March 25, 2015

The Accommodation of the Purely Spiritual and Celestial with Man

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28

by the "apostles" are not meant apostles, nor by "thrones," thrones, nor by "tribes," tribes, nor in fact by "twelve," twelve; but by all these terms - "apostles," "thrones," "tribes," and also by "twelve," are signified the primary things of faith; and it is from these and according to them that judgment is effected upon everyone. It was further shown that the apostles cannot judge even one man, but that all judgment is of the Lord alone.

(Arcana Coelestia 2129)

Man cannot apprehend any doctrine that is purely spiritual and celestial, that is, Divine, because it infinitely transcends his apprehension, and thus also his belief. All man's thoughts are terminated in the natural things which are connected with his senses. Whatever is not said from and according to these natural things is not comprehended, but perishes, like sight that has no bound in some ocean or universe; and therefore if doctrinal matters were set forth before a man in any other manner, they would not be at all received, and thus no respect would be entertained for them; as may be sufficiently evident from everything in the Word, where for this very reason purely Divine things themselves are set forth naturally, nay, sensuously; as that Jehovah has ears, eyes, and a face; and that He has feelings like a man, such as anger, and so forth.

This need was still greater at the time when the Lord came into the world, for then men did not know even what the celestial and the spiritual was, nor even that there was anything internal. Things merely earthly and worldly, and thus external, had full possession of their minds, as was the case with the apostles themselves, who imagined that the Lord's kingdom would be like a kingdom of this world, and therefore asked that one might sit on His right hand and another on His left, and who long thought that they should sit upon twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel; not as yet being aware that in the other life they would not have ability to judge even the smallest thing of one man.

(Arcana Coelestia 2553)