Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 8:22
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AC 930. Verse 22. During all the days of the earth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease. "During all the days of the earth," signifies all time; "seed-time and harvest," signifies the man who is to be regenerated, and hence the church; "cold and heat," signifies the state of the man when he is being regenerated, which is like this in respect to the reception of faith and charity; "cold," signifies no faith and charity, "heat," faith and charity; " summer and winter," signifies the state of the regenerate man in respect to what is of his new will, the alternations of which are as summer and winter; "day and night," signifies the state of the same regenerate man in respect to what is of his understanding, the alternations of which are as day and night; "shall not cease," means that this shall be the case in all time.

AC 931. During all the days of the earth. That this signifies all time, is evident from the signification of "day," as being a time (n. 23, 487, 488, 493); wherefore "the days of the earth," here mean all time so long as there is earth (terra), or inhabitant upon the earth (tellure). An inhabitant first ceases to be on the earth when there is no longer any church. For when there is no church, there is no longer any communication of man with heaven, and when this communication ceases, every inhabitant perishes. As we have seen before, it is with the church as with the heart and lungs in man: so long as the heart and lungs are sound, so long the man lives; and such also is the case with the Grand Man, which is the universal heaven, so long as the church lives; and therefore it is here said "during all the days of the earth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." From this it also may appear that the earth will not endure to eternity, but that it too will have its end; for it is said, "during all the days of the earth," that is, as long as the earth endures.

[2] But as to believing that the end of the earth will be the same thing as the last judgment, foretold in the Word-- where the consummation of the age, the day of visitation, and the last judgment are described--this is a mistake; for there is a last judgment of every church when it has been vastated, or when there is no longer in it any faith. The last judgment of the Most Ancient Church was when it perished, as in its last posterity just before the flood. The last judgment of the Jewish Church was when the Lord came into the world. There will also be a last judgment when the Lord shall come in glory; not that the earth and the world are then to perish, but that the church perishes; and then a new church is always raised up by the Lord; as at the time of the flood was the Ancient Church, and at the time of the coming of the Lord the primitive church of the Gentiles.

[3] So also will there be a new church when the Lord shall come in glory, which is also meant by the new heaven and new earth, in like manner as with every regenerate man, who becomes a man of the church, or a church, and whose internal man, when he has been created anew, is called a new heaven, and his external man a new earth. Moreover there is also a last judgment for every man when he dies, for then, according to what he has done in the body, he is adjudged either to death or to life. That nothing else is meant, consequently not the destruction of the world, by the consummation of the age, the end of days, or the last judgment, is clearly evident from the words of the Lord in Luke:--

In that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken and the other shall be left; there shall be two women grinding together, the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left (Luke 17:34-36),

where the last time is called "night," because there is no faith, that is, no charity; and where by some being "left" it is clearly indicated that the world will not then perish.

AC 932. That "seed-time and harvest" signify man who is to be regenerated, and thus the church, there is no need to confirm from the Word, because it occurs so often that man is compared and likened to a field, and thus to a sowing or seed-time, and the Word of the Lord to seed, and the effect to the produce or harvest, as every one comprehends from the forms of speech thus made familiar. In general every man is here treated of--that there never will be lacking to him the sowing of seed from the Lord, whether he be within the church or without; that is, whether he be acquainted with the Word of the Lord, or be not acquainted with it. Without seed sown by the Lord, man can do nothing of good. All the good of charity, even with the Gentiles, is seed from the Lord; and although with these there is not the good of faith, as there may be within the church, yet there may come the good of faith; for in the other life those Gentiles who have lived in charity, as Gentiles are wont to do in this world, when instructed by angels, embrace and receive the doctrine of true faith and the faith of charity much more easily than do Christians; concerning which, of the Lord’s Divine mercy hereafter. Specifically, however, the subject treated of here is the man who is to be regenerated, that is to say, that there will be no such thing as a failure of the church to come forth somewhere on the earth, which is here signified by there being seed-time and harvest all the days of the earth. That seed-time and harvest, or the church, will always come into existence, has regard to what was said in the preceding verse, namely, that man will no more be able so to destroy himself as was done by the last posterity of the Most Ancient Church.

AC 933. That "cold and heat" signifies the state of man when he is being regenerated, which is like this in regard to the reception of faith and charity, and that "cold" signifies no faith and charity, and "heat" charity, is evident from the signification of "cold" and "heat" in the Word, where they are predicated of a man about to be regenerated, or being regenerated, or of the church. The same is also evident from the connection, that is, from what precedes and what follows; for the subject is the church (in the preceding verse that man would not again be able so to destroy himself, in this verse that some church will always come into existence), which is first described as to the way it comes into existence, that is, when the man is being regenerated so as to become a church, and then the quality of the regenerated man is treated of; so that the treatment of the subject covers every state of the man of the church.

[2] That his state when regenerated is as described, namely, a state of cold and heat, or of no faith and charity, and again of faith and charity, may not be so evident to any one except from experience, and indeed from reflection in regard to the experience. And because there are few who are being regenerated, and among those who are being regenerated few if any who reflect, or who are able to reflect on the state of their regeneration, we may say a few words on the subject. When man is being regenerated, he receives life from the Lord; for before this he cannot be said to have lived, the life of the world and of the body not being life, but only that which is heavenly and spiritual. Through regeneration man receives real life from the Lord; and because he had no life before, there is an alternation of no life and of real life, that is, of no faith and charity, and of some faith and charity; no charity and faith being here signified by "cold," and some faith and charity by "heat."

[3] As regards this subject the case is this: Whenever man is in his corporeal and worldly things, there is then no faith and charity, that is, there is "cold," for then corporeal and worldly things, consequently those which are his own, are at work, and so long as the man is in these, he is absent or remote from faith and charity, so that he does not even think about heavenly and spiritual things. The reason of this is that heavenly and corporeal things can never be together in a man, for man‘s will has been utterly ruined. But when the things of man’s body and will are not at work, but are quiescent, then the Lord works through his internal man, and then he is in faith and charity, which is here called "heat." When he again returns into the body he is again in cold; and when the body, or what is of the body, is quiescent, and as nothing, he is then in heat, and so on in alternation. For such is the condition of man that heavenly and spiritual things cannot be in him along with his corporeal and worldly things, but there are alternations. This is what takes place with every one who is to be regenerated, and it goes on as long as he is in a state of regeneration; for in no other way is it possible for man to be regenerated, that is, from being dead to be made alive, for the reason, as already said, that his will has been utterly ruined, and is therefore completely separated from the new will, which he receives from the Lord and which is the Lord‘s and not the man’s. Hence now it is evident what is here signified by "cold and heat."

[4] That such is the case every regenerated man may know from experience, that is to say, that when he is in corporeal and worldly things, he is absent and remote from internal things, so that he not only takes no thought about them, but feels in himself cold at the thought of them; but that when corporeal and worldly things are quiescent, he is in faith and charity. He may also know from experience that these states alternate, and that therefore when corporeal and worldly things begin to be in excess and to want to rule, he comes into straits and temptations, until he is reduced into such a state that the external man becomes compliant to the internal, a compliance it can never render until it is quiescent and as it were nothing. The last posterity of the Most Ancient Church could not be regenerated, because, as before said, with them the things of the understanding and of the will constituted one mind; and therefore the things of their understanding could not be separated from those of their will, so that they might in this manner be by turns in heavenly and spiritual things, and in corporeal and worldly things; but they had continual cold in regard to heavenly things and continual heat in regard to cupidities, so that they could have no alternation.

AC 934. That "cold" signifies no love, or no charity and faith, and that "heat," or "fire," signifies love, or charity and faith, is evident from the following passages in the Word. In John it is said to the church in Laodicea:--

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot; so because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth (Rev. 3:15, 16).

where "cold" denotes no charity, and "hot" much charity. In Isaiah:--

Thus hath Jehovah said unto me, I will be still, and I will behold in My place; like the clear heat upon the light, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest (Isaiah 18:4),

where the subject is the new church to be planted; "heat upon the light," and "heat of harvest," denote love and charity. Again:--

Saith Jehovah, whose fire is in Zion, and His furnace in Jerusalem (Isaiah 31:9),

where "fire" denotes love. Of the cherubim seen by Ezekiel it is said:--

As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches; it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning (Ezek. 1:13).

[2] And again it is said of the Lord, in the same book:--

And above the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of a throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it; and I saw as the appearance of burning coal, as the appearance of fire within it round about, from the appearance of His loins and upward; and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about Him (Ezekiel 1:26, 27; 8:2).

Here again "fire" denotes love. In Daniel:--

The Ancient of days did sit; His throne was flames of fire, and the wheels thereof burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him, a thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him (Daniel 7:9, 10).

Here "fire" denotes the Lord‘s love. In Zechariah:--

For I, saith Jehovah, will be unto her a wall of fire round about (Zechariah 2:5),

where the new Jerusalem is treated of. In David:--

Jehovah maketh His angels spirits, His ministers a flaming fire (Ps. 104:4),

"a flaming fire" denoting the celestial spiritual.

[3] Because "fire" signified love, fire was also made a representative of the Lord, as is evident from the fire on the altar of burnt-offering, which was never to be extinguished (Lev. 6:12, 13), representing the mercy of the Lord. On this account, before Aaron went in to the mercy-seat, he was to burn incense with fire taken from the altar of burnt-offering (Lev. 11:12-14). And for the same reason, that it might be signified that worship was accepted by the Lord, fire was sent down from heaven and consumed the burnt-offering (Lev. 9:24, and elsewhere). By "fire" is also signified in the Word self-love and its cupidity, with which heavenly love cannot agree; and therefore the two sons of Aaron were consumed by fire, because they burned incense with strange fire (Lev. 10:1, 2). "Strange fire" is all the love of self and of the world, and all the cupidity of these loves. Moreover heavenly love appears to the wicked no otherwise than as a burning and consuming fire, and therefore in the Word a consuming fire is predicated of the Lord, as the fire on Mount Sinai, which represented the love, or mercy, of the Lord, and that was seen by the people as a consuming fire, and therefore they desired Moses not to let them hear the voice of Jehovah God, and see that great fire, lest they should die (Deut. 18:16). The love or mercy of the Lord has this appearance to those who are in the fire of the loves of self and of the world.

AC 935. That "summer and "winter" signify the state of the regenerate man as to his new will, the alternations of which are as summer and winter, is evident from what has been said about cold and heat. The alternations with those who are to be regenerated are likened to cold and heat, but the alternations with those who have been regenerated are likened to summer and winter. That in the former case the man who is to be regenerated is treated of, and in the present case the man who has been regenerated, is evident from this, that in the one case cold is named first, and heat second; whereas in the other case summer is first named, and winter second. The reason is that a man who is being regenerated begins from cold, that is, from no faith and charity; but when he has been regenerated, he begins from charity.

[2] That there are alternations with the regenerate man--now no charity, and now some charity--is clearly evident for the reason that in every one, even when regenerated, there is nothing but evil, and everything good is the Lord’s alone. And since there is nothing but evil in him, he cannot but undergo alternations and now be as it were in summer, that is in charity, and now in winter, that is, in no charity. Such alternations exist in order that man may be perfected more and more, and thus be rendered more and more happy, and they take place with the regenerate man not only while he lives in the body, but also when he comes into the other life, for without alternations as of summer and winter as to what is of his will, and as of day and night as to what is of his understanding, he cannot possibly be perfected and rendered more happy; but in the other life these alternations are like those of summer and winter in the temperate zones, and those of day and night in springtime.

[3] These states are also described in the Prophets by "summer and winter," and by "day and night;" as in Zechariah:--

And it shall come to pass in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the western sea; in summer and in winter shall it be (Zechariah 14:8),

where the New Jerusalem is treated of, or the kingdom of the Lord in heaven and on earth, that is, its state of both kinds, which is called "summer and winter." In David:--

The day is Thine, the night also is Thine; Thou hast prepared the light and the sun, Thou hast set all the borders of the earth, Thou hast made summer and winter (Ps. 74:16, 17),

where like things are involved. So in Jeremiah:--

That the covenant of the day, and the covenant of the night be not made vain, that there may be day and night in their season (Jeremiah 33:20).

AC 936. That "day and night" signify the state of the same, that is, of the regenerate man, as to the things of the understanding, the alternations of which are as day and night, is evident from what has just been said. "Summer and winter" are predicated of what is of the will, from their cold and heat; for so it is with the things of the will. But "day and night" are predicated of what is of the understanding, from their light and darkness; for so it is with the things of the understanding. As these things are self-evident, there is no need to confirm them by other like passages from the Word.

AC 937. From all this it is evident what the nature of the Lord‘s Word is in the internal sense. In the sense of the letter it appears so unpolished as to give no hint of anything being spoken of but seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night, when yet all these things involve arcana of the Ancient, that is, of the Spiritual, Church. The very words in the sense of the letter are of this character, thus are so to speak most general vessels, each one of which contains so many and such great arcana of heaven as to be inexhaustible even as to the one ten-thousandth part of it; for in these most general words, taken as they are from earthly things, the angels--from the Lord--can see, in illimitable variety, the whole process of regeneration, and the state of the man who is to be and who has been regenerated, while man can see scarcely anything.