Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 49:19
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AC 6403. Verse 19. Gad, a troop shall ravage him, and he shall ravage the heel. "Gad," signifies works from truth and not yet from good; "a troop shall ravage him," signifies works without judgment, that they will drive away from truth; "and he shall ravage the heel," signifies disorder thence in the natural.

AC 6404. That Gad signifies works from truth and not yet from good, is evident from the representation of Gad, as being works (n. 3934, 3935), here works from truth and not yet from good, as is evident from the description in the internal sense. This also follows in order, for by Dan just above are represented those who are in truth and not yet in good (n. 6396); here now by Gad are represented those who are in works from truths and not yet from good. The quality of these works will now be shown.

AC 6405. A troop shall ravage him. That this signifies works without judgment, that they will drive away from truth, is evident from the signification of a "troop," as being works (n. 3934), here works without judgment; for they who do works from truth and not yet from good have obscure understanding, whereas they who do works from good have the understanding enlightened, because good enlightens; for the light of truth from the Lord flows into the intellectual through good, and thus into truth, but not into truth immediately. The case herein is like that of the sun‘s light, which inflows through heat into the subjects of the vegetable kingdom, trees, plants, and flowers, and causes them to grow and blossom, but not immediately; for when the light flows in without heat, as in winter, nothing grows and blossoms. Moreover "to ravage him" denotes to drive away from truth.

[2] But who they are that are here signified by "Gad," shall be told. They are such as fall into illusion with respect to truth, and yet do works from this; thus works not of truth, still less of good. By such works they are driven away from truth, for as soon as a man who is in truth and not yet in good brings anything into act from his religiosity, he afterward defends it as if it were the veriest truth, and abides in it, nor does he admit any amendment of it, except in so far as he comes into good; for by so acting he imbues himself with it and loves it. Thus works drive him away from truth. Besides, he believes those things to be truths which are not truths, for these persons also, like those signified by "Dan," judge from what is sensuous, thus without judgment. Let this be illustrated by examples. When one who counts everyone equally his neighbor, and thus benefits the evil equally with the good, and by thus conferring benefits on the evil does harm to others, has committed such acts repeatedly, he afterward defends them, saying that everyone is his neighbor, and that it is not his concern what his quality is, but only to confer benefits on him; thus he does works without judgment, and also contrary to the truth itself; for the truth itself is that all are the neighbor, but in a different degree, and that they are the neighbor more than others who are in good (n. 2417, 3419, 3820, 5025).

[3] By "Gad" are also signified those who make all salvation consist in works alone, like the Pharisee of whom the Lord says in the parable:--

The Pharisee standing by himself prayed thus, God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess (Luke 18:11, 12);

thus holding external things as the veriest truths. They who are such are also in the Lord’s kingdom, but on the threshold, and therefore the Lord says,

"I say unto you, the publican went down to his house justified more than the Pharisee (Luke 18:14),

thus that the Pharisee also went down justified, because he had done works from obedience to command. In a word, by Gad are represented those who call that truth which is not truth, and from this non-truth do works; hence their works are like the truths, for works are nothing but the will and understanding in act. That which saves these men is the intention to do what is good, and something of innocence in their ignorance.

[4] They who are in external works from that which is not truth, but which they believe to be truth, are signified by "Gad" also in Isaiah

Ye that forsake Jehovah, that forget the mountain of My holiness, that set out a table for Gad, and that till a drink-offering unto Meni (Isa. 14:11);

"to set out a table for Gad" denotes to be in works alone. And in Jeremiah:--

Against the sons of Ammon, thus saith Jehovah: (Are there no sons) to Israel? hath he no heir? wherefore doth his king inherit Gad, and his people dwell in the cities thereof? (Jer. 49:1);

"to inherit Gad" denotes to live in works from that which is not truth; the "sons of Ammon" are they who falsify truths, and live according to them when falsified (n. 2468), to whom these things about Gad are applied by the prophet.

AC 6406. He shall ravage the heel. That this signifies a want of order thence in the natural, is evident from the signification of "ravaging," as being to drive away from truth (n. 6405), thus to disturb the order, or cause a want of order; and from the signification of "heel," as being the lowest natural (n. 259, 4938-4952). Hence it is plain that by "he shall ravage the heel" is signified a want of order in the natural. They who do works from truth and not yet from good, must needs cause in their natural a want of order, for works affect the natural; and consequently they must needs to this extent close their interiors; for the plane in which the interiors terminate is the natural, and if this is devoid of order, all that which flows in from the interiors also becomes devoid of order; and all that which is devoid of order is dark and opaque, so that they cannot see what is truth, but in this opacity and darkness they seize for truth what is not truth, and from this non-truth do their works. Moreover works are most necessary, for they are charity and faith in effect and in life, and who cannot see that without them there is no charity? Works are nothing but good and truth themselves in outward form; for good which is of the will, and truth which is of the understanding, when put forth into act, are called "works;" hence it is evident that such as are the good and truth, such are the word.

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