Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Spiritual Symbolism and Health Benefits of Pomegranates



I have been working on a new book concerning the prophecies of Isaiah, and I just found something rather bizarre in what was revealed to Emanuel Swedenborg in regards to the symbolism of the pomegranate fruit, which helps indicate he indeed was receiving information from a heavenly source concerning the symbolism of Biblical scriptures in general. I was examining Isaiah's vision of the Lord in the temple (using my new translation of the work):
It was in the year that king Uzziah died,And I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up,And His hem filled the temple (Isaiah 6:1)
In general, the word "throne" represents a lower degree of order that supports a higher degree. In a spiritual sense this vision speaks of how the Divine truth of the Lord flows in from the Lord, into heaven, and into the literal sense of the Word and from thence into the minds of those who follow good and truth in the church, represented by the temple. I then focused on the word "hem" (sometimes translated as "skirt" or "train," or mistranslated as "robe" -- bad!!) which is the edge of the robe which filled the temple. The robe is a symbol of the influx of Divine truth, and the "hem" represents Divine truth in its most external natural form, which are knowledges of the memory as indicated in the commentary on Ex. 28:33:
"And upon the skirts of it thou shalt make. That this signifies in the outermosts where is the natural, is evident from the signification of the skirts or borders of the robe, as the outermosts, where the natural is. For by the robe is signified in particular Divine truth in the spiritual kingdom in its internal form, and in general the spiritual kingdom (see n. 9825); and by the skirts or borders, which are round about below, the outermost parts of it; and the outermost parts of the spiritual kingdom are natural" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9917)
Now, in the practices of the Jewish temple it was commanded that pomegranates and bells be designed on the hem of the rob for the Aaronic priesthood:
And upon the hem of it you shall make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about (Ex. 28:33)
So all of this seems just arbitrary decorative commands. And most people skip over passages such as this in the Bible, because they are not aware of the symbolic significance of each and every word. So what is the spiritual symbolism of pomegranates? According to Swedenborg, it was given him to know that pomegranates represent knowledges of good, and bells the knowledges of truth in memory:
"Pomegranates. That hereby are signified outward knowledges of good, is evident from the signification of pomegranates, as outward knowledges of good (see n. 9552). That pomegranates were set upon the skirts of the robe, was because the skirts signified the ultimates or outermosts of heaven and the church, and those ultimates or outermosts are outward knowledges, as is evident from what was said above (n. 9915, 9917) concerning the successive order of the goods and truths in the heavens and with man. The knowledges of good and truth which are signified by the pomegranates, are doctrinals from the Word, that are mere knowledges so far as they are in the memory which is in the external or natural man. But when they enter into the memory which is in the internal or spiritual man, as is the case when the life is lived according to them, then the doctrinals regarding truth become of faith, and those regarding good become of charity, and are called spiritual. When this comes about, they almost vanish out of the external or natural memory, and appear as if innate, because they are then implanted in the life of man, like all those things which through daily use have become as it were one's nature. From this it is plain what outward knowledges are, and what purpose they serve; consequently what use the doctrinals of the church serve so long as they are held only in the memory; for so long as they are held only as knowledge in the memory, they have a place beneath intelligence and wisdom, and they do not ascend or enter into the life until they become of faith and charity in the internal man" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9917).
So pomegranates as knowledges of good first seems like an arbitrary symbolism. But fruits in general signify good, and the color red signifies the will, and pomegranates have a hard outer shell which cannot be eaten like other fruits which indicates that it represents something external in the natural. But what are the health benefits of pomegranates?  I looked it up, there are several, but I found this article from the U.S. National library of medicine:

Pomegranate Juice Augments Memory and fMRI Activity in Middle-Aged and Older Adults with Mild Memory Complaints


To quote from the article:
"Recent animal studies have reported memory and other cognitive benefits of polyphenols, found abundantly in pomegranate juice. ... While preliminary, these results suggest a role for pomegranate juice in augmenting memory function through task-related increases in functional brain activity."
This was published recently, in 2013. Swedenborg wrote back in the 18th century, and the command given to Jews to put pomegranates on the hem of the priestly robes was given about 3500 years ago. Thus we can see here how the knowledge of modern science supports and confirms both the Jewish and Christian revelations concerning the spiritual sense of the Bible. It also helps show how each and every word of scripture is important, and thus care should be taken to have an accurate translation of scripture. Similar to pomegranates, another food mentioned often in the Bible that has a similar meaning is fish, which represents in general sensual affections for knowledge in the natural man, which I covered earlier in my work The Symbolism of the Psalms. Fish, we now know, contains large amount of omega-3, and many take fish oil as a supplement as it has been demonstrated to help brain function. Thus the age of Christianity took place in the Age of Pisces, in which Jesus commanded his disciples to become "fishers of men," as Christianity spread the knowledge of Jesus Christ in a simple form to those who could see things in only a natural and external way.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Errors and Falsehoods of the Apostle Paul


Image from testeverything.net, now 119ministries.com, a Christianity from a Jewish perspective

In the New Church there is a stricter canon for the New Testament, where the Gospels and the book of Revelation or Divinely inspired in such a way where every word is spiritual, and the epistles of the apostles are of lesser authority, and included to give simple instruction to the church. Swedenborg does state that Paul was Divinely influenced in what to say (Spiritual Diary, n. 6202), but what he wrote was not inspired word for word as the Gospels or the book of Revelation which includes the direct sayings of Jesus.

So, given this premise, did Paul make any errors?  Paul admits even in his epistles that at times he gives his own opinion which is not from the Lord (1 Cor. 7). The apostle Peter noted that his writings could be distorted to the point of "lawlessness." Some have recognized that the epistle of James was written directly against the apostle Paul, which is due to the fact that Paul was not exactly clear that in most cases when mentioning the word "works" he was talking about the Jewish rituals of the Mosaic law and not works of charity (see Christus Victor, Pauline Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls).  However giving priority to the teachings of Jesus, lets re-examine Paul's writings with the critical eye of reason.

IS IT TRUE: NONE CAN DO ANY GOOD?

Throughout his writings, Paul emphasizes faith over that of the commandments. Paul misquotes from Psalm 14:3 in such a way to give the impression that not just all are sinful, but none can do any good:
"We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:9-10)
All humans are indeed sinful, and evil originates from the love of our ego. Many take this to mean that none has the ability to do any good, and Paul also misinterprets this to mean the entire world (Rom. 3:19). But this quote is taken out of context: Psalm 14 is not talking about all humanity, it speaks of those who deny God:
The fool has said in his heart, There is no God (Ps. 14:1)
There can be no good done apart from God, for God is good itself. Some may say they can commit a good act without a belief in God, but the external action is judged by its intent. If one does good for the sake of return, or for credit to one's self, it is not good. It has to be done out of love for others, and love is not possible without God for God is love.

There are many passages that need to be ignored in order to support the false theology that none can do any good (e.g., God regarded Noah as righteous - Gen. 7:1). One has look at scripture as a whole, and not just be focused on the writings of Paul.
IS NO MAN JUSTIFIED BEFORE GOD?
From Paul's misquote of Psalm 14, he jumps to the following conclusion:
"Therefore by the works of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight" (Rom. 3:20)
Paul is repeating what he said in Gal. 3:11. By "works of the law" Paul is referencing the rituals of the Mosaic law. The word "justified" is a word that is more properly translated as "righteous." The word "justify" has unfortunately taken on a false meaning in a false theology that the evil will be justified no matter what they do. That God does look upon those who are righteous can be seen in this passage:
The eyes of Jehovah are upon the righteous (Ps. 34:15)
That no one is righteous (or justified) in God's sight is taken from the Psalms:
And enter not into judgment with Your servant,
For no one living shall be justified before You
 (Ps. 143:2)
And this has nothing to do with the external rituals of the Mosaic law, the subject of Paul's epistle. Rather man, of himself, cannot justify himself apart from God who is good (Job 9:2, 20, 15:14). But in doing good with acknowledgment of God as the source of good man can indeed be righteous:
In Jehovah shall all the seed of Israel be justified (Isa. 45:25)
Israel here is not the Jews but the spiritual church, or those who live by the truth, the word "seed" signifies the truth of faith implanted in the mind to bring forth works of charity.

The reason why there can be no righteousness apart from God is because God is righteousness itself, and the source of evil is from the selfish ego. On the surface, Ps. 143:2 contradicts Isa. 45:25. But one has to look deeper into the meaning - without true doctrine, it is easy to take one scripture out of context to develop a false theology.
IS THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW JUST TO TELL US WE ARE SINFUL?
From Paul's misquote of Psalm 14, he also jumps to the following conclusion:
"for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20)
This is unfortunately taken by many that the entire law was given just so that we could fail at following it, and Paul repeats that the purpose of the law was just to reveal our sinful nature again in Rom. 5:20 and Rom. 7:7-9. But this is incorrect - the commandments of the law are the external forms of what is internal, for even the Old Testament states that God will write the commandments not on tablets of stone, but on our heart (Eze. 11:19, 36:26, Jer. 31:33) and Paul repeats this in Heb. 8:10. As an example, Jesus declared that anyone who internally hates his brother is guilty of the sixth commandment, Thou shall not murder (Matt. 5:21-22). Jesus also said that one must follow the commandments (Matt. 5:19, John 14:15). Whereas Jesus strengthens the law, Paul in his writings sidelines it. Only the external rituals of the law were abrogated. The commandments remain in force, for they are based on the love of God and love of the neighbor which are necessary for eternal life (Matt. 22:36-40) and this is later admitted by Paul towards the end of Romans (Rom. 13:8-10).

Paul elsewhere acknowledges that the Mosaic rituals were shadows of things to come (Heb. 10:1), and more so than any other person Swedenborg explains there are deep spiritual truths hidden within the Mosaic rituals which is explained in his massive work, Heavenly Arcana. It is because of Paul's influence that many in the Christian church decide to largely ignore the Old Testament.
IS EVERYONE WHO FOLLOWS THE LAW UNDER A CURSE?
Paul further sidelines the law of Moses in the following statement:
"For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”" (Gal. 3:10)
This is a quote of Deut. 27:26, ending a series of curses. In this case, Paul is misusing this scripture to state that everyone who tries to follow the law is under a curse, which is false. The series of curses is referencing those who disobey God's commandments, and it has nothing to do with the Jewish rituals of the Mosaic law. Those who do good will go to heaven, those who do evil will go to hell - and this blessing and curse is still valid today. That this is the correct interpretation can be found earlier in the book of Deuteronomy:
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today (Deut. 11:26-28)
What would be more accurate to say is this: the man's sin became a curse, causing a separation between mankind and heaven, threatening eternal damnation for all mankind. God removed this curse by becoming incarnate and making His human Divine, so that we could receive the Holy Spirit directly from Him and no longer be dependent on the angels as intermediaries.
WHAT IS THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST?


This passage from Paul is not necessarily an error, but it can easily be twisted and misinterpreted:
"For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.
But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down)
“or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)." (Rom. 10:3-7)
When Paul says "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes" many interpret this as what just has to believe in Jesus Christ and it does not matter what one does.  But this is a false and distorted theology. Paul is quoting from this passage:
You shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am Jehovah. (Lev. 18:5)
The word "statutes" specifically refers to the external rituals of the Mosaic law, and "judgments" to the civil law. The Jewish nation was representative of the spiritual church, and these external rituals, and some of the civil laws, were symbolic and representative in nature. With knowledge of their spiritual meaning, it is no longer necessary to follow them in the Christian church. They were intended only for the Jews. Paul was dealing with the problem of Jews trying to convert Christians to the Judaic religion. Unfortunately Paul quotes this out of context, and people miss the fact that this passage was referencing the statutes and judgments, not the commandments.

Christ's descent into hell and ascension to heaven was necessary in order to restore the spiritual connection between heaven and mankind, for without that connection no man would have been capable to do any righteousness (see Jesus the Shaman - Descent into the Underworld and The True Spiritual Meaning of the Cross and Resurrection: Christus Victor). Up until that time the spiritual connection was maintained between heaven and man through the angels, but sin had separated mankind from heaven where it became necessary for God to descend in human form and make His human Divine, restoring the spiritual connection by conquering the hells that had dominion over humanity.
WILL THE SAINTS JUDGE THE WORLD?
Paul believed saints would judge the world:
"Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" (1 Cor. 6:2)
This belief probably originated from the following saying of Jesus:
You who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28)
This is a case where Paul took a statement of Jesus in its most literal fashion. Only God will judge others, not man. This saying of Jesus can only be truly understood in a spiritual manner, which is explained by Swedenborg as follows:
"This does not mean that the twelve disciples were to sit upon twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel, but it means that the Lord is to judge all according to truths from good, which are from Him, for "the twelve disciples" signify all who are of the church, and in an abstract sense all things of the church, which are truths from good." (Apocalypse Explained, n. 851)
WILL THE SAINTS JUDGE ANGELS?
This one is strange. Paul not only believed that the saints would not just judge the world, but also angels:
"Do you not know that we are to judge angels?" (1 Cor. 6:3)
From the revelations given to Swedenborg, we now know that angelic beings were previously men who have already been judged and are now dwelling in heaven. This statement of Paul is just plain false. So where did this come from? It is nowhere mentioned in scripture. The only explanation I have for this statement from Paul is from the apocryphal book of Enoch, which describes so-called "angels" who committed a sin by mating with women, who are kept bound in a lower prison until judgment day. Paul may be making an indirect reference to this when he mentions that women should cover their heads, because of the angels (1 Cor. 11:10). My opinion on that is this apocryphal work is actually one of the earliest records mentioning an ancient extraterrestrial contact, which I discussed earlier in Ancient Astronomy and Extraterrestrial Contact in the Bible. That the book of Enoch was regarded as scripture by some of the apostles is shown by a direct quote of the work in the epistle of Jude.
SHOULD WOMEN KEEP SILENT IN CHURCH?
This one is just obviously wrong, a product of Paul's cultural background:
"the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission" (1 Cor. 14:34)
This is just plain bad advice, and in practice most churches do ignore this one. When discussing marriage, Paul admits earlier in the epistle of the Corinthians that he at times gives his own advice, which is from himself and not from God (e.g., 1 Cor. 7). Thus from Paul's own admission, we should not take everything he says as "gospel truth."  He at times expressed his own opinion, and that opinion was sometimes wrong as it was in this case.

This passage from Paul is a big turn off for women. If more people understand that the epistles of Paul are not inspired in the same way as the Gospel and book of Revelation, this problem goes away and I believe more women will find Christianity to be more acceptable, and take positions of teaching within the church.

SUMMARY CONCLUSION

I have not covered all the writings of Paul, I just selected here what I see to be the most blatant of errors which are also seen by some as a roadblock to understanding true Christianity. Other than what I selected, the majority of Paul's epistles are essentially correct in matters of doctrine. In addition to arguing against just blind following the external rituals of the Jewish law, the main point was that salvation must be driven by an inner transformation of the heart before it manifests in external good works. The major errors can be seen in Paul's false reasoning and misquotes in Romans and Galatians, and unfortunately from that many have created a false theology of "lawlessness" as the apostle Peter described. If priority is given to the teachings of Jesus, and if one understood the historical context of Paul - that the early Christians were having problems with Judaizers - then his epistles can be understood in a better manner.

With this distinction, we now can have a true living faith guided by the true teachings of Jesus, and not a blind faith that ignores reason.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

A Prophecy of the 2019 Nuclear Accident in Russia


Russia tests its 9M730 Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile in this clip released July 19, 2018 by the Russian Defense Ministry

In May of this year (2019) I published a work entitled the X Prophecy, which can be found here on Amazon. The book details a series of prophecies, based on a dream that references a series of precognitive stories published in a series of fictional stories. It predicts some global events, and I have mentioned the following world wide events that were predicted in the following previous blog posts:

And now there is another which happened in August of this year (2019), and I just noticed it - I should have been paying attention to the news.  This concerns a mystery nuclear explosion near the Arctic, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl - see the article TWO RUSSIAN RADIATION DETECTORS WENT SILENT AFTER MYSTERY NUCLEAR-POWERED MISSILE EXPLOSION:
Monitoring stations near the site of a failed nuclear-powered missile test in northern Russia have reportedly stopped transmitting data, bolstering concerns that the Kremlin is trying to cover up evidence of the accident. ... the explosion took place at the site in Nyonoksa on August 8 during tests on a liquid propellant rocket engine... The failed test is thought to have involved the nuclear-powered cruise missile in Russian known as "Burevestnik" and in the U.S. as "Skyfall."
So what is significant about this is that the dream pointed us to a series of stories mentioned in the X-Men comics, and one of the stories concerned the explosion of a nuclear cruise missile in the Arctic. Here is the actual graphic that I included in the book:


These nuclear cruise missiles are launched by Russia against a secret base that Magneto had established in the Arctic. It takes place in Novaya Zemlya, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. The city where the nuclear accident in Russia took place was at Nyonoksa, on the coast of the White Sea. After they are launched, the missiles cause a nuclear explosion, despite the fact that Magneto attempted to stop them.

At the time of writing and publishing The X Prophecy, there had been no nuclear accident involving nuclear cruise missiles from Russia.  I wrote, "Russia confirmed its development of a nuclear cruise missile in March of 2018. They had tested a nuclear cruise missile in the Arctic known as “Skyfall” in November of 2017... A partially successful test of a nuclear cruise missile took place on Jan. 29, 2019." This timing of this nuclear accident actually fits in with the chronology of events that I had already identified, most notable is the U.S. Presidential election for 2020.

I would like to add this event as a postscript, but now it looks like I am going to have to leave that e-book untouched, so I can show what was written before the event.

Very strange indeed, and an unexpected surprise. It is one of the weirdest precognitive dreams I had interpreted. It provides a definite warning for the future, a warning against the use of low level tactical nuclear missiles.

As this nuclear cruise missile is known as "Skyfall" to NATO, and threatens to pollute our waters, I thought it fitting to include the song Skyfall with an interesting symbolic video, from the movie Skyfall: