Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 6:18
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AC 663. Verse 18. And I will set up My covenant with thee; and thou shalt enter into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons wives with thee. To "set up a covenant," signifies that he would be regenerated; that "he, and his sons, and his sons’ wives," should "come into the ark," signifies that he would be saved. "Sons" are truths; "wives" are goods.

AC 664. In the preceding verse those who destroyed themselves were treated of, but here those who were to be regenerated and thus saved, who are called "Noah."

AC 665. That to "set up a covenant" signifies that he would be regenerated, is very evident from the fact that there can be no covenant between the Lord and man other than conjunction by love and faith, and therefore a "covenant" signifies conjunction. For it is the heavenly marriage that is the veriest covenant; and the heavenly marriage, or conjunction, does not exist except with those who are being regenerated; so that in the widest sense regeneration itself is signified by a "covenant." The Lord enters into a covenant with man when He regenerates him; and therefore among the ancients a covenant represented nothing else. Nothing can be gathered from the sense of the letter but that the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and so many times with their descendants, was concerned with them personally, whereas they were such that they could not be regenerated; for they made worship consist in external things, and supposed the externals of worship to be holy, without internal things being adjoined to them. And therefore the covenants made with them were only representatives of regeneration. It was the same with their rites, and with Abraham himself, and with Isaac, and Jacob, who represented the things of love and faith. Likewise the high priests and priests, whatever their character, even those that were wicked, could represent the heavenly and most holy priesthood. In representatives the person is not regarded, but the thing that is represented. Thus all the kings of Israel and of Judah, even the worst, represented the royalty of the Lord; and even Pharaoh too, who set Joseph over the land of Egypt. From these and many other considerations--concerning which, of the Lord‘s Divine mercy hereafter--it is evident that the covenants so often entered into with the sons of Jacob were only religious rites that were representative.

AC 666. That a "covenant" signifies nothing else than regeneration and the things pertaining to regeneration, is evident from various passages in the Word where the Lord Himself is called the "Covenant," because it is He alone who regenerates, and who is looked to by the regenerate man, and is the all in all of love and faith. That the Lord is the Covenant itself is evident in Isaiah:--

I Jehovah have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thy hand, and will keep thee, and will give thee for a covenant to the people, for a light of the nations (Isaiah 42:6),

where a " covenant" denotes the Lord; "a light of the nations" is faith. Also in (Isaiah 49:6, 8). In Malachi:--

Behold I send Mine angel, and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Angel of the covenant whom ye desire; behold He cometh; who may abide the day of His coming? (Malachi 3:1, 2),

where the Lord is called the "Angel of the Covenant." The sabbath is called a "perpetual covenant" (Exod. 31:16), because it signifies the Lord Himself, and the celestial man regenerated by Him.

[2] Since the Lord is the very covenant itself, it is evident that all that which conjoins man with the Lord is of the covenant-as love and faith, and whatever is of love and faith-for these are of the Lord, and the Lord is in them; and so the covenant itself is in them, where they are received. These have no existence except with a regenerated man, with whom whatever is of the Regenerator or of the Lord is of the covenant, or is the covenant. As in Isaiah:--

My mercy shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed away (Isaiah 54:10),

where "mercy" and the "covenant of peace" denote the Lord and what belongs to Him. Again:--

Incline your ear and come unto Me, hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make a covenant of eternity with you, the sure mercies of David; behold, I have given Him for a witness to the peoples, a leader and a lawgiver to the nations (Isaiah 55:3, 4).

"David" here denotes the Lord; the "covenant of eternity" is in those things and by those things which are of the Lord, and these are meant by going to Him and hearing, that the soul may live.

[3] In Jeremiah:--

I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me all the days, for good to them, and to their sons after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put My fear in their heart (Jeremiah 32:39, 40).

This is said of those who are to be regenerated, and of things that belong to them, namely, "one heart and one way," that is, charity and faith, which are of the Lord and so of the covenant. Again:--

Behold the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, for they rendered My covenant vain: but this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after these days; I will put My law in the midst of them, and write it on their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Jeremiah 31:31-33).

Here the meaning of a "covenant" is clearly explained, that it is the love and faith in the Lord which is with those who are to be regenerated.

[4] And again in Jeremiah, love is called the "covenant of the day," and faith the "covenant of the night" (Jeremiah 33:20). In Ezekiel:--

I, Jehovah, will be their God, and My servant David a prince in the midst of them, and I will make with them a covenant of peace, and I will make the evil beast to cease out of the land; and they shall dwell secure in the wilderness, and sleep in the forests (Ezekiel 34:24, 25).

Here regeneration is evidently treated of. "David" denotes the Lord. Again:--

David shall be a prince to them to eternity; I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be a covenant of eternity with them; I will set My sanctuary in the midst of them to eternity (Ezekiel 37:25, 26).

Here likewise regeneration is treated of. "David" and the "sanctuary" denote the Lord. And again:--

I entered into a covenant with thee, and thou wast Mine; and I washed thee with waters, and washed away thy bloods from upon thee, and I anointed thee with oil (Ezekiel 16:8, 9),

where regeneration is plainly meant. In Hosea:--

In that day will I make a covenant for them with the wild beast of the field, and with the fowl of the heavens, and with the creeping thing of the earth (Hosea 2:18),

meaning regeneration; the "wild beast of the field," denotes the things that are of the will; "the fowl of the heavens," those that are of the understanding. In David:--

He hath sent redemption unto His people; He hath commanded His covenant to eternity (Ps. 111:9),

also meaning regeneration. It is called a "covenant" because it is given and received.

[5] But of those who are not regenerated, or what is the same, who make worship consist in external things, and esteem and worship themselves and what they desire and think as if they were gods, it is said that they render the covenant vain, because they separate themselves from the Lord. And in Jeremiah:--

They have forsaken the covenant of Jehovah their God, and have bowed themselves down to other gods, and served them (Jeremiah 22:9).

In Moses:--

He who should transgress the covenant by serving other gods--the sun, the moon, the army of the heavens--should be stoned (Deut. 17:2).

The "sun" denotes the love of self; the "moon" principles of falsity; the "army of the heavens" falsities themselves. From all this it is now evident what the "ark of the covenant" signified wherein was the "covenant," or "testimony," namely, that it signified the Lord Himself; and that the "book of the covenant" also signified the Lord Himself (Exod. 24:4-7; 34:27; Deut. 4:13, 23); and likewise that by the "blood of the covenant" (Exod. 24:6, 8) was signified the Lord Himself, who alone is the Regenerator. Hence the "covenant" denotes regeneration itself.

AC 667. Thou shalt enter into the ark, thou and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. That this signifies that he would be saved, is evident from what has been said before and from what follows: that he was saved because regenerated.

AC 668. That "sons" signify truths, and "daughters" goods, has also been shown in (Genesis 5:4)--where "sons" and "daughters" were spoken of. But here it is "sons" and "wives," because "wives" are the goods that are adjoined to truths; for no truth can be produced unless there is a good or delight from which it is. In good and in delight there is life; but not in truth, except that which it has from good and delight. From this, truth is formed and begotten, and so is faith, which is of truth, formed and begotten by love, which is of good. It is with truth exactly as it is with light: except from the sun or a flame there is no light; it is from this that light is formed. Truth is only the form of good; and faith is only the form of love. Truth is formed from good according to the quality of the good, and faith is formed from love according to the quality of the love or charity. This then is the reason why a "wife" and " wives" are mentioned, which signify goods adjoined to truths. And hence it is said in the following verse that pairs of all were to enter into the ark, a male and a female; for without goods adjoined to truths there is no regeneration.

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