Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 19:1
AC 2317. Verse 1. And the two angels came to Sodom in the evening; and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom; and Lot saw, and rose up to meet them, and bowed himself with his face to the earth. "The two angels came to Sodom in the evening," signifies the visitation which precedes the Judgment; the "two angels" signify the Lord’s Divine Human and Holy proceeding, to which Judgment belongs; " Sodom" signifies the evil, especially those within the church; evening" is the time of visitation; "and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom," signifies those who are in the good of charity, but in external worship, who here are "Lot;" these are among the evil, but are separated from them, which is to "sit in the gate of Sodom;" "and Lot saw," signifies their conscience "and rose up to meet them," signifies acknowledgment and a disposition of charity; "and bowed himself with his face to the earth," signifies humiliation.
AC 2318. The two angels came to Sodom in the evening. That this signifies the visitation which precedes the Judgment, can be seen from the things said by the three men, or Jehovah, in the preceding chapter; and also from the things that follow in this chapter; and likewise from the signification of "evening." In the preceding chapter Jehovah said: "I will go down and see whether the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah have made a consummation according to the cry which is come unto Me; and if not, I will know" (Genesis 18:20, 21), by which words, as has been there shown, is signified the visitation which precede‘ the Judgment. In this chapter there is described the act itself of visitation, and then the Judgment. That "evening" signifies the time of visitation will be seen below. What visitation is, and that visitation precedes Judgment, see (n. 2242). The preceding chapter has treated of the perverted state of the human race, and of the Lord’s grief and intercession for those who were in evil and yet in some good and truth; and therefore the present chapter treats, in continuance, of the salvation of those who are in some good and truth; and it is these who are represented in this chapter by "Lot." At the same time also the destruction of those who are altogether in evil and falsity is treated of; and it is these who are here signified by " Sodom and Gomorrah."
AC 2319. "Two angels." That these signify the Lord‘s Divine Human and Holy proceeding, to which Judgment belongs, is evident both from the signification in the Word of "angels," and from its being here said that there were "two" angels. That in the Word "angels" signify some Divine essential in the Lord, and that what this is can be seen from the series, has been shown above (n. 1925). That they here signify the Lord’s Divine Human and Holy proceeding, is evident from the fact that by the "three men" who were with Abraham was meant the Lord‘s Divine Itself, Divine Human, and Holy proceeding (n. 2149, 2156, 2288); from this and also from the fact that the angels are called "Jehovah" (verse 24), and also from the signification of "angels" (n. 1925), it is clear that by the "two angels" are here meant the Lord’s Divine Human and Holy proceeding.
AC 2320. Why there should here be only two angels, seeing that there were three men with Abraham, is an arcanum which cannot be set forth in few words. It can in some measure be seen from the fact that in this chapter Judgment is treated of, namely, the salvation of the faithful, and the condemnation of the unfaithful; and it is evident from the Word that Judgment belongs to the Lord‘s Divine Human and Holy proceeding. That it belongs to the Divine Human see in John: The Father judgeth not anyone, but hath given all judgment unto the Son" (John 5:22); by the "Son" is meant the Divine Human (n. 2159). That Judgment belongs to the Holy that proceeds from the Lord’s Divine Human, see also in John: "If I go away, I will send the Comforter unto you; and when He is come, He shall reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (John 16:7, 8); and that the Holy proceeds from the Lord, see in the same: "He shall not speak from Himself but shall take of Mine, and shall declare it" (John 16:13, 15), and this when the Human was made Divine, that is, when the Lord had been glorified, see in the same:
"The Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (John 7:39).
AC 2321. As regards the fact that Judgment pertains to the Lord‘s Divine Human and Holy proceeding, the case is this: The human race could no longer have been saved unless the Lord had come into the world and had united the Divine Essence to the Human Essence; for without the Lord’s Human made Divine salvation could no longer have reached to man (n. 1990, 2016, 2034, 2035). The Holy Itself that proceeds from the Lord‘s Divine Human is that which separates the evil from the good; for the evil so fear and shudder at the Lord’s Holy that they cannot approach it, but See far away from it into their hells, each one according to the profaneness that is in him.
AC 2322. That "Sodom" signifies the evil, especially those within the church, is evident from the signification of " Sodom," as being the evil of the love of self (n. 2220, 2246); consequently as being those who are in that evil. They who apprehend the Word according to the sense of the letter alone, may suppose that by " Sodom" is meant a foulness that is contrary to the order of nature; but in the internal sense by " Sodom" is signified the evil of the love of self. Out of this evil all evils of every kind well forth; and all evils that thus spring from it are called in the Word "adulteries," and are described by the same, as will be evident from passages of the Word that will be adduced at the end of this chapter.
AC 2323. That "evening" signifies the time of visitation, is evident from the signification of "evening." The states of the church are compared in the Word both to the seasons of the year and the times of the day; to the seasons of the year because to its summer, autumn, winter, and spring; to the times of the day because to its noon, evening, night, and morning; for the two things are similarly circumstanced. The state of the church which is called "evening," is when there is no longer any charity, consequently when there begins to be no faith, thus when the church is ceasing to be; this is the "evening" that is followed by the "night" (n. 22). There is also an "evening" when charity shines forth, consequently when faith does so, and thus when a new church is rising up; this " evening" is the twilight before the morning (n. 883). Thus "evening" has both significations, for it is provided by the Lord that when a church is ceasing to be, a new one is rising up, and this at the same time‘ for without a church somewhere on the globe the human race cannot subsist, because it would have no conjunction with heaven (n. 468, 637, 931, 2054).
 In the present chapter both states of the church are treated of, namely, the rising up of a new church, which is represented by "Lot," and the destruction of the old, which is signified by " Sodom and Gomorrah;" as can be seen from the Contents. This is why it is here said that the two angels came to Sodom "in the evening;" and why there is told what was done in the evening (verses 1 to 3), what in the night (verses 4 to 14), what in the morning or rising dawn (verses 15 to 22), and what after the sun had gone forth (verses 23 to 26).
 As the " evening" signifies these states of the church, it also signifies the visitation which precedes Judgment; for when a Judgment is close at hand, that is, the salvation of the faithful and the condemnation of the unfaithful, then visitation precedes, or an exploration of what quality they are, that is, whether there is any charity and faith. This visitation takes place in the "evening;" and therefore the visitation itself is called "evening," as in Zephaniah:--
Woe to the inhabitants of the region of the sea, the nation of the Cherethites. The word of Jehovah is against you, O Canaan, the land of the Philistines; and I will cause to destroy thee, till there shall be no inhabitant. The remnant of the house of Judah shall feed in the houses of Ashkelon, in the evening shall they lie down; for Jehovah their God will visit them, and will bring back their captivity (Zephaniah 2:5, 7).
AC 2324. And Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. That this signifies those who are in the good of charity, but in external worship, who here are "Lot," and who are among the evil, but separate from them-which is to "sit in the gate of Sodom"-can be seen from the representation of "Lot," and from the signification of "gate," and also from that of Sodom." From the representation of "Lot:" Lot when with Abraham represented the Lord’s sensuous part, thus His external man (n. 1428, 1434, 1547). But here, when separated from Abraham, Lot no longer retains the representation of the Lord, but the representation of those who are with the Lord, namely, the external man of the church, that is, those who are in the good of charity, but in external worship;
 nay, in this chapter Lot not only represents the external man of the church, or what is the same, the external church such as it is in the beginning, but also such as it is in its progress, and also in its end. It is the end of that church which is signified by "Moab" and the "son of Ammon," as of the Lord‘s Divine mercy will appear from the series of the things that follow. It is a common thing in the Word for one person to represent a number of states that succeed each other, and which are described by the successive acts of his life.
 From the signification of a "gate:" a gate is that through which one enters into a city, and through which he goes out of the city; consequently, to "sit in the gate" does indeed here signify to be with the evil, but still to be separate from them; as is wont to be the case with the men of the church who are in the good of charity; these, although they are among the wicked, are still separate from them; not as to civic society, but as to spiritual life. That "Sodom" signifies evil in general, or what is the same, the evil, especially within the church, was said above, (n. 2322).
AC 2325. And Lot saw. That this signifies the conscience, namely, of those who are in the good of charity but in external worship, may be seen from the signification of to "see." To "see," in the Word, signifies to understand (n. 897, 1584, 1806, 1807, 2150); but in the internal sense it signifies to have faith, of which signification we shall speak, of the Lord’s Divine mercy in (Genesis 29:32). That to "see" here signifies conscience, is because those who have faith also have conscience. Faith is inseparable from conscience, so inseparable indeed that whether you say faith or conscience it is the same. By faith is meant the faith by means of which there is charity, and which is from charity, thus charity itself; for faith without charity is no faith; and as faith is not possible without charity, so neither is conscience.
AC 2326. And he rose up to meet them. That this signifies acknowledgment, as also a disposition of charity, may be seen from the fact that when they came Lot forthwith acknowledged that they were angels; but not so the men of Sodom, of whom it is said: "They cried unto Lot, and said, Where are the men that came unto thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them" (verse 5). In the internal sense these words signify that those within the church who are in the good of charity acknowledge the Lord‘s Divine Human and Holy proceeding (meant by the "two angels"), but not those who are not in the good of charity. That the came words likewise involve a disposition of charity, is evident also from the fact that Lot, by whom are represented those who are in the good of charity, nay, by whom is signified the good of charity itself, invited them into his house.
AC 2327. He bowed himself with his face to the earth. That this signifies humiliation, may be seen without unfolding the meaning. The reason that in former times, especially in the representative churches, they bowed themselves so low that they let down the face to the earth, was because the face signified man’s interiors (n. 358, 1999); and the reason they let it down to the earth was that the dust of the earth signified what is profane and condemned (n. 278); consequently they thus represented that of themselves they were profane and condemned. For the same reason they prostrated themselves, pressing the face to the earth, and even rolling themselves in dust and ashes, and also sprinkling dust and ashes upon their heads (Lam. 2:10; Ezek. 27:30; Micah. 1:10; Josh. 7:6; Rev. 18:19).
 By all this they represented the state of true humiliation, which is possible to none unless they acknowledge that of themselves they are profane and condemned, and thus that they cannot of themselves look to the Lord, where there is nothing but what is Divine and Holy; on which account, so far as a man is in self-acknowledgment, so far he can be in true humiliation, and in adoration when in worship. For in all worship there must be humiliation; and if this is separated therefrom, there is nothing of adoration, thus nothing of worship.
 That the state of humiliation is the essential state of worship itself, comes from the fact that so far as the heart is humbled, so far the love of self and all the evil therefrom ceases; and so far as this ceases, so far good and truth, that is, charity and faith, flow in from the Lord; for that which stands in the way of the reception of these is principally the love of self, in which there is contempt for others in comparison with one‘s self; hatred and revenge if self is not treated with honor; and also unmercifulness and cruelty; thus the worst evils of all; and into these good and truth can in no wise be introduced, for they are opposites.GENESIS 19:1 - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|