Spiritual Meaning of
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That by the faces of the ground is signified all that region where the church was, is evident from the signification of ground; for in the Word there is an accurate distinction made between ground and earth; by ground is everywhere signified the church, or something belonging to the church; and from this comes the name of man, or Adam, which is ground; by earth in various places is meant where there is no church, or anything belonging to the church, as in the first chapter, where earth only is named, because as yet there was no church, or regenerate man. The ground is first spoken of in the second chapter of Genesis, because then there was a church. In like manner it is said here, and in the following chapter (Genesis 7:4, 23), that every substance should be destroyed from off the faces of the ground, signifying in the region where the church was; but in (Genesis 7:3), speaking of a church about to be created, it is said, to keep seed alive on the faces of the ground. Ground has the same signification everywhere in the Word; as in Isaiah:--
Jehovah will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and will set them upon their own ground, and the peoples shall take them, and shall bring them to their place, and the house of Israel shall inherit them on the ground of Jehovah (Isaiah 14:1, 2),
speaking of the church that has been made; whereas where there is no church it is in the same chapter called earth (Isaiah 14:9, 12, 16, 20, 21, 25, 26).
And the ground of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt; in that day there shall be five cities in the land of Egypt speaking with the lip of Canaan (Isaiah 19:17, 18),
where ground signifies the church, and land where there is no church. In the same:--
The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard; Jehovah shall visit upon the army of the height in the height, and upon the kings of the ground on the ground (Isaiah 24:20, 21).
Because of the ground that is worn, because there was no rain on the earth, the husbandmen were ashamed, they covered their heads, yea, the hind also calved in the field (Jeremiah 14:4, 5),
where earth is that which contains the ground, and ground that which contains the field.
 In the same:--
He brought the seed of the house of Israel from the northern land, from all the lands whither I have driven them, and they shall dwell on their own ground (Jeremiah 23:8),
where land and lands are where there are no churches; ground where there is a church or true worship. Again:--
I will give the remains of Jerusalem, them that are left in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt, and I will deliver them to commotion, for evil to all the kings of the earth, and I will send the sword, the famine, and pestilence among them, till they be consumed from off the ground which I gave to them and to their fathers (Jeremiah 24:8, 9, 10),
where ground signifies doctrine and the worship thence derived; and in like manner in (Jeremiah 25:5).
 In Ezekiel:--
I will gather you out of the lands wherein ye have been scattered, and ye shall know that I am Jehovah when I shall bring you again into the ground of Israel, into the land for which I lifted up My hand to give it to your fathers (Ezekiel 20:41, 42),
where ground signifies internal worship; it is called land when there is no internal worship. In Malachi:--
I will rebuke him that consumeth for your sakes, and he shall not corrupt for you the fruit of the ground, nor shall the vine be bereaved for you in the field; and all nations shall call you blessed, because ye shall be a delightsome land (Malachi 3:11, 12),
where land denotes the containant, and therefore it plainly denotes man, who is called land when ground denotes the church, or doctrine.
 In Moses:--
Sing, O ye nations, His people, He will make expiation for His ground, His people (Deut. 32:43),
evidently signifying the Church of the Gentiles, which is called ground. In Isaiah:--
Before the child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the ground shall be forsaken, which thou abhorrest in presence of both her kings (Isaiah 7:16),
speaking of the advent of the Lord; that the ground will be forsaken denotes the church, or the true doctrine of faith. That ground and field are so called from being sown with seed, is evident; as in Isaiah:--
Then shall he give rain of thy seed wherewith thou shalt sow the ground; the oxen also and the young asses that labor on the ground (Isaiah 30:23, 24).
And in Joel:--
The field is laid waste, and the ground hath mourned, because the corn is laid waste (Joel 1:10).
Hence then it is evident that man, who in the Hebrew tongue is called Adam, from ground, signifies the church.
from AC 566
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|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|