Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 37:18-22
AC 4722. Verses 18-22. And they saw him afar off, and before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to cause him to die. And they said a man to his brother, Behold this lord of dreams cometh. Come now therefore and let us slay him, and cast him into one of the pits, and we will say, An evil wild beast hath devoured him; and we shall see what his dreams will be. And Reuben heard, and rescued him out of their hand, and said, Let us not smite him, the soul. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood; cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand upon him; that he might rescue him out of their hand, to bring him back to his father. "And they saw him afar off," signifies perception of the Lord‘s Divine Human remotely; "and before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to cause him to die," signifies that they wished to extinguish the Divine spiritual which is from the Lord’s Divine Human; "and they said a man to his brother," signifies their mutual thoughts; "behold, this lord of dreams cometh," signifies that those things were empty; "come now therefore and let us slay him," signifies the extinction of the essential of doctrine concerning the Lord‘s Divine Human; "and cast him into one of the pits," signifies among falsities; "and we will say an evil wild beast hath devoured him," signifies a lie from a life of cupidities; "and we shall see what will become of his dreams," signifies that the teachings concerning it would thus be false and would appear so; "and Reuben heard," signifies confession of the faith of the church in general; "and rescued him out of their hand," signifies liberation; "and said let us not smite him, the soul," signifies that it must not be extinguished, because it is the life of religion; "and Reuben said unto them," signifies exhortation; "shed no blood," signifies that they should not do violence to what is holy; "cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness," signifies that they should conceal it meanwhile among their falsities; "but lay no hand upon him," signifies that they should not do violence to it; "that he might rescue him out of their hind, to bring him back to his father," signifies that it might claim it for the church.
AC 4723. And they saw him afar off. That this signifies perception of the Lord’s Divine Human remotely, is evident from the signification of "seeing," as being perception (n. 2150, 3764); from the signification of "afar off," as being remotely; and from the representation of Joseph, who it was that they saw afar off, as being the Lord as to Divine truth (n. 4669). That it is the Lord‘s Divine Human which is here meant by "Joseph," is because this is the supreme of Divine truth. There are two essentials which constitute the church, and hence two principal things of doctrine - one, that the Lord’s Human is Divine; the Other, that love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor make the church, and not faith separate from love and charity. Because these are the primary things of Divine truth, these also are represented by Joseph; for the same person that represents Divine truth in general, represents also the specific things of Divine truth; but what is specifically represented, is evident from the series.
AC 4724. And before he came near into them, they conspired against him to cause him to die. That this signifies that they wished to extinguish the Divine spiritual which is from the Lord‘s Divine Human, is evident from the signification of "conspiring," as being to will from a depraved mind, since whatever men will from a depraved mind, they conspire to accomplish; and from the signification of "slaying," as being to extinguish; and from the representation of Joseph, as being the Divine spiritual or Divine truth, as repeatedly shown above. Because Divine truth proceeds from the Lord’s Divine Human, it is therefore said, the Divine spiritual which is from the Lord‘s Divine Human.
 The case herein is this: All the Divine truth in the whole heaven proceeds from no other source than the Lord’s Divine Human. That which is from the Divine Itself cannot flow in immediately with any angel, because it is infinite; but only mediately through the Lord‘s Divine Human, as is also meant by these words of the Lord,
"No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath set Him forth" (John 1:18).
For this reason also the Lord as to the Divine Human is called Mediator
 This also was from eternity, for the Divine being, without Bowing through heaven and becoming thence the Divine coming-forth, could not be communicated to any angel, still less to any spirit, and less still to any man. That the Lord as to the Divine Itself is the Divine being, and as to the Divine Human is the Divine coming-forth, may be seen above (n. 4687). Neither could the Lord’s Human itself have received any influx from the Divine being, unless in Him the Human had been made Divine; for that which receives the Divine being must also be Divine. From these few things it may be seen that Divine truth does not proceed immediately from the Divine Itself, but from the Lord‘s Divine Human.
 This also do they extinguish in themselves who battle for faith alone and do not live a life of faith; for they believe that the Lord’s Human is purely human, not unlike the human of another man; and hence many of them deny the Divine of the Lord, however they may profess Him with the lips. But those who live a life of faith, on bended knees and with humble hearts adore the Lord as God the Saviour, and do not then at all think from doctrine of the distinction between the Divine and the human nature; and they do the same in the Holy Supper. Hence it is plain that with them the Lord‘s Divine Human is in their hearts.
AC 4725. And they said a man to his brother. That this signifies their mutual thoughts, is evident from the signification of "saying," as being to perceive and to think (n. 3395); and from the signification of "a man to his brother," as being mutually. It was a customary form of speech with the ancients to say "a man to his brother" when what is mutual was signified; for the reason that a "man" signified truth (n. 3134, 3459), and a "brother" good (n. 4121), between which there intervenes a most intimate mutual relation; for the conjunction of truth with good and of good with truth takes place mutually and reciprocally (n. 2731).
AC 4726. Behold this lord of dreams cometh. That this signifies that those things were empty, is evident from the signification of "dreams," as being preachings (n. 4682), here preachings of Divine truth, because it is said of Joseph. But because Divine truth as to its essentials is rejected by those who are faith alone (as was shown in regard to the Lord’s Divine Human and charity), therefore by "dreams" are here signified empty things; for to such persons falsities appear as truths, and truths as falsities, or if not as falsities, yet as empty things; and the "lord of dreams" is the preacher of these. That Divine truths appear to such persons as empty, is evident from many thing as for example, it is a Divine truth that the Word is holy and Divinely inspired as to every jot, and that its holiness and Divine inspiration are in consequence of everything in it being representative and significative of heavenly and spiritual things of the Lord‘s kingdom. But when the Word is open to the internal sense, and it is taught what its particulars represent and signify, then such as are in faith alone reject these things as empty, saying that they are of no use; although these heavenly and spiritual things are what would affect the internal man with greater delight than worldly things affect the external man; and so in many other instances.
AC 4727. Come now therefore and let us slay him. That this signifies the extinction of the essential of doctrine concerning the Lord’s Divine Human, is evident from the signification of "slaying," as being to extinguish; and from the representation of Joseph, whom they wished to kill, as being the Divine truth of the Lord, and specifically the doctrine concerning His Divine Human, which has been shown above to be an essential of doctrine (n. 4723). That the church in acknowledging faith alone has extinguished this essential truth, is known; for which of them believes the Lord‘s Human to be Divine? Do they not turn away at the very proposition? when yet in the ancient churches it was believed that the Lord who was to come into the world was a Divine Man, and also when seen by them He was called Jehovah, as is plain from many passages in the Word, but for the present only this from Isaiah will be adduced:
The voice of one crying the wilderness, Prepare ye the Way of Jehovah, make level in the solitude a pathway for our God (Isa. 40:3).
That these words were spoken of the Lord, and that by John the Baptist the way was prepared and a pathway made level for Him, is very evident from the evangelists (Matt. 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4; John 1:23); and further from the Lord’s own words, that He was one with the Father, and that the Father was in‘ Him, and He in the Father; also that to Him was given all power in heaven and on earth, and that judgment belonged to Him. One who knows even a little about power in heaven and on earth, and about judgment, can know that they would be nothing unless He were Divine as to the Human also.
 Those who are in faith alone cannot know what makes man new or sanctifies him, still less what made the Lord’s Human Divine; for they know nothing of love and charity, and it is love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor that make man new and sanctify him, while the Divine love itself made the Lord Divine. For love is the very being of man, and hence is his living; and it forms man according to an image of itself, just as the soul of man, which is his interior essence, as it were creates or fashions the body into an image, of itself; and indeed in such a way that by means of the body it acts and has sensation just as it wills and thinks. Thus the body is as the effect, and the soul as the cause in which is the end; consequently the soul is the all in the body, as the cause of the end is the all in the effect. The Human of Him whose soul was Jehovah Himself (as was the case with the Lord, for He was conceived of Jehovah) could not when glorified be other than Divine. From this it is plain how greatly those err who make the Lord‘s Human, after it was glorified, to be like the human of a man, when yet it is Divine. From His Divine Human proceeds all the wisdom, all the intelligence, and also all the light, in heaven. Whatever proceeds from Him is holy; and the holy that is not from the Divine is not holy.
AC 4728. And cast him into one of the pits. That this signifies among falsities, is evident from the signification of "pits," as being falsities. That "pits" are falsities, is because men who have been in principles of falsity are after death kept awhile under the lower earth, until falsities have been removed from them, and as it were rejected to the sides. These places are called "pits," and those who go into them are such as must be in vastation (n. 1106-1113, 2699, 2701, 2704). It is for this reason that by "pits," in’ the abstract sense, are signified falsities. The lower earth is next under the feet and the region round about for a short distance. Here are most persons after death, before they are taken up into heaven. This earth is also frequently mentioned in the Word. Beneath it are the places of vastation, which are called "pits," and below them and round about for a considerable extent, are hells.
 From this it is in some measure plain what is meant by "hell," what by the "lower earth," and what by a "pit," when mentioned in the Word, as in Isaiah:
Thou hast been brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. Thou hast been cast forth out of thy grave like an abominable shoot, the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with the sword, that go down to the stones of the pit (Isa. 14:15, 19);
speaking of the king of Babylon, by whom is represented the profanation of truth; for a "king" is truth (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4581), and "Babylon" profanation (n. 1182, 1326). "Hell" is where the damned are, and their damnation is compared to an abominable shoot, and to the raiment of those that are slain and thrust through with the sword, that go down to the stones of the pit. The "raiment of those that are slain" is truth profaned; "those thrust through with the sword" are they in whom truth has been extinguished; the "pit" is falsity which must be vastated; "stones" are the borders, whence also they are called the "sides," for round about the pits are hells. "Raiment" is truth, (n. 2576); the "raiment of those that are slain" is truth profaned, for the "blood" by which it is stained is what is profane, (n. 1003); and "those thrust through with a sword" are they in whom truth has been extinguished, (n. 4503). From this it is also plain that without the internal sense it could not possibly be known what is here meant.
 So too in Ezekiel:
Then I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, to the people of an age, and shall make thee to dwell in the earth of the lower regions, in desolations from an age, that thou dwell not With them that go down into the pit; then will I set adornment in the land of the living (Ezek. 26:20);
"they that descend into the pit" denote those who are sent into vastation; "not to dwell with them that go down into the pit" means to be delivered from falsities.
That none of all the trees of the Waters exalt themselves for their stature, neither send their branch among the tangled boughs, nor stand over them for their height, all that drink water; they shall all be delivered unto death, to the lower earth in the midst of the sons of men, to them that go down into the pit. I will make the nations to shake at the sound of his ruin, when I make him go down into hell with them that go down into the pit; and all the trees of Eden, the choice and chief of Lebanon, all that drink waters, shall be comforted in the lower earth (Ezek. 31:14, 16);
this is said of Egypt, by which is signified the knowledge that of itself enters into the mysteries of faith, that is, those who so enter (n. 1164, 1165, 1186). From what has been said above it is clear what is signified by "hell," by the "pit," and by the "lower earth," which are here mentioned by the prophet; nor does it appear except from the internal sense what is signified by the "trees of the waters," the "trees of Eden," the "branch sent among the tangled boughs," the "choice and chief of Lebanon," and "all that drink waters."
Son of man, wail for the multitude of Egypt, and cause her to go down, even her, and the daughters of the august nations, unto the earth of the lower regions, with them that go down into the pit. Asshur is there, whose graves are set in the sides of the pit, all slain by the sword (Ezek. 32:18, 22, 23);
the signification of which may be seen from what has been explained above. In David:
O Jehovah, Thou hast brought up my soul from hell; Thou hast kept me alive, from among them that go down into the pit (Ps. 30:3).
I am accounted with them that go down into the pit; I am accounted as a man that hath no strength. Thou hast set me in a pit of the lower regions, in darkness, in the depths (Ps. 88:4, 6).
I went down to the cuttings off of the mountains the bars of the earth were upon me forever; yet hast Thou brought up my life from the pit (Jonah 2:6);
where the subject treated of is the Lord‘s temptations, and deliverance from them. The "cuttings off of the mountains" are where the most damned are, the dark clouds which appear about them being the "mountains."
 That a "pit" is the vastation of falsity, and in’ the abstract sense falsity, is still more evident in Isaiah:
They shall be gathered with a gathering as the bound to the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison; yet after a multitude of days shall they be visited (Isa. 24:22).
Where is the anger of him that causeth straitness? he that leadeth forth shall hasten to open; and he shall not die at the pit, neither shall bread fail (Isa. 51:13, 14).
Behold I bring strangers upon thee the violent of the nations, who shall draw their swords upon the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall profane thy brightness. They shall bring thee down into the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are pierced in the heart of the seas (Ezek. 28:7, 8);
speaking of the prince of Tyre, by whom are signified those who are in principles of falsity.
 In Zechariah
Exult greatly, O daughter of Zion sound, O daughter of Jerusalem behold thy King cometh unto thee; He is just, wretched, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of she-asses. By the blood of thy covenant I will send forth thy bound out of the pit wherein is no water (Zech. 9:9, 11);
where the "pit wherein is no water" denotes falsity in which there is nothing true; as also in what follows it is said that they cast Joseph into the pit, and the pit was empty, there was no water in it (Genesis 38:24). In David:
Unto thee O Jehovah will I cry, my Rock be not Thou silent unto me, lest if Thou be silent unto me I seem like them that go down into the pit (Ps. 28:1).
Jehovah brought me up also out of a pit of vastation, out of the miry clay and He set my feet upon a rock (Ps. 40:2).
Let not the billow of waters overwhelm me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me (Ps 69:15).
He sent His word, and healed them, and rescued them from their pits (Ps. 107:20);
"from their pits" denoting from falsities. Again:
"make haste, answer me, O Jehovah; my spirit is consumed, hide not Thy faces from me, lest I become like them that go down into the pit (Ps. 142:7).
As a "pit" signifies falsity, and the "blind" signify those who are in falsities (n. 2383), the Lord therefore says,
"Let them alone; they are blind leaders of the blind, for if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into a pit" (Matt. 15:14; Luke 6:39).
Something similar to what was represented by Joseph was also represented by Jeremiah the prophet, concerning which be says:
They took Jeremiah, and cast him into the pit that was in the court of the guard and they let down Jeremiah with cords, into the pit where was no water (Jeremiah 38:6);
that is, they rejected Divine truths among falsities in which was nothing of truth.
AC 4729. And we will say, An evil wild beast hath devoured him. That this signifies a lie from a life of cupidities, is evident from the signification of a "wild beast," as being affection and cupidity (n. 45, 46); for a "wild beast" in the genuine sense denotes what is living (n. 774, 841, 908); hence by an "evil wild beast" is here signified a life of cupidities; that it is a lie is plain. This has reference to what goes before that their rejecting that Divine truth among falsities, was a lie from a life of cupidities. For there are three sources of falsity, one the doctrine of the church, another the fallacy of the senses, and the third a life of cupidities. That which is from the doctrine of the church takes hold of man‘s intellectual part only; for he is persuaded from infancy that it is so, and confirmatory things afterwards strengthen it. But that which is from the fallacy of the senses does not so much affect the intellectual part; for those who are in falsity from the fallacy of the senses have but little insight from the understanding, because they think from lower and sensuous things. But the falsity which is from a life of cupidities springs from the will itself, or what is the same, from the heart; for what man wills from the heart, he desires. This falsity is the worst of all, because it inheres, and is not eradicated except by new life from the Lord.
 There are, as is known, two interior faculties in man, the understanding and the will. What the understanding absorbs and becomes imbued with, does not for this reason pass into the will; but what the will absorbs does pass into the understanding. For whatever a man wills, he thinks; and therefore when he wills evil from cupidity, he thinks it and confirms it. The confirmations of evil by the thought are what are called falsities from a life of cupidities. These falsities appear to him as truths; and when he has confirmed them in himself, truths appear to him as falsities; for he has then shut out the influx of light through heaven from the Lord. But if he has not confirmed these falsities in himself, then the truths with which his understanding had previously been imbued, resist and do not permit them to be confirmed.
AC 4730. And we shall see what his dreams will be. That this signifies that the preachings concerning it would thus be false and would appear so, is evident from the signification of "dreams," as being preachings (n. 4682); and as in their eyes these appeared as falsities (n. 4726, 4729), therefore by "dreams" here are signified preachings concerning Divine truth, especially that the Lord’s Human is Divine, which preachings in their opinion were false. That they also appeared to them as falsities, is signified by their saying, "We shall see what his dreams will be." That the preaching concerning the Lord‘s Divine Human appeared and still appear as falsities to those who are in faith alone, may be seen from what was said just above (n. 4729); for what is confirmed from a life of cupidities has no other appearance.
 That falsities are confirmed from a life of cupidities is also from this cause, that they do not know what heaven is, nor hell, neither what love toward the neighbor is, nor the love of self and the world. If they knew these things, and even if they were but willing to know them, they would think very differently. Who at this day knows otherwise than that love toward the neighbor is to give what one has to the poor, and to assist every man with one’s wealth, and to benefit him in every way, without distinction as to whether he is good or evil? And because by these means one would be stripped of his wealth, and would himself become poor and wretched, be therefore rejects the doctrine of charity, and embraces that of faith; and then he confirms himself against charity by many things, as by thinking that he was born in sins and hence can do no good of himself, and that if he does the works of charity or piety, he cannot but place merit in them. And when he thinks thus on the one hand, and from a life of cupidities on the other, he betakes himself to the side of those who say that faith alone saves. And when he is there, he confirms himself still more, until he believes that the works of charity are not necessary to salvation; and when these are excluded, he falls into this new notion that because such is the nature of man, a means of salvation has been provided by the Lord, which is called faith; and at last into this, that he may be saved if even at the very hour of death he says with confidence or trust that God has mercy upon him through looking to the Son as having suffered for him, making nothing of what the Lord has said in (John 1:12, 13), and many other places. It is for this reason that faith alone has been acknowledged in the churches as the essential; but that it has not been everywhere acknowledged in this manner, is because the parsons cannot gain anything by preaching faith alone, but only by the preaching of works.
 But had these men known what charity toward the neighbor is, they would never have fallen into this falsity of doctrine. The fundamental of charity is to act rightly and justly in everything which be longs to one‘s duty or employment as for example, if one who is a judge punishes an evil doer according to the laws, and does so from zeal, he is then in charity toward the neighbor; for he desires his amendment, thus his good, and also wills well to society and his country, that it receive no further injury from the evildoer; thus he can love him if he amends, as a father the son whom he chastises; and thus he loves societies and his country, which are to him the neighbor in general. It is similar in all other instances. But of the Lord’s Divine Mercy this will be shown more fully elsewhere.
AC 4731. And Reuben heard. That this signifies the confession of the faith of the church in general, is evident from the representation of Reuben, as being faith in the understanding or doctrine, which is the first thing of regeneration the complex the truth of doctrine by which the good of life can be attained (n. 3861, 3866); and here therefore the confession of the faith of the church in general. That Reuben here interposes is because the church which begins from faith would cease to be a church unless this Divine truth remained in it-that the Lord‘s Human is Divine, for this is the supreme or inmost truth of the church. For this reason Reuben wished to rescue Joseph, by whom this truth is here represented, out of the hand of his brethren, to restore him to his father by which is signified that it wished to claim this truth for the church. Moreover when Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not there, he rent his clothes and said to his brethren, "The child is not, and I, whither do I come?" (verses 29, 30) by which is signified that there was no longer any faith in the Lord, and thus no church
 This supreme or inmost truth, that the Lord’s Human is Divine, is denied by those in the church who are in faith alone; and yet because they know from the Word that in the Lord there is the Divine, and do not apprehend how the Human can be Divine, they therefore attribute both to the Lord, making a distinction between His Divine nature and His Human nature. Those however who are in a life of faith, or in charity, adore the Lord as their God and saviour; and when in adoration, they think of the Lord‘s Divine without separating it from the Human, and thus at heart acknowledge all in the Lord to be Divine. But when they think from doctrine, because they likewise cannot comprehend how the Human can be Divine, they speak according to their doctrine.
AC 4732. And rescued him out of their hand. That this signifies liberation, is evident without explication.
AC 4733. And said, Let us not smite him, the soul. That this signifies that it must not be extinguished, because it is the life of religion, is evident from the signification of "smiting," as being to extinguish; and from the signification of "soul" as being life (n. 1000, 1005, 1436, 1742), here the life of religion That acknowledgment and adoration of the Lord’s Divine Human is the life of religion, is plain from what was said just above (n. 4731); and also from the fact that men are of such a nature as to desire to worship that of which they can have some perception and thought, and sensuous men even that which they can perceive by some sense, nor are they willing to worship unless the Divine is therein. This is common to the human race. For this reason Gentiles worship idols in which they believe there is the Divine, and others worship men after their death whom they believe to be either gods or saints. For nothing can be called forth in man unless there is something to affect his senses.
 Those who say that they acknowledge a Supreme Being, of whom they have no idea of perception, for the most part acknowledge no God, but nature instead, because they comprehend this. Very many of the learned among Christians are such, and this also because they do not believe the Human of the Lord to be Divine. Lest therefore men who have removed themselves so far from the Divine, and have become so far corporeal, should worship wood and stones; and lest they should worship some man after his death, and thus under him some devil, and not God Himself, because they could not in any way perceive Him, and thus everything of the church should perish, and with the church the human race, the Divine Itself willed to assume the Human and to make it Divine. Let the learned take heed therefore, lest they think of the Lord‘s Human and do not at the same time believe it to be Divine, for in so doing they make for themselves a stumbling block, and at last believe nothing.
AC 4734. And Reuben said unto them. This signifies exhortation, in the proximate sense confession of the faith of the church in general, which is "Reuben," (n. 4731) exhorting or dictating that they should not do violence, as in what follows.
AC 4735. Shed no blood. That this signifies that they should not do violence to what is holy, is evident from the signification of "blood" as being what is holy which in what follows; hence "to shed blood" is to do violence to what is holy. All the holy in heaven proceeds from the Lord’s Divine Human, and therefore all the holy in the church; wherefore that violence might not be done to it, the Holy Supper was instituted by the Lord, in which it is expressly said that the bread is His flesh, and the wine His blood, thus that it is His Divine Human from which the holy then comes. With the ancients, flesh and blood signified the human own, because the human consists of flesh and blood; thus the Lord said to Simon,
"Blessed art thou, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father who is in the heavens" (Matt. 16:17)
The flesh and the blood, therefore, signified by the bread and the wine in the Holy Supper, denote the Lord‘s Human own The Lord’s own itself, which He acquired to Himself by His own power, is Divine. His own from conception was what He had from Jehovah His Father, and was Jehovah Himself. Hence the own which He acquired to Himself in the Human, was Divine. This Divine own in the Human is what is called His flesh and blood; "flesh" is His Divine good (n. 3813), and "blood" is the Divine truth of Divine good.
 The Lord‘s Human, after it was glorified or made Divine, cannot be thought of as human, but as the Divine love in human form; and this so much the more than the angels, who, when they appear (as seen by me), appear as forms of love and charity under the human shape, and this from the Lord; for the Lord from Divine love made His Human Divine; just as man through heavenly love becomes an angel after death, so that he appears, as just said, as a form of love and charity under the human shape. It is plain from this that by the Lord’s Divine Human, in the celestial sense, is signified the Divine love itself, which is love toward the whole human race, in that it wills to save them and to make them blessed and happy to eternity, and to make its Divine their own so far as they can receive it. This love and the reciprocal love of man to the Lord, and also love toward the neighbor, are what are signified and represented in the Holy Supper the Divine celestial love by the flesh or bread, and the Divine spiritual love by the blood or wine.
 From these things it is now evident what is meant in John by eating the Lord‘s flesh and drinking His blood: I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eat of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me, and I in him. This is the bread which came down from heaven (John 6:51-58). As "flesh and blood" signify as before said the Divine celestial and the Divine spiritual which are from the Lord’s Divine Human, or what is the same, the Divine good and the Divine truth of His love, by "eating and drinking" is signified making them One‘s own; and this is effected by a life of love and charity, which is also a life of faith. "Eating" is making good one’s own, and "drinking" making truth one‘s own, (n. 2187, 3069, 3168, 3513, 3596, 3734, 3832, 4017, 4018).
 As "blood" in the celestial Sense signifies the Divine spiritual or the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord’s Divine Human, it therefore signifies the holy proceeding; for the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord‘s Divine Human is the holy itself.
 Holiness is nothing else, nor from any other Source. That "blood" signifies this holy, is evident from many passages in the Word, of which we may adduce the following:
Son of man thus saith the Lord Jehovih, Say to every bird of the heaven, to every wild beast of the field, Assemble yourselves and come; gather yourselves from every side upon My sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh and drink blood. Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, [of bullocks,] all of them fatlings of Bashan. And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of My sacrifice which I will sacrifice for you. And ye shall be sated at My table with horse and chariot, with the strong, and with every man of War. And I will set My glory among the nations (Ezek. 39:17-21).
The subject here treated of is the calling together of all to the Lord’s kingdom, and specifically the setting up again of the church among the Gentiles; and by their "eating flesh and drinking blood" is signified making Divine good and Divine truth their own, thus the holy which proceeds from the Lord‘s Divine Human. Who cannot see that by "flesh" is not meant flesh, nor by "blood," blood, where it is said that they should eat the flesh of the mighty and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, and that they should be sated with horse and chariot, with the strong, and with every man of war?
 So likewise in the Revelation.
I saw an angel standing in the sun and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in mid-heaven, Come and gather yourselves unto the supper of the great God that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of the strong, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit thereon, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great (Rev. 19:17, 18);
who would ever understand these words unless he knew what is signified in the internal sense by "flesh," and what by "kings," "captains," "the strong," "horses," "those that sit thereon," "free and bond?"
 Further in Zechariah:
He shall speak peace to the nations; and His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. As for Thee also, through the blood of Thy covenant I will send forth Thy bound out of the pit (Zech. 9:10, 11);
where the Lord is spoken of; the "blood of Thy covenant" is the Divine truth proceeding from His Divine Human, and is the holy itself which, after He was glorified, went forth from Him. This holy is also what is called the Holy Spirit, as is evident in John:
Jesus said, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. Whosoever believeth in Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living Water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive for the Holy Spirit Was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).
That the holy proceeding from the Lord is the "spirit," may be seen in (John 6:63).
 Moreover that "blood" is the holy proceeding from the Lord’s Divine Human, in David:
Bring back their soul from deceit and violence; and precious shall their blood in His eyes (Ps. 72:14)
"precious blood" denotes the holy which they wood receive. In the Revelation:
These are they who come out of great affliction, and they washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14).
They overcame the dragon by the blood of the lamb, and by the Word of their testimony; and they loved not their soul even unto death (Rev. 12:11).
 The church at this day does not know otherwise than that the "blood of the lamb" here signifies the Lord‘s passion, because it is believed that they are saved solely by the Lord having suffered, and that it Was for this that He was sent into the world; but let this view of it be for the simple, who cannot comprehend interior arcana The Lord’s passion was the last of His temptation, by which He fully glorified His Human (Luke 24:26; John 12:23, 27, 28; 13:31, 32; 17:1, 4, 5); but the "blood of the lamb" is the same as the Divine truth, or the holy proceeding from the Lord‘s Divine Human; thus the same as the "blood of the covenant" spoken of just above, and of which it is also written in uses:
 Moses took the book of the covenant, and read in the ears of the people; and they said, All that Jehovah hath spoken will we do, and hear. Then Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant which Jehovah hath made with you upon all these words (Exod. 24:7, 8); the "book of the covenant" was the Divine truth which they then had, which was confirmed by the blood testifying that it was from His Divine Human.
 In the rituals of the Jewish Church blood had no other signification than the holy proceeding from the Lord’s Divine Human, wherefore when they were sanctified, it was done by blood as when Aaron and his sons were sanctified, blood was sprinkled upon the horns of the altar, the remainder at the bottom of the altar, also upon the tip of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the great toe of the right foot, and upon his garments (Exod. 29:12, 16, 20; Lev. 8:15, 19, 23, 30). And when Aaron entered within the veil to the mercy-seat, blood was also to be sprinkled with the finger upon the mercy-seat eastward seven times (Lev. 16:12-15). So also in the rest of the sanctifications, and also in the expiations and cleansings, in regard to which see the following passages, (Exod. 12:7, 13, 22; 30:10; Lev. 1:5, 11, 15; 3:2, 8, 13; 4:6, 7, 17, 18, 25, 30, 34; 5:9; 6:27, 28; 14:14-19, 25-30; 16:12-15, 18, 19; Deut. 12:27)
 As by "blood" in the genuine sense is signified the holy, so in the opposite sense by "blood" and "bloods" are signified those things which offer violence to it, because by shedding innocent blood is signified doing violence to what is holy. For this reason wicked things of life and profane things of worship were called "blood." That "blood" and "bloods" have such a signification, is evident from the following passages. In Isaiah:
When the Lord shall have washed the excrement of the daughters of Zion, and shall have washed away the bloods of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of expurgation (Isa. 4:4)
The Waters of Dimon are full of blood (Isa. 15:9).
Your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity (Isa. 59:3, 7).
Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the innocent poor (Jer. 2:34).
It is because of the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of Jerusalem. They have wandered blind in the streets, they are polluted with blood; those which they cannot [pollute] they touch With their garments (Lam. 4:13, 14).
I have passed by thee, and sad thee trodden down in thy bloods, and I said unto thee, Live in thy bloods, and I said unto thee, Live in thy bloods. I washed thee with Waters, and washed away thy bloods from upon thee, and I anointed thee with oil (Ezek. 16:6, 9).
Thou son of man, Wilt thou debate with a city of bloods? Make known to her all her abominations. Thou art become guilty through thy blood that thou hast shed, and art defiled through thine idols which thou hast made. Behold the princes of Israel, everyone according to his arm, have been in thee and have shed blood; men of slander have been in thee to shed blood; and in thee they have eaten at the mountains (Ezek. 22:2-4, 6, 9).
If anyone shall sacrifice elsewhere than upon the altar at the tent, it shall be blood; and as if he had shed blood (Lev. 17:1-9).
 Falsified and profaned truth is signified by the following passages concerning blood. In Joel:
I will set wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day come (Joel 2:30, 31).
In the Revelation:
The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the whole moon became as blood (Rev. 6:12).
The second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea and the third part of the sea became blood (Rev. 8:8).
The second angel poured out his vial into the sea; and it became blood as of a dead man, and every living soul died in the sea. And the third angel poured out his vial into the rivers, and into the fountains of water, and there became blood (Rev. 16:3, 4).
 Similar is what is said in (Exodus 7:15-22), about the rivers, ponds, and pools of water in Egypt being turned into blood; for by "Egypt" is signified the memory-knowledge which from itself enters into heavenly mysteries, and hence perverts, denies, and profanes Divine truths (n. 1164, 1165, 1186). All the miracles in Egypt, being Divine, involved such things. The "rivers which were turned into blood" are the truths of intelligence and wisdom (n. 108, 109, 3051); "waters" have a similar signification (n. 680, 2702, 3058), and also "fountains" (n. 2702, 3096, 3424); "seas" are truths in the complex which are a matter of memory-knowledge (n. 28); the "moon," of which it is also said that it should be "turned into blood," is Divine truth (n. 1529-1531, 2495, 4060). It is evident from this, that by the moon, the sea, fountains, waters, and rivers, being turned into blood, is signified truth falsified and profaned.
AC 4736. Cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness. That this signifies that they should conceal it meanwhile among their falsities, that is, that they should regard it as false, but still retain it because it was of importance to the church, is evident from the signification of a "pit," as being falsities (n. 4728); and from the signification of a "wilderness," as being where there is no truth. For the word "wilderness" has a wide signification, it means where the land is uninhabited, and thus not cultivated; and when predicated of the church, it denotes where there is no good, and consequently no truth (n. 2708, 3900). Thus by a "pit in the wilderness" are here meant falsities in which there is no truth, because no good. It is said in which there is no truth because no good; for when anyone believes that faith saves without works, truth may indeed exist, but still it is not truth in him, because it does not look to good, nor is it from good. This truth is not alive, because it has in it a principle of falsity, consequently with anyone who has such truth, the truth is but falsity from the principle which rules in it. The principle is like the soul, from which the rest have their life. On the other hand there are falsities which are accepted as truths, when there is good in them, especially if it is the good of innocence, as with the Gentiles and also with many within the church.
AC 4737. But lay no hand upon him. That this signifies that they should not do violence to it, is evident without explication.
AC 4738. That he might rescue him out of their hand, to bring him back to his father. That this signifies that it might claim it for the church, is evident from the signification of "rescuing out of their hand," as being to set free - as above (n. 4732); and from the signification of "bringing back to his father," as being to claim for the church; for by Jacob, who is here the "father," is represented the Jewish religion derived from the Ancient Church, as above (n. 4700, 4701). It was the Divine truth concerning the Lord‘s Divine Human that it would claim for the church, for by Joseph, as before said, this truth is specifically signified.
 As further regards this truth, be it known that the Ancient Church acknowledged it, and also the primitive Christian Church; but after the papal sway had grown even to domination over all human souls, and had exalted itself - as is said of the King of Babylon in Isaiah,
"Thou saidst in thy heart, I will ascend into the heavens, I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven, and I will sit in the mount of congregation, I will ascend above the heights of the cloud, I will become like the Most High" (Isa. 14:13, 14)
- then the Divine was taken away from the Lord’s Human, that is, a distinction was then made between His Divine and His Human.
 How this was decreed in a certain council has also been revealed to me. There appeared to me certain spirits in front to the left on the plane of the sole of the foot, at some distance from me, who were talking together, but about what I did not hear. I was then told that they were some of those who composed the council in which the decree was made regarding the Lord‘s two natures, the Divine and the human. Presently it was granted me to converse with them. They said that those who had the greatest influence in the council, and who were superior to the rest in rank and authority, came together in a dark room and there concluded that both a Divine and a human nature should be attributed to the Lord; chiefly for the reason that otherwise the papal sway could not be maintained. For if they had acknowledged the Lord to be one with the Father, as He Himself says, no one could have been acknowledged as His vicar on earth; for schisms were arising at that time by which the papal power might have fallen and been dissipated unless they had made this distinction; and for the strengthening of this invention they sought out confirmations from the Word, and persuaded the rest.
 The spirits added that by this means they were able to rule in heaven and on earth, because they had it from the Word that to the Lord was given all power in heaven and on earth, which power could not have been attributed to any vicar if His Human also were acknowledged to be Divine; for they knew that no one was allowed to make himself equal to God, and that the Divine had this power of Itself, but not the Human, unless it had been given it, as it was afterwards to Peter. They continued, that the schismatics of that day were men of acute discernment, whom in this way they were able to quiet, and by this means the papal power was also confirmed. From all this it is evident that this distinction was invented merely for the sake of dominion; and that for this reason they were not willing to know that the power given to the Lord’s Human in heaven and on earth shows that it also is Divine. That Peter, to whom the Lord gave the keys of heaven, does not mean Peter, but the faith of charity, which, because it is from the Lord alone, is the power of the Lord alone, (n. 2760).GENESIS 37:18-22 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|