Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 8989

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8989. 'And shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost' means a state in which strengthened and implanted truth [communicates] with spiritual good. This is clear from the meaning of 'the door' as the means by which truth is introduced into good, dealt with in 2356, 2385, at this point strengthened and implanted truth, meant by a Hebrew slave after servitude lasting six years, 8976, 8984, and since 'the door' is the means of introduction it is also the means of communication (for a door is the means by which one room communicates with another); and from the meaning of 'the doorpost' as that truth linked to good, since a doorpost stands between two rooms, linking one to the other. For the meaning of 'the doorpost' as the truth of the natural, see 7847. Who can fail to see that this symbolic act carried out when slaves stayed on contains an arcanum, indeed a Divine one? For Jehovah declared and commanded it from Mount Sinai. People who do not think there is anything holier and more Divine in the Word than that which is seen in the letter must be astonished that these and many more things contained in the present and following chapters were declared vocally by Jehovih. For in the letter they appear to be simply the kinds of matters that nations' civil laws deal with, as is the case with this law regarding slaves, which decrees that any of them who does not wish to go out of servitude should be brought to the door or to the doorpost, where his master should pierce his ear with an awl. In the sense of the letter this does not savour of what comes from God; even so, it is utterly Divine. But this is not evident unless made so by the internal sense. The internal sense is that those imbued with truths alone and not with complementary good, yet nevertheless with the delight in remembering forms of spiritual good, 8986, 8987, have some communication and link with spiritual good.

[2] This was represented by the law that the slave's ear should be pierced at the door or at the doorpost by his master; for the door is the means of communication, the doorpost is that which serves to link, the ear is obedience, and piercing it with an awl is a representative sign of the state in which he is to stay on. This is how these details are perceived by the angels present with a person who reads this command. The angels do not think of a door, of a doorpost, of an ear and the piercing of it, nor even of a slave, but instead they think of the communication and linking together mentioned above. For the understanding which angels have is of the latter kind of things, because they are in the light. And none except spiritual and heavenly matters occur to them, not natural and worldly ones such as the literal sense of the Word contains; for the literal sense of the Word is natural and worldly, whereas its internal sense is spiritual and heavenly. The former exists for men, the latter for angels; consequently the Word is the means through which heaven has communication with and is linked to mankind.

[3] To bring further out into the open the arcana contained in this procedure followed in the case of slaves staying on with their master, something must be said about why it is that 'the door' and 'the doorpost' mean the means of communication and of linking together. Angels and spirits possess dwelling-places, which are in appearance exactly like those in the world, 1116, 1626-1628, 1631, 4622. And - what is an arcanum - every single thing that appears in their dwelling-places is a sign of something spiritual; it also arises out of spiritual things which exist in heaven, and which are therefore present in their minds. Communication between truth and good is presented visually there as a door, and the linking together of them as a doorpost; and other things are presented as the actual rooms, porches, windows, and different kinds of adornment. Nobody at the present day, least of all one who is merely natural, is able to believe that these things are so, because they are not evident to people's physical senses; and yet it is clear from the Word that such things were seen by prophets when their inner eyes were opened to see into heaven. I too have discerned and seen the same things a thousand times. I have also on many occasions heard them say, when their thoughts were being communicated to me, that the doors of their rooms were open, or when they were not being communicated, that their doors were shut.

[4] This explains why 'doors' are mentioned in the Word in places where communication is the subject, as in Isaiah,

Go away, my people, enter your bed chambers, and shut your door behind you. Hide yourself, so to speak, for a little moment, until the anger passes over. Isa 26:20.

'Shutting the door behind oneself, until the anger passes over' stands for having no contact with evils, which are 'the anger', 3614, 5034, 5798, 6358, 6359, 6997, 8284, 8483. In Malachi,

Will He accept you favourably?a said Jehovah Zebaoth. Who even among you would rather shut the doors, and not kindle a light on My altar in vain? Mal 1:9, 10.

'Shutting doors' stands for not communicating with sacred or Divine things. In Zechariah,

Open your doors. O Lebanon, that fire may consume your cedars. Zech 11:1.

'Opening doors' stands for providing access or communication.

[5] In David,

He commanded the skies from above, He threw open the doors of the heavens. Ps 78:23.

'Throwing open the doors of the heavens' stands for providing communication with the truths and forms of good which come from the Lord in the heavens. In the same author,

I have chosen to stand at the door in the house of my God rather than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. Ps 84:10.

'Standing at the door' stands for communicating from the outside with good, which is 'the house of God', 3720. In the same author,

Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors,b so that the King of glory may come in. Ps 24:7, 9.

'Ancient doors being lifted up' stands for opening and raising hearts to the Lord, who is 'the King of glory', and so providing communication, that is, enabling Him to flow in with the good of charity and the truth of faith. The Lord is called 'the King of glory, by virtue of the truth that radiates from good.

[6] In Isaiah,

Jehovah said to His anointed, to Cyrus - whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him, in order that I may ungird the loins of kings, to open doors before him, and gates may not be shut - I will go before you and make straight the crooked places And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and the secret wealth of concealed places, that you may know that it is I, Jehovah, who called you by your name, the God of Israel. Isa 45:1-3.

This refers to the Lord in respect of His Human, He being 'Cyrus' in the representative sense. 'Opening doors before him' is providing access to the Divine itself, which is why even in respect of His Human He is called 'God', in this instance 'the God of Israel'

[7] In John,

Behold, I have set before you an open door which no one can shut; for you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Rev 3:8.

'Setting an open door' stands for communication with heaven. In the same book,

After these things I saw, and behold, an open door in heaven. I heard, Come up here, in order that I may show you things which must take place after this. Rev 4:1.

'A door' there plainly stands for communication, since a revelation which he was going to receive from heaven is the subject. From this it is also evident that communication is represented in heaven by a door, as stated above In the same book,

Behold, I stand at the door and knock If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Rev 3:20.

Here also 'the door' plainly stands for access to and communication with heaven where the Lord is, thus with the Lord.

[8] Similarly in Matthew,

The bridegroom came, and the virgins went in to the wedding feast and the door was shut. Eventually the remaining virgins came, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But He replying said, Truly, I say to you, I do not know you. Matt 25:10-12.

What these words mean in the internal sense, see 4635-4638, where it is shown that 'virgins' are those within the Church. 'Having oil in their lamps' refers to those who have the good of charity within the truths of faith, and 'not having oil in their lamps' to those who have the truths of faith and not the good of charity in them. The door is said to be shut to the latter because they do not communicate with heaven, that is, through heaven with the Lord. Communication with heaven and through heaven takes place through the good of charity and love, but not through truths that are called the truths of faith devoid of good within them. This is why the latter are called 'foolish virgins', while the former are called 'wise virgins'.

[9] In Luke,

Many will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the Householder has risen up and shut the door, then you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But He replying will say to you, I do not know where you come from. Then you will begin to say, We ate in Your presence and we drank; and You taught in our streets. But He will say to you, I do not know where you come from; depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity! Luke 13:24-27.

Here also 'the door' plainly stands for access and communication, as above. Those to whom the door is shut and who knock on it but are not let in are people imbued with the truths of faith received from the Word but not with the good of charity. All this is meant by their eating with the Lord and drinking, and by their hearing the Lord teaching in their streets, when yet they do not live the life of faith, for 'workers of iniquity' are those who do not live that life.

[10] In John,

Truly, truly I say to you, He who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me he will be saved. John 10:1, 2, 9.

'Entering by the door' means passing through the truth of faith to the good of charity and love, thus to the Lord. For the Lord is Goodness itself, and the Truth that introduces too, thus also the door; for faith is received from Him.

[11] The use of 'the door' to mean the means of communication seems to be a metaphorical way of speaking, or a comparison. But in the Word they are not metaphors or comparisons; rather they are real correspondences. Even the comparisons made there involve the use of such things as are correspondential, as becomes clear from what has been stated regarding a door, namely that actual doors appear in heaven where angels and spirits reside, opening or shutting in accord with states of communication. So also with every other comparison.


a lit. Will he accept faces from you?
b lit. doors of the world

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