Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Divine Revelation from Africa, concerning Heaven and Hell



I recently became aware of a rather unusual revelation out of Africa, and in celebration of Palm Sunday I thought I would make public what I can of this.  This concerns the reality of heaven and hell, and of the Lord and His angels who are hidden among us. This can be found in scripture, often in the form of parables and symbolic correspondences, but recently they have been made more well known through dreams and visions, fulfilling the prophecy of Joel:
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions (Joel 2:28)
In the 18th century, the scientist Emanuel Swedenborg had his internal vision opened up, and in a complete waking state he was allowed to explore the spiritual realities of heaven and hell and the spiritual world in between. He was given doctrines of the New Church, which can be summed up in two simple principles: that the God of heaven and earth became incarnate in Jesus Christ, and that a spiritual life is one of following God's commandments. This revelation is unknown because it has been opposed by churches who falsely divide God into three persons, and put emphasis on salvation from belief alone.

There are very few prophecies given in the visions of Swedenborg, for it was more important that people do things out of their free will to the best of their ability. As a result of a judgment in the spiritual world men would have more spiritual freedom, which historians now call "the Enlightenment." But the angels told Swedenborg they had very little hope for the spiritual destiny of the western Christian world:
"I have had various conversations with angels concerning the state of the church hereafter, and they said that they know not things to come, because to know things to come is of the Lord alone; but they know that the slavery and captivity in which the man of the church has been hitherto, has been taken away, and that now from restored freedom he can better perceive interior truths, if he wishes to perceive them, and so can become interior, if he wishes to become so; yet they have slender hope of the men of the Christian Church, but much of a people quite remote from the Christian world, and hence removed from infesters, which is such as to be able to receive spiritual light, and to become a celestial spiritual man; and they said that at this day interior Divine truths are revealed in that people, and are also received with spiritual faith, that is, in life and heart, and that they adore the Lord." (The Final Judgment Continued, n. 74)
The reason they had slender hope for those within the western Christian world, is that most call themselves that from the mouth only, that religion is just an external appearance, that they have selfish pride, love material things, and above all others from the world practice adultery. The spiritual view is not a flattering one. As a result, the new revelation will not be received by them, but given to others, just as what happened to the Jews in the day of Jesus. The question is who?

A HIDDEN REVELATION IN AFRICA

In visions it was shown to Swedenborg that those out of Africa are better prepared to receive a new revelation than those of the western world: they have the ability to receive a singular view of God as Very Man, do not separate religion from life as Protestants do, and recognize the spiritual origin of true marriage love. But Swedenborg was told something further: somewhere in Africa, people were receiving the same revelation that was given to him via angels in heavenly visions:
"The Africans being such, revelation is therefore made among them at this day, which is spreading round about from the place where it began, but has not yet reached the coasts. They despise strangers coming from Europe, who believe that man is saved by faith alone, and thus by mere thinking and speaking, and not at the same time by willing and doing; they say that there is no man with any worship who does not live according to his religion, and that if one does not, he cannot but become stupid and wicked, because he receives nothing from heaven. Ingenious wickedness they also call stupidity, because not life but death is in it. I have several times conversed with Augustine, who was bishop of Hippo in Africa in the third century. He said that he is there at the present day, and is inspiring them with the worship of the Lord, and that there is hope of the propagation of this new gospel to the surrounding regions. I have heard the angels rejoicing over that revelation, because there is opening by it to them communication with the human rational, hitherto closed up by the universal dogma that the understanding is to be under obedience to the faith of the ecclesiastics." (True Christian Religion, n. 840)
It was because of this revelation that early Swedenborgians became heavily involved in the abolitionist movement against African slavery.  One was Carl Bernhard Wadström (1746-1799), who became involved in the British abolitionist movement after we saw the utter brutality of the slave trade.

Carl Bernhard Wadström and the African prince Peter Panah. Wadström was an active opponent of the slave trade and redeemed Panah from a slave ship in 1789. The portrait was painted by Carl Fredrik von Breda the same year.

In another passage, Swedenborg states more specifically what was being taught to these Africans in the 18th century by direct revelation:
"Such being the nature of the Africans even in the world, therefore there is at the present day a revelation among them, which from the centre where it began is spreading around, but not as far as to the seas. They acknowledge our Lord as the God of heaven and earth, and laugh at the monks, when visited by them, and at Christians who talk of a three-fold Divinity, and of salvation by thinking only, saying that there is no man who has any worship, that does not live according to his religion; and that if he does not, he cannot but become stupid and evil, because then he does not receive anything from heaven. Ingenious wickedness they also call stupidity, because not life, but death, is in it. I heard the joy of the angels over that revelation, because by it communication is opened to them with the human rational, hitherto closed by the blindness induced by matters of faith. It was told me from heaven, that the things now published in the "Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Concerning the Lord," "Concerning the Word," and in the "Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem," are orally dictated to the inhabitants of that country by angelic spirits." (The Final Judgment Continued, n. 76)
This is quite an amazing claim. However unlikely, I have shown earlier that some other "far out" revelations given to Swedenborg may actually be correct. If true, it shows that God again prefers to give His revelation to those who are treated in the lowest manner - just as a revelation was given through Moses in Egypt to Hebrews who were in slavery, again a revelation will be made to those in Africa who had been sold into slavery by western colonial powers. This is the way the Divine tends to operate, as revelation cannot be received by those who are in the pride of their own self intelligence, for with the pride of self intelligence comes stubbornness and the refusal to change to recognize the truth.

So there the revelation given to Swedenborg stands. The question now is, is this statement accurate?  And if true, where exactly are these African peoples where this revelation was made?  It has been over 200 years, where are they?  It has been an unconfirmed statement that has not been verified. That is, until the year 2012.

THE TESTIMONY OF SARAH BINAYAMO BOYANGA


In the year 2012, one Sarah Binayamo Boyanga started to receive heavenly visitations from the Lord in the mornings, and she was told to write them down in detail. She would go through periods of fasting and prayer. Her testimony is interesting - just as Emanuel Swedenborg was the son of a Lutheran pastor, in a similar manner Sarah is the daughter of a Christian evangelist who comes from Africa. As of yet, I do not know which country but perhaps someone can recognize the African language her father speaks at the end of the video below. They did not ask for this, and they were told at first to keep it private, then to reveal it to their church.  The pastor prayed privately and asked if it was true or not.  Soon after, in one heavenly visitation Sarah was greeted in heaven by a young girl, aged about 4-5 years who gave her a hug. She thought nothing of it at first, but later she and her father realized it was elder sister who had died at the age of 4. A similar event happened to one young boy who had a Near Death Experience, who had met an elder sister of his that his mother had miscarried, of which he knew nothing.

Sarah would have these heavenly visitations in the morning - she would describe it as going out of her body while sleeping.  Swedenborg had his visions while in a full waking state, but on occasion he was allowed to have this kind of visitation as well. There are two experiences he describes: visions while sleeping, and out of the body experiences (OOBE):
"There are two kinds of visions that are not of the ordinary kind, into which I have been let only that I might know their nature, and what is meant by its being said in the Word that men were withdrawn from the body, and that they were carried by the spirit into another place.
"As regards the first, namely, being withdrawn from the body, the case is this. The man is brought into a certain state that is midway between sleep and wakefulness, and when he is in this state he cannot know but that he is wholly awake. All his senses are as fully awake as in the highest wakefulness of the body; the sight, and the hearing, and, what is wonderful, the touch, which is then more exquisite than it can ever be in the wakefulness of the body. In this state, also, spirits and angels have been seen altogether to the life, and also heard, and, what is wonderful, have been touched, and almost nothing of the body then intervened. This is the state of which it is said that they are withdrawn from the body, and that they do not know whether they are in the body or out of it I have been let into this state only three or four times, merely that I might know how it is, and that spirits and angels are in the enjoyment of every sense, and even the touch more delicate and more exquisite than the touch of the body." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1882-1883)
This first kind of vision is the kind Sarah Binayamo Boyanga describes. Here is her full testimony, which took a bit of courage as she was once very shy and had trouble saying hi to other people, She took care to write it all down as she was commanded to do so, so often she reads from her own notes. The main message of her testimony: that heaven and hell are real.

[UPDATED 11/22/15: former Youtube video was taken down, replaced with copy below]



So, can we independently check the testimony of Sarah Binayamo Boyanga?  Indeed, there are several items in her testimony which we can compare with the testimony of Emanuel Swedenborg (for a comparison between the visions of Emanuel Swedenborg and that of a Near Death Experience of a Christian minister, see A Journey to Heaven by Richard Sigmund and Emanuel Swedenborg)

THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL


There is one part of her testimony that caught my attention (around 59 minutes), where she meets the archangel Michael. Michael is so tall, she comes up to him and had to poke him in the leg to get his attention. Finally archangel Michael looks down at her and smiles.

She says: "You are Michael, the one whom God ordered to throw Satan out of heaven."

Michael replied, "Yes I am. I did it with the power the Lord gave me, not by my own strength."

When Michael said this, Sarah says she was shocked, as she thought it he would have said it was by his own power. She reflected on this, and as angels glorify God in heaven, so should we when we ar given the ability or freedom to do anything. This shows she has received information adapted to her understanding from an external source, for it was not according to what she expected. And it just so happens this is exactly what Swedenborg said concerning the angels he encountered, as shown from the following passages:
"...angels have not the least power of themselves — as indeed they confess — but from the Lord only, " (Heavenly Arcana, n. 300)
"That there were angels with the Lord when He fought against the hells, is evident from the Word; as also from the consideration that when He was in combats of temptations, it could not be otherwise than that angels should be present; to whom the Lord from His own power gave strength, and as it were power, to fight with Him; for all the power that the angels have is from the Lord." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1752)
"It is to be known, however, that angels have no power at all from themselves, but that all their power is from the Lord; and that they are only so far powers as they acknowledge this. Whoever of them believes that he has power from himself, becomes instantly so weak that he cannot even resist one evil spirit; which is the cause that angels attribute nothing at all of merit to themselves, that they are averse to all praise and glory on account of anything done, and that they ascribe the praise and glory to the Lord. (Heaven and Hell, n. 230)
"God has all power, and men and angels have none at all, because God alone is life, and men and angels are only recipients of life, and life is that which acts, and the recipient of life that which is acted upon." (Apocalypse Explained, n. 1134.2)
All power, Swedenborg was shown, originates from the Divine truth which flows throughout heaven, and angels have this power inasmuch as they can receive it.  One point of difference, however, is that Swedenborg was shown that the archangel Michael does not in fact refer to an individual angel, but to a society of angels that perform a certain function or role, for all names in heaven are given according to function:
"In no case does an angel in heaven have a certain name; but it is good and truth from which names are given. Michael and the other angels in the Word, are not angels with such names; but they bear these names from the office that they fill, whatever it may be." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1752) 
"In the Word also angels are mentioned by name, as Michael, Raphael, and others. They who do not know the internal sense of the Word believe that Michael or Raphael is an individual angel who is supreme among his associates; but by those names in the Word is not signified an individual angel, but the angelic function itself, thus also the Divine of the Lord as to what is of the function." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 8192.3)
So although Sarah has in her mind the conception of a single individual angel who is called Michael, one point should be mentioned here: she sees the archangel Michael as a giant, standing in front of a whole army of angels. She may in essence have seen the society of angels of Michael, represented as one giant angel, as Swedenborg himself saw:
"...the Lord leads all who are in the whole heaven as if they were one angel, and in like manner those who are in each society. Hence an entire angelic society sometimes appears as a one, in the form of an angel, as I have been given by the Lord to see. ...From this it is that the Lord in the Word is called an angel, and that an entire society is so called. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael are no other than angelic societies, so named from their functions." (Heaven and Hell, n. 52)
CHANGE OF CLOTHING

At the beginning of each visitation Sarah is asked to change from her earthly garments and put on heavenly garments.  Swedenborg also saw angels in a variety of clothing, each according to the state. But why change her clothing each time? Swedenborg explains the spiritual significance of this:
"And purify yourselves, and change your garments. That this signifies that holiness was to be put on, is evident from the signification of being purified or cleansed, as being sanctified — to be explained in what follows; and from the signification of changing the garments, as putting on, here putting on holy truths; for in the internal sense of the Word by garments are signified truths. That changing garments was a representative received in the church, is plainly manifest; but what it represented no one can know, unless he knows what garments signify in the internal sense (see n. 2576)." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 4545)
This is the reason why she is asked to put on heavenly garments: she was being instructed in heavenly truths.  The removal of earthly garments means to be withdrawn from the senses, and could also represent withdrawing from material things thus she was asked to fast during this time.

THE DWELLINGS OF ANGELS


Much of Sarah's testimony concerns the magnificent golden palaces, with rooms prepared for each person in heaven.  Jesus showed her that each place was prepared for each individual, that they could have everything they ever wanted, so that their happiness would be a thousand-fold of anything experienced here on earth.  Like Swedenborg, Sarah experienced incredible happiness and joy during these visitations, for the Lord is in fact the origin of all true happiness which is based in love.  Like Sarah, Swedenborg was allowed to see the incredible dwellings of the angels in heaven:
"Dwellings were shown me of those who were of the second and third posterity of this Most Ancient Church. They are magnificent, extending to a great length, and diversified with beautiful colors of purple and blue. For angels have most magnificent dwellings, such as cannot be described, which I have often seen." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1116)
"All the angels have their own dwellings, where they are, which are magnificent. I have been there, and have sometimes seen and admired them, and have there spoken with the angels. They are so distinct and clearly seen, that nothing can be more so. The habitations on earth are scarce any thing in comparison. They also call those which are on the earth dead, and not real; but their own, living and true, because from the Lord. The architecture is such that art itself is from it, with variety that knows no limit. They said that if all the palaces in the whole world should be given to them, they would not change their own for them. What is made of stone, clay, and wood is dead to them; but what is from the Lord, and from life itself and light itself, is living; and this the more, because they enjoy them by every sense." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1628)
The main point that Jesus wanted to get across is that His desire was for each individual to be as happy as possible to eternity, and Sarah saw how it pained and saddened Jesus when people turn away from Him, by following what they thought was right and turning away from His commandments.

JESUS AS THE LORD GOD OF HEAVEN AND EARTH


In Doctrine of the Lord, Swedenborg proves from scripture that God is one being and thus one person, who became incarnate in human form. Jesus is thus the Lord God of the universe, and the doctrine of a trinity of three persons is a falsehood. He was told in vision that this was one of the teachings being given to those in Africa in his day.  And this indeed is what Sarah sees in her vision: Jesus on the throne of heaven, being worshiped by all the angels of heaven. Moreover she was shown how the earth was created - Jesus would just simply point His finger at something and say "let it be" and it would come forth.

THE REALITY OF HEAVEN AND OF HELL


Another main point of the testimony: sin leads to eternal death. The reality of heaven and hell are as real as good and evil, for good and evil originate from heaven and hell in the spiritual world which flows into us via angels or evil spirits. During our life we walk a road in between the two. Anyone who goes to hell does so of their own will, for all know what they are doing is right or wrong - it is innate in us. Swedenborg makes a simple point of how one can determine, right now, whether one is on the path to heaven or on the path to hell - this is what he said to those who thought they were justified by faith alone:
"Is not God good itself, and the devil evil itself? Who in the whole world that has any religion does not know this? And is not acknowledging and loving God this—to do good, because it is God's and is from Him? And is not shunning and hating the devil this — not to do evil, because this is of the devil and is from him? Or what is the same, does your faith in act, which you call faith fully justifying and saving, or what is again the same, your act of justification by faith alone, teach the doing of any good which is of God and is from Him? And does it teach the shunning of any evil which is of the devil and from him? Not in the least; because you maintain that there is nothing of salvation in either." (True Christian Religion, n. 389)
One thing I observed in the testimony of Sarah, and later he father, is that they emphasized repentance after examining one's conscience, turning away from evil as sin, confession, and recognizing temptations. All of these are related to turning away from evil in one's life, and this is the way to heaven. This is perhaps one of the reasons why they were given these heavenly visitations: they were teaching the right message. With the promise of heaven, there is a stark warning of the reality of hell. Like Swedenborg, some of the scenes that Sarah was allowed to see were quite horrifying. At one point she saw those who rejected the Lord were wearing dark cloaks, in chains, headed on their way towards a pit leading downward to hell. And yet they had no idea of the danger they were in.  Again, even in this matter, Swedenborg explains the significance of chains in thee spiritual world:
..."to be bound with chains" signifies to be tied by falsities so that truth cannot come forth. (Apocalypse Explained, n. 652.26)
I haven't gone through all the testimony of Sarah, but wanted to mention just the main points here. For anyone who has these kinds of experiences, it is very hard to come forward and publicize them. But I am glad she did, it shows also how God can do great things with the small and humble. Its not the best marketing presentation perhaps, but the testimony seems honest. I have been keeping an eye out for something like this out of Africa for a long time:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Hidden Secrets of Heaven



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." The Prisoner cant excape the island due to being chased by a giant white ball or balloon, one has to wonder why he did not just take a pin and pop it:



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:

Friday, March 13, 2015

Angels who watch over Children


Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.  (Matt. 18:10)

A few days ago a 25 year old mother, Lynn Groesbeck, died in a car crash at night when he car went over an embankment and ended up upside down in an ice cold river.  Over 10 hours later, the car was spotted and reported, there were no signs of life in the car.  Four first responders on the scene then heard a distinct female voice: "Help."  They quickly went into the ice cold river, risking hypothermia, and turned over the car. The mother in the driver's seat was dead. But in the back they saw an 18 month year old baby, Lily Groesbeck, who has been suspended upside down in her car seat. Luckily when the car turned, the baby was submerged in the water but her head was inches above the surface allowing her to breathe. She is now at home doing fine. Here is a video of the officers who arrived at the scene who describe hearing the audible voice:



In case that video gets removed here is another one:



There are several cases of this when a child is close to death. Here is another more dramatic case, involving a miraculous healing, and a bright flash of light that was caught emanating from the hospital room on a security camera, previously discussed in The Light of an Angel caught on Video Tape:



There are other cases of angels having visible manifestations, which were seen over Coptic Churches in Egypt: see Angel Appears before thousands on top of a Coptic Church.  But for cases of angels coming to intervene to save children's lives, nothing is more dramatic perhaps then a case where a couple of terrorists with a bomb came into a school classroom and took a whole class of children hostage - in fact, they took 153 children and teachers and packed them into one classroom. The bomb exploded in the classroom which should have killed everyone - but somehow it only killed the two terrorists. People who investigated were puzzled, but then the children began reporting that they had been saved by angels. Parents were skeptical, but one decided to carefully record the testimony of his child using police techniques. This one is hard to explain away, as there were multiple witnesses:



At least two children later saw pictures of their relatives that they had not seen before, and recognized them as they had appeared to them in the classroom right before the bomb exploded.

THE ORIGIN OF ANGELS

While some theologians speculate on the origin of angels before the creation of mankind, the revelations given to Swedenborg give a very simple answer: all angels originate from the human race, which explains their human form:
"In the Christian world it is quite unknown that heaven and hell are from the human race, for it is believed that angels were created from the beginning and of them was formed heaven; and that the devil or satan was an angel of light, but because he became rebellious he was cast down with his crew, and of them was formed hell. Angels wonder exceedingly that there should be such a belief in the Christian world, and still more that nothing at all should be known about heaven, when yet that is the primary thing of doctrine in the Church; and because such ignorance prevails, they rejoice in heart that it has pleased the Lord now to reveal to mankind many things respecting heaven, and also hell, and thereby as far as possible to dispel the darkness which is daily increasing, because the Church has come to its end. They wish for this reason that I should declare from their mouth, that in the whole heaven there is not one angel who was so created from the beginning, nor in hell any devil who was created an angel of light and cast down; but that all, both in heaven and in hell, are from the human race; in heaven those who lived in the world in heavenly love and faith, in hell those who lived in infernal love and faith; and that hell taken as a whole is what is called the devil and satan." (Heaven and Hell, n. 311).
THE AUDIBLE VOICE OF ANGELS

It is permissible at times for angels to speak directly with man, but this is rare at this time, and typically only happens in times of urgent need. In the age of the prophets, angels were used to communicate directly with men, at which time they were invested with the presence of God, albeit temporarily. With Jesus it was different: the conjunction was permanent, as God directly dwelled within Him, and made his human Divine:
"An angel sometimes speaks, not from himself, but from the Lord, and he then does not know but that he is the Lord; but then his externals are at rest. It is otherwise when his externals are active. The reason is, that their internal man is the Lord's possession; and so far then as there are no obstructions of their own, it is the Lord's and is the Lord. But in the Lord, a plenary conjunction or an eternal union with Jehovah was wrought, so that His very Human Essence also is Jehovah." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1745.3)
I bring this up for those who have fallen in the error to declare that Jesus was just an angel in human form, or just a teacher, or reborn avatar. The Christian truth is He is the Divine incarnate, otherwise His teaching makes no sense. He spoke directly to his apostles and speaks to the Church through the Holy Spirit, but in ancient times, communication through heaven was done via angels. This was heard as an audible voice, as the prophets would often say "the word of the Lord" came to them. Moreover, when the Jewish priests sought an answer from the Lord through the Urim and Thummim, it was again revealed through an audible voice:
"...it is to be known that when the shining forth appeared, then at the same time a response to the subject of inquiry was given in an audible voice. This was done through angels, to whom by such a shining forth this answer was revealed by the Lord; for, as already told, Divine truths which are answers appear in this manner in the heavens." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9905)
In ancient times, this audible voice was the method of revelation, but this was closed off due to sin and disobedience. It is still the method of Divine revelation on other planets, who have no knowledge of scripture:
"On every other earth truth Divine is revealed orally through spirits and angels, as has been shown in the preceding chapters where the inhabitants of the earths in this solar system have been described; but this takes place within families; for mankind on most of the earths live distinct according to their families. Wherefore Divine truth thus revealed through spirits and angels is not conveyed far beyond the families, and unless a new revelation is constantly succeeding, what has been revealed is either perverted or perishes. It is otherwise on our earth, where truth Divine, that is, the Word, remains in its integrity for ever." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9358)
For us, the Divine revelation is ever present in scripture, which is written in a highly symbolic manner, where spiritual concepts lay hidden in the literal sense of every word and story.

THE CHILDREN OF HEAVEN

At times, children do die, and its devastating to their parents.  Swedenborg was shown that all children, without exception, go to heaven as they have not reached the age of reason:
"It is the belief of some that only children who are born within the Church come into heaven, but not those who are born out of the Church; because, they say, children within the Church are baptized and by baptism initiated into the faith of the Church. They do not know that no one has heaven or faith by baptism; for baptism is only for a sign and memorial that man is to be regenerated, and that he can be regenerated who is born within the Church, since there is the Word in which are the Divine truths by which regeneration is effected, and there the Lord is known from Whom regeneration is.[a] Let them know, therefore, that every child, wheresoever he is born, whether within the Church or out of it, whether of pious parents or of impious, when he dies is received by the Lord and is educated in heaven, and according to Divine order is taught and imbued with affections for good, and through this with knowledge of truth; and afterward, as he is perfected in intelligence and wisdom, he is introduced into heaven and becomes an angel. Every one who thinks from reason may know that no one is born for hell, but all for heaven, and that man himself is in fault, that he comes into hell; but little children cannot as yet be in fault." (Heaven and Hell, n. 329)
For an interesting dream, concerning some angels who were taking care of children who died recently in the Middle East, see What is the Way to Heaven?





Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Lost Book of Jasher, the Exodus, and Emanuel Swedenborg

Joshua and the day the Sun stood still

In the Bible there is a reference to a work, now considered lost, the book of Jasher. It is mentioned twice:
David lamented ... over Saul and over Jonathan ... Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the Book of Jasher. (2 Sam. i 17, 18).
In Joshua it is mentioned in this passage:
Joshua said, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon: and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon! Is not this written in the Book of Jasher? (Joshua x 12, 13).
EMANUEL SWEDENBORG'S VISIONS CONCERNING THE BOOK OF JASHER

This mysterious reference is considered by most to be a reference to a lost work. In the visions of Emanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century, he was given further information by angels that the book of Jasher was part of an ancient work that preceded the Bible which contained the first seven chapters of Genesis:
"That there was a Word among the ancients, is evident from Moses, by whom it is mentioned, and who took something from it (Num. xxi. 14, 15, 27-30); also that the historical parts of that Word were called the Wars of Jehovah, and its prophetic parts the Enunciations. ...Besides these, a prophetic book of the ancient Word, called the Book of Jasher, or the Book of the Upright, is mentioned by David and by Joshua. By David: David lamented over Saul and over Jonathan, and made the inscription, To teach the sons of Judah the bow; behold it is written in the Book of Jasher (2 Sam. i. 17, 18). And by Joshua: Joshua said, Sun, rest not in Gibeon, and Moon in the valley of Ajalon; is not this written in the Book of Jasher? (Josh. x. 12.) Moreover, it has been told me that the first seven chapters of Genesis are in that ancient Word, and that not even a little word is wanting." (Doctrines of the New Jerusalem, in Doctrine of Sacred Scripture, n. 103)
In other references to the ancient scripture that preceded our Bible, Swedenborg was told that it was extant among those in Tartary bordering China. He also was given more details as to what was contained in the book of Jasher, from which Moses drew upon it to compose the Torah:
"They said that in it also is the book of Jasher, which is mentioned in Joshua (x. 12, 13), and in the second book of Samuel (i. 17, 18); as also, that among them are the books called the Wars of Jehovah, and the Enunciations, which are mentioned by Moses (Num. xxi. 14, 15, and 27-30); and when I read in their presence the words which Moses had taken therefrom, they searched to see if they were there and found them. From this it was clear to me that the ancient Word is still among them. ...I have further heard from angels that the first chapters of Genesis, which treat of creation, of Adam and Eve, of the garden of Eden, and of their sons and posterity down to the flood, and also of Noah and his sons, are also in that Word; and were so transcribed from it by Moses." (True Christian Religion, n. 279)
Later, Swedenborg has another passage concerning Jasher:
"Before the Israelitish there was a Word, the prophetical books of which were called Enunciations, and the historical, the Wars of Jehovah; and besides these, one called the Book of Jasher; which three are named in our Word: and that ancient Word was in the land of Canaan, Syria, Mesopotamia, Arabia, Assyria, Chaldea, Egypt, Tyre, Sidon, and Nineveh; but because it was full of such correspondences as signify celestial and spiritual things remotely, which gave rise to idolatries, of the Divine Providence this disappeared. I heard that Moses copied out of that Word what he related about the Creation, Adam and Eve, the Flood, and Noah, and his three sons, but no further." (True Christian Religion, Index to Relations)
So the other point here is that this ancient Word which preceded our Bible was not preserved, because certain symbolic portions of it was distorted for idolatrous purposes.

So, exactly how accurate is the information received by Emanuel Swedenborg in his waking visions which he had over a period of 27 years? As most of his visions concerned God, the Divine inspiration of the Bible, the spiritual world, angels and the afterlife, it is hard to verify. But with these statements on the book of Jasher, should the book be rediscovered, we now have an independent means of verifying the information given to Swedenborg.

A MEDIEVAL HEBREW MANUSCRIPT OF THE BOOK OF JASHER

A medieval Hebrew manuscript claiming to be the book of Jasher was published in Naples in 1552, and later in Venice in 1613 (or 1625). It was translated into Latin in 1732, and was later translated into English in 1840. Apparently after it was published in Venice, Leon Modena issued a statement that it was not the book of Jasher, and falsely grouped it among other late Jewish writings of a completely different character, the Zohar and Kabbalah (from Sefer haYashar (midrash)

Behold, it [the Zohar] is like Sefer ha-Yashar, which they printed (without my knowledge and without the knowledge of the sages here in Venice, about twenty years ago). Although I removed the fantasies and falsehoods from it, [eg,] that it is the Sefer ha-Yashar mentioned in Scripture, there are still those who claim that it was discovered during the time of the destruction [of the temple]. But who can stop those who imagine in their minds whatever they wish.
— Leon Modena, Ari Nohem, before 1648

Oddly, Wikipedia calls this Hebrew work a midrash, or a commentary or interpretation of scripture among the Jews. However upon internal examination it is nothing like a midrash: it is a longer version of the Bible as found in the Torah, from the time of Adam to the entry of Joshua in the land of Canaan. There has been little critical examination of this work, except for one publication from 1986 by Dan Joseph of the Hebrew University. Although the Naples publication is not extant, he concluded from the Hebrew and other indicators that it was written in Naples in the 16th century, or possibly earlier in Spain or southern Italy.

There are definitely late additions to this Hebrew work; for example, there are late references in the table of nations after the flood of Noah that were probably taken from the Hebrew work Josippon that was published in southern Italy in the 10th century, which contains many historical and chronological mistakes. This is probably one of the reasons Dan Joseph thought this Hebrew work was probably composed after this time in southern Italy as well. However, unlike Josippon, the chronology of Jasher happens to be very accurate. Hebrew scholars who examined the original text for the 1840 translation, thought that it was written in very pure Rabbinical Hebrew.

INTERNAL EVIDENCE THAT JASHER IS MUCH OLDER

So there the story would end. Except for some very "odd" facts: this Hebrew work that claims to be the book of Jasher has internal evidence that it is much, much older. The evidence indicates there was a much more older copy, which was later corrupted by a Rabbinical scribe. But there is enough there to show that this Hebrew work of Jasher may in fact be based on an older original that is indeed the lost book of Jasher as mentioned in the Bible, as it does contain the text as mentioned in Joshua and 2 Samuel. So what "odd" facts are there?  First, we have these references to Oswiris in Egypt:
"And he resolved to go to Egypt, to Oswiris the son of Anom king of Egypt... " (Jasher 14:2)
This of course is a reference to the god Osiris of the Egyptian pantheon. Anom may be a Hebrew play on the Egyptian god Amon. The names of Amon and Osiris perhaps may have been derived from the first century work On the Worship of Isis and Osiris by Plutarch, for the cult of Osiris was long dead, having expired during the Graeco-Roman era and was exterminated in the fourth-sixth centuries A.D.

Osiris on his throne

So maybe this Jewish author was familiar with Plutarch. But then we have this reference to a wise advisor to the Babylonian king Nimrod named "Anuki" (Jasher 12:52). This one is interesting. As explained earlier in Jasher: the Lost book of the Bible, as foreseen by Swedenborg:
"This is probably based on the Sumerian sky-god Anu, or based on "Anunnaki" (or "Anunnaku" or "Ananaki") a group of Mesopotamian deities which appear in the Babylonian creation epic, Enuma Elish. The name Anunnaki means "those of royal blood" or "princely offspring." In later Assyrian and Babylonian myth, the Anunnaki were said to be the sons of Anu ("heaven") and his consort Ki ("earth") — again, a possible derivation for the name Anuki. The names of these Sumerian gods were forgotten until they were rediscovered on cuneiform tablets in the nineteenth century. Anyone composing a midrash in medieval times would have no knowledge of this." 
Another interesting name pops up: the son of Nimrod has the name of Mardon:
And all the earth was of one tongue and words of union, but Nimrod did not go in the ways of the Lord, and he was more wicked than all the men that were before him, from the days of the flood until those days.
And he made gods of wood and stone, and he bowed down to them, and he rebelled against the Lord, and taught all his subjects and the people of the earth his wicked ways; and Mardon his son was more wicked than his father.
And every one that heard of the acts of Mardon the son of Nimrod would say, concerning him, From the wicked goeth forth wickedness; therefore it became a proverb in the whole earth, saying, From the wicked goeth forth wickedness, and it was current in the words of men from that time to this
. (Jasher 7:46-48)
This particular proverb may be quoted in 1 Sam. 24:13. Mardon, son of Nimrod, is a reference to the Babylonian god Marduk, just as Oswiris of Egypt is a reference to the Egyptian god Osiris. But now we have a problem: the problem here, is the ancient Babylonian gods Anu, the Anunnakki, and Marduk were completely forgotten in medieval times. They were unknown until these names were recovered on Sumerian and Akkadian tablets in the 19th century, long after the first appearance of the book of Jasher.

Babylonian Marduk with his dragon Mushussu

It is highly unlikely for a medieval Jew of southern Italy to have known these long forgotten Babylonian gods. Moreover, from the book of Jasher we know that the name of the two Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses were named Jannes and Jambres:
"And when they had gone Pharaoh sent for Balaam the magician and to Jannes and Jambres his sons, and to all the magicians and conjurors and counsellors which belonged to the king, and they all came and sat before the king." (Jasher 79:27)
These two magicians are named by the apostle Paul in the 1st century A.D. (see 2 Tim. 3:8). These names are also found in Jewish tradition, but where does the tradition come from?

EVIDENCE FROM THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE BOOK OF JASHER

A close examination of the book of Jasher is that it follows the same chronology as the Masoretic version of the Torah. The current theory of scholars, is a Rabbinical Jew just copied from scripture and added additional material. But this is problematic: if one examines the numbers closely, at times it can be seen a digit was missed or dropped. Simple math exposes the error. Yet the chronology itself is highly accurate. This indicates that a Rabbinical Jew in southern Italy was working with a much older copy, something that was passed hand to hand until the invention of the printing press. For example, again from Jasher: the Lost book of the Bible, as foreseen by Swedenborg:
"Jasher ii. 37 states that Jared lived 62 years when the number should be 162. This exact scribal error appears in the Samaritan Pentateuch, which was not known to the western world until after the book of Jasher was published. The Samaritan Pentateuch represents an ancient textual tradition, as some of its readings have been found in the Dead Sea scrolls."
And then, we have this statement concerning the Pharoah that reigned at the time of the Exodus:
"Melol was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned ninety four years, and all Egypt called his name Pharaoh after the name of his father, as it was their custom to do to every king who reigned over them in Egypt." (Jasher 63:9)
This is an extremely long reign. Ninety four (94) years is a long time. And it just so happens from modern Egyptology we know exactly who this Pharoah was: Pepi II Neferkare, the last Pharoah of the Old Kingdom before the kingdom suddenly and mysteriously collapsed.  According the Egyptian king lists, he reigned exactly 94 years. And this again was not known until the advent of modern Egyptian archaeology in the 19th century. Again, no way could a Rabbinical Jew know this during medieval times.

Pharoah Pepi II as a child on his mother's lap

This brings up a whole other topic on the chronology of the ancient world. There has been much speculation on the date of the Exodus, with some historians denying that it ever happened. This is not only because many misinterpret a late reference to the city of Ramesses in the book of Genesis, but also there is the larger problem of how things are dated in the ancient Middle East based on Egyptian chronology. What this reference to the book of Jasher indicates is that the Exodus occurred right at the sudden collapse of the Old Kingdom. Some scholars indicate that portions of the Ipuwer Papyrus actually dates from the collapse of the Old Kingdom, which happens to mention many of the same plagues described in the book of Exodus.

Ipuwer Papyrus

Here is a summary of contents from The Ten Plagues - Live from Egypt:
(For a lengthier discussion of the papyrus and the historical background of the Exodus, seeJewish Action, Spring 1995, article by Brad Aaronson, entitled When Was the Exodus? )
IPUWER PAPYRUS - LEIDEN 344TORAH - EXODUS
2:5-6 Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere.
2:10 The river is blood.
2:10 Men shrink from tasting - human beings, and thirst after water
3:10-13 That is our water! That is our happiness! What shall we do in respect thereof? All is ruin.
7:20 …all the waters of the river were turned to blood.
7:21 ...there was blood thoughout all the land of Egypt …and the river stank.
7:24 And all the Egyptians dug around the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river.
2:10 Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire.
10:3-6 Lower Egypt weeps... The entire palace is without its revenues. To it belong [by right] wheat and barley, geese and fish
6:3 Forsooth, grain has perished on every side.
5:12 Forsooth, that has perished which was yesterday seen. The land is left over to its weariness like the cutting of flax.
9:23-24 ...and the fire ran along the ground... there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous.
9:25 ...and the hail smote every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field.
9:31-32 ...and the flax and the barley was smitten; for the barley was in season, and flax was ripe.
But the wheat and the rye were not smitten; for they were not grown up.
10:15 ...there remained no green things in the trees, or in the herbs of the fields, through all the land of Egypt.
5:5 All animals, their hearts weep. Cattle moan...
9:2-3 Behold, cattle are left to stray, and there is none to gather them together.
9:3 ...the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field... and there shall be a very grievous sickness.
9:19 ...gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field...
9:21 And he that did not fear the word of the Lord left his servants and cattle in the field.
9:11 The land is without light10:22 And there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt.
4:3 (5:6) Forsooth, the children of princes are dashed against the walls.
6:12 Forsooth, the children of princes are cast out in the streets.
6:3 The prison is ruined.
2:13 He who places his brother in the ground is everywhere.
3:14 It is groaning throughout the land, mingled with lamentations
12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive that was in the prison.
12:30 ...there was not a house where there was not one dead.
12:30 ...there was a great cry in Egypt.
7:1 Behold, the fire has mounted up on high. Its burning goes forth against the enemies of the land.13:21 ... by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.
3:2 Gold and lapis lazuli, silver and malachite, carnelian and bronze... are fastened on the neck of female slaves.12:35-36 ...and they requested from the Egyptians, silver and gold articles and clothing. And God made the Egyptians favour them and they granted their request. [The Israelites] thus drained Egypt of its wealth.

So if any historian states that there is no evidence for the Exodus, they are wrong. What is wrong here are the traditional dates for Egyptian chronology, but this is too broad a topic to go into depth here. The Ipuwer Papyrus was definitely unknown to a medieval Jewish scribe. How is it that the book of Jasher points to the same Pharoah as this papyrus? Even today, very few propose that the Exodus took place during the collapse of the Old Kingdom of Egypt.

One last point: the book of Jasher is missing the prophecy of 400 years from the time of Abraham to the Exodus in Genesis 15. If a medieval scribe is copying from Genesis, why omit this story?  Or did it happen the other way around: Moses composed Genesis from Jasher, and incorporated that prophecy when it was realized to have been true?

EVIDENCE FROM THE ASTRONOMY OF THE BOOK OF JASHER

This was a nice surprise when I first discovered this. Comparing the Masoretic chronology with ancient records of the Middle East from Babylon and Assyria, I had determined that Abraham was born in 1953 B.C. The book of Jasher records an unusual astronomical event:
"And it was in the night that Abram was born, that all the servants of Terah, and all the wise men of Nimrod, and his conjurors came and ate and drank in the house of Terah, and they rejoiced with him on that night. And when all the wise men and conjurors went out from the house of Terah, they lifted up their eyes toward heaven that night to look at the stars, and they saw, and behold one very large star came from the east and ran in the heavens, and he swallowed up the four stars from the four sides of the heavens. And all the wise men of the king and his conjurors were astonished at the sight, and the sages understood this matter, and they knew its import. And they said to each other, this only betokens the child that has been born to Terah this night, who will grow up and be fruitful, and multiply, and possess all the earth, he and his children for ever, and he and his seed will slay great kings, and inherit their lands" (Jasher viii. 1-4).
I had discussed this earlier in The Astronomy of the Birth of Abraham (1953 B.C.).  First, what is significant about this is that the story of the birth of Abraham is prophetic of the star of the three wise men that appeared at the time of the birth of Jesus. Why would a Jew from the medieval era invent such a story? Unless it was already there in a more ancient manuscript, which was actually prophetic.

Secondly, I had checked this story in the book of Jasher and looked up anything significant in an astronomy program Dance of the Planets for the year 1953 B.C. Sure enough, there was a grand conjunction of all 5 planets in the year 1953 B.C.  It is a very rare alignment, and had occurred again before the birth of Jesus in 6 B.C. Here is a chart showing the astronomical alignment of 6 B.C.:



Some propose it was this alignment which was the actual star of Bethlehem. But a medieval Jewish scribe would have no knowledge of this as it requires precise mathematical and astronomical knowledge.

Later, I researched this further, and discovered that in 1993 NASA scientists determined that this grand conjunction of 1953 B.C. was observed in ancient China, and became the basis of the start of the Chinese calendar. Jesuits had earlier searched for this date and had failed. From PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE JET PROPULSION LABORATORY (NASA):

Astronomers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the U.S.
Naval Observatory have solved the ancient mystery of the origin
of the Chinese calendar, it was reported to the 182nd meeting of
the American Astronomical Society today in Berkeley, Calif.

Kevin Pang of JPL and John Bangert of the Naval Observatory
said they have found a date in 1953 B.C. when the sun, moon and
five planets all lined up in the sky at dawn -- providing the
basis for the beginning of the Chinese calendar.

...Orientals have always considered a
five-planet alignment as a favorable omen, signaling the dawn of
a new age and the world's renewal.

While the beginning of a day is dawn, a five-planet
conjunction occurring at dawn, with a new moon, and the start of
spring would truly be the beginning of all cycles, he said.  For
calendar makers, such a moment would also be an ideal starting
point for counting days, months, years and planetary periods. 

...In the latest search for the Holy Grail of Chinese
astronomy, Pang and Bangert were aided by computer-generated
planetary ephemerides and a clue from an ancient text. 

     Pang found a passage in a 1st century B.C. text of Hong Fan
Zhuan, that says:  "The Ancient Zhuanxu calendar (invented in
about 2000 B.C.) began at dawn, in the beginning of spring, when
the sun, new moon and five planets gathered in the constellation
Yingshi (Pegasus.)"  The book was written by Liu Xiang who lived
from 77 to 9 B.C.

     Pang said this was all the hint he and Bangert needed. A
computer search of planetary positions in the 2000 B.C. era gave
only one possible match -- March 5, 1953 B.C.  

     Before dawn on that day, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and
Saturn lined up like a pearl necklace in the eastern sky, next to
the Great Pegasus Square, he said.  The planets all spanned but a
few degrees.  The new moon occurred shortly thereafter when the
sun, moon, and five planets all lined up in Pegasus, exactly as
Liu had stated.

     The dawn of March 5, 1953 B.C. was indeed the beginning of a
day, month, year and all known planetary cycles, the magic moment
Chinese and Jesuit astronomers searched for over 2000 years, Pang
said.

What few people realize, is this same event is recorded in the book of Jasher - where one star swallows up four other stars. In ancient times planets were known as "wandering stars." Note people had been searching for this for centuries, and only was discovered recently in 1993 by NASA using a computer.

So knowing that Abraham was born in 1953 B.C., we can calculate backwards and determine the dates for all the older patriarchs. When we get to the time before the flood, the chronology starts to become symbolic, and is based on astronomical cycles at the time (see The Ancient Astronomy of the Bible. Before the flood, we have the strange story of Enoch:
"And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." (Gen. 5:21-24)
The number 365 years is obviously symbolic of the 365 days in a year, with an endless cycle being represented by Enoch being caught up into heaven. From Abraham's birth in 1953 B.C, calculating backwards we can determine that Enoch lived from 3279 to 2914 B.C. The book of Jasher contains a bit more information on Enoch, and notes another strange number:
"And Enoch taught them wisdom, knowledge, and the ways of the Lord; and he made peace amongst them, and peace was throughout the earth during the life of Enoch. And Enoch reigned over the sons of men two hundred and forty-three years, and he did justice and righteousness with all his people, and he led them in the ways of the Lord." (Jasher 3:11-12)
And then we have this later reference:
"And it was in the year of Adam's death which was the two hundred and forty-third year of the reign of Enoch, in that time Enoch resolved to separate himself from the sons of men and to secret himself as at first in order to serve the Lord." (Jasher 3:17)
So, looks like an insignificant reference at first. Why point out that Enoch reigned 243 years?  This would mean his reign started in 3214 B.C. with the birth of his son Methuselah, and ended in 2971 B.C. the year in which Adam died. For modern astronomers, the time 243 years is very significant, for this is the exact time needed for Venus transits across the Sun to repeat - they repeat every 243 years.  It just so happens, that on November 17, 3214 B.C. and on November 17, 2971 B.C. there were transits of Venus across the face of the Sun, each separated by 243 years. The last time a Venus transit occurred was in 2004 and 2012, each repeating the transit which had occurred 243 years earlier in 1761 and 1769:


This requires very accurate astronomical knowledge, done over centuries. Note that there is another sub-period of 129.5 years between Venus transits of separate cycles, which would probably explain this passage:
And they assembled in all, one hundred and thirty kings and princes, and they made Enoch king over them and they were all under his power and command. (Jasher 3:10)
These numbers, although based on astronomical cycles, are also symbolic of spiritual truths.

Here is a time lapsed photo of the Venus transit of 2012:


And here is highly detailed video of the Venus transit of 2012 from NASA:



A COMPARISON BETWEEN JASHER AND SWEDENBORG'S REFERENCES

So is the book of Jasher, as represented in this medieval Hebrew manuscript, the one foreseen by Swedenborg in his visions? A Latin translation was published in Leipzig in 1732 (Dissertatio de Libro recti, "Dissertation on the book of the Upright"). by Johann Georg Abicht, professor of theology at the University of Halle-Wittenberg. There is the possibility that Swedenborg thus had access to a Latin version. In 1735 he was in Leipzig where he published a three volume work entitled Opera philosophica et mineralis ("Philosophical and mineralogical works"), However, the way Swedenborg references the book of Jasher does not indicate knowledge of this obscure dissertation. He describes it as a lost work, but possibly available in the region of Tartary bordering China. Moreover, the way he references the contents of the book of Jasher shows a slight error, an error that would not have been made if he was drawing from the Latin dissertation. There would be no reason for him to state that it was extant in Tartary; moreover, Swedenborg was shown to be exactly right in his visions on other occasions (see The Confirmed Clairvoyance of Emanuel Swedenborg).

So lets repeat here what Swedenborg said concerning the ancient Word which he was told about in his visions, which included the book of Jasher:

Moreover, it has been told me that the first seven chapters of Genesis are in that ancient Word, and that not even a little word is wanting." (Doctrines of the New Jerusalem, in Doctrine of Sacred Scripture, n. 103)

I have further heard from angels that the first chapters of Genesis, which treat of creation, of Adam and Eve, of the garden of Eden, and of their sons and posterity down to the flood, and also of Noah and his sons, are also in that Word; and were so transcribed from it by Moses." (True Christian Religion, n. 279)

I heard that Moses copied out of that Word what he related about the Creation, Adam and Eve, the Flood, and Noah, and his three sons, but no further." (True Christian Religion, Index to Relations)

These statements do not exactly refer to the book of Jasher, but rather the ancient Word which included the book of Jasher. However I think it refers to the book of Jasher. But a slight "error" is made here. First, the book of Jasher does not include the first chapter of Genesis which describes the seven days of creation. Note that after the seven days of creation, the second chapter begins as follows:
"These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Gen. 2:4-7)
The book of Jasher begins as follows:
"And God said let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and God created man in his own image. And God formed man from the ground, and he blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul endowed with speech." (Jasher 1:1-2)
Scholars who have examined the literary style of Genesis have noted that the seven days of creation likely came from a different source than the creation story of Genesis 2. And the book of Jasher confirms that. This was long before there was any textual criticism of the Bible.

It is from this point, Genesis chapter 2, that we find the first seven chapters of Genesis in the book of Jasher, albeit with a bit more detail. Thus Swedenborg's statement that the first seven chapters of Genesis are found in it is slightly incorrect. And yet it is highly accurate. The first seven chapters of Jasher parallels the story of seven chapters of Genesis, from chapter 2 through chapter 8. Genesis chapter 9 speaks of God's covenant with Noah - this is completely missing in the book of Jasher. Thus Swedenborg first misunderstood the information given to him. Thus he states Moses copied from this ancient Word the story of Adam up to Noah and his three sons, "but no further." This is slightly incorrect - for Moses stopped at Genesis 8 and included additional material in Genesis 9. Genesis 10 includes the table of nations from Noah and his three sons, and this has been corrupted or added in the book of Jasher by incorporating material from Josippon. However after that, additional material was pulled in from Jasher to compose other portions of the Torah.

And if it sounds like the Bible was put together in a haphazard way, it was not, for there is a spiritual sense in the sequence of the story, even though in the literal sense things may appear disjointed.

SWEDENBORG ON THE HERESY OF CAIN

Swedenborg wrote a massive spiritual commentary on Genesis and Exodus entitled Heavenly Arcana (aka Arcana Coelestia, or "Heavenly Secrets"). Literal events are not as they appear in the sense of the letter, behind each story there is a spiritual truth. For example the story of Cain killing his brother Abel is symbolic of how a branch of the ancient race of Adam departed from love and charity, killing it within their heart, and began following a heresy of belief or faith alone symbolized by Cain. Cain is given a mark so that no one would kill him out of revenge. Likewise, in the book of Revelation there is described a corrupt Christian religion where worshipers are given the "mark of the beast" - this is nothing other than the belief of salvation by faith alone.

In the book of Jasher, there is an interesting detail given concerning the sacrifices of Abel and Cain:
And it was at the expiration of a few years, that they brought an approximating offering to the Lord, and Cain brought from the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought from the firstlings of his flock from the fat thereof, and God turned and inclined to Abel and his offering, and a fire came down from the Lord from heaven and consumed it.And unto Cain and his offering the Lord did not turn, and he did not incline to it, for he had brought from the inferior fruit of the ground before the Lord, and Cain was jealous against his brother Abel on account of this, and he sought a pretext to slay him. (Jasher 1:15-16)
When we analyze the spiritual symbolism of scripture as presented in Heavenly Arcana, animals and beasts represent affections, thus here love and charity, the offering of Abel. Plants symbolize the truth of faith (plants create oxygen from light, light is a symbol of truth), which is here the offering of Cain. Swedenborg saw that in the spiritual sense Cain represented faith separate from charity, and this particular detail in the book of Jasher is consistent with what Swedenborg saw in his vision.

Next we come to the story of Lamech, a descendant of Cain, who had two wives Adah and Zillah. In the book of Genesis, he approaches his wives and begs forgiveness for killing a man. Swedenborg explains the spiritual sense of this story as follows:
And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice ye wives of Lamech, and give ear unto my speech; for I have slain a man to my wounding and a boy to my hurt. By Lamech vastation is signified, as before; that he "said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, give ear unto my speech" is confession, that is not made except where the church is — which, as has been stated, is signified by his wives. "I have slain a man to my wounding" signifies that faith was extinguished — faith, as before, being signified by a man; "a boy to my hurt" signifies that charity was extinguished. By a wound and hurt [or bruise] is signified that there was no more soundness — by a wound, that faith was desolated, by a bruise, that charity was devastated. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 427)
Swedenborg then explains why slaying a man here represents how the ancient worship of faith alone separate from charity became extinguished, and died out. For religion of the memory alone, and not of the life, will become extinguished in the process of time. Such is happening to the Protestant church, slowly, but this is the end of the church should they not recognize their error. But its a bit hard to figure out how Swedenborg derived that the "slaying of a man" represents that the worship of faith alone was extinguished. He shows why, but this spiritual meaning is confirmed by an additional detail given in the book of Jasher:
"And Lamech was old and advanced in years, and his eyes were dim that he could not see, and Tubal Cain, his son, was leading him and it was one day that Lamech went into the field and Tubal Cain his son was with him, and whilst they were walking in the field, Cain the son of Adam advanced towards them; for Lamech was very old and could not see much, and Tubal Cain his son was very young.
And Tubal Cain told his father to draw his bow, and with the arrows he smote Cain, who was yet far off, and he slew him, for he appeared to them to be an animal.
And the arrows entered Cain's body although he was distant from them, and he fell to the ground and died
." (Jasher 2:26-28)
So, the man that Lamech killed was his own ancestor, Cain, who represented the heresy of faith separate from charity or love. His eyes were dim, signifying when one becomes a part of religion that becomes separate from life, the truth becomes diminished. So again, the spiritual meaning given to Swedenborg is again consistent with the book of Jasher. Also from spiritual symbolism as explained in Heavenly Arcana, a bow signifies doctrine, an arrow a falsehood derived from doctrine, so every detail here has a spiritual significance. Adopting a false doctrine or belief will eventually mislead one down the wrong path, causing a departure from love, thus killing it.

SWEDENBORG ON THE SYMBOLISM OF ABRAHAM

To the Jews, Genesis and much of scripture is all about how the Jewish race is better and more holy than everyone else. This, in fact, is a falsehood - for what makes scripture holy is the symbolism behind it. Israel is not the land of Israel, but is symbolic of the kingdom of heaven.  In Heavenly Arcana, it is revealed that the patriarchs of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob represent the Lord Jesus Christ. Abraham specifically represents Jesus during his childhood, who like Jesus also goes down to Egypt. The revelation given to Swedenborg continues on the revelation of the New Testament, showing how all of scripture is focused on the Lord and his church. Swedenborg describes the representation of Abraham as the Lord in his childhood, gathering basic knowledge, in the following passage:
"The things told of Abram's sojourn in Egypt represent and signify the Lord's first instruction. Abram is the Lord; Sarai as a wife is truth to be adjoined to the celestial, Sarai as a sister is intellectual truth; Egypt is knowledge. The progress from outward knowledges even to celestial truths is described; this was according to Divine order, that the Lord's Human Essence might be conjoined to His Divine Essence, and at the same time become Jehovah." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1402)
And this brings us full circle back to the book of Jasher, where it is described how Abraham was born during a grand conjunction of the planets in 1953 B.C. - just as Jesus was born around the time of a similar grand conjunction in 6 B.C. The wise men of Babylon understood this and explained the significance to king Nimrod, just as the wise men of the east came to Israel and explained the significance of the star of Bethlehem to king Herod. Nimrod then attempts to kill the baby, but kills another baby instead; in the same manner Herod slaughters the children of Bethlehem in the hopes of slaying Jesus and likewise fails. Thus it can be seen here how the book of Jasher is indeed a prophetic work. Hopefully more scholarship will be done on it in the future, once scholars recognize the value of the manuscript.

So based on this research, once I had arranged in 2012 to publish a digital version of all the theological works of Emanuel Swedenborg, I thought about it and decided to add the English translation of the book of Jasher as well.  All of these are put together in a massive digital work on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, The Divine Revelation of the New Jerusalem: Expanded Edition. Those who understand the spiritual symbolism in scripture can see much more depth in this Hebrew work of the book of Jasher.