Emanuel Swedenborg was a religious teacher, Swedish scientist, mystic, philosopher, theologian, chemist, inventor and could speak eleven languages. His religious system was called Swedenborgianism and his writings were incorporated in the Church of the New Jerusalem which was founded about fifteen years after his death.
Emanuel Swedenborg was the son of a Lutheran minister who provided a very strict religious atmosphere with focus on the Bible in the upbringing of his son. Emanuel abandoned the traditional Christianity and rejected the theology of Trinitarian; the God in three person, as well as the belief Jesus alone embodied the Godhead.
He did not intend to establish a new religious sect. He believed the New Church would include members from all of the Christian churches. Emanuel Swedenborg completed thirty volumes of religious writings. It was through these writings that started a new religion. It was in 1810 that a society was founded to publish the Swedenborg words in the English language. There were about 18 volumes of the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg that were published between 1901 and 1916. His teachings were seen as heretical and in his last years ecclesiastical proceedings were held against some of his Swedish disciples.
Emanuel Swedenborg was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on January 29, 1688. He was the son of a Lutheran bishop who was also a hymn writer. Swedenborg considered himself a Lutheran even though his ideas were very different than the doctrine of his church. Emanuel was a distinguished scientist and was in the House of Nobles of the parliament of Sweden. Emanuel Swedenborg traveled to Germany and Holland and lived in England from 1710 to 1713.
Theology was only a part of the accomplishments of Emanuel Swedenborg. His engineering skills made him well known far and wide. He traveled extensively and was made the Assessor of the Royal College of Mines in 1716. He was active in the proceedings of the House of Nobles and was a devoted Reformer. He studied practically every field of scientific investigation and wrote profusely on every subject he tackled. His studies of the human brain, psychology, man and the animal kingdom were all published before 1747.
In 1743, Swedenborg had a profound religious crisis which led to trances where he accounted talks with angels, Jesus, devils and human souls who had departed (including popes and kings), as well as other theologians such as Calvin and Luther. Swedenborg had felt close to death and had a dream that a roaring wind picked him up and threw him on his face. Next there was a hand that clutched his hand and he believed he saw Christ. He studied Hebrew and wrote on subjects that were revealed to him.
Swedenborg devoted himself to prophesy and spiritual investigation. Emanuel Swedenborg had also experienced a revelation which enabled him able to view the spirit world and was unrestricted by physical perception in 1743. On Easter Monday in 1744, Swedenborg believed that Christ asked him to circle around the solar system, which revealed both spiritual significance as well as establishing science assumptions about the planets. Swedenborg claimed the moon was inhabited by a race of people which spoke through their stomachs and the sound was like belching. Swedenborg was convinced God intended him to be a spiritual emissary and explore higher planes and report his findings to mankind. He says that he visited Heaven and Hell while in his ecstatic trances.
Emanuel Swedenborg claimed to have communications and visions with spirits and angels to help him prepare to set forth the teachings of the New Church. He believed this introduction took place in 1757 with the second coming of Christ. He also claimed to have received the true sense of the Scriptures from the Lord himself.
Swedenborg also demonstrated his talents of clairvoyance and prophecy. July 19, 1759, he was three hundred miles from his home and knew there was a horrendous fire in Stockholm. The next day the account of the firs was confirmed. Emanuel Swedenborg visited Queen Louisa Ulrika of Sweden in 1758. The Queen asked him to tell her something about her deceased brother Augustus William. The next day Swedenborg whispered something in the Queen’s ear that made her go pale then she explained that only she and her brother knew what he had whispered. There was a woman who had come to Swedenborg because she had lost an important document and wanted him to contact a recently deceased person to find this document. Swedenborg did and the document was found. Swedenborg also went into a trance and described the assassination of Peter III, the Russian Tsar in 1762.
He never married and spent his later years in England. There is where he died and was buried in London on March 29, 1772. The followers of Swedenborg founded the New Jerusalem Church in England in 1778 and it was founded in the United States in 1792. The Swedenborg Society was established in 1810. Emanuel Swedenborg’s remains were moved from London and moved to Uppsala Sweden, where his skull was stolen from his gravesite.
Emanuel Swedenborg taught and believed God created mankind to exist simultaneously in the physical world and in the spiritual world. He believed the spiritual world belonged to the inner domain. He taught that memory is what survives after death. Swedenborg taught Heaven is populated by spirits of the dead and they continue to live their lives like they did on earth. He claimed Hell did not contain satan and mankind makes their own personal Heaven or Hell. He taught there was no such thing as a personal devil or satan, but rather these names signified the whole society of evil spirits and part of the spiritual nature of man. He taught this spiritual nature could never be annihilated, not even in Heaven.
Swedenborg taught that the spirit world is in a number of circular spheres of different sizes, all having the same middle point with each one containing their own inhabitants. He believed life in spirit is similar to that on the earth plane with houses, schools, and even churches. Swedenborg taught the process of death is aided by good spirits or angels, with everyone resting for a few days after their death and then regaining their full consciousness without change to the person’s internal nature.
He taught there was no such thing as eternal punishment, and that anyone finding themselves in Hell has the ability to work towards a higher level. Emanuel Swedenborg taught the existence of an eternal Hell was a Hell of human creation, rather than divine punishment for sin. He taught all religions could be saved, and salvation was not exclusive to the Christians.
He taught marriage is a form of spiritual union and that it continues in the spirit world. Even though Swedenborg did not marry, he believed the union between a man and a woman was necessary to complete the human unit.
Swedenborg believed God and the material world is the same thing and God, which is Jesus Christ, is present in everything. He believed Jesus Christ is the Trinity of Love, Wisdom and Energy. Teaching the human body is the kingdom of the soul his doctrine of correspondence stated all phenomena of the physical world have their spiritual correspondences. This was the instrument for the interpretation and revelation of hidden meaning within scripture. Swedenborg believed only the Pentateuch books of the Bible (the first five books of law written by Moses), the Old Testament books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Psalms and the Prophets from Isaiah to Malachi, and the four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John of the New Testament, and the book of Revelation were the only communication of the True Word of God. Emanuel Swedenborg taught everything in the Bible had to be taken literally as well as seeking to reveal the hidden meaning of the Word. He taught Adam and Eve were real people, Noah was a real person and that Revelation told what was happening on the spiritual level, rather than a a prophesy of what will happen in the future Last Days.
Swedenborg taught the crucifixion of Jesus did not atone for the sins of mankind. Swedenborg also rejected the traditional doctrines of the Trinity and instead taught man had his own spiritual freedom and responsibilities and taught that eternal life was an inner condition which started with earthly life, and redemption occurred through personal adjustments of spiritual states. Swedenborg taught that practical love was necessary in every relationship.
He taught God came down to earth as Jesus when the world was in need of healing. He believed Jesus taught the ways of love and restored the order of creation. He believed God is now present to the whole human race through the human body that was taken at His birth in Bethlehem and was made fully divine and brings a special healing love to mankind in the human form.
Emanuel Swedenborg taught the infinite love of God for the whole human race is perpetual. He rejected the idea of God being angry with mankind. He taught God always looks upon mankind with love.
Swedenborg taught when the bodily functions of respiration and circulation cease, man still does not die. He explained man is separated from their corporeal part that was used by him in the world. When man passes on they are only going from one world into another. Swedenborg continued to teach the newly dead person does not know he is dead, because he is still in his body. Swedenborg taught the first state of man after death is like his same state he had in the world and believes he is still in the world. The dead person then has a desire of knowing what Heaven is and what Hell is then he chooses which he desires.
He taught the spiritual state is less limited. He explained the perceptions, thoughts and memories are more perfect and the concept of time and space no longer cause the obstacles that they do in a physical life. He believed the spirits are in a more perfect state.
He taught dying man can meet other departed spirits whom he knew in his physical life. These departed spirits may help the dying man during his passage into the beyond. The spirits may instruct their recognized friends concerning the state of eternal life. Swedenborg wrote the past life of these dead men may be shown to him in a vision and he would remember every detail of the vision. It is impossible to conceal anything according to Swedenborg.
Swedenborg taught there was no such thing as Christian redemption. He taught humans were the most important entity; seeing things in the human terms, judging according to human perceptions, values and experiences. Swedenborg taught the spiritual world was populated exclusively by deceased human beings that are grouped together according to their natural inclinations. He believed Christ was to be regarded as the highest manifestation of humanity.
He taught that life and death was a continuous cycle of a person’s life time. Swedenborg explained in the spiritual world thoughts are communicated like on the earthbound realm. He taught that people can travel anywhere on the earth and see places they had never seen before. He also taught people have a Heavenly and a spiritual desire to enter Heaven. Emanuel Swedenborg taught people do not keep their faith if it does not come from a Heavenly desire.
He rejects blind faith or the mystery of the scripture as being religious methodologies, the organized system of studying the principles of religion. He taught if a person doesn’t understand a religious belief, it will never become a part of their soul.
Emanuel Swedenborg taught life is to be lived in freedom in accordance with reason. He believed God approved of this freedom. He believed the mind is formed by studying the Bible, theology and through life experience.