Spiritual Meaning of

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 Leaf, Tree, Fruit, Green leaf

That a leaf signifies truth, is evident from many passages in the Word where man is compared to a tree, or is called a tree, and where fruits signify the good of charity, and a leaf the truth therefrom (which indeed they are like); as in Ezekiel:--

And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, there cometh up every tree for food, whose leaf doth not fall, neither is the fruit consumed, it is reborn every month, because the waters thereof issue out of the sanctuary; and the fruit thereof shall be for food, and the leaf thereof for medicine (Ezekiel 47:12; Rev. 22:2).

Here tree denotes the man of the church in whom is the kingdom of the Lord; its fruit, the good of love and of charity; its leaf, the truths therefrom, which serve for the instruction of the human race and for their regeneration, for which reason the leaf is said to be for medicine. Again:--

Shall He not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof that it wither? it shall wither in all the plucked off (leaves) of its shoot (Ezekiel 17:9).

This is said of the vine, that is, the church, in a state of vastation, whose good, which is the fruit, and whose truth, which is the plucked off (leaf) of the shoot, thus withers.

[2] In Jeremiah:--

Blessed is the man that trusteth in Jehovah; he shall be like a tree planted by the waters; his leaf shall be green; and he shall not be anxious in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit (Jeremiah 17:7, 8);

where the green leaf denotes the truth of faith, thus the very faith which is from charity. So in (Ps. 1:3); and again in Jeremiah:--

There shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig-tree, and the leaf is fallen (Jeremiah 8:13);

grapes on the vine, denote spiritual good; figs on the fig-tree, natural good; leaf, truth, which in this case is fallen. Likewise in (Isaiah 34:4). The same is meant by the fig-tree which Jesus saw and found nothing thereon but leaves, and which therefore withered away (Matt. 21:19, 20; Mark 11:13, 14, 20). Specifically, by this fig-tree there was meant the Jewish Church, in which there was no longer anything of natural good; and the religious teaching or truth that was preserved in it, are the leaves; for a vastated church is such that it knows truth, but is not willing to understand it. Similar are those who say that they know truth or the things of faith, yet have nothing of the good of charity: they are only fig-leaves, and they wither away.

from AC 885

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