(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 3255

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3255. And was gathered to his peoples. That this signifies that these things were concerning Abraham, is evident from the signification of being "gathered to his peoples," as being to be no longer the subject; for to be gathered to his peoples is to go away from those among whom he has been hitherto, and pass to his own; thus in the present case to be no longer a representative. It was customary with the ancients when anyone died, to say that he was gathered to his fathers or to his peoples, and they understood by this form of expression that he actually went to his parents, relations, and kinsfolk in the other life. They derived this form of speech from the most ancient people, who were celestial men, for while living on earth these were at the same time with the angels in heaven, and thus knew how the case is, namely, that all who are in the same good meet and are together in the other life, and likewise all who are in the same truth. Of the former they said that they were "gathered to their fathers," but of the latter that they were "gathered to their peoples;" for with them "fathers" signified goods (n. 2803), and "peoples" signified truths (n. 1259, 1260). As the people of the Most Ancient Church were all in similar good, they dwell together in heaven (n. 1115); and the case is the same with many of the people of the Ancient Church, who were in similar truth (n. 1125, 1127).
[2] Moreover while a man lives in the body he is always as to his soul in some society of spirits in the other life (n. 1277, 2379); the man who is evil is in a society of infernal spirits; and the man who is good is in a society of angels. Thus everyone is in a society of such spirits as he is in agreement with, either as to good and truth, or as to evil and falsity; and into this same society the man comes when he dies (n. 687). This is what among the ancients was signified by being "gathered to their fathers," or "to their peoples," as is here said of Abraham when he expired, and of Ishmael in this same chapter (Gen. 25:17); of Isaac (Gen. 35:29); of Jacob (Gen. 49:29, 33); of Aaron (Num. 20:24, 26); of Moses (Num. 27:13; 31:2; Deut. 32:50); and of the first generation that entered into the land of Canaan (Judges 2:10). But in the internal sense of the Word, when anyone's life is treated of representatively, by being "gathered to his peoples" is signified that he is no longer the subject, as before said.


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