Sunday, March 31, 2013

Reflections on Easter

Today was Easter Sunday, the day that Jesus rose from the dead, and thereby the Lord saved the human race. How so? Our physical mind and body is linked to the spiritual world, and communication between heaven and earth is effected by angels and spirits. Good thoughts and deeds originate from heaven, while evil thoughts and deeds originate from hell. Man, unlike animals, has a spiritual morality. But in the time of Jesus, this spiritual connection was threatened, as the power of hell had begun to rule over men of the world, and even the angels of the lower heaven. That even the angels of the lower heaven began to lose their integrity, is shown when Jesus said:

Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."
And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (Luke 10:17-18)

Jesus was not describing some fall of Satan before Adam, but rather what was happening then: for the Divine was in Jesus, and His Holy Spirit began to have an influence on those around Him. Hell was attacking back in whatever way it could: if it could not defeat Jesus, it would attack whoever was around Him. Thus there are numerous accounts of demoniacs. But on the subject of hell and demonology, that is for another day. It is a bit of a dark and negative subject, and those who have faced this evil directly would rather forget they ever did.

The way that Jesus saved humanity was that the Divine became incarnate in a human body, which body had inherited a sinful nature through the human mother Mary. It is through this imperfect and frail body that hell was able to attack Jesus through very grievous temptations, the like of which no human ever experienced. Jesus overcame these temptations, and with each victory, came closer in union with God. For as each person resists temptation from hell, and lives according to God's commandments, he or she will live in closer conjunction with God. But in Jesus, this spiritual progression developed rapidly, to the point of perfection: He was obedient to the death, and achieved perfect union with God. And as His inner soul was Jehovah, when He rose from the dead, He rose in a Divine human body that was derived from His inner soul: when He rose, His human was Divine. This is an essential doctrine of the New Church, for from His body flowed the Holy Spirit, by which Jesus can operate in each and every person who resists temptation. It is in this manner Jesus saved humanity.

I say this again, because in Easter service, rarely does a minister explain HOW Jesus saved humanity. Why? Because the theology of the Catholic and Protestant churches are a corrupted form of original Christianity, and if examined rationally, it does not make sense. It is based on a theology of three persons, where Jesus died to take the wrath of an angry God, and the penalty for our sins are transferred to Jesus. And all we have to do is believe it and confess. But this is false. There is no trinity of persons here, God is not wrathful, no sins were transferred from us to the cross, and one is not justified by mere belief or lip confession. In the revealed theology of the New Church, it was God Himself who descended to take upon a human form to save us, and He did this out of love. The human that was born in time is the Son of God, there was no "Son born from eternity" as the Nicene Creed would have you believe. The process of the death and resurrection is experienced by every Christian who goes through the spiritual process of repentance, reformation and regeneration. By resisting temptation, our old sinful life dies in the grave, and we are renewed in a new spiritual life when we live by God's commandments. But if one does not repent, the resurrection has no effect, as there is no conjunction between you and God.

There is no such thing as a trinity of three persons: instead there is a trine of the Divine, the Divine Human, and the proceeding Divine in the Holy Spirit. All in one person, Jesus Christ.

Some, who insist on holding onto their tritheism of three persons, may question this and say, did not the Father, or God, raise Jesus?  Which scripture does say, especially in the letters of the apostles.  So the argument goes, since the Father raised Jesus, there are at least 2 persons here. Surely, Jesus did not raise Himself, right?

Wrong:

For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:26)


Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father. (John 10:17-18)

Yes, Jesus DID raise Himself. Because He is one and the same person as the Father. The reason why He calls God His Father is that His human form was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and in Jesus man became God, and conversely, God became man.

Much of the Gospels are historical in nature, but even the smallest details of those events have a spiritual significance. The rejection of Jesus by the Jews symbolize how the Jewish church had rejected Jehovah and His Word. The resurrection signifies that a new Church would be born under the form of Christianity. Whenever one rejects Jesus, they crucify Him in their heart.  Swedenborg describes the spiritual significance of some of these details, but I would like to concentrate on one: why was it, that Jesus was crucified with a thief on his right, and a thief on his left? Is there any spiritual significance to that? Why three crosses, and not just one?

In one sense, the two thieves represent those who were judged in the spiritual world after the death of Jesus: for to one of them Jesus says that he will be with Him in Paradise. The other represents those who were judged and were sent to hell. But there is another spiritual meaning to a "thief" - it represents a falsehood that takes away from one's spiritual development. Jesus Himself discussed the spiritual significance of a thief:


Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. (John 10:1-2)



Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:7-9)

And what does this mean? It can mean only one thing: those who promote the idea of a tritheism of three persons in God, are thieves and robbers, for they tell us that we can bypass Jesus by praying to another person known as "Father". Anyone who believes that God is in three persons, and does not pray to Jesus directly, crucify Him in their heart. If anyone can see that this is a falsehood, that the FATHER'S NAME IS JESUS CHRIST...then Jesus can rise from the dead in your own heart.  Here and now.



Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Spiritual Meaning of the Seven Last Sayings of Jesus


I attended a Good Friday service last night, which commemorates the death of Jesus on the cross.  In this kind of service we are reminded of how we have crucified and rejected Jesus in our own hearts - for when we deny God, when we falsify the Word to justify ourselves, and when we do not acknowledge and turn away from our sins, we reject and crucify Jesus.  To simulate the darkness that descended upon earth during midday on the crucifixion scene, one of seven candles would be put out and the church was progressively darkened.  It was quiet and meditative, a chance for inner reflection. It was calming to the soul.

Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still (Ps. 4:4)
Be still, and know that I am God (Ps. 46:10)

I noted that although a lot of effort went into the ritual...the church was nearly empty.  With the internet and computers, and the constant desire for entertainment...such a service is looked upon as boring.  But I found it was not,  sometimes we need to step away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and reflect a bit in silence.  Never mind the fact that Jesus was probably crucified on a Wednesday, to stay in the tomb during the Sabbath days of the Passover for three days and nights: it is the symbolic ritual which is important.  In every detail of the Gospels, there is some spiritual significance, even in the manner Jesus was rejected and crucified.  I am reminded of the fact that just as the Jews corrupted the Word where they ultimately denied Jesus, so the Christian Church has corrupted the Word where there is hardly any truth left in it: for Jesus is crucified when a trinity of three persons are acknowledged in place of Jehovah in human form; He is rejected when it is taught that it is no longer necessary to reform one's life and live according to the 10 commandments.  So indeed, there is a spiritual darkness in most of this world.

The "Sayings of Jesus on the Cross" or the "Seven Last Words from the Cross" - are often reflected upon in Christian meditation.  There are seven last recorded sayings, and seven is the number of holy perfection. None of the Gospels record all seven last sayings: three are recorded in Luke, three in John, and one in both Matthew and Mark.  The exact order is not known, but here is the traditional order.  However, one of them I suspect is out of order, which I have highlighted, and the reasons why I think it is out of order will become apparent:


Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do (Luke 23:34)
Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)
Woman, behold your son. Behold your mother (John 19:26-27)
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34)
I am thirsty (John 19:28)
It is finished (John 19:30)
Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46)

The actual order of the sayings is probably this:

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do (Luke 23:34)
Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)
Woman, behold your son. Behold your mother (John 19:26-27)
I am thirsty (John 19:28)
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34)
It is finished (John 19:30)
Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46)

I have exchanged the phrase My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? with I am thirsty because after these statements are made someone grabs a sponge fills it with sour wine and puts it to his mouth.  So why did I initially do this? Earlier, I had done a blog on the spiritual meaning of the beatitudes, and noted that there are seven main sayings of the beatitudes which Jesus spoke on the sermon of the mount.  So, let us combine the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross with the seven first sayings of the beatitudes.  We now come up with an interesting ritual that can be performed on Good Friday, where the minister can utter one of the last sayings of Jesus, and the congregation can respond with each of the seven beatitudes:

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do (Luke 23:34)
Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:3)

Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. (Matt. 5:4)

Woman, behold your son. Behold your mother (John 19:26-27)
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. (Matt. 5:5)

I am thirsty (John 19:28)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. (Matt. 5:6)

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34)
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. (Matt. 5:7)

It is finished (John 19:30)
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (Matt. 5:8)

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46)
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. (Matt. 5:9)

After the seven sayings on the cross, it ends with the death of Jesus.  But among the four Gospels there is one last saying after this, this time by the Roman centurion:

Certainly this was a righteous Man! (Luke 23:47)

And the beatitudes conclude with this:

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matt. 5:10-12)

Note how perfectly the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross correspond with the beatitudes. There is an outcry of despair and sadness, followed by a declaration of hope and promise. As Jesus was persecuted and rejected, so will those who follow Him be rejected. I think we may have uncovered their intended order, and it makes for a good symbolic ritual on Good Friday, or a ritual preceding Easter Sunday.  Actually I had just noticed this when writing this blog, so this is quite surprising to myself.  So lets summarize the seven sayings, and the seven responses of the beatitudes, followed by the eighth concluding statement:
1. FORGIVENESS.  Jesus forgives, because many did not know what they are doing. All should be judged according to the truth that they know.  The first step is to acknowledge one's sins and ask for forgiveness. But in the beatitude declares those who are "poor in spirit" shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Earlier, I explained how "poor in spirit" meant those who were spiritually lacking in knowledge, and knew it.
2. DELIVERANCE FROM TEMPTATION.  One thief tells Jesus, "Remember me when you enter into your kingdom," which follows nicely after the first beatitude. This thief had hope and faith in the very worst of circumstances. Jesus tells him that today he shall be with Him in Paradise. The significance of the two thieves is they represent the last judgment that occurred in the spiritual world upon the death of Jesus: people were divided, and judged: some went to heaven, others went to hell. This is the meaning of the good and bad thief.  In temptation, the good battles with the evil. When one overcomes, he or she becomes conjoined with heaven while here on earth. As Jesus comforted the thief, so the second beatitude declares that those who mourn shall be comforted.
3. WORKS OF CHARITY ESTABLISH THE CHURCH. When one overcomes temptation, one will begin to bear the fruits of charity, of love towards others. Theologians miss the significance of the meaning of where Jesus entrusted Mary into John's care. Swedenborg states that John represents the good works of charity, thus he is the most loved of all the apostles by Jesus. Mary represents the church, and Jesus here declares that the church will be with those who are in the good works of charity. Thus the third beatitude states that the meek shall inherit the earth. The earth represents the church. Even in ancient times, everyone called earth their mother: earth and mother are symbols of the church.
4. TRUTH SHALL ESTABLISH THE CHURCH. Again, theologians miss the spiritual meaning of being "thirsty".  To be in thirst is to be lacking in faith and truth: for Jesus to state that He was thirsty meant that there was no longer any truth in the Jewish church. The correspondence between the saying of Jesus and the fourth beatitude is obvious.
5. GOD'S MERCY ON HUMANITY.  Even in times when we think God has forsaken us, this is only an appearance, for His love and mercy extend to all of us who accept it, in the same manner we have done to others. For if there is love in your heart, God will extend His love to you.
6. GOD'S JUDGMENT ON OUR LIFE.  "It is finished" - means that the life of Jesus was complete, He had accomplished His mission. Likewise, very soon our lives will be finished. But immediate after death, we will enter into a life review with God. It is important to be "pure in heart" - that is, to have good intentions with what we say and do. Our intentions, our goals, govern the purpose of our life.
7. UNION AND CONJUNCTION WITH GOD. To those who overcome, they will enter into a union with God, a personal relationship where He lives in our heart, where we will live and grow in happiness to eternity.  Jesus says, "Into your hands I commit my spirit".  The seventh beatitude states that the peacemakers shall be called "sons of God."  What a perfect correspondence: for after Jesus' death on the cross, the Divine became united with His humanity, and He rose from the dead in a glorified body, the Divine Human - this Divine Human is known in scripture as the Son of God.
SOME FINAL NOTES FROM THE PSALMS

I want to note here that this is just the beginning...some of the sayings on the cross can be traced to the Psalms, and knowing this opens the door of interpretation to the Psalms, for internally they point to the Lord.  Here are the seven sayings of Jesus again, this time referencing where they come from in the Psalms:

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do (Luke 23:34)
Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)
Woman, behold your son. Behold your mother (John 19:26-27)
I am thirsty (John 19:28)
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (PSALMS 22:1)
It is finished (John 19:30)
Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (PSALMS 31:5)

That is two of the seven sayings. I was curious, can we trace the other sayings on the cross to other Psalms? I first looked at the fourth statement, "I am thirsty", and found this one:

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, " Where is your God?" (Psalms 42:1-3)

Which is interesting. While most think Jesus was saying He was thirsty, spiritually He may have been referencing this Psalm which fits in well with the crucifixion. But later in the same Psalm it says this:

I will say to God my Rock, Why have You forgotten me? (Psalm 42:9)

Note how this corresponds to the fifth saying of Jesus, AFTER he says "I am thirsty."  This is another indication that the fourth and fifth sayings are mixed up in the traditional order.

So what about "It is finished"?  I found this:

For we have been consumed by Your anger, And by Your wrath we are terrified.
You have set our iniquities before You, Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.
For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; We finish our years like a sigh. (Psalm 90:7-9)

Again fits in well, the Psalm of Moses which speaks of our short lives and our death. After death, each one of us will encounter the light of God, and our sins will be laid bare in the life review. So good to address and review our sins now. Don't wait until its too late. This corresponds with the sixth beatitude, which promises we shall see God. The Psalm concludes:

Let Your work appear to Your servants, And Your glory to their children.
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us (Psalm 90:16-17)

So four of the seven sayings of the cross can be traced to the Psalms.  What about the first three?  At first, they don't seem to be quotes from the Psalms, as they look like spontaneous sayings.  But maybe nothing was spontaneous, but had a hidden intended meaning. I looked and found nothing, until I took a closer look at Psalm 86. Compare sayings out of this Psalm with the first three sayings of the cross:

Bow down Your ear, O LORD, hear me; For I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am holy; You are my God; Save Your servant who trusts in You! (Psalm 86:1-2)

At first this seems to have nothing to do with the first statement of the cross. But it does correspond with the first beatitude, which says "blessed are the poor in spirit". The second saying of the cross is this:

Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise 

Compare that with this verse from the Psalm:

For great is Your mercy toward me, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of hell. (Psalm 86:13)

The third saying of the cross is this:

Woman, behold your son. Behold your mother

Compare with this verse from the same Psalm:

Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me! Give Your strength to Your servant, And save the son of Your maidservant. (Psalm 86:16)

In this case, instead of saying this as a prayer for Himself, He says it as a prayer for John and Mary, and by extension, the church of those who follow Him. Why did He do this? For by making His human Divine, Mary was no longer His mother. Thus He refers to her as "woman".  From that day, Mary became the mother of John, and John became Mary's son. Jesus did not say this just to Mary and John, His prayer is for the preservation of love in His church. Did not John take care of Mary? Should we not make an effort to preserve the true Church? For what happened then, is true now: for there is no time with God, these events describe what we should do in our own lives.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Tritheism of Christianity

The main revelation shown to Swedenborg in his visions was that God is one in person in Jesus Christ, in whom there is a trinity of soul, body, and spirit. When God became incarnate, this became the Holy Trinity.  The true Trinity is an emanation of the Divine: the Divine itself, the Divine Human, and the proceeding Divine Spirit.

This statement is opposed by traditional Christians, who follow a tritheism of three persons in the Godhood.  They will typically (and incorrectly) classify it as "Modalism" - which is something completely different (God appearing in different modes at different times).  Nevertheless, I try to open their minds up by sometimes having online conversations with them.

The problem here is they have been taught this from childhood, and it is a foundational belief, although it was decided in a church council.  For the Nicene Creed not only declared that there were three persons, but also invented the doctrine of a "Son born from eternity".  This is a fiction: there was no Son born from eternity.  There was the Son of God born in time to the virgin Mary.  Before Jesus was conceived, there was no Father-Son relationship. Thus there is no mention of the Trinity or the Father-Son relationship until Jesus was conceived. Before that, you had God and His Word.

One point that is an issue: it is true that Jesus does pray to the Father.  But what is not understood is that when Jehovah became incarnate as a human, He became human like us in every way.  Moreover, He inherited a human body from Mary which He gradually had to shed off, as He could be tempted to do evil through that human body. In other words, He was born in a state of humility, in a state where He could be tempted. It is in this limited finite human state that He prays to the Father as a separate person. This is because He had to grow like any other person, until He united His human with the Divine, transforming it into a Divine Human.  Thus people who read the Gospels often confuse states of being with two different beings. In His state of humility, where He prays to the Father, He was in a state of "exinanation", where He is lower than the Divine.  In His state of Divinity, He was in a state of "glorification", at one with the Divine, where He declares Himself one with the Father.  Those who believe in a trinity of three beings do not understand this, and misinterpret the Gospels in order to support the Nicene Creed.

The apostle Paul describes how Jesus "lowered" Himself, taking on the "form of a servant" (a state of humility where He prays to the Father) yet made Himself "equal with God" (a state of oneness with the Divine):
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:5-11)
And when Jesus does achieve a complete state of union with the Divine, He declares that all power has been given to Him on heaven on earth. So it is clear who He truly is: He is the God of this universe.

So, when discussing this with those who believe in a trinity of three persons, who cannot explain how God is "one", they do not understand the progression Jesus had to make growing spiritually as a human, and they do not know of these two states of being.  The typical defense they make, is oh, look at the baptism, you have the voice of the Father, and the Holy Spirit descending like a dove upon Jesus.  They do not understand this was a vision: for no one would claim that the Holy Spirit is actually the bird of a dove! It means at this point in time Jesus had resisted sin and temptation to the point where the Holy Spirit began to flow through His body where He could then start performing miracles. For He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit was with Him at birth.

So that's the first argument they make. The second common one is: after He ascended to heaven, He sat at the right hand of God. Again, they are taking a figure of speech and taking it literally.  For "right hand" indicates the highest place of honor.  What is said here?  His Human was made Divine, a Divine Human, in which the Father resides. No one can see the Father, but we know Him through Jesus. It is the Human form which was made Divine upon the resurrection, thus He is at the "right hand" of the Father.

But in the conversation, the distortions of scripture begin to get rather ridiculous.  Its almost like having a conversation with someone who is taking their nails and scratching a chalkboard.  Some go so far as to declare that God has "three wills".  It is tritheism pure and simple, though they say with the mouth one God, in fact they worship three. Modern Christianity, for the most part, has been adulterated from its original form, where nothing of the original church remains.

But, I found one argument interesting.  What about this one, where Jesus prays to the Father to send the Holy Spirit?  So that would mean the Father is a separate person, right?  Here is the verse quoted to me:
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever --- the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:16-18)
Actually, they quoted the first verse, where the argument is the Father is another person who sends the Holy Spirit.  But if the Holy Spirit is a separate person, then why does Jesus say "I will come to you"?  I missed that point, but it shows we are talking about different manifestations of one person: the spirit emanates from the soul or being (the Father) through the body (the Son).  Moreover, in the exact same discourse, Jesus says this:
Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. (John 16:7)
So the argument is completely turned: if anyone accepts that the Father sends the Holy Spirit, and then later Jesus says that He Himself sends the Holy Spirit, we are talking about one person here: Jesus and the Father are one in person.

Why is this important?  Because those who follow a trinity of three persons pray to one and ignore the other. The person who is ignored is Jesus Christ, as they pray to a supposed separate being, the Father.  But what they do not know, is that in the Lord's prayer, we say, "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name".  What is the Father's name?  Jesus Christ.  So when you pray, pray to Jesus. You might find interesting things will begin to happen in your spiritual life, for then Jesus will hear those who address Him directly. When I realized this, I realize what I had done: for anyone who worships a trinity of three persons is not acknowledging Jesus in their prayers, they do not acknowledge who He truly is.  Its as if we are crucifying Him, with two other persons on either side standing as thieves.

Maybe I am repeating this over and over in this blog, but it bears repeating, as there is such a false doctrine that rules and darkens the hearts of many.  Whenever I hear someone defending this trinity of three persons, it reminds me of this scene (pay attention to the math, it explains everything in detail):




Monday, March 25, 2013

The Spiritual Meaning of Passover

As Passover is approaching, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the spiritual meaning of this Jewish ritual.  For the Jews, Passover is celebrated in remembrance of the day God delivered them from slavery in Egypt, when the angel of death "passed over" their houses, and instead struck the firstborn child of every Egyptian family.  For Christianity, Passover is a ritual that was fulfilled on the day that Jesus was crucified, for  He was crucified on the Passover. Thus Paul writes:

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor. 5:7-8)
It was part of the ritual of Passover to eat unleavened bread. In Christianity, this is recognized as symbolic of good that has been purified from evil.

However, the symbolism does not end there.  Swedenborg interpreted the entire book of Exodus, and he reveals that after Passover, Jesus did something between the time He died and the time He rose from the dead - He descended into hell, and released from captivity many spirits who were caught in an area between  heaven and hell known as the "world of spirits".  Jesus first had to conquer all sin and temptation in His body until it was completely purified, and made Divine.  Afterwards, He was able to reorder heaven and hell, and many souls that were trapped until that day went through a final judgment: the good were delivered into heaven, and the evil spirits which infested those who were awaiting judgment were cast into hell.  This is how the New Church of Christianity considers how Jesus saved humanity - whereas Catholics and Protestants follow a different theology under the theory of "vicarious atonement" - where Jesus had to suffer from God's wrath for us.  Nothing could be further from the truth - for God is love, He never gets angry or wrathful, and it was God Himself who descended to become incarnate and save humanity (evil in itself carries with it its own punishment, that is a law of order). This is the meaning of the event of the Exodus, where the Jews passed through the parting of the Red Sea - representing the lower hell, and eventually came to the land of Canaan, which represents heaven.  Everything in the Bible, even the historical events, has a hidden spiritual meaning to it.

This descent of Jesus into the world of spirits and hell after the crucifixion is described very briefly by the apostle Peter:

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison (1 Peter 3:18-19)
The deliverance of these spirits trapped midway between heaven and hell is also described very briefly by Matthew:

Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. (Matt. 27:51-53)
By going in the "holy city" means they were delivered into the holy city of heaven (not Jerusalem), and by "appearing to many" means that people saw this happen when their vision was opened to see the events in the spiritual realm. It is such a brief passage in scripture, so brief, that hardly anyone notices this, and few consider what happened in the spiritual realm between the death and resurrection of Jesus. About a couple of centuries later or so, the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus was written to describe Jesus' descent into hell. But other than Swedenborg - who described this event but did not witness it - there is the remarkable account of the visions of Catherine Anne Emmerich, a Catholic nun of the 19th century who witnesses the dramatic judgment upon hell between the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Mel Gibson's Passion of Christ is partly based on Emmerich's account, and to tell you the truth I was highly disappointed with that movie, which skipped over these major events. I have not seen one single good movie on Jesus...I guess it is a very hard subject to present.

THE SYMBOLISM OF THE PASSOVER

So, what I have said thus far concerning the spiritual meaning of the Passover is well known among Christian churches, although few discuss the events that took place in the spiritual world at that time.  As with everything in the Bible, Swedenborg goes into much more detail in describing the symbolism of the Jewish Passover. Its described in detail in Exodus chapter 12:

On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. (Ex. 12:3-5).
So the first question to ask, if the Passover is on the 14th day of the first month, why this commandment to find a lamb on the 10th of the month?  Most will probably say "who cares?"  or, "this ritual is irrelevant, or that day was chosen at random." Not so. Whereas most ignore the details of scripture (many Christians ignore the Old Testament entirely), there is something spiritually significant in every detail. And the only person I know to have discussed these details is Emanuel Swedenborg.  Probably most people never ask these questions as the answer is hard to find, and even asking the question is likely to give one a headache and one will move on...Jews just likely follow these traditions because they grew up in it, and don't even ask any more what they mean, just considering it part of their heritage. 


Let us go through the 12th chapter of Exodus, and examine the spiritual meaning of scripture as revealed in the visions of Swedenborg, line by line.  I cannot cover nearly all the details that Swedenborg covers, as he shows the spiritual meaning by examining numerous other scriptures, so I will summarize the spiritual meaning hidden behind the Passover ritual:
This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.
Periods of time: days, months and years - spiritually mean "states".  There is no time in heaven, there are only changes of state.  It it declared to be the first month as it is the first state of spirituality: the state when a person is liberated from the power of hell, liberated from death.
Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: 
The "congregation of Israel" is not the Jewish people, it is symbolic of the spiritual church. The true church are those people who repent, to deliver themselves from hell.
On the tenth of this month 
And here is where we get into some spiritual numerology. Not modern day speculative new age numerology, I am talking about the symbolism of numbers in scripture.  E. W. Bullinger once wrote a book on this called Number in Scripture, trying to determine the symbolism of the numbers...and largely failed. However I found the book highly interesting, although it was incomplete. Swedenborg is much more comprehensive in his explanation of spiritual numerology, but you have to dig and search for the explanation of each number as its scattered throughout his writings. And the other interesting point: the meaning of a number can at times change according to context. So it is not always that simple.

It is on the symbolism of the number 10 Swedenborg explains something interesting about the human psyche, which in modern times is known as something similar to the "subconsciousness" - an awareness of things, but buried deep in our minds. Swedenborg talks about this at length, and calls it "remains" - an inner recess of the soul where truth is stored up, kept as a means to fight against evil and temptation when it should arise, to regenerate man:
By a month is signified an entire state from its beginning to its end, thus the whole state of liberation, which is signified by the passover in the complex. From these things it is plain that by, In the tenth day of this month, is signified a state of initiation of the interiors. This state, namely, of initiation of the interiors, was from the tenth day of that month until the fourteenth day thereof, within which days the paschal lamb was to be kept up. By the paschal lamb is signified the good of innocence, which is the inmost good, thus that this inmost, with the interiors in which it is, should be meanwhile secluded and withheld from such things as defile. This state is a state of initiation of the interiors, that is, of preparation for receiving the influx of good and truth from the Lord.  (Heavenly Arcana, n. 7831).
To show that this symbolism for the number 10 (and somewhat number 5), Swedenborg shows references from multiple areas of scripture, but that is perhaps something for another blog entry. It is not something that has been explained before, as one must have a knowledge of the inner psychology of the soul. It explains the reason why there are 10 commandments.
Every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.
A lamb signifies the innocence of the interior person. One's house is one's mind, and the "house of his father" means according to the particular good of the person. Despite the sins one has committed, or one's sinful state, there is an area of the mind that is kept innocent, which was the source of the good of the person.
And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb.
This means if there is not an immediate good through which innocence can be conjoined, then the nearest immediate good will be used to reform a person. It also means, we should seek communion with others to complement our own good. It is the same with societies in heaven, where angels represent a particular good, and if not complete, they are joined with another society:
Moreover in heaven the case is this. If a society is not complete, as it should be, there are then taken elsewhere from some neighboring society as many as will fill up the form of that good, according to the necessity in each state and its changes; for the form of good varies as the state is changed. But it is further to be known that in the third or inmost heaven, which is next above the heaven where the spiritual are — for these constitute the middle or second heaven — innocence reigns, inasmuch as the Lord, Who is innocence itself, flows in immediately into that heaven (Heavenly Arcana, n. 7836).
The means of reformation and regeneration will be adapted to each person.  This inner state of innocence is what psychologists sometimes call "one's inner child."  What is learned in childhood is used later in spiritual growth in adulthood, so that childlike innocence can be transformed into true spiritual innocence.

Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. 
One is reformed by innocence undefiled by evil, a male signifies the truth derived from the innocence (males are forms of truth, females forms of love) - for it is by means of truth that one is reformed. Of the "first year" signifies a full state. Swedenborg explains this in detail:
It must be told what a full state is. A state is called full, when the good is such that there is not anything lacking for the reception of the influx of innocence. The truths of faith conjoined to the good of charity cause good to be such; for spiritual good receives its quality from the truths of faith. This is here meant by the full state which is signified by the son of a year. But the state is not full, when truths have not as yet qualified good, so as to make it capable of receiving the corresponding state of innocence. The state then first becomes a full state when from good truths are regarded; and it is then not yet full, when from truths good is regarded. In this latter state are they who are being regenerated, but in the former are they who are regenerated. The former are in truth leading to good, but the latter are in truth which is from good; or the former are in obedience to truth, but the latter in affection for doing truth (Heavenly Arcana, n. 7839).
You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.
Every animal mentioned in scripture has a spiritual meaning; in this case the sheep or lamb signifies interior innocence, a goat exterior innocence. Swedenborg explains this in more detail:
What is meant by the interior and the exterior good of innocence shall be briefly told. In every good there must be innocence that it may be good; without innocence good is as without its soul. The reason is, that the Lord by innocence flows in, and thereby vivifies the good with those who are being regenerated. The good which innocence vivifies is internal and external; internal good is with those who are called men of the internal church, and external good with those who are men of the external church. Men of the internal church are they who have qualified their good by interior truths, such as are those of the internal sense of the Word; but men of the external church are they who have qualified their good by exterior truths, such as are those of the literal sense of the Word. Men of the internal church are they who from affection for charity do good to their neighbor, but men of the external church are they who do good from obedience. Every man while he is being regenerated, first becomes a man of the external church, but afterward a man of the internal church. They who are of the internal church are in intelligence and wisdom superior to that of those who are of the external church, and are therefore also more interiorly in heaven. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 7840).

Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.
This means, from the state of preparing one's internal mind (the 10th day) to the state of holiness (the 14th day), as 14 is a multiple of 7, which signifies what is holy. The slaughter of the lamb signifies to prepare to enjoy the internal state of the good of innocence. In the evening or twilight means in a state of ignorance of the truth, for one begins in a state of darkness, of little understanding in spiritual matters. It is the beginning of a new day, beginning with darkness, and ending in full light.
And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.
"Blood" here means by the truth of the good of innocence. When scripture says "saved by the blood of the lamb", it has nothing to do with the literal blood, it means one is saved by the Divine truth. Note that at the Last Supper Jesus changed the Passover ritual, for He was the lamb, and in place of the lamb one is to have bread, and in place of blood, the wine.  And yes, event the two doorposts an the lintel of the doorway has a spiritual meaning: briefly, blood is put there to signify truth which introduces one to what is good.
Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
To eat the lamb means the enjoyment of good, at "that night" when evil has been condemned and separated - for one cannot enter into the enjoyment of good while evil and falsity are infesting.  "Roasted with fire" means from spiritual love, "with unleavened bread" means free from all falsity. With "bitter herbs" means with temptation: for one cannot be purified from evil without first going through temptation, and overcoming the temptation.

Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire --- its head with its legs and its entrails.
To eat it raw means without any love: there is no spiritual truth without its corresponding love. Nor boiled with water, means by just through the means of the truth of faith. It must be done out of love, or "roasted with fire." Without love, what one knows of God is not living. To roast it whole, from the head to the legs to its entrails, means that love must be present in one's inner intention, to one's outward actions.
You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.
"Morning" means elevation into spiritual heaven internally, after one has gone through a period of darkness and sin.  To burn the remains with fire, means that this must be done by undergoing temptations. As fire purifies the meat, so we are purified when going through the fire of temptation.
And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. 
To eat it with a belt on one's waist (or "with girded loins" in older translations) means from interior love, with "sandals on one's feet" means prepared to act even in the lowest externals: which means preparation to remove even the lowest basest sins from one's life. With "staff in your hand" means this must be done by your own power, to be done in haste means with desire to be separated from one's former evil life.
It is the LORD's Passover.
This means, liberation from hell, liberation from one's sins, can only be done by the presence of the Lord. But to be delivered from hell, you first have to know that you are there.  This involves examining one's life, examining one's intentions, one's priorities in life. And when the truth is acknowledged that we are the basest of all sinners, then temptation begins as we resist our former natural desires based on our own love of self.  And this is the meaning of the Lord's Passover: it is the deliverance of your soul so that you may enter the land of heaven.



Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Precognitive Dream concerning the Papacy


THE ORIGINAL DREAM (APRIL 2005)

I thought I would again share a precognitive dream I had concerning the Papacy. I first posted this dream on a blog in 2005, and re-posted it here in 2007 - you can see it as the very first post to this blog. Actually, it was dreams like this that caused me to start this blog, which at times I don't know where it is going. I have had time to interpret the dream retrospectively now, so here it is again. Back then I knew it was important, which is why I publicly posted it. Read it carefully, it is highly symbolic.

I was in a building, and I saw a man who was guarding a person. He looked at me, and decided to let me pass. I walk through a door out onto a balcony. The balcony is high up, perhaps in a tall tower or mountainside. I looked ahead, I saw a tall waterfall that was divided by a rock at the top pouring down into a lake far below. I look to my left, I see another waterfall that is also divided by a rock at the top. I look to my right, a third waterfall that looked the same as the other two. In all, three waterfalls pouring down into a lake. The scene was very powerful.

The Maria Cristina Waterfalls. In the dream, I was much higher up looking down

I turn around, and I see an old man sitting on a throne on the balcony. It was Pope John Paul II. I realized I was seeing him in the afterlife. I approach him, and for some reason I form the sign of the cross in the space between us, which I did to expell any evil influence. None was present. I then come closer, perhaps I kneel, and then I read his thoughts and he wants to know who I am. I first say in my thoughts, "King Robert Baldwin." Then I thought, no, people will not understand. He understands, and then I kiss him. Air flows out of his mouth into me, into my body. The man who was guarding him then leads me away.

The following morning I told someone my dream. I thought the man who was guarding the Pope was Cardinal Ratzinger - he seemed to always be hovering next to the Pope during his illness in all his public appearances. Lo and behold, I then discover that he was elected as Pope that day - April 19, 2005.


A DEJA VU EXPERIENCE

Later that year, on the four year anniversary of September 11, I made a visit to Niagara Falls. I stepped out on the balcony on the mountainside on the Canadian side, and then it hit me: this was the mountainside balcony I had seen in my dream. I realized then that Niagara Falls is not one waterfall, but three waterfalls, which were pouring into the ravine below. I did not know there were three waterfalls until I came on that balcony at Niagara Falls - you can only see all three of them on the balcony on the Canadian side. Here is a description of the three waterfalls from Wikipedia:
"From largest to smallest, the three waterfalls are the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls lie on the Canadian side and the American Falls on the American side, separated by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also located on the American side, separated from the other waterfalls by Luna Island."
Moreover, at that very day the President of China (Hu Jintao) was coming to make a visit, and all entrances to the balcony were soon afterwards closed off. In the dream, the balcony was a restricted area, but I was allowed to pass. In the dream I was visiting two Popes. In real life, the leader of China was coming the very day I happened to be at Niagara Falls. A coincidence? Moreover, Pope John Paul II did visit Toronto in 2002 which hosted World Youth Day.


WHO IS "KING ROBERT BALDWIN"?

I am not Catholic, but the area of Quebec has a large Catholic population. In 2012 I decided to take another look at this dream - so who exactly is "King Robert Baldwin"? This was a name I never heard of, and there was no king of that name. It stuck out, I initially thought it was a King Baldwin of Jerusalem who lived in the 12th century. But this did not fit the dream. I researched the name I bit more, and then found a hit: Robert Baldwin was a Premier of Canada West, who peacefully led Canada into independence from the United Kingdom.  And get this: he died in Toronto in 1858, which of course is next to Niagara Falls.


Robert Baldwin (1804-58) is remembered for his role in bringing responsible government (1848) to the province of Canada, formed in 1841 through an uneasy union of Upper and Lower Canada. Baldwin achieved his life’s ambition by forming an alliance with Lower Canadian politicians, notably Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine. The above is the cover of a recent published biography of Robert Baldwin by Michael S. Cross, which also discusses the tragic death of his wife Eliza who died at a young age. This aspect of Canadian history is something I never knew about, as the schools in the U.S. focus (too much) on American history.

THE RESIGNATION OF POPE BENEDICT XVI

This dream came to mind again with the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.  I always knew that "breath" or "air" was symbolic of the Holy Spirit, or symbolic of the power of a religious office.  In the dream, I felt like I was intervening in the election of the next Pope, where the power of the office of the Papacy would not pass on to the successor of Pope John Paul II, but to someone else.  And in the last month, Pope Benedict XVI became the first Pope in about 600 years to have resigned from his office. Which is highly unusual.  In the dream, I felt the successor to Pope John Paul II would be rejected or bypassed. And the next Pope has been elected while Pope Benedict XVI is alive. I was thinking that the successor to Pope Benedict XVI would be Cardinal Ouellet, who was instrumental in negotiating the resignation of the Cardinal of the United Kingdom before the election of the next Pope. But that does not seem to be the meaning of the dream, that would be taking it too literally. The meaning is this: the sins of the Catholic hierarchy is causing the Holy Spirit to withdraw from their priesthood.

Overall, a remarkable precognitive dream, which later led to a deja vu experience when I first stepped on the viewing balcony at Niagara Falls. Water is symbolic of baptism. The three waterfalls flowing into one is reminiscent of the Trinity: one emanation flowing through soul, body and spirit. With this evidence, especially the fact I recorded the dream back in 2005 and publicly posted it, makes it very hard to deny the reality of precognitive dreams. "King Robert Baldwin" made no sense until I started researching Canadian history - 7 years after the original dream. If anyone reading this has had their own precognitive dream, please share it, I would like to hear of your experiences.

Oh yes, and just to prove I was there at Niagara Falls on September 11, 2005, here is a picture of a parade and ceremony at Niagara Falls before Hu Jintao came to visit that day (which caused them to close off the balcony viewing area):


I would just love to see those atheistic doubters explain this one away...because if there is such a thing as precognition, if there is such a thing as an afterlife...then maybe truly, God does exist after all, and plays an active role in our lives...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

False Christianity vs. True Christianity, Blood vs. Truth

FALSE CHRISTIANITY, AND TRUE CHRISTIANITY

There are two kinds of Christianity, a false or anti- Christianity, and true Christianity. False Christianity states that God was wrathful with humankind, and for that demanded punishment. To satisfy this justice, He sent His son -- another being -- to take the punishment for our sins, and our sins are transferred away by mere belief or lip service. This is false Christianity, for it divides God into multiple beings, and encourages people to live as they will. Our evils are "covered up" automatically, with no change of heart, and no effort of repentance. Many are expecting a future Antichrist to come and take over the world. This is not true, for the Antichrist is in fact a system of religion. It is not an individual, it is a false theology, and it is present everywhere within the shells of church buildings.

In true Christianity, it was God Himself who descended to become incarnate in human form, and it is this human form which is the Son -- not a separate being from eternity.  By taking on this human, and subduing its evil nature, inherited from its human mother, Jehovah (who could by no means commit a sin) was able to fight directly against all of Hell until the human was made Divine. And when He made His human Divine, the Holy Spirit flowed forth from His body, and there can now be direct union with God again. When we repent and fight against our internal sins, Jehovah fights for us in our will, as we try to resist evil. In this there is salvation: one where we take responsibility for our deeds, and responsibility for changing our ways. There is conjunction between us and God through the Holy Spirit. This God did out of love, for if He did not do this, the entire human race would have been lost due to increasing evil, as contact with heaven was broken off many ages ago. Free will and morality is dependent on maintaining the balance between heaven and hell in the spiritual world, and the resurrection of Jesus restored this balance.

True Christianity cannot take hold until the false Christianity is taken away, by exposing what is false.  Are we to believe that animal sacrifices, or a human sacrifice, contributes anything to our spiritual salvation? True, animal sacrifices were instituted in the Mosaic law, from a previous older religion, but these rituals had symbolic meaning (see below). Are we to believe that God demands a human sacrifice, similar to how the ancient Aztecs were sacrificing humans to their gods, or how people in the Middle East sacrificed their children by burning them in the fire to the god Moloch? Let us rescue the church from this false view of religion.



SALVATION BY BLOOD, OR SALVATION BY TRUTH?

Lets take a look at some passages that mention the blood of Jesus, and then discuss the spiritual meaning behind the word "blood".  For it is from these passages, falsely interpreted, that a false Christianity can be derived if not properly understood. First let us take a look at the Last Supper, at which time Jesus instituted the ritual of communion:
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. 26:26-28)
This is central to Christian worship, yet it is the hardest passage to understand if not understood spiritually. That there is a symbolic meaning to His body and His blood, is shown in the gospel of John:
Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.
Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.
This is the bread which came down from heaven --- not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever."
...Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, "This is a hard saying; who can understand it?"
When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, "Does this offend you?
What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
(John 6:53-63)
So it is not flesh and blood which gives life, it is Spirit. Specifically, the Holy Spirit. Those who interpreted Jesus words literally when He said these things turned away and left Him. Yet many take body and blood literally. Does the blood itself sanctify? No it does not, it is the Divine truth which we receive spiritually which cleanses us from sin:
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
(John 17:17-19)
This is a very important passage. Note that Jesus says that one is sanctified (meaning, cleansed from sin) by TRUTH, not by blood.  Also note, that Jesus says that He first had to sanctify Himself! What does that mean? It means, although internally He was Jehovah, the Divine who could not sin, from the human he inherited from His human mother He could be tempted to do evil. It is through this human form that Jehovah fought directly against Hell, until He subdued and conquered all evil, even to the point where He shed the human from the mother and made it Divine - a Divine Human, if you will. And this is why the body and blood are central in Christian worship, for one must believe that He made His very human Divine. Swedenborg took this further: His body represents Divine love, and His blood Divine truth. When we commit ourselves to love and truth, we appropriate that as part of our spiritual life. And that is what is meant by the body and the blood in communion.

That one is sanctified by the truth, which is by keeping God's commandments, is shown in this passage, where the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth:
If you love Me, keep My commandments.
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever ---
the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
(John 14:15-18)
To keep the commandments is to first shun evils as sins before God, not for the sake of keeping appearances before others. On the outside, many people look the same. But on the inside, people's intentions are quite different. All our deeds will be judged by our intentions.

There are numerous passages in the New Testament which declares that we are washed from our sins by the blood of Jesus. I have shown above, that blood is symbolic of the Divine truth. But many are most likely to take this literally still, because when Jesus was crucified, there are direct descriptions of the blood which flowed from His body in that horrific execution. But that is not what is meant. First, the historical manner in which Jesus was crucified was in itself symbolic - it represented how the Jews rejected the very Word itself. This is what is meant by "bearing sins" - for by bearing sins means for a prophet to represent how the sins of a people have distanced themselves from God. Secondly, the crucifixion was simply the last temptation of Jesus, which He overcame. Instead of hating the executioners, He simply forgave them. He chose not to hate, for His love was that great for humanity. And after that, He conquered hell, and rose from the dead, and the Holy Spirit was then available to all. The crucifixion was simply the last in the process of making His human body Divine, through which He could save humanity. The idea that Jesus absorbed all the sins of humanity on the cross is false. The idea that Jesus fought against all the evils and sins of hell throughout His life is true. These concepts of salvation are very different, so different, that they are opposed to each other. The first is a religion of belief alone, the second is a religion of repentance from sin.
 
THE SYMBOLISM OF BLOOD

In ancient times, blood was considered symbolic, and thus played a role in many rituals, including the rituals of the Jews as instituted by Moses. Many, who have a false understanding of Christianity, or who read things literally, will thus derive a false interpretation of these ancient rituals which were symbolic. So lets examine the spiritual significance of blood, which Swedenborg spelled out in detail. First, blood was symbolic of spiritual life, and one's physical body was symbolic of one's lower natural and selfish desires:
That the soul signifies life may be evident from the signification of soul in the Word, in many places. Soul in the Word signifies in general all life, as well internal, or that of the internal man, as external, or that of the external man. And because it signifies all life, it signifies such life as that of the man of whom the soul is predicated. Here it is predicated of the life of the regenerate man, which is separate from man's will; for, as already said, the new life which the regenerate spiritual man receives from the Lord, is entirely separate from the will or proprium of man, that is, from the life proper to man, which is not life, though so called, but is death, because it is infernal life. Here therefore flesh with the soul thereof, which they should not eat, signifies flesh together with its soul; that is, they should not mingle this new life, which is of the Lord, with evil or excrementitious life, which is of man — that is, not with his will or proprium. 
That the blood signifies charity may be evident from many things. The new voluntary part which the regenerate spiritual man receives from the Lord, is the same as charity, for the new will is formed of charity. Charity or love is the very essential or life of the will, since no one can say that he wills anything unless from choosing or loving it. To say that one thinks a thing is not to will it, unless willing is in the thought. This new will which is of charity is here the blood, and this will is not of man, but of the Lord in man. And because it is of the Lord, it is never to be mingled with what is of the will of man which is so filthy, as has been shown. For this reason it was commanded in the representative church that they should not eat flesh with the soul thereof, the blood thereof — that is, should not mingle it. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1000-1001)
To this day, Jews and Muslims still eat kosher meat, where the blood must be drained from the animal before consuming it. Why? They do it simply from tradition. But now we know, it was to maintain a symbolic representative worship, where a spiritual life is not to be comingled with a lower selfish life of sin. One must remove evils and sins from one's self  before one is allowed to become spiritual. And this is the symbolic meaning of the animal sacrifices, where the blood is separated and the flesh is burned, which had to be made before one entered the temple. Removal and purification from sin is the first step to take in any spiritual life. This representative type of worship was abolished with the coming of Jesus.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Basics of Sacred Geometry

Sacred geometry has a long history.  From the ancient world, it was recognized that certain geometric shapes have a symbolic meaning.  Is there any truth to this?  Yes.  Geometry is related to math, and each and every number also has a symbolic meaning.  Much of this knowledge has been lost today...but since science began to see geometric and mathematical properties in nature, there has been a recent revival in the interest in sacred geometry.  But before we can explore advanced concepts in sacred geometry, lets cover the basics.  So lets start with the square. Here is what Swedenborg saw concerning the spiritual meaning of a square - as it shows up in the Jewish temple, as well as the city of the New Jerusalem which descends out of heaven:
The altar shall be foursquare. That this signifies thus what is just, is evident from the signification of foursquare, as what is just — of which in what follows; and from the signification of the altar, as a representative of the Lord and of the worship of Him. Wherefore by the altar being foursquare is signified what is just in the Lord, and therefore in worship. Worship is said to be just, when the good and truth which are in it are from the Lord, and not from man; for what is just is from the Lord alone...  That foursquare means what is just originates in the representatives in the other life. In these representatives goods are presented as round, and the goods of the external man, which are called just, are presented as foursquare; truths however and things that are right are presented there as linear and triangular. On this ground then it is that by foursquare is signified what is just, as also by the altar of incense being foursquare (Exod. xxx. 2), and by the breastplate of judgment being a doubled square (Exod. xxviii. 16), and likewise by the new Jerusalem being foursquare (Apoc. xxi. 16). The new Jerusalem here means the new church of the Lord which is to succeed our present church; the external good of it, which is what is just, is signified by its being foursquare. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9717).
A square is often used to create a square foundation.  Thus to be square represents good in the external form. A circle, whose ratio from its length to its circumference is pi, an infinite irrational number - is good in the internal spiritual form. The desire or intention to do good in one's mind is thus represented by a circle, and the actual work or deed based on that intention is good in the external form.  Any form of measurement must take place by ruler or by triangulation: thus a line or triangle represents truth.

So the meaning of the line, triangle, square and circle are now known.  Now compare what Swedenborg said to the below video. I do not agree with everything it says - the presenter seems to know that the Bible is symbolic of something, but does not know what that something is.  For that, the inner spiritual meaning of the Bible was revealed to Swedenborg which he explained in his massive work Heavenly Arcana, otherwise known as Arcana Coelestia, meaning "Heavenly Secrets." But one thing he says which is correct: that geometric shapes with straight edges tend to represent the "male", while round forms such as the circle represent the "female."  This is correct.  Because male and female are also symbolic: the male represents truth, and the female represents love. The male is intellectual, the female is volitional. The union of good and truth is represented by marriage. This symbolic correspondence is used over and over again in the spiritual meaning of the Bible. This spiritual correspondence, which flows into all living things, is the origin of the desire for sex in the natural form. As each good has its corresponding truth, and each truth its corresponding good, thus the spiritual representation of that is the marriage of one man with one woman. This is why perversions of this order: such as adultery, fornication, polygamy and homosexuality - are not permitted within the Christian Church. As many cultures of this world practiced polygamy, they are not allowed to know the Christian revelation. And that is the reason why we have Islam: Islam is for cultures which allow polygamy, for those who are in external good, but they are not allowed to know the internal spiritual revelation of Christianity. Thus many Muslims are taught from their youth the Bible is "corrupt", even though ironically that disagrees with the Quran (Koran). The end result is many do not even bother to open scripture, and ignore the textual evidence that it was not corrupted.

I am digressing a bit...we are discussing the spiritual symbolism of geometry. But to understand the spiritual symbolism of geometry, one must first understand the the basic spiritual symbolism of the male and female. The below video also introduces the concept of the Vesica Piscis and the Seed of Life.  For the symbolism of those shapes, see my previous blog entry, Sacred Christian Geometry - the Seed of Life.


Here is part 2, which also discusses an eight sphere pattern known as the "egg of life", which pattern shows up in the embryo of all living forms.  It also discusses the five Platonic solids:





Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Spiritual Beatitudes



One of the highest teachings of Christianity comes from what is known as the beatitudes, with which Jesus begins His Sermon on the Mount.  In His teaching, Jesus began to turn people away from hate, revenge, and self-pride, towards love, humility, and forgiveness. He turned people away from external appearance and form to an inner spirituality.  But what few people know, is that there is an internal spiritual meaning in the beatitudes themselves, as disclosed in the visions of Emanuel Swedenborg. Because if read literally, some of the beatitudes do not make sense. I think what prompted this is that I saw a posting which shows an inherent misunderstanding of what Jesus meant by "turning the cheek". That figure of speech - which most take literally - is part of the Sermon of the Mount, which begins with the beatitudes, so I decided to start at the beginning. So what are the beatitudes? Some say there are 8 beatitudes, but there are sort of 10 of them. They are as follows:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. 
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. 
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. 
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. 
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. 
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matt. 5:3-12)
So if you count, there are 8 beatitudes, followed by two more statements as a summary for a total of 10. There is a hidden symbolic parallel here: for as Jehovah gave the 10 commandments on Mount Sinai, so Jesus gives the beatitudes on the Sermon of the Mount.  What is hidden here, which many did not know at the time, is that Jesus is Jehovah in human form. Thus in the ninth statement He mentions "for My sake". Jesus centered His teaching on Himself. Which is why He is just not "another teacher" or "another prophet" as most likely believe. The reason why both revelations are given on a mountain is a mountain in scripture is symbolic of love, and the highest law is one of love. Thus the first four commandments teach of love towards God, and the next six love towards the neighbor. So lets go through the beatitudes:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven

A false reading of this is that Jesus is blessing those who are materially poor. But that is not what is meant here, for He mentions the "poor in spirit." That is, those who are spiritually poor. By that is meant those who lack spiritual knowledge. But it is not just those who are lacking in spiritual knowledge, it refers to those who are lacking in spiritual knowledge and know it, and yet desire to know more. And if you think about it, we are always spiritually lacking in knowledge. If we enter a state where we empty our mind, where we are receptive to learn something new, then the mind is ready to receive new spiritual truths. If one thinks one is learned and knows everything, they are shutting off their mind to learning and receiving spiritual truth. These spiritual truths are "the kingdom of heaven." When king and kingdom is mentioned in scripture, it is in reference to Divine truths, whereas when a priest is mentioned, it is reference to Divine love. Do not be proud of your own intelligence. Be ready to unlearn, and be receptive. Thus it is fitting this is the very first statement of the Sermon of the Mount, where Jesus begins to teach. That "rich" and "poor" have this spiritual meaning, and not a materialistic meaning, can be seen from the following passage:
Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing' --- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked ---I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. (Rev. 3:17-18)
If you recognize that what you think you know is true, may be incomplete and perhaps even false, you have begun to open your mind. And when you recognize that gap, the mind is then receptive to have it filled. If you think you are better than others and know everything, you will stay stuck where you are.  But if you recognize that you may be blind to knowing the truth, it will lead you on a desire to seek the truth. It can be discomforting at the beginning, but it is rewarding and happy when you are led towards the truth.

Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted

Alright, is this telling us to be sad so someone will comfort us? Well no. This may have been drawn from the following passage:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn (Isa. 61:1-2)
This very passage was quoted by Jesus as having been fulfilled with His coming. "Mourning" is mentioned in several passages:
How long will the land mourn, And the herbs of every field wither? The beasts and birds are consumed, For the wickedness of those who dwell there, Because they said, "He will not see our final end." (Jer. 12:4)
The whole land shall be desolate; Yet I will not make a full end.For this shall the earth mourn, And the heavens above be black (Jer. 4:27-28)
"Mourning" is sadness often predicated of funerals - when the final end is reached, when one who is living is dead. This is the second stage. The first stage is when one recognizes that they are lacking in truth. The second stage is a period of sadness and discomfort, when one sees a general lack of truth in one's church or religion: what one thought was a living spirituality is in actuality a dead faith. Thus in the above passages the "land" or "earth" mourns, where land and earth spiritual means the church, in this case the church at its end when it is lacking in truth. For if one is blind, one is ignorant of the falsehoods, but once one recognized that one is poor and lacking in truth, this can be followed by a period of sadness.

Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth

If one takes this literally, one may take this to mean those that are humble will receive a plot of inheritence.  Again, "earth" or "land" in scripture is a symbol of the church; this is the spiritual meaning of the tribes of Israel entering the land of Canaan. This statement may have been drawn from the following passages:
But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace (Ps. 37:11)
Seek ye Jehovah, all ye meek of the earth, who have done His judgment (Zeph. 2:3)
Those who are humble in heart, not proud of their own self, shall belong in the kingdom of heaven. This is the third state, where separation is made between what is false from what is true, from the evil and from the good. This statement was most probably taken from Psalm 37, which also includes the following statement:
For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth. (Ps. 37:9)
The first state is one recognizes they lack spiritual knowledge. This is followed by the second state, which is sadness and discomfort due to a general lack of truth. In the third state, there is separation from those who are evil and false. To follow this path, one must be humble in heart. If one is proud in one's self or ego, one will stay where they are and will not develop spiritually. Spirituality is not always the "happy path" (where I mean the easy way). It is the "opposite path." Go the opposite of where your own selfish love is leading you.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled

In scripture, food is symbolic of love, and drink is symbolic of truth. To hunger and thirst is to desire good and truth. Thus in communion, one eats bread and drinks wine. This is a stage of conjunction between man and God, where God begins to dwell inside one's heart. Once a separation is made from what is evil and false, then as much as one desires good and truth, so God provides it from Himself from within you.

Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy

In scripture, the word "mercy" is always predicated of God's love. God's mercy is often mentioned along with God's grace: the first speaks of His love, the second of His truth to those who in true spiritual understanding. Swedenborg makes an interesting distinction between God's mercy and God's grace:
"But there is a distinction in the Word between mercy and grace, and this in accordance with the difference of those who receive. Mercy is applied to those who are celestial, and grace to those who are spiritual; for the celestial acknowledge nothing but mercy, and the spiritual scarcely anything but grace. The celestial do not know what grace is; the spiritual scarcely know what mercy is, which they make one and the same with grace. This comes from the kind of humiliation of each, which thus differs. They who are in humiliation of heart implore the Lord's mercy; but they who are in humiliation of thought beseech His grace; and if these implore mercy, it is either in a state of temptation or is done with the mouth only and not from the heart." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 598.2).
So not everyone understands God's mercy. Those who understand it, know how much of a sinner they really are, how God has led them out of darkness and damnation. Thus the prayer, "God have mercy on me, a sinner." Out of love comes forgiveness. When we forgive others, God forgives us. For holding a grudge blocks the love in one's heart. At this stage, we let go of the past. And when we let go, we are free. It is interesting that Jesus mentions this in a later stage, as the fifth beatitude, for in the latter stages of spiritual development, love begins to be held as primary, whereas before truth was held to be primary.

Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God

This is the stage where evils have been removed from one's heart, one's intentions in every deed and thought does not have a hidden selfish motive.  It is important, when one goes through the act of introspection and repentance, is to not just review one's deeds, but also to review one's motives and intentions. To "see God" does not mean that one will literally see God, but rather:
to see God is to believe in Him, thus to see Him by faith; for they who are in faith, from faith see God, since God is in faith, and is that in faith which constitutes true faith. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 3863.9)
Thus the Lord said, Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

The more selfish evils are removed from within, the more one is closely conjoined with God:
The Lord's conjunction with the man in whom evils have been removed, is meant by these words of the Lord: The pure in heart shall see God (Matt. v. 8): and by these: He who hath My commandments and keepeth them . . . We will come unto him and make our abode with him (John xiv. 21, 23). To have the commandments is to know, and to keep them is to love; for it is also there said, He that keepeth My commandments, he it is that loveth Me. (Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Providence, n. 33)
The more closely one becomes with God, the happier that person becomes. And that is the meaning of the word "blessed." So how is one purified? It is by means of the Holy Spirit, through a life of faith and repentance:
The Divine power and operation which are meant by the Holy Spirit are, in general, reformation and regeneration; and, according to these, renovation, vivification, sanctification, and justification; and, according to these, purification from evils and remission of sins and finally salvation. These are, in their order, the powers which the Lord operates in those who believe in Him, and who accommodate and dispose themselves for His reception and abode; and this is done by means of Divine truth, and with Christians by means of the Word; for this is the only medium through which man draws near to the Lord, and into which the Lord enters; for, as was said above, the Lord is the Divine truth itself, and whatever proceeds from Him is Divine truth. But Divine truth from good is to be understood, which is the same with faith from charity; for faith is no other than truth, and charity is no other than goodness. By means of Divine truth from good, that is, by means of faith from charity, man is reformed and regenerated; also renovated, vivified, sanctified, justified; and, according to the progress and increase of these, is purified from evils, and purification from evils is remission of sins. (True Christian Religion, n. 142)
Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God

This is the seventh beatitude, and corresponds to the seventh state of regeneration, which is signified by the Sabbath or the seventh day of rest.  This is a period of rest, a period of peace, which is different from the previous six states in which one was in combat with falsity and evil.  It is important to note here that the order in which the Lord says things has meaning: thus it is looking like the seven beatitudes closely correspond to the seven states of regeneration described in the seven days of creation of Genesis. Most take the first chapter of Genesis too literally, thinking it is speaking of the creation of the world, when spiritually it is describing how man is gradually regenerated to become spiritual - to finally become an image of God, or the son of God. I actually intended to discuss the seven days of creation or regeneration to conclude the series of blog entries on the topic of "Universal Order." This was somewhat of a surprising finding: my original intent was to just discuss the hidden spiritual meaning behind the beatitudes. For most people take it literally, and do not see the spiritual meaning behind the words. Swedenborg stated that very few people ever reach this seventh state in the process of regeneration.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


I am grouping the last or eighth beatitude with the final two summary statements, for they all seem related. What is interesting here, is that the eighth beatitude repeats the phrase of the first beatitude: For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Once separation from the evil takes place, and one becomes purified and living for the good under God's will, expect hatred and opposition from those who are in their selfish desires and have not followed a spiritual path. For the evil have an inherent opposition to the good. There are just people who are just plain unhappy and negative, and just hate to see someone with a smile on their face. And no one likes their own sinful habit to be declared wrong. This opposition is more intense when one discovers that they were born and raised in a false religion, or for those who join a cult and then leave it. In the way the evil rejected Jesus, expect the same. With the repetition of the phrase of the first beatitude, the hidden truth here is the cycle will repeat: for the process of regeneration is in fact never complete. It will repeat, but at a higher spiritual level: and the greater the love, the greater the temptation. If one is in falsity with a group of people, and then one withdraws from that falsity or evil, expect hatred from those who you thought were your friends. It is a hard break to make. With the conclusion of the beatitude, other portions of the Sermon on the Mount then talk about of how to deal with those who are evil.

Hopefully I have shown that there is an inner spiritual meaning to scripture, which is hidden from those who just make a cursory reading of scripture. The order in which things are mentioned, and their context, are important. If interpreted literally, one can misinterpret the beatitudes. If interpreted spiritually, one can see that Jesus is putting forth a spiritual path for all of us to follow.  And I feel I have not completely covered the meaning of the beatitudes, it seems there is more to find in these beautiful statements. It is something to meditate about, for the Word can open the mind to further spiritual matters.