Spiritual Meaning of
|Back to Words index||Back to Geographical words index|
The signification of a cleft of the rock, is what is obscure and false of faith; for by rock is signified faith (AC 10580); and by a cleft, its obscurity and also its falsity. It is said such as is with those who are in external things without what is internal, because with such all the truth which is of faith is in obscurity, and is also attended with falsity. For such of them as believe the Word, believe it everywhere according to the letter, and not according to its interior meaning; and those who so believe cannot be in any light, for light from heaven flows in through the internal into the external. Moreover what they believe without light from heaven appears as truth, but nevertheless with them it is falsity, for they have a material and earthly idea about truth, and not at the same time a spiritual and heavenly idea, and every material and earthly idea abounds in fallacies unless there is in it light from heaven. For example: as James and John had an earthly idea about the Lord's kingdom, they asked that they might sit the one on His right hand and the other on the left in His kingdom; but Jesus said:--
Ye know not what ye ask. Ye know that the princes of the nations lord it over them. Not so shall it be among you; but whosoever would become great among you must be your minister; and whosoever would be first must be your servant (Matt. 20:21, 22, 25-27).
 People of this character, like the men of those days, do not know what the heavenly kingdom is, nor what the glory there is, not what love is, nor even what faith is; in general, not what good is; for they base their judgment on bodily and earthly things, and call good all the delight of the body and its senses; and eminence over others they call glory; the love of the world and the love of self they call heavenly love; and memory-knowledge made persuasive they call faith. When they think about God, they think materially, and therefore either deny God and regard nature as God; or else they worship idols, or dead men. From this it is evident how obscure is faith, and also how false it is, with those who are in merely external things.
 In such obscurity and falsity of faith are those who believe the Word solely as to the sense of its letter, without doctrine made from it by one who is enlightened. They who read the Word without doctrine are like those who walk in darkness without a lamp. Such are all merely sensuous men. That such is the Jewish nation is evident, for they explain all things of the Word according to the sense of the letter, because they are in external things separate from what is internal. In the other life such people do not dwell upon the rocks; but either in caves there, or in clefts of the rocks.
 That a cleft of the rock denotes what is obscure and false of faith, is evident also from other passages in the Word, as in Isaiah:--
In that day Jehovah shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the rivers of desolations, and in the clefts of the rocks (Isa. 7:18, 19);
in this passage is described the coming of the Lord and the state of the church at that time, that there would be desolation of all things that belong to spiritual truth and good. For by these words is signified that the man of the church would then have receded from internal things, and would have become altogether external, thus merely sensuous. To become sensuous is not to apprehend and believe anything but what the external senses assert. The By in the uttermost part of the rivers of Eat denotes the falsity of the wholly external or merely sensuous man; the bee in the land of Assyria denotes the falsity of reasoning therefrom; the rivers of desolations denote the truths of doctrine altogether desolated; and the clefts of the rocks denote the falsities of faith thence derived. Who would divine that these words signify such things which, unless disclosed by the internal sense, would be completely hidden.
In that day a man shall cast away the idols which they had made for themselves to bow down to, to the moles and to the bats; to enter into the clefts of the rocks, and into the fissures of the ragged rocks (Isa. 2:20, 21);
to bow down to the moles and to the bats denotes to worship such things as are in thick darkness and in the shade of night, that is, external things without anything internal; to enter into the clefts of the rocks, and into the fissures of the ragged rocks, denotes into the obscurities and darknesses of faith, thus into falsities.
 In Jeremiah:--
I will bring back the sons of Israel upon their land; and send unto many fishers, who shall fish them; and unto hunters, who shall hunt them from upon every mountain, upon every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks (Jer 16:15, 16);
the restoration of the church is here treated of, which is signified by bringing back the sons of Israel upon their land; to fish them denotes to instruct in the external things of the church; to hunt them denotes to instruct in the internal things thereof; they who are upon mountain and upon hill denote those who are in love and in charity; those in the holes of the rocks denote those who are in faith not yet enlightened, thus who are in what is obscure of faith.
I have made thee smallest among the nations; the pride of thine heart O thou that dwellest in the holes of the rock holding the height of the hill (Jer. 49:15, 16).
The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rocks, in the height of thy seat; who saith in his heart, Who shall pull me down to the earth? Though thou exalt thee as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, from thence I will pull thee down (Obad. 1:3, 4).
To dwell in the holes of the rock denotes in falsities of faith. The subject here treated of is those who exalt themselves above others, believing that they are more learned than all others, when yet they are in falsities, and even cannot see truths. In the other life such persons dwell in the holes of rocks, and sometimes they project themselves upon the rocks; but they are cast down therefrom into their holes, and into the caves which are beneath the rocks. This is meant by holding the height of the hill, and exalting thyself as an eagle, and setting the nest among the stars, and yet being pulled down. From all this it can now be seen that by putting Moses in a cleft of the rock is signified such obscurity and falsity of faith as is with those who are in external things without what is internal; for by Moses is here meant the people, because he here bears relation to their head (AC 10556).
from AC 10582
Back to Words index, Back to Geographical words index
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|