Spiritual Meaning of

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That by the touch of the hand is also signified communication, transfer, and reception, is because the activity of the whole body is collected into the arms and into the hands, and in the Word interior things are expressed by means of exterior ones. From this it is that by the arms, the hands, and especially by the right hand, is signified power (AC 10019, 10023, 10076); and hence by the hands is signified whatever appertains to man, thus the whole man in so far as he is acting (AC 10019). Moreover that all the outer senses -- sight, hearing, taste, and smell -- bear relation to the touch, and are kinds of touch, is known in the learned world.

[7] That by touching is signified communication, transfer, and reception, is evident from many passages in the Word, of which the following may be adduced:--

Thou shalt anoint the Tent of meeting, and the ark of the Testimony, and the table and all the vessels thereof, and the lampstand and the vessels thereof, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt-offering and all the vessels thereof, and the laver and the base thereof, and thou shalt sanctify them that they may be holy of holies; whosoever toucheth them shall be sanctified (Exod. 30:26-29).

Everything which hath touched the residue of the meat-offering, and the residue of the flesh from the sacrifices, which are for Aaron and his sons, shall be sanctified (Lev. 6:18, 27).

The angel touched Daniel, and restored him upon his station, and lifted him up upon his knees; and touched his lips, and opened his mouth; and touched him again, and strengthened him (Dan. 10:10, 16, 18).

One of the seraphim with a burning coal touched my mouth and said, Lo this hath touched thy lips; therefore thine iniquity is gone away, and thy sin is expiated (Isa. 6:7).

Jehovah sent forth His hand, and touched my mouth, and said, I give My words into thy mouth (Jer. 1:9).

Jesus stretching forth His hand to the leper, touched him, saying, I will; be thou cleansed. And straightway his leprosy was cleansed (Matt. 8:3).

Jesus saw Peter's wife's mother afflicted with a fever. And Be touched her hand, and the fever left her (Matt. 8:14, 15).

Jesus touched the eyes of the blind, and their eyes were opened (Matt. 9:29, 30).

Jesus touched the eyes of the two blind men, and straightway they received their sight (Matt. 20:34).

Jesus touched the ear of the deaf man and healed him (Luke 22:51).

They brought to Jesus those who were ill, that they night touch if it were but the border of His garment; and as many as touched were made whole (Mark 6:56; Matt. 14:36).

A woman laboring with an issue of blood touched the border of His garment; and immediately the issue of her blood was stanched. And Jesus said, Who is it that touched Me? Some one hath touched Me. I know that virtue hath gone forth from Me (Luke 8:44-48).

They brought little children unto Jesus, that He should touch them. And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands upon them, and blessed them (Mark 10:13, 16).

[8] From these passages it is plain that by touching is signified communication, transfer, and reception.

[9] In like manner with things unclean, by which in the internal sense are signified evils and falsities which are from the hells; as in Moses:--

He that toucheth one dead as to all man's soul shall be unclean seven days. Whosoever toucheth one dead, as to the soul of a man who is dying, and hath not expiated himself, hath defiled the habitation of Jehovah; therefore that soul shall be cut off from Israel. Whosoever hath touched on the surface of a field one pierced with a sword, or one dead, or the bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. He that toucheth the water of separation shall be unclean until the evening. What ever the unclean person hath touched shall become unclean; and the soul that hath touched it shall be unclean until the evening (Num. 19:11, 13, 16, 21, 22).

He who toucheth unclean beasts, unclean creeping things, shall be unclean until the evening; everything on which it shall fall, shall be unclean, whether it be vessel of wood, or garment, or vessel of water, vessel of pottery, food, drink, an oven, a fountain, a cistern, a receptacle of waters, they shall be unclean (Lev. 11:31-36; 5:2, 3; 7:21).

He that hath an issue is unclean; and also the man who hath touched his bed; or hath sat upon a vessel on which he hath sat; or hath touched his flesh or his garments; or if he that is affected with an issue hath spit upon one who is clean. The chariot on which he is carried, the vessel of pottery, the vessel of wood, shall be unclean (Lev. 15:1-33).

So also he who hath touched a leper (Lev. 22:4).

If there shall fall anything from a carcass upon all the seed of the sower which is sown, it shall be clean; but if water hath been put upon the seed, and a carcass shall fall upon it, it shall be unclean (Lev. 11:37, 38).

[10] By these unclean things are signified various kinds of evils and the derivative falsities which are from hell, and which are communicated, transferred, and received; the several unclean things signify each some specific evil; for evils which are unclean render man so, because they infect his soul; mob over from evil spirits and genii there flow forth the evils of their heart, and according to the persuasions of evil they infect those who are present. This contagion is what is signified by the touch of unclean things.

[11] In Moses:--

Of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, yea shall not eat, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die (Gen. 3:3).

The angel who wrestled with Jacob, seeing that he prevailed not against him, touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of the thigh was out of joint (Gen. 32:25).

Moses said that they should not touch anything which belonged to, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, lest they should be consumed for all their sins (Num. 16:26).

Depart ye, depart ye, touch no unclean thing; go ye out from the midst of her; be ye purified that bear the vessels of Jehovah (Isa. 52:11).

They have wandered blind in the streets, they are defiled with blood; those things which they cannot (defile) they touch with their garments. Depart ye, he is unclean; they cry unto them, Depart, touch not (Lam. 4:14, 15).

Behold if a man shall bear the flesh of holiness in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt touch bread, or wine, or oil, or any food, it nevertheless shall not be sanctified. If one unclean in soul shall touch any of these things, it nevertheless shall be unclean (Hag. 2:12-14).

Forswearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they commit robbery, and bloods touch bloods; therefore the land shall mourn (Hos. 4:2, 3).

from AC 10130

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