Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 15:11
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AC 1833. Verse 11. And the fowls came down upon the bodies, and Abram drove them away. "The fowls came down upon the bodies," signifies evils and the falsities thence derived, that were desirous to destroy; "and Abram drove them away," signifies that the Lord put them to flight.

AC 1834. The fowls came down upon the bodies. That this signifies evils and the falsities thence derived that were desirous to destroy, is evident from the signification of " fowls," as being falsities. "Fowls" in the Word signify truth-- as shown above--and also in the opposite sense falsity (for almost all such things in the Word are thus used in both senses) that " fowls" signify falsity also has been shown before (n. 778, 866, 988). Every one can see that this signifies arcana otherwise it would not have been worthy of mention. What the arcanum is has also been already stated, and is evident from the series or connection of things in the internal sense, namely, that it is concerning the state of the church.

[2] When a church is raised up by the Lord, it is in the beginning blameless, and the one then loves the other as his brother, as is known from the case of the primitive church after the Lord‘s coming. All the church’s children then lived together as brethren, and likewise called one another brethren, and loved one another; but in process of time charity grew cold and vanished away and as it vanished, evils succeeded, and together with these falsities insinuated themselves. Hence came schisms and heresies, which would never be the case if charity were regnant and alive, for then they would not even call schism, nor heresy, but a doctrinal matter in accordance with each person‘s opinion; and this they would leave to each person’s conscience, provided such doctrinal matter did not deny first principles, that is, the Lord, eternal life, and the Word; and provided it was not contrary to the Divine order, that is, to the precepts of the decalogue.

[3] The evils and the falsities thence derived which succeed in the church when charity vanishes, are what are here meant by the fowls which Abram drove away, that is, which the Lord, who is here represented by Abram, put to flight. Abram drove away nothing but the fowls, and nothing at all of evil and falsity; nor is Abraham known in heaven except as is any other man, who can do nothing at all of himself; but the Lord alone; as also is said by Isaiah:--

Thou art our Father, for Abraham knoweth us not, and Israel doth not acknowledge us; Thou O Jehovah art our Father, our Redeemer; Thy name is from everlasting (Isaiah 63:16).

AC 1835. And Abram drove them away. That this signifies that the Lord put them to flight, is evident from what has been said. And such also is the case with a church when it is beginning to recede from charity. Evils and the falsities thence derived are then more easily put to flight, for as yet the church is in a state that is not so far removed from charity, and thus men‘s minds are more easily bent. But in process of time evils and the falsities derived from them increase, and so are confirmed and strengthened; and this is treated of in what follows.

[2] So far as possible the Lord is continually putting evils and falsities to flight, but through conscience. then conscience is relaxed, there is no medium through which the Lord can flow in, for the Lord’s influx with man is by means of charity into his conscience. But in place of this charity a new medium succeeds and is formed, which is external, namely, the fear of the law, fear for life, for honors and wealth, and the reputation from these. But these are not of conscience; they are only external bonds which enable a man to live in society with others, and to appear as a friend, whatsoever he may be inwardly.

[3] But this medium, or these bonds, are of no account in the other life, for there externals are removed, and every one remains as he is internally. There are very many who have lived a moral and a civic life, have injured no one, have performed acts of friendship and civility, nay, have done good to many, but only for the sake of self, with a view to honors, gain, and the like. In the other life these are among the infernals, because they have nothing of good and truth within, but only evil and falsity, nay, hatred, revenge, cruelty, adulteries, which do not appear before man, that is to say in so far as the fears just referred to, which are external bonds, prevail.

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