Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Marian Apparitions of Egypt, the Orthodox Church and Emanuel Swedenborg

In the blog post Angel Appears before thousands on top of a Coptic Church I described what seems to be an angelic apparition of the virgin Mary on top of a Coptic Church which was caught on video in the morning hours of December 11, 2009, and was seen by about 3,000 people. Now that took me by surprise, but what is even more surprising is this is not the first time this has happened. The first widely reported apparition of the virgin Mary in Egypt took place in Zeitoun Egypt on April 2, 1968 and lasted for over a period of three years, and was seen by at least HALF A MILLION Egyptians - including the former leader of Egypt, President Nasser. There seems to be a parallel between that sighting of 1968 and the one in Warraq in 2009. Again the angelic manifestation appeared on top of a Coptic church, which people thought was a young woman about to commit suicide. The form of the angel seems to have been more clearly visible, who then bowed down and prayed before one of the crosses on the rooftop. Like the sighting of 2009, a man was cured of blindness, and the apparition was seen with doves. Again, skeptics, and the scientists who only observe things in the visible light spectrum in this age of materialism, will tend to deny these things and come up with natural explanations. What do they say on this? Its a "mass hallucination" or tectonic plates producing an electro-magnetic light on top of the church. Here is a short documentary on the sighting, which includes witnesses who saw Mary turn and smile at them:



There is no video, but several photographs of the apparition were taken in black and white. I can show those, but as it turns out, an apparition of the angel Mary appeared later in Edfu Egypt in 1982, again approved by the Coptic Church:


So why the Marian apparition of 1968? One theory is that the day before, some Muslims had marked the houses of Coptic Christians with a cross of blood, marking the house as one that should be attacked. This is the exact sign that was placed on the doors of the Jews to protect them from the angel of death the night of the Passover.

As I was researching this blog, just found another apparition of Mary in Assiut, Egypt, which took place in the year 2000. AGAIN, on top of a Coptic Church. AGAIN, with the appearance of a dove. According to newspaper reports, during mass, pictures showing Mary with a dove above her that were hung on the wall inside the altar began to glow, after which the light from the dove in the pictures started to flow down. Later, the lights appeared above the church as well. It is an approved apparition by the Coptic Church. Here is a video of a light descending on the cross on top of the church:



Here is another shot where an angelic form appears in a tower, you can again hear the crowds cheer when it appears:



I can easily show more Marian apparitions, but for now I have only mentioned ones that have strong support from multiple witnesses and have been approved by the Coptic Church. The only thing that compares with this were the Fatima sightings in Portugal. So why does Mary appear with a dove? It is said that when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus, he saw it manifested in the form of a dove. Mary had conceived Jesus through the Holy Spirit. While externally he was like any other man, his inner soul was Divinity itself. And that is why the apparition Mary was seen in one case as bowing and praying before the cross.

EMMANUEL SWEDENBORG, ANGELS, AND THE HEAVENLY REALMS

If you want to know anything and everything about angels, and why they appear in such a bright light, you can obtain information on them from Emanuel Swedenborg's visions which he recorded in Heavenly Arcana (aka Arcana Coelestia) and in summary form in Heaven and Hell. There is too much to cover in one single blog post, since his visionary experiences lasted for a period of over 25 years and he wrote volumes about it. Unlike other religious writings I cannot find any logical error in them. All of the above sightings are brief instances, with no communication: Swedenborg's encounters are much more detailed. Most of Swedenborg's visions of angels in their heavenly realm took place in his internal sight, with no visible manifestation. But in one case at least, Swedenborg does mention a bright light that manifested before his very eyes:
That I might know the nature of the light, I have many times been conducted into the abodes where good spirits and angelic spirits dwell, and have there seen not only the spirits but also the things that were there. There have also been seen infants and mothers in light of so great brightness and resplendence that there could not possibly be anything brighter.
An intense flamy light, which I was not expecting, poured down before my eyes, dazzling them greatly — not merely the sight of the eye, but the interior sight also. Presently there appeared a sort of obscurity, like a thick, cloud, in which there was as it were something earthy. And when I was wondering, it was given me to know that such is the light with the angels in heaven, in comparison with the light in the world of spirits; and that although the spirits live in light, yet still there is such a difference; and that, as does the light, so also do the intelligence and the wisdom of the angels exceed the intelligence and the wisdom of spirits; and not their intelligence and wisdom only, but also all the things that belong to intelligence and wisdom, as their speech, thought, joys, and felicities; for these correspond to the light. From this it was also evident to me, how great and of what kind are the perfections of angels as compared with men, who are in obscurity more than spirits. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1523-24).
In his visions - a state in which Swedenborg was in in full wakefulness, he describes the light of heaven as so bright that there could not be possibly anything brighter in this world. It is a realm where there is no time and space, and while angels are unseen and for the most part not allowed to communicate directly with people, they influence us in general ways through our thoughts and emotions. There is a constant conjunction between the spiritual and material world, without which nothing living could live. Swedenborg observed a more direct link between himself and heavenly realms occurred when he was reading scripture, which also occurs to anyone who reads scripture with an open heart, even though they are unaware of it. With all of his angelic encounters, Swedenborg did not draw one single teaching or doctrine from an angel, but rather from the Lord himself while reading scripture.

EMANUEL SWEDENBORG AND THE VIRGIN MARY

So over the years of many visionary experiences, did Swedenborg ever encounter the virgin Mary? Yes, in one brief instance:
It is otherwise with the so called saints in heaven. They know nothing at all of their being so called on earth; nor have I spoken with them, lest some idea of this should enter into them. Only once Mary, the mother of the Lord, passed by, and was seen over head in white raiment; and then, stopping a little, she said that she had been the mother of the Lord and that He was indeed born of her, but that as He became God He put off all the human from her, and that therefore she now adores Him as her God, and is not willing that any one should recognize Him as her son, because in Him all is Divine. (The Final Judgment, n. 66).
Some observations here: for Mary to appear higher than Swedenborg can mean she exists in a higher realm than he was allowed to visit. The other point is, since of all the so-called saints he was only allowed to visit Mary, that could conversely mean that Mary is one of the few who is allowed to have a visible manifestation to appear before people here on earth. This does not mean that all apparitions are indicate the presence of the virgin Mary herself, it could very well be any female angel was sent to represent her and/or the church itself, to bring focus on the worship of Jesus. In the spiritual world, identities can get mixed somewhat: angels are allowed to represent other identities, as well as become symbolic manifestations. While Catholics are in error in praying to Mary, God acts in such a way where these manifestations are used to bend people back towards the true faith: it is better to bend, not break, the religion one grew up with as a child.

Another statement that Swedenborg makes, which may be puzzling to many Christians, is that she declared she is no longer the mother of the Lord. This is because Jesus gradually put off the human he received from Mary and replaced it with a Divine Human that originated from his own being. When he rose from the dead, he was completely Divine. There are two doctrines which have obscured this in the history of Christianity: the Nicene Creed, which invented a "son born from eternity", and the Chalcedonian Creed, which permanent divided Jesus into two natures, which created endless theological distinctions and debates which I will not get into here. Jesus BEGAN as both human and Divine, but in the end, the Divine absorbed and transformed the human into a Divine Human - a body that was under direct control by Jehovah, which could no longer be tempted to sin, where he could interact directly at our level without having an intermediate angel. For Catholics, this is obscured even more by the false doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary. This is VERY CLEAR in the revelations that Swedenborg received concerning Mary, and his explanations also make clear why Islam is a "partially" true (not complete) revelation:
The interiors with Him were Divine, from Jehovah His Father; the exteriors were human, from Mary His mother. Hence it may be evident that with the Lord, equally as with other men, there was in His external man, in boyhood, a want of knowledge. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1460)
From knowledge of boyhood, Jesus later proceeded to make his rational human self Divine:
The Lord, as said before, was born as another man and was as another man as to the things which He derived from the mother Mary; and as the rational is formed by means of the knowledges, external and internal, which enter through things of the external senses, or those of the external man, therefore His first rational was born as with any other man; but as He by His own power was to make all the things that were human in Himself Divine, so also was it with the rational. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1893.2)
...the Lord wholly exterminated His first rational, so that nothing of it remained; for what is merely human cannot be together with the Divine. Hence He was no longer the son of Mary, but Jehovah as to each Essence. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2657.7)
That He was born of the virgin Mary is known, yet as another man; but when He was born again, or became Divine, it was from Jehovah who was in Him, and Who was Himself as to the very Being of life. The unition of the Divine and the Human Essence was effected mutually and reciprocally, so that He united the Divine Essence to the Human and the Human to the Divine. Hence it may be evident that the Lord made the Human in Himself Divine by His own power, and thus became Justice. The merit of justice was what was adjoined to the Divine rational when He underwent inmost temptations, from which He then fought, and against which the evil genii fought, until He glorified that also. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2798.2)
The progession of His human to Divinity continued to the end of his life. And this explains why Jesus is called Lord in the New Testament, but not Jehovah, for during his ministry he had not yet made his human Divine:
Among the hidden causes of their calling Jehovah the Lord, were the following: if at that time it had been said that the Lord was the Jehovah so often named in the Old Testament, men would not have accepted it, for they would not have believed it; and further, because the Lord did not become Jehovah as to the Human also, until He had in every way united the Divine Essence to the Human Essence, and the Human to the Divine. The full unition was accomplished after the last temptation, which was that of the cross; and for this reason after the resurrection the disciples always called Him Lord. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2921.6)
In a similar manner, today, Muslims believe Jesus to just be a prophet.

The doctrine of immaculate conception of Mary is false: for Jesus received hereditary evil in his human form from Mary, by which he could be tempted and battle against hell:
That this was hereditary evil from the mother, against which the Lord combated, may be evident from what has been shown respecting that hereditary (n. 1414, 1444, 1573); and from His expelling it, so that at length He was not the son of Mary (Heavenly Arcana, n. 4563).
Thus those who subscribe to the immaculate conception, that Mary was born without sin, are not going to properly understand how Jesus saved humanity. The doctrine is late and was added by the Catholic Church: the Orthodox Church does not accept this doctrine.

That his human was Divine, was shown in the transfiguration:
The Lord was indeed born as another man, and had an infirm human from the mother; but this human the Lord entirely cast out, so that He was no longer the son of Mary, and made the Human in Himself Divine, which is meant by His being glorified; and He also showed to Peter, James, and John, when He was transfigured, that He was a Divine Man. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 4692.5)
Repeatedly it is said that the human from Mary was expelled and replaced with a Divine nature:
...with the Lord the prior forms, which were from the maternal, were altogether destroyed and extirpated, and Divine forms received in their place. For the Divine love does not agree with any but a Divine form; all other forms it absolutely casts out; hence it is that the Lord when glorified was no longer the son of Mary. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6872.4)
He expelled all the human which was from the mother, until at length He was not the son of Mary (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9315.5)
With the Lord however there was not removal, but casting out of those which He derived from the mother, thus full liberation from them, even so that He was no longer the son of Mary (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10057.6)
When the Lord fully glorified His Human, then He put off the human from the mother and put on the Human from the Father. Wherefore then He was no longer the son of Mary, but the Son of God, from Whom He came forth. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10830)
What about the title of "Son of Man" - why does Jesus call himself that? It is a symbolic appelation, as "man" is a symbol of truth and "woman" is a symbolic form of love:
...the Son of Man, as the Lord called Himself, is not the son of Mary, but the Divine truth (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10053).
What about the Trinity? Here is one brief statement:
That there is a trine in the Lord, namely, the Divine Itself, the Divine Human, and the Divine proceeding, is an arcanum from heaven and for those who shall be in the holy Jerusalem. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10831)
So NO, there is no such thing as a "second person" of the Trinity. The Son of God is the human that was born to the virgin Mary, and was made Divine by Jehovah. Which is why the apostle John stated it was important to acknowledge that Jesus was indeed born in the flesh.
...the Human of the Lord, conceived of Jehovah the Father, and born of the Virgin Mary, is the Son of God (Doctrine of the Lord, n. 19)
The Father and Son are one in the sense that the soul and body of Jesus are one, and cannot be separated:
From this it follows, that the Divine cannot be separated from the Human, and that the Human cannot be separated from the Divine; for to separate them would be like separating soul and body. That it is so, every one will also acknowledge who reads what is cited above (n. 19 and 21) from two of the Evangelists (Luke i. 26-35, and Matt. 18-25), concerning the Lord's birth; from which it is plain that Jesus was conceived of Jehovah God, and born of the Virgin Mary: so that the Divine was in Him, and it was His Soul. Now, as His Soul was the Divine itself of the Father, it follows that His Body or Human was also made Divine; for where the one is, the other must be also. Thus and not otherwise are the Father and the Son one; the Father in the Son, and the Son in the Father. (Doctrines of the Lord, n. 29)
And it is true, that the Divine could not intermix or commingle with the human:
The Lord successively put off the human taken from the mother, and put on the Human from the Divine in Himself, which is the Divine Human and the Son of God. That the Lord had a Divine and a human, — the Divine from Jehovah the Father, and a human from the Virgin Mary, — is known. Thence it is that He was God and Man; and thus He had a Divine essence and a human nature, — the Divine essence from the Father, and the human nature from the mother; and thence He was equal to the Father as to the Divine, and less than the Father as to the human: also (as the doctrine of faith which is called the Athanasian Creed teaches) that He did not transmute this human nature from the mother into the Divine essence, nor commix it with it; for the human nature cannot be transmuted into the Divine essence, nor can it be commixed with it. And yet from the same creed is our doctrine, that the Divine took on the Human, that is, united itself to it, as the soul unites itself to its body, until they were not two, but one person. (Doctrine of the Lord, n. 35).

SWEDENBORG AND THE ORTHODOX CHURCH

When one understands this, one can understand how Jesus saved humanity by conquering hell through his human body, which is the view espoused by the Orthodox Church against the later doctrine of the vicarious atonement of the Catholic and Protestant churches. Unfortunately the Orthodox Church is highly traditional, and is not likely to reject the Nicene Creed as that is treated as a foundational creed by all three branches of Christianity. But at least they reject vicarious atonement, they reject the doctrine of faith alone by the Protestants, and they reject many other beliefs added onto Christianity by the Catholic Church. From a New Church point of view, these manifestations of the virgin Mary in Egypt are highly significant. Why so? Swedenborg foresaw that while the revelations given to him would be rejected by western Christianity, a similar independent revelation would be established by visions in the continent of Africa, which he described in his final work, True Christian Religion.

Here is the song Ya umm Allah dedicated to Mary by Fairouz, a Lebanese singer of the Syriac Orthodox Church:






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