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1. Pitch you a curved-horn in Zion, and cause joyous shouting in the mountain of My holiness; all the inhabitants of the earth will be agitated: because the Day of jehovah comes in, for it is near.
With this verse the prophet introduces another phase of his theme. So far the condition of the Church, as the effect of its turning away from the Lord, has been displayed. This may be regarded as an external consequence. There yet remains to be described, the more internal issues, namely, the relation of the Lord to the Church, and His action with regard to the violence done to the worship of Him. The facts already described as existent, while they are, in a sense, historic, are also prophetic of the state into which the Church will come. Thus, in an image, the consummation of the Jewish dispensation and the insinuating influences by which that consummation is brought about, have been delineated. The words of the prophet, taken in their higher import, anticipate the approaching end: for they move over the lines of religious life, or the lack of it, as seen in the Jews, and fore-speak the issues. The ultimate issue being the termination of the Church then existing. Just as, however, the death of one state in man's life is the event out of which he arises into a new state, so the end of one Church or dispensation is the occasion whence arises a new one. Thus the prophecy of the consummation of the Jewish Church, in its further issues, is the promise of the Lord's advent, and the establishment of a new dispensation. But in order to effect this, a judgement takes place at the end of the former Church. In like manner, a judgement is made at the end of the earthly stage of man's spiritual history, before his eternal and true character is known and established. In both cases—that of the individual and the collective Church—that judgement is called the day of Jehovah, the judgement day. Hence the prophets so frequently refer to the coming of the Lord as His coming to judge. Such a judgement was accomplished by His advent upon the earth. That advent and judgement form the subject of the first two verses of this chapter.
In order, however, that the Lord might come, preparation was made in the heavens for His descent through them. The preparation for the Lord's advent through the heavens was represented symbolically in the Church on the earth. The preparation was made in the heavens, first—in the highest heaven, called the celestial heaven—by the promulgation of Divine truth from good. This is represented by pitch you a curved-horn in Zion. These words are commonly translated, blow a trumpet in Zion. The first term, however, is the same as that used in the phrase, "Pitch a tent," and refers to the fixture alike of the tent and the note of the trumpet. The word must be understood, in the latter case, of the musical pitch, and is used in this verse in that sense. Both musical sounds and musical instruments correspond to heavenly states. To pitch signifies to make known something as a permanent state. Thus "Jacob pitched his tent in the mountain" (Gen 31:25), signifies that goodness of the natural mind makes known the holiness of love as permanent in conjunction with heavenly love. It may be remarked also, that by judgement, with which subject this term is here associated, the permanent and fixed state of man or Church is made known. The special term here employed to describe the trumpet by, refers in particular to the instrument which was made of a curved-horn, or in imitation of one: for there is no good reason for the supposition that these instruments were actually the horns of animals. Those used at the destruction of Jericho were "jubilee curved-horns" (Josh 6:4-6). It is most probable, that this instrument was sounded only by persons consecrated to that service among the priests. We learn from Swedenborg that "in general stringed instruments signify such things as belong to the affections of truth, and wind instruments such as belong to the affections of good; or, what is the same thing, some instruments belong to the spiritual class, and some to the celestial class" (AE 323). This will assist us to see that the curved-horn corresponds to a state of celestial good. On this account this instrument was used on so many solemn occasions in Israel. Again, the correspondence is illustrated in Psalm 47:5, "God is gone up with a shout, Jehovah with the sound of a curved-horn." To pitch a curved-horn, therefore, signifies the revelation of Truth from Good, which is Divine truth promulgated in preparation for the Lord's coming. That coming is also called "the day of the curved-horn" (Zeph 1:16). The revelation of Divine truth, by which falsity is thrown down, is also represented by the pitching of the curved-horns by the priests at Jericho. Again, the Lord is spoken of as declaring such truth, in Zech 9:14, "the Lord Jehovih shall pitch the curved-horn." "The spirit of Jehovah clothed Gideon, and he pitched a curved-horn" (Judges 6:34).
It was stated above, that an infusion or breathing of Divine truth] from the Lord into the heavens is necessary to His coming into the world, and that thereby judgement is made in the world of spirits. Zion denotes the Lord's celestial kingdom, or the celestial heaven. "Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shined" (Psalm 50:2). "Jehovah is great in Zion; and He is high above all the peoples" (Psalm 99:2). "Its foundation is in the mountains of holiness: Jehovah loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God" (Psalm 87:1-3). Thus the infusion of Divine truths through the celestial heaven is denoted by pitch you a curved-horn in Zion.
The inflow of Divine truth into the celestial heaven, preparing the way for the Lord's descent into that heaven, causes a similar preparation in the spiritual heaven. This preparation in the spiritual heaven is indicated by joyous shouting in the mountain of the Lord's holiness. To shout with joy, denotes the gladness with which the angels of the spiritual heaven receive the revelation of truth from the Lord. The same shouting was to follow the sounding of the curved-horns at Jericho: "And it shall be, that when they make a long blast with the jubilee horn, and when you hear the sound of the curved-horn, all the people shall be caused to shout joyously with a great shout; and the rampart of the city shall fall down flat'" (Josh 6:5). So in Isaiah 16:10, "In the vineyards there shall be no sound of exultation, neither shall there be joyous shouting." Again, in Zeph 1:16 the day of the curved-horn is also called "the day of joyous shouting." That the mountain of the Lord's holiness signifies His spiritual kingdom, or the spiritual heavens, may be illustrated by the consideration that the holy of the Lord is the Divine truth proceeding from Him, as will be seen at 3:17. Again, the mountain of the Lord is the elevated state of life from Him, which is heaven. Thus in Psalm 48:1, "Great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness." Again, in Zech 8:3, "Thus says Jehovah, I am returned to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called the city of truth; and the mountain of Jehovah of hosts, the mountain of holiness." Thus the descent of the Lord into the celestial heaven and the revelation of His truth there is the cause of rejoicing in the spiritual heaven and the preparation for His descent thereto. The sounding of the curved-horn is sometimes associated in the Scriptures with the agitation of the people, or rather, their agitation is said to follow it. Thus in Exod 19:16, "And it was so on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a heavy cloud upon the mountain, and the sound of the curved-horn exceedingly strong: so that all the people that were in the camp trembled." Also in Amos 3:6, "Shall a curved-horn be pitched in the city, and the people not tremble?" It was shown under 1:2 that all the inhabitants of the earth denotes every spiritual good dwelling in truth of the external Church. As the Church is now represented as consummated by reason of evil and falsity, those in evil of falsity are at present denoted by the phrase. And as the judgement of that Church is now being treated of, all those of the external Church abiding in the evil of falsity are meant. In other words, they who in this life have been of the Jewish Church, now represented as consummated in the evil of falsity, and who have passed on into the world of spirits where the judgement is made, are implied by all the inhabitants of the earth. It is said these will be agitated, because the term signifies the disturbed state of those who have perverted truth, when there is any effect of influx of Divine truth felt. The proximity of uncongenial truth causes the disturbance. Let it be observed that even this word points to the perversion of the Church which, if in order, would have received the truth with gladness. Thus in Deuter 2:25, "This day will I begin to put the dread of you and the fear of you upon the nations that are under the whole heavens, who shall hear report of you, and shall be agitated and be in anguish because of you." So in Psalm 77:18, the effect of descending Truth is described, "The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind: lightnings lightened the world: the earth was agitated and quaked." Again in Isaiah 14:9, "Hell from beneath is agitated for You to meet You at Your coming." Thus while the Lord's descent through the heavens gave joy therein, the world of spirits, now charged with the departed of the corrupted Church, was in agitation and dread. This will illustrate the difference, so often referred to in the Scriptures, between the reception of truth from God and the perception of Him by good men, and that on the other hand of wicked men.
And what was the reason of this agitation? As already stated, the Day of Jehovah comes in: for it was near. As shown under 1:15, the Day of Jehovah denotes the state of the Church in which the Lord comes to judgement. To come in, as shown also in the same place, signifies to introduce truth by influx for conjunction. But truth introduced among those who are in evil, produces disturbance and pain, whereby judgement is accomplished. Truth cannot be conjoined to evil, although it is introduced to all men for conjunction; wherefore it is said, it is near, signifying the proximity to affinity, as shown also at 1:15.
Internal Sense.—In the descent of the Lord through the heavens, His Divine truth is revealed in the celestial, and causes joy in the spiritual, while all those of the external Church in the world of spirits are disturbed by their perversion of truth: for the judgement of the Lord has brought truth near to them.
references.—AC 488; AE 405, 502, 730; AR 397; Doct. L. 4.
the day of darkness.
2. The day of obscurity and dense-darkness, the day of cloud and dense-cloudiness: as dawn spread out over the mountains. An abundant and mighty people—there has not been such [a people] from the age, and after him He will not cause any continuance of him—even to the years of a generation and generation.
Apparently the imagery of this verse is drawn from a circumstance attending the flight of locusts in great numbers. Many travellers testify, that so dense is a swarm of locusts that they obscure the light and turn day into night. They rise above all obstacles—hills or mountains—and, extending as far as the eye can see, literally blacken the sky. If this is the natural meaning of the present verse, it is a just image of the darkness of spirit induced by the sensual state represented by the locusts. But it must be observed that, as in the case of 1:6, the locusts are likened to a numerous people, making it manifest that, as formerly stated, the locusts were a replica of some national foes.
It will be as well, in the first place, to draw the lines of distinction which divide the four terms obscurity, dense-darkness, cloud, and dense-cloudiness. The terms each relate to some sort of darkness; they are in number the same as the locusts, and are similarly divided into pairs. The first is used of that shade which is caused by insufficient light, or ignorance. "Teach us what we shall say to him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of obscurity" (Job 37:19). "Who is this that obscures counsel by words without knowledge?" (Job 38:2). The second term relates to the darkness made by obstructing light, or the darkness of wickedness. "The way of the wicked ones is as dense-darkness "(Proverbs 4:19). The third, cloud, is the usual word for the mists of the atmosphere, but it has a special suggestion of their use as covering the sky, or obscuring the light—the lower sense of truth in which its brightness is tempered. "When I cover (or becloud) the earth with a cloud" (Gen 9:14). From the same root is formed also the term soothsayer or enchanter, as a worker of dark arts or speaker of hidden secrets. The fourth term appears to apply only to the denser darkness of thick clouds, or more probably to the mistiness that clings to the earth. "When I made the cloud a garment thereof, and dense-cloudiness a swaddling band for it" (Job 38:9). "And you say, How does God know? can He judge through the dense-cloudiness? Thick clouds are a covering to Him, that He sees not; and He walks in the circuit of Heaven" (Job 22:13, 14).
The spiritual differences enfolded in these terms are even more marked than those already noticed. Swedenborg says, "In the other life, the light in which those are who are in falsity becomes thick darkness at the presence of the light of heaven, and still thicker darkness with those who have been of the Church, because they were in falsity opposed to the truth of faith, according to the Lord's words in Matthew, 'If the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness!' (6:23)" (AC 7688). The same author also says that "the evil, where they are gathered together in the spiritual world, by the influx of Divine good and Divine truth are deprived of the truths and goods of which they made a pretence in externals, and are let into their evils and falsities which they inwardly cherished" (AE 502). This is the state of the Church here spoken of, and we are prepared to see that to those of such a Church the coming of the Lord is in very truth the day of obscurity and dense darkness. But let it be observed whence this darkness really originates. In the former verse it was told how the Lord, descended through the heavens and made preparation for judgement by the transfusion of spiritual light in the world of spirits. Here were gathered together those of the Jewish Church in a state of sensual life who had left the earthly state. Their condition being the same as that represented by the locusts, they were in falsity, and "the presence of the light of heaven" causes their light to become darkness—or exposes its falsity. Their darkness being the greater, because of their opposition to the truths of faith while yet they professed the Divine Word. It was shown under 1:2 that day signifies the state of life in general. In the present case the term refers to the state of life at the coming of the Lord treated of in the preceding verse. It was suggested above that there is some relationship between the inroads of the locusts and the effect represented by the four kinds of darkness. The first kind of locust mentioned in the fourth verse of the first chapter was the gnawing locust, which was shown to signify the falsity of the internal sensual degree of the mind, or the desire to believe only that which can be known by the senses. Obscurity signifies the kind of falsity which is due to this sentiment—a falsity originating in ignorance of great truths, especially the truths of a spiritual order. This is not the falsity which results from destroying truth by evil life. Thus in Psalm 18:28, "Jehovah my God will enlighten my obscurity." Also in Psalm 112:4, "There arises in the obscurity a light to the upright." Again in Isaiah 9:2, "The people walking in the obscurity have seen a great light." So in Amos 5:18, "The Day of Jehovah is obscurity, and not light."
The second order of locust mentioned was the abundant-locust, which; as explained, denotes that sensual falsity which arises from seeking to know without regard to the use of truth. As a consequence, this falsity induces a darkness of the mind begotten by lack of good. This is the signification of dense darkness. Thus a plague of Egypt is stated in the words, "There was a darkness of dense darkness in all the land of Egypt three days" (Exod 10:22). "We wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in dense darkness" (Isaiah 59:9). Thus we learn that the day of obscurity and dense darkness when the Lord comes, means a state of falsity originating in ignorance of truth and lack of good. The licking-locust was the third in order, and signifies the evil of the external sensual degree. The darkness of mind accruing from this state is such as to close the understanding to the perception of the interior glory of the Divine Word. It draws a veil over the interior senses, so as to obscure the Word. This darkness is from the falsity arising from the sensual state of the man. Hence it is called a cloud. As stated above, the term is derived from "to cover," and signifies the obscure appearance of the Divine Word owing to the falsity of the sensual mind. Thus in Ezekiel 10:3, "The cloud filled the inner court." Thus the coming of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven, indicates the obscurity of the letter with which the heavenly senses of the Divine Word are covered. The Lord is said also to speak "out of the midst of the cloud" (Exodus 24:16).
Finally, the consuming-locust. This was shown to signify the evil of the internal sensual degree. This is the evil that begets in man a sense of the self-sufficiency of his own intelligence, an all-sufficient trust in the light of his own sensual reason, and a consequent denial of what lies beyond the range of his senses. It is the mist of sensualism clinging around the natural man. Here we have the signification of dense cloudiness. It is the obscurity of all truth owing to "the natural lumen" of the sensual man. The day of cloud and dense cloudiness, therefore, denotes the state of obscurity from sensual literalism and self-intelligence in regard to the Divine Word, by which state the Church is characterised at the coming of the Lord. As the Divine light descends upon the falsified Church, it produces among the sensual only a sense of cloud and dense cloudiness, of gloom and mistiness. The greater the truth appropriated by the false, the greater is the darkness in them. Hence it is, that dense cloudiness is used to denote the outermost appearance of Divine Truth. " And Moses drew near into the dense cloudiness where God was" (Exodus 20:21). A like description is given in Zeph. 1:15, of the Day of Jehovah," A day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of obscurity and dense darkness, a day of cloud and dense cloudiness."
The coming of Jehovah and the consequent influx of light into the world of spirits is often called "morning" in the Scriptures, because of the new state or age thereby arising. Thus, in Zeph 3:5, "Jehovah is righteous in the midst thereof; He will not do iniquity: every morning does He bring His judgement to light." As already stated, the Lord's coming is at the end of a state of darkness, and is the beginning of a new state of light. And the darkest moment of the night is that which precedes the dawn. Now the first hours of the "morning" are called dawn, and correspond to the first state of the Lord's coming—the initiament of His new dispensation. The term, in its natural sense, is applied to the duskiness immediately preceding the sunrise. The initiation of the Lord's new kingdom on the earth is comparatively obscure— the prevailing darkness makes it so. In the descent of the Lord's truth through the heavens a twofold effect is produced. There is enlightenment for those who desire the truth and will form the new Church, though the enlightenment is not full, and it is darkness to those not so minded. Just as the rising of the sun is light to the lark, but blindness to the owl. This is the mystery of the Lord's words in Matthew 13:13-17. Because the dawn dispels the darkness, and is at the same time the promise of light, the Lord's promise is likened to it. " His going forth is prepared as the dawn" (Hosea 6:3). So in Amos 4:13," He makes the dawn darkness." So in Isaiah 8:20, " To the law and the testimony: if they speak not according to His Word, it is because there is no dawn in them." To spread out seems to signify to show forth in the external life what is really the state of the internal. This term is of such importance in the present connection that it should be fully considered now. So distinctly does this term convey its spiritual meaning, that commentators have supposed it is one word with two different natural senses. Thus, in Exod 40:19, the Authorized Version of the Bible reads, " And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle." But so differently did the word appear to be used in Leviticus 24:12 that this version reads there, " and they put him in ward, that the mind of the Lord might be showed them" A similar passage occurs in Numb 15:34, " They put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him." In the first place, attention is called to the fact that the latter two quotations distinctly relate to judgement. In the world of spirits judgement is made, and it is made by the internal life " declaring" itself in externals. Thus the inward affections are spread out oh the external man. By reference to the former verse, it will be seen that mountain corresponds to a state of elevated affection, either in regard to the Lord or self. In the present case those of the Church who were in a more exalted state of affection, interiorly, than others, are meant. The tops of the mountains catch the first rays of the rising sun. " How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace!" (Isaiah 52:7). While, however, the evil are in greater darkness by the Lord's coming —as if "blinded by excess of light," the good are rejoiced thereat: for His light affects them interiorly, because of their exalted affections. As dawn spread out over the mountains, therefore, denotes the initiament of Divine truth in the world of spirits, by which those in the affection of good are affected and manifest their inward states externally.
The remainder of the verse introduces a fresh subject— namely, the cause of this visitation—and, indeed, should have formed another verse of itself. It may be further advisable to remark that the pronoun " him" of this and the following verse relates to " people," which, like " nation" of 1:6, refers to the heathens whence the idolatry was derived. It has been suggested already, that by people is signified something of the intellectual aspect of the human mind collectively considered. The term especially denotes the truth, or otherwise the falsity of the faith followed in the worship of a community, or earthly Church. Thus, people applied to Israel, in its good sense, would denote the truths of faith belonging to the Lord's Church; but applied to idolatrous worshipers, it would denote the false faith in which they are. In this way the term is the correlative of nation. In the present case, people refers to the falsities of idolatry. Of the strength given by the Lord to true faith, it is said in Psalm 68:35, " The God of Israel is He that gives might and power to His people." Of falsities, on the other hand, it is said in Jeremiah 34:1, "And all the peoples fought against Jerusalem." Such people are said to be abundant and mighty, in allusion to the predominance of falsity from evil: whereby the present consummation resulted. Mighty was explained under 1:6. That abundant denotes the prevalence of falsity in the understanding, when used in connection with people, needs no further illustration.
It was remarked under 1:1 that to be involves a notable change in the states spiritually referred to. Such a change is indicated as distinguishing this people from those of " the age," and is indicated in the words there has been. That there has not been such [a people] from the age, signifies the distinct nature of the people now spoken of from those implied in "the age," especially in the quality of love to the Lord. For it is of love to the Lord that the word age is strictly used. In that state of love was the most ancient Church, which was, as stated above, the celestial Church. That the Church now consummated had nothing of this quality, may be seen from what has been said of it already, and this is implied in the present phrase. But more is involved than this. The falsities of idolatry, now desolating the Jewish Church, never had their origin in love to the Lord: nothing of idolatry can descend from the celestial age. Nay, more, this word is used in the sense of " eternity." No idolatrous faith is from eternity! The origins of all truth and all faith are, from eternity, pure.
That being so, neither can the Church in which it is fostered continue to be the Lord's Church on earth. And after him, He will not cause any continuance of him, even to the years of a generation and generation. Just as the roots of denying the Lord are not in love to the Lord, so will He not permit it to remain, as His Church, to the destruction of man's redemption and regeneration. These words, then, denote the complete cessation of the Jewish Church as a Church after its consummation by falsity from evil. Thus the present external Church would cease. Hence it is that, when the Lord did come, ceremonial observances were abolished as types of spiritual life, and the Church then established was in no way representative, but spiritual. Thus the Jewish Church did not flow into the Christian, nor did it open out into a spiritual Church: for the Lord Himself initiated the new dispensation. This is taught in the closing words of the present verse.
A year corresponds to the entire age of the Church as to its continuance; for it includes the four seasons or stages of the Church's progress. It may be noticed that the term is used, in its natural sense, of a cycle of time. " To proclaim the acceptable year of Jehovah" (Isaiah 61:2), is to make known the dispensation which the Lord approves. Years, then, denote the entire states of the Church as to some quality, and what that quality is the next term makes known. Generation, as explained 1:3, relates to the Intellectual part of the Church, in the same way as age may be said to relate to its Will part. It refers to the Church characterised as spiritual, instead of that marked by the celestial quality. Love belongs to the age, to the eternal; faith belongs to the generation. Both are perpetual when conjoined. The latter word is, therefore, applied to the ancient Church which was spiritual. As the Jewish Church has nothing of this spiritual quality in it, so it cannot continue into the new spiritual Church which is to be raised up. It must come to its end!
The words generation and generation, referring to the truths descended from the Church which succeeded the most ancient, are the Jewish idiom for what is perpetual, although not to the same degree as that imparted by age. Spiritually, as stated above, one relates to love and the other to faith. So in Psalm 100:5, " For Jehovah is good: His mercy is to the age;, and His faithfulness to the generation and generation." The years of a generation and generation, therefore, signifies that the Lord will not continue the false Church into the new spiritual dispensation: for generation also denotes a new spiritual state begotten, and therefore is the promise of a new Church on earth.
Internal Sense.—At the Lord's advent the Church will be in a state of falsity from lack of truth and good, and of obscurity from the sensual sense of the Word and self-intelligence: it will divide the good from the evil by judgement. The prevailing falsity of idolatry will bring destruction on the Church, having neither love of nor faith in the Lord: thus it will cease.
references.—AC 488, 1860, 2405, 7688, 7711; AE 372, 401, 526, 594, 783, 1135; TCR 198; SS 14; B.E. 78.
the evil of idolatry.
3. Fire ate before him: and after him flame will ignite. The earth was as the Garden of Eden before him, and after him a desert of desolation; and there was also no escape from him.
All who have witnessed the devastation of a country by locusts agree in describing the appearance as that produced by fire. The scorched and withered state of the whole district, the rapidity of the desolation, and its utterly destructive character, tend to this impression. At sunrise the land is fair to look upon: its pastures, its vineyards, and corn fields promise a rich harvest; at evening it is " a desert of desolation," with famine and death for its promise. The effect is as if a cyclone of fire had swept the land, and left ruin and desolation in its trail. The image is strikingly true of that which is represented, of the spiritual desolation of the Church made by false worship. Like the comparison of the former chapter, " people," referred to here by " him," is likened to the locusts. And like "nation," the term "people" is coupled with fire, which probably means, the heat of the south wind.
It was explained under 1:19, that fire corresponds to the lust of self-love, the evil which is the cause of all desolation in the man and the Church. That this is the signification of the term may be further shown in Psalm 39:3, " My heart was hot within me, in my fervour the fire burned"; also in Isaiah 33:14, " The sinners in Zion dread; quaking has seized the impious: who among us shall abide with the eating fire? who among us shall abide with everlasting burnings?" Again it was shown under 1:4 that to eat, signifies to destroy good by appropriating it as evil.
Perhaps the words before him need explanation, on the literal side, before considering the spiritual sense. Strictly the original is, to his faces. The Hebrew word for face is derived from the verb " to turn oneself," and properly applies to the part turned towards anyone. The verb is translated in the Common Version at Deut 31:18, "they are turned to other gods," and at Isaiah 53:6, " we have turned every one to his own way." But in Isaiah 56:11 we read, " they all look to his own way." The true force of the noun may be gathered from Ezek 20:47, " the blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein," that is, all parts turned towards the flame shall be scorched. The same may be seen in Ezek 20:46, " Son of man, set your faces toward the south." Again a similar usage occurs in Luke 9:53, "His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem." From this sense of the word is derived that of presence. Thus in Exodus 33:14, "My presence (literally, My faces) shall go with you." Hence, the idea of being in the presence of, or facing anyone—standing before one, as in Ezek 2:10, "and he spread it before me;" literally, to my faces. The term is used only in the plural form. " To his faces," then, in the natural sense, is equivalent to before him.
Interior things are, in the spiritual sense of the Divine Word, spoken of as before, and exterior things as behind. By before him is, therefore, understood the interior things of the falsities denoted by people. This is so, because in the pure state of man the interior things of the mind were shown by the face. That the interior Divine things of the Law are veiled is expressed in Exodus 3:6, " And Moses hid his faces." That the interior things of the falsity now prevailing in the Church were the lusts of self-love destroying good is signified by fire ate before him, is, therefore, manifest. That this proceeded outwardly is meant by the words following.
The words after him mean, literally, what is behind, its hinder part, and signify, as suggested in the previous verse, those things which are relatively exterior. And since the things of the understanding are exterior to those of the will, and are formed therefrom, they are spoken of as after him. Thus a lower state of falsity is intended, as being formed from self-love through the falsity represented by " the people." Hence, that the understanding of truth is destroyed by the pride of self-derived thought is signified by and after him flame will ignite. As shown under 1:19, flame corresponds to the pride of self-intelligence originating in love of the world, and to ignite, signifies to excite and kindle by evil desire. It should be observed, that flame describes more particularly the light or glitter of a blaze, and not its heat. Hence flame corresponds to that intelligence which arises from love of the world. In Isaiah 42:25, " And it ignited round about, yet he knew not; and it burned upon him, yet he laid it not to heart." It is clear that ignite relates to knowledge, and " burn" to feeling. We see that in the idea of glitter the spiritual significance of pride is contained.
The phrase, the earth was as the Garden of Eden before him, signifies that the external Church was apparently in intelligence from love, before the falsity of idolatry had marked it. The term earth, as shown under 1:2, signifies the external Church. The intelligence of the rational mind is signified by a garden, because of its mental growths and products. " I heard Your voice in the garden" (Genesis 3:10). "Jehovah God planted a garden eastward in Eden... the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil" (Gen 2:8, 9). Eden, meaning delight or pleasure, in its natural sense, signifies, spiritually, love. " Full of wisdom, and perfection of beauty, you have been in Eden, the garden of God" (Ezek 28:12, 13). The Garden of Eden, therefore, signifies the intelligence of truths from love, hence spiritual wisdom. This is the wisdom which the regenerated man enjoys instead of his former desolation. " This land that was desolate is become like the Garden of Eden" (Ezek 36:35). It appeared as if the wisdom by which the most ancient Church was characterised still remained with the Jews, but it really was not so; as shown by the hold idolatry had already made on the Church. Interiorly, the Church was in the love of self. When appearances are removed, the folly of the love of self is revealed. This also is conveyed by the words, the earth was as the Garden of Eden before him.
That the real state of the Church, in the falsity of evil worship, was made manifest externally, is implied in the words, and after him as a desert of desolation. That is, that nothing of true intelligence remained. It was shown under 1:19 that desert signifies an obscure state of the understanding wherein is no truth. It was shown also, under 1:7, that desolation signifies deprivation of spiritual faith. A desert of desolation, therefore, denotes that there is no understanding of spiritual truth. The Church on the earth at the beginning was in wisdom, its end was falsity from evil. This deprivation, consequent on the falsity engendered by turning away from the Lord, is indicated by after him.
A notable issue associated herewith is stated thus, and there was also no escape from him. While these words convey the truth that it is not possible to evade the consequence of denying the Lord: that men cannot " serve God and mammon," they cannot worship evil ends, and reap the reward of worshiping God, the words also inform us that false worship is devotion to " gods that cannot save." The word escape applies properly to what escapes, especially from the slaughter of battle. Thus, 2 Kings 19:30, " And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah (literally, the escape of the house of Judah that remains) shall yet again take root downward." The word relates spiritually to the truths and goods remaining in the understanding, escaped from the perils of evil, and forming the bases of new life. Thus in Ezek 14:22, " Yet, behold, there shall be left therein an escape that shall be brought forth... and you shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem." Again, Genesis xlv, 7, " God sent me before you to prepare for you a remnant in the earth; and to save your lives by a great escape." That there was no escape from him, therefore, means that, so utterly complete was the devastation of the Church by this prevailing falsity of denying the Lord, that there were no remains of truth and good in it by which salvation could be accomplished. Moreover—and here is the bitterness of the situation—they had trusted to gods who could not supply the means of deliverance, but could only carry them further away.
The Internal Sense.—The lust of self-love destroyed good interiorly, and the pride of self-intelligence was kindled externally. The external Church, apparently in spiritual wisdom beforehand, was deprived of all spiritual faith by the falsity of idolatry, not even the remains of truth and good being able to save them.
references.—AC 1861, 5376, 8906, 9434; AE 504, 730; AR 546.
4. As the appearance of horses is his appearance: and as horsemen, so \certainly\ will they run.
Again, while speaking of " the people" (in continuance of the theme begun at verse 2), the locusts are actually referred to as one and the same thing with them. We are told that the head of a locust is exceedingly like that of a horse; indeed, the Arabs have a saying in which the locust is said to have the face of a horse. The same thought is expressed in saying that the aspect of the horse is as the aspect of the "people," or locusts. Again, the likeness is noticed in Rev 9:7: " And the shapes of the locusts were like horses prepared for battle." As the appearance of horses is his appearance, signifies that from the falsity of idolatry the Church reasoned as if from truth. This appears plainly from the significations of the terms used. The term appearance, literally, refers to the thing seen in a certain aspect, especially of the face. It denotes, spiritually, the truths of faith, or in the opposite sense, falsity derived from a more interior state, as seen or made known. In Isaiah 52:14 the Common Version reads, " His visage was so marred more than any man." So in Exodus 24:17:" And the appearance of the glory of Jehovah was like devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the sons of Israel." Horses correspond to the truths of the intellectual part. Thus the white horses of Zech 6:3 and Rev 6:2 denote the pure truths of the intellect. It-is because intellectual truth alone is useless for salvation, that it is said, " a horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength" (Psalm 33:17). Of the prevalence of such truths it is said, " Their land is full of horses" (Isaiah 2:7). Of those who trust in their own intellectual devices, it is said, " the riders on horses shall be confounded" (Zech 10:5). Hence it appears that the words, before us, signify that the falsity denoted by people bore the appearance of, and seemed externally to be, truths of the Intellectual part. In other words, the Church lent itself to-sophistries in order to cover falsities.
The word horseman, or rider, is restricted to one who rides on a horse, and no other animal, for warlike purposes. Hence the term is seldom found in the Divine Word unaccompanied by reference to chariots. In the spiritual sense horsemen signify reasonings from the Intellectual part. In a similar strain to those from the Psalm above quoted are the words of Hosea 1:7: "I will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen." Referring to the combative spirit and the pride engendered by reasoning from self, it is said in Nahum 3:3, " The horseman lifts up both the bright sword and the glittering spear." To run denotes an ardent desire to know. In its opposite sense, it signifies the assiduity with which false reasoning pursues its end. With what evil ardour the false mind approaches, and seeks to persuade others! Yet the pursuit may be for good and truth: " I will run the way of Your commandments, when You shall enlarge my heart" (Psalm 119:32). " Write the vision, and scoop it out upon the tablets that he may run that reads it" (Hab 2:2). On the contrary, those who are evilly disposed are ardent to effect their ends: " Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity" (Isaiah 59:7). So is a particle indicative of confirmation. As horsemen so will they run, therefore, signifies that with the appearance of reasoning from intelligence those in falsity are assiduous to persuade.
Internal Sense.—The falsity of the Church seemed, externally, to be truth of the intelligence, and with the appearance of reasoning from that intelligence they of the Church seek with ardour to persuade.
dominion over minds.
5. As the voice of war chariots, over the heads of the mountains will they leap! As the voice of a blaze of fire, eating stubble. As a mighty people, arranged for battle.
The noise of locusts, both in flight and at the time of their devouring the vegetation of a district, has been many times likened to deep rushing sounds, such as a torrent or cataract makes. Their eating has been likened to the sound of wind fanning flame. Again, their irresistible progress has been compared to that of a mighty army, so regularly do they move and so direct is their movement. Mountains are no obstacle, however, to locusts as they are to armies. They fly over the tops of mountains with the same ease as they move over the plains. The mountains present no more difficulty to their flight than they present to the noise of hosts of heavy chariots. This appears to be the meaning of the first sentence of the present verse. Presumably the mountains are those about Jerusalem, and the spectator is standing on the Holy Mountain. Just as the deadened roar of a host of chariots would come up over the mountains, will this multitude of locusts come up. The noise made by locusts' eating can be heard afar off; but so near are they that as the crackling of a fire in the dried grass can they be heard: and they are moving directly upon Jerusalem, like an armed host. Very similar are the words of Revelation 9:9, " and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle." Attention is called to the change of pronoun in the former verse and continued in this. Whereas in agreement with " people" the pronoun " his" was used in the former part of verse 4, at its latter end " they" is found. It appears to be intended to bring the locusts into association with " the people," by means of the likeness of locusts to horsemen. Their avidity being the point of likeness. In the present verse the reference to the locusts is sustained.
The state of the Church, as described in the former verse, was as that of the sophist: the present verse pictures the Church in its hypocrisy. It is understood that as relates to what appears to be the case, rather than what actually is the state. The Church has only a semblance of what is described by the several terms here used. Externally the Church appears to be in genuine doctrine and the desire to make known the truth. It needs little explanation to make clear that voice corresponds to the promulgation of truth: for the voice is the vehicle, or clothing in speech, of thought, and is therefore the means of communicating truth. Thus, the Lord's " voice" is used of the enunciation of the Divine Truth itself: "Bless you, Jehovah, you His angels, heroes of strength, that do His word, hearkening to the voice of His Word" (Psalm 103:20). The term in general denotes the promulgation of truth. As in Psalm 19:3: " There is no speech or words, where their voice is not heard." This is why the forerunner and pro-claimer of the Lord's advent is described as " the voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of Jehovah" (Isaiah 40:3). Chariots were of several kinds. The war-chariot corresponds to the doctrinal forms of truth prepared for combating falsity: for doctrine carries conviction when drawn by intelligence, or " horses," and leads to right conclusions regarding spiritual things. Thus it is said of the Egyptians, representing the falsities of the natural mind, that the Lord " took off their war-chariot wheels, and He drove them heavily; so that Egypt said, Let us run away from the face of Israel; for Jehovah fights for them against Egypt" (Exod 14:25). Of those who teach false doctrine continuously, it is said, " neither is there any limit to his war-chariots" (Isaiah 2:7). The voice of war-chariots, therefore, denotes the promulgation of doctrines to oppose falsity. It was shown under verse 2 of this chapter that mountains correspond to states of elevated affection—the good of celestial affection. The head, being the highest, according to what has been said much earlier, corresponds to some inmost dominating principle—to be more precise, the head corresponds to the inmost dominating principle of the Intellectual and Voluntary man— thus, to the whole man considered as to intelligence. In its opposite sense, the head denotes the craftiness of those in the love of ruling. In its good sense the word is used in Psalm 23:5: " You anoint my head with oil." In its opposite sense it occurs in Psalm 68:21: " But God shall pierce the head of His enemies." Again in Isaiah 1:5: " The whole head is sickness." The heads of the mountains signify the intelligence of the good of celestial affection in its inmost state—thus, in heaven. So in Isaiah 2:2: " And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the House of Jehovah shall be established in the head of the mountains, and shall be exalted above hills; and all the nations shall stream to it." The tops of the mountains are the first to receive the light of the rising sun, and to announce its coming. They are also the last to retain it at its setting. So it is with those in a state of elevated heavenly intelligence. But how different is the state, in reality, of the Church fallen as low as the former verses indicate. It bore the appearance of teaching the truth, yet to what profanity had it fallen! The sensual delight to lord it over all—especially the religiously sensual. In its sensual condition the Church sought to dominate heaven itself. Over the heads of the mountains will they leap. To leap, signifies to be affected with the delight of contaminating good. The term is used mainly of that joyous skipping, or dancing, which arises from the pleasure of something accomplished. Thus in Psalm 114:4: " The mountains skipped like rams, and hills like lambs." So in Nahum 3:2: " The voice... of leaping chariots." That those in the falsity of evil worship are affected with the delight of dominating heavenly intelligence, by an appearance of true doctrine opposing falsity, is here meant. And that this they do as if they were in the intelligence of love is implied by, over the heads of the mountains will they leap.
The word, blaze, is the masculine form of " flame," which, as shown under 1:19, signifies the pride of self-intelligence from the love of the world. Blaze, however, denotes the falsity of the lust of self. When the term is used in its good sense, it denotes the intelligence arising from love to the Lord, as in Judges 13:20," When the blaze went up towards the heavens from off the altar, the angel of Jehovah ascended in the blaze of the altar." The blaze of fire, corresponds to a zealous intelligence from love to the Lord. It was, however, pointed out under 1:19 that, in its bad sense, fire corresponds to the love of self—as the voice of a blaze of fire, therefore, signifies that while the appearance was that the Church promulgated its teaching, as if in intelligence from love to the Lord, in truth it did so from the falsity of self-love. This it did, eating stubble. It was shown under 1:4 that to eat denotes to appropriate evil—or to appropriate to self. Stubble corresponds to that lowest form of truth which is apprehended only by the externally scientific mind. It is the order of knowledge which the Church is represented as holding when the Israelites in Egypt, " were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw" (Exodus 5:12). To eat stubble, signifies to appropriate to self the truth accommodated only to the external planes of the mind. So much for those who make much of their professed intelligence from love to the Lord, while they are only in the love of self!
The profane appearance reaches yet deeper. The truths of faith from the Lord are potent to resist evil and to sustain the Church in its temptation-combats. The power of the truths of faith in orderly worship is assumed in appearance by a Church turned to the adoration of idols! It professed to uphold the right and oppose the wrong—arranged for battle! What a well of hypocrisy! Mighty, as explained at 1:6, relates to a state of truth from good, in its better sense, and people, as shown at 2:2, signifies the truths of faith according to worship. Here is a profession, or appearance of the truths of genuine worship in their power: for power acts from good by truth. The appearance is as of truths of worship arranged for battle. It needs little explanation to make the spiritual sense of these words manifest. To arrange, denotes to adjoin in an orderly manner so as to effect some purpose: battle denotes the assault of hell. Thus in Psalm 18:39, " You have girded me with strength to battle." Again Psalm 89:43, " You have made him to stand in battle." But while this relates to the appearance it also describes the reality. What, indeed, does the phrase charge upon the Church? It describes those who prevail in falsity from evil worship as arranged for battle— that is, adjoined to, or joining in with the assault of hell upon the truth and good of the internal Church. How often it is, that the professed friends of the Church are, in truth, on the side of its enemy. Hell makes its assault on the Church by the subtle means of sensualism, and by drawing her away from the Lord to self, and in the present case, hell and the falsity of idolatry are in concert—they are adjoined—arranged for battle.
By removing the mask of appearance the case is, that the Church rejoices in false appearances of truth rather than the truly enlightened desire for the truth as it is. It is pleasing to self to do so, hence it is done. This is the portrait of the Jewish Church so far delineated.
Internal Sense.—The Church apparently promulgates the true doctrines of life, but really seeks to dominate heaven: apparently makes known the truths of intelligence from love to the Lord, but really is in the folly of self-love, by appropriating to self the least of truths: apparently the Church is in the power of truth from worship, really it is in that falsity which adjoins itself to the assaults of hell.
6. From before him, they caused peoples to travail: they caused all faces to gather pallor.
The fear and consternation, the deadly and paralysing terror of the natives of Oriental lands when an approach of locusts is known, has been spoken of by several travellers. The people suffer and are helpless. Following the similitude of an army, the prophet portrays the state of those who await its approach with anguish.
Under 2:3, before him was shown to signify the interior falsity of idolatry, and from, as already noted, implies a derivation. Thus we have to deal here with something derived from the interior falsity of evil which marked the external Church now consummated. Peoples, according to the explanation given under 2:2, signifies in its good sense the truths of faith according to the nature of the worship. In this sense the term is employed in the present case. Thereby the reason of the repeated reference to the same term is ascertained. People is once referred to by him, and again in peoples—first in its bad sense, and then in its good sense. It should be noted too that "him" and "they" relate to the same subject, as the people ("him"), and the locusts ( " they" ) are associated. To travail, is a term used with extensive meaning literally; it is used in the senses of bearing pain, of waiting, of forming and bringing forth. But these only assist in making the spiritual signification of the word the more manifest. In that sense, to travail denotes the difficulty of conceiving and bringing forth the spiritual formations of the mind when it is beset by falsity and evil. Thus in Isaiah 23:4, " I travailed not, nor brought forth children, neither did I bring up young men, nor raise up virgins." So in the same prophet, Isa 13:8, and Revelation 12:2. From before him, they caused peoples to travail, therefore, signifies that, as derived from the interior falsity of evil, the sensually-minded of the Church make it difficult for truths of faith to bring forth their orderly offspring —the hopes and efforts of religious life. It must not be forgotten, however, that this is a state revealed by the coming and judgement of the Lord, as explained under the first verse of this chapter. And inasmuch as the prevailing state— namely, falsity from evil, in this case, is that which really condemns, the judgement of the Lord and the falsity of evil are at once referred to by " from before him." Hence the pain of the false at the approach of truth from the Lord.
By all faces gathering pallor is signified that the falsity of evil is confirmed or established in the interiors of the Church from first to last. The word, faces, has been explained under 2:3, and shown to signify the interiors of the mind. To gather, signifies to preserve by way of fixing; that is, by uniting the several states of the spirit within its external. This preserving in a permanent state is thus referred to in Jerem 31:10, "He that dispersed Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd his flock." Pallor is a term which is used twice only in the Scriptures—in the present verse and in Nahum 2:10, "She is empty, and void, and deserted: and the heart melts, and the knees smite together, and much pain is in all loins, and the faces of them all gather pallor." Both passages relate to pain. A similar statement occurs in Jerem 30:6, "Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces turned into paleness." It is generally accepted that this word is connected with the term denoting an earthen pot used for boiling purposes. See Numbers 11:8; Judges 6:19; and 1 Sam 2:14. The Greek version translates it, " all faces shall be as burnt pottery "— that is, have the same pallid colour as burnt pot. Pallor corresponds to the falsity of evil. Swedenborg says, " The extinction of love is seen in the pallor of the face" (DLW 379). This is the condition here described. There is a degree of falsity and evil which, seen in the light of heaven, makes the infernals pallid.
Internal Sense.—The result of the descent of the Lord into the world is, that as derived from the interiors of the Church falsified, those in the Church throughout, who were in the truths of faith, could bring forth right life only with difficulty and the interiors of all were falsified from evil in the sensual of the Church.
7. As heroes will they run; as men of battle they will ascend a rampart: and a man in his ways will they go! nor will they change their paths!
The similitude to an ordered army, begun in the fifth verse, is continued in detail here. It has been suggested, that the spectator is supposed to be standing in Jerusalem watching the approach of the invading locusts—formerly under the likeness of a fire, now under that of a great army. While the glittering red colour of the insects and the hot wind on which they travelled might have been the grounds of the one similitude, the order, regularity of movement and irrepressible progress of locusts, well known to travellers, is the basis of the other figure. They are approaching the Holy City: nothing will stay them. Inaccessible to armed men, the ramparts of the City are no obstacle to the locusts. They move as one man. They move straight before them—nor will they deviate from their paths.
With what evil assiduity do those who abide in the pride of their own false reasoning assault the truth. They are very great in their own eyes—and have even been known to claim the honour of " champions of the faith." However, here they are portrayed—not as they wish the world to see them, but as they are. As heroes will they run. Stripped of the appearance, this signifies that they who prevail by reason of falsity reason with an evil avidity. Of course, they put on an appearance of being eager to arrive only at the truth; all false sophists do that. The term hero, signifies, in the present connection, one who prevails by falsity, who seeks to destroy the truth. Thus in Psalm 33:16, " A hero is not delivered by much strength." Again in Hosea 10:13, "You have ploughed wickedness, you have reaped unrighteousness; you have eaten the fruit of lies: because you did trust in your way, in the multitude of your heroes." That to run, denotes to reason with evil assiduity, was shown under 2:4.
Again, dismissing the appearance indicated by as (for it must be remarked false reasoners assume the appearance of reasoning from rational principles, thereby to assault truth), we seek the actual state. Men of battle, denotes the insanities of hell which assault the truth. The assaults of hell, denoted by battle, as shown under 2:5, are occasioned by the evils and falsities of infernal spirits. Therefore the Lord, who overcomes in such assaults, is called," Jehovah, the Hero in battle" (Psalm 24:8). We also learn from Him to resist such assaults: thence it is said, "Blessed be Jehovah my rock, Who trains my hands for the encounter, and my fingers for the battle" (Psalm cxliv. i). Men, in its good sense, signifies the rational principles of the intellect. But when the intellect is falsified, as in the present case, then the term signifies the irrational or insane sophistries of the intellect. Such spiritual insanities are from hell. Hence the false counsellors of Zedekiah sought the death of Jeremiah who had spoken the word of the Lord, " for thus he weakened the hands of the men of battle, that remained in the city" (Jer 38:4). More will be said concerning this term below.
It has been shown, under 1:6, that to ascend, signifies to emerge from an inferior to a superior state. This is the same as saying, the word signifies to come forth from an interior to an exterior state. The rampart is that plane of truth which acts as the defence of " the City of God." The truths of doctrine drawn from the literal sense of the Divine Word are that defence. Wherefore a prayer, that the Lord will give the necessary defence to His Church, is expressed in the words, " Build You the ramparts of Jerusalem" (Psalm 51:18). But in its opposite sense, a rampart denotes the essential falsity which defends evil. So in Psalm 55:9, 10, " I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go about it upon the ramparts thereof." Thus, as men of battle they will ascend a rampart, denotes that the insane falsities of hell come forth from evil to assail the truth and defend evil.
The limits of our language compel us to indicate the distinction between Man (adam) and man (ish) by means of an initial capital to the former word. The latter, however, is the word used in the present and next verse. From it is formed the only term expressive of woman in the Hebrew tongue. This term relates to the intellectual faculty, as woman does to the affectional. Thus in Jeremiah 5:1, " See now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if you can find a man, if there be any that does judgement, that seeks truth." In its natural sense the term applies to man as an individual, and is therefore used where otherwise we might have expected such words as one or each. Hence we see that the thought is, that every individual persisted in his own way. A very natural picture of the course of the fallacious reasoner! The man who acts from self is dominated by his own special fallacy. Way denotes falsity in the understanding as leading to evil of life. Although, in its natural sense, this term is applied to the footway trodden, it strictly relates to the action of going the journey, being derived from the verb, to tread. From thence arises the use of the term as equivalent to manner or method. As the truth or falsity in the understanding directs the way in which the will acts, this term corresponds to that truth or falsity. " Teach me Your way, O Jehovah, and lead me in a plain path, because of my enemies" (Psalm 27:11). To go, signifies to advance in the life of good or evil. To go and to walk are the same. Thus we speak of going through life, or " walking circumspectly," when we refer to the manner of taking our course through life. So in Psalm 26:11, "I will walk in my integrity." A man in his ways will they go, therefore, denotes that the rational faculty being immersed in falsity in the understanding, the Church goes on to the evil of life.
The confirmed state of falsity thence resulting, is suggested in the final clause—nor will they change their paths. The simple meaning of to change, in its natural sense, is to accept, and its causative meaning is to cause to accept. These two powers of the same word are very well illustrated in Deuter 15:6, " You shall not cause many nations to accept, and you shall not accept." In several translations this passage conveys the idea of lending and borrowing. The form of the verb used in the present verse unites the two ideas and is therefore rendered change. The spiritual signification is thus well illustrated. To accept spiritual truth is to respond to the truth communicated. The commandment cited above, therefore, signifies that while the children of Israel would not cause many nations to respond to the truths they could communicate, the Israelites were by no means to respond to the falsities the nations would communicate. Paths correspond to the special precepts or forms of truth or falsity. Thus, in its good sense, in Psalm 16:11, " You will show me the path of life." Again, in Psalm 25:4, 10, " Teach me Your paths.... All the paths of Jehovah are mercy and truth to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies." The paths of the wicked are the fixed lives of falsity in which they allow themselves to walk. That they will not change their paths, denotes that they will not respond to the precepts of life by giving up their own false persuasions.
Internal Sense.—Prevailing by falsity the sensually-minded reason with evil assiduity; the insanities of hell assaulting the truth come forth to defend evil and to overcome the teaching of the Word: the rational faculty being immersed in falsity, they go on to the evil of life, nor will they respond to the precepts of life by putting away the falsity.
references.—AC 5135; AE 783, 1135.
consistency of evil.
8. Nor will they drive back a man his brother!— They will go, each individual, in his highway! And should they fall by the missile, will they not gain?
The suggestion of the former verse is here more particularly stated. Many attempts have been made to impede the progress of a swarm of locusts. They have all failed. The invaders march straight forward; one neither leaving his own appointed away nor compelling his neighbour to do so.
Weapons projected against them may slay a few, but such is-their multitude that they lose no ground by that. They march over their own dead, and go straight on with their devastation. Neither ramparts nor arms retard them.
Without being paradoxical, it may be said that there is a certain consistency in the ways of falsehood. Falsity is a blood-relative to evil, just as truth is to goodness: it conspires to reach the same end as evil—nor will the one help to overcome the other. This is the truth darkly taught in the first clause of the above verse—nor will they drive back a man his brother. Under the preceding verse it was pointed out, that man signifies the falsified rational faculty. The Scriptures often employ the phrase, a man his brother, in the sense of "one another." Grammarians tell us that this is an idiom; but there is more involved in the phrase than this explanation suggests. The terms are spiritually appointed. There are other forms of speech to convey the natural idea of "one another." Brother, signifies the state of good or evil which is. the proper correlative of the truth or falsity predicated by man. Thus, in its good sense, Abel, as the charity properly related to Cain as faith, is called his brother. But let it be noted, that Cain is never called the brother of Abel (Genesis iv.). This kinship is illustrated in several passages of the Word.. Thus in Isaiah 9:19, "They shall not spare a man his brother"; or in the same prophet, Isa 19:2, " and they shall fight a man his brother, and a man his fellow." It is the good affection of charity that makes brotherhood in the Lord's. Church, and for this reason, brother, signifies that affection. The members of the Christian Church were reminded of the duties of neighbourly love by the words, "all you are brethren" (Matt 23:8). A man his brother, therefore, in the bad sense, denotes the perverted rational principle and its related evil. To drive back, signifies to seek to dissuade or subjugate. Thus in Judges 2:18 (where the Common Version reads, "vexed ")— "for it repented Jehovah because of their groanings, by reason of them that oppressed them and drove them back." Here the reference is to the insidious nature of those evils and falsities which dissuade us from the truth. Hence it is manifest that the teaching of the opening clause of the verse is, that they in the sensual falsity of idolatry will not dissuade or avert the perverted reason from evil, but rather encourage it.
The previous verse contained the term, to go, and it was shown to signify the advance in evil life. A word must be said here concerning the term each individual, for this is the rendering of one Hebrew word. It is another of the Hebrew words for " man"; but is applied only in the sense of a grown man, or adult—a man self-contained and of set character. We may regard it, then, as describing, in its natural meaning, a man of formed character, and for this reason it is translated as above. Some prefer to use " strongman," or " adult-man." Its meanings, both natural and spiritual, are well illustrated in Psalm 37:23, " The steps of an individual (or grown man) are established by Jehovah." The term signifies one in a confirmed state as to the truths of faith. So in Exodus 10:11, " Go now you that are individuals, and serve Jehovah." That, in its opposite sense, the term describes, as in the present case, a state of confirmed and fortified falsity, need not be explained. The word, highway, means literally a way prepared and ordered—made level by embankment, and therefore a way fortified and arranged. "Cast up the highways "(Isaiah 62:10). It signifies, spiritually, in its bad sense, falsity disposed according to self, or the order of hell. " Robbery and destruction are in their highways" (Isaiah 59:7). Hence this clause denotes, that the conduct of those in a confirmed state of falsity will be according to the falsity disposed by self. How easily will a confirmed error in thought supply the reason for a course of wrong-doing!
Nothing can surpass the ardour with which this class of men seek to win others over to their side. Though they could be shown by known facts to be wrong, they are nothing daunted—they remove the field of investigation to that of " mystery," and claim belief upon the ground of authority— or, that faith is higher than reason, and its subjects should not be understood. They proselytise even at the cost of their own spiritual death. That to fall denotes to perish spiritually needs no further comment. It is plain to everyone. The term, missile, means literally something sent or thrown, such as a dart or javelin: spiritually, it signifies a combative form of knowledge going forth to teach. Thus in Job 36:12, " they shall perish by the missile, and they shall die through lack of knowledge." The truths of God are those " waters of Shiloah that go softly" (Isaiah 8:6), and are for the healing of the infirm, which also are "by interpretation, Sent" (John 9:7). Shiloah is derived from the same word as missile. Sent, as truth in all its degrees and forms is, even as the Incarnate Word was sent by the Father, for our enlightenment and instruction in the ways of goodness, yet, when not so used it becomes a means of condemnation. He falls most who, having the light of truth, acts contrary to its directions. " Now you say, we see: therefore your sin remains" (John 9:41). To fall by the missile, denotes to perish spiritually by means of the combative known facts taught by the Word of the Lord. To gain, appears to signify to proselytise by persuasion, with also a desire for meritorious reward. To gain, only conveys the natural sense of the original partially. The word is used in the sense of grasping, or gaining eagerly —of snatching something from its former owner or its lawful ties. " Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves tearing prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to gain profit" (Ezek 22:27). " Woe to him that gains an evil profit for his house, that he may set his nest on high" (Hab 2:9). There are those who make a virtue of opposing the truth, though it costs them the spiritual life which they vainly think they have merited—will they not gain? But such falsity as that indicated in this prophet, as having made its hold on the Church, is not to be withstood and thrust back, because here and there the shafts of external truth lay a few low; it is so insidious that it gains upon the Church notwithstanding. They will " compass sea and land to make one proselyte" (Matt. 23:15).
Internal Sense.—The sensualities of the Church will not avert the perverted reason from evil: they will advance confirmed falsity of faith in conjunction with the infernal ways. of evil, and should they perish by means of the combative forms of truth as taught, they yet persuade and proselytise.
perversion of the letter.
9. In the City they will seek eagerly; in the rampart will they run: in the houses they will ascend; by the windows they will come in, as the thief.
The locusts have now entered the City itself. The city referred to is Jerusalem: all the writers of Judah speak in this way of their capital, for in it stood the Temple of the Lord. Jerusalem, then, is under the ravages of these desolating creatures. Every vegetable substance they are eager to devour: they still scale the rampart, or pour in through its breaches: they invade the houses, and every chamber of them.. The windows, when the doors are closed, being at most only of lattice work, present no serious obstacle. They will come in by the window, like a thief. For they have come to despoil.
The idea with which the previous verse concluded is taken up in this. The invasion of the City brings us to the last state of the Church as to the effect which this inroad of heathenism has upon its doctrine. For when the citadel is taken the end has come. The City corresponds to the system of doctrine as the faith of the Church. Hence the Church in its upright state is called " a city of righteousness" (Isaiah 1:26). Or, in Psalm 122:3: "Jerusalem is built as a city that is united." So the Lord said of the first elements of the Christian Church "You are the light of the world: it is impossible for a city lying on the top of a mountain to be hid" (Matt 5:14). The locusts being in the city, denotes that the sensual falsities are conjoined with the doctrine of the Church—or, in other words, that the doctrines of the Church are sensualised. The signification of to seek eagerly whatever is edible, is not much removed from its literal meaning. In its good sense, the word signifies to desire ardently the knowledge of the truths of faith. A similar desire for the knowledge of the truth is implied in the words of the Lord, "You shall seek Me and shall not find Me" (John 7:34). In Psalm 107:9 the word is well illustrated: "For He satisfies a soul seeking eagerly, and fills a hungry soul with goodness." That is, the soul ardently desiring the truth the Lord satisfies, and the soul needing good is filled. Again in Isaiah 29:8: "When the thirsty man dreams, and, behold, he drinks; but he awakes, and, behold, he is faint and his soul seeks eagerly." Fantasies do not satisfy the soul earnestly seeking the truth. The same eager desire, or infatuation, is, in the present case, attributed to those in falsity—they conjoin themselves to the doctrine of the Church, not for truth's sake, but by the ardour of their self-intelligence, to destroy the genuine truth. Thus the Church sensualised is the Church despoiled of its true doctrine.
It was shown under verse 7, that the rampart corresponds to the truths of doctrine from the literal sense of the Word which defend the Church. Indeed the word is derived from to surround or guard. In its opposite sense, it was also stated to signify, essential falsity—that is, the doctrine just spoken of, falsified. In the rampart, therefore, denotes that the sensual falsities represented by the locusts are conjoined to the falsified doctrines, which as true doctrine should have defended the Church. The defences of the Church being sensualised, it cannot be a matter of surprise that the doctrines of the Church should be degraded and brought down to the lowest level of heathen falsity. The worst form of materialism is that which reduces spiritual truths and laws to the test and dominion of the natural senses. To run, as shown under 2:4, signifies to reason with evil avidity. In the rampart they will run, therefore, bespeaks the evil avidity with which those in sensual falsity will reason to destroy the truths of the Church.
But such spiritual contagions do not rest in the realm of doctrine; they push their ravages further than the understanding: they contaminate the good of life. The house corresponds to the will and the good that it contains, as already shown under i. g. In the houses, therefore, signifies that the sensual falsities conjoined themselves with the goods of the Church, or converted them into evil, and so destroyed them as good. Under 1:6, it was explained that to ascend, denotes to influence a higher from a lower state. When falsity ascends into, or influences good, then that good is perverted to evil. A like perversion of goods of life gathered in the will is the subject of Exodus 10:4, 6: "I will bring the locusts within your borders... and your houses shall be full, and the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all Egypt."
Just as the will is despoiled of good, so is the intellect robbed of truth. The sensual infestations steal in by means of the intellect to deprive the men of the Church of all inward spiritual life. " The thief comes not, save that he may steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10). The window corresponds to the intellectual part of the mind through which the rational light of truth is admitted to illuminate the " house"; but anything except such light entering in by the window, " the same is a thief and a robber." So in the Temple built by Solomon, "for the House he made windows of latticed lights" (1 Kings 6:4). To come in, as shown under 1:13, signifies, in its bad sense, to introduce falsity into good for the purpose of conjoining them. If this be compared with the signification of to ascend, as above, the reason why higher and interior or upward and inward motion bear the same signification will be illustrated. By the windows they will come in, signifies that the sensual falsities introduce themselves by means of the intellectual part of the mind so as to be conjoined to the good of the will. As stated above, this must result in the perversion of good to evil. The thief, denotes that which takes away good and truth through falsity from evil. In Hosea 7:1, "They commit falsehood: and the thief comes in, the troop of robbers spoils without." The Divine law against taking away good and truth by means of falsity from evil, is, " You shall not steal." Falsity creeps with thievish intent into the minds of many by the way of light—an insidious foe in the seeming of a friend: "Satan transformed into an angel of light" (2 Cor 11:14).
It may be remarked, that in this last term, the thief, in its spiritual sense, there is enfolded briefly the full story of the prophecy thus far treated of. The Church is now represented as robbed of every good and true principle, and that by means of the falsity from evil indicated by the invading enemy to the worship of the Lord. When the present chapter began the Lord's coming at the end of the Jewish Church was foretold, the object being to warn the Church of its own state and destruction. Its state has since been described, as to what it will be as the issue of its idolatry when the Lord does come—"when the false and evil from the sensual will have destroyed the whole Church." Into what pitfalls of fallacy and falsity it will stumble have been described in detail— especially in verses 4—9. Swedenborg gives the internal sense of these verses briefly thus, " that the falsity of evil through all kinds of insanities will destroy all things of the Church.'' This is, in brief, what has been stated in detail above.
Internal Sense—Sensual falsities, conjoined to the doctrine of the Church, pervert the truth; conjoined to the falsified teachings of the letter of the Word, they enter assiduously into reasonings to destroy the truth of the Word; conjoined to the goods of the will, good is perverted to evil; by means of the intellectual part of the Church they introduce falsity to good, and so take away all good and truth.
references.—AC 3391, 5135, 8906; AE 193; AR 164, 898; TCR 318.
dissipation of life.
10. Before him [the] earth was agitated, [the] heavens quaked: sun and moon were black, and stars gathered in their shining.
For the time the image of the locusts is forsaken, and that of the eclipse is taken up—the most powerful representation in nature of the present state of the Church. Speaking of the natural sense, the prophet would seem to have projected himself so far into the future, that he describes the final state of the Church as an event of the past. Spiritually regarded, these "past tenses" have their import. They relate to the real beginnings of the mischief, which only come to the surface when the final end has come. Here, then, in one grand summary the state of the external Church, as it will be at the Lord's Coming, is described. The description is fully illustrated in the accomplished prophecy when the Lord came and judged the Jewish dispensation. In similar terms the Lord foretold the end of the Church He raised up at His first advent. " Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give her brightness, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Matt 24:29).
It was pointed out under verse 3 of this chapter, that before him signifies the interior or prior states of the falsity of worship denoted by people. As by this falsity the Lord's coming is occasioned, which falsity is made manifest by the judgement, the phrase may be regarded as referring to that coming. The earth corresponds to the external Church, as explained 1:2. Again, it was shown under ii. I, that to be agitated signifies to be disturbed in mind during the conflict caused by perversion of spiritual life. Before him the earth was agitated, therefore, relates to the disturbed state, by perversion, of the external Church from the interior states of falsity from evil. But the external Church did not suffer alone by the perversion of all spiritual principles within it. So corrupt was it at the coming of the Lord that the heavens themselves were in peril of violence from hell. The Lord came to redeem men from this peril, and, by subduing hell, to restore the heavens to order, and thence, man to freedom and reason. Just as the earth corresponds to the external Church, or the Church on the earth, so the heavens correspond to the internal Church, or the Church in the heavens. In its literal sense, heavens is derived from " to be high," whence it means, the high, or, what is the same, the inner things or states. As the highest is the inmost spiritually, the correspondence of the heavens is manifest. So the Lord said, " the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). Again, it should be observed that the word heavens is, in Hebrew, the dual form, and therefore means, the two heavens. The term corresponds to the internal Church as being the intellectual things of truth and the voluntary things of good, and these subsist essentially in the heavens. So in Psalm 11:4, " Jehovah's throne is in the heavens." Or again, Psalm 69:34, " Let the heavens and the earth praise Him." To quake, which is used naturally with a sense of moving, signifies to change, even to perversion, by falsification. Hence in Nahum 1:5," the mountains quake at Him"; or, in Jeremiah 4:24, " I saw the mountains, and, lo, they quaked, and all the hills moved lightly"; again, in Ezekiel 37:7, " There was a noise, and behold a quaking, and the bones approached, bone to its bone." That the heavens quaked, signifies that the internal Church—then in the heavens only—was disturbed by reason of the falsity in the world.
When the Lord is denied, as the Jewish Church is now described as doing, there are two great essentials of a Church destroyed—the two great luminaries are darkened. These are love to the Lord and faith in Him. It seems that the word sun is related to the verb, "to minister." The sun, like the principle of celestial love, or love from the Lord to Him, to which it corresponds, is that which most of all ministers. The Lord Himself, who as "the Sun of righteousness" is Love, "came not to be ministered to, but to minister." The moon, whose duty is not the universal duty of the sun, but that of serving the earth only, and whose light is borrowed from the sun, reflecting not its heat, corresponds to faith from the Lord and in the Lord: for while faith reflects the light of love, it does not give its warmth. But, because love to the Lord and faith in Him, the two primary essentials of a Church, should ever be accorded Him and glorify Him, it is said, "Praise you Him, sun and moon "—not neglecting the lesser lights of knowledge—"Praise Him, all you stars of light" (Psalm 148:3). When, however, these primary principles of the Church are destroyed, it is said, " the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine" (Isaiah 13:10). To be black, signifies to be shut out by evil and falsity—hence, in the present case, that the love of the Lord and faith in Him were shut out by evil and falsity. There is then no acknowledgement of the Lord—a state preeminently exhibited by the Jews at the Lord's coming. Thus in Jeremiah 4:28, "the heavens above were black." Again in Micah 3:6, " the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be black over them."
Just as there is no love to the Lord and no faith in Him, so is there no knowledge of good and truth obtained from the Word. The stars correspond to the knowledge of what is good and true drawn from the Word of God. In all states wherein there is anything of spiritual life remaining, the Lord provides that man shall be led by some principle of Wisdom, "the sun to rule by day... the moon and stars to rule by night; for His mercy endures for ever" (Psalm 136:8, 9). Yet there are those whose falsity would cause them to lift themselves above the knowledge of the Word; " I will exalt my throne above the stars of God" (Isaiah 14:13). To gather in, as shown under 1:14, signifies to implant truth in the mind, or turn inwardly. The shining of the stars is the illumination of the truths proceeding from the Lord's goodness. It is the light of love and faith reflected and proceeding from the knowledge of the Word. So in Isaiah 60:3, referring to " the Light of the world "—"And the nations shall walk by Your Light, and kings by the shining of Your rising." To gather in this shining, denotes that the knowledge of the Word illuminated the heavenly Church, but not the external.
Internal Sense.—By interior falsity from evil the external Church was perverted, and the internal Church was disturbed by reason of that falsity: love to the Lord and faith in Him were shut out by evil and falsity from the external, and the knowledge of good and truth from the Lord imparted no illumination thereto.
references.— AC 31, 1056, 1808, 2441, 2495, 3355, 7573, 8906; AE 72, 372, 400, 401, 526; AR 51, 53, 312, 331, 413; TCR 198; H.H. 119; SS 14; L.J. 3; B.E. 78.
the power of truth.
11. And JEHOVAH caused His voice to be received before His force: for His camp is exceedingly abundant; because it is mighty by doing His word. For the Day of jehovah is great and exceedingly feared—and who shall survive it?
The prophet here reverts to the subject of the Lord's descent, at the same time as he keeps in view the figure of the army to which the locusts were likened. However, the army now spoken of is the Lord's army, who, when the enemies have descended upon and ravaged the very heart of the Church, led by the Lord of hosts, will execute His word upon them. The teaching of this verse is, then, that Jehovah in His coming would combat the disorderly and infernal influences formerly described, and so reduce all things to true order. This introduces the matter of the Lord's combats with the hells. As noted before, and marks a change in the narrative; but it seems to have also especial reference to the celestial. Jehovah, as stated under 1:1, is the title by which the Lord is spoken of in relation to His unchangeable and essential Love. Let it be mentioned here, that this name undergoes no inflectional change in the Hebrew Bible. If it is necessary that the relation of some other term to it should be indicated by grammatical inflection, then it is the other term which has to bear the inflection: this Name never does. It is the indicator of the unchangeable Divine Love. The Voice of Jehovah is, as may be seen under 2:5, the enunciated Divine Truth from the Divine Love. The term usually translated, " to give," is here translated, to cause to be received. The reason is, that " to give" does not express the meaning in every place where the word is used in the Scriptures; and as uniformity in this respect has been kept in view in the present translation, the above is employed instead of the shorter form. In the present case, the sense also seems to be the better conveyed. To cause to be received, signifies to appropriate to the external by influx: for what is given by influx is appropriated to the relatively external. Thus in Psalm 29:11: " Jehovah will cause His people to receive strength." As explained under verse 3 of this chapter, before indicates the interior states. Jehovah's force, signifies those truths from good which are effective as ministering to the Lord's will. The angels of heaven, as being those in the truths just mentioned, are the Lord's forces. It should be noticed that this word is, in the Hebrew tongue, as in the English, not only used in the sense of strength or power, but is applied to an army. Thus in Zechariah 4:6: " This is the word of Jehovah to Zerubbabel, saying, Not by force, nor by strength, but by My spirit, says Jehovah of hosts." So in Psalm 18:32: " God that girds me with force, also makes my way perfect." Jehovah caused His voice to be received before His face, therefore, denotes that the Lord from His Divine Love by influx into the interiors of the angels of heaven appropriated Divine Truth to them. As suggested above, in order that the Lord should accomplish the work of reducing the powers of darkness to order, and thereby restore man to freedom, it was necessary that His advent into the world should be preceded by preparation of the heavens by means of strength from Divine Truth: that the whole heavens might co-operate with the Lord in redeeming mankind and subduing hell.
Heaven, as the orderly disposal of those in the life of truth and goodness, is denoted by the Lord's camp. Thus the Israelites, as representing the heavenly principles so ordered, are called " the camp of Israel" (Exodus 14:19). Again, when Jacob saw the angels of God, he said, " This is God's camp: and he called the name of that place, The Two Camps" (Genesis 32:2). Again, " Jehovah your God walks in the midst of your camp" (Deut 23:14). Abundant, as stated under 2:2, signifies the prevalence of truths, and exceedingly abundant, seems to denote the infinite increase of truth. For His camp is exceedingly abundant, therefore, appears to state the effect in heaven of the inflow of Divine truths into the interiors of the angels. The Lord caused His Truth to be appropriated to the interiors of the angels, whence His heaven was infinitely increased in truth. This, it may also be remarked, involves the Lord's personal descent through the heavens in the course of His assumption of a humanity in the world. Before the incarnation, the Lord filled an angel with His presence whenever He appeared to men. At such times also " Jehovah caused His voice to be received before His face," for the Divine truth was appropriated to the interiors of the angel. But at His Coming the whole heavens were put in order, and made to co-operate with the Lord by the reception of His truth. Truth is not derived from the angels, and heaven has nothing of its own; all is from the Lord: for it is mighty by doing His word. The power of heaven consists in its obedience to the Divine will and wisdom. Moreover, the camp of the Lord is only efficacious in ministering to man inasmuch as it acts by Divine command, and is ordered by Divine will. It was shown under 1:6, that mighty relates to the state of truth from good, or, in other words, the power which is by truth from good. To do, signifies to produce a change, or accomplish something from the will. Thus we learn that angelic might consists in ministering according to the Divine from the angelic will. The Lord's Word, as shown under 1:1, is the Divine Truth in its regulating and disposing character.
The Day of Jehovah, as may be seen under 1:5, denotes His advent and judgement As just explained, by His advent the Lord fills the heavens with His Truth; but the Truth which strengthens and rejoices heavenly spirits, terrifies and confounds infernal ones. By this they are divided and disposed to their proper abodes. Even angels are stricken with awe by its exceedingly marvelous nature—they cannot but know the difference between its holy nature and their own selfhood. For this reason, the Day of Jehovah is said to be great and feared exceedingly. The first term, great, signifies the power of good derived from truth. Feared, as may be seen from its natural sense, relates to the distress induced by the reception of truth when there is any contrary state in the mind. The feeling which causes us to turn in reverence from the temptation to do evil is represented by fear. Evil spirits also fear goodness, because it is not congenial; and Swedenborg tells us, that if truth and goodness were permitted to enter evil spirits, they would directly begin to tremble from fear. Because this fear marks the first stages of the regenerate life, it is said, "the fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10). Exceedingly, as stated above, denotes the Immense increase of reverence resulting from the Lord's advent.
The question—who shall survive it? has reference to the exploration of the interior states of the Church by the influx of good and truth made at the judgement. As formerly stated, interrogations in the Word signify an examination, and generally imply a negative answer. To survive, signifies being supported by continual inflow of good and truth. It should be observed, that the simple forms of this verb are used in the sense of sustaining or nourishing. As in Genesis xlv. II, "And there I will nourish you." The Lord continually sustains all—both good and evil—it is true, and that is taught by this passage; but it also teaches that the evil and false do not receive sustenance from truth as it is—they pervert it, and that continually.
Internal Sense.—The Lord from Divine Love appropriated Divine truths to the interiors of the angels by influx, whence His heaven was infinitely increased in truth and its power: for the power of truth from good is in acting from the will according to the laws of the Lord. Hence the Lord's advent was efficacious in good and greatly feared by the evil. None could withstand His might.
references.—AC 3448, 4236, 7573, 9926, 9987; AE 261, 414, 573; AR 37, 447, 704, 862; TCR 82, 689; Doct. L. 4, 14.
"THY WILL BE DONE."
12. And now also, is the declaration of JEHOVAH, return you even to Me, in all your heart: and in a fast, and in weeping, and in lamentation.
Turning from the prediction of the Lord's judgement, the prophet exhorts the people to repentance. Notwithstanding the future issues of the present condition of the Church, the Lord invites the people to turn completely from their evil and seek Him.
And now also, is a phrase apparently expressing the ever-present association and connection of Divine laws with human life. That is to say, the conformity of human life to Divine truth is an ever-present necessity. It is not that men should turn to the Lord only when evil is manifest and brought clearly before the mind by its consequences, men should turn to the Lord always: it is the only means of true life. The end of the Church is coming, yet even so the imperative necessity of life is that man should turn to the Giver of every good and perfect gift. By this means alone were the Jewish people preserved in any semblance of life.
It is worthy of remark, that the term, to declare, is especially used of an utterance made in a low, moderated, and decidedly measured voice. It is, therefore, a word especially chosen to imply the whole conception of revelation, by which inner Divine truths are veiled or adapted to the apprehension of men. At the same time, the term denotes the affirmation of Divine truth such as that made by a revelation from God. This may be seen from its frequent use in the prophets, where it so often appears in the English Bible as, "says the Lord." See Isaiah 50:24, 3:15, etc. It is the declaration of Jehovah, denotes, therefore, the affirmation of Divine truth by the Lord.
To return, signifies to respond in order that conjunction may result. So in Psalm 51:13, "Then will I teach transgressors Your way: and sinners shall return to You." Again, " Let the wicked forsake his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts: and let him return to Jehovah, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, and He will increase pardon" (Isaiah 55:7). Even to Me, is expressive of completeness, in the natural sense—as if it had been said "quite to Me:" Spiritually, the term involves direction inwardly, implying that the inward man had sincerely and fully responded to the Lord. The heart corresponds to the will either as to good or evil. In the present case its bad sense is employed—the hearts of the people were full of wickedness, and the Lord invites and exhorts them to turn their hearts to Him—even to the last evil affection that remained, for in so doing they would put away evil and seek good. In Jeremiah 29:13, "And you shall seek Me, and find when you shall enquire for Me in all your heart." In Psalm 51:17, "A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise." It is said, "in all your heart," because thereby the means of conjunction between the Divine and the human will is implied.
As indicated above, the Hebrew text makes a more lengthened
pause between the clause just considered and those between the next three
clauses. The reason may be, that the former is in a sense generic and somewhat
removed from the latter part of the verse. Among the Jewish ordinances, the
fast, as explained under 1:14, represents internal resistance of evil.
There can be no repentance without resistance of evil, and if the whole heart,
that is, the will from first to last, is in response to the Lord, then evil must
be resisted. Under 1:5, it was shown that to weep, signifies to grieve
interiorly on account of the deprivation of truth. Weeping, therefore,
represents that grief. Again, this is an essential of repentance. "Weeping may
endure for a night, but exaltation comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5). But
there can be no genuine grief on account of the absence of truth unless the loss
is recognized in the presence of falsity—and when falsity is known to be present
repentance follows, if the whole heart is turned to the Lord. But grief on
account of falsity is not all the grief that afflicts the soul. A more searching
grief than that because of falsity is, that because of evil. This also belongs
to repentance. Lamentation, as may be seen from, to lament, 1:13,
represents that grief. The word means more correctly, or perhaps we should say
was applied to, beating the breast. Whence its signification becomes more
apparent: since it is smiting the seat of the heart. In Psalm 30:11, " You
have turned for me my lamentation into dancing." In Isaiah
Internal Sense.—It is an ever-present affirmation of the Lord's Divine truth, that in order to be conjoined with Him men must respond to Him completely with every affection of the will, by resisting evil and by grief over the deprivation of truth and goodness, in repentance.
conjunction with the lord.
13. And rend your heart, and not at all your garments: and return to JEHOVAH your GOD: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness—and He repents over the evil.
This verse must not be severed from the former one: the theme is continued. Repentance is referred to by the most striking representatives among the Jewish customs and habits of thought. To rend the garments on the occasions of great grief was most characteristic of these people as a custom. To attribute a change actually occurring within themselves to God, to speak of Him as repenting when they themselves repented, was a Jewish habit of mind. It should not be a matter for surprise that this exhortation to repentance is started from the ground that the people are suffering from the desolation of material necessities: that their food has been destroyed, and therefore they should search their heart's affections and repent. It must not be forgotten that the Jewish was a representative Church. All the circumstances and vicissitudes of the nation were representative. Their material prosperity or adversity depended upon their obedience or disobedience to Divine laws. When distress overtook them, it was because in some manner they had departed from God's law; and when they returned to Him, their worldly affairs prospered. Hence the calamities now described as overcoming the Church—as to their natural appearances— could only be averted by repentance of heart.
To rend the garment was a sign of mourning that exterior truth was destroyed. Garments correspond to the external forms of truth drawn from the Divine Word as investing goodness. Thus in Psalm 22:18, "They divide My garments among them, and cast lots upon My clothing." By referring to John 19:23, 24, it will be seen that these words relate to the outer and the inner garments of the Lord. The inner garment, which was seamless, is the interior truth of the Divine Word—for the Lord was " the Word"; and the outer garment is the exterior truth thereof. Here we see how the exterior truths of the Word are rent and divided by those who deny the Lord. That the term may be expressive of those external forms of the mind which conceal hypocritical interiors, maybe seen from Isaiah 24:16—commonly translated—"the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously"; more literally, " the false dealers acted covertly, and [as] a garment the false dealers acted covertly," or, covering, the false dealers acted covertly. To rend, signifies to mourn on account of truth destroyed. This may be illustrated in 1 Sam 15:28, where the kingdom of Israel is the spiritual kingdom or kingdom of truth. "Jehovah has rent the kingdom of Israel from you this day." So in 2 Sam 3:31, " Rend your garments, and gird you with sackcloth, and bewail Abner." A deeper contrition than grief on account of the destruction of exterior truth, a grief that penetrates far beyond the exteriors of the mind, is needed. Evil is the fountain-head of the trouble. Truth is not merely destroyed in the outer parts of the mind—it is polluted in the heart.
As shown in the previous verse, the heart corresponds to the will. To rend your heart, therefore, denotes mourning that truth is destroyed in the interior will: in other words, that it is falsified and confirmed by evil. The truest repentance requires this. Not at all, is a particle with an emphatic force. It seems to be used where a sense of internal absence, or the absence of something between the internal and the external, is experienced. It would therefore appear to indicate, in the present case, that there is nothing uniting the heart, or evil will, and the garments, or exterior truths. Or, again, that the garments, or external truths being falsified, there are no internal truths to unite them to the will. If, however, the heart mourns in sincere repentance, the whole man mourns.
To return to Jehovah, as explained under the previous verse, denotes to respond to the Divine love, so as to be conjoined to the Lord. But here there is a difference in the form and purport of the expression. Here it is said, " return to Jehovah your God." Unto, as shown under 1:1, is expressive of accord. First, then, the phrase requires response in accordance with the Divine Love, and second, it must be in accord with the Divine Love or Jehovah your God. While this is an emphatic declaration, that the heathen idols are not the God of the Jewish Church, but Jehovah, it also bears a spiritual truth which is noteworthy. As stated before, where Jehovah and God are used together, the unity of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, or the one Lord, is implied. The words, Jehovah your God, express the truth, that the Divine Love as perceived by means of the Divine wisdom is He to whom man must return and respond. Thus the law is stated, that man must turn from evil and do the will of the Lord according to the light of Divine Wisdom that is in him. We cannot do the Lord's will on earth according to the perception of truth which any other person possesses. He must be our God to be our Saviour. Nor can man be conjoined to the Lord, for which purpose he returns to the Lord, without doing so through the light of truth which he personally has from Him. The will of God is to men as the truth is in them— and this is their God. For by the mercy of the Lord, His wisdom is adapted to the state of every human mind, and He Himself appears in agreement with the truth possessed: for He is gracious and merciful.
It should be observed that the four epithets here used are nowhere in the Scriptures applied to any but the Lord only —gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness. They are each used of a special Divine quality. The Lord is gracious, as the Giver of every spiritual truth and good, hence of faith. Thus in Exodus 22:27, " I will hear : for I am gracious." He is merciful, as the Giver of every celestial good, hence of love. Thus in Deuter 4:31, "Jehovah your God is a merciful God : He will not fail you." Hence it appears, that gracious and merciful differ from each other as spiritual and celestial differ. Slow to anger, is more strictly in its literal form, " long or forbearing of nostrils." The expression indicates the unending clemency of the Lord, in bestowing upon man a continuous faculty of perceiving good. The term slow, or long-suffering, is significative of the Lord's clemency in the endurance of man's evils denoted by anger: an Hebraism for which is, " nostrils." Not only, then, is the Lord the Giver of all faith and love, but in enduring the evils of man with tender patience, He is slow to anger. "Jehovah is slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression" (Numb 14:18). It should, however, be noticed, that the words taken separately bring forth another truth. Long is predicated of good in holiness, and nostrils correspond to the perception of what is agreeable thereto—that discriminative perception which distinguishes between the pure and the impure. The Lord is unerring and everlasting in the perception of what is good and of sweet savour in human character; but it is from Divine Good that He is so. When we are taught that man is made to perceive the impurity of his own iniquity, it is said, " I have made the stink of your camps to come up to your nostrils" (Amos 4:10). But not only is the Lord's mercy everlasting in regard to good, but He is Good Itself, infinite in the desires of charity which He daily presses on the human heart. The truths He gives for the good of the needy never fail—He is abundant in loving-kindness. Abundant, as shown under 2:2, signifies the prevalence of truths in the understanding; when, however, this is predicated of Jehovah and used in connection with love, the interior of those truths is implied and, therefore, relates to good in its multiplicity. Loving-kindness, is a word whose natural force is, an ardent desire to show favour to another and help him. Its spiritual significance, then, may be manifest: it signifies the effect of love to the needy. The Lord is the giver of every such charitable affection. " The loving-kindness of Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him" (Psalm 103:17). That the Lord is abundant in loving-kindness, therefore, denotes that He is infinite in His goodness to needy man. Nay it is an eternal, unalterable Divine Law that the Lord should be all that these words involve—"And Jehovah passed before him, and called, Jehovah, Jehovah God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth" (Exodus 34:6), and the Psalmist, like Joel, is rejoiced to re-declare the same gospel. See Psalm 103:8. The Lord is spoken of as repenting in accommodation to the confirmed state of mind in which the Jewish people then were. Indeed, wicked men do always entertain the appearance that a change is not in themselves, but in the Lord. They turn away from Him, and are persuaded that He has forsaken them. They turn back to Him, and are equally persuaded that He has altered towards them. Whereas, as shown above, He is ever merciful and never changes. This is stated in Jeremiah 18:8, " If that nation... turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do to them."
Undoubtedly, this is the word used when the wicked are spoken of in the Scriptures as turning from their evil ways, and for that reason is retained here. Thus, in Job 42:6, "I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." It is also used, however, when the appearance just spoken of is in view. But it must be said also, that the stricter meaning of the word is " to be grieved." Thus, the present sentence could be rendered, "He is grieved over the evil." To repent, or be grieved, when predicated of the Lord, signifies that, while man declines from the truth, He will have mercy on him. Thus will He induce them to return to Him. " He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matt 5:45). The use of over, as explained 1:3, makes it manifest that the operation of this Divine mercy is. by an interior way. Evil, is derived from a verb meaning " to> break in pieces." Evil itself is that which shatters spiritual life as the vessel of heavenly goodness and truth. Do we push the point too far in wondering whether there is a reference here to "the broken spirit" of the repentant man? For the case now before us is that of those who have been warned of their sin and are exhorted to repentance. But the etymology of the word, evil, best illustrates its spiritual signification, which is interior aversion from good, and thus the disjunction of man from the Lord. The unity of man with heaven is thus broken. " Jehovah is near to them that are of a broken heart: and saves such as are of a contrite spirit. Many are the evils of the righteous: but Jehovah delivers them out of them all" (Psalm 34:18, 19). Again in Jeremiah 19:3, 11, "I will bring evil upon this place.... even so will I break this people and this city, as a potter's vessel breaks, that cannot be made whole again." Returning again to the word, to repent, it is often used in the sense of grief that brings comfort after it. Thus in Jeremiah 8:6, " No man repented him of his evil," or, was grieved for his evil. In Psalm 119:76, " Your merciful kindness be to comfort me." It is not difficult therefore to see, that the term denotes the Lord's mercy toward the repentant. The truly penitent put away their evils as sins, and then the Lord implants the graces and riches of eternal life, enumerated in the qualities attributed to Him above. This is Divine forgiveness and can only come with repentance—it is "repentance to the remission of sins." " May Your anger turn away, and may You comfort me" (Isaiah 12:1). The same things are said of the Lord in Jonah 4:2, " For I knew that You are a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness, and repent You over the evil."
Internal Sense.—Mourn on account of truth destroyed in the will and absent from the exterior of the mind: respond in accordance with the Divine Love as seen through the Divine Wisdom of the Lord in order to be conjoined to Him, for He gives spiritual faith and celestial good, the continuous perception of His clemency and the infinite affections of charity, and He mercifully averts from evil in turning to good.
references.—AC 588, 598, 10441, 10577; AE 637.
the divine answer.
14. Who knows? He may return, and comfort—and cause a blessing to be left after him—oblation and libation for jehovah your GOD.
This is a re-affirmation of the merciful forgiveness of the Lord resulting from repentance. As already stated, the interrogation is an affirmation implying a search of the mind. To know, is predicated of the Divine foresight and providence, when spoken of the Lord, but of acknowledgement in man of truth by reception of it into goodness. Who knows, therefore is an invitation to confess the truth upon investigation of the mind. Still speaking according to the appearance, it is said, if the Church repents, the Lord may return, and comfort. As shown under 2:12, to return, denotes to respond that conjunction may follow. The same is meant in the present case—namely, if men repent the Lord will respond, so that the Church may be again conjoined to Him. It was mentioned in the exposition of the previous verse, that some forms of the verb, to repent, are equivalent in force to, to comfort; such a form of that word is used in this case. Other cases like it occur in Psalm 86:17, "Jehovah, You have helped me and comforted me," and Isaiah 51:3, " Jehovah shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places." That the Lord may comfort denotes, as before, that He will have mercy. Who knows? He may return and comfort, therefore, signifies that it should be acknowledged from examination of our spiritual states that the Lord responds to the penitent, and will have mercy.
The Lord's blessing consists in the increase of every good proceeding from the Divine, whereby there is conjunction with Him. In this respect they who receive the many graces and virtues indicated by the " Beatitudes" are blessed. "You anticipated him with the blessings of goodness" (Psalm 21:3),..." I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing,... there shall be showers of blessing" (Ezek 34:26). In Zion "Jehovah commanded the blessing, even life for ever more" (Psalm 133:3). To leave, signifies to preserve from destruction—as that which is left is preserved from destruction. This is manifest from Isaiah 24:6, " Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left" After him, relates to " the people," and signifies the result of the falsity of worship as to its after or exterior effects. That the Lord may cause a blessing to be left after him, therefore, signifies that upon repentance the Lord will preserve every good proceeding from Him, whereby conjunction is made, from destruction by the exteriors of the falsity of worship which has possessed the Church.
Under 1:9 it was shown, that the oblation and libation represent, as signs of regeneration, the good of love to the Lord and the good of faith in the Lord. These are the blessing, or goods proceeding from the Divine, which He would preserve from the evil of false worship, if men repent. It is said, that these are for Jehovah your God, because the appearance is that man brings the offerings and service of love and faith to the Lord, whereas the truth is, that, just as the corn and wine are God's gifts in nature to man, so are love and faith from Him. It is stated by Swedenborg (AC 8717) that for or to means, in its internal sense, from, when predicated of the Lord. Hence it appears, that one more truth the repentant Church is required to acknowledge, and that is that all good and all truth is from the Love and Wisdom of the One God, which is the same as making full acknowledgement, that the Lord is God of heaven and earth. This is the very essential of repentance.
Internal Sense.—It should be acknowledged that the Lord, in order that conjunction should be made with the penitent, will respond and have mercy, and that He will preserve every good proceeding from the Divine, whereby conjunction can be made, from destruction by what remains of the falsity of worship possessing the Church—even the good of love to the Lord and the good of faith in Him which are from the Lord's love and wisdom.
15. Pitch you a curved-horn in Zion: sanctify a fast, call a restraint.
In the natural sense this verse seems, first, to be a repetition of what has been said before, and, secondly, to introduce another theme. In truth it is neither. In its spiritual sense it will convey a further truth related to the subject of repentance already under notice. Each term has been explained in another connection; but there are no useless reiterations in the Divine Word. It is to be expected, that the Lord would make known that He should be acknowledged as the Source of all good and truth, as taught in the previous verse: and that He would do this in His advent into every repentant soul. For the conversion of every heart from sin to righteousness is, in its degree, an image of the end of one dispensation, and the establishment of a new life in the Church.
As shown under ii. I, Pitch you a curved-horn in Zion, signifies the establishment of celestial good by Divine Truth in the celestial kingdom of the Church—and this is the effect of the working of the Lord's mercy and love described in the previous verses. There is rejoicing among the angels of heaven more over one sinner that repents than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance.
Sanctify a fast, call a restraint, signifies, as shown under 1:14, a representation of acknowledgement of the Lord interiorly as to good, and exteriorly as to faith; this should be done in a repentant spirit. In other words, a more sincere love of, and faith in the Lord is aroused in the representative Church by repentance. Avoiding evil, good is sought, and shunning falsity, truth is found. " And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great curved-horn shall be pitched, and the wanderers in the land of Assyria shall come, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and prostrate themselves before Jehovah in the mountain of holiness at Jerusalem" (Isaiah 27:13). Here are the indications of the new birth, the first promise of the redeemed and regenerated man. Hence the joy of the heavens, the Zion of God, through which, that this desirable end may be attained, the Divine Good is made known.
Internal Sense.—This celestial good is made known as a. permanent state in the Lord's celestial kingdom, and a representative acknowledgement of the Lord is made in the interior desire for good and truth, as well as the exterior of the same.
joys from heaven.
16. Gather people in, sanctify a congregation, gather elders : gather in babes and the sucklings of breasts. A bridegroom will go forth from his chamber, and a bride from her canopy.
The condition on which the Lord responds to prayer, or the soul's want, is, that there should be a need—a need acknowledged. The acknowledgement of need was implied in the fast which was sanctified, and the restraint which was called—as mentioned in the preceding verse. It is a great need that must be confessed—the need of all goodness and truth from the Lord. But it is also a great response, for it is nothing less than the revelation of the good of Divine Truth in the celestial heaven, as the abiding desire of God. Yes, it is true that notwithstanding the perversity of the human mind, and the persistency of its evil, the Lord never ceases to offer the means of happiness and peace. All that is wanting, to enable men to gather in the Divine gifts, is their willingness and earnest use of them. When this is understood, the present verse will read like a most comforting invitation to accept the treasures of wisdom which the Divine Father offers to every receptive mind. But, it must be borne in mind, the ingathering will only follow repentance, and wisdom comes when folly is eschewed. It thence appears that the attitude is altered. The subject is the gifts of God as received by those who have turned to the Lord, having repented of their iniquity: who acknowledge their Saviour, and seek His salvation.
To gather in, as shown under 1:14, is spoken of implanting truths in the mind. Thus it is said to Noah, " And take you to you of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it in to you" (Gen 6:21). Again, " Six years you shall sow your land, and shall gather in the increase thereof: but the seventh you shall let it rest and lie still" (Exodus 23:10-11). People, as explained under 2:2, denotes in its good sense the truths of faith according to the nature of the worship. The invitation to gather people in is an invitation to the penitent, who acknowledge the Lord and confess His word, to receive the truths of faith in the mind.
To sanctify, as also shown under 1:14, is spoken of confessing something to be holy, or to acknowledge as holy and Divine what is from the Lord. Thus in Leviticus 21:8 it is said of the priest, " You shall sanctify him, therefore; for he offers the bread of your God: he shall be holy to you: for I, Jehovah, who sanctify you, am holy." Congregation denotes the spiritual truths of the Church in their complexity. That is, the whole spiritual truth as assembled to form the Church was represented by the congregation. This is easy to understand: for a Church can be composed of no more than all the principles of spiritual faith congregated together in it—so far as its intellectual side is concerned. Hence the word is so often applied to the Israelites as representing the spiritual Church: " I have not concealed Your mercy and Your truth from a numerous congregation" (Psalm 40:10). "In the midst of a congregation will I praise You" (Psalm 22:22). Hence the exhortation, to sanctify a congregation, has in view the confession as holy, and from the Lord, all the spiritual truths of the Church.
By so doing, something results which is put as a separate invitation. In truth it is part of the general invitation to accept the gifts of God; but it can be done only, when the truths of faith are implanted in the mind, and the whole complex of truth is admittedly received as holy and from the Lord. It was shown under 2:6, that to gather signifies to preserve, and under 1:2, that elders represent the principles of wisdom in the Church. " Let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hands of Pharaoh," said Joseph (Gen 41:35). This related to the preservation of good and truth for use. By the implantation of the truths of faith in the mind by the Lord—(for this is done by none other than Him)—and by the acknowledgement of their holiness and divine origin, the principles of wisdom are preserved in the Church. This is to become wise indeed. But this is not all. More is required by the perfect life than the preservation of wisdom. When the Lord commended the wisdom of the serpent, He coupled with it the harmlessness of the dove. Wisdom is preserved in the Church only when innocence is united to it. Babes and sucklings of the breasts, denote the innocence required. Babes correspond to the innocence of heavenly love, and sucklings of the breasts to the innocence of mutual charity. Thus in Jerem 44:7: " Wherefore commit you this great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, babe and suckling, out of Judah, to leave you no remainder?" Again, Psalm 8:2: " Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings You have founded strength in reply to Yours adversaries, that You might still an enemy and a self-avenger." Gather in babes and sucklings of the breasts, therefore, signifies the implantation of the innocence of heavenly love and mutual charity.
The needful conjunction of wisdom and innocence may be seen suggested in the principal terms of the closing sentence. The bride and bridegroom imply a present marriage. In the supreme sense the Lord is the Bridegroom of the Church while she is being renewed, and her Husband when she is established. In just the same way, the Church is the Bride of the Lord in the former state, and His Wife in the latter. The words, " As a bridegroom priestlike decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels" (Isaiah 61:10), are applied to the Lord and His Church in the description of His advent and the institution of a new dispensation. But in a lower sense, the bridegroom is the good which belongs to the love of the Church which is from the Lord and is adjoined—not yet conjoined—to its related truth. The bride in this sense is the truth of the Church so adjoined to its good. Thus it will be seen again that these are the good and truth of the Church before it is established. When the Church is established the good and truth are conjoined.
To go forth, signifies to be delivered by means of truth, as were the Israelites delivered from Egypt by Moses: " On the third month, after the sons of Israel went forth from the land of Egypt" (Exodus 19:1). The particle, from, relates to ascent out of externals. Chamber is a term especially applied to the inner parts of the house. Indeed, it is sometimes translated " inward parts" in the common version, as in Proverbs 20:27, 30. The term corresponds to the interiors of the mind, which are relatively external to the good signified by the bridegroom: for the Lord is in that good. So in Deuter 32:25: " The sword without, and horror in the chamber, shall make childless the young man and the virgin, the suckling with the man of gray hairs." When men are repentant and wise, the Lord effects their salvation by means of the good, which has been freed from falsity, through truth abiding in the interiors of their minds. Thus good from the Lord is brought forth in the external acts of the life.
The canopy—covering or protection, appears to refer, in the natural sense, to that veiling under which the bride is carried in the marriage ceremony of the Orientals. Beside the present reference, the word is only used in two other places in the Scriptures, in Psalm 19:5, and in Isaiah 4:5: " Over all the glory there shall be a canopy." The canopy corresponds to the external sense of Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, which sense is the covering and protection of the internal sense. The word canopy is derived from " to cover, veil, or envelope." The literal sense of Divine truth is its envelope. When, therefore, it is said that the bride shall come forth from her canopy, it is meant that the truth of the Church, adjoined to its good, shall come forth from its external literal sense, and shall be revealed to those who are of a contrite and humble spirit. But all this is promised as the issue of sincere repentance. First, the implantation of the truths of faith, the acknowledgement as holy of all the spiritual truths of the Church, the preservation of wisdom, conjointly with the endowment of the innocence of love and charity; and secondly, that living union of the Lord with His Church, which consists in the descent into her of His good, and the ascent from her of a loyal faith in Him drawn from His word. Thus there is a meeting of things interior and exterior, a marriage of love and faith, and thence a new man—a new dispensation.
Internal Sense.—The Lord will implant the truths of faith according to the worship in the mind: the Church confessing as holy all the spiritual truths of the Church, preserving the principles of wisdom, and endowing the mind with the innocence of heavenly love and mutual charity. Hence a conjunction with the Lord will follow—the good of love adjoined to its truth is delivered, by means of truth, from the interiors of the mind, and the truth of the Church adjoined to its good from the externals of the Word.
references.—AC 5608; AE 1189; AR 797.
17. Between the porch and to the altar, the priests—the ministers of JEHOVAH—shall weep! And they shall say, Spare You, O JEHOVAH, over Your people, and You will not at all cause Your inheritance to be received for disgrace, for nations to rule in them: wherefore should they say in the peoples, Where is their god ?
The porch of Solomon's Temple was in front of the Holy of Holies, 20 cubits broad (the same as the Temple itself), 10 cubits deep, and 120 cubits high. The brazen altar for burnt-offerings stood before this. The altar was equal in breadth to the porch. The space between the porch and the altar was a "hallowed place." It was from this place that the priests sprinkled the blood on the veil on the day of Atonement. There they prayed. It was there, too, that in the reign of Joash, Uzziah's grandfather, Zechariah the priest was stoned to death by command of the king, because he denounced the idolatry of Judah. Of whom the Lord said, he was murdered between the Temple and the altar (Matt 23:35). The absence of offerings to the Lord may, then, not be the only reason for the priests' distress. Possibly there is a reference here to the murder—perhaps only some twenty years before—of the priest who opposed the continuance of the evil now overwhelming the Church.
The Temple was the representative of all the spiritual qualities essential to the constitution of true worship. Its parts, officers, and instruments, had each their appointed place and significance in the meaning of the whole. The porch or vestibule on the eastern side, which was the front, represents the truth which leads to good cohering with the interiors. Just as the Most Holy Place could be approached only by this porch, so can the Divine of the Lord be approached by His truth. So the Son of Man, as the incarnate Truth, said, " No man comes to the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6). So in Ezek 46:2, " And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of a gate without... and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate." It was shown under 1:13, that the altar was the chief representative of the Lord in respect to the Divine Good, the purest heavenly love in worship. Between is a term implying that which intervenes, as conscience intervenes between the Lord and the Church. In the spiritual planes of the mind, conscience forms a means of communication between the truths leading to good and the good of the Lord in His worship. But it is especially said, to or towards the altar, because true conscience while it is a means from truth to the good of the Lord, is yet disposed towards the Lord. We enter the Temple by truths, but, being in conscience, we look towards the Lord. It must be noticed that to look towards the altar is to look to the east, and the east corresponds to the Lord. As explained under 1:9, the priests, the ministers of Jehovah, represent the affections of love to the Lord which serve by truths. Now it will be noticed, that there is a reciprocal state described here. Between the porch and to the altar, as just shown, describes the state intervening between the truth that leads to good and the Divine good, but towards the latter: the priests, the ministers of Jehovah, represent the love of the Lord, or the Divine good, from its Divine side, serving by truth. If this be compared with the conclusion of the previous verse it will be seen, that there is a proper connection between them in the internal sense, where none appears in the literal. It was said in 1:9, that the priests, the ministers of Jehovah, had mourned; that was a comparatively external grief. Here it is said, they shall weep. To weep, as shown under 1:5, corresponds to grief felt interiorly on account of the deprivation of truth, or the presence of falsity. When those who, from love to the Lord, should serve by truth, by directing their conscience to the Lord, also see the desolation they have worked, and discern the prevalence of falsity instead of truth, do they not suffer a most interior grief of heart? But this grief is the means, the opportunity for God's mercy. By it the repentant soul is prepared for the reception of the Lord's forgiveness. It is the state needed for the Divine response. From it flows forth the right prayer; the prayer that ensures an answer, because it expresses the real need of a contrite spirit. To say, signifies to communicate by expressing from the will what has been perceived. In the spiritual world, whence all correspondences arise, and through which the Word has its inner meaning, whatever is desired in the will, and perceived in the understanding, is also said. There the outward speech and the inward perception are one. " Let such as love Your salvation say continually, Jehovah be magnified" (Psalm 70:4). What then is it that the penitent heart, feeling, communicates to the Lord, and will ensure His response? What are the terms of this communion? Like true prayer—like the Lord's Prayer—its terms contain the answer. The Lord is besought to spare His people. If the petition ascends from the repentant heart seeking His salvation, He spares them. Nor will He permit His own to be mocked. Men are only mocked by their own insincerity.
To spare, signifies to care for and preserve. Those whose insincerity leads them to seek care and preservation for themselves, regarding not the care they have of others, are they who are not spared. They do not see it, it is true, but it is seen nevertheless. " No eye spared you, to do any of these things to you, to have compassion upon you" (Ezek 16:5). Again in Jerem 21:7, " And he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy." People, as explained under ii. 2, denotes the truths of faith belonging to worship; that is, those truths whose primary reference is to the object of worship in the Church. The particle, over, as formerly stated, refers to what is within. Hence the petition, Spare You, O Jehovah, over Your people, signifies that the Lord from His love will preserve interiorly the truths of faith according to the worship of Him.
The Lord's inheritance is the life conjoined to the Lord's kingdom by truth. This may be seen in part from the natural meaning of the word. The term is derived from the verb " to obtain possession, or receive as a possession," and therefore, means something taken in possession. The Lord's spiritual kingdom is that to which life is conjoined by truth: hence the inheritance from the Lord is conjunction with His spiritual kingdom, whereby the Church obtains all it possesses. From this, Israel is called the Lord's inheritance (Psalm 78:71; Isaiah 19:25). Again it is said in Psalm 94:14, " For Jehovah will not abandon His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance." It was shown under ii. n, that to be received denotes to appropriate to the external by influx thereinto. Disgrace denotes the non-correspondence or contrariety of the internal and external as to the good and true. The Church on earth is a disgrace when its internal and external lives do not correspond, and is thereby the occasion of bringing the Lord's blessings into contempt. " The word of Jehovah was made a disgrace to me, and a reproach all day," when evil prevailed among the people (Jerem 20:8). As stated under verse 13 of this chapter, not at all relates to the same absence or contrariety between internal and external as that just mentioned. You will not at all cause Yours inheritance to be received for disgrace, therefore, denotes that the Lord will leave nothing wanting to conjoin the life of the penitent to His spiritual kingdom, by appropriating to the external the blessings of His inflowing good and truth prepared for by repentance.
The precise nature of the possibly disjunctive media, just referred to, is stated in the next clause, for nations to rule in them. As shown under i. 6, nations correspond to the evils of false worship. To rule, signifies to arrange and make subject, and the term is especially used of the kingdom of the will. So in Deuter 15:6, " And you shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you." Again it is said, that " Solomon ruled over all kingdoms from the river to the land of the Philistines, and to the boundary of Egypt" (1 Kings 4:21). The nations ruling in the Lord's people, signifies evils of worship making the truths of faith subject by disjunction of the worship of the Lord. It has been pointed out already, that in involves a means of conjunction, or, in a bad sense, a means of disjunction. Thus, it appears, from this part of the prayer, that it is recognised that the evils of worship separate the truths of faith from adoring the Lord, and thence falsifies them. Herein is the root of the prophet's theme brought forward in a new way.
Again, that evil agencies intend to separate truth from the worship of God is implied in the concluding words of this verse. The exploration of the interiors is involved in the questions in this case, as in others. Wherefore, which is more literally, to what? relates to the perception of causes, and may be represented thus: To what end should they say in the peoples? Or, stated in an affirmative form, the spiritual meaning of the phrase is, it is perceived by the Church turned to the Lord what is the end of the communication of evils of worship with the truths of faith; the end of that communication is, the denial of the Divine Truth. For, as shown above, to say, signifies to communicate from the will (wherefore the nations are they who say], and peoples represent the truths of faith. That which the nations communicate to the peoples, and which perverts them (for the communications of evil pervert the truth, and falsify it) is involved in the question, Where is their God? This question implies a negative answer, or an answer denying God. Those who foster the evil desire to destroy the faith of others, select those occasions of distress—distress induced by man's own evil—to insinuate a denial of God, by asking, Where now is your God, the God you trusted? As stated under 1:13, God relates to the Lord as Divine Truth. Converting the interrogation into an affirmative statement, the phrase denotes a denial of Divine Truth. The same is found in Psalm 79:10 and 115:2. Although the succeeding verses hold a continuous connection with these, with this verse the subject of repentance, which began at verse 12, terminates. They enfold "an exhortation that the Church should turn to the Lord, and repent and be wise." Internal Sense.—From conscience directed to the Lord, those in the love of Him, who serve in truth, should grieve interiorly over the loss of truth, and repent. They should beseech the Lord to preserve the truths of His worship, and not let them be separated from His spiritual kingdom by subjection to evils, which seek that separation by denial of Divine Truth.
references.—AE 630; TCR 251; SS 86.
18. And JEHOVAH will be jealous for His earth: and will pity over His people.
How the Lord answers the prayer of the truly penitent and sincere has been stated already. " It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear" (Isaiah 65:24). The Lord's response is His conjunction with those who turn to Him; and when, from whole-hearted repentance, man prays to be preserved from the evil, he never prays in vain.
When the Lord protects the good with His mercy it appears to the evil like hostility; like an over-anxious care for the few; like a jealous bestowal of His favours. It is not so, but so it appears. In reality it is mercy to all mankind: for the jealous protection of the good is the preservation of all in the capacity for the reception of Divine life. To be jealous, when predicated of the Lord, signifies the exercise of love and mercy by the Lord upon mankind. The term also bears the natural sense of being zealous. Thus in Isaiah 37:32, " Out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of Mount Zion: the zeal of Jehovah of hosts shall do this." Because the Lord's mercy, or the ardour of Divine Love, appears to the wicked as anger, this term is often used to represent that appearance. " Thus says Jehovah of hosts: I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury" (Zech 8:2). The simple meaning of the word, in its literal sense, seems to be an excitement or warmth of feeling (for this reason it is sometimes associated with fire or heat), and is thus used either of ardent love or anger. When the Lord is said to be jealous for His Church, the ardency of His mercy is referred to. As already stated, in several places, Jehovah is used in reference to the Divine Love. It was also shown under 1:2, that earth corresponds to the external Church, especially as to the will or voluntary part. Jehovah will be jealous for His earth, therefore, signifies that the Divine Love will have mercy upon His external Church with ardent affection. Thus the Church will be restored to good.
To pity, which also means to be gentle, signifies to be gracious by an inflow of charity from the Lord. So in Malachi 3:17, "And I will pity them, as a man pities his own son that serves him." "He was their Saviour... in His love and in His pity He redeemed them" (Isa 63:8, 9). That the Lord will pity over His people, denotes that the Divine Love will be gracious by inflowing with charity into the truths of faith according to the worship: for people represents such truths.
Internal Sense.—The Divine Love of the Lord will have mercy upon His external Church, and be gracious by infilling the truths of faith with charity.
19. And JEHOVAH will answer and say to His people, Lo, I send forth to you the grain, and the must, and the new-oil, and you shall be satisfied therewith: and I will not at all cause you to be received any more [as] a disgrace in the nations.
The response of the Lord, already foreshadowed, is explicitly assured here. As said before, the repentant recognition of our genuine need expressed in humble trust of the Lord draws from His Divine love the good and truth needed to sustain. When this stage is attained, then the Church is strengthened to resist in further temptations, and those things are restored of which evil and falsity formerly despoiled her.
To answer and to say are often associated in the Scriptures: the reason is that reciprocal perception and communication from the will are related. The Lord is said to answer and say, when He causes perception by influx, in response to man's state, and by such communication enables man to perceive. For the perception of Divine truths is the result of Divine life and light inflowing into the human mind responsive to the state of willingness to receive and obey. Thence the inflow and perception are the Lord's answer to the soul's supplication. "In the day when I call answer me speedily" (Psalm 102:2). That to answer signifies to receive, and thence reciprocate, may be seen in Exodus 20:16, "You shall not answer in your fellow the witness of a lie." It was for this reason that the Lord when accused before the high priest by false witness, "answered nothing" (Mark 14:61). Under verse 17 of this chapter, it was shown that to say signifies to communicate by expressing from the will what is perceived. People represent the truths of. faith, as shown under 2:2. By it being said,. Jehovah will answer and say to His people, therefore, is meant that the Lord from His Divine Love will reciprocate and communicate perception from Himself to the truths of faith, or those in the truths of faith restored by acknowledging Him. The communicated perception is then treated of. Lo, is used in its internal sense of responsive apperception; that is, of the perception which reflects upon one's own consciousness. Clear introspection is a consequence of repentance. It should also be noted that lo is used in connection with the truths of faith, as behold is, in connection with the truths of use or charity. They who are turned anew to the Lord perceive many things by looking in upon themselves; but the truth of most importance for them to see is that He is the Giver of all that sustains and nurtures spiritual life. The knowledge of the Lord in its fullest sense is the knowledge of man's never-ending dependence on Him. All that men have of good and truth proceed from the Divine Love of the Lord by the Divine Truth—to each one, however, according to his own state of will. To send forth, as may be seen by comparison with what was said under 2:8 concerning missile (which is derived from the present word), signifies to proceed, and when predicated of the Lord, means to proceed in Divine Truth. For this reason John, as the forerunner of the Lord, is described as a " man sent from God" (John 1:6). The Divine Truth incarnate also described Himself as sent by the Father. The Lord also said He would send the Spirit of Truth from the Father (John 15:26). Again in Psalm 43:3, " O send forth Your light and Your truth: let them lead me." But the truth proceeding from the Lord is received by man according to the nature of his will. The recipient conforms the truth to his own state of will. There is a particle in the original which is not represented in the above translation, and which precedes the words grain, must and new-oil. It is supposed that this particle, in the natural sense, only emphasises or specialises the object of the sentence. The position and apparent force of the term may be gathered from this translation of the sentence, " Lo, I send forth to you with reference, to the grain, and the must and the new-oil, and you shall be satisfied with reference to it." It must be observed that, notwithstanding its omission from the translation, with reference to, has an internal import. It expresses the idea of concord—in accordance with. So that its power must not be overlooked. The Divine Truth is given to man with reference to his states of goodness; that is, in accordance with them.
Grain, as shown under 1:10, corresponds to good generally in the external man, must to its correspondent truth, and new-oil to the good of the spiritual man, in which the good and truth of the natural degree are united. These are the states renewed by repentance in the man of the Church; and the communication from the Lord is the perception, upon self-examination, that the Divine Truth will proceed from the Divine Love and be received by man according to his own good and truth externally, and his good internally. But these gifts are from the Lord and, therefore, in the natural sense, it appears that these are what is sent: for the object of that sense is to induce such states. And you shall be satisfied therewith, or in accordance with it, refers to what proceeds from the Lord —namely, the Divine Truth. To be satisfied, signifies to receive in the will as much as is desired. Thus in Psalm 17:15, " I shall be satisfied when I awake, with Your likeness." Again in Hosea 13:6, " According to their pasture, so were they satisfied; they were satisfied; and their heart was exalted." Not only is there human re-action on Divine Truth, there is Divine action on the human will, by causing it to receive more truth as the desires are quickened—and you shall be satisfied in accordance with it—that is, in accordance with the truth proceeding from the Lord.
What is signified by the Lord will not at all cause His people to be received [as] a disgrace, may be seen under 2:17, where it is shown to mean, that the Lord would leave nothing wanting to conjoin a true faith to Himself, by appropriating to its external the blessings of His inflowing good and truth, prepared for by repentance. Here, however, there are some terms altered: the result of which is to produce the following differences in the internal sense: First, the untranslated particle mentioned above occurs before you, which relates to the people. The term, further, is also introduced. And instead of saying, " Your inheritance for disgrace," it is here said " a disgrace in the nations." The particle, with reference to, denotes agreement or concord between the Lord and the people. Further is used in the sense of continuity, and nations, as shown under 1:6, represent evils of worship. The phrase therefore signifies that the Lord from His Divine Love will continually appropriate to the external Church, in accordance with their true faith, that which shall protect from the evils of worship; or, in other words, so long as the Church continues in a true faith the Lord will defend them from disjunctive evils of worship.
Internal Sense.—The Lord from His Divine Love will reciprocate and communicate perception from Himself to those in a true faith, whereby they shall see that Divine Truth proceeds from Him in accordance with their good and truth in the natural and their good in the spiritual; and this they shall receive in the will according to their desires, and so long as the Church continues in a true faith He will defend them from the evils which separate from Him.
20. And the northern one I will cause to be far off from over you, and I will cause him to be driven to the earth of dryness and desolation—with his faces to the eastern sea, and his end to the hinder sea: and his stench shall ascend, and his foulness will ascend: because he caused [his] work to increase.
Whether one of the nations (the Phoenicians, for example), figured by the locusts, is here more specifically located as " the northern one," or whether the northern kingdom of Israel, and a reference to its captivity, be here meant, it is not possible to determine. That " the northern one" is not intended to describe the locusts as such is certain; for although their course was a northerly one, they do not originate in the north of Palestine, and the termination of the word " northern" in Hebrew indicates an origin. When the prophet last referred to the locusts, at verse 9, they had invaded Jerusalem. The "eastern sea" is the Dead Sea, and the "hinder sea," the Mediterranean. Locusts travel with the wind, no matter where the wind takes them. They are usually carried seaward, where the whole multitude perish. Their carcases drift in great numbers upon the shores, and their putrefaction often occasions a pestilence. It is not improbable that the present verse refers to such an event. The removal of the desolating locusts from Jerusalem would be consonant with the issue of repentance formerly treated of. Their being driven towards a land of " dryness and desolation" would meet the geographical requirements admirably, since a wind from the Mediterranean Sea blowing across Jerusalem to the Dead Sea would go on to the northern part of the Arabian Desert. But such is the declivity of the land over which the wind would carry the locusts, that they would be inevitably precipitated into the Dead Sea. They would strike the water where stood Gomorrah. The sea is some eight miles across, and at the opposite shore the land rises rapidly to a height of 2700 feet above the Dead Sea level. The level of the Dead Sea is 1292 feet below that of the Mediterranean. Here the locusts would perish; for, added to the invariable conditions, the mists of constant evaporation, the frequent thunderstorms, and the deadly nature of the water would ensure their death. On the coasts they would lie in immense numbers; and the intense heat at this locality would sufficiently account for the concluding phrases of the verse. It seems probable, then, that this is the natural meaning.
Before entering, however, upon the spiritual exposition, it may be worthy of remark that there appears to be some connection between the Hebrew word, ts^aphon (north), and a Greek word of similar sound, zophos. The word used in the Hebrew tongue, meaning " north," is strictly, the hidden or obscure, being derived from the verb " to conceal, or be obscured." It should be noticed also that the Greek word just mentioned has the same meaning, and is so used by Peter and Jude. It is also used by Homer several times; but he especially applies the word to the gloominess of the nether world, and in connection with what may be regarded as the judgement of souls in the Greek mythology. Thus, Theoclymenus, whom Homer portrays as a seer, or one who sees into the spiritual world, speaks prophetically of the future state of the suitors in the house of Odysseus thus—"Ah, wretched ones! what evil is this you suffer? Your heads, faces, and knees are involved in night. Mourning has burst forth, and your cheeks are wet with tears, the walls and fair main-beams are sprinkled with blood. The porch is full, the hall is also full of shades hastening towards Erebus (or 'the world of spirits') beneath the gloom. The sun has perished from heaven, and evil murkiness has overspread us" (Odys. 20:351). See also Iliad 15:191, and Odysseus's description of his own journey to the nether world (Odys. 11:57). Further, it is noticeable that this word is used in reference to the gloom of that part of the spiritual world wherein judgement is accomplished, which also is the sense of the word in 2 Peter 2:4, and Jude 6. The verse of Joel's prophecy now under our notice treats of the judgement in the world of spirits. The obscurity or gloom of the Church is denoted by north,. as being that quarter of the world into which the sun is less immediately present.
From what has now been said, the spiritual signification; of northern can be illustrated. The word denotes the state of obscurity as to truth—indeed, a state of falsity or non-intelligence. From falsity, wrong is done; hence it is said in Jerem 1:14, "Out of the north the evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the earth." This falsity leading to evil is referred to by the northern one. To be far off, signifies to be remote, as may be seen from the natural sense. So in Exodus 23:7, " Be you far off from the word of a lie." Also Isaiah 29:13, "For as much as this people draw near with their mouth, and with their lips honours Me, but their heart is far off from Me." From over you, signifies out of the interiors of those in true faith. That the Lord will cause the northern one to be far off from over you, therefore, denotes that the Lord will remove falsity out of the interiors of those in true faith after repentance—that is, in other words, that the obscurity will be removed from their spiritual understanding, so that they shall have a clear faith in the Lord. The particle mentioned in the previous verse, here also untranslated, precedes northern. Its force is to make known that the Lord removes falsity according to its nature—that is, as all falsity belongs to hell, it is removed accordingly: the more perfect and sincere the repentance, the further is the falsity removed. The former verses bespoke the blessings vouchsafed to the penitent—the judgement which conjoins the righteous more nearly to heaven, removes the unrighteous more and more to hell, according to their states.
This is more specially stated in the next clause—and I will cause him to be driven to the earth of dryness and desolation. In adducing this verse as proof, that in the outermost boundaries of the spiritual world there are droughts and wastes, Swedenborg undoubtedly had these words in view (AE 422, note 1). The dry and waste places of the spiritual world are in hell. To be driven, signifies to be dispersed, and is used in reference to evil. It appears to relate to a rejection or dispersion by a power from within. Thus in Deuter 30:4, " If any of your be driven to the extremity of the heavens, from there will Jehovah, your God, gather you, and from there will He fetch you." In Jerem 49:5, "You shall be driven every man right forth: and none shall gather up him that wanders." Like, with reference to mentioned above, to, as shown under 1:1, is expressive of accord. Earth, as stated under 1:2, corresponds to the external Church, especially in regard to the will. The external Church has been shown to be in a perverted and corrupt state, because of its turning from the Lord. In the present case, therefore, the term is used in its bad sense—namely, the selfhood in the will, or the hellish state of the affections. Dryness, or aridity, signifies extinction of the good which is of truth. " My soul thirsts for You, my flesh longs for You in a land of dryness and languishing, where no water is" (Psalm 63:1). " I will make a desert a pool of water, and dry land springs of water" (Isaiah 41:18). Desolation, as shown under 1:7, signifies the deprivation of spiritual faith. The earth of dryness and desolation, therefore, denotes that external state wherein good and truth are extinct, or in one word, hell. That the Lord will cause the northern one to be driven to the earth of dryness and desolation, signifies that the falsity will be dispersed to hell according to the evil that is in it, may be seen from the exposition of the several parts of the sentence. The latter part of this signification is more fully illustrated in the next clause.
Under verse 6 of this chapter, it was shown that faces correspond to the interiors; his faces, therefore, refers to the interiors of the falsity denoted by northern. The term, with, is the untranslated particle formerly mentioned, and relates, as before, to the agreement between the interiors of this falsity and the state denoted by the eastern sea. The concord is also emphasised by to.
It was remarked above, that the eastern sea is the Dead Sea —once the Vale of Siddim, the scene of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 14:3, 10). This sea is also called the Salt Sea, as in Numbers 34:3, " Your southern boundary shall be the extremity of the Salt Sea eastward," and in Ezekiel 47:18, " the eastern sea." The deadly nature of the water, whose surface is 1290 feet below the level of the Mediterranean, and whose bottom is as deep again at the northern end, the precipitous and barren nature of its coasts, the bituminous neighbourhood, its tragic associations with " the cities of the plain," and the generally menacing features of the whole scene have induced travellers to liken it to the infernal regions. One scholarly traveller says—"In this awful hollow, this bit of the infernal regions come up to the surface, this hell with the sun shining into it, primitive man laid the scene of God's most terrible judgement on human sin." The eastern sea denotes, in its good sense, the natural man as to good; but, in the opposite sense, the natural man as to evil, especially the evil of hell. For just as in its good sense, eastern, signifies the good of love to the Lord, so in its reverse sense, it is the evil of self-love, or the lust of hell. This may be seen not only from the circumstance that the Lord is called " the East," but also from the etymology of the word. Literally, the eastern means that which is in front, as that to which the face turns. The Garden of Eden was planted eastward, because, in their intelligence, the first men of the Church delighted to look to the Lord with love (Genesis 2:8). The sea, sometimes called " the deep," or abyss, in the Scriptures, as in Luke 8:31, whither the devils besought the Lord to let them go, corresponds to the sensual mind, or the sensual hell, in its bad sense. Hence, the eastern sea, in the sense in which it is here used, denotes the sensual evil of hell. With his faces to the eastern sea, therefore, denotes that the interiors of the falsity which the Lord would remove were such as accord with the sensual evil of hell. When, then, it is noticed that the locusts correspond to the sensual, the correspondence of their interiors with this evil will be seen. By perishing in the Dead Sea they had gone to their "own place."
The end of the northern one corresponds to the ultimate state of falsity. Thus in Daniel 7:26, "And He shall sit in judgement, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it to the end." Unto, again expresses the correspondence of this outermost state of falsity with the hinder sea. The word, hinder, is sometimes used in reference to the west. The hinder sea corresponds to the sensual falsity of hell. Hinder, in its good sense, signifies the natural as to truth. Hence, it was promised the Israelites that their border should be " even unto the hinder sea" (Deuter 11:24). Both eastern sea and hinder sea occur in Zech 14:8, in their good senses—"Living waters shall go out from Jerusalem, half of them towards the eastern sea and half of them towards the hinder sea." That his end should be to the hinder sea, therefore, signifies that the ultimate falsity of those described should be removed to the infernal, sensual falsity, to which it accords. Thus the interior is evil, and the most exterior is false. The quality of life in which a spirit has lived is made sensible in the spiritual world by odours, and smell, or the sense by which that quality is perceived, corresponds to the perception of the quality of life. But it must be noticed, that the quality of an evil life is only made sensible as an ill odour in the presence of one in good life. Thus evil and falsity become sensible as loathsome odours in the presence of the good and true. The perception of the quality of the falsity, and its internal evil, which desolated the Church, is referred to here, and it is found to be abominable. Stench corresponds to the evil which exhales from hell as the sphere of the lost. Thus it is said in Exodus 7:21, in reference to the state of the Egyptians, "and the river stank." It seems, that the evil especially referred to by this term is that which comes of the profanation of truth. Foulness is a term which occurs nowhere else in the Scriptures; naturally, it is said to mean the heat of putrefaction. By reference to Swedenborg's Index Biblicus, under putredo, the term appears to correspond to the disorder arising from the separation of the internal and external, or the mixture of truth with evil. It is possible that the term is related to thrown off, used in Hosea 8:3, 5. If so, the signification assigned will be supported thereby. This term would, therefore, denote the quality of falsity from the lusts of evil. To ascend, as shown under 1:6, signified to emerge from the inferior to the superior state. Hence the passage describes the quality of" evil and falsity emerging in hell.
The underlying source of the evil condition of the Church, now separated from the penitent, is described in the final phrase, Because he caused [his] work (or doing) to increase. To do, as shown under 2:11, signifies to produce a change or effect from the will—that is, from some inward directing desire. Under the same verse, it was shown that great refers to the prevalence of some state of the affections. To increase, or be magnified, is the term whence great is derived, and signifies to excel in evil, in its bad sense. When it is said, that one causes his own doings to be magnified, the extension. of his self-love is referred to. It was because "hell had enlarged herself" in the falsity which beset the Church that her calamity came upon her.
Internal Sense.—That the Lord will remove falsity, according to its nature, out of the interiors of those in a true faith, and will disperse it to hell according to its lack of good and truth; its interiors corresponding with the sensual evil, and its external corresponding with the sensual falsity of hell— the quality of whose evil and falsity is perceived—it excels in the works of self-love.
references.—AE 422, note 1. Cor. 56.
trust in the lord.
21. You shall not at all fear; O ground: exult you and rejoice: for JEHOVAH shall cause [His] work to increase.
The state described by the former verse—wherein the Lord removes evils and falsities from the Church being established by repentance, is a state of temptation. The sufferings, while evil and falsity are being removed, beget anxieties and fears. Swedenborg says, "All temptation is attended with some kind of despair, otherwise it is not a temptation; wherefore, also, consolation follows. Whosoever is tempted is brought into anxieties, which occasion a state of despair in regard to the end: and in this the combat of temptation essentially consists" (AC 1787). After our Lord overcame in His temptations, "angels came and ministered to Him" (Matt 4:11). So when the agony of His final temptations was upon Him,. " there appeared an angel to Him from heaven, strengthening Him" (Luke 22:43). The progress of reformation is ensured, and, in regard to the Church, the new dispensation is established, by restoring confidence when all around there is fear and despondency. " In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world," says our Lord. Falsity being removed, as it must be before truth can do its appointed work, the mind is in doubt: unsettled from its old fastnesses, it beats about for fresh assurance, and wants the new ground for its trust. But just as the Lord said, "Peace, be still" to the troubled waters of Galilee, so now He says—for it is none else that speaks, You shall not at all fear, O ground.
It was explained under 1:10, that ground corresponds to the will of the external man or Church as the receptacle of truth, before regeneration proper is achieved: that is, before the enlightened rational mind is opened. It will be seen from what has been said previously, that this answers to the state of the Church as it is when being established (see verse 16). The condition of the Church described by ground may, therefore, be stated otherwise by saying, the Church in the state of regeneration, so far as externals are concerned, having a natural sense of good, is meant by this term. In this external is all the sense of fear above spoken of—there is as yet no internal perception of the Lord's presence and help. Nay, there is therein a sense of absence, as if the Lord had forsaken His own. This, as formerly stated, is involved in the particle not at all It was shown under 2:11, that to fear signifies to be in distress during temptation: to be in a comfortless and hopeless tremor; to dread the requirements of good and truth. " Fear and trembling are come upon me, and shuddering has covered me" (Psalm 55:5). You shall not at all fear, is, therefore, the Lord's assurance of His presence to strengthen and console. Here the externally regenerate find their hope and confidence.
But this is not all. The Lord not only inspires a trust in Himself that removes fear and anguish; that same trust awakens joy in the affections of good and truth. To exult and to rejoice (as reference to exultation and gladness, explained under 1:16, will show) signify to manifest the delight which originates in the love and affection of good and truth. In 1:16, gladness (derived from to rejoice) was mentioned first and then exultation: because in the degeneration of man the delights of truth are first lost and then those of good; but in the regeneration the good returns and then the truth, when the will, indicated by ground, is the subject.
It was explained under the previous verse, that because he caused [his] work to increase denotes that falsity, of which it was spoken, excels in the works of the love of self—or in evil works. In the present case, the words are used of Jehovah, and therefore refer to the excellence of His good works, or the works of His Divine Love. As men grow in the regenerate life they learn how much He causes His wonderful works to increase—how all He does excels in good. But here the significance of each word more especially appears. The delight of man's spirit in the affection of good and truth is truly derived from the excellence of the works of Divine Love. This is the reason of because. To do, as explained already, denotes to produce a change from the will—in this case the will of Divine Love. It is from the Lord's love that all change in regeneration is produced in man for his good. To increase has also been shown to denote to excel in good: the change of will induced by the Lord is that man may excel in good.
Internal Sense.—That the Church being reformed shall trust in the Lord and manifest its delight in the affections of good and truth, because the love of the Lord will excel in them by good works.
references.—AE 650, 660.
confidence in the word.
22. You shall not at all fear, O beasts of My field; because the pasture-grounds of a desert have sprouted forth: because a tree has sustained its fruit—a fig-tree and vine caused their force to be received.
The trust inspired by the previous words is encouraged in these. The same assurance of the Lord's presence to give strength and consolation is given in the words, you shall not at all fear, as in the last verse, only that it is said to the beasts of the field instead of the ground. The beasts of My field, as may be seen under 1:20, correspond to the natural affections of good from the doctrines of the Lord's Church, or those whose natural goodness is encouraged and directed by the teaching of the Divine Word. You shall not at all fear, O beasts of My field, therefore, denotes that the Lord gives strength and comfort to those who desire to do good from the sense of its being taught in God's Word.
The ground of the trust so encouraged is, that the knowledge of the truth is being renewed in the Church. Under 1:19, it was shown that the pasture-grounds of a desert correspond to the interior truths preserved by the Lord when the Church is in an obscure state of faith, which truths are capable of bringing forth good. But these truths are not yet known, even to those who have them stored up—they are not consciously present. This, however, under the influence of the Spirit of God is changed, for they are quickened into life. To sprout forth, is a term applied to the first appearance of young grass, in the natural sense: in the internal sense, however, it signifies to show the knowledge of truth and good in the natural man, where it was not formerly shown. The word occurs only in one other passage of Scripture— Genesis 1:11—and there, as here, it is applied to that stage of reformation wherein repentance is the most marked feature. In that state men do good works as if of their own power; they also attribute the knowledge of truth to their own intellectual insight: on which account their accomplishments are relatively " inanimate," and are represented by the tender grass, a word derived from to sprout forth. " And God said, the earth shall sprout forth tender grass." Thus the cause of consolation to those who regard the teachings of the Divine Word with genuine affection is, the appearance of truth in the natural mind which was formerly desolate.
But there is even a causative effort in this, a law by which even this state comes to produce a further result in the sequences of spiritual development. A tree has sustained its fruit. Just as naturally as a tree bears its fruit, so, if there be a real desire for the truth, will the mind acquire the knowledge of it, and induce the required works: because the perceptive faculty so formed will bear its fruit. Under 1:12, tree was shown to correspond to the intellectual nature of the Church, or the mind imbued with the knowledge of the good and true. Fruit, as may be seen without difficulty, corresponds to the good of life, that is, the act which enfolds love and faith: " the fruits worthy of repentance." Thus, in Leviticus 26:3, 4, " If you walk in My ordinances, and keep My commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in its season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit." To sustain, or lift up, signifies to hold together by elevating into good and truth. Good and truth become permanent and established, as an effect, when they are united in action or good deeds, and those deeds are signified by fruit. Hence, to sustain exactly describes the production of an effect or deed. Thus it is said of Abram and Lot, who represented good and truth respectively, " the land was not able to sustain them, that they might abide together" (Genesis 13:6). That a tree has sustained its fruit, therefore, denotes that the knowledge of good and truth produces its good works.
The fig-tree, as shown under 1:7, corresponds to the natural good of the Church, and the vine to the Intellectual part of the spiritual Church. Force, as stated under 2:11, denotes those truths from good which are effective as ministering in the Lord's kingdom. In other words, force is the effect of spiritual truth and good. To be received, signifies to appropriate to the external by influx thereinto, as shown under 2:11. Hence, a fig-tree and vine caused their force to be received, denotes that natural good and spiritual truth induce spiritual works in the external Church by influx thereinto. These are the issues of trust in the Lord.
Internal Sense.—The Lord will give confidence to those who desire good by the teaching of the Word: for the knowledge of good and truth will appear in the natural mind where before there was none: whence the knowledge will produce good works—natural good and spiritual truth will appropriate charity to the external Church.
references.—AC 46, 217, 5113, 7571; AE 109, 403, 650; AR 567.
23. Exult then, you sons of Zion, and rejoice in JEHOVAH your GOD: for He has caused the early rain to be received for you to righteousness: and He will cause to descend for you shower, early rain, and latter rain [as] in the first.
It was mentioned under verse 20, that the wind, with which the locusts always travel, carried them to the Dead Sea. This would be, of course, a wind from the west. The winds from, that direction are frequent and regular: they may be called the normal winds. In the winter they bring with them the rain, dropping their moisture as they touch the mountains. The Lord said, " Whenever you see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway you say, A shower is coming, and so it is" (Luke 12:54). In the summer, the winds blow largely from other directions. In October the wind blows chiefly from the north: then it is dry and cool; but those of the southern and easterly quarters are hot, scorching the vegetation, and feverish to men. Towards the end of October, with the westerly winds, the continuous rain begins, and lasts through the winter months. This is the early rain. It commences-the agricultural season; the ground is fit for the plough, and the field shoots forth the grass and wild grains, as referred to in verse 22. Hence it is here said, " He has given you the early rain." About March and April come the latter rains. Coming, as they do, before the harvest and the long summer drought, they are of great importance to the land. The early and the latter rains, however, are terms descriptive of the beginning and the end of the rainy season, and not so much independent showers. The picture of desolation is intensified by the addition of the reference here made to the dryness of the season out of which we are now passing. With the new hopes awakened come new indications of life and restoration. The rains have begun, and with them will come a renewal of the face of nature. The natural reason for exultation is, therefore, apparent. But all this is dependent upon repentance.
Under 2:21 it was shown that to exult and to rejoice, signify to manifest the delight originating in the affection of good and truth. Again, under 1:1, son was shown to represent truth from interior good, and under 2:1, Zion was shown to correspond to the Lord's celestial kingdom. Hence, sons of Zion denote those who are in faith from love to the Lord. That these are to exult and rejoice in Jehovah their God, signifies that they should manifest the delight which originates in the affection of goodness and truth. As in other places, it is said, in the Lord; because that particle indicates a means of conjunction with the Divine Love and Wisdom. That is to say, those who are truly in the delight of good and truth are in the state which conjoins them to the Lord.
In the earlier stages of regeneration, man needs to have apparent reasons for his delight in spiritual things: he desires to see the wherefore of his new hopes. In conformity with this natural desire it is said, for He has given you the early rain. But this apparent reason enfolds the spiritual cause of the delight. The delights referred to are actually derived from the inflowing Divine truths, descending from heaven, and refreshing the good in their first states of renewed life. To this the early rain corresponds. Thus in Psalm 84:6 it is said, " The early rain would cover it with blessings." It may be remarked—because the significance will be illustrated thereby—that this term is sometimes translated teacher: for instance, in the Authorised Version in the margin of this verse, and in the text of Isaiah 30:20. As mentioned under 2:11, to cause to be received, signifies to appropriate to the external. The appropriation of the truths which descend from heaven for the nurture of the good is, therefore, meant by the words, He has caused the early rain to be received for you. The particle, formerly referred to as indicating agreement, occurs before the word early rain, implying that Divine truths are given by the Lord in correspondence to man's state of receptivity: that is, to the extent in which truth can be received by those in the first states of regeneration. It is the regeneration of the inner man which is now begun. In this state, truth is received for the good which it enjoins and directs. The exercise of charity towards the neighbour is its feature. Hence, it is said that the early rain is given for you to righteousness. That righteousness denotes the good of love to the neighbour may be seen in Isaiah 61:11, "the Lord Jehovih will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations."
To descend, as may be seen by comparison with to ascend, signifies an inflow from interior to exterior, thereby exciting a new disposition. When the term is predicated of the Lord, it denotes the influx of His spirit to judgement. In the present instance the term is used in the former sense. In Psalm 55:15 the term is used, " Let death beguile them, and let them descend quickly into hell: for wickedness is in their abodes and in them." At the same time as the descending Divine truth renews the spiritually minded, and re-disposes them towards the Lord, it also occasions judgement among the evil. That the Lord causes His truth to flow into the receptive mind, and that continually, is meant by His causing the shower, early rain, and latter rain to descend for them.
As by repentance evil and falsity are put away, so goodness and truth are implanted and multiplied by the Lord in their places. This is accomplished by temptations: the truths which descend from heaven during those states being represented by showers. In its natural sense, this word is used of occasional bursts of rain. Its spiritual import may be further illustrated from Genesis 7:12, "And the shower was upon the earth forty days and forty nights." Again in Psalm 68:9, "Showers of plenty, You, O God, did send about: Yours inheritance, when weary, You did establish." The state of man during his regeneration is a state of temptation, when he needs the truths of heaven. It was stated above, that the former rain denotes the inflowing Divine truths from heaven which refresh the good in the first stages of regeneration. The latter rain corresponds to the Divine truths inflowing from heaven as received by the evil. In all states of life, whether good or evil, the Lord gives His truths from heaven, " He makes His sun arise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matt 5:45). Because the former rain and the latter rain relate to the good and the evil, together they denote the continually descending truths of God. Thus in Deut 11:14, "I will cause you to receive the rain of your land in its season, the first rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in thy corn and your must, and your oil." The truths denoted by the latter rain appear to be those which instruct the understanding of the wicked, for the purpose of leading them to righteousness. Thus, in Job 29:22, 23, " After my words they spoke not again: my speech dropped upon them. And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide for the latter rain." Also in Jerem 3:3, "Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain." Swedenborg connects this passage with the lack of wish in the Church to understand the truth. Hosea 6:3 teaches that the Lord's tender care is continuous, " His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come to us as the shower, as the latter rain and former rain upon the earth." See also Zech 10:1. These truths are said to descend for the Church in the first, because first signifies the primary state of the Church as to intelligence, the state out of which others are derived. The word is often used of the first month of the year, which falls about the English March and April. The state of spiritual intelligence by which conjunction with the Lord is effected, and which is the first state of true regeneration, is here referred to by in the first. So in Genesis 8:13, "And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first (month), the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth."
Internal Sense.—That those who are in faith from love to the Lord should manifest delight originating in the affection of good and truth, whereby there is conjunction with Him: for He appropriates to them heavenly truths that they may exercise the good of charity, and He causes a continuous inflow of truth into all states, to the end that intelligence may be given.
references.—AC 3580, 6537; AE 375, 644, 650, 660, 922; AR 496, 651.
24. And they shall fill the threshing-floors [with] cleaned-corn: and they shall cause the wine-vats to distend [with] must and new oil.
The beneficent effects of the new season's rains are pictured here. The harvest of corn and wine and oil shall come again. Spiritually, the spirit of man shall be renewed by the inflowing truths of heaven. To fill, signifies to endow fully by influx; as in Psalm 107:9, " For He satisfies a longing soul, and fills a hungry soul with goodness." A threshing-floor corresponds to the doctrines of the Church in which are good and truth: for as there is corn in the threshing-floor so is there the good of truth, to which the corn corresponds, in the genuine teaching of the Church. This term may be illustrated from its use in 1 Kings 22:10, " And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, sat each on his throne, having put on robes, in a threshing-floor in the entrance of the gate of Samaria: and all the prophets prophesied before them." It thence appears that the threshing-floor was used as an open court in which public questions were discussed. Because the worship of the Lord is by good from the doctrine of the Church, therefore, this worship, indicated by the feast of tabernacles, was commanded in Deuter 16:13, "You shall keep the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that you have gathered in from your threshing-floor, and from your wine-vat" Here, too, appears the reason of the king's question, when the woman of Samaria besought his help, " If Jehovah do not save you, whence shall I save you? out of the threshing-floor, or out of the wine-vat?" (2 Kings 6:27). Cleaned-corn, meaning the corn cleared of its chaff, corresponds to the good of truth in the natural mind. This is the good of brotherly and social love. In Psalm 65:13 the same is signified by "The deep valleys wrap themselves in cleaned-corn: they shout for joy, they also sing." Again, in Psalm 72:16, "There shall be abundance of cleaned-corn in the earth, even upon the top of mountains." That the new state of the Church shall be marked by fullness of brotherly and social affection in its teachings is, then, the meaning of, they shall fill the threshing-floors with cleaned-corn.
The descending rains not only gave plenty in the cornfields, but renewed the vine-yards and the olive-yards. The wine-vat appears to be the lower receptacle of the wine or oil—for it seems to be used for either—when it was pressed out by the wine-press above. It is usual to represent the wine-press as a kind of trough hollowed out of a shelf of rock, wherein the grapes were placed and then trodden. The wine-vat was a similar basin on a lower ridge of the rock, connected by a channel, or bored hole, with the upper receptacle, whence the pressed-out juice flowed into it. Several scriptures, however, seem to suggest that the wine-vat was really the skin-receiver placed in the lower hollow in order to be filled. Thus in Numbers 18:27-30, " The fullness of the wine-vat... the increase of the wine-vat" Both words here used in connection with the wine-vat convey the idea of filling out. In Proverbs 3:10, " And your wine-vats shall burst out with must." Again, the verb employed with the term in the present verse, and at 3:13, supports the same idea. It is true, however, that the wine-vat is sometimes associated with treading, as in Job 24:11 and Isaiah 16:10; but these may be understood of pressing grapes in the vat instead of in the press, or even, of efforts to squeeze the wine-bags themselves in order to drain them. The wine-vat corresponds to the goods of charity from which the truths of faith proceed. Thus in Jerem 48:33, " I have caused wine to fail from the wine-vats: none shall tread with shouting." This is spoken of the evil affections in which is nothing of the truth of faith. To distend, or to be replete, is a term of a striking character. In its simple form, the term is employed of running (and leg is derived from it). Another form conveys the idea of replenishing; while the form used in the present case means to cause repletion. Longing, is also derived from it. " And your longing shall be to your husband" (Gen 3:16). The term signifies to be full of desire. Thus, in Psalm 65:9, " You visit the earth, and replenish it: You greatly enrich it, the brook of God is full of water." As explained under 1:10, must and new oil' correspond to the truth of the natural man and the good of the spiritual. They shall cause the wine-vats to distend with must and new oil, therefore, signifies that the descending Divine truths will fill the goods of charity with the desire for natural truth and spiritual good.
Internal Sense.—Heavenly truths infill the doctrine of the Church with the good of brotherly and social love, and fill the goods of charity with the affection of truth in the natural man and good in the spiritual man.
references.—AC 3580, 6537, 7643, 9331, 9780; AE 375, 543, 644, 922; AR 651.
25. And I will repay to you the years which the abundant-locust ate, the licking-locust, and the consuming-locust, and the gnawing-locust; My great force which I put forth in you.
It has been remarked above that the locusts were likened to an ordered army: this is manifestly so in the present verse. The locusts are mentioned here in an order differing from that in 1:4, and they are coupled on another plan. Again, the natural sense suggests that the invasion of these creatures is now a matter long past; it is "years" since the season's fruits had been consumed by their inroad. This is the Lord's promise of restoration if the people would repent.
To repay, in its simple form, means " to make peace": the Hebrew word for " peace" is derived from it. It signifies to amend by restitution. Thus in Exodus 22:1, 3, " If a man shall steal one of a herd or of a flock, and kill it or sell it, he shall repay five of the herd for one of the herd, and four of the flock for one of the flock... he shall repay double." It was shown under 2:2 that year denotes the entire age of the Church as to its state of truth. The particle indicating agreement precedes the word, years. Hence, a restitution by the Lord, in accordance with the whole state of truth in the Church, is promised to the penitent. When the human mind is reformed by the Lord, it can only be restored by repentance to its original standard. The reformed natural man ceases to be the degraded natural man: he is still the natural man, but purified. As the natural man fell by the insinuations of the senses, so in his reformation he is restored in accordance with the states of truth which the sensual infestations destroyed. Under 1:4, it was shown that the abundant-locust corresponds to the falsity of the external sensual, and the licking-locust to the evil of the external sensual. These two are coupled together, because in reformation truth is restored and its good results—first externally, then internally. Again, the consuming-locust was shown to correspond to the evil of the internal sensual, and the gnawing-locust the falsity of the internal sensual. The good of the external, by awakening the good of the internal, reacts upon the understanding, so that internal truth is received. To eat, signifies to appropriate to evil, as stated before. Thus the Lord restores the states destroyed by sensual falses and evils, when He is sought. By it being said, that the years which these creatures ate will be repaid, is meant that the states antithetical to these falses and evils will take their places.
When it is said, that these locusts were the Lord's " great force," it is clear that they are looked upon as a scourge from God. This is spoken according to the appearance. It is not that the Lord put forth these creatures to destroy the land, but the evils of the people did it. They have, however, been used to excite penitence and contrition. Under 2:11, force was shown to signify truths from good as effects. Here the term is used in its bad sense, because it relates to the locusts: it therefore signifies falsities in their strength. Great, as shown under the same reference, denotes the prevalence of good or evil in a state of the understanding. Hence, great force, signifies the power of evil in falsity, and falsity from evil. It was explained under 2:19, that to send signifies to proceed as truth so as to teach. In its opposite sense, the term signifies to separate. To put forth, is this same verb in another form, and therefore denotes separation. It is said, that this great force is the Lord's, and is put forth by Him, because, by a law of Divine providence, it is permitted that the Lord should appear to man to send him those consequences of evil which, in truth, man brings upon himself. If, then, the man repents, he does so under the persuasion that the virtue is his own, and thus with greater zeal and persistence. This law works by man's freedom and reason, and therefore with greater effect on man's mind. At the same time, this apparent truth enfolds a real truth. While it appears to man that the Lord has brought upon him a great disaster, and he is led thereby to repent, the actual truth is, that by man's repentance the Lord restores him to the state from which he declined, separating from him the falses and evils into which his waywardness had brought him; and this is enfolded in the latter clause of the present verse.
Internal Sense.—The Lord will restore life to the Church, according to the entire state of truth in it, which the falsity and evil of the external sensual, and the evil and falsity of the internal sensual destroyed — separating the Church from the evil of falsity and falsity of evil upon repentance and trust in Him.
references.—AC 7643, 9331; AE 543, 573; AR 424, 447.
26. And eating you shall eat and be satisfied, and praise the
name of JEHOVAH your god, who has done with you [so as] to
cause wonder: and My people they shall not be ashamed
The good and happy effects of trust in the Lord have been indicated in the former verses, but a more explicit statement of His acknowledgement is here presented. Eating, in its bad sense, has been referred to several times. Its signification was explained under 1:4. It is now used in its good sense— namely, the conjunction and appropriation of good. Eating you shall eat means, that by being conjoined to good those of the Church shall appropriate it to use. To be satisfied, as shown under 2:19, signifies to receive into the will according to the extent of desire. That which determines the appropriation of good to man is the measure of his desire for doing good. Increasing desire to do good means increasing satisfaction from the reception of good from the Lord. So in Psalm 22:26 it is said, " The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise Jehovah that inquire after Him; your heart shall live for ever."
To praise the Lord is to worship Him. Thus, in Isaiah 64:11, " The house of our holiness and splendour, where our fathers praised You, is burnt up with fire." In Psalm 69:34, " Let heaven and earth praise Him, seas, and everything that creeps therein." To praise the name of Jehovah your God is to acknowledge and worship the Lord alone in His Divine Humanity. This may be seen from what has already been said respecting Jehovah God; but it is needful to note the term Name, now used for the first time in this prophecy. Name is used as the equivalent of quality, and when predicated of the Lord, everything of love and faith by which He is worshiped is implied. Hence, "the name of Jehovah God" denotes the form under which the Lord alone in His oneness is to be worshiped. Therefore the Lord directs us to ask in His Name whatever we pray for. In 1 Kings 8:17-20, 29, it is said that Solomon built a House for the Name of Jehovah God. That the glorified Human of the Lord—that is, the Lord Jesus Christ—is the Name of Jehovah God may be seen in John 12:28—"Father, glorify Your Name;" also from Matth 28:19. But to worship the Lord in His Unity is also to worship and acknowledge Him alone. Again, it should be remarked that the particle denoting agreement precedes the term Name, and therefore points out that the true worship of the Lord is in accordance with everything of love and faith from Him.
Under 2:11 it was explained that to do, signifies to achieve a change from the will. The phrase, who has done with you> brings to mind an important truth—namely, that the Lord effects a change in man in co-operation with the man himself. This is the force of with, in this case. To cause wonder is, more literally, to cause to be set apart or distinguished. In co-operation with the Lord, He working by wondrous ways, man is set apart from evil and falsity. Wonders, signify the subjection of lower powers by means of Divine power. This may be seen in Exodus 3:20, " And I will stretch out My hand, and smite the Egyptians with all My wonders which I will do among them." Indeed, the co-operation of man with the Lord is a medium of Divine activity: wherefore, to cause wonder, denotes to become a means of God's power by removal from evils and falsities; but this must be acknowledged to be the Lord's work. Thus in Leviticus 27:2, "When a man shall cause a vow to be distinguished, the souls shall be for Jehovah by your estimation."
The Lord's people, as shown under 2:2, are the truths of faith according to worship. The singular is used, although the plural is immediately afterwards implied, because all truths of faith act as one in the worship of the one Lord. They shall not be ashamed, denotes that those in the truths of faith shall then experience no sense of destitution as to good. To be ashamed, signifies to be destitute of the good of innocence. Thus in Psalm 37:19, " They shall not be ashamed in the time of evil: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied." An age, as stated under 2:2, corresponds to what is eternal, and is especially used of the celestial Church, or love of the Lord. They shall not be ashamed for an age, therefore, denotes that those in the truths of faith from the Lord shall never be destitute of the good of innocence in the will.
Internal Sense.—By conjoining the good, thus given by the Lord, the Church shall appropriate it to use, and receive it in the will to the extent of the desire for it, and the Lord will be acknowledged and worshiped according to the quality of love and faith in His Divine Humanity. That the Lord in co-operation with the Church will make a change in the Church by removing evil and falsity: hence those in the truths of faith from the Lord shall never be destitute of the good of innocence in the will. reference.—AR 809!
the only god.
27. And you shall know, for I am in the midst of Israel: and I am JEHOVAH your god, and there is none else: and My people—they shall not be ashamed for an age.
Here is the plain declaration of the Lord's presence with those who acknowledge Him from the heart. The nations round about had derisively asked, Where is your God? The Lord's response is, that He is in the midst of His people. Well is it, when the enquiry comes from without, that the answer should come from within. Herein, too, is the foreword of that promise of the Lord, " Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt 18:20).
That to know, signifies to acknowledge as true by reception in good, was stated under 2:14. Those who acknowledge from the heart the truth are they who, in the truest sense, know the truth. To acknowledge the Lord from the heart will, then, be an issue of the states formerly described: because He is in the midst of those who follow Him. That those who do evil make no acknowledgement of the Lord is taught in Psalm 14:4, " Do all the workers of iniquity not know?" That the Lord is in the midst of Israel, denotes that He is conjoined to the internal of the spiritual kingdom of the Church, where good is. The midst is more strictly " the inward part," as in Exodus 29:13, "the fat that covers the inward parts"; also 23:21, "For my name is in his inner parts." The term signifies the internal, where good is, as a means of conjunction. Thus in Zeph 3:17, "Jehovah your God in the midst of you is a Hero who will save." That Israel corresponds to the internal of the Lord's spiritual kingdom may be seen from several circumstances. First, the name itself, derived from to rule and God, appears to mean, the kingdom of God—"Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for as a ruler have you been able with God and with men" (Gen 32:28). Again, Israel consisted of the twelve tribes, representing the whole Church on earth: for the Israelites were the depositaries of the Word, and where the Word is, there is the Church. The twelve tribes were representative of all the spiritual principles of the Lord's Kingdom : just as the twelve apostles were representative of the Christian, and the twelve foundations were representative of the fundamental principles of the New, Church. The spiritual kingdom of the Lord's Church, now regarded separately from the celestial kingdom (indicated by the division of Israel from Judah), always was the external of Judah which is the internal—or the spiritual, of which Judah was the celestial. Regarded as the spiritual within which is the celestial—Israel, denotes the whole internal kingdom, yet with especial reference to the spiritual. This is why the angel said Israel should have power with God and with men—not with Jehovah. Love to God and love to men include the celestial and spiritual of the Church, but Israel denotes that plane of spiritual life mostly marked by love to men, and, therefore, may be regarded as representative of the good of charity towards the neighbour. Herein appears the very essence of acknowledging the Lord. We acknowledge Him truly, when we know that He is in the inmost good of charity towards the neighbour. Indeed, acknowledgement of the Lord is the life of love to the neighbour. " Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me" (Matt 25:40). The Lord is the King in the midst of His kingdom, ruling and guiding all things of love and charity. The confession of that kingship is here referred to.
The confession conveyed by the words, I am Jehovah your God, is, as pointed out above, the acknowledgement of the sole deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. And there is none else, teaches that the Lord alone, and nothing of self or the world, is our God, or helper and sustainer: that, indeed, nothing but the Eternal Lord can endure of itself. Hence, He alone can be known as God and Saviour.
The last clause was explained in the former verse—namely, that those in the truths of faith from the Lord, by this acknowledgement, shall never be destitute of the good of innocence in the will. The repetition suggests the complement of the first signification—that both truth and good shall never fail those who trust in the Lord. The Hebrew chapter concludes here, but, although in that text the following five verses form a chapter by themselves, they are connected with the present subject; yet with a distinction.
Internal Sense.—The Church shall acknowledge the Lord from the heart, because He is conjoined to the inmost of the spiritual kingdom, or those who are in the good of charity towards the neighbour, which is the means of conjunction with the Lord Who is the only God, and good and truth shall never be withheld from those who so acknowledge Him.
the holy spirit.
28. And so it shall be afterwards, [that] I will shed My Spirit over all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your elders, they shall dream dreams! your youths shall see visions.
So far we have followed the formation, out of repentance, of a new acknowledgement of the Lord. The confession of the Lord from the heart renews the will, and disposes it towards newness of life. The promise of the present verse is, that the Lord by His proceeding Divine Energy will fill with living truth this new will, so that all the best powers of goodness and truth may live.
It has been noted before, that to be indicates a change of state which is remarkable. Whereas we have hitherto observed the descent of Divine truth into the mind of man, we are now to mark the operation of that truth in and out of the mind. In other words, the effect of the Divine on the human is here treated of. As may be seen at 2:4, so relates to an established or confirmed condition, or a state established by previous activity. Under 2:2 it will be seen that afterwards refers to what is derived from, as exterior to, the operation of truth. Hence the first clause of this verse introduces us to a statement as to what altered condition of things will be set up as the result of the co-operation (spoken of in the previous verse) of the spirit of man with the descending Divine truths. By that free co-operation of man with the Lord, a new basis of spiritual activity is formed, whence the Lord will work to sanctify and bless the world. I will shed My Spirit over all flesh.
To shed, signifies to infuse that which will be acceded to and confirmed. In other words, this term relates to the endowment of that which the recipient is prepared, by affirmative disposition, to receive. Thus, in Exodus 4:9, " You shall take of the water of the river, and shed it upon the dry land: and the water which you take out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land." Hence it appears that the reception of truth is according to the disposition for receiving it. Again, in Ezek 39:29, " I have shed My spirit upon the House of Israel." Moreover, it should be remarked that the particle denoting accordance immediately precedes the term spirit: thus implying that the shedding, or infusion of the Divine truth, is according to the interior affections and life of man. Spirit is a word of great scope in meaning: when, however, it relates to the Lord it denotes the Divine Truth proceeding from the Divine Good. It is through this proceeding Divine Life that the Church receives the power of love and faith: it flows in immediately from the Lord Himself, and mediately from Him through spirits and angels. This is the proceeding Truth which the Lord promised His disciples, as able to teach them all things (John 14:16, 17, 26). He also said, infusing it into them, "Receive you the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22). That spirit has this signification may be seen in Isaiah 11:2, " And the spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and the fear of Jehovah." Also Isaiah 61:1, "The spirit of the Lord Jehovih is upon me; because Jehovah has anointed me to bear good tidings to the meek." In the Hebrew text, over all flesh is written as if to be regarded as one word or idea. As observed in other places, over applies to the internal, and all relates to every, even to the last, as to the spiritual. Flesh corresponds to the vivified voluntary proprium: that is, the living instinct of self in the will. So the Lord said, " And the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (John 6:51). This new will is, however, contrasted with spirit, especially when used in its bad sense. " Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit" (Isaiah 31:3). Again, " And it shall consume... both soul and flesh" (Isaiah 10:18). The selfhood of man appertains to his lowest nature; yet when vivified by the Lord it is the beginning of a new life. In this sense—that of the vivified corporeal nature of man—it is used in this passage. I will shed My Spirit over all flesh, therefore, signifies that the Lord infuses His Divine life inwardly, in accordance with the newly quickened will of all even to the last. To this end were the words cited by Peter on the day of Pentecost at Jerusalem r when the apostles " began to speak with different tongues, according as the spirit was giving to them to sound out." " This," said the apostle, " is the thing which had been spoken through the prophet Joel" (Acts 2:4, 16).
Under 1:1 it was shown, that son signifies truth derived from interior good: your sons, or sons of the Church, are those who are in the truths of faith, or truths from interior good. Daughters are the affections of good or truth. Thus the many references in the Word to the " daughters of Zion" are to be understood of the affections of good in the Church. " Say you to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your salvation comes" (Isaiah 62:11). Your sons and your daughters, therefore, denote those who are in the truths and goods of the Church. To prophesy, denotes to teach the doctrine of the Word from the Lord. This signification may be seen from its bad sense. " You have prophesied lies" (Jerem 20:6). When it is remembered that "a city" signifies doctrine, it will be seen why the prophets were commanded to prophesy "against this city" (Jerem 26:11). That is, to teach the doctrine of the Word as distinct from and contrary to the false doctrine of men. That those in the truth and the desire for good shall, by the endowment of Divine life in their wills, teach the true doctrine of the Word is, therefore, meant by your sons and daughters shall prophesy.
Elders denote the principles of wisdom in the Church, or those characterised by such principles, as shown under 1:2. Dreams, as distinct from visions, were obscure revelations of the future. Thus in Numbers 12:6, " If there be a prophet, your prophet, I, Jehovah, will make Myself known to him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream." Again, in Jerem 23:25, "I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in My name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed." That by the outpouring of the Divine Spirit into the new will, those who are principled in the wisdom of the Church shall have made known, obscurely, the future issues of the Church, is here meant, and is exemplified in "the Revelation of John the divine." The wise receive revelation, but the intelligent perceive it.
The youths of the Church are the intelligent who are in the affection for truth. It should be remarked that youth, in its literal form, means a chosen one, probably in reference to betrothal. Thus in Isaiah 62:5, " For as a youth [a chosen one] owns a virgin, so shall your sons own you." So in Psalm 78:63, " Fire consumed their youths; and their maidservants were not given in marriage." Fire is self-love destroying intelligence. Seeing corresponds to perception by faith in the understanding. "At that day shall a man attend to his Maker, and his eyes shall see the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 17:7). Again, " He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall see His righteousness" (Micah 7:9). It was stated above that dream denotes an obscure revelation: it is manifest that vision relates to something similar. In its natural sense, the term relates to what is seen in the dream, as may be seen in Job 4:13 and 20:8. But whereas a dream is relative to the future, and therefore obscure, the vision is more interior, and refers to the principles involved in the revelation of the future. Thus in 2 Samuel 7:17, "According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak to David." Again, in 1 Samuel 3:1, "The word of Jehovah was precious in those days; there was no open vision." "You spoke in vision to Your holy one" (Psalm 89:19). Your youths shall see visions, therefore> denotes that the intelligent of the Church shall perceive by faith the clear revelation of God.
Internal Sense.—That an altered state shall be established, as resulting from man's co-operation with the Lord; He will infuse Divine life within the new will even to the lowest, according as it is prepared for and received. Those in truth from good and those in the affection of good shall teach the doctrines of the Word: the wise shall receive revelation of the future obscurely, and the intelligent who are in the affection of truth shall perceive by faith the revelation of truth intelligently.
references.—AC 574, 2534, 2567, 4682, 9818; AE 624; AR 8; Doct. L. 49.
29. And over the servants also, and over the maid-servants —in those days—will I shed My Spirit.
This verse is only a continuation of that preceding: it carries the teaching a step further. The particle also, denoting association of externals, suggests this. Servants, denote the truths in the exterior natural mind which serve and obey. Hence those who serve the Lord from truth in the natural mind are called His, servants. Thus, speaking of the Divine precepts, it is said in Psalm 19:11, "Your servant, too, is enlightened by them ; and in keeping of them there is great reward." It appears, therefore, that what is here said of the servants is in association with the revelation perceived by the intelligent, referred to in the former verse. Further,. over has respect to service from within. Maid-servants, denote affections of exterior truth which serve as means of conjoining the external and internal man. " Behold, as the eyes of servants are to the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maid-servant to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes are upon Jehovah our God, until that He be gracious to us" (Psalm 123:2). Again, in Jerem 34:16, "But you turned and profaned My name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his maid-servant, whom you had sent forth free at their pleasure, to return, and subdued them, to be to you for servants and for maid-servants." Over the servants also, and over the maid-servants, therefore, denotes that in association with the new intelligence there shall be service from within by truths of the natural order, with affections for such truths conjoining the internal and external life.
In those days, refers to the states of the Church in which the Lord makes His advent, as previously stated. But it may be noted that those appears to be especially used of the intelligence from truth, and days to states of life generally. Under 1:15 it was stated that that day, or the day of Jehovah, refers to the Lord's coming. Will I shed My Spirit was explained in the preceding verse. It denotes the infusion of the Divine life according to the states of receptivity, the states implied by those days. The two verses, therefore, teach that "the Lord by His Divine proceeding will fill with all things those who will be of that Church, and will vivify them."
Internal Sense.—In association with the new intelligence those in the truths of the exterior natural mind will serve from within, also those in the affection of those truths, who by His advent will receive the Divine life according to their states.
references.—AC 2567, 4682, 9818; AE 183; Doct. L. 4, 49.
the world unveiled.
30. And I will cause portents to be received, in the heavens and in the earth—blood and the fire, and the columns of smoke.
The result, in the world, of this descending spirit of Divine Truth is not in all cases the same. Those who are confirmed in the love of evil will reject the newly sent light, and so stand out in bolder relief. The pillar of cloud which led the children of Israel was the source of light to them, but it was darkness to the Egyptians. This twofold effect of truth is nowhere more manifest than in the judgement consequent on the Lord's advent.
The word, portent, is especially used in reference to future events, and, therefore, has its appropriate place in the present connection. Thus in Zechariah 3:8, "Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you, and your fellows that sit before you: for they are men of portents." That is, men who foreshadow future events. In the same manner the office of Ezekiel, the prophet, is referred to several times as " a portent to the house of Israel" (Ezek 12:6). The events of Isaiah 8:18, taken by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Heb 2:13) as foreshadowing the coming of the Lord, are described as signs and portents. It may be seen from these references why the term signifies revelation by means of Divine power so as to> confirm the truth with those in external worship. Thus it was told Moses, that Pharaoh would ask for a portent, " Cause a portent to be received for you" (Exodus 7:9). So in. Psalm 105:5, " Remember His marvelous works that He has done; His portents, and the judgements of His mouth." It was stated under ii. n, that to cause to be received signifies to appropriate externally by influx thereinto. Also under 2:10, it was shown that heavens correspond to the interiors of man and the Church; while, under 1:2, earth was shown to correspond to the external of man and the Church. Thus, I will cause portents to be received in the heavens and in the earth? signifies that there will be an influx of revelations by means of Divine power, confirming the Truth in those who worship, both in the interior heavenly Church and in the external earthly Church; and further, as implied by the term in in both cases, that there will be a means of conjunction between them. Hence, there will be harmony between the Church in the heavens and that on the earth, and the Lord's will shall: be done on earth even as it is done in the heavens. Thus the portents will be prophetic of the new Church being established; but at present it is not established, and the external Church of the Jews is not harmonious with the Church in the heavens. So that the earth must still be regarded in its opposite or bad sense. The portents will be received in the heavens according to the heavenly states of the angels composing the Church there, and the revelation of truth will be conjoined to them. So, likewise, will the portents be received in the earth according to the evil states of the external Church, and will be appropriated to them in conformity with its states of self-love. Hence it is said separately, in the heavens and in the earth.
What are these portents, and how are they received in the earth? It is not indicated how they are received in the heavens, except as the Word is perceived there by the angels; because the external Church is addressed. The portents are enumerated in this and the following verse. Blood, in its present sense, denotes holy truth, from the good of innocence proceeding from the Lord, profaned and falsified. That is to say, the revelation of truth, formerly spoken of, will be received in the evil proprium denoted by the earth and appropriated to evil, thus profaned and falsified. This will be the Church's condemnation. On account of its correspondence, the Scriptures abound with injunctions against shedding blood. Against establishing the Church on profaned truth, the words of Micah 3:10 are written, " Building Zion with bloods, and Jerusalem with unrighteousness." Again, " Woe to him that builds a city with bloods and establishes a town by iniquity" (Hab 2:12). Hence the term, in its bad sense, denotes the Truth profaned, the Word crucified, the Lord's wisdom falsified. Fire is used here in the same sense as in 1:19, namely, the perversion of love, or self-love—the love of God perverted into the lust of self. This is again the manner in which the evil of self receives and appropriates the inflowing love from God. There is only one other place in the Bible where the phrase, columns of smoke, occurs: it is in Song Sol 3:6, " Who is this that comes up from the desert like columns of smoke?" Smoke, signifies the dense falsity which is derived from evil lusts, as smoke arises from smouldering fire. Thus the evil are said to consume away into smoke (Psalm 37:20). Again, Nahum 2:13, " I will burn her chariots in the smoke." A column implies a connected series; thus, falsity on falsity, one supporting another. So that the columns of smoke, signify a confirmed state of dense falsity from evil. Here again is a state reached by perversion of truth and good, in which state the Word is used to confirm and secure evil of life.
Internal Sense.—The Lord inflows with revelation so as to confirm Truth in the heavenly Church, and to manifest the state of the external Church, in which truth is profaned to falsity, love perverted to lust, and falsity of evil confirmed.
references.—AC 1861, 4735, 8819, 9127; AE 329, 494, 504, 539; AR 422; H. H. 570.
31. The sun shall be turned to obscurity, and the moon to blood—before the great and feared day of JEHOVAH shall come in.
It is manifest that the subject of this verse is continued from the former verse. It speaks of the diversion of love from good ends by falsity, and the violence done to truth by evil. As shown under 2:10, the sun corresponds to celestial love, or the goodness of the Lord, and the moon, to faith or truth from the Lord. Under 2:2, obscurity was shown to signify falsity originating in ignorance of truth. To turn, signifies to pervert and displace. Thus in Psalm 66:6, " He turned the sea into dry land." Or, in Jerem 23:36, " You have turned the words of the living God, of Jehovah of hosts our God." The sun shall be turned to obscurity, therefore, signifies that the goodness of the Lord shall be perverted and displaced by falsity; that there shall be no love to the Lord by reason of falsity, and men shall not know His love for them by reason of the obscuring mist of error which prevails in the world. Blood, as shown in the preceding verse, denotes the Truth of the Lord profaned and falsified by evil. Therefore, the moon shall be turned to blood, denotes that faith in the Lord shall be profaned by evil. This is the work of man's carnal state: this is the way in which the Divine truth and good of the Word is received in the lust of self-hood. When the truth descends from heaven into the spirits of those of the external church, it reveals the deplorable fact that there is neither the love of the Lord nor faith in Him to be found. Falsity is where good should be, and evil where faith should be.
The remaining terms of the verse have been already explained, though not as combined here. They speak of the Lord's advent. Before, signifies in the presence of. The day of the Lord is styled great and feared, because, as shown under 2:11, in judgement, the Lord prevails by goodness and averts evil: raising the righteous and removing the wicked. To come in, as shown under 1:13, signifies to introduce truth into good by influx. Thus the Lord's truth is introduced into the interiors of the good, giving them power and life: but condemns the evil, being conjoined to them as falsity. Such was the effect of the Lord's advent into the world.
Internal Sense.—The good of the Lord shall be perverted by falsity and His truth profaned; but at His coming His truth shall prevail, and the evil will be averted by the influx of His truth.
references.—AC 1861, 2495, 4735, 9127; AE 329, 401, 504, 526; AR 53, 332, 379, 413; TCR 82, 198; H.H. 119, 570; Doct. L. 4; B.E. 78.
32. And it shall be, [that] everyone who shall call on the Name of JEHOVAH shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be an escape, as that which JEHOVAH has said, and in the remnants which JEHOVAH calls.
As in former instances, the first words of this verse prepare us for a notable change in the theme. In contrast with the picture presented in the previous verse, in which the inflowing truth from God was represented as dissipated by the evil of the church, here is portrayed the deliverance of those who acknowledge and worship the Lord. What is the effect of the Lord's advent upon those who retain something of the true spiritual life? In these are stored the beginnings of a new dispensation: and the present verse declares, that the Lord preserves, amid the general wrack and ruin, some few faithful minds upon whom will rest the privilege of receiving from Him the new revelation, and so prepare the world for the new birth of a church in it. Like Simeon, they await the consolation of Israel.
That all, or everyone, relates to the spiritual, even to the last, has been stated before. Again, who, is used mostly in relation to the spiritual. To call, as explained under 1:14, also refers to the spiritual, signifying to acknowledge by faith. Under verse 26 of this chapter, it was shown that the Name of Jehovah denotes the Lord Jesus Christ, especially as to everything of love and faith, by which He is worshiped. In prayer, we are therefore instructed, to ask what we desire in His Name. Everyone who shall call on the Name of Jehovah, denotes the spiritually minded, even to the last, acknowledging the Lord by faith, and thus conjoined to Him by worship. These may be in the acknowledged church, or outside it—every man, Jew or Gentile, who acknowledges the Lord in worship by faith: that is, by act, according to his knowledge of truth. It is promised to everyone so doing, that he shall be delivered. To be delivered, signifies to be taken away and removed from evils and falsities which are of hell. Thus in Psalm 22:5, "They cried to You, and were delivered;" also Psalm 116:4, "Then I called on the name of Jehovah: O Jehovah, I beseech You, deliver my soul." When the Lord came into the world He came to redeem man from the powers of Hell, and thus prepare for the establishment of a new church. As the decayed Jewish church was wholly corrupt, the few who acknowledged the Lord were of the Gentile world, and from these the Christian church was formed. It was needful, however, to subject the powers of Hell, and so redeem, or deliver the world from them. This redemption is recorded in the present verse as the promise of the Lord to be accomplished at His coming.
Zion was shown, under 2:1, to signify the Lord's celestial kingdom, or the Church in heaven as to the good of love to the Lord. Mountain, as explained under the same reference, corresponds to the good of celestial affection. Mount Zion, therefore, denotes the good of the Lord's celestial kingdom, as in Isaiah 31:4, " So shall Jehovah of hosts come down to fight on Mount Zion, and on the hills thereof." Just as Mount Zion denotes the good of the celestial kingdom, so Jerusalem denotes the truth of the celestial kingdom; that is, the truth derived from the good of love to the Lord. Hence the relation of Mount Zion to Jerusalem. It is in reference to such truth that Psalm 122:3, says, "Jerusalem is built as a city that is joined together." "The peace of Jerusalem" is to be prayed for, because it is the rest that comes of truth from love. So Zech 8:3, " Thus says Jehovah; I am returned to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called the city of truth; and the mountain of Jehovah of hosts, the mountain of holiness." Perhaps the dual form of the name Jerusalem (properly Jerusalaim) is due to its denoting the spiritual of the celestial. As pointed out under 1:5, because relates to what is derived, and in, as often remarked, denotes a means of conjunction. Hence the deliverance of those who acknowledge the Lord is represented as derived through their conjunction with the good of the Lord's celestial kingdom, and the truth from that good. Again the verb, to be, appears, and denotes a change of state: referring to those who are delivered. Escape, a word akin to that used above, to be delivered, is, in its natural sense, especially applied to those who escape, and who escape from slaughter, as in 2 Kings 19:30, 31, "And they that remained of them that escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downwards, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of Mount Zion: the zeal of Jehovah shall do this." That this signifies deliverance by remains from condemnation, or those who have the remains of truth and good whereby they may be saved, is manifest. They are delivered by fleeing from evil and falsity. So in Isaiah 10:20, "Such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall not continue to lean upon him that smote them; but shall lean upon Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, in truth." But this signification has been explained under 2:3. Those, therefore, who acknowledge the Lord shall be saved through conjunction of the remains of good and truth in them with the good and truth of the Lord's heavenly kingdom. As that which Jehovah has said, is a phrase indicating that it was so provided for by the Lord. As stated under 2:19, to say, when predicated of the Lord, signifies to foresee from the Divine Internal, and thus to communicate from the Divine Will. Jehovah, is used of the Divine Love. What the Divine Love foresees is also provided for. Hence "It is provided by the Lord that everyone is able to be saved," and "It is provided also that a new church should succeed in place of a former devastated church" (D.P. 328). This is exactly the issue of the present verse.
By remnants is to be understood, according to the internal sense of the word, the good surviving the inroads of evil in the interiors of man. These are concealed by the Lord in the internal man and preserved from evil, so that the mind may be kept in liberty and the ability to be reformed. In Isaiah 1:9, "Except Jehovah of Hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like Gomorrah." These remains of goodness are acknowledged by the Lord in His Divine love and mercy, and used as the bases of a new dispensation and new life in the world. The Lord's acknowledgement is implied in the words, which Jehovah calls. It is said, and in the remnants which Jehovah calls, because through conjunction of such remains with the good and truth of the Lord's kingdom in the heavens deliverance from evil and falsity is accomplished.
Internal Sense—But the spiritually-minded, even to the last, who acknowledge the Lord by faith, and are conjoined to Him by worship, shall be taken away and, removed from the evils and falsities which are of hell. Hence, through conjunction with the good of the Lord's celestial kingdom and the truth of that good, there is deliverance by remains from condemnation, as provided by the Lord, and the remains are acknowledged by Him.
references.—AC 5897, 5899; AE 405.JOEL 2 Other translations - previous - next - Joel - BM Home - Full Page