Spiritual background for GENESIS 38    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 4807. Before the preceding chapter (n. 4661-4664) a beginning was made of unfolding what the Lord says in (Matthew 25:31-46) concerning the Judgment upon the good and the evil, who are there called sheep and goats. What the internal sense of these words is, has not yet been unfolded, but is now to be unfolded before this and some following chapters. And it will then be evident that by the Last Judgment is not there meant the last time of the world, and that the dead will then for the first time rise again and be gathered together before the Lord and judged; but that there is meant the last time of everyone who passes out of the world into the other life; for then is his Judgment, and this is the Judgment which is meant. Yet that this is so does not appear from the sense of the letter, but from the internal sense. The reason why the Lord so spoke, is that He spoke here, as everywhere else in the Word of the Old and the New Testament, by representatives and significatives; for to speak by representatives and significatives is to speak at the same time to the world and to heaven, or to men and to angels. Such speech is Divine, because universal, and hence is proper to the Word. Wherefore they who are in the world and care for worldly things only, do not apprehend anything else from what the Lord says here concerning the Last Judgment than that all are to rise again at one and the same time, and even that the Lord will then sit upon a throne of glory, and will speak to those gathered together according to these words. But they who care for heavenly things know that the time of everyone‘s resurrection is when he dies, and that the Lord’s words here involve that everyone will be judged according to his life, thus that everyone carries his judgment with him, because he carries his life.

AC 4808. That this is involved in the internal sense of the words in question will appear from the explication of the particulars according to this sense; but here only those things will be unfolded which are contained in (verses 31 to 33):--When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory; and before Him shall be gathered all nations, and He shall separate them one from another as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats; and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

AC 4809. When the Son of man shall come in His glory; signifies when the Divine truth shall appear in its light, which takes place with every man when he dies, for he then comes into the light of heaven, in which he can perceive what is true and good, and hence what is his quality. The "Son of man," in the internal sense of the Word, is the Lord as to Divine truth, thus is the Divine truth which is from the Lord. "Glory" is the intelligence and wisdom thence derived, which appear as light, and before the angels as the resplendence of light. This resplendence of light, in which are wisdom and intelligence derived from the Divine truth which is from the Lord, is what in the Word is called "glory." The "Son of man" in the internal sense is the Divine truth, (n. 2159, 2803, 2813, 3704).

[2] And all the holy angels with Him; signifies the angelic heaven. The "holy angels" are the truths which are from the Lord‘s Divine good; for by "angels" in the Word are not meant angels, but those things which are from the Lord (n. 1925, 4085); for the angels are recipients of the life of truth proceeding from the Lord’s Divine good, and in so far as they receive, so far they are angels. From this it is plain that "angels" are these truths. As the subject here treated of is the state of everyone after death, and the judgment of everyone according to his life, it is said that all the holy angels will be with Him; and by this is signified that the judgment will be effected by means of heaven; for all influx of Divine truth takes place through heaven, and immediate influx can be received by no one.

[3] Then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory; signifies the Judgment, for a "throne" is predicated of the Lord‘s royalty, and the Lord’s royalty is the Divine truth (n. 1728, 2015, 3009, 3670), and the Divine truth is that from which and according to which is the Judgment.

[4] And before Him shall be gathered all nations; signifies that the goods and evils of all will be made manifest; for by "nations" in the internal sense of the Word are signified goods, and in the opposite sense evils (n. 1259, 1260, 1416, 2588, 4574); thus that goods and evils will appear in Divine light, that is, in light from the Divine truth, is signified by all nations being gathered before Him.

[5] And He shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats; signifies the separation of good from evil; for the "sheep" are they who are in good, and the "goats" they who are in evil. They are properly called "sheep" who are in charity and thence in faith, and they "goats" who are in faith and not in charity--both being here treated of. That "sheep" are they who are in charity and thence in faith, may be seen above (n. 2088, 4169), and "goats" they who are in faith and not in charity (n. 4769).

[6] And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left; signifies separation according to truths from good, and according to falsities from evil. In the other life they who are in truths from good actually appear to the right, and they who are in falsities from evil to the left. Hence to be set on the right hand and on the left, is to be set in order according to the life.

AC 4810. From all this it is evident what these words of the Lord involve, and that they are not to be understood according to the letter (namely, that the Lord at some last time will come in glory, and all the holy angels with Him, and will sit upon a throne of glory, and judge all nations gathered before Him), but that everyone will be judged according to his life, when he passes out of life in the world into life eternal.


AC 4931. It has been already shown that the whole heaven has reference to one Man with his several organs, members, and viscera; and this because heaven has reference to the Lord, for the Lord is the all in all of heaven, insomuch that heaven is in the proper sense the Divine good and Divine truth which are from the Lord. For this reason heaven is distinguished into as many provinces, so to speak, as there are viscera, organs, and members in man, and with these also there is correspondence. Unless there were such a correspondence of man with heaven, and through heaven with the Lord, man would not subsist even a single moment. All these things are kept in connection by influx.

[2] But all these provinces have reference to two kingdoms - the celestial kingdom and the spiritual kingdom. The celestial kingdom is the kingdom of the heart in the Grand Man, and the spiritual kingdom is the kingdom of the lungs; in like manner as in man, in the whole and every part of whom reign the heart and the lungs. These two kingdoms are wonderfully conjoined; and this conjunction is represented in the conjunction of the heart and lungs in man, and in the conjunction of their operations in the several members and viscera

[3] While man is an embryo, or while he is yet in the womb, he is in the kingdom of the heart; but when he has come forth from the womb, he comes into the kingdom of the lungs; and if through the truths of faith he suffers himself to be brought into the good of love, he then returns from the kingdom of the lungs into the kingdom of the heart in the Grand Man; for he thus comes a second time into the womb and is born again. Then also these two kingdoms are conjoined in him, but in an inverted order; for previously the kingdom of the heart in him was under the rule of the lungs, that is, the truth of faith previously ruled in him; but afterward the good of charity rules. That the heart corresponds to the good of love, and the lungs to the truth of faith, may be seen above (n. 3635, 3883-3896).

AC 4932. They in the Grand Man who correspond to the hands and arms, and also to the shoulders, are those who have power by the truth of faith from good. For those who are in the truth of faith from good are in the power of the Lord because they attribute all power to Him, and none to themselves; and the more they attribute none to themselves - not with the lips, but with the heart - the more they are in power. From this the angels are called potencies and powers.

AC 4933. That in the Grand Man the hands, arms, and shoulders correspond to power, is because the forces and powers of the whole body and of all its viscera have reference to them; for the body exerts its forces and powers by the arms and hands. It is for this reason also that power is signified in the Word by the "hands," "arms," and "shoulders." That this is signified by the "hands," may be seen above (n. 878, 3387); and that it is signified by the "arms" also, is plain from many passages, as from the following:--

Be Thou their arm every morning (Isa. 33:2).

The Lord Jehovih cometh in strength, and His arm shall rule for Him (Isa. 40:10).

He worketh it with the arm of His strength (Isa. 44:12).

Mine arms shall judge the peoples (Isa. 51:5).

Put on strength, O arm of Jehovah (Isa. 51:9).

I looked, and there was no one helping, therefore Mine arm brought salvation unto Me (Isa. 63:5).

Cursed is he that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm (Jer. 17:5).

I have made the earth, the man, and the beast, by My great power and by My outstretched arm (Jer. 27:5; 32:17).

The horn of Moab is cut off, and His arm is broken (Jer. 48:25).

I break the arms of the king of Egypt, but I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon (Ezek. 30:22, 24, 25).

0 Jehovah, break Thou the arm of the wicked (Ps. 10:15).

According to the greatness of Thine arm reserve the sons of death (Ps. 79:11).

Brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm (Deut. 7:19; 11:2, 3; 26:8; Jer. 32:21; Ps. 136:12).

From these passages it is also evident that by "right hand" in the Word is signified superior power, and by "sitting at the right hand of Jehovah," omnipotence (Matt. 26:63, 64; Luke 22:69; Mark 14:61, 62; 16:19).

AC 4934. I have seen a bare arm, bent forward, which was possessed of such force and such power to inflict terror that I was not only horrified, but felt as if I might be crushed to atoms, even as to my inmost things, for it was irresistible. This arm has been seen by me twice; and from it I was given to know that the arms signify strength, and the hands power. A warmth was also felt exhaling from that arm.

AC 4935. This bare arm is presented to view in various positions, according to which it excites terror, and in the position described just above, incredible terror; for it appears able to crush the bones and marrows in an instant. Even those who have not been timorous in the life of the body are thrown into extreme terror in the other life by this arm.

AC 4936. Several times spirits have been seen who had rods, and who were said to be magicians They are in front, far away to the right, deep in caverns; and those who have been more malign magicians are hidden away still deeper. They seem to themselves to have rods, and they also by phantasies make many kinds of rods, and believe that they can perform miracles with them; for they suppose potency to be in the rods, and this because they are what support the right hand and arm, which by correspondence are strength and power. From this it was plain to me why men of old attributed rods to magicians; for the ancient Gentiles had this from the ancient representative church, in which rods, like hands, signified power (n. 4876). And because they signified power, Moses was commanded, when miracles were wrought, to stretch out his rod, or his hand (Exod. 4:17, 20; 8:1-11, 16-18; 9:23; 10:3-21; 14:21, 26, 27; 17:5, 6, 11, 12; Num. 20:7-11).

AC 4937. Infernal spirits also sometimes by phantasy exhibit a shoulder, by which they cause force to be repelled; and it cannot go beyond this; but this is only for those who are in such phantasy, for they know that in the spiritual world the shoulder corresponds to all power. By the "shoulder," in the Word also is signified all power, as is evident in the following passages:--

Thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder (Isa. 9:4).

Ye thrust with side and with shoulder, and push with your horns (Ezek. 34:21).

Thou cleavest for them every shoulder (Ezek. 29:7)

That they may serve Jehovah with one shoulder (Zeph. 3:9).

Unto us a Child is born, and the government shall be upon His shoulder (Isa. 9:6).

The key of the house of David will I put upon his shoulder (Isa. 22:22).

AC 4938. They in the Grand Man who correspond to the feet, the soles of the feet, and the heels, are they who are natural; wherefore by "feet" in the Word are signified natural things (n. 2162, 3147, 3761, 3986, 4280), by "soles of the feet" lower natural things, and by "heels" the lowest natural things. For in the Grand Man celestial things constitute the head, spiritual the body, and natural the feet; and they follow in this order. Celestial things also, which are highest, terminate in spiritual, which are middle; and spiritual in natural, which are last.

AC 4939. Once when I was elevated into heaven, it appeared to me as if I were there with my head, and below with my body, but with my feet still lower. And from this it was perceived how the higher and lower things in man correspond to those which are in the Grand Man, and how the one flows into the other, namely, that the celestial, which is the good of love and the first in order, flows into the spiritual, which is the truth thence derived and the second in order, and finally into the natural, which is the third in order. From this it is evident that natural things are like the feet, on which the higher things rest. Nature also is that in which the spiritual world and heaven terminate. Thence it is that universal nature is a theater representative of the Lord‘s kingdom, and that everything in it is representative (n. 2758, 3483); and that nature subsists from influx according to this order, and that without such influx it could not subsist even for a moment.

AC 4940. At another time when, encompassed with an angelic column, I was let down into the places of lower things, it was given me sensibly to perceive that they who were in the earth of lower things correspond to the feet, and to the soles of the feet. Moreover these places are under the feet and the soles of the feet. I also conversed with the spirits there. They are such as have been in natural, and not in spiritual delight. Concerning the lower earth, (n. 4728).

AC 4941. In these places also are they who have ascribed all things to nature, and but little to the Divine. I conversed with them there, and when the conversation turned on the Divine providence, they attributed everything to nature. Nevertheless when those who have led a good moral life have been detained there for a time, they successively put off such principles, and put on principles of truth.

AC 4942. While I was there, I heard in one of the rooms a noise as if there were some persons on the other side of the wall trying to break in. Those in the room were terrified at the sound, believing that it was thieves; and I was told that they who are there are kept in such fear in order that they may be deterred from evils, because fear is to some a means of amendment.

AC 4943. In the lower earth, under the feet and the soles of the feet, are also those who have placed merit in good deeds and in works. Some of them appear to themselves to cut wood. The place where they are is rather cold, and they seem to themselves to acquire warmth by their labor. With these also I conversed, and it was given me to ask them whether they wished to come out of that place. They replied that they had not yet merited it by their labor. But when this state has been passed through, they are taken out thence. These also are natural, because the desire to merit salvation is not spiritual; and moreover they regard themselves as superior to others, and some of them even despise others. If such persons do not receive more joy than others in the other life, they are indignant against the Lord; and therefore when they cut wood there sometimes appears as it were somewhat of the Lord under the wood, and this from their indignation. But as they have led a pious life, and have acted in this way from ignorance, in which there was something of innocence, therefore angels are occasionally sent to them who console them. And sometimes there appears to them from above on the left as it were a sheep, at the sight of which they also receive consolation.

AC 4944. They who come out of the world from Christendom, and who have led a good moral life, and have had something of charity toward the neighbor, but have had little concern about spiritual things, are for the most part sent into the places under the feet and the soles of the feet; and are kept there until they put off the natural things in which they have been, and become imbued with spiritual and heavenly things in so far as they can be in accordance with their life; and when they have become imbued with these, they are elevated thence to heavenly societies. I have at times seen them emerging, and beheld their gladness at coming into heavenly light.

AC 4945. In what situation the places under the feet are, it has not yet been given me to know. There are very many of them, and all most distinct from one another. In general they are called the earth of lower things.

AC 4946. There are some who in the life of the body have become imbued with the idea that man ought not to be concerned about those things which are of the internal man, thus about spiritual things, but only about those which are of the external man, or that are natural, for the reason that interior things disturb the delights of their life, and produce discomfort. They acted upon the left knee, and a little above the knee in front, and also upon the sole of the right foot. I conversed with them in their place of abode; and they said that they had been of opinion in the life of the body that only external things are living, and that they did not understand what internal things are, consequently that they knew what is natural, but not what the spiritual is. But it was given me to tell them that by this means they had shut out from themselves innumerable things which might have flowed in from the spiritual world if they had acknowledged interior things, and thus had admitted them into the ideas of their thought. And it was also given to tell them that in every idea of thought there are innumerable things which to man, especially the natural man, appear merely as a single uncompounded thing; when yet there are indefinite things in it which flow in from the spiritual world, and in a spiritual man produce superior insight, by which he can see and also perceive whether anything is true or not. And because they were in doubt in regard to this, it was shown them by living experience. There was represented to them a single idea, which they saw as one simple idea, and thus as an obscure point (by a mode of representation very easy in the light of heaven); but when that idea was unfolded, and at the same time their interior sight opened, there was then manifested as it were a universe leading to the Lord; and it was said that so it is with every idea of good and truth, namely, that it is an image of the whole heaven, because it is from the Lord, who is the all of heaven, or that itself which is called heaven.

AC 4947. Under the soles of the feet are they also who in the life of the body have lived for the world and their own pleasure, being delighted with such things as are of the world, and have loved to live in splendor, but only from external cupidity or that of the body, not from internal desire or that of the mind; for they have not been proud in spirit - setting themselves before others though in stations of honor; thus in so living they have acted from the body, and therefore have not rejected the teachings of the church, still less confirmed themselves against them, but at heart have said of them that it is so, because those who study the Word know it. In some who are of this character, the interiors are open toward heaven, and into them are successively inseminated heavenly things, such as justice, uprightness, piety, charity, and mercy; and they are afterward taken up into heaven.

AC 4948. Those however who in the life of the body have from within thought and taken interest in nothing else than what relates to self and the world, have closed to themselves every way or every influx from heaven; because the love of self and the world is opposite to heavenly love. Those of them who have lived at the same time in pleasures, or in a luxurious life conjoined with interior cunning, are under the sole of the right foot, but at a great depth there, thus beneath the earth of lower things, where is the hell of such spirits. In their dwellings is nothing but filth; they also seem to themselves to carry filth, for it corresponds to such a life. The stench of different kinds of filth is smelled there according to the genera and species of their life. Many have their abode there who have been among the more celebrated in the world.

AC 4949. There are some who have abodes under the soles of the feet, with whom I have occasionally conversed. I have seen some of them endeavoring to ascend, and it was also granted me to feel their endeavor, and this even to the knees but they fell back again. In this manner is it represented to the sense when any are desirous of ascending from their own abodes to higher ones, as these were of ascending to the abodes of those who are in the province of the knees and thighs. I was told that such are they who have despised others in comparison with themselves; for which reason also they wish to emerge, and not only through the foot into the thigh, but also if possible above the head; yet still they fall back again. They are in a kind of stupidity; for such arrogance extinguishes and suffocates the light of heaven, and consequently intelligence. Wherefore the sphere which surrounds them appears like thick dregs.

AC 4950. Under the left foot, a little to the left, are such as have attributed all things to nature, but yet have made a confession of an Ens of the universe from which come all the things of nature. Exploration was made as to whether they had believed in any Ens of the universe, or Supreme Deity, that had created all things; but it was perceived from their thought communicated to me, that what they had believed in was like something inanimate, in which there was nothing of life; and from this it was evident that they had not acknowledged a Creator of the universe, but nature. They also said that they could have no idea of a living Deity.

AC 4951. Under the heel, somewhat farther back, is a hell at a great depth, the intermediate space appearing empty. In this hell are the most malicious, who secretly explore minds for the purpose of doing harm, and secretly lay snares in order to destroy, this having been the delight of their life. I have frequently observed them; they pour out the poison of their malice to those who are in the world of spirits, and stir them up by various wiles. They are interiorly malicious. They appear as it were in cloaks, and sometimes otherwise. They are often punished, and are then let down to a greater depth, and veiled as it were with a cloud, which is the sphere of malice exhaling from them. Out of that depth at times a tumult is heard as of a slaughter. They can move others to tears, and can also strike terror. This habit they have acquired in the life of the body, by having been with the sick and simple for the purpose of obtaining wealth, whom they constrained to weep and so moved to pity; and if they did not obtain their ends in this way, they inflicted terror. They are for the most part such as in this manner plundered many houses for the benefit of monasteries. Some were also observed at a middle distance, but appearing to themselves to be sitting in a room and consulting together. These also are malicious, but not in the same degree.

AC 4952. Some of those who are natural have said that they know not what to believe, because a lot awaits everyone according to his life, and also according to his thoughts from confirmed principles; but it was answered them that it would have sufficed if they had believed that it is God who governs all things, and that there is a life after death; and especially if they had lived not as a wild beast, but as a man, that is, in love to God and in charity toward the neighbor; and thus in truth and in good, but not contrary to them. But they said that they had so lived; but again it was answered that in externals they had appeared to do so, when nevertheless had not the laws opposed, they would have invaded everyone’s life and property with more fury than wild beasts. They again said that they did not know what charity toward the neighbor is, nor what the internal is; but it was answered them that they could not know these things because the love of self and of the world, and external things, had engrossed the whole of their thought and will.

AC 4953. A continuation will be found at the end of the following chapter.

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