Heaven and Hell #491

Heaven and Hell (Dole translation)      

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491. Our First State after Death

There are three states that we pass through after death before we arrive in either heaven or hell. The first state is one of more outward concerns, the second is one of more inward concerns, and the third is one of preparation. We go through these states in the world of spirits.

Some people, however, do not go through these states but are either raised into heaven or cast into hell immediately after their death. The people immediately raised into heaven are ones who have been regenerated and thus prepared for heaven in this world. People who have been regenerated and prepared to this extent need only to slough off their natural uncleanness along with their bodies and are immediately taken into heaven by angels. I have seen people taken up an hour after their death.

On the other hand, people who have been profoundly malicious but have outwardly worn a guise of goodness, people who have therefore filled their malice with guile and used goodness as a means of deception are cast directly into hell. I have seen people like this cast into hell immediately after their death. One of the most deceitful went head first and feet last; for others it is different.

There are also people who are sent off into caves right after their death and in this way are segregated from people in the world of spirits. They are alternately brought out and sent back in. These are people who have treated their neighbors maliciously under the pretext of civic behavior.

There are few such people, though, compared to the number of people who are kept in the world of spirits and prepared there for either heaven or hell according to the divine plan.

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Apocalypse Revealed 552

Divine Providence 307

Heaven and Hell 552

The Last Judgment 22, 32, 69

True Christian Religion 475

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 229


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 114, 121, 193

Other New Christian Commentary
Videos from the Swedenborg Foundation

The videos shown here are provided courtesy of our friends at the Swedenborg Foundation. You can find out more about them here: swedenborg.com.


There Are Three States That We Pass Through After Death

In this episode, we’re exploring passages from Swedenborg’s "Heaven and Hell", number 491.

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.


 Meeting Loved Ones
Immediately after death we will meet friends who have died. As friends spend time together they discover whether they are compatible to eternity or not.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The World of Spirits
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10


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


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