Friday, May 31, 2013

What is Blood Atonement or Vicarious Atonement?

It is taught in Christianity that God became incarnate in a human form to save humanity.  But how, exactly, did this happen?  Why was it necessary?  If all men are judged on the basis of their actions, why did God need to come to reveal Himself in human form, and suffer, until He rose from the dead?  If this is what you believe, and someone directly asks you how this can be so, can you explain it in logical manner, or are you going to say it is a "mystery of faith"?

The Protestant explanation, is that God revealed this law to the Jews, but the purpose of that revelation was not for man to fulfill his duty of the law, but rather it was to show that man was imperfect and could not fulfill it.  Therefore, Jesus came to fulfill the law, and as God was "wrathful" with mankind for their sin, all sins were then "transferred" to Jesus on the cross.  And all one has to do is believe, pay lip service, and then one's sins are automatically transferred to Jesus on the cross.  And when God looks at you, He sees the righteousness of Jesus. This is the theology of the Protestant churches, and somewhat the Catholic as well.

There is just one problem. On a close examination of scripture, it disagrees with multiple passages in scripture.  And if one looks at it logically, it makes no sense.  Yet something happened where Jesus saved humanity. On close examination of the New Testament, He did this so that the Holy Spirit could come and cleanse our heart, when we perform acts of repentance. We had so departed from God's will that it was necessary that a direct link be opened up, as communion with heaven was cut off. Without communion with heaven, no man can do good, and one's will cannot be reformed. Not only does this make perfect sense, but also it is not contrary to the earlier revelation given to the Jews: it was still necessary for each person to keep God's commandments. We are responsible for our actions, and it is still necessary to turn against evil. One does this by periodic self examination. There are different stages of spiritual development, which I discuss in The Three Steps of Spiritual Development.

So why do people believe in "blood atonement" or "vicarious atonement"?  This kind of theology actually began to become popular in the 11th century A.D., after the Catholic Church split from the Orthodox Church.  The Protestant Reformers inherited this theology from the Catholic Church. There are certain passages that are used as "proof texts" to support the doctrine.  In the gospel of Matthew, there is just one short reference, where Jesus establishes the ritual of communion:
Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matt. 26:27-28)
So, the logic goes, God required a "sacrifice" to satisfy His "wrath" against humanity.  Two errors in this thinking, one implicit, the other explicit:
1. The theology assumes a wrathful Father God, and this separate being, the Son, could only fulfill His requirements. This comes from the false idea of a trinity of three persons. In fact, it was God Himself who became incarnate in the human form. The human form in which He became incarnate is the Son.
2.  God is pure Love, and never gets angry or wrathful.  When men sin, they turn away from this love, and as they cannot receive it, God appears "wrathful" to them when they are in this sinful state.
In other words, for God to become incarnate, it was done out of pure love.  But what about the reference to the blood that gets poured out for the remission of sins?  Doesn't that mean a sacrifice was necessary to remove sin?  The scriptural passage is problematic: as in many situations, Jesus did not speak directly, but in a round about away - and this has led to innumerable disputes, especially when it comes to the Eucharist or communion.  The problem is Jesus is now describing a symbolic ritual.  That by body and blood in the communion ritual He means something else, is shown more explicitly in the gospel of John:
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. (John 6:53-56)
When Jesus mentioned the above, many were confused and left from following Him. Taken literally it makes no sense. And it is important to note, He said this before He revealed the ritual of the communion.  By body and blood, He is talking about something spiritual - but what?  If we return back to the gospel of Matthew, Jesus states, that His blood "is shed for many for the remission of sins." Lets look at other passages in the gospels which mention the "remission of sins":
John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. (Mark 1:4)
Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:46-47)
So note the above passages: remission of sins, their removal, is only done through acts of repentance. Without turning away from sin, there is no remission. You are responsible for your actions. Once you recognize a specific sinful behavior, and turn against it, by reforming one's life, the sin is removed. Plain and simple.  That is how you cleanse your life.  Note that the first passage was stated before Jesus made His sacrifice, the second after it. Nothing changed in terms of our human responsibility to repent and follow God's commandments.


If we go outside the gospels, we come to a statement from the apostle Peter:
Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38)
Again, remission of sins is based on repentance.  This cleansing is symbolized by water baptism. Water baptism, in turn, is symbolic of the spiritual reception of the Holy Spirit in one's heart. That is what happens when you repent from your sin, for once you cleanse your heart, the way is prepared for a closer communion with God, where He will abide in you, and you in Him.  Thus baptism should be done in the name of Jesus Christ, from whom comes the Holy Spirit.

People are sanctified, or spiritually cleansed, by knowing, understanding, and living by the Divine Truth. This is drawn from the word of scripture. Thus Jesus said:
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17)
Jesus first had to sanctify or cleanse Himself, so that others could be sanctified. This is not so well understood in modern Christian churches, as they either assume He was born perfect, and/or that Mary had no sin from a type of Marian worship. Although His soul was Divine, the human body He inherited from Mary was not, and thus could be tempted to do sin. Conflict between Jehovah and all of hell ensued as a result (see Jesus the Shaman - Descent into the Underworld). Sanctification was the process of resisting sin in His human body, until His very body was made Divine. Thus Jesus says the following:
And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. (John 17:19)
Once Jesus sanctified His body, and it was made Divine, the Divine truth extended from His body as the Holy Spirit. His spirit was Divine, and became universably available. This was not available until Jesus made His body glorified, or Divine, or one with the Father:
...the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:39)
The Holy Spirit is not a separate being or person existing from eternity. It is the Divine spirit proceeding from the body of Jesus, which flows through the body from the Divine itself, the Father.  It is through the Holy Spirit that people are cleansed from sin:
...that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:16)
But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:11)
God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth (2 Cor. 2:13)

In addition to the reference to sanctification by the Holy Spirit, there are numerous passages which state that sins are not removed except through the blood of Jesus. So what does this mean? Are sins removed by repentance through knowing and acting upon the Divine truth of the word, or by the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross? Is one sanctified by the Divine truth of the Holy Spirit, or by the blood of a sacrifice? I will quote a few of these passages below:
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7).
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13).
...we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:14)
For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood (Rev. 5:9)
The following passages talk about sanctification by the blood of Jesus:
By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heb. 10:10).
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified (Heb. 10:14)
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate (Heb. 13:12)
if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7)
So the question again is this: are we sanctified by repentance and living according to the Divine truth of the Holy Spirit, or is it through the blood of Jesus Christ?  The following passage is interesting, as sanctification by the Holy Spirit is mentioned in conjunction with the sacrifice by Jesus:
elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:2)
The implication here is that to be baptized by the Holy Spirit is the same as being washed by the blood of Jesus. To be "washed by blood" is a symbolic figure of speech. That to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus, and to be cleansed or sanctified by the Holy Spirit, is one and the same thing, is shown by the spiritual meaning of "blood" represented by wine in communion. Swedenborg explains this in the following passage:
From known correspondences what is meant by the Lord's flesh and blood is known, and that the bread and wine have a similar meaning; that by the Lord's flesh and by the bread the Divine Good of His Love is meant, also all the good of charity; and by the Lord's blood and by the wine the Divine Truth of His Wisdom is meant, also all the truth of faith; and by the eating is meant appropriation. (True Christian Religion, n. 702)
Throughout his writings, Swedenborg explains from scripture in multiple passages where food or bread is symbolic of love, and blood (or wine) are symbolic forms of truth. I won't go into those passages at the moment as this blog would become too long, but I can sum it up with the consideration that in the Old Testament the life of the soul was said to reside in the blood. At one point, Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to the disciples by breathing on them. Likewise, we now know through science that it is through the blood that oxygen is carried to all our cells in the body.  It is by acknowledgment of the truth, and acknowledgment of our sins, that we are reformed and regenerated.

The reason why the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is so tied in with the blood of Jesus is that without His sacrifice, the Holy Spirit would be unavailable to us. And it was not just His death on the cross - it was a life-long sacrifice of Jesus resisting sin and temptation in His human until that human was made Divine. From His body proceeds the Holy Spirit. When each person commits an act of repentance to turn away from sin, thus cleansing oneself, it is the Lord who helps one internally through one's will and thought to fight against any internal sin or evil. Thus in the Lord's prayer it is said, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." For only God can resist evil, but He cannot act unless we act through the will to turn away from evil. Thus every Christian becomes an extension of Christ, who resisted sin and temptation in His own human. Thus it is said, we are the body of Christ - quite more literally than what is generally known.

So from the New Church standpoint, there is no such thing as "vicarious atonement", where sins are automatically transferred to the passion of the cross about 2,000 years ago to satisfy a wrathful God. It makes absolutely no logical sense, it is impractical in everyday life, is contrary to repentance, and goes against common-sense morality and human responsibility. Is it any wonder that western society in general has become secular and immoral? This is a late theology that originated in the 11th century A.D., and was extended further by the Protestant Reformers in the 16th century A.D. It is a late theology, and was not a part of the original gospel. Protestant churches will take this one point alone and try to claim that the New Church is some sort of "cult", without realizing it is they who are following a corrupted theology of Christianity. That this theology is late, and was unknown to the early Christian Church, is shown by the fact that the Orthodox Church does not follow this theology of "vicarious atonement", but have a very similar theology of salvation to what was revealed more explicitly in the revelations given to Emanuel Swedenborg. And one does not even need to read Swedenborg to reach this conclusion - I had arrived at the same quite independently, just thinking about it in a rational fashion by examining scripture. For an Orthodox view on this idea of vicarious atonement, I can recommend the site, Why I cannot in good conscience be a Protestant", in which is said the following:

In the briefest terms possible, Orthodox Christians do not believe that Christ’s death was payment to God the Father for sin, but rather that Christ has redeemed human nature by participating in it. The Incarnation was necessary because Christ redeemed our human nature and reconciled it to God by uniting it with His divinity.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Secret UFO War

U.S. President Ronald Reagan strived to obtain peace with the Soviet Union by building up the nation's nuclear arsenal.  But here, Reagan makes an interesting speech: he had discussed with Gorbachav that if there was some extraterrestrial "threat" from outer space, it would then be easier to resolve their differences to end the Cold War.  Why is the U.S. President speaking of a threat from extraterrestrial UFOs in a speech to the nation?  He mentions "some other species from another planet." See the following clip:

What is Reagan talking about?  What was he told when he became President, that he thought there was a threat from outer space?  From the observed behavior of UFOs, they do not seem to pose any threat, but just seem very curious watching us, and who knows how long they have been doing that.  Now look at the next clip, from 1983, where Reagan announces the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which he fondly called "Star Wars":

Supposedly, billions of dollars was spent on the SDI program to shoot down intercontinental nuclear ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to deter a nuclear attack.  And it just sat there, a complete waste of taxpayer money, some say a complete failure.  But did it just sit there?  Was it a complete waste of money?  Now take a look at the following documentary, which shows video taken from the U.S. Space Shuttle, which shows an apparent attempt to shoot down a UFO in space using what looks like a particle beam weapon:

The above video was the last live feed given to the public from the Space Shuttle.  When Reagan called the program "Star Wars", was he revealing the true intent of the program?  Here is a scene from The Empire Strikes Back, from which Reagan probably drew a parallel with the SDI program. Coincidentally, tt was released in 1980, right before Reagan began his presidency:

And this brings us to another subject. There are special units in the U.S. military that specialize in the retrieval of downed UFO spacecraft.  Here is witness testimony from Lance Corporal John Weygandt from the U.S. Marine Corps, who speaks of an incident of a UFO shot down over Peru.  Its followed by testimony from Mark McCandlish, a U.S. Air Force contractor:

There are about 500 witnesses testifying to the existence of UFOs and what the military knows in Project Disclosure.  Here is another witness, Sergeant Clifford Stone, who was also involved in these kinds of retrievals, where he discusses the background of a UFO program "Operation Blue Fly" (later "Project MoonDust") to recover downed UFOs.  Another witness, Chief Master Sergeant Daniel Salter (U.S. Air Force), confirms some of the testimony of Sergeant Clifford Stone in which he said that radar somehow interfered with the UFO guidance systems, causing them to crash (this subject is only discussed up until 5:35, after which is discussed the secrecy surrounding certain of these programs):

Its now not just about sightings of UFOs any more -- there is a lot of information out there that has leaked where we know much more about the UFO phenomenon.  Perhaps they are interstellar visitors - but with the frequency of such sightings - perhaps they are closer, maybe interplanetary from our own solar system.  Of the witnesses above, Sergeant Clifford Stone is the most interesting, as he has other testimony which confirms some of the observations Emanuel Swedenborg made concerning extraterrestrial humans in the 18th century. According to Sergeant Clifford Stone, one thing that has puzzled scientists is that these extraterrestrials are all humanoid or human in form. The scientific expectation was that life would evolve in different ways on different planets - so why does life tend to evolve towards the human form?  It is not something they were able to answer.  Swedenborg stated that the purpose of the universe was to establish the human race - and not just on our planets, but on many planets throughout the universe.  And the reason why life evolves towards the human form throughout the universe?  Because life originates from God, which Swedenborg saw in his visions is a Divine Human, the God-Man. God is not amorphous: in order to communicate with all of humanity, He has a human form so that we may understand and commune with Him. All of us have truly been made in the image of God.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Confirmed Clairvoyance of Emanuel Swedenborg

Palace Fire of Stockholm, 1697

Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."  It is important to seek out the truth for yourself, and not depend on someone who is in authority for your beliefs.  Facts speak for themselves.  Why do I lend credence to the revelations given to Emanuel Swedenborg?  Because, not only did he say that the Lord opened his vision to the reality of the spiritual world, but gave him clairvoyant abilities.  I would like to recount his ability to clairvoyantly describe the fire of Stockholm in 1759, which made him famous. Up until that point, he had published his works anonymously.  And strangely enough, this incident among others was investigated by the German philosopher Emmanuel Kant.  For this I will quote verbatim pages 343-344 from Life and Writings of Swedenborg, by William White:
Swedenborg left London for Stockholm in the summer of 1759. He landed at Gottenburg on the 19th of July, and there gave public proof of his seership. None less than Philosopher Kant is the reporter of the transaction—
"On Saturday, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when Swedenborg arrived at Gottenburg from England, Mr. William Castel invited him to his house with a party of fifteen persons. About 6 o'clock, Swedenborg went out, and after a short interval returned to the company, pale and alarmed. He said a dangerous fire had just broken out in Stockholm, at the Sudermalm (Gottenburg is 300 miles from Stockholm), and was spreading very fast. He was restless and went out often. He said the house of one of his friends, whom he named, was already in ashes, and his own was in danger. At 8 o'clock, after he had been out again, he joyfully exclaimed 'Thank God! the fire is extinguished the third door from my house.'
"This news occasioned great commotion throughout Gottenburg, and particularly amongst the company in which he was. It was announced to the Governor the same evening, who sent for Swedenborg in the morning, and questioned him concerning the disaster. He described the fire precisely, how it had begun, in what manner it had ceased, and how long it had continued. The Governor's attention gave fresh importance to the news, and increased the consternation of the citizens, many of whom were in trouble on account of their friends and property.
"On Monday evening a messenger arrived at Gottenburg, who had been dispatched from Stockholm whilst the fire was raging. In the letters brought by him, the fire was described precisely as by Swedenborg.
"On Tuesday morning, a royal courier arrived at the Governor's with the melancholy intelligence of the fire, of the loss which it had occasioned, and of the houses it had damaged and destroyed, not in the least differing from that which Swedenborg had given immediately it had ceased; for the fire was extinguished at 8 o'clock."
Asks Kant triumphantly—
"What can be brought forward against the authenticity of this occurrence? My friend, who wrote this to me, has not only examined the circumstances of this extraordinary case at Stockholm, but also at Gottenburg, where he is acquainted with the most respectable houses, and where he could obtain the most authentic and complete information; as the greatest part of the inhabitants, who are still alive, were witnesses to the memorable occurrence."
If that fire had been successful, and burned down Swedenborg's house, much of his notes and writings would have been probably lost to us forever.  This incident was also noted by the psychologist Carl Jung, who was open to paranormal experiences, who had borrowed many of his ideas from Swedenborg's writings.  What is the probability that this was all due to chance?  And this was only one incident, there were many others.

Even so, Swedenborg was once asked why do the Christian clergy and ministers ignore his writings.  Swedenborg replied - because they build their theology on the doctrine of justification by faith alone, and seek not after the truth, but desire more the praises of people of their own congregation.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Evidence of Extraterrestrial Life on Mars

The last several blog entries have been discussing the existence of extraterrestrial UFOs, and how we should take the evidence and reassess what Emanuel Swedenborg said concerning his contact with extraterrestrials in the 18th century.  In the course of my research, I found strong evidence - undeniable evidence - that NASA has censored and tampered with the photos to possibly hide evidence of extraterrestrial and UFO activity on other planets in our solar system.  This is not just another conspiracy theory - the evidence is undeniable.  To hide this fact, there are plenty of disinformants out there who try to look at pictures as if they were an ink blot and find evidence of life everywhere.  Earlier I had shown a video of a possible UFO sighting in one of the pictures of the Spirit rover on Mars.  That's one thing, but this one took me by complete surprise.  Just take a look at this video:

Somebody - something - was messing around with the Martian landscape around the rover.  I did not believe this at first.  Did someone just tamper with the NASA pictures to fake this video? No - the video references pictures from the NASA web site, which can be found here:  From there, go to the navigation camera, and look at the pictures from Sol 1833 to Sol 1843.  This video really caught my attention, so I decided to download the relevant pictures and analyze them myself.  Here is the first picture (original size) from Sol 1833, and I put a red square box around the rock in question:

Now, lets take a look at another shot of the same set of rocks from Sol 1836 - THE ROCK IS MISSING. Actually, when I looked a this more closely, two rocks are missing.

And now, lets jump to Sol 1843: THE ROCK REAPPEARS IN A DIFFERENT SPOT:

Not only is this mysterious, it is just incredibly funny.  There is no way a rock just disappears, and then just reappears in a different spot several days later.  Its as if an intelligence knows NASA is tampering with the photos, so they decided to tamper with the rocks.  Imagine the nightmare of the censors for these photos: censoring out photos of UFOs is easy, but now they have to note the position of every rock? And this is not just a pebble that's easily moved, it is a sizeable, heavy rock.

So, if there is extraterrestrial life on Mars, why don't they just show up in front of the camera, wave, and say "cheese"?  Sort of like this:

One, they already did this when we first went to the Moon, NASA censored them out, and tampered with the photos.  Also, see my previous blogs with the label "extraterrestrial" - in one instance a photograph from the Spirit rover caught a UFO in the sky.  The other point, is that their mentality may be different than ours.  They like to not be obvious, and present a puzzle - a bit secretive in nature.  This secretive nature was noted by Emanuel Swedenborg, who said they like to present a mystery to outsiders to stir up their curiosity, and often do not give a straight answer.  For the ones that tend to travel between solar systems, Swedenborg said this:
...I asked how they instruct their people. They said that they do not instruct them how a thing is, but instill some apperception of it, that hence a desire of knowing may be cherished and grow, which desire would perish, if they answered all questions. They added, that they suggest opposites also for the purpose that the truth afterward may better appear; for all truth appears in contrast with its opposite. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 7075). 
They said that when they talk with men of their own earth, they also do so, and this with no intention of deceiving them, but to inspire thereby a desire for knowing; for when they suggest what is opposite, and in a manner conceal things, then a desire of knowing is excited, and thus from eagerness to find out about the things, the memory is enriched. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 7074).
Tell any child, that you have a secret about something, and it will drive them nuts.  I think that is what is going on here...except in this case, they are doing it to us.  How can NASA explain this one away?


I think photos like the above took the government by surprise.  In 2007, the government ordered everyone at NASA to get a top secret clearance.  Some news organizations did not understand why.  Here is a quote from Security Obsession Drives 100 Scientists from NASA: Top Security Clearance Needed to Help Steer the Curiosity Rover?

Thanks to the zealous wackos at the Department of Homeland Security, back in 2007 during the latter part of the Bush administration an order went out that all workers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena--an organization that is run under contract to NASA by the California Institute of Technology, had to be vetted for high security clearance in order to continue doing their jobs. Never mind that not one of them was or is engaged in secret activities (NASA is a rigorously non-military, scientific agency which not only publishes all its findings, but which invites the active participation of scientists from around the world). In order to continue working at JPL, even scientists who had been with NASA for decades were told they would need a high-level security badge just to enter the premises. To be issued that badge, they were told they would need to agree undergo an intensive FBI check that would look into their prior life history, right back to college.
Not surprisingly, many scientists and engineers at JPL took umbrage at this extreme invasion of their private lives. Neighbors and old colleagues and acquaintances, ex-spouses, etc. were going to be interrogated about their drug-use history, their drinking habits, their juvenile arrest records, their sexual orientation-all those things that prying agents like to get into when doing a security clearance background check--as if they were applying for positions in the CIA or the Secret Service.
...The cost of this idiocy, which was aggressively pursued to a final pyrrhic victory in the High Court by the Obama Department of Justice (sic), has been grievous, as some 100 veteran scientists at JPL have quit or taken early retirement, rather than open their lives to the FBI.
Take Amanda Hendrix. She tells ThisCantBeHappening!, “I left JPL after 12 years (and with a good position and lots of opportunities) because I was very unhappy about the new badging requirements, particularly since they didn't make sense to me for scientists like myself who require no access to top-secret-type materials. It was extremely disappointing to me that an institution like JPL would subject their long-time employees to such measures in order to keep their jobs.”
So why top secret clearance to drive the curiosity rover?  Its to get them to keep quiet on the photographs that are discovered and then promptly censored.  Not everyone at NASA knows this, for the way it works, this type of information is compartmentalized.  You only know if you have a need to know.  No, the government were not idiots in this case, they knew exactly what they were doing.


(UPDATE: Jan. 23, 2014) I saw this on the news, and a reader also pointed this one out to me. Somebody at NASA noticed a rock that "suddenly appeared" where it wasn't before in front of the Opportunity rover on Mars.  The rock is donut shaped, and NASA is not sure how it got there.  Here is the before image (Dec. 26, 2013) and after image:

NASA cannot explain this one. It is either, (A) remnants of a meteor impact nearby, unlikely, or (B) a rock kicked up by the wheel of the rover.  Neither explanation is likely. And it is BIG NEWS.  Well NASA, please explain how a BIG BOULDER just went missing, and then REAPPEARS in a completely different spot. But no, we have to devote our attention to a small jelly donut rock that was possibly kicked up by the rover wheel.

So, was this rock kicked up by a rover wheel? Here is a quote from Steve Squyres from NASA ponders mysterious 'jelly donut' rock on Mars:
"It looks like a jelly donut," said Steve Squyres, the rover's lead scientist at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., during a recent NASA event marking Opportunity's 10th year on Mars. "And it appeared, it just plain appeared, at that spot and we haven't driven over that spot."  The odd rock is located in a spot on "Murray Ridge" along the wall of Endeavour Crater where Opportunity is spending the Martian winter. A closer look at the rock using Opportunity's robotic arm-mounted instruments revealed even more surprises. "It's like nothing we ever seen before. It's very high in sulfur, very high in magnesium, it has twice as much manganese than anything we've seen on Mars," Squyres said with excitement in last week's Jan. 16 event. "I don't know what any of this means. We're completely confused, we're having a wonderful time."

So, the mystery deepens.  Not only did they not drive over that spot, but the chemical composition of the rock is unlike not only its surroundings but unlike ANY OTHER ROCK examined on Mars.  So does someone up there perhaps have a sense of humor? In the movie, Mars Attacks, Richie Norris watches the incoming news on Mars on TV at a place called, yes, DONUT WORLD. Here is an image from the movie:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Emanuel Swedenborg was right, and NASA is hiding it

Recently I started to address one of the main criticisms of the visions of Emanuel Swedenborg, that he saw that the other planets of the solar system were inhabited.  I felt Swedenborg may have been wrong in this area as well - obviously - these planets have no breathable atmospheres, right? But over the past couple of weeks my opinion has begun to shift on this as I started researching the UFO phenomenon and evidence of NASA tampering with public photos it has released from the space program - from missions funded with our U.S. tax dollars. Moreover, the body of evidence is growing that Mars has life on it, and we may have actually known this since the 70s from the Viking program (or probably earlier). If this is the reality, and if this reality does not change, then I see a need for a non-profit civilian agency that needs to start exploring space - one that is completely separate from the U.S. Government. However there may be hope, as there was evidently a split within the MJ-12 group, with half wanting the truth to be told, and the other half wanting to keep it secret. I suspect something in the middle was chosen: a very gradual disclosure of extraterrestrial life, something that will not shock the public, probably beginning with microorganisms. Microorganisms are things we can step on, but civilizations more advanced than ours? That makes us look small and insignificant. Hey wait! Compared to the size of the universe, we are small and insignificant, and the world does not revolve around us.

For the body of evidence that NASA has tampered with the photos, can be seen in these two previous blog entries, both of which I have updated with further information I was able to find recently (thank you, internet) - including prove positive evidence of underground tunnels and caverns on the moons, supposedly from lava flows.  And it was not that hard to find:

Swedenborg and Life on Other Planets: Mars and the Moon

Swedenborg and the Extraterrestrial UFO Phenomenon

However I was curious: just exactly what was (is) NASA hiding in those photos? I wanted to see if there were any leakers. I found plenty of disinformants. The leakers are harder to find.  Eventually I found this: a presentation by retired Commander Sergeant Major Robert O. Dean (U.S. Army). He apparently was granted "Cosmic" Top Secret Clearance, which is above Top Secret.  He has some of those uncensored NASA photos, which he shows in this presentation. Some of them, quite amazing, he got from the Japanese space agency. With the old military guard retiring, or dying, some of them felt that this was too important to take to the grave, and Bob Dean is one of them. And I don't see anything here that compromises National Security. It is something big, with compromises our world-view. I started to pay attention when he gave the following definition of NASA:

NASA: Never A Straight Answer

Bob Dean was initially angry when he discovered the amount of cover up, but when he realized just how much was being covered up...then he began to understand.  The average man on the street, and narrow religious mind sets who think they know everything, simply are not ready for much of this.  He has seen military men who were revealed the full truth of this literally break down and cry when they saw their world view collapse - and then had to be reassigned. Here is a video of a presentation he gave in Barcelona in 2009, which I will sum up in the points below it. I found this quite enlightening, and in line with what I began to uncover in my previous blogs:

After seeing the above video, and seeing my previous blogs, it is now evident what NASA is hiding: on those Apollo missions, the extraterrestrials made their presence fully known. While we looked upon landing on the Moon as part of a space-race against Russia, the extraterrestrials took it as an attempt to contact them. Or they were simply curious as to what in the world were we doing up there and found it quite entertaining. One of the things Bob Dean discusses is luminous phenomenon on the moon, especially near the Lansberg crater.  I was able to find the photograph he was displaying from a web site called LIGHTS OF CRATER LANSBERG A, which you can see for a full analysis of the following photos:

In the presentation, the strange light is sharpened a bit to show several glowing disks. But that is not all. Another surprise awaited NASA in the Voyager mission of 1980. As it was passing Saturn, this satellite uncovered evidence of huge UFOs moving in and about the rings of Saturn. And one was a cigar shaped UFO that is estimated to be 2,000 miles long and 400 miles in diameter. That is massive. Not only that, he discusses some other photos:
1. Mariner uncovered an artificial building on the surface of Mars near the equator.
2. The Soviet Phobos II spacecraft uncovered evidence of an underground city on Mars generating heat with its infrared camera.
3. An Apollo program photographed other disks and a cigar shaped spacecraft as it was approaching the moon.
Bob Dean has given several lectures, and evidently some in the military are calling him a "big mouth."  Remember how I said that extraterrestrials probably regard us as "primitive barbarians" in a previous blog? Bob Dean relates that when he was in Washington D.C. a plasma fusion physicist revealed to him that he had been working at a site in Nevada near Las Vegas, and on site he worked with two people on some projects for some time who were "not from here, but from up there."  After working with them for a while, he asked one of them point blank, what do you think of humans here?  The reply was: "Since you asked, we think you are a primitive, savage, and dangerous race." Swedenborg encountered similar views in his interactions with extraterrestrial spirits.

So what is important here? What is important, is that we elevate ourselves spiritually and morally. That is what is important. And that is the reason why God chose to become incarnate on our planet, to save the ones who were truly lost. If He picked our planet, that does not make us better, it makes us among the worst, for without His coming, all of mankind was doomed to destruction. Some extraterrestrials reportedly have a different view of Jesus, thinking He was one of them, but on that point, they are wrong -- something they will probably find hard to admit.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Swedenborg and the Extraterrestrial UFO Phenomenon

Still from video of from a U.S. Fighter tailing a UFO, released by the Department of Defense

On the news, some may have heard of computer hacker Gary McKinnon, who in 2001 and 2002 was able to easily hack into NASA and military computers in the United States.  The U.S. then asked the United Kingdom to extradite him to the United States to face charges for causing willful irreparable damage on some of these computer systems. Extradition proceedings came to an end as recently as October 2012, when the United Kingdom blocked the extradition order. He will not be prosecuted in the United Kingdom as the evidence lies in the United States.

So what was he doing there? According to Gary McKinnon, he was looking for evidence of UFOs and free energy technology. He was told by someone that there was a particular building in NASA that regularly "brushed up" photos that contained imagery of UFOs. He hacked into a system there, and that is exactly what he found - and the image was that of a cigar or cylindrical shaped UFO hovering above the earth's hemisphere.

To provide more detail, here is a video which discusses sightings of "probe-type" UFOs that seem to hover and bobble, staying stationary for a while observing things. One is over a power line.  And this reminds me: when I was in California, I remember my sister and her friend reported seeing something similar bobbing up and down above the electrical power line tower in the park behind our house. I at first did not believe her, but her friend said the same thing and she was dead serious. But the reason why I include it is there is more collected footage of the cigar-shaped UFOs:

The above video is amazing - it includes photographs of a cigar shaped UFO that flew alongside a passenger airline, with testimony from the pilot that took the pictures. And the earliest reported sighting of a cigar shaped UFO apparently comes from the 16th century A.D.


It has been a long time since I have taken another look at the UFO phenomenon. With the advent of the internet, and youtube, it is now easier than ever to find evidence from all over the world from multiple witnesses. To muddy the waters, there are people who do put up fake videos to keep this under wraps, or to just get attention. Why am I looking at this now? Because Emanuel Swedenborg, a scientist of the 18th century, had clairvoyant abilities and encountered some of these extraterrestrials in the spiritual world. This took him by surprise, and this occurred long before the modern UFO phenomenon. Unlike other accounts, which combine these claims with some spiritual revelation, Swedenborg speaks of these encounters in his dry encyclopedic style of a detached scientist. But Swedenborg thought they originated from planets on our solar system. And many who read this, stop there and read no further. I honestly at first did not know what to make of it. That is, until the last couple of weeks, when I found footage and witnesses concerning UFO activity on the Moon and on Mars (see my previous blogs on extraterrestrials). We know these planets do not have a breathable atmosphere, but as UFO technology seems highly advanced above ours, Swedenborg's account is beginning to make sense.

Swedenborg speaks of most of these extraterrestrials as human like us, some shorter, but with no advanced technology in the sciences or writing. So is that true, that they were all more primitive in the sciences than us? Not quite. There is one particular group, which he associates with the planet Mercury, which had a keen interest to gather information out of other people's memory:
With what eagerness they search out and absorb knowledges, such as are in the memory raised above the sensuals of the body, was made evident to me by this, that when they looked into what I knew of heavenly things, they ran through them all, declaring instantly the nature of each. For when spirits come to man, they enter into his whole memory, and call forth there what suits them; yea, as I have often observed, they read its contents as from a book. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6811)
There are many reports of abductions, where people report "missing time" - their memory has been wiped of that incident. We are not there yet: we are only beginning to understand how the brain works. Not only that, but more so than any other race, this race had knowledge from other solar systems:
The spirits of Mercury, above all others, possess knowledge both of this solar system, and of the earths beyond this in the starry heaven (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6812)
They have a habit of exploring other societies and gathering what they know. Although Swedenborg sees this in the spiritual world, what one does in the spiritual world often corresponds to what one did in this earthly life:
When the spirits of Mercury come to other societies, they find out from them what they know, and then depart; such communication also is given among spirits, that when they are in a society, if they are accepted and loved, all things which they know are communicated, and this not by any speech, but by influx. By reason of their knowledge, the spirits of Mercury are more haughty than others... (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6813)
These extraterrestials have so much knowledge, they place all of life in knowledges alone, thus Swedenborg observed they did not fully develop higher levels of thinking. In this area, they seemed to be a bit more limited than us. Swedenborg also observed they did not like to dwell with those from planet earth, as they viewed us as too materialistic and attached to earthly things. So from this and other passages, we can gather a bit of knowledge concerning their psychology and motivation:
1. The relationship is one way: extract knowledge.
2. An idea of "superiority" due to the enormous amount of knowledge gathered.
3. Inability to develop higher levels of rational thinking, or in making use of the knowledge, except to communicate that knowledge to others.
4. Lack of desire, even aversion, to commune with our materialistic society. Thus they would probably regard us as "primitive barbarians."
5. They would begin to show more interest in us if they thought we had knowledge that they didn't. Such as...maybe blowing up an atomic bomb?
And with that kind of profile, should a government encounter them in today's world, do you think they will just announce it to the public?  No.  It will be kept secret, and have the highest level of secrecy. Because there is much knowledge to be gained.

Another point Swedenborg makes: they love to wander about, going from solar system to solar system, collecting knowledge:
The spirits of the earth Mercury do not tarry long in one place, or in the sphere of the spirits of one world, but wander through the universe. ...Hence it is given them to wander, and everywhere to acquire to themselves knowledge. The spirits of that earth go in companies and bands, and when assembled together, form as it were a globe...That those spirits wander through the universe to acquire knowledges of things, was made evident to me also from this, that once when they appeared very remote from me, they talked with me thence, and said that they were then gathered together and were journeying out of the sphere of this solar world into the starry heaven  (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6925-26)
Swedenborg gives another explanation as for why they "form as it were a globe." But the description is remarkably similar to many UFOs that have been reported. And the last point to make: there are many other planets in the solar system that are inhabited by the human race:
Because of their thus journeying through the universe, and so being able to know more than others of the worlds and earths beyond the sphere of our solar system, I have also talked with them on this subject. They said that in the universe there are very many earths inhabited by men, and that they wondered that it should be supposed by any, whom they called men of little judgment... (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6927).
A remarkable statement, considering this was in the 18th century, long before current astronomers began discovering other planets orbiting other stars. Emanuel Swedenborg demonstrated on multiple occasions a clairvoyant ability. If he was right on those occasions, perhaps we should pay attention to these accounts. Because we will gain very little useful knowledge concerning these extraterrestrial cultures from all these UFO sightings on the internet.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Three Steps of Spiritual Development


There are three steps of spiritual development which are universal to the spiritual development of all human beings. These three steps of spiritual development are shown in a variety of ways in scripture - including the three main Jewish festivals of the Old Testament. There were three main festivals that were instituted by the Lord among the Jews - the feast of the Passover (unleavened bread), the feast of Pentecost (firstfruits of the harvest - Shavuot), and the feast of Tabernacles (the gathering of the harvest - Sukkot). These are first described in Exodus:
Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year:You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty);and the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field. (Ex. 23:14-16)
Among the Jews, the feast of the Passover commemorates their deliverance out of Egypt: on that night, they were delivered from slavery. The other two at first seem just related to the harvest and providing thanksgiving. However there is more to it than that: Pentecost, which takes place 50 days after Passover, was the actual day in which Moses was given the 10 commandments. This shows there is something spiritual behind each of the festivals. There is a historical event behind Passover and Pentecost, but what is the historical event symbolized by the feast of Tabernacles? This one has puzzled many. It takes place in the month of Tishri, which falls in the months of September and October. The month of Tishri is announced by the blowing of horns: this is known as the feast of Yom Kippur. Tishri was the start of the civil year among the Jews, and their kings would ascend the throne in the month of Tishri. This can be shown in chronological studies, whereas most other countries began their civil year in the spring, the Jews would start theirs in the fall. This provides a clue as to its hidden spiritual meaning.

In Christianity, there is a deeper symbolism to Passover and Pentecost. Passover is now called Easter, for this was when Jesus Christ was crucified, and afterwards He rose from the dead. Just as the Passover is a festival of rememberance among the Jews, so Easter is the highest ritual among Christianity. Likewise, it was on Pentecost in which the apostles and the early church was endowed with the Holy Spirit, and were given the gift of speaking in foreign languages at the time. Many were baptized. As for the feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) that is not celebrated in the Christian tradition. Some speculate that this is the day of the Last Judgment, or the time of the Second Advent. However, if one carefully examines the gospel of Luke, one can determine that Jesus was probably born during the feast of Sukkot. (See previous blog entry on the true birthday of Jesus) Thus we see that the Jewish festivals were prophetic of significant events in the Christian Church:
1. Passover = Easter. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
2. Pentecost. The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to the early Church.
3. Tabernacles (Sukkot). The birth of Jesus Christ. 
The reason why the feast of Tabernacles is not celebrated properly, is that His birth is now celebrated on what was originally a pagan holiday (Christmas). In the festival of Sukkot Jews build booths or dwellings and stay in them for a period of seven days. This is symbolic of the incarnation, of how the Word was made flesh by dwelling in a human body. And this is the reason why the Jewish kings ascended the throne in the month of Tishri - for that is the month in which Jesus their Messiah was born, the king of the Jews.  The kings were types of the future Messiah. The fact that this festival is not celebrated in the Christian church may have a hidden meaning: for many within the Church do not acknowledge the human of Jesus as Divine, but instead divide Him into two natures. In the New Church, not only was the human made Divine, but the human form is in itself the "Son of God" - not a separate distinct person as Tritheists believe.

In the New Church, a restoration of true Christianity based on the doctrines revealed to Emanuel Swedenborg, there is a deeper more spiritual understanding of these three festivals. They refer to three steps of spiritual regeneration: the feast of unleavened bread is signified purification from falsities, by the feast of harvest the implanting of truth in good, and by the feast of ingathering the implanting of good thence derived, and thus full deliverance from damnation; for, when a man has been purified from falsities and then introduced by truths into good, and at length when he is in good, he is then in heaven with the Lord, and consequently is then fully liberated. The successive steps of deliverance from damnation are as the successive steps of regeneration, inasmuch as regeneration is deliverance from hell and introduction into heaven by the Lord; for the man who is being regenerated is first purified from falsities, then the truths of faith are implanted with him in the good of charity, and lastly this good itself is implanted, and this being done the man is regenerated, and is then in heaven with the Lord. Wherefore by the three feasts in the year was also signified the worship of the Lord and thanksgiving on account of regeneration. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9286).
This I find very significant for spiritual development. Among evangelical churches of Christianity, the focus seems to be just on finding converts. The other false belief is that once professes a belief in Jesus, they believe in immediate mercy or salvation. So the thought is, once one converts, you are done with your spiritual development. What to do afterwards? Lip service, prayer, and converting others. This is especially prevalent among Protestant churches. It helps explain why society is becoming increasingly secular, as religion is divorced from one's life, as a result of this theology that one is saved by belief alone. Religion tends to become a matter of outward rituals, with no internal spiritual development. In fact, when you examine most in the church, you can say there is in fact no religion, and there is no knowledge of the truth as the theology has been falsified by the early church councils.

When we look at the three Jewish festivals, they describe a process: the three steps of spiritual regeneration:
1. Purification from evils and falsity. This is the acknowledgment of one's sins after performing a self examination, and turning away from them. It is a period of temptation, accompanied by depression and sadness.
2. Learning the truths of the Church from the Word, and living by them. This is a period of instruction, and living by the truths one has learned. The main truth to learn is living by the 10 commandments. Truth becomes implanted in the mind.
3. Acting from Love. Love now begins to grow in one's heart. God's spirit can now begin to dwell in our heart. And now, things are inverted: from a desire to learn the truth to do good, one now does good from the love in one's heart. There is no need to learn truths, for love has been implanted in one's heart and conscience.
The process is continual and repeats, and it never finishes. There is no such thing as "immediate salvation." It is a life long process of continual improvement. The first stage is one of repentance, and is symbolized by the washing of feet by the apostles by Jesus. The second stage is symbolized by baptism. Is is spiritual truth which washes aways the sins. The third stage: one of love, which is the internal spiritual meaning of communion.

It is this simple process of three steps of spiritual regeneration that underlies many of the principles laid out in the writings of Swedenborg. It can be compared to growing a plant: first a suitable ground must be found and cleared away - this is removing evil and falsity in repentance. Then the seed can be implanted in the ground. This is the implanting of the truth in the mind through learning from scripture. Then the plant bears fruits, ready to be harvested. This is when one starts to act out of love: the good works are the fruits borne from repentance.

How far one progresses in this spiritual path determines one's eternal destiny in heaven. The three stages of spiritual progression are also termed as the Natural, the Spiritual, and the Celestial. Each of these phases creates a "plane" on which the next plane of spiritual development can be built upon. Truth cannot be implanted where there is falsity in the mind, and confirmed in the will. One cannot do good until spiritual truth has been implanted, although it may appear otherwise if people just judge people's actions from the surface. As these spiritual planes are opened in the understanding and the will, one advances from the selfish ego of hell into the higher planes of heaven which consists of humility and mutual love. These three phases, or steps, correspond to three very distinct heavens. The three heavens are mentioned briefly in the writings of Paul:
I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord:I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago - whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows - such a one was caught up to the third heaven.And I know such a man - whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows -how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. (2 Corinthians 12:1-4)
When I first read this passage, the immediate question I had is why are there three heavens? And why did Paul keep this vision a secret? It really did raise my curiosity. I would not know until I read of the accounts of Swedenborg, who was allowed to explore the spiritual world for over 25 years. A summary description of what he saw in the afterlife is described in his work, "Heaven and Hell." And there he describes in detail the three spiritual planes of heaven, and how they are distinct from each other. Opposing these three planes of heaven are three opposite planes of hell. And in between is the world of spirits, where man enters after death. He also speaks of the telepathic communication of the angels, how their thought and language was so much higher than verbal language that at times he could hardly express them in words, and at other times symbolically. The other point Swedenborg made is that while we are living in the body, our spirit is present in one of these planes of heaven or hell, right now. We are just not aware of it, but become more aware when we shed this physical human body. And after that, where the tree falls, there shall it lay. And that is why  it is important to go through these three steps of spiritual regeneration now, in our daily lives.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Swedenborg and Life on Other Planets: Mars, and the Moon

Emanuel Swedenborg, who had much to say on the afterlife and the spiritual meaning of scripture, spoke often of human spirits he had encountered who did not originate from our earth - which we now call extraterrestrials.  He also stated that many of them came from our own solar system. And these accounts are a stumbling block for many. So for this reason, I am diving in to some UFO reports, and there is plenty of evidence to choose from. I had earlier discussed his account of a race on Mars, and compared that with what we know about Mars now from recent space explorations - that it once had flowing water, it once had a thicker atmosphere, and NASA scientists that it most likely was able to host life in its distant past until it lost its atmosphere due to some unknown catastrophe. Since much of the information is classified, and government officials cannot officially speak of it, they do leak information out under the guise of fictional accounts - and one of them may be the Mission to Mars movie that came out in the year 2000.

So for Mars, I thought I had gathered the best available evidence.  But I was wrong.  See the following video - it shows a clip from Buzz Aldrin, astronaut of Apollo 11) who talks about a mysterious monolith discovered on the moon Phobos orbiting Mars (which may be just a rock), but more interesting are some photographs from a Russian satellite that was sent to the moon Phobos in 1989. Shockingly, it takes a picture of the moon Phobos and there is a shadow of a large disk like object on the surface. Whatever it is, it is huge. And right after that, the Russians mysteriously lost contact with the satellite:

Towards the end, there is a mysterious infrared photograph of the surface of Mars, which shows an unusual heat signature coming from what looks like to be tunnel like structures below the surface.


So recently scientists have uncovered evidence that Mars was able to support life in its distant past.  But what about the Moon?  We know it does not have an atmosphere.  And yet Swedenborg stated that the Moon was inhabited. He described the appearance of spirits he encountered from the Moon, who he said were few in number:
They appeared of a countenance not unhandsome, but their faces were longer than the faces of other spirits. In stature they were like boys of seven years of age, but of more robust body: thus they were dwarfs. I was told by the angels that they were from the Moon. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9233)
And not only is the Moon inhabited, but also the moons of Saturn and Jupiter:
That there are in fact inhabitants in the Moon is known to spirits and angels, for they often speak with them, and in like manner that there are inhabitants in the moons or satellites which revolve about the planet Jupiter and the planet Saturn. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9237).
So while Swedenborg offers many insights on scripture and the human soul, as well as Christianity, quite honestly I - like many others - thought he was mistaken that there was life on the Moon. And in my previous post, I mentioned how Swedenborg could not actually see the planet where these extraterrestrial spirits came from.  So perhaps he falsely concluded other planets were inhabited based on the limited scientific knowledge of the time. So that was my theory. Until I found this video from the UFO Disclosure Project, testimony from Sergeant Karl Wolf of the U.S. Air Force who had top secret clearance. He speaks about what he saw concerning a NASA mission to the Moon in 1965 in Langley Virginia. It is followed by testimony from Ms. Donna Hare, a former NASA employee, who states that it was a practice of NASA to touch up photos to hide the existence of UFOs - including those on the Moon.


I decided to look a little further into this, and here is testimony again from Buzz Aldrin, astronaut of Apollo 11, who said they saw a UFO during their mission to the Moon:

And that is just the beginning. I found this excellent documentary, which gathers evidence from pilots and astronauts, concerning UFOs that have been tracking our aircraft, satellites, and space shuttle missions. Actually when I started to introduce this topic of extraterrestrials I probably should have started with this, as it has very good testimony:

At the end, they show remarkable footage of a UFO taken from a space shuttle mission. So if there are UFOs - of such frequency - reported by multiple witnesses (no less than pilots, astronauts, and FAA recordings - plus these numerous NASA videos) - where are they coming from? Perhaps they are closer to us than we think.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Faith is not Belief. It is Living by the Truth.

In religion, there is much talk about one's faith.  But what is faith?  It is simply what you believe?  No, belief does not make faith.  For some religions, "faith" means just believe without questioning.  Its a way to keep people in blind ignorance, so no one questions the teaching. Especially for beliefs that make no rational sense.  The truth of the matter: faith is spiritual truth, and one lives in the truth who is in love towards God and the neighbor. If you believe in one way, but continue to live in sin, however you want, you have no faith.

Faith is synonymous with truth, and living by the truth.  This is the conception of faith in the New Church.  But it is not new, it is old.  The Hebrew word translated as "faith" comes from the same word for "Amen": they both mean truth. "Amen" means "so be it" or "let it be" or "it is so."  Unfortunately, in the English language, faith has come to be synonymous with "belief".  And most think if they just believe in one way, without considering how they live, they will still be saved.

The essential doctrines of the New Church are described in what Swedenborg wrote as "The Four Doctrines".  The Four Doctrines concern four things of the New Church: 1. the Lord, 2. Sacred Scripture, 3.  Charity, or how one lives, and 4. Faith.  Those who have been taught falsely by Protestant doctrine, who think they are saved by belief alone, that one can do no good, are greatly mistaken.  For the Lord acts through a person's will, and if the will is inactive in repentance and living according to the commandments, the faith is dead. One must act as if from oneself, but acknowledge that it is the Lord who is the source of the good in your will, and is the source for resisting evil. The Protestant theology has misinterpreted the writings of Paul, for when Paul said the just live by faith without the works of the law, he was speaking of the external works of the rituals of the Mosaic law. Not charity or good works.  For both he and Jesus said everyone will be judged according to their works.

Many Protestants like to point the finger at others and label something that is contrary to their belief as a "cult". But they fail to self examine their own religion: they do not question the Tritheistic definition of the Trinity of the fourth century A.D., and they never question that one is saved by belief alone.  As sins are automatically transferred, no need for self examination or repentance either.  What we end up with, is a system of belief that actually goes contrary against Christianity: for there is no Christianity where there is no repentance from sin.  Since they cannot see the falsity in their own theology, and insist upon it, many leave the church and fall into heresies.

There is one principle that needs to be understood: faith, or truth, is first in time.  But it is charity, or love, which is first in end. Love is the goal. But we cannot reach that goal unless we first purify ourselves of sin through the truth.  Swedenborg provides some examples of this:
In building a temple, the first thing in time is to lay the foundation, to raise the walls, to put on the roof, and afterwards to put in the altar and erect the pulpit; but in end the first thing is the worship of God therein, for the sake of which those things are done. In building a house, the first thing in time is to build its external parts, and also to furnish it with various articles which are of necessity; but the first thing in end is a suitable dwelling for one's self and for all of the household. In laying out a garden, the first thing in time is to level the ground, prepare the soil, and plant trees, and sow such things as will serve for use; but in end the first thing is the use of the fruits. In preparing a field, the first thing in time is to clear the land, to plough, to harrow, and then to sow the seed; but in end the first thing is the harvest, thus again use. From these comparisons one may conclude what is in itself first. Does not every one who wishes to build a temple or a house, or to lay out a garden and to cultivate a field, first intend the use, and constantly keep and revolve this in his mind, while he is procuring means to carry it into effect? We therefore conclude that the truth of faith is first in time, but that the good of charity is first in end; and that this latter, because it is primary, is actually the first-born in the mind. (True Christian Religion, n. 336)
The faith of the New Church is thus utilitarian, practical and useful.  Swedenborg then sums up some points concerning faith as follows:

I. Saving faith is in the Lord God the Saviour Jesus Christ.
II. The sum of faith is that he who lives well and believes aright is saved by the Lord.
III. Man obtains faith by going to the Lord, learning truths from the Word, and living according to them.
IV. Abundance of truths, coherent as if bound together, exalts and perfects faith.
V. Faith without charity is not faith, and charity without faith is not charity; and neither is alive except from the Lord.
VI. The Lord, charity, and faith make one, like life, will, and understanding in man; and if they are divided, each perishes, like a pearl reduced to powder.
VII. The Lord is charity and faith in man, and man is charity and faith in the Lord.
VIII. Charity and faith are together in good works.
Why is saving faith in Jesus Christ? Swedenborg explains this further:
Men should believe, that is, have faith in God the Saviour Jesus Christ, because this is faith in the visible God, in whom is the invisible; and faith in the visible God, who is Man and at the same time God, enters into man; for faith in its essence is spiritual, but natural in its form; therefore with man this faith becomes spiritual natural; for every spiritual thing is received in what is natural in order to be any thing with man. The naked spiritual does indeed enter into man, but it is not received; it is like the ether, which flows in and out without affecting; for in order to affect, there must be perception, and so reception, both in man's mind; and these are not with man except in his natural. But on the other hand, merely natural faith, or faith destitute of spiritual essence, is not faith, but only persuasion, or knowledge. Persuasion emulates faith in externals, but because there is nothing spiritual in its internals, there is therefore nothing saving. Such faith is with all who deny the Divinity of the Lord's Human; such was the Arian faith, and such also is the Socinian faith, because they both reject the Lord's Divinity. (True Christian Religion, n. 339)
As Jesus made His human Divine, so He enters into all humanity who have faith in Him who acknowledge Him as Lord, and acknowledge their specific sins and turn away from them.  In this visible form we now have a direct link with God. He also does this with the good who turn away from evil who are outside of Christianity, but this is more indirect, as those outside of the church have an imperfect knowledge of the truth. It is through the truth that one turns away from evil, after which one begins to act according to the truth, and then later one acts from the will of doing good. Thus God leads all humanity to Him through something universal: one's own conscience.

With faith in Jesus Christ, which is turning away from sin and living according to His commandments, there are three steps of spiritual regeneration:
1. Repentance, or purification from sin. Removing evil and falsity in one's life.
2. Learning the truth from the Word, and living according to the truth.
3. Acting according to God's will, from the love implanted in one's heart.
These are the three simple steps of Christianity. And they must happen in order. Belief alone makes one spiritually apathetic and lazy.  Repentance is not easy the first time.  Begin with self examining your life, and looking for some fault or behavior pattern to remove. The cyclic behavior patterns are the hardest to remove, and one must practice to remove them. Repentance clears the mind, soul and body, preparing yourself for the in-dwelling of God's spirit. That is truth faith, and the path to eternal happiness.

Turning the Cheek, An Eye for an Eye, and the Law of Retaliation

In Church, I heard a minister attempt to explain one of the most misunderstood statements of Jesus. This is one of the most misunderstood verses concerning the Christian religion:
You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. (Matt. 5:38-42)
So what is the practical application of this?  We should not resist evil? Does this mean if someone hits us, we should let them? If someone sues us, we should immediately concede?  That we should give all our possessions to all who ask?  If we really follow this to the letter, we would be homeless.

The answer to this, is no.  This is another example of how the literal sense contains within an internal spiritual sense, and if you take these literally, it would be regarded as an "error". Whereas in the natural civil law evil must be punished, and those who take should restore what they stole, in the spiritual law, one should not seek revenge, or hold in hate those who have wronged us. Why is this? There is a spiritual law, where every evil carries with it its own punishment. The Jews were not ready to receive these spiritual laws, so they were given only natural civil laws. But contained in these natural laws, there are internal spiritual laws. This internal spiritual sense is explained in a system of correspondences, or symbolism, in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. So what is the meaning of the above passage?  Lets go through it one by one.
You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'
This is the law of retaliation. Swedenborg explains the spiritual law behind these laws given to the Jews: give soul for soul, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and so forth, means that as thou hast done to another so shall it be done to thee. The reason why this law was given to the sons of Israel is, that such is the law in the spiritual world. He who there does good to another from the heart receives like good. Therefore he who does evil to another from the heart receives like evil. For good from the heart is conjoined with its reward, and evil from the heart is conjoined with its punishment; therefore there is heaven for the good and hell for the evil. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9048)
So the spiritual law is, do not hold in hatred those who have done wrong to you. And I have seen this happen over and over in life: one's intention in the act, determines the final destiny or punishment for that person. What goes around, comes around. Thus one should not seek to take revenge. That is what is contained in the law of retaliation, because those are the laws that the Jews were able to receive.It goes to show that one cannot take the Bible literally.  Many of these laws of Moses have been abrogated, as they have served their purpose: for these laws were designed to be representative and symbolic until Jesus came to reveal some of their internal spiritual meaning. They are useful for teaching spiritual laws - and their internal spiritual sense is covered in more detail by Swedenborg in Heavenly Arcana (meaning "Heavenly Secrets").
But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
To "not resist" means to hold someone in hatred. Civil society must of course resist evil and restrain it. But this is a spiritual law: do not hold in hatred someone who has done wrong to you. And this is the spiritual meaning of the word "cheek" in scripture: it does not refer to one's physical cheek.  The face and cheek of a person represents your internal affection. For those who seek to harm you - those who seek to tease and jeer at you for whatever reason - the evil would love it more if you held them in hate and were bothered. If you do not hold the hatred inside, it bothers them more. The effect is, they get bothered: for those who hold you in hatred would be much bothered to see you happy. And the other effect is, they will probably start to leave you alone, if they see you are not bothered by it.
If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.
To take someone to court and sue them, is representative of someone who wishes to destroy your spiritual life. A tunic or cloak is representative of spiritual truths. So if someone seeks to destroy your religion, and tell you that your are wrong, the response is not to angry, but to instruct them: this is what "giving a cloak" means in the spiritual sense. In the symbolic sense of scripture, to be naked is to be without truths, when one receives understanding of the truth they are clothed. Thus when truth is falsified, it was customary for the prophets to tear their clothing.

For the rest of this passage, I will simply quote Swedenborg, who explains it well:
"An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," signifies that so far as any one takes away from another the understanding of truth and the sense of truth, so far are they taken away from him, the "eye" signifying the understanding of truth, and "tooth" the sense of truth, for a "tooth" means truth or falsity such as the sensual man has. That one who is in Christian good will permit an evil person to take these away as far as he can, is described by what the Lord says in reply on the same subject. "Resist not him who is in evil" signifies that there should be no fighting back of retaliation; for angels do not fight with the evil, much less do they return evil for evil, but they allow it to be done, since they are protected by the Lord, and therefore no evil from hell can do them harm. "Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek turn to him the other also" signifies if any one wishes to do harm to the perception and understanding of interior truth, it may be allowed to the extent of the effort; "the cheek" signifies the perception and understanding of interior truth, the "right cheek" affection for it and consequent perception of it, and the "left cheek" understanding of it, and as the "cheek" is mentioned, so is "smiting," which means doing harm to; for all things pertaining to the mouth, as the throat, the mouth itself, the lips, the cheeks, the teeth, signify such things as belong to the perception and understanding of truth, because they correspond to them, therefore by these objects in the sense of the letter of the Word, which consists of pure correspondences, these things are expressed; "if any man wisheth to sue thee at the law and to take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also," signifies if any one wishes to take away truth interiorly with thee, it may be allowed him to take away also exterior truth, "coat" signifying interior truth, and "cloak" exterior truth. This also is what angels do when they are with the evil, for the evil can take away nothing of good and truth from angels, but they can from those who on that account burn with enmity, hatred, and revenge, for these evils avert and repel protection by the Lord; "whosoever shall compel thee to go one mile, go with him two," signifies whoever wishes to lead away from truth to falsity and from good to evil, since he cannot do it, may be left unopposed, a "mile" having a similar signification as a "way," namely, that which leads away or leads; "give to every one that asketh thee" signifies that it is to be permitted; "and from him who wisheth to borrow of thee turn thou not away" signifies that if any one wishes to be instructed he may be instructed, for the evil desire this that they may pervert and take away, and yet they cannot. (Apocalypse Explained, n. 556b)
These words of Jesus are not just for angels, but for men and women of the Christian Church, when the evil try to lead one astray. For those who stay in affection of love towards the Lord and the neighbor, the Lord will protect them from the evil, and one's own evil will return to them on their own head. Those who are in evil love to attack, and those who are in love always defend. This is the spiritual meaning of turning the other cheek. Don't follow an eye for an eye, do not let religion blind you.