Spiritual Meaning of

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Horns are mentioned in many places in the Word; and there signify the power of truth from good; and in the opposite sense the power of falsity from evil; here the meaning is that the spiritual who are signified by the ram are entangled in natural memory-knowledge with all their might in regard to truth, and hence that they are deprived of the power of perceiving truths. For the more anyone consults natural memory-knowledges, and sticks fast in them in his animus and mind in regard to the things which are truths of faith, the more does he lose the light of truth, and with the light, the life of truth. Every one may know this from experience, if he attends and reflects, from those who say that they can believe nothing unless they comprehend that it is so by means of the things of sense, or of memory-knowledge. If you explore their quality, you will find that they believe nothing; and moreover that nothing seems to them more wise than to ascribe everything to nature. There are many also who say that they believe although they do not comprehend; when nevertheless, in secret with themselves, they reason equally as others do from the things of sense and memory-knowledge concerning the truths of faith, as to whether a thing is so. These either have a kind of persuasion breathed in from the love of self and the world, or they do not believe at all. Their quality is manifest from their life. Both classes are indeed in the Lord's spiritual church, but they are not of the church. They who are of the church are in a life of good, and have faith in truths; but the spiritual have faith in other truths besides those which have been impressed on them from infancy, and which they have afterwards confirmed to themselves from doctrine or from some other source. Such is the state of the spiritual, which state is here described by the ram caught in the thicket by his horns (AC 2831).

[2] That a horn signifies the power of truth from good, is evident from the following passages. In David:--

Thou art the glory of their strength, and in Thy good pleasure wilt Thou exalt our horn for our shield belongeth unto Jehovah, and our king to the Holy One of Israel. My truth and My mercy shall be with him, and in My name shall his horn be exalted I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers (Ps. 89:17, 18, 24, 26);

where our horn and his horn manifestly denote the power of truth. The Lord's spiritual kingdom is there treated of; our king belongs to the Holy One of Israel denotes that Divine truth belongs to the Lord. That a king is truth, and that the Lord's royalty is the Divine Truth, see (AC 1672, 1728, 2015, 2069); to put his hand in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers denotes that strength is in the memory-knowledges and the knowledges of truth. That the hand and the right hand denote strength, see (AC 878); and also that the sea and the rivers denote memory-knowledges and knowledges, (AC 28, 2702). In the same:--

I will love Thee, O Jehovah, my strength; Jehovah is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my strong rock in whom I trust, my shield, and the born of my salvation (Ps. 18:1, 2; 2 Sam. 22:2, 3);

the horn of salvation denotes truth as to power; in this passage strength, rock, fortress, God, strong rock, and shield, are all significative of the power of truth.

[3] In the same:--

In Zion will I make a horn to bud unto David, I will prepare a lamp for Mine anointed; His enemies will I clothe with shame (Ps. 132:17, 18);

where the Lord is treated of, who is David (AC 1888); a horn denotes the power of truth; a lamp, the light of truth. In Samuel:--

My heart hath exulted in Jehovah, my horn is exalted in Jehovah, my mouth is enlarged against mine enemies, because I have been glad in Thy salvation. Jehovah will give strength unto His king, and will exalt the horn of His anointed (1 Sam. 2:1, 10);

this is the prophecy of Hannah; the horn denotes the power of truth.

[4] In Moses:--

The firstling of his ox, honor is his, and his horns are the horns of the unicorn with them shall he push the peoples all of them, to the ends of the earth (Deut. 33:17);

this is the prophecy of Moses concerning Joseph, where the horns of the unicorn denote the great power of truth, as is manifest also from its being said that he shall push the peoples with them to the ends of the earth. So too in David:--

My born shalt Thou exalt like the unicorn's (Ps. 92:10).

And in the same:--

O Jehovah, save me from the mouth of the lion, and answer me from the horns of the unicorn (Ps. 22:21);

Divine truths, from their height, are called the horns of unicorns; hence the horn is so often said to be exalted, for exaltation signifies power from the interior. That what is internal is represented by what is high, see (AC 1735, 2148).

[5] In Jeremiah:--

The Lord hath cut off in fierce anger all the horn of Israel, He hath drawn back His right hand from before the enemy (Lam. 2:3);

to cut off all the horn of Israel denotes to deprive of truth which has power, which is also to draw back the right hand from before the enemy. In Ezekiel:--

In that day will I make a horn to grow for the house of Israel, and I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them (Ezekiel 29:21);

to make the horn to grow for the house of Israel, denotes to multiply the truths of the spiritual church, which is Israel; the opening of the mouth denotes the confession of them.

[6] In Habakkuk:--

God will come from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran; His honor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise and His brightness shall be as the light He had horns out of His hand, and there was the hiding of His strength (Habakkuk 3:3, 4);

where the Lord is treated of. That He had horns out of His hand, and there was the hiding of His strength, plainly denotes the power of truth; that Mount Paran is the Divine Spiritual or the Divine Truth of the Lord's Human, may be seen above (AC 2714), which also is the brightness and the light.

[7] The Divine Truth of the Lord's Human is thus described in John:--

I saw and behold in the midst of the throne, and of the four animals, a Lamb standing as if slain, having seven horns, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth (Rev. 5:6);

the seven horns denote holy or Divine truths. That seven means holy, see (AC 716, 881). The seven spirits sent forth into all the earth, are the holy preachings of the same truths.

[8] The horns of the altars signified nothing else than truth in which is power. Of these it is said in Moses:--

Thou shalt make horns upon the four corners of the altar out of it shall its horns be (Exod. 27:2; 38:2).

So too upon the altar of incense, out of which were to be horns (Exod. 30:2; 37:25). That the altar was a principal representative of the Lord and of His worship, see (AC 921). The altar was a representative of His Divine Good; the horns were the representatives of His Divine Truth; that truth was from good was represented by the horns being out of it, or out of the altar. That there is no other truth than that which is from good, see (AC 654, 1162, 1176, 1608, 2063, 2261, 2429). It is manifest from this that horns in the genuine sense signify the power of truth which is from good.

[9] That Aaron and his sons when initiated in the ministry, took of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with the finger (Exod. 29:12; Lev. 8:15); and that Aaron made expiation upon the horns of the altar once in the year (Exod. 30:10); and that when a priest sinned, he offered a bullock, and put of the blood upon the horns of the altar of incense (Lev. 4:3, 7); also that when a prince sinned, he offered a burnt-offering, and the blood was sprinkled upon the horns of the altar of burnt-offering (Lev. 4:22, 25); and that it was the same when a soul sinned (Leviticus 4:27, 30, 34); as also when the altar was expiated (Lev. 16:18, 19)-all these things signified truths from good; for all sanctifications, inaugurations, and expiations were made by truths, because truths introduce to good (AC 2830). That the horns of the altar signified truths which are from good, may also be seen in John:--

The sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God (Rev. 9:13);

the horns of the golden altar manifestly denote truths from good, for thence came the voice. That gold is good, see (AC 113, 1551, 1552); and still more the golden altar.

[10] In Amos:--

In the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him, I will visit upon the altars of Bethel, and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and shall fall to the ground (Amos 3:14);

that the horns of the altar were to be cut off, was because truth from good was no longer represented there; Bethel is the Divine Good, and is therefore called the king's sanctuary, and the house of the kingdom (Amos 7:13). The kings being anointed with oil from a horn (1 Sam. 16:1, 13; 1 Kings 1:39) represented in like manner truth from good. The oil was good, (AC 886); but the born, truth; the royalty itself in the internal sense is such truth, (AC 1728, 2015), in which is power).

[11] That a horn in the opposite sense signifies the power of falsity which is from evil, is evident from the following passages. In Amos:--

Ye who rejoice in a thing of naught, who say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength? (Amos 6:13);

horns here denote the power of falsity. In Zechariah:--

I lifted up mine eyes and saw, and behold four horns; and I said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these? And he said to me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah; Israel, and Jerusalem. And Jehovah showed me four smiths and I said, What come these to do? and He said, saying, These are the horns which scattered Judah, so that no man doth lift up his head and these are come to terrify them, to cast down the horns of the nations, which lifted up their horn against the land of Judah, to scatter it (Zechariah 1:18-21);

the horns denote the power of falsity, which vastates the church. In Ezekiel:--

Ye thrust with side and with shoulder, and push all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad (Ezekiel 34:21);

here the shepherds who seduce by falsities are treated of; the horns denote the power of falsity; the shoulder, all power (AC 1085). In Jeremiah:--

Jehovah hath destroyed, and hath not pitied, and He hath caused the enemy to rejoice over thee He hath exalted the horn of thine adversaries (Lam. 2:17).

In the same:--

The horn of Moab is cut off, and his arm is broken (Jer. 48:25);

horn here denotes powerful falsity.

[12] In David:--

I said to them that were glorying, Glory ye not, and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn; lift not up your horn on high, speak not with a stiff neck. All the horns of the wicked will I cut off, the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up (Ps. 75:4, 5, 10);

the horns of the wicked denote the power of falsity from evil; the horns of the righteous, the power of truth from good.

[13] In Daniel:--

A fourth beast was seen, terrible and powerful and strong exceedingly, and it had iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet, and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold another little horn came up among them, and three of the first horns were rooted up before it; and behold in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the born spake I desired certitude concerning the fourth beast, and concerning the ten horns that were on his head, and concerning the other which came up, and three fell before it; and concerning the same horn that had eyes, and a mouth speaking great things; I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints. And he said, As for the fourth beast, it shall be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all the kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And as for the ten horns, out of this kingdom shall ten kings arise, and another shall arise after them, and he shall be diverse from the former ones, and he shall humble three kings; he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints; afterwards the judgment shall sit (Daniel 7:7, 8, 11, 19-26).

Here in the internal sense the perverted state of the church is treated of. The things which were here seen by Daniel, as the beast, the teeth of iron, the horn in which were eyes, and the horns that spoke, and those which made war with the saints, and that which spoke against the Most High, signify the state of falsity and of heresies within the church. That horns signify falsity powerful and prevailing, is evident from the mere fact that eyes are attributed to them, that is, understanding (AC 2701); and that they spoke, even against the Most High. By the kingdoms and kings are not signified kingdoms and kings, but doctrinal things O, falsity; as may be seen from their signification in the Word as being doctrinal things of truth, and in the opposite sense of falsity (AC 1672, 2015, 2069, 2547).

[14] Again in Daniel:--

A ram was seen by him standing before the river, which had two horns; and the horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing with his horn westward, and northward, and southward, so that no beasts could stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and magnified himself. As I was considering, behold a be-goat of the goats came from the west over the face of the whole earth; this he-goat had a horn between his two eyes; he came to the ram the lord of the horns, and ran upon him In the fury of his power, and note him, and brake his two horns; and there was no power in the ram to stand before him. Afterwards the he-goat of the goats magnified himself exceedingly and when he was strong, his great horn was broken, and there came up four horns in place of it. Soon out of one of them went forth a little horn, and grew exceedingly toward the south, and toward the east, and toward beauty and it grew even to the army of the heavens, and some of the army and of the stars it cast down to the earth, and trampled upon them. The ram with the two horns, they are the kings of Media and Persia; the he-goat is the king of Greece; the four horns in place of one are four kingdoms out of the nation (Daniel 8:1-27).

Here in the spiritual sense the state of the spiritual church is treated of, which is the ram (AC 2830); and the state of that church is described, how it gradually declines and is perverted. The he-goat of the goats denotes those who are in faith separate from charity, or in truth separate from good, who begin to uplift themselves against good, and at length against the Lord. The horns of the ram are the truths of the spiritual church both internal and external; the horns of the he-goat of the goats are truths which have gradually degenerated into falsities; and by the kingdoms and kings here mentioned are not signified kingdoms and kings, but truths and falsities, as already said; for the Lord's Word in its essence does not treat of worldly and earthly, but of spiritual and heavenly things.

[15] In John:--

And there was seen another sign in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns, and upon his heads seven diadems; his tail drew a third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth (Rev. 12:3, 4).

And again:--

I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads names of blasphemy. It was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. And then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb (Rev. 13:1, 2, 7, 11).

Again in the same:--

I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy having seven heads and ten horns; it was the great Babylon. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth and they are seven kings; the ten horns are ten kings (Rev. 17:3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 13).

That by the horns here in like manner as in Daniel are signified the powers of falsity, is evident.

from AC 2832

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