Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 19:11
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AC 2381. Verse 11. And the men who were at the door of the house they smote with blindness, from small even to great; and they labored to find the door. "The men who were at the door of the house," signifies things rational and the derivative doctrinals, by which violence is offered to the good of charity "they smote with blindness," signifies that they were filled with falsities; "from small even to great," signifies in particular and in general; "and they labored to find the door," signifies so that they could not see any truth that would lead to good.

AC 2382. And the men who were at the door of the house. That this signifies things rational and the derivative doctrinals, by which violence is offered to the good of charity, is evident from the signification of "men," as being things rational (n. 158, 1007); from the signification of a "door," as being introduction or access, leading either to truth or to good, and thus what is doctrinal (n. 2356); and from the signification of a "house," as being the good of charity. Here, because those are treated of who drew near to break open the door, that is, who attempted to destroy both the good of charity and the Divine and the Holy of the Lord, (n. 2376), evil rational things are meant, and the derivative false doctrinals by which violence is inflicted on the good of charity.

AC 2383. They smote with blindness. That this signifies that they were filled with falsities, is evident from the signification of "blindness." In the Word "blindness" is predicated of those who are in falsity, and also of those who are in ignorance of truth. Both are called the "blind;" but which are meant in any special instance can be seen from the series or connection, especially in the internal sense. That they who are in falsity are called the "blind," is evident from the following passages. In Isaiah:--

His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark (Isaiah 56:10).

"Blind watchmen," denotes those who from reasoning are in falsity. Again:--

We look for light, and behold darkness for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness; we grope for the wall like the blind (Isaiah 59:9, 10).

In Jeremiah:--

They have wandered as the blind in the streets; they have polluted themselves with blood; what they cannot pollute, they touch with their garments (Lam. 4:14);

meaning that all truths have been polluted; the "streets" denoting the truths wherein they have gone astray (n. 2336).

[2] In Zechariah:--

In that day I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness; every horse of the peoples will I smite with blindness (Zechariah 12:4).

Here and elsewhere in the Word a "horse" denotes the understanding; hence it is said that the "horse should be smitten with astonishment," and that the "horse of the peoples should be smitten with blindness," that is, should be filled with falsities.

[3] In John:--

For judgment am I come into the world, that they that see not may see, and that they that see may become blind. They of the Pharisees heard these things, and said, Are we also blind? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye would not have sin; but now ye say, We see, therefore your sin remaineth (John 9:39-41).

Here the "blind" in both senses are spoken of, namely, those who are in falsity, and those who are in ignorance of truth with those who are within the church and know what the truth is, "blindness" is falsity; but with those who do not know what the truth is (as is the case with those who are outside the church), "blindness" is ignorance of the truth, and these are blameless.

[4] Again:--

He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, that they may not see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and I should heal them (John 12:40; Isa. 6:9-11);

meaning that it would be better for them to be in falsities than to be in truths, because they are in a life of evil, and if they were instructed in truths, they would not only still falsify them, but would also defile them with evils; for the like reason that the men of Sodom were smitten with blindness, that is, the doctrinal things were filled with falsities. Why this was done was shown above (n. 301-303, 593, 1008, 1010, 1059, 1327, 1328, 2426).

[5] As what is blind signified what is false, therefore in the representative Jewish Church it was forbidden to sacrifice anything that was blind (Lev. 22:22; Deut. 15:21; Mal.. 1:8). It was also forbidden that anyone of the priests who was blind should draw near to offer upon the altar (Lev. 21:18, 21).

[6] That "blindness" is predicated of ignorance of truth, such as prevails with the Gentiles, is evident in Isaiah:--

In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the Book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of thick darkness and out of darkness (Isaiah 29:18).

Here the "blind" denotes those who are in ignorance of truth, being chiefly those outside the church. Again:--

Bring forth the blind people and they shall have eyes; and the deaf and they shall have ears (Isaiah 43:8);

where the church of the Gentiles is spoken of. Again:--

I will lead the blind in a way that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them (Isaiah 42:16).

[7] And again:--

I will give Thee for a light of the people, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the bound from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house (Isa. 42:6, 7);

where the Lord’s advent is treated of, in that they who are in ignorance of truth should then be instructed; for those who are in falsity do not suffer themselves to be so instructed, because they are acquainted with the truth and have confirmed themselves against it, and have turned the light into darkness, which cannot be dispelled. In Luke:--

The master of the house said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the lame, and the blind (Luke 14:21);

where the Lord‘s kingdom is treated of, and it is evident that the poor, maimed, lame, and blind are not meant, but those who are such in the spiritual sense.

[8] Again:--

Jesus said that they should tell John that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and to the poor the gospel is preached (Luke 7:22).

According to the sense of the letter, by the "blind," the "lame," the " lepers," the "deaf," the "dead," the "poor," only these are meant; because it was actually the case that the blind received sight, the deaf hearing, the lepers health, the dead life;

[9] but yet in the internal sense the same are meant as in Isaiah:--

Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped, and the lame shall leap as the hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing (Isaiah 35:5, 6);

where the Lord’s advent is treated of, and the new church at that time, which is called that of the Gentiles of whom it is declared that they were "blind," "deaf," "lame," and "dumb;" being so called in respect to doctrine and to life. For he it known that all the miracles performed by the Lord always involved, and thence signified, such things as are meant in the internal sense by the healing of the blind, of the lame, of the lepers, the deaf, the dead, and the poor. For this reason the Lord‘s miracles were Divine, as also were those performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, as well as all the other miracles that are treated of in the Word. This is an arcanum.

AC 2384. From small even to great. That this signifies in particular and in general, is evident from the signification in the internal sense of these words when predicated of rational things and the doctrinal things thence derived, which are signified by the men who were at the door of the house; for particulars and generals are related to each other as are the small and the great, particulars being as small things, and the generals of particulars as great ones. What particulars are relatively to generals, and how they stand related to each other, see (n. 920, 1040, 1316).

AC 2385. And they labored to find the door. That this signifies so that they could not see any truth that would lead to good, is evident from the signification of a "door," as being introduction and access, and as being truth itself, because this introduces to good (n. 2356). But here by the "door" are signified the knowledges that introduce to truth; for the "door" (n. 2356) was at the front of the house, for it is said that Lot "went out to the door, and shut the door behind him" (verse 6): hence to "labor to find the door," denotes not to see any truth that would lead to good.

[2] Such do those become, especially in the last times, who by ratiocination hatch doctrinal things, and believe nothing unless they first apprehend it; for in this case the life of evil continually inflows into their rational, and a kind of fallacious light pours in from the fire of the affections of evil, and causes them to see falsities as truths; as are wont to do those who see phantoms in nocturnal light. These same things are then confirmed in many ways, and become matters of doctrine, such as are the doctrinal tenets of those who say that the life (which is of the affection) is of no efficacy, but only the faith (which is of the thought).

[3] That every principle whatever, even if falsity itself, when once taken up, can be confirmed by innumerable things, and be presented in the outward form as if it were truth itself, may be known to every one. Hence come heresies; from which, when once confirmed, the man never recedes. Yet from a false principle nothing but falsities can flow; and even if truths are interlarded among them, they became truths falsified when used to confirm a false principle, because they are contaminated by its essence.

[4] Very different is the case when truth itself is received as a principle, and this is confirmed, as for example that love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor are that on which hangs all the Law, and of which all the Prophets speak, and that they are therefore the essentials of all doctrine and worship for in this case the mind would be illuminated by innumerable things in the Word, that otherwise lie hidden in the obscurity of a false principle. Nay, in such a case heresies would be dissipated, and one church would arise out of many, no matter how greatly the doctrinal and ritual matters that flowed from or led to it might differ.

[5] Such was the ancient Church, which extended through many kingdoms, namely, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Syria, Ethiopia, Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Philistia as far as Tyre and Sidon, and through the land of Canaan on both sides the Jordan. Among these the doctrinal and ritual matters differed, but still the church was one, because to them charity was the essential thing. Then was there the Lord’s kingdom on earth as in the heavens, for such is heaven (n. 684, 690). If it were so now, all would be governed by the Lord as one man; for they would be as the members and organs of one body, which, although not of similar form, nor of similar function, yet all have relation to one heart, on which depend all and each in their several forms, that are everywhere varied. Then would each person say, in whatever doctrine and in whatever outward worship he might be, This is my brother, I see that he worships the Lord, and is a good man.

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