1 It seems like only a short period of time for the establishment of a new church to occur [only 230 years], especially when considering the thousands of years required to establish the first five churches, and bring them to fruition. But one only need consider what's happened over the past 230 years.
2 First consider how large the world's population has grown and multiplied. It wouldn't be unreasonable to say there are ten times as many people today as there were 230 years ago, and perhaps a lot more. In no other period of history has the world's population skyrocketed and grown, in such a monumental way.
3 Much of this is attributable to the advances of the Industrial Age, which began in the 1800's, even more so to the advances of technology, which have occurred since the early 1950's. Being more complex in its intricacies and number of people, society is drastically different now, so much so that a referendum is called for: today's form of religious practices being outdated and lukewarm in character.
4 What we need today is a church that is more streamlined and reflective of today's world. As we live in the Age of Information, the New Church needs to maintain its relevancy amongst the informed individual and, hold up to the stringencies of modern science as well. Or, at least not stand in contrast to or, contradict its methodology. The writing of this book is an attempt to achieve that.
5 This prompts an idea about the number 230, which I believe correlates with the number of chapters in the book of Revelation, 22. For instance, Revelation 21 deals with the Marriage of Heaven and Earth or, the instituting of the New Church: "And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." (verse 2). Therefore the number 21 signifies the marriage or, the ceremony itself (n3:6). While Revelation 22 concerns the exploration of this new church: "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb." (verse 1). And here, the river signifies an abundance of truthsdivine truthsto which John is led into through his understanding, what a river signifies in spiritual terms (n4:20,25). And, as it regards this heavenly marriage, I see the number 22 corresponding to the honeymoon or, wedding night (n3:6).
6 Beyond that, the number 23hence the correlation to 230signifies the new life, as it unfolds beyond the new church: a state of true intercourse within the state of marriage (n3:6; n4:89). Thus when multiplied by 10, the number 23 becomes 230, which doesn't suggest much, except when viewed in terms of a pattern. For when multiplying 230 by 10, you come up with 2,300 which, when subtracted from the number 1757in accord with the Last Judgment and the role Emanuel Swedenborg played (n1:10)you come up with the year 543 BC.
7 That which is significant about the year 543 BC, is that it occurred shortly after the period the kingdom of Judah was taken captive by the Babylonians, between 605 and 560 BC. Thus in effect a Last Judgment (n1:13) was performed on the third or Israelite Church at this time. The siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple signified this, as well as the recommission to have the temple rebuilt, by Cyrus the Great of Persia. Cyrus reigned from 550 to 529 BC, and conquered Babylon in 539 BC, before giving this proclamation a year later. And so at that timethe Jewsunofficially called until later (n12 below), were allowed to return to their homeland.
8 It also corresponds to the period when Dionysus was given official cult status in Greece, towards the end of the 6th century BC. Which becomes integral, for Dionysus and Christ were a parallel of each other, in enough ways to suggest the Christian Era began with the instituting of Dionysus' cult. Therefore he and Christ can be viewed correspondently as, the Two Witnesses (n4:157; n6:22; n8:13-17); not to say these are the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11, just that they portray something similar. More so the symmetry between left and right, meaning an essential or complimentary pair. The closest I come to the Two Witnesses in modern times would be Roy Masters and Joseph Campbell (n4:157-163; n6:105-108; n14:50) which, I believe to be fairly accurate.
9 Also consider Revelation 22:13: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last," which, can only mean one thing, Jesus. Yet it was borrowed specifically from Dionysus. Or, what of Revelation 19:16: "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords." This too was borrowed from Dionysus. And so gives more meaning to the prior verse: "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." Revelation 19:15 Notwithstanding there was the Day of Epiphany or, Miracle of the Wine, cited in the preface (np:2; n14:37), which was common to both religions.
10 While according to the Greeks, three spiritual hierarchies had transpired by this time, with its apparent relation to the Three Ages of Manor, Church of Man (n1:7; n4:42). The first was the reign of Uranus, or Father Sky; the second the reign of Cronus, the son of Uranus, who castrated Uranus; and the third the reign of Zeus, the son of Cronus, who dethroned Cronus. And, when taken a step further, Dionysus, the son of Zeus, succeeded Zeus' throne. This was the contention of Orpheus, the famous Greek oracle who, may have been premature by calling him the sixth ruler, his version included Eros and the goddess Night, but I'm speaking of the Sixth Church now! (n1:16). In a similar way, Jesus was the successor to Jehovah's throne.
11 This also coincides with the period Confucianism and Buddhism had their origins, with a myriad of connections between Christ and Buddha as well, suggesting something occurring worldwidehence the dawning of a new age. And guess what? Come to find out several years after drafting this chapter, the Buddha died in the year 543 BC, according to modern Theravada Buddhism. Wow! And yet another synchronistic account (n1:20-22) and, corroboration of the date (n6:22). And, just as our modern chronology, Cronus? revolves around the death and ressurection of Christ (AD), the idea is reflected much earlier when the Buddha dies and attains Nirvana.
12 And, while it may not signify the beginning of the Christian Era, as I suggest, it does draw to a close the dynasty of kings with sovereign reign over the kingdoms of Israel and Judea: to be replaced by the priestly, Jewish State. Instituted by the prophet Ezekiel, aptly called, The Father of Judaism, the high priest was given to rule, except under the auspices of Persian, Greek and Roman authorities. While throughout the book of Ezekiel he's called, Son of Man, a title rarely given to the other prophetsexcept Jesus Himself! Indeed if the third church had come to a close, which was also Swedenborg's claim, where does the fourth church begin?
13 If you refer to the letter to David in chapter 8 (n7), I delineate between an equilateral triangle and a hexagram or, Star of David. And here, the triangle portrays the Greek letter delta, which means the fourth: i.e., the region within the triangle or fourth component, what I believe this symbol draws its designation from. And so depicts the kingdom of Judah, which sprang from the tribe of Judah, the patriarch and 4th son of Jacob, taken captive by the Babylonians . This was the period known as The Captivity, and the symbol illustrates it well.
14 From the triangle I proceed to the inverted triangle, to form the hexagram. And here, the number within the first triangle is nullified, and assigned to the fourth point of the star, as it culminates into six points; while a seventh component is assigned to the star's center. And so shows the Jewish Church proceeding into the Christian Churchi.e., Christ was of Jewish decentas the fourth point of the star is formed. The star also depicts the six days of creation, which has God resting on the Sabbath or seventh day, in the star's center. And, as the fourth commandment says, Honor the Sabbath, it depicts both the center of the triangle (4) and the center of the star (7).
15 As for the Christian Church, which was central or most universal (n1:8), Jesus is often called, God in the flesh, as Swedenborg himself contends. Therefore we must be speaking of God Himself, as opposed to the Church of Man. It all becomes academic, however, for He's the closest thing there is and, may just as well be. As Jesus says: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6 Also, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father . . ." John 14:9 And so it seems fitting that the fourth church begin at some point other than the birth of Christ.
16 As for extending my theory back further, from 2,300 to 23,000 years, by another multiple of ten, it doesn't seem to pan out. For you'd have go back another 230,000 years, just to approach the end of the first church, and another 2,300,000 years to approach its beginning. The date you come up with is 2,553,543 BC, which seems a bit far off. Perhaps the number 230 has something specifically to do with the Christian Era, up to and beyond it?
17 I say this because it incorporates the transition from the third or Israelite Church (n1:25), to the fourth or Christian Church (n1:26), to the fifth or Swedenborg Church (n1:27) and, to the sixth church of Today (n1:29). And, when taken a step further, it proceeds to the seventh church in 2010: i.e., 23 years (230 divided by 10) after the year 1987. I have several reasons to believe this is a correct date, one is that it occurs in the 21st century, in relation to Revelation 21 (n6:120), along with the ties between Great Britain, the United States and Russia (n1:36; n10:21), and the rest which is detailed in the next few chapters (n3:6,22, n4:3,116; n11:6).
18 I did consider the idea of the first three churches occurring within three successive periods of 2,300 years, like the fourth church (n3:22), which would account for 9,453 years of civilization by the year 2010, with the instituting of the seventh church. It also fits in well with the Advent of Modern Man about 10,000 years ago, with the development of agriculture in Asia Minor, towards the end of the last Ice Age; and it fits in with the Six Elements of Marriage in the next chapter (n3:1). It's questionable though, for the Israelite Church wasn't instituted until around 1,300 to 1,200 BC, at most, 757 years before the fourth church.
19 Yet there may have been an overlapping effect, like what occurred between the third and fourth churches, as well as the second and third: i.e., the Israelite Church was named after Israel (Jacob) but, wasn't instituted until Moses' time! So, at what point did it really occur? (n24-25 below). It also seems significant that Dionysus, in accord with the fourth churchand sixthwas equated with Noah, who planted the first vineyard, the first biblical account. If the idea has any merit, it places the Advent of Adam at 7443 BC, the Advent of Noah at 5143 BC, the Advent of Israel at 2843 BC, and the Advent of Christianity at 543 BC, with obvious discrepancies of course.
20 Yet if modern man was to appear around 8,000 BC, give or take say, 500 years, that isn't too far from 7443 BC. Can they pinpoint an exact date? And how is it that such an intelligent creature as man appear so late and, in a short period have dominion over all things? Isn't that what the Bible says? "And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." Genesis 1:25-26
21 Not that I'm trying to dispel evolution here, for I believe it's the most plausible explanaion for how the natural world works, except the account in Genesis is also spot on! So, how does man fit in? If, in fact man has a spirit or a soul, and there is an afterlife, how does evolution take this into account? It doesn't. It would have to first acknowledge a Greater Spiritwhich, is preeminentthat exists as a precursor or foundation to the natural world; by which the natural world evolved by means of it. It doesn't do this either.
22 Nor does it explain how mankind of all creatures, is the only one held accountable for his actions, as if he were held to a higher standard: i.e., the purpose behind philosophy, religion and ethics. Are any other creatures held accountable in this way? No, not even the caveman prior to the last ice age, so far as we can tell, so long as he's portrayed as a primitive brute, like the apes. Whereby the other animalsí behavior is dictated primarily by instinct, not ethics. The only way you can really skirt around this is to say the natural world evolved first and, that mankind was added later or, transplanted from above. Which is precisely what Genesis tells us! And of course man's accountability means nothing in the least, unless he's first designated as caretaker.
23 Like the Church of Adam, we have few records of the Church of Noah. So what of recorded history? Why doesn't it go beyond 4,000 BC? Was there some great deluge say, around 5,143 BC that wiped everything out, putting it on the same time line as Noah? (n19). That's an intriguing thought. While curiously enough, the earliest known cities in Mesopotamiathe very cradle of civilizationwere carbon-test dated between 4,000 and 5,000 BC. So where's the rest of our history?
24 And what of the Israelite Church that came afterwards? There's a big difference between 2,843 BC and 1,200 BC. Yet Abraham, the father of Isaac and Jacob, left Babylonia around 2,100 BC, which gets a little closer. Could it entail events that occurred before he arrived in Canaan? After all, the Jews were taken captive by the Babylonians between 605 and 560 BC, and released five years after 543 BC, at the dawn of the Christian Age (n7). Meaning, the Israelite Church begins with and ends with, Babylonia. Had they gone back to live with mom and dad?
25 And what of Babylon, with its infamous Tower of Babel, founded between 3,000 and 2,800 BC? Did I say 2,843 BC? (n19). There it is! While all the people on earth spoke the same language, before they were confounded and scattered abroad. Genesis 11:1-9 Suggesting a common point of departure from what some assert was native to Adam and Noah, the Hebrew Tongue; and, common to everyone. So in effect a Last Judgment (n1:13) was performed at this time. Similar to the Jewish Diaspora after the Babylonian exile? Indeed the lineage of Abraham, along with the Hebrew tongue, begins in the next verse following the dispersion at Babel. Genesis 11:10-32
26 While the dynastic periods of Mesopotamia and Egypt began at this time, and shared a similar pictograph style of writing with the early Hebrews, suggesting a common lineage. Is this what the Tower of Babel represented? And so the Israelites' sojourn to Egypt began 276 years after Abraham arrived in Canaan, and ended with their Exodus 430 years later, suggesting all three had a common origin. And, where the Tower of Babel symbolizes the end of the second church, its construction halted before completion, construction on the great pyramids of Egypt began soon afterwards, symbolizing the beginning of the third churchwhich, is the triangle (or pyramid) completed at its apex (n4:42; n6:80). Could some other scheme be involved here?