Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 8:10-11
AC 879. Verses 10, 11. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; and the dove came back to him at eventide; and lo in her mouth an olive leaf plucked off; so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. "And he stayed yet other seven days," signifies the beginning of the second state of regeneration; "seven days" signify what is holy, because now charity is treated of; "and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark," signifies a state of receiving the goods and truths of faith; "and the dove came back to him at eventide," signifies that little by little they began to appear; "eventide" means as in the twilight before morning; "and lo in her mouth an olive leaf plucked off," signifies some little of the truth of faith; "a leaf," is truth; "olive," the good of charity; "plucked off," means that the truth of faith is therefrom; "in her mouth," means that it was shown; "so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth," signifies that these things were so because the falsities that impeded were less abundant than before.
AC 880. And he stayed yet other seven days. That this signifies the beginning of a second state of regeneration, may be evident from the fact that the time is thus described which intervenes between the first state, described in (verses 8 and 9) and this second state (described here in (verses 10 and 11). In order to maintain the historic connection, this intervening time is expressed by his "staying." How the case is with the second state of regeneration may be seen in some degree from what has been said and shown about the first state, which was that the truths of faith could not yet take root, because falsities hindered. The truths of faith are first rooted when man begins to acknowledge and believe, and they are not rooted before. What man hears from the Word and holds in memory, is only the sowing; the rooting does by no means begin until the man accepts and receives the good of charity. All the truth of faith is rooted by the good of faith, that is, by the good of charity. This is as with seed that is cast into the ground while it is still winter and the ground is cold; there indeed it lies, but does not take root. But as soon as the heat of the sun warms the earth in the time of early spring, the seed begins first to push its root within itself, and afterwards to send it forth into the ground. The case is the same with spiritual seed that is being implanted: this is never rooted until the good of charity as it were warms it; then for the first time it pushes its root within itself, and afterwards sends it forth.
 There are three things in man which concur and unite together, namely, the Natural, the Spiritual, and the Celestial. His natural never receives any life except from the spiritual, and the spiritual never except from the celestial, and the celestial from the Lord alone, who is life itself. But in order that a still fuller idea may be gained: the natural is the receptacle that receives the spiritual, or is the vessel into which the spiritual is poured; and the spiritual is the receptacle which receives, or is the vessel into which is poured, the celestial. Thus, through things celestial, life comes from the Lord. Such is the influx. The celestial is all the good of faith; in the spiritual man it is the good of charity. The spiritual is truth, which never becomes the truth of faith unless there is in it the good of faith, that is, the good of charity, in which there is life itself from the Lord. That a yet clearer idea may be gained: man’s natural is what does the Work of Charity, by hand or by mouth, and thus by the organs of the body; but this work in itself is dead, and does not live except from the spiritual that is in it; and the spiritual does not live except from the celestial, which lives from the Lord. From this the work is said to be good, since there is nothing good except from the Lord.
 This being the case, it must be evident to every one that in every work of charity the work itself is nothing but a material affair, and that the work is living is attributable to the truth of faith that is in it; and further that neither is the truth of faith anything but an inanimate affair, and that the truth of faith is living is attributable to the good of faith; moreover that the good of faith is not living except from the Lord only, who is Good itself and Life itself. This shows why the celestial angels are unwilling to hear about faith, and are still more unwilling to hear about work (n. 202). For the celestial angels ascribe to love both the faith and the work, making faith to be from love, and making even the work of faith to be from love, so that with them both the work and the faith vanish, and there remains nothing but love and its derivative good, and within their love is the Lord. In consequence of having ideas so heavenly these angels are distinct from those angels who are called spiritual, their very thought (together with the speech that is derived from this thought) being much more incomprehensible than are the thought and the speech of the spiritual angels.
AC 881. That "seven" signifies what is holy, because charity is now treated of, is evident from the signification of "seven" (n. 395, 716). Moreover "seven" is inserted here for the coherence of all things historically, as "seven" and "seven days," in the natural sense add nothing but a certain holiness, which this second state has from the celestial, that is, from charity.
AC 882. And again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. That this signifies a state of receiving the goods and truths of faith, is evident from what was said at (verse 8), where similar words occur, but with the difference that it is there said, he sent forth the dove "from him;" for the reason there explained, that at that time he did what was true and good from himself, that is, he believed it to be from his own power, which is meant by the words "from him."
AC 883. And the dove came back to him at eventide. That this signifies that little by little the goods and truths of faith began to appear, and that "eventide" means as in the twilight before morning, is likewise evident from what has been said above, at (verse 8); as well as from the fact that the time of evening is here mentioned. In regard to "evening," see what was said under the first chapter of Genesis, where it is said six times, "there was evening and there was morning." "Evening" is a term of regeneration, and indeed of that state of it when the man is still in shade, or when as yet only a little light is apparent to him. The morning itself is described in (verse 13) by Noah‘s removing the covering of the ark and seeing. It was because "evening" signified the twilight before morning, that "evening" is so many times mentioned in connection with the Jewish Church. For the same reason also they began their sabbaths and their feasts in the evening, and Aaron was commanded to light the holy lamp in the evening (Exod. 27:20, 21).
AC 884. And lo in her mouth an olive leaf plucked off. That this signifies some little of the truth of faith; that "leaf" is truth, and "olive" the good of charity; that "plucked off" means the truth of faith therefrom, and "in her mouth" that it was shown, is evident from the signification of an olive-tree, and is obvious from the very words. And that there was only a little, appears from there being only a leaf.
AC 885. That a "leaf" signifies truth, is evident from many passages in the Word where man is compared to a tree, or is called a tree, and where "fruits" signify the good of charity, and a "leaf" the truth therefrom (which indeed they are like); as in Ezekiel:--
And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, there cometh up every tree for food, whose leaf doth not fall, neither is the fruit consumed, it is reborn every month, because the waters thereof issue out of the sanctuary; and the fruit thereof shall be for food, and the leaf thereof for medicine (Ezekiel 47:12; Rev. 22:2).
Here "tree" denotes the man of the church in whom is the kingdom of the Lord; its "fruit," the good of love and of charity; its "leaf," the truths therefrom, which serve for the instruction of the human race and for their regeneration, for which reason the leaf is said to be for "medicine." Again:--
Shall He not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof that it wither? it shall wither in all the plucked off (leaves) of its shoot (Ezekiel 17:9).
This is said of the vine, that is, the church, in a state of vastation, whose good, which is the "fruit," and whose truth, which is the "plucked off (leaf) of the shoot," thus withers.
 In Jeremiah:--
Blessed is the man that trusteth in Jehovah; he shall be like a tree planted by the waters; his leaf shall be green; and he shall not be anxious in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit (Jeremiah 17:7, 8);
where the "green leaf" denotes the truth of faith, thus the very faith which is from charity. So in (Ps. 1:3); and again in Jeremiah:--
There shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig-tree, and the leaf is fallen (Jeremiah 8:13);
"grapes on the vine," denote spiritual good; "figs on the fig-tree," natural good; "leaf," truth, which in this case is "fallen." Likewise in (Isaiah 34:4). The same is meant by the fig-tree which Jesus saw and found nothing thereon but leaves, and which therefore withered away (Matt. 21:19, 20; Mark 11:13, 14, 20). Specifically, by this fig-tree there was meant the Jewish Church, in which there was no longer anything of natural good; and the religious teaching or truth that was preserved in it, are the "leaves;" for a vastated church is such that it knows truth, but is not willing to understand it. Similar are those who say that they know truth or the things of faith, yet have nothing of the good of charity: they are only fig-leaves, and they wither away.
AC 886. That the "olive" signifies the good of charity, is evident from the signification in the Word not only of an "olive," but also of "oil." It was with olive oil, together with spices, that the priests and kings were anointed, and it was with olive oil that the lamps were trimmed (Exod. 30:24; 27:20). The reason olive oil was used for anointing and for lamps was that it represented all that is celestial, and therefore all the good of love and of charity; for the oil is the very essence of the tree, and is as it were its soul, just as the celestial, or the good of love and of charity, is the very essence or the very soul of faith; and hence oil has this representation. That "oil" signifies what is celestial, or the good of love and of charity, may be confirmed from many passages of the Word; but as it is the olive-tree that is mentioned here, we will merely present some passages that confirm its signification. As in Jeremiah:--
Jehovah called thy name a green olive-tree, fair with goodly fruit (Jeremiah 11:16),
where the Most Ancient or Celestial Church is so called, which was the foundation church of the Jewish Church; and therefore all the representatives of the Jewish Church had regard to celestial things, and through these to the Lord.
 In Hosea:--
His branches shall spread, and his honor shall be as the olive-tree, and his smell as of Lebanon (Hosea 14:6),
which is said of the church that is to be planted, whose honor is the "olive-tree," that is, the good of love and of charity; the smell as of Lebanon," being the affection of the truth of faith therefrom. "Lebanon" stands for its cedars, which signified spiritual things, or the truths of faith. In Zechariah, speaking of the lampstand:--
Two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof; these are the two sons of the pure oil that stand by the Lord of the whole earth (Zechariah 4:3, 11, 14).
Here the "two olive-trees" denote the celestial and the spiritual, thus love, which is of the celestial church, and charity, which is of the spiritual church. These are on the "right hand" and on the "left hand" of the Lord. The "lampstand" here signifies, as in the Jewish Church it represented, the Lord; its "lamps" signify celestial things from which are spiritual, as from a flame proceed rays of light, or light. In David:--
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine in the sides of thy house; thy sons like olive-plants (Ps. 128:3);
where "wife as a vine," denotes the spiritual church; "sons" the truths of faith, which are called "olive-plants," because from the goods of charity. In Isaiah:--
Yet there shall be left therein gleanings, as the shaking of an olive-tree, two or three berries in the top of the branch (Isaiah 17:6);
where the subject treated of is the remains in man; "of an olive-tree," denoting celestial remains. In Micah:--
Thou shalt tread the olive, but shalt not anoint thee with oil; and the vintage, but shalt not drink the wine (Micah 6:15).
And in Moses:--
Thou shalt plant vineyards and dress them, but thou shalt not drink of the wine; thou shalt have olive-trees throughout all thy border, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil (Deut. 28:39, 40),
where the subject is the abundance of doctrinal teachings about the goods and truths of faith, which by reason of their character, those people rejected. From these passages it is evident that a "leaf" signifies the truth of faith, and an "olive" the good of charity; and that like things are signified by the "olive-leaf" which the dove brought in her mouth; that is, that there now appeared in the man of the Ancient Church some little of the truth of faith from the good of charity.
AC 887. That the waters were abated from off the earth. That this signifies that these things were so because the falsities that impeded were less abundant than before, is evident from the signification of the same words above, at (verse 8). As to the falsities that impeded being less abundant in the second state, which is now treated of, the case is that all the falsities which man has acquired remain, so that not one is abolished, as before said; but when man is being regenerated, there are truths implanted to which the falsities are bent by the Lord, and thus appear as if shaken off, and this by means of the goods with which the man is being gifted. GENESIS 8:10-11 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
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