Who Is Naked?

The naked are those who realize that they have nothing good and true. (Secrets of Heaven 4958)

People who recognize that they have nothing good and true may experience worthlessness (“I’m no good”) or confusion (“I don’t understand at all”).   They may experience grief or pain over loss of values or self-respect (“I thought I was an OK person, but I’m not”).  They are lacking beautiful clothing—thoughts that are positive, trusting, grateful, hopeful, confident, and express the beauty and joy of life.  Instead they are naked, or partly so, with torn clothing or wearing sackcloth or rags that symbolize negative thoughts, grief, shame, worthlessness, loss. They may feel exposed and vulnerable.  Clothing serves several functions—giving us protection, warmth, comfort, privacy and modesty, and also expressing our identity.  People who are experiencing loss, grief, shame, and worthlessness need truths that offer comfort, hope, affirmation of the Lord’s love and goodness, and also acknowledgement of their own loss and lack in a setting that offers privacy, confidentiality and safety.

Beautiful Clothes Mean Beautiful Thoughts

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness. (Psalm 30:11)

He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10)

Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion! Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city. (Isaiah 52:1)

I put on justice, and it clothed me. My judgment was as a robe and a crown. (Job 29:14)

O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with honour and majesty, who cover Yourself with light as with a garment. (Psalm 104:1)

To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.  (Isaiah 61:3)

As the garments of angels correspond to their intelligence they correspond also to truth, since all intelligence is from Divine truth; and therefore it is the same thing whether you say that angels are clothed in accordance with intelligence or in accordance with Divine truth. The garments of some blaze as if with flame, and those of others glisten as if with light, because flame corresponds to good, and light corresponds to truth from good. Some have garments that are glistening white and white without the effulgence, and others garments of various colors, because with the less intelligent the Divine good and truth are less effulgent, and are also received in various ways, glistening white and white corresponding to truth, and colors to its varieties. Those in the inmost heaven are not clothed, because they are in innocence, and innocence corresponds to nakedness.  (Heaven and Hell 179)

Nakedness and Rags Mean Shame, Fear and Vulnerability

I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself. (Genesis 3:10)

The king shall mourn, and the prince shall be clothed with desolation. (Ezekiel 7:27)

Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame. (Revelation 16:15)

Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion who rejoice at my hurt; let them be clothed with shame and dishonor who exalt themselves against me. (Psalm 35:26)

He clothed himself with cursing as with his garment. (Psalm 109:18)

Let my adversaries be clothed with shame, and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle. (Psalm 109:29)

Being naked and not ashamed means being innocent. The contrary is meant when they are ashamed, as in this chapter which says that they sewed fig leaves together and hid themselves. Indeed when innocence is lacking nakedness arouses feelings of shame and disgrace because people are made aware of their own evil thoughts. (Secrets of Heaven 213)

Torn Clothes Mean Grief and Loss, Especially Loss of Faith

And he rent his clothes means mourning. This is clear from the meaning of rending clothes as mourning, that is to say, mourning on account of the loss of truth, or the fact that no faith exists. In the Word, especially the historical part, one often reads about people rending their clothes, but the origin of that practice is not known at the present day. Nor is it known that it was representative of grief on account of the loss of truth. This practice became representative from the fact that ‘clothes’ meant truths, as has been shown and may be seen in 4545. Further on in this chapter it is also said that when Jacob recognized his son’s tunic he rent his clothes, verse 34, by which mourning for lost truth is meant. Similar instances of this practice occur elsewhere in the Word, where it is stated that when the Rabshakeh was sent by Sennacherib king of Asshur and uttered insults against Jerusalem, Eliakim who was over the king’s house, and Shebna the secretary, and Joash the recorder rent their clothes and reported these things to king Hezekiah; and when he heard them the king too rent his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth, Isa. 36:22; 37:1; 2 Kings 18:37; 19:1. The insults he uttered were directed against God, the king, and Jerusalem, and so against Divine Truth, as is even more evident from the internal sense of this narrative. It was to express mourning therefore that their clothes were rent. (Secrets of Heaven 4763; more examples follow.)

Acknowledging that We Have Nothing Good or True

If a person were to believe, as is the truth, that all goodness and truth originate from the Lord, and all evil and falsity from hell, he would not assign goodness to himself and make it deserving of merit, nor assign evil to himself and make himself guilty of it. (Divine Providence 320)

Temptations involve feelings of doubt regarding the Lord’s presence and mercy, and also regarding His salvation. The evil spirits who are present with man at such times and who are the cause of temptation do all they can to infuse a negative outlook, but good spirits and angels from the Lord in every way disperse that doubting attitude, all the time preserving a feeling of hope and in the end strengthening an affirmative outlook. Consequently a person undergoing temptation hangs between a negative outlook and an affirmative outlook. Anyone who gives way in temptation remains in a doubting, and sinks into a negative frame of mind, whereas one who overcomes still experiences feelings of doubt; yet he who allows himself to be filled with hope remains steadfastly in an affirmative outlook.  (Secrets of Heaven 2338)

In all temptation there is somewhat of doubt concerning the Lord’s presence and mercy, and concerning salvation and the like things; for those who are in temptation are in interior anxiety, even to despair; in which they are for the most part kept, to the end that they may be at length confirmed in the fact that all things are of the Lord’s mercy; that they are saved by Him alone; and that with themselves there is nothing but evil; in respect to which they are confirmed by means of conflicts in which they overcome. (Secrets of Heaven 2334)

Through despair people are led in an effective and perceptible way to acknowledge that nothing true or good comes from themselves, and to acknowledge that what is their own has caused them to be damned but that with the Lord’s aid they are delivered from damnation, with salvation entering in through what is true and good. (Secrets of Heaven 6144)