Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 15:9
AC 1821. Verse 9. And He said unto him, Take thee a heifer of three years, and a she-goat of three years, and a ram of three years, and a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon. " He said unto him," signifies perception; "take a heifer of three years, and a she-goat of three years, and a ram of three years," signifies the representatives of the celestial things of the church; a "heifer" being representative of exterior celestial things, a "she-goat" of interior celestial things, and a "ram" of spiritual celestial things; they were to be "three years" old, because they were to involve all things of the church as to times and states; "and a turtle-dove and a young pigeon," signifies the representatives of the spiritual things of the church; a "turtledove" those which are exterior, and a "young pigeon" those which are interior.
AC 1822. He said unto him. That this signifies perception, is evident from what was said in (verses 2, 7). Perception itself is nothing else than a kind of internal speech, which internal speech manifests itself by being perceived. All interior dictate, and even conscience, is nothing else; but perception is a higher or more interior degree of it.
AC 1823. Take a heifer of three years, and a she-goat of three years, and a ram of three years. That this signifies the representatives of the celestial things of the church, is evident from the signification of the same animals in the sacrifices. No one who thinks sanely can believe that the various animals which were sacrificed signified nothing but sacrifices; or that an ox and a bullock or a calf signified the same as a sheep, a kid, and a she-goat, and these the same as a lamb; and that a turtle-dove signified the same as young pigeons; the fact being that every animal had its own special signification. This may be sufficiently evident from the fact that in no case was one offered instead of another; and that those are expressly named which were to be used in the daily burnt-offerings and sacrifices, those on the Sabbaths and festivals, those used in free-will offerings, vows, and peace-offerings, those in expiation of guilt and sin, and those in purifications; which would never have been so unless something special had been represented and signified by each animal.
 But what was signified by each particular kind would be too tedious to explain here; it is sufficient to know now that celestial things were signified by the animals, and spiritual things by the birds; and by each kind, some special celestial or spiritual thing. The Jewish Church itself, and all things relating to it, were representative of such things as are of the Lord’s kingdom, where there is nothing but what is celestial and spiritual, that is, nothing but what is of love and of faith; as may also be sufficiently evident from the signification of the clean and useful beasts, explained above (n. 45, 46, 142, 143, 246, 714, 715, 776). As in the Most Ancient Churches these were significative of heavenly goods, they afterwards became representative in the church, when worship merely external, which was also representative, was valued and acknowledged.
 As the state of the church is here treated of, and it is foretold what that state is to be, this was shown to Abram by similar representatives, exactly as is here related; but still such things are signified in the internal sense, as indeed every one may know and think; for what would be the need of taking a heifer three years old, a she-goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon, of dividing them into two parts, and placing them so, unless everything had been significative? But what these things signified may be seen from what follows.
AC 1824. That "a heifer" signifies the representatives of exterior celestial things, a she-goat" the representatives of interior celestial things, and "a ram" those of spiritual celestial things, may be seen from the sacrifices, concerning which, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy hereafter, where the sacrifices are treated of. There are exterior celestial things, and interior celestial things, as well as spiritual celestial things. Exterior celestial things are those which are of the external man, interior celestial things are those which are of the internal man, and spiritual celestial things are those which are derived from these. The celestial itself is love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor. This celestial flows in from the Lord, and in fact through the internal man into the external. In the interior man this is called the interior celestial; in the external man the exterior celestial. The exterior celestial is all affection of good; nay, it is also all the pleasure which comes from the affection of good. So far as the good of love and of charity is in these, that is, in the affection of good and in the pleasure derived from it, so far the celestial is in them, and also happiness. But the spiritual celestial is all the affection of truth in which there is the affection of good, or the affection of truth which is begotten by the affection of good; thus it is faith in which is charity, or faith which is begotten by charity.
AC 1825. That "three years old" involves all things of the church as to times and states, is evident from the signification of "three" in the Word. By "three" is signified the full time of the church, from its origin even to its end, and thus all its state. The last time of the church is therefore signified by the third day, the third week, the third month, the third year and the third age, which are all the same. As the state of the church is signified by the number three, so also is the state of every one who is a church, and everything which is of the church, as may be seen from the signification of this number in the passages adduced from the Word (n. 720, 901).
 That "a heifer of three years" thus signifies the time or state of the church even to the last, that is, when it has been vastated or made desolate, may also be seen in Isaiah:--
My heart crieth out upon Moab; her fugitives are unto Zoar, a heifer of three years old; for by the ascent of Luhith, with weeping he shall go up in it; for in the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry of breaking to pieces (Isaiah 15:5).
Also in Jeremiah:--
Gladness and exultation are gathered from Carmel, and from the land of Moab; and I will make wine to cease from the winepresses; none shall tread with shouting; the shouting shall be no shouting. From the cry of Heshbon even unto Elealeh, even unto Jahaz have they uttered their voice, from Zoar even unto Horonaim, a heifer of three years old; for the waters of Nimrim also shall become desolations (Jeremiah 48:33, 34).
No one could possibly perceive what these things mean unless he knew what is signified by "Moab," by "Zoar," "the ascent of Luhith," "the cry of Heshbon unto Elealeh," by "Jahaz," by "Horonaim," "the waters of Nimrim," and by "a heifer three years old." That this is an uttermost vastation is plain.
AC 1826. And a turtle-dove and a young pigeon. That this signifies the representatives of the spiritual things of the church, is evident from the signification of birds in general and of turtle-doves and pigeons in particular. That "birds" signify spiritual things, which are those of faith or of truth, and therefore are intellectual and rational things, was shown above (n. 40, 745, 776, 991); also that "doves" signify the goods and truths of faith (n. 870). What they signified in the sacrifices shall of the Lord’s Divine mercy be stated in what follows, where the sacrifices are treated of. In the Word, especially in the prophetic part, when celestial things are spoken of, spiritual things also are spoken of, and in this way they are conjoined; because the one is from the other, so that the one is the other‘s (n. 639, 680, 683, 707, 793, 801).
AC 1827. That "a turtle-dove" signifies the representatives of exterior spiritual things, and "a young pigeon" the representatives of interior spiritual things, may be seen from what has been said respecting celestial things, of which the exterior were signified by the "heifer," the interior by the "she-goat," and the intermediate by the "ram." GENESIS 15:9 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|