Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Spiritual Symbolism of Psaltery of the Psalms, and the 10-String Yepes Guitar

I have been editing a gigantic spiritual commentary on the Psalms, which is a new translation that is closer to the Hebrew and contains over a 1000 page commentary from Swedenborg's writings.  As I was going back checking the translation and commentary one musical instrument of the Psalms caught my attention: "psaltery."  I was not exactly sure what it was, and Biblical translators were not exactly sure what it was either.  If we check the definition in Wikipedia's article Psaltery, it says this:
In the King James Version of the Bible, "psaltery", and its plural, "psalteries", are used to translate several words whose meaning is now unknown: the Hebrew keli (כלי) in Psalm 71:22 [sic] and I Chronicles 16:5; nevel (נבל) in I Samuel 10:5; 2 Samuel 6:5; I Kings 10:12; I Chronicles 13:8; 15:16, 20, 28; 25:1, 6; II Chronicles 5:12; 9:11; 20:28; 29:25; Nehemiah 12:27; Psalms 33:2; 57:6; [sic, 71:22]; 81:2; 92:3; 108:2; 144:9; and 150:3; and the Aramaic pesanterin (פסנתרין) in Daniel 3:5, 7, 10, and 15.
Of these, the Aramaic word pesanterin in Daniel is probably from a Greek loan-word psalterion, a harp like instrument.  For that Aramaic word in Daniel psaltery is thus a correct translation.  Here is an picture of it on a Greek vase:

So that is relatively straightforward, but the word of interest for my translation is the Hebrew nevel, which is also translated as "psaltery."  The word psaltery is a mistranslation, and there are many mistranslations within the Psalms which caused me to start this project on the Psalms in the first place.  If we look at the Brown-Driver-Biggs Hebrew lexicon, the word can mean a skin bottle, a jar, or a pitcher.  Some translators thus assume it must mean a lyre, similar to a harp, as it has a similar shape to a jar.  In other cases, it is translated as a viol.  Not initially knowing what nevel was, I initially went with "lyre" even though in many contexts nevel is mentioned right along with a harp.


Swedenborg was shown in his visions that every musical instrument signified something spiritual, depending on the sound it makes.  Stringed instruments, such as the harp, are related to spiritual truth.  Wind instruments, such as the trumpet and shofar, are related to celestial love.  Truth has sharp sounds and love is more flowing.  Then there are cross-over instruments, which are both wind instruments and have sharp notes - an example of this are pipes and flutes.  For flute players of Psalms 87:7, I used the following passage to interpret it:
“That singing and its like signifies what is spiritual has also been evident to me from angelic choirs, which are of two kinds, celestial and spiritual. Spiritual choirs, from their vibratory singing tone, to which the sound of stringed instruments can be compared, are very different from the celestial…“As celestial things are holy things of love and the goods therefrom, so spiritual things are truths and goods of faith; for it is of faith to understand not only what is true, but also what is good. Knowledges of faith involve both. But to be such as faith teaches is celestial. Because faith involves both, they are signified by two instruments, the harp and the pipe. The harp as is well known is a stringed instrument; and it therefore signifies spiritual truth. But the pipe is intermediate between a stringed and a wind instrument; and therefore it signifies spiritual good.” (Heavenly Arcana, n. 418-419)

For harps, in multiple passages Swedenborg states that they represent musical worship from spiritual truth.  But for the word nevel, which Swedenborg also translated as "psaltery," he says something different: instruments of psaltery represent spiritual good.  This means the Hebrew nevel is a cross-over instrument: it must be both a wind and stringed instrument.  That means it is not a lyre or harp.  Perhaps a bagpipe?  I then double-checked the Brown-Driver Biggs lexicon and found this entry for nevel:
A musical instrument, either a portable harp, or a lute, guitar (with bulging resonance-body at lower end); (perhaps = 1. נֵבֶל, and then shape seems to favour lute; perhaps independent word, e.g. Egyptian loan-word, compare nfr, lute, WeHpt 222)
I then realized nevel is not a lyre, it is a lute.  The Hebrew word nevel is probably taken from the Egyptian word nfr which means lute.  A lute has both strings, and makes use of the resonating sound of its interior, which is in the shape of a jar or bottle.  This, of course, was completely unknown in Swedenborg's time as Egyptian hieroglyphs were undeciphered until the 19th century.  I found a few other examples of this, where Swedenborg retained the mistranslation, but from looking at the original Hebrew in his spiritual visions he was given the true spiritual meaning.  This has been an interesting discovery from correcting the translation of the Psalms.  Here is a picture from a tomb of Egyptian women playing on their lutes:


So, the "psaltery" of the Psalms are lutes.  I then noticed that in three cases, the lute (Hebrew nevel) is mentioned with an instrument of 10 strings.  Here are the passages as translated in the King James Version:
Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. (Ps. 33:2)
Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. (Ps. 92:3)
I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee. (Ps. 144:9)
The word "instrument of ten strings" in Hebrew is simply the number 10.  However, notice how the KJV translators added the word "and" in Ps. 33:2 and 144:9.  It is not there in the original.  For Psalm 33:2, here is the corrected translation:
Confess Jehovah with harp,Make music to Him with a lute of ten strings. (Ps. 33:2)
And another corrected translation:
Upon ten strings and upon a lute,Upon a harp with meditation. (Ps. 92:3)
And another corrected translation:
God, I will sing a new song to You:Upon a lute of ten strings I will make music to You. (Ps. 144:9)
In other words, by adding the word "and" the translators have completely missed the point that Ps. 33:2 and 144:9 are both definitely talking about a lute of 10 strings.  As for Ps. 92:3, that is also probably talking about a lute of 10 strings but it is worded separately to correspond with its parallel line.  This is the only case in scripture where it is pointed out that the musical instrument has 10 strings.  I then asked the question: is the number 10 important in music?  Is there something significant to a 10 stringed lute?


After searching around, I discovered a rather interesting modern musical invention: the 10 string classical guitar of Yepes.  Normal guitars have 6 strings.  Yepes found this insufficient, and in 1963 invented a guitar of 10 strings.  There were earlier 10 string guitars of the 18th and 19th centuries, but the Yepes guitar 10 string classical guitar of Yepes is different.  It was not designed randomly, but out of necessity:
Unlike earlier 6- or 10-stringed guitars, the normal tuning of the strings Yepes added "also incorporates all the natural resonance that the instrument lacked in eight of twelve notes of the equal tempered scale". As Yepes explains, the tuning of the Romantic ten-stringed guitars is "not exactly the same, because the tuning that I use is also for the resonance"
Here is a diagram of the tuning of the 10 string Yepes guitar:

"In the first place, the four supplementary strings [C2, Bb2, G#2, F#2] give it a balanced sound which the six-string guitar is far from having. In fact, at the moment of playing a note on one string, another begins to vibrate by sympathetic resonance. On the six- string guitar this phenomenon is produced only on four notes [E, B, A and D], while on mine the twelve notes of the scale each have their sympathetic resonance. Thus the lopsided sonority of the six-string guitar is transformed into a wider and equal sonority on a ten-string guitar.
Here is the other reason for the 10 string guitar - with it, it is easier to play Baroque lute music:
'Another reason for the 10-string is that guitarists are always playing music written for the Renaissance or the Baroque luteWe can say that the lute is to the guitar as the harpsichord is to the piano. And if this is true, how can we take the music written for these eight, nine, or 10-course instruments - even [eleven,] thirteen and fourteen courses, in the case of the baroque lute - and transcribe it for a guitar, which has only six strings? [...] I want to be able to make "legitimate" transcriptions in which the music loses nothing, but rather improves in quality.'
What is sympathetic resonance?  Here is a brief description:
Sympathetic resonance or sympathetic vibration is a harmonic phenomenon wherein a formerly passive string or vibratory body responds to external vibrations to which it has a harmonic likeness. The classic example is demonstrated with two similar tuning-forks of which one is mounted on a wooden box. If the other one is struck and then placed on the box, then muted, the un-struck mounted fork will be heard. In similar fashion, strings will respond to the external vibrations of a tuning-fork when sufficient harmonic relations exist between the respective vibratory modes. A unison or octave will provoke the largest response as there is maximum likeness in vibratory motion. Other links through shared resonances occur at the fifth and, though with much less effect, at the major third. The principle of sympathetic resonance has been applied in musical instruments from many cultures and times.
Seeing is believing, but in this case hearing is believing - here someone goes through a six string guitar notes and then goes through the notes on a 10 string guitar.  The difference is obvious:

Here is a video of Narciso Yepes playing Romance Anonimo:

Here is another of Yepes playing Marcha Irlandesa (Siglo XI):

Was the 10 string lute tuned in this manner?  We have no way of knowing, as much of the original music of the ancient world has been lost.  But the principle of resonance can be heard by all skilled musicians, and has been used since ancient times.  The oldest song in the world is a Hurrian hymn, dating to 1400 B.C., and was made for a nine-stringed lyre or harp on a heptonic scale.  It even contained instructions for tuning the harp.  Here is a rendition of the notes found on the cuneiform tablet:


Let's assume for the moment that in ancient times, they followed the principle of resonance and tuned a 10 stringed lute in such a manner.  In the Yepes guitar, some strings are played and others are passive which resonate.  From Ten-string guitar:
The use of the ten-string classical guitar is similar to that of the harp guitar:
  • Six-string guitar music can be played on the first six strings, but with added resonance from the extra strings. This was Yepes' original intention and the reason for the design.
  • Music specifically arranged for the instrument can make use of the extra strings directly, thus:
  • Music originally written for instruments with more than six strings can be more faithfully transcribed. Music written by Bach and his contemporaries for lute is of particular interest in this regard. The bass strings can be appropriately tuned.
  • New music specifically written for the ten-string guitar can make use of the extra strings however the composer might wish.
Unlike the harp guitar, the extended-range classical guitar has a single neck and allows all strings to be fretted.
The first point is interesting: 6 strings are played, while the other 4 strings are just passive and resonate in sympathetic vibration.  For the Jews, this is significant: each of the 10 strings can be seen to correspond to the 10 commandments.  Moreover, the first 4 commandments relate to love of the Lord, and the last 6 concern love of the neighbour.  Inasmuch as we follow the commandments to the best of our ability, so the Lord will flow into us through Divine influx.  In other words, we will resonate with the Lord in sympathetic vibration by following the commandments.  We act, God reacts.  A covenant relationship, in sympathetic vibration.  The law or the 10 commandments is also known as the "testimony" - truth is confirmed in good, and good in truth:

“That a witness means confirmation of good by truth, and of truth by good, and that hence a testimony means good from which truth is, and truth which is from good, may be evident from the Word in other passages… That a testimony is good from which is truth, and truth which is from good, follows from the above, and also from this, that the ten precepts of the decalogue written upon the tables of stone are called in one word the testimony — as in Moses: Jehovah gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of speaking with him upon mount Sinai, the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God (Exod. xxxi. 18). ...The precepts of the decalogue were therefore called the testimony, because they were of the covenant, and thus of conjunction between the Lord and man; which conjunction cannot exist unless man keeps the precepts, not only in external form, but also in internal. ...Because this is so, the tables were also called the tables of the covenant, and the ark the ark of the covenant. From this it is now manifest what is signified in the genuine sense by testimony in the Word (as in Deut. iv. 45; vi. 17, 20; Isa. viii. 16; 2 Kings xvii. 15; Ps. xix. 7; xxv. 10; lxxviii. 5; xciii. 5; cxix. 2, 22, 24, 59, 79, 88, 138, 167; cxxii. 3, 4; Apoc. vi. 9; xii. 17; xix. 10).” (Heavenly Arcana, n. 4197.8-9)


Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Prophecy against Turkey

Turkey, a member of NATO, and once a model democracy in the Muslim world, is now in a downward spiral towards an authoritarian government and becoming increasingly intolerant towards its Kurdish minority population.  It has unjustly supported a war against Syria prolonging the civil war, and Erdogan and his government has been secretly supporting ISIS by buying illegal shipments of oil.  Moreover, U.S. intelligence and military is well aware of this, and for several years carried on a bogus air campaign hitting non-essential targets.  All of this came to an end when Russia intervened and bombed all the oil shipments entering Turkey from the Syrian border.  During the time Turkey was financially supporting ISIS with payments for oil shipments, ISIS was slaughtering weak minorities throughout its territories, and wiping out ancient Christian communities of the Middle East.  And all of this is the result of U.S. foreign policy to keep the Middle East an area of instability.

The rise of ISIS and radical terrorism, spreading from the Middle East into Europe, was foreseen in a very unusual prophetic vision given during a Near Death Experience.  For this, see A Prophecy of September 11, Fanatical Terrorism (ISIS), Russia and America.  Here is the relevant prophecy that concerns ISIS:
"The Lady of Light appeared in the room before me. She stood next to a large globe of Earth, which was suspended in a large circular frame attached to the marble floor. The Lady of Light began to speak to me about the future of the world as she pointed to the globe. I watched as she pointed to the Middle East, and I saw a flashpoint of light. She then pointed to Italy, and I saw another flashpoint. Then flashpoints broke out rapidly throughout the Middle East and Europe representing major incidents, world events caused by mankind: acts of aggression, terrorism, and war. Fanatical, self-proclaimed religious groups supposedly acting in the name of God performed many of these acts, but I was told that acts of war and aggression were not part of God's plan."
So what about Turkey, and its attempt to overthrow the government of Assad, and its secret support for ISIS?  Here I want to point to the prophecies of Anton Johansson, a Swedish prophet who saw the sinking of the Titanic, and predicted both World War I and World War II in visions he had of Jesus (see Prophecies of a Future War with Russia).  Here is what he had to say about Turkey:
As for Turkey, I want to warn its citizens not to persecute Christians, but to become devoted to Jesus lest they get effaced from among the number of independent countries. The Jews will at that time have returned in great crowds to Jerusalem.
Turkey, unfortunately, has been following a policy of not protecting Christians, but rather secretly supporting ISIS who had wiped out ancient Christian communities in the Middle East, forcing them to flee.  It also waged war against Assad, who also was protecting Christian communities in Syria.  And the U.S. refuses to negotiate, insisting Assad must go - which of course leaves a power vacuum for yet another destabilized state, similar to Iraq and Libya.  Recently Erdogan took over Christian churches in south east Turkey declaring them state property (see Islamist Turkey seizes ALL Christian churches in city and declares them 'state property').  To make matters worse, Turkey continues to be in complete denial over the Armenian genocide in which they wiped up to 1.5 million Armenians, many of them Christian (see Armenian Genocide).  The historical evidence for that is just simply undeniable.

It is sad to see Turkey moving in this direction, I personally have a love for all things Turkish.  They were once a balancing force in the Middle East, now they are a source of instability.  I always wondered how the prophecy of Anton Johansson would be played out:  I want to warn its citizens not to persecute Christians, but to become devoted to Jesus lest they get effaced from among the number of independent countries.  I often wondered, how could Turkey cease to be an independent country?  Perhaps it will be self inflicted.  The Turkish president had decided to reignite its war with its vast Kurdish minority in the south-east, and this is just asking for a disaster.  Israel and the U.S. would like to see Iraq partitioned into three states - Shiite, Sunni, and Kurds.  The Kurds have been a major ground force against ISIS.  And it looks like Russia may ally with the Kurds as well, especially those in Syria - see Russia’s Kurdish Gambit: US Ally in Syria Takes Moscow’s Side.

So who is Turkey's worst enemy?  It should take a look at itself in the mirror.  Its own fears and selfish ambition will be its downfall.  Perhaps if enough people see the truth, that there will be a change for the better.  Let us pray that it is so.

Serena Shim, American journalist killed in a suspicious car accident in 2014, 2 days after Turkey accused her of spying.  She had also reported that Turkey was smuggling ISIS fighters across the border into Syria.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Salvation is through Repentance: A Simple Guide

Salvation does not come through belief alone, or through one's belief system of the memory, but rather it comes through repentance, which is turning away from evil.  In the New Church, the central doctrine of salvation is that Jesus saved humanity by uniting His human form with the Divine, to become a Divine God-Man.  This salvation is effected when we repent of our sins, for it is the Lord who fights against evil within us when we repent.  For when Jesus glorified His human form, He fought against all the hells to do this; and as He resisted and fought against the hells in His human form, so He enters our heart and mind to help us fight against falsity and evil.  This is the real reason for how Jesus saved humanity, and not through vicarious atonement or "automatic sin transfer."  Sins are not transferred or removed until one repents.  Do not be deceived: sins are not transferred or removed until one repents.

Vicarious atonement was a doctrine that was introduced into the Catholic Church in the 11th century and the Protestants inherited it, the original doctrine was that of Christus Victor, or Jesus conquering the hells to deliver humanity.  It has to be called out here: the theology of vicarious atonement is a false doctrine, which is not in agreement with repentance.  It is because of this false theology that a New Church is needed.  For this see A Rational Explanation for Atonement: Christus Victor, the Divine Human.  The Divine Human is the central doctrine of the New Church which declares that Jesus united the Divine with the human in One Person by which humanity is saved.  I thought I would cover here its corollary doctrine: that salvation is effected through repentance through the Lord, who had united His human with the Divine in His person.


The path of repentance is first laid out in Swedenborg's work, The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrines.  It is easy to understand, but hard to do.  No one likes looking in the mirror, and people tend to get comfortable with their habits.  But habits lead to an endless cycle that repeats, to break the cycle of behavior, one must repent.  Swedenborg summarizes the steps as follows:
"To confess sins is to know one's evils, to see them in himself, to acknowledge them, to account himself guilty, and to condemn himself on account of them. When this is done before God, it is confessing sins.
"To do the work of repentance is, after having thus confessed one's sins and made supplication from a humble heart for their remission, to desist from them and lead a new life according to the precepts of charity and faith." (The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrines, n. 160-161)


Each person's selfish ego is the origin of evil.  Paul said "The love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Tim. 6:10).  This is only partially true.  In the New Church, it is known that the love of self is the root of all evil - the love of money and the world is secondary.  This truth is what distinguishes Christianity from "self help" programs, and certain religions that elevate the self to godhood.  Elevation of the self was actually the sin of Adam.  Christianity goes in the opposite direction: it acknowledges that each selfish ego is the origin of evil.  Swedenborg was shown what the selfish ego looks like and it is not good:
"With regard to the rule of the regenerate man over lusts, it is to be known that those are in the greatest error, and are never regenerated, who believe that they can of themselves rule over evils. For man is nothing but evil, he is a mass of evils, all his will is merely evil — which is what is said in the preceding chapter (viii. 21), that "the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth." It has been shown me by living experience that a man and spirit, even an angel, in himself regarded, that is, as to all that is his own, is but vilest excrement; and that left to himself he breathes nothing but hatred, revenge, cruelty, and most foul adultery.
"These things are his own, these are his will, as may also be evident to every one, if he reflects, merely from this, that man when born is the vilest creature living, among all wild animals and beasts. And when he grows up and becomes his own master, if not hindered by outward bonds, of the law, and bonds which he imposes on himself for the purpose of gaining great honor and wealth, he would rush into every crime, and not rest before he had subjugated all in the universe, and raked together the wealth of all in the universe; nor would he spare any but those who submitted to be his humble servants." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 987.1-2)
The philosophy of men likes to tell everyone to say "I am wonderful, I am great."  In Christianity it is the opposite: "The LORD is wonderful, the LORD is great."  Thus the corollary of this is, the Lord alone is the source of all good and truth within us.  For the Lord alone is the God-Man, and we are but small images or reflections of that inasmuch as we receive good and truth in our will and thoughts.  This is the reason why there should be worship of the One God: without God, everyone is in the worship of their pride of their own self and in the pride of their own intelligence.  The worship of God withdraws one from the love of self - worship is demanded not for the sake of God, but for our salvation.


It is not enough to declare one's self a sinner and not perfect.  We all know we are not perfect.  The next step is to explore one self, identify a specific sin, call it out, and desist from it.  This requires humility, and requires for one to go against one's self pride.  This is important:
"He who only acknowledges in a general way that he is a sinner, and accounts himself guilty of all evils, and does not explore himself, that is, see his sins, makes indeed confession, but not the confession of repentance. Such an one, because he has not known his evils, lives afterward as before." (The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrines, n. 162)
I want to point out a bad habit that is the opposite of repentance: always pointing out the faults of others.  Jesus said first try to point out the fault in yourself:
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matt. 7:3-5)
As with all scripture, there is a hidden spiritual sense behind the words.  One's eye represents one's understanding of the truth.  One's internal sin blinds one's self to the truth, for truth is from good, and evil blocks what is good.  The reason why Jesus uses a "speck" and a "log" is that wood in scripture refers to one's good or evil.  Also a brother is not simply another person, but in the spiritual sense it represents someone who is in a similar good or evil to yourself.  It also represents, that when one clears out one sin, further light is given to clear out others.

Identification of a particular sin is important, because what one sees as a single sin, actually contains within it a mass of evils and falsehoods that are attached together:
"...there are numberless evils interiorly in man; yea, that there are numberless evils in every lust. Every lust of which man becomes conscious, is a mass and a heap of many things. These things the man does not see, but only the one mass. When, therefore, the man by repentance removes this, the Lord, who sees the interior and inmost things of man, removes them. Unless, therefore, a man approaches the Lord, he labors in vain to render himself free from sin." (Invitation to the New Church, n. 8)

As our selfish ego is the origin of evil, it in itself has no power to resist evil.  However the Lord, the one God-Man, operates within our will and thoughts to resist and remove evils.  If the evil is strong, one will then go through a period of temptation and sadness, even to the point of despair and losing hope.  Here, trust and hope in the Lord can help in deliverance.  Resist the temptation, but acknowledge it is the Lord who does this through your own will and thoughts.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matt. 11:28-30)
Undergoing temptation is spiritual warfare and combat.  The wars described in scripture are but historical and symbolic representations of the spiritual warfare we must all undergo.  What we experience as internal temptation, is actually an experience of spiritual combat in the spiritual world between the Lord and the evil spirits of hell.  We are but in the middle of the conflict:
"For temptations and afflictions in the state of vastation and oppression are nothing else but combats of the Lord with the devil respecting man, that is, respecting his soul, which shall possess it. And of that state it may be said that the God of Israel, or the Lord the Messiah, stands on one side, and Beelzebub and the serpent the devil on the other, and that the latter casts forth blasphemies against the Lord out of his mouth like a river, but that the Lord turns them aside and removes them, and thus delivers man from spiritual captivity and servitude. This combat is felt in the man as if from himself. That temptation is such a combat, and there is such a perception by man, and hence cooperation, I can testify upon oath, for, having often experienced it, I know it. That it is carried on outside the man, and is felt in him as from himself, and that man is standing in the middle and cooperates, is for the end that reward may be imputed to him when he conquers; but that man alone conquers who looks to the Lord, and trusts in him alone for help." (Coronis, n. 3)
The ancient and modern parable of an angel standing on one shoulder, and the devil on the other, is actually true.  But it is true in the spiritual dimension, which we experience internally:
“As regards temptations, they take place when man is in the process of regeneration; for no one can be regenerated, unless he also undergoes temptations, and they then arise from evil spirits who are about him. For man is then let into the state of evil in which he is, that is, in which is that itself which constitutes his proprium; and when he comes into this state, evil or infernal spirits encompass him, and when they perceive that he is interiorly protected by angels, the evil spirits excite the falsities which he has thought, and the evils which he has done, but the angels defend him from within. It is this combat which is perceived in man as temptation, but so obscurely that he scarce knows otherwise than that it is merely an anxiety; for man, especially if he believes nothing concerning influx, is in a state that is wholly obscure, and apperceives scarcely a thousandth part of the things about which evil spirits and angels are contending. And yet the battle is then being fought for the man and his eternal salvation, and it is fought from the man himself; for they fight from those things which are in man, and concerning them. That this is the case, has been given me to know with the utmost certainty. I have heard the combat, I have perceived the influx, I have seen the spirits and angels, and at the time and afterward have conversed with them on the subject.” (Heavenly Arcana, n. 5036.2) 
There are two kinds of tempations: the first is temptations of our understanding or mind, and this is light.  The second is temptation of the will, and this is severe.  Swedenborg describes this in his spiritual interpretation of the flood of Noah:
"There are two kinds of temptations, one as to things of the understanding, the other as to those of the will. When a man is tempted as to things of the understanding, evil spirits call up only his evil deeds that he has done — which are signified here by the unclean beasts — and accuse and condemn him; they do indeed also call up his good deeds — signified here by the clean beasts — but pervert them in a thousand ways. At the same time they call up what he has thought — here signified by the fowl — and such things too as are signified by "everything that creepeth upon the ground."
"But this temptation is light, and is perceived only by the recalling of such things to mind and a certain anxiety therefrom. But when a man is tempted as to things of the will, his thoughts and doings are not so much called up, but there are evil genii — as evil spirits of this kind may be called — who inflame him with their lusts and the filthy loves with which he is imbued, and thus fight through the man's own lusts — which they do so maliciously and secretly that it could not be believed to be from them. For in a moment they pour themselves into the life of his lusts, and almost instantly invert and change an affection for good and truth into an affection for evil and falsity, so that the man cannot know but it is done of his own self and comes forth of his own will. This temptation is most severe, and is perceived as an inward grief and tormenting fire.
(Heavenly Arcana, n. 751.2-3)
So I want to stress here: temptation is normal in the process of repentance.  It requires discipline and internal focus on the Lord.  It is "uncomfortable" to point at one self for one's faults.  But the person who does this is wise.  Those who point out the faults of others are foolish.  To fight against temptation, one must make use of the knowledges one has from the truth of scripture.  The Word is a sword against falsity.  Use it.  But always acknowledge it is the Lord who fights for us within us, with our cooperation:
"It is the Lord alone also Who fights in men who are in the combats of temptations, and Who overcomes. Man from his own power can effect nothing at all against evil or infernal spirits; for they are so connected with the hells that if one were overcome, another would rush in, and so on forever. They are like the sea which presses upon every part of a dike; if the dike should be broken through by a cleft or a crack, the sea would not stop, but would burst through and overflow, till nothing would be left standing. So would it be unless the Lord alone sustained the combats of temptations in man." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1692)


The next step is to live a life where one desists from the sins and evils of one's former life.  Don't try to do good until evil is first rooted out.  Evils and falsehoods have to be removed first, before the Lord can dwell in our heart.  This is represented in the history of the Jews, where they first had to drive out the Canaanites in order to possess the land of Israel.  The Canaanites represent the evils within that possess and control us; driving them out is the combat of temptation; possessing the land of Israel is becoming a part of the kingdom of heaven.  Do not trust ministers who use the Bible to support the apartheid policies of the State of Israel.  Israel does not refer to the Jews, the Jews were just a representation of the spiritual Church.  At the time the Jews were quite evil, and spiritual truths could only be given to them in external representations and rituals.  The land of Israel is symbolic of the internal kingdom of heaven.

Self examination is hard, but there is an easier kind of repentance, where one keeps temptation in check:
" easier kind of repentance will be here presented, which is, that when one is considering evil with the mind, and is intending it, he should say to himself, "I am thinking of this intending it; but because it is sin, I will not do it." By this means the temptation injected from hell is checked, and its further entrance prevented. It is wonderful that one can find fault with another who is intending evil, and say, "Do not do that, because it is sin," and yet it is hard for him to say so to himself; this is because the latter moves the will, but the other only the thought nearest to the hearing. Inquiry was made in the spiritual world who could practise this second kind of repentance; and they were found as rare as doves in a vast desert; and some said that they could indeed do this, but that they were not able to examine themselves and confess their sins before God. But still, all they who do good from religion avoid actual evils; and yet how very rarely do they reflect upon the interiors, which are of the will, in the belief that they are not in evils because they are in good, yes, that the good covers the evil. But, my friend, the first of charity is to shun evils; the Word teaches this, the Decalogue, Baptism, the Holy Supper, and also reason; for how can any one flee from evils and banish them without some self-inspection? and how can good become good unless it has been inwardly purified?" (True Christian Religion, n. 535)

As one begins the process of repentance, one will start to live a new life.  As evils and falsities are rooted out, one will begin to desire and be affected by good and truth.  It is important that one's religion is not one of belief alone: belief alone is the origin of senseless religious wars.  One must live a life according to good and truth.  Note that the Decalogue, the 10 commandments, always begin with "Thou shalt not."  This is because evils must be removed first.  Inasmuch as one withdraws from the self, one turns to the Lord.  Inasmuch as one does not kill or hate the neighbour, one begins to love them.  Inasmuch as one turns against adultery, one begins to love marriage with one wife.  Inasmuch one does not steal, one does what is right towards others.  Inasmuch as one does not lie, one begins to love and testify of the truth.  Inasmuch as one does not covet, greed is removed, happiness begins to dwell in the heart.


It is not enough to repent once, declare one self a sinner, and then assume "one is saved."  There is no such thing as immediate salvation from instantaneous mercy. Repentance is continual:
"He who lives the life of charity and faith does the work of repentance daily, reflects upon the evils that are in him, acknowledges them, guards against them, and supplicates the Lord for help. For of himself a man is continually falling away, but is continually being upheld by the Lord and led to good. Such is the state of those who are in good." (The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrines, n. 160-161)
Repentance takes place in succession:
"...there are innumerable lusts inherent, rolled up as it were, in every evil, and they cannot be moved in a moment, but successively, as the man suffers himself to be reformed and regenerated." (Ture Christian Religion, n. 559)
And here, we need to call out the false belief that one is merely saved by a lip confession, that it happens immediately from Divine mercy:
"They who are of the church at this day know so little about regeneration, that it is scarce anything. They do not know even this, that regeneration goes on through the whole course of the life of the one who is regenerated, and that it is continued in the other life; also that the arcana of regeneration are so innumerable that scarcely a ten thousandth part of them can be known by the angels, and that those which they do know are what constitute their intelligence and wisdom. The reason that they who are of the church at this day know so little about regeneration, is, that they talk so much about the remission of sins and about justification, and believe that sins are remitted in a moment, and some that they are wiped away like filth from the body by water, and that man is justified by faith alone or by the confidence of a single moment. The reason why the men of the church so believe, is, that they do not know what sin or evil is. If they knew this, they would know that sins can by no means be wiped away from any one, but that they are separated or rejected to the sides that they may not rise up, when man is kept in good by the Lord; also that this cannot be effected unless evil is continually cast out, and this by means which are indefinite in number, and for the most part ineffable.
"They in the other life who have brought with them the opinion that man is justified in a moment by faith, and wholly cleansed from sins, are astounded when they see that regeneration is effected by means indefinite in number and ineffable; and then they laugh at and call insane the ignorance in which they were in the world as to the instantaneous remission of sins and justification." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 5398.1-2)
Here again, we see how the current modern theology of Christianity has falsified the truth of Christianity.  Again this is the reason why a New Church is needed, to withdraw from the errors and falsehoods of the former churches.


The doctrine of repentance is the corollary doctrine to the Divine Human, the Divine God-Man, in the New Church.  What I am saying here is what many preachers say in their sermons.  But what is hidden from the public is that there is a false theology with Christian churches that subverts and destroys the gospel of Christianity.  It is important to have one's focus on the Lord, Jesus Christ, and to repent of one's sins.  There are innumerable falsities in the modern theology of Christian churches.  Let's enumerate some of them:


1. A trinity of three persons.  There is one person, Jesus, who is Jehovah in human form.
2. Praying the Lord's prayer to a Father god that is a distinct person from Jesus Christ.
3. Offering prayer to Mary and the saints.
4. Teachings that emphasize a succession of a human priesthood, where the clergy have claim that which belongs to the Divine.


1. The belief in vicarious atonement, that sins are "automatically transferred" to Jesus.
2. The belief that the passion of the cross saved humanity.  It was actually the union of the Divine with the human in the Lord; the passion of the cross was the last temptation.
3. The belief that one is saved instantaneously from Divine mercy.
4. The belief that mere lip confession and baptism saves.  Baptism is but an external witness or testimony, it represent that one must cleanse one's sins by the truth, represented by water.
5. The definition of faith as "belief" is FALSE. It is a false theological definition.  Faith is living by the truth.
6.  The definition of grace as "unmerited favour" is FALSE.  It merely means "favour."  Grace and mercy are given to those who repent and live by the commandments.  See The False Theological Definition of the word "Grace"
7.  The definition of "works" in the writing of Paul as works of charity, works of one's life, is FALSE. Paul was talking about the works of the Jewish rituals.  All will be judged according to their works, and how they lived their life (see Matt. 16:27).  See A New Perspective on Paul and the New Church Perspective on Paul

So, the doctrine of repentance seems obvious and simple.  But what is not obvious, and what is hidden from the majority of Christians, is that there is a false theology among ministers that destroys the gospel from within.  This is the hidden reason for the modern decline of Christianity, where many are now identifying themselves as "spiritually independent."  Ministers don't see the root cause because they cannot see their own theological falsehoods, and they are not willing to see or admit they are wrong.  It is because of the falsifications within that have destroyed the churches.  This is the reason for the revelations of the New Church - to withdraw from the falsehoods of old Christianity, and to join with the truths of New Christianity: acknowledging that Jesus Christ alone is God in one person, in human form, and that one must follow the 10 commandments and repent in order to inherit eternal life.

This is, the New Jerusalem foretold in the Apocalypse.  For those who follow the falsehoods of the former churches, the Lord says: Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues (Rev. 18:4).  The former churches will pass away, the New Church is the new heaven and earth:  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. (Rev. 21:1), and then the Lord said, Behold, I am making all things new (Rev. 21:5).