Spiritual Meaning of

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The signification of remains is goods joined to truths stored up within man by the Lord (AC 468, 530, 560, 561, 660, 1050, 1906, 2284, 5135, 5342).

[2] Remains, and also residue, are occasionally mentioned in the Word, but by both these expressions there have been understood merely the remains and residue of a people or a nation according to the letter; while it has been heretofore quite unknown that in the spiritual sense they signify the goods and truths stored up in the interior man by the Lord; as in the following passages. In Isaiah:--

In that day shall the shoot of Jehovah be for honor and for glory, and the fruit of the earth for magnificence and adornment to them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass that he that remaineth in Zion, and he that is left (residuus) in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, everyone that is written unto life in Jerusalem (Isa. 4:2, 3);

they that remained in Zion, and they that were left in Jerusalem were in no wise made holy nor more than others written unto life; whence it is clear that by those who remained and who were left are meant the things that are holy and that are written unto life. These are goods conjoined with truths and stored up in the interior man by the Lord.

[3] In the same:--

In that day the remains of Israel, and they that are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more lean on their smiter, but shall lean on Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remains shall return, the remains of Jacob, unto the mighty God (Isa. 10:20, 21);

that the remains are not the remains of any people or nation may be seen from the fact that in the Word, especially the prophetic Word, by Israel was not meant Israel, nor by Jacob Jacob, but by both the church and what is of the church. And this being the case, by the remains are not meant the remains of Israel and Jacob, but the truths and goods which belong to the church. Yea, neither do the remains of a people, and the residue of a nation (when it is so said), signify the remains of any people or the residue of any nation, because by people in the internal sense are signified truths (AC 1259, 1260, 3295, 3581), and by nation goods (AC 1259, 1260, 1416). That it has been unknown, and appears strange, that by remains are signified truths and goods, is because the literal sense, especially where it is historical, withdraws and forcibly withholds from thinking things like these.

[4] In the same:--

Then there shall be a path for the remains of the people, which shall be left (residuoe) from Asshur; as there was for Israel through the sea, when he came up out of the land of Egypt (Isa. 11:16);

where the meaning is similar; they that are left from Asshur being those who have not been destroyed through perverse reasonings. Asshur is such reasonings, (AC 1186). Again:--

In that day shall Jehovah Zebaoth be for a crown of ornament, and for a diadem of comeliness, to the remains of His people (Isa. 28:5).


Moreover the escape of the house of Judah which is left (residua), shall again take root downward, and yield fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth remains, and out of Mount Zion they that escape (Isa 37:31, 32).


Butter and honey shall everyone eat that is left (residuus) in the midst of the land (Isa. 7:22).

In Jeremiah:--

I will gather together the remains of My flock out of all the lands whither I have scattered them, and I will bring them back to their fold, that they may bring forth and be multiplied (Jer. 23:3).


The people of those left (residuorum) by the sword found grace in the wilderness in going to give rest to him, to Israel (Jer. 31:2);

the people of those left by the sword in the wilderness were they who were called infants, who the rest being dead, were brought into the land of Canaan. These infants were the residue, and by them were signified the goods of innocence, and by their introduction into the land of Canaan was represented admission into the Lord's kingdom.

[5] In Ezekiel:--

I will make a residue, when ye shall have some that escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered in the earth. Then they that escape of you shall remember Me among the nations where they shall be captives (Ezek. 6:8, 9).

The reason why the goods and truths stored up by the Lord in man's interiors were represented by the residue and the remains among the nations whither they were scattered and where they were made captives, is that man is continually among evils and falsities, and is held in captivity by them. Evils and falsities are what are signified by the nations. The external man, when separated from the internal, is altogether in these, and therefore unless the Lord were to gather up the goods and truths which as occasion offers are insinuated into a man during the progress of life, the man could not possibly be saved, for without remains there is salvation for none.

[6] In Joel:--

It shall come to pass that everyone who shall call on the name of Jehovah shall escape; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as Jehovah hath said, and among the residue whom Jehovah doth call (Joel 2:32).

In Micah:--

There shall be remains of Jacob among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, as a lion among the beasts of the forest (Micah 5:8).

In Zephaniah:--

The remains of Israel shall not do perversity, nor speak a lie; neither shall a tongue of deceit be found in their mouth: they shall feed and be at rest, none making afraid (Zephaniah 3:13);

in this passage are described remains in respect to their quality, and it is known that this quality never belonged to the people called Israel. From this also it is manifest that by remains are meant other things; and that these are goods and truths is clear, because these are what do no perversity, nor speak a lie, neither is a tongue of deceit found in their mouth.

[7] In Zechariah:--

The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof; which shall be marvelous in the eyes of the remains of My people: now, not as in former days, am I to the remains of this people, for it is a seed of peace; the vine will yield its fruit, and the earth will yield its increase, and the heavens will yield their dew; and I will make the remains of this people heirs of all these things (Zech. 8:5, 6, 11, 12);

the remains are here called a seed of peace, but it is they who are in truths of good whose fruitfulness is described by the vine shall yield its fruit, the earth its increase, and the heavens their dew.

[8] The remains which are meant in the spiritual sense, are closed up by evils of life and by persuasions of falsity, so as no longer to appear; and by the denial of truth which had previously been acknowledged (both of these acts being from affection), they are consumed, for this is the commingling of truth and falsity which is called profanation. Of these things we read in the Word, in Isaiah:--

He shall remove man, and the deserts shall be multiplied in the midst of the land: scarcely any longer is there in it a tenth part, and yet it shall be for exterminating (Isa. 6:12, 13);

that ten denotes remains, see (AC 276, 1906, 2284). Again:--

I will kill thy root, and he shall kill them that are left of thee (Isa. 14:30);

speaking of the Philistines, who are those in the mere knowledge of knowledges, and not in life (AC 1197, 1198, 3412, 3413); those who are left are called a root, because from them, as from a root, grow forth goods and truths, which make man to be man. Wherefore he shall remove man denotes to destroy remains.

[9] In Jeremiah:--

The young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine; and there shall be no remains unto them (Jer. 11:22, 23);

speaking of the men of Anathoth. Again:--

I will take the remains of Judah, who have set their faces to come into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, that they be all consumed; and there shall not be an escaper, or one left to the remains of Judah, who have come to dwell in the land of Egypt (Jer. 44:12, 14, 28);

the reason why they who were of Judah should not sojourn in Egypt, nor dwell there, and that this was so severely forbidden them, was that the tribe of Judah represented the Lord's celestial church, and the celestial are utterly unwilling to know about the memory-knowledges which are signified by Egypt; for they know all things from the celestial good in which they are, which good would perish if they were to be take themselves to memory-knowledges. Nay, they who are of the Lord's celestial kingdom, being in celestial good (and celestial truth being charity, while spiritual truth is faith), are not willing even to mention faith, lest they should go down from good and look backward (AC 202, 337, 2715, 3246, 4448). This also is what is meant by the words:--

He that is upon the house, let him not go down to take anything out of the house; and be that is in the field, let him not return back to take his garments (Matt. 24:17, 18);

see just above (AC 5895); and also by these words:--

Remember Lot's wife (Luke 17:32);

who looked back and became a pillar of salt. In regard to looking and returning back, see (AC 2454, 3652).

[10] By the nations which were so accursed that there was not even any residue left, was represented that iniquity was so consummated with them that nothing of good and truth survived, thus that there were no remains; as in Moses:--

They smote Og the king of Bashan, and all his sons, and all his people, until they left no residue (Num. 21:35; Deut. 3:3).


They took all the cities of Sihon, and gave to the curse every city of man, and the women, and the little child; they left no residue (Deut. 2:34).

So in other passages where it is written that they were given to the curse.

[11] In regard to remains, or the goods and truths stored up in man's interiors by the Lord, the case is this. When a man is in good and truth from affection, thus from freedom, then good and truth are implanted. And when this takes place, the angels from heaven approach nearer and conjoin themselves with the man. It is this conjunction which causes the goods with truths to come forth in the man's interiors. But when a man is in things external, as when he is in worldly and bodily things, then the angels are removed, and when they are removed, then nothing at all of these goods and truths appears. Nevertheless as conjunction has once been effected, the man is in the capacity for conjunction with the angels, thus with the good and truth appertaining to them; but this conjunction does not take place oftener and further than is well-pleasing to the Lord, who disposes these things according to every use of the man's life.

from AC 5897

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