Spiritual Meaning of

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The signification of that which openeth the womb, is that which is born immediately of a regenerate one, thus that which is from charity (AC 8042). For he who is conceived anew, comes as it were again into the womb; and he who is born anew, goes forth as it were again from the womb; but that which is conceived in the womb and born from the womb is not man as man, but is the faith of charity, for this makes the spiritual of man, thus as it were makes the man himself anew, for then his life is derived from this. From all this it can be seen what is meant in the spiritual sense by that which openeth the womb. The angels, who are in spiritual ideas alone, understand nothing else by this. What is meant by the womb, and also by being in the womb, and by going forth from the womb, (AC 3293, 3294, 3967, 4904, 4918, 4931, 5052, 5054, 6433).

[2] As such things are signified by the womb, therefore in the Word the Lord is called the Former from the womb, that is, the Regenerator, as in Isaiah:--

Thus said Jehovah, thy Maker, and thy Former from the womb; He helpeth thee: Fear not, Jacob My servant, and Jeshurun whom I have chosen, because I will pour out water upon him that is thirsty, and rivulets upon the dry ground; I will pour out My spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thy children (Isa 44:2, 3);

the Lord is called the Maker and Former from the womb, because He regenerates man, and from natural makes him spiritual; and as regeneration is effected by means of truth and good, therefore it is said that He will pour out water upon him that is thirsty, and His spirit upon his seed; for by water is signified the truth which is of faith (AC 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668, 7307), and by spirit the good which is of charity. In like manner by water and spirit in John:--

Jesus said unto Nicodemus, Verily, verily, I say to thee, Except anyone be begotten anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said unto Him, Now can a man be begotten when he is old? Can he come a second time into his mother's womb? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say to thee, Except anyone be begotten from water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which has been born from the flesh is flesh; but that which has been begotten from the spirit is spirit. Art thou a teacher in Israel, and knowest thou not this? (John 3:3-6, 10).

[3] The Lord is called the Former from the womb in other passages also, as in Isaiah:--

Thus said Jehovah thy Redeemer, and thy Former from the womb: I am Jehovah, that doeth all things; that spreadeth out the heavens alone; and that stretcheth out the earth by Myself (Isa. 44:24);

by the heavens and the earth is meant in the general sense the church internal and external (AC 82, 1411, 1733, 1850, 3355, 4535), and in the particular sense the internal and external of the church with the man who has been regenerated; and by spreading out and stretching out is signified to make or create by Divine power (AC 7673), for which reason the Lord, as the Regenerator, is called the Maker, and the Creator, and regeneration is called a new creation.

[4] In like manner in the same:--

Attend ye unto Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remains of the house of Israel, that have been carried from the belly, that have been borne from the womb (Isa. 46:3).

And in David:--

Upon Thee, O Lord Jehovih, have I been laid from the womb; Thou art my Bringer-forth out of my mother's bowels; Thou art my praise continually (Ps. 71:6).

From all this it is now evident what is signified in the internal sense by that which openeth the womb, and consequently what by the firstborn.

from AC 8043

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