In that day he that shall be upon the house, and his vessels in the house, let him not go down to take them away; and let him that is in the field likewise not turn back behind him: Remember Lot’s wife (Luke 17:31-32).
When ye shall see the abomination of desolation, foretold by Daniel the prophet, then let them that are in Judea flee into the mountains; let him that is upon the house not go down to take anything out of his house; and let him that is in the field not return back to take his garments (Matt. 24:15-17).
• The “abomination of desolation” denotes the state of the church when there is no love and no charity, for when these are desolated, abominable things predominate.
• That “Judea” denotes the church, and indeed the celestial church, is evident from the Word of the Old Testament throughout, both the historic and the prophetic.
• That the “mountains” into which they shall flee, denote love to the Lord and the consequent charity toward the neighbor.
• That “he who is upon the house,” denotes the good of love…
• That to “go down to take anything out of his house,” denotes to turn one’s self away from good to truth, has also just been stated.
• That “they who are in the field” denote those who are in the spiritual church, is evident from the signification in the Word of a “field.”
• That “let him not return back to take his garments,” denotes that he should not turn himself away from good to the truth that is of doctrine, is because “garments” signify truths, for truths act as garments in clothing good.
Everyone can see that very different things are meant and that arcana are involved by all that the Lord there said concerning the consummation of the age, as that they who were in Judea should flee into the mountains, that they who were upon the house should not go down to take anything out of the house, and that they who were in the field should not return back to take their garments; and in like manner by its being said that Lot should not look back behind himself, and here that his wife did look back behind him. This is further evident from the signification of a “wife,” as being truth; and from the signification of “Lot,” as being good; hence it is said “behind him.”
Truth is said to turn itself away from good, and to look to doctrinal things, when the man of the church no longer has at heart what kind of a life he lives, but what kind of a doctrine he possesses; when yet it is a life according to doctrine that makes a man of the church, but not doctrine separate from life; for when doctrine is separated from life, then because good, which is of the life, is laid waste, truth, which is of doctrine, is also laid waste, that is, becomes a pillar of salt; which everyone may know who looks only to doctrine and not to life, when he considers whether, although doctrine teaches them, he believes in the resurrection, in heaven, in hell, even in the Lord, and in the rest of the things that are of doctrine.