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