“Therefore my people have gone into captivity, Because they have no knowledge; Their honorable men are famished,
And their multitude dried up with thirst. Therefore Sheol has enlarged itselfAnd opened its mouth beyond measure”. (Isaiah 5: 13,14)
This verse describes the over-accumulation of evil that was taking place for centuries as charity in religion on Earth declined before the time of Christ. The first line refers to the good people who had become captive to evil forces; the next three lines refer to the vastated state of the Jewish people, and the loss of charity in religion; and last two refer to the resulting loss of equilibrium between heaven and hell. The image of Sheol enlarging itself beyond measure describes how the spirits in hell had become greater in number and began to over-run the heavens.
The critical event that brought about the incarnation of the Lord was the loss of cosmic equilibrium between heaven and hell. In the centuries before Christ there was a long decline in the Jewish religion that resulted in dire separation from God. On a cosmic level, the Lord maintains equilibrium between heaven and hell and governs both by His might alone. A single man or woman fighting against the forces of evil on his or her own is like a fly fighting against a giant; there is no chance for victory without the Lord. In the accumulating darkness, as people died and entered the spiritual world, evil spirits intercepted even the good through artful deceptions and led them into their false heaven. This caused an overabundance toward the evil realm. These false and deceptive leaders were bringing good people to their side in great abundance. Swedenborg describes how they sometimes posed as religious leaders or even family members to persuade people to their side. These pseudo-heavens were below heaven in the spiritual world. The spirits who were held in these false heavens are known in the Bible as the captives, which I have an article about in this blog. Once the evil spirits began to tip the tables in their favor, their power increased and increased. The over-accumulation of spirits (people who have died) in hell and in this pseudo-heaven eventually caused a dark cloud between heaven and earth that obstructed the reception of heavenly influx to humanity. This is what is meant by “Sheol has enlarged itself and opened its mouth beyond measure.” As the false heavens grew larger, the dark cloud of interference between heaven and earth grew greater. The less light there was for humanity on earth, the more power evil gained. Here is another verse that refers to the loss of equilibrium between heaven and hell: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (John 6:12). This verse refers to evil forces infiltrating and occupying ‘high places,’ meaning heaven. They were like a marauding army ransacking the first levels of heaven, taking residence, and deceiving the people in the world of spirits and the angels in the natural heaven in a thousand horrid ways. Matthew describes this when he says, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Mat. 11:12).
It is very important to realize that, when this imbalance happens, a measure of freedom in humanity is lost. Freedom on earth exists when there is perfect equilibrium between heaven and hell. When equilibrium is lost, so is a measure of freedom. This is why determinism develops at these times. It is a form of societal and personal compulsion, and it goes hand in hand with the loss of equilibrium (as does externalization). Under normal circumstances, there is an equal balance between heaven and hell, and neither the angels of heaven nor the demons of hell can compel human beings one way or the other, but both have influence within the laws of freedom. During life it is up to each person to will and choose their way as they are exposed to the influences of heaven and hell. Thus, freedom is the very means of salvation, and it is also the cause of hell. It is the cause of hell because freedom of will is total and complete, which therefore means, the consequences of freedom are real, otherwise freedom would not mean anything and life would not be real. The structure of the whole universe is based on this equilibrium between heaven and hell. The Lord maintains equilibrium from His omnipotent power alone, subjugating evil and keeping heaven in divine order for the sake of human freedom. Understanding this is a profound key to understanding the nature of the universe, history, and the Bible. If Jesus had not come and restored equilibrium, the over-abundance of evil would have progressed until humanity would have been consumed in total darkness.
The first time there was a loss of equilibrium was at the time of Noah. The story of Noah describes how the whole earth was becoming wicked. In other words, the over-accumulation of evil was on the verge of destroying the entire human race. The Lord solved the problem by wiping out the wicked with a flood and using Noah and his family as the seed of the new human race. He started over with Noah, Noah’s family, and the pairs of animals. This process of renewing from a remnant is called ‘remains’ in the Bible, which I have written an article about in this blog. The second time was the coming of Christ, and the third time was the second coming which took place in 1857. (There are several articles on the second coming in this blog).