Spiritual Meaning of
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The signification of dust, is that which is damned. That dust denotes that which is damned is because the places where evil spirits are, at the sides beneath the soles of the feet, appear as land, and in fact as land untilled and dry, under which are certain hells. This land is called damned land, and the dust there signifies that which is damned. It has sometimes been granted me to see that the evil spirits shook off the dust there from their feet, when they desired to give anyone to damnation. This was seen to the right a little in front, in the border toward the hell of the magicians, where spirits are cast into their hell who during their life in the world have been in the knowledge of faith, and yet have led a life of evil from this then it is that by dust is signified what is damned, and by shaking off the dust, damnation.
 It was from this signification that the Lord commanded His disciples to shake off the dust of their feet if they were not received, as in Matthew:--
Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city (Matthew 10:14, 15; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5; 10:10-12);
by the disciples here are not meant disciples, but all things of the church, thus all things of faith and charity (AC 2089, 2129, 2130, 3354, 3858, 3913, 6397); by not receiving, and not hearing, is signified to reject the truths of faith and the goods of charity; and by shaking off the dust of the feet, damnation. That it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for that city, is because by Sodom and Gomorrah are meant those who are in evil of life, but who have known nothing of the Lord and the Word, and thus could not receive. From this it can be seen that there is not meant a house or city which would not receive the disciples, but those who are within the church and do not live the life of faith. Everyone can see that a whole city could not be damned because they did not receive the disciples and at once acknowledge the new doctrine which they preached.
 By the dust also which was formerly put on the head when in grief and repentance, is signified that which is damned, as in these passages:
The elders of the daughter of Zion sit on the earth, they keep silence; they have made dust come up upon their head; they have girded themselves with sackcloth; the virgins of Jerusalem have made their head come down to the earth (Lam. 2:10).
They shall cry bitterly, and shall make dust come up upon their heads, they shall roll themselves in the ashes (Ezek. 27:30).
Weeping weep not in the house of Aphrah; roll thyself in the dust (Micah 1:10).
They cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing (Rev. 18:19);
and also in the historical parts of the Word throughout. By dust upon the heads, and also by the casting down of the body and of the head to the earth, and there rolling in the dust, was represented humiliation, which when genuine is such that the person acknowledges and perceives himself to be damned, but to be received from damnation by the Lord (AC 2327, 3994, 4347, 5420, 5957).
 By the dust into which the golden calf which they made in the wilderness was beaten and ground, is also signified what is damned, of which we read thus in Moses:--
I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire and I beat it, grinding it well, even until it was reduced unto dust; and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mountain (Deut. 9:21).
By dust is also signified what is damned in the following passages:--
Jehovah God said unto the serpent, Upon thy belly shalt thou wait, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life (Gen. 3:14).
Feed Thy people as in the days of eternity, the nations shall see, and blush at all their power, they shall lick the dust like a serpent (Micah 7:14, 16, 17).
Dust shall be the serpent's meat (Isa. 65:25).
Come down, and sit upon the dust, O virgin daughter of Babel (Isa. 47:1).
Our soul is bowed down to the dust, our belly hath cleaved to the earth (Ps. 44:25).
My soul cleaveth to the dust, quicken Thou me (Ps. 119:25).
Dust in the Word signifies also the grave, likewise what is lowly, and what is numerous.
from AC 7418
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|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|