If the Word Did Not Exist, No One Would Know about God, Heaven, Hell, or Life after Death, Still Less about the Lord: The Fourth Memorable Occurrence

Once from far away I saw paths that lay between rows of trees. Young people were gathered there in discussion groups to talk about topics related to wisdom. (This was in the spiritual world.) I moved in their direction, and when I was close enough I saw that all the others revered one person as most important among them because he excelled the rest in wisdom.

When he saw me, he said, “I was astounded when I saw you coming along on the road, because one moment you would be in view and the next you would disappear. One moment I can see you, and then suddenly I cannot. You are definitely not in the same state of life as we are!”

Tickled by that, I said, “I am not a trickster or a magician, but I do come and go! One moment I am in the light for you, the next moment I am in the shade. In this world I am both a foreigner and a native.”

The sage looked at me and said “What you are saying is strange and amazing. Tell me who you are.”

“I am in the world you used to live in and have now left,” I said, “which is called the earthly or physical world. I am also in the world where you are now, called the spiritual world. As a result I am in an earthly state and a spiritual state at the same time. I am in an earthly state with people on earth and in a spiritual state with all of you. When I am in an earthly state, you do not see me. When I am in a spiritual state, you do see me. This circumstance of mine is a gift from the Lord.

“As an enlightened man, you know that people in the earthly world do not see people in the spiritual world or the reverse. Therefore when I put my spirit in my body, you do not see me, but when I take it out of my body, you do see me. This happens because of the difference between what is spiritual and what is earthly.”

When he heard me mention the difference between what is spiritual and what is earthly, he asked, “What is the difference? Isn’t it like the difference between something more pure and something less pure? What is something spiritual then, except something earthly that is just more pure?”

“That is not the nature of the difference,” I replied. “No matter how subtle something earthly becomes, it will never get close to becoming something spiritual. The difference is like the difference between something on a prior level and something on a subsequent level–there is no finite ratio between them. The prior level is present in the subsequent level the way a cause is present in an effect; and something on a subsequent level is the result of something on a prior level the way an effect is the result of a cause. This is why the one does not appear to the other.”

The wise person’s response to that was, “I have meditated a great deal on this difference, but so far without results. I wish I could learn about the difference!”

I said, “Not only are you going to learn about the difference between what is spiritual and what is earthly; you will even see it for yourself.”

Then I said, “You are in a spiritual state when you are with your people, but in an earthly state when you are with me. You talk to your people in a spiritual language that is shared by every spirit and angel, but you talk to me in my own vernacular. When any spirits or angels communicate with a person, they speak the person’s language. With a French person, they speak French. With a Greek, they speak Greek. With an Arab they speak Arabic, and so on.

from True Christianity, Section 280 (will be continued next two days)

If the Word Did Not Exist, No One Would Know about God, Heaven, Hell, or Life after Death, Still Less about the Lord: The Second Memorable Occurrence

Once a sheet of paper was sent down to me from heaven that was full of writing in Hebrew lettering, but written in the way the ancients used to write. Letters that today are largely straight were curved then and had little horns or tips that turned upward. Angels who were with me at the time said they knew whole meanings just from the letters. They derived these meanings especially from the curvature of the lines and of the tips of the letters. They explained what these meant individually and in combination. They said that the letter “h,” which was added to both Abram and Sarai’s names, meant infinity and eternity. They also explained to me the meaning of Psalm 32:2 in the Word on this basis of the letters alone. Taken all together the meaning of the letters was that the Lord is also compassionate to those who do evil.

The angels told me that the writing in the third heaven consists of letters that are bent and curved in various ways, each of which contains some meaning. The vowels in that writing indicate sounds that correspond to different feelings of love. Angels in that heaven cannot pronounce the vowel sounds of “i” and “e,” so instead they use “y” and “eu.” They do use the vowel sounds “a,” ‘o,” and “u” since these give a full sound. There are some consonantal letters that these angels pronounce as soft rather than hard. This is why some Hebrew letters have a dot inside them as a sign to pronounce them as [hard, and no dot as a sign to pronounce them as] soft. They said that pronouncing these letters as hard was practiced in the spiritual heaven because the angels there focus on truths and truth allows for hardness. The goodness among angels in the Lord’s heavenly kingdom (the third heaven) does not allow for hardness. The angels [with me] said that the written Word they have also has curved letters with meaningful horns and tips.

All this makes it clear what these sayings of the Lord’s mean: “Not one little letter or the tip of one letter will pass from the law until all of it is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18); and “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the tip of one letter of the law to fall” (Luke 16:17).

from True Christianity, Section 278

If the Word Did Not Exist, No One Would Know about God, Heaven, Hell, or Life after Death, Still Less about the Lord: The First Memorable Occurrence

One day in the spirit I was touring various sites in the spiritual world for the purpose of observing the symbolic depictions of heavenly things that are on display in many locations there. In one home where there were angels I saw two large purses in which was concealed a significant quantity of silver. Because these money bags had been opened I was aware that anyone could take out the silver that had been deposited in them and even make off with it: however, there were two young men sitting next to the money bags as guards. The place where the bags had been deposited looked like a manager in a stable. In the next room, I noticed some modest young women and a faithful wife. Two little children were standing just outside that room. I was told not to play in a childish way with them but to treat them wisely. Afterward a whore appeared, and a horse that was lying dead.

After I had seen these displays, I was told that what I had seen represented the Word’s earthly meaning with its spiritual meaning inside it. The large purses full of silver meant true concepts tremendous quantities. The fact that the bags had been opened but were guarded by young men meant that any of us can get true concepts from the Word, but we have to be careful to avoid violating the spiritual meaning, which contains truths and nothing else. The manager in a kind of stable meant spiritual nourishment for the intellect. Managers have this meaning because the horses that eat from them mean the intellect. The modest young women seen in the next room meant different kinds of love for the truth, and the faithful wife meant the union of goodness and truth. The little children meant a wise kind of innocence–the angels of the highest heaven, who are the wisest angels, look like little children from a distance because of their innocence. The whore and the dead horse meant that many people are falsifying the truth nowadays, causing the loss of all understanding of truth. A whore means falsification, and a dead horse means no understanding of the truth.

from True Christianity, Section 277

If the Word Did Not Exist, No One Would Know about God, Heaven, Hell, or Life after Death, Still Less about the Lord (Continued)

People who think their own intelligence could develop concepts of God, heaven and hell, and the spiritual things that the church teaches do not realize that our earthly self is intrinsically opposed to our spiritual self. Our earthly self tries either to uproot any spiritual things that come in or else to cover them in false concepts that are like grubs that devour the roots of vegetables and grains.

People like this could be compared to people who dream that they are sitting on eagles and soaring on high, or sitting on Pegasuses and flying over Mount Parnassus toward Mount Helicon, while they are actually like Lucifers in hell who nevertheless still call themselves children of the Dawn (Isaiah 14:12)

They are like the prople of the valley in the land of Shinar who set out to build a tower whose top would reach to heaven (Genesis 11:2, 4). They are as confident in themselves as Goliath, not foreseeing that they could be laid out, as he was, by a single stone driven by a sling into their forehead.

I should say what outcome awaits them after death. They first become like drunks, then silly, and finally brainless, and they sit in the dark. Be wary therefore of insanity like this.

from True Christianity, Section 276

If the Word Did Not Exist, No One Would Know about God, Heaven, Hell, or Life after Death, Still Less about the Lord (Continued)

Since the earliest times, religion has existed and the inhabitants of our planet have known about God and something about life after death. People did not receive this knowledge from themselves or their own intelligence; they receive it from the ancient Word discussed above (Sections 264-266). Later on people received this knowledge from the Israelite Word. From these two Words, religious concepts spread to the Indies and their islands; through Egypt and Ethiopia into the countries of Africa; and from the coastal regions of the Middle East into Greece and from there into Italy.

Because that Word could be written only in language that was highly symbolic, using things in the world that correspond to and therefore stand for things in heaven, the nations eventually turned its religious concepts into idolatrous concepts–in Greece into myths–and turned divine attributes and characteristics into as many gods. Over these gods they placed a supreme god whom they called Jove, perhaps from Jehovah.

It is generally known that they had a concept of paradise, a flood, sacred fire, and four ages–starting golden age and ending with the iron age, as recorded in Daniel 2:31-35.

from True Christianity, Section 275


Sections 264-266: Published 9/14/2020-9/16/2020

If the Word Did Not Exist, No One Would Know about God, Heaven, Hell, or Life after Death, Still Less about the Lord (Continued)

I have been given the opportunity to see people born on islands who were reasonable about civic issues but knew nothing at all about God. In the spiritual world they look like baboons. Because they have been born human and therefore have a capacity for receiving spiritual life, they are taught by angels and are brought to life by concepts of the Lord as a human being.

What human beings are like when left to themselves becomes obvious from the people who are in hell. Some such people are scholars and leaders of the church who do not want even to hear about God; they certainly cannot mention God themselves. I have seen people like this and have talked to them. I have also talked to people who would explode with rage and anger when they heard anyone talk about the Lord.

On this basis, then, consider what people would be like if they had never heard about God, when this is what some people are like even though they have spoken about God, written about God, and preached about God.

People are like this because of their wills, which are evil. Their wills as I said before, control their intellects and take away the truth that is in them from the Word.

If people had the capability of knowing on their own that there is a God and a life after death, why would they not know that we live on as people after death? Why would they believe that our soul or spirit is like wind or ether? Why would they imagine the spirit to be something that has no eyes to see with, no ears to hear with, no mouth to speak with–at least not before it rejoins its corpse and skeleton?

Imagine a body of teaching that was hatched solely by the light of our own reason. Would it not teach that the people object of worship ought to be we ourselves? This has in fact been taught for centuries and is still being taught now by people who know from the Word that God alone is to be worshiped. No other from of worship generated by us is possible–not even worship of the sun or the moon.

from True Christianity, Section 274

If the Word Did Not Exist, No One Would Know about God, Heaven, Hell, or Life after Death, Still Less about the Lord

There are people who put forward the idea (something they have become inwardly adamant about) that without the Word people would still know of the existence of God and of heaven and hell, as well as the other things the Word teaches about. You cannot deal with such people on this basis of the Word; you have to use the earthly light of reason, because they believe in themselves, not the Word.

Investigate by using the light of your reason and you will find that there are two faculties of life in us. They are called the intellect and the will. The intellect is subject to the will, but the will is not subject to the intellect. The intellect only teaches and points out what we should be wanting and doing. As a result, many people have sharp minds and understand life’s morality better than others, and yet do not live by it. Things would be different if these people wanted to be moral. Investigate further and you will find that we identify with our will. From the day we are born, our will is evil, and that produces falsity in our intellect.

When you have found this out, you will see another thing: left on our own, we do not want to understand anything that does not come from the self that we experience in our own will. And if there were no other source of knowledge, we would have no desire to understand anything unrelated to ourselves or our world; everything beyond our world would be in pitch darkness. For example, when we saw the sun, the moon and the stars, if we happened to think about their origin, we could not help thinking they originated from us. This thinking is no deeper than that of scholars in our world who acknowledge the existence of nature alone even though they know from the Word that all things were created by God. What would they be thinking if they had known nothing from the Word?

Did the classical philosophers such as Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca, and the others, who wrote about God and immortality of the soul, originally derive those concept from their own intellects? No, they derived them from others who passed them on from still others who first learned them from the ancient Word that we mentioned earlier [Sections 264-266]. The writers of natural theology, too, derive none of this type of thought from themselves; they merely use their rationality to establish concepts they learned from their church, which has the Word. There may even be some among them who defend spiritual concepts and yet do not believe them themselves.

from True Christianity, Section 273


Sections 264-266: Published 9/14/2020-9/16/2020

Because of the Word, Even People Who Are outside the Church and Who Do Not Have the Word Have Light (Continued)

An abundance of experience has taught me that human beings have a communication with heaven through the Word. When I read the Word through from the first chapter in Isaiah to the last chapter Malachi and the Psalms of David, and I kept thinking about their spiritual meaning, I was given a clear perception that every verse communicates with some in community in heaven, and therefore the whole Word communicates with the entirety of heaven. This made it clear to me that as the Lord is the Word, heaven is also the Word, since heaven is heaven from the Lord, and by means of the Word the Lord is everything to all heaven.

from True Christianity, Section 272

Because of the Word, Even People Who Are outside the Church and Who Do Not Have the Word Have Light (Continued)

It has been predicted that at the end of this church darkness will arise again through ignorance that the Lord is the God of heaven and earth and through separation of faith from goodwill. Therefore to prevent the loss of a genuine understanding of the Word and a consequent loss of the church, the Lord has now chosen to reveal the spiritual meaning of the Word. He has chosen to reveal the fact that in this meaning, and from it in the earthly meaning, the Word contains countless things for restoring the church’s light of truth, which has almost gone out.

Many passages in the Book of Revelation predict that at the end of this church the light of truth will almost go out. This is also the meaning of the following words of the Lord:

Immediately after the affliction of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Humankind coming in the clouds of heaven with glory and power. (Matthew 24:29-30)

“The sun” here means love for the Lord, “the moon” means faith in the Lord, and “the stars” mean concepts of what is good and true. “The Son of humankind” means the Lord in his role as the Word. “The cloud” means the Word’s literal meaning, and “the glory” means the Word’s spiritual meaning and the way it shines through the literal meaning. “The powers” mean the Word’s power.

from True Christianity, Section 271

Because of the Word, Even People Who Are outside the Church and Who Do Not Have the Word Have Light (Continued)

You can see then that the Word that exists among Protestants and the Reformed enlightens all nations and peoples through a spiritual communication. You can also see that the Lord ensures that there is always a church on earth where the Word is being read and the Lord is becoming known through it. When the Word was virtually rejected by Catholics, in the Lord’s divine providence the Reformation took place. As a result, the Word was taken from its hiding place, so to speak, and put to use. In fact, when the Word among the Jewish nation had been thoroughly falsified and contaminated, and more or less ceased to be the Word, then the Lord chose to come down from heaven, become the Word, and fulfill it. By doing this he put the Word back together and restored it, giving light once again to the inhabitants of our world, as the Lord himself says in this word: “The people sitting in darkness have seen a great light; on the people sitting in the realm and shadow of death the light has dawned (Isaiah 9:2; Matthew 4:16)

from True Christianity, Section 270