Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 17:11
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AC 2040. Verse 11. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and you. "Ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin," signifies the removal of the love of self and of the world; "and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and you," signifies a representative and significative of purity.

AC 2041. Ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin. That this signifies the removal of the love of self and of the world, is evident from the representation and signification of "circumcision," as being purification from filthy loves (n. 2039); and from the signification of "flesh," as being what is manís own (n. 999). That which is manĎs own is nothing but the love of self and of the world, thus is all the derivative cupidity; and how filthy this is has been shown in (n. 141, 150, 154, 210, 215, 694, 731, 874-876, 987, 1047). As this Own of man which is to be removed is signified, the expression "flesh of the foreskin" is made use of.

[2] There are two so-called loves and their cupidities that obstruct the influx of heavenly love from the Lord; for when these loves reign in the interior and in the external man, and take possession thereof, they either reject or suffocate, and also pervert and contaminate, the inflowing heavenly love; for they are utterly contrary to heavenly love, as will of the Lordís Divine mercy be shown hereafter. But in so far as these loves are removed, so far the heavenly love flowing in from the Lord begins to appear, nay, to give light in the interior man; and so far he begins to see that he is in evil and falsity; next that he is actually in uncleanness and filthiness; and finally that this has been his Own. They who are becoming regenerate are those with whom these loves are being removed.

[3] Observation of this removal is possible also with the unregenerate, for when the cupidities of these loves are quiescent in them, as sometimes occurs when they are in holy meditation, or when the cupidities are lulled, as happens when they are in misfortunes, in sicknesses, and diseases, and especially at the moment of death, then, because bodily and worldly things are lulled and as it were dead, they observe something of heavenly light and the consequent comfort. But with these persons there is not removal of the cupidities in question, but only a lulling of them, for when they return into their former state, they at once relapse into the same cupidities.

[4] With the evil also, bodily and worldly things can be lulled, and they can then be as it were uplifted into a kind of heavenliness, as sometimes takes place with souls in the other life, especially those newly arrived, who intensely desire to see the glory of the Lord, because they had heard so much about heaven while they lived in the world. The external things above referred to are then lulled in them, and in this way they are carried into the first heaven and enjoy their desire. But they cannot remain long, because there is only a quiescence of the bodily and worldly things, and not a removal of them, as with the angels (n. 541, 542). Be it known that heavenly love is continually inflowing into man from the Lord, and that nothing else obstructs and impedes it, and causes its reception by the man impossible, except the cupidities of those loves and the falsities derived from them.

AC 2042. And it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and you. That this signifies a representative and significative of purity, is evident from what has been shown just above (n. 2039), namely, that circumcision was nothing but a representative of purification from filthy loves. And as it was only an external rite which represented and signified something internal, it was not a covenant, but a sign of a covenant.

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