Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 4:18-19
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AC 404. Verse 18. And unto Enoch was born Irad; and Irad begat Mehujael, and Mehujael begat Methusael, and Methusael begat Lamech. All these names signify heresies derived from the first, which was called "Cain;" but as there is nothing extant respecting them, except the names, it is unnecessary to say anything about them. Something might be gathered from the derivations of the names; for example, "Irad" means that he "descends from a city," thus from the heresy called "Enoch," and so on.

AC 405. Verse 19. And Lamech took unto him two wives; the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. By "Lamech," who was the sixth in order from Cain, is signified vastation, in consequence of there being no longer any faith; by his "two wives" is signified the rise of a new church; by "Adah," the mother of its celestial and spiritual things; and by "Zillah," the mother of its natural things.

AC 406. That by "Lamech" is signified vastation, or that there was no faith, is evident from the following (verses 23, 24), in which it is said that he "slew a man to his wounding, and a little one to his hurt;" for thereby a "man" is meant faith, and by a "little one" or "little child," charity.

AC 407. The state of a church in general is thus circumstanced. In process of time it departs from the true faith until at last it comes to be entirely destitute of faith, when it is said to be "vastated." This was the case with the Most Ancient Church among those who were called Cainites, and also with the Ancient Church after the flood, as well as with the Jewish Church. At the time of the Lord‘s advent this last was in such a state of vastation that they knew nothing about the Lord, that He was to come into the world for their salvation, and they knew still less about faith in Him. Such was also the case with the primitive Christian Church, or that which existed after the Lord’s advent, and which at this day is so completely vastated that there is no faith remaining in it. Yet there always remains some nucleus of a church, which those who are vastated as to faith do not acknowledge; and thus it was with the Most Ancient Church, of which a remnant remained until the time of the flood, and continued after that event. This remnant of the Church is called "Noah."

AC 408. When a church has been so vastated that there is no longer any faith, then and not before, it begins anew, that is, new light shines forth, which in the Word is called the "morning.‘ The reason why the new light or "morning" does not shine forth until the church is vastated, is that the things of faith and of charity have been commingled with things profane; and so long as they remain in this state it is impossible for anything of light or charity to be insinuated, since the "tares" destroy all the "good seed." But when there is no faith, faith can no longer be profaned, because men no longer believe what is declared unto them; and those who do not acknowledge and believe, but only know, cannot profane, as was observed above. This is the case with the Jews at the present day, who in consequence of living among Christians must be aware that the Lord is acknowledged by Christians to be the Messiah whom they themselves have expected, and still continue to expect, but yet they cannot profane this because they do not acknowledge and believe it. And it is the same with the Mohammedans and Gentiles who have heard about the Lord. It was for this reason that the Lord did not come into the world until the Jewish Church acknowledged and believed nothing.

AC 409. The case was the same with the heresy called "Cain," which in process of time was vastated, for although it acknowledged love, yet it made faith the chief and set it before love, and the heresies derived from this one gradually wandered from it, and Lamech, who was the sixth in order, altogether denied even faith. When this time arrived, a new light, or morning, shone forth, and a new church was made which is here named "Adah and Zillah," who are called the "wives of Lamech." They are called the wives of Lamech, although he possessed no faith, just as the internal and external church of the Jews, who also had no faith, are also in the Word called "wives," being represented by Leah and Rachel, the two wives of Jacob-Leah representing the external church and Rachel the internal. These churches, although they appear like two, are yet only one; for the external or representative, separate from the internal, is but as something idolatrous, or dead, whereas the internal together with the external constitute a church, and even one and the same church, as Adah and Zillah do here. As however Jacob and his posterity, like Lamech, had no faith, the church could not remain with them, but was transferred to the Gentiles, who lived not in infidelity but in ignorance. The church rarely, if ever, remains with those who when vastated have truths among them (apud se), but is transferred to those who know nothing at all of truths, for these embrace the faith much more easily than the former.

AC 410. Vastation is of two kinds; first, of those who know and do not wish to know, or who see and do not desire to see, like the Jews of old, and the Christians of the present day; and secondly, of those who, in consequence of their ignorance, neither know nor see anything, like both the ancient and modern Gentiles. When the last time of vastation comes upon those who know and do not desire to know, that is, who see and do not desire to see, then a church arises anew, not among them, but with those whom they call Gentiles. This occurred with the Most Ancient Church that was before the flood, with the Ancient Church that was after that event, and also with the Jewish Church. The reason why new light shines forth then and not before is, as has been said, that then they can no longer profane the things revealed, because they do not acknowledge and believe that they are true.

AC 411. That the last time of vastation must exist before a new church can arise, is frequently declared by the Lord in the Prophets, and is there called "vastation" or "laying waste," in reference to the celestial things of faith; and " desolation," in relation to the spiritual things of faith. It is also spoken of as "consummation" and "cutting off." (Isa. 6:9, 11, 12; 23:8-18; 24:1-23; 42:15-18; Jer. 25:1-38; Dan. 8:1-27; 9:24-27; Zeph. 1:1-18; Deut. 32:1-52; Rev. 15:1-8; 16:1-21.)

GENESIS 4:18-19    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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