It is better to see the truth in an internal spiritual light, then to see things manifest before our eyes. For when we see the truth internally and accept it, and live by it, it lives stronger in our life. Miraculous appearances do not have the same effect. Thus after Jesus rose from the dead, we have the story of doubting Thomas, who would not believe unless he had touched the wounds of Jesus in his hands and in his side. Later Jesus appeared again among Thomas and the disciples
So why is it, that it is better not to see with one's eyes and believe, than to first see and then believe? It is all due to free will: for what we do by free will remains with our life, more so than if we were compelled to believe:
"Faith merely natural is the faith which is introduced by an external and not an internal way, as sensuous faith, which consists in believing a thing to be so, because the eye hath seen, and the hand hath touched. This is the faith concerning which the Lord said to Thomas, Because thou hast seen [Me], thou hast believed: blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed (John xx. 29); also as the faith of miracles, which consists in believing a thing to be so merely from the miracles, concerning which faith see above (n. 7290), also as the faith of authority, which consists in believing a thing to be so, because another, to whom credence is given, has said it.
"But spiritual faith is faith which is introduced by an internal and at the same time an external way; the introduction by an internal way causes it to be believed, and then what is introduced by an external way causes it to be confirmed. The spiritual of faith is affection for charity, and from this affection for truth for the sake of good use and for the sake of life; these make faith to be spiritual. The introduction of faith by an internal way is effected by the reading of the Word, and by enlightenment at the time from the Lord, which is granted according to the quality of the affection, that is, according to the end sought in learning the truth." (Swedenborg, Heavenly Arcana, n. 8078.2-3)
Thus Swedenborg kept all clairvoyant experiences to himself and private, as it would be better for one to see the truth by examining the revelations contained in what he wrote. It is better to take the truth and put them into active use and service. Nevertheless, I thought I would share another story of an encounter with Jesus, because I was a bit struck with what was said. I had shared some other encounters in Muslim Encounters and Visions of Jesus, which I strongly recommend if one has not read that yet. What this encounter shows, is that God is a God of love, not one of anger. If we see God as "angry" - it is because of some sin we have committed, and the disaster that befalls us is to turn us away from our ways. Bad events not only happen to us on an individual level, but on a national level as well.
THE STORY OF LARRY RANDOLPH
This summary comes from an interview with Larry Randolph with Sid Roth, who has a prophetic ministry and has periodic prophetic visions. I checked up on his story - he had one vision in which he saw an explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, which would become an ecological disaster. He told several people about this event before it happened. He even called Homeland Security in Washington D.C., and their response was they asked if it was going to be a terrorist event. His reply was no. This was fulfilled in April 2010 with the Gulf oil spill by the BP oil company.
There is also an online video given by Larry Randolph at the end of the year 2010, in which he received several visions in which America was in the middle of "the eye of the storm" and was about to enter the surrounding storm. When he has these visions he does not always know what they mean beforehand. No one has commented on that speech, but I think it is pretty clear he had received prophetic warnings concerning Hurricane Sandy, which hit the east coast in October of 2012. For another possible vision of Hurricane Sandy, see A Prophecy of September 11, Fanatical Terrorism (ISIS), Russia and America.
NOAA Satellite image, Oct 27, 2012
In the following encounters, there may be more, I am probably just enumerating some of them from what I have seen Larry Randolph talk about in some interviews. Similar to Emanuel Swedenborg, he has had his vision opened to the spiritual world while in a full waking state, but not to the extent and level of detail that Swedenborg experienced.
FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS
Larry had a visitation with Jesus in his twenties, after he had decided to commit his life to the Lord and was wondering what he should do with his life. This was in Arkansas, where he was sleeping in a room next to an open window letting the fresh air come in. It was autumn, and then he heard the crunching of leaves of someone walking around the house. He was at first gripped with fear, thinking a robber was approaching the window. As the footsteps get closer, he feels an inner peace, and somehow knows he is about to have a visitation. Finally a figure approaches the window, and it is bathed in white light. He cannot see the figure as it is in a cloud, but he knows its Jesus. The the cloud turns red, and the red cloud envelopes him. Larry described it as "red agape love," or "liquid love," which emanated from his face and body. Everything not clean, not right with him just disappeared. He experienced the incomprehensible love of God. He felt unconditional love. This became a tipping point in his life. He was aware that he would make some mistakes, aware that no matter what he did Jesus loved him unconditionally. He then thinks to himself, "Jesus paid the price no matter what I have done." Wow, unconditional love...
So at this point in the interview, it is clear that Larry has had a life altering experience. What is also clear is that he has an idea of "vicarious atonement" in his head, where it does not matter what one does, Jesus paid the price. This comes primarily from a Protestant theology, and I have covered the error of vicarious atonement in previous blog posts (see for example The Fundamental Error of the Protestant Faith. And Jesus reads his thoughts, so what does Jesus say? What Jesus says next I thought was just absolutely brilliant, because it is so simple. And it was because of this, not the prophecies, that I immediately saw that this encounter that Larry Randolph reported was probably valid.
Jesus said, "Larry, look at your hands. Why do you think I put hands on your arms?"
Larry starts to think. To play guitar, to preach,..he's looking at his hands. Then he says, "Lord, I don't know."
Jesus then tells Larry, "I put hands on your arms because human hands are an extension of my heart. They are an extension of heaven." And then Jesus taught him how he should use his hands.
Then Jesus said, "Now I want to show you something about who you are. This is what you are to do with your hands. You are never to hit, never to smite. You are to have an open hand, not a closed fist. Live a life with an open hand. You are to affirm with your hands, love with your hands, touch with your hands, bless with your hands." Jesus then taught him how he healed people with his hands.
Jesus then said something interesting: "Now look at your fingertips." So Larry looked at his fingertips.
Then Jesus asked him, "Does anyone else have the fingerprint that you do?"
Larry then responded, "No, I am the only one." Then Larry remembered a passage from the Psalms stating, you are fiercely and awesomely made. Each person is a unique reflection of the craftsmanship of God. God is an artist of maximum diversity, and is incapable of repetition. Each person has a unique Divine destiny and purpose. The message here is: be yourself, and don't conform to others. If you conform to others, then the world will pass without seeing some unique reflection of God.
A SECOND ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS
In another encounter, Jesus appeared at the foot of his bed, and then sang a song, Have I told you lately that I love you? And then Larry wept at feeling God's love. He loved him because he was a unique reflection of God.
Then Jesus said, "Larry, I have to ask you a question. If you found out tomorrow from the doctor that you had a terminal disease, how would you live the rest of your life?"
This was a hard question, and Larry said he would love people more, he would encourage people more, I would tell his wife that he loved her more, he would have a softer heart, he would forgive more easily, he would not live with a closed fist but an open hand... he went through a long list of things, including he would hold babies, and even at the end he said would dance more, he would dance with his wife.
Then Jesus said to him, in a very strong voice, "Larry, I want you to live the rest of your life like you were terminal, tomorrow." Then he realized we are in fact all terminal. We just do not know when.
A THIRD ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS
Jesus appeared again to Larry. And this time he said, "You are going to be seeing me pretty soon, and I want to ask something from you, a favor from you. I want you to live a zero regret lifestyle. When you come to see me, I want you to come to me with no regrets. Because I do not want to have to wipe tears from your eyes." Larry then thought, the tears we have in heaven are from not living the way God wanted us to be.
Then Larry asked, "What do you mean by that Lord?"
Jesus then said, "I want you to maximize every inch of creative space and talents I put in your life. I want you to forgive those who hurt you. I want you to live your life with zero regrets. When you come to me you can smile with no tears, and I can say to you, well done, good and faithful servant."
Larry then concludes with some other messages he received - gifts are given, and character is grown while we are in this life. Jesus had told him when one comes to see him, one cannot bring his or her gift with them. The only thing you can bring with you to heaven is your heart. You live in a world where your gift is bigger than your heart. In heaven your heart becomes bigger than your gift. To sum up:
LIVE YOUR LIFE TO ITS FULLEST POTENTIAL
YOU ARE IN INSTRUMENT OF GOD'S LOVE
YOU ARE A UNIQUE CREATION. BE YOUR SELF.
LIVE A LIFE OF ZERO REGRETS.
BRING YOUR GIFT TO THE WORLD IN THE WAY YOU KNOW BEST.
So with that summary, lets take a step back, and see how this compares with the New Church teachings as given to Emanuel Swedenborg.
ASSESSMENT FROM A NEW CHURCH PERSPECTIVE
What this encounter with Jesus is teaching in a very simple way, has expressed in simplicity some of the doctrines of the New Church as revealed in the visions of Emanuel Swedenborg. For the primary doctrine of the New Church is that love is primary, faith and belief are secondary. The reason for religious divisions is everyone has put their attention on faith, and not on love, or a life of service. The truth of the matter: all are saved who do the good by the truth that they know. This is expressed in the maxim, "Live your life to its fullest potential." Don't hold back because of some stupid fear.
Another point that is made very clear by Jesus: how you live your life is what matters, more so than your belief. In the visions of the afterlife that Swedenborg received, he saw that we are all judged according to our life. We are not judged according to our beliefs, but according to our will. All our actions are judged by their intent.
Another point that Jesus makes in a very simple way: in heaven, all we can bring is our heart, more so than our gift. In the afterlife, Swedenborg saw that it is our own will, our own desire, which will determine where we go. In the afterlife we have a spiritual body, with the different that our external memory of the physical events that we have gone through in this life are withdrawn, until we reach a higher spiritual state of thought, one that is in accordance with our will. If one's heart was full of hatred, one will go to a place of hatred. If one's heart had love, one will go to a place where there is love. There we will go to a place where our happiness can grow to eternity, and we will be with the ones we love the most.
Hands are a symbol of power. We are all given a unique responsibility over certain things in our life. Do your responsibility to the best of your ability. I thought this encounter with Jesus was interesting, because it contrasts with doubting Thomas. Instead of Thomas examining the hands of Jesus, here Jesus has us examining our own hands.
Another point here is that whereas most encounters of Jesus see him in a cloud of white light, this is somewhat unique in that the cloud turns red. According to Swedenborg, there are two primary colors in heaven: white, which is a symbol of truth, and red, which is a symbol of love. In this encounter Larry Randolph immediately understands the symbolism of red, and many of the teachings he received were concerning love. Divine Love and Divine Truth are at the core of all of the teachings of the New Church.
A PROPHETIC VISION OF RUSSIA, ISRAEL AND AMERICA
Given the above confirmations, I would say that the reported encounters of Jesus by Larry Randolph did indeed happen. The teachings are true, and offer good advice on how we should live our lives. Nevertheless, there is more by way of other prophetic visions.
In one vision, Larry Randolph was taken around the globe and saw what would happen in the future. For Russia, he saw a giant angel come down and plunge a sword into the heart of Russia.
As he sees the sword, he hears a voice say, "THE THOUGHTS AND PLANS OF MAN WILL COME TO NOTHING." As for what that meant, he did not know, but stated that one should distinguish between what he saw and his own interpretation of what he saw. He interpreted that as the plans that Russia would have for Ukraine would come to nothing. Ukraine would fall into a "stalemate."
So I am going to add my own comment to that vision. The plans of certain western nations over Ukraine will come to nothing. And this will happen by fighting against it by the truth, for a sword is a symbol of truth. On this matter, see CIA Blowback in Ukraine, and Love your Neighbor and A Prophetic Dream of Flight MH17: Another False Flag? MH17 was shot down by Ukraine and western intelligence agencies know it, and there is plenty of direct and circumstantial evidence to back that up.
In the same vision, when Larry comes across the land of Israel, from the dust of the ground of Israel he sees a form rise up and become an image of king David with a sword. He sees this warring Davidic spirit then run to take the enemies of Israel down. The voice then said, "THE SAFETY OF ISRAEL SHALL NOT BE COMPROMISED."
This vision does not in any way absolve Israel from the racist crimes they have been performing against Palestinians (see The Suffering of Palestinians under Apartheid Israel). Larry stated that the vision reminded him of David confronting Goliath, who ultimately cut his head off. This is more of a vision against the Islamic State, or ISIS. Terrorism is not the answer, peaceful resistance is. Deal with Israel in the way apartheid was dealt with in South Africa: boycott and sanctions.
Next, for the United States, he saw that the very highest levels of government down to the bottom were due to be humbled. And this was no ordinary humbling, but a humbling beyond embarrassment. The Lord had decided to answer the blood of the forefathers of this nation, and the intercessors who pray for this nation.
So how is the United States to be humbled? Larry did not give an answer, but I will give one. It is the direct result of American foreign policy that we now have ISIS, a radical terrorist organization. That to me, is quite a shameful embarrassment to the U.S. Government.