Secrets of Heaven # 50

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50. What the people of the earliest church meant when they spoke of the Lord's image involves more than can be put into words.

People have no idea whatever that the Lord governs them through angels and spirits, or that at least two spirits and two angels accompany each of them. The spirits create a link with the world of spirits, 1 and the angels create one with heaven. We cannot possibly live without a channel of communication open to the world of spirits through spirits and to heaven through angels (and in this way to the Lord through heaven). Our life depends totally on such a connection. If the spirits and angels withdrew from us, we would be destroyed in a second.

[2] As long as we are unregenerate, we are governed in a completely different way than the regenerate. Before regeneration we have with us evil spirits whose grip on us is so strong that the angels, though present, can achieve hardly any results. All they can do is head us off from rushing into the worst kind of evil and divert us toward some form of good. They even use our own appetites to lead us toward good, and the illusions of our senses to lead us toward truth. Under these circumstances we communicate with the world of spirits by means of the spirits around us but not so much with heaven, since the evil spirits are in charge and the angels only deflect their influence.

[3] When we are regenerate, on the other hand, the angels are in charge, inspiring us with all kinds of goodness and truth and instilling a horror and fear of evil and falsity.

Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role, the words of this verse appear in the plural — "Let us make a human in our image." But since only the Lord rules and manages us, the next verse uses the singular — "God created the human in his image." The Lord states his role clearly in Isaiah:

This is what Jehovah has said, your Redeemer and the one who formed you from the womb: "I, Jehovah, make all things, stretching the heavens out on my own, spreading the earth out by myself." (Isaiah 44:24)

The angels themselves confess that they have no power but act only at the Lord's behest.

Footnotes:

1. On the world of spirits, see note 3 in §0. [LHC]

  
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Many thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation and its New Century Edition team.

 

Secrets of Heaven # 0

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A Disclosure of Secrets of Heaven Contained in Sacred Scripture or the Word of the Lord Continuing with Those in Genesis Chapter 16 Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits in the Heaven of Angels

First seek God's kingdom and its justice and you will gain all. Matthew 6:33

Preface

THE first two volumes explain [the first] fifteen chapters of Genesis and say what is contained in their inner meaning. Attached to each chapter [in those volumes] is a record of what the Lord in his divine mercy has given me the opportunity to see and hear in the world of spirits and the heaven of angels. Now comes the third volume, which includes similar reports likewise attached to each chapter. The article appended to the current chapter, Genesis 16 [§§1966-1983], concerns visions and dreams (including prophetic dreams) in the Word.

I know few will believe that anyone can see into the other world or report from there on the state of souls after death, because few believe in the resurrection, and this is the case with even fewer of the well-educated than of the uneducated. It is true that they say with their lips that they will rise again, because this accords with church doctrine, but they deny it at heart.

[2] Some even confess openly that they would believe it if someone were to rise from the dead and they were to see, hear, and touch the person. If this happened, though, it would be an isolated experience and would fail to convince those who at heart deny the resurrection. A thousand objections would occur to them and harden them in their negative frame of mind.

Others do claim to believe they will rise again, but only on the day of the Last Judgment. The picture they have formed of this is that everything in the visible world will cease to exist on that day; and since they have been awaiting it in vain for so many centuries, they too are dubious. What is meant by the Last Judgment mentioned in the Word, however, will be summarized at the end of the next chapter, Genesis 17 [§§2117-2133], the Lord in his divine mercy willing.

[3] These attitudes indicate what kind of people make up the Christian world today. The Sadducees told of in Matthew 22:23 and the verses that follow openly denied the resurrection; but that was better than people today who claim they believe it (since it is church doctrine, as noted) but actually deny it at heart. Such people's words contradict their beliefs, and their beliefs contradict their words.

To prevent them from growing even more firmly entrenched in this misguided opinion, the Lord in his divine mercy has given me the privilege of experiencing the next world in spirit while bodily present in this world (since a human being is a spirit clothed with a body). There I have spoken with souls recently revived after death, and in fact with almost everyone I knew during physical life who had since died. Every day now for several years I have also talked with spirits and angels and seen astounding sights that it has never occurred to anyone even to imagine. No illusion of any kind was involved.

[4] Many people say that if someone comes to them from the other life, they will believe, so we shall see now whether they can be persuaded despite their hard hearts.

I can attest that people who come into the next life from the Christian world are the worst of all. They hate their neighbor, they hate the religion, they deny the Lord (since it is the heart rather than the mouth that does the talking in the other world), not to mention the fact that they are more adulterous than anyone else. Because heaven is starting to move away from people in the Christian church as a result, clearly the last days are at hand, as I have learned for certain.

To learn the identity and nature of the Word's inner meaning, see the statements and illustrations in the first two volumes, §§1-5, 64, 65, 66, 167, 605, 920, 937, 1143, 1224, 1404, 1405, 1408, 1409, 1502 at the end, 1540, 1659, 1756, 1767-1777 and 1869-1879 (particularly), 1783, 1807; and in the current volume, §§1886-1889.

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Many thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation and its New Century Edition team.