To Say That the Lord Fulfilled All of the Law Is to Say That He Fulfilled All of the Word (Continued)

In the broadest sense, “the law” means everything in the Word, as we can see from the following passages,

Jesus said, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”?’” (John 10:34, in reference to Psalms 82:6)

The crowd replied, “We have heard from the law that the Christ will abide forever.” (John 12:34, in reference to Psalms 89:29; 110:4; Daniel 7:14)

To fulfill the word written in their law: “They hated me for no reason.” (John 15:25, in reference to Psalms 35:19)

The Pharisees said, “Have any of the leaders believed in him? Only this crowd, that does not know the law.” (John 7:48, 49)

It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the tip of one letter of the law to fall. (Luke 16:17)

“The law” in these passages means the entire Sacred Scripture.

To say that the Lord fulfilled all of the law is to say that he fulfilled all of the Word, as we can see from passages where it says that the Scriptures were fulfilled by him and that everything was brought to completion. See, for example, the following.

Jesus went into the synagogue and stood up to read. He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release for the bound and sight for the blind, to preach the welcomed year of the Lord.” Then he rolled up the scroll and said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16–21)

You search the Scriptures, and yet they testify of me. (John 5:39)

. . . that the Scripture may be fulfilled, “The one who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.” (John 13:18)

None of them is lost except the son of perdition, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled. (John 17:12)

. . . so that the word that he said would be fulfilled: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost none.” (John 18:9)

Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword in its place. How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen in this way? All this was done so that the Scriptures of the prophets would be fulfilled.” (Matthew 26:52, 54, 56)

The Son of Humanity is going, as it has been written of him, so that the Scriptures will be fulfilled. (Mark 14:21, 49)

In this way the Scripture was fulfilled that said, “He was numbered with the transgressors.” (Mark 15:28; Luke 22:37)

. . . so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, “They divided my garments among them, and for my tunic they cast lots.” (John 19:24)

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled . . . (John 19:28)

When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished,” [that is, fulfilled]. (John 19:30)

These things were done so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again, another Scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they pierced.” (John 19:36, 37)

There are also other places where passages from the prophets are cited and it does not also say that the law or the Scripture has been fulfilled.

As for the whole Word having been written about him and his having come into the world to fulfill it, this is what he taught the disciples before he departed:

Jesus said to the disciples, “You are foolish, and you are slow of heart to believe everything the prophets said. Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer this and enter into his glory?” Then beginning from Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning about himself. (Luke 24:25, 26, 27)

Further,

Jesus said to the disciples, “These are the words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled that were written in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms concerning me.” (Luke 24:44, 45)

From these words of the Lord we can see that in the world he fulfilled all of the Word down to the smallest details:

Truly, I tell you—until heaven and earth pass away, not one little letter or the tip of one letter will pass from the law until all of it is fulfilled. (Matthew 5:18)

From this we can now see clearly that to say that the Lord fulfilled all things of the law does not mean that he fulfilled all of the Ten Commandments but that he fulfilled all things of the Word.

from The Lord, Sections 11, 12

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To Say That the Lord Fulfilled All of the Law Is to Say That He Fulfilled All of the Word

Many people nowadays believe that when it says of the Lord that he fulfilled the law [Matthew 5:17] it means that he fulfilled all of the Ten Commandments and that by doing so he became justice and justified people in the world by this act of faith.

That is not what it means, though. It means rather that he fulfilled everything that was written about him in the Law and the Prophets—that is, in the whole Sacred Scripture—because those writings, as stated under the preceding heading, are about him alone. The reason so many people believe something else is that they have not studied the Scriptures and seen what “the law” means in them.

In a strict sense “the law” does mean the Ten Commandments. In a broader sense it means everything Moses wrote in his five books; and in the broadest sense it means the whole Word.

It is common knowledge that in a strict sense “the law” does mean the Ten Commandments.

In a broader sense “the Law” means everything Moses wrote in his five books, as we can see from the following passages. In Luke,

Abraham said to the rich man in hell, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.” (Luke 16:29, 31)

In John,

Philip said to Nathanael, “We have found the one of whom Moses in the Law, and also the prophets, wrote.” (John 1:45)

In Matthew,

Do not think that I have come to destroy the Law and the Prophets: I have come not to destroy but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17, 18)

Or again,

All the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. (Matthew 11:13)

In Luke,

The Law and the Prophets extended to [the time of] John; since then, the Kingdom of God has been proclaimed. (Luke 16:16)

In Matthew,

Whatever you want people to do for you, you do the same for them. This is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

Or again,

Jesus said, “You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and you are to love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37, 39, 40)

In these passages “the Law and the Prophets” and “Moses and the prophets” mean everything written in the books of Moses and in the books of the prophets.

The following passages also show that “the Law” means specifically everything written by Moses. In Luke,

When the days of their purification according to the Law of Moses were completed, they brought Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord—as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb is to be called holy to the Lord,”—and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” And the parents brought Jesus into the Temple to do for him according to the custom of the Law. When they had completed all things according to the Law of the Lord . . . (Luke 2:22, 23, 24, 27, 39)

In John,

The Law of Moses commanded that people like this should be stoned. (John 8:5)

Or again,

The Law was given through Moses. (John 1:17)

We can see from these passages that sometimes it says “the Law” and sometimes “Moses” when it is talking about whatever is written in his books. See also Matthew 8:4; Mark 10:2, 3, 4; 12:19; Luke 20:28, 37; John 3:14; 7:19, 51; 8:17; 19:7.

Then too, many things that are commanded are called the law by Moses—for example, commandments about burnt offerings (Leviticus 6:9; 7:37), sacrifices (Leviticus 6:25; 7:1–11), the meal offering (Leviticus 6:14), leprosy (Leviticus 14:2), jealousy (Numbers 5:29, 30), and Naziritehood (Numbers 6:13, 21).

In fact, Moses himself called his books the Law:

Moses wrote this Law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, and said to them, “Take the book of this Law and put it beside the ark of the covenant of Jehovah.” (Deuteronomy 31:9, 25, 26)

It was placed beside [the ark]: within the ark were the stone tablets that are “the law” in a strict sense.

Later, the books of Moses are called “the Book of the Law”:

Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of Jehovah.” When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. (2 Kings 22:8, 11; 23:24)

from The Lord, Sections 8, 9

Sacred Scripture, or the Word, Which Conceals a Divine Message That Lies Open to the View of Good Spirits and Angels (Continued)

Spirits become very upset and in fact outraged when you tell them that people do not believe spirits can see, hear, or touch anything. They told me that people ought to know that life does not exist without sensation, and the sharper the senses, the more vibrant the life. The objects of their senses, the spirits said, are as superior as their ability to sense them. The representative things that the Lord gives them are real, because they are the source of everything that exists in the world of nature (Section 1632). Their senses are much better and more impressive than ours! This is how their indignation expressed itself.

There are two kinds of visions (both of them uncommon) that I was introduced to for the sole purpose of learning what they are like and what it means in the Word when it says that people were (1) taken out of the body or (2) led by the spirit to another place.

The case with the first—being taken out of the body—is this: The person is brought into a certain condition midway between sleep and wakefulness. In this condition, the person is fully convinced that he or she is completely conscious. The person’s senses are all as wide awake as they are when the body is fully alert—sight, hearing, and (amazingly) the sense of touch, which is keener now than it could ever be during physical wakefulness. During this state, I have also seen spirits and angels literally as big as life, and I have heard and even touched them, surprising to say. Hardly anything physical was involved.

This is the condition in which people are said to be taken out of the body and to have no idea whether they are in the body or out of the body [2 Corinthians 12:2, 3].

Only three or four times have I come into this state, and then only to learn what it was like, and to see that spirits and angels enjoy sensation of every kind, even touch—a far better and far keener sense of touch than in the body.

As for the second kind of vision—being led by the spirit into another place—what it is and what it involves has been shown to me by living experience. But this has happened only two or three times. Let me cite a single instance.

Strolling city streets and country meadows while at the same time talking with spirits, I had no idea I was not as fully awake and aware as I am at any other time. I walked along like this without losing my way, and all the while I was having a vision, seeing woods, rivers, mansions, homes, people, and so on. After I had walked around this way for several hours, I suddenly found myself seeing with my physical eyes and realized I was somewhere else, which utterly astounded me. I perceived that I was experiencing the state of those who are said to have been led by the spirit to another place. While it is happening, you do not stop to think about the route, no matter how many miles long. You also fail to think about the time, no matter how many hours or days. Neither do you notice feeling at all tired. You are being led by paths you do not know until you reach the destination.

This happened so that I would also be able to see that we can be led by the Lord without knowing why or where.

These two types of visions are unusual, however. They were demonstrated to me simply for the purpose of teaching me what they are like. All the sights you find reported, by the Lord’s divine mercy, at the beginning or end of each chapter in these first two volumes are ordinary ones. They are not visions but sights that I have seen for many years now in full physical consciousness.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1881-1885

Notes:

Section 1632: Published 2/23/2017

Sacred Scripture, or the Word, Which Conceals a Divine Message That Lies Open to the View of Good Spirits and Angels (Continued)

Furthermore, to speak generally of spirits and angels, who are all human souls living on after the death of their body, they have much sharper senses than people do: sight, hearing, smell, and touch, but not taste

However, it is impossible for spirits (much less angels) to see anything in this world by their power of sight, or in other words, by the eyes of their spirit. To them the light of the world, or of the sun, is like thick darkness. By the same token, it is impossible for us to see anything in the other world by our power of sight, or in other words, with the eyes of our body. To us the light of heaven, or of heaven’s Lord, is like thick darkness.

Still, when it pleases the Lord, spirits and angels can see objects in the world through the eyes of a person on earth. This is an experience the Lord does not grant except to a person whom he allows to speak with spirits and angels and to associate with them. Through my eyes they were allowed to see objects in the world, and to see them as clearly as I did. They were also allowed to hear people talking with me. More than once a few of them saw friends they had had during bodily life. Looking through my eyes, they saw these people just as close at hand as before, and it stupefied them. They also saw their spouses and little children and wanted me to tell their loved ones they were present and could see them, and to relay how matters stood for them in the other world. But I was forbidden to talk to these people and reveal that they were being watched in this way. Besides, they would have called me crazy or believed me to be hallucinating, because I knew that although they would pay lip service to the idea that spirits exist and the dead have risen again, they would not believe it in their hearts.

When my inner sight first opened, and they saw the world and all that is in it through my eyes, spirits and angels were so dumbfounded that they called it the miracle of miracles. They were moved by a new kind of joy at the thought that earth would have this kind of contact with heaven, and heaven with earth. This pleasure lasted several months, but now that the experience has grown familiar, they no longer marvel at all. I was taught that the spirits and angels present with other people do not see anything in the world at all but only pick up on the thoughts and feelings of those they are with.

These experiences established the idea that we were created to live in heaven among the angels at the same time as we are living on the earth among people, and vice versa. If that happened, heaven and earth would come together and form a single whole. We would know what was going on in heaven, and angels would know what was going on in the world. When we died, we would then be crossing over from the Lord’s kingdom on earth to the Lord’s kingdom in the heavens. It would not be as though we were passing into a different kingdom but into the same one we inhabited while we were living in our body. Instead we have become so body-oriented that we have shut heaven off from ourselves.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1880

Sacred Scripture, or the Word, Which Conceals a Divine Message That Lies Open to the View of Good Spirits and Angels (continued)

At first, people who are souls or spirits in the world of spirits (especially the bad ones) hold on to what they had during their physical life: earthly, bodily, and worldly concerns, and along with them, any principles they had adopted. Such people include those who are unwilling to hear anything about the Word’s inner sense but only about the literal meaning. They even believe that the twelve apostles will sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Again, they believe that the only people who can go to heaven are those who are poor, unhappy, and persecuted. The truth is that both the rich and the powerful go there, if they have lived a life of charity and faith in the Lord.

Since people like this demand heaven as their just reward, they run around making fun of the message of the Word’s inner meaning wherever they go, because it opposes their delusions and cravings. I saw them do so. What they want is to earn heaven and to be promoted above everybody else, but they resemble diseases and poisons that enter the bloodstream, spread through the veins and arteries, and pollute the whole supply of blood.

There are also people who despised the Word during physical life. There are others who misused phrases of Scripture by turning them into mocking jokes. Some considered the Word useless except for its ability to serve as a restraint on the masses. Others blasphemed the Word, and yet others profaned it. The fate of all these people in the next world is wretched, each according to the nature and degree of her or his contempt, derision, blasphemy, or profanation. As noted, the inhabitants of the heavens hold the Word so sacred that it is like heaven to them. Therefore, because all thoughts are shared generally there, [the two kinds of people] cannot possibly coexist but are separated.

Once when I was lying in bed I was told that evil spirits were plotting against me, intending to suffocate me. The Lord was keeping me safe and sound, though, so I scoffed at the threat and went to sleep. Waking up in the middle of the night, however, I sensed that I was breathing not under my own power but heaven’s. I had no respiration of my own, as I could plainly tell. Then I was told that the conspirators were nearby, and that they were the type that hate the deeper content of the Word, or in other words, genuine religious truth (since this is the deeper content of the Word). The reason they hate it is that it attacks their illusions, delusions, and desires, which the literal sense could be made to defend.

Later, when their efforts had failed, the ringleaders tried to invade the inner organs of my body and penetrate right to my heart, where they were even let in. I sensed quite plainly what was happening the whole time, since anyone whose inner levels (those of the spirit) are opened receives also the ability to sense these kinds of things. I was then brought into a certain heavenly frame of mind, in which I did not attempt to rid myself of these guests, let alone avenge the wrong they had done. This calmed them down, they said at the time, but directly afterward they seemed to go berserk. Seeking revenge, they tried to finish off their efforts, but in vain. Eventually they scattered on their own.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1877-1879

Sacred Scripture, or the Word, Which Conceals a Divine Message That Lies Open to the View of Good Spirits and Angels (Continued)

Like the words of human language, the names of people, countries, and cities in the Word vanish at the very first threshold of their upward path. Names are some of those earthly, bodily, material things that the soul gradually sheds as it enters the next life, and sheds completely if it goes to heaven. Angels do not hold on to the slightest mental image of people in the Word, so they do not retain the least idea of their names. What Abram is, what Isaac, and Jacob are, they no longer know. It is the qualities represented and symbolized by figures in the Word that form an angel’s picture. Names and words are like chaff or scales that drop off when [the ideas] enter heaven.

This shows that names in the Word have no meaning besides a symbolic one. I have spoken about this many times with angels, and they have taught me the truth very fully.

When spirits talk to each other, they use not words but thoughts, of the kind we have when we are thinking wordlessly. Their speech, then, is common to all languages. When spirits talk to a person on earth, their speech falls into the words of the person’s language, as noted in Sections 1635, 1637, 1639.

When I talked with the spirits about this, I was inspired to say that as long as they were conversing among themselves, they could not pronounce even a single word of human language, still less a name. Astonished to hear this, some of them went away and tried it. They came back admitting they could not, because human words were too coarse, too tied to the material world to rise into their sphere of existence. Such words are formed from the sound of air, articulated by physical organs; or else they are formed by an inflow into the same organs traveling an internal pathway to the organs of hearing.

This also made it clear that not a syllable of Scripture could cross over to spirits, still less to angelic spirits, whose speech is even more universal (Section 1642). Least of all could it reach angels (Section 1643), with whom it retains none of the initial thoughts entertained by spirits. Among angels, such thoughts are replaced with spiritual truth and heavenly goodness that vary in indescribable ways in their very smallest forms. These forms are linked and connected in a harmonious series with the source elements from which representations are created. The happiness of mutual love renders the representations extremely sweet and beautiful, and sweetness and beauty render them happy, because their sources are animated by life from the Lord.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Section 1876

Notes:

Section 1635: Published 3/13/2017
Section 1637: Published 3/15/2017
Section 1639: Published 3/17/2017
Section 1642 and 1643: Published 3/20/2017

Sacred Scripture, or the Word, Which Conceals a Divine Message That Lies Open to the View of Good Spirits and Angels (Continued)

In conversation with some good spirits I said that many statements in the Word (more than anyone could believe) are phrased to suit appearances and the illusions of the senses. For instance, the Word says that Jehovah feels anger, wrath, and fury against the ungodly, that he enjoys destroying and annihilating them, and even that he kills them. But these things are said in order to avoid shattering people’s self-delusions and cravings, so as to bend them instead. To fail to speak in terms people grasp—in terms of appearances, fallacies, delusions—would be to sow seed on the water; it would be to say something that would immediately be rejected.

Still, those statements can serve as general containers for spiritual and heavenly ideas, because it is possible to inject certain notions into them. The first is that everything comes from the Lord; the next, that he allows things to happen but all evil comes from devilish spirits; then that the Lord provides and arranges for evil to be turned into good; and finally that nothing but good comes from the Lord. So the literal meaning disappears as it rises and turns spiritual and then heavenly and at last divine.

I was given the opportunity to perceive angels’ ideas on the following words in the Lord’s Prayer: “Do not lead us into crisis but free us from evil” [Matthew 6:13; Luke 11:4]. The good spirits nearest me discarded crisis and evil by a certain way of thinking perceptible to me. They rejected those ideas so thoroughly that what remained was purely angelic; specifically, what was left was goodness, without a hint of crisis or evil. In this way, the literal meaning died away completely. The first step of the process was to form countless ideas of this goodness—how something beneficial comes of our affliction, and yet the affliction rises out of us and our evil, which contains its own penalty.

Attached to these ideas was a kind of indignation that anyone should think that crises and their evils come from anywhere else, and that anyone should think about evil when thinking about the Lord. These ideas were purified as they rose higher and higher. Their journey upward was represented by the discarding of certain elements, as also described in Section 1393. These elements were discarded in a manner and with a speed that are impossible to express, until the ideas finally passed into an area of thought that was shadowy to me. Then they were in heaven, where the angels think only of the Lord’s goodness, in thoughts that are ineffable.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1874, 1875

Notes:

Section 1393: Published 12/9/2016

Sacred Scripture, or the Word, Which Conceals a Divine Message That Lies Open to the View of Good Spirits and Angels (Continued)

I cannot describe how the Lord’s Word appears before angels, but it can be grasped to some extent by people who have seen optical cylinders in museums. These cylinders reflect beautiful images from distorted drawings projected in a circle around them. Although the surrounding drawing appears to have no shape, organization, or pattern but to be simply a confused projection, it presents a lovely picture when focused onto the cylinder. That is how the Lord’s Word is, especially the prophetic part of the Old Testament. Hardly anything can be seen in the literal meaning besides a disorganized jumble; but when it is read by a person on earth (particularly a little boy or girl), it gradually rises up, turning more beautiful and more pleasing as it goes. In the end it presents itself to the Lord as a human figure representing the whole of heaven—not as heaven actually is but as the Lord wishes it to be; in other words, as his likeness.

A beautiful, bright-faced girl appeared to me, moving quickly to the right, darting slightly upward as she went. She seemed to be in the first bloom of her years, since she was neither a child nor a full adult. Her clothing was black, shiny, and attractive. She skipped happily from one patch of light to another this way. I was told that this is what the inner levels of the Word are like as they begin to rise. The black clothes were the Word in its letter.

Later a young woman flew to my right cheek, but I could see her only with my inner eye. I was told that these are the things in the Word’s inner sense that do not reach our consciousness.

Some spirits were talking about the Word’s inner sense. In order to present its nature intelligibly, they illustrated it by asking what the fruit of faith is, for example, and said that good deeds are the fruit of faith in an outward or literal sense. Good deeds, though, are lifeless if they are not the product of charity, so that the fruit of faith in its next deeper meaning is charity. Since charity (or love for one’s neighbor) ought to come from love for the Lord, however, this is the fruit of faith in an even deeper sense. And since all love comes from the Lord, the fruit of faith is the Lord himself. Accordingly, good deeds hold charity, which holds love for the Lord, which holds the Lord himself.

from Secrets of Heaven, volume 2, Sections 1871-1873

Sacred Scripture, or the Word, Which Conceals a Divine Message That Lies Open to the View of Good Spirits and Angels (Continued)

How much a single word of Scripture contains has been shown to me by a revelation of people’s individual ideas. Surprising to say, ideas can be revealed so vividly in the other world that they actually become visible and take on a shape, as if they were images in a painting.

One individual whose ideas were revealed in this way was a person who had lived a life of charity, or mutual love, and had taken pleasure in the Word during his time in the world. When his thoughts were revealed, countless beautiful objects appeared, bringing with them a delight and pleasure that touched the heart. I learned that these visible manifestations have further inward layers that can be revealed, and when they are revealed, sights still more beautiful and delightful present themselves, bringing happiness itself with them. All angelic ideas are like this, because the Lord himself lays them open.

Physical vision was used to illustrate this principle for a group of spirits who were amazed that a person’s individual thoughts can be revealed this way in the other world. The sight of the eye is so weak and dim that it sees the smaller objects of the physical world simply as spots, dark and shapeless, although they hold within them too many parts to count. When the same objects are observed through a microscope, however, the inward parts come into focus, connected in a beautiful series and flowing from each other in an elegant pattern. These parts likewise could be laid open by an even stronger microscope. This showed what the case is with the inner eye, whose lines of sight are nothing but ideas: in themselves these ideas are about as hazy as anything can be in that realm—although human beings think otherwise. I will have more to say about people’s ideas below, however, with the Lord’s divine mercy [Sections 1971, 1980, 1981].

It is the same with the Lord’s Word. The individual words in it create mental images of themselves, because a word is just a mental image given verbal form so that its meaning can be perceived. These images contain within them so very many elements incapable of coming to human consciousness (only to the consciousness of angels) that it is completely beyond belief. When the Lord lays them open, the forms inside them are presented in two ways: they are presented to the perception by sensations of pleasure and happiness, and they are presented to the eye by objects of paradise that hold a representative meaning. The former come from the heavenly and spiritual forces of the Lord’s love, or mercy; the latter come from the light that his love and mercy radiate.

I have been shown through amazing experiences that Sacred Scripture was inspired not only in its individual words but also in every tiny letter of each word. So it was literally inspired down to the smallest jot (as the idiom goes). Each jot contains a measure of emotion and vital energy, which affects the whole word it appears in and which therefore permeates the most minor details in a correspondential way. But in the absence of other background knowledge, these things cannot be explained at all intelligibly.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1869, 1870

Sacred Scripture, or the Word, Which Conceals a Divine Message That Lies Open to the View of Good Spirits and Angels (Continued)

There are spirits who are reluctant to hear about the Word’s deeper layers. In fact they refuse to understand the subject, although they are capable of doing so. Mainly they are people who had believed that good works deserve credit and had therefore done good out of love for themselves and worldly reward. In other words, their goal had been to gain high position or wealth and the reputation that goes with it, not to benefit the Lord’s kingdom. In the next world they are more insistent than any others on getting into heaven, but they stay outside, because they do not want to learn the truth and therefore be affected by goodness. They interpret the letter of the Word to suit their delusions, bringing forward any passage that smiles favorably on their selfish urges.

They were represented by a little old lady whose face was ugly and yet snowy white, her appearance marred by distorted features.

Those who welcome and love the deeper layers of the Word, on the other hand, were represented by a girl just grown up, in the bloom of early womanhood, dressed in beautiful clothes, wearing wreaths and other splendid finery.

With one group of spirits I discussed the Word and the need for some kind of revelation to have been given, in the Lord’s divine providence. After all, revelation—the Word—is a broad container, holding within it both spiritual and heavenly elements and consequently uniting heaven and earth. Without it, heaven and earth would have lacked connection and the human race would have perished.

In addition, it was necessary that heavenly truth be available somewhere for people to learn, because we were born for heavenly purposes and should come among heavenly beings when bodily life ends. Religious truth forms the laws of order in the realm where we will be spending eternity.

It may seem perplexing—although it is absolutely true—that angels understand the Word’s inner meaning better and more fully when young girls and boys read it than when adults who lack a faith born of neighborly love do. The reason I was given is that young boys and girls are at a stage of innocence and mutual love. So the vessels [of their minds] are very tender, almost heavenly, completely open to outside influences, and therefore capable of being molded by the Lord. (They are unaware of his molding, however, except perhaps through a kind of delight perfectly suited to their tastes.)

The Lord’s Word, the angels said, is dead verbiage, but he brings it alive in the person who reads it. He gives it as much life as each of us is capable of receiving, and the more charity we express in our lives and the more innocent we are, the more living the Word becomes. This happens in countless different ways.

from Secrets of Heaven, Volume 2, Sections 1774-1776