When we look at how Divine revelation has proceeded over many centuries, there are some important observations to make:
1. Revelation is progressive, occurring in periodic dispensations
2. Revelation is adapted to the culture of the time for it to be received
3. If a certain truth cannot be received, it is withheld and kept secret. This is done through symbolic "layers of truth." If the truth is known, it is only given to initiates.
4. The secret is often maintained for posterity through symbolic rituals, stories or myths
5. When a religion becomes corrupt, the secrets are then revealed to start a new dispensation.
THE SECRET IDENTITY OF JESUS
As an example, Jesus hid his identity while walking among us in His human form, and would not tell people who He was, it was a hidden secret until the advent of Christianity. This drove some of the Jewish leaders nuts:
"So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep." (John, 10:24-26)Here Jesus answers the question if He is a "reincarnated" prophet, and the answer is a definite no; not only that, once the apostles are told who He is he tells them to keep it secret:
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elijah; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. ...Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ." (Matt. 16:13-17,20)The above passage is interesting, because in Peter's response there is a hidden reference to the Trinity in one person, Jesus Christ: the "Christ" or anointed one represents the Holy Spirit proceeding from Jesus, the "Son" of course His human form, the "living God" the Divine soul which dwelt in His human form. Even the gospels of Mark and Luke do not provide the full answer, and it is only given in the gospel of Matthew.
Jesus met many demoniacs in His time, for at that time hell had risen and at that time demons had the power to take control of the human body in certain cases. Jesus would cast them out, but as these were spirits in the spiritual plane, they could easily see who He was. He again commanded them not to reveal His identity:
"And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ." (Luke 4:41)It is because of this spiritual situation for mankind that it is often not permitted to engage in spiritual contact, for there are many in the spiritual world that will purposely lie and deceive. One must be spiritually prepared, but this is another topic.
WHY DID JESUS KEEP HIS IDENTITY SECRET?
At the time, many Jews were not ready to receive this truth. They were unprepared, for they had so literally read the scriptures that they expected an earthly king or Messiah who would let them rule the world. Some attempted this, even Judas, but Jesus withdrew from them. Others who recognized Jesus for who He were driven from the synagogues. When Jesus was forced to reveal His identity at His mock trial, He was crucified for blasphemy.
So truth must be protected, thus Jesus would speak in parables, and only revealed the inner meaning to the apostles. Otherwise the truth would be corrupted and profaned:
"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." (Matt. 7:6)Much of scripture is written in symbolic form, for even the descendants of Jacob were not ready to receive truth in its internal spiritual form. Even the Christian church was not ready - some truths were revealed, but not all of them. In the present day, many are now in doubt if the Bible is even Divinely inspired, and some so-called scholars try to sow doubt that Jesus even existed. With so much doubt and darkness clouding people's minds, a new revelation has taken place, in which Jesus gave a revelation which shows how and why scripture is Divinely inspired, and this is spelled out in detail from waking heavenly visions in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (for which see Heavenly Arcana, aka Arcana Coelestia, "Heavenly Secrets").
In an interesting passage, Swedenborg discusses why in the Old Testament God is known under the name of Jehovah, but in the New Testament Jehovah is nowhere named but instead is called "Lord," and why Jesus Himself, who was Jehovah hidden in human form, commanded His apostles to call Him Lord:
"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 (see n. 1736), 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 (see n. 1725, 1729, 1733, 1745, 1815, 2156, 2751). 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 (John xx. 2, 13, 15, 18, 20, 25; xxi. 7, 12, 15-17, 20; Mark xvi. 19, 20); and Thomas said, My Lord, and my God (John xx. 28). And because the Lord was Jehovah, Who is so often named in the Old Testament, He therefore also said to the disciples, Ye call Me Master and Lord, and ye say well, for I am (John xiii. 13, 14, 16); and these words signify that He was Jehovah God. In the last passage He is called Lord as to good, and Master as to truth. That the Lord was Jehovah, is also meant by the words of the angel to the shepherds: Unto you is born this day a Saviour who is Christ the Lord (Luke ii. 11). He is called Christ as the Messiah, the Anointed, King; and Lord as Jehovah; Christ in respect to truth, Lord in respect to good. One who does not closely study the Word would not know this, for he would think that our Saviour was called Lord, like others, from the common title of reverence; when yet He was so called because He was Jehovah." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2921.6)Two main reasons: first they would not have accepted it, and secondly, when He was first born to the virgin Mary He was as to His human form not yet completely Divine but human like us. He progressively overcame sin and temptation, until after the resurrection He had completely transformed His human so that it was Divine. In essence, after the resurrection, His human form was no longer the son of Mary nor of the seed of David. And this explains the hidden meaning of the following passage:
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions. (Matt. 22:41-46)Jesus quoted from the passage of Psalm 110. Some of it is lost in translation, instead of "The Lord said to my Lord" it should say "Jehovah said to my Lord." Jehovah being the Divine itself, the Lord here the anointed one, or the Divine in human form. The enemies here is all of hell, which was conquered in His human form.
THE PROTECTIVE LAYERS OF TRUTH
So, things are not always as they seem. Sometimes we accept a truth, and it is only an appearance of truth. One of my favorite series of movies is actually an old one, entitled The Prisoner with Patrick McGoohan. It begins as a mystery, then gets highly symbolic, and once one sees the end, like doubting Thomas the reaction is, "Oh, now I get it." Then one has to watch the whole thing over again. I just discovered there is a modern remake of this one:
The final episode "Fall Out" received a Hugo Award nomination, but lost out to 2001: A Space Odyssey. I won't reveal the ending, that would spoil things. Best one discovers things for themselves. We are all spiritual beings, imprisoned by a three dimensional reality. But here is the End of Episode 1: The Arrival. My favorite line is "We are all pawns, my dear. Your move."
LAYERS OF TRUTH AND INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES
Intelligence agencies, especially those that try to keep a secret, learn how to create different layers of truth. The more protective layers there are, the more the inner truth is protected. One example of this is the Valerie Plame affair.
Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA operative who assumed a role of a NOC (Non Official Cover) which means she took a role that had no official ties to the government. Her focus overseas was in nuclear proliferation. This was done by setting up "front companies" - which is a false layer of truth to cover up the true intent to extract intelligence. One focus was on nuclear proliferation in Iran, another was breaking into the nuclear proliferation network of A.Q. Khan in Pakistan. At one point Khan was tracked when making a trip to Africa, specifically Niger which has uranium deposits. Plame sent her husband there to investigate, but such a sale of uranium was considered highly unlikely. Later, the Bush administration began making the claim that Iraq went to Niger to obtain uranium for "weapons of mass destruction," which is now known to be an outright lie in order to justify war against Iraq. Again, Plame sent her husband to investigate the claim, and no evidence of this was turned up. This was made public. In revenge, the Bush administration revealed the identity of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent - a blatant treasonable offense, compromising security for a very important area for world safety.
APPLICABILITY TO THE DIVINE
If one recognizes how intelligence agencies operate in trying to keep a secret, or the identities of their agents secret, one can learn a bit of how the Divine operates:
It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. (Pro. 25:2)
God and His hidden angelic agents are concealed, so as not to interfere with human free will. For to be human is to stand midway between heaven and hell, and make a choice from reason whether to follow good or evil. How we make our choices determines our eternal destiny.
Another reason why God keeps Himself secret, is that is it impossible for finite minds to even comprehend the infinite Being known as God. But God has a desire to make himself known, adapted to our understanding so that we can receive Him, to have communion with His presence. In order for the infinite to make itself known to the finite, it has to descend in "layers" - where each discrete "layer" is an appearance of truth, adapted to our understanding. For sake of example, let the Divine be something comparable to a sphere. However we live in a two dimensional world and cannot understand a sphere. For the sphere to make itself known to our flat world, it needs to project itself onto the plane as a circle:
The circle thus becomes an image to us of the unseen sphere. Likewise, God projected Himself into our reality by becoming incarnate in human form; Jesus is thus the image of the unseen God. In reality, all of creation is a projection of some aspect of the Divine, it just so happens the human form is the most comprehensive "projection," for the human form is a microcosm of the universe and heaven. How all of creation is symbolic in nature I had discussed earlier in blogs labeled as "Universal Order of Design." Creation is designed in discrete layers of order, each building up on the previous layer.
Layers of truth can also be seen in religious dispensations: truth is adapted to that age and culture for people to receive it. But symbols and rituals will contain within them inner spiritual truths, for those who are willing to seek them out.
Creating layers of truth, was a method of extracting information in the movie Inception. Create enough interest, one can receive things in dreams: