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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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).


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).


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


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).


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.


5 Spirits and Human States

Swedenborg Study.comOnline works based on the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

5 Spirits and Human States

“My name is Legion, for we are many.” Mark 5:9

The World of Spirits after the Last Judgment

After the Last Judgment, the spirits who are in the “world of spirits,” or—what is much the same—the spirits who attend man more nearly, are reduced into such an order that they cannot for long arrest the progress of a novitiate spirit, that is, cannot for long evade judgment nor for long hinder him from entering either heaven or hell.

This new order makes it impossible for false religions to establish permanent strongholds in the spiritual world, as was often the case before the last judgment. Spirits from each religion do, as formerly, flock together, and engage in common life and worship. But their doctrines and principles of life are continually challenged, their societies are repeatedly broken up, and the individual spirits are separately judged soon after their death. Within about thirty years, each spirit has passed through the three states of the world of spirits, and enters his heaven or his hell (See LJ 64).

This new order is referred to, when it is stated that in the year 1770, on the nineteenth day of June, after the True Christian Religion had been written out, the Lord sent His twelve disciples into all parts of the spiritual world, proclaiming the gospel that “the Lord Jesus Christ reigneth.”140

A new light came into the world of spirits.141 For whereas spiritual truth had before been revealed to men and spirits only in the forms of natural and moral truth, as in the New Testament, the second advent of the Lord was a revelation of Divine truth in the forms of rational ideas and in terms of open doctrine. Thenceforth all judgment took place on the basis of rational thought, and this penetrates through all possible human disguises and makes impossible any evasion, any hiding of evil motives behind external piety or by a nominal adherence to church bodies and their symbolic creeds. This new law of judgment, which produced a new order in the world of spirits, is now eternal. “Of His kingdom there shall be no end.” The Lord governs the spirits of that world and—from His will, His good pleasure, His leave or His permission142—assigns what spirits shall remain in the Intermediate State and who shall attend each man.

The spirits now in the world of spirits are being prepared for judgment and are thus destined either for heaven or for hell. And some of these spirits surround the spirit of every man living on earth, and act upon him according to their own particular genius and state. Man is free to choose between good and evil, and as he does so, he receives influences from spirits who accord with his choice. But he still has near him the opposite type of spirit. And, moreover, his choice does not extend very widely or deeply. If he shuns some suggestion or intention of evil that is formulating itself in his conscious mind, this may indeed cause that certain evil spirits no longer take any pleasure in the things then active in his mind, and thus remove themselves for the time being. But it does not mean that he has changed his whole spiritual association, his mental state, or his mood. Such a general change is achieved very gradually. It involves many things over which man can have no control.

Spirits and Man’s Progressive States

We may see this in connection with adolescence. An infant is attended, in general, by spirits and angels of a celestial type—and no exertion on the part of the infant or his parents can change this general fact, and its resulting states. We cannot hasten growth. We can disturb it somewhat, by unwise treatment; but we cannot stop it nor accelerate it. The same applies to later ages: spiritual angels and spirits, and then natural ones, come by degrees to dominate the child’s spiritual environment and thus influence his states. No choice of man’s can change this orderly progression of general states, although at each moment particular states may be changed as if of man’s will.143

The Lord rules these progressions by means of angels and spirits. If the Lord should remove the spirits proper to such states, man would perish. If He removed all evil spirits from man, man would die—for his natural heredity is in the perverse form of self-love, and requires for its nutriment or life the mediating presence of some evil spirits.144Only gradually can these be displaced by good spirits. In the meantime they must be controlled or kept in the external order which is proper to society.

It is the same with the adult. He is free to choose between good and evil when he discerns that he is faced by a clear choice: if he evades his clear responsibility, it means that he is choosing evil. On the other hand, he often feels himself captivated by a mood, a state which he can hardly understand and cannot shake off. He becomes conscious of a limitation in his mind, a sense of obscurity, confusion, discouragement, or unhappiness. He can sometimes see its causes, but usually he does not. If he sees its natural causes, he might find a way out, a remedy which he may regard as orderly and good, or at least such that it does not lead into worse states. But if he is wise, he sees that the natural cause of a state is never the whole cause! That there is something intangible and spiritual which is beyond any sudden remedy; something which cannot be changed or removed “except by prayer and fasting”—except by the Lord’s help.

The appearance is, of course, that our various moods are the results of our physical states of health or disease, weariness, penury or struggle, lack of proper food or pleasure or of mental stimulus or companionship. Many people unhappily married seek to reach an elusive bliss by divorce and remarriage, only to find that the source of their unhappiness still pursues them. It is not their conditions that are at fault, but their state and attitude. Others seek increased wealth or comfort as an assurance of content. Certainly the restoration of health or fortune does produce remarkable changes in a man’s perspective. Still, these physical blessings do not by themselves give happiness. They give the natural man a sense of well-being and self-sufficiency. And the Lord knows that some can stand such blessings without detriment to their spiritual states. But a complete natural satisfaction—if alone —is apt to hold a man enthralled in externals, while he becomes somnolent as to his soul and evasive of all spiritual issues.

Happiness—eventual, eternal happiness—cannot be gained except by the struggles of the mind against evils or sins. It is not reached unless man undergoes spiritual temptations. For it is only by temptations that the spiritual environment of the man’s spirit is radically changed. It is only by temptations that new and different groups of spirits can become associated with man, and a new spiritual orientation be accomplished. The result of a temptation-period is a general change of state, and with this, of course, there is the appearance of a new freedom, a freedom to progress, to come nearer to the heaven of one’s final destiny.

Spiritual Temptations

The state of temptation is not to be confused with the act. of choice. In choice, man is active from a conscious freedom granted by the Lord. In temptation, man feels relatively passive, from lack of freedom to progress. Even during temptation, man is interiorly free145 and acts from the love already established with him, and as it were combats as of himself, cooperating with the good spirits who oppose the evil spirits who attend him. But he does not feel free. He is in anxiety, suffering, feels himself surrounded by his own evils and falsities as by mighty walls; scandals and doubts are insinuated against goods and truths; so that there is an apparent shutting up of his interiors, and of the capacity of thinking from his own faith and willing from his own love. His interior love is hemmed in—it cannot find a resting place in his conscious mind.146

Nevertheless, when the temptation has passed its climax of despair, the general state of man is changed. He feels a new peace, a unity of mind, a consolation that perhaps there may be salvation, after all. This feeling comes not from any reflection upon the good things he may have done, but from a realization that evil comes from evil spirits whose main object is to discourage man and make his own cooperative efforts seem useless. When man admits that his efforts indeed are in vain, and that the victory must be from the Lord, then the temptation is soon over.

The fact that good is from the Lord alone, does not imply that man should fold his hands and wait for influx. In temptation man must fight—urged by the necessity of the moment. If he does not fight it means that there is no heavenly love within him to resist the onslaught of evil. He then gives in to the delights which the infesting spirits seek to instil, and they remain with him and consolidate their position in his mind.

Man must fight for the love and the faith which he seems in danger of losing. He must fight from the knowledge and affection of truths and goods, (rather than from himself, or from pride in what he believed as his state of good). And he prays to the Lord for deliverance, for a change of state. Yet often the Lord does not hear the prayers that are offered during temptations !147

Prayer to the Lord is a powerful means of changing a man’s particular state, or aiding man to choose aright in clear issues and matters that lie waiting for his conscious decision. But general states involve too many elements that are beyond man’s scrutiny. He must wait for the Lord. The temptation must run its course, the state of the spiritual society from which the infestation originates, must be judged. And this takes time.

Nor is the time wasted. For man is not ready for the new state, is not ready for the extension of his freedom. His progress is held back in mercy. Man may have free choice: but—fortunately—the Lord rules the circumstances.

Man’s mind is very complex. Each idea of his thought has hidden connections with all his past states, long forgotten. But to the spirits and angels who are with him, all these states are available as bases of their own perceptions. Thus man’s thoughts and affections extend unbeknownst into societies both in the world of spirits and in heaven; yea, also in hell. The Lord governs man’s mind by ruling these societies and controlling their emissaries or “subject spirits.” Man may long to change an unpleasant state, but if this is to be done, the Lord must change or reorder and gradually transplant the deep-lying roots of his whole being, one by one.148

How States Are Changed

Much, however, is still left for man to do. Whether he is conscious of it or not, he is continually changing his particular states—every moment of his life. So, for instance, he often seeks some recreation to change his mood. He is so busy changing his states that he seldom reflects that he is doing it. And certainly he is quite unaware that by so doing he is also “changing spirits.”

Ordinarily, the spirits who are affected by his sudden changes are those associated with the surface, the superficial ripples, of his mind. Yet all his changes of state have their roots in the world of spirits, and occur according to spiritual laws. A man who, visiting friends at a distance, feels a certain homesickness, is quite unaware that some of the spirits who are with him are attached to the idea of objects and things which are not so sharply in his mind while he is away from home. If he returns home, the nostalgia ceases.

Here, indeed, we meet with an important law which governs the presence of spirits with man. Swedenborg records that after he had been long in one room, he could better command his ideas there than in some strange room. A certain tranquillity was induced among the spirits attending him, when he was in his own familiar surroundings. He noted the fact that “spirits wish to have their ideas connected with a place”; their ideas, which are spiritual, are in themselves not determined, defined, terminated, or limited, without space or structure, and this is provided for them in the material ideas which are available in the men with whom they are.149

Every one knows that the crucial changes of our thought and thus the determination of the important trends of external events are often clearly occasioned by trivial things. We might see a certain book on a shelf. We might stop to pick up a paper flying in the breeze. Our whole earthly career may turn on such a chance-event, on certain coincidences, in themselves trivial. But spiritual doctrine makes us realize that there is no “chance”; that the Divine Providence, in order to be universal, must also be most detailed, in every single thing, in the fall of a sparrow, in the turn of a page, or the twist of the dice. If the Divine government is in all things, it must see and rule things as a whole, somewhat in the manner that the soul rules the body. All the states of human consciousness, whether in this life or the next, must —in some way—be a unit, an interdependent whole, a cooperative scheme in which each state contributes its distinctive element to every other.

Thus it should be realized that angels (of each heavenly degree), spirits (interior and external), and men, all have their own distinctive function in that spiritual world the outskirts of which man senses in what he calls his “mind.”

After some reflection, few would deny that the crowning purpose of creation lies in the development of the human mind. Many would also see that in the mind, the gifts of created nature are turned to eternal uses; and that we truly live, not in the physical world, but in our mental world, in our states, our thoughts, our moods of consciousness. It is also evident that the mind is formed largely by means of the senses and especially by the experience of sight and hearing. Objects, images, enter through the physical organs of the body into the interiors of the brain and nervous system. There they are given an interpretation, a meaning, a value; in each man, the same object may be given a different value, according as it has been associated with some previous mental state of delight or pain. A rare stamp is by some discarded into the wastebasket, while by a collector it becomes cherished as a symbolic center of his own small world of ideas and delights. Children hug objects to their bosoms which to adults are utterly meaningless. Lovers attach a sentiment to a withered rose, perhaps, and the sight of one sends the echoes of past states trembling through the chambers of their hearts! In adult life, we have inexplicable aversions to, or preferences for, certain colors, or melodies, or names, or objects; having long forgotten why, or what they stand for in our slumbering past. Perhaps we never knew; but the instinctive association was caused by spirits who were once with us.

It should not be so incredible, then, when Swedenborg tells us in his Diary that certain spirits with him pressed him to use one certain tea-cup, others another; that some spirits had one of his bound journals as their special ultimate, while other spirits chose another! They were particular about what garments he wore. It sounds childish, this preference, until we realize that our own minds work in the same way. We are, in the state in which we are on earth, utterly lost without ultimates of thought. We wish to be surrounded by objects which bring a memory that is cherished or a field of ideas that stimulates certain delights. We attach strange values to things that are valueless in themselves.150 In dreams we may sometimes suffer tortures because of the impending loss of something utterly trivial.

Spirits are in a different situation after death. For many good reasons, their natural memory—the chronological record of their earthly experience, fixed in space-time imagery, or as material ideas—is gradually closed and becomes quiescent. Otherwise they could not progress into interior states, into thought which is spiritual and not bound to the imagery of spatial objects.

Yet spirits newly risen instinctively hunger for the objects which by them were vested with symbolic importance. With these they wish to clothe their thought. To them they look as a source of past states of delight, as a stimulus to fields of ideas and affections. And they find plenty of such objects in the natural thought of man: for man’s mind unconsciously is a part of the spiritual realm—a realm where space does not intervene, and where ideas are transmitted between all who are in common states of affection. “Into whatsoever state a man comes, spirits with whom a like passion had been dominant in their life-time”151 attach themselves to the material ideas and sensory memories of his mind, and give meaning to these things, so that man can—according to his state—sense them, understand them, interpret their life-value, their possible mental worth.

This law of spiritual association is of course the underlying principle of all symbolic ritual as was shown in a former chapter. But it also operates in our most ordinary life.

Spirits and the Objects of Man’s Thought

Spirits have the peculiar power to lead man to fix his attention upon such ultimates of thought as please them, i.e., they run through all the possible states of his mind in a moment until they find something familiar to them, and then they come into their own life. Sometimes, when spirits thus fix man’s reflection on objects, they create trouble for a man; they cause accidents, break his line of thought, cause worries, deliriums and even insanities.152 They are not aware of the man, however, but believe that they think from themselves. Evil spirits love to fix his mind on objects which to the man are invested with a sphere of the forbidden, or with suggestions of disease, cruelty, monstrosity, stagnation, hatred, pride, disorder, excrementitious or lascivious things, or filthy

language. Indeed, it may indeed in this sense be true that cleanliness—mental cleanliness—is next to godliness. There is a sphere of spirits even around the words we use, spirits of holiness, zeal and use; or spirits of contempt, of obscenity., of impatience and cruelty.

That spirits seek for evil ultimates which correspond to their states is illustrated and symbolized by the spirits called Legion, who—on being driven out of the man at the Gadarene shore—fled into the herd of swine.153

A change even of a word may change the spirits who are with us, Swedenborg reports.154 And here the power of man to change his states, enters in. That power is not from himself. He is kept in freedom by the fact that no one spirit, or no one group of spirits, can totally dominate him, as long as he is in this world. Nor can there now be any such corporeal obsessions by spirits as we read of in the Gospel. For the Lord holds man in freedom, through the presence of angels.

Even the wisdom of angels finds its basic focus and resting point in material ideas such as are with man, and especially in the sense of the letter of the Word. But the values which angels attach to such ultimates is not the same as that which good spirits would see, or still less what man sees. Man sees mostly material uses for the objects he beholds. Spirits see more interior delights and uses, suitable to their life and their ideas. But angels see the spiritual and celestial uses and meanings of each object. In their eyes, man’s material ideas and scientifics are valued and endowed with meaning so far as they are “open even to the Lord” and thus contain a sphere of charity and faith, wisdom and love to the Lord.154b In the ideas man has derived from the Word they see Divine uses, Divine eternal values; yea, they see the presence of the Lord Himself. And therefore our attending angels imbue the objects in man’s memory-world with new values and thus new uses. They instil into man a delight in the interior implications of the things of man’s thought, and if man receives this delight through them, evil spirits depart.

Swedenborg records in his Journal of 1744 that in one of his struggles against infesting spirits who sought to obsess his mind he finally found refuge by fixing his gaze on a piece of wood, and from this his thought was led to the wood of the cross, and then to the thought of the Lord. By a shift of attention, he thus broke the hold of the evil spirits upon his mind.155

A normal, wholesome life implies a variety of experiences, and changing states. The Lord therefore ordains for us a life of active uses, by which the objects which we see and remember are associated with useful values, states of charity and service to others, to society and to the church. Evil spirits who love idleness put a value on things merely so far as they favor our self-indulgence.

But the Lord also ordains that the Divine Word shall be with men, so that by means of its Divinely ordered field and sequence of material ideas—historicals, propheticals, and parables—the angelic hosts may have their own ultimates with men. Every word, every natural idea in the Scripture possesses a spiritual value and meaning for the angels. If we habitually read the Word in reverence, we invite ever new groups of angelic societies into our mind; and we are thus led to travel an orderly road in the pilgrimage of our spirit towards heaven; to progress under the Lord’s own protection through the many stages of life.


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





Your Book Of Life

 The Spiritual Frontier

Topics relating to the
Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg
and the Lord’s Second Coming :

by Rev. Eric H. Carswell

“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Rev. 20:12).

For many Christians the book of Revelation has little clear meaning. Most people probably consider it to be ignorable. Those who try to understand it find it challenging. Fundamentalists see it as a prediction of a cataclysmic finale to the story of human life on this earth, and countless people have wondered when this finale would occur. Many words have been written trying to link past and present events with the images of destruction spoken of in Revelation to try to see when the second coming will take place. Its immanent arrival has been confidently predicted innumerable times over the last two thousand years.

The misunderstanding that surrounds this book is to be expected. None but the Lord Himself could reveal its true meaning. Human intelligence could spend five times the nearly two millennium that it has already had to try to interpret the book of Revelation and would still not find its true meaning. It is a fundamental truth of the New Church that the book of Revelation as well as the other books of the Old and New Testaments speak on a far deeper level than is seen merely in the literal sense. The book of Revelation does not primarily predict natural historical events any more than did the prophecies of the Lord’s first coming in the Old Testament.

Understood merely literally, the Old Testament prophecies appeared to promise a great and everlasting kingdom of the Messiah in which the Jewish people would have great prominence. Those alive at the time of the first coming who expected Jesus to establish an earthly kingdom were confused and bewildered by the way He lived His life in this world. Some probably lost faith when the Old Testament prophecies were not fulfilled by Jesus as they expected them to be. Likewise, many Christians have been confused and bewildered by the apparent lack of literal fulfillment of the prophecies of the book of Revelation. Some have lost faith, giving up on the prophecies of a last judgment and a second coming as having any meaning.

The traditional Christian interpretation of the last judgment has several features that differ quite strongly from the one presented by the Heavenly Doctrines for the New Church. The traditional view of all people waiting in the grave till the sounding of the great trumpet is one of those differences. The Writings for the New Church teach that life after death begins for each individual shortly after his natural life has ended. Another is that the crucial judgment of a person’s life does not take place by some objective individual apart from the person himself. A third is that life after death is not primarily a reward or punishment for our deeds in this world. There are many, many other differences. Many of them arise from a fundamental misunderstanding of the book of Revelation. Traditional Christianity has viewed the book of Revelation as speaking of earthly events that will some day take place in this world, while the books revealed for the New Church would have us recognize the images of that book as being spiritual realities, much of which has already occurred in the spiritual world.

The reality that the book of Revelation speaks of is that of a great judgment that has already occurred in the spiritual world. To understand what this book speaks of, a person must know a number of things about how judgment takes place after death. In the normal order of the life after death, both the good and evil seek the company of like-minded individuals with all being prepared over a period of time for their eternal home either in heaven or hell. From a mixture of good and evil, just as exists in this world, the different people separate themselves, with the evil seeking hell and the good, heaven. The evil do not desire to be in heaven because they cannot stand to be around those who are genuinely good. They rapidly lose their power to lead others astray, because the light of genuine truth existing in the spiritual world shows them for what they really are. This is a brief description of how the normal process of judgment occurs after each person’s death.

This process is absolutely dependent on the light of truth existing in that intermediate area between heaven and hell which is called the world of spirits. When the truth revealed to mankind ceased to provide the necessary basis for that light, disorder occurred in that intermediate world. The normal process of judgment could not go on. Rather than having hidden evil revealed, they could continue to hide. Rather than having the evil find their proper places in hell, they continued to dwell in the world of spirits and there they established a false life for themselves. It was false in that the true reality of their lives was hidden and they surrounded themselves with things that also did not reflect their true qualities. Their cities, gardens, rivers, even their sun, moon and stars were not from the Lord but from themselves and their own evil. As long as the light of truth did not shine in that world they could maintain the illusion of a false heaven. The images of great destruction recorded in the book of Revelation really did occur in the world of spirits when the light of truth once again shone in that world and the normal process of judgment could once again be reestablished.

Why is it important what a person thinks of the book of Revelation? The Lord has revealed all that He has for us in the world because He wants us to live as happy and as productive lives as we can, both now in our relatively brief natural life and also in our life after death continuing to eternity. Some of the wrong ideas that one can get from the book of Revelation could cause a person to spiritually stumble and fall. Some of them make for a sadder and more self-centered life than the Lord wishes for us.

Nearly everyone has seen the cartoon image of the man walking around in sackcloth through the busy streets of a city carrying a sign that announces that the end of the world is coming. His message is that we should turn our lives from our daily concerns. While it is very important that we recognize that each day gives us precious opportunities to serve the Lord, these opportunities will not be best fulfilled if we withdraw from the world, nor will they be best fulfilled if we cling desperately to each minute as our last, nor if we throw everything aside and live for the moment. The Lord does not want us to wait with bated breath for his arrival, thinking only of our own concerns and needs. He wants us to serve those around us. He wants us to live full, useful lives. Too great a fear of the end of natural life can lead to an impoverished approach to each day.

An important concept presented by the Writings about life after death is that the essential quality of our natural life will continue to eternity as our spiritual character. The lesson read today spoke of the judgment that win take place after death, and uses the image of a book of life that will be read. What is this book of life? One of the most horrible of all Christian heresies is that everyone’s spiritual destiny has been predestined from the beginning of time-written as in a book of who will go to heaven and who will not. Part of the reason this is horrible is because of the quality it ascribes to God. What kind of God would create some people to be inevitably damned to eternity just to satisfy some arbitrary balance? If God did not create each and every individual with the possibility of going to heaven, He would be more cruel than the worst individual could be in this world. Concerning this idea of predestination the book The Divine Providence makes the following observation:

It is cruel to believe that the Lord, who is Love itself and Mercy itself, suffers such a vast multitude of men to be born for hell, or that so many myriads of myriads are born damned and doomed, that is, are born devils and satans; and that He does not from His Divine Wisdom provide that they who live well and acknowledge God should not be cast into eternal fire and torment. The Lord is ever the Creator and Savior of all; and He alone leads all, and desires the death of no one. (DP 330).

Another reason why predestination is such a horrible idea is because of the spiritual apathy that it can arouse. If our spiritual fate is already predetermined, why bother trying to do anything about it? A person could become a complete fatalist, accepting everything that happened to him as inevitable. He would never try to work to make his life better or improve the lot of others, because all things would be accepted as being the way God intended them to be.

While very few people today would subscribe to an idea of absolute predestination by God, all of us are susceptible to the apathy that says we ourselves are fixed and unchanging or that those whom we have to deal with are the way they are due to an unchangeable nature. In some states of mind it is all too easy just to accept things as they are rather than use our best insight to try to improve them.

A person’s book of life is not something that is set before he has lived his life in this world. A person’s book of life is the sum total quality that he has gathered to his life by his choices in this world. It is the record of what he has thought and cared about each day of his life. It is not just a fist of good and bad deeds. We know quite well that actions seen by others in the world may have little relationship to the inner thoughts and motives behind them.

When we leave this world, we will have established what is more important to us than anything else. We will have accepted a ruling love that has worked to orchestrate all the other affections of our mind and from these all our thoughts and deeds. It is this ruling love that determines our eternal home after death. It is our book of life. Its pages are being recorded each day we spend in this world. Everything that we have thought, intended, spoken and done in the world is recorded there.

Swedenborg tells us of some people who after death still tried to pretend. As we learn of the basic rules in the Old Testament, the role of forgiveness in the New Testament, and comprehend why this is good in the explanations of the Writings, then we can re-direct our thinking and grow to be more in harmony with the Lord’s ways.

This is why He speaks to us in His Word. This is why He has revealed truths that can touch and stimulate every area of our minds. And this is the Lord’s second coming in truth. His Spirit of truth leads to all truth as our minds are opened to the wonders of His Word, and as we let that light shine our way. From the essence of love within the Lord that causes Him to speak to us, the Word in its threefold form would lead us back to that love. This is the male child that came from the woman clothed with the sun. This is the Heavenly Doctrine given us by the Lord. This is the Lord with us as we see and do His words. Amen.

Lessons: Revelation 12:1-6, 13-17, AE 724:1,2

Presented in Pittsburgh June 12, 1988

Apocalypse Explained 724:1, 2

And she brought forth a son, a male, signifies the doctrine of truth for the New Church that is called the New Jerusalem. This is evident from the signification of “son” as meaning truth, and of “a son, a male,’ as meaning the genuine truth of the church, consequently also its doctrine, for the truth of the church from the Word is its doctrine since doctrine contains the truths that are for the church. But the genuine doctrine of the church is the doctrine of good, thus the doctrine of life, which is of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor; but yet it is the doctrine of truth, since doctrine teaches life, love, and charity, and so far as it teaches it is truth; for when a man knows and understands what good is, what life is, what love is, and what charity is, he knows and understands these things as truths, since he knows and understands what good is, how he ought to live, and what love and charity are, and of what quality a man is who is in the life of love and charity; and as long as these are matters of knowledge and understanding they are nothing but truths and thus doctrines; but as soon as they pass over from knowledge and from the understanding into the will, and thus into act, they are no longer truths but goods; for interiorly man wills nothing but what he loves, and that which he loves is to him good. From this it can be seen that every doctrine of the church is a doctrine of truth, and that the truth of doctrine becomes good and comes to be of love and charity when from doctrine it passes into life.

This doctrine that is here signified by ‘the son, a male’ is especially the doctrine of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor, thus the doctrine of the good of life, which nevertheless is still the doctrine of truth. That the doctrine of the good of love, and thus of life, is here signified by “the son, a male’ can be seen from this, that ‘the woman’ who brought forth the son was seen “arrayed with the sun, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars,’ and ‘the sun” signifies love to the Lord, and “the crown of twelve stars’ signifies the knowledges of good and truth, and from such a woman and mother nothing else is begotten except what pertains to love and good, thus the doctrine respecting these.


Generated by: timlig@pacbell.net – April 1995






There is infernal freedom, and there is heavenly freedom. Thinking and willing evil and also speaking and doing it so far as civil and moral laws do not prevent, is from infernal freedom. But thinking and willing good and speaking and doing it so far as opportunity offers, is from heavenly freedom. A man perceives as his own what he thinks, wills, speaks and does in freedom. The freedom anyone has always comes from his love. The man in an evil love cannot but deem infernal freedom to be real freedom, and a man in love of the good perceives that heavenly freedom is real freedom; consequently each regards the opposite of his freedom as bondage. No one can deny that one or the other must be freedom, for two kinds of freedom opposed to each other cannot both be freedom. Furthermore it cannot be denied that to be led by good is freedom and to be led by evil is bondage. For to be led by good is to be led by the Lord, but to be led by evil is to be led by the devil.

[2] Inasmuch as all he does in freedom appears to a man to be his own, coming as it does from what he loves, and to act from one’s love, as was said, is to act freely, it follows that conjunction with the Lord causes a man to seem free and also his own, and the more closely he is conjoined to the Lord, to seem so much freer and so much more his own. He seems the more distinctly his own because it is the nature of the divine love to want its own to be another’s, that is, to be the angel’s or the man’s. All spiritual love is such, preeminently the Lord’s. The Lord, moreover, never coerces anyone. For nothing to which one is coerced seems one’s own, and what seems not one’s own cannot be done from one’s love or be appropriated to one as one’s own. Man is always led in freedom by the Lord, therefore, and reformed and regenerated in freedom. On this much more will be said in what follows; also see some things above, n. 4. [DP43]

The reason why the more distinctly a man seems to be his own the more plainly he sees that he is the Lord’s, is that the more closely he is conjoined to the Lord the wiser he becomes (as was shown, nn. 34-36), and wisdom teaches and recognizes this. The angels of the third heaven, as the wisest angels, perceive this and call it freedom itself; but to be led by themselves they call bondage. They give as the reason for this that the Lord does not flow immediately into the perceptions and thoughts of wisdom, but into the affections of the love of good and by these into the former, and this influx they perceive in the affection by which they have wisdom. Hence, they say, all that they think from wisdom seems to be from themselves, thus seemingly their own, and this gives reciprocal conjunction. [ DP44]

As the Lord’s divine providence has for its object a heaven from mankind, it has for its object the conjunction of the human race with Him (see nn. 28-31). It also has for its object that man should be more and more closely conjoined to Him (nn. 32, 33); for thus man possesses a more interior heaven. Further, it has for its object that by the conjunction man should become wiser (nn. 34-36) and happier (nn. 37-41), for he has heaven by and according to wisdom, and happiness by wisdom, too. Finally, providence has for its object that man shall seem more distinctly his own, yet recognize the more clearly that he is the Lord’s (nn. 42-44). All these are of the Lord’s divine providence, for all are heaven and heaven is its object. [ DP45]

How far distant heavenly freedom (which is from the affection of good and truth) is from infernal freedom (which is from the affection of evil and falsity), is evident from the fact that when the angels in heaven merely think about such freedom as is from the affection of evil and falsity, or what is the same, from the cupidities of the love of self and the world, they are immediately seized with internal pain; and on the other hand, when evil spirits merely think about the freedom which is from the affection of good and truth, or what is the same, from the desires of mutual love, they at once come into anguish; and what is wonderful, so opposite is the one freedom to the other, that the freedom of the love of self and the world is hell to good spirits; and on the other hand, the freedom of love to the Lord and mutual love is hell to evil spirits. Hence all in the other life are distinct according to their kinds of freedom, or what is the same, according to their loves and affections, consequently according to the delights of their life, which is the same as according to their lives; for lives are nothing else than delights, and these are nothing else than affections which are of the loves. [AC 2873]


0179a Because Jehovah hath hearkened to thine affliction. That this signifies while it was submitting itself, is evident from what was said above (n. 1937), in that to “humble and afflict oneself” denotes to submit to the sovereign control of the internal man, which submission was there treated of, and it is shown that this is to compel oneself; also that in compelling oneself there is freedom, that is, what is spontaneous and voluntary, by which compelling oneself is distinguished from being compelled. It was also shown that without this freedom, that is, spontaneity or willingness, man cannot possibly be reformed and receive any heavenly Own; and further that there is more of freedom in temptations than out of them, although the contrary appears to be the case, for the freedom is then stronger in proportion to the assaults of evils and falsities, and is strengthened by the Lord in order that a heavenly Own may be conferred upon the man; and for this reason the Lord is more present with us while we are in temptations. It was shown further that the Lord never compels anyone; for he who is compelled to think what is true and do what is good is not reformed, but thinks falsity and wills evil all the more. All compulsion has this effect, as we may see from the records and examples of life, for from them we know these two things: that consciences do not suffer themselves to be compelled, and that we strive after what is forbidden. Moreover everyone desires to pass from non-freedom into freedom, for this belongs to man’s life.

[2] Hence it is evident that anything which is not from freedom, that is, which is not from what is spontaneous or voluntary, is not acceptable to the Lord; for when anyone worships the Lord from what is not free, he worships from nothing that is his own, and in this case it is the external which moves, that is, which is moved, from being compelled, while the internal is null, or resistant, or is even contradictory to it. While man is being regenerated, he, from the freedom with which he is gifted by the Lord, exercises self-compulsion, and humbles and even afflicts his rational, in order that it may submit itself, and thereby he receives a heavenly Own, which is afterwards gradually perfected by the Lord, and is made more and more free, so that it becomes the affection of good and thence of truth, and has delight, and in both the freedom and the delight there is happiness like that of angels. This freedom is what the Lord speaks of in John:

The truth shall make* you free; if the Son makes you free, you shall be* free indeed (John 8:32, 36).

[3] The nature of this freedom is utterly unknown to those who do not possess conscience, for they make freedom consist in doing as they please and in the license of thinking and speaking what is false, of willing and doing what is evil, and of not compelling and humbling, still less of afflicting such desires; when yet the very reverse is the case, as the Lord also teaches in the same gospel:

Everyone that committeth sin is the servant of sin (John 8:34).

This slavish freedom they receive from the infernal spirits who are with them and who infuse it, and when they are in the life of these spirits they are also in their loves and cupidities, and an impure and excrementitious delight breathes upon them, and when they are being as it were carried away by the torrent, they suppose themselves to be in freedom, but it is infernal freedom. The difference between this infernal freedom and heavenly freedom is that the one is that of death, and drags them down to hell, while the other, or heavenly freedom, is of life and uplifts them to heaven.

[4] That all true internal worship comes from freedom, and none from compulsion, and that if worship is not from freedom it is not internal worship, is evident from the Word, as from the sacrifices that were freewill offerings or vows, or offerings of peace or of thanksgiving; which were called “gifts” and “offerings” (concerning which see Num. 15:3, etc.; Deut. 12:6; 16:10-11; 23:23-24). So in David:

With a free-will offering will I sacrifice unto Thee; I will confess to Thy name, O Jehovah, for it is good (Ps. 54:6).

So again from the contribution or collection which they were to make for the Tabernacle, and for the garments of holiness, spoken of in Moses:
Speak unto the sons of Israel, and let them take for Me an offering; from every man whom his heart impels willingly ye shall take My offering (Exod. 25:2).

And again:

Whosoever is of a willing heart let him bring it, Jehovah’s offering (Exod. 35:5).

[5] Moreover the humiliation of the rational man, or its affliction (from freedom, as before said), was also represented by the affliction of souls on days of solemnity, as mentioned in Moses:

It shall be a statute of eternity unto you; in the seventh month, on the tenth of the month, ye shall afflict your souls (Lev. 16:29).

And again:

On the tenth of the seventh month, this is the day of expiations; there shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; every soul that shall not have afflicted itself in that same day, shall be cut off from his peoples (Lev. 23:27, 29).

It was for this reason that the unleavened bread, in which there was nothing fermented, is called the “bread of affliction” (Deut. 16:2-3).

[6] “Affliction” is thus spoken of in David:

Jehovah, who shall sojourn in Thy tent? who shall dwell in the mountain of Thy holiness? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness; he that sweareth to afflict himself, and changeth not (Ps. 15:1-2, 4).

That “affliction” denotes the mastering and subjugation of the evils and falsities that rise up from the external man into the rational, may be seen from what has been said. Thus “affliction” does not mean that we should plunge ourselves into poverty and wretchedness, or that we should renounce all bodily delights, for in this way evil is not mastered and subjugated; and moreover some other evil may be aroused, namely, a sense of merit on account of the renunciation; and besides, man’s freedom suffers, in which alone, as in ground, the good and truth of faith can be inseminated. (Concerning “affliction” as denoting also temptation, see above, n. 1846.) [AC 1947]

The reason why the evil succeed in accordance with their skill, is that it is according to order that everyone should do what he does from reason and also from freedom; and therefore unless it were left to a man to act in freedom according to his reason, and thus also unless the consequent arts succeeded, the man could not possibly be disposed to receive eternal life, because this is instilled when the man is in freedom, and his reason is enlightened. For no one can be compelled to good, because nothing compulsory cleaves to the man, for it is not his. That becomes the man’s own which is done from freedom, for that which is from the will is done from freedom, and the will is the man himself; and therefore unless a man is kept in the freedom to do evil also, good from the Lord cannot be provided for him. [AC 10777]

Author: EMANUEL. SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)



http://www.thegodguy.wordpress.com/Love is the ultimate science

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To Live in the Lord

Lastchurch - The Eternal Purpose

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Blessed be God Most High.

In the Ancient Church, Jehovah was called “God Most High” for the reason that “height” represented and therefore signified what is internal, and thus “the Most High” signified what is inmost. Hence the worship of the Ancient Church was upon high places, mountains, and hills. The inmost also has the same relation to the exterior and the outermost, as the highest bears to the lower and the lowest. The Most High or the Inmost is the Celestial of Love, or Love, itself. Jehovah, or the Lord’s internal man, was the very Celestial of Love, that is, Love itself, to which no other attributes are fitting than those of pure Love, thus of pure Mercy toward the whole human race which is such that it wills to save all and make them happy to eternity, and to bestow on them all that it has; thus out of pure mercy to draw all who are willing to follow, to heaven, that is, to itself, by the strong force of love. This Love itself is Jehovah.

Of nothing can Am or Is be predicated except of Love. From this Love – because in Love, or of Love itself – is the very Being [Esse] of all life, that is, Life itself; and because Jehovah alone is Being of life, or Life itself, as He alone is Love, each and all things have thence their being and their life; nor can anyone be and live of himself except Jehovah alone, that is, the Lord alone; and as no one can be and live of himself except the Lord alone, it is a fallacy of sense that men seem to themselves to live of themselves. The angels plainly perceive that they do not live of themselves, but from the Lord, since they live in the very being of the Lord’s life, because in His love. But yet to them above all others there is given the appearance as of living from themselves, together with ineffable happiness. This therefore is to live in the Lord, which is never possible unless we live in His love, that is, in charity toward the neighbor.

(Arcana Coelestia 1735)
May 10, 2017





app1leblo1ssom In considering the correspondence, or symbolic meaning, of forms, we may use the word “form” in three senses, viz. : first, as the shape ; second, as the body; and third, as the organization.

In the universe there is one life, that of the Lord; and all created things are vessels, capable, in different degrees, of receiving and, using the inflowing life of the Lord.

Thus, in their origin, all forms are expressions of the Divine life, i. e., of the Divine Love, Wisdom and Power.

Each creature has its characteristic life, which we call its form of life, i. e., its organization. In the interior sense, the form- is the organization, by means of which the organism is formed. And, in a lower, or secondary sense, the form is the body, or substance, in which the creature dwells. And, in a third sense, the form is the external shape which is given to the organism, that it may carry out its kind of life. And the life, the organism and the shape, are related to each other, as the end, the cause, and the effect; for the organism is the form assumed by the indwelling life; and the shape is the external effect of the organization. And thus the organization and the shape depend on the life. A thing which is formed for a certain purpose; is organized for it, and also shaped for it. And it is so shaped because it is. so organized. The eye is formed for seeing; and it is shaped so that it can see The spirit of man is a human organism ; and so it has the human shape.

With every living thing the outward form, or body, corresponds to the inward life, as to its shape, and as to its abilities. The tiger has great teeth and claws, because it needs such weapons to exercise its kind of life and character ; but the lamb, having no fierce character, does not need such teeth and claws; and so it does not have them. And so, the different animals differ in shape, because they differ in character. The character forms the shape to its purposes. And, in symbolic representation, the shape of a thing corresponds to its qualities of character.

In the Scriptures many things were revealed to the Israelites, and to others, as to the forms, or shapes, in which various things were to be made ; as, for instance, the many details of the tabernacle, and of the temple. And these things were so commanded because of their correspondence.

Shapes are of two general classes, curves and straight lines. And these two classes represent and symbolize the two general elements of human life, love and wisdom, or, in other, words, goodness and truth. Curved lines, rounded lines, represent the things of man’s will, his spiritual heart, with its loves, its affections, its goodness. And straight lines represent the things of man’s understanding, his intellectual life, with its thoughts. And all shapes are made up of curves, or of straight lines, or of their combinations. Different geometric forms of curves, the circle, the oval, the parabola, etc., represent different conditions and qualities of goodness, i. e., of love. And the different right-lined figures, such as the square, the parallelogram, the rhombus, etc., and the triangles of various kinds, represent the different forms in which truth comes to the human mind.

We recognize this representative meaning of straight lines, when we say of a man, that he is “square” in his dealing ; i. e., he is just and right on all sides, and to every person concerned. So, in Israel, the altar of burnt-offering, and the altar of incense, and the breastplate of the high-priest, all being representative, were commanded to be made square. And the holy city of the New Jerusalem was to be square.


In the prophecies of the Old Testament many singular things are mentioned, and their forms and shapes are especially indicated ; as, for instance, in Daniel’s vision of the four beasts : “The first was like a lion, and had eagles’ wings …. And behold, another beast, like to a bear. . . : and lo, another, like unto a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl. The beast had also four heads …. a fourth beast, . . . and it had great iron teeth;. . . .and it had ten horns.” (Daniel, vii. i, 5, 6, 7.) And in the Revelation, it is said concerning a vision, “In the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts, full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion; and the second beast life a calf; and the third beast had a face as a man; and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him ; and they were full of eyes, within.” (Rev. iv. 6-8.) These definite details of the shapes of the beasts afford definite instruction as to the mental principles, the affections and thoughts, thus represented.

Forms presented on the surface of the earth, and in the earth, represent states of human life.


Much is said, in the Scriptures, about forms, in the sense of dimensions, as length, breadth, thickness, height, and so forth. Spiritually, the length of anything is its measure as to goodness, i. e., as to the quality of the love which characterizes the mind”.’ Length symbolizes largeness, fulness, extension, development of character, in goodness. The Lord said of the good man, “Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” (Ps. xci. 14, i5.) In the spiritual sense, these things refer to spiritual conditions, fulness of love, extension of qualities, largeness of character.

Shortness represents a want of fulness of character, a cramped state^ of mind, in which the man is not in spiritual freedom, but is bound in slavery by his own evils. “Your: covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand  for the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it ; and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.” ‘(Isa, xxviii. 18, 20.) A bed, on which the body rests, represents a doctrine, on which the mind rests. But a false doctrine does not give freedom to the mind, to develop, to extend itself in fullness, because the false doctrine shortens and dwarfs the heart, and also keeps the intellect within limited bounds, and contracts the thoughts.

Thus, spiritual length refers to the state of the will, the heart, with its affection for goodness. But breadth, or width, represents the state of the understanding, the intellect, with its thoughts. And, spiritually, the measure of a thing, as to its width, is the test of its truthfulness. We speak of intelligent, clear-headed and unprejudiced men, as broad-minded; and of ignorant, selfish and prejudiced men as narrow-minded. Evil shortens the mind, as to its affections, and falsity narrows the understanding. But truth widens the mind. The Psalmist of Israel sings to the Lord, “Thy commandment is exceeding broad. Through Thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Ps. cxix. 96, 104, 105.)


Recognizing the fact that external forms depend upon the inward states of mind, which express themselves in outward forms, we observe how a man’s states of affection and of thought shape his body to their images. When a pleasant feeling is in the heart, and a ,broad thought is in the intellect, the countenance is formed in rounded lines, expressing goodness ; but,when anger is in the heart, an4 harsh thoughts in the intellect, the lines of the countenance are hard, angular and repulsive.

The regenerate man’s spiritual form is in the image of God, formed by Divine principles : but the spiritual form of the evil man is in the image of hell,, formed by infernal principles. The man’s ruling-love forms his whole character, and even shapes his physical countenance. “The measure of a man, that is, of an angel,” (Rev. xxj. 17), is the fulness of regenerate life, measured by Divine principles. And so, in the heavens, where the Divine principles of goodness and truth rule all things, every object is of beautiful, symmetrical and harmonious form, corresponding to the good, affections and the true thoughts of the angels. But, in the hells, where all good and true principles are perverted and falsified, all the objects are ugly, contorted and repulsive, corresponding to the spiritual deformity of evil affections and false thoughts. And, on the earth, the things of beautiful forms represent good and true human qualities ; and hideous and repulsive forms represent evil and false qualities.

Forms, dimensions, etc., have a bad meaning, when they refer to things which have been abused and perverted; as, for instance, it is said of certain hypocritical Jews, “all their works they do for to be seen of men : they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments.” (Matt, xxiii. 5.)


When Jehovah appeared to men on earth. He came in a human form, in Jesus Christ. God is a Divine Man, having infinite human qualities. And finite man, as a creature, was formed in the image of God, in the sense that he was made capable of receiving human qualities in a finite degree. And because man is the highest form of created being, and nearest to the Lord, therefore the human form of his spirit takes upon it, in physical nature, a material shape the most beautiful of all created bodies.

And, in the spiritual world, the spiritual form of the regenerate man grows more beautiful, for ever. And, even in the physical world, regenerate men grow more expressive of love and wisdom, even in their natural faces.

Author: Edward Craig Mitchell From Scripture Symbolism 1904


All things treated of hitherto, as the sun, atmospheres, and lands, are only means to ends. The ends of creation are those things that are produced by the Lord as a sun,  through the atmospheres, out of lands; and these ends are called uses. In their whole extent these are all things of the vegetable kingdom, all things of the animal kingdom, and finally the human race, and the angelic heaven which is from it. These are called uses, because they are recipients of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom also because they have regard to God the Creator from whom they are, and thereby conjoin Him to His great work; by which conjunction it comes that, as they spring forth from Him, so do they have unceasing existence from Him. They are said to have regard to God the Creator from whom they are, and to conjoin Him to His great work, but this is to speak according to appearance. It is meant that God the Creator causes them to have regard and to conjoin themselves to Him as it were of themselves; but how they have regard and thereby conjoin will be declared in what follows.  Something has been said before on these subjects in their place, as that Divine Love and Divine Wisdom must necessarily have being and form in other things created by themselves (n. 37-51); that all things in the created universe are recipients of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom (n. 55-60); that the uses of all created things ascend by degrees to man, and through man to God the Creator from whom they are (n. 65-68). [DLW307]

FC1Who does not see clearly that uses are the ends of creation, when he considers that from God the Creator nothing can have form, and therefore nothing can be created, except use; and that to be use, it must be for the sake of others; and that use for the sake of self is also for the sake of others, since a use for the sake of self looks to one’s being in a state to be of use to others? Who so considers this is also able to see, that use which is use cannot spring from man, but must be in man from that Being from whom everything that comes forth is use, that is, from the Lord. [DLW308]

But as the forms of uses are here treated of, the subject shall be set forth in the following order:

(1)          In lands there is a conatus to produce uses in forms, that is, forms of uses.

(2)          In all forms of uses there is a kind of image of the creation of the universe.

(3)          In all forms of uses there is a kind of image of man.

(4)          In all forms of uses there is a kind of image of the Infinite and the Eternal. [DLW309]

(1) In lands there is a conatus to produce uses in forms, that is, forms of uses. That there is this conatus in lands, is evident from their source, since the substances and matters of which lands consist are endings and closings of atmospheres which proceed as uses from the spiritual sun (as may be seen above, n. 305, 306). And because the substances and matters of which lands consist are from that source, and their aggregations are held in connection by the pressure of the surrounding atmospheres, it follows that they have from that a perpetual conatus to bring forth forms of uses. The very quality that makes them capable of bringing forth they derive from their source, as being the outmosts of atmospheres, with which they are constantly in accord. Such a conatus and quality are said to be in lands, but it is meant that they are present in the substances and matters of which lands consist, whether these are in the lands or in the atmospheres as exhalations from the lands. That atmospheres are full of such things is well known. That there is such a conatus and such quality in the substances and matters of lands is plain from the fact that seeds of all kinds, opened by means of heat even to their inmost core, are impregnated by the most subtle substances (which can have no other than a spiritual origin), and through this they have power to conjoin themselves to use, from which comes their prolific principle. Then through conjunction with matters from a natural origin they are able to produce forms of uses, and thereafter to deliver them as from a womb, that they may come forth into light, and thus sprout up and grow. This conatus is afterwards continuous from the lands through the root even to outmosts, and from outmosts to firsts, wherein use itself is in its origin. Thus uses pass into forms; and forms, in their progression from firsts to outmosts and from outmosts to firsts, derive from use (which is like a soul) that each and every thing of the form is of some use. Use is said to be like a soul, since its form is like a body.  It also follows that there is a conatus more interior, that is, the conatus to produce uses for the animal kingdom through vegetable growths, since by these animals of every kind are nourished. It further follows that in all these there is an inmost conatus, the conatus to perform use to the human race. From all this these things follow: (1) that there are outmosts, and in outmosts are all prior things simultaneously in their order, according to what has been frequently explained above; (2) that as there are degrees of both kinds in the greatest and least of all things (as was shown above, n. 222-229), so there are likewise in this conatus; (3) that as all uses are brought forth by the Lord out of outmosts, so in outmosts there must be a conatus to uses. [DLW310]

Still none of these are living conatus, for they are the conatus of life’s outmost forces; within which forces there exists, from the life out of which they spring, a striving to return at last to their origin through the means afforded. In outmosts, atmospheres become such forces; and by these forces, substances and matters, such as are in the lands, are molded into forms and held together in forms both within and without.  But the subject is too large to allow a more extended explanation here. [DLW311]

The first production from these earthy matters, while they were still new and in their simple state, was production of seed; the first conatus therein could not be any other. [DLW312]

(2) In all forms of uses there is a kind of image of creation. Forms of uses are of a threefold kind; forms of uses of the mineral kingdom, forms of uses of the vegetable kingdom, and forms of uses of the animal kingdom. The forms of uses of the mineral kingdom cannot be described, because they are not visible to the eye. The first forms are the substances and matters of which the lands consist, in their minutest divisions; the second forms are aggregates of these, and are of infinite variety; the third forms come from plants that have fallen to dust, and from animal remains, and from the continual evaporations and exhalations from these, which are added to lands and make their soil. These forms of the mineral kingdom in three degrees represent creation in an image in this, that, made active by the sun through the atmospheres and their heat and light, they bring forth uses in forms, which uses were creative ends.This image of creation lies deeply hidden within their conatus (of which see above, n. 310). [DLW313]

In the forms of uses of the vegetable kingdom an image of creation appears in this, that from their firsts they proceed to their outmosts, and from outmosts to firsts. Their firsts are seeds, their outmosts are stalks clothed with bark; and by means of the bark which is the outmost of the stalk, they tend to seeds which, as was said, are their firsts.  The stalks clothed with layers of bark represent the globe clothed with lands, out of which come the creation and formation of all uses. That vegetation is effected through the outer and inner barks and coatings, by a climbing up, by means of the coverings of the roots (which are continued around the stalks and branches), into the beginnings of the fruit, and in like manner through the fruits into the seeds, is known to many. An image of creation is displayed in forms of uses in the progress of the formation of uses from firsts to outmosts, and from outmosts to firsts; also in this, that in the whole progression there lies the end of producing fruit and seeds, which are uses. From what has been said above it is plain, that the progression of the creation of the universe was from its First (which is the Lord encircled by the sun) to outmosts which are lands, and from these through uses to its First, that is, the Lord; also that the ends of the whole creation were uses. [DLW314]

It should be known that to this image of creation the heat, light, and atmospheres of the natural world contribute nothing whatever. It is only the heat, light, and atmospheres of the sun of the spiritual world that do this, bringing that image with them, and clothing it with the forms of uses of the vegetable kingdom. The heat, light, and atmospheres of the natural world simply open the seeds, keep their products in a state of expansion, and clothe them with the matters that give them fixedness. And this is done not by any forces from their own sun (which viewed in themselves are null), but by forces from the spiritual sun, by which the natural forces are unceasingly impelled to these services.  Natural forces contribute nothing whatever towards forming this image of creation, for the image of creation is spiritual. But that this image may be manifest and perform use in the natural world, and may stand fixed and be permanent, it must be materialized, that is, filled in with the matters of that world. [DLW315]

0224 In the forms of uses of the animal kingdom there is a similar image of creation, in that the animal body, which is the outmost thereof, is formed by a seed deposited in a womb or an ovum, and this body, when mature, brings forth new seed. This progression is similar to the progression of the forms of uses of the vegetable kingdom: seeds are the beginnings; the womb or the ovum is like the ground; the state before birth is like the state of the seed in the ground while it takes root; the state after birth until the animal becomes prolific is like the growth of a tree until it reaches its state of fruit-bearing. From this parallelism it is plain that there is a likeness of creation in the forms of animals as well as in the forms of plants, in that there is a progression from firsts to outmosts, and from outmosts to firsts. A like image of creation exists in every single thing there is in man; for there is a like progression of love through wisdom into uses, consequently a like progression of the will through the understanding into acts, and of charity through faith into deeds. Will and understanding, also charity and faith, are the firsts as their source; acts and deeds are the outmosts; from these, by means of the enjoyments of uses, a return is made to their firsts, which, as was said, are the will and understanding, or charity and faith. That the return is effected by means of the enjoyments of uses is very evident from the enjoyments felt in those acts and deeds which are from any love, in that they flow back to the first of the love from which they spring and that thereby conjunction is effected. The enjoyments of acts and deeds are what are called the enjoyments of uses. A like progression from firsts to outmosts, and from outmosts to firsts, is exhibited in the forms most purely organic of affections and thoughts in man. In his brains there are those star-like forms called the cineritious substances; out of these go forth fibers through the medullary substance by the neck into the body; passing through to the outmosts of the body, and from outmosts returning to their firsts.  This return of fibers to their firsts is made through the blood vessels.  There is a like progression of all affections and thoughts, which are changes and variations of state of those forms or substances, for the fibers issuing out of those forms or substances are comparatively like the atmospheres from the spiritual sun, which are containants of heat and light; while bodily acts are like the things produced from the lands by means of atmospheres, the enjoyments of their uses returning to the source from which they sprang. But that the progression of these is such, and that within this progression there is an image of creation, can hardly be comprehended fully by the understanding, both because thousands and myriads of forces operating in act appear as one, and because the enjoyments of uses do not appear as ideas in the thought, but only affect without distinct perception. On this subject see what has been declared and explained above, as follows: The uses of all created things ascend by degrees of height to man, and through man to God the Creator from whom they are (n. 65-68). The end of creation takes form in outmosts, which end is that all things may return to the Creator and that there may be conjunction (n. 167-172). But these things will appear in still clearer light in the following Part, where the correspondence of the will and understanding with the heart and lungs will be treated of. [DLW316]

(3) In all forms of uses there is a kind of image of man. This has been shown above (n. 61-64). That all uses, from firsts to outmosts and from outmosts to firsts, have relation to all parts of man and have correspondence with them, consequently that man is, in a kind of image, a universe, and conversely that the universe viewed as to uses is in image a man, will be seen in the following chapter. [DLW317]

(4) In all forms of uses there is a kind of image of the Infinite and the Eternal. The image of the Infinite in these forms is plain from their conatus and power to fill the spaces  of the whole world, and even of many worlds, to infinity. For a single seed produces a tree, shrub, or plant, which fills its own space; and each tree, shrub, or plant produces seeds, in some cases thousands of them, which, when sown and grown up, fill their own spaces; and if from each seed of these there should proceed as many more, reproduced again and again, in the course of years the whole world would be filled; and if the production were still continued many worlds would be filled; and this to infinity.  Estimate a thousand seeds from one, and multiply the thousand by a thousand ten times, twenty times, even to a hundred times, and you will see. There is a like image of the Eternal in these forms; seeds are propagated from year to year, and the propagations never cease; they have not ceased from the creation of the world till now, and will not cease to eternity. These two are standing proofs and attesting signs that all things of the universe have been created by an Infinite and Eternal God. Beside these images of the Infinite and Eternal, there is another image of the Infinite and Eternal in varieties, in that there can never be a substance, state, or thing in the created universe the same as or identical with any other, neither in atmospheres, nor in lands, nor in the forms arising out of these. Thus not in any of the things which fill the universe can any thing the same be produced to eternity. This is plainly to be seen in the variety of the faces of human beings; no one face can be found throughout the world which is the same as another, nor can there be to all eternity, consequently not one mind, for the face is the type of the mind.[DLW318]


What the form of heaven is can be seen in some measure from what has been shown in the preceding chapters; as that heaven is like itself both in its greatest  and in its least divisions (n. 72); that consequently each society is a heaven in a lesser form, and each angel in the least form (n. 51-58); that as the entire heaven reflects a single man, so each society of heaven reflects a man in a lesser form, and each angel in the least form (n. 59-77); that the wisest are at the center, and the less wise are round about even to the borders, and the like is true of each society (n. 43); and that those who are in the good of love dwell from the east to the west in heaven, and those who are in truths from good from the south to the north; and the same is true of each society (n. 148, 149). All this is in accord with the form of heaven; consequently it may be concluded from this what this form is in general.{1} [HH200]

It is important to know what the form of heaven is, because not only is all affiliation there in accordance with it, but also all mutual communication, and in consequence of this all extension of thoughts and affections, and thus all the intelligence and wisdom of angels. From this it follows that each one there is wise just to the extent that he is in the form of heaven, and is thus a form of heaven. It makes no difference whether you say in the form of heaven, or in the order of heaven, since the form of any thing is from its order and in accordance with its order.{1} [HH201]

0197a  Let us consider first what is meant by being in the form of heaven. Man was created both in the image of heaven and in the image of the world; his internal in the image of heaven, and his external in the image of the world (see above, n. 57); and in the image means the same thing as in accordance with the form. But as man by the evils of his will and consequent falsities of thought has destroyed in himself the image of heaven, that is, the form of heaven, and in place of it has brought in the image and form of hell, his internal is closed up from his very birth; and this is why man is born into pure ignorance, while animals of every kind are not. And that man may have the image of heaven or form of heaven restored to him he must be taught the things that pertain to order; since form, as has been said, is in accord with order. The Word contains all the laws of Divine order, for its precepts are the laws of Divine order; therefore to the extent that man knows these and lives in accordance with them his internal is opened and the order or image of heaven is there formed anew. This makes clear what is meant by being in the form of heaven, namely, that it is to live in accordance with those things that are in the Word.{1} [HH202]

So far as any one is in the form of heaven he is in heaven, and is, in fact, a heaven in the least form (n. 57); consequently he is to the same extent in intelligence and wisdom; for as has been said above, all the thought of his understanding and all the affection of his will extend themselves on every side into heaven in accord with its form, and wonderfully communicate with the societies there, and these in turn with him.{1}

[2] There are some who do not believe that thoughts and affections really extend themselves around about them, but believe that they are within them, because whatever they think they see within in themselves, and not as distant; but such are greatly mistaken. For as the sight of the eye has extension to remote objects, and is affected in accordance with the order of the things seen in that extension, so the interior sight, which is that of the understanding, has a like extension in the spiritual world, although not perceived by man, for the reason given above (n. 196). The only difference is that the sight of the eye is affected in a natural way, because it is affected by the things in the natural world, while the sight of the understanding is affected in a spiritual way, because by the things in the spiritual world, all of which have relation to good and truth; and man’s ignorance of this is because of his not knowing that there is any light that enlightens the understanding; and yet without the light that enlightens the understanding man could not think at all (of which light see above, n. 126-132).

[3] There was a certain spirit who believed that his thought was from himself, thus without any extension outside of himself and communication thereby with societies outside of him. That he might learn that this was not true his communication with neighboring societies was cut off, and in consequence, not only was he deprived of thought but he fell down as if lifeless, although tossing his arms about like a new-born infant.  After a while the communication was restored to him, and then as it was gradually restored he returned into the state of his thought. [4]

When other spirits had seen this they confessed that all thought and affection, and in consequence, everything of life, flow in in accordance with communication, since everything of man’s life consists in his ability to think and be moved by affection, or what is the same, in his ability to understand and will.{2} [HH203]

But let it be understood that intelligence and wisdom vary with everyone in accordance with this communication, those whose intelligence and wisdom are formed out of genuine truths and goods having communication with societies in accordance with the form of heaven; while those whose intelligence and wisdom are not formed out of genuine truths and goods, and yet out of what is in accord therewith, have a broken and variously coherent communication, since it is not with societies that are in a series in which there is a form of heaven. On the other hand, those that are not in intelligence and wisdom, because they are in falsities from evil, have communication with societies in hell; and their extension is determined by the degree of their confirmation. Let it also be known that this communication with societies is not such a communication with them as is clearly perceptible to those there, but is a communication with what they really are, which is in them and flows from them.{1} [HH204]

There is an affiliation of all in heaven in accordance with spiritual relationships, that is, relationships of good and truth in their order. It is so in the whole heaven; so in each society, and so in each house. Because of this angels who are in like good and truth recognize each other, as relatives by blood and marriage do on the earth, precisely as if they had been acquainted from infancy. The good and truth in each angel, which constitute his wisdom and intelligence, are affiliated in like manner; they recognize each other in like manner, and as they recognize each other they join themselves together;{1} and in consequence those in whom truths and goods are thus joined in accordance with a form of heaven see things following one another in series, and how they cohere widely round about; but those in whom goods and truths are not conjoined in accordance with the form of heaven do not see this. [HH 205]


This can be seen from each and all things of the animal kingdom, from each and all things of the vegetable kingdom, and from each and all things of the mineral kingdom. A relation to man in each and all things of the animal kingdom is evident from the following. Animals of every kind have limbs by which they move, organs by which they feel, and viscera by which these are exercised; these they have in common with man. They have also appetites and affections similar to man’s natural appetites and affections; and they have inborn knowledges corresponding to their affections, in some of which there appears a resemblance to what is spiritual, which is more or less evident in beasts of the earth, and birds of the air, and in bees, silk-worms, ants, etc. From this it is that merely natural men consider the living creatures of this kingdom to be like themselves, except in the matter of speech.

A relation to man arising out of each and all things of the vegetable kingdom is evident from this: they spring forth from seed, and thereafter proceed step by step through their periods of growth; they have something akin to marriage, followed by prolification; their vegetative soul is use, and they are forms thereof; besides many other particulars which have relation to man. These also have been described by various authors.

A relation to man deducible from each and every thing of the mineral kingdom is seen only in an endeavor to produce forms which exhibit such a relation (which forms, as said above, are each and all things of the vegetable kingdom), and in an endeavor to perform uses thereby. For when first a seed falls into the bosom of the earth, she cherishes it, and out of herself provides it with nourishment from every source, that it may shoot up and present itself in a form representative of man. That such an endeavor exists also in its solid parts is evident from corals at the bottom of the seas and from flowers in mines, where they originate from minerals, also from metals. This endeavor towards vegetating, and performing uses thereby, is the outmost derivation from the Divine in created things. [DLW 61]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)




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