(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 8918

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8918. And they stood afar off. That this signifies remoteness from internal things, is evident from the signification of "standing afar off," as being remotely, here, from internal things, because from Mount Sinai, by which is signified heaven and the Divine there (see n. 8805). Whether you say "remotely from the Divine," or "from heaven," or "from internal things," it is the same, because heaven is in internal things. For the internal of man is in the light of heaven, and his external is in the light of the world; or what is the same, the soul or spirit of man is in heaven, but his body in the world. Heaven is nearer to the Divine than the world, because in heaven the Divine of the Lord reigns, and is the all in all. As further regards the signification of "afar off," be it known that in the spiritual sense "afar off" has no reference to space, but to the Divine, thus to good and truth. Distance from the very good itself which proceeds from the Divine, causes the appearance of distance in heaven. The angelic societies there appear distinct and even remote from one another; but as already said this idea of space comes from distance from the good and truth which are from the Divine of the Lord. This must needs appear a paradox, nay, absurd, to many in the world. The reason is that the thoughts and their ideas with man are founded upon spaces and times, insomuch that man cannot think without them. Consequently if you abstract times and spaces from a man's thought, he scarcely perceives anything. Nevertheless the angels in heaven think absolutely without any idea of time and space, and with such fullness that in intelligence and wisdom their thoughts surpass the thoughts of man thousands, nay, myriads of times; and, wonderful to say, if there occurs to them an idea derived from time and space, shade and thick darkness at once come to their minds, because they then fall from the light of heaven into the light of nature, which to them is thick darkness.
[2] (That there are no spaces and times in the other life, but states; or that the appearances of spaces and times arise from the variations of state in respect to good and truth, see n. 2625, 2837, 3356, 3387, 3404, 4321, 4882, 5605, 7381.) From this then it is evident what "standing afar off" signifies in the spiritual sense, namely, remoteness from heaven where the Divine is; here, remoteness from internal things, because, as said above, that nation which then stood afar off from Mount Sinai was very remote from internal things, for it was in external things only, and it made everything of Divine worship to consist in these. Moreover to do so was permitted that nation, because thus it could represent heavenly and Divine things; for in order to be representative an external is required, and is also possible without an internal (n. 3147, 3670, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4307, 8588).
[3] "Afar off" signifies remoteness from good and truth, which are from the Divine, thus remoteness from internal things, also in the following passages. In Luke:
In hell the rich man lifting up his eyes saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Abraham said to him, Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; that those who would pass over from hence to you cannot; neither can those who are there pass over to us (Luke 16:23, 26).
By "Abraham" is not meant Abraham, for he is not known in heaven; but in the supreme sense the Lord, and in the relative sense those in heaven who are in the good of love and faith in the Lord (n. 1834, 1876, 1965, 1989, 2011, 3245, 3305, 6098, 6185, 6276, 6894). They who are in hell are said to "see those who are in heaven afar off," because they are in a state most remote from good and truth. The "great gulf" between them denotes the remoteness itself from good, which also gives the appearance of an intervening gulf.
[4] They who think from an idea of space, as do all men in the world, perceive no otherwise than that hell is far distant from man, and that heaven is so too. But the case is otherwise. Hell and heaven are near to man, yea, in man; hell in an evil man, and heaven in a good man. Moreover everyone comes after death into that hell or into that heaven in which he has been while in the world. But the state is then changed; the hell which was not perceived in the world becomes perceptible, and the heaven which was not perceived in the world becomes perceptible; the heaven full of all happiness, and the hell of all unhappiness. That heaven is within us, the Lord teaches in Luke:
The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21).
See "afar off" also in the following:
They come from a land afar off, from the extremity of the heavens (Isa. 13:5; also Jer. 5:15).
Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and ye that are near, acknowledge My might (Isa. 33:13).
I will say to the north, Give; and to the south, Keep not back; bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the extremity of the earth. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears (Isa. 43:6, 8; also 49:12).
Attend, O isles, unto Me; hearken, ye peoples, from far (Isa. 49:1; also Jer. 31:10).
The voice of the cry of the daughter of My people from a land afar off: Is not Jehovah in Zion? Is not her King in her? (Jer. 8:19).
Jehovah, Thou hast planted them, and they have also taken root. But Thou art near in their mouth, but far off from their reins (Jer. 12:2).
Am I a God near, and not a God afar off? (Jer. 23:23).
In all these passages "afar off" signifies remoteness from good.


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