Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 8:4-5
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AC 850. Verse 4. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. "The ark rested," signifies regeneration; "the seventh month," signifies what is holy; "the seventeenth day of the month," signifies what is new; and "the mountains of Ararat," signifies light.

AC 851. That "the ark rested" signifies regeneration, is evident from the fact that the "ark" signifies the man of this church; and that all the things which it contained signify all the things that were in him, as has been fully shown before. When therefore the ark is said to "rest," it means that this man was being regenerated. The connection of the literal sense may indeed seem to imply that by the ark‘s "resting" is signified the cessation of the fluctuations that follow temptation (spoken of in the preceding verse); but fluctuations, which are doubts and obscurities concerning what is true and good, do not so cease, but persist for along time, as will be evident from what follows. Hence it is evident that the continuity of things is different in the internal sense; and as they are arcana, it is permitted here to unfold them; and they are that the spiritual man, like the celestial, after enduring temptations, becomes in like manner the "rest" of the Lord; and further, that he in like manner becomes the seventh (not the seventh day, like the celestial man, but the seventh) month. Concerning the celestial man as being the rest of the Lord, or the Sabbath, and the seventh day, see above, (n. 84-88). As however there is a difference between the celestial man and the spiritual man, the "rest" of the former is expressed in the original language by a word which means the Sabbath, while the "rest" of the latter is expressed by another term, from which he is named "Noah," which properly means "rest."

AC 852. That the "seventh month" signifies what is holy, is abundantly evident from what has been shown before (n. 84-87, 395, 716). This holiness corresponds to what was said with reference to the celestial man (Genesis 2:3): that the seventh day was sanctified, because God rested therein.

AC 853. That the "seventeenth day" signifies what is new, is evident from what has been said and shown concerning the same number in the preceding chapter (Genesis 7:11); (n. 755), where it signifies a beginning; and every beginning is new.

AC 854. That the "mountains of Ararat" signify light (lumen), is evident from the signification of a "mountain," as being the good of love and charity (n. 795) and from the signification of "Ararat," as being light, and indeed the light of the regenerate. New light, or the first light of the regenerate, never derives its existence from the knowledges of the truths of faith, but from charity. The truths of faith are like rays of light; love or charity is like flame; and the light of him who is being regenerated is not from the truths of faith, but from charity, the truths of faith themselves being rays of light therefrom. Thus it is evident that the "mountains of Ararat" signify such light. This is the first light perceived after temptation, and being the first, it is obscure, and is called lumen, not lux.

AC 855. From these things it is now evident what this verse in the internal sense signifies, namely, that the spiritual man is a holy "rest," by virtue of a new intellectual light that is derived from charity. These truths are perceived by angels in a variety so wonderful, and in an order so delightful, that could man but obtain a single such idea, there would be thousands and thousands of things in a manifold series that would enter and affect him, and in fact such things as could not possibly be described. Such is the Word of the Lord in its internal sense throughout, even when it appears in the letter to be crude history, as when it is here said that "the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat."

AC 856. Verse 5. And the waters were going and failing until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared. "And the waters were going and failing," signifies that falsities began to disappear; "in the tenth month," signifies the truths which are of remains; "on the first day of the month the tops of the mountains appeared," signifies the truths of faith, which then began to be seen.

AC 857. And the waters were going and failing. That this signifies that falsities began to disappear, is evident from the words themselves, as well as from what was shown above (verse 3), where it is said that "the waters receded, going and returning." Here however it is said that "the waters were going and failing," and by this, as by the former phrase, are signified fluctuations between what is true and what is false, but here that these fluctuations were decreasing. The case with fluctuations after temptation is that the man does not know what truth is, but that as by degrees the fluctuations cease, so the light of truth appears. The reason of this is that so long as the man is in such a state, the internal man, that is, the Lord through the internal man, cannot operate upon the external. In the internal man are remains, which are affections of what is good and true, as before described; in the external are cupidities and their derivative falsities; and so long as these latter are not subdued and extinguished, the way is not open for goods and truths from the internal, that is, through the internal from the Lord.

[2] Temptations, therefore, have for their end that the externals of man may be subdued and thus be rendered obedient to his internals, as may be evident to every one from the fact that as soon as man’s loves are assaulted and broken (as during misfortunes, sickness, and grief of mind), his cupidities begin to subside, and he at the same time begins to talk piously; but as soon as he returns to his former state, the external man prevails and he scarcely thinks of such things. The like happens at the hour of death, when corporeal things begin to be extinguished; and hence every one may see what the internal man is, and what the external; and also what remains are, and how cupidities and pleasures, which are of the external man, hinder the Lord‘s operation through the internal man. From this it is also plain to every one what temptations, or the internal pains called the stings of conscience, effect, namely, that the external man is made obedient to the internal. The obedience of the external man is nothing else than this: that the affections of what is good and true are not hindered, resisted, and suffocated by cupidities and their derivative falsities. The ceasing of the cupidities and falsities is here described by "the waters which were going and failing."

AC 858. That the "tenth month" signifies the truths which are of remains, is evident from the signification of "ten," as being remains (n. 576); and from what was said above concerning the remains in the internal man.

AC 859. That "on the first day of the month the tops of the mountains appeared" signifies the truths of faith which then begin to be seen, is evident from the signification of "mountains" (n. 795), as being the goods of love and of charity. Their tops begin to be seen when man is being regenerated, and is being gifted with conscience, and thereby with charity; and he who supposes that he sees the tops of the mountains, or the truths of faith, from any other ground than from the goods of love and of charity, is quite mistaken; since without these, Jews and profane Gentiles may see them in the same way. The "tops of the mountains" are the first dawnings of light which appear.

AC 860. From these things it is also evident that all regeneration proceeds from evening to morning, as is stated six times over in the first chapter of Genesis, where the regeneration of man is treated of, and where evening is described in (Genesis 1:2, 3); and morning in (Genesis 1:4, 5). In the present verse the first dawning of light, or the morning of this state, is described by "the tops of the mountains appearing."

GENESIS 8:4-5    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Genesis  -  Full Page

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