Spiritual background for GENESIS 36previous - next - text - Genesis - BM Home - Full Page
AC 4635. As in prefatory remarks to preceding chapters of Genesis there have been unfolded the Lord’s predictions in Matthew 24. concerning the last time of the church, and as the same predictions are continued in Matthew 25, I may unfold these also in respect to the internal sense. These predictions as given in their order in the letter are as follows:--Then shall the kingdom of the heavens be likened unto ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were prudent, but five were foolish. They that were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them; but the prudent took oil in their vessels with their lamps. And while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight a cry was made, Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. But the foolish said unto the prudent, Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. But the prudent answered, saying, Perchance there will not be enough for us and you; but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went away to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the wedding, and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know not the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
AC 4636. That by this parable the Lord described His own coming, is evident from the particulars, and from the end, where He says, "Watch therefore, for ye know not the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh," as He also says in the foregoing chapter 27, where He is speaking expressly of His coming: "Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord cometh" (Matthew 24:42). That His "coming" is the consummation of the age, or the last time of the church, has been shown before.
AC 4637. It is very evident that each and all things the Lord spoke in parables are representative and significative of the spiritual and celestial things of His kingdom, and in the highest sense, of the Divine things with Him; and therefore the man who does not know this must suppose that the Lord‘s parables have no more in them than ordinary comparisons. Such must be the case with the parable of the ten virgins unless it is known what is signified in the internal sense by the virgins, and also by ten and five, and by the lamps, the vessels, and the oil, and by them that sell, the wedding, and all the rest; and the same with all the other parables. The things which the Lord spoke in these parables appear in the outward form like ordinary comparisons; but in their inward form they are of such a nature as to fill the universal heaven. For there is an internal sense in every particular, which is of such a nature that its spiritual and celestial diffuses itself through the heavens in every direction like light and flame. This sense is quite uplifted above the sense of the letter, and flows from the several expressions, and from the several words, nay, from every jot. But what this parable involves in the internal sense will appear from what follows.
AC 4638. Then shall the kingdom of the heavens be likened unto ten virgins. This signifies the last period of the old church and the first of the new. The church is the Lord’s kingdom on earth, The "ten virgins" are all who are in the church, namely, both those who are in good and truth, and those who are in evil and falsity. "Ten" in the internal sense denotes remains, and also fullness, thus all; and "virgins" denote those who are in the church, as also elsewhere in the Word.
 Who took their lamps; signifies spiritual things in which is the celestial, or truths in which there is good, or what is the same, faith in which there is charity toward the neighbor, and charity in which there is love to the Lord; for "oil" is the good of love, as shown hereafter. But lamps in which there is no oil denote the same in which there is no good.
 And went forth to meet the bridegroom; signifies their reception. And five of them were prudent, but five were foolish signifies a part of them in truths in which there is good, and a part of them in truths in which is no good. The former are the "prudent," and the latter the "foolish." In the internal sense "five" denotes some, here therefore a part of them. They that were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them; signifies not having the good of charity in their truths; for in the internal sense "oil" denotes the good of charity and of love. But the prudent took oil in their vessels with their lamps; signifies that they had the good of charity and of love in their truths; their "vessels" are the doctrinal things of faith.
 And while the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept; signifies delay, and hence doubt. To "slumber" in the internal sense is to grow sluggish from the delay in the things of the church, and to "sleep" is to cherish doubt - the prudent, a doubt in which there is affirmation; the foolish, a doubt in which there is negation But at midnight a cry was made; signifies the time which is the last of the old church and the first of the new. This time is what is called "night" in the Word, when the state of the church is treated of. The "cry" denotes a change. Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him; signifies the same as the judgement, namely, acceptance and rejection.
 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps; signifies preparation of all; for those who are in truths in which there is no good are equally in the belief of being accepted as are those who are in truths in which there is good, for they suppose that faith alone saves, not knowing that there is no faith where there is no charity. But the foolish said unto the prudent, Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out; signifies that they desire good to be communicated by others to their empty truths, or to their destitute faith. For in the other life all spiritual and celestial things are mutually communicated, but only through good.
 But the prudent answered, saying, Perchance there will not be enough for us and you; signifies that it cannot be communicated, because the little of truth that they had would be taken away from there. For as to the communication of good in the other life to those who are in truths without good, these as it were take away good from those who have it, and appropriate it to themselves, and do not communicate it to others, but defile it; for which reason no communication of good to them is possible. These spirits will be described from experience at the end of the next chapter (Gen. 37).
 But go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves; signifies the good of merit. They who boast of this are "they that sell." Moreover in the other life they who are in truth in which there is no good, above all others make a merit of all they have done which appeared good in the outward form, although in the inward form it was evil, according to what the Lord says in Matthew:
"Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied by Thy name, and by Thy name have cast out demons, and in Thy name done many mighty works? But then will I confess unto them, I know you not; depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity" (Matthew 7:22, 23).
And in Luke:
"When the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, then shall ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, lord, open to us. But he shall answer and say to you, I know you not whence ye are; then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets; but he shall say, I tell you I know you not whence ye are, depart from me all ye workers of iniquity" (Luke 13:26, 27).
Such are those who are here meant by the foolish virgins, and the like is therefore said of them in these words: "they also came, saying, Lord, lord, open to us; but he answered and said, verily I say unto you, I know you not."
 And while they went away to buy, the bridegroom came. This signifies their too late application. And they that were ready went in with him to the wedding; signifies that they who were in good and thence in truth were received into heaven. Heaven is likened to a wedding from the heavenly marriage, which is the marriage of good and truth; and the Lord is likened to the bridegroom, because they are then conjoined with Him; and hence the church is called the bride. And the door was shut signifies that others cannot enter.
 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, lord, open to us; signifies that they desire to enter from faith alone without charity, and from works in which there is not the Lord‘s life, but the life of self. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not; signifies rejection. His not knowing them means in the internal sense that they were not in any charity toward the neighbor and thereby in conjunction with the Lord. They who are not in conjunction are said not to be known.
 Watch therefore, for ye know not the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh; signifies an assiduous application of life in accordance with the precepts of faith, which is "to watch." The time of acceptance, which is unknown to man, and the state, are signified by their not knowing the day nor the hour in which the Son of man is to come. Elsewhere also in Matthew he who is in good, that is, he who acts according to the precepts, is called "prudent;" and he who is in knowledges of truth and does them not is called "foolish:" "Everyone that heareth My words and doth them, I will liken him unto a prudent man; and everyone that heareth My words and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man (Matthew 7:24, 26).
CONTINUATION CONCERNING CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE GRAND OR WITH HEAVEN, HERE CONCERNING THE CORRESPONDENCE OF THE HEARING AND OF THE EARS WITH THAT MAN
AC 4652. What is the nature of the correspondence between the soul and the body, or between the things of the spirit which is within man and those of his body which are without him, may be plainly seen from the correspondence, influx, and communication of the thought and perception which are of the spirit, with the speech and hearing which are of the body. The thought of a man who is speaking is nothing but the speech of his spirit, and the perception of the speech is nothing but the hearing of his spirit. When man is speaking, his thought does not indeed appear to him as speech, because it conjoins itself with the speech of his body, and is in it; and when man hears, his perception appears merely like hearing in the ear. This is the reason why most persons who have not reflected know no otherwise than that all sense is in the organs of the body, and consequently that when these organs fall to decay by death, nothing of sense survives, whereas the man (that is, his spirit) then comes into his veriest life of sensation.
 That it is the spirit which speaks and hears has been made very manifest to me from conversations with spirits. Their speech communicated to my spirit fell into my interior speech, and thence into the corresponding organs, and there terminated in an endeavor which I have sometimes plainly perceived, Hence their speech was heard by me as sonorously as the speech of a man. Sometimes when spirits spoke with me in the midst of a company of men, some of the spirits supposed that as their speech was heard so sonorously, they would be heard by the other people who were there present; but they were informed that such was not the case, because their speech flowed into my ear by an internal way, and human speech flows in by an external way. This shows how the spirit spoke with the prophets not as a man with a man, but as a spirit with a man, that is, in him (Zech. 1:9, 13; 2:2, 7; 4:1, 4, 5; 5:10; 6:4). But I know that these things cannot be comprehended by those who do not believe that man is a spirit, and that the body merely serves this spirit for uses in this world. Those who have confirmed themselves in this unbelief are unwilling even to hear about any correspondence, and being in denial, if they do hear of it they reject it, and are rather made sad that anything should be taken away from the body,
AC 4653. The spirits who correspond to the hearing, or who constitute the province of the ear, are those who are in simple obedience, that is, those who do not reason whether a thing is so, but believe it to be so because it is said by others to be so: hence they may be called "obediences." The reason of their being such is that the hearing is to speech as the passive is to its active, thus as one who hears a speaker and acquiesces. Hence also in common speech, to "give ear to anyone" is to be obedient, and to "hearken to the voice" is to obey; for the interior things of man’s speech have in great part derived their origin from correspondence, for the reason that man‘s spirit is among spirits in the other life, and thinks there; although man is altogether ignorant of this, and a corporeal man is not willing to know it.
 There are many differences among the spirits who correspond to the ear, that is, to its functions and offices. There are those who hear relation to each of its little organs some to the external ear, some to the membrane called the drum of the ear, some to the interior membranes which are called windows, some to the hammer, to the stirrup, to the anvil, the cylinders, and the cochlea; and there are those who bear relation to parts still more interior, even to those substantiated parts which are nearer to the spirit, and finally to those which are in the spirit; and last of all they are inmostly conjoined with those who belong to the internal sight, from whom they are distinguished by their not having so much discernment, but giving as it were a passive assent to them.
AC 4654. There were spirits with me who flowed in very strongly into my thought when it was exercised upon such things as were of Providence, and especially when I was thinking that the things I awaited and desired were not coming to pass. The angels said that they were spirits who when they lived in the body and prayed for anything and did not obtain it were indignant, and gave way to doubts concerning Providence, and yet when out of this state they acted piously as told to do by others, and were thus in simple obedience. It was said that such belong to the province of the external ear or auricle, and they also appeared there when they spoke with me.
AC 4655. I have likewise frequently noticed spirits near my ear, and also as if within it. Their being noticed as within it, is because it so appears, the state in the other life being what produces the appearance. All these spirits were simple and obedient.
AC 4656. There was a spirit who spoke with me at my left auricle at its hinder part where are its elevator muscles. He told me that he was sent to inform me that he does not reflect at all upon the things which others are speaking, but merely takes them in with his ears. When he was speaking he as it were belched out his words, and also said that this was his manner of speaking. From this it was given to know that there was nothing interior in his speech, thus little of life; and that this was the reason of the belching. It was said that those who attend little to the sense of a thing are those who belong to the cartilaginous and bony part of the external ear.
AC 4657. There are spirits who have sometimes spoken with me, but by muttering, and this quite near the left ear, as if they wished to speak in the ear so that no one would hear. But it was given me to tell them that this is not proper in the other life, because it shows them to be whisperers, and to have become imbued with the habit of whispering; and very many of them are of such a character as to observe the vices and faults of others, and tell them privately to their associates, or whisper them in the ear when others are present; and they see and interpret everything wrongly, and set themselves before others; and for this reason they can by no means be admitted into the company of good spirits, who are not such as to hide their thoughts, It was said that in the other life such speaking is heard louder than open speech.
AC 4658. To the interiors of the ear belong those who have the sight of the interior hearing, and who obey the things which its spirit there dictates, and give fit utterance to its dictates. What their character is has also been shown. A kind of penetrating sound was observed from below, near the left side even to the left ear. I noticed that it was spirits who were thus striving to come forth, but of what character they were I could not know. But when they had struggled forth they spoke with me, saying that they had been logicians and metaphysicians, and that they had immersed their thoughts in such things with no other end but that of hearing themselves called learned, and of thus coming to honors and wealth, and they lamented that they were now leading a miserable life because they had imbibed such things without any other use, and thus had not perfected their rational by their means. Their speech was slow, and had a muffled sound.
 Meanwhile two were speaking with each other above my head; and when it was asked who they were, it was said that one of them was a man most renowned in the learned world, and it was given me to believe that it was Aristotle. Who the other was, was not told. The former was then let into the state in which he was when he lived in the world; for everyone can be easily let into the state of his life which he had in the world, because he takes all the state of his life with him. But to my surprise he applied himself to my right ear, and there spoke hoarsely, but still sanely. From the meaning of what he said I observed that he was of a genius quite different from those schoolmen who first rose up, in that the things which he wrote he had hatched out from his own thought, and thereby had brought forth his philosophy; so that the terms which he invented, and which he gave to the subjects of his thought, were forms of expression by which he described interior things; and also that he had been stirred to such things by the delight of affection, and the desire of knowing the things which are of thought, and that he followed obediently what his spirit dictated. For this reason he came to my right ear. It is different with his followers, who are called schoolmen, and who do not advance from thought to terms, but from terms to thoughts, thus in a contrary way. And many of them do not advance to thoughts, but stay in the mere terms, and if they apply these, it is to prove whatever they wish, and to impose on falsities an appearance of truth, in accordance with their desire of persuading. Hence to them philosophy is the means of becoming insane rather than of becoming wise, and hence they have darkness instead of light.
 I afterwards spoke with him about analytic science, and it was given me to say that a child speaks more things philosophically, analytically, and logically in half an hour than he would be able to describe in volumes (because all the things of human thought and thence of human speech are analytical, the laws of which are from the spiritual world), and that he who wishes to think artificially from terms is not unlike a dancer who wants to learn to dance from a knowledge of the motor fibers and muscles; but if while he dances his attention were fixed on this knowledge he could scarcely move a foot; and yet without this knowledge he moves all the motor fibers scattered throughout his entire body, and in adaptation to them the lungs, the diaphragm, the sides, the arms, the neck, and all the rest, for describing all of which volumes would not suffice; and the case is similar with those who desire to think from terms. These things he approved, saying that if things are learned in this manner, they proceed in inverted order, and he added, If anyone desires to be a fool let him proceed so; but rather let him continually think of use, and from within.
 He then showed me what idea he had of the Supreme Deity, namely, that he represented Him to himself with a human face and encompassed about the head with a radiant circle; and that he now knows that the Lord is that very Man, and that the radiant circle is the Divine going forth from Him, which flows not only into heaven, but also into the universe, and disposes and rules these; adding that He who disposes and rules heaven, also disposes and rules the universe, because the one cannot be separated from the other. He also said that he had believed in one only God, whose attributes and qualities had been distinguished by as many names as were worshiped as gods by others.
 A woman was seen by me who stretched out her hand, wishing to stroke his cheek. When I wondered at this, he said that when he was in the world such a woman was often seen by him, who as it were stroked his cheek, and that her hand was beautiful. The angelic spirits said that such women were sometimes seen by the ancients, and were called by them Pallases; and that she appeared to him from the spirits who, when they lived as men in ancient times, were delighted with ideas and indulged in thoughts, but without philosophy. And because such spirits were with him, and were delighted with him because he thought interiorly, they therefore presented to view such a woman representatively.
 Lastly he told what kind of idea he had entertained respecting man’s soul or spirit, which he called pneuma namely, that it was an unseen vital something, as of ether. And he said that he had known that his spirit would live after death, because it was his interior essence, which cannot die, because it can think; and further that he could not think distinctly concerning it, but only obscurely,. because he had no knowledge respecting it from any other source than from himself, and a very little also from the ancients, Moreover Aristotle is among sane spirits in the other life, and many of his followers are among the foolish.
AC 4659. It was said above (n. 4652) that man is a spirit, and that his body serves him for uses in the world; and it has been occasionally said. elsewhere that the spirit is man‘s internal, and the body his external. They who do not apprehend how the case is with man’s spirit and with his body, may suppose from this that thus the spirit dwells within the body; and that the body as it were encompasses and invests it. Be it known however that the spirit of man is in the whole and every part of his body, and that it is its purer substance, both in its organs of motion and in those of sense, and everywhere else; and that the body is the material part that is everywhere annexed to it, adapted to the world in which it then is. This is what is meant by man‘s being a spirit, and by his body serving him for uses in the world; and by the spirit’s being his internal, and the body his external. From this also it is evident that after death man is in an active and sensitive life, and also in the human form, in like manner as in the world, but in greater perfection.
AC 4660. A continuation concerning Correspondence with the Grand Man or Heaven will be found at the end of the following chapter, and there concerning the correspondence therewith of the taste and of the tongue. previous - next - text - Genesis - BM Home - Full Page