Saturday, April 27, 2013

Swedenborg and Life on other Planets

In his visions of the afterlife, Swedenborg encountered many who had departed from this earthly life, and for over 25 years he was allowed to explore the spiritual world. But there is one observation he made that even took him by surprise: not all of the humans he encountered came from this planet earth. When examining critiques of Swedenborg, this is one of the points that always comes up - his opinion that other planets, especially those of our solar system, were (once?) inhabited. We now know that all the planets of our solar system are definitely uninhabited, so since Swedenborg was wrong on this, the logic goes, he was wrong on everything else. Book closed, people move on. It is unfortunate, for people take this one issue and based on that reject everything else. Shouldn't we all reject Swedenborg's visions as a part of his imagination since he falsely concluded other planets in our solar system were inhabited? Obviously, I know of this opinion of Swedenborg, and I blog on other topics concerning the revelations on Christian theology, so what gives?

For one, I know that there are certain branches in the military that take UFOs seriously. It is a classified subject, but much information on this has leaked out, from people in the military and scientists who have worked with them. I will mention one big leak that came out: The Day After Roswell, by U.S. Army Colonel Philip J. Corso. At one point the book was going to be endorsed by a U.S. Senator but that was blocked by the government. There is one race in particular that Swedenborg encountered that may correspond to these UFO reports, but that is another subject. For me, it is a matter of curiosity, and I consider theological and spiritual principles to be more important. But since critics of Swedenborg take this one issue and reject everything else altogether, I thought it was time to address this now. I think these accounts were shown to Swedenborg for a reason, and in the near future, when we do realize there is human life on other planets, people will see Swedenborg in a new light.

Secondly, let us take a look at the past to see how narrow minded people have been on this subject: first, we thought the earth was the center of the universe. Then we realized we revolved around the sun, and everything does not revolve around us. Then we realized we were part of a galaxy, where our sun revolves around a distant galactic center. Then we realized there are many galaxies. It used to be taught that our solar system was "probably the only one that has planets." And today, we keep discovering many other solar systems with planets. So it is quite narrow minded to think that our planet is the only one with life on it. Every time we make this small box, some evidence then pops up that forces us to make a bigger box to fit the universe in it.

Thirdly, Swedenborg derived this information that other planets in our solar system were inhabited from encounters he had with spirits in the afterlife who were not from our earth.  It should be noted, that Swedenborg cautions that he could not see the actual planet to determine if it was inhabited or not, he was only aware of spirits that were associated with that planet:
It is to be known that the sun of the world does not appear at all to any spirit, nor any of its light. The light of that sun is to spirits and angels like thick darkness. That sun remains only in the perception of spirits, from their having seen it while in the world, and is presented to them in idea as something dusky and this behind at a considerable distance, in altitude a little above the plane of the head. (Earths in the Universe, n. 42, part of the work, The Final Judgment)
The other thing to note is, even though Swedenborg saw spirits associated with different planets of our solar system, that still does not mean anything. For he repeats this over and over: in the spiritual world, everything is abstracted from time and place. What is seen in the spiritual world corresponds with our earthly ideas. So when Swedenborg thinks of a planet, in the spiritual world that could mean any group of spirits that happened to live on a similar planet. Moreover, angelic communities tend to dwell with others who have had a similar life and mindset, thus communities tend to form based on what planet the spirit originated from. Communities are associated with each other based on similar loves, and these extraterrestial communities appear in fixed positions relative to the earthly community.  Why are they closely associated with us? For one, life on our earth has become extremely unbalanced. We are unbalanced in that we tend to be highly materialistic, and only believe what we see with our eyes. Scientific knowledge is elevated above spiritual knowledge.  With this kind of unbalanced mindset, other communities are needed from other earths to balance it out, to make heaven more complete and perfect. It is worse in the Western world, where people are much more individualistic than in other countries.

THE CASE FOR LIFE ON MARS

Although Mars is a dead planet, our view of that planet has changed dramatically in the last few years. As recently as 2005, it was demonstrated that Mars has water. Not only that, but in March 12 of this year, NASA scientists have stated that Mars once had conditions where it was able to support life. From a news article entitled Life on Mars:
On March 12, John Grotzinger and a team of NASA scientists made a stunning announcement: Mars once had the right conditions for life, with flowing surface water so benign we might drink it. This finding comes courtesy of the Curiosity rover, which drilled and analyzed a rock sample from an ancient stream bed at Gale Crater on Mars. It’s the first habitable environment we know of, other than on Earth. As the first primitive forms of life were emerging here, it now seems possible life might have been taking hold on Mars, too.
This was just last month...I completely missed this news item. There is also evidence that Mars had oceans billions of years ago. Although the atmosphere of Mars is composed now primarily of carbon dioxide, scientists now also think that Mars had a heavier atmosphere in its distance past. This may have included oxygen. As to why Mars now has a thinner atmosphere, the following reasons have been suggested by scientists:
  • Gradual erosion of the atmosphere by solar wind, possibly helped by Mars's magnetic-field irregularities;
  • Catastrophic collision by a body large enough to blow away a significant percentage of the atmosphere;
  • Mars's low gravity allowing the atmosphere to "blow off" into space by gas-kinetic escape.
Another mystery concerning Mar's atmosphere: it contains methane.  That may be evidence of an active biological process on Mars.  As I was researching this, a Disney movie came to mind: Mission to Mars, which came out in the year 2000. It talks about the discovery of water on Mars, several years before it was detected by scientists. It also contains an interesting theory concerning the origin of life on earth. Here is the trailer for it:


I will not reveal the ending, but there is some information contained in this movie that is related to what I am going to say below. In fact, it made me wonder where those script writers got their idea. Part of our "public education" perhaps? (sometimes fictional movies or books are released in order to acclimate public opinion on extraterrestrial life). This was just a guess on my part, but then surprisingly it looks like Disney CEO Michael Eisner is in on something that the government is trying to tell the public. I found this article on a Disney documentary on UFOs that aired with no advance notice in about 5 cities: Disney's Legendary 'Alien Encounters' Sneak TV Documentary Quotes.  Disney? Producing a documentary on UFOs? I did not believe it at first, but found a clip from the documentary on Youtube:



I have not viewed all of it, as I am already familiar with most of the material. It begins with a statement from Michael Eisner CEO of Disney in which he says this:

The idea of creatures from another planet might not be as far-fetched as we once thought.

SWEDENBORG ON MARS

So, when Swedenborg said that there was other life on planets in our solar system, he was wrong, right?  Was he wrong in every case?  And remember: he is in the spiritual world, and we should keep in mind that he cannot see the planet in the physical plane. He just knows there is other human life that does not originate from our own planet. He was allowed to explore the spiritual world at will, to let people know there is life after death. So that brings up the possibility that the planet may have once been inhabited in its distant past. So, is it possible that Mars was once inhabited? So far scientists are only going as far as microbial life.  So what did Swedenborg have to say about Mars?  He said this:
The spirits of Mars are the best of all among the spirits who are from the earths of our solar system; being for the most part celestial men, not unlike the men who were of the Most Ancient Church on this earth. (Earths in the Universe, n. 85, part of the work, The Final Judgment)
This statement I find very interesting. For Swedenborg, "The Most Ancient Church" is the period of time of the earliest church on earth, in which man had direct contact with heaven. In the Bible, this is represented by the time period from Adam to the Flood. Not only that, but Swedenborg discovered they have a similar way of breathing and communication to those that lived before the Flood of Noah:
It was shown me by an influx which I cannot describe, what kind of speech they had who were of the Most Ancient Church — namely, that it was not articulate, like the vocal speech of our time, but tacit, and effected, not by external breathing, but by internal; thus it was the speech of thought. I was also able to perceive what their internal breathing was, that it proceeded from the navel toward the heart, and so through the lips without being sonorous when they spoke; and that it did not enter into the ear of another by the external way, and beat upon what is called the drum of the ear, but by a certain internal way, and in fact by a certain passage now called the Eustachian tube. It was shown that by such speech they could much more fully express the feelings of the mind and the ideas of the thought, than can ever be done by articulate sounds or sonorous words; which speech is in like manner directed by breathing, but external; for there is no spoken word, nor indeed anything in a word, which is not directed by applications of the breathing. But this was done much more perfectly with them, because it was effected by internal breathing, which is the more perfect, as being more internal, and more applicable and better conformed to the very ideas of thought...The breathing of the spirits of Mars was also communicated to me; and it was perceived that it proceeded from the region of the thorax toward the navel, and thence flowed upward through the chest with an imperceptible breathing toward the mouth. From this, as also from other proofs of experience, it was made plain to me that they were of a celestial genius; thus that they were not unlike those who were from the Most Ancient Church on this earth. (Earths in the Universe, n. 87, part of the work, The Final Judgment)
Of all the races Swedenborg reported to have encountered, only spirits of Mars are similar to the people who lived before the Flood, and only those from Mars have a similar type of breathing. They were able to have some kind of "internal breathing" - a way of respiration, where they were not so dependent on the air of the atmosphere. So it got me wondering: could these spirits of Mars, and the people who lived before the flood of Noah...be one and the same?  And that is why my suspicion was raised concerning that Disney movie, Mission to Mars, as the ending may contain an element of truth in it.

And here is what got me thinking: when Swedenborg speaks of the Flood of Noah, he speaks of it rather symbolically, and that there was no actual universal flood that occurred over the entire earth that wiped out the inhabitants.  What he did say was this: the people who lived before the Flood were wiped out because they suffocated from lack of air.  The way he described this is that since they had direct contact with heaven, similar to some Yogis they were able to suspend their external breathing for days on end: instead they had a way of "internal breathing".  But when this link with heaven was broken off due to their evil, for some reason they could not change where they could breathe externally: they suffocated (this is described in detail in his work, Heavenly Arcana).  But is there something more to this statement that Swedenborg makes concerning those who lived before the Flood?  Could it be, that the atmosphere was depleted, and all living life forms of the planet died...on Mars?

In which case, the Biblical story of the flood of Noah contains information that is very, very ancient.  Important enough to preserve for future generations, but worded in such a way where the people of the time could understand it. In another blog post, I discuss the astronomical information that is encoded in the chronology of the 10 patriarchs who lived before the flood, and this information lines up with it.

It is a bizarre, very speculative thought.  But the ending to that Disney movie Mission to Mars, and that Disney documentary afterwards...and now water on Mars, and now evidence Mars had a thicker atmosphere...well maybe there is some truth to this after all.  Our government certainly thinks so: they are, after all, spending billions of dollars right now searching for life on Mars.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Precognitive Fictional Novels, and Synchronicity

Yesterday this girl asked me if unicorns and fairies are real.  I told her this: that if she wanted to see a unicorn or fairy, pray, and perhaps she would see one in your dream.  But...you must make an effort to remember your dream in the morning.  Well this morning I asked her if she remembered anything and she said yes, but there were no unicorns or fairies.  When I asked her what did she see, she described a dream to me which she thought was funny and did not understand, but when she told it to me I was completely surprised: the dream was describing certain thoughts and events on my mind that I had told no one.  She thought it was silly but when I heard it...well I would have been less surprised if I had gone to a psychic who would of then proceeded to tell me what was on my mind. The details were way beyond coincidence.

So what is going on here?  Why most would shelve this story to the "unexplained" folder and then forget about it, Swedenborg offers insight into these kinds of unexplained phenomena that do not fall into the materialistic view of the universe.  His inner sight was opened for a period of 25 years where he could enter the realm of the spiritual world and heaven at will, under God's guidance. He demonstrated that something was going on by showing evidence of clairvoyance in his interactions with the people he knew.  One time he went to sleep, had a dream, and upon awakening he entered the spiritual world in his vision and asked some angelic spirits concerning the dream he had.  As it turned out, the dream symbolically portrayed the conversation of these two angels.  When eternal abstract thoughts pass from the spiritual world into our mind, our mind converts these thoughts into peoples, places and things that we daily experience that represent these abstract ideas. There is this constant spiritual influx which flows from the spiritual world into the soul, from the soul into the mind, and from the mind into the body. Evidently this little girl thinks I am holding some secret about unicorns, and so desired to know it, that in her dream somehow picked up the current thoughts inside my head (which had nothing to do with unicorns).

PREMONITIONS OF THE SINKING OF THE TITANIC

So while dreams of little children are easy to ignore, novels containing details of events to come, borne out later by the events that have taken place...these are a bit harder to ignore. Authors, who always seek inspiration for their books, sometime seem to tap into this hidden spiritual influx flowing into our minds, and unwittingly pick up details concerning the future.  The most famous case of this is a short story called Futility, later renamed The Wreck of the Titan...that predicted the details of the sinking of the Titanic in the year 1912.  The night that the Titanic was sinking, the visionary Anton Johansson heard a voice commanding him to pray for the souls that were about to die on that ship.  Here is a short Youtube video which discusses the details of this novel in how it remarkably describes the events of the sinking of the Titanic:



While researching this a bit more, I discovered that Morgan Robertson, the author of Futility, said that he had written the story in 1898 after having received a very powerful dream. There were many other reported premonitions of the sinking of the Titanic, but this was the most famous one.  Other web sites discuss even more similarities between the novel and the event than the ones discussed in the above video.

OTHER PRECOGNITIVE AND PROPHETIC NOVELS

How common is this?  Well I don't know, but I found an interesting quote from the author Philip K. Dick, who has written such stories as Total Recall and Minority Report, which were later made into movies.  Here is a quote from a speech he gave in 1978 entitled "How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later":
In 1970 I wrote a novel called Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. One of the characters is a nineteen-year-old girl named Kathy. Her husband's name is Jack. Kathy appears to work for the criminal underground, but later…we discover that actually she is working for the police. She has a relationship going on with a police inspector. The character is pure fiction. Or at least I thought it was.
Anyhow, on Christmas Day of 1970, I met a girl named Kathy--this was after I had finished the novel, you understand. She was nineteen years old. Her boyfriend was named Jack. I soon learned that Kathy was a drug dealer. I spent months trying to get her to give up dealing drugs…. Then, one evening as we were entering a restaurant together, Kathy stopped short and said, "I can't go in." Seated in the restaurant was a police inspector whom I knew. "I have to tell you the truth," Kathy said. "I have a relationship with him"…
In 1974 the novel was published by Doubleday. One afternoon I was talking to my priest…and I happened to mention to him an important scene…in which the character Felix Buckman meets a black stranger at an all-night gas station, and they begin to talk. As I described the scene…my priest became progressively more agitated. At last he said, "That is a scene from the Book of Acts, from the Bible! In Acts, the person who meets the black man on the road is named Philip--your name"…
I went home and read the scene in Acts. Yes, Father Rasch was right; the scene in my novel was an obvious retelling of the scene in Acts...and I had never read Acts… But again the puzzle became deeper. In Acts, the high Roman official who arrests and interrogates Saint Paul is named Felix--the same name as my character. And my character Felix Buckman is a high-ranking police general; in fact, in my novel he holds the same office as Felix in the Book of Acts: the final authority. There is a conversation in my novel which very closely resembles a conversation between Felix and Paul.
Many years ago I had read the book Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick...perhaps the only one I have read.  And I never knew the precognitive significance he later attached to that book until recently.

SYNCHRONICITY THAT IS STRANGER THAN FICTION

Let us assume that yes, we have dreams and thoughts that are precognitive in nature.  And let us assume that yes, sometimes authors pick up on these thoughts and write them down. If this is possible, now consider these two strange scenarios:
1. A passenger boards the Titanic in 1912. He then has a dream which tells him to read the book Futility written in 1898. He finds the book, and picks it up. As he reads it, he realizes that this book Futility is describing the sinking of the Titanic. But he knows it is a work of fiction. He has to warn someone...but he knows that if he warns the crew and passengers of the Titanic that the ship is going to sink because of what he read in a fictional novel, they would just tell him it is just a work a fiction. 
2. Kathy, who is nineteen years old and is dating a policeman, has a dream and is told to read Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, by an author she happens to have just met.  And right there in the book, there she is, along with her boyfriend Jack.  What is she to think of this event?
Such an event is something Carl Jung would call "synchronicity" - coincidences in our lives that just go beyond explanation.  But this goes beyond synchronicity: you are told in a dream to read a book, and there you find yourself inside the book.  Such an event is the subject of a movie made in 2006, Stranger Than Fiction, where an IRS tax man starts to hear a woman's voice that begins to describe his life. He wonders about his sanity...but then realizes he is hearing the thoughts of a female author who is writing a book...and he is in it.


So is this a hypothetical situation? Something that would only happen in a movie? Well hearing that voice of the narrator. But it is possible to pick up a book and read the narrator's story, who happened to have listened to that inner source of inspiration concerning the future. It is not hypothetical, I have experienced it:. I once decided to follow up on a dream which specifically mentioned a certain book, so I picked up and quickly skimmed over it. At first I didn't notice anything. This was because the book was huge, with an enormous amount of details. But at the end, I saw a small detail that had at first escaped my attention...I then went back to the beginning, and saw which character I was in the book...from that I figured out which characters were my family, which were my friends...and then it got stranger...some of the names and dates began to match up.  There were events which have occurred, and some events of the future...these have taken place in the past few years.  At one point I called up this friend of mine and began asking him a list of questions...like, did he ever have a pet horse, in what year was he born...did he meet a wandering stranger in 1956: and it all began to fall in place. Yes, aspects of my life is in the book, as well as aspects of lives of other people I know, and events surrounding them. At first this friend of mine had no idea why I called him up out of the blue and asked him such a strange series of questions, but now he has been in on the secret for several years. His take on it is that sometimes our lives tend to follow patterns that are contained in ancient myths.

It is, of course, a work of fiction. But mixed in with the fiction there are some remarkable details and coincidences, some highly symbolic...some describing events that I have witnessed. So, is life strange than fiction? For me, yes. So what would you do, if you were a passenger on the Titanic, and started to read the book Futility because you were told to in a dream? Would you tell the passengers and the crew of your experience? I am still trying to make sense of it, to see how this story is really going to end. It goes to show: our lives have more meaning than what meets the eye, there is nothing random, nothing coincidental: all things have a hidden purpose to them.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Human Aura, and the Spiritual Nature of the Soul

In New Age metaphysics and healing, there is a theory that all humans possess an "aura" - a field of energy around them that extends a certain distance from their body.  Reports of this are ancient - beginning with the halos often seen depicted surrounding the heads of holy people, all the way to modern times, where some healers report the ability to see this aura surrounding other people. Others can see it after deep meditation - those who do see it for the first time are often surprised, sometimes wondering what is wrong with their eyes. The colors and changes in the aura are said to change according to one's emotional state and overall well being.  Is there any scientific evidence for this? No, except some healers have been able to accurately report physical diagnosis of illnesses based upon their reported ability to see changes and colors in the aura.


So all we have are witnesses who report this phenomenon, and from that some can diagnose illnesses in the body. The reason I give credence to this is that I know someone who told me he could see these auras after entering a deep meditation. The first time he experienced it he had no idea what was going on. So today, while the human aura is a part of fringe science, and generally known among mystical New Age movements outside of Christian churches, the odd thing here is that it was reported about 250 years ago by Emanuel Swedenborg, who had the ability to enter the spiritual realm for many years in his latter life.

SOME SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE CONCERNING THE HUMAN AURA

While writing this blog, I came across this interesting study done on people who claim to see human auras. An article at Medical Press, Scientific evidence proves why healers see the 'aura' of people, states the following:
Researchers in Spain have found that many of the individuals claiming to see the aura of people –traditionally called "healers" or "quacks"– actually present the neuropsychological phenomenon known as "synesthesia" (specifically, "emotional synesthesia"). This might be a scientific explanation of their alleged "virtue". In synesthetes, the brain regions responsible for the processing of each type of sensory stimuli are intensely interconnected. This way, synesthetes can see or taste a sound, feel a taste, or associate people with a particular color.
This is an interesting approach. Instead of trying to photograph the aura, as was tried in the past with Kirlian photography, scientists examined the brain activity of these people who have claimed this ability.

SWEDENBORG'S STATEMENTS CONCERNING THE HUMAN AURA

So while there is no absolute scientific evidence for the existence of such human auras reported by psychics, one thing that struck me when I read some of the observations Swedenborg made concerning his visions was that he seems to have observed such an aura - not around humans, but around the spiritual beings and angels he saw in the spiritual world.  He did not call it an "aura", but instead used the term "spiritual sphere". Some psychics report seeing colors commonly seen in rainbows.  And guess what - Swedenborg reported that sometimes colors common in rainbows can be seen in this spiritual sphere:
...the quality of a man, or of a soul after the death of the body, is known at once; and by the Lord it is known from eternity, and what it will be to eternity. His quality is perceived by angels immediately on his arrival. There is a certain sphere which exhales, as it were, from his disposition, or from everything in him; and this sphere, wonderful to say, is such that from it is perceived the faith and charity which the man has. It is this sphere that becomes visible by a bow when it so pleases the Lord. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1048).
Ever been around a person who just has "negative energy" about them?  Who just drains or sucks up any sort of happiness by their very presence? Well Swedenborg explains that - every person emanates this sphere which influences people around them, and in the spiritual world, people who emanate similar spheres tend to congregate together:
That which rules in [a person] manifests itself there by a certain sphere which is perceived by all around him. This sphere is such because it exhales from every single thing in him. The sphere of him who has regard to himself in everything, appropriates everything to himself, and, as is there said, swallows up everything that is of advantage to him, thus all the enjoyment of the spirits around him, and destroys all freedom among them; and therefore he cannot but be dissociated from them. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1316.2)
This aura is not always visible. At times it can be made visible to the senses (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1504). And the amount of information concerning the person gained from seeing such auras varies:
There are, therefore, as many spheres as there are affections and combinations of affections, which are innumerable. One's sphere is his image as it were extended outside of himself, and indeed an image of all the things that are in him. What is seen or perceived in the world of spirits is only something general, but what one is as to particulars, is known in heaven; and yet what he is as to least particulars, no one knows but the Lord alone (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1505).
In the military, they often speak of the "command presence" of a leader. Some have this "aura of authority", others do not.  Swedenborg speaks of this aura of "command presence":
A certain spirit who was known to me and with whom I had conversed while he lived in the body, appeared many times afterwards among the evil; and because he had a high opinion of himself, he acquired a sphere of superiority over others; but on this account the spirits suddenly fled away, so that none appeared but himself alone; and he filled the whole sphere round about, which was one of self-regard. ...It was afterwards said by the other spirits that they could not endure his presence, because he wished to be greater than others. Being at length brought into association with others, he was carried up on high, and so it seemed to him that he alone governed the universe; to such a degree does the love of self puff itself up, when it is left to itself. He was then cast down among the infernals. Such a lot awaits those who think themselves to be greater than others. The love of self, above every other love, is contrary to mutual love, which is the life of heaven. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1506).
One's intentions influence the quality of the aura about them. Thus others who were in positions of authority, and had regard to performing good uses through their authority, and not elevating their self above others, were seen by Swedenborg in heaven. Two people could be in the exact same position in life, and look externally the same, but based on their intention one could be worthy of heaven, and another of hell. In the work that you do, what is primary: the love of self, or rendering good use and service towards others?

In the afterlife, Swedenborg observed that similar souls would congregate with each other according to their primary love and way of thinking. From that, each angelic society would contract a similar sphere. Likewise, the spirits of hell would also contract their own sphere according to their evil and falsity. These spheres of influence would repulse each other, until according to one's love, heaven would be formed into a grand human that is constantly perfecting itself.  These angelic spheres are known in scripture as "the stars of heaven."

THE TRINITY: SOUL, BODY AND SPIRIT

While there is a lot of speculation on the nature of the human soul, Swedenborg's statements on this subject are based on the visions he received and his experiences while in the spiritual realm.  So why is it important to know of the existence of human aura? Should Christians ignore this simply because it is popular among New Age movements?  No, they should pay attention: for without knowledge of the human aura, they will never reach a true understanding of the central mystery of Christianity: the Holy Trinity.

What Swedenborg observed in the spiritual world, is that each angel has an internal soul, an external human form or spiritual body, and surrounding this body a spiritual sphere.  This trine of soul, body and spirit, is present also while we are in a physical form.  In all life forms, there is a "spiritual influx" of life from God, who is the sole origin of all life.  This spiritual influx of life is received directly into the human soul, and from there flows into the mind and thence into the body. From the body, there is an aura or spiritual sphere of this influx of life.

Likewise, something similar happened when God decided to become incarnate into a human form: when He became incarnate, the Holy Trinity was formed of His soul, His body, and His proceeding spirit.  As His body received life from His soul, and His soul was Jehovah, and as He was born of a virgin, He referred to God as "His Father".  His human form is "the Son".  The aura that extended from His body is "the Holy Spirit."  Without this understanding, people will get lost in imperfect analogies. The Trinity is a Divine emanation: the Divine Itself, which no man can see, the Divine Human, by which we can know God, and the Divine proceeding: the Holy Spirit, which extends from His body, and dwells in us and influences us. While God became incarnate, something else happened: as God is infinite and omnipresent, so these aspects of the Trinity in the human life form also became infinite and omnipresent.  Once Jesus rose from the dead, the human form had become completely unified to the Divine.

This revelation of the Holy Trinity, is something that is known to those who belong to the New Church, or the church of the New Jerusalem prophesied in the book of Revelation.  It is a distinguishing doctrine from the older Christian churches, which became corrupted when God was divided into three personal beings in the Council of Nicea in the fourth century A.D.

Do not put your trust in human opinions of philosophy, or in the councils of churches which sought to rule others through means of religion. Instead, seek the truth direct from the Lord. It is by means of revelation that God makes Himself known, not through human philosophy. And once this truth is known, you will know who you should pray to: Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior. For what is the name of the Father? It is Jesus Christ. In the New Church, people will begin to understand the true meaning of the Lord's prayer.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Is there Marriage in Heaven?

When seeing how others view Swedenborg, or the New Church, one point always comes up: is there marriage in heaven?  For in the gospels, Jesus was asked this question, and it would seem that He answered no, angels do not marry.  However, in his visions of the heavenly world, Swedenborg observed that after our bodily death we will rise in a spiritual body, in a complete human form.  Not only that, but if we were male we will continue to be male, and if female we will continue to be female.  The angelic form is that hidden human form that developed inside of us, which we become aware of after we shed this physical body.  And not only that, but in heaven, especially the highest one, angels join together in heavenly married pairs, to their enjoyment to eternity.

For those who were brought up and taught that sex was something evil, this is obviously not the heaven that they were expecting.  But sex is the physical form of the highest love between a man and a woman. The origin of sex is spiritual: for the male is the physical form of the intellect, or truth, and the female is the physical form of volition, or love.  Love and truth are always seeking to be united into one, and this is the spiritual origin of sex.  A natural love of sex is just the love of having sex, but a more spiritual love of sex is the love of one of the other sex.  But since Jesus said there was no marriage in heaven, and Swedenborg said that there was, Swedenborg is obviously wrong, right?

Not so fast.  While some of the sayings of Jesus are straightforward, others are not.  And if you take some of His sayings literally, you will have no idea what He was talking about.  For at times He speaks in a spiritual manner.  For example, so let's go through a few statements of Jesus, where if we take Him literally, it is going to cause a lot of problems:

DID JESUS COMMAND HIS DISCIPLES TO "EAT ME"?
"I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?" (6:51-52).
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?" (John 6:60-61) 
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. (John 6:66)
So, when taken literally, Jesus told them if anyone eats Him, they will enter heaven. We now know of course, He is speaking of the ritual of communion, where the bread is symbolic of His body, or the Divine Love, and the wine is symbolic of His blood.

DID JESUS SAY HE WOULD REBUILD THE JEWISH TEMPLE?
So 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)
The Jews thought He spoke of the literal temple.  But He was speaking of the temple of His body.  Obviously, saying this in the temple is going to confuse people who take things literally. He gives no explanation of the saying...only later, when He rose from the dead, did the disciples understand He spoke of the temple of His body.

DID JESUS SAY THAT THE CHURCH WOULD BE BUILT UPON THE APOSTLE PETER?

Ok, now for a controversial passage:
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matt. 16:13-19)
Interpreted literally, Jesus says that His church will be built upon St. Peter, which the Roman Catholic Church uses to justify the authority of the Papacy, and the authority of its priesthood to forgive and let others into heaven.  Which is false: for "Rock" symbolizes the truth, the church is not built upon a hierarchy of men, it is built upon the truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Not only that, but upon the truth that His human is Divine.  But what about the "keys to the kingdom of heaven" - didn't he give that to the Apostle Peter? Not so: in the spiritual sense, each apostle represents a different aspect of the church, and Peter represents faith - for faith is the first step for entering the kingdom of heaven, and it is the truth of faith which keeps the falsity out. So the Protestants are correct in that this should be interpreted symbolically.

So the point is, Jesus does this over and over again - hidden behind His literal sayings, there was a hidden spiritual meaning. And Jesus did not always clarify what He said. In fact, He said things at times to be ambiguous. Thus on many occasions, He spoke in parables.  Thus literalism leads to some very false errors.   And the biggest error?  Well since He used personal pronouns, that of course means there is a trinity of three persons, right?  No, that is the falsehood which corrupted the Christian church.

THE SPIRITUAL MARRIAGE

Marriage, in the Christian Church, is symbolic of the union between the Lord and the Church.  This union is a spiritual marriage.  Not a literal one.  So when Jesus discusses marriage, we must keep in mind: is He talking about a literal marriage, or a spiritual one?  For example:
Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?" And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. (Matt. 9:14-15)
The Lord is the bridegroom. Was He talking about a literal marriage, or a spiritual one?  He is talking about a spiritual one.  The spiritual marriage is one where one enters into the kingdom of heaven, shown in these passages:
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man, a king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth servants and invited . . . to the wedding" (Matt. 22:1-14). "The kingdom of heaven is like unto ten virgins, which . . . went forth to meet the bridegroom; five of whom . . . that were ready went in to the marriage" (Matt. 25:1 seq.). "The time of the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. . . . Blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb" (Rev. 19:7, 9). 
Swedenborg describes this spiritual marriage in more detail in the parable of the ten virgins:
He said, The kingdom of the heavens is like ten virgins, who, taking their lamps, went forth to meet the bridegroom; five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil; but the wise took oil in their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil, for our lamps are going out. But the wise answered, saying, Lest perchance there be not enough for us and you, go ye rather to them who sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and they who were ready went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not (Matt. xxv. 1-12). That in all these words there is a spiritual sense, and hence a Divine holiness, no one sees but he who knows that there is a spiritual sense, and what its quality is. In the spiritual sense by the kingdom of the heavens is meant heaven and the church, by the bridegroom the Lord, by the wedding the marriage of the Lord with them by the good of love and the truth of faith, by virgins those who are of the church, by ten all, by five some, by lamps the things which are of faith, by oil the things which are of the good of love, by sleeping and rising the life of man in the world which is natural and his life after death which is spiritual, by buying to procure for themselves, by going to them who sell and buying oil to procure for themselves the good of love from others after death; and because then it is no longer procured, therefore, though they came with lamps and the oil which they had bought to the door where the wedding was, still it was said to them by the bridegroom, I know you not. The reason is, that man remains after the life in the world such as he had lived in the world. From these examples it is plain that the Lord spake solely by correspondences, and this because He spake from the Divine which was in Him and was His. (True Christian Religion, n. 199).
So: Jesus spoke in correspondences, in parables. While the men around Him thought of earthly matters, His mind was always on heavenly matters.  When asked a question on earthly matters, He would often answer with the heavenly kingdom in mind.  And with that understanding, we can now address this question of Jesus by the Sadducees, who believed in no resurrection:
"Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother.Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh.Last of all the woman died also.Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her."Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob' ? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." (Matt. 22:24-32)
So the question here is: is Jesus talking about a literal marriage, as the Sadducees were, or was He talking about a spiritual marriage?  He is talking about the spiritual marriage.  For the spiritual marriage occurs once, and it occurs upon the resurrection when we enter the kingdom of heaven.

ANGELIC MARRIAGES IN HEAVEN BETWEEN TRUE SOUL MATES

Are there actual literal marriages between angelic beings in heaven?  Jesus left this unanswered...but those who interpret His saying literally will say Jesus said no. But for the New Church, one of the revelations given in this new dispensation is that there are angelic marriages in heaven, especially in the higher ones. Here is a passage of a description that Swedenborg had of one angelic couple, which I will quote at length:
We have perceived and now see that you are meditating on Marriage Love; and we know that as yet no one on earth knows what true marriage love in its origin and in its essence is; and yet it is important that it should be known. It has therefore pleased the Lord to open the heavens to you, that illustrating light and thence perception may flow into the interiors of your mind. With us in the heavens, especially in the third heaven, our heavenly delights are chiefly from marriage love. By permission given us we will therefore send down to you a married pair, that you may see them.
And lo! a chariot then appeared descending from the highest or third heaven, in which an angel was seen; but as it approached two were seen in it. In the distance the chariot glittered like a diamond before my eyes. And young horses were harnessed to it, white as snow; and they who sat in the chariot held two turtle doves in their hands. And they called to me, saying:—
"Would you like us to come nearer? But have a care then that the effulgence from our heaven whence we have descended, which is flaming, does not penetrate interiorly. By the influx of this the higher ideas of your understanding are indeed illustrated, which in themselves are celestial; but in the world in which you are these are ineffable. Receive therefore what you are about to hear rationally, and so address it to the understanding."
I answered:—"I will take heed; come nearer." And they came, and lo! they were a husband and his wife.
And they said:—"We are a married pair. From the earliest age, called by you the golden age, we have lived happily in heaven; and always in the same flower of youth in which you see us today."
I observed them both attentively, for I perceived that they represented marriage love, in its life, and in its adornment; in its life in their faces, and in its adornment in their apparel. For all angels are affections of love in human form; their ruling affection itself shines forth from their faces. And from their affection and in harmony with it their garments are chosen. It is therefore said in heaven that his own affection clothes every one. The husband appeared to be at the age between manhood and youth. From his eyes beamed forth a light sparkling with the wisdom of love. His countenance was as if radiant from this light within, and by the irradiation from it the skin outwardly was as it were refulgent. Thence his whole face was one resplendent comeliness. He was clothed in a long robe that reached to the ankles, and under the robe a vestment of blue, and this was girded about with a golden girdle on which were three precious stones—two sapphires at the sides and in the middle a carbuncle. His stockings were of shining linen interwoven with threads of silver; and his shoes were entirely of silk. This was the representative form of marriage love with the husband.
And with the wife it was this:—I saw her face—and did not see it. I saw it as beauty itself, and did not see it because it was transcendent. For there was a splendour of flaming light in her countenance—such light as is with the angels of the third heaven—and it dimmed my sight, so that I was simply struck with amazement. Observing this she spoke to me saying:—
"What do you see?"
I answered:—"I see only marriage love and a form of it. But I see—and do not see."
At this she turned herself partly away from her husband, and then I could regard her more intently. Her eyes glistened with the light of their heaven—which as was said is flaming, and for the reason that it is derived from the love of wisdom. For in that heaven wives love their husbands from wisdom and in their wisdom; and husbands love their wives from and in that love towards themselves—and they are thus united. Hence her beauty!—which in its form was such as no painter could emulate and portray; for there is no such lustre in his colour, nor any such beauty expressible by his art. Her hair was gracefully arranged in correspondence with her beauty, and had flowers inserted in it like a coronet. She wore a necklace of carbuncles, and pendent from this a rosary of chrysolites; and she had bracelets of pearls. She was arrayed in a flowing robe of scarlet, and under this had a waistcoat of purple, clasped in front with rubies. But, which was a marvel to me, the colours varied according to her aspect towards her husband, and according to this they were now more now less brilliant—more when they were mutually turned towards each other, and less when they were partly turned from each other. (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 42)
The older Christian churches are not ready to receive this truth, so this is one item they always bring up against the New Church since they read scripture literally.  The Catholic Church will probably not accept it as they tell their priests to be celibate - which blocks this heavenly influx of marriage love.  An angel then told Swedenborg, that this truth will only be received by those who will belong to the church of the New Jerusalem:
After this an angel of that heaven appeared to me having a parchment in his hand, which he unrolled, saying:—
"I perceived that you were meditating on marriage love. In this parchment there are arcana of wisdom on that subject not hitherto made known in the world. They are now disclosed, because now it is of advantage. There are more of these arcana in our heaven than in the others, because we are in the marriage of love and wisdom. But I predict that none will appropriate that love to themselves but those who are received by the Lord into the New Church, which is the New Jerusalem."
Saying this the angel let the unrolled parchment fall. And a certain angelic spirit took it up and laid it on a table in a certain room which he immediately closed, and handed to me the key and said, "Write." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 43)
The only other church that I am aware of that accepts this is the Mormon heresy. This is because Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, borrowed some of his ideas from the writings of Swedenborg, and criticized Swedenborg for not using the revelation for his own profit.

THE SPIRITUAL UNION OF TWO SOUL MATES

So what about intimate marital relationships (i.e., sex)? Yes, but of a higher, more spiritual nature.  The human form is retained in the afterlife, and in the spiritual world, it is nothing but the world of one's ideas, where one's internal psychological states become the immediate reality.  Those who wish to hide their sins will choose a realm of darkness to hide them.  Those who have lived by the truth will be drawn towards the light. This is outside of space and time: instead of space, there is only distance according to love, and instead of time, there are changes of state.  Concerning these spiritual unions, Swedenborg wrote:
...married pairs enjoy similar intercourse with each other as in the world, only more delightful and blessed, but without prolification; for which, or in place of it, there is with them spiritual prolification which is of love and wisdom. The reason why married pairs enjoy similar intercourse as in the world is that the male is male and the female is female after death, and in both an inclination to conjunction is implanted by creation; and this inclination in man is of the spirit and thence of the body; and therefore after death when man is a spirit the same mutual inclination continues—and this cannot be without similar intercourse. For man is man just as before. Nothing whatever is wanting in the male, and nothing whatever in the female. They are like themselves in respect to form, and equally so as to affections and thoughts. What else can follow then but that they have similar intercourse? And because marriage love is chaste pure and holy the intercourse is also full. ...The intercourse is then more delightful and blessed because when the love becomes of the spirit it becomes more interior and purer and therefore more perceptible, and every delight increases according as it is perceived—and so increases that even its blessedness is distinguishable in its delight.
The reason why marriages in the heavens are without prolification, but that instead of it there is spiritual prolification, which is of love and wisdom, is that,—The third degree which is the natural is wanting to those who are in the spiritual world, and this degree is the containant of things spiritual, and spiritual things without their containant have not fixity after the manner of those who are procreated in the natural world,—and in themselves regarded spiritual things pertain to love and wisdom; these therefore are what are born of their marriages. It is said that these are born because marriage love perfects an angel, for it unites him with his consort, whereby he becomes more and more man (homo). For, as was said above, a married pair in heaven are not two but one angel. (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 51-52)
The point here is that - even if you do not accept that Jesus was talking about a spiritual marriage, if it is true that each angel is in fact a married couple...then yes, angels do not marry because they are in fact internally a married couple. He was not so clear in His answer to the Jews about internal spiritual matters because the Jews were not willing to listen about a heavenly kingdom: their focus was on an earthly material one.

For those who have lost their loved ones, or who never had a true spiritual marriage - something special is awaiting them, beyond everyone's imagination. And if you want to watch a movie on this topic, I could recommend the movie Somewhere in Time, with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.  Most know Christopher Reeve from his role as superman, but this is probably the most favorite of mine in which he starred. Here is a trailer - the movie is better - but don't watch other clips on the internet, as some of them spoil the ending...



Ok, so maybe that movie is a bit slow for some people.  Coincidentally (there are no coincidences), I just saw an awesome movie which just came out: Oblivion, which concerns the subject we are talking about.  And it has a plot twist even stranger than the above. There is an element of truth to these movies which speak of undying love. Here are some quotes from the movie:

They lied to you. Now it is time to learn the truth.

If we have souls, they are made of the love we share: undimmed by time, unbound by death.

I won't reveal anything more, but here is the trailer - more action oriented, but a well written plot line






Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Was Swedenborg a Cult Leader, and is the New Church a cult?


There are a few religious organizations out there who would have you believe that Swedenborg was the founder of a cult, and that the New Church is a cult. Nothing could be further from the truth. For one, cult leaders are ego-centric, and love to get attention from their followers. Many self-proclaimed "prophets" have not overcome their basic selfish love of the ego. Compare that kind of psychology to Swedenborg: he published his works anonymously, and he never sought to establish any church. For the New Church would be different from any other church that preceded it: it would be established by the Lord Himself.

It is unfortunate, because what was revealed to Swedenborg in his visions is perhaps the greatest revelation ever received in Christianity. Yet few Christians even know of him.  He was a well known and respected scientist, had no reason to lie - in fact, he had much to lose by publicizing his visions. He has a few clairvoyant visions, one of which was verified by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant.

So if you want to look at the opposition, they mostly come from Protestant mind sets. Why is that?  Well lets take a look at what they say.

Here is one from The Hall of Church History: the Cultists. It mentions Swedenborg, but does not dive into any details. It says simply this:

All cults have this in common: they deny the biblical doctrine of justification by faith.

So is justification by faith alone a Biblical doctrine?  Or did this doctrine appear late in church history, say 16th century A.D.?  It appears late, and is not part of the original doctrines of the church. Yet it is a foundation stone for any fundamentalist Protestant.  It is based on one verse out of the whole Bible:
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. (Rom. 3:28)
And with that, everything else which states that one must live according to God's commandments is thrown out the window. For it is taken out of context: what Paul was talking about was the external rituals of the Mosaic law. NOT the ten commandments.  They ignore that Paul later says everyone will be judged according to their works. But even if they would agree to that, Protestants have a tendency to belief only, for a man cannot will to do good from himself.  Each person is a "passive" subject. However a true faith is active, and does not become faith unless conjoined with charity, or rendering good use to others. That the Protestant doctrine is false, is shown by this verse:
Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'This is the first and great commandment.And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. (Matt. 22:36-40)
To love one with all one's heart is with all one's will.  Not mind only. Anyone who says that, ignores the first and greatest commandment.

So let's move on.  Here is a statement from another Protestant website, Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, run by an individual. It sums up Swedenborgianism like this:

This is a dangerous mystical non-Christian religion.  Its denial of the Trinity and the Holy Spirit, the vicarious atonement, and rejection of Acts and the Pauline epistles clearly set it outside of Christian orthodoxy.

Not exactly sure what is meant by "dangerous".  If he means "intelligent", maybe so, for Swedenborg is estimated to have an IQ of over 200. And it is encouraged for everyone to seek the truth for themself, regardless of religious authority. But even so, the theology that was revealed to him went way beyond his own intelligence and knowledge. So, lets go through this one by one:
1. Denial of the Trinity.  What Protestants and other Christians fail to admit to themselves is that although they say with the mouth that they believe in one God, they in fact worship a trinity of three persons.  It is Tritheism, plain and simple.  For they cannot say what that "one" is.  The truth of the matter: there is a trinity of soul, body and spirit in every person, and in Jesus Christ it is the Holy Trinity.  In him resides the fullness of the Godhead (Col. 1:19), in Him there is a Trinity of the Divine Itself, the Divine Human, and the Divine Proceeding. There is one Lord, Jesus Christ. Oneness Pentecostals have a similar position. Is Monotheism dangerous? I think not.
2. Denial of the Holy Spirit.  For Tritheists, there is no other understanding that when an aspect of God is mentioned it must be another person. This in fact is the origin of ancient idolatry. A man's spirit is not another person, it proceeds from the life that resides in his body. Same is true of Jesus. How else could Jesus come and reside in our heart? This accusation is plainly false.
3. Denial of Vicarious Atonement. Protestants, and Catholics, believe that Jesus saved mankind by taking the punishment for our sins, fulfilling the requirement of the law, and that our sins were transferred to Him on the cross. This again, is late theology, and originated some time in the 11th century A.D.  According to Swedenborg, the Lord saved humanity by taking on a human being and making it Divine, by resisting all sin and temptation. In such a way, He enters into us when we repent and resist temptation. When that happens, He removes it.  Thus there is no salvation apart from repentance. Protestant theology teaches differently: it is by belief alone and lip confession. But this theology is not new: it is ancient! The Orthodox Churches hold to a similar view and reject the Protestant theology. So are we to believe that the Orthodox Church is a cult?
4. Rejection of Acts and Pauline Epistles. This is a half truth. What Swedenborg said was that these writings were not Divinely Inspired in such a way where the literal sense corresponds to the spiritual sense. What he did say is that these were useful for doctrine for the general Church. And he did not deny Paul's theology, but rather, shows how Protestants misinterpret Paul. He also said that the statements contained in the writings of Paul were "Divinely influenced".  Not all Swedenborgians know that, so I will classify this as a "half-truth".  But since 90% of their sermons come from Paul, and most of the Old Testament is ignored, they get really upset by this.
So lets move on to another web site, called Jude Ministries: Contending for the Faith. Let's go through the main laundry list:

A denial of the atonement, the Trinity, the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

We already covered this accusation, except for one: a denial of the deity of Christ?  Are they serious?  No, the New Church states that Jesus Christ is Divine, He is the human form of Jehovah.  Not only that, but that He is completely Divine: a Divine Human.  I can actually turn this argument against them: it is Protestants who deny the deity of Christ by stating that He has two natures: a Divine nature and a human nature.  What they fail to realize is that the "human nature" is Divine as well, and is known in the Gospels as "the Son of God". This originated from the Council of Chalcedon, which in previous blog posts I explained that in the prophecies of Daniel this is known as the "abomination of desolation".

All religions lead to God (pluralism!)

Yes and no.  First, it must be understood that Jesus Christ is the Divine Truth in human form.  There are many other religions that contains aspects of this Divine Truth; followers just do not know God has appeared in human form. Another way said: there are many truths that lead to God, but among all religions there is one Love. Loving others is what makes all religions common. There is one religion, however, which leads people away from heaven, and that is Arianism, the modern form of which is the Jehovah's Witnesses, for they deny the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Islam is different, because they have no knowledge of the Word.  I may have to devote a separate blog for this item. It is from God's Divine Providence that He will put bread crumbs here and there in this forest of darkness to lead us back to Him.

There is no devil

There is no such thing as an individual devil.  Every human will either become an angel or spirit, or if he or she turns against God, will become a devil or demon, depending on how selfish they were and what evils they held in their heart.  All of hell together forms one devil. There is nothing in scripture which states that there is one individual devil; Jesus fought against many of them.

The Scriptures can only be properly interpreted through Swedenborgianism

Completely false. Swedenborg said that for those who follow the Lord, and simply believe in the Word, his writings are unnecessary. It is written for those who have questions. But without Swedenborg, or knowing his method of using scripture to interpret scripture and the symbolism behind it, much of the Old Testament, and the book of Revelation, will be a closed book. Thus they stick to the letters of Paul.

One may sin in heaven

Yes. But this requires a bit of explanation concerning the afterlife. I will simply quote this scripture:
Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker?If He puts no trust in His servants, If He charges His angels with error,How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, Whose foundation is in the dust, Who are crushed before a moth? (Job 4:17-19)
The only valid portions of the New Testament are the four Gospels and Revelation


Again a "half truth".  The writings of Paul were Divinely influenced, and necessary for the church.

Salvation is by good works

The Protestants ever stick with belief alone as the way of salvation. So why does Paul and Jesus say everyone will be judged according to their works? Lets move on.

There is no physical resurrection

Only Jesus rose from the dead as to the body.  Everyone else will rise in a spiritual body.  This spiritual body will be in a complete human form, of a more refined substance that does not interact with light. As Jesus said, God is God of the living, not of the dead. Which means many have already risen and dwell in heaven. Those who believe in an actual physical resurrection also believe in a more physical literal kingdom of God on earth.

Angels (and evil spirits) are not supernatural creations of God, but are rather, humans who have died

That is right. So answer this: where did the angels come from, and why do they have human form?

At death, a person’s mind falls asleep for three days in a place called the world of the spirits. Afterwards, he awakens and those spirits who have died before help him adjust. He then forms his own spiritual body in which to reside.

That is right. So answer this: why did Jesus reside for three days and nights in the tomb before He rose from the dead? Why did Jesus say that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were among the living?

And then comes this very odd statement:

I want to take a moment to add a lengthy paragraph from one of the commentaries on the place of sexual love in this group. We have already seen other cults where sex and free love are important elements (i.e., the Moonies), but these comments will also set the stage for some understanding of more extreme examples.
The predominant subject in the teacher’s mind was “conjugal love,” which was indeed in his view “heavenly love in its highest form,” and is according to him a great subject of interest, and conversation among the angels. In spite of our Lord’s denial, they do “marry and are given in marriage in heaven!” There are passages in Swedenborg’s writings so grossly indelicate, Dr Pond assures us, that they ought never to have been translated. Swedenborg gives 55 cases in which a married man may judge himself free to be unfaithful to his marriage vows; and in certain cases he permits and even recommends flagrant immorality.


This has got to be a very blatant misrepresentation of the view on sex: for sex is only proper within a marriage relationship.  But Swedenborg then discusses different degrees of sexual relationships that depart from marriage love. Just because he describes different states of love and sex does not mean he condones it, but it may be upsetting to those who have a prudish mindset. And then when they marry they don't know what to do, leading to life long unsatisfactory relationships. There is an entire book devoted to this called Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love. The denial of marriage relationships comes from a misinterpretation of one of the answers of Jesus, which belongs in another blog. Rather than regard sex as "evil", sex is highly spiritual, when between one man and woman in a marital relationship.  Really, is support of marriage a sign of a cult? This is not "free love" as the author would have his readers believe, for Swedenborg said that adultery leads directly to hell.

So lets move on. Here is a website called Emanuel Swedenborg was Definitely Unsaved.  First, very bad choice in title, for scripture forbids condemning one to hell or saying one shall go to heaven. Only God is in a position to judge one's spiritual state.  But lets go through the list, probably one of the more detailed I have seen:
  • Bible: If you believe, God will forgive all your sins and give you power over sin. God has a hell for those that are called good yet call Jesus a liar.
  • New Idea: God's mercy involves helping us become better people. God is willing to forgive everyone, and is more concerned how we live than with what we believe.
Since when does God only concern with how one believe, and not how one lives?  Well since the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, if you believe their theology, and not scripture. What about Matt. 25? What about how it is not those who hear God's Word, but those who hear and obey?  Should not God's truth be life changing?  Belief alone will die with you when you die, for you will be examined according to how you lived your life. Belief alone is a dead religion.
  • Bible: God is 3 Persons. Jesus is Son of God, distinct Person from the Father.
  • New Idea: God is One Person: Jesus Christ. The Father is the Soul, the Son is the Body, and the Holy Spirit is the Activity of the One Divine Person.
See: internally, Christian theology is that of Tritheism. Which is why that old church must die and a New Church will begin anew. Similar to what happened to Judaism. For the statement that they believe in one God is on the lips only, in the thought there are three gods. Did not Paul state that the fullness of the Godhead resides in Jesus bodily? Did not Jesus say the Father resides in Him? That He and the Father are one? Does He not call God His Father because He was born by the Holy Spirit of a virgin? And so on.
  • Bible: The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity.
  • New Idea: The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ. It is the regenerating and enlightening influence of Jesus Christ, not of some third person.
No, that comes from the Nicene Creed of the fourth century A.D., decided by a church council, which corrupted the Christian Church. There is no reference to a "third person" in the Bible. In fact, this "third person" never appears. The Holy Spirit is that which proceeds as spirit from the body of Jesus Christ. That is why it is said "the Holy Spirit was not yet, for Jesus was not glorified".
  • Bible: We are saved instantly just by believing that Jesus died for our sins. We don't need to put any effort into our salvation.
  • New Idea: Faith alone is not enough. We must actively resist evil, while acknowledging that the effort to resist comes from God.
See how the Protestant theology has corrupted Christianity: it has become a matter of belief alone. Who cares if one lives an evil life?  One just confesses to a belief, one is saved. Done.  No repentance necessary. Flip-flop these statements: for it is faith alone that was a new idea introduced in the 16th century. What about loving God with all our heart?  Can you love by putting in no effort?  Can you love and disobey the commandments? Can children just believe what their parents say and not do them? There is no such thing as instantaneous salvation: it is a life long process, and continues to eternity.

This time I will skip the statements on marriage and sex. For some reason that's an issue. Actually, maybe I will blog a bit more about sex since some find this to be a "disturbing" subject. Lets move on:
  • Bible: Heaven is a place of praise and activity.
  • New Idea: Heaven is a place of usefulness.
This is the biggest misconceptions about heaven: that we will just stand around "praising".  That is, lip service.  For the Protestant theology does not understand that a spiritual life is one of usefulness.  If you follow the Protestant theology, you will probably get fired from your job. Or you will forget about your beliefs until you return back to them once a day in the week. There is actually a funny story that Swedenborg describes of people newly entered into the afterlife after their bodily decease, where they thought heaven was just praise, lip service, and talking with each other. The angels locked them in some rooms together to talk until they could not stand it any more, and realized there was much more to heaven than just plucking harps. In the New Church a spiritual life is an active life, a useful life, a practical life: a utilitarian life of love and service.

Needless to say, most theologians have never had visions or revelations concerning the afterlife. Many will actually deny them outright, similar to the Sadducees of old.
  • Bible: The Bible should be taken literally unless otherwise indicated.
  • New Idea: The Bible has an inner meaning.
If we take every statement of the Bible literally, including the metaphors and parables...one is going to completely miss the spiritual meaning, and it will lead to some very false heresies.  Not sure what he means by "otherwise indicated", nor where he got this rule of thumb. It is simply an assumption.
  • Bible: Adam and Eve were actual people.
  • New Idea: Adam and Eve were symbols of the Lord and His Church.
An example of literalism.  There is much symbolism contained in the stories of Adam and Eve, and even he does not get the symbolic meaning right. Many Jews - such as Philo - interpreted things symbolically. So is this idea new? No, it is very old.
  • Bible: Jesus saved us by receiving the punishment that was meant for us atoning for our sins.
  • New Idea: Jesus saved us by overcoming evil and glorifying His Human form.
Show any Orthodox person this statement, and they will tell you it is blatantly false. The Orthodox Church preceded the Catholic and Protestant churches, did it not? Flip flop the statements, and it is the Protestant doctrine which is new.
  • Bible: Blood means life; let us drink of his blood and eat of His flesh.
  • New Idea: Blood means Life and Truth; Jesus saves us by giving us life and truth.
Not sure what the issue is here. Again, the spiritual meaning of "blood" in scripture is either life or truth, and it it the Divine Truth which sanctifies and give life.  The "bread" is symbolic of love.  The spiritual truth here is that this salvation could not happen until Jesus made His human Divine. Why else would His body and blood become the center of Christian worship.
  • Bible: God punishes people, bad things are the result of sin.
  • New idea: The Lord wills only good, but permits bad things for the sake of our freedom.
Of course only God wills what is good for humanity! For God is love itself.  In order to protect the good from the evil, evil contains within it its own punishment. And bad things do happen to help lead us back towards the proper path. Nothing new here.  Author probably misunderstands Swedenborg's explanation for the existence of evil in Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Providence.
  • Bible: We are saved by faith (that is new birth) alone apart from the works of the law.
  • New Idea: We are saved by the Lord through love, faith and good works.
See how the Protestant theology leads people to the idea of salvation by belief alone, by misinterpreting Paul's statement concerning the external rituals of the Judaic laws.  And love is a new idea???  Do they not know what are the two greatest commandments of Jesus?
  • Bible: Christians are saved and those who have not heard of Christ are saved if they accept the Creator for if they were introduced to Christ they would accept Him.
  • New Idea: Good people from all religions are saved.
Again, people who are narrow minded like to believe that only people who believe as they do will be saved. This comes from a religion of belief alone. When it is recognized that love is what is important, and that God is love itself, those who have lived a life of love will learn who God is after they die: for God is the source of all love.
  • Bible: We are saved by faith alone. When you commune with God, He will increase the fruit of His love in your life daily.
  • New Idea: The most important command is to love God and others.
The Protestant church teaches people that it is belief alone that saves. That you do nothing, you are a passive subject. And that good will "spontaneously" come up on its own.  This is a false teaching, which destroys the essence of religion: for true religion is one of repentance, following God's commandments, and loving others. Notice how the idea of belief alone has become the primary doctrine over the two great commandments of Jesus: that we should love God and love others. Is this a new idea? No, Jesus taught it!
  • Bible: God the Father has a Holy anger and wrath that punishes sinners and condemns them to hell for calling His Son a liar.
  • New Idea: God is always loving and merciful--the anger is just an appearance.
Here the difference is remarkable. Is God one of anger and wrath, seeking to punish us, or is He Love itself, and we are His children? Should we live in fear, or in freedom out of love?  Since when is love a "new idea"? The 16th century perhaps?

So I could go through other websites, but they essentially repeat the same points above...so what religion is true: one of Tritheism, where the Father God seeks to punish us in His wrath, but those who simply believe or make a lip confession in His son will not go to hell...or is it one where God is Love itself, and He Himself has appeared to us human form, so that He might save us?  Which leads to a more spiritual life: a religion of belief alone and lip service, which tells you your sins are covered or taken away with no repentance, or one that tells you you should examine yourself, repent of your specific sins, to remove the evil and lead a good and useful life?

Should we believe this new doctrine of the 16th century, or go with the more ancient teaching of the first century?

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Prophecy of the Last Judgment

In previous blog posts I have been discussing the meaning of prophecies in the Bible which have associated time periods.  In particular, I focused on this prophecy of Daniel, which mentions a period of 1290 and 1335 days, which correspond to a long time period of 1290 years and 1335 years:
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.  Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. (Dan. 12:11-12)
In Biblical history, there was a 1290 year period from 1883 - 593 B.C., which begins with the time of Abraham's sojourning to the land of Canaan, to the time when God shows the "abomination" of idol worship in the Jewish temple to the prophet Ezekiel.  The 1290 year period can be divided into three periods of 430 years each, thus there is a prophecy where Ezekiel is commanded to lie on his side for a period of 430 days (a day for each year).  Contained within the 1290 year period is a shorter 1260 year period lasting from 1853 to 593 B.C., which closely follows the solar eclipses of a particular Saros cycle.

Daniel speaks of a future 1290 year period, associated with another period of 1335 years.  As discussed before, it is possible that they refer to the following periods of time:

455 - 1790 A.D. (1335 years)
499 - 1789 A.D. (1290 years)

Both periods end at the same time, the year 1789-90, the exact time of the French Revolution which broke the political and spiritual power of the Catholic Church.  The "abomination of desolation" does not concern the desecration of a Jewish temple, but rather the non-acknowledgment of the Divine in the human of the Lord, and the corruption of the Christian Church which turns away from love into belief only.  It was in 451 A.D. where the Council of Chalcedon declared that Jesus has two natures - the Divine and the human - which was done so that the Papacy could claim to be the Vicar of Christ on earth.  The year 455 A.D. was when the Vandals sacked Rome, stealing the treasures of Jerusalem, symbolizing the "desecration" of Christianity - for now not only was God divided into 3 persons, but His human - the Son of God, was no longer Divine, but an ordinary human. The Vandals, moreover, followed Arianism, which does not acknowledge Jesus as Divine. The Council of Chalcedon was opposed - and is still opposed - by the Oriental Orthodox Church, the largest of which is the Coptic Church. It was in 499 A.D. that the question b became settled in the Catholic Church, after an internal schism concerning the Papacy over this question.

Knowing the time period of the 1290 year prophecy means we are now in a position to determine the time period of the 1260 years - the "time, times and half a time" in Biblical prophecy.  For the 1260 year period is a shorter version of the longer 1290 year period.  We need to understand here: the prophecies do not concern political events of nations, but rather spiritual events involving the Church.  Prophecies concerning particular nations in scripture symbolize spiritual states within the Church.  The Nicene Creed and the Council of Chalcedon greatly changed the nature of the Christian Church, slowly corrupting it until there is no truth left in the majority of theology as understood today.

With that preface, I would like to summarize the vision that Daniel had of the future, described in chapter 7 of the book of Daniel.  He sees four beasts rise of out of the sea, the last one having 10 horns.  This is then followed by a "little horn", which then makes war upon the saints and utters blasphemies against God.  Here is a summary of the vision, as traditionally interpreted in its lowest, literal sense:

The Lion = Babylonian Empire (626 - 539 B.C.)
The Bear = Medo-Persian Empire (539 - 332 B.C.)
The Leopard = Grecian Empire (332 - 31 B.C.)
A Fourth Beast with 10 horns = Roman Empire (31 B.C. - 493 A.D.)
A Little Horn = the Roman Catholic Papacy

Most other interpreters of Biblical prophecy will agree with this interpretation. Others, however, will try to put a "gap" in the prophecy and apply the 10 horns to the nations of Europe and the little horn to a future Antichrist. This is the "Futuristic" interpretation, which has a tendency to place all prophecies in the future - just as the Jews still expect a Messiah to come some time in the future.

The above interpretation, however, is its lowest most literal interpretation: for whatever happened to the Jews was representative of the spiritual church, thus the empires which ruled over the Jewish peoples were representative as well.  What the vision describes is how a spiritual revelation degenerates over time until there is no truth left in the church. Thus, there are many details which are skipped over by most interpreters:

The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man's heart was given to it. (Dan. 7:4)
This symbolizes the first state of the church, where the revelation of the Divine truth elevates a person from a lower natural state (an animal) to a higher spiritual state (a standing man). The eagle's wings is one's own rationality, which is replaced by a higher spiritual truth. This is a state where the Word transforms one's life, redeeming a person from sin.
And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: 'Arise, devour much flesh! (Dan. 7:5)
The second state is when the Word is read, but not understood.  Appropriation of the Word in one's mind is symbolized by "eating" it. That there are many truths is signified by "much flesh", but that it is applied literally where fallacious appearances are taken as the truth, is symbolized by the three ribs between the teeth.
After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. (Dan. 7:6)
This is the third state of the church. The Word is indeed read, but scripture is now used to confirm false heresies.  The confirmed falsities are the wings of the bird. Reading the Word and not understanding it is one thing, but to then take it and confirm a false belief is a worse state than the one preceding it. The reason why the Grecian Empire represents this is that they took ancient truths and converted them into fables and myths which were used to support their idolatry.
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. (Dan. 7:7)
This is the fourth state of the church, in which all truth and good are destroyed. It becomes powerful among many, the many falsehoods are symbolized by the "10 horns" (ten means all, a horn symbolize power from falsehood).
I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words. (Dan. 7:8)

Later in the vision the angel explains:
The ten horns are ten kings Who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings.He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time. (Dan. 7:24-25)
This is the part I wanted to get to: for the "little horn" reigns over the saints - those of the church - for a "time, times, and half a time".  This is a period of three and a half years, or 1260 days, which symbolizes a period of 1260 years. So what does this "little horn" symbolize? The "horn" signifies the power of a particular falsehood. It is "little" because so few see it.  In this particular case, it is making use of religion to confirm the love of self and the love of dominion over others.  Thus it signifies the Papacy.  The "three horns" that are subdued and humbled means that all the truths of the Word were subdued and warped to support this line of thinking. Thus it signifies the dominion of the Papacy, and from its theology, it also signifies a religion of belief alone, with no love or charity.

It can be confirmed in any history book that the western Roman Empire fell in 493 A.D.  And, as discussed earlier, the 1260 year period is based on a Saros cycle of solar eclipses.  Moreover, this 1260 year period is the smaller or shorter period of the 1290 year period (499 - 1789 A.D.).  Based upon that, the time period of the 1260 years during which time the Roman Catholic Church would rule over the church is as follows:

499 - 1759 A.D.

It was in 1759 A.D. in which the suppression of the Jesuits in Europe began, which was the political power of the Catholic Church. This was an outcome of the Enlightenment, which culminated in the French Revolution.  However, what takes place on earth first takes place in the spiritual world. For before these events took place, there was a last judgment in heaven, as seen in the visions of Emanuel Swedenborg.

THE LAST JUDGMENT IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD

What confuses everyone concerning this particular vision of Daniel is what comes next: for the prophecy states that after this time period of rule by the Papacy for 1260 years, a judgment will take place:

I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire;A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened.I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame.As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed. (Dan. 7:9-14)
What people misunderstand here is that they expect a visible coming of the Lord upon the clouds of heaven, to judge all and establish a kingdom here on earth.  But this is not the case.  What Swedenborg was shown was that final judgments periodically take place in the spiritual world upon large groups of people, who have not entered heaven or hell.  This happens in the spiritual world upon those who have already died but have not been judged yet. These final judgments tend to take place on those who are outwardly religious, but inwardly evil.  These kinds of souls are permitted for a time as they do help to lead others towards God. When these judgments take place, a new revelation is given, and a new church begins to form on earth.  And this is what Swedenborg saw which took place beginning in the year 1757, and lasted to the end of that year: there was a spiritual judgment on the religious leaders, especially those of the Roman Catholic religion.  This took place in the spiritual world, and it is no coincidence that the Catholic Church began to lose its political power and authority soon after.  The Lord coming on the clouds of heaven means the revelation of the spiritual sense of the Word, which was revealed in the visions of Swedenborg: every small detail is revealed, showing that behind the literal sense there is a hidden spiritual sense.

This final judgment which took place in the year 1757 was described in detail in Swedenborg's work, The Final Judgment (see to the left).  What is significant is the timing: for it came towards the end of Daniel's prophecy of 1260 years.  Even Swedenborg was not aware of the literal meaning of the time period of the prophecy, interpreting it generally as the time "from the beginning to the end" for that phase of the church.  But for those who interpret the Bible literally, who expect to see things visibly in front of their own eyes, and for those who deny or who do not know anything of the afterlife, the prophecies of the Lord's coming and the final judgment will always be closed to them.  Hopefully I have given enough pointers for people to reconsider their understanding of these Biblical prophecies, and will research the visions of Swedenborg more closely to understand the spiritual sense of the Word.  So how was the Lord given dominion at this time?  The kingdom or dominion is the formation of  New Church on earth. He is given dominion, when one acknowledges that He is Jehovah in human form. For the Father is not a separate being, the Father lives inside of Him, and we know the Father through the human form, the Son.

And when you realize that, the older dominion, the one in which God was worshiped as three distinct beings, begins to fall apart, and becomes destroyed.  This falsehood will then no longer rule over your spiritual life.