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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God .
1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. JOHN 1:1-5

The knowledge of correspondences, whereby the spiritual sense of the Word is communicated, has been at this day revealed because the Divine truths of the church are  now being brought to light, and these are the truths of which the spiritual sense of the Word consists; and when these truths are in man the sense of the letter of the Word cannot be perverted. For the sense of the letter of the Word may be turned in any direction. If it is turned to what is false its internal holiness perishes, and with it its external holiness; but if turned to what is true its holiness remains. But of all this more shall be said in what follows. That the spiritual sense would be opened at this time is meant by John’s seeing heaven opened, and then seeing a white horse; also by his seeing and hearing an angel standing in the sun calling all to the great supper, on which see (Apoc. 19:11-18). But that this sense would not for a long time be acknowledged is meant by the beast and the kings of the earth being about to make war with Him who sat upon the white horse (Apoc. 19:19); also by the dragon‘s persecuting the woman who brought forth the man-child, even to the wilderness, where he cast out of his mouth water as a flood, that he might overwhelm her (Apoc. 12:13-17).[TCR 207]

(5) Henceforth the spiritual sense of the Word will be given only to such as are in genuine truths from the Lord. This is because the spiritual sense can be seen by no one except from the Lord alone, and unless he be in Divine truths from the Lord; for the spiritual sense of the Word treats of the Lord alone and His kingdom; and in that sense are His angels in heaven, for that sense is His Divine truth in heaven. That truth man can do violence to when he possesses a knowledge of correspondences, and by means of it seeks to explore the spiritual sense of the Word from his own intelligence; since by a few correspondences known to him he is able to pervert that sense, and wrest it to confirm even what is false; thus he would do violence to Divine truth, and also to heaven in which that truth resides. Therefore if anyone seeks to open that sense, not from the Lord but from himself, heaven is closed; and when heaven is closed man either sees nothing of truth or is spiritually insane. A further reason is that the Lord teaches everyone by means of the Word, and teaches from those knowledges that a man has, and does not pour in new knowledges directly. Unless, therefore, a man is in Divine truths, or if he is in a few truths only and at the same time in falsities, he may by these falsities falsify the truths, as is done by every heretic in respect to the sense of the letter of the Word. So, in order that no one may enter into the spiritual sense and pervert the genuine truth which belongs to that sense, guards are set by the Lord, which are meant in the Word by “cherubim.” [TCR 208]

Wonderful things in regard to the Word arising from its spiritual sense. In the natural world no wonderful things arise from the Word, because the spiritual sense is not there apparent, and such as it is in itself is not inwardly perceived by man. But in the spiritual world wonderful things from the Word appear, because all there are spiritual beings, and a spiritual man is affected by spiritual things as a natural man is by natural things. The wonderful things arising from the Word in the spiritual world are many, a few of which I will here mention. In the shrines of the temples there the Word itself shines before the eyes of the angels like a great star, sometimes like a sun; and also from the bright radiance round about it there are seen as it were most beautiful rainbows. This happens as soon as the shrine is opened.

[2] That each truth and all truths of the Word shine has been made evident to me by the fact that when any least sentence from it is written out upon paper, and this is thrown into the air, the very paper shines in the form in which it has been cut. Thus by means of the Word spirits can produce a variety of shining forms, also the forms of birds and fishes. Again, what is still more wonderful, when anyone rubs his face, his hands, or the clothing he has on, with the open Word, touching them with the writing, the face itself, the hands, and the clothing shine as though he were standing in a star encompassed by its light. This I have seen very often, and wondered at it. Thus it was made clear to me how it was that Moses’ face shone when he brought the tables of the covenant down from Mount Sinai.

[3] Besides these there are many other wonderful things there which are from the Word; for instance, if anyone who is in falsities looks towards the Word as it lies in its holy place a darkness comes over his eyes, and in consequence the Word appears to him to be black, and sometimes as if covered with soot; and if he likewise touches the Word an explosion follows with a crash, and he is thrown to a corner of the room, and lies there for a brief hour as if dead. If something from the Word is written on a paper by one who is in falsities, and the paper is thrown up toward heaven, a like explosion follows in the air between his eyes and heaven, and the paper is torn to shreds and vanishes; the same thing happens if the paper is thrown towards an angel standing near. This I have often seen.

[4] It has thus been made clear to me that those who are in falsities of doctrine have no communication with heaven through the Word, but their reading of it is dissipated on the way and is lost, like gunpowder wrapped in paper when ignited and thrown into the air. The opposite occurs with those who are in truths of doctrine from the Lord through the Word; their reading of the Word penetrates even into heaven and effects conjunction with the angels there. The angels themselves, when they descend from heaven to discharge any duty below, appear surrounded with little stars, especially about the head; which is a sign that Divine truths from the Word are in them.

[5] Furthermore, in the spiritual world things exist similar to those on earth; but there each thing and all things are from a spiritual origin. Thus gold and silver exist there, and all kinds of precious stones, and the spiritual origin of these is the sense of the letter of the Word; and on this account in the Apocalypse the foundations of the wall of the New Jerusalem are described by twelve precious stones. The reason of this is that the foundations of its wall signify the doctrinals of the New Church, which are derived from the sense of the letter of the Word. For the same reason there were twelve precious stones called Urim and Thummim in Aaron‘s ephod, by means of which responses were given from heaven. There are many other wonderful things proceeding from the Word that have relation to the power of the truth within it. This power is so great that if described it would surpass all belief; for it is such that it overturns mountains and hills there, and removes them afar off, and hurls them into the sea; and many things besides. In short the power of the Lord proceeding from the Word is infinite. [TCR 209].

It was shown in _Doctrine of the New Jerusalem about the Sacred Scripture_ that the Lord is the Word and that all the doctrine of the church is to be drawn from the Word. Inasmuch as the Lord is the Word the man who is taught from the Word is taught by the Lord alone. This is comprehended with difficulty and will be clarified in this order: 

1.     The Lord is the Word because the Word is from Him and about Him.

2.     Also because the Word is divine truth together with divine good.

3.     To be taught from the Word is to be taught from Him, therefore. 

4.     That this is done mediately through preaching does not take away its immediacy. 

[2] First: The Lord is the Word because it is from Him and about Him. No one in the church denies that the Word is from the Lord, but that it is about Him alone, while not denied, is not known. This was shown in Doctrine of the New Jerusalem about the Lord, nn. 1-7, 37-44, and in Doctrine of the New Jerusalem about the Sacred Scripture, nn. 62-69, 80-90, 98-100. Inasmuch as the Word is from the Lord alone and treats of Him alone, a man is taught by the Lord when he is taught from the Word, for it is the divine Word. Who can communicate what is divine and implant it in the heart except the Divine Himself from whom it is and of whom it treats? Therefore, in speaking of His union with His disciples He says that they are to abide in Him and His words in them (Jn 15:7 ), that His words are spirit and life (Jn 6:63), and that He makes His abode with those who keep His words (Jn 14:20-24). To think from the Lord therefore is to think from the Word, and as it were, through the Word. It was shown in Doctrine of the New Jerusalem about the Sacred Scripture from beginning to end that all things of the Word have communication with heaven, and as the Lord is heaven, this means that all things of the Word have communication with the Lord Himself. The angels of heaven indeed have communication; this, too, is from the Lord.

[3] Second: _The Lord is the Word because it is divine truth together with divine good._ The Lord teaches that He is the Word by these words in John: 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (1:1, 14).

This passage has been understood hitherto to mean only that God teaches men through the Word and has been explained as an hyperbole, with the implication that the Lord is not the Word itself. This is because expositors did not know that the Word is divine truth together with divine good or, what is the same, divine wisdom together with divine love. That these are the Lord Himself was shown in the treatise _Divine Love and Wisdom,_ Part I, and that they are the Word in _Doctrine of the New Jerusalem about the Sacred Scripture,_ nn. 1-86. 

[4] We will say briefly in what way the Lord is divine truth together with divine good. Each human being is human not because of face and body but from the good of his love and the truths of his wisdom; and because a man is a man from these, he is also his own good and his own truth or his own love and his own wisdom; without these he is not a human being. But the Lord is good itself and truth itself or, what is the same, love itself and wisdom itself; and these are the Word which in the beginning was with God and was God and which was made flesh. 

[5] Third: _To be taught from the Word, then, is to be taught by the Lord Himself._ For it means that one is taught from good itself and truth itself or from love itself and wisdom itself, and, as we have said, these are the Word. But everyone is taught according to an understanding agreeing with his love; what goes beyond this does not remain. All who are taught by the Lord in the Word are instructed in a few truths while in the world but in many when they become angels. For the interiors of the Word, which are divine spiritual and divine celestial, are implanted at the time, but are not consciously possessed until a man on his death is in heaven where he is in angelic wisdom which, compared with human wisdom, thus his earlier wisdom, is ineffable. That divine spiritual and divine celestial things which constitute angelic wisdom are present in each and all things of the Word see _Doctrine of the New Jerusalem about the Sacred Scripture,_ nn. 5-26. 

[6] Fourth: _That this teaching is done mediately through preaching does not take away the immediacy._ Inevitably the Word is taught mediately by parents, teachers, preachers, books and particularly by reading. Still it is not taught by them but by the Lord through them. Preachers, aware of this, say that they speak not from themselves but from the spirit of God and that all truth like all good is from God. They can speak it and bring it to the understanding of many, but not to anyone’s heart; and what is not in the heart passes away from the understanding; by “heart” a man’s love is meant. From this it is plain that man is led and taught by the Lord alone and immediately by Him when he is taught from the Word. This is a supreme arcanum of angelic wisdom. [ DP172]

We have shown in _Doctrine of the New Jerusalem about the Sacred Scripture_ (nn. 104-113) that those outside the church who do not have the Word still have light by means of it. Man has light by means of the Word and from the light has understanding, and both the wicked and the good have understanding. It follows that from light in its origin there is light in its derivatives which are perceptions and thoughts on whatever subject. The Lord says that without Him men can do nothing (Jn 15:5); that a man can receive nothing unless it is given him from heaven (Jn 3:27); and that the Father in the heavens makes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Mt 5:45). In the Word in its spiritual sense by “sun” here, as elsewhere, is meant the divine good of divine love and by “rain” the divine truth of divine wisdom. These are extended to the evil and the good, to the unjust and the just, for if they were not, no one would possess perception and thought. It was shown above that there is only one Life from which all have life. But perception and thought are part of life; they are therefore from the same fountain from which life springs. It has been shown many times before that all the light which forms the understanding is from the sun of the spiritual world, which is the Lord. [DP 173]

The Lord’s Words Spirit and Life

That the Word is holy and Divine from inmosts to outermosts is not evident to the man who leads himself, but is evident to the man whom the Lord leads.  For the man who leads himself sees only the external of the Word, and forms his opinion of it from its style; but the man whom the Lord leads forms his opinion of the external of the Word from the holiness that is in it. 

The Word is like a garden, that may be called a heavenly paradise, in which are delicacies and charms of every kind, delicacies from the fruits, and charms from the flowers; and in the middle of it trees of life, and near them fountains of living water, and round about trees of the forest, and near them rivers.  The man who leads himself forms his opinion of that paradise, which is the Word, from its circumference, where the trees of the forest are; but the man whom the Lord leads forms his opinion of it from the middle of it, where the trees of life are.  The man whom the Lord leads is actually in the middle of it, and looks to the Lord; but the man who leads himself actually sits down at the circumference, and looks away from it to the world. 

Again, the Word is like fruit within which there is a nutritious pulp, and in the middle of it seed vessels, in which inmostly is a living germ that germinates in good soil.  Again, the Word is also like a most beautiful infant, about which, except the face, there are wrappings upon wrappings; the infant itself is in the inmost heaven, the wrappings are in the lower heavens, and the general covering of the wrappings is on the earth.  As the Word is such it is holy and Divine from inmosts to outermosts. (A.E., n. 1072.)

The Word is such because in its origin it is the Divine itself that goes forth from the Lord, and is called Divine truth; and when this descended to men in the world it passed through the heavens in their order according to their degrees, which are three; and in each heaven it was recorded in accommodation to the wisdom and intelligence of the angels there.  Finally it was brought down from the Lord through the heavens to men, and there it was recorded and made known in adaptation to man’s understanding and apprehension.  This, therefore, is the sense of its letter, and in this lies Divine truth such as it is in the three heavens, stored up in distinct order. 

From this it is clear that the entire wisdom of the angels in the three heavens has been imparted by the Lord to our Word, and in its inmost there is the wisdom of the angels of the third heaven, which is incomprehensible and ineffable to man, because full of mysteries and treasures of Divine verities.  These lie stored up in each particular and in all the particulars of our Word.  And as Divine truth is the Lord in the heavens, so the Lord Himself is present, and may be said to dwell in all the particulars and each particular of His Word, as He does in His heavens; and in the same way as He has said of the ark of the covenant, in which were deposited only the Ten Commandments written on the two tables, the first-fruits of the Word, for He said that He would speak there with Moses and Aaron, that He would be present there, that He would dwell there, and that it was His holy of holies, and His dwelling place as in heaven. (A.E., n., 1073.) 

As the Divine truth, in passing from the Lord Himself through the three heavens down to men in the world, is recorded and becomes the Word in each heaven, so the Word is a bond of union of the heavens with each other, and a bond of union of the heavens with the church in the world.  For the Word is the same everywhere, differing only in perfection of glory and wisdom according to the degrees in which the heavens are; consequently the holy Divine from the Lord flows in through the heavens into the man in the world who acknowledges the Lord’s Divine and the holiness of the Word whenever he reads the Word; and so far as such a man loves wisdom he can be instructed and can imbibe wisdom from the Word as from the Lord Himself, or from heaven itself, and can thus be nourished with the food with which the angels themselves are nourished, and in which there is life; according to these words of the Lord: 

“The words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life” (John vi. 63).  “The water that I will give you shall become . . . a fountain of water springing up unto eternal life” (John iv. 14). “Man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. iv. 4). “Work . . . for the meat that abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you” (John vi. 27). 

Such is the Word.  (A.E., n. 1074.) 

It has been said that the Divine truth goes forth from the Lord, and that the Word is from that, and that through the Word angels and men have wisdom.  But so long as it is unknown how Divine truth goes forth from the Lord, this may be said but it cannot be understood.  Divine truth, which is the same as Divine wisdom, goes forth from the Lord as light and heat do from the sun.  The Lord is Divine love itself, and love appears in the heavens from correspondence as fire, and the Lord’s Divine love as a sun, glowing and resplendent like the sun of the world.  From that sun, which is high above the heavens where the angels are, and which is Divine love, heat and light go forth; the heat therefrom is Divine good, and the light therefrom is Divine truth.  The heat is Divine good, because all heat of life going forth from love is felt as good, for it is spiritual heat; and the light is Divine truth because all light going forth from love is felt as truth, for it is spiritual light; consequently it is from that light that the understanding sees truths, and it is from that heat that the will is sensible of goods; and this is why in the Word love is meant by heavenly fire and wisdom by heavenly light. 

It is the same with a man and with an angel.  Every angel and man is his own love, and a sphere flowing out from his love encompasses every man and angel.  That sphere consists of the good of his love and of the truth of his love, for love gives forth both, as fire gives forth both heat and light; from the will of a man or angel it gives forth good, and from his understanding it gives forth truth.  This sphere, when the man or angel is good, has an extension into the heavens in every direction according to the character and amount of the love, and into the hells in every direction when the man or angel is evil.  But the sphere of the love of a man or an angel has a finite extension into a few societies only of heaven or hell, while the sphere of the Lord’s love, being Divine, has an infinite extension, and creates the heavens themselves. (A.E., n. 1076.) 

The Word of the Lord is wonderful in this respect, that in every particular of it there is a reciprocal union of good and truth, which testifies that the Word is the Divine that goes forth from the Lord, which is Divine good and Divine truth reciprocally united; and also testifies that in the Word there is a marriage of the Lord with heaven and the church, which also is reciprocal.  There is a marriage of good and truth, also of truth and good, in every particular of the Word, in order that it may be a source of wisdom to angels and of intelligence to men, for from good alone no wisdom or intelligence is born, neither from truth alone, but from their marriage when the love is reciprocal.  This reciprocal love the Lord sets forth in John: 

“He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me and I in him” (vi. 56).

In the same, 

“In that day ye shall know, that . . . ye are in Me and I in you.  He that hath My commandments and doeth them, he it is that loveth Me; . . .  and I will love him” (xiv. 20, 21).

The reciprocality is that such are in the Lord and the Lord is in them, also that whoever loves the Lord, the Lord also will love him.  “To have His commandments” is to be in truths, and “to do them” is to be in good. Reciprocality is also described by the Lord in His union with the Father, in these words, 

“Philip, . . . How sayest thou, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me?  . . . Believe Me, that I am in the Father and the Father in Me” (John xiv. 9-11). 

From this reciprocal union of the Divine and the Human in the Lord the reciprocal union of Divine good and Divine truth goes forth; and this goes forth from the Lord’s Divine love; and the same is true of the Lord’s reciprocal union with heaven and the church, and in general the reciprocal union of good and truth in an angel of heaven and in a man of the church.  And as good is of charity and truth is of faith, and as charity and faith make the church, it follows that the church is in a man when there is a reciprocal union of charity and faith in him.  Again, as good is of the will and truth is of the understanding, and as the will and understanding make man, it follows that a man is a man according to the union of the will and all things belonging to it with the understanding and all things belonging to it, and this reciprocally.  This union is what is called marriage, which from creation is in every particular of heaven and in every particular of the world; and from this is the production and the generation of all things.  That in every particular of the Word there is such a marriage that good loves truth and truth loves good, thus mutually and in turn, is disclosed in the spiritual sense of the Word; and it is from this marriage that good and truth are one and not two, and are one when good is of truth and truth is of good.  (A.E., n. 1077). 

The Word in the sense of the letter appears very simple, and yet there is stored up in it the wisdom of the three heavens, for each least particular of it contains interior and more interior senses; an interior sense such as exists in the first heaven, a still more interior sense such as exists in the second heaven, and an inmost sense such as exists in the third heaven.  These senses are in the sense of the letter, one within the other, and are evolved therefrom one after the other, each from its own heaven, when the Word is read by a man who is led by the Lord. These interior senses differ in a degree of light and wisdom according to the heavens, and yet they make one by influx, and thus by correspondences.  How they thus make one shall be told in what follows.  All this makes clear how the Word was inspired by the Divine, and that it was written from an inspiration to which nothing else in the world can in anywise be compared.  The mysteries of wisdom of the three heavens contained in it are the mystical things of which many have spoken.  (A.E., n. 1079.)  [SLWG III]   


Those who think from interior reason can see that there is a connection of all things through intermediates with the First, and that whatever is not in connection is dissipated. For they know, when they think about it, that nothing can have permanent existence from itself, but only from what is prior to itself, thus all things from a First; also that the connection with what is prior is like the connection of an effect with its effecting cause; for when the effecting cause is taken away from its effect the effect is dissolved and dispersed. Because the learned thought thus they saw and said that permanent existence is a perpetual springing forth; thus that all things have permanent existence from a First; and as they sprang from that First so they perpetually spring forth, that is, have permanent existence from it. But what the connection of everything is with that which is prior to itself, thus with the First which is the source of all things, cannot be told in a few words, because it is various and diverse. It can only be said in general that there is a connection of the natural world with the spiritual world, and that in consequence there is a correspondence of all things in the natural world with all things in the spiritual (see n. 103-115); also that there is a connection and consequently a correspondence of all things of man with all things of heaven (see n. 87-102).   [HH 303]

Man is so created as to have a conjunction and connection with the Lord, but with the angels of heaven only an affiliation. Man has affiliation with the angels, but not conjunction, because in respect to the interiors of his mind man is by creation like an angel, having a like will and a like understanding. Consequently if a man has lived in accordance with the Divine order he becomes after death an angel, with the same wisdom as an angel. Therefore when the conjunction of man with heaven is spoken of his conjunction with the Lord and affiliation with the angels is meant; for heaven is heaven from the Lord’s Divine, and not from what is strictly the angels’ own [proprium]. That it is the Lord’s Divine that makes heaven may be seen above (n. 7-12). [2] But man has, beyond what the angels have, that he is not only in respect to his interiors in the spiritual world, but also at the same time in respect to his exteriors in the natural world. His exteriors which are in the natural world are all things of his natural or external memory and of his thought and imagination therefrom; in general, knowledges and sciences with their delights and pleasures so far as they savor of the world, also many pleasures belonging to the senses of the body, together with his senses themselves, his speech, and his actions. And all these are the outmosts in which the Lord’s Divine influx terminates; for that influx does not stop midway, but goes on to its outmosts. All this shows that the outmost of Divine order is in man; and being the outmost it is also the base and foundation. [3] As the Lord’s Divine influx does not stop midway but goes on to its outmosts, as has been said, and as this middle part through which it passes is the angelic heaven, while the outmost is in man, and as nothing can exist unconnected, it follows that the connection and conjunction of heaven with the human race is such that one has its permanent existence from the other, and that the human race apart from heaven would be like a chain without a hook; and heaven without the human race would be like a house without a foundation.{1}   [HH304] 

But man has severed this connection with heaven by turning his exteriors away from heaven, and turning them to the world and to self by means of his love of self and of the world, thereby so withdrawing himself that he no longer serves as a basis and foundation for heaven; therefore the Lord has provided a medium to serve in place of this base and foundation for heaven, and also for the conjunction of heaven with man. This medium is the Word. How the Word serves as such a medium has been shown in many places in the Arcana Coelestia, all of which may be seen gathered up in the little work on The White Horse mentioned in the Apocalypse; also in the Appendix to the New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine, from which some notes are here appended.{1} [HH305]

I have been told from heaven that the most ancient people, because their interiors were turned heavenwards, had direct revelation, and by this means there was at that time a conjunction of the Lord with the human race. After their times, however, there was no such direct revelation, but there was a mediate revelation by means of correspondences, inasmuch as all their Divine worship then consisted of correspondences, and for this reason the churches of that time were called representative churches. For it was then known what correspondence is and what representation is, and that all things on the earth correspond to spiritual things in heaven and in the church, or what is the same, represent them; and therefore the natural things that constituted the externals of their worship served them as mediums for thinking spiritually, that is, thinking with the angels. When the knowledge of correspondences and representations had been blotted out of remembrance a Word was written, in which all the words and their meanings are correspondences, and thus contain a spiritual or internal sense, in which are the angels; and in consequence, when a man reads the Word and perceives it according to the sense of the letter or the outer sense the angels perceive it according to the internal or spiritual sense; for all the thought of angels is spiritual while the thought of man is natural. These two kinds of thought appear diverse; nevertheless they are one because they correspond. Thus it was that when man had separated himself from heaven and had severed the bond the Lord provided a medium of conjunction of heaven with man by means of the Word.   [HH306]

How heaven is conjoined with man by means of the Word I will illustrate by some passages from it. “The New Jerusalem” is described in the Apocalypse in these words: 

I saw a new heaven and a new earth, and the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And I saw the holy city New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven. The city was foursquare, its length as great as its breadth; and an angel measured the city with a reed, twelve thousand furlongs; the length, the breadth, and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty-four cubits, the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The building of the wall was of jasper; but the city itself was pure gold, and like unto pure glass; and the foundations of the wall were adorned with every precious stone. The twelve gates were twelve pearls; and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass (21:1, 2, 16-19, 21).  

When man reads these words he understands them merely in accordance with the sense of the letter, namely, that the visible heaven with the earth is to perish, and a new heaven is to come into existence; and upon the new earth the holy city Jerusalem is to descend, with all its dimensions as here described. But the angels that are with man understand these things in a wholly different way, that is, everything that man understands naturally they understand spiritually. [2] By “the new heaven and the new earth” they understand a new church; by “the city Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven” they understand its heavenly doctrine revealed by the Lord; by “its length, breadth, and height, which are equal,” and “twelve thousand furlongs,” they understand all the goods and truths of that doctrine in the complex; by its “wall” they understand the truths protecting it; by “the measure of the wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits, which is the measure of a man, that is, of an angel,” they understand all those protecting truths in the complex and their character; by its “twelve gates, which were of pearls,” they understand introductory truths, “pearls” signifying such truths; by “the foundations of the wall, which were of precious stones,” they understand the knowledge on which that doctrine is founded; by “the gold like unto pure glass,” of which the city and its street were made, they understand the good of love which makes the doctrine and its truths transparent. Thus do the angels perceive all these things; and therefore not as man perceives them. The natural ideas of man thus pass into the spiritual ideas with the angels without their knowing anything of the sense of the letter of the Word, that is, about “a new heaven and a new earth,” “a new city Jerusalem,” its “wall, the foundations of the wall, and its dimensions.” And yet the thoughts of angels make one with the thoughts of man, because they correspond; they make one almost the same as the words of a speaker make one with the understanding of them by a hearer who attends solely to the meaning and not to the words. All this shows how heaven is conjoined with man by means of the Word: [3] Let us take another example from the Word: 

In that day there shall be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria shall come into Egypt and Egypt into Assyria; and the Egyptians shall serve Assyria. In that day shall Israel be a third to Egypt and to Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the land, Which Jehovah of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be My people the Egyptian, and the Assyrian the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance (Isaiah 19:23-25). 

What man thinks when these words are read, and what the angels think, can be seen from the sense of the letter of the Word and from its internal sense. Man from the sense of the letter thinks that the Egyptians and Assyrians are to be converted to God and accepted, and are then to become one with the Israelitish nation; but angels in accordance with the internal sense think of the man of the spiritual church who is here described in that sense, whose spiritual is “Israel,” whose natural is the “Egyptian,” and whose rational, which is the middle, is the “Assyrian.”{1} Nevertheless, these two senses are one because they correspond; and therefore when the angels thus think spiritually and man naturally they are conjoined almost as body and soul are; in fact, the internal sense of the Word is its soul and the sense of the letter is its body. Such is the Word throughout.  This shows that it is a medium of conjunction of heaven with man, and that its literal sense serves as a base and foundation. [HH307] 

There is also a conjunction of heaven by means of the Word with those who are outside of the church where there is no Word; for the Lord’s church is universal, and is with all who acknowledge the Divine and live in charity. Moreover, such are taught after death by the angels and receive Divine truths;{1} on which subject more may be seen below, in the chapter on the heathen. The universal church on the earth in the sight of the Lord resembles a single man, just as heaven does (see n. 59-72); but the church where the Word is and where the Lord is known by means of it is like the heart and lungs in that man. It is known that all the viscera and members of the entire body draw their life from the heart and lungs through various derivations; and it is thus that those of the human race live who are outside of the church where the Word is, and who constitute the members of that man. Again, the conjunction of heaven with those who are at a distance by means of the Word may be compared to light radiating from a center all around. The Divine light is in the Word, and there the Lord with heaven is present, and from that presence those at a distance are in light; but it would be otherwise if there were no Word. This may be more clearly seen from what has been shown above respecting the form of heaven in accordance with which all who are in heaven have affiliation and communication. But while this arcanum may be comprehended by those who are in spiritual light, it cannot be comprehended by those who are only in natural light; for innumerable things are clearly seen by those who are in spiritual light that are not seen or are seen obscurely as a single thing by those who are only in natural light. [HH308] 

Unless such a Word had been given on this earth the man of this earth would have been separated from heaven; and if separated from heaven he would have ceased to be rational, for the human rational exists by an influx of the light of heaven. Again, the man of this earth is such that he is not capable of receiving direct revelation and of being taught about Divine truths by such revelation, as the inhabitants of other earths are, that have been especially described in another small work. For the man of this earth is more in worldly things, that is, in externals, than the men of other earths, and it is internal things that are receptive of revelation; if it were received in external things the truth would not be understood. That such is the man of this earth is clearly evident from the state of those who are within the church, which is such that while they know from the Word about heaven, about hell, about the life after death, still in heart they deny these things; although among them there are some who have acquired a pre-eminent reputation for learning, and who might for that reason be supposed to be wiser than others. [HH309]

I have at times talked with angels about the Word, saying that it is despised by some on account of its simple style; and that nothing whatever is known about its internal sense, and for this reason it is not believed that so much wisdom lies hid in it. The angels said that although the style of the Word seems simple in the sense of the letter, it is such that nothing can ever be compared to it in excellence, since Divine wisdom lies concealed not only in the meaning as a whole but also in each word; and that in heaven this wisdom shines forth. They wished to declare that this wisdom is the light of heaven, because it is Divine truth, for that which shines in heaven is the Divine truth (see n. 132). Again, they said that without such a Word there would be no light of heaven with the men of our earth, nor would there be any conjunction of heaven with them; for there is conjunction only so far as the light of heaven is present with man, and that light is present only so far as Divine truth is revealed to man by means of the Word. This conjunction by means of the correspondence of the spiritual sense of the Word with its natural sense is unknown to man, because the man of this earth knows nothing about the spiritual thought and speech of angels, and how it differs from the natural thought and speech of men; and until this is known it cannot in the least be known what the internal sense is, and that such conjunction is therefore possible by means of that sense. They said, furthermore, that if this sense were known to man, and if man in reading the Word were to think in accordance with some knowledge of it, he would come into interior wisdom, and would be still more conjoined with heaven, since by this means he would enter into ideas like the ideas of the angels. [HH310]

There are in the Word, in general, four different styles. The first is that of the Most Ancient Church. Their mode of expression was such that when they mentioned terrestrial and worldly things they thought of the spiritual and celestial things which these represented. They therefore not only expressed themselves by representatives, but also formed these into a kind of historical series, in order to give them more life; and this was to them delightful in the very highest degree. This is the style of which Hannah prophesied, saying:

Speak what is high! high! Let what is ancient come out of your mouth (1 Sam. 2:3).
Such representatives are called in David, “Dark sayings of old” (Ps. 78:2-4).

These particulars concerning the creation, the garden of Eden, etc., down to the time of Abram, Moses had from the descendants of the Most Ancient Church.

[2] The second style is historical, which is found in the books of Moses from the time of Abram onward, and in those of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and the Kings. In these books the historical facts are just as they appear in the sense of the letter; and yet they all contain, in both general and particular, quite other things in the internal sense, of which, by the Lord’s Divine mercy, in their order in the following pages.
The third style is the prophetical one, which was born of that which was so highly venerated in the Most Ancient Church. This style however is not in connected and historical form like the most ancient style, but is broken, and is scarcely ever intelligible except in the internal sense, wherein are deepest arcana, which follow in beautiful connected order, and relate to the external and the internal man; to the many states of the church; to heaven itself; and in the inmost sense to the Lord. The fourth style is that of the Psalms of David, which is intermediate between the prophetical style and that of common speech. The Lord is there treated of in the internal sense, under the person of David as a king. [AC 66]

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG  (1688-1772)