Spiritual Meaning of

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That in the Word food means no other than spiritual and celestial food, which is faith in the Lord, and love, is evident from many passages in the Word, as in Jeremiah:--

The enemy hath spread out his hand upon all the desirable things of Jerusalem; for she hath seen that the nations are entered into her sanctuary, concerning whom Thou didst command that they should not enter into Thy congregation. All the people groan, they seek bread; they have given their desirable things for food to refresh the soul (Lam. 1:10, 11).

No other than spiritual bread and food are here meant, for the subject is the sanctuary. Again:--

I have cried out for my lovers, they have deceived me; my priests and mine elders in the city expired, for they sought food for themselves, to refresh their soul (Lam. 1:19),

with the same meaning. In David:--

These wait all upon Thee, that Thou mayest give them their food in its season; Thou givest them, they gather; Thou openest thine hand, they are satisfied with good (Ps. 104:27, 28).

Here likewise spiritual and celestial food is meant.

[5] In Isaiah:--

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no silver; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without silver, and without price (Isaiah 55:1),

where wine and milk denote spiritual and celestial drink.

from AC 680

That food signifies celestial good, is because the food of the angels is nothing else than the goods of love and of charity, by which they are not only made alive, but are also refreshed. These goods in act, or the practice of them, serve especially for the refreshment of the angels, because they are their desires; and it is known that when the desires are realized in act, they afford refreshment and life. That such things yield nourishment to the spirit of man, while material food yields nourishment to his body, may also be seen from the fact that food without delights conduces but little to nourishment, but together with delights it nourishes. It is the delights that open the passages or ducts which receive the food and convey it into the blood; whereas things undelightful close them. With the angels these delights are the goods of love and of charity, and from this it can be inferred that they are spiritual foods which correspond to earthly foods. As goods are food, so truths are drink.

[4] Food is mentioned in many places in the Word, and one who is not acquainted with the internal sense cannot know but that ordinary food is there meant, whereas it is spiritual food; as in Jeremiah:--

All the people groan, seeking bread; they have given their desirable things for food, to refresh the soul (Lam. 1:11).

In Isaiah:--

Everyone that thirsteth, go ye to the waters, and he that hath no silver, go ye, buy, and eat; yea, go, buy wine and milk without silver and without price (Isa. 55:1).

In Joel:--

The day of Jehovah is near, and as devastation from the Thunderer shall it come. Is not the food cut off before our eyes? gladness and joy from the house of our God? The grains have rotted under their clods; the garners are devastated, the barns are destroyed, because the corn is withered (Joel 1:15-17).

In David:--

Our garners are full, bringing forth from food to food; our flocks are thousands and ten thousands in our streets. There is no cry in our streets; blessed is the people that is in such a case (Ps. 144:13-15).


All things wait for Thee, that Thou mayest give them their food in its time. Thou givest them, they gather; Thou openest Thy hand, they are sated with good (Ps. 104:27, 28).

[5] In these passages celestial and spiritual food is meant in the internal sense, while material food is meant in the sense of the letter. From this it is plain in what manner the interiors and exteriors of the Word, or those things therein which are of the spirit, and those which are of the letter, correspond to each other; so that while man understands these things according to the sense of the letter, the angels with hint understand them according to the spiritual sense The Word has been so written as to serve not only the human race, but also heaven; for which reason all the expressions therein are significative of heavenly things, and all the things are representative of them, and this even to the least jot.

[6] That food in the spiritual sense is good, the Lord also plainly teaches in John:--

Labor not for the food that perisheth, but for the food that abideth into life eternal, which the Son of man shall give to you (John 6:27).


My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink (John 6:55);

where flesh is the Divine good (AC 3813); and blood is the Divine truth (AC 4735). And again:--

Jesus said to His disciples, I have food to eat that ye know not. The disciples said one to another, Hath any man brought Him aught to eat? Jesus saith to them, My food is that I do the will of Him that sent Me, and that I perfect His work (John 4:32-34);

to do the will of the Father, and to perfect His work, is the Divine good in act or exercise, which as before said in the genuine sense is food.

from AC 5147

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