Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On Skepticism and Speaking to Angels

I decided to randomly browse some blogs on Christianity to see what other topics people are talking about...and the first one was about debunking Christianity.  I read it, and it is quite apparent that there is a BIG disenchantment and dissatisfaction with the Christian Church as a whole.  The funny thing is I can understand their point of view, as I had left the church as it was not answering some very basic and fundamental questions. However I never rejected the faith that Jesus was Divine, or that He rose from the dead...the preponderance of evidence suggests something very unique happened. Otherwise we would have just another failed prophet killed off by the Jews, and Christianity would not even exist. And there were a host of prophecies that were fulfilled. But I could see at the time there are some very fundamental doctrinal problems with the churches...so began a long hunt for the truth.  The problem is, many give up when seeking the answers to their questions, and some go even further, down into an atheistic skepticism.

I realized that when it comes to religion, there are two kinds of people:
1. Those with simple faith, who follow the Lord and the commandments.
2. Those who have questions, who want to have a rational explanation for their religion.
When seeking a rational explanation for certain matters of religion...a bit of care is required. For not everything that is true is known through our knowledge of the senses, and our own rationality.  There is that inner voice, conscience, intuition, precognitive dreams, clairvoyance...this kind of knowledge comes from above, and it flows in.  Many revelations of religion are adapted to the understanding of those receiving them.  There are methods to open this up, but you have to shut down your senses, and learn how to shut down your rational mind and not analyze the information received (e.g., Remote Viewing used within some secret U.S. intelligence agencies.)  Then, there is knowledge we receive from our outer senses and our own rationality.  While this can provide a "sanity check" on the information you receive, the danger with extensive reasoning is some sink down into a perpetual skepticism, where they desire to disprove and tear apart anything constructive.  For you can use logical reasoning to tear down anything, and there are some plain limits to our human understanding. This lower kind of knowledge, the desire to confirm heavenly revelation with one's own knowledge, is known as the "serpent" - the lowest creature nearest the earth, representing sensual intelligence.

So for that reason, there are a set of "mysteries of faith" within Christianity.  But as the Christian Church degenerated into falsehoods, the church developed a habit of using the argument of "mystery of faith" to shut down any valid questioning. The Catholic Church, especially, became a political power, and used many methods to shutdown questioning. This is also called "blind faith" - where "faith" is taken to mean to accept something as true without questioning, instead of the true meaning of faith: living by the truth that you know.  And this is harmful, because as humans progress from knowledge to rationality, the rational mind is the medium between the natural self and the higher spiritual self.  And the spiritual mind must be conjoined to the rational.  And another side effect: Christians cannot even defend what they believe against rational skeptics.  As the church degenerated into further and further falsehoods, then it was time for a revelation to be given -- for if it has been given before, the Church would have shut it down or distorted it. After all the doctrines were laid down by Swedenborg, he saw a vision of a door which read above it Nunc Licet - Latin for "it is now permitted" -- meaning that it was now permitted to use reasoning to understand the inner mysteries of faith which were kept hidden in previous times.

Anyway, I was curious what arguments those who were pursuing means of "debunking Christianity."  Skeptics and atheists generally hold to the following points:
1.  There is no such thing as a trinity of three persons.  One can not logically maintain the trinity is One Being.
2.  The idea of vicarious or blood atonement makes no sense.
3.  It is a fallacy of the Protestant churches to believe that one is saved by faith alone.
4.  The literal sense of the Bible contains errors.
So I compared this with some of the general tenets that I hold to:

1.  There is no such thing as a trinity of three persons.  One can not logically maintain the trinity is One Being.
2.  The idea of vicarious or blood atonement makes no sense.
3.  It is a fallacy of the Protestant churches to believe that one is saved by faith alone.
4.  Errors and false theological doctrines can be drawn from the literal sense of the Bible, which hides an inner spiritual meaning.
Oh wait! My list is the same as many skeptical atheists. This was somewhat of a surprising realization on my part. The difference is, many cannot get out of the trap of the falsehoods they see in the churches, and become atheistic. The revelations given to Swedenborg counter every single point they bring up to debunk Christianity. The fact of the matter is, they do have a point: the modern churches have degenerated into many foundational falsehoods. I then realized: the revelations of Swedenborg were not written for those who hold to simple faith, they were written for people who have questions, or who want a rational explanation for their religion.

Swedenborg once wrote that it was now safe to reveal the inner mysteries of faith, of heaven and hell, the afterlife, the spiritual meaning of scripture - because the world had become so darkened in their blindness that no one would believe it.  Which I thought was a rather ironic statement. There is a danger in knowing inner matters of faith, believing it, and then turning against it - one has then profaned what is Most Holy, and there are no longer any means to turning a person back from blindness. Thus Jesus stated it was better to enter heaven with one eye, then to have two eyes and enter the outer darkness. Here we have 25 years of visions and revelations...and they are completely unknown to the majority of the world.

That one day a person would be revealed everything of heaven and hell, and would come back to tell the world about it, and would not be believed -- is foretold in an oblique manner in the gospels:

"There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.
But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,
desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
"Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'
But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.
And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'
"Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house,
for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.'
Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'
And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'
But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' "
(Luke 16:19-31)
And with that, I now have an excuse to share this song I just found called "Speak to Angels" by 009 Sound System:











Saturday, February 23, 2013

David and Saul, and the music of Heaven

DAVID AND SAUL

It is well known that David represents the Lord, as there are many prophecies which speak of the Messiah as the son of David. They both came from Bethlehem. David is anointed by Samuel to become the next king of Israel, and soon after Saul becomes troubled and depressed:
But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him.And Saul's servants said to him, "Surely, a distressing spirit from God is troubling you.Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. And it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and you shall be well."So Saul said to his servants, "Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me."Then one of the servants answered and said, "Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the LORD is with him."Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, "Send me your son David, who is with the sheep."And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a young goat, and sent them by his son David to Saul.So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer.Then Saul sent to Jesse, saying, "Please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight."And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him. (1 Sam. 16:14-23)
When Saul is mentioned in the context of David, what he represents changes a bit. Saul of the tribe of Benjamin was a foreshadowing of Saul (Paul) the apostle.  In another level of meaning, Saul also represents the worship of the Jewish Pharisees before the coming of the Lord, as Saul was also a Jewish Pharisee before he converted to Christianity.  In the revelations of the Heavenly Arcana, the spiritual progression of Jesus is described as He grew as a human, beginning with the initial natural state, then reaching a spiritual state, before reaching the final celestial state.  The struggle between Saul and David over the throne represents Jesus' own spiritual struggle in overcoming and subduing the evils in His own natural man which He inherited from His human mother Mary. This is somewhat represented in His conflict with the Pharisees in the Gospels. Jesus was Jehovah in human form, and the way the Lord redeemed humanity from hell was first by redeeming His own human by overcoming all evil temptations. It is the Lord's spirit which helps us from within when we try to resist our own temptations. Thus in John He says, And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. (John 17:19)

That Saul the Pharisee who persecuted the early Christians represents this, is shown by the first words Jesus says to him when Saul is confronted with Jesus in a blinding vision:
Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? (Acts 9:4)
I always thought this was a very interesting statement. Although Saul was persecuting other Christians, Jesus asks him why is Saul persecuting him. Which goes to show, although this is quite hidden, Jesus lives inside our heart when we follow him and live according to His commandments. It also shows that Saul represents the Jewish Pharisees who persecuted Jesus while He was alive, and in a higher sense, Saul represents the initial natural state Jesus was born into, which He had to sanctify due to the sinful nature His natural body inherited from Mary.

Samuel's anointing of David represents Jesus's spiritual state when He is anointed by the Holy Spirit. The departure of God's spirit from Saul, and David becoming Saul's armorbearer and playing the harp to drive out an evil spirit, represents how at this time Jesus entered into direct warfare with the spirits of hell. Thus after Jesus is baptized, He enters into the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the devil. It is from this point on that Jesus progresses to the point where He is able to drive out evil spirits from other men and women. Swedenborg states that Jesus endured temptations of the worst possible kind, which no other human experienced. For the greater the Love, the greater the temptation, for that Love will be opposed by hell. And the Lord's love was the greatest of all, as He had love to save the entire human race.

THE MUSIC OF THE HEAVENS

It was well known since ancient times that music can provide spiritual relaxation for the soul.  David made use of the harp to compose many of the Psalms:
Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the LORD on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals. (2 Sam. 6:5)
One time my grandfather came very close to death, his heart stopped, but the doctors were able to revive them. He was a composer and musician, and as he slipped away he began to hear the most beautiful and peaceful music he ever heard in his life. When he came to, he was actually upset with the doctors for reviving him.  Those remaining years he had to suffer much due to cancer. I always wondered about that music...where was that coming from?

Swedenborg stated that stringed instruments represent the spiritual affection for faith, while percussion and wind instruments such as the drum and trumpet represent the affections of the heart and will. He also states "Harpers ...stand for truths, and trumpeters for goods of faith." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 424) In the heavenly visions of Swedenborg, he describes some of the heavenly choirs:
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 — of which by the Divine mercy of the Lord hereafter. And furthermore, the most ancient people referred what was celestial to the province of the heart, and what was spiritual to that of the lungs; thus they ascribed something spiritual to whatever is of the lungs, as is the singing voice and its like, and so to the voice or tone of such instruments — for the reason, not only that the heart and lungs represent a kind of marriage, as of love and faith, but also that celestial angels belong to the province of the heart, and spiritual angels, to that of the lungs. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 418.2).
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. 419). 
Spiritual things or truths and goods of faith were celebrated with the harp and psaltery and with singing, and the like; but the holy or celestial things of faith were celebrated with wind instruments, such as the trumpet and its kind. It was for this reason that there were so many instruments about the temple, and that this or that was so often celebrated with certain instruments. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 420.2).
The reason why the harp of David could drive out an evil spirit was that the music of David corresponded to the music of heaven, which evil spirits cannot stand to hear:
It is worthy of mention that angels and spirits distinguish sounds according to differences as to good and truth — not only of songs and instruments, but also of voices; and they admit none but such as are harmonious, so that there shall be concordance of sounds, and consequently of the instruments, with the nature and essence of good and truth. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 420.5).
In other passages, Swedenborg describes how evil spirits suffocate on the approach of the sphere or aura of those of heaven. Thus music has a similar effect. It is said that all things were created by the Word of God - and the latest theory from physicists is that at the smallest level, everything seems to be composed of vibrating strings. The universe is thus the ultimate manifestation of the music of heaven. I was looking for some good harp music to listen, and found a song produced by a couple of twins named Camille and Kennerly. This song is the theme song from the "Game of Thrones", apparently an epic fantasy where nobles struggle with each other in a civil war. A fitting selection, as Saul and David eventually war against each other over the throne of Israel:


Below is the original sound track from "Game of Thrones", showing a king or prince on a throne in a dark mood, similar to Saul.  Looks like an interesting series:



Friday, February 22, 2013

The Prophecy of Pauline Christianity

WHAT IS PAULINE CHRISTIANITY?

One important point I have seen in the scholarship of Biblical criticism, and in studies of the Christian religion, is that certain scholars - who tend to come from outside the church - talk about the theory of "Pauline Christianity."  This line of thought appeared in the 20th century, and it talks about how the gospel as preached by Paul was perhaps different then the gospel preached by Jesus and the original apostles. Which I found to be a very interesting line of thought. This is naturally opposed by Christian theologians, and they have their point too. Practically all of Christian theology is devoted to a study of the letters of Paul, who never knew Jesus in person, and never directly quoted a saying of Jesus. So are the scholars of Pauline Christianity right? It is not a simple yes or no answer, and its debatable.

When we come to the revelations given to Swedenborg, he was shown in vision that the letters of Paul are not Divinely inspired in the same way as the four Gospels and the book of Revelation are. Direct Divine inspiration is symbolic in nature, where each word, sentence -- sometimes even the very letters themselves -- have a spiritual meaning. Not so with the letters of Paul. The letters of Paul were included to provide explicit and simple doctrines for the Church. Did Paul preach a different gospel? Not exactly. What Swedenborg stated was that the Protestant interpretation of Paul's words, where one is justified by faith without works of the law, is a distortion of the original gospel. Paul himself never intended to mean that the works of charity are nothing, what he meant was that it was no longer necessary to follow the Mosaic rituals intended for the Jews. For those Mosaic rituals and ordinances were intended to be representative symbols of the future spiritual Church. So its not Paul who changed the original gospel: the Protestants who interpreted Paul in a certain way were the ones who did. And that is why the scholars of "Pauline Christianity" have a point in their line of thought.

PAULINE CHRISTIANITY AND "BLOOD ATONEMENT"

However, to counter what I just said, there is another point to speak about. Paul, in his letters, was not exactly specific at times by what he meant by the word "law". As Swedenborg pointed out, the word "law" can refer to all of scripture, or to the first five books of Moses, or to the ordinances of the Mosaic law, or to the law of the 10 commandments. And because Paul was not specific in his terminology, there was confusion in his day where there were those within the Church who opposed him. On a careful reading of Paul, he is always defending himself against "slanderers." After Jesus died and rose from the dead, the leadership of the early Christian Church passed on to James the Great, the half-brother of Jesus. James was well known in his time, but this aspect of Christian history has been somewhat suppressed by the Catholic Church who maintain the perpetual virginity of Mary. The epistle of James was written by him, and anyone who reads it can see he is speaking against a certain (now Protestant) interpretation of the teachings of Paul. And, on careful reading of Paul, there were some things that even Paul did not understand, when he speaks of the "foolishness" of the gospel to those who reject it. How is it foolish? It is apparent that many, including Paul, did not understand the symbolism of the "blood of Jesus" in communion. When one carefully examines the symbolism of scripture, one can understand that one of the meanings of "blood" is that it refers to the Divine Truth: it is Divine truth which washes one clean from sin, for one must see the truth that something is a sin in order to remove it. In the case of Jesus, His blood is the Divine Truth which flowed forth from his glorified body: the blood flowing from the cross in itself is a symbolic representation. What do most Christians understand? They interpret it literally, as the blood which flowed from the crucifixion. Thus most Christian theologians follow the idea of "blood atonement" - where sins automatically transfer from someone who is evil to someone who is good, to satisfy a "wrathful" God. Whether or not Paul thought the same thing is again debatable, but it is apparent that he understood that Jesus fulfilled many of the Biblical prophecies, and by His blood ended the era of animal sacrifices, which was a "type" of things to come.

I tend to follow a simple rule: if it does not make rational sense, it is probably not true. And the theological interpretations of "blood atonement", my friend, make no sense whatsoever. There is no way to logically defend that position. One has to resort to the all too common "mystery of faith" to defend an indefensible position. The Orthodox speak of how Jesus redeemed all of humanity by redeeming His own human, and that is the truth: for by doing this, the Lord can enter in all of humanity via His spirit (the Holy Spirit), to help us resist sin and temptation. I had reached this conclusion independently, before I even encountered the writings of Swedenborg. When I saw the revelations given to Swedenborg, it was a Godsend, my jaw just dropped when I read some of the insights into Christian theology. The view of Swedenborg expressed an ancient Orthodox view of how Jesus saved humanity. And it makes perfect sense.

The main doctrine of the atonement - the satisfaction theory - predates the Protestants, and can be traced to one St. Anselm of the 11th century A.D.  So its not just a problem in Protestant theology, they inherited this theology from the Catholics. Roman Catholicism is blinded by their theological opinions concerning Mary. For Jesus, when born, inherited an infirm human body from his mother Mary which had sinful tendencies, and it was through that infirm body that He could be tempted to do evil. His soul, being Divine, could in no way commit or succumb to evil. From that sinful nature He inherited in His human from Mary, He could be tempted, until He put off that human body and replaced it with the Divine Human in the resurrection. And that is something hard for Roman Catholics to swallow, as they believe in the immaculate conception of Mary. Those who do not understand, that the natural external body is different from the internal soul that survives death, may have a problem in understanding this as well. But I am digressing.

DIVINE FORESIGHT CONCERNING PAULINE CHRISTIANITY

It is well known, especially among the Protestants, that there was Divine foresight concerning the development of Christianity, that one line of it would degenerate into a priesthood that would appropriate that which belonged to the Divine in Roman Catholicism, and use religion as a means of self-rule and dominion. This is represented by prophecies concerning Babylon. The other line would degenerate into faith alone: this is represented by the Philistines (see the previous blog, The Prophecy of September 11 and America). Which of course is harder to see if you subscribe to the doctrine of faith alone: the doctrines you learn from childhood, and from your religion, can either enlighten you, or they can blind you. Now, as Paul has a strong influence within Christianity, was there Divine foresight concerning that as well? Yes there is, and this one is in plain sight.

Paul's true name was Saul. As Saul, he was a Jewish Pharisee who once intensely persecuted the early Christian Church. He probably would have succeeded in wiping it out, but then he had a waking vision of Jesus who spoke to him, and was struck blind for a few days as a result. He made a complete turn-around: he became the biggest proponent of Christianity among the Gentiles. At some point in time he changed his name from Saul to Paul, perhaps to make a break with his previous life.  In two statements, Paul (Saul) writes that he belongs to the tribe of Benjamin:
For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. (Rom. 11:1) 
[I am] of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee (Phil. 3:5)
So why is this significant? Because in the Old Testament, the first king over the Jews was one named Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin. This comes from the book of Samuel. Although it is now classified as a "historical" work, the Jews do not view the historical books in this way. These works are also grouped among the Prophets, as they are prophetic writings:
Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear the day before Saul came, saying,
"Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him commander over My people Israel, that he may save My people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have looked upon My people, because their cry has come to Me."
So when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said to him, "There he is, the man of whom I spoke to you. This one shall reign over My people."
Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, "Please tell me, where is the seer's house?"
Samuel answered Saul and said, "I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for you shall eat with me today; and tomorrow I will let you go and will tell you all that is in your heart.
But as for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not be anxious about them, for they have been found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on you and on all your father's house?"
And Saul answered and said, "Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak like this to me?"
(1 Sam. 9:15-21)
In scripture, a priest represents an aspect of Divine Love, but a king represents an aspect of Divine Truth. Or in the opposite sense, a king represents falsity which opposes Divine Truth. It is no coincidence that the first king over Israel was Saul of the tribe of Benjamin, and that the earliest proponent of Christianity was also a Saul of the tribe of Benjamin. Originally, the tribes of Israel were ruled by priests. Samuel, who was a judge and priest over Israel, gave the office to his sons, who then began to act unjustly and abuse their office. As a result, the people approached Samuel and asked for a king to rule over them. Samuel, initially upset by this, then hears the following words from God:
And the LORD said to Samuel, "Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day --- with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods --- so they are doing to you also.Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them."So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, "This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots.He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers.And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants.He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants.And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work.He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants.And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day."Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, "No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles."And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the LORD.So the LORD said to Samuel, "Heed their voice, and make them a king." (1 Sam. 8:7-22)
As God picked Saul of the tribe of Benjamin to rule over Israel, so he picked Saul of the tribe of Benjamin to be an apostle to the Gentiles:
Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. (1 Cor. 9:1-2)
But notice, when the people of Israel, who represent the church, ask for a king to rule over them (Saul), they are in a sense departing from God, who is their true king.  If you look at most of theology, and look at most of the sermons preached in the church, they go to one source: the writings of Paul (Saul) of the tribe of Benjamin. There are several example of this, where a higher spiritual truth is rejected, so God provides a lower truth that the people will follow. Take for example animal sacrifices of the Jews: these rituals were given by permission, because the people expected it from their former religion.  Or the command concerning divorce: Jesus said that commandment was given because of the evilness of their hearts, but originally that kind of law was not even necessary. In a sense, following the writings of Paul (Saul) is following a lower kind of truth, a sort of spiritual enslavement, as Samuel warned the people of Israel.

THE SPIRITUAL ENSLAVEMENT OF FAITH ALONE

In what way are the writings of Paul spiritual enslavement?  And why was this provided?  One is, God foresaw how His truth would be perverted by the church, and there is less profanation of what is holy when one perverts the writings of a man instead of the words of God. One of the biggest perversions or misinterpretations of Paul, is that one is saved by belief alone, without reforming one's life.  And there is warning after warning about this in the visions of Swedenborg:
They who are in faith separate from charity, and have confirmed themselves in it from Paul's saying to the Romans that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law (Rom. iii. 28), adore this saying like men who adore the sun; and they become like those who fix their eyes steadily on the sun, by which means the sight is so clouded that they cannot see any thing in the midst of light. For they do not see that by the deeds of the law are meant the rituals described by Moses in his books, which are everywhere called the law in them; and that the precepts of the decalogue are not meant. Wherefore lest it should be thought that these are meant, Paul explains, by saying, Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law (verse 31, same chapter). They who from this saying have confirmed themselves in faith separate from charity, from gazing at this passage as at the sun, do not see where Paul enumerates the laws of faith as being the very works of charity; and what is faith without its laws? Nor do they see where he enumerates evil works, and says that they who do them cannot enter into heaven. From which it is manifest what blindness has been induced from this single passage wrongly understood. (Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Providence, n. 115).
For what is more universally taught in the Word than to shun evil and to do good? and what is more fully set forth there than that God is to be loved, and the neighbor also? and who does not see that no one can love the neighbor, unless he lives according to the works of the law? and he who does not love the neighbor, does not love God: for in love to the neighbor the Lord conjoins Himself with man, and man conjoins himself with the Lord; that is, the Lord and man are together in that love. And what is it to love the neighbor, but not to do evil to him, according to the precepts of the Decalogue? (Rom. xiii. 8-11.) And as far as a man is not willing to do evil to his neighbor, so far he wills to do him good. It is manifest from these things, that it is blasphemy to exclude the works of this law from salvation, as they do who make faith alone, which is faith separate from good works, solely saving. By blasphemy (Matt. xii. 31, 32; Apoc. xvii. 3; Isa. xxxvii. 6, 7, 23, 24), is meant to deny the Lord's Divine, as the Socinians do, and to deny the Word. For they who thus deny the Divine of the Lord, cannot enter heaven; for the Lord's Divine is the all in all of heaven; and he who denies the Word, denies all things of religion. (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 571).
It is not the apostle Paul who causes the spiritual enslavement, it is the false interpretation of his writings which says belief alone saves, without actions of reformation, repentance, and living according to God's will, which are summarized in the 10 commandments.

SAUL THE KING AMONG PROPHETS, AND SAUL AMONG THE APOSTLES

Saul (Paul), as a strong influence over Christianity, was Divinely foreseen in the historical events of Israel when Saul of the tribe of Benjamin was chosen as the first king of Israel. Initially he was good, but he turned away from God and became evil. At one point the Spirit of God comes upon Saul, and he prophesies among a group of prophets whom he meets on a hill.
So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day.
When they came there to the hill, there was a group of prophets to meet him; then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.
And it happened, when all who knew him formerly saw that he indeed prophesied among the prophets, that the people said to one another, "What is this that has come upon the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?"
Then a man from there answered and said, "But who is their father?" Therefore it became a proverb: "Is Saul also among the prophets?"
(1 Sam. 10:9-12)
Saul, chosen as a king, was an outsider to a group of prophets. Likewise Saul was an outsider to the apostles of the Lord, and yet he was also chosen. Both of them were given a change of heart. Like Saul of old, there was initial disbelief that Saul had converted to Christianity:
Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord."
So the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.
And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight."
Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name."
But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake." (Acts 9:10-16)
...Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.
Then all who heard were amazed, and said, "Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?"
(Acts 9:20-21)
In both cases, there is surprise among the people to see Saul among the prophets, or Saul (Paul) among the apostles of Christianity.

Saul, the king of Israel, is successful in delivering them from the Ammonites. Likewise Saul (Paul) is successful in defending Christianity against its enemies, and finds many converts. But even after the victory of Saul over the Ammonites, Samuel warns the people of Israel that they have committed great wickedness in selecting king Saul to rule over them, and urges them to obey the commandments. As a sign of God's displeasure, he prays and it immediately thunders with a downpour (1 Sam. 12:13-18). And that is what has happened with the writings of Paul (Saul): people have turned it into a religion of belief alone. 

HOW SAUL (= PAUL) GRADUALLY TURNS AWAY FROM THE LORD

There are three things that Saul the king does to turn away from God's commandments, after which he is rejected:
1.  At Gilgal, Saul fails to wait for Samuel the priest to arrive, and instead usurps the office of a priest and makes a sacrifice.  For this sacrilege of the priestly sacrifice Samuel prophesies that the kingdom would be taken away from him. After this, it is stated that the people of Israel had no weapons to fight the Philistines (1 Sam. 13)
2.  Saul makes a rash oath, and says that none of his army should eat any food until they slay all the Philistines. Jonathan his son does not hear of this command, and eats some honey.  Saul rashly condemns his own son to death, but the people refuse to let him kill Jonathan. (1 Sam. 14).
3.  Saul fails to utterly destroy the Amalekites, by sparing the king and the best of the spoil for the people.  For this, Samuel says the kingship will depart from Saul (1 Sam. 15).
These historical events are not just historical events, but prophetic, and signify different spiritual states.  Using the symbolism of scripture as revealed in Heavenly Arcana (Swedenborg's largest work, where he reveals the spiritual sense of scripture) we can abstract ourselves from these historical events and spiritualize them, making it applicable to everyday life:
1.  The first state is where a false truth (Saul the king) is accepted as true worship. This takes place at Gilgal, where the Israelites first entered into the land of Canaan. This state occurs, when one is introduced into new worship. All Christians tend to be introduced to the gospels through the writings of Paul (Saul). When falsity is accepted as truth, the church then has no means to fight against what is false. The falsity here relates to knowledges of faith in the memory, the Philistines, who represent worship of faith alone. Gilgal was where Joshua first circumcised the Israelites, which represents reforming one's life against one's own sins. The Philistines, who are uncircumcised, cannot be fought against as the Israelites have no weapons, which represents truths which fight against what is false. Those who are in faith alone tend not to reform their lives through repentance. This is a spiritual summary of 1 Samuel 13.
2.  Saul commands his army not to eat food, and thus do not have enough energy to defeat the Philistines.  His son Jonathan does not hear of this command, and leads the Israelites to victory. Food represents love. Truth without love is faith without charity. With no charity, or desire to do good, one cannot fight against what is false. Jonathan, like the apostle John, represents good works, and is able to defeat the Philistines. Saul however gets angry with Jonathan for disobeying his order, and orders him killed. This represents how the doctrine of faith alone wants to kill off good works and charity. Although many Protestant ministers command this, they are forced to go back on their false teaching, as they need to allow the church to apply the truth to their life. What theologians think is true in theory, does not work in practice when confronted with the people of the church. This is a spiritual summary of 1 Samuel 14.
3. Saul fails to completely destroy the Amalekites, who represent a falsity which fights against the truth of the church. Saul keeps Agag the king alive, plus all the best of the spoil for the people.  This represents the third state, when falsity is explicitly accepted as truth. Thus Samuel prophesies that the kingdom would be taken away from Saul - which means the church will die due to falsehood from within.  Saul protests, and accidentally tear's Samuel's robe.  To tear a priest's clothing means to distort what is true in order to support a false doctrine. This is a spiritual summary of 1 Samuel 15.
As can be seen from above, the three spiritual states represents a gradual state of decline among those who accept the doctrine of faith alone, based on a false reading of the writings of Paul (Saul).  First, when one enters the church, they are taught only lip confession saves, and they do not see a need to reform one's life, placing worship in lip service.  Second, they vacillate between not doing good works, then doing them.  Third and final, they accept the doctrine of faith alone as saving as their king, and thus the true kingdom of God will be taken away from them: because in this state, they distort the Word itself to support their doctrine.

There is more on Saul - Saul the king and Saul (Paul) the apostle - but this blog is getting too long. Hopefully one can see that the history in scripture is not just history, but contains within it hidden spiritual truths.  All you have to do is open your mind and your heart, and new things will be revealed to you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Prophecy of September 11 and America


THE SYMBOLISM OF THE PHILISTINES IN SCRIPTURE

The revelation of the spiritual sense of scripture in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg reveal much concerning the hidden symbolism of scripture. Some of this symbolism had been guessed at before, and he confirms some of these interpretations; but also new things were revealed. It was known to the Protestants in the 16th century that the appropriation of Divinity in the vicarship and priesthood in Roman Catholicism was symbolized in scripture by Babylon: this identification was confirmed in Swedenborg's visions which he published in the 18th century, long before America became a world power. But what is not known, is that the religious system of faith separate from charity, which the Protestants follow, is represented by the Philistines in the Bible:
There are two evil religious systems into which every church degenerates in process of time; the one adulterates the goods of the church, and the other falsifies its truths. The religious system which adulterates the goods of the church, derives its origin from the love of rule; and the other, which falsifies the truths of the church, has its origin from pride in one's own intelligence. The religious system which takes its origin from the love of rule, is meant in the Word by Babylonia; that which has its rise from pride in one's own intelligence, is meant in the Word by Philistia. It has been known who those of Babylonia are at the present day, but it has not been known who those of Philistia are. They are of Philistia who are in faith and are not in charity. (Doctrine concerning Faith, n. 45, in Doctrines of the New Jerusalem)
In ancient times, the Philistines degenerated into one of faith alone:
...in the Ancient Church, and afterward, they were called Philistines who applied themselves little to life, but much to doctrine, and who in process of time even rejected the things which are of life, and acknowledged as the essential of the church the things which are of faith, which they separated from life; consequently who made light of the doctrinals of charity, which in the Ancient Church were the all of doctrine, and thus obliterated them, and instead thereof talked much of the doctrinals of faith, and placed the whole of religion in these; and inasmuch as they receded thus from the life which is of charity, or from charity which is of life, they were preeminently called the uncircumcised; for by the uncircumcised were signified all who were not in charity, however they might be in doctrinals (Heavenly Arcana, 3412.2)
That the Philistines signify in general a memory of the knowledges of faith, and in particular those who place faith and salvation in knowledges alone, which they make matters of memory, may be seen in Isaiah: Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of thee, because the rod that smote thee is broken; for out of the serpent root shall come forth a basilisk, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent (xiv. 29). Here the root of the serpent stands for external knowledges, the basilisk for evil from the falsity thence, and the fruit, a fiery flying serpent, is their works, which are called a fiery flying serpent because they come of lusts. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1197.3)
It should be noted that Philistia was a sea-faring nation that did much trade:
In Joel: What are ye to Me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Will ye render Me a recompense? . . . Swiftly and speedily will I return your recompense upon your own head. Inasmuch as ye have taken My silver and My gold, and have carried into your temples My goodly desirable things; the children also of Judah and the children of Jerusalem have ye sold unto the sons of the Javanites that ye might cause them to remove far from their border (iii. 4-6). Here it is evident what is meant by the Philistines, and by all Philistia, or all the borders of it. Silver and gold here are spiritual and celestial things of faith; goodly desirable things are knowledges of them. That they carried them into their temples, is that they possessed and proclaimed them; and that they sold the sons of Judah and the sons of Jerusalem, signifies that they had no love and no faith. Judah in the Word is the celestial of faith, and Jerusalem the spiritual of faith therefrom, which were removed far from their borders. So also in other places in the prophets, as in Jeremiah xxv. 20; xlvii. 1, to the end: Ezek. xvi. 27, 57; xxv. 15, 16; Amos i. 8; Obad. 19; Zeph. ii. 5; Ps. lxxxiii. 3, 4, 7. And concerning Caphtorim in Deuteronomy ii. 23; Jer. xlvii. 4; Amos ix. 7. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1197.4)
Those who are in faith alone honor belief alone, and are in the pride of their own intelligence. Thus the Philistines worshipped Dagon, whose upper portion was a man, and lower portion was a fish:
Among the Philistines, for example, Dagon was worshipped (spoken of in 1 Sam. v.), whose image was in the upper part like a man, and in the lower like a fish; so devised because a man signifies intelligence, and a fish knowledge, and these make a one. (Doctrine of Sacred Scripture, n. 23 in Doctrines of the New Jerusalem)
Modern scholarship has some doubt about the form of Dagon, stating that the name in the earliest ancient texts means "grain". Then when the worship of Dagon migrated to coastal cities, he was represented as part fish. But it makes no difference, as the seed of grain has a similar meaning, signifying truth obtained from knowledge (Heavenly Arcana, n. 5402).  Another interesting point about Dagon: it would seem that Dagon, at least in some ancient cities of the Middle East, was part of a trinity:
In Ugarit around 1300 BC, Dagon had a large temple and was listed third in the pantheon following a father-god and El, and preceding Bail Sapan (that is the god Haddu or Hadad/Adad). Joseph Fontenrose first demonstrated that, whatever their deep origins, at Ugarit Dagon was identified with El. (from Wikipedia)
I will try and summarize some of the symbolism concerning the Philistines and their god found in the writings of Swedenborg. The head of Dagon represents the pride of self intelligence, or faith alone. Thus when the Philistines captured the ark of the covenant, and brought it into the temple of Dagon, later their god Dagon was found fallen over with its head and arms decapitated. Likewise, after David defeated Goliath, a giant among the Philistines, he cut off Goliath's head. This same religious system is represented in the Apocalypse by the beast that rises out of the sea (Rev. 13), whose head receives a deadly wound and yet healed. This signifies that despite the fact that scripture speaks against faith or belief alone, it is justified and kept alive by the false prophet, who tells people to make an image of the beast. This is the false religious doctrine of faith alone of the Protestants. All this time, Christians are expecting a future Antichrist to appear, not realizing this passage represents a false doctrine right in the midst of their very church. You can see this constantly in the preachings of Protestant ministers: they preach faith alone saves, but then when they see that their church falls into inaction or moral laxity, they then revert to sermons to encourage their church to take an active role in their spiritual faith. This inconsistent theology is known to them, but they do not reveal it to their church. Thus the constant dichotomy in their sermons: for it is impossible to live like a statue in faith alone.

THE STORY OF SAMSON

One of the deadliest enemies of the Philistines was Samson, a Nazirite of Israel, who killed many Philistines. Samson received strength from his hair, and when he was shaven by Delilah he lost his strength. This signifies the power of the Divine truth in the outward sense of scripture, which loses its power once the Protestants distort it in the doctrine of faith alone. Baldness of the head signifies lackness of understanding. The Philistines then capture Samson, and then blind him. Blindness signifies spiritual blindness. This lasts for a period of time while Samson is in captivity, but eventually his hair starts to grow back and receives his strength back. When in captivity, Samson is a grinder at the mill. What is the symbolism of grinding wheat at a mill? As was said before, grain signifies truth obtained from knowledge. Thus its easier to see what grinding wheat means: "To take the mill and grind meal means to bring forth doctrinals from the truths" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 4335). The captivity of Samson grinding at the mill signifies a spiritual state of captivity, where one is blind to the truth, but if one reads scripture and realizes the doctrine of faith alone is false, the strength of the power of the Word begins to return in one's life.

In the end, Samson's strength returns to him, and decides to take down many Philistines in his own death:
Now the lords of the Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice. And they said: "Our god has delivered into our hands Samson our enemy!"
When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said: "Our god has delivered into our hands our enemy, The destroyer of our land, And the one who multiplied our dead."
So it happened, when their hearts were merry, that they said, "Call for Samson, that he may perform for us." So they called for Samson from the prison, and he performed for them. And they stationed him between the pillars.
Then Samson said to the lad who held him by the hand, "Let me feel the pillars which support the temple, so that I can lean on them."
Now the temple was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there: about three thousand men and women on the roof watching while Samson performed.
Then Samson called to the LORD, saying, "O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!"
And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left.
Then Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.
(Judges 16:23-30)

THE ATTACK OF SEPTEMBER 11

And this is where an odd spiritual correspondence occurs between scripture and the attack of September 11. Has anyone noticed this? I am not sure, but take note of the following:
1. Samson takes down the temple of Dagon by destroying two pillars. The two towers of the World Trade Center also form "two pillars".
2. There were 3,000 Philistines who died when the temple collapsed. In the terrorist attacks of September 11 there were exactly 2,996 people who died.
3. Samson was blind and in captivity when he took down the two pillars. The 1993 attempted attack on the World Trade Center was instigated by a blind sheik, who is in captivity. Moreover, it was recently reported that Osama bin Laden was blind in one eye.
4. Samson was once an ally of the Philistines, and had married a daughter of the Philistines. Likewise Osama bin Laden was a former ally of the United States in Afghanistan.
5. Delilah betrayed Samson for 1100 shekels of silver. The attack occurred on September 11, and Flight 11 was the first plane to slam into one of the towers.
6. Drop the letter N from the name SAMSON. You can then form the name OSAMA.
7. Samson attacked the Philistines, as they oppressively ruled over those of Israel. And why did the attack on the World Trade Center occur? It was for the cause of the Palestinians, who are oppresively ruled over by Israel. Palestine was of course named after the Philistines, and includes the ancient city where the original temple of Dagon collapsed.

Assume this association is not just a coincidence, that it was allowed to happen to represent the sinful nature of the doctrine of faith alone. Does it justify the attack? No it does not. God permits evil in many situations, so that we can see the sins we have committed and change our own ways. Perhaps its not enough to state that the doctrine of faith alone is a false heresy of the Christian Church. Perhaps it takes a disaster of epic proportions to wake people up to the fact that God does not approve of this kind of faith, which is truly not faith: it is spiritual apathy. And not just any disaster: something perhaps foreseen over 3,000 years ago. What kind of faith is it that allows you to live however you please? It is much harder to self examine oneself, and admit one's faults, and turn away from them. Even harder to admit faults in one's own religion.

Even when people's intentions are evil, God does not stop free will, instead He will bend human actions to fit His own purpose, that many more in the future will be saved. For evil to be removed, it must first appear, then it must be acknowledged, and then one must turn against it.  The biggest evil is pride: there is pride on an individual level, and there is pride on a national level. Pride comes before the fall. Don't be so proud of your faith. See if there are faults within it, and turn to the truth.

I do take a train that goes into New York, and I have heard that several people who used to take the train died in the attack. I have seen the American flags in front of fire stations for those heroes who attempted to save other people's lives. I see several graveyards when I look out the window. So why did so many innocent people die? Its a hard thing to hear, but perhaps it will cause people to self examine themselves more, and question their own beliefs, before we reach our own final destination. Let not their deaths be in vain.

There is a remarkable similarity between the deaths of the Philistines by Samson and the World Trade Center attack; more remarkable given the fact that a revelation was given to Swedenborg in the 18th century stating how the Philistines represent those who follow the doctrine of faith alone, which became the primary faith of worship in America. As the events of Samson and the Philistines occurred over 3,000 years ago, and was recorded in the Bible for a reason, I am calling it THE prophecy of September 11.  There were many precognitive dreams before the event, but this symbolic representation in an ancient historical event is much more older, and more significant than all of them. I clearly remember the morning of September 11: I had this dream of flying sharks flying through the air in a city with skyscrapers, devouring people. Who would have thought there was also a prophetic association between the attack of September 11, and an ancient story concerning the Philistines and their fish-god Dagon?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dreams and Visions of the DNA Molecule

THE DNA MOLECULE - THE ORGANIC FORM OF LIFE

Lately I have been reading the work Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Providence by Swedenborg, which I had combined with Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom in the work Angelic Wisdom concerning the One God. I found this interesting reference concerning spirals, which may by correspondence be related to the double helix of the DNA molecule:


James Watson, the scientist who discovered the molecular structure of the DNA molecule, had a dream concerning spiral staircases before determining the structure of DNA in 1953. I found this interesting passage       from Swedenborg, which may indicate that there are more refined substances in the shape of DNA spirals which survives after death:
Every thing confirmed by the will and at the same time from the understanding remains for ever, because every one is his love, and the love is of his will; also because every man is his good or his evil; for all that is called good which is of the love, and in like manner evil. Since man is his love, he is also the form of his love, and may be called the organ of his life's love. It was said above that love's affections and the thoughts of man therefrom are changes and variations of the state and the form of the organic substances of his mind. What these changes and variations are, and of what quality, shall now be told. Some idea of them may be gathered from... the organic forms of the mind, which are the subjects of man's affections and thoughts, as shown above; with the difference, that their expansions and compressions, or reciprocations, are relatively in such higher perfection as cannot be expressed in words of natural language, but only in those of spiritual language, which can sound only like calling them vortex like circlings inward and outward, after the manner of perpetual and in-bending spirals wonderfully combined into forms receptive of life. But of what quality these purely organic substances and forms are, in the evil and in the good, shall now be told: In the good the spirals turn forward, but in the evil backward; and the substances and forms which have the spirals running forward, are turned towards the Lord, and receive influx from Him; but those which have the spirals running backward, are turned towards hell, and receive influx therefrom. It is to be known that as far as they are turned backward, so far they are open behind and closed in front; and on the other hand, that so far as they are turned forward, they are opened in front and closed behind. From this it may be evident what kind of a form or organ an evil man is, and what kind of a form or organ a good man is, namely, that they turn in contrary directions; and as the turning when once fixed cannot be reversed, it is manifest that such as man is when he dies, such he remains for ever. It is the love of man's will which makes the turning, or which converts and inverts; for, as said above, every man is his love. (Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Providence, n. 319)
Swedenborg is not talking here of DNA, but a higher spiritual substance of the mind, shaped like spirals corresponding to DNA.  Who would have thought that centuries later scientists would discover that a double spiral was the molecular organic form for all of life?  Although the body dies, there is a more refined, purer substance of the body which lives after death:
From much experience, continued now for many years, it has been given to know, that a man after death loses nothing at all of what has been in his memories, whether in the exterior or in the interior memory; and this so absolutely that nothing can ever be thought of so petty, or so minute, that the man does not have it with him. Thus he leaves absolutely nothing after death, excepting his bones and flesh, which, while he lived in the world, were not animated from themselves, but from the life of his spirit, which was his purer substance annexed to the things of the body. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2475).
Spirits themselves are forms, that is, consist of continuous forms, equally with men, but of a purer nature, and not visible to the bodily sight. And because these forms or substances are not visible to the corporeal eye, man at this day apprehends no otherwise than that knowledges and thoughts are abstract things; hence also comes the folly of our age, that men do not believe that they have a spirit within them which is to live after the death of the body, when yet this spirit is a substance much more real than the material substance of its body; yea, if you will believe it, the spirit, after being freed from corporeal things, is that very purified body... (Heavenly Arcana, n. 3726.4) 
But it is to be known that the spirit of man is in his body, in the whole and in every part of it; and that it is its purer substance, both in its organs of motion and in those of sense, and everywhere else; and that the body is the material part that is everywhere annexed to it, adapted to the world in which it then is. This is what is meant by man's being a spirit, and by his body serving him for uses in the world; and by the spirit's being his internal, and the body his external. From this also it is manifest, that man after death is in an active and sensitive life, and also in the human form, in like manner as in the world, but in greater perfection. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 4659)
THE RESURRECTION

Many, who interpret scripture in a very literal way, believe that on some date in the future all will rise in reconstituted bodies.  But this is not true.  We will rise from our bodies after death - and this is because life is composed of a purer substance that we cannot see, which does not interact with physical light. That this is true, is shown when Jesus tells one of thieves that today we would be with him in Paradise, that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were among the living, and the story of the poor man who goes to heaven to be with Abraham.

However, there are prophecies which do speak of a last judgment, in which many will be judged to go to heaven or hell.  So what of these passages?  It depends on the person.  While some are judges immediately and go to heaven or hell after death, others or not.  They are not ready - and enter an intermediate state known as the "spiritual world."  It is in this intermediate area that there are periodic last judgments.  One of them occurred when Jesus descended to that area after his crucifixion, before He rose from the dead. There are ancient Christian traditions that declare this, and some passages here and there, but this is not so well known among the public. It was revealed in great detail to Emanuel Swedenborg.

There are two Christian sects in particular which state that after death, one enters into a period of sleep, to await that final day when everyone will literally rise in reconstituted bodies. And they will wait forever for that day.  One of them are the Seventh Day Adventists.  The other are Jehovah's Witnesses.  Of these, the group I admire the most are the Seventh Day Adventists - because they recognize that the 10 commandments are still valid, unlike Protestants.  Unfortunately, since they do not believe in the afterlife, any evidence for the afterlife they immediately deny with accusations of spiritualism.  Highly unfortunate. For any Seventh Day Adventist who reads this, lets read the first commandment:

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. (Ex. 20:2-3)
So who is that Lord?  He is Jesus, who is Jehovah in human form.  There is no such thing as a trinity of three persons.  Those who declare that, disobey the first commandment. There is a trine of the Divine itself, the Divine Human, and the Divine proceeding as the Holy Spirit, all in one person Jesus Christ.  So any Christian who truly wants to follow the 10 commandments needs to recognize that the doctrine of the trinity of three persons goes against the 10 commandments, and only one God should be acknowledged, Jesus Christ. So instead of concentrating on the fourth commandment, lets focus on the first. Should the Seventh Day Adventist Church correct itself to regard one God in one person, Jesus, and also correct their view on the afterlife...I see some hope for better things in the future for that church.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How Christian Theology encourages Moral Relativism

THE ORIGIN OF MORAL RELATIVISM

For the first time in over half a century, the Pope of the Catholic Church has decided to resign.  Although the Pope has publicly cited health as a reason, I can't but help think that there is another reason: disappointment. Disappointment that the Catholic Church is becoming less influential in the daily lives of everyday Catholics.  Disappointment concerning the influence of "moral relativism" in secular society.  Disappointment that many Catholics have left their church. Plus, probably private disappointment concerning the outcome of a private political power struggle concerning the Vatican bank, over which some suspect Pope John Paul I was assassinated in 1978.  But the outstanding issue for the Pope is probably what is most dear to him: theology, and the opposition of moral relativism to that theology. Moral relativism states that there is no moral standard, but that it depends on one person's point of view as to whether something is right or not.  But while it is easy for the Catholic Church to point the finger at secular liberalism, lets examine why the Western world is becoming increasingly secular in the first place.  Because I think the western world has become secular due to the underlying central theology of the Catholic Church. Which is very ironic, as the church is opposed to secular relativism.  But lets look at the theology, to see how the underlying theology actually encourages moral relativism. It is highly ironic, but I think it happens to be very true. The Catholic Church can't fight against moral relativism as it will not admit fault with its theology.

But I do not just want to focus on the Catholic Church, but also the Protestant Church. Because unknown to most, the underlying theology of the Catholic and Protestant church is basically the same! The difference is that the Protestants rejected the Pope's authority and other extraneous traditions, such as prayers to the saints.  But if you look at the main theological points, there is no difference whatsoever whether one is Catholic or Protestant. Theologians know this, which is why there can be ecumenical dialogue between the two churches.  Emanuel Swedenborg took a deep look at the theological differences between the Catholics and Protestants, and found that they were basically the same. He summarized his points in a little work entitled Summary Exposition (also known as Brief Exposition).  He did this to point out why it was necessary for a new Christian Church, one that rejected the old false foundations.

So what are the main theological points of the Catholic and Protestant churches, as summarized by Swedenborg?  They are as follows:
1. That there is a Trinity of Persons in the Godhead.
2. That all have original sin from Adam.
3. Imputation of merit from Jesus Christ.
4. Justification by faith alone.
To show that these are the same theological tenets between the Catholic and Protestant churches, Swedenborg goes point by point through the decrees of the Council of Trent, and the Formulae Concordiae of the Protestant churches. So I am not going to repeat that here. The one difference is on point 4: whereas the Catholic church adjoin good works to faith, Protestants state that good works are "spontaneous" through no self effort.  So lets examine why standard Christian theology helps encourage moral relativism in secular society:

A BELIEF IN MANY GODS IS A BELIEF IN NO GOD

All Christians will maintain that Christianity is monotheistic.  But ask any one of them: explain what the Trinity means.  Most will say a "mystery" and leave it at that.  But if pressed, one of them told me: there is one person here, one person there, and another person there.  Three persons one God does not make.  The interior belief of Christianity is one of three gods. This will never be admitted, because even the Athanasian Creed itself states that it is not permissable to speak of three gods.  So while there is three, the creed states that one must only admit "one". So while in the mind there are three persons of beings, many Christians will call it one God with their mouth, even though it isn't. What is in the mind does not agree with what the mouth says.

So as a result, a belief in many gods is a belief in no God. And this results in a belief in "Naturalism": that Nature somehow spawned nature. If there is no God, there is no life after death.  If there is no God, and no life after death, then good and evil does not matter.  Its all a point of view.  Or, what most people take it to mean, its what you can get away with for self-gain while appearing to be good. With no God, humans will place their own self ego in its place. Egotism, self-centeredness, and individualism become all important. Thus the proliferation of "self-help" and making one self "happy".

ORIGINAL SIN IS FATALISTIC AND DEFEATING

Since we all have "original sin" from one parent Adam, there is nothing we can do about it so we might as well give up.  And another problem: science has shown man existed long before 6,000 years ago. So there's this foundational belief that disagrees with scientific fact.

IMPUTATION OF MERIT FROM JESUS CHRIST

Not only is "original sin" fatalistic and defeating, but the theology of "imputation of merit" means that Christ's merit is transferred to us, through no self effort. So all you have to do is believe.  That's it.  And all of a sudden you are worthy of heaven, no matter what your life is like, right?

JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE

This goes hand in hand with the previous tenet. Most people take "faith" as synonymous with "belief".  Although Catholics adjoin works to faith, Protestants do not, stating that works somehow arise as a byproduct of belief.  Man's will is nothing, good works will somehow "spontaneously" appear through no self-effort. You don't do anything, God does.

So I will ask the Church, why is society becoming increasingly secular and morally relativistic?  It is simple: YOU, THE OLD CHURCH, ARE TELLING EVERYONE TO BE MORALLY RELATIVISTIC. And that, my friend, is why the old Christian Church has become dead and irrelevant to modern society. Ouch. That's not a message the church wants to hear.

The problem is, certain theological beliefs may look good on paper. But put into practice?  Well, things then may become morally relativistic when one puts a false teaching into practice. And when put into practice, the teaching itself will begin to become irrelevant, as people have a tendency to align their beliefs with the way they live.

THE REVELATION OF THE NEW CHURCH

Justification by faith alone, and a belief in a trinity of three person, destroys the two essentials of religion: that there is one God, and that one must live by His commandments. If you live a good life, you will go to heaven. Those who are evil will be condemned.  The Bible says this over and over and over again: everyone will be judged according to their works. And in everything you do, your true intentions will be known. Your conscience will be laid bare before God. A belief in one God, and living according to conscience, are two universals that many know who do not belong to any church or religion. This is because there is a hidden influx of God's spirit into every human soul.

The problem is, the theology of the old Christian church has become corrupt, where there is no one God, and one's deeds have become irrelevant. Is this what Jesus taught?  No.

THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD, AND JESUS IS THAT GOD IN HUMAN FORM

The human born to the virgin Mary is not a separate being from the Father.  The human is God in human form. The human itself is the Son of God, who was born in time, not from eternity:

Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us."
Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works." (John 14:8-10)
And yes, Jesus prayed to the Father as another person. But He did this as he was initially born in an imperfect human body, and could experience temptation. Temptation can only be experienced when one is in a state of humanity, where one is in a state separate from the Divine itself. He has to grow as any other human would. But eventually, He overcame all temptation, to the point where He made his very human body Divine. That is why he rose from the dead. That his imperfect human was transformed into a Divine Human, is shown by this statement of Jesus after the resurrection, before He ascended into heaven:

All power has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (Matt. 28:18)
Was power transferred from one being to another being? No!  God made His very human Divine. In this way, man became God and God became man.  All in one Divine Being. The true trinity is in one person: the Divine itself, the Divine Human, and the Divine Proceeding, which is God's spirit proceeding from His body. There is no such thing as three divine persons.

WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR DEEDS

We are responsible for the deeds we choose to commit.  It is upon this principle upon which all the laws of society are based upon.  This responsibility is a spiritual one: as a rational being, we are responsible for the deeds you choose or choose not to do. Those who choose good, become in conjunction with God, those who commit evil, separate themselves from Him.  Although one must acknowledge one self as sinful, that acknowledgment is the first step: one must acknowledge one's specific sins, and then turn away from them. If we do nothing about it, our confession is but lip service.

Although we are responsible for the deeds we commit, we are not responsible for the nature we inherit from our parents.  There are certain aspects of our self that we have inherited which we cannot change.  In the New Church, there is no one person that was Adam, "Adam" is symbolic of the first church that existed on this earth, which had direct revelation from heaven.  Long before evolution and genetics became known scientific facts, Swedenborg talked about the difference between what we do by choice, and what we inherit from our parents. We are only responsible for what we do by choice. When born, we are born into the love of self, and we must withdraw from that essential love, which is evil, towards a love of God and others through a life of service. It is the love of self which is the foundation of all evil. And no one wants to call their own love of self evil: it is a very hard thing to admit.

CONJUNCTION WITH GOD IS THROUGH GOOD AND TRUTH

It is through living by God's commandments that there is conjunction with God.  Many churches will say that as Jesus "fulfilled the law" there is no need to follow the law of good and evil.  But this is not only a gross misinterpretation of scripture, it is a big falsehood.  For in the Christian dispensation, the Jewish ritualistic laws were prophetically fulfilled, where it is no longer necessary to keep them.  The ten commandments remain intact as God's covenant between God and man.  Inasmuch as we follow these commandments, inasmuch there is conjunction with God. And even though we do it, still we should acknowledge that all that good originates from God alone. That is the nature of the covenant, for it allows for God to live in us through His spirit.

This conjunction between God and man is spiritual in nature.  The reason He had to come in human form is that at that time, this spiritual conjunction began to be broken.  As He became man, and as a man He became God, this conjunction is direct and through Him alone.  This conjunction is through active participation, and it is gradual.  There is no such thing as instantaneous salvation: it is a life long process. And it continues to eternity. We cannot believe in one way, and live in another manner.  The merit of someone who is just is not transferred to another through some unknown theological process.

FAITH ALONE DOES NOT SAVE

Faith alone, or what is the same in Protestant theology, belief alone, does not save. So at least on this point, traditional Catholic theology is more correct than the Protestant version:

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe --- and tremble! (James 2:19) 
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. (Matt. 7:24-27) 
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'"Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'"Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'"Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?'Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matt. 25:31-46)


SO WHY DID THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH BECOME CORRUPT?

All religions, without exception, become corrupt over time.  And the tendency is from monotheism towards polytheism.  Different aspects of God, when revealed, become distorted and man begins to create distinct personal beings as the most simplistic manner of explanation. Moreover, portions of scripture have been interpreted in a very literal manner. When I was explaining to someone how the doctrine of a trinity of three persons is false at its very core, he just could not believe how God could allow centuries of tradition to be so false.  But He doesn't - religious leaders suppress the revelations. But the reason why it is allowed is that God has given man freedom - even freedom when it comes to religion.  Thus God did not stop Adam & Eve from sinning in the Garden of Eden. Nor did he stop the Jewish people from worshiping a golden calf while He revealed the 10 commandments to Moses.  So you can forget centuries of tradition. If a million people say and believe something that is wrong, it is still wrong. Majority does not rule the truth. There are still Jews today that still expect the coming of a Messiah - not realizing this happened 2,000 years ago.  Likewise, there are many Christians who do not know that Jesus has come again in a Second Coming - but this time in vision, where He revealed the spiritual sense of scripture.  This is the true Second Coming - a coming in the Word of God, whose spiritual sense has been revealed out of heaven. But to accept that means to accept the theological falsehoods of the present church.  These falsehoods must be exposed and brought to light, before the church of the New Jerusalem can become a reality.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Symbolism of the Gemstones of the New Jerusalem

THE SYMBOLISM OF THE NEW JERUSALEM

Towards the end of the book of Revelation, or the Apocalypse, the apostle John sees a huge city descend out of heaven, which is called the New Jerusalem.  In the visions of Emanuel Swedenborg, he was shown that this is a prophecy of a New Church which would succeed the older Christian churches. A "city", especially Jerusalem, signifies a doctrine, and this city which comes down out of heaven signifies heavenly doctrines. There are two main doctrines which distinguish the New Church from all the Christian churches which preceded it:
1. Acknowledgment of only one God, in one person, who is Jesus Christ.
2. That one must turn away from one's sins and live by God's commandments.
Most consider Jesus to be just a good teacher or prophet, but those who hold this view ignore the many claims He made about Himself in the gospels. The first doctrine, that Jesus Christ is Jehovah in human form, is signified by the light at the center of the city:
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. (Rev. 21:22-23)
The "Lord God Almighty" is God Himself, which no man or angel can approach or see directly. The "Lamb" is the Divine in human form, which resides in the Divine Human as the soul resides in the body of every person. The "light" is the Divine Proceeding, the Holy Spirit, which enlightens us all spiritually. The Divine itself, the Divine in the human, and the Divine proceeding, is one trine in One Person, Jesus Christ. This trine exists in every person as the soul, body and spirit. Other churches which do not profess a belief in one God in one person do not belong to the New Jerusalem. These are the ones which profess a belief in a trinity of three persons, and are signified by the following passage in the book of Revelation:
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (Rev. 16:13-14)
The false doctrine of a trinity which opposes an idea of one God in one person is signified by the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet in the book of Revelation. Those who support such a doctrine will oppose the church of the New Jerusalem. Such a spiritual conflict is known as the battle of Armageddon. The book of Revelation should not be interpreted literally: it does not concern the kingdoms of this world, it concerns the doctrines and spiritual states of the Christian Church. Whereas a "devil" spiritually means that which influences one to do evil, a "demon" is that which influences people to believe in something false. Thus it is symbolically shown as frogs coming out of the mouth, for the mouth is what teaches others. Most are ignorant of the falsehood, as most do not question the belief-system they grew up with. 

The second doctrine, that one must live by God's commandments, is indicated by this passage:
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Rev. 22:14-15)
Those who falsely interpret the apostle Paul, and express a belief in a theology of "faith alone", or belief only, will be the ones who are typically opposed to this second doctrine. You cannot have a faith, and live contrary to it. What survives after death is the true desire of your will. You will go where your desire takes you. This is why the act of repentance, an acknowledgment and

THE GEMSTONES OF THE NEW JERUSALEM

One thing that will make the new Church stronger than the churches that preceded it is that it will be able to see the inner spiritual meaning of scripture.  The doctrines rest on a strong foundation, and the high walls signify the truths which defend it against what is false. In the foundation of the city there are a variety of special gemstones, which all reflect light in a different manner. This signifies the abundant knowledge which is available to those who wish to know the spiritual meaning of the literal sense of scripture, beyond a superficial understanding. Here is the passage:
The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.
The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
(Rev. 21:18-21)
Gemstones reflect light in different ways. Likewise, everyone who reads scripture, will see a different aspect of the truth in a different light. Unfortunately, Swedenborg didn't bother to explain the meaning of each gemstone, and assumed they had a similar spiritual meaning to the 12 tribes of Israel explained earlier in his explanation of the Apocalypse, and to similar stones named for the breastplate of Aaron. I decided to take a look at the gemstones in more detail, to see if there was any pattern to the stones.  What I thought was going to be easy quickly got complicated. Lets review each stone, and then towards the end I will examine any possible patterns. What I found was hard to see at first, but it took me by surprise.

1. JASPER (QUARTZ)

Jasper, a form of chalcedony, is an opaque, impure variety of silica (SiO2), usually red, yellow, brown or green in color; and rarely blue. In modern times Jasper refers to a variety of opaque quartz, but in ancient times it had significant translucency. So although there are a variety of Jasper stones, the one intended in scripture seems to be the translucent variety, since it is described as "clear glass." If that is the case, it the ancient gemstone of jasper is not the modern jasper, but quartz (SiO2):


There are actually many varieties of gemstones that are actually varieties of quartz but with impurities that give them color.

2. SAPPHIRE

Sapphire, meaning "blue stone" is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide (Al2O3). Some sapphires form a six pointed star in their stone due to inclusions in their crystal structure, these are known as "star sapphires". One famous one is the 182 carat Star of Bombay:


3. CHALCEDONY

Chalcedony is a cryptocrystalline form of silica (SiO2), composed of very fine intergrowths of the minerals quartz and moganite. Chalcedony has a waxy luster, and may be semitransparent or translucent. Like jasper, it can assume a wide range of colors, but those most commonly seen are white to gray, grayish-blue or a shade of brown ranging from pale to nearly black. The name "chalcedony" first appears in Pliny the Elder's Natural History of the first century A.D. as a term for a translucid kind of Jasper. The name is probably derived from the town Chalcedon in Asia Minor. A little later the word appears in the Book of Revelation, and unfortunately the word is found nowhere else, so the exact identity of this stone is a bit uncertain.


4. EMERALD

Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl (Be3Al2(SiO3)6) colored green by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium. The similarity of emerald to beryl was suspected by Pliny the Elder in his work Natural History of the first century A.D., but that fact was not confirmed until the 19th century. The fact that Chalcedony also appears in that work and was used by the apostle John indicates he may have even read that work. This also happens to be a clue as to why the gems are ordered in the way they are.



5. SARDONYX

Onyx is formed of bands of chalcedony in alternating colors. Its bands are parallel to one another. Sardonyx is a variant in which the colored bands are sard (shades of red) rather than black. Black onyx is perhaps the most famous variety, but is not as common as onyx with colored bands.


6. SARDIUS (CARNELIAN)

The Sardius gemstone is now known as carnelian or sard, which is brownish-red. Both are varieties of the silica mineral chalcedony colored by impurities of iron oxide (Fe2O3). The color can vary greatly, ranging from pale orange to an intense almost-black coloration. According to Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, the stone sardius is derived from the city Sardis in Asia Minor, but it is probably from the Persian word sered  meaning brownish red.


7. CHRYSOLITE (CHRYSOBERYL)

The gemstone chrysoberyl is an aluminate of beryllium with the formula BeAl2O4. The Greek word means "gold-white spar".



8. BERYL

Beryl is composed of beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate (Be3Al2(SiO3)6). The hexagonal crystals of beryl may be very small or range to several meters in size.


9. TOPAZ

Topaz is a silicate mineral of Aluminium and Fluorine with the chemical formula Al2SiO4(F,OH)2. Topaz crystallizes in the orthorhombic system. Pure topaz is colorless and transparent but is usually tinted by impurities; typical topaz is wine, yellow, pale gray, reddish-orange, or blue brown. It can also be made white, pale green, blue, gold, pink (rare), reddish-yellow or opaque to transparent/translucent.




10. CHRYSOPRASE

Chrysoprase, chrysophrase or chrysoprasus is a gemstone variety of chalcedony that contains small quantities of nickel. Its color is normally apple-green, but varies to deep green.



11. JACINTH

Jacinth is a red transparent variety of zircon (ZrSiO4).



12. AMETHYST

Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz (SiO2) and owes its violet color to irradiation, iron impurities (in some cases in conjunction with transition element impurities), and the presence of trace elements.



A CLUE TO THE SYMBOLIC PATTERN OF THE GEMSTONES

So, those are the twelve gemstones that appear in the foundation of the New Jerusalem in the vision of the book of Revelation or Apocalypse.  So when I first looked at it, I could see no pattern in it.  The order and selection of gemstones is completely different than the twelve gemstones listed for the breastplate of Aaron.  As with the twelve tribes of Israel, the different listings can signify different things depending on context.  There does not seem to be a superficial pattern based on color, and even that is complicated by the fact that some of the stones can have different colors. I stared at the information and almost gave up on this.

The clue to the pattern comes from Pliny the Elder's work entitled Natural History.  First, he makes use of the word Chalcedony for a gemstone, and the only other writer to have used that word for a gemstone is the Apostle John in the book of Revelation who was his near contemporary.  In the same work, Pliny the Elder noted how the emerald was similar to beryl. This casual observation was scientifically verified in the 19th century, when it was discovered that emerald had the exact same chemical formula as beryl, it just had an impurity from chromium. Here is some history on emerald and beryl from Wikipedia:

Mineralogist René Just Haüy discovered that both crystals are geometrically identical, and he asked chemist Louis-Nicolas Vauquelin for a chemical analysis. In a 1798 paper read before the Institut de France, Vauquelin reported that he found a new "earth" by dissolving aluminium hydroxide from emerald and beryl in an additional alkali. The editors of the journal Annales de Chimie et de Physique named the new earth "glucine" for the sweet taste of some of its compounds. Klaproth preferred the name "beryllia" due to fact that yttria also formed sweet salts. Friedrich Wöhler and Antoine Bussy independently isolated beryllium in 1828.

The other thing to note is that in the book of Revelation each gemstone is given a number. Emerald is #4. Beryl is #8. Eight is a multiple of four. It was then I got a hint about the pattern.  When discussing the symbolism of numbers, throughout Swedenborg that numbers that are multiples of other numbers often signify the same thing:
...numbers produced by division signify the like as their multiples — for instance five as ten, and as twenty, and also as one hundred and one thousand, and so on (Heavenly Arcana, n. 5708)
...compound numbers signify the same as the simple numbers of which they are composed, and therefore the simple numbers the same as their compounds (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9716) 
Half and double in the Word involve the like with the numbers to which they are applied — as twenty the like with ten, four the like with two, six with three, twenty-four with twelve, and so on; so also numbers still further multiplied involve the like, as a hundred and also a thousand the like with ten, seventy-two and also a hundred and forty-four the like with twelve. What therefore compound numbers involve, can be known from the simple numbers from which and with which they are multiplied; also, what the more simple numbers involve, can be known from the whole numbers, as, what five is can be known from ten, and what two and a half is from five, and so on. In general it is to be known that numbers multiplied involve the like with simple numbers, but what is more full; and that numbers divided involve the same, but what is not so full. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 5291) 
...numbers that are multiples of a similar number have a like signification as the simple numbers of which they are multiples (Apocalypse Explained, n. 336a)
THE SYMBOLIC PATTERN OF THE GEMSTONES

So, knowing that a multiple of a number has a similar spiritual symbolism, and seeing that beryl (#8) was a multiple of emerald (#4), combined with the fact that emerald and beryl were discovered to have the same chemical composition in the 19th century - that could hardly be a coincidence. Its evidence that a higher intelligence was taking the information in the apostle John's head and ordering it in a logical pattern.  So, lets take note of the following pattern of doubling in the list of gemstones for the foundation of the New Jerusalem:
3, 6: Gemstone #3 (Chalcedony) and #6 (Sardius): both are forms of Chalcedony. Both happen to be named after cities in Asia Minor.
4, 8: Gemstone #4 (Emerald) and #8 (Beryl): both have the same chemical composition. Despite being a brighter green, Emerald is the impure version of Beryl.
5, 10: Gemstone #5 (Sardonyx) and #10 (Chrysoprase): both are forms of Chalcedony.
6, 12: Gemstone #6 (Sardius) and #12 (Amethyst): both are forms of Chalcedony. Both contain the impurity of Iron Oxide (Fe2O3).
The sixth and twelfth gemstones contain Iron Oxide:
And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations --- 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels' --- as I also have received from My Father (Rev. 2:26-27)
She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. (Rev. 12:5)
Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. (Rev. 19:15)
Swedenborg states, "by the rod of iron with which the nations should be smitten, are signified truths from the literal sense of the Word confirmed by rational arguments from the natural man" (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 828.) As the gemstones in general signify truths from the literal sense of the Word, it is fitting that the sixth and the twelfth gemstones happen to have iron in them.

We have seen a doubling pattern for gemstones from #3 to #6. Beyond that we cannot double.  But what about gemstones #1 (Jasper or Quartz) and #2 (Sapphire)?  It would seem that gemstones #1, #2 and #4 form what I call a "base series" - gemstones #1, #2 and #4 represent the common base elements that can be found in all the other gemstones:

Gemstone #1 (Jasper or Quartz) is composed of Silicon Dioxide (SiO2). All forms of Chalcedony are also composed of Silicon Dioxide.  Silicon has a tetrahedral formation of SiO4 but the other oxygens combine with other silicon atoms to form the final composition of SiO2: the following shows Silicon surrounded by four oxygen atoms, each forming a vertex of a tetrahedron:


Gemstone #2 (Sapphire) is an aluminium oxide (Al2O3). Each Aluminum atom has an octahedral geometry:
A tetrahedron has four faces. An octahedron has 8 faces. Again, a doubling. Note that the tetrahedron and octahedron are among the five Platonic solids:


We see forms of the tetrahedron and the octahedron in the chemical geometry of the gemstones.  The cube, of course, is the shape of the city of the New Jerusalem.  The city has twelve "gates".  Note that the Icosahedron has 12 vertices, and the Dodecahedron has 12 faces (they are duals of each other). The number 12 appears prominently in the symbolism of the New Jerusalem - more on the meaning of the number 12 later.

Now from gemstones #1 and #2, if we double again, gemstone #4 (Emerald) contains silicon, aluminum, and beryllium.  Those are the three base elements from which all the gemstones are formed. Their variety comes from trace elements caught in their formation. The base elements can be found in the following gemstones:
Silicon Dioxide (SiO2): 7 gemstones (1, 3, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12)
Aluminum: 4 gemstones (2, 7, 8, 9)
Beryllium: 3 gemstones (4, 7, 8)
Also recall that in an earlier blog entry I divided the periodic table of the elements into seven main groups, as follows:
1. Alkali metals
2. Alkaline earth metals
3. Transition metals
4. Post transition metals and Metalloids
5. Non-metals
6. Halogens
7. Noble gases
Beryllium belongs to group 2.  Aluminum and Silicon belong to group 4.  Again, a "doubling."

So why this pattern of doubling?  This is because the number two signifies marriage love, the conjunction between good and truth. It symbolizes the union between God and His church. Thus the city of the New Jerusalem is first described as the "Lamb's wife":
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife." (Rev. 21:9)
THE CITIES OF CHALCEDON AND SARDIS

I want to focus on another kind of symbolism in the names of the gemstones, which I think is not accidental.  Note that Chalcedony (gemstone #3) is probably named after the city of Chalcedon in Asia Minor. Its "double" is Sardius (gemstone #6) which is named after the city of Sardis in Asia Minor.  Sardis is well known to those who have read the book of Revelation: the church of Sardis is mentioned at the beginning, as the fifth church out of the seven churches. In the letter to Sardis Jesus said:
You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments (Rev. 3:4-5)
Sardis is the fifth church. If we look at the fifth gemstone, it is Sardonyx, which is basically sard mixed with Onyx stone.  You can see white bands mixed with red.  In the sixth gemstone, that which was sard in the onyx stone is separated to become Sardius. This could symbolize the "cleansing" of the white garments. Sardius thus does not exactly represent Sardis, but rather what comes after Sardis, which was practically a dead church.  Thus Sardius is the sixth gemstone, which comes after the fifth. And we see that is the case in the following passage:
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Rev. 19:7-8)
White is a symbol of truth. Red is a symbol of love - or in the opposite sense, evil sin. Before white and red were mixed in Sardonyx, which gets purified in righteous deeds (Sardius). Now, if the gemstone Sardius represents what comes after Sardis, then the gemstone Chalcedony represents what comes after Chalcedon.  So, why would the city Chalcedon be marked as a significant city, when this city does not even appear among the seven churches of Asia Minor earlier in the book of Revelation?  At that time, Chalcedon was not important.  But it just so happens that the city of Chalcedon plays a very important role in the Christian Church.  So important, you can call it foundational - and its yet another item that shows that the book of Revelation is a prophetic work.

It just so happens, that the last major ecumenical council took place in the city of Chalcedon in the fifth century A.D. It is known as the "Council of Chalcedon":
The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from October 8 to November 1, AD 451, at Chalcedon (a city of Bithynia in Asia Minor), on the Asian side of the Bosporus, known in modern times as Istanbul. The council marked a significant turning point in the Christological debates that led to the separation of the church of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. It is the last council which many Anglicans and most Protestants consider ecumenical. ...The Council of Chalcedon issued the 'Chalcedonian Definition,' which repudiated the notion of a single nature in Christ, and defined that he has two natures in one person and hypostasis; it also insisted on the completeness of his two natures: Godhead and manhood.
Most modern churches - Catholic and Protestant - are Chalcedonian in their theological views.The problem is, not only is this doctrine foundational for these churches, it happens to be false. The doctrine in itself, like the trinity, is again not exactly logically coherent (of the illogical mathematical variety of not 2 but 1, and not 1 but 2), so there will be an endless variety of opinion on what it is and what is isn't. Swedenborg was shown in a vision that the purpose of this council was not to arrive at the truth, but rather to divide the nature of Christ into a perpetual dual Divine and human nature.  The reason for this theological distinction was so that the Popes of the Catholic Church could claim the title of "vicar of Christ" - that is, one who stands in the place of Christ as head of the church. In this way the Catholic Church consolidated its authority, thus the council found strong support from Pope Leo the Great. Those who held that Jesus had one nature - Divine - then became known as "Monophysites".  Who were the Monophysites? The original Christians of the Middle East!  It took another century for the Byzantine Empire to suppress them as heretics. Sick and tired of persecution, the Monophysites eventually joined forces with Islam to get rid of the Byzantine Empire. And so began the gradual decline of the Christian Church, as it became a tool for political power.

The church of the New Jerusalem, which descends out of heaven, is NOT Chalcedonian.  It is what comes after the false doctrine of the Council of Chalcedon, just as the gemstone Sardius represents what comes after the dead church of Sardis. And that is the hidden meaning of that obscure stone of Chalcedony which was mentioned only by John and Pliny the Elder in ancient times. The truth of the matter is, although born as a human, through a process of sanctification Jesus made His Human Divine.  This was a process that took His entire human lifetime, until the mere human body he inherited from his mother Mary was transformed into the Divine Human: one nature, Divine, as the Monophysites originally declared.  This is why He rose from the dead: His body was a Divine reflection of the Divine soul from within Him. And that is why He lives forever now. This is known in the New Church as the doctrine of the Divine Human, and is a foundational belief for those who wish to become sanctified in their own lives. It is a foundational doctrine of the New Jerusalem.