Spiritual Meaning of

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That a covenant signifies nothing else than regeneration and the things pertaining to regeneration, is evident from various passages in the Word where the Lord Himself is called the Covenant, because it is He alone who regenerates, and who is looked to by the regenerate man, and is the all in all of love and faith. That the Lord is the Covenant itself is evident in Isaiah:--

I Jehovah have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thy hand, and will keep thee, and will give thee for a covenant to the people, for a light of the nations (Isaiah 42:6),

where a covenant denotes the Lord; a light of the nations is faith. Also in (Isaiah 49:6, 8). In Malachi:--

Behold I send Mine angel, and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Angel of the covenant whom ye desire; behold He cometh; who may abide the day of His coming? (Malachi 3:1, 2),

where the Lord is called the Angel of the Covenant. The sabbath is called a perpetual covenant (Exod. 31:16), because it signifies the Lord Himself, and the celestial man regenerated by Him.

[2] Since the Lord is the very covenant itself, it is evident that all that which conjoins man with the Lord is of the covenant-as love and faith, and whatever is of love and faith-for these are of the Lord, and the Lord is in them; and so the covenant itself is in them, where they are received. These have no existence except with a regenerated man, with whom whatever is of the Regenerator or of the Lord is of the covenant, or is the covenant. As in Isaiah:--

My mercy shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed away (Isaiah 54:10),

where mercy and the covenant of peace denote the Lord and what belongs to Him. Again:--

Incline your ear and come unto Me, hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make a covenant of eternity with you, the sure mercies of David; behold, I have given Him for a witness to the peoples, a leader and a lawgiver to the nations (Isaiah 55:3, 4).

David here denotes the Lord; the covenant of eternity is in those things and by those things which are of the Lord, and these are meant by going to Him and hearing, that the soul may live.

[3] In Jeremiah:--

I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me all the days, for good to them, and to their sons after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put My fear in their heart (Jeremiah 32:39, 40).

This is said of those who are to be regenerated, and of things that belong to them, namely, one heart and one way, that is, charity and faith, which are of the Lord and so of the covenant. Again:--

Behold the days come, saith Jehovah, that 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, for they rendered My covenant vain: but this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after these days; I will put My law in the midst of them, and write it on their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Jeremiah 31:31-33).

Here the meaning of a covenant is clearly explained, that it is the love and faith in the Lord which is with those who are to be regenerated.

[4] And again in Jeremiah, love is called the covenant of the day, and faith the covenant of the night (Jeremiah 33:20). In Ezekiel:--

I, Jehovah, will be their God, and My servant David a prince in the midst of them, and I will make with them a covenant of peace, and I will make the evil beast to cease out of the land; and they shall dwell secure in the wilderness, and sleep in the forests (Ezekiel 34:24, 25).

Here regeneration is evidently treated of. David denotes the Lord. Again:--

David shall be a prince to them to eternity; I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be a covenant of eternity with them; I will set My sanctuary in the midst of them to eternity (Ezekiel 37:25, 26).

Here likewise regeneration is treated of. David and the sanctuary denote the Lord. And again:--

I entered into a covenant with thee, and thou wast Mine; and I washed thee with waters, and washed away thy bloods from upon thee, and I anointed thee with oil (Ezekiel 16:8, 9),

where regeneration is plainly meant. In Hosea:--

In that day will I make a covenant for them with the wild beast of the field, and with the fowl of the heavens, and with the creeping thing of the earth (Hosea 2:18),

meaning regeneration; the wild beast of the field, denotes the things that are of the will; the fowl of the heavens, those that are of the understanding. In David:--

He hath sent redemption unto His people; He hath commanded His covenant to eternity (Ps. 111:9),

also meaning regeneration. It is called a covenant because it is given and received.

[5] But of those who are not regenerated, or what is the same, who make worship consist in external things, and esteem and worship themselves and what they desire and think as if they were gods, it is said that they render the covenant vain, because they separate themselves from the Lord. And in Jeremiah:--

They have forsaken the covenant of Jehovah their God, and have bowed themselves down to other gods, and served them (Jeremiah 22:9).

In Moses:--

He who should transgress the covenant by serving other gods--the sun, the moon, the army of the heavens--should be stoned (Deut. 17:2).

The sun denotes the love of self; the moon principles of falsity; the army of the heavens falsities themselves. From all this it is now evident what the ark of the covenant signified wherein was the covenant, or testimony, namely, that it signified the Lord Himself; and that the book of the covenant also signified the Lord Himself (Exod. 24:4-7; 34:27; Deut. 4:13, 23); and likewise that by the blood of the covenant (Exod. 24:6, 8) was signified the Lord Himself, who alone is the Regenerator. Hence the covenant denotes regeneration itself.

from AC 666

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