Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 21:10
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AC 2655. Verse 10. And she said unto Abraham, Cast out this handmaid and her son; for the son of this handmaid shall not inherit with my son, with Isaac. " She said unto Abraham," signifies perception from the Divine; "cast out this handmaid and her soil," signifies that the things of the merely human rational should be banished; "for the son of this handmaid shall not inherit with my son, with Isaac," signifies that the merely human rational could not have a common life with the Divine rational itself, either as to truth or as to good.

AC 2656. She said unto Abraham. That this signifies perception from the Divine, is evident from the signification of "saying" in the historic parts of the Word, which is to perceive (as stated often before); and from the representation of Abraham, as being the Divine celestial, or the Divine good (n. 2622).

AC 2657. Cast out this handmaid and her son. That this signifies that the things of the merely human rational should be banished, is evident from the signification of "casting out," as being to banish; from the signification of a "handmaid," as being the affection of rational things and memory-knowledges, thus as being the good of them (n. 2567); and from the signification of her "son," as being the truth of that rational (n. 264, 489, 533, 1147). But it is apparent good and truth which are predicated of this first or merely human rational. Hence it is that "cast out this handmaid and her son," signifies that the things of the merely human rational were to be banished. How this is, namely, that the first rational was banished when the Divine rational took its place, has been stated and shown several times before; but as it is here treated of specifically, it must be still further explained in a few words.

[2] With every man who is being regenerated there are two rationals, one before regeneration, the other after regeneration. The first, which is before regeneration, is procured through the experience of the senses, by reflections upon things of civic life and of moral life, and by means of the sciences and the reasonings derived from them and by means of them, also by means of the knowledges of spiritual things from the doctrine of faith or from the Word. But these go no further at that time than a little above the ideas of the corporeal memory, which comparatively are quite material. Whatever therefore it then thinks is from such things; or, in order that what it thinks may be comprehended at the same time by interior or intellectual sight, the semblances of such things are presented by comparison, or analogically. Of this kind is the first rational, or that which is before regeneration.

[3] But the rational after regeneration is formed by the Lord through the affections of spiritual truth and good, which affections are implanted by the Lord in a wonderful manner in the truths of the former rational; and those things in it which are in agreement and which favor, and thus vivified; but the rest are separated from it as of no use; until at length spiritual goods and truths are collected together as it were into bundles, the incongruous things which cannot be vivified being rejected to the circumference, and this by successive steps, as spiritual goods and truths grow, together with the life of the affections of them. From this it appears what the second rational is.

[4] How the case is with these things may be illustrated by comparison with the fruit of trees. The first rational, in the beginning, is like unripe fruit, which gradually matures till it forms seeds within itself, and when it is of such age as to begin to separate itself from the tree, its state is then full (n. 2636). But the second rational, with which one is gifted by the Lord when he is being regenerated, is like the same fruit in good ground, in which those things which are round about the seeds decay, and the seeds push forth from their inmost parts, and send out a root, and then a shoot above the ground, which grows into a new tree, and unfolds itself at length even into new fruits, and then into gardens and paradises, according to the affections of good and truth which it receives (Matt. 13:31, 32; John 12:24).

[5] But as examples aid conviction, take as an example that which is man‘s own before regeneration, and that which is his own after it. From the first rational, which he has procured to himself by the means described above, the man believes that he thinks truth and does good from himself, and thus from what is his own. This first rational cannot apprehend otherwise, even if it has been instructed that all the good of love and all the truth of faith are from the Lord. But when man is being regenerated, which takes place in adult age, then from the other rational with which he is gifted by the Lord he begins to think that the good and truth are not from himself, or from what is his own, but from the Lord, but that nevertheless he does good and thinks truth as from himself, see (n. 1937, 1947). The more he is then confirmed in this, the more is he led into the light of truth respecting these things, till at last he believes that all good and all truth are from the Lord. The Own that belongs to the former rational is then successively separated, and the man is gifted by the Lord with a heavenly Own, which becomes that of his new rational.

[6] Take another example. The first rational, in the beginning, knows no other love than that of self and the world; and although it hears that heavenly love is altogether of another character, it nevertheless does not comprehend it. But then, when the man does any good, he perceives no other delight from it than that he may seem to himself to merit the favor of another, or may hear himself called a Christian, or may obtain from it the joy of eternal life. The second rational however, with which he is gifted by the Lord through regeneration, begins to feel some delight in good and truth itself, and to be affected by this, not for the sake of anything of his own, but for the sake of the good and truth; and when he is led by this delight, he disclaims merit, till at length he rejects it as an enormity. This delight grows with him step by step, and becomes blessed; and in the other life it becomes happiness, and is itself his heaven. Hence it is now evident how it is with each rational in the man who is being regenerated.

[7] But be it known that although a man is being regenerated, still each and all things of the first rational remain with him, and are merely separated from the second rational, and this in a most wonderful manner by the Lord. But the Lord wholly banished His first rational, so that nothing of it remained; for what is merely human cannot be together with the Divine. Hence He was no longer the son of Mary, but was Jehovah as to each Essence.

AC 2658. For the son of this handmaid shall not inherit with my son, with Isaac. That this signifies that the merely human rational could not have a life in common with the Divine rational itself, either as to good or as to truth, is evident from the signification of "inheriting," as being to have another’s life (to be explained presently); from the signification of the "son of the handmaid," as being the merely human rational as to truth and as to good (n. 2657); from the signification of "my son Isaac," as being the Divine rational as to truth, which is "my son", and as to good, which is "Isaac", see (n. 2623, 2630). That " Isaac" is the Divine rational as to good, is evident from the signification of "laughter," from which he was named, as being the affection of truth, or the good of truth, in the sixth and seventh verses (n. 2640, 2641, 2643). Hence it is manifest that "the son of this handmaid shall not inherit with my son, with Isaac," denotes that the merely human rational cannot have a life in common with the Divine rational, either as to truth or as to good. That it cannot have a life in common, is evident from the mere fact that the Divine is Life itself, and thus has life in Itself; whereas the merely human is an organ of life, and thus has not life in itself.

[2] When the Lord‘s Human was made Divine it was no longer an organ of life, or a recipient of life, but was Life itself, such as is that of Jehovah Himself. It had this at first from its very conception from Jehovah, as is clearly manifest from the Lord’s own words in John:--

As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:26);

the Divine Human is what is here called the "Son" (n. 1729, 2159, 2628). In the same:--

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:4).

In the same:--

Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

In the same:--

Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in Me, though he die, yet shall he live (John 11:25).

In the same:--

The bread of God is He that cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world (John 6:33).

But that man is not life, but an organ or recipient of life, may be seen above (n. 2021). From all this it is evident that when the Lord was made Jehovah even as to His Human, that which was not life in itself, that is, that which was merely human, was banished. This is signified by its being said that the son of the handmaid could not inherit with the son Isaac.

[3] That to "inherit," in the internal sense, when predicated of the Lord, is to have the Father‘s life, thus to have life in Himself; and when predicated of men, it is to have the Lord’s life, that is, to receive life from the Lord, is evident from many passages in the Word. To have life in Himself is the Esse itself of life, that is, Jehovah; whereas to have the Lord‘s life, or to receive life from the Lord, is to receive the Lord in love and faith; and as those who so receive Him are in the Lord, and are the Lord’s, they are called His "heirs," and His "sons."

[4] In the Word of the Old Testament "inheriting" is predicated not only of what is celestial, or of good, but also of what is spiritual, or of truth, but still the one is expressed by a different word from the other: the word that is predicated of good may be rendered "to possess by inheritance;" and the word that is predicated of truth, "to inherit." The former word also in the original language involves possession, but the latter, derivation from something else, as is the case with the spiritual in relation to the celestial, or with truth in relation to good. In this verse, where the Lord‘s Divine rational, or His Divine Human, is represented by Isaac, the word denoting possession by hereditary right is used, because the Lord’s Divine Human is the sole heir-possessor, as He also teaches in the parable (Matt. 21:33, 37, 38; Mark 12:7; Luke 20:14); and He declares in several places that all things of the Father are His.

[5] That to "possess by inheritance" and to "inherit," in the Word, when predicated of men, signify to receive life from the Lord, consequently eternal life or heaven, for they alone receive heaven who receive the Lord‘s life), is evident in John:--

He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be My son (Rev. 21:7).

In Matthew:--

Every one that hath left houses, or brethren, or sisters, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:29; 25:34; Mark 10:17; Luke 18:18).

Here heaven is called "eternal life," elsewhere simply "life" (Matt. 18:8, 9; 19:17; John 3:36; 5:24, 29), for the reason that the Lord is Life itself, and he who receives His life is in heaven.

[6] In David:--

God will save Zion, and build the cities of Judah, and they shall dwell there, and possess it by inheritance, the seed also of His servants shall inherit it, and they that love His name shall dwell therein (Ps. 69:35, 36);

where to "possess by inheritance" is predicated of those who are in celestial love, and to "inherit" of those who are in spiritual love. In Isaiah:--

He that putteth his trust in Me shall inherit the land, and shall possess by inheritance the mountain of My holiness (Isaiah 57:13).

[7] In like manner in Moses:--

I will bring you unto the land concerning which I lifted up My hand to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and I will give it to you for an hereditary possession (Exod. 6:8).

In the sense of the letter these words signify that the land of Canaan should be given to them for an hereditary possession, which also was done; but in the internal sense they signify that heaven should be given to those who are in love to the Lord and faith in Him; for as the Lord is represented by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, so love itself and faith itself are signified, consequently those who are in love and faith, and thus those who are in the Lord. The same are also signified by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with whom many shall sit down in the kingdom of the heavens, as we read in (Matthew 8:11); for in heaven Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are not known at all; but it is only known what is represented and signified by them, as also what is signified by sitting down or eating with them. For that all names in the Word signify actual things may be seen above (n. 1224, 1264, 1876, 1888); also that the "land of Canaan" is the heavenly Canaan or heaven (n. 1585, 1607, 1866), which is called simply the "land" (n. 1413, 1607, 1733, 2571). So too in Matthew:--

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).

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