Spiritual Representation And The Source Of Angelic Power | NCE Spotlight
Featured quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg's Secrets of Heaven:
The representative objects that present themselves to spirits come in unbelievable variety, but most of them resemble objects that exist on the earth in its three kingdoms.
Scenes representing what is spiritual and heavenly sometimes occur in a long series, lasting an hour or two, one after another, in an order that is astounding. There are certain communities in which this happens, and I was allowed to stay in them for many months. The representations are such that if I were to narrate and describe the chain of events in just one of them, it would fill many pages. The scenes are intensely pleasing, because something new and unexpected always comes next, and this keeps happening until the phenomenon being represented has been brought to perfect completion. When everything is complete, the viewer is able to take it all in at a single glance and at the same time to sense what the individual pieces of it symbolize.
This is another way good spirits are introduced into spiritual and heavenly thinking.
 So people who know religious concepts but do not live a life of love for others cannot see that any pleasure exists besides that which results from supremacy. It monopolizes their minds and constitutes their whole life. Consequently they are completely unacquainted with the heavenly satisfaction that comes of humility and the desire to help others—that is, with the joy of love for the Lord and charity for their neighbor—and with the bliss and happiness these produce. For that reason, the Lord accommodated to their weaknesses when he spoke, so that by this means they could be stirred up and led to learn, teach, and do good. All the same, he teaches what importance and prestige in heaven really are . . .
[After death] we do admittedly become relatively great, important, powerful, and imperial, since a single angel is stronger than many thousands of hellish spirits. But the power comes from the Lord, not ourselves.
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A Big Announcement from the Swedenborg Foundation and the Future of Inside Off The Left Eye
1:36Chelsea shares an announcement about the Inside Off The Left Eye podcast, as well as gratitude to our listeners.Secrets of Heaven volumes 3 and 4 are now available! To read the latest publications on which Dr. Jonathan Rose and his team have been working so hard, follow these links:https://swedenborg.com/product/secrets-heaven-3-nce/https://swedenborg.com/product/secrets-heaven-4-nce/And for a whole library of books and videos to dig into, go to our two websites: www.swedenborg.com and www.offthelefteye.comOr check out our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/offthelefteyeIf you'd like to support our ongoing efforts in translation, publication, and content production, go to https://www.offthelefteye.com/donate/
God’s Divine And Human Nature | NCE Spotlight
16:27Featured quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg's Secrets of Heaven:2798:2It is also known that he was born to the Virgin Mary, but this was a birth like that of any other person. When he was born again—in other words, was made divine—it was from Jehovah, who was in him and who was the very essence of his life. The uniting of his divine and human natures was a mutual, reciprocal process, so that he united his divine nature with his human nature and his human nature with his divine. 2894Moreover, since the Word means the Lord’s divine humanity, it means all the truth that tells of and comes from him, in his kingdom in the heavens and in his church on earth. That is why it says that in him was life, the life was the light of humankind, and the light appears in the darkness.3441:1-2Because of Abraham my servant means from the Lord’s divine humanity. This can be seen from the representation of Abraham as the Lord’s divinity and also as his divine humanity (discussed in §§2833, 2836, 3251) and from the symbolism of my servant, where it describes the Lord, as his divine humanity. Not that his divine humanity is a servant, because it too is Jehovah (1736, 2156, 2329, 2921, 3023, 3035), but that the Lord served the human race through it. By it we are saved, as we never could have been had the Lord not united his humanity with his divinity, enabling us to mentally gaze on and worship his human side and in this way approach his divine side. Our union with divinity itself, called the Father, takes place through the divine humanity, called the Son. So it takes place through the Lord, whom spiritual people take to mean his humanity but heavenly people take to mean divinity itself. Clearly, then, the Lord’s divine humanity is called a servant because it serves his divinity by providing us with access to it and because it serves the human race by saving us. That is what Abraham my servant symbolizes. . . .
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Religious Doctrine, The Goodness of Faith, And Freedom | NCE Spotlight
14:07Featured quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg's Secrets of Heaven:2799:5In Hosea: I will strike a pact with them on that day—with the wild animal of the field, and with the bird in the heavens and the creeping animal of the ground. And bow and sword and war I will break off from the earth, and I will make them lie down securely. (Hosea 2:18) This is about the Lord’s kingdom. Breaking bow, sword, and war means that no one there fights over doctrine or truth.3242:1Here is how matters stand with a person who focuses on the truth taught by faith: None are allowed into the Lord’s kingdom but those who have the goodness taught by faith, because the goodness taught by faith has to do with life. A religious life stays with us [after death], but religious doctrine does not, unless it is integrated into our life. Still, people who focus on the truth of faith (that is, who champion faith and describe it as essential, because that is how they have been taught) but live good lives (that is, are Christian at heart, not just on their lips) are in the Lord’s spiritual kingdom. 2873For this reason, we are all distinguished from each other in the next life according to our type of freedom. To put the same thing another way, we are distinguished according to what we love and are affected by. Consequently, we are distinguished according to the pleasures of our life, which is the same as saying we are distinguished according to our life.
Neighborly Love, Faith, And What The Philistines Represent | NCE Spotlight
22:15Featured quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg's Secrets of Heaven:3324:4People who have no love for others cannot acknowledge the Lord, so they cannot acknowledge religious truth. If they claim to believe, they are being either superficial or hypocritical (2354). There is absolutely no faith without neighborly love (654, 1162, 1176, 2417).3325:3In the church, though, there are more people who are not regenerating than who are, and people who are not regenerating draw conclusions on the basis of appearances. So there was a controversy going back to ancient times about the relative priority of truth and goodness. The prevailing opinion among people who had not been reborn (and among people who had not been fully reborn) was that truth came first. They were not yet able to perceive what was good, and as long as we cannot perceive goodness, we live in shadows of ignorance on the subject. People who have been reborn, though, are actually immersed in goodness, which brings them understanding and wisdom, so they are able to discern what is good. They can also tell that what is good comes from the Lord, that it flows in by way of the inner self into the outer, that it flows in constantly, without any awareness on our part, that it links up with doctrinal truth in the memory, and consequently that goodness by its very nature is prior, even though it had not seemed so before.3412:2Here is the situation with deep truth that comes from the Divine and is wiped out by the people called Philistines: In the ancient church and after its time, “Philistines” referred to people who had little energy for learning how to live but a great deal of energy for learning theology. Eventually they even rejected life issues and acknowledged belief issues as the essence of the church, detaching them from life.
Infancy, Old Age, And How To Unite Goodness and Truth | NCE Spotlight
21:11Featured quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg's Secrets of Heaven:3304:2Goodness but not truth is born into humans, with the result that babies lack any knowledge of truth. Truth has to be learned and then united with goodness.3321:3As a consequence of these facts and others, our earthly self accepts truth much later and with much more difficulty than our rational self does. The result is combat, which lasts quite a long time and does not end until the vessels in our earthly self for receiving goodness have been softened by inward trial, as shown above in §3318. Truth is just a vessel for receiving goodness (§§1496, 1832, 1900, 2063, 2261, 2269), and the vessel becomes harder the more rigid we are about truth. . . . The more rigid we are, the heavier the battle, if we are to be reborn. Accordingly, since this is what happens in the earthly self to unite truth with goodness there, and it is accomplished through the struggles of inward trial, the biblical text repeats I’m worn out.3254The reason it is newness or a new stage that old age symbolizes on an inner level is that angels (the intended audience of the Word’s inner meaning) have no idea of time. So they know nothing of time-related concepts such as the different eras of a person’s life—childhood, youth, young adulthood, full adulthood, and old age. Instead they replace them all with the idea of states. For the period of childhood they picture an innocent state; for the period of youth and young adulthood, a state of desire for goodness and truth; for full adulthood, a state of understanding; and for old age, a state of wisdom (§3183). In old age we pass from temporal concerns to the concerns of timeless life and therefore put on a new state. As a result, old age symbolizes newness.
Truth And The Rational Level Of Our Minds | NCE Spotlight
28:25Featured quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg's Secrets of Heaven:3368:3Let me explain the secret behind the command not to go down into Egypt but to stay as an immigrant in the land of Gerar—that is, not to focus on facts but on rational thinking: All appearances of truth containing something divine belong to the rational level—so much so that rational ideas are the same as appearances of truth. Facts, though, belong to the earthly level—so much so that earthly ideas are the same as factual truth. Rational truth, or appearances of truth, can exist and emerge only from an inflow from the Divine into the rational dimension and through rational ideas into the facts occupying the earthly dimension. The resulting activity on the rational level shows up on the earthly level like the image of a busy scene reflected in a mirror. That is how it presents itself to us and also to angels. The earthly image is not as conspicuous to an angel as it is to those in the world of spirits and those on a spiritual-earthly level.#3368:3.a+ So the latter two groups have truth represented to them. 3175:1 This is how the case stands: We are never born into any truth, not even into any earthly truth, such as the idea that we should not steal, not kill, not commit adultery, and so on. Still less are we born into any spiritual truth, such as the idea that there is a God, or that we have a deeper part that will live on after death. So on our own we know nothing about eternal life. Earthly and spiritual truth are things we learn. If we did not learn them, we would be much worse than brute animals. By heredity, we love ourselves above all others and long to own everything in the world. That is why we need to be restrained by civil laws and the fear of losing our position, wealth, reputation, and life. Otherwise we would steal, kill, and commit adultery without the least twinge of conscience. This is obviously the case, because even the educated do such things without remorse and in fact defend the practice, offering many justifications for acting that way, so far as they can get away with it. What would they refrain from if they had not been educated?2851:3There are two paths that lead to a person’s rational mind: a higher or more inward path that gives access to goodness and truth from the Lord, and a lower or more outward path through which evil and falsity sneak in from hell. The rational mind itself lies at the meeting-point of the two paths. In the Word, this level of the mind is compared to and called a city, on account of the goodness and truth present in it. Since it is compared to and called a city, gates are marked out for it, and enemies—evil demons and spirits—are described in many passages as besieging or attacking it. Angels from the Lord, which is to say, the Lord himself, are described as defending it. Hellish demons and spirits, with their evils and falsities, cannot go beyond the lower or shallower gate; they never enter the city. If they could enter the city (our rational mind), that would be the end of us. When they advance far enough that it looks to them as though they have captured the city, it is closed, so that goodness and truth can no longer flow into it from heaven. Just a small bit seeps in through cracks all around, as just mentioned.
How Mercy, Charity, And Truth Are Connected To Divine Love | NCE Spotlight
22:44Featured quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg's Secrets of Heaven:3122:1More about this truth that means charity: The very earliest people, who were heavenly, understood the mercy and truth worked by the Lord in them to be simply an acceptance of the love for the Lord and the resulting charity toward others that flow into a person. The ancients, who were spiritual, understood the mercy and truth worked by the Lord in them to be charity and faith. The reason for the discrepancy is that heavenly people never thought about matters of faith, or truth, but about matters of love, or goodness. This can be seen from previous remarks about heavenly people, §§202, 337, 2669, 2715. And charity for their neighbor introduced heavenly people into love for the Lord, when they were being reformed and reborn. It is plain, then, that the mercy done by the Lord actually means a perception of an inflowing love for him, and that truth actually means a perception of an inflowing charity for our neighbor that results from it.2917The Lord emerges from . . . night and rises again in us when we acknowledge him. Until then, we experience nighttime, because we cannot see him. He rises again in everyone who is reborn.2768To say that God tested Abraham . . . is to speak in harmony with the literal text, which ascribes our times of trial and other hardships to God. To speak in harmony with the inner meaning, though, is to say that God never tests anyone. At such times he is constantly delivering us from our struggles, so far as he can, which is to say, so far as freeing us does no harm. At the same time he is constantly focusing on the goodness to which he can lead us when we are being tested. Otherwise he would never consent to it. Although it is fair to say he allows us to be tested, his permission does not work the way we think it does—that when he allows something, he approves of it. Humans find it impossible to grasp that any of us could permit what we do not will, but it is the evil in us that causes this. It is also the evil in us that brings on our crises, for which God is not the least bit responsible.
Angel Choirs, Peace, And Being Gathered To Our Ancestors | NCE Spotlight
15:43Featured quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg's Secrets of Heaven:3350:2Then I heard numerous choirs putting forth various representations, and even though there were many choirs and many in each choir, they acted as one. The forms of the various contributions combined into a single whole filled with heavenly beauty.The same effect can be produced by the entirety of heaven, populated as it is by millions and millions, who act in unison because they love each other, since as a result they allow the Lord to lead them. Amazingly, the more there are—the more millions there are—to populate heaven, the more distinct and perfect everything becomes. 2780Peaceful conditions in the heavens resemble the mood of dawn on the earth. Everything heavenly and spiritual in the heavens exists in a state of peace, which is what gives all of it its charm, blessing, and happiness. In the same way, at the time of dawn on earth, everything displays itself to us as pleasant and cheerful. Individual details draw their character from the general mood. . . . The case is the same with a state of innocence. It emerges under peaceful conditions and is a general mood affecting everything involved in love and faith. Unless the various facets of love and faith have innocence within them, they lack their essential ingredient. That is why no one can go to heaven without possessing some innocence (Mark 10:15). 3255:1 When people died, the ancients customarily said they were gathered to their ancestors, or to their people, by which they meant that they literally went to their parents and other close and distant relations in the other world. This saying was one they received from the earliest people, who were a heavenly race. While the earliest people were living on earth, they were also present with angels in heaven, so they knew how matters stood. They knew that everyone who shares the same kind of goodness meets in the other life and lives together, as does everyone who shares the same truth. The former they would describe as being gathered to their ancestors. . . , but the latter, to their people.
Spiritual Representation And The Source Of Angelic Power | NCE Spotlight
28:06Featured quotations from Emanuel Swedenborg's Secrets of Heaven:3215The representative objects that present themselves to spirits come in unbelievable variety, but most of them resemble objects that exist on the earth in its three kingdoms. 3214Scenes representing what is spiritual and heavenly sometimes occur in a long series, lasting an hour or two, one after another, in an order that is astounding. There are certain communities in which this happens, and I was allowed to stay in them for many months. The representations are such that if I were to narrate and describe the chain of events in just one of them, it would fill many pages. The scenes are intensely pleasing, because something new and unexpected always comes next, and this keeps happening until the phenomenon being represented has been brought to perfect completion. When everything is complete, the viewer is able to take it all in at a single glance and at the same time to sense what the individual pieces of it symbolize.This is another way good spirits are introduced into spiritual and heavenly thinking.3417:3 So people who know religious concepts but do not live a life of love for others cannot see that any pleasure exists besides that which results from supremacy. It monopolizes their minds and constitutes their whole life. Consequently they are completely unacquainted with the heavenly satisfaction that comes of humility and the desire to help others—that is, with the joy of love for the Lord and charity for their neighbor—and with the bliss and happiness these produce. For that reason, the Lord accommodated to their weaknesses when he spoke, so that by this means they could be stirred up and led to learn, teach, and do good. All the same, he teaches what importance and prestige in heaven really are . . .[After death] we do admittedly become relatively great, important, powerful, and imperial, since a single angel is stronger than many thousands of hellish spirits. But the power comes from the Lord, not ourselves.