Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 19:23
AC 2440. Verse 23. The sun was gone forth upon the earth, and Lot came to Zoar. "The sun was gone forth upon the earth," signifies the last period, which is called the Last Judgment; "and Lot came to Zoar," signifies that those are saved who are in the affection of truth.
AC 2441. The sun was gone forth upon the earth. That this signifies the last period, which is called the Last Judgment, is evident from the signification of the "rising of the sun," when the subject treated of is the times and states of the church. That in the internal sense the times of the day, and also the times of the year, signify the successive states of the church, has been shown before (n. 2323); and that the dawn or morning signifies the Lord‘s advent, that is, the approach of His Kingdom (n. 2405) so that in the passage before us the rising of the sun, that is, his "going forth upon the earth," signifies the Lord’s presence itself; and this for the reason that both the "sun" and the "east" signify the Lord. As to the "sun," (n. 31, 32, 1053, 1521, 1529-1531, 2120); as to the "east," (n. 101).
 The reason why the Lord‘s presence is the same as the last period, which is called the Judgment, is that His presence separates the good from the evil, and results in the good being elevated into heaven, and the evil casting themselves down into hell; for in the other life the Lord is the Sun to the universal heaven (n. 1053, 1521, 1529-1531), for it is the Divine Celestial of His love that so appears before their eyes and actually makes the very light of heaven. In so far therefore as the inhabitants of the spiritual world are in celestial love, so far are they elevated into that celestial light which is from the Lord; but in so far as they are remote from celestial love, so far do they cast themselves away from this light into infernal darkness.
 This therefore is the reason why the "rising of the sun," by which is signified the presence of the Lord, involves both the salvation of the good and the damnation of the evil; and this is why it is now said for the first time that "Lot came to Zoar," that is, that they who are here represented by Lot were saved; and presently that "Jehovah caused it to rain upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire," that is, that the evil were damned.
 To those who are in the evils of the love of self and of the world, that is, to those who are in hatreds against all things of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor, the light of heaven actually appears as thick darkness; on which account it is said in the Word that to such the "sun was blackened;" by which is signified that they rejected everything of love and charity, and received everything that is contrary thereto. As in Ezekiel:--
When I shall extinguish thee, I will cover the heavens, and make the stars thereof black I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not make her light to shine all the luminaries of light in the heavens will I make black over thee, and will set darkness upon thy land (Ezekiel 32:7, 8).
Every one can see that by "covering the heavens," " blackening the stars," "covering the sun," and "blackening the luminaries of heaven," other things than these are signified.
 In like manner in Isaiah:--
The sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine (Isaiah 13:10).
And in Joel:--
The sun and the moon are blackened, and the stars withdraw their shining (Joel 2:2, 10).
It is therefore evident what is signified by the Lord’s words in Matthew, where He is speaking of the last period of the church, which is called the Judgment:--
Immediately after the affliction of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven (Matthew 24:29);
where by the "sun" is not meant the sun; nor by the "moon," the moon; nor by the "stars," the stars; but by the "sun" are signified love and charity; by the "moon," the faith thence derived; and by the "stars," the knowledges of good and truth; which are said to be "obscured," to "lose their light," and to "fall from heaven," when there is no longer any acknowledgment of the Lord, nor any love to Him, nor any charity toward the neighbor; and when these have become nought, the love of self with its falsities takes possession of the man; for the one thing is a consequence of the other.
 Hence we read also in John
The fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and it was given unto him to scorch men with fire, and men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God (Rev. 16:8, 9);
where also the last times of the church are treated of, when all love and charity are being extinguished; or, speaking according to the common mode, when there is no longer any faith. The extinction of love and charity is meant by the "pouring out of the vial upon the sun;" so that it was the love of self and its cupidities by which men were then "scorched with fire," and "scorched with great heat;" and from which came the "blaspheming of the name of God."
 By the "sun" the Ancient Church understood nothing else than the Lord and the Divine Celestial of His love; and therefore they were accustomed to pray toward the sun-rising, while not thinking at all about the sun. But after their posterity had lost this also, together with the rest of their representatives and significatives, they began to worship the sun itself and also the moon; which worship spread to many nations, so much so that they dedicated temples to them, and set up pillars; and because the sun and the moon then took on an opposite signification, they came to signify the love of self and of the world, which are diametrically contrary to heavenly and spiritual love. Hence in the Word by the "worship of the sun and the moon" is meant the worship of self and of the world;
 as in Moses:--
Lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the army of the heavens, and thou be driven to bow down unto them, and serve them (Deut. 4:19).
If he have gone and served other gods, and the sun and the moon, or any of the army of the heavens, which I have not commanded, then thou shalt stone them with stones, and they shall die (Deut. 17:3, 6).
Into such idolatry was the ancient worship turned when they no longer believed that anything internal was signified by the rites of the church, but only what was external.
 In like manner in Jeremiah:--
At that time shall they spread out the bones of the kings of Judah, of the princes, of the priests, of the prophets, and of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, before the sun and the moon, and all the army of the heavens, which they have loved, and which they have served (Jeremiah 8:1, 2).
The "sun" here denotes the love of self and its cupidities; their "spreading out the bones" signifies the infernal things that belong to such worshipers. Again:--
He shall break the pillars of the house of the sun, which are in the land of Egypt, and the houses of the gods of Egypt shall he burn with fire (Jeremiah 43:13).
The "pillars of the house" denote the worship of self.
AC 2442. And Lot came to Zoar. That this signifies that those who are in the affection of truth are saved, is evident from the signification of " Zoar," as being the affection of truth (n. 2439). This shows that those also are saved who are in faith, provided there is good in their faith; that is, provided they are affected by the truths of faith for the sake of good, for this is from good: all the life of faith is from no other source. That charity is the essential of faith, nay, that it is faith itself, because it is the very substance of faith, see (n. 379, 389, 654, 724, 809, 916, 1162, 1176, 1798, 1799, 1834, 1844, 2049, 2116, 2189, 2190, 2228, 2261, 2343, 2349, 2417). GENESIS 19:23 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|