Spiritual background for GENESIS 34    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 4422. Prefatory to this chapter the Lord’s words in (Matthew 24:42-51), remain to be unfolded. These words are the last in that chapter which treat of the consummation of the age, or the advent of the Lord, and which in the letter are these: Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord cometh. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would assuredly have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken through. Therefore be ye also ready, for in an hour that ye think not the Son of man will come. Who therefore is the faithful and prudent servant, whom his lord hath set over his domestics, to give them their food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that he will set him over all his goods. But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth to come; and shall begin to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour when he knoweth not, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. What these words involve may be seen from the series of things, for the subject treated of in this whole chapter of the evangelist is the last period of the church, which in the internal sense is the consummation of the age and the advent of the Lord (n. 3353-3356, 3486-3489, 3650-3655, 3751-3757, 3897-3901, 4056-4060, 4229-4231, 4332-4335).

[2] What these contents are in a series has also been there stated, namely, that when the Christian Church that was set up after the Lord‘s coming began to vastate itself, that is, to recede from good, then: I. They began not to know what good and truth are, but disputed about them. II. They despised them. III. Next they did not at heart acknowledge them. IV. Afterwards they profaned them. V. And as the truth of faith and the good of charity were still to remain with some, who are called the "elect," the state of faith at that time is described. VI. And then the state of charity. VII. Lastly, the beginning of a new church is treated of; and, VIII., the state as to good and truth within the so called church, when that church is being rejected and a new church is being adopted. From this series it may appear what is involved in the words that have been transcribed above, and are the last of the chapter, namely, that they are words of exhortation to those in the church, that they should be in the good of faith, and that if not they must perish.

AC 4423. Scarcely anyone knows how the case is with the rejection of an old church and the adoption of a new church. He who does not know man’s interiors and their states, and consequently man‘s states after death, cannot but infer that those who are of the old church, and in whom good and truth have been laid waste, that is, are no longer at heart acknowledged, are to perish, either as the antediluvians perished by the flood, or as did the Jews by expulsion from their land, or in some other way. But when the church has been laid waste, that is, when it is no longer in any good of faith, it perishes chiefly in respect to the states of its interiors, thus in respect to its states in the other life. Heaven then removes itself away from them and consequently the Lord and transfers itself to others, who are adopted in their stead; for without a church somewhere on the earth there is no communication of heaven with man; for the church is like the heart and lungs of the Grand Man on the earth (n. 468, 637, 931, 2054, 2853).

[2] They who are then of the old church, and thus are removed from heaven, are in a kind of inundation as to their interiors, and in fact in an inundation over the head. This inundation the man himself does not observe while he lives in the body, but he comes into it after death. In the other life this inundation plainly appears like a thick cloud by which they are encompassed and separated from heaven. The state of those who are in this thick cloud is that they cannot possibly see what the truth of faith is, and still less what is its good; for the light of heaven, in which is intelligence and wisdom, cannot penetrate into this cloud. This is the state of a vastated church.

AC 4424. What the Lord’s words quoted above involve in the internal sense may be seen without explication; for the Lord spoke them not so much by representatives and significatives, as by comparatives. There shall be stated merely what is signified by the words of the last verse, namely: "He shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." He shall cut him asunder; signifies separation and removal from goods and truths; for they who are in knowledges of good and truth, as are those who are within the church and yet in a life of evil, are said to be "cut asunder" when they are removed from these knowledges. For the knowledges of good and truth are separated from them in the other life, and they are kept in evils, and therefore also in falsities; which is done in order to prevent them from communicating with heaven by the knowledges of truth, and with hell by evils and the derivative falsities, and thus hanging between the two; and also to prevent them from profaning goods and truths, which is done when these are commingled with falsities and evils. The same is also signified by the Lord‘s words to him who hid the talent in the earth: "Take therefore the talent from him; and give it unto him that hath ten talents; for unto everyone that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away" (Matt. 25:28, 29); also by what the Lord says in another place in (Matthew 13:12; Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18).

[2] And appoint his portion with the hypocrites; signifies his lot (which is his "portion") with those who outwardly appear to be in truth as to doctrine and in good as to life, but inwardly believe nothing of truth and will nothing of good, who are the "hypocrites." In this manner they are "cut asunder." Therefore when their externals are taken away from them, as takes place with all in the other life, they appear such as they are as to their internals, namely, devoid of faith and charity, of which they nevertheless have made a show in order to win others and acquire honors, gain, and reputation. Those within a vastated church are almost all of this character, for they have externals, but no internals. This is the origin of that inundation of their interiors which has been already spoken of (n. 4423).

[3] There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth; signifies their state in the other life, "wailing," their state as to evils, and "gnashing of teeth," their state as to falsities. For in the Word the "teeth" signify the lowest natural things, in the genuine sense the truths of these natural things, and in the opposite sense their falsities. The teeth moreover correspond to these things, and therefore the "gnashing of teeth" is the collision of falsities with truths. They who are in mere natural things, and who are in these from the fallacies of the senses, and who believe nothing but what they see thereby, are said to be in the "gnashing of teeth," and also in the other life appear to themselves to be so when they draw conclusions from their fallacies concerning the truths of faith. In a church vastated as to good and truth such persons abound. The like is signified elsewhere also by the "gnashing of teeth," as in Matthew: The sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness, there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12); the "sons of the kingdom" are those who are in a vastated church; the "darkness" is falsities (n. 4418), for they are in darkness when they are in the thick cloud mentioned above; the "gnashing of teeth" is the collision of falsities therein with truths. In like manner elsewhere, as in (Matt. 13:42, 50; 22:13; 25:30; Luke 13:28).


AC 4523. Everyone who has any knowledge of air and sound may know that the ear is formed in precise adaptation to the nature of their modifications, thus that in respect to its bodily and material form, the ear corresponds to them; and he who has acquired any knowledge of the ether and light, knows that in respect to its bodily and material form, the eye has been formed so as to correspond to the modifications of these; and that this is so much the case that whatever secret thing has been stored up in the nature of air and of sound is inscribed on the organism of the ear, and whatever secret thing has been stored up in the nature of the ether and of light is inscribed on the organism of the eye.

[2] Consequently he who is skilled in anatomy and also in physics may know by investigation that as regards their bodily and material forms, the organs both of sense and of motion, together with all the viscera, correspond to various things that exist in the nature of the world; and thus that the whole body is an organ composed of the most secret things in the nature of the world, and in accordance with their secret forces of acting and their wonderful modes of flowing. For this reason man was called by the ancients a little world or microcosm.

[3] He who knows this may also know that whatever exists in the world and its nature does not come forth from itself, but from what is prior to itself; and that this prior cannot come forth from itself, but from something prior to itself; and so on even to the First, from whom the things that follow come forth in order. And as they come forth from this, they also subsist from it; for subsistence is a perpetual coming forth. Hence it follows that all things in nature both in general and in particular, down to its last things, have not only come forth from the First, but also subsist from the First; for unless they were perpetually coming forth, and unless there were a continuous nexus, from the First, and thus with the First, they would fall to pieces and perish in an instant.

AC 4524. Now as all and each of the things in the world and its nature come forth, and come forth perpetually, that is, subsist, from things prior to themselves, it follows that they come forth and subsist from a world above nature, which is called the spiritual world; and as in order that they may subsist or perpetually come forth there must be a continuous nexus with that world, it follows that the purer and more interior things which are in nature, and consequently which are in man, are from that world; and also that the purer and more interior things are such forms as can receive the influx. And as there is only one possible fountain of life, as in nature there is only one fountain of light and heat, it is evident that everything of life is from the Lord, who is the First of life. And because this is so, it follows that all and each of the things which are in the spiritual world correspond to Him, and consequently all and each of the things which are in man; for man is a little spiritual world in the least form. Hence also the spiritual man is an image of the Lord.

AC 4525. From all this it is evident that with man especially there is a correspondence of all things with the spiritual world, and that without this correspondence he cannot subsist even for a moment; for without correspondence there would be nothing continuous from the very being of life, that is, from the Lord; thus there would be what is unconnected; and what is unconnected is dissipated as a nothing. The reason why correspondence with man is more immediate and hence closer, is that he has been created to apply to himself the life from the Lord, and thence into the capacity of a possible elevation by the Lord above the natural world in regard to his thoughts and affections, and thereby to think of God and to be affected with the Divine, and thus to be conjoined with Him, quite differently from the lower animals. And when the bodily things of this world are put away, those die not who are thus capable of being conjoined with the Divine, because their interiors remain conjoined with Him.

AC 4526. As to what further regards the correspondence of the sight of the eye, treated of at the end of the foregoing chapter, be it known that its correspondence is with the things which are of the understanding; for the understanding is the internal sight, and this internal sight is in a light which is above the light of this world. The reason why man is able to acquire intelligence by means of the things which appear before him in the light of this world, is that a higher light (that is, the light of heaven) flows into the objects which are of the light of the world, and causes them to appear representatively and correspondently; for the light which is above the light of the world is a light that proceeds from the Lord, who illumines the universal heaven. The very intelligence and wisdom that are from the Lord appear there as light. It is this light which produces man’s understanding or internal sight, and when it inflows through the understanding into the objects of this world‘s light, it causes them to appear representatively and correspondently, thus intellectually. And as the eyesight which is in the natural world corresponds to the sight of the understanding which is in the spiritual world, it corresponds to the truths of faith, because these belong to genuine understanding; for truths produce all man’s understanding, inasmuch as all his thought is employed in deciding that a thing is so, or is not so; that is, that it is true, or is not true. The sight of the eye corresponds to the truths and goods of faith, (n. 4410).

AC 4527. I have spoken with some a few days after their decease, and who being recently arrived were in a light which to them differed but little from the light of this world, which caused them to doubt whether they had the light from any other source. They were therefore taken up into the entrance of heaven, where there was a light still clearer; and speaking with me from there, they said that they had never seen such a light; and yet this occurred after our sunset. They then wondered that spirits have eyes wherewith to see, and yet during their bodily life they had believed that the life of spirits is mere thought, abstracted from any subject, for they had not been able to think of any subject of thought because they had not seen it. And this being the case, they had imagined that as the spirit is mere thought it must be dissipated, like some breath of air or some fire, together with the body that had contained it, unless it were miraculously held together and kept in existence by the Lord. And they then saw how easily the learned fall into error regarding the life after death, and that above all others they believe nothing but what they see. They wondered therefore, not merely that they can think, but also that they can see, and enjoy all the other senses, and still more that they appear to themselves exactly like men, and see, hear, and converse with one another, and feel their own members by touch, and this more exquisitely than in the life of the body. At this they fell into amazement, that men living in this world know nothing of this, and they pitied the human race for their ignorance of such things consequent on their unbelief in them, and especially did they pity those who have more light than others, namely, those who are within the church and have the Word.

[2] Some of them had believed that after death men would he like ghosts, in which opinion they had confirmed themselves from the specters of which they had heard, but In regard to which they had imagined that such a specter must be some gross principle of life, which first exhales from the body‘s life, but afterwards sinks back again into the corpse, and is thus extinguished. Some however had believed that they would not rise again until the time of the last judgment when the world would be destroyed, and they would then rise again with the body, which, though fallen into dust, would then be gathered together, and they would thus rise again with their bones and flesh. And as that last judgment or destruction of the world had been waited for in vain for many centuries, they had fallen into the error that they would never rise again; never thinking of what they had learned from the Word, and from which they had also sometimes spoken, saying that when a man dies his soul is in the hand of God, among the happy or the unhappy according to the life which he had made habitual to himself; nor thinking of what the Lord said about the rich man and Lazarus. But they were instructed that the last judgment of everyone is when he dies; and that he then appears to himself endowed with a body as in the world, and enjoys as here every sense, only more pure and exquisite because bodily things no longer stand in the way, and the things of the light of the world no longer darken those of the light of heaven; thus that they are as it were in a purified body, and that In the other life one could not possibly carry about a body of bones and flesh such as he had in the world, because this would be to be again encompassed with the dust of the earth.

[3] I have spoken on this subject with some on the very day their bodies were being entombed, who saw through my eyes their own corpse, the bier, and the funeral ceremony; and they said that they reject that body, which had served them for uses in the world in which they had been, and that they are now living in a body which serves them for uses in the world in which they are now. They also desired me to tell these things to their relatives who were mourning; but it was given me to reply, that if I should do so they would scoff, because that which they could not see with their own eyes they would believe to be nothing, and would set down as delusive visions. For men cannot be brought to believe that just as they see one another with their eyes, so spirits see one another with theirs; and that a man can only see spirits with the eyes of his own spirit, and that he sees them when the Lord opens his internal sight, as was done to the prophets, who saw spirits and angels, and also many things in heaven; and there is room for doubt whether those now living would have believed these things if they had lived at that time.

AC 4528. The eye, or rather its sight, corresponds especially to those societies in the other life which are in the paradisal regions, which appear above in front a little to the right, where gardens are vividly presented to view, with trees and flowers of so many genera and species that those on the whole earth are comparatively few; and within every object there is something of intelligence and wisdom that shines forth from it, so that you may say that the people in the gardens are at the same time in paradises of intelligence and wisdom, and it is these which inwardly affect them, and thus gladden not only their sight, but also at the same time their understanding.

[2] These paradisal regions are in the first heaven, in the very threshold to the interiors of that heaven, and are representatives which come down from a higher heaven, when the angels of that heaven are conversing with one another intellectually about the truths of faith; and this speech of the angels there is effected by means of spiritual and celestial ideas, which with them are verbal forms, and by a continuous series of representations of inexpressible beauty and pleasantness; and it is these beauties and pleasantnesses of their discourse which are represented as paradisal scenes in the lower heaven.

[3] This heaven is distinguished into many heavens, to which correspond the various things in the chambers of the eye. There is the heaven of paradisal gardens just described. There is a heaven where there are atmospheres of various colors, and where the whole air flashes as it were with gold, silver, pearls, precious stones, flowers in least forms, and innumerable other things. There is a rainbow heaven, where are the most beautiful rainbows, great and small, variegated with the most splendid colors. All these come forth by means of the light which is from the Lord, and which contains within it intelligence and wisdom, so that in every object there is something of the intelligence of truth and of the wisdom of good, which is thus shown representatively.

[4] They who have had no idea of heaven, nor of the light there, can with difficulty be brought to believe that such things are there, and therefore those who take this Incredulity with them into the other life, and who have been in the truth and good of faith, are conveyed by the angels into these scenes, and when they see them they are astounded. As regards the paradisal and rainbow scenes, and the atmospheres, see what has been already said from experience, (n. 1619-1626, 2296, 3220); and there are continual representations in the heavens, (n. 1807, 1808, 1971, 1980, 1981, 2299, 2763, 3213, 3216-3218, 3222, 3350, 3475, 3485).

AC 4529. A certain person who had been much talked of and celebrated in the learned world for his skill in the science of botany, after death heard in the other life, to his great surprise, that there also flowers and trees are presented to view; and as botany had been the delight of his life he was fired with a desire to see whether such was the case, and was therefore carried up into the paradisal regions, where he saw most beautiful plantations of trees and most charming flower gardens of immense extent. And as he then came into the ardor of his delight from affection, he was allowed to wander over the field, and not only to see the plants in detail, but also to gather them and bring them close to his eye, and to examine whether the case was really so.

[2] Speaking with me from thence he said that he could never have believed it, and that if such things had been heard of In the world, they would have been regarded as marvels. He said further that he saw an immense abundance of flowers there which are never seen in the world, and of which it would be almost impossible there to form any idea; and that they all glow with an inconceivable brightness, because they are from the light of heaven. That the glow was from a spiritual origin, he was not yet able to perceive, that is, that they glowed because there was in each one of them something of the intelligence and wisdom which are of truth and good. He went on to say that men on earth would never believe this, because few believe there is any heaven and hell, and they who believe only know that in heaven there is joy, and few among them believe that there are such things as eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and the mind has never conceived; and this although they know from the Word that amazing things were seen by the prophets, such as many things seen by John, as recorded in the Revelation, and yet these were nothing else than the representatives which are continually coming forth in heaven, and which appeared to John when his internal sight was opened.

[3] But these things are comparatively of little moment. They who are in the very intelligence and wisdom which are the source of these things, are in such a state of happiness that the things which have been related are to them of slight importance. Some spirits also who when in the paradisal regions said that these surpass every degree of happiness, were therefore carried up into a heaven more to the right, which sparkled with a still greater resplendence, and finally they were carried up into the heaven where there is also a perception of the blessedness of the intelligence and wisdom that exist in such things. And when they were there, they told me that what they had seen before was comparatively worthless. At last they were carried up into a heaven where on account of the bliss of interior affection, they could scarcely subsist, for the bliss penetrated to the very marrows, and these being as it were dissolved away with bliss, they began to fall into a holy swoon.

AC 4530. Colors also are seen in the other life which in splendor and refulgence surpass the luster of the colors of this world to such a degree that scarcely any comparison is possible. These colors are produced by the variegation of the light and shade there; and as it is the Intelligence and wisdom that come from the Lord which there appear as light before the eyes of angels and spirits, and at the same time inwardly illumine their understandings, in their essence these colors are variations or so to speak modifications of intelligence and wisdom. The colors there--not only those with which the flowers are adorned, the atmospheres made brilliant, and the rainbows varied, but also those which are distinctly presented in other forms--have been seen by me an almost countless number of times. They have their brightness from the truth which is of intelligence, and their effulgence from the good which is of wisdom, and the colors themselves are produced from the whiteness and the darkness thereof, thus from light and shade, like the tints of color in this world. It is for this reason that the colors mentioned in the Word, such as those of the precious stones in Aaron’s breast plate and upon his garments of holiness, and those of the curtains of the tent where the ark was, and those of the stones of the foundation of the New Jerusalem, described by John In the Revelation, besides others mentioned elsewhere, represented such things as are of intelligence and wisdom. But what each of these colors represents shall of the Lord‘s Divine mercy be told in the explications. In general the colors seen in the other life have splendor and whiteness in so far as they come from the truth of intelligence; and they have refulgence and crimson in so far as they come from the good of wisdom. Those colors which derive their origin from these sources also belong to the provinces of the eyes.

AC 4531. As it is intelligence and wisdom from the Lord which appear in heaven as light, the angels being therefore called angels of light, so it is the folly and insanity which are from self that reign in hell, causing those who are there to have their name from darkness. It is true that in hell there is not darkness, but a dusky luminosity like that from a coal fire, in which they see one another, and without which they would not be able to live. This luminosity comes to them from the light of heaven, which is turned into such a luminosity when it falls into their insanities, that is, into their falsities and cupidities. The Lord is everywhere present with light, even in the hells, otherwise the infernals would have no capacity to think and thereby to speak, but the light is according to the reception. This luminosity is what is called in the Word the "shadow of death," and is compared to "darkness," and is also turned into darkness with them when they approach the light of heaven; and when they are in darkness, they are in folly and stupidity. Hence it is evident that as light corresponds to truth, so darkness corresponds to falsity, and that they who are in falsities are said to be in "blindness."

AC 4532. They who believe that they understand good and truth of themselves, and hence trust in themselves alone, and thus deem themselves wiser than all (although they are in ignorance of what is good and true), and especially those who do not desire to understand what is good and true, and consequently are in falsities, in the other life are sometimes let into a state of darkness; and when they are in it, they speak idiotically, for they are in stupidity. I have been told that there are many such, and among them those who had believed themselves to be set in the greatest light, and had also appeared so to others.

AC 4533. Among the wonderful things that take place in the other life is also this, that when the angels of heaven look at evil spirits, the latter appear altogether different from what they appear to one another. When evil spirits and genii are by themselves, and in their own fatuous luminosity (which as before said is like that of a coal fire), they appear to themselves to be in a human form, and also according to their phantasies not uncomely. But when the same are looked at by the angels of heaven, that luminosity is instantly dissipated, and they appear with totally different faces, each according to his genius. Some are dusky and black like devils; some have ghastly faces like that of a corpse; some have almost no face at all, and instead of a face there is a mass of hair; some are like grates of teeth; some like skeletons; and what was still more strange, some are like monsters, the deceitful are like serpents, and the most deceitful are like vipers, while others appear differently. But as soon as the angels remove their look from them, they appear in their own previous form, such as they have in their own luminosity. The angels look at the evil whenever they observe them trying to get out of their hells into the world of spirits, intending to do evil to others; and in this way they are detected and are cast back again. The reason why there is such an efficacy in the look of the angels, is that there is a correspondence between intellectual sight and that of the eye; and therefore there is a sharp-sightedness in their look, before which the infernal luminosity is dissipated, and evil spirits appear in the form and genius that belong to them.

AC 4534. A continuation concerning the Grand Man and Correspondence will be found at the end of the following chapter.

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