Spiritual Meaning of
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The representation of the priest's office, is in the supreme sense every office which the Lord discharges as the Saviour; and whatever He does as the Saviour is from Divine love, thus from Divine good, for all good is of love. For this reason also by the priest's office in the supreme sense is signified the Divine good of the Lord's Divine love. There is Divine good, and there is Divine truth; Divine good is in the Lord, and therefore it is His being, which in the Word is called Jehovah; but Divine truth is from the Lord, and therefore it is the coming-forth from this being, which in the Word is meant by God; and as that which comes forth from Him is also Himself, therefore also the Lord is Divine truth, which is His Divine in the heavens. For the heavens come forth from Him, because the angels who are there are receptions of His Divine; the celestial angels being receptions of the Divine good which is from Him, and the spiritual angels being receptions of the Divine truth which is thence derived. From all this it can be seen what of the Lord was represented by the priestly office, and what of the Lord was represented by the kingly office; namely, by the priestly office the Divine good of His Divine love, and by the kingly office the Divine truth thence derived.
 That by the priestly office was represented the Divine good of the Lord's Divine love, thus every office which the Lord discharges as the Saviour, is evident from the following passages in the Word:--
The saying of Jehovah unto my Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool. Jehovah shall send forth the scepter of strength out of Zion; rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies. Thy people is one of readinesses in the day of Thy strength, in the honors of holiness from the womb of the dawn, Thou hast the dew of thy birth. Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever, according to My word, Melchizedek. The Lord at Thy right hand hath smitten kings in the day of His anger; He hath judged among the nations; He hath filled with dead bodies; He hath smitten the head over much land. He shall drink of the stream in the way: therefore shall He lift up the head (Ps. 110:1-7);
from this it is plain what the Lord is as a priest, consequently what the priestly office represented in the Lord, namely, all the work of the salvation of the human race; for in this passage the subject treated of is the Lord's combats with the hells, while He was in the world, through which He acquired for Himself Divine omnipotence over the hells, by virtue of which He saved the human race, and also saves at this day all those who receive Him. It is this salvation itself, because it is from the Divine good of the Divine love, by virtue of which it is said of the Lord, Thou art a priest forever, according to My word, Melchizedek. Melchizedek means the king of righteousness; and the Lord was so called from the fact that He became righteousness, and thereby salvation (AC 9715).
 But as each particular expression in the above Psalm contains arcana concerning the Lord's combats while He was in the world, and these cannot be revealed without the internal sense, therefore they may here be briefly unfolded. The saying of Jehovah unto my Lord signifies that it is said of the Lord while He was in the world. That by the Lord here is meant the Lord as to the Divine Human, is evident in (Matthew 22:41-43; Mark 12:35, 36; Luke 20:41-44). Sit Thou at My right hand signifies the omnipotence of Divine good through the Divine truth which the Lord then was, and from which He fought and conquered. That sitting at the right hand denotes a state of power, and that when said of the Divine it denotes omnipotence, (AC 3387, 4592, 4933, 7518, 7673, 8281, 9133); and that all the power of good is through truth, (AC 6344, 6423, 8304, 9327, 9410, 9639, 9643).
 Until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool signifies until the evils which are in the hells shall be subjugated and made subject to His Divine power. Jehovah shall send forth the scepter of strength out of Zion signifies power then from celestial good. That Zion denotes this good, (AC 2362, 9055). Rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies signifies that this good has dominion over evils; evils are meant by enemies because they are opposed to the Divine, and specifically to the Lord. Thy people is one of readinesses in the day of Thy strength signifies the Divine truths then fighting. In the honors of holiness signifies which are from the Divine good. From the womb of the dawn, Thou hast the dew of Thy birth, signifies conception from the Divine good itself from which He had Divine truth. Jehovah hath sworn and will not repent signifies what is stable and certain.
 Thou art a priest forever signifies the Divine good of the Divine love in Him. According to My word, Melchizedek, signifies that His Divine Human is the like; Melchizedek means king of righteousness, thus that Jehovah became righteous through combats and victories (AC 9715). The Lord at Thy right hand signifies the Divine truth which is then from Him, through which He has omnipotence, as above. Hath smitten kings in the day of His anger signifies the destruction then of falsities; the day of anger was when He fought against evils and destroyed them; kings denote truths, and in the opposite sense falsities (AC 2015, 2069, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 5068, 6148). He hath judged among the nations signifies the dispersion of evils; for nations denote goods, and in the opposite sense evils (AC 1259, 1260, 1849, 6005). He hath filled with dead bodies signifies thus spiritual death, which is the total deprivation of truth and good. He hath smitten the head over much land signifies the casting down of the infernal love of self into the hells, and its damnation. He shall drink of the stream in the way, therefore shall He lift up the head, signifies the endeavor to emerge by means of reasonings about truths. This is the sense of the above words which is perceived in heaven when this Psalm is read by man.
 As the priestly office was representative of the Lord in respect to all the work of salvation from Divine love, therefore also all Divine worship belonged to the office of the priest; which worship at that time consisted chiefly in offering burnt-offerings, sacrifices, and meat-offerings, and in arranging the breads of faces upon the table, in lighting the lamps every day, and in burning incense; consequently in making expiation for the people and in remitting sins. More over, when the priests were at the same time prophets, it also consisted in unfolding the Divine law, and in teaching. That Aaron with his sons performed all these things is evident from the institution of the priest's office in Moses. That all these things were representative of the Lord's works of salvation, is manifest; wherefore also that part of the sacrifices and meat-offerings which was for Jehovah, that is, for the Lord, was given to Aaron; in like manner the firstfruits of various kinds, and also the tithes (Exod. 29:1-36; Lev. 7:35, 36; 23:15-21; 27:21; Num. 5:6-10; 18:8-20, 25-32; Deut. 18:1-5), and the firstborn; but instead of all the firstborn of men were the Levites, who were given as a gift to Aaron (Num. 1:47; 3:9), for the reason that they belonged to Jehovah (Num. 3:12, 13, 40-45).
 As the Lord in respect to the whole work of salvation was represented by the high-priest, and the work of salvation itself by his office, which is called the priesthood, therefore no inheritance and portion with the people was given to Aaron and his sons, for it is declared that Jehovah God is their inheritance and portion (Num. 18:20); neither was any portion given to the Levites, because they belonged to Aaron (Num. 26:62; Deut. 10:9; 18:1, 2). For the people represented heaven and the church, but Aaron with his sons and with the Levites represented the good of love and of faith which makes heaven and the church, thus they represented the Lord from whom is this good. For this reason the land was granted to the people for an inheritance, but not to the priests, for the Lord is in them, but not among them as one of them and distinct from them.
 The like is involved in these words from Isaiah:--
Ye shall be called the priests of Jehovah, the ministers of our God; ye shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory ye shall boast yourselves (Isa. 61:6);
where eating the wealth of the nations denotes to appropriate goods to themselves; boasting themselves in their glory denotes to enjoy truths, thus to have joy and happiness from both. That nations denote goods, (AC 1259, 1260, 4574, 6005); and that glory denotes truth from the Divine, (AC 9429).
 In the Word throughout kings and priests are mentioned in a series, also kings, princes, priests, and prophets; and in the internal sense by kings are there signified truths in the complex; by princes, primary truths; by priests, goods in the complex; and by prophets, doctrines, as in the following passages:--
Jesus Christ hath made us kings and priests (Rev. 1:6; 5:10).
The house of Israel were ashamed, they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets (Jer. 2:26).
In that day the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be amazed, and the prophets shall marvel (Jer. 4:9).
At that time they shall draw out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets (Jer. 8:1).
That by kings in the sense abstracted from persons are signified truths in the complex, (AC 1672, 2015, 2069, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148); that by princes are signified primary truths, (AC 1482, 2089, 5044); that priests denote goods, (AC 1728, 2015, 3670, 6148); and that prophets denote doctrines derived from these things and concerning them, (AC 2534, 7269). The kingly office of the Lord is also signified by His name Christ, Anointed, Messiah; and His priestly office by His name Jesus, for Jesus means Saviour or salvation, concerning which it is thus written in Matthew:--
The angel appeared unto Joseph in a dream, and said, Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21).
As this belonged to the priest's office, therefore the like was represented by the office of the high-priest who made expiation for the people for sins (Lev. 4:26, 31, 35; 5:6, 10, 13, 16, 18; 9:7; 15:15, 30).
 Seeing that evil cannot possibly be joined to good, because they have aversion for each other, therefore purifications of various kinds were commanded for Aaron and his sons when they ministered in the priest's office, whether at the altar, or in the Tent of meeting; and it was also commanded that the high-priest was not to marry any but a virgin; not a widow, nor one divorced, nor a harlot (Lev. 21:13-15); that those of the sons of Aaron who were unclean if they should eat of the sanctified things, were to be cut off (Lev. 22:2-9); that no one of the seed of Aaron in whom was a blemish should offer bread (Lev. 21:17-21); that the highpriest was not to shave his head, to rend his garments, to defile himself with any dead body, not even of his father and his mother, and that he was not to go out of the sanctuary (Lev. 21:10-12). As before said, these and many other laws were enacted for the reason that the high-priest represented the Lord as to Divine good; and good is of such a nature that Evil cannot be joined to it, for good shuns evil, and evil dreads good as hell dreads heaven; and therefore no conjunction of them is possible.
 But as for truth, it is of such a character that falsity can be joined to it; yet not the falsity in which there is evil; but that in which there is good, such as there is with little children, and with boys and girls while they are as yet in innocence, and with well-disposed Gentiles who are in ignorance; and such as there is with all who are in the literal sense of the Word, and who remain in the doctrine thence derived, and who nevertheless have the good of life as their end; for this good, as the end, drives away all the malevolence of falsity, and by applying itself forms the falsity into a certain likeness of truth.
from AC 9809
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|Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||Design: I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002.||www.BibleMeanings.info|