Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 17:3
previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 1998. Verse 3. And Abram fell upon his faces, and God spake with him, saying. "Abram fell upon his faces," signifies adoration; "and God spake with him, saying," signifies a degree of perception; the expression "God" is used for the reason that the Lord is represented by the God Shaddai whom Abram worshiped; also because truth is treated of, which was to be united to good.

AC 1999. Abram fell upon his faces. That this signifies adoration, is evident without explication. To fall upon the face was a rite of adoration in the Most Ancient Church, and thence in that of the Ancients, for the reason that the face signified the interiors, and the state of their humiliation was represented by falling upon the face; hence in the Jewish representative church it became a customary ceremonial. True adoration, or humiliation of heart, carries with it prostration to the earth upon the face before the Lord, as a gesture naturally flowing from it. For in humiliation of heart there is the acknowledgment of self as being nothing but filthiness, and at the same time the acknowledgment of the Lord‘s infinite mercy toward that which is such; and when the mind is kept in these two acknowledgments, the very mind droops in lowliness toward hell, and prostrates the body; nor does it uplift itself until it is uplifted by the Lord. This takes place in all true humiliation, with a perception of being uplifted by the Lord’s mercy. Such was the humiliation of the men of the Most Ancient Church; but very different is the case with that adoration which comes not from humiliation of the heart. (n. 1153).

[2] That the Lord adored and prayed to Jehovah His Father, is known from the Word of the Gospels; and also that He did so as if to one different from Himself, although Jehovah was in Him. But the state in which the Lord was at these times was His state of humiliation, that He was then in the infirm human that was from the mother; but in so far as He put this off, and put on the Divine, He was in another state, which is called His state of glorification. In the former state He adored Jehovah as one different from Himself, although in Himself; for, as has been said, His internal was Jehovah; but in the latter, that is, in His state of glorification, He spoke with Jehovah as with Himself, for He was Jehovah Himself.

[3] But how the case is with these matters cannot be apprehended unless it is known what the internal is, and how the internal acts into the external; and further, in what manner the internal and the external are distinct from each other, and yet are conjoined. This however may be illustrated by something that is similar, namely, by the internal in man, and by its influx and operation into the external. That man has an internal, an interior or rational, and an external, may be seen above (n. 1889, 1940). Man‘s internal is that from which he is man, and by which he is distinguished from brute animals. By means of this internal he lives after death, and to eternity a man, and by means of it he can be uplifted by the Lord among the angels. This internal is the very first form from which a man becomes and is man, and by means of it the Lord is united to man. The very heaven that is nearest the Lord is composed of these human internals; but this is above even the inmost angelic heaven, and therefore these internals belong to the Lord Himself. By this means the whole human race is most present under the Lord’s eyes, for there is no distance in heaven, such as appears in the sublunary world, and still less is there any distance above heaven. (n. 1275, 1277).

[4] These internals of men have no life in themselves, but are forms recipient of the Lord‘s life. In so far therefore as a man is in evil, whether actual or hereditary, so far has he been as it were separated from this internal which is the Lord’s and with the Lord, and thereby so far has he been separated from the Lord; for although this internal has been adjoined to man, and is inseparable from him, nevertheless in so far as he recedes from the Lord, so far he as it were separates himself from it. (n. 1594). But the separation is not an absolute sundering from it, for then the man could no longer live after death; but it is a dissent and disagreement on the part of those faculties of his which are below, that is, of his rational and of his external man. In so far as there is dissent and disagreement, there is disjunction from the Lord; but in so far as there is not dissent and disagreement, the man is conjoined with the Lord through the internal, which takes place in so far as the man is in love and charity, for love and charity conjoin. Such is the case with man.

[5] But the Lord‘s internal was Jehovah Himself, because He was conceived from Jehovah, who cannot be divided and become another’s, as is the case with a son who is conceived from a human father; for the Divine is not divisible, like the human, but is and remains one and the same. To this internal the Lord united the Human Essence; and because the Lord‘s internal was Jehovah, it was not a form recipient of life, like the internal of man, but was life itself. His Human Essence also in like manner was made life by the unition, on which account the Lord so often said that He is Life, as in John:--

As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:26);

besides other passages in the same gospel (John 1:4; 5:21; 6:33, 35, 48; 11:25). In so far therefore as the Lord was in the human which He received by inheritance from the mother, so far did He appear distinct from Jehovah and adore Jehovah as one different from Himself. But in so far as the Lord put off this human, He was not distinct from Jehovah, but was one with Him. The former state, as before said, was the Lord’s state of humiliation; but the latter was His state of glorification.

AC 2000. And God spake with him, saying. That this signifies a degree of perception, is evident from the signification of Jehovah‘s "saying," which is to perceive (n. 1898, 1899). Here it signifies a degree of perception, because He was in a state of humiliation or of adoration, in which He was conjoined and united to Jehovah in proportion to the degree of the humiliation for humiliation carries this with it. Perceptions are more and more interior (n. 1616).

AC 2001. That the expression "God" is used for the reason that the Lord is represented by the God Shaddai whom Abram worshiped and also because truth is treated of, which was to be united to good, is evident from what has been said before. In the Word the Lord is sometimes called "Jehovah," sometimes "Jehovah God," also the "Lord Jehovih," and sometimes God," and always for a secret reason in the internal sense. Where love or good; and the celestial church, are treated of, He is called "JEHOVAH;" but when faith or truth, and the spiritual church, are treated of, He is called "God," and this constantly; and the reason is, that the Lord’s very Being itself is of love, and the Being thence derived is of faith (n. 709, 732). Here therefore the Lord is called "God," because the truth which is to be united to good is treated of. Another reason is that the Lord willed to be represented by the God Shaddai that Abram worshiped, on which account the name God is retained in what follows; for in this chapter He is called "Jehovah" only once, and "God" several times (verses 7, 8, 15, 18, 19, 22, 23).

GENESIS 17:3    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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