Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 5662

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5662. 'And he said, Peace to you, do not be afraid' means that all is well, they should not despair. This is clear from the meaning of 'peace' as what is well, dealt with below; and from the meaning of 'do not be afraid' as they should not despair. The subject in the internal sense is a change of state. No longer were they by their own power acquiring truths; now they were acquiring good by means of truths, which however were truths given them by the Lord. But because they imagined that they would then be losing their selfhood, and so would be losing their freedom and consequently their entire delight in life, they were plunged into despair, as is evident from what has gone before. So it is that here 'do not be afraid' means that they should not despair; for fear arises from various different causes, 5647, and therefore has various different meanings.

[2] The reason 'peace' means all is well is that peace is what is central and consequently what reigns universally within every single thing in heaven. For the peace that reigns in heaven is like spring on earth, or like the dawn. What moves a person's feelings when spring or dawn arrives is not the discernible changes that take place then but the loveliness reigning universally, which pervades every individual thing he perceives and fills not only that perception but also each individual object with loveliness. Scarcely anyone at the present day knows what peace is when it is mentioned in the Word, as, besides other places, in the Blessing,

Jehovah lift up His face upon you and give you peace. Num 6:26.

Almost everyone believes that peace consists in being kept safe from enemies and in serenity reigning at home and among companions. That kind of peace is not however what is meant here but another kind that is immensely superior, namely heavenly peace, described immediately above. No one can be granted this peace unless he is led by the Lord and abides in the Lord, that is, unless he is in heaven where the Lord is the All in all. For heavenly peace enters in when the desires that spring from self-love and love of the world are removed; for those desires take peace away, molesting a person inwardly and causing him at length to consider rest to consist in unrest and peace in molestations, because he considers delight to consist in evil desires. All the time a person is subject to these desires he cannot by any means know what peace is; indeed during all that time he believes that such peace is of no worth. And should anyone say that one experiences this peace when the delights that spring from self-love and love of the world are removed he laughs at the idea, for the reason that he considers peace to consist in the delight taken in evil, which is the opposite of peace.

[3] Such being the nature of peace, that is to say, it is what is central to every form of happiness and bliss and is therefore what reigns universally within every individual thing, the ancients therefore used the common saying 'Peace to you', meaning May all be well; or else they would ask people 'Did they have peace?' meaning Was all well with them? See what has been stated and shown already regarding peace,

Peace in heaven is like spring and the dawn on earth, 1726, 2780.

In the highest sense 'peace' is the Lord; in the representative sense it is His kingdom, also the Lord's Divine affecting inmostly what is good, 3780, 4681.

All unrest is due to evil and falsity, whereas peace is due to goodness and truth, 3170.

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