Spiritual background for GENESIS 13    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page


AC 1521. That spirits and angels possess every sense, except taste, far more exquisitely and perfectly than man ever does, has been made manifest to me in many ways. They not only see one another and converse together--the angels with the greatest happiness from mutual love--but in that world there is more to see than men could believe to be possible; the world of spirits and the heavens are full of representatives such as were seen by the prophets, and of so wonderful a nature that if a person‘s sight were but opened so that for a few hours he might behold them, he would be astounded. The light in heaven is such as to incredibly surpass even the midday light of our solar world. They however have no light from this world, because they are above or within the sphere of this light; but their light is from the Lord, who to them is a Sun. Even the midday light of this world is dense darkness to the angels; and when they have an opportunity to see it, it is as if they were looking at mere darkness, as I have been given to know by experience. This shows what a difference there is between the light of heaven and the light of this world.

AC 1522. I have so frequently seen the light in which spirits and angels live, that at last I have ceased to wonder at it, because it has become familiar. But to adduce all my experience would be too tedious; let what follows suffice.

AC 1523. That I might know the nature of that light, I have often been conducted into the abodes of good and of angelic spirits, and have seen both the spirits and the objects there. I have also seen infants and mothers in light of so great a brightness and resplendence that there could not possibly be anything brighter.

AC 1524. An intense flaming irradiation unexpectedly poured down before my eyes, dazzling them greatly--not merely the eight of the eye, but the interior sight also. Presently there appeared a sort of obscurity, like a thick cloud, in which there was as it were something earthy. While I wondered at this it was given me to know that such is the light with the angels in heaven in comparison with that in the world of spirits and that although the spirits live in light, yet still there is such a difference; and that, as does the light, so also do the intelligence and the wisdom of the angels surpass those of spirits; and not their intelligence and wisdom only, but also all things that belong to these, such as their speech, thought, joys, and felicities; for these correspond to the light. This evidenced to me how great and of what nature are the perfections of angels as compared with men, who are in greater obscurity even than spirits.

AC 1525. The kind of light in which those live who belong to a certain internal province of the face, was shown me. It was beautifully varied by rays of golden flame for those who are in affections of good, and by rays of silver light for those who are in affections of truth. Sometimes they see the sky--not that which appears before our eyes, but one that is represented before them--beautifully studded with little stars. The reason for the difference in the light is that all good spirits who are in the first heaven, and all angelic spirits who are in the second, and all angels who are in the third, are distinguished in general into the celestial and the spiritual; the celestial being those who are in the love of good, and the spiritual those who are in the love of truth.

AC 1526. I was withdrawn from the ideas of particular things, or those of the body, so that I might be kept in spiritual ideas. There then appeared a vivid glow of diamond light, and this for a considerable time. I cannot describe the light in any other way; for in its least parts it was like the sparkling of the diamond. And while I was kept in that light, I perceived the particular things, which are worldly and corporeal, as it were below me, and remote; by which I was instructed how great light those are in who are withdrawn from material ideas into those which are spiritual. Moreover, the light of spirits and of angels has been seen by me so many times, that many pages would be filled if all the experiences were recounted.

AC 1527. When the Lord pleases, good spirits appear before others, and also to one another, as bright stars that sparkle in accordance with the quality of their charity and faith; but evil spirits appear like little balls of coal fire.

AC 1528. The life of cupidities and of the derivative pleasures sometimes appears among evil spirits like a coal fire. Into such a fieriness, as it were, is the life of the Lord’s love and mercy changed that flows in with them; and the life of their phantasies appears as the light from it, which is a dim light that extends to no great distance; but at the approach of the life of mutual love, that fieriness is extinguished and turned into cold, and that dim light is turned into darkness. For evil spirits pass their lives in darkness; and, wonderful to say, some also love darkness, and hate light.

AC 1529. It is perfectly well known in heaven, but not so well in the world of spirits, whence comes the light that is so great, namely, from the Lord; and it is a remarkable fact that the Lord appears in the third heaven to the celestial angels as a Sun, and to the spiritual angels as a Moon. The very origin of the light is this and this alone. But the angels have light in proportion to what is celestial and spiritual with them, and the quality of this determines the quality of their light. Thus the Lord‘s celestial and spiritual manifests itself before their external sight by means of light.

AC 1530. That this is so the Word has shown to all; as when the Lord was made manifest to Peter, James, and John; for His face then shone as the sun, and His garments became as the light (Matt. 17:2). He so appeared to them simply because their interior sight was opened. The same is confirmed also in the Prophets; as in Isaiah, where the Lord’s kingdom in the heavens is treated of:--

The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days (Isaiah 30:26).

And in John, where also the Lord‘s kingdom, which is called the New Jerusalem, is spoken of:--

The city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof (Rev. 21:23).

And again:--

There shall be no night there, and they have no need of a lamp, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them light (Rev. 22:5).

Besides that when the Lord appeared to Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders,

They saw the God of Israel, under whose feet was as it were a work of sapphire stone, and as it were the substance of heaven in clearness (Exod. 24:10).

As the Lord’s celestial and spiritual appear before the external sight of the angels as a Sun and a Moon, therefore "the sun" in the Word signifies what is celestial, and "the moon" what is spiritual.

AC 1531. That I might be confirmed in the truth that the Lord appears to the celestial angels as a Sun, and to the spiritual angels as a Moon, my interior sight was of the Lord‘s Divine mercy so far opened that I plainly saw the Moon shining, which was encompassed by a number of smaller moons, the light of which was almost solar, according to the words in Isaiah:--

The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun (Isaiah 30:26).

But it was not granted me to see the Sun. The Moon appeared in front, to the right.

AC 1532. Wonderful things appear in heaven from the Lord’s light, things so beyond number that they could never be told. They are continual representatives of the Lord and of His kingdom, such as are mentioned in the Prophets, and by John in the Apocalypse; besides other significatives. With the bodily eyes no man can possibly see them, but the moment the interior sight or that of the spirit is opened by the Lord, such things become visible. The visions of the prophets were nothing else than openings of their interior sight; as when John saw the golden lampstands (Rev. 1:12, 13); and the Holy City as pure gold, with its luminary like to a stone most precious (Rev. 21:2, 10, 11); besides many things mentioned in the Prophets; from which it may be known, not only that the angels live in the brightest light, but also that there are countless things there which surpass belief.

AC 1533. Before my sight was opened, the idea I cherished concerning the countless things that appear in the other life differed but little from that of others, that is to say, that in the other life there could be no light, and such things as exist from light, together with the things of sense; a notion derived from the phantasy entertained by the learned respecting the immateriality which they predicate so strongly of spirits and of all things pertaining to their life; from which no other conception could be had, than that, because it was immaterial, it was either so obscure that no idea of it could be grasped, or that it was nothing; for the immateriality involves such things. And yet the fact is just the reverse; for unless spirits were organized, and unless angels were organized substances, they could neither speak, nor see, nor think.

AC 1534. That by the aid of the light from a celestial and spiritual origin from the Lord, there are in the other life presented before the sight of spirits and angels most wonderful objects, such as paradises, cities, palaces, dwellings, the most beautiful atmospheres, and others besides, see the "Continuation concerning Light" at the end of this chapter.


AC 1619. When man’s interior sight is opened, which is the sight of his spirit, the things in the other life appear, which cannot possibly be made visible to the sight of the body. The visions of the prophets were nothing else. In heaven, as has been said, there are continual representations of the Lord and His kingdom; and there are things that are significative; and this to such an extent that nothing exists before the sight of the angels that is not representative and significative. Thence come the representatives and significatives in the Word; for the Word is from the Lord through heaven.

AC 1620. The things presented to view in the world of spirits and in heaven are more than can be told. In this place, as the light is treated of, it is proper to tell of the things that are immediately from the light; such as the atmospheres, the paradisal and rainbow scenes, the palaces and dwellings, which are there so bright and living before the outer sight of spirits and angels, and are at the same time perceived so fully by every sense, that they say that these are real, and those in the world comparatively not real.

AC 1621. As regards the atmospheres in which the blessed live, which are of the light because from that light, they are numberless, and are of beauty and pleasantness so great that they cannot be described. There are diamond-like atmospheres, which glitter in all their least parts, as if they were composed of diamond spherules. There are atmospheres resembling the sparkling of all the precious stones. There are atmospheres as of great pearls translucent from their centers, and shining with the brightest colors. There are atmospheres that flame as from gold, also from silver, and also from diamond-like gold and silver. There are atmospheres of flowers of variegated hue that are in forms most minute and scarcely discernible; such, in endless variety, fill the heaven of infants. There are even atmospheres as of sporting infants, in forms most minute, indiscernible, and perceptible only to an inmost idea; from which the infants receive the idea that all the things around them are alive, and are in the Lord‘s life; which affects their inmosts with happiness. There are other kinds besides, for the varieties are innumerable, and are also unspeakable.

AC 1622. As regards the paradisal scenes, they are amazing. Paradisal gardens are presented to view of immense extent, consisting of trees of every kind, and of beauty and pleasantness so great as to surpass every idea of thought; and these gardens are presented with such life before the external sight that those who are there not only see them, but perceive every particular much more vividly than the sight of the eye perceives such things on earth. That I might not be in doubt respecting this, I was brought to the region where those are who live a paradisal life, and I saw it; it is in front of and a little above the corner of the right eye. Each and all things there appear in their most beautiful spring-time and flower, with a magnificence and variety that are amazing; and they are living, each and all, because they are representatives for there is nothing that does not represent and signify something celestial and spiritual. Thus they not only affect the sight with pleasantness, but also the mind with happiness.

[2] Certain souls, newcomers from the world who from principles received while they lived, doubted the possibility of such things existing in the other life, where there is no wood and stone-being taken up thither and speaking thence with me, said in their amazement that it was beyond words, and that they could in no way represent the unutterableness of what they saw by any idea, and that joys and delights shone forth from every single thing, and this with successive varieties. The souls that are being introduced into heaven are for the most part carried first of all to the paradisal regions. But the angels look upon these things with different eyes; the paradises do not delight them, but the representatives; thus the celestial and spiritual things from which these come. It was from these representatives that the Most Ancient Church had what related to paradise.

AC 1623. As regards the rainbow scenes, there is as it were a rainbow heaven, where the whole atmosphere throughout appears to be made up of minute rainbows. Those who belong to the province of the interior eye are there, at the right in front, a little way up. There the whole atmosphere, or aura, is made up of such flashes of light, irradiated thus, as it were, in all its origins. Around is the encompassing form of an immense rainbow, most beautiful, composed of similar smaller ones that are the beauteous images of the larger. Every color is thus made up of innumerable rays, so that myriads enter into the constitution of one general perceptible ray; and this is as it were a modification of the origins of the light from the celestial and spiritual things that produce it; and which at the same time present before the sight the representative idea. The varieties and varyings of the rainbows are innumerable; some of them I have been permitted to see; and that some idea may be conceived of their variety, and that it may be seen of what innumerable rays one visible ray consists, one or two of the varieties may be described.

AC 1624. I saw the form of a certain large rainbow, in order that from it I might know what they are in their smallest forms. The light was the brightest white, encompassed with a sort of border or circumference, in the center of which there was a dimness as it were terrene, and around this it was intensely lucid, which intense lucidity was varied and intersected by another lucidity with golden points, like little stars; besides variegations induced by means of flowers of variegated hue, that entered into the intense lucidity. The colors of the flowers did not flow forth from a white, but from a flaming light. All these things were representative of things celestial and spiritual. All the colors seen in the other life represent what is celestial and spiritual; colors from flaming light, the things that are of love and of the affection of good; and colors from shining white light, those which are of faith and of the affection of truth. From these origins come all the colors in the other life; and for this reason they are so refulgent that the colors in this world cannot be compared to them. There are also colors that have never been seen in this world.

AC 1625. A rainbow form was also seen in the midst of which there was a green space, as of herbage; and there was perceived the semblance of a sun which was itself unseen, at one side, illuminating it, and pouring in a light of such shining whiteness as cannot be described. At the outer border or circumference, there were the most charming variations of color, on a plane of pearly light. From these and other things it has been shown what are the forms of the rainbows in their minutest parts, and that there are indefinite variations, and this in accordance with the charity, and the derivative faith, of him to whom the representations are made, and who is as a rainbow to those to whom he is presented in his comeliness and in his glory.

AC 1626. Besides these paradisal scenes, cities are also presented to view, with magnificent palaces, contiguous to one another, resplendent in their coloring, beyond all the art of the architect. Nor is this to be wondered at; cities of similar appearance were seen also by the prophets, when their interior sight was opened, and this so clearly that nothing in the world could be more distinct. Thus was the New Jerusalem seen by John, which is also described by him in these words:--

And he carried me away in the spirit upon a mountain great and high, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem having a wall great and high, having twelve gates; and the building of the wall thereof was jasper and the city was pure gold, like unto golden glass. The foundations of the wall there adorned with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprasus, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst (Rev. 21:10, 12, 18-20).

Such things were seen also by the prophets. Similar things, beyond number, are seen by angels and angelic spirits in clear day; and wonderful to say, they are perceived with all fullness of sense. These things cannot be credited by one who has extinguished spiritual ideas by the terms and definitions of human philosophy, and by reasonings; and yet they are most true. That they are true might have been apprehended from the fact that they have been seen so frequently by the saints.

AC 1627. Besides the cities and palaces, I have sometimes been permitted to see their decorations, such as those of the steps and of the gates and these were moving as if alive, and continually changing, with a beauty and symmetry ever new. And I have been informed that the variations may thus succeed each other perpetually, even if it were to be to eternity, with new harmony continually, the succession itself also forming a harmony. And I have been told that these were among the very little things.

AC 1628. All the angels have their own dwellings in the places where they are, and they are magnificent. I have been there, and have sometimes seen and marveled at them, and have there spoken with the angels. They are so distinct and clearly seen that nothing can be more so. In comparison with these, the habitations on earth amount to scarcely anything. They also call those which are on the earth dead, and not real; but their own, living and true, because from the Lord. The architecture is such that the art itself is derived from it, with a variety that knows no limit. They have said that if all the palaces in the whole world should be given them, they would not receive them in exchange for their own. What is made of stone, clay, and wood is to them dead; but what is from the Lord, and from life itself and light itself, is living; and this is the more the case that they enjoy them with all fullness of sense. For the things that are there are perfectly adapted to the senses of spirits and angels; for spirits cannot see at all by their sight the things that are in the light of the solar world; but things of stone and wood are adapted to the senses of men in the body. Spiritual things are in correspondence with those who are spiritual, and corporeal things with those who are corporeal.

AC 1629. The habitations of good spirits and of angelic spirits commonly have porticos or long entrance halls, arched, and sometimes doubled, where they walk. The walls of these are formed with much variety, and are also decorated with flowers and garlands of flowers wonderfully woven together, and with many other ornaments, that are varied and succeed one another, as before said; these they see, now in a clearer light, and now in one less clear, but always with inward delight. Their dwellings are also changed into more beautiful ones, as the spirits who inhabit them are perfected. When they are changed, there appears something representing a window, at one side; this is enlarged, and it becomes darker within; and there opens as it were something of heaven, with stars, also a kind of cloud; which is an indication that their dwellings are to be changed into dwellings still more pleasant.

AC 1630. Spirits are very indignant that men have no conception of the life of spirits and angels, and that they suppose them to be in an obscure state, which cannot but be most sad, and as it were in vacuity and emptiness; when yet they are in the greatest light, and in the enjoyment of all good things as to all the senses, and this with an inmost perception of them. There have also been souls who had lately come from the world, and who had brought with them, from the principles there accepted, the idea that there were no such things in the other life. They were therefore introduced into the homes of angels, and spoke with those who were there, and saw these things. When they returned, they said that they had perceived that it was so, and that the things were real; but that they had not at all believed this in the life of the body, and could not believe it; also that these must of necessity be among those wonderful things that are not believed because they are not comprehended. But as the experience is a thing of sense, but of the interior sense, this also was said to them--that still they are not to doubt because they do not apprehend; for if nothing were believed except that which is apprehended, nothing would be believed respecting the things of interior nature; still less concerning the things that are of eternal life. Hence comes the insanity of our age.

AC 1631. They who had been rich in the life of the body, and had dwelt in magnificent palaces, placing their heaven in such things, and, being destitute of conscience and charity, had despoiled others of their goods under various pretenses, when they come into the other life, are, as before said, first introduced into the very same life that they had in the world. And there also they are sometimes allowed to dwell in palaces, as they had done in the world. For in the other life all are at first received as guests and as newcomers; and as their interiors and ends of life are not yet to be disclosed, angels from the Lord treat them with favor and kindness. But the scene is changed. The palaces are gradually dissipated, and become small houses, more and more mean, and at last none at all. And then they wander about, like those who ask alms, and beg to be received. But because they are of such a character, they are expelled from the societies; and at last they become excrementitious, and exhale a sphere of the stench of teeth.

AC 1632. I have spoken with angels concerning representatives, to the effect that there is nothing in the vegetable kingdom on the earth that does not in some way represent the Lord’s kingdom. They said that all the beautiful and graceful things in the vegetable kingdom derive their origin from the Lord through heaven; and that when the celestial and spiritual things of the Lord inflow into nature, such things have actual existence; and that this is the source of the vegetative soul or life. Hence come representatives. And as this is not known in the world, it was called a heavenly secret.

AC 1633. I have likewise been fully informed concerning the nature of the influx into the lives of animals, all of which are dissipated after death; but concerning this subject, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy hereafter.

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