Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 784

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784. The implications of 'Jehovah closed the way behind him' meaning that man no longer had the kind of communication with heaven that the member of the celestial Church had had are as follows: The state of the Most Ancient Church was such that men had an inward communication with heaven, and so by way of heaven with the Lord. They were governed by love to the Lord, and people who are governed by love to the Lord are like angels, the only difference being that they are clothed with a [physical] body. Their interiors were unconcealed and lay open all the way from the Lord. But it was different with this new Church. It was governed not by love to the Lord, but in and through faith, by charity towards the neighbour. They could not have, as the most ancient people had, any inward communication, only external. It would take too long however to discuss the nature of these two kinds of communication. Everybody has a communication of some kind, including the wicked, through the angels residing with them, though there are different degrees of it, from fairly close to quite remote. Without it a person could not exist. The degrees of communication are unending. A spiritual man cannot possibly have the kind of communication that a celestial man has, the reason being that the Lord dwells in love, and less so in faith. This is what the present statement means about Jehovah closing the way behind him.

[2] Since those times heaven has never been open in the way it was for the member of the Most Ancient Church. Many people in later times have indeed talked to spirits and angels - for example, Moses, Aaron, and others - but they did so in a completely different way. This, in the Lord's Divine mercy, will be dealt with later on. The reason why heaven has been closed is a very deep arcanum, as also is the reason why it is so closed nowadays that no one knows even of the existence of spirits, let alone that angels are residing with him. He imagines that when he is not with fellow men in the world and when thinking all by himself he is completely alone. In fact however he is constantly in the company of spirits who observe and perceive very accurately what a person is thinking and what he intends and devises, as accurately and clearly as if this manifested itself for all the world to see. Of this man is not at all directly conscious, so closed is heaven to him. Nevertheless it is utterly true. The reason he is not conscious of it is that if heaven were not in this way closed to him at a time when faith is non-existent with him, still less the truth of faith, and charity even less, he would stand in very great danger. This was the meaning also of Jehovah God's casting man out and causing cherubim to dwell at the east end of the Garden of Eden, with a flaming sword turning about to guard the way to the tree of life,a dealt with already in Chapter 3:14. See also 301-307.


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