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Apocalypse Explained #979

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979. Yea, O Lord God Almighty, true and just are Thy judgments, signifies that these things are done because all things have their essence, life and power from the Divine good and the Divine truth. This is evident from the signification of "Lord God," as being the Lord as to the Divine good and the Divine truth; for the Lord is called "Lord" from the Divine good, and "God" from the Divine truth. Also from the signification of "Almighty," as being to be, to live, and to have power from Himself (See n. 43, 689, 939); so also that He is being, life, and power to all things; for the Lord is all this from Himself, but man is all this from the Lord. Also from the signification of "Thy judgments," as being those things that are being done, namely, those mentioned above in the sixth verse. That this is what is meant by "judgments" is evident from the fifth verse, where it is said, "Just art Thou, O Lord, and holy, because Thou hast judged these things." These judgments are called "true" from the Divine truth, and "just" from the Divine good, from which two all things are effected. (That "just" is predicated of the Divine good may be seen above, n. 972.) The same things are involved in these words, "Yea, O Lord God Almighty, true and just are Thy judgments," as in the words of the fifth verse, "Thou art just, O Lord, who art and who wast, and art holy, because Thou hast judged these things." The only difference is that the latter were said from the Lord's spiritual kingdom, and the former from His celestial kingdom. "Yea" is here an expression confirmative of the statements from the spiritual kingdom. That the same things are involved see above (n. 972-974), and compare.

(Continuation respecting the Fifth Commandment)

[2] From what has been said above, what is meant in the Word by good works can now be seen, namely, that they are all works done by man when evils have been removed as sins. For the works done after this are done from man only as if from him; for they are done from the Lord, and all works done from the Lord are good, and are called the goods of life, the goods of charity, and good works; as for instance, all the judgments of a judge who has justice as his end, and who venerates and loves it as Divine, and who detests as infamous decisions made for the sake of rewards or friendship, or from favor. Thus he consults the good of his country by causing justice and judgment to reign therein as in heaven; and thus he consults the peace of every innocent citizen and protects him from the violence of evildoers. All these are good works. So all services of managers and dealings of merchants are good works when they shun unlawful gains as sins against the Divine laws. When a man shuns evils as sins he daily learns what a good work is, and the affection of doing good grows with him, and the affection of knowing truths for the sake of good; for so far as he knows truths he can perform works more fully and more wisely, and thus his works become more truly good. Cease, therefore, from asking in thyself, "What are the good works that I must do, or what good must I do to receive eternal life?" Only cease from evils as sins and look to the Lord, and the Lord will teach and lead you.

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

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Apocalypse Explained #972

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972. Just art thou, O Lord who art and who wast, signifies the Lord as to the Divine good from eternity. This is evident from the signification of "just," as being in relation to the Lord the Divine good, for "just" is predicated in the Word of good, and "holy" of truth (See above, n. 204); also from the signification of "who art and who wast," as being the infinite and the eternal, for "art and wast" means the same as "Jehovah," and the Lord is called Jehovah in the Word from the Divine good, and God from the Divine truth; moreover, to be [esse] in reference to the Lord means to be from Himself, that is, in Himself, and to exist [existere] means in reference to the Lord to exist from Himself and in Himself. And in a relative sense to exist [existere] is to be [esse] in all things of heaven and the church; and this is effected by the Divine truth. This to be [esse] is what is meant by the eternal; for in heaven (otherwise than in the world) eternal, as applied to the Lord is without any idea of time; for in the angelic idea eternal means a state of the Divine existence, which nevertheless makes one with the Divine essence, which is Jehovah. The infinite in relation to being [esse] is signified by "who art" in Jehovah; and the infinite in relation to existence [existere] is signified by "who was" in Jehovah. The infinite existence [existere], which is also the eternal, is the Divine proceeding, from which is heaven and everything of it. The Divine existence [existere] is also the Divine being [esse] but it is called existence [existere] in relation to heaven, where it is the all in all.

(Continuation respecting the Fifth Commandment)

[2] He who refrains from thefts, understood in a broad sense, and even shuns them from any other cause than religion and for the sake of eternal life, is not cleansed of them; for in no other way can he open heaven. For it is through heaven that the Lord removes evils with man, as through heaven He removes the hells. For example, there are higher and lower managers of property, merchants, judges, officers of every kind, and workmen, who refrain from thefts, that is, from unlawful modes of gain and usury, and who shun these, but only to secure reputation and thus honor or gain, because of civil and moral laws, in a word, from some natural love or natural fear, thus from merely external constraints, and not from religion; but the interiors of such are full of thefts and robberies, and these burst forth when external constraints are removed from them, as takes place with everyone after death. Their sincerity and rectitude is nothing but a mask, a disguise, and a deceit.

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

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Apocalypse Explained #939

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939. O Lord God Almighty, signifies because He is Divine good. This is evident from the signification of "omnipotence," as meaning to be, to exist, to have ability, and to live, from Himself (See n. 43, 689); and as all goods and truths are from Him because they are in Him it is said "Lord God;" for He is called "Lord" from the Divine good, and "God" from the Divine truth; and as He has omnipotence from the Divine good through the Divine truth, it is said "Lord God Almighty." (That the Lord is called "Lord" in the Word from the Divine good, see n. 685; and "God" from the Divine truth, n. 24, 220, 688)

[2] It is known that man's interior must be purified before the good that he does is good; for the Lord says:

Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside may be clean also (Matthew 13:26).

Man's interior is purified only as he refrains from evils, in accordance with the commandments of the Decalogue. So long as man does not refrain from these evils and does not shun and turn away from them as sins, they constitute his interior, and are like an interposed veil or covering, and in heaven this appears like an eclipse by which the sun is obscured and light is intercepted; also like a fountain of pitch or of black water, from which nothing emanates but what is impure. That which emanates therefrom and that appears before the world as good is not good, because it is defiled by evils from within, for it is Pharisaic and hypocritical good. This good is good from man and is meritorious good. It is otherwise when evils have been removed by a life according to the commandments of the Decalogue.

[3] Now since evils must be removed before goods can become goods, the Ten Commandments were the first of the Word, being promulgated from Mount Sinai before the Word was written by Moses and the Prophets. And these do not set forth goods that must be done, but evils that must be shunned. For the same reason these commandments are the first things to be taught in the churches; for they are taught to boys and girls in order that man may begin his Christian life with them, and by no means forget them as he grows up; although he does so. The same is meant by these words in Isaiah:

What is the multitude of sacrifices to Me? Your meal-offering, your incense, your new moons, and your appointed feasts, My soul hateth. And when you multiply prayer I will not hear. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil. Then though your sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow; though they be red as purple they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:11-19).

"Sacrifices," "meal-offerings," "incense," "new moons," and "feasts," also "prayer," mean all things of worship. That these are wholly evil and even abominable unless the interior is purified from evils is meant by "Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings, and cease to do evil." That afterwards they are all goods is meant by the words that follow.

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