From Swedenborg's Works


Heaven and Hell #430

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430. There are two doors in each of us as well, one facing hell and open to evil and false things from hell, the other facing heaven and open to good and true things from heaven. The door of hell is opened for people who are involved in what is evil and its consequent falsity, though just a little light from heaven flows in through the cracks, which enables us to think, reason, and talk. On the other hand, the door of heaven is opened for people who are focused on what is good and therefore on what is true. There are actually two paths that lead to our rational mind, one from above or within, through which the good and the true enter from the Lord, and one from below or outside through which the evil and the false infiltrate from hell. The rational mind itself is at the intersection of these two paths, so to the extent that light from heaven is let in, we are rational; but to the extent that it is not let in, we are not rational even though we seem so to ourselves.

I have mentioned these things so that our correspondence with heaven and with hell may be known. While our rational mind is in the process of being formed, it is responsive to the world of spirits. What is above it belongs to heaven, and what is beneath it belongs to hell. The higher things open, and the lower close against the inflow of evil and falsity, for people who are being readied for heaven; while the lower things open, and the higher close against the inflow of goodness and truth, for people who are being readied for hell. As a result, these latter can only look downward, toward hell, and the former can only look upward, toward heaven. Looking upward is looking toward the Lord, because he is the common center that everything in heaven faces. Looking downward, though, is looking away from the Lord toward the opposite center, the center toward which everything in hell faces and gravitates (see above, 123, 124).

(References: Heaven and Hell 123-124)

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

From Swedenborg's Works


Apocalypse Revealed #176

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176. "'See, I have set before you an open door.'" (3:8) This symbolically means that to those who are governed by truths springing from goodness derived from the Lord, heaven is opened.

An open door clearly symbolizes an entryway. The door is said to be open for people who belong to the church in Philadelphia because people governed by truths springing from goodness derived from the Lord are meant by that church, and to them the Lord opens heaven.

But on this subject we will say something previously not known: The Lord alone is God of heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18), 1 and consequently people who do not go to Him directly do not see the way to heaven and therefore do not find the door. If by chance they are permitted to approach it, it is closed, and if someone knocks, it is not opened.

In the spiritual world there are actually paths that lead to heaven, and here and there one finds gates. People who are being led by the Lord to heaven go along paths that lead to it, and they enter through the gates. The existence of paths in that world may be seen in the book Heaven and Hell, nos. 479 534, 590, and also gates, nos. 429, 430, 583, 584. For everything seen in the heavens is a correspondent form, and so, too, are paths and gates. Paths, indeed, correspond to truths and consequently symbolize them, and gates correspond to an entryway and so symbolize it.

(References: Heaven and Hell 429-430, 583-584)

[2] Since the Lord alone leads a person to heaven and opens the door, therefore He calls Himself the way and also the door - the way in John,

I am the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)

And in the same gospel the door,

I am the door of the sheep... If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved... (John 10:7, 9)

Since both ways and doors exist in the spiritual world, and angelic spirits actually travel along those ways or paths and enter through doors when they enter into heaven, therefore doors and gates are often mentioned in the Word, and they symbolize an entryway, as in the following passages:

Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you doors of the world! That the King of glory may come in. (Psalms 24:7, 9)

Open the gates, that the righteous nation which exercises faithfulness may enter in. (Isaiah 26:2)

(The five wise virgins) went in... to the wedding, and the door was shut. (Then the five foolish virgins came and knocked, but it was not opened.) (Matthew 25:10-12)

(Jesus said,) "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many... will seek to enter and will not be able. (Luke 13:24-25)

And so also elsewhere.

Because a door symbolizes an entryway, and the New Jerusalem symbolizes a church formed of people who are governed by truths springing from goodness derived from the Lord, therefore the New Jerusalem is described also in respect to its gates, with angels upon them, and they are said to be not shut (Revelation 21:12-13, 25).


1. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." (Matthew 28:18

(References: Luke 13:24)

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Thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem for the permission to use this translation.