3398. 'One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us' means that it could have been adulterated and so profaned. This is clear from the meaning of 'lying wish' as being perverted or adulterated; from the meaning of 'one of the people' as one who belongs to the Church, that is to say, to the spiritual Church, dealt with in 2928; from the meaning of 'wife' - who is Rebekah here - as Divine Truth, dealt with above; and from the meaning of 'guilt' as blame for the profanation of truth. From this it is evident that 'one of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us' means that Divine Truth could easily have been adulterated by someone within the Church and so he would have made himself culpable of the profanation of truth. It has been stated above in 3386 that the reason why Abraham on two occasions spoke of Sarah his wife as his sister - first of all in Egypt, and then, when dwelling with Abimelech, in Gerar - and why Isaac in a similar way spoke of Rebekah his wife as his sister, when he too was dwelling with Abimelech, and why those three occasions are mentioned in the Word, is a very deep arcanum. The actual arcanum contained in these words is evident in the internal sense, and it is this: 'A sister' means rational truth, and 'a wife' Divine Truth; and rational truth is called this - that is, 'a sister' - to prevent Divine Truth, which is 'a wife' (Rebekah in this case) from being adulterated and so perverted.
 With regard to the profanation of truth the position is that Divine Truth cannot possibly be profaned except by those who have already acknowledged it. For these people have first of all, through acknowledgement and faith, come to the truth, and so have been introduced into it. If after this they depart from that truth there remains within them a permanent imprint of it, which is recalled together with falsity and evil whenever these are recalled. And being attached to falsity and evil that truth is consequently made profane. People therefore with whom this happens have within them permanently that which is condemning, and so the hell which is their own. Indeed when those in hell draw near a sphere where good and truth are present they instantly experience their own hell, for they run into that which they hate, and as a consequence into torment. People therefore who have profaned truth dwell permanently with that which torments them - the intensity of torment depending on the degree of profanation. This being so, the Lord makes the greatest provision to prevent Divine Good and Truth being made profane. He does so especially with anyone who is such that he cannot help profaning them, by keeping him as far back as possible from acknowledgement of and faith in truth and good. For as has been stated, no one is able to profane them except him who has already acknowledged and come to believe them.
 This was the reason why internal truths were not disclosed to the descendants of Jacob - to the Israelites and Jews. Not even the existence of anything internal within man, nor thus any kind of internal worship was openly declared to them, and scarcely anything about life after death, or about the heavenly kingdom of the Lord or the Messiah whom they awaited. The reason why these truths were not declared was, as foreseen, that if they had been disclosed to them, the Jews and Israelites were such as could not help profaning them; for they had no desire for anything other than what was earthly. And because those descendants were such, and are so still, they are still allowed to remain without any belief at all in internal truths. For if at one point they had given their assent to them and then had withdrawn it they would inevitably have ended up in the worst hell of all.
 This was also the reason why the Lord did not come into the world and reveal the internal features of the Word until the time when no good at all, not even natural good, remained with them. For at that point they were no longer capable of receiving any truth and acknowledging it internally - for good is what receives - and so were no longer capable of profaning it. It is this state that is meant by the fulness of time, and by the close of the age, and also by the last day, spoken of many times in the Prophets.
 It is for the same reason also that at the present time the arcana belonging to the internal sense of the Word are being revealed, for today scarcely any faith exists because charity is non-existent, so that the close of the age is here. When these conditions prevail these arcana can be revealed without any risk of profanation since they are not acknowledged interiorly. It is for the sake of this arcanum that in the Word mention is made of Abraham and of Isaac, of how, when dwelling in Gerar with Abimelech, each called his wife his sister. See in addition what has been stated and shown already on the same subject, to the effect that those who acknowledge are able to profane, but not those who do not acknowledge, still less those who do not even know, 593, 1008, 1010, 1059. How much danger lies in profaning sacred things and the Word, see 571, 582. People inside the Church are able to profane sacred things, but not those outside, 2051. The Lord provides against the occurrence of profanation, 1001, 2426. Worship may become external to prevent the profaning of internal worship, 1327, 1328. People are kept in ignorance to prevent the truths of faith being made profane, 301-303.