Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg helped to bring newer and deeper meaning to the sacred stories of Holy Scripture. He claimed that within the literal sense of our terrestrial language lay deeper layers of communication within God’s Holy Word. These deeper layers of meaning were purely spiritual and heavenly.
If this elevated translation is applied to the story of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, we can discover that the narrative actually addresses the lawful process by which the Lord enters into our hearts and minds. This allows all the biblical stories to be profoundly personal and relevant to our lives today. It is in our hearts and minds that the Lord wants to rule (as a King and Sovereign). This is why his heavenly Kingdom is within us!
Only such a deep entry into our psycho-spiritual realities can effect true change in the world—not the physical defeat of our worldly enemies.
Swedenborg claimed that everything in this famous story had symbolic meaning, which addresses specific issues of the human soul (as opposed to corporeal and worldly issues). The Lord’s riding on a colt as our King and Savior, was also predicted by the prophet Zechariah, in the Old Testament (9,9).
Symbolically translated, the Lord riding on a young colt represents an understanding from innocence, which could only be guided by Divine Wisdom. Palm leaves represent the pleasantness and acceptance of spiritual love. Therefore, the palm leaves spread before the Lord’s path represented that the Divine could only enter and travel upon the place where human hearts and the affection of spiritual goodness existed.
This event is celebrated and memorialized by Christians with the passing out of palm leaves to its church members every year. But I believe an important detail was left out!
In the Bible Story it is said that the disciples also put their cloaks on the colt for the Lord to sit on and the welcoming crowds also threw their cloaks on the road along with the palm fronds. This means something else is needed to allow the Lord to enter into and rule our inner world. We have to give up something of our own!
Clothes represent ones belief system (faith) for this is the material and fabric that the heart and inner spirit dresses itself with. Cloaks are outer garments and thus symbolize the outermost or worldly leanings of our lives. These worldly notions must be sacrificed before one’s deeper spiritual affections and hopes can be deemed sincere and worthy for the Lord’s approach.
Therefore, emphasizing only the palm leaves every year tells me that an important part of salvation has been overlooked. Hope has come to trump personal responsibility.