193. I will come on thee as a thief, signifies the unexpected time of death, when all the knowledges procured from the Word that have not acquired spiritual life will be taken away. This is evident from the signification of "coming as a thief," when said of those who are not wakeful, that is, who are not acquiring for themselves spiritual life, as being that all the knowledges acquired from the Word that have not acquired spiritual life will be taken away from them. These words signify also the unexpected time of death, because death comes unexpectedly, and after death man remains to eternity in the state of that life which he acquired for himself in the world; for this reason man must be wakeful. As it is known to few that all the knowledges gained from the Word that have not acquired spiritual life are taken away, it is necessary to explain how this is done. All things that are in man's spirit remain with him to eternity; but the things that are not in man's spirit, after death, when he becomes a spirit, are dissipated. Those things remain in the spirit of man that he has thought from himself, that is, the things that he has thought from his own love when he was alone, for his spirit then thinks from itself and not from the things in the memory of his body that do not make one with his love. There are two states of man, one when he thinks from his spirit, and the other when he thinks from the memory of his body; when these two states do not make one, man can think in one way by himself, and can think and speak in another way with others.
 Take a preacher, for instance, who loves himself and the world above all things, and cares nothing for the Divine, even so that he denies it in heart, and therefore schemes evils of every kind, in consort with the crafty and malignant of the world; and yet when he is speaking with others, especially when he is preaching, he may be able to speak as from zeal for the Divine, and for Divine truths, and even at such times may be able to think in like manner; but this state is a state of his thought from the memory of the body, and is evidently separated from the state of his thought from the spirit, since when left to himself he thinks contrary to these things. This is the state that remains with man after death, but the other state does not remain, because it belongs to his body and not to his spirit; consequently when he becomes a spirit, which takes place when he dies, all knowledges that he acquired for himself from the Word that do not agree with the life of his spirit's love, he casts away from him. But it is otherwise with those who, when left to themselves alone, think justly about the Divine, about the Word and the truths of the church therefrom, and who love truths even to the life, that is, so that they wish to live according to them.
The thoughts of these in their spirit make one with their thoughts from the memory of the body, thus they make one with the knowledges of truth and good which they have from the Word; and so far as these make one, these knowledges receive spiritual life, for they are elevated by the Lord from the external or natural man into the internal or spiritual man, and constitute the life, that is, the understanding and will, of the spiritual man. Truths, in the spiritual man, are living truths, because they are Divine, and from these man has life there. That this is so it has been granted me to know from much experience; if I were to adduce it all it would fill many pages. (Something may be seen in The work on Heaven and Hell 491-498, 499-511; and above, n. 114.)
The Apocalypse Explained 114)
 From this it can now be seen what is meant in the spiritual sense by "I will come on thee as a thief," namely, that after death all knowledges procured from the Word that have not acquired spiritual life will be taken away. The same is meant by the following in Revelation:
Behold I come as a thief; blessed is he that is wakeful, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked (Revelation 16:15);
it is said "as a thief" because evils and falsities therefrom in the natural man take away and cast out the knowledges of truth and good that are there from the Word; for the things that are not loved are cast out. With man there is either the love of evil and of falsity therefrom, or the love of good and of truth therefrom. These two loves are opposite to one another; consequently he who is in one of them cannot be in the other, for "no one can serve two masters," without loving the one and hating the other (Matthew 6:24).
 Because evils and falsities therefrom penetrate from within, and break through as it were the wall that is between the state of man's thought from the spirit and the state of his thought from the body, and cast out the knowledges of truth and good that have their abode with man in his outward part, therefore such evils and falsities are what are meant by "thieves," also in the following passages.
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, but in heaven, where thieves do not dig through nor steal (Matthew 6:19-20).
"Treasures" are the knowledges of truth and good; "laying them up in heaven" is in the spiritual man, for the spiritual man is in heaven. (That "treasures" are the knowledges of truth and good, see Arcana Coelestia 1694, 4508, 10227; and that the internal spiritual man is in heaven, see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 36-50.)
 In the same:
Be wakeful, therefore, for ye know not at what hour your Lord will come. But know this, that if the master of the house knew in what hour the thief would come he would be wakeful, and would not suffer him to dig through his house (Matthew 24:42-43).
This means that if man knew the hour of his death he would get himself ready, not from a love of what is true and good, but from a fear of hell; and whatever a man does from fear does not remain with him, but what he does from love remains; therefore he should be getting ready all the time (see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem 143, 168).
 In Obadiah:
If thieves come to thee, if robbers by night, how wilt thou be cut off! Will they not steal till they have enough? (Obadiah 1:5).
Here also falsities and evils are called "thieves," and are said to "steal;" falsities are "thieves," and evils are "robbers by night;" it is said "by night," because "night" signifies a state of no love and faith.
 In Joel:
They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall come up into the houses, they shall enter in through the windows like a thief (Joel 2:9).
The vastation of the church through falsities from evil is here treated of; "city" and "wall" signify the things of doctrine; "houses" and "windows" things pertaining to the mind that receives; "houses" that part of the mind that is called the will, where good is, and "windows" that part of the mind that is called the understanding, where truth is.
(That "city" in the Word is doctrine, see Arcana Coelestia 402, 2449, 2712, 2943, 3216, 4492, 4493; that "wall" is the truth of doctrine defending, n. 6419; that "house" is that part of the mind which is called the will, where good is, n. 2231, 2233, 2559, 3128, 5023, 6690, 7353, 7910, 7929, 9150; and "windows" that part of the mind which is called the understanding where truth is, n. 655, 658, 3391.) From this it is clear what is signified by "running upon the wall," "coming up into the houses," and "entering in through the windows like a thief."
Arcana Coelestia 4492-4493, Arcana Coelestia 6419)
 In Hosea:
I healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the evils of Samaria, for they made a lie, and the thief cometh in, and the troop spreadeth itself without (Hosea 7:1).
The "iniquity of Ephraim" signifies the falsities of the understanding; and the "evils of Samaria" the evils of the will; "to make a lie" is thinking and willing falsity from evil; "the thief" is falsity taking away and dissipating truth; and "the troop spreading itself" is evil casting out good. (That "Ephraim" is the intellectual of such things as are of the church, see Arcana Coelestia 3969, 5354, 6222, 6234, 6238, 6267, 6296; that "a lie" is falsity from evil, n. 8908, 9248; that "a troop" is good casting out evil, and in a contrary sense, evil casting out good, n. 3934, 3935, 6404, 6405.)
Arcana Coelestia 3934-3935, Arcana Coelestia 6404-6405)
 These things are adduced that it may be known what "a thief" in the Word signifies, namely, falsity vastating, that is, taking away and destroying truth. It was shown above, that after death all knowledges of truth and good from the Word that have not acquired spiritual life are taken away; consequently they are taken away from those who have not been made spiritual by knowledges from the Word. The same is signified by many other things in the historical parts of the Word; but this no one can see unless he knows the spiritual sense of the Word. This was signified by the sons of Israel's borrowing from the Egyptians gold, and silver, and garments, and thus taking them away as it were by theft, which is thus described in Moses:
It was commanded that they should borrow of the Egyptians vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment. And Jehovah gave the people grace in the eyes of the Egyptians, so that they lent to them; and thus they plundered the Egyptians (Exodus 12:35-36).
The "Egyptians" represented those who are merely natural and yet possess many knowledges. By "the sons of Israel" are meant those who are spiritual; "vessels of gold and of silver," and also "raiment," signify the knowledges of truth and good, which the spiritual apply to good, but which the natural apply to evil and thus destroy. That nations were given up to the curse, and at the same time all things with them were either burnt with fire or plundered, to which there is frequent reference in the book of Joshua, and in the books of Samuel and of the Kings, has a like signification; for the nations of the land of Canaan represented those who are in evils and falsities, and the sons of Israel those who are in truths and goods.
 That the knowledges of truth and good from the Word will be taken away from those who have not acquired spiritual life for themselves, is also meant in the Lord's parables respecting the talents and pounds given to the servants that they might trade and make gain, and respecting the servant who traded not and gained nothing, of whom it is written in the parables:
Unto him who hid his talent in the earth his lord said, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou oughtest to have put my silver to the bankers, in order that at my coming I might have received mine own with interest. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath the ten talents. For unto everyone that hath shall be given, that he may have abundance; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye out the unprofitable servant into outer darkness (Matthew 25:14-30).
And in another place:
He came who had received the one pound, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I kept laid up in a napkin. The lord said, Wherefore gavest not thou my money into the bank, that coming I might have regained mine own with interest. And He said, Take from him the pound, and give to him that hath ten pounds. I say unto you, To everyone that hath shall be given; but from him that hath not, even than which he hath shall be taken away from him (Luke 19:13-26).
Here "talents," "pounds," and "money," signify the knowledges of truth and good from the Word; "to trade," "to make gain," "to put it to the bankers," or "in the bank," signifies to acquire for oneself thereby spiritual life and intelligence; "hiding these in the earth" or "in a napkin" signifies in the memory of the natural man only; of such it is therefore said that from them should be taken away that which they have, according to what has been explained in the beginning of this article.
 This takes place with all in the other life who have acquired for themselves knowledges from the Word, and have not committed them to the life, but only to the memory. He who has knowledges from the Word in the memory only, even if they were thousands, if he has not committed them to the life, remains natural as before. Committing knowledges from the Word to the life is thinking from them, when one, left to himself, thinks from his spirit, and also willing them and doing them; for this is loving truths because they are truths; and those who do this are those who become spiritual by means of knowledges from the Word.
Luke 19:13-25; Revelation 3:3)