Monday, February 20, 2012

Divine Revelations of Heaven and Hell

The philosopher Aristotle stated that although humans share a base nature with that of animals, what makes humanity different from animals is the rational mind, which can exercise control over base desires. This is what makes us distinctly human. The ability to control base desires is the subject of morality or ethics: thus morality is something distinctly human. Swedenborg goes further than this: morality, the choice between good and evil, has a spiritual origin: we are spiritual beings clothed in flesh, who stand midway between heaven and hell. Inasmuch as we live a good life, our life becomes conjoined with heaven, and inasmuch we live a selfish evil life, our lives are conjoined with spirits from hell. In fact, he went as far to say that we do not experience a single thought which is not at first spiritual in origin. We are either in heaven or hell now, we just don't know it yet. In this life we have a chance to change our destiny through repentance and spiritual growth.

The way I discovered Swedenborg was through a book called "Life After Life" by Moody, which exposed the scientific world and the modern mind to the Near Death Experience: the common experience that people have when they are declared dead, but are revived back by modern medical methods. Before Moody wrote that book, in the 18th century Swedenborg was allowed to experience death, where his breathing stopped: remarkably, his description matches the Near Death Experience: he describes the great Light at the center of heaven, which all encounter after they die, and in the presence of that Light experience a panoramic life review. God judges no one: our own conscience will judge our actions, for God has implanted the truth in each one of us.

Recently I started reading the Bible again, and came across the following passage in Jeremiah 33:3 -

Call to Me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

I put it away and almost forgot about that passage, but then I encountered a website almost at random at "Divine Revelations: face to face encounters with Jesus Christ." Its a collection of modern witnesses who were allowed to have a face to face conversation with Jesus Christ, and allowed to see visions of heaven and hell. I was surprised to find this, as Swedenborg gave one of the largest accounts of his journeys or visions of heaven and hell, which he described in a book "Heaven and Hell." I have not had time to go through this entire web site, but I was struck with the particular testimony of a young girl named Angelica Zambrano from Ecuador, who apparently died and was not breathing for a period of 23 hours before she came back and was allowed to recount her experience. Her account is very similar to things seen by Swedenborg. I recommend people to visit that site: there is also a youtube video of her testimony and that of her mother. What struck me with this one is that during a period of fasting and prayer, she focused on the following passage:

Call to Me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

This was the exact same passage I had randomly read: so I decided to pick this as my next blog subject. For her, "great and mighty things" were heaven and hell. She prayed, and God answered her. Like Swedenborg, she calls Jesus Jehovah: they are one and the same person! The web site owners probably have no idea who Swedenborg is, and how their testimony is the same. In this modern age, heaven and hell are considered by many as nothing more than superstition and myth. The reality is much different: Swedenborg states that heaven and hell exist where there is no time and space, and it exists in the spiritual world inside all of us. Did not Jesus say the kingdom of God is within us? The emotions, thoughts and feelings within us all have a particular origin: they come from the spiritual being, thus the spiritual world, which resides within us. In death, we only shed our physical bodies: our minds live on. Apparently several revelations have been taking place recently, for the modern world still refuses to acknowledge that there is the possibility that life continues after death, and it is much greater than what we experience now.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Spiritual Meaning of Numbers, or Numerology

In the visions of Emanuel Swedenborg the internal spiritual meaning of scripture was revealed to him, which he explained in multiple volumes. As part of these experiences it was shown to him the spiritual meaning behind each number. The symbolism of numbers was also explained in a book Numbers in Scripture by Bullinger, written in the 19th century. While sometimes Bullinger gets the meaning correct, in many cases he was incorrect. Swedenborg had visions over a period of 27 years, so his explanations tend to be more reliable and consistent. Number meanings are explained throughout his writings, which he always supports which examples of scripture, so I thought I would gather some of his statements in one blog entry to explain the symbolism of the most common numbers.

Speech or thought from angels of a higher order would often descend, and be represented in a series of numbers. Swedenborg acknowledged that without Divine revelation, it is hard to see the symbolism behind numbers. He stated that the symbolism of numbers "are displayed by the Lord in a clear light before the eyes of the angels, but before the eyes of men, especially of someone who does not believe that numbers in the Word have any meaning at all hidden within them, they cannot be disclosed, not only because of lack of belief but also because so many things contained in those numbers cannot be arranged into a sequence of ideas within man's mental grasp." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 3306) The meaning of numbers were known to the ancients from a heavenly perception they had, but this knowledge was lost, and only the meaning of simple numbers were preserved. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6175)

In the spiritual meaning behind scripture, words are related to two basic concepts: the thought or the will, or in other words, truth and good. Even numbers and their multiples correspond to good, while odd numbers and their multiples correspond to truth (Spiritual Diary, n. 5571, Heavenly Arcana, n. 10624). However the meaning of a number, especially for higher numbers, is not easy. The meanings of composite numbers, are derived from the simple numbers from which they were composed (Heavenly Arcana, n. 5291, Apocalypse Explained, n. 430.2, 532.6). Thus a hundred or a thousand has a similar meaning to the number 10. The meaning of large prime numbers can be derived by adding two smaller numbers together. Depending on context, a number can take on the opposite meaning. Another concept is that the meaning of numbers can be determined or slightly altered by a number that precedes it, as the preceding number determines the context (Heaven and Hell, n. 263).

ONE (1) symbolizes the One God, and the truth that God is one. As one is the first, it refers to the first stage of spiritual development, which is receiving and acknowledging the truth. Thus on the first day of creation, there was light (truth).

TWO (2) symbolizes union, and thus represents what is good. Two is also the symbol of marriage between good and truth (Heavenly Arcana, n. 720). In the opposite sense, it can signify spiritual combat.

THREE (3) symbolizes what is full and complete, from beginning to end. (Apocalypse Explained, n. 532) Everything, from start to finish, has a beginning, middle, and an end, thus three signifies a full period. Three also signifies that which is holy.

FOUR (4) is similar to two, and signifies what is good and conjunction (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9103, 9767). When talking of the four quarters, it can signify all of heaven.

FIVE (5) symbolizes few or little, or that which remains. It can also signify the remnant Church, where truth resides among a few where truth has been falsified among many. This meaning is derived from 10, 100 or a 1000 which signifies many. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 5291.2) The meaning of this number is not well known as it is related to a hidden secret concerning our spiritual development that was revealed to Swedenborg: "remains" are hidden truths and good stored in the inner being of our soul, which later become manifest when one is spiritually reformed later: they come into use to combat sin and temptation.

SIX (6) symbolizes spiritual combat (Heavenly Arcana, n. 730, 1963) - similar to one sense for the number 2 (Heavenly Arcana, n. 720)

SEVEN (7) is a symbol of that which is holy, and similar to the number 3 signifies that which is complete. Thus the number 7 appears often in the rituals among the Hebrews. Most people can see the meaning of this number from reading the Bible.

EIGHT (8) is similar to 2 and 4, and signifies good in every way. As it follows 7, it signifies a new beginning (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9659).

NINE (9) signifies spiritual conjunction by means of truth (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2075).

TEN (10) as a multiple of 5 symbolizes remains, the remnants of good and truth hidden with us (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1963).

TWELVE (12) symbolizes all things and all people, and is predicated of truths from good as it is 3 x 4 (Heavenly Arcana, n. 5291.2, Apocalypse Explained, n. 430). That it signifies "all people," or all those of the Lord's heavenly kingdom, can be seen from the 12 tribes of Israel, the 12 disciples, and the 144,000 who are sealed in the book of Revelation. Swedenborg stated that "each tribe signifies some universal or essential of the church, in which those are who are of the church. Moreover, the universal of each has relation to truths from good, and truths are manifold; for all who are in the heavens differ from each other in respect to good, and thence also in respect to truth." Although not stated by Swedenborg, this may apply to 12 basic personalities defined by the 12 signs of the zodiac.

SEVENTEEN (17) symbolizes a beginning, or that which is new. 17 is 10 + 7, and 10 signifies remains (similar to the number 5), and 7 that which is holy. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 4670)

FORTY (40) symbolizes a period of temptation, which can be derived from the fact that in the flood of Noah it rained 40 days and nights, Jesus was tempted for 40 days, and the Israelis wandered 40 years in the wilderness (Heavenly Arcana, n. 730).

FORTY-TWO (42) symbolizes the duration of combat against temptation, as it is 6 x 7 - six a symbol of combat and seven a new beginning (Heavenly Arcana, n. 730).

EIGHTY (80) - as a multiple of 40, this number symbolizes temptations (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1963, 4617)

That's all I have for now - there are actually quite a few more entries on numbers, which is a bit hard to summarize as in many cases the meaning of the number is determined by context. There is an earlier blog that I devoted to the number 13. Hopefully people can see that Swedenborg's explanation of the Bible is quite detailed, and often extends into other subjects. Its almost like studying another language, but in this case more universal and spiritual. Its a bit harder than programming, where all one needs to know is that 0 is false and 1 is true - if only understanding the heavenly symbolism was that simple.


I covered the symbolism of the most simple numbers.  The meaning of a number can actually change according to the context - of what precedes, and what comes after.  Swedenborg was once shown a vision where the ancients could communicate purely by a series of numbers - higher numbers being even more detailed than the simple ones.  Much of the symbolism seen in Swedenborg's visions comes from his massive work, Heavenly Arcana (20 volumes in one) - meaning "Heavenly Secrets" - available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble:

Another useful work is Apocalypse Revealed and Explained (9 volumes in one):

Both of these are also part of the hyperlinked works of Emanuel Swedenborg, The Divine Revelation of the New Jerusalem: Expanded Edition:

There is much information here - it would take a lifetime to absorb it all. Numerology was just one topic covered by Swedenborg, it was just one part of the spiritual symbolism he had uncovered during the 27 years he had waking heavenly visions.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ronsard on Nostradamus: and a Note on Translation

Throughout his life Nostradamus had experienced visions of the future, and kept them private, but according to his son Cesar it was the approaching wars of religion of France which prompted him to start publishing his prophecies for the public. He foresaw that Christianity, and the nation of France, would be divided down the middle between the Catholic Church and Protestantism. And what he foresaw came true: after he published his prophecies the Wars of Religion in France started in 1562 and would not be concluded until about 1594 when Henry of Navarre became King of France, long after his death in 1566. Before he was crowned king, he converted from the Protestant religion to Catholicism. This helped end the war, for afterwards he issues the Edict of Nantes which gave toleration for French Protestants (known as Huguenots.) Further down the road, Nostradamus wrote that the Protestant movement would become further divided into multiple sects, which indeed did come true. Long before him the Protestant reformation was predicted by Hildegard of Bingen, who lived in the 12th century A.D.

As early as 1560 the French poet Ronsard recognized the validity of the prophecies of Nostradamus. Pierre de Ronsard is regarded as one of the greatest of poets from France, and became known as the "prince of poets." Ronsard lamented how French families and French society had become divided due to religion. Although he recognized that the Catholic Church had abused its power, he regarded the Protestant religion as a heresy and did not regard it as a solution to the problem. A few of his poems actually concern Nostradamus. Here is one entitled, "To France after the Disaster of Saint-Quentin" as translated by Edgar Leoni. It was written in after it became known that Nostradamus successfully predicted the Battle of Saint Quentin in the year 1557:

Thou mockest also the prophets that God chooses amongst thy children, and places in the midst of they bosom, in order to predict to thee thy future misfortune.
But thou dost laugh at them.
Perhaps its the immense eternity of the great God that has aroused the fervor of Nostradamus.
Or perhaps a good or bad demon kindles it.
Or perhaps his spirit is moved by nature, and climbs to the heavens, beyond mortals, and from there repeats to us prodigious facts.
Or perhaps his somber and melancholy spirit is filled with crass humors, making him fanciful.
In brief, he is what he is; so it is that always with the doubtful words of his prophetic voice, like that of an ancient oracle, he has for many a year predicted the greater part of our destiny. I would not have believed him, had not Heaven, which assigns good and evil to mankind, been his inspiration.

Here we see very early on there was question as to the source of the prophecies: was it from astrology? Did he inherit this ability? Was it from consulting a daemon spirit? Or were the prophecies from a divine origin? Ronsard believes that latter: knowledge of the future belongs to God only. This question is asked by many to this very day.

Peter Lemesurier gives a more free poetic translation of this poem by Ronsard:

Be it Great God beyond all space and time
Roused Nostradamus' rapture into rhyme;
Be he by daemon good or evil stirred,
Or gifted with a soul that like some bird
Sours up to heavens no mortal man may know
To bring back auguries for us below;
Be his mind so gloomy, dark and dim,
Crammed with gross humours, as to cozen him -
Whate'er he is, he is: yet none the less
Through the vague portents that his words express
Like some old oracle he has foretold
For many a year what fate for us shall hold.
I'd doubt him, did not heaven, that disburses
Both good and ill to men, inform his verses.

While this is much more poetic in English, unfortunately Lemesurier uses the same method when translating some of the prophecies of Nostradamus, and some meaning is lost in translation. For example, omitted in the second translation is the point that Nostradamus was mocked by many critics before his prophecies began to be fulfilled. The word "melancholy" was considered an attribute of those who could prophesy, and that word is also lost in translation. When it comes to the prophecies, it is much more important to form a literal translation in order to come closer to the meaning of the prophecy. Otherwise a mistranslation can lead to a misinterpreted prophecy. And sometimes the prophecies of Nostradamus are intentionally mistranslated in order to make the prophecy "fit" the event after it had occurred - such occurred when a prophecy on the internet floated around after the attack of September 11, 2001. Which was an unfortunate distraction, because he did foresee that event as well.

The Prophecies of Nostradamus - Decoded for the first time

For those who have been following this blog, you may have noted that I took a long break from it. This is because I focused my effort to finish my research on the prophecies of Nostradamus. I have completed a manuscript - almost 800 pages - where the majority of the prophecies have been interpreted. Not only that, but the prophecies have been decoded for the very first time. Back in the early nineties I discovered that Nostradamus used a coding system for his prophecies, which I partially shared with another author on the prophecies of Nostradamus - Dolores Cannon. It was through her that I was invited to be a subject matter expert and a guest on the CBS documentary Mysteries of the Ancient World, which aired on national television in 1994. I shared with the producers of the film a part of how the system worked, but due to the shortness of time it could not be fit into the documentary. Using this coding system, many more of the quatrains can be deciphered, and put in chronological order. Another item I shared was the interpretation of quatrain 10:72 which has a date of 1999 in it. Back then I stated that it was predicting another war would start in Yugoslavia. As in the early 90s there was a ware of genocide in Bosnia, this sort of interpretation was deemed somewhat politically inappropriate. Sure enough, the War in Kosovo began in 1998, and ended in 1999 after an aerial war campaign was begun against Serbia by America and its NATO allies.

Since then, I have been working on and off to complete the decoding of the prophecies. Initially, I was not sure if I was on the right track. Several other authors have claimed to have found a hidden coding system, but apply it to only a few select quatrains. Not so this time. The manuscript I have completed applies the decoding across all of the prophecies of Nostradamus. This was an enormous task. The first step was to accurately translate the prophecies of Nostradamus into English, and that was not easy - he uses French, Latin, Greek, as well as anagrams and symbols in his quatrains. The next step was to find as many correct interpretations of the prophecies as possible. In many cases that was not enough, and I had to dive into original historical records to determine past fulfillments of certain quatrains. This resulted in certain unknown and obscure quatrains to be interpreted for the very first time. With that foundation, I also started to apply the decoding system to the quatrains: and amazingly, it has worked quite well. Many older interpretations have been confirmed, but the beauty of the decoding system is that previous quatrains that were unclear or misinterpreted have been clearly deciphered for the first time. As my goal was "all or nothing," this took an enormous amount of time. So my presence online on the internet has been almost next to nothing, except to do research while writing my book.

The good news is that it is now complete - at least a first draft of it - and I have found a literary agent who is presenting the book proposal to different publishers. A book was the only way I could present it - if I blogged about it, the work would not have been finished by now. As the decoding system works across the corpus of almost a 1000 quatrains, its a bit hard to present in blog format. I set an early goal that I would get this done by 2012, so I am a bit late to get this published this year, but now let us wait and see.

Nostradamus lived from 1503 to 1566, and he predicted that 500 years after his time new light would be shed upon his prophecies in quatrain 3:94, which translated reads as follows:

For five hundred years more one will take account
Of him who was the ornament of his time:
Then suddenly one will give great clear light
So that for this century he will render them very satisfied.