How the Pores of the Skin and the Digestive Absorbtion In the Grand Man Provide Insight to How There is a Transfer Between the Natural and Spiritual Worlds

August 28th, 2018

This article is a continuation on the correspondences in the skin of the Grand Man, and showing how the universe is both infinite and contained. Here we will explore how it is that there is a cross-over between the natural and spiritual world by the many qualities of the skin where there is both a taking in and a putting out from the body to the atmosphere. We study this because I purpose that the way the skin exchanges with the atmosphere corresponds to the way the natural universe (which is in the form of a man) transfers in and out information from the natural to the spiritual world (the body corresponding to the universe and the atmosphere to the spiritual world).

The cuticles in the pores of the skin are of primary significance. Swedenborg explicitly states that in the Grand Man these are points of transfer between heaven and the world of world of spirits: “the societies to whom the cuticles (of the skin) correspond are in the entrance to heaven, and there is given to them perception of the quality of the spirits who approach the first threshold, whom they either reject or admit; so that they may be called entrances or doorways to heaven” (AC n. 5553). Lets form a clear picture of what this means. The pores of our body emit sweat, vapors and oils which enter the atmosphere, and they also receive these types of things from the atmosphere.  The skin also acts as the border to the body and protects the inner parts of the body. (There are also layers to the skin and many other things that it does, but these important functions will be considered in essays to come.) In the statement above Swedenborg is referring to the quality of the people in the society that occupy the cuticles of the Grand Man. These societies are the outer edge of heaven and like the skin are much denser and external in character compared to the internals. Heaven is distinct and different than the world of spirits so there is a border and entry which is protected. So now we must examine how this situation corresponds to the natural universe.

Some of the biggest puzzles Science cannot solve are these: the information paradox in a black hole, the infinite density of a singularity in a black hole, the slow evaporation of heat from a black hole, the information paradox at the time of the bing bang, and the cause of dark energy in the universe. I purpose that the answer to these problems and others is that there is an energy transfer between the spiritual and natural world that is constant and never ending. In each of these cases there is much to explain and understand in their particulars. In this essay I am focusing on the skin and some on vastation, but will address each of these in subsequent posts. But it is very significant in itself to see that the transfer back and forth is the factor that helps explain these problems in particular and many things about the nature of the universe. Science is awesome and incredible in the things it discovers; I used to worry that what I could never ‘prove’ these things by scientific standards, but I don’t so much anymore. I hold myself to a high quality of reasoning and to seeking the cause of things, as does science, but I see this as seeking truth in its wholeness wherever it leads. I do not know how to do the math of science, but I can understand the principles. In a sense science has a greater limitation in that they are not ‘allowed’ to consider the spiritual world as a cause in all of this, while the spiritual world is a major cause in all material phenomenon. So, I believe it is of high value to pursue truth by the integration of science and the spiritual, and by correspondences.

In regard to the pores of the skin Swedenborg states specifically in ‘Spiritual Experiences’ 1022: “it also true that the orifices of the minute ducts, as to their function of absorbing ethereal aliment for the body, are like portals to heaven, through which they who die in earliest infancy and before the embryonic state is completed, are caught up by the quickest and shortest ways into their appropriate province in heaven”.

In this quote Swedenborg is describing that baby infants on earth that die, or die in the womb, go almost directly into heaven by the pores in the Grand. This single statement tells us a lot. This process is essentially an extremely fast vastation. (I will discuss the significance of this and the meaning of vastation in a moment below.) This tells us that there is a reception into heaven through the pores from earth and the world of spirits. This situation in heaven, like everything, has a correspondence in the natural universe and  thus gives an idea of  one of the ways that matter transfers from the natural to the spiritual world. How exactly this manifest at the point of transference is the challenge we have to interpret; we can do so by examining how the spiritual function of pores described above and how this relates to the form and function of the universe.

The process Swedenborg described about the pores being portals involves the pure and innocent spirits of infants, so it is logical that this corresponds to the reception of the most fine and nourishing vapors from the atmosphere absorbed by the skin. Swedenborg observes: “The swiftest, who are infants and like children, are represented by those nutrients which enter through the cuticles; these are conveyed to the brain by the shortest way, and are initiated in the cortical substance” (1022.). Nutrients that enter the pores would be vapors, fluids, oils, perhaps vitamin D from the sun.  The most subtle energy of the aura that surrounds the body. It is also possible that the aura, which is the presence or energy that comes off the body is involved in this. The aura is the atmosphere of one’s mind and soul that surrounds the body.

Coming back to more solid ground it is a great insight to see that a huge theme about the points of transference in the body has to do with the process of vastation I mentioned earlier. Vastation is a cleansing or purification process. It is the refining of a substance into a more homogenous state. The primary system in the body associated with vastation is the digestive system, (although purification processes take place in many ways in nature and the spiritual world which will be important to talk about later in relation to the transfer between the spiritual and physical worlds). Vastation involves removing or extracting nutrients or impurities from a given entity. The primary example of this is the digestive system, in which, food is first chewed, treated with saliva, softened through the throat, treated in the stomach with acids and then in the intestines it is further broke down, and nutrients are extracted from it. The end of the process is that waste is excreted. The spiritual correspondent to the digestive process takes place in the ‘world of spirits’, (which is between heaven and hell) and is the place where everyone goes through (that doesn’t die as a child)  after death to prepare for heaven or hell. The whole overall purpose of the world of spirits is a gradual cleansing process where each person is ‘migrating’ toward their place in heaven or hell. Briefly described, to enter heaven the falsities and hellish loves in a person that is primarily good must be gradually removed before they enter; and the opposite is true of for hell. One can see that the digestive and vastation processes are both about refining and extracting, with the end purpose of nourishment and separating waste; the one is completely natural and the other completely spiritual. There are endless possibilities for how this takes place and endless gradations of where the person ends up in heaven or hell. The extraction of nutrients into good uses for the body corresponds to entering heaven. The evacuation as excrement corresponds to entering hell.

In the light of adult vastation one can now see why I described the entering through pores as a very refined vastation.  This is very interesting because it indicates that the pores are a very ‘quick’ process of vastation.  The infants hardly have to go through any process of vastation because they are in innocence, ‘pure’ spirits so to speak. But most adults have to go through a much greater process of vastation which the digestive system is all about.

It is very significant to see that the function of cuticles in the pores of the skin has a very similar function to the cuticles, or villi that line the intestines. Worcestor writes: ” with ‘the cuticles’ he here includes the whole skin in general, and also the linings of the stomach and intestines” (AC 8980). By the function of the cuticles he is indicating all those in the skin and also the linings of the stomach and the intestines. The cuticles of the skin have hair in them that helps absorb and release moisture, oils and vapor. In the lining of the small intestine are microvilli, which are tiny hair-like projections that increase nutrient absorption. These projections increase the surface area of the small intestine allowing more area for nutrients to be absorbed. As Swedenborg said both of these ‘cuticles’ (as he called them) perform a very similar function and in the spiritual sense they both perform the function of being ‘portals to heaven’. They both have to do with vastation, but different states of it; the skin being a very fast vastation, and the microvilli more gradual and involved. Both have to do with the end stage of entrance to heaven in the Grand Man. Now in regard to the universe, which is the most material sense, the above corresponds to do with the point of transfer from the physical universe to the spiritual world and visa versa. The transfer the skin to the atmosphere outside the body corresponds to the transfer from the physical world to the spiritual world. (In light of this it is interesting to note that Stephen Hawking, in seeking an answer to the information paradox in a black hole, proposed that the answer to the  paradox was that there are hair-like follicles and strands on the surface of the black hole that release the information).

Its good to add here for our conception that the transfer from the spiritual to natural world doesn’t happen on at the edge or the skin only but it happens in many places in the body of the Grand Man, and probably everywhere, but we will take up discussing this in another blog.

Now, I hope the reader begins to see the picture of what this means, and how correspondence works. Clearly there is so much more to study and discover, and find evidence for. In the study above we see the transfer works in the skin of the Grand Man, but we don’t yet understand how this works in the natural universe, but I hope one can see how significant this is in the realms of discovering truth about our universe and spirituality. I think the transference between the natural and spiritual is as common as can be; as I mentioned before there are many points where it takes place in the body to the outside, so therefore each of these has a correspondence to study, for instance excretion, breathing, and others. That there is a transference from the natural universe to the spiritual world explains the cause and source of dark matter, dark energy. It also gives a way to explain the information paradox in black holes and at the big bang, and the problem singularities, and the problem between quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theories of relativity. If energy from the spiritual is coming into the natural world, and matter into the spiritual than this would explains the above problems science is perplexed with.

In the next article on this subject I will explore more of the many correspondences base on the way the body takes in from the atmosphere and world around us and in the way the body expels substances.

 

 

Correspondences in the Skin of the Grand Man and the Development of the Universe that Show How the Entire Universe is Both Infinite and Contained

July 11th, 2018

We have been studying how it is that the universe is infinite and yet at the same time contained. The universe is contained in the sense that it is in the shape and form of the Grand man, which is God himself. At the same time the universe is a real and utterly particular infinity which includes every minutest detail. The universe is truly infinite in that there is no end to it that can ever be reached and it is expanding and ever increasing continually. I think this paradox is is also resolved by the points where the natural universe crosses over into the spiritual world.

So now studying the correspondences in the skin of the Grand man reveals several interesting insights. We study the skin because it is the outer layer of the Grand man, so it is the boarder point and we need to see what happens here. As I said in my last article on this subject the reason, I believe, that the universe can be both contained and infinite at the same time is that the natural world cycles into the spiritual world where there is no time and space, and the spiritual world cycles into the natural world, and between the exchange there is an equilibrium and continual increase. The skin is a major component where this takes place, (although there other major ones as I mentioned before, particularly the breath and the anus to be studied later). Our main mode of study here is by correspondences. We are looking for the connections between the spiritual and physical uses of the skin, principles of the the big bang and astrophysics, and spiritual principles about the Grand man and heaven and hell.

Science has made great progress understanding the universe as it goes back in time to the big bang. Like a human has a brith the universe has a birth and this brith is from the spiritual sun in the spiritual world. Science calls the birth of the universe the ‘big Bang’. As science well knows everything that comes into being does so by a process; and this is equally true, if not more so, of the spiritual world.

It is a universal principle that everything has its beginning in outermost, meaning material structure is the base and container that first takes form. Swedenborg writes: “the spiritual is actually evolved out of the natural, and when evolved, the natural surrounds it as bark surrounds a tree and a scabbard a sword. It also serves the spiritual for protection against violence”. (Conjugal love 449.) Science shows that the early universe just after the big bang was a ‘boring’ place, that it was basically a big fog of hydrogen clouds. It was monochromatic, just a big gas cloud without any suns yet, but dark and bland.

In an embryo science tells us that the first parts to form in the baby are the endoderm and the ectoderm, which is largely the skin and the tissue linings that are the beginnings of the inner skin, some of the organs, the nervous system and arteries. Without being a doctor it is too complex to try and do a study of the physiology of embryonic development, though its helpful in general to see these are the beginnings. Let us get straight to the point and look at the correspondence Swedenborg makes on the matter. There are layers to the skin and the inner layer has many nerve endings. In Physiological Correspondence, Worcester (The great Swedenborg pastor and author) writes: “Microscopic investigation shows some of the nerve fibres ending in the papillae, in loops or “tactile corpuscles”, and many more divide into little brushes; and what they do there, it is difficult to determine from science, here Swedenborg’s more than microscopic insight takes up the subject: “What the fibres do in those most delicate of fleshy forms (can be known) when you know that the vessels are woven from the fibres, and that the intermediates are formed by the extremes! The nervous fibres are weaving there the beginnings of the blood-vessels, or the fleshy fibres. They coil themselves into minute invisible tubes, called corporeal fibres, and these again into larger tubes which are the finest fleshy fibres of the papillae, and are the last subdivisions of the arteries, too fine in their ordinary state to carry red blood, and these combining extend their delicately woven walls to the lining of the arteries; and thus through the arteries, the heart, and again the carotid arteries, the nervous fibres return to the brain.” He is describing here how the beginning of the vascular system begins in the skin. This is a great example of the universal pattern that life begins in outermost, that is, how external material elements develop and move toward the internal. We can visualize and understand this more easily by looking at the correspondence between the core of trees development in leaves and the vascular/nervous systems of humans in skin and linings. In Physiological Correspondences, Worcestor continues:

“The idea that the beginning of the arterial system is in the skin, not the heart, at first may seem surprising; but it is illustrated by the similar and well-known fact that the beginnings of the woody fibres of trees are in the leaves, not the stem or the roots. Through the pith and the delicate fibres of the bark, nourishment ascends to expand the first tender leaves, and from these descends the first woody fibres between the bark and the pith, as well as new fibres of bark, and extend themselves to the extremities of the roots. Through these woody and cortical fibres sap afterwards ascends to the leaves, and by their means new buds and leaves are formed, which in turn send down other fibres, and thus the trunk of the tree grows in concentric layers of wood, every fibre of which has descended from the leaves”. In a similar way, according to Swedenborg, the materials and strands of the nervous system, beginnings of blood vessels, tissues of the organs are produced in the skin, and then sustained and reproduced from these. In Swedenborg’s view the process of membranes being produced in the ‘ultimates of the body, and especially from the skin’ is manifestation of universal principle that applies to all the universe. Worcestor continues: “Before the heart exists in the embryo, ramifications of blood-vessels are seen, which indeed soon unite in the heart and afterwards act from it; and these undoubtedly assist in the formation of other vessels and tissues, which are everywhere woven from the nervous fibres, the blood-vessels cooperating and afterwards sustaining them”.

That all birthing begins from the outermosts first is consistent with the beginning of the universe as scientists describes it. Now that we have some understanding of the process that takes in the skin we are going to look at the correspondences with the skin on three levels – the universe, the body, the spiritual world. The outer skin, which is part of the the outermosts, is scaly and comparable to the quality of tendons. Spirits (former people) from societies in the spiritual world that correspond to the skin are dim and almost completely external minded; they have little consciousness. They are very fixed in their ideas and only discern whether something should or should not enter. The people of these societies think they know everything but know almost nothing. The quality of the early universe was like this in that it was just a undifferentiated cloud of hydrogen without much distinction or variation, – and it was in the dark. Gradually the gas clouds clumped together, formed into strands, and eventually caused gravity as they formed into spheres. The formation of strands of material in the universe (which are fundamental to its structure) corresponds to the formation of the nervous system and arteries. These strands are fundamental in forming the cosmic web which is the basic form of the universe that has been mapped out. It is these strands no doubt that correspond to the function of transferring material from the external to the internal, as we showed in the pith of trees and in the tissues and nervous system of the body. The spheres of gas clouds perhaps correspond to the beginnings of the hearts and perhaps other organs. The large balls of hydrogen became dense and their gravity increases, and when gravity becomes immense in their core nuclear fusion is ignited and stars were born. The ignition of stars in the early universe, I would suggest, corresponds to the beating of the heart and the beginning of consciousness. Eventually the cosmic web we see now in the universe was formed in all its incredible variety of dark and light. The Cosmic Web is the overall picture of the universe that scientist have accumulated – and it looks exactly like microscopic pictures of the nervous system, synops, and the brain!

In speaking of the period of star formation scientists say that it was a magnificent time in the universe’s history. They describe it as a fireworks show taking place, because of all the stars suddenly igniting. The clouds of hydrogen stayed for a time but were gradually organized and clear space later became dominant. This compares with the statements in the Bible, where it is says: “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep”. (Gen. 1:1) “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years”.

With the formation of stars tremendous differentiation took place. Scientist say that the early stars were enormous, far larger than most stars today, and that they did not last nearly as long. It is in the core of stars that all the variation of elements are made; and the higher elements are made only when huge stars explode in a supernova. All the materials and elements of the periodic table are produced in the core of exploding suns. Only the biggest stars produce supernovas, and depending on how big the star is, supernovas produce all the higher elements on the periodic table, like copper, silver, gold and others. A supernova sends new elements, light and gas far and wide throughout the universe when it explodes. These clouds of gas again congeal, and form a second generation of stars and along with planets, asteroids, gases and all. This gives an idea of the incredibly complex differentiation that took place and formed the infinitely complex universe we see today; just as there is an in infinitely complex differentiation in the formation of the body mind of humans.

Now it is important to see how it is that the skin is a large part of the point where there is a cross-over between the spiritual and natural worlds. We will study the correspondences in this in the next article. This point is very important in that it is essential in showing how the universe can be both contained and infinite.

 

Why it is that the Words ‘Fu(k’ and ‘Jesus Christ’ are Used in the most Intense Moments of Pain, Rage, Shock, Stress and Passion

June 26th, 2017

Fuck is probably the rawest word there is; to speak it greatly increases the intensity of whatever we are saying. It’s a very versatile word: it can be in anger, pain, aggression, pleasure, confusion, despair, shock – all of these can be toward ourself or others. It expresses utter contempt, hatred, and frustration. It just comes out when we can’t control ourself, or it can be used very intentional in aggression. The word has to do of course with sex, so the passion of the word fuck comes from the feeling and intensity of raw sex – when we are completely going for what we want, which can be totally selfish, or from deep, intimate, mutual feeling from inside each other. To say ‘fuck!’ gets the feeling of stress off our chest better than any word. When coupled with ‘mother’ it is heightened to even greater intensity – “mother fucker!” This has a straight-up, primal Oedipal root; it expresses the regressive rage toward the parent who fucks the mother. As an un-resourced child it is our mother that we most love and need, and want to be close to – and to the early mind of the child that is emerging from a feeling of self-omnipotence it is a primal shock that someone else ‘owns her’ by fucking her. To say ‘you mother fucker!’ to someone is the height of being incensed, enraged, threatened and aggressive. The essential reason we say these words is that they are the deepest roots of passion in the human psyche!

Often saying fuck is a moment of regression. Regression can be a negative thing but it also takes us back where we live and feel inside. Regression points the way to the problem that gives us a chance to see and deal with it in the moment. We have a chance to act on those feelings from our self with at least a measure of mastery that helps us grow and perhaps transform. If we reflect on what we feel and why we feel it and where it came from we can reframe the way it is stored in our psyche instead of reacting the same old way. This is a very significant way to explore the passions that arise when we use these words or in any situation where we are triggered.

People always say, ‘Jesus!’ or ‘Jesus christ!’ when they are suddenly offended, hurt themselves sharply, see the foolishness of some action for the first time; and when they are angry, emotionally disappointed, and deeply hurt. Without thinking, whether we are religious or not, almost everyone blurts this out, ‘Jesus’.

Some religious people say that using Jesus name in cursing is blasphemy. I suppose it could be if our intent is willfully destructive toward God and others faith, but in general I don’t think that its blasphemous. Jesus said: “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven”.

To call to Jesus or use his name in these moments of reaction is not a sin or something He condemns. It’s kind of amazing that we do this – because Jesus wants us to bring all of our anger, hate, and rage to Him! – and sure enough we use His name often in these moments. It is the constant vigilance of Jesus’ providence that evil not go unseen, for unless we can see it, it cannot be removed; so I think the fact that we do this is part of His work of providence. Jesus wants our feelings of hate and rage to be seen by our self and taken to Him. For evil, hate, and rage to fester unseen becomes like cancer in the body that is undetected. The faculty of reflecting on our self is extremely important for it is the essential means changing, and even of achieving salvation. Of course much of the time we say these words unconsciously, so the value is only in potential. But its right there, and we can interpret these feelings if we reflect. In the highest sense saying ‘Jesus Christ’ could be a calling out in prayer.

The word fuck is of sex, and sex in the highest sense is of true love. The meaning of sex exists on a continuum that proceeds from reproduction, love, to true marriage between a man and women, and this proceeds from earth into heaven. (Christians who take the Bible only literally say that there is no marriage in heaven, but nothing could be further from the truth. Conjugal love is the very basis of heaven and the ruling love of all loves in heaven. For more on this see articles on marriage love and heaven in this blog.) Furthermore, the name Jesus Christ is of true worship. Jesus is God, and the Holy marriage between His divine soul and divine human, is the very source of all love and truth and passion. And it is little known, but wonderful to see –  that true love and worship have the same root. These are the two greatest sources of passion, happiness, and truth in all life. This is the essential reason why these words are intuitively invoked when we need to express passion. It is no accident that we go to them. Like all language it has become a custom to do so. Swedenborg describes how it is that ‘true love’ and ‘ divine worship’ have the same root:

 

“The origin of love truly conjugal is the Lord’s love for the church and this is why the Lord is called in the Word the “Bridegroom” and the “Husband,” and the church the “bride” and the “wife.” It is from this marriage that the church is the church in general and in particular. The church in particular is a man in whom the church is. From this it is clear that the Lord’s conjunction with a man of the church is the very origin of love truly conjugal; and how that conjunction can be the origin shall be told. The Lord’s conjunction with a man of the church is a conjunction of good and truth; good is from the Lord, and truth is with man, and from this is the conjunction that is called the heavenly marriage. From that marriage, love truly conjugal exists between two partners that are in such conjunction with the Lord. From this it is now evident that love truly conjugal is from the Lord alone, and exists with those who are in the conjunction of good and truth from the Lord”. (Apacoplypse Explained, 983)

What we so often express in a lower way has its roots in the highest love, and in worship, the two most intense sources of meaning and passion.

 

The Inner Meaning of the Story of the Tower of Babel

October 4th, 2015

 

Babylon, in general, refers to evil leaders that use religion to deceive and control people from their own lust for power. This takes place in both the spiritual world and on earth.

The religious leaders of the ancient Jews had become mostly power obsessed. They claimed authority to themselves and kept the people under their power with all the strict religious rules. The people themselves though, still learned of God and religion from them, and if they practiced their faith sincerely, even if it had falsities, they received some degree of connection to the Word and heaven. The religious leaders had to act according to the laws and keep up appearances even if inwardly they were evil. In this way the two were inextricably tied together. The leaders served the purpose of religion, even though they had evil motivations, so the Lord could not separate them from the people until the time was right to abolish the representative church. The same kind of thing was taking place in the psuedo heavens in the spiritual world. The leaders were sheltered from the Lord’s immediate judgement because they were serving a religious purpose to the common people, that is, they provided knowledge of the Word to the people and oversaw all the functions of the temple that provided correspondences to heaven. But when the Lord came into the world everything was prepared for all this to change, and each person would receive justice according to their internal state. The captives specifically then are those who were unjustly kept in the psuedo heavens of the spiritual world. This attack and insurrection of evil forces in the world of spirits (that I just describes as the psuedo heavens) is told by correspondences in the story of the Tower of Babel. I will aduce two places in scripture that describe this situation; the first quote is from the book of Revelation, and the second quote is from Isaiah:

And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth (Gen. 11:2-4).

And in Isaiah:

Thou mayest take up this parable concerning the king of Babylonia. Jehovah hath broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of those having dominion; thou, Lucifer, hast fallen from heaven; thou art cut down even to the earth; thou hast said in thy mind, I will ascend into the heavens; I will exalt my throne over the stars of God, and I sit on the mountain of the assembly, in the sides of the north, I will become like the Most High. Nevertheless thou shalt be cast down into hell, to the sides of the pit; I will cut off the name and residue of Babylon and will cause her to become an hereditary possession of the bittern (Isaiah 14:4, 5, 12, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23).

These scriptures tell how evil minded leaders used and abused the power of the Word to set up false heavens and control the people, but were finally taken down in the judgement. Swedenborg describes the inner meaning of the Tower of Babel:

By Babylon are meant all who wish to have dominion by religion. To have dominion by religion, is to have dominion over men’s souls, thus over their very spiritual life, and to use the Divine things, which are in their religion, as the means. All those who have dominion for an end, and religion for the means are in general Babylon. They are called Babylon because such dominion began in ancient times; but it was destroyed in its beginning. Its commencement is described by the city and the tower, the head of which was to be in heaven (AC 54).

The man…who does not acknowledge a God, is under the dominion of infernal spirits. Knowing this, leaders who build Babylonish towers make themselves a name by means of doctrinal and holy things, for otherwise they could not be worshiped, which is signified in what next follows by their otherwise being scattered over the faces of the whole earth, that is, they would not be acknowledged. And from this it follows that the higher such men can lift up the head to heaven, the more they make themselves a name. Their dominion is greatest over those who have some conscience; for these they lead whithersoever they will; but as to those who have not conscience, they rule all such by means of various external bonds (AC 1308).

The story of the tower of Babel is a description by correspondences of how the evil forces would build the false heavens in the world of spirits and infiltrate the natural and spiritual heaven. Babylon is also a general term that refers to an accumulation of power by evil leaders posing as good, and who then control the people. In the above quote the phrase ‘Their dominion is greatest over those who have some conscience’ harkens back to the description I gave on how cults work. Those who have a conscience, those who have some intelligence and want to please, are more readily led astray by ‘mind control’, or what is the same, the mental intimidation of the the religious leaders. These leaders themselves, talented and skilled in the art of deception as they may be, are themselves led by evil spirits from the deepest hells who are much more artful then they. If the process just described had continued without correction, the captives and eventually all of humanity would have lost all freedom at the hand of evil spirits.

Part 2: The Second Coming Is the Revealing of the Internal Sense of the Word, wherein Christ Is

August 27th, 2015

This article is a continuation of part 1 on the second coming. Now we will begin to look at what the second coming means and how it took place in history. Here is an essential quote from Swedenborg by personal witness of the events.

It was granted me to see from beginning to end how the last judgment was accomplished: and also how the Babylon was destroyed (Rev. xviii); how those who understood by the dragon were cast into the abyss: and how the new heaven was formed; and a new church was instituted in the heavens, which is meant by the New Jerusalem. It was granted me to see all these things with my own eyes, in order that I might be able to testify to them. This last judgment was commenced in the beginning of the year 1757, and was fully accomplished at the end of that year (Last Judgment 45,46).

What then does the second coming essentially consist of? This can only be understood when one has a feel for the divine nature of the Word, and particularly for its internal and external sense, (which we have discussed previously). The second coming of Christ is essentially the revealing of the internal sense of the Word. The internal sense is what gives the Word the power to conjoin heavenly wisdom to earth, and Jesus is the living Word. Jesus is the living Word because the Word is the manifestation of divine truth descended down from heaven, of which Jesus, the divine human, is the source. This is accomplished by correspondences. When the Scripture says He will come with power and glory riding on the clouds on a white horse, it does not mean literally that He will appear in a cloud and be riding a horse. ‘Riding on clouds’ represents the literal sense of the Word, ‘coming in power and glory’ means the internal sense of the Word, and the horse represents the ability to understanding the Word. This interpretation of riding on clouds as the literal sense of the word may seem capricious to some readers; so in this case I will provide a quote that will show several examples of where ‘riding on clouds’ appears in scripture to serve as an example how imagery themes are repeated in the Bible. It is worth noting first, that, in general, the literal correspondent is always an image of the spiritual correspondent with some variations on the theme depending on the situation. In the case of clouds the literal sense arizes from the way clouds obscure the light from the sun and protect from its direct light. The literal image is a comparatively pale image of the internal; it is a lesser degree of it, but it is also a container and protector of the internal meaning. Niether can exist without the other. It is necessary that it be this way, because the internal is sacred and in its pure light needs to be protected from abuse. This is similar to the purpose of parables in that parables are a simple story with a deeper, obscured meaning, and they are meant to seed the reciever for later harvest. The sacred nature of the internal is meant to be approached with deep respect and sincerity, so the literal protects it from those who would profane and abuse it. Through this mechanism the Lord providentially guides people for their own protection until they are ready. The following quote from Swedenborg lists several places in scripture where clouds appear with the same meaning as told above; he also teaches in this quote how correspondents come from realities in heaven:

‘There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun who rideth in the heaven, and in magnificence upon the clouds’ (Deut. 33:26-27). ‘Sing unto God, praise His name; extol Him that rideth upon the clouds’ (Ps. 68:4). ‘Jehovah rideth upon a light cloud’ (Isa. 19:1). “To ride” signifies to instruct in Divine truths from the Word, for “a horse” signifies understanding of the Word (see Apocalypse Revealed, n. 298). Who does not see that God does not ride upon the clouds? Again: ‘God rode upon cherubs. He made His pavilion thick clouds of the heavens’ (Ps. 18:10, 11). ‘Jehovah bindeth up the waters in His clouds; Him spreadeth His cloud over His throne’ (Job 26:8, 9). ‘Give ye strength unto God; His strength is in the clouds’ (Ps. 68:34). ‘Jehovah will create over every dwelling of Mount Zion a cloud by day; for over all the glory shall be a covering’ (Isa. 4:5). The Word in the sense of the letter was also represented by the cloud in which Jehovah descended upon Mount Sinai, when He promulgated the law; the principles of the law that were then promulgated were the first fruits of the Word. As further proof, the following may also be added: In the spiritual world as well as in the natural world there are clouds, but from a different origin. In the spiritual world there are sometimes bright clouds over the angelic heavens, but dusky cloud over the hells. The bright clouds over the angelic heaven signify obscurity there arising from the literal sense of the Word; but when these clouds are dispersed, it signifies that they are in the clear light of the Word from the spiritual sense; while the dusky clouds over the hells signify the falsification and profanation of the Word. This signification of “clouds” in the spiritual world has its origin in the fact that the light which there goes forth from the Lord as a sun, signifies Divine truth; for which reason He is called “the Light” (John 1:9; 12:35).

In the big picture at the time of the second coming the psuedo heavens that had built up in the spiritual world were ‘clouds’ that obscured light from humanity on earth. The Catholic, protestant and Muslim religions had become bereft of real charity, and greatly falsified in doctrine, and the psuedo heavens were composed of these. The spiritual state of humanity had again reached a crisis point because of the decline and corruptions in the Christian church. This time, in the second coming, His coming was accomplished by the opening up of the internal sense of the Word, which as shown is meant by Him ‘riding in the clouds in power and glory’. This opening up was a result of the Lord putting all of heaven and hell into Divine order. He could not do it before because even if he had humanity would not be able to receive it. The reason being that the life of the human mind, soul and body are sustained continually by reception from the spiritual world, specifically, from angels and spirits from the spiritual world that are present with us. We are not cognitive of this, but without heaven in order evil spirits would snatch away internal truths. Earth and heaven are in a symbiotic relationship; it is dangerous for humanity to receive divine truths unless the spiritual world is in order. After He performed the judgement in the spiritual world on the false heavens imposed by corupted Christians, and thus put all heaven and hell in order, the internal sense of the Word was gradually introduced to humanity. With the removal of the dark cloud between heaven and earth people could receive and retain understanding of the internal sense.

Now lets look at the second coming in history. According to what I have presented here we first need to show that religion on earth was in a declined state before 1757. I will not do an in depth study of history showing the corruptions of the Catholic and protestant churches for that would be another book of its own. I will simply demonstrate the principles by which these churches became corrupt, and from this one can look and see it in history. I will also show how it is referenced in scripture.

Babylon in the book of revelation refers to the old Catholic church. Many scholars have proposed this and Swedenborg asserts it is the truth (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whore_of_Babylon). He also presents that the Dragon refers to the coruptions of the protestant church which I will present after. Below is Swedenborg’s summery of the state of the catholic church leading up to the second coming (which he here calls the papists). Swedenborg was writing this around 1758 and it refers to the old catholic church from somewhere about the 1400 to 1800. It does not refer to the present day Catholic church, but there are of course remants of these characteristics.

In third article I will describe how the Old Catholic church is Babylon in the Bible.

Analysis of the Falsity of the Doctrine of Salvation of Faith Alone, Its effect in History and Today

August 24th, 2015

 

It is important now to take a look at the corruptions of the protestant or reformed churches. In The Bible just as Babylon referred to the declined state of the Catholic Church, the Dragon refers in general to the violations of the Protestant church at their end state. The primary corruption Swedenborg points out over and over in his writing is the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. This doctrine goes hand in hand with the doctrine that the sins of humanity were washed away or atoned in a unilateral way by ‘the blood of Christ shed on the cross’ meaning that He removed the sins of humanity by His sacrifice. As I have shown above the internal meaning of this phrase and many like it refers to the redemption the Lord provided by subjugating the hells and restoring equilibrium; it does not mean that Jesus removed the sins from the body and soul of persons or humanity. As I have also shown before it is not possible for God or man to remove sins from another; the removing of sins or hereditary evil is entirely a reciprocal process by which man is regenerated under the providence of the Lord. On its face value this doctrine allows that a person can live as they wish, and at the end confess belief in the Lord and be saved. This was a corruption of religion that caused the decline and externalization of the church from the reformation to 1758. It still goes on today but much light has been added to it since then. From the beginning this doctrine was untenable and many justifications have been formulated to reconcile it to the rest of scripture. Today, by these reconciliations the teeth has been taken out of it, but nevertheless, as a doctrine it is fiercely held on to by evangelical churches. The way this doctrine is reconciled are several and varied and too confusing to site here (although Swedenborg does exactly that in ‘Apocalypse Explained’ 786). Here is scripture from Revelation about the dragon which I will examine:

 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven (Revelation).

Swedenborg describes the correspondence of how salvation by faith alone and the dragon are linked:

And they worshiped the dragon which gave authority unto the beast, signifies the acknowledgment of salvation and justification by faith alone, established and corroborated by these devised modes of conjunction, and thus received in doctrine. This is evident from the signification of “to worship,” as being to acknowledge and revere as Divine, and thus to receive in doctrine that is for the church; for such as acknowledge the Divine and from such acknowledgment revere it, these worship it, and also receive it in doctrine which is for the church. Also from the signification of “the dragon,” as being those who are in faith separated from charity in doctrine and in life. It is said that the dogma of salvation and justification by faith alone is established and corroborated by devised modes of conjoining it with good works; but it must be understood that this doctrine can in no way be established and corroborated by such means, for this dogma is meant by “the dragon,” and the confirmation of it by reasonings from the natural man is represented by this “beast;” and “the dragon and its beast” signify what is discordant with the Word and cannot be conjoined with it (AE, 789).

The beast coming up out of the sea,” signifies the reasonings of the dragon from the natural man confirming the separation of faith from life, and “the beast coming up out of the earth” signifies the confirmations of the dragon from the sense of the letter of the Word, and the falsification of it. That the dragon is also meant by the two beasts, is evident from its being said that “the dragon gave to the beast coming up out of the sea his power and his throne and great authority “(Apocolypse Explained, 774).

The dragon refers to the spiritual warfare of the evil ones that infiltrate religion and seek to take the soul out of it by confirming falsities in the hearts and minds of the leaders and the people. The fact that the doctrine of salvation by faith entrenched itself in the protestant church was a triumph of evil. This doctrine began with Luther’s effort to separate from the Catholic church. There was much good in his leadership to break from the Catholic Church and its corruptions, but in this effort to distinguish and separate the reformed church from the Catholic church he strategically hit upon the doctrine of faith alone. But by separating faith and charity the essence of the spirituality of religion is removed and it becomes external. It is significant to understand why it is that the separation of faith and charity is so damaging to the individual and to religion, but this is not to say by any means that those who believe this doctrine are going to hell or anything of the sort. As I mentioned even those who profess this do not really live by it, but usually apply the rest of religion to life. (I will put out another article soon that about the spiritual and devotional value of the union of love and wisdom (faith and charity) to life and religion). The point here is to see how this doctrine itself is false, its historical effect, and that God has providentially worked  around it to a large extent. My desire is certainly not to pile on against religion and cause others to leave it, but I feel that if we can accurately as possible define its points of failure we can reconcile our feelings about it and deepen our faith. For now the following quote explains the essential nature of the marriage of faith and charity; it also harkens back to the spirituality that we receive from the sun referred to earlier in this blog:

In their radiation heat and light (from the natural sun) become separated, as is shown by the things on which they act, some of which receive more heat and some more light. This is particularly true of people, for in this case the light of life, which is intelligence, is separated from the heat of life, which is love. This is because a person needs to be reformed and regenerated, which is impossible unless the light of life, which is intelligence, shows what ought to be willed and loved. It should, however, be known that God is constantly working to link love with wisdom in a person, though he, unless he looks to God and believes in Him, is constantly working to separate them. In so far as these two are separated in a person, so far does he become an image of Lucifer and the Dragon, and is cast down from heaven to earth, and then into hell beneath the earth.
When spiritual heat, which is love, is separated from spiritual light, which is wisdom, charity is separated from faith. Then the enticements of the love of evil, which are in themselves longings, burst forth, untamed and unrestrained by intelligence, but rather fostered, pampered and nourished by it. In short, the separation of love and wisdom, or charity and faith, the two things God constantly strives to link, is, to use a comparison, like depriving a face of redness, so producing a pallor as of death; or taking the whiteness away from redness, which makes the face like a blazing torch. It is also like destroying the bond of marriage between a couple, so that the wife becomes a prostitute and the husband an adulterer.

It is fascinating and important to see how this doctrine operates in and from history. With this knowledge on can see the effects in modern churches. It is important to see because this is the source of many problems unchurched people have with religion, particularly of the evangelical style. The following quote is an exceptionally astute analysis of how this doctrine lingers and limits the genuine expression of faith for many people.

 

That faith alone, or faith separated from goods in act, which are good works, is not possible, is evident from this, that the essence of faith is charity, and charity is the affection of doing the things that belong to faith; consequently faith without charity is like thought without affection; and as thought without affection is no thought, so faith without charity is no faith. Therefore to speak of faith without charity is to speak of life without a soul, of form without that which forms, of a product without that which produces, and of an effect without a cause; and for this reason faith alone is a nonentity; and from a nonentity to produce good works, as a good tree produces fruits, is a contradiction, whereby what is believed to be something is not anything. Because faith without charity is not possible; and yet the thought and persuasion that a thing is so appears as if it were faith, and is called faith; but it is not saving faith, it is historical faith, because it is from the mouth of another. For one who believes anything from another whom he thinks worthy of belief, and who receives this, stores it in his memory, and from the memory thinks and speaks about it without seeing whether it be false or true, has no other hold upon it than as something historical. But if he confirms this in himself by appearances from the Word and by reasonings, from historical faith it becomes to him persuasive faith, which faith is like the sight of an owl, which sees objects in darkness and nothing in the light.

 

Very few people understand this, but many have expressed their deep dissatisfaction with the church because of this phenomenon of having hollow doctrine forced upon them. In the above quote Swedenborg gives voice to the source of this problem. People want genuine faith, and of course many find it, but this historical faith too often gets in the way either by entrenching itself in the church or turning people off to the church. Historical faith comes from tradition, from ‘the mouths of others’. Internal faith is the sweet stuff. Those in power of evangelical churches are taught that to be a true church they must teach this doctrine, so it is passed on from crony to crony, and the voice and feelings of others are at least partially frustrated, and it is most often difficult to say exactly why. Now days even churches that profess the doctrine of salvation by faith alone do not really live by it. Any good church teaches that we must do good things in life and apply the teachings of Jesus to our daily lives. So since the second coming much recovery has come about from the corruption of this doctrine, but it still persists as doctrine to a great extent in evangelical churches. In progressive churches Evil has also worked its machinations by an intense reaction to this doctrine. They moved to the polar opposite; that is, in progressive churches there is a great distaste for and rejection of almost all doctrine. Thus these churches give a very low authority to the Bible and the Lord. But Good doctrine is necessary for the understanding of the Word. It gives guidance to the reception and understanding of the Word and form to our beliefs. In my view this later development is the greater tragedy for it tends toward being lukewarm to the Word and God, and this the Lord hates. Evangelical churches serve the great purpose of holding up the divine authority of the Word and Christ. Both nevertheless are under the providential guidance of the Lord and serve to connect humanity in varying degrees to receive knowledge of the Lord and heaven.