Spiritual Meaning of

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The signification of pits is falsities. That pits are falsities, is because men who have been in principles of falsity are after death kept awhile under the lower earth, until falsities have been removed from them, and as it were rejected to the sides. These places are called pits, and those who go into them are such as must be in vastation (AC 1106-1113, 2699, 2701, 2704). It is for this reason that by pits, in' the abstract sense, are signified falsities. The lower earth is next under the feet and the region round about for a short distance. Here are most persons after death, before they are taken up into heaven. This earth is also frequently mentioned in the Word. Beneath it are the places of vastation, which are called pits, and below them and round about for a considerable extent, are hells.

[2] From this it is in some measure plain what is meant by hell, what by the lower earth, and what by a pit, when mentioned in the Word, as in Isaiah:

Thou hast been brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. Thou hast been cast forth out of thy grave like an abominable shoot, the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with the sword, that go down to the stones of the pit (Isa. 14:15, 19);

speaking of the king of Babylon, by whom is represented the profanation of truth; for a king is truth (AC 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4581), and Babylon profanation (AC 1182, 1326). Hell is where the damned are, and their damnation is compared to an abominable shoot, and to the raiment of those that are slain and thrust through with the sword, that go down to the stones of the pit. The raiment of those that are slain is truth profaned; those thrust through with the sword are they in whom truth has been extinguished; the pit is falsity which must be vastated; stones are the borders, whence also they are called the sides, for round about the pits are hells. Raiment is truth, (AC 2576); the raiment of those that are slain is truth profaned, for the blood by which it is stained is what is profane, (AC 1003); and those thrust through with a sword are they in whom truth has been extinguished, (AC 4503). From this it is also plain that without the internal sense it could not possibly be known what is here meant.

[3] So too in Ezekiel:

Then I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, to the people of an age, and shall make thee to dwell in the earth of the lower regions, in desolations from an age, that thou dwell not With them that go down into the pit; then will I set adornment in the land of the living (Ezek. 26:20);

they that descend into the pit denote those who are sent into vastation; not to dwell with them that go down into the pit means to be delivered from falsities.

[4] Again:

That none of all the trees of the Waters exalt themselves for their stature, neither send their branch among the tangled boughs, nor stand over them for their height, all that drink water; they shall all be delivered unto death, to the lower earth in the midst of the sons of men, to them that go down into the pit. I will make the nations to shake at the sound of his ruin, when I make him go down into hell with them that go down into the pit; and all the trees of Eden, the choice and chief of Lebanon, all that drink waters, shall be comforted in the lower earth (Ezek. 31:14, 16);

this is said of Egypt, by which is signified the knowledge that of itself enters into the mysteries of faith, that is, those who so enter (AC 1164, 1165, 1186). From what has been said above it is clear what is signified by hell, by the pit, and by the lower earth, which are here mentioned by the prophet; nor does it appear except from the internal sense what is signified by the trees of the waters, the trees of Eden, the branch sent among the tangled boughs, the choice and chief of Lebanon, and all that drink waters.

[5] Again:

Son of man, wail for the multitude of Egypt, and cause her to go down, even her, and the daughters of the august nations, unto the earth of the lower regions, with them that go down into the pit. Asshur is there, whose graves are set in the sides of the pit, all slain by the sword (Ezek. 32:18, 22, 23);

the signification of which may be seen from what has been explained above. In David:

O Jehovah, Thou hast brought up my soul from hell; Thou hast kept me alive, from among them that go down into the pit (Ps. 30:3).


I am accounted with them that go down into the pit; I am accounted as a man that hath no strength. Thou hast set me in a pit of the lower regions, in darkness, in the depths (Ps. 88:4, 6).

In Jonah:

I went down to the cuttings off of the mountains the bars of the earth were upon me forever; yet hast Thou brought up my life from the pit (Jonah 2:6);

where the subject treated of is the Lord's temptations, and deliverance from them. The cuttings off of the mountains are where the most damned are, the dark clouds which appear about them being the mountains.

[6] That a pit is the vastation of falsity, and in' the abstract sense falsity, is still more evident in Isaiah:

They shall be gathered with a gathering as the bound to the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison; yet after a multitude of days shall they be visited (Isa. 24:22).


Where is the anger of him that causeth straitness? he that leadeth forth shall hasten to open; and he shall not die at the pit, neither shall bread fail (Isa. 51:13, 14).

In Ezekiel:

Behold I bring strangers upon thee the violent of the nations, who shall draw their swords upon the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall profane thy brightness. They shall bring thee down into the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are pierced in the heart of the seas (Ezek. 28:7, 8);

speaking of the prince of Tyre, by whom are signified those who are in principles of falsity.

[7] In Zechariah

Exult greatly, O daughter of Zion sound, O daughter of Jerusalem behold thy King cometh unto thee; He is just, wretched, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of she-asses. By the blood of thy covenant I will send forth thy bound out of the pit wherein is no water (Zech. 9:9, 11);

where the pit wherein is no water denotes falsity in which there is nothing true; as also in what follows it is said that they cast Joseph into the pit, and the pit was empty, there was no water in it (Genesis 38:24). In David:

Unto thee O Jehovah will I cry, my Rock be not Thou silent unto me, lest if Thou be silent unto me I seem like them that go down into the pit (Ps. 28:1).


Jehovah brought me up also out of a pit of vastation, out of the miry clay and He set my feet upon a rock (Ps. 40:2).


Let not the billow of waters overwhelm me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me (Ps 69:15).

[8] Again:--

He sent His word, and healed them, and rescued them from their pits (Ps. 107:20);

from their pits denoting from falsities. Again:

"make haste, answer me, O Jehovah; my spirit is consumed, hide not Thy faces from me, lest I become like them that go down into the pit (Ps. 142:7).

As a pit signifies falsity, and the blind signify those who are in falsities (AC 2383), the Lord therefore says,

Let them alone; they are blind leaders of the blind, for if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into a pit (Matt. 15:14; Luke 6:39).

Something similar to what was represented by Joseph was also represented by Jeremiah the prophet, concerning which be says:

They took Jeremiah, and cast him into the pit that was in the court of the guard and they let down Jeremiah with cords, into the pit where was no water (Jeremiah 38:6);

that is, they rejected Divine truths among falsities in which was nothing of truth.

from AC 4728

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