Spiritual Meaning of

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 Bone, Rib

The reason why what is man's own (and indeed an Own which is dear to him) is called a rib, which is a bone of the chest, is that among the most ancient people the chest signified charity, because it contains both the heart and the lungs; and bones signified the viler things, because they possess a minimum of vitality; while flesh denoted such as had vitality. The ground of these significations is one of the deepest arcana known to the men of the most Ancient Church, concerning which of the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter.

from AC 149. In the Word also, man's Own is signified by bones, and indeed an Own vivified by the Lord, as in Isaiah:--

Jehovah shall satisfy thy soul in droughts, and make thy bones alert, and thou shalt be like a watered garden (Isaiah 58:11).


Then shall ye see, and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall sprout as the blade (Isaiah 66:14).

In David:--

All my bones shall say, Jehovah, who is like unto Thee? (Ps. 35:10).

This is still more evident from Ezekiel, where he speaks of bones receiving flesh, and having spirit put into them:--

The hand of Jehovah set me in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones; and He said to me, prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of Jehovah; thus saith the Lord Jehovih to these bones; behold, I bring breath (spiritus) into you, and ye shall live, and I will lay sinews upon you, and will make flesh come upon you, and cover you with skin, and I will put breath (spiritus) in you, and ye shall live, and ye shall know that I am Jehovah (Ezekiel 37:1, 4-6).

[2] The Own of man, when viewed from heaven, appears like a something that is wholly bony, inanimate, and very ugly, consequently as being in itself dead, but when vivified by the Lord it looks like flesh. For man's Own is a mere dead thing, although to him it appears as something, indeed as everything. Whatever lives in him is from the Lord's life, and if this were withdrawn he would fall down as dead as a stone for man is only an organ of life, and such as is the organ, such is the life's affection. The Lord alone has what is His Own; by this Own He redeemed man, and by this Own He saves him. The Lord's Own is Life, and from His Own, man's Own, which in itself is dead, is made alive. The Lord's Own is also signified by the Lord's words in Luke:--

A spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have (Luke 24:39).

It was also meant by not a bone of the paschal lamb being broken (Exod. 12:46).

from AC 148-149

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