Spiritual background for GENESIS 17previous - next - text - Genesis - BM Home - Full Page
AC 1984. Few persons can bring themselves to believe that the Word has within it an internal sense that from the letter is not apparent, because it is so remote from the sense of the letter that it is as it were distant from it as heaven is from earth. But that the sense of the letter contains such things within itself, and that it is representative and significative of arcana no one sees except the Lord, and angels from Him. The sense of the letter bears a relation to the internal sense like that of the human body to the soul. While a man is in the body, and thinks from bodily things, he knows almost nothing about the soul; for the functions of the body are different from those of the soul, so different that if the functions of the soul were disclosed, they would not be acknowledged as such. The case is the same with the internals of the Word: its soul, that is, its life, is in its internals, and these have regard solely to the Lord, His kingdom, the church, and to those things in man that belong to His kingdom and church; and when these are regarded, it is the Word of the Lord, for in this case there is life itself therein. That this is really the case has been confirmed by many things in the first Part, and has been given me to know as a certainty; for no ideas concerning bodily and worldly things can by any possibility pass to the angels, but they are put off and altogether removed at the first threshold, as they leave man; as may be seen in the first Part, from experience itself (n. 1769-1772), and also how they are changed (n. 1872-1876).
 This may also be sufficiently evident from very many things in the Word that are not at all intelligible in the sense of the letter, and that would not be acknowledged as the Word of the Lord if there were not such a soul and life in them; nor would they appear as Divine to any one who has not been imbued from infancy with the belief that the Word is inspired and thereby holy. Who would know from the sense of the letter what those things signify which Jacob spoke to his sons just before his death:--
That Dan shall be a serpent upon the way, an adder upon the path, biting the horse’s heels, and his rider shall fall backward (Gen. 49:17)
that a troop shall ravage Gad, and he shall ravage the heel (Gen. 49:19) that Naphtali is a hind let loose, giving discourses of elegance (Gen. 49:21) that Judah shall bind his young ass to the vine, and the son of his she-ass to the noble vine he shall wash his garment in wine, and his vesture in the blood of grapes; his eyes are redder than wine, and his teeth are whiter than milk (Gen. 49:11, 12); and the case is the same with very many passages in the Prophets. But what these things signify cannot possibly appear except in the internal sense, in which all things both in general and in particular are coherent in the most beauty order.
 The case is the same again with all that the Lord said concerning the last times:--
In the consummation of the age, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fail from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man, and then shall all the tribes of the earth wail (Matt. 24:29, 30).
These words by no means signify the darkening of the sun and moon, nor the falling of the stars from heaven, nor the wailing of the tribes; but they signify charity and faith, for in the internal sense these are "the sun and the moon," and these will he darkened; and they also signify the knowledges of good and truth, for these are "the stars," which are here called "the powers of the heavens," and which will thus fall down and vanish; and that so also will all things of faith, which are "the tribes of the earth." This was shown in (n. 31, 32, 1053, 1529-1531, 1808). From these few things the nature of the internal sense of the Word may be seen, and also that it is remote, and in some places very remote, from the sense of the letter. But still the sense of the letter represents truths; and sets forth appearances of truth, in which a man can be when not in the light of truth.
CONCERNING THE LAST JUDGMENT
AC 2117. Few at this day know what the Last Judgment is. They suppose that it will come together with the destruction of the world; and this gives rise to the notion that the whole globe will perish by fire, together with all things in the visible world; and that then for the first time the dead will rise again and will be brought to judgment, the evil being cast into hell, and the good ascending into heaven. These conjectures originate in the prophetical statements of the Word - where mention is made of a new heaven and a new earth, and also of the New Jerusalem - those who make them not being aware that in the internal sense such prophetical statements have a totally different meaning from that which appears in the sense of the letter; and that by "heaven" is not meant the sky, nor by "earth" the earth, but the Lord‘s church in general, and with every one in particular.
AC 2118. By the Last Judgment is meant the last time of a church, and also the last state of each person’s life. As regards the last time of the church, it was the Last Judgment of the Most Ancient Church, which was before the flood, when their posterity perished; whose destruction is described by the flood The Last Judgment of the Ancient Church, which was after the flood, was when almost all who were of that church became idolators, and were dispersed. The Last Judgment of the Representative Church, which succeeded among the posterity of Jacob, was when the ten tribes were carried away into captivity, and were dispersed among the nations; and when later, after the Lord‘s coming, the Jews were driven out of the land of Canaan, and were scattered throughout the world. The Last Judgment of the present church, which is called the Christian Church, is what is meant by John in the Apocalypse by the "New Heaven and the New Earth."
AC 2119. That the last state of each person’s life when he dies, is his Last Judgment, is not hidden from some, but still few believe it; when yet it is a constant truth that every man after death rises again into the other life, and is brought to judgment. But this Judgment takes place as follows. As soon as man‘s corporeals grow cold, which takes place after a few days, he is resuscitated by the Lord, by means of the celestial angels, who at first are with him. But if the man is such that he cannot remain with those angels, he is received by the spiritual angels; and afterwards in succession by good spirits, for all who come into the other life are without exception welcome and accepted guests. But as every one’s desires follow with him, he who had led an evil life cannot stay long with the angels and good spirits, but separates himself from them in succession, until at last he comes to spirits of a life similar in nature to that which he had in the world. It then appears to him as if he were in the life of his body, and in fact it is in itself a continuation of that life. With this life his judgment begins. After periods of delay they who have lived an evil life go down into hell; while they who have lived a good life are by degrees uplifted by the Lord into heaven. Such is the last judgment of each person, as has been shown from experience.
AC 2120. As to what the Lord said concerning the last times, that then the sea and the billows shall roar, the sun be darkened, the moon not give her light, the stars fall from heaven, nation rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and more (Matt. 24:7, 29; Luke 21:25)-these things both in general and in particular signify the state of the church, such as it would be at the time of its Last Judgment. And by the "roaring of the sea" and the "billows" nothing else is signified than that heresies and controversies within the church in general, and in every one in particular, will be thus in uproar. By the "sun" is meant nothing else than love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor; by the "moon," faith; and by the "stars," the knowledges of faith; all of which, in the last times, will be thus darkened, will not give light, and will fall from heaven, that is, will vanish away. The like is said by the Lord also in (Isaiah 13:10). So too by "nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom," nothing else is meant than evils against evils, and falsities against falsities and so on. There were many secret reasons why the Lord spoke in this way. That the "seas" "sun," "moon," "stars," "nations," and "kingdoms" have such a signification, I know with certainty.
AC 2121. That a Last Judgment is at hand, cannot be so evident on the earth and within the church as in the other life, whither all souls arrive, and flock together. At this day the world of spirits is full of evil genii and evil spirits, mostly from the Christian world, among whom there reign nothing but hatreds, revenges, cruelties, obscenities, and deceitful machinations. Nor is this the case only with the world of spirits, where souls fresh from the world first arrive, but also with the interior sphere of that world, where those are who have been interiorly evil in respect to their intentions and ends. This likewise is at the present day so crowded that I have wondered there ever could be so great an abundance. For all are not instantly cast down into the hells, because it is according to the laws of order that every such person should return into his life which he had had in the body, and should in this way be brought down by degrees into hell. The Lord casts no one into hell, but every one casts himself there. The result is that these Worlds of spirits are thronged with a crowd of such spirits, who gather and stay there for a time. By their means the souls who come from the world are frightfully infested. Moreover the spirits who are with man (for every man is governed by the Lord through spirits and angels) are more stirred up than heretofore to bring malign influences to bear upon man, and this to such a degree that the angels who are with him can scarcely avert them, but are compelled to inflow into man from a greater distance. In the other life it is from all this very evident that the last time is at hand.
AC 2122. As to what further regards the souls newly arriving from the world, those coming from the Christian world think and plan for scarcely anything else than to become the greatest, and to possess all things; so that all are devoured with the love of self and of the world, which loves are utterly contrary to heavenly order (n. 2057); besides that very many think of nothing but filthy, obscene, and profane things, and among themselves speak of nothing else. They also make nothing of and utterly despise all things that are of charity and faith; and do not acknowledge the Lord Himself; nay, they hate all who confess Him; for in the other life thoughts and hearts speak. besides all this, on account of the infamous life of parents, hereditary evils are becoming more malignant, and like inward fires fostered in secret, stimulate man to greater profanation of what is honorable and pious than heretofore. At the present day such persons flock in crowds into the other life, and fill to repletion the exterior and interior spheres of the world of spirits, as already said. When evil thus begins to prevail, and the equilibrium begins to incline to the side of evil, it is thereby clearly perceived that the last time is at hand, and that the equilibrium is going to be restored by the rejection of those who are within the church, and the reception of others who are outside.
AC 2123. That the last time is at hand may also be seen from this fact in the other life, that all the good which flows in from the Lord through heaven into the world of spirits, is there turned in a moment into what is evil, obscene, and profane, and that all the truth is turned in a moment into falsity; thus mutual love is turned into hatred, sincerity into deceit, and so on; so that those who are there are no longer capable of perceiving anything of what is good and true; and the like redounds upon man, who is governed through spirits with whom those who are in the world of spirits have communication. The certainty of this I have learned by much experience, which, if all advanced, would fill many pages. I have very frequently been permitted to perceive and hear how what is good and true from heaven is turned into what is evil and false, together with the amount and the nature of the change.
AC 2124. I have been told that the good of the will (bonum voluntarium) that existed in the men of the Most Ancient Church, was destroyed in the antediluvians; and that at the present day, with the men of the Christian Church, the good of the intellect (bonum intellectuale) is beginning to perish, insomuch that there is but little of it left; the cause of which is, that they believe nothing except what they apprehend by the senses; and that at this day men not only reason from the senses, but also, by means of a philosophy unknown to the ancients, reason concerning Divine arcana; whereby intellectual light is altogether darkened; a darkening that is becoming so dense as scarcely to admit of being dispelled.
AC 2125. The present quality of the men of the Christian Church was exhibited to my view by means of representations. In a dark cloud there appeared spirits so black that I shuddered, and afterwards others not so horrible; and it was signified to me that I was about to see something. First, there appeared children who were being combed by their mothers so cruelly that the blood ran down; by which was represented that such is the bringing up of little children at this day. Afterwards there appeared a tree which seemed as if it were the tree of knowledge, into which there was seen to climb a great viper, such as to strike one with horror; it appeared to extend all along the trunk of the tree. When the tree with the viper vanished, there appeared a dog; and then a door was opened into an apartment where there was a yellow light as from coals, and there were two women there; it was perceived to be a kitchen, but I am not at liberty to mention what I saw therein. I was told that the tree into which the viper climbed represented the state of the men of the church as they are at this day, in that in place of love and charity they have deadly hatreds that are beset with pretenses of what is honorable, and with deceits, together with wicked thoughts concerning all matters that belong to the faith. But what was seen in the kitchen represented the same hatreds and thoughts in their further developments.
AC 2126. It was further represented how opposed are those now within the church to innocence itself. There appeared a beautiful and innocent little child, at the sight of whom the external bonds by which evil genii and spirits are withheld from abominable deeds were slightly relaxed; and they then began to treat the little child in the most shocking manner - to trample on him, and to will the killing of him, one in one way, and another in another; for in the other life innocence is represented by infants. I remarked that during their bodily life such things do not appear in connection with these men, but it was answered that such are their interiors, and that if the civil laws did not hinder, and also other external bonds, such as the fear of the loss of property, of honor, of reputation, and of their life, they would rush insanely in the same way against all who are innocent. When they heard this answer, they made sport of it also. From what has been said we may see what is the quality of the men of the present day, and also that the last times are at hand.
AC 2127. In the other life there sometimes appears a kind of Last Judgment to the evil when their societies are being broken up; and to the good, when they are being admitted into heaven. Concerning both of these I may relate some things from experience.
AC 2128. The idea of a Last Judgment as presented to the evil, which I have seen two or three times, was as follows. When the spirits around me had combined into mischievous societies, so as to exercise predominance, and did not suffer themselves to be so governed by the law of equilibrium according to order as not to annoy other societies in an excessive manner, and to begin inflicting injury upon them by their overpowering force, there then appeared a band of spirits of considerable magnitude, coming from the quarter in front, a little to the right and above, at the approach of which there was heard a hubbub that as it were rose and fell with a loud roar; and as soon as the spirits heard it they were seized with consternation and terror, the result of which was a confusion; and then the spirits who were in those societies were dispersed, one this way and another that, so that they dissolved away from one another, and no one knew where his companion was. While this lasted, it appeared to the spirits just as if it were the Last Judgment with the destruction of all things. Some uttered lamentations; some from fright as it were lost all heart; in a word, a sense of danger as of a final crisis seized on all.
 The sound of those advancing from the quarter in front was heard by them variously; by some as the sound of armed horsemen, and by others otherwise, according to their state of fear and the phantasy it excited. It was perceived by me as a continuous murmur, with undulations rising and falling, and indeed as of many together. I was instructed by those near me that such bands come from that quarter when societies have been evilly combined in this way, and that they know how to dissociate and dissever the one from the other, and at the same time to strike terror, so that nothing is thought of but flight; and that by means of such disjunctions and dispersions all are at last reduced by the Lord into order. I was also told that this is what is signified in the Word by the "east wind."
AC 2129. There are likewise other kinds of tumults, or rather of conflicts, which also present the idea of a Last Judgment, and by which societies that have been evilly combined in respect to their interiors are dissolved, concerning which I may relate what follows. Such spirits are driven into a state in which they do not think in society or communion in the usual way, but each one for himself. From their thoughts thus at variance, and the confused sound of their jarring speech, an uproar is heard, as of many waters, and a conflict among them, such as cannot be described, that arises from the confusion of opinions concerning fixed and certain truths which are then the subjects of their thoughts and speech, and which uproar is of such a character that it may be called a spiritual chaos.
 The sound of the conflicting and confused roarings was threefold. One sound flowed in around the head, and was said to be that of the thoughts. Another sound flowed in toward the left temple, and was said to be the conflict of their reasonings about certain truths in which they were not willing to have faith. The third sound flowed in from above at the right, and was a gnashing one, but not so confused, and the gnashing was turned this way and that, and it was said that this was because the truths that were being turned in this manner this way and that by their reasonings, were in conflict. While these conflicts were going on there were other spirits besides who spoke to me and told me what each thing signified, and their speech penetrated distinctly through those sounds.
 The subjects of the reasonings were especially these: whether it is to be understood according to the letter that the twelve apostles are to sit upon twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel; also, whether any others are to be admitted into heaven than those who have suffered persecutions and miseries. Each one reasoned according to his phantasy which he had caught in the life of the body. But some of them who had been brought back into communion and order, were afterwards instructed that the statement concerning the apostles is to be understood in an entirely different manner; namely, by the "apostles" are not meant apostles, nor by "thrones," thrones, nor by "tribes," tribes, nor in fact by "twelve," twelve; but by all these terms - "apostles," "thrones," "tribes," and also by "twelve," are signified the primary things of faith (n. 2089); and it is from these and according to them that judgment is effected upon every one. It was further shown that the apostles cannot judge even one man, but that all judgment is of the Lord alone.
 And as regards the other subject of reasoning, neither is this to be understood as meaning that those only are to come into heaven who have suffered persecutions and miseries; but that the rich will enter heaven just as much as the poor, those posted in dignity just as much as those in low condition; and that the Lord has mercy on all, especially on those who have been in spiritual miseries and temptations, which are persecutions by the evil-thus on those who acknowledge that of themselves they are wretched, and who believe that it is solely of the Lord‘s mercy that they are saved.
AC 2130. In regard to the second subject, namely, the idea of a Last Judgment as presented to the good when they are being intromitted into heaven, I may relate how the case is. It is said in the Word that the door was shut, so that they could no longer be admitted; and that they had no oil, and came too late, and therefore were not admitted; by which things also there is signified the state of the Let Judgment. How these batters are and are to be understood, has been shown me.
 I heard societies of spirits, one after another,- saying in a clear voice that the wolf had wanted to carry them off, but that the Lord rescued them, and that so they were restored to the Lord, in consequence of which they rejoiced from the inmost heart, for they had been in despair, and thus in fear, that the door had been shut, and that they had come too late to be admitted. Such thought had been infused into them by those who are called "wolves " but it vanished on their being admitted, that is, on their being received by angelic societies, for intromission into heaven is nothing else. The intromission was seen by me as though it were made and continued with one society after another up to twelve, and that the twelfth society was intromitted (that is, received) with more difficulty than the eleven that had preceded it There were afterwards admitted eight additional quasi societies that I was told were of the female sex. When I had seen these things, it was said that this process of admission (that is, of reception) into the heavenly societies presents this appearance, and this continuously, in order, from one place to another; and also that heaven can never to eternity be filled, still less is the door shut; but the more there come thither, the more blessed and happy are those who are in heaven; because the harmoniousness is so much the stronger.
 After these had been admitted, it appeared as if heaven were shut; for there were a number more who desired to be intromitted (that is, received) next. But they were answered that they could not be received as yet; which is signified by those who came too late, by the door being shut, by their knocking, and by their lacking oil in their lamps. Their not being admitted was because they were not yet prepared to be capable of being among the angelic societies, where there is mutual love, for, as before said (n. 2119), they who in this world have lived in charity toward the neighbor are by degrees raised into heaven by the Lord.
 There were also other spirits who were ignorant of what heaven is, that it is mutual love, who also desired to be then admitted, supposing that admission is everything; but they were answered that it was not yet their time, but that they would be admitted at another time, when they were ready. The reason that the societies appeared to be twelve, was that by "twelve" are signified all things of the faith, as before said (n. 2129).
AC 2131. Individuals who are being intromitted are received by the angelic societies with inmost charity and its joy, and all love and friendship are shown them. But when they do not willingly desire to be in the societies to which they first come, they are received by other societies, and this successively until they come to that society with which they are in agreement, in accordance with the life of mutual love which they have; and they remain there until the time when they go forth still more perfect, and are then elevated and exalted thereby into greater happiness-and this from the Lord’s mercy, in accordance with the life of love and charity which they had received in the world. But the transference from one society into another never takes place by their being rejected by the society where they are, but by a certain willingness in themselves, in accordance with a longing that is insinuated into them by the Lord; and because it takes place in accordance with their longings, there is nothing that is not done from freedom.
AC 2132. As to its being said in the Word that there entered also one who was not clothed in a wedding garment (Matt. 22:11-13), and that he was cast out, it was shown how the case is with this also. There are some persons who during their bodily life have been imbued with the deceit of being able to feign themselves angels of light; and in the other life, when in this hypocritical state, they are also able to insinuate themselves into the nearest heavenly societies. But they do not remain there long, for the moment they perceive the sphere of mutual love there, they are seized with fear and horror, and cast themselves down (and it then appears in the world of spirits as if they had been cast down), some toward the lake, some toward Gehenna, and some into some other hell.
AC 2133. Of the Lord‘s Divine mercy heaven has on two or three occasions been so far opened to me that I have heard a general glorification of the Lord, which is of such a nature that a number of societies glorified the Lord together and with one mind, and yet each society did so by itself, with distinct affections and the derivative ideas. It was a heavenly voice, heard far and wide, to an extent so immense that the hearing failed to reach its end (as fails the sight when it beholds the universe), and this was attended with inmost joy and inmost happiness. A glorification of the Lord has also been sometimes perceived like an irradiation flowing down and affecting the interiors of the mind. This glorification takes place when the angels are in a state of tranquillity and peace, for it then flows from their inmost joys, and from their happinesses themselves.
AC 2134. At the end of the following chapter the state of little children in the other life will of the Lord’s Divine mercy be treated of.
PREFACE TO THE EIGHTEENTH CHAPTER
AC 2135a. At the end of the preceding chapter, the subject of the Last Judgment was treated of, and it was shown what is signified hereby, namely, not the destruction of the world, but the last time of the church. When this is at hand, the Lord says that He "will come in the clouds of the heavens, with power and glory" (Matt. 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27). Hitherto no one has known what is meant by the "clouds of the heavens." But it has been disclosed to me that nothing else is meant than the literal sense of the Word; and by "power and glory" the internal sense of the Word, for in the internal sense of the Word there is glory, since whatever is there is concerning the Lord and His kingdom (n. 1769-1772).
 Similar is the signification of the "cloud" which encompassed Peter, James, and John, when the Lord appeared to them in glory; of which it is said in Luke:--
A voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him; but when the voice had passed, Jesus was found alone (Luke 9:35, 36),
where by "Moses and Elias" who spake with the Lord, was represented the Word of the Old Testament, which is also called "Moses and the Prophets" (by "Moses," his books together with the other historical books, and by "Elias" the prophet, all the books of the Prophets); but by "Peter, James, and John," as in all other places where they are named in the books of the Evangelists, were represented faith, charity, and the good of charity. That they only were present signifies that no others can see the glory of the Lord which is in His Word than those who are in faith, in its charity, and in the good of charity. Others are indeed able to see, but still do not see, because they do not believe. This is the internal sense in regard to the foregoing two passages; and in various places in the Prophets also, a "cloud" signifies the Word in its letter, and "glory" the Word in its life.
 The nature and quality of the internal sense of the Word has already been frequently stated, and has been shown in the explication word by word. It was those skilled in the Law in the Lord‘s time who least of all believed that there was anything written in the Word concerning the Lord. At the present day, those skilled in the Law know indeed, but it may be that they will believe least of all that there is any other glory in the Word than that which appears in the letter; when yet this is the cloud in which is the glory.previous - next - text - Genesis - BM Home - Full Page