Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 9:20
AC 1067. Verse 20. And Noah began to be a man of the ground, and he planted a vineyard. "And Noah began to be a man of the ground," signifies, in general, man instructed from the doctrinal things of faith; "and he planted a vineyard," signifies a church therefrom; a "vineyard," is the spiritual church.
AC 1068. And Noah began to be a man of the ground. That this signifies in general man instructed from the doctrinal things of faith, is evident from the signification of "ground", concerning which above, (n. 268, 566), namely, the man of the church, or what is the same, the church; for that there may be a church, the man must be a church. The church is called "ground" because it receives the seeds of faith, or the truths and goods of faith. "Ground" is distinguished from "earth"--which, as shown, also signifies the church--as faith is distinguished from charity. Just as charity is the containant of faith, so is "earth" the containant of "ground." When therefore the church is treated of in general, it is called "earth;" and when specifically, it is called "ground," as in this verse; for the general is the complex of the things derived from it. The doctrinals possessed by the man of the Ancient Church were, as before said, from the revelations and perceptions of the cost Ancient Church, which had been preserved; and in these they had faith as at this day we have in the Word. These doctrinal things were their Word. Noah’s beginning to be "a man of the ground," signifies therefore man instructed in the doctrinals of faith.
AC 1069. And he planted a vineyard. That this signifies a church therefrom, and that a "vineyard" is the spiritual church, is evident from the signification of a "vineyard." In the Word churches are frequently described as "gardens," and also as the "trees of a garden," and are even so named. This is from their fruits, which signify the things belonging to love and charity; and therefore it is said that a man is "known by his fruit." The comparing of churches to "gardens," "trees," and "fruits," originates from representations in heaven, where gardens of inexpressible beauty are sometimes presented to view, in accordance with the spheres of the faith. From the same origin the celestial church was described by the Paradisal Garden, in which were trees of every kind; and by the "trees" of that garden were signified the perceptions of that church, and by the "fruits" the goods of love of every kind. But the Ancient Church, being spiritual, is described by a "vineyard," from its fruits, which are grapes, and which represent and signify the works of charity.
 This is clearly evident from many passages of the Word, as in Isaiah:--
I will sing for My beloved a song of My beloved touching his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard in a horn of the son of oil; and he made a hedge about it, and fenced it with stones, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also hewed out a wine-press therein and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes; and now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt Me and My vineyard: the vineyard of Jehovah of armies is the house of Israel (Isaiah 5:1-3, 7).
Here the "vineyard" signifies the Ancient Church, thus the spiritual church, and it is plainly said to be the house of Israel; for by "Israel" in the Word is signified the spiritual church, and by "Judah" the celestial church. In Jeremiah:--
Again will I build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: again shalt thou deck thy timbrels, and shalt go forth in the dance of them that make merry again shalt thou plant vineyards upon the mountains of Samaria (Jeremiah 31:4, 5),
where "vineyards" denote the spiritual church; and the subject is Israel, by whom is signified the spiritual church, as just said.
 In Ezekiel:--
then I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples, they shall dwell upon the land in confidence, and they shall build houses, and plant vineyards (Ezekiel 28:25, 26).
Here a "vineyard" is the spiritual church, or "Israel;" and "to plant vineyards" is to be instructed in the truths and goods of faith. In Amos:--
I have smitten you with blasting and mildew the multitude of your gardens and your vineyards and your fig-trees and your olive-yards hath the palmer-worm devoured thus will I do unto thee, O Israel (Amos 4:9, 12).
"Gardens" here denote the things of the church, "vineyards" the spiritual things of the church, "fig-trees" the natural things, "olive-yards: the celestial things; thus "vineyards" denote the things of the spiritual church, or Israel. Again:--
I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof, they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them (Amos 9:14).
"Planting vineyards" denotes the planting of the spiritual church; thus a "vineyard" means the spiritual church, or Israel.
 As a "vineyard" signifies the spiritual church, so also does a "vine;" for a vine is a part of a vineyard; so that they are as the church and a man of the church, and the signification is the same. In Jeremiah:--
Is Israel a servant? if he was born of the house, why is he become a prey? I had planted thee a wholly noble vine, a seed of truth; how then art thou turned into the averted branches of a strange vine unto Me? (Jeremiah 2:14, 21),
where a "vine" denotes the spiritual church, or "Israel." In Ezekiel:--
Take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel; thy mother was like a vine, in thy likeness, planted by the waters, fruitful and full of leaves by reason of many waters (Ezekiel 19:1, 10).
A "vine" here denotes the Ancient Spiritual Church, which is the "mother;" thus "Israel," which is therefore said to be "in thy likeness." In Hosea:--
Israel is an empty vine, which putteth forth fruit like himself (Hosea 10:1).
A "vine" denotes the spiritual church, or "Israel," here desolated. Again:--
O Israel, return unto Jehovah thy God; I will be as the dew unto Israel they that dwell in his shadow shall return they shall revive the corn, and blossom as the vine; his memory shall be as the wine of Lebanon (Hosea 14:1, 5, 7),
where the "vine" denotes the spiritual church, or "Israel." In Moses:--
Until Shiloh come binding His young ass to the vine, and His ass‘s colt unto the choice vine (Genesis 49:10, 11).
This is a prophecy of the Lord; the "vine" and the "choice vine, denote spiritual churches.
 The Lord’s parables of the laborers in the vineyards in like manner signified spiritual churches (Matt. 20:1-16; 21:33-44; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-16). Since the" vine" signifies the spiritual church, and the primary thing of the spiritual church is charity, in which the Lord is present, and by means of which He conjoins Himself with man, and Himself alone works every good, therefore the Lord compares Himself to a vine, and describes the man of the church, or the spiritual church, in these words, in John:--
I am the true vine and My Father is the husbandman every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away and every branch that beareth fruit, He will prune it, that it may bear more fruit; abide in Me, and I in you as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, so neither can ye, except ye abide in Me I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing; this is My commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you (John 15:1-5, 12)
from these words it is evident what the spiritual church is.GENESIS 9:20 previous - next - text - summary - Genesis - Full Page
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