Spiritual background for GENESIS 20    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 2495. That the Word contains within it an internal sense that is not apparent in the letter has already been stated and shown in many places, and the nature of this internal sense appears from all that has thus far been unfolded, beginning with the first chapter of Genesis. Nevertheless as the few who at this day believe in the Word do not know that there is such a sense, it may be well to confirm it further.

[2] The Lord describes the Consummation of the Age, or the last period of the church, as follows:--

Immediately after the affliction of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the sun shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken (Matt. 24:29; Mark 13:24).

That in this passage the "sun" does not mean the sun, nor the "moon" the moon, nor the "stars" the stars; but that the "sun" signifies love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor; the "moon" the faith of love and charity; and the "stars" the knowledges of good and truth, was shown above (n. 31, 32, 1053, 1521, 1529-1531, 2120, 2441); so that by these words of the Lord there is signified that in the consummation of the age (or last period of the church) there will no longer be any love, or charity, nor therefore any faith.

[3] That this is the meaning is evident from similar words of the Lord in the Prophets, as in Isaiah:--

Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh, to make the earth a solitude and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it for the stars of the heavens and the constellations thereof shall not shine with their light the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine (Isaiah 13:9, 10);

where also the last period of the church, or what is the same, the consummation of the age, is treated of. In Joel:--

A day of darkness and of thick darkness, a day of cloud and obscurity, before Him the earth quaked, the heavens trembled, the sun and the moon were darkened, and the stars withdrew their shining (Joel 2:2, 10);

with a similar meaning. Again in the same:--

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Jehovah came (Joel 2:31).

And again in the same:--

The day of Jehovah is near, the sun and the moon have been darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining (Joel 3:14, 15).

In Ezekiel:--

When I shall extinguish thee, I will cover the heavens, and make the stars thereof dark I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not make her light to shine all the luminaries of light in the heavens will I make dark, and will set darkness upon thy land (Ezekiel 32:7, 8).

So too in John:--

I saw when he opened the sixth seal, and behold there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood, and the stars fell unto the earth (Rev. 6:12, 13).

In the same:--

The fourth angel sounded, so that the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars, and the third part of them was darkened (Rev. 8:12).

[4] From these passages it is evident that the Lord‘s words in the Evangelists involve much the same as His words in the Prophets, namely, that in the last times there will be neither charity, nor faith; and that this is the internal sense; as also is still further evident in Isaiah:--

The moon shall blush, and the sun shall be ashamed, for Jehovah Zebaoth shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem (Isaiah 24:23);

that is to say, faith, which is the "moon," shall blush; and charity, which is the "sun," shall be ashamed, because they are such; for it cannot be said of the moon and the sun that they shall blush and be ashamed. And in Daniel:--

The goat’s horn grew toward the south, and toward the east, and grew even to the army of the heavens, and some of the army and of the stars it cast down to the earth and trampled upon them (Daniel 8:9, 10);

where it is plain to every one that the " army of the heavens‘s does not signify an "army," nor the "stars" stars.


AC 2589. It is the common opinion that they who are born out of the church, and who are called Pagans and Gentiles, cannot be saved, because they have not the Word, and thus are ignorant of the Lord, without whom there is no salvation. But that these also are saved, may be known from the following considerations: that the Lord‘s mercy is universal, that is, toward every one; that these are born men equally with those who are within the church, who are comparatively few; and that it is not their fault that they are ignorant of the Lord. Consequently, their state and lot in the other life, have of the Lord’s Divine mercy been shown me.

AC 2590. I have been instructed in many ways that Gentiles who have led a moral life, and have been obedient, and have lived in mutual charity, and have received some sort of conscience according to their religion, are accepted In the other life, and are there instructed by angels with anxious care in the goods and truths of faith. While receiving instruction they conduct themselves modestly, intelligently, and wisely, and easily receive and become imbued with the instruction; for they have formed for themselves no principles contrary to the truths of faith that have to be dispersed, still less stumbling blocks against the Lord; as have many Christians who have led a life of evil. Moreover such do not hate others, nor avenge injuries, nor plot artifices and deceits. Nay, they wish well to Christians; although on the other hand Christians despise them and even do them violence so far as they can; but they are withdrawn by the Lord from their unmercifulness, and are protected.

[2] For the case of Christians and Gentiles in the other life is such that Christians who have acknowledged the truths of faith, and have at the same time led a life of good, are received in preference to Gentiles; although at the present day such are few; but Gentiles who have lived in obedience and mutual charity are received in preference to Christians who have not led so good a life. For in the wide world all those who have lived in good are of the Lord‘s mercy received and saved; for good is that which receives truth. The good of life is the very ground for the seed, that is, for the truth. Evil of life cannot possibly receive it, for although such as are in evil be instructed in a thousand ways, nay, even if they become most fully instructed, nevertheless the truths of faith enter no further with them than into the memory, and do not penetrate to the affection which is of the heart; and therefore in the other life their truths of memory are dissipated, and become null and void.

AC 2591. Among the Gentiles however, just as among Christians, there are both the wise and the simple. In order that I might be instructed as to the quality of these, it has been granted me to speak with both wise and simple, sometimes for hours and days. But of the wise there are scarcely any at this day, whereas in ancient times there were very many, especially in the Ancient Church, from which wisdom emanated to many nations. In order that I might know of what quality these were, I have been allowed to hold familiar converse with some of them; so that the nature of their wisdom, and its superiority to that of the present day may be seen from what follows.

AC 2592. There was present with me a certain person who was formerly among the more wise, and was thereby well known in the learned world. I conversed with him on various subjects, and as I knew that he had been a wise man, I spoke with him concerning wisdom, intelligence, order, the Word, and finally concerning the Lord. Concerning wisdom he said that there is no other wisdom than that which is of life, and that wisdom can be predicated of nothing else. Concerning intelligence he said that it was from wisdom. Concerning order he said that it is from the Supreme God, and that to live in that order is to be wise and intelligent.

[2] As regards the Word, when I read to him something from the prophecies, he was very greatly delighted, especially from the fact that each of the names and each of the words signified interior things, wondering greatly that the learned of this day are not delighted with such a study. I plainly perceived that the interiors of his thought or mind had been opened, and at the same time that those of certain Christians who were present had been closed; for ill-will against him prevailed with them, and also unbelief that the Word is of this nature. Nay, when I went on reading the Word he said that he could not be present, because he perceived it to be too holy for him to endure, so interiorly was he affected. The Christians on the other hand said aloud that they could be present; and this was because their interiors had been closed, and therefore the holy things did not affect them.

[3] At length I talked with him about the Lord; that He was born a man, but was conceived of God; that He had put off the human and had put on the Divine; and that it is He who governs the universe. To this he made answer that he knew many things about the Lord, and had perceived in his own way that it could not have been done otherwise if the human race was to be saved. Meantime certain wicked Christians injected various difficulties, for which he did not care, saying that it was not surprising, because they had become imbued in the life of the body with unbecoming ideas respecting these things, and that until such ideas were dispersed they could not admit things confirmatory, as could those who are ignorant. This man was a Gentile.

AC 2593. I have also been permitted to speak with others who lived in ancient times and who were then among the more wise. They were at first seen in front at a distance, and were there able to perceive the interiors of my thoughts, thus many things in a thorough manner. From one idea of the thought they could know the entire series, and fill it with delightful things of wisdom together with pleasing representations, which showed me that they were among the more wise, and I was told that they were from the Ancients. So they drew nearer, and when I read to them something from the Word they were most highly delighted. It was granted me to perceive their very delight and enjoyment, which arose chiefly from the fact that all the things they heard from the Word were both in general and in particular representative and significative of heavenly and spiritual things. They said that in their time when they lived in the world their mode of thinking and speaking, and also of writing, was of this nature, and that this was their wisdom’s study.

AC 2594. But as regards the Gentiles who are on earth at this day, they are not so wise, but are for the most part simple in heart; and yet those of them who have lived in mutual charity receive wisdom in the other life-concerning whom I may relate what follows.

AC 2595. I heard the sound of a certain gyre, but coarser than usual, and from the sound I at once knew that they were from the Gentiles. I was told by the angels that they were Gentiles who had been raised up three or four days before. The gyre or choir was heard for several hours, and it was perceived that even during the short time in which it was heard they were being perfected more and more. When I wondered at this I was told that these can be initiated into choirs, and thus into harmony, in one night; while most Christians barely can in thirty years. Gyres or choirs exist when many speak together, all as one, and each as all; but concerning gyres or choirs, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy elsewhere.

AC 2596. One morning there was a choir at a distance from me, and it was given me to know from the representations of the choir that they were Chinese; for they presented a kind of woolly goat, a cake of millet, and an ivory spoon, as also the idea of a floating city. They desired to come nearer to me; and when they had applied themselves they said that they desired to be alone with me, that they might open their thoughts. But they were told that they were not alone, and that there were others who were indignant at their desiring to be alone, when yet they were guests. When they perceived the indignation of the others, they began to think whether they had trespassed against the neighbor, and whether they had claimed anything for themselves that belonged to others. (In the other life all thoughts are communicated). I was permitted to perceive their trouble: it was that of an acknowledgment that perhaps they had wronged the others, and of shame on that account, and of other good affections at the same time, from which it was known that they were endued with charity. Presently I spoke with them, and at length about the Lord. When I called Him Christ, a kind of repugnance was perceived in them; but the cause was discovered to be that they brought this repugnance from the world, from their having known Christians to live worse than they did themselves, and in no charity. But when I simply called Him the Lord, they were inwardly moved. They were afterwards instructed by the angels that beyond every other doctrine in the whole world the Christian doctrine prescribes love and charity, but that there are but few persons who live in accordance with it.

AC 2597. There are Gentiles who when they lived in the world had known from social intercourse and report that Christians lead the very worst life-in adulteries, in hatreds and quarrels, in drunkenness, and the like things-at which they are affected with horror, because such things are contrary to their laws, their morals, and their religion. In the other life these are more timid than others in receiving the truths of faith; but they are instructed by the angels that the Christian doctrine, and the faith itself, teach the very opposite, but that Christians live less in accordance with their doctrine than do the Gentiles. When they perceive this they receive the truths of faith and adore the Lord, but more tardily.

AC 2598. When I read the 17th and 18th chapters of Judges, concerning Micah, how the sons of Dan took away his graven image, the teraphim, and the Levite, there was present a spirit from the Gentiles, who in the life of the body had adored a carved image. While he listened attentively to what was done to Micah, and in what grief he was on account of his graven image that the Danites took away, he too was overcome with grief, and was affected to such a degree that he scarcely knew what to think for inward grief. I perceived his grief, and at the same time perceived the innocence in each of his affections. Christian spirits were also present and observed it, and wondered that a worshiper of a graven image should be moved by so strong an affection of mercy and innocence. Afterwards good spirits spoke to him, saying that a graven image ought not to be adored, and that he could understand this because he was a human being; but that he ought to think beyond the graven image of God the Creator and Governor of the universal heaven and earth; and that this God is the Lord. When these things were said I was permitted to perceive the interior emotion of his adoration, which was communicated to me, and was much more holy than that with Christians; from which it could be seen that Gentiles come into heaven more easily than Christians at this day who are not so affected (according to the Lord’s words in (Luke 13:29, 30); for in the state in which he was he could be imbued with all things of faith, and could receive them with interior affection. Thee was in him the mercy that is of love, and in his ignorance there was innocence; and when these are present, all things of faith are received as it were spontaneously, and with joy. He was afterwards received among the angels.

AC 2599. There was also another among the Gentiles, who had lived in the good of charity. When he heard Christian spirits reasoning about things to be believed (spirits reason with one another much more fully and much more acutely than men, especially about goods and truths, because these belong to the other life), he marveled that they should dispute so, and said that he did not want to hear such things, because they were reasoning from fallacies, and be gave them the following instruction: If I am good, I can know from good itself what is true, and what I do not know, I can receive.

AC 2600. Well-disposed Gentiles are instructed in the other life, for the most part, and so far as possible, in accordance with their states of life and in accordance with their religion, thus in various ways. I may here describe only three.

AC 2601. Some are reduced into a state of tranquillity, as it were a kind of sleep; and they then seem to themselves to be building small cities, and in the midst of them to hide some secret thing which they wish to preserve from violence. They give these cities to others, with entreaties not to do violence to the secret thing in the midst of them. Innocence is thus insinuated into them, and also charity, together with the idea that the secret thing is concerning the Lord. They are kept in this state a considerable time. It is a state of ignorance in which there is innocence. They are guarded by little children, lest anyone should do them harm. I have spoken with them, and have been much affected by their state of innocence and charity, and also by the solicitude with which they hide the secret, and by the holy fear lest it should be violated.

AC 2602. There is one nation (I was told that it is from the Indies) which makes it their religion to worship the Greatest God with the following rite. When they are adoring Him they first magnify themselves, but soon prostrate themselves as worms; and at the same time they hold, that above the universe, which they believe to be whirling around, is that Greatest God, looking down on what they are doing. As they have had such religious observances, in the other life they are brought back into them; and I have spoken with them while they imagined such things. They are for the most part modest, obedient, and simple in heart. They are by successive steps freed by the angels from this phantasy; for they are instructed, in accordance with their religion, that the Greatest God is the Lord; and that they can indeed magnify themselves on account of their being able to adore Him; and that nevertheless they are like little worms and that the Lord from on high sees each and all things. In this manner, by means of their own religion, they are brought into the knowledges of good and truth

AC 2603. There are some Gentiles from those regions where they are black, who bring with them from their life in the world a wish to be treated severely; believing that no one can come into heaven except through punishments and afflictions, and that they will afterwards receive more gladsome things, which they call paradisal. As they have such ideas from their religion they are at first treated severely in the other life by some whom they call devils, and are afterwards taken to the paradises already described (n. 1622). But they are instructed by the angels that their punishments and afflictions are turned by the Lord into what is good for them, as with those who are in temptations also that paradisal things are not heaven, but that heaven is the affection of the celestial and spiritual things that are in them; and that they have been in a certain way of truth, although in the shade of ignorance. They spoke with me a long time. While in their state of affliction their speech was attended with a kind of collision; thus was distinct from that of others; but after their afflictions were over, and they were taken up to the paradises, they no longer had such a speech, but one that was almost angelic. From their religion they have that they believe, and desire to have interior things. They said that whenever they are treated severely they are black; but that they shortly put off the blackness, and put on whiteness; knowing that their souls are white, but their bodies black.

AC 2604. It is usual for Gentiles who adore any god under an image or statue, or any carved thing, to be introduced, on coming into the other life, to certain ones who are in the place of their gods or idols, in order that they may put away their phantasies; and when they have been with these for some days, they are taken away from such persons. They who have adored men are also sometimes introduced to them, or to others in their stead; as many of the Jews are to Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and David; but when they perceive that these have the same kind of human nature as others have, and can afford them no help, they become ashamed, and are taken to their own places in accordance with their life. Among the Gentiles in the other life the Africans are the most beloved, because they receive the goods and truths of heaven more easily than others. They especially desire to be called the obedient, but not the faithful. They say that Christians can be called faithful, because they have the doctrine of faith; but not they, unless they receive it, or as they say, are able to receive it.

AC 2605. I have spoken with some who were in the Ancient Church, and who then knew concerning the Lord that He was to come, and who had been imbued with the goods of faith, but yet fell away and became idolaters. They were in front, toward the left, in a darksome place, and in a miserable state. Their speech was like the sound of a fife, of one tone, almost devoid of rationality of thought. They said that they had been there for many ages, and that they are sometimes taken out thence to serve others for some uses, which are vile. From these it was given me to think about many Christians, who are idolaters not exteriorly but interiorly, and who at heart deny the Lord, and thereby also the truths of faith; and to reflect upon what kind of a lot must await them in the other life.

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