Spiritual Meaning of

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 Eat, Drink

The signification of eating, is the conjunction and appropriation of good (AC 2187, 2343, 3168, 3513, 3596, 3832, 4745, 5643); and the signification of drinking, is the conjunction and appropriation of truth (AC 3089, 3168, 4017, 4018, 5709, 8562). That it also signifies instruction, namely, eating instruction about good, and drinking instruction about truth, is because spiritual food is all the good of faith from which is wisdom, and spiritual drink is all the truth of faith from which is intelligence (AC 56-58, 681, 1480, 3069, 3114, 3168, 3772, 4792, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5410, 5426, 5487, 5576, 5579, 5582, 5588, 5655, 5915, 8562, 9003). Hence there were instituted among the ancients banquets, feasts, dinners, and suppers, in order that they might be associated together by means of the things of wisdom and intelligence (AC 3596, 3832, 5161, 7836, 7996, 7997).

[2] From this also in the Word feasts, dinners, and suppers, signify associations together in respect to faith and love, as in the following passages:--

Many shall come from the east even to the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 8:11).

Jesus said unto the disciples, Ye shalt eat and drink upon My table in My kingdom (Luke 22:30).

Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching; verily I say unto you that He shall gird Himself, and make them sit down, and shall Himself come and minister to them (Luke 12:37)

The disciples prayed Jesus, saying, Master, eat. But He said unto them, I have food to eat that ye know not of (John 4:31, 32).

Jesus said, I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live eternally (John 6:51).

That heavenly bread is here meant, is plain. Heavenly bread is all the good of love and of faith from the Lord (AC 2165, 2177, 3464, 3478, 3735, 3813, 4211, 4217, 4735, 4976, 5915, 6118, 9323).

[3] That eating and drinking signify being instructed about the good and truth of faith, is evident from the following passages:--

Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught In our streets; but He shall say, I tell you, I know not whence ye are; depart from Me all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:26, 27);

to eat and drink in the Lord's presence denotes to instruct from the Word about the goods and truths of faith; to teach in the streets denotes to preach truths from the Word of the Lord, for preaching was formerly done in the streets, because streets signify the truths of doctrine of the church (AC 2336).

[4] In Isaiah:--

Everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no silver, come ye, buy and eat; come, buy wine and milk without silver and without price. Wherefore do ye weigh out silver for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? attending attend ye unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, that your soul may delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto Me; hear, that your soul may live. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the peoples, a prince and a lawgiver to the nations (Isa. 55:1-4);

that eating and drinking here denote to be instructed by the Lord; and that waters, wine, milk, bread, and fatness denote the things of the truth and good of faith from Him, is plain, for it is said, incline your ear, come unto Me; hear, that your soul may live; behold I have given him for a witness to the peoples, a prince and lawgiver to the nations.

[5] In Ezekiel:--

Behold I break the staff of bread in Jerusalem; that they may eat bread by weight, and with anxiety; and drink waters by measure, and with amazement; and they shall lack bread and water, and pine away because of their iniquity (Ezek. 4:16, 17);

to eat bread and drink waters denotes to be instructed in the goods and truths of faith (AC 9323). In like manner in Amos:--

Behold the days come, in which I will send a famine in the land; not a famine for bread, nor a thirst for waters; but for hearing the words of Jehovah (Amos 8:11);

that a famine for bread, and a thirst for waters, devote scarcity and deficiency of the knowledges of good and truth, (AC 3364, 4958, 5277, 5279, 5281, 5300, 5360, 5376, 5415, 5568, 5576, 5579, 5893, 6110).

[6] From all this it can be seen what is signified by the eyes of the disciples being opened, and their knowing the Lord, when He brake the bread and gave it to them (Luke 24:29-31); for breaking the bread and giving it to them in the spiritual world signifies to instruct in the good and truth of faith, by means of which the Lord appears; also what is signified by the bread and wine, and by eating and drinking, in the Holy Supper; and again what is signified by the Lord's saying unto His disciples after its institution, that He would not drink of that product of the vine until that day when He should drink it with them new in the Father's kingdom (Matt. 26:26-29). The reason why eating and drinking denote instruction about the good and truth of worship, is that it was done after the sacrifices, and likewise from the sacrifices, and the sacrifices represented in general all worship (AC 9391).

from AC 9412

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