Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 9256

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9256. 'You shall surely bring it back to him' means teaching and correcting. This is clear from the meaning of 'bringing back', when it refers to those outside the Church who are governed by unauthentic good and truth, as teaching and correcting; for this is how they are 'brought back'. Doing good to those outside the Church is also meant by the Lord's words in Matthew,

You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? And if you salute only your brothers, what more are you doing [than others]? Matt 5:43-47.

Here also 'enemies' and 'those who hate' in the spiritual sense mean those who have a different idea of what forms of good and the truths of faith are, in general those who are outside the Church, since the Jewish nation considered them to be adversaries whom they were allowed to consign to slaughter and to kill with impunity. It is evident that they are meant in the spiritual sense by 'enemies', since it says, 'If you salute only your brothers, what more are you doing [than others]?' For all were called brothers who were born of Jacob, thus who were within the Church.

[2] To enlarge on the subject of those outside the Church, called the gentiles, they are indeed subject to falsities in doctrine, which however is due to lack of knowledge because they do not possess the Word. Nevertheless when they have received instruction they have a clearer perception and consequently a more internal perception of what heavenly life means for a person than Christians have. The reason for this is that they have not set themselves firmly against the truths of faith as very many Christians have done. Consequently their internal man is not closed but is as it is with young children, open to and receptive of truth. For those who have set themselves firmly against the truths and forms of the good of faith, as all who lead an evil life do, close their internal man above and open it below.

[3] As a result of this the attention of the internal man is focused solely on things below, that is, on the external or natural man, and through this on things that exist in the world, round about their body, and on this planet. And when this is so, they look downwards, that is, towards hell. With people like this the internal man cannot be opened towards heaven unless the negative rejections of truth or positive acceptances of falsity which have closed it are banished; and these must be banished while they are in the world. This cannot be accomplished except by a complete turning around of their life, thus over a number of years. For falsities line up in rows, make a continuous chain from one to another, and form the actual natural mind and the way it sees things that belong to the Church and to heaven. Consequently all matters of faith and charity, that is, everything taught by the Church or contained in the Word, in general everything heavenly and Divine is thick darkness to those people, and conversely everything worldly and earthly is light. From this it is evident that destroying falsities with such people means destroying the life they have, and that if they are to possess a new kind of life falsities must be gradually rooted out and truths and forms of good implanted instead. And these must in a similar way form a continuous chain from one to another and be lined up in rows. This is what is meant by a complete turning around of their life that cannot take place except over a number of years. Therefore anyone who imagines that a person can be made new in an instant is much mistaken.

[4] But those who have not set themselves firmly against the forms of good and the truths of faith - those for instance who are outside the Church and yet have lived in some kind of faith and charity in accord with their religion - have not been able to close their internal man through negative rejections of truth and positive acceptances of falsity that are contrary to the truth of faith founded on the Word. Therefore also - if not in the world, nevertheless in the next life - their internal can be opened above, that is, in the direction of heaven and of the Lord. And at the same time all the earthly and worldly ideas they have brought with them from their life in the world are raised up, in order that they may all look upwards together. These then bring them into a condition to receive the truths of faith from the Lord and forms of the good of charity, to have intelligence and wisdom conferred on them, and so to be endowed with eternal happiness. Such is the condition of all who lead a good life in accord with their religion. For this reason the Lord's Church is spread throughout the whole world. But the Lord's Church on earth is like the Grand Man in heaven, whose heart and lungs are where the Word exists, and the remaining members and internal organs, which depend for their life on the heart and lungs, are where the Word does not exist.

[5] All this also goes to show why it is that a new Church is always established among gentile nations who are outside the Church, 2986, 4747, which takes place when the old Church has closed heaven to itself, as stated above. So it is that the Church was transferred from the Jewish people to gentile nations, and also that the Church at the present day is now being transferred to gentiles.

[6] The fact that the Church is transferred to gentile nations who acknowledge the Lord is clear from very many places in the Word, such as the following: In Isaiah,

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; those dwelling in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shone out. You have multiplied the nation; for them You have made joy great. Isa 9:2, 3.

In the same prophet,

It will happen on that day, that the nations will seek the root of Jesse, which is standing as an ensign of the peoples; and His rest will be glory. Isa 11:10.

In the same prophet,

I Jehovah have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand, because I will guard You, and give You to be a covenant of the people,a a light of the nations, to open the blind eyes, to bring the bound out of prison, out of the dungeon-house those who sit in darkness. Isa 42:6, 7.

In the same prophet,

Lo, I have given Him as a witness to the peoples, a Prince and Lawgiver to the peoples.b Lo, You will call a nation You do not know, and a nation that did not know You will run to You, on account of Jehovah Your God, and because of the Holy One of Israel. Isa 55:4, 5.

In the same prophet,

Nations will walk to Your light, and kings to the brightness of Your rising. Lift up Your eyes round about; they all gather together and they come towards You. Your sons come from far, and Your daughters are carried at the side by nurses. Then You will see and abound, and Your heart will be astounded and enlarge itself because the abundance of the sea will be turned to You, the armies of the nations will come to You. Isa 60:3-5.

In Simeon's prophecy regarding the Lord after His birth, in Luke,

My eyes have seen Yourc salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light for revelation to the gentiles.d Luke 2:30-32.

[7] All these places, in which the Lord is the subject, declare that gentile nations will come to Him. They come to Him when they acknowledge Him as their God; and what is amazing, such nations worship the one and only God manifested in human form. When therefore they learn about the Lord they receive and acknowledge Him; and a new Church cannot be established among any others. The fact that the Church is established among such nations is further evident from the following words that are the Lord's, in Matthew,

Have you not read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner-stone?e Therefore I say to you, The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits [of it]. Matt 21:42, 43.

'The stone' is the Lord, 6426, 'the builders' are those who belong to the Church. And the fact that these will be last and the gentile nations first is evident from His words in Luke,

They will come from the east and the west, and from the north and the south, reclining in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last. Luke 13:29, 30.


a The Latin means for the people but the Hebrew means of the people, which Sw. has in some other places where he quotes this verse.
b The Latin means nations but the Hebrew means peoples, which Sw. has in some other places where he quotes this verse.
c The Latin means God's but the Greek means Your, which Sw. has in other places where he quotes this verse.
d or nations
e lit. the head of the corner

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