You may have noticed that human beings can talk to each other and exchange ideas about any subject peacefully; however, when they start to speak about politics and religion, they begin to get all riled up and angry to the point that some even resort to violence.
There is a real reason for this. A human being may seem to be natural flesh and blood but, in reality, he is his loves and beliefs. And, when someone is challenging our loves and beliefs, they are attacking our spiritual flesh and blood. This is why we may resort to violence to defend our spiritual body.
Our spiritual body consists of what we love the most and what we believe to be true. And this spiritual body subsists in the spiritual atmosphere of affections and ideas. We freely choose what we love and support this choice by rationalizing it with corresponding ideas or beliefs. Therefore, when someone challenges these beliefs, they are attacking our very being. This is why, when an atheist engages in a conversation with a religious person, this conversation may evolve into a spiritual or even a physical combat.
The earth is the place where we are still free to choose what we love from the freedom of our will and justify these loves from the arguments of our rationality. But, as we know, when our loves are selfish, our reasoning tends to be fallacious because unselfish love and Truth are linked and selfishness and falsehood are connected.
Now, once we have made our choice, this choice can only be made permanent by our actions. Therefore, if we choose to have faith in God, our faith will be tested by spiritual temptations. And we will only prove and certify our faith by resisting the temptation to be selfish and doing what is useful and unselfish instead.
When we are in spiritual temptation, our spiritual body is under spiritual attack. We are assaulted by selfish urges and morbid thoughts from hell. Thus, our dominant love and beliefs are being attacked. And it is only our faith in the Lord’s power that can save us from these attacks. In fact, this is the very reason He, Himself, came down in the flesh to undergo these same attacks. His Love for the whole human race was continuously under spiritual and physical attack when He was on earth. But He resisted the most direful temptations and never chose to retaliate. He never wavered from His love for the human race and even prayed for those who were crucifying Him. This is how He fused the human which He embodied with His Divine Love. This is why He is now able to save us from such evil attacks. Jesus, in Hebrew, is YEHOSHUA or the Lord, YHVH, is our savior.
The reason why a man is on fire when his love is attacked shall now be disclosed. From its creation, the human form in its inmosts is a form of love and wisdom. In man, all affections of love and thence all perceptions of wisdom are arranged in most perfect order so that together they make a unanimous whole and thus a one. These affections and perceptions are substantiate, substances being their subjects. Since, therefore, the human form is composed of them, it is plain that if the love is attacked, then, in an instant or simultaneously, the whole form is attacked together with each and every thing therein. From creation it is implanted in all living things to will to remain in their own form. Therefore the whole structure wills this from its several parts, and the parts from the whole. Hence, when the love is attacked, it defends itself by its understanding, and the understanding by things rational and imaginative whereby it represents to itself the outcome; and, more especially, by those things which make one with the love which is attacked. Were this not done, the whole form would fall asunder because of the loss of that love.  Hence then it is, that in order to resist attacks, love hardens the substances of its form and erects them into crests, as it were, being so many pricks; that is to say, it bristles up. Such is that exasperation of love which is called zeal. Therefore, if there is no opportunity to resist, anxiety arises, and grief; for the love foresees the extinction of its interior life together with the delights thereof. On the other hand, if the love is favored and soothed, the form relaxes, softens, dilates; and the substances of the form become smooth, bland, gentle, and alluring. Emanuel Swedenborg [CL 361]
All temptation is an attack against the love present in a person, the degree of temptation depending on the degree of that love. If love is not attacked there is no temptation. Destroying another person’s love is destroying his very life, for his love is his life. The Lord’s life was love towards the whole human race; indeed it was so great and of such a nature as to be nothing other than pure love. Against this life of His, temptations were directed constantly, and this was happening, as has been stated, from earliest childhood through to His last hour in the world. The love that was the Lord’s very life is meant by His being hungry and by the devil’s saying,
If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread. And Jesus answered, It is written that man will not live by bread alone but by every word of God. Luke 4:2-4; Matt. 4:2-4.
That He fought against love of the world, or against all that constitutes love of the world, is meant by the devil’s taking Him on to a high mountain and showing Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time and saying,
To you I will give all this power and their glory, for it has been given to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship before me, it will all be yours. But answering him Jesus said, Get behind Me, satan! for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve. Luke 4:5-8; Matt. 4:8-10.
That He fought against self-love, and all that constitutes self-love, is meant by these words,
The devil took Him into the holy city, and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, He will give His angels charge regarding you, and on their hands they will bear you, lest you strike your foot against a stone. Jesus said to him, Again it is written, You shall not tempt the Lord your God. Matt. 4:5-7; Luke 4:9-12.
Constant victory is meant by the statement that after temptation angels came and ministered to Him, Matt. 4:11; Mark 1:13.
To sum up, the Lord was attacked by all the hells from earliest childhood right through to the last hour of His life in the world. The hells were constantly overpowered, subdued, and vanquished by Him; and this He did solely out of love towards the whole human race. And because this love was not human but Divine, and because the intensity of the love determines that of the temptation, it becomes clear how severe His conflicts were, and on the part of the hells how fierce. That all this was indeed the case I know for sure. Emanuel Swedenborg [AC 1690]
THE PURPOSE OF THE CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION
In the days when the Lord manifested Himself as the Messiah on Earth, most of the people as well as the priests of the Israelitish Church had descended into a completely materialistic state of mind. Hence, they falsely believed that the Lord came down as the Messiah to usurp the Romans and set up a new kingdom on Earth. And, although Jesus told Pilate that he was a King, He emphasized that His Kingdom was not of this world. He was, is and will continue to be the King of Heaven.
Hence, when the Lord let Himself be tortured and crucified, most of the people, including His disciples, were completely disappointed and depressed. Most of them abandoned Him because they lost all hope of a better life on Earth. But we should remember that the most significant part of the crucifixion is the RESURRECTION. Instead of being depressed because God was crucified, we should rejoice because, after three days, Jesus was RESURRECTED. By being resurrected Jesus proved to the people that physical death is only a transition and that man’s soul is more important than his physical body. A human being’s physical body is temporary but his soul is eternal and lasts forever. Hence, we should be much more concerned with the state of our soul than the condition of our physical body.
By crucifying and glorifying the human which He embodied, the Lord God fully connected Heaven and Earth through the body of Jesus Christ. This body is now the Divine-Human body of Heaven by which we can be raised into our place in these Holy fields of Love, Wisdom and Power. This is why Jesus implores us to “eat His flesh and drink His blood.” Jesus’ physical body was actually resurrected. This is what He said when He appeared to the disciples after the resurrection:
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, And he took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” LUKE 24:36-44
Now, if Jesus were only a spirit, He would not have been able to eat a physical piece of broiled fish. As a result of Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, we can now be fully conjoined with God through the body of Jesus. Jesus’ blood is Wisdom and His flesh is Love. And to drink His blood is to appropriate and conjoin with the Truths of His Wisdom while to eat His flesh is to appropriate and conjoin with the Goods of His Love. This is how we become a part of His Divine-Human body, which is Heaven itself.
Picture Credit: James Tissot