EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688 - 1772)
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Emanuel Swedenborg was a Swedish scientist, philosopher, theologian, revelator, and mystic. He is perhaps best known for his book on the afterlife, "Heaven and Hell" (1758).
Swedenborg had a prolific career as an inventor and scientist. In 1741, at age 53, he entered into a spiritual phase in which he began to experience dreams and visions, beginning on Easter weekend April 6, 1744. This culminated in a "spiritual awakening" in which he received revelation that he was appointed by the Lord to write The Heavenly Doctrine to reform Christianity. According to "The Heavenly Doctrine" the Lord had opened Swedenborg's spiritual eyes, so that from then on he could freely visit heaven and hell and talk with angels, demons and other spirits; and the Last Judgment had already occurred, in 1757.
For the remaining 28 years of his life, Swedenborg wrote eighteen published theological works, and several more which were unpublished. He termed himself a "Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ" in True Christian Religion, a work he published himself. Some followers of The Heavenly Doctrine believe that, of his theological works, only those which Swedenborg published himself are fully divinely inspired.
Today, the Swedenborg Foundation ("the Foundation"), a non-profit organization, describes itself on its website as "an important connection to spiritual resources―including books, webcasts, and social media communities ― based on Emanuel Swedenborg’s explorations of the afterlife." After holding its recent strategic retreat, the Foundation expressed that ...
"Our mission is to foster an affirmative, informed, and increasingly broad engagement with the theological message disclosed by Emanuel Swedenborg. Our greatest hope is that by spreading Swedenborg's ideas as widely as possible, we can help to make the world a better place by giving people a path to peace and happiness."
The Foundation’s main office is in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
WHY ARE SWEDENBORG AND THE SWEDENBORG FOUNDATION IMPORTANT?
While in his 50's, Swedenborg experienced a spiritual awakening that opened the afterlife to him, while he was alive. When this happened, his dream life changed and began experiencing incredibly meaningful lucid dreams at night. Later, he entered a second phase, where he experienced waking visions including visits from Jesus. He also experienced visits from his deceased relatives. Eventually he entered a third phase, where he had daily, continuous waking conversations with spirits from the spirit world. This phase continued for the last 27 years of Swedenborg's life.
Swedenborg loved to learn about science and then publish his scientific findings and when he started having profound spiritual experiences, he decided that it was very important that he should also apply the same learn-and-publish principles, so that others could share the wisdom. He widely published the spiritual knowledge, that he obtained from his conversations with Spirit, throughout London, England and later throughout Europe. He published 14,000 pages of indexed, triple-cross-referenced spiritual material, based on 100,000 pages of notes – a fantastic body of work. Swedenborg was a one-man publishing and distribution whirlwind. It is also important to note that many of Swedenborg's underlying spiritual work journals were only found and published after his death. These journals help all to understand his strong and determined frame of mind at the time of his spiritual experiences.
We understand that Swedenborg's contributions to spiritual knowledge are perhaps not as well known today, because many in his contemporary society were simply not ready to accept spiritual truths offered by an individual who claimed to have a direct connection with the world of spirit. Certainly, the major Churches throughout Europe were unlikely to be publicly supportive of Swedenborg's teachings because of this, as well as his new perspective. The New Church (or Swedenborgianism) – focused on Jesus Christ and God as goodness itself – developed as a new religious movement in May 1787.
Today, the Swedenborg Foundation is working hard to ensure that Swedenborg's knowledge is available to all, and interpreted in a modern day context. The Foundation explains that ... "The fear of death is closely linked to fear of the unknown. Swedenborg's experiences help to mitigate that fear, and modern accounts seem to indicate that God's love will mitigate the physical and emotional pain that comes with death." The Swedenborg Foundation acts as Swedenborg's voice today. We, the founders of Spiritual Influence Society, believe that Spirit continues to support the publishing of Swedenborg's historical works as well as the Swedenborg Foundation's ongoing activities.
Swedenborg's body of spiritual work is important and relevant to those who wish to learn key spiritual truths, including God's ten commandments and how life in Spirit works.
The Foundation's enticing blog page, "Spirituality in Practice," may be found here.
A modern, thought-provoking article about Swedenborg's perspectives on space in the spiritual world, and how quantum entanglement between particles parallel's his thoughts about "love being the 'glue' that connects us together in both physical and non-physical realities," may be found here.
The four selected YouTube videos below (3 informational and 1 inspirational) are extremely helpful to understanding who Swedenborg was and what his body of spiritual knowledge was all about. We recommend that you watch these videos so that you become well-informed about Swedenborg and the Swedenborg Foundation. Many more helpful Swedenborg videos are available on YouTube. The Foundation also has a YouTube channel offTheLeftEye, which offers a weekly webcast Swedenborg and Life. On October 21, 2016, the channel reached 40,000 subscribers, with current monthly views of more than 200,000. The Foundation estimates that it now reaches out to more than 3,000,000 people with posts on its Heaven and Hell Facebook page.