Monday, April 24, 2017

Does Primary Spiritual Authority reside in the Roman Catholic Church?



In the doctrines of the New Church, all spiritual authority is from the Lord alone, and from the Word as revealed in scripture. Moreover spiritual doctrines have been revealed by which the higher spiritual meaning of scripture can be opened. That scripture is the foundation of truth, the Lord declares in the following passage:
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. (Mt. 4:4)
That the Lord is the sole authority can be seen that the Lord is the Word made flesh:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . In Him was life, and the life was the light of men (John i. 1, 4)
The Roman Catholic Church, however, departs from this central truth and claims that sole spiritual authority resides in its church and priesthood, and they will use some false arguments to support this claim. This claim is correctly rejected by the Protestants, as well as the Orthodox, and it continues to keep the Christian world divided. There are other adverse consequences of this claim:
  1. The argument of authority is used as a basis of doctrine, thus elevating the doctrines of men over that of God and His Word.
  2. The argument of authority, when uses as a basis of doctrine, discourages higher rational thinking on spiritual matters, and closes off the higher spiritual understanding. See Truth by Religious Tradition and Authority vs. Spiritual Truth.
  3. The argument of authority is not accepted outside of the Catholic Church as a rational justification for any dialogue.
That the Roman Catholic Church continues to claim to have "sole spiritual authority" can be seen from their own statements, which can be seen from Beginning Catholic - Catholic Church Authority. It begins as follows:
The source and nature of Church authority is one of the major issues that beginning Catholics have to examine and come to terms with.
They claim it is supported by both scripture and history, and that their claim is "misunderstood" when others say they misplace worship. We should be clear here: the authority claimed by the Roman Catholic Church goes beyond that of mere ecclesiastical governance, it is an exclusive claim to authority to determine the truth, and an exclusive claim that their organization is the one true church. Moreover, they declare it is impossible for the Catholic Church to mislead people in its official teachings. So lets examine the support for such a claim, one by one, using the above web site, as well as supporting arguments from other Catholic web sites.

CLAIM #1: CHURCH AUTHORITY COMES FROM DIRECT APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION


The web site mentions three scriptures in which Jesus states that as the Father sent Him, so he sends his apostles (Mt. 10:40, 28:18-20, Lk, 10:16, Jn. 20:21). And from this they want others to jump to the conclusion that spiritual authority resides solely in the Catholic Church. But this is not what scripture says. God is Divine truth, and inasmuch one represents and spreads the truth, if that truth is rejected one rejects the Lord Himself. It then goes on to mention examples of ecclesiastical governance. But what it fails to mention is that the Catholic Church claims to have special authority in its priesthood due to direct apostolic succession. Similarly, the Jewish Pharisees resorted to this line of argument against Jesus, by stating Abraham is their father (Jn. 8:33). Jesus retorted if they were Abraham's children they should do his works (Jn. 9:39). A succession of men, whether by birth or office, should not be used as a guarantee of authority.

That Jesus Christ forbade placing spiritual authority in men is explicitly stated in scripture:
But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. (Mt. 23:8-10)
Those who claim spiritual authority in men will then ask the question, why do we call our biological fathers father? But this is to miss the point entirely. Jesus is not talking about mere literal titles. Jesus forbids anyone to place spiritual authority in men. Another weak counter argument I have seen is that Paul stated he acted like a father to those who need to learn like children (1 Thes. 2:11). But this is an analogy, Paul is not making any special claim to authority, merely that he had to teach them the truth. It is interesting when people make these arguments against Jesus, when I ask them what then did Jesus mean, they have no answer. It is a passage they choose to ignore. When one places spiritual authority in one's self, this leads to spiritual pride. Swedenborg confirms that Jesus was not talking about mere literal titles, but rather those who place spiritual authority in themselves:
"Be not ye called teacher; for one is your Teacher, even Christ. And call no man your father on earth; for one is your Father, which is in the heavens. Neither be ye called masters; for one is your Master, even Christ (Matt. 23:8-10). Without doctrine it would follow from this that no man ought to call another teacher or father or master; but from doctrine it is known that this is permissible in the natural sense, but not in the spiritual sense." (True Christian Religion, n. 226.6)
Furthermore:
"...this is said because the "Father" means the Lord, who creates and begets us anew, and because He alone teaches and instructs; so when man is in a spiritual idea he will think of the Lord alone as the Father and Master; but it is otherwise when man is in a natural idea. Moreover, in the spiritual world or in heaven, no one knows any other father, teacher, or master than the Lord, because from Him is spiritual life." (Apocalypse Explained, n. 631)
The reason why Jesus gave this commandment is to ensure no one out of pride would claim spiritual authority over others:
Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Mt. 23:12)
It is sinful to place any authority or claim in oneself, for all that is good and true in oneself does not come from the self, or the ego, but from God alone. We are but recipients of these in our will and understanding. To give "glory and honor" to the Lord is to acknowledge this:
"By giving to the Lord glory and honor nothing else is meant in the Word but to acknowledge and confess that all truth and all good are from Him, and thus that He is the only God; for He has glory from the Divine truth and honor from the Divine good." (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 249)
CLAIM #2: JESUS PASSED AUTHORITY TO PETER AND THENCE TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH


This is somewhat the same as the first claim, and this one definitely shows how the Roman Catholic Church claims exclusive authority for itself in its priesthood, which is properly rejected by the Protestants. Although the Roman Catholic Church will say Jesus Christ is the primary authority, this is but a springboard to place spiritual authority in themselves. I will quote from Beginning Catholic - Catholic Church Authority:

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.” (Mt 16:18-19)
This is a key passage for understanding the Catholic doctrine of Church authority: * Christ’s deliberate intent to establish a new Church (“I will build My Church”) * His choice of Peter as the foundation, or head, of this Church * Christ confers on Peter his own divine authority (“the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven”) for ruling the Church (“bind” and “loose”). This power to “bind and loose”, repeated also in Mt 18:18 to the Apostles as a whole, is understood as applying first to Peter and his successors (the Pope), and then to the rest of the Apostles and their successors (the other Bishops) in union with Peter.
Peter (Petra) does indeed mean rock, and the Catholic Church takes this to mean that Peter and his successors (whom they presume are themselves) is the foundation of the authority of the Church. But notice the misquote, the website "forgot" to mention what precedes:
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, Jeremiah, 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. (Mt. 16:13-17)
This is a BIG DIFFERENCE.  It is Jesus Christ who is the foundation of the church, it is He who is the rock. The Christian Church is founded on His Divine identity. Take away that and there is no church. And yet the Catholic Church misplaces this authority in themselves, even to the point of declaring the Pope is the "Vicar of Christ." A "rock" or foundation in the spiritual sense means one's foundation of truth (see Mt. 7:24), and Paul confirms that the rock is Jesus Christ:
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor. 10:4)
That this is a willful distortion of scripture in order to make claims of spiritual power and authority over others, can be seen by examining scripture:
Jehovah is my rock (Ps. 18:2).
For who is God save the Jehovah or who is a rock save our God? (Ps. 18:31)
Unto thee will I cry, O Jehovah my rock (Ps. 28:1)
He only is my rock and my salvation (Ps. 62:2) .... etc.
So what does the New Church have to say on the matter? In the spiritual sense, it has nothing to do with Peter or the Roman Catholic Church, confirming that the Protestants are correct in rejecting this claim:
"...good takes on a quality through truths, good without truths having no quality and where there is no quality there is neither force nor power. From this it is clear, that good has all power through truths, or charity through faith, and neither charity apart from faith nor faith apart from charity has any power. This is meant also by the keys given to Peter, for "Peter" there means, in the spiritual sense, truth from good which is from the Lord, thus faith from charity; and the "keys" given to him the power over evil and falsities. These things were said to Peter when he acknowledged the Divine of the Lord in His Human; which means, that those have power who acknowledge the Divine of the Lord in His Human, and from Him are in the good of charity, and in the truths of faith." (Apocalypse Explained, n. 209.4)
Moreover, each particular disciple of the Lord represented a different aspect of the church:
"Peter" here [signifies] Divine truth proceeding from the Lord's Divine good, and in the internal sense, every truth from good that is from the Lord. The "rock" [petra] that is spoken of in the Word where Peter is mentioned, and from which Peter's name is derived, has a like signification. The Lord's twelve disciples represented all the truths and goods of the church in the complex; Peter represented truth or faith, James charity, and John the works of charity. But here Peter represented faith from charity, or truth from good which is from the Lord, because Peter here acknowledged the Lord in heart" (Apocalypse Explained, n. 206.3)
The internal motivation of many in the Roman Catholic Church was seen by Swedenborg was not for spirituality, but for the sake of self power. Whether one believes Swedenborg or not, if the first thing Catholics talk about is the authority of their church over all spiritual matters one should question the motivation behind such interest. Is it for the sake of love of others? Or is it for the sake of power over others? Again:
"They who are in the good of genuine charity, and read the words which the Lord spake to Peter — I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of the heavens, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in the heavens, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in the heavens (Matt. xvi. 15-19) — they being in affection for truth from the good of genuine charity, love to be taught what is meant by these words; and when they hear that by the rock there upon which the church will be built, and consequently by Peter, is signified the faith of charity, and that thus the keys for opening and shutting heaven are given to that faith (see the preface to Gen. chap. xxii.), they then rejoice and are affected by that truth, because thus the Lord alone, from Whom faith is, has that power. But they who are not in affection for truth from the good of genuine charity, but in affection for truth from some other good, and especially if from love of self and the world, are not affected with that truth, but are made sad, and are also made angry, inasmuch as they wish to claim that power to the priesthood. They are made angry because they are thus deprived of dominion, and they are made sad because they are deprived of honor." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 4368.3)
That this is the continued focus of the Roman Catholic Church, one can see by perusing multiple web sites, such as Scripture Catholic - the Church, where the same errors are repeated over and over.

CLAIM #3: THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS THE PRIMARY AUTHORITY SINCE IT DETERMINES SCRIPTURE

The Catholic Church maintains that it was from its own spiritual authority which determines scripture. They essentially are stating their authority is above scripture and have the right to declare what is scripture and what isn't.  That they claim this, can be seen from Whats Your Authority:
The fact is that the Holy Spirit guided the Catholic Church over time to recognize and determine the canon of the New and Old Testaments in the year 382 at the synod of Rome, under Pope Damasus I. This decision was ratified again at the councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397 and 419). You, my friend, accept exactly the same books of the New Testament that Pope Damasus decreed were canonical, and no others... This means you accept the canon of the New Testament that you do because of tradition, because tradition is simply what is handed on to us from those who were in the faith before us.
And this is their argument for tradition and authority as the source of faith.  From Scripture and Tradition:
In the Second Vatican Council’s document on divine revelation, Dei Verbum (Latin: "The Word of God"), the relationship between Tradition and Scripture is explained: "Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit. To the successors of the apostles, sacred Tradition hands on in its full purity God’s word, which was entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. 
"Thus, by the light of the Spirit of truth, these successors can in their preaching preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same devotion and reverence."
And it is true: the older Christian churches are dependent on tradition and authority. Moreover, Protestants don't like to admit this, but most of their theology and doctrine they inherited from the Catholic Church. But argument from tradition and authority is not a strength, it is a weakness.  It is from tradition and religious authority that falsehoods have corrupted the Christian Church. To merely say something is inspired because of authority is a logical fallacy. All that the councils did was separate the valid documents of the words of Jesus and the apostles from the internal evidence of the text itself, and what had been preserved from a variety of different local churches. This was done to "weed out" the false gospels that were prevalent at the early time. Textual critics can also easily determine that they were forgeries without any claim to "authority" in themselves. In reality the church councils did not define what is Divinely inspired, they just declared which were valid documents of the words of Jesus and His apostles. The same web site goes further:
Any Christian accepting the authority of the New Testament does so, whether or not he admits it, because he has implicit trust that the Catholic Church made the right decision in determining the canon.
In other words, the canon of scripture is used as an argument to support that one should blindly follow authority, rather than the internal evidence of the text itself, and the testimony of the local churches where they were in use.

The argument, however, falls flat on its face when one sees what the Catholic Church selected as their scripture. First they selected the Septuagint (a Greek translation) as their basis, and in selecting the Septuagint as their basis, they introduced major interpolations to the Hebrew text from the Septuagint, to wit: Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah, additions to Daniel, and others, such as the later fictional accounts of Tobit and Judith. Moreover, the texts they selected came from churches that belong now to Orthodox and Eastern branches of Christianity, not the later Catholic Church.

This alone shows that truth from authority cannot be completely trusted. The false additions from the Septuagint were only corrected during the Protestant Reformation.

A REVELATION OF THE TRUE CANON OF THE BIBLE


In the New Church, one is no longer dependent on tradition and human authority with is not only prone to errors, but also at times subverts the truths of God's Word. First, Jesus Christ Himself revealed what is canonical for the Old Testament:
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:44)
Jesus refers to a very specific set of scriptures here from the Jewish canon of the Old Testament. The law of Moses is the Torah, and the prophets refer to another section called the Nevi'im. Outside of these two sections Jesus selects one book, the Psalms. The original Hebrew canon was modified by the Greek Septuagint, and it is from this that the Christian churches, including the Roman Catholic, inherited the majority of their canon.

Needless to say, it has nothing to do with church authority of the Roman Catholic Church. By the same logic, since the Jews preserved the canon of the Old Testament, does that mean we should follow the spiritual authority of Jewish rabbis? Of course not. Its a ridiculous argument.

Compare the below chart of the Old Testament, which compares the Jewish canon with that of the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant branches:


Note that, separate from the Law and Prophets, the Jews created a separate section known as "Ketuvim" which simply means the "Writings."  Of these, Jesus only selected the Psalms. The only other book he quotes from is the book of Daniel (Mt. 24:15, Mark 13:14), which properly belongs among the Prophets.

There is one case where some claim that Jesus references 2 Chronicles as scripture:
Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and [some] of them ye shall kill and crucify; and [some] of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute [them] from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zechariah son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.  (Mt. 24:34, 35; see also Luke 11:49-51)
The claim here is that Zechariah, is a priest whose death is recorded in 2 Chronicles 24:20-21. However this identification is false. It more likely refers to the priest Zechariah who was the father of John the Baptist. From Wikipedia - Zechariah:
"Origen suggested that the Zechariah mentioned in Matthew 23:35 as having been killed between the temple and the altar may be the father of John the Baptist. Orthodox Christian tradition recounts that, at the time of the massacre of the Innocents, when King Herod ordered the slaughter of all males under the age of two in an attempt to prevent the prophesied Messiah from coming to Israel, Zechariah refused to divulge the whereabouts of his son (who was in hiding), and he was therefore murdered by Herod's soldiers. This is also recorded in the Infancy Gospel of James, an apocryphal work from the 2nd century."
This latter explanation is more likely, as the statement of Jesus would include all the prophets from Abel to the father of John the Baptist. So, this means that the books of the Ketuvim are not necessarily authoritative in the same way as the Law, Prophets and Psalms of Hebrew scripture.

In the New Church, Divinely inspired scripture are those works which have an internal spiritual sense from internal evidence in the text itself. The canon of the New Church is not based on tradition or authority, but rather Divine revelation from Jesus Christ. The criteria and evidence for Divinely inspired scripture is given in Heavenly Arcana (or Arcana Coelestia). For the Old Testament, it closely follows the Jewish canon just discussed, but also includes the book of Lamentations. For the New Testament, the Gospels and Apocalypse are Divinely inspired, whereas the letters of the apostles are works included for the edification of the church. The Divinely inspired canon is as follows:
"The books of the Word are all those which have an internal sense; and those which have not an internal sense are not the Word. The books of the Word in the Old Testament are the five books of Moses, the book of Joshua, the book of Judges, the two books of Samuel, the two books of the Kings, the Psalms of David, the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah including the Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; and in the New Testament the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John; and the Apocalypse." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10325).
As for the letters of the apostles, they are "Divinely influenced," but do not have the same level of inspiration where there is a spiritual sense behind each and every word. This revelation comes from Jesus Christ Himself:
"That the Lord manifested Himself before me His servant, and sent me to this office, and that He afterward opened the sight of my spirit, and so has admitted me into the spiritual world, and has granted to me to see the heavens and the hells, also to converse with angels and spirits, and this now continuously for many years, I testify in truth; likewise, that from the first day of that call I have not received any thing which pertains to the doctrines of that church from any angel, but from the Lord alone while I read the Word. For the sake of the end that the Lord might be constantly present, He has disclosed to me the spiritual sense of His Word, in which Divine truth is in its light, and in this light He is continually present. For His presence in the Word comes only by the spiritual sense; through the light of this, He passes into the shade in which is the sense of the letter; comparatively, as it is with the light of the sun in the day time, passing through a cloud that is interposed." (True Christian Religion, n. 779-780)
This, of course, will be opposed by those of the Roman Catholic Church whose interest is primarily in claiming sole spiritual authority in matters of the Christian Church, and such a spiritual conflict is foretold in the prophecy of the Apocalypse. With those of the New Church, the Roman Catholic Church cannot use scripture as a false argument to support their authority, as the New Church has a higher and more strict standard than they do.

The revelations of the New Church are not limited to the Biblical Canon, but also the revelations contain the true doctrines of Christianity by which scripture should be interpreted, This is the Second Coming of the Word of God, which is described in more detail in the post Is the Second Coming a Physical Event or Spiritual Event?

THE NEW CHURCH IS NEW SPIRITUAL FREEDOM

With the New Church, all doctrine is drawn from scripture, and true spiritual freedom is truly restored in Christianity, where it is no longer necessary to depend on authority or tradition, or the teachings derived from the opinions of men. With these revelations, one can rationally explore and open up one's spiritual understanding, and one is not dependent on truth by reason of authority. True authority is from scripture, and the doctrines of the New Church opens up scripture to anyone willing to examine them. The doctrines are primarily described in The Doctrines of the New Jerusalem (or The Four Doctrines and New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrines) and True Christian Religion. Additional doctrines can be found scattered throughout Heavenly Arcana, a large multi-volume work.

When spirituality is rationally understood, where there are no "mysteries of faith" or "blind belief", the higher spiritual understanding is opened which leads to new spiritual light - see Truth by Religious Tradition and Authority vs. Spiritual Truth. However this spiritual light cannot be opened until the former falsehoods are exposed, and thence removed from the mind. Swedenborg saw this spiritual light was now available to all, but the angelic world had slim hope for those of the Christian Church, as it has been infested by falsehoods:
"...the man of the church will hereafter be in a freer state of thinking on the things of faith, thus on the spiritual things which are of heaven, because spiritual freedom has been restored. For all things have now been reduced to order in the heavens and in the hells, and from them flows in all thought about Divine things and against Divine things — from the heavens all thought in harmony with Divine things, and from the hells all thought against Divine things. ...Because spiritual freedom has been restored to man, therefore the spiritual sense of the Word has now been uncovered, and by means of it interior Divine truths have been revealed; for man in his former state would not have been able to understand those truths, and he who would have been able, would have been ready to profane them.  
"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, n. 73-74).
Those who fail to question their beliefs will for the most part fail to see this truth. But for those who question their religious beliefs, and who wish to seek the truth for themselves, new spiritual light awaits.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Mass Extraterrestrial Contact: the case of Amicizia / Friendship



The first explicit documented case of extraterrestrial contact can be found in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century, who encountered them in his waking journeys in the spiritual world. They are for the most part discounted, and used by skeptics to discredit the spiritual revelations that he received. However the spiritual revelations are so extensive, so comprehensive, that anyone who rationally examines them can see the Divine truth within them - for example, God is not a God of anger and wrath, but is pure Divine love. Man of his own evil punishes himself, and condemns himself to hell. But God out of his love is always leading mankind back to love. The revelations provide a rational explanation of Christianity, an explanation of the afterlife, proof of Divine inspiration in scripture, and removes many of the falsehoods that have corrupted the religion over the centuries through religious authorities and traditions of men.

This principle of love is universal, and evidence of this principle can be found in some extraterrestrial contact cases with human looking extraterrestrials, who come here in friendship and peace, but tend to remain anonymous and hidden. The one case that surprised me the most was the case of "Amicizia" or "Friendship" in Italy, which I previously blogged about in the post UFO Secret: The Friendship Case, Voltaire, and Germain. It spans several decades, the secrecy around this was lifted in 2007 and is a major disclosure. This involves a lot of witnesses - about a 100 of them, many of them from well respected positions: generals, university professors, scientists, authors, painters, and so on. The interesting thing is the overall silence of this from the witnesses: it was just so strange and bizarre, many decided not to risk the ridicule and stigma to their careers and family.

BOOKS AND VIDEO OF THE CONTACT

A few months ago I decided to purchase a book of this contact case, entitled Mass Contact by Stefano Breccia, a university professor. He was directly involved in the contacts, and interviewed about 80 people involved in this case. He took several photographs which have been analyzed by researchers. None of them have been declared fake, and independent analysis indicates they are genuine (a copy of one of them is above at the beginning of the blog).  Here is a video presentation which I just found, where he presents several photographs and even films for the first time, most from the 1950s and 1960s, however contact is ongoing:


Stefano Breccia - Mass Physical Contact in Italy from Michael Salla on Vimeo.

Throughout the presentation the audio does not work, but that is fixed at the end, if one ever wanted to hear an extraterrestrial speak Italian using a bad accent from the Fascist era. According to the presentation, additional books of these contacts were published (in Italian) by Alberto Perego and Bruno Ghibaudi (see around 1:15-1:16). One of the witnesses he mentions is Gaspare de Lama, an Italian painter. I was directed to an interview of him, which I decided to upload to Youtube:


There are additional photographs presented, which have been analyzed by researchers who indicate that they are genuine. They were taken at a time where hardware/software was not available to fake them as easily as it is now. These videos are valuable, as they combine witness testimony with photographic evidence, which is rarely done in the majority of cases on the internet today. It is the witness testimony which is most valuable here, and we are not talking about one witness, but several witnesses. They have everything to lose by coming forward.

The main contact in the Italian group was a psychiatrist Dr. Bruno Sammaciccia. He has written about 100 books, mainly on religious subjects. One of his books had a dedication written by Karol Wojtila, who would later become Pope John Paul II. Here is a photograph of him:

Dr. Bruno Sammaciccia is in the center, to the left is Giancarlo de Carlo (an Italian architect) and the two women are their wives. In the background is an Army General, a Carabineers General, and the Managing Director of the Telephone Company of Central Italy. Below is another photograph where he is pictured with Gaspare de Lama (interviewed above):

The dog, on the right, actually sometimes played a role in establishing contact, and appears in one of the films in the first video. Sometimes communication was established by phone, othertimes they would overlay a broadcast over regular radio or TV, which has been seen independently in other contact cases.

AN ANONYMOUS WITNESS OF AMICIZIA

This is a complicated case that is hard to summarize, but I found a nice summary that was given by an anonymous witness to Nikola Duper, who published his testimony here: Clarifying the “Friendship” Italian contact case, and here: Friendship Part 2: A “Sworn One” Speaks. The testimony begins as follows:
"The story of “Friendship” -or simply “the story”, as we always called it- is a true one. It involved a group of Italian and non-Italian people for many years, between 1956 and 1990. Some of these people, including myself, are still alive. We had direct, face-to-face meetings with the Friends (also called W56), who are extraterrestrials coming both from planets in our own Galaxy (at a distance of one hundred thousand light years) and from other Galaxies. Here on the Earth they reached the maximum number of two hundred, living inside underground and undersea bases, some of them along the Adriatic coast, at a depth of about 20 km/12 miles. The first, “historical” base was located under the area of Ascoli Piceno, a small town in central Italy."
Although they may physically differ, and come from different locales, what unites them is the common principle of love and friendship:
"“Friendship” gathers together various extraterrestrial populations that are different from each other, both as regards physical characteristics (there are tall, small and giant Friends, etc.) and provenance (there are Friends from other Universes and dimensions). However, all of them share a fundamental choice towards Good. “Friendship” is a sort of transversal confederation on the basis of a common ideal of life and thought, though great diversifications remain between populations and individuals and between personal choices. This is the very opposite of ideological standardization. The population whom we personally interacted with is composed of individuals (men and women, like us) who are physically very beautiful, some about three meters (ten feet) tall, while others are tiny. However, these are secondary aspects only."
The witnesses of the Amicizia case largely kept silent to the public, and this witness acknowledges that those who did speak out paid a high price:
"These [contacts] marked our personal lives deeply and indelibly and caused us to become particularly vulnerable to the laws, regulations and conventions of our own reality and society where we continued to live and work -with the exception of a few of us who chose to spend the rest of their lives together with the Friends. What we experienced with the Friends goes beyond any imagination. As a consequence, absolute silence with other people has been the most normal reaction from us, together with our continuous thinking about our experiences over the decades. It was, and still is, a kind of “mental mulling” and constantly growing awareness of what happened, together with the realization that it cannot easily be put into words. Some of us paid a very high price for our being “singled out”, and abandoned established work and social life patterns."
TWO CONFLICTING EXTRATERRESTRIAL AGENDAS

This confederation of human extraterrestrials somehow earned the nickname of "W56" - the W standing for double victory, and 56 for the year 1956, presumably when involvement in Italy began. The goal of the W56 group was to "Help us help ourselves" in their own words, by practicing spiritual laws of love or brotherhood - thus this is known as the "friendship" case.

But one particular matter is clarified in this case. Most documented cases of UFO contact is that of abduction, having one being genetically tested, and then the whole affair is wiped from the subject's memory. This is documented by such researchers as Karla Turner, David Jacobs, Budd Hopkins, and Howard Mack, the late psychiatrist from Harvard University (for one particular well documented case, see The Orion Messages of Stan Romanek). What has come out of that research is the following conclusion: a dying race of extraterrestrials have lost their ability to reproduce, and they need our genetic material to create a race of hybrids. Its either that, or infiltration into our society.

Karla Turner, Ph.D., was one of the first researchers in the alien abduction phenomenon

This has taken years to come out. But back in the 1960s, the W56 had indicated to their contacts that they were working in opposition to another extraterrestrial race that was labeled "CTR" (from "Contrari" meaning opposite or enemy). The CTRs are an artificial biological race that was created by them, an experiment gone wrong. The CTRs are trying to become a regular biological race, for they recognize something is missing in their nature. From the anonymous witness of Nikola Duper:
"The Friends are not the only extraterrestrials who have come to the Earth. Individuals from various other populations are among us, because the Earth is a very particular planet inside the economy of this part of the Universe. The aim of the Friends’ presence is not to study us (they know us quite well, better than we do ourselves!), but to help us. In fact, the Friends are unhappy about the very high level of hate, violence and injustice on the Earth, and about the anti-humanistic trend of our science and technology. Being able to see our thoughts and feelings, the Friends see what we hide behind our masks, words and smiles…
Other populations are here for other reasons, and the abduction by extraterrestrials of terrestrials, as well as the creation of hybrids, is a reality which the Friends told us about as far back as the ’60s."
This conflict has been fought in secret on other planets:
"The Friends have won a great war in the Universe against the Evil populations, but the game on the Earth is still completely open. Both the minds of us terrestrials in the group, forever linked to the Friends by an ancient pact, and the minds of the terrestrials whom we address -as is happening now- are involved in this war. In fact, this war also takes place in our most intimate spheres and on levels that we are unaware of, which makes the whole matter very difficult and hard to express."
It is a silent war, involving those who collaborate with either side:
"Everyday, terrestrial collaborators of the Friends and terrestrial collaborators of populations who are enemies of the Friends (and thus are our own enemies) silently fight with each other. The enemies are trying to conquer our planet in a very gradual and seemingly painless way, most of all working over our minds. Unfortunately, this is not science-fiction. If only it were so! Unfortunately, this is not paranoia. If only it were so!"
Breccia describes the CTR as follows:
"The enemies of the W56's are very powerful beings, technologically advanced, but their civilization is devoid of any soul whatsoever. They are people without any future, because they are interested in science only, they are materialists, atheists." (Mass Contacts, p. 226)
Again, he emphasizes that their main interest is in science only:
"...they adore science only, therefore they are very cool, when they believe it to be the case, they destroy people without the least hesitation. They have a kind of "scientific ethic" and this name explains their behaviour." (Mass Contacts, p. 240)
The CTRs look like men, and are perhaps the same as the mysterious "men in black" noted by other UFO researchers. The W56s also warned that if one did not remain strong as a group, they could take away and manipulate people's memories, which Breccia said indeed happened to some in their group. Ultimately the CTRs were successful in breaking up the group, due to human failures within, and the W56s made a general withdrawal from the Italian group in 1978.

The anonymous witness told Nikoka Duper the following piece of information, which if true - and there have been some indications of this elsewhere - it certainly does not forbode well:
"At the end of the ’40s, the Friends offered their collaboration to the head of the USA Administration. In exchange, they asked that the nuclear weaponry program be given up. But their offer and request were rejected, and other extraterrestrial populations have been collaborating with the USA and other Powers. The results of this have been highly negative, and still weigh heavily on our collective destiny. One of the reasons -there are others- which delay disclosure is the fact that the USA Administration should assume responsibility before the whole planet for having refused a vital collaboration and for having activated another highly negative one, exclusively for the sake of power and domination, lying to citizens and covering up for decades.
Following the American politico-military refusal, the Friends undertook the strategy consisting in confidential contacts with small groups of terrestrials, trying to emphasize the quality of human personal relationships, the value of Love and UREDDA, rather than quantity and visibility."
I have heard and also read something similar to this story, where an offer of spiritual guidance from one group was refused by the U.S. military, and instead preferred technology assistance from another group. And in exchange? They agreed to let this group perform abductions and genetic experiments on the general human population. This many will probably dismiss as speculative hearsay, but there are independent witnesses and sources that confirm this may be true. In general, one can see how our society values technology over the spiritual values, and if presented with this choice, one can easily see which one the U.S. military would take. The full story I am sure is much more complex, with multiple parties having multiple agendas, with some in the U.S. military not in full agreement with what has been happening.

As with all things secret, certain things do come out in a general way into the public view. Look up in the news about the threats of artificial intelligence. A large body of scientists are exploring and working on the problem. Our society is moving towards a society of just technology and science, and the friends of W56 have stated we are moving down a dangerous path, without considering the spiritual and moral aspects. I thought I would add here, an interesting movie on this topic is Ex Machina:



The other aspect here, is secrecy would be maintained by both the U.S. military in black budget programs, and protected by counter intelligence efforts. The same would be true of their extraterrestrial counterparts. Secrecy and anonymity is of advantage to all sides, but for completely different reasons. The one surprise I saw in Mass Contacts is that Breccia indicates that the CTRs themselves engaged in counter intelligence activities, and could even go so far as altering a person's memory.

This particular situation seems to have begun once we exploded the atomic bomb, and the friends of Amicizia stated that they had been intervening in a secret way to prevent a nuclear confrontation.

SWEDENBORG AND HUMAN EXTRATERRESTRIALS

The CTRs, who value science and knowledge above all else, sound quite similar to a particular extraterrestrial race that Swedenborg encountered, which traveled from solar system to solar system, gathering massive amounts of knowledge - and this back in the 18th century. They valued the accumulation of knowledge above all things. He associated them with Mercury, perhaps due to the fact they were interstellar and Mercury is in close proximity to the Sun. Swedenborg saw that they were quite proud due to their knowledge, and guarded themselves with utmost secrecy from others.


One thing that was revealed to Swedenborg in the 18th century was that the human race, or at least the human form, was a common life form throughout the universe:
"That there are many earths, and men upon them, and spirits and angels thence, is very well known in the other life, for there every one who desires it from a love of truth and thence of use, is allowed to speak with spirits of other earths, and thereby to be confirmed concerning the plurality of worlds, and to be informed that the human race is not from one earth merely, but from innumerable earths" (Earths in the Universe, , n. 2).
Not possible, right? Humans evolved on planet earth and we have not been able to travel elsewhere, correct? Compare this with some statements from Mass Contacts:. Ghibaudi, an earlier pioneer in Italian UFO studies who had met with one group, said this:
"...the "human (Homo sapien) form is widespread and prevalent (although at times with slight variations) throughout the universe, and that we are the result of an interbreeding among some ancient cosmic colonizers, who became corrupted following planetary disasters that altered our surroundings." (Mass Contacts, pp. 5-6)
One of the planetary disasters that occurred in ancient times, which is attested in other contacts, is that a planet between Mars and Jupiter was destroyed. We also now know that Mars and even Venus were once capable of hosting life, with a breathable atmosphere and water. What this also means: the human race is much more ancient than previously supposed, and we are but one small branch of it. They also confirm we have a much more ancient history on earth which is now lost to us. One of the friends of the W56 said the following:
"There are other peoples beside us, at various levels of civilization, but the man is universal.... As man is universal, albeit some secondary differences, all of them breathe oxygen in their atmosphere, of course with differences among them; we are very good to adapt from one place to another, so it has not been really a problem to come here on your earth." (Mass Contacts, p. 244, 245)
There have been other confirmations of human extraterrestrials (see U.S. Military Confirmation of the Human Extraterrestrials of Emanuel Swedenborg. Sergeant Clifford Stone, who was involved in UFO crash retrievals, stated that among our scientists they were puzzled as to why the human form seemed to be the universal form, or why life tended to the human form. Swedenborg answered this, which is described in the post Swedenborg on the Divine Order of Human Evolution:
"Love or volition is constantly striving toward the human form and toward everything the human form comprises... Clearly then, life (which is love and its consequent volition) is constantly striving toward the human form; and since the human form comprises everything that is within us, it follows that love or volition is engaged in a constant effort to form all these things. The reason this effort is toward the human form is that God is a Person and divine love and wisdom is the life of that Person. This is the source of every trace of life... There are thousands upon thousands of things within us that are acting in unison, totally united in their effort toward an image of the life that is their source so that we can become his vessel and dwelling. We can see from this that love--and from love, our volition, and from volition, our hearts--is constantly striving toward the human form." (Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 400)
I should mention here, that one friend of W56 indicated that the Darwinian theory of evolution is not true. One species does not evolve into another species, and when there is an evolvement, it is usually degenerative. Some other cause must be sought, and while some may propose artificial genetic manipulation, the ultimate cause of all life is spiritual.

A SPIRITUAL FRIENDSHIP

The purpose of the contacts was to raise our spiritual understanding, and unfortunately it ended as somewhat a failure on the part of the contactees. Love, to them, is an actual living entity or energy, which gets stronger and manifests more in a group. And this is why this contact is known as the "Friendship" case. They were interested in having us open up the higher levels of our mind, and although they did not quite understand what was going on I could see where it was leading. In the doctrines of the New Church, it is important for each person to open up the higher level spiritual understanding towards a life of love.

This spiritual aspect of love and friendship is similar to the doctrines of the New Church, and perhaps I will have time to explore this further in another blog post...



Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Dream of Solomon and the Sword of Judgment



Recently I had a dream of a female angelic being with a sword, which I described in A Clairvoyant Dream of an Angel and a Celtic Fairy Tale and later in An Angelic Visitation at Death and a Funeral. I was looking for any other possible symbolic meaning to the dream, and found in scripture the story of the dream of Solomon, which is followed by a judgment by sword upon two women. This is described in 1 Kings 3. Below is the hidden spiritual meaning behind the dream of Solomon, according to the spiritual sense of scripture as revealed to Swedenborg in the 18th century. I could not find an exact quote of the passage from the books of Swedenborg in my library, but luckily we have other similar passages where we can discover the hidden spiritual meaning.

THE MEANING OF SOLOMON'S MARRIAGE WITH PHAROAH'S DAUGHTER

The passage of 1 Kings 3 begin's with Solomon's marriage to the daughter of Pharoah, king of Egypt, and the building of Solomon's temple. Solomon built three main houses: the temple at Jerusalem, a house in Lebanon, and another house for Pharoah's daughter, his wife. Behind these historical events there is a hidden spiritual meaning:
"Because Solomon represented the Lord in relation to both the celestial and the spiritual kingdoms, and as all who are of both these kingdoms are in intelligence and wisdom through the knowledges (cognitiones) of truth and good and knowledges (scientifica) that confirm these, therefore,
Solomon took the daughter of Pharaoh to wife, and brought her into the city of David (1 Kings iii. 1);
And afterwards he built for the daughter of Pharaoh a house beside the porch (1 Kings vii. 8);
By this also was represented that knowledge (scientia), upon which all intelligence and wisdom is based, is signified by "Egypt" in a good sense. And as every man of the church has a spiritual, a rational, and a natural, therefore Solomon built three houses, the house of God or the temple to stand for the spiritual, the house of the forest of Lebanon for the rational (for a "cedar" and thence "Lebanon" signifies the rational), and the house of the daughter of Pharaoh for the natural. These arcana are not apparent in the historical sense of the Word, but still they lie concealed in its spiritual sense." (Apocalypse Explained, n. 654.33)
King David represents the Lord during the time he fought against the powers of hell, but King Solomon represents the Lord ruling in peace in heaven. The three houses built by Solomon represent three levels or three spiritual degrees in each person:
  1. The lowest natural, which dwells in knowledges and external appearances of the senses. This is represented by Egypt, an ancient civilization that was the repository of ancient knowledge.
  2. The rational, a higher level of thinking above knowledge alone. This also represents those who do good by the truth. The higher spiritual flows into the lower natural through the rational mind. This is represented by the house of Lebanon.
  3. The higher spiritual self, which is primarily in love towards others and thence in wisdom. In other passages Swedenborg calls this the "celestial," which only comes forth in love.
The spiritual progression of each person is from the natural, to the rational, to the spiritual. Most never go beyond the natural, which are knowledges and pleasures of the senses.

THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF THE SACRIFICES AT GIBEON

The pool of Gibeon, mentioned in 2 Sam. 2:13

Right after the marriage to the daughter of Pharoah, Solomon proceeds to Gibeon and offers animal sacrifices there. In the book of Joshua, the Israelites entered into a covenant with the Gibeonites, where they would be slaves to them and draw water and be hewers of wood. In the spiritual sense, "Gibeon" signifies those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge alone:
"To draw waters is to be instructed, to understand, and to be wise. Again: Bring ye waters to him who is thirsty, ye inhabitants of the land of Tema (xxi. 14). To bring waters to him who is thirsty means to instruct. Again: The afflicted and the needy seek waters, and there are none, and their tongue faileth for thirst (xli. 17). They that seek waters, are they who desire to be instructed in truths; that there are none, signifies that no one has truths. Moreover, by those drawing waters were represented in the Jewish Church those who continually desire to know truths, but for no other end than the knowing, caring nothing for the use from knowing them. Such were held among the lowest, and were represented by the Gibeonites (concerning whom see Joshua ix. 21, 23, 27)." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 3058)
At Gibeon, Solomon offers a thousand animal sacrifices upon the altar (1 Kings 3:4).  In the spiritual sense, this signifies an advancement of one's spiritual state to seeking to use knowledge for the sake of good or usefulness, this is representing by the altar. All animal sacrifices, in the spiritual sense, means surrendering something of one's lower natural, and this is why the flesh of animals was burned upon the altar.

The marriage of Solomon with the daughter of Egypt represents the state in which one who is spiritual who gathers and makes use of knowledge that is in conjunction with one's spiritual life. Knowledges are first sought and gained to confirm one's inner reality of spirituality of love and truth, and then when they are looked upon to serving some use, this is signified by the sacrifice of animals at the high place of Gibeon.

THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF THE DREAM OF SOLOMON

Dream of Solomon, by Luca Giordano

After the sacrifices at Gibeon, Solomon next receives a dream from the Lord:
At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” (1 Kings 3:5-14)
Note here everything in particular follows in a series. First Solomon marries a daughter of Pharoah, which is conjunction with an affection for gaining knowledge. Then he sacrifices at Gibeon, which is a desire to make use of knowledge for good. Then he has a dream, where he describes himself as a child. A child signifies a state of learning knowledge. A dream, in the spiritual sense, signifies Divine revelation and influx, through obscure perception (Heavenly Arcana, n. 5219). As one learns knowledge, if one seeks to make use of it for good, the Divine flows in from the higher spiritual and elevates knowledge into understanding, and from thence into wisdom. Wisdom is making use of knowledge to apply it to one's life. However the perception of this is at first obscure, until one applies it to life:

THE JUDGMENT OF SOLOMON ON TWO PROSTITUTES

The Judgment of Solomon, by Peter Paul Rubens

Following the dream of Solomon, there is the famous story of the judgment of Solomon upon two harlots or prostitutes. Behind the literal story there is a spiritual meaning, but it is worth quoting the story in full as the literal sense is interesting in itself:
"Then two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. And we were alone. There was no one else with us in the house; only we two were in the house. And this woman's son died in the night, because she lay on him. And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I looked at him closely in the morning, behold, he was not the child that I had borne.” But the other woman said, “No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead child is yours, and the living child is mine.” Thus they spoke before the king. Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; and the other says, ‘No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living one.’” And the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought before the king. And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.” Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.” Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother.” And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice." (I Kings 3:16-28)
So that is the literal story. What is the internal spiritual meaning? Harlots, or prostitutes, in the spiritual sense signify falsification of truth, which is distinct from committing adultery. There are three main types of falsifications of the truth, which Swedenborg enumerates in the following passage:
"In the Word frequent mention is made of committing whoredom, and thereby is signified illegitimate conjunction with truth, and by committing adultery is signified illegitimate conjunction with good. Thus by committing whoredom is signified the falsification of truth, and by committing adultery the adulteration of good. The falsification of truth is effected in a threefold manner: — First, if man is in evil of life and acknowledges truths of doctrine; for in this case evil is inwardly in the truths, and evil falsifies truth, since evil dissipates what is heavenly and Divine out of truths and implants what is infernal; from which is falsification.
"Secondly, if man is at first in truths as to doctrine and afterward accedes to the falsity of other doctrine, which is effected only with those who are in evil of life, since evil seeks falsity and eagerly seizes upon it for truth. Thirdly, if man who is in evil as to life and in falsities as to doctrine seizes upon the truths of other doctrine, he also falsifies truths, inasmuch as he does not acknowledge truths for the sake of truths, but for the sake of something of gain, honor, or reputation." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10648.2-3)
In the judgment of Solomon upon two prostitutes, a wise and discerning choice is made. It is the toughest and most important choice one makes in one's life: what is the most true religion?  What is the truth one should follow in life? It is a tough choice, because to find out one must identify the falsehood of evil and remove it. The following is the spiritual sense, but at this point I will just provide the answer without quoting the works of Swedenborg (the main ones are Heavenly Arcana and Apocalypse Revealed and Explained):

One woman represents one who has fallen into an evil way of life with its falsehood, but encounters a truth and nurtures it. She ceases to be a harlot and becomes a mother, that is, she rejects her past life and starts living according to the truth. Three days signifies a most holy state, where one is sanctified by the truth by withdrawing from evil.

The other woman represents one who is the evil of life and its corresponding falsehood. Those in this state suffocate and extinguish truth by their falsehoods; this is represented by her child being suffocated in bed. However this also represents those who seize upon other truths and make it their own to serve their own needs and purposes, thus falsifying the truth. The child, representing truth, is held captive, or in a state where the child's identity and thus the truth is unknown. The babies are exchanged: this represents those who declare a falsehood as the truth and make the truth appear as a falsehood. It represents those who want to take away the truth from others for their own selfish purposes. This happens at night, which represents a state of obscurity and unawareness. It represents a state of not knowing which religion is true.

The woman of the living child representing those who had departed from evil and falsehood towards an affection for truth, realizes upon waking up that the dead baby is not theirs. This is in the morning, which signifies a new state of enlightenment. This represents those who have discovered a new truth, and begin to love it, and to reject the falsehood that is presented as truth. But they also realize that those in an evil way of life with its falsehood wish to take it away. This can represent a state of those who belong to a false religion, who then see the truth and love it, but they begin to realize that those of that false religion wish to falsify the truth they have discovered and keep them captive in darkness.

This then leads to a conflict - the two women argue as to who is the mother, and this signifies a state of conflict and temptation as what truth or what religion one should follow. A "mother" in the spiritual sense signifies a church, and to argue as to who is the mother is to be in a state of trying to determine what religion is true.

To end the state of doubt and temptation they both go to the king, which in the spiritual sense signifies Divine spiritual truth. That this is so, is indicated by the fact that Solomon just had a dream in which the Lord promised to give him wisdom. On one's own one can determine nothing, and in this situation it is necessary to seek a higher level truth from the Divine. For Solomon to ask for a sword, signifies Divine truth that fights against falsehood.

What the spiritual truth reveals, if that if a competing affection for falsity from an evil life continues, the child - the innocence of truth - will be profaned, by acknowledging a false mother, a false religion. For the woman to give up the child to the other woman, signifies the desperate hope that truth would still continue to live in conjunction with a falsehood from evil. However any affection for falsity from an evil life will extinguish and kill any truth that does not agree with its affection for falsehood. Given this situation, the Divine truth represented by the king reveals it is necessary to reject the affection for falsehood from an evil life. When this rejection occurs, the child is united with the woman who is the true mother. The woman is no longer a harlot, but a mother. This signifies that once an affection for falsehood from an evil life is rejected, truth will become united with its affection in love, and it will becomes a spiritual affection for the truth from love, which is signified by mother.

Thus the story of Solomon, with a sword applied to divide the child between two mothers, represents the hard choice one needs to make in departing from a way of falsehood to the way of truth. It is a very hard choice to make, and one that cuts to the heart.

OTHER HIGHER SPIRITUAL APPLICATIONS

Dont judge a book by its cover

When one looks at the spiritual sense of this story, what is interesting is something else that was hidden: the woman who is the mother of the living child may in fact not have been a prostitute at all, but only appeared that way, or she could have been misled into that way of life. Genesis 38 contains the odd and funny story of Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar. Judah refuses to give his sons to Tamar, and in the end Tamar pretends to be a prostitute and seduces Judah, not knowing her true identity. Nine months later, when Judah hears that Tamar is with child, he wants to burn her alive while pregnant. Tamar then reveals that Judah is the father of the child. In the spiritual sense there is something hidden here, and it has to do with the religion of Judaism: Judaism is but an external representation of a spiritual church. These external rituals the Jews profaned with their idolatry, and this is represented by Judah thinking Tamar is a prostitute. But this is a false appearance, for hidden within the Jewish rituals there are symbolic representations of the true spiritual church.

A similar thing happened with the virgin Mary. When Jesus was born, the Jewish pharisees declared him to be an illegitimate child, the child of a harlot. But this again is a false appearance, a false judgment from their own evil. For Jesus was not an illegitimate child, but rather the Son of the living God. And this is the other hidden meaning within the story of the judgment of Solomon: a false accusation was made by the Jews, and skeptics, against Christianity, that the child was illegitimate, and thus it is a dead religion. But those who are wise and discerning like Solomon, can see this is not true, but rather that Jesus is the Son of God.

So indeed, the judgment of Solomon is one that cuts to the heart and soul, and it is the most important discerning decision one can make. Never judge a book by its cover, for hidden within the book may be a story that will surprise you. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The True Spiritual Meaning of the Cross and Resurrection: Christus Victor



As Easter approaches, many are going to be reminded of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the central event of Christianity, yet very few truly understand how salvation was effected by this. Many are taught that our sins are transferred to Jesus on the cross, and that by this act Jesus removed the "penalty of sin." I heard that phrase mentioned again recently, but here is the fact: nowhere in scripture does it teach that Jesus removed the penalty of sin on the cross. So what happened? Is there a rational explanation for Christianity? Why did God need to become incarnate in human form? What is the meaning of the cross and resurrection? Why was this necessary for salvation?

THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF THE CROSS


In the gospels, the cross was an extreme form of torture, signifying how the Jews had completely rejected and profaned the Divine truth. In later times, men started to apply false theological meanings to the cross, where today the suffering of the cross is seen as a means of salvation. But this is an apparent truth. The spiritual truth is much deeper.
"It is a common belief at this day that the burnt offerings and sacrifices signified the Lord's passion, and that by this the Lord made expiation for the iniquities of all, indeed, that He drew them away upon Himself, and thus bore them; and that those who believe are in this manner justified and saved, provided they think, though but in the last hour before death, that the Lord suffered for them, however they may have lived during the whole course of their life. But the case is not really so: the passion of the cross was the extremity of the Lord's temptation, by which He fully united His Human to His Divine and His Divine to His Human, and thus glorified Himself. That union is itself the means by which those who have the faith in Him which is the faith of charity, can be saved. For the Supreme Divine Itself could no longer reach to the human race, which had removed itself so far from the celestial things of love and the spiritual things of faith, that they no longer even acknowledged them, and still less perceived them. In order therefore that the Supreme Divine might be able to come down to man who was such, the Lord came into the world and united His Human to the Divine in Himself; which union could not be effected otherwise than by the most grievous combats of temptations and by victories, and at length by the last, which was that of the cross." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2776.2)
In other words, no sins are transferred at the cross. This is a later theological invention, which first became prominent in the Catholic Church, and from the Catholic Church the Protestants adopted it. It is not followed by the Orthodox church which preceded the other two main branches of Christianity. The New Church explains this further: salvation was effected by transforming the human form into a Divine Human, which was done by spiritual combats and temptations in a spiritual warfare against the powers of hell. The suffering on the cross is merely the last temptation that preceded the union of the Divine with the human form:
"As to [the Passover, or Easter] it is to be known that it specially signifies the glorification of the Lord's Human, thus the remembrance of this and thanksgiving on account of it, for by this glorification and the subjugation of the hells by the Lord, man has liberation from evils and salvation. For the Lord glorified His Human by combats against the hells and then by continual victories over them. The last combat and victory was on the cross; wherefore He then fully glorified Himself, as He also teaches in John: When he [Judas] was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him (xiii. 31, 32)." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10655.2)
Again:
"The Lord came into the world that He might save the human race, which otherwise would have perished in eternal death. And He saved the race by this, that He subdued the hells which were infesting every man that came into the world and that went out of the world, and at the same time by this, that He glorified His Human, for thereby He can hold the hells under subjection to eternity. The subjugation of the hells and the glorification of His Human at the same time were effected by temptations admitted into His Human and then by continual victories. His passion on the cross was the last temptation and the full victory." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10828)
This was necessary, as now the Divine can interact directly with humanity which had become separated from heaven in this lower material plane. I say this "material plane," because above and below this material plane there are higher spiritual planes of heaven, and lower planes of hell. Human life on this material plane is governed by spirits from both planes:
"That it was also for the sake of liberation from evil and from falsities of evil, is because by the subjugation of the hells by the Lord and by the glorification of His Human is all liberation from evil, and there is none without these means. For man is ruled by spirits from hell and by angels out of heaven from the Lord. Wherefore unless the hells had been altogether subjugated and unless the Human of the Lord had been altogether united to the Divine Itself, and thus also made Divine, no man could ever have been liberated from hell and saved, for the hells would always have prevailed, since man has become such that of himself he thinks nothing but what is of hell." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10655.4)
These planes of heaven and hell are dimensional planes, that exist where space and time have no meaning, but they interact with us in this material plane from within, to govern how we think and act.

SALVATION IS LIBERATION FROM HELL

What this means, is that the doctrine of vicarious atonement, which is presently the foundation of theology for the Catholic and Protestant churches, is patently false. It encourages people to think they can get away with the sins of their life through mere belief, which is not the case. It has to be removed through repentance:
"It is believed by most persons within the church that the Lord came into the world that He might reconcile the Father by the passion of the cross, and that afterward they might be accepted for whom He should intercede, also that He released man from damnation by this, that He also fulfilled the law, which otherwise would have condemned every one, and thus that all would be saved who should hold that faith with confidence and trust. But they who are in any enlightenment from heaven may see that it cannot be that the Divine, which is Love itself and Mercy itself, could reject from Itself and condemn to hell the human race, and that It had to be reconciled by Its Son's passion of the cross, and that in this way and in no other way It was moved with mercy, and that henceforth the life should not condemn any one if only he had a confident faith concerning that reconciliation, and that all salvation is effected by faith from mercy. They who so think and believe can see nothing at all. They speak but understand nothing. They therefore call those things mysteries which are to be believed but not apprehended by any understanding. So it follows that all enlightenment from the Word, showing the case to be otherwise, is rejected; for light from heaven cannot enter when such darkness from contradictions reigns. It is said darkness, because there is no understanding." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10659.2)
A "mystery of faith" means not only is it not understood, but also it has no rational justification. This keeps the majority of people in ignorance, and to maintain that ignorance many churches resort to the logical fallacy of argument from authority: it must be true because we said it was true. This closes off the higher spiritual understanding (see Truth by Religious Tradition & Authority vs. Spiritual Truth).
"The Lord came into the world in order that He might subjugate the hells and reduce all things there and in the heavens into order, and that this could not in any wise be effected except by the Human; for from this He could fight against the hells, but not from the Divine without the Human; and so also that He might glorify His Human in order that thereby He might for ever hold all things in the order into which He reduced them. Thereby is man's salvation; for around every man are hells, inasmuch as every one is born into evils of every kind, and where evils are, there are hells, and unless these were cast out by the Divine power of the Lord, no one ever could have been saved." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10659.3)

SALVATION IS FROM REPENTANCE, AND LIVING BY THE COMMANDMENTS

The other falsehood: no one is saved by immediate mercy. There is no such thing as instantaneous conversion:. Salvation is turning away from evil, and living by God's commandments:
"To be led away from evils, to be regenerated, and thus to be saved, is mercy, which is not immediate, as is believed, but mediate, that is, to those who recede from evils and so admit truth of faith and good of love into their life from the Lord. Immediate mercy, namely, such as would extend to every one merely from the good pleasure of God, is contrary to Divine order, and that which is contrary to Divine order is contrary to God, since order is from God and His Divine in heaven is order. To receive order into one's self is to be saved, and this is effected solely by living according to the Lord's commandments. Man is regenerated to the end that he may receive into himself the order of heaven, and he is regenerated by faith and by the life of faith, which is charity. He who has order in himself is in heaven, and indeed is heaven in a certain image, but he who has not is in hell and is hell in a certain image. The one cannot in any wise be changed and transcribed into the other from immediate mercy, for they are opposites, inasmuch as evil is opposite to good, and in good is life and heaven, but in evil is death and hell. That the one cannot be transcribed into the other the Lord teaches in Luke: Abraham said unto the rich man in hell, Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they cross from thence to us (xvi. 26). If indeed immediate mercy were given, all would be saved, as many as are in the world, neither would there be a hell, for the Lord is Mercy itself because He is Love itself, which wills the salvation of all and the death of no one." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10659.4)
THE UNION OF THE DIVINE WITH THE HUMAN IS A TYPE OF REPENTANCE

As Jehovah became incarnate, and fought off the hells in temptations in His human until the very human was united and one with the Divine, so each one of us must recognize temptation and fight against it.  This is the process of reformation and spiritual regeneration. The work that the Lord did goes hand in hand with one's spiritual development. He did not want us to be lazy, and just believe. Spiritual development transforms one's life in how one lives, and one must put effort into it for the Lord to act from within. Belief alone does not save, and there is no faith without withdrawing from evil and doing good. But evil must be removed before good can become implanted in one's heart, and there is no way to do this except through temptation, and resisting it with the Lord's help.

That the Lord's passion, death and resurrection is a type for all of us to follow is declared by Paul:
"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Rom. 6:4-6)
The doctrines of the New Church explain this further: in the Lord there was a complete union between the Divine and His human form, until He became a Divine Human. This Divine Human is the Son (not a separate person as others would have you believe). However in each of us, there is not a union of the Divine with our human nature, but a conjunction between ourselves and the Divine. It is through repentance that there is the taking away of sins through the Lord:
"Something shall now be said as to what is meant by taking away sins. By taking away sins the like is meant as by redeeming man and saving him; for the Lord came into the world that man might be saved. Without His Coming, no mortal could have been reformed and regenerated, and thus saved; but this could be done after the Lord had taken away all power from the Devil, that is, from hell, and had glorified His Human, that is, united it to the Divine of His Father. If these things had not been done, no man would have been able to receive any Divine truth that would remain with him, and still less any Divine good; for the Devil, who before had superior power, would have plucked them out of his heart. From these things, it is manifest that the Lord did not take away sins by the passion of the cross, but that He takes them away, that is, removes them, in those who believe in Him, in living according to His commandments; as the Lord also teaches in Matthew: Think not that I am come to destroy the Law and the Prophets. Whosoever shall break the least of these commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heavens; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens (v. 17, 19)." (Doctrine of the Lord, n. 17)
In effect, the path to salvation did not change between the Old and New Testaments, it was preserved, and a new spiritual means was given in greater spiritual light. Unfortunately, due to false teachings, many ignore the Old Testament. It was through this union whereby the Lord has conjunction with the entire human race through good and truth, where He lives inside each one of us:
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev. 3:20)

THE NEW CHURCH RESTORES THE ORIGINAL DOCTRINE OF CHRISTIANITY

The doctrine of the New Church, how the Lord saved humanity by the union of the Divine with the Human is spelled out in more detail in The Doctrine of the Lord (part of The Doctrines of the New Jerusalem) and True Christian Religion (both are found in The Divine Revelation of the New Jerusalem). The passion of the cross is distinct from redemption and salvation, but was yet a means to it.  This of course is going to be new to many, but those of the Orthodox church will say, "I told you so," although they treat it as somewhat a mystery without explanation.  In modern theology, this is known as "Christus Victor" and is seeing somewhat of a revival: see A Rational Explanation for Atonement: Christus Victor, the Divine Human. This was the original doctrine of Christianity which has been lost, and now restored or "resurrected" from the dead. The doctrine of the New Church is not exactly "new," it can be found in scattered references of the early church fathers before false theology entered the church. The doctrines of the New Church explains why the Jehovah became incarnate, why He suffered from the cross, and why He rose from the dead, in much more spiritual detail than ever before. These revelations, along with revealing the internal spiritual sense of scripture, is the Second Coming (see Is the Second Coming a Physical Event or Spiritual Event?)