Spiritual Meaning of

Bible Meanings Back to Words index Back to Natural words index
 Iron, Brass, Metals

It is unknown to the world at the present day that brass signifies natural good, and also that every metal mentioned in the Word has a specific signification in the internal sense-as gold, celestial good; silver, spiritual truth; brass, natural good; iron, natural truth; and so on with the other metals, and in like manner wood and stone. Such things were signified by the gold, silver, brass, and wood, used in the ark and in the tabernacle and in the temple, concerning which, of the Lord's Divine mercy hereafter. That such is their signification is manifest from the Prophets, as from Isaiah:--

Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings. For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron; I will also make thy tribute peace, and thine exactors righteousness (Isaiah 60:16, 17),

treating of the Lord's advent, of His kingdom, and of the celestial church. For brass gold, signifies for natural good celestial good; for iron silver, signifies for natural truth spiritual truth; for wood brass, signifies for corporeal good natural good; for stones iron, signifies for sensuous truth natural truth. In Ezekiel:--

Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, these were thy merchants, in the soul of man, and vessels of brass they gave thy trading (Ezekiel 27:13),

speaking of Tyre, by which are signified those who possess spiritual and celestial riches; vessels of brass are natural goods. In Moses:--

A land whose stones are iron, and out of whose mountains thou mayest hew brass (Deut. 8:9),

where also stones denote sensuous truth; iron, natural, that is, rational truth; and brass, natural good. Ezekiel saw Four living creatures, or cherubs, whose feet sparkled like the appearance of burnished brass (Ezekiel 1:7), where again brass signifies natural good, for the foot of man represents what is natural. In like manner there appeared to Daniel,

A man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with gold of Uphaz, his body also was like the beryl, and his arms and his feet like the appearance of burnished brass (Daniel 10:5, 6).

That the brazen serpent (Num. 21:9) represented the sensuous and natural good of the Lord, may be seen above.

from AC 426. That iron signifies natural truth, is further evident from what Ezekiel says of Tyre:--

Tarshish was thy trader by reason of the multitude of all riches; in silver, iron, tin, and lead, they gave thy traffickings. Dan, and Javan, and Meusal furnished bright iron in thy tradings; cassia and calamus were in thy mart (Ezekiel 27:12, 19).

From these words, as well as from what is said both previously and subsequently in the same chapter, it is very evident that celestial and spiritual riches are signified; and that every particular expression, and even the names mentioned, have some specific signification, for the Word of the Lord is spiritual, and not verbal.

[2] In Jeremiah:--

Can one break iron, even iron from the north, and brass? Thy substance (facultates) and thy treasures will I give for a spoil without price, and this for all thy sins (Jeremiah 15:12, 13),

where iron and brass signify natural truth and good; that it came from the north, signifies what is sensuous and natural; for what is natural, relatively to what is spiritual and celestial, is like thick darkness (that is, the north) relatively to light or the south; or like shade, which is also signified here by Zillah, who is the mother. That the substance and treasures are celestial and spiritual riches, is also very evident.

[3] Again in Ezekiel:--

Take thou unto thee a pan of iron, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city, and set thy faces toward it, and let it be for a siege, and thou shalt straiten against it (Ezekiel 4:3),

where also it is evident that iron signifies truth. Strength is attributed to truth, because it cannot be resisted, and for this reason it is said of iron-by which is signified truth, or the truth of faith-that it breaks in pieces and crushes; as in (Daniel 2:34, 40), and in John:--

He that overcometh, to him will I give sovereign power over the nations, that he may pasture them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers (Rev. 2:26, 27).


The woman brought forth a man child, who should pasture all nations with a rod of iron (Rev. 12:5).

[4] That a rod of iron is the truth which is of the Word of the Lord, is explained in John:--

I saw heaven open, and behold a white horse, and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and fight; He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God; out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations; and He shall pasture them with a rod of iron (Rev. 19:11, 13, 15).

from AC 426

Back to Words index, Back to Natural words index

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