(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 4299

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4299. For I have seen God faces to faces, and my soul is delivered. That this signifies that He endured the most grievous temptations as if they were from the Divine, is evident from the signification of "seeing God," as being an approach to Him through things interior, namely, goods and truths, hence denoting presence (see n. 4198); and from the signification of "faces," as being things interior (n. 1999, 2434, 3527, 3573, 4066), consequently the thoughts and affections, for thoughts and affections are interior things, because they are of the animus and of the mind, and manifest themselves in the face; and from the signification of "my soul is delivered," as being to endure, namely, the Divine presence. That by all these things is signified that He endured the most grievous temptations as if they were from the Divine, cannot appear except from the causes of temptations both proximate and remote. The proximate causes are the evils and falsities in the man, which lead him into temptations, consequently the evil spirits and genii who pour them in (n. 4249). Nevertheless no one can be tempted (that is, undergo any spiritual temptation) except him who has conscience; for spiritual temptation is nothing else than torment of conscience; and consequently none can be tempted except those who are in celestial and spiritual good, for these have conscience, and all others have not, and do not even know what conscience is.
[2] Conscience is a new will and a new understanding from the Lord; thus it is the Lord's presence in a man; and this the nearer, in proportion as the man is in the affection of good or of truth. If the Lord's presence is nearer than in proportion as the man is in the affection of good or of truth, the man comes into temptation. The reason is that the evils and falsities which are in the man, tempered by the goods and truths that are in him, cannot endure a nearer presence. This may be seen from the things that take place in the other life: that evil spirits cannot possibly approach any heavenly society without beginning to feel anguish and torment; also that evil spirits cannot endure to have angels look upon them, for they are instantly tortured and fall into a swoon; and also from the fact that hell is remote from heaven, for the reason that it cannot endure heaven, that is, the Lord's presence which is in heaven. This is the reason why it is said of such in the Word:
Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall upon us; and to the hills, Hide us (Luke 23:30).
And elsewhere:
They shall say to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall down upon us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne (Rev. 6:16).
Moreover the foggy and pitch-dark sphere which exhales from the evils and falsities of those who are in hell appears like a mountain or rock, under which they are hidden (see n. 1265, 1267, 1270).
[3] From all this it can now be known that the words, "I have seen God faces to faces, and my soul is delivered," signify the most grievous temptations as if they were from the Divine. Temptations and torments appear as if from the Divine, because, as before said, they come forth through the Lord's Divine presence; but still they are not from the Divine, or from the Lord, but from the evils and falsities which are in him who is being tempted or tormented. For from the Lord nothing proceeds but the Holy which is good and true and merciful. This Holy, which is good and true and merciful, is what those who are in evils and falsities cannot endure, because they are opposites or contraries. Evils, falsities, and unmercifulness are continually intent upon doing violence to these holy things; and insofar as they assault them, so far they are tormented; and when they assault them, and are consequently tormented, they suppose that it is the Divine which torments them. These things are what are meant by the words "as if they were from the Divine."
[4] That no one can see Jehovah face to face, and live, was known to the ancients, and this knowledge was handed down from them to the posterity of Jacob; for which reason they rejoiced so greatly when they saw an angel and yet lived. As in the book of Judges:
Gideon saw that he was the angel of Jehovah; and therefore Gideon said, Lord Jehovih! Forasmuch as I have seen the angel of Jehovah face to face. And Jehovah said unto him, Peace be unto thee, fear not, thou shalt not die (Judg. 6:22-23).
In the same book:
Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God (Judg. 13:22).
And in Moses:
Jehovah said unto Moses, Thou canst not see My faces, for man shall not see Me, and live (Exod. 33:20).
[5] When it is said of Moses that he spoke with Jehovah face to face (Exod. 33:11), and that Jehovah knew him face to face (Deut. 34:10), the meaning is that Jehovah appeared to him in a human form adapted to his reception, which was external, namely, as an old man with a beard, sitting with him - as I have been instructed by the angels. It was from this also that the Jews had no other idea of Jehovah than as of a very old man, with a long and snowy beard, who could do greater miracles than other gods. Not that they accounted Him the most holy, for what holiness was they did not know; still less that they could by any possibility see the Holy that proceeds from Him, because they were in bodily and earthly love, without any holy internal (n. 4289, 4293).


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