Spiritual Meaning of
|Back to Words index||Back to Religious words index|
The signification of covenant, is conjunction. That where mention is made of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Word, in the spiritual sense these men are not meant, can be seen from the fact that names never penetrate into heaven, but only what is signified by those who are named, thus the things themselves, their quality and their states, which are of the church and of the Lord's kingdom, and which are of the Lord Himself.
 And moreover the angels in heaven never determine their thoughts to the individual persons, for this would be to limit the thoughts, and to withdraw them from the universal perception of the things, from which is angelic speech. Hence what the angels speak in heaven is unutterable to man, and far above his thought, which is not extended to universals, but confined to particulars. When therefore we read this:--
Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall recline with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 8:11);
the angels perceive the Lord's presence and the appropriation of the truth and good which proceed from His Divine Human. Also when we read that Lazarus was taken up into Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22); the angels perceive that he was taken up into heaven where the Lord is present. Hence also it can be seen that by the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the internal sense is meant conjunction through the Lord's Divine Human.
 That the Divine Human is a covenant, that is, conjunction itself, can be seen from many passages in the Word, as:--
I will give Thee for a covenant to the people, for a light of the nations (Isa. 42:6).
I gave Thee for a covenant of the people, to restore the land, to divide the wasted heritages (Isa. 49:8).
Incline your ear, and come unto Me; hear and your soul shall live; so will I make a covenant of eternity with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold I have given Him for a witness to the peoples, a prince and a lawgiver to the nations (Isa. 55:3, 4).
The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple; and the Angel of the covenant whom ye desire, behold He cometh (Mal. 3:1).
He hath put for Me a covenant of eternity, to be disposed for all and to be kept (2 Sam. 23:5).
 In these passages the Lord is plainly treated of, and the conjunction of the human race with the Divine Itself of the Lord through His Divine Human. It is known in the church that the Lord as to the Divine Human is the Mediator, and that no one can come to the Divine Itself, which is in the Lord and is called the Father, except through the Son, that is, through the Divine Human. Thus the Lord as to the Divine Human is the conjunction. who can comprehend the Divine Itself by any thought? and if he cannot comprehend It in thought, who can be conjoined with It in love? but everyone can comprehend the Divine Human in thought, and be conjoined with It in love.
 That a covenant denotes conjunction can be seen from the covenants made between kingdoms, n that by these they are joined together; and that there are stipulations on each side, which are to be kept, in order that the conjunction may be inviolate. These stipulations or compacts are also called a covenant. The stipulations or compacts which in the Word are called a covenant, are on the part of man, in a close sense, the ten commandments, or Decalogue; in a wider sense they are all the statutes, commandments, laws, testimonies, precepts, which the Lord enjoined from Mount Sinai through Moses; and in a sense still more wide they are the books of Moses, the contents of which were to be observed on the part of the sons of Israel. On the part of the Lord the covenant" is mercy and election.
 That the ten commandments of Decalogue are a covenant, is evident from the following passages:--
Jehovah hath told you His covenant, which He commanded you to do, the ten words which He wrote on two tables of stone (Deut. 4:13, 23).
And because the two tables of stone, on which the ten commandments were written, were stored up in the ark (Exod. 25:16, 21, 22; 31:18; 32:15, 16, 19; 40:20), therefore the ark was called the ark of the covenant (Deut. 31:9, 24-26; Josh. 3:3, 6, 14; 4:7; Judg. 20:27; 2 Sam. 15:24; 1 Kings 8:21). In the last passage cited, Solomon thus speaks:--There I have set a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of Jehovah which He made with our fathers. And in John:--
The temple of God was opened in heaven; and there was seen in His temple the ark of His covenant (Rev. 11:19).
 That all the judgments and statutes which the Lord commanded through Moses to the people of Israel, were called the covenant, as were also the books of Moses themselves, is evident from the following passages:--
After the mouth of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel (Exod. 34:27);
the things which are here called a covenant were the many in regard to sacrifices, feasts, and unleavened bread.
Moses took the book of the covenant, and read in the ears of the people, who said, All that Jehovah hath spoken we will do and hear (Exod. 24:7, 8).
Josiah king of Judah in the house of Jehovah in the presence of them all read the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of Jehovah. And he made a covenant before Jehovah, to establish the words of the covenant written in that hook; and all the people stood to the covenant. The King commanded all the people that they should perform the passover to Jehovah God, as it is written in this book of the covenant (2 Kings 23:2, 3, 21).
If thy sons will keep My covenant and My testimony that I have taught them, their sons also shall sit on thy throne forevermore (Ps. 132:12).
 That a covenant denotes conjunction through love and faith, is evident from these passages:--
Behold the days come, said Jehovah, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, because they rendered My covenant vain; but this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days: I will put My law in the midst of them, and I will write it on their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Jer. 31:31-33);
to put a law in the midst of them, and to write it on their heart, is to endow with faith and charity; through faith and charity the conjunction is made which is described by the words, I will be their God, and they shall be My people. I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will no more turn away from them; and I will do well to them; and I will put My fear in their heart, that they shall not depart from Me (Jer. 32:40); conjunction through love, which is the covenant, is signified by, I will put My fear in their heart, that they shall not depart from Me.
 In Ezekiel:--
I will make a covenant of peace with them, a covenant of eternity it shall be with them; and I will give them, and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them; and My habitation shall be with them, and I will be their God, and thy shall be My people (Ezek. 37:26, 27);
here conjunction through love and faith, which are a covenant, is described by a sanctuary in the midst of them, and by a habitation with them, and by the words, I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
When I passed by thee, and saw thee, that behold it was thy time, the time of loves, and I entered into a covenant with thee, that thou shouldest be Mine (Ezek. 16:8);
speaking of Jerusalem, whereby is signified the Ancient Church; that to enter into a covenant that thou shouldest be Mine, is marriage, or spiritual conjunction, is plain. As a covenant signifies conjunction, a wife is also called a wife of the covenant (Mal. 2:14); and conjunction among brethren is called the covenant of brethren (Amos 1:9). By covenant is also signified conjunction in David:
I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to David My servant (Ps. 89:3).
 That the compact of a covenant on the part of the Lord is mercy and election, is evident in these passages:
All the ways of Jehovah are mercy and truth to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies (Ps. 25:10)
The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My mercy shall not depart, and the covenant of My peace shall not be removed, saith thy compassionate One, Jehovah (Isa. 54:10)
Jehovah thy God, He is God, the faithful God, keeping covenant and mercy with them that love Him, and that keep His commandments, to the thousandth generation (Deut. 7:9, 12).
If ye will keep My covenant, ye shall be unto Me for a peculiar treasure from all peoples (Exod. 19:5),
I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and will establish My covenant with you (Lev. 26:9),
to have respect unto them is of mercy; to make them fruitful and multiply them is to endow them with charity and faith; they who are endowed with these gifts are called the elect; so that these are words of election; and also the words they shall be for a peculiar treasure.
 Signs of a covenant existed also in the representative church, and were such as reminded of conjunction, Circumcision was such a sign (Gen. 17:11); for circumcision signified purification from filthy loves, on the removal of which, heavenly love is insinuated, through which is conjunction, The Sabbath is also called an eternal covenant (Exod. 31:16). It is said also that the show-bread should be to the sons of Israel for an eternal covenant (Lev. 24:8 ) and especially the blood, as is evident from these passages:--
Moses took the book of the covenant, and read in the ears of the people, who said, All that Jehovah hath spoken we will do and hear; then Moses took the blood of the peace sacrifice, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant which Jehovah hath made with you over all these words (Exod. 24:7, 8),
By the blood of Thy covenant I will send forth the bound out of the pit wherein is no water (Zech. 9:11 )
Blood was a covenant, or the token of a covenant, because it signified conjunction through spiritual love, that is, through charity toward the neighbor; therefore when the Lord instituted the Holy Supper, He called His blood the blood of the new covenant (Matt. 26:28). From all this it can now be seen what is meant by a covenant in the Word in the internal sense.
from AC 6804
Back to Words index, Back to Religious words index
|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|