Friday, August 17, 2018

Is God a Personal Being or is He a Substance in Three Persons?



Biblical scripture reveals that God is One Personal Being, whose name is Jehovah. The name Jehovah originates from a word that simply means "He is." And in scripture, God calls Himself "I AM." Outside of scripture, God is defined as one substance and three persons. This originated with the Nicene Creed of the fourth century A.D., and this has formed a false foundation in traditional Christian theology. They who follow this do not understand that Jesus is Jehovah in human form, and that while He was in His lowered human state He prayed to the Father as another person. In reality the Father and Son are one person just as the soul and body form one person in each human being.

THE NICENE CREED VS. THE SYNODS OF ANTIOCH

In discussions of the One God with those who divide Him into three persons, one invariably comes to the meaning of the word "substance" (Greek ousia) or "essence." The reason for this is that in the Nicene Creed of the fourth century the trinity was defined in a Greek speaking world and used a couple of words for "substance." Thus to this very day the Trinity is often defined as "one substance and three persons."

However the problem with this definition is that the word for "substance" and its proposed meaning(s) is borrowed from ancient Greek philosophy, not scripture. The use of the word substance was condemned earlier in the Synods of Antioch (264 and 269 A.D.) as it was used by Paul of Samosta:
"It must be regarded as certain that the council which condemned Paul rejected the term homoousios; but naturally only in a false sense used by Paul; not, it seems because he meant by it a unity of Hypostasis in the Trinity (so St. Hilary), but because he intended by it a common substance out of which both Father and Son proceeded, or which it divided between them, — so St. Basil and St. Athanasius; but the question is not clear. The objectors to the Nicene doctrine in the fourth century made copious use of this disapproval of the Nicene word by a famous council."
Instead of clearing the issue, the Nicene Creed confused it, and this is just one example of contradictions when one depends on the teachings of men instead of scripture. This leads to contradictory word definitions in terminology, for which see What is the difference between person and substance?  The reality is the foundation of traditional Christian theology in the post-Nicene era rests on a contradictory statement. It is based on Greek philosophy, and philosophy is not a reliable source of truth, as it is often based on opinion or what is derived from the senses. Philosophical opinions were also developed long before we had a correct understanding of physics.

THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF THE WORD SUBSTANCE

In the New Church, which is a new revelation for Christianity, it is permitted to understand spiritual mysteries of faith in a rational manner. This could only happen after the Age of Enlightenment, where truth must be according to reason, not tradition or authority (see Truth by Religious Tradition and Authority vs. Spiritual Truth.) Since much of traditional theology is based on tradition and authority, Christianity is in decline and is no longer a strong intellectual force in modern society. Science is looking for facts, and in the post Enlightenment era all truth must be rational, and useful.

In the revelations of the New Church, an interesting insight is given on what is the true spiritual meaning of substance and form, and its relationship to the nature of the One God. The ultimate substance and form is Divine Love and Divine Wisdom itself:
"the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom in themselves are Substance and Form; for they are very [Being] and [Existence]; and unless they were such [Being] and [Existence] as they are substance and form, they would be only an imaginary entity, which in itself is nothing"  (Swedenborg, Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 43)
Love and wisdom are not just abstract ideas, but are spiritual realities based on substances and forms not visible to our senses:
"the substances and forms which are love and wisdom are not visible to the eyes like the organs of the external senses" (Swedenborg, Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 42)
And from the Divine Love and Wisdom of God, this flows downward into lower substances and forms, until it reaches the material plane:
"But it is to be well known that the truth Divine, which flows into the third heaven nearest to the Lord, also at the same time and without successive formation flows in even to the lowests of order, and there from the First immediately also rules and provides all things; hence successives are held together in their order and connection. That this is so may also be somewhat evident from a maxim not unknown to the learned in the world, that there is only one substance which is substance, and that all other things are formations thence; and that in the formations that one only substance rules, not only as form, but also as not form, as in its origin. Unless this were so, the thing formed could not subsist and act. But these things are said for those who may understand them." (Swedenborg, Heavenly Arcana, n. 7270.4)
In other passages, Swedenborg states that it is a falsehood of the age to assume that the universe was created from nothing - the material world was created from the spiritual world, which existed before the material world was created. The spiritual world originated from the Divine Love and Wisdom. Moreoever, good and truth flows from the One God into every person being, in fact, God is Life itself and it is from God that every living thing has their life:
"Every one in the heavens knows and believes and even perceives that he wills and does nothing of good from himself, and thinks and believes nothing of truth from himself, but all from the Divine, thus from the Lord; and that the good and truth which are from himself are not good and truth, because there is no life in them from the Divine... Angels from their wisdom go still further, and say not only that all good and truth are from the Lord, but also the all of life. They confirm it by this, that nothing can exist from itself, but from what is prior to itself; thus that all things exist from the First—which they call the very Being [Esse] of the life of all... Further they say that from that Only Fountain of life, which is the Lord, there proceeds nothing but Divine good and Divine truth, and that these affect every one according to his reception; they who receive them in faith and life have heaven in them; but they who reject them, or stifle them, turn them into hell; for they turn good into evil and truth into falsity, thus life into death" (Swedenborg, Heaven and Hell, n. 8, 9)
From various passages, the Divine Love is Being itself, which in Latin Swedenborg calls Esse, which is the Latin word "to be" - from which there is all substance.

GOD IS BEING, GOD IS LIFE, GOD IS LOVE

So where in scripture does it say, God is a substance in three persons? Nowhere. Because this definition was invented by men.

From scripture, God calls Himself I AM, and from that we know that God is Being Itself:
Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Ex. 3:14-15)
From scripture, God is life:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6)
From scripture, God is love:
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8)
God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 John 4:16)
To say that God is life and that God is love is an equivalent statement, for one's love is one's life. You take away someone's love, and they will cease to want to live.

GOD IS LIFE WHICH FLOWS INTO ALL LIVING THINGS

Science cannot explain life, nor what it is, because life is not material which flows into non-material things, causing them to live. The revelations given to Swedenborg extend the concept of God is life:
"From very much experience I have been instructed that there is but one single life, which is that of the Lord, which flows in and causes man to live, yea, causes both the good and the evil to live. To this life correspond forms which are substances, and which by continual Divine influx are so vivified that they appear to themselves to live from themselves" (Swedenborg, Heavenly Arcana, n. 3484)
Living creatures are recipients of the one life from God:
"That forms or substances are recipient of life, may be evident from the particulars seen in living creatures; also that recipient forms or substances are arranged in the way most suitable for inflow of life. Without the reception of life in substances, which are forms, there would be no living thing in the natural world, nor in the spiritual world" (Swedenborg, Heavenly Arcana, n. 7408.2)
As God is life, and is the source of life for all living things, substance typically refers to a lower material form that is a recipient of life. Moreover angels and spirits are but purer substances but not visible to human sight:
"Spirits themselves are forms, that is, consist of continuous forms, equally with men, but of a purer nature, and not visible to the bodily sight. And because these forms or substances are not visible to the corporeal eye, man at this day apprehends no otherwise than that knowledges and thoughts are abstract things; hence also comes the folly of our age, that men do not believe that they have a spirit within them which is to live after the death of the body, when yet this spirit is a substance much more real than the material substance of its body" (Swedenborg, Heavenly Arcana, n. 3726.4)
"All the angels there are forms, or substances formed according to the reception of the Divine things which are from the Lord" (Swedenborg, Heavenly Arcana, n. 3741)
Even thoughts themselves exist as a form of a pure substance, and are not simply electrical impulses of the brain:
"They who have no other idea of knowledges, and also of truths, than that they are abstract things — such an idea as most people have also concerning thoughts — can in no wise apprehend what is meant by good being implanted in knowledges, and by truth being the recipient of good. But it is to be known that knowledges and truths are things no more abstracted from the most pure substances of the interior of man, or his spirit, than sight is abstracted from its organ the eye, or than hearing is abstracted from its organ the ear. There are purer substances, and those real, from which knowledges and thoughts have existence" (Swedenborg, Heavenly Arcana, n. 3726.3)
Thus God is love, God is life, and this flows into substances causing them to live; but the one true substance is the Divine love itself from which all things are. And this one Divine love is One Divine Being, and is Being itself. This Divine Being lowered itself into a human form, from which the Divine spirit flows into men. From this we know, when we love others, we are in true communion with the One God.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Is the Doxology of the Lord's Prayer Original?



There are two forms of the Lord's prayer: a shorter form in Luke, followed by a longer one in Matthew. There is a phrase at the end of Matthew known as a doxology, which is excluded in many modern Bible translations. Here are the two versions of the Lord's prayer:
And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.  Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:2-4)
And the longer version from Matthew:
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. (Matt. 6:9-13)
The last phrase is excluded since in modern Biblical criticism, greater weight is given to the early Alexandrian texts over the Byzantine Majority Text. The majority of texts include it, but these earlier manuscripts do not. They ignore the fact that the Alexandrian text tradition has errors of its own. The modern Bibles that exclude the text are as follows:

  • American Standard Version
  • Contemporary English Version
  • English Standard Version
  • GOD'S WORD Translation
  • Good News Translation
  • New International Reader's Version
  • New International Version
  • New Living Translation
  • Today's New International Version.

Others enclose it square brackets. This was quite surprising when I saw the removal. So is it original or not? The scholars who exclude it have to ignore some evidence in its favor. For example there is an early Christian document from the first or second century A.D. known as the Didache which is based on the gospel of Matthew, and it includes it:
Neither pray as the hypocrites; but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, thus pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours is the power and the glory forever (Didache, ch. 8).
Beyond the Alexandrian and Byzantine text traditions, there are other ancient translations which include it: the Syriac translations, the Diatessaron, and the Sahidic Coptic translation (see The Lord's Prayer.)

However there is one additional piece of evidence that all scholars have ignored, or have failed to notice: a form of the Lord's prayer is hidden within the book of Revelation. This can be seen with a detailed comparison between Matt. 6:9-13 and Rev. 1:4-6. See the table below:

LORD’S PRAYER
BOOK OF REVELATION
Our Father who art in heaven
Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come
Hallowed
and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne
be thy name
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
and the prince of the kings of the earth
Give us this day our daily bread
Unto him that loved us
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
and washed us from our sins in his own blood
For thine is the kingdom,
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father
and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The similarity is remarkable: a different form of the doxology is found in the book of Revelation. It is different enough where it is unlikely that the gospel of Matthew borrowed from Revelation, and the dates of authorship are prohibitive: most scholars agree that Revelation was written later than the four gospels. It is shameful that modern scholars ignore the fact that there are numerous corruptions in the Alexandrian texts which forms a small minority of the manuscript evidence: see The Unreliablitity of the Alexandrian Manuscripts - Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are among the worst manuscripts known.

In the Orthodox Church, the doxology is integral to their liturgy and is still preserved intact. The congregation typically chants the Lord's prayer, but the doxology is reserved for the priest. The Didache is evidence of an early form of communal worship, and the gospel of Matthew is directed for the Jews who formed the first Christian communities.

Some comparisons between Matthew and the Apocalypse deserve more comment:

The opening of the Lord's prayer: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name - is in fact a hidden address to the Trinity in the person of Jesus Christ.  The Father is the Divine itself, His name is Jesus Christ, and "Hallowed" which means "Holy" is a hidden reference to the Holy Spirit which is the spirit of God that proceeds from the Divine through the body of Jesus Christ. This is why in the Apocalypse mention is made of the "seven Spirits" - where seven signifies all or what is holy. The Catholic falsely add an attribution to the Trinity of three persons at the beginning and end of the prayer in their liturgy, not realizing it is already there in the Lord's Prayer itself.

In the New Church it is revealed that the Lord's Prayer is fulfilled when we pray directly to Jesus Christ. But the false doctrine of a trinity of three persons leads to confusion: Christians keep asking: who do I pray to?  The former website I linked to exposes this problem with a question: When we pray, we do we address? Because traditional Christian theology is a false form of tritheism, and in the Lord's Prayer they bypass Jesus in their thoughts. The New Church theology is monotheistic: prayers are directed to One God only who is Jesus Christ. One can see in the comparison: the Father's name is Jesus Christ. In the OT He is known as Jehovah, and in the NT Jesus is called "Lord" which is also a Jewish title for Jehovah. The Lord, in his human form, does pray to the Father, but this is done when He was in a state of humiliation, where the Divine had been lowered into human form that could be tempted from the body that had been inherited from Mary.

Another portion deserves more comment: the "bread" of the Lord's prayer is replaced by "love" in the Apocalypse. But it is to be known that the bread is the communal bread of the Eucharist which is a symbolic representation of Divine love. It is not a literal prayer for physical food, as literalists may presume. For further information on this symbolism, see The Symbolism of Communion and Salvation by Blood.

THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF THE DOXOLOGY

For most, the Lord's Prayer is chanted in meaningless repetition, with few heeding any attention to the particular meaning of the words.  Kingdom, in the spiritual sense, refers to Divine truth, as kings rule nations by laws formed from Divine truth. Power, in the spiritual sense, refers to omnipotent power that comes from Divine truth. Glory, in the spiritual sense, refers to the glorification of the Lord's body so that is was made Divine, that is, Jehovah had united His human form to the Divine love itself. In the end, it should be acknowledged that all good and truth originate from God alone, and we are but recipients of such gifts when we allow that in our lives through our thoughts and actions.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Prophecy of the Little Horn or the Antichrist



True Christianity is not just belief alone, but living one's life according to the commandments. This is made very clear throughout scripture. Here I will just quote two statements of Jesus:
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matt. 7:24-27
And again:
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15)
Thus the Protestant teaching that teaches one is justified by faith alone is a perversion, based on a distortion of Paul's letters.  For by "works" Paul was not talking about works of doing what is good, but instead he was talking about the works of Jewish ritual law. As Jewish ritual laws were representations intended to represent the internal spiritual truths of Christianity, they were no longer necessary to be observed.

In order to get around scriptural passages that are contrary to justification by faith alone, the next falsehood that is taught is that the will of man is "passive" and that works arise "spontaneously" as "fruits of the Spirit." That the will of man is not passive, that works are not spontaneous, is proven by scripture:
"And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-27)
The most important commandment is love of God, and second to that is love of the neighbor. This involves the heart, the soul, the mind and all of one's strength. The heart is one's will, the soul is one's life, the mind is one's thoughts, and all of one's strength is with all of one's effort. It is a covenant relationship - inasmuch as man does his part, God will do His part by dwelling within our heart.

THE PROPHECY OF THE LITTLE HORN OF DANIEL

The doctrine of justification by faith alone is not the foundation of True Christianity; such a doctrine destroys and perverts the foundation of Christianity. It was unknown until the 16th century. This was foretold in end time prophecies in the books of Daniel and Revelation which speak of the perversion and fall of the Christian church. The substitute false church that is setup in its place is the Antichrist, for the teachings are a falsehood that are opposed to the essence of True Christianity.

There are two particular prophecies of Daniel which speaks of a "little horn" that arises at the end times, which are set forth in Daniel chapters 7 and 8. The popular interpretation of the "little horn" is one of a future Antichrist that arises in Europe, since in the literal interpretation of the prophecy it speaks of kingdoms that arise after the fall of the Roman Empire. But the spiritual interpretation is this: the little horn is the false teachings of Protestant doctrine that arise after the fall in power of not the Roman Empire, but that of the Roman Catholic Church. This is clearly set forth in the revelations given to Swedenborg for the doctrines of the New Church. Here is Swedenborg's explanation of Daniel chapter 7:
"Here in the internal sense the perverted state of the church is treated of. The things which were here seen by Daniel, as the beast, the teeth of iron, the horn in which were eyes, and the horns that spoke, and those which made war with the saints, and that which spoke against the Most High, signify the state of falsity and of heresies within the church. That horns signify falsity powerful and prevailing, may be evident only from this, that eyes are attributed to them, that is, understanding (n. 2701); and that they spoke, and even against the Most High. By the kingdoms and kings are not signified kingdoms and kings, but the teachings of falsity; as may be evident from their signification in the Word, as the teachings of truth, and in the opposite sense the teachings of falsity (see n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 2547)." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2832.13)
The "little horn" is explained further in this passage from Apocalypse Explained - it is called a horn from power, and it is "little" because so few are able to see its falsehood:
"Here evidently "horns" means the falsities that destroy the truths of the church, or the power of falsities against truths; "the beast coming up out of the sea" signifies the love of self out of which spring all evils; here the love of ruling over heaven and earth, to which things holy serve as means; it is such a love that is meant by "Babylon" in the Apocalypse. This beast was seen "coming up out of the sea," because the "sea" signifies the natural man separated from the spiritual; for the natural man is then of such a character that he desires nothing so much as to have dominion over all, and to confirm that dominion by the sense of the letter of the Word. "The ten horns" signify falsities of every kind, for "ten" means all; therefore it is further said, that "the ten horns are ten kings," for "kings" signify truths, and in a contrary sense, as here, falsities. "The little horn that came up among them, before which three of the former horns were plucked up by the roots," signifies the complete perversion of the Word by the application of the sense of its letter to confirm the love of dominion. This horn is called "little," because it does not appear that the Word is perverted; and what does not appear before the sight of man's spirit, or before his understanding, is regarded either as nothing, or as little. In the spiritual world such is the appearance of things that are apprehended by a few only. "The three horns that were plucked up by the roots before it," signify the truths of the Word there that have been thus destroyed by falsifications; these truths are also signified by the "three kings" that were humbled by the horn, "three" not meaning three, but what is full, thus that truths were completely destroyed. As that "horn" signifies the perversion of the Word in respect to the sense of its letter, and as this sense appears before the eyes of men as if it were to be understood thus and not otherwise, and therefore not to be gainsaid by any one, it is said of this horn, "that in it there were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things," "eyes" signify understanding, and "eyes like the eyes of a man" an understanding as if of truth, and "mouth" signifies thought and speech from that understanding. From this it can now be seen what is meant by all and by each of the particulars here mentioned; as by "the beast coming up out of the sea, who had ten horns and teeth of iron, and devoured and brake in pieces;" by "the little horn that came up among them, before which three of the horns were plucked up by the roots, in which were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things;" also by "it made war with the saints and prevailed against them," and "it spake words against the Most High;" and "the horns were so many kings."" (Apocalypse Explained, n. 316.15)
For Daniel chapter 8, Swedenborg gets more specific: the little horn refers to those who separate faith from charity:
""out of one of them came forth a little horn" signifies justification by faith, for this is born of the principle of faith alone; it is said to be "little" because it does not appear as a falsity. That this horn "grew exceedingly towards the south, and towards the east, and towards beauty, and grew even to the host of the heavens, and cast down some of the host to the earth, and trampled upon them," signifies that it destroyed all the truths and goods of the church; "the south" meaning where truth is in the light, "the east" and "beauty" where good is in clearness through truth, "the host of the heavens" all truths and goods of heavens and the church; "to cast down the host to the earth, and to trample upon them," signifies to destroy utterly; that "even to the prince of the host it magnified itself," and that "the dwelling place of his sanctuary was cast down," signifies the denial of the Lord's Divine Human, and the consequent vastation of the church; "the prince of the host" is the Lord in respect to the Divine Human, because from that proceed all the truths and goods that constitute the church; "the dwelling place of the sanctuary" is the church where these are; this plainly means the truths destroyed by falsities, for it is said, "it cast down truth to the earth."" (Apocalypse Explained, n. 316.16)
This is repeated again in more detail in the work Doctrine of Faith (found in Doctrines of the New Jerusalem as well as The Divine Revelation of the New Jerusalem) in which it is explain that following the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, a new revelation of Christianity would be given, described as the "morning" after a period where the sanctuary (the church) is trampled down:
"The ram which had the two high horns, of which the higher came up last, signifies those who are in faith coming from charity. His pushing with the horn westward, and northward, and southward, signifies the dispersion of evil and falsity. That he made himself great, signifies increase. The he-goat which came from the west, on the face of the whole earth, signifies those who are in faith separate from charity, and the invasion of the church by them; the west denotes the evil of the natural man. Which had a horn between his eyes, signifies his own intelligence: his running at the ram in the fury of his power, signifies that he fought vehemently against charity and its faith: his breaking his two horns, throwing him to the ground, and stamping upon him, signifies that he wholly dispersed both charity and faith; for he who disperses the one disperses the other also, since they that the great horn of the he-goat was broken, signifies the non-appearance of his own intelligence: the coming-up of four horns in its place, signifies applications of the sense of the letter of the Word in confirmation: the coming forth of a little horn from one of them, signifies reasoning that no one can fulfil the Law, and do good of himself: the growth of that horn toward the south, toward the east, and toward what was pleasant, signifies its rising-up against all things of the church: and even to the host of the heavens, and it cast down unto the earth [some] from the host and from the stars, and it trampled them, signifies that so were destroyed all the cognitions of good and of truth, which belonged to charity and to faith. That he raised himself up even to the prince of the host, and from him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the dwelling-place of his sanctuary was cast down, signifies that thus he laid desolate all things belonging to the worship of the Lord and to His church: that he cast the truth to the ground, signifies that he falsified the truths of the Word. By the evening, the morning, when the holy place will be justified, is signified the end of that church, and the beginning of a new one." (Doctrine of Faith, n. 67)
For a further assessment of the prophecies in Revelation related to the book of Daniel, see The Prophecy of the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet and The Spiritual Meaning of the Woman of the Apocalypse.

WHAT OF OTHER TRADITIONAL INTERPRETATIONS?

The traditional interpretation of the prophecies of Daniel is that they successively describe different kingdoms of the Middle East that ruled over Judea: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, the Roman Empire, and then a future kingdom of 10 kings. Prophecy has a dual nature, sometimes a short term literal fulfillment comes to pass to signify a larger spiritual event. For an example of this, see The Prophecy of Daniel 11-12 Explained. Historical events are thus used to symbolically represent the internal spiritual states of not only the Jewish church, but of the Christian church that followed it:
"The subject here is the state of the church in general, not only the state of the Jewish Church, but also that of the following, which is the Christian Church; for the Word of the Lord is universal. The he-goat of the goats, in respect to the Jewish Church, signifies those who made nothing of internal truths, but accepted external truths so far as they favored their loves, which were that they might be the greatest and the wealthiest. For this reason they recognized the Christ, or Messiah, Whom they were expecting, simply as a king, who would exalt them above all the nations and peoples in the whole world, and would make these subject to them as vilest slaves: this was the source of their love for Him. They did not at all know what love toward the neighbor was, except that it was conjunction through participation in such honor, and by gain.
"But the he-goat of the goats in respect to the Christian Church signifies those who are in external truths from enjoyments, that is, who are in faith separate; for these also care nothing for internal truths; and if they teach them, it is only that they may thereby win reputation, be exalted to honors, and acquire gain. These are the enjoyments which are in their hearts while truths are in their mouth. Moreover by sinister interpretations they force the truths which belong to genuine faith, to favor their loves. It is plain from this what is signified in the internal sense by the above words in Daniel — namely, that by a he-goat of the goats are signified those who are in faith separate." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 4769.2-3)


In the work Heavenly Arcana, the symbolism of scripture is explained in more detail, proving that the horn that arises out of the he-goat are those who create falsehoods out of the external literal sense of the Word. However instead of trusting what is taught in many churches, read the scriptures for yourselves. For the Antichrist does not come from outside the Christian Church, it comes from within the church, and is worshiped as what is holy - this is the "abomination of desolation" which stands "within the holy place" (Matt. 24:15). That the end times are here, one can easily see in the decline of Christianity in society, as well as its loss in influence over the ideas that are accepted as true. This is because of the inherent falsehoods within some teachings that have destroyed the truths from within. But the good news here is there is a new revelation given, which is the doctrines of the New Church, and this revelation is the fulfillment of the Second Coming as it reveals the internal spiritual sense of the Word.

FOR FURTHER READING:

The Spiritual Meaning of Daniel's Prophecy of the Statue of Nebuchadnezzar

The Spiritual Meaning of the Abomination of Desolation

The Prophecy of the Abomination of Desolation (part 1)

The Prophecy of the Abomination of Desolation (part 2)

The Prophecy of the Last Judgment

The Prophecy of Babylon and the Writing on the Wall

The New Church Prophecy of the 2300 Days, or the Cleansing of the Sanctuary

Is the Second Coming a Physical Event or Spiritual Event?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

What is the Little Book of Seven Thunders?



The book of Revelation speaks of an angel descending from heaven, holding a little book open in his hand, who then cries out and seven thunders utter their voice. The apostle John was about to write what the seven thunders uttered, but is commanded not to reveal them, and they would only be revealed in the days of the seventh trumpet. He is then commanded to eat the little book, after which he is commanded to prophesy (Rev. 10).

The identity of the little book, and the revelation of the seven thunders, has puzzled many. As explained in The Mystery of the Book of Seven Thunders Explained, it was revealed to Swedenborg that the the content of the little book was concerning a teaching in scripture that few have observed: Jesus Christ is Jehovah in human form, and that His human form is Divine, a Divine Human.

The book was kept sealed, as at this day the majority of Christians understand the Son of God as a second person of a trinity, a form of tritheism. This teaching, plus one is saved by belief alone without regard to works (how one lives one's life according to the commandments) is described as the dragon, the beast and the false prophet: see The Prophecy of the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet.

In regards to the little book of the seven thunders, Swedenborg gets more specific: the content of the little book was actually the same as the contents of The Doctrine of the Lord, which focuses on a study of scripture that shows that Jesus is Jehovah in human form, and that His human form is actually the Son of God. The Divine exists within Him as the soul exists in the body. As He was born of a virgin, He calls God "Father." But the idea of three persons is a false one invented by men. Thus following the revelation of the little book, the book of Revelation describes a religious conflict between those who follow the revelation (the 2 witnesses and the 144,000) and those who follow the dragon, the beast and the false prophet.

When one reads Swedenborg's explanation of the little book of Revelation 10, he offers little support for the conclusion. In most cases he will reference scripture, and in other cases he will reference a dialogue with angels in a heavenly vision. But here he does neither. Is there any evidence of support?

PSALM 29 AND THE SEVEN THUNDERS

I have been working on a work of the Psalms that explains the numeric significance of its poetic structure, paying attention to the number of the Psalms, the number of verses, words and even letters. The Jews knew this but the knowledge has been generally lost in Biblical studies. I have restored the number of verses according to the Hebrew poetic parallelism, and to my surprise discovered that verse, word and letter counts of scripture are actually significant, and can help explain or reinforce the actual text. I have been using a computer program to find counts that are significant, and came across this find, among many others:
  • In Psalms 29-70 there are exactly 700 poetic verses. The number 70 corresponds to 700.
  • In Psalms 73-150 there are exactly 1400 poetic verses, which is 2 x 700.
This pattern is hidden until one restores the proper verse counts. The 700 verses in Psalms 29-70 caught my attention. I at first ignored it, as Psalm 70 is not in any way related to the content of Psalm 29. However I then realized that the numbers were reinforcing one unnoticed fact about Psalm 29: Psalm 29 mentions a word for thunder exactly seven times:
  1. The thunder of Jehovah is upon the waters (v. 3)
  2. The thunder of Jehovah is with power (v. 4)
  3. The thunder of Jehovah is with grandeur (v. 4)
  4. The thunder of Jehovah breaks the cedars (v. 5)
  5. The thunder of Jehovah hews the flames of fire (v. 7)
  6. The thunder of Jehovah makes the wilderness to travail (v. 8)
  7. The thunder of Jehovah makes the hinds to calve (v. 9)
The word for "thunder" (Heb. qowl or qol) is unnoticed in all Bible translations as it is translated as "voice" - both translations are allowable, depending on context. One reason it is translated as "voice" is that there is another word for "thunder" in verse 3. But it is unmistakable: Psalm 29 is the little book of seven thunders.

Even with this insight, most who read Psalm 29 will not know what it means, except understood in its spiritual sense. It is an unusual Psalm, and some scholars simply presume it was borrowed from an earlier hymn dedicated to a Canaanite god of thunder. However here we will explain it in the spiritual sense, as published in my other work, The Symbolism of the Psalms.

THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF PSALM 29 AND THE SEVEN THUNDERS

Psalm 29 begins as follows: Give unto Jehovah, ye sons of gods (Ps. 29:1).

In the spiritual sense, "sons of God" are those who are in the the truths of the Word, are who follow spiritual truths. But in the highest sense it is telling all who are in spiritual truths to acknowledge the one Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is Jehovah as to the Divine truth in human form. In the revelations of the New Church, the title "Son of God" is used for Jesus to refer to His Divine Human. The human is that which was born to the virgin Mary in time, not a Son of God "born from eternity" which is a falsehood invented by the Nicene Creed.

But what about the rest of Psalm 29? Most will pass it off as "figures of speech" not worthy of attention. But in the New Church, every word of scripture is significant and has a spiritual meaning. In a general sense, the subject of Psalm 29 is as follows, which Swedenborg recorded in his summary of the spiritual meaning of this Psalm:
"The power of the Divine truth from the Word dissipates falsities and reforms the natural (v. 3-9) which is from the Lord alone (v. 10-11)."
This is what it means in the spiritual sense. The cedars of Lebanon are the thoughts of the human rational mind, the hinds that calve are the affections of the natural man.  But in the highest celestial sense, it refers to how Jesus Christ made His human form Divine. This took place in gradual stages, as his human form had inherited a sinful nature from his mother Mary by which Jesus could be tempted (despite what the Roman Catholic Church say on this matter, they are incorrect and have distorted the truth of Christianity). This is summarized in seven principles in The Doctrine of the Lord by Swedenborg:

I. The Lord from eternity is Jehovah.

II. The Lord from eternity, or Jehovah, took on the Human to save men.

III. He made the Human Divine from the Divine in Himself.

IV. He made the Human Divine by temptations admitted into Himself.

V. The full union of the Divine and the Human was effected in Him by the passion of the cross, which was the last of the temptations.

VI. He successively put off the human taken on from the mother, and put on the Human from the Divine in Him; and this is the Divine Human and the Son of God.

VII. Thus God became Man, as in first principles so also in ultimates. (Doctrine of the Lord, n. 29)

Also, the union of the Divine with the human took place in gradual stages, until Jesus Christ became the Divine Human, Jehovah Himself in natural visible form:

"That the Lord made His Human Divine from the Divine in Himself may be evident from many passages in the Word, of which those will now be adduced which prove,

1. That this was done successively; which are these: Jesus grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him (Luke ii. 40). Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (verse 52).

2. That the Divine operated by the Human, as the soul by the body. This is evident from these: The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He seeth the Father do (John v. 19). Of Myself I do nothing; but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things. He that sent Me is with Me: He hath not left Me alone (viii. 28, 29; v. 30). I have not spoken of Myself; but the Father Who sent Me, He gave Me commandment what I should say and what I should speak (xii. 49, 50). The words which I speak to you, I speak not of Myself: the Father Who abideth in Me, He doeth the works (xiv. 10). I am not alone, because the Father is with Me (xvi. 32).

3. That the Divine and the Human operated with unanimity appears from these: What things soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise (John v. 19)" (Doctrine of the Lord, n. 32)

THE TEMPLE AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD

As further evidence that Psalm 29 is the little book of seven thunders, confirming Swedenborg's statements concerning the little book of seven thunders in the book of Revelation (see Apocalypse Revealed), we have this statement in Psalm 29:

And in His temple every one says, the glory of Jehovah (Ps. 29:9)

This particular verse, however, is slightly mistranslated, although it is allowable, with the shifting of the name of Jehovah to the following verse:

And in His temple every one says, glory (Ps. 29:9)

That the name Jehovah should be shifted to the previous verse I had previously discovered by analyzing the numerical poetry of Psalm 29, which I will explain in an upcoming work. That the phrase "glory of Jehovah" is correct, can be seen in parallel passages where the phrase "glory of the LORD (or Jehovah)" is mentioned in scripture:
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. (Ex. 40:34-35)
In the spiritual sense, "the glory of the LORD" is the Divine itself, and the tabernacle or temple is human form of Jesus Christ. That this is so, can be seen from the following passage:
So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple,  and will you raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his body
. (John 2:18-21)
So in the hidden spiritual sense, Psalm 29 speaks how Jehovah made His human Divine, and commands all who follow the truth to acknowledge this. After Swedenborg had written The Doctrine of the Lord, he was probably told this by angels who recognized it described the same spiritual truths that is described in Psalm 29. Swedenborg also stated that the little book of seven thunders also concerns how Jesus made His human Divine by admitting and conquering temptations due to assault between the Divine and all of hell, which is the general subject of the Psalms in general.

So, the work that has been done on the numerical poetry of the Psalms is bearing fruit, which is confirming the internal revelation of scripture as revealed to Emanuel Swedenborg. This one took me by surprise, so I thought I would share this in this blog while I continue editing this work on the Psalms for publication. I could not cover the entire spiritual meaning of Psalm 29; for the details of every single word mentioned therein see the work The Symbolism of the Psalms.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The True Spiritual Meaning of Atonement



Atonement is the removal of sins, and there are two systems of thought as to how atonement is effected:
  1. Atonement, the removal of sins, is effected by repentance and turning away from evil, and/or
  2. Atonement is the removal of sins and reconciliation of God and man through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Most understand the need for repentance, but few understand how that is related to the coming of Jesus Christ. Many who practice true spirituality by living one's life according to God's commandments fail to understand who Jesus Christ is and how He is involved in one's spiritual life. On the other side of the coin, many religious people just believe and rarely practice a life of repentance.

So how is a life a repentance and self examination related to the coming of Jesus Christ, and why was His coming necessary? Here, a rational and comprehensive answer is provided in the theology of the New Church which is explained in detail in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.

ATONEMENT IS THROUGH REPENTANCE

The Christian life as explained in the theology of the New Church is simple: turning away from evil because they are sins against God, and doing that which is good. Before good can be done, before the Holy Spirit can enter into one's life, evils must be removed. The removal of one's evils is atonement. This can only happen through internal struggles known as temptations, and repentance. It must be preceded with an acknowledgment of truth, and self examination. It begins with an acknowledgment that the source of one's evils is one's self, and that any good originates from God alone. One must identify specific sins, and turn away from them. This is how sins are removed, and how one begins a spiritual life.

ATONEMENT IS PROTECTION FROM EVIL

In the original Hebrew, the word "atonement" means "cover." It first appears in scripture in the instructions to Noah on how to build the ark:

Make yourself an ark of gopher wood.  Make rooms in the ark, and pitched it inside and out with pitch (Gen. 6:14)

The word "pitch" is from the word that is also translated as atonement. And from this many have invented false teachings to explain the meaning, such as, when one converts God "covers up" one's sins so that He does not see them. This is a false perverted teaching that has destroyed the essential teaching of Christianity: it is used as an excuse for a life of evil and it goes against a life of repentance. In the work Heavenly Arcana Swedenborg offers a rather interesting spiritual insight into the meaning of this word when commenting on the story of Noah's ark:
"In the original text it is not indeed said that it was to be pitched with pitch, but a word is used which denotes protection, derived from expiate or propitiate, and therefore it involves the same. The expiation or propitiation of the Lord is protection from inundation of evil" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 645)
The words "expiation" and "propitiation" are synonyms for the word "atonement." This is one of the first surprises for me when I encountered the theology of the New Church, as this is not what is taught by most churches. When one withdraws from evil, one withdraws from the influence of evil spirits, whose temptations are represented by the flood of waters that attempt to flood the ark. The ark with its different compartments represents one's will and mind. When one withdraws from evil, then one opens the door to heaven, and the Lord then withholds and protects the one who has followed Him from the influence of evil.

ATONEMENT IS REPRESENTED BY ANIMAL SACRIFICES

It is well known that animal sacrifices in the Jewish religion represented the rite of atonement. These animal sacrifices were symbolic, where the blood was withdrawn from the animal before its body was burned on the altar. The body or flesh represent one's lower desires, and the blood that was offered represented what was holy:
"In the rituals of the Jewish Church blood had no other signification than the holy proceeding from the Lord's Divine Human, wherefore when they were sanctified, it was done by blood — as when Aaron and his sons were sanctified, blood was sprinkled upon the horns of the altar, the remainder at the base of the altar, also upon the tip of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the great toe of the right foot, and upon his garments (Exod. xxix. 12, 16, 20; Lev. viii. 15, 19, 23, 30). And when Aaron entered within the veil to the mercy-seat, blood was also to be sprinkled with the finger upon the mercy-seat eastward seven times (Lev. xvi. 12-15)." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 4735.11)
When one repents from evil, one turns away from the desires of the ego and the lower self, represented by the flesh of the animal. Only after that could the priest enter the Holy of holies, which signifies that communion with the Divine of heaven is only possible once sins or evils are removed by repentance. It is affected by knowledge of the truth, thus in many Jewish rituals one is cleansed by the washing of water, and in the Christian Church it is the ritual of baptism, since water signifies the truth by which one reforms one's way of life.

ATONEMENT IS EFFECTED BY DIVINE TRUTH

Atonement, which is the removal of sins and the liberation from the bondage of evil, is effected by Divine truth, and this is represented by blood in the Jewish rituals, as well as by water. Blood in itself effects nothing, it is a symbolic representation of the Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord:
"blood in the Word is signified Divine truth proceeding from the Divine good of the Lord, and by this truth all purification is effected; for truth teaches man what is good and how he should live, and when man knows this, then first can affection or love of good be implanted, and thus he be regenerated. For knowledge must precede before man can have faith and live the life of faith, which is the life of good" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10026)
Those who have no knowledge of the truth live in darkness, and the way they live will be influenced by their lack of knowledge and tend towards favoring the selfish ego and desires.

JESUS CHRIST IS THE DIVINE TRUTH IN HUMAN FORM

And here is where we get to the point how Jesus Christ is related to purification from evil through atonement: Jesus is the Divine truth in human form, thus He is called the Word in the flesh. There is a false teaching that states that such animal sacrifices represented a "substitutionary" or "vicarious" atonement where someone else suffers for the punishment of one's sin. This is again a false teaching, a late development in Christianity that began in the 11th century and is now popular in Catholic and Protestant thinking. So why was the coming of the Divine in human form necessary? The human race had become separated from heaven, and it is from heaven that Divine truth flows into the minds of the human race. Thus it became necessary for the Divine to descend in human form to subjugate the power of hell over the human race:
"They who have no knowledge of the internal sense of the Word, thus who do not know that by blood is signified Divine truth, and that by this from the Lord is effected purification, believe that man is purified by the blood of the Lord, by which they understand His passion of the cross. But let them know that by the Lord's passion of the cross, thus by His blood, no one is purified, but by a life according to His precepts, as He Himself teaches in many places. The passion of the cross was the last of the Lord's temptation, by which He fully glorified His Human, as He Himself also says in Luke: Ought not Christ to suffer these things, and to enter into His glory? (xxiv. 26.) For the Lord came into the world that He might subjugate the hells and bring back all things into order, even in the heavens, which was effected by temptations admitted to Himself; and the passion of the cross was the last of His temptations, by which He fully conquered the hells, and set the heavens in order, and at the same time glorified His Human, and unless He had done this, no man could have been saved" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10026.2)
This is described further in another passage:
"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)
With the union of the Divine with the Human in the Lord, communion is thus now available where one may receive the truth through the Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the Lord. In such a manner the coming of Jesus Christ was necessary for mankind to continue to be liberated from the dominion of hell through a life of repentance. Belief alone does not save, nor does faith alone save -- only by following the truth and turning against one's evils is one liberated to live a life according to the Divine will, which is a life of eternity that continues in heaven.

If any teaches otherwise, then Quit the Old Church, and Join the New.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Quit the Old Church, and Join the New



Here is an interesting article: a pastor is telling people to quit church: I'm a pastor and I want you to quit church. Now! He is recognizing a fact: church attendance is shrinking, apathy is growing, and there is a lot of doubt about core beliefs. And yet he is completely blind as to the root cause.

But here is the point he is missing: the core foundational beliefs of the church are simply false. True Christianity over the centuries has been falsified.  Instead of a belief in one God, there is a belief in three gods. And since it cannot be explained, ministers don't attempt to, but keep emphasizing a blind faith. And this goes against the modern age of enlightenment, where true spirituality is in agreement with reason, and not just blind belief based on tradition and authority.

What those within the traditional churches fail to see is that the religion from within is dying. The theology is inconsistent and not rational. Swedenborg pointed this out over 200 years ago:

"The rulers of the church insist that the understanding is to be kept under obedience to faith, nay, that faith, properly speaking, is a faith in what is unknown, which is blind, or a faith of the night. This is their first paradox; for faith is of truth, and truth is of faith; and truth before it can become an object of faith, must be seen in its light and understood; otherwise what is false may be believed as true. The paradoxes flowing from such a faith are many, as that God the Father begat a Son from eternity, and that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both, and that each of these three is a Person by Himself and a God: that the Lord, both as to His soul and body, was from the mother: that the above three Persons, consequently three Gods, created the universe; and that one of them descended, and assumed human nature, to reconcile the Father, and thus to save mankind; and that they who by grace obtain faith, and believe these paradoxes, are saved by the imputation, application, and translation, of His righteousness to themselves; and that man, at his first reception of that faith, is like a statue, a stock, or a stone, and that faith comes by the mere hearing of the Word; that faith alone without the works of the law, and not formed of charity, is saving; and that it produces the remission of sins without previous repentance; and that, merely by such remission of sins, the impenitent man is justified, regenerated, and sanctified; and that afterward charity, good works, and repentance, spontaneously follow: besides many other like paradoxes, all which, like offspring from an illegitimate bed, have issued from the doctrine founded on the idea of three Gods." (Summary Exposition, n. 54)

And since this theology cannot be explained in a rational manner, it is simply avoided by the ministers:

"the tenets of the present church cannot be learned and retained without great difficulty, nor can they be preached or taught without using great care and caution to conceal their nakedness, because sound reason neither discerns nor receives them." (Summary Exposition, n. 58)

This leads to a spiritual dilemma to those who can discern it: that there is something not quite right in what the church is teaching. They just want you to blindly believe and follow without understanding. Because they themselves do not see the truth. This is prophesied by Jesus as what will happen near the end of the age:

Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? (Luke 18:8)

And so ministers, who are blinded by their own faith, cannot see the source of the problem. They wonder why people attend church and do not apply it to their lives. Because they themselves teach faith alone saves, which to them is but a belief in the memory and empty words in the mouth. The paradoxes that are taught are many:

"They teach that faith without good works, as being alive, justifies; and at the same time, that faith without good works, as being dead, does not justify. They teach that faith is neither preserved nor retained by good works; and at the same time, that good works proceed from faith, as fruit from a tree, light from the sun, and heat from fire. They teach that good works being adjoined to faith make it perfect; and at the same time that being conjoined as a marriage, or in one form, they deprive faith of its saving essence. They teach that a Christian is not under the Law; and at the same time that he must be in the daily practice of the Law. They teach that if good works are intermixed in the business of salvation by faith, as in the remission of sins, justification, regeneration, vivification, and salvation, they are hurtful; but that if not intermixed they are profitable. They teach that God crowns His gifts, which are good works, with rewards even of a spiritual nature, but not with salvation and eternal life, because He crowns faith with these, without works." (Summary Exposition, n. 59)

So the answer?  Quit the old traditional church, and join the New Church.  The New Church corrects the many errors that have entered Christianity through the traditions and teachings of men. And the New Church is founded on direct revelations from Jesus Christ. The tenets of the New Church are simple:

1. Worship one God in one person, who revealed Himself in incarnate form as Jesus Christ, and,
2. Shun evils as sins, and do what is good.

Which Swedenborg says in his own words:

"But do you, my friend, snatch yourself from such contradictions, and shun evils as sins, and do good, and believe in the Lord, and saving justification will be given you." (Summary Exposition, n. 59)

True faith is living by the truth, according to God's word, and worshiping Jesus Christ as the One God of the universe. It is not a blind belief where the rational understanding is suspended. Even the apostle Peter stated we should be ready to give a rational argument:

"but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect" (1 Pet. 3:15)

And if you can't make a rational defense to a devil's advocate, something is wrong. Of course you cannot share your faith if you can't justify it.  Before making a defense, examine the teachings yourself: is what your church teaching true or false?  There are two kinds of people: those who believe what they are told, and those who examine what they are told to determine if they are true or not, by reading scripture themselves.

And if you want to take a shortcut, and avoid the long arduous path of searching, examine the theology of the New Church in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. It will answer all your questions, but you must be ready for one thing: be ready to admit that the way you think, what you believe, may be wrong.

But, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and when you see it, you will quit the old church and join the new. And there is no turning back. So yes, quit the church, but for a completely different reason then what this pastor is saying: reject what is false and follow what is true. For this is the truth of the Second Coming, revealed from heaven.

And then you will have a new personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and acknowledge Him as the One Person you should pray to. For He is the One, and there is no such thing as a second or third person. For within Him the Divine itself is the Father, His human form is the Son, and the Divine proceeding from Him is the Holy Spirit. And in the teachings of the New Church, the true spiritual meaning of scripture will be opened, where one will see the light of heaven to apply it to one's daily life, to live a new life and to turn away from the old way of death, which the masses blindly follow.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Clairvoyant Dream of a Swedenborgian Golden Buddha


Last night someone had a clairvoyant dream about me, and I thought I would briefly share a portion of it here as I have been neglecting this blog lately.  The reason for the hiatus is I am working on a book that reveals a hidden numerical structure behind the poetry of the Psalms.  Hidden within the Hebrew structure of the Psalms, there is a definite numerical pattern in the verses, words and even the letters.  The evidence is conclusive, and opens up another layer in interpreting the scripture of the Psalms.  And within the Psalms there are hidden numbers which present the mathematical value of pi to a high degree of accuracy, which was left in there as a "Divine signature" of authorship. The initial discovery of the numerical design was quite by accident when analyzing the Hebrew poetry of the Psalms in preparing my other book The Symbolism of the Psalms for publication. The evidence is surprisingly conclusive, but the editing of the work is taking more time than I thought. Some of you have seen the initial research of this in an earlier publication, but it has expanded considerably.

In the dream, a group of coworkers came to visit me at my house. They saw that the flooring was of tile instead of wood or carpet, which was easier to clean. They then thought that is what they expected of me: simple and practical. But hidden within the house there were other treasures, or things they were not able to see. From the outside it looked like a simple house, but inside it was bigger than they thought, but one had to go exploring within the house in order to see it. One man was able to see the value, who was blonde and possibly of Russian ancestry. Inside the house, there was a large golden statue of a Buddha, and a small golden statue of a cat. The two items were gifts from someone, and the golden statue of the Buddha represented me, and the cat represented another woman. The woman was upset that someone thought she represented a cat. She did not see the value in either item, but when someone tried to take them, she realized they had value and decided to keep them.

So out of curiosity, I decided to look up "golden Buddha" to figure out if it had any special meaning. And indeed it does: there is this large golden statue known as the Golden Buddha of Wat Traimit in Thailand. It was made out of 5.5 tons of gold in the 13th -14th centuries. In order to hide its value, it was plastered over in stucco. And so it remained hidden for several centuries, at one time residing under a simple tin roof. And then it was moved in 1955, when the ropes dropped it and cracked the plaster, revealing the gold underneath. The statue, long forgotten, was rediscovered. Here is a picture of it:


The article on this statue can be found here: Golden Buddha. And that is why the dream is clairvoyant: it reveals facts unknown to the dreamer, presented as people thinking the house was small and ordinary but in fact it was quite big, but requiring exploration. The part I found interesting was this portion:

The Buddha is represented in the traditional pose of Bhumisparsha Mudra (touching the earth with the right hand to witness Shakyamuni Buddha's enlightenment at Bodh Gaya). The original statues of Sukhothai sit on a common pedestal form. The flame that crowns the ushnisha is an innovation of Sukhothai that symbolises the splendour of spiritual energy.

This would represent how Swedenborg's vision was opened to reveal the hidden secrets of Christianity, revealing the spiritual sense of scripture which is the fulfillment of the Second Coming. Here is a closer view of the head of the statue:


In symbolic visions, gold represents the highest form of Divine love, loving others for the sake of God and to make others happy. The plaster covering the gold represents the lowest level of truth, which is the literal sense of scripture. But hidden behind it there a higher spiritual truths. There are three levels of scripture - the literal or natural level, the spiritual level, and then the celestial level which is that of love represented by gold. These spiritual truths are kept hidden in order to protect it from the evil who would desire to pervert or profane them, and are revealed only to those who approach the Lord for enlightenment.

Buddhism has many similarities to Christianity. Now what is really bizarre, is unknown to the dreamer is that a Zen scholar named D.T. Suzuki compared the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg to Buddhism. The theology as revealed in visions to Swedenborg has been a life long study for me. He wrote a work called Buddha of the North:


In addition to this, there is this online essay that compares Swedenborg to Buddha: 

Swedenborg: A Modern Buddha?

Like the statue which was plastered in the 18th century around the time of Swedenborg, the article states that Swedenborg is little known to the world:

Swedenborg fell into obscurity, and today he receives relatively little attention from scholars of religion, particularly American religion. (He fares better among scholars of modern European literature and Western esotericism.)

The article discusses those who explored the relationship between Swedenborg and Buddhism. One was Albert J. Edmunds who made this interesting observation:

Edmunds also claimed that Swedenborg had predicted the early twentieth-century discovery of the massive cache of Buddhist texts at Dunhuang. In two books, Swedenborg said he had spoken with spirits from “Great Tartary,” a region that in his time was understood to encompass the entire East Asian continent. These spirits, Swedenborg said, carefully preserved and guarded ancient scriptures and religious practices predating the Hebrew Bible. This so-called “Ancient Word” provided the basis for later Judaism and Christianity. Edmunds argued that Swedenborg had actually conflated two separate visions: one concerning discoveries of ancient Hebrew texts, and one concerning future discoveries of Buddhist texts. Thus, the pre-Israelite “Ancient Word” to which Swedenborg’s vision referred was actually esoteric Buddhism.

Whether I agree with that assessment I don't know, my view is that the spirits of Great Tartary are the Jews of the Khazar kingdom, who would later preserve the ancient book of Jasher in the form of a Hebrew midrash (see The Lost Book of Jasher, the Exodus, and Emanuel Swedenborg). The article also discusses Suzuki's observations between Swedenborg and Buddhism:

In the Eastern Buddhist, Suzuki drew several parallels between Swedenborgian and Buddhist teachings. For example, Swedenborg’s most famous doctrine is that phenomena in the material world correspond to phenomena in the spiritual world, and one who can “read” this world correctly can discern corresponding divine truths. Suzuki likened this correspondence to the Mahayana teaching of emptiness, in which the world of samsara, correctly perceived, is nirvana. He also compared it to the Shingon practice of mudras, in which one identifies with the qualities of various Buddhas by visualizing them and adopting their characteristic gestures. Suzuki compared Swedenborg’s notion of innocence with the Pure Land teaching that one must utterly relinquish self-power

The author concludes that the comparison between Swedenborg's revelations and Buddhism remains "largely unexplored" and that further studies would reveal other connections providing a broader spiritual understanding to both groups.

So a remarkable dream, exploring a hidden area of the revelations given to Emanuel Swedenborg related to Buddhism.  Here is a youtube video for those of you wishing to dive in deeper into this matter, and hopefully if any Buddhists read this they can help shed more light on this subject.