Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Divine Inspiration of the Epistles of Paul, and a Lost Epistle of Paul



In the early Christian church, the definition of the Biblical canon was largely defined by the authorship of the work - if it was written by an apostle of Jesus, it was included in the canon of the New Testament.  By the 4th century A.D. the canon of the New Testament was largely defined, which was largely based on authorship of the work.  But which works are Divinely inspired?  For most people, all the works are Divinely inspired based on what books are currently in the Bible.  But the New Testament itself gives a more narrow definition - only the words that come directly from God, through revelation and vision, are Divinely inspired:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16)
If it contains the words of God, received through revelation, then the scripture is Divinely inspired.  As Jesus is the Word of God incarnate (see John 1), everything that Jesus said can be considered as directly Divinely inspired.  If we restrict ourselves to the words of Jesus, then in the New Testament the works that contain the most Divine Inspiration would be the four Gospels and the book of Revelation.  Among the other works, there are very short quotes of Jesus in the book of Acts, and one direct quote of Jesus in the epistles of Paul (2 Cor. 12:9).

DIVINE INSPIRATION ACCORDING TO THE NEW CHURCH

In the revelation of the New Church, the canon of scripture is not based on authorship, nor on tradition, nor on the basis of church authority.  Divine inspiration of any work is based on the content of the revelation itself.  Typical means of inspiration was through direct vision, through dreams, or direct auditory experience of the spoken Word.  What was revealed to Emanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century is that when God reveals Himself, the very words are Divinely inspired in such a manner that they follow a particular pattern.  This pattern is symbolic, and the symbolism can be recognized through a system of correspondences.  This is described in detail in a multi-volume work Heavenly Arcana (aka Arcana Coelestia).  Using this system of correspondences, one can often recognize whether a work is Divinely inspired or not through its content, and not merely trusting tradition or authority.

Using this system of correspondences, revealed in waking vision, it was shown to Swedenborg that the Law (Torah - the first five books of Moses), the Prophets (Nevi'im) and the Psalms were indeed Divinely inspired.  They all have different authors, but follow a common pattern.  Jesus confirmed that these are Divinely inspired in the gospel of Luke:
These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. (see Luke 24:44).
Outside of this canon, the Jews had a separate set of books known as the "writings."  Among these, Swedenborg was shown that Daniel and Lamentations were Divinely inspired.  Works that are "semi-inspired" are Job, Proverbs and Song of Songs, but these works are not written where subsequent statements follow each other in a coherent series.

When Swedenborg arrived at the New Testament, to the surprise of many he discovered that only the four gospels of the book of Revelation were Divinely inspired.  And by Divine inspiration, Swedenborg is talking about Divine inspiration in a very strict sense, where the words themselves are written in a series of correspondences, where hidden behind the literal sense of scripture there is a spiritual sense.  That there is a hidden spiritual sense in scripture is confirmed by Jesus Himself:
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. (Matt. 13:10-11)
And here is this interesting passage, where Jesus confirms He is not only speaking in parables and figures of speech, but also in the future will reveal things more plainly:
I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. (John 16:25)
And this, unknown to most, has been fulfilled in the revelations received by Emanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century, who was directed by Jesus Himself to reveal the internal spiritual sense of scripture, which is explained in a massive multi-volume work, Heavenly Arcana (aka Arcana Coelestia).  It is the best proof that explains why and how scripture is Divinely inspired.  Traditional Christianity, when questioned on the Divine inspiration of the Bible, cannot offer a comprehensive proof.  The doctrines of the New Church can, if one take the time to examine them.

THE DIVINE INFLUENCE OF THE EPISTLES OF PAUL

The one main reason major Christian denominations do not reference Swedenborg, and may be a bit wary of him, is that he did not include the epistles of Paul as among the Divinely inspired works of the Bible.  Most sermons are based on the writings of Paul, and Protestant churches in particular are dependent on Paul for their theology and doctrine of faith.  Thus they falsely assume Swedenborg rejected the epistles of Paul since he disagreed with them.  But this is not true - Swedenborg did not reject the teachings of Paul.  In fact, he confirmed the teachings, and in many ways anticipated modern theological thought on the epistles of Paul (for an in depth analysis, see A New Perspective on Paul and the New Church Perspective on Paul).

However, there is one matter here that is not so well known even within the New Church itself.  Although Swedenborg was shown that the letters of Paul were not Divinely inspired, he confirms - in his unpublished diary - that the letters of Paul were indeed Divinely influenced:
"...the Lord spoke from Divine Wisdom Itself, by correspondences, exactly as He also spoke by the prophets, consequently from His own Divine; and that Paul indeed spoke from inspiration, but not in the same way as the prophets, to whom every single word was dictated but that his inspiration was that he received an influx, according to those things which were with him, which is quite a different inspiration, and has no conjunction with heaven by correspondences." (Spiritual Diary, n. 6062)
In other words, one can say that the letters of Paul are inspired to a lesser degree - they are Divinely influenced in their overall thoughts, but not down to the very words themselves.  Thus the New Church should make a distinction: works that are Divinely inspired and works that are Divinely influenced.  There are thus degrees or levels of inspiration, according to the content of the work itself.  Divine inspiration is strictly any content that was received by revelation, and is written in a form of symbolic correspondences.  Divinely influenced works are those that are more doctrinal in nature, offering explanation for Divinely inspired scripture.

THE REASON FOR "LESSER" DIVINELY INFLUENCED SCRIPTURE

Most have a simple view of Divine inspiration of scripture: it is or it isn't.  But if one recognizes different degrees of inspiration, and keeps a distinction between Divinely inspired works and those that are Divinely influenced, one can reach a greater understanding of the truth.  One can distinguish Divine truth, and keep it separate from the teachings and traditions of men.

The reason why the epistles of Paul are included in scripture, and should remain in scripture, is for a very good reason, explained in the following passage from Swedenborg's diary:
That the Epistles of Paul have not an internal sense is known in the other life; but it is permitted that they may be in the Church, lest those who are of the Church should work evil to the Word of the Lord, in which is the internal sense. For if man lives ill, and yet believes in the holy Word, then he works evil to heaven; therefore the Epistles of Paul are permitted, and therefore Paul was not permitted to take one parable, not even a doctrine, from the Lord, and to expound and unfold it; but he took all things from himself. The Church, indeed, explains the Word of the Lord, but by means of the Epistles of Paul; for which reason also it everywhere departs from the good of charity, and accepts the truth of faith; which, however, the Lord has taught, but in such wise that the good of charity should be the all. (Spiritual Diary, n. 4824)
In a private letter, Swedenborg also explains that these letters were included as doctrinal matters needed to be simplified for the public:
"With reference to the writings of the Apostles and Paul I have not included these in ARCANA COELESTIA, and this for the reason that they are doctrinal writings, and so are not written in the style of the Word as are the Prophets, David, the Gospels, and the Revelation. The style of the Word wholly consists of correspondences, on which account it effects an immediate communication with heaven. In the doctrinal writings, however, there is another style which indeed communicates with heaven, but mediately. That they were so written by the Apostles was in order that the new Christian Church might commence through these, on which account doctrinal matters could not be written in the very style of the Word, but in a manner that might be more clearly and more directly understood. Nonetheless, the writings of the Apostles are good books for the Church, maintaining the doctrine of charity and its faith as strongly as ever did the Lord Himself in the Gospels and in the Revelation, as can be clearly seen and observed if one attends to the matter while reading those writings." (Letter, Harley)
With actual scripture, when one reads it with an open heart, direct communication is opened with heaven and the angels, even though a person may be unaware of it at the time.  With Divinely influenced writings, which tend to be more doctrinal in nature, communication is indirect or mediate.

If one understands this approach to the letters of Paul, and the letters of the apostles, one can have a better understanding of other works that may contain a degree of Divine influence but are not Divinely inspired.  In this, I would classify the works of Swedenborg himself as "Divinely influenced."  But according to Swedenborg's own definition, his works are definitely not Divinely inspired in the same way scripture is. Scripture must follow the Divine pattern of symbolic correspondences, as declared in the Doctrine of Sacred Scripture. Swedenborg even spells it out by giving the list of books that are Divinely inspired.

What other works are Divinely influenced, but not Divinely inspired?  The Quran, Swedenborg says, does contain a partial heavenly revelation, but it is only there in an obscure manner.  The reason for that was to introduce those who originate from polygamous cultures to Jesus, without revealing His true nature so that polygamy would not be mixed with the more internal holy revelation.  It was also written in such a way to offer opposition to the false doctrine of a trinity of three persons. Thus the Quran (or Koran) can be classified as Divinely influenced, but not Divinely inspired in the same way the Bible is.  Interestingly, the Quran affirms that the gospels of the New Testament should still be followed, and does not mention the epistles of Paul.

A LOST EPISTLE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL

There are certain works that are quoted in the Bible, that are Divinely inspired, but are now lost to us.  Or may be lost.  One, which was used to compose portions of the Old Testament, is the book of Jasher (see The Lost Book of Jasher, the Exodus, and Emanuel Swedenborg).  However, since most among Christian churches are focused on the epistles of Paul to the exclusion of everything else, I thought I would offer something interesting here.  Swedenborg, in his visions, was shown that there is indeed a lost epistle of Paul that did not make it into the Biblical canon:
The difference between a holiness that is merely attributed and a holiness which is seen, may be illustrated by this example seen and heard in the spiritual world: An epistle was read written by Paul while he dwelt in the world, but not published, without any one's knowing that it was by Paul. The hearers first regarded it as of little moment; but when it was discovered to be one of Paul's epistles, it was received with joy, and one and all the things therein were adored. It was manifest from this, that merely attributing holiness to the Word and the sacraments, when made by the primates of the clerical order, does indeed give the stamp of holiness; but it is otherwise when the holiness itself is disclosed and presented so as to be seen before the eyes, which is done by a revelation of the spiritual sense; by this means external holiness becomes internal, and attribution of holiness becomes acknowledgment of it. (True Christian Religion, n. 701)
As with the book of Jasher, it is my belief that this lost epistle of Paul was still intact in some written form when Swedenborg wrote this in the 18th century.  And indeed, there is an interesting case to be made for a lost epistle of the apostle Paul that did not make it into the Biblical canon: it is known to scholars as the Epistle to the Laodiceans.  Most consider it a forgery, that it was written since it was possibly mentioned in another epistle of Paul:
And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. (Col. 4:16)
Despite the opinion of scholars, there are several ancient witnesses that state there was once an Epistle to Laodiceans.  In the Muratonian fragment of the 2nd century A.D., it mentions that the heretic Marcion included the Epistle to the Laodiceans in his canon.  Marcion's canon contained only the gospel of Luke and the epistles of Paul to the exclusion of everything else.  Somehow a version of an Epistle to the Laodiceans made it into Western Latin Bibles, but no copy of it has been found in Greek or Syriac texts.  In the fourth century A.D. Jerome knew of it and stated it was "rejected by everyone."  The earliest text of it survives in a Latin Bible from 546 A.D., and it can be found in over 100 different ancient Latin versions of the Bible.  It is short, and contains statements found in his other epistles.  Here is one translation, which is taken from The Wesley Center Online: Epistle To The Laodiceans:
1 Paul, an apostle not of men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ, unto the brethren that are at Laodicea.
2 Grace be unto you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I give thanks unto Christ in all my prayers, that ye continue in him and persevere in his works, looking for the promise at the day of judgement.
4 Neither do the vain talkings of some overset you, which creep in, that they may turn you away from the truth of the Gospel which is preached by me.
5 And now shall God cause that they that are of me shall continue ministering unto the increase of the truth of the Gospel and accomplishing goodness, and the work of salvation, even eternal life.
5 And now are my bonds seen of all men, which I suffer in Christ, wherein I rejoice and am glad.
7 And unto me this is for everlasting salvation, which also is brought about by your prayers, and the ministry of the Holy Ghost, whether by life or by death.
8 For verily to me life is in Christ, and to die is joy.
9 And unto him (or And also) shall he work his mercy in you that ye may have the same love, and be of one mind.
10 Therefore, dearly beloved, as ye have heard in my presence so hold fast and work in the fear of God, and it shall be unto you for life eternal.
11 For it is God that worketh in you.
12 And do ye without afterthought whatsoever ye do.
13 And for the rest, dearly beloved, rejoice in Christ, and beware of them that are filthy in lucre.
14 Let all your petitions be made openly before God, and be ye steadfast in the mind of Christ.
15 And what things are sound and true and sober and just and to be loved, do ye.
16 And what ye have heard and received, keep fast in your heart.
17 And peace shall be unto you.
18 The saints salute you.
19 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with your spirit.
20 And cause this epistle to be read unto them of Colossae, and the epistle of the Colossians to be read unto you.
Is it genuine or not?  It did find its way into the earliest canon of the Bible, as well as western Latin Bibles.  Is it the one seen by Swedenborg in his vision?  We do not know, but everything about this curious epistle fits Swedenborg's vision - the lost epistle of Paul was still intact, not published (not in the Biblical canon), and considered not to be the epistle of Paul.  Only the Epistle to the Laodiceans fits all the criteria of Swedenborg's vision.  And perhaps this entire epistle is symbolic of the church of Laodicea itself in the book of Revelation, which is ultimately rejected out of God's mouth:
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouthFor you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. (Rev. 3:15-18)
The ancient city of Laodicea, now in ruins

Monday, April 25, 2016

Intelligence Agencies, Science and the Deception of the UFO Phenomenon




The Baptism of Christ, by Gelder, 1710

In the past I have discussed some of the evidence concerning extraterrestrials and UFOs, which is a hard subject to discuss due to disinformation and social ridicule from others.  My intent in exploring this subject on this blog was to investigate some of the claims of what is perhaps the earliest documented extraterrestrial contact in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg during the 18th century.  However stepping into this led to some rather interesting and odd discoveries.  Initially I thought that proving the existence of UFOs and extraterrestrial visitation would "close the gap" that many people have when reading Swedenborg's account of them.   Others think that if this was happening, it would simply be a matter of scientific study, and if known to governments it would simply be announced to the public.  But, I discovered two problems to the scientific approach to UFOs and extraterrestrial contact:
1. Military intelligence agencies do not want the public to know about the subject, and flood the internet with disinformation.
2. The intelligence behind the UFOs also wish to keep themselves and their agenda hidden from the public eye.
The first one I knew already, but had not considered the second.  This means, the subject of UFOs and extraterrestrial contact is not a simple matter of science.  Nor is it a matter of a government agency making a public announcement to everyone.  Nor is this "impossible to hide" - there are mind control and propaganda techniques that are used to control public opinion.  It is kept hidden, and only those who have a need to know are given knowledge about the matter.  And even then, most are only given one piece of the story.

So let's address the first question that often comes up in this matter:

WHY DO SCIENTISTS IGNORE AND AVOID THE SUBJECT OF UFOS?

Two words: intellectual reputation.  Ridicule will ruin it, and lack of financing will end it.  There is a mountain of physical evidence, and tons of witnesses, that extraterrestrial visitation has been and is now taking place, which is the subject of an endless number of books and government documents released to the public.  And we are not talking about small microbes here, we are talking about evidence of civilizations that are highly advanced and much further along than ours.  So, why don't scientists just openly discuss the evidence and publish papers on it?  The problem here is different: an advanced civilization has advanced technology, and this is something that would be highly classified within the military.  So the subject is not only just a social taboo subject, it is a "subject of concern" among different intelligence agencies, for those who are "in the know."  When I say "subject of concern," I mean a subject that they don't want the public to know about or take seriously, for a variety of reasons I won't get into here.  

There is one scientist who has studied this over the course of several decades: Jacques Vallee.  He was written multiple books on the topic and he is well known internationally as a subject matter expert on this issue from a scientific perspective.  In his research, Jacques Vallee kept coming across these UFO religions, and wrote a book on the subject entitled Messengers of Deception.  He conentrated on one UFO sect in particular known as the "Order of Melchizedek."  Here is an interesting quote of an assessment he made concerning many of these UFO religions:
"Just because a message comes from heaven does not mean its not stupid. Many of the contactees have fallen victim to a peculiar effect on their minds: they have lost their critical faculties." (Messengers of Deception, p. 57)
While that quote applies to most contacts, including the hoax ones, there are exceptions but they are rare.  It is these rare cases I have discussed previously on this blog, as one has to filter through a lot of junk and misinformation in order to find them.  What distinguishes the New Church from these UFO religions is that it does not make extraterrestrials the center of religious belief but rather discusses the subject matter-of-factly.  In fact, most belonging to the Swedenborgian church are probably puzzled by Swedenborg's account.  As many within the Swedenborgian church are attracted to science and of an intelligent intellectual character, they would much rather avoid the topic altogether, as do most scientists.  This is unfortunate, as the doctrines of the New Church provides one with with a strong foundation in Divine truth and knowledge.  Many, turning away from the falsehoods contained in traditional religions, are lacking in this knowledge and are thus more easily influenced.

In Messengers of Deception, Jacques Vallee describes how he started to attend meetings of one odd UFO cult in order to study them more closely.  He kept noticing another man coming to these meetings who did not exactly fit in with the "rest of the crowd."  He later discovered that this person belonged to a U.S. military intelligence agency (probably from the U.S. Navy.)  For sake of anonymity he called him "Major Murphy."  Then, as now, intelligence agencies secretly monitor UFO groups and researchers.  The conversation he had with him is rather revealing.  I will quote directly from Vallee's book, in which Vallee was surprised to see him at a meeting of the Order of Melchizedek:
I expressed my surprise at his interest in the event, which I had regarded as a complete waste of time. He asked me to clarify this judgment, and I said that in my opinion none of the people in attendance knew anything about science.  Then he posed a question that, obvious as it seems, had not really occurred to me.  "What makes you think that UFOs are a scientific problem?"
.
I replied with something to the effect that a problem was only scientific in the way it was approached, but he would have none of that, and he began lecturing me.  First, he said, science had certain rules.  For example, it has to assume the phenomenon it is observing is natural in origin rather than artificial and possibly biased.  Now, the UFO phenomenon could be controlled by alien beings.  "If it is," added the Major, "then the study of it doesn't belong in science.  It belongs in Intelligence."  Meaning counterespionage.  And that, he pointed out, was his domain.
.
"Now, in the field of counterespionage, the rules are completely different."  He drew a simple a simple diagram in my notebook.  "You are a scientist.  In science there is no concept of the 'price' of information.  Suppose I gave you 95 per cent of the phenomenon.  You're happy because you know 95 per cent of the phenomenon.  Not so in Intelligence.  If I get 95 per cent of the data, I know this is the 'cheap' part of the information.  I still need the other 5 per cent, but I will have to pay a much higher price to get it.  You see, Hitler had 95 per cent of the information about the landing in Normandy.  But he had the wrong 95 per cent."
.
"Are you saying that the UFO data we use to compile statistics and to find patterns with computers are useless?"  I asked.  "Might we be spinning our magnetic tapes endlessly discovering spurious laws?"
.
"It all depend on how the team on the other side thinks.  If they know what they're doing, there will be so many cutouts between you and them that you won't have the slightest chance of tracing your way to the truth.  Not by following up sightings and throwing them into a computer.  They will keep feeding you the information they want you to process.  What is the only source of data about the UFO phenomenon?  Is it the UFOs themselves?"
.
Some things were beginning to make a lot of sense.  "If you're right, what can I do? It seems that research on the phenomenon is hopeless, then.  I might as well dump my computer into a river."
.
"Not necessarily, but you should try a different approach.  First, you should work entirely outside of the organized UFO groups; they are infiltrated by the same official agencies they are trying to influence, and they propagate any rumor anyone wants to have circulated.  In Intelligence circles, people like that are historical necessities.  When you've worked long enough for Uncle Sam, you know he is involved in a lot of strange things.  The data these groups get are biased at the source, but they play a useful role." (Messengers of Deception, p. 72-)
That the CIA infiltrated UFO organizations is well documented.  Ex-CIA agents infiltrated NICAP, which was once a non-profit organization where the public could once gather forces and have a representative lobby to release information.  It was infiltrated and destroyed from within.  So called scientific studies were also infiltrated by the CIA.  These include Project Blue Book, and the Condon Report.  These studies were infiltrated from within, in order to give a negative opinion to the public.  Since everyone believed these studies were purely scientific and objective, eventually the public masses were taught to ignore the phenomenon.  U.S. newspapers, beginning in the 1950s, began to be heavily censored as the CIA gained control of the editorial staff.  This shows today, where information is more available in alternative media, and in foreign news sites.

With the internet, with information freely available, it is a double-edged sword.  Information that was once in obscure articles and books are freely available.  On the other hand, the internet is constantly spouting out false information and hoaxes.  There are Youtube channels that are well known for this.  There are websites setup, which are monitored by intelligence agency trolls, who are there just to throw skepticism, doubt, or ridicule on any subject that touches upon UFOs.  The end result is to control behavior to turn people away from it.

The other thing they do, is monitor UFO sites and posts that they do not control, to see what information they can obtain.  Just as Major Murphy was sitting in on a UFO religion meeting, you can be sure they keep certain sites under a particular watch list.  

MANIPULATING AND INFLUENCING OPINION, BEHIND THE SCENES

The most interesting part of the book Messengers of Deception is where the anonymous Major Murphy gives his opinion.  U.S. interest in the subject of UFOs actually began during World War II, as Nazi Germany had advanced very far in this matter beyond both the U.S. and Russia at the time.  After getting lost in the endless maze of a UFO religion Jacques Vallee was studying, he went back to Major Murphy to get his further opinion on the matter.  The interesting point Major Murphy tells Vallee - stop looking at UFO sightings and ignore the organized UFO religions.  Instead, look at the "hidden manipulators" behind the scenes, especially in occult groups and secret societies.  This struck Jacques Vallee as odd advice.  Why look at the manipulator of some odd ball secret society?  Here is this interesting passage:
Giving me time to absorb this information, Major Murphy gestured toward the notes I had compiled on the UFO contactees and their sects.
.
"You have assembled case histories on rather interesting groups. Don't misunderstand me," he said. "I am not suggesting that secret agents are going around the world giving these thousands of people individual suggestions to see UFOs. As we wound out when we began developing the science of propaganda during the last war, you don't need to do all that. A few well-placed stories, a well-planned program publicizing sensational incidents, will do marvels. The contactees are being manipulated. And I think we should not look to outer space for the Manipulators."
.
"Where would you look?"
.
"Right here, on Earth," said the Major, with the satisfied air of a mathematics professor who has succeeded in proving an especially vexing theorum. "The best place to start looking for them is among some of the occult groups. Such organizations are an ideal place for a clever individual to exercise his influence, because they are ignored by the intellectuals, by those who call themselves 'scientific investigators.' They are afraid of looking silly if they join the Order of Melchizedek: what will the Dean say when he finds out!"
.
We both laughed, I knew that Murphy was right on at least that point. The professional scientists were so insecure that they would thunder against any one of their number who dared to read occult books and admit it, or who got initiated into the Order of Melchizedek...without clothes, in somebody's hot tub.
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"Look at what you have already found. You have here many contactee stories that appear meaningless or foolish at first," continued Murphy. "Yet they contain explosive ideas: political control from a so-called 'higher level'; social unification; resistance to nuclear energy; transcending traditional religions; elimination of the current financial system. Keep looking. You might find that most of the UFO groups, including the major civilian organizations, are influenced by some strange people. And the pattern of conditioning you have discovered in your computer studies of UFO sightings may turn out to be aimed at long-term social changes."
.
"How could you prove that?"
.
"Look for cases where direct contact seems to have taken place between such a group and someone who fits the profile of the manipulators," answered the Major, getting up from his armchair as I gathered my notes and walked toward the door. "And look for other unexplained effects which follow a similar modus operandi: things that have a strong symbolic content, but don't seem to make sense. Things that academic science refuses to study, but which makes subliminal impact on the public. That's the level where the manipulators will do their work. If I'm not mistaken, the UFOs are only one aspect of their activity, one tool in their arsenal. If these beings are human, they have to reveal themselves occasionally, even if they are very good at misdirecting our attention." (Messengers of Deception, pp. 170-171)
Here is an interview of Jacques Vallee, where he discusses his work Messengers of Deception, and his overall theory of UFOs, and evidence that support they exist:




SO WHAT IS THE AGENDA?

In the accounts I have read, there seem to be multiple agendas of the intelligences behind the UFO phenomenon.  And I am aware that not all of the intelligences behind the UFO phenomenon are necessarily extraterrestrial in origin.  But none of these agendas work if they make themselves known to us.  War to them is not physical warfare, but it is a war of the mind, of controlling opinion, of changing the direction of society that is headed for destruction.  This mindset is interesting, for in the spiritual sense of scripture as revealed within the New Church, warfare is not literal physical warfare but rather warfare between truth and falsehood.  But there seem to be certain laws in place.  One is, the law of non interference with a lower level culture.  The other is, they cannot be caught interfering by those of their society, or of other extraterrestrial societies that keep us under watch.  Thus there seem to be valid contacts where they indeed say something that others would consider "extremely stupid" or nonsensical, in order to discount the contact entirely.  The planet, it would seem, is under some form of quarantine, due to the human minds having been cut off from heaven in an event known as "the fall of Adam."  The only way they are allowed to interfere, apparently, if permission is given.  But any higher level society, that puts technology in the hands of a lower society for the purpose of warfare, clearly does not have good intent.  That is one agenda.  Another agenda I have seen, is to keep us contained, from spreading beyond the reach of this planet.  Another one: the control of the spread of nuclear weapons.  Another agenda I have seen, a bit more nefarious, is the manipulation of religion itself in order to gain greater influence over society in general.  As evidence of that, check out three synchronized videos of a UFO that appeared over the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem in 2011:


This one has several independent videos.  Here is another:



The background voice, "Is that a UFO?" is heard more strongly in yet another video:


Obviously, whatever it was, it wanted to be seen.  It has the typical corona discharge as reported by witnesses of anti-gravitational devices, as well as the sudden change of movement in the blink of an eye.  The purpose?  Not likely earthly in origin, no military is going to reveal a military secret for religious purposes.  Perhaps to test people's reaction, to see how to "stage" a false "Second Coming."  So beware of interpretations of prophecies, which look towards a visible manifestation of the Second Coming.  If its popular among the masses, and seen by everyone, more likely than not it is not the Second Coming.  The true Second Coming takes place within, when one sees with their spiritual understanding the hidden spiritual sense of scripture.  So beware of the agenda of the manipulators. Even for this one, one of the video was faked, and that is what the news media showed.  So that is how they keep a public event under wraps - throw in a fake video, along with the real ones.  But there were actual witnesses - see Do Israeli News Sources Confirm Witnesses to Jerusalem UFO Event?  Days before, a similar event was caught of a UFO in Utah, again with more witnesses, just south of Salt Lake City, the center of Mormonism.  Again, the sighting is connected with a religious site.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Spiritual Meaning of Daniel's Prophecy of the Statue of Nebuchadnezzar



The book of Daniel, which means "God is Judge" - concerns the final end state of the church, when its good and truth have been corrupted by evils and falsities.  In it, there are a series of prophecies, which unknown to most, predict the present decline and fall of the Christian Church, before the birth of a new one.  The prophecies also contain time periods, which shows that the last judgment of the Second Coming should have taken place in the 18th century (e.g., analysis of Dan. 7:25 and other passages, discussed in previous blog posts).  In the New Church, it was revealed that the Second Coming was fulfilled in the revelation of the internal spiritual sense of the Word.  And just as the prophecies of Daniel predicted, this was all fulfilled in the 18th century when the Lord decided to reveal everything that had been kept hidden from the Jews and even Christians concerning the hidden spiritual sense contained in the Word.

But a new revelation means one must reject the old.  And by old, I mean the false doctrines of the Catholic and Protestant churches.  It was foreseen in the prophecies of scripture that the Christian church would decline, until nothing of good or truth remained in it. This decline and corruption of the Christian church is foretold in the prophecies of Daniel, but as those born in the church cannot see their own falsehoods, there is a tendency to demonize other groups, to propose a future Antichrist, or propose that these prophecies are "always future."  This is known as the Futurist view, and just like the Jews, they continually place prophecies in the future and do not see them fulfilled in the current state of religion as we have it today.

THE SPIRITUAL SYMBOLISM OF BABYLON

The book of Daniel begins with the following historical account of Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Jerusalem in the 6th century  B.C. -
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.  And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. (Dan. 1:1-2)
One thing that the revelations given to Swedenborg reveal, is that every word of scripture is Divinely inspired.  To see it, one must abstract the meaning from particular historical events, or any particular time or place.  Jerusalem, in the spiritual sense, represents the doctrine of truth of the Christian Church.  The vessels and treasures in the temple represent the knowledges of good and truth.  Nebuchadnezzar was a king of Babylon, and Babylon represents those who wish to rule others through means of religion.  For Babylon to plunder Jerusalem signifies that those who wish to rule others by means of religion, through a priesthood, will plunder the knowledge of the Christian Church and use it for evil ends, thus profaning it.  In scripture, Babylon is thus a symbolic representation of those within the Catholic Church who abused the Christian revelation in order to gain power.  This siege of Jerusalem of the 6th century B.C. was a type for things to come: in the literal sense, Jerusalem was plundered by the Romans in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D.  When the Roman Empire collapsed, the power center of Christianity shifted to Rome, and Rome made use of the knowledge of scripture in order to create a religious rule that lasted for centuries.

The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem, by David Roberts

In scripture, one can show that this is the spiritual meaning of Babylon, and it was foreseen that a "New Babylon" would be re-established in the future (see Zech. 5:5-11).  This was known to the early Protestants, and the revelations of Swedenborg confirm it.  There are other interpretations out there that are caught up in the literal sense and do not understand the spiritual meaning of Babylon.  Popular misinterpretations include those that think the future Babylon points to some future political empire in the Middle East.  Another is the western financial system.  But neither of these interpretations are correct, for the Bible is concerned about one's spiritual development and destiny, not in temporal earthly matters.  Babylon refers to any system of religion, where spiritual knowledge is abused for the sake of gaining power and control over others, and over their way of thinking, due to one's selfish pride and ego.  This is the overall subject of the book of Daniel as it was written in ancient Babylon, with a special focus on the Catholic Church, and later the Protestant Church that grew from it.

Many within the Catholic and Protestant churches who read the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation do not see this, as they put on certain "blinders" based on what they have been told by others, and false assumptions. For everyone reads scripture through the eyeglasses of their own doctrine, and if not, believe what religious leaders tell them.  Thus what they do, in order to maintain their mental blind, is to propose a "gap" theory in the prophecies, where the current Christian dispensation is excluded in the prophecies.

THE DREAM VISION OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR

The book of Daniel contains a series of dream visions, concerning the progression of the Christian church to its ultimate decline.  The first one appears in chapter 2, where King Nebuchadnezzar sees a statue with a head of gold, arms and breast of silver, thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of part iron and part clay.  This statue is destroyed and toppled by a huge stone that crushes it, which then becomes a mountain. Nebuchadnezzar is so troubled by the dream, he ask his Chaldean astrologers to explain the dream without even telling them the dream.  Ultimately, the dream and its interpretation is revealed to Daniel in a dream shown to him.  His explanation is as follows:
"You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold.
Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.
And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these.
And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay.
And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle.
As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage,  but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay.
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure."
(Dan. 2:37-45)

THE LITERAL INTERPRETATION OF THE DREAM VISION OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR

Nebuchadnezzar himself took the interpretation of the dream quite literally, and thought it referred completely to himself.  Perhaps thinking he could make his kingdom last forever, he next made a statue of gold and attempted to force everyone to bow down and worship it (see Dan. 3).  This is the most literal or base interpretation, one based on the selfish ego, and it thus the most limited.  The next level of interpretation is based on historical political kingdoms that arose in the Middle East, culminating in the Roman Empire.  This traditional interpretation is supported from statements in the other dream visions of Daniel, and is one that was also followed by the Jews as well.  Thus the dream vision can be represented by the following successive political kingdoms:

Head of Gold = Kingdom of Babylon, ca. 607 - 537 B.C.


Arms & Breast of Silver = Kingdom of Medo-Persia, ca. 537 - 332 B.C.


Thighs of Bronze = Grecian Empire, ca. 332-31 B.C.


Legs of Iron = Roman Empire, ca. 31 B.C. - 476 A.D.


Feet of Iron and Clay = Kingdoms of Europe


Beyond the Roman Empire is where disagreements begin.  There are two main views: the Historical view and Futurist view.  In the Historical view, the feet of iron & clay represent represent the various kingdoms of Europe begining with the collapse of the Roman Empire.  This is followed by the Seventh Day Adventists, but it actually dates back much earlier, and it was the view adopted by Isaac Newton in his commentary on Daniel.  In the Futurist view, there is a "gap" of time after the Fall of the Roman Empire, and it is proposed that it refers to some future empire that arises in Europe.  One favorite of modern interpreters of late was the European Union.  Another interesting proposal is NATO, which of course includes both the U.S. and Europe.  Either one has to admit that the last and final kingdom built in opposition to God are the different kingdoms of Europe under the rule of the Papacy.  The other option is to state that the final world Empire is that of the United States and NATO.  This would indicate that the strongest opposition to the future kingdom of God would come not from the Middle East, but ironically, from the United States and/or Europe. Historically, we are seeing the U.S. degenerate from a republic to an Empire, just as what happened with the ancient Roman Republic which was transformed into the Roman Empire.

THE FINAL EMPIRE - THE NEW WORLD ORDER?


THE SPIRITUAL INTEPRETATION OF THE DREAM VISION OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR

All dreams have several levels of interpretation, and they correspond with each other. At the lowest level, it refers to Nebuchadnezzar's own personal ego.  Next level up is that it concerns historical political kingdoms.  However at the highest level, scripture is concerned with eternal spiritual truths, and earthly matters are but temporal representations of these eternal truths.  Each of these levels are different, but they don't exactly disagree with each other - instead, they correspond with each other, each providing a higher level or more universal meaning.  In the visions of Emanuel Swedenborg, he shown an interesting interpretation: the dream-vision of the statue of Nebuchadnezzar represent four world ages or dispensations, as follows:

The Age of Gold = from Adam to the flood of Noah, also known as the "Most Ancient Church."

The Age of Silver = from flood of Noah to Moses, also known as the "Ancient Church."

The Age of Bronze = from Moses to the time of Jesus Christ, the Mosaic or Jewish dispensation.

The Age of Iron = the Christian dispensation

The Age of Iron/Clay = the corrupted Christian church

Here is a graphic that is an approximate representation of the different dispensations that are recognized in the New Church.  Most scholars recognize these ages, but call them by different names:

These "ages of the world" were actually well known in ancient times; one can find evidence of that in Greek myths as well as Zoroastrianism.  Recognizing that there are different dispensations or world ages leads to interesting observations.  One is, each dispensation begins with a Divine revelation.  During an age, the Divine revelation declines and become corrupted.  Then another revelation is given.  One age dies, another one is born anew, similar to the life cycle of a Phoenix.  This cycle of decline is broken with a new dispensation, the "kingdom of God," which does not go through a period of decline.

If we compare this spiritual interpretation with the literal interpretation, we can see a level of correspondence.  First, note that right after the flood of Noah, there is the story of the fall of the tower of Babel, ancient Babylon, which corresponds with the fall of Babylon to the Medo-Persian empire in 537 B.C.  Second, note that the Age of Iron corresponds to the Christian dispensation in both interpretations.  Thus the lower level literal interpretations are "compressed" views of a higher level view.  Sort of like a hologram, where the part contains the whole.  This is not unique - these multiple levels of interpretation can be found throughout all of scripture, which Swedenborg discusses at length for certain passages (e.g., the 10 commandments, as explained in Heavenly Arcana and True Christian Religion).  Another interesting observation: the loins of the statue corresponds with the beginning of the Christian dispensation, which began with the incarnation through the virgin birth.

Now, as said above, each world age or dispensation begins with a Divine revelation.  Each successive revelation is inferior to the one that preceded it.  The Age of Gold begins with direct heavenly contact in the Garden of Eden.  The Age of Silver begins with God's covenant with Noah, and represents ancient religions of the Middle East that preceded Moses.  The Age of Bronze begins with the Mosaic dispensation, the revelation of God's law on Mt. Sinai.  The Age of Iron begins with the revelation of the Divine incarnation in Jesus Christ.

The final revelation of the Christian church, leading to a new dispensation of Christianity, is the revelations given to Emanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century.  This is known as the "New Church."  It is small, as it is strongly opposed by the churches that preceded it due to false doctrines.

THE CELESTIAL OR UNIVERSAL INTERPRETATION OF THE DREAM VISION

Above the literal sense is the spiritual sense, and above the spiritual sense is the celestial or universal sense.  Swedenborg, in his interpretation of scripture, concentrates for the most part on the highest universal meaning of scripture.  In heaven, there are universal truths, and these are manifested in different ways in the temporal realm according to one's understanding.  In heaven, these symbols are eternal and universal, and manifest in dreams.  So in the highest spiritual sense, the dream vision of Nebuchadnezzar signifies how the love of self corrupts the good and truth of the church, until in the end there is nothing but evil and falsity within it.  For the love of self seeks to rule over others through pride, and when spiritual knowledge is used for evil ends, it becomes perverted and profaned.

Gold, in the spiritual sense, signifies the good of love.  Silver signifies truth, or those who are in good from truth.  Bronze or brass represents those who are in an external form of good, in a form of obedience, but without a spiritual affection for truth.  Iron represents knowledge of spiritual truth.  Clay represents falsified and profane knowledge derived from the self.  The dispensational ages in scripture correspond to these higher spiritual states.  One can apply these universal truths in many different ways; it has multiple applications because these higher level truths are universal.  Here is one passage from Swedenborg on this particular dream vision of the statue of Nebuchadnezzar, where it is applied to the ultimate decline and last judgment upon the Christian church:
"The successive states of this church even to the last are depicted by the head, breast, arms, belly, thighs, legs, and feet of that statue; likewise by the gold, silver, brass, iron and clay, of which the statue consisted from top to bottom. All this makes clear that this church in its beginning was full of wisdom from the good of love to the Lord. For its "head," which is the highest part, signifies wisdom, and "gold" signifies the good of love to the Lord. That the toes of its feet were "part of iron and part of clay" signifies that the last state of that church would be without any good of love and without any wisdom; for this is thus interpreted by Daniel:
Whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of man; but they shall not cohere one with the other, even as iron doth not mingle with clay (Dan. 2:43). "The seed of man" signifies the Divine truth, thus the truth of the Word; and by this no coherence is effected, because at the end of the church it is falsified by application to the worship of men. The destruction of this church is described by "the stone brake in pieces all parts of the statue." "Stone" signifies the Divine truth; and the "rock" which the stone became signifies the Lord as to the Divine truth. Its destruction is the Last Judgment." (Apocalypse Explained, n. 1029.5)
The state of iron and clay, which do not intermix with each other, also signifies a state of life where one's spiritual beliefs (iron) does not mix with how one lives (clay).  Thus in the present age, religion is a matter of belief alone, without regard to how one lives their life.  The stone, made without hands, which falls from heaven and destroys the statue, represents the Divine truths that were revealed from heaven in the 18th century to Emanuel Swedenborg.  For it to become a mountain, signifies that love and charity will become the first and primary doctrine, instead of faith or belief alone.  For the stone to be made without hands, indicates that these truths are purely Divine, without human influence, or corruption from doctrines of men.  But to see this, one must be willing to recognize the falsehoods of the past, the falsehoods taught by one's own religion, and reject them in favour of what is true.  Then the truth can appear in greater light.