Spiritual Meaning of

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That disease denotes evil, is because in the internal sense are signified such things as affect the spiritual life. The diseases which affect this life are evils, and are called cupidities and concupiscences. Faith and charity make the spiritual life. This life sickens when falsity takes the place of the truth which is of faith, and evil takes the place of the good which is of charity; for these bring this life unto death, which is called spiritual death, and is damnation, as diseases bring the natural life unto its death. Hence it is that by disease is signified in the internal sense evil; and by the diseases of the Egyptians, the evils into which those cast themselves who had been in faith separate and in a life of evil, whereby they had infested the upright, which evils have been treated of in what precedes, where the plagues in Egypt were treated of.

[3] Evils are also meant by diseases in other passages in the Word, as in Moses:--

If thou wilt keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, Jehovah will remove from thee all sickness, and will not put upon thee all the evil weaknesses of Egypt, which thou hast known; but will give them upon thy haters (Deut. 7:11, 15).

If thou wilt not obey the voice of Jehovah thy God, by keeping to do all His commandments and His statutes, Jehovah will send on thee the curse, the disquiet, and the rebuke, in every putting forth of thy hand which thou doest, until thou be destroyed, because of the wickedness of thy works, whereby thou hast forsaken Me. Jehovah shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until He has consumed thee from upon the land; Jehovah shall smite thee with consumption, and with a hot fever, and with a burning fever, and with a raging fever, and with drought, and with blasting, and with jaundice, which shall pursue thee until thou perish: Jehovah shall smite thee with the ulcer of Egypt, and with the hemorrhoids, and with the scab, and with the itch, that thou canst not be healed. Jehovah shall smite thee with fury, and with blindness, and with amazement of heart. Thou shalt become mad from the look of thine eyes. Jehovah shall smite thee with a sore ulcer, upon the knees, and upon the thighs, whereof thou canst not be healed, from the sole of the foot unto the crown of thy head. He will throw back on thee all the weakness of Egypt, also every disease, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law. Jehovah shall give thee a trembling heart, consumption of eyes, and grief of soul (Deut. 28:15, 20-22, 27, 28, 34, 35, 60, 61, 65). By all the diseases here named are signified spiritual diseases, which are evils destroying the life of the will of good, and falsities destroying the life of the understanding of truth; in a word, destroying the spiritual life which is of faith and charity. Moreover natural diseases correspond to such things, for every disease in the human race is from this source, because from sin (AC 5712, 5726). Moreover every disease corresponds to its own evil; the reason is that everything of man's life is from the spiritual world; and therefore if his spiritual life sickens, evil is derived therefrom into the natural life also, and becomes a disease there. See what has been said from experience about the correspondence of diseases with evils, (AC 5711-5727).

[4] Like things are signified by diseases in other passages, as in Moses:--

Ye shall worship Jehovah your God, that He may bless thy bread, and thy waters; and I will take disease away from the midst of thee (Exod. 23:25).

If ye shall reject My statutes, and if your soul loathe My judgments, so that ye will not do all My commandments, while ye make My covenant vain, I will enjoin terror upon you, with consumption, and with burning fever, that shall consume the eyes, and torment the soul (Lev. 26:15, 16);

signifying the decrease of truth, and the increase of falsity; burning fever denotes the cupidity of evil. Further in these passages:--

Wherefore will ye add a going back? the whole head is diseased, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wound, and scar, and flesh blow, not pressed out, and not bandaged, and not mollified with oil (Isa. 1:5, 6);

that here by disease, wound, scar, and blow, are meant sins, is hidden from no one.

Woe to the shepherds of Israel, the feeble sheep have ye not strengthened, the sick one have ye not healed, and the broken one have ye not bandaged (Ezek. 34:2, 4).

Mine iniquities are gone over my head, my wounds have putrefied, they have consumed away, because of my foolishness, for my bowels are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh (Ps. 38:4, 5, 7).

[5] As by diseases are signified the corruptions and evils of spiritual life, therefore by the various kinds of diseases are signified also the various kinds of corruptions and evils of that life. By pestilence is signified the vastation of good and truth, (AC 7102, 7505); and by leprosy, the profanation of truth, (AC 6963). That in general by diseases are signified sins, can also be seen in Isaiah:--

A man of sorrows, and known of disease; whence is as it were a hiding of faces from Him. He was despised, and we esteemed Him not: nevertheless He hath borne our diseases, and hath carried our griefs, and through His wounds health hath been given us (Isa. 53:3-5);

speaking of the Lord.

[6] As diseases represented the hurtful and evil things of the spiritual life, therefore by the diseases which the Lord healed is signified liberation from various kinds of evil and falsity which infested the church and the human race, and which would have led to spiritual death. For Divine miracles are distinguished from other miracles by the fact that they involve and have regard to states of the church and of the heavenly kingdom. Therefore the Lord's miracles consisted chiefly in the healing of diseases. This is meant by the Lord's words to the disciples sent by John:--

Tell John the things which ye hear and see: the blind see, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead rise again, and the poor hear the gospel (Matt. 11:4, 5).

Hence it is that it is so often said that the Lord healed all disease and weakness (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 14:14, 35, 36; Luke 4:40; 5:15; 6:17; 7:21; Mark 1:32-34; 3:10).

from AC 8364

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