Spiritual Meaning of

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 Physician, Medicine

That physicians signify preservation from evils is because in the spiritual world diseases are evils and falsities, spiritual diseases being nothing else; for evils and falsities take away health from the internal man, and induce sicknesses on the mind, and at last pains; nor is anything else signified in the Word by diseases.

[2] That physicians, the medical art, and medicines in the Word signify preservations from evils and falsities, is evident from the passages where they are named; as in Moses:--

If hearing thou hearest the voice of thy God, and doest that which is good in His eyes, and givest ear to His commandments, and keepest all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon thee which I have put upon the Egyptians; for I am Jehovah thy physician (Exod. 15:26);

Jehovah the Physician denotes the preserver from evils, for these are signified by the diseases put upon the Egyptians. That the diseases put upon the Egyptians signify evils and falsities originating in reasonings from memory-knowledges and fallacies concerning the arcana of faith, will of the Lord's Divine mercy be shown when these diseases are treated of; that spiritual things are signified, is evident from the fact that it is said if they would hear the voice of God, would do good, would give ear to the commandments, and would keep the statutes, then these diseases should not be upon them.

[3] In the same sense also the Lord calls Himself a physician in Luke:--

They that are whole have no need of a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Luke 5:31, 32);

here also a physician denotes a preserver from evils, for by the whole are meant the righteous, and by the sick, sinners. In Jeremiah:--

Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there? why then hath not the health of the daughter of My people come up? (Jer. 8:22);

a physician denotes preservation from falsities in the church, for the health of the daughter of My people denotes the truth of doctrine there.

[4] That healings, cures, remedies, and medicines are not spoken of in the Word in a natural but in a spiritual sense, is plain in Jeremiah:--

Why hast Thou smitten us, that we have no remedy? they await peace, but there is no good; a time of healing, but behold terror (Jer. 14:19; 8:15).


I will cause to come up to him health and cure, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them a crown of peace and truth (Jer. 33:6).


There is none that judgeth thy judgment for health, thou hast no medicines of restoration (Jer. 30:13).


Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin daughter of Egypt; in vain hast thou multiplied medicines; there is no healing for thee (Jer. 46:11).

[5] In Ezekiel:--

By the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that, there cometh up every tree of food, whose leaf falleth not, neither is the fruit thereof consumed, it is born again in its months, because the waters thereof go forth from the sanctuary; whence the fruit thereof is for food, and the leaf thereof for medicine (Ezek. 47:12);

the subject here treated of in the prophet is the new house of God, or the new temple, by which is signified a new church, and in an interior sense the Lord's spiritual kingdom; and therefore the river upon whose bank cometh up every tree of food signifies things that belong to intelligence and wisdom (AC 108, 109, 2702, 3051); trees signify the perceptions and knowledges of good and truth (AC 103, 2163, 2682, 2722, 2972, 4552); food, the goods and truths themselves (AC 680, 4459, 5147, 5293, 5576, 5915) waters going forth from the sanctuary, the truths which make intelligence (AC 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668); the sanctuary, celestial love, in the supreme sense the Divine Human of the Lord, from whom is this love; the fruits which are for food, the goods of love (AC 913, 983, 2846, 2847, 3146); the leaf which is for medicine, the truth of faith (AC 885). From this it is plain what medicine signifies, namely, that which preserves from falsities and evils; for when the truth of faith leads to the good of life, it preserves, because it withdraws from evils.

from AC 6502

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