(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 3417

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3417. And encamped in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. That this signifies that He betook Himself to lower rational things, that is, from interior appearances to exterior, is evident from the signification of "encamping," as being to dispose into order; and from the signification of the "valley of Gerar," as being lower rational things, or exterior appearances of truth, for a "valley" signifies lower, or what is the same, exterior things (n. 1723), and "Gerar" those which are of faith, thus which are of truth (n. 1209, 2504, 3365, 3384, 3385); and from the signification of "dwelling" as being to be and to live (n. 3384); so that by his "encamping in the valley of Gerar and dwelling there" is signified that the Lord so disposed truths that they might be adapted to the comprehension and genius of those also who are not much in life, but in the doctrinal things of faith; as may be seen from the Word, where also truths are thus adapted.
[2] For example: they who are in doctrinal things, and not so much in life, do not know otherwise than that the heavenly kingdom is similar to kingdoms on earth, in that men become great by ruling over others, this delight being the only one with which they are acquainted, and which they prefer to every other delight; and therefore the Lord spoke in the Word according to this appearance, as in Matthew:
Whosoever shall do and teach, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:19);
and in David:
I said, Ye are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High (Ps. 82:6; John 10:34, 35).
And because even the disciples themselves had at first no other opinion respecting the heavenly kingdom than that of greatness and preeminence, as on earth-as is evident in Matthew 18:1; Mark 9:34; Luke 9:46-and also had an idea of sitting on the right hand and the left of a king (Matt. 20:20, 21, 24; Mark 10:37), therefore also the Lord replied according to their apprehension and their spirit, saying, when there was a contention among them as to which of them should be greatest:
Ye shall eat and drink at My table in My kingdom; and shall sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:30; Matt. 19:28);
for at that time they did not know that heavenly delight is not the delight of greatness and preeminence, but is the delight of humiliation and of the affection of serving others; thus of desiring to be least, and not greatest; as the Lord teaches in Luke:
Whosoever is least among you all, the same shall be great (Luke 9:48).
[3] Thus they who are in the memory-knowledge of knowledges, and not in the life of charity, cannot know that there is any other delight than that which results from preeminence; and because this is the only delight that is seated in their minds, and makes all their life, therefore they are utterly ignorant of the heavenly delight that results from humiliation and the affection of serving others-that is, the delight of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor-consequently of the blessedness and happiness thence derived. This is the reason why the Lord spoke in adaptation to their infirmity, that thereby they might be aroused and introduced to good, so as to learn, and to teach, and to do it. At the same time He teaches the nature of greatness and preeminence in heaven (Matt. 19:30; 20:16, 25-28; Mark 10:31, 42-45; Luke 9:48; 13:30; 22:25-28). These and the like are the appearances of truth of a lower degree; for they do become relatively great, preeminent, powerful, and of authority, seeing that a single angel has greater power than myriads of infernal spirits, yet not from himself, but from the Lord; and he has it from the Lord in the proportion that he believes that he has no power from himself, thus that he is the least; and this he can believe insofar as he is in humiliation and in the affection of being of service to others, that is, insofar as he is in the good of love to the Lord, and of charity toward the neighbor.


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