Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 15:16
AC 1855. Verse 16. And in the fourth generation they shall return hither, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet consummated. "In the fourth generation they shall return hither," signifies the time and state of restoration; "for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet consummated," signifies the last time, when there is no longer any good.
AC 1856. In the fourth generation they shall return hither. That this signifies the time and state of restoration, is evident from the signification of " the fourth generation." "The fourth generation" signifies the same as " forty" and as "four hundred;" namely, the duration and the state of temptation, spoken of at (verse 13); it is a sort of diminutive from these. Whether a number be larger or smaller, provided it be of the same stock, it involves the same; as has already been stated several times. That "the fourth generation" does not signify any generation from Abram, or from Isaac, or from Jacob, is evident from the historicals of the Word; for there were more generations, and these people were very different from their fathers when they returned. "The fourth generation" is an expression that occurs likewise in other places, yet in the internal sense it never signifies any generation; and here it signifies the time and state of restoration, because it signifies the end of those things which are signified by "forty" or by "four hundred" (n. 862, 1847).
AC 1857. For the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet consummated. That this signifies the last time, when there is no longer any good, is evident from the signification of "the Amorite," and also from the signification of "consummation." By "the Amorite" in the Word, is signified evil in general, for the reason that the land of Canaan was called the land of the Amorites (Ezek. 16:3, 4; Amos 2:9, 10). And therefore by "the Amorite" in this passage are signified all the nations of the land of Canaan; and by these, as before said, were signified evils and falsities specifically; and consequently by "the Amorite" are signified all evils in general. By "consummation" is signified the last time, when there is no longer any good.
 But what is meant in the internal sense by the fact that the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet consummated, is an arcanum. For the state of the case with the evil in the other life is that they are not punished until their evils have reached their height, and this both in general and in particular. For such is the equilibrium in the other life that evil punishes itself, that is to say those who are evil run into the punishment of their evil, but only when it has reached its height. Every evil has its limit that varies in each individual case, beyond which it is not allowable to pass. When an evil person passes beyond this limit he precipitates himself into the penalty, and this is so in every particular.
 It is the same in general, the wicked thrust themselves down into hell, not in a moment, but successively. This has its origin in the universal law of order established by the Lord, that the Lord never casts any one down into bell; but that evil casts itself down, or that the evil person casts himself down, and this successively, until the evil has been consummated, and nothing of good any longer appears. So long as there is any good, he is uplifted above hell; but when there is nothing but evil, of himself he is thrust down into it. Good and evil must first be separated from each other, for they are opposites and no one is allowed to incline both ways. This is what is signified by the iniquity of the Amorites having to be consummated. But with the good the case is otherwise; they are continually uplifted by the Lord toward heaven, and their evil is successively wiped away.
 The same is the case with the state of a church. The visitation does not come until its evil has been consummated, that is, until there is no longer any good of charity and truth of faith. This consummation is very often spoken of in the Prophets. As in Isaiah:--
A consummation and a decree have I heard from the Lord Jehovih Zebaoth upon the whole earth (Isaiah 28:22).
O Babel, that dwellest upon many waters, great in treasures, thine end is come, the measure of thy gain (Jeremiah 51:13).
Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon the city of thy holiness, to consummate the transgression, and to seal up sins, and to expiate iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies (Daniel 9:24).
At length upon the bird of abominations shall be desolation, and even unto the consummation and the decree shall it pour itself out upon the devastation (Daniel 9:27).
 The consummation is also foretold by the Lord Himself in these words of Luke:--
They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led captive among all the nations; and at length Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the nations, until the times of the nations shall be fulfilled (Luke 21:24).
To "fall by the edge of the sword," signifies by falsities, for "a sword" in the Word is the punishment of what is false; " Jerusalem" denotes the Lord‘s kingdom and the church (n. 402); "nations" evils (n. 1260). Thus the signification is that there would be a consummation when the church should be possessed by evils and falsities, and so be destroyed of itself.GENESIS 15:16 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|