Apocalypse Explained (Tansley) n. 948

Previous Number Next Number Next Translation See Latin 

948. (v. 5) And after these things I saw, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened. That this signifies interior Divine truth in the Word revealed from the Lord, is evident from the signification of temple, as denoting Divine truth from the Lord; see n. 220, 391, 915; and from the signification of the tabernacle of the testimony, as also denoting Divine truth, but interior; for the same is signified by tabernacle as by temple. But when it is said the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony, interior Divine truth is signified, the revelation of which is meant by its being seen opened in heaven. By interior Divine truth revealed, is meant the Word as to the internal sense. For the Word is Divine truth; and the internal or spiritual sense is the interior of it. By the testimony is meant the law deposited in the ark, which was therefore called the ark of the testimony. What the testimony, moreover, signifies in a broad and a strict sense may be seen above (n. 10, 392, 635, 649, 749).

[2] The subject treated of, in what now follows in this chapter, is the Word interiorly revealed, before the church is entirely devastated. For in the chapter following, its full devastation is treated of, which is described by the seven angels having seven vials full of the anger of God, and by their casting them into the earth.

The reason why the Word is interiorly revealed, that is, as to the spiritual sense, before the church is fully devastated is, that a New Church will then be established, into which those who belong to the former church are invited. And interior Divine truth is revealed for the New Church, which could not be revealed before, for reasons to be mentioned in what follows. The case herein is similar to what took place at the end of the Jewish Church; for at its end, which was when the Lord came into the world, the interior Word was opened; for the Lord, when He was in the world, revealed interior Divine truths which were to be serviceable to the New Church to be established by Him, and also were serviceable. At this day also, for similar reasons, the interior Word is opened, and Divine truths still more interior are revealed therefrom for the use of the New Church, which will be called the New Jerusalem.

[3] What was the nature of the Lord's Divine Providence in revealing Divine truths may be seen from the churches successively established. There have been several churches on our earth one after another. There was the Most Ancient, which was before the deluge; there was the Ancient, which was after the deluge; then the Hebrew, and afterwards the Israelitish; after this was the Christian Church, and now commences a New [Church]. Inmost Divine truths were revealed to those who belonged to the Most Ancient Church; but exterior Divine truths to those who belonged to the Ancient Church; and last or ultimate Divine truths to the Hebrew Church, and lastly to the Israelitish, with which at length all Divine truth perished. For at last there was nothing in the Word that was not adulterated. But after its end, interior Divine truths were revealed by the Lord for the Christian Church, and now still more interior truths for the church which is to come. Those interior truths are in the spiritual or internal sense of the Word. From these things it is evident that there has been a progression of Divine truth from things inmost to ultimates, thus from wisdom to mere ignorance; and that now its progression is from ultimates to interiors, thus from ignorance again to wisdom.


[4] Religion with man consists in a life according to the Divine precepts which are summarily contained in the Decalogue. With him who does not live according to them there can be no religion, because he does not fear God, still less does he love Him; nor does he fear man, still less does he love him. Can he who steals, commits adultery, kills, bears false witness fear God or man? Nevertheless, everyone is able to live according to them; and he who is wise does so live, as a civil, a moral man, and a natural man. But he who does not live according to them as a spiritual man cannot be saved. For to live according to them as a spiritual man is to do so for the sake of the Divine in them, whereas to live according to them as a civil man is [to do so] for the sake of what is just, and also to escape the punishments of the world; and to live according to them as a moral man is to do so for the sake of what is honest, and also to avoid the loss of fame and honour. But to live according to them as a natural man is [to do so] for the sake of what is human, and also to avoid the ill report of not being of a sound mind.

All laws, civil, moral, and natural, lay it down that [a man] must not steal, commit adultery, kill, or bear false witness. But still a man is not saved if he shuns those evils from such laws only, unless he also shuns them from spiritual law; that is, shuns them as sins. For with such a man there is religion, and the belief that there is a God, a heaven and a hell, and a life after death. Indeed, also, with such a one there are civil life, moral life, and natural life. Civil life, because there is what is just; moral life, because there is what is honest; and natural life, because there is what is human. But he who does not live according to those precepts as a spiritual man, is neither a civil, a moral, nor a natural man; for he has neither what is just, nor honest, nor indeed what is human, because there is not the Divine in them. For there cannot be any good, which is good in and from itself, except from God; consequently, there cannot be anything just, truly honest, and truly human, in itself and from itself, except from God, and unless the Divine is in it. Consider whether any one in whom is hell, or who is a devil, can do what is just from what is just, or for the sake of what is just; similarly what is honest, or anything truly human. The truly human is what is from order and according to order, and what is from sound reason. And God is Order; and sound reason is from God. In a word, he who does not shun evils as sins is not a man. Every one who makes those precepts essentials of his religion becomes a citizen and inhabitant of heaven; whereas, he who does not so make them, but yet, in externals, lives according to them from natural, moral, and civil law, becomes a citizen and inhabitant of the world, but not of heaven.

[5] Most nations know those precepts, and also make them essentials of their religion, and live according to them, because God so wills and has commanded. By that means they have communication with heaven, and conjunction with God; therefore, also, they are saved. But most of those in the Christian world at this day do not make them essentials of their religion, but of their civil and moral life. They do not, however, externally act fraudulently and make unlawful gains, commit adulteries, openly persecute others from deadly hatred and revenge, nor bear false witness. But they do not refrain from these things because they are sins, and against God, but because they stand in fear of losing their life, their reputation, their function, their business, their possessions, their honour and gain, and their pleasure; wherefore if they were not restrained by those bonds, they would do these things. Because such people have formed for themselves no communication with heaven, nor conjunction with the Lord, but with the world and self only, they cannot be saved. Consider, now, when those external bonds are taken away - as is the case with every man after death - whether, if there were no internal bonds, which are the fear and love of God, thus of religion, to restrain and hold you back, you would not rush, like a devil, into thefts, adulteries, murders, false witnesses, and lusts of every kind, from the love and delight of them. That it is so, I have both seen and heard.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

© 2000-2001 The Academy of the New Church