Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 17:18
AC 2076. Verse 18. And Abraham said unto God, Would that Ishmael might live before Thee! "Abraham said unto God," signifies the Lord’s perception from love; "Would that Ishmael might live before Thee," signifies that others who are rational from truth should not perish.
AC 2077. Abraham said unto God. That this signifies the Lord‘s perception from love, is evident from the signification of "saying unto God," as being to perceive, which has often been explained before. That "Abraham" here signifies the Lord in such a state and at such an age, has been stated above (n. 1989). That the Lord said this from love, is evident, for the affection of love shines forth from the very words when it is said, "Would that Ishmael might live before Thee!" The Lord’s affection or love was Divine, being toward the universal human race, which He willed to completely adjoin to Himself, and to save to eternity, by means of the union of His Human Essence with His Divine Essence, concerning which love, (n. 1735). From this love the Lord continually fought against the hells, (n. 1690, 1789, 1812); also in the union of His Human with His Divine, He regarded nothing but the conjunction of the Divine with the human race, (n. 2034).
 Love such as the Lord had transcends all human understanding, and is in the highest degree incredible to those who do not know what the heavenly love is in which the angels are. To save a soul from hell, the angels would regard death as nothing, nay, if it were possible they would undergo hell for that soul. Hence it is the inmost of their joy to translate into heaven one who is rising from the dead. But they confess that this love is not one whit from themselves, but that all things of it both in general and in particular are from the Lord alone; nay, they manifest irritation if any one thinks otherwise.
AC 2078. Would that Ishmael might live before Thee! That this signifies that others who are rational from truth should not perish, is evident from the representation and consequent signification of "Ishmael," as being the rational (explained in the foregoing chapter, where Ishmael is treated of). There are two kinds of men within the church; the spiritual, and the celestial. The spiritual become rational from truth, but the celestial from good. What the distinction between them is may be seen above (n. 2069). The spiritual, who become rational by means of truth, are here meant by "Ishmael;" for "Ishmael" denotes rational truth in its genuine sense, as before shown (n. 1893, 1950, 1951). When this rational truth is being adopted and desired by good, as here by the Lord who is meant by "Abraham," it signifies what is spiritual, thus the spiritual man, or what is the same, the spiritual church, the salvation of which was desired by the Lord from Divine love (n. 2077). This is expressed by the words, "would that Ishmael might live before Thee." GENESIS 17:18 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|