Spiritual Meaning of

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That a house signifies the will and what is of the will, is evident in various places in the Word; as in Jeremiah:--

Their houses shall be turned over unto others, their fields and their wives together (Jeremiah 6:12).

Here houses and also fields and wives relate to things which are of the will. Again:--

Build ye houses and dwell in them; and plant gardens and eat the fruit of them (Jeremiah 29:5, 28).

Here building houses and dwelling in them relates to the will; planting gardens, to the understanding: and it is the same in other passages. And the house of Jehovah is frequently mentioned as signifying the church wherein love is the principal; the house of Judah, as signifying the celestial church; and the house of Israel, as signifying the spiritual church. As house signifies the church, the mind of the man of the church (wherein are the things of the will and of the understanding, or of charity and faith), is also signified by house.

from AC 710

To collect memory-knowledges, and by their means frame the external man, and build it up, is not unlike building a house; and therefore such things are signified in many passages of the Word by building, and by building houses, as in Isaiah:--

I create new heavens and a new earth they shall build houses, and inhabit them and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them they shall not build and another inhabit (Isaiah 65:17, 21, 22);

here houses mean where there are wisdom and intelligence, thus where there are the knowledges of good and truth; for the Lord's kingdom is here treated of, namely, the new heavens and the new earth. In Jeremiah:--

Build ye houses and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them (Jeremiah 29:5);

where the meaning is similar. In David:--

Blessed is the man that feareth Jehovah, that delighteth greatly in His commandments; wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endureth forever (Ps. 112:1, 3);

where wealth and riches denote the wealth and riches of wisdom and intelligence, thus knowledges; which are in his house, that is, are in him.

[2] House is used in the opposite sense in Zephaniah:--

I will visit upon them that say in their heart, Jehovah hath not done good, and hath not done evil and their wealth shall be for a spoil, and their houses a desolation; and they shall build houses and shall not in habit them, and they shall plant vineyards but shall not drink the wine thereof (Zephaniah 1:12, 13).

In Haggai:--

Go up into the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house. Ye looked for much, and lo, it came to little; and ye brought it into the house, and I did blow it away. Why? saith Jehovah. Because of My house, which is deserted, while ye run every one to his own house; therefore upon you are the heavens shut from dew (Haggai 1:8-10);

houses denote memory-knowledges by which, through reasoning, come falsities. In Isaiah:--

Woe unto them that join house to house, that cause field to draw near to field, till there be no place, and ye dwell alone in the midst of the land. Shall not many houses be for a desolation, great and good, without an inhabitant? The vineyard of Jehovah is the house of Israel (Isaiah 5:8, 9, 7);

also denoting memory-knowledges by means of which come falsities. In Amos:--

Behold, Jehovah commandeth, and will smite the great horse with breaches, and the little house with clefts. Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? that ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood (Amos 6:11, 12);

where houses denote in like manner falsities and the derivative evils; horses, reasoning; judgment, truths, which are turned into gall; and the fruit of righteousness, goods which are turned into wormwood.

[3] Thus throughout the Word, houses denote human minds, in which there should be intelligence and wisdom. In the passage before us, the house of Pharaoh denotes memory-knowledges by means of which comes intelligence, and thereby wisdom. The like is also signified by the house which Solomon built for the daughter of Pharaoh (1 Kings 7:8). Because houses denote minds, in which are intelligence and wisdom, and in which are affections belonging to the will, the word house in the Word is of a wide signification; but what its specific signification is, may be seen from the things of which it is predicated. Man himself is also called a house.

from AC 1488

A house in the internal sense is the natural mind, for the natural mind, as also the rational mind, is like a house: the husband therein is good, the wife is truth, the daughters and sons are affections of good and truth, and also goods and truth derived from the former as parents; the maidservants and menservants are the pleasures and memory-knowledges which minister and confirm.

[2] That the natural and the rational mind of man are called a house, is evident from the following passages:--

When the unclean spirit is gone out from a man, he wandereth through dry places, seeking rest; and if he findeth it not, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And if on coming he findeth it swept and garnished, he then goeth away and taketh to him seven other spirits worse than himself; and they enter in and dwell there (Luke 11:24-26);

the house here denotes the natural mind, which is called a house that is empty and swept when there are within it no goods and truths, which are the husband and wife; no affections of good and truth, which are the daughters and sons; nor such things as confirm, which are the maidservants and menservants. The man himself is the house, because the rational and the natural mind make the man; and without these things, that is, without goods and truths and their affections and the ministry of these affections, he is not a man, but a brute.

[3] The mind of man is also meant by a house in the same evangelist:--

Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and house falleth upon house (Luke 11:17);

And in Mark:--

If a kingdom be divided against itself, this Kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, this house cannot stand. No one can pillage the vessels of a strong man after entering into his house, unless he first bind the strong man; and then he pillages his house (Mark 3:24, 25, 27);

by kingdom is signified truth (AC 1672, 2547, 4691), and by house, good (AC 2233, 2234, 3720, 4982); house signifies good in an eminent sense.

[4] In Luke:--

If the master of the house had known in what hour the thief would come, he would at least have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken through (Luke 12:39).


From henceforth there shall be five in one house (divided), three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother (Luke 12:52, 53);

where the subject treated of is the spiritual combats into which those who are of the church will come, after the internal or spiritual things of the Word have been opened. The house denotes man, or his mind; father, mother, son, and daughter are goods and truths with their affections, and in the opposite sense evils and falsities with their affections, from which and with which there is combat.

[5] The Lord's command to His disciples:--

Into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house; and if a son of peace he there, your peace shall rest upon it; but if not, it shall return upon you; but remain in the same house; eat and drink what they have; pass not from house to house (Luke 10:5-7);

represented that they should abide in good itself, that is, in the good of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor, and not pass into any other. Man or his mind is a house, (AC 3538, 4973).

from AC 5023

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