325. 'I saw underneath the altar the souls of those slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony that they held' signifies that those who have been hated by the evil, have suffered from insults, and have been rejected for a life in accordance with the truths of the Word and for the acknowledgment of the Lord's Divine Human, have been protected by the Lord lest they should be led astray. 'Underneath the altar' signifies the lower land where they were protected by the Lord; 'the altar' signifies worship of the Lord out of the good of love. By 'the souls of those slain' are not here signified the martyrs, but they who are hated, who suffer from insults, and are rejected by the evil in the world of spirits, and who can be led astray by dragonists and heretics. 'For the Word of God, and for the testimony that they had' signifies for a life in accordance with the truths of the Word, and for the acknowledgment of the Lord's Divine Human. 'Testimony' in heaven is not given to others than those who acknowledge the Lord's Divine Human, for it is the Lord who bears witness, and enables the angels to bear witness (n. 16):-
For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy Rev. xix 10.
 Since they were 'under the altar', it is plain that they were protected by the Lord; for all who have led any life of charity are protected by the Lord lest they be injured by the evil, and after the last judgment, when the evil have been removed, they are released from their protectors and lifted up into heaven. After the last judgment I often saw them sent forth from the lower land and transferred into heaven.  That by 'those slain' are understood those who are being rejected, suffering insults, and being hated by the evil in the world of spirits, and who can be led astray, also those who are desirous of knowing truths but are not able on account of the untruths in the Church, can be established from these passages:-
Jehovah God says, Feed the sheep of the slaughter, which their possessors slay: and I have fed the sheep of the slaughter on account of you, O miserable of the flock Zech. xi 4, 5, 7.
We have been slain every day, we have been counted as a flock of the slaughter, O Jehovah, forsake us not Ps. xliv 22, 23 [H.B. 23, 24].
Jacob shall fix the root of those who are going to come, has he been slain along with his cutting down of the slain? Isa. xxvii 6, 7.
I have heard the voice of the daughter of Zion, woe is me, my soul has been wearied by the slayers Jer. iv 31.
They shall deliver you into the affliction, and shall slay you, and you shall be hated for My Name's sake Matt. xxiv 9; John xvi 2, 3.
The Lord said these things to the disciples, but by 'the disciples' are understood all who worship the Lord and live in accordance with the truths of His Word.  The evil in the world of spirits continually want to slay these; but because they are not able to do this as to the body they continually want to do it as to the soul; and since they are not able to do this, they are inflamed with such hatred against them that they feel nothing more delightful than to do evil to them. This is why they are protected by the Lord, and when the evil are cast out into hell which takes place after the last judgment, they are led forth from their protectors; but let the expositions on the twentieth chapter be seen, and n. 846 there, concerning these things. That 'to slay' in the Word signifies to destroy souls, which is to slay spiritually, is plain from many places there, as also from these: Isa. xiv 19-21; xxvi 21; Jer. xxv 33; Lam. ii 21; Ezek. ix 1, 6; Rev. xviii 24.