involve a ladder. Here is one example:
Then, I began to see a very, very bright light ahead of me. I must have been talking out loud because I heard my mother say go toward the light. I continued on the way that I was going and at some point I could see clouds or a thick mist above. The light was everywhere. The closer I came to where I was going I saw a ladder, which went up into the mist/clouds. I began to climb the ladder and saw a hand reaching down to me. I could not see a face. I heard my mother say grab the hand. I don’t know if I said it out loud or not but I knew it was the hand of Jesus. This is the first and the last memory of earth.
The story of Jacob’s ladder in the Old Testament has been depicted many times in art and music. Swedenborg saw its importance in the communication it provided between earth and heaven: the communication of truth which is in the lowest place with truth which is in the highest. It also represented the way by which God reaches out a hand to us and pulls us towards heaven: The concepts that can lift our intellect higher, and let God take us by the hand and lead us can be compared to the steps on the ladder that Jacob saw.
What is your ladder that connects your life on earth with the world of spirit in the heavens? For many of us, Swedenborg himself represents a rung on that ladder. His insight help us understand what lies ahead for us all when we pass into spirit. Swedenborg not only had the profound experience of entering the heavens, he had the brilliance and articulation to describe it to us. The near death experiences of so many people through the years is also another rung on the ladder helping us to peek at what lies beyond. Organizations like IANDS provide yet another rung. They collect the thousands of NDE’s from around the world, and make the information available to researchers.
Have you ever had something similar to a near death experience? If you would like to share an experience you had; or one you’ve heard about, you can add it at the end of this page.
Let us pray.
For inspiration this week give yourself a break....Meditate on the Light and Love of he Lord. Bathe in the Light, and Silence of Peace. Know that you are loved completely by your creator.
"God, creator of all, thank you for all that you have brought into our lives.Thank you for the freedom of choice.We choose to live each day with you, asking to be a blessing to all we meet and that they be a blessing to us. Let us focus on you each moment of each day. Thank you for our Loved Ones, our homes, our work, our friends and most of all Your Love and Wisdom. May we be eternally blessed by Your Spirit and Love. AMEN."
Men's Mass Choir
Extinguish your candle
Close the Bible
Go in peace, knowing that there is a ladder for you from earth to heaven.
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|Topic: "Climbing Jacob's Ladder"|
By Rev. Wilma
08/12/2012 01:56a [Reply]
Have you ever had an NDE that you would like to share in this forum?
By Page Morahan
08/12/2012 05:20p [Reply]
No I have not experienced a NDE, although I have experienced the direct presence of God's comfort and wisdom in a car accident.
By Waldo T. Boyd
08/19/2012 03:10p [Reply]
If you include close brushes with leaving this life due to near-accidents and similar occurrences then yes, I have had a few over the years. From my young adult time I can mention a "for instance." I was employed as a "punkin" --water and rivet carrier-- to steel construction workers on a then-new building in St. Paul, Minn. The steel was being laid for the eleventh floor at the time, and I learned quickly to "walk the beams." In contrast to today's use of welding, in 1935-36 the beams were bolted in place for alignment of pre-drilled holes in the vertical to match with holes in the ends of the horizontal framework. This was followed by inserting red-hot rivets through the remaining holes and the use of compressed-air-driven hammers to form a permanent fastener with the hot rivet. It would then cool, and shrink to a much greater compression of the girder intersections than bolts and nuts could accomplish. The preliminary bolts were then removed and hot rivets replacing them.
By Rev. Wilma
08/19/2012 03:36p [Reply]
By Thomas Fortson
09/02/2012 11:23a [Reply]
I had an experience that was somewhat like a NDE, only I wasn`t near death at the time. I was well and on my feet. It was by the grace of God, from the Lord. The Lord had just led me into a profound episode of what the yogi`s call "samadhi". Immediatly after comming out of it, my spiritual eye was open and I was able to see my guardian angel standing on my right side. The angel (female) was looking at me intently and smiling. This lasted only breifly and then I was back to normal conciousness again. Believe it or not.
By David Noethen
09/20/2012 04:59p [Reply]
I cared for a family member that was in hospic and slowly dying. One day, he said to me
By Rev. Wilma
09/20/2012 10:35p [Reply]
Beautiful story, David! When my mother was dying, she said she saw my brother who had died as a baby -- now all grown up and wearing a yellow sweater! She kept trying to get out of bed to walk over to him -- but I guess she finally figured out how to walk there without her body.
|Climbing Jacob's Ladder||