By Rev. Junchol Lee
We use a calendar that has 12 months and 365 days in it. As it nears December 31st, we feel as though something is getting close to an end, and yet on January 1st it feels like a new beginning. Our life is composed of many endings and beginnings. We may live one life, but within this one life we have many different journeys.
(References: Habakkuk 3:17)
899. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth, signifies the resurrection into eternal life of those who have lived heretofore a life of charity, and will so live henceforth. This is evident from the signification of "the dead in the Lord," as being those who rise into eternal life (of which presently), also from the signification of "the dead and those that die from henceforth," as being the resurrection of those who have heretofore lived and who henceforth live a life of charity, for this is said of those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus; and these are such as live according to the Lord's commandments in the Word and acknowledge His Divine, thus who live a life of charity from the Lord (see above, n. 894, 895).
 It is said "from henceforth," because those are meant who have heretofore lived and who henceforth live that life. Those who have lived that life heretofore were kept by the Lord below the heavens and protected from infestation by the hells until the Last Judgment; and when this was accomplished they were raised up from their places, and elevated into heaven. This was not done before because before that the hells prevailed, and there was a preponderance on their part; but after this the heavens prevailed, and thus there was a preponderance on their part; for by the Last Judgment all things, both in the hells and in the heavens, were reduced to order. If, therefore, these had been elevated before, they could not have resisted the power with which the hells prevailed over the heavens. That they were elevated it was granted me to see; for I saw troops of them arising and being lifted up from the lower earth, where they had been kept by the Lord, and transferred to the heavenly societies. This took place after that Last Judgment that is treated of in the work on The Last Judgment. The same was done after a former judgment that was accomplished by the Lord when He was in the world, which is treated of in the same work. This mystery is what is meant by the resurrection of those who had heretofore lived a life of charity. This is meant also by these words in John:
Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out. But I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto Myself (John 12:31, 32);
and this was represented by:
Many of the saints who slept were raised up; and coming forth out of their tombs after the Lord's resurrection they entered into the holy city, and appeared unto many (Matthew 27:52, 53).
But on this more will be said where the first and second resurrection or death are treated of in what follows in Revelation.
 "The dead that are blessed," and "those that die," mean also those that are to rise again into life hereafter, who are such as live a life of charity, as is evident from the expressions "from henceforth," and "the dead," and "those that die," "from henceforth," referring not only to those who are such since the Last Judgment, but also to those who were such before, and who have been treated of above. "Death" signifies resurrection, and thus "the dead" signify those who rise again into eternal life, because "death" signifies hell, and thus evils and falsities; and these must die that man may receive spiritual life; for until these are dead and extinct man has no spiritual life, which is the life that is meant in the Word by "life," "eternal life," and "resurrection;" therefore "to die" means here and elsewhere in the Word the extinction of the life that is man's own, which regarded in itself consists solely of evils and falsities from them. And because when that life has been extinguished spiritual life enters in its place, so "the dead in the Lord" signify those who have been made spiritual by the Lord.
 Moreover, "to die" can mean in the spiritual sense resurrection, because the angels, who are in the spiritual sense of the Word, know nothing about natural death, by which man is taken out of this world; but they know only about spiritual death, which comes to those who are being regenerated by the Lord by means of temptations, and with whom evils and falsities therefrom are being subdued and put to death. Again, natural death is nothing but resurrection, for the reason that when the body dies man rises again as to his spirit, and thus death is simply a continuation of his life; for through death man passes from a life in the natural world into a life in the spiritual world, with the difference only that the life in the natural world is a more external and imperfect life, and the life in the spiritual world is a more internal and perfect life; and yet the two are alike in appearance, as can be seen from things heard and seen that are related in the work on Heaven and Hell.
 From all this it can be seen that "death" signifies both spiritual death, which is damnation, and resurrection into life, which is salvation. That "death" signifies damnation can be seen above (n. 186, 383, 427, 694). That "death" signifies resurrection to eternal life, and salvation, can be seen from the following passages. In John:
Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me, though he die yet shall he live; and everyone that liveth shall not die forever (John 11:25, 26).
"I am the resurrection and the life" signifies that resurrection and life are from Him and not from another; "he that believeth in Me" signifies, he that believes in the Lord's Divine and believes that He is the omnipotent and only God; and as no one can believe this except he that lives a life of charity, therefore a life of charity, is also meant by "believing in Him;" "though he die yet shall he live" signifies that though one die naturally, still he shall rise again into life; "and everyone that liveth and believeth in Me shall not die forever" signifies that he who has been reformed shall not die spiritually, that is, be condemned, but shall rise again into eternal life. This makes clear that "to die" does not mean to die, but to rise again to life.
 In the same:
Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and they are dead. This is the bread which cometh down out of heaven, that one may eat thereof and not die (John 6:49, 50, 58).
The "manna" that the sons of Jacob ate in the desert means in reference to them natural food, because they were natural; but "the bread that cometh down out of heaven" means spiritual food, which is from the Lord alone; and because it is from Him alone, in the highest sense "bread" means Himself; and therefore He says, "I am the Bread of life." For Divine good united with Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, is that from which both angels and men have spiritual life. Consequently these words mean in the spiritual sense that those who nourish themselves from the Word in a natural way only are dead, that is, condemned, as were the sons of Jacob; and this was signified by their all dying in the desert; but those who nourish themselves spiritually from the Word will not be subject to condemnation, which is meant by "they shall not die," which evidently does not mean not to die, but resurrection into life; for if death is not death it is life.
(References: John 6:49-50)
 In the same:
If a man keep My word he shall never see death (John 7:51, 52).
"To keep the Lord's words" signifies to live according to the Lord's commandments; "not to see death" signifies not to see condemnation but life, into which man rises and enters by death. In the same:
Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, that he that heareth My word and believeth on Him that sent Me hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment but passeth from death into life (John 5:24).
"To hear the word of the Lord and believe on Him that sent Him" has a like meaning as above, for by "the Father" the Lord meant the Divine that was in Him from conception, thus Himself. "Not to come into judgment" signifies not to be condemned; "to pass from death into life" signifies resurrection and life in heaven, "from death" signifying not only from natural death into eternal life, thus a resurrection, but also from spiritual death, which is condemnation, into eternal life; thus also resurrection; for the Word contains both a natural and a spiritual sense.
 In the same:
Jesus said, As the Father raiseth up the dead and vivifieth them, even so the Son vivifieth whom He will (John 5:21).
"To raise up the dead and vivify them" means resurrection into life, not only by natural death but also by spiritual death; resurrection into life is effected by reformation and regeneration, and these by the removal and separation of evils, which condemn man, and which are spiritual death. In the same:
Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, that the hour is coming when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live (John 5:25).
"The dead" signify here those who have been in evils and in falsities therefrom, but have been delivered from them by reformation; that they shall rise again is meant by these words, for they are no longer dead but alive, for they are "those that hear the voice of the Son of God," that is, those who live according to His commandments. Likewise it is said in Luke:
That such shall be recompensed in the resurrection of the dead 1 (Revelation 14:14).
"The resurrection of the dead" means not only the resurrection of those who die naturally, for these rise again immediately after death, but also the resurrection of those who die spiritually and are vivified by the Lord.
(References: Luke 14:14)
 In John:
Jesus said, The hour shall come, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth, they that have done goods unto the resurrection of life, but they that have done evils unto the resurrection of judgment (John 5:28, 29).
This does not mean that the tombs shall be opened and all shall go forth at the day of the Last Judgment; but the "tombs" that shall be opened mean the places in the lower earth where those who had previously lived a life of charity and had acknowledged the Lord's Divine were kept and guarded by the Lord, and in the day of the Last Judgment and after it were raised up into heaven, as has been said above in this article. These places are signified in the spiritual sense by "tombs." This does not mean that the tombs in the earth are to be opened, and that they shall come forth from them at the day of the Last Judgment, as is clearly evident from the fact that all men come into the spiritual world immediately after death, and live there in a human form in like manner as in the natural world, therefore that everyone's resurrection takes place immediately after death, resurrection to life for those who have done goods, and resurrection to judgment for those who have done evils; as is evident from the things heard and seen that are related in the work on Heaven and Hell.
(References: John 5:28-29)
 The same was represented by:
The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints that slept were raised up, and coming forth out of their tombs after the Lord's resurrection entered into the holy city and appeared unto many (Matthew 27:52, 53).
That the tombs were then opened and the saints who had previously died came forth and entered into the holy city and appeared to many, represented the resurrection of those who had been kept by the Lord in places under heaven until His coming into the world, and who after His resurrection were taken therefrom and raised up into heaven. This took place and was seen by those who were in Jerusalem; nevertheless it was representative of the resurrection of those here and before described. For as all things of the Lord's passion were representative, also that the veil of the temple was rent in twain, the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent (Matthew 27:51), so was this, that they came forth from the opened tombs; therefore it is added that "they entered into the holy city and appeared there;" for "Zion," which is here meant by "the holy city," still represented heaven where the Lord reigns by His Divine truth (on this signification of "Zion" see above, n. 850; and that city, together with Jerusalem, was at that time profane rather than holy, so that it was even called "Egypt and Sodom" in Revelation (Revelation 11:8). But it is called "holy" on account of its representation and consequent signification in the Word.
 Resurrection from the dead, both in the natural and in the spiritual sense, was represented and thus was signified by the dead whom the Lord raised:
As by the raising of Lazarus (John 11:11-44);
By the raising of the young man of Nain (Luke 7:11-18);
And by the raising of the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue (Mark 5:21-43 to the end).
For all the miracles wrought by the Lord, and all the miracles described in the Word, included in them and thus signified the holy things of heaven and the church; and for this reason those miracles were Divine, and they were distinguished from miracles not Divine. The like is signified by this:
That it was granted to the disciples to raise the dead (Matthew 10:8).
 Regeneration, which also is a resurrection from the dead, was represented by the vivification of the bones in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 37:1-14). That this represented regeneration is plainly evident from verses 11-14, where it is said:
These bones are the whole house of Israel; therefore prophesy and say unto them, Behold I will open your graves, O My people, and I will bring you upon the land of Israel, that ye may know that I will put My spirit in you, that ye may live.
Here again it is said that "the graves shall be opened," which signifies resurrection into life. (That "to be buried" and "burial" signify resurrection, likewise regeneration, being the rejection of things unclean, may be seen above, n. 659
 That natural death, which is a rejection of the unclean things of the body, and spiritual death, which is a removal of the unclean things of the spirit, signify resurrection, can be seen also from the following passages in Revelation, where the first and the second death are treated of, which also are called the first and the second resurrection 2
(Revelation 2:11; 21:8). Also in David:
Precious in the eyes of Jehovah is the death of His saints (Psalms 116:15).
Evidently "the death of the saints" does not signify damnation, but the separation and removal of the unclean things of their spirit, thus regeneration and resurrection. So also in John:
Jesus said, Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die it abideth alone; but if it die it beareth much fruit (John 12:24).
The same is true of man, who, that he may rise again, must die both as to the body and as to what is his own [proprium], which is in itself infernal; for unless both of these die he does not have the life of heaven.
 As men rise again after death, therefore the Lord willed to undergo death and to rise again the third day, but to the end that He might put off everything human that He had from the mother and might put on the Divine Human; for everything human that the Lord took from the mother He rejected from Himself by temptations, and finally by death; and by putting on a Human from the Divine Itself that was in Him He glorified Himself, that is, made His Human Divine; therefore in heaven His death and burial do not mean death and burial, but the purification of His Human, and glorification. That this is so the Lord taught by this comparison with wheat falling into the earth, which must die that it may bear fruit. The same is involved in what the Lord said to Mary Magdalene:
Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended unto My Father (John 20:17).
"To ascend to His Father" means the uniting of His Human with His Divine, the human from the mother being fully rejected.