Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 28:16-17
AC 3714. Verses 16, 17. And Jacob awoke out of his sleep, and he said, Surely Jehovah is in this place; and I knew it not. And he feared, and said, How terrible is this place! this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. "And Jacob awoke out of his sleep," signifies enlightenment; "and he said, Surely Jehovah is in this place," signifies the Divine in this state; "and I knew it not," signifies in an obscure state; "and he feared," signifies a sacred alteration; "and said, How terrible is this place," signifies the sanctity of the state; "this is none other than the house of God," signifies the Lord’s kingdom in the ultimate of order; "and this is the gate of heaven," signifies the ultimate in which order closes, through which ultimate there is apparently an entrance from nature.
AC 3715. And Jacob awoke out of his sleep. That this signifies enlightenment, is evident from the signification of "sleep," as being an obscure state in comparison with waking, which is a lucid state; hence "to awake out of sleep," in the spiritual sense, denotes to be enlightened.
AC 3716. And he said, Surely Jehovah is in this place. That this signifies the Divine in this state, is evident from the signification in the historicals of the Word of "saying," as being to perceive, of which frequent mention has been made above; and from the signification of "place," as being state (n. 1273-1275, 1377, 2625, 2837, 3356, 3387). That "Jehovah" denotes the Divine, is evident; from all which it is manifest that by "he said, Surely Jehovah is in this place," is signified a perception that the Divine was in this state.
AC 3717. And I knew it not. That this signifies in an obscure state, is evident without explication; for "not to know," or to be ignorant, signifies what is obscure as to the things which are of intellectual sight. From "not to know," or to be ignorant, as signifying what is obscure; as also from "to awake out of sleep," as signifying to be enlightened; it is evident what and of what nature is the internal sense of the Word; namely, that the things which are of the literal sense are such as appear before the external sight, or some other sense, and are also apprehended according to these senses; whereas the things which are of the internal sense are such as appear before the internal sight, or before some other sense of the internal man. The same things therefore that are contained in the literal sense, and that are apprehended by man according to the external senses, that is, according to things which are in the world, or according to an idea thence derived, are perceived by the angels according to the internal senses; that is, according to those things which are in heaven, or according to an idea thence derived. The former and the latter things stand related as do the things which are in the light of the world to those which are in the light of heaven; the things which are in the light of the world being dead in comparison with those which are in the light of heaven; for in the light of heaven there are wisdom and intelligence from the Lord (n. 3636, 3643); and therefore when those things which are of the light of the world are obliterated or wiped away, there remain those which are of the light of heaven; thus instead of earthly there remain heavenly things, and instead of natural, spiritual; as in the case above, "not to know," or to be ignorant, signifies to be in an obscure state concerning good and truth; and to "awake out of sleep" signifies to be enlightened; and so in all other cases.
AC 3718. And he feared. That this signifies a sacred alteration, is evident from the signification of "fear," as being a sacred alteration; as is evident from what immediately follows, for he says, "How terrible is this place! this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven," in which words it may be seen that there is implied a sacred alteration. What "fear" is in the internal sense, see (n. 2826). Speaking generally, "fear" is of two kinds--fear in what is not sacred, and fear in what is sacred; fear in what is not sacred is the fear in which are the wicked; but fear in what is sacred is the fear in which are the good. This latter fear (to wit that in which are the good) is called reverential or sacred fear, and is the result of our wonder at and longing for what is Divine, and also of our love. Love that is devoid of reverential or sacred fear is as it were devoid of savor, or is like food unseasoned with salt, and consequently insipid; but love that is attended with fear is like food that is seasoned, but yet does not taste of salt. The fear of love is a fear of injuring the Lord in any way, or of injuring the neighbor in any way, thus of injuring what is good and true in any way, and consequently of injuring the sacred things of love and faith and the consequent worship. But this fear is various, and is not the same with one person as with another. Speaking generally, the greater the amount of the love of good and truth, the greater the fear of injuring them; and yet in the same proportion this fear does not appear to be fear; whereas the less the amount of the love of good and truth, the less the fear on their account, and the less this fear appears to be love, but appears to be fear; hence with such the fear of hell. And where there is nothing of the love of good and truth, there is nothing of reverential or sacred fear; but only fear of the loss of honor, of gain, of reputation for the sake of these, and also of penalties and death; which fear is external, and chiefly affects the body and the natural man and its thoughts whereas the former fear, that is, reverential or sacred fear, chiefly affects the spirit, that is, the internal man, and its conscience.
AC 3719. And said, How terrible is this place! That this signifies the sanctity of the state, is evident from the signification of "fear" as being a sacred alteration (n. 3718); and inasmuch as in the original tongue the word "terrible" is derived from the same expression as "fear," it is sanctity which is signified thereby; and whereas in the internal sense "fear" signifies what is sacred, as just stated, by the same expression in the original tongue is signified also veneration and reverence, which likewise is reverential fear: and from the signification of "place," as being state (n. 3716).
AC 3720. This is none other than the house of God. That this signifies the Lord‘s kingdom in the ultimate of order, is evident from the signification of the "house of God." Mention is made of the "house of God" in many passages of the Word, and in the external sense, or according to the letter, it signifies a consecrated building where there is holy worship; but in the internal sense it signifies the church; and in a more universal sense, heaven; and in the most universal sense, the Lord’s universal kingdom in the supreme sense however it signifies the Lord Himself as to the Divine Human. In the Word we sometimes read of the "house of God," sometimes of the "temple," both having the same signification, but with this difference--that the "house of God" is mentioned where good is treated of; but the "temple" where truth is treated of. From this it is manifest that by the "house of God" is signified the Lord‘s celestial church, and in a more universal sense the heaven of the celestial angels, and in the most universal sense the Lord’s celestial kingdom, and in the supreme sense the Lord as to Divine good; and that by the "temple" is signified the Lord‘s spiritual church, and in a more universal sense the heaven of the spiritual angels, in the most universal sense the Lord’s spiritual kingdom, and in the supreme sense the Lord as to Divine truth (n. 2048). The reason why the "house of God" signifies the celestial which is of good, and the "temple" the spiritual which is of truth, is that in the Word a "house" signifies good (n. 710, 2233, 2234, 2559, 3128, 3652), and also because among the most ancient people the houses were constructed of wood, for the reason that "wood" signifies good (n. 643, 1110, 2784, 2812); whereas "temple" signifies truth, because the temples were constructed of stones; and that "stones" signify truths, may be seen above (n. 643, 1296, 1298).
 That "wood" and "stone" have such a signification, is not only evident from the Word where they are mentioned, but also from the representatives in the other life; for they who place merit in good works, appear to themselves to cut wood; and they who place merit in truths, in that they have believed themselves to have been better acquainted with truth than others, and yet have lived evilly, appear to themselves to cut stones; which things have often been seen by me. From this I was assured what is the signification of wood and stone, namely that "wood" signifies good, and "stone" truth; and also from the experience that when a wooden house was seen, there was instantly presented an idea of good; but when a house of stone was seen, there was presented an idea of truth; concerning which I was instructed by angels. For this reason, when mention is made in the Word of the "house of God," there is presented to the angels the idea of good, and good of such a quality as is treated of in that connection; and when mention is made of a "temple," there is presented to them the idea of truth, and truth of such a quality as is treated of in that connection. From this again we can infer how deep and utterly hidden are the heavenly arcana in the Word.
 The reason why by the "house of God" is here signified the Lord‘s kingdom in the ultimate of order, is that Jacob is treated of, by whom is represented the Lord’s Divine natural, as frequently show" above. The natural is in the ultimate of order, for in this all the interior things are terminated and are together; and because they are together, and thus things innumerable are viewed together as a one, there is relative obscurity there. This relative obscurity has been spoken of several times before.
AC 3721. And this is the gate of heaven. That this signifies the ultimate wherein order closes, through which ultimate there is apparently as it were an entrance from nature, is evident from the signification of "gate" as being that through which there is going out and coming in. That this signifies the ultimate in which order closes, is because the natural which is represented by Jacob is treated of. What is meant by "gate," is evident from what was said and shown above, (n. 2851, 3187); and that the natural is the ultimate of order is evident from what has been adduced, (n. 775, 2181, 2987-3002, 3020, 3147, 3167, 3483, 3489, 3513, 3570, 3576, 3671). That through this ultimate there is apparently as it were an entrance from nature, is because it is the natural mind in man through which the things of heaven (that is, of the Lord) flow and descend into nature; and through the same mind the things of nature ascend (n. 3702); but that the entrance is only apparently from nature through the natural mind into things interior, may be seen from what has been frequently stated and shown above.
 It appears to man that the objects of the world enter through his bodily or external senses, and affect the interiors; and thus that there is an entrance from the ultimate of order into what is within; but that this is a mere appearance and fallacy is manifest from the general rule that posterior things cannot flow into prior; or what is the same, lower things into higher; or what is the same, exterior things into interior; or what is still the same, the things which are of the world and of nature into those which are of heaven and of spirit; for the former are of a grosser nature, and the latter of a purer one; and those grosser things which are of the external or natural man come forth and subsist from those which are of the internal or rational man; and they cannot affect the purer things, but are affected by the purer things. How the case is with this influx, inasmuch as the very appearance and fallacy persuade altogether contrary to it, will of the lord‘s Divine mercy be told hereafter when treating on the subject of influx. From this then it is said that through the ultimate in which order closes, there is apparently as it were an entrance from nature.GENESIS 28:16-17 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|