Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 23:1
next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  BM Home  -  Full Page

AC 2903. Verse 1. Add the lives of Sarah were a hundred years and twenty years and seven years, the years of the lives of Sarah. "The lives of Sarah were," signifies the times and states of the church as to the truths Divine that preceded; "a hundred years and twenty years and seven years," signifies their fullness; "the years of the lives of Sarah," signifies while any truth Divine remained on earth.

AC 2904. The lives of Sarah were. That this signifies the times and states of the church as to the truths Divine that preceded, is evident from the signification here of "lives;" and from the representation of "Sarah." "Lives," here, because they regard age and its periods, namely, infancy, youth, adult age, and old age, signify states, as do all times in general (n. 2625, 2788, 2837); and because the following verses treat of the church, therefore "lives" signify the times and states of the church. That " Sarah" is truth Divine, may be seen above (n. 1468, 1901, 2063, 2172, 2173, 2198, 2507); from which it follows that by "the lives of Sarah were," in the internal sense are here signified the times and states of the church as to the truths Divine which preceded.

[2] That Sarah, while alive as Abraham’s wife, represented the Lord‘s Divine Truth conjoined with His Divine Good, may be seen from the places above cited; and because the Lord’s Divine Truth was represented by her, so also the truth Divine of the church is signified; for in the church there is no other truth than that which is the Lord‘s. Truth which is not from Him is not truth; as is also evident from the Word and from the doctrine of faith derived from it. It is evident from the Word, in John:--

A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven (John 3:27).

And in another place:--

Without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).

And the same is evident from the doctrine of faith, in that the all of faith, that is, all truth, is from the Lord.

[3] All and each of the representatives and significatives in the Word, in the highest sense regard the Lord; hence is the very life of the Word; and as they regard the Lord, they regard His kingdom also, for the Lord is the all in His kingdom; the Divine things which are from the Lord in His kingdom make the kingdom. Therefore in so far as an angel, spirit, or man receives good and truth from the Lord, and believes that it is from the Lord, so far he is in His kingdom; but in so far as he does not receive and does not believe that it is from the Lord, so far he is not in His kingdom. Thus the Divine things that are from the Lord make His kingdom, or heaven; and this is what is meant by the Lord being the all in His kingdom.

AC 2905. A hundred years and twenty years and seven years. That this signifies their fullness, is evident from the signification of a "hundred," as being what is full (n. 2636); and of "twenty," or twice ten, as being also what is full (n. 1988); and of "seven," as being what is holy (n. 395, 433, 716, 881); thus it is the fullness or the end of what is holy belonging to the church that is here signified. That numbers in the Word all signify things, may be seen above, (n. 482, 487, 647, 648, 755, 813, 1963, 1988, 2075, 2252).

[2] Their fullness, that is, the fullness of the states and times of the church, signifies their end; for the case with the church is like that of the ages of man, of which the first is childhood, the second youth, the third adult age, the fourth old age; the last, or old age, being called the fullness or end. It is also like the times and states of the year; of which the first is spring, the second summer, the third autumn, and the fourth winter; and this last is the end of the year. It is also like the times and states of the day, the first of which is dawn, the second noon, the third evening, and the fourth night; and when this has come, there is fullness or the end. To all these are the states of the church compared in the Word, and they are signified by the same; for by times are signified states (n. 2625, 2788, 2837).

[3] The good and truth with those who are of the church are wont to decrease in this manner; and when there are no longer any good and truth (or as is said, when there is no longer any faith, that is, no charity) then the church has come to its old age, or its winter, or its night; and its time and state then are called "decision," "consummation," and "fulfillment" (n. 1857). The same is signified when it is said of the Lord that He came into the world in the fullness of times, or when there was fullness; for there was then no longer any good, not even natural good; and consequently there was no truth. These are the things specifically signified by what is said in this verse.

AC 2906. The years of the lives of Sarah. That this signifies while any truth Divine remained, is evident from the signification of a "year," as being an entire period of the church from beginning to end; thus from the signification of the "years," as being periods (n. 2905); and from the signification of the "lives of Sarah," as being states as to truth Divine, of which also just above, (n. 2904); thus denoting here the limit when there was no longer any truth Divine remaining; which also follows from what immediately precedes.

[2] That a "year" signifies the entire time of a state of the church from beginning to end, or what is the same, an entire period; and consequently that "years" signify times or periods within the general period, may be seen from the following passages in the Word. In Isaiah:--

Jehovah hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the afflicted; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and an opening of every kind to the bound, to proclaim the year of Jehovah’s good pleasure, and the day of vengeance to our God (Isaiah 61:1, 2);

said of the Lord‘s advent; the "year of Jehovah’s good pleasure" denotes the time of a new church. In the same:--

The day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed is come (Isaiah 63:4);

this too is said of the Lord‘s advent; the "year of the redeemed" denotes the time of a new church. In the same:--

It is the day of vengeance to Jehovah; the year of retributions for the controversy of Zion (Isaiah 34:8);

where the signification is similar.

[3] The same time is also called the "year of visitation" in Jeremiah:--

I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, in the year of their visitation (Jeremiah 11:23).

In the same:--

I will bring upon Moab the year of their visitation (Jeremiah 48:44).

Still more plainly in Ezekiel:--

After many days thou shalt be visited; in the futurity of years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, that is gathered out of many peoples, upon the mountains of Israel, which shall be for a waste continually (Ezekiel 38:8);

"the futurity of years" denotes the last time of the church, which then becomes no church, those being rejected who before were of the church, and others received from elsewhere. In Isaiah:--

Thus hath the Lord said unto me, Yet within a year, according to the years of a hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall be consumed (Isaiah 21:16);

here also is meant the last time.

[4] In Ezekiel:--

Thou art become guilty in thy bind that thou hast shed, and art defiled in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years; therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the nations, and a mocking to all the lands (Ezekiel 22:4);

"to come even unto the years" denotes to the end, when the Lord withdraws from the church. In Isaiah:--

Now hath Jehovah spoken, saying, "Within three years, as the years of a hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be brought into contempt, with all his great multitude, and the remnant shall he very small (Isaiah 16:14);

"within three years" also denotes the end of the former church. That "three" denotes what is complete, and a beginning, may be seen above (n. 1825, 2788).

[5] Similar is the signification of "seven," and also of "seventy" (n. 720, 728, 901); and therefore it is said in Isaiah:--

And it shall come to pass in that day that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king; after the end of seventy years it shall be to Tyre as in the song of a harlot. And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years that Jehovah will visit Tyre, and she shall return to her harlot hire (Isaiah 23:15-17);

"seventy years" denotes the entire period, from the time at which the church began even till it expires; which is also meant by "the days of one king," for a "king" signifies the truth of the church (n. 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069). The "seventy years" of captivity in which the Jews were, also involve something similar, of which likewise it is said in Jeremiah:--

These nations shall serve the king of Babel seventy years; and it shall come to pass when seventy years are fulfilled, I will visit their iniquity upon the king of Babel, and upon this nation, saith Jehovah (Jeremiah 25:11, 12; 29:10).

[6] That a "year," and also "years," denote the entire period of a church, or the time of its duration, may be seen still further in Malachi:--

Behold I send Mine angel, and he shall prepare the way before Me; and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple, even the angel of the covenant whom ye desire; behold He cometh, said Jehovah Zebaoth; and who may endure the day of His coming? Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto Jehovah, according to the days of an age, and according to the ancient years (Malachi 3:1, 2, 4);

where the advent of the Lord is treated of; the "days of an age" denote the Most Ancient Church; "ancient years," the Ancient Church; the "offering of Judah," worship from celestial love and the "offering of Jerusalem," worship from spiritual love; that Judah is not meant here, nor Jerusalem, is plain. In David:--

I have considered the days of old, and the years of the ages (Ps. 77:5);

where the "days of old" and the "years of the ages" denote the same churches. This is still more plain in Moses:--

Remember the days of an age, understand the years of generation and generation; ask thy father, and he will show thee; thine elders, and they will tell thee. When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of man (Deut. 32:7, 8).

[7] That a "year" and "years" denote the full time of a church, is also plain in Habakkuk:--

O Jehovah, I have heard Thy fame, I was afraid; O Jehovah, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in anger remember mercy. God will come from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran (Habakkuk 3:2, 3);

This is said of the Lord’s advent; "in the midst of the years" denotes in the fullness of times; and what is meant by the fullness of times" may be seen just above (n. 2905).

[8] As a "year" and "years" signify the full time between its two limits, which are the beginning and the end when predicated of the Lord‘s kingdom on earth (that is, the church) so they signify what is eternal when predicated of the Lord’s kingdom in heaven. As in David:--

O God, Thy years are to generation and generation; and Thou art He, and Thy years shall not be brought to an end. The sons of Thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before Thee (Ps. 102:24, 27, 28).

In the same:--

Thou wilt add days to the days of the king, his years shall be as generation and generation; he shall dwell before God forever (Ps. 61:6, 7);

where "years" denote what is eternal, for this treats of the Lord and His kingdom.

[9] The lambs which were offered for burnt-offering and sacrifice being "sons of their year" (Lev. 12:6; 14:10; Num. 6:12; 7:15, 21, 27, 33, 39, 45, 51, 57, 63, 69, 75, 81), signified the celestial things of innocence in the Lord‘s kingdom, which are eternal. And for this reason also the burnt-offering of calves that were "sons of a year" is mentioned as being most grateful (Micah 6:6).

[10] That in the internal sense a "year" does not signify a year, is also evident from the fact that the angels, who are in the internal sense of the Word, cannot have an idea of any year; but because a year is a full period of time in nature, which belongs to the world, therefore instead of a year they have an idea of what is full in respect to states of the church, and of what is eternal in respect to states of heaven; times with them are states (n. 1274, 1382, 2625, 2788, 2837).

GENESIS 23:1     -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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