Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 19:3
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AC 2337. Verse 3. And he urged them exceedingly, and they turned aside unto him, and came to his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened (bread); and they did eat. " He urged them exceedingly," signifies a state of temptation when one overcomes; " and they turned aside unto him," signifies abode; "and came to his house," signifies confirmation in good; "and he made them a feast," signifies a dwelling together " and baked unleavened (bread)," signifies purification; "and they did eat," signifies appropriation.

AC 2338. He urged them exceedingly. That this signifies a state of temptation which one overcomes, cannot be seen except by those who have been in temptations. As before said, temptations are attended with doubt in regard to the Lord’s presence and mercy, and also in regard to salvation. The evil spirits who are then with the man and induce the temptation strongly inspire negation, but the good spirits and angels from the Lord in every possible way dispel this state of doubt, and keep the man in a state of hope, and at let confirm him in what is affirmative. The result is that a man who is in temptation hangs between what is negative and what is affirmative. One who yields in temptation remains in a state of doubt, and falls into what is negative; but one who overcomes is indeed in doubt, but still, if he suffers himself to be cheered by hope, he stands fast in what is affirmative. As during this conflict the man seems to urge the Lord, especially by prayers, to be present, to have mercy, to give aid, and to deliver from damnation, therefore where the temptation of those who are becoming men of the church is treated of, as in the passage before us, these things are described by the angels‘ first saying, "Nay," and that they would tarry all night in the street; and by Lot’s then urging them exceedingly, so that they turned aside to him and came to his house.

AC 2339. And they turned aside unto him. That this signifies abode, is evident from the signification of the same words above (n. 2330); thus without further explication.

AC 2340. And came to his house. That this signifies confirmation in good, is evident from the signification of a "house," as being celestial good (n. 2233, 2331); and from this, as well as from the series of things in the internal sense, it is evident that these words mean to be confirmed in good.

AC 2341. And he made them a feast. That this signifies a dwelling together, is evident from the signification of a "feast." Feasts are often mentioned in the Word; and in the internal sense they signify a dwelling together; as in Jeremiah:--

The word of Jehovah to him: Thou shalt not go into the house of a feast, to sit with them, to eat and to drink (Jeremiah 16:8);

where several things are said to the prophet by which he should represent the fact that good should have no communication with evil, nor truth with falsity; and among other things it is said that he should not enter into the house of a feast, by which was signified that good and truth should not dwell together with evil and falsity.

[2] In Isaiah:--

In this mountain shall Jehovah Zebaoth make unto all people a feast of fat thing, a feast of sweet wines, of fat things full of marrow, of wines well refined (Isaiah 25:6);

where "mountain" denotes love to the Lord (n. 795, 1430). They who are in this love dwell with the Lord in good and truth, which is signified by the "feast." The "fat things full et marrow" are goods (n. 353); the "sweet" and the "refined wines" are the truths thereof (n. 1071).

[3] The feasts made from the sanctified things in the Jewish Church, when they sacrificed, represented nothing else than the Lord‘s dwelling with man in the holy things of love signified by the sacrifices (n. 2187). The same was afterwards represented by the Holy Supper, which in the Primitive Church was called a Feast.

[4] In the twenty-first chapter of Genesis it is related that Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned (Genesis 21:8); by which was represented, and thereby signified, the dwelling together and first conjunction of the Lord’s Divine with His Human Rational. In the internal sense the same is also signified in other places by "feasts," as may also be inferred from the fact that feasts take place in a company of many who are in love and charity together, who mentally conjoin themselves together, and share with one another their glad feelings, which are emotions of love and charity.

AC 2342. And baked unleavened (bread). That this signifies purification, is evident from the signification of "unleavened" or "unfermented." In the Word "bread" signifies in general all celestial and spiritual food, thus celestial and spiritual things in general (n. 276, 680, 1798, 2165, 2177). That these should be free from everything impure was represented by bread without leaven; for "leaven" signifies that which is evil and false, by which celestial and spiritual things are rendered impure and profane. On account of this representation it was commanded those who were of the Representative Church that in their sacrifices they should not offer any other bread, that is, meat-offering, than that which was unfermented or unleavened; as is evident in Moses:--

No meat-offering which ye shall bring to Jehovah shall be made with leaven (Lev. 2:11).


Thou shalt not sacrifice the blood of My sacrifice with what is leavened (Exod. 23:18; 34:25).

[2] And it was therefore also commanded, that on the seven days of the Passover they should not eat any other than unfermented or unleavened bread, as stated in Moses:--

Seven days shall ye eat unleavened (bread) even on the first day ye shall cause leaven to cease from your houses; for whosever eateth what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at even, ye shall eat unleavened (bread), until the one and twentieth day of the month at even seven days shall no leaven be found in your houses; for whosoever eateth what is leavened, that soul also shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a sojourner or born in the land (Exod. 12:15, 18-20; Exod. 13:6, 7; 23:15; 34:18; Deut. 16:3, 4).

Hence the Passover is called the "Feast of Unleavened Bread" (Lev. 23:6; Num. 28:16, 17; Matt. 26:17; Luke 22:1, 7).

[3] That the Passover represented the Lord‘s glorification, and thereby the conjunction of the Divine with the human race, will of the Lord’s Divine mercy be shown elsewhere; and as the Lord‘s conjunction with the human race is effected through love and charity and the faith thence derived, these celestial and spiritual things were represented by the unleavened bread that they were to eat on the days of the Passover; and lest these things should be contaminated by anything profane, that which was leavened was so severely interdicted that whoever should eat of it was to be cutoff; for whoever profanes celestial and spiritual things cannot fail to perish. Every one can see that apart from this secret meaning, this ceremonial, to which there was attached so severe a penalty, would never have been given.

[4] Everything that was commanded in that church represented some secret thing, even the very cooking, as was the case with every particular of what the sons of Israel did when they went forth from Egypt; to wit:--

They shall eat on that night flesh roasted with fire, and unleavened bread upon bitter herbs they shall not eat it raw, nor boiled in water; the head shall be on the legs they shall not leave of it until the morning, but shall burn the residue with fire (Exod. 12:8-10).

These particulars, namely, that they should eat it by night, the flesh roasted with fire, the unleavened bread upon bitter herbs, the head on the legs, not raw, nor boiled in water, that they should not leave of it until the morning, and that they should burn the residue with fire, were representative. But the arcana represented cannot possibly appear unless disclosed by the internal sense; it is from this sense alone that it can be seen that all things are Divine.

[5] In like manner with the ritual in regard to the Nazirite:--

The priest shall take the boiled shoulder of a ram, and one unleavened cake out of a basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the palms of the Nazirite, after he has shaved his nazariteship (Num. 6:19).

He who does not know that the Nazirite represented the celestial man himself, does not know that celestial things, thus arcana which do not appear in the letter, are enfolded within all these particulars, namely, the boiled shoulder of a ram, the unleavened cake, the unleavened wafer, and the shaving of the hair; which shows what kind of an opinion concerning the Word must be formed by those who do not believe that it contains an internal sense; for without what is internal these are particulars of no moment: whereas when the ceremonial or ritual is removed, everything there becomes Divine and holy. The same is the case with everything else, as here with the unleavened bread, which denotes the holy of love, or a holy of holies, as it is likewise called in Moses:--

The unleavened bread that is left shall be eaten by Aaron and his sons in a place of holiness, for it is a holy of holies (Lev. 6:16, 17).

The "unleavened bread" therefore denotes pure love; and the "baking of what is unleavened" denotes purification.

AC 2343. And they did eat. That this signifies appropriation, is evident from the signification of "eating," which is to be communicated and conjoined, thus to be appropriated (n. 2187). From what has been already said and unfolded it can be seen how the things contained in the preceding verse, and in this, are circumstanced in the internal sense, and how in that sense they cohere together; from the fact that by the "angels" is signified the Lord’s Divine Human and Holy proceeding; by "turning aside to him," having an abode; by "coming to his house," being confirmed in good; by "making a feast," dwelling together; by "baking unleavened bread," being purified; and by "eating," being appropriated. From this it is evident what is the series and connection of things in the internal sense, although nothing whatever of it appears in the historical sense.

[2] Such is the order and series in all of the things of the Word, both in general and particular. But the series itself such as it is in itself cannot be made to appear in an explication of the several words, for in that case everything appears in a disconnected form, and the continuity of the sense is dissipated. But when all things are viewed together in one idea, or are perceived in one mental view, as is the case with those who are in the internal sense and at the same time in heavenly light from the Lord, there is then presented to view in these words the entire process of the reformation and regeneration of those who are becoming men of the church (who are here represented by Lot), to wit, that at first they perceive something of temptation, but when they persist and overcome, the Lord has an abode with them, and confirms them in good, introduces them unto Himself in His kingdom, and dwells with them, and there purifies and perfects them, and at the same time appropriates good and happy things to them, and this by means of His Divine Human and Holy proceeding.

[3] That all regeneration or new life, thus salvation, is from the Lord alone, is indeed known in the church, but is believed by few, for the reason that men are not in the good of charity. It is as impossible for those who are not in the good of charity to have this belief, as it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle; for the good of charity is the very ground for the seeds of faith. Truth and good agree, but truth and evil never: they are of a contrary nature, and are averse one to the other. For this reason, so far as a man is in good, so far he can be in truth; or so far as he is in charity, so far he can be in faith; especially in this chief point of faith, that all salvation is from the Lord.

[4] That this is the chief point of faith, is evident from many passages in the Word, as in John:--

God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth In Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).


He that believeth in the Son hath eternal life but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36).


This is the work of God, that ye believe in Him whom the Father hath sent (John 6:29).


This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth in Him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:40).


Except ye believe that I am, ye shall die in your sins (John 8:24).


I am the resurrection and the life he that believeth in Me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die (John 11:25, 26).

[5] That no one can believe in the Lord unless he is in good, that is, that no one can have faith unless he is in charity, is also evident in John:--

As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become children of God, to them that believe in His name; who were born not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12, 13).

And again:--

I am the vine, ye are the branches he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit for without Me ye can do nothing. If one abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered. As the Father hath loved Me, I also have loved you; abide ye in My love. This is My commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you (John 15:5, 6, 9, 12).

[6] From these passages it can be seen that love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor are the life of faith. But that they who are in evil, that is, in a life of evil, cannot possibly believe that all salvation is from the Lord, has been made evident to me from those who had come into the other life from the Christian world; and also from those who in the life of the body had confessed with the mouth and had even taught, according to the doctrinal tenet of faith, that without the Lord there is no salvation, and yet had led a life of evil. These, when the Lord was merely named, forthwith filled the sphere with endless difficulties (for in the other life that which spirits merely think is perceived, and diffuses from itself a sphere, in which it becomes manifest in what kind of faith they are (n. 1394).

[7] Among the same, when love or charity was merely mentioned, there was perceived from them something as it were full of darkness and at the same time clotted from a kind of filthy love; which thing was of such a nature as to extinguish, suffocate, and pervert all perception of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor. Such is the faith at this day, which they say saves without the good of charity.

[8] The same also on being asked what faith they had (since they had not that which they had professed in the life of the body) said (for in the other life no one can conceal what he thinks) that they believed in God the Creator of the universe. But when they were examined in order to see whether it was so, it was found that they did not believe in any God, but thought that all things are of nature, and that all things that have been said about eternal life are empty and worthless. Such is the faith of all those within the Church who do not believe in the Lord, but say that they believe in God the Creator of the universe. For truth can flow in from no other source than the Lord; nor can truth be inseminated in anything except the good which is from the Lord.

[9] That it is the Lord‘s Divine Human and Holy proceeding by means of which and from which come life and salvation, is very well known from the words of the Holy Supper: "This is My Body;" "this is My Blood;" which is the Lord’s Divine Human; and it is evident that all the Holy is from this. Whether you say His Divine Human, or His Body, or His Flesh, or the Bread, or the Divine Love, it is the same; for the Lord‘s Divine Human is pure Love, and the Holy is of love alone, and from this is derived the Holy of faith.

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