Arcana Coelestia, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1749-56], tr. by John F. Potts [1905-10], at sacred-texts.com
All that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his silver, every male among the men of Abraham's house. That this signifies those who are within the church, with whom the truths of faith are conjoined with goods, is evident from the signification of "those born in the house," as being the celestial; from the signification of "those bought with silver," as being the spiritual; and from these being within the church, as explained above (n. 2048, 2051, 2052); and also from the signification of a "male," as being those who are in the truth of faith (spoken of above, n. 2046), from all which it is evident that they are meant who are within the church, with whom the truths of faith are conjoined with goods.2102.
And circumcised the flesh of their foreskin. That this signifies their purification and righteousness from the Lord, is evident from the signification of being "circumcised," as being to be purified from the loves of self and of the world (explained above, n. 2039); also from the signification of "circumcising the flesh of the foreskin," as being the removal of these loves (also spoken of above, n. 2041, 2053, 2057; where it was further shown that those loves are the sole obstacle to the influx and operation of the good and truth from the Lord, and consequently to the application of the Lord's righteousness to man).  This whole chapter has treated of the union of the Lord's Divine Essence with His Human Essence; and concerning the conjunction of the Lord with man by means of His Human Essence made Divine; and also concerning circumcision, that is, purification from the filthy things in man. All these things are in one series, and follow one from another; for the union of the Divine Essence with the Human Essence in the Lord was effected to the end that the Divine might be conjoined with man; and the conjunction of the Divine with man cannot be effected unless man is purified from those loves; but as soon as he is being purified from them, the Lord's Divine Human flows in, and thus conjoins man with itself. This shows the nature of the Word, namely, that when what is signified in the internal sense is understood, the Word is all connected together in a becoming and beautiful series.2103.
In the selfsame day. That this signifies the state that has been spoken of, is evident from the signification of "day," as being in the internal sense state (see n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893).2104.
As God spoke with him. That this signifies in accordance with the perception, is evident from the signification of "God saying" and "speaking," as being to perceive (see n. 1791, 1815, 1819, 1822, 1898, 1919, 2097).2105.
Verses 24-26. And Abraham was a son of ninety and nine years when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was a son of thirteen years when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. "Abraham was a son of ninety and nine years," signifies the state and time before the union of the Lord's Divine Essence with His Human Essence; "when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin," signifies when He utterly expelled the evils of the external man; "and Ishmael his son," signifies those who by virtue of the truths of faith are made rational by the Lord; "a son of thirteen years," signifies holy remains; "when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin," signifies, as before, purification; "in the selfsame day," signifies that it was then; "was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son," signifies that when the Lord conjoined His Human Essence with His Divine Essence, He also conjoined with Himself all others who become rational from truth, and saved them.2106.
Abraham was a son of ninety and nine years. That this signifies the state and time before the union of the Lord's Divine Essence with His Human Essence, is evident from the signification of "ninety-nine years," as being the time before the Lord fully conjoined the internal man with the rational (explained above, n. 1988). The Lord's internal man, as already shown, was Jehovah Himself, that is, the Divine itself; which, when it was united to the Human, was united to the rational; for the human begins in the inmost of the rational, and extends itself thence to man's external.2107.
When he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. That this signifies when He utterly expelled the evils of His external man, is evident from the signification of "being circumcised," as being to be purified from the loves of self and of the world, or what is the same, from evils; for all evils come from these loves (see above, n. 2039, 2041, 2053, 2057); and that the Lord expelled the evils by His own power, and thereby made His Human Essence Divine, has been abundantly shown in Part First, and now just above (n. 2025).2108.
Ishmael his son. That this signifies those who become rational from the truths of faith, is evident from the representation of Ishmael here, as being those who become rational from truth, that is, who become spiritual (see also above, n. 2078, 2087, 2088).2109.
A son of thirteen years. That this signifies holy remains, may be seen from the signification of "ten," as being remains (explained above, n. 576, 1988); and from the signification of "three," as being what is holy (see n. 720, 901). Thus the number "thirteen," being composed of ten and three, signifies holy remains. (That numbers in the Word signify actual things, may be seen above, n. 482, 487, 488, 493, 575, 647, 648, 755, 813, 893. What the remains with man are, has been stated above, n. 468, 530, 561, 660, 1050, 1906.)2110.
When he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. That this signifies purification, is evident from the signification of "being circumcised," as being to be purified from the loves of self and of the world (see n. 2039); and from the signification of "circumcising the flesh of the foreskin," as being the removal of those loves (n. 2041, 2053, 2057).2111.
In the selfsame day. That this signifies that it was then, is evident from the signification of "day," as being time and state (also explained before, n. 23, 487, 488, 493, 893).2112.
Was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. That this signifies that when the Lord conjoined His Human Essence with His Divine Essence, He also conjoined with Himself all others who become rational from truth and saved them, is evident from the representation of Abraham in this chapter, as being the Lord in that state and at that age (see above, n. 1989); and from the representation of Ishmael here, as being those who become rational from truth (explained above, n. 2078, 2087, 2088); and also from the signification of "being circumcised," as being to be purified (see above, n. 2039), and when predicated of the Lord, to be glorified, and thus to put off the human and to put on the Divine. (That to be glorified is to put on the Divine, may be seen above, n. 2033; and that the Lord then conjoined with Himself those who become rational from truth, that is, the spiritual, may also be seen above, n. 2034, 2078, 2088.)2113.
Verse 27. And all the men of his house, he that was born in the house, and he that was bought with silver, from the son that is a stranger, were circumcised with him. "All the men of his house, he that was born in the house, and he that was bought with silver," signifies all those who are within the church; "from the son that is a stranger," signifies all who are rational outside the church; "were circumcised by him," signifies that they were justified by the Lord.2114.
All the men of his house, he that was born in the house, and he that was bought with silver. That this signifies all those who are within the church, is evident from the signification of "him that was born in the house," as being the celestial; and from the signification of "those bought with silver," as being the spiritual (concerning which above, n. 2048, 2051, 2052); and also that these are they who are within the church, for all who are within the church, that is, all who constitute the church, are either celestial or spiritual; but who the celestial and who the spiritual are, may be seen above (n. 2088). In this last verse of this chapter there is a summary of all that has been said above, namely, that they who have been purified from the loves of self and of the world, both those within the church and those outside the church, are justified by the Lord. Both these classes are called the "men of the house;" for in the internal sense "the house" signifies the Lord's kingdom (n. 2048).2115.
From the son that is a stranger. That this signifies all who are rational outside the church, is evident from the signification of a "stranger," as being those who are outside the church (explained above, n. 2049), and thus the Gentiles who have not the Word and therefore have learned nothing about the Lord; and that these when rational are just as much saved, that is, when they live together in charity or mutual love, and have gained something of conscience in accordance with their own religion, has been shown in Part First (n. 593, 932, 1032, 1059, 1327, 1328).2116.
That they "were circumcised by [ab] him" signifies that they are justified by the Lord, may be seen from the representation and thence the signification of "being circumcised," as being to be purified (explained above, n. 2039). Their "being circumcised by him," that is, by Abraham, was also representative, namely, that they are purified and thereby justified by the Lord. But in regard to justification, the case is not as is commonly supposed, namely, that all evils and sins are wiped away and utterly blotted out when men, as they imagine, believe-even if it were their last and dying hour-however they may have lived in evils and in misdeeds during the entire course of their lives; for I have been fully instructed that not the smallest evil which a man during his bodily life has thought and has carried out into act is wiped away and utterly blotted out; but that it all remains, even to the very least of it.  The truth is that with those who have meditated and practiced acts of hatred, of revenge, of cruelty, and of adultery, and who thereby have lived in no charity, the life thence contracted awaits them after death, nay, so do all things of that life both in general and in particular, which return in succession; and from this comes their torment in hell. But with those who have lived in love to the Lord and in charity toward the neighbor, their evils of life also all remain, but they are tempered by the goods which during their life in the world they have received from the Lord by means of a life of charity; and thereby they are uplifted into heaven, nay, are withheld from the evils which they have appertaining to them, so that these do not appear. They who in the other life doubt their having evils with them, because the evils do not appear, are let into them until they know that the case is really so, and then are again uplifted into heaven.  This then is what is meant by being justified; for in this way men come to acknowledge not their own righteousness, but that of the Lord. As to its being said that those are saved who have faith-this is true; but in the Word by "faith" nothing else is meant than love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor, and thus a life from these loves. The doctrinal things and dogmas of faith are not faith, but belong to faith; for they are one and all for the sake of the end that a man may become such as they teach him to be, as may be clearly seen from the Lord's words that in love to God and love toward the neighbor consist all the law and the prophets, that is, the universal doctrine of faith (Matt. 22:34-39; Mark 12:28-35). (That there cannot possibly be any other faith that is faith, was shown in Part First, n. 30-38, 379, 389, 724, 809, 896, 904, 916, 989, 1017, 1076, 1077, 1121, 1158, 1162, 1176, 1258, 1285, 1316, 1608, 1798, 1799, 1834, 1843, 1844; and also that heaven itself consists in love to the Lord and in mutual love, n. 537, 547, 553, 1112, 2057.)2117.
CONCERNING THE LAST JUDGMENT. Few at this day know what the Last Judgment is. They suppose that it will come together with the destruction of the world; and this gives rise to the notion that the whole globe will perish by fire, together with all things in the visible world; and that then for the first time the dead will rise again and will be brought to judgment, the evil being cast into hell, and the good ascending into heaven. These conjectures originate in the prophetical statements of the Word-where mention is made of a new heaven and a new earth, and also of the New Jerusalem-those who make them not being aware that in the internal sense such prophetical statements have a totally different meaning from that which appears in the sense of the letter; and that by "heaven" is not meant the sky, nor by "earth" the earth, but the Lord's church in general, and with everyone in particular.2118.
By the Last Judgment is meant the last time of a church, and also the last state of each person's life. As regards the last time of the church, it was the Last Judgment of the Most Ancient Church, which was before the flood, when their posterity perished; whose destruction is described by the flood The Last Judgment of the Ancient Church, which was after the flood, was when almost all who were of that church became idolaters, and were dispersed. The Last Judgment of the Representative Church, which succeeded among the posterity of Jacob, was when the ten tribes were carried away into captivity, and were dispersed among the nations; and when later, after the Lord's coming, the Jews were driven out of the land of Canaan, and were scattered throughout the world. The Last Judgment of the present church, which is called the Christian Church, is what is meant by John in Revelation by the "New Heaven and the New Earth."2119.
That the last state of each person's life when he dies, is his Last Judgment, is not hidden from some, but still few believe it; when yet it is a constant truth that every man after death rises again into the other life, and is brought to judgment. But this Judgment takes place as follows. As soon as man's corporeals grow cold, which takes place after a few days, he is resuscitated by the Lord, by means of the celestial angels, who at first are with him. But if the man is such that he cannot remain with those angels, he is received by the spiritual angels; and afterwards in succession by good spirits, for all who come into the other life are without exception welcome and accepted guests. But as everyone's desires follow with him, he who had led an evil life cannot stay long with the angels and good spirits, but separates himself from them in succession, until at last he comes to spirits of a life similar in nature to that which he had had in the world. It then appears to him as if he were in the life of his body, and in fact it is in itself a continuation of that life. With this life his judgment begins. After periods of delay they who have lived an evil life go down into hell; while they who have lived a good life are by degrees uplifted by the Lord into heaven. Such is the last judgment of each person, as has been shown from experience in Part First.2120.
As to what the Lord said concerning the last times, that then the sea and the billows shall roar, the sun be darkened, the moon not give her light, the stars fall from heaven, nation rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and more (see Matt. 24:7, 29; Luke 21:25)-these things both in general and in particular signify the state of the church, such as it would be at the time of its Last Judgment. And by the "roaring of the sea" and the "billows" nothing else is signified than that heresies and controversies within the church in general, and in everyone in particular, will be thus in uproar. By the "sun" is meant nothing else than love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor; by the "moon," faith; and by the "stars," the knowledges of faith; all of which, in the last times, will be thus darkened, will not give light, and will fall from heaven, that is, will vanish away. The like is said by the Lord also in Isaiah (chapter 13:10). So too by "nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom," nothing else is meant than evils against evils, and falsities against falsities, and so on. There were many secret reasons why the Lord spoke in this way. (That the "seas," "sun," "moon," "stars," "nations," and "kingdoms" have such a signification, I know with certainty, and have shown in Part First.)2121.
That a Last Judgment is at hand, 2121-1 cannot be so evident on the earth and within the church as in the other life, whither all souls arrive, and flock together. At this day the world of spirits is full of evil genii and evil spirits, mostly from the Christian world, among whom there reign nothing but hatreds, revenges, cruelties, obscenities, and deceitful machinations. Nor is this the case only with the world of spirits, where souls fresh from the world first arrive, but also with the interior sphere of that world, where those are who have been interiorly evil in respect to their intentions and ends. This likewise is at the present day so crowded that I have wondered there ever could be so great an abundance. For all are not instantly cast down into the hells, because it is according to the laws of order that every such person should return into his life which he had had in the body, and should in this way be brought down by degrees into hell. The Lord casts no one into hell, but everyone casts himself there. The result is that these Worlds of spirits are thronged with a crowd of such spirits, who gather and stay there for a time. By their means the souls who come from the world are frightfully infested. Moreover the spirits who are with man (for every man is governed by the Lord through spirits and angels) are more stirred up than heretofore to bring malign influences to bear upon man, and this to such a degree that the angels who are with him can scarcely avert them, but are compelled to inflow into man from a greater distance. In the other life it is from all this very evident that the last time is at hand.2122.
As to what further regards the souls newly arriving from the world, those coming from the Christian world think and plan for scarcely anything else than to become the greatest, and to possess all things; so that all are devoured with the love of self and of the world, which loves are utterly contrary to heavenly order (n. 2057); besides that very many think of nothing but filthy, obscene, and profane things, and among themselves speak of nothing else. They also make nothing of and utterly despise all things that are of charity and faith; and do not acknowledge the Lord Himself; nay, they hate all who confess Him; for in the other life thoughts and hearts speak. Besides all this, on account of the infamous life of parents, hereditary evils are becoming more malignant, and like inward fires fostered in secret, stimulate man to greater profanation of what is honorable and pious than heretofore. At the present day such persons flock in crowds into the other life, and fill to repletion the exterior and interior spheres of the world of spirits, as already said. When evil thus begins to prevail, and the equilibrium begins to incline to the side of evil, it is thereby clearly perceived that the last time is at hand, and that the equilibrium is going to be restored by the rejection of those who are within the church, and the reception of others who are outside.2123.
That the last time is at hand may also be seen from this fact in the other life, that all the good which flows in from the Lord through heaven into the world of spirits, is there turned in a moment into what is evil, obscene, and profane, and that all the truth is turned in a moment into falsity; thus mutual love is turned into hatred, sincerity into deceit, and so on; so that those who are there are no longer capable of perceiving anything of what is good and true; and the like redounds upon man, who is governed through spirits with whom those who are in the world of spirits have communication. The certainty of this I have learned by much experience, which, if all advanced, would fill many pages. I have very frequently been permitted to perceive and hear how what is good and true from heaven is turned into what is evil and false, together with the amount and the nature of the change.2124.
I have been told that the good of the will [bonum voluntarium] that existed in the men of the Most Ancient Church, was destroyed in the antediluvians; and that at the present day, with the men of the Christian Church, the good of the intellect [bonum intellectuale] is beginning to perish, insomuch that there is but little of it left; the cause of which is, that they believe nothing except what they apprehend by the senses; and that at this day men not only reason from the senses, but also, by means of a philosophy unknown to the ancients, reason concerning Divine arcana; whereby intellectual light is altogether darkened; a darkening that is becoming so dense as scarcely to admit of being dispelled.2125.
The present quality of the men of the Christian Church was exhibited to my view by means of representations. In a dark cloud there appeared spirits so black that I shuddered, and afterwards others not so horrible; and it was signified to me that I was about to see something. First, there appeared children who were being combed by their mothers so cruelly that the blood ran down; by which was represented that such is the bringing up of little children at this day. Afterwards there appeared a tree which seemed as if it were the tree of knowledge, into which there was seen to climb a great viper, such as to strike one with horror; it appeared to extend all along the trunk of the tree. When the tree with the viper vanished, there appeared a dog; and then a door was opened into an apartment where there was a yellow light as from coals, and there were two women there; it was perceived to be a kitchen, but I am not at liberty to mention what I saw therein. I was told that the tree into which the viper climbed represented the state of the men of the church as they are at this day, in that in place of love and charity they have deadly hatreds that are beset with pretenses of what is honorable, and with deceits, together with wicked thoughts concerning all matters that belong to the faith. But what was seen in the kitchen represented the same hatreds and thoughts in their further developments.2126.
It was further represented how opposed are those now within the church to innocence itself. There appeared a beautiful and innocent little child, at the sight of whom the external bonds by which evil genii and spirits are withheld from abominable deeds were slightly relaxed; and they then began to treat the little child in the most shocking manner-to trample on him, and to will the killing of him, one in one way, and another in another; for in the other life innocence is represented by infants. I remarked that during their bodily life such things do not appear in connection with these men, but it was answered that such are their interiors, and that if the civil laws did not hinder, and also other external bonds, such as the fear of the loss of property, of honor, of reputation, and of their life, they would rush insanely in the same way against all who are innocent. When they heard this answer, they made sport of it also. From what has been said we may see what is the quality of the men of the present day, and also that the last times are at hand.2127.
In the other life there sometimes appears a kind of Last Judgment to the evil when their societies are being broken up; and to the good, when they are being admitted into heaven. Concerning both of these I may relate some things from experience.2128.
The idea of a Last Judgment as presented to the evil, which I have seen two or three times, was as follows. When the spirits around me had combined into mischievous societies, so as to exercise predominance, and did not suffer themselves to be so governed by the law of equilibrium according to order as not to annoy other societies in an excessive manner, and to begin inflicting injury upon them by their overpowering force, there then appeared a band of spirits of considerable magnitude, coming from the quarter in front, a little to the right and above, at the approach of which there was heard a hubbub that as it were rose and fell with a loud roar; and as soon as the spirits heard it they were seized with consternation and terror, the result of which was a confusion; and then the spirits who were in those societies were dispersed, one this way and another that, so that they dissolved away from one another, and no one knew where his companion was. While this lasted, it appeared to the spirits just as if it were the Last Judgment with the destruction of all things. Some uttered lamentations; some from fright as it were lost all heart; in a word, a sense of danger as of a final crisis seized on all.  The sound of those advancing from the quarter in front was heard by them variously; by some as the sound of armed horsemen, and by others otherwise, according to their state of fear and the phantasy it excited. It was perceived by me as a continuous murmur, with undulations rising and falling, and indeed as of many together. I was instructed by those near me that such bands come from that quarter when societies have been evilly combined in this way, and that they know how to dissociate and dissever the one from the other, and at the same time to strike terror, so that nothing is thought of but flight; and that by means of such disjunctions and dispersions all are at last reduced by the Lord into order. I was also told that this is what is signified in the Word by the "east wind."2129.
There are likewise other kinds of tumults, or rather of conflicts, which also present the idea of a Last Judgment, and by which societies that have been evilly combined in respect to their interiors are dissolved, concerning which I may relate what follows. Such spirits are driven into a state in which they do not think in society or communion in the usual way, but each one for himself. From their thoughts thus at variance, and the confused sound of their jarring speech, an uproar is heard, as of many waters, and a conflict among them, such as cannot be described, that arises from the confusion of opinions concerning fixed and certain truths which are then the subjects of their thoughts and speech, and which uproar is of such a character that it may be called a spiritual chaos.  The sound of the conflicting and confused roarings was threefold. One sound flowed in around the head, and was said to be that of the thoughts. Another sound flowed in toward the left temple, and was said to be the conflict of their reasonings about certain truths in which they were not willing to have faith. The third sound flowed in from above at the right, and was a gnashing one, but not so confused, and the gnashing was turned this way and that, and it was said that this was because the truths that were being turned in this manner this way and that by their reasonings, were in conflict. While these conflicts were going on there were other spirits besides who spoke to me and told me what each thing signified, and their speech penetrated distinctly through those sounds.  The subjects of the reasonings were especially these: whether it is to be understood according to the letter that the twelve apostles are to sit upon twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel; also, whether any others are to be admitted into heaven than those who have suffered persecutions and miseries. Each one reasoned according to his phantasy, which he had caught in the life of the body. But some of them who had been brought back into communion and order, were afterwards instructed that the statement concerning the apostles is to be understood in an entirely different manner; namely, by the "apostles" are not meant apostles, nor by "thrones," thrones, nor by "tribes," tribes, nor in fact by "twelve," twelve; but by all these terms-"apostles," "thrones," "tribes," and also by "twelve," are signified the primary things of faith (see n. 2089); and it is from these and according to them that judgment is effected upon everyone. It was further shown that the apostles cannot judge even one man, but that all judgment is of the Lord alone.  And as regards the other subject of reasoning, neither is this to be understood as meaning that those only are to come into heaven who have suffered persecutions and miseries; but that the rich will enter heaven just as much as the poor, those posted in dignity just as much as those in low condition; and that the Lord has mercy on all, especially on those who have been in spiritual miseries and temptations, which are persecutions by the evil-thus on those who acknowledge that of themselves they are wretched, and who believe that it is solely of the Lord's mercy that they are saved.2130.
In regard to the second subject, namely, the idea of a Last Judgment as presented to the good when they are being intromitted into heaven, I may relate how the case is. It is said in the Word that the door was shut, so that they could no longer be admitted; and that they had no oil, and came too late, and therefore were not admitted; by which things also there is signified the state of the Let Judgment. How these matters are and are to be understood, has been shown me.  I heard societies of spirits, one after another, saying in a clear voice that the wolf had wanted to carry them off, but that the Lord rescued them, and that so they were restored to the Lord, in consequence of which they rejoiced from the inmost heart, for they had been in despair, and thus in fear, that the door had been shut, and that they had come too late to be admitted. Such thought had been infused into them by those who are called "wolves " but it vanished on their being admitted, that is, on their being received by angelic societies, for intromission into heaven is nothing else. The intromission was seen by me as though it were made and continued with one society after another up to twelve, and that the twelfth society was intromitted (that is, received) with more difficulty than the eleven that had preceded it. There were afterwards admitted eight additional quasi societies that I was told were of the female sex. When I had seen these things, it was said that this process of admission (that is, of reception) into the heavenly societies presents this appearance, and this continuously, in order, from one place to another; and also that heaven can never to eternity be filled, still less is the door shut; but the more there come thither, the more blessed and happy are those who are in heaven; because the harmoniousness is so much the stronger.  After these had been admitted, it appeared as if heaven were shut; for there were a number more who desired to be intromitted (that is, received) next. But they were answered that they could not be received as yet; which is signified by those who came too late, by the door being shut, by their knocking, and by their lacking oil in their lamps. Their not being admitted was because they were not yet prepared to be capable of being among the angelic societies, where there is mutual love, for, as before said (n. 2119 at the end), they who in this world have lived in charity toward the neighbor are by degrees raised into heaven by the Lord.  There were also other spirits who were ignorant of what heaven is, that it is mutual love, who also desired to be then admitted, supposing that admission is everything; but they were answered that it was not yet their time, but that they would be admitted at another time, when they were ready. The reason that the societies appeared to be twelve, was that by "twelve" are signified all things of the faith, as before said (n. 2129 at the end).2131.
Individuals who are being intromitted are received by the angelic societies with inmost charity and its joy, and all love and friendship are shown them. But when they do not willingly desire to be in the societies to which they first come, they are received by other societies, and this successively until they come to that society with which they are in agreement, in accordance with the life of mutual love which they have; and they remain there until the time when they go forth still more perfect, and are then elevated and exalted thereby into greater happiness-and this from the Lord's mercy, in accordance with the life of love and charity which they had received in the world. But the transference from one society into another never takes place by their being rejected by the society where they are, but by a certain willingness in themselves, in accordance with a longing that is insinuated into them by the Lord; and because it takes place in accordance with their longings, there is nothing that is not done from freedom.2132.
As to its being said in the Word that there entered also one who was not clothed in a wedding garment (Matt. 22:11-13), and that he was cast out, it was shown how the case is with this also. There are some persons who during their bodily life have been imbued with the deceit of being able to feign themselves angels of light; and in the other life, when in this hypocritical state, they are also able to insinuate themselves into the nearest heavenly societies. But they do not remain there long, for the moment they perceive the sphere of mutual love there, they are seized with fear and horror, and cast themselves down (and it then appears in the world of spirits as if they had been cast down), some toward the lake, some toward Gehenna, and some into some other hell.2133.
Of the Lord's Divine mercy heaven has on two or three occasions been so far opened to me that I have heard a general glorification of the Lord, which is of such a nature that a number of societies glorified the Lord together and with one mind, and yet each society did so by itself, with distinct affections and the derivative ideas. It was a heavenly voice, heard far and wide, to an extent so immense that the hearing failed to reach its end (as fails the sight when it beholds the universe), and this was attended with inmost joy and inmost happiness. A glorification of the Lord has also been sometimes perceived like an irradiation flowing down and affecting the interiors of the mind. This glorification takes place when the angels are in a state of tranquillity and peace, for it then flows from their inmost joys, and from their happinesses themselves.2134.
At the end of the following chapter the state of little children in the other life will of the Lord's Divine mercy be treated of.2135.
PREFACE TO THE 18th CHAPTER. At the end of the preceding chapter, the subject of the Last Judgment was treated of, and it was shown what is signified thereby, namely, not the destruction of the world, but the last time of the church. When this is at hand, the Lord says that He "will come in the clouds of the heavens, with power and glory" (Matt. 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27). Hitherto no one has known what is meant by the "clouds of the heavens." But it has been disclosed to me that nothing else is meant than the literal sense of the Word; and by "power and glory" the internal sense of the Word, for in the internal sense of the Word there is glory, since whatever is there is concerning the Lord and His kingdom (see in volume 1, n. 1769-1772).  Similar is the signification of the "cloud" which encompassed Peter, James, and John, when the Lord appeared to them in glory; of which it is said in Luke: A voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him; but when the voice had passed, Jesus was found alone (Luke 9:35-36), where by "Moses and Elias," who spoke with the Lord, was represented the Word of the Old Testament, which is also called "Moses and the Prophets" (by "Moses," his books together with the other historical books, and by "Elias" the prophet, all the books of the Prophets); but by "Peter, James, and John," as in all other places where they are named in the books of the Evangelists, were represented faith, charity, and the good of charity. That they only were present signifies that no others can see the glory of the Lord, which is in His Word than those who are in faith, in its charity, and in the good of charity. Others are indeed able to see, but still do not see, because they do not believe. This is the internal sense in regard to the foregoing two passages; and in various places in the Prophets also, a "cloud" signifies the Word in its letter, and "glory" the Word in its life.  The nature and quality of the internal sense of the Word has already been frequently stated, and has been shown in the explication word by word. It was those skilled in the Law in the Lord's time who least of all believed that there was anything written in the Word concerning the Lord. At the present day, those skilled in the Law know indeed, but it may be that they will believe least of all that there is any other glory in the Word than that which appears in the letter; when yet this is the cloud in which is the glory. CHAPTER 18. From this chapter we may see, in an especial manner, what is the nature of the internal sense of the Word, and how the angels perceive it when it is being read by man. From the historical sense of the letter we can understand nothing else than that Jehovah appeared to Abraham under the form of three men; and that Sarah, Abraham, and his lad prepared food for them, namely, cakes made of the meal of fine flour, a "son of an ox," and also butter and milk; which things, though they are true historicals describing what really took place, are still not so perceived by the angels; but the things which they represent and signify are what are perceived, altogether abstractedly from the letter, in accordance with the explication given in the CONTENTS. Thus, instead of the things historically related in this chapter, the angels perceive the state of the Lord's perception in the Human, and the communication with the Divine at that time, before the perfect union of His Divine Essence with the Human Essence, and of the Human Essence with the Divine Essence, which state is also that concerning which the Lord thus speaks: No one hath seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath set Him forth (John 1:18).  And by the various kinds of food here mentioned, the angels perceive nothing but celestial and spiritual goods, concerning which see the explication. Moreover by what is afterwards said concerning the son that Sarah should bear at the set time of another year, they perceive nothing else than that the Lord's human rational should be made Divine. Lastly, by the things which Abraham spoke with Jehovah concerning the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, the angels perceive nothing else than the Lord's intercession for the human race; and by five, forty-five, forty, thirty, twenty, and ten, they perceive His intercession for those with whom truths should be adjoined to goods, and who should have goods by means of temptations and combats, or by means of other states. So it is with all other things in the Word, as may be more clearly seen from the explication word by word, where it is shown that in each word similar things are involved in the Word, both Historic and Prophetic.  That there is such an internal sense everywhere in the Word, which treats solely of the Lord, of His kingdom in the heavens, of His church on earth and in particular with every man, thus treating of the goods of love and truths of faith, may also be seen by every one from the passages cited by the Evangelists from the Old Testament. As in Matthew: The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on My right hand, until I made thine enemies thy footstool (Matt. 22:44; compare Ps. 110:1). That these words treat of the Lord, cannot be apparent in the literal sense of the passage cited, as found in David; but yet that no other than the Lord is meant, He Himself here teaches in Matthew.  Again: Thou Bethlehem, the land of Judah, art in no wise least among the leaders of Judah; for out of thee shall come forth a Leader, who shall feed My people Israel (Matt. 2:6; compare Micah 5:2). They who abide in the literal sense, as do the Jews, know indeed from this passage that the Lord should be born there; but as they are expecting a leader and a king who will bring them back into the land of Canaan, they therefore explain the words found here according to the letter; that is, by the "land of Judah" they understand the land of Canaan; by "Israel" they understand Israel, although they know not where Israel now is; and by a "Leader" they still understand their Messiah; when yet other things are meant by "Judah" and "Israel;" namely, by "Judah" those who are celestial, by "Israel," those who are spiritual, in heaven and on earth; and by the "Leader" the Lord.  Again in the same: A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, a cry, and great wailing; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted, because they are not (Matt. 2:18; compare Jer. 31:15). They who abide in the literal sense of these words cannot possibly gather from it what is the internal sense; and yet that there is an internal sense is evident in the Evangelist. Again: Out of Egypt have I called My Son (Matt. 2:15; compare Hos. 11:1). In Hosea it is said: When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt. They called them, so they went from their faces, and I made Ephraim to go (Hos. 11:1-3). They who know not that there is an internal sense, cannot know otherwise than that Jacob is here meant when he entered into Egypt, and his posterity when they went out from it, and that by Ephraim is meant the tribe of Ephraim, thus the same things that are in the historicals of the Word nevertheless it is evident from the Word of the Evangelist that they signify the Lord. But what the several particulars signify could not possibly be known unless it were disclosed by means of the internal sense. GENESIS 18 1. And Jehovah appeared unto him in the oak-groves of Mamre, and he was sitting at the door of the tent, as the day was growing hot. 2. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold three men standing over him; and he saw, and ran to meet them from the door of the tent, and bowed himself toward the earth. 3. And he said, My Lord, if I pray I have found grace in thine eyes, pass not I pray from over thy servant. 4. Let I pray a little water be taken, and wash ye your feet, and lie down under the tree. 5. And I will take a piece of bread, and support ye your heart; afterwards ye may pass on; for therefore have ye passed over unto your servant. And they said, So do as thou hast spoken. 6. And Abraham hastened toward the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of meal of fine flour, knead, and make cakes. 7. And Abraham ran unto the herd and took a son of an ox, tender and good, and gave it to the lad, and he hasted to make it. 8. And he took butter and milk, and the son of an ox that he had made, and set before them; and he stood before them under the tree, and they did eat. 9. And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold in the tent. 10. And he said, Returning I will return unto thee about this time of life, and behold Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard at the door of the tent, and it was behind him. 11. And Abraham and Sarah were old, entering into days; it had ceased to be with Sarah in the way as of women. 12. And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am grown old shall I have pleasure? and my lord old? 13. And Jehovah said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I indeed truly bear, and I am become old? 14. Shall anything be wonderful for Jehovah? At the set time I will return unto thee, about this time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15. And Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And He said, Nay, for thou didst laugh. 16. And the men rose up thence, and looked toward the faces of Sodom; and Abraham went with them, to send them away. 17. And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do? 18. And Abraham shall surely be for a nation great and numerous, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him. 19. For I know him, because he will command his sons, and his house after him, and they will keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and judgment; that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken concerning him. 20. And Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah has become great, and because their sin has become very grievous. 21. I will go down I pray, and I will see whether they have made a consummation according to the cry thereof which is come unto Me, and if not I will know. 22. And the men looked forth thence, and went toward Sodom; and Abraham as yet he was standing before Jehovah. 23. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24. Peradventure there be fifty righteous in the midst of the city; wilt Thou also destroy and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous that are in the midst of it? 25. Be it far from Thee to do according to this thing, to cause the righteous to die with the wicked, so that the righteous be as the wicked; be it far from Thee; shall not the Judge of all the earth do judgment? 26. And Jehovah said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous in the midst of the city, I will spare all the place for their sake. 27. And Abraham answered and said, Behold I pray I have taken upon me to speak unto my Lord, and I am dust and ashes. 28. Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous; wilt Thou destroy all the city for five? and He said, I will not destroy it, if I find there forty and five. 29. And he added yet to speak unto Him, and said, Peradventure forty shall be found there; and He said, I will not do it for forty's sake. 30. And he said, Oh let not my Lord be angry, and I will speak: peradventure thirty shall be found there; and He said, I will not do it if I find thirty there. 31. And he said, Behold I pray I have taken upon me to speak unto my Lord: peradventure twenty shall be found there; and He said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. 32. And he said, Oh let not my Lord be angry, and I will speak but this once: peradventure ten shall be found there; and He said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. 33. And Jehovah went when He had completed His speaking unto Abraham; and Abraham returned unto his place.2136.
THE CONTENTS. In the first place, this chapter treats concerning the Lord's state of perception in the Human and concerning the communication with the Divine at that time, before the perfect union of His Human Essence with the Divine Essence, which state is also that in regard to which the Lord says, "No one hath seen God at any time, the Only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father" (John 1:18).2137.
The Lord's state of perception in the Human at that time is signified by the "oak-groves of Mamre" (verse 1); and that in this state He perceived the Divine which was manifesting itself before His Human (verse 2); at which He rejoiced (verse 3); and desired that the Divine should draw nearer to His Human by putting on something natural (verse 4), and His Human nearer to the Divine by putting on the celestial (verse 5). The celestial and the derivative spiritual, which He put on, are signified by the "three measures of meal of fine flour" of which the cakes were made (verse 6); and that He also put on a conforming natural, is signified by the "son of an ox" (verse 7); the result being conformation, and a communication of the Divine with the Human, and of the Human with the Divine (verse 8).2138.
In the second place, this chapter treats concerning the Lord's perception in that state respecting the rational with Him, in that it would put off the Human, and be made Divine.2139.
That the rational would be made Divine, is signified by the "son" whom Sarah was to bear (verse 10). That the human rational truth that was with the Lord did not perceive this, and thus did not believe it, is signified by Sarah's "laughing" at the door of the tent that was behind him (verses 10-13, 15). It is confirmed that the Lord would put off this also, and would put on in its place truth Divine (verse 14).2140.
In the third place, the chapter treats concerning the Lord's grief and anxiety over the human race, because men were so greatly imbued with the love of self, and from this with the cupidity of exercising command over others from what is evil and false, for whom in that state He interceded, and obtained that those should be saved with whom there should be goods and truths; and who these are, is recounted in order.2141.
The Lord's perception concerning the human race, that it was in evil and falsity, "Sodom" being the love of self and the derivative cupidity of exercising command from what is evil, and "Gomorrah" being the same from what is false (verses 16, 20). That this could not be concealed from the Lord in that state, because by Him and from Him is all salvation (verses 17-19); that is to say, they were to be visited when their wickedness reached its height (verses 20-21). That when He was in this perception (verse 22), He interceded for them; first for those with whom there should be truths, and these truths full of goods, who are signified by the "fifty" (verses 23-26); also for those with whom there should be less of good, but this good nevertheless conjoined with truths, who are signified by the "forty-five" (verses 27-28); next for those who have been in temptations, who are signified by the "forty" (verse 29); as likewise for those who have been in some combats against evils, who are signified by the "thirty" (verse 30); afterwards for those with whom there should be states of the affection of good from any other source, who are signified by the "twenty" (verse 31); lastly for those with whom there should be states of the affection of truth, who are signified by the "ten" (verse 32); and the constant answer was that they should be saved (verses 26, 28-32). These things being accomplished, the Lord returned into His former state of perception (verse 33). These are the arcana contained in the internal sense of this chapter, which are not manifest from the letter.2142.
THE INTERNAL SENSE Verse l. And Jehovah appeared unto him in the oak groves of Mamre, and he was sitting at the door of the tent, as the day was growing hot. "Jehovah appeared unto him," signifies the Lord's perception; "in the oak-groves of Mamre," signifies the quality of the perception; "he was sitting at the door of the tent," signifies the holiness which at that time appertained to Him; "as the day was growing hot," signifies from love.2143.
Jehovah appeared unto him. That this signifies the Lord's perception, may be seen from the fact that the historicals of the Word are merely representative, and the words therein significative, of those things which are in the internal sense. In the internal sense of the passage before us the subject treated of is the Lord and His perception, which perception was represented by the appearing to Abraham of Jehovah; for such is the representative nature in the historicals of the Word of every appearing, of every discourse, and of every deed. But what they represent does not appear unless the historicals are attended to simply as objects, like those of sight, from which there is given the occasion and the opportunity for thinking about things more lofty; for instance, from gardens, as we behold them, for thinking about fruits, their uses, and also the derivative delight of life, and, still more loftily, about paradisal or heavenly happiness. When such things are thought of, the several objects of the garden are indeed seen, but so slightly that they are not attended to. The case is the very same with the historicals of the Word, for when the celestial and spiritual things that are in the internal sense of these historicals are thought of, these, together with the words themselves, are attended to just as little.2144.
In the oak-groves of Mamre. That this signifies the quality of the perception, is evident from the representation and signification of "oak-groves," and also from the representation and signification of "Mamre." What "oak-groves" represented and signified in general was shown in volume 1 (n. 1442-1443); and what "the oak-groves of Mamre" represented and signified specifically (n. 1616), namely, perceptions, but such as are human from memory-knowledges [scientific], and from the first rational things thence derived.  What perception is, is at this day utterly unknown, because at this day no one has perception like that of the ancients, especially like that of the most ancients; for these latter knew from perception whether a thing was good, and consequently whether it was true. There was an influx into their rational from the Lord through heaven, whereby, when they thought about any holy thing, they instantly perceived whether it was so, or was not so. Such perception afterwards perished with man, when he began to be no longer in heavenly ideas, but solely in worldly and corporeal ones; and in place of it there succeeded conscience, which also is a kind of perception; for to act contrary to conscience and according to conscience is nothing else than to perceive from it whether a thing is so or is not so, or whether it is to be done.  But the perception of conscience is not from good that flows in, but it is from the truth that from infancy has been implanted in the rational of men in accordance with the holy of their worship, and which has afterwards been confirmed, for this alone do they in such case believe to be good. Hence it is that conscience is a kind of perception, but from such truth; and when charity and innocence are insinuated into this truth by the Lord, there comes into existence the good of this conscience. From these few observations we can see what perception is. But between perception and conscience there is much difference. (See what is said about perception in volume 1, n. 104, 125, 371, 483, 495, 503, 521, 536, 597, 607, 784, 865, 895, 1121, 1616; about the perception of spirits and angels, n. 202-203, 1008, 1383-1384, 1390-1392, 1394, 1397, 1504; and that the learned do not know what perception is, n. 1387.)  As regards the Lord when He lived in the world, all His thought was from Divine perception, because He alone was a Divine and Celestial Man; for He was the only one in whom was Jehovah Himself, from whom was His perception (as to which see also in volume 1, n. 1616, 1791). His perceptions were more and more interior in proportion as He approached more nearly to union with Jehovah. Of what quality His perception was at the time here treated of, may be seen from what has been said about the oak-groves of Mamre in volume 1 (n. 1616); and of what quality it became when He perceived the things that are contained in this chapter, is described in what now follows.2145.
He was sitting at the door of the tent. That this signifies the holy which at that time appertained to Him, namely, the holy of love-which is signified by the day growing hot, as explained in what follows-is evident from the signification of a "tent," as being what is holy (see n. 414, 1102, 1566, where also the reason of this signification of "tents" is explained). As the Lord was then in the perception which is signified by the oak-groves of Mamre, which is a lower rational perception, but yet is a perception more internal than that which is signified by the oak-grove of Moreh (concerning which see n. 1442, 1443), it is here represented and therefore signified by His sitting at the door of the tent, that is, at the entrance to what is holy. How the case is with perceptions, as being less or more interior, may be illustrated by the perceptions of the most ancient people, from whom I have heard that the more they were in memory-knowledges from the things which are objects of hearing and sight, the lower were their perceptions; but that the more they were uplifted above them to the celestial things of charity and love, the more interior their perceptions were, because they were then nearer to the Lord.2146.
As the day was growing hot. That this signifies from love, is evident from the signification of "heat," as being in the internal sense love; and since heat belongs either to the day or to the year, love is represented either by the heat of the day or by the heat of the year, according to what is related in the historicals. That "heat" signifies love may be seen from the fact that love is called spiritual heat, and that growing warm is predicated of all affection, even in common speech; and further from the fact that love and its affections, in man's interiors, as also in his exteriors, and even in his very corporeals, make themselves manifest under the guise of heat; in fact heat has no other origin in connection with man when it flows forth from his interiors. Such however as is the love, such is the heat. Celestial love and spiritual love are what give genuine heat. All other heat, namely, that which is from the loves of self and of the world, and also from other filthy loves, is unclean, and in the other life sinks into what is excrementitious (see n. 1773). Be it known moreover that holiness is never predicated except of love and charity; not of faith except insofar as love and charity are in the truths of faith. Except from this the truths of faith are not holy. (See what was said before, n. 2049.)2147.
Verse 2. And he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and behold three men standing over him; and he saw them, and ran to meet them from the door of the tent, and bowed himself toward the earth. "He lifted up his eyes," signifies that He saw within Himself; "and behold three men standing over him," signifies the Divine Itself, the Divine Human, and the Holy proceeding; "and he saw them," signifies when He observed this; "and ran to meet them," signifies that in thought He approached nearer to the things that were being perceived; "from the door of the tent," signifies from the holy which at that time appertained to the Lord; "and bowed himself toward the earth," signifies the effect of humiliation, from the consequent joy.2148.
He lifted up his eyes. That this signifies that the Lord saw within Himself, is evident from the signification of "lifting up the eyes." By "eyes" in the Word is signified the interior sight, or the understanding, as may be seen from the passages cited above (n. 212). Hence to "lift up the eyes" means to see and perceive things which are above self. Things that are interior are expressed in the Word by those which are higher, as "looking upward," "lifting up the eyes to heaven," "thinking high things," the reason of which is that man supposes heaven to be on high, or above himself; when yet it is not on high, but is in things internal-as when a man is in the celestial things of love, his heaven is then within him (see n. 450). From this it follows that to "lift up the eyes" signifies to see within oneself.2149.
Behold three men standing over him. That this signifies the Divine Itself, the Divine Human, and the Holy proceeding, may be seen without explication; for it is known to everyone that there is a Trine, and that this Trine is a One. 2149-1 That it is a One is plainly evident in this chapter, to wit, in verse 3, where it is said, "He said, My Lord, if I pray I have found grace in Thine eyes, pass Thou not, I pray," which words were addressed to the three men. And further, in verse 10, "And he said, Returning I will return unto thee." In verse 13, "And Jehovah said unto Abraham." In verse 15, "He said, Nay, but thou didst laugh." In verse 17, "And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham that which I do?" In verse 19, "Because I have known him." In verse 20, "And Jehovah said." In verse 21, "I will go down, and I will see whether they have made a consummation according to the cry thereof which is come unto Me; and if not, I will know." In verse 23, Abraham said, "Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?" In verse 25, "Be it far from Thee to do according to this thing; be it far from Thee." In verse 26, "And Jehovah said, If I find fifty righteous I will spare the whole place for their sake." In verse 27, "I have taken upon me to speak unto my Lord." In verse 28, "Wilt Thou destroy the whole city for five? And He said, I will not destroy it, if I find there forty and five." In verse 29, "He added yet to speak unto Him; He said, I will not do it for forty's sake." In verse 30, "Let not my Lord be angry; He said, I will not do it if I find thirty there." In verse 31, "He said, I have taken upon me to speak unto my Lord; He said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake." In verse 32, "Let not I pray my Lord be angry; and He said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake." And in verse 33, "And Jehovah went when He had left off speaking to Abraham." From all this it may be seen that by the three men who appeared to Abraham was signified the Divine Itself, the Divine Human, and the Holy proceeding; and that this Trine is in itself a One. In the internal sense the subject here treated of is Jehovah, in that He appeared to the Lord, and that the Lord perceived this; but not by an appearing such as there was to Abraham; for it is historically true that three men were seen by Abraham, but this represents the Divine perception, or the perception from the Divine which the Lord had when in the Human, which perception is treated of in what follows.2150.
And he saw them. That this signifies when the Lord observed this, is evident from the signification of "seeing" in the internal sense, as being to understand and observe, and also to be illuminated (see n. 1584). Nothing is more common in the Word than for "seeing" to have this signification. The signification here is that the Lord observed a perception from the Divine to be present, as just stated.
2121-1 This was first published in 1750.
2149-1 That is, a complex whole which constitutes a unity. [Reviser.]