Spiritual Meaning of EXODUS 15:11-13
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AC 8300. Verses 11-13. Who is like Thee, O Jehovah, among the gods? Who is like Thee, magnificent in holiness, to be revered with praises, doing what is wonderful? Thou stretchedst out Thy sight hand, and the earth swallowed them. In Thy mercy Thou hast led this people that Thou hast redeemed; Thou hast conducted them in Thy strength to the habitation of Thy holiness. "Who is like Thee, O Jehovah, among the gods," signifies that all the truth of good proceeds from the Divine Human; "who is like Thee, magnificent in holiness," signifies that from Him is all that is holy; "to be revered with praises," signifies that to Him alone belong glory and thanksgiving; "doing what is wonderful," signifies that from Him are all the means by which is power; "Thou stretchedst out Thy right hand," signifies that the rule of power over all things thence appeared; "the earth swallowed them," signifies that by virtue of mere presence they had damnation and hell; "in Thy mercy Thou hast led this people," signifies the Divine influx with those who had abstained from evils, and so had received good; "that Thou hast redeemed," signifies whom He liberated from hell; "Thou hast conducted them in Thy strength to the habitation of Thy holiness," signifies that the Divine power of the Lord raised them to heaven into the Divine there.

AC 8301. Who is like Thee, O Jehovah, among the gods. That this signifies that all truth of good proceeds from the Divine Human of the Lord, is evident from the signification of "gods," as being truths (n. 4402, 7268, 7873), here truths from good, because comparison is made with Jehovah, for it is said "who is like Thee, O Jehovah, among the gods?" That "Jehovah" in the Word denotes the Lord, see (n. 1343, 1736, 2921, 3023, 3035, 5041, 5663, 6280, 6281, 6303, 6905, 6945, 6956). That the Divine Human is here meant by "Jehovah," is because in this song the subject treated of is the salvation of those who had been of the spiritual church, by the coming of the Lord into the world, and by His Divine Human then (n. 2661, 2716, 2833, 2834, 6372, 6854, 6914, 7035, 7091, 7828, 7932, 8018, 8054). That by these words is signified that all the truth of good proceeds from the Divine Human of the Lord, is because truths can proceed from everybody; but the truths of good only from the Lord, consequently from those who are in good from the Lord. Truths separate from good are indeed thought and spoken by those who are in persuasive faith and nevertheless in a life of evil, and likewise by many others within the church; but these truths are not of good, thus do not proceed from the Lord, but from themselves.

[2] That truths from good proceed from the Lord can be seen from the fact that the Lord is good itself, because He is love itself; from this proceeds truth, like light from the flame of the sun; and this truth is like the light in the time of spring and summer, which has heat in its bosom, and causes all things of the earth as it were to receive life; whereas the truth which is not from good is like the light in the time of winter, when all things of the earth die. That "gods" denote the truths of good, is because by "gods" in a good sense are meant the angels, who are called "gods" because they are substances or forms recipient of truth in which is good from the Lord.

[3] Angels, and consequently the truths of good which are from the Lord, are also meant by "gods" in the following passages:--

God standeth In the assembly of God, He shall judge in the midst of the gods, I said, Ye are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High (Ps. 82:1, 6);

that the truths which proceed from the Lord are what are here meant by "gods," is evident from the fact that it is first said "the assembly of God," in the singular number; and afterward, "in the midst of the gods." "God" is mentioned in the Word where truth is treated of, (n. 2769, 2807, 2822, 3921, 4287, 4402, 7010); and "God" in the supreme sense denotes the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, (n. 7268). In the same:--

I will confess to Thee in my whole heart, before the gods will I sing psalms to Thee (Ps. 138:1).

There is none like Thee among the gods, O Lord (Ps. 86:8).

Jehovah is a great God, and a great King above all gods (Ps. 95:3).

Thou, Jehovah, art high above all the earth; Thou art exalted exceedingly above all gods (Ps. 97:9).

I know that Jehovah is great, and that our Lord is above all gods (Ps. 135:5).

Therefore also Jehovah is called "Lord of lords and God of gods" (Deut. 10:17; Josh. 22:22; Ps. 136:2, 3).

[4] That it is so often said that "Jehovah is above all gods," and that He is "God of gods," is because at that time many gods were worshiped, and the nations were distinguished by the gods whom they worshiped, and each nation believed that its own god was the supreme of all, and because from this the idea of a plurality of gods was seated in all minds, and it was disputed which of them was the greater, as can be sufficiently evident from the historicals of the Word in many passages; and this opinion was seated in the minds of the Jews above others, for which reason it is so often said in the Word that "Jehovah is greater than all gods," and that "He is King," and "God of gods." That this opinion concerning many gods was seated in the minds of the Jews above other nations, can be sufficiently evident from their frequent apostacy to the worship of other gods, of which frequently in the historic books of the Word (Judges 2:10-13, 17, 19; 3:5-7; 8:27, 33; 10:6, 10, 13; 18:14, 17, 18, 20, 24, 31; 1 Sam. 7:3, 4; 8:8; 1 Kings 14:23, 24; 16:31-33; 18:20; 21:26; 22:53; 2 Kings 16:1, 10; 17:7, 15-17; 21:3-7, 21; 23:4, 5, 7, 8, 10-13).

[5] That nation was so demented that they confessed Jehovah solely with the mouth; but nevertheless at heart they acknowledged other gods, as can be clearly seen from the fact that after they had seen so many miracles in Egypt, and so many also afterward: the sea divided before them, and the army of Pharaoh immersed therein; the pillar of cloud and of fire continually appearing; the manna raining down daily from heaven; and the very presence of Jehovah with majesty and with terror so great upon Mount Sinai; and after they had uttered a confession that Jehovah alone is God, nevertheless after some weeks, merely because Moses delayed, they demanded for themselves molten gods to worship, and when these gods were made by Aaron, paid them divine worship by a feast, by burnt-offerings and sacrifices, and by dances. From this it can be seen that the worship of many gods clung to their hearts. That this nation was of such a character above every other nation in the whole earth, is also evident in Jeremiah:--

Hath a nation changed gods? and My people hath changed its glory for that which doth not profit. Be ye amazed, O heavens, at this, and shudder ye, be ye in exceeding trepidation: according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah (Jer. 2:11, 12, 28).

Moreover the native quality of that nation is such that above all other nations they adore external things, thus idols, and are unwilling to know anything whatever about internal things. For they are the most avaricious of all nations; and avarice such as theirs, which loves gold and silver for the sake of gold and silver, and not for the sake of any use, is an affection in the highest degree earthly, which drags down the mind wholly to the body, and immerses it therein, and so completely closes the interiors that it is utterly impossible for anything of faith and love from heaven to enter. From this it is evident how greatly those err who believe that that nation will be again chosen, or that the church of the Lord will again pass to them, all others being rejected; when yet it would be more easy to convert stones, rather than them, to faith in the Lord. It is believed that the church will again pass to them, because in the prophetics of the Word it is said in many passages that they are to return. But it is not known that in these passages, by "Judah," by "Jacob," and by "Israel," is not meant that nation, but those with whom is the church.

AC 8302. Who is like Thee, magnificent in holiness. That this signifies that from Him is all that is holy, is evident from the signification of "Who is like Thee in holiness?" as being that no one is so holy; but in the internal sense, that from Him is all that is holy, because He is holiness itself. By "holy" is meant the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord; this is called "holy," and is also meant by the "Holy Spirit," which is for this reason called "the Spirit of truth" (John 14:16, 17; 15:26, 27; 16:13), and is said "to be sent by the Lord" (John 15:26, 27); and it is said that "He shall receive from the Lord that which He will proclaim" (John 16:15). As "holiness" is predicated of the Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord, therefore the angels are called "holy," because they receive it (Matt. 25:31; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26), and also the prophets, especially the Word, which is truth Divine itself. Moreover from the Divine truth which is Himself, because from Himself, the Lord is called "the Holy One of Israel," "the Holy One of Jacob," and "the Holy thing of God."

AC 8303. To be revered with praises. That this signifies that to Him alone belong glory and thanksgiving, is evident from the signification of "to be revered with praises," when said of Jehovah, as being that He is to be celebrated and worshiped, thus that to Him alone belong glory and thanksgiving.

AC 8304. Doing what is wonderful. That this signifies that from Him are all the means by which is power, is evident from the signification of "wonders" and "miracles," as being means of Divine power (n. 6910). That "wonders" denote means of Divine power, is because by them men were brought to believe that Jehovah was the supreme of the gods, nay, that there was no God besides Him, consequently that He alone was to be worshiped; and they who were in this truth were afterward introduced into the truths of the worship of Him, which truths are means of power; for in the spiritual sense all power is in truths from the Divine (n. 3091, 6344, 6423, 6948, 8200). Power in the spiritual sense is to put to flight and cast out from oneĎs self the infernal crew, which is effected solely by means of truths. From this then it is that by "doing what is wonderful" is signified that from the Lord are all the means through which is power. The means of Divine power are also signified by "wonders" in David:--

Sing ye to Jehovah, sing psalms to Him, meditate ye in all His wonders, glory ye in the name of His holiness, seek ye Jehovah, and His strength, seek ye His faces continually, make mention of His wonders, His prodigies, and the judgments of His mouth (Ps. 105:2-5).

That all power is in the truths which are of faith from the Lord, is clear from the Lordís words to Peter:--

I say to thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 16:18, 19);

where by Peter is represented faith; and by "rock" in the Word is signified faith; and by "key" is meant power (n. 2759, 4738, 6344).

AC 8305. Thou stretchedst out Thy right hand. That this signifies that the rule of power over all things thence appeared, is evident from the signification of "stretching out," as being predicated of the rule of power, and when said of Jehovah, as being predicated of omnipotence (n. 7673); and from the signification of the "right hand," as being Divine power (n. 8281). That it denotes which thence appeared, namely, the rule of power over all things, is evident from what now follows, that "the earth swallowed them," by which is signified that from the mere presence of the Lord they had damnation, or hell.

AC 8306. The earth swallowed them. That this signifies that by virtue of mere presence they had damnation and hell, is evident from the signification of "to be swallowed by the earth," as being damnation and hell; for by this swallowing is signified a falling down, or casting down, into hell; moreover hell is deep down below, because it is very far from the sun of heaven, which is the Lord, and there is what is Most High. Removals from thence are according to the qualities and quantities of evils and the derivative falsities. Hence it is that heaven appears above, and hell beneath. Moreover the place where they are who are in falsities from evil, consequently in damnation, appears like a desert land, which is called "the damned land," under which are cast down those who are cast into hell (n. 7418). That this takes place by virtue of the mere presence of the Lord, see (n. 8265). From this then it is that by "the earth swallowed them," is signified damnation and hell, as is clear in Moses:--

Moses said unto the assembly of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, If Jehovah create a creation, and the earth open its mouth, and swallow them, and all that appertains to them, that they go down alive into hell, ye shall know that these men have provoked Jehovah. And the earth that was under them was sundered, and the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them, and they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into hell (Num. 16:30-33).

AC 8307. In Thy mercy Thou hast led this people. That this signifies the Divine influx with those who had abstained from evils, and so had received good, is evident from the signification of "to lead in mercy," as being to receive the Divine; and because those receive the Divine who abstain from evils, the Divine influx with them is signified. With regard to mercy from the Lord the case is this. The mercy of the Lord is perpetual with every man, for the Lord wills to save all men, who ever they are; but this mercy cannot flow in until evils have been removed, for evils and the derivative falsities stand opposed, and prevent it. But as soon as evils are removed, mercy flows in, that is, good from mercy from the Lord, which good is charity and faith. From this it can be seen that the mercy of the Lord is universal, that is, toward all, and that it is also special toward those who abstain from evils. Man can abstain from evils from himself; but he cannot receive good from himself. That man can abstain from evils from himself is because the Lord continually inflows into the will of man with this endeavor, and thereby puts in his freedom to desist from evils, as also to apply himself to good. The Lord also gives him the faculty of understanding truth, but that he does not understand is because he does not wish to understand, and this on account of the evil that is of the life; for falsity defends evil, and truth condemns it. Hence it is that a man cannot be presented with spiritual good by the Lord, thus cannot be led through mercy, unless he desists from evils.

AC 8308. That Thou hast redeemed. That this signifies whom He liberated from hell, is evident from the signification of "to redeem," as being to liberate from hell (n. 7205, 7445).,

AC 8309. Thou hast conducted them in Thy strength to the habitation of Thy holiness. That this signifies that the Divine power of the Lord raised them to heaven into the Divine there, is evident from the signification of "to conduct in strength," when said of elevation into heaven by the Lord, as being to raise by virtue of Divine power. "Strength" denotes power; and from the signification of "the habitation of holiness,Ď as being heaven where the Divine is; for "holiness" is predicated of the Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord (n. 8302), and this Divine truth makes heaven.

[2] That "the habitation of Jehovah," or of the Lord, denotes heaven, and also good--because in good there is heaven--is evident from the following passages:--

Look Thou from the habitation of Thy holiness out of heaven, and bless Thy people Israel (Deut. 26:15).

Look Thou forth from heaven, and see, from the habitation of Thy holiness and of Thy comeliness (Isa. 63:15).

Shall I give sleep to mine eyes, until I find a place for Jehovah, habitations for tin Strong One of Jacob? Lo, we heard of Him in Ephratah, we found Him in the fields of tin forest, we will enter into His habitations (Ps. 132:4-7).

[3] That the habitation of Jehovah, that is, of the Lord, is in good, is evident in these passages:--

Shout for joy, and be glad, O daughter of Zion; lo, I come, that I may dwell in the midst of thee. Many nations shall cleave to Jehovah in that day, and they shall be to Me for a people; for I will dwell in thee (Zech. 2:10, 11).

I will set My sanctuary in the midst of them eternally, thus My habitation shall be with them (Ezek. 37:26, 27);

"the sanctuary" denotes where is Divine truth in which is Divine good.

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