(TCR) - True Christian Religion: Containing the Whole Theology of the New Church Predicted by the Lord in Daniel 7:13-14 and Revelation 21:1-2

TCR 123

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123. (4) Redemption was a work purely Divine. He who knows what hell is, and to what a height it had risen and how it had overflowed the whole world of spirits at the time of the Lord's coming, and with what might the Lord cast it down and scattered it, and afterwards brought into order both hell and heaven, cannot but wonder and declare that all this must have been a purely Divine work. First, as to the nature of hell. It consists of myriads of myriads, since it consists of all those who from the creation of the world have alienated themselves from God by evils of life and falsities of belief. Secondly, as to the height to which hell had risen, and how it had overflowed the entire world of spirits at the time of the Lord's coming, some explanation has been given in the preceding sections. To what extent this was the case at the time of the Lord's first coming no one knows, because it was not revealed in the sense of the letter of the Word; but the extent of it at the time of His second coming I have been permitted to see with my own eyes; and from this (which has already been described in a little work on The Last Judgment, published at London in 1758) conclusions may be drawn respecting the former period, as also with what power hell was then cast down and dispersed by the Lord. But there is no need to transcribe here what I witnessed as set forth in that book, because the work is extant, and numerous copies of it are still at the printer's in London. Anyone reading that book can see clearly this must have been a work of the omnipotent God.
[2] Fourthly, How the Lord afterwards reduced all things to order, both in heaven and in hell, I have not yet described, because the restoration of order in the heavens and in the hells has continued since the time of the last judgment until now, and still continues; but after this book has been published, if it seems desirable, this information shall be given to the public. For my own part, with reference to this matter, I have seen daily and still see in it the Lord's Divine omnipotence as it were face to face. This latter work is properly the work of redemption, while the former is properly that of the last judgment. When these two are viewed separately, many things respecting them, which are concealed under figures and yet described in the prophecies of the Word, can be seen, as soon as by an explanation of the correspondences these things are brought forth into the light of the understanding. [3] Neither of these two Divine operations can be made clear except by comparisons; and then but faintly. This latter work may be compared to a battle against an army composed of all the nations in the whole world, armed with spears, shields, swords, muskets, and cannon, led by skilful and shrewd generals and other officers. This is said because very many in hell excel in arts unknown in our world, and practice them among themselves, studying how to advance against, to ensnare, to besiege, and to assault those who are in heaven. [4] The Lord's combat against hell may also be compared, though imperfectly, to a conflict with all the wild beasts on the earth and their slaughter and subjugation, until not one of them dares comes forth to attack any man who is in the Lord; so that if the man but shows a threatening countenance his enemy instantly shrinks back as if he felt a vulture on his breast striving to pierce him to the very heart. Moreover, infernal spirits are compared in the Word to wild beasts; and such are meant by the wild beasts with which the Lord was for forty days (Mark 1:13).
[5] It may also be compared to resistance against the whole ocean, breaking in with its waves over demolished barriers upon countries and towns; and the Lord's subjugation of hell is meant by His calming the sea by saying:
Peace, be still (Mark 4:38, 39; Matt. 8:26; Luke 8:23, 24)
for here, as in many other places, the "sea" signifies hell.
[6] By a like Divine power the Lord fights at this day against hell in every man who is being regenerated; for hell attacks all such with diabolical fury, and unless the Lord resisted and tamed that fury man could not but succumb. For hell is like one monstrous man, or like a huge lion, with which indeed it is compared in the Word; therefore unless the Lord kept that lion or monster manacled and fettered, a man from himself must needs, when rescued from one evil, fall into another, and again into others continually.


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