Spiritual Meaning of

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The reason why dogs signify those who render the good of faith unclean through falsifications, is that dogs eat unclean things, and also bark at men and bite them. From this also it was that the nations outside the church who were in falsities from evil, were called dogs by the Jews, and were accounted most vile. That they were called dogs is manifest from the Lord's words to the Greek woman, the Syrophenician, whose daughter was grievously troubled with a demon:--

It is not good to take the children's bread, and cast it to the dogs. But she said, Certainly, Lord; but even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table (Matt. 15:26, 27; Mark 7:27, 28);

that dogs here signify those who were outside the church, and children those who were within the church, is plain.

[3] In like manner in Luke:--

There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and lived in good cheer and splendor every day. But there was a poor man named Lazarus, who was cast at his door, full of sores, and desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table; yet even the dogs came, and licked his sores (Luke 16:19-21);

by "the rich man clothed in purple and fine linen¯ are signified those who are within the church; the purple and fine linen with which he was clothed denoting the knowledges of good and truth from the Word; by the poor man are signified those within the church who are in but little good by reason of their ignorance of truth, and yet long to be instructed (AC 9209); that he was called Lazarus was from the Lazarus who was raised by the Lord, of whom it is said that the Lord loved him" (John 11:1-3, 5, 36), that he was the Lord's friend (John 11:11), and that he reclined at table with the Lord (John 12:2); his desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table signified his longing to learn a few truths from those within the church who had abundance of them; the dogs which licked his sores denote those outside the church who are in good, although not in the genuine good of faith; licking sores denotes healing them by such means as are within their power.

[4] In John:--Without are dogs, sorcerers, and whoremongers (Rev. 22:15); dogs, sorcerers, and whoremongers denote those who falsify the good and truth of faith, and who are said to be without, because they are outside heaven, or the church. That good falsified, and thus made unclean, is signified by dogs, is also evident in Matthew:--

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6).

In Moses:--

Thou shalt not bring the hire of a harlot, or the price of a dog, into the house of Jehovah, for any vow; for both these are an abomination unto thy God (Deut. 23:18);

the hire of a harlot denotes falsified truths of faith. That whoredom denotes the falsification of the truth of faith, (AC 2466, 2729, 4865, 8904).

[5] In David:--

Dogs have compassed me; the assemblages of evildoers have surrounded me, piercing my hands and my feet. Deliver my soul from the sword; and mine only one from the hand of the dog (Ps. 22:16, 20);

dogs here denote those who destroy the goods of faith, and who are therefore called the assemblages of evil-doers; to deliver the soul from the sword denotes from the falsity that lays waste the truth of faith. That a sword denotes falsity laying waste the truth of faith, (AC 2799, 4499, 6353, 7102, 8294); and the soul, the life of faith, (AC 9050). From this also it is evident that delivering the only one from the hand of the dog denotes to deliver from the falsity that lays waste the good of faith. That some were to be carried off and eaten by dogs (1 Kings 14:11; 16:4; 21:23, 24; 2 Kings 9:10, 36; Jer. 15:3), signified that they would perish by unclean things. That some compared themselves to dead dogs (1 Sam. 24:14; 2 Sam. 3:8; 9:8; 16:9), signified that they were to be accounted as utterly worthless, and as such were to be cast out. What is further signified by dogs may be seen above (AC 7784).

from AC 9231

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