(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 3263

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3263. And these are the births of Ishmael the son of Abraham. That this signifies the derivations of the spiritual church represented by Ishmael, is evident from the signification of "births," as being the derivations of faith, thus of the church (see n. 1145, 1255, 1330); from the representation of Ishmael, as being those who are rational and who are of the Lord's spiritual church (see n. 2078, 2691, 2699); and from the signification of the "sons of Abraham," as being those who are in truth from the Lord; for by "sons" are signified truths (see n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623), and by Abraham is represented the Lord as to the Divine Human also (n. 3251), from whom the spiritual have truth and good (n. 2661, 2716, 2833, 2834).
[2] As regards the Lord's spiritual church, be it known that it exists throughout the universal world; for it is not confined to those who have the Word and thence know the Lord and some truths of faith; but it exists also with those who have not the Word and therefore are altogether ignorant of the Lord and consequently know no truths of faith (for all the truths of faith regard the Lord); that is to say, this church exists among the Gentiles who are remote from the church; for there are many among them who from rational light know that there is one God; that He has created all things and preserves all things; and also that from Him is all good, consequently all truth; and that likeness to Him makes man blessed; and moreover they live according to their religion, in love to that God and in love toward the neighbor; and from the affection of good they do works of charity, and from the affection of truth they worship the Supreme Being. The Gentiles who are of this character are they who belong to the Lord's spiritual church; and although while in this world they do not know the Lord, yet within themselves they have the worship and tacit acknowledgment of Him when they are in good, for in all good the Lord is present; and therefore in the other life they easily acknowledge Him, and receive the truths of faith in Him more readily than Christians do who are not in good in this way, as may be seen from what has been disclosed from experience concerning the state and lot in the other life of the nations and peoples out of the church (n. 2589-2604). The natural light which these have has in it what is spiritual, for without that which is spiritual from the Lord, such things cannot possibly be acknowledged.
[3] From this it may now be seen what "Ishmael" signifies, and thereby who in the representative sense are the "Ishmaelites," namely those who are of the Lord's spiritual church, who as to life are in simple good, and therefore as to doctrine are in natural truth. Such also are signified by the "Ishmaelites" in the following passage concerning Joseph:
Behold, a travelling company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead, with their camels bearing wax, resin, and stacte, going to carry it down to Egypt (Gen. 37:25);
where the Ishmaelites represent those who are in simple good, such as is that in which are the well-disposed Gentiles; "camels bearing wax, resin, and stacte," denote the interior goods of such people. The like is signified by the "Ishmaelites" in verse 28 of the same chapter, and in chapter 39, verse 1; and also in the book of Judges, where it is said that Gideon made a request:
That ye would give me every man the earrings of his spoil. For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites (Judg. 8:24);
"golden earrings" signify the things of simple good (n. 3103).


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