325. I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held, signifies those who were hated, reproached and rejected by the evil on account of their life according to the truths of the Word, and their acknowledgment of the Lord's Divine Human, and who were guarded by the Lord lest they be seduced. "Under the altar" signifies the lower earth, where they were guarded by the Lord; "an altar" signifies the worship of the Lord from the good of love; by "the souls of the slain," are not here signified the martyrs, but they who are hated, reproached, and rejected by the evil in the world of spirits, and who could be seduced by the dragonists and heretics. "For the Word of God and for the testimony which they held" signifies for living according to the truths of the Word, and acknowledging the Lord's Divine Human. "Testimony" in heaven is not given to any but to those who acknowledge the Lord's Divine Human, for it is the Lord who testifies, and gives the angels to testify (n.16):
For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10).
 Since they were "under the altar," it is evident they were guarded by the Lord; for they who have led any life of charity are all guarded by the Lord lest they be injured by the evil; and after the Last Judgment, when the evil have been removed, they are released from the guards and elevated into heaven. I have frequently seen them, since the Last Judgment, liberated from the lower earth and taken up into heaven.
 That by "the slain" are meant they who are rejected, reproached and hated by the evil in the world of spirits, and who could be seduced, and also who desire to know truths, but cannot, by reason of falsities in the church, may appear from these passages:
Jehovah God saith, Feed the sheep of the slaughter, whose possessors slay them; and I will feed the sheep of slaughter, on account of you, O poor of the flock (Zech. 11:4-5, 7).
We are killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter; O Jehovah forsake us not (Ps. 44:22-23).
Jacob shall cause them which are to come to take root, or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that were slain by him? (Isa. 27:6-7).
For I have heard the voice of the daughter of Zion, woe is me, now; my soul is wearied by the slayers (Jer. 4:31).
They shall deliver you into affliction, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated for My name's sake (Matt. 24:9; John 16:2-3).
This the Lord said to the disciples; but by disciples are meant all who worship the Lord and live according to the truths of His Word.
 The evil in the world of spirits continually desire to kill; but because there they cannot do this as to the body, they continually desire to do it as to the soul; and since they are not able to do this, they burn with such hatred against them, that nothing delights them more than to do evil to them. This is the reason why they are guarded by the Lord, and when the evil are cast into hell, which takes place after the Last Judgment, they are led forth from their guards; but see the explanation of chapter 20, n. 846, which treats of this subject. That "to kill" in the Word signifies to destroy souls, which is to kill spiritually, is evident from many passages there, as also from the following: Isaiah 14:19-21; 26:21; Jeremiah 25:33; Lamentations 2:21; Ezekiel 9:1, 6; Revelation 18:24.