(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 3857

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3857. And Rachel was barren. That this signifies that interior truths were not received, is evident from the representation of Rachel, as being the affection of interior truth (concerning which see above); and from the signification of "barren," as being that there were no doctrines therefrom, consequently no churches; for this statement is opposed to what is said of Leah-that "Jehovah opened her womb," by which is signified that therefrom came the doctrines of churches. The reason why interior truths were not received, is that interior truths are such as to transcend man's faith, for they do not fall into his ideas, neither are they according to external appearances, that is, the fallacies of the senses, by which every man suffers himself to be led, and does not believe that which does not in some measure coincide with them.
[2] For example: it is an interior truth that there are no times and spaces in the other life, but instead of these, states. Whereas during his life on earth, man-who is in time and space-has all his ideas from them, insomuch that without time and space he cannot think at all (see n. 3404); and therefore unless the states that are in the other life were described to man by means of times and spaces, or by means of such objects as derive therefrom their forms, he would perceive nothing, thus would believe nothing, and consequently would not receive the instruction; so that the doctrine would be barren and there would be no church from it
[3] To take another example: unless celestial and spiritual affections were described by means of such things as belong to worldly and bodily affections, man would not perceive anything, for he is in these affections, and thereby is capable of having some notion of celestial and spiritual affections, when nevertheless they are as different, or as distinct from each other, as heaven is from earth (n. 3839). For instance-in regard to the glory of heaven, or of the angels in heaven-unless man formed for himself an idea of the glory of heaven in accordance with the idea of glory in the world, he would not apprehend the matter, thus neither would he acknowledge it. And so in all other cases.
[4] For this reason the Lord spoke in the Word in accordance with man's apprehension, and in accordance with the appearances of the same. The literal sense of the Word is of this nature, but still it is such as to contain within it an internal sense, in which are interior truths. This then is the reason why it is said of Leah, that "Jehovah opened her womb," and of Rachel, that "she was barren;" for as before said by Leah is represented the affection of exterior truth, and by Rachel the affection of interior truth. But inasmuch as exterior truths are the first truths man learns, it is provided by the Lord that by means of them he may be introduced into interior truths, and this is what is signified when it is said that at last "God remembered Rachel, and hearkened to her, and opened her womb" (Gen. 30:22).
[5] These matters may be substantiated from the churches which were of ancient time, and from their doctrinal things, in that these were formed from external truths. Thus with the Ancient Church that was after the flood, its doctrinal things were for the most part external representatives and significatives, in which internal truths were stored up. Most of the members of this church were in holy worship when in externals; and had anyone told them in the beginning that these representatives and significatives were not the essentials of Divine worship, but that the essentials were the spiritual and celestial things represented and signified thereby, they would have altogether rejected such a doctrine, and thus there would have been no church. This was still more the case with the Jewish Church: if anyone had told the men of this church that their rituals derived their sanctity from the Divine things of the Lord that were in them, they would not have acknowledged it at all.
[6] Such also was man when the Lord came into the world, and still more corporeal had he become, and especially they who belonged to the church. This is very plain from the disciples themselves, who were continually with the Lord, and heard so many things concerning His kingdom, and yet were not able to perceive interior truths, not being able to form any other notion of the Lord than such as the Jews at this day entertain concerning the Messiah whom they expect; namely, that He will exalt their people to dominion and glory above all the nations in the universe. And even after they had heard so many things from the Lord respecting the heavenly kingdom, they still could not think otherwise than that the heavenly kingdom would be like an earthly kingdom, and that God the Father would be the highest therein, and after Him the Son, and then the twelve, and thus that they would reign in their order; wherefore also James and John asked that they might sit, the one on His right hand and the other on His left (Mark 10:35-37); and the rest of the disciples were angry at their desiring to be greater than they (Mark 10:41; Matt. 20:24). For the same reason also the Lord, after He had taught them what it was to be the greatest in heaven (Matt. 20:25-28; Mark 10:42-45), still spoke according to their apprehension, saying that they should sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:24, 30; Matt. 19:28).
[7] If they had been told that by "the disciples" are not meant themselves, but all who are in the good of love and faith (n. 3354, 3488); also that in the Lord's kingdom there are neither thrones, sovereignties, nor rule, as in the world, and that they could not even judge the least thing in a single man (n. 2129, 2553), they would have rejected the saying, and, leaving the Lord, would have returned everyone to his own occupation. The reason why the Lord so spoke was that they might receive external truths, and thereby be introduced into internal ones, for within those external truths which the Lord spoke, internal truths were concealed, which in course of time stand open; and when these stand open, the external truths are dissipated and serve only as objects or means of thinking about the internal truths. From this it may now be known what is meant by what is here related-that Jehovah first opened Leah's womb and she bare sons to Jacob, and that Rachel bare sons afterwards.


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