Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 46:2-4
AC 5999. Verses 2-4. And God said to Israel in the visions of the night, and He said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Behold me. And He said, I am God, the God of thy father; fear not to go down into Egypt, for I will there make of thee a great nation. I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will cause thee to go up, even in going up; and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes. "And God said to Israel in the visions of the night," signifies obscure revelation; "and He said, Jacob, Jacob," signifies to natural truth; "and he said, Behold me," signifies notice; "and he said, I am God, the God of thy father," signifies the Divine intellectual from which is the influx; "fear not to go down into Egypt," signifies that natural truth with all things appertaining to it must be initiated into the memory-knowledges of the church; "for I will there make of thee a great nation," signifies that truths shall become good; "I will go down with thee into Egypt," signifies the presence of the Lord in that state; "and I will cause thee to go up, even in going up," signifies elevation afterward; "and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes," signifies that the internal celestial shall vivify.
AC 6000. And God said to Israel in the visions of the night. That this signifies obscure revelation, is evident from the signification of "God said in the visions" as being revelation. For revelations were made either by dreams, or by night visions, or by day visions, or by speech within the man, or by speech without him from angels that were seen, and also by speech without him from angels that were not seen. By all these are signified in the Word various kinds of revelations, and by a "vision of the night," obscure revelation; for "night" signifies what is obscure (n. 1712, 2514), and obscurity in the spiritual sense is that truth does not appear. Moreover in the Word "night" signifies falsity from evil, for they who from evil are in falsity are in the obscurity of night. Thus all who are in hell are said to be in night. They indeed are in a kind of light there, for they see one another; but this light is like the light from a hard-coal fire, and is turned into darkness and thick darkness when heavenly light flows in. Hence it is that they who are in hell are said to be in night, and that they are called angels of night and of darkness; and on the other hand they who are in heaven are called angels of day and of light.
 That "night" denotes what is obscure, and likewise what is false, may also be seen from the following passages in the Word. In John:--
Jesus said, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walk in the day, he stumbleth not. But if anyone walk in the night, he stumbleth, because the light is not in him (John 11:9, 10);
"twelve hours" denote all states of truth; "walking in the day," denotes to live in truth; and "walking in the night," to live in falsity.
I must work the works of Him that sent Me while it is day; the night cometh when no one can work (John 9:4);
"day" denotes truth from good; and "night," falsity from evil. It is the first time of the church which is meant by "day," for then truth is received, because men are in good; and it is the last time of the church which is meant by "night," for then nothing of truth is received, because men are not in good. For when man is not in good, that is, when he is not in charity toward the neighbor, then even if the veriest truths are told him, he receives them not, for then it is not at all perceived what is true, because the light of truth falls into such things as are of the body and the world, which alone are attended to, and alone are loved and estimated as real; but not into such things as are of heaven, because with such men these are relatively of little or no account. Thus the light of truth is absorbed and smothered in what is densely dark, as is the light of the sun in what is black. This is signified by "the night cometh when no one can work." It is also such a time at this day.
 In Matthew:--
While the bridegroom tarried, all the virgins slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh (Matthew 25:5, 6);
"midnight" also denotes the last time of an old church, when there is nothing of faith because nothing of charity, and also the first time of a new church. In Luke:--
I say unto you, In that night there shall be two upon one bed; the one shall be accepted, and the other shall be left (Luke 17:34);
here in like manner "night" denotes the last time of an old church and the first of a new one.
 In Matthew:--
Jesus said to the disciples, All ye shall be scandalized against Me in this night. And to Peter, In this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice (Matthew 26:31, 34);
that it pleased the Lord to be taken at night, signified that with them at that time Divine truth was in the obscurity of night, and that falsity from evil was in its place. And that Peter denied the Lord thrice in that night, also represented the last time of the church, when the truth of faith is indeed taught, but is not believed. Such a time is "night," because the Lord is then utterly denied in the hearts of men; for the twelve apostles, like the twelve tribes of Israel, represented all things of faith (n. 577, 2089, 2129, 2130, 3272, 3354, 3488, 3858, 3913, 3926, 3939, 4060), and Peter represented the faith of the church (n. 2135a, 2760, 3750, 4738). Therefore it was that the Lord said unto Peter that "in that night he should deny Him thrice;" and to the disciples, "all ye shall be scandalized against Me in this night."
 In Isaiah:--
One calleth unto me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night (Isa 21:11, 12);
speaking of the coming of the Lord, which is the "morning," which coming was when there was no longer any spiritual truth in the earth, and which is "night."
 In Zechariah:--
It shall be one day which is known to Jehovah; not day nor night; for about the time of evening there shall be light. It shall come to pass In that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; and Jehovah shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall Jehovah be one, and His name one (Zech. 14:7-9);
speaking here likewise of the Lord and also of a new church. "Jehovah who shall be king, and Jehovah being one and His name one," is the Lord as to the Divine Human, which should be one with the Divine Itself which is called the "Father." Before the coming of the Lord the Divine Human was Jehovah in the heavens, for by passing through the heavens He presented Himself as a Divine Man before many on earth. But at that time the Divine Human was not so completely one with the Divine Itself which is called the "Father," as when the Lord made it in Himself altogether one. That before this they were as it were distinct, is plain from the nineteenth chapter of Genesis, where it is said, "Jehovah caused it to rain upon Sodom and Gomorrah sulphur and fire from Jehovah out of heaven" (Genesis 19:24); (n. 2447). The "day when it was not day nor night," is when the Lord was born; for it was then "evening," that is, the end of the representatives of the church; the "light about the time of evening" is the Divine truth which would then appear.
 In Isaiah:--
Surely in the night Ar has been laid waste, Moab has been cut off; surely in the night Kir of Moab has been laid waste (Isa. 15:1);
"Moab" denotes natural good, and in the opposite sense adulterated good (n. 2468); its vastation is here treated of. Vastations are said to be effected "in the night," because truth is then obscured, and falsity enters. In Jeremiah:--
The great city weeping shall weep in the night, and her tear shall be on her cheek (Lam. 1:2);
describing the desolation of truth; "night" denotes falsity.
 In David:--
Thou shalt not be afraid of the dread of night, of the arrow that flieth by day, nor of the death that wasteth at noonday (Ps. 91:5, 6);
the "dread of night" denotes falsities of evil which are from hell; the "arrow that flieth by day," falsity which is openly taught, whereby good is destroyed; the "death that wasteth at noonday," evil which is lived in openly, whereby truth is destroyed. In John:--
The gates of the holy Jerusalem shall not be shut by day; for there is ho night there (Rev. 21:25).
There shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light (Rev. 22:5).
"There shall be no night there" denotes that there shall be no falsity. In Daniel:--
Daniel said, I saw in my vision when it was night. After this I saw in the visions of the night (Daniel 7:2, 7);
"visions of the night" here also denote obscure revelation, for in this passage the four beasts are treated of, and their horns, and many things which belong to obscure revelation. It is similar with the horses of various colors which Zechariah saw in the night" (Zech. 1:8).
AC 6001. And He said, Jacob, Jacob. That this signifies to natural truth, is evident from the representation of Jacob, as being natural truth (n. 3305, 3509, 3525, 3546, 3599, 3775, 4009, 4234, 4520, 4538). The reason why it is said "Jacob," and not "Israel," is that natural truth with all belonging to it must be initiated into the memory-knowledges of the church, which is signified by Jacob with his sons going down into Egypt (n. 6004).
AC 6002. And he said, Behold me. That this signifies notice, is evident without explication.
AC 6003. And he said, I am God, the God of thy father. That this signifies the Divine intellectual from which is the influx, is evident from the representation of Isaac, who is here the "father," as being the Divine rational or intellectual of the Lord (n. 5998); for it is said, "God, the God of thy father." That the influx is from this is because all truth is of the intellectual, thus also natural truth, which is represented by Jacob (n. 6001). What the Divine rational or intellectual is which is represented by Isaac, (n. 1893, 2066, 2072, 2083, 2630, 3012, 3194, 3210). In the original tongue, "God" is named in the first place in the singular, but in the second place in the plural; that is, in the first the name is "El," and in the second it is "Elohim." The reason is that by "God" in the first place is signified that there is one God and only one, and by "God" in the second place that He has many attributes. Thus arises the name "Elohim" or "God" in the plural, as in the Word almost everywhere. As there are many attributes, and the Ancient Church assigned a name to each, therefore its descendants, with whom the knowledge of such things was lost, believed there were many gods, and each family chose one of them for its God - as Abraham, Shaddai (n. 1992, 3667, 5628), and Isaac, the God who was called "Pachad" or "Dread." And as the God of each was one of the Divine attributes, therefore the Lord said unto Abram, "I am God Shaddai" (Gen. 17:1), and here unto Jacob, "I am the God of thy father."
AC 6004. Fear not to go down into Egypt. That this signifies that natural truth with all things appertaining to it must be initiated into the memory-knowledges of the church, is evident from the representation of Jacob, who is he that was to go down into Egypt, as being natural truth (n. 6001); and from the signification of " going down," as being to be initiated, for in order that this initiation might be represented, Jacob with all that appertained to him went down into Egypt; and from the signification of "Egypt," as being the memory-knowledges of the church (n. 1462, 4749, 4964, 4966).
 In regard to truth being initiated into the memory-knowledges of the church, the case is this. The memory-knowledges of the church were at that time the representatives and significatives of their rituals, for all the rituals of the church were from such things, as also were the memory-knowledges which served as their doctrinals of charity. From these memory-knowledges they knew who are meant by the poor, the needy, the miserable, the afflicted, the oppressed, widows, orphans, sojourners, the bound in prison, the naked, the sick, the hungry, the thirsty, the lame, the blind, the deaf, the maimed, and by many other classes into which they distinguished the neighbor, and thus taught how charity was to be exercised. Such were the memory-knowledges of that time. That at this day these are altogether blotted out of remembrance is evident from the fact that where the above are mentioned in the Word, scarcely anyone knows but that such are meant as are so called - as that widows are meant where "widows" are mentioned, sojourners where " sojourners" are mentioned, the bound in prison where these are mentioned, and so on. Such memory-knowledges flourished in Egypt; and therefore by "Egypt" are signified memory-knowledges. That natural truth which is "Jacob" was to be initiated into such memory-knowledges, is represented by Jacob‘s going down into Egypt with all that belonged to him.
 Truths are said to be initiated into such memory-knowledges when they are brought into them, so as to be in them. This is effected for the reason that when a memory-knowledge comes into the thought, the truths which have been brought into it may come at the same time into remembrance; as for example, when a sojourner is presented to the thought, seeing that by him are signified those who are to be instructed, that there should instantly come into thought all the exercises of charity toward such, thus truths. In like manner in all other cases. When memory-knowledges are thus filled, then when anyone is thinking from them, the thought extends and diffuses itself far and wide, and indeed to many societies in the heavens at the same time. For such a memory-knowledge, consisting as it does of so many truths within itself, unknown to the man, unfolds itself in this way; but it is necessary that truths be in them.
 It is also of Divine order for interior things to bestow themselves in exterior ones, or what is the same, prior things in posterior ones, thus at last all prior things in the ultimates, and for them to be together there. This is the case in universal nature. Unless this is done he man cannot be fully regenerated, for by such a bringing of truths into memory-knowledges, things interior and exterior agree together and make a one which otherwise would be in disagreement; and if they are in disagreement, the man is not in good, because he is not in what is sincere. Moreover memory-knowledges are in a light nearly the same as that in which is the sensual of man’s sight, and this light is such that unless it is enlightened within by the light which is from truths, it leads into falsities, especially into those derived from the fallacies of the senses; and also into evils from falsities. That this is the case will be seen from the experience about influx that is related at the close of the chapters.
AC 6005. For I will there make of thee a great nation. That this signifies that truths shall become good, is evident from the representation of Jacob, of whom these words are spoken, as being natural truth (n. 6001); and from the signification of "nation," as being good (n. 1259, 1260, 1416, 1849). "Nations" and "peoples" are often mentioned in the Word, but everywhere with this difference: that by "nations" are signified goods or evils, and by "peoples," truths or falsities.
AC 6006. I will go down with thee into Egypt. That this signifies the presence of the Lord in that state, is evident from the signification of "going down with thee," as being the presence of the Lord, for by the God who spake with Jacob in the visions of the night is meant the Lord.
AC 6007. And I will cause thee to go up, even in going up. That this signifies elevation afterward, is evident from the signification of "going up," as being elevation (n. 3084, 4539, 5406, 5817). The elevation which is here signified is from memory-knowledges to things more interior. For after memory-knowledges have been filled with truths (n. 6004), the man is elevated from memory-knowledges toward things more interior, and then the memory-knowledges serve him as the ultimate plane of his mental activities (intuitionum). To be elevated toward things more interior is to think more interiorly, and at last as a spirit and as an angel; for the more interiorly thought proceeds, the more perfect it is, because it is nearer the influx of truth and good from the Lord. Thought is more interior and more exterior, (n. 5127, 5141).
AC 6008. And Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes. That this signifies that the internal celestial shall vivify, is evident from the representation of Joseph, as being the internal celestial (n. 5869, 5877); and from the signification of "putting the hand upon the eyes," as being to vivify. For by "putting the hand upon the eyes" is meant that the external sensual, or that of the body, shall be closed, and the internal sensual shall be opened; thus that elevation shall be effected, and thus vivification. It was customary to lay the hand upon the eyes of a dying person, because by "death" was signified resuscitation into life (n. 3498, 3505, 4618, 4621). For when a man dies, he does not die, but only lays aside the body which had served him for use in the world, and he passes into the other life in a body which serves him for use there. GENESIS 46:2-4 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
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