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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

Several Examples from Spirits of Opinions They Adopted during Their Physical Lives Concerning the Soul or Spirit

In the other life it is easy to tell what opinions others held during bodily life concerning the soul, the spirit, and life after death. When people are kept in a state like the one they had in the body, they think the same way they did then, and their thinking is communicated as clearly as if they were talking out loud.

In the case of one spirit who had departed this world not long before, I perceived–and he admitted–that although he believed he would live on as a spirit, he expected to live a vague kind of life. His thinking, since he located life in the body, was that if physical life were withdrawn, only a vague something-or-other would remain. So his picture of the spirit was like that of a ghost. The observation that brute animals too had life, almost as people do, had confirmed him in his opinion. But now he was amazed to see that spirits and angels live in the greatest possible light and in the greatest possible intelligence, wisdom, and happiness, with such keen perception that it can hardly be described. Far from living a dim kind of life, he discovered, they live a clear and intensely vivid life.

I talked with another individual who during life in the world had not believed the spirit had any extension in space. On this principle, he had refused to accept any word that involved dimension [to describe the spirit]. I asked him, “What do you think now, as a soul or spirit, about the fact that you possess sight, hearing, smell, sensitive touch, desires, and thoughts, so much so that you feel exactly as if you were still in your body?”

Restricted to the picture he had formed when thinking about the subject in the world, he said, “The spirit consists in thought.”

“You once were alive in the world,” I was allowed to reply. “Don’t you know that physical sight cannot occur without the visual organ—the eye? How can thought, which is inner sight, do so? Doesn’t it require an organic substance in order to operate?” He then acknowledged that during the life of the body he had labored under the delusion that spirit is simply thought, without any organic matter or dimension.

“If the soul or spirit was only thought,” I added, “we would have no need for a brain the size we have, since the brain is nothing but an organ for our interior senses. If that were not its function, the skull could be hollow and still provide a place for our thoughts to do the work of the spirit. This alone should have convinced you that the spirit is organic, or made of organic substance. And had you considered what impressive activities result when the soul operates on the muscles, it might also have convinced you.”He confessed his error and wondered how he could have been so foolish.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 443-444

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/13/2016-5/14/2016

What the Life of the Soul or Spirit Is Like

What is life generally like for souls or recently departed spirits after death? Wide experience has shown me that when people come into the next life they do not realize they are there. They think they are still in the world and in fact in their bodies. They are so convinced of this that if you tell them they are spirits, they are amazed and dumbfounded, for two reasons. One is that they seem completely human in respect to their senses, desires, and thoughts. The other is their previous disbelief, when they lived in the world, that they were spirits or (in some cases) that spirits could even be like this.

A second thing is that spirits’ powers of sensation are much more highly developed than when they lived in the body, as is their gift for thinking and speaking. These abilities are so much greater that they can hardly even be compared. Still, spirits are unaware of the change until the Lord leads them to reflect on it.

Avoid succumbing to the false opinion that spirits lack the power of sensation, and sensation much keener than they had while living in the body. I know the opposite to be true from thousands and thousands of experiences. If you do not want to believe, because of assumptions you make about the spirit, keep it to yourself when you enter the other life. There actual experience will make a believer out of you.

Spirits have eyesight, since they live in light, and good spirits, angelic spirits, and angels live in such bright light that the world’s noonday light can hardly be compared to it. (More will be said later on [Sections 1521-1534], with the Lord’s divine mercy, about the light that they live in and see by.)

Not only that, they also have hearing, and such sensitive hearing that their [former,] physical hearing cannot be measured against it. They have talked with me almost continually for several years now (but more about their speech will also be told later on [Sections 1634–1650, 1757–1764], with the Lord’s divine mercy).

They have a sense of smell (also dealt with later [Section 1516], with the Lord’s divine mercy).

They have an extremely sensitive sense of touch, from which come the excruciating pangs of hell. All the senses relate to touch, since they are simply different varieties of it.

They have desires and feelings to which, again, the ones they had during physical existence cannot be compared. (These too will be expanded on below [section 994:3], with the Lord’s divine mercy.)

They think much more clearly and precisely than they did during the life of the body, packing more into a single mental image than they did into a thousand when they engaged in thought during bodily life.

They talk to each other with such great acumen, subtlety, wisdom, and clarity that if we perceived only part of what they said we would be astounded.

In short, they have lost absolutely nothing they need in order to be human—and more perfectly human at that—except flesh and bones, and the accompanying imperfections.

They acknowledge and perceive that during bodily life the spirit was what actually sensed things. Although sensation seemed to take place in their bodies it was not, in fact, physical. Consequently when the body has been laid aside, sensation lives on with much greater acuity and perfection. Life consists in sensation because without it there is no life, and the quality of sensation determines the quality of life, as anyone can recognize.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 320-322

Our Entry into Eternal Life (Continued)

After our revived selves—our souls—have been restored to the light, so that we can look around us, the spiritual angels mentioned before perform every service for us that we can possibly desire in our new state. They teach us about the things that exist in the other life, but only so far as we can comprehend. To anyone who had been a believer and has an interest they also show the grand and amazing sights of heaven.

But if the revived person or soul is not the kind who wants to learn, he or she then wants to leave the angels’ company. The angels are quick to perceive this because in the next life all the ideas involved in our thinking are shared generally. When we are eager to part with the angels, they do not leave us but we disconnect from them. Angels love everyone and want nothing more than to be helpful to us, teach us, and take us up into heaven. That is their highest pleasure.

When we as souls break off with them in this way, we are next welcomed by good spirits, and in their company every possible service is again performed for us. However, if our life in the world was such that we cannot stay among the good, once more we want to get away from them. The process repeats continuously until we come into contact with the type of people whose life in the world was in total agreement with ours. Among them we seem to find our own life. Then, surprising to say, we live the same kind of life with them as we had lived in the body.

As we sink back into that life, we experience a new beginning. Some of us move on from there toward hell after a fairly long time and some after a fairly short time. Those of us who had believed in the Lord, however, from the time of that new beginning are gradually led to heaven.

Some reach heaven more slowly and some more quickly. I have even seen some taken up into heaven immediately after death. Allow me to mention just two examples.

A man came and spoke to me who, as certain signs indicated, had recently departed from life. At first he did not realize where he was, supposing himself to be in the world.

I then informed him that he was in the next life and that he no longer had any possessions—house, money, and so on—but was in another realm, where he lacked everything he had owned in the world. Filled with anxiety over this, he did not know what direction to go or where he would live; but I told him that the Lord alone looks out for him and for everyone. Afterward I left him alone to think as he had thought in the world. He started to wonder (everyone’s thoughts can be perceived clearly in the other life) what he should do now, being destitute of everything that had allowed him to stay alive.

Still laboring under this anxiety, he was transferred to the company of spirits with a heavenly nature. They were in the vicinity of the heart and everything he wanted, whatever it was, they helped him with. This done, he was again left alone and, under the inspiration of charity, began to consider how he could repay such great kindness. All this showed that in the life of the body he had possessed the charity that belongs to faith. As a result he was lifted up into heaven instantly.

I also watched another person transferred right into heaven by the angels and saw him received by the Lord and shown heaven’s glory.

Besides all this, I know from much other experience that it takes time for some people to reach heaven.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 314-319

Our Entry, Once Revived, into Eternal Life (Continued)

When heavenly angels are present with the revived, they do not leave them; they love each one. But if our soul is such that we can no longer enjoy the company of heavenly angels, we long to get away from them, at which point spiritual angels arrive and give us the gift of light. Until then, we do not have the use of our our sight, only of our thoughts.

I was shown how these angels do their work. They seemed to roll a kind of membrane off my left eye toward the nasal septum yo open my eye and give it the use of the light. To the person being revived this seems to be exactly what is happening, but it is only an appearance.

When this small membrane seems to have been rolled off, a dim kind of glow can be seen, like the light seen through the eyelids on waking. We are in a peaceful state, still protected by the heavenly angels.

Next there appears a shadowy something the color of the sky, with a tiny star in it; but I sensed that different people experience this differently.

Afterward something seems to be rolled gently off the face, and we return to consciousness. The angels take the greatest care at this point to prevent any idea from rising out of us unless it is a fairly gentle, loving one. Now we learn that we are a spirit.

This is when we start to live, and at first things are happy and cheerful, since we feel we have entered on eternal life. This stage is represented by brilliant light with a beautiful golden tinge, symbolizing the fact that our first stage of life is heavenly, with a touch of the spiritual.

Then we are welcomed into a community of good spirits. This is represented by a young adult astride a horse, directly it toward hell, although the horse is unable to move a step. We are represented by a young adult because as soon as we come into eternal life we find ourselves among angels and so seem to ourselves to be in the prime of our youth.

The kind of life that comes next is represented by a scene in which the youth dismounts and goes on foot because of the horse’s inability to move from the spot. The thought is planted in our minds that we will be taught about truth and goodness.

Then some gently rising paths become visible, symbolizing the fact that we will be led gradually toward heaven by a knowledge of truth and goodness and an acknowledgement of our own nature. Unless we acknowledge who we are and learn what is true and good, we can never be led there.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 182-189

Our Resurrection from Death and Entry into Eternal Life

I will now relate the steps by which we move from bodily life into eternal life, in order to show how a person is revived. The explanation is based not on hearsay but on my own personal experience.

I was brought into a state in which I was unaware of physical sensation–almost into the condition of someone who is dying. My inner life and thinking remained unimpaired, however, so that I would perceive and remember what was happening. I underwent the same experiences as those who have died and are being revived, when their breathing is at first consistent with continued life and then falls silent.

Heavenly angels were present, occupying the area of my heart, so that I seemed to be at one with them in my heart. We were so close that at last hardly anything of my own remained to me besides thought and the perception that comes with thought. This lasted several hours.

In this way I was removed from communications with spirits in the world of spirits. They assumed I was departed bodily life.

In addition to the heavenly angels occupying the region of my heart, there were two angels sitting at my head. I perceived that this is so for everyone.

The angels sitting at my head were completely silent, communicating their thoughts only by the face, so that I felt something like a new face come over me–two new faces, in fact, since since there were two angels.

When the angels perceived that their faces are being mirrored, they know the person is dead.

After recognizing their faces on me, they caused certain changes in the area around my mouth and in this way shared their thoughts with me. (To speak through the area around someone else’s mouth is common for heavenly angels.) I was able to perceive their thought-speech.

I smelled a sweet fragrance, like that from an embalmed corpse. Whenever heavenly angels are present, the scent of a dead body comes across as sweet. If evil spirits smell it, they cannot come near.

All the while I remained at one with the heavenly angels, held in a fairly close embrace in the area around my heart, as I perceived and also felt in my pulse.

The idea was instilled in me that angles hold us in any thoughts we have at the moment of death that are devout and holy. I also gathered that when people are dying most of them are thinking about eternal life–few are thinking about their salvation or happiness–so the angels keep them in that thoughts about eternal life.

The heavenly angels hold us in this thought quite a while before withdrawing and leaving us to the spiritual angels who then become our companions. Meanwhile we fully, if dimly, believe that we are still alive in our bodies.

As soon as the internal organs of the body grow cold, our living substances, wherever they are located, are separated out. This would happen even if they were lost in the thousand interlinking passages of a labyrinth. The Lord’s mercy, which I had already experienced as a living and powerful pull, is so strong that it could not leave any living element behind.

The heavenly angels sitting at my head remained with me a while after I was “revived” without speaking except in their silent way. From their thought-speech I learned that they completely discounted all my misconceptions and falsities. It was not that they ridiculed them; they appeared not to care about them at all.

They speak by thoughts, without sound. This is the way they start to talk with the souls whom they accompany in the beginning.

People revived in this way by the heavenly angels are still experiencing a dim sort of life. When it is time to pass the people on to the spiritual angels, the heavenly angels wait a little and then withdraw once the spiritual angels have arrived. I was also shown the latter enable the reviving soul to receive the use of light.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 168-181

Notes:

Previously Cited: 5/1/2016-5/3/2016

The Inner Meaning of the Word (Scriptures)

The Lord in his divine mercy has given me the opportunity to learn the inner meaning of the Word, which contains deeply hidden secrets that no one has ever been aware of before.

No one can become aware of them without learning how things stand in the other life, since almost all of the Word’s inner meaning looks, speaks, and points to that life.

For these reasons, I have been granted the privilege of disclosing what I have heard and seen over the past several years of interaction with spirits and angels.

I realize many will claim that no one can talk to spirits and angels as long as bodily life continues, or that I am hallucinating, or that I have circulated such stories in order to play on people’s credulity, and so on.

But none of this worries me; I have seen, I have heard, I have felt.

The Lord created us to be capable of communicating with spirits and angels while still living in our bodies, as people actually did in the earliest times. After all, we are one with spirits and angels. In fact we ourselves are spirits clothed in flesh.

Over time, though, people have immersed themselves so deeply in bodily and worldly concerns that almost nothing else interests them, and so the path has closed; but as soon as the body-driven concerns that absorb us drop away, it opens and we find ourselves among spirits, living life together with them.

Now that I may reveal what I have experienced for the past several years, I must begin with the circumstances of our resurrection, or the way in which we leave bodily life to enter eternal life.

To convince me that people live on after death, I was allowed to talk and spend time with many people known to me during their physical life, which I did, not just for a day or a week, but for months and almost as much as a year. Our interactions were the same as they had been in the world.

These acquaintances were positively astounded that while living the life of the body they had been (and many others still are) so skeptical—skeptical to the point that they did not believe they would continue to live after death. The truth, they found, is that little more than a day passes after the demise of the body before we enter the next life, since that life is a continuation of this.

However, the account of our resurrection would end up scattered and disconnected if it were mixed in with explanations of scriptural texts. So by the Lord’s divine mercy I will add it in a more orderly fashion at the beginning and end of each chapter in addition to making remarks along the way.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 67-71

Notes:

Previously Cited: 11/6/2018-11/7/2018

The Word (Scripture) has Four Major Modes of Writing

1. The mode of [the people in] the earliest church.

Their method of expressing themselves involved thought of the spiritual and heavenly things represented by the earthly, mundane objects they mentioned. Not only did they express themselves in words representing higher things, they also spun those words into a kind of narrative thread to lend them greater life. This practice gave the earliest people the fullest pleasure possible.

This early manner of writing is meant in Hannah’s prophecy:

“Speak deeply, deeply; let what is ancient come out of your mouth” (1 Samuel 2:3).

David calls those representative signs

“enigmas from ancient times” (Psalms 78:2, 3, 4)

Moses received the present accounts of creation and the Garden of Eden, extending up to the time of Abram, from the descendants of the earliest church.

2. The narrative mode.

This mode is used in the books of Moses from Abram’s story on, and in Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. The historical events in these books are exactly what they appear to be in the literal sense, but as a whole and in detail they still contain an entirely different meaning on the inner plane. What follows will, with the Lord’s divine mercy, explain that meaning in order.

3. The prophetic mode.

The inspiration for this was the mode used by the earliest church, a manner of writing [the authors] revered. But the prophetic mode lacks the cohesiveness and semi-historical quality of the earliest church’s mode. It is choppy, and almost completely unintelligible except on the inner level, which holds profound secrets forming a well-connected chain of ideas. They deal with our outer and inner beings, the many stages of the church, heaven itself, and—at the very core—the Lord.

4. David’s Psalms.

This mode is midway between the prophetic mode and people’s usual way of speaking. The inner meaning speaks of the Lord under the character of David when he was king.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, section 66

Notes:

Previously Cited: 10/23/2018

The Word’s Inner Meaning

This, then, is the Word’s inner meaning, the true and genuine life in it, which does not reveal itself at all in the literal meaning. But the number of secrets hidden within is so large that volumes would fail to unfold all of them. I have offered just a few, of a type confirming that regeneration is the theme and that it progresses from outer to inner self.

That is what angels see in the Word. They know nothing whatever of the literal contents, or the most obvious meaning of even one word, still less the names of different lands, cities, rivers, and people that come up so frequently in the narrative and prophetic parts. All they picture are the things those words and names symbolize.

Adam in Paradise, for instance, brings the earliest church to their minds—and not even the church itself but its belief in the Lord.

Noah brings up the picture of that church’s remnant among its successors, lasting up to Abram’s time.

Abraham never makes them think of a man who lived long ago but of a saving faith, which he represented. And so on.

In sum, they see spiritual and heavenly realities in the Word, completely separate from the words and names.

Several people found themselves carried up into heaven’s outermost entry hall while I was reading the Word, and they spoke to me from there. They said that they had no inkling of a single word or letter there but saw only the things symbolized on the next deeper level of meaning.

These things, according to their description, were so beautiful, followed in such a perfect sequence, and affected them so deeply that they called it glory.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 1, Sections 64-65

Notes:

Previously Cited: 10/22/2018

Faith (Continued)

People whose faith is just a veneer do not know from any inner enlightenment whether what they are teaching is true or false, and as long as average people believe them, they do not care. In fact, they are not moved in the least by truth for its own sake. As a result, if they cannot obtain status or profit they abandon their faith (or at least if they can do so without putting their reputation in jeopardy), because the veneer of faith does not dwell inside us. Rather, it stands outside, in our memory alone, so we can call on it when we are teaching. This means that this faith and its truths vanish after death because the only elements of faith that remain then are the ones that have a place inside us—that is, the elements of faith that have taken root in doing what is good, and that have therefore been made part of our life.

The following passage in Matthew is about people whose faith is just a veneer:

Many will say to me in that day, “Lord, Lord, haven’t we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and done many worthwhile things in your name?” But then I will declare to them, “I do not recognize you, workers of iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22–23)

Then it says in Luke:

Then you will begin to say, “We have eaten with you and drunk, and you have taught in our streets.” But he will say, “I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Go away from me, all you workers of iniquity.” (Luke 13:26–27)

They are also described as the five foolish young women in Matthew who did not have oil for their lamps:

Finally those young women arrived, saying, “Lord, lord, open up for us.” But he will say in response, “I tell you in truth, I do not recognize you.” (Matthew 25:11–12)

[In the Word,] oil in lamps symbolizes the good that love does in faith.

from Regeneration, Pages 19-20

Faith (Continued)

Everyone who has spiritual faith has an assurance that we are saved by the Lord. That is, we believe that the Lord came into the world to give eternal life to those who believe and live by the principles that he taught, that he regenerates us and fits us for heaven, and that he does this all by himself without our help, out of pure mercy.

Believing what the Word or the theology of the church teaches and not living by it may look like faith, and some may even believe that they are saved by it; but no one is saved by this alone. This is in fact a veneer of faith. It is necessary to describe this veneer of faith at this juncture.

A veneer of faith is when we believe and love the Word and the theology of the church not for the sake of its truth or in order to live by it but for the sake of profit and reputation and for the sake of being considered learned. As a result, when we are devoted to this kind of faith we are not focusing on the Lord or heaven but on ourselves and this world. People who are intensely ambitious and acquisitive in this world are more strongly convinced of the truth of what the church’s theology teaches than people who are not intensely ambitious and acquisitive. This is because for them the church’s theology is nothing but a means to their own ends, and the more they love those ends, the more they love—and trust—the means.

Essentially, though, the fact is that they are caught up in this conviction to the extent that they are on fire with their love for themselves and the world and are speaking and preaching and acting from that fire. At such times they are completely convinced that what they are saying is true. However, when they are not caught up in the fire of those loves they believe very little—some do not believe at all. This shows that a veneer of faith is a faith of the lips and not of the heart, so it is really no faith at all.

from Regeneration, pages 18-19