(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 4585

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4585. And they journeyed from Bethel, and there was still a tract of land to come to Ephrath. That this signifies that now was the spiritual of the celestial, is evident from the signification of "journeying from Bethel" as being what is continuous of the advancement of the Divine from the Divine natural (that "journeying" denotes what is continuous may be seen above, n. 4554, here in the supreme sense what is continuous of the advancement of the Divine, and that "Bethel" is the Divine natural, n. 4559, 4560); from the signification of a "tract of land in coming," as being what is intermediate (of which in what follows); and from the signification of "Ephrath," as being the spiritual of the celestial in a former state (of which below where Bethlehem is treated of, which is the spiritual of the celestial in a new state), hence it is said, "Ephrath, this is Bethlehem" (verse 19).
[2] In these verses the subject treated of is the advancement of the Lord's Divine toward interior things, for when the Lord made His Human Divine He advanced in a like order to that in which He makes man new by regeneration, namely, from what is external to interior things, thus from the truth which is in the ultimate of order to a good which is interior, and is called spiritual good, and from this to celestial good. But these things cannot fall into the understanding of anyone unless it is known what the external man and the internal man are, and that the former is distinct from the latter, although while man is living in the body they appear as one; also unless it is known that the natural constitutes the external man, and the rational the internal; and further, unless it is known what the spiritual is and what the celestial.
[3] These things have indeed already been occasionally unfolded, nevertheless they who have previously had no idea about them in consequence of having no desire to know the things of eternal life, find it impossible to have any such idea. Such people say, "What is the internal man? Is it possible that it can be distinct from the external? What is the natural, and the rational? Are they not one? Moreover, What is the spiritual, and the celestial? Is not this a new distinction? We have heard of the spiritual, but that the celestial is something else we have not heard." The case however is thus: They who have not previously acquired any idea on these subjects, for the reason that the cares of the world and of the body have possession of all their thought and take away all desire of knowing anything else; or because they deem it sufficient to know their doctrinal tenets as they are commonly known, and that it is of no consequence to have any further thought about the matter, saying, "We see the world, but the other life we do not see, perhaps it exists and perhaps not"-much persons put away all these subjects, for even at the first look they at heart reject them.
[4] Nevertheless as they are such things as are contained in the internal sense of the Word, and these cannot be explained without adequate terms, and we have no terms more adequate for expressing exterior things than the term natural, for interior things than the term rational, for those things which are of truth the term spiritual, and those which are of good the term celestial, it is absolutely necessary to make use of these terms, for without terms adapted to the subject nothing can be described. In order therefore that those who desire to know may receive some idea of what the spiritual of the celestial is which Benjamin represents and which "Bethlehem" signifies, I will briefly explain it. In the supreme sense the subject that has been treated of is the glorification of the Lord's natural, and in the relative sense the regeneration of man as to his natural. That Jacob represented the man of the church as to his external, and Israel as to his internal, thus Jacob as to his exterior natural, and Israel as to his interior natural, has been shown above (n. 4286); for the spiritual man is from the natural, and the celestial man is from the rational. It has also been shown that the Lord's glorification advanced from external things to more interior things, in like manner as the regeneration of man advances, and that for the sake of this representation Jacob was called "Israel."
[5] But a further advance toward more interior things is now treated of, namely, toward the rational, for as just said, the rational constitutes the internal man. The intermediate between the internal of the natural and the external of the rational is what is meant by the spiritual of the celestial, which is signified by "Ephrath" and "Bethlehem," and is represented by Benjamin. This intermediate derives somewhat from the internal of the natural which is "Israel," and from the external of the rational which is "Joseph;" for that which is intermediate derives something from each extreme, otherwise it could not serve as an intermediate. In order that anyone from being spiritual may become celestial, he must needs advance through this intermediate, for to climb up to higher things without an intermediate is not possible.
[6] And therefore the nature of the advance through this intermediate is here described by Jacob's coming to Ephrath, and by Rachel's bringing forth Benjamin there. Hence it is evident that by their journeying from Bethel, and by there being yet a tract of land to come to Ephrath, is signified what is continuous of the advancement of the Lord's Divine from the Divine natural to the spiritual of the celestial which is signified by "Ephrath" and "Bethlehem," and is represented by Benjamin. The spiritual of the celestial is the intermediate that is spoken of, being called "spiritual" from the spiritual man, which viewed in itself is the interior of the natural man, and "celestial" from the celestial man, which viewed in itself is the rational man. "Joseph" is the exterior rational man, and therefore the celestial of the spiritual from the rational is predicated of him.


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