Spiritual Meaning of

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 Affliction, Temptation

That this signifies their severe temptations, may be seen from the signification of afflicting, or of affliction, as being persecution, consequently temptation. In the Word of the Lord nothing else is signified by affliction. As in Isaiah:--

I will purge thee, and not with silver; I will choose thee in the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10),

affliction denoting temptation. In Moses:--

Thou shalt remember all the way by which Jehovah thy God hath led thee these forty years in the wilderness, that He might afflict thee, to tempt thee. Jehovah, who fed thee in the wilderness with manna which thy fathers knew not, that He might afflict thee, and that He might tempt thee, to do thee good at thy latter end (Deut. 8:2, 16);

to afflict manifestly denotes to tempt.

[2] In the same:--

When the Egyptians did evil unto us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard servitude and we cried unto Jehovah, the God of our fathers, and Jehovah heard our voice, and saw our affliction, and our toil, and our oppression (Deut. 26:6, 7).

Here we find the same things as in the present verse: that they served and were afflicted, by which in like manner are signified the temptations of the faithful, as likewise by their afflictions in the wilderness, by which also there were represented the temptations of the Lord.

[3] As in Isaiah:--

He was despised, a man of sorrows, and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. But truly He hath borne our diseases, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted (Isaiah 53:3, 4).

By these words are signified the Lord's temptations; by His bearing our sicknesses, and carrying our sorrows, is not meant that the faithful are to undergo no temptations, nor is it meant that He took their sins upon Himself, and so bore them; but it means that by the combats and victories of temptations He overcame the hells, and in this way would alone, even as to His Human Essence, endure the temptations of the faithful.

[4] Temptations are also called by the Lord afflictions; as in Mark:--

They that are sown upon stony places, when they have heard the Word have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; afterwards, when affliction and persecution arise because of the Word, straightway they are offended (Mark 4:16, 17).

Affliction here manifestly denotes temptation; to have no root in themselves, is to have no charity, for in this is faith rooted, and they who have not the support of this root yield in temptations. In John:--

In the world ye have affliction; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

Affliction here denotes temptation.

[5] In Matthew:--

Nation shall be stirred up against nation and kingdom against kingdom all these things are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up unto affliction. Then shall be great affliction, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world. Immediately after the affliction of those days the sun shall be darkened (Matthew 24:7-9, 21, 29).

Here the consummation of the age, or the last times of the church, are treated of; affliction denotes temptations, both external and internal, the external being persecutions from the world, and the internal being persecutions from the devil. That there will be no charity, is signified by nation being stirred against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; also by the sun, that is, the Lord and love and charity, being darkened.

from AC 1846

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