Spiritual Meaning of

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 Hill, Mountain

In very many passages of the prophetic Word mention is made of mountains and hills, and by them in the internal sense are signified the goods of love--by mountains the good of love to the Lord, which is the internal of the celestial kingdom; and by hills the good of mutual love, which is the external of the same kingdom; but where the spiritual kingdom is treated of, then by mountains is signified the good of charity toward the neighbor, which is the internal of this kingdom, and by hills the truth of faith, which is its external. Be it known that every church of the Lord is internal and external, and so is each of His kingdoms.

[5] That such is the signification of hills, is evident from the following passages:--

In the latter days the mountain of Jehovah shall be for the head of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills (Isa. 2:2; Micah 4:1);

the mountain of Jehovah, which is Zion, denotes the Lord's celestial kingdom, thus the good of this kingdom, which is of love to the Lord; thus in the supreme sense it is the Lord Himself, for all the love and all the good in the celestial kingdom belong to the Lord.

[6] The like is signified by the mountain of Zion elsewhere in the Word, and by the hill thereof the good of mutual love, as in Isaiah:--

Jehovah Zebaoth shall come down to fight upon the mountain of Zion, and upon the hill thereof (Isa. 31:4);

where hill denotes the good of mutual love; and as by a hill is signified the good of mutual love, and by a mountain the good of celestial love, which is the good of love to the Lord, it is said that Jehovah would descend to fight upon that mountain. Jehovah does not fight upon the mountain of Zion and the hill thereof; but where the good of love is, it is for this, that is, for those who are in it, that the Lord (in this passage Jehovah) fights. If He fought for Zion and for Jerusalem, it is because they represented the celestial church. Therefore also the mountain of Zion was called holy, and Jerusalem also was said to be holy, when yet in itself it was filthy, as is plain from the prophets, where its abominations are treated of.

[7] In David:--

The mountains shall bring peace, and the hills in righteousness (Ps. 72:3).

In the same:--

Praise Jehovah ye mountains, and all hills (Ps. 148:9).

In the same:--

The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like the sons of the flock (Ps. 114:4, 6).


A mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan; a mountain of hills is the mountain of Bashan. Why leap ye, ye mountains, ye hills of mountains? God desires to dwell in it, Jehovah also shall dwell forever (Ps. 68:15, 16).

In these passages mountains denote celestial love, and hills spiritual love; that mountains are not here meant, nor hills, nor they who were upon mountains and hills, is very manifest.

[8] In Isaiah:--

There shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every lifted up hill, streams, channels of waters (Isa. 30:25);

channels of waters denote the knowledges of good and of truth, which are said to be upon every high mountain and lifted up hill because these knowledges flow from the goods of celestial and spiritual love.

[9] In Habakkuk:--

Jehovah stood and measured the earth; He saw and dispersed the nations, because the mountains of eternity were scattered, and the hills of an age humbled themselves (Habakkuk 3:6);

the mountains of eternity denote the good of love of the Most Ancient Church, which was celestial; the hills of an age, the good of mutual love that belonged to that church; the former being its internal, the latter its external. When that church is meant in the Word, seeing that it was the most ancient one, eternity is sometimes added, as here the mountains of eternity, and elsewhere the days of eternity (AC 6239); and an age also is added, as here the hills of an age, and also in the prophetic utterance of Israel: to the desire of the hills of an age. Hence it is evident that by the hills of an age are signified the goods of mutual love, which are of the celestial church, or of the Lord's celestial kingdom.

[10] So in Moses, in his prophetic utterance about Joseph:--

Of the first-fruits of the mountains of the east, and of the precious things of the hills of eternity, let them come on the head of Joseph (Deut. 33:15, 16).

In Isaiah:--

The mountains and the hills shall resound with singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands (Isa. 55:12).

In Joel:--

In that day the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah shall flow with waters (Joel 3:18; Amos. 9:13).

In Ezekiel:--

My sheep wander in all the mountains, and upon every high hill, and upon all the faces of the earth are they scattered. I will make them, the compass of My hill, a blessing; and I will send down the rain in its season (Ezek. 34:6, 26).

In Jeremiah:--

Wasters are come upon all the hills in the wilderness; for the sword of Jehovah devoureth (Jer. 12:12).

In these passages the goods of celestial love are signified by mountains; and likewise by hills, but in a lower degree.

[11] Because mountains and hills signified such things, in the Ancient Church their Divine worship also was upon mountains and upon hills; and afterward the Hebrew nation set altars upon mountains and hills, and there sacrificed and burnt incense; and where there were no hills, they constructed high places. But because this worship became idolatrous, through holding the mountains and hills themselves holy, and thinking nothing at all about the holy things which they signified, this worship was therefore forbidden the Israelitish and Jewish people, because that people was more prone to idolatry than any other. In order however that this representative which had been in ancient times might be retained, the mountain of Zion was chosen, and by it in the supreme sense was represented the Divine good of the Lord's Divine love, and in the relative sense the Divine celestial and the Divine spiritual in His kingdom.

[12] As such things were signified, Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son upon one of the mountains in the land of Moriah; and the Lord was also seen upon a mountain by Moses, and the Law was promulgated from the elevation of a mountain, for He was seen by Moses upon Mount Horeb, and the Law was promulgated upon Mount Sinai; and the temple of Jerusalem was also built upon a mountain.

[13] That from an ancient rite holy worship was held upon mountains and hills, and afterward the Gentiles and also the idolatrous Israelites and Jews sacrificed and burnt incense thereon, is plain in Jeremiah:--

Thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the wickedness of thy whoredom, upon the hills in the field, I have seen thine abominations (Jer. 13:27);

speaking of Jerusalem. In Ezekiel:--

When their pierced ones shall be in the midst of their idols, round about their altars, upon every high hill, in all the heads of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every tangled oak (Ezek. 6:13).

In Jeremiah:--

Upon every high hill, and under every green tree, thou transgressing harlot (Jer. 2:20; 3:6; 1 Kings 14:23; 2 Kings 16:4; 17:10).

[14] Because idolatrous worship took place upon mountains and hills, by them are signified in the opposite sense the evils that belong to the love of self; as in Jeremiah:--

The mountains, and lo they are shaken, and all the hills are overturned. I beheld and lo there was no man, and all the birds of heaven had flown away (Jer. 4:24, 25).

In Isaiah:--

Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill shall be humbled (Isa. 40:4).

In the same:--

Behold I have put thee for a thresher of a new thresher, set with spikes; thou shalt thresh the mountains, and shalt make the hills as chaff (Isa. 41:15).


I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbage (Isa. 42:15).

And in Micah:--

Hear ye I pray what Jehovah speaketh: Arise, contend thou with the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice (Micah 6:1).

In Jeremiah:--

My people have been lost sheep, their shepherds have misled them, refractory mountains, they have gone from a mountain upon a hill, they have forgotten their fold (Jer. 50:6; Jer. 16:6; Nahum 1:5, 6).

[15] The reason why mountains and hills signified the goods of celestial and spiritual love, was that they were prominent above the earth, and by things prominent and high were signified those which were of heaven, and in the supreme sense which were of the Lord. For the land of Canaan signified the Lord's heavenly kingdom (AC 1607, 3038, 3481, 3705, 4240, 4447); hence all things in that land were significative, the mountains and hills being significative of such things as are high; for when the most ancient people who were of the celestial church ascended a mountain they thought of height, and from height, of what is holy, because Jehovah or the Lord was said to dwell in the highest, and because in the spiritual sense height denoted the good of love (AC 650).

from AC 6435

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