The Way Spirits and Angels Talk (Continued)

Not only was I able to hear clearly what the spirits were saying to me, I could also tell just where they were at the time—above my head or below, on my right side or my left, at my ear, somewhere else near my body or perhaps inside it, at such-and-such a distance far or near. I could tell where they were because they spoke to me from the various places or locations they were in, which were determined by their position in the universal human, or in other words, by their state of mind.

I was also allowed to perceive when they came and went, where they were going and for how long, whether they were many or few, and so on.

From their speech I could tell what they were like, too, since their speech (like their aura) reveals clearly what their turn of mind and their character is, and what opinions and attitudes they hold as well. If they are deceitful, for instance, then when they talk, the general and specific type of their deceit can be detected in every word and thought, even if they are not lying at the moment. The same is true of all other vices and obsessions. These are so obvious that there is no need for lengthy investigation; an image of each is present in every word and thought.

It is also possible to sense whether the thinking behind their words is closed- or open-minded, and what part comes from that individual, from other individuals, or from the Lord. It works almost the same as with the faces of people on earth, in which we can usually recognize pretense, fraud, gladness, cheer (real or fake), true friendship, shyness, or insanity, even if the person does not talk. Sometimes the same thing shows up in the tone of voice. Why not in the other life, then, where perception is far more sensitive?

In fact before spirits speak, their thought alone reveals what they are about to say, since thought is communicated more quickly and readily than speech.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1640

The Way Spirits and Angels Talk (Continued)

Verbal speech, as I said, is characteristic of people on earth and, to be specific, of their physical memory. Speech composed of thoughts, however, is the speech of spirits and, to be specific, of inner memory, which is the memory of the spirit. We are not aware that we have the latter kind of memory, because the memory of trivia belonging to the material world—physical memory—seems all-important and overshadows the inner memory. The reality, though, is that without the inner memory characteristic of our spirit, we are completely incapable of thought.

I have often used my inner memory in talking with spirits, which is to say that I have used their own language; that is, I have spoken by means of thought. The universality of the language and its richness can be seen from the fact that each word contains a whole concept of tremendous reach. As we know, it can take some time to lay out the thought behind a single word, still more the thought behind a single topic, and more yet the thought behind a constellation of topics, even if these can be brought together into a single, simple-looking composite. These considerations give some clue to the kind of speech that spirits naturally use with each other and what type of speech it is that links us to spirits.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1639

The Way Spirits and Angels Talk (Continued)

The words they use—that is, the words they stir up or retrieve from our memory and presume to be their own—are well chosen, clear, meaningful, distinctly enunciated, and relevant. Surprising to say, the spirits are smarter and faster at choosing words than we are ourselves. As a matter of fact (and this has been demonstrated to me), they grasp a word’s various shades of meaning and apply them immediately, without any forethought. The reason, again, is that the thoughts composing their language flow only into suitable words.

The situation is almost the same as the times when we speak without thinking about the words and focus solely on the meaning of the words. Under those circumstances, our thought falls quickly and easily into phrasing that accords with our meaning. It is the inner meaning that produces the words. The same kind of inner meaning, but even more subtly nuanced and refined, is what the language of spirits consists in, and by it we communicate with them, although we are unaware of it.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1638

The Way Spirits and Angels Talk (Continued)

One of the amazing things that happen in the other life is that when spirits talk to us humans, they do so in our native language. They speak it as easily and fluently as if they had been born in the same land and raised with the same language, whether they come from Europe or the Near East or some other part of the globe. So do those who lived thousands of years earlier, before the language even existed. In fact spirits have no idea that the speech they use with us is not their own native tongue. They use our secondary languages too, but beyond these, they are not capable of producing one syllable of another language, unless the Lord gives it directly to them. Even babies who die before they have really learned any language at all talk this way.

The reason, though, is that the language that spirits are familiar with is composed not of words but of thoughts. This language is common to all tongues. When spirits are present with a person on earth, their individual thoughts fall into words the person knows. The thoughts agree with and adapt to those words so perfectly that the spirits have no notion that the actual words are not their own. They fully believe they are speaking their own language, when it is really the person’s language they are speaking. I have discussed these matters with spirits a number of times. All souls receive this gift as soon as they enter the other world. They can understand the speech of everyone in the whole family of nations, just as though they had been born in those nations, because they sense whatever a person is thinking. Not to mention other talents in which they excel even more dramatically.

That is why it happens after physical death that souls can converse and interact with everyone, no matter what the individual’s region or language was.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1637

The Way Spirits and Angels Talk (Continued)

The following example made it clear to me how hard it is to convince people that spirits and angels exist, let alone that anyone can talk to them. There was a group of spirits I had known when they lived in the body who had been among the better-educated. (I have spoken with almost all those I had known during their physical lives—with some for several weeks and with some for a year—exactly as though they were living in their bodies.) They were once led into the same patterns of thought they had had when they lived in the world—an easy change to accomplish in the other life. The question was then suggested to them, “Do you believe anyone can talk to spirits?” “You would have to be deluded to believe such a thing,” they said then, in that condition, and doggedly continued to assert their opinion.

The experience showed how difficult it is to convince anyone that any speech between people and spirits is possible. The reason for the difficulty is that people do not believe in the existence of spirits, let alone in their own future arrival among spirits after death. This disbelief afterward shocked even the spirits themselves. Yet they were some of the better-educated and had often spoken publicly about the next life, and about heaven and angels. One would have assumed that the idea was very familiar to them as a simple fact, especially from the Word, where it comes up frequently.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1636

The Way Spirits and Angels Talk

The Lord’s Word makes it clear that many people used to talk with spirits and angels, and that they heard and saw much in the other world, but that heaven was later shut, so to speak. It was closed so tightly that today hardly anyone believes spirits and angels exist, let alone that anyone can talk with them. To most people’s way of thinking, speech with invisible beings (whose existence they deny at heart) is impossible.

In the Lord’s divine mercy, however, I have been granted the almost continuous opportunity for several years now to hold conversations with them and to go among them as one of them. Let me report here, then, what I have had the privilege of learning about the way they talk to each other.

When spirits talked to me, I heard them as clearly and distinctly as the people I speak with on earth. In fact when I talked with spirits while surrounded by people, I noticed that I could hear the spirits just as audibly as the people—so much so that the spirits sometimes had trouble believing they could not be heard by my companions. There was no difference whatever in the sound.

But since spirits’ speech stimulates the ear’s inner organs in a different way than conversation with other people does, it was inaudible to everyone but me, in whom those organs were open, by the Lord’s divine mercy. Human speech enters through the ear along an external route, by means of the air. The speech of spirits enters not by the ear or the air but by an inner way. It reaches the same organs inside the head (in the brain), which is why it sounds the same.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1634, 1635

The Lord Did Not Take Away Our Sins by His Suffering on the Cross, but He Did Carry Them (Continued)

I need now to say something about the meaning of the Lord’s “taking up sins” [John 1:29]. His “taking up sins” means much the same as his redeeming us and saving us, since the Lord came into the world so that we could be saved; if he had not come no one could have been reformed and reborn and therefore saved. This could happen, though, after the Lord had taken all power away from the Devil—that is, from hell—and had glorified his human nature—that is, united it to the divine nature of his Father. If these things had not happened, no human beings could have accepted anything divinely true that dwelt within them, let alone anything divinely good, because the Devil, who had had the greater power before these events, would have snatched it from their hearts.

We can see from all this that the Lord did not take away sins by his suffering on the cross, but that he does take away sins—that is, lay them aside—in those who believe in him and live by his commandments. This is what the Lord is telling us in Matthew:

Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law and the Prophets. Whoever breaks the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called the least in the kingdom of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches [these commandments] will be called great in the kingdom of the heavens. (Matthew 5:17, 19)

Reason alone should convince anyone who is the least bit enlightened that sins can be taken away from us only by active repentance—that is, by our seeing our sins, begging the Lord for help, and desisting from them. To see and believe and teach anything else does not come from the Word or from sound reason but from the desire and ill intent that come from our own sense of self-importance—an attitude that corrupts our understanding.

from The Lord, Section 17

The Lord Did Not Take Away Our Sins by His Suffering on the Cross, but He Did Carry Them (Continued)

We can see from the details of the narrative of his suffering that he, as the greatest prophet, represented the state of the church in its relationship to the Word. For example, he was betrayed by Judas; he was seized and condemned by the chief priests and elders; they struck him with their fists; they struck his head with a stick; they put a crown of thorns on him; they divided his garments and cast lots on his tunic; they crucified him; they gave him vinegar to drink; they pierced his side; he was entombed; and on the third day he rose again [Matthew 26:14–16, 47–68; 27:1–61; 28:1–10; Mark 14:43–65; 15:15–37; 16:1–8; Luke 22:47–71; 23:26–56; 24:1–35; John 18:1–14; 19:1–30; 20:1–18].

His being betrayed by Judas meant that this was being done by the Jewish people, who at that time were custodians of the Word, since Judas represented them. His being seized and condemned by the chief priests and elders meant that this was being done by the whole church. Their whipping him, spitting in his face, striking him with their fists, and striking his head with a stick meant that they were doing this kind of thing to the Word in regard to its divine truths, all of which are about the Lord. Their putting a crown of thorns on him meant that they falsified and contaminated these truths. Their dividing his garments and casting lots on his tunic meant that they destroyed the connectedness of all the truths of the Word—though not its spiritual meaning, which is symbolized by the tunic. Their crucifying him meant that they destroyed and profaned the whole Word. Their giving him vinegar to drink meant offering nothing but things that were distorted and false, which is why he did not drink it and then said, “It is finished.” Their piercing his side meant that they completely stifled everything true in the Word and everything good in it. His entombment meant his putting off any residual human nature from his mother. His rising again on the third day meant his glorification. Much the same is meant by the passages in the prophets and David where these events were foretold.

That is why, after he had been whipped and led out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe the soldiers had put on him, he said, “Here is the one [the human]” (John 19:1–5). This was said because “a human being” means a church, since “the Son of Humanity” means what is true in the church, therefore the Word. We can see from all this that his “carrying iniquities” means that he represented and offered an image of the sins that were being committed against the divine truths of the Word. And we will see in the following pages [Sections 19–29] that the Lord endured and suffered these torments as the Son of Humanity and not as the Son of God. “The Son of Humanity” means the Lord as the Word.

from The Lord, Section 16

The Lord Did Not Take Away Our Sins by His Suffering on the Cross, but He Did Carry Them (Continued)

The state of the church in relation to the Word, as represented by the prophets, was the meaning of their “carrying the iniquities and sins of the people.” This we can see from what is said about the prophet Isaiah, that he went naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a wonder (Isaiah 20:3). It says of Ezekiel that he was to take out his belongings to go into exile and cover his face so that he could not see the ground, and that this was to be a sign to the house of Israel; and he was also to say, “I am a sign for you” (Ezekiel 12:6, 11).

It is abundantly clear from Ezekiel that this was carrying the people’s iniquities, when Ezekiel was commanded to lie on his left side for three hundred ninety days and on his right side for forty days against Jerusalem and to eat a cake of barley baked over cow dung. We read there,

Lie on your left side and place the iniquity of the house of Israel on it. According to the number of days that you lie on it you will carry their iniquity. I will give you years of their iniquity matching the number of days, three hundred ninety days, so that you carry the iniquity of the house of Israel. When you have finished them, you will lie a second time, but on your right side for forty days to carry the iniquity of the house of Judah. (Ezekiel 4:4, 5, 6)

By carrying the iniquities of the house of Israel and the house of Judah in this way, the prophet did not take them away and thus atone for them, but simply represented them and made them clear. This we can see from what follows:

Thus says Jehovah: “The children of Israel will eat their bread defiled among the nations where I am going to send them. Behold, I am breaking the staff of bread in Jerusalem so that they will lack bread and water. They will all become desolate and waste away because of their iniquity.” (Ezekiel 4:13, 16, 17)

Similarly, when Ezekiel appeared in public and said, “Behold, I am a sign for you,” he also said, “What I have done, [your leaders] will do” (Ezekiel 12:6, 11).

Much the same is meant, then, when it says of the Lord, “He bore our diseases and carried our sorrows. Jehovah made the iniquities of us all fall upon him. By means of his knowledge he justified many, because he himself carried their iniquities.” This is from Isaiah 53:[4, 6, 11], where the whole chapter is about the Lord’s suffering.

from The Lord, Section 16

The Lord Did Not Take Away Our Sins by His Suffering on the Cross, but He Did Carry Them (Continued)

The same prophet was commanded to represent the state of the church by packing his belongings to take into exile and traveling to another place in the sight of the children of Israel. In a while he was to take out his belongings and leave in the evening through a hole dug through the wall, covering his face so that he could not see the ground. And this was to be a sign to the house of Israel. The prophet was also to say, “Behold, I am a sign for you: what I have done, [your leaders] will do” (Ezekiel 12:3–7, 11).

The prophet Hosea was commanded to represent the state of the church by taking a whore as his wife. He did so, and she bore him three children, the first of whom he named Jezreel, the second No Mercy, and the third Not My People (Hosea 1:2–9). Another time he was commanded to go love a woman who had a lover but was also committing adultery; he bought her for fifteen pieces of silver (Hosea 3:1, 2).

The prophet Ezekiel was commanded to represent the state of the church by taking a clay tablet, carving Jerusalem on it, laying siege to it, building a siege wall and a mound against it, putting an iron plate between himself and the city, and lying on his left side for three hundred ninety days and then on his right side [for forty days]. He was also told to take wheat, barley, lentils, millet, and spelt and make himself bread from them, which he was then to weigh and eat. He was also told to bake a cake of barley over human dung; and because he begged not to do this, he was commanded to bake it over cow dung instead (Ezekiel 4:1–15).

Further, prophets also represented other things—Zedekiah with the horns of iron that he made, for example (1 Kings 22:11). Then there was another prophet who was struck and wounded and who put ashes over his eyes (1 Kings 20:37, 38).

In general, prophets used a robe of coarse hair (Zechariah 13:4) to represent the Word in its outermost meaning, which is the literal meaning; so Elijah wore that kind of robe and had a leather belt around his waist (2 Kings 1:8). Much the same is true of John the Baptist, who had clothing of camels’ hair and a leather belt around his waist, and who ate locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4).

We can see from this that the prophets represented the state of the church and the Word. In fact, anyone who represents one represents the other as well because the church is from the Word, and its life and faith depend on its acceptance of the Word. So too, wherever prophets are mentioned in both Testaments it means the body of teaching the church draws from the Word, while the Lord as the supreme prophet means the church itself and the Word itself.

from The Lord, Section 15