Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 13:1-2
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AC 8040. Verses 1, 2. And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, Sanctify to Me all the firstborn, that which openeth every womb among the sons of Israel, in man and in beast; it is Mine. "And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying," signifies an informing by the Divine; "Sanctify to Me all the firstborn," signifies faith, that it is from the Lord; "that which openeth every womb," signifies which is from charity; "among the sons of Israel," signifies in the spiritual church; "in man and in beast," signifies the good of faith interior and exterior; "it is Mine," signifies that it is the Lord’s.

AC 8041. And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying. That this signifies an informing by the Divine, is evident from the signification of "speaking" and "saying," when by Jehovah about the things of the church which are to be observed, as being an informing (n. 7769, 7793, 7825), and because it is by Jehovah, it denotes an informing by the Divine; and from the representation of Moses, as being truth Divine (n. 6771, 7014, 7382). Hence by "Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying" is signified an informing by the Divine through Divine truth.

AC 8042. Sanctify to Me all the firstborn. That this signifies faith, that it is from the Lord, is evident from the signification of "sanctifying to Jehovah" or the Lord, as being to ascribe to Him, that is, to confess and acknowledge that it is from Him; and from the signification of "the firstborn," as being faith (n. 352, 2435, 6344, 7035). When it is said "faith," there is meant all the truth that belongs to the spiritual church; and as there is meant all the truth of the church, the spiritual church itself is also meant, for truth is the essential of this church. Good is indeed the essential of the church, and is actually the firstborn (n. 2435, 3325, 4925, 4926, 4928, 4930); but the good which those have who belong to the spiritual church is in itself truth; for when they act according to the truth which is of their doctrine, then the truth is called good, having then passed from the understanding into the will and from the will into act, and that which is done from the will is called good. That in itself and in its essence this good is nevertheless truth, is because to them the doctrinal things of the church are truths, and the doctrinal things in churches differ, consequently so do the truths; and yet although they are so various, by willing them and doing them they become goods, as just now said.

[2] While a man is being regenerated, he is led by means of faith in the understanding, or in doctrine, to faith in the will or life, that is, by means of the truth of faith to the good of charity; and when a man is in the good of charity, he has then been regenerated, and then from this good he produces truths, which are called the truths of good. These are the truths which are the veriest truths of faith, and which are meant by "the firstborn;" for it is with the beget things or births of truths from good, as it is with the begettings or births of sons and daughters from a parent, and afterward of grandsons and granddaughters, and thereafter of great grandsons and great-granddaughters; and so on. The first or immediate begetting or birth, which is that of sons and daughters, is what is signified by "the firstborn, however many these may be; but not the second and the third begettings or births, except relatively to their own parents. The reason why these are sanctified to Jehovah or the Lord, is that all derivative or descending truths and goods derive their essence from the primitive ones. In this spiritual thing is founded the right of the firstborn that is spoken of in the Word.

AC 8043. That which openeth every womb. That this signifies which is from charity, is evident from the signification of "that which openeth the womb," as being that which is born immediately of a regenerate one, thus that which is from charity (n. 8042). For he who is conceived anew, comes as it were again into the womb; and he who is born anew, goes forth as it were again from the womb; but that which is conceived in the womb and born from the womb is not man as man, but is the faith of charity, for this makes the spiritual of man, thus as it were makes the man himself anew, for then his life is derived from this. From all this it can be seen what is meant in the spiritual sense by "that which openeth the womb." The angels, who are in spiritual ideas alone, understand nothing else by this. What is meant by the "womb," and also by "being in the womb," and by "going forth from the womb," (n. 3293, 3294, 3967, 4904, 4918, 4931, 5052, 5054, 6433).

[2] As such things are signified by the "womb," therefore in the Word the Lord is called "the Former from the womb," that is, the Regenerator, as in Isaiah:--

Thus said Jehovah, thy Maker, and thy Former from the womb; He helpeth thee: Fear not, Jacob My servant, and Jeshurun whom I have chosen, because I will pour out water upon him that is thirsty, and rivulets upon the dry ground; I will pour out My spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thy children (Isa 44:2, 3);

the Lord is called "the Maker and Former from the womb," because He regenerates man, and from natural makes him spiritual; and as regeneration is effected by means of truth and good, therefore it is said that He "will pour out water upon him that is thirsty, and His spirit upon his seed;" for by "water" is signified the truth which is of faith (n. 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668, 7307), and by "spirit" the good which is of charity. In like manner by "water and spirit" in John:--

Jesus said unto Nicodemus, Verily, verily, I say to thee, Except anyone be begotten anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said unto Him, Now can a man be begotten when he is old? Can he come a second time into his mother‘s womb? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say to thee, Except anyone be begotten from water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which has been born from the flesh is flesh; but that which has been begotten from the spirit is spirit. Art thou a teacher in Israel, and knowest thou not this? (John 3:3-6, 10).

[3] The Lord is called "the Former from the womb" in other passages also, as in Isaiah:--

Thus said Jehovah thy Redeemer, and thy Former from the womb: I am Jehovah, that doeth all things; that spreadeth out the heavens alone; and that stretcheth out the earth by Myself (Isa. 44:24);

by "the heavens and the earth" is meant in the general sense the church internal and external (n. 82, 1411, 1733, 1850, 3355, 4535), and in the particular sense the internal and external of the church with the man who has been regenerated; and by "spreading out" and "stretching out" is signified to make or create by Divine power (n. 7673), for which reason the Lord, as the Regenerator, is called "the Maker," and "the Creator," and regeneration is called "a new creation."

[4] In like manner in the same:--

Attend ye unto Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remains of the house of Israel, that have been carried from the belly, that have been borne from the womb (Isa. 46:3).

And in David:--

Upon Thee, O Lord Jehovih, have I been laid from the womb; Thou art my Bringer-forth out of my mother’s bowels; Thou art my praise continually (Ps. 71:6).

From all this it is now evident what is signified in the internal sense by "that which openeth the womb," and consequently what by "the firstborn."

AC 8044. Among the sons of Israel. That this signifies in the spiritual church, is evident from the representation of the sons of Israel, as being the spiritual church (n. 4286, 6426, 6637, 6862, 6868, 7035, 7062, 7198, 7201, 7215, 7223).

AC 8045. In man and in beast, signifies the good of faith interior and exterior (n. 7424, 7523).

AC 8046. It is Mine. That this signifies that it is the Lord‘s is evident from the fact that in the Word "Jehovah" denotes the Lord (n. 1343, 1736, 2921, 3023, 3035, 5041, 5663, 6281, 6303, 6905, 6945, 6956), for which reason "it is Mine" denotes that it is the Lord’s. That all good and all truth, thus charity and faith, are from the Lord, and none at all from man, see (n. 904, 2411, 3142, 3147, 4151, 5482, 5649, 6193, 6325, 6466-6495, 6613-6626, 6982, 6985, 6996, 7004, 7055, 7056, 7058, 7270, 7343).

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info