2699. For I will make him a great nation. That this signifies the spiritual church, is evident from the signification of a "great nation," as being the spiritual church, which will receive the good of faith (see above, n. 2669). It is said a "great nation," because the spiritual kingdom is the Lord's second kingdom (spoken of also in the same number). As the man of the spiritual church is represented by Ishmael, so also is the spiritual church itself represented by him, and also the Lord's spiritual kingdom in the heavens; for the image and likeness of the one is in the other. The first state after desolation was described in the preceding verse, which was a state of consolation and of the hope of help. Their second state after desolation is described in this verse, which is a state of enlightenment and of refreshment therefrom.
 As these states are unknown in the world, for the reason as before said that at this day few are being regenerated, we may describe the state of those who are being regenerated in the other life, where it is most fully known. Those who have been in vastation or desolation there, after being comforted by the hope of help, are elevated by the Lord into heaven, thus from a state of shade which is a state of ignorance, into a state of light which is a state of enlightenment and of the refreshment therefrom, thus into a joy that affects their inmosts. It is actually light into which they come, of such a quality as to enlighten not only their sight, but also their understanding at the same time; and how much this light refreshes them may be seen from the opposite state, from which they have been delivered. Some who had been of an infantile disposition and of simple faith, then appear to themselves in white and shining garments; some with crowns; some are taken around to various angelic societies, and are everywhere received with charity as brethren; and whatever of good is gratifying to their new life is shown them: to some it is given to see the immensity of heaven, or of the Lord's kingdom, and at the same time to perceive the blessedness of those who are there; besides innumerable other things which cannot be described. Such is the state of the first enlightenment, and of the refreshment therefrom with those who come out of desolation.