Fulfilment

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“I must do something worthwhile with my life, achieve my potential.” I think that’s a common feeling, but so is “I want to feel needed, liked and appreciated.” And these two feelings don’t always fit together easily. We may feel pressured to fulfil other people’s expectations of us, although part of us would rather “do it our way”. Some of us also wonder “But what does God expect from me?” How can we best find fulfilment?

Emanuel Swedenborg assures us that we will all find it in some way eventually. Whatever character we choose to adopt is capable of endless development, of filling out with more and more depth and detail, bringing us an increasing sense of completeness.tower of babel

Our chosen character is sure to be unique. It will be “our way”. Still, the more it involves of really caring for others’ happiness, the greater will be the potential for beauty, the finer our sense of fulfilment.

The Bible pictures some negative kinds of fulfilment. One is people trying to build the ‘Tower of Babel’ up to the sky “to make a name for themselves” but bringing on themselves total confusion. (Genesis 11:1-9)

Another is a rich man storing up wealth for himself, but dying before he can enjoy it. (Luke 12:13-21)

<love wisdom activity

A fulfilled character cannot be all love, nor all thought, nor action alone. True love will draw wisdom to itself, like a marriage partner, and their offspring will be good actions. The three make completeness.

Many people feel wonderful fulfilment in producing children, while others are distressed that they cannot. In spirit we all are equally children of God, but can feel our achievements of sharing light and love as our children.

So it is reaching our potentials for creativity, for being useful, and for actively caring for others that cause us to feel ‘filled full’ and complete deep down inside.

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6 Spiritual Associations

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6 Spiritual Associations

“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Hebrews 1:7

Heredity and Human Types

Nothing is more plain than the fact that men differ as to the general state of their minds. “Many men, many minds.” But there are also resemblances. All infants and adolescents are in states which are characteristic of their general age. Those of the same race incline to show a common genius. Teachers, laborers, lawyers, business men, show certain traits of mind and attitudes typical of their profession or work. And, besides these distinctions, all individuals may be classified according to temperaments, seemingly inborn yet following no known law of heredity.

Students have therefore observed that every nation or large society includes some people who are predominantly instinctive in their reactions, others who are imaginative and easily influenced by suggestion, others who possess speculative and perhaps fanatical tendencies, and some who are critical, analytic, calculating, or reflective. According to another classification, we find those who are characterized by intellect, those in whom the will is a prominent trait, and those who are action-types, whether they be dull and slow, or excitable and impulsive.

These observed types are seldom pure, and the classes overlap—fortunately. For no one type is perfect in and by itself. The Writings—amplifying the Lord’s saying that in the Heavenly Father’s house there are many mansions—teach that every type of mind is accommodated within the Grand Human Form of the Divine economy: even as many types of cells and tissues are needed to make the human body complete. These types are classified, on the one hand, as belonging to a celestial genius, a spiritual genius, and—in a sense —a natural genius: and, in addition, their diversity is made more complex as men cultivate and develop some one of the degrees of the natural mind—either the sensual-scientific, or the imaginative, or the moral and rational.

Men can modify but not essentially alter the hereditary temperaments of their natural minds. By regeneration, a man can also receive the Lord’s gift of spiritual life in a more and more interior form, and thus the Lord will open within him the degrees of the spiritual mind, which places him in the spiritual or celestial degree of his heaven. But the basic type of his natural mind, the result of heredities and of the social environment, is only to some extent modified by his choosing, and remains to qualify the general state of his spirit. His natural mind is formed, under the auspices of the Divine providence, largely without man’s help, as a vessel receptive of life. He changes its particular states, but not its general state or type. After all, it is only a vessel, a tool for a deeper life. And therefore, in heaven, the natural mind of an angel becomes as it were transparent from the spiritual within.156

If we should ask wherein lies the permanence of a racial type, such as the Chinese or the Semitic, we might receive many answers. The scientist would labor to explain about the strange process of meiosis or reductive division, whereby the hereditary factors in sperm and ovum are varied while the persistent characteristics of the species are preserved. The New Church scientist would wish to allow for gradual changes even in the germ plasm, in each generation—although he might stress that the observable changes of the cell could be responsible only for the physical and not for the spiritual inheritance, which latter cannot be traced according to any Mendelian “laws.” The New Church theologian would be particularly interested in three facts. One is, that hereditary evils, although accumulating, do not seem greatly to alter the type of face or of mind, to judge from the pictures on the palaces of ancient Egypt and the stories of the Old Testament. The second is, that our doctrines intimate that evils of heredity can be modified by a change of religion and by regenerate life. The third is, that life is not inherent in the transmitted germ-plasm, but inflows from the spiritual world.

What a man inherits from his parents is only a vessel of life: but a vessel so ordered that it receives a certain type of influx, or receives life mediated by certain groups of angels and spirits. It is in. the inflowing life that the reality of heredity lies: or, in the spirits and angels which mediate life for the receiving vessel. So far as some other type of life could be received by the germ-plasm, or by the inner organics of the child and man, so far another type of mind (and even of body) would result! This is the reason that heredities can be altered by the life of religion: for religion is the only power that can deeply reorder the spirits and angels about a man, or change such a general state as that of an inherited disposition.167

General states—states rooted in wide groups of societies in the spiritual world—can be changed only by the Lord whose Providence works through ultimate conditions in this world and thus upon all spirits and angels. And the process is slow because the deeper evils of heredity can be modified only with men who are capable of sustaining spiritual temptations. It is therefore inevitable that the general states through which the human race has passed should survive as characteristic traits of disposition, and should crop out in different combinations of hereditary types, each having their roots in different combinations of societies in the spiritual world. It is of Providence that certain forms of mind should be inclined to each other, while others should repel each other. Heredities combine, strengthen or counterbalance each other. Thus are formed races and nations and psychological groups, each receiving the gift of life in a different manner. Behind the choice of a man and the consent—or refusal—of a maid, there lie hidden invisible issues that flamed vast ages ago, and the decision involves the compatibility of the spiritual uses of societies in the other world.

The Divine truth is one and indivisible. It is the one essential reality behind creation. It exists as Law, spiritual law and natural law. This law is one, the same for all, whether men differ about it or not. In the Writings, the Divine law is stated in the form of doctrine adapted to rational comprehension. But that law, the one Divine truth, is older than the Writings, older than the Scriptures. It is eternal—the Word which was in the beginning.

The Divine truth is one. Yet there have been many religions on earth. An incomplete census taken in 1956 of sixty-eight million reported church-adherents in the United States of America records one hundred and fourteen religious organizations, most of them with varied doctrines. A denomination generally represents a general state, which has taken from various sources whatever religious truth that state is adapted to receive, and has rejected any truth which it is not able to admit: and in place of rejected truth there usually come falsified truth and a contorted perception of the whole.

The same holds true of each individual man. His religious perception is according to his state. He sees only one phase of the Divine truth at a time. He is not to blame for this: although he may be to blame for some particular states in which his perception is thus obscured—states which he may have invited. He is not responsible for general states. When a child he cannot be expected to see with the mind of an adult. If he was born and raised a Protestant, or a gentile, he cannot see the truth as the New Church man sees it.

As a man grows up, he passes through many general states. His faith is at first imitative and blindly literalistic. Later, his faith becomes imaginative, emotional, perhaps enthusiastic. Afterwards, it turns critically upon itself, becomes analytic and at length rational. At each stage there are truths which cannot be received: at least he cannot see them except in a symbolic way, or only in their most general form. Religion means different things for different ages as well as for different races.

Some years ago a psychologist suggested that since each religion fills the need of some special mood or instinct, we should really, in our progression through life, change our religion at each stage. He also classified various religions as especially satisfying to certain psychological types. This man was a pessimist as to religion. He believed that creeds were only wish-thoughts, that no one could ever contact the one and indivisible Divine truth. The New Church man of course knows that human states limit the reception of that Divine truth. But he also knows that all normal and orderly human states can receive something of that Divine truth without rejecting the rest, and that a true religion has in it that which can guide and feed these normal states without encouraging what is disorderly and evil: i.e., without stooping to falsehoods or fantasies.

Universality of the New Church

The New Church is a religion of universal application. It is adaptable to the needs of all states. It must provide leadership and instruction for all normal human types, and provide uses—spiritual uses—for all and benefits for every age. Yet it does not cater to morbid states. The New Church cannot satisfy the neurotic demands of those who would feed on the sensational, or be maintained in the good life only by the thought that they are ‘chosen of God’ or by some religious frenzy or some special earthly reward. It cannot encourage the “escapers” who retreat as recluses from worldly duties or social obligations. Nor can it be content— like so many—to substitute a moral life for a spiritual! It cannot permit the individual to evade responsibility by placing the power of salvation or the prerogative of truth-seeking in the hands of priests. It cannot pretend that rituals are more than gates to the spiritual life. It avoids appealing to merely natural affections in men, although realizing their place and value. For the New Church seeks rationally to restore the balance, the normal state of mind in which truths and uses can be seen in their progressive aspects, so that there is no false sophistication which contemptuously rejects ancient truths, nor any idolatry of traditions just because they are old; no stagnation; no disproportionate emphasis which shall sidetrack the people of the Church into such temperamental eddies as are represented by the many denominations of the present day.

The growth of mankind required that there should have been true religions in the past which were sufficient to the needs of those times. The Most Ancient Church, the Ancient Church, and the Christian, were, each in their day of flower, true religions. Yet they were of a preparatory character, and do not reach to all the normal states of a mankind fully matured. It is in a manner true that our race, as it grew into new states, did change its religion. And so, in the New Church, we go back to the true religions of the past for the needs of those progressive states which every man experiences as he grows up. The body of Divine revelation through which we receive instruction and where we see the presence of the Lord, is the Word of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Writings. We teach our younger children the stories of Creation and of the Flood—symbolic truth, which is truth to them. We give the next age the Commandments and the moral truth as accommodated to the Hebrews—an adaptation of the laws of charity that they can understand, a lesson in justice and obedience. The parables and the morality of the Gospels are particularly adapted to the state of puberty. And in adolescence, the gradual introduction to the Writings commences. The internal sense, the angelic Word, is then grasped as doctrine, first as to relatively external and general teachings, but gradually as to the more interior. In the Writings heavenly truths, natural, spiritual, and celestial, are laid open, and each adult may take what serves to feed his state, according to the capacity and elevation of his thought.

Each successive stage of life thus has its religion! Yet the religions of childhood, youth, and age, are the same, comprised within the one Divine truth; indivisible, yet such that it accommodates itself to all ages and types and states.

It is for this reason that the Heavenly Doctrine, the spiritual sense of the Word which is now revealed in the Writings, can in the spiritual world become a source of light to all races and nations, that is, to spirits of all types. Yet so far as falsities of religion have been deeply impressed by accustomed life on earth, the light of truth can be received only in a very partial way. The whole spiritual world is ordered—-society after society—according to the ways and degrees in which the light of Divine truth is received in the understanding and in life. There are heavens formed from those in all nations and religions, past and present, Gentile and Christian. Such heavens are in varying degrees of spiritual light. But central to all is the New Christian Heaven, where the Word is the source of all doctrine and light. There are spirits in the world of spirits, from all types and states, whose light is relatively obscure or clear or shifting. There are also— formed out of the evil in all religions and nations—many hells where spiritual light is absent just in proportion to the evil states which they confirmed within themselves; and the light of fantasy takes its place, a sensual lumen in which all things appear distorted and confused. For evil spirits see things in the light of their ambitions and wishes; not as they really are. They see themselves as wise, they see their own states as orderly and every one else’s as insane—until the light of heaven is let in to dispel their fantasy.

Now all the life and thought that man has comes from the spiritual world, through such spirits as are with him. His mental light which should give clarity to his ideas, is obscure or bright according to his spiritual associations. He will be in a state of spiritual illustration if he is closely associated with the New Christian Heaven where the Lord is fully revealed in His Divine Human.158 But so far as he departs from the societies of spirits who communicate with this heaven, so far his mind is dimmed as to all spiritual things, although it may still be quite clear and indeed brilliant in worldly affairs.

The New Church on earth is established that it may be associated with the New Christian Heaven and partake of its spiritual illustration. Indeed, the New Heaven is the internal whence alone the New Church can increase.158 The New Church can grow only in proportion to its conjunction with the New Heaven. And therefore the Lord, who rules all things from primes through ultimates, has provided means for this conjunction. The conjunction itself is that of love and charity, for these alone conjoin. But the means of the conjunction are ultimates in the minds of men, ultimates of thought which will have meaning and special value to those spirits who are associated with the New Christian Heaven.

The Power of Baptism

The Lord has ordained two sacraments, Baptism and the Holy Supper, as the ultimates of all spiritual order with men. Order is the opposite of confusion. Order calls for distinctions. There would be no real freedom in a state of confusion. This is the reason why all in the spiritual world are distinguished according to their religions. Moreover, all of the same religion are arranged into societies according to affections of love to God and to the neighbor—and their opposites. “On the distinct arrangement there, the preservation of the whole universe depends !”159

It is of order, also, that spirits of alien religions—such as the Mohammedan and those of idolaters—should not apply themselves to the infants or children of Christians and infuse into them an inclination for such religions, and thus draw them away and alienate them from Christianity. For this would be to distort and destroy spiritual order and would create utter confusion and internal conflict in the mind of the child, preventing any orderly development of progressive states. And what holds true with infants, is true also with adults.

By Baptism a sign is placed upon a man that he belongs to the church. The experience of the baptismal rite—the promises of the man or, with the child, of his parents, the sensation of the water, the words of the sacred text, the sign of the cross, the act of benediction by the laying on of hands —enters deeply into the memory, and (whether consciously or unconsciously) remains there indelibly to color every idea which the mind later comes to entertain. This connection of ideas is seen by every spirit at his first approach to man. By virtue of the correspondence of water, and of washing, to truth and especially the truth of repentance, baptism becomes the ultimate in the mind for spirits who are being instructed in truth and who in the other life are being introduced into the doctrine and life of the New Heaven. It becomes a sign in the spiritual world, that the man is of Christians. And the spirit of man is therefore, by this sacrament, inserted among societies and congregations there “according to the quality of the Christianity in him or around him (extra illum).”160

Not the water, or the act alone, constitutes the Baptism: but the intention associated with the act. No spirit is a witness to the act itself. But spiritual beings who are with us see the associated thoughts in the minds of the one baptized and of the priest and witnesses—see all the ideas which have ever been adjoined to the idea of the ritual itself. If priest and witnesses adjoin the ideas of a Trinity of Divine Persons, of a vicarious atonement by sufferings, or of a salvation by faith only, then the act of baptism effects an introduction— in this world and among spirits—into the assembly of those who so believe. But if the ritual arouses in priest and witnesses the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the one God, and if the ideas that are associated are from the Heavenly Doctrine and thus conjoined with an acknowledgment of the Lord’s second advent, then it makes for an introduction into the New Jerusalem, into the New Church and the New Heaven. The memory of the baptism will be the lasting focus of all these suggested ideas: all will be recalled to spirits when the baptism is recalled; and all are invitations to such spirits to be with the man, a cloud of unseen witnesses: and there will be a connection established between all the new experiences that the man absorbs and the initial ideas centering around the material fact of baptism. Such spirits are a protective sphere around the man, keeping him in the general state of his own religion.

The baptismal ceremony as such is only a natural event. Our remembrance of it is centered about the material ideas of the water, the washing, the cross. But, as was noted previously, Swedenborg testifies that while a man thinks, his material ideas are as it were in the midst of a wave of such things as are adjoined in the memory—all that was ever known on the subject; and thus the full thought, not the material idea, is apparent to the spirits about him. Swedenborg likens that surrounding wave of associations to spiritual wings by which the thing thought of is elevated out of the memory, and is endowed with meaning and value.161 And something of this is interiorly meant when the Lord said to Moses, about the exodus from Egypt: “I bare you on eagle’s wings, and brought you unto Myself”; and the same is suggested when He lamented: “How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not !”162

By Baptism the Lord does gather His children together under the protective sphere of the New Heaven. This sphere is a sphere of spiritual thought and affection. It guards, but does not compel. It aids, through our spiritual associates, to ward off alien spirits. At any time we are free to break away from its gentle gyres, and—by focussing our life and thought on ultimates that are opposed to it, on falsities or on things that are symbolic of evil—we can enter by degrees into other spiritual connections, if these are more accordant with our life’s delight. But so far as we freely allow the sphere of the New Heaven to be with us, there is freedom also to progress in accordance with our choice; there is a leading into greater illustration, spiritual clarity, and wisdom; there is the possibility of the more and more interior fulfilment of what Baptism involves, the realization of the meaning of the new order of the spiritual world, and of the truth that the Lord reigneth.

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New book: Starting Science from God.
Links theism (religion) to science (psychology and physics) without reduction.

Love and the Quantum Physicist

There once was a physicist named Phil who loved to contemplate on the significance of the discoveries made in quantum physics concerning fundamental reality. Phil had always concerned himself with fundamental issues but he felt he now needed to form some conclusion on the matter.

Quantum physics told him that there exists a level of reality removed from spacetime, energy and matter, yet had a real causal effect on the spatio-temporal arena. On the one hand, a quantum state consisted of “tendencies to exist.” On the other hand, these potentials always acted in a holistic manner—showing that all action comes in wholes and even pointed to the intrinsic wholeness of reality whereby everything is non-locally interconnected immediately.

Phil wondered if this unifying endeavor by which everything is simultaneously connected was a new kind of substance—a primal formative substance.

Suddenly an angel appeared in Phil’s office. “I suspect you will not be overly startled by my appearance,” said the angel, “since you are currently contemplating the startling dynamics of fundamental reality.”

“Either my brain is overworked or I have tapped into a new level of my mind,” said the physicist with a strong desire to maintain his objectivity during this unusual event. “Perhaps you can tell me if there is a unifying force or primary substance in the world that is non-physical?”

“There can be no unity and interconnection without some principle of harmony. Holism requires that single things are conjoined universally and the entire universe singularly. All finite things in this world have been created by a God of infinite Love. Therefore, all created things are related to each other from the same non-physical beginning. Every finite thing has an image of itself in every other created thing because all things have perpetual reference to first principles. And, all things are in perpetual effort to consociate and reciprocate as an image of God’s divine character. This is why Nature is in an incessant endeavor to self-organize and create coherent structure and complexity in the manifest universe.

“What is this force and organizing principle that has its origins in a pre-spatial realm?” asked Phil.

“Love,” answered the angel.

“Love? That doesn’t seem like a serious scientific answer,” said Phil.

“I know that you have entertained the idea that consciousness is involved in deepest levels of reality. But consciousness and intelligence have their origins in something deeper—they are derivatives of Love,” explained the angel.

“Prove it,” challenged Phil.

The angel moved closer to Phil and put his hand on the scientist’s head. This put Phil into a confused state of mind. He could no longer focus on anything and even felt deprived of life. Then the angel brought Phil back to his customary mental state.

“What did you do to me?” asked Phil.

“I temporally removed all affection and passion from your mind,” explained the angel. “It is Love that forms a person’s values and focuses one’s attention in the circumfluent world. It is Love that organizes and forges the things we value most in our memory into our worldview and belief system. Love organizes everything in your brain as well as everything in the universe. The essence of Love is to unify. You sir, have organized everything in your own life in a way that harmonizes with your love of science,” said the angel with a wonderful, glowing smile.

“Can the operation of Love be submitted to mathematics and be studied as an exact science?” asked Phil.

“Yes, but such a knowledge is not learned from the world,” said the angel in a more serious tone. “Such a mastery of science is the connate knowledge of the higher, spiritual mind, which angels enjoy.”

“I am willing to do whatever it takes to achieve such a knowledge,” said Phil.

Suddenly a wonderful tree with great girth appeared before Phil and the angel. However, the tree was guarded by a large, terrifying-looking, Cherubim, swinging a flaming sword. The angel pointed to the tree.

“Get past him and you will receive the great knowledge,” said the angel.

 

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Use is The Neighbor

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Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The uses through which men and angels have wisdom

To love uses is nothing else than to love the neighbor, for use in the spiritual sense is the neighbor. This can be seen from the fact that everyone loves another not because of his face and body, but from his will and understanding; he loves one who has a good will and a good understanding, and does not love one with a good will and a bad understanding, or with a good understanding and a bad will.  And as a man is loved or not loved for these reasons, it follows that the neighbor is that from which everyone is a man, and that is his spiritual.  Place ten men before your eyes that you may choose one of them to be your associate in any duty or business; will you first find out about them and choose the one who comes nearest to your use?  Therefore he is your neighbor, and is loved more than the others.  Or become acquainted with ten maidens with the purpose of choosing one of them for your wife; do you not at first ascertain the character of each one, and if she consents betroth to you the one that you love?  That one is more your neighbor than the others.  If you should say to yourself, “Every man is my neighbor, and is therefore to be loved without distinction,” a devil-man and an angel-man or a harlot and a virgin might be equally loved. Use is the neighbor, because every man is valued and loved not for his will and understanding alone, but for the uses he performs or is able to perform from these. Therefore a man of use is a man according to his use; and a man not of use is a man not a man, for of such a man it is said that he is not useful for anything; and although in this world he may be tolerated in a community so long as he lives from what is his own, after death when he becomes a spirit he is cast out into a desert.

Man, therefore, is such as his use is. But uses are manifold; in general they are heavenly or infernal.

Heavenly uses are those that are serviceable more or less, or more nearly or remotely, to the church, to the country, to society, and to a fellow-citizen, for the sake of these as ends;

…but infernal uses are those that are serviceable only to the man himself and those dependent on him; and if serviceable to the church, to the country, to society, or to a fellow citizen, it is not for the sake of these as ends, but for the sake of self as the end.

And yet everyone ought from love, though not from self-love, to provide the necessaries and requisites of life for himself and those dependent on him.

When man loves uses by doing them in the first place, and loves the world and self in the second place, the former constitutes his spiritual and the latter his natural; and the spiritual rules, and the natural serves. This makes evident what the spiritual is, and what the natural is. This is the meaning of the Lord’s words in Matthew:

Seek ye first the kingdom of the heavens* and its justice, and all things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).

“The kingdom of the heavens” means the Lord and His church, and “justice” means spiritual, moral, and civil good; and every good that is done from the love of these is a use. Then “all things shall be added,” because when use is in the first place, the Lord, from whom is all good, is in the first place and rules, and gives whatever contributes to eternal life and happiness; for, as has been said, all things of the Lord’s Divine providence pertaining to man look to what is eternal. “All things that shall be added” refer to food and raiment, because food means everything internal that nourishes the soul, and raiment everything external that like the body clothes it. Everything internal has reference to love and wisdom, and everything external to wealth and eminence. All this makes clear what is meant by loving uses for the sake of uses, and what the uses are from which man has wisdom, from which and according to which wisdom everyone has eminence and wealth in heaven.

(Apocalypse Explained 1193)
May 24, 2017
* Photolithograph has “kingdom of the heavens.” Schmidius also has it. The Greek is “Kingdom of God.”

Is There Life After Death?

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Spiritual Topics

By Rev. Ian Arnold

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The Bible on Life After Death

I’ve written about the findings of Drs. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and Raymond Moody, both of whom have worked for years with patients who, after being revived from clinical death, have recounted what happened to them during the experience. I’ve also studied and written about “Heaven and Hell”, written by Emanuel Swedenborg in 1758, which contains so much that bears out the reality of what these people described.

Inevitably, in thinking about the afterlife, questions arise about what is said on the subject in the Bible. People tend to think that the Bible says practically nothing about the life after death, and the churches on the whole, tend to teach a ‘wait and see’ attitude. Even Dr. Moody, in the second part of his book, “Life after Life”, where he looks at the Bible for possible parallels to the experiences his patients described, fails to mention what, at least as I see them, are some of the most significant of all things said there.

I want you, if you will, to quietly consider the following:

Jesus said: “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14 :1-3).

As you think about these words ask yourself, what could Jesus have meant by His Father’s house but some kind of higher life? These are very beautiful words. Full of promise and wonderfully reassuring. Where Christ is, there we shall be.

In another Gospel, Matthew, chapter 22, the Sadducees (who, by the way, did not believe in the resurrection or in survival after death) had been trying to trap the Lord, using a ridiculous example to try to make fun of the whole idea. At the end of this particular encounter with them, the Lord said these words: “And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22: 31-33). It’s so easy for us to miss the point here. Here was a group of people who stoutly denied the resurrection. As far as they were concerned, and though they revered the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they were dead. Not so, said Jesus. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. They are not dead. They are alive today, though in the spiritual world.

And then we come to Luke’s Gospel, to the description there of the crucifixion. One of the criminals crucified alongside Jesus railed at Him, it is said. The other defended Him and turned to Jesus asking him to remember him when He came to His Kingdom. And (Jesus) said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”. They are startling words, aren’t they? “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

It by no means ends here. I want to refer you to a parable. Now I know that some people dismiss the parables as illustrations, the accuracy and teaching of which can be questioned. Is it, though, likely that Jesus would have used something, inaccurate and fanciful, even though it only be in a parable? For myself I can’t believe He would. In any case, listen to what He said. It is the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19-31.

“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, he saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. And he called out, Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us’. And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment’. But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent’. He said to him, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.” (Luke 16: 19-31).

Let me say again that though a parable, yet I believe – and a strong case can be made out to this effect – that the Lord was here drawing on essentially real life experiences as He did of course in His other parables. The sad thing, is that it has been neglected for the wealth of information it contains about life after death. Here, in fact, are just some of the points made. The parable takes for granted that resurrection and awakening in the spiritual world follows on after death. Lazarus died and he was taken up into Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and found himself in hell. There is no suggestion of an interval of years. No mention of a last judgment with which many have associated resurrection from the dead. The person goes on living though now in another realm. It’s interesting also that the character people form for themselves in this world goes with them into the next. Death doesn’t change people….it doesn’t change us as to the person we really are inside.

And this raises the whole question of the purpose of our life in this world. Swedenborg explains that whilst the Lord wishes to ultimately bring us all into heaven and to bless our lives with heavenly happiness, yet we must choose this life ourselves. And that, in a very real sense, is why we are here. The kind of person we freely choose to be in this world, selfish or unselfish, greedy for ourselves or more considerate for the well-being of others, is the person we will remain. As the tree falls so it lies. And after death we shall take ourselves to people like-minded to ourselves and with whom we are happiest and most at ease. It is sometimes fondly thought and hoped that when we die we will change. We will be different people. We will get about doing the things and being the person we never got around to being here. But we won’t. Once the surprise and novelty wears off, we will be our old selves once again. It’s always the way. It’s worth dwelling on this for a moment. Another popular idea is that after death we will be called to give account of ourselves and will be judged and sent one way or the other whether we like it or not. But nothing whatever is said to this effect in the parable. Lazarus died and went to heaven. The rich man died and went to hell. They took themselves there, to all intents and purposes. Their lives or the type of person they on earth had chosen to be, determined where they would go.

I remember an older friend of mine saying some years ago… indeed, pointing out the obvious… that in a hundred years from now everyone alive today, adults and children (with a few exceptions, of course) will be dead. And that wasn’t said as some kind of doomsday forecast or in any morbid way. It is a fact. We are all going to die. And it’s useful and healthy to talk calmly about the fact. But while the body dies and is discarded the mind or spirit within, which is the essential person we are, goes on living, just as the parable describes. And that doesn’t mean some disembodied existence. Lazarus and the rich man were just as much people after death as they had been before. The rich man remembered his brothers. “After the death of the body” wrote Swedenborg, “the spirit of a person appears in the spiritual world in a human form, altogether as it appeared in the natural world.”

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GLORY >> Interior Meaning of the Word of the Lord in Heaven >> Divine Truth

gl1ory And the glory of Jehovah tarried upon Mount Sinai. That this signifies the interior things of the Word of the Lord in heaven, is evident from the signification of “the glory of  Jehovah,” when said of the Word, as being its internal sense, thus the interior things of the Word (see the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 5922); and from the signification of “Mount Sinai,” as being Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, and consequently heaven (of which above, n. 9420, 9427). That the interior things of the Word are called “glory” is because the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord as a sun is the light in heaven which gives sight to the angels there, and at the same time intelligence and wisdom (n. 1531, 1619-1632, 2776, 3138, 3167, 3190, 3195, 3339, 3341, 3636, 3643, 3862, 3993, 4302, 4415, 4527, 5400, 6313, 6608, 6905, 6907, 8644, 8707, 8861). From this Divine light is all the glory in heaven, which is such as to surpass all human apprehension. From this it is plain why the internal sense of the Word is meant by “glory;” for the internal sense of the Word is the Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord in heaven, thus is the light from which is all the glory there.

[2] This is meant by “glory” in many passages of the Word, as that they should “see the Son of man in a cloud with glory” (Matt. 24:30; Luke 21:27); and that the Lord, after He had suffered, was to “enter into His glory” (Luke 24:26); that “when He should come in His glory, He would sit upon the throne of His glory” (Matt. 25:31), where “to sit upon the throne of glory” denotes to judge from the Divine truth which is from Himself; also that “Moses and Elias were seen in glory” (Luke 9:30, 31); that “Moses and Elias” here denote the Word, see the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 2762, 5247, 9372. The same is also meant by the “glorification” of the Lord, in John: “Now hath the Son of man been glorified, and God hath been glorified in Him. God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him” (John 13:31-32); “to be glorified in God” denotes to become Divine good, from which is Divine truth. In like manner in John 12:38.

[3] By “glory” is signified the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord such as it is in heaven, also in the following passages:

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah. And the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see together (Isa. 40:3, 5);
treating of the coming of the Lord; where “the glory of Jehovah which shall be revealed” denotes the Divine truth. That the Lord is this truth, because it is from Him, is manifest in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. He was the true light. And the Word was made flesh, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only begotten of the Father (John 1:1, 4, 9, 14).

Here “the Word” denotes the Divine truth; in like manner “the light;” from which it is plain what is meant by “beholding His glory.” That the Lord did not appear in any other glory in the world, except when He was transfigured, is known. [4] In like manner in another passage in John:

These things said Isaiah, when he saw His glory, and spoke of Him. But they loved the glory of men more than the glory of God. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in Me may not remain in the darkness (John 12:41, 43, 46);

here also the “glory of the Lord,” and the “glory of God,” denote the Divine truth, and the “glory of men” denotes falsity. In Isaiah:

Shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of Jehovah is risen upon thee. . . . Jehovah shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. . . . The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee . . . to adorn the place of My sanctuary. . . . Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon wane; for Jehovah shall be unto thee for a light of eternity (Isa. 60).
It is evident that the subject here treated of is the Lord’s coming, His kingdom, heaven, and the church. The Divine truth proceeding from His Divine Human is described in this whole chapter, and is called, “light,” “honor,” and “glory.”

[5] Again:

They shall fear the name of Jehovah from the setting of the sun, and His glory from the rising of the sun. The Redeemer shall come to Zion (Isa. 59:19, 20);
here also the Lord is treated of; “the name of Jehovah” denotes all the truth of faith and good of love from which is worship (n. 2724, 3006, 6674, 9310). Again:
I have called thee in righteousness, and I will give thee for a covenant to the people, for a light of the Gentiles. I am Jehovah; this is My name; and My glory will I not give to another (Isa. 42:6, 8);

here also treating of the Lord, where “a light of the Gentiles” denotes the Divine truth which is from Him; “not to give His glory to another,” denotes that this Divine truth proceeds from no other than the Lord, who is one with Jehovah. As also in the same:

For Mine own sake, for Mine own sake, will I do it, and My glory will I not give to another (Isa. 48:11).

[6] In like manner elsewhere:

Thy light shall break forth as the dawn; thy righteousness shall walk before thee; the glory of Jehovah shall gather thee (Isa. 58:8).
He shall come to gather together all nations and tongues; that they may come, and see My glory (Isa. 66:18).
Jehovah Zebaoth shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before the elders shall be His glory (Isa. 24:23).
Jehovah said, I live; and all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Jehovah (Num. 14:20, 21).

In these passages the Lord is treated of, and the “glory” denotes the Divine truth that is from Him.

[7] Again:

I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up. Above Him stood the seraphim. And one cried unto another, Holy, holy, holy, Jehovah Zebaoth, the fullness of all the earth is His glory (Isa. 6:1-3).
The heavens recount the glory of God (Ps. 19:1).
That the nations may fear the name of Jehovah, and the kings of the earth Thy glory; in that Jehovah hath built up Zion, and hath appeared in His glory (Ps. 102:15, 16).
The glory of God shall enlighten the Holy Jerusalem, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof. And the nations that are saved shall walk in her light; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it (Rev. 21:23-24).

“The holy Jerusalem” denotes the New Church; “the glory of God,” the Divine truth from the Lord therein; in like manner “her light in which they shall walk;” “the kings of the earth who shall bring their glory,” denote those who are in truths from good (n. 2015, 2069, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148). From all this it can now be seen what is signified by “the glory of Jehovah which tarried upon Mount Sinai” (see also n. 8427). [AC9429]

And ye shall tell my father all my glory in Egypt. That this signifies the communication of the spiritual heaven in the natural with spiritual good, is evident from the signification of “telling,” as being to communicate; from the signification of “glory,” as being the spiritual heaven (of which below); from the signification of “Egypt,” as being the memory-knowledges in the natural, thus the natural (as above, n. 5908); and from the representation of Israel, who is here the “father” with whom communication was to be made, as being spiritual good (of which above, n. 5906). From this it is plain that by “Ye shall tell my father all my glory in Egypt” is signified the communication of the spiritual heaven in the natural with spiritual good.

[2] In regard to “glory” denoting the spiritual heaven, the case is this. There are two kingdoms of which heaven consists, namely, the celestial kingdom and the spiritual kingdom. The celestial kingdom is the inmost or third heaven, and the spiritual kingdom is the middle or second heaven. The good in which the celestial are is called celestial good, and the good in which the spiritual are is called spiritual good. Celestial good is the good of love to the Lord, and spiritual good is the good of love toward the neighbor. In regard to the conjunction of these two kingdoms, it is the good of charity toward the neighbor which conjoins them. For the internal of those who are in the celestial kingdom is love to the Lord, and their external is charity toward the neighbor; but the internal of those who are in the spiritual kingdom is charity toward the neighbor, and their external is faith therefrom. From this it is apparent that the conjunction of these two kingdoms is effected through charity toward the neighbor, for in this the celestial kingdom terminates, and from this the spiritual kingdom begins. Thus the last of the one is the first of the other, and in this way they mutually take hold of each other.

[3] It shall now be told what “glory” is. “Glory” in the supreme sense is the Lord as to Divine truth, thus it is the Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord. But “glory” in the representative sense is the good of love toward the neighbor, or charity, which is the external good of the celestial kingdom and the internal good of the spiritual kingdom of the Lord, for this good in a genuine sense is the Divine truth in heaven. And because Israel is here treated of, who is spiritual good, or charity, which makes the spiritual kingdom in the heavens and the spiritual church on earth, therefore here by the “glory” of Joseph, which they were to tell Israel, is meant the spiritual heaven. The spiritual heaven is called “glory” because whatever is there appears in light, in brightness, and in radiance.

[4] That “glory” is predicated of the Divine truth which is from the Divine Human of the Lord, and that it is attributed to the Lord as a king (for in the internal sense the “royalty” is Divine truth, n. 1728, 2015, 2069, 3009, 3670, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068), is evident in John:

But the Word was made flesh, and dwelt in us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14);

the “Word” is Divine truth, and as this proceeds from the Lord, it is the Lord Himself; and hence “glory” is predicated of Divine truth.

[5] In Luke, when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain:

Behold there talked with Him two men, who were Moses and Elias; who were seen in glory (Luke 9:30, 31);

there the Lord showed Peter, James, and John His Divine Human, such as it was and appeared in Divine light; and the form in which He was then seen presented to view the Word such as it is in the internal sense, thus such as is the Divine truth in heaven, for the Word is Divine truth for the use of the church. For this reason it was also presented to view at the same time that Moses and Elias talked with Him, for by Moses is represented the Law, by which are meant the books of Moses with the historical books, and by Elias, are represented the Prophets, or the prophetic Word; that by “Moses” is meant the Law may be seen in the preface to Genesis 18 (also n. 4859e), and that by “Elias” is meant the prophetic Word, in the same preface (also n. 2762, 5247e).

[6] In Matthew:

They shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory (Matt. 24:30);

that the literal sense of the Word is a “cloud,” and the internal sense “glory,” consequently Divine truth such as is in heaven, may also be seen in the preface to Genesis 18; and that “glory” is the intelligence and wisdom which belong to Divine truth (n. 4809). The Word as to the external sense is in a cloud, for the reason that human minds are in darkness; and therefore unless the Word were in a cloud, it would be understood by scarcely anyone, and moreover the holy things which belong to the internal sense would be profaned by evil people in the world. Therefore the Lord says in Isaiah:

Jehovah will create over every dwelling-place of Mount Zion, and over her assemblies, a cloud by day, and the shining of a flame of fire by night; for over all the glory there shall be a covering. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shade in the daytime (Isa. 4:5, 6).

[7] Hence also it was that over the tabernacle there appeared a cloud by day and a fire by night, because the tabernacle represented the Divine Human of the Lord, consequently the Divine truth which proceeds from Him, thus the Word which is the Divine truth of the church (see n. 3210, 3439). The like is signified by these words in Moses:

The cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of Jehovah filled the habitation (Exod. 40:34).

Again:

The glory of Jehovah appeared in the tent of meeting before all the sons of Israel (Num. 14:10).

And elsewhere:

The cloud covered the tent, and the glory of Jehovah appeared (Num. 16:42).

[8] In like manner the “cloud” and the “glory” upon Mount Sinai, of which thus in Moses:

When Moses went up into the mountain, the cloud covered the mountain, and the glory of Jehovah abode upon Mount Sinai six days (Exod. 24:15, 16).

These things also were represented, because the Law, which is Divine truth, was promulgated from that mountain. That the cloud and the glory of Jehovah were seen when Moses went up into the mountain was because he therein represented the Law, that is, the historic Word. Therefore it is sometimes said “Moses and the Prophets” or “the Law and the Prophets,” and by the “Law” are meant the books of Moses with the rest of the historic books, but not the prophets, because this Word was represented by Elias and Elisha; for there is the historic Word and the prophetic, as is known. Wherefore when the Word is called “the Law and the Prophets,” by the “Law” is meant the historic Word, and by the “Prophets” the prophetic Word.

[9] The Divine truth was also represented by the brightness as of a rainbow in the cloud around the cherubs and above them, in Ezekiel, where we read:

I saw an appearance of fire, as it were a brightness round about; as the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain; this was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Jehovah (Ezek. 1:27, 28);

and it is also called:

The glory of Jehovah and the glory of the God of Israel (Ezek. 8:4; 10:18, 19; 11:22, 23);

it is called the “glory of Jehovah” relatively to the inmost heaven, and the “glory of the God of Israel” relatively to the middle or spiritual heaven. That Divine truth in the heavens appears in glory is because truth itself in the spiritual heaven appears before the eyes as a bright cloud (which has also been granted me sometimes to see), and the good within this truth appears there as fiery. Thus the cloud variegated by fire presents the wonderful aspects which are “glory” in the external sense. But “glory” in the internal sense is intelligence and wisdom; these also are what are represented by it.

[10] That Divine truth, from which are all wisdom and intelligence, as well as the appearance of a variegated cloud before the external sight, is “glory,” is evident also from these passages:

Jehovah said, Living am I, and the whole earth shall be filled with the glory of Jehovah (Num. 14:21);

this was said by Jehovah when the Israelitish people were disowned, and it was said that only their little ones should come into the land of Canaan. Under these circumstances, by “the whole earth being filled with the glory of Jehovah” was signified that in the representatives of the church with them, and in the Word, which for the most part treated of them, there should be the glory of Jehovah, with which the whole heaven should be filled, and thence the holy things of the church.

[11] In Isaiah:

The seraphim cried, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah Zebaoth; the fullness of all the earth is His glory (Isa. 6:3).

Again:

The glory of Jehovah shall he revealed, and all flesh shall see together (Isa. 40:5).

Again:

Wherefore give glory to Jehovah in the Urim, in the islands of the sea to the name of Jehovah the God of Israel (Isa. 24:15); “the Urim” denotes the light which is from the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord; the “islands of the sea,” those who are more remote from truth (n. 1158).

[12] Again:

The glory of Lebanon has been given to it, the honor of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of Jehovah, the honor of our God (Isa. 35:2);

“Lebanon” denotes the spiritual church; “Carmel and Sharon” the celestial church; of the latter is predicated the “glory of Jehovah” when there is meant celestial truth, which is charity; of the former is predicated the “honor of the God of Israel” when there is meant spiritual good, which also is charity.

[13] Again:

Arise, be lighted up, for thy light is come, and the glory of Jehovah hath arisen upon thee. For behold darkness covereth the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but Jehovah shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee (Isa.60:1, 2);

speaking of the Lord, who is called a “light,” (as in John 1:4, 9); and it is said that upon Him shall arise the “glory of Jehovah,” that is, that the Divine truth is His. In like manner in the same prophet:

For Mine own sake, for Mine own sake, will I do it; for how should it be profaned? My glory I give not to another (Isa. 48:11);

here also speaking of the Lord; “glory” in the highest sense denotes the Divine Human, thus also the Divine truth, because this is therefrom; “not to give His glory to another” is to give it to the Divine Human only, which is one with Himself.

[14] And in the Revelation:

The holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven; having the glory of God; and her luminary was like unto a stone most precious (Rev. 21:10, 11);

“the holy city Jerusalem” is the Lord’s spiritual kingdom in the heavens, and His spiritual church on earth, of both of which “glory” is predicated; the “luminary” is truth from the Divine.

[15] As in the Word Divine truth is represented by royalty, the Lord as to Divine truth being represented by kings (see the passages cited just above), therefore to it as to a king is attributed “glory,” as in David:

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye doors of the world; that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? Jehovah strong and a hero; Jehovah a hero of war. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and lift up O doors of the world; that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? Jehovah Zebaoth, He is the King of glory (Ps. 24:7-10).

In Isaiah:

Jehovah Zebaoth will reign in the mountain of Zion, and in Jerusalem; and before His elders glory (Isa. 24:23);

“glory” denotes Divine truth. Jehovah is called “Jehovah Zebaoth,” or “Jehovah of Armies,” where Divine truth is treated of, for by “armies” are signified truths (see n. 3448).

[16] And as by a kingdom was represented Divine truth, therefore the throne upon which kings sat when they judged was called a “throne of glory” (Isa. 22:23; Jer. 14:21; 17:12).

And in Matthew:

The Son of man shall sit on the throne of His glory (Matt. 19:28).

Again:

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 the King shall say to them . . . (Matt. 25:31, 34, 40).
A further reason why a throne is called a “throne of glory” was that judgments were effected from truth. Again:

The Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then shall He render to everyone according to his deeds (Matt. 16:27).

[17] From all this it is also plain what is meant by “glory” in the Lord’s Prayer:

Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever (Matt. 6:13).

The Lord’s spiritual kingdom in the heavens, and His spiritual church on earth, are also called “comeliness”* (Isa. 60:7; 63:15; 64:11; Dan. 8:9; 11:16, 41, 45). Moreover “glory” is mentioned by Joseph because in the highest sense Joseph himself represents the Lord as to the Divine spiritual, that is, the Divine truth; and in the internal sense His spiritual kingdom, and also the good of faith (see n. 3969, 4669, 4723, 4727).

* “Comeliness (decus).” The Hebrew words for “comeliness” in the passages here referred to are in these passages rendered “glory,” “glorious,” “beautiful,” “glorious land,” and “pleasant land,” in the authorized versions of the English Bible. [AC5922]

And he said, Make me see I pray Thy glory. That this signifies the noticing of internal Divine truth in the external is evident from the representation of Moses here as being the external of the church, of worship, and of the Word, not so separate from the internal as with the nation itself (see n. 10563, 10571); from the signification of “making see” as being to take notice (n. 2150, 3764, 4567, 4723, 5400); and from the signification of “the glory of Jehovah” as being the internal of the Word (of which in the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 5922, 9429). From this it is evident that by “Moses said, Make me see I pray Thy glory” is signified the noticing of the internal in the external of the Word, of the church, and of worship.

[2] That these things are signified by the above words can also be seen from the preceding verses of this chapter, for the subject treated of there in the internal sense is the Israelitish nation, and that the church could not be instituted with it, for the reason that they could not receive anything internal. To receive the internal of the church is to receive Divine truth from heaven, and thereby heavenly love. As this is treated of in the internal sense, and yet Moses insisted that Jehovah should bring them into the land of Canaan, whereby is signified the setting up of the church, therefore now Moses says, “Make me see Thy glory,” by which is therefore signified the noticing of internal Divine truth in the external.

[3] That by “the glory of Jehovah” is meant such a Divine as could not be noticed by Moses, is very evident from the verses which follow in this chapter, where it is said that he “could not see the faces of Jehovah” – so is His glory there called out that after He had passed by he should see His back parts, and this from a cleft of the rock; by which is signified that he would take notice only of the external things of the church, of worship, and of the Word, but not of the internal things. That such is the signification of “the glory of Jehovah” is evident from the fact that it is sometimes said that they “saw the glory of Jehovah” when it was a cloud that was so called, as upon Mount Sinai, and over the Tent, and in it (see Exod. 16:10; 24:16, 17; 40:34, 35; Num. 16:42; and elsewhere). By the “cloud” in these passages, which was called “the glory of Jehovah,” is signified the external of the church, of worship, and of the Word; or the sense of the letter of the Word (see the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 4060, 4391, 5922, 6343, 6752, 8106, 8781, 9430, 10551).

[4] The reason why “the glory of Jehovah” signifies the internal of the Word, of the church, and of worship, is that the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, such as it is in heaven, is “the glory of Jehovah;” for the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord appears there as light; and the appearance of the Lord in this light is what is meant in the genuine sense by “the glory of Jehovah.” By the appearance of the Lord are meant all things there which are from the Lord, which are innumerable, and are called by the general term “celestial and spiritual.” That the internal of the Word, of the church, and of worship, is signified by “the glory of Jehovah,” is because it is in this light: but the external is in the light of the world, and therefore this is signified in the Word by a “cloud.” From this it is now evident that the internal sense of the Word is the “glory.”

[5] From all this it can now be seen what is signified by “the glory of Jehovah,” and by His “light,” in the following passages; as in Isaiah:

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of Jehovah is risen upon thee. Behold darkness covereth the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but Jehovah shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. The nations shall walk to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Thy sun shall no more go down, and thy moon shall not be withdrawn, for Jehovah shall be unto thee an everlasting light (Isa. 60:1-3, 20).

0015The coming of the Lord is here treated of; the “light” denotes the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord; and “His glory,” and “the brightness of His rising,” denote all that which appears in this light concerning the Lord, and concerning faith and love to Him; “the darkness and thick darkness which cover the earth and the peoples,” denote the obscurities of faith and of love; for these words are said of the setting up of the church among the nations. Hence it follows that by “the light and the glory which were to arise and were to be seen, and to which they should walk,” are signified Divine truths concerning the Lord and concerning faith and love to Him from Him.

[6] Again:

I, Jehovah, have called thee in righteousness, and have given thee for a covenant to the people, for a light of the nations; I am Jehovah; this is My name; and My glory will I not give to another (Isa. 42:6, 8).

Here also the Lord is treated of, who is called “the light of the nations” because from Him is all Divine truth; and He is called “the glory of Jehovah” because in Him is everything of faith and of love. Again:

Thy light shall break forth as the dawn; My righteousness shall walk before thee; the glory of Jehovah shall gather thee (Isa. 58:8);
where the meaning is similar.

[7] Again:

Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, be ye delighted with the brightness of her glory (Isa. 66:10, 11).

“Jerusalem” in this passage, as in others, denotes the church; and “the brightness of her glory” denotes the love of truth from the Lord. In Zechariah:
I will be to them a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her (Zech. 2:5);

speaking here also of Jerusalem, which denotes the church; “the glory in the midst of her” denotes the Lord Himself as to all things of truth and good, which are of faith and love. It is evident that by “glory” in the above passages are meant those things which belong to Divine light.

[8] In like manner as in John:

The holy Jerusalem had the glory of God; and her luminary was like unto a stone most precious. The glory of God did lighten it, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb. And the nations which are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates thereof shall not be shut by day, for there shall be no night there (Rev. 21:10, 11, 23-25).

“The holy Jerusalem” here denotes the church which will succeed that of this day. The things that belong to the church, and which are of faith in and love to the Lord from the Lord, are described by the “luminary,” by the “light,” and by the “glory.” As by “glory” are meant the things of the light, it is said that “the glory of God shall lighten it.” Everyone who reflects and who looks at the things themselves, and does not stick in the mere words, can see that by all these things are signified such as belong to the church; but the internal sense teaches what is signified by each particular; for in the Word nothing is said in vain, not even a syllable.

[9] In Luke:

Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples, a light for the unveiling of the nations, and the glory of Thy people Israel (Luke 2:30-32).

These words occur in the prophecy of Simeon concerning the Lord who was then born; “a light for the unveiling of the nations” denotes the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord; and “the glory of Thy people Israel” denotes all that which was revealed by the Lord concerning Himself, and concerning faith in and love to Him with those who receive. All this is called “glory” because it appears in heaven and in the light there, which light is Divine truth. By “the sons of Israel” are meant those who are in faith and love to the Lord.

[10] That “the light,” denotes the Lord as to Divine truth, and that so also does “the glory” which is of the light, is evident from the words of the Lord Himself in John:
They loved the glory of men more than the glory of God. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth in Me may not abide in darkness (John 12:43, 46).
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. That was the true Light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father (John 1:1, 9, 14).

“The Word” denotes the Divine truth, and so also does “the Light;” and “the glory” denotes all that which appears concerning the Lord in this light.

[11] These passages have been quoted from the Word because in them “the glory” and “the light” are mentioned together, and they have been quoted to the end that it may be known that “the light” denotes the Divine truth from the Lord, thus the Lord Himself as to Divine truth; and that “the glory” denotes everything which is of the light, consequently everything from Divine truth which makes intelligence and wisdom with the angels, and with men who receive the Lord in faith and love. The like is signified by “glory” elsewhere, as in these passages:

I will that where I am, they also may be with Me; that they may see My glory (John 17:24).
Ought not Christ to suffer this, and to enter into His glory? (Luke 24:26).
Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man; and then shall all the tribes of the earth wail, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory (Matt. 24:30).

[12] By the “clouds” here is meant Divine truth such as it is in the light of the world, thus such as it is with men; and by “glory” is meant Divine truth such as it is in the light of heaven, thus such as it is with the angels. And as Divine truth is meant by “cloud” and by “glory,” therefore the Word is meant in respect to the external sense and to the internal sense; in respect to the external sense by “cloud,” and in respect to the internal sense by “glory.” Moreover, that which appears in the light of the world is a cloud relatively to that which appears in the light of heaven. (That a “cloud” has this signification may be seen in the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 4060, 4391, 5922, 6343, 6752, 8106, 8443, 8781, 9430, 10551.)

[13] From this it is that a cloud also is called “glory” in the Word; as in these passages:

The glory of Jehovah appeared in the cloud (Exod. 16:10).
The glory of Jehovah dwelt upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. But the appearance of the glory of Jehovah was like a devouring fire on the head of the mountain before the eyes of the sons of Israel (Exod. 24:16, 17).
The cloud covered the Tent of meeting, and the glory of Jehovah filled the Habitation. And Moses was not able to enter, because the cloud dwelt thereon and the glory of Jehovah filled the Habitation (Exod. 40:34, 35).
When the assembly was gathered together against Moses and against Aaron, and looked toward the Tent of meeting, behold the cloud covered it, and the glory of Jehovah appeared (Num. 16:42).
The cloud filled the house of Jehovah, so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; because the glory of Jehovah filled the house of Jehovah (1 Kings 8:10, 11).
The temple was filled with smoke and the glory of God (Rev. 15:8).

[14] As the Divine appeared like a cloud, therefore by a “cloud” is signified the Divine presence, and where the Divine presence is, there is the Divine truth, for without this truth the Divine does not appear, because it is in it, and is it. Hence it is that in these passages a cloud is called “glory,” nor could it appear otherwise to the Israelitish nation, because they were in external things without what is internal (n. 6832, 8814, 8819, 10551). Nevertheless “cloud” and “glory” are distinguished from each other as are the light of the world and the light of heaven, or as are the sense of the letter of the Word and its internal sense, and as are human wisdom and angelic wisdom. From all this it can now be seen that by Moses saying, “Make me see I pray thy glory” is signified that the internal Divine might be shown him; and as Moses represented the external of the church, of worship, and of the Word, there is signified the noticing of internal Divine truth in this external. [AC10574]

And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of Jehovah. That this signifies that in the beginning of a new state there will be the advent of the Lord, is evident from the signification of “morning,” as being the beginning of a new state (of which just above, n. 8426); and from the signification of “the glory of Jehovah,” as being His presence and advent. That “glory” denotes the presence and the advent of the Lord, is because in the supreme sense “glory” denotes the Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord, and the Divine truth appears before the eyes of the angels as light and brightness from the Sun which is the Lord. (That “glory” denotes the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, see n. 5922, 8267; and that it denotes the intelligence and wisdom which are from Divine truth, n. 4809; and that from this it denotes the internal sense of the Word, because this sense is Divine truth in glory, n. 5922.)

[2] It is said that “in the morning they should see the glory of Jehovah,” because the rising of the sun and the light from it (which light in heaven enlightens the angelic sight both external and internal), and consequently the presence and the advent of the Lord, who is the Sun in heaven, corresponds to the time of morning on the earth, and is here signified by “morning.” Therefore that light from the Sun, which light is the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, thus is the Lord, is “glory.” From all this it is evident that by “glory” is signified the presence and the advent of the Lord. That these are “glory,” is also evident from many passages in the Word; as in Moses:

The cloud covered the mount, and the glory of Jehovah abode upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; the appearance of the glory of Jehovah was like devouring fire on the top of the mount before the eyes of the sons of Israel (Exod. 24:15-17);

it is evident that the presence of Jehovah, that is, of the Lord, appearing like a cloud and like fire upon the mount, is here called “the glory of Jehovah.” Again:

The cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle. And Moses could not enter into the tent of meeting, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle (Exod. 40:34-35);

here also the presence of the Lord appearing as a cloud is called “glory.”

[3] And in the following:

Moses and Aaron entered into the tent of meeting, and came out, and blessed the people; then appeared the glory of Jehovah toward the whole people (Lev. 9:23).
The glory of Jehovah appeared in the tent of meeting before all the sons of Israel (Num. 14:10; also 16:19, 42).
The cloud filled the house of Jehovah, so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; because the glory of Jehovah filled the house of Jehovah (1 Kings 8:10, 11).

The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; so that no one could enter into the temple (Rev. 15:8).
He showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, coming down from heaven from God, having the glory of God: the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof (Rev. 21:10, 11, 23);

here “the glory of God” manifestly denotes light from the Lord, which is the Divine truth proceeding from Him, thus the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is present in the truth which is from Him.

[4] That “the glory of Jehovah” denotes His presence, is further evident in Moses:

Moses said unto Jehovah, Show me I pray Thy glory; to whom he said, I will make all My good pass before thee; and when My glory shall pass by, it shall be that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand until I have passed by; but when I shall take away My hand thou shall see My back parts, and My faces shall not be seen (Exod. 33:18 to the end).

Here also “the glory of Jehovah” manifestly denotes His presence. In Matthew:

The disciples said unto Jesus, Tell us what shall be the sign of Thy coming? Jesus said, Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory (24:3, 30);

the last time of the former church and the first time of the new church is here treated of; “the Son of man” denotes truth Divine proceeding from the Lord; “the clouds of heaven” denote the Word in the sense of the letter; “power and glory” denote the internal sense, thus the Divine truth which shall then appear; “the coming of the Lord” denotes the acknowledgment of truth Divine by those who are of the new church, and the denial of it by those who are of the old church (see n. 4060).

[5] That the Lord as to Divine truth is “glory,” is evident in Isaiah:

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah; the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together (40:3, 5);
speaking of the Lord, who is “the glory.” In John:

The Word became flesh, and dwelt in us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (1:14).
These things said Isaiah, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him (12:41);
here “glory” denotes the Lord. In like manner in Moses:
I am living, and the whole earth shall be filled with the glory of Jehovah (Num. 14:21);
here “the glory of Jehovah” denotes the advent of the Lord, and enlightenment by the Divine truth which is from Him.

[6] “Glory” denotes the Divine of the Lord in these passages:

I am Jehovah, this is My name, and My glory will I not give to another (Isa. 42:8).
When the Son of man cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels (Mark 8:38).
It behooved the Christ to suffer, and to enter into His glory (24:26).

As by “the glory of Jehovah” is signified the Lord as to Divine truth, so also by “glory” are signified the Divine wisdom and intelligence, which are of the Divine truth from the Lord. Wisdom and intelligence from the Divine are meant by “glory” in Ezekiel 1:28; 8:4; 9:3; 10:4, 18, 19; 11:22, 23, which was represented there by a rainbow such as is seen in a cloud.[AC8427]

And give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come, signifies acknowledgment and confession that every truth of the Word, from which the church is a church, is from the Lord, according to which every man will be judged. That “to give glory to Him” signifies to acknowledge and confess that all truth is from the Lord, may be seen above (n. 249). And as every truth, from which the church is a church, is from the Word, therefore the truth of the Word is meant. “For the hour of His judgment is come,” signifies, because every man will be judged according to the truth of the Word. This is signified, because by “giving glory to Him” is signified to acknowledge and confess that every truth of the Word is from the Lord, and it is now said, “For the hour of the judgment is come,” and “for” involves this as the cause.

That the truth of the Word will judge everyone, may be seen above (n. 233, 273); and that the church is from the Word, and its quality is according to its understanding of the Word, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture (n. 76- 79). From these things it is evident that such is the spiritual sense of these words. The reason why it is such is because the angels of heaven by “glory” perceive nothing else than the Divine truth, and because all Divine truth is from the Lord, by “giving glory to Him,” they perceive to acknowledge and confess that all truth is from Him. For all glory in the heavens is from no other source, and so far as a society of heaven is in the Divine truth, so far all things there are resplendent, and so far the angels are in the splendor of glory.

[2] That by “glory” is meant the Divine truth, may appear from the following passages:

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah; the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see (Isa. 40:3, 5).
Shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of Jehovah is risen upon thee. Jehovah shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee (Isa. 60:1 to the end).
I will give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles, and My glory I will not give to another (Isa. 42:6, 8).
For Mine own sake, even for Mine own sake I will do it, and I will not give My glory to another (Isa. 48:11).
They shall fear His glory from the rising of the sun, and the Redeemer shall come to Zion (Isa. 59:19-20).
Thy light shall break forth as the dawn, the glory of Jehovah shall gather thee (Isa. 58:8).
I will come to gather all nations and tongues, that they may see My glory (Isa. 66:18).
And Jehovah said, As I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Jehovah (Num. 14:21).
The fullness of all the earth is His glory (Isa. 6:3).
In the beginning was the Word, and God was the Word. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men; that was the true light; and the Word was made flesh, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father (John 1:1, 4, 9, 14).
These things said Isaiah, when he saw His glory (John 12:41).
And they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with glory (Matt. 24:3, 30).
The heavens declare the glory of God (Ps. 19:1).
And the nations shall fear the name of Jehovah, and the kings of the earth Thy glory. For He hath built up Zion, and hath appeared in His glory (Ps. 102:15-16).
The glory of God shall enlighten the holy Jerusalem, and her lamp is the Lamb, and the nations which are saved shall walk in the light of it (Rev. 21:23-24).
The Son of man shall come in His glory. He shall sit upon the throne of His glory (Matt. 25:31; Mark 8:38).
That the glory of Jehovah filled and covered the tabernacle (Exod. 40:34, 35; Lev. 9:23, 24; Num. 14:10-12; 16:19, 42).
That it filled the house of Jehovah, 1 Kings 8:10-11: and other places, as Isa. 24:23; Ezek. 1:28; 8:4; 9:3; 10:4, 18-19; 11:22-23; Luke 2:32; 9:26; John 2:11; 7:18; 17:24). [AR629]

Verse 11. Having the glory of God; and her light was like unto a stone most precious, as it were a jasper stone, shining like crystal, signifies that in that church the Word will be understood, because translucent from its spiritual sense. By “the glory of God” is signified the Word in its Divine light, as will be seen presently; by “its light” is signified the Divine truth therein, for this is meant by light in the Word (n. 796, 799); like a stone most precious, like a jasper stone, “shining like crystal,” signifies the same shining and translucent from its spiritual sense, of which also in what follows. By these words is described the understanding of the Word with those who are in the doctrine of the New Jerusalem, and in a life according to it. With these the Word shines as it were when it is read; it shines from the Lord by means of the spiritual sense, because the Lord is the Word, and the spiritual sense is in the light of heaven which proceeds from the Lord as a sun, and the light which proceeds from the Lord as a sun, is in its essence the Divine truth of His Divine wisdom. That in every particular of the Word there is a spiritual sense, in which the angels are, and from which their wisdom is derived, and that the Word is translucent from the light of that sense to those who are in genuine truths from the Lord, is shown in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture.

[2] That by “the glory of God” is meant the Word in its Divine light, may appear from the following passages:

The Word was made flesh, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father (John 1:14).

That by “glory” is meant the glory of the Word or the Divine truth in Him, is evident, because it is said “the Word was made flesh”; the same is meant by “glory” in what follows, where it is said:

The glory of God did lighten it, and its lamp is the Lamb (John 1:23).

The same is meant by:

The glory in which they will see the Son of man when He shall come in the clouds of heaven (Matt. 24:30; Mark 13:26).

See above (n. 22, 642, 820); nor is anything else meant by:

The throne of glory upon which the Lord will sit when He shall come to the Last Judgment (Mat. 25:31);

because He will judge everyone according to the truths of the Word; wherefore it is also said that “He will come in His glory.” When the Lord was transfigured, it is also said that:

Moses and Elias appeared in glory (Luke 9:30-31).

By “Moses and Elias” is there signified the Word; the Lord also then caused Himself to be seen by the disciples as the Word in its glory. That “glory” signifies the Divine truth, may be seen from many passages of the Word above (n. 629).

[3] The reason why the Word is compared to “a stone most precious, like a jasper stone, shining like crystal,” is because “a precious stone” signifies the Divine truth of the Word (n. 231, 540, 726, 823), and “a jasper stone” signifies the Divine truth of the Word in the sense of the letter, translucent from the Divine truth in the spiritual sense; this is the signification of “a jasper stone” (in Exod. 28:20; Ezek. 28:13), and afterwards in this chapter, where it is said that “the structure of the wall” of the Holy Jerusalem was “jasper” (verse 18); and since the Word in the sense of the letter is translucent from its spiritual sense, it is said, “a jasper shining like crystal,” all enlightenment, which they have who are in Divine truths from the Lord, is thence. [AR897]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG  (1688-1772)

Copyright © 2007-2013 A. J. Coriat All rights reserved.

 

Falsely accused

 

by Rev. John Odhner

“Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’

But he refused. ‘With me in charge,’ he told her, ‘my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?’ And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.”

(Genesis 39: 6-12)

This is the second time Joseph’s garment was torn from him; it is a very symbolic act. Clothing is a symbol of the outward thoughts and feelings that both veil and reveal our deeper desires. Jesus’ clothing was torn from Him at the crucifixion (John 19:23), and earlier in our story Joseph was stripped of his colorful tunic, and now Potiphar’s wife uses Joseph’s garment as evidence against him. How often in arguments do we invalidate, judge or try to control the thoughts and feelings of our companions?

Like Potiphar’s wife we may be eager to experience love as pleasure rather than as service, so we take hold not of love itself but of the trappings of love, the appearance of love, while true love entirely eludes our grasp. Like Potiphar’s wife, we feel affronted. We go from desire to rage, from confidently enjoying our own pleasure, to being the plaintive victim. When people show signs of love, we turn those very signs against them. “You say you love me, so you should make me happy. If you loved me, you would give me what I want.” When love does not go the way we want it to, we are often tempted to use people’s own words against them. “But you said…” is a common piece of our arguments.

False accusations led to Joseph’s imprisonment, and we may find that lies people tell about us put us in an emotional prison. Sometimes these lies are from others, but far more often they come from within us. It’s as if there is part of us that just wants to be honest and faithful and do the best we can, while another part of us is saying, “You are worthless! You are hopeless! You are not compassionate, wise or helpful. You’re just pretending.” As we reach more advanced spiritual states and we may realize that such voices with which we so frequently accuse ourselves are not truly our own, but are borrowed from chance criticisms and comments of past friends and enemies, and kept alive by the influence of demons from hell who always stand ready to muddy our minds with shame, resentment and contempt.

We cannot always defend ourselves against such lies, so we struggle with temptation, doubt and despair. Yet if we act with integrity like Joseph, the time will come when trials will be past and we become the kind of person the Lord sees we can be. Just as Joseph was given new clothes when he got out of prison, the time will come when we will say, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” (Psalm 30:11).

The Rev. John Odhner is an Assistant to the Pastor at the Bryn Athyn Church. For more information, visit www.brynathynchurch.org.

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“All who become angels carry their own heaven deep within themselves, because their love is the love that constitutes their heaven.”

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