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Apocalypse Explained #978

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978. Verse 7 (Revelation 16:7). And I heard another out of the altar saying, signifies the preaching of the Lord's justice from His celestial kingdom. This is evident from the signification of "an angel out of the altar," as being the Lord's celestial kingdom; for the "altar" signifies the Lord as to the Divine good, thus also the heaven that is in the Divine good; that heaven or those heavens constitute the Lord's celestial kingdom. (That the "altar" signifies the Lord as to the Divine good may be seen in n. 391, 490, 915.) The angel speaking "out of the altar" signifies the Lord's celestial kingdom, because "the angel of the waters" speaking, described in the fifth verse, means the Lord's spiritual kingdom (See above, n. 971). As the Lord's justice is here preached from the heavens, and as the heavens consist of two kingdoms, namely, the spiritual and the celestial, therefore there is preaching from each kingdom; and one is meant by "the angel of the waters," and the other by "the angel of the altar."

(Continuation respecting the Fifth Commandment)

[2] Take merchants as an example: All their works are evil works so long as they do not regard as sins, and thus shun as sins illegitimate gains and unlawful usury, also fraud and craft; for such works cannot be done from the Lord, but are done from man himself. And the more expert they are in skillfully and artfully contriving devices from within for overreaching their companions the more evil are their works. And the more expert they are in bringing such devices into effect under the pretense of sincerity, justice, and piety, the more evil still are their works. The more delight a merchant feels in such things the more do his works have their origin in hell. But if he acts sincerely and justly in order to acquire reputation, and wealth through reputation, even so as to seem to act from a love of sincerity and justice, and yet does not act sincerely and justly from affection for the Divine law or from obedience to it, he is still inwardly insincere and unjust, and his works are thefts, for through a pretense of sincerity and justice he seeks to steal.

[3] That this is so becomes evident after death, when man acts from his interior will and love, and not from the exterior; for then he thinks about and devises nothing but sharp practices and robberies, and withdraws himself from those who are sincere, and betakes himself either to forests or deserts, where he devotes himself to stratagems. In a word, all such become robbers. But it is otherwise with merchants who shun as sins thefts of every kind, especially the more interior and hidden, which are effected by craft and deceit. All their works are good, because they are from the Lord; for the influx from heaven, that is, through heaven from the Lord, for accomplishing such works is not intercepted by the evils just mentioned. To these, riches do no harm, because to them riches are means for uses. Their tradings are the uses by which they serve their country and their fellow-citizens; and through their riches they are in a condition to perform those uses to which the affection of good leads them.

  
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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.