52. Jehovah Himself, that is, the Lord, spoke the Word through the prophets. Regarding the prophets, we read that they were in a state of vision, and that Jehovah spoke with them.
When they were in a state of vision, they were not present in their body, but in their spirit, and in that state they saw things of the kind found in heaven. But when Jehovah spoke with them, they were then present in their body and heard Jehovah speaking.
These two states experienced by the prophets must be clearly distinguished. In a state of vision the eyes of their spirit were open and the eyes of their body closed; and they then seemed to themselves to be conveyed from place to place, their body not moving from where it was.
Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Daniel were at times in this state, and so was John when he was writing the book of Revelation. We are also told then that they were in a state of vision or in the spirit. Ezekiel, indeed, says:
The spirit took me up and returned me in a vision (of God) by the Spirit of God into Chaldea, to those in captivity. (So) the vision that I had seen went up from me. (Ezekiel 11:24, cf. 11:1)
He says that the spirit lifted him up, and that he heard behind him an earthquake, and other things (Ezekiel 3:12, 14). Also that the spirit lifted him up between the earth and heaven, and brought him in the visions of God to Jerusalem, where he saw abominations (Ezekiel 8:3ff.).
It was in a vision of God, or in the spirit, therefore, that he saw four living creatures, which were cherubim (Ezekiel 1,10). And also a new earth and a new temple, and an angel measuring them (as described in chapters 40-48). He says that he was then in the visions of God (Ezekiel 40:2), and that the spirit then lifted him up (Ezekiel 43:5).
The same experience befell Zechariah when he saw a man riding among the myrtle trees (Zechariah 1:8ff.); when he saw four horns, and then a man with a measuring line in his hand (Zechariah 1:18, 2:1ff.); when he saw Joshua the high priest (Zechariah 3:1ff.); when he saw a lampstand and two olive trees (Zechariah 4:1ff.); when he saw a flying scroll and an ephah (Zechariah 5:1, 6); and when he saw four chariots coming from between two mountains, and the horses (Zechariah 6:1ff.).
Daniel was in the same state when he saw four beasts coming up from the sea (Daniel 7:3), and when he saw battles of the ram and the male goat (Daniel 8:1ff.). We read that he saw these things in a state of vision (Daniel 7:1-2, 7, 13, 8:2, 10:1, 7-8); and that the angel Gabriel appeared to him in a vision and spoke with him (Daniel 9:21-22).
The same experience befell John when he was writing the book of Revelation, who says that he was in the spirit on the Lord’s day (Revelation 1:10); that he was carried away in the spirit into the wilderness (Revelation 17:3), and in the spirit onto a high mountain (Revelation 21:10); that in a vision he saw horses (Revelation 9:17). And elsewhere that he saw the things he described, thus seeing them in the spirit or in a vision (Revelation 1:12, 4:1, 5:1, 6:1, and so on in each of the following chapters).
Published by the General Church of the New Jerusalem, 1100 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania 19009, U.S.A. A translation of Doctrina Novae Hierosolymae de Domino, by Emanuel Swedenborg, 1688-1772. Translated from the Original Latin by N. Bruce Rogers. ISBN 9780945003687, Library of Congress Control Number: 2013954074.