The Vastness of Heaven (Continued)

Because they take a few passages from the Word literally, some people think that heaven is not vast but small. For example, there are places where it says that only the poor will be accepted into heaven, or only the elect, or only people in the church and not people from outside, or only people for whom the Lord makes intercession, or that heaven will be closed when it is full, and that the time for this is foreordained. These people do not realize that heaven will never be closed; that there is no foreordained time, no fixed number; and that “the elect” are people who live lives of goodness and truth; that “the poor” are people who have not found out what is good and true but who long to (they are also called “the hungry” because of this longing).

People who think that heaven is small because they have misunderstood the Word can only be thinking that heaven is in a single place where everyone is gathered together. Yet in fact heaven consists of countless communities. (See above, Sections 41–50.) Further, they can only be thinking that heaven is granted to individuals out of direct mercy and therefore consists simply of admission and acceptance out of good will. They do not realize that the Lord, out of his mercy, leads everyone who accepts him, and that the people who accept him are the people who live according to the laws of the divine design, which are precepts of love and faith. They do not realize that being led by the Lord from infancy to the end of earthly life and then on to eternity is what mercy really means. If only they knew that everyone is born for heaven, that people are accepted into heaven who accept heaven into themselves in this world, and that people who do not accept it are shut out!

from Heaven and Hell, Section 420

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