The Sixth Commandment
And there came one of the seven angels who had the seven vials and spoke with me, saying to me, Come, I will show thee the judgment of the great harlot who sits upon many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed whoredom, and they who dwell [on] the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her whoredom.
And... I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of names of blasphemy.... And the woman was arrayed in crimson and scarlet, and gilded with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and uncleanness of her whoredom. And on her forehead a name [was] written: Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of whoredoms and abominations of the earth.
AC 8904. Thou shalt not commit adultery. That this means that those things which are of the doctrine of faith and of charity are not to be perverted, thus that the Word is not to be applied to confirm falsities and evils, also that the laws of order are not to be upset, is evident from the signification of “adulterating,” “committing adultery,” and “committing whoredom,” as being, in the spiritual or internal sense, to pervert the goods and falsify the truths which are of the doctrine of faith and of charity. And as these things are signified by “committing adultery,” it also means to apply the Word to confirm evils and falsities. For the Word is the very doctrine itself of faith and charity, and the perversion of the truth and good of the Word is its application to falsities and evils.
That these things are signified by “adulterating” and “committing adultery” in the spiritual sense, is known to scarcely anyone at this day, for the reason that within the church, few now know what the spiritual is, and in what respect it differs from the natural. And scarcely anyone knows that there is a correspondence between the two, and indeed of such a nature that the image of the one is presented in the other, that is, the spiritual is represented in the natural, consequently that the spiritual is like a soul and the natural is like its body; and thus that through influx and the consequent conjunction they constitute a one; as in the regenerate man, his internal man, which is also called spiritual, and his external man, which is also called natural, constitute a one.
AC 8904:2. Such things being unknown at this day... the reason may be told why “committing adultery” in the spiritual sense signifies to pervert those things which are of the doctrine of faith and charity, thus to adulterate goods and falsify truths. The reason, which at this day is secret, is that conjugial love descends from the marriage of good and truth, which is called “the heavenly marriage.” The love that flows in from the Lord, and that is between good and truth in heaven, is turned into conjugial love on the earth, and this by correspondence.
Hence it is that the falsification of truth is “whoredom,” and the perversion of good is “adulteration,” in the internal sense. Hence also it is that those who are not in the good and truth of faith cannot be in genuine conjugial love; and also that those who find the delight of life in adulteries can no longer receive anything of faith. I have heard it said by the angels that as soon as anyone commits adultery on the earth and takes delight in it, heaven is closed to him, that is, he refuses any longer to receive from heaven anything of faith and charity.
The reason that at this day in the kingdoms where the church is, adulteries are made light of by very many people is because the church is at its end, and thus there is no longer any faith, because there is no charity; for the one corresponds to the other. Where there is no faith, falsity is in the place of truth, and evil is in the place of good, and from this there flows the result that adulteries are no longer accounted as criminal. For when heaven is closed with a man, such things flow in from hell....
AC 8904:5. “Babylon” means those who pervert the truths and goods of the church for the sake of their own dominion and their own self-gain, perverting them even to the point of profanation....
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
- Notice how true love in marriage originates in the marriage of good and truth. What does that mean to us? How do we marry good and truth in us?
- Can you picture how a good love strongly desires truths— truths to show how to do what we love, and how to defend the love from people who would make fun of it or even call it bad? Can you picture how, once you have come to believe in and love certain ideas, then you are eager to do them, so that truth may become good in action and effect?
- True, unselfish love in marriage comes from the marriage of a good heart with true, clear ideas of what is right and wrong, in marriage, in work, and in all areas of life; especially true ideas of the Lord Himself, allowing us to love Him as He really is and serve Him.
- See AC 8904:2 at the end. Should adulteries be criminal offenses? If society in general were willing, what would be some good laws regarding adultery and divorce? What is possible at this day?