Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 17:5
AC 2008. Verse 5. And thy name shall no more be called Abram and thy name shall be Abraham, for a father of a multitude of nations have I made thee. "Thy name shall no more be called Abram," signifies that He will put of the human; "and thy name shall be Abraham," signifies that He will put on the Divine; "for a father of a multitude of nations have I made thee," signifies here, as before, that all truth and the good thence derived come from Him.
AC 2009. Thy name shall no more be called Abram, and thy name shall be Abraham. That "thy name shall no more be called Abram," signifies that He will put off the human; and that "thy name shall be Abraham," signifies that He will put on the Divine, is evident from the signification of "name;" also from the signification of "Abram;" and, afterwards, of "Abraham." The expression "this shall be thy name," when used in the Word, signifies the quality, that is, that the person will be of such a quality, is evident from what has been adduced in (n. 144, 145, 1754). And as the "name" signifies the quality, the name comprehends in one complex whatever is in the man. For in heaven no attention is paid to any one’s name; but when any one is named, or when the word name is spoken, there is presented the idea of the person‘s quality, that is, of all things that are his, that are connected with him, and that are in him; hence in the Word "name" signifies quality. That this may be evident to the understanding we may adduce from the Word a number of additional confirmatory passages. As in the Benediction in Moses:--
Jehovah bless thee, and keep thee; Jehovah make His faces to shine upon thee and have compassion on thee; Jehovah lift up His faces upon thee and give thee peace. So shall they put My name upon the sons of Israel (Num. 6:24-27).
From this it is evident what is denoted by "name," and by "putting the name" of Jehovah upon the sons of Israel, namely, that Jehovah blesses, guards, enlightens, is pitiful, gives peace; and thus that Jehovah or the Lord is such.
 In the Decalogue:--
Thou shalt not take the name of thy God in vain; for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless who taketh His name in vain (Exod. 20:7; Deut. 5:11);
where to "take the name of God in vain" does not signify the name, but all things in general and particular that are from Him, and therefore all things in general and particular that belong to the worship of Him, none of which are to be despised, still less blasphemed and contaminated with what is filthy. In the Lord’s Prayer:--
Hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come Thy will be done, as in heaven so also in the earth (Luke 11:2);
where also by "name" is not meant the name, but all things of love and faith; for these are God‘s or the Lord’s, and are from Him and as these are holy, the Lord‘s kingdom comes and His will is done on earth as in the heavens when they are held to be so.
 That "name" signifies such things is evident from all the passages in the Word of the Old and of the New Testament where "name" is mentioned. As in Isaiah:--
In that day shall ye say, Confess to Jehovah, call upon His name, make known His works among the peoples, make mention that His name is exalted (Isaiah 12:4);
where to "call upon the name of Jehovah," and to "make mention that His name is exalted," does not at all mean to place worship in the name, or to believe that Jehovah is invoked by using His name, but by knowing His quality, and thus by means of all things in general and particular that are from Him. In the same:--
Therefore honor ye Jehovah in the Urim the name of Jehovah the God of Israel in the isles of the sea (Isa. 24:15);
where to "honor Jehovah in the Urim," is to honor Him from the holy things of love; and to "honor the name of Jehovah the God of Israel in the isles of the sea," is to honor Him from the holy things of faith.
 In the same:--
O Jehovah our God, only in Thee will we make mention of Thy name (Isa. 26:13).
I will raise up one from the north, and he shall come; from the rising of the sun, he shall call upon My name (Isa. 41:25);
where to "make mention of the name of Jehovah," and to "call upon His name," means to worship from the goods of love and the truths of faith. They who are from the north are they who are outside the church and ignorant of the name of Jehovah, who nevertheless "call upon His name" when they live in mutual charity and adore as the Deity the Creator of the universe; for the "calling upon Jehovah" consists in worship and the quality of it, and not in the name. The Lord is present with the Gentiles, (n. 932, 1032, 1059).
 In the same:--
The nations shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory and thou shalt be called by a new name which the mouth of Jehovah shall name (Isa. 62:2);
where "thou shalt be called by a new name," denotes to become another person, that is, to be created anew or regenerated, and thus to be such. In Micah:--
All the peoples will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of Jehovah our God forever and to eternity (Micah 4:5);
to "walk in the name of his god," plainly denotes profane worship; and to "walk in the name of Jehovah," true worship. In Malachi:--
From the rising of the sun and even to its going down, My name shall be great among the nations; and in every place incense is offered unto My name, and a clean offering for My name shall be great among the nations (Malachi 1:11);
where by "name" is not signified the name, but the worship; which is the quality of Jehovah or the Lord, by reason of which He wills to be adored.
 In Moses:--
The place which Jehovah your God shall choose out of all the tribes to put His name there, and to cause His name to dwell there, thither shall ye bring all that I command you (Deut. 12:5, 11, 14; 16:2, 6, 11);
where also by "putting His name," and "making His name dwell there," is not signified the name, but the worship, and thus the quality of Jehovah or the Lord by reason of which He is to be worshiped. His quality is the good of love and the truth of faith; and "the name of Jehovah dwells" with those who are in these. In Jeremiah:--
Go ye unto My place which was in Shiloh, where I caused My name to dwell in the beginning (Jeremiah 7:12);
where in like manner "name" denotes worship, and thereby the doctrine of true faith. Every one can see that Jehovah does not dwell with him who merely knows and speaks His name, for the name alone, without any idea, knowledge, or faith concerning His quality is a mere word. Hence it is evident that the "name" is the quality, and the knowledge of the quality.
 In Moses:--
At that time Jehovah separated the tribe of Levi, to minister unto Him, and to bless in His name (Deut. 10:8);
where to "bless in the name" of Jehovah is not to do so through the name, but by means of the things which appertain to the name of Jehovah, spoken of above. In Jeremiah:--
This is His name whereby they shall call Him, Jehovah our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6);
where the "name" denotes righteousness, which is the quality of the Lord, of whom these words are said. In Isaiah:--
Jehovah hath called Me from the womb, from the bowels of My mother hath He made mention of My name (Isaiah 49:1);
also said of the Lord; to "make mention of His name," is to instruct in respect to His quality.
 That "name" signifies quality, is still more clearly evident in John, in the Apocalypse:--
Thou hast a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life; and I will confess his name before My Father and before the angels. He that overcometh, I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God, and My new name (Apoc. 3:4, 5, 12);
where that the "name" is not the name, but the quality, is plainly evident; the "name in the book of life" is nothing else; and the quality is also meant by "confessing his name before the Father," and by "writing upon him the name of God, and of the city, and the new name;" and the same is true of the names which are said elsewhere to be written in the book of life, and in heaven (Rev. 13:8; 17:8; Luke 10:20).
 In heaven it is solely by the quality that any one is known from another; and in the sense of the letter this is expressed by the name, as every one can see from the consideration that on earth whoever is named is presented in the listener’s idea in accordance with his quality, and it is by this idea that he is known and distinguished from others. In the other life the ideas remain, but the names perish; and this is still more the case among the angels. Hence it is that in the internal sense the "name" is the quality, or to know the quality. Again:--
Upon the head of Him who sat upon the white horse were many diadems; and He hath a name written which no one knoweth but He Himself. He was clothed in a garment dipped in blood;and His name is called the Word of God (Rev. 19:12, 13);
where that the "name" is the Word of God, and thus is the quality of Him who sat upon the white horse, is said in plain words.
 That the "name of Jehovah" is to know His quality, namely, that He is all the good of love and all the truth of faith, is clearly evident from these words of the Lord:--
O righteous Father I have known Thee, and these also have known that Thou hast sent Me for I have made known unto them Thy name, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:25, 26).
 And that the "name of God" or of the Lord is all the doctrine of faith concerning love and charity, which is signified by "believing in His name," is evident from these words in the same gospel:--
As many as received Him, to them gave He the power (potestas) to be sons of God, to them that believe in His name (John 1:12).
If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it. If ye love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:13-15).
Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He giveth you. These things I command you, that ye love one another (John 15:16, 17).
Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20).
By those who are "gathered together in the name of the Lord," are here signified those who are in the doctrine of faith concerning love and charity, and thus who are in love and charity. Again Ye shall be hated of all nations for My name‘s sake (Matt. 10:22; 24:9, 10; Mark 13:10); where "for My names sake" plainly means for the sake of His doctrine.
 That the name itself effects nothing, but that everything is effected by that which the name involves, namely, everything of charity and faith, is clearly evident from these words in Matthew:--
Have we not prophesied by Thy name, and by Thy name cast out demons, and in Thy name done many mighty works? But then will I profess unto them, I never dew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:22, 23);
from which it is evident that they who place worship in a name, as did the Jews in the name of Jehovah, and as do Christians in the name of the Lord, are not on that account the more worthy, because the name avails nothing; but that which does avail is that they be of such a character as the Lord has commanded; for this is to "believe in His name;" and further, that its being said that there is no salvation in any other name than the Lord’s, means that there is none in any other doctrine, that is, in no other than mutual love, which is the true doctrine of faith, and thus in no other than the Lord, because all love and the derivative faith are from Him alone.
AC 2010. Since therefore the "name" signifies the quality and to know what the quality is, we can see what is signified by the words in this verse, "thy name shall no more be called Abram, and thy name shall be Abraham;" to wit, that he was not to be such in quality as in the past, but such as he was about to be. That Abram served other gods, and worshiped the god Shaddai, was shown above (n. 1992); but because he was to represent the Lord, and in fact His internal man, and thus the Celestial of His Love, his former quality was to be blotted out, that is, the name "Abram" was to be so changed in character that the Lord could be represented by it. Therefore the letter H was taken from the name of Jehovah--which letter is the only one in the name "Jehovah" that involves the Divine, and which signifies I AM or BEING (Esse)--and was inserted in his name, and he was called "Abraham." The case is similar with "Sarai," spoken of in what follows; to whose name the same letter was also added, and she was called "Sarah." From this also we can see that in the internal sense of the Word Abraham represents Jehovah or the Lord.
 Be it known however that in representations it matters not what a man‘s quality is, for in them no attention is paid to the person, but to the thing which he represents (n. 665, 1097, 1361). Therefore in the internal sense the signification of these words is that the Lord will put off the human, and will put on the Divine; which also is in a series with what goes before, and likewise with what follows; for a promise is now made concerning the son Isaac, by whom was to be represented the Lord’s Divine rational.
AC 2011. For a father of a multitude of nations have I made thee. That this signifies, here as before, that all truth and the good thence derived come from Him, is evident from the signification of his being "a father," as denoting that they are from Him; from the signification of "a multitude," as being truth; and also from that of "nations," as being the good thence derived (n. 2005-2007). That in a more universal or more remote sense these same words signify the union of the Lord‘s Human Essence with His Divine Essence, may be seen above (n. 2004); for the union of the Lord’s Human Essence with His Divine Essence is circumstanced as is that of truth with good; and the union of His Divine Essence with His Human Essence as is that of good with truth, which is reciprocal. Nay, in the Lord it was Truth itself that united itself to Good, and Good that united itself to Truth; for the Infinite Divine can be spoken of in no other way than as being Good itself and Truth itself, and therefore the human mind is in no fallacy when it thinks that the Lord is Good itself and Truth itself. GENESIS 17:5 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
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