Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 8:12
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AC 888. Verse 12. And he stayed yet other seven days, and sent forth the dove, and she returned not again unto him any more. "And he stayed yet other seven days," signifies the beginning of a third state; "seven days," signify what is holy; "and sent forth the dove," signifies a state of receiving the goods and truths of faith; "and she returned not again unto him any more," signifies a free state.

AC 889. And he stayed yet other seven days. That this signifies the beginning of a third state, and that "seven" signifies what is holy, is evident from what has just now been said about the second state, where similar words are used.

AC 890. And sent forth the dove. That this signifies a state of receiving the goods and truths of faith, is likewise evident from what was said at (verse 10), where are the same words and the same meaning, except that there the second state, and here the third state, is treated of. The third state is described by the dove’s not returning, and also by Noah‘s removing the covering of the ark, and at length by his going forth from the ark because the face of the ground was dried and the earth was dry.

AC 891. And she returned not again unto him any more. That this signifies a free state, follows, and indeed from the fact that the dove (or the truth of faith) and the other birds, as also the beasts, and Noah himself, were no longer kept in the ark on account of the waters of the flood. So long as he was in the ark, he was in a state of slavery, or of bondage or imprisonment, tossed about by the waters of the flood, or falsities. This state, together with the state of temptation, is described in the preceding chapter (Genesis 7:17), by the waters increasing and bearing up the ark, and by the ark being lifted up above the earth; also in the next verse by the waters being strengthened and the ark going on the face of the waters. In the present chapter (verses 15 to 18) the man’s state of freedom is described by Noah going forth from the ark, and all that were with him, the dove first of all (that is, the truth of faith from good), for all freedom is from the good of faith, that is, from the love of good.

AC 892. When man has been regenerated, he then for the first time comes into a state of freedom, having before been in a state of slavery. It is slavery when cupidities and falsities rule, and freedom when the affections of good and truth do so. How this is, no man ever perceives so long as he is in a state of slavery, but only when he comes into a state of freedom. When he is in a state of slavery, that is, when cupidities and falsities rule, the man who is under subjection to them supposes that he is in a state of freedom; but this is a gross falsity, for he is then carried away by the delight of the cupidities and their pleasures, that is, by the delight of his loves; and because this is done by delight, it appears to him to be freedom. Every man, while he is led by any love, and while following whithersoever it carries him, supposes himself to be free, whereas it is the diabolical spirits in whose company, and so to speak torrent, he is, that are carrying him away. This the man supposes to be the greatest freedom, so much so that he believes that the loss of this state would bring him into a life most wretched, indeed into no life at all; and he believes this not merely because he is unaware of the existence of any other life, but also because he is under the impression that no one can come into heaven except through miseries, poverty, and the loss of pleasures. But that this impression is false has been given me to know by much experience, of which by the Lord‘s Divine mercy hereafter. Man never comes into a state of freedom until he has been regenerated, and is led by the Lord through love for what is good and true. When he is in this state, then for the first time can he know and perceive what freedom is, because he then knows what life is, and what the true delight of life is, and what happiness is. Before this he does not even know what good is, sometimes calling that the greatest good which is the greatest evil. When those who are in a state of freedom from the Lord see, and still more when they feel, a life of cupidities and falsities, they abhor it as do those who see hell open before their eyes. But as it is quite unknown to very many what a life of freedom is, it may be here briefly defined. A life of freedom, or freedom, is simply and solely being led by the Lord. But as there are many things which hinder man from being able to believe that this is a life of freedom, both because men undergo temptations, which take place in order that they may be set free from the dominion of diabolical spirits; and because they know of no other delight than that of cupidities from the love of self and of the world, as well as from their having conceived a false opinion in regard to all things of the heavenly life, so that they cannot be taught by description so well as by living experiences, therefore, of the Lord’s Divine mercy, we may adduce such experiences hereafter.

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