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The True Meaning of the 7 Days of Creation: Spiritual Rebirth

Swedenborg 2:1-3
Day 7: Woofenden
Day 7: King
Day 7: Pitcairn



The 7th Day: Spiritual Meaning of GENESIS 2:1-3

AC 81. This chapter treats of the celestial man, as the preceding one did of the spiritual, who was formed out of a dead man. But as it is unknown at this day what the celestial man is, and scarcely what the spiritual man is, or a dead man, it is permitted me briefly to state the nature of each, that the difference may be known. First, then, a dead man acknowledges nothing to be true and good but what belongs to the body and the world, and this he adores. A spiritual man acknowledges spiritual and celestial truth and good; but he does so from a principle of faith, which is likewise the ground of his actions, and not so much from love. A celestial man believes and perceives spiritual and celestial truth and good, acknowledging no other faith than that which is from love, from which also he acts.

[2] Secondly: The ends which influence a dead man regard only corporeal and worldly life, nor does he know what eternal life is, or what the Lord is; or should he know, he does not believe. The ends which influence a spiritual man regard eternal life, and thereby the Lord. The ends which influence a celestial man regard the Lord, and thereby His kingdom and eternal life.

[3] Thirdly: A dead man, when in combat almost always yields, and when not in combat, evils and falsities have dominion over him, and he is a slave. His bonds are external, such as the fear of the law, of the loss of life, of wealth, of gain, and of the reputation which he values for their sake. The spiritual man is in combat, but is always victorious; the bonds by which he is restrained are internal, and are called the bonds of conscience. The celestial man is not in combat, and when assaulted by evils and falsities, he despises them, and is therefore called a conqueror. He is apparently restrained by no bonds, but is free. His bonds, which are not apparent, are perceptions of good and truth.

AC 82. Verse 1. And the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the army of them. By these words is meant that man is now rendered so far spiritual as to have become the " sixth day;" "heaven" is his internal man, and "earth" his external; "the army of them" are love, faith, and the knowledges thereof, which were previously signified by the great luminaries and the stars. That the internal man is called "heaven," and the external "earth," is evident from the passages of the Word already cited in the preceding chapter, to which may be added the following from Isaiah:--

I will make a man more rare than solid gold, even a man than the precious gold of Ophir; therefore I will smite the heavens with terror, and the earth shall be shaken out of its place (Isaiah 13:12, 13).

Thou forgettest Jehovah thy Maker, that stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundations of the earth; but I will put My words in thy mouth, and I will hide thee in the shadow of My hand, that I may stretch out the heaven, and lay the foundation of the earth (Isaiah 51:13, 16).

From these words it is evident that both "heaven" and "earth" are predicated of man; for although they refer primarily to the Most Ancient church, yet the interiors of the Word are of such a nature that whatever is said of the church may also be said of every individual member of it, who, unless he were a church, could not possibly be a part of the church, just as he who is not a temple of the Lord cannot be what is signified by the temple, namely, the church and heaven. It is for this reason that the Most Ancient Church is called "man," in the singular number.

AC 83. The "heavens and the earth and all the army of them" are said to be "finished," when man has become the "sixth day," for then faith and love make a one. When they do this, love, and not faith, or in other words the celestial principle, and not the spiritual, begins to be the principal, and this is to be a celestial man.

AC 84. Verses 2, 3. And on the seventh day God finished His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it He rested from all His work which God in making created. The celestial man is the "seventh day," which, as the Lord has worked during the six days, is called "His work;" and as all combat then ceases, the Lord is said to "rest from all His work." On this account the seventh day was sanctified, and called the Sabbath, from a Hebrew word meaning "rest." And thus was man created, formed, and made. These things are very evident from the words.

AC 85. That the celestial man is the "seventh day," and that the seventh day was therefore hallowed, and called the Sabbath, are secrets which have not hitherto been discovered. For none have been acquainted with the nature of the celestial man, and few with that of the spiritual man, whom in consequence of this ignorance they have made to be the same as the celestial man, notwithstanding the great difference that exists between them, as may be seen in (n. 81). As regards the seventh day, and as regards the celestial man being the "seventh day" or "Sabbath," this is evident from the fact that the Lord Himself is the Sabbath; and therefore He says:--

The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27),

which words imply that the Lord is Man himself, and the Sabbath itself. His kingdom in the heavens and on the earth is called, from Him, a Sabbath, or eternal peace and rest.

[2] The Most Ancient Church, which is here treated of, was the Sabbath of the Lord above all that succeeded it. Every subsequent inmost church of the Lord is also a Sabbath; and so is every regenerate person when he becomes celestial, because he is a likeness of the Lord. The six days of combat or labor precede. These things were represented in the Jewish church by the days of labor, and by the seventh day, which was the Sabbath; for in that church there was nothing instituted which was not representative of the Lord and of His kingdom. The like was also represented by the ark when it went forward, and when it rested, for by its journeyings in the wilderness were represented combats and temptations, and by its rest a state of peace; and therefore, when it set forward, Moses said:--

Rise up, Jehovah, and let Thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Thee flee before Thy faces. And when it rested, he said, Return, Jehovah, unto the ten thousands of the thousands of Israel (Num. 10:35, 36).

It is there said of the ark that it went from the Mount of Jehovah "to search out a rest for them" (Num. 10:33).

[3] The rest of the celestial man is described by the Sabbath in Isaiah:--

If thou bring back thy foot from the Sabbath, so that thou doest not thy desire in the day of My holiness, and callest the things of the Sabbath delights to the holy of Jehovah, honorable; and shalt honor it, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own desire, nor speaking a word; then shalt thou be delightful to Jehovah, and I will cause thee to be borne over the lofty things of the earth, and will feed thee with the heritage of Jacob (Isaiah 58:13, 14).

Such is the quality of the celestial man that he acts not according to his own desire, but according to the good pleasure of the Lord, which is his "desire." Thus he enjoys internal peace and happiness-here expressed by "being uplifted over the lofty things of the earth"-and at the same time external tranquillity and delight, which is signified by "being fed with the heritage of Jacob."

AC 86. When the spiritual man, who has become the "sixth day," is beginning to be celestial, which state is here first treated of, it is the "eve of the Sabbath," represented in the Jewish Church by the keeping holy of the Sabbath from the evening. The celestial man is the "morning" to be spoken of presently.

AC 87. Another reason why the celestial man is the " Sabbath," or "rest," is that combat ceases when he becomes celestial. The evil spirits retire, and good ones approach, as well as celestial angels; and when these are present, evil spirits cannot possibly remain, but flee far away. And since it was not the man himself who carried on the combat, but the Lord alone for the man, it is said that the Lord "rested."

AC 88. When the spiritual man becomes celestial, he is called the "work of God," because the Lord alone has fought for him, and has created, formed, and made him; and therefore it is here said, "God finished His work on the seventh day;" and twice, that "He rested from all His work." By the Prophets man is repeatedly called the "work of the hands and of the fingers of Jehovah;" as in Isaiah, speaking of the regenerate man:--

Thus hath said Jehovah the Holy One of Israel, and his Former, Seek ye signs of Me, signs concerning My sons, and concerning the work of My hands command ye Me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it; I, even My hands have stretched out the heavens, and all their army have I commanded. For thus hath said Jehovah that createth the heavens, God Himself that formeth the earth and maketh it; He establisheth it, He created it not a void, He formed it to be inhabited; I am Jehovah and there is no God else besides Me (Isaiah 45:11, 12, 18, 21).

Hence it is evident that the new creation, or regeneration, is the work of the Lord alone. The expressions to "create," to "form," and to "make," are employed quite distinctively, both in the above passage--"creating the heavens, forming the earth, and making it"--and in other places in the same Prophet, as:--

Every one that is called by My name, I have created him for My glory, I have formed him, yea, I have made him (Isaiah 43:7),

and also in both the preceding and this chapter of Genesis; as in the passage before us: "He rested from all His work which God in making created." In the internal sense this usage always conveys a distinct idea; and the case is the same where the Lord is called "Creator," "Former," or "Maker."


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