Spiritual Meaning of

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That the creeping things of the waters, or fishes, signify memory-knowledges, is plain from Isaiah:--

I came and there was no man; at My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness; their fish shall stink because there is no water and shall die for thirst; I clothe the heavens with blackness (Isaiah 50:2, 3).

[2] But it is still plainer from Ezekiel, where the Lord describes the new temple, or a new church in general, and the man of the church, or a regenerate person; for every one who is regenerate is a temple of the Lord:--

The Lord Jehovah said unto me, These waters that shall issue to the boundary toward the east, and shall come toward the sea, being led into the sea, and the waters shall be healed; and it shall come to pass that every living soul that shall creep forth, whithersoever the water of the rivers shall come, shall live, and there shall be exceeding much fish, because those waters shall come thither, and they shall heal, and everything shall live whither the river cometh; and it shall come to pass that fishers shall stand upon it from En-gedi to En-eglaim, with the spreading of nets shall they be; their fish shall be according to its kind, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many (Ezekiel 47:8-10).

Fishers from En-gedi unto En-eglaim, with the spreading of nets, signify those who shall instruct the natural man in the truths of faith.

from AC 40

Fishes in the Word signify memory-knowledges, which spring from things of sense. For memory-knowledges (scientifica) are of three kinds: intellectual, rational, and sensuous. All these are planted in the memory, or rather memories, and in the regenerate man are called forth thence by the Lord, through the internal man. These memory-knowledges which are from things of sense come to man's sensation or perception when he lives in the body, for he thinks from them. The rest, which are interior, do not come so much to perception until man puts off the body and enters the other life. That fishes or the creeping things which the waters produce, signify memory-knowledges, may be seen above (AC 40); and that a whale or sea monster signifies the generals of these knowledges (AC 42). Moreover the same is evident from the following passages in the Word. In Zephaniah:--

I will make man and beast to fail; I will make the fowls of the heavens and the fishes of the sea to fail (Zephaniah 1:3),

where the fowls of the heavens denote things of reason, and the fishes of the sea lower rational things, that is, man's thought from sensuous memory-knowledges.

[2] In Habakkuk:--

Thou makest man as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping thing that has no ruler over them (Habakkuk 1:14),

where making man as the fishes of the sea means that he is altogether sensuous. In Hosea:--

Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the wild animal of the field and the fowl of the heavens; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be gathered (Hosea 4:3),

where the fishes of the sea denote memory-knowledges from things of sense. In David:--

Thou hast put all things under his feet; all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas (Ps. 8:6-8),

speaking of the dominion of the Lord in man, the fish of the sea denote memory-knowledges. That seas signify the gathering together of knowledges (scientificorum seu cognitionum), may be seen above (AC 28). In Isaiah:--

The fishers shall lament, and all they that cast a hook into the river shall mourn, and they that spread a net upon the faces of the waters shall languish (Isaiah 19:8);

fishers denoting those who trust only in things of sense, and out of these hatch falsities; the subject being Egypt, or the realm of memory-knowledge.

from AC 991

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