Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Prophecy of President Bush and Barack Obama

Last year I published the first half of my research on the prophecies of Nostradamus, which covers in detail the prophecies that have been fulfilled from the time of Nostradamus in the 16th century to the French Revolution.  This research was separate from my studies of the works of Emanuel Swedenborg, but in a strange coincidence, one of the prophecies of Nostradamus may concern Emanuel Swedenborg himself.  How is this so?  Many of the quatrains of Nostradamus focus on the fall of the French monarchy and the execution of Louis XVI at the end of the 18th century. This was such a turning point in history that Nostradamus focused much of his attention to it - for his interest was in the future of his nation France, and of the Catholic Church.  It just so happens that one of the nobles who voted for the execution of Louis XVI was Swedenborgian. One of the prophecies of Nostradamus mentions him by name, and it looks like in picking up on the event he picked up some information on Swedenborg. Initially many of the Freemason societies of the 18th century had developed an interest in the visions and writings of Swedenborg, but as the French Revolution turned and became extremely violent, much of the public became horrified.  The Freemason movements died out, and as a result of the political turmoil of the 18th century and the wars of Napoleon, Nostradamus saw that Swedenborg would become unknown and obscure to the public at large. Swedenborg had foreseen the fall in power of the Catholic Church in his visions, and the French Revolution sealed the fate of the political rule of the Papacy.

How did Nostradamus see such things in detail?  Some people have the ability, most people do not.  As most people do not, they will claim it does no exist and is not possible: my book The Decoded Prophecies of Nostradamus disproves those who say prophecy is not possible.  I happen to know some people who do have this ability, and in this case it occurs through dreams. As an example, in a dream one person saw a beautiful white book open before me, but on this book was a very deadly spider - navy blue in color. They then gathered some cleaning material from a kitchen and threw it on the spider, and killed it - it sort of became splattered, and its blood was the color of blue ink. When I heard this dream, the meaning was quite clear to me. In dreams, and in the visions of Swedenborg, spiders represent falsity, and their poison represents a false idea that can mislead people. Killing the spider means removing the falsity - but for it to be splattered on the book shows that anyone opening the book could see the falsity that had been removed. I was a bit amazed at this particular dream, because little did this person know I had begun translating the book of Psalms in the Bible.  What I have discovered is that all English translations of the Bible contain many mistranslations (see the post The Mistranslations of the Bible). The effort of what I started was not to create a new translation, but to fix the mistranslation - and DOCUMENT it. So basically anyone reading it will see the change, and it will be documented as to why the change was necessary to fix the mistranslation. It will be a digital translation, with a hyperlink of the change that will explain the mistranslation. So this is killing the spider: not only is the spider removed from the book, its blood is left on it as evidence. This is the hyperlinking I had been doing exposing the mistranslations: from now on, no one will be confused as to which translation is right. The person who had the dream had no idea I was doing this. The hyperlinks to the explanation of the mistranslations of the Bible in the tool I am using are navy blue in color.

So, if anyone is curious, what was the mistranslation I happened to uncover?  It was a particularly bad one, in Psalms 17, and it is present in most English translations. Here it is, from the King James version:

Thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. (Ps. 17:3-4)

There are a number of mistranslations here, the worst one is the phrase "I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress."  One can take it to mean that even though one should wish or think to say something evil, just cover it up in front of others and not deal with the desire to do it. So what does this passage say? It actually says this:

You have refined me and shall find no wicked device (intent);
Nothing has gone out of my mouth according to the works of men.
By the word of Your lips I have kept away from the paths of robbers.

Quite different, isn't it? One should try to purify oneself from within, to remove evil intentions: appearance before others is nothing. In the dream, cleaning material was used to kill the spider, and the particular line uses the word "refine" as in refining and purifying metal. Problem is, all the modern translations continue to follow the King James Version. It happens to be translated correctly in the Septuagint. The book in the dream was white, and the Psalm ends in this manner:

As for me, I will observe Your face in righteousness: 
I shall be satisfied when I awake to Your manifestation.

Which speaks of how one awakens after death to see the glory of God's light at the end of that dark tunnel - God's "face." Instead of manifestation the KJV has "likeness" which does not do the word justice; the Septuagint translated it as "glory" which is more accurate. For each change I am making, I am creating a hyperlink to a note explaining the mistranslation and the correction. This is the white book with the splattered blue spider in it. So Psalms 17 is done, I have hit Psalms 18, and as it is a long one I decided to take a break and blog a bit.  I include this story here because like the dream, many of the quatrains of Nostradamus are highly symbolic and one does not know what they mean until one reaches the time they are fulfilled.

THE PROPHECY OF PRESIDENT BUSH AND BARACK OBAMA


Peace and Freedom to Iran, photograph by Negar Daneshfar

Returning back to the subject at hand, in the second half of the book on the prophecies of Nostradamus which I haven't published yet there is this prophecy, one which I happened to interpret on the very day that President Obama one the Nobel Peace prize - a well deserved one, for reversing the war path of the previous administration.  And now just in the past few days an agreement has been reached between the United States and Iran to reverse Iran's uranium enrichment program.  And I think it will be successful, despite the protest of Israel and Saudi Arabia who would just love it if the U.S. would bomb Shiite Iran to smithereens.  This is not being said to the public, but I believe these negotiations were initiated once U.S. intelligence - and an inner circle of politicians - became aware that Saudi Arabia had initiated a false flag operation in Syria, and was responsible for the chemical attack in August 2013 in order to pull in the U.S. to bomb Syria.  Here is the quatrain (VI-24) with its interpretation:

Mars and the scepter will be found conjoined,
Under Cancer, a calamitous war:
A short time after a new King will be anointed,
Who will pacify the earth for a long time.


Back in 1926 the author Wollner first recognized that the astrological configuration in line 1 would take place on 21 June 2002 when Mars and Jupiter (the scepter) were in conjunction in Cancer.  In 1989 Dolores Cannon  (another author on Nostradamus) stated that the astrological configuration symbolically refers to an American President (the scepter, a ruler or the planet Jupiter) who is hungry for war (signified by Mars), where Cancer will be a strong influence in his horoscope.  Afterwards a new President will come along who will work for peace, and there will be peace for a while after.  This will be during the strength of the American union, before it wanes in power. This interpretation of the quatrain is interesting as the President during 2002 was George W. Bush, who was born on 6 July 1946 under the sign of Cancer.  In 2002 preparations were begun to invade Iraq following the attack of September 11.  George Bush was succeeded by President Barack Obama in 2009, who turned America around to follow a policy of peace.


So there you have it. The above paragraph is from a draft of the book. Looks like we are in for a period of peace for some time, to the disappointment of Israel and Saudi Arabia.  As for Saudi Arabia - and that chemical attack they did on the children of Syria, there is this saying concerning Medina in a book within the hadith of Bukhari titled 'virtues of Medina'. Sahih Bukhari says:

Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, "Medina is a sanctuary from that place to that. Its trees should not be cut and no heresy should be innovated nor any sin should be committed in it, and whoever innovates in it an heresy or commits sins, then he will incur the curse of Allah, the angels, and all the people."


Monday, November 18, 2013

The Mistranslations of the Bible

You would think that in our digital age that we would have an accurate translation of the Bible. What I am finding is something very different: very sloppy scholarship.  I guess I was surprised to discover that the Masoretic text is missing a line in Psalm 145, which was present in the Greek Septuagint; and the accuracy of the Septuagint in this particular case was confirmed by a Hebrew text found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. I discussed this earlier in the blog post Is the Masoretic Text of the Bible the Most Reliable?). So I decided to start comparing the rest of the Psalms, to see what other textual corrections are contained in the Septuagint. I am finding some corrections, but when going through this exercise in translating the Psalms I had another major surprise: all the major English versions of the Bible contain mistranslations of the Hebrew text. It is so obvious it is ridiculous. Most people can figure it out using Strong's concordance. This I am using in conjunction with Leningrad Codex of the Masoretic text - somebody spent the effort to digitize this and make it available as an add on module to theWord Bible software.

In the former blog post The Best Bible Translation in English? I indicated that the New American Standard version of the Bible (NASB) was probably the best - but even here I am finding mistranslations on the few occasions I bother to check. I probably should have titled that blog the "least worst" translation of the Bible. So let me provide some random examples. Lets look at Psalm 7:13. The King James Version (KJV) has this translation, speaking of God judging the wicked who pursue the righteous:

He ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors

As typical with the KJV, it uses some old English.  So modern translations try and fix this, but in the process they try to be creative.  The NASB has this:

He makes His arrows fiery shafts

So which one is correct?  Neither one.  But the KJV, giving it allowance for older English, is more correct. Translating from the original Hebrew, I arrrived at this:

He makes his arrows against those who hotly pursue

So, the NASB made a mistake because the Hebrew word for "hotly pursue" can in certain cases mean "fiery." So which is correct?  From examining the Psalm, one can determine the meaning if one knows the parallel structure of the lines in the poem: lines will repeat in a certain pattern in each Psalm.  Once one does that, the meaning is obvious: it concerns those who are in pursuit to overtake the righteous. So the KJV version is correct, it just uses old English: the English word persecute used to mean those who were in pursuit, but now it means something slightly different.

So the KJV of the Bible is better, right? Well no, wrong. It not only uses outdated English, but it has its fair share of mistranslations as well.  So here is another example - I will take it from Psalm 10, as I have already translated 9 Psalms and I am in the middle of the tenth Psalm. Here is a line from Psalm 10:4 from the KJV, speaking of the evil:

God is not in all his thoughts

Sounds like a very simple sentence, right? How could one get that wrong? Well, here is what the NASB has for the exact same line:

All his thoughts are, "There is no God."

I stared at this translation, and just said WHAT??? That was the last straw, I decided to post a blog and criticize the NASB translation.  The Hebrew does not say that at all!  I looks like they were trying to be creative with the KJV and did not look at the Hebrew. In fact, the word for "thoughts" is not thoughts.  And this is where it got very confusing, as multiple Hebrew words are taken by translators, and sometimes translated into the same English word, sometimes not. I am finding that the Hebrew is actually precise. Here is the translation, going to the original Hebrew, and regarding the context:

God is not in any of his devious plans

So that's right, it is not talking about thoughts, its talking about intentions above our thoughts. Mostly evil intentions - the best I could come up with is "devious plans" - as from the context, it is speaking of evil plans of the wicked. Its an important point, as Swedenborg stated that in heaven the thoughts and deeds of each person is always regarded from one's intention or purpose. This is an example where neither the KJV or NASB is correct.  So why is this happening?  I am thinking that as each new translation is made, the translators assume the previous translators were correct. I have just shown two examples, I can provide many more. And this is just after translating the first nine Psalms (which is why I have not been blogging lately.)

So why not do a machine translation? That is dangerous, as machine translations do not regard context, nor idioms.  For example, it was tried on this phrase:

Out of sight, Out of mind

The machine translation came up with this:

Invisible Idiot

Or what about this passage from Matt. 26:41:

The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

The machine translation came up with this:

The liquor is good, but the meat is spoiled.

WHY IS A GOOD TRANSLATION IMPORTANT

For those familiar with the biography of Swedenborg, one of the first tasks he had before him was to find a good translation of the Hebrew text.  As he knew Latin better than Hebrew, he went with a translation in Latin by Schmidius. So although he knew Hebrew, he sometimes went with a reading from Schmidius that was not so accurate - this I discovered in some footnotes when I was working on publishing his works for Amazon and Barnes & Noble  (see The complete works of Emanuel Swedenborg - on your tablet or smartphone). Why is an accurate translation important? Here is what Swedenborg had to say on the Hebrew language, and the internal spiritual sense of scripture:
They who are in the internal sense can know instantly, and indeed from a single word, what is the subject treated of; and especially from the connection of several words. When a different subject is taken up, at once the words are different, or the same words stand in different connection. The reason is that there are words peculiar to spiritual things, and words peculiar to celestial things; or what is the same, words peculiar to matters of understanding, and others to matters of will. For example, the word desolation is predicated of spiritual things, and vastation of celestial things; city is predicated of spiritual things, mountain of celestial things; and so on. So it is with the way in which words are connected. And, what need not be a matter of surprise, in the Hebrew language the words that belong to the spiritual class are very often distinguishable by the sound. In these the first three vowels are usually dominant; in words that are of the celestial class, the last two vowels. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 793)
So, anyone examining translations with a Hebrew concordance will see how translations often use multiple words to translate the same Hebrew word, and this just will not do. Literal word-for-word translations do not fare much better: in many cases a Hebrew word will have multiple meanings, and the meaning has to be determined from context. And the other unfortunate news is that Strong's concordance of Hebrew did not catch all the words. When I look at the actual Hebrew, I am finding what Swedenborg is saying is correct: the Hebrew is precise, and will mention a particular word in a similar context.  Most churches are stuck in the literal sense of scripture and do not see this as a problem. Also many are completely unaware of the hidden knowledge is contained, which Swedenborg revealed in his work Heavenly Arcana (aka Arcana Coelestia). He begins that massive work with this introduction:
The Word of the Old Testament contains arcana of heaven, and each and all things therein regard the Lord, His heaven, the church, faith, and matters of faith. This no mortal gathers from the letter; for from the letter or the sense of the letter no one sees anything more than that in general they regard the externals of the Jewish Church. And yet everywhere there are internal things which do not appear at all in the external, save a very few which the Lord revealed and unfolded to the Apostles — as that the sacrifices signify the Lord; that the land of Canaan and Jerusalem signify heaven, whence they are called heavenly; and so also Paradise.
But that each and all things, even the least, to the smallest iota, signify and involve spiritual and heavenly things, the Christian world is to this day profoundly ignorant, and accordingly it pays little regard to the Old Testament. Yet they might know it from this alone, that the Word, because it is the Lord's and from the Lord, could not but contain interiorly such things as relate to heaven, to the church, and to faith, and could not otherwise be called the Word of the Lord, nor be said to have any life in it. For whence is its life except from the things that are of life, that is, except from this, that everything in it relates to the Lord, Who is very life itself. Whatever then does not interiorly regard Him does not live; and whatever expression in the Word does not involve Him, or in its manner relate to Him, is not Divine.
Without such life the Word as to the letter is dead; for the Word is like a man, who, as is known in the Christian world, is external and internal. The external man separate from the internal is the body, and thus dead; but it is the internal that lives and causes the external to live. The internal man is his soul. So the Word as to the letter alone is as the body without the soul.
From the literal sense alone, when the mind is fixed in it, no one can ever see that such things are contained therein. Thus in these first chapters of Genesis, nothing else is learned from the sense of the letter than that the creation of the world is treated of, and the garden of Eden, which is called Paradise, and Adam as the first created man. Who supposes anything else? But it will be sufficiently established in the following pages that these things contain arcana which have never yet been revealed (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1-4)
Not only does scripture contain within it hidden spiritual truths, but when read it allows a link or communion to take place between a person's mind and the angels of heaven.  Swedenborg saw this repeatedly in his visions - from which he was able to immediately determine which books of the Bible were Divinely Inspired and which were not. The ones that were inspired always contained within them a spiritual correspondence, in a series. Swedenborg described the communion with heaven as follows:
When the Word of the Lord is read by a man who loves the Word and lives in charity, or by a man who from simplicity of heart believes what is written and has not formed principles contrary to the truth of faith which is in the internal sense, it is presented by the Lord before the angels in such beauty and in such pleasantness, with representatives also, and this with inexpressible variety in accordance with all their state at the time, that every particular is perceived as if it had life; which life is that which is in the Word, and from which the Word had birth when it was sent down from heaven. From this cause the Word of the Lord is such, that, though it appears rude in the letter, still there are laid up in it spiritual and celestial things which lie open before good spirits, and before angels, when the Word is read by man. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1767-68)
So this is why translation is important - a good translation should at least convey the meaning of the original.

PRINCIPLES FOR A NEW TRANSLATION

After repeatedly encountering mistranslations in whatever version of the Bible I picked, I decided to start translating it myself, especially after discovering the extent of mistranslations in the Psalms. They're mostly minor, but they add up. A good reason to start with the Psalms is that they contain a poetic structure, where lines repeat each other. This has been very helpful in translation when the meaning was not clear. I don't think modern translations paid much attention to this. The other reason why I am starting with the Psalms is that I want to restore the poetic structure of each Psalm. It should be apparent from just looking at it by any reader, and not just left to scholarly journals. Unfortunately for this blog, I am now spending my time in translation. And this all began from a simple investigation of a missing line in the Masoretic text.

So what are the principles I am following in this translation? For this project I am following these simple rules:

Rule #1: Base translation on KJV to be familiar to readers.

Most people are familiar with the King James Bible, with the way it is worded. As much as I can, I want to retain that familiarity. The other reason for that is the text is public domain, so it forms a good base.

Rule #2: Update KJV translation to modern English for readability.

No reason to retain the old English. It should be updated to modern English - many  other translations do this, but just this, and stop at this step. The other issue to fix in this step is to remove words that were added by the KJV translators, which were not in the original text.

Rule #3: Base Old Testament translation first on Masoretic, then the Septuagint. Base New Testament translation on the Aramaic Peshitta and the Greek Majority Text. 

Masoretic text should have priority for the Old Testament. Next I am looking at not just the Septuagint, but also the Vulgate and the Peshitta text.  So far I am not finding much additional value in the Vulgate (which in itself was an ancient translation into Latin from the Septuagint), but the Peshitta is valuable as it does contain corrections of the Masoretic - and precedes that text by at least 500 years.  As for the New Testament, the Aramaic Peshitta resolves a lot of issues found in the Greek texts, as that is what it was originally writen in - Aramaic. This view is not recognized by most western scholars.

Rule #4: Fix mistranslations. If Masoretic is overruled, note in italics. Also note important variants.

Actually I started this project to just fix mistranslations, not create a new translation. So that is the focus: retain the original familiarity as much as possible, and fix the mistranslations. Unfortunately, many translations are not precise in how they translate the Hebrew.

Rule #5: Improve translation with more equivalent words, if apparent.
Rule #6: Improve translation consistency if apparent, regarding context.
Rule #7: DOCUMENT the changes of translation.

The above rules are self explanatory, but the last one is probably the most important: how many times have people wondered which translation is correct? That will no longer be the case. All changes will be documented, in footnotes. This will expose the mistranslations, and also show why a new translation is needed, and allow for future corrections.  I am starting with the Psalms, and not sure how far I will get, but I am already seeing a lot of value in exposing the actual meaning of the original Hebrew in readable English, as well as restoring the poetic structure. I will probably publish a digital edition of the Psalms with the research, and if there is interest, take it further.

Unless, of course, someone can show me a good translation...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Spiritual and Poetic Symbolism of Scripture

Most who open the Bible do not understand what they are reading - this is because hidden behind the literal sense, there is a spiritual meaning. And once one sees the spiritual meaning, one can immediately apply it. Some may wonder why am I focused on the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. It is because for the first time, it was revealed to him in visions the spiritual sense of scripture. Mystical sects of the past and the modern New Age movements have been seeking for this, never able to grasp it. Due to the symbolic imagery involved most churches avoid the Old Testament altogether, and are constantly stuck in the letters of Paul.

One local Bible study I visited at a Protestant church they were trying to interpret Psalm 46. A verse or two they could figure out, but the rest, they got lost in the literalism of the words. They thought that Psalm 46 was speaking of some world cataclysm or earthquake in certain verses, and this is where they got lost. Coincidentally in the blog post Is the Masoretic Text of the Bible the Most Reliable? I had just discovered that the Masoretic text had dropped a line in Psalm 145. The Psalms follow a poetic structure known as parallelism - one line will repeat what the previous line just said. Unfortunately this poetic structure of Hebrew parallelism is completely lost in most Bibles. As I looked at Psalm 46 I was trying to convert it into its poetic structure, but something was not right. A line was missing. So later I brought up theWord software and compared it with the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Peshitta, other ancient translations of the Old Testament. Sure enough, there is a missing line in the Masoretic text that is present in all three of these other translations.  Here is Psalm 46 (based on NASB), with its poetic structure:

PSALM 46 POETIC STRUCTURE

(A) God is our refuge and strength,
    A very present help in trouble.
(A) You have been with us always,1
    Therefore we will not fear.
    (B) Though the earth should change
        And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
    (B) Though its waters roar2 and foam,
        Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride,
       (C) There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
           The holy dwelling places of the Most High;
       (C) God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
           God will help her when morning dawns.
    (B) The nations made an uproar,2 the kingdoms tottered;
        He raised His voice, the earth melted.
(A) The LORD of hosts is with us;
    The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
    (B) Come, behold the works of the LORD,
        Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
        (C) He makes wars to cease3 to the end of the earth;
            (D) He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
                He burns the chariots with fire.
        (C) "Be still4 and know that I am God;
    (B) I will be exalted among the nations,
        I will be exalted in the earth."
(A) The LORD of hosts is with us;
    The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

One can see from the above that in the Hebrew, the lines tend to repeat the previous one. Repeating patterns are marked with the letters A, B, C, D.  Lines A concern God as protector, lines B discuss a conflict and disaster, lines C concern peace within God's church, and lines D sort of repeat lines B but in reference to weapons of war. When laid out as above, the pattern that was now hidden is now explicitly obvious. When I was reading it, I was having a problem with the phrase "Therefore we will not fear" (second line A). Where to put it? There is no matching line. Perhaps combine it with the next? That did not fit either.  Then in the Aramaic Peshitta I saw it, it has the missing line right above it: You have been with us always (note 1). If we look at other lines A, this is in exact parallel to the phrase The LORD of hosts is with us. So what about the Septuagint and Vulgate? They have a similar line, but it is mistranslated, either in the original or the English. They have "which has come heavily upon us" continuing from "trouble" in the previous line. It would be interesting to get a second opinion on this from someone who knows the original Greek Septuagint, and even better the Aramaic from the Peshitta.

Other observations: the word for "roar" and "uproar" (note 2) are the same Hebrew word showing the parallelism, the NASB did a good job of using a similar translation (KJV translated the word "uproar" as "rage"). The word for "cease" (note 3) is the Hebrew word for Sabbath, which corresponds to the word for "be still" (note 4). The latter was mistranslated by the NASB as "cease striving", perhaps to come up with a word for "cease" to match the parallelism.

One other note, showing the cleverness of the author: lines D split the parallelism of the last lines marked as C. In the middle of the split, lines D then state a bow is broken and a spear it cut in two.

THE PRINCIPLE OF LOVE AND TRUTH

Now, when it comes to actually interpreting scripture, this is where the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg come in useful. The first verse is easy enough to interpret, and readily applicable: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. If one were to follow the opposite advice, one would being to trust in oneself: a common saying is people should have "self confidence".  Without an acknowledgement of God, we will have a tendency to trust in ourselves.  When Swedenborg's vision was opened, he saw that our concept of a "selfish ego" was somewhat of an illusion. Every thought that came into the mind, he saw had a spiritual origin, either from good or evil spirits. As for our life, which causes our body to live, there is an influx of the Divine into our soul. Our soul is a recipient of life. There are two aspects that make up the human soul: our will and our thought. We think automatically that our will and our thought are our own: but the more we fight against our selfish ego, the more that allows a Divine influx to flow into our thought and will.

One cannot will something unless one thinks about it first, and thought does not become living until we act upon it. Our will and our thought correspond to Divine Love and Divine Truth. The Divine Love and Divine Truth are two aspects of God, which are united together in human form. In scripture, the word LORD, Jehovah or Yahweh is used for the aspect of Divine Love, and the word God is used for the aspect of Divine Truth. That Divine Love and Divine Truth are united in one Supreme Being is shown by God's name in scripture: "LORD God." In the New Testament, these two aspects of God became known as "Father" and "Son." When the Council of Nicea decided they were distinct persons, in a word, they screwed up. Much of Christianity has been corrupt ever since. The principle of love and truth can be found throughout scripture, and they must always act as one. The Protestant church, although it does well in reading scripture, contains within it the false doctrine of faith (truth) separate from works (love), misinterpreting Paul who was referring to the Jewish rituals. Love without truth becomes perverted, and truth without a life according to it becomes forgotten and dissipated.

So, once one understands the principle of  love and truth, or will and thought, or doing and thinking, the very first verse begins to open up: God is our refuge and strength. The Hebrew word for "refuge" also has the meaning of hope or trust. The word for "refuge" thus corresponds to truth, and the word for "strength" corresponds to love. So on a deeper level, the very love inside of you, and the very truths that you know, originate from Divine influx into your soul. Inasmuch as we follow the selfish ego, this influx is perverted where we think it all originates from our selfish ego. The influx gets blocked, selfishness perverts Divine love into selfish love, and truth is perverted into false thinking which elevates our ego. Every evil must be accompanied by some falsity, for we tend to think of "justifications" to prove to ourselves that our actions are right. Truth is a refuge, for it is truth which defends and fights against what is false. Once one knows the truth and recognizes the falsity, one can fight against it.

THE SYMBOLISM OF SCRIPTURE

If one is stuck in literalism, Psalm 46 means very little beyond the first verse, perhaps referring to some future event.  But if we get literal, things get ridiculous, or we will ignore certain lines thinking it is just poetry. This is not true: every line and word has a spiritual significance. In the literal sense, Psalm 46 describes an earthquake, mountains sliding into the sea, a city with a river, and somehow, God will break someone's bow and snap a spear, and then burn someone's chariot.  Which is problematic: we do not have bows, spears or chariots. Is this just poetic? Is it only applicable to ancient warfare? Or is there symbolism involved?

First, when scripture speaks of "earth", it is not talking about the physical earth, much less our planet earth. By earth it means land, specifically the land of Canaan or the land of Israel. The earth is a symbol of the spiritual church. Those outside the church are known as "Gentiles," here translated as nations. The land of Israel, and the Jewish people, were a symbolic representation of the spiritual Christian church that succeeded them. That earth means the spiritual church one can actually derive from the parallelism of Psalm 46:

I will be exalted among the nations (Gentiles)
I will be exalted among the earth.

Where earth is in reference to one's own land, thus the church. Here God will be elevated, in opposition to the mountains in the parallel lines. So, what do "mountains" signify in scripture? That mountains are not literal mountains, can be seen in this passage:

Let the rivers clap their hands, 
Let the mountains sing together for joy. (Ps. 98:8)

Obviously rivers do not clap their hands, and mountains do not sing. Is it just poetic? No.  Following the principle of love and truth, rivers of water signify spiritual truth, mountains signify love.  The first line speaks of a spiritual love for the truth, the second, a more deeper joy for love towards the Lord. The reason why water corresponds to truth is just as water cleanses, so truth cleanses us from sin. Thus, entrance to the church is signified by baptism by water: for one must first cleanse oneself from sin. That cannot be done unless one first knows the truth. Knowing this, a mountain corresponds to love towards the Lord, or in the opposite sense, selfish love and pride. This can be proven repeatedly from scripture, I will just mention one verse:

Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; 
Your judgments are like a great deep. (Ps. 36:6)

"Righteousness" pertains to the will, "judgments" pertain to the truth. Mountains are associated with righteousness, and again, water is associated with knowledge or truth. Most do not notice this as they think it is just poetic, and then pass over the comparison, not noticing the pattern. As a mountain signifies in the highest sense love towards the Lord, in the opposite sense it signifies the love of self, the selfish desire to rule over others. Thus the greatest temptation of Jesus took place on a mountain:
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me."
Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'" Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him. (Matt. 4:8-11)
Overcoming the temptation of the love of self is the greatest temptation all face daily. That a mountain can signify selfish pride is shown in Psalm 46 itself:

Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. (Ps. 46:3)

The above translation in the NASB makes the association obvious: the mountains are associated with a Hebrew word that is often used for human pride. So what do earthquakes and a mountain slipping into the sea signify? An earthquake signifies a change in state of the church, where it becomes destroyed from evil within. Thus when the sons of Korah rebelled against Moses, the earth opened up and swallowed them (Num. 16), there was an earthquake in Jerusalem at the time of the resurrection, and in Revelation 11, there was an earthquake in a city after two witnesses were rejected and slain. An earthquake signifies a change in state of the church, where it has become so corrupt it can no longer be said to worship God. A judgment occurs, and one's state sinks toward hell. What causes this? Evil and selfish pride. Thus the mountains are said to quake and slip into the sea - the sea and its depths in this context a symbol of hell, or a lower state.

What about the rest of the Psalm? A city with a river, the dwelling place of God, is a symbol of the true church which lives by true doctrine (the river). That a city represents the doctrines and teachings of the church, is shown in several passages where the city of Jerusalem (teachings of true doctrine) is mentioned alongside Mount Zion (love towards the Lord). The New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation, which is again a city with a river in it, represents the New Church which will succeed the Protestant and Catholic churches. This is because it has a strong foundation in doctrine, and in interpreting scripture.

So what about the symbolism of the bow, the spear, and the chariot?  Weapons of war represent truth fighting against falsity, or falsity fighting against the truth. There are several passages of scripture which prove this, I will just mention a few:

They bend their tongue like their bow; 
Lies and not truth prevail in the land. (Jer. 9:3)

Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows 
And their tongue a sharp sword. (Ps. 57:4)

Behold, they belch forth with their mouth; 
Swords are in their lips, For, they say, "Who hears?" (Ps 59:7)

And, the Word itself if often described as a sharp two edged sword. Because the Word is Divine truth, which fights against what is false. You can take this symbolism to the smallest of details: a bow is the doctrine of truth or falsity, its arrows the truths or falsities derived from doctrine; a spear is the power of truth or falsity as it is held by the arm (power), a chariot, one's understanding, based on the reasoning (horses) which lead it. The chariot is burned, as one's spiritual understanding becomes destroyed by hatred towards others in favor of the love of self. Every evil contains within it its own punishment.

So how to summarize this Psalm? There will be protection of those in the lowest good when judgment upon the evil comes. For in the church, towards the end when it becomes corrupt, there will be good people who still follow the truth in its most literal base form (represented by Jacob), and these will be separated from those within the church who have used religion for their own selfish pride, and have fallen into false doctrines. Eventually, their own selfish pride causes them to sink towards the more unhappy state of hell. The ones in the church of true doctrine will be unaffected during the judgment. Those outside the church will seek to infest the church with their falsity, but will be unable to do so as the truth will fight against them.

Another point: There are three levels of worship: the first or lowest level is merely obedience to God's commandments. The second level of worship is based on love towards the neighbor based on the spiritual truths we have learned. The third, and highest level of worship, is love towards the Lord. In his spiritual visions, Swedenborg saw that these three degrees of love formed three degrees of heaven. If one looks closely at this Psalm, one can see these three levels or states in the lines marked A, B and C respectively. And what is amazing, in the spiritual world one's internal psychological state becomes reflected in the spiritual world around them. Thus angels who are in love towards the Lord appear to dwell on high mountains. Those who are in true doctrine tend to dwell in cities. Before the spiritual judgments take place, hell begins to creep upward into the lower levels of heaven: this occurs because many who were outwardly good, are inwardly evil. When their interior evil of selfish pride is exposed in a spiritual judgment, the area in which they dwelled begins to quake, and they actually sink towards hell. They will fight against it with their own falsity, thus weapons will appear during this conflict. This is the most deepest spiritual level of the Psalm, but one would never know unless one was familiar with the spiritual world.

So that is the hidden symbolism of this particular Psalm. I have not done justice to it, Swedenborg is much better at the symbolism which he explains in detail in Heavenly Arcana. For his exploration of the spiritual world, how it corresponds to our internal spiritual states, see Heaven and Hell.  I put them together in one work, The Divine Revelation of the New Jerusalem, and there are other online resources. Knowing how to interpret scripture, seeing the spiritual symbolism, one can immediately apply it. Should I trust my self, or put trust in God? What mountains of selfish pride lurk within our heart? How has our selfishness changed our previous state, ruining a relationship, where we are now in an unhappy state? Should I be concerned when I see churches following false doctrines, or knowing the truth, fight against it? What false ideas do we hold onto that we should question and fight against? What is that river that can make us internally happy - perhaps we can find a reflection of the truth, when we open scripture and apply it? Rarely do visions occur any more, but few people know what is readily available if they just happen to open scripture and read it with an open heart.