There is a Spiritual Meaning in the Word, Which Has Been Unknown until Now (Continued)

(2). There is a spiritual meaning throughout the Word and in all its details (Continued)

In the twenty-first chapter of Revelation we find the following description of the holy Jerusalem:

Its light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. It had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and on the gates were twelve angels and the names written of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. Its wall measured one hundred and forty-four cubits, which is the measure of a human being, that is, of an angel. The construction of its wall was of jasper, and its foundations were made of precious stones of every kind— jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, onyx, sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, and amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls. The city was pure gold, like clear glass, and was square— its length, breadth, and height were equal at twelve thousand stadia each. [Revelation 21: 11– 12, 16– 21]

And so on.

We can tell that all these features are to be understood spiritually from the fact that the holy Jerusalem means a new church that the Lord is going to establish, as explained in § § 62– 65 of Teachings on the Lord. Further, since Jerusalem here means the church, it follows that everything said about it— about the city, its gates, its wall, the foundations of the wall, and its dimensions— has spiritual meaning in it, since what goes to make up the church is spiritual.

As for the meaning of the details, though, these have been explained in Section 1 of The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Teachings (published in London in 1758), so I forego further explanation.

Suffice it to say that we know from these examples that there is spiritual meaning in the details of the description of the city, like a soul within a body, and that if it were not for this meaning we would find nothing relevant to the church in what is written there— the city being of pure gold, the gates of pearls, the wall of jasper, the foundations of the wall of precious stones; the wall measuring a hundred and forty-four cubits by the measure of a human being, that is, of an angel; the city itself being twelve thousand stadia in length, breadth, and height; and so on.

Yet people who are familiar with the spiritual meaning because of their knowledge of correspondences understand that the wall and its foundations mean a body of teaching drawn from the literal meaning of the Word, and that the numbers twelve, a hundred and forty-four, and twelve thousand all mean much the same, namely, all the good and true features of the church viewed in one combined form.

from Sacred Scripture–White Horse, Section 10


How angels Talk with Us (Continued)

Conversation with angels is not granted, though, except to people who are focused on truths that flow from good intent, especially people who acknowledge the Lord and the divine nature within his human nature, because this is the truth in which heaven exists. For as already noted, the Lord is heaven’s God (Sections 2–6); the Lord’s divine nature makes heaven (Sections 7–12); the Lord’s divine nature in heaven is love for him and thoughtfulness from him toward one’s neighbor (Sections 13–19); and the whole heaven, grasped as a single entity, reflects a single individual, as does each community of heaven; and each individual angel has a perfect human form because of the Lord’s divine human nature (Sections 59–86). We can see from this that conversation with angels is not granted except to people whose deeper levels have been opened by divine truths all the way to the Lord, since it is into these that the Lord flows within us, and when the Lord flows in, so does heaven.

The reason divine truths open our deeper levels is that we have been so created that our inner person is an image of heaven and our outer an image of the world (Section 57); and our inner person is opened only by the divine truth that emanates from the Lord, because this is the light and the life of heaven (Sections 126–140).

from Heaven and Hell, Section 250


Previously Cited: 2/27/2017

Sections 2-6: Published 6/1/2017-6/3/2017

Sections 7-12: Published 5/29/2017-5/31/2017

Section 13-19: Published 11/10/2017-11/13/2017

Sections 59-77: Published 3/3/2018-3/10/2018

Sections 78-86: Published 3/28/2018-3/30/2018

Section 57: Published 2/15/2018

Sections 126-140: Published 7/2/2019-7/12/2019

How Angels Talk with Us (Continued)

Talking with spirits is rarely allowed nowadays, though, because it is dangerous. The spirits then actually know that they are with us, which otherwise they would not; and evil spirits by nature harbor a murderous hatred for us and crave nothing less than our total destruction, body and soul. This is what actually goes on in people who regularly lose themselves in delusions, even to the point that they lose touch with the pleasures appropriate to their natural person.

There are some people who lead solitary lives who sometimes hear spirits talking with them without risk; but the Lord keeps these spirits a little space away so that they do not know they are with these individuals. Most spirits, you see, are not aware that there is any other world than the one they are living in or therefore that there are people anywhere else. So we are not allowed to talk back to them, since if we did, they would know.

People who are constantly thinking about religious matters, so wrapped up in them that they practically see them within themselves, also begin to hear spirits talking with them. This is because when we voluntarily get wrapped up in religious matters, no matter what kind, without the interruption of various useful activities in the [external] world, these matters enter into us very deeply and take substance there so that they occupy our whole spirit, move into the spiritual world, and affect spirits there. However, people like this are visionaries or fanatics, and no matter what spirit they hear, they believe it is the Holy Spirit, even though the spirits they hear are fanatical. Spirits like this see false things as true; and because they see them as true they convince themselves and also convince the people into whom they flow. Further, since spirits like this who command obedience have also begun to urge people to do evil things, they have gradually been moved away. Fanatical spirits can be differentiated from other spirits by the fact that they believe they are the Holy Spirit and that what they are saying is divine. They do not harm us, because we offer them divine worship.

I have talked with them on occasion and the unspeakable things they instill into their worshipers have come to light. They live all together toward the left, in a desert area.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 249


Previously Cited: 2/26/2017

How Angels Talk with Us (Continued)

The reason angels and spirits are so intimately united to us that it seems to them as though our characteristics were their own is that there is such an intimate union within us of the spiritual and the natural worlds that they are virtually one. However, because we have separated ourselves from heaven, the Lord has provided that there should be angels and spirits with each of us and that we should be governed by the Lord through them. This is the reason there is such an intimate union.

It would have been different if we had not separated ourselves, because then we could have been governed by the Lord through a general inflow from heaven without having spirits and angels assigned to us. There will be more on this later, though, where we describe how heaven is united to us.

When angels and spirits talk with us, it sounds just as audible as when we talk with each other, but it is not audible to people who are nearby, only to ourselves. This is because the speech of an angel or spirit flows first into our thought and then by an inner route into our organ of hearing so that it activates it from within. Our speech with each other flows first into the air and comes to our organ of hearing and activates it by an outward route. We can see from this that the speech of an angel or spirit with us is heard within us, and that since it activates our hearing mechanism just as much [as our speech with each other does], it is just as audible.

The fact that the speech of an angel or spirit flows down into the ear from within has been made clear to me from the way it flowed into my tongue as well and made it tremble slightly, though not with the actual motion involved when we are articulating the sounds of speech in the formation of words.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 247-248


Previously Cited: 2/25/2017

How Angels Talk with Us

ANGELS who talk with us do not talk in their own language but in ours, or in other languages in which we may be fluent—not in languages of which we have no knowledge. The reason for this is that when angels talk with us they turn toward us and unite with us; and one consequence of this union is that the two parties have much the same thought processes. Since our thinking is closely allied with our memory, and our language flows from it, the two parties share the same language. Further, when angels or spirits come to us and unite with us by turning toward us, they enter into our whole memory so completely that it seems exactly as though they themselves know everything we know, including our languages.

I have talked with angels about this and said that they might suppose they were talking with me in my own mother tongue simply because it seemed that way, when in fact it was not they talking but I. This follows from the fact that angels cannot utter a single word of our human language (Section 237). Then too, human language is natural and they are spiritual, and spiritual beings cannot produce anything natural. They have answered that they knew that when they were talking with us their union with us was with our spiritual thinking, but since this spiritual thinking flowed into our natural thought, and this natural thinking is so closely allied with our memory, it seemed to them as though our language were their own, along with all our acquired knowledge. This is because it has pleased the Lord that there should be this kind of union and inner presence of heaven with us. However, they said, the state of humanity is now such that this kind of union is no longer with angels but with spirits who are not in heaven.

I have talked with spirits about this matter, too; but they wanted to believe not that we were talking but that they were talking within us, so that we did not really know what we know, but they did, which meant that everything we knew came from them. I wanted to convince them by many arguments that this was not the case but failed.

We will explain later just who are meant by “angels” and who by “spirits,” when we come to our description of the world of spirits.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 246


Previously Cited: 2/24/2917

Section 237-239: Published 5/4/2018

Divine Worship In Heaven (Continued)

All preachers are from the Lord’s spiritual kingdom and none from his heavenly kingdom. The reason they are from the spiritual kingdom is that people there are attuned to truths that stem from what is good, and all preaching comes from truths. The reason none is from his heavenly kingdom is that the people there are attuned to the good of love, and see and grasp truths on this basis, but do not talk about them.

Even though the angels who are in the heavenly kingdom grasp and see truths, there are still sermons there because sermons are means of enlightenment in the truths that the angels already know and lead to further perfection by means of many things they have not known before. The moment they hear them, they acknowledge them and therefore grasp them. The truths they grasp they also love, and by living according to them they make them part of their life. They say that living by truths is loving the Lord.

All preachers are appointed by the Lord and therefore enjoy the gift of preaching. No one else is allowed to teach in church. They are called preachers rather than priests. The reason they are not called priests is that heaven’s priesthood is the heavenly kingdom, priesthood meaning the good of love for the Lord that characterizes the people in that kingdom. In contrast, heaven’s kingship is the spiritual kingdom, kingship meaning the truth from what is good that characterizes people in that kingdom (see above, Section 24).

All the doctrines that govern the preaching focus on life as their end, none on faith apart from life. The doctrine of the inmost heaven is more full of wisdom than that of the intermediate heaven, and this in turn is more full of intelligence than that of the outmost heaven. The doctrines are in fact suited to the grasp of the angels of each heaven.

The essential of all the doctrines is the recognition of the Lord’s divine human.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 225-227


Previously Cited: 12/18/2016

Section 22-24: Published 6/28/2017

Divine Worship in Heaven (Continued)

So that I could learn what their church services are like, I have occasionally been allowed to go in and hear sermons. The preacher in the pulpit is stationed in the east. Directly in front sit the people who are in greater light of wisdom than others, while to their right and left are the people in less light. The seating is laid out in a circular form so that everyone can be seen by the preacher. No one is off to the sides and out of the preacher’s sight. Newcomers stand by the door at the eastern end of the church to the left of the pulpit. No one is allowed to stand behind the pulpit; if anyone is there, the preacher loses the train of thought. The same thing happens if anyone in the congregation disagrees, so anyone who does is obliged to look away.

The sermons there are given with such wisdom that their earthly counterparts cannot be compared to them: people in the heavens actually experience a more inward light.

Churches in the spiritual kingdom seem to be made of stone, and those in the heavenly kingdom of wood. This is because stone corresponds to the truth that occupies people in the spiritual kingdom and wood to the good that occupies people in the heavenly kingdom. The buildings in this latter kingdom are not called “churches” but “houses of God.”

Buildings in the heavenly kingdom are devoid of splendor, but in the spiritual kingdom they are more or less ornate.

I also talked with one particular preacher about the holy state characteristic of people who are listening to preachers in church. He said that there is something reverent, devout, and holy in all of us depending on the deeper levels of our love and faith, since there is something holy within our love and faith because the Lord’s divine [presence] is there. He added that he did not know what anything holy was apart from these. Further, he said that when he thought about something externally holy apart from these, it might possibly be something that mimicked holiness in outer appearance, something acquired either by skill or by hypocrisy. A deceptive fire arising from love for oneself and the world would generate and present this kind of appearance.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 223-224

Divine Worship in Heaven

OUTWARDLY, divine worship in the heavens is not unlike divine worship on earth, but inwardly it is different. People there too have doctrines and sermons and church buildings. The doctrines agree in essentials, but those in the higher heavens are of deeper wisdom than those of lower heavens. The sermons are in keeping with the doctrines; and just as they have homes and mansions (Sections 183–190), they also have church buildings where the instruction takes place.

The reason things like this exist in heaven is that angels are constantly being perfected in wisdom and love. They have volition and intellect just as we do, and their intellect, like their intentions, is by nature constantly striving toward perfection—their intellect by means of the truths that constitute intelligence and their intentions through the values that constitute love.

However, the essential divine worship in the heavens does not consist of going to church regularly and listening to sermons but of a life of love, thoughtfulness, and faith in keeping with doctrine. The sermons in church serve only as means of instruction in how to live.

I have talked about this with angels and have told them that people in this world believe that divine worship consists solely of going to church and listening to sermons, taking communion three or four times a year, and observing other rituals according to the church’s regulations, as well as making time for prayer and behaving devoutly. The angels have told me that these are outward matters that are worth doing but that they are ineffective unless there is something within from which they flow, and that this something within is a life according to the principles that doctrine teaches.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 221-222


Previously Cited: 12/16/2016

Sections 183-190: Published 4/26/2018-4/28/2018

Light and Warmth in Heaven (Continued)

It should be realized that the divine good and divine truth that come from the Lord as the sun in the heavens are not in the Lord but are from him. All that is in the Lord is divine love, which is the reality from which divine good and truth become manifest. Becoming manifest from reality is what “emanating” means. This too can be illustrated by comparison with our world’s sun. The warmth and light in our world are not in the sun but are from it. In the sun there is nothing but fire, and warmth and light become manifest and emanate from it.

Since the Lord as the sun is divine love, and divine love is the essential divine good, the divine that emanates from him—his divine nature in heaven—is called divine truth for the sake of clarity, even though it is divine good united to divine truth. This divine truth is what is called “the holy” that emanates from him.

from Heaven and Hell, Sections 139-140


Preivously Cited: 12/2/2016

Light ans Warmth in Heaven (Continued)

It says in John,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word: all things were made by means of him, and without him nothing was made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of humankind. He was in the world, and the world was made by means of him. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory. (John 1:1, 3, 4, 10, 14)  

It is clear that the Lord is the one who is meant by “the Word,” since it says that the Word was made flesh. Precisely what is meant by “the Word,” though, is not yet known and must therefore be stated. The Word in this passage is the divine truth that is in the Lord and from the Lord, so here it is also called the light, which is divine truth, as has been shown earlier in this chapter. Now we need to explain the statement that all things were made and created by means of divine truth.

In heaven, it is divine truth that possesses all power, and apart from it there is no power whatever. All angels are called “powers” because of divine truth, and are powers to the extent that they are recipients or vessels of it. Through it they prevail over the hells and over all who oppose them. A thousand enemies there cannot bear one ray of heavenly light, which is divine truth. Since angels are angels because of their acceptance of divine truth, it follows that all heaven is from this source and no other, since heaven is made up of angels.

People cannot believe that this kind of power is inherent in divine truth if the only concept of truth they have has to do with thought or speech, which have no power in them except to the extent that other people concede it by being obedient. There is an intrinsic power within divine truth, though, power of such nature that by means of it heaven, the world, and everything in them was created.

We can illustrate the fact that this kind of power is inherent in divine truth by two comparisons—by the power of what is true and good in us, and by the power of light and warmth from the sun in our world.

By the power of what is true and good in us: Everything we do, we do out of our discernment and intent. Out of our intent, we act by means of what is good, and out of our discernment by means of what is true. In fact, all the elements of our volition are related to what is good, and all the elements of our discernment are related to what is true. On this basis, then, we set our whole body in motion and a thousand things there rush to do our bidding of their own accord. We can see from this that our whole body is formed for obedience to what is good and true and therefore from what is good and true.

By the power of light and warmth from the sun in our world: Everything that grows in our world—things like trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, fruits, and seeds—arises only by means of the warmth and light of the sun. So we can see what kind of productive power is inherent in that warmth and light. What about the divine light that is divine truth, then, and the divine warmth that is divine good, the source from which heaven comes into being and consequently the world as well, since as we have shown above, it is through heaven that the world comes into being?

This enables us to determine how to understand the statement that all things were made by means of the Word, and that without him nothing was made that was made, and further that the world was made by means of him, namely that this was accomplished by means of divine truth from the Lord.

This is also why in the book of creation it first mentions light and then the things that arise from light (Genesis 1:3, 4). It is also why everything in all heaven and earth has to do with what is good and true and to their union if it is to be anything at all.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 137


Previously Cited: 12/1/2016

Light and Warmth in Heaven (Continued)

Like people on earth, angels have discernment and volition. Heaven’s light produces their cognitive life because heaven’s light is divine truth and the divine wisdom that comes from it; while heaven’s warmth produces their volitional life because heaven’s warmth is the divine good and the divine love that comes from it. The quintessential life of angels is from the warmth, but not from the light except to the extent that there is warmth in it. We can see that life comes from the warmth because when the warmth is taken away life dies. It is the same for faith without love or for truth without goodness, since the truth that is attributed to faith is light and the goodness that is attributed to love is warmth.

All this becomes even clearer from the warmth and light of our world, to which heaven’s warmth and light correspond. From the warmth of our world, united to its light, all things on earth come to life and blossom. They are united in spring and summer. However, nothing comes to life or blooms from light separated from warmth—everything languishes and dies. They are disunited in winter, when the warmth is gone but the light remains. It is from this correspondence that heaven is called a paradise, because there the true is united to the good, or faith to love, as light is united to warmth in springtime on earth.

This gives even clearer support to the truth discussed above in Sections 13-19, that the Lord’s divine nature in heaven is love for him and thoughtfulness to ward one’s neighbor.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 136


Previously Cited: 11/30/2019

Sections 13-19: Published 11/10/2017-11/13/2017