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[Home]>[The Man-Made Church]>[41. Swedenborg and the two witnesses]

 

This is the 41. Chapter of "The Man-Made Church"

 

41. Swedenborg and the two witnesses

 

by Frank L. Preuss

 

In the previous chapter of our book The Man-Made Church, in 40. Humans are electromagnetic beings, Swedenborg was mentioned. Swedenborg was not just a mystic, who possessed wisdom to know what to do with information from the spiritual world, he himself brought much information from the spiritual world into this world, and he is quite a unique personality because he not only received information from the spiritual world and passed it on, but because he also was also able to interpret this information and he also left these Interpretation in written form for us.

In this chapter of the book The Man-Made Church we want to deal with Emanuel Swedenborg’s book Apocalypse Revealed and there with that parts, which deal with the two witnesses.

The two relevant webpages are
http://www.sacred-texts.com/Swedenborg/ApocalypseRevealed/ar10.htm
http://www.sacred-texts.com/Swedenborg/ApocalypseRevealed/ar11.htm

The first webpage, ar10, contains Numbers 451-500 and the second, ar11, contains Numbers 501-550.

The Numbers dealing with the two witnesses are the Numbers from 485 to 518.

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) wrote Apocalypse Revealed in the year 1766, and the translation here used is the one by John Whitehead (1912).

Apocalypse Revealed is about the last book of the Bible, Revelation. It is a verse-by-verse exposition on the inner spiritual meaning of the book of Revelation.

One main aspect of this book is that the revelations of Revelation are mainly revelations about the church. So it is about the difference between the true church and the false church, the man-made church.

I now first bring here that section of Revelation that deals with the two witnesses.

Now follows Revelation 11:1-14:

 

Rev 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

Rev 11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

Rev 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

Rev 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

Rev 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

Rev 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

Rev 11:8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

Rev 11:9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

Rev 11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.

Rev 11:11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

Rev 11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

Rev 11:13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

Rev 11:14 The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

 

In summary Swedenborg describes, in Number 485, the spiritual sense of the eleventh chapter of Revelation.

The eleventh chapter treats of the state of the church among the Reformed, as to the quality of those who are interiorly in faith alone, contrary to the two essentials of the New Church, which are that the Lord alone is the God of heaven and earth, and that His Human is Divine; and that men ought to live according to the precepts of the Decalogue.

So the first of the two essentials is the following two: that the Lord alone is God of heaven and earth, and that his Human is Divine. That is the first essential, and here the Human is Jesus Christ and he is divine, that means he is God.

And the second essential is that men ought to live according to the precepts of the Decalogue.

Now this, the second essential, is the pivot, the crucial point.

The Decalogue is the Ten Commandments, and that is essentially the command to love God and the neighbour.

The eleventh chapter of Revelation treats of the state of the church among the Reformed, as to the quality of those who are interiorly in faith alone, contrary to the two essentials of the New Church, which are that the Lord alone is the God of Heaven and earth, and that His Human is Divine; and that men ought to live according to the precepts of the Decalogue.

So that is the summary and now to details.

In verses 3-6 of Revelation 11 the two essentials are declared to the false church, but they are totally rejected (verses 7-10). They were raised up again by the Lord (verses 11, 12). They who rejected them, perish (verse 13). The state of the true church manifests from the new heaven (verses 15-19).

In verse 1 of Revelation 11 a reed like a staff is given and this signifies that the faculty and power of knowing and seeing the state of the church in heaven and in the world was given to John by the Lord.

Now this is what this book The Man-Made Church is all about: the faculty and power of knowing and seeing the state of the church in heaven and in the world. Knowing and seeing what is wrong with the man-made church and knowing and seeing what the true church is like and how it operates.

And this faculty and this power was given to John the revelator. And what the angel said signifies the Lord’s presence and His command, that he should see and know the state of the church.

And he was to leave out the court and measure it not, verse 2, signifies that the state of the church on earth, such as it is at present, is to be removed, and not known. For it is given to the Gentiles, signifies, because the state of that church is destroyed and desolated by evils of life. And the holy city shall they trample 42 months, signifies that it would disperse every truth of the Word, even so that nothing remained.

Verse 3: And I will give my two witnesses, signifies those who confess and acknowledge in heart that the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, and that His Human is Divine, and who are conjoined to Him by a life according to the precepts of the Decalogue.

And they shall prophecy a 1260 days, signifies that these two articles, the acknowledgment of the Lord, and a life according to the commandments of the Decalogue, which are the two essentials of the church, are to be taught until the end and the beginning. Clothed in sackcloth, signifies mourning in the meantime on account of the nonreception of truth.

Verse 4: These are the two olive trees, and the two lampstands, which are standing before the God of the earth, signifies love and intelligence, or charity and faith, from the Lord with them.

Verse 5: And if anyone will hurt them, fire shall go forth out of their mouth, and shall devour their enemies, signifies that they who wish to destroy these two essentials of the New Church, will perish from infernal love. And if anyone will hurt them, he must thus be killed, signifies that he who condemns them shall in like manner be condemned.

Verse 6: These have power to shut heaven, that it rain no rain in the days of their prophecy, signifies that they who turn themselves away from these two essentials cannot receive any truth from heaven. And they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, signifies that they who turn themselves away from them falsify the truth of the Word. And to smite the earth with every plague, as often as they will, signifies that they who would destroy them, will cast themselves into all kinds of evils and falsities, as often and as far as they do so.

Verse 7: And when they shall have finished their testimony, signifies that after the Lord taught those two essentials of the New Church. The beast that ascendeth out of the abyss shall make war with them, and overcome them, and kill them, signifies that they who are in the essentials of the doctrine of faith alone will reject these two.

Verse 8: And their dead bodies shall lie on the street of that great city, signifies that they are totally rejected. Which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, signifies two infernal loves, which are the love of dominion from the love of self, and the love of rule from the pride of one’s own intelligence, which exist in the church where one God is not acknowledged, and the Lord not worshipped, and where they do not live according to the precepts of the Decalogue. Where also our Lord was crucified, signifies non-acknowledgement of the Lord’s Divine Human, and, consequently, a state of rejection.

Verse 9: And they of the peoples, and tribes, and tongues, and nations, shall see their bodies three days and a half, signifies when all they, who, until the end of the present church and the beginning of the new New Church, have been and will be in falsities of doctrine and evils of life from faith alone, have heard and shall hear of these two essentials. And shall not permit their bodies to be put into tombs, signifies that they have condemned and will condemn them.

Verse 10: And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them and be glad, signifies the delight of the affection of the heart and soul in the church among those who were in faith alone. And shall send gifts one to another, signifies consociation through love and friendship. Because these two prophets tormented them that dwell upon the earth, signifies that these two essentials of the New Church, by reason of their contrariety in the two essentials in the church of the Reformed, are held in contempt, dislike, and aversion.

Verse 11: And after three days and a half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet, signifies that these two essentials, during the commencement and progress of the New Church, with those who receive them, will be vivified by the Lord. And great fear fell upon them that saw them, signifies commotion of mind and consternation at Divine truth.

Verse 12: And they heard a great voice from heaven, saying to them, Come up hither, signifies that these two essentials of the New Church were taken up by the Lord into heaven, from whence they came, and where they are, and the protection of them. And they went up into heaven in a cloud, signifies the taking them up into heaven, and conjunction there with the Lord by the Divine truth of the Word in its literal sense. And their enemies saw them, signifies that they who are in faith separated from charity heard them, but remained in their own falsities.

Verse 13: And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, signifies remarkable change of state which then took place with them, and that they were torn away from heaven, and cast down into hell. And in the earthquake were killed the names of men 7000, signifies that all those who confessed faith alone, and therefore made no account of the works of charity, perished. And the rest were terrified, and gave glory to the God of heaven, signifies that they who saw their destruction acknowledged the Lord, and were separated.

Verse 14: The second woe is past; behold the third woe cometh quickly, signifies lamentation over the perverted state of the church, and the last lamentation, to be treated of presently.

So all this is actually still part of the summary and also part of Number 485.

I will now select some parts of the more detailed explanations of Swedenborg and start with Number 500:

The beast that cometh up out of the abyss shall make war with them, and shall overcome them, and kill them, signifies that they who are in the internals of the doctrine of faith alone will oppose them, and assault these two essentials of the New Church, and will reject them, and, as far as lies in their power, will cause others to reject them. By "the beast that cometh up out of the abyss," are meant they who came up out of the abyss, and appeared like locusts (chap. 9:1-12). That these are they who are in the internals of the doctrine of faith alone, may be seen in the explanation there given; by "making war" is signified to oppose and assault these two essentials of the church, as will be seen presently; by "overcoming and killing" them is signified to reject and extirpate them in themselves, and, as far as lies in their power, to cause others to do the same. [2] The reason why they who are principled in the internals of the doctrine of faith alone will impugn and reject these two essentials, is, because they have confirmed themselves in two things diametrically opposite to them, First, that it is not the Lord, but God the Father, who is to be approached; and Secondly, that a life according to the precepts of the Decalogue is not a spiritual life, but only a moral and civil life, and this they confirm, lest anyone believe that he can be saved by works, but only by their faith. All they who have had these dogmas impressed deeply on their minds in schools and academies, do not recede from them afterwards. There are three reasons for this which hitherto have not been known: First, because they have entered, as to their spirit, into association with their like in the spiritual world, where there are many satans, who are delighted with nothing but falsities, from which they cannot at all be separated but by rejecting those falsities; nor can this be done but by immediately approaching God the Savior, and beginning a Christian life according to the precepts of the Decalogue. [3] The second reason is because they believe that remission of sins, and thus salvation, is given in a moment in the act of faith, and afterwards in the state or in the progression by the same act continued, preserved, and retained, from the Holy Spirit, separate from the exercises of charity; and they who have once imbibed these doctrines afterwards make no account of sins before God, and so live in their uncleanness. And because they know how to confirm such things subtly before the unlearned by falsifications of the Word, and before the learned by sophistry, it is here said that "the beast which came up from the abyss overcame and killed the two witnesses." But this takes place only with those who love to follow their own inclinations, being borne along by the delights of their lusts. When these think about salvation, they cherish those lusts in their hearts and embrace their faith with both hands, thinking that they may be saved by uttering certain words with a tone of confidence, and that they need not attend to anything of their life for the sake of God, but only for the sake of the world. [4] The Third reason is that they who, in youth, had imbibed the internals of that faith which are called the mysteries of justification, on being afterwards promoted to an honored ministry, do not think in themselves concerning God and heaven, but concerning themselves and the world, retaining only the mysteries of their faith for the sake of reputation, that they may be honored as wise, and by reason of their wisdom, be thought worthy of being rewarded with wealth.

So this was from Number 500 and Number 500 is the last Number of webpage ar10 and we now go to the next webpage, webpage ar11.

We now start right at the beginning of Webpage ar11 and that is Number 501:

Verse 8: And their bodies shall be upon the street of the great city, signifies that the two essentials of the New Church are totally rejected by those who are interiorly in the falsities of doctrine concerning justification by faith alone. By "the bodies of the two witnesses" are signified the two essentials of the New Church, which are the acknowledgment of the Lord as the only God of heaven and earth, and that conjunction with Him is by a life according to the precepts of the Decalogue. By "the street of the great city," is signified the falsity of the doctrine concerning justification by faith alone; by "a street" is signified falsity, as will be seen presently; and by "a city" is signified doctrine. It is called "a great city," because it is the doctrine which reigns in the whole Reformed Christian world among the clergy, though not in like manner among the laity. "By streets," in the Word, almost the same is signified as by "ways," because streets are ways in a city; but still by "streets" are signified the truths or falsities of doctrine, because "a city" signifies doctrine; and by "ways" are signified the truths or falsities of the church, because "the earth" signifies the church.

The next part comes from Number 502 and contains the complete Number 502:

Which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt signifies the two infernal loves, which are the love of dominating from self-love, and the love of ruling from the pride of one's own intelligence, which are in the church where one God is not acknowledged, and the Lord is not worshiped, and where they do not live according to the precepts of the Decalogue. By "Sodom," in the spiritual sense, is signified the love of dominating from self-love, as will be seen presently; and by "Egypt," in the spiritual sense, is signified the love of ruling from the pride of one's own intelligence, which also will be spoken of presently; and because these two loves are signified, therefore it is spiritually called "Sodom and Egypt." The reason why these loves prevail in the church where one God is not acknowledged, and the Lord is not worshiped, and where they do not live according to the precepts of the Decalogue, is, because man is born into those two loves, and comes into them as he grows up, and those loves cannot be removed but by God the Savior, and by a life according to His precepts; and they cannot be removed by God the Savior, unless He is approached; nor can a life according to His precepts be given, unless man is led by Him. It can indeed be given, but not a life in which there is anything of heaven and thence of the church. That life is given only by Him who is life. That the Lord is that life, may be seen (John 1:1, 4; 5:26; 6:33-35, and following verses; 11:25, 26; 14:6, 19; and in many other places). [2] That the love of dominating from self-love, and the love of ruling from the pride of one's own intelligence, are the heads of all the loves of hell, and thus the heads of all the evils and thence of the falsities in the church, is unknown at this day; the delights of those loves, which exceed the delights of all the pleasures of the mind, are the causes of its not being known, when yet, "spiritually, they are Sodom and Egypt." That "Sodom" is the love of dominating from self-love, may appear from the description of Sodom in Moses, that they wished to do violence to the angels who came into Lot's house; and that fire and brimstone rained upon them out of heaven (Genesis 19:1, and following verses). By "fire and brimstone," that love with its lusts is signified. I saw similar things happen when the cities and societies of such were overthrown in the day of the Last Judgment, and they were cast into hell. These loves and their evils are signified by "Sodom and Gomorrah" (in these places: Isaiah 1:10; 3:8-9; 13:19; Jeremiah 23:14; 49:18; 50:37, 40; Lamentations 4:6; Ezekiel 16:46-50; Amos 4:11; Zephaniah 2:9-10; Deuteronomy 29:23; 32:32; Matthew 10:14-15; 11:23; Mark 6:11; Luke 10:10-12; 17:28-29). [3] That this love is signified by "Sodom," is not known in the world; but keep this in mind and remember it when you come into the world of spirits, as is done after death, and you will be fully convinced. But it is to be known, that there is a love of dominating from self-love, and a love of dominion from the love of uses; the latter love is celestial, but the former infernal. Therefore when one makes the head, the other makes the feet, that is, when the love of dominating from self-love makes the head, then the love of dominion from the love of uses, which is also the love of serving the neighbor from the Lord, at first makes the feet, afterwards the soles of the feet, and, lastly is trodden under foot. But when the love of dominion from the love of uses, which, as was said, is celestial love, makes the head, then the love of dominating from self-love, which, as was observed, is an infernal love, at first makes the feet, afterwards the soles of the feet, and, finally, is trodden under foot. These two loves, however, are with difficulty distinguished by man in the world, because their external forms are similar; yet they may be distinguished by this, that the celestial love is with those who approach the Lord, and live according to the precepts of the Decalogue; and that the infernal love is with those who do not approach the Lord, and who do not live according to the precepts of the Decalogue.

Now follows the beginning of Number 503:

It shall now be said what is signified by "Egypt" in the Word. "Egypt" signifies the natural man in conjunction with the spiritual, and thus the affection of truth and thence science and intelligence; but, in the opposite sense, it signifies the natural man separated from the spiritual, and then the pride of one's own intelligence, and thence insanity in spiritual things.

Swedenborg then brings many Scriptures explaining the meaning of "Egypt" in the Word. I now bring just the last part of Number 503:

The reason why "Egypt" signifies not only intelligence but also insanity in spiritual things, is because the Ancient Church, which extended through many kingdoms of Asia, was also in Egypt, at which time the Egyptians excelled all others in cultivating the science of correspondences between spiritual things and natural, as appears from their hieroglyphics. But when that science was turned by them into magic, and became idolatrous, then their intelligence in things spiritual became insanity; for which reason, "Egypt," in the opposite sense, signifies such insanity. From what has been said, it may now be seen, what is meant by "the great city which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt."

Swedenborg here says that the Ancient Church extended through many kingdoms of Asia and on this website we dealt with this Ancient Church in chapter 39. Sanskrit, pyramid, sphinx and Plato of the book The Man-Made Church. And it is also dealt with in The Table of Nations and The rulers of the Hanoch Empire. This is quite an important subject because the church and therefore mankind is in continuous decline and this continuous decline is in strong contrast to what the sciences tell us, who want us to believe that it is the other way around.

Now follows Number 504:

Where also our Lord was crucified, signifies non-acknowledgment of the Lord's Divine Human, and thus a state of rejection. It is said in the church, that they "crucify the Lord" who blaspheme Him; as do those also who, like the Jews, deny Him to be the Son of God. The reason why they who deny the Lord's Human to be Divine are like the Jews is because every man regards the Lord as a Man, and he who regards His Human as like the human of another man cannot then think of His Divine, howsoever he may call this the Son of God, born from eternity, and equal to the Divine of the Father. When it is spoken and read, it is heard indeed, but still it is not at the same time believed; when the Lord is thought of as a material man like any other man, and retaining the like properties of the flesh; and as His Divine is then removed and not regarded, therefore the same state is induced as if it were denied, for he denies that His Human is the Son of God, as did the Jews, for which reason they crucified Him. That the Lord's Human is nevertheless the Son of God, is openly said (in Luke 1:32, 35; Matt. 3:16-17; and in other places). [2] From these things it appears, why the men of the church approach God the Father immediately, and many also the Holy Spirit immediately, but scarcely anyone approaches the Lord immediately. Since the Jews, from the denial that the Lord was the Messiah, the Son of God, crucified Him, therefore their Jerusalem is also called Sodom (Isa. 3:9; Jer. 23:14; Ezek. 16:46, 48). And the Lord says: On the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all; even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed (Luke 17:29-30). What is meant by fire and brimstone may be seen above (n. 452, 494).

Now what Swedenborg describes here in these parts of his book Apocalypse Revealed applies to the situation of the church at his time and that was in the year 1766 after Christ and that was 250 years ago but the situation has not changed since then and has actually become worse.

Swedenborg very nicely describes the man-made church accurately.

And he describes particularly those who start and manage man-made churches, the clerics:

The Third reason is that they who, in youth, had imbibed the internals of that faith which are called the mysteries of justification, on being afterwards promoted to an honored ministry, do not think in themselves concerning God and heaven, but concerning themselves and the world, retaining only the mysteries of their faith for the sake of reputation, that they may be honored as wise, and by reason of their wisdom, be thought worthy of being rewarded with wealth.

 

This is the end of "Swedenborg and the two witnesses"

Go to the German version of this chapter: Swedenborg und die beiden Zeugen

Next chapter: [42]

 

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