October 9, 2018 § Leave a comment

The word “revelation” has many meanings. Here is a passage that talks about the kind of revelation you and I can have:

[2] Revelation here does not mean in the internal sense the kind of revelation made to the Israelite people from Mount Sinai, that is to say, when the Lord spoke with an audible voice and the people standing round heard it. Rather it means a revelation that is not made with an audible voice but is received by a person inwardly. This revelation is made through enlightenment of inner sight, which is the understanding, when a person with an affection for truth springing from good reads the Word. That enlightenment is brought about by the light of heaven, which flows from the Lord as the Sun there. That light enlightens the understanding in much the same way as outward sight, which is that of the eye, is enlightened by the light which flows from the sun in the world. When the understanding is enlightened by that Divine light it perceives that to be the truth which is the truth, inwardly acknowledges it, and so to speak sees it. This is what the revelation is like which is received by those with an affection for truth springing from good, when they read the Word. 

[3] But those with an affection for truth springing from evil – that is, those who wish to know truths solely for the sake of important positions, monetary gain, reputation, and the like – do not see truths. All they see are corroborations of things taught by their Church, whether those things are true or false. The light which enlightens them then is not Divine light from heaven; instead it is the light belonging to the senses, such as those in hell also possess, a light which becomes complete and utter darkness at the presence of heavenly light. When these people read the Word they are altogether blind to truth if it does not make one with their religious teachings. When for example those who make salvation consist in faith alone read the Word they pay no attention whatever to the things said there about love and charity; they do not even see them since those things fall within the obscured parts of their field of vision, like objects well off to the side or behind one’s back. It is much the same with the Jewish nation, which sets itself up above all others in the whole world. They do not see that the Lord is the One who is meant in the Prophets, no matter how plainly this may be stated.  (AC 8780)


Praying insistently

September 24, 2018 § 1 Comment

As I was reading this morning, I was struck by this phrase:  “they are to ask Him insistently.”

When we pray, do we ask insistently? Or do we just ask?

When we pray, in my opinion, we should be praying for spiritual things. For truths, good, salvation, the Lord’s will being done. We certainly have need of these things. But are we insistent in our prayers? Do our prayers reflect the earnestness of our desires for these spiritual blessings? Or are our prayers a lackadaisical? 

The Importance of Seeking Truth

September 22, 2018 § Leave a comment

We live in a “post truth” era, where truth is irrelevant. A good book about tThehis is: The Death of Truth by Michiko Kakutani. There are many other books that also discuss this issue.

This post was prompted by listening and reading the news about politicians, some of whom obviously have no desire to uncover the truth, whose only goal is to uncover facts that can be twisted and abused to support their own agenda. This critique is not party specific. It also applies to lawyers, sales people, and indeed every other profession. And besides Americans, it applies to Canadians, Russians, and every other nationality.

And is we are truly honest with ourselves, we would acknowledge that we prefer to confirm our own desires and wishes.

The Lord in His Heavenly Doctrines teaches us about the importance of having an affection for truth for the sake of the truth:

when he is in the affection of truth for the sake of truth, that is, for the sake of the Lord’s kingdom, where the Divine truth is, thus for the sake of the Lord Himself, . . . he has as the end, not gain, but uses therefrom, which he looks upon as mediate ends to the final heavenly end; thus by no means does he set his heart upon gain. (AC 5433.2)

There are dire consequences of not having an affection for the truth for the sake of truth:

Hence also it is that they who are in no affection of truth for the sake of truth, but for the sake of their own advantage, are not at all enlightened when they read the Word, but are only confirmed in doctrinal things, no matter of what kind, whether false, as heresies are, or entirely contrary to truths, . . .; for they do not seek the kingdom of the Lord, but the world; not faith, but fame; thus not heavenly riches, but only earthly; and if perchance they are seized with a desire of knowing truths from the Word, falsities present themselves instead of truths, and at last there is denial of all things. (AC 7012)

Our salvation, both personal and as a society, depends upon us seeking the truth for the sake of the truth, and striving to live by that truth. This is the only way society and we can be reformed and regenerated.

The Use of the Church

September 20, 2018 § Leave a comment

 ‘Therefore on the sixth day He gives you the bread of two days’ means that for this reason right at the end of the former state He imparts so great an amount of truth through good that the joining together takes place after that. This is clear from the meaning of ‘the sixth day’ as the end of a former state, dealt with in Arcana Coelestia 8421; from the meaning of the manna, to which ‘the bread’ refers here, as the good of truth, dealt with in Arcana Coelestia 84628464; and from the meaning of the sabbath, for which day also the manna on the sixth day was given, so that it was two days’ bread, as the joining together of goodness and truth, dealt with in Arcana Coelestia 8495. It has been shown above that since ‘the sabbath’ means the joining together of goodness and truth, the fact that no man[na] was to be found on the seventh day means that when that joining together has taken place a person’s actions spring from good and no longer from truth, indeed that they must not any longer spring from truth, Arcana Coelestia 8510

[2] But as this appears rather baffling, let a few further words of explanation be added. Everyone ought to be led to Christian good, which is called charity, through the truth of faith; for the truth of faith must teach not only what charity is but also what it needs to be like. And unless a person learns this first from the teachings of his Church – for he cannot by any means know it instinctively – he cannot be prepared and so made fit to receive that good. For example, he needs to know from religious teachings that charity in no way involves doing good for selfish reasons, that is, for the sake of reward, nor thus meriting salvation through the works of charity. He also needs to know that all the good of charity originates in the Lord, and none whatever in self, besides very many other teachings telling him what charity is and needs to be like. From all this it becomes clear that a person cannot be led to Christian good except through the truths of faith. In addition a person needs to know that truths do not of themselves enter good but that good adopts truths and attaches them to itself; for the truths of faith in a person’s memory lie so to speak in a field that is spread out before his inward vision. Good from the Lord flows into that vision, and from the truths present there it selects and Joins to itself those that are compatible. The truths, which lie below, cannot flow into the good, which is above, since it is altogether contrary to order, as well as impossible, for what is lower to flow into what is higher, Arcana Coelestia 5259

[3] From all this one may now see how Christian good is born with a person when he is being regenerated, and therefore also what a person will be like when he has been regenerated, namely one whose actions spring from good, but not from truth. That is, he is one who is led by the Lord through good and no longer through truth, for now he is governed by charity, that is, by an affection for doing that good. All who are in heaven are led in such a manner, for it is in keeping with Divine order. Thus everything they think or do flows so to speak spontaneously and freely. It would be altogether different if truth were to shape their thought and action, for then they would cogitate over whether or not they should do a certain thing, and so would hesitate over details, and in so doing would obscure the light they have. Eventually they would act in accord with what they themselves loved, thus in accord with influences that pander to their own loves, which is to be led by self, not by the Lord. From all this it is again evident what it is to be forbidden to acquire good through truth any longer, meant by the people gathering manna on six days, and finding none on the seventh day, dealt with in Arcana Coelestia 850585068510.

AC 8516

Being a Road of Heaven

September 14, 2018 § Leave a comment

For what flows in from God passes first into perception, which belongs to a person’s understanding; from there it passes into his will, and after that into action, that is, into a good deed, which is the useful purpose, and in this reaches its goal. When this passage of goodness and truth from the Lord is complete, the goodness and truth become the person’s own, for now they flow all the way through to the final level of order, that is, of the natural order, which all Divine influx heads towards. The person who has the Divine flowing all the way through him may be called a road of heaven. From all this it may now be seen that ‘coming near before Jehovah’ means a state in which that influx is accepted and put to use (AC 8439; Elliot)

We Should Pray to be Murdered

September 11, 2018 § Leave a comment

Well, that is a provocative title. 

AC 8403.2 reads:

People uninformed about human regeneration suppose that a person can be regenerated without temptation, and some that he has been regenerated after he has undergone a single temptation. But let it be known that eo one can be regenerated without temptation, and that he suffers very many temptations, following one after another. The reason for this is that regeneration takes place to the end that the life of the old man may die and a new, heavenly life may be instilled. From this one may recognize that conflict is altogether inevitable; for the life of the old man stands its ground and refuses to be snuffed out, and the life of the new man cannot enter except where the life of the old has been snuffed out. From this it is evident that fierce conflict takes place between mutually hostile sides, since each is fighting for its life. 

The old man is the life we have from ourselves. It is evil, not that we like to admit this. The new man is the life we have from the Lord. It is good, and not ours — something we don’t like to admit either.

We should pray that Lord helps us to snuff out (murder, extinguish) the old man, so that the new man can be born in us.


Reflecting on What We Observe

September 10, 2018 § Leave a comment

It is always interesting to reflect on what we observe when we read. The Lord inspires us to see different things at different times. You may see one thing, and I may see another; but even if we see the same thing, we do not see it in exactly the same way. The Lord’s inspiration and enlightenment is personal and unique, tailored to our individual needs.

I remember once when I was a young man in the Air Force having an issue I was bothered by. I was looking for guidance. The book of the Writings that I had available was Heaven and Hell. There was one passage that seemed relevant. I read it 17 times! Each time I saw more. This to my mind, was evidence that the Writings really are Divine Revelation.

Lately I have been observing verbs that describe actions taken by abstract nouns. In addition to evils and falsities when they are cast into hell, dragging the person with them into hell (see previous blog post); here are several others.

This is why when angels come to be present the sphere of the good of love ripples out from them and impingeson the affections of those who are present; and the truths of faith shine from their faces. (AC 8370)

Good that results from truth is the good done by a spiritual person prior to regeneration; for at that time he does it as a result of truth, that is, because truth demands it, and therefore he does it in a spirit of obedience. (AC 8399)