Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 17:6
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AC 2012. Verse 6. And I will make thee fruitful very exceedingly, and I will make thee nations, and kings shall go forth from thee. "I will make thee fruitful very exceedingly," signifies the fruitfulness of good to infinitude; "and I will make thee nations," signifies that all good is from Him; "and kings shall go forth from thee," signifies that from Him is all truth.

AC 2013. I will make thee fruitful very exceedingly. That this signifies the fruitfulness of good to infinitude, is evident from the signification of being "made fruitful," as being predicated of good (n. 43, 55, 913, 983); and because it is said "very exceedingly," and the Lord is treated of, it signifies fruitfulness to infinitude.

AC 2014. I will make thee nations. That this signifies that all good is from Him, is evident from the signification of "nations" in its genuine and primitive sense, as being good (n. 1259, 1260, 1416, 1849).

AC 2015. Kings shall go forth from thee. That this signifies that all truth is from Him, is evident from the signification of a "king," in both the historical and the prophetic Word, as being truth (n. 1672), but not yet fully shown. From the signification of "nations" as being goods, and from the signification of "kings" as being truths, we can see the nature of the internal sense of the Word, and also how remote it is from the sense of the letter. He who reads the Word, especially the historical portion, has no other belief than that the nations there are nations, and the kings, and thus that nations and kings are treated of in the very Word itself. But the idea of nations, as well as that of kings, altogether perishes when it is received by the angels, and in their place there succeed good and truth. This cannot but appear as strange and indeed as a paradox, but still it is really so, and the truth of it may appear to every one from considering that if, in the Word, nations were signified by "nations," and kings by "kings," then the Word of the Lord would involve scarcely anything more than any other history, or any other writing, and thus would be a merely worldly affair, when yet there is nothing in the Word that is not Divine, and therefore celestial and spiritual.

[2] Take as a single instance what is said in this verse, that Abraham should be made fruitful and should be made nations, and that kings should go forth from him- what is this but a merely worldly matter, and in no respect heavenly? For in these things there is only the glory of the world, which is nothing at all in heaven; but if this is the Word of the Lord, there must be in it the glory of heaven, and none of the world‘s glory. Therefore the sense of the letter is altogether obliterated and vanishes when it passes into heaven; and it is so purified that nothing that is worldly is intermingled. For by "Abraham" is not meant Abraham, but the Lord; by his being "made fruitful" is not meant that his posterity should increase exceedingly, but that the good of the Lord’s Human Essence should increase to infinitude; by the "nations" are not meant nations, but goods; and by the "kings," not kings but truths. Still the history according to the sense of the letter remains true; for it is true that it was so said to Abraham; also that he was made fruitful, and that nations and kings came from him.

[3] That "kings" signify truths, may be seen from the following passages. In Isaiah:--

The sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee; thou shalt suck the milk of the nations, and the breast of kings shalt thou suck (Isaiah 60:10, 16);

what it is to "suck the milk of nations" and "the breast of kings," is by no means plain from the letter, but it is from the internal sense, in which it signifies to be gifted with goods, and instructed in truths. In Jeremiah:--

There shall enter in by the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses (Jeremiah 17:25; 22:4);

to "ride in chariots and on horses" is a prophetical saying which signifies an abundance of intellectual things, as may appear from very many passages in the Prophets; and thus by "kings entering in by the gates of the city" is signified in the internal sense that they should be imbued with truths of faith. This is the heavenly sense of the Word, into which the worldly literal sense passes.

[4] Again, in the same Prophet:--

Jehovah hath despised in the indignation of His anger the king and the priest; the gates of Zion have sunk into the earth; He hath destroyed and broken her bars; her king and her princes are among the nations; the law is not (Lam. 2:6, 9);

"the king" here denotes the truth of faith; "the priest" the good of charity; Zion" the church which is being destroyed, and whose bars are being broken; hence "the king and the princes are among the nations," that is, truth and the things which are of truth will be banished to such an extent that there will be no "law," that is, nothing of the doctrine of faith. In Isaiah:--

Before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the ground shall be forsaken, which thou loathest in the presence of her two kings (Isaiah 7:16);

where the Lord‘s coming is treated of; the "ground which shall be forsaken" denotes faith, of which there would then he none, and the truths of which are the "kings that would be loathed."

[5] In the same Prophet:--

I will lift up My hand to the nations, and raise up My ensign to the peoples and they shall bring thy sons in their bosom, and thy daughters shall be carried upon the shoulder; and kings shall be thy nourishers, and their queens those that give thee suck (Isa. 49:22, 23)

"the nations" and "the daughters" denote goods; and "the peoples" and "the sons" truths. "Nations" denote goods, (n. 1259, 1260, 1416, 1849); and "daughters" have a similar signification, (n. 489-491); also "peoples" denote truths, (n. 1259, 1260); and "sons" likewise, (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147). "Kings" therefore denote truths in general, by which they will be nourished, and their "queens" the goods from which they will be "suckled." Whether you say goods and truths, or those who are in goods and truths, it is the same.

[6] Again in the same Prophet:--

He shall sprinkle many nations, upon him kings shall shut their mouth--for that which was (not) told them have they seen; and that which they did not hear have they understood (Isa. 52:15),

where the Lord’s coming is spoken of; the "nations" denote those who are affected by goods, and "kings" those who are affected by truths. In David:--

Now, O ye kings, be intelligent; be instructed, ye judges of the earth; serve Jehovah with fear, and exult with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish in the way (Ps. 2:10-12).

"Kings" denote those who are in truths; who also from their truths are often called "king‘s sons;" "the Son" here denotes the Lord, who is here called "the Son" because He is the truth itself, and because all truth is from Him.

[7] In John:--

They shall sing a new song, Worthy art Thou who takest the book, and openest the seals thereof Thou hast made us unto our God kings and priests, that we may reign upon the earth (Rev. 5:9, 10);

where they who are in truths are called "kings." The Lord also calls such persons "the sons of the kingdom," in Matthew:--

He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the seed is the sons of the kingdom, and the tares are the sons of the evil one (Matthew 13:37, 38).

In John:--

The sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the Kings that are from the sun-rising might be prepared (Rev. 16:12).

That by the "Euphrates" is not meant the Euphrates, nor by "the kings from the sun-rising" any kings therefrom, is evident (what is meant by the "Euphrates" (n. 120, 1585, 1866); so that "the way of the kings that are from the sunrising" means the truths of faith that are from the goods of love.

[8] In the same:--

The nations that are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honor into it (Rev. 21:24);

where "the nations" denote those who are in goods, and "the kings of the earth" those who are in truths, as may be inferred from the fact that these words are prophetic, and not historical. In the same:--

With the great harlot that sitteth upon many waters the kings of the earth have committed whoredom, and have been made drunken with the wine of her whoredom (Rev. 17:1, 2).

And again:--

Babylon hath made all the nations drink of the wine of her whoredom, and the kings of the earth have committed whoredom with her (Rev. 18:3, 9);

where in like manner it is evident that kings are not meant by "the kings of the earth;" for the falsification and adulteration of the doctrine of faith, that is, of truth, is treated of, and this is the "whoredom;" " the kings of the earth" denote the truths that are falsified and adulterated.

[9] In the same:--

The ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, that have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority (potestas) as kings with the beast for one hour. These shall have one mind, and shall give their power and authority to the beast (Rev. 17:12, 13);

that these "kings" are not kings, is evident to every one; for if so it would he wholly unintelligible that the ten kings should receive authority as kings one hour. So too in another passage:--

I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war with him that sat upon the horse, and with his army (Rev. 19:19);

that "he that sat upon the horse" is "the Word of God," is openly stated in (Rev. 19:13); and it is against this that the kings of the earth are said to have been gathered together. "The beast" denotes the goods of love, profaned; and "the kings" denote the truths of faith, adulterated; these are called "the kings of the earth," because they are within the church. "The earth" is the church (n. 662, 1066, 1067, 1262). The "white horse" denotes the understanding of truth; and "he that sat upon the horse," the Word. This meaning is still more manifest in Daniel 11, where the war between "the king of the south" and "the king of the north" is treated of; by which terms are signified the truths and falsities that had fought, the combats being described here also in an historical manner by this "war."

[10] As "a king" signifies truth, it may be seen what is meant in the internal sense when the Lord is called a King and also a Priest; and also what it was in the Lord that was represented by kings, and what by priests. Kings represented His Divine truth, and priests His Divine good. All the laws of order by which the Lord governs the universe as King, are truths; but all the laws by which He governs the universe as Priest, and by which also He rules truths themselves, are goods; for government from truths alone would condemn every one to hell; but government from goods lifts every one out thence and uplifts him’ into heaven (n. 1728). Because in the Lord‘s case these two are conjoined, they were anciently represented by kingship conjoined with priesthood; as with Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and at the same time priest to God Most High (Gen. 14:18); and afterwards with the Jews, among whom the representative church was instituted in its own form, by judges and priests, and afterwards by kings.

[11] But as the kings represented truths, which ought not to have command, for the reason, as before said, that they condemn, therefore the desire to have kings was so displeasing as to call for rebuke, and the nature of truth as regarded in itself was describe by the rights (jus) of the king (1 Sam. 8:11-18); and at an earlier day it was commanded by Moses (Deut. 17:14-18) that they should choose genuine truth which is from good, and not spurious; and that they should not defile it by reasonings and memory-knowledges (scientifica). This is what is involved in the directions concerning a king. given in Moses in the place just cited; which no one can possibly see from the sense of the letter, but yet is evident from the several points contained in the internal sense; so that "king" and "kingship" evidently represented and signified nothing else than truth.

AC 2016. As regards the fact that all good and the derivative truth are from the Lord: this is a constant verity. The angels are in the perception of it to such a degree that they perceive that in so far as anything is from the Lord, it is good and true, and that in so far as it is from themselves, it is evil and false. They also confess this before novitiate souls, and before spirits who are in doubt of it, nay, they go so far as to say that it is by the Lord that they are withheld from the evil and falsity that come from what is their own, and are kept in good and truth. Moreover the very withholding and the very influx are perceptible to them (n. 1614). But as to man’s supposing that he does good from himself and thinks truth from himself, this is an appearance, because he is in a state of no perception, and in a state of the greatest obscurity in respect to influx; and therefore he infers this from the appearance, nay, from the fallacy, from which he by no means suffers himself to be withdrawn so long as he has belief in nothing but the senses, and so long as he reasons from them whether it be so. But although the case is as stated, man nevertheless ought to do good and to think truth as from himself; for in no other way can he be reformed and regenerated (n. 1937 1947).

[2] The verse now before us treats of the Lord‘s Human Essence that was to be united to the Divine Essence; and that all good and truth would thereby come to man from His Divine Essence through His Human Essence, is a Divine arcanum which few believe, because they do not apprehend it, for they suppose that the Divine good is able to reach to man without the Lord’s Human united to the Divine; but that this cannot be done, has been already shown in a few words (n. 1676, 1990), to this effect, that man has removed himself so far from the Supreme Divine, by the cupidities in which he has immersed himself and by the falsities with which he has blinded himself, that there could not possibly be any influx of the Divine into the rational part of his mind except through the Human which the Lord united in Himself to the Divine. Through His Human, communication has been effected; for thereby the Supreme Divine has been able to come to man. This the Lord says openly in many places, for He says that He is "the way," and that "no one cometh to the Father but by Him." This then is what is here armed: that from Him, namely, from the Human united to the Divine, is all good and all truth.

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