Spiritual background for GENESIS 35    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 4535. Preliminary to the foregoing chapters, from chapter 26, an explication has been given of what the Lord foretold about His advent, or the CONSUMMATION OF THE AGE; and it has been repeatedly shown that by His advent or the consummation of the age is signified the last time of the church, which is called in the Word the Last Judgment. They who do not see beyond the literal sense must suppose that the Last Judgment is the destruction of the world, and this especially from the Revelation, where it is said:--

I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven (Rev. 21:1, 2).

And also from the prophecies of Isaiah, where are similar words:--

Behold I create new heavens and a new earth; therefore the former things shall not be remembered, nor come up upon the heart; but be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create, for behold I create Jerusalem an exultation, and her people a gladness (Isa. 65:17, 18; 66:22).

[2] They who do not see beyond the literal sense must infer that the universal heaven together with this earth will be annihilated, and that the dead will then for the first time rise again, and dwell in a new heaven and upon a new earth. But that the Word is not to be so understood may be seen from many other passages where the heavens and the earth are mentioned. They who have any faith in an internal sense can plainly see that by "a new heaven and a new earth" is meant a new church, which shall succeed when the former church passes away (n. 1733, 1850, 3355); and that the "heaven" is its internal and the "earth" its external.

[3] This last time of a former church and first time of a new church are what is called the "consummation of the age" of which the Lord spoke in Matthew 24, and also are His advent, for the Lord then leaves the former church and comes to the new church. That this is the "consummation of the age" may be seen also from other passages in the Word, as in Isaiah:--

In that day the remains shall return, the remains of Jacob, unto the mighty God; for although Thy people Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, remains of it shall return a consummation is determined, inundated is righteousness; for a consummation and a determination doth the Lord Jehovih Zebaoth make in the whole earth (Isa. 10:21-23).

In the same:--

Now be ye not scorners, lest your punishments be strengthened; for a consummation and a decision have I heard from- with the Lord Jehovih Zebaoth upon the whole earth (Isa. 28:22).

In Jeremiah:--

Thus said Jehovah, The whole earth shall be a waste, yet will I not make a consummation (Jer. 4:27).

In Zephaniah:--

I will bring men into distresses, and they shall go like the blind, because they have sinned against Jehovah; and their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung, for Jehovah shall make a consummation, yea, a speedy one, with all them that dwell in the land (Zephaniah 1:17, 18).

That the "consummation" here mentioned is the last time of the church, and that the "earth" is the church, is manifest from the particulars.

[4] That "earth" or "land" denotes the church, comes from the fact that the land of Canaan was the land where the church had been from the most ancient times, and where afterwards there was the representative of a church among the descendants of Jacob. When this land is said to be "consummated," it is not the nation in it that is meant, but it is the holy of worship that exists with the nation where the church is. For the Word is spiritual, and the land itself is not spiritual, nor the nation therein, but that which is of the church. The land of Canaan was the land where the church had been from the most ancient times, (n. 567, 3686, 4447, 4454, 4516, 4517); and for this reason by "land" in the Word is signified the church, (n. 566, 662, 1066, 1067, 1262, 3355, 4447). From this it is manifest what is meant in Isaiah by "making a consummation in the whole land," or "earth," and in Zephaniah by the "speedy consummation of all that dwell in the land." That the Jewish nation which dwelt in that land was not consummated, but the holy of worship with them, is well known.

[5] That this is the "consummation" appears still more plainly in Daniel:--

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy city of holiness, to consummate the transgression, and to seal up sins, and to expiate iniquity, and to bring in the righteousness of an age, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies; in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; at last upon the bird of abominations shall be desolation; and even to the consummation and the determination shall it drop upon the devastation (Daniel 9:24, 27).

[6] From all this it may now be seen that by the "consummation of the age," respecting which the disciples said to the Lord,

"What shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the consummation of the age?" (Matt. 24:3)

nothing else is signified than the last time of the church; and also by these words of the Lord, which are the last in the same evangelist:

"Jesus said to the disciples, Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you all the days even unto the consummation of the age" (Matthew 28:20).

It was said by the Lord that He would he with the disciples even to the consummation of the age, because by the Lord’s twelve disciples the like is signified as by the twelve tribes of Israel, namely, all things of love and faith, consequently all things of the church (n. 3354, 3488, 3858); which is the same as is meant by the twelve tribes (n. 3858, 3926, 3939, 4060). That it is the consummation of the church when there is no longer any charity and therefore no faith, has been repeatedly shown above. That in this church which is called Christian scarcely anything of charity and its derivative faith survives, thus that the consummation of its age is now at hand, will of the Lord‘s Divine mercy be shown in the following pages.


AC 4622. The dwellings of the blessed in the other life are of many kinds, and are constructed with such art as to be as it were embodiments of the very art of architecture, or to come straight from the art itself. On this subject see what has already been related from experience, (n. 1116, 1626-1630). These dwellings appear not only to the sight, but also to the touch, for all things there are adapted to the sensations of spirits and angels, and hence are such as do not come to bodily sense like that of man, but to that possessed by those who are there. I know that this is incredible to many, but this is because nothing is believed which cannot be seen by the bodily eyes and felt with the hands of flesh. For this reason the man of this day, whose interiors are closed, knows nothing of the things which exist in the spiritual world or in heaven. He does indeed say from the Word and from doctrine that there is a heaven, and that the angels who are there are in joy and in glory, but he knows no more about the matter. How the case is there he would indeed like to know, but when told he still believes nothing, because at heart he denies the existence of such things, and his desire to know about them is prompted solely by his curiosity from doctrine, and not by any delight grounded in faith. They who are not in faith also deny at heart; but they who believe get ideas from various sources about heaven and its joy and glory, each person from such things as are of his own knowledge and intelligence, and the simple from the things of bodily Sensation.

[2] Nevertheless most people do not apprehend that spirits and angels enjoy sensations much more exquisite than those of men in this world, namely, sight, hearing, smell, something analogous to taste, and touch; and especially the delights of the affections. If men would only believe that their interior essence is the spirit, and that the body and its sensations and members are adapted to uses in this world merely, and that the spirit and its sensations and organs are adapted to uses in the other life, then from themselves and almost of their own accord they would come into ideas about the state of their spirit after death; for they would reflect that the spirit must be the man himself who thinks, and who desires, longs for things, and is affected with them; and further that all the power of sensation which appears in the body belongs properly to the spirit, and to the body merely by influx; and they would afterwards confirm themselves in this idea by many considerations, and in this way would at last take more delight in the things of their spirit than in those of their body.

[3] It is also a real fact that it is not man‘s body which sees, hears, smells, and feels, but his spirit; and therefore when the spirit is divested of the body, it is in its own sensations, the same as when it was in the body, only now far more exquisite; for the things of the body, being comparatively gross, had rendered the sensations obtuse, and this the more because the man had immersed them in earthly and worldly things. This I can aver that a spirit has much more exquisite sight than a man in the body, and also much more exquisite hearing, and, astonishing to say, the sense of smell, and especially the sense of touch; for spirits see one another, hear one another, and touch one another. Moreover anyone who believes in the life after death might infer that this is the case from the fact that no life is possible without sensation, and that the quality of the life is according to the quality of the sensation, nay, that the intellectual faculty is nothing but an exquisite sense of interior things, and the higher intellectual of spiritual things; and it is from this that the things of the intellectual and its perceptions are called internal senses.

[4] As regards man’s power of sensation immediately after death the case is this: As soon as a man dies and all things of his body grow cold, he is raised up into life, and at the same time into a state of all sensations; insomuch that at first he scarcely knows but that he is still in the body, for the sensations he then enjoys lead him so to believe. But when he observes that he has more exquisite sensations, and especially when he begins to speak with other spirits, it dawns upon him that he is in the other life, and that the death of his body has been the continuation of the life of his spirit. I have spoken with two of my acquaintances on the day of their burial, and with one who through my eyes saw his coffin and his bier; and as this man enjoyed all the sensation he had in this world, he spoke to me about the burial rites while I was following in his funeral procession, and also about his body, saying that they should throw that away because he himself was alive.

[5] Be it known however that they who are in the other life can see nothing whatever in this world through the eyes of any man; but that their being able to do so through mine was because I am in the spirit with them and at the same time in the body with those who are in the world (n. 1880). And be it further known that I did not see with my bodily eyes those with whom I have spoken in the other life, but with the eyes of my spirit; and yet I saw them as clearly, and sometimes more clearly, than with the eyes of the body; for of the Lord‘s Divine mercy the senses of my spirit have been opened.

[6] But I am aware that what I have so far said will not be believed by those who are immersed in bodily, earthly, and worldly things (that is, by those of them who have such things as their end), for such people apprehend no other things than those which are dissipated by death. I am also well aware that those will not believe who have thought much and investigated much about the soul, and who have not at the same time comprehended that the soul of man is his spirit, and that his spirit is the man himself who is living in the body; for such persons could have no other notion about the soul than as of a thinking principle, whether of flame or of ether, that acts solely in to the organic forms of the body, and not into those purer forms which are of the spirit in the body; thus that the soul is such a thing as must be dissipated together with the body. And this is especially the case with those who have confirmed themselves in such things by views that are inflated with a persuasion of their own pre-eminent wisdom.

AC 4623. But be it known that the life of sense with spirits is twofold, namely, real and not real. The one is distinguished from the other by the fact that everything is real which appears to those who are in heaven, whereas everything is unreal which appears to those who are in hell. For whatever comes from the Divine (that is, from the Lord) is real, because it comes from the very being of things, and from life in itself, but whatever comes from a spirit’s own is not real, because it does not come from the being of things, nor from life is, itself They who are in the affection of good and truth are in the Lord‘s life, thus in real life, for the Lord is present in good and truth through the affection; but they who are in evil and falsity through the affection, are in the life of what is their own, thus in a life not real, for the Lord is not present in evil and falsity. The real is distinguished from the not real in this that the real is actually such as it appears, and that the not real is actually not such as it appears.

[2] They who are in hell have sensations equally with others, and are not aware but that everything is really or actually just as it appears to their senses; and yet when they are looked at by the angels, the same things appear as phantasms, and disappear, and they themselves do not appear as men, but as monsters. It has also been given me to speak with them on this subject, and some of them said that they believe things to be real because they see and touch them, adding that sense cannot deceive. But it was given me to reply that no matter how real these things may appear to them, they nevertheless are not real, and this because they themselves are in things contrary or opposite to the Divine, namely, in evils and falsities, and moreover are themselves nothing but phantasies in so far as their thoughts are concerned, to the extent that they are in cupidities of evil and persuasions of falsity; and to see anything from phantasies is to see things that are real as not real, and things that are not real as real; and that unless it were given them of the Lord’s Divine mercy to have their senses affected in this manner, they would have no sensitive life, consequently no life at all, because that which is sensitive constitutes the whole of life. To adduce all my experience on these subjects would be to fill many pages.

[3] Therefore when you enter the other life beware of being befooled, for evil spirits know how to conjure up illusions of many kinds before those who come fresh from the world, and if they cannot deceive them, they nevertheless thereby endeavor to persuade them that nothing is real, but that all things are ideal, even those which are in heaven.

AC 4624. But with regard to the correspondence with the Grand Man of the sense of smell and consequently of the nostrils, those persons belong to this province who are in general perception, so that they may be called "perceptions." To these correspond the sense of smell and its organ. Hence also it is that to smell, to scent, to be quick-scented, and also the nose, are in common speech predicated of those who make a close conjecture, and also of those who perceive; for the interiors of the words of man‘s speech derive many things from correspondence with the Grand Man, because in respect to his spirit man is in society with spirits, while in respect to his body he is in society with men.

AC 4625. But the societies of which the whole heaven (that is, the Grand Man) consists, are very numerous, and are more or less universal. The more universal are those to which an entire member, organ, or viscus, corresponds; and the less universal are those to which their parts, or parts of parts, correspond. Every society is an image of the whole, for that which is unanimous is composed of so many images of itself. As the more universal societies are images of the Grand Man, they have within them particular societies which correspond in a similar manner. I have sometimes spoken with those who in the society into which I was sent, belonged to the province of the lungs, of the heart, the face, the tongue, the ear, the eye, and also with those who belonged to the province of the nostrils, from which last it was also given me to know their character, namely, that they are perceptions, for they had a general perception of whatever happened in the society, but not so much in particular as have those who are in the province of the eye, for the latter discriminate and view those things which are matters of perception. It was further given me to observe that the perceptive power of the former varies in accordance with the general changes of state in the society in which they are.

AC 4626. When any spirit is approaching, even when he is far away and hidden from view, his presence (when the Lord gives Permission) is perceived from a certain spiritual sphere; and from this is known the quality of his life, of his affection, and of his faith. Angelic spirits, who are in a more exquisite perception, thereby know innumerable things respecting the state of his life and faith, as I have often witnessed. When it pleases the Lord these spheres are turned into odors, and the very odor is plainly smelt. The reason why these spheres are turned into odors is that odor corresponds to perception, and because perception is as it were spiritual odor, from which also odor descends. But see what has already been adduced from experience on these subjects; concerning spheres, (n. 1048, 1053, 1316, 1504-1519, 1695, 2401, 2489, 4464), concerning perception, (n. 483, 495, 503, 521, 536, 1383, 1384, 1388, 1391, 1397, 1398, 1504, 1640), and concerning the consequent odors, (n. 1514, 1517-1519, 1631, 3577).

AC 4627. Those however who relate to the interiors of the nostrils are in a more perfect state of Perception than those who relate to their exteriors. Concerning the former I may give the following account. I saw as it were a bath, with long seats or benches, and from it heat exhaled. A woman appeared there who soon vanished into a blackish cloud and I heard little children saying that they did not desire to be there. Soon afterwards I observed some angelic choirs, who were sent to me for the purpose of averting the endeavors of certain evil spirits; and then suddenly above the forehead there appeared little apertures, greater or less, through which a beautiful yellow light was shining; and in this light within the apertures I saw some women in a snowy radiance. There afterwards again appeared little apertures in a different arrangement, through which the women within were looking out; and again other little apertures through which the light did not so freely pass.

[2] Finally I observed a bright white light, and was told that here were the abodes of those women who constitute the province of the internal nostrils (for they were of the female sex); and that the clear-sightedness of perception of those who are there, is represented in the world of spirits by such apertures. For the spiritual things in heaven are represented in the world of spirits by natural things, or rather by such things as are similar to those which are natural. It was afterwards given me to speak with them, and they said that through these representative apertures they can see with exactness what is being done below, and that the apertures appear turned to those societies which they are occupied in observing. And as they were then turned to me, they said that they could observe all the ideas of my thought, and also those of the people around me. They said moreover that they did not merely observe the ideas, but also saw them represented in many ways, as for instance those of the affection of good by correspondent little flames, and those of the affection of truth by variations of light. They added that they saw certain angelic societies with me, and their thoughts represented by objects of many colors, by crimson dyes such as we see on painted curtains, and also by the colors of the rainbow on a darker ground, and they said that they thus perceived those angelic societies to be of the province of the eye.

[3] Afterwards other spirits were seen who were cast down from thence and scattered about hither and thither, of whom they said that they were such as had insinuated themselves among them for the purpose of observing something, and of seeing what was going on below, but with an insidious purpose. This casting down was observed whenever angelic choirs approached and entered into conversation with me. As regards those who were cast down, they said that they relate to the mucus of the nostrils, and that they are dull and stupid, and also devoid of conscience, thus altogether devoid of interior perception. The woman who was seen signified such female ensnares. With these also it was given me to speak, and they expressed their surprise at anyone’s having conscience, being quite ignorant of what conscience is; and when I said that it is an interior perception of what is good and true, and that to act contrary to it causes anxiety, this they did not understand. Such are those who correspond to the mucus which infests the nostrils and is therefore ejected.

[4] There was afterwards shown me the kind of light in which those live who relate to the interiors of the nostrils. It was a light beautifully varied with veins of golden flame and silver light, the affections of good being represented therein by the veins of golden flame, and the affections of truth by the veins of Silver light. I was also shown that they have apertures opening at the side, through which they see as it were a sky with stars in the blue, and I was told that in their chambers there is a light so great as to immeasurably surpass the noonday light of this world. I was further told that the heat there is like that of early Summer on earth, and also that these angels of the female sex are accompanied by little children of some years who are unwilling to Stay when the female ensnares (or mucuses) arrive. Numberless such representatives appear in the world of spirits; but these were representative of the perceptions in which are those female angels who correspond to the sense of smell in the interiors of the nostrils.

AC 4628. With regard further to the odors into which the spheres of perceptions are turned, they are smelt as plainly as are odors on earth, but do not reach the sense of the man whose interiors are closed; for they flow in by an internal, and not by an external, way. These odors are from a twofold origin the perception of good and the perception of evil; those from the perception of good are as intensely sweet as though they exhaled from the fragrant Bowers of a garden and other fragrant things, and are inexpressibly pleasant and various, and the angels of heaven are in the spheres of such odors; whereas the odors which are from the perception of evil are as intensely repulsive as are the stenches and putrid smells from stinking waters, excrements, and carcasses, or the filthy smell from mice and bedbugs. In the spheres of such stenches are they who are in hell, and wonderful to say they who are in them do not perceive their offensiveness, nay, the stenches are delightful to them, and when they are in them, they are in the sphere of their delights. But when hell is opened, and the exhalation from it reaches good spirits, these are seized with horror and distress, like those in the world who encounter the sphere of such stenches.

AC 4629. To adduce all my experience in connection with the spheres of perceptions being turned into odors, would be to fill a volume. See what has been related of them above, (n. 1514, 1517, 1519, 1631, 3577), to which I may just add that I once perceived the general thought of many spirits concerning the Lord‘s being born a man, and I observed that it consisted of mere objections; for what spirits think, both in general and in particular, is plainly perceived by others. The odor of that sphere was perceived as like that of stinking water, and of water defiled with filth.

AC 4630. A certain person was present unseen over my head. I knew he was there by the stench, which was like that of rotten teeth, and I afterwards noticed a smell like that from burning horn or bone. Then there came a great crowd of such persons that rose up like a cloud from below not far from the back, and as these also were unseen, I conjectured that they were subtle, and yet evil; but I was told that these were invisible where there is a spiritual sphere, but visible where there is a natural sphere. For those who are so natural as not to think at all about spiritual things, nor to believe in the existence of hell or of heaven, and yet are subtle in their transactions, are such as these, and are called "the invisible natural," being sometimes made manifest to others by their stench, as described above.

AC 4631. Two or three times also a cadaverous odor breathed upon me; and when I inquired from whom it came, I was informed that it came from a hell where are foul robbers and assassins and those who perpetrate crimes with gross deceit. Sometimes also I have noticed an excrementitious odor, and when I inquired whence it came, I was told that it was from a hell where there are adulterers. And when an excrementitious odor was mingled with a cadaverous one, I was told that it was from a hell where there are adulterers who are also cruel; and so on.

AC 4632. Once when I was thinking about the rule of the soul in the body, and about the influx of the will into the actions, I noticed that those who are in an excrementitious hell that was then a little open, thought of nothing but the control of the soul over the anus, and of the influx of the will into the protrusion of the excrements, which showed in what kind of a sphere of perception and thence of stench they were. A similar thing took place when I was thinking about conjugial love, in that those who are in the hell of adulterers then thought of nothing but filthy practices and infamous acts such as are connected with adultery. And when I thought about sincerity, I noticed that the deceitful thought of nothing but deceitful crimes.

AC 4633. From what has now been said on the subject of perceptions and odors, it is manifest that in the other life everyone’s life, and consequently everyone‘s affection, is in plain view; and therefore anyone who believes that his previous character, and the consequent quality of his life, is unknown there, or that he can there hide his disposition as in this world, is much mistaken. Moreover not only are those things seen there which a man has known about himself, but also those which he has not known, namely, such things as by frequent practice he has at last immersed in the delights of life, so as to cause them to disappear from his sight and reflection. The very ends of his thought, of his speech, and of his actions, which from a like cause have become hidden from him, are most plainly perceived in heaven, for heaven is in the sphere and perception of ends.

AC 4634. A continuation concerning Correspondence with the Grand Man will be found at the end of the following chapter, and there concerning the correspondence therewith of the hearing and of the ears.

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