Revelation 8: The meaning of the Wondrous Silence Before the Judgment Began, and the Joy of the Multitude of Angels

February 27th, 2020

Revelation 8: “When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake”.

This verse must be the origin of the saying, ‘the calm before the storm’. The silence described proceeds the biggest, greatest, most wondrous and most devastating ‘storm’ that ever was. The storm was magnificent and terrible. What was about to happen were the many separate events that collectively are called the ‘apocalypse’, the ‘harvest time’, the ‘judgment’, the ‘release of the captives’, and the ‘second coming’. All of these events are described in the book of revelation and take place mostly in the spiritual world, but certainly effect the natural world. 

Present in this silence is the whole of heaven, and it’s general parts are signified. The Bible writes;  “And all the angels stood round about the throne, and the elders and the four animals”. Swedenborg tells that ‘angels stood round’ represents the deep union between the Lord with the whole heaven: “It is plain from the signification of standing round about the throne, as denoting conjunction with the Lord, for by Him Who sitteth on the throne and by the Lamb, is meant the Lord”. He further explains, “By ‘the angels’ are meant those who are in the first or lowest heaven; by ‘the elders’, those who are in the second or middle heaven; and by the ‘four animals’, those who are in the third or inmost heaven”.

The one who opened the seal is the ‘Lamb’ who is the Lord himself Jesus Christ. He is the only one who knows the truth about the innermost state of all people and nations, and thus gives perfect justice and judgment. He is the only one who could open the seal. As just described before him is not just the seven angels but the whole multitude of angels of heaven. To get an idea of the profound unity and joy of this multitude let us look at how Swedenborg describes the dynamics of  ‘a multitude of angels’. In spiritual experiences 356 he writes: 

“For much of the night…. a multitude of angels was around me, flowing in accordance with a heavenly pattern that cannot be described to the human understanding; still less can it be described how they move, and speak with one mouth, or with a unanimous voice. This was so perceptible within me, and indeed for so long a time uninterruptedly, that as they speak, nothing could be more clearly witnessed: I saw the pattern, I felt the flow, I heard the unanimity of voice. Each spirit is, and affirms that he is, part of the multitude, thus all together and each one singly…  Afterwards they told me that through the entire night, and several wakeful periods, they were doing nothing else but praising God the Messiah, and doing so with an innermost gladness of heart, so they had not wanted to be let out of that state.”

The ecstatic joy, the individual strength in identity, and the extraordinary delight in community expressed in this quote is astounding. He doesn’t mention the context of this quote, but one can only imagine it would be even greater during the incredible events of the second coming. The angels had been yearning and seeking for the Lord to bring justice to heaven and the world for a very long time and now it had come.

The ‘silence in heaven’ that followed the opening of the seals means there was awe and astonishment in the whole multitude. They were astonished at the power and majesty of Jesus, and at what He was about to do. The angels were given a perception of what was happening. In correspondences silence means an astonishment that comes from perception. Within this meaning is another, and that is the ‘quieting’ or silencing of ones own proprium. Proprium has to do with ones personal, selfish sense of self. In place of this comes in the knowing that all good comes from God and a submitting to it, and thus a receiving of it. In this there is an unspeakable joy, the true sense of self, and gladness for being ‘home’ in the magnificent presence of Jesus, and the community of angels who delight in the happiness of other more than themself.  

For centuries the angels yearned of Jesus to restore the integrity of Heaven, to release the captives held in the false of heavens below heaven, to bring justice to the evil perpetrators, and to enlighten the people of earth about the nature or heaven – and now with this silence they knew it was happening.

 

 

A Description of What An Apocalypse Really Is And How Evangelicals Misinterpret the Second Coming; And, How it Is that In Truth We Are Now In the Good News of the New Jerusalem

December 19th, 2019

“Therefore my people have gone into captivity, Because they have no knowledge; Their honorable men are famished,
And their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore Sheol has enlarged itself. And opened its mouth beyond measure”. (Isaiah 5: 13,14)

A time of Loss of equilibrium, otherwise known as an apocalypse, has happened three times in history – at the flood in the time of Noah, before and at the Incarnation of Jesus, and at the time of the second coming. These are times of true apocalypse, because once the imbalance begins to go toward evil there is no power to stop it, other than God. In these times it’s amazing to see how God follows his own rules of divine order, meaning there has to be a process of how to overcome the problem in the natural and the spiritual world in tandem. God corrected it differently each time.
Loss of Equilibrium is when accumulation of evil becomes greater than that of good in the natural and spiritual world. In this condition to the degree there is an imbalance there is a measure of loss of freedom for man, which is a horrible thing. The imbalance is always toward evil because evil is always the initiator and aggressor of attack. In normal circumstances, (by normal I mean when there is equilibrium), neither demons or angels can compel a person toward heaven or hell; they can influence and persuade but they cannot violate free will. In the disequilibrium evil gains the ability to be able to compel people to evil which is the cause of the horror of a time of Apocalypse. Once disequilibrium starts it will only increase for it is the eternal desire of hell to destroy mankind and turn them into demons. Human beings by themselves cannot fight the arts of hell in a disequilibrium, only the power and love and presence of God can help one fight it. Those who are in this love can be protected. Our acknowledgement of Him and our love of Him receives His presence within. The relationship between God and man is reciprocal in this way.
In the centuries before Christ there was a long decline in the Jewish religion that resulted in dire separation from God. In the accumulating darkness, as people died and entered the spiritual world, evil spirits intercepted even the good through artful deceptions and led them into the cities of their false heaven. This caused an overabundance toward the evil realm. These false heavens with their deceptive leaders were bringing good people to their side in great abundance. (Apparently most of these in their heart did not become evil, but were controlled and manipulated by evil. I think God knew their heart and protected because it was the just thing to do.) Those in the real heaven were greatly distressed that good people were deceived and held in these cities. They lamented the loss and beseeched the Lord to release them. Swedenborg describes how the leaders of these cities sometimes posed as religious leaders, or even family members to persuade people to their side. These pseudo-heavens were below heaven in the world of spirits. The spirits who were held in these false heavens are known in the Bible as the captives, which I have written about more on my blog. The over-accumulation of spirits (people who have died) in these cities of pseudo-heavens caused a dark cloud, as it were, between heaven and earth. Understanding this is key because it is a significant part of the process that caused disequilibrium. The increasing cities of the false heaven actually obstructed the reception of heavenly influx to humanity on earth, thus accelerating darkness. This is what is meant by “Sheol has enlarged itself and opened its mouth beyond measure.” As the false heavens grew larger, the dark cloud of interference between heaven and earth grew greater. The less heavenly light there was for humanity on earth, the more power evil gained. Here is another verse that refers to the loss of equilibrium between heaven and hell: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (John 6:12). This verse refers to a battle and evil forces infiltrating and occupying ‘high places,’ meaning heaven. As the forces of evil grew, they were like a marauding army ransacking the first levels of heaven, and taking residence; constantly deceiving the people in the world of spirits and the angels in the lower heaven in a thousand horrid ways. Matthew describes this when he says, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Mat. 11:12).

But here is the great good news. The second coming has been accomplished. We are now in the ‘Church of the New Jerusalem’ that is spoken of in Revelation. In accomplishing the second coming the Lord promised He would never allow a disequilibrium to happen again. What is so significant about this is that it profoundly impacts our Christian world view. Many evangelicals feel and predict that there is still an apocalypse to come, the events of the millennium and all that implies could come any time. This expectation involves a great deal of gloom and doom. It is often preached that terrible, dark times are to come, that Christ is to come back on the earth and lead a great parade on a white horse, and the chosen will be raised to heaven and so on. (In reality the ‘chosen being raised to heaven’ refers to the great joy of the captives who the Father released from the false heavens – this is known as the harvest time). But for hundreds of years and still now-a-days people are constantly conjecturing that so and so was, or is the anti-Christ, and various world events are ‘signs of the millennium’. Some say Hitler was the anti-Christ. Now liberals say Trump is, and conservatives say Obama was, but none of this is the case.
In the Church of the New Jerusalem the state of things is that there is great good news, but there is no free ride. The good news is Christ is present to us directly and immediately and He will never not be so. There is no coming apocalypse. The difficult news is that this world of earth-life is always in the balance between good and evil. As I have said many times before, in this world we suffer and have joy and learn, because we are in freedom, and we need to be reformed and repentant to remove evil inclination in us. Freedom is the double-edged sword that is both the means of salvation and the cause of hell! This life is both amazingly wonderful and one hell of a bitch. Hell cannot compel us and heaven can’t give us a free ride. In today’s world there is a lot of genuine charity in the church, and there is also a lot of falsity, ill-will, and alienation in the world. We have the Trump movement, and we have the globalist/socialist movement battling it out. That’s the nature of equilibrium, it goes up and down, and all around, but we’re are still free working things out. We are protected by Christ – should we choose to accept it. In that we can always trust!