Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand),then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. (Matt. 24:15-18)
While some have interpreted the prophecies of Daniel as referring to the desecration of the Jewish temple by Antiochus Epiphanes IV of the Seleucid Empire in 167 B.C., Jesus speaks of a future event. So the next popular interpretation is the destruction of the Jewish temple by the Romans. Again, this was an immediate, temporary fulfillment: for the Jewish nation was a symbolic example, or representation, of the Christian Church. Judaism was for the most part an external form of worship, where the rituals and ceremonies were symbolic of the spiritual Church. The corruption of worship, and the destruction of the Jewish temple, is a symbolic example of how towards the end of the age a church or religion will become corrupt, preceding a new revelation that is then given. So in the above scripture, the literal sense contains a more spiritual meaning: those who flee to the mountains are those who are in love towards the Lord, those on the housetop are those who are in love towards the neighbor, and those who are in the field are in obedience from the truth that they know. The warning here is: once you recognize that the established religion in which you were born is corrupt, do not depart from the Lord, and do not depart from a life of love and charity. The other warning is, once you are in a life of usefulness and charity towards others, beware of going backwards and just using religion for the sake of just learning truth. Those who read this scripture literally will think that the reference to the mountain, housetop and field are just metaphors or figures of speech: not so, every word has a spiritual meaning. Many who see certain falsehoods in religion will leave the Lord entirely...I have seen this many, many times. I recognized the falsehoods very early on when I had questions...and there was no one who could answer them. I knew something was wrong with what was being taught, but could not put my finger on what was the exact truth. There are many who are disenchanted with the church in this way.
THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF ANIMAL SACRIFICES
There is another reason why literalists will continue to think that the "abomination of desolation" refers to the desecration of a future Jewish temple. One is, two prophecies in Daniel mention the desecration in conjunction with animal sacrifices, which will cease:
And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. (Dan. 11:31)
And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. (Dan. 12:11)
So, some who read the previous blog posts might have noticed the reference to the animal sacrifices, and might have concluded that the abomination of desolation must refer to the desecration of a literal physical Jewish temple, or a future Jewish temple. But if Israel and Judaism was a symbolic representation of the spiritual Church, what is the spiritual meaning of animal sacrifices? I remember when I first read the Old Testament, and once I came to Leviticus, I just skipped it. All of those details just simply bored me. At that point, I jumped to the book of Revelation. I now know that there is a hidden spiritual meaning hidden behind these rituals, which were revealed in visions to Emanuel Swedenborg. But there are two obvious clues from scripture itself:
...the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?"Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?"But He was speaking of the temple of His body.Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. (John 2:18-22)
So if Jesus spoke metaphorically then, He was probably speaking metaphorically concerning the last days: He is not speaking of the desecration of the Jewish temple, He is speaking of the desecration of the worship of the Lord, specifically, concerning the nature of His human body. That the "abomination of desolation" will concern a false teaching concerning the Lord, is also shown by this passage:
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body."Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matt. 26:26-18)
This took place on the Passover, and instead of sacrificing a lamb, Jesus Himself became the sacrifice. The bread and wine are symbolic representations of His human body and blood, which in turn is a symbolic representation of Divine love and Divine truth. To prove that "bread" and "wine" are symbolic representations of love and truth is beyond the scope of this blog - but the point here is, Jesus is the sacrifice, and the other point that many miss: He made His very human body Divine, a part of the Divine nature. This is why communion is the absolute center and most holy thing of Christian worship. But if you look at the theology of Catholics and Protestants, they declare that in Christ there is a Divine nature, and also a human nature. They divide Christ into two natures. This is the abomination of desolation, this is the desecration of the spiritual temple.
I remember one person who studied the history of the Christian church found the theological debates concerning the human nature of Christ which occurred for the most part in the fifth century A.D. unimportant. But it is not unimportant, for it is important to realize that by making His human Divine, this is how Jesus saves all of humanity. To do this, He had to resist sin and temptation, which originated from all of the worst hells which attacked Him with such ferocity that no other human has ever experienced. Before the physical attack of the crucifixion, there was a very intense mental attack - thus Jesus sweated blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Thus when we make acts of repentance, turning away from evil - inasmuch as we try to remove these internal sins inside of us, so Jesus will act through us through His Holy Spirit. This is how sins are removed. There is no such thing as an "automatic transfer" of guilt to Jesus on the cross through mere belief or lip confession. There is no "covering of evil" so that when God looks upon a person He sees the righteousness of Jesus. Scripture teaches over and over again: God will judge everyone according to their works. The Protestant theology of salvation...is wrong at its very core. Its an excuse to continue in ones sins...Paul recognized this problem, and thus said:
And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"? --- as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just. (Rom. 3:8)
Unfortunately, this theology is prevalent in Protestant churches. They say, oh, forget about it, your sins are transferred, just believe and offer lip confession. Then when communion comes, they say the opposite: examine yourselves, and take care of those faults and sins. It is in communion that a remnant of the truth remains. I attended a service and this is exactly what was taught. Many, who grew up in Protestant churches, do not see the error. That is why it is important to recognize that Jesus made His human Divine. That is why His body is at the center of worship in communion. Sins are not removed until you resist and turn away from them. In Protestant churches in particular, belief alone is held to be more important than acts of repentance. At this one particular service, they even quoted Tullian Tchividjian the grandson of Billy Graham to make their point. So what. The point is false: it gives people a false sense of security concerning their salvation: for they do not examine their lives, and seek to remove those inner sins from within.
THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF ANIMAL SACRIFICES
Back to the spiritual meaning of animal sacrifices...let's look at where in scripture the "daily sacrifice" is first mentioned: it first appears in Exodus chapter 29. I won't go into all the symbolic details that are explained in more detail by Swedenborg, but I will sum it up like this: the flesh that is offered and burned symbolizes purification by removing the evils in one's lower natural body. The separation and the offering of the blood symbolizes the Divine truth received by the Holy Spirit: for when the truth is received, one then acknowledges one's sin and turns away from it through repentance. Its not an easy thing to do: and that is why it is a special offering to God when one does this of their own free will. Acts of repentance in each person is a simulation of the act that Jesus did to glorify His human and make it Divine:
From what has been said, some idea may be formed concerning the glorification of the Human of the Lord; for as the Lord glorified His Human, so He regenerates man, therefore, as has been many times already said, the regeneration of man is an image of the glorification of the Lord. Thus it is plain that the first state of His glorification was to make His Human Divine truth, and to unite it with the Divine good which was in Him; and that the second state was to act from Divine good by Divine truth. For by Divine truth proceeding from the Divine good of the Lord heaven and the church are established; and by it all who are in the church are regenerated. This it is which is described by the sacrifices and burnt offerings, and their ceremonials ordained in this chapter. (Heavenly Arcana, 10057.5)
And this is the hidden spiritual meaning behind all of those animal sacrifices. In themselves, the sacrifices did nothing. But it established a representative form of worship, and creates a symbol in the mind as to what happens in the spiritual world when one commits an act of repentance in this earthly life. It is through these symbolic representations in the mind that a link is formed with the angelic heaven, as it provides a means for spiritual communion. This type of representation has been abolished, and in its place, there is now the Eucharist or Communion.
So, it should be more clear what the "abomination of desolation" is, and it should be clear what the removal of the daily sacrifice means: it concerns a theology that divides God into three persons, and from that error, they then divide Christ into two natures, and from that error, make acts of repentance of no account, transfer sins away automatically, and put religion in its lowest most basest form, that of belief only and lip confession. Which in fact is no religion at all, for it allows one to continue in one's evil life without committing acts of repentance. This is the desecration of the spiritual temple, the spiritual crucifixion of the Lord.
So with that, in the next blog I will discuss in detail of how the Christian Church became corrupt in its theology, focusing on the controversies of the 5th century A.D.