420. That heaven is not immense, but it is of limited extent, is a conclusion that some have derived from certain passages in the Word understood according to the sense of its letter; for example, where it is said that only the poor are received into heaven, or only the elect, or only those within the church, and not those outside of it, or only those for whom the Lord intercedes; that heaven is closed when it is filled, and that this time is predetermined. But such are unaware that heaven is never closed, and that there is no time predetermined, or any limit of number; and that those are called the "elect" who are in a life of good and truth;# and those are called "poor" who are lacking in knowledges of good and truth and yet desire them; and such from that desire are also called hungry.## Those that have conceived an idea of the small extent of heaven from the Word not understood believe it to be in one place, where all are gathered together; when, in fact, heaven consists of innumerable societies (see above, n. 41-50). Such also have no other idea than that heaven is granted to everyone from mercy apart from means, and thus that there is admission and reception from mere favor; and they fail to understand that the Lord from mercy leads everyone who accepts Him, and that he accepts Him who lives in accordance with the laws of divine order, which are the precepts of love and of faith, and that the mercy that is meant is to be thus led by the Lord from infancy to the last period of life in the world and afterwards to eternity. Let them know, therefore, that every man is born for heaven, and that he is received that receives heaven in himself in the world, and he that does not receive it is shut out.
# Those are the elect who are in a life of good and truth (n. 3755, 3900).
Election and reception into heaven are not from mercy, as that term is understood, but are in accordance with the life (n. 5057, 5058).
There is no mercy of the Lord apart from means, but only through means, that is, to those that live in accordance with His precepts; such the Lord from His mercy leads continually in the world, and afterwards to eternity (n. 8700, 10659).
## By the "poor," in the Word, those are meant who are spiritually poor, that is, who are ignorant of truth and yet wish to he taught (n. 9209, 9253, 10227).
Such are said to hunger and thirst, which is to desire knowledges of good and of truth, by which there is introduction into the church and into heaven (n. 4958, 10227).