Spiritual Meaning of

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That a tower is the worship of self, is evident from the signification of a tower. The worship of self exists when a man exalts himself above others even to the point of being worshiped. And therefore the love of self, which is arrogance and pride, is called height, loftiness, and being lifted up; and is described by all things that are high. As in Isaiah:--

The eyes of man's pride shall be humbled, and the loftiness of men shall be brought low, and Jehovah Himself alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of Jehovah of Armies is upon every one proud and high and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be humbled; and upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan; and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, and upon every lofty tower, and upon every fenced wall (Isaiah 2:11-18);

concerning the love of self, which is described by the cedars, oaks, mountains, hills, and tower that are high and lifted up.

[2] Again:--

There shall be rivers, streams of waters, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers shall fall (Isa. 30:25)

in like manner denoting the love of self, and the exalting of self in worship. And again:--

Behold the land of the Chaldeans; this people was not; Asshur hath founded it in tziim; they will set up their watch-towers, they will raise up their palaces, he will make it a ruin (Isa. 23:13);

said of Tyre and its vastation; watch-towers, expressed by another word, denote the phantasies therefrom. In Ezekiel:--

I will cause many nations to come up against thee, O Tyre, and they shall ruin the walls of Tyre, and destroy her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and will make her the dryness of a rock (Ezekiel 26:3, 4);

the signification being similar.

[3] The love of self in worship, or the worship of self, is called a tower, for the reason that a city signifies a doctrine (AC 402) and cities were formerly fortified with towers, in which there were watchmen; and there were also towers on the borders, which for this reason were called towers of watchmen (2 Kings 9:17; 17:9; 18:8), and watch-towers (Isa. 23:13). And besides, when the church of the Lord is compared to a vineyard, those things which belong to worship and to its conservation are compared to a winepress and to a tower in the vineyard, as is evident in (Isaiah 5:1, 2; Matt. 21:33; Mark 12:1).

from AC 1306

The reason why beyond the tower denotes toward interior things, is that the things which are interior are expressed by things lofty and high, thus by mountains, hills, towers, the roofs of houses, and the like. The reason is, that to minds which derive their ideas from the natural things of the world through the external senses, interior things appear as higher (AC 2148).

[2] That towers signify interior things may be seen also from other passages in the Word, as in Isaiah:--

My well beloved had a vineyard in a horn of the son of oil, which he fenced round and cleared of stones, and planted it with a noble vine, and built a tower in the midst of it (Isa. 5:1, 2);

the vineyard denotes the spiritual church; the noble vine, spiritual good; the tower built in the midst of it, the interior things of truth. In like manner also in the Lord's parable in Matthew:--

A man a householder planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen. (Matthew 21:33; Mark 12:1).

[3] In Ezekiel:

The sons of Arvad and thine army were upon thy walls round about, and the Gammadim were in thy towers, they hung their shields upon thy walls round about; these have perfected thy beauty (Ezek. 27:11);

treating of Tyre, by which are signified the knowledges of good and truth, or those who are in these knowledges; the Gammadim in its towers denote the knowledges of interior truth.

[4] In Micah:--

Jehovah shall reign over them in Mount Zion from now and to eternity; and thou tower of the flock, the hill of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, and the former kingdom shall return, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem (Micah 4:7, 8);

where is described the Lord's celestial kingdom; its inmost which is love to the Lord, by Mount Zion; its derivative which is mutual love, by the hill of the daughter of Zion, which love in the spiritual sense is called charity toward the neighbor; its interior truths of good by the tower of the flock; that from this comes the spiritual of the celestial kingdom is signified by the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem. In David:--

Let Mount Zion be glad, let the daughters of Judah exult because of Thy judgments encompass ye Zion, and gird it around, count the towers thereof (Ps. 48:11, 12);

where the towers denote the interior truths which defend what is of love and charity.

[5] In Luke:--

Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple for which of you, desiring to build a tower, sitteth not down first and counteth the cost, whether he have wherewith to complete it? Or what king, going to make war with another king, doth not first sit down and consult whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand (Luke 14:27, 28, 31, 33);

he who does not know the internal sense of the Word must suppose that the Lord here spoke by comparisons, and that by building a tower and making war nothing further is meant, not knowing that all the comparisons in the Word are significative and representative, and that to build a tower is to procure for one's self interior truths, and that to make war is to combat from these; for the subject here treated of is the temptations undergone by those who are of the church, and who are here called the Lord's disciples. These temptations are signified by the cross which they must carry; and that they by no means conquer from themselves or from what is their own, but from the Lord, is signified by whosoever renounceth not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple. Thus do all these things cohere; whereas if the things that are related of the tower and the war are understood only comparatively, without an interior sense, they do not cohere. From this it is manifest what light there is from the internal sense.

[6] The interiors of those who are in the love of self and the world, thus the falsities from which they combat, and by which they confirm their religiosity, are also expressed in the opposite sense by towers, as in Isaiah:--

The loftiness of men shall be brought low, and Jehovah Zebaoth shall be exalted above everyone proud and high, and upon everyone that is lifted up, and he shall be humbled; and upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, and upon every lofty tower, and upon every fortified wall (Isa 2:11-15);

where the interiors and the exteriors of these loves are described by the cedars, oaks, mountains, hills, tower, and wall (interior falsities by the tower), thus also interior things by those which are high, with the difference that they who are in evils and falsities believe themselves high and above others, but they who are in goods and truths believe themselves less and below others (Matt. 20:26, 27; Mark 10:44). Nevertheless goods and truths are described by high things, because in heaven they are nearer the Highest, that is, the Lord. Moreover towers in the word are predicated of truths, but mountains of goods.

from AC 4599

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