Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 22:12
AC 2823. Verse 12. And He said, Put not forth thine hand upon the boy, and do not anything unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, and thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only one, from Me. "He said, Put not forth thine hand upon the boy," signifies that He should admit the temptation no further into the Truth Divine which belonged to the rational; "and do not anything unto him," signifies liberation; "for now I know that thou fearest God," signifies glorification from the Divine love; "and hast not withheld thy son, thine only one, from Me," signifies the unition of the Human with the Divine by means of the last of temptation.
AC 2824. And He said, Put not forth thine hand upon the boy. That this signifies that He should admit the temptation no further into the Truth Divine which belonged to the rational, is evident from the signification of "putting forth the hand," as being temptation even to the utmost of power (n. 2816), and from the signification of the "boy," that is, of Isaac, as being the rational as to Truth Divine, into which the temptations were admitted (n. 2803, 2813, 2814, 2817).
AC 2825. And do not anything unto him. That this signifies liberation, is evident without explication; for when it is said that he should do nothing to him, it means that the act should be interrupted, and thus that he will be liberated.
AC 2826. For now I know that thou fearest God. That this signifies glorification from the Divine love, is evident from the signification of "knowing," when predicated of the Lord’s Divine, as being nothing else than to be united, or what is the same, to be glorified; for it was being united to the Human Divine by means of temptations (n. 1737, 1813); and from the signification of "fearing God," or of the "fear of God," as being here the Divine love. And because this is predicated of the Lord‘s Divine rational as to truth, it is here said to fear "God," and not "Jehovah;" for when truth is treated of, it is said " God;" but when good, "Jehovah" (n. 2586, 2769, 2822). That the Divine love is that by which the Lord united His Human Essence to His Divine Essence, and the Divine Essence to the Human, or what is the same, glorified Himself, may be seen above (n. 1812, 1813, 2253). What "fearing God" signifies in the Word, may be seen from a great many passages when understood as to the internal sense. The "fear of God" there signifies worship, and indeed worship either from fear, or from the good of faith, or from the good of love; worship from fear when the non-regenerate, worship from the good of faith when the spiritual regenerate, and worship from the good of love when the celestial regenerate are treated of.
 I. That the "fear of God" in general signifies worship, is manifest in the book of Kings
The sons of Israel feared other gods, and walked in the statutes of the nations. The nations sent into Samaria feared not Jehovah in the beginning, therefore Jehovah sent lions among them and one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear Jehovah. Jehovah made a covenant with the sons of Israel and commanded them, Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them but ye shall fear Jehovah, and bow yourselves down unto Him, and sacrifice to Him (2 Kings 17:7, 8, 24, 26, 28, 32, 33, 36, 37, 41);
here "fearing" manifestly denotes worshiping. In Isaiah:--
Because this people have drawn nigh unto Me with their mouth, and have honored Me with their lips, and their heart hath removed itself far from Me, and their fear of Me is a commandment of men which hath been taught (Isaiah 29:13);
where their "fear of Me" denotes worship in general; for it is said that the fear was a commandment of men. In Luke:--
There was in a city a judge who feared not God and regarded not man (Luke 18:2),
"fearing not God" means not worshiping Him.
 II. That the "fear of God" signifies worship from fear when the nonregenerate are treated of, is manifest from the following passages in Moses:--
When the Law was promulgated upon Mount Sinai, the people said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, God is come to prove you, and that His fear may be before you, that ye sin not (Exod. 20:19, 20).
Now why shall we die? for this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of Jehovah our God any more, then we shall die. Go thou near, and hear all that Jehovah our God shall say and speak thou unto us all that Jehovah our God shall say unto thee and we will hear it, and do it. And Jehovah said unto Moses, Who will give them to have such a heart as this, to fear Me, and keep all My commandments always (Deut. 5:25, 27-29);
here the "fear of God before you that ye sin not, and a heart to fear Me, and keep all My commandments," signifies worship from fear, in respect to them, because such was their quality; for they who are in external worship, and not in internal, are driven to the observance of the law and to obedience by fear; but still they do not come into internal worship or into holy fear (timor sanctus) unless they are in the good of life, and know what is internal, and believe it. In the same:--
If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, to fear this glorious and fearful name, Jehovah thy God, Jehovah will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, plagues great and sure, and sore diseases and sure, and He will bring upon thee again all the sickness of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of, and they shall cleave unto thee (Deut. 28:58-60);
here also to "fear the glorious and fearful name of Jehovah God" is to worship from fear; and that this might exist among those of such a character, all evils even to cursings were attributed to Jehovah (n. 592, 2335, 2395, 2447). In Jeremiah:--
Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and a bitter that thou hast forsaken Jehovah thy God, and that My fear is not in thee (Jeremiah 2:19).
I say unto you, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, but after that have no more that they can do; but I will warn you whom ye shall fear; fear Him who after He hath killed, hath power to cast into hell yea, I say unto you, fear Him (Luke 12:4, 5; Matt. 10:28);
here also "fearing God" involves worshiping from some fear, because fear drove them to obedience, as before said.
 III. That to "fear God" or Jehovah" signifies worship from the good of faith, where the spiritual regenerate are treated of, is manifest from the following passages. In Moses:--
The king shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book before the priests the Levites, and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear Jehovah his God, to keep all the words of this law, and these statutes, to do them (Deut. 17:18, 19).
In the internal sense "king" denotes the truth of faith; for royalty represented the Lord’s spiritual kingdom (n. 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069). Hence to "fear Jehovah his God," is to worship Him from the truth of faith; and because this is inseparable from the good of charity, it is described by "keeping the words of the law and the statutes to do them." In Samuel:--
Behold Jehovah hath set a king over you. If ye will fear Jehovah and serve Him, and hearken unto His voice, then shall both ye and the king that reigneth over you be followers of Jehovah your God (1 Sam. 12:13, 14);
here also in the internal sense "fearing Jehovah" denotes worshiping from the good and truth of faith, as before, because a king or royalty is treated of.
 In Joshua:--
Now fear Jehovah, and serve Him in integrity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served (Joshua 24:14);
where also to "fear Jehovah" denotes worshiping from good and truth, which is of the spiritual man; for "integrity" is predicated of the good of faith (n. 612), and "truth" of the truth of faith. In Jeremiah:--
They shall be My people, and I will be their God and I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and of their children after them and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good and I will put My fear in their heart, that they shall not depart from Me (Jeremiah 32:38-40);
that "fearing God" here is worshiping from the good and truth of faith, is evident from the series, and from the use of the words "people" and "God." That those are called "people‘ who are in truth, see (n. 1259, 1260); and that "God" is named where truth is treated of, (n. 2586, 2769, 2807). In Isaiah:--
The strong people shall honor Thee, the city of the mighty nations shall fear Thee (Isaiah 25:3);
where "fearing God" also denotes worshiping from spiritual truth, for it is predicated of "people" and "city." That a "city" is doctrinal truth see (n. 402, 2268, 2450, 2451).
 In David:--
What man is he that feareth Jehovah? him shall He teach the way that He shall choose (Ps. 25:12);
where the "man that feareth Jehovah" denotes him who worships Him; and that this is said of the spiritual man is manifest from its being said, "him shall He teach the way." That a "way" is truth, see (n. 627, 2333). And again with similar meaning:--
Blessed is every one that feareth Jehovah, that walketh in His ways (Ps. 128:1).
In the same:--
They that fear Jehovah shall glorify Him all the seed of Jacob shall glorify Him, and all the seed of Israel shall stand in awe of Him (Ps. 22:23);
here to "stand in awe of Him" means to worship from the truth of faith; for the "seed of Israel" is the spiritual of the church, or the good and truth of faith (n. 1025, 1447, 1610). In Moses:--
Now Israel, what doth Jehovah thy God require of thee, but to fear Jehovah thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve Jehovah thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of Jehovah, and His statutes (Deut. 10:12, 13).
Here is described what it is to "fear God," with the spiritual man’, that is, "Israel;" namely, that it is to walk in the ways of Jehovah, to love Him, to serve Him, and to keep His precepts and His statutes. In John:--
I saw an angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel, saying with a great voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come (Rev. 14:6, 7);
here to "fear God" denotes holy worship from the good and truth of faith. In Luke:--
Jesus said to him that was palsied, Arise, take up thy couch, and go unto thy house and amazement took hold upon them all; and they glorified God, and they were filled with fear (Luke 5:24-26);
where "fear" denotes holy fear, such as is that of those who are being initiated into the good of love by the truth of faith.
 IV. That to "fear God" or "Jehovah" signifies worship from the good of love, when the celestial regenerate are treated of. In Malachi:--
My covenant was with Levi, of lives and peace and I gave them to him that he might fear, and he feared Me, and for My name was he broken. The law of truth was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not in his lips he walked with Me in peace and uprightness (Malachi 2:5, 6);
where the Lord is treated of, who here in the internal sense is "Levi;" "Levi" signifies the priesthood, and signifies love; "fear" here denotes the good of Divine love; the "law of truth," truth; and peace and uprightness," both.
 In Isaiah:--
There shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots and the spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah, and of His scent in the fear of Jehovah (Isaiah 11:1-3);
where also the Lord is treated of. The "spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah" denotes the Divine love of truth; and His "scent in the fear of Jehovah," the Divine love of good.
 In David
The precepts of Jehovah are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of Jehovah is pure, enlightening the eyes the fear of Jehovah is clean, standing forever; the judgments of Jehovah are truth, made righteous together (Ps. 19:8, 9);
where "the fear of Jehovah is clean" denotes love; and "the judgments of Jehovah are truth" denotes faith. That "righteousness" is predicated of the good of love, and "judgment" of the truth of faith, see (n. 2235); and these are said to be " made righteous together," when truth becomes good, or when faith becomes charity.
 In the same:--
Behold the eye of Jehovah is upon them that fear Him, upon them that wait for His mercy (Ps. 33:18).
Jehovah delighteth not in the strength of the horse, He taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. Jehovah taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that wait for His mercy (Ps. 147:10, 11);
the "strength of the horse" denotes one‘s own power of thinking truth. That a "horse" denotes the intellectual faculty, see (n. 2760-2762), the "legs of a man" denote one’s own power of doing good; "they that fear Jehovah" denote those who worship Him from the love of truth; and "they that wait for His mercy," those who worship from the love of good. Where good is spoken of in the Prophets, so also is truth; and where truth is spoken of, so also is good, on account of the heavenly marriage of good and truth in everything (n. 683, 793, 801, 2516, 2712, 2713).
 In the same:--
Jehovah will bless the house of Israel, He will bless the house of Aaron, He will bless them that fear Jehovah, both small and great (Ps. 115:12, 13);
here "they that fear Jehovah" denote those who worship from the good of faith, which is the "house of Israel," and from the good of love, which is the "house of Aaron;" they are both named on account of the heavenly marriage, as said above, in everything in the Word.
 In Isaiah:--
The truth of thy times shall be strength of salvations, wisdom, and knowledge the fear of Jehovah itself a treasure (Isaiah 33:6);
where "wisdom and knowledge" denote the good of faith conjoined with its truth; and the "fear of Jehovah," the good of love. In the same:--
Who is among you that feareth Jehovah, hearkening to the voice of His servant (Isaiah 50:10);
"he that feareth Jehovah" denotes him that worships from love; he that hearkeneth to the voice of His servant," him that worships from faith. When the one is of the other, then there is the heavenly marriage.
 From the passages which have been adduced from the Word it is evident that the "fear of God" is worship, either from fear, or from the good of faith, or from the good of love. But the more there is of fear in the worship, the less there is of faith, and the less still of love; and on the other hand, the more of faith there is in the worship, and especially the more there is of love, the less there is of fear. There is indeed a fear within all worship, but under another appearance and another condition, and this is holy fear. But holy fear is not so much the fear of hell and of damnation, as it is of doing or thinking anything against the Lord and against the neighbor, and thus anything against the good of love and the truth of faith. It is an aversion, which is the boundary of the holy of love and the holy of faith on the one side; and as it is not a fear of hell and damnation, as before said, those have it who are in the good of faith; but those have less of it who are in the good of love, that is, who are in the Lord.
 V. Therefore to "fear" signifies also to distrust, or not to have faith and love, as in Isaiah:--
Thus saith thy Creator, O Jacob, and thy Former, O Israel, Fear not, for I have redeemed thee I have called thee by thy name, thou art Mine (Isaiah 43:1, 5; 44:8).
The oath which He sware to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him (Luke 1:73, 74).
In the same:--
Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father‘s good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32).
Jesus said unto the ruler of the synagogue, Fear not, only believe (Mark 5:36; Luke 8:49, 50).
In the same:--
Jesus said, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? (Mark 4:40).
The hairs of your head are all numbered fear not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows (Luke 12:7).
In these passages to "fear" is to distrust, or not to have faith and love.
AC 2827. And thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only one, from Me. That this signifies the unition of the Human with the Divine by the utmost of temptation, is evident from the signification of "thy son," namely, Isaac, as being the Divine rational (explained before), or the Divine Human, for this begins in the rational (n. 2106, 2194); which is called the "only one," because it was the only-begotten (n. 2772); and from the signification of "not withholding from Me," as being to cause it to be united, namely, to the Divine Itself. That the unition was effected by the utmost of temptation, is manifest from all that precedes. GENESIS 22:12 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
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