Spiritual background for GENESIS 31previous - next - text - Genesis - BM Home - Full Page
AC 4056. In the preface to chapters 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30, there have been unfolded the things spoken and foretold by the Lord concerning the consummation of the age or Last Judgment, in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, from the third to the twenty-eighth verse. The words which follow there in order remain to be explained, in this place the contents of (verses 29, 30, and 31), where we read these words:--But immediately after the affliction of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall nor give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the non of man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth wail and they shall see the non of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send forth His angels with a trumpet and a great voice, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the end of the heavens even to the end thereof.
AC 4057. What the consummation of the age, or Last Judgment is, has already been explained, namely, that it is the last period of the Church. Its last period is said to be when there is no longer in it any charity and faith; and it has also been shown that there have been several such consummations, or last periods. The consummation of the first church was described by the flood; and the consummation of the second church by the extirpation of the nations in the land of Canaan, and also by the extirpations and cuttings off frequently described in the Prophets. The consummation of the third church is not described in the Word, but is foretold - that is, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the Jewish nation, with which was the church, over the whole world. The fourth consummation is that of the present Christian church, which is foretold by the Lord in the Evangelists, and also by John in the Apocalypse, and which is now at hand.
AC 4058. In the foregoing verses of this chapter of Matthew there is described the successive vastation of the church; namely, that first they began not to know what good and truth are, but disputed about them; next that they treated them with contempt; in the third place that they did not acknowledge them at heart; and fourthly, that they profaned them. These states are described from the third to the twenty-second verse; and as the truth of faith and the good of charity were still to remain in the midst (that is, with some who are called the "elect") the quality of the state of the truth of faith at that time is described in (verses 23 to 28); and in the following verses, now to be explained, there is described the state of the good that is of charity and of love; and also the beginning of a New Church.
AC 4059. From the particulars contained in these verses it is very manifest that they have an internal sense, and that unless this sense is understood, it is impossible to know what they involve - as that the sun shall be darkened, that the moon shall not give her light, that the stars shall fall from heaven, and that the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then that the Lord shall appear in the clouds of heaven, that His angels shall sound With a trumpet, and shall gather together His elect. He who knows not the internal sense of these words, must believe that such things are to come to pass; nay, that the world is to perish, with everything we behold in the universe. And yet that by the Last Judgment there is not meant any destruction of the world, but the consummation or vastation of the church in respect to charity and faith, may be seen above (n. 3353); and is plainly manifest from the words which follow in this same chapter of Matthew:--
Then shall two men be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left; two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left (Matthew 24:40, 41).
AC 4060. Therefore that by the words now before us there is signified the state of the church at that time in respect to good (that is, as to charity toward the neighbor and love to the Lord), is evident from their internal sense, which is as follows: But immediately after the affliction of those days; signifies the state of the church in respect to the truth of faith. In the Word the desolation of truth in various places is called "affliction." "Days" are states (n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893, 2788, 3462, 3785). From this it is manifest that by these words is signified that after there is no longer any faith, there will be no charity. For faith leads to charity, because it teaches what charity is, and charity receives its quality from the truths of faith; but the truths of faith receive their essence and their life from charity, as has been repeatedly shown in the preceding volumes.
 The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light; signifies love to the Lord, which is the "sun;" and charity toward the neighbor, which is the "moon." "To be darkened and not to give their light" signifies that they will not appear, and thus will vanish away. The "sun" is the celestial of love, and the "moon" the spiritual of love; that is, the "sun" is love to the Lord, and the "moon" charity toward the neighbor, which comes forth through faith, (n. 1053, 1529, 1530, 2120, 2441, 2495). The reason why this is the signification of the "sun and moon," is that in the other life the Lord appears as a sun to those in heaven who are in love to Him, and who are called the celestial; and as a moon to those who are in charity toward the neighbor, and who are called the spiritual (n. 1053, 1521, 1529-1531, 3636, 3643).
 The sun and moon in the heavens (that is, the Lord) is never darkened, nor does it lose its light, but it shines perpetually; and so neither is love to the Lord darkened with the celestial, nor does charity toward the neighbor lose its light with the spiritual, in the heavens; nor on earth with those with whom these angels are, that is, those who are in love and charity. Those however who are in no love and charity, but in the love of self and of the world, and consequently in hatred and revenge, bring that "darkening" upon themselves. The case herein is as it is with the sun of this world, which shines continuously; but when the clouds interpose, it does not appear (n. 2441).
 And the stars shall fall from heaven; signifies that the knowledges of good and truth will perish. Nothing else is signified by "stars" when these are mentioned in the Word (n. 1808, 2849). And the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; signifies the foundations of the church, which are said to be "shaken" and "made to quake" when they perish. For the church on earth is the foundation of heaven, because the influx of good and truth from the Lord through the heavens finally terminates in the goods and truths that are with the man of the church. When therefore the man of the church is in such a perverted state as no longer to admit the influx of good and truth, the powers of the heavens are said to be "shaken." For this reason it is always provided by the Lord that something of the church shall remain; and that when an old church perishes, a new - one shall be set up again.
 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; signifies the appearing of Divine truth at that time the "sign" signifies the appearing; the "Son of man," the Lord as to Divine truth (n. 2803, 2813, 3704). It was this appearing or this "sign," concerning which the disciples asked when they said, "Tell us when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the consummation of the age" (Matthew 24:3). For they knew from the Word that when the age should be consummated, the Lord would come; and they learned from the Lord Himself that He would "come again," by which they understood that the Lord would once more come into the world; not yet knowing that the Lord has come whenever the church has been vastated, not indeed in person, as when He assumed the human by birth and made it Divine; but by means of appearings, either manifest, as when He appeared to Abraham in Mamre, to Moses in the bush, to the people of Israel on Mount Sinai, and to Joshua when he entered the land of Canaan; or not so manifest, as by inspirations through which the Word was given, and afterwards through the Word; for the Lord is present in the Word, because all things in the Word are from Him and concerning Him, as may be seen from what has already been frequently shown. This latter is the appearing here signified by the "sign of the Son of man," and which is described in this verse.
 And then shall all the tribes of the earth wail; signifies that all who are in the good of love and the truth of faith shall be in grief. That "wailing" signifies this, may be seen in (Zechariah 12:10-14); and that "tribes" signify all things of good and truth, or of love and faith, and consequently those who are in them, may be seen above (n. 3858, 3926). They are called the "tribes of the earth," because those are meant who are within the church. The "earth" is the church (n. 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 1733, 1850, 2117, 2928, 3355).
 And they shall see the Son of man coming In the clouds of the heavens with power and great glory; signifies that the Word will then be revealed as to its internal sense, in which the Lord is; the "Son of man" is the Divine truth therein (n. 2803, 2813, 3704); the "cloud" is the literal sense; "power" is predicated of the good, and "glory" of the truth, therein. (That these things are signified by "seeing the Son of man coming in the clouds of the heavens," see the preface to the eighteenth chapter). This is the "coming of the Lord" here meant, and not that He will literally appear in the clouds. Now follows the subject of the setting up of a New Church, which takes place when the old one is vastated and rejected.
 He shall send forth His angels with a trumpet and a great voice; signifies election, not by visible angels, still less by trumpets, and by great voices; but by the influx of holy good and holy truth from the Lord through angels; and therefore by "angels" in the Word there is signified something of the Lord (n. 1925, 2821, 3039); here, there are signified things that are from the Lord and concerning the Lord. By the "trumpet" and the "great voice" there is signified evangelization, as elsewhere in the Word.
 And they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the end of the heavens even to the end thereof signifies the setting up of a New Church. The "elect" are those who are in the good of love and of faith (n. 3755-3900); the "four winds" from which they shall be gathered together, are all states of good and truth (n. 3708); "from the end of the heavens to the end of them" denotes the internals and the externals of the church. Such therefore are the things signified by these words of the Lord.
CONTINUATION CONCERNING THE GRAND MAN, AND CONCERNING CORRESPONDENCE
AC 4218. At the end of the preceding chapters, I have related matters granted me to see and perceive in the world of spirits and in the heavens of angels; and in the last place the subject of the Grand Man and Correspondence has been dealt with. In order to make fully known how the case is with man, and that he is in connection with heaven, not only as to the thoughts and affections, but also as to the organic forms both interior and exterior, and that without this connection he could not subsist for a single moment, we may continue the consideration of the subject of correspondence with the Grand Man which was commenced at the end of the preceding chapters.
AC 4219. In order that the reader may have a general knowledge of how the case is with the Grand Man, let him bear in mind that the universal heaven is the Grand Man, and that heaven is called the Grand Man because it corresponds to the Divine Human of the Lord; for the Lord alone is Man, and an angel and a spirit, and also a man on earth, are men in exact proportion to what they have from Him. Let no one believe that man is man from his possession of a natural human face, body, brain, and organs and members; for all these are common to him with brute animals, and therefore these are what die and become a carcass. But man is man from being able to think and will as a man, and thus to receive what is Divine, that is, what is of the Lord. By this man distinguishes himself from beasts and wild animals and in the other life also his quality as a man is determined by what he has received from the Lord and made his own in the life of the body.
AC 4220. They who in the life of the body have received the Divine things of the Lord, that is, His love toward the universal human race; and consequently they who have received charity toward the neighbor and also they who have received reciprocal love to the Lord, and in the other life endowed with intelligence and wisdom, and with ineffable happiness; for they become angels and thus truly men. But they who in the life of the body have not received the Divine things of the Lord, that is, who have not received love toward the human race, and still less reciprocal love to the Lord, but who have loved and indeed worshiped themselves only, and consequently have had as their end what is of self and of the world, they, in the other life, after some brief passages of life there, are deprived of all intelligence, and become utterly stupid, being among the stupid infernals there.
AC 4221. In order that I might know that such is the case, I have been permitted to speak with those who have lived in this manner, and likewise with one with whom I had been acquainted in the life of the body. During this man’s life on earth, all the good he had done to the neighbor had been done for the sake of himself, that is, for his own honor and gain. All who could not be made subservient to these ends he had despised, and even hated. He had indeed made an oral confession of God, but at heart acknowledged Him not; and when I was permitted to speak to him there exhaled from him a sphere that was as it were corporeal. His speech was not like that of spirits, but was like that of a mortal still in the flesh; for the speech of spirits is distinguished from that of men in being full of ideas, or in having within it something spiritual, thus something alive that is inexpressible; but this was not the case with this man‘s speech. Such was the sphere that exhaled from him and that was perceived in everything that he said. He appeared there among the vile; and I was told that persons of this character successively become so gross and stupid in respect to their thoughts and affections, that no one in this world is more so. They have their abode under the buttocks, where their hell is. From the same place there had previously appeared a certain person (not as a spirit, but as a grossly corporeal man, appears), in whom there was so little of the life of intelligence which is properly human, that you would call it stupidity personified. From these examples it was evident what kind of spirits those become who are in no love toward the neighbor, nor toward the state, and still less toward the Lord’s kingdom; but who are exclusively in the love of self, and who in everything regard themselves alone, even adoring themselves as gods, and also desiring to be so adored by others, and having this intent in everything they do.
AC 4222. As regards the correspondence of the Grand Man with the things that appertain to man, it is a correspondence with all things of him both in general and in particular, that is to say, with his organs, members, and viscera, and this so perfect that there is not a single organ or neither in the body, nor any part in an organ or member, nor even any particle of a part, with which there is not correspondence. It is well known that each organ and member in the body consists of parts, and of parts of parts-as the brain, for example, which consists in general of the cerebrum, cerebellum, medulla oblongata, and medulla spinalis, for this last is a continuation, or kind of appendix. Again, the cerebrum consists of many members, which are its parts, namely, of the membranes called the dura mater and pia mater, of the corpus callosum, the corpora striata, the ventricles and cavities, the smaller glands, the septa, in general of the cineritious substance and the medullary substance, and furthermore of the sinuses, blood vessels, and plexuses. The like is the case with the bodily organs of sense and motion, and with the viscera, as is well known from anatomical studies. All these things both in general and in particular correspond most exactly to the Grand Man, and to so many heavens, as it were, therein. For the heaven of the Lord is distinguished in like manner into lesser heavens, and these into heavens still less, and these into least, and finally into angels, each one of whom is a little heaven corresponding to the greatest. These heavens are most distinct from one another, each one belonging to its own general heaven, and the general heavens to the most general, or whole, which is the Grand Man.
AC 4223. But as regards this correspondence, the fact is that although the heavens above mentioned do indeed correspond to the very organic forms of the human body, and therefore it is said that these societies or those angels belong to the province of the brain, to the province of the heart, to the province of the lungs, or to the province of the eye, and so on, they nevertheless correspond chiefly to the functions of these viscera or organs. The case herein is as with the organs or viscera themselves, in that their functions constitute a one with their organic forms; for no function can be conceived of except from forms, that is, from substances, for the substances are the subjects from which they exist. Sight, for example, cannot be conceived of apart from the eye; nor breathing apart from the lungs. The eye is the organic form from which and by means of which the sight exists, and the lungs are the organic form from which and by means of which the breathing exists; and so with all the rest. It is the functions therefore to which the heavenly societies chiefly correspond; and as they correspond to the functions, they correspond also to the organic forms; for the one is indivisible and inseparable from the other, inasmuch that whether you speak of the function or the organic form by which and from which is the function, it comes to the same thing. Hence there is correspondence with the organs, members, and viscera, because there is with the functions; and therefore when the function is brought into exercise, the organ also is excited. The same is the case with everything that man does when he wills to do this or that, in this manner or that, and is thinking of it, the organs then move in concurrence, thus in accordance with the intention of the function or use; for it is the use that commands the forms.
 This shows that the use existed before the organic forms of the body came forth; and that the use produced and adapted them to itself, and not the reverse. But when the forms have been produced, and the organs adapted, the uses proceed from them; and then it appears as if the forms or organs were prior to the uses, when yet such is not the case. For use flows in from the Lord, and this through heaven, according to order, and according to the form in which heaven has been ordinated by the Lord, thus according to correspondences. Thus does man come into existence, and thus also does he subsist. And hence again does it appear why it is that man corresponds to the heavens in regard to both generals and particulars.
AC 4224. Organic forms are not only those apparent to the eye, and that can be detected by microscopes for there are also organic forms still more pure, which can never be discovered by any eye, whether naked or assisted. The latter forms are interior forms such as are those of the internal sight, and which in the last analysis are of the understanding. These are inscrutable, but still they are forms, that is, substances; for no sight, not even intellectual sight, is possible except from something. This is also known in the learned world; that is to say, that without a substance, which is the subject, there is not any mode, nor any modification, nor any quality which manifests itself in an active manner. These purer or interior forms which are inscrutable, are those which form and set forth the internal senses, and also produce the interior affections. It is to these forms that the interior things of heaven correspond, because they correspond to the senses which they set forth, and to the affections of these senses. But as very many things have been disclosed unto me respecting these matters and their correspondence, they cannot be clearly presented unless each one is treated of specifically; and therefore of the Lord‘s Divine mercy I may continue below the consideration of the subject of the correspondence of man with the Grand Man that was commenced in a preceding Part, to the intent that man may at last know, not from any ratiocination, and still less from any hypothesis, but from experience itself, how the case is with him, and with his internal man which is called his soul, and in consequence with his conjunction with heaven, and through heaven with the Lord; and consequently whence man is man, and by what he is distinguished from beasts; and furthermore, how man himself separates himself from this conjunction, and conjoins himself with hell.
AC 4225. At the outset it must be stated who are within the Grand Man, and who are out of it. All those are within the Grand Man who are in love to the Lord and in charity toward the neighbor, and who do good to the neighbor from the heart according to the good that is in him, and who have a conscience of what is just and equitable; for these are in the Lord, and consequently in heaven. But all those are outside the Grand Man who are in the love of self and the love of the world and the derivative concupiscences, and who do what is good solely on account of the laws, and for the sake of their own honor and the world’s wealth and the consequent reputation, and who thus are interiorly unmerciful and in hatred and revenge against the neighbor for their own and the world‘s sake, and are delighted with the neighbor’s injury when he does not favor them for these are in hell. These do not correspond to any organs and members in the body, but to various corruptions and diseases induced in them; concerning which also of the Lord‘s Divine mercy, I shall speak from experience in the following pages.
 They who are out of the Grand Man (that is, out of heaven), cannot enter into it, for their lives are contrary to it. Nay, if in any way they do enter, which is sometimes done by such as have learned in the life of the body to counterfeit angels of light; nevertheless on arriving there, as is sometimes permitted in order that they may learn their own character, they are admitted only to the first entrance, that is, to those who are as yet simple-minded, and who have not as yet been fully instructed. And even there those who enter as angels of light are scarcely able to tarry a few moments, because the life there is that of love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor; and as there is nothing there which corresponds to their life, they are hardly able to breathe. Spirits and angels breathe, (n. 3884-3893). Consequently they begin to be distressed, for respiration takes place in accordance with freedom of life; and wonderful to say they are finally scarcely able to move, but become like those who are in, anguish and torment taking possession of their interiors, and they therefore cast themselves down headlong, even into hell, where they recover their respiration and power of motion. Hence it is that in the Word life is represented by mobility.
 But they who are in the Grand Man breathe freely when they are in the good of love; but nevertheless they are distinguished according to the quality and the amount of the good. Hence there are so many heavens, which in the Word are called "mansions" (John 14:2). And everyone when in his own heaven is in his life, and receives influx from the universal heaven, each person there being a center of all the influxes, and therefore in the most perfect equilibrium; and this according to the amazing form of heaven, which is from the Lord alone; thus with all variety.
AC 4226. Spirits recently arrived, who when they lived in the world had been inwardly evil, but had outwardly assumed the appearance of good by means of the works which they had done to others for the sake of themselves and the world, have sometimes complained that they were not admitted into heaven for they had no other notion about heaven than that of admission from favor. But they have sometimes received for answer that heaven is denied to no one; and that if they desire it, they will be admitted. Some have also been admitted into the heavenly societies nearest the entrance; but on arriving there, they, as before said, observed a cessation of their breathing on account of the contrariety and resistance of their life, together with distress and torment as it were infernal, and they cast themselves down and afterwards said that to them heaven was hell, and that they would never have believed heaven to be of such a character.
AC 4227. There are many of both sexes who in this life have been of such a character that whenever possible they sought by art and deceit to subjugate to themselves the minds of others, with the end of ruling over them, especially those who were powerful and rich, in order that they alone might rule in their name; and who had acted in a secret manner, and had removed other men, especially the upright, and this in various ways-not indeed by censuring them, for uprightness defends itself; but by other modes, such as by misrepresenting their suggestions by calling these simple and evil; and by attributing to them any misfortunes that might occur; together with other similar detractions. They who have been of this character in the life of the body are the same in the other life, for the life of everyone follows him.
 I discovered this by living experience among such spirits when they have been with me, for they then acted in a similar manner, but still more craftily and ingeniously; for spirits act more subtly than men, being released from all connection with the body, and from the bonds of gross modes of sensation. They were so subtle that sometimes I did not perceive that their intention and end was to exercise command; and when they spoke among themselves they took care that I should not hear and perceive it; but I was told by others who heard them that their designs were wicked; and that they were studying to attain their end by magic arts, and thus by assistance from the diabolical crew. The murder of the upright they accounted as a matter of no moment; and as for the Lord (under whom they said that they desired to exercise command), they made Him very cheap, regarding Him merely as another man, to whom worship is paid by ancient custom, as among other nations which made men gods and worshiped them, and whom they durst not speak against, because they were born in that worship, and would thereby injure their reputation. Concerning these spirits I am able to state that they obsess the thoughts and the will of the men who are like them, and insinuate themselves into their affection and intention, so that without the Lord’s mercy the men cannot possibly know that such spirits are present, and that they themselves are in a society of such.
 These spirits correspond to the corruptions of man‘s purer blood, called the animal spirit, into which corruptions enter in a disorderly manner; and wherever they diffuse themselves they are like poisons which induce cold and torpor upon the nerves and fibers, from which break forth the most grievous and fatal diseases. When such act together in company, they are known by their acting--so to speak--in a quadruped manner, and they beset the back of the head under the cerebellum to the left; for they who act under the occiput operate more clandestinely than others, and they who act upon the back parts desire to exercise command.
 They reasoned with me about the Lord, and said that it was strange that when they prayed He did not hear their prayers, and thus did not aid those who made supplication. But I was permitted to reply that they could not be heard, because they had as their end such things as are contrary to the welfare of the human race; and because they pray for themselves against all others; and that when they pray in this manner heaven is closed, for they who are in heaven attend solely to the ends of those who are praying. These things they indeed would not acknowledge, but still they could make no answer.
 I have met male spirits of this kind who were accompanied by some of the female sex, and who said that they can avail themselves of many of the suggestions of women, because these are more quick-witted and deft in seeing how to manage such matters. These men are greatly pleased with the society of women who had been harlots. In the other life such persons for the most part apply themselves to secret and magical arts; for a host of such arts are there known which are quite unknown in this world; and no sooner do persons of this character arrive in the other life than they apply themselves to these arts, and learn to fascinate those with whom they are, and especially those under whom they desire to reign. For wicked deeds they have no abhorrence. Their hell, and the nature of this their abode when not in the world of spirits, shall be spoken of elsewhere. From all that has been said it is evident that after death every man’s life remains with him.
AC 4228. The subject of the Grand Man and Correspondence will be continued at the end of the following chapter, where correspondence with the senses in general will be treated of. previous - next - text - Genesis - BM Home - Full Page