Spiritual background for EXODUS 39    previous  -  next  -  text  -  BM Home  -  Full Page


AC 10789. There are two kinds of things with men that must be in order, namely, the things that belong to heaven, and the things that belong to the world. The things that belong to heaven are called Ecclesiastical; and the things that belong to the world are called Civil.

AC 10790. Order cannot be maintained in the world without overseers, who must take note of all things that are done according to order, and that are done contrary to order; and who must reward those who live according to order, and punish those who live contrary to order.

AC 10791. If this be not done, the human race will perish. For there is born in everyone, by inheritance, the desire to rule over others, and to possess the goods of others. From this come enmities, envyings, hatreds, revenges, deceits, fierce ragings, and many other evils; and therefore unless men are kept in bonds by laws, and by rewards suited to their loves, which are honors and gains for those who do good things; and by punishments contrary to their loves, which are the loss of honors, of possessions, and of life for those who do evil things, the human race must perish.

AC 10792. There must therefore be overseers learned in the law, wise, and god-fearing, to keep the assemblages of men in order. Among the overseers also there must be order, lest anyone should from caprice, or from ignorance, permit evils that are contrary to order, and should thus destroy it. This is guarded against when there are higher and lower overseers, among whom there is subordination.

AC 10793. Overseers over the things with man that belong to heaven, or over ecclesiastical things, are called priests, and their office is called the priesthood. But overseers over such things with man as belong to the world, or over civil matters, are called magistrates, and their chief, where such supreme powers exist, is called a king.

AC 10794. As regards priests, they must teach men the way to heaven, and must also lead them. They must teach them according to the doctrine of their church, and they must lead them to live according to it. Priests who teach truths and by means of them lead to the good of life, and thus to the Lord, are good shepherds of the sheep; but those who teach, and do not lead to the good of life, and thus to the Lord, are evil shepherds. The latter are called by the Lord "thieves and robbers," in (John 10:7-16).

AC 10795. Priests must not claim for themselves any power over the souls of men, because they do not know in what state are a man’s interiors; and still less must they claim for themselves the power of opening and closing heaven, because this power belongs to the Lord alone.

AC 10796. Priests must have dignity and honor on account of the holy things which they engage in; but those of them who are wise give the honor to the Lord, from whom come all holy things; and not to themselves. But those of them who are not wise attribute the honor to themselves. These take it away from the Lord. Those who attribute honor to themselves on account of the holy things which they engage in, set honor and profit above the salvation of souls, which they ought to have regard for. But those who give the honor to the Lord and not to themselves, set the salvation of souls above honor and profit.

AC 10797. No honor of any employment is in the person; but it is adjoined to him according to the dignity of the thing which be administers, and that which is adjoined is separate from the person, and also is separated from him together with the employment. The honor that is in the person is the honor of the wisdom and fear of the Lord (that he displays).

AC 10798. Priests must teach the people, and lead them to the good of life by means of truths. But they must not compel anyone, because no one can he compelled to believe contrary to what he thinks in his heart to be true. He who believes differently from the priest, and makes no disturbance, must be left in peace; but he who makes a disturbance must be separated; for this also belongs to the order for the sake of which is the priesthood.

AC 10799. As priests are overseers for the administration of the things that belong to the Divine law and to worship, so are kings and magistrates for the administration of the things that belong to the civil law, and to judgment.

AC 10800. As the king alone cannot administer all things, therefore there are overseers under him, to each of whom has been given the official duty of administering what the king cannot attend to. Taken together these overseers constitute the royalty, but the king himself is the chief.

AC 10801. The royalty itself is not in the person, but is adjoined to the person. The king who believes that the royalty is in his own person, and the overseer who believes that the dignity of the overseership is in his own person, is not wise.

AC 10802. The royalty consists in administering according to the laws of the kingdom, and in judging from justice according to these laws. The king who regards the laws as above him, consequently himself as below the laws, is wise; but he who regards himself as above the laws, consequently the laws as beneath him, is not wise.

AC 10803. The king who regards the laws as above himself, and thus himself as beneath the laws, makes the royalty to consist in the law, and the law rules over him; for he knows that the law is justice, and all justice that is justice is Divine. But he who regards the laws as beneath him, and thus himself as above them, makes the royalty to consist in himself, and either believes himself to be the law, or the law which is justice to be from himself; consequently he arrogates to himself that which is Divine, and under which he must be.

AC 10804. The law which is justice must be brought forward by persons in the realm learned in the law, who are wise and god-fearing; in accordance with which the king and his subjects must then live. The king who lives in accordance with the law which is justice, and therein sets an example to his subjects, is truly a king.

AC 10805. A king who has absolute power, and who believes that his subjects are such slaves that he has a right to their lives and properties, and who exercises this power, is not a king, but a tyrant.

AC 10806. The king must be obeyed in accordance with the laws of the realm, nor must he be injured in any way by word or deed, for upon this depends the public safety.


AC 10808. These spirits, with whom I now conversed, were from the northern part of their earth. I was next conducted to others who were from the western part. These too, wishing to search out who I was, and of what quality, at once said that there was nothing but evil in me. They thought that in this way I should be deterred from approaching nearer. It was perceived that this is the first thing they say to all who come to them. But it was given me to reply that I well know that such is the case, and that in them likewise there is nothing but evil; for the reason that everyone is born into evil, and therefore whatever comes of man, spirit, and angel, coming as it does from what belongs to himself, that is, from what is his own, is nothing but evil; because all the good that is in anyone is from the Lord. From this they perceived that I was in the truth, and I was admitted to speak with them; and they then showed me their idea about evil in man, and about good from the Lord; in what manner they are kept separate from each other. They set one near the other, almost contiguous, but still separate, yet as it were bound in an unspeakable manner, so that the good led the evil, and bridled it; so that it was not allowed to act at its pleasure; and that in this way the good bent the evil to what it desired, without the evil being aware of it. In this manner they set forth the rule of good over evil, and at the same time the free state in which evil is led by good to good, thus to the Lord; for from their idea of good they had an idea of the Lord, because it is from Him.

AC 10809. They then asked how the Lord appears with the angels from our earth. I said that He appears in the Sun as a Man, encompassed there with solar fire, from which the angels in the heavens have all their light; and that the heat which proceeds from it is Divine good, and that the light which is from it is Divine truth, both from the Divine love, which is the fiery appearance round the Lord in that Sun; but that that Sun is seen only by the angels in heaven, and not by the spirits who are beneath, because these are more remote from the reception of the good of love and the truth of faith than are the angels who are in the heavens. But as regards the sun of the world, it is seen by no one in the other life, yet it appears in their idea as something that is black and not visible, from its being opposite to the Sun of heaven, which is the Lord. The reason why it was given them to inquire about the Lord and about His appearance before the angels from our earth, was that it then pleased the Lord to present Himself as present with them, and to reduce into order the things that had been disturbed by the evil ones there about which they had complained. It was in order that I might see these things that I had been brought there.

AC 10810. There was then seen a dim cloud toward the east descending from some height, and which as it came down gradually appeared bright, and in the human form; and finally this form was in a flaming radiance, around which were little stars of the same color. In this way did the Lord present Himself before the spirits with whom I was conversing. To this presence then were gathered from every side all the spirits who were there; and as they came the good were separated from the evil, the good to the right, and the evil to the left, and this at once as of their own accord. And those who were to the right were arranged in order according to the quality of their good, and those who were to the left according to the quality of their evil. Those who were good were left to form a heavenly society among themselves; but the evil were cast into the hells. I afterward saw that the flaming radiance descended into the lower parts of the earth there to a considerable depth, and as it did so appeared at one time as a flaming that verged to brightness, at another as a brightness that verged to dimness, and at another as a dimness. And I was told by the angels that this appearance is according to the reception of truth from good, and of falsity from evil, with those who inhabit the lower parts of that earth; and that it was not at all because that flaming radiance underwent such variations. They also said that the lower parts of that earth are inhabited by both the good and the evil; but that they are well separated, to the intent that the evil may be directed by the Lord by means of the good. They added that the good are by turns raised up by the Lord from thence, into heaven, and that others succeed in their place; and so continually. As the flaming radiance descended, the good were in the same way separated from the evil, and all things were reduced into order. For by various arts and cunning tricks the evil had introduced themselves there into the abodes of the good, and had infested them; and this was the cause of that visitation.

AC 10811. That cloud, which as it descended appeared gradually brighter, and in the human form, and afterward as a flaming radiance, was an angelic society, in the midst of which was the Lord. From this it was given to know what is meant by the Lord‘s words, where He speaks in the Gospels about the Last Judgment: that "He will come with the angels in the clouds of heaven with glory and power."

AC 10812. Afterward there were seen monkish spirits, who in the world had been traveling monks or missionaries, as above related. And there was also seen a crowd consisting of spirits of that earth, most of them evil, whom they had drawn over to their party and had seduced. These were seen at the eastern quarter of that earth, from which they drove away the good, who as before related appeared at the north side of the earth. That crowd, together with those who had seduced them, were gathered into one to the number of several thousands, and were separated, and the evil from among them were cast into the hells. It was also granted me to converse with one spirit, a monk, and to ask him what he was doing there. He said that he was teaching them about the Lord "What else?" "About heaven and hell." "What else?" "About belief in all things which I shall say." "What else?" "About the power of remitting sins and of opening and closing heaven." He was then examined as to what he knew about the Lord, about the truths of faith, about the remission of sins, about the salvation of man, and about heaven and hell; and it was found that he knew scarcely anything, and that he was in obscurity and falsity about each and all things, and that there was nothing seated in him but the cupidity of acquiring wealth and dominion. He had contracted this cupidity in the world, and consequently he had it in him, and he was therefore told that as he had traveled so far under the influence of this cupidity, and as such was his condition in respect to doctrine, his presence among the spirits of that earth could have no other result than the taking away of heavenly light, and the introduction of the darkness of hell, the effect of which would he that hell would rule in them, and not the Lord. Moreover in spite of his stupidity in respect to the things that belong to heaven, he was cunning in leading people astray; and being of such a character he was then cast into hell. In this manner were the spirits of that earth freed from those monkish missionaries.

AC 10813. Among other things, the spirits of that earth also said that those visitors who as has been said were monkish spirits, were extremely desirous that they should live together in a society, and not separated and solitary. For spirits and angels dwell and live together in a like manner as in the world, because everyone’s life in the world follows him. Those who in the world have dwelt congregated together, so dwell there; and those who have dwelt separated into houses and families dwell there in the same way. When these spirits lived on their earth, they dwelt separate, household by household, family by family, and thus nation by nation; and consequently they did not know what it is to dwell together in a society; so that when they were told that the reason why those visitors desired this was in order that they might command or have dominion over them, and that otherwise they could not subject them to themselves and make them slaves, they replied that they did not at all know what it is to command and have dominion. That they flee at the mere idea of command or rule, I observed from the fact that when I showed the city in which I dwelt to one of them who accompanied us back, at the first view of it he fled away and was seen no more. Be it known that when it pleases the Lord, spirits and angels can see through a man‘s eyes the things which are in the world; but the Lord allows this solely with one to whom He grants to speak with spirits and angels, and to be with them. It was granted them to see through my eyes the things which are in the world as plainly as I myself see them, and also to hear men speaking with me.

AC 10814. It was then given me to speak with the angels who were with me about rule of various kinds, and to say that there are two kinds of rule; one of love toward the neighbor, and the other of the love of self; and that the rule of love toward the neighbor prevails among those who dwell separated into houses, families, and nations; but the rule of the love of self among those who dwell together in a society. Among those who live separated into houses, families, and nations, it is the father of the nation, and under him the fathers of families, and under these the fathers of each household, who rule. He is called the father of the nation from whom come the families, and from the families the households. But all these rule from love like that of a father toward his children, who teaches them how they ought to live, bestows benefits upon them, and as far as he is able gives them of his own. Nor does it ever enter into his mind to subject them under himself as subjects or as servants; but he loves that they should obey him as sons obey their father. And as this love grows as it descends, therefore the father of the nation acts from a more interior love than the immediate father of the sons himself. Such also is the rule in the heavens, because such rule is of the Lord; for His rule is from His Divine love toward the whole human race.

[2] But the rule of the love of self, which is opposite to the rule of love toward the neighbor, began when man estranged himself from the Lord; because in so far as a man does not love and worship the Lord, so far he loves and worships himself; and so far also he loves the world more than heaven. It then became a matter of necessity--for the sake of their safety--for the nations with their families and households to betake themselves into a united body, and to begin governments under various forms. For in so far as this love increased, so far increased evils of every kind, such as enmities, envyings, hatreds, revenges, deceits, and fierce ragings against all who opposed them. Moreover this love is of such a nature that in so far as the reins are given it, it rushes on until at last all such persons wish to rule over all in the whole world, and everyone wishes to possess all the goods of others; and even this is not enough: he also wishes to rule over the universal heaven; as can be seen from the modern Babylonia This then is the rule of the love of self; from which the rule of love toward the neighbor differs as heaven does from hell.

[3] But although such is the nature of the rule of the love of self in societies, there is nevertheless a rule of love toward the neighbor even in kingdoms, with those who are wise from faith and love to God, for these love the neighbor. That these also dwell in the heaven, divided into nations, families, and house holds (although they are at the same time in societies, but according to spiritual relationships, which are those of the good of love and the truth of faith) of the Lord’s Divine mercy elsewhere. A continuation about this sixth earth in the starry heaven will be found at the end of the following chapter.

previous  -  next  -  text  -  BM Home  -  Full Page