Spiritual Meaning of
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The signification of a belt, or girdle, is a general bond; for it gathers up, encloses, holds in connection, and secures all the interior things, which without it would be set loose, and would be scattered. That the belt denotes a general bond to the intent that all things may look to one end, is because in the spiritual world the end reigns, insomuch that all things there may be called ends; for the Lord's kingdom, which is a spiritual world, is a kingdom of uses, and uses there are ends: thus it is a kingdom of ends. But the ends there follow one another and are also associated together in a varied order; the ends which follow one another being called intermediate ends, but the ends which are associated together being called consociate ends. All these ends have been so mutually conjoined and subordinated that they look to one end, which is the universal end of them all. This end is the Lord; and in heaven with those who are receptive, it is love and faith in Him. Love is there the end of all their wills, and faith is the end of all their thoughts, these being of the understanding.
 When each and all things look to one end, they are then kept in an unbroken connection, and make a one; for they are under the view, the government, and the providence of One who bends all to Himself in accordance with the laws of subordination and consociation, and thus conjoins them with Himself; and also at the same time bends them to their companions in a reciprocal manner, and in this way conjoins them with each other. From this it is that the faces of all in heaven are kept turned to the Lord, who is the Sun there, and is thus the center to which all look; and this, wonderful to say, in whatever direction the angels may turn (AC 3638). And as the Lord is in the good of mutual love, and in the good of charity toward the neighbor-for He loves all, and through love conjoins all-therefore the angels are also turned to the Lord by regarding their companions from this love.
 For this reason those things which are in ultimates, and which gather up and enclose, in order that each and all things may be kept together in such a connection, were represented by belts or girdles; which in the spiritual world are nothing else than goods and truths in the ultimates, or in the extremes, and which enclose the interior things. By the girdles around the loins were represented celestial goods, and by the girdles around the thighs, and also around the breast, were represented spiritual goods and truths in the ultimates or extremes.
 Such things are signified by "the girdles of the loins in the following passages:--
Jehovah said unto the prophet, Buy thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins; but thou shalt not draw it through water. So I bought a girdle, and put it upon my loins. Then the word of Jehovah was made unto me, saying, Take the girdle, and go to Euphrates, and hide it in a hole of the rock. At the end of many days I went to Euphrates, and took again the girdle, and behold it was corrupt, it was profitable for nothing. Then said Jehovah, This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, and are gone after other gods, shall be even as this girdle, which is profitable for nothing (Jer. 13:1-10);
in the spiritual sense by the linen girdle is here meant the good of the church, which encloses and holds together in connection the truths in it. Because the good of the church was at that time non-existent, and the truths were consequently dispersed, it is said that it should not be drawn through water; for water denotes the truth which purifies and thus restores. The hole of the rock in which the girdle was hid truth falsified; the Euphrates denotes the extension and boundary of the celestial things of good in their ultimate. He who does not know the nature of the Word, may suppose that this is only a comparison of the people and their corruption with the girdle and its corruption; but in the Word all comparisons and metaphorical sayings are real correspondences (AC 3579, 8959). Unless everything in this passage had a correspondence, it would never have been commanded that the girdle should not be drawn through water, that it should be put upon the loins, and that the prophet should go to the Euphrates, and should hide it there in a hole of the rock. It is said that the girdle should be put upon the loins, because from correspondence the loins signify the good of celestial love (AC 3021, 4280, 5050-5062); thus the placing of the girdle upon the loins denotes conjunction with the Lord through the good of love by the mediation of the Word.
 That a girdle denotes good bounding and conjoining is plain also in Isaiah:--
There shall go forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse; righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and truth the girdle of His thighs (Isa 11:1, 5);
this is said of the Lord; the righteousness that shall be the girdle of the loins denotes the good of His love which protects heaven and the church. It is said of the sons of Israel that when they ate the passover, their loins were to be girded (Exod. 12:11); which signifies that thus all things were in order, and prepared to receive good from the Lord, and were ready for action (AC 7863). It is from this that those who are ready are said to be girded, as is said also of the seven angels in the Apocalypse:--
There went forth from the temple the seven angels that had the seven plagues, clothed in linen white and shining, and girt about the breast with golden girdles (Rev. 15:6).
 It is said of Elijah:--
He was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins (2 Kings 1:8);
and in like manner of John:--
John had clothing of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins (Matt. 3:4).
Elijah and John were so clothed and girded because they both represented the Word; and therefore their garments denote the Word in the external sense which is natural; for the hair denotes the natural (AC 3301, 5247, 5569-5573). Camels denote general memory-knowledges in the natural (AC 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145) leather and skin signify what is external (AC 3540); thus a leathern girdle signifies that which gathers up, encloses, and holds together in connection, the interior things. That Elijah represented the Word, (AC 2135a, 2762, 5247); and in like manner John the Baptist, (AC 9372).
 As truths and goods are set loose and are dispersed by evil deeds, it is said of Joab after he had slain Abner with deceit, that he put the bloods of war in his girdle that was on his loins (1 Kings 2:5), by which is signified that he had dispersed and destroyed these things; and therefore when truths have been dispersed and destroyed, it is said that instead of a girdle there shall be a rent, and instead of a work of entwining, baldness (Isa. 3:24); speaking of the daughters of Zion, by whom are signified the goods that belong to the celestial church; a rent instead of a girdle denotes the dispersion of celestial good.
 It is also said of Oholibah, which is Jerusalem, in Ezekiel:--
When she saw men portrayed upon the wall, the images of the Chaldeans portrayed with vermilion, girded with girdles on their loins, she doted upon them (Ezek. 23:14-16);
by which are signified truths profaned; for the Chaldeans denote those who profess truths outwardly, but inwardly deny them, and thus profane them; men portrayed upon the wall denote appearances of truth in outward things; and in like manner images portrayed with vermilion; the girdles with which they were girt on the loins denote the goods which they feign in order that their truths may be believed.
 From all this it can now be seen what was signified in the representative church by the girdles, which gather together the garments into one. But that such things were signified can with difficulty be brought to the belief of the natural man, for the reason that he can with difficulty cast away the natural idea about girdles, and about garments in general; and in its place take to himself the spiritual idea, which is that of good holding this together in connection; for the natural thing, which appears before the sight, keeps the mind bed on itself, and is not removed unless the intellectual sight can be raised even into the light of heaven, and the man thus be able to think almost abstractedly from natural things. When this is done, there enter the spiritual things of the truth of faith and the good of love, which are imperceptible to the merely natural man.
from AC 9828
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|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|