THE HOLY SUPPER >> Conjunction of the Church with Heaven and the Lord
LORD'S BODY (FLESH) >> Good of Love, BREAD (BLOOD) >> Good of Faith,
DRINKING WINE, EATING BREAD >> Appropriation,  Conjunction with the Lord

LS1_500_256 The Holy Supper was instituted by the Lord in order that by means of it there may be a conjunction of the church with heaven, thus with the Lord. It is therefore the most    holy thing of the church. [AC 10519]

But in what manner conjunction is effected by means of it, is not apprehended by those who do not know anything of the internal or spiritual sense of the Word; for they do not think beyond its external sense, which is the sense of the letter. From the internal or spiritual sense of the Word it is known what is signified by the "body" and the "blood," and what by the "bread" and the "wine," and also what by "eating." [AC 10520]

 In this sense the Lord"s "body" or "flesh" denotes the good of love, in like manner the "bread;" and the Lord"s "blood" denotes the good of faith, in like manner the "wine;" and "eating" denotes appropriation and conjunction. The angels who are with a man when he comes to the sacrament of the Supper perceive these things no otherwise; for they apprehend all things spiritually. From this it is that there then flows in from the angels to the man, thus through heaven from the Lord, a holy feeling of love and of faith. From this comes the conjunction. [AC 10521]

From all this it is evident that when a man takes the bread, which is the body, he is conjoined with the Lord through the good of love to Him from Him; and when he takes the wine, which is the blood, he is conjoined with the Lord through the good of faith to Him from Him. But be it known that conjunction with the Lord through the sacrament of the Supper is effected solely with those who are in the good of love and of faith to the Lord from the Lord. The Holy Supper is the seal of this conjunction. [AC 10522]


The reason why the holy supper is to those who come to it worthily like a signature and seal that they are the sons of God, is that as before said, the Lord is then present, and admits into heaven those who are born of Him, that is, the regenerate. The holy supper effects this, because the Lord is then present even as to His Human (for it has been shown above that in the holy supper the Lord is wholly present, and with His whole redemption); for of the bread He said, "This is my body; and of the wine, "This is My blood." Consequently He then admits them into His Body; and the church and heaven constitute His Body. When man is becoming regenerate, the Lord is indeed present, and through His Divine operation prepares man for heaven; but that man may actually enter he must present himself to the Lord; and as the Lord actually presents Himself to man, man must actually receive Him, not, however, as He hung upon the cross, but as He is in His glorified Human, in which He is present, the body of which is the Divine good and the blood of which is the Divine truth. These are given to man, and by means of them man is regenerated, and he is in the Lord and the Lord in him; and for the reason shown above, that the eating which is manifested in the holy supper is a spiritual eating. From all this rightly understood it is clear that the holy supper is like a signature and seal that those who come to it worthily are sons of God. [TCR728]


It is evident from the Lord's very words that He is wholly present in the holy supper, in respect both to His glorified Human and the Divine from which the Human proceeded. That His Human is present in the holy supper is clear from the following:

Jesus took bread and brake, and gave to the disciples and said, This is My body; and He took the cup and gave them, saying, This is My blood (Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19, 20).

And in John:

I am the bread of life; if anyone eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life, and abideth in Me and I in him (John 6:51, 56).

From these words it is plainly evident that the Lord in respect to His glorified Human is in the holy supper. That He is also wholly present in it in respect to His Divine from which the Human proceeded, is evident from the statement,

That He is the bread that cometh down out of heaven (John 6:61).

He came down out of heaven with the Divine, for it is written:

The Word was with God, and God was the Word; all things were made by Him and the Word was made flesh (John 1:1, 3, 14).

And further,

That He and the Father are one (John 10:30).
That all things belonging to the Father are His (John 3:35; 16:16).
That He is in the Father and the Father in Him (John 14:10, 11);
(and so forth).

Moreover, His Divine can no more be separated from His Human than the soul can be separated from the body; so when it is said that the Lord in respect to His Human is wholly present in the holy supper, it follows that His Divine from which was the Human is there along with it. Since then, His "flesh" signifies the Divine good of His love, and His "blood" the Divine truth of His wisdom, it is clear that the whole of the Lord is omnipresent in the holy supper in respect both to His Divine and to His glorified Human; consequently that the holy supper is a spiritual eating. [TCR716]


That God, charity, and faith are the three universals of the church, because they are the universal means of salvation, is known, acknowledged, and perceived by every Christian who studies the Word. That God must be acknowledged in order that one may have religion, or that anything of the church may be in him, is declared by reason itself when there is anything spiritual in it; consequently, if one comes to the holy supper without acknowledging God, he profanes it; for he sees the bread and wine with the eye and tastes them with the tongue, while the thought of the mind is, "What is this but a useless ceremony, and how do this bread and wine differ from that on my own table? Nevertheless I partake of them, lest I be charged by the priesthood, and so also by the common people, with the infamy of being an atheist."

[2] That after the acknowledgment of God, charity is the second means which enables one to come to the holy supper worthily is evident both from the Word and from the exhortations read before approaching the communion in the whole Christian world It is evident from the Word in this:

That the first command or precept is to love God above all things, and the neighbor as oneself (Matt. 22:34-39; Luke 10:25-28).

Again in Paul:

That there are three things that contribute to salvation, and the greatest of these is charity (1 Cor. 13:13).
Also from these passages:

We know that God heareth not sinners; but if any man is a worshiper of God and doeth His will, him He heareth (John 9:31).
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire (Matt. 7:19, 20; Luke 3:8, 9).

[3] It appears also from the exhortations read throughout the whole Christian world before coming to the holy supper. Everywhere men are thus earnestly admonished to be in charity by reconciliation and repentance. From these I will only quote the following passage from the exhortation read to communicants in England:

"The way and means" to be worthy partakers of the holy supper "is, first to examine your lives and conversations by the rule of God's commandments; and whereinsoever ye shall perceive yourselves to have offended, either by will, word, or deed, there to bewail your own sinfulness, and to confess yourselves to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life. And if ye shall perceive your offences to be such as are not only against God but also against your neighbors, then ye shall reconcile yourselves unto them, being ready to make restitution and satisfaction, according to the uttermost of your powers, for all injuries and wrongs done by you to any other; and being likewise ready to forgive others who have offended you, as ye would have forgiveness of your offences at God's hand; for otherwise the receiving of the holy communion doth nothing else but increase your damnation. Therefore if any of you be a blasphemer of God, a hinderer or slanderer of His Word, an adulterer, or be in malice, or envy, or in any other grievous crime, repent ye of your sins, or else come not to that holy table; lest, after the taking of that holy sacrament, the devil enter into you as he entered into Judas, and fill you full of all iniquities, and bring you to destruction both of body and soul."

[4] Faith in the Lord is the third means of worthily enjoying the holy supper, because charity and faith make one, like heat and light in spring, from which two conjoined every tree is born anew; so from spiritual heat, which is charity, and from spiritual light, which is the truth of faith, every man has life. That faith in the Lord effects this is evident from the following passages:

he that believeth in Me shall never die, but shall live (John 11:26, 26).

This is the will of the Father that everyone that believeth on the Son shall have eternal life (John 6:40).
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should have eternal life (John 3:15, 16).
He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36).
We are in the truth, in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life (1 John 5:20). [TCR722]



The two following sections explain who those are that come to the holy supper worthily, and also who those are that approach it unworthily; for the one point being established, the other is known from being the opposite. With both the worthy and the unworthy the Lord is present, because He is omnipresent both in heaven and in hell, and also in the world, consequently with the evil as well as with the good. But with the good, that is, with the regenerate, He is present both universally and individually; for the Lord is in them and they are in Him, and where He is there is heaven. Moreover, heaven constitutes the body of the Lord; consequently to be in His body is also to be in heaven. [2] But the Lord's presence with those who come to the holy supper unworthily is His universal and not His individual presence, or what is the same, His external and not also His internal presence. His universal or external presence is what causes a man to live as a man, to enjoy the ability to know, to understand, and to speak rationally from the understanding; for man is born for heaven, and is therefore not merely natural, like a beast, but also spiritual. He also enjoys the ability to will and to do the things that from his understanding he is able to know about, to understand, and thereby rationally speak about. But if the will rejects the truly rational things of the understanding, which are also intrinsically spiritual, the man becomes external. [3] Consequently with those who only understand what is true, and good, the Lord's presence is universal or external, while with those who also will and do what is true and good, the Lord's presence is both universal and individual, or both internal and external. Those who merely understand and talk about what is true and good are like the foolish virgins who had lamps but no oil; while those who not only understand and talk about what is true and good, but also will and do it, are the wise virgins who were admitted to the wedding while the former stood at the door and knocked, but were not admitted (Matt. 25:1-12). From all this it can be seen that the Lord is present and opens heaven to those who come to the holy supper worthily; and that He is also present with those who come to it unworthily, but to them He does not open heaven. [TCR719]

Author: EMANUEL. SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)

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