Spiritual Meaning of

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The signification of stars is the knowledges of good and truth. That stars have this signification in the Word is because they are small luminaries which shine at night, when they give forth into our atmosphere gleams of light, just as knowledges give forth gleams of good and truth. That such knowledges are signified by stars, is evident from many passages in the Word, as in Jeremiah:

Thus said Jehovah who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who stirreth up the sea that the waves thereof are tumultuous (Jer. 31:35);

where a new church is treated of, and by giving the sun for a light by day is signified the good of love and of charity, and by giving the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night is signified truth and knowledges.

[2] So too in David:

Jehovah who made great luminaries, the sun to rule by day, and the moon and stars to rule by night (Ps. 136:7-9);

one who knows nothing of the internal sense of the Word will believe that by the sun here is meant the sun of the world, and by the moon and stars, the moon and stars of the world; but from this arises no spiritual and heavenly sense, and yet the Word is heavenly in every particular; from which again it is evident that the goods of love and charity, and the truths of faith, together with the knowledges of these, are what is signified.

[3] So also in the first chapter of Genesis, where the new creation of the celestial man is described:

God said, Let there be luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to distinguish between the day and the night; and let them be for signs and for stated times, and for days and for years; and let them be for luminaries in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth; and it was so And God made two great luminaries; the greater luminary to rule by day, and the lesser luminary to rule by night; and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light up on the earth, and to rule in the day and in the night, and to distinguish between the light and the darkness (Gen. 1:14-18; n. 30-38).

[4] In Matthew:

Immediately after the affliction of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken (Matthew 24:29);

that here by the sun and moon are signified love and charity, or good and truth, and by the stars knowledges, may be seen above (AC 4060); and because the last day or the last state of the church is here treated of, by the sun being darkened and the moon not giving her light is signified that then the good of love and of charity Will perish; and by the stars falling from heaven, that the knowledges of good and of truth will also perish.

[5] That these things are signified, is evident from the prophetic parts of the Word, in which similar things are said of the last state of the church, as in Isaiah;

Behold the day of Jehovah cometh cruel, to make the earth a waste, and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it For the stars of the heavens and the constellations thereof shall not shine with their light the sun shall be darkened in his rising, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine (Isa. 13:9, 10).

In Joel:

The day of Jehovah is near. The sun and the moon have been blackened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining (Joel 3:14, 16).

In Ezekiel:

When I shall extinguish thee I will cover the heavens, and I will blacken the stars thereof; I Will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not make her light to shine, all the luminaries of light in heaven will I make black over thee, and will set darkness upon thy land. (Ezek. 32:7, 8)

And in the Revelation:

The fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; that the third part of them should be darkened, and the day should not shine for the third part of it, and the night in like manner (Rev. 8:12).

[6] Moreover that stars are the knowledges of good and truth is plain from the following passages: in Daniel:

Out of one of the horns of the he-goat came forth a little horn, and it grew exceedingly toward the south, and toward the east, and toward adornment. And it grew even to the army of the heavens; and some of the army and of the stars it cast down to the earth, and trampled upon them (Daniel 8:9, 10);

and in the Revelation:

The great dragon with his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth (Rev. 12:4).

That stars are not meant in these passages, is evident. In Daniel and the Revelation is described the state of the church in its last times.

[7] Likewise in David:

Jehovah counteth the number of the stars; He giveth names to all (Ps. 147:4).


Praise ye Jehovah sun and moon, praise Him all ye stars of light (Ps 148:3)

And in the Revelation:

A great sign was seen in heaven; a woman encompassed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars (Rev. 12:1).

[8] As stars signify the knowledges of good and truth, they signify also the doctrinals of the church, for these are knowledges. The doctrinal respecting faith separate from charity in the last times, is thus described by a star in the Revelation:

The third angel sounded, and there fell from heaven a great star burning as a torch, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood, and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter (Rev. 8:10, 11)

the waters made bitter by this star are truths, and the rivers and fountains of waters are intelligence thence and wisdom from the Word. Waters are truths, (AC 2702, 3058, 3424); rivers are intelligence, (AC 3051); and fountains are wisdom from the Word, (AC 2702, 3424).

from AC 4697

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