Spiritual Meaning of

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The signification of writing in the book, is for perpetual remembrance. This is signified by writing in a book in Isaiah:--

Come, write thou upon a tablet before them, and express it upon a book, that it may be for the time to come, forever even to eternity (Isa. 30:8).

As remembrance is signified by writing in a book, therefore the faithful are said to be written in the book of life; for by Divine remembrance is signified salvation, and by non-remembrance, or forgetting, is signified damnation. Concerning the book of life we read in these passages:--

The Ancient of days did sit for the judgment, and the books were opened (Dan. 7:9, 10).

At that time thy people shall be rescued, everyone that shall be found written in the book (Dan. 12:1).

Give iniquity upon their iniquity; and let them not arrive at Thy righteousness; let them be blotted out of the book of lives, and not be written with the righteous (Ps. 69:27, 28).

He that overcometh shall be clothed in white garments; and I will not blot his name out of the book of life (Rev. 3:5).

There shall not enter into the New Jerusalem any but those who are written in the Lamb's book of life (Rev. 21:27).

I saw that the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is that of life; and the dead were judged according to the things that were written in the books, according to their works. They were all judged according to their works. And if anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast out into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:12, 13, 15; 13:8; 17:8).

He who does not know from the internal sense what the book of life is, and also what the books are out of which the dead are to be judged, cannot have any other idea than that in heaven there are such books, and that in them are written the acts of all, whereof the memory is thus preserved. When yet by books in the above passages are not meant books, but the remembrance of all things that have been done; for everyone carries with him into the other life the memory of all his acts, thus the book of his life (AC 2474). But no one except the Lord alone can judge anyone according to his acts; because all acts proceed from final causes, which lie deeply concealed within. Man is judged according to these causes; and no one knows them but the Lord. therefore judgment belongs to Him alone, which is also meant by these words in John:--

I saw upon the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Thereafter I saw a strong angel crying with a great voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? One of the elders said to me, Behold the lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, hath overcome to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof: and He took the book, and they sang a new song, worthy art Thou who takest the book, and openest the seals thereof (Rev. 5:1, 2, 5, 8, 9).

From all this it can be seen that by a book written is meant the presence of the acts of everyone. In like manner by the book in David:--

On Thy book all the days were written that were ordained (Ps. 139:16).

from AC 8620

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info