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John Chapter 8

    Chapter 8

THE INTERNAL SENSE.

  1. BUT jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
  2. And early in the morning he was again present in the temple, and all the people came to him, and sitting down he taught them.

THAT the lord elevated himself into his divine love, and filling his humanity with that love, he excites mutual love in the church, and from that love imparts heavenly truth, vs 1, 2.

  1. But the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman taken in adultery, and setting her in the midst,
  2. They say to him, Master, [Didaskale, teacher] this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
  3. But Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned; what then say you?

On which occasion he is questioned by those, who are principled in self-intelligence and self-love, concerning the punishment due to the perversion of the affection of good in the church, which punishment, according to the Word, was deprivation of the truths of faith, vs 3, 4, 5.

  1. But this they said tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But jesus stooping down, with his finger wrote on the earth.
  2. But when they continued asking him, lifting up himself, he said to them, He that is without sin amongst you, let him first cast the stone at her.

But this enquiry proceeds from a purpose of deceit and evil, and therefore the lord pronounces them damned who make it, and when the enquiry is still persisted in, he announces from his divine love, that the punishment due to the perversion of good, does not come from good, but from the perverting evil, vs 6, 7.

  1. And again stooping down, he wrote on the earth.

And therefore they are damned, who are in the perverting evil, vs 8.

  1. But they hearing, and convicted by conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the oldest to the last; and jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

And in consequence of that evil, they become mere external men, without mutual love, according to the several degrees in which they have confirmed themselves in evil, separating themselves from the lord, and from the affection of good, vs 9.

  1. But jesus lifting up himself, and beholding no one except the woman, said to her, Woman, where are those your accusers? Has no one condemned you?
  2. But she said, No one, lord. And jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.

That on this occasion the lord's divine love to the church is excited, and from perception of the separation of those who were in evil, the church is led to enquire concerning the accusations of evil spirits, and the condemnation which they bring, and is thus taught, that no evil condemns, which is not seen to be sinful; but when it is seen to be sinful, then it must no longer be persisted in, vs 10, 11.

  1. Then again jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Instruction is also given, that the lord in his divine humanity is the divine truth itself, and that whoever acknowledges his humanity to be divine, and does his precepts, shall be preserved from falses, and shall be principled in divine truths, which teach man eternal life, and lead to heaven, vs 12.

  1. The Pharisees therefore said to him, You bear witness of yourself, your witness is not true.

But this instruction is rejected, as contrary to the truth, by those who are principled in self-love, and who contend, that truth cannot be its own testimony, vs 13.

  1. jesus answered and said to them, Though I bear witness of myself, my witness is true, because I know whence I came, and whither I go; but you know not whence I came, and whither I go.

They are therefore instructed further, that the truth carries its own testimony along with it, because it acknowledges its divine origin, and divine end, whereas they, who are principled in self-love, know neither the origin nor the end of truth, vs 14.

  1. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.

Thus they are guided merely by their own self-derived intelligence, which condemns all that are opposed to itself, whereas divine truth united with divine good condemns no one, vs 15.

  1. And yet if I judge, my judgement is true, because I am not alone, but I and the father that sent me.

Nevertheless divine truth exercises just judgement, but then it is a judgement not derived from truth alone, but from divine good in union with it, vs 16.

  1. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.

Agreeable to what the Word teaches, in the internal sense, concerning the testimony of two men, vs 17.

  1. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the father that sent me bears witness of me.

Thus the lord's humanity, which is divine truth, and his divinity, which is divine good, bear united testimony to the truth, vs 18.

  1. Then said they to him, Where is your father ? jesus answered, You neither know me, nor my father ; if you had known me, you would have known my father also.

That they of the perverted church, who are principled in self love, are hence led to enquire concerning the divine good, and are instructed that they are ignorant both of divine truth and divine good, and that had they been acquainted with divine truth, or the lord's divine humanity, they would have been acquainted also with divine good, or his divinity, vs 19.

  1. These sayings spoke jesus in the treasury, teaching in the temple; and no one laid hold of him, because his hour was not yet come.

That this instruction was from the knowledges of good and truth in the lord's humanity, to which humanity no violence was as yet offered, because the period of its glorification was not yet arrived, vs 20.

  1. Then said jesus again to them, I go away, and you shall seek me, and shall die in your sin. Whither I go, you cannot come.

Therefore the lord, in that humanity, testifies further concerning those who are principled in self-love, that he is about to leave the world, and that they will speculate concerning him, but still will destroy in themselves all heavenly life through their evils and falses, and thus can have no communion with him, vs 21.

  1. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself, because he says whither I go, you cannot come?
  2. And he said to them, You are from beneath; I am from above; you are of this world; I am not of this world.

And when this testimony is misunderstood, he testifies yet further, that all, who are principled in self-love, are in connection with infernal spirits, and are also in worldly love, whereas his humanity is in connection with divinity, and thus undefiled by worldly love, vs 22, 23.

  1. I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for if you believe not that I am, you shall die in your sins.

Therefore they, who are principled in self-love, separate themselves from the life of heaven, since such separation is a certain consequence of not acknowledging the lord in his divine humanity to be jehovah, vs 24.

  1. Then said they to him, Who are you? And jesus said to them, The Beginning, which thing I also spoke to you.
  2. I have many things to speak and to judge of you; but he that sent me is true, and I say to the world those things which I have heard from him.

That enquiry is hence excited amongst those who are of the perverted church, concerning the lord's humanity, and they are instructed that it is the first and supreme of all principles, agreeable to its constant testimony, being in possession of all knowledge, by reason of its union with the divine good, vs 25, 26.

  1. They knew not that he spoke to them of the father.
  2. Then said jesus to them, When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you shall know that I am, and do nothing of myself, but as my father has taught me, I speak these things.
  3. And he that sent me is with me; the father has not left me alone; because I do always those things that please him.

This however is not apprehended by them, and there fore they are instructed further, that when the humanity is glorified, or made divine, then it will be seen that it is essential life, and that all its operation and thought are from that life, and therefore the divinity is always present with the humanity, and the humanity never separated from divinity, since its operation is always in accord with the divine will, vs 27, 28, 29.

  1. As he spoke these things, many believed in him.
  2. Then said jesus to those Jews who believed him, If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples.
  3. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

That in consequence of this instruction, faith in the lord's humanity is excited and prevails, and they, who receive it, are further taught, that if they continue to live according to his precepts, they will be taught of him, and will understand divine truth, and will thus be delivered from the bondage of sin, vs 30, 31, 32.

  1. They answered him, We are the seed of Abraham, and were never in bondage to any one; how say you, you shall be made free?

This instruction however is rejected, and it is argued that since they are in possession of the Word, and were never in bondage to sin, it is to no purpose to speak to them about escaping that bondage, vs 33.

  1. jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say to you, that every one who does sin, is the servant of sin.
  2. But the servant abides not in the house for ever; the Son abides for ever.

Therefore they are further instructed, that in the love of evil there is servitude, and that they who are in such servitude, cannot enter into heaven, which is open only to those who are in divine truth, vs 34, 35.

  1. If then the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.

If then they are in divine truth, leading them to renounce evil love, then they will attain the true freedom, which consists in being led of the lord, vs 36.

  1. I know that you are the seed of Abraham; but you seek to kill me, because my Word has no place in you.
  2. I speak what I have seen with my father, and you therefore do what you have seen with your father.

It is granted that they possess the Word, but inasmuch as they reject divine truth, it is a full proof that the truth of the Word is not received by them, since the truth of the Word is from the divine good, and therefore they, who reject it, cleave to what is false derived from infernal evil, vs 37, 38.

  1. They answered and said to him, Abraham is our father: jesus says to them, If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham.
  2. But now you seek to kill me, a man who has spoken to you the truth, which I have heard from god; this did not Abraham.

Still they insist that they are regenerated of the lord ; but they are again taught, that if they were regenerated of the Lord, they would love what the lord loves, but that in rejecting divine truth, they oppose divine love, and by so doing prove themselves to be in infernal love, vs 39, 40, and part of 41.

  1. You do the works of your father. Then said they to him, We were not born of fornication; we have one father, god.
  2. Then said jesus to them, If god were your father, you would love me. For I came forth, and come from god, neither came I of myself, but he has sent me.
  3. Why do you not know my speech? Because you cannot hear my Word.

Still they insist that they are not principled in evils and falses, but in divine truth; and therefore they are further instructed, that if they were principled in divine truth, they would love the lord's humanity, because that humanity was from the divine truth, and is the divine truth; and the reason why they do not understand this, is, because they are not rightly affected towards the internal sense of the Word, vs part of 41, 42, 43.

  1. You are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father you are willing to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth, because the truth is not in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Therefore they are in the false of faith, and are thus in the cravings of evil, and destroyers of all intellectual truth, cherishing evil in the will, and the false principles thence derived in the understanding, vs 44.

  1. But because I say the truth, you do not believe me.
  2. Which of you convinces me of sin? But if I say the truth, why do you not believe me?

On which account they reject the lord in his humanity, although in his humanity he was essential purity, and ought to be believed in as essential truth, vs 45, 46.

  1. He that is of god hears the sayings of god ; you therefore hear not, because you are not of god.

For every one, who is principled in divine truth, lives in obedience to divine truth, and if any are disobedient, it is because they are not principled in divine truth, vs 47.

  1. Then answered the Jews, and said to him, Say we not well that you are a Samaritan, and have a devil?
  2. jesus answered, I have not a devil, but I honour my father, and you do dishonour me.

That the perverted church reject this instruction, as proceeding from ignorance of the Word, and from infernal agency, therefore they are further taught, that the lord's humanity is not under infernal control, but under divine government, and is therefore rejected, vs 48, 49.

  1. But I seek not mine own glory; there is one that seeks and judges.
  2. Verily, verily, I say to you, if any one keep my Word, he shall never see death.

And that it does not exalt itself, but is exalted and instructed by the essential divinity, and therefore whoever lives according to the lord's precepts is delivered from damnation, vs 50, 51.

  1. Then said the Jews to him, Now we know that you have a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets, and you say, If any one keep my Word, he shall never taste of death.
  2. Art you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead; whom make you yourself?
  3. jesus answered, If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my father that glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your god.

But this instruction is also rejected by the perverted church, through mis-interpretation, and regarded as a further proof of infernal agency, and as exalting the lord's humanity in an undue measure; therefore they are again taught, that if the humanity exalted itself, its exaltation is no exaltation, but that it is exalted by the supreme divinity, who is regarded in the church as the supreme teacher of truth, vs 52, 53, 54.

  1. And you have not known him; but I know him: And if I should say that I know him not, I should be like you, a liar; but I know him, and keep his Word.

Who yet is unknown in the church, and known only to the assumed humanity; therefore the humanity must testify to such knowledge, because it is the truth; thus it testifies that both in understanding and in will it is one with the supreme divinity, vs 55.

  1. Your father, Abraham, was glad to see my day, and he saw, and rejoiced.

And was accordingly seen in the representative church under a human form, exciting the affections both of truth and good, vs 56.

  1. Then said the Jews to him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?
  2. jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.

And notwithstanding appearances to the contrary, arising from its being born in time, is yet the eternal jehovah, vs 57, 58.

  1. Then took they up stones to cast at him; but jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

That this instruction is opposed by the false persuasions originating in the natural mind, which darken the truth in such a manner, that it is no longer seen, and therefore is unnoticed, though it is the central life of all men, vs 59.

Translation

1. BUT jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2. And early in the morning he was again present in the temple, and all the people came to him, and sitting down he taught them.

3. But the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman taken in adultery, and setting her in the midst,

4. They say to him, Master, [Didaskale, teacher] this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

5. But Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned; what then say you?

6. But this they said tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But jesus stooping down, with his finger wrote on the earth.

7. But when they continued asking him, lifting up himself, he said to them, He that is without sin amongst you, let him first cast the stone at her.

8. And again stooping down, he wrote on the earth.

9. But they hearing, and convicted by conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the oldest to the last; and jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

10. But jesus lifting up himself, and beholding no one except the woman, said to her, Woman, where are those your accusers? Has no one condemned you?

11. But she said, No one, lord. And jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.

12. Then again jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

13. The Pharisees therefore said to him, You bear witness of yourself, your witness is not true.

14. jesus answered and said to them, Though I bear witness of myself, my witness is true, because I know whence I came, and whither I go; but you know not whence I came, and whither I go.

15. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.

16. And yet if I judge, my judgement is true, because I am not alone, but I and the father that sent me.

17. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.

18. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the father that sent me bears witness of me.

19. Then said they to him, Where is your father ? jesus answered, You neither know me, nor my father ; if you had known me, you would have known my father also.

20. These sayings spoke jesus in the treasury, teaching in the temple; and no one laid hold of him, because his hour was not yet come.

21. Then said jesus again to them, I go away, and you shall seek me, and shall die in your sin. Whither I go, you cannot come.

22. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself, because he says whither I go, you cannot come?

23. And he said to them, You are from beneath; I am from above; you are of this world; I am not of this world.

24, I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for if you believe not that I am, you shall die in your sins.

25. Then said they to him, Who are you? And jesus said to them, The Beginning, which thing I also spoke to you.

26. I have many things to speak and to judge of you; but he that sent me is true, and I say to the world those things which I have heard from him.

27. They knew not that he spoke to them of the father.

28. Then said jesus to them, When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you shall know that I am, and do nothing of myself, but as my father has taught me, I speak these things.

29. And he that sent me is with me; the father has not left me alone; because I do always those things that please him.

30. As he spoke these things, many believed in him.

31. Then said jesus to those Jews who believed him, If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples.

32. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

33. They answered him, We are the seed of Abraham, and were never in bondage to any one; how say you, you shall be made free?

34. jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say to you, that every one who does sin, is the servant of sin.

35. But the servant abides not in the house for ever; the Son abides for ever.

36. If then the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.

37. I know that you are the seed of Abraham; but you seek to kill me, because my Word has no place in you.

38. I speak what I have seen with my father, and you therefore do what you have seen with your father.

39. They answered and said to him, Abraham is our father: jesus says to them, If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham.

40. But now you seek to kill me, a man who has spoken to you the truth, which I have heard from god; this did not Abraham.

41. You do the works of your father. Then said they to him, We were not born of fornication; we have one father, god.

42. Then said jesus to them, If god were your father, you would love me. For I came forth, and come from god, neither came I of myself, but he has sent me.

43. Why do you not know my speech? Because you cannot hear my Word.

44. You are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father you are willing to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth, because the truth is not in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.

45. But because I say the truth, you do not believe me.

46. Which of you convinces me of sin? But if I say the truth, why do you not believe me?

47. He that is of god hears the sayings of god ; you therefore hear not, because you are not of god.

48. Then answered the Jews, and said to him, Say we not well that you are a Samaritan, and have a devil?

49. jesus answered, I have not a devil, but I honour my father, and you do dishonour me.

50. But I seek not mine own glory; there is one that seeks and judges.

51. Verily, verily, I say to you, if any one keep my Word, he shall never see death.

52. Then said the Jews to him, Now we know that you have a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets, and you say, If any one keep my Word, he shall never taste of death.

53. Art you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead; whom make you yourself?

54. jesus answered, If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my father that glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your god.

55. And you have not known him; but I know him: And if I should say that I know him not, I should be like you, a liar; but I know him, and keep his Word.

56. Your father, Abraham, was glad to see my day, and he saw, and rejoiced.

57. Then said the Jews to him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?

58. jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.

59. Then took they up stones to cast at him; but jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Exposition

Verse 1. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. By the Mount of Olives, when it is predicated of the lord, is signified the divine love, and it was on account of this signification that he was accustomed to make his abode on that mountain, and then discoursed with his disciples concerning his coming, and the consummation of the age, that is, concerning the last judgement; and he likewise went thence to Jerusalem, and suffered; and by this was signified, that he did all things from divine love, inasmuch as the Mount of Olives signified that love; for whatever the lord did in the world, this was representative, and whatever he spoke was significative. AE 405. See also AE 638.

Verses 2 to 11. But the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman taken in adultery, &c. By the lord, on this occasion, writing on the earth, the like is signified as in those words of Jeremiah, They who recede from me shall be written in the earth, Jer 17:13, namely that they were equally damned on account of adultery, wherefore he said, He that is without sin amongst you, let him first cast the stone at her; by the lord writing twice on the earth in the temple, was signified their damnation on account of adulteries in the spiritual sense, for the scribes and Pharisees were those who adulterated the goods and falsified the truths of the Word, thus of the church, and adulteries in the spiritual sense are adulterations of good and falsifications of truth; wherefore also that nation is called by the lord an adulterous and sinful nation, Mark 8:38. AE 222. See also AE 304.

Inasmuch as adulteries are contrary to conjugial love, it is not possible for adulterers to be with the angels in heaven; their contrariety also to goodness and truth is a cause of separation; for the same reason it is impossible they should be in the heavenly marriage, which is rendered further impossible by the filthy ideas they entertain concerning marriage; when marriage is only mentioned, and an idea thereof occurs, instantly their ideas are filled with lascivious, obscene, and wicked abominations; in like manner when the angels discourse concerning goodness and truth, adulterers think contrary thereto; for all affections and thoughts thence derived, remain with man after death such as they have been in the world. It is in the mind of adulterers to destroy societies, most of them being cruel, see AC 824, thus in their hearts contrary to charity and mercy, making mock at the miseries of others, desiring to deprive others of their property, and practising such desires as far as they dare, delighting in the destruction of friendships, and in sowing the seeds of enmities; they pretend to a religious principle, in that they say they acknowledge the Creator of the universe, and a providence but only universal, and salvation grounded in faith, and that their lot will not be worse than that of others; but when they are explored as to their qualities in heart, which is done in another life, it is then discovered that they do not even believe these things, but instead of the Creator of the universe they acknowledge nature, instead of a universal providence they acknowledge no providence, and respecting faith they think nothing; and all this is a consequence of the utter opposition of adulteries to goodness and truth; hence any one may judge how adulterers can come into heaven.

They who by adulteries have contracted a loathing and nauseousness to marriage, convert every delight, blessedness, and happiness, as it comes from the heaven of angels, into what is loathsome and nauseous, afterwards into what is painful, and lastly into what is stinking, so that they cast themselves headlong thence towards hell.

I am well informed by the angels, that when any one commits adultery on earth, heaven is instantly closed against him, and that he afterwards lives immersed solely in worldly and corporeal things; and then, although he hears of the things belonging to love and faith, still they do not penetrate his interiors: and whatever he himself speaks concerning those things, does not come from his interiors, but only from his memory and his lips, under the impulse of self-conceit or the love of gain; for the interiors are closed, and cannot possibly be opened but by earnest repentance. AC 2747 2750,

Verse 12. Then again Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness. Light is frequently mentioned in the Word, and by it in the internal sense is signified truth which is derived from good; but in the supreme internal sense by light is signified the lord himself, because he is good and truth itself. There is likewise actually light in heaven, but infinitely brighter than light in the earth; this light also illuminates the understanding of man, especially of a regenerate man, but it is not apperceived by man so long as he is in the life of the body, by reason of the light of the world which then rules. That the lord is light, that is, good and truth itself, thus that from him is all intelligence and wisdom, consequently salvation, may be manifest from several passages in the Word, also from this, "jesus said, I am the light of the world, he that follows me, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." AC 3195.

Light in the above passage denotes the lord, from whom is all good and truth; darkness denotes falses, which are dispersed by the lord alone. AC 1839.

I am the light of the world, signifies that he is the divine truth itself; he that follows me, signifies he who acknowledges the Divine [Being] himself, and does his precepts; shall not walk in darkness, signifies that he shall not be in falses; but shall have the light of life, signifies that he shall be in divine truths, which teach man eternal life, and lead to heaven. That in this passage by following the lord is not meant to follow him, but to acknowledge his divinity, and to obey him, is evident. AE 864.

Verse 15. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. That the lord imputes good to every man, and does not impute evil to any one, consequently that he does not judge any one to hell, but elevates all, so far as they follow, to heaven, is manifest from these his own words, Jesus said, I judge no one; for by judgement in this passage and in other passages in the Word, is meant judgement to hell, which is damnation, whereas concerning salvation judgement is not predicated, but resurrection to life. TCR 652. See also AC 8685.

Verse 18. I am [one] that bear witness of myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness of me. As to what concerns the signification of bearing witness, or testimony, a distinction is made in the Word between laws, statutes, judgements, precepts, testimonies, words, commands, truths, covenants, as may be manifest from very many passages, especially from David in Psalm cxix. where all those terms are named, and testimonies, verses 2, 14, 31, 46, 59, 88, 91, 111, 124, 128, 144, 163, in like manner in other places, from which it may be manifest that testimony is the divine truth, which testifies concerning the lord, thus that it is the Word, for the Word in the supreme sense treats of the lord alone, and hence in the internal sense testifies concerning him, that is, teaches him, and the truths which are of faith and the goods which are of love, which are from him. In this sense it is written, "I am who testify concerning myself, and the father who sent me testifies concerning me," John 8:18; again, "Search the Scriptures, for they are they who testify of me," John 5:39; again, "The Paraclete, the Spirit of truth, he shall testify of me," John 15:26, 27; from which passages it is manifest, that the divine truth is called a testimony from its testifying concerning the lord ; this truth is the Word, for the Word in the supreme sense, as was said above, treats of the lord alone, hence the Word is divine, and hence its holy [principle.] AC 9503.

Verse 19. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. These words relate to the union of good with truth, and of truth with good, or, what is the same thing, of the divine essence of the lord with the human, and of the human with the divine, wherefore he says in another place, "The words which I speak to you I speak not from myself, the father who is in me does the works," John 14:10. Hence it is manifest, that he was not another [being] from the father, although he spoke of the father as of another, and this on account of the reciprocal unification, which was to take place, and which did take place; for he openly and frequently says, that he is one with the father. AC 2004.

Verse 21. You shall seek me, and shall die in your sins. They, who either pervert, or extinguish, or reject in themselves the good which is of love and the truth which is of faith, have not life in themselves; for life, which is from the Divine [Being or principle] consists in willing what is good, and believing what is true; but they, who do not will what is good, but what is evil, or believe not what is true, but what is false, have a principle contrary to life; this principle contrary to life is hell, and is called death, and persons of this description are called dead. That the life of love and of faith is called life, and likewise eternal life, and that they, who have it in themselves, are called living men; and that what is contrary to life is called death, and likewise death eternal, and that persons of this description are called dead men, is manifest from several passages in the Word, and amongst others from John 8:21, 24, 51. AC 7494. Verse 24. If you believe not that I am, you shall die in your sins. Inasmuch as the acknowledgement of the lord is the first of all things relating to spiritual life, and the most essential principle of the church, and since without it no one can receive from heaven any thing of the truth of faith and of the good of love, therefore the lord also frequently says, that he who believes in him has eternal life, and he who believes not, has not life, as John 7:37, 38; 8:24. See also AC 10287.

Verses 31, 32. Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed him, If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. He who acts in any case from the affection which is of the love of good, acts from a free principle; but he who acts from the affection, which is of the love of evil, appears to himself to act from a free principle, but he does not act from a free principle, because from the lusts which are from hell; he alone is free, who is in the affection of good, because he is led of the lord, which the lord also teaches in John 8:31, 32, 34, 36. That freedom consists in being led of the lord, and servitude in being led of lusts which are from hell, may be seen AC 892, 905, 2870 to 2893, 205, 6477, 8209; for the lord implants affections in favour of what is good, and aversion to what is evil, hence to do good is freedom, and to do evil is altogether servile. He who believes that Christian liberty has a further extent, is very much deceived. AC 9096.

When the internal principle conquers, as is the case when it has reduced the external to agreement and compliance, then man is gifted by the lord with essential liberty, and essential rationality; for then man is rescued by the lord from infernal liberty, which in itself is servitude, and is introduced into celestial liberty, which in itself is essential freedom, and has consociation granted him with the angels. That they are servants [or slaves] who are in sins, and that the lord makes those free, who by the Word receive truth from him, he himself teaches in John 8:31-36.

Verses 31 to 36. You shall know the truth, and the truth, shall make you free. They answered him, We are the seed of Abraham, and were never in bondage to any one; how say you, you shall be made free? &c. &c. By these words is understood that freedom consists in being led of the lord, and that servitude consists in being led of hell; by truth which makes free, is meant the divine truth which is from the lord, for he who receives that truth in doctrine, and life is free, because he becomes spiritual, and is led of the lord ; wherefore also it is said that the Son abides in the house for ever, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed, where by the Son is meant the lord, and likewise truth, and to abide in the house denotes in heaven; that to be led of hell is servitude, is taught by these words, every one who does sin is the servant of sin, where sin denotes hell, because it is from hell. AE 409.

All that is called freedom which is of the will, thus which is of the love, and hence it is that freedom manifests itself by the delight of willing and of thinking, and hence of doing and of speaking, for all delight is of love, and all love is of the will, and the will is the esse of the life of man. To do evil from the delight of love, appears to be freedom, but it is servitude, because it is from hell. To do good from the delight of love, appears to be freedom, and likewise is freedom, because it is from the lord. Servitude therefore consists in being led of hell, and freedom in being led of the lord. This the lord teaches in John 8:34, 35, 36. AC 9585, 9586.

Verses 33, 39, 44. They answered him, We are the seed of Abraham, Abraham is our father, &c. &c. Every one may know, who thinks at all deeply or interiorly, that by the seed of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, which is so often mentioned, and of which it is so often said that it should be blessed, and this above all nations and people on earth, in the divine Word cannot be signified their posterity, for these amongst all nations were least of all principled in the good of love to the lord and of charity towards the neighbour, yea, neither were they principled in any truth of faith; for what the lord is, what his kingdom, thus what heaven is, and what a life after death, was entirely unknown to them, as well because they were not willing to know, as because if they had known, they would altogether have denied those things in their heart, and would thus have profaned interior goods and truths, as they had profaned exterior by so often becoming open idolaters, which is the reason why interior things are so rarely extant in the sense of the letter in the Word of the Old Testament: it was in consequence of this their character that the lord said of them, when they called themselves the seed of Abraham, "If you were the sons of Abraham, you would do the works of Abraham; you are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you are willing to do." By Abraham is here also understood the lord, as in the Word throughout; that they were not his seed or sons, but of the devil, is said plainly; hence it is evident, that by the seed of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob in both the historical and prophetical Word are in no case meant their posterity, for the Word is divine throughout, but all are meant who are the lord's seed, that is, who are principled in the good and truth of faith in him. AC 3373.

That by father in the opposite sense is signified evil, is evident from this passage in John, "jesus said, If god was your father, you would love me, for I came forth and come from god : you are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you are willing to do; he was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth, because the truth is not in him; when he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own, because he is a liar, and the father of a lie. AC 3703.

That devils were not originally angels of light, as is commonly supposed, but men who have died in an unregenerate and wicked state, is evident from the above words, for if the devil was a murderer from the beginning, how could he ever have been an angel of heaven? See this proved above, chap. 6:70, Exposition.

From the above words it is evident, that the Jews are not meant by the seed of Abraham, but that by Abraham is understood the lord, and by the seed of Abraham divine truth from the lord, which is the Word, for it is said, "I know that you are Abraham's seed, but you seek to kill me, because my Word has not a place in you;" by the lord saying, I know that you are Abraham's seed, is signified that he knew that the truth of the church, which is the Word, appertained to them; but that still they rejected the lord, is signified by you seek to kill me; and that they were not in divine truths from the lord, is signified by because my Word has not a place in you; and that nothing but evil and the false thence derived appertained to them, is signified by you are of your father the devil, and the truth is not in him; and afterwards, when he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own; by a lie is signified divine truth or the Word adulterated; the reason also why the lord said, I know that you are Abraham's seed, was, because by Judah is signified the lord as to the Word. AE 768.

Goods and truths, inasmuch as they are the conception and birth of heavenly marriage, are called sons by the lord in Matthew, where it is written, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, but the seed are the sons of the kingdom," Matt 13:37, 38; the goods and truths of saving faith are also called the sons of Abraham, John 8:39; for seed, as was said, is faith, wherefore sons, which are of the seed, are the goods and truths of faith, hence also the lord, because he is the seed, called himself the Son of Man, that is, the faith of the church. AC 264.

Verse 42. I came forth, and am come from God. By coming forth is meant to be of him, or to be his, as is manifest from the spiritual sense of that expression; for to come forth or to proceed, in that sense, denotes to present himself before another in a form accommodated to him, thus to present himself the same in another form; in this sense the lord is said to come forth, as in John, "jesus said of himself, I came forth, and am come from god," 8:42. AC 5337.

Verse 44. You are of the father the devil, &c. The Jewish nation was very far from being a celestial church or celestial kingdom of the lord ; for as to love to the lord, and charity towards the neighbour, and as to faith, it was the worst of all nations, and this from their first fathers, namely the sons of Jacob, even to the present time; but still they were such as could represent the celestial and spiritual things of the lord's kingdom, because in representations the person is not reflected on, but the thing which is represented. But when they did not abide in the rituals commanded by jehovah or the lord, but turned away from them to idolatries, they then no longer represented those things, but the things which are opposite, namely things infernal and diabolical, according to the lord's words in John, "You are of the father the devil, and the desires of your father you are willing to do; he was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth." AC 3881. See also AC 4751, 7051.

Verses 43, 44. That the Jews from the beginning were against truths, and in falses from evil, is signified by their father being a murderer from the beginning, and by the truth not being in him, but a lie; a murderer is a destroyer of the truth of the church, and father denotes those that were before. AE 122.

That a lie in the spiritual sense denotes evil and the false, which are of faith, is manifest from the following passage in John, "You are of the father the devil, and the desires of your father you are willing to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth, because the truth is not in him; when he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own, because he is a liar, and the father of a lie." In this passage a lie denotes the false of faith; for the subject treated of is concerning the Jews, that they were not willing to acknowledge the lord ; devil in the spiritual sense here denotes the false, and its father denotes evil; for the false is from evil, as a son from a father; the false which is of the devil is the false of faith, and evil is the evil of self-love and of the love of the world. AC 8908.

In the above words is described the Jewish nation, such as it had been from the beginning, namely that it was in evils and falses; by the father the devil is meant evil from hell, in which their fathers had been principled in Egypt and afterwards in the wilderness;" that they were willing to remain in the evils of their lusts, is meant by the desires of your father you are willing to do; that they destroyed all truth of the understanding, is signified by being a murderer [homicide or man-slayer] from the beginning, and not standing in the truth, because the truth is not in him; man signifies the truth of intelligence, hence a man-slayer its destruction; falses derived from their evil are signified by when he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own; his own [proprium] signifies evil of the will, and a lie signifies the false principle thence derived. AE 740. See also AE 589.

Verse 46. Which of you convinces me of sin? That the lord bare the iniquities and evils of mankind, is a form of speaking commonly used in the pulpit; but to derive evils and iniquities upon himself was impossible, except in an hereditary way from the mother; the Divine [principle] is not susceptible of evil; wherefore that he might overcome evil by his own proper strength, which no man ever could or can do, and might thus alone become justice, he was willing to be born as another man; otherwise there would have been no need that he should be born; for he might have assumed the human essence without nativity, as he also did assume it occasionally, when he appeared to the most ancient church, and likewise to the prophets; but he came into the world for this reason, that he might also put on evil, in order to fight against and overcome it, and might thus join together in himself the divine essence and the human essence. The lord however had no actual or proper evil, as he himself declares in John, Which of you convinces me of sin ? AC 1573.

Verse 52. If any one keep my Word, he shall never taste of death. By keeping the words of the lord is signified to live according to the lord's precepts; not to see death signifies non-damnation, but life into which man rises again and enters by death. AE 899.

Verse 56. Your father, Abraham, was glad to see my day, &c. The infinite itself, which is above all the heavens, and above the inmost principles belonging to men, cannot be manifested except by the Divine Human [principle] which appertains only to the lord ; the communication of the infinite with finite beings can not be effected in any other way, which also is the reason, when jehovah appeared to the men of the most ancient church, and afterwards to the ancient church which was after the church, likewise-next to Abraham and the prophets, that he was manifested to them as a man, and that this man was the lord, he himself openly teaches in John, "Your father, Abraham, was glad to see my day, and he saw, and rejoiced: Verily, verily, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." AC 1990. See also AC 9315.

That the ancients had an idea of a Human [principle] in respect to the divine, is manifest from the divine appearing before Abraham, Lot, Joshua, Gideon, Manoah, and others, who, although they saw god as a man, still adored him as the god of the universe, calling him the god of heaven and of earth, also jehovah. That it was the lord who was seen by Abraham, he himself teaches in John 8:36. HH 84.

The lord himself was indeed seen amongst the ancients, for he says to the Jews, "Your father, Abraham, was glad to see my day, and he saw, and rejoiced: I say to you, before Abraham was, I am," John 8:56, 58. But whereas at that time the lord was only represented, which was effected by angels, therefore all things of the church belonging to them became representative; but after that he came into the world, those representations vanished. TCR 109.

Verse 58. Before Abraham was, I am. The most ancient people, who were wiser than the modern race of mankind, had no other idea of god, than as of a man whose head is encompassed with radiant circles. All also who were of the church, from the time of Adam even to Abraham, Moses, and the prophets, thought of god as of a man; they also saw him under a human form, and called him jehovah, as is evident from the Word; and god under a human form is the lord, as is manifest from the lord' words in John, Before Abraham was, I am. AE 808. See also AC 1607.

TRANSLATORS NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.

Verse 25. Then they said to him, Who are you? And Jesus said to them, The Beginning, which thing I also spoke to you. In the common version of the New Testament, what is here rendered, the Beginning, which thing I also spoke to you, is rendered, the same that I said to you from the beginning, but in the original Greek it is literally, the beginning, which thing I also spoke to you. Thus the blessed jesus again asserts his supreme divinity, by calling himself e Arche, which is the same title which he also assumes, Rev 1:8, where he calls himself the Beginning and the Ending; and again, at chap. 3:14, the Beginning of the Creation of god.

Verse 27. They knew not that he said the Father to them. In the common version of the New Testament, these words are rendered, They understood not that he spoke to them of the Father; but in the original Greek it is literally, They knew not that he said the Father to them. The literal rendering therefore is given, because it is expedient to maintain precision as to every expression in the original, and thus not to confound knowing with understanding, or saying with speaking, since in the internal sense the expressions have peculiar and distinct meanings.

Verse 38. I speak what I have seen with my Father, and you therefore do what you have seen with your Father. In the common version of the New Testament, the term therefore in this passage is omitted, but in the original, what is here rendered therefore is expressed by the term oun which properly signifies therefore, or on that account, or for that reason, thus implying, that as the blessed jesus, as to his humanity, always spoke in agreement with what was dictated from his divinity, for the same reason, or therefore, the Jews always acted in agreement with what was dictated from their father, or from the devil, since it is of necessity that a man must always act in conformity with his ruling principle, or ruling love, that a good man in conformity with heavenly love from god, and a wicked man in conformity with infernal love from the enemy of god. According then to this view of the subject, the term therefore cannot be omitted without diminishing greatly the force and importance of the lord's divine words.

Verse 42. For I came forth, and come from God. In the common version of the New Testament, these words are rendered, For I proceeded forth, and came from god, but in the original it is literally, I came forth, and come from god, meaning probably, not only the first assumption of his infirm humanity from his divinity, but also his continual assumption of a divine Humanity from the same divine source, which latter assumption may be properly called a continual coming from god. On this occasion it may be proper to remark, that the Greek term eko, which is rendered I come, appears to have a more interior meaning than the term erchomai, from which exielthon is derived.

Verse 43. Why do you not know my speech? Because you cannot hear my Word. The intelligent reader will not fail to note, in this remarkable passage, a distinction which the blessed jesus makes between his speech and his Word, and also between knowing the one, and hearing the other, from which distinction he will clearly discover, that the speech of the divine speaker implies his outward or literal meaning, whereas his Word is expressive of the internal, spiritual, and divine things involved in that meaning. He will also discover further, that the reason why the outward or literal meaning of the divine speaker is not better known, is, because the internal, spiritual, and divine things, which are involved in it, are not more attended to, or, what is the same thing, are not regarded as objects of infinitely more importance than any other.

Verse 44. He was a homicide from the beginning, and stood not in the truth. What is here rendered homicide, is expressed in the original by the term anthropoktonos, which is literally a homicide, or man-slayer, denoting in its internal sense a destroyer of charity, so that the two expressions taken together, first, that he was a homicide from the beginning, and secondly, that he stood not in the truth, denote the entire extinction of all charity and faith, or of all good and truth, which is the proper character of the infernals.

Verse 44. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own, &c. In the common version of the New Testament, what is here rendered from his own is rendered of his own, but the expression in the original is ek ton idion, which is literally from his own, that is to say, from the principles of what is evil and false in his own mind.

Verse 54. Jesus answered, If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father that glorifies me, &c. In the common version of the New Testament, these words are rendered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing; it is my Father that honours me, &c; thus substituting honouring and honour in the place of glorifying and glory, as if there was no difference between the one and the other, when yet, in the internal sense, honouring and honour have more respect to the principle of good, whilst glorifying and glory have more respect to the principle of truth. See note above, John 5:41.

Verse 55. And you have not known him, but I know him, &c. It is remarkable that in the original two distinct terms are here applied to express the idea of knowing; for when the blessed jesus says, You have not known him, he adopts a term derived from the root ginosko, whereas when he says, But I know him, he adopts a term derived from the root eideo, whence it would appear that there are different degrees of knowledge, and that the term ginosko is expressive of a more external degree, whilst the term eideo is expressive of what is more internal.

Verse 56. Your father, Abraham, was glad to see my day, and he saw, and rejoiced. In the common version of the New Testament, these words are rendered, Your father, Abraham, rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad, thus confounding the order of the two states, rejoicing and being glad, by making Abraham first rejoice, and then be glad, whereas in the original he is made first to be glad, and then to rejoice, and this according to the right order in the progress to bliss. For in the ascending scale of regenerate life, the right order is, that man should first be glad before he rejoices, since to be glad, or gladness, has reference to the gratification which he derives from the light or knowledge of truth in his understanding, whereas to rejoice, or joy, has more reference to the gratification derived from the love of good in his will, which latter gratification cannot be tasted but by first passing through the former.

Verse 58. Before Abraham was, I am. The serious and intelligent reader will here again discover, and rejoice in the discovery of an express declaration of the identity of the jesus of the New Testament with the jehovah of the Old, since jesus again assumes to himself the sacred name, I am, by which jehovah had been before distinguished.

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