Heaven and Hell #327

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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327. I have talked with some people who were in the early church. (By "the early church," we mean the religious culture [that prevailed] after the flood over many kingdoms, throughout Assyria, Mesopotamia, Syria, Ethiopia, Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Philistia as far as Tyre and Sidon, and the land of Canaan on both sides of the Jordan. 1 People then knew about the Lord who was going to come, and they absorbed the good qualities of faith; but nevertheless they did fall away and become idolaters. They are in the front toward the left in a dark area, and are in a sorry state. They have piping, monotone voices, and practically no rational thought. They said they had been there for centuries and that sometimes they were let out in order to be of some menial service to others.

This led me to reflect on the many Christians who are not idolaters outwardly but are inwardly because they actually worship themselves and the world, and at heart deny the Lord. This is the kind of lot that awaits them in the other life.

Footnotes:

1. [Swedenborg's footnote] The first or earliest church on this planet was the one described in the opening chapters of Genesis, and this church was above all heavenly: Arcana Coelestia 607, 895, 920, 1121-1124, 2896, 4493, 8891, 9942, 10545. What those people are like in heaven: 1114-1125. There were various churches after the flood, referred to as the early church; together with some description: 1125-1127, 1327, 10355. What the people of the early church were like: 609 [607], 895. The early churches were symbolic churches: 519, 521, 2896. There was a Word in the early church, but it has been lost: 2897. What the early church was like as it began to decline: 1128. The difference between the earliest church and the early church: 597, 607, 640-641, 765, 784, 895, 4493. The statutes, judgments, and laws that were obligatory in the Jewish church were to some extent like those of the early church: 4288, 4449, 10149. The Lord was the God of the earliest church and of the early church, and was known as Jehovah: 1343, 6846.

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