Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 6:15
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AC 646. Verse 15. And thus shalt thou make it: three hundred cubits the length of the ark, fifty cubits its breadth, and thirty, cubits its height. By the numbers here as before are signified remains, that they were few; the "length" is their holiness, the " breadth" their truth, and the "height" their good.

AC 647. That these particulars have such a signification, as that the numbers "three hundred," "fifty," and "thirty" signify remains, and that they are few; and that "length," "breadth," and "height" signify holiness, truth, and good, cannot but appear strange to every one, and very remote from the letter. But in addition to what was said and shown above concerning numbers at (verse 3) of this chapter, that a "hundred and twenty" there signify remains of faith), it may be evident to every one also from the fact that they who are in the internal sense, as are good spirits and angels, are beyond all such things as are earthly, corporeal, and merely of the world, and thus are beyond all matters of number and measure, and yet it is given them by the Lord to perceive the Word fully, and this entirely apart from such things. And this being true, it may therefore be very evident that these particulars involve things celestial and spiritual which are so remote from the sense of the letter that it cannot even appear that there are such things. Such are celestial and spiritual things both in general and in particular. And from this a man may know how insane it is to desire to search into those things which are matters of faith, by means of the things of sense and knowledge (sensualia et scientifica); and to be unwilling to believe unless he apprehends them in this way.

AC 648. That in the Word numbers and measures signify things celestial and spiritual, is very evident from the measurement of the New Jerusalem and of the Temple, in John, and in Ezekiel. Any one may see that by the "New Jerusalem" and the "new Temple" is signified the kingdom of the Lord in the heavens and on earth, and that the kingdom of the Lord in the heavens and on earth is not subject to earthly measurement; and yet its dimensions as to length, breadth, and height are designated by numbers. From this any one may conclude that by the numbers and measures are signified holy things, as in John:--

There was given me a reed like unto a rod; and the angel stood, and said unto me, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein (Rev. 11:1).

And concerning the New Jerusalem:--

The wall of the New Jerusalem was great and high, having twelve gates, and over the gates twelve angels, and names written, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, on the west three gates. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. He that talked with me had a golden reed, to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. The city lieth four square, and the length thereof is as great as the breadth. And he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs; the length and the breadth and the height thereof are equal. He measured the wall thereof, a hundred and forty and four cubits, which is the measure of a man, that is, of an angel (Rev. 21:12-17).

[2] The number "twelve" occurs here throughout, which is a very holy number because it signifies the holy things of faith (verse 3), and as will be shown at the twenty-ninth and thirtieth chapters of Genesis. And therefore it is added that this measure is the "measure of a man, that is, of an angel." It is the same with the new Temple and new Jerusalem in Ezekiel which are also described as to their measures (Ezekiel 40:3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 22, 25, 30, 36, 42, 47; 41:1-26; 42:5-15; Zech. 2:1, 2). Here too regarded in themselves the numbers signify nothing but the holy celestial and spiritual abstractedly from the numbers. So with all the numbers of the dimensions of the ark (Exod. 25:10); of the mercy seat; of the golden table; of the tabernacle; and of the altar (Exod. 25:10, 17, 23; 26:1-37; 27:1); and all the numbers and dimensions of the temple (1 Kings 6:2, 3), and many others.

AC 649. But here the numbers or measures of the ark signify nothing else than the remains which were with the man of this church when he was being reformed, and that they were but few. This is evident from the fact that in these numbers five predominates, which in the Word signifies some or a little, as in Isaiah:--

There shall be left therein gleanings, as the shaking of an olive-tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the branches of a fruitful one (Isaiah 17:6)

, where "two or three" and "five" denote a few. Again:--

One thousand at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee; until ye be left as a pole upon the top of a mountain (Isaiah 30:17),

where also "five" denotes a few. So too the least fine, after restitution, was a "fifth part" (Lev. 5:16; 6:5; 22:14; Num. 5:7). And the least addition when they redeemed a beast, a house, a field, or the tithes, was a "fifth part" (Lev. 27:13, 15, 19, 31).

AC 650. That "length" signifies the holiness, "breadth" the truth, and "height" the good of whatever things are described by the numbers, cannot so well be confirmed from the Word, because they are each and all predicated according to the subject or thing treated of. Thus "length" as applied to time signifies perpetuity and eternity, as "length of days" in (Ps. 23:6; 21:4); but as applied to space it denotes holiness, as follows therefrom. And the same is the case with "breadth" and "height." There is a trinal dimension of all earthly things, but such dimensions cannot be predicated of celestial and spiritual things. When they are predicated, greater or less perfection is meant, apart from the dimensions, and also the quality and quantity; thus here the quality, that they were remains; and the quantity, that they were few.

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