@ Spiritual background for GENESIS 15

Spiritual background for GENESIS 15    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page


AC 1767. When the Word of the Lord is being read by a man who loves the Word and lives in charity, or by a man who from simplicity of heart believes what is written and has not formed principles contrary to the truth of faith which is in the internal sense, it is presented by the Lord before the angels in such beauty and in such pleasantness, with representatives also, and this with inexpressible variety in accordance with all their state at the time, that every particular is perceived as if it had life, which life is that which is in the Word, and from which the Word had birth when it was sent down from heaven. From this cause the Word of the Lord is such, that although in the letter it appears crude, there are stored up in it spiritual and celestial things which lie open before good spirits, and before angels, when the Word is being read by man.

AC 1768. That the Word of the Lord is so presented before good spirits and before angels, it has been given me to hear and to see; and I am therefore permitted to relate the experiences themselves.

AC 1769. A certain spirit came to me not long after his departure from the body, as I was able to infer from the fact that he did not yet know that he was in the other life, but supposed that he was living in the world. It was perceived that he had been devoted to studies, concerning which I spoke with him. But he was suddenly taken up on high; and, surprised at this, I imagined that he was one of those who aspire to high things, for such are wont to be taken up on high; or else that he placed heaven at a great height, for such likewise are often carried up on high, that they may know from experience that heaven is not in what is high, but in what is internal.

[2] But I soon perceived that he was taken up to the angelic spirits, who were in front, a little to the right, at the entrance to heaven. He then spoke with me from thence, saying that he saw things more sublime than human minds could at all comprehend. While this was taking place, I was reading the first chapter of Deuteronomy, about the Jewish people, in that men were sent to explore the land of Canaan and what was in it. While I was reading this, he said that he perceived nothing of the sense of the letter, but the things in the spiritual sense, and that these were wonders which he could not describe. This was in the first entrance to the heaven of angelic spirits what wonders then would be perceived in that heaven itself! and what in the angelic heaven!

[3] Certain spirits who were with me, and who before had not believed that the Word of the Lord is of such a nature, then began to repent of their unbelief; they said, in that state, that they believed because they heard the spirit say that he heard, saw, and perceived that it was so.

[4] But other spirits still persisted in their unbelief, and said that it was not so, but that these things were fancies; and therefore they too were suddenly taken up, and spoke with me from thence; and they confessed that it was anything but fancy, because they really perceived that it was so; and by a more exquisite perception indeed than can ever be given to any sense during the life of the body.

[5] Soon others also were taken up into the same heaven, and among them one whom I had known in the life of the body, who testified to the same effect, saying also, among other things, that he was too much amazed to be able to describe the glory of the Word in its internal sense. Then, speaking from a kind of pity, he said that it was strange that men knew nothing at all of such things. He said further that from where he then was he could look most deeply into my thoughts and my affections, and perceived in them more things than he could tell; such as causes, influxes, whence they came, and from whom; the ideas, and how they were mixed with earthly things, and that these were to be wholly separated; besides other things.

AC 1770. On two occasions afterwards I saw others taken up into the second heaven, among the angelic spirits; and they spoke with me thence while I was reading the third chapter of Deuteronomy from beginning to end. They said that they were solely in the interior sense of the Word; at the same time asserting that there was not a tittle in which there was not a spiritual sense that coheres most beautifully with all the rest, and further that the names signify real things. Thus they too were confirmed; because they had not believed before that each and all things in the Word have been inspired by the Lord; and this they wished to confirm before others by an oath, but it was not permitted.

AC 1771. Certain spirits also were in unbelief concerning the Word of the Lord, as to there being such things stored up in its bosom, or within it; for in the other life spirits are in unbelief like that in which they had been in the life of the body; and this is not dissipated except by means provided by the Lord, and by living experiences. On this account, while I was reading some of the Psalms of David, the deeper insight or mind of these spirits was opened. These were not taken up among angelic spirits. They then perceived the interior things of the Word in those Psalms; and being amazed at them said that they had never believed such things.

[2] The same portion of the Word was then heard by many other spirits; but they all apprehended it in different ways. With some it filled the ideas of their thought with many pleasant and delightful things, thus with a kind of life in accordance with the capacity of each one, and at the same time with an efficacy that penetrated to their inmosts, and this to such a degree with some that they seemed to be uplifted toward the interiors of heaven, and nearer and nearer to the Lord, according to the degree in which they were affected by the truths and the goods therewith injoined.

[3] The Word was then at the same time brought to some who had no apprehension of its internal sense, but only of the external or literal sense; and to them the letter appeared to have no life. From all this it was manifest what the Word is when the Lord fills it with life-that it is of such efficacy that it penetrates to the inmosts; also what it is when He does not fill it with life-that it is then the letter only, with scarcely any life.

AC 1772. Of the Lord‘s Divine mercy I too have been permitted in the same way to see the Lord’s Word in its beauty in the internal sense, and this many times; not as it is while the words are being explained as to the internal sense in detail, but with all things both in general and particular brought together into a single series or connection, which may be said to be the seeing of a heavenly paradise from an earthly one.

AC 1773. Spirits who had found delight and joy in the Word of the Lord during their life in the body, have in the other life a kind of joyous heavenly warmth which it has also been permitted me to feel. The warmth of those who had some measure of this delight was communicated to me. It was like a vernal heat, beginning in the region of the lips, and diffusing itself about the cheeks, and thence as far as the ears, ascending also to the eyes, and descending toward the middle region of the breast.

[2] The warmth of those who had been still more affected by delight in the Word of the Lord, and by the interior things of it which the Lord Himself had taught, was also communicated to me; beginning at the breast it ascended thence toward the chin, and descended toward the loins. The warmth of those who had been even more delighted and affected, was still more interiorly joyous and vernal, extending indeed from the loins upward toward the breast, and thence through the left arm to the hands. I was instructed by the angels that this is really the case, and that the approach of those spirits brings such warmths, although they themselves do not feel them, because they are in them, just as infants, children, and youths are not commonly sensible of their own warmth which they have in greater measure than adults and old people, because they are in it.

[3] I was also made sensible of the warmth of some, who had indeed been delighted with the Word, but had not been solicitous about the understanding of it; their warmth was felt in the right arm only. As regards the warmth: evil spirits also can by their artifices produce a warmth which counterfeits delight, and can communicate it to others but it is only an external warmth, without an origin from internals. Such warmth is that which putrefies and converts food into excrement, like the heat of adulterers, and that of those who have been immersed in filthy pleasures.

AC 1774. There are spirits who do not desire to hear anything about the interior things of the Word; and even should they understand them, they are still unwilling. They are chiefly those who have placed merit in works, and who therefore have done goods from the love of self and of the world, or for the sake of the rank or wealth to be gained for themselves, and the consequent reputation, thus not for the sake of the Lord‘s kingdom. In the other life such desire more than others to enter heaven but they remain outside of it; for they are unwilling to be imbued with the knowledges of truth, and thereby to be affected with good. They interpret the meaning of the Word from the letter according to their fancies, and by advancing whatever favors their cupidities with its approval. Such were represented by an old woman who had a face not comely, but of even snowy paleness, with irregular features (cui inerant inordinata), which made her ugly. But those who admit and love the interior things of the Word, were represented by a girl in early maidenhood, or in the flower of youth, handsomely dressed, and adorned with garlands and heavenly ornaments.

AC 1775. I have conversed with certain spirits concerning the Word, saying that it has been necessary that of the Lord’s Divine Providence some revelation should come into existence, for a revelation or Word is the general recipient vessel of spiritual and celestial things, thus conjoining heaven and earth; and that without it they would have been disjoined, and the human race would have perished. And besides it is necessary that there should be heavenly truths somewhere, by which man may be instructed, because he was born for heavenly things, and, after the life of the body, ought to come among those who are heavenly; for the truths of faith are the laws of order in the kingdom in which he is to live forever.

AC 1776. It may seem a paradox, but still it is most true, that the angels understand the internal sense of the Word better and more fully when little boys and girls are reading it, than when it is read by adult persons who are not in the faith of charity. The cause has been told me, and is that little boys and girls are in a state of mutual love and innocence, and thus their most tender vessels are almost heavenly, and are simply capacities for receiving, which therefore can be disposed by the Lord; although this does not come to their perception, except by a certain delight suited to their genius. It was said by the angels that the Word of the Lord is a dead letter; but that in him that reads it is vivified by the Lord according to the capacity of each one; and that it becomes living according to the life of his charity and his state of innocence, and this with inexpressible variety.

AC 1777. A continuation follows at the end of this chapter


AC 1869. How many things there are in a single word of the Word has been shown me by the opening of the ideas of thought. It is a remarkable fact that in the other life this can be done so to the very life that the ideas themselves appear visible in form, and thus like pictured images. One who during his life in this world had lived in charity or mutual love, and had taken great delight in the Word, had his ideas thus opened. There then appeared beautiful things beyond number, together with delicious and delightful things of an affecting nature, and it was said that the things which thus appear visible can be opened again as to their interiors, and that when these have been opened things still more beautiful and delightful are presented that are attended with happiness itself. Such are all angelic ideas, for they are open from the Lord Himself.

[2] To spirits who wondered that ideas of thought could be so opened in the other life, this was illustrated by taking the case of the sight of the eye, the rays of vision of which are so dull and obscure that the smaller things in nature (which contain things innumerable) they see only as something opaque, black, and shapeless; but when the same objects are viewed through a microscope, things more interior are presented to view, connected in beautiful series and flowing in delightful order; and it is seen that these might in like manner be opened still more by a more powerful microscope. In this way such spirits have been shown how the case is with the internal sight, the rays of which are nothing but ideas, in that in themselves these ideas are so gross that anything more gross can scarcely exist in that sphere, although men think differently. But concerning ideas, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy hereafter.

AC 1870. The case is similar with the Word of the Lord; each of its words presents in form its own idea, for a word is nothing but an idea so presented in form that the sense may be perceived; and in the ideas are things so innumerable, and which cannot come to man’s perception, but only to that of angels, that it can never be believed. And when these are opened by the Lord, more internal forms are presented to the perception by delightful and happy things, and to the sight by representative and paradisal things; the former from the celestial and spiritual things of the Lord‘s love or mercy, and the latter from the rays of light thence derived.

[2] It has been show me by wonderful experience that the Word has been inspired not only as to each of its words, but also as to the little letters of each word, and thus exactly as is said, as to the smallest jot; for in every jot there is something from that affection and life which is common to the whole expression, and which therefore has been insinuated in a correspondent manner into its smallest particulars. But this can by no means be explained to the understanding without a previous knowledge of many other things.

AC 1871. How the Word of the Lord appears before the angels cannot be described, but some idea can be formed by those who have seen in museums the optical cylinders in which beautiful images are represented from things roughly projected. Although the things which are round about in the projection appear to have no form, series, or order, and to be merely confused projections, still when they are concentrated toward the cylinder, they there present a lovely image. So it is with the Word of the Lord, especially with the prophetic Word of the Old Testament. In the literal sense there is scarcely anything that does not appear destitute of order, but when it is being read by a man, and especially by a little boy or girl, it becomes more beautiful and delightful by degrees as it ascends, and at last it is presented before the Lord as the image of a human being, in which and by which heaven is represented in its whole complex, not as it is, but as the Lord wills it to be, namely, a likeness of Himself.

AC 1872. There appeared to me a beautiful girl with a radiant face, passing quickly upward toward the right, and making some haste. In age she seemed to be in the first bloom--not a child nor yet a young woman--becomingly clothed with a dress of shining black; so she was hastening on with gladness from light to light. It was said that the interiors of the Word are such in their first ascent; the black dress was the Word in the letter. Afterwards the young girl Sew to my right cheek, but was perceivable only by the interior sight. It was said that such are the things from the internal sense of the Word which do not come to the comprehension.

AC 1873. Spirits spoke respecting the internal sense of the Word; and in order that the nature of it might be presented to the understanding, it was illustrated by the example, What is the fruit of faith? And it was said that good works are the fruit of faith in the external sense or that of the letter, but that these good works have no life unless they proceed from charity; and that thus the fruit of faith in the proximate interior sense is charity. But as charity or love toward the neighbor ought to proceed from love to the Lord, this love is the fruit of faith in the internal sense; and as all love is from the Lord, it is the Lord Himself. For thus in the good work is charity; in charity is love to the Lord; and in love to the Lord is the Lord Himself.

AC 1874. In conversation with good spirits, I said that in the Word many things, even more than one can believe, are said according to appearances and according to the fallacies of the senses, as that Jehovah is in anger, wrath, and fury against the wicked; that He takes pleasure in bringing them to ruin and destruction, and even that He kills them. But these things have been said in order that persuasions and cupidities might not be broken, but that they might be bent; for to speak otherwise than as man apprehends (that is, from appearances, fallacies, and persuasions) would have been to sow seed in the waters, and to say that which would be at once rejected. Nevertheless such forms of speech are able to serve as general vessels in which spiritual and celestial things may be contained, for into them it may be insinuated that all things are from the Lord; then that the Lord permits, but that evil is wholly from diabolical spirits; afterwards that the Lord provides and disposes that evils should be turned into goods and at last that nothing but good is from the Lord. Thus the sense of the letter perishes as it ascends and becomes spiritual, then celestial, and at last Divine.

AC 1875. It was granted me to have a perception of angelic ideas about these words in the Lord’s Prayer: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."Temptation and evil were rejected by the nearest good spirits, by a certain idea perceptible within me, and this even until what is purely angelic, namely, Good, remained, without any idea of temptation and evil; the literal sense thus perishing altogether. In the first rejection innumerable ideas were being formed respecting this Good--how good may come from man‘s affliction while the affliction still is from the man and his evil, in which there is punishment, and this with a kind of indignation joined with it that it should be thought that temptation and its evil come from any other source, and that any one should have any thought of evil in thinking of the Lord. These ideas were purified in the degree of their ascent. The ascents were represented by rejections (n. 1393), which were made with a rapidity and in a manner that were inexpressible, until they passed into the shade of my thought. They were then in heaven, where there are only ineffable angelic ideas concerning the Lord’s good.

AC 1876. The names of men, of kingdoms, and of cities, that occur in the Word, like the words of human speech, perish at the very threshold of the ascent; for these are earthly, corporeal, and material; and the souls that come into the other life successively put these things off, and those who come into heaven do so altogether. The angels retain not even the least of an idea of any person, nor consequently of his name. what Abram is, what Isaac, and Jacob, they no longer know. They form an idea for themselves from the things which are represented and signified by them in the Word. Names and words are to them like dust, or like scales, which fall off when they enter heaven. Hence it may be seen that by the names in the Word nothing is signified except actual things. I have frequently spoken with angels about these matters, and have been fully instructed by them concerning the truth. The speech of spirits with one another is not a speech of words, but of ideas, such as are those of human thought without words, on which account it is the universal of all languages. But when they speak with a man, their speech falls into the words of the man‘s language (n. 1635, 1637, 1639).

[2] then I have spoken with spirits about this, it has been given me to say that when they are conversing with one another, they cannot utter even one single word of human language, still less any name. Some of them, wondering at this, retired and tried; but returning they said that they were not able to pronounce them because the words were so grossly material that they were below their sphere, as they were formed from the sound of air, made articulate by the bodily organs, or by influx into such organs by an internal way leading to the organ of hearing. From this it may likewise be clearly seen that no part of a word that is in the Word can pass to spirits, still less to angelic spirits, whose speech is still more universal (n. 1642), and least of all to the angels (n. 1643), with whom remains nothing of the first ideas of spirits, but in place of them spiritual truths and celestial goods, which are varied in an ineffable manner in the least forms, continued and connected in a unanimous series, with the originaries of representatives that are most pleasant and beautiful from the happiness of mutual love, and that are happy from pleasantnesses and beauties, because they are inspired with the life of the Lord.

AC 1877. The souls or spirits who are in the world of spirits, especially the wicked, retain at first the things which they had in their life of the body, that is, things earthly, corporeal, and worldly, and with them the principles which they had taken up. Among these spirits are those who are not willing to hear anything concerning the internal sense of the Word, but only concerning the literal sense, which they carry so far as to believe that the twelve apostles are to sit upon twelve thrones and to judge the twelve tribes of Israel; and also that none but the poor, the miserable, and they that have suffered persecutions can enter into heaven; when yet both the rich and the powerful who have lived in charity and in faith in the Lord are there. As such persons claim heaven for themselves on account of their merits, I have seen them running hither and thither, and wherever they went they derided the things which are of the internal sense of the Word, for the reason that these are contrary to their persuasions and cupidities, in that they desire to merit heaven and to be preferred before all others. But they are like the corrupt and noxious things that flow into the blood, and pervade the veins and arteries, and pollute the mass of the blood.

AC 1878. There are also those who in the life of the body had despised the Word; and there are those who had abused the things that are in the Word to give point to a joke. There are those who had supposed that the Word was of no account, but that it might serve to keep the common people in some restraint. There are those who had blasphemed the Word; and there are those who had profaned it. The lot in the other life of all these persons is miserable, in accordance with the quality and degree of their contempt, derision, blasphemy, and profanation. For, as before said, the Word is so holy in the heavens that it is itself as it were heaven to those who are there and as there exists there a communion of the thoughts of all, such spirits cannot possibly be with them, but are separated.

AC 1879. On one occasion while in bed I was told that evil spirits were conspiring against me with the intention of suffocating me, but as I was safe and felt secure under the Lord’s keeping, I disregarded the threats and went to sleep. But awaking in the middle of the night, I felt that I was not breathing of myself, but from heaven, for there was nothing of my own respiration, as I plainly perceived. It was then said that the band of conspirators was present, and that it was composed of those who hold in hatred the interior things of the Word (that is, the very truths of faith, for these are the interiors of the Word), and who thus hate them because they are contrary to their fallacies, persuasions, and cupidities, which the sense of the letter might be brought to support.

[2] After their attempt had failed, their leaders tried to enter into the viscera of my body, and to penetrate even to the heart, and to this also they were admitted. This was all the time perceived by manifest sensation, for one to whom the interiors of the spirit are opened, gets at the same time a sensible perception of such things. But I was then introduced into a kind of celestial state, which was that I made no effort to repel these visitors, still less to avenge the injury. They then said that there was peace; but soon they were as if deprived of rationality, breathing out vengeance, and striving to carry out their purpose, but in vain. They afterwards dispersed of themselves.

AC 1880. As regards spirits and angels in general, who all are human souls living after the death of the body, I may say here that they have much more exquisite senses than men--that is, sight, hearing, smell, and touch--but not taste. Spirits however are not able, and angels are still less able, to see anything that is in the world by their own sight, that is, by the sight of the spirit; for the light of the world or of the sun is to them as thick darkness; just in the same way as man by his sight, that is, by the sight of the body, cannot see anything that is in the other life for the light of heaven, or the Lord‘s heavenly light, is to man as thick darkness.

[2] But still when the Lord pleases, spirits and angels can see the things in this world through the eyes of a man. But the Lord does not grant this except in the case of one whom He enables to speak with spirits and angels, and to be together with them. Spirits and angels have been permitted to see the things in this world through my eyes as plainly as I could see them myself, and also to hear men talking with me. It has sometimes happened that to their great astonishment, some through me have seen their friends whom they had in the life of the body, just as they had seen them before. Some have also seen their married partners, and their children, and have desired me to tell them that they were close by and saw them, and to give an account of their state in the other life, but I had been forbidden to tell them or reveal to them that they were seen in this way, and this partly for the reason that they would have called me insane, or would have thought such things to be delirious fancies of the mind; for I was well aware that although they would acknowledge it with the lips, they did not believe in heart in the existence of spirits, or that the dead are risen.

[3] When my interior sight was first opened, and through my eyes spirits and angels saw the world and the things that are in it, they were so amazed that they called it the miracle of miracles; and they were affected with a new joy, in that in this way communication was opened of earth with heaven, and of heaven with earth. This delight lasted for months, but afterwards it became familiar, and now they do not wonder at all. I have been instructed that the spirits and angels who are present with other men do not in the slightest degree see the things of this world, but only perceive the thoughts and affections of those with whom they are.

[4] These things have shown that man was so created that while living on earth among men, he might at the same time also live in heaven among angels, and the converse; so that heaven and earth might be together, and might act as a one, and that men might know what is going on in heaven, and angels what in the world; and therefore that when men depart this life they would pass from the Lord’s kingdom on earth into the Lord‘s kingdom in the heavens, not as into another kingdom, but as into the same as that in which they had been when living in the body. But in consequence of man’s becoming so corporeal, he has closed heaven against himself.

AC 1881. Spirits are exceedingly indignant, indeed are angry, when told that men do not believe that they see, that they hear, that they feel by the touch. They have said that surely men ought to know that without sense there is no life, and that the more exquisite the sense the more excellent the life; also that the objects of their sense are suited to the excellence of their senses, and that the representatives which are from the Lord are real, for all the things that are in nature and the world are derived from them (n. 1632). The words in which they express their indignation are that they perceive by the senses much better and more excellently than men do.

AC 1882. There are two kinds of visions that are not of the ordinary kind, into which I have been let solely that I might know their nature, and what is meant by its being said in the Word that men were "withdrawn from the body," and that they were "carried by the spirit into another place."

AC 1883. As regards the first, namely, being withdrawn from the body, the case is this. The man is brought into a certain state that is midway between sleep and wakefulness, and when he is in this state he cannot know but that he is wholly awake. All his senses are as fully awake as in the highest wakefulness of the body: the sight, the hearing, and, wonderful to say, the touch, which is then more exquisite than it can ever be in the wakefulness of the body. In this state also spirits and angels have been seen to the very life, and also heard, and, wonderful to say, have been touched, and almost nothing of the body then intervened. This is the state of which it is said that they are "withdrawn from the body," and that they "do not know whether they are in the body or out of it." I have been let into this state only three or four times, merely that I might know how the case is with it, and that spirits and angels are in the enjoyment of every sense, even touch in a form more delicate and more exquisite than that of the body.

AC 1884. As regards the other kind of vision--being carried away by the spirit into another place--it has been shown me by living experience what it is, and how it is done, but only two or three times. One single experience I may mention. Walking through the streets of a city and through the country, and being at the same time also in conversation with spirits, I did not know but that I was wide awake and saw as at other times, so that I walked on without mistake, and all the time being in vision, seeing groves, rivers, palaces, houses, men, and many other things. But after I had thus walked for hours, suddenly I was in the sight of the body, and became aware that I was in another place. Greatly amazed at this, I perceived that I had been in such a state as they were in of whom it is said that they were "led away by the spirit into another place;" for while this state lasts there is no reflection concerning the way, even if it be many miles; nor is there reflection concerning the time, even if it be many hours or days; nor is there any feeling of fatigue. Moreover the person is led through ways of which he has no knowledge, even to the appointed place. This took place that I might know that a man can be led by the Lord without his knowing whence and whither.

AC 1885. These two kinds of visions, however, are extraordinary, and were shown me merely to the end that I might know their nature. But the things I have habitually "seen" (as mentioned in the title to this work) are all those which of the Lord‘s Divine mercy you may see related in this First Part, and which are placed at the beginning and end of the several chapters. These are not visions, but things seen in the highest wakefulness of the body, and this for several years.

previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page @