Spiritual Meaning of

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By a dove are signified the truths and goods of faith with him who is to be regenerated; and he sent forth a dove from him to see, signifies the state of receiving the truths and goods of faith; if the waters were abated, signifies falsities which impede; the faces of the ground, signifies the things which are in the man of the church; it is said ground because this is the first state when man becomes a church

from AC 870. That by a dove are signified the truths and goods of faith with him who is to be regenerated, is evident from the signification of a dove in the Word, especially the dove which came upon Jesus when He was baptized, of which we read in Matthew:--

Jesus when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water, and lo the heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and coming upon Him (Matthew 3:16; John 1:32; Luke 3:21, 22; Mark 1:10, 11).

Here the dove signified nothing else than the holy of faith; and the baptism itself, regeneration; so that there was signified, in the new church which was to arise, the truth and good of faith which is received by regeneration from the Lord. Similar things were represented and involved by the young pigeons or turtledoves that were offered for sacrifice and burnt-offering in the Jewish Church, of which we read in (Leviticus 1:14-17; 5:7-10; 12:6, 8; 14:21, 22; 15:14, 29, 30; Num. 6:10, 11; Luke 2:22-24), as is evident from the several passages That they had such a signification every one may comprehend from the sole consideration that they must needs represent something; for otherwise they would have no meaning and would be in no respect Divine, for what is external of the church is an inanimate affair, but lives from what is internal, and this from the Lord.

[2] That a dove in general signifies the intellectual things of faith, is also evident in the Prophets, as in Hosea:--

Ephraim will be like a silly dove, without heart; they called Egypt, they went unto Assyria (Hosea 7:11).

And again, concerning Ephraim:--

They shall be afraid, as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria (Hosea 11:11).

Here Ephraim denotes one who is intelligent, Egypt one who has knowledge, Assyria one who is rational, a dove what is of the intellectual things of faith; and here also the subject is the regeneration of the spiritual church. Again in David:--

O Jehovah, deliver not the soul of Thy turtledove unto the wild beast (Ps. 74:19);

where wild beast denotes those who are of no charity; the soul of the turtledove, the life of faith. See also what has been said and shown before about birds, that they signify intellectual things: gentle, beautiful, clean, and useful birds, intellectual truths and goods; but fierce, ugly, unclean, and useless birds, the opposite, or falsities, such as the raven, which is here opposed to the dove.

from AC 870

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