Arcana Coelestia #7038

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)      

Study this Passage

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

7038. 'And let him serve Me' means being raised into heaven to perform useful services from there. This is clear from the meaning of 'serving Jehovah (or the Lord)' as performing useful services; and being raised into heaven, to perform useful services from there is meant by 'they shall serve Me' for the following reason: Those who belong to the spiritual Church and have been saved by the Lord's Coming are the subject, in particular those who were on the lower earth before the Lord's Coming but were later raised into heaven, 6854, 6914, and therefore came into a state in which they performed useful services. The reason why performing useful services is meant by 'serving the Lord' is that true worship consists in the performance of such services, thus in the exercise of charity. Anyone who thinks that serving the Lord consists solely in going to church regularly, listening to the preaching there, and saying his prayers, and that that is sufficient, is much mistaken. True worship of the Lord consists in performing useful services; and such services during a person's life in the world lie in a proper fulfillment of his function by each person, whatever his own position, that is, in serving his country, its communities, and his neighbour with all his heart. They also lie in honest dealings with fellow human beings and in the diligent discharge of duties, with full regard for each person's character. These useful deeds are the principal ways of exercising charity and the principal means of worshipping the Lord. Going to church regularly, listening to sermons, and saying one's prayers are also necessary; but without the useful deeds they have no value at all, for they do not constitute a person's life but teach what that life ought to be like. The angels in heaven get nothing but happiness out of being useful; and they receive it in proportion to their usefulness. So true is this that to them usefulness is what makes heaven.

[2] It is in keeping with Divine order that usefulness should determine the measure of happiness, as may be recognized from the different aspects of a person and the things they correspond to in the Grand Man, such as the external senses - sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch - which, as shown at the ends of quite a number of chapters, correspond in that way. Associated with these senses therefore are delights, which are determined completely by the functions they perform. The greatest is the sensory delight associated with conjugial love, because of the very great use it performs, for it leads to the propagation of the human race, which populates heaven. After this comes the delight linked with taste, which possesses so great a delight because it helps to nourish the body and keep it healthy, on which healthy mental activity depends. The delight linked with smell is a lesser delight because it serves merely to reinvigorate and so also help to keep a person healthy. The delight associated with hearing and that associated with sight come in last place because they only receive impressions which will be of future usefulness, and because they serve the understanding part of the mind but not so much the will part.

[3] From these and other considerations like them it becomes evident that useful services are the determining factor in the happiness imparted by the Lord in heaven, and that those services are the chief way in which the Lord is worshipped. This goes to explain why John reclined at table on the Lord's breast, and why the Lord loved him more than the rest. It was not on account of John himself, but because he represented times when charity is exercised, that is, useful services are performed. Regarding John's representation of those things, see the Prefaces to Chapters 18, 22 of Genesis, and 3974.

7038a 'And [if] you refuse to send him away' means obstinacy right to the last. This is clear from the meaning of 'refusing to send him away' as a failing to set free owing to obstinate determination, as above in 7032.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135, 2760, 3934; Exodus 4:23)

Go to section / 10837  

← Previous   Next →

   Study this Passage
Related New Christian Commentary

  Spiritual Topics:

Uses


Word or Phrase Explanations:

Serve


Vineyard Collection Concept Articles:

The Activity of Love


Glossary of Terms Used by Emanuel Swedenborg
Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 The Value of Work
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 What Is Heaven Like?
Emanuel Swedenborg visited heaven. His vivid accounts describe the nature of angels and the communities they live in.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


Translate: