As of the Lord‘s Divine mercy it has been given me to know the internal meaning of the Word, in which are contained deepest arcana that have not before come to any one’s knowledge, nor can come unless the nature of the other life is known (for very many things of the Word‘s internal sense have regard to, describe, and involve those of that life), I am permitted to disclose what I have heard and seen during some years in which it has been granted me to be in the company of spirits and angels. [AC 67]
I am well aware that many will say that no one can possibly speak with spirits and angels so long as he lives in the body; and many will say that it is all fancy, others that I relate such things in order to gain credence, and others will make other objections. But by all this I am not deterred, for I have seen, I have heard, I have felt. [AC 68]
Man was so created by the Lord as to be able while living in the body to speak with spirits and angels, as in fact was done in the most ancient times; for, being a spirit clothed with a body, he is one with them. But because in process of time men so immersed themselves in corporeal and worldly things as to care almost nothing for aught besides, the way was closed. Yet as soon as the corporeal things recede in which man is immersed, the way is again opened, and he is among spirits, and in a common life with them. [AC 69]
As it is permitted me to disclose what for several years I have heard and seen, it shall here be told, first, how the case is with man when he is being resuscitated; or how he enters from the life of the body into the life of eternity. In order that I might know that men live after death, it has been given me to speak and be in company with many who were known to me during their life in the body; and this not merely for a day or a week, but for months, and almost a year, speaking and associating with them just as in this world. They wondered exceedingly that while they lived in the body they were, and that very many others are, in such incredulity as to believe that they will not live after death; when in fact scarcely a day intervenes after the death of the body before they are in the other life; for death is a continuation of life. [AC 70]
THE CONSUMMATION OF THE AGE, THE COMING OF THE LORD,
AND THE NEW HEAVEN AND NEW CHURCH.
THE CONSUMMATION OF THE AGE IS THE LAST TIME OF THE CHURCH OR ITS END.
There have been several churches on this earth, and in the course of time they have all been consummated, and after their consummation new churches have arisen, and so on to the present time. The consummation of the church takes place when there is no Divine truth left except what has been falsified or set aside; and when there is no genuine truth no genuine good is possible, since every quality of good is formed by means of truths; for good is the essence of truth, and truth is the form of good, and without form there can be no quality. Good and truth can no more be separated than will and understanding, or what is the same thing, than love’s affection and the thought therefrom. Consequently when truth is consummated in a church, good is also consummated there; and when this takes place, the church comes to an end, that is, is consummated. [TCR753]
The church is consummated by various means, especially by such things as cause falsity to appear to be truth; and when falsity appears to be truth, good that is essentially good, such as is called spiritual good, is no longer possible. The good that is then believed to be good is merely natural good, such as is brought forth by a moral life. The chief cause of the consummation of truth and of good along with it, is the two natural loves that are diametrically opposed to the two spiritual loves, and that are called love of self and love of the world. Love of self when it is predominant is the opposite of love to God, and love of the world when it is predominant is the opposite of love to the neighbor. Love of self is a wishing well to oneself alone, and not to any other except for the sake of self; and the same is true of love of the world; and these loves when they are fostered spread like gangrene through the body, gradually destroying every part of it. That such love has invaded the churches is manifest from Babylon and the way it is described (Gen. 11:1-9; Isa. 13; 14; 47; Jer. 50; Dan. 2:31-47; 3:1-7 seq.; 5; 6:8-28; 7:1-14; and Rev. 17 and 18 from beginning to end of both). Babylon has finally exalted itself to such a degree as not only to transfer the Lord’s Divine power to itself, but also to strive with the utmost energy to grasp all the riches of the world. That like loves would break forth from many of the leaders of the churches outside the pale of Babylon, if their power were not restricted and thus curbed, may be deduced from certain signs and appearances not altogether without meaning. What then follows but that such a man will regard himself as God and the world as heaven, and will pervert all the truth of the church? For it is impossible for the merely natural man to recognize and acknowledge real truth, which is truth in itself, nor can such truth be given him by God, because it falls into what is inverse to it and becomes falsity. Besides these two loves there are still other causes of the consummation of truth and good, and consequently of the church; but those causes are secondary and subordinate to these two. [TCR754]
THIS SECOND COMING OF THE LORD IS NOT A COMING IN PERSON,
BUT IN THE WORD, WHICH IS FROM HIM, AND IS HIMSELF.
It is written in many places that the Lord will come in the clouds of heaven (as in Matt. 17:5; 24:30; 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 9:34, 35; 21:27; Rev. 1:7; 14:14; Dan. 7:13). And as no one has hitherto known what is meant by “the clouds of heaven,” it has been believed that the Lord would appear in them in Person. Heretofore it has not been known that “the clouds of heaven” mean the Word in the sense of the letter, and that the “glory and power” in which He is then to come (Matt. 24:30), mean the spiritual sense of the Word, because no one as yet has had the least conjecture that there is a spiritual sense in the Word, such as this sense is in itself. But as the Lord has now opened to me the spiritual sense of the Word, and has granted me to be associated with angels and spirits in their world as one of them, it is disclosed that “a cloud of heaven” means the Word in the natural sense, and “glory” the Word in the spiritual sense, and “power” the Lord’s power through the Word. That such is the signification of “the clouds of heaven” may be seen from the following passages in the Word:
There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun who rideth in the heaven, and in magnificence upon the clouds (Deut. 33:26-27).
Sing unto God, praise His name; extol Him that rideth upon the clouds (Ps. 68:4).
Jehovah rideth upon a light cloud (Isa. 19:1).
 “To ride” signifies to instruct in Divine truths from the Word, for “a horse” signifies understanding of the Word (see Apocalypse Revealed, n. 298). Who does not see that God does not ride upon the clouds?
God rode upon cherubs. He made His pavilion thick clouds of the heavens (Ps. 18:10, 11).
“Cherubs” also signify the Word (see Apocalypse Revealed, n. 239, 672).
Jehovah bindeth up the waters in His clouds; Him spreadeth His cloud over His throne (Job 26:8, 9).
Give ye strength unto God; His strength is in the clouds (Ps. 68:34).
Jehovah will create over every dwelling of Mount Zion a cloud by day; for over all the glory shall be a covering (Isa. 4:5).
The Word in the sense of the letter was also represented by the cloud in which Jehovah descended upon Mount Sinai, when He promulgated the law; the principles of the law that were then promulgated were the first fruits of the Word.
 As further proof, the following may also be added: In the spiritual world as well as in the natural world there are clouds, but from a different origin. In the spiritual world there are sometimes bright clouds over the angelic heavens, but dusky cloud over the hells. The bright clouds over the angelic heaven signify obscurity there arising from the literal sense of the Word; but when these clouds are dispersed, it signifies that they are in the clear light of the Word from the spiritual sense; while the dusky clouds over the hells signify the falsification and profanation of the Word. This signification of “clouds” in the spiritual world has its origin in the fact that the light which there goes forth from the Lord as a sun, signifies Divine truth; for which reason He is called “the Light” (John 1:9; 12:35). And for the same reason the Word itself there which is kept in the sacred recesses of the temples, appears surrounded by a clear white light, and its obscurity is induced by clouds. [TCR776]
THIS SECOND COMING OF THE LORD IS EFFECTED BY MEANS OF A MAN TO WHOM THE LORD HAS MANIFESTED HIMSELF IN PERSON, AND WHOM HE HAS FILLED WITH HIS SPIRIT,
THAT HE MAY TEACH THE DOCTRINES OF THE NEW CHURCH FROM THE LORD BY MEANS OF THE WORD
Since the Lord cannot manifest Himself in Person, as shown just above, and nevertheless has foretold that He was to come and establish a new church, which is the New Jerusalem, it follows that He will do this by means of a man, who is able not only to receive these doctrines in his understanding but also to publish them by the press. That the Lord manifested Himself before me, His servant, and sent me to this office, that He afterward opened the eyes of my spirit and thus introduced me into the spiritual world and granted me to see the heavens and the hells, and to talk with angels and spirits, and this now continuously for several years, I affirm in truth; as also that from the first day of that call I have not received anything whatever pertaining to the doctrines of that church from any angel, but from the Lord alone while I have read the Word. [TCR779]
In order that the Lord might be continuously present with me He has unfolded to me the spiritual sense of His Word, wherein is Divine truth in its very light, and it is in this light that He is continually present. For His presence in the Word is by means of the spiritual sense and in no other way; through the light of this sense He passes into the obscurity of the literal sense, which is like what takes place when the light of the sun in day-time is passing through an interposing cloud. That the sense of the letter of the Word is like a cloud, and the spiritual sense is the glory, the Lord Himself being the sun from which the light comes, and that thus the Lord is the Word, has been shown above. That “the glory” in which He is to come (Matt. 24:30), signifies Divine truth in its light, in which light the spiritual sense of the Word is, can be clearly seen from the following passages:
The voice of one crying in the desert, prepare ye the way of Jehovah; the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it (Isa. 40:3, 5).
Shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of Jehovah is risen upon thee (Isa. 40:1 to the end).
I will give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles, and My glory will I not give to another (Isa. 42:6, 8; 48:11).
Thy light shall break forth as the morning; the glory of Jehovah shall gather thee up (Isa. 48:8).
All the earth shall be filled with the glory of Jehovah (Num. 14:21; Isa. 6:1-3; 46:18).
In the beginning was the Word; in Him was life, and the life was the light of men. That was the true Light. And the Word was made flesh, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father (John 1:1, 4, 9, 14).
The heavens declare the glory of God (Ps. 19:1).
The glory of God will lighten the Holy Jerusalem, and the Lamb is the light thereof, and the nations that are saved shall walk in the light of it (Apoc. 21:23, 24).
Besides in many other places. “Glory” signifies Divine truth its fullness, because all that is magnificent in heaven is from the light that goes forth from the Lord, and the light going forth from Him as the sun there, is in its essence Divine truth.[TCR780]
Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)