Spiritual Meaning of

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One who does not know that birds signify things of the intellect, cannot know otherwise than that where birds are mentioned in the Word, either birds are meant, or else they are used by way of comparison, as in common speech. Except from the internal sense no one can know that by birds are meant things of the understanding such as thoughts, ideas, reasonings, principles, consequently truths or falsities; as in Luke:--

The kingdom of God is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew and became a great tree; so that the birds of the heaven dwelt in the branches of it (Luke 13:19);

the birds of the heaven here denotes truths.

[4] In Ezekiel:--

It shall go forth into a magnificent cedar; and under it shall dwell every bird of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell (Ezek. 17:23);

bird of every wing denotes truths of every kind. And again:--

Asshur was a cedar in Lebanon. All the birds of the heavens made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches all the beasts of the field brought forth, and in his shadow dwelt all great nations (Ezek. 31:3, 6);

birds of the heavens in like manner denote truths.

[5] Again:--

Upon his ruin all the birds of the heavens shall dwell, and all the wild animals of the field shall be upon his branches (Ezek. 31:13);

where birds of the heavens denote falsities. In Daniel:--

Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream; behold a tree in the midst of the earth; the beast of the field had shadow under it, and the bird of the heaven dwelt in the branch thereof (Daniel 4:10, 12, 18);

where again birds of the heaven denote falsities.

[6] In Jeremiah:--

I beheld and lo there was no man, and all the birds of the heaven were fled (Jer. 4:25);

no man denotes no good (AC 4287); the birds of the heaven that were fled denotes that truths were dispersed. Again:--

From the bird of the heavens, even to the beast, they are fled, they are gone (Jer. 9:10);

where the meaning is similar. And in Matthew:--

The sower went forth to sow; and some seeds fell upon the hard way, and the birds came and devoured them (Matthew 13:3, 4);

where birds denote reasonings, and also falsities. The meaning is similar in many other passages.

from AC 5149

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