Spiritual Meaning of

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 Wrath, Anger

The signification of wrath and anger is states which are repugnant, as will be shown in what follows. When these states become such that they are no longer repugnant, but begin to conjoin themselves, it is then said that wrath turns away, and that anger turns away; hence it is that until thy brother's wrath turns away signifies until the state turns thereto; and that until thy brother's anger turn away signifies what is successive of the state with natural good. That wrath involves one thing, and anger another, may be seen from the words being in other respects alike, and that otherwise there would be an idle repetition, namely, until thy brother's wrath turn away and until thy brother's anger turn away. That is implied in each expression is manifest from the general explication, and also from the predication of wrath and the predication of anger for wrath is predicated of truth, here of the truth of good, which is represented by Esau; whereas anger is predicated of this good itself.

[2] wrath and anger are frequently mentioned in the Word, but in the internal sense they do not signify wrath and anger, but repugnance, and this for the reason that whatever is repugnant to any affection produces wrath or anger, so that in the internal sense they are only repugnances; but the repugnance of truth is called wrath, and the repugnance of good is called anger; and in the opposite sense wrath is the repugnance of falsity or its affection, that is, of the principles of falsity; and anger is the repugnance of evil or its cupidity, that is, of the love of self and the love of the world. In this sense wrath is properly wrath, and anger is anger; but when they are predicted of good and truth, wrath and anger are zeal; which zeal, because in external form it appears like wrath and anger, therefore in the sense of the letter" is also so called.

[3] That in the internal sense wrath and anger are merely repugnances, may be seen from the following passages in the Word. In Isaiah:--

Jehovah hath heat against all the nations, and wrath against all their army (Isa. 34:2).

The heat of Jehovah against the nations denotes repugnance against evil. Nations are evils, (AC 1259, 1260, 1849, 1868, 2588); wrath against all their army denotes repugnance against the derivative falsities. The stars, which are called the army of the heavens, are knowledges, and thus truths and in the opposite sense falsities, (AC 1128, 1808, 2120, 2495, 2849). Again:--

Who gave Jacob for a prey, and Israel to the spoilers? did not Jehovah? He against whom we have sinned? Therefore he poured upon him the wrath of His anger (Isa. 42:24, 25).

The wrath of anger denotes repugnance against the falsity of evil; Jacob, those who are in evil; and Israel," those who are in falsity.

[4] Again:--

I have trodden the wine-press alone and of the peoples there was no man with Me; and I have trodden them in Mine anger, and destroyed them in My wrath and I trampled the peoples in Mine anger, and made them drunk in My wrath (Isa. 63:3, 6);

where the Lord is treated of and His victories in temptations to tread and trample in anger denotes victories over evils; and to destroy and make drunk in wrath, victories over falsities to trample upon, in the Word, is predicated of evil; and to make drunken, of falsity. In Jeremiah:--

Thus saith the Lord Jehovih, Behold, Mine anger and My wrath shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the tree of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground and it shall burn and shall not be quenched (Jer. 7:20);

where mention is made of both anger and wrath, because both evil and falsity are treated of.

[5] It is usual with the Prophets in speaking of evil to speak also of falsity, as in speaking of good to speak also of truth, and this because of the heavenly marriage, which is the marriage of good and truth, in everything of the Word (AC 683, 793, 801, 2173, 2516, 2712); hence also both anger and wrath are mentioned; otherwise one term would have been sufficient. In the same Prophet:--

I Myself will fight with you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in wrath, and in great heat; and I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast (Jer. 21:5, 6).

Here in like manner anger is predicated of the punishment of evil, and wrath, of the punishment of falsity, and heat, of the punishment of both; anger and wrath, because they denote repugnance, also denote punishment; for things which are repugnant come into collision, and then evil and falsity are punished; for in evil there is repugnance to good, and in falsity there is repugnance to truth; and because there is repugnance, there is also collision; that from this comes punishment may be seen above (AC 696, 967).

[6] In Ezekiel:--

Thus shall Mine anger be consummated, and I will make My wrath to rest upon them, and I will comfort Myself, and they shall know that I Jehovah have spoken in My zeal when I have consummated My wrath upon them, when I shall do judgments in thee in anger and in wrath and in the reproofs of wrath (Ezek. 5:13, 15);

where also anger denotes the punishment of evil; wrath, the punishment of falsity, from its repugnance and consequent attack. In Moses:--

It shall not please Jehovah to pardon him, because then the anger of Jehovah and His zeal shall smoke against that man. And Jehovah shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel. The whole land thereof shall be brimstone and salt, and a burning; it shall not be sown, and shall not bud, neither shall therein any herb come up like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, which Jehovah overthrew in His anger and in His wrath; and all the nations shall say, Wherefore hath Jehovah done thus unto this land? what meaneth the heat of this great anger? (Deut. 29:20-24).

Inasmuch as Sodom denotes evil, and Gomorrah the derivative falsity (AC 2220, 2246, 2322), and the nation of which Moses here speaks is compared thereto in respect to evil and falsity, therefore anger is spoken of in respect to evil, and wrath in respect to falsity, and heat of anger in respect to both. That such things are attributed to Jehovah or the Lord is according to the appearance, because it so appears to man when he runs into evil and the evil punishes him (AC 245, 592, 696, 1093, 1683, 1874, 2395, 2447, 3235, 3605).

from AC 3614

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