Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why Swedenborg says he gets to talk with angels and spirits and others don't.

While waiting at a car dealership, today, I got a little reading done from a Swedenborg compendium.  This is the book I have:  "Miscellaneous Theological Works of Emanuel Swedenborg" issued by the Swedenborg Foundation of New York in 1951.  It is borrowed from the library of Concordia University College of Alberta.  From there I also have another compendium in hand.  

I felt a little bad after having written about sexual libertinism and syphilis, but there are good reasons for doing this.  There definitely was a movement to so-called Free Love in the United States, and as we know sexually transmitted diseases are a difficult but common reality of life.  Also, we will see that Swedenborg allowed for "mistresses" before marriage and "concubines" while married.  There were over 60 reasons with Swedenborg why you could put your wife out of the bedroom and bring in a concubine.  (This is not included in the compendium put out by the Swedenborg society.)  We will get back to that another day.  

Today, I want to quote what Swedenborg has to say about why he can converse with angels and others can't and why he has these supposed revelations.  

I'm reading from Swedenborg's  "The Earths in the Starry Heavens" (he is conversing with spirits from planets beyond our solar system now.)

Because at this day with many in the church there is no belief in the life after death, and scarce any belief in heaven, nor in the Lord as the God of heaven and earth;  therefore the interiors which are of my spirit have been opened by the Lord, so that while still in the body, I can at the same time be with angels in heaven, and not only speak with them, but also see the stupendous things there, and describe them;  so that it may not chance to be said hereafter, "Who has come to us from heaven and told us that there is such a place, and what there is there?"  But I know that they who in heart have before denied heaven and hell and the life after death, will still confirm themselves against them, and deny them;  for it is easier to make a crow white, than to make those believe who have once rejected faith in the heart.  The reason is, that they always think of such things from the negative, and not from the affirmative.  Nevertheless, let what has been said hitherto, and what is still further to be said concerning angels and spirits, be for the few who are in faith.  And that the rest also may be led along to something of acknowledgement, it has been conceded to relate such things as delight and attract the man who is desirous of knowing...  (124)

Swedenborg deftly links the belief or disbelief in life after death to his revelations.  Men of faith will not reject this teaching about angels and spirits (if they are men of faith).  The granting of these connections to him  is a grace so that no one can complain afterward that no one told them about these spiritual beings and worlds.   In contrast, we have the word of scripture.  Jesus tells the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16: 

 So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' 25 "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.' 27 "He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' 29 "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' 30 " 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' 31 "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "

**We have Jesus CLEARLY saying here that there is a great chasm fixed between these worlds and also that such warning to the living will NOT be supplied. --  They have Moses and the Prophets.  If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.  Thus Swedenborg's words go DIRECTLY and SPECIFICALLY against Jesus' words.  (This alone should be enough to convince anyone that he is a fraud.) 

Below is a second quote from Swedenborg (The Earths in the Starry Heaven. 123):  

They who are in heaven can speak and converse with angels and spirits who are not only from the earths in this solar system, but also with those who are from other earths in the universe out of this system;  and not only with the spirits and angels there, but also with the inhabitants themselves, but only with those whose interiors are open, so that they can hear such as speak from heaven.  The same is the case with man during his abode in the world, to whom it has been granted by the Lord to speak with spirits and angels.  For man is a spirit as to his interiors, the body which he carries about in the world only serving him for performing functions in this natural or terrestrial sphere, which is the ultimate.  But it is granted to no one to speak as a spirit with angels and spirits, unless he be such that he can consociate with angels as to faith and love;  nor can he so consociate, unless he have faith and love to the Lord;  for man is joined to the Lord by faith and love to Him, that is, by truths of doctrine and goods of life from Him;  and when he is conjoined to the Lord, he is secure from the assaults of evil spirits from hell.  With others the interiors cannot be so far opened, since they are not in the Lord. 

There is a lot here to be discussed and I'm running out of steam.   For now I will pick up only one thing.-- When, in the Bible, someone meets and angel or the Lord, they are terrified because they are unworthy sinners.  "Woe unto me because I am a man of unclean lips."  "I believe, help my unbelief."  There is not one person who dares stand upon his laurels.  But not so Swedenborg.  He has his interior wide open, full of faith and love of God, has a right doctrine and a right life.  He alone is able and worthy to receive these revelations. Therefore, he gets to see and hear all these marvelous things and is made the transmitter.  What could be more contrary to the right attitude to have?  Why is it we do not hear about sin and forgiveness?  Whenever Jesus or an angel appears to someone in the Bible, the first words out of their mouths to the human being is some sort of assurance "Peace be with you!"  This is because we are properly in fear and trembling when we meet the holy and good.  "Lord have mercy.  Christ have mercy.  Lord have mercy"  -- is what we say.  And to know our need for mercy we need no extra special messages from beyond.  We only need to look at ourselves.  Repent and believe, Jesus said.   Believe God's word, Moses and the prophets.  Prophets who actually told the truth and foretold the Messiah.  Prophets who walked in humility. 



Doug Webber said...

Some corrections in order here: first, Swedenborg stated that marriage love between two partners is the highest principle. And, one should avoid "mistresses" before marriage, but for those who cannot wait for marriage at a late age, it is better to have one girlfriend than many. And the only time I know where he says its allowable for a man to have a mistress during marriage is when his wife has committed adultery, and he is just staying married to her for the sake of children.

The passage you quote does not state one is not allowed to have visions (most of the Bible was written by people who had visions), but that there is a great chasm between heaven and hell. And just because someone has a vision does not mean he is insane. This "insanity" accusation has been investigated and it does not hold up to the evidence. Immanuel Kant and Carl Jung speak of how Swedenborg was involved in the first documented case of clairvoyance, where he was able to accurately describe a fire in Stockholm in 1759, which was confirmed about 3 days later. So he had some ability that most people do not.

And yes, when his vision was first opened, it did scare him, and he went through a long stage of humility. He does speak of man's sinful nature, and the need for forgiveness.

Brigitte said...

Thanks for commenting Doug, but I am not going to respond to this today. I have put Swedenborg behind me and completely dismissed him. However, I do feel that I have read more of him than you may have. Anyone who spends a half a day on the internet on this and uses his mind can get pretty far to the bottom of this. I will leave it to the reader to work further on this. There are many more reasons to avoid your wife other than adultery with Swedenborg. Over sixty reasons, in fact, as mentioned. Swedenborg does not just claim to have had visions, he claims to have traveled far beyond the solar system, etc. As I said, taking out a compendium or reading some other documents on the internet, will show precisely how he tried to say specific things about this present universe which are not true.