Apocalypse Explained (Tansley) n. 726

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726. Who is to tend (pascere) all nations with a rod of iron.- That this signifies that this doctrine by the power of natural from spiritual truth will refute and convict those who are in falsities and evils, and yet are in the church in which is the Word, is evident from the signification of tending, as denoting to teach (concerning which see above n. 482), but in this case to refute and convict, because it is said that he is to tend them with a rod of iron; from the signification of all nations, as denoting those who are in falsities and evils (concerning which see above n. 175, 331, 625); and from the signification of a rod of iron, as denoting the power of natural from spiritual truth, for a rod or staff signifies power, and is predicated of spiritual Divine Truth, and iron signifies truth in the natural man. The power of the truth of the natural from the spiritual man is signified by the rod of iron, because all the power belonging to truths in the natural man is from the influx of truth and good from the spiritual man, that is, from the influx of Divine Truth from the Lord through the spiritual into the natural man; for the Lord alone has power, and He exercises it through the Divine Truth which proceeds from Him.

But in order that these things may be seen more clearly, it must be shown:- (I.) That the Lord possesses infinite power. (II.) That the Lord possesses this power from Himself by means of His Divine Truth. (III.) That all power coexists in ultimates, and that therefore the Lord possesses infinite power from primaries by means of ultimates. (IV.) That so far as angels and men are recipients of Divine Truth from the Lord, so far they are powers. (V.) That power resides in the truths of the natural man so far as he receives influx from the Lord through the spiritual man. (VI.) That the truths of the natural man have nothing of power, without that influx.

[2] (I.) The Lord possesses infinite power.- This is evident from the fact that He is the God of heaven and the God of earth; that He has created the universe, so full of stars - which are suns that they cannot be numbered, and in it so many systems, and earths in these systems, which systems and the earths in them exceed in number many hundreds of thousands; and that He alone continually preserves and sustains the same, because He created them. Moreover, He has created not only natural worlds, but also spiritual worlds above them, and these He perpetually fills with angels and spirits to the number of myriads of myriads, and under them He has placed the hells, which are also as many in number as the heavens. And He alone gives life to everything, both collectively and individually, both in the worlds of nature and in the worlds above nature; and because He alone gives life, no angel, spirit, or man, has the power to move hand or foot, except from Him. The nature of the Lord's infinite power is especially evident from this, that all those who come from such a multitude of earths into the spiritual worlds, numbering from our earth alone several myriads every week, and consequently as many myriads from many thousands of earths in the universe, He alone receives, and by a thousand secret ways of Divine Wisdom leads every one to the place of his life, the faithful to their places in the heavens, and the unfaithful to their places in the hells. And again He rules the thoughts, intentions, and wills of all, wherever they may be, both particularly and universally, and causes each and all in the heavens to enjoy their own happiness, and each and all in the hells to be retained in their bonds, in such a way that not one of them ventures to lift a hand, much less to rise up, and do harm to any angel. Also all are thus kept in order, and in bonds, to eternity, howsoever the heavens and the hells may be multiplied. These and many other things too numerous to mention could not possibly exist if the Lord did not possess infinite power. That the Lord alone rules all things, He Himself teaches in Matthew:

"All power is given to me in heaven and on earth" (xxviii. 18); and He said that "he is the life" (John v. 26; xi. 25, 26; xiv. 6).

[3] (II.) The Lord possesses infinite power from Himself by means of His Divine Truth.- The reason of this is, that the Divine Truth is the proceeding Divine, and from the Divine which proceeds from the Lord, all those things that have been referred to above concerning His infinite power are effected. Divine Truth considered in itself is the Divine Wisdom, which extends itself in every direction, like the light and heat from the sun in our world. For in the spiritual world, where angels and spirits are, the Lord appears as a sun, from Divine Love; all that proceeds from that sun is called Divine Truth; and that which proceeds also produces, and also that which proceeds is Himself, because it is from Him, therefore the Lord in the heavens is Divine Truth. But in order that it may be known that the Lord does possess infinite power by means of Divine Truth, something shall be said concerning its essence and existence. This can be comprehended from the natural man and his light (lumen) only by means of such things as proceed from the sun of the world, from which and by means of which it possesses all power in its own system, and in the earths which enjoy its heat and light. From the sun of our system, as from their fountain, went forth (exiverunt) auras and atmospheres, which are called ethers and airs. In nearest proximity to the sun therefore is pure ether, at a greater distance from it are ethers less pure, and lastly the airs; but these ethers and airs are around the earths. These ethers and airs when actuated in the total volume (volumatim actae,) produce heat, but when modified in their component parts (singillatim modificatoe) they produce light. Through these the sun exercises all its power, and produces all its effect outside of itself, thus through ethers and airs, through the medium of heat and at the same time through the medium of light.

[4] From these things some idea may be formed of the Lord's infinite power by means of Divine Truth. From Him as the Sun there emanated in a similar manner auras and atmospheres, but spiritual, because from Divine Love, which constitutes that Sun. That there are such atmospheres in the spiritual world, is evident from the respiration of angels and spirits. Those spiritual auras and atmospheres which are nearest to the Lord as the Sun are the purest, but according to the degree in which they are remote from Him, they are less and less pure. Therefore there are three heavens, the inmost heaven in a purer aura, the middle heaven in an aura less pure, and the ultimate heaven in an aura still less pure. When these auras or atmospheres, which are spiritual, because they have come forth (exstiterunt) from the Lord the Sun, are actuated as a whole (communiter) they manifest heat, but when modified separately (singillatim) they manifest light. This heat, which in its essence is love, and this light, which in its essence is wisdom, are called specifically Divine Truth, and taken together with the auras, which are also spiritual, they are called the proceeding Divine. From these then the heavens were created, and worlds also; for all those things which exist in the natural world have been produced from the spiritual world (ex spirituali mundo producta sunt), as effects from their efficient causes. From these things now, the creation of heaven and earth by means of the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord as the sun, which is above the angelic heavens, may be seen as in a natural mirror. It may also in some degree be comprehended, that the Lord possesses infinite power by means of the proceeding Divine, which in general is called Divine Truth. This is also meant by these words in John:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word: all things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made: and the world was made by him" (i. 1, 3, 10).

And in David:

"By the Word of Jehovah were the heavens made (Psalm xxxiii. 6). The Word signifies Divine Truth.

[5] (III.) All power coexists in ultimates, and therefore the Lord possesses infinite power from primaries by means of ultimates. What is meant by ultimates shall first be explained. Primaries are those things which are in the Lord, and which proximately go forth from Him. Ultimates are those things that are most remote from Him, which are in nature, and are the final things therein; these are called ultimates, because spiritual things, which are prior, terminate in them, and subsist and rest upon them as upon their foundations; therefore they are fixed, and are consequently called the ultimates of Divine order. All power is in ultimates because prior things are together in them, for they coexist therein in that order, which is called simultaneous order. For there is a nexus of all things from the Lord Himself through the things belonging to heaven and to the world even to those ultimates; and because prior things, which proceed successively, coexist simultaneously in ultimates, as has been said, it follows that power itself is in ultimates from primaries. But Divine power is power through the proceeding Divine which is called Divine Truth, as shown in the preceding article.

[6] It is for this reason that the human race is related to the heavens as the base to a column, or as a foundation to a palace; consequently, the heavens subsist in order upon those things of the church that are with men in the world, thus upon Divine truths in ultimates, which are such Divine truths as are contained in the sense of the letter of the Word. How great is the force in these truths cannot be described in a few words; they are the ultimates with man into which the Lord flows from Himself, thus from primaries, and rules, and preserves all things in the spiritual world in order and connection.

[7] Now because Divine power itself resides in these ultimates, therefore the Lord Himself came into the world, and became Man, that He might be in ultimates at the same time as in primaries, to the end that He might from primaries by means of ultimates reduce all things that were disorganised into order, namely, all things in the hells, and also in the heavens. This was the reason of the Lord's coming; for at the time immediately before His coming there was no Divine Truth in ultimates with men in the world, and none whatever in the church, which then existed among the Jewish nation, except what was falsified and perverted, and consequently there was no basis for the heavens. Unless therefore the Lord had come into the world, and had thus taken upon Himself an ultimate, the heavens, formed of the inhabitants of this planet (tellus), would have been transferred elsewhere, and the whole human race on the planet would have perished in eternal death. But now the Lord on earth, as in the heavens, is in His fulness, and thus in His Omnipotence, because He is both in ultimates and in primaries. Thus the Lord is able to save all those who are in Divine truths from the Word, and in a life according to them, for He can be present and dwell with such in ultimate truths from the Word, since ultimate truths also are His, and are Himself, because they are from Him, according to His words in John:

"He that hath my commandments, and doeth them, he it is that loveth me; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him (xiv. 21, 23).

[8] (IV.) So far as angels and men are recipients of Divine Truth from the Lord, so far they are powers.- This is evident from what has been said above, namely, that the Lord possesses infinite power, and that He alone by means of His Divine Truth has power; also from this, that angels and also men are nothing else but forms recipient of Divine Truth, for this reason angels, in the Word, signify Divine truths, and are called gods. It therefore follows from this, that according to the extent and nature of their reception of Divine Truth from the Lord, they are powers.

[9] (V.) Power resides in the truths of the natural man, so far as he receives influx from the Lord through the spiritual man.- This follows logically from those things which precede, namely, that Divine Truths in ultimates from primaries possess all power, the natural man being the receptacle of ultimates. But to the natural mind of man there are two ways, one from heaven, the other from the world; the way from heaven leads through the spiritual into the rational mind, and through this into the natural, and the way from the world is through the sensual mind, which is nearest to the world, and clings to the body. From this it is evident that the Lord flows in with Divine Truth into the natural, only through the spiritual man; and so far as the natural man receives influx therefrom, so far power resides therein. By power in it, is meant power against the hells, which is the power of resisting evils and falsities, and of removing them; and so far as these are resisted and removed, so far man comes into angelic power, and also into intelligence, and becomes a son of the kingdom. Concerning the power of the angels, see the work concerning Heaven and Hell (n. 228-233); and concerning their wisdom and intelligence (n. 265-275).

[10] (VI.) The truths of the natural man have nothing of power without that influx.- This also follows as a result of what has been just said. The truths of the natural man, without influx through the spiritual man, have in themselves nothing of the Lord, thus nothing of life; and truths without life are not truths; in fact, viewed interiorly, they are falsities, and falsities have no power whatever, since they are the opposites of truths, to which all power belongs. These things have been here set forth, in order that it may be known what is meant by the power of natural truth from spiritual, which is signified by the rod of iron, with which the male child born of the woman will tend (pascere) all nations.

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