(SS) - Teachings for the New Jerusalem on Sacred Scripture

SS 117

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117. That from the most ancient times there has been religion, and that everywhere the inhabitants of the world have had knowledge of God, and have known something about a life after death, has not originated in themselves or their own penetration, but from the Ancient Word (spoken of above, n. 101-103), and, at a later period, from the Israelitish Word. From these two Words the things of religion have spread into the Indies and their islands, and through Egypt and Ethiopia into the kingdoms of Africa, and from the maritime parts of Asia into Greece, and from thence into Italy. But as the Word could not be written in any other way than by means of representatives, which are such things in this world as correspond to heavenly things, and therefore signify them, the things of religion among many of the nations were turned into idolatry, and in Greece into fables, and the Divine attributes and predicates into so many gods, over whom they set one supreme, whom they called "Jove"* from "Jehovah." It is known that they had knowledge of paradise, of the flood, of the sacred fire, and of the four ages, from the first or golden age to the last or iron age, by which are meant the four states of the church (as in Daniel 2:31-35). It is also known that the Mohammedan religion, which came later and destroyed the former religions of many nations, was taken from the Word of both Testaments.
* Perhaps; see True Christian Religion, n. 275. [Translator]


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